Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

unknown to Vauban, for confounding the devices of the enemy. He advised that two trustworthy persons should cautiously walk together along the front of the French ramparts under cover of night, one of them carrying a mallet, with which he was to hammer the ground at short intervals. The French sentinels, it seems to have been supposed, on hearing this mysterious thumping, would be so bewildered as to give no alarm. While one of the two partners was thus employed, the other was to lay his ear to the ground, which, as the adviser thought, would return a hollow sound if the artful foe had dug a mine under it; and whenever such secret danger was detected, a mark was to be set on the spot, to warn off the soldiers. 1

Equally zealous, after another fashion, was the Rev. Samuel Moody, popularly known as Father Moody, or Parson Moody, minister of York and senior chaplain of the expedition. Though about seventy years old, he was amazingly tough and sturdy. He still lives in the traditions of York as the spiritual despot of the settlement and the uncompromising guardian of its manners and doctrine, predominating over it like a rough little village pope. The comparison would have kindled his burning wrath, for he abhorred the Holy Father as an embodied Antichrist. Many are the stories told of him by the descendants of those who lived under his rod, and sometimes felt its weight; for he was known

1 Belknap, Hist. New Hampshire, ii. 208.

to have corrected offending parishioners with his cane. When some one of his flock, nettled by his strictures from the pulpit, walked in dudgeon towards the church door, Moody would shout after him, “Come back, you graceless sinner, come back!” or if any ventured to the alehouse of a Saturday night, the strenuous pastor would go in after them, collar them, drag them out, and send them home with rousing admonition. Few dared gainsay him, by reason both of his irritable temper and of the thick-skinned insensibility that encased him like armor of proof. And while his pachydermatous nature made him invulnerable as a rhinoceros, he had at the same time a rough and ready humor that supplied keen weapons for the warfare of words and made him a formidable antagonist. This commended him to the rude borderers, who also relished the sulphurous theology of their spiritual dictator, just as they liked the raw and fiery liquors that would have scorched more susceptible stomachs. What they did not like was the pitiless length of his prayers, which sometimes kept them afoot above two hours shivering in the polar cold of the unheated meeting-house, and which were followed by sermons of equal endurance; for the old man's lungs were of brass, and his nerves of hammered iron. Some of the sufferers ventured to remonstrate; but this only exasperated him, till one

1 Tradition told me at York by Mr. N. Marshall.

Lecture of Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted by Cabot, Memois of Emerson, i. 10.

parishioner, more worldly wise than the rest, accompanied his modest petition for mercy with the gift of a barrel of cider, after which the parson's ministrations were perceptibly less exhausting than before. He had an irrepressible conscience and a highly aggressive sense of duty, which made him an intolerable meddler in the affairs of other people, and which, joined to an underlying kindness of heart, made him so indiscreet in his charities that his wife and children were often driven to vain protest against the excesses of his almsgiving. The old Puritan fanaticism was rampant in him; and when he sailed for Louisbourg, he took with him an axe, intended, as he said, to hew down the altars of Antichrist and demolish his idols.1

Shirley's choice of a commander was perhaps the best that could have been made; for Pepperrell joined to an unusual popularity as little military incompetency as anybody else who could be had. Popularity, we have seen, was indispensable, and even company officers were appointed with an eye to it. Many of these were well-known men in rustic neighborhoods, who had raised companies in the hope of being commissioned to command them. Others were militia officers recruiting under orders of the governor. Thus, John Storer, major in the Maine militia, raised in a single day, it is said, a company of sixty-one, the eldest being sixty years old, and the youngest sixteen. They formed about a quarter of the fencible population of the town of Wells, one of the most exposed places on the border. Volunteers offered themselves readily everywhere; though the pay was meagre, especially in Maine and Massachusetts, where in the new provincial currency it was twenty-five shillings a month, — then equal to fourteen shillings sterling, or less than sixpence a day, 2 the soldier furnishing his own clothing and bringing his own gun. A full third of the Massachusetts contingent, or more than a thousand men, are reported to have come from the hardy population of Maine, whose entire fighting force, as shown by the musterrolls, was then but 2,855.3 Perhaps there was not one officer among them whose experience of war extended beyond a drill on muster day and the sham fight that closed the performance, when it generally happened that the rustic warriors were treated with rum at the charge of their captain, to put them in good humor, and so induce them to obey the word of command.

1 Moody found sympathizers in his iconoclastic zeal. Deacon John Gray of Biddeford wrote to Pepperrell: “Oh that I could be with you and dear Parson Moody in that church [at Louisbourg) to destroy the images there set up, and hear the true Gospel of our Lord and Saviour there preached!”

As the three provinces contributing soldiers recognized no common authority nearer than the King, Pepperrell received three several commissions as

1 Bourne, Hist. of Wells and Kennebunk, 371.

* Gibson, Journal; Records of Rhode Island, v. Governor Wan. ton of that province says, with complacency, that the pay of Rhode Island was twice that of Massachusetts. • Parsons, Life of Pepperrell, 54. VOL. II. - 6

lieutenant-general, — one from the governor of Massachusetts, and the others from the governors of Connecticut and New Hampshire; while Wolcott, commander of the Connecticut forces, was commissioned as major-general by both the governor of his own province and that of Massachusetts. When the levies were complete, it was found that Massachusetts had contributed about 3, 300 men, Connecticut 516, and New Hampshire 304 in her own pay, besides 150 paid by her wealthier neighbor.1 Rhode Island had lost faith and disbanded her 150 men; but afterwards raised them again, though too late to take part in the siege.

Each of the four New England colonies had a little navy of its own, consisting of from one to three or four small armed vessels; and as privateering which was sometimes a euphemism for piracy where Frenchmen and Spaniards were concerned — was a favorite occupation, it was possible to extemporize an additional force in case of need. For a naval commander, Shirley chose Captain Edward Tyng, who had signalized himself in the past summer by capturing a French privateer of greater strength than his own. Shirley authorized him to buy for the province the best ship he could find, equip her for fighting, and take command of her. Tyng soon found a brig to his mind, on the stocks nearly ready

1 of the Massachusetts contingent, three hundred men were raised and maintained at the charge of the merchant James Gibson.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »