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like a ploughed field, from the bursting of their shells. Their surrender was largely determined by want of ammunition, as, according to one account, the French had but thirty-seven barrels of gunpowder left, 1 - in which particular the besiegers fared little better.?
The New England men had been full of confidence in the result of the proposed assault, and a French writer says that the timely capitulation saved Louisbourg from a terrible catastrophe; 8 yet, ill-armed and disorderly as the besiegers were, it may be doubted whether the quiet ending of the siege was not as fortunate for them as for their foes. The discouragement of the French was increased by greatly exaggerated ideas of the force of the “Bastonnais.” The Habitant de Louisbourg places the landforce alone at eight or nine thousand men, and Duchambon reports to the minister D'Argenson that he was attacked in all by thirteen thousand. His mortifying position was a sharp temptation to exaggerate; but his conduct can only be explained by a belief that the force of his enemy was far greater than it was in fact.
Warren thought that the proposed assault would succeed, and wrote to Pepperrell that he hoped they would “soon keep a good house together, and give the Ladys of Louisbourg a Gallant Ball."1 During his visit to the camp on the day when the flag of truce came out, he made a speech to the New England soldiers, exhorting them to behave like true Englishmen; at which they cheered lustily. Making a visit to the Grand Battery on the same day, he won high favor with the regiment stationed there by the gift of a hogshead of rum to drink his health.
1 Habitant de Louisbourg.
2 Pepperrell more than once complains of a total want of both powder and balls. Warren writes to him on May 29 : “ It is very lucky that we could spare you some powder ; I am told you had not a grain left.”
s“C'est par une protection visible de la Providence que nous avons prévenu une journée qui nous auroit été si funeste.” – Lettro d'un Habitant de Louisbourg.
Whether Warren's “gallant ball” ever took place in Louisbourg does not clearly appear. Pepperrell, on his part, celebrated the victory by a dinner to the commodore and his officers. As the redoubtable Parson Moody was the general's chaplain and the oldest man in the army, he expected to ask a blessing at the board, and was, in fact, invited to do so, – to the great concern of those who knew his habitual prolixity, and dreaded its effect on the guests. At the same time, not one of them dared rasp his irritable temper by any suggestion of brevity; and hence they came in terror to the feast, expecting an invocation of a good half-hour, ended by open revolt of the hungry Britons; when, to their surprise and relief, Moody said: “Good Lord, we have so much to thank thee for, that time will be too short, and we must leave it for eternity. Bless our food and fellowship upon this joyful occasion, for the sake of Christ our Lord, Amen.” And with that he sat down." It is said that he had been seen in the French church hewing at the altar and images with the axe that he had brought for that purpose; and perhaps this iconoclastic performance had eased the high pressure of his zeal.1
1 Warren to Pepperrell,10 June, 1745. 3 Collections of Mass. Hist. Society, i. 49.
Amazing as their triumph was, Pepperrell's soldiers were not satisfied with the capitulation, and one of them utters his disapproval in his diary thus: “Sabbath Day, ye 16th June. They came to Termes for us to enter ye Sitty to morrow, and Poore Termes they Bee too.”
The occasion of discontent was the security of property assured to the inhabitants, “by which means,” says that dull chronicler, Niles, “the poor goldiers lost all their hopes and just demerit [desert] of plunder promised them.” In the meagreness of their pay they thought themselves entitled to the plunder of Louisbourg, which they imagined to be a seat of wealth and luxury. Nathaniel Sparhawk, Pepperrell's thrifty son-in-law, shared this illusion, and begged the general to get for him (at a low price) a handsome service of silver plate. When the volunteers exchanged their wet and dreary camp for what they expected to be the comfortable quarters of the town, they were disgusted to see the houses still occupied by the owners, and to find themselves forced to stand guard at the doors, to protect them.3
1 A descendant of Moody, at the village of York, told me that he was found in the church busy in the work of demolition.
9 “ Thursday, ye 21st Ye French keep possession yet, and we
“A great Noys and hubbub a mongst ye Solders a bout ye Plunder; Som Cursing, som a Swarein,” writes one of the disgusted victors.
They were not, and perhaps could not be, long kept in order; and when, in accordance with the capitulation, the inhabitants had been sent on board vessels for transportation to France, discipline gave way, and General Wolcott records that, while Moody was preaching on a Sunday in the garrison-chapel, there was “excessive stealing in every part of the town.” Little, however, was left to steal.
But if the army found but meagre gleanings, the navy reaped a rich harvest. French ships, instead of being barred out of the harbor, were now lured to enter it. The French flag was kept flying over the town, and in this way prizes were entrapped to the estimated value of a million sterling, half of which went to the Crown, and the rest to the British officers and crews, the army getting no share whatever.
Now rose the vexed question of the relative part borne by the colonies and the Crown, the army and the navy, in the capture of Louisbourg; and here it may be well to observe the impressions of a French witness of the siege. “It was an enterprise less of the English nation and its King than of the inhabitants of New England alone. This singular people have their own laws and administration, and their governor plays the sovereign. Admiral [Commodore] Warren had no authority over the troops sent by the Governor of Boston, and he was only a spectator. . . . Nobody would have said that their sea and land forces were of the same nation and under the same prince. No nation but the English is capable of such eccentricities (bizarreries), — which, nevertheless, are a part of the precious liberty of which they show themselves so jealous.”i
are forsed to stand at their Dores to gard them." - Diary of a Sor dier, anonymous.
The French writer is correct when he says that the land and sea forces were under separate commands, and it is equally true that but for the conciliating temper of Pepperrell, harmony could not have been preserved between the two chiefs; but when he calls Warren a mere spectator, he does glaring injustice to that gallant officer, whose activity and that of his captains was incessant, and whose services were invaluable. They maintained, with slight lapses, an almost impossible blockade, without which the siege must have failed. Two or three small vessels got into the harbor; but the capture of the “Vigilant,” more than any other event of the siege, discouraged the French and prepared them for surrender.
Several English writers speak of Warren and the navy as the captors of Louisbourg, and all New England writers give the chief honor to Pepperrell and the army. Neither army nor navy would have
1 Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg.