“O Heaven, indulge my
Teach her what numbers for to choose!”
and containing the following stanza:—
“Their Dieskau we from
While Canada aloud complains
And counts the numbers of their slain
and makes a dire complaint;
The Indians to their demon gods;
And with the French there’s little odds,
While images receive their nods,
Invoking rotten saints.”]
Shirley. Border War
The capture of Niagara was to finish the work of the summer. This alone would have gained for England the control of the valley of the Ohio, and made Braddock’s expedition superfluous. One marvels at the short-sightedness, the dissensions, the apathy which had left this key of the interior so long in the hands of France without an effort to wrest it from her. To master Niagara would be to cut the communications of Canada with the whole system of French forts and settlements in the West, and leave them to perish like limbs of a girdled tree.
Major-General Shirley, in the flush of his new martial honors, was to try his prentice hand at the work. The lawyer-soldier could plan a campaign boldly and well. It remained to see how he would do his part towards executing it. In July he arrived at Albany, the starting-point of his own expedition as well as that of Johnson. This little Dutch city was an outpost of civilization. The Hudson, descending from the northern wilderness, connected it with the lakes and streams that formed the thoroughfare to Canada; while the Mohawk, flowing from the west, was a liquid pathway to the forest homes of the Five Nations. Before the war was over, a little girl, Anne MacVicar, daughter of a Highland officer, was left at Albany by her father, and spent several years there in the house of Mrs. Schuyler, aunt of General Schuyler of the Revolution. Long after, married and middle-aged, she wrote down her recollections of the place,—the fort on the hill behind; the great street, grassy and broad, that descended thence to the river, with market, guardhouse, town hall, and two churches in the middle, and rows of quaint Dutch-built houses on both sides, each detached from its neighbors, each with its well, garden, and green, and its great overshadowing tree. Before every house was a capacious porch, with seats where the people gathered in the summer twilight; old men at one door, matrons at another, young men and girls mingling at a third; while the cows with their tinkling bells came from the common at the end of the town, each stopping to be milked at the door of its owner; and children, porringer in hand, sat on the steps, watching the process and waiting their evening meal.