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“ [110] the French speech-belt, and will make the Shawnees
chap. V.} 1753.
and the Delawares do the same.”

On the night of the twenty-ninth of November, the council-fire was kindled; an aged orator was selected to address the French; the speech which he was to deliver was debated and rehearsed; it was agreed, that, unless the French would heed this third warning to quit the land, the Delawares also would be their enemies; and a very large string of black and white wampum was sent to the Six Nations as a prayer for aid.

After these preparations the party of Washington, attended by the Half-King, and envoys of the Delawares, moved onwards to the post of the French at Venango. The officers there avowed the purpose of taking possession of the Ohio; and they mingled the praises of La Salle with boasts of their forts at Le Boeuf and Erie, at Niagara, Toronto, and Frontenac. ‘The English,’ said they, ‘can raise two men to our one; but they are too dilatory to prevent any enterprise of ours.’ The Delawares were intimidated or debauched; but the Half-King clung to Washington like a brother, and delivered up his belt as he had promised.

The rains of December had swollen the creeks. The messengers could pass them only by felling trees for bridges. Thus they proceeded, now killing a buck and now a bear, delayed by excessive rains and snows, by mire and swamps, while Washington's quick eye discerned all the richness of the meadows.

At Waterford, the limit of his journey, he found Fort Le Boeuf defended by cannon. Around it stood the barracks of the soldiers, rude log-cabins, roofed with bark. Fifty birch-bark canoes, and one hundred

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