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      CHAPTER XX.


      Strong reinforcements had been sent to Fort Duquesne in the spring, and the garrison now consisted of about fourteen hundred men. When news of the death of Jumonville reached Montreal, Coulon de Villiers, brother of the slain officer, was sent to the spot with a body of Indians from all the tribes in the colony. He made such speed that at eight o'clock on the morning of the twenty-sixth of June he reached the fort with his motley following. Here he found that five hundred Frenchmen and a few Ohio Indians were on the point of marching against the English, under Chevalier Le Mercier; but in view of his seniority in rank and his relationship to Jumonville, the command was now transferred to Villiers. Hereupon, the march was postponed; the newly-arrived 154


      The whole force now gathered for a final attack on the garrison house. Their appearance was so frightful, and their clamor so appalling, that one 355 of the English muttered something about surrender. Convers returned, "If you say that again, you are a dead man." Had the allies made a bold assault, he and his followers must have been overpowered; but this mode of attack was contrary to Indian maxims. They merely leaped, yelled, fired, and called on the English to yield. They were answered with derision. The women in the house took part in the defence, passed ammunition to the men, and sometimes fired themselves on the enemy. The Indians at length became discouraged, and offered Convers favorable terms. He answered, "I want nothing but men to fight with." An Abenaki who spoke English cried out: "If you are so bold, why do you stay in a garrison house like a squaw? Come out and fight like a man!" Convers retorted, "Do you think I am fool enough to come out with thirty men to fight five hundred?" Another Indian shouted, "Damn you, we'll cut you small as tobacco before morning." Convers returned a contemptuous defiance.

      [See larger version][77] Public Documents of Nova Scotia, 173.

      Expenditure.


      Notwithstanding his careless manner, however, there was much sincerity in the nature of Lord Melbourne; and there is no doubt that he laboured with an honest purpose to make his Administration useful to the country, though not with so much activity and energy, or with such constant solicitude to secure success, as his predecessor had brought to the task. As it was now advancing towards the end of the Session, he confined his attention to two great measures of reformthe Irish Tithe question (of which we have already disposed) and the question of Municipal Reform. It is scarcely necessary to remark that abuses in corporations had been a matter of constant and general complaint for two centuries. But it was hopeless to expect a remedy so long as the Parliamentary representation was so inadequate and corrupt. The rotten and venal boroughs, of which the franchise was abolished or amended by the Reform Act, were the chief seats of abuse. The correction of the local evil would have been the destruction of the system by which the ruling party in the State sustained its political power. There were, therefore, the most powerful interests at work, restraining each from attempting the work of reform; but by the Parliamentary Reform Act these interests were abolished, and those local fountains of corruption could no longer pour their fetid contents into the legislature. Statesmen now felt at liberty to abate those nuisances. Yet the work was not as speedily accomplished as might have been expected. It is true that Lord Grey advised the king to issue a commission of inquiry in July, 1833, but it was not until the 5th of June, 1835, that any measure was brought forward upon the subject. Even then Lord Melbourne had to overcome the dislike of the king, who distrusted the measure, and thought that, if the corporations were to be reformed at all, they had best be reformed by granting them new charters. The commission consisted of twenty gentlemen, who were to proceed with the utmost despatch to inquire as to the existing state of the municipal corporations in England and Wales, and to collect information respecting the defects in their constitution, to make inquiry into their jurisdiction and powers as to the administration of justice, and in all other[388] respects; and also into the mode of electing and appointing the members and officers of such corporations, into the privileges of the freemen and other members thereof, and into the nature and management of the income, revenues, and funds of the said corporations. They divided the whole of England and Wales into districts, each of which was assigned to two commissioners. Their reports on individual corporations occupied five folio volumes. The whole was presented in a general report, signed by sixteen of the Commissioners.

      V1 Yet is was free like the rest, with the same popular representation and local self-government. Edward Cornwallis, uncle of Lord Cornwallis of the Revolutionary War, was made governor and commander-in-chief. Wolfe calls him "a man of approved courage and fidelity;" and even the caustic Horace Walpole speaks of him as "a brave, sensible young man, of great temper and good nature."1st. My story is accepted. .

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      61[1] La Potherie, I. 244, 246.

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      One incident seemed for a moment likely to rob the intriguer of the fruits of his ingenuity. The Iroquois who had escaped in the skirmish contrived to reach Fort Frontenac some time after the last visit of the Rat. He told what had happened; and, after being treated with the utmost attention, he was sent to Onondaga, charged with explanations and regrets. The Iroquois dignitaries seemed satisfied, and Denonville wrote to the minister that 177 there was still good hope of peace. He little knew his enemy. They could dissemble and wait; but they neither believed the governor nor forgave him. His supposed treachery at La Famine, and his real treachery at Fort Frontenac, filled them with a patient but unextinguishable rage. They sent him word that they were ready to renew the negotiation; then they sent again, to say that Andros forbade them. Without doubt they used his prohibition as a pretext. Months passed, and Denonville remained in suspense. He did not trust his Indian allies, nor did they trust him. Like the Rat and his Hurons, they dreaded the conclusion of peace, and wished the war to continue, that the French might bear the brunt of it, and stand between them and the wrath of the Iroquois. [35]Meanwhile the coronation had taken place. It was fixed for the 8th of September, and the necessary alterations were made in Westminster Abbey for the occasion. On the morning of the appointed day numerous labourers, in scarlet jackets and white trousers, were busy completing the arrangements. Forty private gentlemen acted as pages of the Earl Marshal, and devised a novelty in the way of costume, clothing themselves in blue frock coats, white breeches and stockings, a crimson silk sash, and a small, ill-shaped hat, with a black ostrich feather, each provided with a gilt staff. Their duty was to conduct persons provided with tickets to their proper places. Three-fourths of the members of the House of Commons were in military uniform, and a few in Highland costume. The equipages produced for the occasion were magnificent, the Lord Chancellor rivalling the Lord Mayor in this display; but neither of them came up to the Austrian ambassador in finery. The street procession commenced on Constitution Hill, and attracted thousands of spectators. Their Majesties' carriage was drawn by eight horses, four grooms being on each side, two footmen at each door, and a yeoman of the guard at each wheel. The crowds were in good humour with the spectacle, and manifested no disposition to dispense with royalty. The presence of the queen offered a contrast to the coronation of George IV. Of the regalia, the ivory rod with the dove was borne by Lord Campbell, the sceptre and the cross by Lord Jersey, and the crown by the Duke of Beaufort. The queen followed, supported by the Bishops of Winchester and Chichester, and attended by five gentleman pensioners on each side, the train borne by the Duchess of Gordon, assisted by six daughters of earls. There was no banquet, Government having the fear of the economists before their eyes, and the nation having too lively a recollection of the coronation folly of George IV.; but the king entertained a large party of the Royal Family and nobility, with the principal officers of his household.

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      Another story is told of him by an accomplished actress of the time, George Anne Bellamy, whom Braddock had known from girlhood, and with whom his present relations seem to have been those of an elderly adviser and friend. "As we were walking in the Park one day, we heard a poor fellow was to be chastised; when I requested the General to beg off the offender. Upon his application to the general officer, whose name was Dury, he asked Braddock how long since he had divested himself of the brutality and insolence of his manners? To which the other replied: 'You never knew me insolent to my inferiors. It is only to such rude men as yourself that I behave with the spirit which I think they deserve.'"


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