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 "Je fus bien charm," etc. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 5 Oct. 1759.
It was said at the time that the officers voted for retreat because they thought Vaudreuil unfit to command an army, and, still more, to fight a battle.  There was no need, however, to fight at once. The object of the English was to take Quebec, and that of Vaudreuil should have been to keep it. By a march of a few miles he could have joined Bougainville; and by then intrenching himself at or near Ste.-Foy he would have placed a greatly superior force in the English rear, where his position might have been made impregnable. Here he might be easily furnished with provisions, and from hence he could readily throw men and supplies into Quebec, which the English were too few to invest. He could harass the besiegers, or attack them, should opportunity offer, and either raise the siege or so protract it that they would be forced by approaching winter to sail homeward, robbed of the fruit of their victory.V1 paganism. I will say it once for all, one must be the slave of these savages, listen to them day and night, in council and in private, whenever the fancy takes them, or whenever a dream, a fit of the vapors, or their perpetual craving for brandy, gets possession of them; besides which they are always wanting something for their equipment, arms, or toilet, and the general of the army must give written orders for the smallest trifle,an eternal, wearisome detail, of which one has no idea in Europe."
"Monsieur de Frontenac commen?a la Chanson de guerre, la Hache la main, les principaux Chefs des Fran?ois se joignant a luy avec de pareilles armes, la chanterent ensemble. Les Iroquois du Saut et de la Montagne, les Hurons et les Nipisiriniens donnerent encore le branle: l'on eut dit, Monsieur, que ces Acteurs toient des possedez par les gestes et les contorsions qu'ils faisoient. Les Sassakouez, où les cris et les hurlemens que Mr. de Frontenac toit oblig de faire pour se conformer leur manire, augmentoit encore la fureur bachique." La Potherie, III. 97.
 Journal of Major Walley; Savage, Account of the Late Action of the New Englanders (Lond. 1691).
In midwinter, not quite a year after their capture, the prisoners were visited by a gleam of hope. John Sheldon, accompanied by young John Wells, of Deerfield, and Captain Livingston, of Albany, came to Montreal with letters from Governor Dudley, proposing an exchange. Sheldon's wife and infant child, his brother-in-law, and his son-in-law had been killed. Four of his children, with his daughter-in-law, Hannah,the same who had sprained her ankle in leaping from her chamber window,besides others of his near relatives and connections, were[Pg 86] prisoners in Canada; and so also was the mother of young Wells. In the last December, Sheldon and Wells had gone to Boston and begged to be sent as envoys to the French governor. The petition was readily granted, and Livingston, who chanced to be in the town, was engaged to accompany them. After a snow-shoe journey of extreme hardship they reached their destination, and were received with courtesy by Vaudreuil. But difficulties arose. The French, and above all the clergy, were unwilling to part with captives, many of whom they hoped to transform into Canadians by conversion and adoption. Many also were in the hands of the Indians, who demanded payment for them,which Dudley had always refused, declaring that he would not "set up an Algiers trade" by buying them from their pretended owners; and he wrote to Vaudreuil that for his own part he "would never permit a savage to tell him that any Christian prisoner was at his disposal." Vaudreuil had insisted that his Indians could not be compelled to give up their captives, since they were not subjects of France, but only allies,which, so far as concerned the mission Indians within the colony, was but a pretext. It is true, however, that the French authorities were in such fear of offending even these that they rarely ventured to cross their interests or their passions. Other difficulties were raised, and though the envoys remained in Canada till late in spring, they accomplished little. At last, probably to get rid of their importunities, five prisoners[Pg 87] were given up to them,Sheldon's daughter-in-law, Hannah; Esther Williams, eldest daughter of the minister; a certain Ebenezer Carter; and two others unknown. With these, Sheldon and his companions set out in May on their return; and soon after they were gone, four young men,Baker, Nims, Kellogg, and Petty,desperate at being left in captivity, made their escape from Montreal, and reached Deerfield before the end of June, half dead with hunger.
** Le Roy Saint-Vallier, 7 Avril, 1691 Bigot au Ministre, 5 Sept. 1755.