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V1 Alleghany River, opposite the fort. I stood on the fort wall until I beheld them begin to burn one of these men; they had him tied to a stake, and kept touching him with firebrands, red-hot irons, etc., and he screaming in a most doleful manner, the Indians in the meantime yelling like infernal spirits. As this scene appeared too shocking for me to behold, I retired to my lodging, both sore and sorry. When I came into my lodgings I saw Russel's Seven Sermons, which they had brought from the field of battle, which a Frenchman made a present of to me." ** Catalogne, Mmoire address au Ministre, 1712
LA SALLE'S INDISCRETION. Diary of Sylvanus Davis, prisoner in Quebec, in Mass. Hist. Coll. 3, I. 101. There is a difference of ten days in the French and English dates, the New Style having been adopted by the former and not by the latter.
Colonel Francis Nicholson had held some modest military positions, but never, it is said, seen active service. In colonial affairs he had played an important part, and in the course of his life governed, at different times, Virginia, New York, Maryland, and Carolina. He had a robust, practical brain, capable of broad views and large schemes. One of his plans was a confederacy of the provinces to resist the French, which, to his great indignation, Virginia rejected. He had Jacobite leanings, and had been an adherent of James II.; but being no idealist, and little apt to let his political principles block the path of his interests, he turned his back on the fallen cause and offered his services to the Revolution. Though no pattern of domestic morals, he seems to have been officially upright, and he wished well to the colonies, saving always the dominant interests of England. He was bold, ambitious, vehement, and sometimes headstrong and perverse.His occupation of the heights of Montmorenci exposed him to great risks. The left wing of his army at Point Levi was six miles from its right wing at the cataract, and Major Hardy's detachment on the Point of Orleans was between them, separated from each by a wide arm of the St. Lawrence. Any one of the three camps might be overpowered before the others could support it; and Hardy with his small force was above all in danger of being cut to pieces. But the French kept persistently on the defensive; and after the failure of Dumas to dislodge the English from Point Levi, Vaudreuil would not hear of another such attempt. Wolfe was soon well intrenched; but it was easier to defend himself than to strike at his enemy. Montcalm, when urged to attack him, is said to have answered: "Let him amuse himself where he is. If we drive him off he may go to some place where he can do us harm." His late movement, however, had a discouraging effect on the Canadians, who now for the first time began to desert. His batteries, too, played across the chasm of Montmorenci upon the left wing of the French army with an effect extremely annoying.
Nevertheless I live here on good terms with everybody, and do my best to serve the King. If they could but do without me; if they could but spring some trap on me, or if I should happen to meet with some check!"[Pg 239]Incensed by Westbrook's invasion, the Indians came down the Kennebec in large numbers, burned the village of Brunswick, and captured nine families at Merry-meeting Bay; though they soon set them free, except five men whom they kept to exchange for the four hostages still detained at Boston. At the same time they seized several small vessels in the harbors along the coast. On this the governor and Council declared war against the Eastern Indians, meaning the Abenakis and their allies, whom they styled traitors and robbers.
It was in one of the largest that the four travellers were now lodged. A place was assigned them where to bestow their baggage; and they took possession of their quarters amid the silent stares of the whole community. They asked their renegade countryman, the Proven?al, if they were safe. He replied that they were; but this did not wholly reassure them, and they spent a somewhat wakeful night. In the morning, they opened their budgets, and began a brisk trade in knives, awls, beads, and other trinkets, which they exchanged for corn and beans. Before evening, they had acquired a considerable stock; and Joutel's three companions declared their intention of returning with it to the camp, leaving him to continue the trade. They went, accordingly, in the morning; and Joutel was left alone. On the one hand, he was glad to be rid of them; on the other, he found his position among the Cenis very irksome, and, as he thought, insecure. Besides the Proven?al, who had gone with Liotot and his companions, there were two other French deserters among this tribe, and Joutel was very desirous to see them, hoping that they could tell him the way to the Mississippi; [Pg 444] for he was resolved to escape, at the first opportunity, from the company of Duhaut and his accomplices. He therefore made the present of a knife to a young Indian, whom he sent to find the two Frenchmen and invite them to come to the village. Meanwhile he continued his barter, but under many difficulties; for he could only explain himself by signs, and his customers, though friendly by day, pilfered his goods by night. This, joined to the fears and troubles which burdened his mind, almost deprived him of sleep, and, as he confesses, greatly depressed his spirits. Indeed, he had little cause for cheerfulness as to the past, present, or future. An old Indian, one of the patriarchs of the tribe, observing his dejection and anxious to relieve it, one evening brought him a young wife, saying that he made him a present of her. She seated herself at his side; "but," says Joutel, "as my head was full of other cares and anxieties, I said nothing to the poor girl. She waited for a little time; and then, finding that I did not speak a word, she went away."