Skip to main content

Full text of "The fight with France for North America"

See other formats
























THE subject of this volume will, for the most 
part, I have reason to think, possess at least 
the merit of novelty for the general reader. The 
oblivion to which in this country the American War 
of Independence has been consigned is at least com 
prehensible. It had few dramatic features, and for us 
was not glorious, either in motive or conduct. But 
the earlier war with the French power in America 
was not only rich in picturesque detail and dramatic 
situation, but formed an important part of the most 
glorious and most epoch-making struggle in which 
Great Britain was ever engaged. Yet no English 
writer, using the term in its narrow sense, has seriously 
touched the subject since Warburton, early in the 
century, published his two admirable volumes on the 
Conquest of Canada. The well-known Canadian 
historian, the late Mr. Kingsford, has devoted a 
great part of volumes III. and IV. in his exhaustive 
history of the Dominion to the period in question. 
But it is idle to speak of what may be called in 
general terms books of reference (however interest 
ing to the student), when the fascinating pages of 
the brilliant American, Francis Parkman, are only 
known to so comparatively small a circle of English 
readers. On this very account it might seem vain 
to make any further attempt to recall the Ameri 
can campaigns of Braddock, Loudon, Abercromby, 



Amherst, Wolfe and others. Nor can I plead that the 
South African War, with its many points of com 
parison, influenced my decision, for this book was 
already in progress when this second struggle, if I 
may call it so, for racial supremacy on a distant 
continent was thrust on the British nation. The 
fortuitous selection, however, of this moment to re 
tell the story of the Anglo-French struggle for 
empire in the old days of America may surely be 
accounted as all in favour of the undertaking. 

As a matter of fact, the chief motive that impelled 
me to the attempt was nothing more than a strong 
attachment of very old standing to this and kindred 
subjects an attachment begotten by many years 
of residence under the shadow of the Alleghanies, 
in the most vigorous and impressionable period of 
life, and stimulated by occasional wanderings with 
tent and canoe amid the wild and romantic water 
ways of Canada. I do not know that association 
with scenes where history has been made in any way 
strengthens one s qualifications for writing it, but I 
do know that in a case like this it greatly sweetens 
the labour. 

One practical idea, at any rate, if not based perhaps 
on a very elevated hypothesis, I had before me in the 
writing of this book namely, that a single volume 
on an unfamiliar subject may perchance in these so- 
called busy days find readers where a bulkier work 
of greater merit might be left upon the shelf. 

I make no attempt in these pages to address the 
serious student of this war, if indeed there be any 
such on this side the Atlantic. I have few incidents 
to relate that have not been told with greater 
elaboration elsewhere ; indeed, I am writing more 



especially for those to whom nearly the whole story 
will be new, and have even thus no small difficulty 
in condensing its more salient and familiar features 
within the necessary limits. 

The founding of our Indian Empire is more or less 
related in the biographies of Clive and Hastings, as 
well as in other short and handy books, and is by 
those popular channels made comparatively familiar. 
Wolfe s life, on the other hand, but partially touches 
on the struggle which destroyed the French power 
in America, though he is the hero of it. For Wolfe 
flashed like a meteor on a contest already many 
years old, and vanished in a blaze of glory that, 
though decisive in a sense, was not by any means 
the closing scene. Every schoolboy knows, or is 
popularly, though probably very erroneously, sup 
posed to know, the details of the Plains of A braham, 
but I will undertake to say that there are many thou 
sands of schoolmasters who have never so much as 
even heard of the still bloodier battle of St. Foy, 
fought upon the same ground, within six months, by 
the same troops ; while, so far as my experience goes, 
the memories of Braddock s defeat, Ticonderoga or 
Louisbourg are much more often than not of the 
haziest description, and sometimes are barely even 
memories in quarters where such recognition would 
be most expected. 

The great Anglo-Saxon family quarrel which robbed 
Great Britain of the very colonies for whose relief 
she had spent so much blood and treasure is a ques 
tion to itself, and a sufficiently big one. But it in no 
way affects the decisive nature of the French defeat 
and the far-reaching consequences which contributed 
to make the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 



the most glorious and the most pregnant moment in 
recent British history ; though Pitt, to be sure, did 
think it might have been still more emphatically 
marked. In its significance for the Anglo-Saxon 
race at large no epoch will compare with it. 

The title of this book requires, perhaps, a word 
of explanation. For one thing, I shall doubtless be 
informed that Mexico is geographically in North 
America, and has not yet been annexed to Anglo- 
Saxon dominion, and may never be. To say that 
one regards Mexico as belonging rather to the at 
mosphere of South America would be a poor excuse. 
It will be more honest to at once admit that I sought 
long and vainly for a title that would convey, with 
sufficient brevity, the nature of the w^ork and explain 
its purport on a book list, before adopting one that 
involved a technical inaccuracy. 

Alternatives will no doubt present themselves at 
once to most minds, as they did to mine, but it will 
be sufficient here, I think, to say that none of them 
seemed to me lucid enough when it is considered how 
hazy is everything transatlantic to the English mind. 
" The Seven Years War in North America " would be 
the natural and logical title for such a book as this. 
I have a notion that a reviewer would say that it 
was sufficient and unmistakeable. But a literary 
critic would not be human if his own range of books 
and subjects did not lead him to sometimes under 
estimate the oblivion under which some chapters of 
history rest in the popular mind. For myself I feel 
quite sure that such a title as the above would sug 
gest in many quarters some struggle in which neither 
England nor France nor the world at large had any 
great concern. 



The printed, as well as the MS. material, in the 
shape of history, biography, journals, and papers 
bearing on this war is very ample. In the many 
volumes of State papers at the Record Office relating 
to these events, I can find nothing worthy of notice 
here that has not been utilized in English, American, 
or Colonial works. Among modern historians Park- 
man, Kingsford and Warburton stand alone in the 
attention they have given to this period in America. 
Among older and more or less contemporary writers, 
Smollett, Mante and Entick are prominent ; while of 
the numerous diarists Knox is the most exhaustive 
and valuable upon the English side. 

It is not, indeed, from lack of sources of inform 
ation that so undue a mist would seem to cover this 
fateful chapter of British history. I only hope that 
my effort to present it in handy form may help to 
remind some few at any rate of that incomparable 
moment when the star of England shone with a 
lustre greater even than during the epoch that wit 
nessed Waterloo and saw Napoleon carried in a 
British ship to St. Helena. 

A. G. B. 





The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle Condition and Characteris 
tics of the British-American Colonies and of Canada in 
1750 1 

CHAPTER II. 1747-1754 

French Designs against British Expansion French Expedi 
tion to the Ohio Valley The Acadians Washington 
carries the English Protest to the Ohio Fight at the 
" Great Meadows " Beginning of the Struggle . . 40 

CHAPTER III. 1754-1755 

A British Force despatched to America Braddock s Expedi 
tion to the Ohio His Defeat on the Monongahela His 
Death Disastrous Results " - . 75 

CHAPTER IV. 1755-1756 

Shirley occupies Oswego Johnson s Futile Campaign on 
Lake George Depjor,tatioa, of the Acadians Apathy of 

PennsylvaniaThe British Frontiers wasted . . . 107 

CHAPTER V. 1755-1756 

Formal Declaration of War between France and England 
Montcalm sent to Canada Lord Loudon takes Command 
<>f th" British Forces His Useless Campaign on Lake 
George Montcalm captures Oswego 137 

CHAPTER VI. 1756-1757 

Difficulties in Forming a Ministry Pitt succeeds to Power 
French Attack repulsed on Lake George Another British 
Force sails London s Futile Expedition against Louis- 
bourg The French capture Fort William Henry The 
Massacre ,"" i"- 1 "i" j . . . . 1 . 161 



CHAPTER VII. 1757-1758 


Low Ebb of British Fortunes Military Apathy in Middle 
and Southern Colonies Official Corruption in Canada 
Magnetic Influence of Pitt on British Affairs Wolfe 
and Amherst Siege and Capture of Louisbourg Re 
joicings in England 200 


Abercromby takes Command in America Large British 
Army gathers at Albany Abercromby attacks Ticon- 
deroga Repulsed with Great Loss Campbell of Inver- 
awe 231 


Bradstreet captures Frontenac Forbes leads an Expedition 
against Fort Duquesne Defeat of Grant and High 
landers near the Fort Post, the Moravian Missionary 
Forbes occupies Fort Duquesne His Death . . , 260 

CHAPTER X. 1758-1759 

The Expedition against Quebec under Wolfe Difficulties 
of the Siege Battle on the Plains of Abraham Death 
of Wolfe and Montcalm Surrender of the City . . . 288 

^^**^*" "*" ^^^^MM*! 

j CHAPTER XI. 1759 

Flight of the French Army from Quebec Murray in Com 
mand of the British Garrison Amherst captures Ticon- 
deroga and Crown Point Prideaux takes Niagara . . 327 

CHAPTER XII. 1759-1760 

British Army winters in Quebec French, under LeVis, re 
turn and attack the City Battle of St. Foy Quebec 
relieved by British Ships French Forces retire on 
Montreal Murray ascends the St. Lawrence to Mont 
real Amherst descends the River from Lake Ontario 
Haviland, Avith Third Army, joins them from the South 
Surrender of Montreal and the French possessions in 
North America to Great Britain 354 





Canada and the British Colonies in 1750 . (Frontispiece) 

Map showing the Two Military Highways between Canada 

and the British Colonies ....... 109 

Map of Nova Scotia . . . , . ... . 123 

Siege of Louisbourg, 1758 222 

The Attack on Ticonderoga, July 8th, 1758 . . . .239 
Siege of Quebec, 1759 . ... ". -. . . . .299 



Page 19, first two lines should be transposed. 

Page 54, for "Hobson" read "Hopson." 

Page 78, line 25, for " Catholic king " read " Christian king." 

Page 151, headline of page, for " Soldier" read " Soldiers." 

Page 155, for " Pepperall " read " Pepperell." 

Page 163, headline of page, for "The Fight with France" read 
"Without a Leader." 

Page 311, for " of Pitts. Though " read " of Pitts, though." 

Page 317, note, for " f atuitously " read "fortuitously"; for 
"the family. A beautiful specimen" read "the family; a beau 
tiful specimen." 

Page 318, note, for " Professor Robson " read " That of Professor 

Note appertaining to page 327. 

In a letter written on the field of battle at two o clock by an 
officer to his friends in England, which lies before me, the dura 
tion of the fight is estimated at half an hour. The writer is 
Colonel de Ruvigny, R.E., grandson of the Count de la Caille- 
motte, killed at the Boyne, and great grandson of the celebrated 
Huguenot statesman, the Marquis de Ruvigny, and himself subse 
quently fifth Marquis de Ruvigny (de jure), and a naturalized 
English subject. I am indebted to the courtesy of the present re 
presentative of the family for the letter in question. The fact 
that it is written in French is a curiously significant comment on 
the policy of France towards its Protestants. The writer speaks 
of the fury of the French attack, and the confusion of their re 
treat. He deplores the death of Wolfe, and speaks of the reported 
or expected death of Montcalm as removing the one leader in 
whom the Canadians were supposed to have confidence. 



THE war of the Austrian succession, ever memor 
able to Englishmen for the fierce fights of 
Dettingen and Fontenoy, was brought to a close in 
August, 1748, by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. For 
her lavish expenditure of blood and money, Great 
Britain had reaped little other profit than a qualified 
measure of renown. She had shown to the world, 
however, that nearly thirty years of peace had not 
robbed her soldiers of their ancient valour, even 
when handled, as they too often were, with con 
spicuous incapacity and officered by a system that 
took no cognizance of merit and was based almost 
wholly on favouritism and corruption. 

At Fontenoy the twelfth regiment, to take a chance 
instance, was led into action by a captain. At Det- 
tirigen the major was in command, while James 
Wolfe, then a callow youth of sixteen, had to grapple 
as best he could with the onerous and responsible 
duties of adjutant, complaining bitterly in his letters 
of the lack of discipline. Marlborough s officers were 
dead or doting. Privilege and faction regulated the 
pay list, though it is well to remember that the 
beardless colonel died as freely and fought as 
courageously as the grey-haired subaltern. Let it 
ever be borne in mind, too, that the king himself 
and his burly son, the Duke of Cumberland, were 

1 B 


bright examples of this cardinal virtue of physical 
courage, and asked no man to dare what they would 
not dare themselves nay, were only eager to. They, 
at least, were not responsible for the unwholesome 
thing that squandered human life and courted dis 
grace. If the Duke s level of capacity, moderate 
though it was, had been maintained throughout the 
service, there would not have been a great deal to 
complain of ; while to a modern monarch, who asks 
for nothing better than the heat of battle, and when 
in it bears himself right nobly, much may surely 
be forgiven, or ought to be. If George II. had been 
spoiling for war, and had personally contributed 
for no sufficient reason to the closing of Wai- 
pole s long and prosperous peace in 1739, the people 
at large, without his excuse for Hanover was no 
thing to them were equally bellicose. If the peace 
of 1748 left the country with little to show for its 
big bill, the renewal of the conflict eight years later 
proved in this matter of a profit and loss account a 
most singular and brilliant contrast. The mighty 
struggle commonly known as the Seven Years War 
should be kept separate in Englishmen s minds from 
all other contests in which the nation has been engaged, 
for it lifted Great Britain from a constantly fluctuating 
position of more or less equality with rival powers 
to the first place among the nations of the world. 1 
It made her the permanent mistress of the seas and 
of a world empire unshaken by the military and social 
upheavals of Europe, whose territorial disputes and 
dynastic struggles seem by comparison almost trifling 

1 The revolt of the American colonies may almost be called a 
domestic rupture. At any rate, it did not, as was expected, lower 
the position of Great Britain. 



but for the torrents of blood they caused to flow. 
Above all, it inspired her people with a sense of con 
scious power, of worthy pride sobered by the vast 
responsibilities that accompanied so great a position, 
and a self-confidence that was never again seriously 

But as here we have to do only with the Western 
continent, and not with the contemporaneous found 
ing of the Indian Empire, it will be enough to 
recall the main issue that was at stake in North 
America. Whether Canada or, to speak more per 
tinently, what is now British North America 
was to be French or English seems a sufficiently 
large question when weighed in the balance with 
the possession of Minorca or the boundary of a 
German duchy. But even this shrinks in importance 
when compared with the still greater issue of Anglo- 
Saxon or Gallic supremacy on the continent of North 

Recent events at the sources of the Nile should 
stimulate our interest in a crisis of infinitely greater 
moment that a century and a half ago was solved by 
the gauge of battle. We know something nowadays 
of that kind of colonization, which consists in hauling 
up flags and map-making and tactics that are merely 
obstructive of a rival s industrial enterprise without 
the power of wholesome competition. It may be 
human and natural and entirely venial, but on that 
very account is only entitled to consideration on 
the same low plane that of physical force. It 
is a far cry from Fashoda to the Ohio, from 1899 
to 1754. But the most enthusiastic dreamer of 
African dreams will hardly contend that the Nile 
hinterland, even with Egypt thrown in, was com- 



parable as a stake to the North American conti 
nent a white man s country and a white man s 
climate. 1 This, however, was the stake for which 
France played in the days of Louis XV., and, thus 
venturing, lost not only her former position, but 
her very existence as a transatlantic power. 

Though nearly all Europe was in arms, it is with 
France and England that we are here alone concerned. 
Great as were the exertions put forth against other 
powers by these two nations, it was only each other 
that they had real cause to dread. Their respective 
armies might win or lose in the Low Countries or 
Germany, a million of human beings might perish, 
a,nd torrents of blood might flow, and volumes of 
military history might be made ; but so far as the 
Western actors in it were concerned, it began and 
ended with the game of war, waged upon wholly 
frivolous or personal accounts. Except for the still 
far-off results of the military development of 
Prussia under Frederic, the destinies of the world 
were but little affected by the long misery and 
suffering under which Europe groaned. To France 
and England, at any rate, the issue was as nothing 
compared to that for which their scattered out 
posts were contending in the pathless forests of 
America, on the burning plains of India, among 
the fogs and ice-fields of the North. 

The peace, or so-called peace more accurately 
described by some historians as an armed truce which 

lasted from 1748 to 1756 witnessed the first stealthy 


1 Since this chapter was written, the South African war has 
given us the picture of another great racial struggle ; the minor 
details of which are, at times, singularly suggestive of the Seven 
Years War. 



efforts of the French American policy, the awakening 
of England to her danger, and the actual opening of 
the struggle. 

As a matter of fact, the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle had 
not been signed, nor indeed actually formulated, when 
the French rulers of Canada, with the sympathy of 
their king and Government, commenced the opera 
tions from which they hoped so much. Their pur 
pose, stated briefly, was to confine the future influence 
and territory of England to the thirteen colonies 
which lay at present a mere strip along the Atlantic 
coast. Behind the more northern of these the scope 
of Western development was limited, for obvious 
geographical and other reasons. The treaty Indians 
of the Six Nations occupied the rear of New England 
and New York ; while behind these, again, stretched 
the great water-way of the St. Lawrence and its 
lakes, which constituted the Canadian boundary. 
But at the back of all the other colonies, trending 
southwards and nearly parallel with the coast-line, the 
great range of the Alleghanies lifted its shaggy peaks. 
The limits of civilization had barely touched it. No 
where had British settlement as yet aspired to 
leap this broad barrier of forest-covered mountains 
into the dreaded Indian-haunted wilderness beyond. 
The policy of France was to prevent it, if pos 
sible, ever doing so, and to make the rampart 
which nature and Indian hostility had already 
made so formidable still more effective by erecting 
a chain of military posts behind it. The French 
were well established on the St. Lawrence and its 
parent lakes. They had considerable settlements at 
the mouth of the Mississippi. Their cherished 
scheme was to connect the two by a long line of 



forest fortresses, to form firm alliances with the 
warlike Indians behind the Alleghanies, and to hold 
for themselves the vast Western territories, of 
whose value and extent their daring explorers had 
given them a due appreciation. 

The English colonists may fairly be described as un 
conscious of these schemes or of their import. They 
had more than sufficient territory for their needs 
upon the east of the Alleghanies. The mass of them 
were stay-at-home farmers and planters. Neither 
Imperial dreams nor future divination were in 
keeping with their habit of thought. Frenchmen 
were but vague figures in the imagination of all 
men south of the Hudson, and the great West but 
a hazy expression. The British Government, too, 
troubled its head very little about its colonies ; 
and if in the latter there was a small handful of 
men who did divine a future so pregnant with vital 
issues, and raised the alarm, posterity has given 
them little more of honour than their contem 
poraries gave them of reward. 

Before proceeding, however, to the story of the great 
struggle, it is indispensable that the reader should 
have some idea of the relative positions of the two 
parties to it in North America. 

Now the French in Canada, exclusive of some 
10,000 Acadians, who were nominally British subjects, 
numbered about 60,000 souls. The English colo 
nists, on the other hand or, to be more accurate, the 
colonial subjects of Great Britain in North America 
were reckoned by the middle of the eighteenth century 
at nearly a million and a half. A fifth or a sixth of 
this number, to be sure, were negro slaves a source 
of weakness rather than of strength. But, in any 



case, the preponderance of the British was so over 
whelming that the notion of the French being a 
menace to their present security or a rival for future 
dominion seems at the first blush incredible. The 
test of numbers, however, was never a more fallacious 
one than in this particular case, nor is the apparent 
paradox at all simplified by the fact of the English 
man s robust personal qualities, both as a man, a 
soldier, and a colonist. 

A short glance at the situation and distribution of 
the rival races will, I think, show that though the 
French aspirations were sufficiently audacious, they 
were very far from being hopeless. The French 
were concentrated at one point ; the British were 
scattered over an immense area. The former bowed 
unquestioningly to an autocratic rule ; the latter 
were divided into thirteen distinct self-governing 
commonwealths. While the Canadians were the 
obedient tools of king and Church, were generally 
poor, alert, and warlike, the English colonists were 
jealous of all authority, absorbed in trade and agri 
culture, and eminently peaceful. We have now grown 
so accustomed to think of the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants 
of our former colonies as Americans and more or 
less a homogeneous nation, that it requires a mental 
effort, together with s6me little grasp of the old 
state of affairs, to fully prepare oneself for an 
appreciation of the struggle of 1755-60. 

The reader will not resent, I trust, being reminded 
of the fact that the thirteen colonies whose growing 
power the French so dreaded, and thus dreading 
tried to stifle, are represented, with some slight modi 
fications, by the thirteen original States of the 
Union. They may be seen in the map of to-day 



much as they were in the old French wars, trail 
ing down the Atlantic coast from the Canadian 
border to the then Spanish province of Florida. 

Not one of these thirteen commonwealths had any 
sort of constitutional link with its neighbour. The 
only tie that bound them together was their common 
allegiance to the Crown. They were for the most part 
jealous of each other, and more often inclined to 
thwart than to promote mutual interests. Some had 
affinities of race and creed, and in matters non- 
administrative more readily coalesced ; while others, 
again, cherished towards one another a positive 
aversion. Each colony had, at some period during 
the preceding century, begun life upon its own 
account, and had grown up quite independently of 
its neighbour and after its own fashion. Some 
of them, indeed, in the elementary stages of exist 
ence had gone so far as to indulge in mimic conflicts, 
and over the matter of boundaries there was peren 
nial friction. This long straggling line of jealous 
and often jarring commonwealths resting on the sea- 
coast was the base of British action against the 
compact, military colony of France ; and a most un 
satisfactory base it for a long time proved. 

The four New England provinces with that of New 
York had the friendly but uncertain Six Nations and 
the French, with their bloodthirsty, so-called Christian 
Indians, more or less perpetually upon their flank. 
The rest, from Pennsylvania to infant Georgia, with 
rare exceptions, had forgotten the earlier horrors of 
Indian warfare, and had scarcely so much as even 
set eyes upon a Frenchman. Their pioneers had 
straggled through the forests that covered, as with 
a mantle, all Eastern America to the foot - hills 



of the Alleghanies ; but colonial life in its active 
and vital sense still clustered along the sea-coast, 
or hugged the waterways that led there. Between 
the Alleghanies and the ocean most of the colonies 
had a territory, roughly approximating to the size of 
England, with a population of but one or two hun 
dred thousand souls in each. Their people wanted 
plenty of elbow-room, particularly to the southward, 
where negro labour was largely used ; but even in 
such case the time had hardly come when lust of land 
prompted perilous enterprises. Society was not yet 
dense enough to produce a surplus who considered it 
worth while to cross the mountains and renew the 
fight with a fiercer wilderness and a more formidable, 
for better armed, savage than their grandfathers and 
great-grandfathers had waged war against in the 
days of the Stuarts and William of Orange. Men 
who had a sufficient livelihood, too, were less feverish 
and more contented in those times than in later 
ones. Nor were they much better equipped for 
subduing the savage and the wilderness in the days 
of the Georges than they had been in those of 
the Tudors and Stuarts. Those all-powerful factors 
of civilization steam and electricity were un 
dreamt of. Machinery and scientific road -making 
were in their infancy. It is not surprising that 
Virginia, for instance, with a white population of 
200,000, and a territory between the mountains and 
the sea as large as England, and as generally habit 
able, should have troubled itself little with thoughts 
of distant adventure. There was no incentive what 
ever for the Virginian, or Carolinian, or Marylander 
of 1750 to cross the Ohio watershed and fight the 
most formidable savage warrior that the world has 



ever seen, for the privilege of growing corn and 
hay, or stock, that he could not get to any market, 
even if he lived to make the attempt. The average 
colonist of those days, leading, south of the Hudson 
at any rate, a humdrum, comfortable life, cannot be 
blamed if he failed to grasp the situation, or read 
the map of America as we read it now, and was 
inclined to look upon the reputed schemes of wander 
ing Frenchmen as hardly worthy the attention of 
practical men, till the rude awakening came. 

A glance at the map will show that the New England 
colonies, at that time four in number, together with 
New York, had no outlet to the then scarcely known 
and little appreciated West. As I have said, they 
had behind them the famous " Six Nations," a leading 
factor in the American politics of that day, by far 
the most powerful Indian combination, and at the 
same time the most in touch with colonial civiliza 
tion. Unlike the other Indian tribes, their sympathies 
had been consistently pro-English. But even so, they 
may be said to have held, in some sort, the balance of 
power between the English and the French, which 
latter nation were perpetually intriguing for their 

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New 
Hampshire, standing in the order named as regards 
relative importance, constituted the Puritan colonies 
of that day, Vermont and Maine being carved out of 
them later. These provinces alone understood, though 
perhaps not very perfectly, the art of combination 
for offensive and defensive war. They were practi 
cally homogeneous in stock and creed and habits 
of thought. Both the Indian and the Frenchman 
were still for them a burning reality, and they knew 



them only too well. They were much the most 
warlike group of the British colonies, not from choice, 
but from necessity. Their origin and Puritan tone 
of life are so familiar as to be hardly worth an 
allusion ; but the vulgar error of supposing the New 
Englanders to be all of humble extraction, while the 
Southern colonists had a monopoly of blood, cannot 
be sufficiently held up to ridicule. Numbers of 
cadets of arms-bearing and land-owning families went 
to New England, but both political and social life 
was there cast in democratic lines, and local conditions 
did not favour the acquisition of great estates. An 
influential and higher class of varied origin arose in 
New England as in the South, but they had to main 
tain their position by superior force of character and 
intellect, perhaps, rather than by superior estate. At 
the same time, as near an approach to social equality 
as is possible among an educated and civilized com 
munity existed in New England. Local government 
was highly organized, and politics a matter of uni 
versal interest. People lived in communities, very 
much under the eye of their neighbours, and of a 
public opinion to which no slight deference was 

This latter was narrow, vigorous, and at times 
tyrannical, and strongly influenced by a religious 
bigotry that bordered on fanaticism. Tempered by 
modern progress and a high education, the New 
England character has broadened into a type whose 
good points are greatly in the ascendant. In the 
colonial period the asperities of the average New 
Englander were uppermost, his virtues less evident 
to his fellow-colonists, by whom he was cordially 
disliked ; while the same antipathetic feeling dis- 



tinguishes the sentiments of all English travellers of 
that day. 1 In education, however, at that time the 
New Englanders as a community were far in advance 
of the rest of the continent, and, for that matter, of 
the rest of the world. Indigence and ignorance were 
almost unknown ; and though there were no rich 
people, there were scarcely any who were very poor. 
The same religious and political zeal which had 
created their schools, churches, and local governments 
made some sort of military organization easier for 
them than for their more apathetic neighbours. 

At the same time, while better constituted for rais 
ing, feeding, and paying regiments, their social system 
contained in itself drawbacks to military efficiency 
not so obvious in the other colonies. Every private, 
whether farmer, fisherman, or mechanic, was a 
politician, and, though ready to fight, watched with 
jealous eye lest his terms of service, often loaded 
with conditions, were in danger of being infringed. 
Still worse, perhaps, the officers were chosen by 
the men they were to command not a bad plan 
in a company of experienced bush-fighters bound 
on perilous enterprise, but one fatal to discipline 
when extended to a whole army of raw militia 
men. Massachusetts was far the most powerful of 
the New England colonies, while Connecticut was 
easily second. These provinces, moreover, had pro 
duced both writers and preachers whose fame had 
crossed the Atlantic. They had performed, too, more 
than one spontaneous feat of arms which did them 
credit and gained them the thanks of the mother 

1 The higher class of Bostonians are usually exempted from the 
strictures of these travellers. 



country. In the very last war, in the year 1745, 
and at a moment of depression to British arms in 
Europe, their raw militia, with the help of the fleet, 
had attacked and captured the great French fortress 
of Louisbourg. In the coming war they were to far 
eclipse the efforts of all the other colonies combined, 
and twenty years later, in that of the Revolution, 
were to hold an only less decisive lead. Yet in 1860 
the seceding States of the South had so far forgotten 
American history as to prof ess a conviction that "The 
Yankees would not fight." The awakening was 
bitter, as we all know. 

New York to some extent had shared with the 
Puritan colonies the perils of French and Indian 
neighbourhood, and like them had been compelled, 
only in a less degree, to organize and to fight. She 
was widely different, however, both in origin and 
composition. The Hudson River was her great 
artery, and along its banks for the most part the life 
of the colony throbbed. The city at its mouth was 
then, as now, the most light-hearted and cosmopolitan 
upon the Atlantic coast. Its population was some 
what heterogeneous, but the English and the Dutch 
largely preponderated, and alone influenced the life 
and tone of the colony. On the seaboard nearly all 
trace of the early jealousy that had not unnaturally 
distinguished the two races had disappeared with 
the tie of a common danger, a common Protestant 
ism and a free government. The cast of society 
was aristocratic and in curious contrast to the 
Anglo-Dutch peoples of South Africa. The Hollanders 
were indeed partly responsible for the tone. Great 
estates upon the Hudson had been originally granted 
to Dutch gentlemen on condition of their settling 



them with dependants in semi-feudal fashion. The 
Patroon families were few in number, but perhaps 
the nearest approach to a feudal aristocracy in North 
America. English families who had achieved wealth 
and distinction or had official positions intermarried 
with these, while there was a tendency in the older 
parts of the colony for broad acres and gentility 
to identify themselves together and to hold aloof 
from the mass of the people. In spite of the strong 
Dutch element, the prevailing creed was Anglican. 
The succession of William of Orange to the Eng 
lish throne, and still more perhaps a zealous 
Protestantism and a lively dread of both the 
Indians and Catholic French, had produced a 
loyalty that, with some notable exceptions, was 
in a fashion more ardent than that of the 
republican Puritans of New England. Nor did the 
admirable Huguenot element, which found here a 
hearty welcome and freedom from persecution, in 
any way dissent from the attachment to a 
Government that made their lives once again worth 
living. No stratum of provincial life was greatly 
agitated by religious or political dogmas. It was an 
easy-going, prosperous, but perhaps slightly colourless 
community, which at its capital went to balls and 
plays and made merry according to its degree with 
out any fear of the village deacon or the Quaker legis 
lator. 1 New Jersey, or the Jerseys for it was once 
divided and Delaware, were colonies of secondary 
importance, and somewhat polyglot in population ; 
communities of farmers of various nationalities, 

1 This description would not apply to the Dutch of Albany and 
the Upper Hudson, concerning whom see a later note. 



lacking in any characteristics that one can take 
hold of without undue elaboration. 

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, from her size, 
prosperity, and large population, was of great im 
portance. As a military factor, however, she was 
almost a cipher a condition due, of course, to the 
powerful Quaker element in her population. What 
was not Quaker was very largely German, stupid 
for the most part, speaking only its own lan 
guage, and always indifferent to everything but 
its own personal concerns. To the back country on 
the Alleghanies the stream of a more virile popu 
lation, to be sure, had been long finding its way 
from the north-east of Ireland, about whom a word 
will be said later. But Pennsylvania, as a whole, 
was fat, prosperous, and fanatically pacific. Her sea 
board counties were fertile and well farmed, while 
if Boston was the most serious, and New York the 
most worldly, Philadelphia was the most comfort 
able of colonial capitals. Fight Indians or French 
men, however, more particularly as they were 
tolerably safe themselves, its people would not : a 
sore point enough with their neighbours, as we 
shall see later on. 1 

Maryland and Virginia may, for purposes of 
general description, be fairly classed together. Negro 
slavery was a feature in all the colonies, but it was 
not till the traveller reached Maryland that he found 
it a leading factor in social and economic life. Then, 

1 Pennsylvania had been originally settled by Swedes in 1627. 
They were forcibly subjugated in 1655 by the neighbouring Dutch of 
New Amsterdam (New York), who themselves passed under Eng 
lish rule in 1664. Philadelphia and Pennsylvania proper were 
founded by Penn in 1682. 



as a century later, though in a less marked degree, 
the slave line, which was identical with the northern 
boundary of the old Catholic province, divided Anglo- 
Saxon America in half. The Southern colonies were 
already diverging upon lines so similar to one another, 
and so at variance with the rest, as to give them in 
time quite a reasonable pretext for posing as a 
separate nation. In 1750, however, things had not 
gone nearly so far. Yet Virginia was even then so 
pronounced a type of the Southern provinces that a 
brief description of her condition will enable us to 
dismiss the others with a word. 

As Massachusetts was the oldest and most power 
ful of all the Northern colonies, so was Virginia the 
oldest and most influential of the Southern group. 
Her people were almost wholly of English stock, and 
at this time numbered nearly 200,000, with more 
than half as many negro slaves. They were a com 
munity of agriculturists, divided into three practi 
cally distinct social grades. There were no towns 
worth mentioning, and no trade to speak of. The 
production of tobacco, and the foodstuffs necessary 
to those who grew it, was the sole industry ; the 
ownership of land and negroes the test by which 
men were graded. Upon the basis of this an aris 
tocracy arose, which was to some extent crystallized 
by laws of primogeniture and entail. All the world 
knows Virginia was the cavalier colony, and knowing 
this much has been greatly addicted to exaggerating 
its significance. Virginia was first settled neither by 
political nor religious refugees, nor yet by idealists of 
any kind. Its early colonists were Englishmen by 
blood, in no way discontented with English institu 
tions, but on the contrary anxious to reproduce as 



nearly as might be another England beyond the 

The contour of the country, the early shipment of 
convicts and others as indented servants, together with 
the episcopal and English spirit, encouraged after the 
first rude beginnings the unit of land as the fountain 
of power and influence. Some of the colonists were 
cadets of good families, though what proportion (a 
small one probably) they ultimately formed of those 
who emerged as large landholders and the founders 
of notable families is most uncertain and of little 
importance. At any rate, the period, though not 
remote enough perhaps to win respect from the 
Latin or the Celt, is sufficiently so to satisfy the 
modest genealogical requirements of the average 
Anglo-Saxon. The popular local legend that the Vir 
ginian gentry were largely descended from scions 
of the then small body of English nobility is too 
ludicrous to call for serious notice. 

The nomenclature of the earlier settler in Vir 
ginia at once dissipates so absurd a theory. A 
moment s thought would remind any person of 
ordinary historical knowledge that the small group 
of privileged individuals who constituted the British 
nobility of the seventeenth century had opportunities 
at home and on the Continent of forwarding the 
interests of their offspring of a more congenial 
and brilliant kind than would be implied by banish 
ment to the life of a settler in the backwoods of 
America. The numerous squirearchy of that day 
are of course quite another affair, and that they 
of their abundance contributed a quota of younger 
sons to what became the ruling class of Virginia 
is quite a reasonable notion, for the alternative as 

17 c 


often as not was apprenticeship to a tradesman or 
country attorney. 1 

However that may be, the early sentiment of the 
colony was to get as much land as you could, and as 
much unpaid labour. Conditions encouraged an 
imitation of English life so far as circumstances 
would admit. As soon as the rough and ready de 
mocracy, inevitable to the pioneer period of a com 
munity struggling for a livelihood in a timbered 
country peopled with hostile Indians, had opportunity 
to stratify, it seized it. When the grandchildren of 
the first settlers were still young, the nucleus of 
another England had arisen : parsons and parish 
churches, county lieutenants and magistrates, and 
the beginnings of a rural aristocracy. 

The death of Charles I. sent another wave of 
immigration to the colony, that intensified its early 
predilections for conservative English ways. This 
was composed of loyalists from every class of the 
community whom the fortune of war had deprived of 
property or employment. Though many of them, in 
cluding most of those who were of note or influence at 
home, returned at the Restoration, the stimulus given 

1 People possessed of the popular fallacy that in the " good old 
times " the sons of country squires held aloof from trade and only 
followed " the professions " would experience a rude shock on the 
slightest examination of family history in the 17th and earlier 
18th century, and for most ohvious reasons. The squirearchy was 
relatively much more numerous than now. Individual families 
larger. There was no standing army worth mentioning. The navy 
was mostly officered by rough sea dogs. Macaulay s familiar pic 
ture of the country parson carousing in the servants hall, and 
marrying my lady s waiting woman, is at least suggestive enough 
of the social dignity of the Church. The Bar was extremely ex 
pensive, and much more the resort of heirs to property than of 
younger sons. 



formulated in Virginia was very great, and fixed it 
to the Anglican and stratified form of life already 
in such fashion as neither republicanism nor still 
greater social earthquakes in modern times have 
been able wholly to destroy. Everybody here," 
wrote a seventeenth-century governor of Virginia 
(alluding to the planters), "would fain be a gentle 

By 1750 it had been tolerably well settled who 
were and who were not. There were the great 
planters, the plain farmers or yeomen, the labouring 
white men, indented servants of a varied but mostly 
low type, and lastly the negro slaves. The first three 
classes merged indefinably into one another, of course, 
but of the ascendency of the upper class in social and 
political life there was not the smallest doubt. They 
formed the Governor s Council or Upper House, and 
except in the newer back counties, where life was 
naturally more democratic, filled the House of Bur 
gesses, which was a salaried assembly. They mono 
polized all the Crown appointments, and at the same 
time profited by a system of taxation that fell far 
more hardly on the poor than on the rich. They 
were, however, penurious to a fault in the ex 
penditure of public money, always excepting the 
matter of their own salaries. They were at constant 
loggerheads with the royal governor, or the deputy 
who usually represented him, either upon the ques 
tion of patronage or of his official salary ; but this in 
no way interfered with the "Church and King" tone 
of the colony. They sent their sons to England for 
their education when they could afford it, but other 
wise utilized the services of the very indifferent 
clergy as no doubt equally indifferent tutors. They 



led patriarchal, isolated lives on plantations cut out 
of the forests, and for the most part abutting on 
tidal rivers, whence English ships carried home their 
sole produce tobacco and supplied them with such 
necessaries as they could not procure at home, and 
such luxuries as they could afford. They were a 
pleasant, hospitable people, who, unlike the typical 
New Englander, at once took the fancy of the 
stranger, their whole system of life being based on 
uneconomic principles. They were inclined them 
selves to be extravagant, and to forestall their in 
comes, and as their one crop, tobacco, restricted by 
navigation laws to an English market, fluctuated 
terribly in price, the colony was liable to equivalent 
fluctuations in fortune. Its upper class, however, 
with many of the faults due to a life of peculiar 
seclusion from the outer world, and the demoralizing 
influence of negro slavery, were generally frank, 
sensible, and able for any emergencies to which they 
might be called from their normal humdrum and 
comfortable life when once aroused. 1 

The middling class owned in concrete a vast 
quantity both of land and negroes. But, unlike the 
Northern yeomanry, they had no education, for there 
were no schools. The presence of slavery had even 
thus early implanted a certain contempt for manual 
labour, which is wholly mischievous in a grade of 
society that has neither birth nor education, nor yet 
possessions sufficient to justify abstention from it. The 
energy and utility of the common farmers of Virginia 

1 Burnaby, Smy the, Weld, Captain Anbury, the Swedish scientist 
Dr. Kalni, and other European travellers, have left interesting 
pictures of social life in Virginia and the Southern colonies at or 
about this period. 



and the Southern colonies were then, and for a century 
afterwards, greatly sapped by this demoralizing in 
fluence. Upon the class below it had a far worse 
effect, the " poor white " of the South from that day 
to this being the most degraded type of Anglo-Saxon 
in existence, and beyond all doubt the greatest out 

I have dwelt thus long on Virginia for the reason 
already given ; namely, that she may fairly stand, 
with modifications, as a type of her Southern neigh 
bours. Maryland had all her features, though in 
some points less pronounced. In her inception she 
had presented the unwonted spectacle of a Roman 
Catholic province inculcating the notion of complete 
toleration. 1 With time and increased population, 
however, she had drifted into a community chiefly 
Anglican in creed as well as in blood and sentiment. 
North Carolina was a rough and rude imitation of 
both. Her upper class was weak, and did not stand 
out like that of Virginia. Though a large slave- 
owning colony, North Carolina never achieved the 
social folat of her slave-owning neighbours. Her 
population, though largely of British origin, was 
much less homogeneous than that of Virginia, 
which had only a small German element in its 
back country, and a slight dash of Huguenot blood 
in its older settlements. 

1 In 1692 the Church of England was established by law, Dis 
senters and Catholics placed under penalties and disabilities, and a 
tax of forty pounds weight of tobacco per head enacted for the 
support of the clergy. Protestant Dissenters were soon released 
from the penal laws, but these remained in force for Catholics, as 
did the church tax for the whole population, till the revolutionary 
war ; a strange return to Lord Baltimore and the Catholic founders 
of the province. 



South Carolina, on the other hand, had a well-to- 
do, well-educated, and powerful, though small, aristo 
cracy. They drew their wealth from slave -tilled 
plantations of rice and indigo ; but, unlike the Vir 
ginians, who loved a country life and hated towns, 
the South Carolina planter was also a merchant, 
and lived mostly in Charleston, which seaport had 
some reputation for social elegance and even intel 
lectual activity. There were plain up-country farmers, 
however, even then in South Carolina, largely Scotch- 
Irish, and many "poor whites." 1 There was a great 
deal of Huguenot blood, too, in the colony, though 
the tone of life was wholly English. Of Georgia, 
which was destined to run upon similar lines, there 
is no need to speak, as she was still in her infancy. 

Now there had been no considerable immigration 
to America during the first half of the eighteenth 
century. The increase of population, though it 
had been rapid, was mainly native born. The chief 
exception to this was furnished by the Scotch-Irish 
exiles who since the beginning of the century had 

1 South Carolina approximated more nearly to a West India 
colony. Its merchant-planters visited England more than any 
other American community. Charleston, though small, was taste 
fully built, and much admired by strangers. Trade restrictions, 
which in various ways irritated other colonies, did not affect S. 
Carolina. It was prosperous and growing wealthy, and had no 
reservations in its devotion to the British Crown. Colonial visitors 
from the north remarked on the richness of the dress of both men 
and women. The church and parish formed the unit of local 
government. Most of its higher class were sent to England for 
their education. Out of over a hundred American students entered 
at the Inns of Court during the years following the French war, 
nearly half, says a recent American historian, came from S. Caro 
lina alone small as she was; a significant test of her social de 
velopment and intellectual alertness. 



been leaving Londonderry and Belfast in a steady 
stream. They had been introduced there, as every 
one knows, to fight the wild Celt of Ulster and to 
reclaim the lands he would not till, and they 
had done both with conspicuous success. North 
eastern Ireland from a blood-stained wilderness had 
become a land of plenty, busy with the hum of trade 
and agriculture. But the English merchants were 
afraid of the new linen trade that was arising in 
Ireland, and the Anglo-Irish bishops did not like the 
Presbyterians. So the Irish linen trade was crippled 
as the wool trade had been destroyed, and the Presby 
terian religion was treated on a par with that of 
Rome. The first piece of insanity was the work of 
the English Government, the second that of the Irish 
House of Lords, under the influence of the Irish 
bishops. In the latter case, the efforts to emanci 
pate the Presbyterians, which the whole kingdom 
approved of, were defeated by the Anglican prelates 
in the Dublin Parliament by methods familiar enough 
to those acquainted with the performances of that 
strange assembly. The irony of the matter was not 
only that the Scotch immigrants had created indus 
trial Ulster, and had covered themselves with glory 
as a loyal garrison at a great crisis, but that their 
crime lay in adhering to the form of Protestantism 
which was actually recognised by their persecutors as 
the established religion of the country their ancestors 
had left at the king s invitation ! 

These two crushing blows, falling near together, 
drove from a country that sorely needed them 
thousands of an industrious, hardy, virile, and 
God-fearing stock. It is said that a hundred thou 
sand of these Ulster Protestants crossed the Atlantic 



in twenty years. 1 Now the Irish Catholic immigration 
to America, it should be remembered, is a compara 
tively modern affair. Before the famine of 1848-49 
it was inconsiderable. In the first half of the 
eighteenth century there was practically no such 
thing. The Scotch-Irishman, however, loomed always 
large as a strenuous and picturesque figure in that 
critical and picturesque period. To come of Scotch- 
Irish blood is held to be of itself a good thing 
among Americans of colonial stock. The other sort 
of Irishman has, on the contrary, to face a prejudice 
almost inconceivable to the Englishman unacquainted 
with American social life a prejudice aggravated, no 
doubt, by the conspicuous part which he plays in the 
more disreputable phases of American politics. 

The Scotch-Irishman as a historical figure is re 
garded with no little respect, and justly so, as 
having been one of the stoutest contributors to the 
making of America. These early immigrants went 
scarcely at all to the New England colonies, landing 
principally at Philadelphia, and in lesser numbers at 
Charleston. They seemed determined not to place 
themselves again in the power of any Government, or 
again to trust themselves within reach of sectarian 
jealousy or unfriendly legislation. They found their 
way in no long time to the back-country of Pennsyl 
vania on the north, and to that of the Carolinas on the 

1 A fresh wave of Ulster emigration reached America just prior 
to the revolutionary war, when, the long leases under Lord Donegal 
and other great proprietors falling in, heavier fines for renewal 
and higher rents were asked than the old tenants would face. 
Catholic competition, however, maintained the price asked ; and the 
Presbyterian exiles, full of bitterness, joined Washington s armies 
in large numbers. 



south, and threw themselves, in both cases, with con 
summate courage upon the forest-covered barrier which 
was then the Ultima Thule of Anglo-Saxon America. 
Being continually reinforced from Ulster, they gradu 
ally pushed on to the rear of the outermost colonial 
settlement along the base of the Alleghany moun 
tains. Those from Pennsylvania crept slowly south 
wards into Virginia. Those from the Carolinas moved 
northwards in the same fashion, till the second 
generation of the original immigrants formed a con 
tinuous though thin line of settlements, stretching 
behind the Southern colonies from Pennsylvania to 
Georgia : a vanguard of virile f rontiermen, who were 
equally handy with plough, axe, rifle, or tomahawk. 
They crossed the line of five colonies, but had little 
traffic with any, being, in fact, a people unto them 
selves, worshipping God in their own fashion, and 
educating their children to the best of their power, 
as they pushed their clearings deep into the shadow of 
the Alleghanies, and fought Indians so continuously 
that their austere natures took on, in some sort, the 
bloody traditions of the wilderness. If they lost 
something of their old-country morality and piety, 
they were of inestimable service in defending the 
Indian frontier and in later times conquering and 
settling the States that lay immediately behind it. 
To meet the Indian of that period in the woods 
upon equal terms required a special training and an 
exceptional hardiness. The average colonist was no 
match for him. The rangers of New England and 
the Scotch-Irish frontiermen of the middle and 
Southern colonies were almost the only men who 
could be relied upon to successfully face them in the 
woods upon anything like equal terms. The battle 



of the Great Kennawha, fought a quarter of a 
century later between a thousand picked borderers 
and a thousand Indians, is, in the opinion of the 
best living authority, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, the 
first occasion on which a body of Americans defeated 
an Indian force of like strength in a pitched battle 
in the forest. I mention this to give some notion of 
the quality of the foe whom English and French alike 
had to face, and that ideas derived from the dis 
crepancy in arms between modern civilization and 
barbarism may not obscure the tremendous difficulties 
of Indian warfare in eighteenth-century America. 

The red man was not quite such a sure shot as 
the American borderer, but he was better at taking 
cover and at ambuscades than even the most accom 
plished backwoodsman. His discipline, too, which 
perhaps sounds strange, was better. He was rarely 
foolhardy, for a warrior s life was precious to the 
tribe. A maximum of damage to the foe with a 
minimum of loss to themselves was the recognised 
Indian principle ; and when this was practised by 
crafty savages, who scarcely knew what fear meant, 
it told heavily against white men, who frequently 
threw their lives away in useless exhibitions of 
courage, and often refused to recognise inevitable 
defeat. It must not, however, be supposed that 
these Alleghany borderers were all Scotch Irish 
men. They formed indeed the main element, but 
many Germans, as well as adventurers from the 
English settlements, joined their communities, sharing 
the perils of the border wars, and the scarcely less 
hazardous pursuits of an ever-doubtful and precarious 

Nor in these remarks on the various colonies have 



I said anything of their Governments or their rela 
tions with the Crown. The subject in detail is so 
complicated that an entire chapter would not cover it. 
Fortunately, however, there was such a general 
family resemblance between them in this particular 
that a page or two will be sufficient for what is 
necessary here. Some of the colonies were still pro 
prietary, some had long ceased to be, others never had 
been. The difference was not so material as it sounds. 
The proprietors of colonies such as Pennsylvania and 
Maryland held them in fief from the Crown, as the 
English Palatinates of Durham, Chester, and the 
Welsh Marches had once been held, and they were 
subject to the same Imperial restrictions as their non- 
proprietary neighbours. In some colonies, therefore, 
the Governor was appointed by the proprietors ; in 
others by the Crown, represented by the Board of 
Trade. He was generally an Englishman, though 
there are many instances of the honour being con 
ferred on prominent colonists. In all cases, however, 
the Governor was supported by a council, usually 
twelve in number, appointed for life by the Crown, 
either directly or through himself as its represen 
tative. Besides this, and of at least equal import 
ance, was an elective assembly. The Governors 
more often than not were represented in the colony 
by a deputy. They were by no means the digni 
fied and hospitality-dispensing figureheads that now 
preside over our constitutional colonies. Their in 
fluence was very real, their seat a thorny one. They 
had to uphold the rights of the Crown in the face 
of constant attempts to encroach upon it. They 
were the dispensers of all patronage, though the 
home Government sometimes went behind them, 



and the colonial assemblies were frequently fight 
ing for a share of it. The power of the purse lay 
with the assembly, which was apt to be nig 
gardly to a degree in everything except the salaries 
of its own members. That of the Governor, too, 
was in their power, and they used this power 
freely to squeeze concessions out of him. It is 
scarcely too much to say that the legislature of 
every colony was in a chronic state of friction with 
its Governor. That the majority of these were men 
of very middling capacity goes almost without saying 
in a period when jobbery was the mainspring of all 
political patronage. 

It is only natural, too, at a time when bribery and 
corruption were a matter of course in the mother 
country that the colonial Governor s patronage was 
often not above suspicion of similar methods, a 
state of things which the disappointed aspirants 
for local office, it need hardly be said, resented with 
much virtuous indignation. But appointments in 
those days were at least made from the class presum 
ably best qualified to fill them, and even in the 
matter of honesty and public spirit would compare 
extremely favourably with the type of individual 
that the enlightened elector of modern New York or 
Philadelphia has to behold with resignation entrusted 
with the control of public affairs and the public 
purse. Nor were the colonial Governors by any 
means men always wanting in discretion and ability, 
as we shall see. But whether good or bad they were 
equally the object upon which the colonial burgess 
vented his suspicion, his discontent, his economic 
theories or his eloquence. It was the duty of the 
Governor to direct the Indian policy of the colony, 



to attempt combination with other colonies for 
offence or defence, and to do his best to see that the 
navigation laws, which forbad exports to any 
country but England and in any but English ships, 
were enforced. The duties of a colonial Governor, in 
short, were wearing and irksome ones. His salary 
was not usually a large one ; at any rate, that of a 
Deputy Governor s was not : and he had often to 
fight his assembly for the full amount of even that 
modest remuneration. 

It will now, I trust, be obvious how ill adapted were 
these disintegrated and self-absorbed provinces for 
effective and active combination. The vast distances 
that separated them, with the consequent lack of 
intercourse and communications, the abundant elbow- 
room that each still enjoyed, the jealousies and 
mutual prejudices which swayed them, the number 
of Governments that had to be consulted, with 
their narrow views and diverging interests, all con 
spired to make unity well-nigh impossible. It was 
fortunate that a handful of men were found who 
rose superior to these difficulties, or, to be more 
exact, saw at a glance their insuperable nature and 
aroused England to her danger before it was too late.^. 

Let us now turn to Canada, the seat of French 
transatlantic power, and note the contrast she pre 
sented. Her southern boundary was roughly identi 
cal with that which now divides ithe Dominion from 
the United States, except as regards Acadia or Nova 
Scotia, a province which, though as yet peopled only 
by French peasants or habitants, had been for long 
under English rule. Coming westward, however, to 
Lake Ontario, we approach more debateable ground, 
and on passing the great Canadian fort at Niagara 



and reaching Lake Erie the French could look south 
ward over a vast country which both nations vaguely 

So far as the French were concerned, this vagueness 
was now to assume more definite shape. But 
Canadian life at this time was mainly concentrated 
upon the banks of the St. .Lawrence, having Montreal 
for its western limit and Quebec with the settlements 
immediately below it for its ^eastern and greater 
rallying point. With the numerous and scattered 
trading posts far remote from these old-established 
centres I will not now burden the reader s mind. 

Though the colony was actually much older, as 
a substantial reality it can only be said to date from 
the immigration which Louis XIV. poured into it 
about the middle of the seventeenth century. 
Founded by clerics of the narrowest ultramontane 
school, in a period of over fifty years it had only 
accumulated a population of some 3,000 souls. The 
pioneering exploits of the Jesuit missioners form a 
heroic page of American history, with which, however, 
we have nothing to do here. It will be sufficient to 
say that everything had been made subsidiary to 
maintaining the religious dogma which had sent 
these early Fathers cheerfully to the stake and 
torture. The material result of this policy was dis 
heartening, as may be gathered from the statistics 
quoted above. The feeble colony had, in fact, just 
contrived to hold its own by dint of hard fighting 
and the divisions of its Indian enemies, aided by the 
consummate diplomatic skill of the Jesuit pioneers. 

But Louis XIV., while still young, had set himself 
with no little energy to rectify this state of things, 
and by dint of great inducements poured quite a large 



stream of immigrants into New France. Officers and 
soldiers already out there were given grants of land. 
Peasants, selected with some care, were shipped out 
from Dieppe and Rochelle, more particularly from 
the former, as the Huguenot atmosphere of the Bis- 
cayan seaport alarmed the rigid Catholics of Quebec. 
No English colony had been either started or nourished 
by the Crown in this fashion. Convicts and the victims 
of unsuccessful rebellion were the only class of persons 
that the British Government had directly interested 
itself in transporting free to its colonies. A remark 
able feature, however, of this paternally organized 
exodus to Canada was that families or married couples 
formed no part of it. Shipments of single men were 
forwarded to replace the bachelor soldiers whose 
swords had been turned into ploughshares, and single 
women gathered in the same fashion and not with 
out care in the selection were sent out in succeeding 
shiploads. Under the immediate supervision of the 
Church these ex-soldiers and imported maidens, mak 
ing choice as best they could, were joined together 
in the bonds of matrimony. 

The girls were divided into two classes, demoiselles 
when possible for the officer settlers, while the hum 
bler majority were allotted to the peasant sol 
diers. The king himself took a keen interest in this 
matrimonial mart, and was determined that Canada 
should be populated without loss of time. The 
young Canadian who remained single was pulled 
up before the authorities and made to show good 
cause for his backwardness, while those who con 
tinued obdurate were singled out for taxation and 
other unpleasant attentions, and their lives made 
generally miserable. If a father did not see to 



it that his daughter was married on arriving at a 
suitable age, he was soundly rated ; and if he did 
not then take the hint, worse things befel him. On 
the other hand, the willing and blushing bridegroom 
was presented with a handsome bonus, and sub 
stantial premiums were offered to those who con 
tributed most abundantly to the increase of popu 
lation. A noblesse was part of the scheme, and 
a noblesse was consequently formed and gradually 
added to. It was not very easy to make one. The 
tendency to acquire and settle upon a large tract of 
land and gather dignity from the importance it gave, 
which distinguished the Anglo-Saxons of the more 
Southern colonies, had no counterpart in Canada. 
The French theory of aristocracy was somewhat the 
same ; but the Frenchmen in Canada who had to play 
the part were generally not much better suited for it 
than was the country, which gave but small returns 
for most laborious work, and whose social life cen 
tred chiefly in one capital. A considerable number 
of the portionless, lower noblesse with which France 
swarmed had come out with their regiments to 
Canada ; but in spite of inducements to stay, most of 
them, with the natural gregariousness of Frenchmen 
added to the chances of military renown, had returned 
to France. Blue blood and an old name, both in the 
France and England of that day, preferred the sword 
to the ploughshare or the monotony of the back 
woods, save where really stirring adventure offered 
a compensation. American light literature, disre 
garding accessible evidence, and seizing with avidity 
on any point that breaks the democratic level of im 
migration, has exaggerated the origin of the French 
Canadian noblesse as it has done that of the govern- 



ing classes in the Southern colonies, and given them, 
glorified antecedents which pale materially before 
the light of the simplest investigation. A small 
number, however, of the petty French noblesse, 
officers chiefly, were on the spot to form a nucleus, 
and to these were rapidly added others who had no 
claim to birth or blood, but only a little money or a 
little influence. What there was of an aristocracy in 
the English colonies had created itself by acquiring 
land, which, under an industrial system, was capable 
of giving comparative wealth and all that this means. 
There was no scheme of a noblesse, but its Anglo- 
Saxon equivalent had developed naturally, and was 
moreover of a practical and unmistakable description. 
The Canadian noblesse, however, was an artificial 
affair, a forced matter in its inception, and though a 
very distinct order of society, acquiring but little 
substance. Just as an early Governor of Virginia 
wrote that everybody wanted to be a gentleman, so 
the seventeenth-century Governors of Canada re 
ported that there was a universal craving to get a 
patent of nobility with its somewhat barren accom 
paniments, and assumptions of empty rank were 
common and easy enough in a country where outside 
the official class neither noble nor simple at that time 
earned much more than their food and clothes. Seig- 
neuries large in extent, covered with dense forests, 
cleared only on the river front, formed the unit of 
life outside the few towns. The log-houses of the 
peasant tenantry extended along the river front, 
while the scarcely superior mansion of the seigneur, 
with the inevitable mill and not seldom a parish 
church, stood close at hand. Trifling rents, and those 
paid, when paid at all, in kind, just served to keep 

33 D 


this strange species of nobleman and his family in 
food and clothes. Even this result was not always 
achieved, kings of France having more than once to 
send out provisions to save their transatlantic nobility 
from starvation. Sometimes even their wives and 
daughters worked in the field. Whatever his origin, 
however, once ennobled, the seigneur was not at 
liberty to follow any trade or calling, and it is small 
wonder that " sloth and pride," according to contem 
porary French writers, were his distinguishing points. 
But these very attributes and the conditions of his life, 
while inimical to success in peace, made him formid 
able in war. The ragged Canadian gentilhomme, in 
ured to the chase and a stranger to luxury, equally 
at home in the trackless forest or on the boiling rapid, 
was the beau ideal of an irregular soldier. Brave, 
hardy, adventurous, and somewhat callous to human 
suffering, he was an admirable leader to a peasantry 
who shared most of his qualities and were only less 
ready than himself to answer the call to arms. 1 

But by the period we are treating of Canada had 
made some advance in prosperity, and in normal times 
was at least self-supporting. There were a few pros 
perous seigneuries and a handful of well-to-do seig 
neurs, though whether rich or poor the pride of caste, 
greatly aided by official encouragement, had been 
maintained. But neither seigneur nor habitant had 
any share in the government of the country, which 
was wholly autocratic. 

In the city of Quebec, unsurpassed for its pride of 
pose by any capital in the world, was centred the 

1 Dr. Kalm and La Hontaine, among others, have left interesting 
pictures of Canadian life as they saw it in the middle and the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, respectively. 



power to which all Canada yielded unquestioned 
obedience. There, in the chateau of St. Louis, upon 
the famous rock, whence cannon frowned over the 
spires and gables of church and monastery, sat the 
all-powerful Viceroy of the King of France. Nor 
was he, like the governor of an English province, 
commissioned to this important post with little or 
no regard to personal capacity. On the contrary, 
much care was usually exercised in his selection. 
He was nearly always a fighting man or statesman 
of approved ability ; sometimes he was both. To 
speak of him, however, as all-powerful is perhaps 
hardly accurate. It would be more exact to describe 
him as the leader of a Triumvirate, of whom the 
other members were the Intendant and the Arch 
bishop. The former of these two functionaries was 
a person of legal acquirements rather than of rank. 
He looked after the finances, and to some extent 
shared the government with his chief. He did much 
of the confidential correspondence of the colony 
with the home authorities, and may be described as 
a check in the king s interest upon the absolutism of 
the Governor. The third member of the trio, the 
Archbishop, guarded the interests of the powerful 
Church of Canada, with its monasteries, convents, 
colleges, and wide landed possessions, and kept 
watch over that supremacy which it regarded as 
salvation of Canadians and in some sort 

its due on account of the great share it had taken in 
the early struggles of the colony. To this triumvi 
rate was joined in times of stress a military com 
mander, as will be amply demonstrated later on. 
However much these officials might disagree among 
themselves in times of peace, when outside danger 



threatened they sank their differences for the 
moment, and showed a united front. In Govern 
ment circles, the ecclesiastics and perhaps the 
Governor himself excepted, a system of monstrous 
corruption flourished. Thejiur trade, which formed 
the real wealth of the colony, though little enough 
of it remained there, was practically a Government 
monopoly. It employed perhaps a third of~~EEe" 
Canadian population, at bare living wages, and 
made the fortune, by means of well-understood 
devices, of a small handful of officials, who hurried 
back to France with their gains. Supplies, too, as 
well as large sums of money, were continually pour 
ing into Canada for public purposes, and were 
manipulated by the official clique at Quebec, with a 
corrupt disregard for the public welfare that even 
for those days was remarkable. 

In spite of all this, however, a fine daring and much 
patriotic zeal animated the French Canadian people 
as a whole. Bigoted, ignorant, and superstitious, they 
marched against English Protestants or Indian 
savages as upon a crusade. They had infinite belief 
in their superiority to the former, and a childlike 
faith in anything told them by their ecclesiastics, 
who beyond a doubt severely tested their credulity. 
The spacious West, to which they all had access at 
one time or another, was the finest of schools for 
backwoods warfare, while the habit of obedience to 
social or military superiors went hand in hand with 
an unquestioning loyalty to their Church. They 
had been accustomed to ravage the New England 
frontier, and having often got the better of the 
industrious Puritan farmer had imbibed some con 
tempt for the colonial Englishman as a soldier, 



which an extraordinarily boastful temperament made 
appear even yet more blatant. The impecunious, 
idle, and numerous noblesse were always at hand to 
lead in every kind of adventure. Numbers of them 
lived almost wholly in the woods among the Indians, 
adopting their dress and costumes, egging them on 
against the English settlements, and frequently lead 
ing them on their bloody raids. 

What might have happened had not the fatuous 
bigotry of the Canadian priesthood repulsed the 
Huguenot from their shores, one almost shrinks from 
contemplating. If the French and Canadian Govern 
ment had been as tolerant and far-sighted in this 
particular as in some others, and given an opportu 
nity to the most virile blood of France, which for so 
many generations invigorated that of other nations 
and their colonies, history must have been written 
differently. But, compared with that steady, plod 
ding subjection of the wilderness by the British 
colonist, Canadian civilization was a failure. One 
can have nothing, however, but admiration for the 
courage and enterprise with which its people faced 
the unknown in the trackless, perilous path of the 
fur trade. Montreal was the depot and starting- 
point for all concerned in it, and stood near the 
Western limit of civilization. Frontenac, where 
Kingston now stands, was the first great outpost in 
the forests beyond. Niagara, whose name indicates 
its position, was a still remoter station of great im 
port, and Detroit, yet further on, was a still larger 
one. The stormy waters of Lake Superior were 
familiar even then to the French voyageur, whose 
canoe crept along its gloomy shores and exploited 
its lonely bays. Even this, however, seems almost 



as nothing to the astonishing remoteness at which 
stockaded forts held by small bands of hardy 
Frenchmen were to be found. To many of us in 
middle age it seems only yesterday that the man 
who settled on the prairies beyond Fort Garry (now 
Winnipeg), was regarded as a veritable pioneer. An 
air of mystery still surrounded the "Great Lone 
Land," and one gazed on the grey tombstones 1 of 
Scottish traders of the early nineteenth century 
with something like awe. But the French were 
here trying to choke the infant efforts of the 
Hudson Bay Company quite early in the century 
before. They had not only stations on the Lake of 
the Woods and the Red River, but actually on the 
Saskatchewan itself. In days when a letter some 
times took a week upon the short route from New 
York to Baltimore in the then heart of colonial 
civilization, the aloofness of these old French out 
posts is verily calculated to stagger the imagination. 
But we shall have little to do with them here, and 
before closing this chapter must return to the banks 
of the St. Lawrence to touch for a moment upon the 
military strength of Canada. The militia, in which 
every male between sixteen and sixty served under 
compulsion, were reckoned at this time as between 
15,000 and 20,000. There were also in regular garrison 
some 2,000 troops of the colonial marine, officered 
and mostly raised in France. There were usually, too, 
some troops of the line in the colony, their numbers 
varying of course with the state of current events. 
Of the number of Indians utilized in war by the 
French it would be vain to hazard any estimate. 

1 In the churchyard of the old St. John s Church, near Winni 



Save for the celebrated " Six Nations," whom neither 
French diplomacy nor French successes could ever 
wholly win from their neutrality and English 
sympathies, 1 most of the Indian tribes ultimately 
espoused their cause. There were a large number, 
too, of Mission Indians, nominally Christians, and 
bound to the interests of the French, being under 
the influence of their priests. But of the numerous 
wild tribes to the westward and the fragments of 
the neutral nations nearer home, it would be super 
fluous to attempt a classification. To do so would 
be to thrust upon the reader a mass of detail which 
he is probably neither prepared nor inclined to digest, 
even if it were essential to the understanding of 
the great Anglo-French struggle, in which I hope to 
engage his interest. 

1 Originally called the " Five Nations," consisting of the Mo 
hawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. They occupied 
the country stretching from Albany to Lake Ontario, in the order 




IT was in the year JJTATj just prior to the peace and 
treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, that De la Galissoniere 
arrived in Canada as its Governor. Like many of his 
predecessors, he was a naval officer, being, in fact, the 
very commander who, a few years later, opposed Byng 
in the action off Minorca which brought disgrace and 
death and immortality to that unfortunate admiral. 
Though of an ill shape, amounting almost to deform 
ity, the new Governor was a man of singular shrewd 
ness and ability, and regarded the future of North 
America with anxious foresight. For a moment he 
was chiefly disturbed at the activity of the small and 
remote settlements of the Hudson Bay Company, but 
in a short time the vaster and more direct issues 
which brooded over the West commanded his whole 
attention. We have already seen how long was the 
arm that France thrust out to grasp the fur-bearing 
regions of the North and North- West. But to the 
southwards, to that vast fat country which in modern 
parlance would be called the middle West, she had 
as yet turned little of her attention. With its head 
resting on the great Canadian lakes and its feet upon 
the small French settlement of New Orleans and the 
Gulf of Mexico, this region was still, if we except that 
unconsidered factor, the indigenous inhabitant, a no- 



man s land. An ocean of foliage, almost unthinkable 
in its immensity, and only broken at intervals by the 
smooth sheen of noble rivers, the white gleam of 
turbulent streams, or the scarcely noticeable clearings, 
where faint smoke-wreaths marked an Indian village, 
it patiently awaited the struggle that such a virgin 
empire at such a strenuous period was quite certain ta 

Viewed by the light of modern times, all other 
territories in dispute, or ripe for it, between the two 
nations, seem to sink into insignificance before this 
great American hinterland. 1 Nor, of course, was it 
merely this West of 1747, this Mississippi basin, that 
was the prize, but those greater and only less fertile 
realms beyond, which in the days I write of had 
hardly dawned on the vision of the wildest dreamer. 

It is a curious reflection that a cork thrown into 
a stream which on an ordinary map of the United 
States would appear to rise upon the very shores of 
Lake Erie, will eventually float out through the 
mouth of the Mississippi at New Orleans into the 
Gulf of Mexico. Now both Lake Erie and New 
Orleans were French, and this network of converging 
streams pouring southwards formed a link between 
them, practically cutting North America in twain. 
It was this immense, well-watered domain, lying 
between the northern and the far southern settle 
ments of France, which filled the mind and fired the 
ambition of Galissoniere and others no less important 
than he. Their aims, which now began to assume 
definite shape, were to form a far-extended line of 

1 India lends itself in no way to comparison with the settlement 
of new countries. 



forts from the headwaters to the mouth of the Ohio 
River ; and to gain over the Indians of all this region, 
both by energetic intrigues against the English, and, 
what was still more effective, by a military occu 
pation of it and a display of force which would be 
sufficient to intimidate all European interlopers. 
This achieved, it was thought not unlikely that a 
fresh wave of French immigration might give solidity 
to the occupation, and that the English would thus 
so they dared to hope be permanently hemmed in 
behind the Alleghaiiies, which formed a continuous 
and formidable rampart between this new country 
and the thirteen colonies. 

Both nations claimed the Ohio Valley, the French 
on account of La Salle s discovery of the Mississippi 
a century before ; the English for the more tangible 
reason that the land of promise lay immediately 
behind and adjacent to their own colonies, and that 
their traders had been for long accustomed to cross 
the mountains in considerable numbers. But claims 
which clashed so hopelessly could not be settled by 
treaties, and the French were by a long way the first 
to recognise that they would be settled by the sword. 
The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle could do nothing to 
determine such hopelessly conflicting views, though 
Commissioners sat for months endeavouring with 
much futile diligence to adjust the comparatively 
simple question of international boundary lines in 
Nova Scotia and the adjoining mainland. 

It was not, however, till the summer of 1749 that 
De la Galissoniere started the first French expedition 
to the Ohio, a purely prospective one, and only just 
strong enough to protect itself from possible Indian 
hostilities. It comprised some fourteen officers and 



cadets, twenty French regulars, a hundred and eight 
Canadians, and a few Indians. 

Leaving Montreal in early summer, they passed up 
Lake Ontario, and carrying their canoes round the 
falls and rapids of Niagara, pushed up Lake Erie as 
far as the present village of Portland. Here they 
landed, and, laden with their boats and packs, 
scaled the lofty ridges on whose further slopes the 
fountain springs of the Ohio basin gather in the 
now familiar waters of Chatauqua Lake. After 
infinite toil through pathless forests and down rocky 
shallow streams, they reached within a month the 
broader current of one of the forks of the Ohio, 
now known as the Alleghany. A French captain, De 
Celoron, was in command, and among his portables 
he carried a number of leaden plates bearing signifi 
cant inscriptions, and as many tin shields engraven 
with the arms of France. On reaching the Alle 
ghany River he buried one of the first of these in 
the ground, and nailed one of the latter to a tree, 
formally proclaiming at the same time that he re 
asserted the dominion of the king his master over 
the whole region. The words inscribed upon the 
leaden plates ran as follows : " Year 1749 in the 
reign of Louis XV., King of France. We, Celeron, 
commanding the detachment sent by the Marquis de 
la Galissoniere, Commandant General of New France, 
to re-establish tranquillity in certain Indian villages 
in these cantons, have buried this plate at the meet 
ing of the Ohio and Tchadakoin this 29th July, as a 
mark of the renewal of possession which we had 
formerly taken of the aforesaid river Ohio and all its 
feeders, and all territory upon both sides of the 
aforesaid streams as former Kings of France have 



enjoyed or ought to have enjoyed, and which they 
have maintained by force of arms and by treaties, 
especially by those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix-la- 

Within living memory more than one of these 
plates have been cast up by the rage of streams that 
now turn the mill-wheels and bear the commerce of 
a stirring Anglo-Saxon life. Grim spectres, as it 
were, from the grave where lie buried and forgotten 
the splendid dreams of the old pioneers of France, 
they may still be seen amid the curiosities of 
museums, and pondered over as rare object-lessons 
on the vanity of human hopes. 

There is no need here to dwell in detail on the 
doings of this advanced guard, these heralds of an ap 
proaching conflict, whose gravity they themselves so 
little realized as they paddled their bark canoes down 
the buoyant streams of "La belle riviere." Indian 
villages, breaking the dense wall of bordering forests, 
by the river side, they found in plenty, where Dela- 
wares, Shawanoes, and Mingoes dwelt, with a 
fat and fertile country spreading all around. Buf 
falo browsed in rich meadows of blue grass and 
wild clover, while elk and deer ranged through 
stately forests whose timber spoke of a soil more 
generous and a clime less stern than that which they 
had left on the banks of the St. Lawrence. Every 
where De Celoron and his followers proclaimed their 
peaceful intentions a very necessary precaution, in 
truth, for so weak a force and protested that their 
only object in undertaking so toilsome a journey was 
to warn their Indian brothers of the treacherous de 
signs of the English. Everywhere, however, to their 
chagrin, they were received without enthusiasm, and 



sometimes in a fashion that threatened to become 
serious. In almost every village they found a hand 
ful of English traders, whom they warned off as 
trespassers on French territory, producing in justifi 
cation of their course a written treaty that was 
capable of almost any sort of interpretation. The 
Indians showed no disposition to be rid of the traders, 
though it was not worth the latter s while to resist an 
order that could be laughed at the moment the French 
had turned their backs. So everything went off plea 
santly. The Indians drank a good deal of brandy 
at the expense of their father Onontio (the French 
king), and listened stolidly to lengthy orations in 
which they were assured that the English were their/ 
real foes, and that it was not trade they desired, but 
land, which was perfectly true so far as the colonists 
collectively were concerned, for there were land 
companies at that very moment blossoming out both 
in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The French, so the 
Indians were assured, were their true and only 
brothers, while their father Onontio, if they would 
only believe it, was a very paragon of parents. More 
tin shields were nailed to trees, and more leaden 
plates buried, the last of them by the banks of the 
Great Kennawha, in the present State of West Vir 

After a toilsome pilgrimage, accounted by the tra 
vellers as not less than 3,000 miles, De Celoron, with 
a somewhat diminished company, arrived once more 
at Montreal, possessed of the uncomfortable convic 
tion that leaden plates and tin shields, and the bless 
ings of Onontio would go a very short way towards 
securing this earthly paradise for France. It was a 
lamentable but undeniable fact, he declared to the 



new Governor of Canada, Jonquiere, who had 
arrived in his absence, that the English traders could 
easily undersell their own, that rivalry in this par 
ticular was impossible, and that the Indians were 
everywhere well disposed towards the English. The 
latter, he declared, must at all hazards be kept upon 
the east of the Alleghanies, and the Ohio Valley 
preserved from their intrusion. De Celoron had, in 
fact, despatched during his wanderings a civilly worded 
letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania, from whose 
borders came the majority of traders encountered 
by the French, expressing surprise that the English 
should be making so free with territory that iall the 
world knew was the property of his most Catholic 
Majesty. But if His Excellency of Pennsylvania 
ever received it, it is quite certain he never vouchsafed 
a reply. This expedition, though we have passed over 
it lightly, was geographically and politically an ex 
tremely important one. But the English colonists 
knew almost nothing of it. Even their few far- 
sighted leaders scarcely took notice of it. But with 
the French it was the prologue of war. 

We must leave the effects of the De Celoron expe 
dition to simmer in the minds of the rulers of 
Canada, while pausing for a page or two, even thus 
early, to say something of Acadia or Nova Scotia, 
that outlying bone of contention between the two 
nations in the North. A glance at the map will 
show the reader how very nearly an island is this 
important peninsula. The narrow isthmus which 
connects it with what is now New Brunswick was 
then the boundary across which the troops of France 
and England watched each other with no friendly 
eyes from their respective forts. 



At the north-east of Acadia, only severed from the 
mainland by the narrow gut of Canso, lay the island 
of Cape Breton, a name once as familiar to the 
world as the Cape of Good Hope, but now almost 
unknown. Its fame rested on the great fortress 
of Louisbourg, which with its considerable town and 
ample harbour dominated the North Atlantic, and 
was styled the " Dunkirk of America." All Acadia 
had been handed over to England at the Peace of 
Utrecht in 1713, with the exception of this little 
island of Cape Breton, or in other words Louis 
bourg. The latter, during the late war in the 
year 1745, had been stormed and captured in spirited 
fashion by a force of New England militia under 
Peperall, acting in conjunction with Admiral Warren 
and an English fleet. It was restored to the French, 
however, three years later at the treaty of Aix- 
la-Chapelle, amid the loud protestations of the few 
in England who were conversant with the politics of 
the North Atlantic protestations fully justified by 
the immense stress laid upon its restoration by the 
French. The population of Nova Scotia consisted of 
a few thousand French - Canadian habitants, who 
chiefly occupied the more fertile spots on the 
western coast which looked across the Bay of Fundy 
to the even less populous mainland. There were 
also, as already indicated, two or three isolated forts 
where small detachments of British regulars or 
Colonial militia under a British Governor main 
tained an existence of appalling monotony and of 
almost unexampled seclusion from the outer world. 

Everything conceivable had been done, both from 
motives of policy and humanity, to reconcile these 
outlying French-Canadians to British rule. They 



had now been recognised British subjects for 
nearly forty years, and had been consistently treated 
in a fashion so magnanimous as to be the despair 
of the French, who through the agency of their 
priests, backed by their bloodthirsty battalions of 
so-called Indian converts, had laboured tirelessly to 
promote discontent with British rule ; but of this 
there will be more to say later. It will be sufficient 
to state here that the French, with their renewed 
occupation in greatly increased strength of Louis- 
bourg, had so encouraged and accelerated these evil 
efforts throughout the province that it was deemed 
necessary to create a counterpoise, and Halifax was 
founded upon the eastern shore. It was the only 
instance, and, I think, remains so, of a British colony 
of free men founded by the Imperial Government 
for a definite and Imperial purpose. Surveys were 
made, the site of a city selected, and offers of land, 
of temporary maintenance and arms were adver 
tised in England, with special inducements to the 
many officers and soldiers disbanded after the late 
war. In July, 1749, three thousand souls men, 
women, and children were landed on the shores of 
Chebucto Bay. Others followed, and in a short 
time, with much less of the trouble, hardship, and 
sickness that usually attends such wholesale ven 
tures, the town of Halifax arose. The nucleus of 
British settlement was now introduced, that, im 
mensely increased thirty years later by the exiled 
loyalists of the American Revolution, was to make 
Nova Scotia a great and prosperous British province. 
The French settlements lay, as I have said, upon the 
western side of the peninsula. The Acadians, who 
there grew hay and oats and apples upon a limited 



scale, were sunk in ignorance and superstition. 
They were thrifty, however, fairly industrious, and of 
themselves only anxious for an obscure and peace 
able existence. 1 Their English Governors had in 
terfered with them in no way whatever, not even 
taxing them in the lightest degree. The French 
authorities, with the recovery of the province always 
in view, and in consequence keenly interested in 
keeping disaffection alive, regarded this extreme 
leniency with something like dismay. They went so 
far as to complain that the British Government 
condoned even the very crimes of these simple 
peasants. One most necessary token of submission, 
however, their new masters had made, or rather 
endeavoured to make, a point of, and this was the 
oath of allegiance to King George. To the peasantry 
themselves, born for the most part in remote 
seclusion and ignorant of the sentiment, probably 
of the very meaning of the word patriotism as 
regarding their mother country, this would in itself 
have been a small matter. But of the priests they 
stood in proper awe, and the priests were instructed 
to spare no pains in endeavours to prevent their 
flocks taking the obnoxious oath. Unscrupulous 
energy was shown upon the one side ; too much for 
bearance upon the other by the handful of bored 
and good-natured soldiers who represented England. 
For the first thirty years, however, these clerical 
agents from Canada were not so actively mischievous ; 
the greater part of the thinly scattered population 

1 The Acadians were not fond of the axe. They made little 
inroad on the forests which covered Nova Scotia, but diked in the 
marshes which fringed the sea-coast at certain places, and cultivated 
the reclaimed land. 

49 E 


took some sort of oath of allegiance, and the land 
had peace. 

Then came the great European war, which was 
chiefly marked in North America by the capture of 
Louisbourg at the hands of the New Englanders 
in 1745. This notable achievement sent a passing 
quiver of excitement through the dense forests of 
Acadia, even to the villages on the Bay of Fundy. 
The Canadian missionaries renewed their efforts, 
which were met with a fresh show of activity in 
enforcing the oath. But so far no very tangible evil 
had come of all this. The Acadians were not put 
to the test ; they were far removed from all scenes 
of racial strife or discord, and among their diked-in 
meadows and orchards continued to propagate in peace 
and rude plenty the most reactionary and ignorant 
breed of white men on the North American continent. 

When Louisbourg was given back to the French, 
however, and some vague claims to the northern shore 
of the province as the only winter route to Canada 
were put in by them to the commissioners appointed 
at the treaty of 1748, all was again agog. The 
founding of Halifax in the following year, and the 
advent in force of the dreaded British settler, though 
on the further shore, seemed to demolish all hopes of 
French supremacy in the future. England might 
annex and rule, for their very great content and 
infinite happiness, the French American colonies, but 
she might get tired of such an unprofitable business. 
It was not likely, however, that Great Britain would 
ever allow a province, whither she had deliberately 
invited her own people, to pass again into the hands 
of a Government who hounded even their own 
Protestants, like lepers, from their gates. 



Such activity was now shown in stirring up the 
hitherto happy Acadians, both at the lately restored 
Louisbourg and at Quebec, that the British authori 
ties felt that after forty years of indulgent 
treatment the hour had now come to demand who 
were their friends and who their foes. Any 
Acadians who might object to taking the oath of 
allegiance to King George had been granted ample 
liberty to remove their effects to the adjoining 
territory of Canada. Most of the few, however, 
who had gone had been driven there by priestly 
intimidation. War seemed again in the air, and 
war this time of a more serious kind, for America. 
Cornwallis, uncle of the ill-fated general who sur 
rendered thirty years later to Washington at York- 
town, had just come out as Governor of Nova Scotia. 
He was an able and sensible young man of thirty-five, 
and of a kindly disposition, but he decided that the 
Acadians must once and for all be put to the test of 
a full and binding oath of allegiance. Most of them 
had been actually born British subjects. It was 
thoroughly understood in Canada that, if left to 
themselves, they would ask for nothing better than 
to continue such ; so the cruel system of intimidation 
was renewed with redoubled zeal. 

The Governor of Canada and the Commandant of 
Louisbourg were the chief wire-pullers, and their 
correspondence revealing their precious schemes is 
extant. If war was inevitable, the French were 
anxious to defer it as long as possible. Peace was 
to be outwardly observed, even to effusiveness. The 
official pens of the French commanders grew almost 
affectionate when addressing their brother-digni 
taries in Halifax and the British forts. Their letters 



to the agents of this secret policy almost joked about 
these diplomatic falsehoods, as they gave precise 
instructions for the discord that was to be spread 
among the Acadians and the scalps that were 
to be torn from the bleeding heads of English set 
tlers by Micmac Indians in French employ. The 
two leading points in their policy were to frighten 
the Acadians from taking an oath of allegiance 
which their simple faith might lead them to regard 
as binding, and to frighten the newly arrived Eng 
lish settlers out of Nova Scotia. But above all, 
they wrote to each other, it was imperative that they 
should not be suspected of such designs. 

Their chief agent for carrying fire, and sword, and 
misery among the hitherto contented Acadians, 
was an unscrupulous scoundrel called Le Loutre 
an energetic, able, but fanatic priest, whose hatred 
of the English was only equalled by his heartless 
cruelty to his own people. He had many zealous 
abettors under his orders, priests of the cold-blooded 
and bigoted stamp, though even they recoiled 
sometimes from their leader s methods. Short of 
physical force, religious terror was the only engine 
by which the Acadians could be driven. It was 
this agency, one which Canadian priests so well 
understood, that had all along been utilized. But 
now the screw was to be turned on in pitiless and 
relentless fashion. 

Any Acadians who should take the proffered oath 
were promised inevitable damnation in the world to 
come an awful reality to the trembling, credulous 
habitant. To take an oath of allegiance to a heretic 
king was represented as the most hideous of all sins. 
They were assured, too, that the English settlers at 



the far edge of a hundred miles of unbroken forest 
would take away their lands. Those who showed signs 
of risking their salvation, and of judging the English 
by their past deeds, were threatened with a visit from 
one of the many bands of Micmac Indians with which 
Le Loutre now filled the woods. Attacks upon the 
English settlers pushing out from Halifax were repre 
sented as a religious crusade. The murder of strag 
gling soldiers from the British forts was extolled as 
a meritorious action. The so-called Christian Indians 
were hounded on till the environs of Halifax became 
the scene of daily murders, and all this was in peace 
time ! Proclamation after proclamation was sent 
out by the English authorities, calling on the 
people to take the oath, recalling their past treat 
ment and promising them a continuation of it. The 
wretched Acadians, grovelling with superstitious 
fear, and steeped in the lies poured daily into their 
ears as to the British intentions, were in a pitiable 
position. There was no question of patriotism in 
the ordinary sense of the word. It was sheer ter 
ror, physical and spiritual, that paralyzed them. A 
shade more of intelligence on their part would have 
righted the whole matter, and the misleading hexa 
meters of Evangeline would never have been written. 
Long before the last of the many ultimatums sent 
by the long-suffering English governors, hundreds 
of Acadians had abandoned their homesteads and fled 
to the strange and unsympathetic settlements on 
the Canadian mainland or to the sterile rocks of 
Cape Breton. Hundreds more, bewildered and 
despairing, had fled to the woods, mixed with the 
Indians, shared in their bloody raids, and become 
irretrievable outlaws. 



No word of pity for these unhappy people, so far 
as we know, passed a French official lip. A pros 
perous village that showed signs of preferring the 
familiar and indulgent rule of the Government 
under which most of its people had lived and 
flourished all their lives was fired by Le Loutre s 
own hand to drive them into exile. The tension and 
rivalry existing between England and France at this 
time in America admitted of no half -measures. The 
French fort of Beausejour scowled across the narrow 
isthmus at the British station of Fort Laurence, and 
formed an admirable base for the devilries of Le 
Loutre. Since the re-occupation of Louisbourg by 
the French, the latter had become the stronger 
military influence on the north-east coast, and they 
fondly looked forward, when war should break out, 
to the recapture of Nova Scotia. That the manhood 
of 12,000 hardy peasants would be an invaluable 
aid goes without saying, and accounts for, though 
it does not excuse, these untiring efforts to destroy 
the harmony between the Acadians and the British 
Government. Monckton, of whom we shall hear 
again, succeeded Cornwallis as British Governor. 
Hobson and Laurence (of expatriation notoriety) 
followed, all excellent and kindly men. The ethics 
of the eighteenth, or perhaps even a later century 
under similar conditions, could not be expected to 
tolerate the persistent refusal of nearly the whole 
population of a legally possessed and leniently ad 
ministered province, to swear full allegiance to their 
lawful king at a vital crisis. The whole story from 
1747 to 1755 is sad enough. It is the blackest 
blot on French transatlantic history, and stains the 
memory of De la Jonquiere and Duquesne, who 



permitted their innocent fellow-countrymen to be 
made the tools of a dishonest policy, to be heart 
lessly sacrificed, and then ruthlessly flung away. 
The notable deportation of 8,000 Acadians in 1755, 
taken by itself, is not easy to defend ; but who 
reads of or cares anything for the years of for 
bearance under ceaseless provocation, which at last 
broke down before the deadlock which at a critical 
period faced the English Government ? It is a poor 
consolation, too, to remember that of all the various 
points to which these unhappy emigrants found 
their way, it was among their fellow-countrymen in 
Quebec that they met with least sympathy and 
kindness, while the greatest measure of compassion, 
and that of a practical kind, was found among the 
arch-heretics of New England. All French writers 
of that day unite in testifying to the complete 
indifference shown towards the Acadian refugees by 
their countrymen, and all repudiate the methods of 
Le Loutre. 

It is satisfactory to know that this unprincipled 
fanatic was eventually caught by the English on the 
high seas, and was a prisoner for eight years in 
Jersey Castle under an assumed name. A story 
runs that a soldier of the garrison, who had served 
in Nova Scotia, recognised the monster as having 
once ordered him to be scalped, and tried to stab 
him with his bayonet. The soldier s rage was so 
uncontrollable, that he had to be transferred to 
another garrison. But we have of necessity been 
anticipating somewhat, and it is a relief to turn from 
these poor and underground methods of combating 
destiny to the more honest operations on the Ohio. 

In the year 1749 De la Jonquiere succeeded Galis- 



soniere as Governor of Canada. He succeeded also 
to his policy of keeping the English upon the eastern 
side of the Alleghanies. But he was not fated to 
carry it much further forward ; for though he ruled 
over Canada for nearly two years, the rival nations 
remained at peace, and it required some exceptional 
audacity to take the risk of setting the world 
on fire. De la Jonquiere died early, in 1752 ; and, 
after a brief interval, the Marquis Duquesne de 
Meneval came out in his place. He was descended 
from the famous naval commander of that name, 
was of haughty mien, a strong disciplinarian, and 
zealous to a fault in all military concerns. He ex 
acted full service from the militia, about 15,000 
strong, drilled and organized them, together with the 
2,000 colonial regulars or troops of marine, and 
worked both arms of the service with much assi 
duity for nearly two years in his determination to 
make them a thoroughly efficient force. 

In the summer of 1752, when the rivers and lakes 
had shaken off their load of ice, Duquesne made 
ready for the first act in the coming drama, and sent 
out the expedition that was to begin fort-building in 
the Ohio Valley, the disputed territory. Like Galisso- 
niere s less direct challenge three years previously, 
Duquesne s stronger cohorts paddled up to Lake 
Erie, but chose on this occasion a better landing- 
place, at a spot where the town that takes its name 
from the lake now stands. There were here, 
however, twenty miles of rough watershed to be 
surmounted, and the difficulties of carrying their 
impedimenta over it were so great as to exhaust the 
patience and capacities of the younger officers and 
the vitality of their commander, Marin, who died 



from his exertions. He was an old and capable 
officer, and his loss was greatly felt. A successor 
was sent forward by Duquesne if not so old as 
Marin, a veteran in experience, and an explorer of 
the western plains, one Legardeur de St. Pierre. The 
difficulties of their progress were increased by loads 
of useless trappings that were purchased for corrupt 
reasons by the officials who made money out of 
commissariat transactions. Two forts were built, 
one at Erie on the lake, another at the head of 
Ohio navigation, known as Fort le Bosuf. This 
was enough to impress the Indian tribes with 
ideas of French determination and English apathy ; 
an earnest rather of what was coming than a far- 
reaching movement in itself. At the same time it 
was quite enough to arouse the British authorities to 
their danger, and to call for explanations, which 
hastened on the crisis. 

Two colonial Governors stand out pre-eminently at 
this moment, Shirley of Massachusetts, and Din- 
widdie of Virginia. The former was a nimble- 
minded, energetic, capable man of affairs, who had 
thoroughly identified himself with the interests of the 
colonies, and had served on the boundary commis 
sion of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The latter 
was a shrewd, blunt Scotchman, a deputy of Lord 
Albemarle s, the titular Governor, whose agreeable 
manners, Lord Chesterfield tells his son with admira 
tion, were the sole reason of his being the greatest 
sinecurist of his day. It was as well the homely 
Scotchman, though the Virginians did not like him, 
stood in the shoes of his exquisite employer, for he 
was a faithful and alert watchdog over British 
interests, while Americans should be for ever grate- 



ful to him for giving Washington his first oppor 

The lesson of De Celeron s expedition of five years 
previously had been apparently lost on the colonies, 
since officially they had done absolutely nothing 
to resent his claims. Traders continued to cross 
the Alleghanies, 1 while two land companies, in Penn 
sylvania and Virginia respectively, had acquired 
grants in the disputed territory upon certain con 
ditions, and had gone so far as to send well-known 
frontiermen to locate them. No thoughts of the 
French, however, seem to have disturbed these 
sanguine speculators, nor had any steps been taken 
to resist them. A good deal of quarrelling had 
taken place between the rival companies, whose 
pioneers in the woods had so traduced each other 
that the Indians beheld the English not only un 
prepared for war, but apparently at loggerheads 
among themselves. Moreover, it was quite evident 
to them that the French were right, and that it was 
land the British were after, not Indian friendship 
and trade. The more friendly Indians begged 
these emissaries of the two companies to build 
forts at once, but their principals on the sea 
board, with characteristic and persistent blindness 
to the French movements, disregarding all warnings, 
gave no heed to the advice. 

The Governors of some of the colonies, however, 
and in particular the two already indicated, were 
keenly alive to this activity of the French on the 

1 The Alleghany chain is of considerable though varying width. 
Its altitude lies between 2,000 and 6,500 feet, increasing as it travels 
south. Its highest points are in the West of Virginia and North 



Ohio, and despatched upon their own account special 
envoys. But from the very fact of these being 
the emissaries of the Governor and not of the 
colony, the legislatures paid no regard to the signifi 
cant tidings they brought back. For at this time, as 
at most, almost every colonial Assembly had some 
special quarrel, usually one of a trumpery nature, 
with its Governor. But however trifling was the 
particular question in dispute, it was that of the 
hour, the topic of the tavern and the coffee-house, 
the planter s verandah, the farmer s kitchen, and it 
loomed much larger in the local mind than fan 
tastic theories of remote French enterprise which 
might possibly be ripe for consideration when their 
children s children stood in their shoes. 

New York and New England were more enlight 
ened, but the former at least had some excuse for 
declining further obligations, since she had the Six 
Nations on her flanks to keep in humour, and had, 
moreover, to protect the route to Oswego on Lake 
Ontario, the only English post upon the northern 
lakes and a continual irritant to France. 

The French were greatly encouraged by the sight 
of such indifference. It almost seemed as if the 
English were content with their seaboard territories, 
and were really inclined to give their rivals a free 
hand behind the mountains. So by slow steps they 
crept onwards down the feeders of the Ohio. By 
stealthy methods the expulsion of English traders, 
the punishment of unfriendly Indians, the assump 
tion of supreme control they worked upon the 
imagination of the savages, who, seeing such vigorous 
conduct neither resented nor resisted, began to 
regard the French as the rising, the English as. 



the declining power. English interests beyond the 
Alleghanies were wholly represented by individual 
traders, for whom it must be said that they had 
often gained, not less by their courage and ability 
than by the cheapness of their goods, much influence 
over the Indians. But they were, after all, mere 
private adventurers, and few in number, while the 
French, who were now showing their teeth so un 
mistakably, had the evident backing of their Govern 
ment behind them. There was nothing the Indian 
respected more than an energetic show of force, 
except the actual use of it, and those tribes who 
were friendly to England were now sadly de 
pressed, and fully believed that her power was on 
the wane. 

The desire of the French Government to sup 
port their Canadian deputies was by no means 
free from a suspicion of the motives that animated 
some of these forward patriots. It was not the 
legitimate ambition of the capitalist for new fields, 
such as rouses the ire of the Little Englander to 
day, that gave them pause, but the official peculation 
that in every fresh expedition saw another opening 
for illicit gain. Bigot, the last and most notable 
Intendant of Canada, led the gang, and made 
scarcely concealed mockery of those of his nomi 
nees who failed sufficiently to profit by his pat 
ronage. But side by side with this system of un 
blushing robbery, which stunted and impoverished 
the colony, went a great measure of patriotism, 
considerable military ability, and a mortal hatred 
and jealousy of the English. Duquesne wrote 
home to his Government that the country " was 
full of rascals," but it was also full of soldiers. 



Dinwiddie, the shrewd Scotch Governor of Virginia, 
was the first to move, and this he could only do by 
way of protest, since he had no forces worth men 
tioning and no money to pay the handful that he 
had. It is a strange coincidence that the agent he 
selected for the business the first British soldier, 
in fact, who went out formally to proclaim King 
George s title to the West should have been George 
Washington. The young Virginian was at this time 
only twenty-one, a major in the colonial service and 
adjutant-general of the Virginia militia. In the 
opinion of Dinwiddie, an opinion which did him 
credit, there was no one in the colony so well 
qualified to perform a mission of danger, delicacy, 
and hardship. Washington s antecedents and career 
are so generally familiar, one hesitates to linger 
over them. But as they will certainly not be 
fresh in the mind of many readers, it may be well 
to recall the fact that he was the great-grandson 
of the son of a Northamptonshire squire l who had 
settled in Virginia in the preceding century. George 
was the eldest of several brothers by his father s 
second wife, but had no patrimony worth mentioning. 
The eldest of his half-brothers, however, Laurence 
Washington, who had a considerable estate, practi 
cally adopted him. Laurence had commanded some 
Virginia volunteers in the disastrous campaign 
against Carthagena, and had afterwards married 
into the Fairfax family, who had large interests in 
the colony, and finally settled down on his pro 
perty on the Potomac, calling it Mount Vernon 
after the " hero of Portobello." His wife soon died, 

1 Of Sulgrave and Brington. John Washington was the first 
emigrant, and soon took a prominent part in^Virginian affairs. 



leaving only a daughter, and he himself, having 
contracted the seeds of disease in the deadly South 
American campaign, succumbed in 1752, leaving 
George guardian to the child and heir to the estate 
in the event of her death, which happened no long 
time afterwards. The great Virginian s boyhood, till 
he began soldiering, had been largely spent in sur 
veying the vast tracts on the eastern slopes of the 
Alleghanies, which belonged to the Fairfax family 
a life which threw him among Indians, rough back 
woodsmen, and all the perils of border life at an 
age when his contemporaries were leading the semi- 
English life which distinguished the eastern counties 
of Virginia, or were at school in England, at Eton 
or Westminster. He constantly enjoyed, however, 
and greatly to his profit, the society of the old 
Lord Fairfax, scholar, courtier, soldier, who for a 
strange whim had secluded himself at his lodge of 
Greenaway Court amid the noble forests which then 
covered the Shenandoah Valley. Washington was 
at this time a tall, stalwart, long-limbed, long-headed, 
courageous, self-contained youth, who was equally 
at home in the woods or in the drawing-room, and 
had even seen something of the outer world, hav 
ing travelled in the West Indies with his invalid 
brother. He took keenly to soldiering from the first, 
and was well equipped by habit and experience for 
both frontier warfare and frontier diplomacy. A 
European Dutch soldier, named Van Braam, who 
had lived at Mount Vernon as half friend, half 
fencing master, and could speak French, was as 
sociated with Washington in this enterprise. So 
also was Gist, the most famous of frontiermen, to 
gether with four or five other white men, and as 



many Indians. Their mission was to march through 
the woods from the Potomac River to the new 
French fort of Le Boeuf, only twenty miles south 
of Lake Erie, no mean performance in the year 
1753 ! The chill rains of late autumn fell ceaselessly 
upon the small party as they pushed their way 
through the dripping forests, and it was December 
before they reached the nearer station of the French 
at Venango. Here an officer named Joncaire com 
manded, having seized an English trading-house and 
hoisted above it the French flag. Washington kept 
a journal of the whole expedition, and tells us how 
he dined here with the French officers, who, when 
flushed with wine, declared that, though the English 
were in a great majority, their movements were too 
slow, and for their own part they intended to take 
the Ohio Valley and " by G d to keep it." They did 
their best to entice away Washington s Indians, but 
with great difficulty he managed to get off with 
his party intact, and in a short time arrived at 
Fort le Boeuf, the end of his journey, where Le 
Gardeur de St. Pierre commanded. To him he de 
livered Dinwiddie s despatch, expressing much sur 
prise that the French should have built forts on 
what was notoriously British territory, and demand 
ing by whose authority it was done. The note went 
on to express a hope that the French officer would 
retire immediately, and so maintain the harmony now 
existing between the two nations. 

St. Pierre was extremely polite to Washington, but 
wrote firmly, though civilly, to Dinwiddie that he 
should certainly stay where he was till ordered by 
his superior officer to retire. The same attempt to 
alienate the Indian escort was made here as at Ven- 



ango, but without avail. The return journey, as told 
in Washington s simple matter-of-fact journal, is in 
itself quite a thrilling story of adventure. In order 
to save time he left Van Braam with the horses and 
servants to come on at leisure, and wrapping himself 
in an Indian match coat, with a pack on his back, 
rifle in hand, and Gist as his sole companion, the 
young Virginian, bearing the first formal note of 
defiance from France to England, prepared to face 
the perils of the return journey. It was now Janu 
ary, the dead of winter, and some four hundred 
miles of a pathless and mostly rugged wilder 
ness, riven with torrents and densely clad with 
forests, had to be traversed. The season alternated 
between fierce frosts and dripping thaws. The In 
dians might be encountered at any moment, and 
their temper in these regions had by French intrigue 
become most uncertain. One of them, as a matter of 
fact, actually did hide in a thicket not fifteen paces 
from the trail, and fired point-blank at Washington, 
but happily without effect. They caught the culprit, 
tied his arms and marched him before them for a 
whole day, lest he should bring his friends in force 
upon their track. Expecting to cross the Alleghany 
River on a frozen surface, they found it full of loose 
blocks of floating ice. Making a raft with their " one 
poor hatchet," they then embarked in the gloom of a 
winter s evening on the formidable passage. In mid- 
channel Washington was knocked off the raft by a 
block of ice into the freezing flood, and the two men 
had eventually to spend the night upon an island, 
their clothing frozen stiff upon them. Gist had all 
his fingers and some of his toes frost-bitten. Pushing 
on, however, through grey forests, on whose leafless 



boughs the drip of the day became icicles by night, 
and encountering now a straggling band of Indians, 
now a horrid spectacle of scalped corpses, half worried 
by wolves or hogs, they arrived on the borders of in 
habited Virginia. Here Washington procured fresh 
horses and fresh clothes, and rode on with his letter 
to Dinwiddie at Williamsburg, having been absent 
just three months. 

The latter had ere this received permission from 
the English Government to oppose force by force, and 
to erect, on his part, forts upon the Ohio, at the 
expense of the colonial Governments. The officials 
of both nations were now committed to an armed 
occupation of the same country a proceeding which 
could have but one result. But the French were 
ready with men and money, and strong in a united 
purpose. Dinwiddie, on the other hand, could do 
nothing with the colonial legislatures. His own 
were squabbling with him about the precise amount 
of a royalty on land patents, in a territory that was 
in the act of slipping from their grasp, and made a 
concession on this point, which the Governor could 
not legally grant, the condition of defending their 
own interests against the common foe. The Germans 
of Pennsylvania would not stir. To these people in 
their ignorance one Government, so long as it was 
not the European tyranny they had escaped from, 
would do as well as another. The Quakers were 
against all war on principle, and had found their 
scruples profitable, since the colonies around them, 
while protecting themselves, virtually protected Penn 
sylvania. Maryland, which had no such excuses, was 
almost equally backward, one of the reasons being, 
-according to their Governor, Sharpe, that no men of 

65 F 


means, position, and intelligence would belong to the 
legislature, which was certainly not the case in 
Virginia. Dinwiddie now begged New York and 
Massachusetts to make a feint against the French on 
their borders, and distract their attention from the 
Ohio. Two independent companies from New York 
and South Carolina, maintained by the Crown, were 
placed under Dinwiddie s orders, and his own legis 
lature at last voted 10,000 for the defence of their 
own frontier. Virginia, too, possessed a regiment of 
some 300 men, mostly raw recruits, of which a 
Colonel Fry, an Oxford M.A., was in command, 
with Washington as its major. With this for 
midable host the excellent Dinwiddie prepared to 
dispute with France, as best he could, the Empire of 
the West. 

It was now the early spring of 1754. Forty back 
woodsmen under an Ensign Ward were sent across 
the Alleghanies to erect a fort at a place previously 
selected by Washington, where the two large streams 
of the Alleghany and Monongahela meet to form the 
Ohio a spot to become famous enough in the suc 
ceeding years, and in another sense still more famous 
now. 1 But armed Frenchmen, soldiers and Canadian 
voyageurs, had been steadily pouring into the Alle 
ghany back country during the past few months ; and 
Le Contrecoeur, at the head of 500 men, very soon 
tumbled Ward and his rustic engineers back into the 
English settlements. 

Dinwiddie still for the moment the only active 
champion of British interests, and being now in 
funds, mustered his raw Virginian regiment and sent 

1 Pittsburg may be called " the Birmingham of America." 



them forward to Wills Creek on the Potomac, where 
an English trading station marked the limit at 
which the feeble outposts of settlement gave way to 
the gloom of unbroken forests. The weak com 
panies from South Carolina and New York were to 
follow with such speed as they could make. 

Fry remained at Wills Creek with half the Vir 
ginians, while Washington with the remainder struck 
out into the wilderness, the ultimate object of the 
British attack being the fort which the French were 
said to be building at the beforementioned forks 
of the Ohio, and had already named after their 
Governor, Duquesne. Washington and his 150 men 
slowly pushed their way north-westward, cutting 
roads over the lofty forest-clad ridges of the Alle- 
ghanies for their guns and pack-trains. They had 
covered sixty miles, nearly half the march, and had 
arrived at an oasis in the mountain wilderness, where 
stood a trading station, known as " The Great 
Meadoivs" when word was brought that a French 
detachment was advancing from the new fort Du 
quesne to clear the English out of the country. 
Taking forty of his men with him, Washington 
groped his way through the whole of a pitch-dark and 
soaking night to the quarters of the " Half King," 
a friendly Indian chief, who had formed one of his 
party in the diplomatic mission of the previous year. 
The Indian had some news to give of an advanced 
scouting party of the French, supposed to be lurking 
in the neighbourhood, and with some of his people 
joined Washington at daylight in an attempt to track 
them. In this they succeeded, and surprised the 
French lying in a ravine, who, on being discovered, 
all sprang to their feet, rifle in hand. Washington 



promptly gave the order to fire. A volley was given 
and returned. Coulon de Jumonville, the ensign who 
commanded the French, was shot dead, and a few of 
his men killed and wounded, while the remaining 
twenty-one were taken prisoners. The killing of 
Jumonville raised a great commotion, not only in the 
colonies, but in Europe. " It was the volley fired by 
a young Virginian in the backwoods of America," 
says Horace Walpole, " that set the world on fire." 
It was pretended by the French that Jumonville 
was on a quasi-diplomatic errand, and the bearer of 
a letter merely ordering the English to retire. It 
was quite true -he had on his person a letter author 
izing him to expel any English he found in his path, 
but an unfounded report was circulated by the 
French that he jumped up and waved this letter 
towards Washington as a sign of peaceful intentions, 
and that, in fact, he was L treacherously shot. An 
effort was made, in short, to brand Washington as 
an assassin, and not without success among the 
French. If the incident had occurred to-day, there 
is no manner of doubt but that not a few Englishmen 
too would have jumped to that conclusion with 
ready instinct, and stuck to it, for the simple reason 
that Washington was a Briton and Jumonville was 
not. It is equally certain that the policy which 
eventually made North America Anglo-Saxon, free 
and prosperous, would have been as loudly opposed 
by the same type of patriot, on the principle that, as 
neither nation s claim was worth anything, that of 
the foreigner was most worthy of support. Apathy, 
it is true, very nearly accomplished what the per 
verted sentimentalism of some and the less creditable 
motives of others would now demand under similar 



conditions ; but apathy is, after all, quite another 
matter, though at this crisis of the nation, or to be 
more accurate, of the Anglo-Saxon race, it came very 
near to signifying incalculable disaster. 

Jumonville and his men, it transpired, had been lying 
concealed for two days in the neighbourhood of 
Washington s superior force scarcely the natural 
method of procedure for a peaceful convoy ! De Con- 
trecoeur, commanding the main force of some 500 
men, was advancing in the rear, and his scouting 
subaltern, who, as a matter of fact, had sent mes 
sengers to hurry him up, was simply waiting for his 
arrival to overwhelm the small British detachment. 
Washington after this retired to the Great Meadows, 
where his second battalion, though without their 
colonel, who had died, now arrived, together with 
the South Carolina company, consisting of fifty so- 
called regulars, raised in the colony but paid by the 
Crown. The young Virginian was now in command 
of 350 men, but the Carolina captain, being in some 
sort a king s officer, refused to take orders from him 
as a provincial, admirably illustrating one of the 
many difficulties which then hampered military action 
in the colonies. His men assumed similar airs, 
and would lend no hand in road-making, carrying 
packs, or hauling guns. So Washington laboured 
on with his Virginians, seeking for some good de 
fensive point at which to receive the attack of 
the large force he heard was advancing against him. 
After much labour it was decided to return again 
to the Great Meadows, and there entrench themselves 
as best they could. It was not a good situation, but 
Virginians and Carolinians, reconciled by their 
common danger, now united in throwing up a rough 



entrenchment surrounded by log breastworks and a 
dry ditch. 

It was now the middle of June. De Jumonville s 
brother, Coulon de Villiers, on hearing of his death in 
Canada, had hurried southward with a strong band 
of Indians, burning for revenge. There were already 
1,400 men at Fort Duquesne, seventy miles from the 
Great Meadows, and De Villiers arrived just in time 
to take part in the fresh expedition setting out 
against Washington. It was intended that if the 
British could not be caught in the disputed terri 
tory, they were to be followed into Pennsylvania and 
there attacked. But Washington had no intention 
of retreating, or, to be more precise, his men and 
horses were in such a weak condition that he was 
unable to. 

So he drew up his force outside the poor entrench 
ments, which he had aptly called Fort Necessity, and 
seems to have had some vague idea of encountering 
the French in the open. But when at eleven 
o clock some eight or nine hundred of the enemy, 
including Indians, emerged from the woods, it soon 
became evident that, with such excellent cover as 
nature afforded in the overhanging hills, they were 
not going to take the superfluous risks of a frontal 

The British thereupon withdrew inside their works, 
and the French riflemen scattered among the wooded 
ridges that so fatally commanded them. A musketry 
duel then commenced and continued for nine hours, 
while a heavy rain fell incessantly. Washington s 
guns were almost useless, for they were so exposed 
that the loss of life in serving them was far greater 
than any damage they could inflict on the enemy. 



The men were up to their knees in water and mud ; 
their bread had been long exhausted, and they were 
reduced to a meat diet, and a very poor one at that. 
This ragged regiment, in home-spun and hunting 
shirts, half - starved, soaked to the skin, and with 
ammunition failing, not from expenditure only, but 
from wet, fought stubbornly throughout the day. 
From time to time the very force of the rain caused 
a lull in the combat, the opposing forces being hid 
den from one another by sheets of falling water. 

The French, as the day waned, proposed a capitu 
lation, which Washington refused. But his ammu 
nition at length gave out entirely, and as the gloomy 
light of the June evening began to fade, a fresh 
proposal to send an envoy to discuss terms was ac 
cepted. The indispensable Van Braam, as the 
only one of the British force who could speak 
French, was sent to negotiate. Nearly a hundred 
men of the defending force lay killed or wounded, 
while the French loss, though not so great, turned 
out to be considerable. The terms offered, after a 
little discussion, were at length accepted, and were 
honourable enough ; namely, that the garrison were 
to march out with the honours of war, carrying 
their effects and one gun with them. The French 
were indeed in no position to take or maintain 
prisoners. Moreover, the fiction of peace between 
the two nations had to be taken into some sort 
of account. 

Now in the articles of capitulation the phrase 
" I assassinat de Jumonville " appeared. Van Braam 
read a translation of them aloud to Washington 
and his officers, and either from an imperfect 
knowledge of the language, or quite possibly from 



a desire to cause no hitch in the extremely un 
comfortable situation, rendered the obnoxious phrase 
in a different fashion, translating it " the killing or 
death of Jumonville." 

The articles were read in English and signed in 
the darkness and rain by the light of a sputtering 
tallow dip. and Washington s signature innocently 
affixed to the statement that he was practically 
a murderer. One can well believe that this ap 
parent confession was a cause of much joy and 
triumph to the French, both among those who knew 
the real facts and those who did not. Onejdoes not 
hear of any Englishmen who rejoiced at this docu 
mentary evidence. Washington and his soldiers 
indignantly denied the monstrous story that Jumon 
ville was a peaceful envoy, and were sufficiently ex 
asperated at the trick played in the translation. 1 
Their word was good enough in those days for their 
countrymen, both in England and America. 

The French prisoners who had been taken in the 
Jumonville affair were to be sent back, while, as 
hostages for the undertaking, the inaccurate Van 
Braam and a Scotchman named Robert Stobo, 
who will turn up again in another place at a much 
later period in this story, were retained by the 

The fifty-mile march return over the mountains to 
Wills Creek was a pitiful business. The wounded had 

1 The articles were written in a bad hand, and smudged with 
rain. The candle, says an officer present, could scarcely be kept 
alight for Van Braam to read them out by. No hint of the objec 
tionable word was given ; while both sides, from the misery and 
discomfort of the situation, were in a hurry to terminate the 



to be carried on the backs of their weakened, travel- 
worn comrades, for the Indians, threatening and 
noisy, were with difficulty prevented from a general 
onslaught, and, as it was, killed all the horses and 
destroyed the medicine chests. It was a sorry band 
that struggled back with Washington across the 
Alleghanies, by the rough track that a year hence 
was to be beaten wider by the tramp of British 
infantry marching to a fate far more calamitous. 
They were for the most part poor men, the waifs 
and strays of Southern life, fighting and toiling and 
starving for eightpence a day. Both they and their 
young leader, now full enough, we may be sure, 
of gloomy thoughts, had done their duty, to the 
best of their knowledge and experience, against 
trained soldiers, and most certainly with valour. If 
they had left the French triumphant in the West, and 
the prestige of Britain in a woeful plight, it was at 
least no fault of theirs. 

On arriving at Wills Creek they heard that the 
North Carolina regiment who had been ordered to 
support them had mutinied on the way, while the 
New York contingent were still labouring south 
wards with a tribe of women and children and no 
equipment for a campaign ! 

The fight at the Great Meadows was in itself a 
small affair, but its effect was prodigious. Judged 
by modern ethics, it seems incredible that formal 
peace between France and England should remain 
undisturbed by such proceedings ; but we shall 
see that the peace outlasted events far more criti 
cal, owing to the desire of France to get more 
forward in her preparations before the coming 
struggle actually opened, and to the apathy reign- 



ing in the councils of England. But, peace or war, 
the great conflict had begun, and the incapacity of 
the colonies to help themselves had been so fully 
demonstrated as to turn men s minds across the sea, 
as to the only quarter from which efficient help could 
be expected. 




DINWIDDIE was full of wrath when Washington 
reached Williamsburg with the news of his 
discomfiture and the state of affairs beyond the 
mountains. His zeal, useful as it was, greatly ex 
ceeded his military discretion, though this is not to 
imply for a moment that he was out of temper with 
Washington. Indeed, he warmly thanked both him 
and his men, as did also the Virginia legislature, and 
well they may have, seeing how bravely they had 
conducted themselves under dangers that no military 
commander would have sent so weak a force to face. 
Dinwiddie s ire was expended rather on the dila- 
toriness with which the other colonies had supported 
his efforts, for to this he attributed the discom 
fiture of his little army. The affair of the Great 
Meadows, we may well believe, was now the talk 
of the back country from New Orleans to Lake 
Erie and the joy of Canada. No English trader dare 
any longer cross the mountains. British prestige 
had vanished in the West, and the French were 
everywhere paramount ; yet the colonists were still 
quarrelling briskly, both with one another and with 
their governors, concerning land grants and patents 
situated in this very country. 

The Virginia legislature, as I have said, passed a 



vote of thanks to Washington and his men, and ex 
pressed proper regret at their misfortunes. Im 
portuned by Dinwiddie, they voted 20,000 for 
military purposes, but again saddled with some 
irrelevant condition that the Governor was by his 
instructions not free to sign. Soon afterwards, how 
ever, they voted the money without the obnoxious 
rider. " Thank God," wrote the distraught official 
in the middle of this contest, " I have never before 
had to do with such obstinate and self-conceited 
people. A governor is truly an object of pity." 

The British ambassador at Paris in the meantime 
had made urgent representations to the Government 
of Versailles regarding what his nation considered 
to be the unjustifiable occupation of the Ohio 
Valley, but to no purpose. 

In the preceding year the lords of the Board of 
trade and plantations had ordered the various 
Governors of colonies to make some efforts at com 
bination, and the result had been a conference at 
Albany, where representatives from seven provinces 
met, both to discuss this question and to confer with 
the chiefs of the Six Nations who had ready access 
to the New York frontier town. Benjamin Franklin, 
from Pennsylvania, already held to be one of the 
most capable men in the country, had elaborated a 
scheme of colonial combination that was pronounced 
to be excellently conceived, and went a considerable 
way towards the results that in later days were so 
painfully but successfully achieved without the help 
of England. Neither party, however, were prepared 
to accept it. The mother country thought it gave 
the colonists too much power, while the latter, on 
the other hand, jealous to a fault of their inde- 



pendence, thought Franklin s scheme encroached on 
what they already possessed. The commissioners 
were the best men of their respective colonies, and 
approved of the plan ; but they had no authority to 
act, and their constituents were not in accord with 

The desperate endeavours of the French to under 
mine the attachment of the Six Nations towards 
the English, and procure their support, had not been 
without effect, and they had been materially assisted 
by the bad conduct of the Dutch traders from 
the Hudson, and even of the New York Com 
missioners. Detachments of these hitherto staunch 
tribes had been already enticed away, some into 
Canada, others southward into the Ohio Valley. 
The revolt of the Iroquois (to use a convenient term), 
whom the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle had actually 
recognised as English subjects, would have been 
disastrous. Of infinite service, however, at this 
crisis was a young Irishman of good birth, named 
Johnson, who had settled in the back country on the 
Mohawk River, and acquired an immense influence 
over these particular nations. He was now, of 
course, at Albany in person, and the Indian chiefs 
did not mince their words. They accused the 
English of deserting them, while the French were 
continually soliciting their friendship ; of failing to 
build forts, while their enemies were swarming into 
the country ; of already discussing the partition of 
their lands and of quarrelling at that very moment 
with the French about territory that belonged to 
neither ; while for the Dutch traders from Albany 
they had not a good word to say. The Six Nations 
were, in fact, on the very verge of repudiating the 



old alliance. Johnson, however, was the man of the 
hour, who stepped into the breach one of those 
many Britons whose sway over native races has been 
of more profit to his country than rifles and regi 
ments, and we shall hear of him again. 

The Dutch and English, as I have before noted, 
were for all practical purposes one people ; but 
the Germans of Pennsylvania and the Jerseys were, 
in Franklin s opinion, a wholly undesirable element, 
and even a dangerous one in times like these. 
He admits that they were plodding, industrious, 
and peaceable ; but their rapid increase and rejection 
of the language of their adopted country made him 
fear that the province of Pennsylvania might in 
time become wholly German, and the English 
tongue actually die out. In the legislature and the 
law courts their language, he says, was becoming an 
intolerable nuisance, and their stupidity, he declares, 
alarmed him. People were even beginning to con 
sider whether it was advisable to admit them at all 
as immigrants. They not only refused to arm in 
defence of the province, but mocked openly at those 
who did, and were in the habit of remarking that 
they would as soon be under French as English rule. 1 

A little of the most Catholic king, of his arch 
bishops, and his thieving officials and iron-fisted 
generals would very soon have satisfied these poor 
ignorant Lutherans. Yet in spite of Franklin s 
contempt for their persons and his dread of their 
numbers, it may not be amiss to remember that 

1 The familiar American colloquialisms "Yankee Dutchman," 
" Pennsylvania Dutch," have no allusion to the Dutch proper of 
New York, but apply wholly to the German-American stock of 
Pennsylvania and the neighbouring States. 



either want or the attraction of pay made soldiers 
eventually of many of them, for our present 60th 
Rifles, as will soon appear, chiefly consisted in its 
inception of German- Americans. But the result of 
all this chaos, this jealousy between colonies, this 
general inability to divine the future, and helpless 
ness in face of a determined and united foe, was an 
urgent demand on the home Government to send 
out troops and a competent general. 

Parliament met in November, 1754, and money 
was then voted for the despatch of troops to His 
Majesty s American plantations only, be it noted, 
for their protection, no declaration of war being 
so much as hinted at. So before January was out, 
the 44th and 48th regiments of the line had sailed 
from Cork Harbour, and a fleet of transports was 
labouring heavily westwards through the wintry 

England at this moment was neither happy in her 
rulers nor well equipped for war. Her navy, it is 
true, was considerable ; but her army had been reduced 
to twenty thousand men about the number, in fact, 
that the small provinces of New England four years 
later placed in the field. Her generals were of very 
moderate capacity, though among the younger 
officers there was some rising talent, which jobbery 
and corruption could not wholly strangle. Affairs of 
state, too, were just now in lamentable hands. The 
ridiculous Newcastle, to whom politics in its petty 
sense was a passion and who had no conception of 
anything loftier than distributing patronage with the 
sole object of retaining office, was Prime Minister. 
Sir Thomas Robinson had charge of the colonies, in 
connection with whom it has been said that New- 



castle s crowning feat was in finding a coadjutor who 
was a greater fool than himself. If there had been 
reasonable prospects of a lasting peace, the British 
ambassador at Paris, Lord Albemarle, was not 
calculated to improve them. His success as an 
absorber of lucrative positions without capacity for 
any of them is the text of a somewhat memorable 
paragraph on the value of good manners in one of 
Lord Chesterfield s letters to his son. He points out 
the moral of "a mere Dutch gentleman, without 
estate, learning, parts, political abilities or appli 
cation," achieving such a position by " his air, his 
address, his manners, and his graces." He was 
infatuated with a French mistress, who not only 
ruined him but sold his secrets to the Govern 
ment. Albemarle died just before the English 
expedition sailed, and it was then too late for 
diplomacy to do anything but stave off the inevitable 
conflict. But this France alone was interested in 
doing till her preparations were complete. Great 
Britain, though her statesmen talked peace, made no 
further pretensions to act it. 

It must not be supposed, however, that the de 
spatch of the British force had been unobserved by 
France. On the contrary, it was regarded in some 
sort as a challenge, and 3,000 soldiers, with a new 
Governor of Canada, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, 
sailed, after much delay and under a strong naval 
escort, from Brest, early in May. Yet in the face 
of these unmistakable demonstrations, the two 
Governments assured each other of their sentiments 
of mutual friendship and esteem, advancing at the 
same time their respective claims in America, which 
were hopelessly irreconcilable. If the secret in- 


1755] A SEA FIGHT 

structions deposited with each commander had at 
that moment been published to the world, they 
would have caused no little astonishment. Boscawen 
and Holborne, with some eighteen ships of the line 
between them, were in the meantime despatched in 
two parties to cut off the French, an attempt which 
met with very little success. Off the coast of Nova 
Scotia, however, two advanced British ships came up 
with an equal number of French stragglers, the 
Alcide and the Lys. Hocquart, the commander of 
the Alcide, shouted through a speaking trumpet to 
Howe (afterwards Lord Howe), of the Dunkirk, 
whether it was peace or war. A French account 
runs that Howe called out " La Paix, La Paix" and 
after inquiring the French captain s name poured a 
broadside into him. Howe s story is that he replied 
he did not know till he had signalled to Boscawen, 
but he advised Hocquart to be prepared for war. 
Then came the signal to fight, and the action opened 
which ended with the capture of the two French 
ships, carrying eight companies of soldiers, and the 
loss of eighty-six men on the French side and thirty- 
four on the British. The rest of the French fleet 
were safe in Louisbourg Harbour. The news of this 
fresh collision caused some excitement in Europe. 
The Versailles Government recalled its ambassador, 
but still shrank from declaring war. All this took 
place in the month of June, during which events of 
still more serious moment were hastening to a crisis 
in the forests of the Alleghanies. 

On the 20th of February the small British arma 
ment cast anchor in Hampton Roads, Virginia, when 
General Braddock, who was in command, proceeded 
at once to Williamsburg, the capital of the colony, to 

81 G 


confer with its eager and expectant Governor, Din- 
widdie. The fleet then sailed up the Potomac and 
deposited the troops where the Virginia town of 
Alexandria, then in its infancy, now looks across the 
broad river towards the noble buildings of the city 
of Washington. These two regiments were the first 
substantial force of British regulars that had ever 
landed on American soil, unless, indeed, we go back 
to that curious revolt against Governor Berkeley in 
1676 and the brief civil war in Virginia, which was 
finally extinguished by the landing of a mixed 
battalion of Guards. 

Concerning Braddock, seeing that his name has been 
immortalized by the tragedy for which some hold 
him, in part, accountable, a word or two must be 
said. He was now over sixty years of age, and was 
the choice of the Duke of Cumberland, then com- 
mander-in-chief. As he had neither wealth nor 
influence, American warfare not being in request by 
fortune s favourites, we may fairly suppose that he 
was selected on his merits. No name has been more 
irresponsibly played upon and few reputations per 
haps more hardly used than Braddock s by most 
writers of history and nearly all writers of fiction. 
His personality, from its very contrast to the wild 
woods in which he died, has caught the fancy of in 
numerable pens, and justice has been sadly sacrificed 
to picturesque effect. One is almost inclined to think 
that the mere fact of his name beginning with a 
letter which encourages a multiplication of strenuous 
epithets, has been against him. He is regarded as 
the typical redcoat of the Hanoverian period by all 
American writers burly, brutal, blundering, blas 
phemous, but happily always, and without a dissen- 



tient note, brave brave indeed as a lion. This 
familiar picture of our poor general, as a corpulent, 
red-faced, blaspheming bulldog, riding roughshod 
over colonial susceptibilities, tones down amazingly 
when one comes to hard facts. Legends of his 
former life are, with peculiar lack of generosity, 
quoted for what they are worth, and when examined 
they seem to be worth nothing. Walpole airs his 
wit in one or two doubtful aspersions, and a play of 
Fielding s is with little reason supposed to satirize 
the general s earlier years. What is really known 
about Braddock is in his favour. Vanquished in a 
duel, he had been too proud to ask his life. In com 
mand at Gibraltar he was " adored by his men," and 
this though he was notorious as a strict discipli 
narian, a quality which Wolfe at this very time 
declares to be the most badly needed one in the 
British army. He had been in the Guards, had 
enjoyed a private income of some 300 a year, which 
it may be noted, since spendthrift is one of the 
epithets hurled at him, he slightly increased during 
his lifetime. The night before Braddock sailed, he 
went with his two aides, Burton and Orme, to see 
Mrs. Bellamy, and left her his will, drawn up in 
favour of her husband. He also produced a map, and 
remarked, with a touch of melancholy, that he was 
" going forth to conquer whole worlds with a handful 
of men, and to do so must cut his way through un 
known woods." He was, in fact, the first British 
general to conduct a considerable campaign in a 
remote wilderness. He had neither precedents nor 
the experience of others to guide him, and he found 
little help in the colonies where he had been taught 
to look for much. He has been accused of dis- 



paraging the colonial irregulars and neglecting to 
utilize the Indians. As to the first taunt, having 
regard to the appearance and discipline of the pro 
vincial troops that were paraded before Braddock, 
he would not, as a soldier trained on European fields, 
have been human had he not refrained from all open 
criticism ; as to the second, we shall see that it was 
untrue. Information regarding colonial resources was 
then vague in England. Braddock had been given 
to understand that the transport and commissariat 
would be provided by Virginia and her neighbours ; 
whereas he now found that not only was nothing 
ready, but that there was no ground even for future 
expectations in that particular. If, as an officer of 
the Cumberland regime, he had used the vigorous 
language of that school, it would surely have been 
almost justified by circumstances ; but there is no 
particular evidence that he did even so much. His 
accomplishments in this line are in all probability 
part of the more or less fancy dress in which writers 
have delighted to clothe him. Robert Orme of the 
35th regiment, and recently of the Coldstreams, was 
one of the general s aide-de-camps, and has left us an 
invaluable journal of this expedition. Orme was 
highly thought of both by regulars and provincials, 
and regarded as a man of great sense and judgment, 
even by those who did not like Braddock and 
thought him, from their colonial point of view, un- 
conciliatory and overbearing. Orme in his private 
diary gives no hint that Braddock was the violent, 
unreasonable, foul-mouthed person of the magazine 
writer. He was as much disheartened as his chief 
by the appearance and seeming temper of the 
colonial troops, and dwells on the trying conditions 



which Braddock had to meet and the energy and 
honesty with which he endeavoured to do his duty. 
The two British regiments in the meantime were 
being raised from 500 men to a strength of 700 by 
provincial enlistment. The 44th was commanded by 
Sir Peter Halkett, a good officer, who, ten years 
previously, had been captured by the Pretender and 
released on parole. The 48th were under Dunbar, 
who acquitted himself but poorly as we shall see. 
The camp of exercise on the Potomac was a strange 
and inspiring sight to the colonists, who had now 
begun in some sort to realize the French danger. 
With all their seeming apathy, the Virginians and 
Marylanders were staunchly loyal. The echoes from 
far-off European fields, won or fiercely disputed 
by the intrepidity of British soldiers, were still 
ringing in their ears. Stories of Dettingen and 
Fontenoy were yet told by cabin fires and on the 
planters shady porches by new-comers from Eng 
land and sometimes, no doubt, by men who had as 
sisted in those glorious victories and scarcely less 
glorious defeats. Here now were these redoubtable 
redcoats, gay in all the glitter and panoply of war, 
actually marching and manoeuvring on the warm 
soil of the Old Dominion. If there had been any 
thing in this French scare, there was now at any 
rate no further cause for alarm. It was a great op 
portunity, too, for the gentry of the Potomac shore to 
indulge at the same time their loyal and their social 
instincts. Tradition says that the ladies appreciated 
the situation more than the gentlemen of the colony, 
who were not over-pleased at the supercilious bearing 
of the British officers. Washington, whose estate at 
Mount Vernon lay within a few miles of the Alexan- 



dria camp, was a frequent visitor. A stickler always 
for punctilio and with a keen sense of justice, he had 
resented an order which placed all king s officers 
over all provincial officers, irrespective of rank or 
experience, and beforeBraddock s landing had resigned 
his commission. Such a keen soldier as he, was sorely 
tantalized, we may be sure, by all this pomp of war. 
Nobody ever seems to have thought of snubbing Wash 
ington, and to save him the indignity he would not 
stomach, namely, that of ranking, colonel as he was, 
under a British ensign, Braddock with kindly fore 
thought placed him on his personal staff. Curiously 
enough, there seems to have been no general misgiv 
ing as to the ability of these well-drilled redcoats to 
meet the French and Indians in the heart of the 
forests. On the contrary, save for an occasional 
note of doubt, the middle colonies only saw in 
these invincible warriors an instrument which was to 
sweep the French for ever from their path and from 
their minds. 

A council of colonial governors and British officers 
was held at Alexandria on April 14th, when a definite 
plan for the season s operations was drawn up. The 
chief expedition, of course, was that of Braddock and 
his regulars against Fort Duquesne, already decided 
upon. But it was thought advisable to distract the 
French at other points with such forces as the British 
Americans had at their disposal. Shirley, the clever 
and capable Governor of Massachusetts, though of 
middle age and no soldier, had some passion for 
military glory, and was immensely gratified at being 
placed in command of a force destined for the 
capture of Niagara. Acadia, now in the throes of 
those troubles alluded to in a former chapter, was to 



be the scene of a vigorous movement by Monck- 
ton against the troublesome French fort of Beause- 
jour on the boundary. Johnson, the backwoods 
statesman and soldier, was to strike at the chain of 
lakes which led due north from Albany to Canada 
and formed that famous and bloodstained highway 
between the two countries which will be the scene 
of many later chapters in this book. For the present 
it will be enough to say that these blows were to be 
struck almost entirely by the better organized pro 
vincial militia of the Northern colonies. The limited 
nature of their success will be briefly alluded to 
hereafter, and the remainder of this chapter will be 
devoted to that tragic and memorable disaster known 
as " Braddock s defeat." 

In Canada there were now available, or soon would 
be, 3,000 troops of the line, in addition to the 2,000 
marine or colony regulars and the colonial militia, 
estimated at about 15,000. Nor does this include 
the Louisbourg garrison, numbering 1,400 regulars. 
What fraction of this force had moved southwards 
through the vast wilderness to Fort Duquesne no 
one for a certainty then knew. It was the key to 
the Ohio Valley, and, indeed, to the whole situation, 
and strenuous efforts would be made to hold it. 
There were not believed to be as yet more than 500 
white troops on the spot, but the number of Indians 
was an entirely unknown quantity, and they were 
quite as formidable so long as they remained in 
real earnest on the war-path. 

As regards Indian help for Braddock, Dinwiddie 
had undertaken that 120 warriors should be at his 
service. It was not his fault that less than half that 
number, and those anything but zealous, came 



straggling in. They were so hampered, moreover, 
with women and children that the provincial officers 
assured Braddock that the tax on the commissariat 
would be greater than the assistance of so small a 
number was worth. The general has been roundly 
accused of despising Indian help, whereas he never 
had a chance to reject it in any substantial form, 
though he made all the advances which his some 
what helpless position admitted of ; indeed, he made 
their backwardness one of his chief complaints. 
As it was, less than a dozen went through to the end 
with him as scouts. Braddock had now been two 
months in Virginia, and in spite of indefatigable 
exertions found himself thwarted and balked at 
every turn. If he showed some temper and used 
strong language, he may well be excused, for though 
1,500 horses and 125 wagons were needed, and had 
been promised, by the end of April, 25 wagons only 
had been secured, and those mostly by his own ex 
ertions ! There were, in fact, no wagons to speak 
of in all Virginia. They were not then necessary to 
its single industry, as any one familiar with that 
country and its peculiar conditions can readily under 

Benjamin Franklin, then postmaster at Phila 
delphia, was at the general s right hand, dining daily 
at his table "the first capable and sensible man I 
have met in the country," wrote poor Braddock to 
his Government. 1 Franklin undertook the wagon 
business, and with great effect he turned to Pennsyl 
vania, a colony of prosperous small farmers, apa 
thetic as to the war, but possessed of abundant 

1 Franklin, it must be admitted, did not return Braddock s regard. 



agricultural requisites. Franklin appealed not to 
their patriotism but to their pockets, or rather to 
their fears, telling them roundly that it would be 
better to hire their wagons and teams to His Majesty s 
Government than wait till they were dragooned, as 
with a fine touch of ready audacity he assured them 
they certainly would be. He, moreover, pledged his 
personal credit, and both the required wagons and 
several hundred horses were collected in a few days. 
With the food contractors in Virginia, too, there 
was infinite difficulty : the meat was rancid, the 
flour was short, while many of the horses were after 
wards stolen by the very men who had sold them. 
Whatever were Braddock s faults, and one of them 
no doubt was cursing both the country and the 
Government which sent him there, he at least spared 
neither himself nor his private purse, which last 
he drew upon freely, Orme tells us, in his struggle 
for ways and means. 

Wills Creek or Fort Cumberland, a former trad 
ing station some hundred miles westward up the 
Potomac, was to be the actual base of the expedition 
against Fort Duquesne. It was behind the settle 
ments, and stood amid a stump-strewn clearing in 
the forests on the Maryland shore of the river. By 
the middle of May, and by various routes, Braddock s 
whole force had gathered at this backwoods station, 
which was bounded on one side by the river and 
on the other three by the leafy walls of the pri 
maeval forest. Braddock himself had crossed the 
Blue Ridge into the valley of the Shenandoah, and 
paid a visit en route to the eccentric Lord Fairfax, 
near the backwoods village of Winchester, where 
Washington joined his staff. Thence, moving north- 



ward, he crossed the Potomac, resumed command 
of his army at Fort Cumberland, and after a few 
more struggles with belated contractors of food, 
forage, or horses, by the 7th of June was in a con 
dition to commence his march with safety. 

The small force was divided into two brigades. 
The first was under Sir Peter Halkett, and contained 
the 44th regiment, now numbering 700 effective men, 
with 230 New York, Virginia, and Maryland rangers 
and 50 carpenters. The second brigade, under Dun- 
bar, included the 48th regiment, 650 strong, 170 
rangers from the Carolinas, somewhat less from 
Virginia, and 35 carpenters, in all nearly 2,000 men. 
It was absolutely necessary to take supplies for 
not less than nine weeks, since 122 miles of rugged 
and heavily wooded mountain country had to be 
traversed, where no subsistence worth mentioning 
for either man or beast was to be found, to say no 
thing of the provisions for the troops to be left 
as garrison of the backwoods fortress which they 
hoped to capture. The 44th, under Halkett, were 
the first to enter the forest ; next came the pro 
vincials, under Burton, while Dunbar and the 48th, 
with the general and his staff, brought up the rear. 
Washington, who from illness and other private 
reasons had been as yet little with Braddock, ven 
tured to contest the sweeping verdict of the harassed 
general, namely, that the population of these 
colonies consisted chiefly of knaves or fools. But 
Washington had not shared his commander s troubles, 
though he had plenty of his own of a like nature 
a few months later, and has left comments upon 
them as strong as poor Braddock s. All the sym 
pathy the unfortunate general got from the British 



public was probably expressed with tolerable accuracy 
by Horace Walpole, who amused his fellow-dandies at 
St. James by remarking that Braddock seemed " in 
no hurry to get scalped." 

The route followed to the Great Meadows was much 
the same as that used by Washington and his small 
force in the preceding year, but now a road twelve-" 
feet wide had to be opened over the rugged, tree- 
encumbered ground. Its course lay neither over 
veldt, nor plain, nor prairie, nor sandy desert, nor 
Russian steppe ; but over two high ranges of moun 
tains and several lesser ridges, clad in the gloom of 
mighty forests, littered with the wreckage of un 
numbered years, riven this way and that by turbulent 
streams, and swarming with hostile Indians. After 
a day or two s march it was generally recognised, 
Orme tells us, that the loads must be lightened. 
This done, and the officers kits reduced to bare 
necessities, they even then took a week to reach 
the Little Meadows, only twenty miles from Fort 
Cumberland, and the long line, which had to guard 
against surprise at every point, straggled over four 
miles. A strange enough sight in those wild woods 
must have been the long train of jolting wagons, 
dragged by ill-conditioned horses, growing daily 
weaker ; the clumsy tumbrils, and artillery, and am 
munition carts jolting and crashing over the rough- 
made track ; the strings of heavy-laden pack-horses, 
stung by deer-flies and goaded by the drivers whips, 
sliding and slipping over limestone slabs, and flounder 
ing amid stumps and roots ; the droves of stunted 
cattle shambling unwillingly along the unfenced 
track ; the fresh-faced soldiery, in tight scarlet 
uniforms, pigtails and pipeclay, mitre hats and black- 



gaitered legs, sweltering in the fierce, unwonted heat 
of an American midsummer sun, whose vertical rays 
pierce even the rich canopy of leaves that high June 
spreads aloft, and which rustle so temptingly in hreezes 
unfelt below. 

By the 19th of June it was evident to Braddock 
and his officers, including Washington, that greater 
expedition must be made. To press on with a small 
force merely carrying rations was out of the question. 
Indian runners had stated the French at Duquesne 
to be as yet comparatively few, but the number of 
their savage allies was altogether outside calculation. 
Without artillery, the fort would require a long 
siege was, in fact, impregnable ; and lastly it was 
perilous any longer to venture in small numbers 
into a country towards which the French were 
hastening in unknown strength. The pace, however, 
was somewhat mended by leaving 600 men, in 
cluding the sick, and all the weaker horses, to 
come leisurely on with Dunbar ; while Braddock, 
with 1,200 regulars and 200 of the best pro 
vincials, pressed forward at a somewhat less snail- 
like rate. Washington was so ill with fever that 
Braddock absolutely compelled him to stay with 
Dunbar s rear column, promising upon his honour 
to have him sent forward to the front in time for 
the fight. "I would not miss it for 500," wrote 
the ardent young soldier to his friends in Virginia. 
So Braddock, making the patient in his turn solemnly 
promise to take " Dr. James s powders, the best 
medicine in the world," pressed on with his reduced 
column. They had still 92 miles between them 
And Fort Duquesne, but now managed to achieve 
between five and six miles a day. Sometimes their 



slow progress lay through open forests, where the 
giant stems of oak and poplar, chestnut and maple, 
rose from a clean carpet of fallen leaves, or spread 
their leafy roof over wide-stretching and luxuriant 
masses of rhododendrons and azaleas, just now in 
the very zenith of their bloom ; at other times 
they were brushing between sombre walls of cy 
press and hemlock which hid the sunlight and the 
heat from dank deep soils where the moss-grown 
carcases of fallen trees lay heaped together in all 
stages of decay. Now the long column was cling 
ing precariously to a precipitous hillside, beneath 
which some pent-up torrent churned and roared. 
Now it was struggling cattle, horses, wagons, and 
men in some rocky channel, where a shrunken 
stream trickled amid the debris of its winter floods. 
Signs of French and Indians were plentiful, but 
as yet they kept their distance, filling the measure 
of their hostility with taunts and ribald verses 
smeared upon the trees. Admirable discipline was 
maintained, and every precaution that prudence re 
quired was observed by Braddock. Men were thrown 
out upon both flanks marching abreast through the 
trees, while beyond these again scouting parties 
ranged the woods. A careless straggler was oc 
casionally killed and scalped, but no party of the 
enemy ventured an attack on the column, attenuated 
though it of necessity was. Christopher Gist, Wash 
ington s former guide, acted again in that capacity, 
while a handful of Indians and mounted Virginians 
cautiously probed the forest in advance. 

On the 7th of July, after a month s march, the 
column arrived within a dozen miles of its desti 
nation, and its difficulties seemed almost over. 



Whatever reinforcements might have reached Fort 
Duquesne, the French and their allies could hardly 
be in great strength, or some sort of demonstration 
would surely have been made, particularly as the 
Indians had small liking for open spaces and artil 
lery. "Men and officers," says Orme, "had now 
become so skilful in the woods that they were no 
longer in fear of an ambuscade." Nor did Braddock 
for that matter, as is often loosely stated, eventually 
run into one. The army was now within a few 
miles of the Monongahela, which rolled with 
broad and shallow current on the left and in a 
north-westerly direction to its junction with the 
Alleghany. These two rivers unite to form the Ohio, 
and in the angle of their junction, on a site 
now buried amid the smoke and din of Pittsburg, 
then stood the lonely fortress. The shortest route 
for Braddock was to continue his course parallel 
with that of the Monongahela, but the broken nature 
of the country made the risk too great. It was de 
cided, therefore, to ford the river, and recross it at 
a, spot some five miles lower down and eight from 
the French fortress. On the next day, July the 8th, 
the column moved down to within a couple of 
miles of the first ford, and there bivouacked for 
the night. It was to prove the last sleep from 
which one half, at any rate, of the poor fellows 
who there made their beds of leaves and pine brush 
were ever to awaken. Washington, in accordance 
with Braddock s promise, was brought up that even 
ing, though still weak with fever, having left Dunbar 
and his 600 men at a spot called Rock Fort, some 
fifty miles in the rear. The troops were to cross 
the river twice in the course of the next day s 



march, and if all was well would camp sufficiently 
near the fort to strike it on the following morning, 
for progress had now become much easier. At 
dawn Sir John Sinclair with the engineers and axe 
men went forward, as usual, to clear the road. At 
sunrise Gage, of later and less favourable notoriety 
in the Revolutionary war, but now a promising young 
brevet-colonel, with 300 men and two guns, marched 
out of camp to occupy the second ford, some five miles 
below the first. It was eight o clock when the main 
body waded the Monongahela, and it had scarcely en 
tered the oak forests which clothed the further bank, 
when a messenger from Gage arrived announcing that 
he held the further ford. It was past noon when the 
rest of the column arrived there, and the reunited force 
was drawn up by Braddock preparatory to making 
the passage of the river, at this spot about two hun 
dred yards broad, with some pomp and circumstance. 
Beyond the river the ground swelled up into low 
hills, clad with the inevitable forest. No enemy was 
visible, but from behind that vast screen of foliage 
many a pair of eager eyes, both French and Indian, 
were fastened on the broad sheen of sunlit waters 
which here broke for a space the forest and its 
illimitable canopy of leaves. Knowing this full well, 
and regarding with some justice the abandonment of 
both fords as a confession of weakness, Braddock 
determined to effect this last passage of the Monon 
gahela in a fashion worthy the soldiers of a proud 
empire coming to enforce its outraged rights. So 
the troops were marched across by companies with 
much precision and with colours flying, while drum 
and fife and bugle woke the echoes of the woodland 
wilderness with stirring and familiar strains. 



Reforming on the further bank, the column moved 
forward in much the same order and with apparently 
no less caution than before. Half a dozen Indians and 
some Virginia light horsemen felt the country in 
advance. Then came the road-makers with Gage, his 
two guns and 300 men, while as many yards behind 
followed the main column. It was now about eight 
miles to the fort, and the order was to march till 
three o clock, when the last camp would be pitched 
before what was fondly looked for as the crowning 
triumph of the morrow. 

In this order the troops had proceeded the better 
part of a mile, and had reached a spot where the 
underbrush grew thicker than usual beneath the 
trees. The vanguard under Gage had just crossed a 
shallow ravine, when the scouts and horsemen came 
rapidly in, and at the same moment Gordon, the 
engineer who was marking out the road, caught sight 
of a man, dressed as an Indian but wearing the gorget 
of an officer, running towards him. The latter, as 
soon as he saw the English, pulled up short and 
waved his hat over his head, when the woods in 
front became of a sudden alive with warriors, and 
the Indian war-whoop ringing from nearly a 
thousand throats shook the arches of the forest 
with its novel and appalling clamour. Forms 
innumerable, some in white uniforms, some in 
blue, still more in the weird feathered head-dress 
and garish pigments of the Indian, could be seen 
speeding to right and left among the trees. In 
a few moments a musketry fire, at first desultory 
but as each fresh enemy found cover quickening 
rapidly into a formidable fusillade, poured in upon 
Gage s men. For a short time many of the foe were 



visible, and the small British vanguard wheeled into 
line and delivered two or three volleys with 
steadiness and precision. But the enemy, with a far 
greater superiority of aim than the modern Boer 
has over the modern redcoat, and with a bright- 
coloured exposed target such as was rarely offered 
to him in forest warfare, was already playing deadly 
havoc. The British bullets did little more than 
sliver the bark from trees and cut the saplings. 
Gage s two guns, however, were brought into action, 
and fired three volleys of grape and canister, which 
seem to have accounted for much of the slight 
mortality which the enemy experienced on this 
fatal day. Indeed, if the British, enveloped in that 
thickening canopy of smoke and leaves and already 
shaken by such a hail of lead from almost unseen 
foes, had only known it, the moment was a critical 
one for the enemy. De Beaujeu, their leader, 
whose waving hat had been the sign of battle, was 
lying dead in the bushes. Dumas, who succeeded to 
the command, has told us how his hundred and fifty 
Canadians, headed by their two young officers, had 
fled shamefully at the first discharge of grape, crying 
" sauve qui pent, " how the main body of the British 
infantry were coming up behind the smoke with 
loud shouts of " God save the King ! " and how the six 
hundred Indians, flinching as ever from artillery, 
were leaving their cover and showing signs of 
abandoning the field to himself and his officers 
and the seventy French regulars who held their ground. 
With infinite presence of mind and a gallantry that 
Dumas himself somewhat modestly attributes to 
despair, he and his lieutenants, conspicuously as 
sisted by a famous half-breed leader, Langlade, 

97 H 


rallied the Indians, and held them to the field for 
the few minutes that were required to show them 
what an easy job was theirs. Under cover of the 
smoke and brush, and aided by their knowledge of 
the ground and of the science of backwoods warfare, 
they threw out a long lino of hidden skirmishers 
upon both flanks of the British. From this time 
forward the battle was mere sport for the one side 
and deadly slaughter for the other. Two shallow 
ravines greatly favoured the tactics of the enemy, 
while a low, densely wooded hill upon the British 
right front was crowded through the whole fight 
with howling sharpshooters. 

