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      [180] Two of the messengers, Laurent and Messier, arrived safely. The others seem to have deserted. our own day the excellent annalist, Faillon.


      The comic alternated with the tragic. On the twenty-third, they reached the bank of a river too deep to ford. Those who knew how to swim crossed without difficulty, but Joutel, Cavelier, and Douay were not of the number. Accordingly, they launched a log of light, dry wood, embraced it with one arm, and struck out for the other bank with their legs and the arm that was left free. But the friar became frightened. "He only clung fast to the aforesaid log," says Joutel, "and did nothing to help us forward. While I was trying to swim, my body being stretched at full length, I hit him in the belly with my feet; on which he thought it was all over with him, and, I can answer for it, he invoked Saint Francis with might and main. I could not help laughing, though I was myself in danger of drowning." Some Indians who had joined the party swam to the rescue, and pushed the log across.


      395 Several of the priests set out to follow and console the scattered bands of fugitive Hurons. One embarked in a canoe, and coasted the dreary shores of Lake Huron northward, among the wild labyrinth of rocks and islets, whither his scared flock had fled for refuge; another betook himself to the forest with a band of half-famished proselytes, and shared their miserable rovings through the thickets and among the mountains. Those who remained took counsel together at Sainte Marie. Whither should they go, and where should be the new seat of the mission? They made choice of the Grand Manitoulin Island, called by them Isle Sainte Marie, and by the Hurons Ekaentoton. It lay near the northern shores of Lake Huron, and by its position would give a ready access to numberless Algonquin tribes along the borders of all these inland seas. Moreover, it would bring the priests and their flock nearer to the French settlements, by the route of the Ottawa, whenever the Iroquois should cease to infest that river. The fishing, too, was good; and some of the priests, who knew the island well, made a favorable report of the soil. Thither, therefore, they had resolved to transplant the mission, when twelve Huron chiefs arrived, and asked for an interview with the Father Superior and his fellow Jesuits. The conference lasted three hours. The deputies declared that many of the scattered Hurons had determined to reunite, and form a settlement on a neighboring island of the lake, called by the Jesuits Isle St. Joseph; that they needed the aid of the Fathers; that without 396 them they were helpless, but with them they could hold their ground and repel the attacks of the Iroquois. They urged their plea in language which Ragueneau describes as pathetic and eloquent; and, to confirm their words, they gave him ten large collars of wampum, saying that these were the voices of their wives and children. They gained their point. The Jesuits abandoned their former plan, and promised to join the Hurons on Isle St. Joseph.

      Robineau, of the barony of Portneuf, may also be mentioned

      His Followers.The Chicago Portage.Descent of the Mississippi.The Lost Hunter.The Arkansas.The Taensas.The Natchez.Hostility.The Mouth of the Mississippi.Louis XIV. proclaimed Sovereign of the Great West.


      Belmont, Histoire du Canada, 1643, confirms the account of the Huron treachery.

      Their general, Lescure, was killed, and most of their other leaders were severely wounded. Kleber triumphed over them by his weight of artillery, and they now fled to the Loire. Amongst a number of royalist nobles who had joined them from the army of the Prince of Cond on the Rhine, was Prince de Talmont, a Breton noble, formerly of vast property in Brittany, and now of much influence there. He advised them, for the present, to abandon their country, and take refuge amongst his countrymen, the Bretons. The whole of this miserable and miscellaneous population, nearly a hundred thousand in number, crowded to the edge of the Loire, impatient, from terror and despair, to cross. Behind were the smoke of burning villages and the thunder of the hostile artillery; before, was the broad Loire, divided by a low long island, also crowded with fugitives. La Roche-Jaquelein had the command of the Vendans at this trying moment; but the enemy, not having good information of their situation, did not come up till the whole wretched and famished multitude was over. On their way to Laval they were attacked both by Westermann and Lchelle; but being now joined by nearly seven thousand Bretons, they beat both those generals; and Lchelle, from mortification and terror of the guillotinenow the certain punisher of defeated generalsdied. The Vendans for a time, aided by the Bretons, appeared victorious. They had two courses open before them: one, to retire into the farthest part of Brittany, where there was a population strongly inspired by their own sentiments, having a country hilly and easy of defence, with the advantage of being open to the coast, and the assistance of the British; the other, to advance into Normandy, where they might open up communication with the English through the port of Cherbourg. They took the latter route, though their commander, La Roche-Jaquelein, was strongly opposed to it. Stofflet commanded under Jaquelein. The army marched on in great confusion, having the women and children and the waggons in the centre. They were extremely ill-informed of the condition of the towns which they approached. They might have taken Rennes and St. Malo, which would have greatly encouraged the Bretons; but they were informed that the Republican troops were overpowering there. They did not approach Cherbourg for the same cause, being told that it was well defended on the land side; they therefore proceeded by Dol and Avranches to Granville, where they arrived on the 14th of November. This place would have given them open communication with the English, and at the worst an easy escape to the Channel Islands; but they failed in their attempts to take it; and great suspicion now having seized the people that their officers only wanted to get into a seaport to desert them and escape to England, they one and all protested that they would return to the Loire. In vain did La Roche-Jaquelein demonstrate to them the fatality of such a proceeding, and how much better it would be to make themselves strong in[425] Normandy and Brittany for the present; only about a thousand men remained with him; the rest retraced their long and weary way towards the Loire, though the Republicans had now accumulated very numerous forces to bar their way. Fighting every now and then on the road, and seeing their wives and children daily drop from hunger and fatigue, they returned through Dol and Pontorson to Angers: there they were repulsed by the Republicans. They then retreated to Mons, where they again were attacked and defeated, many of their women, who had concealed themselves in the houses, being dragged out and shot down by whole platoons. At Ancenis, Stofflet managed to cross the Loire; but the Republicans got between him and his army, which, wedged in at Savenay, between the Loire, the Vilaine, and the sea, was attacked by Kleber and Westermann, and, after maintaining a desperate fight against overwhelming numbers and a terrible artillery, was literally, with the exception of a few hundred who effected their escape, cut to pieces, and the women and children all massacred by the merciless Jacobins. Carrier then proceeded to purge Nantes in the same style as Collot d'Herbois had purged Lyons.There is little doubt that the Iroquois negotiators acted, for the moment, in sincerity. Guillaume Couture, who returned with them and spent the winter in their towns, saw sufficient proof that they sincerely desired peace. And yet the treaty had a double defect. First, the wayward, capricious, and ungoverned nature of the Indian parties to it, on both sides, made a speedy rupture more than likely. Secondly, in spite of their own assertion to the contrary, the Iroquois envoys represented, not the confederacy of the five nations, but only one of these nations, the Mohawks: for each of the members of this singular league could, and often did, make peace and war independently of the rest.

