The Continental Army In Canada
On the Sunday following Sir Guy Carleton's departure from Montreal, as
the people were proceeding to church, they were thrown into a state of
great alarm by the tidings of the landing of Montgomery's force on the
Island of Montreal itself, at the spot where now the great Victoria
Bridge springs from the shore, this densely-packed manufacturing
district being then swamps and meadows. There was no hope of attempting
ce under the circumstances, so both French and English, represented
by an important committee of the foremost inhabitants of the town,
headed by Col. Pierre Guy, entered into terms with Montgomery respecting
persons and property. At nine o'clock in the morning, Nov. 13, 1775, the
American troops marched in through the same gate by which Amherst had
entered sixteen years before. Just inside the walls was the most
sumptuous private dwelling in the city, called the Chateau Fortier. Its
walls were hung with beautiful tapestries wrought in historical scenes,
and its rooms were elegantly furnished and elaborately wainscotted. This
old house still stands among the tall, business blocks, strong yet as a
fortress, with high tin roof and deep windows and doors. It is now used
as a tavern, but even this does not spoil the charm of its unique
exterior, which still remains unchanged since the winter of 1775, when
Montgomery and his officers held their mess here, and the descendants of
the Puritans changed the character of the French chateau, as Oliver
Cromwell and his "Roundheads," a century before, altered that of the
English palace of Whitehall.
Little or nothing is known of what happened in Montreal during the
autumn of 1775, when the Army of Congress held possession of the town.
There may, and doubtless were, some sympathizers in the city who
frequented the Chateau Fortier, but the loyalists avoided its vicinity
as much as policy permitted. The French and English ladies looked
askance at the American soldiers, and if a town, invested by an enemy,
indulged in any form of merriment, it is probable that no invitation was
ever addressed to General Montgomery or Brigadier-General Wooster. In
their rounds of the town it may have been that glimpses of home
gatherings in the firelight may have given to these men of war many a
twinge of homesickness for hearths across the border, where women who
had been clad in satin and brocade sat spinning homespun, and were
content to drink spring water from the hills, while the tea they had
loved to sip in their Colonial drawing-rooms was floating about the
Boston beaches. If the Boys in blue and buff encountered any of the
Montreal maidens in their walks by the river, or glanced at them as they
passed through the gates to wander in the maple woods around, the
English girls passed them haughtily with a cold disdain in their blue
eyes, and the French demoiselles flashed a fine scorn from the depths of
their dark orbs, which wounded as keenly as a thrust of steel.
Events followed each other so rapidly across the line that Montgomery,
tired of inaction, resolved to carry out before the year ended his
cherished plan of making an assault on Quebec, and proceeded to join
Arnold's men, who, half-famished and in rags, had arrived outside that
Arnold, who was born at Norwich, Connecticut, Jan. 14, 1741, was, it is
said, a very handsome man, but his character was a striking combination
of contradictory qualities, and his career marked by extremes. He was
the bearer of a letter from General Washington to the Canadians, in
which was written: "We have taken up arms in defence of our liberty, our
property, our wives and our children. The Grand American Congress has
sent an army into your province, not to plunder but to protect you. To
co-operate with this design I have detached Col. Arnold into your
country, with a part of the Army under my command. Come then, ye
generous citizens, range yourselves under the standard of general
liberty, against which all the force of artifice and tyranny will never
be able to prevail."
Arnold with his two regiments, numbering together about eleven hundred
men, had left Boston in the month of September, with the fixed intention
of penetrating the unbroken wilderness which lay between the two cities.
On the twenty-second of the month he embarked with his troops on the
Kennebec River, in two hundred batteaux, and notwithstanding "all the
natural impediments, the ascent of the rapid streams, interrupted by
frequent portages, through thick woods and swamps, in spite of
accidents, the desertion of one-third of their number, difficulties and
privations so great as on one occasion to compel them to kill their dogs
for sustenance;" after thirty-two days of the perils of this wilderness
march they came in sight of the first settlement near Quebec.
About a week later, when darkness had fallen along the river shores and
lights twinkled from the little dwellings of the lower town on the
opposite bank, they embarked in canoes for a silent passage across, and
arrived early in the morning at Wolfe's Cove, where, sixteen years
before, a similar landing had been effected, with the same purpose in
view of assaulting the garrison in the seemingly impregnable fortress.
For weeks the blockade was maintained, the American troops being
established in every house near the walls, more especially in the
vicinity of the Intendant's Palace, which once had been gorgeous with
the prodigal luxury and magnificence for which this old Chateau had been
notorious. The roughly-shod New England soldiers tramped through the
rooms and up the noble staircases on which ladies of fashion had glided
when the infamous Intendant Bigot had disgraced his King and office by
his profligacies. These men, establishing themselves in the cupola,
found it an excellent vantage point to fire upon and annoy the sentries
On the 5th of December General Montgomery arrived with his troops from
Montreal and joined Arnold. "They sent a flag of truce to General
Carleton, who utterly disregarded it, declaring that he would not have
any communication with rebels unless they came to claim the King's
General Montgomery, realizing that it was impossible to carry on a
regular siege, with neither the engineers nor artillery requisite for
the purpose, determined upon a night attack. This intention became known
to the garrison, and the most careful precautions were taken against
surprise. For several days those on duty and in responsible positions
observed the strictest vigilance, even sleeping in their clothes, with
their arms within reach, to be ready for the slightest alarm. The report
reached the garrison that Montgomery had said that he would dine within
the walls on Christmas Day, and he certainly seemed to consider himself
sure of victory.
Arnold's communications to Carleton has been treated with contempt, no
parley being entered into nor conditions considered. Montgomery tried
various expedients to have his messages received, but without success,
until an old woman was found willing to carry them in. On her errand
becoming known, she was arrested, imprisoned for a few hours and then
drummed out of the city, thus receiving the most disgraceful dismissal
possible in military discipline. The two letters of which she was the
bearer were directed, one to Carleton and the other to the citizens.
That to the Governor read:--
"I am at the head of troops accustomed to success, confident of the
righteousness of the cause they are engaged in and inured to danger."
To the people his words were:--
"My friends and fellow subjects, 'tis with the utmost compunction I find
myself reduced to measures which may overwhelm you with distress. The
city in flames at this severe season, a general attack on your wretched
works, defended by a more wretched garrison, the confusion, carnage and
plunder which must be the consequence of such an attack, fill me with
horror! Let me entreat you to use your endeavours to procure my
peaceable admission. I have not the reproach to make my own conscience
that I have not warned you of your danger."
Montgomery, waiting for a night of unusual darkness, during which he
hoped to place his ladders against the barriers unnoticed by the guards,
found the 31st of December suited to his purpose. On the last day of the
year, when in Boston, New York and other American towns, family
re-unions and festive gatherings were taking place, as far as the
disturbed state of the country permitted, in a blinding snow-storm,
poorly-clad, but resolute, these troops stood in line of battle, waiting
for the word of command through the dreary hours of that night, in which
every belfry in New England was chiming out the dawn of the New Year,
which was to be the greatest in the Republic's history--1776--the birth
year of the nation.
At four o'clock in the morning two rockets glared redly to the sky, and
were immediately responded to by answering signals, which were observed
from the ramparts. The solitary sentinel on St. John's Bastion reported
an armed body of men approaching. It was a feint to distract attention
from the point where Montgomery was to make the attack.
The tidings spread that the riflemen of New England were at the gates;
the peaceable denizens of the town were startled with the cry of "To
arms! To arms!" from officers hastening through the streets. The pickets
in the Recollet Convent hurriedly gathered--the church bells clanged out
the alarm for the troops to march at once to their posts, while drums
beat and muskets rattled.
"Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale--and whispering with white lips,
'The foe! They come, they come!'"
Lights glimmered from the frost-covered casements as fearful mothers
tried to still the cries of their children, frightened with the unusual
clamour. Hands were rung and tearful farewells taken of those whose duty
called them out, with no certainty of return, for
"Who could guess if ever more should meet those mutual eyes?"
Arnold's men rushed at the barricades in Sault-au-Matelot st., with the
words "Victory or Death" stuck in their hats, while Montgomery
approached by a path known as "Pres-de-Ville." It was extremely narrow,
and obstructed with blocks of ice and snow-drifts. It was in the
neighbourhood of where now are the wharves of the Allan Line Steamship
In the narrowest part the Americans marched slowly and cautiously. They
passed the outer barrier without resistance and approached the inner,
commanded by Dambourges. All was apparently unwarned and silent, but it
was not deserted. Within was a masked battery of only a few
three-pounders, with a little band of Canadians, eight British Militia
and nine seamen to work the guns. The force advanced to within thirty
yards, with Montgomery in front. Beside a gun, which pointed directly
down their path, Sergeant Hugh McQuarters stood ready, the match in his
hand lighted to send the deadly missile at the advancing column.
