Sidor som bilder

dull sailers, lagged behind, and the rest were forced to shorten sail and wait for them. In the longitude of the Azores there was a dead calm, and the whole fleet lay idle for days. Then came a squall, with lightning. Several ships were struck. On one of them six men were killed, and on the seventy-gun ship“Mars” a box of musket and cannon cartridges blew up, killed ten men, and wounded twenty-one. A store-ship which proved to be sinking was abandoned and burned. Then a pestilence broke out, and in some of the ships there were more sick than in health.

On the fourteenth of September they neared the coast of Nova Scotia, and were in dread of the dangerous shoals of Sable Island, the position of which they did not exactly know. They groped their way in fogs till a fearful storm, with thunder and lightning, fell upon them. The journalist of the voyage, a captain in the regiment of Ponthieu, says, with the exaggeration common in such cases, that the waves ran as high as the masts; and such was their violence that a transport, dashing against the ship “Amazone,” immediately went down, with all on board. The crew of the “Prince d'Orange," half blinded by wind and spray, saw the great ship “Caribou,” without bowsprit or main-topmast, driving towards them before the gale, and held their breath in expectation of the shock as she swept close alongside and vanished in the storm.' The tempest raged all night, and the fleet became so scattered that there was no more danger of collision. In the morning the journalist could see but five sail; but as the day advanced the rest began to reappear, and at three o'clock he counted thirty-one from the deck of the “Prince d'Orange.” The gale was subsiding, but its effects were seen in hencoops, casks, and chests floating on the surges and telling the fate of one or more of the fleet. The “Argonaut” was rolling helpless, without masts or rudder; the “Caribou " had thrown overboard all the starboard guns of her upper deck; and the vice-admiral's ship, the “Trident," was in scarcely better condition.

1 Journal historique du Voyage de la Flotte commandée par M. le Duc d'Enville. The writer was on board the “Prince d'Orange," and describes what he saw (Archives du Séminaire de Québec; printed in Le Canada Français).

On the twenty-third they were wrapped in thick fog and lay firing guns, ringing bells, and beating drums to prevent collisions. When the weather cleared, they looked in vain for the admiral's ship, the “Northumberland.”She was not lost, however, but with two other ships was far ahead of the fleet and near Chibucto, though in great perplexity, having no pilot who knew the coast. She soon after had the good fortune to capture a small English vessel with a man on board well acquainted with Chibucto harbor. D'Anville offered him his liberty and a hundred louis if he would pilot the ship in. To this he agreed; but when he rejoined his fellow-prisoners

1 The “Northumberland” was an English prize captured by Captains Serier and Conflans in 1744.

they called him a traitor to his country, on which he retracted his promise. D’Anville was sorely perplexed; but Duperrier, captain of the “Northumberland,” less considerate of the prisoner's feelings, told him that unless he kept his word he should be thrown into the sea, with a pair of cannon-balls made fast to his feet. At this his scruples gave way, and before night the “Northumberland” was safe in Chibucto Bay. D'Anville had hoped to find here the four ships of Conflans, which were to have met him from the West Indies at this, the appointed rendezvous; but he saw only a solitary transport of his own fleet. Hills covered with forests stood lonely and savage round what is now the harbor of Halifax. Conflans and his four ships had arrived early in the month, and finding nobody, though it was nearly three months since D'Anville left Rochelle, he cruised among the fogs for a while, and then sailed for France a few days before the admiral's arrival.

D'Anville was ignorant of the fate of his fleet; but he knew that the two ships which had reached Chibucto with him were full of sick men, that their provisions were nearly spent, and that there was every reason to believe such of the fleet as the storm might have spared to be in no better case. An officer of the expedition describes D’Anville as a man “made to command and worthy to be loved,” and says that he had borne the disasters of the voyage with the utmost fortitude and serenity. Yet suspense and distress wrought fatally upon him, and at two o'clock in the morning of the twenty-seventh he died, — of apoplexy, by the best accounts; though it was whispered among the crews that he had ended his troubles by poison.1

1 Journal historique du Voyage. vol. 11. - 11

At six o'clock in the afternoon of the same day D'Estournel, the vice-admiral, with such ships as remained with him, entered the harbor and learned what had happened. He saw with dismay that he was doomed to bear the burden of command over a ruined enterprise and a shattered fleet. The long voyage had consumed the provisions, and in some of the ships the crews were starving. The pestilence grew worse, and men were dying in numbers every day. On the twenty-eighth, D’Anville was buried without ceremony on a small island in the harbor. The officers met in council, and the papers of the dead commander were examined. Among them was a letter from the King in which he urged the recapture of Louisbourg as the first object of the expedition; but this was thought impracticable, and the council resolved to turn against Annapolis all the force that was left. It is said that D’Estournel opposed the attempt, insisting that it was hopeless, and that there was no alternative but to return to France. The debate was long and hot, and the decision was against him. The council dissolved, and he was seen to enter his cabin in evident distress and agitation. An unusual sound was presently heard, followed by groans. His door was fastened by two bolts, put on the evening before by his order. It was burst open, and the unfortunate commander was found lying in a pool of blood, transfixed with his own sword. Enraged and mortified, he had thrown himself upon it in a fit of desperation. The surgeon drew out the blade, but it was only on the urgent persuasion of two Jesuits that the dying man would permit the wound to be dressed. He then ordered all the captains to the side of his berth, and said, “Gentlemen, I beg pardon of God and the King for what I have done, and I protest to the King that my only object was to prevent my enemies from saying that I had not executed his orders;” and he named M. de la Jonquière to command in his place. In fact, La Jonquière's rank entitled him to do so. He was afterwards well known as governor of Canada, and was reputed a brave and able sea-officer. La Jonquière remained at Chibucto till late in October. Messengers were sent to the Acadian settlements to ask for provisions, of which there was desperate need; and as payment was promised in good metal, and not in paper, the Acadians brought in a considerable supply. The men were encamped on shore, yet the pestilence continued its ravages. Two

1 Declaration of H. Kannan and D. Deas, 23 October, 1746. Depo sition of Joseph Foster, 24 October, 1746, sworn to before Jacob Wendell, J. P. These were prisoners in the ships at Chibucto.

• This is said by all the writers except the author of the Journal

historique, who merely states that the council decided to attack Annapolis, and to detach some soldiers to the aid of Quebec. This last vote was reconsidered.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »