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THE CONQUEST OF CANADA,
such as to make even defeat itself honorable.
the native Canadian,
of their neighbors; unlike other tribes, they cultivated the ground, and remained stationary. Three miles from Hochelaga, there was a lofty hill, well tilled, and very fertile; thither Jacques Cartier bent his way after having examined the town. From the summit he saw the river and singular beauty. the country for thirty leagues around, a scene of of Mont Royal, since extended to the large and To this hill he gave the name fertile island on which it stands, and to the city below. Hochelaga: on its site the modern capital of CanTime has now swept away all trace of ada has arisen; 50,000 people of European race, simple Indians and the huts of the ancient and stately buildings of carved stone, replace the p. 58.
ever, does not lie at the door of the French The destruction of the ancient town, howsettlers. In fact, the tale of its ruin is unknown. After a time it vanishes from history without remark. It ceases to be mentioned for a while, and then, when inquired after, is found no longer in existence.
carrying with him the chief Donnacona, whom Jacques Cartier returned safe to France, he had treacherously entrapped, having unjustly suspected him of sinister designs. The prisoner was, however, soon reconciled to his tinction which he experienced. But his death fate by the kind treatment and great disin France raised suspicions in the minds of his countrymen, which, though carefully concealed, destroyed for ever their confidence in the French.
"The chief Donnacona and the French continued in friendly intercourse, day by day exchanging good offices and tokens of regard. But Jacques Cartier was eager for further discoveries: the two Indian interpreters told him that a city of much larger size than Stadacona lay further up the river, the capital of a great country: it was called in the native tongue Hochelaga; thither he resolved to find his way. The Indians endeav-towns."-vol. i. ored vainly to dissuade their dangerous guests from this expedition; they represented the distance, the lateness of the season, the danger of the great lakes and rapid currents; at length they had recourse to a kind of masquerade or pantomime, to represent the perils of the voyage, and the ferocity of the tribes inhabiting that distant land. The interpreters earnestly strove to dissuade Jacques Cartier from proceeding on his enterprise, and one of them refused to accompany him. The brave Frenchman would not hearken to such dissuasions, and treated with equal contempt the verbal and pantomimic warnings of the alleged difficulties. As a precautionary measure, to impress the savages with an exalted idea of his power as a friend or foe, he caused twelve cannon, loaded with bullets, to be fired in their presence against a wood: amazed and terrified at the noise, and the effect of this discharge, they fled howling and shrieking away. Jacques Cartier sailed for Hochelaga on the 19th of September. voyage presented few of the threatened difficulThe ties; the country on both sides of the Great River was rich and varied, covered with stately timber, and abounding in vines. where the French first landed was, probably, The place about eleven miles from the city of Hochelaga, below the rapid of St. Mary. his arrival Jacques Cartier proceeded to the town. On the day after The road was well beaten, and bore evidence of being much frequented; the country through which it passed was exceedingly rich and fertile. Hochelaga stood in the midst of great fields of Indian corn; it was of a circular form, containing about fifty large huts, each fifty paces long, and from fourteen to fifteen wide, all built in the shape of tunnels, formed of wood, and covered with birch bark; the dwellings were divided into several rooms, surrounding an open court in the centre, where the fires burned. Three rows of palisades encircled the town, with only one entrance; above the gate, and over the whole length of the outer ring of defence, there was a gallery, approached by flights of steps, and plentifully provided with stones, and other missiles, to resist at
tack. This was a place of considerable importance in those remote days, as the capital of a great extent of country, and as having eight or ten villages subject to its sway. The inhabitants spoke the language of the great Huron nation, and were more advanced in civilization than any
To trace the fortunes of the French adventurers and the colony which they foundhis first voyage, to the capture of Quebec ed, from the departure of Jacques Cartier on by the British in 1629, would be a tedious all interest when stripped of their details. and unprofitable task. Such narratives lose It is painful as well as tiresome to read of a series of mistakes and mishaps, of domestic quarrels, party contests, and petty wars, when deprived of those striking facts and heroic exploits which alone render such subjects bearable. This portion of his work has been admirably executed by the author. He has indeed contrived to throw a charm over
the incidents of a border struggle, and to give a wholesome interest to the minutiae of a court intrigue. One circumstance strikes guenots were anxious to have made Canada us as worthy of remark. The French Hutrated by the jealousy of Romanism. It were their refuge, but their intention was frusvain as endless to speculate on the possible consequences of this desire, had it been carried out.
But let us return to our narrative :
"When the French received the news of the loss of Canada, opinion was much divided as to the wisdom of seeking to regain the captured settlement. Some thought its possession of little value in proportion to the expense it caused; while others deemed that the fur-trade and fisheries were of great importance to the commerce of France, as well as a useful nursery of experienced seamen. Champlain strongly urged the government not to give up a country where they had already overcome the principal difficulties of settlement, and where, through their means, the light of religion was dawning upon the darkness of heathen ignorance. His solicitations
were successful, and Canada was restored to France at the same time with Acadia and Cape Breton, by the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye. At this period," proceeds our author, "the fort of Quebec, surrounded by a score of hastily-built dwellings and barracks, some poor huts on the island of Montreal, the like at Three Rivers and Tadoussac, and a few fishermen's log-houses elsewhere on the banks of the St. Lawrence, were the only fruits of the discoveries of Verazzano, Jacques Cartier, Roberval, and Champlain, the great outlay of La Roche and De Monts, and the toils and sufferings of their followers, for nearly a century."—p. 99.
We have no space to afford a due eulogium to the great and good Champlain, who stamped the first permanent impression upon New France. His name will ever be gratefully remembered in the land of his adoption, and honored by all good men throughout the world. He died in December, 1635.* And now commences the regular history of Canada, and here the author pauses to review the character and condition of the country when it became the abode of a race of European extraction. His account of the physical phenomena, general appearance, and natural productions of the country, with the manners and customs of its inhabitants, is extremely entertaining, though to some of our readers portions will probably be ready familiar, and some of the results arrived at may perhaps admit of question. There is, however, a racy vigor and a rude eloquence in this part of the work which well accord with the subject. After occupying five chapters with these interesting subjects, our author devotes three more to the
Long and fierce was the struggle between the rival nations, imbittered by hereditary animosity, and sharpened by the love of gain as well as that of glory and power. The accession of Indian allies on either side gave a ferocity to the warfare hitherto unknown in the contest waged between England and France-a ferocity which spread from the barbarians to the colonists, and even infected the European commanders. Much was the suffering inflicted, many were the atrocities perpetrated on either side; and it was a happy result for both peoples which terminated the internecine hostility of New France and New England by placing them both under British rule. Strange that the victory which gave us the one deprived us of the other-strange that the success of Wolfe laid the foundation of the defeat of England-strange that the overthrow of Montcalm prepared the way for the triumph of France! That such, however, was the case, there can be no doubt. Let us, however, proceed.
By the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Louis the Magnificent ceded away for ever, with ignorant indifference, the noble province of Acadia, the inexhaustible fisheries of Newfoundland, and his claims to the vast but almost unknown regions of al-Iroquois was also thrown into the scale, and thus Hudson's Bay; his nominal sovereignty over the a dearly purchased peace restored comparative tranquillity to the remnant of his American empire."—vol. ii. p. 13.
*In the same month, to the deep regret of all good men, death deprived his country of the brave, high-minded, and wise Champlain. He was buried in the city of which he was the founder; where, to this day, he is fondly and gratefully remembered among the just and good. Gifted with high ability, upright, active, and chivalrous, he was at the same time eminent for his Christian zeal and humble piety. "The salvation of one soul," he often said, 'is of more value than the conquest of an empire." -p. 101.
More than thirty years afterward the then Governor of Canada
"The Comte de la Gallisonière proposed that Monsieur du Quesne, a skillful engineer, should be appointed to establish a line of fortifications through the interior of the country, and at the
same time urged the Government of France to send out 10,000 peasants to form settlements on the banks of the great lakes and southern rivers. By these means he affirmed that the English colonies would be restricted within the narrow tract lying eastward from the Alleghany Mountains, and in time laid open to invasion and ruin.
