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      [790] Vaudreuil au Ministre, 5 Oct. 1759.On the eighth of January, Iberville reached Biloxi, and soon after went up the Mississippi to that remarkable tribe of sun-worshippers, the Natchez, whose villages were on and near the site of the city that now bears their name. Some thirty miles above he[Pg 305] found a kindred tribe, the Taensas, whose temple took fire during his visit, when, to his horror, he saw five living infants thrown into the flames by their mothers to appease the angry spirits.[297]

      Pen shrugged. He went on questioning the negress, but she was reduced to a gibbering state. In the end he had to let her go. Aunt Maria hung in the hall, just around the corner of the door, listening with stretched ears. The reporters straggled back into the room.

      "It dies hard!" he groaned.

      The great war-chief of the Pottawattamies now mounted to the top of one of the French scaffolds, and harangued the enemy to this effect: "Do you think, you wretches, that you can frighten us by hanging out those red blankets? If the earth is red with blood, it will be your own. You talk about the[Pg 287] English. Their bad advice will be your ruin. They are enemies of religion, and that is why the Master of Life punishes both them and you. They are cowards, and can only defend themselves by poisoning people with their firewater, which kills a man the instant he drinks it. We shall soon see what you will get for listening to them."Sheldon and his party were escorted homeward by eight soldiers under Courtemanche, an officer of distinction, whose orders were to "make himself acquainted with the country." He fell ill at Boston, where he was treated with much kindness, and on his recovery was sent home by sea, along with Captain Vetch and Samuel Hill, charged to open a fresh negotiation. With these, at the request of Courtemanche, went young William Dudley, son of the governor.[70]

      * A lire, crire, les prires, les m?urs chrtiennes, etFrench writers say that, on first seeing the English, Jumonville's interpreter called out that he had something to say to them; but Washington, who was at the head of his men, affirms this to be absolutely false. The French say further that Jumonville was killed in the act of reading the summons. This is also denied by Washington, and rests only on the assertion of the Canadian who ran off at the outset, and on the alleged assertion of Indians who, if present at all, which is unlikely, escaped like the Canadian before the fray began. Druillon, an officer with Jumonville, wrote two letters to Dinwiddie after his capture, to claim the privileges of the bearer of a summons; but while bringing forward every other circumstance in favor of the claim, he does not pretend that the summons was read or shown either before or during the action. The French account of the conduct of Washington's Indians is no less erroneous. "This murder," says a chronicler of the time, "produced on the minds of the savages an effect very different from that which the cruel Washington had promised himself. They have a horror of crime; and they were so indignant at that which had just been perpetrated before their eyes, that they abandoned him, and offered themselves to us in order to take vengeance." [150] 150

      Meanwhile, the authorities of New York tried to prevent the threatened peace. First, Major Peter Schuyler convoked the chiefs at Albany, and told them that, if they went to ask peace in Canada, they would be slaves for ever. The Iroquois declared that they loved the English, but they repelled 400 every attempt to control their action. Then Fletcher, the governor, called a general council at the same place, and told them that they should not hold councils with the French, or that, if they did so, they should hold them at Albany in presence of the English. Again they asserted their rights as an independent people. "Corlaer," said their speaker, "has held councils with our enemies, and why should not we hold councils with his?" Yet they were strong in assurances of friendship, and declared themselves "one head, one heart, one blood, and one soul, with the English." Their speaker continued: "Our only reason for sending deputies to the French is that we are brought so low, and none of our neighbors help us, but leave us to bear all the burden of the war. Our brothers of New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, all of their own accord took hold of the covenant chain, and called themselves our allies; but they have done nothing to help us, and we cannot fight the French alone, because they are always receiving soldiers from beyond the Great Lake. Speak from your heart, brother: will you and your neighbors join with us, and make strong war against the French? If you will, we will break off all treaties, and fight them as hotly as ever; but, if you will not help us, we must make peace."

      [721] Journal tenu l'Arme que commandoit feu M. le Marquis de Montcalm.[709] See Appendix H.


      From this part of the shore [618] a plain covered with forest stretched northwestward half a mile or more to the mountains behind which lay the valley of Trout Brook. On this plain the army began its march in four columns, with the intention of passing round the western bank of the river of the outlet, since the bridge over it had been destroyed. Rogers, with the provincial regiments of Fitch 95His martial instincts were balanced by strong domestic inclinations. He was fond of children; and after his disappointment in love used to say that they were the only true inducement to marriage. He was a most dutiful son, and wrote continually to both his parents. Sometimes he would philosophize on the good and ill of life; sometimes he held questionings with his conscience; and once he wrote to his mother in a strain of self-accusation not to be expected from a bold and determined soldier. His nature was a compound of tenderness and fire, which last sometimes showed itself in sharp and unpleasant flashes. His excitable temper was capable almost of fierceness, and he could now and then be needlessly stern; but towards his father, mother, and friends he was a model of steady affection. He made friends readily, and kept them, and was usually a pleasant companion, though subject to sallies of imperious irritability which occasionally broke through his strong 187


      They went accordingly,Abenakis from Becancour[Pg 234] and St. Francis, Hurons from Lorette, and Iroquois from Caughnawaga, besides others, all stanch foes of heresy and England. Rale and La Chasse directed their movements and led them first to Norridgewock, where their arrival made a revolution. The peace party changed color like a chameleon, and was all for war. The united bands, two hundred and fifty warriors in all, paddled down the Kennebec along with the two Jesuits and two French officers, Saint-Castin and Croisil. In a few days the English at Georgetown saw them parading before the fort, well armed, displaying French flags,feathers dangling from their scalp-locks, and faces fantastically patterned in vermilion, ochre, white clay, soot, and such other pigments as they could find or buy.


      CHAPTER XI.He pulled her to him. "Oh, my Pen!" he said a little hoarsely. "My heart almost stops beating at the thought!"