Count Frontenac
Chapter XII The Drama of War - Peace at the Last


OUR narrative of the warfare on the New England frontier has somewhat outrun that of events in Canada proper. The safe arrival of the canoes from the West, the consequent revival of trade, and the comparative immunity from attack enjoyed by the country towards the close of the year 1693 had, as we have seen, made the governor more popular in the country than ever before. Still there were not a few who acknowledged his merits but grudgingly, while they had much to say in regard to the defects of his administration. Charlevoix says that, could he only have added to his own high qualities the virtues of his predecessor, the pious Denonville, he would have been perfect, and the condition of the colony would have left nothing to desire. Frontenac, however, could not be a Denonville any more than Denonville could have been a Frontenac. He was a religious man in the practical, businesslike way in which men with strong political instincts and aptitudes are apt to be religious. There was nothing mystical about him, and little that was sentimental. Religion, in his opinion, was a good thing, but it had its own place; it was meant to co-operate to good ends with the state, but not to dominate the state. In France such views might have passed unchallenged, for these were the days when Gallicanism was at its height, but in Canada they met with keen opposition. There, as already remarked, the leaders of the church hoped to be able to mould a state in which the secular power should find its greatest glory in being the handmaiden of the spiritual.

Resuming the complaints made against the governor, Charlevoix tells us that he was censured for his indulgence to the officers, whose esteem and attachment he was very anxious to enjoy, and that he let all the burden of the war fall on the colonists. There may have been a slight measure of truth in the accusation; but it is certain that many officers of the regular army died bravely fighting the battles of the country. That the militia were, on the whole, better and more skilful fighters than the regular troops was early discovered. Denonville, it may be recalled, made some very disparaging remarks in regard to the latter on the occasion of his expedition against the Senecas. Another accusation, for which there was undoubted foundation, was that the officers were allowed to retain the pay of the soldiers who received permission to do civilian work. A soldier could always earn in one form or another of manual labour, much more than his military wages amounted to; and the custom sprang up of retaining and dividing amongst the officers the pay of. those who engaged in such labour. The court finally took cognizance of the practice, and condemned it. Still more serious complaint was made, Charlevoix says, of Frontenac's toleration of the liquor trade. He quotes on this subject a letter written by an ecclesiastic, the Abbé de Brisacier, to Pere Lachaise, the king's confessor, in which it is stated that "brutalities and murders are being committed in the streets of Quebec by intoxicated Indian men and women, who in that condition have neither shame nor fear." There is also a letter extant from the worthy Superior of the Sulpicians at Montreal, M. Dollier de Casson, dated 7th October 1691, to a friend in France, that is really pathetic in its terms. If, he says, " our incomparable monarch " only knew the truth of the matter, " the uprightness of his intentions would not be misled by those numerous emissaries of the Evil One who spread the belief that without liquor we should have no savages visiting us and no fur trade." He speaks of liquor as "un damnable ecueil"—a damnable rock on which the poor Indian makes shipwreck—and gives a pitiful account of some of the horrors to be seen almost daily in the. Indian missions. It may be doubted whether the condition of things was any worse in this respect under Frontenac than under Denonville, when the whole country seemed to be more or less paralyzed through the excessive use of brandy. It may possibly, indeed, have been better; the comparative efficiency of military operations may not unreasonably be held to point in that direction.

Frontenac and Champigny were not openly at strife, but judging by a letter written by the latter, and dated 4th November 1693, the governor acted very tyrannically towards him. He quotes the bishop as saying that Frontenac treats him (Cham-pigny) worse than he ever treated Duchesneau. He only puts up with it, he says, in order to carry out his instructions to live peaceably with the governor at all costs, and in the hope that the minister will appreciate the sacrifice he is making.

Frontenac, when in France, had lived much at court, and had doubtless witnessed and participated in many of the elaborate festivities which royalty was wont to grace with its presence. It is not surprising that he was ambitious to have some little echo of Versailles in his mimic court at Quebec. Never had the public of that capital been so disposed to relaxation and enjoyment as in the winter of 1693-4 when the country seemed to see some days of prosperity and tranquillity before it. Great, therefore, was the enthusiasm when in the holiday season two dramatic representations were given at the chateau. Officers and ladies took part in the performances, and the plays Nicomede and Miihridate were wholly unobjectionable. Everybody was happy except the clergy, who saw in such mundanities the most serious danger to the spiritual welfare of the community. The Abbd Glandelet of the Seminary was the first to raise a cry of alarm, preaching a sermon in the cathedral, in which he essayed to prove that no one could attend a play without incurring mortal sin.

Then the bishop issued a mandate a little more moderate in its terms, in which he distinguished between comedies innocent in their nature, but which under certain circumstances may be dangerous, and those which are absolutely bad and criminal in themselves, such as the comedy of Tartvffe and similar ones. Tartuffe, although his Majesty had listened to it on more than one occasion, and entertained a particular friendship for its author, was to the ecclesiastical world a terror. The bishop had heard a report that it was to be put upon the boards next, and fearing that his mandate alone might not have sufficient effect, he took occasion of a chance meeting with Frontenac to offer him a thousand francs if he would not produce it. Frontenac's friends say that he never had any intention of producing it; but he took the bishop's money all the same, and, it is stated, gave it next day to the hospitals. It is somewhat remarkable that Frontenac should have taken the money whether he did or did not intend to produce the play, and equally so that the bishop should have considered him accessible to a purely pecuniary argument in a matter of the kind.

It has been mentioned that in the summer of 1693 an Oneida chief had come to Quebec and talked of peace, and that, having gone back to his people, he returned in October with propositions which the governor contemptuously rejected. In the month of January following, two messengers came from the Iroquois country to say that, if they could have a safe-conduct, chiefs from each of the Five Nations would come down with authority to negotiate for peace. A safe-conduct was promised, but Frontenac expressly stipulated that one particular Onondaga chief, Teganissorens, with whom he had had negotiations many years before, should accompany the delegation. In April a number of delegates came, but without Teganissorens. Frontenac refused to deal with them, and said that if any of them dared to come to see him again without that chief, he would put them into the kettle. This had its effect, for towards the end of May two delegates from each nation came down, Teganissorens being of the number. Belts were presented, and the language of the delegates was all that could be desired. "Onontio," said Teganissorens, presenting the sixth belt, "I speak to you in the name of the Five Nations. You have devoured all our chief men, and scarce any more are left. I ought to feel resentment on account of our dead. By this belt I say to. you that we forget them; and, as a token that we do not wish to avenge them, we throw away and bury our hatchet under the ground, that it may never more be seen. To preserve the living we shall think no more of the dead." The personal appearance of the orator, known to the English as Decanisora, has been described by Colden in his History of the Five Nations, published in 1727. According to that author he was a tall, well-formed man, with a face not unlike the busts of Cicero; and we know from the French official narrative that he spoke with remarkable fluency and grace. The count replied in a conciliatory manner; on both sides there seemed to be good dispositions towards peace, but yet no definite understanding was arrived at. The Iroquois wished to include the English in the peace, but Frontenac, of course, was not at liberty to make peace with a people with whom his master, the French king, was at war. The savages agreed, however, to give up their prisoners; and Orehaoue was sent with them to accept delivery of the captives and bring them back. The Onondagas for some reason refused to surrender theirs, but the other tribes made good the promise of their delegates. Among those who were released were some who had been detained since the massacre of Lachine, and in general they had not much complaint to make of their treatment. It was a proud day for Orehaou^ when, completing the important duty entrusted to him, he was able to restore the long missing ones to country and home.

The majority of the tribes must have wished for peace, or they would not have given up their prisoners. It was, however, as much against the interest of the English to have peace established between the Iroquois and the French, as it was against the interest of the latter that there should be peace between the Abenaquis and the New Englanders. A long period of intrigue followed, with plotting and counter-plotting between the different parties concerned. The English on their side were striving to stir up the Iroquois against the French, and the French on theirs to incite the Abenaquis against the English; the Iroquois talked peace to the French, but were working all the time to draw the Lake tribes away from their alliance; while the French commanders in the West were doing their best to keep their Indians on the war-path against the Iroquois. Intrigue reigned too among the Lake tribes; for an influential chief called the Baron was trying hard to persuade them to join the Iroquois. Some horrible treacheries and cruelties were meantime being perpetrated in that region. The French at Michilimackinac, where La Motte Cadillac had replaced Louvigny, killed two Iroquois who had been brought into the camp in the guise of prisoners, but who were suspected of being emissaries from their nation acting in collusion with the Baron. The latter and his associates were very angry at first, but in the end yielded to the French, and handed over another Iroquois, whom they had with them. The French determined, La Potherie says, to make an example of him. The Ottawas were invited " to drink the broth of an Iroquois," which they did after the victim had been put to death with cruel tortures in which a Frenchman took the lead. Not long after four others were similarly treated. The object, of course, in getting the Ottawas and Hurons to participate in these cruelties was to render peace with the Iroquois impossible.