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      At Calcutta, Francis, Clavering, and Monson were deeply engaged in what appeared to them a certain plan for the ruin of Hastings. The Maharajah Nuncomar, who styled himself the head of the Brahmins, came forward and laid before them papers containing the most awful charges against Hastings. These were that Hastings had encouraged him, at the command of the Secret Committee, to produce charges against Mohammed Rheza Khan and Shitab Roy, when they were in prison, in order to extort money from them; and that Hastings had accepted a heavy bribe to allow Mohammed to escape without punishment. Hastings broke up the Council, declaring that he would not sit to be judged by his own Council. If they had charges to prefer against him, they might form themselves into a committee, and transmit such evidence as they received to the Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta, or to the Directors at home. But the three declared themselves a majority, voted their own competence to sit and try their own chief, and preferred another huge charge introduced by Nuncomarnamely, that Hastings had appropriated to[327] himself two-thirds of the salary of the Governor of Hooghly, a post formerly held by Nuncomar himself. They determined to introduce Nuncomar to confront Hastings at his own Council board. Hastings declared the Council not sitting; the three declared it sitting and valid, and called in Nuncomar, who proceeded to detail his charges, and ended by producing a letter from the Munny Begum, now Governor of Oude, expressing the gratitude which she felt to the Governor-General for her appointment as guardian of the Nabob, and that in token of this gratitude she had presented him with two lacs of rupees. Immediately on hearing that, Hastings declared the letter a forgery, and that he would prove it so; and he was not long in procuring an absolute denial of the letter from the Begum. Things being driven to this pass, Hastings commenced an action against Nuncomar, Mr. Fowke, one of the most active agents of the trio, and others, as guilty of a conspiracy against him. This was supported by native witnesses, and the Supreme Court of Justice, after a long and careful examination of the case, held Nuncomar and Fowke to bail, and bound the Governor-General to prosecute. * Ordres du Roy au sujet de la Traite du Canada, 1681.

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      * The Jesuits were afterwards told by Hurons, captive among[32] The Associates of Montreal published, in 1643, a thick pamphlet in quarto, entitled Les Vritables Motifs de Messieurs et Dames de la Socit de Notre-Dame de Montral, pour la Conversion des Sauvages de la Nouvelle France. It was written as an answer to aspersions cast upon them, apparently by persons attached to the great Company of New France known as the "Hundred Associates," and affords a curious exposition of the spirit of their enterprise. It is excessively rare; but copies of the essential portions are before me. The following is a characteristic extract:

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      "But what shall I say of his riches? You think yourselves rich when you have ten or twelve sacks of corn, a few hatchets, beads, kettles, and other things of that sort. He has cities of his own, more than there are of men in all this country for five hundred leagues around. In each city there are store-houses where there are hatchets enough to cut down all your forests, kettles enough to cook all your moose, and beads enough to fill all your lodges. His house is longer than from here to the top of the Saut,that is to say, more than half a league,and higher than your tallest trees; and it holds more families than the largest of your towns."[44] The father added more in a similar strain; but the peroration of his harangue is not on record.


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