Sidor som bilder

ity, - a point on which those who read his diary will probably have doubts. The lot of the army chaplains was of the hardest. A pestilence had fallen upon Louisbourg, and turned the fortress into a hospital. “After we got into the town,” says the sarcastic Dr. Douglas, whose pleasure it is to put everything in its worst light, “a sordid indolence or sloth, for want of discipline, induced putrid fevers and dysenteries, which at length in August became contagious, and the people died like rotten sheep." From fourteen to twenty-seven were buried every day in the cemetery behind the town, outside the Maurepas Gate, by the old lime-kiln on Rochefort Point; and the forgotten bones of above five hundred New England men lie there to this day under the coarse, neglected grass. The chaplain's diary is little but a dismal record of sickness, death, sermons, funerals, and prayers with the dying ten times a day. “Prayed at Hospital;— Prayed at Citadel; — Preached at Grand Batery; — Visited Capt. (illegible), very sick; – One of Capt. — 's company dya. — Am but poorly myself, but able to keep about.” Now and then there is a momentary change of note, as when he writes: “July 29th. One of ye Captains of ye men of war caind a soldier who struck ye capt. again. A great tumult. Swords were drawn; no life lost, but great uneasiness is caused.” Or when he sets down the “say" of some Briton, apparently a naval officer, “that he had tho't ye New England men were Cowards — but now he tho't yt if they had a pick axe & spade, they w'd dig ye way to Hell & storm it.”

Williams was sorely smitten with homesickness, but he sturdily kept his post, in spite of grievous yearnings for family and flock. The pestilence slowly abated, till at length the burying-parties that passed the Maurepas Gate counted only three or four a day. At the end of January five hundred and sixty-one men had died, eleven hundred were on the sick list, and about one thousand fit for duty. The promised regiments from Gibraltar had not come. Could the French have struck then, Louisbourg might have changed hands again. The Gibraltar regiments had arrived so late upon that rude coast that they turned southward to the milder shores of Virginia, spent the winter there, and did not appear at Louisbourg till April. They brought with them a commission for Warren as governor of the fortress. He made a speech of thanks to the New England garrison, now reduced to less than nineteen hundred men, sick and well, and they sailed at last for home, Louisbourg being now thought safe from any attempt of France.

To the zealous and energetic Shirley the capture of the fortress was but a beginning of greater triumphs. Scarcely had the New England militia

1 The autograph diary of Rev. Stephen Williams is in my possession. The handwriting is detestable.

? On May 10, 1746, Shirley writes to Newcastle that eight hundred and ninety men had died during the winter. The sufferings of the garrison from cold were extreme.

sailed from Boston on their desperate venture, when he wrote to the Duke of Newcastle that should the expedition succeed, all New England would be on fire to attack Canada, and the other colonies would take part with them, if ordered to do so by the ministry. And, some months later, after Louisbourg was taken, he urged the policy of striking while the iron was hot, and invading Canada at once. The colonists, he said, were ready, and it would be easier to raise ten thousand men for such an attack than one thousand to lie idle in garrison at Louisbourg or anywhere else. France and England, he thinks, cannot live on the same continent. If we were rid of the French, he continues, England would soon control America, which would make her first among the nations; and he ventures what now seems the modest prediction that in one or two centuries the British colonies would rival France in population. Even now, he is sure that they would raise twenty thousand men to capture Canada, if the King required it of them, and Warren would be an acceptable commander for the naval part of the expedition; “but,” concludes the governor, “I will take no step without orders from his Majesty.” The Duke of Newcastle was now at the head of the Government. Smollett and Horace Walpole have made his absurdities familiar, in anecdotes which, true or not, do no injustice to his character;

* Shirley to Newcastle, 4 April, 1745.
* Ibid., 29 October, 1745.

yet he had talents that were great in their way, though their way was a mean one. They were talents, not of the statesman, but of the political manager, and their object was to win office and keep itu

Newcastle, whatever his motives, listened to the counsels of Shirley, and directed him to consult with Warren as to the proposed attack on Canada. At the same time he sent a circular letter to the governors of the provinces from New England to North Carolina, directing them, should the invasion be ordered, to call upon their assemblies for as many men as they would grant.' Shirley's views were cordially supported by Warren, and the levies were made accordingly, though not in proportion to the strength of the several colonies; for those south of New York felt little interest in the plan. Shirley was told to “dispose Massachusetts to do its part;” but neither he nor his province needed prompting. Taking his cue from the Roman senator, he exclaimed to his Assembly, “Delenda est Canada ;” and the Assembly responded by voting to raise thirtyfive hundred men, and offering a bounty equivalent to £4 sterling to each volunteer, besides a blanket for every one, and a bed for every two. New Hampshire contributed five hundred men, Rhode Island three hundred, Connecticut one thousand, New York sixteen hundred, New Jersey five hundred, Maryland three hundred, and Virginia one hundred. The Pennsylvania Assembly, controlled by Quaker noncombatants, would give no soldiers; but, by a popular movement, the province furnished four hundred men, without the help of its representatives.” As usual in the English attempts against Canada, the campaign was to be a double one. The main body of troops, composed of British regulars and New England militia, was to sail up the St. Lawrence and attack Quebec, while the levies of New York and the provinces farther south, aided, it was hoped, by the warriors of the Iroquois, were to advance on Montreal by way of Lake Champlain. Newcastle promised eight battalions of British troops under Lieutenant-General Saint-Clair. They were to meet the New England men at Louisbourg, and all were then to sail together for Quebec, under the escort of a squadron commanded by Warren. Shirley also was to go to Louisbourg, and arrange the plan of the campaign with the general and the admiral. Thus, without loss of time, the captured fortress was to be made a base of operations against its late owners. Canada was wild with alarm at reports of English preparation. There were about fifty English prisoners in barracks at Quebec, and every device was tried to get information from them; but being chiefly rustics caught on the frontiers by Indian war-parties, they had little news to give, and often refused to give

1 Newcastle to the Provincial Governors, 14 March, 1746; Shirley to Newcastle, 31 May, 1746 ; Proclamation of Shirley, 2 June, 1746.

* Hutchinson, ii. 381, note. Compare Memoirs of the Principal Transactions of the Last War.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »