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      At the village of another tribe, farther on their way, they met with a welcome still more oppressive. Cavelier, the unworthy successor of his brother, being represented as the chief of the party, became the principal victim of their attentions. They danced the calumet before him; while an Indian, taking him, with an air of great respect, by the shoulders as he sat, shook him in cadence with the thumping of the drum. They then placed two girls close beside him, as his wives; while, at the same time, an old chief tied a painted feather in his hair. These proceedings so scandalized him that, pretending [Pg 453] to be ill, he broke off the ceremony; but they continued to sing all night, with so much zeal that several of them were reduced to a state of complete exhaustion.


      The floodgates of murder were open, and the torrent must have its way. Vengeance and safety alike demanded the death of La Salle. Hiens, or "English Jem," alone seems to have hesitated; for he was one of those to whom that stern commander had always been partial. Meanwhile, the intended victim was still at his camp, about six miles distant. It is easy to picture, with sufficient accuracy, the features of the scene,the sheds of bark and branches, beneath which, among blankets and buffalo-robes, camp-utensils, pack-saddles, rude harness, guns, powder-horns, and bullet-pouches, the men lounged away the hour, sleeping or smoking, or talking among themselves; the blackened kettles that hung from tripods of poles over the fires; the Indians strolling about the place or lying, like dogs in the sun, with eyes half-shut, yet all observant; and, in the neighboring meadow, the horses grazing under the eye of a watchman.


      Walckenaer, Mmoires sur Madame de Sevign.In March, 1796, Mr. Wickham, the British envoy to Switzerland, asked of M. Barthlemy, by direction of Pitt, whether the French Directory were desirous of entertaining the question of peace. Barthlemy replied that the Directory would enter into negotiations on the basis of France retaining all the Netherlands won from Austria, which were now annexed to the Republic, and which France would never restore. The reply was certainly insincere. France was as busy as ever by her emissaries undermining the loyalty of all the populations around her on pretence of liberating them. She had worked upon the Swiss, so that it was evident that they would soon fall into her net. She had entered into a treaty with the disaffected in Ireland, namely, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone, Arthur O'Connor, and their fellow-conspirators, and the treaty was already signed, and a large fleet and force preparing for the invasion of Ireland. Not only was France on the very eve of invading Ireland, but she had issued a decree prohibiting the introduction of all British manufactures into Holland, Belgium, and the German states on the Rhine, as well as into any of the French colonies, on the severest penalties. Yet, in the face of all these hostile demonstrations, did Pitt send over Lord Malmesbury to endeavour to negotiate a peace. Lord Malmesbury arrived in Paris, on the 22nd of October, with a splendid retinue. The Directory received him haughtily, and commissioned M. Delacroix to discuss the matter with him. Lord Malmesbury insisted on the restoration of the Netherlands to Austria, a point on which the French Government had declared there could be no treaty, and which rendered the embassy, from the first moment, utterly absurd. Delacroix communicated the proposal to the Directory, and the Directory immediately published it, contrary to all the rules of diplomacy, in the Moniteur, Instead of proceeding further with Britain, the Directory immediately dispatched General Clarke, an officer of Irish extraction, and afterwards made Duke of Feltre, under Buonaparte, to Vienna, to treat separately with Austria. This failed, and, of course, with it all failed; though there was much talk between Malmesbury and the Directory on the subject of Britain restoring the French colonies in the East and West Indies, since the restoration of Belgium and Holland was a sine qua non. Thus, as might have been seen from the first, the negotiation was at a deadlock. The King of Sardinia was already in negotiation for peace for himself; and therefore British Ministers did not add to his difficulties by demanding the restoration of Savoy and Nice.

      * The census of 1667 gives to Quebec only 448 souls; C?te


      *** Papiers dArgenson.

      This letter, so honorable to La Salle, explains the statement made in the memoir, that, notwithstanding his grounds of complaint against the Jesuits, he continued to live on terms of courtesy with them, entertained them at his fort, and occasionally corresponded with them. The writer asserts, however, that they intrigued with his men to induce them to desert,employing for this purpose a young man named Deslauriers, whom they sent to him with letters of recommendation. La Salle took him into his service; but he soon after escaped, with several other men, and took refuge in the Jesuit missions.[95] The object of the intrigue is said to have been the reduction of La Salle's garrison to a number less than that which he was bound to maintain, thus exposing him to a forfeiture of his title of possession.Marguerite Bourgeoys also describes the affair in her unpublished writings.

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      [See larger version]All Canada, thinking itself sure of its price, rushed into the beaver trade, and the accumulation of unsalable furs became more and more suffocating. The farmers of the revenue could not meet their engagements. Their bills of exchange were unpaid, and Canada was filled with distress and consternation. In 1700, a change of system was ordered. The monopoly of exporting beaver


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