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HISTORY OF CANADA.   75

the war were allowed to pass through several hands before they became the property of the king. Their price increased at each transfer, until the king, finally, paid for them many times their value. The drain upon the resources of the colony during the year just past had been very great. Supplies from France had been cut off, and, to increase the public distress, the crop had been but scanty. Except in high places among the officials of the colony, the condition of the Canadians was becoming desperate. They had been forced to sell their produce for the king's service at low prices, fixed (as often happened) by ordinances of the intendant ; now, for what they needed to sustain life, famine prices were charged.

Montcalm Arrives.—De Vaudreuil had taken vigorous defensive measures against the British. He had fortified Ticonderoga and had garrisoned it with a force of about two thousand men

to repel any advance by way of

Lake Champlain. Fort Niagara had been rebuilt and strengthened. On Lake Ontario two armed vessels were prepared to waylay any British force which might attempt to leave Oswego. For offensive war de Vaudreuil had made no large plans, preferring, apparently, as his father before him, to wage "la petite guerre." Louis XV., on the eve of war in Europe, could spare but few troops, but, he sent, to take command of his little army in Canada, a distinguished soldier, the Marquis de Montcalm. Mont-

calm arrived in May, 1756. The French regulars now in Canada numbered about 6,400. After allowing for the garrisons necessary to hold the various forts, Montcalm had a force of about three thousand men available for offensive operations. Sending the Chevalier de Levis, his second in command, to hold Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga), Montcalm determined to attack Oswego.

The British Inactive.—On the side of the British colonies Shirley was in command, and with his usual zeal he planned an

MONTCALrSI.

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