« PreviousContinue »
dead, and continued to serve his country as a privateer on the sea.
Meanwhile, life on the frontier was one constant scene of horror. The New England colonies, on their northern boundary, suffered most. The story of the Williams family was repeated a score of times. Remote settlements were abandoned. The tillers of the soil gathered in palisaded villages and labored in the fields in groups, guarded by well-armed parties. In the methods of the French and Indians there was no semblance of civilized warfare, and their cruelty everywhere inspired good men with dread. With soul filled with horror and grief, the good Peter Schuyler, mayor of Albany, at last wrote to Vaudreuil, the French governor of Canada:
“I hold it to be my duty toward God and my neighbor to prevent, if possible, these barbarous and heathen cruelties. My heart swells with indignation when I think that a war between Christian princes, bound to the exactest laws of honor and generosity, which their noble ancestors have illustrated by brilliant examples, is degenerated into savage and boundless butchery. These are not the methods for terminating the war. Would that all the world thought with me on this subject.”
Such protests were in vain. The French were both bigoted and ambitious and went to a degree of cruelty almost equal to the savages. A few pious missionaries tried to instil ideas of humanity in the breasts of the savages; but their efforts were more than counterbalanced by the ambitious officers, eager to enrich themselves. They argued that all the domain to the Kennebec was their own, and the way to conquer the English was to inspire them with such dread and horror, that they would be compelled to submit to them. They argued, as an excuse for slaying the innocent, that the way to intimidate the father, was to strike at the wife and children.
The savages, unrestrained by their Christian allies, went on in their wild career of blood and plunder, until their deeds, even at this day, pain the historian. What adds most to the shame of the matter is that they seem to have been upheld and even encouraged by the power of Church and State.
Long New England suffered, hoping to receive some relief from home; but none came, and at length she resolved to make some aggressive movements on her own account.
In 1707, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island resolved to carry war into the French domain on the east. Recruits were enlisted for the campaign, and, early in June of the above year, Colonel Marsh, with a thousand men, sailed
from Nantucket, under convoy of a British warship, to attempt the conquest of Acadia. The French at Port Royal were prepared for them, and the expedition was a failure.
In 1710, the New England colonies, still determined to punish an enemy which had waged such a cruel and barbarous warfare, fitted out, at the joint expense of the New England colonies and New York and New Jersey, another expedition, which sailed from Boston with a fleet from England under command of Colonel Nicholson. The fleet, consisting in all of thirty-six vessels, early in September anchored before Port Royal. A few cannon shots were exchanged, some troops were landed and began to invest the place, when, on the 13th of October, it was surrendered to the English, and the name of the town and fort changed from Port Royal to Annapolis, in honor of Queen Anne. Acadia was annexed to the realm of Great Britain, under the title of Nova Scotia or New Scotland. The British flag has waved perpetually over that fortress from that day to this.
Hastening to England with the good news, Nicholson urged the conquest of Canada. The people of the province of New York, though shielded from French and Indian invasions from Canada by the powerful Five Nations, which formed an impassable barrier to them, favored the project, because they looked with concern upon the progress of French dominion in the west, its arms reaching from the great lakes on the north toward others extending from the gulf of Mexico on the south. The French, at this time claiming all the region in the valley of the Mississippi to the South Sea, named the country Louisiana in honor of their king, and began preparations for the establishment of a great empire there.
New York and New Jersey, as well as Pennsyl vania and Maryland, were naturally alarmed by the encroachments of the French, and the New York legislature sent a memorial to the queen on the subject, by the hand of Colonel Schuyler, who was accompanied to England by sachems of the Five Nations, as representatives of the Iroquois confederacy.
In London, these “ dusky kings,” as they were called, drew great multitudes of wondering gazers. Though the Indian of North America had been a frequent visitor to the courts of Europe, the aborigine had not, nor has he even to this day, ceased to be a wonder to the civilized world. Multitudes followed the sachems wherever they went, and the print shops soon exhibited engrayings of their portraits. They were awkward in English small-clothes of black and scarlet mantles trimmed with gold lace, in which they were clad, preferring the scanty wardrobe of their forest homes. They were shown the glory of the kingdom and entertained at sumptuous banquets by the principal nobility of the realm. They witnessed armies in review and went aboard some of the great ships of the royal navy, and at the London theatres were entertained by the best productions of the stage. In the state carriage, drawn by six horses, they were conveyed to the court, and held an audience with the queen; and, before their departure, they addressed to her majesty and to the lords of the privy council, letters bearing their signatures in the form of rude pictures of the wolf, the bear and the tortoise—their respective totems or tribal arms—in which they promised perpetual friendship and alliance with the English, which covenant they confirmed by the presentation of belts of wampum, their tokens of fidelity. In company with Schuyler and Colonel Nicholson, they returned to America in the ship Dragon and arrived in Boston in 1711. They had seen evidences of the amazing strength, power and glory of Great Britain, which made a deep and abiding impression upon the embassadors and their countrymen, and they avowed their readiness to aid in the conquest of Canada.