In the summer of 1695, Frontenac carried out his long-cherished design of restoring the fort at Cataraqui. The scheme was strongly opposed by the intendant, Champigny, who had managed in some way to win the court over to his views. The expedition organized by Frontenac consisted of seven hundred men, and was placed by him under the command of the Marquis of Crisafy, a Neapolitan noble, who, as Charlevoix informs us, had been guilty of treason in his own country, and so been obliged to take service under the French king. Scarcely had the expedition started before a letter from the Comte de Pontchartrain was placed in Frontenac's hand enjoining him not to take any steps in the matter of re-establishing the fort. Anything more mal a propos could scarcely have happened. Had Frontenac been a timid man,, he would have sent a messenger after Crisafy, and ordered him back; but his service of many years in many lands had accustomed the veteran to taking responsibility; and, persuaded as he was that he knew better what the interest of the country required than the king and the minister put together, he allowed the expedition to proceed. Within a month it had returned to Montreal after having put the fort once more in a condition of defence at a cost of sixteen thousand francs. Forty-eight men were left behind as a garrison. Frontenac had now a base for the operations which he felt sure would be required against the Iroquois, and which in point of fact were carried out in the following year. The king, on hearing of what had been done, did not censure the governor, but merely asked him to consider carefully, in consultation with M. de Champigny, whether it was really for the advantage of the colony that the fort should be maintained. In the interest of harmony the court had for some time followed the practice of writing to the governor and the intendant jointly, and requiring them to make joint despatches. Notwithstanding this prudent arrangement, each of the high officials managed to bring his own private views before the minister or the king, as the case might be. In joint consultations the will of Frontenac was pretty sure to carry the day. His fort henceforth was safe.

We may now, while a desultory and not very eventful warfare is being waged between the colony and its traditional enemy, the Iroquois, and while negotiations and intrigues are being carried on in triangular fashion between the French, their allies, and the common foe, turn for a few moments to another field, a far distant one, in which Canadian enterprise, bravery, and military aptitude won re- , peated successes, and, on one occasion at least, performed deeds of lasting renown. We have already related the expedition under M. de Troyes to Hudson's Bay in the summer of 1686 in which Iberville and his brother Ste. Hdl&ne took part. Troyes returned to Quebec in the same year, and, as we have seen, joined Denonville's campaign against the Senecas. Iberville seems to have remained in the Hudson's Bay country till the following year, for we hear of his returning to Quebec in the fall of 1687 with a large amount of booty in the way of furs. The Hudson's Bay Company of England, in a petition which they addressed to the king asking for redress, put the amount of loss they had sustained by this expedition at £50,000, quite probably an over-valuation. After this adventure Iberville, in company with his brother Maricourt, seems to have gone to France ; but two years later both are in the bay again defending Fort Albany against an English vessel. Later in the year, in the absence of Iberville, who had gone to Quebec with a cargo of furs, the English possessed themselves of the fort; but, returning in the summer of 1690, he wrested it from them again, and again sailed to Quebec with furs, this time to the value of 80,000 francs. The next year he went to France, and in July 1692 returned with two French vessels L'Envieuse and Le Poli, destined for operations in Hudson's Bay. As he did not reach Quebec, however, till the 18th August, itwas considered that the season was too far advanced for an attempt in that quarter; and the vessels were consequently diverted to Acadia in order that they might operate against the newly erected fort at Pemaquid. As stated in our last chapter, the expedition proved a failure. In the following year Le Poli, which Iberville had taken back to France, was sent out again to Canada with a companion vessel, L'lndiscret. It was intended that they should proceed to Hudson's Bay, but they only arrived at Quebec on the 22nd July, and, as the king had expressly stipulated that Le Poli -should return to France that year, every practical man in Canada saw at once that she at least could not take part in the expedition. Then- could there be any expedition? It was at first proposed that Iberville should make the best he could of LLndiscret and an English ship he had captured on the way out, the Mary Sarah; and a number of French captains who were in port at the time were formed into a commission to report on the matter from a practical point of view. Their report, made on the 7th August, was unfavourable as regarded both vessels. L'lndiscret does not seem to have had any armament, and though guns could have been provided for her at Quebec, the captains doubted whether either decks or hull were strong enough to admit of her conversion into an effective fighting ship, or indeed whether she was suitable at all for northern navigation. As to the Mary Sarah, she was a very poor sailer, and would only prove an embarrassment. Iberville, who of course expected, if he went, to winter in the bay, said he must have a full year's provisions for the party; and one of the points the captains inquired into was whether there was accommodation in the ships for all the stores required. As one of the necessities of the voyage they put down 154 barriques of wine, or, alternatively, 38 of brandy. As the barrique contains something over 50 gallons, the estimate was for about 2000 gallons of brandy, not an illiberal allowance. The upshot of the matter was that there was no expedition that year, and that the English had all their own way in the bay, capturing once more the fort at Albany, together with furs to the value, as stated, of 150,000 francs, the property of the Compagnie du Nord.

