Agnes Christina Laut.

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the raiders by Indian coureurs. The fort was shut
fast as a sealed box. Neither side gave sign. Not
till the French began trundling their cannon ashore
by all sorts of clumsy contrivances to get them in
range of the fort forty yards back, was there a sign
of life, when forty-three big guns inside the wall of
Albany simultaneously let go forty-three bombs in
midair that flattened the raiders to earth under
shelter of the embankment. Chevalier De Troyes
then mustered all the pomp and fustian of court
pageantry, flag flying, drummers beating to the fore,
guard in line, and marching forward demanded of
the English traders, come half-way out to meet him,
satisfaction for and the delivery of Sieur P€r6, a

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loyal subject of France suffering imprisonment on
the shores of Hudson Bay at .the hands of the Eng-
lish. One may wonder, perhaps, what these raiders
would have done without the excuse of F6r6. The
messenger came back from Governor Sargeant with
word that T6t6 had been sent home to France by way
of England long ago, (That P6r6 had been delayed
in an English prison was not told.) De Troyes then
pompously demanded the surrender of the fort.
Sargeant sent back word such a demand was an
insult in time of peace. Under cover of night the
French retired to consider. With an extravagance
now lamented, they had used at Rupert the most of
their captured anununition. Cannon, they had in
plenty, but only a few rounds of balls. They had
thirty prisoners, but no provisions; a ship, but no
booty of furs. Between them and home lay a wilder-
ness of forest and swamp. They must capture the
fort by an escalade, or retreat empty-handed.

Inside the fort such bedlam reigned as might have
delighted the raiders^ hearts. Sargeant, the sturdy
old governor, was for keeping his teeth clinched to
the end, though the larder was lean and only enough
powder left to do the French slight damage as they
landed their cannon. When a servant fell dead
from a French ball. Turner, the chief gunner, dashed
from his post roaring out he was going to throw

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himself on the mercy of the French. Sargeant
rounded the fellow back to his guns with the generous
promise to blow his brains out if he budged an inch.
Two English spies sent out came back with word
the. French were mounting their battery in the dark.
Instantly, there was a scurry of men to hide in attics,
in cellars, under bales of fur, while six worthies, over
signed names, presented a petition to the sturdy old
governor, imploring him to surrender. Declaring
they would not fight without an advance of pay any-
way, they added in words that should go down to
posterity, "/^ ^/ ^^V ^f ^^ ^^^^ ^ ^^Sf ^^^ company
could not make it good.^' Still Sargeant kept his
teeth set, his gates shut, his guns spitting defiance at
the enemy.

For two days bombs sang back and forward
through the air. There was more parleying. Brid-
gar, the governor captured down at Rupert, came
to tell Sargeant that the French were desperate; if
they were compelled to fight to the end, there would
be no quarter. Still Sargeant hoped against hope
for the yearly English vessel to relieve the siege.
Then Captain Outlaw came from the powder mag-
azines with word there was no more ammunition.
The people threw down their arms and threatened
to desert en masse to the French. Sargeant still
stubbornly refused to beat a parley; so Dixon, the

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Le Moyne d'lberviUe Sweeps the Bay

under factor, hung out a white sheet as flag of truce,
from an upper window. The French had just
ceased firing to cool their cannon. They had actually
been reduced to melting iron round wooden disks
for balls, when the messenger came out with word
of surrender. Bluff and resolute to the end, Sargeant
marched out with two flagons of port, seated himself
on the French cannon, drank healths with De
Troyes, and proceeded to drive as hard a bargain as
if his larders had been crammed and his magazines
full of powder. Drums beating, flags flying, in full
possession of arms, governor, officers, wives and ser-
vants were to be permitted to march out in honor,
to be transported to Charlton Island, there to await
the coming of the English ship.

Barely had the thirty English sallied out, when
the bush-lopers dashed into the fort, ransacking house
and cellar. The fifty-thousand-crowns' worth of
beaver were found, but not a morsel of food except
one bowl of barley sprouts. Thirteen hundred
miles from Canada with neither powder nor food!
De Troyes gave his men leave to disband on
August ID, and it was a wild scramble for home —
sauve qui peut, as the old chronicler relates, some of
the prisoners being taken to Quebec as carriers of the
raided furs, others to the number of fifty, being turned
adrift in the desolate wilderness of the bay! It was

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October before Iberville's forest rovers were back
in Montreal. .

