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[by the same author.]

51 aale of 1673.


"A ^tor}' of marked power and interest." — Washington Union.

" A mo-t thrilling tale." — American Spectator.

" Decidedly the elevere~t and most successful of the not very numerous at-
tempts that have been made to work up, for the purposes of romantic fiction,
the undoubtedly rich store of material supplied by the earlier history of New
York." — N. Y. Commercial Advertiser.

" The book, all in all, is excellent." — Buffalo Com,.

" The well-written preface in this volume is a happy introduction to the
graceful pages beyond." — Literary World.

" A story of interest and spirit ; to the descendants of the Knickerbockers it
must prove as interesting a book as the ' Last of the Saxons' to English
readers." — Albany Argus.

" A spirited tale, and will prove an entertaining volume to all lovers of
pleasing fiction." — Home Journal.

" A well conducted and lively tale ; the interest is well sustained." — Demo-
cratic Review.



Cl)n0tma0 m 1690.

" We have just finished the reading of this little volume, and the repeated
expres.-ioiis of intere.-t and gratification of the group who listened to it, are no
insignificant commentary upon its merits. It is one of those ' very good tales and
very well told,' which we are glad to meet with. The plot is eff*ective and the
incidents well related. There is a vein of sparkling wit pervading the narra-
tive which greatly heightens its interest." — South. Literary Gazette.

"The author of thi- volume is very successfully developing the rich material
which the early history of New York affords for the purposes of fiction. There
is a quiet vein of humor running through the work which reminds us of old
Diedrich himself, and which cannot fail to make it very popular among the
descendants of the ancient families of Manhattan." — N. Y. Tribune.

" The ' Young Patroon' is a worthy companion of its predecessor. It has
the same traits of quiet humor and observation, carefulness of style, and inge-
nious though not complex contrivance of plot. There is a love of the sub-
ject, a kindling over old Dutch manners and Manhattan antiquities, something
in the vehi of Paulding, which is not le.^.5 attractive for the modesty and re-
serve with which everything is set forth." — Literary World,

" A lively and amusing tale." — Albion.

G. i'. PUTNA.M, 155 Broadway.






49 Bow Lane, Cheapside.


Rntered, f.crording to Act of Ccf.gress, in the year 1P49. by

C . P . P Til' N A M ,

in the Clerk'^ Otfjce .it" ±3 Dist:ict Court nf the ^outnern District of New York.



" The King of the Hurons" is a story of civilized,
rather than of savage life, notwithstanding the seeming
indication to the contrary, contained in its title ; and those
of its readers who are familiar with the events of the age
in which its scenes are supposed to have occurred, will
readily remember the historical personage from whom the
idea of its principal character has been derived.

When this simple explanation is made, the author does
not find that he has further use for a preface. He believes,
indeed, that he has several good reasons for placing his
book before the public ; but as these will not be required
by readers who like it, and would be quite unsatisfactory
to those who do not, it would be clearly useless to publish

With a thoroughly appreciating sense of the kindness
which has marked the reception, by the press and the
public, of his former brief productions, he submits this also
to the same generous tribunal.

M69a I s




" The hour, th' occasion all your skill demands,
A leaky ship, embayed by dangerous lands." — Falconer.

It was duiing a \iolent storm in the spring of 1708, that a French
brig of war, seriously crippled, was discovered in the bay of New
York, showing signals of distress, and approaching, with indirect
coui-se, to the harbor. There was, of coui*se, not wanting a race of
panic-makers in those days — progenitors, doubtless, of a similar class
in our own — who at once saw in the unfortunate vessel an estray
from a belligerent fleet, hovering close at hand, and ready to
descend, ^vith fatal swoop, upon the long-threatened city. Rumors,
indeed, of such an armada had long been rife, and had, perhaps,
accomphshed their intended eifect, m restraining the Enghsh colony
from any ^^gorous efforts at the conquest of Canada — an entei-prise
on which more words than wadding had been wasted, but which, of
course, was not to be undertaken while any peril impended over its
own capital. France might thus be compared to some good dame,
w-ho watches from a distance the quarrels between her neighbors'
childi-en and her own, and contents herself with shakmg a stick at



