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Champigny, 1693[Pg 158]The minister, Ponchartrain, was struck by Costebelle's suggestion, and wrote both to him and to Vaudreuil in high approval of it. To Vaudreuil he says: "Monsieur de Costebelle has informed me that the chief object of the armament made by the English last year was to establish their sovereignty at Boston and New York, the people of these provinces having always maintained a sort of republic, governed by their council, and having been unwilling to receive absolute governors from the kings of England. This destination of the armament seems to me probable, and it is much to be wished that the Council at Boston could be informed of the designs of the English court, and shown how important it is for that province to remain in the state of a republic. The King would even approve our helping it to do so. If you see any prospect of success, no means should be spared to secure it. The matter is of the greatest importance, but care is essential to employ persons who have the talents necessary for conducting it, besides great secrecy and prudence, as well as tried probity and fidelity. This affair demands your best attention, and must be conducted with great care and precaution, in order that no false step may be taken."
Two or three years before, the church of Quebec had received as a gift from the Pope, the bodies or bones of two saints; Saint Flavian and Saint Flicit. They were enclosed in four large coffers or reliquaries, and a grand procession was now ordered in their honor. Tracy, Courcelle, Talon, and the agent of the company, bore the canopy of the Host. Then came the four coffers on four decorated litters, carried by the principal ecclesiastics. Laval followed in pontificals. Forty-seven priests, and a long file of officers, nobles, soldiers, and inhabitants, followed the precious relics amid the sound of music and the roar of cannon. ** Dinwiddie to Hanbury, 10 May, 1754.
 Saint-Castin Denonville, 2 Juiliet, 1687. Vol. I. (Quebec, 1848.)
Four years later, the Sieur de Saint-Ovide, a nephew of Brouillan, late governor at Port Royal, struck a more creditable blow. He set out from Placentia on the thirteenth of December, 1708, with one hundred and sixty-four men, and on the first of January approached Fort William two hours before day, found the gate leading to the covered way open, entered with a band of volunteers, rapidly crossed the ditch, planted ladders against the wall, and leaped into the fort, then, as he declares, garrisoned by a hundred men. His main body followed close. The English were taken unawares; their commander,[Pg 133] who showed great courage, was struck down by three shots, and after some sharp fighting the place was in the hands of the assailants. The small fort at the mouth of the harbor capitulated on the second day, and the palisaded village of the inhabitants, which, if we are to believe Saint-Ovide, contained nearly six hundred men, made little resistance. St. John became for the moment a French possession; but Costebelle, governor at Placentia, despaired of holding it, and it was abandoned in the following summer.
This I affirm, for him I knew."Reaching Brest, the place of embarkation, he writes to his mother: "I have business on hand still. My health is good, and the passage will be a time of rest. I embrace you, and my dearest, and my daughters. Love to all the family. I shall write up to the last moment."