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The Conquest of New France

George Mckinnon Wrong

公版免费书 / 外国经典 · 4.9万字

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出版社:北京汇聚文源文化发展有限公司

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目录

第1章

The Conflict Opens: Frontenac And Phips

Many centuries of European history had been marked by war almost ceaseless between France and England when these two states first confronted each other in America.The conflict for the New World was but the continuation of an age-long antagonism in the Old, intensified now by the savagery of the wilderness and by new dreams of empire.There was another potent cause of strife which had not existed in the earlier days.When, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the antagonists had fought through the interminable Hundred Years' War, they had been of the same religious faith.Since then, however, England had become Protestant, while France had remained Catholic.When the rivals first met on the shores of the New World, colonial America was still very young.It was in 1607 that the English occupied Virginia.At the same time the French were securing a foothold in Acadia, now Nova Scotia.Six years had barely passed when the English Captain Argall sailed to the north from Virginia and destroyed the rising French settlements.Sixteen years after this another English force attacked and captured Quebec.

Presently these conquests were restored.France remained in possession of the St.Lawrence and in virtual possession of Acadia.The English colonies, holding a great stretch of the Atlantic seaboard, increased in number and power.New France also grew stronger.The steady hostility of the rivals never wavered.There was, indeed, little open warfare as long as the two Crowns remained at peace.From 1660 to 1688, the Stuart rulers of England remained subservient to their cousin the Bourbon King of France and at one with him in religious faith.

But after the fall of the Stuarts France bitterly denounced the new King, William of Orange, as both a heretic and a usurper, and attacked the English in America with a savage fury unknown in Europe.From 1690 to 1760 the combatants fought with little more than pauses for renewed preparation; and the conflict ended only when France yielded to England the mastery of her empire in America.It is the story of this struggle, covering a period of seventy years, which is told in the following pages.

The career of Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, who was Governor of Canada from 1672 to 1682 and again from 1689 to his death in 1698, reveals both the merits and the defects of the colonizing genius of France.Frontenac was a man of noble birth whose life had been spent in court and camp.The story of his family, so far as it is known, is a story of attendance upon the royal house of France.His father and uncles had been playmates of the young Dauphin, afterwards Louis XIII.The thoughts familiar to Frontenac in his youth remained with him through life; and, when he went to rule at Quebec, the very spirit that dominated the court at Versailles crossed the sea with him.

A man is known by the things he loves.The things which Frontenac most highly cherished were marks of royal favor, the ceremony due to his own rank, the right to command.He was an egoist, supremely interested in himself.He was poor, but at his country seat in France, near Blois, he kept open house in the style of a great noble.Always he bore himself as one to whom much was due.

His guests were expected to admire his indifferent horses as the finest to be seen, his gardens as the most beautiful, his clothes as of the most effective cut and finish, the plate on his table as of the best workmanship, and the food as having superior flavor.He scolded his equals as if they were naughty children.

Yet there was genius in this showy court figure.In 1669, when the Venetian Republic had asked France to lend her an efficient soldier to lead against the rampant Turk, the great Marshal Turenne had chosen Frontenac for the task.Crete, which Frontenac was to rescue, the Turk indeed had taken; but, it is said, at the fearful cost of a hundred and eighty thousand men.Three years later, Frontenac had been sent to Canada to war with the savage Iroquois and to hold in check the aggressive designs of the English.He had been recalled in 1682, after ten years of service, chiefly on account of his arbitrary temper.He had quarreled with the Bishop.He had bullied the Intendant until at one time that harried official had barricaded his house and armed his servants.He had told the Jesuit missionaries that they thought more of selling beaver-skins than of saving souls.He had insulted those about him, sulked, threatened, foamed at the mouth in rage, revealed a childish vanity in regard to his dignity, and a hunger insatiable for marks of honor from the King--"more grateful," he once said, "than anything else to a heart shaped after the right pattern."France, however, now required at Quebec a man who could do the needed man's tasks.The real worth of Frontenac had been tested;and so, in 1689, when England had driven from her shores her Catholic king and, when France's colony across the sea seemed to be in grave danger from the Iroquois allies of the English, Frontenac was sent again to Quebec to subdue these savages and, if he could, to destroy in America the power of the age long enemy of his country.

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