A quick movement--a flash--a dull boom--and the fearless leader of the
assault fell dead, with twelve others, including his secretary and
aide-de-camp--Arnold, his lieutenant, being wounded, and thus ended the
fifth and last siege of Quebec.
It was well for Quebec that her gates that night were not thrown open to
the sack of troops, among which was Aaron Burr, who had accompanied
Arnold's command. These two men were possessed of less moral character
than any who were connected with the Revolutionary struggle. Arnold was
a strange mixture of bravery and treachery, generosity and rapacity,
courage and petty spite. This arch-traitor subsequently offered to sell
West Point to the British for $30,000, then took service among his
country's foes, and returned to pillage and ravage his former comrades.
Aaron Burr, though descended from generations of clergymen, among whom
was the saintly and learned Jonathan Edwards, was guilty of murder,
treason, and every other vice by which a man could become notorious, his
whole career leaving dishonour, blasting, misery and death, like the
trail of a venomous serpent, behind him.
Governor Carleton, being desirous of ascertaining the certainty of
Montgomery's fate, sent an aide-de-camp to enquire if any of the
American prisoners would identify the body. A field officer, who had
commanded in Arnold's Division, consented to perform the sad office. He
followed the aide-de-camp to the Pres-de-Ville guard, and singled out
from among the other bodies his General's remains, by the side of which
lay his sword, at the same time pronouncing with the deepest emotion a
glowing eulogium of the worth and character of him who, frozen stiff
and cold, had been found half buried in his winding-sheet--a Canadian
snow-drift. Deeply impressed by the scene and circumstances, Sir Guy
Carleton ordered that his late enemy be interred in the foreign soil
with the glory of martial, burial honours. In the Chateau Museum may be
seen a sword which was picked up in the morning after Montgomery's
repulse. It is in a good state of preservation, much care evidently
having since been bestowed upon it.
"Of these five sieges, in the years 1629, 1690, 1759, 1760 and 1775,
none were pushed with more spirit and apparent prospects of success than
this blockade of the city by the two armies sent by Congress in the
autumn of 1775, under the advice of the illustrious General George
Washington; and, had there been a governor less firm, less wise and less
conciliating than Sir Guy Carleton, the Star-Spangled Banner would now
be floating from Cape Diamond.
Fort after fort, town after town, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Saint John,
Chambly, Montreal, Sorel and Three Rivers, had hoisted the white emblem
of surrender, but there still streamed to the breeze the banner of St.
George on the Citadel. With the black flag of rebellion over the suburbs
and the American riflemen of undisputed courage and determination
thundering at the gates, never had a brave little garrison to contend
against greater odds, nor leader to accept a more unequal contest, no
help from Britain being possible."
"When news reached Congress that the assault on Quebec had failed; that
Montgomery had been left dead on the snowy heights, and Arnold had been
borne from the field; that cold, hunger and small-pox were wasting the
army, and that discipline was forgotten, the expedient was resorted to
of appointing commissioners to go to Montreal to confer with Arnold, and
arrange a plan for the rectification of Canadian affairs."
They were received by General Arnold in the most polite manner,
conducted to the Chateau de Ramezay, the headquarters of the Continental
Army, where a "genteel" company of ladies and gentlemen had assembled to
welcome them, after which they supped with Arnold, probably in the
dining-room adjoining the Salon.
In a vaulted cellar next to the subterranean kitchens and dungeons,
Benjamin Franklin set up his printing press, the first in the city, and
with it issued manifestoes to the people, to try and induce them to join
in rebellion, and send delegates to the Congress at Philadelphia.
The instructions given to Franklin and the other members of the
commission directed them to extend to the Canadians, "whom the Americans
regarded as brothers," the means of assuring their own independence.
They were also to demonstrate to the people of Canada the necessity of
adopting decisive and prompt measures for coming under the protection of
the American confederation.
Through the doors of the Chateau then entered Chase, Carroll, of
Carrolltown (who was expected to have influence with the French people,
and especially with the clergy), and others great in the young American
Commonwealth's struggle for freedom. From the antiquated ovens,
doubtless the brown bread and baked beans of New England succeeded the
roast beef of Old England, and the entrees, fricassees and pates
of the French cuisine.
