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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.
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." 
 Johnson to the Lords of Trade, 17 Jan. 1756.
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.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."  "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.