After a weary journey the loyalist party emerged among the populous western villages of the Iroquois confederacy. There, at Ontario, south of the lake of that name, was held a great assembly, and fifteen hundred warriors listened to the messengers of the king. In reply the chiefs of the assembled throng expressed their willingness to ‘assist his Majesty’s troops in their operations.’ Johnson and Brant then went on to Oswego, on the margin of the lake, where an even larger body heard their plea. Johnson prepared for the redskins a typical repast, and ‘invited them to feast on a Bostonian.’ The Indians avowed their willingness to fight for the king. Then, while the summer days were long, a flotilla of canoes, in which were many of the most renowned chiefs of the Six Nations, set out eastward for Montreal over the sparkling waters of Lake Ontario. In one of the slender craft knelt Joseph Brant, paddle in hand, thoughtful and yet rejoicing. He was but thirty-three years old, and yet, by shrewdness in council and by courage on the field of battle, he already occupied a prominent place among the chiefs of the confederacy. Moreover, great days were ahead. Soon the canoes entered the broad St Lawrence and were gliding swiftly among its islets. With steady motion they followed its majestic course as it moved towards the sea.
ACROSS THE SEA
Before many suns had set, this company of dusky warriors had brought their canoes to shore near the swift rapids which run by Montreal. The news of their coming was received with enthusiasm by the officers stationed at this place. Every friendly addition to the British ranks was of value now that war had begun. Sir Guy Carleton, the governor of Canada, was especially delighted that these bronzed stalwarts had made their appearance. He prized the abilities of the Indians in border warfare, and their arrival now might be of importance, since the local Canadian militia had not responded to the call to arms. The French seigneurs and clergy were favourable to the king’s cause, but the habitants on the whole were not interested in the war, and Carleton’s regular troops consisted of only eight hundred men of the Seventh and Twenty-Sixth regiments.