New England humanitarianism, melting into sentimentality at a tale of woe, has been unjust to its own. Whatever judgment may be passed on the cruel measure of wholesale expatriation, it was not put in execution till every resource of patience and persuasion had been tried in vain. The agents of the French Court, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, had made some act of force a necessity. We have seen by what vile practices they produced in Acadia a state of things intolerable, and impossible of continuance. They conjured up the tempest; and when it burst on the heads of the unhappy people, they gave no help. The Government of Louis XV. began with making the Acadians its tools, and ended with making them its victims.
[Footnote 289: It may not be remembered that the predecessor of Louis XV., without the slightest provocation or the pretence of any, gave orders that the whole Protestant population of the colony of New York, amounting to about eighteen thousand, should be seized, despoiled of their property, placed on board his ships and dispersed among the other British colonies in such a way that they could not reunite. Want of power alone prevented the execution of the order.]
The next stroke of the campaign was to be the capture of Crown Point, that dangerous neighbor which, for a quarter of a century, had threatened the northern colonies. Shirley, in January, had proposed an attack on it to the Ministry; and in February, without waiting their reply, he laid the plan before his Assembly. They accepted it, and voted money for the pay and maintenance of twelve hundred men, provided the adjacent colonies would contribute in due proportion. Massachusetts showed a military activity worthy of the reputation she had won. Forty-five hundred of her men, or one in eight of her adult males, volunteered to fight the French, and enlisted for the various expeditions, some in the pay of the province, and some in that of the King. It remained to name a commander for the Crown Point enterprise. Nobody had power to do so, for Braddock was not yet come; but that time might not be lost, Shirley, at the request of his Assembly, took the responsibility on himself. If he had named a Massachusetts officer, it would have roused the jealousy of the other New England colonies; and he therefore appointed William Johnson of New York, thus gratifying that important province and pleasing the Five Nations, who at this time looked on Johnson with even more than usual favor. Hereupon, in reply to his request, Connecticut voted twelve hundred men, New Hampshire five hundred, and Rhode Island four hundred, all at their own charge; while New York, a little later, promised eight hundred more. When, in April, Braddock and the Council at Alexandria approved the plan and the commander, Shirley gave Johnson the commission of major-general of the levies of Massachusetts; and the governors of the other provinces contributing to the expedition gave him similar commissions for their respective contingents. Never did general take the field with authority so heterogeneous.