Conspicuous among the portraits of soldiers, heroes and navigators which
adorn the walls of the different rooms of the Chateau, is one, a full
size painting of an old Highland Chief, a veritable Rhoderick Dhu, in
Scotch bonnet and dirk, who, with the call of his clan, and the pipes
playing the airs of his native glen, led the charge of Bunker Hill. He
was Sir John Small, who came to Canada with his regiment, the famous
"Black Watch," and served under Abercrombie in the battle of Carillon.
One of his descendants, visiting Boston early in the century, found on
the walls of a museum, and where it may still be seen, a painting of the
battle of Bunker Hill with General Small on his white horse, rallying
his men to the attack. It was to the credit of the successors of those
who fought that day, although only thirty or forty years had elapsed
since their forefathers had met in mortal combat, that the most gentle
courtesy and kindness were shown on both sides by their descendants.
A fine picture of a full-blooded Indian is that of Brant, the great
Mohawk Chief, an ally of the English and a cruel and ruthless foe; on
one occasion having, it is said, slain with his own hand, forty-four of
his enemies. Other portraits of Jacques Cartier, Champlain, Vaudreuil,
Montcalm, deLevis, Dorchester, deSalaberry and Murray are also there to
be seen and admired.
Many of the streets of Montreal, such as Dorchester, Sherbrooke, Wolfe,
d'Youville, Jacques Cartier, Guy, Amherst, Murray, Vaudreuil, de
Lagauchetiere, Olier, Mance, Longueuil, and others equally well named,
will carry down to future generations the memory of those who were
prominent in the making and moulding of Canada. It is strange that one
of the most insignificant streets in the city, a mere lane, of a single
block in length, should bear the name of Dollard, the hero of one of
the most illustrious deeds recorded in history, an event which has
rightly been called the Thermopylae of Canada. The facts were as
follows:--In 1660 the Colony was on the eve of extinction by the
Iroquois, the whole of the tribes being on the war-path with the
intention of sweeping the French from the St. Lawrence. Dollard des
Ormeaux and sixteen young men of Montreal determined upon a deed which
should teach the savages a lesson. They bound themselves by an oath
neither to give nor take quarter. They made their wills and took the
sacrament in the Chapel of the Hotel-Dieu, and then started up Lake
St. Louis. They were not accustomed to the management of the frail
canoes of bark, and day after day struggled to pass the currents of St.
Anne's, at the head of the island, where now the pleasure yacht spreads
its white sails to the breezes of summer, and on whose shores the
huntsmen and hounds gaily gallop when in the woods of autumn the leaves
turn crimson and gold under the mellow hunter's moon. At last, after a
week had been thus spent, they entered the Ottawa River, proceeding by
the shores until they descried the remains of a rough palisaded fort
surrounded by a small clearing. It was only a circle enclosed by trunks
of trees, but here they "made their fire and slung their kettles. Being
soon joined by some friendly Hurons and Algonquins they bivouacked
together. Morning, noon and night they prayed, and when at sunset the
long reaches of forest on the opposite shore basked peacefully in the
level rays, the rapids joined their hoarse music to the notes of their
evening hymn." As their young voices floated through the forest glades,
and they lay down to sleep under the stars of the sweet May skies, they
thought of the bells tinkling in the still air of their loved
Ville-Marie, where those they had come to die for sent up for them
Aves around hearth and altar. In the words of a Canadian poet, it is
"Beside the dark Uttawa's stream, two hundred years ago,
A wondrous feat of arms was wrought, which all the world should know.
'Tis hard to read with tearless eyes this record of the past,
It stirs our blood, and fires our souls, as with a clarion blast.
What, though beside the foaming flood untombed their ashes lie,--
All earth becomes the monument of men who nobly die.
Daulac, the Captain of the Fort, in manhood's fiery prime
Hath sworn by some immortal deed to make his name sublime,
And sixteen soldiers of the Cross, his comrades true and tried,
Have pledged their faith for life or death, all kneeling side by side.
And this their oath, on flood or field, to challenge face to face
The ruthless hordes of Iroquois,--the scourges of their race.
No quarter to accept nor grant, and loyal to the grave.
To die like martyrs for the land they'd shed their blood to save.
And now these self-devoted youths from weeping friends have passed,
And on the Fort of Ville-Marie each fondly looks his last.
Soft was the balmy air of spring in that fair month of May,
The wild flowers bloomed, the spring birds sang on many a budding spray,
When loud and high a thrilling cry dispelled the magic charm,
And scouts came hurrying from the woods to bid their comrades arm.
And bark canoes skimmed lightly down the torrent of the Sault,
Manned by three hundred dusky forms, the long-expected foe.
Eight days of varied horrors passed, what boots it now to tell
How the pale tenants of the fort heroically fell?
Hunger and thirst and sleeplessness, Death's ghastly aids, at length.
Marred and defaced their comely forms, and quelled their giant strength.
The end draws nigh,--they yearn to die--one glorious rally more
For the sake of Ville-Marie, and all will soon be o'er.
Sure of the martyr's golden crown, they shrink not from the Cross;
Life yielded for the land they love, they scorn to reckon loss.
The fort is fired, and through the flame, with slippery, splashing tread,
The Redmen stumble to the camp o'er ramparts of the dead.
Then with set teeth and nostrils wide, Daulac, the dauntless, stood,
And dealt his foes remorseless blows 'mid blinding smoke and blood,
Till hacked and hewn, he reeled to earth, with proud, unconquered glance,
Dead--but immortalized by death--Leonidas of France;
True to their oath, his comrade knights no quarter basely craved,--
So died the peerless twenty-two--so Canada was saved."
The historian says:--"It was the enthusiasm of honour, the enthusiasm of
adventure and the enthusiasm of faith. Daulac was the Coeur-de-Lion
among the forests and savages of the New World." The names and
occupations of the young men may still be read in the parish registers,
the faded writing illumined by the sanctity of martyrdom. The "Lays of
Rome" recount among her heroes none of greater valour than these by the
lonely rapids in the silence of the Canadian forest.