the former, wliile in reality too indolent, or too mncli occupied in
more important business, to fulfil any of her pantomimic threats.
Certain it was, that at this period she meditated no invasion of that
embryo metropolis, which reposed, in doubtful security, betwixt two
rivers and a picket fence ; the latter being denominated by courtesy,
a wall, and stretching transversely across the town. The good ship
St. Cloud, on the contrary, if aught could be judged from her zigzag
movements, was approaching the city with anything but alacrity,
despite the nautical adage, old, doubtless, as her day, " any port in
a storm." • , Driven from her course, dismasted, and a-leak, she had
been tossed for -weeks, cork like, upon the waves, the very plaything
of ,tht^ ,el?'ments, iinti) ali hope of attaining a friendly port was aban-
doned, and every minor consideration became merged in the
instinctive desire for the preservation of life. Foremost to secure
their own safety, a reckless portion of the crew had deserted by night
in the only boat which had escaped destruction ; and it was with no
other means of safety for the lives intrusted to his care, that Captain
Sill, on discovering himself near the Bay of Manhattan, resolved to
seek the harbor of New York. That he anticipated no mitigated
fate from his country's enemies, by reason of his disaster, was quite
apparent from the anxiety depicted upon his countenance, as he
paced the quarter-deck of his vessel, and looked mournfully towards
the land. "What unusual reason he had to deprecate the approach-
ing calamity will appear more fully, if we descend with him into the
cabin, and survey the few, but not unimportant personages, who
were under his charge as passengers, and who had vainly anticipated,
on leaving home, a safe and speedy voyage to the French colonial
capital, Quebec.

" Something must be done by way of disguise," he muttered to
himself as he descended the gangway, " it will never do for the
baron to enter the city in his proper character. The resident agent
of the French monarch among the fastnesses of the northern forests,
the friend and ally of the savage Ilurons, would have little clemency


to hope for from the incensed colonists of New York : I would not
answer even for his Hfe."

A start and surprised look of the speaker terminated this soliloquy,
as, entering the cabin, his eyes fell upon a tall, portly man, clad in
the habiliments of a sailor, who was pacing the floor with an air of
dignity quite at variance with his assumed character.

" It was well thought of, my lord baron," exclaimed the captain,
after a moment's gaze at his companion ; " none but Boswain Bill
could have fitted you with these garments, and with a little less —
excuse me — a little more — you understand me, I presume — you will
pass muster as a sailor very well."

" I confess I do not understand what it is that I want a little less
and a little more of. Captain Sill," replied the baron, " and if you
have any ad\ice to give, speak out and at once, for there is but little
time to be w^asted."

" Very true, my lord, very true ; if you will excuse me, then,
common sailors do not walk with that lofty ah ; they do not stand
quite as erect ; their chests are less prominent, and — and — they do
not speak quite as boldly, or as correctly, as the Baron Montaigne."

" Yom* honor is quite right," returned the other, changing his
whole deportment with a facility that surprised, and forced a smile
from the captain ; " Jack Beans can reef a sail, or splice a rope,
equal to any man on the St. Cloud, and no man can say anything
against him, unless it be that he loves his grog and tobacco on ^
suitable occasion."

" No — no — no — ' a suitable occasion* would be the death of you,'*
said Captain Sill, laughing, " all very well but that, though a little
too stiff; I have no doubt you will do very well, but mind and use
no such three-deokers in conversation."

" I ^vill, your honor," replied the baron, touching his cap with ani
air of mock humility, that forced another smile from the commander,
and displaying at the same time a hand, which, although of no
delicate mould, was scrupulously clean.


" Another thing," rejomed Sill, " you seem to have overlooked ;
you surely cannot be mad enough to think such hands will not excite
suspicion. Remember the fate of the Scottish Queen. But do not
look so puzzled ; you must, in short, consent to be literally, as well
as figuratively, under a cloud for the present. A little obscuration
by mother Earth is all that is necessary : Boswain Bill will do it,
and tell him to see that it is well rubbed in, particularly about the
finger ends ; I think a quarter of an inch is about the fashionable
breadth for the nail line."