From Charlton Island, the English refugees found
their way up to Port Nelson, there to go back on the
annual ship to England. Among these were Bridgar
and Outlaw, but the poor outcasts, who were driven
to the woods, and the Hudson's Bay servants, who
were compelled to carry the loot for the French
raiders back to Quebec — suffered slim mercies from
their captors. Those round Albany were compelled
to act as beasts of burden for the small French garri-
son, and received no food but what they hunted.
Some perished of starvation outside the walls. Others
attempted to escape north overland to Nelson. Of
the crew from Outlaw's ship Success^ eight perished
on the way north, and the surviving six were accused
of cannibalism. In all, fifty English fur traders
were set adrift when Albany surrendered to the
French. Not twenty were ever heard of again.



Notes on Chapter XIL — ^The contents of this chapter are drawn
from the documents of Hudson's Bay House, London, and the
State Papers of the Marine, Paris, for 1685-87. It is remark-
able how completely the State papers of the two hostile parties
agree. Those in H. B. C. House are the Minutes, Governor
Sargeant's affidavit, Bridgar's report, Outlaw's oath and the
petition of the survivors of Outlaw's crew — ^namely, John
Jarrett, John Howard, John Parsons, William Gray, Edmund
Clough, Thomas Rawlin, G. B. Barlow, Thomas Lyon. As the
raids now became an international matter, duplicates of most of
these papers are to be found in the Public Records Office, Lon-
don. All French historians give some account of this raid of

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Iberville's; but all are drawn from the same source, the account
of the Jesuit Sylvie, or from one De Lery, who was supi)osed
to have been present. Oldmixon, the old English chronicler,
must have had access to Sargeant's papers, as he relates some
details only to be found in Hudson's fiay House.



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CHAPTER XIII

1686-1697
d'iberville sweeps the bay (Continued)

THE French were now in complete possession
of the south end of Hudson Bay. Iber-
ville's brother, Maricourt, with a handful
of men remained at Albany to guard the captured
forts. Some of the English, who had taken to the
woods in flight, now found the way to Severn River,
half-way north between Albany and Nelson, where
they hastily rushed up rude winter quarters and
boldly did their best to keep the Indians from com-
mimicating with the French. Among the refugees
was Chouart Groseillers, who became one of the
chief advisers at Nelson. Two of his comrades had
promptly deserted to the French side. For ten
years, Hudson Bay became the theater of such esca-
pades as buccaneers might have enacted on the
Spanish Main. England and France were at peace,
A Treaty of Neutrality, in 1686, had provided that
the bay should be held in common by the fur traders

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Le Moyne d^Iherville Sweeps the Bay

of both countries, but the Company of the North in
Quebec and the English Adventurers of London had
no notion of leaving their rights in such an ambigu-
ous position. Both fitted out their raiders to fight
the quarrel to the end, and in spite of the Treaty
of Neutrality, the King of France issued secret in-
structions to the bush-rovers of Quebec "to leave of
the English forts on the Northern Bay, not a vestige
standing^ If the bay were to be held in common,
and the English abandoned it, all rights would revert
to France.

The year 1687 saw the tireless Iberville back at
Rupert River. The Hudson's Bay sloop, The
Young^ had come to port. Iberville seized it with-
out any ado and sent four spies over to Charlton
Island where The Churchill, under Captain Bond,
was wintering. Three of the French spies were
summarily captured by the English fur traders and
thrown into the hold of the ship, manacled, for the
winter. In spring, one was brought above decks to
give the English sailors a helping hand. The fellow
waited till six of the crew were up the ratlines, then
he seized an axe, tip-toed up behind two English-
men, brained them^ on the spot, rushing down the
hatchway liberated his two comrades, took possession
of all firearms and at pistol point kept the English-
men up the mast poles till he steered the vessel across

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to Iberville at Rupert River, where a cargo of pro-
visions saved the French from famine.

It was in vain that the English sent rescue parties
south from Nelson and Severn to recapture Albany.
Captain Moon had come down from Nelson with
twenty-four men to Albany, reinforced by the crews
of the two ships, Hampshire and North-West FoXj
when Iberville came canoeing across the ice floes
with his Indian bandits. The English ships were
locked in the ice before the besieged fort. Iber-
ville ambushed his men in the tamarack swamps till
eighty-two English had landed. Then, he rushed
the deserted vessels, took possession of one with its
cargo of furs, and as the ice cleared sailed gayly out
of Albany for Quebec. The astounded English set
fire to the other ship and retreated overland to
Severn. At the straits, Iberville ran fuU-tilt into
the fleet of incoming English vessels, but that was
nothing to disconcert this blockade-runner, not
though the ice closed round them all, holding French
and English prisoners within gunshot of each other,
Iberville ran up an English flag on his captured
ship and had actually signaled the captains of the
English frigates to come across the ice and visit him
when the water cleared, and aWay he sailed.

Perhaps success bred reckless carelessness on the
part of the French. From 1690 to '93, Iberville

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Le Moyne (Tlberville Sweeps the Bay

was absent from the bay on the border raids of
Schenectady, and Pemaquid in New England. Mike
Grimmington of The Perpetuana was at last released
from captivity in Quebec and came to England with
rage in his heart and vengeance in his hands for
France. It was now almost impossible for the Eng-
lish Adventurers to hire captains and crews for the
dangerous work of their trade on the bay. The same
pensions paid by the State were oflFered by the Com-
pany in case of wounds or death, and in addition
a bonus of twenty shillings a month was guaranteed
to the sailors, of from £$o to ;£2oo a year to the
captains. A present of ;£io plate was given to
Grimmington for his bravery and he was appointed
captain. Coming out to Nelson in '93, Grimming-
ton determined to capture back Albany for the
English. Three ships sailed down to Albany from
Nelson. The fort looked deserted. Led by Grim-
mington, the sailors hacked open the gates. Only
four Frenchmen were holding the fort. The rest of
the garrison were off hunting in the woods, and in
the woods they were forced to remain that winter;
for Grimmington ransacked the fort, took possession
and clapped the French under Mons. Captain Le
Meux, prisoners in the hold of his vessel. With
Grimmington on this raid was his old mate in cap-
tivity — Smithsend. Albany was the largest fort on

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The Conquest of the Great Northwest

the bay at this time. As the two English captains
searched the cellars they came on a ghastly sight —
naked, covered with vermin, shackled hands to feet
and chained to the wall was a French criminal, who
had murdered first the surgeon, then the priest of
the fort. He, too, was turned adrift in the woods
with the rest of the garrison.

Mons. Le Meux, carried to England captive, is
examined by the English Adventurers. From his
account, all the French garrisons are small and
France holds but lightly what she lias captured so
easily. Captain Grimmington is given a tankard
worth £36 for his distinguished services. Captain
Edgecombe of The Royal Hudson^ s Bay^ who, in
spite of the war, has brought home a cargo of twenty-
two thousand beaver, is given plate to the value of
;£2o as well as a gratuity of ;£ioo. Captain Ford,
who was carried prisoner to France by Iberville,
is ransomed, and The Hampshire vessel put up at
auction in France is bid in by secret agents of the
English company. Chouart Groseillers is wel-
comed home to London, and given a present of £100
and allowed to take a graceful farewell of the Com-
pany, as are all its French servants. The Company
wants no French servants on the bay just now — not
even Radisson to whom Mons. P^r6, now escaped

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Le Moyne d^IherviUe Sweeps the Bay

to France, writes tempting oflFers. Sargeant, who
lost Albany in 1686, is first sued for ;£2o,ooo damages
for surrendering the fort so easily, and is then re-
warded £;i<p for holding it so bravely. Phipps has
refused point-blank to serve as governor any longer
at so dangerous a point as Nelson for so small a
salary as £200 a year. Phipps comes home. Abra-
ham tries it for a year. He, too, loses relish for the
danger spot, and Walsh goes to Nelson as governor
with the apprentice boy Henry Kelsey, risen to be
first lieutenant. In spite of wars and raids and am-
buscades, there is a dividend of 50 per cent, in '88,
(the King refusing to receive it personally as it might
prejudice him with France) and of 50 per cent, in '89,
and of 25 per cent, in '90 on stock which had been
trebled, which was equivalent to 75 per cent, divi-
dends; and there are put on record in the Company's
minutes these sentiments: ^^ being thoroughly sen-
sible of the great blessing it has pleased Almighty
God to give the company by the arrival of the shippeSy
the comfy doo thinke fitt to show some testimony of
their Humble thankfulness for Gods so great a mercy
and doo now unanimously resolve that the sum of
£ioo bee sett aparte as charity mmiey to be distribuied
amongst such persons as shall dye or be wounded in
the companies* service^ their widows or children 6*
the secretary is to keep a particular account in the