Braddock, when the firing grew hot enough to 
show that his vanguard was seriously engaged, 
pressed rapidly up with the main column, leaving 
Sir Peter Halkett with 400 men, including most 
of the provincials, to guard the baggage. As the 
supports reached Gage s company, the latter seem 
even in so short a time to have received heavy 
punishment and fell back in some confusion on 
the new-comers, shaking their steadiness and mix 
ing the men of the two regiments together. Never 
perhaps was a battle fought more difficult in one sense 
and in another more painfully simple to describe. 

The doubtful moment with the Indians seems to 
have passed when the main body and the vanguard 
of the British melted into one. Henceforth it was an 
almost purely Indian fight and of a nature more 
astoundingly one-sided than had ever occurred in 
the annals of backwoods warfare. From right and 
left and front, and from an enemy that was practi 
cally invisible, a deadly fire that scarcely tested the 
well-known accuracy of the men behind the rifles 



was poured for two hours into bewildered, huddling 
groups of redcoats. It was a butchery rather than 
a battle. Anglo-Saxon writers have followed one 
another in monotonous abuse of these two hapless 
battalions. The French victor, Dumas, is more 
generous when he tells us they remained to be shot 
at for two hours with obstinate firmness. Brad- 
dock was a helpless amateur at such work, and 
his men still more so. Hopelessly disorganized, they 
crowded together in groups firing wildly into the 
trees or into the air, or sometimes even into their 
own comrades. 

Braddock proved himself a very lion in combat, 
but his reckless courage was of no avail. His 
officers exposed their lives with splendid valour, 
but the sacrifice was useless. To fight enemies 
they could not see, and who mowed them down 
like corn, was something terribly novel to the routine 
British soldier of that day, brave and staunch though 
he was amid more familiar dangers. In vain it was 
endeavoured, by planting the regimental standards 
in the ground, to disentangle the medley. It was 
in vain that officer after officer gathered together 
small groups of men and led them into the teeth 
of the storm. They were picked off with deadly 
accuracy, and their followers, bereft of leadership, 
thrown back upon the slaughter pen. Among 
others, Burton, whose name was the last spoken by 
Wolfe s dying lips four years later on the Plains 
of Abraham, led a hundred men against the fatal 
hill, but fell wounded in the attempt. One may ask, 
perhaps, whether bayonet charges, however well de 
livered, would have availed much against so widely 
scattered and so nimble a foe in the blind depths of 



the forest. Backwoods warfare against the most 
formidable savage warrior that the world has ever 
seen was an art in itself that only much backwoods 
training could acquire. The Red Indian knew no 
fear. He seldom threw his life away, like equally 
brave white men, to no purpose, as war with him 
was a game to be properly played, and this per 
haps made him more dangerous. He was liable, 
too, to moods and tempers ; but when he made war 
in earnest he was terrible, and was always at least 
equal to the same number of picked backwoodsmen 
in a stand-up fight. Braddock s men were not 
picked backwoodsmen, and war on the Ohio was 
very different from war in Flanders. On this dire 
occasion the only savages that could be seen were 
those whose lust of trophies outdid their caution and 
urged them to rush out and risk the random fire 
while tearing the scalp from the bleeding heads of 
dead or wounded soldiers. 

British officers as well as colonials who -were there 
have declared that no pen could describe the scene. 
One actor in it wrote that the dreadful clangour 
of the Indian war-whoop would ring in his ears 
till his dying day. One can imagine the pack- 
horses, stung to madness by bullet-wounds and 
fright, stumbling about among the dead and 
wounded, adding their dying shrieks to the general 
uproar, and the cattle, smitten by the fire of both 
sides, rushing terror-stricken through the woods. At 
the tail of the column towards the ford and in rear 
of the baggage Halkett s 400 men, pressed by the ad 
vanced points of the Indian flank fire, were faring 
somewhat better, though Sir Peter himself was killed, 
and his son, while trying to raise him, fell dead by his 



side. Most of the hundred or so Virginia riflemen, 
about whose action in this fight a good deal of fable 
has gathered, were here. They did their duty, and 
fought gallantly behind trees according to back 
woods custom. But the contemporary plan of the 
battle shows the attack on the rear guard to have 
been far weaker than where the mass of the de 
moralized redcoats drew the bulk of the fire. 

The pandemonium had lasted over two hours. 
Only the wagoners and axemen so far had fled. 
Washington, in the thick of the fight, had nobly 
seconded his chief s endeavours. He was still unhurt, 
though several bullets had passed through his clothes 
and two horses had been killed under him. Braddock, 
hoarse, hot, smoke-grimed, and stung with the bitter 
ness of defeat, at last gave the signal for retreat. 
He was riding his fifth horse, and at this moment 
fell from it with a ball in his lungs. Orme, though 
himself severely wounded, and Captain Stewart, a 
Virginian, ran to his assistance. He begged to be 
left to die where he was, but first in a tumbril, and 
then on a led horse, he was forced along amid the 
general flight that had now commenced. 

Everything was abandoned to the enemy wagons, 
guns, cattle, horses, baggage, and 25,000 in specie, 
while scores of helpless wounded were left victims to 
the tomahawk and scalping knife. The long strain 
once loosened, it became a race for life by every 
man who could drag his legs behind him. Regulars 
and provincials splashed in panic and in dire con 
fusion through the ford they had crossed in such 
pomp but three hours before. Arms and accoutre 
ments were flung away in the terror with which 
men fled from those ghastly shambles. A few Indians 



followed the fugitives into the water, but none 
crossed it. There was no pursuit ; with such a 
wealth of spoil and scalps on the battlefield, it would 
not have been Indian tactics. 

Braddock, though suffering from a mortal wound, 
made an effort with his surviving officers to gather 
some men together and make a stand beyond the first 
ford. It was useless, however, and they soon found 
themselves alone. Beyond the second ford another 
attempt was made with no more success. From here 
Washington, Braddock s only uninjured aide-de 
camp, was sent forward to Dunbar s camp, over sixty 
miles away, to hurry on help and provisions for 
the wounded. So fast did the foremost fugitives 
travel that they arrived there the following night, 
spreading dismay and consternation among the 600 
men in camp, great numbers of whom being pro 
vincials, deserted and went home. The survivors 
of the tragedy came dropping in throughout the 
next two days, many of them hatless, coatless, and 
without arms. Wagons, medicines, and supplies 
were sent out along the trail, while Braddock, borne 
in a litter by two men, whom, Orme tells us, he had 
to bribe with a guinea and a bottle of wine, lay 
silent and suffering. 

Even the dying hours of the gallant bulldog have 
been made the theme of much fanciful dialogue and 
garnished with fictitious utterances of grief at 
the disaster, and remorse for his supposed obstinacy 
and rashness. That he twice tried to arrest the 
stampede, and then took measures for the comfort 
of the wounded, is all that we know for certain of 
his last hours. He was unconscious at Rockfort, 
where it was decided to retire to Fort Cumberland, 



and as the wagons were required for the wounded, 
and the enemy were expected, the guns and stores 
that could not be moved were destroyed. At 
the Great Meadows, a stage beyond, Braddock died. 
He was buried there beneath the forest leaves, 
Washington reading the funeral service over his 
grave, while wagons were rolled over the fresh 
mould lest his remains should be found and dese 
crated. Twenty years later, when the wilderness 
had given way to civilization, his bones, recognised 
by the articles buried with him, were accidentally 
unearthed by a farmer s spade, and found a strange 
and discreditable resting-place in a glass case at a 
local museum. 

Braddock, to be sure, was no great general. He 
was sent to carry out an undertaking, arduous and 
unprecedented in British experience, and did his 
best in the face of immense difficulties, human and 
physical. Both he and his people had perhaps 
grown a little too confident after crossing the second 
ford. Till then, however, he was entirely successful, 
and even so it was no ambush in the ordinary sense 
of the term. With his scouts farther forward he 
would have had, it is true, a little more notice ; but 
under no circumstances were his regulars qualified to 
face even a lesser number of Indians in their native 
woods, while there were not 200 provincial com 
batants on the field of battle, and many of these 
had no backwoods experience whatever. 

Out of 89 officers, 63 were killed or wounded. Of 
about 1,300 rank and file, actual combatants, not 500 
came out unscathed, the greater number of the 
remainder being killed. Many were carried off to 
torture and death by the Indians, who are variously 



estimated at from 600 to 800. The French, who 
stayed with or near them, numbered about 70, 
while the 150 Canadians, as we saw, fled early in the 
fight. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded 
was under fifty. The effect of this battle, which 
neither before nor since has had any exact parallel 
in British history, was prodigious. Shame and 
humiliation was felt in England, unbounded exul 
tation in France, while the American colonists 
faith in the invincibility of British soldiers was 
permanently shaken. 

The victorious French at Fort Duquesne were 
scarcely less astonished than elated. We have plenty 
of written evidence how precarious they considered 
their position, and with what doubtful hopes of suc 
cess they left the fort on the morning of July 9th. 
The blow in itself was bad enough ; but Dunbar, a 
most indifferent soldier, and excusably regarded at 
the time as something worse, now succeeded to the 
command of the shattered force, and behaved as if 
the terror of the tragedy had entered into the very 
souls of himself and his troops. The effect of it 
upon the Indians was this time not merely a moral 
but a physical one, for it left the entire frontier of 
four colonies at their mercy. Dunbar, however, was 
not happy till he reached Philadelphia, whence he 
soon afterwards embarked with his men and sailed 
away for the north. 

There was now a tremendous outcry and a general 
panic. The Indians, hounded on by the French, and 
swarming in from the north and west, frequently led, 
too, by Canadian partisans, threw themselves upon 
the almost defenceless frontier of Maryland, Virginia, 
and Pennsylvania, and rolled it back amid an orgie 



of blood and fire and tears; while Washington, in 
command of 1,000 ill-disciplined and badly-officered 
militiamen, was set the hopeless task of defending a 
line nearly 400 miles in length. 

He was only three-and-twenty, but was regarded 
as the natural protector of the colonies now 
threatened, and his letters from the western settle 
ments of Virginia throughout this autumn, winter, 
and spring give a harrowing picture of the Indian 
terror that he was endeavouring to combat. From 
the thrifty settlements of the Scotch Irishmen, and 
the more adventurous among the Germans which 
were thickly sprinkled along the eastern troughs of 
the Alleghanies, came flying in crowds, horse, foot, 
and wagons, through the mountain passes. "They 
come through by fifties at a time," writes Washing 
ton, " and talk of surrendering to the French if no 
help comes from below." Braddock s road from the 
Ohio he speaks of as being beaten hard with moccas- 
ined feet, as if an army had been over it, while all the 
Western forests were alive with Indians. In Maryland, 
a little later, he counted 300 wagons in three days 
hurrying from the wasted settlements. From North 
Carolina to Western New York men were scalped 
and murdered by hundreds, and women and children 
in still greater numbers either treated in like fashion 
or driven into captivity behind the Alleghanies. The 
tears and supplications of the refugees were a daily 
torment to this at once tender and brave-hearted 
young leader of men, who chafed at the impotence 
to which he was consigned by bad and inefficient 
soldiers, worse officers, and a lack of everything but 
scurrilous abuse. 

Braddock himself probably never used in conversa- 



tion much stronger language than Washington has 
left in writing of the criminal indifference at this 
moment of his fellow-colonists who pulled the wires 
or held the purse-strings. A feeble line of block 
houses was built along the frontier from the Hudson 
to the James, but the young Virginian commander 
notes with fine scorn that their militia garrisons 
take good care to stay inside them, though a bold 
forward policy was the only hope of successfully 
combating invasion. Landon Carter, head of the 
most famous and wealthy family in the colony, 
is equally trenchant, and swears that if there was 
an active king upon the throne of France he could 
conquer the whole country up to the Atlantic with 
ease. The Indian terror lasted for nearly two years, 
during which the destruction of life and property was 
awful, and the accompanying details ghastly. It was 
complicated, moreover, in the south by a continual 
dread of a servile rebellion. In Virginia alone were 
120,000 negroes whose minds were insidiously poisoned 
with the notion that a French triumph would ensure 
their freedom. When the French influence was dead, 
and the Western Indians in after years were left 
face to face with the sons and grandsons, and even 
husbands and brothers, of the victims of 1755-56, a 
deadly reckoning was taken. 1 As the Scotch-Irish 
vanguard of American civilization slowly pushed 
their way across the Alleghanies towards the fertile 
plains of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, it would be 
ill guessing how much of fierce revenge for some un- 
f orgotten tragedy nerved the arms of the sinewy half - 
Puritan, half -lawless borderers who " won the West." 

1 Mr. Theodore Eoosevelt s book The Winning of the West, treats 
of this later period in an exhaustive and fascinating manner. 




BRADDOCK S crushing defeat near Fort Duquesne 
resounded throughout North America to its 
uttermost limits. Nor was the effect produced on the 
Northern colonies by any means only a moral one. 
On the contrary, it contributed very materially to 
the failure of both those expeditions to the north 
ward which were designed to support Braddock ; 
namely, the one undertaken by Shirley against 
Niagara, and the other, led by Johnson, against 
Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. In the first 
place, the news of the catastrophe on the Monon- 
gahela arrived in the north before either corps was 
ready to deliver its attack, and greatly disheartened 
the militia who composed them ; and secondly, 
the capture of Braddock s papers revealed to the 
French the secret plans of their enemies, and enabled 
them to take measures for their frustration. 

Shirley, the spirited Governor of Massachusetts, 
though but an amateur soldier, had been com 
missioned a general, greatly to his delight, and was 
now by Braddock s death Commander-in-Chief in 
North America. The Marquis de Vaudreuil, the new 
Governor of Canada, had in the meantime arrived 
from France, with 3,000 regulars, including the 
regiments of Bearne, La Reine, Guienne, and 
Languedoc, who were to earn much well-deserved 



renown in the coining war. Of Vaudreuil we shall 
hear a good deal, seeing that he remained in 
office till the closing scene, and signed the capitula 
tion of the colony to Great Britain. It will be 
enough for the present to say that he was fifty- 
seven years of age, the son of a former governor, 
and in consequence a Canadian by birth a fact 
which gave him a strong colonial bias in all matters 
of jealous contention, and they were many, 
between the sons of old and new France. For 
the rest he was a man of second-rate ability 
and of no military capacity, though he aspired to 
much. He was of a jealous, vain, and somewhat 
petty nature, but patriotic and hardworking to a 
fault, and had previously been Governor of Louisiana. 
The commander of the forces was Dieskau, a 
German baron, who had long served in the French 
service, a good, sound, capable soldier, but of no 
striking talent, and his career in America was 
destined to be brief. 

Of the subsidiary expeditions of the British in this 
year, 1755, I shall not speak at such length as the 
schemes involved and the number of troops collected 
for them might seem to warrant. Partly from the 
inexperience of all concerned, and partly from their 
premature discovery by the French, both undertak 
ings were practically fruitless. I purpose, moreover, 
having in view the limits of this little book, to dwell 
chiefly on the more luminous and decisive conflicts 
of the war, and not to attempt the elaboration of 
fruitless campaigns that would weary the reader 
with an unavoidable monotony of detail, though 
some brief notice of them is essential to the story. 

Shirley s thwarted undertaking against Niagara 


Map Showing 




A T / o /v 


had gone by way of the more w 
great routes which led to Canac 
started from Albany, on the Hi; 
frontier town may be described a 
of a right-angled triangle, one s 
due north to the St. Lawrence 
Canada, while the other ran near! 
Ontario, tapping French territory 
tion, but in the path of its chief t 
the West. The base of this t 
represented by the course of 
Both these routes the noi 
hundred miles in length, the ^ 
less lay through a rugged, forei 
unpeopled wilderness. They we: 
arteries formed by lakes and str 
narrow watershed here and the 
continuity. There were numeroi 
shallows to be portaged ; * but, 
sense, they were navigable route 
obstacles, which at this early staj 
great, they were, nevertheless, 
channels by which French or En 
conduct serious operations agains 
Between Canada and the fronl 
New York and New England th 
able "trails," quite adequate f 
rangers or Indians ; but for the ] 
ing of the situation in North A] 
this whole period the reader cann 
before his eyes these two great m 

"Portage" a convenient colloquia 
used, either as a noun or verb, both ii 


Map Showing 


bet wte.rj 




had gone by way of the more westerly of the two 
great routes which led to Canada. Both of these 
started from Albany, on the Hudson River. This 
frontier town may be described as lying in the apex 
of a right-angled triangle, one side of which ran 
due north to the St. Lawrence and the heart of 
Canada, while the other ran nearly due west to Lake 
Ontario, tapping French territory behind its civiliza 
tion, but in the path of its chief trading highway to 
the West. The base of this triangle is roughly 
represented by the course of the St. Lawrence. 
Both these routes the northern some two 
hundred miles in length, the western somewhat 
less lay through a rugged, forest-clad, and almost 
unpeopled wilderness. They were, in fact, natural 
arteries formed by lakes and streams, with only a 
narrow watershed here and there to break their 
continuity. There were numerous rapids, too, and 
shallows to be portaged ; * but, in the backwoods 
sense, they were navigable routes. With all their 
obstacles, which at this early stage were many and 
great, they were, nevertheless, the only possible 
channels by which French or English armies could 
conduct serious operations against each other. 

Between Canada and the frontier settlements of 
New York and New England there were innumer 
able " trails," quite adequate for war bands of 
rangers or Indians ; but for the proper understand 
ing of the situation in North America throughout 
this whole period the reader cannot keep too clearly 
before his eyes these two great military waterways : 

1 " Portage" a convenient colloquialism still universally 
used, either as a noun or verb, both in English and French 


OSWEGO [1755 

the one running north, the other west, with the old 
Dutch frontier town of Albany standing in the angle 
the base of supply for both. 

The extremity of the western route was Oswego, 
where the flourishing town of that name now looks 
out upon Lake Ontario. In those days it was a 
remote trading station, rudely fortified, and occupied 
for the past thirty years by the British, to the constant 
vexation of their rivals, who regarded the western 
lakes as wholly within their sphere. The way to 
Oswego led up the Mohawk River, which joined the 
Hudson near Albany, and for batteaux and canoes was 
more or less navigable to the headwaters, whence a 
four-mile portage over the watershed led to Lake 
Oneida. From this beautiful sheet of water the 
Oswego River rolled down to Lake Ontario. Shirley 
now really opened this route for the first time. 
At the head of 1,500 men, collected, supplied, 
and organized with difficulty, he pushed his slow 
way to Oswego, which was to be his base for 
an attack upon Niagara, the most important 
station the French held in the West. His force 
consisted of two battalions of raw recruits raised 
in the colonies, but paid by the Crown, after 
wards the 50th and 51st regiments of the line, and 
some artillery. The delays for obvious reasons had 
exceeded all calculation, and it was late in August 
before Shirley was ready to leave Oswego. But he 
then found that the French, having got warning of 
the British plans from Braddock s captured corre 
spondence, had thrown large reinforcements into 
Fort Frontenac, which confronted him not fifty 
miles away upon the northern shore of the lake. 
Frontenac was a fortified trading post of much 



the same type as Oswego and the original of the 
old and important Ontario town of Kingston. 
Shirley dared not now move. To have abandoned 
Oswego for an attack on Niagara would have left 
the former at the mercy of thirteen hundred efficient 
and well-provided French soldiers, who had gathered 
at Fort Frontenac. So there was nothing for it but 
to work out the rest of the season upon the poor 
fortifications of his present position, and as the 
winter approached to return to Albany. Seven 
hundred men were left at Oswego as a garrison 
under Colonel Mercer, of whose fate we shall 
hear later, and in the meantime a little more 
space must be given to Johnson s operations against 
Lake Champlain, though they were equally futile. 
Just a word, however, must be said of the man himself, 
since he was a famous character in his day and played 
a unique and somewhat romantic part. He was 
now about forty years old, was a native of County 
Meath, and acted as agent for his uncle, Sir Peter 
Warren, who had made a speculative purchase of 
an immense tract of wild forest land in the Mohawk 
Valley. Here Johnson dwelt in a large rambling 
mansion among the woods known as Mount Johnson, 
with an Indian wife, the sister of a famous chief. 
He acquired an extraordinary ascendancy over the 
Indians, here represented by the warlike Six Nations, 
the scourge alike in former days both of French and 
English, but now this long time, as we have said, 
allies of the latter, though strictly passive ones and 
much shaken by the growing prestige of France. 
He spoke the Mohawk language and entertained 
their people in lavish fashion. " This singular 
man," says Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, who was 



brought up at Albany, and remembered him, " lived 
like a little sovereign, kept an excellent table 
for strangers and officers, and by confiding entirely 
in the Indians and treating them with unvaried 
truth and justice, taught them to repose entire con 
fidence in him." 

The Albany traders who formerly represented the 
colonies in all official dealings with the Indians, had 
by bad faith brought them to the verge of a rupture. 
The latter hailed with delight the appointment of 
their favourite as Indian Commissioner, and Johnson 
himself, thoroughly appreciating the grievances 
which had almost driven them into the arms of the 
French, soon had them under a control that re 
mained unshaken throughout the war. He was a ver 
satile kind of genius, a big, breezy man abounding in 
energy and common-sense. He could hold his own 
in a grave council of colonial Governors, or, if need 
be, could drink and shout and paint his face and 
dance the war-dance with the wildest of Mohawk 

In the dearth of skilled commanders, Johnson, who, 
with all his ready capacity, had no military experience 
whatever, was now made a general, and given the 
command of 6,000 provincial troops. His instructions 
were to drive the French from Lake Champlain, and 
to occupy Crown Point, a promontory of strategic 
importance on its south-western shore. As a pre 
liminary to the campaign, Johnson collected a 
thousand of the Iroquois warriors at his manor, 
feasted them with oxen roasted whole, and indulged 
them with an orgie of eloquence extending over 
three days, at the end of which period he flung 
down the war belt. So honeycombed, however, 



had even the Six Nations been with French intrigue, 
that only a third of Johnson s guests responded to 
his appeal. The rest were deterred by having 
relatives employed on the French side. 

The troops for the Northern expedition, like those 
of Shirley s, assembled at Albany. Of the 6,000 
voted, 4,500 came from the ever-martial colony of 
Massachusetts. These raw New England militiamen, 
whatever their spirit, must not be regarded as very 
formidable troops. They were mostly recruits, and 
all amateurs in regular warfare. Nor were most of 
them efficient in a system of their own like the South 
African Boers. A few only were experienced bush 
fighters, the greater part being hard-working farmers, 
mechanics, or fishermen. They had no discipline and 
only a few had uniforms. Each soldier brought a gun 
with him, which he knew how to use with ordinary 
skill, also a tomahawk to serve in lieu of a bayonet, 
at close quarters. The men were impatient under 
control, and were imbued with a constant longing 
for home, where the plough stood idle in the furrow 
or the hammer silent in the forge. They had no 
military science, no elementary knowledge of camp 
sanitation, and as a premium on indiscipline they 
elected their own officers, who with rare exceptions 
knew little more than the men they commanded. 
The French Canadians held them in a contempt that 
was exaggerated by the vanity of their race, and 
moreover hated them heartily as heretics. But with 
all this they were tough and hardy, and, one need 
scarcely say, possessed of the inherent bravery of their 
stock. From their ranks, too, could always be gathered 
small bands of men who combined superior marks 
manship and a practised knowledge of bush fighting, 

113 I 


of la petite guerre, as the French term went with 
a resolute and incomparable daring that makes some 
of their enterprises throw fiction into the shade. 

Dieskau, whose first intention had been to proceed 
up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario and seize 
Oswego before Shirley could entrench himself there, 
now hurried back, and ascending the Richelieu River 
to Lake Champlain, occupied Crown Point with a 
force of 3,500 men, of whom 700 were regulars, 1,600 
Canadians, and the rest Indians. Johnson s force 
at Albany was far short of the estimates, but 
it was not lack of numbers that was his serious 
difficulty. For a raw general with a raw army and 
a wilderness to face, unsustained by any organiza 
tion worth mentioning, the difficulties of transport 
and commissariat were immense. His route, which 
became from this time forward so memorable a one, 
began by following the course of the Hudson due 
north from Albany for some forty miles. This much 
of it was comparatively simple, being by water, with 
but few portages. Then, however, where the great 
river turns sharp to the west, the line of march left 
its banks, and continuing northward, crossed the 
twelve miles or so of densely timbered upland that 
separated it from the headwaters of Lake George. 
Once launched upon the bosom of the most romantic 
sheet of water in North America, canoe or sloop 
might float onward towards Canada beneath the 
mighty shadows of the Adirondack Mountains, with 
out let or hindrance but a gale of wind, for over 
thirty miles. At the foot of the lake a river, 
broken at places with rapids and shallows, pursued 
a short but tortuous course till Lake Champlain 
opened out its shining bosom and presented a clear 



sailing stretch of some sixty miles. Thence from its 
foot the Richelieu or Sorel River in another stage of 
about equal distance led to the St. Lawrence and 
the heart of Canada. The whole of this natural 
route is so curiously direct that a ruler laid due north 
upon the map from Albany, or indeed from New 
York to Montreal would indicate with sufficient 
accuracy this famous military highway of bygone 

But it is only with Lake George, " the Silvery Lake," 
the " Horican " of the Indians and Fenimore Cooper, 
that we have now to do, and even in such case only 
with the head of it. Johnson had probably no more 
than 3,000 men actually with him, and these gave his 
inexperienced wits enough to do in the handling, feed 
ing, and pushing them forward through so rough a 
country. His main difficulties of course began when 
he left the Hudson, and had to carry cannon, stores, 
and boats over the shaggy ridges which led towards 
Lake George. The landing-place at once became 
a point of the utmost strategic importance, and here 
the general left Colonel Lyman with 500 men to 
build a fort, named at first after that doughty 
New England warrior himself, but shortly re-chris 
tened by the loyal Johnson after a prince of the blood, 
and known to future generations as Fort Edward. 
Johnson himself, with the rest of his rustic army and 
300 Mohawk Indians, cut their way painfully through 
the woods and deposited their boats, stores, and guns 
on the banks of the uppermost bay of Lake George. 
Here they proceeded to throw up fresh intrenchments, 
which developed later into Fort William Henry of 
sinister memory. 

Dieskau in the meantime, learning from his 



scouts that Johnson was fortifying both ends of the 
carrying place, laid his plans. Crown Point, the 
fortified post on a promontory of Lake Champlain 
which he occupied with his army, was fifty miles to 
the north. It had worried the frontiers of the 
New England colonies which lay to the east of it for 
twenty years, and was Johnson s point of attack, as 
already indicated. Dieskau, however, was not likely 
to act on the defensive with a force equal in numbers 
and individually superior. Selecting a body, there 
fore, of 200 regulars, 680 Canadians, and 600 Indians, 
he served them with rations for ten days, and led 
them rapidly forward to meet Johnson. A glance 
at the map will show how Lake Champlain throws 
out a long narrow tail southward, known as Wood 
Creek, and running parallel with Lake George for almost 
its entire length. It was up this waterway in canoes 
and boats that Dieskau led his force. Landing near 
its head, they proceeded to march through the woods 
till they struck, about at its centre, Johnson s new 
road from the Hudson to the lake, where they in 
tercepted British messengers and learned the state 
of affairs. It was now a question of which encamp 
ment they should attack. Being informed, though 
falsely, that there were no cannon at the lake fort, they 
decided for this reason on attacking it. Johnson, in 
the meantime, had heard of the French movements, and 
despatched a thousand men under Colonel Williams 
into the woods to find and oppose them. Hendricks, 
a famous Mohawk chief with Johnson, protested at 
the inadequate size of the force " too few," he said, 
"to be successful, and too many to be killed." He 
nevertheless consented to face the dangers his British 
allies were so rashly courting, with 200 of his 



warriors. Too old and too fat to walk, the 
brave Indian rode with the rest, mounted on a 
pony, and was one of the first to fall. Williams, 
" colonial " though he was, seems to have marched 
his force through that blind and tangled country 
with a contempt for ordinary precautions, such 
as the much-abused Braddock never dreamt of. 
Dieskau, on the other hand, feeling the way care 
fully with his scouts, had ample warning of the 
British approach, and received them in a well-laid 
ambush with a success that was only saved from 
being complete by some of his Indians opening fire 
a little prematurely. It is said that they saw some 
of their Mohawk relatives in the van of the ad 
vancing British, and took this method of warn 
ing them. However that may be, the New 
England soldiers were taken even more by surprise 
than Braddock s vanguard, and like them, though 
still more rapidly, the front ranks were driven back 
in confusion upon their supports by a withering fire 
from an almost invisible enemy. In Dieskau s own 
words, " the column was crumpled up like a pack of 
cards." They did not remain huddled helplessly to 
gether to be shot at as did Braddock s men, but after 
a sharp brief struggle, in which Williams and Hen- 
dricks both fell, they turned and ran for the fort, 
the French and Indians hotly pursuing. But John 
son, hearing the sound of battle drifting rapidly his 
way, sent out 300 men to stem what was evidently a 
hot retreat. This they accomplished with sufficient 
success for the British to bring in their wounded. 
There was but just time to raise hasty barricades of 
inverted batteaux and trunks of trees. The forest un 
fortunately still grew close to the lines of the embryo 



fort, and there was now no chance to do any clearing. 
Could Dieskau have pressed on at once, his men 
would have carried the camp. But neither Indians 
nor Canadians were fond of storming positions, and, 
like the Boers of to-day, threw themselves into cover 
at once, though in their case trees took the place of 
rocks. The white-coated French infantry, however, 
went bravely on till the unexpected fire of artillery, 
well served by Captain Eyre, drove them also into 
the shelter of the woods. A hot musketry engage 
ment now ensued. Johnson s militiamen recovered 
from their panic, and, partially protected by rude 
breastworks, fought well and stoutly. In time the 
rifle fire, supported by the artillery, began to tell 
so unmistakably upon the enemy, that the New 
England men, taking heart of grace, leaped over 
their barricades and swept down upon the foe with 
tomahawks and clubbed muskets, driving them 
ultimately from the field. Johnson was wounded ; 
Dieskau was not only wounded, but captured, and as 
he was sitting helplessly against a tree, with three 
bullets already in his legs, a soldier seeing him levelled 
his piece, and in spite of his victim s protests, deliber 
ately shot him through both thighs. Fortunately for 
the credit of the New Englanders, the rascal turned 
out to be a French deserter. The unfortunate general 
was carried to Johnson s tent, who, though in a bad 
plight himself, behaved with a generosity that 
Dieskau never forgot. 

There was a prodigious clamour among Johnson s 
Indians for the French commander s life in atonement 
for that of their chief Hendricks, who had been 
bayoneted in the fight of the morning. It was all 
their popular and powerful leader could do to 



save his wounded prisoner and guest from their 
direful clutches. " What do they want ? " inquired 
Dieskau of Johnson, with a nawet not yet rubbed 
off by North American warfare. " Want, " replied 
Johnson, "to burn you, by God ! eat you, and put 
you in their pipes and smoke you ; but, never fear, you 
shall be safe with me, else they shall kill us both. " 
When able to travel, Dieskau was sent with a 
strong armed escort to the Hudson, and in due course 
to England as a prisoner, where he remained till the 
peace, a wreck more or less from his wounds, but 
always cheerful and full of gratitude for the kindness 
shown him in America. He died in 1767. 

While the fight around the crude beginnings of 
Fort William Henry was in progress, several 
hundred of Dieskau s Indians and Canadians had 
fallen back on the scene of their morning s victory, 
intent on the scalps and plunder that in the hurry 
of the forward movement they had been compelled to 
forego. While thus engaged, a party of 500 British 
from the new fort on the Hudson caught them 
unawares, and after a sharp fight utterly routed 
them, though the leader of the victorious party, 
Captain M Ginnis, was killed. 

This repulse of the French, coming so soon after 
the terrible disaster at Fort Duquesne, was made the 
most of both in the colonies and in Britain. It was 
forgotten that the real object of the campaign was 
to seize and occupy the fortress which commanded 
Lake Champlain and the road to Canada ; whereas 
Johnson s victory, though highly creditable to a militia 
who had never been under fire, merely repulsed 
the French in their attack on British territory. The 
capture of their general beyond a doubt gave the 



success much 6clat. At any rate Johnson was made a 
baronet, presented with 5,000, and enjoyed what 
ever distinction there may have been in the title 
of " Our only hero, " bestowed on him by Horace 
Walpole. The loss of the British in the day s fighting 
was about 250, of whom the greater part were 
killed, the third Massachusetts regiment alone losing 
no less than 70 men, including the colonel and eight 
officers. The French loss was 120 killed and 123 

The new backwoods baronet, however, was regarded 
by many colonists as too much inclined just now to 
rest upon his laurels. His recent success, they 
thought, might well have justified a dash forward on 
Crown Point, and Colonel Lyman, chief of the New 
England troops, was eager for it. Johnson, however, 
declared that his men were not fit for any such 
adventure, that they were ill clad, discontented, and 
shaken in morale by the vigour of the late attack. 
Shirley himself urged it, but Johnson s honours had 
created a quite pardonable jealousy in the breast of that 
eager though unsuccessful amateur. Johnson, more 
over, was wounded, and would probably have had to 
depute the command to his rival Lyman, and Sir 
William, as we now must call him, like Shirley, was 
undoubtedly very human. He decided, therefore, to 
utilize what energies his men, in their somewhat 
miserable condition, still possessed, in building 
Fort William Henry. When the close of November 
put an end to the work, three thousand men in a 
state of semi-mutiny and half frozen for want of 
warm clothing in that rigorous northern clime turned 
their backs for the winter on the leafless snow- 
powdered forests and ruffled waters of Lake George 



and scattered each man to his shop or homestead to 
tell his tale of war and hardship and glory. 

Seven hundred men were left to garrison and 
strengthen the new fort, while at Ticonderoga on 
Lake Champlain, forty miles to the north, the French 
were equally busy with axe and saw. Here, amid the 
hush of the Northern winter, amid ice-bound lakes 
and mighty mountains wrapped in their mantle of 
snow, we will leave the outposts of the two rival 
nations to face each other, and to prepare as best 
they may for coming fights that were to prove 
bloodier and fiercer than any yet dreamt of either 
by the Canadian habitant or the Massachusetts 

But there was yet a fourth enterprise undertaken 
by the British in this notable year, 1755, which, 
though far removed from the scene of the others, and 
in itself neither bloody nor glorious, had at least the 
merit of being decisive. 

I have already spoken somewhat fully of the 
troubles with the Acadians, and made brief allusion 
to the crowning scene of their forcible removal, which 
occurred this year. The unquenchable yearning of 
the French to recover their long-lost province was 
by no means lessened by their successes elsewhere* 
The strong fort of Beausejour, that they had erected 
on the neck of the isthmus, in doubtful territory, but 
commanding the most troubled part of the English 
dominion of Nova Scotia, became a busy scene of 
intrigue and action. Nearly 2,000 men, French 
regulars and insurgent or outlawed Acadians, be 
sides large bands of Indians, were gathered either 
inside or within hail of it ; while at the far end of 
the province the great naval and military post of 



Louisbourg boded mischief no less dangerous. The 
recent English settlement of Halifax, now the capital 
of the province, and a few isolated forts containing 
each their handful of men, represented all the power 
available for resisting a French attack, and protect 
ing the scanty English settlers from the constant 
raiding of Acadians and Micmacs, hounded on by 
blatant priests and crafty politicians. Shirley, 
before starting on his luckless expedition to 
Niagara, had arranged with Colonel Laurence, 
Governor of Nova Scotia, to take the bull by the 
horns and sweep Beausejour and its whole nest of 
hornets out of existence. The English Government 
gave their assent, but Laurence had no troops to 
speak of, and once again the resourceful colony of 
Massachusetts was appealed to, and, as usual, not in 
vain. Colonel Monckton, second in command to 
Laurence, and whom we shall meet again on the 
Plains of Abraham, was sent to Boston, with a 
commission to raise two regiments of 1,000 men 
each. The recruiting was entrusted to Colonel 
Winslow, a provincial officer of good sense, position, 
and some experience, who in a short time paraded 
2,000 hardy rustics before the admiring eyes of 
their fellow-colonists upon the wharfs of the Puritan 
city. The muskets, however, which were due from 
England, were much less punctual than the men, and 
it was near the end of May before the transports 
cleared Boston Harbour, amid the cheers of a 
populace who only ten years previously had in 
the same hearty fashion sent out the victors 
of Louisbourg. On the last of the month the 
fleet was forging up the Bay of Fundy, and on 
the 1st of June, to the dismay of the French, 


; !i 

o -. 


dropped anchor off the mouth of the Missaquash, 
which divided their chief stronghold from its English 
rival, Fort Laurence. 

Beausejour was a well - planned fort of five 
bastions, and mounted with 32 guns and mortars. 
The nucleus of its garrison was some 150 regulars 
of the colonial marine, commanded by De Vergor, 
a captain in the same corps a person of indifferent 
principles and no compensating capacity. The 
fort was an outpost not merely of French strength, 
but also of French weakness in the shape of financial 
corruption. It ranked high in the list of good things 
doled out at Quebec to those who by personal ser 
vices sometimes creditable, sometimes unmention 
able to the governing clique, earned their due 
reward. De Vergor seems to have come under the 
latter category. None the less, however, did the all- 
powerful Bigot, Intendant of Canada, at once his 
debtor and his patron, urge him in a delightfully 
candid letter, still extant, to make hay while the sun 
shone, and out of his plunder purchase an e"state in 
France near him, his loving correspondent. The 
usual method of enrichment seems to have been the 
familiar one of charging the King of France for 
supplies that only existed on paper, and selling a 
considerable portion of such as were actually for 
warded for free distribution. 

De Vergor, however, did not develop into a pro 
prietor of French vineyards and forests. On the 
contrary, he was arraigned for misconduct in the 
affair I am about to describe, though we shall find 
him figuring again and at a critical moment before 
Quebec, with scarcely more credit. The first intima 
tion that on this occasion De Vergor had of an 



impending attack was the appearance of an English 
fleet off the fort. The infamous priest Le Loutre, 
spoken of in a former chapter, was now with him, 
and supplied all the energy that De Vergor might be 
lacking in, and a great deal to spare. Hundreds of 
Acadians, driven from their homesteads on British 
soil by the coercion of this savage fanatic rather 
than by any action of the English, were now wretched 
outcasts dependent on the none too liberal charity 
of the fort, and from their very despair useful tools 
for French aggression. With these and the regular 
garrison, and as many more from the settlements on 
the French side, some 1,200 men were mustered. 
Numbers of the wretched Acadians, seeing an English 
victory only too probable, begged De Vergor to go 
through the form of forcing them by threats to fight, 
so that they might excuse themselves, in the event 
of defeat, for being in arms against their lawful king. 
De Vergor grimly replied that he would not only 
threaten but shoot them if they failed him. 

The New England troops in the meantime were 
landed, and in conjunction with the small garrison 
of regulars from Fort Laurence laid formal siege to 
the French fortress, approaching it by parallels and 
with heavy cannon. They were attacked by Indians 
and Acadians from without the fort, and much less 
vigorously by the garrison from within ; but Winslow 
and his sturdy militiamen pressed the siege so 
strenuously that De Vergor, on hearing from Louis- 
bourg that help was impossible, surrendered in a 
fortnight. The capitulation was accompanied with 
some discreditable scenes of drunkenness and stealthy 
pillage on the part of the French officers, and much 
open but more venial plunder on that of the 



miserable Acadians. The fort was occupied by 
Colonel Scott, of the second Massachusetts regiment 
with 500 of his men. Winslow with another body 
crossed the narrow isthmus to the north shore, and 
took Fort Gaspereau, on Bay Verte, without opposi 

Nova Scotia, so far as military occupation went, 
was now wholly in British hands. But though rid of 
pressing danger from French forts and soldiers, it 
remained a seething hotbed of misery, treachery, 
and disorder. Its security was of vital importance 
to the British at this most crucial moment. For, 
similar reasons its recovery was no less an object 
with the French. The small handful of British 
regulars, with the raw and scant militia of the 
infant Halifax, would be ridiculously inadequate as 
a protecting force ; while the two Massachusetts 
regiments, in accordance with custom and necessity, 
were only enlisted for a season. A small force 
of French invaders, in the present temper of the 
Acadians, could count on their almost unanimous 
assistance. Hitherto any of these latter people 
who had abandoned their farms could return and 
make their peace without difficulty. Those who 
had remained at home could at any time insure the 
continued favour of the British Government by 
taking an unqualified oath of allegiance to King 
George, who had treated them with unbroken in 
dulgence, and under whose rule most of them had 
been actually born. Yet never had these strange 
people been more generally hostile than now, and 
at no time, thanks to magnified reports of French 
successes, had they been so insolent. It is not 
surprising that the patience of the British authori- 



ties at last gave out ; and Lawrence, though emi 
nently a just man, was not quite so soft-hearted as 
some of his predecessors. If the Acadians had pro 
fessed to have grievances, if they had even invented 
some, there would have been an opening at least for 
conciliation. But an attitude induced partly by 
superstitious terror and partly by intimidation 
through the medium of Indians and outlaws, and 
skilfully seasoned with false reports of French 
victories and conquests, was an impossible one. The 
French officials in Louisbourg and elsewhere betray 
in their existing letters the inward shame they 
felt at being compelled to connive at this heartless 
ruin of a whole population of ignorant peasants. 
They begged each other not to let the English 
officials with whom, as the farce of peace still 
existed, they were on civil terms suspect the part 
they were playing. But the limit of English 
forbearance had at last been reached, and the 
Acadians were to be given their ultimatum. 

A certain number of exiles had petitioned for 
reinstatement, and received it on taking the full 
oath, but the mass yet awaited the test. Time 
pressed, and none was lost. Shirley amid his 
own troubles on the far-off Mohawk was as strong 
as Lawrence for an ultimatum. The latter, after 
submitting the matter to his Council at Halifax, 
communicated his intentions to Monckton, Winslow 
and the other British officers. In every district 
it was then proclaimed that an unqualified oath of 
allegiance would be required from every inhabitant 
who had not already taken it. The appeal was re 
sponded to by deputations from the several districts, 
all making objections to the terms of the oath, chief 



among these being the liability to bear arms. Others 
made stipulations that the priests should be free 
from all supervision, which, bearing in mind that they 
were the political firebrands who were the root of 
the country s misery, and had already received far too 
much indulgence, was somewhat audacious ; and this 
more particularly since a Protestant was not allowed 
even to exist in Canada, fortunately for the future 
of Anglo-Saxon supremacy beyond the Atlantic. No 
regret was expressed by the Acadians for the fashion 
in which they had repaid near forty years of indulgent 
treatment ; no apology offered for the attacks upon 
English garrisons in conjunction with French troops, 
nor for the barbarous raiding and murdering of British 
settlers. Lawrence went so far as to promise them 
that, for the present at any rate, they should not be 
liable to military service. It was in vain that firmly 
and kindly he reminded them of the consistent in 
dulgence shown them by the King of England, and 
explained how impossible it was that he should 
tolerate such a grudging return. But it was neither 
the King of England, nor the King of France, nor 
any question of race or patriotism, that these in 
fatuated people had in their minds, but the fear of 
eternal damnation, which the Bishop of Quebec, 
through his all too zealous missioners, had struck 
deep into their unsophisticated souls, and the dread 
of Le Loutre s Micmac Indians. 

" Then," at last said Lawrence, " you are no longer 
subjects of the King of England, but of the King of 
France. You will be treated as such, and removed 
from the country." At this they were staggered, 
and most of them relenting, professed a willingness to 
take the oath. " No," said Lawrence ; " you have had 



your opportunity and rejected it. Such an oath as 
you would now take, and such loyalty as mere fear 
extorts from you, is worthless. We shall now have 
regard solely to the king s interests, and the con 
sequences must rest on your own heads." I have 
here endeavoured to condense what extended in fact 
over many interviews, much tedious going to and 
fro of deputations, and much consultation in the 
Acadian villages. 

It was the middle of July when Lawrence and 
Winslow commenced that final step which has made 
such a harrowing picture for the somewhat ill-in 
structed sympathies of half a dozen generations of 
Britons and Americans. The troops were divided 
into four or five bodies, and marched through the 
province to the chief centres of population, which 
were mostly on the western shore. The object in hand 
was kept a dead secret from all but the leading British 
officers. Winslow had command at Grandpre, and has 
kept a useful journal of the whole business. Septem 
ber the 5th was the day decided upon for action, when 
the officer of each district was to summon all its 
able-bodied men to come and hear the intentions of 
the king towards them. Accustomed to regard the 
rare bark of the British Government as infinitely 
worse than its still rarer bite, they came in a large 
proportion of their strength, and without a thought 
of the trap that was being laid for them, to hear 
what suggestions that benign shadow, the King of 
England, had to make for their future. 

The parish church in most cases was the appointed 
rendezvous, and there the king s orders were read aloud 
to them by the officer in command. These were to the 
effect that all such Acadians as had not already 



taken the oath were to be shipped out of the country 
with their families ; that their lands and stock, 
which at any time till now they could have saved 
by an oath of allegiance to a king " who had treated 
them with greater indulgence than any of his sub 
jects in any part of his dominions," were forfeited to 
the Crown. Their money only, and such household 
goods as there might be room for in the ships, they 
were to be allowed to take. 

The wretched Acadians were dumbf oundered at the 
nature of this announcement. Many refused to 
believe it. They were, however, prisoners, with only 
too much time before them for the terrible truth to 
sink into their minds. There was no escape, for 
outside the churches stood the New England soldiery, 
in their blue uniforms, with loaded muskets. The 
number of Acadians secured on this fifth of Septem 
ber varied in the several districts. Everywhere, how 
ever, it was supplemented by forays of the British 
troops, which became no easy matter when the dire 
ful news spread abroad. The transports for remov 
ing the emigrants were dilatory in their arrivals. 
Winslow and his brother officers chafed at the delay, 
for their small divided force was none too strong, and, 
moreover, as humane men, they heartily detested the 
job. No hint, however, comes down from any of 
them that, under the circumstances, there was any 
alternative, which is significant. There seems, in 
deed, to have been but one opinion as to its necessity. 
It is not for us to dwell here on the details of this 
melancholy deportation. All the women and 
children who so desired could go, and every care 
was made to keep together not only families, but 
so far as possible neighbours. Many did not 

129 K 


believe the sentence would be actually carried out 
till the first detachments were marched on board 
ship at the bayonet s point. The whole wretched 
business occupied over two months. About six 
thousand in all were deported, while more than 
half that number were left behind in Acadia, to say 
nothing of as many more who had fled into French 
territory. Some of these became practically outlaws, 
and harassed the British till the close of the war. 
But their sting was drawn : the province rapidly 
became in the main British by race as well as by 
territory, hastened to this end by the fall of Louis- 
bourg, of which we shall hear anon. 

The hapless emigrants were distributed throughout 
the English colonies. That people so profoundly 
ignorant and bigoted as the Acadians did not flourish 
when pitchforked thus on to alien soil, is not sur 
prising. Nor is it more so by the same token that 
the British colonists upon whom they were uncere 
moniously precipitated, showed no alacrity to receive 
them. * Their after wanderings, which were wide, and 
subsequent groupings, are of interest to the American 
ethnologist, but do not concern us here. It will be 
sufficient to say that, of all the communities upon 
whom they were cast, the uncompromising heretics 
of Massachusetts exhibited most practical charity, 
while it was the exiles who found their way to Quebec, 
to their co-religionists and their own countrymen, 
whose tools they had been, that fared the worst. 

1 In South Carolina, as elsewhere, money was subscribed for their 
provision ; and many of the exiles were bound over to work for up- 
country planters. Several outrages were attempted or committed 
by them, and a body of fifty seized a sloop and put to sea with a 
view to returning to Acadia. 



It would be unprofitable to examine here to 
what extent this radical operation was justifiable. 
The reader must pass his own judgment on it. 
It will be well, however, to remember that the 
year was not 1900, but 1755 ; that the perpetrators 
of it, colonists and British officials, were confronted 
with what proved one of the most pregnant struggles 
in modern history, and were ill equipped for it ; that 
they had treated these people with a consistent in 
dulgence that had then no parallel under such 
circumstances ; that the lives and fortunes of 4,000 
peaceful English settlers on the Halifax side of 
the province were in daily jeopardy ; and lastly, that 
a considerable number of the exiles themselves 
had their hands red with the blood of Englishmen, 
not killed in fair fight, but murdered in Indian 
fashion while peacefully pursuing their daily avo 
cations on British soil. 

While the Northern colonies were busy spending 
blood and treasure in strenuous, if unavailing, efforts 
to beat back the French, the people of the middle 
and Southern provinces were in a helpless condition, 
and engaged in mutual recriminations of the bitterest 

At the close of the last chapter we left an Indian 
war raging along the far-extended and defenceless 
frontier. The first line of settlement from Pennsyl 
vania to the Carolinas, that of the log cabin and the 
raw stump-strewn clearing, had been wiped out. 
The second belt, where the grandsons of its pioneers 
were living in comfortable houses, surrounded by 
orchards, meadows, and cornfields, was now a scene 
of blood and terror, and ringing with the unfamiliar 
sound of the Indian war-whoop. The third line, 



that of those old settlements remote from the moun 
tains, and hugging the sea or the tidal rivers, where 
wealth, education, and political power centred, 
was, in the meantime, regarding the woes of its 
compatriots with a philosophy that has earned the 
trenchant criticism of the historian, and caused a 
world of anger at the time. 

We have seen how Washington, with a thousand 
raw soldiers, low-class Southern white men, to whom 
authority was specially odious, was struggling in 
defence of a frontier nearly four hundred miles in 
length. Virginia, it should be said, was notoriously 
touchy on the subject of her boundaries. Her white 
population at this time was larger than that of the 
Transvaal Boers to-day, who have placed some forty 
or fifty thousand men in the field. It was three times 
that of Natal, who has sent out to war many thousands 
of her best sons upon no greater provocation. Her 
frontier counties were swimming in blood and ringing 
with passionate appeals for succour. It was an occa 
sion, one would have supposed, when the sons of her 
numerous aristocracy and still more numerous yeo 
manry would have responded in thousands to the 
call of their own harried people at least, if not to 
that of the mother country. They were an outdoor 
people, bred to the use of horse and gun, and 
cherished the sort of pride that, without the martial 
ingredient, seems to lack significance. The exist 
ence of slavery made even their time very much 
their own. The fear of a slave insurrection might 
influence the numbers available for distant adven 
ture ; but one looks in vain among the squires and 
yeomanry of the Southern colonies for the faintest 
spark, at this burning period, of the spirit that 



one would particularly expect in such a class. 
The natural fire of youth and love of glory and 
adventure, to say nothing of patriotic sentiment, 
that was so conspicuously present with after genera 
tions of the same breed, seems in this one to have 
been almost an unknown quantity. Considerably 
less than half the officers who commanded the few 
hundred ill-paid mercenaries that so tortured 
Washington belonged to the gentry class, and repre 
sented their total contribution to the defence of 
their province, and the long and fierce struggle with 

A mere handful of Washington s own class are 
grouped round his youthful and commanding figure 
in this war. Whatever may have been the virtues 
of the Southern planter of this generation and they 
were not inconsiderable the love of soldiering and 
a generous public spirit were assuredly not among 
them. But the Virginia legislature at least voted 
money for raising mercenaries, and professed much 
good intention ; while that of Maryland in reluctant 
fashion followed suit. Pennsylvania, however, as a- 
province was much more than apathetic. Her west 
ern counties were scourged even yet more cruelly 
than those of her Southern neighbours, and the 
cry from the scene of slaughter grew passionate 
and fierce towards the smug burghers of Phila 
delphia who held the provincial purse-strings. There 
were no country gentlemen to speak of in Pennsyl 
vania. Broadly speaking, the main element of the 
frontier was Scotch Irish, that of the middle counties 
German, and of the east, with the preponderating city 
of Philadelphia, Quaker. The latter was opposed to 
war of any sort on principle, and his secure position 



made his conscience and his comfort run pleasantly 
together. The Quakers by numbers and influence 
controlled the legislature, and to the tales of 
blood and horror that came pouring in from the 
borders they replied with homilies and platitudes. 
Braddock s defeat was a judgment for having inter 
fered with the French ! The slaughter of Presby 
terian families upon the border, who were replacing 
the shaggy forests with fields of wheat and corn, was 
a visitation of God for some assumed bad faith in 
former days with the Indians ! For in the eyes of a 
Philadelphia Quaker a Presbyterian could do no right, 
while a red man could scarcely do wrong. To have 
argued the question with such a man from a 
logical point of view would have been to argue 
with a stick or a stone. He was snug in his brick 
house in the fattest city of all the colonies, and 
with closed eyes and deprecating, uplifted palms at 
the bare suggestion of men taking arms in defence of 
their lives he comes down to us a pretty figure at a 
time when strong men above all things were so 
sorely needed. He had his uses and his virtues, but 
they were not the kind required at the present 
moment. Some interesting attempts have been 
made by Philadelphia writers in recent years to 
defend the action of their Quaker ancestors in this 
particular, and to upset the verdict of history. They 
do not strike one as particularly convincing, while 
the natural partiality that inspires them is obvious. 
The German had hitherto backed the Quaker 
interest in opposing colonial defence. But now the 
tomahawk had reached the German settlements, and 
sentiments that were avowedly selfish swung round 
in an instant at the sight of German scalps. The 



Pennsylvanians of the west, regardless now of 
racial cleavages, vowed that if money and arms 
and men were not voted, they would march on 
the capital and bring the legislature to its senses 
by fair means or foul. It is a long story, but the 
pressure growing irresistible the assembly saw 
that they might at least enjoy, while yielding, the 
ever - welcome luxury of quarrelling with their 
Governor, who was of course a nominee, or agent 
rather of the Penn family, the proprietors of the 
province, and at the same time thwarting their 
persecutors and withholding the relief demanded. 
So having voted the money, they made the vote con 
ditional on a taxation of the Penn estates. This, they 
well knew, the Governor had no power to grant, and 
the Penns could not be heard from under three 
months. In the meantime the bill would remain 
unsigned, and the Government be placed in the 
position of an obstructor. It sounds plausible enough 
that the Proprietors estates should be taxed like the 
rest, but the Penns lands were in the wilderness, 
they brought in no income, and had been made 
unsaleable by the destruction of the frontier before 
them a state of matters largely induced by the 
-apathy of the legislature. The latter, too, had stipu 
lated that these lands should be assessed for taxation 
by their own officials. The Penns case even in time 
of peace would seem a strong one when it is further 
considered that the province owed its very existence 
to their father ; but these were the details for which 
the colonial legislatures loved to struggle. No 
other body, however, but that of Pennsylvania would 
probably have weighed such a trifle against the lives 
and safety of its people. The Penns in the meantime, 



ignorant of the deadlock, had sent out 5,000 as a 
voluntary contribution an amount which, judged by 
the standard of the time and the war-chest of the 
province, could give the greatest cavillers no ground 
for complaint. In course of time, though too late to 
save hundreds of human lives and an infinity of 
human suffering, ruin and loss, Western Pennsyl 
vania got relief, but its trials extended far into 
a period which covered coming events of more 
immediate import here. 




IN spite of her triumphs both in attack and defence, 
Canada spent but a miserable winter. The 
exigencies of war had sadly interfered with the 
saving of what at the best would have been but an 
indifferent harvest. Something like a famine pre 
vailed, and the bakers shops were besieged by 
hungry crowds. English cruisers watched the mouth 
of the St. Lawrence with exceeding vigilance, and 
France, who had frequently been compelled to pro 
vide with bread this her colony of agriculturists 
and hunters on a virgin soil, found it no easy matter 
to come this winter to her aid. 

It was in such emergencies as these, however, that 
the official clique, who kept a tight grip on Canada, 
waxed fat. Bigot, who as Intendant had the handling 
of finances and supplies, was a very prince of Cor- 
ruptionists, though possessing some good qualities and 
considerable ability. He had, moreover, raised from 
obscurity and gathered around him a gang of 
underlings who had even less breeding and fewer good 
qualities than himself, were little behind him in wits, 
and more than his equal in unscrupulousness. That 
strange medley, the so-called noblesse of Canada, 
were very easily passed in the race for power by 
such adventurers. The regimental and staff officers 
from France represented another element who de- 



spised both classes, but in such banishment were 
inclined to pocket their prejudices and take such 
social comfort as was thrown in their way. Out 
of this mixed material a queer though lively society 
was evolved at Quebec and Montreal. In spite of 
French military aristocrats, local titles of nobility, 
and a haughty Church, official society seems to 
have been far more Bohemian, less socially exclusive, 
and much more scandalous than that of New York, 
Boston, or Williamsburg. But if Canada was short in 
food and money, the new commander-in-chief , Mont- 
calm, who now arrived with two fresh battalions, was a 
host in himself, and had a staff that was worthy of 
him. Let us now, however, turn for a moment to 
Europe, and see how the nations were grouping 
themselves for the fiercest struggle of the century, 
and also what manner of men were those who at this 
critical moment guided the destinies of England. 

These last, indeed, were but an indifferent company, 
and the state of the country was anything but 
ifa^ hopeful. Pitt was still, and destined to be for some 
time longer, without power. The dead weight of the 
ridiculous Newcastle, that " hoary jobber," clinging 
at all costs to office, poisoned the springs of English 
action in every field, and Pitt s eloquence found con 
genial and temporary employment in laying bare 
with withering satire the Premier s contemptible 
littleness. Through the whole of this winter and 
spring there were constant alarms of a French 
invasion. " I want," said Pitt, in a flash of prophetic 
inspiration, " to call this country out of a condition 
so enervated that twenty thousand men from France 
can shake it." But for the present he had to possess 
his soul in patience, and expend his eloquence on 




the ill conduct of public affairs. The fleet, how 
ever, was numerous and well manned, though be 
wildered by enigmatic and conflicting orders, which 
its captains interpreted according to the popular 
spirit rather than dally over conundrums ; seizing 
French vessels, that is to say, wherever they could 
find them, and blockading Canada with considerable 
success. The French, whose policy was changing, 
at this moment of all others, from an American 
one of great conceptions to a European one that 
offered no prospect worth mentioning, were in no 
hurry to proclaim war with England. Her Gov 
ernment was anxious to accept, not to make, a 
declaration of hostilities. It professed horror and 
amazement at the depredations of British ships upon 
French commerce, and by way of emphasizing these 
protests released with much ostentation a British 
vessel that had been brought as a prize into a French 

France had, in fact, been turned by frivolous coun 
sellors from her lofty transatlantic dreams to a mere 
conflict of passion and military glory. The leading 
object of her attack was now to be Frederick of 
Prussia, against whom that European coalition was 
forming which plunged the Continent into the horrors 
of the Seven Years War. What caused Frederick, 
with his five million subjects, his small and compara 
tively poor realm, and above all his formidable army, 
to be the object of such widespread enmity is 
sufficiently familiar. He had insulted two potent 
ladies of indifferent virtue, and robbed a third who 
was virtuous but justifiably vengeful. This female 
trio represented France, Russia, and Austria. With 
respect to the latter, Maria Theresa had a legitimate 



grievance and much reason in her wrath, for Fred 
erick had robbed her of Silesia. Catherine of Russia 
was stung to fury by his coarse jests at her somewhat 
notorious weakness for Grenadiers. As for Madame 
de Pompadour, she had not only been the subject of 
the Prussian king s continuous raillery, but had been 
treated by him with personal contumely, and this 
lady governed both her royal lover and France. An 
alliance between these three great powers was pre 
paring throughout the winter of 1755-56, and with the 
addition of Sweden and Saxony, was cemented before 
the opening of summer, constituting, in the words of 
Pitt, " the most powerful and malignant confederacy 
that ever yet has threatened the independence of 

But France, with the certainty of a war with 
England, had done more than give up the substance 
of American empire for the shadow of European 
glory, if indeed glory there could be in a coalition 
representing ninety million souls against a single 
province representing five. For she was exposing 
her very existence in the New World to the gravest 
risk of complete extinction. To the French 
champions of the Canadian policy, to the brave men 
across the Atlantic who were so gallantly inaugur 
ating it, and who divined, or thought they divined, a 
dazzling future, this turn of the political weather 
cock must have been bitter indeed ; and the more 
so, seeing the comparative weakness which dis 
tinguished at this moment their great rival. That 
rival s fleet was strong, but her councils and her 
generals appeared to be contemptible, and her army 
had been let down to twenty thousand men. Nor 
could they, nor any one, know that England was in 



labour of a leader who was to shake the world to its 
uttermost limits. 

Let us suppose there had been no Pompadour, and 
that a wholesome monarch, such as indeed was Louis 
XV. himself in earlier life, aided by clear-sighted 
ministers, had been ruling France. Can there be a 
moment s doubt but that she would have turned to 
face with her whole strength her only real rival ? If 
then she had lavished one-half nay, one-quarter 
of the blood and treasure in America that was idly 
squandered on European battlefields, who dare say in 
what colours the map of North America would now 
be painted ? The mastery of the seas it is possible 
no effort on the part of France could have won, but 
with energy she could certainly have become strong 
enough to prevent anything like an effective block 
ade of so vast a line, and could have poured troops 
and supplies into Quebec, Louisbourg, or New 
Orleans in sufficient abundance for every practical 
purpose. Let us be permitted, too, to conceive our 
neighbours drawing an object-lesson from the pros 
perity of the British colonies which stared them in 
the face, and abandoning that religious bigotry which 
so hampered their own expansion. Let us suppose 
that France had chosen to do what some of her best 
Catholic soldiers had so often urged ceased, that is 
to say, from treating her Huguenots as ravening 
wolves, and hounding them from all her borders to 
become a strength and comfort to her rivals, and 
given them instead the toleration under their own 
flag that they had to seek for under others. Can 
there be any doubt that, in such an event, thousands 
of the most virile people in France would have 
sought the shores of French America, and would 



have aided and secured that expansion of dominion 
which was the one worthy dream of an ignoble 
epoch ? A wise policy, too, could have beyond a doubt 
attracted to New France, and most certainly to an 
occupied Ohio Valley, those Catholics of other nation 
alities who, while they found bare toleration at the 
best in the British colonies, would have preferred 
a region where their creed was greeted with a 
warmer welcome. 

But these are idle, if interesting, speculations. 
Destiny decreed otherwise, and it is not for Britons 
at any rate to quarrel with her scheme. France 
spurned the great opportunity of her national life, 
and, with a folly that to us now seems little short of 
madness, lavished her resources in attempting to dis 
member a small country whose defeat would merely 
serve to strengthen her already powerful allies. 

The Pompadour, however, must by no means get 
the whole of the blame ; for the French noblesse, who 
now swarmed like locusts about the Court and in 
the army, would probably have shown but slight 
enthusiasm for the rigours and inglorious hardships 
of an American campaign. They were ready at all 
times to fight and to die, but this was a generation 
to whom fine clothes, fine living, and an artificial 
atmosphere were necessaries second only to their 
honour. If fight they must, they would have much 
preferred to die gloriously after a supper of cham 
pagne and truffles, and perhaps under the very eyes of 
their mistresses, in the trenches of a Flemish town, 
rather than perish, and their deeds with them, in the 
trackless forests of America. 

So Canada was from henceforth left in a great 
measure to its own resources, and to such support 



as had been already sent there. The general war 
in Europe did not break out till August, but in the 
spring France, turning from all thoughts of a de 
scent on England, made a swoop upon Minorca, which 
for forty years had been a valued possession of the 
British. The stubborn defence of Blakeney with 
under 3,000 men against an immensely superior French 
force is not so familiar as the failure of Admiral 
Byng with the English fleet to relieve that gallant 
officer, and the story of his subsequent execution. 
The merits of this do not concern us here, but 
after such glaring hostilities, not in the backwoods 
of America, but in the full sight of Europe, the farce 
of peace could no longer in decency be maintained, 
and war was formally declared against France upon 
May the eighteenth, 1756. 

With all her ill-advised change of policy, France 
had not wholly neglected Canada. She had sent 
there one of her very best soldiers, who was to cover 
himself with glory before he perished in her ruin. 
For at the very moment when England declared war, 
Montcalm, with 1,200 men of the admirable regiments 
of La Sarre and Royal Rousillon, was slowly pushing 
his way up towards Quebec, through the drifting ice 
floes of the St. Lawrence. 

Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon de 
Saint-Veran, was a native of the South of France, 
and proprietor of the hereditary but much-en 
cumbered estate of Candiac, near Nimes. He was 
now in his forty-fifth year. He had seen much ser 
vice on European fields, had been twice severely 
wounded, and had distinguished himself much of tener. 
He was the best type of a French gentleman of the 
eighteenth century, and a type none too common at 



this particular epoch. Unlike most of his kind, when 
off duty, he was able to bear a rural life with some 
thing more than equanimity. He could exist con 
tentedly outside the meretricious sunshine of 
Versailles, and was never indeed so happy as when 
settled at Candiac in the midst of his family, for 
both of which he cherished a most ardent affec 

In his soldierly way he was both cultured and 
religious ; above all, he was brave, honest, and 
patriotic. For such a man there was certainly not 
much profit to be looked for in a Canadian command 
a matter to which Montcalm with ten children and 
an encumbered estate could not be indifferent. With 
equal certainty there was much hardship in prospect, 
and no great likelihood of a successful termination 
to the struggle. Montcalm s private letters, cheery 
though they are, show how little he appreciated 
his long banishment from home and friends and 
country, and indicate pretty plainly how patriotic 
were his motives and how admirable his princi 
ples. With him went De Levis and De Bourlamaque 
as second and third in command, both excellent 
soldiers ; while his aide-de-camp was Bougainville s 
the diarist of these campaigns, and the famous 
traveller of later years. 

The Governor of Canada in the meantime, with 
all the typical vanity of that Canadian nation 
ality he so greatly affected, would gladly have 
dispensed with professional assistance and himself 
conducted the military as well as the civil affairs 
of the colony. De Vaudreuil s hints to the home 
Government, however, as to the advantages of such 
an arrangement were thrown away, and he had to 



put the best face he could on the situation, which, to 
judge by Montcalm s letters, who as yet knew nothing 
of these heart-burnings, was a very good one. The 
general, to be sure, was nominally under the Governor s 
orders ; but it is not difficult to estimate what force 
these would have in the stress of a fight for existence. 
A civilian, it will be remembered, was also in com 
mand of the British American forces at this moment. 
But there, on the contrary, it was by no means 
certain the coming change was for the better. 
Shirley was not a heaven-born general, but there 
were many people of good judgment who thought 
that he was at any rate better than his immediate 
successors. He had sense, energy, and some gift for 
procuring and adopting the best advice ; he also 
knew the country and the people. His recent failure 
against Niagara was entirely venial ; but he was 
loudly blamed later on for not having properly 
victualled the garrison he had left to winter at 
Oswego. The omission had caused great sickness 
and suffering. The sentries, so credible witnesses 
declared, were so weak from want of food that they 
had to go on duty with a stick to keep themselves 
from falling, while the mortality was considerable. 
The rumours of Shirley s supercession which were 
rife throughout the winter were officially confirmed 
in February. He -put aside, however, the mortifica 
tion which vexed his soul most deeply, and worked 
with zeal and honesty in preparations for the coming 

It is hardly necessary to remark that campaigning 
on any serious scale was out of the question in the 
Northern colonies till the woods and lakes had been 
loosed from their wintry burden by the warm winds 

145 L 


of April, and wholly freed from it by the suns of 
May. Even armies in Europe at that day went 
into winter quarters, and suspended operations by 
a sort of unwritten agreement, as if war were 
in truth a game to be played under conventional 
rules. But the colonial forces, after leaving slender 
garrisons in a few isolated snow-bound outposts, not 
only went into winter quarters, but to their homes 
each man to his farm, his office, or his shop. He 
ceased to be a soldier, and it rested entirely with 
himself whether he ever would be again. With the 
exception of a few permanent companies, the colonies 
had every year to form practically a fresh army, and 
that under difficulties which were very great, though 
in part of their own making. That troops would be 
required, and in greater numbers than ever before, 
for the season of 1756, was now very evident. New 
England, the chief source of supply, had been much 
discouraged, partly by the military failures of the 
preceding year and partly by the large debt its outlay 
had accumulated. Though full of zeal in her stolid, 
undemonstrative fashion, it was with profound 
satisfaction that, as an eminently business-like people, 
she heard of the substantial sum of 115,000 voted 
her by the British Parliament for past expenses, and, 
greatly cheered, girded up her loins for a renewal 
of the contest. 

Shirley was in a strange position. He had to plan 
the campaigns for the coming season, and trust to 
their meeting with the approval of his successors, 
who seemed in no hurry to take up their responsi 
bilities. There was in truth no wide field of choice. 
The two nations, as I have before remarked, could 
only strike each other by land in serious fashion 



on the two lines l with which my readers are, I 
trust, now familiar. Oswego, the extremity of the 
western route, and no longer a mere base for an 
attack on Niagara, called loudly for support, and was 
in fact in imminent danger. On the northern route 
the French held Crown Point and Ticonderoga, 
being thus omnipotent on Lake Champlain, while the 
British, forty miles to the southward, had their out 
posts at the head of Lake George. It was the 
obvious object of each to drive the other back the 
one on Albany, with a possibility of capturing it ; the 
other on Montreal, with about the same prospect of 
success. The French, however, of the two, would be 
more strictly on the defensive. Whatever their hopes 
of Western ^dominion, they had no serious thoughts 
of doing more than temporary damage to the old 
British colonies, while the English, in view of their 
numerical superiority, could fairly regard the con 
quest of Canada as a possibility. A second expe 
dition to Duquesne was of course an inevitable 
move, both to avenge Braddock and to destroy 
the hornets nest that was ravaging the frontiers 
of Pennsylvania and Virginia. But without the help 
of these two provinces the venture was impos 
sible ; and, as we have seen, they were scarcely able 
at this moment to protect themselves. 

The Earl of Loudon had been appointed to succeed 
Shirley, but he did not arrive till August, and in the 
interval General Abercrombie, with Colonel Webb as 
second in command, acted as substitute. These two 
officers landed in June, and, with their tardy chief, 

1 The route to Fort Duquesne, or the third line of attack, was of 
course the very reverse of a natural artery, and only necessitated 
by temporary conditions. 



constituted perhaps the most indifferent trio that 
were ever inflicted at one blow upon a British army. 
Poor Shirley got little thanks either from his succes 
sors or the home Government for his faithful and 
unquestionably useful services. He had, moreover, 
lost two sons in the recent campaigns. 

It was always a cumbersome business getting the 
New England troops into the field, not on account of 
lack of zeal, but of the jealousies which would not 
tolerate any central system of organization. Each 
colony insisted on retaining in its own hands the 
transport and maintenance of its forces, and each 
watched its neighbours narrowly, lest their burden of 
labour and war contribution should be proportion 
ately less than its own. Usually, too, they strictly 
limited the sphere on which their troops were to act. 
Their method of raising an army, after the legisla 
ture had voted the money, was in the first instance 
to call for volunteers. If this did not produce the 
fully required result, the colonels of militia were in 
structed to muster their regiments, and draft out of 
them the number of men still needed. Most brought 
their own firearms ; those who did not were supplied 
with them, in addition to hats, uniforms of blue 
cloth, knapsacks, powder horns, and canteens. This 
year each man received a bounty of six dollars on 
enlistment, and, as a private, twenty-six shillings a 
month as pay. In addition to their rations, a gill of 
rum was served out daily ; while, if they misbehaved 
themselves, republicans in habit of life though they 
were, handcuffs and the wooden horse, and even 
the whipping post, were the manner of their punish 
ment. This division of authority caused much con 
fusion and no little ill temper among the heads 



of the army. "I wish to God," wrote Loudon to 
Winslow, " you could make your people go all one 
way " ; while a poor commissary of provincial troops 
complains that all the thanks he gets for his en 
deavours to supply them is to be called a d d 

Albany and the neighbouring banks of the Hudson 
formed now, as ever, the point of concentration for all 
the Northern forces, both those destined for Lake 
George and those intended for Oswego. The first 
were to be nearly all New England troops, and by 
slow degrees some seven thousand men were gathered 
in two large camps, or near them the one at Fort 
William Henry, on Lake George, the scene of Dies- 
kau s repulse ; the other at Fort Edward, fourteen 
miles nearer Albany, on the Hudson. The first was 
commanded by our old friend Winslow, the pro 
vincial officer of Acadian celebrity now ranking as 
a general ; the second under that still more capable 
New England colonel, Lyman, who, it may be 
remembered, supported Johnson at the same place in 
the previous year. Here the troops waited for 
Loudon, and suffered all the evils and discomforts 
inevitable to a mob of amateur soldiers, indifferently 
provided for and left for a prolonged period of com 
parative inactivity in a wilderness. Of occupation of 
sorts there was enough in strengthening the fortifi 
cations, clearing the forest around them, improving 
the fourteen miles of road over the portage, and 
building the large fleet of whale-boats and batteaux 
which would be required for conveying the army 
down the lake to Ticonderoga. 

The fighting was confined on both sides to small 
scouting and scalping parties, who vied with each 



other in deeds of daring and endurance, and supped 
their fill of the horrors of Indian warfare, and la petite 
guerre. The bulk of the troops, ignorant of the 
first principles of camp sanitation, sickened by thou 
sands, and died literally by hundreds, in a region of 
itself notoriously healthy. Their officers, in the 
absence of more stirring work, found all too much 
time for airing those jealousies inevitable to an ill- 
disciplined force composed of the soldiers of four 
or five different Governments. The godly chaplains 
of New England, who had accompanied their flocks 
to the field, bewailed their backslidings when freed 
from the eye of the village minister and the village 
deacon. Their rousing sermons were often but ill 
attended, and not at all, they complain, by the senior 
officers, who drank punch and smoked in their tents, 
not only during the hours of divine service, but 
actually in sight of the open-air congregation. The 
rank and file, if they could not escape the preacher s 
regular exhortations, took to cursing and swearing 
as kindly as if they had been born in Wapping, or 
had served in Flanders ! 