" I cannot believe it necessary to descend to these indignities,"
said the baron, haughtily.

" If this is an indignity, my lord, remember that the halter is a
greater — and that even the facing a file of musketeers in your shroud
is an honor not to be coveted : your escape is now the paramount
consideration, for on that depends not only your own safety, but
probably that of your daughter and niece, to say nothing of Father
Ledra, who would, perhaps, scarcely come to harm in any event."

" It is very true," said the baron, " and I will follow your direc-
tions : but a word now on the subject of these children. Deeply as
I regret that I encumbered myself with them on this journey, some-
thing must be done, if possible, for their safety and rescue. I had
my views in transplanting Blanche to my western home, but of
these it is unnecessary now to speak ; with her illness on the voyage,
her frequent sadness, and her singular sentiments, she has thus far
been only a source of trouble to me — and now "

A look of surprise and scorn had gradually stolen over the face of
the commander, who, at length, suddenly interrupted the other :

" Speak you of your daughter, my lord ?" he said.

"I speak of my daughter, Captain Sill; and if time permitted, I
might, perhaps, tell you why it is that she has so little of the spirit
of a Montaigne, and possesses feelings so little congenial with

" Let us change this subject, my lord ; I see in your daughter


only a being of unequalled beauty and grace, modest, reserved, and
melancholy ; if she has demerits, let me not hear them, and least of
all from you."

" As you please. Captain Sill : I am somewhat old to be reproved,
either by word or look, in a matter of which I must necessarily be
the most competent judge. But Blanche's present safety is probably
sufficiently insured : ladies are not made prisoners of war, or if
nominally so, are subject to no rigor ; and Father Ledra, who has
both her and Emily in charge, will doubtless be able to provide a
home for them, without disclosing their names or rank, until such
time as I can provide for their rescue."

Montaigne turned away, and the commander gazed after him a
moment in silence.

" Safety indeed !" he exclaimed, " and in the profligate court of
Lord Cornbury ; it is the safety of the dove in the eagle's eyrie."

So saying, he proceeded to knock at the door of an mner cabin,
and, in response to the bidding from within, opened it, and stood in
the presence of the object of his solicitude.

Of Blanche Montaigne, a few woi'ds of description must for the
present suffice. A httle above the medium height of her sex, she
was still of that delicate and gTacehd mould which gives somewhat
of a petite appearance to the person. Although her features were
singularly symmetrical and striking, her face and neck of an infantile
delicacy of texture and hue, her hair redundant in rich glossy curls,
and her eyes of the purest blue, her beauty consisted even less in
these than in the sweet expression, which, while it illumined her
whole countenance, might be said to dwell with more enduring per-
manence upon her hps. It is to these flexile features, indeed, ever
silently depicting the emotions within, that the human face is chiefly
indebted for its character as an index of the heart. Ever legible,
whether for good or evil, they speak while the voice is silent, and
while even the eye is in comparative repose. In Blanche, they
told of all pure and gentle affections, of mirthfulness, modesty,


timidity, truth — yet of mingling sadness and disquiet now, wliicli
still seemed but a lingering cloud, bright itself with the effulgence it

The companion of Miss Montaigne was a lady of about thirty
years, possessing little claim even to the remembrance of beauty, yet
dressed with an elaborate care which manifested a disposition to eke
out her slender stock of charms by adventitious aid. Her counte-
nance was by no means repulsively homely ; its parts, indeed, were
separately good, yet they seemed, so to speak, ill-assorted, and lack-
ing that harmony of proportion which appeals so powerfully to the
eye, and compels the meed of admiration. Yet Emily Roselle,
favored by that compensating principle which everywhere prevails^
was in part remunerated for the want of a pleasing face by a fine
figure, and a natural ease and grace of manner ; and but for a slight
deficiency of good sense and good nature, would have been not a
little attractive.

