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no news from D'Artaguette, hopeless of success without artillery, against fortifications so unexpectedly strong, the disappointed old chief dismisses his savage allies with gifts and good words, retreats to his fort, casts the artillery there into the river, and defeated and ashamed, returns to New Orleans. There he presently receives the bitter news that the gallant young D'Artaguette, having kept his appointment, and on his part, hearing nothing from his superior, had waited, encamped in sight of the enemy, until he could no longer restrain his Indian auxiliaries, and had against his own judgment, attacked the foe. Driving the stubborn Chickasaws from one fortified village, they occupy a second. A second furious assault dislodges them from that; and taking refuge in a third, the valor of the assailants has already a third time decided the battle, when in the moment of victory their daring young leader receives first one wound and then another, and falls. His unstable Indians, seeing this, turn and flee; the obstinate Chickasaws, thus relieved, precipitate themselves upon the thinning ranks of the French, who, few, wearied and deserted, are forced to follow. Under the command of Voisin, a lad of sixteen, they retreat desperately seventy-five miles with their enemy yet hanging close upon them; a hundred and thirty-five miles before they eat, and bearing with them the strongest of the wounded. D'Artaguette, his companion
ATTACK UPON THE CHICKASAWS.
1 incennes, his priest, the Jesuit Senat, and others of is men to the number of nineteen, are captured, and at first well-treated, with a view to ransom or negotiation with Bienville. But upon his discomfiture, the hapless men are burned alive with all the triumphant ingenuity of the Indian torture.
Bienville yet plans another campaign; he cannot rest until he shall have punished the Chickasaws. revenged his lost countrymen, añd vindicated his own and his country's fame. So he organizes a second expedition, and this time he ascends the Mississippi, designing to fall upon the foe from the north. But the old man is unequal to the occasion; he has lost the tremendous and untiring energy which had so long been the protection and life of the province, and delays and consequent sickness and famine, enfeeble his army even before the real advance of the expedition. Having wasted almost a whole year, a little phantom of an army, all that is left, advances and meets the Chickasaws; its commander, by Bienville's authority, gladly seizes the opportunity to make a treaty with the Indians, who think this insignificant force only the advanced guard of the French. And 80 a second time, his men and stores wasted, disappointed and chagrined, even more shamefully than before, Bienville returns down the river to New Orlears.
The Chickasaws have never been conquered. De
Soto, Bienville, D'Artaguette, and Vaudreuil, Bienville's successor, who repeated the attempt some years later with like success, all failed most memorably. Their Indian foes never overcame them : they have as yet been impregnable in their savage patriotism,
Bienville in disgrace and sorrow returned to France, superseded by the Marquis de Vaudreuil; and terminated in sadness and misfortune a long and honorable life.
Under the wise administration of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, and of his successor M. de Kerlerec, the province of Louisiana began to flourish mightily. Within ten years after the close of the Chickasaw war, the French king was undisputed master of the whole vast valley of the Mississippi. His name and authority were reverenced by all the tribes; his officers and messengers governed and travelled with safety and honor; and under the shadow of his protecting power, population and wealth rapidly accumulated. The vast sweep of territory formed by the two immense valleys of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, formed a great barrier around that narrow coast-wise strip on the comparatively barren eastern slope of the Alleghanies, which included the English possessiors ; and there seemed to be every reason for supposing that the French power must remain immeasurably preponderant upon the continent of North America.
So enormous a portion of the earth's meridian did
GROWTH OF THE LOUISIANA PROVINCE.
the province of Louisiana cover, that it possessed that almost certain guarantee for continued integral existence, an interior commerce almost or entirely self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Yearly the number
. of keel-boats and barges increased, on which there came down from the upper valley, flour, pork, bacon, hides, leather, tallow, bears’-oil, furs, lumber, all the products of fertile temperate regions; and in which there went up the equivalents; the rice, indigo, tobacco, sugar, cotton; for all these rich staples were already naturalized in the colony, on the lower banks of the Mississippi ; as well as the manufactured merchandise of distant Europe. There was once or twice a destructive tornado, or a cruel frost; but the strong province no longer felt such a dispensation as anything more than a light misfortune.
M. de Vaudreuil, to check the growing incursions of the Chickasaws, led against them the expedition which has already been alluded to; but the warlike savages were fortified even better than before; and from their inaccessible holds, which were so regularly and strongly palisaded, ditched, and flanked with block-houses as to be impregnable without artillery, they safely beheld the devastation of their crops and the destruction of their wigwams; a futile vengeance, of little significance to them, and of less to Vaudreuil, who had to carry his unsatisfied wrath back with him, and unlaurelled to digest
, it as he might.
Now, however, commenced the old French war; that savage eight years' struggle between England and France, which was to wrench the supremacy upon this continent from the latter power, and to detain it for a few years in the hands of the former, as if in temporary trust, for the use of the strong republic in whose grasp it now remains. All along the vast frontier line, England and France meddled with frontiersmen and savages; and all along the line the hot but flickering flame of the Indian wars began to burn. The chief struggle, however, was in Canada; the settlements in Louisiana and the Illinois, girt by wide and pathless forests, remained untouched by the war, and peacefully pursued their farming and their trade. The only sorrow that fell upon them was the embarrassment arising from the inundation of government drafts and notes set afloat in payınent for supplies, which it could not redeem, and which hampered and perplexed the business of the valley until the end of the war.
One day in the early part of this war, a fleet of boats and barges is descried, descending the yellow current of the river. It is moored at the city, and a toilworn band of Frenchmen, ragged, penniless, famine-struck, along with sad wives and mournful children, disembarks. They enter the astonished town, as suppliants for charity. Their doleful story is soon told. Nearly three thousand miles away,