When, in August, Loudon at length reached Al 
bany, he found himself seriously embarrassed by one 
of those amazing blunders to which British Govern 
ments, in dealing with colonials, have in former days 
been so prone, and perhaps are not yet wholly cured 
of. A special order had come out from England 
that no provincial officer, under any circumstances, 
should rank higher than a senior captain of regulars. 
In other words, a British major of one-and-twenty, 
who had never seen a shot fired and there were 
plenty such in the army of that day would take 
precedence in the field of a provincial brigadier or 



colonel, of veterans like Winslow and Lyman, for 
instance ; of Johnson, Bradstreet, or George Washing 
ton ! The colonial officers were ablaze with indigna 
tion, as well they may have been. London, who was 
himself a wooden kind of man, and had certainly no 
tenderness for provincials, was greatly exasperated. 
There was no question of rescinding the order, no hope 
of compromise, nor authority to grant it. The officers 
of New England regiments threatened to go home in 
a body. Loudon appealed to Winslow, who was a 
broad-minded, sensible man, to use his influence ; and 
he brought his people to see that there was nothing 
for it at present but to swallow the uncalled-for and 
ill-timed slight. Fortunately, no movements of im 
portance took place to test the strain ; but the sore 
rankled. British officers of that day were only too 
prone, by their supercilious attitude, to wound the 
susceptibilities of their colonial brothers in arms. It 
is, of course, only the old story of the professional and 
the volunteer added to that of the Briton and the 
colonial, which no one who has lived in British 
colonies would require to have elaborated. This sore 
feeling was a conspicuous feature of the war. It is 
well known to have been one of the irritants that 
prepared the soil for the Revolution. One would 
be inclined to think that it was peculiarly an English 
failing ; but, as a matter of fact, something very 
like it prevailed in Montcalm s army. But this special 
order was another thing altogether. It was not a 
mere question of tact or manners, but a blunder of 
the worst kind. 

It was issued at a critical moment in face of the 
enemy, and would have delayed, if not hampered, 
London s attack ; but Loudon would in no case 



probably have now attacked. Nearly six thousand 
French were at Ticonderoga, at the near end of 
Lake Champlain, strongly entrenched. Twice their 
number could not have moved them, and Loudon, 
though by the close of summer he had 10,000 men 
under his command, including the sick and the 35th 
regiment (Otway s), which had just come out, 900 
strong, considered that the effort was hopeless. 
Rumours of a French attack from time to time 
came drifting up the long, narrow waters of Lake 
George ; but the French, strong for defence, could 
no more attack Loudon than he could attack them. 
Thus the summer passed away in costly inactivity, 
and when the ice spread once more over lake and 
stream, when the green mountains of Vermont were 
no longer green, and the Adirondacks showed a snowy 
carpet beneath their naked woodlands, French and 
English were both more firmly lodged than in the 
previous year, but neither were one whit more 

Loudon was a melancholy and irascible man. He 
was in no sense fitted for his position, but he can 
hardly be held responsible for the barrenness of the 
season s campaigns on Lake George, unless, indeed, 
his late arrival in America may be held against 
him. He would have enough to answer for in the 
following year, though his blunders, unlike those of 
his brother generals, were to be those rather of omis 
sion than of misguided action. 

In the early part of this year a royal commission 
had been sent out to Sir William Johnson, appointing 
him colonel and sole superintendent of the Six 
Nation Indians and responsible to the Crown alone. 
Colonial dealings with these Indians, chiefly carried 



on by the Dutch traders of Albany and New York, 
had worked incalculable mischief. The French 
were striving more vigorously than ever, by bribes 
and threats, to win over the Six Nations, and the 
latter, growing more disheartened as English prestige 
declined, were now in a dangerous state of hesitation. 
Matters were indeed so serious that Johnson made a 
perilous journey through forests, alive with French 
and Indian freebooters, to the Six Nation capital at 
Onandaga, and after a fortnight of that sensational 
diplomacy he understood so well, he had secured at 
any rate their neutrality. He raised his voice, too, 
further afield, and tried to stem the raiding hordes 
of Delawares and Shewaiioes, who were still deso 
lating the frontiers of the middle colonies. Some 
of these actually came at his summons all the way 
to Fort Johnson, where, amid great ceremonies, much 
din of war-cries and riotous dancing, and floods 
of rum, he exacted promises from them which 
possibly a few kept. But these nations, save those 
small broken bands which had already joined the 
French, were secured to neutrality, and this, from 
their midway situation between the rival armies, 
was a point of immeasurable importance. 

While nothing of moment was achieved this season 
by either side at the principal seat of war, a disaster 
befell the British arms to the westward, as great as 
that of Braddock s defeat in the preceding year. 
This was the fall and destruction of Oswego, whose 
garrison has been already alluded to as weak in 
numbers and half starved. The route thither from 
Albany was guarded at certain spots by rude forts. 
One of these had been attacked and destroyed by 
a flying column of French and Indians in the dead 



of winter. Shirley, conscious of Oswego s weakness 
but short of troops, had in the early spring struck 
out a new departure and engaged two thousand 
boatmen and whaling hands from the coast to 
carry supplies to the Ontario fort, arming them with 
guns and tomahawks. Bradstreet, another colonial 
colonel of sense, zeal, and daring, and some military 
experience, was placed in command. The outward 
journey, up the Mohawk and its feeders, with a port- 
age across the watershed and thence down into 
Oneida Lake and the Oswego River, was achieved 
without opposition. On the return journey, how 
ever, Bradstreet, whose force was in three divisions, 
was stoutly attacked about nine miles up from 
Oswego by seven hundred of the enemy. After a 
smart encounter in and around the bed of the 
Oswego River, his boatmen drove the French back, 
with a loss of about fifty on either side. This, how 
ever, was but an incident barren of any results but 
the actual lives lost. The French had intended to 
strike Bradstreet laden with supplies on the way up ; 
but he had been too quick for them : indeed, this 
officer had an excellent habit of being too nimble, 
both in attack and defence, even for his nimble 
foe. There were few of his compatriots, British or 
colonial, at this time of whom such could be said. 
Almost before he was missed, Montcalm had slipped 
away from Ticonderoga and arrived with a powerful 
force in front of the dismayed invalids and feeble, 
ill-protected garrison of Oswego. v De Vaudreuil and 
Montcalm did not often agree in a plan of campaign ; 
but they were in full accord as to this one. De 
Villiers, who had led the attack on Bradstreet, was 
still within reach, so was Rigaud, the Governor s 



brother, who had gone westward with more men. It 
was early in August when Montcalm, leaving De Levis 
in command at Ticonderoga, started at full speed for 
Fort Frontenac, reaching there in a week. Frontenac 
lay just across the lake from Oswego, and about 
sixty miles distant. The regiments of La Sarre and 
Guienne had in the meantime been forwarded there 
from Montreal, and that of Beam fetched up from 
Niagara. Besides these, Montcalm had with him 
Canadians, colony regulars, and Indians, amounting 
in all to about three thousand men, with a strong 
train of artillery, including some of Braddock s 
captured guns. Oswego, a considerable trading- 
station, with houses, storing sheds and forts, a mere 
gash in the interminable forests that in those days 
brooded over the now populous and busy shores of 
Lake Ontario, was entirely unconscious of its im 
pending fate. It possessed two very inferior forts 
standing upon either side of the mouth of the Os 
wego River, and a third one behind, which is de 
scribed as merely an improved cattle pen, derisively 
christened " Fort Rascal." None of them, however, 
were fit to stand cannon shot. Mackellar, the chief 
British engineer in America, had condemned the 
place entirely. Why nothing had been done to 
strengthen it is not explained. 

4 Colonel Mercer, an excellent and brave officer, 
had been left, it will be remembered, in command, 
and had with him about a thousand soldiers of sorts 
and eight small guns. There were also some six 
hundred non-combatants, including a hundred and 
twenty women and children. The soldiers were 
chiefly of Pepperall s regiment (51st) and New Jersey 
militia, and were in great part recruits or invalids 



Montcalm crossed the extreme eastern end of Lake 
Ontario on the nights of the fourth and fifth, by divi 
sions. On the eighth all his force was collected on the 
southern shore. Thence it took them about thirty 
hours, part of the army marching through the woods, 
part skirting the shore in batteaux, to reach a point 
within a mile of Oswego. It was not till the French 
were all gathered here on the shore, with guns ready 
for action, that the garrison knew any movement 
was impending, so bad was their scouting. Mont- 
calm s chief engineer went forward to report, accom 
panied by clouds of Canadian and Indian sharp 
shooters, who accidentally shot him, though not till 
he had pronounced the forts to be untenable. Mont- 
calm then set about cutting his intrenchments, know 
ing full well that he had the place in the hollow 
of his hand. The garrison fired their light guns 
at his working-parties, but with little effect. The 
French were upon the east bank of the river, and 
Fort Ontario, which protected that side, was laid out 
in the shape of a star, and built of tree-trunks 
flattened upon both sides and placed upright in 
the ground an excellent defence against musketry, 
but none whatever against cannon. Three hundred 
and seventy men of Pepperall s regiment were inside 
it, but Mercer, who was in the fort west of the river, 
signalled to them to evacuate it and cross to his 
side. This move was effected without interruption. 
In the night Montcalm had thirty guns mounted 
on the river bank within five hundred yards of 
Mercer s fort. This was only protected against the 
south and west, the river side being entirely open. 
The gap was filled by pork-barrels for want of 
something better, and Mercer, thus equipped, pre- 


pared for the attack by opening the hottest fire 
he was capable of upon the French. Some execu 
tion was done ; but when the heavy cannon of the 
enemy, hurling grape and round shot through the 
flimsy defences, got seriously to work, the hopeless 
ness of the defence became very evident, though 
Mercer behaved with great bravery. Montcalm 
now decided to attack the further side of the sta 
tion, which was weakly intrenched, with infantry. 
There was a ford over the Oswego River two miles 
up, and a large force of Canadians and Indians 
crossed it and swarmed around the ramparts, pouring 
in a heavy fire from the shelter of the woods. 
Mercer was at this moment killed by a round shot, 
and with his fall the heart went out of the garrison. 
Their case was indeed hopeless; the non-combatants 
clamoured loudly for surrender, and the shrieks of 
the terrified women, as the grape-shot from Montcalm s 
guns shivered the wooden buildings and defences in 
all directions, emphasized the demand. The frightful 
yells of the Indians, too, outside the walls was signifi 
cant of the ghastly terrors of an assault. A council 
of war was called, and it was decided to capitulate. 
The surrender was practically unconditional. One 
thousand six hundred and forty prisoners were taken 
in all, most of whom were forwarded to Canada. 
Six vessels carrying fifty-two guns fell into Mont- 
calm s hands, with two hundred barges, a hundred 
arid thirteen cannon and mortars, with large sup 
plies of ammunition, pork, flour, spirits, silver, 
and 18,000 in cash. Five standards were captured 
and hung as trophies upon the walls of Montreal 
Cathedral. The usual difficulty was experienced 
in restraining the Indians from taking what 



seemed to them their natural toll of blood, plunder 
and scalps above all, when liquor was plentiful, 
as it was on this occasion. A bloody scene at one 
time threatened, and all Montcalm s efforts united 
to those of his French officers were needed to pre 
vent it. The Canadians, of all ranks, were neutrals 
on this subject. They well knew the risk of losing 
their allies if they thwarted them in the matter, 
and had themselves grown callous to its horrors, 
regarding the murdering, scalping, and torturing 
of prisoners at the hands of the savages with con 
siderable equanimity. There is some little discrep 
ancy in the accounts of what happened at the fall 
of Oswego. It seems probable, however, that only 
prisoners who tried to escape through the woods 
were tomahawked a fate which they courted with 
their eyes open. Montcalm, however, reports that 
it cost him a good deal of money to redeem 
prisoners from the Indians. The casualties on either 
side in the siege were inconsiderable ; but the loss 
of a station so vital to the British was extremely 

Montcalm now took steps to wipe Oswego off the 
face of the earth. He destroyed all the vessels 
and stores he could not carry away, and levelled 
the buildings and fortifications with the ground. 
Among the ruins and ashes his senior priest, Piquet, 
planted a tall cross bearing the inscription, In hoc 
signo vincunt. From a pole near by were hung the 
arms of France, engraven with the words Manibus 
dat lilia plenis. The spot was then abandoned to 
the wolves, and Montcalm, with his army, his 
prisoners, and his booty, sailed away eastward. 

Webb had all this time been toiling up the Mohawk 



from Albany, and was rather more than half-way 
through when the news reached him that Oswego 
had fallen. As he appears to have only had with 
him that remnant of the 44th regiment which had 
survived Braddock s defeat of the previous year, it is 
perhaps just as well that he did not make a present 
of another three or four hundred prisoners to 
Montcalm. It was hardly Webb s fault that his 
support was so tardy as well as weak, but when 
scouts brought him news of the capitulation, he 
justified in his person and by his action the sore 
ness that was felt at the wholesale snubbing of 
provincial officers. Fresh rumours asserted that 
Montcalm was coming down the western route 
to Albany with six thousand men. Webb was 
panic - stricken. He did not pause to ascertain 
whether the rumours were true or whether Mont 
calm could get such a force through such a route ; 
but he acted as if the whole French army were upon 
him. He burnt two forts that had lately been 
erected at considerable trouble, and he filled the 
channel of Wood Creek 1 with fallen timber, of which 
it had recently and at great labour been cleared for 
purposes of navigation. He then hurried back to 
the German flats upon the Mohawk, and sat down to 
realize in due course that his performance was one 
that no militia subaltern of average wits would 
have committed. It was a conspicuous instance of 
the fatal errors into which a trained officer of only 
moderate capacity may fall through sheer ignorance 
of a country, its people, its geography, and its mode 
of warfare, when coupled with a proper contempt 
for local advice. 

1 Not of course the Wood Creek near Lake George. 


The destruction of Oswego was in some ways more 
disastrous, though less dramatic, than Braddock s de 
feat, and another wave of shame and sorrow swept 
over the British colonies. Niagara was now secure 
against all attack. Worse still, British influence had 
been swept from the shores of Ontario, which was 
once again a French lake. Worse than all, perhaps, 
another deadly blow was struck at what was left of 
British prestige. Save in the New England provinces, 
there was no spark of military vigour. No answer 
ing challenge to the audacity of the French came 
from the middle and Southern colonies ; the mini 
mum of necessary protection seems to have been the 
limit of their ardour. The small bodies of mercen 
aries or militia they sent into the field, and the hand 
ful of individuals from the prosperous classes, that 
showed what we should now call a proper spirit, only 
seem to accentuate the lethargy. It was quite evi 
dent that if Great Britain was to maintain her 
position in America she must make the effort her 
self, and as yet she seemed to be in no good con 
dition for such enterprises. France, on the other 
hand, seemed surely blind to her good fortune. The 
moment was hers in America ; but she was turning 
her back on it, and gathering her strength and 
treasure to waste in that bloody orgie which was 
soon to engulph continental Europe. 




DURING the past autumn the dead weight of 
Newcastle s blighting hand had been lifted 
from British policy. His very friends could no 
longer be either bribed or flattered into his service, 
so with a groan of anguish like that of a miser 
parting with his hoard, the venerable intriguer and 
pettiest of Prime Ministers at last resigned. But it 
was no easy matter at that moment to form a 
fresh Ministry. The personal likes and dislikes of 
the king, his natural attachment to Hanover, and 
the mutual antipathies of potential ministers made 
a strong Government impossible, and even a com 
promise most difficult. Pitt was already recog 
nised as not only the most popular but as the 
most brilliant of the group. But Pitt was most 
unacceptable to the king, whose knowledge of English 
was anything but profound, while his love of brevity 
in the discussion of business was notorious, and the 
Great Commoner had a habit of treating him in 
his closet to flights of oratory which were not 
only unintelligible to his Majesty but insupportable 
to his practical, drill-sergeant type of mind. Lord 
Temple was another unwelcome counsellor. His 
civility the king found only less offensive than his 
remonstrances, which at times he declared took the 
form of downright insolence. 

161 M 


The Byng trial was now dividing England into 
two camps, and Temple, in his endeavours to soften 
the king s heart towards the unfortunate admiral, 
drew a parallel between his conduct and that of his 
Majesty s at Oudenarde, somewhat to the advantage 
of Byng. In short, he allowed the king to assume 
that if Byng deserved to be shot, he himself had 
deserved to be hung ! A Ministry, however, was at 
length formed, and Parliament met in December. 
The Duke of Devonshire, a man without talent, but 
of conspicuous honesty, became Prime Minister, with 
Pitt as Secretary of State. The speech from the 
throne was so ludicrously alien to the king s well- 
known sentiments, that the humour of it found ex 
pression in one of those quaint and cynical growls 
in which the second George was at times extremely 

A printer had been arrested, and was waiting trial 
for issuing a spurious account of the royal speech. 
" I hope they will deal leniently with the poor 
fellow," remarked the king, "for I have myself 
read both my speeches, and so far as I understand 
either, I prefer the spurious one." A national 
militia on a new footing was to be formed, and 
Hanoverian troops who had been quartered through 
out the summer at Maidstone and Winchester, con 
ducting themselves at both camps in exemplary 
fashion, were to be sent back. The first measure 
was notoriously unpalatable to the king ; the second 
was accompanied by circumstances evidently calcu 
lated to wound his feelings. Pitt was laid up with 
the gout for most of the session. Still, when they 
did meet, his well-known opposition to a Hanover 
policy, his uncompromising independence and mas- 



terful nature, made him most distasteful to the king 
so long accustomed to Newcastle s silken and defer 
ential manners. There seemed no alternative, how 
ever, but to endure it, as a dismissal of the new- 
made Government on such grounds would have 
been venturesome just then for a Hanoverian king. 
But the Duke of Cumberland also hated Pitt for his 
dislike to Hanover, and the duke was at that moment 
starting to take command of the Hanoverian army, 
in view of a French invasion. Not relishing the 
prospect of being liable to Pitt s control, he worked 
on the inclinations of his father and succeeded in 
screwing his courage up to the point necessary for 
a dismissal of the objectionable ministers. The 
fashion in which this was done hardly belongs 
to our story. It will be sufficient to say that by 
April the country was again without leaders at a 
critical moment and in time of war. For three 
months this hazardous state of things continued, so 
impossible was it to form a ministry that would 
also please the king who prayed continuously to be 
delivered from Pitt, the man for whom the cry 
of the country was getting louder and louder. The 
best that could be said for the hiatus was that 
it was at least preferable to Newcastle s activity. 
That irrepressible jobber, pining for so many 
months in the unwonted shades of opposition, was 
again hungering for power. Devoid of either 
sensitiveness or humour, and impervious to the 
contempt of the country, he cherished hopes of 
yet once more steering the ship of State with a 
subservient and docile crew. The difficulty of 
securing combination among the abler men, and 
the enormous parliamentary and corrupt influence 



of the duke, brought him within measurable dis 
tance of inflicting himself, and with himself 
disaster, upon the country. The king vastly pre 
ferred his yielding, timorous manners to the un 
compromising independence of Pitt or Fox or 
Temple. But Newcastle, with all his hopelessness 
in great affairs, was matchless at intrigue, and pos 
sessed an extraordinary power of reducing numbers 
of otherwise respectable politicians to something 
like political slavery. Even the king lost patience 
when some person of eminence rejected his offer of 
preferment till he should learn the pleasure of the 
ducal wire-puller. " They would sooner," he snapped 
out, "be the Duke of Newcastle s footmen than 
serve me." 

The result of this lengthy and precarious confusion 
was the rise of Pitt to supreme power, a power so 
gloriously used as to make the epoch marked by it 
one of the most memorable in the annals of Britain. 
A notable feature, too, of the moment was the partner 
ship of Newcastle with the man who had so merci 
lessly lashed him and so utterly despised him. Nothing 
but the greatness of the one and the insignificance 
of the other made such a combination possible. 
So Newcastle returned to office, but on the sole 
condition of abjuring all connection with great 
affairs, and of confining himself wholly to the 
dirty work of politics, which he loved, and which 
possessed at that time an importance not very easy 
nowadays to fully realize. Pitt had now a free 
hand, but when that happy consummation was reached 
it was past midsummer and he could exercise but 
little influence on the year s operations which had 
been already planned. He had succeeded, however, 



in the face of some opposition, in raising the first of 
those Highland regiments which from that day to this 
have been such a conspicuous feature in our line 
of battle. Fifty-two thousand men had been voted 
in the recent Session of Parliament for the Army, 
and forty-five thousand for the Navy, while the 
militia had not been neglected. Eight thousand 
men were ordered to reinforce Loudon in America, 
and, adopting that general s very dubious advice, 
Louisbourg, with Quebec to follow in the event of 
success, was made the somewhat premature object 
of the main attack. It was an ill fate for France 
that the moment which saw the advent of Pitt 
to power in the councils of Britain almost coin 
cided with the withdrawal from her own of the men 
who had been the chief support of her Canadian 
policy. Such forces as she had thrown into Canada 
were of excellent quality, and in Montcalm at 
least she possessed by very far the ablest soldier 
on the American continent at that time, while in 
her colonists she had a willing and efficient militia. 
Through the past winter of 1756-57, little could be 
ascertained in Canada about the intentions of the 
British. The bare rumour of a threatened attack 
on Quebec would cramp Montcalm s movements 
and prevent him from fully concentrating his 
strength in an attack on Albany and the flourish 
ing settlements of the Hudson. The slowness and 
uncertainty of news in those days is hard to realize, 
and Quebec f particularly, seated on its throne of 
snow and cut off from the Atlantic by endless 
leagues of ice and vast areas of frozen forests, 
awaited each recurring spring, in a state of more 
or less uncertainty, what fate might be in store 



for it at the bursting of the leaf. Vaudreuil wrote 
to his Government upon every opportunity long 
letters in praise of himself and his Canadians, and 
in depreciation of Montcalm and his regulars. Mont- 
calm also wrote home, touching with good-natured 
contempt on Vaudreuil as an amiable man without 
a will of his own, and the victim of designing 
creatures. He speaks of the Canadians as useful 
behind breastworks or in the woods, but of no 
account for a front attack. Like every other Euro 
pean visitor of that day, he remarks on their 
inordinate vanity and boastfulness, " believing them 
selves to be the first nation on earth." 

Vaudreuil confides to the French minister that one 
Canadian is worth three soldiers from old France, 
though the latter, he condescends to admit, are good 
in their way, and it is significant he presses for more 
of them ! His figures, when applied to the facts of 
a campaign, might almost be reversed without being 
very wide of the truth. He had a tolerably con 
sistent plan of multiplying the enemy in every en 
gagement by two, and their losses by three or 
four. Montcalm s victories, too, were all due to 
Vaudreuil s initiative and support ; his reverses to 
neglect of Vaudreuil s advice. By this time, how 
ever, the French Government had probably begun 
to pigeon-hole the voluminous documents that 
emanated from Quebec. The Governor s childish 
vanity and hopeless inability to speak the truth 
did little harm. He had his uses, being amazingly 
energetic and really patriotic, while extolling every 
thing Canadian at the expense of France was perhaps 
just now a fault on the right side. When it came 
to severe fighting, however, Montcalm generally 



took his own line, and it signified very little if the 
Governor filled sheets of paper claiming the credit 
of it, if credit were earned, to a remote Minister 
of Marine, who probably never broke the seal. If 
Montcalm had a fault, it was perhaps his temper, 
which seems to have been quick. Like Braddock, he, 
no doubt, had infinite provocation. 

But the silence of this winter on Lake George was 
not to be broken only .by the howling of wolves 
in the Adirondack Mountains and the roar of falling 
trees in the snow-laden forests. The outposts who 
guarded the temporary frontier of the two nations 
at Ticonderoga and Fort William Henry respectively, 
amused themselves from time to time, and not un- 
profitably, in scouting for prisoners, whose informa 
tion was highly prized, and failing this for scalps. One 
really serious attempt on the British fort was made 
in March. It seems to have been designed by Vau- 
dreuil, and was placed, moreover, under command of 
his brother Rigaud, which sufficiently accounted in 
the eyes of the old French party for its comparative 
failure. Nor did he trust to the few hundred men 
who were wintering at the front for his enterprise, 
but pushed forward from Montreal a force that 
raised the attacking party to 1,600 men regulars, 
Redskins, and Canadians. They stayed some time at 
Ticonderoga making scaling ladders, and with these 
upon their shoulders they traversed the lake on the 
ice and crept close to the British fort on the night of 
March the eighteenth, to the entire surprise of the 
garrison. Major Eyre was in command with less 
than four hundred effective men. The British gar 
risons in all these cheerless wintry stations made the 
most of anniversaries. Major Knox, in his day-to- 



day journal of dreary banishment among the Acadian 
forests, gives amusing accounts of the strenuous 
efforts at festivals which the feasts of St. George 
St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, to say nothing of birth 
days, called forth among the soldiers. At Fort 
William Henry the Irish saint had been done full 
justice to the day before in copious libations of rum, 
and the gallant colonial rangers having as yet no 
Fourth of July to their credit, patronized indis 
criminately the festal days of their British brothers 
in arms. 

The French were just a day too late to gain 
what advantage might have accrued from any laxity 
after such festivities, and were received in the dark 
ness by a shower of grape and roundshot from the 
garrison, who had heard the sounds of their approach 
while yet upon the ice. Vaudreuil had not only given 
his brother the command, but had put his notorious 
predilections into practice and pinned his faith on 
his favourite Canadians and Indians. Admirable in 
defence and in the woods, they now showed their 
incapacity for a front attack on ramparts manned 
by determined men. Two hundred and seventy- 
four regulars of the 44th regiment and 72 rangers 
kept this force of 1,600 men at bay for five days. 
They were offered lenient terms of surrender, 
and at the same time virtually assured of massacre 
by the Indians in the event of refusal. But these 
gallant men, though neither well found nor very 
well protected, refused the overture with scorn. It 
is significant, too, that these soldiers were the re 
mains of one of Braddock s broken regiments, while 
the most active of Rigaud s officers in attack was 
Dumas, the hero of that fatal field. This time the 



tables were turned, and the French many fell back re 
pulsed before the British few, not however before they 
had succeeded in biirning the detached out-buildings 
round the fort and a considerable number of sloops, 
batteaux, and whale-boats that lay ready or in course 
of construction for the operations of the coming 
season. On March 24th the whole French force 
disappeared down the lake amid a blinding snow 
storm, having cost their Government fifty thousand 
livres, and inflicted a loss equal to perhaps a tenth of 
that amount. Eyre and his brave garrison marched 
out with their numerous sick a few days later, and 
were duly replaced by five companies of the 35th, 
under Monroe, whose name is indelibly associated 
with the more memorable events that in the coming 
summer made the spot famous in history for all time 
to come. 

It was in this same month of March, 1757, that 
the gallant Knox commenced, as a lieutenant, that 
invaluable journal which he closed four years later 
as a major at the fall of Montreal. He was now at 
Athenry in charge of a detachment of the 43rd 
regiment, whose headquarters were in Galway. They 
were ordered to Cork, as part of the force of 8,000 
men which Parliament had recently voted for 
London s support. Six other regiments from various 
Irish stations were gathering at the western sea 
port, namely, the second battalion of the 1st Royals, a 
thousand strong, together with the 17th, 27th, 28th, 
46th, and the 55th, each mustering some seven 
hundred effective men. By the end of March they 
were all collected, and lay awaiting the fleet from 
England that was to convey them to America, their 
actual destination namely, Halifax being not yet 



made known. Cork, at the present day, does not 
suggest itself as the port most likely to treat an 
Imperial armament destined for foreign service with 
special enthusiasm or an excess of practical sympathy, 
But Knox, who was a Scotsman, cannot express 
sufficient admiration for its attitude during the six 
or seven weeks in which the city swarmed with sol 
diers and sailors. It was one of cordial good will 
and generous effort. There were neither the riots 
nor brawls common in his experience to the influx 
of a large force into a big town. Instead of rais 
ing the price of necessaries and lodgings on the poor 
soldier, under such great demand, as was the common 
custom, the citizens gave him of their best at the 
lowest prices, while large subscriptions were raised 
for the support of the women and children he left 
behind him. One is accustomed to think a some 
what brutal indifference in matters of this sort was 
characteristic of the Hogarthian period, and Knox s 
account of Cork at a trying period is pleasant read 
ing. There were no meetings, such as we now see, 
to vote success to the scalping knives of the She- 
wanoes and Pottawattamies. Even if the blessings 
of free speech had been then sufficiently developed, 
the native sense of humour was still too strong to 
have tolerated in the alderman of the day such dole 
ful exhibitions of clumsy malice. Sympathy with 
France, as a Catholic power, and indeed, for more 
solid reasons, might reasonably have been looked for 
in Cork at such a time, but Knox at least tells us 
of no such discordant notes. On April 25th the 
expected fleet of warships and transports appeared 
off the Old Head of Kinsale, and on the following 



day anchored in Cork Harbour. There were fifteen 
battleships carrying nearly a thousand guns, and 
fifty transports, averaging some two hundred and 
fifty tons apiece, for conveying the troops, besides 
numerous other craft laden with stores, siege guns, 
and ammunition. It may be worth noting too, that 
a hospital ship of five hundred tons accompanied the 
fleet. The force embarked was in all something 
under six thousand men. 

It required about six transports to carry a regi 
ment, giving, therefore, something over a hundred 
men, besides officers and a few women and children, 
to every vessel, while each one carried a pennon 
to distinguish the regiment it was helping to convey. 
The Admiral in command was Holborne, with Com 
modore Holmes as second. The long delay in reach 
ing Cork had been caused by adverse winds, and it 
was this, in great part, and not mere official dilator i- 
ness, as is sometimes said, that proved the eventual 
failure of the enterprise. French fleets, it is true, 
had got out promptly and were already across. 
But they were unhampered by convoys, nor does it 
follow that the conditions of sailing from the Bay 
of Biscay were always suitable to getting out of the 

It was the eighth of May when the British fleet, 
numbering upwards of a hundred ships, with their 
white sails filled by a favouring wind, swarmed 
out into the open sea. Here three more battleships 
and a frigate put in an appearance, owing to a 
report that a large French fleet intended to inter 
cept Holborne, and there was good ground for the 

Knox gives us a vivid picture of life on one of these 



small transports a hundred and fifty years ago. They 
soon experienced bad weather, and their ship was 
separated from the fleet more than once, though 
they succeeded in finding it again. When a fortnight 
out, however, they lost it altogether, and were left 
henceforward to their own devices. What those of 
the skipper were likely to be soon became unmis 
takable. Indeed, Knox and his companions had 
shrewd suspicions that, if this worthy mariner had 
not actually contrived their isolation, he was in no 
way depressed by it. On their urgent demands and 
with some reluctance he opened his secret orders, 
which proved Halifax to be their destination, as was 
generally suspected. The course he proceeded to 
steer, however, struck even infantry officers as hav 
ing a strangely southern bias about it for the coast 
of Nova Scotia. It was more than suspected that 
he had letters of marque, for privateering was just 
then immensely profitable. The skipper s cabin, 
too, bristled with cutlasses and firearms ; the ship 
mounted seven guns, and with a force of a hundred 
soldiers besides his crew on board, the temptation to 
get into the track of merchant vessels and engage in 
a little profitable diversion seems to have proved 
altogether too strong. 

They sighted several ships, and each time the 
decks were cleared for action, but in every case 
a closer inspection proved the hoped-for prize or 
suspected enemy to be a neutral or a friend. One 
really humorous encounter is related. A Massa 
chusetts privateer approached our bellicose trans 
port in threatening fashion, the only sign of her 
nationality being the apparently convincing one of 
the white uniforms and pointed hats worn by French 



soldiers, plainly discernible upon her decks. Having 
cleared for an encounter that looked remarkably un 
promising forKnox and his friends, the true nationality 
of the stranger was disclosed, and the mystery of the 
French uniforms was solved by means of a speaking 
trumpet. They belonged, in fact, to a number of 
French prisoners whom the Yankee had captured with 
a French ship. She, on her part, had made pre 
cisely the same mistake in regard to the British 
transport. It seems to have been an economical 
custom of that day to make the soldiers wear their 
uniforms inside-out on board ship, and those of the 
43rd having white linings, it gave them all the ap 
pearance, at a distance, of French troops. On their 
mutual errors being discovered, the officers politely 
asked the captain of the privateer to dinner, 
but the amenities were extended even to the ships 
themselves, which got so fast locked together that for 
a short time they were in a somewhat serious pre 
dicament. The Yankee skipper, says Knox, went 
down on his knees upon the deck and called aloud 
to Heaven, while his British confrere jumped into 
the rigging and soundly cursed both crews at the top 
of his voice till they had effected a separation much 
the surest method, according to our diarist, of getting 
the job done. Another little incident is, I think, 
worth relating. Though Divine service was puncti 
liously performed on the deck of the transport, the 
first mate was accustomed to introduce a most 
scandalous novelty into the ritual. No one, we are 
told, was louder or more devout in the responses 
than this excellent man ; but the ship had to be 
sailed, and he had to sail her. In the usual course of 
business, therefore, it became necessary for him to 



lift his eyes from his devotions and from time to 
time shout directions to the sailors on duty. These 
he gave with no mitigation whatever of his week 
day phraseology, returning in the most imperturb 
able fashion after each discharge to his responses. 
It was not easy, says Knox, for the soldiers to pre 
serve their decorum, particularly if one of the mate s 
eloquent broadsides were intermingled with the re 
sponses of the latter half of the Litany. Fogs and 
icebergs, whales, dolphins, and " grampuses," and all 
the wonders of the deep, were encountered and 
duly chronicled by this observant soldier, till on 
June 30th they slipped into Halifax harbour the 
first of all the fleet. There they found London with 
his troops just landed from New York by Admiral 
Sir Charles Hardy, and hastened on shore to give 
him such news as they could which was little enough 
of the armament he was so anxiously awaiting. 

Loudon, of a truth, whatever his shortcomings, 
had passed a most unpleasant winter. The sense 
of failure rested upon him as upon the whole British 
interest in America. There was even more soreness 
than usual, too, between the army and the colonists, 
the trouble this time lying in the much-vexed ques 
tion of quarters. Seeing that Loudon and his soldiers 
were employed in the immediate interests of the 
colonies, it was not unreasonable to expect their 
people to show some concern for the comfort of 
their defenders. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia 
were naturally selected by the commander-in-chief 
for the winter quarters of his army. But the first 
of these cities showed much backwardness in pro 
viding shelter, while the two last were still more 
inhospitable and provided none at all till they were 



forced to by threats of coercion. London swore that, 
if New York would not house the troops he had 
placed there, he would compel them to accommodate 
double the number. The men were suffering and 
sickening for lack of shelter, and the fierce Northern 
winter was already upon them. The Assembly at 
length gave in as regards the men, but held out in 
the matter of the officers. Loudon responded by send 
ing half a dozen of the latter to the house of a 
prominent townsman, with a threat of sending twelve 
if he declined to receive them. These amenities 
were not conducive to good feeling, and there were pro 
bably faults on both sides. The old English consti 
tutional dislike of soldiers and a standing army was 
in the blood of the colonists, and the comparatively 
rigid habits of life made them dread the easy notions 
of the British soldier of all ranks. Still, without the 
British soldier the colonists would have been help 
lessly exposed at this time, both in person and estate, 
to their active enemies, and had some cause to be 
grateful. True, the performances of the army had 
not so far been brilliant, but such organization and 
initiative as had been shown was due in the main 
to British soldiers and British money. The colonial 
militia, according to Loudon, had an airy way of 
simplifying difficult operations, and talked glibly 
of "taking Ticonderoga" or "marching to Canada." 
The tendency to inflated talk is part of the atmo 
sphere of new countries, it is almost natural to their 
life. Any one who has lived in them nowadays can 
well fancy the discourse that was often heard around 
the camp-fires of New England regiments or in 
blockhouses on the frontiers of Virginia. But the 
colonies had so far shown no capacity for united effort, 



and without co-operation, and perhaps even with it, 
Montcalm with his veterans and his mobile Cana 
dians would have swept the country from end to 
end. At any rate, the refusal to find shelter for 
their defenders was singularly churlish. Philadelphia 
hastened with joy to make the dispute another cause of 
wrangle with their much-harried Governor, Hamilton, 
whose duty it was to assist Loudon in finding 
quarters for His Majesty s troops. Philadelphia, 
however, was finally settled very much after the 
fashion of New York. Another cause of annoyance 
at this time was the persistence with which pro 
visions of all sorts were secretly sold to Canada. In 
this the Dutch of the Upper Hudson were the worst 
offenders. The greed of their traders had been a 
fruitful source of trouble with the friendly Indians, 
and now they were active in supplying though by 
no means alone in doing so those sinews of war 
which Canada needed much more than arms and 
troops, so dismally had she failed in the primary 
objects of colonial enterprise. 

On Loudon, however, falls the onus of having 
recommended for this season the Louisbourg scheme. 
It was not its immediate failure which redounds to 
his discredit so much as the tactics which left the 
northern colonies in the gravest peril, and the 
western frontiers of the others still reeking with 
Indian ravage. General Webb, with Munro, a brave 
Scotch colonel, under him, had been left with three 
or four thousand, for the most part raw troops, to 
hold the frontier against the able Montcalm and the 
whole power of Canada, while the great effort of 
the year, occupying a powerful army and a powerful 
fleet, spent itself on the shores of Nova Scotia, and 



never even saw the first object of its attack. The 
important conflict of the season was reserved for the 
remnant London had left behind him, and resulted in 
inevitable disaster. For while he was occupying a 
force of nearly ten thousand regular troops in sham 
fights, and cultivating vegetables where Halifax now 
spreads its streets and wharves, Fort William Henry 
succumbed to Montcalm under circumstances of such 
horror that its capture has rung down the ages 
in reams of prose and verse. 

Montcalm, too, in Canada, had his winter troubles. 
His officers, for one thing, were continually falling 
victims to the charms of the Canadian ladies, which 
seem, according to all contemporary accounts, to have 
been more adapted for husband catching than for 
intellectual edification. What chiefly annoyed him 
was that most of these girls were comparatively 
dowerless, a sufficiently grievous sin in the eyes of a 
Frenchman who was also the temporary father of a 
large military family. Vaudreuil, it seems, secretly 
encouraged these matches, not merely to spite Mont 
calm, but with an eye to possible settlers for his 
beloved Canada. Gambling, too, was a passion with 
the wealthy clique who lived by plundering the 
country, and the impecunious young nobles who 
swarmed in Montcalm s French regiments took to 
the sport like ducks to water in the monotony of 
their ice-bound quarters at Quebec and Montreal. 
Balls, dinners, and receptions, though on a limited 
scale, and attended by more or less the same circle 
of guests, went merrily on. Montcalm entertained 
freely, to the detriment of his already encumbered 
estate and his ten children, not so much from 
inclination, apparently, as from a sense of duty. 

177 N 


In his letters to his wife and mother he jokes about 
his growing debts, and alludes with humorous des 
pair to the capture by British ships of certain table 
luxuries consigned to him by their loving hands. 
Nor did the French soldiers and the Canadians outside 
the small social circles of the capital coalesce much 
better than did the British regulars with their colonial 
allies. Indeed, such jealousies were, aye and still 
are, inevitable, though greatly softened and modified 
by altered conditions. No intelligent colonist, or 
Englishman who has lived in colonies would regard 
this statement as anything but a familiar truism. 
The difficulty of the home-staying, or even globe 
trotting Briton, is to realize the colonial s point of 
view, or that Englishmen and colonial-born English 
men, as a class, are apt to jar upon each other till 
time and intercourse have rubbed off the angles, 
which, by the way, they sometimes fail to do. The 
exuberant and splendid loyalty of our colonies, at 
this moment above all, obscures these smaller matters. 
They are not questions for high politics, or public 
speeches, but of everyday life. One would call them 
unimportant, but for the fact that they have been the 
unsuspected cause of much that is not unimportant. 
How much greater, then, in most respects, must have 
been the lack of sympathy in these old days between 
the average individual of either stock. 

It is often said, though never, I think, by serious 
students of the period, that Washington was prac 
tically an English gentleman living in Virginia. The 
punctiliousness in manner and uniformity in dress 
among people of respectable position at that day, 
lends, perhaps, some colour to this. But Washington, 
the Virginia planter, would have been found to differ 



in cast of mind and thought very materially from his 
prototype, an English country squire ; and Washing 
ton belonged to the class who remained nearest in 
such matters to the traditions of the mother country. 
The American colonies, we must remember, were as 
old as Australia will be half a century hence. There 
was no going backwards and forwards across the 
Atlantic in any way comparable to what the last 
fifty years has witnessed. Immigration, if we except 
waves like that of the Scotch-Irish and Germans to 
certain localities, had been for some generations 
inconsiderable, and the growth of the country had 
come chiefly from within. To a not uncommon state 
ment of English writers that the American colonists 
in the eighteenth century were merely Britons living 
in America I will venture, with some confidence, the 
retort that they were nothing of the kind, but, on the 
contrary, had developed strong local characteristics, 
and after their various fashions had become distinct 
communities. Indeed, with such a lapse of time and 
such changed conditions of life, how could it have been 
otherwise? If any proof, however, were wanting, 
there is plenty of it in the books of travels and the 
daily journals of the period. Tolerance of such de 
parture from the manners and customs they were 
used to by English-speaking British subjects, could 
hardly be looked for in the average officer of that 
day, who, to say truth, was not distinguished either 
for adaptability or breadth of understanding. More 
over, such liberality as he possessed was no doubt at 
times somewhat sorely tried ; but there were brilliant 
exceptions to this rule among the British officers, and 
we shall come across one or two of them in the course 
of our story. 



As the spring advanced, London had concentrated 
all his troops at New York in preparation for their 
removal to Halifax. His information from England 
had been scanty, but his immediate business was to 
get to Nova Scotia and there await the reinforcements 
he had been told to count upon. But if his home news 
had been vague, he knew of a certainty that three 
strong French squadrons, with Louisbourg as their 
ultimate destination, were already on the coast, while 
he had only Admiral Sir Charles Hardy, with a weak 
squadron, to serve as escort to his own transports. 
In brief, if a French fleet caught him in the open sea, 
he was ruined. Secrecy was now London s only 
chance, so he laid an embargo on the shipping of all 
colonial ports, with a view to preventing news of his 
movements getting abroad. This move was neces 
sary, but naturally irritating. He then lingered on, 
hoping for tidings of Holborne s fleet, but none came. 
To move without such a security seemed, as in fact it 
was, a prodigious risk. But in the meanwhile May 
had passed away and June had half gone. His 
sailors were freely deserting in order to join priva 
teers, whose profits just now were proving an irre 
sistible temptation, and he made a curious effort to 
recover some of these deserters by drawing a cordon 
of bayonets round the whole town, and concentrating 
to a centre. London and the admiral at length made 
up their minds they must risk both their men and 
their ships, and on June 20th they sailed out of New 
York Harbour. Fortune, however, favoured them, 
the French never guessing how great a prize lay 
within their grasp, and by the 30th of the month 
they were safe in Halifax, and in time enough to 
receive Holborne and his still more tardy flotilla, 
which arrived on July 9th. 



London had now some eleven thousand men, nearly 
all regular troops. He was greeted by the news that 
there were assembled behind the formidable ramparts 
and batteries of Louisbourg seven thousand French 
soldiers, two-thirds of whom were regulars, in 
addition to some fifteen hundred Indians ; while in the 
almost land-locked harbour lay twenty-two ships of 
the line and three frigates, carrying nearly fourteen 
hundred guns. Louisbourg stood alone amid the fogs 
of the northern seas, upon Cape Breton, which, as I 
have said, was an almost barren island, just severed by 
a narrow channel from the unsettled regions of Nova 
Scotia. It was a great naval station, however, as well 
as an important town for the period, and was of vital 
import to the French. It was garrisoned direct from 
France, and was practically out of touch with Mont- 
calm and Canada. Later on we shall be before its 
walls, and have much to say about it, so will here 
content ourselves with remarking that these same 
fortifications, with seven thousand men behind them, 
and an overpowering fleet outside, were adjudged by 
Loudon and a council of war to be impregnable to 
the force at their disposal. So the general, after 
having spent six weeks at Halifax, re-embarked on 
August 16th, with seven of his regular battalions 
and his provincials, and sailed for New York, leaving 
the 27th, 28th, 43rd, and 46th regiments to garrison 
Nova Scotia. 

Those that he took back with him were the 17th, 
22nd, 42nd, 44th, 48th, 55th, and two battalions of the 
newly raised Royal Americans. Loudon, in short, 
performed upon the ocean a very similar manoeuvre 
to that executed, according to the familiar rhyme, 
by the " noble Duke of York " upon the hill. He 



carried his force, that is to say, to Nova Scotia, and 
brought it back again without even firing a shot or 
seeing an enemy. The French fleet, by its prompt 
ness in crossing the Atlantic, had saved the situation ; 
while the British Government, by its dilatoriness, 
due in part to weather, had been the chief sinner. 
Loudon, though devoid of genius, can hardly be 
blamed for this fiasco. His crime was rather in 
initiating an expedition which stripped the colonies 
of their chief military strength and left vital points 
exposed. He received his punishment before he 
reached New York, for while still on the sea the 
news was brought out to him that Fort William 
Henry had fallen. Great ridicule has been cast on 
Loudon for his Louisbourg failure. A colonial wag 
had already likened him to the figure of St. George 
upon a tavern sign always in a hurry, but never 
getting forward. He had certainly no genius for 
war, and was a depressing, unenterprising person, 
but neither his delay at New York or Halifax were 
his fault. At the latter place, in order to occupy the 
large body of troops there collected, he exercised them 
continually in drills and sham fights an admirable 
method, one might well suppose, for improving their 
discipline and keeping them away from rum and out 
of mischief. He also occupied them in the planting 
of vegetables, with a view more especially to the 
prospective sick and wounded ; and seeing that the 
lack of these very things was a common cause of 
scurvy and an indirect one of drunkenness, it is not 
easy to understand the jibes and taunts cast in Lou- 
don s teeth for employing the leisure of his none too 
well disciplined army in these useful and profitable 
pursuits. General Hopson, who brought out the 



division from England, was second in command to 
London at this time. Sir Charles Hay was third, 
the same officer who made the famous request at 
Fontenoy that the French Guards should fire first. 
He must have possessed some vein of eccentricity, 
for he made himself so conspicuous for open ridicule 
of Loudon s " sham fights and cabbage planting " in 
which he declared the nation s money was squandered 
that he was placed under arrest, but died before his 
trial. With this same division, too, there came to 
America another titled officer whose character was 
also out of the common run, though of a loftier and 
very different type, and, in like manner, was doomd 
to an early death. This was the young Lord Howe, 
of whom we shall hear anon. 

Nor was it only failure in a military sense that 
marked this Nova Scotia enterprise, but the naval 
force engaged in it met with something more than 
failure, though, like the army, it exchanged no shot 
with the enemy. For Holborne, being reinforced on 
the departure of Loudon, sailed up to Louisbourg and 
challenged the French fleet to come out and fight 
him. La Motte, the admiral, felt no call to take 
such unprofitable risks, nor was it his duty. So 
Holborne, like Loudon, proceeded to sail home again. 
But he was not so fortunate as the general, for a 
hurricane struck him off that iron-bound and desolate 
coast, and drove him with irresistible fury against 
its cruel, surf-lashed headlands. One ship, with 
nearly all its crew, foundered on the rocks ; the rest 
were saved within an ace of destruction by a timely 
change of wind. Eleven lost all their masts, others 
all their cannon ; and the cripples found their way 
eventually, as best they could, into the various North 



American harbours, La Motte, happily for them, 
remaining in ignorance of their plight. 

When Montcalm discovered that Loudon was really 
withdrawing the larger and the better part of his 
army from the continent, his joy was hardly greater 
than his surprise, for he could now strike with his 
whole force at the feeble garrisons on the New York 
frontier. He recognised, of course, that an attack on 
Quebec was the ultimate intention of the Louisbourg 
force, but Louisbourg was not an Oswego or a William 
Henry it was an embattled town of the first class, 
strongly garrisoned ; and no enemy would dare to 
move up the St. Lawrence and leave it uncaptured 
in his rear. If Quebec should, peradventure, be 
threatened in the autumn, Montcalm could fall back 
to Lake Champlain in ample time for its protection. 
He might, indeed, have been pardoned for deeming 
it more probable that he and his Frenchmen would 
be descending the Hudson on New York enriched 
with the plunder of Albany. But Montcalm, too, like 
Loudon, had to eat his heart out waiting for an Atlantic 
fleet. It was not men, however, that the French com 
mander waited for, but stores and provisions, whose 
scarcity was the perennial curse of Canadian military 
enterprise. Nor was it in this case lack of human 
foresight or a prevalence of western winds that kept 
Montcalm impotently chafing till the close of spring, 
but the inevitable ice-floes that impede navigation 
on the St. Lawrence. Throughout the whole winter 
Indians had been gathering at Montreal from all parts 
of the west and north-west, eating French bullocks and 
drinking French brandy, till their hosts especially 
the regular officers among them seriously doubted if 
their tomahawks were worth the price in money and 



annoyance paid for them. Unlike the semi-civilized 
and so-called Christian Indians of the east, these 
others were all heathens, all cannibals, all naked, 
and armed only with bow and arrow ; though, for 
that matter, in the days of muzzle-loaders used at 
short ranges in the forest, the silent, rapidly fired 
arrow was not to be despised. The story of Oswego 
and the fame of Montcalm had spread to the furthest 
west. The painted and be-feathered orators from 
the shores of Lake Superior and the prairies of the 
Illinois professed surprise at the pale-faced hero s 
scanty inches. They expected to find the head of so 
great a warrior buried in the clouds, but with true 
Indian breeding they hastened to declare that his 
stature was quite atoned for by the lightning of his 
eye. Montcalm was terribly bored by the endless cere 
monies necessary for retaining their regard. He had 
no natural turn for Indian diplomacy, like Johnson, 
but endured it from a sense of duty with heroic 
fortitude, and proved, in fact, a remarkable success. 
Bougainville took some of the physical labour off 
his hands, and humorously relates how he sung the 
war song in solo fashion for an indefinite period, re 
peating in endless monotone that he would " trample 
the English under his feet." The Mission Indians, too, 
under the influence of their priests, were gathering 
in full strength. The orgies of these so-called 
Christians were as wild as if they had never so much 
as set eyes upon the cross. They went clad, it is true, 
but they dyed their clothes instead of their naked 
bodies, while their faces grinned hideously through 
thick layers of red and yellow and green paint, smeared 
on with grease and soot. All alike wore the tufted 
scalp-lock on their shaven heads, decorated with nod- 



ding plumes of feathers ; while heavy rings dragged 
their ears down on to their shoulders. A gorget 
encircled their neck, and a profusely ornamented belt 
their waist, whence hung the tomahawk and the 
scalping knife. The chief entertainment at their 
feasts may be described as boasting competitions, in 
which one performer at a time, striding up and down 
the line with a gory bullock s head in his hand, 
exhausted the whole Indian vocabulary in describing 
the feats of valour he had performed, and would 
perform again. It is probable that the boastful 
language of the Canadians, which so much amused 
the French officers, was a sort of unconscious 
imitation of the Indian habit. Indeed, its influence 
was not confined to Canada, but coloured the elo 
quence of the Alleghany borderer for several gener 
ations, and perhaps is not yet dead ! 

The store-ships arrived in due course from 
France, but it was the middle of July before 
Montcalm had collected all his forces, Indians, 
regulars, and Canadians, amounting to nearly 8,000 
men, at Fort Carillon, better known in history as 
Ticonderoga. Preparations for the coming attack 
on Fort William Henry and the British frontier 
had been proceeding here this long time, and the 
scene, in this romantic solitude of lake, mountain, 
and forest, was a busy one. Since the melting of 
the ice in April, Lake Champlain had been alive 
with fleets of boats and batteaux and canoes, carry 
ing men and material of all sorts to the narrows 
down which the waters of Lake George came leaping 
in a succession of shallow rapids. This channel was 
some six miles in length, a mile only at either end 
being navigable. The rapid portion of the river took 



a wide bend, and a road was cut through the woods in 
a straight line from the deep water which flowed 
into Lake Champlain at one end, to that which gave 
access to Lake George upon the other. Across this 
rough three-mile portage the entire .material, boats 
included, for the operation on the upper lake, had to 
be laboriously carried. 

By the end of July everything was complete, and 
the whole flotilla was launched upon Lake George 
ready for a start. Unwary scouting parties from the 
English forts had been already captured. Scalps 
and prisoners had stimulated the zeal of the Indians, 
among whom no less than forty different tribes 
were represented. From the far regions of Michil- 
limackinak and the still remoter shores of Lake 
Superior ; from the oak and chestnut forests 
beyond Lake Erie, where the finest farms of the 
fattest province of Canada now thrive among a net 
work of railways ; from the deep prairie lands of 
Michigan and Illinois came bands of howling and 
painted pagans to " trample the English under their 
feet," to drink their rum, plunder their settlements, 
and hang their scalps around their belts, or nail 
them on their wigwam posts. Independent bands, 
too, from the neighbouring and professedly neutral 
Six Nations were there, and even from the harried 
borders of Pennsylvania and Virginia some warriors, 
red to the shoulder in British blood, came to seek 
fresh fields of spoil. To mention Hurons, Ojibways 
and Ottawas, lowas, Winebagoes and Algonquins 
would be naming but a few of them, while the Aben- 
akis, Micmacs, and the Mission Indians were there 
to the full limit of their fighting strength. 

On the shores of Lake George, however, before the 



final departure, Montcalm had to submit to one more 
solemn function, and address, with simulated passion, 
the mass of hideous and painted humanity that he was 
obliged to call his children ; and, after all, if he had but 
known it, he had far better, upon this occasion, have 
been without a single man of them. He explained 
to them his plans, which was only reasonable, and 
then launched out into those astoundingly menda 
cious periods which, according to the code of the 
time, were looked upon as entirely venial. He said 
how pleased he was to see them which in a sense 
was true enough and then proceeded to inform them 
how he and his soldiers had been especially sent by 
the great king, Onantio, to protect and defend them 
against the English. When his voice gave out and 
his stock of backwoods rhetoric was exhausted, he 
presented his savage allies with an enormous belt of 
wampum, and possessed his soul in patience while 
their chiefs replied in high-flown and ambiguous 
metaphor, amid the solemn gruntings of the gaudy 
assemblage. Another whole day was consumed by 
the savages in propitiating their several deities, the 
Mission Indians going in whole bodies to confession, 
the unconverted warriors hanging dead dogs and old 
leggings on trees and " making medicine," according 
to each man s special fancy. The last day of July 
saw the surface of Lake George ruffled by the splash 
of thousands of oar-blades and hundreds of Indian 
paddles. Two hundred and fifty boats were there, 
carrying five thousand men, and swarms of savages in 
bark canoes glided in the van. The cream of French 
Canadian chivalry was here, and famous regiments 
from old France, with officers and men now hardened 
by American campaigning, flushed with former vic- 



tory, and conscious, many of them, that war here 
meant something more than a great and bloody game. 
The battalions of La Sarre, Guienne and Languedoc, 
La Reine, Bearne, and Royal Roussillon were all with 
Montcalm, and only as yet in the second of those 
five years of war and hardship which were to close, 
for them, at least, in a defeat only less glorious 
than victory. Provisions for some weeks had been 
shipped ; and heavy siege guns, mounted on platforms 
slung between boats lashed together, brought up the 
rear of this motley armament. Montcalm had not 
boat accommodation for his whole army. So Levis, 
with Indian guides and twenty-five hundred men, was 
detailed to push his way, as best he could, through the 
trackless forests that overhung the western shores 
of the lake. At a spot some twenty miles on, and 
eight short of Fort William Henry, he was to display 
three fires as a signal of his whereabouts. The move 
ment was successful, the British scouts having been 
all captured or killed, and it was not till Montcalm s 
whole force, by land and water, had arrived within 
two miles of the English fort that their approach was 

Nearly all the available force for resisting the 
French lay in the two forts at either end of the 
fourteen-mile carrying-place, between the lake and 
the Hudson river. General Webb, now commanding 
in America, was in Fort Edward at the latter point ; 
while Colonel Monroe was in charge of Fort William 
Henry, where there were some two thousand five 
hundred men of various corps, namely, six hundred 
of the 35th, eight hundred of a Massachusetts regi 
ment, with some rangers, and five hundred militia 
from the Jerseys and New York. Webb on this very 



day, the second of August, had reinforced Monroe to 
the limit of his ability, having no more than six 
teen hundred indifferent troops now left with him, 
and a weak garrison or two on the river route to 
Albany. Fort Edward, too, might be attacked simul 
taneously with William Henry, and that by another 
route, namely, the long stretch of water running 
from Champlain southwards and parallel to Lake 
George, known as Wood Creek. 

Fort William Henry lay close upon the shore of 
Lake George. It was square in shape, with corner 
bastions, and walls of hewn logs laid as cribs and 
filled in with heavy gravel, impregnable to rifle fire 
or small artillery, but a poor defence against heavy 
cannon. There was not room for the whole force 
within the fort, and a great part of the provincial 
troops were intrenched on some rising ground six 
hundred yards away with marshes upon either side. 
Montcalm was able at once to cut off the whole posi 
tion from either retreat or succour, by sending de 
Levis round behind it with three thousand men to 
occupy the road and only route to Fort Edward, 
where a famous partisan leader, La Corne, with a 
portion of the Indians, soon after joined him. Mont- 
calm now proceeded to examine the fort, and came 
to the conclusion it was impregnable to ordinary 
assault. He prepared, therefore, to reduce it by 
regular siege, an apparently easy matter, with his 
heavy guns and large forces, which numbered in 
all something like eight thousand men. As a pre 
liminary, however, he sent the faithful Bougainville 
to offer Monroe terms for surrender. He pointed 
out that help was impossible, which, was quite true ; 
that his own numbers were overpowering and his guns 



to match ; above all, that a large part of his Indians 
had come from the wild west, and that when the 
surrender came which was inevitable within a few 
days and blood had been shed, he might be unable 
to restrain their diabolical ferocity. Monroe briefly 
replied that it was his duty to hold the fort, and he 
should do his utmost to maintain himself. Montcalm 
then opened his lines across the south-western corner 
of the lake at a range of 600 yards. Hundreds of 
men worked in the trenches night and day under 
a fire from the fort that, after the first few hours, 
could do them but little damage. The Indians proved 
refractory and of little use. Montcalm wanted them 
to scout southwards towards Fort Edward and the 
Hudson, but they were sore at heart because they 
had not been consulted as to the operations, and the 
greater part of them hung about behind the lines, or 
lolled in their canoes or fired futile shots at the fort. 
Monroe, in the meantime, was sending eager messages 
to Webb for help, and Webb has been blamed for not 
responding. His previous record has, perhaps, made 
his critics unfair. He could not help Monroe, for his 
weak force alone barred the way to Albany, and to 
detach a portion of it would have been to sacrifice 
that portion either to the strong forces of de Levis 
in the woods, or at the almost inevitable surrender 
of Fort William Henry. 

In three days the best of Montcalm s forty guns 
were in position, and in two more were advanced 
to within 200 yards of the fort, whose ramparts were 
flying in fragments before their fierce discharges. 
Two sorties were tried, both from the fort and the 
intrenched camp beyond, but were easily repulsed. 
Webb might have done something in this way, 



but messengers could no longer get through to 
Fort Edward and arrange for simultaneous action. 
Smallpox, too, had broken out in the garrison, and 
was spreading rapidly. Monroe seems to have had 
some vague hope that provisions, the chronic diffi 
culty with all French Canadian armies, might fail 
the besiegers, for in that wilderness every ounce of food 
had to be carried. But Montcalm had made special 
efforts this time, and, moreover, had the good luck to 
capture 150 head of cattle belonging to the garrison. 

Bougainville was again sent to propose terms, and 
conducted blindfold into the fort, but again the brave 
Monroe, though he was shown an intercepted letter 
to himself from Webb to the effect that assistance 
was hopeless, refused to treat. Another twenty-four 
hours, however, saw such warm work that a council 
of war was called, and the white flag was at length 
raised upon the walls. 

For the whole French artillery was now intrenched 
at close range. Many of the English guns had burst, 
and only about half a dozen were fit for service, 
while their ammunition was nearly exhausted : so 
Colonel Young, commanding a detachment of the 
Royal Americans, or 60th, then newly raised, was 
sent to arrange terms of capitulation. 

The garrison were at Montcalm s mercy ; they had 
no alternatives but death or surrender, and there 
were many women among them. It was agreed that 
the troops should march out with the honours of 
war, all ranks retaining their personal effects. Every 
thing else in the fort was to be given up. Prisoners 
of war in actual fact they could not be, for food was 
much too scarce in Canada for Montcalm to indulge 
in such luxuries ; indeed, the people themselves were, 



at that very moment, on something like half rations. 
The British were to be escorted to Fort Edward, and 
remain on parole till an equal number of French 
prisoners should be delivered safely at Ticonderoga, 
each batch of the latter as they came in setting 
free from their obligations an equivalent number 
of the British. In recognition of the bravery of the 
defence, the garrison were to take with them a 
single gun, a six-pounder. The loss had been in 
considerable some hundred and twenty men on the 
British and half as many on the French side. It 
was understood, however, that these articles could 
not be signed until the savages had given their 
consent. This, however, they were induced to do, 
and both sides proceeded forthwith to put them into 

The fort was evacuated at mid-day on the 9th, 
when the garrison, together with the women and 
children, marched out to the intrenched camp, which 
was of course included in the surrender, a French 
regiment being detailed to secure them against inter 
ference on the part of the Indians. De Bourlamaque, 
entering the fort with a party of regulars, set a guard 
over the ammunition and stores. Everything else was 
abandoned to the Indians, who gave an earnest of 
what was coming by instantly murdering a dozen or 
more sick men, who had been left according to the 
articles of agreement in Montcalm s charge. There 
was not much plunder in the fort itself, so the in 
trenched camp, where all the British were huddled 
without arms save the bayonets of the 35th, soon 
swarmed with bloodthirsty demons, baulked of what 
they regarded as their lawful prey, and with hands 
twitching viciously at their tomahawks. Numbers 

193 o 


of Canadians, whose morals in warfare were little 
higher than those of the savages, mingled with the 
now excited throng, and showed unmistakable sym 
pathy with its temper. There was great confusion 
throughout the whole afternoon, the Indians jostling 
and insulting the prisoners, and making attempts 
from time to time to wrest their personal baggage 
out of their hands. The liquor was either under 
guard or destroyed, else no efforts of Montcalm and 
his officers, which individually were considerable, 
could have prevented a general massacre before 
night. But these efforts of the French officers, though 
sincere enough, were not intelligently directed, nor 
were they backed at the right moment by proper 
force. The whole business in fact was grossly mis 
managed. Canadian militia were stationed at some 
points as a protection to the prisoners, though the 
Canadian militiaman looked on plunder or scalps as 
the rightful price to pay for Indian assistance, and 
was by no means averse to taking a hand in it him 
self. The restraint which Montcalm had exercised 
over the Indians at the capture of Oswego in the 
preceding year was regarded by all Canadians, from 
the Governor downwards, as a pernicious European 
prejudice. Mercy and pity had no place in back 
woods warfare, and it is only fair to say that the 
New England rangers often paid the savage and the 
Canadian back in their own coin. But the responsi 
bility on Montcalm was very great, and his failure to 
estimate its gravity is a lasting stain on his memory. 
Bougainville writes that his chief himself used every 
effort, and made urgent appeals to the Canadian 
officers who had personal influence with the savages 
to avert the threatened catastrophe. It would have 



been far better if he had promptly called up his 3,000 
French troops with fixed bayonets, who would have 
overawed with ease any attempted outbreak of the 
Indians. On this means of protection, however, he 
drew most slenderly, and seems to have contented 
himself with appeals to Canadians and interpreters, 
many of whom would have been inclined to look on a 
general massacre as something rather of a diversion 
than otherwise. 

The afternoon and night of the 9th were passed 
anxiously enough by the two thousand British of all 
ranks, besides the women and children, within the 
intrenchment. They were to march in the morning, 
and as soon as the escort of 300 regulars, an absurdly 
weak one, seeing the temper of the savages, should 
arrive. Seventeen wounded men lying in a hut under 
care of a surgeon were the first victims. The Indians, 
brushing aside the sentries, dragged the wretched 
men from their beds, and butchered them within a 
few yards of a group of Canadian officers, who did 
not trouble even to remonstrate. As the defenceless 
column of prisoners began to move, the savages fell 
to indiscriminate plundering. The men strenuously 
resisted this attempt to rob them of their personal 
effects. Monroe protested loudly that the terms of 
the capitulation were broken, and appealed to the 
French officers of the escort which was drawn up 
close by. The latter seem to have been cowed by the 
turmoil around them, and had not even the presence 
of mind to send for support to the army which lay a 
few hundred yards off. All they did was to urge 
the British to give up their property for the sake of 
peace, and to get away as fast as possible. Many 
indignantly refused this mean advice. Others fol- 



lowed it, and a certain amount of rum from private 
canteens thus found its way down the throats of the 
yelling savages and made them still more uncontroll 
able. No sooner had the column got clear of the in- 
trenchments, and started upon the forest road to Fort 
Edward, than all restraint was thrown off, and the 
Indians fell upon the rear, stripping both men and 
officers to their very shirts, and instantly tomahawk 
ing those who showed resistance. The war whoop 
was now raised by the pet converts of the Canadian 
priesthood from Penobscot it is said when the rear 
of the column, rushing forward upon those in front, a 
scene of horror ensued that has been described by 
many pens. Women and children were dragged from 
the crowd ; some were tomahawked, others carried 
off as prisoners to the woods. Their shrieks and 
cries, mingled with the hideous yells of the Indians 
and the shouts and curses of the impotent British, 
made an unforgettable scene. Montcalm and the 
French officers threw themselves among the savages 
now half drunk with rum or blood, and did all that 
men armed only with authority and not backed by 
force, as they should have been, could do. The small 
French escort in the meantime looked on helplessly, 
the crowd of Canadians approvingly, as the scene 
of blood and plunder and outrage continued. 

At length the exertions of Montcalm and Levis, 
Bourlamaque and other French officers, had some 
effect ; but it was only by promising payment for 
the captives seized by the Indians that some sort 
of order was restored. The precise number of both 
sexes thus butchered under the eyes of the French, 
while unarmed captives of war, is a matter of dispute. 
LeVis counted fifty corpses on the field, while sick 



and wounded men to half that number had been 
murdered in their beds, and numbers more dragged 
off into the woods. It seems probable that a hundred 
would be a fair estimate of those slain. 

Over six hundred were made captives by the 
savages, and it required the utmost exertions on 
Montcalm s part, with a considerable outlay of 
money, to recover about half of them. The Indians 
would not give up the remainder on any terms, and 
eventually took them to Montreal, where Vaudreuil, 
who, in his character of Canadian, looked with much 
toleration on Indian outrage, had to pay for the 
amusement this time with large sums out of his scant 
treasury by way of ransom. The whole body of 
Montcalm s Indians left for Canada the day after 
the massacre, carrying with them the three hundred 
prisoners above alluded to, and no difficulty was ex 
perienced in getting the rest of the captured British 
garrison in safety to Fort Edward. 

There is absolutely nothing to be said in defence 
of the French in this affair. That they did not dare 
to run the risk of offending and alienating their 
Indians is, of course, the explanation, though surely 
no extenuation of such ignoble conduct. It is one of 
the worst stains upon the annals of their arms in 
America. They would have been bound by humanity 
only in the storming of a fort, but after a formal 
capitulation, they were bound not merely by human 
ity, but by the most elementary rule of military 
honour, and it is satisfactory to think that they paid 
dearly for it. The British Government, as a matter 
of course, repudiated their part of the contract, and 
not a French prisoner was sent to Montreal, nor was 
the parole of the garrison taken any account of. The 



memory of the massacre drove many a bayonet 
home in the coming years of British success that 
might otherwise have been stayed in mercy, and 
many a Canadian sued in vain for his life at the 
hands of the New England Ranger who might for 
merly have been spared. Remember Fort William 
Henry became a terrible war cry in many a battle 
and in many a bloody backwoods skirmish. The 
French knew it well and felt that it added a fresh 
terror to defeat. The first impulse of a disarmed or 
captured Canadian was to protest by voice and ges 
ture that he had not been present at that accursed 

The growing scarcity of food in Canada saved the 
forts on the Hudson and, probably, the flourishing 
town of Albany itself, from being captured and 
sacked by the French. Word was sent that it was 
of the first necessity, that the now ripening harvest 
should be gathered, and there were not men to do it. 
So the French turned their attention to the destruc 
tion of the British fort and all its dependent buildings. 
Great bonfires were made of the logs forming the 
ramparts, and into them were cast those bodies of the 
dead which had not been buried. As a fortress the 
place ceased to exist. Great armaments, some of 
them as luckless as the garrison of 1757, were yet to 
camp on its ashes, and again to break the silence of 
the forests with the din of war. But for the present 
solitude reigned over the devoted spot ; the sounds of 
human life gave way once more to the weird cry of 
the loon and the splash of the summer-duck upon 
the lake, the boom of the bull-frog in the marsh, the 
drumming of the ruffed grouse on the hill. The 
waves of conflict fell back for a brief space, and left 



the charred logs and fire-scorched stonework, and the 
trampled, stump-strewn cornfields of William Henry, 
as the sum total of a year s success and failure. 




LOUDON, it will be remembered, received the fate 
ful news from Fort William Henry while yet upon 
the ocean, and it must have been a bitter moment 
when he realized how completely he had been out- 
generalled. For the bloodless failure in Nova Scotia 
he could blame others; for the bloody tragedy on 
Lake George his own tactics were wholly responsible. 
He relieved his temper by vowing vengeance against 
Montcalm as an abettor of savages and murderers, 
and sent word by a fast-sailing craft to Webb to 
hold out at Fort Edward till he could send him 
reinforcements. It was the last of August when he 
landed his troops at New York. But the French, as 
we have seen, had, for urgent reasons, to abandon 
all attempts at an advance up the Hudson, and had 
returned in part to Canada to save the harvest, and 
in part to Ticonderoga to make that post secure. 
Loudon is supposed even now to have cherished 
thoughts of attacking the French fortress, but if so 
he soon abandoned them on a closer view of the 
situation. In intention he was the very soul of 
energy ; in execution he remains, whether from his 
fault or his ill-fortune, the typical sluggard of the 
Seven Years War in America. 

Sir William Johnson had joined Webb at Fort 
Edward, with a small band of his Indians, just 



about the time of the fall of William Henry, and 
a day or two after, but all too late, raw militia had 
begun to pour in by the hundred. Their behaviour, 
however, was so mutinous, and their conduct so 
riotous, that Webb was glad enough to dispense with 
such troops and disband them, now that their ser 
vices were no longer needed. 

Only one incident of moment marked this depress 
ing autumn of a year of disgrace and failure, and 
that of a kind by no means calculated to lighten the 
general gloom on the Mohawk River. Near those 
forts that Webb had, it will be remembered, de 
stroyed in his panic after the fall of Oswego, was 
a colony of thrifty Palatine Germans. Far behind 
civilization, in this beautiful and fertile valley, these 
industrious settlers had been labouring for forty 
years, and were now a community of some three hun 
dred souls, well situated in comfortable homesteads 
and tilling valuable farms. It was a popular creed 
among French Canadians that the Germans of the 
British colonies were dissatisfied a queer delusion 
in regard to people who revelled in an independence 
far more novel to them than to Englishmen. By 
way of encouraging other Germans to crave for the 
paternal government of France, one, De Bellaitre, 
was despatched by Vaudreuil with a hundred Cana 
dians and two hundred Indians to read them a 
lesson. Paddling up the St. Lawrence from Mont 
real, past the now familiar Thousand Islands into 
Lake Ontario, they struck southward to Lake Oneida, 
crossed the portage of the Mohawk watershed, and 
fell suddenly upon the unhappy Teutons, killing 
every man that resisted, destroying their livestock, 
and carrying off more than a hundred women and 



children into captivity. A small British detachment 
from Fort Herkimer hurried up, but they were too 
late, and in any case too weak. Lord Howe, com 
manding further down at Schenectady, was strong 
enough, but he arrived much too late, and found 
nothing but the smoking ruins of homesteads and 
hundreds of slaughtered sheep and cattle. 

In the meanwhile, the Indian heroes of Fort 
William Henry, who had been almost as great a 
curse to their friends as to their foes, paraded their 
wretched prisoners at Montreal, and by no means 
yielded them all up to the not very insistant over 
tures of Vaudreuil. One of these English captives, 
writes Bougainville, who was just then on the spot, 
they killed in presence of the whole town, and 
forced his miserable companions to devour. It is 
even asserted by French writers that mothers were 
compelled to eat portions of their own children. 
Bougainville shuddered at the horrors he saw, but 
was impotent, for Canadian public opinion was 
lenient to these little Indian vagaries so long as other 
people were the victims. Bigot the Intendant, no 
man of war, but an expert in crooked contracts, 
calmly stated that the savages must be kept in good 
humour at any cost. Vaudreuil, for his part, was 
quite proud of his magnanimity in purchasing, with 
Government brandy, the lives of men who had sur 
rendered to his troops under signed articles ; while 
Indians reeled in crowds about the rude streets of 
Montreal, insolent, offensive, drunk, and dangerous. 

It was a gloomy enough winter, this one of 1757-58, 
in the British provinces. London s troops had retired 
to isolated snow-bound forts, or to their much-grudged 
but no longer disputed quarters in the principal cities. 



