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      They were met by Captain Penhallow and other militia officers of the fort, to whom they gave the promised two hundred beaver-skins, and demanded the four hostages in return; but the hostages had been given as security, not only for the beaver-skins, but also for the future good behavior of the Indians, and Penhallow replied that he had no authority to surrender them. On this they gave him a letter to the governor, written for them by Pre de la Chasse, and signed by their totems. It summoned the English to leave the country at once, and threatened to rob and burn their houses in case of refusal.[249] The[Pg 235] threat was not executed, and they presently disappeared, but returned in September in increased numbers, burned twenty-six houses and attacked the fort, in which the inhabitants had sought refuge. The garrison consisted of forty men, who, being reinforced by the timely arrival of several whale-boats bringing thirty more, made a sortie. A skirmish followed; but being outnumbered and outflanked, the English fell back behind their defences.[250]

      The party consisted, according to French accounts, of fifty Canadians and two hundred Abenakis and Caughnawagas,the latter of whom, while trading constantly with Albany, were rarely averse to a raid against Massachusetts or New Hampshire.[54] The command was given to the younger Hertel de Rouville, who was accompanied by four of his brothers. They began their march in the depth of winter, journeyed nearly three hundred miles on snow-shoes through the forest, and approached their destination on the afternoon of the twenty-eighth of February, 1704. It was the village of Deerfield, which then formed the extreme northwestern frontier of Massachusetts,its feeble neighbor, the infant settlement of Northfield, a little higher up the Connecticut, having been abandoned during the last war. Rouville halted his followers at a place now called Petty's Plain, two miles from the village; and here, under the shelter of a pine forest, they all lay hidden, shivering with cold,for they dared not make fires,and hungry as wolves, for their provisions were spent. Though their numbers, by the lowest account, were nearly[Pg 57] equal to the whole population of Deerfield,men, women, and children,they had no thought of an open attack, but trusted to darkness and surprise for an easy victory.

      The latter half of the reign of George II. was one of the most prosaic periods in English history. The civil wars and the Restoration had had their enthusiasms, religion and liberty on one side, and loyalty on the other; but the old fires declined when William III. came to the throne, and died to ashes under the House of Hanover. Loyalty lost half its inspiration when it lost the tenet of the divine right of kings; and nobody could now hold that tenet with any consistency except the defeated and despairing Jacobites. Nor had anybody as yet proclaimed the rival dogma of the divine right of the people. The reigning 6

      It was a little lean-to tent open to the fire in front, but with a mosquito curtain hanging down. He heard her splashing towards him and came out. He must have been sitting there looking at the fire and smoking. His pipe was still between his teeth. He stared at her as at a ghost without making a sound. His body had a tense look. She could not read his face because the moon was behind him. Its light was strong in her face."You'll need it."

      Cy git le Rat, Chef des Hurons.Pen let him run on, half attending.

      From behind one of the glares came Delehanty's growling voice: "Where is he?"[8] Villebon, Journal, 1694-1696.


      [173] Vetch, Journal. His statement is confirmed by the report of the council.[18] La Potherie, III. 156; Relation de ce qui s'est pass de plus considrable en Canada, 1691, 1692; La Hontan, I. 233.


      V2 harbor swept the whole front with a flank fire. Amherst had ordered the gunners to spare the houses of the town; but, according to French accounts, the order had little effect, for shot and shell fell everywhere. "There is not a house in the place," says the Diary just quoted, "that has not felt the effects of this formidable artillery. From yesterday morning till seven o'clock this evening we reckon that a thousand or twelve hundred bombs, great and small, have been thrown into the town, accompanied all the time by the fire of forty pieces of cannon, served with an activity not often seen. The hospital and the houses around it, which also serve as hospitals, are attacked with cannon and mortar. The surgeon trembles as he amputates a limb amid cries of Gare la bombe! and leaves his patient in the midst of the operation, lest he should share his fate. The sick and wounded, stretched on mattresses, utter cries of pain, which do not cease till a shot or the bursting of a shell ends them." [587] On the twenty-sixth the last cannon was silenced in front of the town, and the English batteries had made a breach which seemed practicable for assault.


      V1 were passively submissive. The unchecked control of a hierarchy robbed him of the independence of intellect and character, without which, under the conditions of modern life, a people must resign itself to a position of inferiority. Yet Canada had a vigor of her own. It was not in spiritual deference only that she differed from the country of her birth. Whatever she had caught of its corruptions, she had caught nothing of its effeminacy. The mass of her people lived in a rude poverty,not abject, like the peasant of old France, nor ground down by the tax-gatherer; while those of the higher ranksall more or less engaged in pursuits of war or adventure, and inured to rough journeyings and forest exposureswere rugged as their climate. Even the French regular troops, sent out to defend the colony, caught its hardy spirit, and set an example of stubborn fighting which their comrades at home did not always emulate.V1 may make it necessary to some; but I shall not have one myself, and make no doubt that all who can will willingly imitate me." [502]