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      The river being now hard frozen, Murray sent over a detachment of light infantry under Major Dalling. A sharp fight ensued on the snow, around the church, and in the neighboring forest, where the English soldiers, taught to use snow-shoes by the rangers, routed the enemy, and killed or captured a considerable number. A third post was then established at the church and the priest's house adjacent. Some days after, the French came back in large numbers, fortified themselves with felled trees, and then attacked the English position. The firing being heard at Quebec, the light infantry went over to the scene of action, and Murray himself followed on the ice, with the Highlanders and other troops. Before he came up, the French drew off and retreated to their breastwork, where they were attacked and put to flight, the nimble Highlanders capturing a few, while the greater part made their escape.V2 the injunction been disregarded. To besiege Fort Edward was impossible, as Montcalm had no means of transporting cannon thither; and to attack Webb without them was a risk which he had not the rashness to incur.

      Dinwiddie remained tranquil at Williamsburg, sure that all would go well. The brief note of Innes, forwarded by Lord Fairfax, first disturbed his dream of triumph; but on second thought he took comfort. "I am willing to think that account was from a deserter who, in a great panic, represented what his fears suggested. I wait with impatience for another express from Fort Cumberland, which I expect will greatly contradict the former." The news got abroad, and the slaves showed signs of excitement. "The villany of the negroes on any emergency is what I always feared," continues the Governor. "An example of one or two at first may prevent these creatures entering into combinations and wicked 229

      Meanwhile, on the banks of the Mississippi another settlement was growing up which did not owe its birth to official patronage, and yet was destined to become the most noteworthy offspring of Canada in the West. It was known to the French as "the Illinois," from the name of the group of tribes belonging to that region. La Salle had occupied the banks of the river Illinois in 1682; but the curious Indian colony which he gathered about his fort on the rock of St. Louis[321] dispersed after his death, till few or none were left except the Kaskaskias, a sub-tribe of the Illinois. These still lived in the meadow below Fort St. Louis, where the Jesuits Marquette, Allouez, Rale, Gravier, and Marest labored in turn for their conversion, till, in 1700, they or some of them followed Marest to the Mississippi and set up their wigwams where the town of Kaskaskia now stands, near the mouth of the little river which bears the same name. Charlevoix, who was here in 1721, calls this[Pg 328] the oldest settlement of the Illinois,[322]though there is some reason to believe that the village of Cahokia, established as a mission by the Jesuit Pinet, sixty miles or more above Kaskaskia, and nearly opposite the present city of St. Louis, is, by a few weeks, the elder of the two. The voyageurs, coureurs de bois, and other roving Canadians made these young settlements their resort, took to wife converted squaws,[323] and ended with making the Illinois their home. The missions turned to parishes, the missionaries to curs, and the wigwams to those compact little Canadian houses that cause one to marvel at the ingenuity which can store so multitudinous a progeny within such narrow limits.[213] Deputy-Governor Doucette to the Secretary of State, 5 November, 1717.

      [1] Sir John Werden to Dongan, 4 Dec., 1684; N. Y. Col. Docs., III. 353. Werden was the duke's secretary.

      On the ninth of December the question of approving the preliminaries came up before both Houses of Parliament. There was a long debate in the Commons. Pitt was not present, confined, it was said, by gout; till late in the day the House was startled by repeated cheers from the outside. The doors opened, and the fallen Minister entered, carried in the arms of his servants, and followed by an applauding crowd. His bearers set him down within the bar, and by the help of a crutch he made his way with difficulty to his seat. "There was a mixture of the very solemn and the theatric in this apparition," says Walpole, who was present. "The moment was so well timed, the importance of the man and his services, 407Villieu again went with them, and on the way his 364 enterprise and he nearly perished together. His canoe overset in a rapid at some distance above the site of Bangor: he was swept down the current, his head was dashed against a rock, and his body bruised from head to foot. For five days he lay helpless with fever. He had no sooner recovered than he gave the Indians a war-feast, at which they all sang the war-song, except Madockawando and some thirty of his clansmen, whom the others made the butt of their taunts and ridicule. The chief began to waver. The officer and the missionary beset him with presents and persuasion, till at last he promised to join the rest.


      At last the forty-third set sail, the cannon of the fort saluting them, and the soldiers cheering 183Amherst brought up his artillery and began approaches in form, when, on the night of the twenty-third, it was found that Bourlamaque had retired down Lake Champlain, leaving four hundred men under Hebecourt to defend the place as long as possible. This was in obedience to an order from Vaudreuil, requiring him on the approach of the English to abandon both Ticonderoga and Crown Point, retreat to the outlet of Lake Champlain, take post at Isle-aux-Noix, and there defend himself to the last extremity; [727] a course 239


      Washington set out for the trading station of the Ohio Company on Will's Creek; and thence, 133


      "Well I am!" he said. "I appreciate what you do for me. Good God, that's just the trouble. You heap favors on me! You've got me on the rack!"A very large amount of unpublished material has been used in its preparation, consisting for the most part of documents copied from the archives and libraries of France and England, especially from the Archives de la Marine et des Colonies, the Archives de la Guerre, and the Archives Nationales at Paris, and the Public Record Office and the British Museum at London. The papers copied for the present work in France alone exceed six thousand folio pages of manuscript, additional and supplementary to the "Paris Documents" procured for the State of New York under the agency of Mr. Brodhead. The copies made in England form ten volumes, besides many English documents consulted in the original manuscript. Great numbers of autograph letters, diaries, and other writings of persons engaged in the war have also been examined on this side of the Atlantic.