It was the lowest point ever touched by Anglo-Saxon 
fortunes in America. Oswego and William Henry 
were scenes of desolation ; Louisbourg was con 
temptuous and defiant behind its bristling rows of 
cannon and massive ramparts ; the colonists even of 
New England were disheartened and disillusioned as 
to the invincibility of British troops, and sore both 
with their generals and their officers. The frontiers 
of the more southern colonies still ran with blood, 
and the labours of a generation on a belt of country 
nearly four hundred miles in length had been swept 
away. Washington, struggling almost alone with 
provincial legislatures, as twenty years later he 
struggled quite alone with the continental congress, 
had patiently striven to mitigate the misery. He 
had now been over two years at the frontier village 
of Winchester, in the valley of Virginia, eating his 
heart out in vain endeavours to stem the hordes of 
Indians led by: Frenchmen, who swarmed across the 
stricken borders of the middle colonies. "I have 
been posted," he wrote in the preceding spring, " for 
more than twenty months on our cold and barren 
frontiers to perform, I think I may say, an impossi 
bility ; that is, to protect from the cruel incursions 
of a crafty, savage enemy a line of inhabitants more 
than three hundred and fifty miles in extent, with a 
force inadequate to the task." He was still only 
twenty-five, but a head and shoulders above any 
colonial soldier outside New England. He had no 
chance of gain or glory with his thousand or so " poor 
whites," ill-paid and discontented, and recruited with 
infinite difficulty. His officers were often of no better 
discipline. One of them, he tells us, sent word on 
being ordered to his post, that he could not come, as 



his wife, his family, and his corn crop, all required his 
attention. " Such," says Washington, in a white heat, 
" is the example of the officers, such the behaviour 
of the men, and upon such circumstances the safety 
of this country depends." Three colonies, Pennsyl 
vania, Maryland, and Virginia, with some half- 
million whites, to say nothing of rude and populous 
North Carolina, could only wring from this large 
population a wretched, half-hearted militia of 2,000 
men, recruited largely from the burnt-out victims 
of the frontier. Where, one may well ask, were 
the squires of Virginia and Maryland, who swarmed 
along the eastern counties of both provinces, and 
whose comfortable homesteads reached to within 
a hundred miles of the scene of this bloody war, 
of their fellow-countrymen s long agony, and of the 
impudent invasion of their country ? To mention a 
dozen or two young men of this class who rallied 
to Washington, would only be to aggravate the 
case, if such were possible, in the face of these 
statistics. Men of substance and education, accus 
tomed to horse and gun, "outdoor" men in fact or 
nothing, were quietly staying at home by thousands, 
unstirred by feelings of patriotism or vengeance, 
and apparently untouched by the clash of arms 
and the ordinary martial instincts of youth. Their 
grandfathers had fought ; their sons were to fight ; 
their descendants were in the last civil war to be 
among the bravest of the brave. What was this 
generation doing at such a moment? Washington, 
whose local patriotism no one will dispute, and 
whose example shone like a beacon light amid the 
gloom, cursed them often and soundly in his letters 
for doing nothing. It was fortunate for these colonies 



that Pitt came forward to save them. The people of 
Maryland and Virginia are more than most other 
Americans proud of their ancestry not because they 
were thrifty merchants, for they ignored commerce ; 
not because they were famous navigators, for they 
were not sea-goers ; not because they were thrifty 
farmers who made two blades of grass grow where 
one had grown before, for they were sad economists in 
this respect. The sentiment is by way of being that 
which holds good in Europe, and regards ancestry in 
the accepted sense of the word as synonymous with 
an aptitude for arms. But the tobacco squires of the 
Seven Years War were lamentably wanting in those 
generous and martial impulses which supply almost 
the only motive for pride of race, and quite the only 
one where high culture and learning are absent, as 
was here the case. There is no traversing the facts ; 
they are bare and patent, and it has always seemed 
to us one of the most unaccountable incidents of 
American history. Think of South Africa to-day, 
and, indeed, the parallel is not an inapt one, save that 
in the racial struggle for North America the prize 
was greater. Think of the colonists of every class 
so lately crowding by thousands to the front, 
though none of their women, children, or friends 
have been scalped and murdered. Indeed, for that 
matter, turn to Massachusetts at that day, who alone 
sent to the front ten or fifteen thousand close-fisted, 
industrious farmers, men whose labour was their 
daily bread, and whose absence from the homestead 
was, for the most part, a serious matter. 

" Nothing," wrote Washington, " keeps me from 
resignation but the imminent danger to my country. 
The supplicating tears of the women and moving 



petitions of the men melt me into such deadly 
sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my own 
mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the 
butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to 
the people s ease." 

Washington was giving up a life of ease and com 
fort, neglecting an estate to whose management he 
was greatly attached, and those field sports which, 
next to fighting, were the passion of his life. Here, 
however, on this shaggy blood-stained frontier, with 
out means to fight effectively, neither glory nor even 
thanks were to be gained. He lost his temper more 
than once, and wrote incontrovertible but imprudent 
letters to the Virginian authorities at Williamsburg, 
falling thereby into the bad books of the gentlemen 
who regarded the state of the frontier with such 
prodigious equanimity. At one time an obscure 
Maryland captain of thirty men, who held a king s 
commission, had claimed precedence of the young 
colonel and commander of the Western Frontier. 
Washington had then ridden the whole way to Bos 
ton four hundred miles to put the matter straight 
with Shirley, then in chief authority, and ensure 
against its recurrence. 

The Canadians, too, had suffered greatly this winter. 
The troops were reduced to small rations of horse 
flesh, and only the tact and ability of de Levis averted 
a general mutiny. The small social circles of Quebec 
and Montreal, however, lacked for nothing, but 
danced and dined, and intrigued and sleighed in 
merry parties along the frozen river or through the 
silent pine woods white with their load of snow. 
The Bureaucracy, with Bigot at their head, followed 
with unabated ardour their career of fraud and 



trickery. Never were a king and his subjects more 
flagrantly cheated. They sold the provisions sent 
from France to the relief of the colony and pocketed 
the money. They fixed the price of grain by law, 
bought it all up, and then retailed it at famine prices. 
They sold Government supplies twice over in collusion 
with the officers who had to sign the receipts. They 
purchased supplies for the king s use through so 
many confederate hands, that the price was three or 
four times that originally paid for the articles. They 
intercepted food granted by the king to the hapless 
Acadian refugees, sold the larger part back to his 
Majesty at high prices, and half starved the miserable 
outcasts on what was left. The command of an out 
lying fort was regarded as equivalent to a small 
fortune, and bestowed accordingly on friends and 
relatives. The usual method was to give vouchers 
for twice or three times the amount of stores actually 
purchased, and to exchange the Government presents 
sent to the Indians for skins or furs. It may well 
be asked, What was Montcalm himself, the soul of 
honour, saying to all this ? As a matter of fact, his 
position under de Vaudreuil, who was himself mixed 
up in the frauds, was sufficiently delicate to make 
interference difficult. But Montcalm did take means 
to acquaint the home Government, already suspicious 
of the vast sums of money demanded, with the con 
dition of affairs, and their eyes gradually opened. It 
is not perhaps wholly to be wondered at that France 
lost some of her enthusiasm for an offspring that 
tugged so incessantly at the strings of her almost 
empty purse, and showed so little profit for the in 
vestment. The letters to Vaudreuil from his Govern 
ment at last grew harsh and threatening, as the 



rascality of the whole business began to dawn on the 
hitherto credulous Ministers of Marine. But it was 
too late. Pitt was about to settle down to the greatest 
work ever achieved by a British Minister. The colony 
was now entering a death-struggle in which ledgers 
and vouchers would be for the time forgotten ; and 
there is good reason to suppose that many a tell-tale 
document went to feed the flames which the British 
torch or shell fire had ignited. But the corruption 
of the Canadian civil officials, and a great number of 
the colony officers, did not interfere with the actual 
fighting power of the military machine, which was 
itself a hardy plant. Food and clothes and ammuni 
tion for men on active service were always forth 
coming. If they had not been, Montcalm would have 
asked the reason why, with a forcible authority, such 
as in civil affairs he could not call to his aid. 

It was at the opening of the ever-memorable year 
of 1758 that Pitt, free at last from the shackles of 
his predecessor s plans and his predecessor s generals, 
applied his great gifts to the task before him. Great 
Britain was sunk in despondency. Chesterfield de 
clared we were "no longer a nation." If any man had 
asserted that in two or three years we should take 
our place at the head of all nations, never as a world- 
power to again relinquish it, he would have been 
accounted as fit only for Bedlam. Many, though 
they could not know what we do now of the then 
state of France and Canada, thought we should be 
stripped of all influence, if not of all foothold in 
America, while the fear in England of a French 
invasion returned as regularly as the summer leaves. 

To free his mind of all paltry cares, Pitt had flung 
the sordid part of government to Newcastle, who 



revelled in it. It was part of his bargain that where 
the honour or the safety of the nation were at stake 
his word was law, his appointments indisputable ; 
and he proceeded at once with fine audacity to make 
hay of privilege, of family interest, of seniority. The 
incapables were relegated to obscurity, and those 
who might have caused annoyance were soothed by 
Newcastle with pensions, compliments, or honours, 
which most of them perhaps preferred to service in 
America. Small pay and brevet rank for his servants 
seems to have been, too, a sop that Pitt felt it ad 
visable, for the sake of peace, to throw to the long 
list of rejected generals, who seem therein to have 
found some strange consolation. Fortunately, Pitt s 
young men had, for the most part, souls above titles 
or lucre, though Wolfe was hard pushed for neces 
sary money ; and his widowed mother, after his 
death, made futile representations to Government 
for some financial recognition of the work done by 
the conqueror of Quebec. Pitt s plans were not 
merely to reduce France to her legitimate sphere in 
America, and make her harmless against Great 
Britain in Europe, but to drive her wholly from the 
western hemisphere, to wrest from her every posses 
sion she had outside her own borders, to leave her 
crushed, humiliated, and powerless for aggression. 

To this end he appealed with impassioned fervour 
to the heart of England, and by a genius, unequalled 
in our history, and that seems to us who have 
not seen or heard him almost magical, brought an 
apparently half -moribund nation into an ecstasy of 
patriotic ardour. Every one who approached the 
great statesman caught the inspiration, and every 
man in England who had a heart at all felt the 

209 P 


blood coursing more briskly through it. Those 
whom Pitt called especially to serve him and main 
tain the nation s honour went to the camp or to the 
wilderness with an enthusiasm for their chief and 
country, and a sense of exhilaration that had for long 
been almost wholly lacking. 

With Pitt s assistance in Europe to the gallant 
Frederick of Prussia we have nothing to do. It will 
be sufficient to say that the Duke of Cumberland s 
reverses were fully avenged, and the French repulsed 
at every point. 

As for the American campaign, which constitutes 
our story, there was not much opening for strategic 
ingenuity. As I have endeavoured, with perhaps 
undue reiteration, to make clear, there were certain 
routes through the northern wilderness by which 
French and English could seriously attack each 
other, and none other. There was nothing new, 
therefore, in Pitt s American programme for 1758 
but the men who were to carry it out and the kind 
of spirit which animated them. Above all, there was 
the enthusiasm with which the people of England 
particularly of that substantial but unrepresented 
middle class to whom Pitt s personality appealed 
supported him with heart and purse. 

Loudon had abandoned the only true path of 
American warfare, probably because his predecessor, 
Shirley, a civilian, had planned it, and, as we have 
seen, left New York almost defenceless in a vain 
attempt to gather laurels upon distant shores. It 
was no thanks to him that the colony was still in 
British hands, and Pitt now recalled him with con 
temptuous brevity. It is only to be regretted that 
Abercromby did not sail in the same ship. The 


1758] WOLFE 

excuse put forward for making such concession to 
routine in the matter of this luckless officer is, that 
Pitt felt secure in the fact that the young Lord 
Howe, one of the most rising soldiers and most 
estimable characters in the British army, would be 
at his right hand ; but, however probable, this is, 
after all, but a matter of conjecture. 

Ticonderoga, Fort Duquesne and Louisbourg were 
to be the objects this year of three separate expe 
ditions. Of the first, Abercromby, now in America, 
was to be in command ; and of the second, Brigadier 
Forbes, a Scottish soldier of merit and energy. 
Louisbourg was made a matter of prime importance, 
as the fleet was to co-operate. Amherst, a colonel 
serving in Germany, was recalled to take command 
of the land force with the rank of General, and 
under him went three brigadiers Lawrence, whom 
we have met before in Nova Scotia, Whitmore, of 
whom little was known, and lastly, in a good hour, 
James Wolfe. 

As Wolfe s name is the most luminous by far in the 
annals of the war, a few words on the previous re 
cord of this illustrious young soldier will not be amiss. 
He was of that Anglo-Irish stock which has given to 
the nation so many leaders, though his particular 
branch of the family had been back in England again 
for two or three generations when the hero himse 
was born. His father was a general in the army, who, 
in youth, had seen service under Marlborough, and 
in advanced middle age, after Walpole s long peace, 
took the field again in South America and Scotland. 1 
His mother was a Miss Thompson, daughter of a 

1 Wolfe s father went north with Wade in the 45 as a General of 
Division, though very infirm and taking little part in the operations. 



Yorkshire squire. The Wolfes had just taken a 
small but picturesque Tudor house which still stands 
in the outskirts of the little Kentish town of Wester- 
ham, when their eldest son, James, was born. 1 There 
he and his brother, who died in his first campaign, 
spent their early youth. In the gardens of Squerryes 
Court, close by, an inscribed cenotaph marks the spot 
where the hero of the Plains of Abraham received 
the envelope containing his first commission while 
playing with his friends the Wardes, whose de 
scendants still live there, and in the stately Queen 
Anne mansion are still treasured those hundred and 
seventy or so well-written and characteristic letters 
in which the young soldier unconsciously tells the 
story of his life. 

There is an old Welsh legend relating how Owen 
Glyndwr, while still a babe in arms, if he caught 
sight of a sword or a spear, gave those in charge of 
him no peace till it was placed in his infant fingers. 
Wolfe, not in legendary lore, but in actual deed, was 
only less precocious in his martial ardour ; for when 
his father, then commanding a regiment of marines, 
was waiting in camp to embark on the luckless expedi 
tion against Carthagena, the boy then just thirteen 
brushing aside his mother s tears and entreaties, and 
overcoming his father s less-pronounced objections, 
actually succeeded in getting himself attached to the 
regiment as a volunteer. Happily they were not yet 
on board when he was seized with some childish 
malady and sent home again, and put to school. 

At fifteen, however, Wolfe actually received his 
commission, and joined Duroure s, or the 12th regi- 

1 Wolfe was actually born in the Rectory close by, which his 
parents were temporarily occupying. 



ment of foot. At sixteen he fought in the battle of 
Dettingen, acting as adjutant throughout the whole 
of that sanguinary day, which his boyish pen has 
graphically described. Proud of his profession and 
of his country, fearless in battle and ardent in his 
duties, he got plenty of the work that was in those 
days crowded on a willing horse. At the breaking 
out of the Jacobite rebellion of 45, though barely 
nineteen, he had won his way, without backing or 
interest, to be brigade-major. He fought through 
this campaign in Barrel s regiment (the 4th foot), 
and afterwards on the Continent, where he was 
wounded at Lauffeldt. He then had some ten years 
of home service in command of the 20th regiment, 
partly in Scotland, doing police work among dis 
affected Highlanders, and partly in southern garri 
sons, chafing vehemently the while at such enforced 
inactivity. In such times, however, he never lost an 
opportunity of improving himself, studying mathe 
matics and classics, as well as military history. He 
fished and shot when the chance offered with equal 
ardour. He was fond of society, both grave and gay, 
was a graceful and industrious dancer, and expected 
his subalterns to be the latter at any rate. All 
Wolfe could do in the years of peace between the 
two wars he did do in the path of professional duty, 
for he left his regiment the best disciplined of any 
in the British army, and one much sought after by 
ambitious youths and prudent parents. He was a 
singular blend of the dashing fighter, the strict dis 
ciplinarian, the ardent student, the keen sportsman, 
and society man. He was religious without ostenta 
tion, studious without any taint of the prig, and 
brave even to recklessness. 



The long, gaunt figure, the pale, homely face and 
red hair, of which Wolfe himself was always so 
humorously conscious, are a familiar memory to 
most people, while his wretched health is also a 
matter of common notoriety. He loved as ardently 
and as faithfully as he fought, for being unsuccessful 
in his first attachment, a daughter of the Sir Wilfrid 
Lawson of that day being the object of it, he re 
mained for years true to her memory, and proof 
against all other charmers till within a few months of 
his death. What kind of a son he was his corres 
pondence shows. Almost the only thing he would not 
do for his mother was to marry any of the heiresses 
that excellent lady was in the habit of pressing upon 
his notice. In 1757 he had been sent as fourth in 
command of the luckless expedition against Rochelle, 
led by Sir John Mordaunt, and was the only man 
who came out of it with any credit. Even this con 
sisted only of intentions which the supineness of 
his chief forbade him to carry out ; and that so 
slight an incident caught Pitt s attention is charac 
teristic of his genius. Wolfe s professional ardour in 
those dull times, together with his rather uncommon 
temperament, made him regarded in some quarters 
as eccentric. Some one told George II. he was mad. 
" Mad, is he ? " snarled out the old king, soured by 
the recent displays of British strategy. "Then I 
only hope he ll bite some of my generals." 

But Pitt s first care this year was to prevent, if 
possible, any men or provisions from crossing the 
ocean for the relief of Canada. Armaments for this 
purpose were known to be preparing in Rochef ort and 
Toulon, so Hawke and Osborn were sent with suffi 
cient ships to effectually thwart both enterprises. As 



a big fish chases a shoal of frightened fry on to the 
shallows, so Hawke drove the French fleet at Roche- 
fort helter-skelter on to their own rocks and sand 
banks, to their very great detriment, while Osborn 
guarded the Straits at Gibraltar, a position which 
the armament at Toulon did not venture to dispute. 

Boscawen, who was to command the North Ameri 
can fleet and take Amherst s army to Louisbourg, 
was a son of Lord Falmouth and a grandson of that 
too-famous Arabella Churchill, who had married 
after her relationship with James II. had ceased. 
He was therefore of the Marlborough blood ; but 
Boscawen s nicknames of " Old Dreadnought " and 
" Wrynecked Dick " suggest rather the bluff seadog 
of the period than any flavour of coronets and courts. 
In any case he was known as a good sailor, and, what 
at this moment was equally important, might be 
trusted to act cordially with Amherst, and not follow 
the too-prevalent fashion of thwarting the soldier 
because he himself was of the rival trade. For there 
was not much love lost in those days between the 
services, and they were both apt to show their feelings 
only too plainly for the public welfare when called 
upon to act together. The sailor, from the nature of 
his services on these occasions, was the greater sinner, 
and national enterprise, strange though it seems now, 
had suffered often and sorely from the friction. The 
naval officer of those days, as everybody knows, was, 
with some exceptions, a rough diamond. Taken as a 
class, he was not the social equal of the soldier, and 
this in part, no doubt, accounted for his unconciliatory 
attitude. But a change, both in the personnel and 
the sentiment of the navy, was now creeping in, and 
Boscawen amply proved his capacity for putting 



professional prejudice aside when the honour of his 
country was at stake. 

It was the 19th of February, 1758, when the Admiral 
sailed out of the Solent with Wolfe on board and a 
fraction of the army which was to operate against 
Louisbourg. The rest of the force was to be made 
up by troops from Loudon s army of the previous 
year, which were waiting at Halifax. Amherst was 
to follow immediately. Buffeted by winds from the 
very outset, and forced for some days into Plymouth, 
it was nearly three months before the fleet appeared 
in Chebucto Bay and dropped anchor in Halifax har 
bour on May 10th. Quebec, of course, was in the 
mind of Pitt and of his generals, should Fortune 
favour them, and that quickly, at Louisbourg ; but in 
the matter of weather she had so far been the reverse 
of kind, and they had already lost a month out of 
their quite reasonable calculations. Amherst arrived 
a fortnight later, and with a fleet of nearly 200 ships 
of all kinds, and an army of 12,000 men, sailed out of 
Halifax harbour and bore away through heavy seas 
before a favouring wind to Louisbourg. On June 
1st the soldiers had their first sight of " the Dunkirk 
of the North," lifting its formidable ramparts behind 
a white fringe of raging surf. 

Louisbourg, as may perhaps have been already 
gathered, was no town such as Boston or New York, 
or even Quebec and Montreal, the focus, that is to 
say, of a surrounding civilization ; but, on the con 
trary, it stood like a lone oasis between a shaggy 
wilderness and a grey sea, the sport of storms and 
fogs. It counted a population of 4,000 souls, some 
of whom were fish-merchants and some priests, but 
many more were engaged in various pursuits con- 



nected with the trade of war. Louisbourg, indeed, 
scarcely professed to represent the interests of peace ; 
it existed for war and for war alone. France, at the 
late treaty, had strained every diplomatic nerve to 
recover the town from the grip of the New Eng 
land ers, who in the last war, with the help of a 
British fleet, had seized her in a moment of com 
parative weakness. England, deaf to the cries of her 
colonial subjects, had then yielded, and was now 
paying the price of her blindness. With her fine har 
bour, her natural defences, her commanding situation 
in the northern seas, Louisbourg only existed as a 
menace to the enemies of those who held her, a refuge 
to the hunted, a rallying-point for the hunters of the 
ocean ; the scourge of Nova Scotia, the curse of the 
Newfoundland and New England coasts, and a name 
as familiar then in Europe as it is now forgotten. 
Since its restoration to France, a million sterling had 
been spent on the fortifications. Franquet, the emi 
nent engineer, assisted by skilled artificers, had done 
the work, and from behind its two-mile circle of stone 
bastions and massive curtains of well-mortared 
masonry nearly 400 cannon frowned defiance upon 
all comers. Drucour was now governor, while about 
4,000 men, mostly French or Canadian regulars, in 
addition to the same number of inhabitants, with 
a year s provisions, awaited Amherst behind the 
walls. But this was by no means all, for the 
Sutherland, of sixty guns, met the British fleet in 
the offing with the news that seven line-of-battle 
ships and five frigates, carrying 550 guns and 3,000 
sailors, were at anchor in the harbour to assist 
in the defence. 

Louisbourg harbour was some seven miles in cir- 



cumference, with an entry so blocked with reefs 
and islands that the actual passage was not half a 
mile in width. The town occupied the point of the 
promontory which guarded the western mouth of the 
harbour, and formed a triangle : one side being lashed 
by the breakers of the Atlantic, the other washed 
by the land-locked waters of the harbour, while the 
third, or base, facing the only approach by land, 
was the most strongly fortified. Goat Island, in 
the centre of the harbour mouth, commanded the 
eastern or navigable channel, and carried a battery. 
But these, after all, formed only a portion of the 
strength of Louisbourg. For several miles to the 
west, the only side from which a force could to any 
practical purpose be landed by sea, the shores of 
the bay of Gabarus presented an iron barrier of cliffs 
and reefs, only broken here and there by narrow 
coves that could be readily defended. A first line of 
defence therefore existed, formidable in itself to any 
but the boldest foe, before a single shell could be 
dropped over the walls of the town. Each of these 
points had now been strongly intrenched, mounted 
with batteries, provided with pits for riflemen, and 
protected by the formidable and familiar American 
method of felled trees laid with their branches out 

Amherst s army consisted of about 12,000 men, 
made up of the following corps : The 15th (Am 
herst s), 17th (Forbes ), 28th (Bragg s), 35th (Otway s), 
40th (Hopson s), 47th (Lascelles ), 48th (Webb s), 58th 
(Anstruther s), the first and second battalions of 
the 60th or Royal Americans, and the 63rd (Fraser s 
Highlanders) ; there were also five companies of 
rangers and artillery, with about 140 guns of varying 



calibre. The Highland regiments had been recently 
raised by Pitt, to whom belongs the honour of 
converting the late enemies of the British Govern 
ment into battalions that were to prove one of 
the most formidable of its weapons. The Royal 
Americans, too, whose acquaintance we have already 
made, were the origin of battalions no less famous 
in British annals. Most people, I fancy, would be 
surprised to hear that the 60th Rifles was first raised 
in America, and consisted not merely of colonists, 
but very largely of German colonists ; so much so, 
indeed, that it was found advisable to procure a 
number of officers from Switzerland and Germany 
who could speak their language. Their chief, Colonel 
Bouquet, was a Swiss, an extremely able and accom 
plished officer, who was now in Pennsylvania with 
Forbes, and of whom we shall hear later. He has 
moreover left a journal of his doings in America 
which is well worthy of perusal. 

Boscawen had twenty-three ships of the line and 
seventeen frigates, and it was the 2nd of June before 
his whole fleet arrived off the town. A heavy sea 
was running, and the rugged shore was white with 
an unbroken line of raging surf. Amherst, however, 
with Lawrence and Wolfe, the latter still suffering 
sorely from his dire enemy, sea-sickness, took boat, 
and rowing along the coast surveyed it through their 
glasses. There were only three places at which a land 
ing was possible, even when the weather moderated, 
and these, it was seen, were all strongly intrenched. 
On the 5th the wind dropped a little, but gave way 
to a fog, which was even worse. On the 6th both 
wind and fog moderated, and the troops were placed 
in the boats ; but the wind again increasing, they 



were ordered back to the ships. The sailors, with 
all the will in the world, thought gravely of any 
attempt to land. Boscawen sent for his captains 
one by one, and they were all inclined to shake their 
heads. A fine old sea-dog, however, one Ferguson, 
captain of a sixty-gun ship, the Prince, would have 
no halting, and by his vehemence turned the scale 
in favour of prompt action. On the evening of the 
7th the wind fell slightly, the night proved clear, 
and soon after midnight the men were once more 
dropped into the boats. It had been arranged that 
the attack should be made in three divisions on 
three separate points. Lawrence and Whitmore 
were to threaten the two coves nearer the town, 
while Wolfe made the actual attack on Kennington 
Cove or Le Coromandiere, the farthest off, the most 
accessible, but also the most strongly defended, and 
some four miles distant from the city. 

When morning broke upon the short summer 
night, all was ready for a start, and at sunrise the 
entire fleet opened such a furious cannonade as had 
never been heard even in those dreary regions of 
strife and tempest. Under its cover the boats pushed 
for the shore, Wolfe and his division, as the chief ac 
tors in the scene, making for the left, where, in Ken 
nington Cove, some twelve hundred French soldiers, 
with a strong battery of guns, lay securely intrenched 
just above the shore line and behind an abattis of 
fallen trees. As Wolfe s boats, rising and falling 
on the great Atlantic rollers, drew near the rocks, 
the thunder of Boscawen s guns ceased, and, the 
French upon shore still reserving their fire for 
closer quarters, there was for some time an ominous 
silence, broken only by the booming of the surf as it 



leapt up the cliffs or spouted in white columns above 
the sunken rocks. Heading for the narrow beach, 
the leading boats were within a hundred yards of it 
when the French batteries opened on them with a 
fierce hail of ball and round shot. Nothing but the 
heaving of the sea, say those who were there, could 
have saved them. Wolfe s flagstaff was shot away, 
and even that ardent soul shrank from leading his 
men further into such a murderous fire. He was 
just signalling to his flotilla to sheer off, when three 
boats on the flank, either unaware of or refusing to 
see the signal, were observed dashing for a rocky 
ledge at the corner of the cove. They were com 
manded by two lieutenants, Hopkins and Brown, and 
an ensign, Grant. These young gentlemen had caught 
sight of a possible landing-place at a spot protected 
by an angle of the cliff from the French batteries. 
Without waiting for orders, they sent their boats 
through the surf, and with little damage succeeded 
in landing on the slippery rocks and scrambling to 
temporary shelter from the French fire. 

Wolfe, at once a disciplinarian and a creature of 
impulse, did not stand on ceremony. Feeling, no 
doubt, that he would himself have acted in precisely 
the same fashion as his gallant subalterns under like 
conditions, he signalled to the rest to follow their lead, 
setting the example himself with his own boat. The 
movement was successful, though not without much 
loss both in boats and men. The surf was strong and 
the rocks were sharp ; many boats were smashed to 
pieces, many men were drowned, but the loss was not 
comparable to the advantage gained. Wolfe himself, 
cane in hand, was one of the first to leap into the 
surf. These were not the men of Oswego, of Lake 



George, of the Monongahela, of the Virginia frontier. 
The spirit of Pitt was already abroad, borne by the 
very breakers on these wild Acadian shores, and 
burning in the hearts of these fierce islanders, who, 
like their Norse ancestors of old, came out of the 
very surf to wrest dominion from their ancient foe. 
As the troops came straggling out upon the beach, 
full of ardour, soaked to the skin, and many of them 
badly bruised, Wolfe formed them rapidly in column, 
routed a detachment of Grenadiers, and fell im 
mediately with the bayonet upon the French re 
doubts. The enemy, though picked and courageous 
troops, were taken aback, and fled without much 
resistance. They had seen Amherst, too, with re 
inforcements, coming up behind Wolfe, and above all 
had noted the flotillas of Whitmore and Lawrence 
between them and the city, and were fearful of being 
cut off should these last effect a landing. The 
French were pursued over the rocks and through 
the scrubby pine-woods till the pursuers came within 
play of the guns of Louisbourg, which opened a 
heavy fire to cover the retreat. Over a hundred 
were killed or taken prisoners, while the loss of the 
British in landing was not much less. 

Amherst now traced the lines of his camp along a 
shallow valley, watered by a small stream, which was 
not only out of range of the Louisbourg guns, but 
invisible from the walls. Here he proceeded to in 
trench himself, erecting blockhouses at extremities 
where an attack might be expected from Acadians and 
Micmac Indians, with which the wilderness beyond 
was thought to swarm. The sea, however, remained 
so rough that it was some days before the troops could 
get their tents, stores, and lighter guns on shore. It 



was not till about the 17th, when the weather mode 
rated, that the siege guns could be brought from the 
fleet. Both services worked with a will, but their 
difficulties may be estimated from the fact that over 
a hundred boats were destroyed in the operation. 

The French now drew all their men within the 
fortifications. A large battery of thirty guns on the 
opposite side of the harbour, with houses and fish 
stages, was destroyed by the garrison on the night 
of the British landing, and a great conflagration red 
dened both sky and sea. The guns were spiked, as 
were those of a smaller battery at the eastern point 
of the harbour s mouth. Wolfe had a large corps of 
light infantry, picked for their marksmanship from 
various regiments, and trained, so far as a week or 
two at Halifax could train them, in tactics that be 
came familiar enough later on, but were regarded at 
the time as quite a strange innovation on the part of 
the vigorous and eccentric brigadier. It was merely a 
matter of advancing in loose formation, and using all 
the inequalities of the ground for protection, coupled 
with a light and easy costume for the men, namely 
a short jacket, small round hat, and a kind of light 
woollen trouser, cut moderately tight. A story goes 
that an officer who was regarded as somewhat learned 
among his fellows remarked to Wolfe that his new 
corps reminded him of the tcapSov%oL alluded to by 
Xenophon. " That is exactly where I got the idea," 
replied Wolfe ; " only these people never read any 
thing, and consequently believe the idea to be a novel 

Amherst s first move was to send Wolfe with his 
light infantry on a long, rough march of seven 
or eight miles around the harbour to erect some 



batteries upon the farther shore, the necessary guns 
being despatched by water. In this business, not 
withstanding the scantiness of soil and the absence 
of suitable timber, he was so alert that by the 26th he 
had not only mounted his chief battery at Lighthouse 
Point, but had intrenched all his men in safety from 
the fire of the town and fleet, which had been fierce 
and continuous, and furthermore had effectually 
silenced the formidable French battery on Goat 
Island in the middle of the harbour entrance. 

There was nothing now to prevent Boscawen, if 
he so chose, from sailing in with his whole fleet, so 
the French admiral, Desgouttes, rather than lose all 
his ships, prudently sunk four of them by night in the 
channel, to protect the rest. Wolfe, in the meantime, 
had been writing cheery letters to Amherst, telling 
him of his progress, and greatly jubilant that the 
French fleet were now "in a confounded scrape. * 
This was precisely what the French admiral and 
his officers had been thinking for some time, and 
Desgouttes had urged on the Governor the desira 
bility of getting his ships off while there was yet time. 
Drucour, however, thought differently, as he wanted 
the ships and the sailors to prolong the defence, and 
so prevent the besieging army from either proceeding 
to Quebec that season, or from helping Abercromby 
against Montcalm at Lake George. For a fortnight 
an artillery fire had been steadily proceeding upon 
the harbour side, while to the westward, where the 
serious attack was contemplated, Amherst s disposi 
tions were not quite ready, the engineering diffi 
culties being considerable. Wolfe, having done his 
work, now hurried back to the main lines, which 
were henceforward to be the chief scene of action. 



An extensive marsh stretched away from the walls 
of Louisbourg on the landward side. Beyond this 
rolled the rugged, broken ground in which the British 
intrenchments lay. On each side of the marsh, how 
ever, rocky knolls extended up close to the defences 
of the town. It was along these horns, as it were, 
that Amherst had to push his batteries under a 
heavy fire. With rocky hillocks and swampy flats 
to approach over, Amherst s task was no easy one ; 
but he was distinguished for patience and thorough 
ness. What he lacked in dash, Wolfe, who by the 
27th was back at his side, most amply supplied. 
Thousands of men toiled night and day, while a 
hundred big guns roared with tireless throats from 
the massive works of masonry on the west of the 
town, and poured shot and shell upon the British 
working parties as they crept gradually nearer. But 
the pick, the shovel, and the axe proved as efficient 
in defence under the skilful eyes of those who 
directed them as they were to prove formidable 
in advance, and no serious loss was suffered. A 
French frigate, the Arethuse, bravely manned and 
commanded, was stationed in a western angle of the 
harbour, where the northern wing of the approaching 
invaders could be reached, and proved herself ex 
tremely troublesome. She stood in her turn a vast 
deal of cannonading, till at last she was brought off, 
her shot holes plugged, and running the gauntlet of 
the British fleet in a fog, she bore safely away, and 
carried the news of the sore plight of Louisbourg 
across the Atlantic. 

On both the right and left the English batteries 
were now pushed forward to within half a mile of 
the town, and, with Wolfe on one side and Lawrence 

225 Q 


on the other, began their deadly work. Two hun 
dred big guns and mortars, plied upon both sides by 
skilled gunners, shook that desolate coast with such 
an uproar as no part of North America since its 
first discovery had ever felt. Twenty thousand disci 
plined troops, soldiers and sailors, led by skilful and 
energetic commanders, made a warlike tableau, the 
like of which had never yet been seen, with all the 
blood that had been spilled between the Mississippi 
and the St. Lawrence, while infinite valour animated 
both sides. On July 6th, a sortie was made upon the 
advanced trenches on the British left which was 
easily repulsed. Three days afterwards a much more 
serious effort was pressed by a thousand men, stimu 
lated by brandy, the English accounts say, upon the 
right. The British Grenadiers were forced back out 
of the trenches, fighting desperately with the bayonet 
in the dark. Wolfe was here, revelling in the bloody 
melee, and the enemy was ultimately driven back into 
the town. 

At this time, too, the long-threatened attack of 
Acadians and Indians, out of the wilderness on the 
left flank, was delivered. They were commanded by 
Boisherbert, a partisan leader of note, but were easily 
repulsed, and gave little further trouble. 

On July 16th, Wolfe made a rush forward and 
fortified a small hill, locally famous as the spot 
where Louisbourg malefactors were executed. It 
was only three hundred yards from the ramparts 
of the town, and the artillery fire now waxed terrific. 

On both wings, indeed, the British advance was 
pushed so close that gun after gun was dismounted 
on the Louisbourg ramparts, and the masonry itself 
began to crack and crumble in all directions, while 



British soldiers were pressing forward to the very 
foot of the glacis, and firing upon the covered way. 
On the 21st, one of the French ships in the harbour, 
the Cgl&bre, was ignited by a bomb, and the flames 
spread to two others. The British batteries on the 
extreme left commanded the scene, and rained such 
a hail of balls upon the flaming decks that the ships 
could not be saved, and all three were burnt to the 
water s edge. Shells, round shot and bombs were 
now falling in every part of the devoted town. 
Nearly all the sailors of the fleet were with the 
garrison, and all the townsmen who could bear 
arms helped to man the defences. 

There had been a little earlier some friendly ameni 
ties between besiegers and besieged. Amherst had 
sent some West India pineapples to Madame Drucour, 
whom an uncertain French authority, that one would 
like to believe, declares took a personal part in the 
defence. Madame sent back a basket of wine, while 
Drucour himself offered the services of an exception 
ally skilful physician to any of the wounded British 
officers who cared to avail themselves of them. But 
matters had got too serious now for such courtesies. 
On the 22nd the chief house of the citadel, where the 
Governor and other officials were living, was almost 
wholly destroyed by fire. A thousand of the garrison 
were sick or wounded and were cowering in wretched 
ness and misery in the few sheltered spots and case 
ments that remained. The soldiers had no refuge 
whatever from the shot and shell. Night and day 
for there was a bright moon the pitiless rain of iron 
fell upon the town, which, being built mostly of wood, 
was continually igniting and demanding the incessant 
labours of a garrison weakened and worn out by the 



necessity of sleepless vigilance. The gallantry of the 
defence equalled the vigour of the attack, and was all 
the more praiseworthy seeing how hopeless it had 
become. Only two ships of war were left in the 
harbour, and the British bluejackets, who had been 
spectators of the siege, now thought they saw a chance 
of earning some distinction for their branch of the 
service. So five hundred sailors, in boats, running 
the gauntlet of the fire from the town upon the 
harbour side, dashed in upon the Le Bienfaisant and 
Le Prudent, overpowered their feeble crews, burnt 
the latter ship, and towed the other one into a corner 
of the harbour secured by British batteries. The har 
bour was now cleared of French shipping. Another 
great fire had just occurred in the town, destroying 
the barracks that had been an important point of 
shelter. The bastions on the land side were rapidly 
crumbling. On the 26th less than half a dozen guns 
were feebly replying to the uproar of 107 heavy 
pieces firing at close range from the British batteries, 
and more than one big breach in the walls warned 
the exhausted garrison of the imminence of an 

A council of war was now called, and the vote was 
unanimous that a white flag should be sent to Am- 
herst with a request for terms. This was done but 
when Amherst s answer came, the opinion was equally 
unanimous against accepting what he offered, which 
was unconditional surrender within an hour. The 
officer was sent back again to urge a modification of 
such hard conditions, but Amherst, well knowing that 
he had Louisbourg at his mercy, refused even to see 
the envoy. With singular courage, seeing that no relief 
was possible, the French officers resolved to bear the 



brunt of the attack, and Franquet, the engineer who 
had constructed the fortifications with de la Houliere, 
the commander of the troops, proceeded to select the 
ground for a last stand. But the townspeople had 
no mind to offer themselves up as victims to an in 
furiated soldiery, for they remembered Fort William 
Henry, and dreaded the result. The Commissary- 
General came to Drucour, and represented that what 
ever might be the feelings of the military with regard 
to their professional honour, it was not fair to sub 
ject 4,000 citizens, who had already suffered terribly, 
to the horrors of an assault upon that account alone. 
He pointed out, and with justice, that no stain, as it 
was, could rest on the garrison, who had acquitted 
themselves most bravely against a numerous and 
formidable foe, and his arguments had effect. The 
messenger, who for some cause or other had delayed 
in his mission, was overtaken and recalled, and 
Amherst s terms accepted. These last required that 
all the garrison should be delivered up as prisoners 
of war and transported to England. The non-com 
batants were at liberty to return to France, and the 
sick and wounded, numbering some 1,200 were to be, 
looked after by Amherst. All Cape Breton and the 
adjacent island of Saint Jean (now the fertile pro 
vince of Prince Edward), with any small garrisons 
or stores therein contained, were to be given up 
to the English. 

On July the 27th the French troops were drawn 
up on parade before Whitmore, and, with gestures 
of rage and mortification, laid down their arms and 
filed gloomily off to the ships that were to take them 
to England. 5,637 prisoners, soldiers and sailors, were 
included in the surrender. About 240 sound pieces of 



cannon and mortars, with a large amount of ammuni 
tion and stores, fell into the hands of the victors. 
The French fleet in attendance was totally destroyed, 
and French power upon the North Atlantic coast 
ceased to exist. 

With Halifax so near, possessing, as it did, an even 
better harbour, an already firm British establishment 
and a good tributary country, there was evidently no 
need for such a place as Louisbourg. So to place it 
more entirely out of the reach of all enemies, the 
British Government decided upon its destruction. 
Two years after this, in 1760, a great crowd of work 
men, navvies and soldiers, toiled continuously for six 
months at the task of demolition, and the busy, 
famous warlike town was in this strange fashion 
wiped out of existence. Never again could a short 
sighted English Government, blind to its greater in 
terests, because these were not in the Mediterranean 
or the English Channel, reinstate by treaty a French 
garrison in Cape Breton. To-day a collection of 
fishermen s huts by the shore is nearly all that is 
left of this great stronghold of French power in 
the days when a mighty colonial future lay within 
her grasp. Short by comparison as is the story of 
the New World, he would be a dull soul who could 
stand unmoved by that deserted, unvisited, surf- 
beaten shore, where you may still trace upon the turf 
the dim lines of once busy streets, and mark the 
green mounds which hide the remains of the great 
bastions of Louisbourg. It has not been given in 
modern times to many centres of note and power to 
enjoy within the short space of a century and a half 
at once such world-wide fame and such profound 




WHEN Captain Amherst, bearing his brother s 
despatches, arrived in England with the news 
of the fall of Louisbourg and laid the captured French 
standards at the king s feet, the nation, long accus 
tomed to reverses, broke out into a wild frenzy of joy. 
With beat of drum and flourish of trumpets, the 
French flags were carried, through crowds of shout 
ing citizens, from Kensington Palace to St. Paul s, and 
there deposited with a faint echo of the long tempest 
of artillery which had preceded their capture. 
The country, too, had just been plunged in mourning 
by news of the disaster of Ticonderoga which has to 
be related in this chapter; and the revulsion of feel 
ing accounted no doubt in part for its excessive 
exultation. Bonfires flared and church bells pealed 
from John-o-Groat s to the Land s End, while addresses 
of congratulation poured in upon the king from every 
quarter. American troops had taken a very small 
part in this achievement ; but if this fact in any way 
damped the joy of the colonies at a victory which 
was more precious to them even than to the mother 
country they did not show it. Each city celebrated 
the occasion in its own characteristic fashion. Bos 
ton by a flood of pulpit eloquence, New York with 
cakes and ale, and a prodigious amount of toast- 
drinking, while the peace-at-any-price element of 



Philadelphia were well content to let the more 
worldly portion of its community indulge, like the 
rest, in bonfires and rockets. It was not till long 
after Boston and New York had completed their 
rejoicings for the victory, says Captain Knox, that 
news of it reached the lonely forts upon the western 
coast of Nova Scotia, where he and his comrades 
were eating their hearts out among mosquitoes, 
black flies, and scalp-hunters. 

At the fall of Louisbourg, Wolfe was ardent to 
push on at once to Quebec. Boscawen and Amherst 
would probably have consented, with such a strong- 
naval and military force at their disposal. It is idle, 
however, to speculate on what their decision might 
have been, or what their chances of success, for news 
had come to Louisbourg as to London, which made it 
plain that one more " Incapable " had to be removed, 
before the road to success was cleared of obstacles. 
Amherst had now to hasten away to New York and 
to Abercromby s assistance with several regiments, 
leaving Whitmore in charge of Louisbourg, and Wolfe 
to ravage the coast- villages of the St. Lawrence gulf r 
a task he makes wry enough faces over in his letters 

Pitt had this year appealed to the colonies for a 
force of 20,000 men, to operate against Canada. The 
northern provinces, particularly those of New Eng 
land, had already made great and creditable exertions. 
Massachusetts was easily the foremost in this spirited 
competition, and had pledged her credit to the extent 
of half a million sterling, a heavy burden on her 
finances, for in Boston the taxes had risen to 13s. in 
the pound on real and personal estate. Connecticut 
was but little behind, while the small province of 



New Hampshire placed one in three of her adult 
males in the field. These northern colonies, includ 
ing New Jersey and New York, replied to Pitt s 
appeal with an actual force of 17,480 men, 7,000 of 
whom were supplied by Massachusetts. Poor Shirley 
had been long recalled, and ill-requited, for his public 
spirit ; not so much, perhaps, because he had made 
mistakes, as that he had provoked jealousy among 
rivals even less successful. Governor Pownall 
now reigned in his stead over the Puritan Common 
wealth, and took some steps this year to make the 
officers of its willing, if not very formidable, militia 
more effective disciplinarians. When a corps of 
picked rangers, or woodsmen destined for special 
service, elected their own officers, the results were 
excellent ; but when the militia of a rural democracy 
steeped in village politics, followed the same system, 
it was a very different matter. The notion that a 
private was as good as his captain, even if some 
times justified by facts, did not conduce to success, in 
the face of Montcalm s veteran regiments. A great 
improvement in this particular was now introduced 
by methods which do not directly concern us here. 

Abercromby was at Albany, the inevitable base 
of all operations, by May llth, but the usual delays 
in getting the colonial troops into the field occurred, 
and they were not all assembled till the end of June. 
There was always ~a deficiency in arms, tents, and 
clothing, and it was the remedying of this that, as. 
usual, caused the delay. But, when all was at length 
finished, the force upon Lake George was not only 
powerful but in every respect complete, and its- 
chances of success seemed practically assured. It 
wanted only a general. 


ALBANY [1758 

Albany was quite a unique town in colonial 
America. Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her Memoirs of 
an American Lady, has left us a delightful picture 
of this home of her youth, at a period corresponding 
about exactly with the one now treated of. The 
daughter of a Scotch officer, she was brought up in 
the household of that very famous colonial lady, 
"Aunt Schuyler," returning in after years to resi 
dence and marriage in her native country. She was 
advanced in life when she wrote the two small vol 
umes which have been the delight of all students of 
old colonial life ; and this, no doubt, accounts for 
certain inaccuracies. 1 When, in the summer of 1758, 
the luckless Abercromby gathered over 20,000 regular 
and provincial troops at Albany, it was still a purely 
Dutch town. There was a small handful of cultivated 
aristocratic families, like the Schuylers, owning large 
estates, fine houses, well furnished with old china, 
plate, and well-painted pictures brought from the low 
countries ; and there were the numerous burghers of 
the town, of lower station, and nearly all interested 
in the Indian trade simple, kindly, and religious, 
though by no means austere folk, according to our 
authoress. Every well-to-do family owned house ne- 

1 Dr. Kalm, the Swedish traveller and scientist, who visited 
Albany more than once about this period, gives a very different 
picture of the burghers. He declares it was the only place in his 
wide travels in North America where he was consistently cheated. 
He says, moreover, that the Dutch traders did not scruple to buy 
the plunder of ravaged New England homesteads from the Indians, 
arousing thereby such fierce resentment among the New Englan- 
ders that they had more than once threatened to make an example 
of Albany and its inhabitants. Nor can the Doctor account for 
the remarkable difference which he describes as notorious between 
the morals, manners, and habits of the Albanians and the Dutch 
of the lower country, whom he entirely approves of. 



groes, whom they treated with the same consideration, 
and even affection, as the best families of Virginia 
treated their household servants : " Slavery softened 
to a smile " Mrs. Grant calls it. The town consisted of 
one very long street, running parallel with the river, 
and another meeting this in the centre at right angles, 
while others less important branched out to the 
right and left. The houses were even then mostly of 
brick, their gable ends, built Dutch fashion, fronting 
the street, and containing the front door with its 
" stoop," where the family sat on summer evenings, 
while rows of maple trees rustled by the sidewalk. 
Every house had a roomy garden and one or more 
cows, which were driven home at morning and even 
ing from the common pasture-land to be milked. 
The old dislike of the English had greatly softened 
among the burgher class, and was practically dead 
among the patroon set, who went to New York in the 
season, had an English Episcopal church in Albany, 
and gave generously, both in blood and money and 
hospitality, to the English cause, which was, in fact, 
their own. Three years of military occupation, how 
ever, played sad havoc with the Arcadian simplicity of 
Albany as Mrs. Grant paints it. It was in vain that 
the heads of households tried to discriminate in their 
hospitalities between the serious and the frivolous 
among the officers. The younger generation could 
not resist the gay, play-acting young ensigns and 
captains, covered with lace and gold ; and fell into all 
their strange and dubious amusements with a facility 
that was deplorable in the eyes of their elders. The 
Dutch ministers, we are told, after months of pulpit 
protestations gave up their flocks in despair ; and the 
Puritan traditions of the place which was now 



nearly a hundred years old were permanently 
shaken. Indeed, one may well imagine that the 
social ethics of the second George s reign, turned 
loose upon a town that, though Puritan, and un 
sophisticated, possessed much capacity for enjoy 
ment, created a vast commotion. With the army, 
too, came all sorts of people, officially or commercially 
engaged in ministering to its wants, and the old 
burghers shook their heads at this flood of innova 
tion from the outer world. All good people, how 
ever, have their failings, and the Puritan variety 
has been ever inclined to allow himself a special code 
in the matter of achieving a bargain. The innocent 
Albanians had carried this to such lengths with the 
Indians that the shaky attitude of the six nations 
towards the British was chiefly their handiwork. 
Lastly, we get vivid glimpses of the great dislike felt 
by the people of the other colonies, whether English 
or Dutch, to those of New England. New England, 
however, may well have been consoled by the fact, 
that if she was unloved by her neighbours she 
alone was regarded by the French, in a military 
sense, with something like respect. 

Woodland fighting between the Rangers of both 
sides was going savagely on, while the more serious 
warfare was labouring for a start. All the forts 
upon the Hudson, north of Albany, and those in the 
valley of the Mohawk were manned, and on the 
watch. All the notable guerilla leaders, French and 
British, men of valour rather than of virtue, most 
of them were out upon the war-path. British 
officers shared frequently in these dangerous ven 
tures, not as leaders having authority, but as humble 
students in the art of forest warfare, under men like 



Stark and Rogers ; and their inexperience not seldom 
cost them their lives in fights A toutrance, where 
quarter was neither asked nor given and scalps were 
a valuable asset. 

It was near the middle of June when Ahercromhy 
gathered together at Fort Edward the forces he 
was to lead against Ticonderoga. The site of Fort 
William Henry was now, as ever, the front of the 
British position. A stockade had been erected both 
there and upon the adjoining hill, where the mas 
sacre of the preceding year had taken place, and 
was strongly garrisoned, while the energetic Brad- 
street, wisely placed in charge of all the transport, 
with 800 boatmen under him, had prepared nearly 
1,500 craft of various sorts for the passage of the 
army down Lake George. 

Now at last all was ready for the embarkation of 
the greatest armament that had ever darkened the 
surface of an American lake. Abercromby had with 
him, in round numbers, 6,300 regulars and 9,000 
provincials, including batteau men. With the for 
mer were the 27th regiment (Biakeney s), the 42nd 
Highlanders, the 44th (Abercromby s), the 46th 
(Murray s), the 55th (Lord Howe s), two battalions 
of the 60th (Royal Americans), and Gage s Light 
Infantry. The hopes of the colonies ran high. 
They had made great efforts, and never had so large 
or so well-equipped a force been collected under one 
command in America. Abercromby was something 
of an unknown quality, but his organizing powers 
had given good promise ; while Lord Howe, who was 
with him, had won golden opinions upon all sides, and 
greatly endeared himself to the colonists. He stood 
somewhat on the same platform as Wolfe, and was 


LORD HOWE [1758 

about three years older. The latter declares, in a let 
ter, that he is " the best officer in the British army " ; 
while Pitt himself is scarcely less emphatic. Howe 
was, in fact, not only a fine soldier, but was wholly 
free from the narrow-minded prejudices that made 
the average British officer tread upon the corns of his 
colonial brother in arms almost whenever he met 
him. He was gifted with a precious intuition, rare 
now, and much rarer then, which realized that there 
might be social excellence outside that f ocussed in St. 
James s, and military worth in homespun coats and 
hunting shirts. He grasped at once the colonial point 
of view, a result not often achieved under a term of 
years by Englishmen even in our enlightened day, and 
was, in consequence, as much beloved by the colonists 
as by his own men, and they would have followed 
him anywhere. He admired the Rangers and studied 
their tactics. He saw that the Englishman was 
prone to be somewhat heavy, pedantic, and elaborate 
in his movements, and slow, as he is even now, to 
seize the often rough-and-ready methods of expe 
diting matters in a new country. He snipped off the 
long coat-tails of the infantry, browned their shining 
gun-barrels, cut their hair short, and improved their 
leg-gear : adding both comfort and speed to the poor 
fellows progress through the hot and dense woods. 
He not only set an example of good manners to his 
officers in their behaviour to the people of the 
country, but was rigid in cutting down superfluous 
baggage, going so far as to wash his own linen and 
eat his dinner with a clasp knife, as an example to his 
subordinates. And yet, so mysterious are the ways of 
Providence, that he was killed by the very first shot 
fired in an enterprise which some men said depended 


The Attack on 
July 8*- h \758> 


on his leadership. In the meanwhile, a word must 
be said of what was happening all this time with the 
French at Ticonderoga. 

De Vaudreuil had cherished designs of his own 
against the Mohawk valley by way of Lake Ontario, 
and had weakened his none too numerous forces by 
dividing them. He was anxious, too, about Quebec, 
in the event of the fall of Louisbourg. Bourlamaque, 
however, was at the stone fort at Ticonderoga with 
the regiments of La Reine, Guienne, and Beam, some 
Canadian regulars, and a few militia. Montcalm had 
hurried down there with further reinforcements, 
comprising the battalions of La Sarre and De Berry. 
Levis had been sent westward by de Vaudreuil, but 
was hastily recalled when even that prodigious egotist 
admitted that a great crisis was impending. The 
French force with Montcalm was but little over 3,000 
men, though these 3,000, to be sure, were of the very 

A reference to the map will remind the reader of 
the topography of this memorable position. Fort 
Carillon, or Ticonderoga, will be seen on the point 
at the head of Lake Champlain, just where the 
little river, having circled round its eight-mile bend, 
comes hurrying from Lake George. The middle four 
miles of this, it will be remembered, were unnavi- 
gable rapids, and a road, forming as it were the string 
of a bow, had been cut from the head to the foot of 
this shallow water. At the foot of the rapids, whence 
boats could float into Lake Champlain, and two miles 
above the fort, was a saw mill and a bridge. Here 
Montcalm awaited news, sending a force to occupy 
the Lake George or upper end of the rapids, and a 
party of 300 into the woods beyond, to report on the 



movements of the English. Large as Abercromby s 
army actually was, its numbers were exaggerated 
by scouts and Indians, and Montcalm may well 
be excused if even his stout heart began to sink. 
French tactics had usually been wise. But this year 
Montcalm had been over-ruled, and de Vaudreuil 
outwitted. By every law of human chance Montcalm 
had only one hope, namely, in retreating as rapidly 
as he could. But recent experiences had taught him 
there was one chance not allowed for in the rules of 
war, and that was in King George s generals, and 
he boldly decided to count upon it. 

He heard that the army had embarked from Wil 
liam Henry, leaving him, therefore, about two days 
for preparations. He longed for Levis, who was ex 
pected hourly, and, in the meantime, there was much 
discussion as to the best spot for resistance. The 
stone fort was voted out of the question, as being 
too small, and overlooked, moreover, by Rattlesnake 
Mountain. Crown Point was thought of, but the day 
advanced, and some definite decision was urgent, in 
the face of such fearful odds. Bourlamaque and his 
men had, in the meanwhile, been recalled from the 
Lake George end of the rapids, where the English 
were expected to land, and the bridge destroyed. The 
entire army, officers and men, now set to work, with 
axe and pick and shovel, to carry out the plan which 
at the last hour was agreed upon. 

Fort Carillon, or Ticonderoga, stood near the point 
of a high promontory, with the mouth of the river 
on one side and Lake Champlain on the other. The 
ridge which formed it ran inland for some distance, 
leaving a strip of densely wooded swamp on either side, 
between its slope and the water s edge, and along 



this ridge only was it easy of access from the land 
side. Here, some half-mile from the fort, by the in 
finite labour of the whole army, and in an incredibly 
short space of time, was thrown up an intrenchment, 
impregnable to anything but artillery. The crest of 
the ridge was lined with a solid wall of tree trunks, 
piled one above another to a height of eight or nine 
feet, and traced in zigzag fashion, so that its face 
could be enfiladed from any point. The ground, even 
in the front, sloped away, while on the sides towards 
the marshes it was steep and rocky. For the space 
of a musket-shot in front, the dense forest had been 
cut down, the trees lying in tangled confusion as they 
had fallen. Immediately before the breastwork, and 
constituting the most formidable barrier of all, layers 
of large trees had been laid, with their tangled 
branches facing outward to the foe, twined together, 
and sharpened at the points. This work was begun 
upon the morning of the 7th, and was only just 
completed when Abercromby delivered his attack, 
upon the morning of the 8th ; Levis having just 
arrived with 400 men, bringing Montcalm s force up 
to 3,600 of all arms. 

In the meantime, with such pomp and circum 
stance of war as had never been witnessed, even 
from the bloodstained shores of this romantic lake, 
Abercromby had embarked upon the enterprise 
which no man thought could by any possibility 
again miscarry. It was July the 5th, and the very 
week in which those despairing sorties of the French 
from Louisbourg heralded their approaching defeat, 
when the British flotilla crowded out on to the sur 
face of Lake George. The pages of historian and 
novelist alike glow, when they recall the splendour 

241 B 


of this notable scene. The faded types of old colonial 
journals, the yellow tattered letters, written at the 
time by those who saw it, all testify to the glories of 
such a pageant as is not often spread before the eyes 
of men. Many who have never set actual eyes upon 
Lake George, will have surely visited it time and 
again with those fascinating companions whom Feni- 
more Cooper provided for their youthful fancy, will 
have stood upon its shores with Guert Ten Eyck and 
Corny Littlepage, or pierced the mysteries of the 
surrounding forest with the wily Uncas and the 
resourceful Leather-stocking. 

On this memorable July morning twelve hundred 
boats, laden with troops and munitions of war, 
stretched like a vast armada across the bosom of the 
lake. The summer dawn was brilliant and cloudless. 
The sun had just risen over the mountain tops, and 
chased away the mists that night had gathered along 
the swampy shores. Not a breath of air was stirring 
on the water, not a ripple ruffling the silver sheen of 
its surface ; nor over that illimitable sea of woodland, 
which swept upwards in successive waves from the 
island-studded shores, came breeze enough to move a 
blossom or a leaf. With regular precision, its wings 
stretching to right and left, and as the narrow lake 
grew narrower, reaching almost from bank to bank, 
the splendid pageant swept slowly northwards. In 
the centre were the British regiments, all gay in scarlet 
and white and gold. Upon the right and left and in 
the rear went the colonial troops, in blue and red. In 
the front was the gallant Bradstreet, with his sailors 
and axemen, in soberer guise, and Gage s light in 
fantry, with their strange caps and short jackets and 
moustachioed faces. 



From the whole dense flotilla came the glint and 
flash of burnished arms, and above the boats, at in 
tervals, hung the standards of famous regiments, 
impatient to inscribe some American triumph on 
their folds, while the brave show of over a thousand 
tartans those of the " Black Watch " filled in the 
picture. Ten thousand oars, with measured beat, 
caught the sunlight ; and the bands of various regi 
ments, with their martial music, woke the echoes 
of the mountains, which, as the lake narrowed, lifted 
high above it, upon either side, their leafy sides 
and rocky crests. Many a man went proudly down 
Lake George that day beneath the flag of England 
who, twenty years later, was upon this very spot 
to be found turning his sword against his mother 
country and his king. Lee was there, a hot-tempered 
British captain, and, curiously enough, of marked un 
popularity among the provincials ; Starke and Israel 
Putnam, too, were present, hardy and conspicuous 
riflemen from New England frontier farms ; and 
Philip Schuyler, Dutch gentleman and patroon, now 
leading a New York company, and some day to be 
Washington s favourite general, and Alexander 
Hamilton s father-in-law. Now, however, the French 
peril had crushed out for the moment such germs of 
future movements as had already, in vague fashion, 
taken root. With France upon her flanks, the very 
existence of New England depended, whether she 
liked it or not, upon the mother country. 

Landing for a few hours at Sabbath Day Point, 
twenty-five miles down the lake, the men re-embarked 
again at dark ; and, pressing onward through the 
summer night, reached the foot of the lake at ten on 
the following morning. Montcalm s outposts had 



been withdrawn from here, and the bridge over the 
outflowing river destroyed. The British landed, 
therefore, without opposition ; and, leaving the boats 
under a strong force, prepared to march down the 
left bank of the connecting river. Headed by Lord 
Howe and his light infantry, the whole force, the 
English in the centre and the colonials on the flanks, 
moved forward through a country, not only densely 
timbered, but encumbered with the wreckage of 
fallen trees. The men forced their way through the 
dank tangled bush in such order as they could, till it 
became evident that some one had blundered, and 
that the column was hopelessly astray. Suddenly 
from the front came the sound of firing. It was 
the 300 men that Montcalm had sent out to feel 
the English advance, under his partisan captain, 
Langy. The denseness of the forest, and the dark 
ness of the preceding night, had been too much 
even for Langy s guides, and the contact was one of 
pure accident upon both sides, The surprise was 
mutual, and was followed by two hasty volleys. It 
was Lord Howe s rangers and light infantry that 
were engaged, and that gallant nobleman fell dead at 
the first discharge, shot through the heart. We must 
not concern ourselves with what might have hap 
pened but for this luckless shot in a petty skirmish, 
which resulted in the death or capture of nearly all 
Langy s men, or whether Howe s influence would have 
averted the catastrophe that has to be related. It is 
enough to say that his fall was greeted with a wail 
of grief throughout the army and the colonies. Mrs. 
Grant, so often quoted, tells us how Madame Schuyler, 
at whose hospitable country house, near Albany, 
Howe, like most of the principal officers, had spent 



much time, received the news : "In the afternoon a 
man was seen coming on horseback from the north, 
galloping violently, without his hat. The man gal 
loped on, crying out that Lord Howe was killed. 
The mind of our good aunt had been so engrossed by 
her anxiety and fears for the event impending, and 
so impressed by the merit and magnanimity of her 
favourite hero, that her wonted firmness sunk under 
this stroke, and she broke out into bitter lamenta 
tions. This had such an effect on her friends and 
domestics that shrieks and sobs of anguish echoed 
through every part of the house." Wolfe, while 
before Louisbourg, writes " if the report of Howe s 
death be true, there is an end of the expedition, for 
he was the spirit of that army, and the very best 
officer in the king s service." Even Abercromby, in 
his official report, notes the universal outbreak of 
grief caused by his death. In Westminster Abbey 
may be seen a monument, somewhat unique in its 
origin, erected by the Government of Massachusetts, 
to the memory of George, Lord Viscount Howe, etc., 
" in testimony of the sense they had of his services 
and military virtues, and of the affection their 
officers and soldiers bore to his command." 

The army, baffled by the nature of the country on 
the west bank, and the want of guides, had to bivouac 
in the woods on this night, the 6th, and return in 
the morning to the landing-place. A day of infinite 
value had been lost, but this Abercromby could not 
know. He determined now to take the rough but 
direct and beaten road on the east bank of the stream 
and re-build the bridge, which Montcalm had de 
stroyed, re-crossing the river again at the farther end 
of it, near Ticonderoga. The invaluable and active 



Bradstreet was therefore pushed forward with a 
strong force on the morning of the 7th, and rapidly 
restored the broken bridge. 

Abercromby, with the main body, came up in the 
evening, and camped at the saw-mill for the night. 
He was now less than two miles from the intrench- 
ment at Ticonderoga which Montcalm was busy 
finishing. He had left such guns as he had, and 
on which hinges a vital question, at the landing-place, 
six miles back. In the morning Abercromby sent 
what most historians, with unconscious but mis 
leading grandiloquence, call his " chief engineer," 
Mr. Clerk, to report on the French defence. On this 
also hangs a tale. Mr. Clerk seems to have been 
merely a subaltern " commissioned sub-engineer and 
lieutenant, January 4th, 1758." l He had therefore 
been just six months in the service. The poor young 
man, happily perhaps for himself, died the next day 
one of the victims of his own inexperience or rash 
ness. One may well wonder at the system which 
left the safety of an important army to the judg 
ment of a half-taught youth. It is bad enough to 
find Wolfe, as a then unknown and untried boy of 
sixteen, adjutant to his regiment at Dettingen. But 
this seems even worse. 

In the thick forest there was only one spot from 

which the French position could be reconnoitred, 

and that was Mount Defiance, just across the mouth 

of the little river, within a mile of their intrench- 

ment. It was from the top of this eminence that Clerk 

examined the formidable breastwork of hewn logs 

girdled with the chevaux de frise of fallen trees in 

the midst of the tangled clearing, and decided that 

1 See Kingsford. 



they could be carried by assault. Abercromby s in 
formation was to the effect that 6,000 Frenchmen 
were here, and more coming, which we know was 
inaccurate. He was therefore in a hurry to attack. 
He had left his guns at the landing-place ; having 
brought them thus far apparently for the purpose of 
covering his landing in case of the opposition he 
expected, but, as we know, did not encounter. He 
now decided, on the strength of Clerk s report, to 
attack Montcalm s intrenchments, which, by the way, 
contained some artillery, with the bayonet. This in 
itial error might have been forgiven. But that when 
it became apparent, it should have been persevered 
in at such frightful cost, is unforgiveable and unfor- 
getable. Most of the officers of that force seem to 
have been of the type whose mission was to enjoy 
themselves in peace, and in action to get themselves 
killed cheerfully, without criticising the tactics of their 
commanders. Moreover, few had seen the redoubt. 
There appear to have been a few dissentient voices on 
this occasion, probably from those who had, but they 
were not too insistently raised. The colonists, many 
of whom knew the district well, may have wondered 
at the tactics of the British general ; but every one s 
blood was up, and the business at Fort William 
Henry had left a burning desire for revenge. " I 
think we were all infatuated," wrote a young officer, 
describing the scene by letter to Captain Knox, in 
Nova Scotia. Lord Howe was dead, and the brain of 
the army was paralysed. The pity of it all lay in the 
fact that Abercromby had left his guns at the land 
ing-place, whence they could have been fetched in a 
few hours. 

From Mount Defiance he could then have pounded 



the huddling mass of Frenchmen within the intrench- 
ment at will, or knocked their defences about their 
ears in an hour ; for they were not strong enough to 
venture an attack. They had only a week s pro 
visions, and were nearly 200 miles from their hase. 
Even if no artillery had been available, the British 
general, with his 15,000 men, could have surrounded 
them, and starved them out without firing a shot. 
There were several alternatives, all practical certain 
ties, and probably bloodless ones ; and Montcalm knew 
this when, on the sole chance of having a blunderer 
in front of him, he staked his all on this forest ridge 
at Ticonderoga. 

It was high noon, and a blazing sun poured its 
rays vertically down on the front ranks of the 
British columns as they moved out of the forest into 
that mass of tangled branches, through which they 
were to fight their way. The Hangers and light 
infantry, who had been pushed forward to drive in 
Montcalm s outposts, fell back on either flank as the 
long red lines of Grenadiers, supported by the 
Highlanders of the " Black Watch," over a thousand 
strong, all with bayonets fixed, stepped out of the 
shadow of the woods into the fierce sunlight. Their 
orders were simplicity itself : to go forward, namely, 
at the charge, and not fire a shot till they were 
within the ramparts. From the top of Mount 
Defiance, where Abercromby s cannon should have 
been stationed, 400 friendly Indians, who had just 
arrived with Sir William Johnson, to share the 
British triumph, looked cynically down with shaking 
heads and many deep guttural ejaculations of con 
tempt. It might be magnificent, but it was not war 
according to their notions of the game, and they 



absolutely refused to throw their lives away in any 
such midsummer madness. 

It is a lamentable tale that has now to be told, and 
one of tragic monotony. Forcing their way through 
the tangled chaos of tumbled trees, the front lines of 
British infantry pressed on as best they could, with 
orders to carry by steel alone those bristling barriers 
behind which over 3,000 Frenchmen lay invisible and 
secure, with levelled muskets. As the British ap 
proached the abattis of prostrate trees, laid outwards 
with pointed branches, a sheet of smoke and flame 
burst from the eight foot log breastwork which lay 
behind it, and a fierce storm of bullets, mixed with 
grape shot swept through the advancing ranks. In 
vain the survivors of that withering discharge tried 
to force their way through the dense network of 
opposing boughs, and reach the foot of the wooden 
wall beyond. Some acquaintance with backwoods 
life would help the reader to more thoroughly realize 
the hideous nature of such an obstruction, when alive 
with bullets fired by a highly disciplined and pro 
tected enemy at a distance of twenty yards. The 
hopelessness of the task must have been obvious to 
any observer ; but Abercromby either did not or he 
would not see it. It is said that he remained most 
of the time near the saw-mill, over a mile away, 
though no imputation is cast on his personal bravery. 
All that remained for his soldiers was to obey his 
orders, and to dare and die, which they did with 
splendid and piteous gallantry. 

The order to withhold their fire, however, was 
soon treated by the troops with the contempt which, 
under the circumstances, it deserved ; but this availed 
them little. Here and there the head of a French- 



man showed above the rampart, as he stood on the 
raised platform to fire ; and now and then an English 
bullet found its mark above or between the logs. A 
battery of artillery would have knocked the rude 
defences into splinters in an hour, but to bayonet 
or musket ball they were hopelessly impregnable. 
Regiment after regiment struggled desperately on 
against that fatal barrier ; but as each rush of men 
strove to tear their way through the immovable frise 
of branches, it was met by a storm of lead, such as no 
troops could face and live. As each shattered column 
fell sullenly back, leaving a fearful tribute of dead 
and wounded, fresh ones came rolling on like the 
waves of a sea, and to break as surely at the foot of 
that flaming parapet. Thus went on the futile hero 
ism and the useless slaughter. Gay young officers, 
whose routs and plays had so lately been a fearful 
joy to the simple folk of Albany, hung quiver 
ing corpses amid the fast withering leaves of the 
interlacing trees. Here and there a Highlander, 
mad with fury and contemptuous of life, had actually 
scaled the log wall and leaped down to certain death 
among the enemy. Many are the tales that have 
come down to us of deeds of personal heroism per 
formed upon that bloody day ; but where all were 
heroes it matters less that there is no space for them. 
Now and again there was a lull, born of sheer ex 
haustion, the smoke lifted from the deadly clearing, 
and men may well have looked for some word from 
their sphinx-like general ; but Abercromby gave no 
sign, except, with imperturbable fatuity, to persist in 
his mad course. Fresh troops were ordered forward, 
and with them returned to the charge the survivors 
of the last attacks. There was no sign of hesitation 



throughout the whole of those terrible four hours, 
and never was greater gallantry shown in an effort 
so lamentably superfluous. 

" It was in vain at last," says Warburton, " as it 
was at first ; and upon that rude barrier, which, the 
simplest manoeuvres would have avoided, or an hour 
of well plied artillery swept away, the flower of 
British chivalry was crushed and broken." 

" The scene was frightful," writes Parkman ; 
" masses of infuriated men, who could not go forward 
and would not go back, straining for an enemy they 
could not reach, and firing at an enemy they could 
not see." 

It was within a day of being the third anniversary 
of Braddock s defeat, and, as on that fatal field, the 
full heat of the hottest period of the American sum 
mer simmered in the smoke-charged clearing, which 
even the warm lake breezes could not reach. It was 
five o clock, and nearly four hours of this insensate 
work had not daunted the spirit of these gallant 
men. For it was at this moment that the most 
furious onslaught of the whole day was made upon 
the French right. Then, and then only for a few 
brief minutes, was Montcalm s position in danger, and 
he had to hurry in person with a strong support to 
where a group of Highlanders, with superb indiffer 
ence to death, were making their way up and over 
the parapet. But the gallant effort was fruitless. 
It was the last of the succession of furious attacks 
to which Montcalm does full justice, marvelling in. 
his heart at the madness which inspired them, and 
welling over with gratitude at his good fortune. 
One or two more half-hearted and despairing at 
tempts were made upon the deadly lines, when the 



General, recognising at six o clock what he should 
have seen at one, gave the order to retire. Then 
amid some desultory firing of colonials and Rangers, 
from the bordering forest, the shattered British regi 
ments fell back to the saw-mill, whither the wounded 
had been previously conveyed in batches, and those yet 
to be gathered from the battlefield were subsequently 
taken. The French had done enough. They were 
as exhausted with the great strain of their victory, 
as they were exalted, and made no attempt to molest 
the retreat, and the British army spent that night in 
peace at the saw-mills. Burning both mill and bridge, 
they then marched the six miles to the landing- 
place, and there embarked, with sad hearts and 
boat-loads of wounded, on the very spot where, two 
days before, they had landed in all the pride and 
confidence of anticipated victory. One hears some 
times of a certain amount of panic accompanying 
this retreat, but there seems no direct evidence to 
this effect, and it is entirely against reason, though 
Abercromby did believe there to be 6,000 Frenchmen 
inside the barricade, and that reinforcements were 
close at hand. As a matter of fact, the French fully 
expected another attack ; but Abercromby, though he 
had still over 13,000 men behind him, abandoned all 
thought of further action, and put his large force again 
into camp at his base on the head of Lake George. 
It now remained but to count the cost, and this 
was frightful. Very nearly 2,000 men had fallen 
in a short quarter of a summer day, and the greater 
part of these were of the 6,000 regulars, who had 
borne the chief part of the affray. 300 provincials 
only figure in the returns ; but no half-disciplined 
militia, without bayonets, however brave, could have 



been launched upon a task so obviously hopeless. 
For sheer intrepidity, however, the " Black Watch " 
must bear off the palm on a day as memorable for 
individual heroism as for concrete failure. This 
fine regiment, " every one of whose soldiers," says 
a contemporary writer, who knew them intimately, 
" considered himself as raised somewhat above the 
rank of a common man," went into action over 1,000 
strong, and came out 499. The French loss was 
under 400, though de Bourlamaque was seriously, 
and de Bougainville slightly wounded. 

