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      280Such, in brief, was the pith of the fathers exhortation. As he spoke Indian like a native, and as his voice and gestures answered to his words, we may believe what Le Mercier tells us, that his hearers listened with mingled wonder, admiration, and terror. The work was well begun. The Jesuits struck while the iron was hot, built a small chapel for the mass, installed themselves in the town, and preached and catechised from morning till night.

      These were far from being his only troubles. The enormous powers with which his commission clothed him were sometimes retrenched by contradictory instructions from the king; ** for this government, not of laws but of arbitrary will, is marked by frequent inconsistencies. When he quarrelled with the governor, and the governor chanced to have strong friends at court, his position became truly pitiable. He was berated as an imperious master berates an offending servant. Your last letter is full of nothing but complaints. You have exceeded your authority. Study to know yourself and to understand clearly the difference there is between a governor and an intendant. Since you fail to comprehend the difference between you and the officer who represents the kings person, you are in danger of being often condemned, or rather of being recalled, for his Majesty cannot endure so many petty complaints, founded on nothing but a certain quasi equality between the governor and you, which you assume, but which[183] There had long been a rankling jealousy between the Miamis and the Illinois. According to Membr, La Salle's enemies had intrigued successfully among the former, as well as among the Iroquois, to induce them to take arms against the Illinois.

      [30] Abstract of Letters, in N. Y. Col. Docs., IX. 314. This answers exactly to the statement of the Mmoire adress au Rgent, which places the number of troops in Canada at this time at thirty-two companies of fifty men each.

      V1 by the young colonel of militia, William Johnson, who lived on the Mohawk, and was already well skilled in managing Indians. Johnson sometimes lost his temper; and once wrote to Governor Clinton to complain of the "confounded wicked things the French had infused into the Indians' heads; among the rest that the English were determined, the first opportunity, to destroy them all. I assure your Excellency I had hard work to beat these and several other cursed villanous things, told them by the French, out of their heads." [26]

      [329] Johnson to the Lords of Trade, 17 Jan. 1756.

      Canada was the prey of official jackals,true lion's providers, since they helped to prepare a way for the imperial beast, who, roused at last from his lethargy, was gathering his strength to seize her for his own. Honesty could not be expected from a body of men clothed with arbitrary and ill-defined powers, ruling with absolute sway an unfortunate people who had no voice in their own destinies, and answerable only to an apathetic master three thousand miles away. Nor did the Canadian Church, though supreme, check the corruptions that sprang up and flourished under its eye. The Governor himself was charged with sharing the plunder; and though he was acquitted on his trial, it is certain that Bigot had him well in hand, that he was intimate with the chief robbers, and that they found help in his weak compliances and wilful blindness. He put his stepson, Le Verrier, in command at 31

      From first to last, the Acadians remained in a child-like dependence on their spiritual and temporal guides. Not one of their number stands out prominently from among the rest. They seem to have been totally devoid of natural leaders, and, unhappily for themselves, left their fate in the hands of others. Yet they were fully aware of their numerical strength, and had repeatedly declared, in a manner that the English officers called insolent, that they would neither leave the country nor swear allegiance to King George. The truth probably is that those who governed them had become convinced that this simple population, which increased rapidly, and could always be kept French at heart, might be made more useful to France in Acadia than out of it, and that it was needless further to oppose the taking of an oath which would leave them in quiet possession of their farms without making any change in their feelings, and probably none in their actions. By force of natural increase Acadia would in time become the seat of a large population ardently French and ardently Catholic; and while officials in France sometimes complained of the reluctance of the Acadians to move to Isle Royale, those who directed them in their own country seem to have become willing that they should stay where they were, and place themselves in such relations with the English as should[Pg 211] leave them free to increase and multiply undisturbed. Deceived by the long apathy of the British government, French officials did not foresee that a time would come when it would bestir itself to make Acadia English in fact as well as in name.[227]Having painted, greased, and befeathered themselves, the Indians mustered for the grand council which always preceded the opening of the market. The Ottawa orator spoke of nothing but trade, and, with a regretful memory of the cheapness of English goods, begged that the French would sell them at the same rate. The Huron touched upon politics and war, declaring that he and his people had come to visit their old father and listen to his voice, being well assured that he would never abandon them, as others had done, nor fool away his time, like Denonville, in shameful negotiations for peace; and he exhorted Frontenac to fight, not the English only, but the Iroquois also, till they were brought to reason. "If this is not done," he said, "my father and I shall both perish; but, come what may, we will perish together." [20] "I answered," writes Frontenac, "that I would fight the Iroquois till they came to beg for peace, 254 and that I would grant them no peace that did not include all my children, both white and red, for I was the father of both alike."


      Of this he had not the faintest suspicion. In full sight from his ship lay a reach of those vast lagoons which, separated from the sea by narrow strips of land, line this coast with little interruption from Galveston Bay to the Rio Grande. The idea took possession of him that the Mississippi discharged itself into these lagoons, and thence made its way to the sea through the various openings he had seen along the coast, chief among which was that he had discovered on the sixth, about fifty leagues from the place where he now was.[290]




      There was little thought of the past at Fontainebleau in June, 1661. The present was too dazzling and too intoxicating; the future, too radiant with hope and promise. It was the morning of a new reign; the sun of Louis XIV. was rising in splendor, and the rank and beauty of France were gathered to pay it homage. A youthful court, a youthful king; a pomp and magnificence such as Europe had never seen; a delirium of ambition, pleasure, and love,wrought in many a young heart an enchantment destined to be cruelly broken. Even old courtiers felt the fascination of the scene, and tell us of the music at evening by the borders of the lake; of the gay groups that strolled under the shadowing trees, floated in gilded barges on the still water, or moved slowly in open carriages around its borders. Here was Anne of Austria, the kings mother, and Marie Thrse, his tender and jealous queen; his brother, the Duke of Orleans, with his bride of sixteen, Henriette of England; and his favorite, that vicious butterfly of the court, the Count de Guiche. Here, too, were the humbled chiefs of the civil war, Beaufort and Cond, obsequious before their triumphant master. Louis XIV., the centre of all eyes, in the flush of health and vigor, and the pride of new-fledged royalty, stood, as he still stands on the canvas of Philippe de Champagne, attired in a splendor which would have been effeminate but for the stately port of the youth who wore it. *