Century of Conflict

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
A FIGURE OF HIGH STRATEGY

Callières in France to present Denonville's views has to accept an alternate plan, an outright attack on New York and New England. The need for strong hands to implement it. Louis remembers Frontenac. The governor returns to a country deeply depressed. The massacre at La Chesnaye makes it clear he must first face the dire threat of an Indian coalition that would isolate New France. A lone Indian becomes a sad figure of high strategy.

Callières, though governor of Montreal, had no part in the grim happenings that had come so close to the city. He had not been touched by the spirit of defeat that had closed over New France as the torture fires died out at Lachine. He had sailed for France in the fall of 1688. Then even Denonville was still nursing plans of aggressive action--provided, of course, that the King would lend his support. It was to urge that support that he had sent his emissary to France; and Callières, who had a devotion to his superiors uncommon enough in his day, was determined to succeed. When he secured an audience he did indeed do his best. His task was not easy. It was to introduce a more hopeful note than that contained in the doleful and pleading letters that reached the King's cabinet.

His task was the more difficult in that he was not convinced of the soundness of the plan. He was to urge substantial reinforcements of from three to four thousand regulars for an offensive that once and for all would end the threat of Iroquois aggression and might take some action against the English should opportunity present itself.

Callières was not a stupid man and he sensed Louis' mounting impatience. He had given the appeal an honest and loyal

-78-

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