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THE BEARDLESS HERO.
Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lowered,
As soon as the campaign to the forest was over, Noah Stevens returned to Williamsburg and spent the year in the school denominated William and Mary's college. It was quite different from the famous seat of learning of to-day; but Noah made considerable progress in his studies. He sought the society of Miss Saturfield, who for a few months was the brilliant star of society at Williamsburg and then suddenly disappeared. Whither she had gone was not exactly known. One rumor said she was in some of the New England colonies, another that she had returned to the south. Mr. George Saturfield, her father, it was reported, had urgent business in England, and it was afterward ascertained that he had gone to England with all his family.
After spending two or three years in trying to learn the whereabouts of the brilliant star which had shone with such splendor for a brief space on his life, Noah Stevens gave her up, and, though in dreams he saw that face again, he sighed in his waking hours and said:
“It is not to be.”
He began to take a lively interest in the affairs of his country. His country needed strong arms and brave hearts, for a crisis was at hand. The disputes between the French and English in America, ripened into action.
The planting of the town of Halifax in Nova Scotia offended the French, and a partisan named La Carne, professing to act under orders of Joncaire, who was chief captain in Canada, took possession of the isthmus that connects the peninsula with the mainland, and held it with a large force of French and Indians. It was he who summoned the unfortunate Acadians to renounce their allegiance to the English and take refuge with the French. He seized and held a village (now Fort St. Lawrence) and compelled all the inhabitants to take the oath of allegiance to France.
When Cornwallis heard of this, he called upon Massachusetts to help him in dislodging the intruders. The assembly replied:
“By the constitution of this province, we must first be convinced of the necessity of raising supplies.” So they politely refused, and Cornwallis was compelled to rely upon the slender means at his command. With four hundred soldiers he appeared in transports before the town. The alarmed inhabitants laid the town in ashes and fled across the river, where the French were too strong for the English, and the latter withdrew. A few months later a second expedition was more successful, and fort Beau Sejour, which the French had built opposite the desolate town, was captured, in August, 1750, after a sharp fight, in which three or four Englishmen were killed and as many French. This was the first blood they had shed in war since the treaty at Aix-la-Chapelle. War had commenced in earnest, though not declared, and an English man-of-war off Cape Sable captured some French vessels. Negotiations for peaceful settlement of the boundary for American possessions were broken off, and near the head of the valley of the Ohio was the theatre of the first passage at arms. Lawrence and Augustine Washington, the half brothers of George Washington, with Thomas Lee, were Virginia members of the Ohio Land Company. They ordered goods to be sent from London suitable for the Indian trade; and as no attempt at settlement could be safely made without some previous arrangements with the Indians, the company petitioned the Virginia government to invite the savages to a treaty council. The company at the same time took measures for obtaining information concerning the best lands beyond the mountains. English Indian traders had traversed the passages through them, and spoke in glowing terms of the beauty and fertility of the country beyond; but the company wished more definite knowledge. Consequently, in the Autumn of 1750, Christopher Gist, a bold and skillful woodsman, acquainted with Indian life, was employed to cross the great hills and spy out the land. He was instructed to observe the best mountain passes; to explore the country as far down as the falls of the Ohio, now Louisville; to examine the most useful streams and pay particular attention to their falls; to search out the most fertile lands; to ascertain the strength of the various Indian tribes and make out a chart of all the region. It was on the 31st of October, 1750, that Gist left Alexandria on horseback; crossed the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah Valley; waded through snow-drifts in the Alleghany Mountains; swam his horse across the Ohio River, and made his way through a rich, narrow valley to Logstown, where it was proposed to hold the Indian council. Here he presented himself as an ambassador from the British sovereign and was received with respect but coolness. One of the chiefs said: “You are come to settle Indians' land. You never shall go home safe.” Undaunted by this bold threat, Gist pushed on to the Muskingum, stopping at a village of Ottawas, who were friendly toward the French. He was cordially received by the Wyandots on the Muskingum, and found here George Croghan an emissary of the Pennsylvanians, who were jealous of the Ohio Company, regarding them as rivals seeking a monopoly of the trade with the Indians of the northwest. Gist, Croghan and other traders crossed the Muskingum and pushed on through the stately forests and the beautiful prairies, which, at this season of the year, were white with snow, and finally reached the Scioto River, a few miles from its mouth. At this point were some Delawares, and a short distance below the Scioto a tribe of Shawnoese lived on both sides of the Ohio. Both professed friendship for the English and expressed a willingness to send delegates to attend a general council at Logstown. Northward were the lands of the Miamis, a confederacy more powerful than the Iroquois with whom they were friendly, and thither the agents of Virginia and Pennsylvania