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A Half Century of Conflict - Volume I by Parkman

De la Ronde Denys will be a good man to do it


journal of Nicholson was published "by authority" in the _Boston News Letter, November, 1710_, and has been reprinted, with numerous accompanying documents, including the French and English correspondence during the siege, in the _Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society_, i.

Vaudreuil, before the siege, sent a reinforcement to Subercase, who, by a strange infatuation, refused it. _N. Y. Col. Docs._, ix. 853.


1710, 1711.


Scheme of La Ronde Denys.--Boston warned against British Designs.--Boston to be ruined.--Plans of the Ministry.--Canada doomed.--British Troops at Boston.--The Colonists denounced.--The Fleet sails for Quebec.--Forebodings of the Admiral.--Storm and Wreck.--Timid Commanders.--Retreat.--Joyful News for Canada.--Pious Exultation.--Fanciful Stories.--Walker Disgraced.

Military aid from Old England to New, promised in one year and actually given in the next, was a fact too novel and surprising to escape the notice either of friends or of foes.

The latter drew strange conclusions from it. Two Irish deserters from an English station in Newfoundland appeared at the French post of Placentia full of stories of British and provincial armaments against

Canada. On this, an idea seized the French commandant, Costebelle, and he hastened to make it known to the colonial minister. It was to the effect that the aim of England was not so much to conquer the French colonies as to reduce her own to submission, especially Massachusetts,--a kind of republic which has never willingly accepted a governor from its king.[147] In sending ships and soldiers to the "Bastonnais" under pretence of helping them to conquer their French neighbors, Costebelle is sure that England only means to bring them to a dutiful subjection. "I do not think," he writes on another occasion, "that they are so blind as not to see that they will insensibly be brought under the yoke of the Parliament of Old England; but by the cruelties that the Canadians and Indians exercise in continual incursions upon their lands, I judge that they would rather be delivered from the inhumanity of such neighbors than preserve all the former powers of their little republic."[148] He thinks, however, that the design of England ought to be strongly represented to the Council at Boston, and that M. de la Ronde Denys will be a good man to do it, as he speaks English, has lived in Boston, and has many acquaintances there.[149]

The minister, Ponchartrain, was struck by Costebelle's suggestion, and wrote both to him and to Vaudreuil in high approval of it. To Vaudreuil he says: "Monsieur de Costebelle has informed me that the chief object of the armament made by the English last year was to establish their sovereignty at Boston and New York, the people of these provinces having always maintained a sort of republic, governed by their council, and having been unwilling to receive absolute governors from the kings of England. This destination of the armament seems to me probable, and it is much to be wished that the Council at Boston could be informed of the designs of the English court, and shown how important it is for that province to remain in the state of a republic. The King would even approve our helping it to do so. If you see any prospect of success, no means should be spared to secure it. The matter is of the greatest importance, but care is essential to employ persons who have the talents necessary for conducting it, besides great secrecy and prudence, as well as tried probity and fidelity. This affair demands your best attention, and must be conducted with great care and precaution, in order that no false step may be taken."[150]

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