Although Shirley applied to the King for help with which to defend Nova Scotia, he knew full well that the burden of defense would fall on the colonies. And with that determination and persistence which always brings success he labored hard to persuade New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to join with Massachusetts in an effort to capture Louisburg. It would be delightful to tell how he overcame all difficulties; how the young men rallied on the call for troops; how at the end of March, 1745, 4000 of them in a hundred transports and accompanied by fourteen armed ships set sail, followed by the prayers of all New England, and after a siege of six weeks took the fortress on the 17th of June, 1745. But the story is too long. It is enough to know that the victory was hailed with delight on both sides of the Atlantic, but that when peace came, in 1748, the British government was still so blind to the struggle for North America which had been going on for fifty years, that Louisburg was restored to the French.
[Footnote 1: Read Samuel Adams Drake’s Taking of Louisburg; Parkman’s A Half-century of Conflict, Vol. II., pp. 78-161.]
%76. The French on the Allegheny River; the Buried Plates.%—With Louisburg back in their possession and no territory lost, the French went on more vigorously than ever with their preparations to shut the British out of the Mississippi valley; and as but one highway to the valley, the Ohio River, was still unguarded, the governor of Canada, in 1749, dispatched Celoron de Bienville with a band of men in twenty-three birch-bark canoes to take formal possession of the valley. Paddling up the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, they carried their canoes across to Lake Erie, and, skirting the southeastern shore, they landed and crossed to Chautauqua Lake, down which and its outlet they floated to the Allegheny River. Once on the Allegheny, the ceremony of taking possession began. The men were drawn up, and Louis XV. was proclaimed king of all the region drained by the Ohio. The arms of France stamped on a sheet of tin were nailed to a tree, at the foot of which a lead plate was buried in the ground. On the plate was an inscription claiming the Ohio, and all the streams that run into it, in the name of the King of France.
[Illustration: Half of one of the lead plates]
[Footnote 1: Now owned by the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.]
* * * * *
In the year 1749, during the reign of Louis XV., King of France, we, Celeron, commander of a detachment sent by the Marquis de la Gallissoniere, commander in chief of New France, to restore tranquillity in some savage villages of these districts, have buried this plate at the confluence of the Ohio and ... this ... near the river Ohio, alias Beautiful River, as a monument of our having retaken possession of the said river Ohio and of those that fall into the same, and of all the lands on both sides as far as the sources of the said rivers, as well as of those of which preceding kings have enjoyed possession, partly by the force of arms, partly by treaties, especially by those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix-la-Chapelle.