There were some other incidents in the battle, but 
they pale into insignificance compared with the sus 
tained frontal attack. The strips of densely wooded 
swamp on either side of the intrenchment were 
guarded by Canadians and Indians, and Abercromby s 
provincials made several futile attempts to dislodge 
them. Bradstreet, too, had brought some batteaux 
over land from Lake George, and these were filled 
with riflemen and floated on the river, in the flank of 
the French position ; but cannon were brought to bear 
on the crowded boats, to their complete discomfiture, 
two or three of them being actually sunk. In the heat 
of the frontal attack there occurred one of those mis 
understandings, or worse, that is strangely suggestive 
of operations proceeding at this very moment in 
another continent. A captain of the Royal Roussillon 
regiment tied a flag to the end of a musket, and 
waved it towards a British column in the act of 
attacking. The latter took it as a sign of surrender, 
and, crossing their muskets on their breasts, with their 
muzzles in the air, stepped innocently forward towards 
the abattis. The French troops on their part, and, of 
a truth, with unaccountable simplicity, if it be true, 



regarded the action of the British as denoting sur 
render, and they ceased firing, preparatory to receiving 
them within the breastwork. Whether the waving 
of the flag was an instance of that "slimness" for 
which the South African Boer is noted, or was merely 
-a meaningless and sudden impulse on the part of the 
French captain, is uncertain. But another captain 
(Pouchot), who tells the tale, describes how he arrived 
on the scene at this moment, and saw the English line 
advancing and the French standing quietly awaiting 
them with grounded arms. Knowing nothing of what 
had gone before, he shouted to the French soldiers 
to fire, or the English would assuredly capture them. 
A volley was then delivered, which, according to 
the same officer, killed or wounded about 200 of 
the unsuspecting British. There was great indigna 
tion at the time among the latter, but it seems pro 
bable that no bad faith was intended. A famous 
legend, too, surrounds the memory of one of the 
victims of this bloody field, and must by no means 
be overlooked. 

It so happened that a certain Duncan Campbell, of 
Inverawe Castle, was at this time a major of the 
" Black Watch." Some years previously, and before 
the regiment was raised, so runs the story, he chanced 
to be sitting alone at midnight in the hall of his old 
castle, when suddenly there came a knocking at the 
gate. Going out himself he found a blood-stained 
Highlander, worn and torn with travel, who confessed 
to having killed a man in a fray, and to being closely 
pursued by officers of the law, and entreated the laird 
to give him shelter and protection. The latter con 
sented, but the fugitive was not satisfied till Campbell 
had sworn secrecy on his dirk, which he somewhat 



rashly did. He had scarcely hidden him away, when 
there was a fresh hammering at the castle gate, which 
proved to be the avengers of the law on the fugitive s 
track. These informed Campbell that his cousin Don 
ald had just been murdered, and that the murderer 
was somewhere in the neighbourhood. The laird 
was greatly perturbed, but, remembering his oath, 
professed to know nothing of the matter. That night, 
as may well be supposed, sleep did not come readily 
to his eyes, and before long was effectually banished 
by the dread presence of the murdered man, who 
suddenly appeared at his bedside, and in a sepulchral 
voice addressed him thus : " Inverawe ! Inverawe ! 
blood has been shed ; shield not the murderer." 

Campbell was so horrified, that the next day, 
though he would not break his oath, he refused any 
longer to keep the guilty fugitive beneath his roof, 
but took him out to the hills, and hid him in a cave. 
This, however, would not suffice to lay the ghost of 
his murdered cousin, which appeared to him again 
the next night, repeating the same significant in 
junction. Campbell, distraught with superstitious 
fears, hastened at dawn of day to the mountains ; 
but the cave where he had hidden his unbidden guest 
was empty the murderer had flown. 

Once more, on the following night, the ghastly 
vision stood by Campbell s bedside. Its attitude 
was not so menacing, but its words were perhaps 
yet more significant : " Farewell, Inverawe ; fare 
well, till we meet at Ticonderoga." 

Now at that early time, neither Campbell nor 
perhaps any other British officer, had so much as 
heard the name of the obscure backwoods post ; so 
he marvelled greatly what this strange arrangement 



of letters might mean, and for this very reason it 
remained indelibly imprinted on his mind. 

Two or three years afterwards the 42nd was raised, 
and in due course ordered to America, and, as we 
have seen, became part of the force operating against 
Ticonderoga, which till then had been usually known 
by its French name of Carillon. When Duncan 
Campbell first heard the strange word that had lain 
half dormant but unforgotten in his mind for years, 
and that he was to attack the place which it signified, 
he gave himself up for lost ; and though a valiant 
soldier, succumbed to the mental depression which 
a strong presentiment is apt to produce on super 
stitious natures, however brave. His brother officers 
tried by various ruses to make him think it was not 
actually Ticonderoga they were about to attack. 
But on the morning of the 8th the fatal day he 
remarked gloomily to those about him that it was 
idle attempting to deceive him, for that very night he 
had again seen the apparition, which on this occasion 
had uttered but three words : " This is Ticonderoga." 
"And this day," said the major, " I shall fall." Fall 
he did, and was carried wounded to Fort Edward, on 
the Hudson, where he shortly afterwards died. His 
grave may yet be seen, and on the stone above it may 
be read : " Here lyes the body of Duncan Campbell, 
of Inverawe, Esq., Major to the old Highland Regi 
ment, aged 55 years, who died the 17th July, 1758, of 
the wounds he received in the attack of the Retrench 
ment of Ticonderoga or Carillon on the 8th July, 

We must pass over the justifiable exultation of 
the 3,000 and odd brave Frenchmen who stood that 
day so staunchly behind their log breastworks, the 



letters that were written, the paeans that were sung, 
the triumph that resounded throughout France and 
Canada, to say nothing of the inevitable exaggera 
tions that went out concerning an achievement that 
indeed required none. Montcalm, when he heard of 
Louisbourg, expressed a wish that his Ticonderoga 
heroes had been there. But in so doing his pen ran 
away with him. He did an injustice to his equally 
brave troops in Cape Breton, and forgot for the 
moment that a single half -battery of Amherst s guns 
would have blown his wooden ramparts into frag 
ments, and that he owed his triumph, and even his 
own safety, to a blunder, that he must have well 
known was outside every calculation of war. 

Such was Ticonderoga, the least remembered, though 
one of the bloodiest, most desperate, and most 
dramatic battles of our history, at once a glory and 
a shame. The schoolboy has never heard of it ; the 
journalist, who in these stirring times is called upon 
to summarise the triumphs and defeats of byegone 
days, seems often in like plight. Thackeray s Virgin 
ians is probably responsible for much of the recol 
lection that survives of the Monongahela, though 
Braddock had not nearly as many men in action as 
fell at Ticonderoga. Cooper was not so fortunate in 
fastening upon the public mind that Homeric contest 
on Lake Champlain ; which was, perhaps, the most 
humiliating reverse we ever suffered at the hands of 
the French, and a fight that, save for Burgoyne s sur 
render, far overshadows any of the numerous conflicts 
fought in that historic region. For yet another 
generation was to wake the echoes of these noble 
solitudes with a strife as bitter, and on an issue 
only less momentous than this one. It is a popular 

257 s 


impression that North America is barren of associa 
tions, that its natural beauties lack the atmosphere 
of history, legend, and tradition. It is not so much the 
lack of these, as the lack of equipment to appreciate 
them, that is at fault. He would be a callous wight 
indeed, who, thus equipped, could stand upon the 
shores of Lake George, and feel no thrill but what its 
physical features awakened. If eighteenth century 
life be accounted sufficiently remote to appeal to the 
historic fancy, which it surely is, think with what 
infinite picturesqueness, with what fulness of romance, 
its quaint figures, its stirring pageants grouped them 
selves upon a canvas, in itself so exquisitely fair. 
Not once or twice, as a fleeting vision, but year 
after year passed backwards and forwards the mot 
ley martial throng : frilled and powdered dandies of 
the second George s time, in scarlet, and lace, and 
gold; no less punctilious exquisites from the outer 
circles, at least, of Louis XV. s brilliant Court, 
long-skirted, gaitered, pig-tailed soldiers in red or 
white, from Devon and Yorkshire villages, from the 
orchards of Normandy, and from the slopes of the 
Pyrenees. Fair-haired Germans and hardy Switzers 
were here ; keen soldiers of fortune some, others 
simple hirelings ; savages, too, of tribes innumerable, 
in bark canoes, all painted and be-feathered with the 
immoderate profusion of those primitive days ; wild, 
bearded, lion-hearted Rangers, in fringed hunting 
shirts and coon-skin caps, and masses of hardy, God 
fearing rustics in blue or homespun, from Connecticut 
and Massachusetts farms. 

The very contrasts, in a country that has lived 
at double speed, gives the past a greater aloof 
ness and a stronger fascination ; and never surely 



was war more picturesque than here. It is not 
much more than a century since the last can 
non shot was fired, and the last actors in the 
final scene, that of the revolutionary war, passed 
from the stage. Yet what an age, however, 
in this new world, it seems, and how vast 
the change ! These ancient battle-fields are now 
the playground of an abounding population, from 
teeming cities that were then but trifling villages 
or frontier forts. The beauty of lake and mountain 
and forest is still here. The grey ruins of Ticon- 
deroga may yet be seen, mouldering amid the throb 
of modern life. But villages and hamlets and huge 
hotels, gay with holiday-makers, cluster on the 
shores. Steamers and pleasure-boats ply joyously 
along the bays and through island channels, where 
of old scalp-hunting Indians and Rangers crouched 
for their prey amid the rocks and reeds. The engine 
screams along the banks, now smooth by comparison, 
and long shorn of the tangled wilderness, where red 
coats blundered into ambushes, and even the ranger 
was sometimes at fault. But beneath the wheels 
of panting trains, or the hurrying feet of careless 
tourists, and sometimes, perhaps, even yet, amid the 
murmur of pine and hemlock woods, there sleep 
unnumbered and forgotten dead French and Eng 
lish, colonist and Indian, Dutch and German, who fell 
here when the fate of America was yet hanging in 
the balance, and its greater portion still lay wrapped 
in the silence of unbroken forest or untrodden 




PITT took the disaster of July the 8th sorely to 
heart. His friends endeavoured to console him 
by pointing out the valour and the spirit which had 
animated the soldiers, even to the last moment of 
their hopeless attempt ; but the failure, summed up 
in facts and figures, was outside consolation. Happily 
the news of Louisbourg followed so quickly on that of 
Ticonderoga, that both Pitt and the British people, 
save those who mourned their dead, were soon buoyed 
up again on the high tide of hope. Loud was the out 
cry in America against the hapless Abercromby, as he 
sat down again, at the head of Lake George, with 
his 13,000 men, raised, fed, and transported at such 
pains and cost. He has since had his defenders for 
thus retiring, after so severe a rebuff, on his base of 
supplies ; but to all the critics in his own army, whose 
views survive, it seemed sheer poltroonery. The 
9,000 provincial troops who had been conveyed to 
the scene of action and brought back again almost 
intact, sounded the loudest note of indignation, save, 
perhaps, that of the provincial taxpayers. The 
General, however, does not seem to have suffered 
from an over sensitive temperament, and he quietly 
set about intrenching his front, upon the site of 
Fort William Henry ; and without any apparent 
sense of humiliation, exchanged his former role of 



an irresistible invader of Canada to that of the de 
fender of a threatened frontier. His army, no doubt, 
thanks only to himself, was greatly shaken in morale, 
but it was still enormously superior to that of 
Montcalm, who could not believe that he would be 
left unmolested. As time passed on, however, and it 
became evident to the French that no attack on Que 
bec by Amherst was likely, men were crowded down 
to Ticonderoga, and before the commander-in-chief 
was free to support Abercromby, Montcalm had troops 
enough and intrenchments enough to make his eviction 
a matter of such serious difficulty that all thoughts 
of it were given up. The doings of Abercromby and 
his disheartened men this autumn need not detain us. 
They occupied the old lines of defence and communi- 
tation from Lake George across the fourteen mile 
carrying-place to Fort Edward, and thence down the 
scattered forts upon the banks of the Hudson. A 
single sloop, flying the British flag, and carrying six 
of the guns which had made that incompleted pil 
grimage to Ticonderoga, cruised about Lake George 
undisputed mistress of that mimic sea. 

The passing of provision convoys from port to port, 
for the use of Abercromby s inactive army, gave Mont- 
calm s Rangers, slipping up Wood Creek from Lake 
Champlain into the British country, fine scope for 
their energies, while Rogers and Putnam, with their 
equally hardy and daring followers, were as active as 
their rivals, both in defence and attack. But the mili 
tary machine as a whole remained immovable upon 
the lakes. Amherst s men, to the number of 3,000, 
landed at Boston from Louisbourg in September, and 
made a long march across the grain of a rough coun 
try to Fort Edward. It was too late, however, even 



in Amherst s opinion, seeing the great strength of the 
French, to make another attempt on Ticonderoga ; 
and we may now leave the camps on the New York 
frontier to an autumn season of discontent. Gather 
ing snowstorms and freezing waters in due course 
put an end to their unprofitable labours, and sent 
them into winter quarters to glean what consolation 
they might from the better fortune of their comrades 
at Louisbourg, and in two other quarters which must 
now be dealt with. 

Before consigning poor Abercromby to the oblivion 
which ensued upon his recall the best fate, indeed, 
he could have hoped for it should be said to his 
credit that he consented to a scheme, and supplied 
the troops for it, which was entirely successful, and 
materially helped the triumph at Louisbourg to coun 
terbalance the disaster on Lake George. Bradstreet, 
whose acquaintance we have already made, was the 
hero of the enterprise. He was a New Englander, 
had served as a captain in the former war, and as 
lieutenant-colonel of provincials had done yeoman s 
service in this one. In the management of batteaux, 
whaleboats, and canoes, and of the men who manned 
them a vital department of these campaigns he 
had no rival. He was, moreover, a brave and enter 
prising soldier equally at home in the forest, in the 
open plain, or on the surging rapid. He was some 
what contemptuous of European generals and their 
deliberate tactics, but was on good terms with all the 
British commanders, and greatly valued by them, as 
indeed he may well have been, for he was of infinite 
service to the British cause. He received a royal 
commission, and died eventually a Major-General in 
the English army. If the gratitude of a country is 



to be estimated by its biographical literature, it has 
forgotten Bradstreet, as it has forgotten many 
another man, who laid his country and his race un 
der a lasting debt in the wild woods of eighteenth 
century America. 

Bradstreet had for a long time kept his eye on 
Frontenac, that important half-way station between 
Montreal and the remoter western forts. It was a 
depot of supply, too, for these, as well as for the new 
garrisons in the Ohio valley. He had urged Loudon 
in the preceding autumn, when his operations had all 
failed, to let him make a dash upon this vital French 
position, but Loudon was nothing if not cautious, 
and had refused. Poor Abercromby, however, 
grasping at anything which promised some mitiga 
tion of his affairs, listened readily to the renewed 
applications of Bradstreet, after the failure at Ticon- 
deroga, and gave him 3,000 men, all of them from the 
provincial militia except 200 regulars, and 300 
batteau men, and 70 Indians. Bradstreet had got 
word that Frontenac was denuded of its usually 
strong garrison, which, had been withdrawn by Vau- 
dreuil to strengthen the only part of Canada now 
supposed to be in danger, namely, that threatened by 
Abercromby s army. 

Bradstreet s only line of attack was of course up 
the old western route, by the Mohawk valley, to the 
site of the vanished Oswego, on Lake Ontario. Up 
this long toilsome track by lake, rapid and portage, 
the New England colonel and his batteau men 
pressed their way with ready and familiar steps, the 
colonial soldiers marching none the less cheerfully, 
though suffering much from sickness, that they were 
under one of their own leaders. They passed General 



Stanwix, who was busy erecting the great fort at the 
Oneida watershed that was to bear his name, and on 
the 22nd of August stood beside the ruins of Oswego, 
looking out over the blue waves of Lake Ontario, to 
the shoreless horizon, behind which lay the still 
virgin forests of Western Canada. Great numbers of 
Bradstreet s soldiers had dropped behind from sick 
ness, but he had written Abercromby that if he had 
only a thousand left he would carry out his venture. 
He had much more than a thousand, though, as it 
turned out, he hardly needed even that much. 
Launching his batteaux and whaleboats upon the lake, 
he had, in four days, landed his men and guns within 
sight of Fort Frontenac, and on the following morning 
had a battery mounted within point blank range of 
the enemy s walls, and the garrison at his mercy. 
The great French station, key of the west, master of 
Lake Ontario, and feeder of the Ohio forts that had 
been for so long decimating the English frontier, had 
indeed been caught napping. Resistance was hopeless, 
as a few discharges of artillery soon made evident. 
There were only a hundred men in the fort, with 
their women and children, and they promptly sur 
rendered ; but it was crammed with stores. The 
prisoners were allowed to go to Montreal on parole, 
on the understanding that their equivalent in British 
captives should be forwarded to Albany. The 
Commandant was one Payan de Noyan, an aged 
gentleman of family and considerable culture, but of 
greatly impaired means, the recuperation of which 
was indeed the immediate cause of his exile in the 
backwoods ; for it will be remembered that a Cana 
dian fort was given to favourites, or deserving 
officers, for this dubious purpose. 


1758] DE NOTAN 

This gallant old versifier and scientist, for he was 
both, heard of Bradstreet s intentions, at an early 
date, from friendly Indians, and resented being thus 
caught like a rat in a trap. Vaudreuil, in answer to 
his earnest solicitation for troops, sent him one man 
as an adviser, and he with but one arm ! Upon which 
de Noyan, for there was yet plenty of time, begged 
to be relieved of his honours. Vaudreuil put him off, 
insinuating, at the same time, that his nerve must be 
failing. After the inevitable surrender, Vaudreuil 
bade him be of good cheer, and neither to worry him 
self, nor take the trouble to draw up formal reports, 
for that he would explain the whole matter to the 
court of France. Vaudreuil, who was, in fact, wholly 
responsible for the fall of Frontenac, did explain 
matters, but after his own characteristic fashion, 
giving the king to understand that age had impaired 
de Noyan s energies ; in short, that he had played 
the coward. The poor old gentleman, who, if he did 
plunder his king, could not rest under the imputation, 
certainly an unjust one, of being backward in fight 
ing for him, went to France and craved for a hearing, 
but to no purpose. Perhaps it was a just judgment 
on his peculations, though Vaudreuil seems hardly 
a fitting instrument for Providential chastisement. 
Thus was Canada governed in her hour of need, and 
indeed for a very long time previous to it. 

The booty taken and destroyed at Frontenac was 
very great, and the loss to the French, they them 
selves declared, was worse than that of a battle. 
There were nine vessels, carrying over a hundred 
guns, most of which were burned, together with the I 
fort itself, and everything inside it that could not 
be moved. Sixty pieces of artillery were carried 



away, besides an immense amount of valuable furs, 
stores, and provisions, valued at nearly a million 
livres. Bradstreet, to crown the honour of his 
achievement, refused any share in the booty, his 
portion being divided among his troops. 

It should be remembered that the base, or the 
Canadian side, of the triangle, on which the whole 
conduct of this war necessarily ran, was a line along 
which movement was, for the most part, easy, 
namely, the St. Lawrence river. The two routes of 
attack, diverging from Albany, on the other hand, 
were, as we know, full of obstacles. The French 
could move comparatively swiftly and without fear 
of molestation along their line of defence. Hence 
the prestige earned by Bradstreet in traversing the 
Mohawk route with such destructive expedition and 
taking them by surprise. Three thousand French 
men had started from Montreal at the last moment, 
but had only reached the Lachine rapids when they 
heard that Frontenac, like its old rival Oswego, was 
no more. Later on there was some slight attempt 
made to restore it, but misfortunes soon crowded 
thick on the French, and the spot was ultimately 
abandoned to the wilderness, which for a generation 
held its tangled fields and blackened ruins in its grip. 
Thirty years later a band of refugee loyalists, ex 
pelled by force, or urged by patriotic fervour, from the 
new republic of the United States, gathered at the old 
Fort of Frontenac, drew lots for the newly surveyed 
lands around it, and founded the province of Upper 
Canada, better known to-day as Ontario. The im 
portant lakeside town of Kingston now covers the 
site both of the old French warehouses and batteries, 
and the fresh wheat and turnip fields of the United 



Empire loyalists ; it has always been, and appropri 
ately so, the headquarters of Canadian military life. 
Oswego, its old opponent across the lake, has gone 
through no less of a transformation. Covered with 
streets and squares, and flanked with leafy villas, 
it is a place of much repute, and in addition to its 
attractions, which are considerable, is famous through 
out the world wherever men eat biscuits. 

" Frontenac is a great stroke," wrote Wolfe with 
much enthusiasm when he heard of it. " An offen 
sive, daring kind of war will awe the Indians and 
ruin the French." 

Bradstreet had, as a matter of fact, struck awe 
into the Indians in the very nick of time, had 
Wolfe, far away at Cape Breton, only known it. 
The fall of Louisbourg had influenced them but little ; 
it was too remote. Ticonderoga, on the other hand, 
had shaken the fidelity of the Six Nations so seriously 
that Bradstreet found evidence to show that they 
had never before been so near a wholesale defection 
to the French. The capture of Frontenac had effec 
tually put a stop to this. It had also destroyed the 
source whence Fort Duquesne, whither we are now 
bound, drew its stores and ammunition, and greatly 
contributed to its fall. 

Abercromby was recalled in November, and Am- 
herst took his place as commander-in-chief in 
America. It was some twenty years later, in the 
gloomy period of the Revolutionary War, that North 
uttered his memorable wail, " I don t know whether 
the enemy are afraid of my generals, I only know 
that the very sound of their names makes me shiver." 
George the Second up till now might well have anti 
cipated the sentiment of his grandson s minister ; but 



a change was coining. The Loudons, the Aber- 
crombys, the Webbs, and the Sackvilles, disappeared 
for a time to crop up again, in another generation 
and in a slightly altered form, upon this very 
ground. In the meantime, we must turn south and 
see how Forbes fared in his arduous march across 
the Alleghanies to Fort Duquesne. 

John Forbes was a Scotsman, of Petincrief in 
Fife. He received his first commission in the year 
1710, and must therefore have been some sixty-four 
years of age. He had been colonel both of the Scots 
Greys and the 17th foot, and was now, with the rank 
of brigadier, eminently qualified in all respects but 
age perhaps and health to justify Pitt s choice. He 
had been a year in America, and in April arrived at 
Philadelphia with much the same task before him, 
though better equipped for it, as had confronted 
Braddock three years previously when bound for 
the same goal. Of regular troops he was to have 
the 62nd, or Montgomery s, Highlanders, 1,260 strong, 
a battalion of Royal Americans (60th), 363, and 
4,350 provincials. He had not, however, got them 
yet. Indeed, Forbes had not only to play the soldier 
and the organizer, but the diplomatist as well, 
having to haggle and wrangle with the Pennsylvania 
burgesses, while they, on their part, seized the oppor 
tunity of military requirements to re-open the old 
congenial squabble touching the taxation of the 

Now Forbes was a man of liberal and enlightened 
views. It is admitted on all sides that he had none 
of the hauteur and superciliousness in his treatment 
of the provincial officers that distinguished so many 
of his contemporaries, and worked such infinite and 



far-reaching mischief ; he was regarded, moreover, 
by all classes with profound respect. His comments, 
therefore, on the fashion in which the middle and 
southern colonies went about releasing themselves 
from the clutch of the enemy and provided for 
their future development, will be above suspicion. 
Pennsylvania made a really heroic effort, and out of 
a population of 260,000 provided 2,500 men. Mary 
land, which was in the line of attack, with a popula 
tion of near a hundred thousand, and a social order 
based on the ownership of slaves and land, con 
tributed 270 very indifferent soldiers. Virginia sur 
passed herself, and gave Forbes two regiments, 
comprising in all some 1,400 men. 

Forbes, admittedly a cool and impartial judge, was 
extremely dissatisfied with these levies. Of discipline 
they were all impatient, and only a portion of them 
had any qualities wherewith to make up the deficiency. 
Numbers of them came with damaged firelocks 
bound up with string ; some had not even this much, 
but walking sticks only with which to oppose the 
French ! " Their officers," said Forbes, " except a few 
in the higher ranks, are an extremely bad collection 
of broken inn-keepers, horse- jockeys, and Indian 
traders." Where, again may be pertinently asked, 
was the southern chivalry, the sons of the better- 
class planters and squires ? Washington had, no 
doubt, been vainly asking this question for the last 
two years on the war-torn borders of Virginia. Now, 
when he joined Forbes with his increased regiments, 
he may well have asked it again. Virginia and Mary 
land had been far more cruelly scourged in their 
western districts than Natal, at this moment of writ 
ing, and by a still ruder and incomparably more cruel 



foe. The supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon in North 
America was as clearly the issue of the struggle as it 
is to-day in South Africa. Yet scarcely a dozen men 
of birth and character came forward to fight out of 
two whole colonies, whose numerous gentry was their 
pride and is still the chief burden of their reminiscent 
literature. Even if two or three or four dozen such 
just men could be produced, in the face of the social 
statistics of these provinces, it would scarcely modify 
the situation. As I remarked in a former chapter, 
and the strangeness of the matter must be my 
excuse for mentioning it again, neither love of 
country, nor thoughts of their murdered countrymen, 
nor the ordinary martial ardour of youth, nor the 
prospect of a well-organized and well-led campaign 
against their two implacable enemies, seem to have 
had the least effect in drawing the Virginians and 
Marylanders from their comfortable homes. With 
such men as we are told formed the bulk of the fifty 
or sixty commissioned officers from these colonies, 
it is not surprising that Washington stood a little 
on his dignity, and intimated at headquarters that 
he would " gladly be distinguished from the common 
run of provincial officer," whom he goes on to 
characterize as " a motley herd." The rank and file 
were poor men, more lawless and less tolerant of 
discipline and of a lower social stamp than the men 
of the New England regiments. Some of them were 
admirable bush fighters, but others were of no use 
at all, which was natural enough, seeing the varied 
districts and occupations from which they came, and 
the various motives which caused them to enlist. 

Forbes had for his chief colleagues : Bouquet, the 
able Swiss officer who commanded the Royal 



Americans : and Sir John Sinclair, who had been with 
Braddock as quartermaster-general and was to be 
so again, though generally disliked and not over- 
capable. Montgomery was in command of the High 
landers, while Washington and two experienced and 
tried Virginia soldiers, Colonel Byrd and Major 
Lewis, the latter then and afterwards a famous 
Indian fighter, represented the provincials. 

Now arose a sharp controversy as to the best route 
to Fort Duquesne. Braddock s road started, it will 
be remembered, from Fort Cumberland on the Poto 
mac, and here Washington with his Virginians was 
now quartered. But the Pennsylvanians and the 
whole interest of that colony were in favour of 
cutting a new road which would make the actual 
wilderness part of the march only 90 miles instead 
of 122 as before. This difference of opinion was 
heavily biassed, too, by other considerations. Brad- 
dock s road, rough as it had been at the best, had 
fallen into disrepair, but it was the outlet of Virginia 
trade to the West, or was expected to be, and the 
gorge of intercolonial jealousy rose at the notion of 
the Pennsylvanians having a direct route cut for 
their traders at the expense of the British Govern 
ment. This, I need hardly say, was not one of the 
arguments openly put forward upon either side. 
These were, indeed, numerous and admirable, and to 
their respective advocates seemed conclusive, though 
we need not enlarge upon them. It will be sufficient 
to remark that Washington, probably from sincere 
conviction, strongly championed the Virginian side 
of the question, and predicted disaster if the alter 
native route was followed ; while Forbes and Bouquet 
inclined to, and ultimately adopted, the Pennsyl- 



vania scheme. In justice to Washington, it should 
be added that he promised to render all the assist 
ance in his power whether his advice were taken or 

The dispute and ill-feeling, however, between the 
two colonies ran very high, and added greatly to 
Forbes troubles in providing transport, guns, and 
provisions. Philadelphia was a far different kind of 
base from the plantation villages upon which poor 
Braddock had to lean, and Pennsylvania, though as a 
colony conspicuously pacific, was eminently business 
like, and comparatively well supplied with the neces 
sities of life and industry. Lastly, it was urged that 
a new road might spring a surprise on the French 
at Fort Duquesne, as indeed de LeVis tells us it 
actually did, though the surprise was not effective. 
Bedford, then called Reastown, was the advanced 
base of action. Thence by the new route, which 
crossed no large rivers as did the other one, it was 
ninety miles to Duquesne. But every yard of it was 
rough, and it climbed the same ranges as Braddock s 
road, somewhat to the northward, and if anything 
at more difficult points. Advanced parties were sent 
forward to make the road under cover of redoubts, 
and Forbes plan was to erect these at intervals, so 
that he could strike his final blow with a permanent 
chain of posts in his rear, and obviate all risk of that 
unparalleled stampede of over a hundred miles which 
made Braddock s disaster so memorable. 

It was not till the end of July that the route was 
definitely decided upon, and Bouquet then went for 
ward to superintend the road-making. 

But with all his energy the progress of the Swiss 
officer was abnormally slow, for there were 6,000 



men this time to convey across the Alleghanies, with 
guns and ammunition, and an immense transport. 
Virginia, too, though incapable of furnishing supplies 
and whose better people would not fight, was never 
theless raging at the favours supposed to be shown 
to Pennsylvania. The latter certainly exhibited little 
gratitude for them, according to Forbes, who thus 
writes to Bouquet : 

" I have seen with regret this some time past a 
jealousy and suspicion subsisting on the part of the 
Virginians, which they can have no reason for, as I 
believe neither you nor I value one farthing where 
we get provisions from, provided we are supplied, 
or interest ourselves either with Virginia or Penn 
sylvania ; which last I hope will be damned for their 
treatment of us in the matter of wagons and every 
other thing where they could profit by us, as from these 
impositions, although at the risk of our perdition. * 

Carlisle was the village to which the Indian war of 
the last three years had thrust back the Pennsylvania 
frontier. Here Forbes remained during August, pros 
trate with the illness that was soon to kill him, and 
managing matters in the rear to the best of his 
ability, while Bouquet, far in advance, hewed his 
slow way over mountain and through swamp. Mat 
ters progressed wearily, but surely. First came the 
news of Louisbourg, and shortly after that of Fron- 
tenac, to cheer the workers. It only now remained 
for them to achieve a third triumph on the Ohio, but 
the country offered great difficulties to the engineers, 
while at the same time, an idea of permanency for 
the road and its defences had always to be kept in 
view. A post called Loyalhannon, nearly fifty miles 
short of Fort Duquesne, was the halfway station 

273 T 


around which events now circulated for many weeks. 
The French Indians in front began, at this point, to 
get troublesome and aggressive, and Major Grant of 
Montgomery s Highlanders made a proposition to 
Bouquet that was unfortunately accepted, though 
the gallant and impetuous officer s experience of 
backwoods warfare was of the slightest. 

The whole method of Forbes advance through the 
wilderness was to make such progress only as was 
consistent with security. The object for which Grant 
was running this risk is not very obvious, and one is 
only surprised that Bouquet allowed him to take it. 
His idea was to make a reconnaissance of the fort and 
ascertain by capturing stragglers or other means 
what force there was inside it. But Forbes plans, 
if once he got there, supported as he was by so large 
a following, were calculated to succeed in the face of 
any force at all likely to be present, and the British 
had provisions for three months. 

However that may be, Grant started from the 
advanced camp at Loyalhannon early in Septem 
ber with 750 men Highlanders, Royal Ameri 
cans, and a picked body of provincials under 
Lewis. They reached the high ridge looking im 
mediately down upon the fort upon the 13th without 
adventure, after night had fallen. From the same 
spot to-day a vast arena of belching flame, the smoke, 
the tumult, and the din of a second Birmingham, 
would greet the eyes of the spectator ; but Grant and 
his men looked dimly down through forest trees and 
saw only the feeble lights of a lonely fortress, the 
broad sheen of the Monongahela, and elsewhere a 
wide world of shadowy woodland beneath a moonless 
but starlit sky. 


1758] LEWIS 

So far there was great uncertainty as to the 
strength of the garrison. Indians had told Bouquet 
that it was at least equal to that of the British. 
Grant, however, had conceived the notion that it 
was a mere handful of five or six hundred men. 
Grant, as it so happened, was nearer the truth, 
and a week or two sooner would have been nearer 
still ; but reinforcements had quite recently arrived, 
and there seem to have been now some fifteen hun 
dred men within the ramparts, besides Indians 
encamped without them. 

De Ligneris, whom we have met before, was in 
command, and de Vaudreuil seems to have imagined, 
thanks, of course, to his personal exertions, that the 
fort was secure from all attack. About two in the 
morning, Lewis, with a detachment of Virginians and 
Highlanders, was ordered down into the plain to 
attack the Indians, supposed to be encamped before 
the fort, and then feigning a retreat, to draw them 
out to an ambush where Grant and the rest of the 
party were to give them a warm reception. 

Lewis was an accomplished frontiersman and be 
longed to a well-known fighting family of the Virginia 
border, one of the few men after Washington s own 
heart ; but on this occasion he got into sad trouble. 
Grant and his men waited in vain for the sound of 
his attack, and at last, as the first streak of day was 
showing, the Highland officer was thrown into a state 
of rage and consternation at the return of the whole 
party, who had lost their way amid the woods and 
fenced enclosures which surrounded the fort and 
fallen into hopeless confusion. Half Lewis force 
were Highlanders new to bush fighting. If Grant 
had sent the pick of the provincials with him, the 



result perhaps might have been otherwise ; but it 
is not likely in any case to have been substantial, for 
Grant had underestimated the garrison, and still con 
tinued to do so. One object of the expedition was 
to sketch the fort, but the fog at dawn was so thick 
as to disconcert for a time plans of any kind. Pre 
sently, however, it began to clear, and Grant, still 
under the impression that the French were too weak 
to venture a serious sortie, made his dispositions. 

From the ridge where the British were posted they 
could see the Alleghany on their right and the Monon- 
gahela on their left, sweeping to their confluence 
immediately below and in front of them. In the 
angle of the meeting rivers, whose mingling waters 
thenceforth became the Ohio, stood the famous fort 
and the numerous rude buildings within and without 
its lines. The half-mile or so of flat land on the hither 
side was cleared, fenced, and partly cultivated to the 
edge of the descending ridges, which were clothed with 
forest. It was now about seven o clock, and Grant, 
retaining a few of his own regiment with him, des 
patched his Highlanders under Captain Macdonald 
to take post in the open on the left front of the fort, 
and a hundred Pemisylvanians on the right. Lewis he 
sent back with some Royal Americans and Virginians 
to reinforce Captain Bullitt of the latter, who, with 
fifty men, was guarding the baggage about a mile 
to the rear. Lewis had orders to stay there as a 
support for the attacking party in case of need. 

The French all this time appeared to be unaware of 
the presence of an enemy ; so Grant, by way of stir 
ring them up to the reality of the fact, proceeded to 
blow lively airs upon his bugles. He soon found that 
he had aroused them to some purpose ; for while the 


1758] A SORTIE 

Highland officers were busy sketching the fort, French 
and Indians, to the number of seven or eight hundred, 
came pouring out of it, some of the former in their 
hurry not having even stopped to dress. Their attack 
was directed against the Highlanders, who, reinforced 
by Grant, made for a time a gallant stand, the Penn- 
sylvanians having retired with some precipitancy 
into the woods. Fresh bodies of French came crowd 
ing out of the fort, till Grant s vanguard was in great 
distress, being attacked upon all sides. Captain 
Macdonald and other officers were killed, and the 
soldiers were forced back into the forest, where for 
nearly an hour they maintained the unequal fight. 
At last they could hold out no longer ; it was their 
first fight in woods ringing with the horrid clamour 
of Indian warfare, and when they did give way it 
was in a wild panic, as Grant himself admits. His 
only hope now lay in Lewis, who was stationed, as 
he thought, with Bullitt behind the wooded ridge. 
But Lewis had heard the battle raging, and on his 
own responsibility had pressed forward to Grant s aid. 
Unhappily he took a different route in his advance 
over the ridge to that which Grant followed in his 
quick retreat, so when the latter reached his base, 
hotly pursued by the enemy, he found to his horror 
no support there but Bullitt and his fifty Virginians. 
Here they were surrounded, and made a final and 
gallant stand. Grant refused to retire. "My heart 
is broke," he cried ; "I will not survive this day." 
He was recognised by the French, who called to him 
repeatedly by name to give himself up ; but the rash 
and luckless officer continued to fight till he was al 
most alone, when he was disarmed and captured alive. 
The small band of Virginians with Bullitt fought 



heroically, and were all killed except such as escaped 
by swimming the Alleghany river. Lewis had in the 
meantime run into the very jaws of the French, and 
he was also made prisoner. Nearly three hundred 
men were killed, drowned, or taken. The remaining 
four hundred and fifty straggled back to Loyalhannon 
with a precipitancy that after all, when once they had 
started, was the only sensible course, since fifty miles 
of shaggy wilderness lay between them and their 
next meal. 

Forbes, stretched upon a bed of sickness at Reas- 
town, and with troubles enough already on hand, 
received the news like the chivalrous gentleman he 
was, and called no names, when many and hard ones 
might well have been looked for by Grant, who was 
solely responsible. In a private letter to Bouquet, 
however, he permitted himself some little indulgence 
this respect. " My friend Grant most certainly lost 
his wits, and by his thirst of fame brought on his 
own perdition and ran great risk of ours." 

In October, while the British column still lay at 
Loyalhannon, de Ligneris advanced against it in 
considerable force. He was not strong enough to 
actually face the British guns and intrenchments, but 
he caught several stragglers and destroyed numbers 
of cattle, and caused Bouquet infinite annoyance. 
Washington, who had been at Fort Cumberland, at 
the other end of Braddock s road, all this time, with 
the other Virginia regiment, now joined the army and 
took command of the provincials. 

Autumn on the Atlantic slope of North America is 
of all seasons the most stimulating and delightful. 
Rain, as a rule, falls sparingly or in short spells, and 
nature, decked in a raiment gorgeous beyond dreams, 



and rarely ruffled by storm or tempest, slumbers in 
balmy silence beneath an azure sky. Poor Forbes, like 
Washington, upon nearly the same ground four years 
earlier, encountered, and in an even worse degree, 
one of those climatic exceptions that prove the rule. 
Rain fell persistently, and fell in torrents, while pre 
mature snow-storms filled his cup of misery to the 
brim. On the lower grounds the new-made road was 
impassable with liquid mud ; on the mountain slopes 
the torrents swept it away as fast as it was made. 
Forage began to get scarce and the horses became poor 
and weak. The prospect, lately so hopeful, seemed 
now well-nigh desperate. Bouquet laboured hard, 
against the warring elements, the miry swamps, the 
torrent-riven mountains, and with transport horses 
growing daily weaker. Forbes, whose indomitable will, 
rather than improving health, had forced him on to the 
soaking misery of Loyalhannon, still gave his orders 
in person. Tortured with pain, and scarce able to 
stand, he would listen to no suggestions of abandon 
ing the attempt or of himself returning to those 
comforts which were his only chance of life. It was 
now well on in November, and some of the Virginian 
officers, presumably the best authorities, declared 
further progress to be impossible, and showed such 
strong feeling that Forbes, unsupported by any 
following to speak of, called a council of war. The 
officers who composed this were good and tried men, 
and they were practically unanimous against any 
further advance But Forbes, though a sobered and 
middle-aged soldier, had something of that inspired 
obstinacy which distinguished another and a greater, 
but a younger invalid, whom we have met at Louis - 
bourg, and shall meet again at Quebec. Happily for 



the country and for the dying general s reputation 
though posterity has cared little enough for that 
he got news at this moment of a reduction in the 
garrison of the fort and that the Indians were de 
serting it. This settled the matter so far as Forbes 
was concerned, and he gave orders for twenty-five 
hundred men to be quickly picked from the army for 
a rapid march, each man to carry a blanket and a 
few days provisions. 

Forbes courage in urging a forward advance when 
men like Bouquet and Washington were against it, 
thoroughly deserved this piece of fortunate news, 
which made success so much more probable ; nor was 
it by any means mere good luck, for oddly enough 
the causes that were thinning the defenders of Fort 
Duquesne were due in great part to this indomitable 
officer s precautions in the preceding summer. He had 
then strongly urged that the western Indians, who had 
so long been ravaging the frontiers of Pennsylvania and 
her Southern neighbours, under French instigation, 
should be approached by diplomacy as well as arms. 
The Indian was a good deal influenced by his stomach ; 
the side that fed him best scored at least one very 
strong point, and the French were even thus early 
finding it necessary to husband their supplies. Spies 
and scouts brought news that discontent was already 
showing in the French camps on the Ohio. Forbes 
had a notion that these savage warriors, who ate 
bullocks by the hundred and drank brandy by the 
bucketful, might be detached from their patrons, now 
that the bullocks and the brandy were getting scarce, 
and that hints of British beef and perhaps British 
rum might save much bloodshed both in the army 
and on the frontier. The provincial authorities 



thought lightly of the scheme, and moreover grudged 
the expenditure. They regarded such suggestions as 
the theories of an Englishman without experience 
of savages. Nor, indeed, was it easy to find an am 
bassador to cross the Alleghanies, and run the gravest 
risk of death, and that by horrible torture, in the 
Indian villages, where English scalps were hanging 
by hundreds on the wigwam walls. Forbes, however, 
gained his point, and a man was found who would 
face the fate that seemed inevitable, and that, too, 
without reward. This hero was a Moravian mission 
ary, and a German, Post by name, a simple, pious 
person, but intimate with Indian ways and languages 
and married moreover to a converted squaw. 

Post reached the Ohio villages in safety, and was 
received with tolerable civility ; but his hosts insisted 
on taking him to Duquesne, that the French might 
also hear what he had to say. As his ostensible mission 
was to wean the Indians from the French alliance 
to those peaceful paths of which his order, the 
Moravians, were the chief exponents, it was not 
doubtful what the French would say, and little less so 
what they would do. As he was the guest of their 
allies, they had to listen to Post, and did not venture 
to kill him openly ; but behind every thicket they 
had an agent waiting to take his life, a large reward 
being privately offered for his scalp. With indomi 
table courage Post braved the whole thing out, and, 
wonderful to relate, with impunity. He had succeeded 
in persuading the Indians to send some delegates, at 
any rate, to a grand conference near Philadelphia, 
had shaken their allegiance to the French, and withal, 
though not without many hair-breadth escapes, got 
safe back again to civilization. A great meeting was 



held during the early autumn, presided over by the 
Governor of Pennsylvania, to which Johnson brought 
delegates of the Six Nations from the Mohawk and 
whither also went some of the chiefs of the hostile 
Indians of the West. With much ceremony and a 
prodigious wealth of oratory, it was resolved that 
the Ohio tribes should bury the hatchet with the Six 
Nations, which was a step at least in the desired 
direction. Once more the brave Moravian faced the 
Alleghanies, and again harangued the Indian allies of 
France under the very eyes of the French themselves, 
and with such effect that the latter had to submit to 
the open insults of barbarians they could not afford 
to offend. Post again escaped safely, having done 
most valuable work, which was greatly aided by the 
scarcity of provisions, a condition due to Bradstreet s 
brilliant stroke at Frontenac, the source of their 
supplies. So after an alliance of three years, a record 
of hideous and ceaseless slaughter, the Ohio Indians 
fell away from the French at the very moment when 
the gallant Forbes was pushing forward to reap the 
fruits of his earlier policy, that unknown to him had 
succeeded almost beyond hope. Swung on a rude 
litter between two horses, he was led in the van of 
his flying column through the snow and rain and 
falling leaves. The army moved in three divisions 
with caution and in open order, guided through the 
thick forest by the monotonous tapping of their own 
drums, which were beat without ceasing at the head 
of each company. Thinly clad, and with a single 
blanket to cover them at nights, the men pressed 
cheerily forward through the mysterious mazes of 
the woods, till on the 23rd of November the guides 
had brought them within twelve miles of the fort. 



Here the unexpected news was received that it had 
been abandoned. They halted a day to confirm the 
report, and on the 25th moved forward to find the 
backwoods fortress, so long the curse of British 
America, standing, silent and deserted amid a fringe 
of fire-scorched ruins, and the unburied corpses of 
their own Highlanders who had fallen in Grant s 
attack. Thus fell, without a protest from rifle or 
cannon, the very stronghold and hope of French 
empire in the West, and the scourge of the British 

It seems that de Ligneris, the French commander, 
had, some time before this, formed the opinion that 
an attack upon him was impossible before the follow 
ing spring. His Indians, as we know, had deserted, 
and, fearful of his provisions running short, he had 
furthermore dismissed all his troops but three or four 
hundred, who would suffice for the winter garrison. 
But he had not long taken this step when he heard 
that Forbes was in truth coming, and no great way 
off. He had then no choice but to abandon the post, 
doing what damage he could do it before leaving, 
and throwing its guns into the river. 

It now only remained to make the fort good for the 
reception of a winter garrison, and to re-name it. 
The heroic Forbes had entirely collapsed from the 
fatigue of the march, and for some days his life was 
hanging in the balance. Once again, however, the 
strong will conquered, and he was carried out among 
his men to superintend their operations. A new and 
suitable name for the conquered fortress was not 
hard to find, and Duquesne became Fort Pitt, after 
the great minister, whose spirit had here, as every 
where, been the source of British triumph. Colonel 



Mercer, with some Virginians and Pennsylvanians, 
was left in charge of the fort, and, towards the close 
of December, Forbes, stretched upon his litter, was 
borne feet foremost in the midst of his remaining 
troops on the weary homeward journey through the 
freezing forests. Though his weakness and his suffer 
ings grew worse rather than better, his mind at 
least, was now at ease. His task was accomplished, 
and Ticonderoga was the only failure of the year. 
The French were driven from the West, their connec 
tions between Canada and Louisiana severed, their 
prestige with the Indians broken, and the demon of 
Indian warfare on the Alleghany frontier apparently 
laid. That all this might have been achieved the 
next year or the year after, is no answer to the 
decisive nature of Forbes work. There might have 
been no next year or year after for military achieve 
ments in America. Peace in Europe was at any 
moment possible. Events there might take a sudden 
turn that would make boundary lines in the American 
wilderness appear to most men a secondary matter. 
Pitt cherished no such illusions now ; his intentions 
to drive the French from America were fixed and 
clear. But circumstances at home might weaken his 
arm ; or he might die, for his life was none of the 
best, and it was of vital import that every stroke 
should be driven home before a general peace was 
made. A French garrison anywhere in America 
would have been hard to move by diplomatic means, 
when once the sword was sheathed. 

There was great rejoicing in the middle colonies 
at the fall of Fort Duquesne, as there had been in 
New England at the fall of Louisbourg, and for much 
the same reason, since each had been relieved of a 



neighbour whose chief mission had been to scourge 
them. In England the news was received with pro 
found satisfaction. There was no bell-ringing and 
there were no bonfires. There had been nothing 
showy in the achievement, and its import was hardly 
realized. The glory belonged to two men, and their 
patient heroism was not of a kind to make a stir in 
the limited press of the period. But the cool fearless 
ness of Post was a rarer quality than the valour 
which faced the surf and batteries of Louisbourg, 
and the unselfish patriotism of the invalid brigadier 
was at least as noble a spectacle as that of the High 
landers who flung themselves across the fiery parapet 
at Ticonderoga. 

It was nearly 300 miles from Fort Duquesne to 
Philadelphia, and Forbes did not arrive there till 
January 14th. Through all the wilderness part of 
the march, men had been sent on each day to build a 
rude hut with a stone fireplace for the dying general. 
One night, says an officer, some muddle had been 
made, and the unfortunate Forbes was reduced to 
insensibility by waiting in the bitter cold for fire and 
shelter to be provided. It took some time, says the 
writer, to bring him back to life again with the aid 
of cordials. He lingered a short time after reach 
ing Philadelphia, where he expired early in March 
and was buried in Christ Church with military 
honours. The place of his grave has been obscured 
by alterations and lost sight of, as may with equal 
truth be said of his services and his unselfish valour 
in the memory of his fellow-countrymen. 

A melancholy incident occurred while the troops 
were engaged in repairing the fort. No Englishmen 
had stood on the scene of Braddock s defeat since its 



occurrence three and a half years previously, so a party 
now proceeded up the Monongahela to visit it, among 
them being the brigade major, Halkett, whose father 
and brother, it will be remembered, fell dead together 
at the same moment. The victims had of course 
never been buried, and the ground was found plenti 
fully strewn with bones, picked clean by wolves and 
buzzards and partly hidden by the withered leaves of 
four successive autumns. Halkett s immediate object 
was the faint hope of finding and identifying the re 
mains of his relatives, with the details of whose death 
he was familiar from the report of those who had seen 
it. Two skeletons were found close together under a 
tree, at the spot where Sir Peter and his son had fallen, 
one of which Halkett identified beyond a doubt 
as that of his father, from a peculiarity of the teeth, 
while the well-known manner of their death practi 
cally marked out the other one as his brother. It was 
a gruesome spectacle for the survivor, and it is no 
discredit to the young officer, nerved though he 
was to bloody scenes, that he broke down at the 
contemplation of it and, as we are told, "swooned 

Pitt had good reason to be satisfied with the results 
of the year s fighting in America. The attack on the 
French centre had failed, but that upon both flanks, 
which Louisbourg and Duquesne may fairly be called, 
had been crowned with victory, while the destruction 
of Frontenac went to swell the triumph. French 
prestige with the Indians outside their own missions 
had been destroyed, the formidable alliance shattered, 
and all thoughts of further aggression from Canada 
laid at rest. It now remained to strike at the heart 
of Canada a deadly blow, which would wither and 



dry up those distant sources of wealth and influence 
to herself and annoyance to her foes, which stretched 
far away beyond the northern lakes and to the verge 
of the distant prairies. 




MATTERS had gone well, too, for Pitt in Europe, 
where he had shrewdly fed the senseless strife 
of nations with money rather than with men. France, 
with over 100,000 troops in the field, was playing 
the somewhat inglorious part of an ally to her 
hereditary foe Austria, and with the further aid of 
Russia, was engaged in a fruitless attempt to crush 
the heroic Frederick. She had now been driven back 
across the Rhine, after a short occupation of Hanover, 
by Prince Ferdinand acting with Pitt s direct support. 
Both her troops and her generals in this reckless war 
fell far short in skill and spirit of their handful of 
compatriots struggling for a weightier issue across the 
sea. The King of Prussia held out against his legion 
of foes, and was performing prodigies of valour, amid 
fearful scenes of carnage. At Zorndorp, where with 
35,000 men he encountered and repulsed 50,000 
Russians, no quarter was asked or given, and 31,000 
men fell ; while at Hochkirchen Frederick himself 
lost 9,000 in a single day against the Austrians. In 
odd hours snatched from the fury of the strife, this 
extraordinary man still wrote verses and lampoons ; 
but Madame de Pompadour and her miserable Louis 
were now smarting under something worse at the 
hands of the Prussian than his caustic pen. England 
rang with his triumphs, and, by a perversion pecu- 



liarly British, the scoffing freethinker became the 
" Protestant hero " in both church and taproom. Pitt 
was omnipotent in Parliament ; only a single insig 
nificant member ever ventured to oppose him. " Our 
unanimity is prodigious," wrote Walpole. " You 
would as soon hear a No from an old maid as from 
the House of Commons." Newcastle was supremely 
happy among jobbers and cringing place-hunters 
under the full understanding that neither he nor his 
kind trespassed within the sphere of foreign politics. 
The estimates had exceeded all former limits, and 
reached for those days the enormous sum of 12^ 
millions. The struggle with France was vigorously 
waged too upon the ocean, warships, privateers, 
and merchant men grappling to the death with one 
another in many a distant sea, while the main fleets 
of the enemy were, for the most part, blockaded in 
their ports by vigilant British armaments. Every 
where was exhilaration and a superb feeling of con 
fidence, engendered by incipient successes, and by the 
consciousness that the nation was united in purpose, 
and that the leaders of its enterprises were no 
longer chosen because they were " rich in votes or 
were related to a Duke." 

James Wolfe had certainly neither of these qualifi 
cations, and he it was who Pitt designed to act the 
leading part in the coming year, " a greater part," he 
modestly wrote after receiving his appointment, 
"than I wished or desired. The backwardness of 
some of the older officers has in some measure forced 
the Government to come down so low. I shall do my 
best and leave the rest to fortune, as perforce we 
must when there are not the most commanding abili 
ties. A London life and little exercise disagrees with 

289 u 


me entirely, but the sea still more. If I have health 
and constitution enough for the campaign, I shall 
think myself a lucky man ; what happens afterwards 
is of no great consequence." 

Wolfe had returned from Nova Scotia the previ 
ous October in the same ship, strangely enough, with 
the hapless Abercromby. As the chief hero of an 
exploit which had sent all England into transports of 
joy, it is significant that he went quietly from Ports 
mouth to his regiment at Salisbury, and encountered 
some difficulty in getting leave of absence on urgent 
family matters. Even yet a brilliant soldier without 
backstair influence got scant consideration in his 
private concerns, while a military cypher with friends 
at Court could do almost what he pleased. Wolfe, 
however, eventually got away, and hurried to Bath to 
"patch up his wretched constitution" for any service 
he might be called upon. It was here in December 
that he received and accepted Pitt s offer of the com 
mand of an expedition against Quebec. He had just 
become engaged to a Miss Lowther, sister of the first 
Lord Lonsdale. Wolfe s earlier love affair had affected 
him so deeply and for so long a period, it is doubtful 
if there was much romance about this one. But he 
had in any case scant time for improving the occasion, 
his hands being now full with the great enterprise on 
which he was bound in the early spring. 

Pitt s plan for the coming season in America was to 
strike two great blows at Canada and a lesser one, 
which, if successful, would involve the conquest of 
that country. Wolfe, aided by a fleet, was to attack 
Quebec ; Amherst with another force was to push 
through by the Lake Champlain route and unite 
with him if possible. A further expedition was to 



be sent against Niagara under Prideaux : but for the 
present we are concerned only with the first and by 
far the most memorable of the three. 

Wolfe at this time was colonel of the 67th regiment. 
He was to have brevet rank only of major-general 
while in America, since more substantial elevation 
would, in the eyes of Newcastle and his friends, have 
been almost an outrage on the British Constitution 
as by them interpreted. Pitt and his young officers, 
however, were well content to waive such trifles for 
the present, and concede so much of consolation to 
the long list of rejected incapables, in return for such 
honour and glory as might perchance be theirs. 
Wolfe s brigadiers in the forthcoming enterprise 
were to be Monckton, Townshend, and Murray. The 
first, whom we have already met in Nova Scotia, and 
the last were men after Wolfe s own heart. Towns 
hend, though not a bad soldier, was inclined, on the 
strength of his connection, to give himself airs, was 
of a queer disposition, and was jealous of his young 
chief. Wolfe nominated his friend Carleton, of whose 
efficiency he was well assured, as quartermaster- 
general ; but the King passed his pen through the 
name, as Carleton was credited with certain uncom 
plimentary remarks concerning Hanoverians. Wolfe, 
however, remonstrated with much spirit, insisting 
that if a general was to have grave responsibility, 
it was only logical and fair that he should choose 
his own subordinates. Pitt good-naturedly went 
back to the King, who, after some grumbling, at last 
yielded the point. 

The land force was to consist of 12,000 men, a few 
of whom were to sail from England, but the bulk 
were to be drawn from the American and West Indian 



garrisons. The latter, however, were counter-ordered : 
the former proved to be below the estimated strength, 
and the actual number that gathered in Louisbourg, 
the point of rendezvous, was only about 8,500. The 
command of the fleet was given to Admiral Saunders, 
and this appointment demanded great discretion, as 
the sailor in this instance had not only to be efficient 
on his own element, but to be a man of tact, and one 
who at the same time would put patriotism above 
professional jealousy, and could be trusted to work 
heartily with the land forces. 

It was late in February when Saunders fleet con 
voying Wolfe, his stores and a few troops sailed from 
Spithead. The winds being adverse and the seas run 
ning high, May had opened before the wild coast of 
Nova Scotia was dimly seen through whirling wreaths 
of fog. It was a late season, and Louisbourg harbour 
was still choked with ice, so the fleet had to make 
southwards for Halifax at the cost of much of that 
time which three years experience had at length 
taught the British was so precious in all North 
American enterprises. At Halifax Wolfe found the 
troops from the American garrisons awaiting him. 
Among them was the 43rd regiment, with the gallant 
Major Knox, our invaluable diarist, filled with joy at 
the prospect of active service after twenty months 
confinement in a backwoods fort, and ready with his 
sword as happily for us he was with his pen. In a 
fortnight Louisbourg was open, and both fleet and 
transports were grinding amidst the still drifting ice 
in its harbour. Here again the army was landed, and 
its numbers completed from the Louisbourg garrison. 

There was naturally much to be done with an army 
brought together from so many various quarters. 



The force, too, proved, as I have said, far short of the 
estimate, being considerably under 9,000 men ; but, 
on the other hand, these were all good troops and 
mostly veterans. Though the benefits of Bath waters 
had been more than neutralized by nearly three 
months of buffeting on the element he so loathed, 
Wolfe spared himself no effort. He was not only a 
fighting but to the highest degree an organizing 
general. Every sickly and unlikely man, small as 
was his force, was weeded out. Every commissariat 
detail down to the last gaiter button was carefully 
scrutinized. Seldom had England sent out a body 
of men so perfect in discipline, spirit, and material of 
war, and assuredly none so well commanded since the 
days of Marlborough. It was well it was so, seeing 
that they were destined to attack one of the strongest 
posts in the world, defended by an army nearly twice 
as numerous as themselves, and fighting, moreover, 
in defence of its home and country, and, as it fully 
believed, of its religion. 

Wolfe s force was made up of the following regi 
ments and corps. Under Monckton in the first brigade 
were the 15th, 43rd, 58th, and 78th regiments, usually 
known then as Amherst s, Kennedy s, Anstruther s, 
and Eraser s (Highlanders) respectively. The second 
brigade, under Townshend, comprised the 28th and 
the 47th or Bragg s and Lascelles , with the second 
battalion of the 60th or Royal Americans. With 
Murray in the third brigade were the 35th and 48th 
or Otway s and Webb s, and the third battalion of 
the 60th. Besides these were three companies of 
Grenadiers from the 22nd, 40th, and 45th regiments, 
and a corps of light infantry, all from the Louisbourg 
garrison. Of colonial troops there were only five 
companies of rangers. 



The young general was thoroughly alive to the 
numerical weakness of his force, but that he rejoiced 
in its efficiency is evident from his letters, and he was 
hard to please. " If valour can make amends for 
want of numbers," he wrote to Pitt, " we shall suc 

Admiral Durell, with ten ships, had been sent for 
ward early in May to stop French supply or warships 
from ascending the St. Lawrence when navigation 
opened. It was the 1st of June when Wolfe and 
Saunders with the main army followed him, owing 
to fog and ice and contrary winds, in somewhat 
straggling fashion, The bands played the time- 
honoured air of "The girl I left behind me," and 
the men cheered lustily as the ships cleared the bar, 
while at the mess tables, says Knox, there was only 
one toast among the officers " British colours on 
every French fort, post, and garrison in America." 
With Saunders went twenty-two ships of the line 
five frigates and seventeen sloops of war besides 
the transports. By the 7th of June all were sailing 
well together along the gloomy shores of Newfound 
land, whose desolate russet uplands were thickly 
powdered with a belated snowstorm. A week later 
they had left behind that hundred miles of shaggy 
forest which to this day envelopes the desert island 
of Anticosti, and were forging more cautiously 
along the lower reaches of the St. Lawrence. All 
went smoothly till the 20th, when, the wind drop 
ping, they were caught in the cross-currents caused 
by the outpouring waters of the Saguenay, which, 
draining a vast mountain wilderness to the north 
ward, would be accounted a mighty river if it were 
not for the still mightier one that absorbs it. Here 



the ships ran some risk of fouling, but escaped any 
serious damage, and in three days were at the He 
aux Coudres, where the real dangers of the naviga 
tion began. It must be remembered that such a 
venture was unprecedented, and regarded hitherto 
as an impossibility for large ships without local pilots. 
The very presence of the first made the second possi 
ble, for some of the vessels approaching the shore ran 
up French flags, whereupon numbers of the country 
people, in response to an invitation, came on board, 
little guessing the visitors could be their enemies. 

Pilots were by this ruse secured, and their services 
impressed under pain of death. Durell, too, was wait 
ing here, ignorant of the fact that several French 
provision ships had slipped past him in the fog. 
Three of his midshipmen, larking on the shore, had 
been captured and carried to Quebec, but had found 
much consolation and caused no little anxiety in the 
city by doubling the strength of the British force, 
when interrogated by Montcalm. Knox, who under 
stood French, tells us that the poor unwilling pilot 
who took his ship up the tortuous channel made use 
of the most frightful imprecations, swearing that 
most of the fleet and the whole army would find their 
graves in Canada. An old British tar, on the other 
hand, master of a transport and possessed of an im 
mense scorn for foreigners, would not allow a French 
pilot to interfere, and insisted, in the teeth of all 

remonstrance, on navigating his own ship. " D n 

me," he roared, " I ll convince you that an Englishman 
shall go where a Frenchman daren t show his nose," 
and he took it through in safety. " The enemy," 
wrote Vaudreuil soon after this to his Government, 
" have passed sixty ships of war where we dare not 



risk a vessel of a hundred tons by night or day." The 
British navy has not been sufficiently remembered in 
the story of Quebec. 

Let us now turn for a moment to Montcalm, and 
see what he has been doing all this time to prepare 
for the attack. It was an accepted axiom in Canada 
that no armament strong enough to seriously threaten 
Quebec could navigate the St. Lawrence. In the face 
of expected invasion it was the Lake George and 
Champlain route that mostly filled the public mind. 
Bougainville, however, had returned from France 
early in May with the startling news that a large ex 
pedition destined for Quebec was already on the sea. 
A former opinion of this able officer s declared that 
three or four thousand men could hold the city against 
all comers. There was now four times that strength 
waiting for Wolfe, while his own, so far as numbers 
went, we know already. Eighteen transport ships, 
carrying supplies and some slight reinforcements, had 
slipped past the English cruisers in the fogs, and 
brought some comfort to Montcalm. The question 
now was how best to defend Quebec, as well as make 
good the two land approaches at Ticonderoga and 
Lake Ontario respectively. 

For the defence of the city, when every able- 
bodied militiaman had been called out, nearly 16,000 
troops of all arms would be available. About the 
disposition of these and the plan of defence there was 
much discussion. Montcalm himself was for a long 
time undecided. The alternative plans do not concern 
us here ; the one finally adopted is alone to the 
point. Every one knows that the ancient capital of 
Canada is one of the most proudly placed among the 
cities of the earth. But it may be well to remind 



those who have not seen it, that it occupies the point 
of a lofty ridge, forming the apex of the angle made 
by the confluence of the St. Charles River and the St. 
Lawrence. Westward from the city this ridge falls so 
nearly sheer into the St. Lawrence for several miles, 
that, watched by a mere handful of men, it was im 
pregnable. Moreover, the river suddenly narrows to 
a breadth of three-quarters of a mile opposite the 
town, whose batteries were regarded as being fatal to 
any attempt of an enemy to run past them. On the 
other side of the town the St. Charles River, coming 
in from the north-west immediately below its walls, 
formed a secure protection. Montcalm, however, de 
cided to leave only a small garrison in the city itself, 
and go outside it for his main defence. Now, from 
the eastern bank of the mouth of the St. Charles, 
just below the city, there extends in an almost 
straight line along the northern shore of the St. 
Lawrence a continuous ridge, the brink, in fact, of a 
plateau, at no point far removed from the water s 
edge. Six miles away this abruptly terminates in 
the gorge of the Montmorency River, which, rushing 
tumultuously towards the St. Lawrence, makes that 
final plunge on to its shore level which is one of the 
most beautiful objects in a landscape teeming with 
natural and human interest. Along the crown of 
this six -mile ridge, known in history as " the Beauport 
lines," Montcalm decided to make his stand. So, 
throughout the long days of May and June the 
French devoted themselves to rendering impregnable 
from the front a position singularly strong in itself, 
while the Montmorency and its rugged valley pro 
tected the only flank which was exposed to attack. 
At Beauport, the village which occupied the centre 



of the ridge, Montcalm took up his headquarters 
with considerable confidence in the result of his pre 
parations. In the city away upon his right he had 
left De Ramezy in command, who has given us a 
journal of the siege ; but the city, though not safe 
from bombardment, was impregnable as things were 
now to assault. In his own embattled lines Mont- 
calm had nearly fourteen thousand men as strongly 
intrenched as nature and art could make them. 
Below him spread the river, here over two miles in 
width from shore to shore, with the western point 
of the island of Orleans overlapping his left flank. 
Above the woods of this long, fertile island, then the 
garden of Canada, the French, upon the 27th of June, 
first caught sight of the pennons flying from the top 
masts of the English battleships, and before evening 
they witnessed the strange sight of red-coated infan 
try swarming over its well-tilled fields. It was, indeed, 
some days since the bonfires announcing the actual 
approach of the British had flared upon the mountain 
tops along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence, 
and the excitement in and around Quebec had grown 
to fever-heat. Wolfe himself, with Mackellar, his 
chief engineer, who had been both with Forbes and 
Braddock, was among the first to land upon the 
island, and, taking his stand upon its western point, 
scanned the noble outlook with eager gaze, and tried 
to realize the task that Pitt had set him. 

Westward, across four miles of yet smooth and sun 
lit water, the great and virgin stronghold of French 
power clung to its rocky throne. From the river s 
edge to the summit of Cape Diamond rose a city that 
proclaimed its character at a glance, and abjured all 
fellowship at once with the great trading marts of 



brick and wood that greeted the visitor to the Eng 
lish colonies. Trade, indeed, there was of a sort ; but, 
mounting one above the other, tier above tier, spire 
and belfry, church and monastery, barrack and battery, 
proclaimed rather the stronghold of the soldier and 
the priest. As the gaze of Wolfe and his officers 
travelled backward to their right along the northern 
shore, they could see the long intrenched lines of 
Beauport extending past them to where the mighty 
cataract of Montmorency flashed against its back 
ground of green woods. The young general, how 
ever, had not much time that evening to consider the 
situation, which may well have appalled a less stout 
heart than his, for the troops had scarcely landed 
when a sudden summer storm burst upon the scene, 
churned the river into angry waves, broke some of 
the smaller ships from their moorings, casting them 
upon the rocks, and staving in many of the boats and 
rafts. The people of Quebec, who for weeks had been 
urging upon the Divinity in their peculiar way that 
they His chosen people were in danger, would not 
have been Canadian Catholics of their generation 
had they not been jubilant at this undoubted sign 
of Divine intervention. But Montcalm was the last 
man to presume on such favour by any lack of 
energy. The very next night, the British having 
in the meantime pitched their camp upon the isle of 
Orleans, they were thrown into no small alarm by 
the descent of a fleet of fire ships. The only men 
awake were the guards and sentries at the point, 
and as the matches were not applied to the drift 
ing hulks till they were close at hand, the sudden 
effect in the darkness of the night upon the soldiers 
nerves was more than they could stand, having be- 



held nothing like it in their lives, and they rushed in 
much confusion on the sleeping camp, causing still 
more there. For it was not alone the flames and 
the explosives that were a cause of perturbation, 
but a hail of grape-shot and bullets from the igniting 
guns poured hurtling through the trees. The chief 
object of the fire-ships, however, was, the fleet which 
lay in the channel between the isle of Orleans and 
the shore, and towards it they came steadily drift 
ing. Knox describes the pandemonium as awful, and 
the sight as inconceivably superb of these large 
burning ships, crammed with every imaginable ex 
plosive and soaked from their mastheads to their 
waterline in pitch and tar. It was no new thing, 
however, to the gallant sailors, who treated the 
matter as a joke, grappling fearlessly with the hissing, 
spitting demons, and towing them ashore. " Damme, 
Jack," they shouted, "didst ever take h 11 in tow 
before ? " 

This exploit seems to have been a venture of Vau- 
dreuil s, and its failure, an extremely expensive one, 
cost that lively egotist and his friends a severe pang. 
The next day Wolfe published his first manifesto to 
the Canadian people. " We are sent by the English 
king," it ran, "to conquer this province, but not to 
make war upon women and children, the ministers 
of religion, or industrious peasants. We lament the 
sufferings which our invasion may inflict upon you ; 
but if you remain neutral, we proffer you safety in 
person and property and freedom in religion. We 
are masters of the river ; no succour can reach you 
from France. General Amherst, with a large army, 
assails your southern frontier. Your cause is hope 
less, your valour useless. Your nation have been 



guilty of great cruelties to our unprotected settlers 
but we seek not revenge. We offer you the sweets 
of peace amid the horrors of war. England, in her 
strength, will befriend you ; France, in her weakness, 
leaves you to your fate." 

Wolfe could hardly have felt the confidence he here 
expressed. The longer he looked upon the French 
position, the less he must have liked it, and the larger 
must Amherst and his eventual co-operation have 
loomed in his mind as a necessary factor to success. 
But would Amherst get through to Montreal and 
down the St. Lawrence in time to be of use before the 
short season had fled ? Those who were familiar with 
the difficulties would certainly have discouraged the 
hope which Wolfe for a time allowed himself to 
cherish ; and Wolfe, though he admired his friend 
and chief, did not regard celerity of movement as 
his strongest point. 

About the first move, however, in the game Wolfe 
had to play, there could be no possible doubt, and that 
was the occupation of Point Levis. This was the high 
ground immediately facing Quebec, where the river, 
narrowing to a width of 1,200 yards, brought the 
city within cannon-shot from the southern bank. It 
was the only place, in fact, from which it could be 
reached. It is said Montcalm had been anxious to 
occupy it, and intrench it with 4,000 men, but was 
overruled on the supposition that the upper town, 
about which official Quebec felt most concern, would 
be outside its range of fire. If this was so, they were 
soon to be undeceived. 

The occupation of Point Levis by Monckton s bri 
gade, which Wolfe now ordered on that service, need 
not detain us. They crossed from the camp of Orleans 



to the village of Beaumont, which was seized with 
slight resistance. Thence moving on along the high 
road to Point Levis, they found the church and 
village occupied by what Knox, who was there, esti 
mates at a thousand riflemen and Indians. The 
Grenadiers charging the position in front, and the 
Highlanders and light infantry taking it in the rear, it 
was stormed with a loss of thirty men, and Monckton 
then occupied a position which, so far as artillery 
fire was concerned, had Quebec at its mercy. The 
brigadier, who had fully expected to find French 
guns there, at once began to intrench himself on this 
conspicuous spot, while floating batteries now pushed 
out from Quebec and began throwing shot and shell 
up at his working parties, till Saunders sent a frigate 
forward to put an end to what threatened to be a 
serious annoyance. 

The French had changed their minds about the 
danger of Monckton s guns, though not a shot had 
yet been fired, and agitated loudly for a sortie across 
the river. Montcalm thought poorly of the plan ; but 
a miscellaneous force of 1,500 Canadians, possessed of 
more ardour than cohesion, insisted on attempting a 
night assault. They landed some way up the river, 
but did not so much as reach the British position. The 
difficulties of a combined midnight movement were 
altogether too great for such irregulars, and they 
ended by firing upon one another in the dark and 
stampeding for their boats, with a loss of seventy 
killed and wounded. 

Two brigades were now in mid-stream on the Isle 
of Orleans, and one on Point Levis. Landing artil 
lery and stores, intrenching both positions, and mount 
ing siege guns at the last-named one, consumed the 



first few days of July. Wolfe s skill in erecting and 
firing batteries had been abundantly demonstrated at 
Louisbourg ; and though his headquarters were oil the 
island, he went frequently to superintend the pre 
parations for the bombardment of Quebec. On July 
12th a rocket leapt into the sky from Wolfe s camp. 
It was the signal for the forty guns and mortars 
that had been mounted on Point Levis to open on 
the city that Vaudreuil and his friends had fondly 
thought was out of range. The first few shots may 
have encouraged the delusion, as they fell short ; but 
the gunners quickly got their distance, and then be 
gan that storm of shot and shell which rained upon 
the doomed city, with scarce a respite, for upwards of 
eight weeks. Wolfe s New England rangers, under 
Starke and other well-known dare-devils, trained by 
Rogers in the Lake George region, scoured the sur 
rounding country, fighting Indians or stray parties 
of Canadians like themselves, capturing arms and 
stores, seizing prisoners for information, and posting 
up Wolfe s proclamations on the neighbouring church 
doors. These last assured every peasant who re 
mained at home of good treatment ; while any in 
juries to women or children by his own men Wolfe 
swore he would punish by death. He was in an 
enemy s country ; he had double his own number of 
armed men before him, and a hostile population on 
his rear and flanks, and could do no more. 