The news of this serious loss arrived at Quebec in August just after the idea of an expedition had been abandoned, and was carried to France by M. de Serigny, one of Iberville's brothers. The French government thereupon determined to organize a strong force for the purpose of securely establishing French supremacy in those northern waters. Serigny was accordingly sent back to Quebec in the summer of 1694, with instructions to Frontenac to lend as many soldiers as he could spare for the enterprise. No time was lost in executing the order. On the 10th August Iberville with Serigny and another brother M. de Chateauguay, and over a hundred picked Canadians set sail for Hudson's Bay in two frigates of twenty and thirty guns respectively. The first point of attack was to be Port Nelson on the west side of the bay, garrisoned by about fifty English, and mounting thirty-six cannon. Having arrived at the place on the 24th September, Iberville demanded its surrender, which was refused. The assailants had much the advantage in strength, and on the 13th October the fort surrendered. The Canadians took up their quarters there for the winter; and when summer came Iberville decided to wait in the neighbourhood in the hope of capturing one or two English trading vessels which were expected to arrive. None came, however, and he set sail in September, leaving La Forest in charge with sixty men. Contrary winds rendering his return to Canada difficult, he steered his course for France, and arrived safely at Rochelle, where he wrote out a full account of his adventures and achievements.

It was related in the last chapter how, in the following year (1696), Iberville, in conjunction with Saint-Castin and the neighbouring Indians, had captured and destroyed the English fort of Pemaquid, on the west side of what is now Penobscot Bay. His instructions were, as soon as this had been accomplished, to sail for Newfoundland, take St. John's, and harry the English settlements strewn along the eastern coast. This enterprise had been carefully prepared beforehand, and a number of fishing vessels from St. Malo had been armed for the purpose. There was a French governor stationed at Placentia, M. de Brouillan, to whom instructions had been sent to co-operate with M. d'Iberville. All accounts agree in saying that this officer was a man of an extremely surly and jealous temper. Anxious to win the glory and profit of capturing St. John's without assistance, he did not await the arrival of Iberville before setting out on the enterprise. With the help of the St. Malo men he captured one or two English vessels; but, owing to disagreements that arose between him and his men, nothing more was accomplished. Returning to Placentia he found that Iberville with his Canadians had arrived. Some dispute arose as to who should command the combined force ; finally it was agreed that Iberville should have that honour. It is doubtful whether the Canadians would have consented to serve under any other leader. The capture of St. John's was effected on the 1st December; but no booty of any consequence was taken, as some English vessels had shortly before removed everything of value. Then followed a cruel winter raid on the poor fisher-folk of the coast who were not in a condition to make any resistance. All the hamlets were burned, and the French writers say that two hundred of the English inhabitants were killed, surely a most unnecessary slaughter.

