Previous Index Next

 

PIONEER SOLDIERS OF CANADA   11

Maisonneuve, who was the last man to retire, saved the situation. When a few hundred yards from the fort he, single-handed, stood at bay, and by a well-directed pistol shot brought down the leader of the Iroquois. Seeing their war-chief fall, the Indians abandoned the pursuit and Maisonneuve followed his men into the fort. But the Iroquois continued their attacks on Ville Marie, and, in 1645, Maisonneuve, realizing that his colony was not strong enough for the work it had undertaken, proceeded to France to seek reinforcements. He was successful in his mission and returned in the following year with a considerable body of new settlers.

If Canada was without adequate means to defend the settlers, military display was not altogether lacking. Father LeJeune, writing of Quebec during the administration of Montmagny said: "We have a number of good, resolute soldiers. It is a pleasure to see them go through their military exercises in time of peace, and to hear the noise of the musketry and cannon called forth on occasions of joy, while our immense forests and mountains answer these salutes with echoes like rolling thunders which have neither thunderbolt nor lightning. The bugle awakens us every morning, we see the sentinels take their posts, the guard is always well armed, and each squad has its day of duty. In a word, Quebec is guarded in time of peace as well as a well regulated post in time of war."

A fortunate occurrence for Maisonneuve and his colony was the appointment, in 1648, of his friend and co-worker d'Ailleboust to be Governor of Canada. The new Governor, unlike his predecessor, Montmagny, co-operated heartily with Maisonneuve in strengthening the defences of Ville Marie. But still the place was subject to continuous attack, and in 1652 Maisonneuve again went to France for reinforcements and returned with upward of 100 men. These were described at the time as soldiers, and they had all, or nearly all, seen military service, but they were really engaged as farmers and


Previous Index Next