In the gloom of this chamber Franklin no doubt uttered some of his wise
sayings, gems of philosophy, which in his "Poor Richard's Almanac" had
for years been familiar in every chimney corner of New England.
In the Montreal Gazette, which is still in circulation, the present
voluminous and influential journalism of the Metropolis of the Dominion
had here its origin in the setting up of this old hand printing-press,
similar to if not the same which is now preserved in the Patent Office
at Washington. For it Franklin sometimes made his own type and ink,
engraved the wood cuts, and even carried in a wheelbarrow through the
streets of Philadelphia the white paper required for the printing of his
paper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. It is now called the Saturday
Evening Post, and has about it a certain quaintness and originality
suggestive of the great mind which gave such an impetus to the American
and Canadian press of over a century ago.
"For nearly one hundred and seventy years there has been hardly a week,
except only when a British army held Philadelphia, when this paper has
not been sent to press regularly."
His identification with the history of letters in the United States and
Canada was an epoch in the development of both. In the great army of
newsboys in America Franklin was the first; he was also the first editor
of a monthly magazine in the country, his having on its title page the
Prince of Wales' Feathers, with the motto: 'Ich Dien.'
"He has never been surpassed in the editorial faculty, at the same time
being apt as compositor, pressman, verse-maker, compiler and reporter;
but as adviser, satirist and humorist he was perhaps at his best. His
one and two line bits of comment and wisdom were models of pithiness,
and few writers have equalled him in masterly skill in argument. He is
spoken of by David Hume as the first great man of letters to whom
England was beholden to America."
In addition to these qualifications, he founded the Library of
Philadelphia, the American post-office system, made several valuable
inventions for the improvement of heating, was the first to call
practical attention to ventilation, and to attempt experiment with
electricity. "He founded the American Philosophical Society, and led to
the foundation of the High School system in the State of Pennsylvania,
assisted in opening its first hospital, and helped to defend the city
against an attack of Indians. He was a leading factor in securing the
union and independence of the Colonies, being the principal mover in the
repeal of the Stamp Act." He made valuable meteorological discoveries,
improved navigation, and was an earnest advocate of the abolition of
slavery; so that in sending Benjamin Franklin to Canada at this critical
juncture, she was compelled to hold to her political convictions against
one of the intellectual giants of the day. On discovering the patriotic
obstinacy of the Canadians, he wrote to Congress, saying:--
"We are afraid that it will not be in our power to render our country
any further service in this colony."
Perceiving the hopelessness of the situation, and that not even his
matchless logic could win sympathy in his project, he left Montreal on
May 11, and thus ended the efforts to coerce Canada into a struggle
which was to try so sorely the energy and fortitude of the thirteen
colonies--efforts which had cost them the life of one of their greatest
Franklin, when leaving, had under his escort some ladies who were
returning to the United States. Of one of these he wrote to Congress,
"We left Mrs. Walker and her husband at Albany. They took such liberties
in taunting us at our conduct in Canada that it came almost to a
quarrel. We parted civilly, but coldly. I think they both have an
excellent talent for making enemies, and I believe where they live they
will never be long without them!"
Charles Carroll, who was associated with Franklin in trying to obtain
the concurrence of the Canadians in revolt, was of a family which had
always stood at the head of the colonial aristocracy, and which had
owned the most ample estate in the country. His character was mild and
pleasing, his deportment correct and faultless. By his eloquence
everyone was charmed, and many were persuaded, but even his great and
subtle powers in argument were abortive here. Through his daughter,
Polly Carroll, he became associated afterwards with the most dignified
circles of the British aristocracy. In the year 1809 two of his
grand-daughters were celebrated beauties in the most exclusive social
circles of Washington and Baltimore. The eldest, during a tour with her
husband through Europe, formed a warm friendship with Sir Arthur
Wellesley, afterwards the great Duke of Wellington. On becoming a widow
and returning to London, he introduced her to his elder brother, the
Marquis of Wellesley, whose wife she subsequently became. Her younger
sister married Colonel Hervey, who acted as aide-de-camp to the hero of
Waterloo on that momentous occasion. This family, therefore, was closely
identified with that great struggle between the two nations who had
fought on Canadian soil a few years before Carroll set foot upon it.
