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The refusal of Connecticut did not discourage Dudley or the General Court of Massachusetts, for great care and expense were taken to fit out a suitable expedition. This time, profiting by his previous experience, Dudley submitted to the Court the instructions given to the commanders.1 This expedition, the largest that Dudley had as yet sent out, consisted of over a thousand soldiers, chiefly from Massachusetts, and was commanded by Colonel John March. With the colonial force went the royal frigate Deptford and the province galley to act as convoys; and Colonel Redknap, an English engineer, was sent out to supervise the plans of attack. At best it was but a band of ill-disciplined and untrained militia led by officers who, although they might be good leaders on Indian raids, had no experience in handling such a large force or in attacking fortified places. That Dudley himself had misgivings may be gathered from his address to the Assembly
1 a few weeks after the expedition sailed. "I am sensible," he said, "her Majesties Subjects of these Provinces have not seen such regular Service as the Wars of Europe or the present expedition may demand but I am well assured of their Courage."2
His fears were fully justified, and even his reliance on the courage of the leaders was misplaced. The troops reached Port Royal early in June, and a portion of them were landed in what proved to be an exceedingly unfortunate position.3 "Ye Dev1 I doubt not was ye adviser of it," writes one of the
1 The Records of the General Court, March 5-23, are full of the discussions and plans of the expedition. The instructions are in Massachusetts Archives (Ms.), lxxi. 308-336.
* Records of the General Court (Ms.), viii. 296.
* The most recent full discussion of this expedition is found in Massachusetts Acts and Resolves, viii. 668-696, 715-718, 722-751, where are reprinted at length selections from the records of the Court and from the Massachusetts Archives. party. The landing party fell into an ambush, and the artillery was not disembarked when it should have been, for "the De1 was still doing his work." Colonel Redknap and the colonial commanders disagreed in the placing of the batteries, and Redknap "showed Spiteful Temper." Frequent councils were held, and at last a plan of action was agreed upon; "but at night a Maggot bitt Some people & a Council was held and all revoked Wh they had done." In the skirmishes the men fought well; but they were poorly led, for the general was "both Boy & Fool Ridden." The expedition retired to Casco Bay and a delegation was sent to Boston to explain the failure, a delegation whose "Designes . . . [were] Precarious, Ambiguous, Mental Selfish & I really doubt Devilish."
This account, taken from "a letter from a Gentleman in the Army to his friend in Boston,"1 quite agrees with the reports sent by William Dudley to his father.2 Raw militia and inexperienced commanders were poor material with which to besiege such a post as Port Royal. Colonel March was at best incapable, but his vacillation and practical cowardice prevented any cooperation with the other commanders. When the delegation reached Boston it was greeted with hoots and jeers, and Redknap, to free himself from blame, declared privately to Winthrop that he had done as much as his orders allowed.3 Dudley acted with promptness: he heard the report, called a general council of the officers, and sent a commission of popular leaders to retrieve the error. Under the lead of this commission another attempt was made on Port
1 Massachusetts Archives (Ms.), lxxi. 355. 'Ibid. li. 164, lxxi. 351-355.
•John Winthrop to Fitz-John Winthrop, July, 1707, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 6th Series, iii. 387.
