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The Ottawas resolved to humble the arrogance of

chap XI.} 1757.
the American boatmen; and they lay hid in ambuscades all the twenty-third of July, and all the following night. At daybreak of the twenty-fourth, Palmer was seen on the lake in command of two-and-twenty barges. The Indians rushed on his party suddenly, terrified them by their yells, and, after killing many, took one hundred and sixty prisoners. ‘To-morrow or next day,’ said the captives, ‘General Webb will be at the fort with fresh troops.’ ‘No matter,’ said Montcalm; ‘in less than twelve days I will have a good story to tell about them.’ From the timid Webb there was nothing to fear. He went, it is true, to Fort William Henry, but took care to leave again with a large escort, just in season to avoid its siege.

It is the custom of the Red Man, after success, to avoid the further chances of war and hurry home. ‘To remain now,’ said the Ottawas, ‘would be to tempt the Master of life.’1 But Montcalm, after the boats and canoes had, without oxen or horses, by main strength, been borne up to Lake George, held on the plain above the portage one general council of union. All the tribes from the banks of Michigan and Superior to the borders of Acadia, were present, seated on the ground according to their rank, and, in the name of Louis the Fifteenth, Montcalm produced the mighty belt of six thousand shells, which, being solemnly accepted, bound all by the holiest ties to remain together till the end of the expedition. The belt was given to the Iroquois, as the most numerous; but they courteously transferred it to the upper nations, who came, though strangers, to

1 Bougainville to the minister, 19 August, 1757.

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