A third person who was seated in the cabin when Captain Sill
entered, and who had apparently been reading to the young ladies
from a volume which lay open before him, was the individual
spoken of by Montaigne as Father Ledra. He was a man of about
sixty years, with an aspect singularly benign and 25leasing ; there
was, indeed, no mistaking the genuine goodness which shone in
every hneament of his face, and gleamed, like the light of truth,
from his large grey eyes. Father Ledra was a Christian in the
strongest sense of that significant word. His saintly reputation was
well known to Captain Sill, who, after saluting him with marked
deference, addressed himself to the younger lady, and briefly
informed her of the means that were being taken for her father's

" A few hours," he continued, " and we shall at least be relieved
from the perils of famine and shipwreck, and as to everything
beyond, we must hope for the best."

" Say, rather, we must trust to that same guiding hand which has


thus far preserved us," interposed the priest ; " three days since we
little dreamed of even this relief from the dangers which threatened

The commander bowed and continued, still addressing Miss Mon-
taigne :

" Your father, deeply impressed with a sense of the importance to
his sovereign of his personal safety, is engrossed with preparations
for escape : he has, I believe, communicated to Father Ledra his
plans in your behalf, or — or is about so, to do."

It was an embarrassing position to stand as the apologist of a cold
and selfish parent before a neglected child, and the mounting color
on the cheek of Blanche told the mortification which she experienced
at such a necessity.

" I do not know," she replied, hesitatingly ; ^' everything, I believe,
is left to the discretion of Father Ledra, and we are commended to
his counsel and guidance."

" Uncle, in short, confides us to Pro\idence and the priest," said
Miss Roselle, " but seems to think something more is requisite for
himself and the interests of France."

A look of reproach from Miss Montaigne mterrupted her cousin,
and if aught could be judged from the countenance of the latter,
prevented a still severer invective. The commander hastened to
take up the conv^ersation, and having bestowed such advice and
encouragement as seemed appropriate, withdrew to his more legiti-
mate duties. The vessel, meanwhile, by the aid of such expedients
as her dismantled state still afforded, was progressing on her sinuous
route towards the city, which her thinned crew, wearied with unre-
mitting labor, gazed gladly upon in the distance, heedless of its
hostile character, and even of the prison homes which they had
reason to expect.



" The mighty monarch of the tribes that roam

A thousand forests, and on countless streams
Urge the swift bark, anS dare the cataract's foam." — Mrs. Sigoumey,

The Baron Montaigne had long been a resident of French Ame-
rica. An impaned fortune had originally induced him to serve his
sovereign in the New World, and long habit had rendered pleasing
what his increased wealth no longer made necessary. About a
year preceding his first arrival in Canada, and nearly sixteen years
prior to the time now spoken of, he had been bereaved of his wife,
an English lady of gi'eat merit, which, however, had failed of its
appreciation at the hands of her haughty lord. His infant daughter,
then scarcely three years of age, had been confided to the charge of
a kind maternal aunt in England, with whom she had resided until
the death of the latter, which occurred when Blanche had attained
the age of eighteen. A peculiarity of disposition and a desire to
shun society, which in his impoverished state imposed many mortifi-
cations upon his proud spirit, had tempted him into the very depths
of the wilderness, where, by the liberahty of his sovereign, he was
enabled to erect a castle of no mean pretensions both to elegance
and strength. The Indian warriors saw with surprise its turreted
walls and frowning battlements arising amidst their forest solitudes,
and marvelled deeply at the magnificence of their great father across
the water, who could bestow such state and wealth even on his inferior
nobles. The section of country thus selected for a residence by Mon-
taigne was about a hundred and fifty miles southwest of Quebec, on
the border of a stream which constitutes the outlet of Lake Cham plain,