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The Corupiest of the Great Northwest

company s books for the ftUureJ* Stock forfeited for
the breaking of rules is also to go to wounded men
and widows.

And the Company is equally generous to itself;
no shilling pay for committeemen now but a salary
of £300 a year to each committeeman of the weekly
meetings on the Company's business.

The upshot of the frequent meetings and increas-
ing dividends was — the Company resolved on a des-
perate effort to recapture the lost forts. The Eng-
lish now held — Nelson, the great fur emporium of
the North; New Severn to the South, which had been
built by refugees from Albany, burnt twice to escape
bush-raiders and as promptly rebuilt when the French
withdrew; and Albany, itself, which Mike Grim-
mington had captured back.

The French held Moose and Rupert on the south
of the bay.

James Knight, who had acted variously as appren-
tice, trader and captain from the beginning of the
Company — ^was now appointed commander of the
south end of the bay, with headquarters at Albany,
at a salary of ;£4oo a year. Here, he was to resist
the French and keep them from advancing north to
Nelson. New Severn, next north, was still to serve
as a refuge in case of attack. At Nelson, in addition
to Walsh, Bailey — a new man — Geyer, a captain,

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and Kelsey were to have command as officers. Three
frigates — The Dering, The Hudson* s Bay and The
Hampshire are commissioned to the bay with letters
of marque to war on all enemies, and three merchant-
men — The Prosperous^ The Ownefs Love and The
Perry are also to go to the bay. Mutinous of voy-
ages to the bay, seamen are paid in advance, and
two hundred and twenty gallons of brandy are
divided among the ships to warm up courage as
occasion may require.

But Iberville was not the man to let his win-
nings slip through his fingers. It had now become
more than a guerrilla warfare between gamesters of
the wilderness. It was a fight for ascendency on the
continent. It was. a struggle to determine which
nation was to command the rivers leading inland to
the unknown West. If the French raiders were to
hold the forts at the bottom of the bay, they must
capture the great stronghold of the English — ^Nelson.

Taking on board one hundred and twenty
woodrangers, Iberville sailed from Quebec on
August lo, 1694. He had two frigates — The Poli
and Salamander. By September 24, he was unload-
ing his cannon below the earthworks of one hundred
great guns at Nelson. Steady bombardment from
his frigates poured bombs into the fort from

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September 25 to October 14, and without ceasing,
the fort guns sent back a rain of fire and baD.
Chateauguay, Iberville's brother, landed to attempt
a rush with his bush-rovers by the rear. He was
met at the pickets by a spattering fire and fell
shot as other brave sons of the Le Moyne family fell
— wounded in front, shouting a rally with his dying
breath. The death of their comrade redoubled the
fury of the raiders. While long-range guns tore up
the earthworks and cut great gashes in the shattered
palisades to the fore, the bushrangers behind had
knocked down pickets and were in a hand-to-hand
fight in the ditch that separated the rows of double
palisades. In the hope of saving their furs, Walsh
and Kelsey hung out a tablecloth as flag of truce.
For a day, the parley lasted, the men inside the
pickets seizing the opportunity to eat and rest, and
spill all liquor on the ground and bury ammunition
and hide personal treasures. The weather had
turned bitterly cold. Winter was impending. No
help could come from England till the following July.
Walsh did his best in a bad bargain, asking that the
officers be lodged till the ships came the next year,
thatlthe English be allowed the same provisions as
the French, that no injury be offered the English
traders during the winter, and that they should be
allowed to keep the Company's books.

