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"Monsieur," exclaimed Olier, "I know your design, and I go to commend it to God at the holy altar."
** Journal des Jsuites, Oct., 1664.THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW. (After the Picture by Meissonier.)
1665-1672. PATERNAL GOVERNMENT.
At the entrance of Lake Ontario they met a party of Iroquois fishermen, who proved friendly, and guided them on their way. Ascending the Onondaga, they neared their destination; and now all misgivings as to their reception at the Iroquois capital were dispelled. The inhabitants came to meet them, bringing roasting ears of the young maize and bread made of its pulp, than which they knew no luxury more exquisite. Their faces beamed welcome. Le Moyne was astonished. I never," he says, saw the like among Indians before. They were flattered by his visit, and, for the moment, were glad to see him. They hoped for great advantages from the residence of Frenchmen among them; and, having the Erie war on their hands, they wished for peace with Canada. One would call me brother, writes Le Moyne; another, uncle; another, cousin. I never had so many relations.
While there was distress among the Mohawks, there was trouble among their English neighbors, who claimed as their own the country which Tracy had invaded. The English authorities were the more disquieted, because they feared that the lately conquered Dutch might join hands with the French against them. When Nicolls, governor of New York, heard of Tracys advance, he wrote to the governors of the New England colonies, begging them to join him against the French invaders, and urging that, if Tracys force were destroyed or captured, the conquest of Canada would be an easy task. There was war at the time between the two crowns; and the British court had already entertained this project of conquest, and sent orders to its colonies to that effect. But the New England governors, ill prepared for war, and fearing that their Indian neighbors, who were enemies of the Mohawks, might take part with the French, hesitated to act, and the affair ended in a correspondence, civil if not sincere, between Nicolls and Tracy. * The treaty of Breda, in the following year, secured peace for a time between the rival colonies.The foreign expeditions planned by the Grenville Ministry were, this year, attended by disgraceful results, and the news of their failure arrived in time to enable the new Ministry to throw additional odium upon their foes. The news of the seizure of Buenos Ayres by Sir Home Popham and General Beresford had induced the late Cabinet to overlook the irregular manner in which their enterprise had been undertaken. They sent out Admiral Sir C. Stirling to supersede Sir Home Popham, who was to be brought before a court-martial, but he took out with him a fresh body of troops, under General Auchmuty. These troops landed at Monte Video on the 18th of January, and, after a sharp contest against six thousand Spaniards, and the loss of five hundred and sixty British killed and wounded, the place was taken on the 2nd of February. Soon afterwards General Whitelocke arrived with orders to assume supreme command and to recapture Buenos Ayres, which the inhabitants had succeeded in recovering. Whitelocke reached Monte Video towards the end of May, and found the British army, with what he brought, amounting to nearly twelve thousand men, in fine condition. With such a force Buenos Ayres would have soon been reduced by a man of tolerable military ability. But Whitelocke seems to have taken no measures to enable his troops to carry the place by a sudden and brilliant assault. It was not till the 3rd of July that he managed to join Major-General Gore, who had taken possession of a commanding elevation overlooking the city. The hope of success lay in the rapidity with which the assault was made: all this was now lost. The rain poured in torrents, and the men had no shelter, and were half starved. All this time the Spaniards had been putting the city into a state of defence. Still, on the morning of the 5th of July the order was issued to storm. The troops advanced in three columns from different sides of the town, headed severally by Generals Auchmuty, Lumley, and Craufurd. Whitelocke said that it could be of no use to delay the advance towards the centre of the town by attacking the enemy under cover of their houses; it could only occasion the greater slaughter. The command, therefore, was to dash forward with unloaded muskets, trusting alone to the bayonet. Much blame was cast on Whitelocke for this order, but there seems strong reason in it, considering the wholly uncovered condition of the troops against a covered enemy, and that the only chance was for each division to force its way as rapidly as possible to certain buildings where they could ensconce themselves, and from whence they could direct an attack of shot and shells on the Spaniards. General Auchmuty, accordingly, rushed on against every obstacle to the great squarePlaza de Toros, or Square of Bullstook thirty-two cannon, a large quantity of ammunition, and six hundred prisoners. Other regiments of his division succeeded in getting possession of the church and convent of Santa Catalina, and of the residencia, a commanding post; Lumley and Craufurd were not so fortunate. The 88th was compelled to yield; and the 36th, greatly reduced, and joined by the 5thwhich had taken the convent of Santa Catalinamade their way to Sir Samuel Auchmuty's position in the Plaza de Toros, dispersing a body of eight hundred Spaniards on their way and taking two guns. Craufurd's division capitulated at four o'clock in the afternoon. In the evening Whitelocke resolved to come to terms. The conditions of the treaty werethat General Whitelocke's army, with its arms, equipage, and stores, was to be conveyed across the La Plata to Monte Video; his troops were to be supplied with food; and that at the end of two months the British were to surrender Monte Video, and retire from the country. Such was the humiliating result of the attempt on Buenos Ayres. Nothing could exceed the fury of all classes at home against Whitelocke on the arrival of the news of this disgraceful defeat. It was reported that he had made the men take their flints out of their guns before sending them into the murderous streets of Buenos Ayres; and had he arrived with his despatches, his life would not have been safe for an hour. There was a general belief that the Court was protecting him from punishment; and, in truth, the delays interposed between him and a court-martial appeared to warrant this. It was not till the 28th of January, 1808, that he was brought before such a court at Chelsea Hospital, when he was condemned to be cashiered, as wholly unfit and unworthy to serve his Majesty in any military capacity whatever.
La Salle had asked for sole command of the expedition, with a subaltern officer, and one or two pilots to sail the vessels as he should direct. Instead of complying, Seignelay gave the command of the vessels to Beaujeu, a captain of the royal navy,whose authority was restricted to their management at sea, while La Salle was to prescribe the route they were to take, and have entire control of the troops and colonists on land. This arrangement displeased both parties. Beaujeu, an old and experienced officer, was galled that a civilian should be set over him,and he, too, a burgher lately ennobled; nor was La Salle the man to soothe his ruffled spirit. Detesting a divided command, cold, reserved, and [Pg 354] impenetrable, he would have tried the patience of a less excitable colleague. Beaujeu, on his part, though set to a task which he disliked, seems to have meant to do his duty, and to have been willing at the outset to make the relations between himself and his unwelcome associate as agreeable as possible. Unluckily, La Salle discovered that the wife of Beaujeu was devoted to the Jesuits. We have seen the extreme distrust with which he regarded these guides of his youth, and he seems now to have fancied that Beaujeu was their secret ally. Possibly, he suspected that information of his movements would be given to the Spaniards; more probably, he had undefined fears of adverse machinations. Granting that such existed, it was not his interest to stimulate them by needlessly exasperating the naval commander. His deportment, however, was not conciliating; and Beaujeu, prepared to dislike him, presently lost temper. While the vessels still lay at Rochelle; while all was bustle and preparation; while stores, arms, and munitions were embarking; while boys and vagabonds were enlisting as soldiers for the expedition,Beaujeu was venting his disgust in long letters to the minister.