Other work and other laurels somewhat worthier of a warrior's brow were, however, awaiting the redoubtable Canadian chief. In the month of May 1697, when the desolation in Newfoundland was complete, his brother Serigny arrived from France with five ships of war, the Pelican, the Palmier, the Wasp, the Profond, and the Violent. Port Nelson had again fallen into the hands of the English ; and this expedition, which Iberville was to command, had been organized for the purpose of retaking it. For trading purposes it was much the most important port on the bay, being the outlet of a vast fur-bearing region stretching towards Lake Superior. It was July before the squadron sailed from Placentia, Iberville taking command of the Pelican, and his brother of the Palmier. One ship carrying stores was crushed and lost amid floating ice, though the crew were saved. The others were in great danger. When the Pelican got free her companions were nowhere to be seen, and Iberville pursued his way towards Port Nelson alone, hoping that the other vessels would make their appearance after a time. He had nearly reached his destination when three sail did heave in sight, which he took to be the missing vessels. He was soon undeceived. They were armed English merchantmen—the Hampshire, of fifty-two guns; the Daring, of thirty-six; and the Hudson's Bay, of thirty-two. The chances looked bad for the Pelican, which had but forty-four; but Iberville was accustomed to taking chances, and he did not decline the unequal fight. The French commander had the advantage of the wind, and seems not to have engaged more than one vessel at a time. After some hours of cannonading he came to close quarters with the Hampshire, and, delivering some terrible broadsides, caused her to sink in that dreary sea with all on board. The liudsons Bay, which he next attacked, soon struck her flag, while the Daring, doing little honour or justice to her name, seized a favouring wind and escaped. The Pelican had by no means escaped Scot free. So badly shattered was she that, having stranded a few miles from the fort, and a gale having sprung up, she went to pieces. Some of the crew were lost, while, of those who reached land, a number died from cold and exhaustion.

Snow was lying a foot deep on the ground; and had it not been for the timely arrival of the missing vessels, the whole party would doubtless have perished, unless they could have made their way to the fort and thrown themselves on the mercy of the enemy. As it was, the work of the expedition was now proceeded with. Cannon and mortar were landed. The fort was only protected by a palisade, and though it mounted a few light cannon, it was quite unable to withstand a bombardment. The commandant, therefore, though at first he refused to surrender, was soon compelled to lower his flag. He obtained honourable terms for his garrison, but was obliged to hand over a vast quantity of furs. Iberville after this signal triumph—a triumph, as Parkman describes it, " over the storms, the icebergs, and the English "—left his brother in charge of the captured fort, and, taking the two best vessels left, sailed for France, where he arrived early in November.

The news which greeted him there was that, just about the time he was sailing from the bay, peace had been signed1 between England and France. By the terms of the peace Louis was to acknowledge William III as rightful King of England and Anne as his successor, and to withdraw all assistance from the exiled James. As regards the colonies, the most important provision was that the status quo ante bellum should be re-established. Thus the gallant fight that Iberville had waged, one against three, and all the bitter hardships which he and his men had endured by sea and land, had been in vain. Port Nelson and the other ports in Hudson's Bay would have to revert to the English. All boundary questions in dispute between the two nations were to be settled by commissioners appointed for that purpose.

Returning now to Canada, and going back a year and a half in our narrative, that is to say, to the 6arly summer of 1696, we find Count Frontenac making his plans for the campaign he had for some time felt to be necessary against the Iroquois, but particularly against the most obstinately hostile * nation of the confederacy, the Onondagas. He had no great reason to think that the court desired him to engage in this enterprise, for all the counsels he had lately been receiving from that quarter had been in favour of contraction rather than expansion, of peaceful rather than warlike measures. He trusted, however, that if he signally succeeded, as he expected to do, all would be not only condoned but approved, including his disobedience of orders in re-establishing Fort Frontenac the year before, a matter in regard to which he had not heard from the court as yet. The expedition as organized was one which certainly should have been adequate for the punishment of the Iroquois, if they would only stay to be punished. It consisted of four battalions of regulars of two hundred men each, and four of militia, numerically somewhat stronger. With these were five hundred mission Indians, Iroquois from the Saut, near Montreal, and Abenaquis from Sillery, near Quebec. Two battalions of regulars, with most of the Indians, constituted the vanguard, which was under the command of M. de Calli&res. The militia, under M. de Ramesay, Governor of Three Rivers, were placed in the centre, while M. de Vaudreuil brought up the rear, consisting of the two remaining battalions of regulars and the rest of the Indians. Frontenac himself, with his staff and a number of volunteers, took a position between the van and the centre. In this order the expedition started from Lachine on the 6th July. In fifteen days it had reached Fort Frontenac, where it halted a week, awaiting the arrival of a contingent of Ottawas which La Motte Cadillac had promised to send from Michilimackinac. As this reinforcement did not arrive, the expedition pushed on, and in two days reached the mouth of the Oswego River. Here the rapids proved very difficult, and several portages were necessary. On these occasions the count, notwithstanding his seventy-five years, was prepared to foot it like the rest; but the Indians would have none of it: they raised him aloft in his canoe, " singing and yelling with joy."

On the 4th August the army reached the principal fort of the Onondagas only to find it abandoned and burnt. There was nothing to do but, as on former similar occasions, to destroy the corn. An old Onondaga Indian who had remained in the neighbourhood was captured and put to death with horrible tortures, which he endured with the greatest fortitude; reviling his enemies with his latest breath, and calling the French " dogs," and their Indian allies " the dogs of dogs," bidding them, at the same time, to learn from him how to suffer when their turn should come. While such havoc as was possible was being wrought in the Onondaga habitations, Vaudreuil was detached from the main force to do similar damage in the country of the Oneidas. As he approached their village, some deputies of the tribe came forward to offer submission, and beg that their crops might not be destroyed, but Vaudreuil told them he had to obey his orders, and that, if they chose, they might come and dwell with the French, where they would not want for anything. While the detachment was engaged in the work of destruction news came that a force of three hundred English was marching to attack them, whereupon the Abenaquis expressed great joy, saying that they would not need to waste powder on such enemies, their tomahawks and knives would be enough. The English did not come, however. Governor Fletcher, of New York, was on the move ; but, by the time he had gathered a force, he learnt that the French had gone. It is difficult to see in what respect this campaign, which was precisely of the kind that Frontenac had said a few years before he did not approve, was more effectual than that of Denonville in 1687; Frontenac, nevertheless, represented it to the king as a notable victory. He could be pious in his phraseology when he liked ; and he wrote that the Iroquois had been smitten at his approach with a panic which could only have come from Heaven. The Iroquois were surely in hard luck in having to fight, at the same moment, human foes in superior numbers, and armed with superior weapons, and celestial ones capable of paralyzing their faculties in the moment of their greatest need. But not more actively did the gods and goddesses of Olympus intervene on the plain of Troy on behalf of well-greaved Greeks or horse-taming Trojans than did the higher powers, if we can trust the narratives of the time, on behalf of the well-musketed Canadians.

On the 10th August the return journey was begun, and on the 20th the army reached Montreal. Some lives had been lost in the rapids; otherwise there had been no casualties. In concluding his letter to the king, Frontenac, after praising the officers under his command, particularly M. de Calibres, put in a modest word for himself: "I do not know whether your Majesty will consider that I have tried to do my duty, and, if so, whether you will judge me worthy of some mark of honour such as may enable me to live the brief remainder of my life in some distinction. However your Majesty may decide, I must humbly beg you to believe that I am prepared to sacrifice the remainder of my days in your Majesty's service with the same ardour which I have always hitherto displayed." His Majesty was graciously pleased to say in reply, by the mouth of the minister, that he was entirely satisfied with the count's expedition against the Onondagas and Oneidas, and with his whole conduct. After dealing with other matters the minister added : " Until his Majesty has it in his power to bestow on you more marked proofs of his satisfaction, he has granted you his Military Order of St. Louis, and you will find herewith his permission to you to wear its cross." This was a distinction of which his subordinate Calli&res, as well as M. de Vaudreuil and the intendant, Champigny, were already in enjoyment: yet it was all that the very decided merit of M. de Frontenac was able to extract. It is said that the violent take the kingdom of heaven by force; but it is also said that the meek shall inherit the earth. Frontenac tried to make his way by dint of self-assertion, but in the end his success was only moderate. The enemies whom he thrust aside, or cowed into silence, could whisper at opportune moments, and their whispers did him no good; while sometimes they could secure gratifications for themselves decidedly worth having.

Various inconclusive negotiations for peace followed the Onondaga campaign; and things dragged on in this way till news came in January 1698, though not through an authorized channel, of the signing of the Peace of Ryswick. The officer in command at Albany, Peter Schuyler, had deputed Captain John Schuyler and one Dellius to carry the news to Calli&res at Montreal. Frontenac 354 received it at Quebec a few days later. The messengers stated that a new governor was coming out to New York—the Earl of Bellomont—and mentioned that instructions had been given to their Indians to cease their warfare against the French. Frontenac sent a reply stating that he would have to await confirmation of the news from his own government; but he did not think it well to recognize that part of the message which assumed, on the part of the English, authority over the Iroquois. Early in the following June (1698) Schuyler and Dellius came, bringing some twenty French prisoners of all ages, and also a letter from the Earl of Bellomont to Frontenac, forwarding copies in French and Latin of the treaty of peace, and proposing that Frontenac should give up all his Iroquois prisoners to him, undertaking, on his part, to secure the restoration of all the French prisoners whom the Iroquois might be holding. This brought things to an issue. Frontenac replied in firm but courteous terms, saying that, although he was still without advices from his government, he was prepared to hand over all English prisoners in his custody, but that he could not understand how his Lordship could have instructed his delegates to ask for the return of the Iroquois prisoners. The Iroquois had been uninterruptedly subjects of the French king from a time prior to the taking of New York by the English from the Dutch. So far as they were concerned, therefore, the Earl of Bellomont need not give himself any trouble, as they were suing for peace, had engaged to restore all their French prisoners, and had given hostages for the fulfilment of their promise. He also referred, as a further proof of French authority, to the missions which they had maintained among the Iroquois for over forty years. This letter was dated 8th June. Bellomont replied on the 13th August, manifesting much irritation at Frontenac's refusal to recognize the Iroquois as English subjects, and consequently covered by the peace. He told Frontenac that he had sent word to those nations to be on their guard, that he had furnished them with arms and munitions of war, and promised them assistance in case they were attacked. As to the Jesuit missionaries, the Indians had repeatedly entreated him "to expel those gentlemen from amongst them," their wish being " to have some of our Protestant ministers among them, instead of your missionaries, in order for their instruction in the Christian religion." Here was a pretty quarrel right on the head of a peace! Frontenac replied with his customary firmness, saying that he would pursue his course unflinchingly and insist on the fulfilment by the Iroquois of the engagement they had entered into before the declaration of peace. He referred to the fact that commissioners were to be appointed to decide questions of boundary, and said that, such being the case, the earl had taken too absolute a position. Here the correspondence ended so far as Frontenac was concerned. He was fighting in a losing cause, for the claim of England to the territory in dispute was shortly afterwards recognized. He could, however, at least say that the cause was not lost through him ; to the last he maintained with courage, resolution, and dignity, what he held to be the rights of his sovereign. As regards the formal establishment of peace with the Iroquois it was not to be in his time. His last despatch to the court bears date the 25th October. He tells the minister that the Iroquois, who had promised to come and conclude peace and bring back their prisoners, have not yet done so, and that he has no doubt they are held back by the Earl of Bellomont. The minister answers that, to prevent a continuation of disputes, he had consented that the tribes in question should remain undisturbed and enjoy the peace concluded at Rys: wick. The boundary question would be settled in due time by the commissioners appointed for that purpose.

This reply Count Frontenac was not destined to see. Three months, indeed, before it was penned the curtain had fallen upon his eager, strenuous, and, broadly speaking, honourable life. About the middle of November he fell ill. He was in his seventy-ninth year. In a few days, if not from the first, he knew that he had passed into the shadow of death, that he was at last meeting One whom he could not conquer. The old man made all his arrangements with admirable calmness. On the 22nd November he sent for the notary to make his will. He expressed a desire to be buried, not in the cathedral church, but in that of the Recollets, whose milder theology had best suited his practical and somewhat Erastian turn of mind. He makes pecuniary provision for a daily mass on his behalf for one year, and a yearly one thereafter on the anniversary of his death, Mme. de Frontenac to share in it after her death. His heart was to be placed in a chapel of the Church of St. Nicolas des Champs at Paris, where the remains of his sister, Mme. de Monmort, were already reposing. A merchant of Quebec, Francis Hazeur, and his private secretary, are named as his executors. He requests Champigny to support his friends in having his wishes carried out. He bequeaths to him a crucifix of aloes wood, and to Mme. de Champigny a reliquary. The bishop, M. de Saint Vallier, came to see him several times during his illness, as also did the intendant; death, not for the first time, was acting the part of reconciler. It was rather expected by the clerical party that, in his last moments, the old warrior would express deep contrition for his deficiencies on the religious side and his frequent opposition to the policy of the church; but in this they were disappointed. " God gave him full time," says an anonymous critic of the period, who has annotated very harshly the funeral sermon preached over his remains, " to recognize his errors, and yet to the last he showed a great indifference in all these matters. In a word, he behaved during the few days before his death like one who had led an irreproachable life and had nothing to fear." The last rites of religion were administered by the Rdcollet father, Olivier Goyer, and on the 28th November 1G98, retaining his faculties to the last, the veteran passed peacefully away.