His advice was, however, disregarded, and the splendid province of Canada soon passed for ever from under the sway of France."-vol. ii. p. 25. "In the year 1750, commissioners met at Paris to adjust the various boundaries of the North American territories. . . . The English commissioners, however, soon perceived that there was little chance of arriving at a friendly arrangement. The more they advanced in their offers, the more the French demanded; futile objections were started, and unnecessary delays continued: at length Mr. Shirley and his colleague broke up the conference, and returned to England. It now became evident that a decisive struggle was at hand."-vol. ii. p. 33.
After a long and doubtful contest, in which success alternated between the rival powers, the scale became turned completely in favor of France, till at length the genius of Montcalm and the inefficiency of his antagonists seemed likely to subjugate the whole continent to the sway of the house of Bourbon. It was not until the great Earl of Chatham was securely established as Prime Minister of England that success once more attended the arms of our country
"This illustrious man knew no party but the British nation, acknowledged no other interest. To exalt the power and prosperity of his country and to humble France was his sole aim and obect. Personally disagreeable to the highest
power in the state, and from many causes regarded with hostility by the several aristocratic confederacies, it needed the almost unanimous voice of his countrymen, and the acknowledged confidence of those powerful men whose favor he neither possessed nor desired, to sweep away those formidable difficulties, and give to England in the hour of need the services of her greatest
"For the remainder of the campaign of 1757, however, the energy and wisdom of Pitt were too late brought to the council, and the ill-conducted schemes of his predecessors bore, as has been shown, the bitter fruit of disaster and disgrace. But no sooner was he firmly established in office, and his plans put in execution, than the British cause began to revive in the western hemisphere, and, although still chequered with defeat, glory and success rewarded his gigantic efforts. He at once determined to renew the expedition against Cape Breton, and, warned by previous failures, urged upon the king the necessity of removing both the naval and military officers who had hitherto conducted the operations. With that admirable perception, which is one of the most useful faculties of superior minds, he readily discerned in others the qualities requisite for his purpose, his judgment ever unwarped, and his keen vision unclouded by personal or political considerations. In Colonel Amherst he had disco ered sound sense, steady courage, and an active genius; he, therefore, recalled him from the
army in Germany, and, casting aside the hampering formalities of military rule, promoted him to the rank of Major-general, and the command of the troops destined for the attack of Louisburgh. At the same time, from the British Navy's brilliant roll the minister selected the Hon. Edward Boscawen as a imiral of the fleet, and gave him also, till the arrival of General Amherst, the unusual commission of command over the land forces. With vigorous zeal the equipments were hurried on, and, on the 19th of February, a magnificent armament sailed from Portsmouth for the harbor of Halifax on the Acadian peninsula. The general was delayed by contrary winds, and did not reach Halifax till the 28th of May, where he met Boscawen's fleet coming out of the harbor; the admiral, impatient of delay, having put all the force in motion, with the exception of a corps 1600 strong, left to guard the post. No less than twenty-two ships of the line and fifteen frigates, with 120 smaller vessels, sailed under his flag, and fourteen battalions of infantry with artillery and engineers, in all 11,600, almost exclusively British regulars, were embarked to form the army of General Amherst. The troops were told off in three brigades of nearly equal strength, under the Brigadier-generals Whitmore, Lawrence, and JAMES WOLFE."-vol. ii. pp. 133
We have already given so many extracts from the earlier portions of the work, that the limits which we have assigned to this article prevent us from giving any lengthened account of the operations which ended in the conquest of Canada, and the final triumph of the Anglo-Saxon race on the North American continent. Dangers and difficulties of the most appalling description were overpowered by the skill and courage of Amherst and Wolfe; nor did the genius and valor of Montcalm, or the inefficiency of their own coadjutors, prevent the triumph which their supereminent merit forced from the hands of the gallant enemy.
The first exploit of the English was the capture of Louisburgh, bravely defended by Drucour. The account of the siege is most spirited and graphic. We have only room for the concluding observations.
