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The course of the party lay up the Miami; and they toiled thirteen days against the shallow current before they reached a village of the Miami Indians, lately built at the mouth of the rivulet now called Loramie Creek. Over it ruled a chief to whom the French had given the singular name of La Demoiselle, but whom the English, whose fast friend he was, called Old Britain. The English traders who lived here had prudently withdrawn, leaving only two hired men in the place. The object of Cloron was to induce the Demoiselle and his band to leave this new abode and return to their old villages near the French fort on the Maumee, where they would be safe from English seduction. To this end, he called them to a council, gave them ample gifts, and made them an harangue in the name of the Governor. The Demoiselle took the gifts, thanked his French father for his good advice, and promised to follow it at a more convenient time. In vain Cloron insisted that he and his tribesmen should remove at once. Neither blandishments nor threats would prevail, and the French commander felt that his negotiation had failed.
V1 The English fortified themselves on a low hill by the edge of the marsh, planted palisades, built barracks, and named the new work Fort Lawrence. Slight skirmishes between them and the French were frequent. Neither party respected the dividing line of the Missaguash, and a petty warfare of aggression and reprisal began, and became chronic. Before the end of the autumn there was an atrocious act of treachery. Among the English officers was Captain Edward Howe, an intelligent and agreeable person, who spoke French fluently, and had been long stationed in the province. Le Loutre detested him; dreading his influence over the Acadians, by many of whom he was known and liked. One morning, at about eight o'clock, the inmates of Fort Lawrence saw what seemed an officer from Beausjour, carrying a flag, and followed by several men in uniform, wading through the sea of grass that stretched beyond the Missaguash. When the tide was out, this river was but an ugly trench of reddish mud gashed across the face of the marsh, with a thread of half-fluid slime lazily crawling along the bottom; but at high tide it was filled to the brim with an opaque torrent that would have overflowed, but for the dikes thrown up to confine it. Behind the dike on the farther bank stood the seeming officer, waving his flag in sign that he desired a parley. He was in reality no officer, but one of Le Loutre's Indians in disguise, tienne Le Batard, or, as others say, the great chief, Jean-Baptiste Cope. Howe, carrying a white flag, and accompanied by 119
V1 Le Loutre was not to be found; he had escaped in disguise with his box of papers, and fled to Baye Verte to join his brother missionary, Manach. Thence he made his way to Quebec, where the Bishop received him with reproaches. He soon embarked for France; but the English captured him on the way, and kept him eight years in Elizabeth Castle, on the Island of Jersey. Here on one occasion a soldier on guard made a dash at the father, tried to stab him with his bayonet, and was prevented with great difficulty. He declared that, when he was with his regiment in Acadia, he had fallen into the hands of Le Loutre, and narrowly escaped being scalped alive, the missionary having doomed him to this fate, and with his own hand drawn a knife round his head as a beginning of the operation. The man swore so fiercely that he would have his revenge, that the officer in command transferred him to another post. "Now!" he said abruptly.
Dubuisson left the answer to his allies. The appeal of the suppliant fell on hearts of stone. The whole concourse sat in fierce and sullen silence, and the envoys read their doom in the gloomy brows that surrounded them. Eight or ten of the allied savages presently came to Dubuisson, and one of them said in a low voice: "My father, we come to ask your leave to knock these four great chiefs in the head.[Pg 294] It is they who prevent our enemies from surrendering without conditions. When they are dead, the rest will be at our mercy."
298Force of the English and French at the Battle of Quebec.The tabular return given by Knox shows the number of officers and men in each corps engaged. According to this, the battalions as they stood on the Plains of Abraham before the battle varied in strength from 322 (Monckton's) to 683 (Webb's), making a total of 4,828, including officers. But another return, less specific, signed George Townshend, Brigadier, makes the entire number only 4,441. Townshend succeeded Wolfe in the command; and this return, which is preserved in the Public Record Office, was sent to London a few days after the battle. Some French writers present put the number lower, perhaps for the reason that Webb's regiment and the third battalion of Royal Americans took no part in the fight, the one being in the rear as a reserve, and the other also invisible, guarding the landing place. Wolfe's front line, which alone met and turned the French attack, was made up as follows, the figures including officers and men:
"The search may drift away from Broome's Point," she said eagerly. "Anything may happen.... To-morrow night when I come I'll bring you some books."Two companies of armed men in the pay of Massachusetts were then in Wells, and some of them had come to the wedding. Seventy marksmen went to meet the Indians, who ensconced themselves in the edge of the forest, whence they could not be dislodged. There was some desultory firing, and one of the combatants was killed on each side, after which the whites gave up the attack, and Lieutenant Banks went forward with a flag of truce, in the hope[Pg 53] of ransoming the prisoners. He was met by six chiefs, among whom were two noted Indians of his acquaintance, Bomazeen and Captain Nathaniel. They well knew that the living Plaisted was worth more than his scalp; and though they would not come to terms at once, they promised to meet the English at Richmond's Island in a few days and give up both him and Tucker on payment of a sufficient ransom. The flag of truce was respected, and Banks came back safe, bringing a hasty note to the elder Plaisted from his captive son. This note now lies before me, and it runs thus, in the dutiful formality of the olden time: