To defeat this intention, became now the chief object of the British General. With the close of winter had ceased the hunting pursuits of the warriors, so that each day brought with it a considerable accession to the strength of this wild people, vast numbers of whom had betaken themselves to their hunting grounds, shortly after the capture of Detroit. The chiefs of these several nations were now summoned to a Council, in the course of which it was decided that a formidable expedition, accompanied by a heavy train of battering artillery, should embark in batteaux, with a view to the reduction of the American post established on the Miami;—a nucleus, around which was fast gathering a spirit of activity that threatened danger, if not annihilation, to the English influence in the North Western districts. In the event of the accomplishment of this design, Detroit and Amherstburg would necessarily be released from all apprehension, since, even admitting the Americans could acquire a superiority of naval force on the lake, such superiority could only be essentially injurious to us, as a means of affording transport to, and covering the operations of an invading army. If, however, that already on the Miami could be defeated, and their fortress razed, it was not probable that a fourth could be equipped and pushed forward, with a view to offensive operations, in sufficient time to accomplish any thing decisive before the winter should set in. Tecumseh, who had just returned from collecting new bodies of warriors, warmly approved the project, and undertook to bring two thousand men into the field, as his quota of the expedition, the departure of which was decided for the seventh day from the Council.
Meanwhile, no exertions were wanting to place the little fleet in a state of efficiency. During the winter, the vessel described in our opening chapter of this tale, as that on the completion of which numerous workmen were intently engaged, had, after the fall of Detroit, and the consequent capture of whatever barks the Americans possessed, been utterly neglected; but now that it was known the enemy were secretly and rapidly preparing an overpowering force at the opposite extremity of the lake, the toils of the preceding summer were renewed, and every where, throughout the dock-yard, the same stirring industry was perceptible. By all were these movements regarded with an interest proportioned to the important consequences at stake, but by none more than by Commodore Barclay himself, whose watchful eye marked the progress, and whose experience and judgment directed the organization of the whole. The difficulties he had to contend with were great, for not only were the artificers, employed in the construction of the ship, men of limited knowledge in their art, but even those who manned her, when completed, were without the nautical experience and practice indispensable to success; yet these disadvantages was he prepared to overlook in the cheerfulness and