"In those days the taking of Louisburgh was a mighty triumph for the British arms: a place of considerable strength, defended with skill and courage, fully manned and aided by a powerful fleet, had been bravely won; 5000 men, soldiers, sailors, and mariners, were prisoners; eleven ships of war taken or destroyed, 240 pieces of ordnance, 15,000 stand of arms, and a great amount of ammunition, provisions and military stores, had fallen into the hands of the victors, and eleven stand of colors were laid at the feet of the British sovereign; they were afterward solen.nly deposited in St. Paul's Cathedral.
balance of humanity is strongly on the side
"But, while the wisdom and zeal of Amherst and the daring skill of Wolfe excite the gratitude and admiration of their countrymen, it must not be forgotten that causes beyond the power and patriotism of man mainly influenced this great event. The brave admiral doubted the practicability of the first landing. Amherst hesitated, and the chivalrous Wolfe himself, as he neared the awful surf, staggered in his resolution, and, purposing to defer the enterprise, waved his hat for the boats to retire. Three young subaltern officers, however, commanding the leading craft, pushed on ashore, having mistaken the signal for what their stout hearts desired, the order to advance; some of their men, as they sprung upon the beach, were dragged back by the receding surge and drowned, but the remainder climbed up the rugged rocks, and formed upon the summit. The briga-my.
dier then cheered on the rest of the divisions to the support of this gallant few, and thus the almost desperate landing was accomplished.
"Nor should due record be omitted of that which enhances the glory of the conquerors, and the merit of the conquered. To defend the whole line of coast with his garrison was impossible; for nearly eight miles, however, the energetic Drucour had thrown up a chain of works, and occupied salient points with troops. And when, at length, the besiegers effected a landing, he still left no means untried to uphold the honor of his flag. Hope of relief or succor there was none; beyond the waters of the bay the sea was white with the sails of the hostile fleet. Around him on every side the long red line of the British infantry closed in from day to day. His light troops were swept from the neighboring woods; his sallies were interrupted or overwhelmed; wellarmed batteries were pushed up to the very ramparts; a murderous fire of musketry struck down his gunners at their work; three gaping breaches lay open to the assailants; his best ships burned or taken; his officers and men worn with fatigue and watching; four-fifths of his artillery disabled; then, and not till then, did the brave Frenchman give up the trust which he had nobly and faithfully held. To the honor of the garrison, not a man deserted his colors, through all the dangers, privations, and hardships of the siege, with the exception of a few Germans, who served as unwilling conscripts. This spirited defence was in so far successful, that it occupied the bulk of the British force, while Abercromby was being crushed by the superior genius and power of Montcalm; by thus delaying for seven weeks the progress of the campaign, the season became too far advanced for further operations, and the final catastrophe of French American dominion was deferred for another year.”—vol. ii, pp. 140–143.
In the spring of 1759 every preparation was made by the British to ensure the entire conquest of Canada, which had now become the darling object both of the Minister and the nation. It is painful to look back on the cruelties perpetrated throughout this war by both the parties engaged in it, though the
"The general's active care could not protect the frontier settlers from the atrocious cruelties of the French and Indians; although scouting parties were constantly moving through the forests, the subtle and ferocious enemy eluded their vigilance, and scalped men, women, and children, without mercy. These outrages gave rise to the following order by Amherst, which he found means to forward to the governor of Canada and his general :—
No scouting party, or others in the army, are
It were a needless pain to dwell upon the
It is with pleasure that we leave this pain-
tatious philosophy thrown into the account before an episode can be found to rank with Wolfe's."
The whole wondrous narrative is here told in a manner to give full effect to every incident. It is like some mighty picture, so true to life and nature, that we see the shades of night gathering, we hear the almost silent plash of the stealthy oar, we mark the troops as one by one they gain the rough ascent, we
see the terrified courier as he scuds over the plains of Abraham, and gives the deadly intelligence to the brave, the talented, the merciless Montcalm. For a moment we share in his concealed distress, till the memory of the many atrocities which he encouraged or permitted removes all sympathy from our minds, and we exclaim, No pity for the pitiless !"
