THE FRENCH OCCUPATION OF THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY
FROM 1609 TO 1759
by Guy Omeron Coolidge
From Chapter VI: King William's War"M. de Frontenac saw his problem clearly: it was to revive the courage of the Canadians and of his troops as much as to impose his authority upon the Indians, allies or enemies. Instead of preparing a punitive expedition against the Iroquois, M. de Frontenac interpreted in his own way the royal instructions. He organized three simultaneous attacks upon the English colonies who had rejected James II as their king, long the ally of the King of France. The Indian allies asked nothing better. The first expedition was assembled at Villemarie to attack Fort Orange; the second at Three Rivers, to fall upon the English on the Merrimack; the third, at Quebec, to advance against the settlements in Maine. The party formed at Villemarie was ready first; the governor only needed active and experienced leaders; he found them in two Canadians, Nicolas d' Ailleboust, Sieur de Mantent, and Jacques Le Moyne, Sieur de Sainte-Helene. Among the subordinate officers we find Le Moyne de Bienville and Le Moyne d'Iberville, both brothers of the Sieur de Sainte-Helene, and Repentigny de Montesson, Le Ber du Chesene, etc. January 15, 1690, a party of 210 men set out for the south; this party was composed of 114 French, 80 Iroquois of the Sault and Montagne missions under their chief, "le Grand Agnier," and 16 Algonquins; apart from the officers there were volunteers among whom are mentioned as most 'apt for such a service' the Sieurs de Bonrepos and de la Brosse, reserve lieutenants, and La Marque de Montigny. The party left Villemarie for Chambly on snowshoes, then stopped at Fort Sainte-Anne. At the head of Lake Champlain a council was held (at Crown Point?).
The French leaders, well acquainted with the Indian temperament, had kept the goal of the expedition secret until now; at the council they favored an attack upon Fort Orange, capital of the English colony. The Indians believed such a plan somewhat foolhardy, pointing out to the French the difficulties of the enterprise and the weakness of their forces. An Iroquois of the Sault, recalling only too well the disasters of the preceding August, demanded, 'Since when have the French become so bold?' The French replied that the purpose of the expedition was to restore French prestige, shattered by the recent Mohawk raids, and that the only means of attaining this goal was to take Fort Orange or die gloriously in the attempt. The council remained undecided; the Indians, more experienced than the French and well acquainted with the country, refused to consent to the attack on Fort Orange; therefore, the party started off toward the English settlements without deciding on a destination, still hoping to reach an agreement before coming to the fork in the trail, leading on the one hand to Fort Orange, on the other to Corlaer (Schenectady).
Guy Omeron Coolidge's The French Occupation of the Champlain Valley, 1609-1759 is the only attempt at a connected account of more than 150 years of French dominion over northern Vermont and New York, from the moment Samuel de Champlain first saw the lake, which bears his name, until the conquest of the area by the English in 1759. It is thus of equal importance for the earliest history of the two states as it is to that of the Province of Quebec. The author has concentrated an enormous amount of facts and documentation and created a work which must be consulted again and again by students of Lake Champlain history.
We are pleased to present the first paperback edition of this work, which was originally published in 1938 by the Vermont Historical Society. Included is the author's 40-page "Biographical Index" which he complied in 1940. This index lists the vital data of the person indexed: date of birth or baptismal, date of marriage, name and ancestry of spouse, date of death, etc., and also refernces to further events in the life of the person--a mass of information not found in the text. It is a prime source for the history and genealogy of the French in North America.
218 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, index, second printing in paper 2009
$18.00 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original
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