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46   HISTORY OF CANADA.

 

north, and to chastise the Iroquois. The faults of Frontenac in his previous government of New France had been those of a strong character, too self-asserting, perhaps, for a time of peace ; these same traits marked him as the very man who was needed in the crisis which had now arrived.

The Rival Colonies.—New France was governed by one master spirit, with command over a warlike race trained to implicit obedience. The English colonies were, as the Lords of Trade* complained, "crumbled into little governments." In population they far outnumbered the French. The individual settler was hardy and full of courage in defence of his homestead, but there was no unity of action and no military leader. Until the outbreak known as " King Philip's War " there had been peace between the New Englanders and their Indian neighbors. That war, called after an Indian chief who was prominent in it, had called forth much stubborn courage on the part of the pioneers. It had ended some years before (1678), and the settlers had returned to their peaceful warfare upon the surrounding forests. The trading station of Baron de St. Castin, at Penobscot, had been from time to time raided by the authorities of New England as being a trespass on English soil, but its half-savage head had always returned to his post, and through his influence with the Abenakis had kept alive a feeling in favor of the French and against the English settlements. Jesuit missions, too, were established on the upper waters of the Kennebec, and on the St. John the Recollet missionary, Father Simon, also exercised great influence over the savages in behalf of the French.

The Iroquois Join the English.—Frontenac found New France in wild alarm. The Iroquois had followed up the massacre of Lachine, and their prowling bands infested the neighborhood of Montreal. At its very gates the hamlet of La Chesnaye was pillaged. There was but one ray of light in the darkness. On the Lake of Two Mountains, du Luth met a large band of these marauders and routed them with much slaughter. A formal alliance was made between the English and the Iroquois in spite of Frontenac's efforts to prevent it. So low, indeed, had French prestige fallen that only through the influence of the

* See page 188.


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