Century of Conflict

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
IROQUOIS INCIDENT

Frontenac's new lieutenant, De la Mothe Cadillac, comes on stage. Their friendship does not help either to the good will of the Church. The Iroquois, a continuing threat demanding action. Fort Frontenac rebuilt, the great expedition undertaken. New York's Governor Fletcher acts to minimize the results.

With Iberville's amazing success the struggle for the north seems to have come to a momentary pause. This was given some appearance of finality by the Treaty of Ryswick, which, for the time at least, established the ownership of Fort Nelson. There was no such assurance for the rest of the continent. Frenchmen still only assumed the ownership of the north and west. They maintained their uncertain hold on the river system of the midwest mainly by the prestige of those men who commanded at the isolated forts and trading posts.

Frontenac's ability to select able lieutenants and to hold their unwavering loyalty, had he no other outstanding gifts, would still have marked him as a great commander. The intendant, Champigny, and others before him had another explanation. They were quick to insinuate that favoritism and the tangible material advantages he had to offer were certain to surround him with the most daring and aggressive spirits. There is weight in such a view, and yet the evidence is against it. Had these men been only followers of the main chance, it is surely assumable that they would have ended in an affluence greater than they achieved. No one of them, not even the governor himself, was entirely free from some selfish interest. But that was not what gave them their amazing prestige and their hold over the imagination of their savage followers. Selfishness may earn material rewards, but hardly those of the spirit. These men dominated because they

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