It would seem as if Montcalm had for the moment been preternaturally urged upon his destruction. Once, and once only, in a successful and illustrious career, did this gallant Frenchman forget his wisdom and military skill; but that one tremendous error led him to defeat and death." Had he remained within the shelter of the fortifications of Quebec, winter would soon have forced the English to retire from before its walls, for Wolfe's force was (without the assistance of Amherst, who was still far distant) quite unequal to reducing the city so strongly garrisoned and defended, especially in the brief interval before the severe season set in. In this case the fall of Quebec must have been delayed till next year; and in the meanwhile a change might have occurred in European affairs, or France might have been enabled to send efficient succors. Despite of all these considerations, and after having only a short time before recorded his deliberate opinion that he could not face the British army in a general engagement, he now on an open plain, without waiting even for his artillery, led his troops, a great portion of which consisted of the rude Canadian Militia, against the veterans of England. We extract a few passages describing the results. movements on both sides :
"The whole of the French centre and left, with loud shouts and arms at the recover, now bore down to the attack. Their right troops then ceased firing, and passed to the rear. As the view cleared, their long unbroken lines were seen rapidly approaching Wolfe's position. When they reached within 150 yards, they advanced obliquely from the left of each formation, so that the lines assumed the appearance of columns, and chiefly threatened the British right. And now
from flank to flank of the assailing battalions rolled a murderous and incessant fire. The 35th and the Grenadiers fell fast. Wolfe, at the head of
the 28th, was struck on the wrist, but not disabled. Wrapping a handkerchief round the wound, he hastened from one rank to another, exhorting the men to be steady and to reserve their fire. No English soldier pulled a trigger; with matchless endurance they sustained the trial. Not a company wavered: their arms shouldered, as if on parade, and motionless, save when they closed up the ghastly gaps, they waited the word of command. When the head of the French attack had reached within forty yards, Wolfe gave the order to fire. At once the long row of muskets was leveled, and a volley distinct as a single shot flashed from the British line. For a moment the advancing columns still pressed on, shivering like pennons in the fatal storm; but a few paces told how terrible had been the force of the long-suspended blow. Numbers of the French soldiers reeled and fell; some staggered on for a little, then dropped silently aside to die; others burst from the ranks shrieking in agony. The Brigadier de St. Ours was struck dead, and De Senezergues, the second in command, was left mortally wounded on the field. When the breeze carried away the dense clouds of smoke, the assailing battalions stood reduced to mere groups among the bodies of the slain. Never before or since has a deadlier volley burst from British infantry. Montcalm commanded the attack in person. Not fifteen minutes had elapsed since he had first moved on his line of battle, and already all was lost. The Canadian militia, with scarcely an exception, broke and fled. The right wing, which had recoiled before Townshend and Howe, was overpowered by a counter attack of the 58th and 78th: his veteran battalions of Berne and Guienne were shattered before his eyes under the British fire; on the left the royal Kousillon was shrunk to a mere skeleton, and deserted by their provincial allies, could hardly retain the semblance of a formation. But the gallant Frenchinan, though ruined, was not dismayed: he rode through the broken ranks, cheered them with his voice, encouraged them by his dauntless bearing, and, aided by a small redoubt, succeeded in once again presenting a front to the enemy.
"Meanwhile Wolfe's troops had reloaded. He seized the opportunity of the hesitation in the hostile ranks, and ordered the whole British line to advance. At first they moved with majestic regularity, receiving and paying back with deadly interest the volleys of the French. But soon the ardor of the soldiers broke through the restraint of discipline, and they increased their pace to a run, rushing over the dying and the dead, and sweeping the living enemy off their path.
Just now Wolfe was a second time wounded in the body, but he dissembled his sufferings, for his duty was not yet accomplished; again a ball from the redoubt struck him on the breast: he reeled on one side, but at the moment this was not generally observed. Support me,' said he to a grenadier officer close at hand, that my brave fellows may not see me fall.' In a few