Century of Conflict

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
LIFE LINES

France's hold on the New World depends on her ability to control her life lines, east and west. The restoration of Louisburg protects the one, subject to the challenge of the newly built Halifax. The English, spreading out everywhere, offer a new challenge to the life line linking Quebec and Louisiana. Acting Governor Galissonière plans a series of forts to protect the Ohio-Louisiana line and sends Céleron to locate the forts. Appointment of Duquesne as governor lends a new hardness to French thinking. He moves promptly to build the forts and drive the English back. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia counters with an expedition under Washington against Fort Duquesne. The death of Jumonville breaks the uncertain peace. Retreat of Washington and surrender of Fort Necessity.

New France had two life lines. One was the ancient highway of the St. Lawrence River, which, with the Atlantic, linked Now France with the old. By it came subsistence for the colony, a benefit balanced in part by returning cargoes of furs. By it came also some measure of protection as France found herself able to supply added manpower. And always it was a highway carrying the evidence of an absolute authority.

The other life line was one integrating New France itself. It was a network of rivers flowing mainly southward, particularly the Mississippi, the Ohio, and the Illinois. Those linked Canada with that far outpost of French Empire centering about the Gulf of Mexico and named Louisiana after the Sun King. Either life line could be threatened. Both had been and would be again, for both were vital to the survival of New France.

For the moment, danger to the one seemed to have passed. The adroit maneuvering at Aix-la-Chapelle had seen Louis

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