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      But this declaration did not issue without a violent debate in Congress, where the moderate party stated that the interests of the country were sacrificed to a mischievous war-spirit, and in the east and north of the States there was raised a loud cry for severance, as there had been in the south when Jefferson laid his embargo on American vessels. They complained that if, as was now alleged, the French Emperor had abrogated his Berlin and Milan Decrees in favour of America as early as the 2nd of March, 1811, why was this not communicated to England before the 20th of May, 1812? And when England had long ago declared that she would rescind her Orders in Council when such a notification could be made to her, accompanied by a repeal of the American non-Intercourse Act; and when she did immediately rescind her Orders in Council on this condition, why should there be all this haste to rush into war with Great Britain? They complained bitterly that though Buonaparte was professed to have abrogated his Decrees as early as November, 1810, he had gone on till just lately in seizing American ships, both in the ports of France and by his cruisers at sea. The State of Massachusetts addressed a strong remonstrance to the Federal Government, in which they represented the infamy of the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers cooperating with the common enemy of civil liberty to bind other nations in chains, and this at the very moment that the European peoples were uniting for their violated liberties.


      The "Griffin" had lain moored by the shore, so near that Hennepin could preach on Sundays from the deck to the men encamped along the bank. She was now forced up against the current with tow-ropes and sails, till she reached the calm entrance of Lake Erie. On the seventh of August, La Salle and his followers embarked, sang Te Deum, and fired their cannon. A fresh breeze sprang up; and with swelling canvas the "Griffin" ploughed the virgin waves of Lake Erie, where sail was never seen before. For three days they held their course over these unknown waters, and on the fourth turned northward into the Strait of Detroit. Here, on the right hand and on the left, lay verdant prairies, dotted with groves and bordered with lofty forests. They saw walnut, chestnut, and wild plum trees, and oaks festooned with grape-vines; herds of deer, [Pg 152] and flocks of swans and wild turkeys. The bulwarks of the "Griffin" were plentifully hung with game which the men killed on shore, and among the rest with a number of bears, much commended by Hennepin for their want of ferocity and the excellence of their flesh. "Those," he says, "who will one day have the happiness to possess this fertile and pleasant strait, will be very much obliged to those who have shown them the way." They crossed Lake St. Clair,[130] and still sailed northward against the current, till now, sparkling in the sun, Lake Huron spread before them like a sea.

      [See larger version]THE SANCTUARY.

      [153] Hennepin (1683), 162. Dclaration faite par Moyse Hillaret, charpentier de barque, cy devant au service du Sr. de la Salle.


      [469]"On May Day," he writes, "at about two in the afternoon, as I was walking near the house, I heard a voice from the river below, crying out several times, Qui vive? Knowing that the Sieur Barbier had gone that way with two canoes to hunt buffalo, I thought that it might be one of these canoes coming back with meat, and did not think much of the matter till I heard the same voice again. I answered, Versailles, which was the password I had given the Sieur Barbier, in case he should come back in the night. But, as I was going towards the bank, I heard other voices which I had not heard for a long time. I recognized among the rest that of M. Chefdeville, which made me fear that some disaster had happened. I ran down to the bank, and my first greeting was to ask what had become of the 'Belle.' [Pg 407] They answered that she was wrecked on the other side of the bay, and that all on board were drowned except the six who were in the canoe; namely, the Sieur Chefdeville, the Marquis de la Sablonnire, the man named Teissier, a soldier, a girl, and a little boy."[314]


      enough to pay for keeping the fortifications in repair.


      The Russians began their retreat, but some of them not till daylight, and then marched close past Eylau, in the very face of the French, who were, probably, as much astonished as pleased at the spectacle. Benningsen could scarcely have known the extent of the French losses, when he decided to retire. But Buonaparte, notwithstanding that he claimed the victory, was glad now to offer a suspension of hostilities to the King of Prussia, with a view to a separate peace, hinting that he might be induced to waive most of the advantages derived from the fields of Jena and Auerst?dt, and restore the bulk of his dominions. Frederick William, however great the temptation, refused to treat independently of his ally, the Czar. On this, Buonaparte, so far from pursuing the Russians, as he would have done had he been in a capacity for it, remained eight days inactive at Eylau, and then retreated on the Vistula, followed and harassed all the way by swarms of Cossacks. On this Benningsen advanced, and occupied the country as fast as the French evacuated it. The Emperor Alexander could soon have raised another host of men, but he was destitute of money and arms. He therefore applied to Britain for a loan, which the Talents thought fit to decline. This, at such a crisis, was unwise. It is certain that it filled Alexander with disgust and resentment, and led to his negotiations with Buonaparte at Tilsit. Soon after this the Conservative or Portland Ministry came in, and supplies of muskets and five hundred thousand pounds were sent, but these were, in fact, thrown away, for they did not arrive till the Czar had made up his mind to treat with Napoleon.