The day before the batteries of Point Levis opened 
on the city Wolfe made another move. The eastern 
extremity of the Beauport lines pressed close upon the 
Montmorency gorge. If he could establish batteries 
upon the other bank, it would be easy not only to 
annoy the enemy but to investigate the course of the 



stream above the cataract, and see if perchance there 
might not be some way round to the back of the Beau- 
port lines. He ordered Monckton, therefore, to make 
a feint up the river above the town, as if intending 
some mischief in that direction, while he himself 
brought several frigates up to the front of the Mont- 
morency end of the Beauport lines, which kept Levis 
and his militia brigade there stationed sufficiently 
occupied, if not seriously damaged. Under cover of 
these distractions he moved 3,000 men across to the 
mouth of the Montmorency. Landing on the eastern 
side, his men clambered up the wooded heights in 
the face of some desultory resistance. They were 
now upon the same ridge as Montcalm s army, whose 
extreme left was but a musket-shot from them. But 
between the combatants was the mighty gorge down 
which the Montmorency plunged 250 feet on to the 
flats below. Here Wolfe at once began to erect an 
intrenched camp and batteries. Parties were sent up 
the wooded valley of the impetuous little river to clear 
it of enemies, to cut timber for fascines, and to hunt 
for a ford. They found no ford, but encountered 400 
Indians, whom they finally repulsed, though not 
without loss. Wolfe was somewhat higher than the 
French left, and could now bombard it with consider 
able effect. But this was of little use, as the position 
was apparently impregnable to attack, and there 
seemed no way round it ; for the only ford they did 
eventually find was three miles up, and that faced a 
steep cliff and was strongly fortified. The French 
lines, too, were only vulnerable in their rear, when 
compared to the inaccessible front with which Nature 
had provided them. Upon their left they were pro 
tected by a mass of woods, while along them ran a 



continuous line of stone farmhouses and other build 
ings and enclosures, which, Knox tells us, were all 
prepared for holding garrisons. Even if Wolfe could 
have brought 5,000 men round the upper waters of 
the Montmorency and through the big woods, for the 
delivery of a rear attack, what a loss and what a 
fearful risk would have attended such an enterprise ! 
Canadian militia and, be it remembered, there were 
over 3,000 veteran regulars here as well were not 
very formidable in the open, but behind cover they 
were as good as grenadiers, and, loose in the woods, 
a great deal better. Levis, who had command of the 
position, which was now engaged in an artillery duel 
and some outpost skirmishing with the British, was 
anxious to attack. Montcalm, whose only fear was 
Amherst, would not hear of it. " If we move them," 
he said, "they will be more mischievous elsewhere. 
Let them stay there and amuse themselves." 

The rain of shot and shell continued to pour upon 
Quebec. Houses, churches, and monasteries, crashed 
and crumbled beneath the pitiless discharge. The 
great cathedral, where the memories and the trophies 
of a century s defiance of the accursed heretic had so 
thickly gathered, was gradually reduced to a skeleton 
of charred walls. The church of Notre Dame de la 
Victoire, erected in gratitude for the delivery of the 
city from the last and only previous attack upon it 
sixty years before, was one of the first buildings to 
suffer from the far more serious punishment of this 
one. Wolfe, though already suffering from more 
than his chronic ill-health, was ubiquitous and inde 
fatigable ; now behind Monckton s guns at Point LeVis, 
now with Townshend s batteries at Montmorency, now 
up the river, ranging with his glass those miles of 

305 x 


forbidding cliffs which he may already have begun 
to think he should one day have to climb. Some of 
Saunders ships were in the Basin, between Orleans 
and Quebec, and frequently engaged with Montcalm s 
floating batteries; while in the meantime, the roar of 
artillery from a dozen different quarters filled the 
simmering July days, and lit the short summer nights 
with fiery shapes, and drew in fitful floods the roving 
thunder clouds that at this season of the year in 
North America are apt to lurk behind the serenest 

Fighting at close quarters there was, too, in plenty, 
though of an outpost and backwoods kind, Bois 
Herbert, with his painted Canadians and Abernakis 
Indians, and Stark and young Eogers with their 
colonial rangers Greek against Greek scalped each 
other with an hereditary ferocity that English and 
French regulars knew nothing of. In bringing a 
fleet up to Quebec, British sailors had already per 
formed one feat pronounced impossible by Canadian 
tradition. They now still further upset their enemies 
calculations by running the gauntlet of the batteries 
of Quebec and placing the Sutherland, with several 
smaller ships, at some distance up the river. This 
cost Montcalm 600 men, whom he had to send under 
Dumas to watch the squadron. But all this brought 
the end no nearer. Time was exceeding precious, 
and July was almost out. Necessary messages were 
continually passing under flags of truce, and super 
fluous notes of defiance sometimes accompanied them. 
" You may destroy the town," said De Ramezay to 
Wolfe, "but you will never get inside it." "I will 
take Quebec," replied the fiery stripling, "if I stay 
here till November." 



Wolfe, however, was chafing sorely under a sense 
of impotence. 1 Montcalm would not stir. Why should 
he ? And there seemed no single point at which he 
was even reasonably vulnerable to a far inferior 
force. Only one man in the army knew the enemy s 
ground, and that was Stobo, who was Washington s 
brother officer in the very first blow struck in this 
war, at Fort Necessity in 1754. He had been left at 
Fort Duquesne, it may be remembered, as a hostage 
on that occasion, whence he was forwarded to Quebec. 
A plan of Duquesne, drawn by him, however, had 
been found in Braddock s baggage, and he was sen 
tenced to death, but managed to escape, and was 
now at Wolfe s side with a local knowledge that must 
have been acceptable. 

Wolfe had now decided that some forward action 
was necessary, and he proceeded to select what 
seemed to him the only spot that offered the barest 
justification for the risk. 

This was close to the Montmorency end of the 
Beauport lines, and July 31st was the date fixed for 
the enterprise, into which he purposed to bring four 
thousand men. Now in the short space between the 
foot of the falls and the St. Lawrence, the Montmor 
ency was fordable at low tide, and Townshend, with 
2,000 men from the British camp was to ford it here, 
and advance along the shore. Wolfe, with an equal 
number from Monckton s brigade at Point Levis and 
the Isle of Orleans, was, at the same time, to approach 
in flat-bottomed boats over the shallows and land 
upon the narrow flats beneath the high embattled 

1 He was short of money too ; and, in a former despatch to his 
Government, had somewhat quaintly remarked " this is, perhaps, 
the first siege that has been undertaken without it." 



ridge which overlooked them. A frigate was brought 
up to make play on the French lines, and all the 
batteries of the Montmorency camp were to help 
sustain the attack, while a " cat," a kind of sailing 
raft, armed with several guns, was to be imbedded on 
the muddy shore. 

At about ten in the morning the movement began 
from Point Levis to the Isle of Orleans, and de Levis 
and Montcalm from their high perch on the French 
redoubts had a clear view of everything that passed. 
They were puzzled what to make of it, and thinking 
a rea*r attack by the upper reaches of the Montmor 
ency might be intended, sent 500 men to watch the 
ford. As the day went on, it became evident to Levis 
that his own intrenchments were at one point or 
another the object of attack ; but concentration for 
the French at any point on the Beauport lines was an 
easy matter. Wolfe had to await the ebbing tide for 
Townshend s corps to ford the mouth of the Mont 
morency, during which his own men were concen 
trated on the Point of Orleans. In the afternoon the 
Centurion frigate, the armed " cat," and the batteries 
across the falls opened on the French ridges. As 
the day waned Wolfe and his small force pushed 
out and rowed towards the flats, while Townshend 
awaited at the ford the signal to advance. The gen 
eral, always in the front, soon came within the range 
of the French batteries, which opened with a brisk 
fire. He was three times struck by splinters, and his 
cane was knocked from his hand by a round shot. 
Worse still, the water at this point proved too 
shallow, and some of the boats ran upon ledges of 
rock or mud. A deeper passage, however, was quickly 
found, and the leading files, Grenadiers and Royal 



Americans, were, in due course, landed on the wet 
sand. A musket-shot in front, where dry ground and 
tide limit touched, was an outlying redoubt, which 
was at once rushed and cleared without difficulty. 
Now, however, comes the moment when Wolfe s plan 
of action would have developed. This has never yet 
been quite clear, in spite of his own despatches, but 
what immediately happened was of all things the 
least expected. 

Beyond the captured redoubt were about 200 yards 
of flat ground, behind which abruptly rose the high 
ridge, where the French army lay intrenched. Wolfe 
may have intended a mere reconnaissance in force 
over the Flat, though he told Pitt he hoped to tempt 
the French down on to it. Townshend was nearing 
him, having just crossed the ford, while Monckton 
was in the very act of landing with a thousand men. 
Somewhat less than that number stood round Wolfe 
at the captured redoubt. But even with this respect 
able force, it seems incredible that he would have 
faced that steep hill, which by this time was lined by 
a great part of the French army. What was passing 
in that nimble mind just then, or what Wolfe would 
have done, and he was not a man, with all his 
ardour, to throw his men s lives away, no one will 
ever know. The Grenadiers and Royal Americans, 
under a thousand men in all, saved him the trouble 
of deciding. Seized with a sudden and unaccountable 
insanity, these veteran soldiers, without orders and 
without formation, without waiting for their com 
panions, and in utter disregard of the invectives of 
their officers, who had nothing for it but to go with 
them, rushed with a wild shout upon the fatal slope. 
Slippery with recent rains, its summits bristling with 


FAILURE [1759 

cannon and packed with 3,000 riflemen, half of whom 
were regulars, with other 10,000 men at ready call ; 
never, surely, was there so pitiable a piece of mad 
ness. But it was long, too long, ere the hail of lead 
that swept down that steep and slippery slope up 
which these insubordinate heroes vainly and wildly 
struggled, could stop them. Black clouds had been 
gathering over head. A thunderstorm was mutely 
raging beneath the roar of over a hundred cannon 
and the din of countless rifles, and now at the most 
dramatic moment down fell the rain in sheets so fast 
and thick as to hide the combatants from each other, 
and effectually quench both their ardour and their fire. 
To support such an escapade would have been mad 
ness, and the survivors soon enough came straggling 
back through the storm, which quickly cleared and 
showed a streaming hillside covered with British 
dead and wounded. The 78th Highlanders were in 
stantly sent forward to bring off the latter, already 
in imminent danger from Indian scalping-knives. 
Either from damp powder or a worthier cause the 
effort was allowed to pass with impunity, and the 
British retired despondently, some by land and some 
by water, bearing the wounded with them to their 
several camps. The mad and brief exploit, for which 
no officer high or low was responsible, cost Wolfe 
443 men, including 33 officers. There we will leave 
it as one of the most unaccountable incidents in our 
military history, for the Grenadiers were picked men 
from three regiments at Louisbourg. Wolfe, with 
his usual consideration, went out of his way to show 
their officers that he wholly exonerated them from 
blame. In his orders the next morning, however, 
he soundly rated the men themselves for their " im- 



petuous, irregular, and unsoldierlike proceeding," re 
minding them of the difficulty in which they had placed 
their comrades, and ironically asking if they supposed 
that they alone could beat the whole French army. 
He also wrote a despatch to Pitt, which remains as 
notable for the abilities it displays as for the dis 
appointment it caused at the time. 

Through the whole weary month of August little 
occurred that the exigencies of our space would 
justify recording. Montcalm, after the late affair, 
considered himself safe, and he even allowed two 
thousand Canadians to leave for the harvest. Wolfe 
had a thousand men of his small force sick or woun 
ded in hospital. Amherst, it was reported, had taken 
Ticonderoga, but there was little likelihood of his 
getting through to their assistance. Prideaux, in the 
far West, as it then was, had captured Niagara. It 
was a great success, but it in no way helped Wolfe. 
In an army distinguished for its spirit the conviction 
was growing that the task set it was impossible. 
Montcalm would not stir out of his defences. " The 
old fox," writes Wolfe to his mother, "has a large 
army of bad troops, while I have a small army of 
good ones." But three parts of Montcalm s large 
army, like that of the Boers, were habitual riflemen, 
formidable behind cover, though comparatively use 
less in the open. People in England, too, who knew 
about as much of Quebec as of the mountains in the 
moon, had begun to grumble and to misdoubt this 
young general of Pitt s. Though the coffee-houses 
could not show him the right road to glory, as their 
equivalents are apt to show his successors at the 
present day, for they had not the printed materials 
necessary for such a campaign. Worry, anxiety, and 


WOLFE ILL [1759 

hard work, too, had long been telling on Wolfe s 
feeble frame. " Don t talk to me of constitution," he 
had said, referring to a brother officer s case ; " spirit 
will carry a man through anything." But human 
endurance has its limits, and on the 20th of August 
it was known through the army that the general, 
who had made himself the object of its entire devo 
tion, could not rise from his bed. For nearly a week 
Wolfe lay prostrated with fever, and tortured with a 
despair that under the circumstances was inevitable 
to his physical prostration. The four walls of his 
sick-chamber in the farmhouse at Montmorency may 
well have typified to his fevered fancy the inacces 
sible barriers which upon every side in the larger 
arena without doors checked his advance to victory. 
He regarded himself, we know, as a ruined man, and 
had dread visions of his return to England, another 
unsuccessful general to be pelted by a public opinion 
which in truth, as regards military matters, he held 
in infinite scorn. On the 25th, however, " to the in 
conceivable joy," says honest Knox, " of the whole 
army," its beloved commander was reported out of 
danger, and he at once set his busy mind to work and 
called his brigadiers in council to see if anything could 
be done to utilize the short season that remained. 
When, on the 1st of September, Wolfe rose from his 
sick-bed, he had made up his mind to attempt the 
enterprise which cost him his frail life and gave 
immortality to himself, and a great colony to Eng 

It must not be supposed, however, that August 
had passed away in humdrum fashion. The guns 
had roared with tireless throats, and the lower town 
was a heap of ruins. Far away down both banks of 



the St. Lawrence, the dogs of war had raged through 
seigneuries and hamlets. Between the upper and 
the nether millstone of Wolfe s proclamations and 
Montcalm s vengeance, the wretched peasantry were 
in a sore plight. Raided through and through by 
the fierce guerillas of North American warfare, swept 
bare of grain and cattle for Wolfe s army, the 
fugitives from smoking farms and hamlets were glad 
to seek refuge in the English lines, where the soldiers 
generously shared w^ith them their meagre rations. 
More than one expedition had been sent up the river. 
Admiral Holmes, with over twenty ships, was already 
above the town, and had driven the French vessels, 
which had originally taken refuge there, to discharge 
their crews and run up shallow tributaries. Murray, 
with twelve hundred men, had been carried up as 
far as Deschambault, and had there done some suc 
cessful but unprofitable fighting. The shore was 
strongly fortified at every accessible point. Mont- 
calm depended wholly on that side for his supplies, 
for the lower country was entirely closed to him by 
the British. He lost Levis, too, at this time, and 
1,500 men, who, owing to Prideaux s victory and 
Amherst s steady advance, were required at Montreal. 
Another 1,500 men he had despatched under Bou 
gainville to Cap Rouge, where the seven miles of 
cliff which made the north shore west of Quebec 
impregnable, ceased ; and here that able officer in 
trenched himself at the mouth of a small stream. 

Wolfe s intention now was to place every man that 
he could spare on board the ships in the upper river, 
and his entire force was reduced by death, wounds, 
and sickness to under 7,000 men. On September 3rd, 
with slight annoyance from an ill-directed cannon 



fire, he removed the whole force at Moiitmorency 
across the water to the camps of Orleans or Point 
Levis. On the following day all the troops at both 
these stations which were not necessary for their 
protection were paraded ; for what purpose no one 
knew, least of all the French, who from their lofty 
lines could mark every movement in the wide 
panorama below, and were sorely puzzled and per 
turbed. Some great endeavour was in the wind, be 
yond a doubt ; but both Wolfe and his faithful ally, 
the admiral, did their utmost to disguise its import. 
And for this very reason it would be futile, even if 
necessary, to follow the fluctuating manosuvres that 
for the next few days kept the enemy in constant 
agitation : the sudden rage of batteries here, the 
threatening demonstrations of troop-laden boats 
there, the constant and bewildering movement of 
armed ships at every point. It was well designed 
and industriously maintained, for the sole pur 
pose of harassing the French and covering Wolfe s 
real intention. On the night of September 4th 
the general was well enough to dine with Moiickton s 
officers at Point Levis, but the next day he was again 
prostrate with illness, to the great anxiety of his 
army. He implored the doctor to " patch him up 
sufficiently for the work in hand ; after that nothing 
mattered." Chronic gravel and rheumatism, with a 
sharp low fever, aggravated by a mental strain of the 
severest kind, all preying on a sickly frame, were 
what the indomitable spirit therein imprisoned had 
to wrestle with. On the 6th, however, Wolfe 
struggled up, and during that day and the next 
superintended the march of his picked column, num 
bering some 4,000 men, up the south bank of the 



river. Fording, near waist-deep, the Etchemain 
river, they were received beyond its mouth by the 
boats of the fleet, and as each detachment arrived 
conveyed on board. The 48th, however, 700 strong, 
were left, under Colonel Burton, near Point Levis to 
await orders. 

The fleet, with Wolfe and some 3,600 men on board, 
now moved up to Cap Rouge, behind which, at the 
first dip in the high barrier of cliffs, was Bougainville 
with 1,500 men (soon afterwards increased), exclusive 
of 300 serviceable light cavalry. The cove here was 
intrenched, and the French commander was so harried 
with feigned attacks that he and his people had no 
rest. At the same time, so well was the universal 
activity maintained that Montcalm, eight miles below, 
was led to expect a general attack at the mouth of 
the Charles river, under the city. Throughout the 
8th and 9th the weather was dark and rainy and the 
wind from the east, an unfavourable combination for 
a movement requiring the utmost precision. On the 
10th the troops from the crowded ships were landed 
to dry their clothes and accoutrements. Wolfe and 
his brigadiers now finally surveyed that line of cliffs 
which Montcalm had declared a hundred men could 
hold against the whole British army. It was de 
fended here and there by small posts. Below one of 
these, a mile and a half above the city, the traces of 
a zigzag path up the bush-covered precipice could be 
made out, though Wolfe could not see that even this 
was barricaded. Here, at the now famous Anse du 
Foulon, he decided to make his attempt. 

The ships, however, kept drifting up and down be 
tween Cap Rouge and the city, with a view to main 
taining the suspense of the French. Each morning 



Wolfe s general orders to the soldiers were to hold 
themselves in readiness for immediate action, with as 
full directions for their conduct as was compatible 
with the suppression of the spot at which they were 
to fight. On the night of the llth the troops were 
reimbarked, and instructions sent to Burton to post 
the 48th on the south shore opposite the Anse du 
Foulon. On the following day, Wolfe published his 
last orders, and they contained a notable sentence : 
" A vigorous blow struck by the army at this junc 
ture may determine the fate of Canada." Almost at 
the same moment his gallant opponent from his head 
quarters at Beauport was writing to Bourlamaque at 
Montreal that he gave the enemy a month or less to 
stay, but that he himself had no rest night or day, 
and had not had his boots or clothes off for a fort 
night. Another Frenchman was informing his 
friends that what they knew of that " impetu 
ous, bold, and intrepid warrior, Monsieur Wolfe," 
gave them reason to suppose he would not leave 
them without another attack. 

A suspicious calm brooded over the British squad 
ron off Cap Rouge as Bougainville watched it from 
the shore throughout the whole of the 12th. The 
men were under orders to drop into their boats at 
nine, and were doubtless busy looking to their arms 
and accoutrements. Wolfe had sent for his old 
schoolfellow, " Jacky " Jervis, afterwards the famous 
admiral, who was commanding a sloop in the river. 
It was a matter of private business, and as the two 
sat together in the cabin of the Sutherland the general 
took a miniature of Miss Lowther, 1 his fiancee, from 

1 It is a curious coincidence that the heroines of both Wolfe s 
love affairs should have come, and that through no connection with 



around his neck, and remarking that he did not ex 
pect to survive the battle he hoped to fight upon the 
following day, requested Jervis in such case to de 
liver the portrait to the lady, who, it may be added 
became, six years later, the last Duchess of Bolton, 
and lived to be seventy-five. 

By a preconcerted arrangement the day was spent 
after a very different fashion in the basin of Quebec. 
Constant artillery fire and the continual movement 
of troops against various parts of the Beauport lines 
engaged the whole attention of Montcalm, who had, 
in fact, little notion what a number of men had gone 
up the river with Wolfe. When night fell upon the 
ruined city and the flickering camp fires of the long 
French lines, the tumult grew louder and the anxi 
ety greater. The batteries of Point Levis and the 
guns of Saunders ships redoubled their efforts. Amid 
the roar of the fierce artillery, served with an activity 
not surpassed during the whole siege, Montcalm, 
booted and spurred, with his black charger saddled at 
the door, awaited some night attack. The horse would 
be wanted yet, but for a longer ride than his master 
anticipated, and, as it so turned out, for his last one. 
Up the river at Cap Rouge all was silence, a strange 
contrast to the din below. The night was fine, but 
each other, but quite fatuitously, from the same group of families 
as it were, in a remote corner of England, which Wolfe in a social 
sense never even visited. Isell Hall, whence came Miss Lawson, 
is still a residence of the family. A beautiful specimen of the 
border Peel tower enlarged during the Tudor period into a man 
sion ; romantically situated on the banks of the Derwent between 
Cockermouth and Bassenthwaite. Meaburn Hall, Kate Lowther s 
early home, though now a somewhat inaccessible farmhouse, be 
tween Shap and Appleby, on the Lowther estates, remains a most 
interesting and picturesque specimen, both inside and out, of the 
Tudor manor house of the border country. 



dark, and was some three hours old when a single 
light gleamed of a sudden from the Sutherland s 
mainmast. It was the signal for 1,600 men to drop 
quietly into their boats. A long interval of silence 
and suspense then followed, till at two o clock the 
tide began to ebb, when a second lantern glimmered 
from Wolfe s ship. The boats now pushed off and 
drifted quietly down in long procession under the 
deep shadow of the high northern shore. 

The ships followed at some distance with the re 
mainder of the force under Townshend, the 48th, it 
will be remembered, awaiting them below. The dis 
tance to be traversed was six miles, and there were 
two posts on the cliffs to be passed. French provision 
boats had been in the habit of stealing down in the 
night, and to this fact, coupled with the darkness, it 
seems Wolfe trusted much. He was himself in one 
of the leading boats, and the story of his reciting 
" Gray s Elegy," in solemn tones while he drifted 
down, as he hoped, to victory and, as he believed, to 
death, rests on good authority. 1 The tide was run 
ning fast, so that the rowers could ply their oars 
with a minimum of disturbance. From both posts 
upon the cliff their presence was noticed, and the 
challenge of a sentry rang out clear upon the silent 
night. On each occasion a Highland officer who spoke 
French perfectly replied that they were a provision 
convoy, to the satisfaction of the challengers. But 
the risk was undeniable, and illustrates the hazardous 
nature of the enterprise. Wolfe s friend, Captain 
Howe, brother of the popular young nobleman who 
fell at Ticonderoga, with a small body of picked 

1 Professor Robson of Edinburgh University, who was present 
as a midshipman. 



soldiers, was to lead the ascent, and as the boats 
touched the narrow beach of the Anse du Foulon he 
and his volunteers leaped rapidly on shore. Some of 
the boats accidentally overran the spot, but it made 
little difference, as the narrow path was, in any case, 
found to be blocked, and the eager soldiers were 
forced to throw themselves upon the rough face of 
the cliff, which was here over 200 feet high, but 
fortunately sprinkled thick with stunted bushes. 
Swiftly and silently Howe and his men scrambled up 
its steep face. No less eagerly the men behind, as 
boat after boat discharged its load of redcoats under 
Wolfe s eye on the narrow shore, followed in their 
precarious steps. Day was just beginning to glim 
mer as the leading files leaped out on to the summit 
and rushed upon the handful of astonished French 
men before them, who fired a futile volley and fled. 
They captured, however, the officer of the guard. It 
was De Vergor, who, it will be remembered, made 
such a poor defence at Beausejour, in Nova Scotia, 
whither Bigot had sent him to improve his fortunes. 
He was really in bad luck this time, though he has 
been made a scapegoat of by French writers. An 
attack at such a point may well have seemed im 
probable. "The difficulty of the ascent," wrote 
Admiral Saunders to the Ministry, " was scarcely 
credible." The single narrow path, too, the only 
presumable approach, had been blocked ; but Wolfe s 
men were dragging themselves up all along the cliff, 
and even if De Vergor s small guard had been more 
wide awake, it is doubtful if they could have stopped 
such determined men. But the shots and cries had 
alarmed other posts at some distance off, yet near 
enough to fire in the direction of the landing boats. 



It was too late, however ; the path had now been 
cleared of obstacles, and the British were swarming 
on to the plateau. The first sixteen hundred men 
had been rapidly disembarked, and the boats were 
already dashing back for Townshend s brigade, who 
were approaching in the ships, and for the 48th, who 
awaited them on the opposite shore. 

The scattered French posts along the summit were 
easily dispersed, while the main army at Beauport, 
some miles away, on the far side of the city, were 
as yet unconscious of danger. Bougainville and his 
force back at Cap Rouge were as far off and as yet 
no wiser. Quebec had just caught the alarm, but its 
weak and heterogeneous garrison had no power for 
combined mobility. By six o clock Wolfe had his 
whole force of 4,300 men drawn up on the plateau, 
with their backs to the river and their faces to the 
north. Leaving the Royal Americans, 540 strong, 
to guard the landing-place, and with a force thus 
reduced to under 4,000, he now marched towards the 
city, bringing his left round at the same time in 
such fashion as to face the western walls scarcely 
a mile distant. As Wolfe drew up his line of battle 
on that historic ridge of tableland known as the 
Plains of Abraham, his right rested on the cliff 
above the river, while his left approached the then 
brushy slope which led down towards the St. Charles 
Valley. He had outmanoeuvred Montcalm ; it now 
remained only to crush him. Of this Wolfe had not 
much doubt, though such confidence may seem 
sufficiently audacious for the leader of 4,000 men, 
with twice that number in front of him and half as 
many in his rear, both forces commanded by brave 
and skilful generals. But Wolfe counted on quality, 



not on numbers, which Montcalm himself realized 
were of doubtful efficacy at this crucial moment. 
The French general, in the meantime, had been ex 
pecting an attack all night at Beauport, and his troops 
had been lying on their arms. It was about six 
o clock when the astounding news was brought him 
that the British were on the plateau behind the city. 
The Scotch Jacobite, the Chevalier Johnstone, who 
has left us an account of the affair, was with him at 
the time, and they leaped on their horses he to give 
the alarm towards Montmorency, the general to has 
ten westwards by Vaudreuil s quarters to the city. 
" This is a serious business," said Montcalm to John- 
stone as he dug his spurs into his horse s flanks. 
Vaudreuil, who in his braggart, amateur fashion had 
been " crushing the English " with pen and ink and 
verbal eloquence this last six weeks, now collapsed, 
and Montcalm, who knew what a fight in the open 
with Wolfe meant, hastened himself to hurry for 
ward every man that could be spared. Fifteen 
hundred militia were left to guard the Beauport 
lines, while the bulk of the army poured in a steady 
stream along the road to Quebec, over the bridge of 
the St. Charles, some up the slopes beyond, others 
through the tortuous streets of the city, on to the 
Plains of Abraham. Montcalm, by some at the time, 
and by many since, has been blamed for precipitating 
the conflict, but surely not with justice ! He had 
every reason to count on Bougainville and his 2,300 
men, who were no further from Wolfe s rear than 
he himself was from the English front. The British 
held the entire water. Wolfe once entrenched on the 
plateau, the rest of his army, guns and stores could 
be brought up at will, and the city defences on that 

321 Y 


side were almost worthless. Lastly, provisions with 
the French were woefully scarce ; the lower country 
had been swept absolutely bare. Montcalm depended 
on Montreal for every mouthful of food, and Wolfe 
was now between him and his source of supply. 

By nine o clock Montcalm had all his men in front 
of the western walls of the city and was face to face 
with Wolfe, only half a mile separating them. His 
old veterans of William Henry, Oswego, and Ticon- 
deroga were with him, the reduced regiments of 
Beam, Royal Rousillon, Languedoc, La Sarre and La 
Guienne, some 1,300 strong, with 700 colony regulars 
and a cloud of militia and Indians. Numbers of 
these latter had been pushed forward as skirmishers 
into the thickets, woods, and cornfields which fringed 
the battlefield, and had caused great annoyance and 
some loss to the British, who were lying down in 
their ranks, reserving their strength and their ammu 
nition for a supreme effort. Three pieces of cannon, 
too, had been brought to play on them no small 
trial to their steadiness ; for, confident of victory, 
it was not to Wolfe s interest to join issue till Mont 
calm had enough of his men upon the ridge to give 
finality to such a blow. At the same time the 
expected approach of Bougainville in the rear had 
to be watched for and anticipated. It was indeed 
a critical and anxious moment. The 48th regi 
ment were stationed as a reserve of Wolfe s line, 
though to act as a check rather to danger from 
Bougainville than as a support to the front attacks 
in which they took no part. Part, too, of Towns- 
hend s brigade, who occupied the left of the line 
nearest to the wooded slopes in which the plain 
terminated, were drawn up en potence, or at right 



angles to the main column, in case of attacks from 
flank or rear. The Bougainville incident is, in fact, 
a feature of this critical struggle that has been too 
generally ignored, but in such a fashion that infer 
ences might be drawn, and have been drawn, detri 
mental to that able officer s sagacity. Theoretically 
he should have burst on the rear of Wolfe s small 
army, as it attacked Montcalm, with more than 2,300 
tolerable troops. He was but six miles off, and it was 
now almost as many hours since the British scaled the 
cliff. Pickets and a small battery or two between 
himself and Wolfe had been early in the morning 
actually engaged. The simple answer is that Bou 
gainville remained ignorant of what was happening. 
Nothing but an actual messenger coming through 
with the news would have enlightened him, and in 
the confusion none came till eight o clock. The sound 
of desultory firing borne faintly against the wind from 
the neighbourhood of the city had little significance 
for him. It was a chronic condition of affairs, and 
Bougainville s business was to watch the upper river, 
where an attack was really expected. It was a rare 
piece of good fortune for Wolfe that the confusion 
among the French was so great as to cause this 
strange omission. But then it was Wolfe s daring 
that had thus robbed a brave enemy of their presence 
of mind and created so pardonable a confusion. 

The constituents of that ever-memorable line of 
battle which Wolfe drew up on the Plains of Abra 
ham must of a surety not be grudged space in this 
chapter. On the right towards the cliffs of the St. 
Lawrence were the 28th, the 35th, the 43rd, and 
the Louisbourg Grenadiers under Monckton. In the 
centre, under Murray, were the 47th, 58th, and the 



78th Highlanders. With Townshend on the left 
were the 15th (en potence) and the 2nd battalion 
of the 60th or Royal Americans in all somewhat 
over 3,000 men. In reserve, as already stated, was 
Burton with the 48th, while Howe with some light 
infantry occupied the woods still farther back, and 
the 3rd battalion of the 60th guarded the landing- 
place. None of these last corps joined in the actual 

When Montcalm, towards ten o clock, under a 
cloudy but fast-clearing sky, gave the order to ad 
vance, he had, at the lowest estimate from French 
sources, about 3,500 men, exclusive of Indians and 
flanking skirmishers, who may be rated at a further 
1,500. The armies were but half a mile apart, and 
the French regulars and militia, being carefully but 
perhaps injudiciously blended along their whole line, 
went forward with loud shouts to the attack. 

The British, formed in a triple line, now sprang 
to their feet and moved steadily forward to receive 
the onset of the French. Wolfe had been hit on 
the wrist, but hastily binding up the shattered limb 
with his handkerchief, he now placed himself at the 
head of the Louisbourg Grenadiers, whose temerity 
against the heights of Beauport, in July, he had so 
soundly rated. He had issued strict orders that his 
troops were to load with two bullets, and to reserve 
their fire till the enemy were at close quarters. He 
was nobly obeyed, though the French columns came 
on firing wildly and rapidly at long range, the militia 
throwing themselves down, after their backwoods 
custom, to reload, to the disadvantage of the regular 
regiments among whom they were mixed. The British 
fire, in spite of considerable punishment, was admir- 


1759] VICTORY 

ably restrained, and when delivered it was terrible. 
Knox tells us the French received it at forty paces, 
that the volleys sounded like single cannon shots, 
so great was the precision, and French officers sub 
sequently declared they had never known anything 
like it. Whole gaps were rent in the French ranks, 
and in the confusion which followed, the British 
reloaded with deliberation, poured in yet another 
deadly volley, and with a wild cheer rushed upon 
the foe. They were the pick of a picked army, and 
the shattered French, inured to arms in various ways 
though was every man of them, had not a chance. 
Montcalm s 2,000 regulars were ill supported by 
the still larger number of their comrades, who, un 
surpassed behind breastworks or in forest warfare, 
were of little use before such an onslaught. The 
rush of steel, of bayonet on the right and centre, 
of broadsword on the left, swept everything before it 
and soon broke the French into a flying mob, checked 
here and there by brave bands of white-coated regu 
lars, who offered a brief but futile resistance. Wolfe, 
in the meantime, was eagerly pressing forward at the 
head of his Grenadiers, while behind him were the 
28th and the 35th, of Lake George renown. One may 
not pause here to speculate on the triumph that must 
at such a moment have fired the bright eyes that 
redeemed his homely face and galvanised the sickly 
frame into a very Paladin of old as sword in hand he 
led his charging troops. Such inevitable reflections 
belong rather to his own story than to that of the 
long war which he so signally influenced, and it was 
now, in the very moment of victory, as all the world 
well knows, that he fell. He was twice hit in rapid 
succession a ball in the groin which did not stop 



him, and a second through the lungs, against which 
his high courage fought in vain. He was seen to 
stagger by Lieutenant Browne of the Grenadiers and 
2nd regiment, who rushed forward to his assistance. 
"Support me," exclaimed Wolfe, "lest my gallant 
fellows should see me fall." But the lieutenant was 
just too late, and the wounded hero sank to the 
ground ; not, however, before he was also seen by 
Mr. Henderson, a volunteer, and almost immediately 
afterwards by an officer of artillery, Col. Williamson, 
and a private soldier whose name has not been pre 
served. The accurate Knox himself was not far off, 
and this is the account given him by Browne that 
same evening, and seems worthy to hold the field 
against the innumerable claims that have been set 
up in the erratic interests of " family tradition " : 
These four men carried the dying general to the 
rear, and by his own request, being in great pain, 
laid him upon the ground. He refused to see a 
surgeon, declared it was all over with him, and sank 
into a state of torpor. " They run ! see how they 
run ! " cried out one of the officers. " Who run ? " 
asked Wolfe, suddenly rousing himself. " The 
enemy, sir ; egad, they give way everywhere." " Go 
one of you, my lads," said the dying general, " with 
all speed to Colonel Burton, and tell him to march 
down to the St. Charles Eiver and cut off the retreat 
of the fugitives to the bridge." He then turned on 
his side, and exclaiming, " God be praised, I now die 
in peace," sank into insensibility, and in a short time, 
on the ground of his victory which for all time was 
to influence the destinies of mankind, gave up his 
life contentedly at the very moment, to quote Pitt s 
stirring eulogy, " when his fame began." 




WITH the fall of Wolfe, the chief command de 
volved on Monckton ; but that gallant officer, 
like his chief, was stretched upon the ground with 
a ball through his lungs, though the wound in this 
case was happily not a fatal one. It then fell upon 
Townshend to clinch the victory won by the man 
whom he alone of all the army had been inclined to 
belittle, and no fault can be found with the fashion 
in which he did it. 

The main part of the battle was over in twenty 
minutes. Montcalm s army was swept in such head 
long rout and confusion from the field that isolated 
efforts to stem the tide were futile, and the brave 
French general, who, mounted on his black horse, had 
done his utmost to rally the broken troops, was now 
in this bitter hour himself struck down with a mortal 
wound. But on either flank of the actual battlefield 
there had been resistance of a most effective kind. 
Large bodies of Canadian irregulars and Indians 
had thrown themselves into the bordering woods, 
and poured a hot fire into the victorious British. 
There were no Rangers on the spot, and it had fallen 
to the lot of the Highlanders and light infantry 
to clear the woods as they advanced. The former, 
rashly trusting to their broadswords only, lost 160 
out of 600 men, mostly in this perilous performance. 



After a time, however, these flanking sharpshooters 
of the enemy were driven from their cover to swell 
the panic-stricken mob of fugitives who were choking 
the gates of Quebec and the approaches to the bridge 
over the St. Charles. The guns of the city, how 
ever, had no immediate reason to share in the general 
paralysis, and Townshend sounded the recall as they 
began to play upon his pursuing troops. Trenching 
tools and guns were being rapidly brought up from 
the Anse du Foulon, and no time was lost in 
strengthening the position. An advanced party of 
Bougainville s force had actually attacked the rear 
during the battle, but the troops left in reserve had 
repulsed them without difficulty. The main column 
now arrived, but it was too late, for Montcalm s army 
had vanished, and 4,000 veterans flushed with vic 
tory barred the way. 

The loss of the French during the action was 
about 1,500, including 250 prisoners. Of the Brit 
ish, 58 \vere killed and 597 wounded. Knox tells 
us that many of the French officers who were 
taken were still haunted with fears of vengeance 
for Fort William Henry, and with bared heads 
protested earnestly that they had taken no part in 
that lamentable massacre. Montcalm, shot through 
the abdomen, lay dying within the ruined town. 
When told that he had only twelve hours to live, 
he professed satisfaction, since he would not in that 
case be a witness of the surrender of the city. He 
declared that as he was fated to be beaten, he was 
glad it was by so brave an enemy. He refused to 
issue any more orders, saying his time was too short, 
and he would fain be left alone. He did not, how 
ever, forget his soldiers, and dictated a generous note 



to Townshend, on behalf of his prisoners and the 
Canadians generally, assuring him at the same time 
of his confidence in the humanity of the English. 

" Be their protector," he winds up with touching 
quaintness, " as I have been their father." 

The brave gentleman and able soldier died before 
the dawn. In the confusion no coffin was forth 
coming. His remains were placed in a deal box, 
and, escorted by a few officers of the garrison and 
a troop of women and children, were borne to the 
chapel of the Ursulines, and deposited in a grave 
made by the bursting of a British shell. 

Vaudreuil, in the meantime, met the fugitives from 
the battlefield at the bridge over the St. Charles, 
where there was a scene of indescribable confusion. 
Every one had lost their heads, and veteran officers 
were clamouring for a surrender, crying out that the 
British were upon them, and that they would be cut 
to pieces. 

The British, as a matter of fact, had ceased from 
the pursuit, and were concentrating on their lines, 
worn out with exhaustion and fatigue. Nothing, 
however, could allay the panic of the French, which 
indeed passed all reason. A council of war was 
called. Vaudreuil loudly blamed Montcalm for 
precipitating a conflict which he himself carefully 
shirked, and then proceeded to give a taste of his 
courage and generalship by urging a retreat up the 
river of the whole army. In the demoralized state 
of the French his suggestions met with an only too 
ready response. The whole position of Beauport 
was abandoned, just as it stood, tents and all, to be 
looted by country people and the Indians. Bougain 
ville was notified of the movement, and at dark 



that same evening the entire French force, except the 
militiamen who deserted to their homes and the 
feeble garrison within the city, were hurrying round 
the British position at a pace which the Chevalier 
Johnstone, who was with them, calls a disgraceful 
rout. Not only Montcalm, but Senezergue and De 
L Ours, his second and third in command, had been 
mortally wounded. De Ramezay, "with a thousand 
quite inefficient men, mere citizens for the most part, 
was left in the city with instructions to surrender if 
an assault should be threatened. The remnant were 
not lacking in spirit, and had endured the siege with 
out murmur, but to expect more of them at this 
moment was ridiculous. If the French army, they 
justly urged, was afraid to again face Wolfe s vic 
torious battalions, what could be expected of a few 
hundred half -starved old men and boys, with only 
a score or two sailors and soldiers to stiffen them ? 
The French army, in the meantime, did not stay 
their rapid flight till they had placed thirty miles 
behind them and reached Jacques Cartier on the St. 
Lawrence. A message had been sent on the day of 
battle to Levis at Montreal, who was now in chief 
command, and Vaudreuil s expectations that he 
would descend the river and meet them at Jacques 
Cartier were well founded. When that brave and 
vigorous soldier reached the camp of the fugitive 
army he was filled with indignation, as well he may 
have been. To a man who had more than once won 
victories against great odds the situation was hu 
miliating enough. Never in their darkest days of 
inexperience, indiscipline, and bad leadership had 
the British in America behaved so badly. Bou 
gainville s force, which had retired again upon Cap 



Rouge, had increased, according to French writers, 
to 3,000 men. There had been, moreover, 1,500 good 
militia inactive on the Beauport lines, to say nothing 
of the garrison of the city, while in Vaudreuil s 
fugitive army there could not have been much less 
than another 3,000 soldiers, and in great part good 
ones. The British army before the city walls was 
reduced by casualties to under 4,000. Wolfe s total 
losses, prior to the battle, in killed and wounded 
and sick, had been 1,500. There were probably 2,000 
efficient men on guard at the camps, hospitals, and 
batteries below Quebec, which were liable to attack 
at any moment from bands of guerillas. Townshend 
could hardly have drawn seriously on this reserve, and 
we may therefore picture him, with his small army 
and a few sailors who had assisted in hauling up 
his guns and stores, busy for the moment with pick 
and shovel upon the Plains of Abraham. The de 
sertion of many thousand militia is allowed for in 
the above estimate of the French, which is, in fact, 
their own. Comment is needless. Panic is spelled 
in every line of it, but it must always be remembered 
that the author of the panic was the young hero 
now lying dead in the cabin of the Sutherland. 

Levis, when he reached Jacques Cartier, breathed 
some heart into Vaudreuil s demoralized army. A 
hundred mounted men with sacks of meal were 
despatched in haste by a circuitous route to Quebec, 
with instructions to Ramezay to hold out, for help 
was coming. The troops themselves marched upon 
the 18th. They were to pick up Bougainville at Cap 
Rouge, and would then far outnumber the British. 
But that night, when still fifteen miles from the city, 
the news reached them that it had fallen. 



There is not much to be said of the four days 
which Townshend and his troops spent upon the 
heights before Quebec. He extended his lines down 
to the St. Charles, and pushed his trenches close up 
to the walls. Within the city all was wretchedness, 
recrimination and despair, save for a small body 
of gunners, who pounded the British trenches with 
commendable spirit, but with little effect. On the 
evening of the 17th some threatening movements 
of the English ships and troops put a finishing 
touch to the futile and vanishing courage of the 
feeble garrison. Their officers, and small blame to 
them, refused to fight, and told Ramezay, a gallant 
old gentleman with a good record, that it was not 
fair to expect them to sustain the assault of a 
disciplined army from which their own, though far 
superior in numbers, had fled. There was a doughty, 
if unreasonable, town Major, however, one Johannes, 
who waxed indignant at such sentiments, and em 
phasized his indignation with the flat of his sword. 
But it was of no avail. Ramezay had no choice 
but to hoist the white flag, though the devoted 
Johannes, who surely deserves to be remembered at 
such a moment, instantly hauled it down again. He 
was alone in his protests, but eventually consented 
to go himself to Townshend with an offer of capitu 
lation. It seems that, by making subtle efforts to 
spin out the negotiations, he defeated thereby his 
own object by wearing out Townshend s limited stock 
of patience, since all the satisfaction he could bring 
to Ramezay was that if the place were not delivered 
up by eleven o clock it would be carried by storm. 
Ramezay signed the articles submitted to him, and 
they were in Townshend s hands by the time agreed 



upon. He had scarcely received them when Levis 
light horse with the meal bags rode in to say that 
succour was coming. Ramezay, however, with an 
honour that does him credit, refused to cancel an 
agreement on which the ink had scarcely dried. The 
terms were favourable, for Townshend s position 
was none too secure, and without loss of time he 
marched his army into the ruined town, which had 
yet another siege to endure, though its details have 
been hopelessly obscured by the glamour of the first 
one. It will be our duty in the succeeding chapter 
to say something of an episode in British history 
that is not without honour, but, for the reason, no 
doubt, just mentioned, is utterly without fame. 

In regard to this memorable 18th of Septem 
ber it only remains to tell how the re-invigorated 
French army learnt that night at St. Augustin 
that they were too late, and that the Union Jack 
was already floating over the ruins of the proud 
city which for a century and a half had been almost 
more French than France herself. 

Of the still more famous 13th of the same 
month what more can be said ? It is my business to 
follow out the campaign to its termination, and in 
so doing to seem, perhaps, a destroyer of landmarks, 
a disturber of time-honoured traditions. I should 
like, however, so far as my own study of these wars 
teaches me, to endorse rather than to disturb ancient 
landmarks. The fight upon the Plains of Abraham, 
beyond all doubt or question, settled the fate of 
Canada, and eliminated the Frenchman as a govern 
ing factor in the life of the western continent. It 
did yet more, for if the republic of the United States 
was born at Yorktown, its seeds were surely sown 



on the plateau of Quebec. In all history there is no 
more dramatic episode ; at the same time it would 
be hard to name one that had more influence on 
the future of the world. 

The infinite significance of the achievement was, of 
course, in great part hidden from the eyes of those 
who shared in or applauded it. But the immediate 
value of the victory was patent enough to the 
meanest intelligence. When the news arrived in 
England, following so closely as it did on tidings of 
a disheartening kind, there was an outburst of en 
thusiasm that, though tempered in one sense, was in 
another stimulated to an even greater excess of 
emotion by the victor s glorious death. All England 
blazed with bonfires and resounded with pealing bells, 
but the grief for Wolfe, mingled with the sounds 
of triumph, Burke tells us was most noticeable. 
" The loss of a genius in war is a loss that we know 
not how to repair." "The people," says Walpole, 
" triumphed and wept ; for Wolfe had fallen in the 
hour of victory ! Joy, curiosity, astonishment were 
painted on every countenance. Not an incident 
but was heroic and affecting ! " The recent doubters 
abased themselves, the tongues of envy which 
had freely wagged were silenced. Townshend, 
who failed significantly to do full honour in his 
despatches to his dead rival, was driven amid 
much obloquy to defend himself in print, which he 
did but tamely. The affection with which the army 
he commanded regarded their fallen chief could be 
instanced by a flood of written testimony : " Our joy 
is inexpressibly damped," wrote Knox on the even 
ing of the 13th, "by ithe loss of one of the greatest 
heroes that this or any age can boast of." 



But all further eulogy on Wolfe must be resisted. 
Though the crucial blow of the war had been struck 
and the striker was dead, there was yet much to be 
done and much even to be suffered before the end 
came. For the present, seeing we must return later 
to Quebec, it will be sufficient to state that Murray 
was left in command of the shattered city with 
almost all the troops that survived the campaign, 
and that on October 17th Admiral Saunders and his 
ships sailed for England, carrying with them the 
embalmed body of the dead soldier whose endeavours 
they had from first to last so loyally seconded. 

The Royal William, bearing the remains, arrived 
at Portsmouth on November the 17th. Amid the 
firing of minute guns from the fleet, the tolling of 
muffled bells, and the hushed silence of a vast 
concourse of spectators, the funeral cortege wound 
its way through the town on the long road to 

Wolfe was laid by his father s side in the family 
vault at Greenwich church, while the bulky monu 
ment in Westminster Abbey commemorates a nation s 
gratitude if it does no great credit to its taste. 

While, with 8,000 men, Wolfe had gone to en 
counter Montcalm and Levis, and take Quebec, 
Amherst, with almost as many good troops and 5,000 
provincials in addition, had proceeded against Bourla- 
maque, who, with what forces could be spared from 
the main army, was to defend the Champlain route 
to Canada. That Wolfe succeeded and his chief 
failed is a fact of history that, reduced to bare figures, 
creates an unfair inference. The former won success 
by genius and dash which we may almost fancy com 
pelled the assistance which an admiring fortune gave 


AMHEEST [1759 

him. The latter failed from the lack of such inspira 
tion as is heaven-born and given to but a few. He 
was thorough, and careful, and made almost no mis 
takes ; but he had great difficulties to contend with, 
and did not succeed, this year at least, in attracting 
the smiles of fortune. 

Amherst was, in truth, a good soldier and a man of 
tact as well. He was well liked in America, though 
he had to face the bad odour which the hapless 
Abercromby had left behind him. This, however, 
in the provinces which had reason to complain, he 
had no difficulty in surmounting. It was in those 
rather who had none, but on the contrary owed their 
deliverance from three years of frontier war, and 
misery and massacre, to the self-sacrifice of Forbes, 
that obstruction and discontent met his friendly 

In Philadelphia, where the brave Scotchman had 
just laid down his life, and whither Amherst went 
early in the year to talk about reinforcements and 
Indian affairs, he found no gratitude whatever for 
the routing of the French and Indian upon the long- 
harried Pennsylvania border. There was much 
grumbling at having to shelter the troops who had 
fought and bled for them, and still more because 
government had not yet met the claims of team- 
owners and hucksters, whose impositions the honest 
Forbes, it will be remembered, had denounced in un 
measured terms. The fact was, that every one in 
government employ in America, from Amherst and 
Wolfe down to the meanest private, had to wait for 
their money. It was a time of supreme effort and 
self-denial, and a moment well worth it, if ever there 
was one. Still it was aggravated by scandalous 



negligence on the part of Barrington, the English 
Secretary for War. Amherst was immensely 
hampered, and had to occupy himself in urging the 
provincial governments to temporary financial ex 
pedients, which was not easy, as the credit of the 
imperial government had suffered greatly. 

After finding the garrison for Fort Pitt, as 
Duquesne was now called, and that of a few smaller 
posts, the southern colonies, freed at length from all 
fear of French or Indian, relapsed into their wonted 
calm of tobacco-planting, visit-paying, fox-hunting and 
mild wrangling with their governors. They appear 
no more in this war, in which they had indeed figured 
somewhat poorly, while their borderers, who were for 
the most part a race unto themselves, set to work to 
re-occupy the ravaged districts along the Blue Ridge 
and the Alleghanies. Washington, with no further 
prospect of active service, now retired to matrimony 
and country life. He had gone straight to Virginia 
off the long and arduous return march with the 
dying Forbes, accompanied, by several of his friends 
among the British officers, and married in their 
presence the handsome and well-dowered widow, 
Mrs. Custis. He was personally thanked for his past 
services by the House of Burgesses, and his inability 
to reply to the Speaker s eulogistic address drew from 
that gentleman a happy remark, which, together with 
the incident, has become historic : " Sit down, Mr. 
Washington ; your modesty equals your valour." 
Remembering Washington s outspoken criticisms of 
his legislature and the feeble support it had given 
him, one might well imagine that his heart was 
too full for words, and as a simple, straightforward 
man, he considered that the less said the better. 

337 z 


Pennsylvania in the meantime was so backward 
in voting the troops Amherst asked for that he 
threatened to remove all the garrisons from her 
frontier, a threat which brought matters to a speedy 
and satisfactory conclusion. For it must not be for 
gotten that there was a sturdy minority, even in 
Philadelphia, who had felt bitterly the part played by 
the Legislature, while the Western Counties had on 
one occasion threatened to march upon the city and 
compel the House to take military action. The 
Northern Colonies, on the other hand, swallowed the 
memory of Abercromby, made the best of financial 
difficulties, and came forward handsomely. New 
York found 3,000 men, and even little Jersey, almost 
the only province without an exposed frontier, sup 
plied a regiment a thousand strong, while New Eng 
land, as usual, was in no way backward. 

Colonel and Brigadier Prideaux, who had just 
landed, was to lead a force up the Mohawk route, re 
build Oswego and attack Niagara. Amherst himself, 
as we know, was for the Northern road. Albany was 
the starting-point for both armies, and once again 
when the ice melted and the spring opened it re 
sounded with the din of arms, and the thrifty Dutch 
traders reaped the harvest that of necessity accrued 
from the prolonged presence of nearly 20,000 armed 
men. Once more the rough forest road from Fort 
Edward on the Hudson to Lake George was beaten 
hard by a steady stream of marching troops, of guns 
and wagons, and the old trysting place at the lake 
head was again gay with tents and varied uniforms, 
and the bay itself dark with boats. Amherst had 
collected here 6,000 regulars and nearly 5,000 pro 
vincials. There were 2,000 Highlanders, with the 



17th, 27th, 53rd regiments, and 1st battalion of the 
60th, besides light infantry under Gage ; Rangers, 
who now ranked as regulars, as well they may have, 
and the usual small complement of artillerymen. 

The inevitable delays in mustering and provision 
ing the colonial troops had occurred, and it was the 
20th of July when another pageant, no less gorgeous 
than that of Abercromby in the previous year, and 
with more hopeful prospects, floated down the lake. 
The troops landed without opposition on the east 
bank of the river outlet, and marched without 
hindrance across to the saw-mills whence Aber 
cromby had delivered his ill-timed and ill-fated 
assault. Crossing the stream, the scouts found the 
famous redoubt of Ticonderoga stronger than ever, 
but to their surprise unoccupied. Bourlamaque was 
stationed here with nearly 4,000 men more, in fact, 
than Montcalm had used on the same spot with such 
deadly effect. But Amherst was not Abercromby, 
as Bourlamaque knew very well, and would have 
knocked those wooden walls to pieces in an hour. 
The French were in the stone fortress on the point. 
The preliminary operation of a siege, with some little 
skirmishing in the woods which were full of French 
Indians, went on. Bourlamaque, however, was under 
orders from Vaudreuil to make his stand at another 
point. So on the night of the 26th, he and his 
garrison embarked quietly on the lake, abandoning 
the fort. After the last man had left, a dull roar, 
followed by a tremendous explosion, burst on the 
summer night as part of the masonry of the fort was 
hurled skywards. Sheets of flame flared from the 
debris making a grand and awful spectacle, while 
against the light of the flames the abandoned French 



flag was seen streaming in the wind. A sergeant of 
Gage s corps, with four privates, rushed forward and 
achieved the perilous task of snatching the trophy 
from the blazing buildings. Thus, in dramatic fashion, 
fell Ticonderoga, for years the armed gate of Canada, 
the barrier to invading armies, and the scourge of 
the Northern frontiers, as Duquesne had been to those 
of the lower colonies. 

The French had temporarily retired to their second 
fort at Crown Point, ten miles down the lake, and 
Amherst in his deliberate fashion followed them, but 
only to find this also gutted and abandoned. Bour- 
lamaque had carried his army to the extreme end of 
Lake Champlain, and, according to his instructions, 
prepared to resist Montcalm at the ile-aux-Noix. 
This last was an island in the centre of theTRichelieu 
River, the waterway to Canada and a position of 
great natural strength. But in spite of the numbers 
and spirit of his force, and his own skill, Amherst 
was now stopped by an obstacle, small enough in 
itself, but insuperable. This was the presence on the 
lake of four vicious little French vessels, armed with 
cannon and manned with sailors. Amherst had no 
thing to cope with them. It is often said that as their 
existence was no secret, he should have provided 
himself with a superior armament, building it on 
Wood Creek early in the season. But it was too late 
for regrets ; he had now to sit down and create his 
little fleet with the sole assistance of the historic but 
inefficent saw-mill near Ticonderoga. 

It was now only the beginning of August, and his 
ships were not finished till the middle of October, by 
which time there was little hope of reaching Canada, 
and none whatever of assisting Wolfe, of whom no 



news had come. Three messengers had been sent to 
him : one of them had got through, but the others 
were caught and sent to Montcalm. Amherst had a 
passion for fort building, and having patched up 
Ticonderoga, he decided to restore and enlarge Crown 
Point, which, standing out on a promontory at the 
narrowest part of the lake, was eminently the key to 
the whole situation. Three thousand men were now 
set to work upon the fortress. Others worked upon 
the ships. The remainder practised their manoeuvres 
or fished in the lake, while the Rangers, under 
Rogers, scoured the woods. 

Our invaluable traveller, Dr. Kalm, had been stay 
ing at Crown Point a few years earlier in the piping 
times of peace, as a guest of the commandant, M. 
Lusignan. He gives a delightful account of the 
almost idyllic life led by the garrison at this romantic 
spot. The fort, he tells us, was a quadrangle with 
high stone walls, rendered still more formidable in 
some parts by the steep rocks over the lake on which 
they stood. At one end was a high stone tower 
mounted with guns from base to summit while in the 
enclosure were excellent stone houses for the men and 
officers and a chapel. On the shore adjoining the fort 
were cleared fields, where the garrison cows wandered 
and where every private soldier had his garden. The 
commandant was a man of culture and varied infor 
mation. The soldiers, though in no way disrespectful, 
seemed on the friendliest terms with their officers. 
They were sufficiently paid and admirably fed, for 
the woods were full of game, the lake of fish, and a 
holiday could always be had for the asking. The 
men served till they were forty or fifty years old, 
when, as we know, the king presented them with a 



farm and provided them with food for the first two 
or three years, and sometimes even with a wife. 
The learned Professor gazed with admiration at the 
lofty wood-clad masses of the Adirondacks behind 
the fort, and marked across the lake the long, level 
plain of then virgin forest, backed by the swelling 
ridges of the green mountains, from which the State 
of Vermont took its name. He rambled everywhere, 
noting birds and flowers and trees and rocks, these 
things being his immediate business. He also tells 
us of a stone windmill, mounted with cannon so 
placed as to command a splendid view of the water 
towards Ticonderoga whence the hostile barks of 
the British or their Iroquois allies could be seen 
approaching. All this was in 1749, and though blood 
enough had been shed even then along these lakes, 
neither the Doctor nor his host could have guessed 
what warlike pageants and stirring scenes they were 
yet to witness. 

News came to Amherst in August of the capture of 
Niagara and the death of Prideaux, upon which he 
at once despatched Gage to take command. The 
two months at Crown Point were not wholly inactive 
ones. They were marked, at any rate, by one of the 
most sensational pieces of dare-devil enterprise that 
even Robert Rogers ever achieved. 

Now there was a large settlement of Abernakis 
Indians on the St. Francis River about 180 miles north 
of Crown Point, near Montreal, and far in Bourlam- 
aque s rear. They had been settled there for several 
generations under the protection of the French, and 
were what the Canadian Church was pleased to call 
Christians, observing, that is to say, in ignorant fash 
ion, the mere outward forms of the Roman Church, 



but in practical Christianity being no better than the 
darkest western savage. Perhaps they were even 
worse as inter-tribal obligations had been cast off, and 
they had no limitations to their lust of blood. They 
were invaluable, however, to the Canadians, and the 
scourge of the New England frontier. Rogers set out 
on September 13th with 230 picked men, to read 
them a lesson. " Take your revenge," Amherst told 
him ; " but though these villains have promiscu 
ously murdered our women and children of all ages, 
it is my orders that none of theirs are killed or hurt." 
Rogers and his party stole along the western shore 
of Lake Champlain in whale boats, unobserved by the 
French cruisers, as far as Missisquoi Bay, 90 miles to 
the northward. There he hid his boats, leaving some 
friendly Indians to watch if they were discovered, 
and bring him word. He had now another 90 miles 
to march through the trackless forest, overlapped up 
on every side by enemies. His Indian watchers soon 
overtook him with the information that his boats 
were destroyed, and that a large force of French were 
in hot pursuit. With this crushing blow the courage 
of Rogers and his men rose rather than fell. They 
determined to press on, keep ahead of their pursuers, 
destroy the Indian hornets nest at St. Francis, and 
then, sweeping to the eastward, make for the frontier 
of New England. Perhaps a closer knowledge of local 
topography, and of the then state of the country, than 
could be expected of the general reader is required to 
quite grasp the daring of Rogers exploit and the 
woodcraft that made it possible. He sent a message 
back to Amherst to forward provisions to a certain 
spot on the Connecticut River, and then he and his 
men toiled on for ten days through some of the 



densest swamps and forests in North America. When 
they reached the St. Francis River the current was 
swift and chin deep. All of them, however, but a 
few British officers, volunteers, were hardened back 
woodsmen, and linking arms, they reached the 
further bank in safety, though with great difficulty. 
Soon afterwards, Rogers climbed to the top of a tree, 
and espied the Indian village three miles away, 
nestling amid the woods in supreme unconsciousness 
of its impending fate. Secreting his men, he himself 
crept to the edge of the settlement, and found the 
whole population absorbed in one of their character 
istic festivals, a mad orgie of dancing and clamour. 
Creeping back to his force, which by sickness, death, 
and hardship had been reduced to 142, he lay with 
them in hiding till the dark hours of the morning. 
Then in a half-circle they silently advanced upon the 
town, now wrapt in sleep more profound than com 
mon from the exertions of the previous evening. At 
a given signal from Rogers the whole band rushed 
upon the cabins and wigwams. The surprise was 
complete. There were about 200 men in the place, 
nearly as many unfortunately, from Rogers point of 
view, being absent on an expedition. Every one of 
them was killed. A few got away upon the river, but 
were followed up and slaughtered ; though no women 
or children were touched. Five English captives 
were released, and 600 English scalps, torn from the 
heads of both sexes and all ages beyond the New 
England frontier, were found nailed to the doors of 
the houses as trophies. The Catholic Church, with 
amazing incongruity, rose in the midst of these un 
redeemed barbarians, three generations of whom its 
bell had rung to mass with laborious regularity. Such 



was the Christianity which satisfied the ethics of the 
French-Canadian priesthood of that day. Rogers burnt 
the whole village to the ground, including the church, 
and one can scarcely profess much compunction that 
the priest perished inside it. Only one man of the 
British force was killed and three or four wounded. 
It was now past sunrise, and the famous back 
woods leader learnt that there were 400 Frenchmen 
just in front of him, and 200 more on his flank. The 
whole army of Bourlamaque lay between him and 
Crown Point, 190 miles away, and he was half that 
distance over the Canadian frontier. If his boats on 
Lake Champlain had escaped notice, he would have 
got back without difficulty. As it was, however, the 
circuitous route to the Connecticut River, whither Am- 
herst had promised to send food in case of accidents, was 
Rogers only choice. Carrying such corn as they were 
able for their subsistence, these intrepid men eluded 
their swarming foes by a forced march of eight days 
through tangled swamps and wooded ridges. They 
traversed through blinding forests, what is now a fair 
and famous country, " the Eastern townships " of 
Canada, an old and highly developed settlement of 
purely British blood and origin, sandwiched between 
French Canada and the United States. Ultimately 
they reached the broad waters of Lake Memphre- 
magog, so familiar now to the tourist and the 
sportsman. Here, running out of food, they sepa 
rated into small parties, so as better to kill the game 
they stood in need of, but which proved woefully 
scarce. The adventures and sufferings of the various 
groups before the survivors reached the British 
lines, are among the thousand thrilling tales of 
border warfare. Many were killed, many taken 



prisoners and carried off to the torture and the 
stake in Indian villages. The officer Amherst had 
sent with food to the Connecticut River miserably 
failed, for which failure he was cashiered. The 
despair of the ninety odd survivors at this moment 
was at its height, for a vast distance of wilderness had 
yet to be travelled. By Rogers heroism and fertility 
of resource, however, the half -starved band were in one 
way and another got back to camp early in Novem 
ber. They had traversed over 400 miles, destroyed 
more than their own number of the foulest Indians 
in the north, and struck a blow that resounded 
through Canada. Amherst thanked them warmly. 
One does not hear that they received or expected 
anything more. It was all in the Rangers day s work, 
and Rogers himself has left an account of the ex 

Amherst, in the meantime, had completed his ships, 
and on the first venture they destroyed their French 
rivals. But it was now the middle of October, and 
the weather had broken : sleet-laden storms were 
lashing the surface of Lake Champlain into a fury, 
and winter was looming near. 

Levis, who had long since come from Montcalm, 
had helped Bourlamaque to make the passage of the 
Richelieu, to Canada impregnable under a long siege 
and for that there was no time, since 100 guns 
securely entrenched defended the passage. Quebec, 
too, had fallen, which lessened the urgency, and lastly 
the service period of the provincial troops expired on 
November 1st. So the army, still shivering in its 
summer clothing, retired up the lakes, leaving strong 
garrisons at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, who sent 
salvoes of artillery echoing through the surrounding 



mountains in honour of the birthday, and as it so 
happened the last one, of George the Second. 

Prideaux, the brigadier, whose mission it was to 
rebuild Oswego, take Niagara and ruin the French 
interest in those north-western regions over which 
their sway had been so long undisputed, was early in 
the field. He was at Schenectady on the Mohawk 
route late in May, and was joined by his Division. 
This consisted of the 44th and 46th regiments and 
2,600 New York provincials. There were forts now 
at intervals the whole way from the Hudson to Lake 
Ontario, and his communications were thus secured 
against the cross-country raids from Canada, that had 
been the terror of those who travelled and those who 
lived upon this forest highway. Johnson was com 
missioned to seize this favourable moment of the 
waning of French prestige to stir up the Six Nations to 
their old enthusiasm for the British cause. The ever- 
vigilant backwoods baronet needed no pressing, but 
held in his lavish fashion a grand council, celebrated 
with meat and drink and eloquence at Fort Johnson. 
Five hundred Indians attended ; not only representa 
tives of the faithful nations, but of several others 
formerly hostile, who, wise in their generation, had 
read the writing on the wall. This time they sang the 
war song on the banks of the Mohawk with serious 
intent, and 900 warriors, at the response of their 
chiefs painted and be-feathered themselves for battle. 

Prideaux and his men were upon the site of 
Oswego by the middle of June. Haldimand, the 
second in command, was given the task of rebuilding 
the fort. Like Bouquet he was a faithful and able Swiss 
officer, who had been imported to assist in the forma 
tion of that motley but now efficient corps, the Royal 



Americans. " He had helped to recruit it among 
Oglethorpe s Highlanders of Georgia, the Germans 
and Scotch-Irish of Pennsylvania, and the indented 
servants, poor whites and Huguenots of the two 
Carolinas. He has a threefold claim on England, but 
she has forgotten him. He was an indefatigable collec 
tor, and has left 232 volumes of contemporary papers 
bearing on this period to the British Museum, as well 
as the Bouquet papers, which were his property. His 
military services were considerable, and above all, 
he was Governor of Canada during the Revolu 
tionary war from 1778 to 1784 a sufficiently critical 
and conspicuous post at that time, which he admirably 
filled. Canadians complain, and justly so, that his 
memory is at least as worthy of preservation as that 
of provincial preachers and forgotten novelists, but 
that they look in vain through works devoted to cata 
loguing the illustrious dead for the name of this 
trusty servant of the British crown. 

Prideaux left Oswego on July 1st. He had not 
been long gone when Saint-Luc de la Corne, the well- 
known French partisan leader, seized the opportunity 
to attack Haldimand. He brought with him 1,200 
men, mostly Canadian irregulars, and the notorious 
Abbe Picquet, with some of his so-called Christian 
Indians, whom he exhorted to give no quarter to 
the British heretics. They did not have a chance, 
for though Haldimand s parties were wood-cutting 
outside the temporary entrenchment of pork barrels, 
they soon rallied to their lines. De la Corne s troops 
were not of the kind to assault redoubts. They 
confined themselves for some twenty-four hours to 
desultory rifle fire from the bordering woods, and 
when the guns which had been brought to bear on 



them opened from the entrenchments, they were 
seized with a panic and raced helter-skelter for their 
boats, knocking over the reverend Abbe in their 
haste. Some thirty of them were killed and wounded, 
among the latter being La Corne himself. Haldi- 
mand was henceforward left in peace, and in due 
course a new fort arose upon the site of Montcalm s 
first Canadian victory by Lake Ontario, which in 
after years became the familiar quarters of many 
British regiments. 

Prideaux, in the meantime, with Sir William 
Johnson and his Indians, was hugging the southern 
shores of Lake Ontario in boats and batteaux 
mounted with guns. The coast line to the outlet of 
the Niagara River, where the fort stood, was over 
seventy miles. There was a French warship cruis 
ing on the lake, which is here about the breadth of 
the English Channel at Brighton, so it was slowly, 
and with due caution, that the unseaworthy flotilla 
crept along the low shores, in these days so in 
stinct with vigorous humanity, in those presenting 
to the restless lake a continuous background of silent 
and sombre woodland. 

Captain Pouchot, of the regiment of Beam, was in 
command at Fort Niagara, an excellent officer, and one 
of the many combatants in this war who has left 
memoirs of it. The Indians for once a sign of the 
change of times had failed the French asnewsbearers, 
and Pouchot was taken by surprise. Some of his 
men were absent, and his garrison reduced to less than 
600 all told. At the very head of the Ohio water 
shed, near Lake Erie, there were still some small 
French posts, and Pouchot now sent to these for 
assistance. Many of the French guerilla leaders, with 


NIAGARA [1759 

wild, miscellaneous bands of followers, were yet stir 
ring in this dark country, in vain hopes of dashing 
down and catching Fort Pitt, now garrisoned with 
Provincials, unawares. It was to some of these that 
Pouchot now sent, and they hastened to his succour. 
The old fort at Niagara stood on much the same 
site as the present one, in the angle, that is to say, 
where the river meets Lake Ontario. It was large, 
substantial, and well armed, as became the portal 
and defence of the illimitable trading country behind. 
Prideaux had over 2,000 men with him, besides 
Johnson s 900 Indians. One-half of his force guarded 
the boats, the other was free for the attack. The 
Engineers, like Abercromby s, proved incompetent, 
and their first trenches were untenable. " Fools 
and blockheads G d d n them," was the written 
criticism of an indignant Highland officer. When 
fresh approaches were constructed and the British 
guns opened fire a still worse thing happened, for a 
shell burst on leaving the mouth of a coehorn and 
instantly killed Prideaux, who was standing near. 
Johnson now took command, and the batteries were 
actively served. In a fortnight the walls were badly 
shattered, over a hundred of the small garrison were 
killed or wounded, and Pouchot realized that nothing 
but immediate succour from the West could save him. 
On the 24th Johnson s scouts reported that a French 
force was approaching from above Niagara Falls. 
He therefore pushed forward during the night some 
light infantry, Grenadiers, and part of the 46th regi 
ment. They took up their position in the immediate 
path of the approaching French, just below the 
mighty cataract. In the cool of the morning De 
Ligneris, Aubry Marin, de Repentigny, the cream, in 



short, of the Canadian backwoods leaders, with a 
wild following of 1,200 men, came down the portage 
road from above the Falls. The force included the 
small garrisons at Venango and Presqu ile, with a 
horde of fighting traders from Detroit, the Illinois, and 
the West, truculent, ill-favoured men who lived among 
the Indians, and, like them, went to battle, strung with 
beads and quills, and smeared with paint and grease. 
They were brave enough, but the banks of the river 
above the rapids had been cleared. It was an open, 
not a woodland fight, though, indeed, long years of 
practice had made even the British linesmen no mean 
performer among the trees. Here, however, he was 
in the open and flanked by a band of the Iroquois, the 
finest of savage warriors. The French threw them 
selves with undisciplined courage and loud yells upon 
the British front. The linesmen received them as 
Wolfe s troops on the Plains of Abraham six weeks 
later received Montcalm s assault with a steady, 
withering fire. They had enough men here, how 
ever, for a flank attack, which was carried out by the 
Indians and light infantry with deadly effect. In an 
hour the broken column of white savages and bush 
rangers was flying back in wild disorder past the 
Falls, and the long stretch of rapids above them, to 
where their canoes were waiting, in smooth water, to 
bear them back into Lake Erie, whence they came. 

Two hundred and fifty of the Ohio garrison troops 
alone had been killed or wounded in this affair, be 
sides numbers of their regulars. All the chief officers 
were taken prisoners de Ligneris, Marin, Aubry, de 
Montigny, and de Repentigny, with many more. 

While the fight was in progress up the river a 
French officer thought the British trenches were un- 



guarded, and a sortie was attempted. It was led by 
de Villars, the captor of Washington, in his youthful 
essay at Fort Necessity. But as the French ap 
proached what had seemed empty trenches, a line of 
bayonets, those of the 44th, under Col. Farquhar, 
suddenly flashed in their faces, and de Villars fell 
back, according to his orders rather than to his in 
clinations, for though he belonged to a type whose 
failings were many, lack of courage was certainly not 
one of them. 

There was nothing now for Pouchot but capitula 
tion. Major Hervey, of the Bristol family, was sent 
by Johnson to demand it, and from him the French 
man learnt for the first time the full extent of the 
recent defeat. He would scarcely believe that all 
these redoubtable partisans were prisoners in John 
son s camp till, at Hervey s request, he sent a witness 
to verify the fact. This settled the matter. Johnson 
practically made his own terms, though the " honours 
of war " were conceded in recognition of the gallantry 
of the defence. Over 600 prisoners were sent to 
New York, the women and children to Canada. 
Fort William Henry was again in the minds of the 
garrison, and most urgent appeals were made to John 
son for sufficient safeguard against the Indians. This, 
it need hardly be said, was given, a matter of course, 
but a weaker man than Johnson would have found 
difficulty in controlling the plundering instincts of his 
fierce allies. Everything, however, went smoothly, 
and the fort, with its forty guns, ammunition and 
stores, was quietly occupied by the British. 

When Johnson returned to Oswego a little friction 
arose between Haldimand and himself as to the chief 
command. It was effectually settled, however, by the 


1579] STANWIX 

arrival of Gage from Crown Point, who superseded 
both. Gage s instructions were to attack the French 
posted above the first rapids of the St. Lawrence 
on the way from Lake Ontario to Montreal. He 
effected, however, nothing of any practical value in 
that direction. It was reserved for Amherst himself, 
in the following season, to make the descent of the St. 
Lawrence, and with it the final move in the long game. 
With the British in possession of Niagara and Oswego, 
the French flag finally disappeared from Lake On 
tario and its shores. Their western posts at Detroit 
and the Illinois, as well as the smaller and remoter 
ones, were isolated by this severance of the main 
artery, and could only be approached by the tortuous 
water-ways, even now only known to the sportsman 
and the lumberman of the far back country of On 
tario. General Stanwix, in the meantime operating 
from his base at Fort Pitt, with 4,000 men, had not 
been idle. He had clinched the new relations with 
the Ohio tribes, and had eventually occupied every 
fort to Presqu ile on the shore of Lake Erie. The 
main trunk of French Dominion was being girdled 
by the British axe, and its far-spreading limbs, which 
brushed the distant prairies of the North and crossed 
the sources of the Mississippi, must now perish from 
lack of nourishment. One more stroke, and the hardy 
growth of empire would shrivel up and die, and this 
was to be aimed by Amherst at Montreal. 

