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      PRUDHOMME.The prospects of the next campaign began to open. Captain Pouchot had written from Niagara that three thousand savages were waiting to 11

      [11] Dongan to Denonville, 22 May, 1686, in N. Y. Col. Docs., III. 455.

      If the Indians came to Detroit, the French would not come. Cadillac had asked for five or six families as the modest beginning of a settlement; but not one had appeared. The Indians, too, were angry because the company asked too much for its goods; while the company complained that a forbidden trade, fatal to its interests, went on through all the region of the upper lakes. It was easy to ordain a monopoly, but impossible to enforce it. The prospects of the new establishment were deplorable; and Cadillac lost no time in presenting his views of the situation to the court. "Detroit is good, or it is bad," he writes to[Pg 31] Ponchartrain. "If it is good, it ought to be sustained, without allowing the people of Canada to deliberate any more about it. If it is bad, the court ought to make up its mind concerning it as soon as may be. I have said what I think. I have explained the situation. You have felt the need of Detroit, and its utility for the glory of God, the progress of religion, and the good of the colony. Nothing is left me to do but to imitate the governor of the Holy City,take water, and wash my hands of it." His aim now appears. He says that if Detroit were made a separate government, and he were put at the head of it, its prospects would improve. "You may well believe that the company cares for nothing but to make a profit out of it. It only wants to have a storehouse and clerks; no officers, no troops, no inhabitants. Take this business in hand, Monseigneur, and I promise that in two years your Detroit shall be established of itself." He then informs the minister that as the company complain of losing money, he has told them that if they will make over their rights to him, he will pay them back all their past outlays. "I promise you," he informs Ponchartrain, "that if they accept my proposal and you approve it, I will make our Detroit flourish. Judge if it is agreeable to me to have to answer for my actions to five or six merchants [the directors of the company], who not long ago were blacking their masters' boots." He is scarcely more reserved as to the Jesuits. "I do what I can to make them my[Pg 32] friends, but, impiety apart, one had better sin against God than against them; for in that case one gets one's pardon, whereas in the other the offence is never forgiven in this world, and perhaps never would be in the other, if their credit were as great there as it is here."[37]While images receive their nods,

      A hope had dawned on the governor. He had been more active of late in negotiating than in fighting, and his diplomacy had prospered more than his arms. It may be remembered that some of the Iroquois entrapped at Fort Frontenac had been given to their Christian relatives in the mission villages. Here they had since remained. Denonville thought that he might use them as messengers to their heathen countrymen, and he sent one or more of them to Onondaga with gifts and overtures of peace. That shrewd old politician, Big Mouth, was still strong in influence at the Iroquois capital, and his name was great to the farthest bounds of the confederacy. He knew by personal experience the advantages of a neutral 171 position between the rival European powers, from both of whom he received gifts and attentions; and he saw that what was good for him was good for the confederacy, since, if it gave itself to neither party, both would court its alliance. In his opinion, it had now leaned long enough towards the English; and a change of attitude had become expedient. Therefore, as Denonville promised the return of the prisoners, and was plainly ready to make other concessions, Big Mouth, setting at naught the prohibitions of Andros, consented to a conference with the French. He set out at his leisure for Montreal, with six Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida chiefs; and, as no diplomatist ever understood better the advantage of negotiating at the head of an imposing force, a body of Iroquois warriors, to the number, it is said, of twelve hundred, set out before him, and silently took path to Canada.

      V1 with punishment if they disobeyed his order. He willingly complied, promised to have them killed if they did not fight, and assured them at the same time that the English could never take the fort. [255] Three hundred of them thereupon joined the garrison, and the rest, hiding their families in the woods, prepared to wage guerilla war against the invaders.

      Port Royal had twice before been taken by New England men,once under Major Sedgwick in 1654,[Pg 155] and again under Sir William Phips in the last war; and in each case it had been restored to France by treaty. This time England kept what she had got; and as there was no other place of strength in the province, the capture of Port Royal meant the conquest of Acadia.[146]

      [6] On the details of the projected attack of New York, Le Roy Denonville, 191 7 Juin, 1689; Le Ministre Denonville, mme date; Le Ministre Frontenac, mme date; Ordre du Roy Vaudreuil, mme date; Le Roy au Sieur de la Caffinire, mme date; Champigny au Ministre, 16 Nov., 1689.


      Henri De Tonty, on his rock of St. Louis, was visited in September by Couture and two Indians from the Arkansas. Then, for the first time, he heard with grief and indignation of the death of La Salle, and the deceit practised by Cavelier. The chief whom he had served so well was beyond his help; but might not the unhappy colonists left on the shores of Texas still be rescued from destruction? Couture had confirmed what Cavelier and his party had already told him, that the tribes south of the Arkansas were eager to join the French in an invasion of northern Mexico; and he soon after received from the governor, Denonville, a letter informing him that war had again been declared against Spain. As bold and enterprising as La Salle himself, Tonty resolved on an effort to learn the condition of the [Pg 465] few Frenchmen left on the borders of the Gulf, relieve their necessities, and, should it prove practicable, make them the nucleus of a war-party to cross the Rio Grande, and add a new province to the domain of France. It was the revival, on a small scale, of La Salle's scheme of Mexican invasion; and there is no doubt that, with a score of French musketeers, he could have gathered a formidable party of savage allies from the tribes of Red River, the Sabine, and the Trinity. This daring adventure and the rescue of his suffering countrymen divided his thoughts, and he prepared at once to execute the double purpose.[350]


      V1 the relief came and lifted them up." His own company of fifty was reduced to ten. The other regiment of the garrison, Pepperell's, or the fifty-first, was quartered at Fort Ontario, on the other side of the river; and being better sheltered, suffered less. which the curious American species, S. purpurea, the


      [5] "La dbauche fut extrme en toute manire." Belmont.[306] Mmoire du Cur de la Vente, 1714.