A History of Canada - Vol. 2

By Gustave Lanctot; Margaret M. Cameron | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
FRONTENAC'S INDIAN POLICY
EXPEDITIONS AGAINST THE IROQUOIS
1691-1696

A hard winter in the colony. Support from the western Indians. Supplies from France. English raid on La Prairie. Iroquois raids. Madeleine de Verchères. Manthet's expedition against the Mohawks. Trade and parleys with the Indians. Re-establishment of Fort Frontenac. D'Iberville's expedition to Hudson Bay. Frontenac's campaign against the Onondagas and Oneidas.

After the defeat of Phipps, the politic Mohawks thought it wise to reach an agreement with Quebec, even though their four sister nations were preparing a great offensive. Accordingly, in March (1691) a band of Mohawk warriors came to inform their Christian compatriots at Sault St. Louis of their desire to end hostilities. Delegates then took the same message to Callières in Montreal, where it was favourably received. 1

The winter and spring of that year ( 1691) were a period of great hardship in the colony. War parties had exhausted the stocks of provisions, and the price of wheat doubled. The people lived largely on fish which they caught through holes in the ice, and as soon as the snow disappeared they supplemented this limited diet with herbs and roots from the forest. At the same time although it had successfully withstood an invasion, the colony was still very vulnerable to attack. Stocks of ammunition were so low that under Champigny's orders gutters were melted down to make bullets. The habitants went to their work in the fields armed and in groups, and the Governor gave orders to strengthen the fortifications of the three towns. 2 But even when beset by pressing anxieties in the East, Frontenac did not forget to maintain the friendship and support of the western Indians or to keep the Canadian market supplied with their furs. In May 1691 the Sieur de Courtemanche gathered the

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