353 A A 



MURRAY, when he sat down with his small army 
to face the fierce Canadian winter amid the 
ruins of Quebec, had no light task before him. He 
had the certain prospect of seven months complete 
isolation from everything but a vigilant and hardy 
enemy, smarting under the bitterness of defeat. But 
he was a good soldier, a son of Lord Elibank, young 
and tough, brave and generous, and better fitted for 
the work in hand than Townshend, who gave it over 
to him and returned to England, we may well believe, 
without a pang. Murray was left with a little over 
7,000 men ; but the strength was regulated rather 
by the number he could feed than the number he 
could muster. The surrounding country had been 
swept nearly bare by the needs of Montcalm s army, 
and Murray had to depend almost wholly on his own 
stock of provisions and the little that was found in 
Quebec. No relief of any kind from any quarter 
could reach him until May. 

Such of the French garrison as were prisoners of 
war had been sent to England with the fleet, while 
all the militiamen who chose to give up their arms 
and swear allegiance to King George were allowed 
to return to their homes. The civil population of the 
city had been scattered over the country by the siege. 
There was little temptation, or indeed encouragement, 
for those who could avoid it to return now, and 



Murray had perhaps some 3,000 citizens all told upon 
his hands. During the moderate weather of October 
and November there was an enormous amount of 
work to be done. There was no money nor any 
winter clothing, thanks to Lord Harrington, nor 
could either be now obtained. Murray was com 
pelled to borrow money from the officers and men of 
the army, who responded generously ; Fraser s High 
landers, we are told, being enabled by their " sobriety 
and frugality " to be especially forward in this matter. 
Quarters had to be rigged up out of the shattered 
houses, churches and convents, in preparation for a 
fiercer winter than even those troops inured to 
American winters had ever yet faced, while the offi 
cers put up with such accommodation as they could 
find. Knox tells us that he was fortunate in getting 
part of a stable where, with the help of a Canadian 
stove even then a universal necessity he contrived 
to keep himself warm. He was detailed on duty for 
a time to the general hospital in the suburbs, where 
French and English wounded were lying in great 
numbers under the charge of the nuns of the Augus 
tine order. He writes with rapture of this fine 
building, and waxes enthusiastic on the perfect order 
and cleanliness he found there, and the devotion of 
the Sisters, who were as untiring in their care of their 
late foes as of their own people. Each wounded 
officer had a room to himself, while the men had clean, 
comfortable beds in sweet and well-aired dormitories. 
It was no wonder, he tells us, that" the poor English 
soldiers were glad to be transferred from the wretched 
regimental hospitals of the army to such a haven 
of rest. Knox dined every night with the French 
officers and merchants who, from various causes, 



were attached to the hospital. Many ladies, too, en 
livened these social occasions with their presence, 
and amazed him with their cheerfulness at a moment 
so disastrous for their country and fortunes. When, 
however, the subject was touched on they fell into a 
spasm of melancholy, " uttering deep sighs and ex 
pressions of heartfelt sorrow." As Knox understood 
French, the gentlemen, not, as our author remarks, 
in keeping with their " boasted politesse," conversed 
frequently in Latin. The gallant major, however, 
was quite equal even to this emergency, and one day 
dropped a bombshell among the dismayed Frenchmen 
in the shape of a pertinent quotation from the 
Georgics, taking care to pronounce it as well as he 
could after their fashion. 

Not only Knox, but an officer of a Highland regi 
ment wrote in surprise at the buoyant tempers of 
the Canadian ladies. " Families whom the calamities 
of war have reduced from the height of luxury to the 
want of common necessaries, laugh, dance and sing, 
comforting themselves with the reflection, Fortune 
de guerre. Their young ladies take the utmost pains 
to teach our officers French ; with what view I know 
not, unless that they may hear themselves flattered 
and courted without loss of time." 

The rage against Vaudreuil was very great among 
the citizens of Quebec, especially the women, and 
found vehement expression in the wish, " That he 
may suffer as miserable and barbarous a death as 
ever European suffered from the savages." 

Murray issued a proclamation to the Canadians, 
which was posted on the door of every parish church. 
He pointed out to them that he had a veteran army 
in the heart of their country, that the sea was closed 



to them, and that their cause was hopeless. He 
begged them to think of the welfare of their country, 
and not of useless glory. The English people were 
ready to embrace them as brothers, and give them a 
freedom which they had never known under the des 
potism which hitherto distinguished the government 
of the country. He was prepared to protect them 
against the savages who Vaudreuil, having himself 
fled before the British arms, now incited to mur 
der the people he had abandoned because they wished 
for peace. The Canadians must now see how false 
were those who told them that the British were de 
void of clemency and humanity, and how grossly they 
had been imposed upon. Having, therefore, no more 
hope in arms and no further excuse for taking them 
up, the British would visit those who did so with the 
just vengeance that was the right of victorious 
soldiers who had held out to them the hand of peace 
and friendship. The oath of allegiance was admin 
istered to the whole country east of Quebec. Those 
parishes that deliberately broke it were liable to 
severe punishment, and a few examples had un 
happily to be made. 

Levis, in the meantime, kept a considerable army in 
garrison between Jacques Cartier and Montreal, while 
his Indians and Rangers lurked continually in the 
actual neighbourhood of Quebec. Occasional strag 
glers were cut off, and wood-cutting, one of the most 
vital operations of the winter, had to be carried on 
under armed escorts. There were no horses left, and 
continual processions of sleighs, dragged by soldiers 
and loaded with cord wood, went backwards and for 
wards over the four miles between the city and the 
forest of Saint Foy. 



The defences of Quebec on the west side were 
feeble, and the frozen ground effectually prevented 
any intrenching work being done outside the walls. 
Murray fortified and occupied with a strong guard, 
constantly relieved, the churches of Saint Foy, three 
miles, and Lorette, twelve miles distant, in the direc 
tion of Montreal. This prevented all danger of a 
surprise at any rate, and the air was thick with 
rumours that Levis, with 10,000 to 15,000 men, was 
meditating an assault. The French commander had, 
indeed, plenty of men, but very little food for them, 
and it taxed all the resources of Bigot, who was at 
Montreal, to find them a bare sustenance. 

The chill of October gave way to the cold of 
November, and as Christmas approached the full 
rigour of the Canadian winter struck the thinly clad, 
ill-fed troops with dire effect. Frost-bitten hands 
and cheeks and feet was the common lot of the 
sentries on the numerous guards which it was 
necessary to post in every quarter of the city and its 
outskirts. The officers, says Knox, who could, of 
course, procure wraps, became unrecognisable to each 
other, as, buried in rugs and furs, they went about 
their business at a run, and too fast to admit of the 
ordinary salutation that courtesy demands. But frost 
bite gave way to even yet more serious evils, and the 
sick list lengthened with formidable rapidity. Ex 
posure and an unalleviated diet of salt meat played 
havoc with the men of all ranks. On Christmas Day 
the garrison had sunk, from the various drains upon 
it, to 6,400 men, 1,400 of whom were in hospital, 
and it became infinitely worse later on. The spirits 
of the troops were excellent, but discipline relaxed 
under the continual privation without the stimulus of 



fighting, and aided somewhat by the fact that liquor 
was the only thing in the city that was not scarce. 
Beleaguered as effectually by nature as if hemmed in 
by armed hosts, and perched on its white throne, all 
glittering in the bright but impotent sunshine of a 
Canadian winter, the captured city, with its roofless 
churches and shattered houses, was in a sorry plight. 
The inhabitants, whose hours of going out and of 
coming in, Murray, in his critical position, was com 
pelled to regulate, suffered even more than the soldiers, 
for most of them had lost their all. Punishments of 
British soldiers for theft or outrage or infringement of 
rules were prompt and seem savage enough too, for one 
reads again and again of 1,000 lashes sometimes " re 
duced to 300 on account of the severity of the weather." 
Now we hear of a Frenchman executed for inciting 
to desertion, and now of two British soldiers con 
demned to death for robbery : but the sentence is 
mitigated to one only, upon which we are shown a 
grim spectacle of the culprits throwing dice for death 
or freedom, and learn that eleven was the winning 
throw. Two women are flogged through the town for 
selling liquor without leave, and an officer and forty 
men blown up in an abandoned French ship which 
they were scuttling. Occasional skirmishes between 
New England Rangers under Captain Hazen and 
French guerillas on the south shore of the frozen river 
break the monotony of suffering and sickness. Vau- 
dreuil surpasses himself in the reports he sends down 
the river. " The Grand Monarch," he assures the cre 
dulous Canadians, "has sunk, burned and destroyed 
the greatest fleet that ever England put to sea ; made 
an entire conquest of Ireland, and put all the troops 
and natives who were in arms to the sword ; so that 



the next ship will certainly bring us an account of 
a peace being concluded. Quebec will be restored, 
and Canada once more flourish under a French 

But the incidents of this somewhat unique ex 
perience of a British army, isolated in the interior of 
a hostile country under a semi-arctic winter, excellent 
reading as they are in the letters of those who 
suffered or laughed at them, must be treated with 
scant notice here. Sickness and suffering, though 
cheerfully borne, was unhappily the chief feature 
of this bitter winter, and that most of it was due 
to the neglect of a department which, with the ex 
perience of Louisbourg and Halifax, had no excuse, 
is sad to think of. By Christmas 150 soldiers had 
died ; in the next two months 200 more succumbed, 
and by the end of April the grand total was no less 
than 650, nearly all victims of scurvy, dysentery, and 
fever. Most of the bodies lay above ground, and 
frozen stiff, awaiting burial till graves could be dug. 
Murray s effective force dropped to about 3,000 men, 
while the strangest part of the whole business is, 
that out of 600 British women attached to the army, 
not a single one died, and scarcely any sickened ! 

Point LeVis church, now only a mile across the 
frozen river, had been fortified and garrisoned, and had 
already once repulsed the French advanced parties. 
St. Foy and Lorette too had been strengthened, and 
Levis rangers, skirmishing for food and intelligence, 
had been punished there on more than one occasion. 
Spies and news-bearers went freely backwards and 
forwards. As the winter waned, Murray heard that 
Levis was of a certainty coming to assault the city, 
that his army had been supplied with scaling ladders, 



and was being exercised in their use upon the church 
walls of Montreal, to the great injury of the men s 
limbs and the great diversion of the ladies, who, from 
all accounts, were even less depressed than their 
sisters of Quebec. Every one, however, felt that the 
crisis would be solved by sea, rather than by land, and 
the fleet which first ascended the St. Lawrence in the 
spring would be the determining factor in the posses 
sion of Quebec. February passed away, and with 
March the fierce cold of midwinter relaxed. But it 
was not till April that the melting ice and snows in 
the milder regions of Upper Canada began the great 
upheaval of the frozen surface of the St. Lawrence 
which marks the close of winter. 

Le" vis now began to move. Difficulties of transport 
without horses had compelled him to relinquish all 
thoughts of a winter attack upon the town. There 
were still the French ships in the upper river, which, 
it will be remembered, had retired up the tributaries 
the preceding summer before Saunders fleet, and 
upon these he depended when the ice had broken to 
descend upon Quebec. Full accounts of the sickness 
of the British garrison and its dwindling numbers 
had been brought to Montreal. And Vaudreuil, 
whose arithmetic always tallied with his wishes or 
his vanity, subjected the English forces to the process 
of division, weak as they truly were, instead of 
multiplying them by three, which was his usual 
custom after either victory or defeat. He was 
naturally anxious that every effort should be made to 
recover the capital, and it was not his part to lead 
the troops into the deadly breach. 

On the 18th of April the British learnt definitely 
that they were to be attacked, with " the whole force 



of Canada " that two months provisions and a 
supply of brandy for the regular troops had been 
especially stored for this supreme effort, and that 
the French ships were to co-operate. On the 21st, 
Murray ordered all Canadians, except nuns, out 
of the town at three days notice, giving them fa 
cilities, however, for storing and guarding their 
property. Full sympathy was felt for these poor 
people, but 3,000 British soldiers, with as many 
invalids behind them, stood face to face with such 
strength as all Canada, with a brave and resourceful 
general, could command, and there was no room for 
sentiment. The fugitives, as they left the city, up 
braided the English for breaking the conditions of 
the capitulation, assuring them that the approach of 
Levis was a false alarm which, if their information had 
been trusted instead of that of scouts, deserters and 
spies, would be readily recognised. The sequel showed 
the value and the justice of such worthless recrimina 
tions. Six days afterwards, Levis, with an army of 
over 7,000 men, arrived in front of the British out 
posts at Lorette. He had reached Pointe aux Trembles, 
close to Jacques Cartier, on the 26th, with his ships, 
supplies and troops. Thence, despatching his vessels 
down the river, he had marched by an inland route, 
crossed the stream of Cap Rouge some miles above 
its mouth, and appeared before Lorette, the English 
outposts at the same time falling back upon St. Foy. 
This night the most appalling thunderstorm that 
had been known for years lit up a gloomy prospect 
of melting snow and thawing ice-fields and dripping 
woods. Above it all, in the glare of the lightning 
flashes, the battered towers and gables of the long- 
harassed city rose above the surging river, still gurg- 



ling and choking with the fragments of its wintry 
load. When the thunder ceased, a tempest of unusual 
fury burst from the south-west. Waves, winds and 
ice-floes raged together in furious combat from Cap 
Rouge to Point Levis, and from Point Levis across to 
the island of Orleans and the shallow strands of 
Beauport, while the Montmorency flung over its dark 
cliff into the chaos below the foaming waters of a 
hundred fresh-loosened streams. In the dark hours 
of this wild night a French soldier was drifting down 
the St. Lawrence upon an ice-floe, expecting every 
moment to be his last. He was whirled along past 
the cliffs which Wolfe had climbed, past Cape 
Diamond and Point Levis, and onwards to the island 
of Orleans. Then the swift tide turned and washed 
him back, by a piece of good fortune, to where the only 
British ship, the Racehorse sloop, that had wintered 
in the river, was anchored in the slacker water below 
the town. Here, by almost a miracle, he was seen 
and rescued, more dead than alive. It was two hours 
before the exhausted Frenchman could give an ac 
count of himself, which was to the effect that he 
belonged to Levis army, had been upset with others 
in a boat, and had succeeded with infinite difficulty in 
scrambling on to the ice-floe on which he was found. 
He then informed his rescuers that Levis was at that 
moment coming on with 12,000 men against the city. 
It was about four o clock in the morning, but the 
rescued man was carried without delay in a ham 
mock up the steep streets to Murray s quarters, where 
he repeated his story. Murray was anticipating an 
attack, but hardly so soon, and the information so 
strangely fished up from the flood and darkness, 
proved of vital import. 



It was, moreover, entirely correct. All through 
that night the brave Levis, amid storm and darkness, 
through melting snow wreaths and swollen rivulets, 
was leading the gathered remnants of the French 
forces to strike one last blow for the colony. In 
deed, had it not been for the lightning, he himself 
declares, all progress would have been impossible. 
He had not 12,000 men, but he had nearly 8,000 by 
his own statement, some 4,000 of whom were 
regulars of the veteran battalions that had done 
such yeoman service for Canada during the five 
years of war. They were smarting from the defeat 
of September, though not all had been in it, and 
thirsting for revenge. Vaudreuil, whose imagina 
tion was invaluable to his cause, had assured them 
that the British garrison were destroyed by disease, 
and that a French fleet would assuredly sail up the 
St. Lawrence the moment navigation opened. 
Deliberate fabrication seems to be as valuable to-day 
with a brave and ignorant army to work upon as it 
was in the days of Vaudreuil. 

As regards the British garrison, he was not so wide 
of the mark as usual, and on the morning of the 27th, 
Murray mustered them. There were rather over 
3,000 men fit for duty, and Sergeant Johnson, whose 
account of the siege is a notable if rough-and-ready 
contribution, describes them as " scorbutic skeletons." 

For the last few days Murray had been trying to 
raise intrenchments on the Plains of Abraham, before 
the city walls, without much avail. But though a 
vast quantity of fascines and piquets had been cut 
and the ubiquitous and invaluable MacKellar was 
there as chief engineer, the still frozen ground de 
feated their best efforts. MacKellar, from the early 



days of Braddock, seems to have represented in his 
own person everything that was trustworthy in the 
scientific branch. Generals came and went, but 
MacKellar was always there. Whether a fort was 
to be built, or trenches to be opened, or a scientific 
opinion wanted, so far as one man could supply the 
need in so many quarters, it was always MacKellar, 
and it may be noted as significant that he was still 
only a major. On the 27th, Murray marched out 
half his army to feel the enemy and cover the 
retreat of his outposts. He proceeded to St. Foy, 
where the plateau, extending westward from the 
Plains of Abraham, terminates in a slope, and there, 
from the ridge indicated, where stood the church and 
several houses, he saw the French clustering thick 
beyond the marshes and at the edge of the woods. 
This movement was only intended as a reconnaissance 
in force, so, having achieved what he wanted, he re 
turned to Quebec, and prepared for more serious 
action. There has been much discussion as to what 
Murray should now have done. Theoretically, 3,000 
men, supported by a number of semi-invalids who 
could only contribute some assistance behind walls, 
ought not to leave a fortified town, whose retention 
was vital, to attack much more than twice their 
number in the open field. 

It has been said that Murray, who was young and 
ardent, wished to emulate the fame of Wolfe, and to 
gratify at the same time the perhaps overweening 
confidence of his troops, who had come to think 
themselves irresistible. On the other hand, the de 
fences of the town were bad on that side, and exter 
nal intrenchments were impossible. He thought 
that this fact, coupled with the temper of his troops, 



required aggressive rather than defensive tactics. 
Rightly or wrongly, however, he marched out upon 
the following day with every available soldier and a 
hundred eager volunteers from the sutlers and super 
numeraries, 3,100 in all, to give battle to Levis. 

No climatic conditions in any country or at any 
season are more uncomfortable than those attending 
the break-up of a Canadian winter. The atmosphere 
is by turns bitterly cold and unpleasantly warm ; and 
the ground, hard as iron beneath, is covered with 
standing water and melting snow. The still naked 
woods drip by day and freeze by night, while the 
recently exposed pastures brown, parched and hungry, 
await the genial touch of spring. 

Murray s men, however, marched cheerily through 
it all, and crossing the memorable ground on which 
in September they had so nobly proved their prowess, 
approached the French position. Burton, who had 
been conspicuous through the whole war, commanded 
the right, consisting of the 15th, 48th, 58th, and 
second battalion of the 60th. Fraser had the left, 
with the 28th, 43rd, 47th, and his own regiment, 
the 78th Highlanders. The reserve, consisting of 
the 35th and the third battalion of the 60th, was 
commanded by Colonel Young, of the Royal Ameri 
cans, who had been at Fort William Henry. On the 
right flank were the light infantry ; on the left, 
Rangers and volunteers. Some twenty guns went 
with them, dragged, for lack of horses, through the 
mud and slush by some 400 men. The French right 
touched the blockhouses, which stood near the Anse 
du Foulon, where Wolfe had landed. The left of 
their advance line spread across the ridge, and 
reached the top of the slope beyond, where stood 



a farmhouse and a windmill, while in the rear, the 
main forces of the French were coming rapidly up 
from Sillery and St. Foy. 

The French vanguard had just begun to intrench 
themselves, and the bulk of their army were hardly 
in position when Murray thought the hour had come 
to strike. The guns, which were scattered between the 
battalions, opened fire with considerable effect, while 
the light infantry on the right and the Rangers on 
the left, under Balling and Hazen respectively, dashed 
forward on the extremities of the French vanguard, 
and drove them from their half-finished redoubts, 
the centre retiring with them on the main column. 
But the latter was immensely strong, and hurled 
forward heavy bodies of good troops, who drove 
the over-confident British light infantry back in much 
confusion, to the detriment of the ranks who were 
coming up behind. There was some sharp fighting 
around the buildings upon the right and left. Most of 
them were taken and retaken more than once. The 
British supports were ordered up, and the whole line 
pressed too far forward between the horns of the out 
numbering and outflanking French. There was fierce 
and, for a time, successful fighting on the British 
side ; but their very ardour injured them, as both 
guns and men found themselves drawn down into 
low ground, where the snow and slush was knee-deep 
and the guns could not be moved. On both sides 
they encountered not only a flanking fire, but one 
greatly helped by the cover of extending woods. The 
light infantry were completely put out of action, and 
every officer killed or wounded. The French now 
turned all their attention to the British flanks in des 
perate efforts to get round behind them and cut them 



off from the city. They had by this time, according 
to Murray, 10,000 men in the field, and the 3,000 
" scorbutic skeletons," now sadly diminished even 
from that scant total, were at length forced to fall 
back. The guns were hopelessly mired, and had to 
be abandoned ; but the retreat was conducted in 
good order, and there was no attempt at pursuit. 
Some of the troops, on hearing the order to fall back, 
to which they were so long unaccustomed, shouted 
out in indignation, " D n it! what is falling back but 
retreating ? " The battle had not lasted two hours, 
but it had been an unusually bloody one. Murray s 
loss was over 1,100 men, more than a third of his 
force ; while that of the French was estimated at 
various figures between 800 and 2,000. 

No time was now lost in preparing to defend the 
city, for the position was critical. Every one who could 
stir a hand was set to some sort of work, the women 
to cooking, and the convalescents to filling sand-bags. 
Embrasures were made and platforms erected on 
the walls for mounting cannon. Officers and men 
worked like horses, the former, with their coats off, 
helping to drag the guns up the steep streets and 
hoist them into position. 

For a moment there had been faint signs of de 
moralization in the shape of drunkenness ; but Mur 
ray crushed the tendency with vigour and by exem 
plary punishment, and, on his own part, showed un 
bounded energy in this hour of trial. The odds 
would seem great, but there was no failing of either 
courage or cheerfulness on the part of a garrison 
now reduced to 2,400 effective men, with nothing 
but some indifferent defences between them and 
four times their number of reinvigorated French- 



men. But Murray had at least no lack of guns, and 
these were being rapidly massed along the western 
walls. It made Sergeant Johnson s heart ache, and 
outraged his sense of military propriety to see the exer 
tions of the officers. " None but those who were pre 
sent," says the worthy serjeant, " can imagine the grief 
of heart the soldiers felt to see their officers yoked 
in harness, dragging up cannon from the lower town, 
and working at the batteries with pick and spade." 

The French were busy entrenching themselves 
scarce a thousand yards from the walls, and De Bour- 
lamaque, though severely wounded, was in charge of 
the operations. Their seven or eight vessels had, in 
the meantime, dropped down to the Anse de Foulon. 
Stores of all kinds were being discharged and carried 
up the cliffs. The French, fortunately for Murray, 
were weak in artillery, and their guns were dis 
mounted by the accurate and rapid fire of the British 
almost as fast as they could be set up. With such a 
great numerical advantage, an assault was the nat 
ural proceeding for Levis to take, and one was hourly 
expected. " Let them come," said the men ; " they 
will catch a Tartar." 

Even now friendly amenities and banter passed 
between the opposing generals, Levis sent Murray 
a present of spruce-pine tops for making spruce 
beer, and some partridges ; while Murray sent LeVis 
in return a Cheshire cheese. The French leader 
offered to back himself to capture the city for 500. 
Murray replied that he would not rob de Levis of 
his money, as he felt quite convinced that he would 
have the pleasure of shipping him and his whole 
army back to Europe in the summer in English 

369 B B 

BELIEF [1760 

Two days after the battle Murray had sent the 
Racehorse sloop, the solitary ship before mentioned, 
off to Halifax, bearing the news of his critical situa 
tion to Admiral Colville, who with a strong fleet was 
cruising in those seas. Should English ships get up 
to Quebec, it was all over with Levis, for if he was 
still outside the city, he would have no recourse but 
in retreat. If a French squadron, on the other hand, 
should be first in the river, the work of Wolfe would 
be undone. The former was, of course, far the most 
likely, but the French troops and Canadians were 
buoyed up by statements to the contrary. For 
nine days the British batteries poured shot and shell 
upon the French, who, busy with their intrench- 
ments, scarcely replied. The air was thick with ru 
mours that a fleet was ascending the river, and signals 
upon the mountains to the eastward appeared to the 
garrison to give good grounds for them ; but whose 
fleet was it ! A French sloop had run down past the 
batteries on the 4th. On the 8th she was forging 
back again before a fresh south-east wind. " Why 
don t you stop and pilot up your fleet ? " the English 
shouted at her as she went by. But she took no 
notice, and made up the river to her consorts by the 
Anse du Foulon. The next morning, May 9th, the 
reason of the Frenchman s haste was evident, for a 
ship of war sailed into the basin. There was a brief 
moment of doubt and suspense as to the vital ques 
tion of her nationality. Presently, however, her 
colours ran up. They were those of Britain, for she 
was the frigate Lowestoft. "The gladness of the 
garrison," says honest Knox," is not to be expressed. 
Both officers and men mounted the parapets in the 
face of the enemy, and huzzaed with their hats in 



the air for fully an hour." Captain Deane, having 
saluted with twenty-one guns, came ashore in his 
barge, and dispelled all doubts with the glorious news 
that a British fleet was ascending the river. Levis, 
however, had either not received the information or 
disbelieved it. For though an immediate assault was 
his only hope, he went on with his approaches as if 
the whole summer lay before him, throwing but a 
feeble fire against the British works. The moment a 
British squadron, of sufficient strength merely to de 
stroy his handful of small vessels, arrived, his position 
was untenable, for he would have no means of feeding 
his already hungry army ; and on the night of the 
15th that moment arrived. 

It was the battleship Vanguard and the frigate 
Diana that had sailed in ; and on the following 
morning the latter, together with the Lowestoft, 
favoured by a fresh breeze from the east, sailed 
past the town and fell upon Levis ships. These 
were two frigates and four smaller vessels, com 
manded by Vauquelin, the brave officer who had 
fought his ship so well at the siege of Louisbourg, 
then plugged her up and sailed through the British 
fleet for France. Here, too, he fought his small 
ships most bravely, but one by one they were de 
stroyed, and he himself was ultimately taken 

The French had nothing for it now but to retreat, 
and Levis lost no time. The Vanguard swung out 
in the river off Sillery, laid her broadside to the 
French trenches, and enfiladed them from the south. 
The enthusiastic garrison, who, by working day and 
night, had got 140 guns into position, opened the 
most tremendous cannonade, say their officers, that 



they had ever heard. But the retreat had already 
begun ; and the gunners, elevating their pieces, sent 
a storm of balls ricochetting and bounding along the 
Plains of Abraham upon the heels of the fast-vanish 
ing French, who left behind them a long tail of dead 
and wounded as a result of the fortnight s siege, 
besides all their guns and stores. The Canadian 
irregulars, of course, deserted the retreating army, 
which reached Montreal at the end of May in a sad 
state of depression. There Vaudreuil and Levis had 
to concoct such plans as they were able to meet the 
overwhelming forces that were even then gathering 
to move against the doomed colony. Trois Rivieres 
(Three Rivers) was the third town in Canada, lying 
about midway between Quebec and Montreal. The 
whole country east of that point was now in British 
hands ; the people had sworn allegiance (the priest 
hood included) to King George, and had returned 
with relief, if not with actual joy, to their neglected 
and often wasted homes. From Three Rivers up 
to Montreal, and from Montreal on to the rapids, 
beyond which the English dominated Lake Ontario, 
was practically all that was left of Canada to the 
French king. The capture of Montreal would com 
plete the business, and to this end Amherst, by Pitt s 
instructions, and in full accordance with his own 
ardour, bent all his energies. Once more, and for 
the last time, three movements were planned on 
Canada, and it was hardly possible that what was 
left her could escape being crushed between them 
as in a vice. Murray, his small veteran army in 
creasing daily in strength from returning health, 
carried and supported along an open waterway by 
an excellent fleet, had the easiest task of all. Am- 



herst himself, with nearly 11,000 men, was mustering 
at Oswego and he was to descend the St. Lawrence 
to Montreal, the general rendezvous, where the 
heart of Canada still beat defiantly, if with waning 
vigour. The physical difficulties here were more for 
midable than any which Levis was likely to contrive. 
Amherst had no full knowledge of the rapids of the 
St. Lawrence. He counted them as an obstacle, but 
he hardly realized their fury. As for the third at 
tack, it is needless to say it was from Lake Cham- 
plain, whose forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga 
now made an admirable base for the forcing of the 
passage of the Richelieu at He aux Noix. Colonel 
and Brigadier Haviland was given the command of 
this enterprise, and a force of only 3,500 men, so 
greatly had the events of the last year altered the 
scheme of Canadian defence and reduced the 
strength of its resistance. Levis had now about 
8,000 troops of various sorts at his disposal, besides 
Indians, with a base at Montreal. Roughly speak 
ing, this city represented the point where the two 
lines meet which form the letter T, the three arms 
spreading from it being the approaching routes of 
the three English armies, mustering between them 
not far off 20,000 men. I do not propose to deal at 
any length with the details of these three advances, 
not because there was no fighting, as Amherst and 
Haviland were both opposed, so far as Levis scat 
tered forces could oppose them. But the resistance 
was necessarily feeble ; and it was a question of good 
organization and energy, rather than military force, 
which brought to a happy termination a summer s 
campaigning which, on paper at any rate, looked a 
foregone conclusion. 



To the lover of olden times and quaint descrip 
tion it is pleasant to follow our discursive friend 
Knox up the St. Lawrence, with Murray s fleet. Jt 
was through bright summer days and with thirty-two 
ships and nine floating batteries they pursued that 
delightful river journey from Quebec to Montreal, 
which every passenger by a Canadian liner has 
nowadays the option of enjoying, and, if wise, does 
not neglect the opportunity. 

Leaving 2,500 invalids and wounded in Quebec 
to revive with the summer warmth and the 
abundance of food which incoming ships and the 
pacification of the country brought to their 
market, Murray left there with about as many 
combatants on July the 14th. Lord Rollo, with 
two regiments from Louisbourg, followed close 
behind. The whole country in their rear had now 
sworn allegiance, but Vaudreuil, by sowing false 
news and proclamations broadcast, was making 
desperate efforts to shake them. These proclama 
tions are a real curiosity in the art of deception. 
The credulity and ignorance of the Canadians, great 
as it was, could hardly have swallowed the announce 
ment that Great Britain was on the point of being 
compelled to sue for peace, and that the Canadian 
peasants, in a few weeks, would return once more 
from British tyranny to that benign Government of 
absolutism, plunder, and intolerance, which had, in 
fact, been the cause of all their sufferings. As I 
have indicated, the adventures of the fleet ascend 
ing the river were inconsiderable. It was much the 
largest ever seen in the higher reaches, and the 
country people, whose farms and villages lined both 
banks, regarded it with proper awe, and swore 



themselves in as good subjects of King George as 
readily as they brought on board such provisions 
as they had to sell. Small military posts, however, 
remained occupied here and there by the French, 
who fired at the ships in desultory fashion as they 
passed, and received their fire in turn. They were 
not, however, worth wasting time over, for, Mont 
real captured and LeVis beaten, they would of 
necessity collapse at once with the rest of the 
colony. At Trois Rivieres there seemed to those on 
board to be at least 2,000 troops marching along the 
shore and watching their motions, including the sole 
body of regular cavalry in North America, well 
accoutred in blue and red uniforms. They made 
quite a brave show, says Knox, amid the delightful 
prospect around the fine convents and churches, the 
neat farms and well-cultivated fields. The naviga 
tion of the shallow lake of St. Peter gave con 
siderable trouble ; but in the deeper and narrower 
channels amid the islands beyond the scene was 
quite enchanting. In the chronicler s quaint words, 
" Nothing could equal the beauties of our navigation, 
with which I was exceedingly charmed : the mean 
dering course of the channel, so narrow that an 
active person might have stepped ashore from our 
transports either to the right or left ; the awf ulness 
and solemnity of the dark forests with which these 
islands are covered, together with the fragrancy of 
the spontaneous fruits, flowers, and shrubs ; the 
verdure of the water by the reflection of neigh 
bouring woods, the wild chirping notes of the 
feathered inhabitants, the masts and sails of 
ships appearing as if among the trees, both ahead 
and astern, heightened by the promiscuous noise 



of the seamen and the confused chatter of the 
rapturous troops on their decks, formed all to 
gether such an enchanting diversity as would be 
far superior to the highest and most laboured descrip 

Many of the English captives of Fort William 
Henry escaped from their masters at the sight of 
the English fleet, and came timorously on board. 
When questioned as to their hesitation, they replied 
that the French priests, to whom fiction seems to 
have been a positive pleasure, had assured them 
they would be hanged to a certainty. 

But this triumphal and picturesque progress of the 
British into their new dominion must be cut short, 
as our space runs out, and events of more immediate 
moment have to be chronicled. It will be enough to 
say that Murray crept steadily on, giving those dis 
tricts which submitted every testimony of present and 
future clemency, and making a stern example, though 
with a sore heart, of the few who did not. At 
the mouth of the Richelieu, where Haviland was 
expected by the Champlain route, they found large 
bodies of the main French army, under Bourlamaque 
and Dumas, waiting for both English attacks, who 
followed them upon either shore as they forged 
along the winding river, even then lined with 
farms and villages, towards the island of Montreal. 
At the island of St. Therese, a few miles below the 
city, Murray halted, and awaited the arrival of 
Haviland and Amherst. The former, in the mean 
while, had been pushing the French steadily 
before him, and arrived below Montreal soon 
after Murray, where both waited at their leisure 
for Amherst, who was descending the St. Lawrence 


1760] AMHERST 

upon the other side of the city, and was even 
now close at hand. On the 6th of September 
Amherst arrived, and the triple movement was 
completed with an accuracy that did credit to all 

Amherst, with 10,000 men, besides Johnson and 
his 700 Indians, had left Oswego just a month 
before. With a vast fleet of bateaux and whale- 
boats, and a few armed craft, he had passed out 
of Lake Ontario, and down through the thousand 
islands. Our old friend Pouchot, of Niagara memory, 
lately exchanged, alone stood in his path, at Fort 
L^vis, above the head of the first rapids. The 
British officers, who knew him personally, inter 
changed friendly banter as the ships came within 
hailing distance of their late prisoner. After a stout 
resistance, however, he and his garrison were cap 
tured, and Amherst moved on to what was really 
the more serious matter of the descent of the rapids. 
Johnson s Indians were with great difficulty kept off 
the captured garrison. Canadian precedents and the 
unblushing bloodthirstiness of so many of the priests 
was a trial even to British humanity. It was almost 
more than the ethics of the Iroquois could be ex 
pected to stand, and two-thirds of them went home 
in disgust ; but happily they were no longer required, 
and might well have proved troublesome. 

The rapids were a much greater cause of anxiety 
to Amherst than were the French, as any one who 
knows the St. Lawrence can well understand. He 
had to navigate over 800 bateaux and whaleboats, with 
their freights of stores and men, down the seven or 
eight dangerous places that lay between him and 
Montreal, and such work is a science to itself. He had 



plenty of men who were masters of it, but the rapids 
of the St. Lawrence were on a great and formidable 
scale, beyond average experience. Some local know 
ledge was necessary, and Amherst had difficulty in 
securing, through Indians or coerced Canadians, the 
required experience. He did the best he could, how 
ever, and ran the Galops, Point Iroquois, Point 
Cardinal, and Rapid Plat without disaster, to his 
own surprise and somewhat premature jubilation. 
On September the 1st his great fleet of boats went 
down the Long Sault with not quite such immu 
nity, several soldiers being drowned. The next 
day they floated over the Lake St. Francis. On 
the 3rd they went over the Conteau rapids safely. 
On the 4th the Cedars and Cascades were adven 
tured with a very different result. Sixty-six boats 
in all came to grief, many of them with their 
stores being hopelessly lost, and eighty-four men 
drowned. Still, this did not affect the fate of 
Canada. On the 6th the British had landed at 
Lachine, and by evening were encamped within 
sight of the city, Murray and Haviland being in touch 
with each other upon its further or eastern side. 

The situation of the French, in this their last 
stronghold, was quite hopeless. Montreal was not a 
natural fortress like Quebec, and, even if it had been, 
the inevitable could not have been materially de 
ferred. The Swedish professor, whose memories of 
Lake Champlain have been quoted in a former chap 
ter, came on to Montreal, and gives us a vivid picture 
of what it looked like ten years or so before this, the 
year of its surrender. It had, of course, the St. Law 
rence on one side of it, and on the three others a deep 
ditch full of water. It was surrounded by a high 



and thick wall, but covered too much ground, from 
the scattered nature of the houses, to be defended 
by a small force. Unlike Quebec, too, most of the 
private houses were of wood, though admirably built. 
There were several churches and convents and 
seminaries, fine buildings of stone, mostly sur 
rounded by spacious gardens, while the streets were 
broad and straight, and some of them paved. In the 
background rose " the Mountain," then clad in vir 
gin forests, which, upon this fateful 7th of September, 
had not as yet been touched by autumn s fiery hand. 
Before the city flowed the noble river, not long 
calmed down from the fury of the La Chine rapids, 
and at this point little less than two miles broad. 
Kiiox more than endorses Kami s eulogies, and thinks 
Montreal the most delightful place he has seen. The 
fortifications were contemptible, but " the excellence 
of the private houses, the magnificence of the public 
buildings, the pleasant country seats and villas scat 
tered about amid gardens and plantations outside 
the walls, and, above all, the charm of the situation," 
enchants the gallant captain, 1 in a mood, no doubt 
just then, to be easily pleased. To see the gay crowd 
in the streets, too, the silk cloaks and laced coats and 
powdered heads, one would have supposed, he says, 
that these people, instead of being the victims of a 
long and disastrous war, were all in the enjoyment 
of ample and unimpaired fortunes. But this is an 
ticipating a little, for Knox and his friends were not 
yet actually inside. 

Here, within or around the city, if importance in 
lieu of population can justify the term, were gathered 
all the civil and military chiefs of Canada, for once, 

1 Knox would seem to have got his majority about this time. 



at least, "united in the conviction that all hope had fled. 
The thoughts of the civilians had by far the most 
cause to be gloomy. The Intendant Bigot, Cadet and 
their band of parasites saw with despair the bone they 
had so long picked, passing from their grasp the 
goose that for them alone had lain so many golden 
eggs at length on the point of extinction, a fate in 
part due to their former imprudences. But worse than 
all they saw an outraged king and government be 
yond the ocean, who, maddened with their loss, would 
welcome with joy the poor consolation of demanding 
an account of a stewardship so infamously outraged. 
As for the military leaders, however bitter their feel 
ings, they were those of brave and honourable men, 
suffering the chagrin of defeat which they had for 
some time become accustomed to regard as inevitable. 
Levis, Bourlamaque and Bougainville had little cause 
for self-reproach, for they had done all that men 
could do. Since the near approach of the British a 
rapid dissolution of the French army had set in. The 
Indians had entirely repudiated their ancient allies 
and patrons, while the militia had gone home to a man. 
The married soldiers of the colony regulars had in 
great part deserted, while many of the French lines 
men who had married in the country had done the 
same. Only 2,500 troops, mostly French regulars, 
now remained with LeVis and his officers. They had 
provisions for a fortnight, and represented the entire 
resisting force of the colony. Amherst, Murray 
and Haviland lay outside the town with seven 
teen or eighteen thousand men, mostly veterans. 
It was, indeed, the end of all things. Vaudreuil held 
a council of war on the 6th, which was naturally 
unanimous, on the necessity of an immediate capitu- 



lation. Bougainville, however, was sent early on 
the following day to Amherst with a proposal to 
suspend hostilities for a month which reads like a 
very poor joke. Vaudreuil perhaps felt ashamed of 
it as he quickly followed with an offer of capitula 
tion, specifying terms which had been approved by 
his council. There were forty-five clauses, most of 
which Amherst agreed to, though a few were sum 
marily rejected. Levis and his officers had fully 
counted on being allowed to march out with their 
arms and the honours of war. Amherst bluntly 
insisted that the troops should lay down their arms 
unconditionally as prisoners, and undertake not to 
serve in Europe during the present war. Levis 
bitterly resented this, and himself sent de la Pause, 
his quartermaster-general, to plead with the English 
general against this rigorous condition. Amherst, 
however, not only refused, but, according to Knox, 
who was on the ground, sternly silenced Levis envoy, 
and told him that he was "fully resolved, for the 
infamous part the troops of France had acted in 
exciting the savages to perpetrate the most horrid 
and unheard-of barbarities in the whole progress of 
the war, and for other open treacheries, as well as 
flagrant breaches of faith, to manifest to all the 
world by this capitulation his detestation of such 
ungenerous practices and disapprobation of their 
conduct, therefore insisted he must decline any 
remonstrance on the subject." 

Upon this Levis demanded of Vaudreuil that the 
negotiations should be broken off, or if not, that the 
troops should retire to St. Helens island upon their 
own responsibility, and resist to the utmost rather 
than accept such terms. One does not, of course, feel 



quite convinced of the sincerity of a suggestion that 
was so superfluous, and not perhaps palatable, and 
certainly unfair, to the rank and file. But in any 
case Vaudreuil remained firm, and on the 8th of 
September the capitulation as amended by Amherst 
was formally signed. Thus, by a stroke of the pen, 
Canada was transferred to the British crown, and, 
save for the small settlement of New Orleans, far 
away -in the remote South on the Gulf of Mexico, 
the French power, recently so potent and so threaten 
ing, disappeared for ever from North America. 
Among some of de Vaudreuil s stipulations was one 
that the British Indians should be sent away. Am 
herst refused it, proudly replying that no Frenchmen 
surrendering under treaty had yet ever suffered from 
outrage by Indians co-operating with a British army. 
The gist of the articles of capitulation may be briefly 
summed up. All the regular troops in Canada, not 
only at Montreal, but the small isolated garrisons, 
together with the officials, civil and military, were to 
be conveyed to France in British ships. Whoever 
wished to leave the country was permitted to do so, 
a period of grace being given for the winding up of 
necessary business matters, such as the collection of 
debts or sale of property. Entire religious freedom 
was wisely granted, though a clause reserving a 
power of clerical appointments to the French throne 
was as wisely rejected, while some minor clauses, 
though not rejected, were reserved for the King of 
England s pleasure. 

Amherst sent in the able Swiss officer, Haldimand, 
to take possession of the conquered city, as being, 
perhaps, especially acceptable to the French at this 
bitter moment. A regrettable incident marred this 



final scene, unworthy both of the men and the occa 
sion. When Levis delivered up the paraphernalia of 
his army no French flags were forthcoming, and to 
the remonstrances of Amherst and Haldimand, he 
affirmed that they had been accidentally destroyed. 
Nobody wished to believe a brave antagonist guilty 
of so petty an outrage against all the laws of war 
and honour. But it was known in the British army 
that the French flags had been used by their owners 
since any serious engagement had been fought, and 
it is quite certain that neither Amherst nor his 
brigadiers believed LeVis statement. 

It is a pity that such an incident should stain 
de LeVis Canadian record, and that a brave soldier, 
whose very surrender, like Lees at Appomatox a 
century later, presented a nobler spectacle than many 
victories. It was of a truth not the fault of those 
who had fought for Canada that she had fallen. 
De LeVis, de Bourlamaque, de Bougainville, Dumas, 
Pouchot and de la Corne, and their brothers in arms 
who stood as prisoners of war on the island of 
Montreal, had no lack of faith or vigour or valour 
to reproach themselves with. It would have been 
well for France had she possessed their equivalents 
at that time in Europe officers as faithful under 
discouragement and neglect, as hardy and tireless in 
the field. Nor is it at all likely that she had at that 
moment any troops of quite such a quality as those 
seasoned veterans of the seven famous regiments, 
who gave up their arms to Amherst s overwhelming 
force, but had found their match upon the Plains 
of Abraham. It was little thanks, however, these 
brave men ever got from the country, who, to its 
own dire misfortune, had left them in the lurch. 



Montcalm, the first of them all, got little indeed 
but calumny. It has been left for Englishmen 
and Canadians to keep green the memory of an 
able and merciful soldier and a worthy gentleman. 
No monument in the world is more suggestive than 
that simple shaft upon the Heights of Abraham, 
erected by the two races whose ancestors fought 
there, to the joint memory of Wolfe and Montcalm. 

It was a well-seasoned and a war-worn group, 
too, that gathered round the victorious Amherst in 
the Place d Armes at Montreal, when he paraded his 
troops for the formal submission of the Marquis de 
Vaudreuil. Some of the chief actors in the past seven 
years of war, Monckton, Bouquet and Washington, 
were absent with good cause. Wolfe and Prideaux, 
the elder Howe and Braddock, Forbes and many 
others, were in the grave. Two or three had laid 
their reputations there, but were themselves still 
among the living, though beyond the sea. 

But at that ceremony, whose infinite significance 
is more apparent to our eyes now than to those of 
the purblind and preoccupied Europe of that day, 
there was a goodly throng of warriors who had 
well earned the exultation that was theirs. Some of 
them lived to win far greater fame, others to bury 
such as they had won in a still distant struggle upon 
the same familiar scenes. 

Murray and Haviland led their brigades. Bur 
ton and Gage, who had seen the whole war through 
from the commencement, and Fraser, the gallant 
Highlander, headed their respective regiments. 
Carleton, who was to become a famous Viceroy of 
Canada and to die Lord Dorchester, was here ; and 
Howe, too, whose leadership up the cliffs at the Anse 



du Foulon was to be unhappily forgotten in his 
failure against the Americans in after days. The 
Swiss soldier and scholar Haldimand, who was 
also to govern Canada wisely and well, was in 
the group. Sir William Johnson, the baronet of 
the Mohawk valley, the master spirit of the Six 
Nations, the only white man 011 the continent the 
Indians really bowed to, was here, tall and muscular, 
cheery and unceremonious. No such picture would be 
complete without Rogers. No man had faced death 
so often Rogers with a hundred lives, that prince 
of backwoods fighters, and his two brothers, each 
commanders of companies, and only inferior to him 
self. Bailing and Hazen, too, though but captains, as 
leaders of light infantry it would be ill forgetting. 
Schuyler and Lyman, the New York and Massachu 
setts colonels, in blue uniforms and three-cornered 
hats, were conspicuous among their fellows, and 
were to be heard of again in still more conspicuous 
fashion. Nor should we forget in what is after all 
but a partial, and, perhaps, even invidious retrospect, 
the gallant naval captain, Loring, who handled Am- 
herst s improvised fleets on Lake Champlain and the 
St. Lawrence with unwearied energy ; nor yet Patrick 
Mackellar, whose forts and ramparts and redoubts 
were strewn over the whole range of conflict, and 
may yet be traced by the curious under forest 
leaves, or amid bustling towns, or in track of the 
farmer s plough. Jealousies between redcoats and 
bluecoats and men in hunting shirts, we may well 
believe, were now, at any rate for the moment, laid 
to rest. Within a few days ship after ship bearing 
the remnants of the French army had dropped down 
the river. All that remained was to carry Vau- 

385 c c 


dreuil s orders of submission to the small French 
posts upon the St. Lawrence and in the West, and 
to hoist the British flag in a score of lonely spots 
where the lilies of France had floated since the 
first white men broke upon their solitude. 



SINCE brevity is the plea upon which this nar 
rative chiefly relies for its justification, I 
shall make no apology for having kept almost 
wholly aloof from the contemporary events in 
Europe during the Seven Years War. For the same 
reason, I had fully intended to let the surrender of 
Vaudreuil and Levis at Montreal be the final word 
of this volume, and to resist all temptation to touch 
upon the great questions that the war gave rise to. 

Now, however, that I have come to the end of my 
allotted tether, I feel that the word finis, written 
where I had intended to write it, would lay me open 
to a charge of somewhat inartistic abruptness, 
both in a literary and historical sense, and that a 
story so suddenly closed would exhibit a lack of finish 
and completeness that three or four pages more 
would go far, I trust, to rectify. 

Now Vaudreuil signed those ever memorable 
articles of capitulation on September the 9th, 1760, 
within a few days of the first anniversary of Wolfe s 
death, and in due course, in accordance with the 
terms of the document, the remains of the French 
army, the entire body of officials, and a certain num 
ber of the leading gentry, by their own wish, were 
carried to France in British ships. 



Pending the peace a military government was set 
up in the Colony, which was divided for this purpose 
into three districts Quebec, Three Rivers, and Mont 
real respectively assigned to Murray, Burton and 
Gage. The precise forms of this government do not 
concern us. It will be enough to say that it was con 
ducted with the utmost possible consideration for the 
people, for their religion, their language, and their 
laws. One must not undervalue the strength of 
racial sentiment, but, with that exception, the people 
found themselves in every respect better off than 
they had ever before been, and did not hesitate to 
proclaim the fact in loud and grateful tones. If the 
ignorant mobs who, in various parts of Europe and 
America, screech their pitiable stuff about British 
tyranny and the more enlightened few, who, for 
motives base and of deliberation, thus bear false 
witness against their neighbour, desired light or 
truth, which is not in the least likely, the epoch in 
question would be an admirable point for them to 
commence their investigations. 

It has been well said by historians, neither English 
nor French, that, throughout the whole hundred and 
fifty years of French rule in Canada, there is no 
evidence that the well-being, the happiness or the 
comfort of the people was ever for a single moment 
taken into consideration. They had been, in fact, 
slaves slaves to the corvees and unpaid military 
service debarred from education and crammed with 
gross fictions and superstitions as an aid to their 
docility and their value as food for powder. It is 
no wonder that they were as gratified as they were 
astonished when they found the Englishmen of 
reality bore no resemblance whatever to the Eng- 



lishman of priestly fiction. The common people 
were to their surprise officially informed of all pub 
lic events, and the gentry class, who had hitherto 
had no share whatever in the government, were 
enrolled in various capacities as the custodians of 
law and order. When King George died, a few 
weeks only after the surrender of the Colony, the 
people of Montreal went of their own accord into 
mourning and presented an address, declaring he 
had treated them as a father would treat his own 
children rather than as a conquered people. And 
all this was under military government, for two 
years yet remained before the peace and the Treaty 
of Paris, which was to formally annex Canada to the 
British crown : when, as every one knows, the same 
policy was continued under a civil administration. 

For more than twenty years there were practically 
no English-speaking settlers in Canada, and but a few 
thousand in Nova Scotia and the adjoining coasts. 
It was not till the close of the War of Independence, 
that the stream of American loyalists set in for the 
maritime provinces and the virgin forests of Ontario 
and laid the foundations of the dominion of Canada 
as we now know it. 

In the meantime a Nemesis awaited the Canadian 
civil officials who had so betrayed their trust and 
their country. The very seas rose up against them 
as they beat their way homewards through danger, 
misery and tempest. Upon landing, ten of them, 
headed by Vaudreuil, Bigot and Cadet, were at once 
arrested and thrown into the Bastile. Twenty-one in 
all were put on trial, and so severe were the punish 
ments in the shape of fine and banishment, that most 
of them only survived as broken and ruined men. 



Though North America had peace, the war dragged 
on in Europe and elsewhere for over two years. In 
the month following the surrender of Canada to 
Amherst, King George, as I have mentioned, died, 
thus closing a long reign that he had at any rate 
done nothing to prevent being for the most part a 
glorious one, while he had proved himself to be at 
least a brave, an honest, and a constitutional mon 

The pitiable debUt of his youthful grandson at this 
exalted period is a familiar picture. That he was an 
ardent Englishman, and meant well, that he was 
fond of agriculture, and above reproach in morals, 
may be of abstract interest, but is of slight import 
ance in history when weighed against his pernicious 
actions, and more particularly when it is remem 
bered that his domestic virtues had small effect on 
the country, but were rather objects of ridicule. It is 
the failings of George III. that matter, and constitute 
him, in the opinion of many, the most mischievous 
monarch that ever sat upon the throne of England, 
Personally pure and patriotic, he practised corruption 
at home and courted disaster abroad with tireless 
industry in the pursuit of that dream of absolutism 
which had been so religiously instilled into his obsti 
nate nature by a narrow-minded mother. 

He began almost at once to show his hand, and 
make it evident that the glory of England was quite 
a secondary matter to the pursuit of his mischievous 
and narrow ideal. Pitt, with his proud spirit and 
imperial convictions, was impossible in the atmo 
sphere that soon surrounded the new king, and his 
very eminence had gained him powerful enemies. 
Happily his work was done, when, to the discontent 



of the people, who pelted his successor with mud and 
stones, he was forced to resign the leadership he had 
used with such unparallelled effect. But the ma 
chinery he had set in motion ran on with the impetus 
he had given it till its work was accomplished and 
a glorious peace secured. 

Never, probably, in our political history, has there 
been such a drop as that from Pitt to the obscure 
and incapable coxcomb who almost immediately suc 
ceeded him, pitchforked by the young King into the 
highest office of state. Even Newcastle, who trimmed 
again to get office, lent moral weight to Bute. But of 
what object to criticize the ministers of a king whose 
settled policy it was to retain such men, and through 
their means to suborn and degrade Parliament ! 

Frederick of Prussia, who, with Pitt s help and 
the indomitable courage of himself and his soldiers, 
was still holding his own against a legion of foes, 
may well have despaired at the fall of his great 
ally, and the advent of ministers who had shown 
him of late but little sympathy. The timely with 
drawal of Russia and the increasing difficulties of 
France, however, enabled him to hold out till the 
peace, preserve his dominion inviolate, and hand 
down a priceless legacy of glory to the great empire, 
whose foundations he had laid. 

The spirit of Pitt lived on in his soldiers and 
sailors, and the French were beaten at every point 
and in every hemisphere, by land and sea. Spain 
was induced to range herself with England s enemies, 
and paid for it by the speedy loss of Manilla, the 
Philippines, and Havannah, the latter stormed in the 
teeth of infinite difficulties and with great loss of life. 
All nations, except perhaps the English, were anxious 



for peace, and the King of England, for reasons of 
his own, was of the same mind. So the Seven Years 
War was brought to an end in the autumn of 1762, 
and the Treaty of Paris was signed early in the follow 
ing year. 1 Never before or since has the glory of Eng 
land been written so large upon any document of the 
kind. Pitt and a majority of the nation, however, 
thought it was not glorious enough, and with some 
reason from the standpoint of their day. It was 
France who had thrown herself across the path of 
British colonial expansion, had provoked the struggle 
and incited her Indian allies to the commission of 
continuous and fiendish barbarities on the English 
settlements. This rankled deeply in men s minds, 
and the more so as England was in a position to 
dictate terms and still full of fight, while France, crip 
pled, demoralized, and financially ruined, was practi 
cally powerless outside her own borders. It was the 
French, too, who had essayed to drive the British 
out of India, with what result needs no telling. The 
sentiment embodied in the brief phrase, never again, 
current at this moment in another hemisphere, was 
the watchword of a majority who had already been 
tricked by the young King out of their power, and 
Pitt was of course their spokesman. 

Great as were the concessions to Britain in Asia 
and America, they did not seem to Pitt the full 
measure of her supreme position and of the blood 
and treasure she had lavished to attain it. Above 
all the gift of those two rocky islands off Newfound- 

1 Havannah was exchanged with Spain for Florida, New Orleans 
alone was left to France on the North American mainland, and as 
Louisiana was afterwards made over to the United States, the 
dismantling of the fortifications of Dunkirk under English en 
gineers is of all the clauses of this treaty, perhaps, the most signi 
ficant of the position of England at the moment. 



land to France, which have been ever since such a 
fruitful cause of friction and danger, stirred Pitt s 
prophetic mind to wrath. Swathed in flannels he 
was carried into the House, and there in eloquent and 
impassioned tones, while denouncing the treaty, pre 
dicted to an unbelieving and largely bribed audience 
those future troubles with which we are only too 
familiar. But he spoke to deaf ears ; the terms of 
the treaty were approved, and if the King bribed the 
House of Commons, it is almost equally certain that 
France bribed Bute with a most princely fee for his 
services on her behalf. 

The question of Canada stood on a different basis. 
Many were against retaining it upon grounds purely 
patriotic, and they will be obvious at once. The ex 
altation of the hour, and a very natural ignorance of 
colonial feeling, alone prevented those who opposed 
retention from being more numerous. Many of Eng 
land s enemies chuckled and have left written testi 
monies to their foresight. Many of England s friends, 
and some of her own people, shook their heads. There 
was no mawkish sentiment about this : it was a 
purely practical question. There are no doubt, even 
yet, numbers of people in England who, so far as they 
think about the subject at all, believe that the in 
fatuation of George III. alone drove into rebellion a 
people hitherto wholly contented with their lot and 
pathetically devoted to the Crown and the British 
connection. Among those who knew the American 
Colonies at that time there was much difference of 
opinion as to their drift in certain eventualities, which 
is in itself significant enough. While the French 
were in Canada such speculations had no practical 
interest, for it must be remembered that the ex- 



pulsion of the French was an eventuality not taken 
into consideration till Pitt s time. It was impossible 
that there should not have been discontent at the 
trade restrictions under which the colonists lay. 
Such discontent may have been illogical, and even un 
grateful, as this was the price paid for the protection 
of England against dangers which were then very 
real, but that it existed is beyond dispute, though 
little enough of it, doubtless, was heard amid the 
triumphs of this particular moment. It had been 
said by a great many people hitherto that nothing 
but fear of the French kept the Colonies so docile. 
The notion that they would seek independence was 
scouted, it is true, by some of their own foremost 
men, Franklin among them. But then it is signifi 
cant that the reason usually assigned for this is their 
incapacity for combination, not their unconquerable 
affection for the mother country. Yet, the greatest 
pessimist of that day would hardly have hazarded 
the opinion that this vital question would be put to the!) 
test, in less than two decades, and upon provocation) 
that to many of their generation would have seemed) 
mild indeed. As a great English historian has truly) 
said, and a scarcely less distinguished American has) 
truly echoed, " the death of Wolfe upon the plains oJfy 
Abraham meant not only the conquest of Canada) 
but the birth of the United States," and nothing, most) 
assuredly not the ignorant howlings of a hetero-) 
geneous mob, so-called Americans of to-day or yester-) 
day, men who have no part or lot in the great days) 
of old, and often not so much as even kinship withl 
either branch of the conquering race, can rob England) 
of her glorious motherhood. It is quite certain thati 
no genuine American would ever wish to. 



Abercromby, General, 147, 232, 

233, 239, 261, 263. 
Abernakis Indians, 342. 
Abraham, Plains of (see Quebec). 
Acadia, (Condition of, 47-55. 
Acadians, Deportation of, 121- 

133. . 

Adirondacks, The, 114. 
Aix-la-Chapelle, Treaty of, 1, 3, 

40, 42. 
Albany, 76, 109, 114, 147, 149, 

198, 233, 234. 
Albany traders, 112. 
Albemarle, Lord, 80. 
Alexandria, 82, 86. 
Alleghanies, The, 3. 
Alleghany Kiver, 276. 
Amherst, General, 211, 219, 222, 
223, 225, 227, 228, 229, 232, 261, 
269, 290, 335-341, 346, 353, 373, 
377, 378, 380, 381, 382, 384. 
Amherst, Captain, 231. 
Arethuse frigate, 225. 
Aubry, 357. 


Barrington, 337, 356. 
Beam, Kegiment of, 155, 189. 
Bellaitre, 201. 
Beaumont, 303. 
Beaujeu de, 97. 

Beauport Lines, 297, 299, 303, 
304, 308, 321, 329. 

Beausejour, Fort of, 54, 121, 122, 


Bigot, 60, 125, 137, 206, 380. 
Black Watch, 253. 
Blakeney, 143. 
Blue Kidge, 89. 
Boscawen, Admiral, 81, 215, 219, 

220, 232. 
Boston, 15. 

Bourlamaque, de, 144, 193, 196, 
239, 253, 316, 339, 342, 376, 
380 383 

Bougainville, de, 144, 190, 192, 
194, 202, 253, 313, 315,320, 321, 
322, 331, 380, 381, 383. 
Boisherbert, 226. 
Bouquet, Colonel, 219/270, 272, 
273, 274, 275, 278, 279, 280, 284. 
Bradstreet, 155, 242, 263, 265, 

266, 267. 

Brown, Lieutenant, 221. 
Braddock, 81-99. 
Braddock s road, 272. 
Breton, Cape, 46, 47. 
Bullitt, Captain, 276, 277. 
Burton, Colonel, 232, 315, 326, 

Byrd, 271. 

Cadet, 380. 

Campbell of Inverawe, 254. 
Canada in 1750, 29-39 ; Govern 
ment of, 35; Militia, 38. 
Cap Kouge, 313, 317, 331. 



Carter, Landon, 106. 

Carleton, 291, 384. 

Catherine of Russia, 140. 

Celeron, de, 43. 

Centurion, H.M.S., 308. 

Champlain, Lake, 106, 112, 343. 

Charles River, St., 297, 320, 332. 

Charleston, 22. 

Chatauqua lake, 43. 

Chebucto bay, 216. 

Clerk, Engineer, 247. 

Colonies, British, in 1750, 8-28. 

Colville, 370. 

Connecticut, 10, 12. 

Colonial Government, 27, 28. 

Contrecoeur, Le, 66. 

Cork, 170. 

Corne, de la, 348, 349, 383. 

Cornwallis, 51. 

Coromandiere, Le, 220. 

Coudres, ile aux, 295. 

Crown Point, 106, 112, 114, 116, 

147, 340, 342, 346, 373. 
Cumberland, Duke of, 163. 
Cumberland, Fort, 90, 91, 102. 

Balling, Major, 367, 385. 
Deane, Captain, 371. 
Defiance, Mount, 247, 248. 
Delaware Indians, 153. 
Desgouttes, Admiral, 224. 
Deschambalt, 313. 
Detroit, 37, 147, 351. 
Devonshire, Duke of, 162. 
Diana, H.M.S., 371. 
Diamond, Cape, 298. 
Dinwiddie, Governor, 57, 61, 65, 

66, 75. 

Dieskau, Baron, 108, 114, 119. 
Drucour, Governor, 224, 227. 
Dumas, 97, 99, 168, 376. 
Dunbar, Colonel, 85, 92, 94, 104. 
Duquesne, Governor, 56. 
Duquesne, Fort, 67, 86, 89, 92, 

114, 268 ; Fall of, 285. 
Durell, Admiral, 294, 295. 
Dutch traders, 77. 

Edward, Fort, 115, 190, 196, 197, 

200, 237, 261. 

Edward Island, Prince, 229. 
Erie, Lake, 30, 187, 349, 351. 
Etchemain, River, 315. 
Evangeline, 53. 
Eyre, Captain, 118, 167. 

Fairfax, Lord, 89. 

Fairfax family, 61. 

Farquhar, Colonel, 352. 

Ferguson, 220. 

Florida, 8. 

Forbes, Brigadier, 268-285. 

Fox, 164. 

Francis, St., 342, 344. 

Franklin, Benjamin, 76, 88, 89. 

Franquet, 217, 229. 

Fraser, Colonel, 384. 

Frederick King of Prussia, 139 r 

Frontenac, Fort, 37, 110, 155; 

Capture of, 263-266. 
Fry, Colonel, 66. 

Gage, Colonel, 95, 96, 97, 242, 

339, 353, 384. 
Galissoniere, de la, 40. 
George II., King, 2, 267. 
George, Lake, 114, 152, 233, 237. 
Georgia, 22. 
Germans of Pennsylvania, 78, 


Gist, Christopher, 62, 64, 93. 
Grant, Mrs., of Laggan, 111, 234. 
Grant, Major, 274, 278. 
Grant, Ensign, 221. 
Great Meadows, The, 67, 69, 103. 
Greenaway Court, 62. 
Gordon, Engineer, 96. 
Goat Island, 218, 224. 
Guienne, Regiment of, 155, 189, 




Halifax, 48, 122, 169, 172, 177, 

180, 181, 216, 229, 292. 
Half King, The, 67. 
Halketts, The, 85, 100, 286. 
Haldimand, Colonel, 347, 348, 

349, 352, 382, 385. 
Hamilton, Governor, 176. 
Hanoverian troops, 162. 
Hardy, Sir Charles, 174, 180. 
Haviland, Brigadier, 373, 378, 


Hawke, Admiral, 214, 215. 
Hay, Sir Charles, 183. 
Hazen, Captain, 359, 367, 385. 
Henderson, 326. 
Hendricks, 116, 118. 
Herkimer, Fort, 202. 
Hervey, Captain, 352. 
Hocquart, Admiral, 81. 
Hochkirchen, Battle of, 288. 
Holmes, Admiral, 313. 
Holborne, Admiral, 81, 171, 180, 


Hopkins, Lieutenant, 222. 
Hopson, Governor, 54. 
Houliere, de la, 229. 
Howe, Lord, 182, 202, 211, 237, 

244, 245. 

Howe, Captain, 318, 319, 324, 384. 
Hudson Eiver, 13, 115, 116. 
Hudson Forts, 198. 
Hudson Bay Company, 38. 
Huguenots, 14, 22. 

Illinois, 185, 351. 
ile-aux-Noix, 340. 
Irish Catholics, 24. 

Jacques Cartier, 330, 331. 
Jerseys, The, 338. 
Jervis, Lord, 316. 

Johnson, Sir W., 76, 86, 107, 112, 
115, 116, 117, 119, 149, 152, 153, 
200, 248, 282, 349, 350, 352, 385. 

Johnson, Sergeant, 364, 367, 377. 

Johnstone, The Chevalier, 321, 

Jonquiere, Governor, 46, 56. 

Jumonville, 68, 69, 72. 


Kalm, Dr., 234. 

Knox, Major, 167, 174, 232, 300, 
312, 325, 328, 334, 370, 374. 

La Corne, 190. 

La Motte, Admiral, 184. 

La Sarre, The Kegiment of, 189. 

La Salle, 42. 

Languedoc, The Regiment of. 


La Eeine, The Regiment of, 189. 
Langy, de, 243. 
Lawrence, Governor, 122, 126, 

127, 128, 211, 219, 220, 222. 
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, 214. 
Le Bceuf, Fort, 57, 63. 
Levis, de, 144, 155, 196, 206, 241, 

301, 303, 305, 308, 314, 315, 330, 

331, 335, 346, 356, 357, 362, 363, 

364, 366, 369, 371, 372, 373, 380, 

381, 383. 
Levis, Point, 360. 
Lewis, Major, 271, 274, 275, 276, 

277, 278, 361. 
Lee, Captain, 243. 
Ligneris, de, 275, 278, 282, 350, 


Lorette, 358, 362. 
Loring, Captain, 385. 
London, Lord, 147, 149, 150, 151, 

165, 174, 175, 180, 181, 182, 200, 


Louis XIV., 30. 
Louis XV., 43, 288. 
Loutre, le, 52, 325. 



Lowther, Miss, 290, 316. 
L Ours, de, 330. 
Loyalhannon, 278, 279. 
Louisbourg, 13, 50, 86, 122, 181, 


Louisbourg, Siege of, 216-230. 
Lyman, Colonel, 115, 120, 149, 



Macdonald, Captain, 276, 277. 
Mackellar, Major, 94, 155, 290, 

298, 364, 365, 385. 
Maryland, 21, 65, 204. 
Marin, 56, 350, 351. 
Maria Theresa, 139. 
Massachussets, 10, 12, 113. 205, 


Memphramagog, Lake, 345. 
Mercer, Colonel, 111. 
Michillimackinac, 187. 
Micmac Indians, 53. 
Minorca, 143. 
Mission Indians, 185. 
Mississquoi, 343. 
Mohawk river, 77, 154, 201. 
Monckton, Brigadier, 54, 122, 

126, 291, 301, 304, 307, 309, 

327, 378, 380, 384, 385. 
Montreal, 37, 43, 154, 157, 177, 

197, 206, 239, 241, 266, 376, 

379 ; Surrender of, 382. 
Montcalm, 144, 154, 157, 197, 

239-259, 296-329; Death of, 


Monongahela river, 94, 274. 
Monroe, Colonel, 169, 171, 176, 

189, 191, 192, 195. 
Mordaunt, Sir John, 214. 
Montmorency, Falls of, 297, 299, 

304, 314, 321. 
Montigny, 351. 
Mount Vernon, 85. 
Murray, Brigadier, 291, 313, 335, 

354, 356, 358, 360, 363, 364, 

365, 367, 370, 372, 374, 376. 


Necessity, Fort, 70. 

New Hampshire, 10. 

New Jersey, 14 ; Militia, 153. 

New Orleans, 41. 

New York, 13, 108, 200, 210, 231, 

338 ; regiment, 73. 
Newcastle, Duke of, 79, 138, 163, 

164, 208. 
Niagara, 86, 106, 145, 147, 160, 

291 ; Capture of, 347-352. 
Noblesse, Canadian, 33, 34. 
North Carolina, 73, 203. 
Nova Scotia, 125, 200. 
Noyan, Payan de, 264, 265. 

Ohio, The, 40-46, 276. 
Oneida, Lake, 110, 201. 
Ontario, Lake, 110, 201, 349. 
Orleans, Isle of, 299, 307. 
Orme, Captain, 83, 84, 89, 91, 

94, 101, 102. 
Osborne, Admiral, 214. 
Oswego, Fort, 110, 145, 147; 

Capture of, 153-158, 201, 264, 

347, 373. 

Pause, de la, 381. 
Patroon families, 14. 
Penn family, 135. 
Pennsylvania, 15, 204, 268, 


Pepperell, 155. 
Peter, Lake St., 375. 
Philadelphia, 15, 133, 134, 232, 


Picquet, Abbe, 348. 
Pitt, 138, 161, 162, 163, 164, 208 

260, 288, 291, 393. 
Pitt, Fort, 283, 350, 353. 
Pointe-aux-Trembles, 362. 
Pompadour, Madame. 
Post, 281, 282. 



Pouchot, Captain, 349, 352, 377, 

Presqu ile, 351. 

Quebec, 34, 177, 206. 

Quebec, Siege and capture of, 

Quebec, Murray s garrison in, 


Shewanoe Indians, 153. 

Sillery, 367. 

Sinclair, Sir John, 95, 271. 

Six Nations, 8, 10, 39, 77, 347. 

South Carolina, 22. 

St. Pierre, Legardeur de, 57, 62. 

St. Laurence, Rapids of the, 378. 

Stanwix, 353. 

Starke, 237, 243, 303. 

Stobo, 307. 

Stewart, Captain, 101. 

Superior, Lake, 37, 185, 187. 

Sutherland, H.M.S., 306, 316, 318. 

Racehorse, sloop, 374. 
Ramezay, Governor of Quebec, 

298, 306, 330-3. 
Rascal, Fort, 155. 
Rattlesnake Mountain, 239. 
Reastown, 272. 
Repentigny, de, 350-1. 
Rhode island, 10. 
Richelieu river, 115, 340, 373. 
Rigaud, 154, 167, 168. 
Robinson, Sir Thomas, 79. 
Rochefort, 214. 
Rogers, 237, 242, 243, 244, 245, 

261, 385. 

Hollo, Lord, 374. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 106. 
Roussillon, Regiment of, 189. 
Ruvigny, de, 327. 


Sabbath Day Point, 243. 

Saguenay river, 294. 

Saint Foy, 357, 358, 362 ; Battle 

of, 365-7. 
Saunders, Admiral, 292, 294, 300, 

319, 335. 

Schuyler family, 234, 243, 385. 
Scott, Colonel, 125. 
Scotch-Irish, The, 23-26, 179. 
Senerzergue, 330. 
Shirley, Governor 57, 86, 106, 

Temple, Lord, 161, 164. 
Thousand Islands, The, 201. 
Three Rivers, 372, 375. 
Ticonderoga, Fort, 121, 147, 152, 

167, 186, 200 ; Battle of, 231- 

261 ; Capture of, 339-41, 346, 


Toulon, 214. 
Townshend, Brigadier, 291, 307, 

308, 327, 328, 331-4, 346, 373. 


Ulster immigrants (see Scotch- 
Utrecht, Treaty of, 44, 47. 

Van Braam, 62, 71. 

Vanguard, H.M.S., 371. 

Vaudreuil, Marquis de, 80, 106, 
144, 154, 166, 167, 168, 177, 
197 201, 202, 207, 239, 240, 
265, 295, 329, 339, 356, 357, 
361, 372, 374, 381, 384. 

Vauquelin, de, 371. 

Venango, Fort, 351. 

Vergor, de, 123, 319. 

tir ey, Governor, o<, oo, j.uu, "" ~r n \KA ^9 
111/122, 126, 145, 146, 148, V^ers de 7 154 352. 


Virginia, 16, 19, 261. 



Walpole, 334. 

Ward, 66. 

Washington, George, 61-65, 67, 

69, 85, 92, 94, 101, 102, 105, 

132, 179, 203-6, 279, 337, 384. 
Washington, Laurence, 61. 
Webb, Colonel, 147. 176, 189, 


Westerham, 212. 
Whitmore, Brigadier, 211, 220, 

221, 229, 232. 

Williams, Colonel, 116, 386. 
Williamsburg, 65, 66, 81. 

William Henry, Fort, 115, 119, 
149, 167, 168, 171, 182 ; Capture 
of, and massacre, 186-202, 237. 

Wills Creek, 67, 73, 89. 

Winslow, Colonel, 122, 124, 126, 

Winchester, 89. 

Wolfe, General, ; Early life, 211- 
214 ; At Louisbourg, 216-226 ; 
At Quebec, 289-326. 

Wood Creek, 159. 

Young, Colonel, 192, 366. 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 

Yt 28