Century of Conflict: The Struggle Between the French and British in Colonial America

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
THIS STUBBORN BREED

Losing Acadia, the French still claim much of the ancient lands once so called, especially the isthmus of Chignecto, the winter route between Louisburg and Quebec. The Abbé le Loutre, a darkly sinister figure, emerges. He whips into flame Acadian antagonism to the English and helps make agreement impossible. Capture of Fort Beauséjour and defeat of its unscrupulous commander, De Vergor, reflect a hardening in the English policy. Governor Lawrence demands an unqualified oath of loyalty. The Acadian refusal gives point to the continuing threat in Acadia and makes necessary the policy of expulsion.

The conference Braddock had called at Alexandria to formulate a general plan of campaign seems to have been conceived under an unlucky star. It might have brought about a union of provinces able to show a solid front to any enemy. It might even have resulted in a United States without the necessity of revolution. But it didn't, for each colony brought to the gathering its prevailing prejudices and piques; its conviction that its own interests were paramount, and its reluctance to combine or contribute to any less self-centered purpose. So the results were something less than negligible.

Braddock had died miserably and unavailingly at the forks of the Ohio. Governor Shirley of Massachusetts, possibly the shrewdest politician of the conference, had introduced a plan for an attack on Niagara. It was sound in conception and might have brought him the military glory longed for. Instead it was easily checkmated by Canada's new governor, Vaudreuil, who was hardly even Shirley's equal as a strategist but who recognized the importance of this threat. William Johnson, sachem of the Mohawk tribe and named by them Warrachijagey, "he who does much business," did in-

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