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      This company prospered as little as the rest of Colberts[448] Dumas Vaudreuil, 9 Sept. 1756, cited in Bigot au Ministre, 6 Oct. 1756, and in Bougainville, Journal.

      In virtue of their new dignity, the accused now claimed exemption from accountability; but this was not all. The abandonment of Canada by the company, in leaving Dumesnil without support, and depriving him of official character, had made his charges far less dangerous. Nevertheless, it was thought best to suppress them altogether, and the first act of the new government was to this end.V1 warriors were called to council, and Contrec?ur thus harangued them: "The English have murdered my children, my heart is sick; to-morrow I shall send my French soldiers to take revenge. And now, men of the Saut St. Louis, men of the Lake of Two Mountains, Hurons, Abenakis, Iroquois of La Prsentation, Nipissings, Algonquins, and Ottawas,I invite you all by this belt of wampum to join your French father and help him to crush the assassins. Take this hatchet, and with it two barrels of wine for a feast." Both hatchet and wine were cheerfully accepted. Then Contrec?ur turned to the Delawares, who were also present: "By these four strings of wampum I invite you, if you are true children of Onontio, to follow the example of your brethren;" and with some hesitation they also took up the hatchet.

      This Kennebec mission had been begun more than half a century before; yet the conjurers, or "medicine men,"natural enemies of the missionary,still remained obdurate and looked on the father askance, though the body of the tribe were constant at mass and confession, and regarded him with loving reverence. He always attended their councils, and, as he tells us, his advice always prevailed; but he was less fortunate when he told them to practise no needless cruelty in their wars, on which point they were often disobedient children.[234]The government of Canada was formed in its chief features after the government of a French province. Throughout France the past and the present stood side by side. The kingdom had a double administration; or rather, the shadow of the old administration and the substance of the new. The government of provinces had long been held by the high nobles, often kindred to the Crown; and hence, in former times, great perils had arisen, amounting during the civil wars to the danger of dismemberment. The high nobles were still governors of provinces; but here, as elsewhere, they had ceased to be dangerous. Titles, honors, and ceremonial they had in abundance; but they were deprived of real power. Close beside them was the royal intendant, an obscure figure, lost amid the vainglories of the feudal sunset, but in the name of the king holding the reins of government; a check and a spy on his gorgeous colleague. He was the kings agent: of modest birth, springing from the legal class; owing his present to the king, and dependent on him for his future; learned in the law and trained to administration. It was by such instruments that the powerful centralization of the monarchy enforced itself throughout the kingdom, and, penetrating beneath the crust of old prescriptions, supplanted without seeming to supplant them. The courtier noble looked down in the pride of rank on the busy man in black at his side; but this man in black, with the troop of officials at his beck, controlled finance, the royal courts, public works, and all the administrative business of the province.

      Sometimes the origin of his nobility was lost in * Lalemant. Relation, 1663, 2.

      CHAPTER V. 1758, 1759.

      Meanwhile a deputation of eighteen Onondaga chiefs arrived at Quebec. There was a grand council. The Onondagas demanded a colony of Frenchmen to dwell among them. Lauson, the governor, dared neither to consent nor to refuse. A middle course was chosen, and two Jesuits, Chaumonot and Dablon, were sent, like Le Moyne, partly to gain time, partly to reconnoitre, and partly to confirm the Onondagas in such good intentions as they might entertain. Chaumonot was a veteran of the Huron mission, who, miraculously as he himself supposed, had acquired a great fluency in the Huron tongue, which is closely allied to that of the Iroquois. Dablon, a new-comer, spoke, as yet, no Indian.

      [304] La Mothe-Cadillac au Ministre, in Gayarr, i. 104, 105.[13] Lettre de Bretonvilliers, 7 Mai, 1675; extract in Faillon. Fnelon, though wanting in prudence and dignity, had been an ardent and devoted missionary. In relation to these disputes, I have received much aid from the research of Abb Faillon, and from the valuable paper of Abb Verreau, Les deux Abbs de Fnelon, printed in the Canadian Journal de l'Instruction Publique, Vol. VIII.


      Perhaps it was to compensate him for the outlays into which he had been drawn that the colonial minister presently authorized him to embark for Louisiana and pursue his enterprise with that infant colony, instead of Canada, as his base of operations. Thither, therefore, he went; and in April, 1700, set[Pg 350] out for the Sioux country with twenty-five men, in a small vessel of the kind called a "felucca," still used in the Mediterranean. Among the party was an adventurous youth named Penecaut, a ship-carpenter by trade, who had come to Louisiana with Iberville two years before, and who has left us an account of his voyage with Le Sueur.[360][354] Ibid., II. 487.


      [8] The papers of this discussion will be found in N. Y. Col. Docs., III.[237] These extracts are taken from the two letters preserved in the Public Record Office, America and West Indies, LXXIV. LXXXII.


      When Argenson arrived to assume the government, a curious greeting had awaited him. The Jesuits asked him to dine; vespers followed the repast; and then they conducted him into a hall, where the boys of their schooldisguised, one as the Genius of New France, one as the Genius of the Forest, and others as Indians of various friendly tribesmade him speeches by turn, in prose and verse. First, Pierre du Quet, who played the Genius of New France, presented his Indian retinue to the governor, in a complimentary harangue. Then four other boys, personating French colonists, made him four flattering addresses, in French verse. Charles Denis, dressed as a Huron, followed, bewailing the ruin of his people, and appealing to Argenson for aid. Jean Fran?ois Bourdon, in the character of an Algonquin, next advanced on the platform, boasted his courage, and declared that he was ashamed to cry like the Huron. The Genius of the Forest now appeared, with a retinue of wild Indians from the interior, who, being unable to speak French, addressed the governor in their native tongues, which the Genius proceeded to interpret. Two other boys, in the character of prisoners just escaped from the Iroquois, then came forward, imploring aid in piteous accents; and, in conclusion, the whole troop of Indians, from far and near, laid their bows and arrows at the feet of Argenson, and hailed him as their chief. *[228] "Nous pr?mes le parti de nous retirer en vue de rallier notre petite arme." Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756.