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Port Royal, now Annapolis, was the seat of government, and the only place of any strength in the colony. The fort, a sodded earthwork, lately put into tolerable repair by the joint labor of the soldiers and inhabitants, stood on the point of land between the mouth of the river Annapolis and that of the small stream now called Allen's River, whence it[Pg 113] looked down the long basin, or land-locked bay, which, framed in hills and forests, had so won the heart of the Baron de Poutrincourt a century before. The garrison was small, counting in 1704 only a hundred and eighty-five soldiers and eight commissioned officers. At the right of the fort, between it and the mouth of the Annapolis, was the Acadian village, consisting of seventy or eighty small houses of one story and an attic, built of planks, boards, or logs, simple and rude, but tolerably comfortable. It had also a small, new wooden church, to the building of which the inhabitants had contributed eight hundred francs, while the King paid the rest. The inhabitants had no voice whatever in public affairs, though the colonial minister had granted them the privilege of travelling in time of peace without passports. The ruling class, civil and military, formed a group apart, living in or near the fort, in complete independence of public opinion, supposing such to have existed. They looked only to their masters at Versailles; and hence a state of things as curious as it was lamentable. The little settlement was a hot-bed of gossip, backbiting, and slander. Officials of every degree were continually trying to undermine and supplant one another, besieging the minister with mutual charges. Brouillan, the governor, was a frequent object of attack. He seems to have been of an irritable temper, aggravated perhaps by an old unhealed wound in the cheek, which gave him constant[Pg 114] annoyance. One writer declares that Acadia languishes under selfish greed and petty tyranny; that everything was hoped from Brouillan when he first came, but that hope has changed to despair; that he abuses the King's authority to make money, sells wine and brandy at retail, quarrels with officers who are not punctilious enough in saluting him, forces the inhabitants to catch seal and cod for the King, and then cheats them of their pay, and countenances an obnoxious churchwarden whose daughter is his mistress. "The country groans, but dares not utter a word," concludes the accuser, as he closes his indictment. Rcit d'une Rligieuse Ursuline, in Les Ursulines de Qubec, I. 470.
Great indeed were these changes. Montcalm was dying; his second in command, the Brigadier Senezergues, was mortally wounded; the army, routed and demoralized, was virtually without a 304
"You'll have to excuse me. I don't consider that the public has any interest in me ... or any right to intrude upon my privacy! I hate to read that sort of story in the newspapers ... But of course that's not your fault ... I'm willing to answer any proper questions, but I must not be quoted. There must be no descriptions of me or of my home!"
Rale, greatly exasperated, opened a correspondence with Baxter, and wrote a treatise for his benefit, in which, through a hundred pages of polemical Latin, he proved that the Church of Rome was founded on a rock. This he sent to Baxter, and challenged him to overthrow his reasons. Baxter sent an answer for which Rale expresses great scorn as to both manner and matter. He made a rejoinder, directed not only against his opponent's arguments, but against his Latin, in which he picked flaws with great apparent satisfaction. He says that he heard no more from Baxter for a long time, but at last got another letter, in which there was nothing to the purpose, the minister merely charging him with an irascible and censorious spirit. This letter is still preserved, and[Pg 230] it does not answer to Rale's account of it. Baxter replies to his correspondent vigorously, defends his own Latin, attacks that of Rale, and charges him with losing temper.
** Rglement de 1691, extract in Ferland. Colonial Records of Pa., V. 748.