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In 1703-1704 six hundred men were kept ranging the woods all winter without finding a single Indian, the enemy having deserted their usual haunts and sought refuge with the French, to emerge in February for the destruction of Deerfield. In the next summer nineteen hundred men were posted along two hundred miles of frontier. This attitude of passive defence exasperated the young men of Massachusetts, and it is said that five hundred of them begged Dudley for leave to make a raid into Canada, on the characteristic condition of choosing their own officers. The governor consented; but on a message from Peter Schuyler that he had at last got a promise from the Caughnawagas and other mission Indians to attack the New England borders no more, the raid was countermanded, lest it should waken the tempest anew.
[Pg 276]The constant aim of the Canadian authorities was to keep these western savages at peace among themselves, while preventing their establishing relations of trade with the Five Nations, and carrying their furs to them in exchange for English goods. The position was delicate, for while a close understanding between the western tribes and the Five Nations would be injurious to French interests, a quarrel would be still more so, since the French would then be forced to side with their western allies, and so be drawn into hostilities with the Iroquois confederacy, which of all things they most wished to avoid. Peace and friendship among the western tribes; peace without friendship between these tribes and the Five Nations,thus became maxims of French policy. The Canadian governor called the western Indians his "children," and a family quarrel among them would have been unfortunate, since the loving father must needs have become involved in it, to the detriment of his trading interests.who distributes blessings in return for virtuous deeds--
The letters of Dudley, the proposals of Vetch, the representations of Nicholson, the promptings of Jeremiah Dummer, agent of Massachusetts in England, and the speech made to the Queen by the four Indians who had been the London sensation of the last year, had all helped to draw the attention of the[Pg 163] ministry to the New World, and the expediency of driving the French out of it. Other influences conspired to the same end, or in all likelihood little or nothing would have been done. England was tiring of the Continental war, the costs of which threatened ruin. Marlborough was rancorously attacked, and his most stanch supporters the Whigs had given place to the Tories, led by the Lord Treasurer Harley, and the Secretary of State St. John, soon afterwards Lord Bolingbroke. Never was party spirit more bitter; and the new ministry found a congenial ally in the coarse and savage but powerful genius of Swift, who, incensed by real or imagined slights from the late minister, Godolphin, gave all his strength to the winning side.
If they had succeeded, colonies would have grown up on the Gulf of Mexico after the type of those already planted along the Atlantic: voluntary immigrants would have brought to a new home their old inheritance of English freedom; would have ruled themselves by laws of their own making, through magistrates of their own choice; would have depended on their own efforts, and not on government help, in the invigorating consciousness that their destinies were in their own hands, and that they themselves, and not others, were to gather the fruits of their toils. Out of conditions like these would have sprung communities, not brilliant, but healthy, orderly, well rooted in the soil, and of hardy and vigorous growth.
Men oppose the strongest barriers against open tyranny, but they see not the imperceptible insect, which gnaws them away, and makes for the invading stream an opening that is all the more sure by very reason of its concealment from view.Cadillac sent back Chacornacle with the report of what he had done, and a description of the country written in a strain of swelling and gushing rhetoric in singular contrast with his usual sarcastic utterances. "None but enemies of the truth," his letter concludes, "are enemies of this establishment, so[Pg 29] necessary to the glory of the King, the progress of religion, and the destruction of the throne of Baal."
The burgesses met, and Dinwiddie made them an opening speech, inveighing against the aggressions of the French, their "contempt of treaties," and "ambitious views for universal monarchy;" and he concluded: "I could expatiate very largely on these affairs, but my heart burns with resentment at their insolence. I think there is no room for many arguments to induce you to raise a considerable supply to enable me to defeat the designs of these troublesome people and enemies of mankind." The burgesses in their turn expressed 165They set out with alacrity. Villieu went with them, and they all arrived within a week. They were feasted and gifted to their hearts' content; and then the indefatigable officer led them back by the same long and weary routes which he had passed and repassed before, rocky and shallow streams, chains of wilderness lakes, threads of water writhing through swamps where the canoes could scarcely glide among the water-weeds and alders. Villieu was the only white man. The governor, as he says, would give him but two soldiers, and these had run off. Early in June, the whole flotilla paddled down the Penobscot to Pentegeot. Here the Indians divided their presents, which they found somewhat less ample than they had imagined. In the midst of their discontent, Madockawando came from Pemaquid with news that 363 the governor of Massachusetts was about to deliver up the Indian prisoners in his hands, as stipulated by the treaty. This completely changed the temper of the warriors. Madockawando declared loudly for peace, and Villieu saw all his hopes wrecked. He tried to persuade his disaffected allies that the English only meant to lure them to destruction, and the missionary Thury supported him with his utmost eloquence. The Indians would not be convinced; and their trust in English good faith was confirmed, when they heard that a minister had just come to Pemaquid to teach their children to read and write. The news grew worse and worse. Villieu was secretly informed that Phips had been off the coast in a frigate, invited Madockawando and other chiefs on board, and feasted them in his cabin, after which they had all thrown their hatchets into the sea, in token of everlasting peace. Villieu now despaired of his enterprise, and prepared to return to the St. John; when Thury, wise as the serpent, set himself to work on the jealousy of Taxous, took him aside, and persuaded him that his rival, Madockawando, had put a slight upon him in presuming to make peace without his consent. "The effect was marvellous," says Villieu. Taxous, exasperated, declared that he would have nothing to do with Madockawando's treaty. The fickle multitude caught the contagion, and asked for nothing but English scalps; but, before setting out, they must needs go back to Passadumkeag to finish their preparations.