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Iberville was depending on loot to pay his men,
and would not hear of granting the furs to the Eng-
lish, but he readily subscribed to the other condi-
tions of surrender, and took possession of the fort.
When Iberville hastily sailed away to escape
through the straits before winter closed them, he
left De la Forest commander at Nelson, Jeremie,
interpreter. And De la Forfest quickly ignored the
conditions of surrender. He was not a good man
to be left in charge. He was one of those who had
outfitted Radisson in '83 and lost when Radisson
turned Nelson over to the English in '84. Early
next year, the English ships would come. If De
la Forest could but torture some of the English
officers, who were his prisoners, into betraying the
secret signals of the ships, he might lure them into
port and recoup himself for that loss of ten years
ago. Only four officers were kept in the fort. The
rest of the fifty-three prisoners were harried and
abused so that they were glad to flee to the woods.
Beds, clothes, guns and ammunition — everything,
was taken from them. Eight or ten, who hung
round the fort, were treated as slaves. One Eng-
lishman was tied to a stake and tortured with hot
irons to compel him to tell the signals of the English
ships. But the secret was not told. No English
ships anchored at Port Nelson in the summer of .'95.

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The sail that hove on the offing was a French
privateer. In the hold of this, the English survivors
were huddled like beasts, fed on pease and dogs'
meat. The ship leaked, and when the water rose
to mid-waist of the prisoners, they were not allowed
to come above decks, but set to pumping the water
out. On the chance of ransom money, the privateer
carried the prisoners in irons to France because — ^as
one of the suflferers afterward took oath — *'we had
not the money to grease the commandefs fist for our
freedom^ Of the fifty-three Hudson's Bay' men
turned adrift from Nelson, ojily twenty-five survived
the winter.

So the merry game went on between the rival
traders of the North, French and English fighting
as furiously for a beaver pelt as the Spanish fought
for gold. The English Adventurers' big resolutions
to capture back the bay had ended in smoke. They
had lost Nelson and now possessed only one fort on
the bay — ^Albany, under Governor Knight; but one
thing now favored the English. Open war had
taken the place of secret treaty between France and
England. The Company applied to the government
for protection. The English Admiralty granted two
men-of-war, The Bonaventure and Seaforth, under
Captain Allen. These accompanied Grimmington
and Smithsend to Nelson in '96, so when Iberville's

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brother, Serigny, came out from France with pro-
visions on The Poll and Hardi for the French garri-
sons at Nelson, he found English men-of-war lined
up for attack in front of the fort. Serigny didn't
wait. He turned swift heel for the sea, so swift,
indeed, that The Hardi split on an ice floe and went
to the bottom with all hands. On August 26,
Captain Allen of the Royal Navy, demanded the
surrender of Nelson from Governor De la Forfest.
Without either provision or powder. La Forfest had
no choice but to capitulate. In the fort, Allen seized
twenty thousand beaver pelts.

Nelson or York — ^as it is now known — consisted
under the French rule of a large square house, with
lead roof and limestone walls. There were four
bastions to the courtyard — one for the garrisons'
lodgings, one for trade, one for powder, one for
provisions. All the buildings were painted red.
Double palisades with a trench between enclosed
the yard. There were two large gates, one to the
waterside, one inland, paneled in iron with huge,
metal hinges showing the knobs of big nail heads. A
gallery ran round the roof of the main house, and on
this were placed five cannon. Three cannon were
also mounted in each bastion. The officers' mess
room boasted a huge iron hearth, oval tables, wall
cupboards, and beds that shut up in the wall-panels.

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Captain Allen now retaliated on the French for
their cruelty to English captives by taking the entire
garrison prisoners. Loaded with furs to the water-
line, the English ships left Bailey and Kelsey at
Nelson and sailed slowly for England. Just at the
entrance to the straits — ^the place already made so
famous by Indian attack on Hudson's crew, and
French raid on The Perpetuana, a swift-sailing French
privateer bore down on the fleet, singled out Allen's
ship which was separated from the other, poured
a volley of shot across her decks which killed Allen
on the spot, and took to flight before the other ship
could come to the rescue. Was this Iberville's
brother — Serigny - on his way home? It will never
be known, for as the ships made no capture, the
action is not reported in French records.

The war had reduced the Hudson's Bay Company
to such straits that several of the directors had gone
bankrupt advancing money to keep the ships sailing.
No more money could be borrowed in England,
and agents were trying to raise funds in Amsterdam.
Nevertheless, the Company presented the captains —



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