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[208] Fort Edward, at the portage between the Hudson
chap. IX.} 1755.
and the headsprings of the Sorel. The forests were never free from secret danger; American scalps were sought for by the wakeful savage, to be strung together for the adornment of the wigwam. Towards the end of August, the untrained forces, which, with Indians, amounted to thirty-four hundred men, were conducted by William Johnson across the portage of twelve miles, to the southern shore of the Lake, which the French called the Lake of the Holy Sacrament ‘I found,’ said Johnson, ‘a mere wilderness; never was house or fort erected here before;’1 and naming the waters Lake George, he cleared space for a camp of five thousand men. The lake protects him on the north; his flanks are covered by a thick wood and a swamp. The tents of the husbandmen and mechanics, who form his summer army, are spread on a rising ground; but no fortifications are raised, nor is even a trench thrown up.2 On week-days, the men, accustomed to freedom, saunter to and fro in idleness; or some, weary of inaction, are ready to mutiny and go home. On Sunday, all come forth and collect in the groves for the Worship of God; three hundred red men, also, regularly enlisted under the English flag, and paid from the English treasury, seat themselves on the hillock, and, while the light of a summer's afternoon is shedding its sweetest influence on the tops of the forest-clad mountains and on the still waters of the deep transparent lake, they listen gravely to the interpretation of a long sermon. Meanwhile, wagon after wagon brought artillery, and stores and

1 Johnson to Lords of Trade, 8 Sept. 1755.

2 Elisha Hawley to his brother Joseph Hawley. Seth Pomroy's Journal.

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