Royal, but after considerable skirmishing and some destruction of property the expedition returned to Boston.1
This second failure was a blow to Dudley's prestige, but he put the best face possible upon it. He attempted to reach the guilty officers by courts martial, and told the General Court that, although he had not accomplished all he had hoped for, yet he had destroyed the estates of the French round Port Royal. He took the same line to the Board of Trade. He was loyally silent concerning the inefficiency of the commanders, attributing the failure to the lack of heavy guns. He enlarged upon the great destruction of French property, the small loss to his own force, and the numbers of prisoners he had taken, and concluded, "and so I must be content for this winter."2
Though discouraged by this second miscarriage of his plans, Dudley did not lose heart. In fact, the disaster taught him the much-needed lesson of the necessity of having able commanders and aid from England. Two years later, therefore, when the colonists sought to free themselves from the danger of French invasion, they asked the aid and cooperation of England. In October, 1708, the General Court prepared an address to the queen asking for aid to drive the French from Canada.3 The bearer of the address, curiously enough, was Samuel Vetch, who had been released from his imprisonment by order of the Privy Council. Vetch had married into the Livingstone family and was, with his father-in-law, interested in the Canadian trade; he was also, as has been seen, employed by Dudley in his negotiations with Vaudreuil.4 Thus by
1 In the Board of Trade's Papers, New England (Ms.), 13, R. 57, there is an account of "The Shamefulness of the Port Royal Expedition." 'Ibid. R. 35. 'Ibid. 14, S. 50.
1 See memoir and papers relating to Vetch, in Nova Scotia Historical Society, Collections, iv. 11-112.
knowledge, experience, and influence he was well qualified to urge the plans of the colonists. The reception of his proposals more than justified the confidence which the colonists had put in his abilities; for, with the encouragement given him in England, the plan to conquer Canada widened until it involved the expulsion both of the French in the north and of the Spaniards in the south.1 To this the English government agreed, and the queen directed that circular letters should be sent to the governors of all the colonies north of Pennsylvania commanding them to give assistance as Vetch should require it.2
Early in April the Dragon arrived in Boston with the commanders Vetch and Nicholson on board. A council meeting was held on April 13, at which the English officers were present; and during the succeeding weeks the Council issued many orders carrying out the suggestions of Vetch.3 Dudley, Vetch, and Nicholson were apparently acting in perfect accord, and Dudley took every opportunity to show them honor, much to the disgust of the colonists;4 but though he was evidently partial to the British commanders, he saw to it that the pay of the colonial officers should be raised so that they might "look like British Officers With whom they must now be joined, That they be not disparaged in the Service."6 The General Court met on May 25, and on the following day Dudley began to urge the passage of the bills necessary to raise and equip the required force. Under his lead the Court authorized the raising and equipping of a force of nine hundred men, the fitting out of transports and hospitals, and the seizing
1 Parkman, A Half-Century of Conflict, i. 130.
* New York Colonial Documents, v. 70. * Council Records (Ms.), v. 54 et seq.
* Sewall's Diary, July 21, 1709, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 5th Series, vi. 259. • Records of the General Court (Ms.), viii. 456. of provisions to be paid for at a fixed price.1 Although the Court thus loyally seconded Dudley, these measures were not popular with the Boston merchants, and the Council found considerable difficulty in enforcing them.2
The attack upon the seaboard colonies was but a part of Vetch's plan. While Port Royal was to be threatened by Massachusetts, a combined attack from New York was to be made upon Canada in concert with the Iroquois. This part of the plan was intrusted to Nicholson; but, though he reached Lake Champlain, he did not dare to move farther until he heard that the combined British and colonial forces had left Boston. Throughout the summer of 1709 the force under Nicholson lay at Wood Creek and was decimated by disease; while during the same time the Massachusetts forces were quartered in Boston and the provisions were on shipboard. At length, at the October session of the Court, Dudley was obliged to announce that word had come from England that the fleet had been diverted. At a council of officers Dudley urged that an attempt be made upon Port Royal with the forces already under arms; but the English officers refused to sanction this step, and some of the colonial vessels sailed away.3 Dudley continued to urge his plan upon the General Court; but the Representatives refused to comply, and after some futile debate he was forced to sign the warrant disbanding the troops.4
Again Dudley had been unfortunate, but his plans had failed this time through no fault of his own. The expense to the colony had been heavy, — sixty thousand pounds, he reported to the Board of Trade;6 but this had been granted
1 Ibid. 431,446, 458.
* Council Records (Ms.), v. 79-80.
* Records of the General Court (Ms.), viii. 477.
* Board of Trade, Papers, New England (Ms.), 14, S. 60.