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The river Ottawa was the main artery of Canada, and to stop it was to stop the flow of her life blood. The Iroquois knew this; and their constant effort 299 was to close it so completely that the annual supply of beaver skins would be prevented from passing, and the colony be compelled to live on credit. It was their habit to spend the latter part of the winter in hunting among the forests between the Ottawa and the upper St. Lawrence, and then, when the ice broke up, to move in large bands to the banks of the former stream, and lie in ambush at the Chaudire, the Long Saut, or other favorable points, to waylay the passing canoes. On the other hand, it was the constant effort of Frontenac to drive them off and keep the river open; an almost impossible task. Many conflicts, great and small, took place with various results; but, in spite of every effort, the Iroquois blockade was maintained more than two years. The story of one of the expeditions made by the French in this quarter will show the hardship of the service, and the moral and physical vigor which it demanded. Ibid., 19 Juin, 1756. "Je suis bien avec luy, sans sa confiance, qu'il ne donne jamais personne de la France." Erroneously rendered in N. Y. Col. Docs., X. 421.
But here, for the present, we pause; for the father touches on other matters than the coureurs de bois, and we reserve him and his letter for the next chapter.
* The greater part of the grants made by the old Company of
V1 His star, so bright a twelvemonth before, was now miserably dimmed. In both his public and private life he was the butt of adversity. He had lost two promising sons; he had made a mortifying failure as a soldier; and triumphant enemies were rejoicing in his fall. It is to the credit of his firmness and his zeal in the cause that he set himself to his task with as much vigor as if he, and not others, were to gather the fruits. His chief care was for his favorite enterprise in the direction of Lake Ontario. Making Albany his headquarters, he rebuilt the fort at the Great Carrying Place destroyed in March by the French, sent troops to guard the perilous route to Oswego, and gathered provisions and stores at the posts along the way. 1749-1752.
The exchanged prisoners had been captured at various times and places. Those from Deerfield amounted in all to about sixty, or a little more than half the whole number carried off. Most of the others were dead or converted. Some married Canadians, and others their fellow-captives. The history of some of them can be traced with certainty. Thus, Thomas French, blacksmith and town clerk of Deerfield, and deacon of the church, was captured, with his wife and six children. His wife and infant child were killed on the way to Canada. He and his two eldest children were exchanged and brought home. His daughter Freedom was converted, baptized under the name of Marie Fran?oise, and married to Jean Daulnay, a Canadian. His daughter Martha was baptized as Marguerite, and married to Jacques Roy, on whose death she married Jean Louis Mnard, by whom she became ancestress of Joseph Plessis, eleventh bishop of Quebec. Elizabeth Corse, eight[Pg 90] years old when captured, was baptized under her own name, and married to Jean Dumontel. Abigail Stebbins, baptized as Marguerite, lived many years at Boucherville, wife of Jacques de Noyon, a sergeant in the colony troops. The widow, Sarah Hurst, whose youngest child, Benjamin, had been murdered on the Deerfield meadows, was baptized as Marie Jeanne. Joanna Kellogg, eleven years old when taken, married a Caughnawaga chief, and became, at all points, an Indian squaw. * See the Registres du Conseil Suprieur, preserved at
reunited to the royal domain seventeen seigniories at oneIn the Bibliothque Nationale is the original draft of a remarkable map, by the engineer Villeneuve, of which a fac-simile is before me. It represents in detail the town and fortifications of Quebec, the surrounding country, and the positions of the English fleet and land forces, and is entitled PLAN DE QUBEC, et de ses Environs, EN LA NOUVELLE FRANCE, ASSIG PAR LES ANGLOIS, le 16 d'Octobre 1690 jusqu'au 22 dud. mois qu'ils s'en allerent, apprs avoir est bien battus PAR Mr. LE COMTE DE FRONTENAC, gouverneur general du Pays.