What manner of man he was, this narrative, it may be trusted, has in some measure shown. Compounded of faults and virtues, his was a character that appealed strongly to average human nature. Common people understood, admired and trusted him. His faults were those common, everyday ones,1 which it is not impossible to forgive; and he had the more than compensating virtues of courage, decision, simplicity, underlying kindliness, and humour. ,His nature, vehement, turbulent, and self-asserting throughout his early and middle manhood, was gaining towards the end that ripeness in which, according to Shakespeare, lies the whole significance of life. The Abbd Gosselin has defined with great exactness his attitude towards religion. " Frontenac," he says, " was a Christian and a religious man after the fashion of his time, and as people generally are in the great world; attached to the church, but with all the Gallican ideas of the period, according to which the church was only a dependency of the state; making it a point of honour to discharge the duties incumbent on a gentleman and a Christian, but drawing a clear distinction between the demands of duty and those of perfection."1 The late Abb£ Verreau, quoted by Gosselin in his Life of Laval, has a few words of mingled praise and blame, which, perhaps, in their general effect are not far from the truth. " The harsh doctrines of Jansenism," he says, " and domestic troubles had infused into his nature something unrefined which the outward manners of the aristocrat did not entirely conceal . . . When, however, he yielded to the natural bent of his mind, he attracted every one by the intellectual grace and charm of his conversation. . . . His ambition was to be in New France the reflection of the great monarch who ruled in Old France." The Abb£ probably exaggerates the effect of Jansenist doctrines upon the mind of Frontenac, and also that of his conjugal difficulties; but he rightly discerns an element in his character which clashed with his finer and more distinguished qualities.

There is no known extant portrait of Frontenac. For many years a certain photograph was sold at Quebec as representing him on his death-bed, and was reproduced in different works relating to Canadian history. Parkman, the historian, sent it to the late M. Pierre Margry of Paris, the well-known authority on early Canadian history, who at once pronounced that it was not a portrait of Frontenac at all, but had been taken from one of the illustrations published in Lavater's celebrated work on physiognomy, the original being a German professor of the name of Heidegger. How it ever came to pass for a portrait of Frontenac remains a mystery. The matter is fully discussed in Mr. Ernest Myrand's work, Sir William Phipps devant Quebec. So far as appears, it was through a correspondence between Mr. Myrand and M. Pierre Margry, that the fact of the unauthenticity of the alleged portrait of Frontenac first became known in Canada.

The funeral sermon over the deceased governor was preached by the Recollet father who had attended his death-bed, and the manuscript of it is still preserved in the library of Laval University. The eulogium of the sympathetic father may here and there be a little forced; but surely a generous meed of praise was due to the man who, when past the meridian of life, had undertaken and borne unflinchingly for many years the burden of so difficult and dangerous an administration as that of Canada. The manuscript has been annotated by an anonymous and unfriendly ecclesiastical hand, one of whose criticisms is quoted above. The critic's point of view is further indicated by the comment on the preacher's statement that Frontenac diligently practised the reading of spiritual books. "As for his reading, it was often Jansenist books, of which he had a great many, and which he greatly praised and lent freely to others." The odium theologicum here is not difficult to discern. The people, however, who cared little for theological subtleties and animosities, but who judged their fallen chief as a man and an administrator, mourned him sincerely. His death was announced by the intendant to the king in words that are almost touching; and Calli&res, a good soldier, and a man after his own heart, ruled in his stead.


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