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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS;||1|
|LITTLE MAG’S DREAM AS INTERPRETED BY ONE OF THE LESTERS.||67|
|A CONCLUDING CHAPTER.||72|
Title: Young Lion of the Woods A Story of Early Colonial Days
Author: Thomas Barlow Smith
Release Date: July 2, 2005 [EBook #16181]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK young Lion of the woods ***
Produced by Early Canadiana Online, Robert Cicconetti,
Thomas Hutchinson and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at http://www.pgdp.net
A Story of Early Colonial Days.
Thomas B. Smith.
Here in Canadian hearth, and
home, and name;—
This name which yet shall grow
Till all the nations know
Us for a patriot people, heart and hand
Loyal to our native earth, our own Canadian land!
—Chas. G.D. Roberts.
Nova Scotia printing company.
Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 1889, by Thomas B. Smith, at the Department of Agriculture.
To my wife
I dedicate this, my first work,
with my love.
The only merit that the writer claims for the following pages is, that they contain a record of facts, setting forth the sacred sentiments of duty, religious trust, and the spirit of liberty, amid sufferings-and hardships of persons, whose loyalty was put to the severest test.
It has been beautifully said, “that he who sets a colony on foot designs a great work.” “He designs all the good, and all the glory, of which, in the series of ages, it might be the means; and he shall be judged more by the lofty, ultimate aim and result, than by the actual instant motive. You may well admire, therefore, the solemn and adorned plausibilities of the colonizing of Rome from Troy, in the Eneid! Though the leader had been burned out of house and home, and could not choose but go. You may find in the flight of the female founder of the gloomy greatness of Carthage a certain epic interest; yet was she running from the madness of her husband to save her life. Emigration from our stocked communities of undeified men and women, emigration for conquest, for gold, for very restlessness of spirit, if they grow toward an imperial issue, have all thus a prescriptive and recognized ingredient of heroism. But when the immediate motive is as grand as the ultimate hope was lofty, and the ultimate success splendid, then, to use an expression of Bacon’s,” “the music is fuller.”
In the hope that the privations and heroic conduct of those who are the subjects of the story, in the following chapters, may prove as interesting to the public as they did to the writer, when he first learned the history of such heroism, the writer submits them to the reader.
YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS; A Story of Early Colonial Days. i
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER 3
First experience of colonial life, 1769-70. 10
Arrives off fort Frederick—Paul guidon. 36
Terrible experience at sea. 52
Capt. Godfrey and lord Wm. Campbell.
—Young Lion of the woods. 67
In England.—The captain and the Lords. 76
Arrival and retreat. 80
Rebel plans—praying the Lords. 95
Paul guidon. 100
Margaret Godfrey arrives in Nova Scotia.
—Death of the young Lion of the woods. 104
Margaret Godfrey’s farewell. 120
Marriage of little Mag.
—Society at Halifax. 133
A concluding chapter.
Then, now, and to be. 141
The records of the lives and actions of those who have preceded us in the procession of the generations, are full of instruction and interest. In many instances they hold up to our emulation great models of patriotism, patience, endurance, activity and pluck. It is to be regretted that many documents of past ages have been destroyed through lack of knowledge of their real value, and of the light they would have thrown upon the early history of the country. Some few, regarded merely as the relics of departed ancestors, have been so secretly kept and treasured, that dust, must and rust have all but completely defaced them.
If our ancestors had been wise in preserving the papers of their fathers, long ago there might have been collected from such documents, and displayed, many particulars of positive information concerning the very early history of the English in Acadia.
We might have possessed a much fuller history of the times when great difficulties and dangers opposed the settlers. When rushing rivers had to be crossed without boat or bridge; when men and women often found it necessary to contend single handed with Indians; and when, for meeting the many obstacles that placed themselves in their path, our ancestors were often but poorly equipped.
Whilst we take pride in the hardships cheerfully borne by our forefathers in the early colonial days, may we not be sometimes inclined to forget those fleet-footed, clever, dusky sons of the forest, to whose generous aid they were not infrequently indebted for protection from hostile men and savage beasts, and even sometimes for sustenance?
When we have secured positive information that now and again there have appeared among the brawny men of the forest noble specimens of all that is true and kind, let us not fail to record their deeds of faithfulness and heroism. The least we can do for such is to bring to light their actions and preserve their history. When beneath the shade of the forest, on the trackless desert, on the rushing river, in tempest and thunder, or when watching in the vicinity of an old fort or near the log cabin of the early colonists, the Red man has been found a faithful friend and guide; should not his deeds of kindness, faithfulness and bravery be recorded side by side with those of the noblest of the human race?
The story related in the following chapters has been gathered from facts stated in time-worn documents, which have been lying for generations concealed in a wooden box. The only regret of the writer is, that it was impossible for him to gain access to all the old musty and defaced papers in the box. The old gentleman, in whose possession they were found, is very old and eccentric, and by no effort or persuasion could the writer induce him to part company with the documents, but for a short time. But although the task of procuring them was extremely difficult, and that of deciphering them afterwards was both difficult and tedious, still the satisfaction of having rescued from decay and destruction, what seems so interesting, is satisfaction sufficient for the writer.
That portion of the documents relating the events in connection with the first and second settlement of an English officer and his family, during the last century, in a district which is now said to be one of the most beautiful portions of Canada, is most instructive and interesting, although at times, while deciphering it, the writer felt his blood quicken in its pulsations, and tears forcing their way to the surface.
A few years previous to this English officers first attempt at settlement in Nova Scotia, he came out to Quebec with his regiment. The remaining portion of this introductory chapter will narrate some events in connection with the early life of the officer, his coming to Quebec with his regiment, his short stay there, and his return to his native country:—
On board the transport Pitt, in the year 1765, at Cork, embarked Captain Godfrey with his regiment, the 52nd foot, for Quebec, North America.
On the passage the Pitt was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where Captain Godfrey with his regiment suffered many hardships.
The ship ran ashore in a dense fog, which had prevailed for several days. The Captain remaining by the wreck for eleven days, assisted in saving the lives of the soldiers wives and children, and in landing the King’s stores. The transport struck well up the gulf on the Nova Scotian coast (now New Brunswick). The exact locality is not stated. The night of the disaster was densely dark, and soon after striking the ship began to pound and leak badly. Had the wind sprung up during the hours of darkness not a soul on board would have lived to record the tale. Very early the next morning, as Captain Godfrey was standing on the quarter deck, conversing with the officer in charge of the ship, the rain began suddenly to descend in torrents and the wind to freshen. The mist that had enshrouded the ship for so many days, began to lift, and the sun shone through by instalments. Soon it was seen that the Pitt was hemmed in by rocks, almost wedged in among them. Fortunately the storm soon abated, and the situation of the vessel kept her in an upright position. The fog settled down again, and for the next ten days all on board were kept busy in saving their effects and the King’s stores.
At the end of ten days all on board were taken off. General Murray, commanding at Quebec, by some means not recorded, having heard of the disaster, sent a man-of-war schooner to the relief of the sufferers, and they were safely conveyed to Quebec.
Captain Godfrey, through exposure and fatigue, contracted a severe cold, and at last, his life being despaired of, the surgeon of the regiment advised his return to England. He applied to General Clavering for leave of absence, or to grant him permission to sell out of the army. The permission being granted, he soon set about preparing to leave Quebec, and rejoin his wife and five children in England. Captain Godfrey notes in a memorandum his great sorrow in parting from his regiment, and that his zeal for serving his King and country was so great that nothing but extreme weakness would have induced him to part from his regiment and King George the Third’s service.
Before leaving Quebec to return home to his native land, Captain Godfrey visited the spot where, six years before, the gallant Wolfe had poured out his life’s blood in the service of his King and country. Here the Captain knelt and offered up to Him who guides the stars in their courses, thanksgiving for the brilliant and decisive victory gained by the British arms.
The following is from one of his memoranda:—“As I stood, and as I knelt where Wolfe fell, I more than ever realized what it is to be a brave soldier and a good man. As I rose from the spot I whispered to myself, if I am, through the providence of the Almighty, allowed to once again visit my native land, I will go to the widowed mother of General Wolfe and tell her where I have been and what I have seen. That I have stood on the very spot where victory and death gave the crowning lustre to the name of her great son.”
Charles Godfrey was born at St Ann’s, England, in the year 1730. The following, copied from an old document, gives a brief sketch of his early career:—“Was put on board His Majesty’s ship Bedford, Capt. Cornwall master, in the year 1741, and in 1742 went out to the Mediterranean. In 1743 was at the siege of Villa Franca, where with a large party of seamen was ordered on shore, and quartered at a six gun battery, under the command of Capt. Gugger, of the Royal Artillery. Was at the battle of Toulon, with Admirals Matthews and Lostock, on board said ship Bedford, then commanded by George Townsend. Was at the taking of several rich ships off the Island of Malta, which ships and their cargoes were afterward restored to the Genoese. Continued in the navy till the peace of Utretch, and for sometime subsequently. Afterward, a warrant being procured, attended the Royal Academy at Woolwich as a gentleman cadet, in which station was allowed to remain till 1755. Received a commission, and was appointed to the 52nd foot, by the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, who was afterwards pleased to recommend me for a Lieutenancy, and a few years later my friends procured for me a Captaincy.”
Captain Godfrey returned to England on board a transport from Quebec. This young officer appears to have been highly respected by the different Generals and Field Officers under whom he had served. He was presented, shortly after his arrival in England, with a certificate of character, signed by Lieut.-Genl. John Clavering, Colonel of the 52nd Regt., Lieut.-Genl. Edward Sandford, Lieut.-Genl. Sir John Seabright, Major-Genl. Guy Carleton, Major-Genl. John Alex. McKay, Lieut.-Col. Valentine Jones, Lieut.-Genl. Burgoyue, and Major Philip Skene.
[Footnote 1: The full name of this British officer is not given in any part of this work.]
The above has been copied principally for the purpose of showing that the following story has for its characters those who once lived and moved in the early English colonial life of Acadia. If the districts and places where the events related in this book occurred could speak, they would tell nearly the same thrilling and extraordinary story. In many of these localities great and important changes have taken place through a century and a quarter of time, but the records of the past remain unchanged.
Our barns may be built over the graves of the Indians, and our houses on the sites of their wigwams; our cattle may graze upon the hillsides and valleys of their hunting grounds, and our churches may be erected on positions where the Red men of the forest gathered together to invoke the blessing of the Great Chief of the everlasting hunting ground, yet what is truly written of the past must remain unalterable.
* * * * *
Note.—The wrecked transport Pitt was named, it is said, in honour of the Earl of Chatham; and tradition states that one of the boats of the ship drifted from the wreck and went ashore at a point of land near where the town of Chatham now stands, the ship’s name being painted on the boat; and from this circumstance Chatham, on the Miramichi River, received its name.
First experience of colonial life, 1769-70.
Captain Godfrey’s health gradually improved after his return to his native country. When he thought himself sufficiently recovered he felt anxious to embark in some branch of business, and not feeling inclined to do so in England, he purchased a grant of land from Lynge Tottenham, Esq., this land was situated on the bank of the River St. John, Nova Scotia.
In the early part of the year 1769, after three years of rest, Captain Godfrey purchased various kinds of merchandize, which he was advised were best adapted to the colonial trade. He freighted a vessel in London, and embarked with his wife and family for Halifax, in the month of June, 1769.
On the passage out the weather was usually fine, but the progress was slow, and nothing remarkable occurred on board during the sixty-two days they were in crossing the Atlantic.
Soon after landing at Halifax, Captain Godfrey heard that the Governor of Nova Scotia, (Lord William Campbell,) required some person of experience to enter into possession of Fort Frederick, situated at the mouth of the River St. John, and take charge of the arms, ammunition, and all other of His Majesty King George the Third’s stores. He had an interview with the Governor and was appointed to take charge of the fort.
After having secured the appointment at Fort Frederick, he concluded to commence trading operations at that post, and gave bonds to the governor in the sum of one thousand pounds for the privilege of carrying on a legitimate business with the settlers and Indians.
Province of Nova Scotia.
Know all men by these presents, that we, Charles * * * Godfrey * * * and Charles Morris, Esqs., both of Halifax, do acknowledge ourselves justly indebted unto our Sovereign Lord King George the Third, his heirs and successors, in the just and full sum of one thousand pounds currency of the Province of Nova Scotia, to which payment well and truly to be made and done, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators jointly by these presents. Witness our hand and seals, this thirtieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy, in the tenth year of His Majesty’s reign.
Charles * * * Godfrey * * *
Charles Morris, Jr.
Signed and sealed in the presence of
Secretary’s Office, Halifax, April 30th, 1770.
Captain * * * Godfrey * * * has the Governor’s
permission to occupy the
Fort and barracks of Frederick on the St. John River, &c., &c.
After spending the winter at Halifax, he chartered a brig in the month of May, 1770, and then putting on board his goods and stores sailed for Fort Frederick with his wife and family. On his arrival at the fort he carefully surveyed the situation and concluded that he would abandon the idea of trading there.
He found no one at the fort to assist him in protecting it, and a few days after his arrival the Indians became so troublesome and threatening that he found it would be impossible to remain there, protect the fort single-handed, and carry on trading operations successfully.
One afternoon the Indians appeared before the fort in numbers, threatening that if the place was not vacated at once they would murder the occupants. They then made a rush and got within the enclosure, and soon after retired.
Captain Godfrey had fortunately purchased from the master of the vessel in which he brought his merchandize to the fort, a small boat. The boat had been securely moored at the island below the fort.
The day following the assembling at the fort the savages again appeared and attempted to steal the boat, and would have done so had not Mrs. Godfrey succeeded in reaching the shore in time to discharge a musket at the thieves. The Redskins pulled the boat to the spot where she stood, but Mrs. Godfrey never moved from the position she had taken. When the Indians were in the act of jumping on shore she ordered them to take the boat back to the place from whence they had loosed it. One of the Redskins, a tall, muscular fellow, who could speak some English, asked her if she would get into the boat and go with them. If so, the boat would be taken back and made fast. She replied, “I have no doubt you are an honest man and would do no injury to a weak, pale-faced woman, I will go with you.” And as she said these words, she sprang into the boat and sat down, resting the musket upon her knees.
The Indians paddled the boat back to the place whence they had loosed it, and not one of them uttered a word. After the boat had been made fast Mrs. Godfrey was assisted ashore by the tall, muscular savage, his four companions walking away without saying a word. They were soon joined by their tall, muscular friend, and a few minutes later all were lost to view among the trees on the shore.
Mrs. Godfrey retired to the fort, where she was warmly congratulated by her husband for the tact and courage she had displayed in presence of the savages. She replied, “the Indians seemed completely taken aback when I jumped into the boat and had not recovered from their surprise when they parted from me, and while I was sitting in the boat, the deep, black eyes of the tall, muscular fellow looked straight and steady at me, and at times I felt as though they were piercing me through and through.”
The evening was a solemn one at Fort Frederick. The Captain and his wife talked over their situation, and the children were restless, the slightest noise about the place making the little ones tremble like aspen leaves. The Captain and his wife agreed that it would be useless, while the Indians were so troublesome, to remain at the Fort and attempt to transact business with the settlers, who were few indeed.
As they sat together that night in the Fort by the dim light of a flickering candle, expecting every moment to be disturbed by the war-whoop of the savages, Captain Godfrey said to Margaret, (for such was the name of his wife,) “our situation is serious.” She replied, “I believe it to be most dangerous.” “What move would you propose,” asked the Captain. Margaret answered, “I would propose to return to Halifax, if it be possible to get there.” The Captain then said to his wife, “What do you think about going to Grimross Neck where our grant of land is?” Margaret replied, “I am your wife, whatever you think best to do, do it, and I will follow and support you to the best of my ability.” She then, together with her husband and children, knelt in the lonely Fort and asked Him who had guided and protected them thus far not to forsake them in their present situation, but to guide, instruct and lead them in the future. She rose on her feet, walked across the small, dingy apartment, kissed each of the children, then taking her husband by the hand, said to him, in a clear and decided voice, “Whither thou goest I will follow, where thou resteth I will rest, and where thou settlest there will I be found with thee.” And in presence of the children God had given them, they bound their hearts to suffering and death.
Fatigue and fear had overcome the little ones, and in a short time they were sleeping soundly upon the floor.
After some further conversation between the Captain and his wife, it was agreed that he should attempt to proceed before dawn in the little boat to Annapolis Royal, and there, if possible, purchase a small vessel suitable to convey his goods and family up the river to his grant of land.
At four o’clock he secretly and alone left the fort, waving with his hand an adieu to his wife, as he stepped out of the door. He carried with him to the boat a camp blanket which he intended to hoist as a sail. At four o’clock, thirty minutes, he was on his way. As the little boat passed the island at the mouth of the harbour a breeze sprang up. He hoisted the sail, making it fast to one of the oars, which was used as a mast; the other oar being brought into play for steering purposes. Captain Godfrey had been fortunate in bringing with him from England several small compasses and two larger ones, one of the latter he took with him.
A gentle but fair breeze followed the little ship from land to land. The Captain found great difficulty in sighting the entrance to Digby Bay, where he arrived safe and sound at eleven o’clock the following morning.
The next day he proceeded to Annapolis Royal arriving there at noon, where he purchased a large sloop, and without delay got his boat on board and next day at the turn of tide sailed for Digby. Here he took on board some water, and after waiting several hours for a fair wind sailed for the mouth of the St. John. At ten o’clock, a.m., June 30th, he set sail to recross the Bay of Fundy and rejoin his wife and family at Fort Frederick. He arrived off the harbour the following morning quite early, but was unable to anchor off Fort Frederick, till the evening on account of fog. On arriving at the Fort he was greatly relieved of apprehensions that would obtrude themselves upon him during his lonely trip by finding his wife and children all well.
The following day he commenced to get his merchandize on board the sloop. His wife and eldest son assisting. It took fully ten days to accomplish the task, which proved to be a tedious and toilsome one indeed. At last, everything being ready, he vacated Fort Frederick and sailed for his possessions up the river, intending there to settle and trade.
Not many hours after they had left the Fort the report of a musket was heard from the shore. Soon a canoe was seen approaching the sloop. As it came near the vessel, an Indian was seen as its only occupant. He paddled his canoe alongside the sloop. Captain Godfrey attentively watched his every movement while Mrs. Godfrey seemed quite indifferent at the presence of the stranger. She threw him a small line and made signs to him to make fast his canoe, which he appeared quickly to understand. Mrs. Godfrey then motioned to the Indian to come on board, and he at once bounded over the rail. As he stood on deck, his comely Indian features were lit up by a good humoured smile. He looked a giant, brave and active. He was teeming all over with youthful vigour. His eyes were black like polished jet, sparkling and deep set. His mouth large, square and firm; and his hair like threads of coarse, black silk, brushed back from a low, narrow forehead, hung loosely down over his broad, square shoulders.
His whole frame seemed stirred with a strong nervous action, and a quick but expressive motion of his small brown hand appeared as a signal for conversation. He at once spoke, “May be if go to Grimross be scalped,” and every word brought with it increased action of both hand and body. He continued, “Indians say war coming, must have pale face blood and scalp.”
Capt. Godfrey said not a word, but looked serious and pale; while deep anxiety was pictured on every feature of his face. He felt that it was no use to retreat, and situated as they were, where could they retreat in safety. Fort Frederick at the mouth of the river had been surrounded by blood-thirsty savages, who had threatened them with fire and murder if they did not abandon the place. In this distracting situation Captain Godfrey held a council of war within himself, and finally decided, come what might, evil or good, he would push on to his destination.
He wondered how the Indian knew he was bound for Grimross. It occurred to him that perhaps the savage was trying to find out where he intended to land, and there be on hand to murder all on board and seize the sloop and cargo. He thought, “if the Indian is sincere in warning us, what interest has he in doing so? What could he expect in return for his kind act?” These and many similar thoughts rushed quickly through the agitated brain of the Captain. The Indian stood silent and motionless for a moment, then returned to his canoe and paddled toward the shore.
The eyes of Captain Godfrey followed the Red man to the shore and watched him until he disappeared among the trees on the river bank. The sloop was kept on her course up the river. Just after the sun had sunk beneath the horizon, Captain Godfrey, by the persuasion of his wife, anchored the sloop in a small recess in the shore. From the time the Indian had reached the bank the Captain’s wife scarcely ever lifted her eyes from gazing on the right bank of the river. Was she watching for a place to safely anchor at night? Or was she watching for the Indian’s return? These questions were agitating the Captain’s thoughts.
Captain Godfrey had never fully recovered from a weakness to his nervous system, caused by the severe hardships he had endured in the Gulf of St Lawrence. He was strongly opposed to anchoring the sloop so near the shore. He felt fearful that during the long watches of the night all on board might be murdered. The armament of the vessel consisted of two muskets, two pistols, and a sword. Her cargo was valued at over two thousand pounds sterling. She was deeply laden, and it was with great difficulty that all the goods and chattels had been stowed on board; several boxes and bundles being closely packed and lashed on deck.
After everything had been made snug on board, sails furled, &c., the Captain and his wife asked the blessing of the all-seeing One during the hours of the night. The Captain was very tired, and the events of the day had not added to his comfort. His wife persuaded him to go into the small cabin and rest. She promised to call him if the least danger appeared. She said that she was only too willing to stand as sentinel until the sun-rise. It was only through a knowledge of the determined spirit, good judgment, quick eye, and self possession of his wife that he was induced to retire to rest.
The children unconscious of the dangers surrounding them, were nestled together in the small cabin like young birds in a nest. During four long hours nothing unusual occurred to break the stillness of the night. The rustling of the leaves on the trees not many yards distant, and the rippling of the water were all that could be heard, a dense darkness, a blackness doubly deep appeared to settle over and around the little vessel. The sentinel placed her soft white hand close to her face but could not even distinguish its outlines.
At this moment there flashed through her mind the words, “Watchman, what of the night.” The words were accompanied by a hand gently laid upon her shoulder. She remained as motionless as a statue in the gloom. A gentle breath whispered in her ear, “me Paul;” “come tell you Indians on other bank river;” adding strength to the expression by taking her hand and pointing it to the opposite bank. He then again whispered, “Fire gun next setting sun, where stop,” and then suddenly left her side, and she saw nothing more that night of Paul Guidon, for such was the Indian’s name.
Captain Godfrey, after his many days of toil and anxiety, slept so soundly that he did not wake till the sun had risen. As soon as breakfast was over, and a chapter had been read from an old family Bible, which had accompanied four generations of the Landers through this vale of tears, sorrows and joys, and a short prayer read from an old service book, presented to Captain Godfrey by General Murray at Quebec, the sloop was got under way and proceeded on her voyage, the wind being fair and light. The prospect was not one to gladden the hearts of the voyagers, though the day was fine and sky clear. The progress was slow. Captain Godfrey was in better spirits than on the previous day, the quiet night and refreshing sleep had somewhat braced him up. The children sat on deck during the day, chatting, playing and singing, while their mother, dauntless and buoyant in spirit, retired to rest in the little smoke-box of a cabin. She knew that very much depended upon her behaviour and courage in safely reaching Grimross Neck. She closed her eyes with the whispered words upon her lips, “I will follow what I believe to be the path of safety, and I will tread it with a firm and unfaltering footstep, praise to the Great King who sent us Paul Guidon in the thick darkness to watch over us from the river’s bank. It brings to my remembrance what I have read in the Book of books, of Pharaoh’s daughter standing at the river’s brink and rescuing the babe, and seeing that no harm befell it.”
Little progress was made during the day. An hour or two before the shadows of evening had begun to fling their leaden mantle around the sloop, Mrs. Godfrey appeared on deck. Perfect stillness seemed to reign on every hand; even the little craft appeared to be half asleep, so lazily did she move along. All above and about stretched the wondrous beauty of the sky; the deep blue clouds, as the day wore away, becoming tinged with gold, contrasted in loveliness with the green of earth. Not a sound was there to stir the perfect stillness except the rippling of the water against the vessel.
As Margaret sat beside her husband on that lovely evening of July, the deep feelings that were stirred within her soul seemed to find their natural outlet, as she turned to her husband and said, “this seems like a glimpse of some better world.” He replied, “it appears as though we are sailing through a land of perfect rest.” “I trust we are, though we sail through a country peopled with savages.” She replied, “To-day we beheld the sun in his glory, and strong in his power, now he is departing, but I trust as we continue to sail o’er the ocean of time, guided by the King of Pilots toward a land where glory never fades, and where the True Light never grows dim, our passage may continually be lit up by the reflecting rays of the Sun of Righteousness.” As she finished speaking a bright light flashed on the starboard shore, quickly followed by the report of a musket. The
The child soon recovered, but the mother lay upon the deck for some time in a half unconscious state. At times a quiet happiness seemed singing in her soul, that often broke into words of praise as the vessel drifted along in the stillness. On the right and left slept the country with its wooded hills and dales. As Margaret Godfrey recovered she said, “Charles, we appear to be sleeping on to our destination.” “Yes,” he said; “but perhaps that Indian has been watching and following us, hiding among the trees along the shore; and as we have been going slowly all day, he could with ease keep way with us. He may now consider us far enough away from the fort to decoy and murder us, seize our vessel and goods, and no suspicion rest upon him as the murderer and robber.”
“It may be that he has accomplices on our track; a band of savages to quietly dispose of us and seize our possessions.” As he spoke these words he appeared much more agitated than on the previous evening. Margaret replied, “God’s will be done! We must anchor at some point to-night—Why not anchor here? At the earnest solicitation of his wife, Captain Godfrey consented to run the sloop toward the shore and anchor.
After a lengthened discussion between the Captain and his wife upon the question of keeping watch during the night, Margaret carried her point, and soon after stood alone on the deck.
The reader, doubtless, will wonder why Margaret expressed so strong a desire to keep watch through the long, lonely hours of darkness. Before the conclusion of the story is reached, he will have found out the reason.
Soon all was hushed, gross darkness had gathered over the face of nature, and the eyes of the beloved on board were closed in sleep. At about midnight Margaret was slightly startled at hearing a footstep on deck. “Paul,” she whispered, “is that you.” “Me,” he answered in a low, soft tone. “Most Indians away, far up country after game, and not come back few days.”
Paul Guidon was a sub-chief, and one of the bravest of the tribe over which he exercised some authority. He was feared and respected by all the tribes of the St. John. He had used all his cunning and power to pilot the sloop safely to her destination. He had for several days spread the report that large herds of caribou and moose had appeared in a part of the country forty miles west of the St. John River. The Indians took the bait and had suddenly left in pursuit of the game.
Before leaving the deck Paul advised Margaret to get the vessel under way at daylight next morning, in order that the journey might be completed before the next setting of the sun. He then took Mrs. Godfrey by the hand and raising it to his broad breast passed it firmly over his quickly throbbing heart, and almost instantly turned and shot from her presence like an arrow in the darkness. Very early in the morning the sloop was made ready to proceed on her voyage. The wind was blowing stiffly and fair, the little vessel reached along and arrived at her destination at five o’clock in the afternoon. The anchor was let go between an island and the river’s bank. Thanksgiving and praise were offered on board for past mercies and supplication for continued guidance. Neither was Paul Guidon forgotten, for Margaret breathed a silent supplication to Him who can soften and subdue the savage breast, to guide, control and direct the life and steps of her benefactor.
After landing at Grimross, Captain Godfrey looked about to find his lot of land. Lot No. 14 he found belonged to a Captain Spry, lot No. 15 to a Reverend Smith, and his own lot he found to be No. 16. These lots were all facing the St. John river, and extending back parallel with each other. In looking over the plan of the lots, it appears that Captain Godfrey settled on No. 14, Spry’s lot, and on this lot he commenced trading operations in an old house situated not far from a stream leading from a lake on his own lot to the St. John. On Captain Godfrey’s lot were two small log houses,
The Indians did not trouble him further until the middle of November, when about thirty of them came to his place of business with beaver, otter, raccoon, mink and other skins. These he took in exchange for blankets, powder and other goods, the Indians appearing well satisfied with the exchange. About a fortnight later the Indians again returned in numbers, accompanied by a white man who acted as spokesman. The white man, a peculiar looking character, with one eye looking due north and the other due east, from beneath a forehead very much resembling that of a monkey, stuttered out to Captain G.: “We-e-e-e co-co-me t-t-to war-war-warn you t-to g-g-g-git ou-out. Th-the la-lan-lands ar-are Free n-sh le-le-lands, an-and th-the In-in-d-dans we-we-will dri-dri-drive aw-all de-de-damd E-e-en-glis way, an-an gi-gi-give the-the-em b-b-b-back to Fre-e-e-nsh.” The Indians and their low-browed, cross-eyed spokesman then left the Captain’s place of business without uttering another word. On Christmas day, 1770, or about one month after their last visit, eight of the Indians, accompanied by two squaws, returned to the store at Grimross Neck and whooped out in tones of fury, “Fire, blood, scalps.”
Captain Godfrey immediately barred his shop door, and also the door of his house, seeing that the savages were bent on mischief. The children were inside the store and house, and were terrified and trembling. At length the Redskins became so excited and noisy and so wild in their movements, that the place seemed like a pandemonium. They were-armed, each one having a knife about ten inches in length stuck in his belt.
Captain Godfrey consulted with his wife as to the wisest course to be pursued, but no definite line of action was arranged. The two old muskets were in the bedroom, loaded, not having been discharged since they were fired off on leaving Fort Frederick. The Captain’s wife ran to the room and brought out both guns into the kitchen. She handed one to her husband remarking, “if the brutes attempt to force their way into the house shoot the first one that puts his moccasin over the door sill.” At this time the howling, yelling and cursing of the blood-thirsty fiends would strike terror into the stoutest heart. Finally they took up a large stick of wood that was lying near the kitchen door and made a desperate attempt to smash it in. Mrs. Godfrey, who had stood near the door for sometime, appeared calm and decided amid all the murderous clamour. She stepped back a pace, and placing the butt of the musket against her hip, with the muzzle slanting upwards, stood firm as a statue.
The door was soon forced and the fiends came tumbling in. Mrs. Godfrey fired, the charge going over the heads of the savages and entering the ceiling above the door. The Indians in the rear seeing their comrades fall, and thinking they were killed by the shot, at once retreated uttering terrible threats of vengeance. One of the squaws, a short, stout old creature, was so terrified by the report of the musket and the falling to the floor of the three Indians, that in her bewildered retreat she tumbled headlong down a steep, stony bank and laid as if dead on the ice below. She was left by her companions, who travelled as fast as their legs would carry them. The old squaw was found and taken prisoner by Mrs. Godfrey. Her nose and one rib were broken, her left arm dislocated at the elbow, and both her eyes completely closed with heavy shutters. She presented a pitiable appearance, as she staggered along toward the house supported by her captor. The Indians were so completely surprised and cowed by the courage of Mrs. Godfrey that they never came back to look after the wounded squaw, or sent to inquire whether she was living or dead.
As soon as the old squaw began to recover, Mrs. Godfrey found out that the old woman could speak some English. She said she was a widow about sixty years old. That her husband had been killed at Fort Pitt in 1763. Her only son had been taken prisoner by the English at Fort Pitt, and had afterwards remained nine moons with an English officer in New York. The officer went away to England and wanted her son to go with him, but on the eve of the officer’s departure he ran away, soon got on the trail of his mother, and at last found her at Detroit living with a band of Iroquois. Not long afterward she and her boy wandered from post to post and camp to camp until they at last got over among the tribe on the St. John, where they had made their home among a strange tribe for the past two years. Her son did not respect the tribe with whom they lived. He had often told her that these Indians were not pure bloods. Her son was sixteen years old when taken prisoner at Fort Pitt. She had always been called Mag, but when any of the tribe addressed her, it was by the not very respectful addition of “Old Mag.” Her boy had gone toward the setting sun to be with a party of English officers on a hunting excursion, he had left her in September and would not return for some moons.
Captain Godfrey and his family rested in comparative peace for some weeks, and Mrs. Godfrey drew from Old Mag many stories respecting the manner of life among the various tribes of American Indians.
About one month after the old squaw had been captured, she began to appear exceedingly dull and dispirited. The Captain’s wife said to her one morning, “Mag, are you ill,” “No! no!” she replied, “me no sick to-day,” “bad dream some nights ago. Saw all Indians outside house, and big black devil’s spirit come into them, black spirits come out woods, and fire on their heads, all went into Indians and made them dance war, yell and whoop and burn house.”
All went fairly well until the 26th February, 1771, when the red men again appeared at the premises of the Captain. They were armed, and their actions seemed to be in keeping with Old Mag’s dream.
Their shrieks, yells and war-whoops were terrible, they acted like demons. The children hid under the beds and held on to the garments of their parents. The terrified little ones trembled like leaves in an autumn breeze. Spirits let loose from the regions of the damned could hardly present a more devilish appearance than did the savages. They were armed with muskets. Old Mag, who was crouching in a corner of the kitchen, shook with fear, her teeth were chattering, and she appeared like a person badly affected with fever and ague.
The Redskins, about twenty in number, ran round and round the house roaring like wild beasts thirsting for gore. Charlie, the Captain’s eldest boy, came rushing into the kitchen screaming out that two of the Indians were making a fire at the store door. Captain Godfrey ran to the shop, looked out of the window and was horrified to find the side of the building in flames. A minute after he had left the kitchen two of the red devils broke in the door, Mrs. Godfrey, with Charlie holding on to her skirt, had taken up a position in front of Old Mag, as the charging enemy came toward her, she fired. There was a yell, as of death. Captain Godfrey had placed the other musket in Old Mag’s lap, Mrs. Godfrey instantly seized it and quick as a flash again fired and the door way was cleared.
In a few moments the smoke had cleared away. Two human forms lay across the door sill and one within the kitchen. These were the bodies of one dead and two dying Indians. The dead man was completely scalped, the whole top of his head being torn off. The other two were so terribly mutilated about their faces and necks that they lived but a few minutes. Forty minutes after Mrs. Godfrey had fired the first shot scarcely a vestige of anything remained on the spot where the house had stood. As soon as the savages were aware that three of their comrades had fallen in the assault, they beat a hasty retreat.
Let the reader pause for a few moments to consider the situation of Captain Godfrey, his wife and their five children. There they were alone in the wilderness, thousands of miles from friends and home. Out in the cold, amid the frost and snow of an Acadian winter, without a house to shelter them, a friend to cheer them, or a fire to warm them; surrounded by demons of the forest, panting and thirsting for their blood. There was no possible escape by water, the St. John was covered by a thick winding sheet of ice, and the sloop was lying some miles away in an icy bed of a lake. The history of early colonial life does not and cannot present a more affecting scene than that of the Godfrey family, as they stood alone on the banks of the river St. John in the midnight of a Nova Scotian winter.
All that was saved from the flames were several pieces of half-burnt pork, the two old muskets, a few half-burnt blankets, one hundred and forty pounds of beaver skin, between two and three hundred weight of gunpowder, the old family Bible and service book, and a trunk containing some papers and old clothes. The above articles Captain Godfrey and his son, at the risk of their lives, saved from complete destruction. In an hour the little band of early settlers was reduced from comfortable circumstances to a misery beyond the power of words to express. Darkness would soon cover the spot of desolation. But five hours of daylight were left in which escape could be made. They knew not in which direction to flee for shelter. The Captain consulted with his brave partner, but all seemed dark; no way of escape presented itself. To remain where they were during the coming night meant death. There were only two log houses in the district and they were miles away. Finally Mrs. Godfrey assembled her shivering children about her and read aloud the twenty-third psalm, and closing the old service book she said to her husband, let us no longer tarry here, let us make haste towards the sloop. As they were about to start, it suddenly occurred to Mrs Godfrey that Old Mag was missing. The Captain had not seen her since he placed the musket in her lap. The children had not seen her since the burning of the house, and Mrs. Godfrey had not seen her after she had taken the musket off her lap. The old squaw’s absence caused a delay in setting out for the sloop. As no trace of Old Mag could be found, it was the opinion of both the Captain and his wife, that she had either perished in the flames or had slipped out of the kitchen before the smoke had cleared away and followed the Indians in their retreat.
Neither the Captain nor his wife would leave the locality without making a search for Old Mag. During the search, Captain Godfrey, whose strength had been severely tested since his arrival at Grimross in July, sank to the ground in a swoon. At this crisis his wife displayed the greatness of her character. As troubles thickened about her she seemed to develop qualities that only woman cast in an heroic mould are capable of exhibiting. She whispered to her husband, “We cannot find Mag, I must save you.” These words appeared to have a magic effect on the Captain. He rose to his feet, supported by his wife, and soon after they were staggering on towards the river leading to the lake, followed by their five children, the eldest, who was but twelve, carrying with him his youngest brother, only two years old.
At length they reached the lake, and at this point of the journey Mrs. Godfrey was compelled to order a halt. She was heavily handicapped, having a large shawl tied across her shoulders filled with the burnt pork and some blankets. After a few minutes rest they were again tugging along towards their little ark. As the light of the sun gradually faded away, the little band of colonists tried to quicken their pace, but they tried in vain. They were so exhausted that it was with great difficulty they kept on their feet.
The children were more dead than alive, and the approaching darkness filled them with terror. Their mother would say to them, “Keep along, follow closely, the moon is rising, we shall soon have plenty of light.” In this manner they toiled on till midnight, when they reached the sloop. Fortunately for the little band of wanderers, Captain Godfrey had left on board the vessel a small Dutch stove and a number of broken boxes. A fire was soon made, some of the burnt pork was sliced and put in a pan and fried for the night’s meal. But the children sank to rest soon after getting on board, and lay huddled together on the cabin floor. After the Captain and his wife had partaken of the meal and before retiring to rest on the hard boards of the floor, Mrs. Godfrey read, by the dim light of a candle, the fifty-fourth psalm.
Nothing can better prove the genuineness of a life, the soundness of a profession, the real character of a man or woman, than those extreme trials and difficulties of earth, when no friends are near to help and where no way of escape seems possible. In trials, such as those related above, the noblest traits of character or the hollowness and rottenness of a profession are often plainly seen. Five cold winter days and nights came and passed, yet no relief came to the imprisoned family. They dare not move out, fearing the Indians would see them and come at night and murder them. The sixth day Crabtree, who lived some miles distant from where the Godfreys had resided, having heard of the attack of the savages and the destruction they had caused, made his way to the scene of the ruins. He could find no trace of the Godfreys and was returning by the border of the lake to his log cabin, when he saw the sloop far in the distance like a speck on the frozen surface of the lake. He hastened out to where she lay. To his surprise and joy he found out, when nearing the little craft, signs of life on board. Sparks were issuing from the cabin. Very soon he was on board. He was met at the companion-way by the Captain who gave him a thousand welcomes. Crabtree, after a few minutes rest and conversation, started for his home, eleven miles distant, promising to return early the next morning with a sledge to assist in taking the children to his cabin. In the morning he returned, and Captain Godfrey, his wife, and little ones, left the sloop and went to Crabtree’s. Captain and Mrs. Godfrey and Charlie had to walk the entire distance over the lake and through the forest to Crabtree’s log house.
The man who had rescued them attended to their wants as well as his circumstances would allow. He kept the distressed family until the month of May, when the ice in the river broke up. Captain Godfrey then set to work to fit out the sloop, being determined to leave the place as soon as possible. The sails and part of the rigging were consumed in the fire at Grimross. He had fortunately saved two of the compasses from the flames. After days of toil he managed to get the vessel in fair working order. The old half-burnt blankets were patched together and a mainsail and jib were completed. On the 30th of May, 1771, he set sail for Fort Frederick.
On the passage down the river several Indians were seen on the banks of the stream, but none of them made any trouble. After eleven months absence the Captain found himself at Fort Frederick once again. Captain Godfrey said to his wife, “Margaret, what changes are often wrought in a few months.” “Yes! true!” she replied, “we have lost our property, but we have escaped with our lives and those of our children. Our reputations are not dimmed, neither has the Lord forsaken us. The best of our fortune remains with us. An honourable foundation remains on which we can re-erect our future structure. Let us thank a wise, over-ruling providence that a fortune still remains to us, though we have passed through great misfortune.”
Arrives off fort Frederick—Paul guidon.
After the arrival of the sloop at the mouth of the St. John, the Captain was compelled to leave his wife and family. There was not a morsel of food of any description in the locker. The necessaries that had been supplied by Crabtree for the voyage were entirely consumed.
The day following the arrival off Fort Frederick, Captain Godfrey set sail in his small boat for Passmaquaddy, eighteen leagues distant. The boat was the same one in which he accomplished his successful journey to Annapolis Royal. His intention in setting out for Passmaquaddy was to visit a settlement belonging to a Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, and there procure some supplies for his family, and sails and rigging for the sloop.
He left his family in a most destitute condition, they having neither shoes nor stockings to their feet, and every other article of their clothing being in rags and tatters. While the Captain was absent, his wife and family were obliged to traverse the shore seeking for small fish, which they were sometimes fortunate in securing. The second evening after Captain Godfrey had left for Lieut. Owen’s settlement, being a clear, moonlight one in June, Mrs. Godfrey thought she saw an object floating leisurely down the river in the direction of the sloop. She went below and brought on deck one of the old muskets which did such valuable service at Grimross. Charlie, her twelve-year old son, said to his mother: “Do you see Indians?” The little fellow was so agitated he could scarcely speak. She cautioned her son to remain perfectly quiet, and not to utter another word. Brave, calm, unmoved, she stood over her boy at the bow of the sloop. On the nearer approach of the object she discovered it was a canoe, with someone leisurely paddling it along. It had almost drifted by the vessel when, to her surprise, it suddenly turned, and ran straight as an arrow for the side of the sloop.
Mrs Godfrey, in a loud, firm tone, sang out:
“Pull away, or I’ll shoot you!”
The canoe was turned about in an instant, and as quick came floating over the water the words:
“Me, Paul: Me, Paul Guidon!”
She threw him a small line and then invited him to come on board, immediately resuming her former position with the musket by her side.
The Indian came on board, fastened his frail bark and stood for a moment watching the retreating tide. Mrs. Godfrey asked him to come forward, while little Charlie was shaking as though he would fall in pieces. He obeyed her, and stepped forward. She took him by the hand and said:
“Paul! Paul! You have again come to see me. I have thought of you, prayed for you, and shall never forget you. You have saved my life and the lives of my husband and dear children. I am in great trouble; God has sent you again.”
Paul Guidon stood speechless and motionless with his sparkling black eyes fixed on her thin, pale hand. The mild effulgence of the lunar light shone full upon his face, bringing out every feature in perfect outline. Presently his whole frame shook as though it had received an electric shock. Mrs. Godfrey looked straight at him with her piercing black eyes from the moment he had stood before her. Her power over him seemed like that of a charmer. Her magic nature had completely overcome him. Never did a naval hero appear on deck after a victory more transcendently grand than did Margaret Godfrey at that moment of her life. She pressed his hand more closely and said: “Paul, are you ill?” He replied by placing her soft, white hand upon his throbbing breast, and then moved toward the canoe. He spoke not a word. He pointed towards his canoe, and made a sign with his right hand from the eastern horizon up the semicircle of the sky. She understood it to mean that he would return in the morning, at the rising of the sun. He at once got into his canoe, and in a minute or two was paddling up the stream against the rushing tide.
Very early the following morning, Margaret was on deck preparing to go on shore while the tide was low, and, if possible, catch some fish for breakfast. She had not been long on deck before she saw a canoe approaching. As it neared the sloop she saw that Paul Guidon was its only occupant. In a few minutes Paul was on board, looking as bright as the morning star. Margaret bade him good morning and then related to him the distressed condition of herself and children. He replied, with a cheerful smile: “Suppose big boy and little ones go with Paul and catch ’em some fish?” She felt that the Indian had a kind heart and at once consented to accompany him with her children. All got into the canoe, and Paul at once began to paddle down the river. Although the morning was without rain the sky was leaden, and the atmosphere heavy and damp. As the Indian paddled the canoe along for a couple of miles, all on board were joyous and seemed refreshed as they drank in the breeze from off the breast of the bay.
They landed at a point of land, or rather of rocks, where Paul succeeded in catching several fish, which he placed in the bottom of the canoe. He then proposed to leave the place and proceed further down the shore. Margaret replied that occasionally drops of rain fell upon her face, and she feared a storm might suddenly spring up and bar their way back to the vessel. She rather urged the Indian to return, but she saw by his manner that he was inclined to demur to her solicitation. He said there was a brook a short distance further down the shore, where there was always plenty of good fish. Mrs. Godfrey finally consented to follow Paul. He took in his arms the two smallest children, and pressing them closely to his broad chest with his long sinewy arms, was soon skipping from rock to rock like a mountain goat. The mother and the three other children followed as closely as possible in Paul’s tracks.
After the Indian had gone about a hundred yards, he looked over his left shoulder and appeared satisfied that all was well. He redoubled his speed and bounded along as a deer, and suddenly turning to the right he made his way up a slope of ground and was out of sight among the trees.
Margaret now began to feel anxious, fearing that after all the trust she had reposed in Paul, he might yet prove unfaithful. She called to the Indian, but he heeded not her cry. She again called, but he had completely disappeared.
Under such circumstances a less brave woman would have sunk on the spot in utter despair. She kept on, following as nearly as she could the track that Paul had taken. She toiled on and on for three quarters of an hour, but never sighted the Indian. At last she completely lost the trail. The rocks and uneven ground impeded her progress, and the trees confused her in the line of march. All traces of a pathway were lost.
She sat down on a large boulder—the children wanted rest, they were completely fatigued. She judged that they must be nearly two miles from the canoe. In her distressed situation she contemplated returning to the shore. To proceed further in the direction she had been going seemed hopeless. Without a guide she and her children would certainly get lost, and likely all would perish. Whilst she was thus debating in her mind what course to pursue, a peel of thunder passed over her head, and large drops of rain began to fall. The wind suddenly sprang up, and all around her was growing dark. Her blood quickened in its pulsations, as the elements were increasing the difficulties of her position. Alone, on a rocky, stormy shore, with three small children and two others far away in the arms of an almost unknown savage, what could she do? Where could she go? She said to herself: “evil seems to follow me closely, and heavy trouble is continually weighing me down. I am in a strange land, among a strange race; where will the end be? It may be here.” As the above thoughts were running
The rain descended in torrents; the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed. Through the terrible storm Mrs. Godfrey pressed on, buoyant with a hope that all might turn out well. As she was staggering from rock to rock with the little ones pitching and stumbling along at her sides, now and again almost blinded and bewildered by the lurid lightning, she felt as one amid the crash of worlds.
Just as she sighted the canoe, which Paul had hauled upon the shore, a sharp, rattling clap of thunder peeled above her head. This was preceded an instant before by a dazzling blue and golden flash that all but blinded the band of wanderers. Another and another flash, followed by their thunderbolts, in quick succession shattered a solid rock over which they had just passed. The whole shore appeared to tremble and crash, and away far out over the surface of the bay the waters seemed as if in a blaze. The sight was grand and terrible. Every rock along the shore appeared to sink into an abyss as the lightning passed by, and many of them were riven. At length Mrs. Godfrey and her children reached the side of the canoe. There calm and unmoved amid the storm, she knelt, she wept, she prayed. The waters of Fundy were heaped into angry billows, and dashed their spray over the mother and children assembled round the altar on the shore. Darkness began to throw its sable mantle over land, rocks and bay. Margaret was suddenly started, she thought she heard the sound of a voice coming through the gloom. She turned her head in the direction of the sound, and at that moment a flash of lightning revealed a human form coming toward her. In an instant it was lost to view, shut out in the darkness. “Me come!” “Me come!” fell upon her waiting ears. Margaret, with a heart overflowing with gratitude and swelling with praise, quietly exclaimed “God is love.” Paul stood before her, panting like a stricken deer, with but one of the children in his arms. As Margaret looked at him her pale face turned ashen white, her lips quivered and she fell into the arms of Paul Guidon as if dead. He sat down upon a rock, and by the lightning’s flash bathed her temples with water from the sea shore. The Indian continued to pour salt water out of his brawny hands upon her head and neck. In about ten minutes Margaret was restored to consciousness. When she opened her eyes her missing child was at her side. Paul Guidon had placed the little fellow in charge of an Indian he had found fishing on the bank of the stream, and he asked him to take the child in his arms and follow on to the shore.
After Paul had been fishing along the stream for some time, seeing that Mrs. Godfrey and her children had not come up with him, he decided to return and look them up.
As they rested together on the shore beside their birchen boat, the thunder gradually died away, and there was also a truce to the lightning and rain. In two hours from the time of the happy reunion of the loved and lost the water became quite calm. Paul Guidon then launched the canoe and the little ships’ company were soon heading toward the mouth of the St. John. In another hour and a half Paul and his companion had safely paddled Margaret Godfrey and her children to the sloop.
Margaret’s first act, after reaching her small floating home, was to place each child upon its knees, doing likewise herself. As her clear voice rang out over the water, conveying words of thankfulness to Him whom winds and seas obey, the two Indians sank slowly on their knees.
Plenty of fish had been secured by Paul to last the family some days Margaret cooked the supper, Paul and his companion ate heartily, then left the sloop and proceeded in the canoe to their homes, Paul promising to return the next day with a load of wood to replenish the stock of fuel which was well nigh exhausted.
At seven o’clock next morning Paul again was seen sailing along toward the sloop, his little bark skimming over the river like a petrel on the ocean’s breast. He appeared anxious and excited as he approached the side of the vessel. He had but a few pieces of wood in his canoe. Margaret at first sight noticed a change in his features; he looked worn and weary. His bright black eye had lost much of its fire, and as he stepped on board Mrs. Godfrey thought she noticed a tear on his cheek. As usual she saluted him and asked him on board, and as he stepped over the rail she took his hand in her own. This act of kindness on the part of Margaret seemed to electrify his whole frame. She said to him, “And how is Paul this morning.” Without answering her he placed his hand on his left breast and sighed deeply. “Is my Paul ill this morning,” she again asked, thinking that the strain from carrying the children the day previous, and the worry and excitement, had been too severe a task even upon the hardy and wiry frame of the Iroquois. “No! No!” he replied, “but,” “but,” and here he stopped being too full to utter another word. He pointed to his canoe, and then pointed up the river past the fort. She guessed his meaning. It was to return to his home at once.
Margaret said to him, “Paul do you want me and the children to go with you?”
He bowed an assent.
All hands were soon on board the canoe and in a few strokes of the paddle the homeless emigrants were sailing toward the rapids. The tide was running up and the long sinewy arms of Paul, as he plied the paddle, made the little bark fairly leap along. The rippling of the water was all that broke in upon the stillness of the morning.
The steep, rugged country on either side the mouth of the St. John was dressed in deepest green, tall and noble trees lined both banks. The clear bright sky and the brighter sun made the river appear like a winding stream of silver with borders of emerald. Her admiration of natural beauty, she had herself confessed more than once during the voyage to Grimross.
While Mrs. Godfrey was drinking in the beauties of the scenery, and meditating on the loneliness that reigned supreme among the hills, the canoe touched the shore. As Margaret stepped from the little bark to the shore, a large grey snake passed athwart her pathway and disappeared into a hole at the roots of a tree. She felt much concerned at this circumstance, as in Ireland, her native land, it was a common belief among the people that if a snake passed across a persons track without being killed by the traveller, some evil was close upon his or her track.
After the Indian had pulled the canoe out of the water, he led the way up a slight incline, followed by Margaret and her children. They had walked some two hundred yards over uneven ground and among trees, when Paul suddenly stopped and then stepped off to the right, and beckoned to those in his rear to follow him. A few steps brought the visitors in sight of a wigwam. It was situated in a small open space, surrounded by a dense forest of large, tall trees. In a minute or two all stood at the opening in the camp.
Paul seemed to hesitate as he led the way inside. He removed an old blanket which was hanging over the aperture. Opposite the entrance on the further side of the camp lay a human form stretched on some old grey blankets, that were spread over branches of spruce trees. The Indian approached the bed and then stooped down and kissed its occupant, and then beckoned to Margaret Godfrey to step forward. She at once obeyed. To her astonishment there lay an old squaw with sunken cheeks and eyes. Over her form was stretched a time-worn grey blanket, and on it laid a wampum belt, and a string of wampum beads, an old plaid shawl supported her head.
Margaret thought that she recognized the shawl as one she had brought with her from Ireland, and wondered how it came there. She knelt down, and placing her arm under the old squaw’s neck, gently raised her head a few inches. The poor old squaw tried to speak but was too weak to do so. Margaret took the withered hand of the Indian woman and placed it in her own. On one of the bony fingers of the squaw was a ring which fell off into Margaret’s hand. Margaret recognized it as a ring she had often seen. She asked Paul who the sick woman was. “She is my poor old mother,” he replied, “she has been sick long time, since last winter, got bad fall and almost stiffened with cold.” “She fast going away from her Paul.” Margaret noticed the old woman’s lips moving, she put her ear close to the squaw’s mouth and heard her say in a whisper, “Me Mag!”
Margaret asked Paul where he had found his mother on his return from the setting sun. He then related to her in broken English the following story:—
He had returned from his hunting expedition on the evening of the day the house at Grimross had been consumed by the flames. He had been detained with the officers one month longer than he expected to be when he left home. On his arrival home he found that his mother was missing. He made inquiries as to her whereabouts, and was told that she had gone off with three Indians named Nick Thoma, Pete Paul, and Christopher Cope, to trade furs for some pork, blankets and powder at Grimross. That white woman had killed the three Indians; that white man’s house was burnt, and white woman had put his mother into the flames and burnt her up. Early in the morning after his arrival home he set out for Grimross Neck, crossing the lake where the sloop lay. When he arrived at Grimross he saw nothing but blackened ruins, and was convinced the Indian’s story was true. He saw also the dead bodies of the three Indians, he could not recognize them, they were so cooked by the fire. He walked about the ruins, almost bewildered, and swearing vengeance. Not many steps from where the house had stood were dense woods. He wandered in among the trees scarcely knowing where he was going, when to his surprise he saw his mother sitting down on the snow with her back resting against a large tree, her feet and knees covered with blankets. He pulled off one blanket, then another, and yet another, but his mother never moved. She sat as motionless as the tree itself. Her face was covered with frozen blood. He took hold of her shoulders and shook her when she appeared to breathe. After rubbing her hands and beating her feet on the frozen snow for a long time she began to move her limbs. And finally he got her to stand on her feet. Her eyes were swollen and completely closed. He was at a loss to know how he was to get her to the camp twelve miles distant. Part of the journey was comparatively easy; they could go by way of the lake. At four o’clock he started with his mother for the camp, she could only walk slowly and with great difficulty. They made many stops on the way and reached the camp long after midnight. About noon the next day the old woman had gained sufficient strength to tell her story. She said “she went first time with Indians to
As Paul Guidon related his mother’s story his face was bathed in tears. Mrs. Godfrey attentively listened, and at the same time carefully watched every feature of old Mag’s face. When Paul had finished his mother’s story, Margaret Godfrey gently raised old Mag’s head, and bending over it said, “Poor old Mag this is indeed you.” The dying Indian woman tried in vain to move her lips, while her body seemed convulsed. She then stretched herself out at full length and a slight tremor passed over her frame, her chin dropped.
Mrs. Godfrey looked up at Paul, who was standing at the foot of the bed, and remarked, “Paul your dear old mother is gone, forever gone.” The Indian without replying then threw himself upon the bed and lay motionless beside the body of his mother. In a short time he began to weep and moan, which he continued to do so long and piteously, that Margaret thought his sorrowing heart would burst. At last completely exhausted with grief he remained quiet and passive as though his spirit too had passed over to the green fields and still waters of the everlasting hunting grounds.
Margaret gazed upon the quiet features and still form of the handsome young Iroquois, he was in the vigour of his manhood, being scarcely twenty-four years old; and said, as she admired his manly look, “Paul, your mother is happier now;” “she is in that land where trials, trouble and death are unknown. You must live to meet her there. Your mother is now sailing on silvery water; breathing an atmosphere perfumed with celestial spices; and sitting in a canoe made from the bark of trees growing on the shores of Canaan’s stream. Her wigwam will be made of the same kind of bark and ornamented with pearls and precious stones. She will wear a neck-lace of jewels and on her head will be a crown of glory.”
Paul, weary and sad, went to his canoe, launched it and sailed down the river to catch some fish for supper, and Mrs. Godfrey proceeded to prepare the body of old Mag for burial, while the children played around the wigwam. When the Indian had returned he found all that remained of his mother neatly prepared for the grave.
The black and red plaid shawl was wound round and round the body from head to feet, no part being visible but the face. Margaret had fastened the shawl at the throat with a silver brooch. Old Mag, as she lay upon the camp bed, resembled a dead Highlander. Arrangements were made for the funeral, and Paul paddled Mrs. Godfrey and children to the sloop and then returned to dig his mother’s grave. Next morning Paul came down to the sloop looking very sad. He said that he had not closed his eyes during the night. He sat watching through the long night at the side of his dead parent.
Many of us have heard and read accounts of lonely scenes and lonely spots, but what place could be more lonely and what scene more solemn than that of a lone Indian sitting beside the corpse of his mother in a Nova Scotian forest a hundred and twenty years ago, through the dread hours of a whole night?
What thoughts passed through the brain of Paul Guidon during the weird hours of that night, it may be, will be revealed in eternity.
Mrs. Godfrey and her children again went with Paul to the abode of death. After landing, Margaret accompanied the Indian to inspect the place of burial. It was situated on the bank of a small stream running down to the river, and about two hundred yards from the camp. The grave looked like the newly made nest of some huge bird. It was cleanly dug and neatly lined with evergreens. In this grave the body of old Mag was placed as the sun was sinking below the horizon. It was conveyed to its last resting place by Paul, Margaret and her son Charlie; the four younger children forming the procession.
None of the Indians of the tribes of the St. John were present at the burial, as Paul had not circulated the news of his mother’s death.
Mrs. Godfrey read, from the old service book, the Church of England burial service, the most beautiful of all burial services, that of the Masonic brethren perhaps excepted.
Mrs. Godfrey and Charlie filled in the grave. When they returned to the wigwam all within was darkness and gloom. Margaret and her children were paddled to the sloop by Paul. He was invited to spend the night on board the little vessel, but declined to do so. Margaret then took him by the hand, and, as she drew him toward her, he placed his hand upon her shoulders and cried aloud, “Mother!” “Mother!” She led him to the canoe, he got into his little bark and was soon sailing away towards his lonely dwelling-place, where it may have been the spirit of old Mag kept watch that night over the wigwam and her boy.
Terrible experience at sea.
Captain Godfrey arrived safely at Passmaquaddy and was warmly welcomed.
He was supplied with sails, rigging and a general outfit for his family, and he was sent back to the mouth of the St. John in a much larger and more convenient boat, bringing the smaller boat in tow. He was absent twelve days.
The day previous to the Captain’s return Paul Guidon had visited the sloop, but Margaret could only prevail upon him to remain for a few minutes. He said something wanted him back at the wigwam. He appeared to be impressed by some invisible and irresistible power to return at once to the sad camping ground.
“Me: Paul!” he said to Margaret, “cannot stay long away from camp and my mother’s grave.” “Happy mother must be in the woods near wigwam.”
As far as Mrs. Godfrey could learn from the lone Indian his thoughts were something like the following:—
All the birds that used to sing so sweetly around the little birchen home and gaily fluttered from branch to branch, seemed to sit quietly and pour out their songs in mornful strains, and all about the spot the wind appeared to whistle a requiem for the departed squaw. And in the long and quiet hours of the darkness, he felt certain that old Mag’s spirit left the woods, and in never ceasing motion kept watch about the camp, and at regular intervals would pass within and kiss him when asleep.
The Indian from his habits of life, skimming in his canoe over the lonely and wooded river, or skipping from rock to rock on the lonely mountain side; in tracing the border of the roaring cataract, in pitching his tent along the edge of the flowing river or the sleeping lake; out on the prairie or in the midst of the dense forest; among the trees on the ocean shore, is most deeply impressed with the belief that the Great Chief is watching his actions from behind trees, out of the surface of the waters, from the tops of the mountains, and out of the bosom of the prairie. He thinks that the lightning is His spear, and the thunder His voice. He feels that a terrible something is all around him, and when death calls any of his tribe away supreme superstition takes firm hold of his very existence.
“Lo, the poor Indian!
whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind.”
The poet, and the highly imaginative person, the wise and the good, seek the hills and the valleys, the dashing cataract, the forest and stream, the mountain range, the rocky coast and roaring ocean, and there drink in the grandeur of creation in those sublime scenes. In such places they feel a nearness to the Creator, and view His power and handiwork in a measure not always attainable in the ordinary scenes of everyday life. Such persons admire with reverential awe the greatness of God and feel His love.
The Indian, in superstitious dread, lives in ignorance of His greatness, His ways and His love.
Paul Guidon visited the sloop the next morning, and Captain Godfrey welcomed him on board and invited him to remain during the day and assist in refitting the vessel. The Indian did not refuse in words to do so, but his looks and movements plainly indicated his disinclination to remain.
Margaret approached him and said, “Paul, you will stay with me and help us get the vessel all ready to sail away, won’t you?” He took her hand, pressed it tightly, and then let it fall at her side. She knew she had won him, and was well aware that she could lead him as a child.
He remained, and all were soon at work. The children picked over the oakum, the Captain fitted the rigging, and the Indian and Mrs. Godfrey tried their hands at making a mainsail.
At the setting of the sun Paul returned to his lonely home. The next morning, before the sun had risen, he was once more on board the sloop. The day was a lovely one, and similar work to that of the previous day occupied the attention of all The following day the vessel was hauled to high water mark on the island, there to be overhauled and caulked. Captain Godfrey had brought a supply of necessary tools for the work from Passmaquaddy. The Indian came down each morning from his wigwam and assisted until the sloop was ready for sea, (The repairing of the little vessel La Tour was probably the pioneer work of refitting and repairing which a century later assumed such gigantic proportions on both sides of the mouth of the St. John.) Mrs. Godfrey named the vessel La Tour, because, she said, that was the original name of the fort that sheltered herself and her children during Captain Godfrey’s absence at Annapolis Royal.
At length everything was ready, and the morning to weigh anchor came. A stiff breeze blowing up the harbour caused a delay in sailing. The morning was so wet, and the wind blew so hard, that Paul Guidon did not venture out in his canoe, but he came down by land, and quite early in the day stood upon the shore opposite where the sloop lay.
Margaret was first to notice him. She thought that she never saw him look so handsome as when he stood on the right bank of the harbour that morning. She called her husband, and pointing toward the shore said: “Look at that noble form at the water’s edge. It looks like a statue standing on a line between the water and the woods!”
Captain Godfrey rowed to the shore and took Paul off to the sloop. He remained on board but an hour, promising as he left to return in the morning if the storm abated.
Captain Godfrey had decided to sail for Halifax via Passmaquaddy. The morning was fine and the wind fair. Paul was on hand bright and early. Margaret said to him, “Paul, in an hour we shall sail away from here, and perhaps I shall never see you again on earth.” These words seemed to almost paralyze the Indian, and for a while he appeared unconscious of everything that passed. His canoe was tied alongside the sloop. Captain Godfrey hauled up the anchor. Margaret asked the Indian if he would go with them as far as Passmaquaddy. He made no reply. He sat down on the deck and covered his face with his hands. Captain Godfrey said to him rather sternly, “Paul, we are now on our passage, if you are going to leave take your canoe and go.” He made no reply to the Captain. The sloop was slipping down the harbour and had passed the lower island before the Indian seemed to recognize his situation. He looked wildly first at the shore, then on the other side at the great waters, and burst into a flood of tears.
Margaret stepped to his side and said, “Paul, do you feel ill?”
He shook his head, and with his hand pointed at the vast waters of the bay.
Margaret proceeded to get dinner, and the red man was left alone. Paul was asked to the lunch, but replied not.
The sloop ran leisurely along the shore all day, the wind being light and the water quite smooth. All were compelled to rest on deck during the night, which was bright, and the moon made it almost like day,—the little cabin was besieged with mosquitoes. About midnight the Indian, who had not spoken since leaving the St. John, suddenly sprang to his feet and peered over the moon-lit water in the direction of the shore. Captain Godfrey, who was at the helm, seeing him, thought he was about to make a plunge overboard, and called to his wife who was asleep. She sprang up, asking what was the matter. At this moment Paul sang out, “Indians coming.” Margaret went to the cabin, got the musket and pointed toward the canoes, three in number, and fired. The canoes soon after disappeared in the direction of the shore. Paul sank back into his former position, and in a short time all were asleep except the Captain and the Indian. Nothing unusual occurred during the remainder of the night, and in the morning, the wind growing stronger, the little ship made greater headway. The day was a beautiful one, and Paul was as quiet as usual. He ate nothing. Night again came on, and the breeze holding through the moon-lit hours, the Captain ran the sloop into Passmaquaddy early in the morning.
As the sun was rising in all his splendour, throwing his brightening rays over land and water, the little vessel was headed into her port of destination. As she was running in, Paul, quick as a flash, jumped up, as though some attendant spirit had suddenly opened to him a vision of the future. He fixed his eyes intently on the shore. In an instant he crouched down on the deck with his head and shoulders partly over the rail. His attitude and manner were those of a wild beast about to spring upon its prey. The Captain thought Paul saw something strange on the shore. In a few minutes the Indian sat down again, and for sometime remained perfectly quiet. The anchor was let go, and the little craft rested in Passmaquaddy harbour. The Captain ran in for the purpose of getting some one to pilot the sloop to Halifax, but to his great disappointment could find no one willing to go. He had neither money nor goods to offer in payment for the service of a pilot.
The day following he set sail for Machias, ten leagues distant, in the hope of securing some person at that place willing to assist him in the passage to Halifax. Paul Guidon had consented to go as far as Machias, and there land and make his way back to the St. John.
After leaving Passmaquaddy, Captain Godfrey concluded to put into Head harbour and try his luck at that place in securing a pilot, but being unacquainted with the locality he ran the sloop on a ledge of rocks. However, the tide coming in she floated off unharmed.
“Flung from the rock,
on ocean’s foam, to sail
Where’er the surge may sweep, the tempest’s breath prevail.”
The wind suddenly veered round and blew off shore quite fresh. The vessel stood well off during the night, and the Captain hoped to make the harbour sometime the next morning, but toward daylight a fog began to settle down fast and thick. Captain Godfrey fully realized the perilous position of all on board, but having been early trained in seamanship, he had full confidence in his ability to manage the sloop.
In the morning land could not be seen. The fog continued for three days, during which time (to use the Captain’s words) “the situation was dismal enough, and every moment I was expecting to see the craft drawn on the rocks and all on board perish.” The fourth day the fog was less dense, and those on board could see for some distance, but the sun was invisible, and the war of the elements was raging with increasing fury. In the afternoon the wind had shifted to north-west and increased to a partial gale. The sloop was running under a bit of mainsail; it seemed at times as if the following seas would founder the little vessel as they towered over the low rail. Nothing was to be seen but the wide expanse of water. Not even a solitary gull. The Captain remarked to his wife, “It is a curious fact that, excepting the petrels, sea birds keep near to the land in bad weather.” Captain Godfrey feared the night, and as it came on the wind grew in strength. A terrible sea was running, and all were fastened below excepting Paul and the Captain. The Indian would not leave the deck, although more than once he was nearly washed overboard. At length darkness covered the face of the ocean, and the wind howled in all its fury. The seas were like mountains, tossing the sloop about like a cork. Mrs. Godfrey would remain below no longer. She told her children, who were tumbling like nine-pins about the cabin floor, not to cry, as she would soon return to them. As she put her head out of the companion way, the Captain ordered her back. She said, “Where is Paul?” Her husband answered, “I have called to him time and time again to get below.” She called to Paul, who was holding fast to the anchor chain with his legs stuck under the windlass. He did not answer. She started to creep forward. Her husband could not see her. At this moment the sloop took a dreadful plunge. A heavy sea swept over her from stern to bow, completely submerging her. The Captain, who had taken the precaution to lash himself to the deck, in a half-drowned state, held steadily to the tiller. As soon as possible he called to his wife, but no answer came back. He called to Paul, and he too was silent. Was she lost? Had she, in whom all his hopes were placed, been carried into the sea and for ever lost to him on earth? These thoughts bewildered him while he was trying to steer his vessel. He dare not leave the helm to look after his wife and children.
While the Captain was thus mournfully musing, a faint light began to creep around the eastern horizon. He was so absorbed in thought and in watching every movement of the sloop that he did not notice the increasing light. There were rifts in the dark clouds, and the air was growing moist. The morning light brought with it rain. The sea gradually grew less and less troubled, and the little vessel rolled and pitched more easily. The Captain was suddenly startled from his reverie by the increasing rays of the rising sun, who was now beginning to show his golden circle above the horizon. He made fast the tiller and went forward to see what damage had been done through the night. The jib had been snugly furled before darkness set in. As he stepped forward of the mainsail, to his great surprise he saw two human forms wedged in under the windlass and locked in each other’s arms. They were tightly wedged to their knees, between the windlass and the deck. Mrs. Godfrey’s clothes were torn in shreds. She lay with her head across the Indian’s shoulders, her arms were tightly locked around his neck and flowing black hair.
The Captain had on board the sloop an old axe, which he at once got and commenced to cut the windlass from its fastenings. A piece of the wood flew and struck his wife on the leg, he thought he the saw the limb, which was partially bare, tremble. He then threw his whole strength into his work, and in a few minutes had the satisfaction of seeing one end of the windlass loosened. He took hold of the unfastened end and with a sudden jerk wrenched the other end from its socket. He then rubbed his wife’s limb with his open palm, and soon felt it growing warm. In a few minutes she breathed quickly, and appeared to grasp her swarthy companion more tightly. She moaned, and then opened her eyes and stared vacantly at her husband, who almost fainted with joy. He turned his wife over, and pulled the shreds of clothing towards her feet. He then went to the cabin and got a bottle containing brandy, presented to him during his first visit to Passmaquaddy. He poured out a spoonful, and forced it down his wife’s throat. Soon after she spoke, and asked her husband to raise her up. As he did so she said, “give some brandy to Paul, he cannot be dead, if I am alive.” Paul all this time had never stirred. He lay like a fallen statue, brown and stiff. Margaret brushed the coarse black hair from off his face. Captain Godfrey opened the Indian’s jaws and put a spoonful of brandy into his mouth. His muscles began to quiver, he trembled, he breathed, he moaned, and again relapsed into perfect quietness. Margaret sat beside Paul while the Captain went to jibe the mainsail and port the helm. She thrust her hand beneath his torn shirt and laid it over his heart. She felt its weak pulsations. She then ran her hand around and over his swarthy skin; she felt it growing warm. He moaned and moved. She continued the application of her hand, his eyelids opened, he trembled all over, and looked up at Margaret in a sort of amazed stare. At length the Indian completely recovered his senses, and by this time Margaret Godfrey again became exhausted. She was carried to the dingy little cabin by her husband and her son Charlie. Paul was so weak that he could not raise himself from the deck. The Captain moved him a few feet and lashed him to the mast. Neither Margaret nor the Indian were able to move from their resting places till late in the afternoon.
Captain Godfrey judged the sloop to be well across the Bay of Fundy, and he determined to make all speed possible for the town of Halifax. The wind was fair, and all the reefs in the sails were shaken out. For the next two days the weather was fine and the wind fair, and Margaret and Paul were regaining their strength. Nothing of an unusual character occurred on board. Since the jam under the windlass, Paul Guidon appeared more lively and conversed more freely. About four o’clock in the afternoon of the second day after the storm, while the Indian was sitting at the bow of the sloop, a school of porpoises was seen approaching in as regular order as a company of British soldiers to a charge. When the fish had approached to within a hundred yard’s of the sloop, the Indian threw up his hands and uttered a most mournful wail, and staggered backward. Captain Godfrey rushed forward and caught Paul as he was falling overboard. Both fell athwart the rail and all but into the sea.
The Indian, who had not recovered sufficient strength to endure much excitement or hardship, was in a high state of feverish bewilderment. The Captain said: “Paul, what gave you such a fright?” He replied, “that when he first saw the fish approaching, he thought that they were a lot of canoes paddled by evil spirits from the dark, dismal hunting grounds of thieving and murderous Indians, and that they were after him to carry him away over the great waters to live in misery among them, because he had left the wigwam and forsaken his mother’s grave before two moons were gone.”
Early next morning Mrs. Godfrey relieved her husband at the helm; Charlie assisting her. The Captain went below to rest, asking to be called if anything out of the ordinary occurred. He had hardly closed his eyes during the voyage, but fell asleep at his post during the previous night, when the weather fortunately was fine and the sea quite peaceful.
At about ten o’clock, a.m., Paul sighted something in the distance. He called to Mrs. Godfrey to look in the direction of his hand, which he was pointing over the port bow. She could see nothing, but she headed the sloop in the direction that Paul gave, and in an hour’s time had the satisfaction of seeing what she supposed to be the outline of rocks or land. She kept the vessel headed in toward what she supposed to be land, and at three o’clock called her husband on deck. The Captain judged his vessel to be on the east coast of Nova Scotia.
Margaret called her children around her, and asked Paul to sit down with them. She opened the old service book and read a portion of scripture. The deck was made an altar of the living God. From the deck fervent prayer mingled with the voice of the ocean and with the sighing wind ascended on high. Margaret said to Paul: “You and I were rescued at the gate of death. When our frail bark was tossing and labouring hard for life in her lone path over the surging billows and through the blackness of the night, a kind hand overshadowed us and kept us, and now not one of the ship’s company is lost.”
Full of bright hope, she turned to her husband and said: “I now am satisfied we shall safely reach port, and once again we and our dear ones shall see our native lands. English civilization and English justice will do rightly by us in our misfortunes. We, who have lost all our possessions,—in an hour stripped of all that we owned,—and have been compelled to endure hardships and face death itself in an English colony, may in confidence look to the old land for succor.”
The next two days the wind continued favourable, and the little vessel ran along in sight of the coast.
The following day an adverse wind blew and a storm seemed brewing, but the wind only freshened a bit, and all day the vessel beat about in sight of land. Paul, who had now sufficiently recovered, appeared to take a great interest in everything about the sloop; the sun shone brightly and the clouds were lifted high in the heavens. All around was perfect peace.
The Indian remarked to Captain Godfrey: “This not so good as canoe on stream, or roaming hunting ground. Wide, big, great sea, would make splendid hunting ground if only covered with grass and trees.”
Early the next morning a King’s schooner was sighted. The wind shifting, Captain Godfrey ran the sloop into Petite Passage and anchored. The King’s schooner came to an anchor about the same time—a league distant. Captain Spry, (Captain and pilot) of the King’s schooner, sent a messenger on board the sloop, who inquired where they had come from and whither they were bound. After the messenger had returned to the King’s schooner, Lieutenant Knight of the Royal Navy, commander of the schooner, sent a boat to the sloop with three men to assist Captain Godfrey to Halifax, also some tea, chocolate, coffee, sugar, wine and rum, bread, pork and flour. Captain Spry took the sloop under convoy. The vessels put into several harbours; and the night before they arrived at Halifax Captain Spry’s schooner was lost sight of in a thick fog. The fog lifted during the night, when they were able to see Halifax lights, but on entering the harbour the sloop ran foul of a ledge of rocks called “Two Sisters.” The sea was running very high. Destruction seemed on every hand. Fortunately a passage was perceived between the rocks. At last they succeeded in getting through the passage, and came to anchor before morning opposite the town of Halifax. Captain Godfrey and his wife, after a long and eventful passage from Fort Frederick, found themselves once again at Halifax, worn out and almost disheartened. The new men on board the sloop appeared to admire Paul Guidon, and Paul took kindly to them.
Shortly after their arrival at Halifax Captain Godfrey admitted to Lieutenant Knight, that during the terrible storm in the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, he expected every moment to see the sloop founder and all on board perish in the ocean.
CAPT. GODFREY AND LORD WM. CAMPBELL.—YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS.
Shortly after the arrival of the sloop at Halifax, Capt. Godfrey waited on Lord William Campbell, at that time (the summer of 1771) Governor of the Provinces.
His Lordship received him in the most cordial and gentlemanly manner, and remarked that he would be pleased to order an investigation into his case and have the Indians who committed the outrage ordered down from the St. John river.
On September 2nd, 1771, a council met and an investigation took place. Letters and affidavits were produced, sworn to before Plato Denny and William Isherwood, Justices of the Peace for Campo Bello, where Lewis LeBlond, a Canadian, made oath, that he was told by Lewis Neptune, an Indian, that Captain Godfrey was to be burned out by Chief Pere Thomas’ orders, and that other Indians of the St. John tribe were to perform the deed.
An affidavit was made by Gervase Say, an inhabitant of Gage township, sworn to before Francis Peabody, Justice of the Peace, in which it was stated that John Baptiste Caltpate, an Indian of the St. John tribe, had declared to him that Francis DeFalt, an Indian belonging to Pere Thomas’ tribe, set fire to Captain Godfrey’s house and store at Grimross.
A schedule of the Captain’s losses, attested before one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace at Halifax, was also laid before the council. The reader will not be troubled with the items, suffice it to say the losses, including lands, amounted to seven thousand four hundred and sixty-two pounds.
His Excellency, finding that Captain Godfrey had acted conformably to the rules and regulations of the Province, returned to him his bond that he had given the government for carrying on a legitimate trade with the Indians.
He was also satisfied that the Captain’s losses were on account of the action of the savages, and being fully convinced of the great hardships and privations the Captain and his distressed wife and family had undergone, he was pleased to give him an honourable clearance out of the province, according to the regulations of said province, and also to recommend him to the protection of the Right Honourable the Earl of Hillsborough, at that time first Lord of Trade and Plantations for public relief. The Governor had it not in his power to grant Captain Godfrey any suitable gratuity for the great loss he had sustained.
COPY OF LORD CAMPBELL’S LETTER TO LORD HILLSBOROUGH.
HALIFAX, October 9th, 1771.
The gentleman who will deliver this to you was lately a Captain in the 52nd Regiment of foot, and came out to this province in August, 1769, with his wife and a large family, to settle on some lands on river St. John, which he had purchased before he left Europe, with a view of carrying on trade with the Indians. I have frequent complaints of those Indians since Fort Frederick, situate on the entrance of the St. John river, has been dismantled, and the garrison, which consisted of an officer’s command, reduced to a corporal and four.
The Fort, when properly garrisoned, kept the Indians of that district in pretty good order, but not so effectively by situation as it would if it had been constructed higher up the river, and as now the fort is entirely dismantled, I beg leave to offer to your Lordship’s consideration whether a strong Block House, properly garrisoned, might not prove a proper check upon the insolence of the savages, at the same time it would afford a secure protection to a very increasing settlement on the banks of the river St. John, a situation abounding with most excellent soil, which produces the most valuable timber of all sorts in the province.
These are considerations which I beg your Lordship will please to submit to His Majesty’s advisers. The unhappy state of Mr. Godfrey’s misfortunes will, I am persuaded, speak everything in his favour with your Lordship, which his past services or present suffering can entitle him to.
I have the honour to be,
Yours, &c., &c.,
The Earl of Hillsborough.
After remaining at Halifax for five months, an opportunity offered for Captain Godfrey to leave for England. He sailed with his wife and family in the brigantine “Adamante,” William Macniel, master, on the twentieth day of December, 1771. Paul Guidon remained at Halifax about six weeks after he had arrived with the Godfreys. While at Halifax he was much admired by the officers of the army, and those of the navy paid him even greater attentions. Margaret had circulated the report that the Indian was of the Iroquois tribe, and as brave a man as ever drew a bow. He wanted for nothing. He was dined and wined by the citizens generally.
The Governor took a deep interest in him, and secured a vast amount of information from him respecting the character and movements of the Indians on the St. John. One of the officers of the navy presented him with a complete suit of navy-blue clothes, and an officer of the garrison fitted him out with a second-hand undress military suit.
In his blue suit his appearance was most commanding. It suited his complexion to a charm. He was straight as an arrow, and looked as graceful as an elm. His frame was wiry; his limbs long and straight. He would bound over the rails of the ships like a deer. His step was long, quick and elastic, and he would run like a greyhound. His long black hair, reaching down to his slender waist, seemed to make his broad square shoulders doubly broad as it hung over his blue coat. But the Indian, while he appeared to enjoy his new mode of life, was not always happy or at ease. A sudden expression of sadness would often flit across his features. He would roam for hours all alone in the woods. He often longed for his canoe, which was washed overboard in the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. He would often inquire of Captain Godfrey when he would get back to his home on the St. John.
The time at last arrived when Paul Guidon was to depart. The King’s schooner was soon to sail for Passmaquaddy. Captain Godfrey, his wife and children went on board the schooner to bid Paul farewell. They found it hard to do so, especially Mrs. Godfrey. Paul Guidon had no idea that he was to be separated from the family he loved. He thought they were going to return to the St. John soon again.
As the Godfreys left the side of the King’s schooner to return to the shore, the “Young Lion of the Woods,” (for such was the name given to the Iroquois by the naval officers at Halifax) would not let go of Mrs. Godfrey’s hand. He gently pulled her back and said, “I may never see you again, I want to speak to you alone.” They went into the cabin, and there the Indian poured out the agonies of his soul. He spoke to Margaret as follows (the words are given as he spoke them): “You ’member evening Fort Frederick when pale face man ’way, me, Paul, saved your life and children too? when Indians threw tomahawk, and fired arrows at you? when you come out Fort, and one arrow struck you in arm?” Mrs. Godfrey replied:
At last she said: “Paul, I can stay here no longer, they are waiting to take me to the shore. You have been a good friend to us all; without your assistance I might never have been here to bid you good-bye. May the great good Spirit bless and help you on the big, broad waters and in the lonely woods. You, Paul, ask him to guide you. I shall always ask the Great Spirit to look after you, and, if it be the Great Chief’s will, I may come back to see you again.” A smile played over his face as she uttered the last words, and he brushed the tears from her pale hand with his long flowing hair. She asked him for a lock of his hair; he cut off a piece and handed it to her. She then went to the boat, but the Indian did not leave the cabin.
Margaret was so completely overcome with emotion that she laid her head on her husband’s shoulder and quietly wept, as they were being rowed to the shore.
Captain Godfrey knew that his wife admired the Indian for his courage and honour, but was entirely ignorant of those warmer feelings that Paul expressed for Mrs. Godfrey during his leave-taking.
The Godfreys remained at Halifax four months after Paul Guidon had sailed, and Margaret never ceased to praise the actions of the noble red man. Yet, it may be after all, that the husband and children owed their lives, as much to the good sense, brave spirit, firmness and steadiness in the face of danger, of the wife and mother, as to the action of the noble Iroquois. Yet again had not Paul appeared on the scene at Fort Frederick and at the taking of the boat, all the splendid traits of character possessed by Margaret might have availed little in defeating the purposes of the other Indians.
[Footnote 3: It will be remembered that during the voyage from the mouth of the St John to Grimross Neck, the Captain’s wife was most anxious to be on deck alone during the hours of darkness. The Iroquois and several braves appeared before Fort Frederick on the afternoon of the day that Captain Godfrey left for Annapolis Royal. They ran round and round the place, calling upon the occupants of the Fort to come out, or they would break in and murder them. The Captain’s wife determined to go outside and face the savages, but found it difficult
Noble bearing and grand courage in the case of Mrs. Godfrey, it would appear, touched the tenderest chords of the Iroquois’ heart, and brought to the surface his better nature. Naturally, some human beings are better than others. Such seem born to exert a power and cast a healthy influence all about them. Doubtless Margaret was one of this class. Her early training, her immortal hope, her strong belief in the spread of everlasting truth, and in prayer and God, had much to do in steadying and solidifying her character.
We may all profit by her example, if we seek to incorporate the principles of the Christian religion into our every day actions and life, in the full conviction that it is the happiest life, the soundest life, the bravest life, that partakes of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity. Something more than ordinary courage in the presence of yelling savages and flights of arrows is necessary to support a delicate woman single handed and alone; this something Margaret Godfrey possessed, and, possibly, the penetrating eye of the Iroquois detected it in her every feature and movement.
The King’s schooner arrived at Passmaquaddy in due time, and Paul took his departure for his native woods. He sent word hack by the captain of the schooner to Margaret Godfrey that he would watch for her spirit some evening when he sat by his mother’s grave. He felt sure he would see her there.
In the next chapter Captain Godfrey and family will be followed across the ocean, and Paul Guidon will be allowed to remain in his native woods, to fish, to shoot, and occasionally to sit beside Old Mag’s grave and commune with her immortal spirit.
IN ENGLAND.—THE CAPTAIN AND THE LORDS.
The “Adamante” arrived in England after a rough and stormy passage of forty-eight days. Captain Godfrey and family suffered severe hardships on the run over the Western Ocean. Owing to his exhausted funds, Captain G. was unable to provide his family the conveniences and comforts which would have rendered the voyage home more agreeable than under the circumstances it proved itself to be. As it was they suffered severely. They had no bedding, and found their beaver skins a great luxury to sleep on. The few pounds that the sale of the sloop brought him were all expended during his long stay at Halifax while he was waiting for an opportunity to sail for England.
Margaret Godfrey was as high spirited as she was brave, and would not condescend to seek assistance from their friends in Halifax. If assistance was not gratuitously bestowed, she was the last woman in the world to beg. The family were well cared for while in the capital of the province (or to put it in Mrs. Godfrey’s words) “as well as people generally are who have honestly lost their all. Our real wants were not known to the middle and lower classes, and that other class was not heartily concerned about our future. Governor Campbell, all honor to his name, secured and paid our passages.”
The cabin of the “Adamante” was below deck, it was dark, dingy and dirty. The bows of the vessel resembled the side of a tub, and the stern the end of a puncheon cut through the centre lengthways. A passage across the stormy ocean in the “Adamante” in the winter of 1771-2, in comparison to one in an ocean greyhound of 1889, would be much the same as the difference between a ride in an ox-cart and one in a palace car, both for comfort and speed.
A terrific storm was experienced off the west coast of Ireland, in which the foretopgallant mast and jibboom were carried away. The water-casks and caboose were washed overboard, and the cook carried into the forward shrouds feet foremost, where he hung like a fish in a net. With this exception, no accident occurred during the passage.
Shortly after Captain Godfrey arrived in London, he called on the Earl of Hillsborough and made known to that gentleman his great misfortune, and also delivered to His Lordship the letter of recommendation which Lord William Campbell had been pleased to give him. After the Earl of Hillsborough had carefully perused the letter and examined into Captain Godfrey’s affairs, His Lordship was most generously pleased to present him with twenty guineas out of his private purse for present relief, until His Lordship could more essentially serve him.
Not long afterward Captain Godfrey’s case was laid before the Right Honourable the Lords of Trade. The Earl of Hillsborough was again pleased to grant him fifty guineas from his private purse for a temporary support, with the assurance of providing for his further support till his case was settled.
Upon Lord Hillsborough’s resignation as first Lord of Trade and Plantations, his Lordship was pleased to recommend Captain Godfrey’s case to the Earl of Dartmouth, who succeeded His Lordship in office.
The case, with all the original papers and certificates, was laid before the Earl of Dartmouth and the Right Honorable the Lords of Trade and Plantations. A commission was appointed by Parliament and several Lords sat on it, but nothing definite was arranged. Captain Godfrey remained for the greater part of the time in England and sometimes in Ireland, all the time seeking relief from Lords many until the year 1773. All this time he was in great difficulty and distress through his losses in the Colony. Fortunately for himself and his family, he was left a legacy in 1773 amounting to a considerable sum, which enabled him a second time to try his luck in Nova Scotia. He expended a large sum of money in purchasing goods suitable for the colonial trade, and embarked with the goods and his wife and family in 1774, and once again settled on his estate at Grimross.
His former misfortune did not discourage him; he was full of hope for the future. He left his case in the hands of his fellow-countrymen. What a pity he did not induce some of these English Lords to accompany him and spend a winter with him in the wilds of Nova Scotia. It is quite possible had he been able to prevail upon them to do so, that they would have returned home in the early spring and strongly advised the Lords of Trade and Plantations to at once settle the case of Captain Godfrey by reimbursing him for his losses.
The boast of England is her colonies, yet the statesmen of Britain at that time knew little, and, in all probability, cared less, about the hardships, dangers and perils which their countrymen were enduring while laying the foundations of a Greater Britain.
The great bulk of the early colonists were thoroughly British, and Captain Godfrey was no exception. They suffered what most early colonists suffer, but they suffered without murmuring, because they were Englishmen in an English colony. They possessed a sort of blind loyalty and a sincere patriotism toward their King and old England. Their spirit is ours, and a century or more has been forming and moulding it into a purely Canadian patriotism, while the wisdom displayed for fifty years by the best ruler that ever sat upon the British throne, has strengthened the attachment British North Americans have had for English institutions and induced them to cling strongly to them, though the circumstances of a new country have required a modification in the forms of those institutions.
Queen Victoria’s good sense, excellent judgment, and consequently wise rule, have made the people of every portion of the Colonial Empire feel that they have an interest in the Mother land.
Long may she reign; and God grant that the American Republic may never be allowed to extend its institutions to our Dominion, and overthrow the foundations laid by our ancestry and on which we are building.
ARRIVAL AND RETREAT.
In the month of September, 1774, Captain Godfrey, after an absence of three years, arrived and settled for the second time on the estate at Grimross Neck. He lost no time in preparing to once again try his luck in trading with the Indians and settlers. He erected and finished a house and store, and before winter set in everything was made ready to receive his wife and family, who arrived in the latter part of November.
He commenced trading again buoyant with the hope of retrieving his losses, and for a short time he carried on a profitable business. The Indians were comparatively quiet, and he and his family enjoyed a season of peace. Uprightness stamped all the Captain’s dealings. He remarked to a friend, that he had again attempted to do business in the colony, and said he: “with the spirit of a true British soldier, I mean to do or die in the attempt, and my dealings with both the white and red man shall be guided by the dictates of an honest conscience. I hope I shall succeed.” He felt almost certain that the dark plots and devilish crimes of the Indians would never have occurred had Paul Guidon been near him. He would often say to his wife: “I wonder where Paul has gone?” Since his arrival at Grimross he often made enquiries as to Paul’s whereabouts, but none of the tribe on the St. John appeared to know where he was. Six months had elapsed since his arrival and yet he had received no tidings of the brave Iroquois.
Mrs. Godfrey, true to the promise she had made to Paul on board the King’s schooner in Halifax harbour, never revealed to her husband the Indian’s feelings of regard toward her. Like a wise woman, she considered it better to let the matter forever rest.
Captain Godfrey presented Paul with the two muskets previous to the Indian leaving Halifax for Passmaquaddy. Paul named one “Old Mag” and the other “Chief Mag,” cutting as he did so an arrow mark in the butt of the latter, and saying “this one my Chief.” The Captain told his wife of the circumstance, and she laughingly remarked that it was a custom among the Indians to name trinkets and presents after the persons who had given them. She believed as Paul had seen her first at Fort Frederick, her name was probably first in his thoughts when accepting the muskets.
One night, in the month of March, 1775, Captain Godfrey and his wife were aroused from their slumbers by a loud and continued knocking at the house door. The night was very dark. The Captain got up, dressed himself, and called his eldest son, (Charlie) a lad of sixteen. They together went to the door, asked who was there, and what was wanted. The answer came ringing back, Paul Guidon. The Captain called his wife, as he did not recognize the voice as that of Paul. She came and said, “Is that you, Paul?” “Me, real Paul, and got Chief Mag with me,” was the answer. Margaret could not recognize the voice as that of Paul. She said to her husband, “it sounds more like the voice of a British officer than that of an Indian.” She lit a candle, and said, “Paul, do you know me?” “Yes, yes,” he replied; “arrow mark on arm, and almost dead with you under windlass in sloop, great storm, lost canoe.” She opened the door, and in stepped Paul Guidon, dressed in the military uniform presented to him at Halifax, or a similar one, and in his hand a musket. A fire was made, and Paul was so pleased to once again see his old friends that he could not sit quiet. He walked up and down the kitchen with a quick nervous tread, looking like a hero from some field of victory. Margaret burst out in exclamation, “So it is really you, Paul; you who accompanied us in our trials, and watched over us in our dangers, and who, side by side with me, lay on the verge of eternity, while the roaring of the ocean and the howling of the storm passed along unheeded by us both.” There before them was the brave Chief, (the “Young Lion of the Woods,”) who a few years before, at Fort Frederick, was subdued by the presence of Margaret Godfrey, where her exhibition of unexampled fortitude took a deep hold of the very being of the Iroquois and turned him from an enemy to a friend.
The Indian remained with the Godfreys for a few days, amusing himself with shooting and assisting in a general the premises. Trouble occurring among the tribe of which Paul was a sub-chief, he was sent for to return to the tribe, and at a great war council he was elected Chief in Thomas’ place.
About this time the colonists in New England were beginning to show signs of dissatisfaction with the Mother land, and some Americans living along the St. John river were showing signs of discontent, and becoming agitated over matters in New England. The American sympathisers did all they could to stir the Indians along the river to revolt.
Paul Guidon did all in his power to soothe their savage breasts, and soon after returned to Grimross Neck. In a short time the rebellion broke out, and affairs in New England were fast assuming a most serious aspect. The rebels in the vicinity of Grimross were fully aware of Captain Godfrey’s firm attachment to the cause of King George the Third. At length they approached him and tried hard to persuade him to enter the service of the dissatisfied colonists. The cross-eyed, monkey-faced character alluded to in a former chapter, was their chief spokesman on this occasion, and instead of stuttering, as on a former visit, his words flowed forth as freely and as fast as the waters of a mill-race. It may be that similar specimens of humanity exist in every age, whose folly and wickedness seem to be perpetual. Will such characters ever learn to live and be content under the old flag of their fathers, or will they be content to live on despised by their countrymen? Should such seditious spirits ever receive mention from the historian, it must be anything but a flattering one, and must cause the blush to mantle upon the cheek of any worthy descendant.
Captain Godfrey was offered by the rebels the command of a party of men to march forward and attack Fort Cumberland, besides which further inducements of preferment and advancement were held out to him. But nothing the rebels could offer was able to shake his allegiance to King George the Third. His former losses, his present situation, the safety of his wife and family, his treatment by the Board of Trade and Plantations, were all to him of less importance than his duty to his sovereign. Unshaken and unmoved he replied to the traitors, “I am as zealous as ever I was in my life for the cause of my King and my country.”
The rebels finding the Captain firm in his determination not to forsake his King, approached Margaret Godfrey. She was protected not only by her good sense and thorough good judgment, her sterling honour and decided character, but also by the highest convictions of duty. In answer to them she replied, “My husband has given you his answer and in it he has also given you mine. You will oblige by at once leaving the premises.” They made a hasty exit from her presence, and did not return for some weeks.
A day or two after the rebels had left Grimross, Paul Guidon related to Mrs. Godfrey his life and wanderings after his arrival at Passmaquaddy from Halifax in 1771. “He found his way from Passmaquaddy to Grimross Neck, carrying the two muskets with him, and also a knapsack filled with powder, shot and bullets, given to him by the Captain of the King’s schooner.”
“He then went to where the tribe was living and remained some weeks, being very tired and weary. Pere Thoma, taking a great fancy to his red jacket, offered to canoe him down the river to his old camping ground if he would give him the coveted garment on their return. Paul consented to do so. One fine morning they started from Grimross Neck and paddled all day down the river, occasionally resting on the banks of the stream. It came into his (Paul’s) head, on the way down that Pere Thoma was the cause of the Godfreys’ misfortunes, and he suddenly felt that the spirit of “Old Mag” (his mother) called upon him to kill Thoma. The burning of the house, the escape of his mother from the flames, the driving away of the English people, the great storm on the bay, his first sight of the pale-faced woman at Fort Frederick, the parting with her at Halifax, all these events recurred to his mind in an instant and went like a flash through his brain. His head seemed to dance like the canoe on the water, then the canoe appeared to whirl round and round. He got so dizzy he could scarcely see, and was afraid that he would fall overboard. He felt something touch him on the shoulder like a dip from the wing of a bird. He had his musket in the canoe, it was loaded. He suddenly pulled in the paddle and then grasped the musket. It was “Chief Mag,” and he pointed it at Thoma who was sitting in the stern of the canoe. He fired and Thoma rolled overboard and sank. Paddling on he arrived at his old camping ground near the mouth of the river. The wigwam was still standing but very much out of order, he sat in it till daylight and then visited his mother’s grave. After returning to the camp as he felt sad and faint, he took his musket and wandered off in search of game. He spent the remainder of the day near the resting place of “Old Mag,” at night he went to the camp and there slept. In the morning he got into the canoe and paddled off up the river, arriving at Grimross he went on shore and started at once by trail for Quebec, where after two moons he arrived carrying Chief Mag with him. Here he was much in request by the military, who detained him for three winters accompanying them on their hunting excursions. During the latter part of the last winter, while shooting with some officers on the borders of Acadia and Quebec, he met an old Indian by the name of Joe Paul moving West with his family. From him he learned that the pale-faced people were again living and trading at Grimross. Paul told the officers that he must go back to the St. John. They were not inclined to release him, until he had accompanied them back to Quebec. Yielding to their entreaties he returned with them, remaining a few days. Just before he left Quebec, there was a great stir among the military. It was rumoured that war was impending, and the officers tried hard to persuade him to remain and share with them the fortunes of war, if they should be ordered to take part in the fighting. He said he could not stay, but promised the officers, as he put on a new red jacket they had given him, that he would never fight against the British soldiers. As Paul came to this part of his narration he looked straight at Margaret Godfrey and continued, (it is given in his own words) “all Paul want to make him British soldier be pale face and little hair.”
In a few days the Iroquois went out again to visit his tribe. Desiring to revisit his mother’s grave he required some one to assist him down the river. He selected as his companion Francis DeFalt who appeared willing to accompany him. On the way down he found out from DeFalt, that he was one of the Indians who by Thoma’s commands set fire to the Englishman’s house and store. DeFalt bragged about what he had done and said his only sorrow was, that all the white devils were not burned up with the house.
As DeFalt was speaking, the Iroquois blood began to stir quickly. As soon as darkness was closing down over the face of the river Paul meditated on revenge. He seized Chief Mag, which he always took with him, and fired it at DeFalt, who turning a complete somerset over the bow of the canoe into the river, was seen no more. Paul drifted down stream a few miles, paddled to the shore, hauled the canoe upon dry land, turned it over and slept under it during the night, feeling satisfied that he had avenged the insult to the pale-faces. Paul remained about the old camping ground for three weeks, when he again returned to Grimross. The Iroquois was never suspected as the cause of Thoma’s disappearance, the canoe was afterwards found, bottom up, in the river, and he was supposed to have been drowned.
On Paul’s return to his tribe, he told the Indians that DeFalt had become acquainted with a pretty young squaw named Charlotte Toney, and had gone over to Fort Cumberland to spend a few months with the Toney family, who were moving over there to settle during the coming winter, and that DeFalt would likely be married before his return. The Iroquois shortly after this returned to Grimross to spend a few days with his pale-faced friends. He told Margaret that some of the tribe were greatly agitated. The American sympathisers had seduced them by making great promises and by holding up to them a grand future. Paul said to Captain Godfrey, “you may all be murdered if you stay at Grimross; some bad white men now among Indians.” Margaret did not care to advise her husband to leave, although she had learnt enough from Paul to convince her that great danger was all about them.
The Iroquois had proposed to Margaret to escape with her children to Fort Frederick, saying that he would take them down the river in DeFalt’s canoe, which he had kept at Grimross. He said to her, “I will never leave you in times of trouble and will lose my life to save yours.” She would not consent to leave her husband, although he strongly advised her to go, if she thought their lives in danger.
At length the Rebels and Red men grew furious. They arrived at Grimross early one morning, while Paul was out among the tribe trying to keep them quiet, and surrounding the house and store of Captain Godfrey they demanded his surrender. The yells and whoops of the Indians were terrific, demons from the depths of perdition could not have made a more frightful noise. The children were terrified; the youngest fainted with fright. At this crisis Margaret Godfrey calmly walked to the door while her husband and son Charlie stood a few paces in her rear. She opened the door, and as she did so in rushed the demons, led by the cross-eyed, monkey-faced rebel. One of the Indians by name Pete Gomez, took hold of Margaret and forced her to the floor, Charlie took up a stick of wood and knocked Gomez senseless. At this moment Paul Guidon returned, Horatio Keys, one of the rebels, had seized Captain Godfrey by the throat and was holding him tightly against the wall, Margaret clinched the rolling-pin and in an instant sent Keys staggering to the floor. The squinting monkey-faced rebel’s name was Will, and Will by force pushed Margaret to the floor, and was dragging her by the hand toward the door, as Paul stepped in. Paul struck him with his fist, and like lightning placed both his feet against the rebel’s breast, almost knocking the life out of him. Jim Wade, Sam Scarp, and Mark Paul, three Indians, rushed in after Paul, who turned and struck Wade a terrific blow on the neck, knocking him out. The Captain, Charlie, Paul and Margaret went for the other two in lively style and soon laid them low. The remaining rebels and Indians beat a hasty retreat to the woods. The insolent invaders who had got so deservedly well punished at the hands of the Godfrey household were pitched out of the house, and when they had sufficiently recovered they also made for the woods. During the tumult the four smaller children were fastened in the bedroom and their screams were terrible. The night after the assault was a dismal and anxious one at Grimross. The children trembled and sobbed during the entire hours of darkness. The morning at length dawned, and with its dawning Margaret Godfrey’s soul went out for counsel and guidance to Him, who in all their perils, in the darkest moments of their lives, had never forsaken them.
She said to Paul Guidon, “the rebels may kill my husband, my children and myself, but from this hour their threats shall not intimidate me from acting as a British subject should act in a British Colony. I shall do my duty, for under God I am determined whenever and however we attempt to make our escape, if I have to die I shall die free and not as a slave or traitor.” The Indian who had attentively listened to Margaret’s words promised to stand by her.
“Paul Guidon,” she continued, “there remains to us a great duty to be performed. I am fully convinced there will be a way of escape opened to us, but we must seek it first. Cannot we escape to Fort Frederick? Is the canoe safe to convey the whole of us and what stuff we may require?” To which the Iroquois replied, “If water smooth no trouble, trouble may be Indians ’long river bank, I go up Neck and bring down canoe.” This latter he quickly did, hauling it on shore and hiding it among some bushes.
In a few days three of the rebels, armed with pistols, again came to the shop of Captain Godfrey, and sternly demanded of him all his goods and chattels, to be held by them in trust, and to be restored to him at the close of the American rebellion, on condition that he joined General Washington. His refusal of these conditions was, by the decree of the war committee, to be punished with death. This committee had a number of armed men as the instruments by which they enforced their decrees. The three envoys gave the Captain one hour to consider their proposal.
At the expiration of the hour Margaret Godfrey and her husband came into the room where the rebels were seated. Margaret asked them how her husband and family should be able to join General Washington; “Would they not be arrested as spies or enemies of the New England colonists if they attempted to pass over among them?”
One of the rebels answered her, “If you will go and join General Washington, we will give you a pass into New England, and as soon as we can consult with the war committee we will bring or send you the passport.”
Margaret trembled lest her husband would suddenly object to the proceeding, as nothing definite had been arranged during their hour of debating the situation, only that they must escape if possible. She was well aware of her husband’s sterling loyalty. She caught his eye and nodded to him to assent to the proposition of the rebels.
He did so. The rebels left, promising the pass the next day, and that in twenty-four hours after receiving it, a guard would be ready to escort them on their way to New England. It being late in the afternoon the rebels then left. At noon the following day a messenger arrived with the passport, and also an order to be ready to proceed toward New England on the following day. The permit or passport read as follows:
Permit the bearer, Charles * * * Godfrey,
* * * Esqr.,
to pass from river St John in Nova Scotia with his family
to any part of New England.
Maugerville, } By order
of the Committee,
ye 8 July, 1776. } JACOB BARKERLY, Chairman.
After a few words of conversation with the Captain and his wife, the messenger took his departure. No time was lost in preparing to escape. Mrs. Godfrey was determined to have everything in the canoe before daylight next morning. The night fortunately was fine, and if all went well they would be well on their way to Fort Frederick before Jacob Barkerly or any of the rebels were aware of their departure. Accordingly the night was a busy one getting ready and transferring bundles of stuff to the canoe, which was some distance off. At early dawn all were in readiness, and the last to leave the homestead at Grimross were Margaret and Paul, who had returned from the shore for a box containing the Captain’s private papers, which had been overlooked in the hurry. A few minutes before four o’clock the Indian and Mrs. Godfrey arrived at the canoe with the box.
[Footnote 4: Many of the events related in this story are founded on facts gathered from papers contained in the box.]
The morning was a lovely one, and Margaret Godfrey was the most hopeful and cheerful of the little band of fugitives who were preparing to step into the canoe. Her every act and word seemed void of fear. Defeat and disaster with her were but spurs to further effort. She possessed that fortitude of soul that bears the severest trials without complaint. A few minutes after four o’clock they pushed off from the shore, the water was quite calm, but the progress was slow as the canoe was deeply laden, and Paul Guidon had to be very cautious in its management. Not an Indian was seen on the shore. The next day they arrived at Paul’s old camping ground, and after resting there a few hours they started for Fort Frederick, a short distance below. Here fortune seemed to smile upon them. A small schooner lay at anchor immediately below the fort. Margaret and her husband lost no time in going on board. The Captain of the schooner said that his vessel would sail for Port Royal, if there were sufficient wind, early the next day. He agreed to take the whole Godfrey family over with them. Paul seemed bound to accompany them, and it pleased Margaret, when she found out that he was anxious to go with them, as she feared he would be murdered if caught by the rebels. Toward evening they all embarked on board the schooner, Paul having got permission from the Captain of the vessel to take his canoe on board, he, assisted by Charlie, embarked it also.
In the morning there being a fair wind sail was set, and next day all on board were safely landed at Annapolis. Fortune once more favoured the Godfrey family, at Annapolis Royal there they found a British sloop of war. Margaret got Paul to take her and her husband in his canoe to the ship. They were received on board by the Captain in the most cordial manner, who said they had arrived in good time, as he intended to sail in a day or two. In a short time Captain Godfrey and his wife returned to the shore, having completed arrangements with the Captain of the ship for a passage to Halifax.
In a day or two the Godfrey family, accompanied by the Indian, sailed in the British sloop-of-war Viper, commanded by Captain Greaves.
Four days later the Viper arrived in Halifax harbour, and previous to the Godfreys disembarking, Mrs. Godfrey requested permission of Captain Greaves to address a few words of farewell to the ship’s company. Her request being granted and all hands ordered on deck, Mrs. G., in appropriate terms and in a modest, yet dignified manner, spoke words of counsel to the company, concluding her short exhortation in these words: “And to the Captain of my salvation I commend you all.”
REBEL PLANS—PRAYING THE LORDS.
Before Captain Godfrey sailed with his family from Halifax for England, he waited on Governor Arbuthnot and General Massie and informed them of the rebels intentions, and gave them a history of his sad experience on the St. John.
[Footnote 5: Fort Massie at Halifax, part of which is now held as a military burial ground, was named after this officer.]
He told them that he had been offered by the rebels the command of a party of men to march forward and attack Fort Cumberland, and if they (the rebels) should be successful, they were to be reinforced, and at once proceed to Halifax, set fire to the town, and sack it.
In their proceedings the rebels, who were in constant communication with the New Englanders, and who were instructed by them, were talking of forming this plan in order if possible to keep General Howe’s army from being largely reinforced.
Captain Godfrey, though very weak and ill, offered his service to General Massie, if the latter would arm two schooners and put on board of each of them one hundred regulars besides a crew of twenty-five men. He proposed to proceed to Fort Cumberland and secure the place in case an attack was made. His offer was declined. He then bid adieu to Halifax and sailed for England, where he and his family arrived on January the 8th, 1777.
He lost no time in applying to Lords North and Germain, who after proper examination found his claims for losses in the colony well founded; and were generously pleased to order him the annual sum of one hundred and fifty pounds for the temporary support of his family. This sum was afterward reduced to one hundred and twenty pounds, and finally altogether withdrawn.
He then put his distressed condition before the government, and his case was again tossed about from Lord to Lord, and from board to board, and finally brought up again before the Lords of Parliament, and from it was sent back to the Lords of Plantations and Trade. From thence to the Lords of commission for services and losses in America, and the Lord only knows where else it was sent, until it was sent out to Nova Scotia in 1784.
Thirteen years had elapsed since the Captain experienced his first misfortune in Nova Scotia, and more than seven years had elapsed since his second loss, then his case was sent out to Nova Scotia.
During all this long time he had exercised the greatest patience, and his loyalty to his King (George the Third) was never for a moment shaken.
He had lost in lands and goods about twelve thousand pounds sterling by settling in a British Colony where Indians and rebels destroyed his prospects, and yet he had received no redress for the hardships he and his family had endured, and the great wrongs inflicted upon them. His wife and children were allowed to remain in an almost destitute condition by the King and his advisers. Financially, Captain Godfrey could have been in no worse condition had he joined General Washington. But there was no power on earth that could induce the Captain to turn his back upon his King and his country.
He, with the assistance of his heroic wife, had done all in their power to rouse the whole mind and heart of their fellow countrymen in office to a satisfactory settlement of their just claims, but all they had done seemed useless, and they knew not what more to do.
After the close of the American war Captain Godfrey once more thought of crossing the ocean to settle in the colony where he had experienced so much misfortune. But after he had made all the arrangements for leaving England, he found out that he was too weak in body to stand the wear and tear of a passage across the Atlantic Ocean. In those days it usually took two months to cross from Great Britain to Nova Scotia.
The Captain’s case had been tossed from one official to another, and from one commission to another, until it had probably travelled through the completely developed rounds of Red Tapeism. After this it appears to have been allowed to slumber till the close of the American Revolutionary War.
Captain Godfrey’s health, since his last arrival in England from the colony, was anything but good, and his means of support being gone, he was largely depending on friends and relatives for the means of supporting his family. His eldest son, (Charlie) through the never failing energy of his mother, had received an Ensign’s commission in the British Army.
[Footnote 6: In 1805, Charlie, who had received a Captain’s commission, was appointed Captain in the Nova Scotia Fencible Infantry, commanded by Colonel Fred. Wetherall. In the above year Captain Charlie Godfrey married in Nova Scotia.]
The last effort Captain Godfrey appears to have made in trying to secure something in return for his services to his country, and for the great losses sustained by him in the colony, was after the conclusion of the war between England and America.
He got his case before the “Lords of the Commission” for services and losses in America, and there it seems to have met its doom, it was granted a sort of Ticket of Leave for transportation to Nova Scotia, where it died in exile.
Their Lordships referred Captain Godfrey in the following manner to the Governor of Nova Scotia:—
WHITEHALL, May 24th, 1784.
You will receive herewith a memorial, which has been presented to me by Captain Charles * * * Godfrey, * * * praying that proper orders may be given for the immediate recovery of his lands upon the St. John, River, in the Province of Nova Scotia. As I understand, upon inquiry, that Mr. Godfrey was dis-possessed of his property previous to the Independence of America, on account of his loyalty and the active part he took for the support of His Majesty King George the Third’s Government. I am induced to recommend the prayer of the petition to your favourable consideration.
I am, Sir, your most
Obedient Humble Servant,
TO JOHN PARR,
Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief
of the Province of Nova Scotia.
In the year 1776 the New England Colonists appear to have had their emissaries in Nova Scotia. There is no missing link, the chain of evidence is completed by the passport to Captain Godfrey from the Rebel Committee at Maugerville, in July, 1776. After the lapse of one hundred and twelve years, the fact is revealed that there were persons in Nova Scotia who were employed by the New England colonists, and paid by them to incite the Indians to revolt, and hold out bribes to honest and loyal settlers to forsake their King and country.
It may be that in the near or distant future facts will be brought to light which will prove beyond a doubt that the United States had emissaries in Nova Scotia in 1888 who were paid for their services in Yankee gold.
It will be remembered that the Godfreys, accompanied by their faithful friend Paul Guidon, arrived at Halifax in the “Viper.” Paul remained twelve days with his friend, and then a vessel being about to sail for Quebec, Commander Greaves secured him a passage in her.
But the farewell almost broke the heart of the noble Iroquois, and he wept many bitter tears. Margaret Godfrey was aware of Paul’s desire to gain possession of the old service book, she knew he had longed for it since the day of his mother’s burial, and on bidding him adieu she presented him with the book, saying as she did so, “Paul keep this book, it is from your friend, no doubt you will sometimes be able to get some one to read to you useful lessons from its pages.”
Paul Guidon had frequently told Mrs. Godfrey that he felt a sort of charm come over him whenever his eyes rested on the book, and when he touched it with his hand he imagined he could hear his mother whisper the words, “Paul be good man, and bye and by you will come to me on the sunny plains of the happy hunting ground.”
At Quebec a British officer, becoming greatly attached to Paul, engaged him as a sort of confidential servant, and noticing the Iroquois admiration for the military dress, he had a suit made for him. Indeed, Paul became an especial favorite with all the soldiers of the garrison. Colonel MacLean, with whom the Indian had engaged, had great confidence in him, and frequently trusted him to carry important messages. The Colonel found him to be a most trusty fellow, and occasionally sent him alone to observe the enemy’s movements. Paul was as straight as an athlete and had an eye keen as an eagle’s. He scarcely ever failed in reporting to the Colonel something worth knowing.
On the night of December 31st, 1776, the Iroquois advanced in a creeping position so close to the enemy’s lines, that on his return he was able to state to the Colonel what the enemy were doing, and he told what he had observed in such an intelligent way that the British were prepared to meet and repulse every attack of Arnold and Montgomery on that night. In the attack Montgomery was killed and Arnold wounded.
One night, an exceptionally dark and stormy one, the Indian was sent out to reconnoitre. He lost his way, and getting inside the enemy’s lines, came near being captured. In the dense darkness he crept right up against one of the enemy’s pickets. The sentry fired, and Paul fell flat on the snow quite near the sentry’s feet, the shot passing over the Indian’s head. In another instant Paul had regained his feet, and while the sentry was attempting
It was snowing when he fell, and when he became conscious of his situation, he found himself covered with an inch or more of snow, and his head and face badly cut and bruised. On all four he crept to the British outposts with the blood streaming from a cut in his leg and one on his face. At last he reached the lines, more dead than alive. Paul received a cold from which he never recovered.
In the morning he crawled out in search of the ring, thinking it might be of some value. He was enabled to find the place where he had fallen by retracing his steps and seeing the blood on the snow in spots here and there. It had stopped snowing soon after he recovered consciousness, consequently it was not difficult next morning to find out the spot where he had received his injuries. The sun was shining brightly, and as he kicked away the snow after hunting about for an hour or so, his eye caught something shining brilliantly. He picked it up. It was a ring. He put it into his pocket and returned. He knew he had seen the ring before. He put it in an inside pocket of his coat and sewed it in, fearing he might otherwise loose it.
The Indian for a long time was unfitted for active duty. He made his home sometimes at the garrison and sometimes with the tribes of Indians in the neighborhood.
When General Burgoyne, in June, 1777, advanced from Canada into the New England States, Paul Guidon attached himself to one of the officers of the expedition. This officer was afterward killed and Paul was captured by the Americans and sent a prisoner to Boston, and at that place detained for some months.
At length he managed to make his escape. He wandered for weeks in the woods and along the paths, and at last struck the Nova Scotia boundary and continued on until he reached the vicinity of Fort Frederick. There he remained for a short time visiting the scenes and places of other days. He then set out once more for Quebec, and arrived there in September, 1778, where he remained till the close of the war. In September, 1780, he was united in marriage with a handsome young Chipewayan squaw. Paul Guidon was loved and admired by most of the Indians of the Quebec district, and never wanted for a home amongst them.
His wife was of medium height, her face was handsome, and her features clean-cut, as they are seen in Greek statuary. She was as brown as some statues are. Her eyes were of the deepest and brightest black, they were quick and piercing as arrows sent to their mark.
MARGARET GODFREY ARRIVES IN NOVA SCOTIA.—DEATH OF THE YOUNG LION OF THE WOODS.
In the month of August, 1784, Margaret Godfrey once again arrived in Nova Scotia. This time she came alone, her husband being too ill to accompany her. She left her English home and came out to Nova Scotia to secure a personal interview with Governor Parr, and do all in her power to get back the property on the St. John River; or if not, then she would endeavor to secure some compensation for it, through the instrumentality of the governor. She remained at Halifax a few weeks, and then left for the St. John River. She did not appear satisfied with her visit to the governor. She could get no promise from him that the estate at Grimross Neck would be restored to her husband, or that any compensation would be granted in its stead. Nothing seems to have been done in her interest, and she left Halifax deeply disappointed in her mission.
Trouble had recently arisen between the people settled at the mouth of the St. John and the authorities at Halifax. Instead of one Province she was informed that there were now two Provinces. She determined to cross over to Parrtown, and see what she could accomplish by visiting the estate personally. With the letter from Sydney to Governor Parr, she took a certificate of survey, which read as follows:
This may certify, that by the desire of Captain ——, I have laid nine hundred acres of land on the Peninsular or place called Grimross Neck, in the Township of Gage, on the River St. John, beginning at the Portage and running down the river about two miles and a quarter to a maple tree marked, thence running S.W. till it meets Grimross Creek, thence up the said Creek to the Portage, thence crossing the Portage to the first mentioned bounds.
Gagetown, Jany. 31st, 1771._
Mrs. Godfrey finding that nothing could be accomplished by her visit up the river, returned to the settlement at its mouth. The place of settlement had undergone a great change since the year 1770, when she first came to Fort Frederick with her husband.
She remained at Parrtown a few weeks, in order if possible to gather further information respecting the property at Grimross Neck, and to consult with some of the leading inhabitants, as to what course they would advise her to pursue. She was most kindly entertained by the people of the place.
One fine morning, while walking about the settlement, she accidently met a fine looking young Indian girl. The young squaw, whose black eyes shone in the bright sunshine as polished jet, put out her small brown hand and said in quite good English, “Please mam, won’t you give me something for sick husband?”
Margaret thought the dusky beauty looked rather young to be married, but she said to her, “And where does your husband live?”
She pointed her hand up the river and replied, “Not far that way.”
“Have you been living here long?” asked Margaret.
“Not very long,” replied the young squaw.
“What is the matter with your husband?” said Margaret.
The little squaw answered, “My husband be very sick with consumption, most dead.”
“Where did you get that pretty ring on your finger?” said Mrs. Godfrey to the Indian woman.
Margaret Godfrey had noticed the ring on the squaw’s finger, sparkling in the sunlight, as she pointed her small brown hand up the river in the direction of her home.
The swarthy beauty, with an innocent smile, as she hung her head on one side, said, “My husband give it me after we get married.” The Indian lass then began to run her fingers over a string of red and white beads, that encircled her round plump neck and hung loosely down over a well proportioned bosom. At the same time she kept scraping the ground with the toe of her moccasin, and now and again crossing one foot over the other and resting the tip of her toe for an instant on the earth. Then she would swing one of her feet about a foot from the ground over the other. Her dark blue dress being quite short, and the wind blowing stiffly, she would occasionally display a small prettily formed foot, and an ankle that looked as though it had been formed in nature’s most perfect mould.
Mrs. Godfrey broke the silence by asking the young woman if she would like her to go to the wigwam and see her sick husband? The Indian woman answered, “May be dead now, and long rough walk, no canoe here.”
Margaret said to her, “Suppose you come down here to-morrow morning in a canoe and take me up to your wigwam?” She answered, “Have no canoe, but might get Jim Newall’s, who lives mile more up river, he has canoe and sometime bring me down here.”
Margaret agreed to accompany her to her wigwam early the next morning, if Newall and she came to the settlement in a canoe.
She said she would go and see Newall, and if he could not come, she would walk down and let her (Margaret) know how her husband was.
Mrs. Godfrey told the squaw where she would find her at ten o’clock the next morning, and then taking the hand of the Indian woman into that of her own, looked carefully at the ring, as she bid her good day.
Margaret recognized the ring as the one she had lost during the assault of the rebels at Grimross, in 1776. She missed it from off her finger soon after the cross-eyed, monkey-faced rebel “Will,” had pulled her about the floor by the hand, and never saw or heard of it after. Paul Guidon often said to Mrs. Godfrey, that he believed the rebel “Will” had stolen her ring.
It was a very valuable one, set with a choice emerald, surrounded by precious stones. It was presented to Margaret by her father, on the day he was elected Mayor of Cork, and cost forty-live guineas. It had never occurred to Margaret, during her conversation with the squaw, to ask her name.
Mrs. Godfrey said to herself, “This Indian girl may be a daughter of one of the savages who attacked us at Grimross. Perhaps she has lied to me and I may never again see her or the ring. I may possibly get some information to-morrow that will satisfy me. I must wait.”
At ten o’clock the next morning a strapping big Indian knocked at the door of the house where Mrs. Godfrey was lodging, and inquired if “woman lived there who wanted go in canoe and see sick Injun up river?”
He was informed that there was a lady inside, ready and waiting for a man named Jim Newall, to take her up the river. “Me Jim,” he replied.
Margaret came to the door. She said, “Are you Jim Newall?” “Yes, me Jim Newall,” he answered gruffly.
Margaret asked Jim how far it was to where he had left his canoe. “Just few steps,” he replied. “Down among stumps at water edge.” Margaret accompanied the Indian, and finding out where the canoe was, told Jim to remain there until she returned, as she wanted to get a few things for the sick man.
Half an hour later Mrs. Godfrey and a Mrs. Fowler were making their way by stumps of trees and over branches, with their arms loaded with things for the sick Indian. They were soon on board, and then Jim Newall paddled away up stream.
As the canoe slipped along, every spot on the shores seemed familiar to Margaret’s eyes, and many sad thoughts flashed across her mind; memories of days never to be forgotten rose in her soul. She remarked to Mrs. Fowler, “How little everything has changed since I was here last, eight years ago, except at the settlement.”
The morning was a charming one, the river was running, fairly rushing up, otherwise all nature seemed to sleep. The splash of the paddle, the ripple of the water along the sides of the canoe, and the gentle rolling of the little bark, were the only things that disturbed the quiet that reigned supreme all about. The Indian never spoke, and Margaret and her companion, as they sat one ahead of the other in the bottom of the canoe, seldom exchanged a word.
Mrs. Godfrey saw at a glance that the canoe was nearing the place where Paul Guidon and his mother had once lived. As she looked toward the shore her eyes rested upon a form standing at the water’s edge, and as the canoe approached nearer and nearer the shore, she recognized the form as that of the pretty squaw she had met at the settlement the previous day. Margaret Godfrey remarked to Mrs. Fowler, “There stands the pretty creature I met yesterday.” Mrs. Fowler replied, “She does not look like the squaws we so often see about the settlement.” She continued, “What a neat, tidy girl she is. I have never seen her at Parrtown, what a handsome face and fine form she has”
“And ne’er did
Grecian chisel trace
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face.”
The bow of the canoe had now touched the shore, and the Indian lass most politely made a courtesy to the ladies in the canoe.
After landing, Mrs. Fowler put a piece of silver in Jim Newall’s hand and asked him if he would take them back home again in an hour or two. Jim nodded an assent as he pulled his little bark out of the water to the dry land.
Mrs. Godfrey, once on shore, fully recognized that she was at the old camping ground of her protector in by gone days, Paul Guidon.
The squaw replied to Mrs. Godfrey’s inquiry after her sick husband, that he was very weak, almost dead. Does he know that a white woman is doming to see him this morning? asked Margaret G. “Yes,” replied the Indian woman, “he be so glad see you, but he be very weak, no speak, he told me in whisper last night, after I come back camp from Jim Newall wigwam, best friend, best woman ever saw, was pale face woman, who told him of Great Chief, Big Spirit, and great hunting ground way back sun, where old Mag, (mother) was now. Pale face woman gave him book, and would talk Great Spirit and tell him look after Paul and make him good man.”
Is your husband’s name Paul? asked Margaret Godfrey. “Yes mam,” she answered, “Paul Guidon his name.” Mrs. Godfrey felt all must be a dream. She appeared lost and bewildered after she had heard the name Paul Guidon. She cast a glance at her companion and exclaimed, “Am I back to the old camping ground of Paul Guidon, and is he here?” Then her faculties seemed to desert her, for at that instant she staggered and fell into the arms of the Indian woman, with such force as to almost knock the squaw over. Mrs. Fowler noticing the stupor of her companion and her pallid features, asked her if she felt ill. She did not reply.
Little Mag, for such was the name of the handsome squaw, ran down to the river side, filled her moccasins with water and tripping back, she poured the contents full in the face of Mrs. Godfrey. She went again and again to the river, filled her moccasins and poured the water over Margaret’s face and temples.
Jim Newall, who was sitting in his canoe a few yards distant, seeing the woman lying on the ground, came up and proposed to carry her to the wigwam two hundred yards distant, or under the shade of some trees near by. The latter proposition was acted upon. Jim, Mrs. Fowler and Little Mag, carried Margaret to a shaded spot a few yards away. They all sat down beside her, as she lay stretched and apparently lifeless upon the ground. After little Mag had once more poured the contents of her shoes down the neck of Margaret, and Mrs. Fowler had steadily rubbed her temples and wrists, she opened her eyes, looked wildly about, and then sat up supported by her companion.
She then commenced to speak in a low weak voice. Mrs. Fowler, listening attentively, heard her say, “Forever honored be this spot of earth: Here ‘Old Mag’ departed this life. Here her son Paul, that most noble spirit of the woods, who when I was weary, distressed, and a wanderer, broken in everything but spirit, poor in all but faith and courage: Here! Here! Paul took refuge, and my husband, my children and myself rested. Never shall that day be forgotten by me. I shall always look back during my life, and when I get to that other home, I shall, too, look back to this sacred spot with unabated affection and regard. Here! Here was I eight years ago with husband and children, unprovided for, unprotected, on the shore of this river, in a rude and fearful wilderness, surrounded by savages, but that noble Indian, that splendid Iroquois, whose old mother lies in everlasting sleep near here, protected us and provided for us. The hills around are hallowed in my memory, and these trees seem to stand with grace and beauty. This shore is as sacred to my mind as those of the Jordan were to the people of old. Here! yes here! how often have I communed with my loving Saviour! This ground is sacred to me because it incloses the dust of the mother of my protector. The ashes of old Margaret Guidon repose here. Is this sacred ground soon to claim the dust of her loving son? It may be that both came here to live for a brief space and then to die and mingle their ashes with this Acadian soil.”
Tears streamed down over her beautiful waxen features, as Mrs. Fowler and little Mag assisted her to her feet. No penitent at a Methodist revival-service ever looked more serious than did Jim Newall, as Margaret Godfrey uttered the above.
Margaret had at length sufficiently recovered to proceed to the wigwam, assisted on either side by little Mag and Mrs. Fowler. The three walked slowly toward the home of Paul Guidon. Arriving at the entrance of the wigwam the little Chipewayan led the way inside.
The first object that met the eyes of Mrs. Godfrey was the sick Indian lying, wasted and emaciated, on a bed of spruce-boughs covered with a blanket.
Margaret Godfrey at once knelt at his bed-side and placing his dark thin hand in that of her own, said “Dear Paul, I come to see you.”
He looked up at her and stared in a sort of vacant manner. He tried to raise his head, but was too weak to do so. She looked straight in his eyes, and said again, “Paul, you remember your old pale-faced friend who used to live at Grimross Neck?” As Margaret spoke the last word, Paul Guidon faintly whispered, “Thank Great Chief, I told him get you come me, Paul must not be made die till you come.” Great tears rolled down his sunken cheeks as he whispered the above, and Margaret Godfrey, overpowered with emotion, lightly rested her forehead on his thin sinewy arm. Not a step. Not a sound was heard for a few minutes within the narrow circle of the wigwam, all rested as if in silent prayer, a more touching, a more peaceful, a more solemn scene, was never witnessed in palace or cottage. Deep grief, real sorrow, took full possession of those women who knelt around the bed of the dying Iroquois, in that birchen home on the banks of the St John, on the morning of September the 20th, 1784.
There in the stillness of a North American forest, on a magnificent autumn day, when the trees were dressed in all their gorgeous loveliness, and at an hour when not even the rustling of a leaf could be heard, death was gradually releasing the spirit of Paul Guidon from its swarthy tenament.
Margaret Godfrey raised her head from off the arm of the Indian, and as she did so, he again whispered, “me soon be on hunting ground behind setting sun, you must come see Paul.” Mrs. Godfrey, promised him that she would. He looked at his little wife and tried to move his right hand toward his breast. She knew what he wanted her to do. She knelt down, kissed him and took from inside his shirt a book. It was the old service book. She handed it to Margaret Godfrey, who opened it and read to Paul, whose eyes were steadfastly fixed on the reader. As she continued reading, the eyes of the dying Indian gradually closed, and as she, shut the book he ceased breathing. The spirit of the “Young Lion of the Woods” had taken its everlasting flight.
“Like a shadow thrown
Softly and sweetly from a passing cloud,
Death fell upon him.”
An hour after Paul Guidon had died, Jim Newall, Mrs. Godfrey, Mrs. Fowler and Mag Guidon went to the shore and brought Newall’s canoe to the wigwam. The dead chief was laid out in a military coat, which he had kept with great care, on his head was an undress cap, and his lower limbs were dressed in dark trousers, and long military or hunting boots coming up to the knee.
Paul Guidon was united in marriage to Margaret Reonadi at Quebec in the summer of 1760, and several military gentlemen were present at the ceremony. He was dressed for burial in the same suit in which he was married.
Newall’s canoe, on which the body was laid, was draped along the sides with evergreens. Spruce boughs were laid athwart the canoe forming a bed for the body of the departed hero. On his breast were placed his bow and arrow, also his moccasins. The widowed squaw said the canoe would help his soul to cross rivers and lakes on the way to the happy hunting grounds, the arrow would bring down game and the moccasins protect his feet. When all preparations were completed Newall had arrived back with another canoe. Mrs. Godfrey and Mrs. Fowler were then taken to the mouth of the river by Jim, where they secured the services of a man named Cock to accompany Newall up the river and assist him in digging a grave. A person by the name of Farris presented Mrs. Godfrey with a British flag, which he wished displayed at Paul’s burial.
The following morning, according to an agreement, Newall came to the settlement and took Margaret G. and Mrs. Fowler to the wigwam which should hold the noble Paul no more forever. The British ensign was drawn over the body of the dead Indian. He lay in a sort of state till next day, the body being viewed by many of the Indians of the district, and also by not a few people from the settlement.
“They laid them fondly
side by side,
And near their icy hearts
They placed their arrows and their bows,
Their clubs, and spears, and darts;
For use when they with life are crowned
In heaven’s happy hunting ground.”
Margaret Godfrey read the burial service from the old service book, while rivers of tears flowed down a score of swarthy faces, and an occasional low wail uttered by the Indians standing round the open grave, told of their sorrow and superstitious fear. The British ensign was then placed over the dead Iroquois. It was the flag under which he had lived and died, and a fit emblem to cover the remains of so true and brave a man. (The characters of American sympathizers, of traitors and rebels, as black as they appear in Colonial History, will appear deeper-dyed as they stand in contrast to the loyalty of this true Indian.) Margaret Godfrey spoke to them as follows: “I believe it to be my solemn duty, yea, my special duty on this most sorrowful occasion, that I should express my feelings. If there ascends from my heart a prayer to the throne of the Great Chief, in behalf of this youthful widow and in behalf of you people, let it be a prayer that the Great Chief may turn the hearts of all from the thoughts of war to sentiments of mercy and peace, such as our dear brother, whose remains we have just committed to the grave, possessed in his life. When I think of that true, and noble man, whose remains lie before us, I thank Him who rules the winds and guides the stars in their courses, that such a man was ever born. And if, at some distant period, it may be many years remote, one of my own or my husband’s countrymen (some of whom are now peopling this country) should visit this spot or this neighbourhood, I trust that tradition or history may inform such a one that here sleeps one of the bravest, truest, and most noble sons of the forest that ever lived and roamed over the hunting grounds of time. He was true to his adopted country, true to its king, and true to its loyal people. An Indian, but too honest and noble-minded to be a rebel, he not only discountenanced the dark plottings of enemies within Acadia, but his sagacity sometimes was the means of frustrating them. He was an Indian, high in character; a noble example to some pale faces,
The Red men paid the utmost attention to the words as they dropped from Margaret Godfrey’s lips. The grave was then filled in and the mourners dispersed to their homes along the river, leaving Paul Guidon to rest beside his mother.
For more than a century the “Young Lion of the Woods” has slept on the banks of the St. John. His loyal spirit took its flight to another sphere about the time thousands of united loyal spirits were forming a city near his tomb. The few thousand people that had settled in the colony in the days of Paul Guidon, were the ancestry of the nearly one million true, loyal subjects who inhabit the Maritime Provinces at the beginning of this year 1889. The colony, of which the noble Iroquois was a citizen, was confined within narrow bounds. Now the sons of the Loyalists are on the shores of the Pacific. Our country extends there. It is a noble faculty of our nature which enables us to connect our thoughts with the past as well as with the future, and by contemplating the example and studying the character of Paul Guidon, we must come to the conclusion that were that Indian living now his heart would glow with patriotic pride at the strides the country has taken, and that our destiny is Canadian, not American.
It is a pleasure to be able to exhibit to the present generation something of the splendid character of the Iroquois, whose ashes, commingled with those of the Union Jack, repose near the loyal City of St. John.
“And has he not high
The hill side for a pall,
He lies in state while angels wait
With stars for tapers tall;
And the dark rock pines, with tossing plumes,
Over his tomb to wave;
’Twas a kind dear hand in that lonely land,
That laid him in the grave.”
“In that lonely grave
without a name,
Where his uncoffined clay
Shall break again, O, wondrous thought!
Before the Judgment Day,
And stand with glory wrapped around
On the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife that won our life,
And the Incarnate Son of God.”
MARGARET GODFREY’S FAREWELL.
The widowed squaw and the two pale-faced women were the last to leave Paul’s late camping ground. As they were pushed off into the stream by Jim Newall, who with another Indian paddled them back to the settlement, Margaret saw the other canoes, nine in number, going up the river. In the twilight she watched them, and it came to her mind that when Paul Guidon saw the porpoises at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy coming toward the sloop, he was not to be blamed for thinking they were canoes. She remarked to Mrs. Fowler those canoes resemble, at first sight, porpoises on the Atlantic Ocean.
When they arrived at the settlement Little Mag was taken to the home of the Lesters. As she sat down in one of the small, unfurnished rooms, she rested her head upon her hands and bitterly sobbed. Mrs. Godfrey tried to comfort her, but she wept on. Little Mag said she felt badly at leaving the wigwam. If she had stayed there her husband’s spirit would have come in the night and been with her. She would not see him but she would know he was there. Indians always come back the night they are buried to see their loved ones again before going off to the great hunting grounds. After a time “Little Mag” fell asleep, and in her dream, as she reclined on a bench, talked in an unknown tongue. Neither Margaret nor any present could understand a word she uttered. She appeared to be conversing with some invisible being, invisible, at least, to the pale faces. It may have been that in that little room there was sweet communion between the widowed squaw and her departed husband. She said to Mrs Godfrey after she awoke that she thought she saw her husband and heard him say, “Don’t worry about Paul.” “Happy hunting grounds here.” “See you far off.” “Far beyond setting sun.” He appeared to be speaking to her out of the setting sun. He was surrounded by a golden light, while he looked to be dressed in polished silver, and when she awoke by falling on the floor, she had started to fling herself into his arms, which were outstretched to receive her; but when her eyes were opened all around her was darkness.
[Footnote 7: See interpretation of the dream at close of Chapter.]
Soon after relating the above she retired to bed and in the morning seemed refreshed and happy. She sang songs in the Chippewayan tongue during the morning; her deep black eye became brighter; her step was light and quick, and her whole frame seemed to move to silent music, so regular, graceful and quick were her motions.
Who among us of earth knows but there are times in the lives of some of us, if not all of us, when the silent influences of dear departed friends, happy in the etherial or spirit world, unconsciously direct our thoughts and guide our movements.
In a few days Margaret Godfrey was preparing to leave the settlement and return to Halifax, and there make one more effort to secure some compensation for her husband’s losses on the St. John.
She invited “Little Mag” to give her the history of the ring. In reply, “Little Mag” said her husband, Paul, had given it to her, and when he presented it to her told her that it once belonged to the best pale face woman he had ever seen in all his travels, that it was stolen from off the pale face’s finger, and some moons afterwards he had knocked down the thief and taken it off his finger, one night far outside the British lines at Quebec. The thief was a rebel who had nearly killed pale face woman. About two weeks after Paul had knocked the rebel down, there was a sharp sortie between some British soldiers and some Americans, and during the fight, which ended in the repulse of the Americans, the monkey-faced, cross-eyed rebel, “Will,” was taken prisoner. He was a great coward, and acknowledged to her husband that he had taken the ring off pale face woman’s finger. Her husband told her to keep the ring till pale face woman saw it. That pale face woman has arrow mark on right arm above joint. Here Margaret Godfrey pulled up her sleeve and showed the little squaw the arrow mark received by her at Fort Frederick, in 1770. “Little Mag’s” full brown-face lit up with an innocent smile as she pulled the precious gem off her own finger and placed it in the hand of Mrs. Godfrey, at the same time saying, “I know you the pale face who lost ring.” Margaret took the ring put it on her own finger and thanked “Little Mag” for it.
The Chippewayan widow then took from a pocket in her blue skirt, a small case and handed it to Margaret Godfrey, who opened it and took from it a neck-lace of beads mounted with gold. A small gold cross was attached. “Little Mag” said the neck-lace was given to her by officers at Quebec when she was married, and Paul had given her the cross at the same time. She had married Paul when he was visiting among her tribe, when she was sixteen years old. When they came to Quebec the officers were very good to them. They gave her plenty of good clothes because they liked her husband so much.
Paul got sick while hunting with officers last winter. She was with them and cooking in camp. In early spring left the officers and came down to St. John River, in May, and built wigwam near his mother’s grave. He got no better, but worse, growing thinner and weaker, with great cough. “What ‘Little Mag’ do now my Paul gone?” “I know you good woman will ask Great Chief to help me go home to my tribe, there live and die. My little papoose, Paul, dead, sleeps near Quebec, died when few moons old.”
The information in Chapter nine respecting Paul Guidon’s career after leaving Halifax in 1776, was obtained from a document pasted in the back of the old service book, and written at Paul’s request by a Lieutenant of the British Army stationed at Quebec in the year 1780.
Mrs. Godfrey left Parr Town late in the fall of 1784 for Halifax, and soon after sailed from the latter place for England. Her mission to Halifax and the St. John had been a failure. She could get no promise that her husband’s property would be restored to him, or that any compensation would be granted him in lieu thereof.
As the brigt. in which Margaret Godfrey took passage sailed out of Chebucto Harbour, she remarked to the captain that people who attempt to settle in a new colony would do well before leaving comfortable homes in the old land to find out what protection is guaranteed settlers, and what class of persons they are likely to settle among. And as she cast a last look upon the colony, as she entered the companion way to the cabin, she pointed her hand toward the shore, remarking, “my husband and I came out to this land in very comfortable circumstances fifteen years ago; to-day, without a penny to call my own, I leave the colony forever.” The vessel ran across the ocean in thirty-six days, and Mrs. Godfrey was once again on English soil.
Nothing having been accomplished in Nova Scotia by his wife’s visit, Captain Godfrey once more made an attempt for relief to the Lords of Parliament at home.
After the close of the American war, a commission was appointed by Parliament with power to inquire into the losses and services of the Loyalists in America. Captain Godfrey, as has been stated in a previous chapter, had put his case before many commissions, before Lords many. To use a common expression, “his case had gone the rounds.” And now, as a last effort, he was about to present his claims before the Lord Commissioner of Losses and Services of the American Loyalists. In his memorial the captain stated to the Lords Commissioners, his services as a soldier to the time of settling in the colony, concluding with giving in detail the losses he had sustained on the River St. John, in His Majesty’s Colonial possession, by the cruel and savage acts of Indians and rebels. He also stated in his memorial that he could have joined the service of Mr. Washington, and that great inducements were held out to him to do so, and to desert the cause of his king and his country. The memorial concluded as follows:
“Your memorialist therefore, humbly prays, that his cause may be taken into consideration, and that he may be granted such relief, as in the benevolence of His Majesty King George the Third’s Commissioners, his losses and services may be found to deserve, and that he and the subjoined witnesses may have a hearing from your Honourable Board.”
THOMAS BRIDGE, ESQ., }
No. 2 Bridge Street, Surry Side } To Property.
MR. BARTLEY, }
Delzex Court, near the Temple. }
GENERAL SKEIN, } To Service.
GENERAL MURRAY. }
SIR GUY CARLETON, } To Loyalty.
BROOK WATSON. }
(Here follows the signature of the petitioner.)
No. 2 Pratt Street, Lambeth.
As far as can be gathered from documentary evidence, and what information could be obtained otherwise, no relief was ever granted to Captain Godfrey or his family by the Commission of Losses and Services of the American Loyalists. Mrs. Godfrey, whose many trials, hardships, disappointments and sorrows, have been sketched in the foregoing chapters, was living in London as late as 1805. A letter written by the old lady to her son Charlie’s wife, then living in Nova Scotia, was for a few hours in the possession of the writer of these chapters. In this letter she states her many difficulties and the numerous applications on her part to various Lords and other authorities seeking relief in her distress. Many portions of the long, well written letter are touching indeed.
The persistency of the grand old lady in doing her utmost to force the rulers of the country to a settlement of her husband’s claims is greatly to be admired. Her letter cannot be read by any colonist without feelings of pity and shame. In one part of the letter she says Councillor Brand has given in my memorial to the treasury and I have to wait till he gets an answer, and I pray God it will be a happy one, but God knows what is best, and will, if we put all our trust in him, guide us aright. The cursed Duke of Richmond is not dead yet.
[Footnote 8: It will be remembered that Mrs. Godfrey was an Irish woman.]
[Footnote 9: What was the cause of her animosity to this noble Duke, the writer does not know.]
Mrs. Godfrey must have been near eighty years of age when this letter was written. Thirty-five years had elapsed since her husband’s first loss in the colony, and nearly thirty years since he was driven out by rebels and Indians.
Titles and pensions have been freely bestowed by English kings and parliaments on men who have been daring and successful in Britain’s cause. If Captain Godfrey had performed no deeds worthy of a title or a pension, he at least deserved to be reimbursed in part or in whole for the losses he had sustained at the hands of rebels and savages. And it is probable there were men and women in England who were styled Dukes and Duchesses,—who wore orders on their breasts that covered less brave and no more loyal hearts than those of Capt. and Margaret Godfrey. She firmly supported and assisted her husband in his strict adherence to King George the Third’s cause, and faced the rebels like a Spartan and defeated them in their designs at Grimross. Her tact, skill, courage and cool determination in the midst of imminent danger were truly admirable. She displayed the qualities of a born leader time and time again. In a situation where she could seek no support she
“Justin McCarthy in his concise and interesting work, Ireland’s cause in England’s Parliament,” says: “There is a charming poem by my friend William Allingham, called Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland,” in which we find a classic story, thrillingly told, as an illustration of the hero’s feeling on some subject of interest to his country. A Roman Emperor is persecuted by the petition of a poor widowed woman, who prays for redress of some wrong done to her and her children. The great emperor is far too great, his mind is taken up too much with questions of imperial interest, to have any leisure for examining into, or even for reading, this poor woman’s claim.
One morning he is riding forth of his palace gates, at the head of his splendid retinue, and the widow comes in his way, right in his path, and holds up her petition again, and implores him to read it. He will not read, and is about to pass scornfully on, when she flings herself on the ground before him, herself and her little children, just in front of his horse’s hoofs, and she declares that if he will not stay and hear her prayer, he shall not pass on his way unless he passes over the bodies of herself and children.
And then says Mr. Allingham, “the Roman,” who must have had something of the truly imperial in him, “wheeled his horse and heard.”
Margaret Godfrey, the poor widowed woman, took up the petition of her husband, and continued to pray for redress of wrong done her husband, herself, and her children. For twenty years she continued in her prayer. Read what the poor widowed woman says in another part of her letter to her daughter-in-law, and see if the truly imperial is to be found in a King or in England’s noblemen, who for twenty years “heard and wheeled.”
“I have been sick all winter and not able to help myself, and am very ill at present. My illness has almost turned me, but if I had but half a leg I’ll do my duty toward my family.”
In another letter written to her daughter-in-law not long after the first, she says: “Tell Charles if he ever visits the mouth of the St. John or old Fort Frederick, not to neglect for his mother’s sake to visit the grave of Paul Guidon. He knows the locality and may be able to detect the spot where the hero sleeps. In my thoughts, God knows how often I linger about that spot. Sacred indeed must be the earth that mingles with the dust of such nobility. Were I present I would adorn his last resting place with the early spring flowers. Many wintry storms have passed above his grave. Spring time and summer have come and gone, but he heeds them not.
“I feel that I am nearing the border land, and as I cross the stream I believe I shall meet my husband and also my other protector standing together on the shore to welcome me home, to a home where friends never fail and where justice is administered in the highest perfection.
“It is my living desire, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying desire, to meet beyond on the fields of glory Paul Guidon and my dear husband. No Briton ever lived who was more loyal to his King and country, and trusted more fully in the honour of earthly Lords than Charles Godfrey.
“It may be that I shall bye and by find Paul Guidon’s name inscribed in brighter characters on the columns that support the arches of the heavens, than the names of some to whom my husband applied on earth for redress of wrong.
“One of Briton’s statesmen lately said, ’It is easy for my Lord C. or Earl G. or Marquis B. or Lord H. with thousands upon thousands a year, some of it either presently derived or inherited in sinecure acquisitions from the public money to boast of their patriotism, and keep aloof from temptation, but they do not know from what temptation those have kept aloof who had equal pride, at least equal talents, and not unequal passions, and nevertheless knew not in the course of their lives what it was to have a shilling of their own, and in saying this he wept.
“And so have I, a thousand times in silence wept, as the utmost energy of my life has been exerted to cheer, to comfort and to encourage a weeping heart-broken husband weighed down with misfortunes and poverty.”
The grave has long ago closed over every member of the Godfrey family who were among the English pioneer settlers of Acadia, and the history of their lives might have slept with them, but for a trifling circumstance. The old documents referred to and copied in the foregoing chapters, are greatly defaced, and time is completing their destruction. Many of them are scarcely legible, and it required the utmost patience and perseverance to gather together the facts as narrated in this work.
* * * * *
As the little widow narrated her dream to one of the Misses Lester, the latter understood it to be something like the following: Mag saw a vast land with wooded hills and dales, green fields, lakes and rivers. Her departed husband was quickly crossing over all these toward the setting sun. He sped over the lakes and rivers in his canoe, and when he emerged from among the trees, his bow and arrow hung across his shoulder, over the open country he travelled in his moccasins, with the old flag wrapped tightly about his breast and shoulders. At length he approached the setting sun, where she lost sight of him for a moment, the darkness that had gradually settled down, shutting out from her view the passage of her husband,
Paul Guidon appeared to move his head forward as the star-paved sky increased in burning brightness, till overpowered by the lustre shining, and dazzled by the increasing brilliancy. Little Mag fell to the floor and awoke in the darkened room. As she was in the act of falling the faint sound of distant music, mingled with the noise of far away rushing waters, seemed to fall upon her ears, increasing in strength and melody as she touched the floor.
If Milman’s lines had been written or known at the time of Mag’s dream, they could have been most suitably recited.
“From all the harping
Bursts the tumultuous song,
Like the unceasing sound of cataracts pouring,
Hosanna o’er hosanna louder roaring.
That faintly echoing down to earthly ears,
Hath seemed the concert sweet of the harmonious spheres.”
MARRIAGE OF LITTLE MAG.—SOCIETY AT HALIFAX.
Soon after Mrs. Godfrey’s departure from Parr Town for England, Little Mag Guidon went up the St. John and settled there with some of the tribe, intending to remain until a chance of getting back to her people occurred. She was not destined, however, to go back to her Chippewayan friends. Jim Newall, who had so often paddled her to the settlement and back, made advances toward her, which she reciprocated till it ended in the two being married. It appears she had won Jim’s heart during the illness of her husband. She told one of the Lesters, shortly after Margaret Godfrey’s departure, that Newall had said to her one evening while going up to the camp from the mouth of the river, “Supposem, may be, husband Paul die, Jim Newall come wigwam.” She replied, “When Paul die, no wigwam be there, won’t stay ’lone.” Jim answered, “Me, you, two keep wigwam supposem.” Doubtless, the above conversation laid the foundation of their union. It proved to be a happy one. In a letter from a friend to Mrs. Godfrey, a few months after her arrival home, it is stated that “Jim and Mag appear to be the happiest of mortals, their’s is true love.” The lady who wrote the above, evidently did not consider “marriage a failure,” especially among the Indians. In matters of citizenship, in matters of human life, in matters of society, it may be, that it would be beneficial to take a lesson or two from the lives of the Iroquois, Chippewayan, and Mic-Mac. We certainly never read or hear that marriage has been a failure among the Indians.
When Mrs. Godfrey bade farewell to Mag Guidon, she handed her name and address, written in large, bold hand, and remarked as she handed it, “Whenever you want to send me any message, if you are about here, get some of my friends to write a letter for you.”
While Mrs. Godfrey was at Parr Town she sought an interview with the newly appointed Governor, (Thomas Carleton), who had arrived a few days before to her departure. She made known to the Governor the losses sustained and hardships endured by her husband while in the colony. She also stated to Colonel Carleton the noble deeds of Paul Guidon, and of his loyalty to the king. She told of his death and of the destitute condition of his young widow.
Some months after Mrs. Godfrey had sailed for home, Governor Carleton was told that the widow of Paul Guidon was soon to be married. He sent to a friend of Mrs. Godfrey for information, and found the report to be true. In a few days the Governor called at the house of the friend and handed to her three guineas, to be expended for Little Mag’s comfort.
This friend Mag usually called in to see when she came to the settlement. She was told of the Governor’s thoughtful kindness. Mag told the friend to use the money in purchasing her wedding outfit. Not many weeks later Mag Guidon was married to Jim Newall.
One afternoon the Governor received a note asking him if he would care to see Little Mag in her wedding costume. He at once replied, naming a day and hour that it would be convenient for him to receive the bride.
At the appointed time Little Mag and her pale faced friend appeared in presence of His Excellency, who received them in the most gentleman-like manner.
The bride, before leaving the presence of Governor Carleton, handed to him Mrs. Godfrey’s address, and asked him if he would send a letter to her English mother, (Mag), and tell her that little Mag was married to Jim Newall, and is living on the old camping ground where Paul died. That Little Mag is happy and loves Jim as she did Paul. The Governor promised Mrs. Newall that he would send a letter to Mrs. Godfrey. He took the address and not long after wrote to Mrs. Godfrey, giving that lady a full account of Little Mag’s appearance as she stood in his presence decked in her wedding garments.
Governor Carleton states in his letter that he never thought of seeing so handsome a woman among the Indian tribes of America. That he believes there are ladies in his own country who would almost feel inclined to forfeit a title or an estate to be possessed of a pair of hands and feet of the form and size of those of Newall’s bride. Nature seemed to have perfected its work in moulding the form and features of the handsome squaw. The Governor continues, “She was dressed in a suit of navy blue cloth, her skirt reaching to within an inch of the tops of her moccasins. A loose blue cloth jacket, buttoned up in front with brass buttons, covered her well rounded shoulders and breast. The jacket was edged with scarlet cloth and reached to her waist. Around her full neck hung a double row of beads, to which was attached a gold cross, and on each wrist she wore a bracelet of beads similar to the neck-lace. A wampum band circled her head. Inside the band were three beautiful feathers from the wing of a wild pigeon. Her hair as black as the raven’s back, was so arranged as to make her forehead appear like an equilatiral triangle, the brows being the base. Her eyes, coal black, round, quick and deep set, are indescribable, and a more beautiful set of teeth I never saw in a human head. On her feet she wore light brown moccasins, on the front of each was worked, in beads of suitable colours, the Union Jack. As she put out her neat foot that I might better observe the work on her moccasins, she said the work was put on them by her wish out of respect to the flag that covered the remains of her first husband, (Paul Guidon). In her own words she said to me: “Tell mother in England, she see Jim Newall and know Jim; saw him when my Paul sick and die. He paddled English mother down settlement in canoe.”
[Footnote 10: The gold cross attached to Mag’s neck-lace, was sent to Paul Guidon by Sir Guy Carleton as a present. Paul received the present while he was sojourning at Quebec.]
“Your letter of 5th August, I received,
and will make further inquiries
as you advise about the property.” The letter is addressed as follows:
Mrs. Charles Godfrey, * * *
Care of Charles Godfrey, * * * Esq,
(Late of His Majesty’s Service),
County Cork, Ireland.
The above is the substance of the Governor’s letter to Mrs. Godfrey. The date and first three or four lines of it were torn off and gone, and the remainder was, with great difficulty, deciphered, the letter being in several pieces and quite ragged. This letter must have been written in the year 1785 or ’86, as in a letter from a friend to Mrs. Godfrey, dated September, 1785, Little Mag and her husband are said to have been met in the street the day previous to writing. It is not at all likely that little Mag was long married before she appeared in presence of Governor Carleton.
Had Margaret Newall moved in a more elevated social sphere, and been surrounded by wealthy parents and rich relatives, possibly Governor Carleton would have been obliged to give Mrs. Godfrey a vivid description of Mag’s trousseau, and her beautiful presents of gold, silver, diamonds, etc. But her parents and friends were poor. Her old father possessed only a moving tent, occuping here and there, as he found a spot to pitch it, a few square feet of King George the Third’s wilderness. Old Reonadi was not a commercial man. He had never made an assignment. He was born one hundred years too soon to be surrounded by commercial morality, perfect holiness and paternal affection. It took a later generation of Chippewayans to display that care for their posterity which only disguises an habitual avarice, or hides the workings of a low and grovelling nature.
During neither of the stays that the Godfreys made at Halifax had society reached that brilliant epoch it afterwards attained when that Royal Duke, who set such an example of duty to all men, was making it his temporary home. That for a colony was, from all accounts, indeed a brilliant, gay, and polished society which was assembled at old Chebucto when the Duke of Kent was at the head of the army in British North America. Pleasure, however, was not the only occupation of that then brilliant capital, at whose head was one so much devoted to duty, that in its fulfilment he acquired the reputation of a martinet. This was the day of the early morning parade, particularly irksome in a cold climate to those who were obliged to turn out before daybreak in the bitter weather of mid-winter. At this day, also, there were frequent troopings of colours, marchings out, sham fights, and all the other martial circumstances of a fully garrisoned town.
The maintenance of this strict discipline among the garrison whom he commanded, was not more characteristic of the Duke than his affable condescension and the considerate kindness that he displayed toward the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, and of Quebec also, when he occupied its castle. So that his name and memory are still held dear by the loyal descendants of the men to whom Prince Edward was a familiar figure, both at Halifax and Quebec, as he rode through the streets of either town.
But Halifax, even at the time whereof we speak, so soon after its first being rescued from the primeval forest, was not without its charms for those who, like the Godfreys, had enjoyed the amenities of polished circles. But the almost destitute circumstances in which they found themselves when these visits were made, precluded them from entering into many of the enjoyments that offered. However, there were a few entertainments at which their position in society seemed to demand their presence, and which they accordingly attended. Here, of course, they met the heads of society, as well as many strangers from Boston, Quebec and other places on the continent, nearly all of whom would be persons of distinction in the several places where they hailed from. At this time several tea gardens about Halifax furnished the means of quiet recreation to the public. Adlam’s garden, adjacent to the citadel, was the most famous of these resorts, and here on one occasion when the Godfreys were at Halifax, a garden party was given by one of the leaders of ton, at which Captain Godfrey and his wife were privileged to meet, among other distinguished personages, General Massie and Mr Arbuthnot, the governor of the province. The ladies were richly attired. The military wore their undress uniforms and the civilians were in full dress, which consisted in that day of knee-breeches, silk stockings, and shoes with buckles composed of silver or gold, set with brilliants or other precious stones; the waistcoat was often of silk, satin or velvet, richly brocaded or embroidered; the coat of blue cloth, with gilt buttons; and a sword was not wanting to complete the costume.
It was difficult to decide at banquet or ball which presented the more imposing appearance, the man of war or he whose avocation was of a peaceful character, so nice were the dresses of both.
Margaret Godfrey did not forget her situation. Roaming about the lawns and walks in a plain gown, and seeing the plainness of her own attire as compared with those of the ladies about her, she retired to an obscure corner of the grounds, feeling more happy under the circumstances in a private nook than in the midst of gay and polished society. Although she was clever, graceful and lively, she felt that the society in the capital was, in some respects, ill-assorted. She thought the conduct of some of the gentlemen and ladies was not wholly unimpeachable, while her solid faith in the virtues of most of the ladies and gentlemen she met from time to time during her stay never wavered.
THEN, NOW, AND TO BE.
How often do we hear of the deeds of the fathers of the country. How often we read of them. And how little in comparison is said or written of the hardships endured and the heroism displayed by the mothers. In the early colonial days the women endured equal trials with the men. It is possible that if the lives of the early settlers and the scenes of those times were in full laid before us for review, we would find many instances in which women displayed even greater courage than the men, and in enduring the most severe privations and dangers, held out even longer.
Had Captain Godfrey not been possessed with such a companion as his wife, it seems almost certain he would have been made a prisoner and, perhaps, been murdered. Her tact and perseverance in danger secured his liberty and rescued him from death.
When her friends in London tried hard to persuade her from accompanying her husband on his second venture in the colony, she calmly replied: “Where my husband goes I can follow, if it be in the wilderness among savages, or even through fire and blood. I love my husband, and wherever he may be, to that spot I am attracted more strongly than to any other.” How much these brave words sound like those of Madame Cadillac, spoken three quarters of a century earlier.
On the 24th of July, 1701, Cadillac landed at Detroit, and set himself to found the place. Soon after this Madame Cadillac, who had been left behind at Quebec, plunged into the wilderness to rejoin her husband.
It was a thousand miles in a birch bark canoe rowed by half-clad Indians, and the route was through a dense forest and over great waters swept by the September storms, but this brave woman undertook the journey attended by only a single female companion.
When subsequently reminded of its hazards and hardships, she simply replied: “A woman who loves her husband as she should, has no stronger attraction than his company, where ever he may be.”
The rich heritage we enjoy comes to us through the great efforts of patriotism and dogged perseverance of our ancestors (the fathers and mothers of the country). As we in gratitude remember the former, let us not forget the latter.
Margaret Godfrey died in London about the year 1807, having survived her husband fully twenty years. She was beloved by friends, and esteemed by all who came in contact with her. She sank full of years undimmed by failure and unclouded by reverses. Who can think of such persons as Mrs. Godfrey without acknowledging that such are the true nobility of the human race!
And now, when from the long distance of a hundred years or more, we look back upon the hardships and misfortunes endured by one family of the early colonists, we feel assured that pen and tongue can never make fully known to us or our posterity the extent of the misery and suffering of most of the early colonial settlers.
[Footnote 11: For a vivid account of the sufferings and hardships of the early Colonial settlers, I would refer the reader to Ryerson’s excellent work, The Loyalists of America and their times. Vol. II. Chap. XLI.]
We know enough, however, to admire the heroism of our ancestors and their firm attachment to the mother land. Our hearts should warm with gratitude for what they have done for our happiness. And as we consider the unflinching determination of the founders of these British colonies to make this land a British home, we feel that we should as unflinchingly carry on their work and expand their views. Deeply rooted in the hearts of our ancestors was a love of the old land, and their desire in the new was to build upon the foundations of the old.
We, under Providence, are commissioned to carry forward the work they left unfinished.
This land was the home of our fathers and shall be the heritage of our children. The provincial spirit of our ancestors is being merged into a great national one. A grand idea of nationality is being deeply rooted in the hearts of the present generation. We are preparing for all the responsibilities and all the works of a nation, and whether our political union with the mother country becomes weaker or stronger as the years pass by, our love for the old land will never cease. We are proud of our parentage. Proud of the Celtic and Saxon blood that courses through our veins.
As our country expands, and as we continue to build, may our love of country widen, and the light of patriotism that brightened and cheered the hearts of our ancestors as they toiled on, brighten and deeper burn in all our hearts, and one grand illumination throw its rays upon the surface of two oceans.
A neighbouring nation may envy our progress and seek our union, but this will only stimulate our energy and strengthen the bonds that bind British Americans together.
Our fathers left us a few disunited provinces, our children will inherit a vast dominion, bounded east and west by the world’s two great seas.
In even less time than it took our ancestors a century ago to travel from Halifax to the mouth of the St John, we can plant our feet on the shore of the Pacific.
The stars and stripes may wave along our Southern boundary, and there shall their proud waves be stayed
The Eagle may be lord below,
But the young Lion lord above.
We rest firm in the belief that the decree has gone forth out of the court of heaven, that the flag which was wrapped in its folds around the “Young Lion of the Woods” in his last sleep, shall wave triumphantly over Canada till peoples and nations cease to exist on earth.
The provinces in which the heroic events related in the foregoing chapters occurred, now partake of the fortunes and sentiments and character of a vast country. They live together with Canada, they flourish with her, and if they are ever called upon to oppose a mightier foe than Red men and Rebels, they will not be found unequal to the occasion.
Never was nobler duty confided to human hands than that which was confided to our ancestors more than a century ago. It was theirs under providence to commence the foundations on which we are building, and in the record of our social, industrial, educational, political and religious progress we await with confidence the verdict of the world.
Although for the greater portion of the century the growth of the British North American Colonies has been slow, yet it has been sound, and it will be better for Canada in the future if the growth is not too rapid. If the process of consolidation takes place regularly and moderately, every institution in the land will be sounder. If the majority of the immigrants which the country annually receives are similar in character and principles to those of the early colonists, we shall have nothing to fear in the future. We have nothing in our past history to discourage us, and much in our present condition and prospects to stimulate us. We who are privileged to live in the closing years of the century behold a wonderful unity and an extraordinary advancement of the whole Dominion in all its great interests. And the man, if such there be, who was born on this soil and sprung from such an ancestry as the early colonial settlers and United Empire Loyalists, or from the loins of settlers of a later generation, who is not proud of his country and of being called a British American, is unworthy of his race and the land of his birth, and unworthy of having his name classed with that of the noble Iroquois (Paul Guidon.) There are persons who have acted a less noble part in life’s drama, than the British officer and his wife who settled at Grimross Neck, and even a less noble part than Paul Guidon, who have won golden wreaths for their tombs, and since Margaret Godfrey’s name and deeds have been dug from oblivion, should they be forgotten or the Iroquois tomb go unadorned?
Our past in its three great eras, that of settlement, Responsible government and union, shows grand steps in the country’s triumphant march. If with decaying sectional spirit, the grand idea of British American independence takes hold of the minds and hearts of the people, this would be found the gradual power that would impel the country to its national destiny. As we behold mighty provinces forming and splendid cities rising, we begin more fully to realize the glorious career on which the Dominion has entered, these events should compel, yea they announce a safe, wise and splendid future.
The few millions who have sprung from those who founded the colonies, trace back with lineal love their blood to them. So may it be in the distant future millions more will look back with pride and trace their blood through those who formed a nation in peace, to those who founded the colonies, and to those who formed the union.
We may read of the past, write of the past, and think of the past. To do so is often profitable; it is also a pleasure. But, as we admire the spirit and works of those who have passed beyond the flood, we should more earnestly prepare for the future. “The sleeping and the dead are but pictures.” “Yet, gazing on these long and intently, and often we may pass into the likeness of the departed, may stimulate their labors, and partake of their immortality.”
“The growing nation,
may it prove Dominion of the Good!
And ever stand, in coming years, where Britain always stood,—
The foremost in the cause of right! upholder of the truth!
The nation which in growth of years grows in the strength of youth!
Then we may cry, with hopeful voice, unto the heavenly powers,
For blessings on our native land—’This Canada of ours.’”