and in a vast and unsubdued wilderness, wliich rather divided the
French and English territories than formed a distinct part of either.
Boundary hues, indeed, were drawn with no accuracy in those early
days, on a continent which was settled only on its edges, but at a
later period they became the subject of much controversy. Wars,
when waged, were rather for the sovereignty of the settlements and
the nominal conquest of vast inland regions, of which little was
known by either of the belligerent powers, excepting that they
stretched over a given number of degi'ees of latitude and longitude.
The Huron and Algonquin Indians had long been allies of the
French, as the Five Nations were of the English ; and so important
did Louis consider their continued friendship to the welfare of his
American dominions, that no pains were spared to cement the
aUiance. It was this purpose, and the additional hope of winning
over the Iroquois to his allegiance, and thus paving the Avay for a
complete conquest of New York, that had actuated the monarch in
the endowment of Castle Montaigne, and the hberal support of its
secluded lord. The baron, on his part, left no means untried to gain
the full confidence and respect of the savages, — an object of no diffi-
cult attainment to a hardy soldier, who was capable of setting exam-
ples both of bravery and fortitude even to their veteran warriors.

The Hurons, who resided in the vicinity of Quebec, and on the
banks of the Sorelle, were colonies of the principal nation of that
name, whose home and hunting grounds were much further west ;
they had been transplanted early in the preceding century by the
influence of their European allies, and had themselves gTown into a
considerable tribe, having one village near the French capital, and
another in the immediate vicinity of Castle Montaigne, where their
territorial possessions were extensive. The parent tribe were also in
league with France, and paid willing fealty to King Louis, in the
person of his valiant agent, who had spent many months among
them, had given them many valued lessons in the art of war, and
had led them to several victorious fields against their oppressive



neighbors of tlie west. So completely had he won the hearts of the
bold savages, that they had formally elected him the principal chief
of their nation, denominating him, in imitation of his own sovereign's
title, a king, and enjoining upon their brethren nearer the seaboard
also to recognise him as such, — a mandate which the junior tribe,
equally impressed with his prowess, and proud of his alliance, zeal-
ously obeyed.

But it was not by martial prowess alone that the hearts of the
Indians were always most effectually won : King Louis, at least, had
reason to acknowledge the efficacy of a very different warfare in
gaining their allegiance. The heralds of the Gospel were already
scattered everywhere through the French settlements, and had pene-
trated in some instances to the most remote corners of the land.
The cross had glistened at intervals along that whole vast circuit of
waters which stretches from Quebec to the gulf of the MississijDpi,
and not one of its golden links of lake and river but had furnished
the baptismal element for some dusky neophyte of the ^\^lderness.
Self-denying men, bound by holy vows, but more by untiring love
and unfaltering faith, dared, aye, courted martyrdom in every shape,
that they might gain souls to Christ. Of these, one or more were
always stationed at the castle, where their time was devoted not
only directly to their calling, but, accessary to the same general end,
to the secular education of such of the Indian youth as could be
induced to submit to the restraints of study. It was to join this
spiritual cohort, as a resident missionary at the castle, that Father
Ledra had crossed the ocean, patiently enduring privation, and
softening by his unobtrusive piety the prejudices against his church,
with which a Protestant education had imbued both Blanche and

Seventeen long years the baron had sojourned in his new home ;
long at least they seemed to the gentle girl, who had been taught
her daily lesson of affection for an absent parent, and had spent a
thousand hours of childish wonder and expectation, in \iew of that


great event, to which, from the first days of her remembered life,
she had been taught to look forward — her father's retiun.

Montaigne had, meanwhile, contented himself with receiving annual
letters fi'om his sister-in-law, giving information of Blanche's welfare ;
his answers to which, always cold and formal, seldom contained any
direct message to his daughter, even after she had attained years of
discretion. The remembrance of some unforgiven wrong on the
part of the mother seemed to hang for ever like a cloud between the
baron and his child. It was not, indeed, without a degree of plea-
sure that he read in all Mrs. Roselle's letters accounts of Blanche's
extraordinary beauty and grace, of her mild and gentle disposition,
and of her well cultivated and well stored mind ; but if, at times, he
felt a longing to reclaim his child, the consciousness of circumstances
which must humble himself in her estimation continually intervened,
to 'chill and deaden all his better resolutions. Pride was his
master passion, and its baleful glare fell ^Wth a withering effect
upon all the gentler emotions of his nature. Beneath its con-

Online LibraryP. Hamilton (Peter Hamilton) MyersThe King of the Hurons → online text (page 1 of 29)