During the first Presidential court, many distinguished Frenchmen came
to America; some in official capacities, others from curiosity, and many
were driven into forced or voluntary exile by the French Revolution.
Among these were M. de Talleyrand, the exiled Bishop of Autun, the Duke
de Liancourt, the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, Louis Philippe d'Orleans and
his two brothers, the Duke de Montpensier and the Count de Beaujolais.
Louis Philippe lodged in a single room over a barber's shop in
Philadelphia. On one occasion, when entertaining some friends at dinner,
he apologized with a courtly grace for seating one-half his guests on
the side of a bed, saying he had himself occupied less comfortable
places without the consolation of an agreeable company.
The exiled Prince fell in love with the beautiful Miss Bingham, the
reigning belle of the city. On her royal suitor's asking her fair hand
from her father, the American citizen declined the alliance with the
French Prince, saying to him:--"Should you ever be restored to your
hereditary position you will be too great a match for her; if not, she
is too great a match for you."
One year from the fall of Montgomery, the event was celebrated by
special religious services and social functions in Quebec, the city he
had never succeeded in entering. "At nine o'clock grand mass was
celebrated by the Bishop in the Cathedral. On this occasion those who
had shown sympathy with the Congress troops had to perform public
penance. The officers of the garrison and the militia, with the British
inhabitants, met at 10 o'clock, waited upon Carleton, and then
proceeded to the English Church. After the service a parade took place
when a feu de joie was fired. Carleton himself gave a dinner to sixty
people, and a public fete was given at seven o'clock, which ended with
About fifty years later, at Montgomery Place, on the banks of the
Hudson, an aged face, with eyes dimmed with the tears of long years of
waiting, looked sadly at the vessel that was bringing back to her the
dust of her young soldier husband, which had so long lain in the gorge,
near the fatal bastion. Forty-three years before, he had buckled on his
sword to fight for what he considered a righteous cause, at the command
of his leader, Washington. Expecting a speedy return, he marched away as
she listened to the drum beats growing fainter and fainter in the
distance, and, after half a century had passed, he was still to her the
young soldier in his brave, blue coat, who had kissed her for that long
farewell. All that is left on Canadian soil to recall this gallant
though luckless soldier is the low-ceiled cottage where his body was
laid out, a small tablet on the precipice, which reads, "Here Montgomery
fell, 1775," and another of white marble, in the courtyard of the
military prison in the Citadel, recently erected by two patriotic
American girls in memory of the volunteers who fell with him.
One hundred New Year's Eves came and passed away, and, on Dec. 31st,
"There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Canada's Capital had gathered there
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men."
It was with no desire to re-kindle the rancours and strifes of that
distant period, but to properly celebrate an event of such importance,
and commemorate that night of blustering storm, gallant attack and sore
defeat a century before, that the Centennial Montgomery Ball was given.
Soldiers and citizens, in the costumes of 1775, some in the identical
dress worn by their ancestors in that memorable repulse; and the ladies
in toilettes of the same period, received their guests as they entered
the ball-room, the approaches to which were tastefully decorated. "Half
way between the dancing and receiving rooms was a grand, double
staircase, the sides of which were draped with the white and golden
lilies of France, our Dominion Ensign, and the Stars and Stripes of the
neighbouring Republic. On the other side of the broad steps were stacks
of arms and warlike implements. Facing the guests as they ascended the
stairs, among the huge banners which fell gracefully about the dark
musketry, and parted to right and left above the drums and trumpets,
there hung from the centre a red and black pennant--the American colours
of 1775. Immediately underneath was the escutcheon of the United States,
on which, heavily craped, was suspended the hero's sword--the weapon by
which, one hundred years before, the dead, but honoured and revered hero
had beckoned on his men, and which only left his hand when he like 'a
"Underneath the kindly tribute to the dead General were the solemn
prayerful initials of Requiescat in Pace.
"At the foot of the trophy were piled two sets of old flint-lock muskets
and accoutrements, and in the centre a brass cannon, which was captured
from the Americans in 1775, and which bore the 'Lone Star' and the
figure of an Indian--the Arms of the State of Massachusetts. This
military tableau vividly recalled the troublous times of long ago, and
spoke of the patience and pluck, the bravery and sturdy manhood of a
"On the stroke of the hour of midnight, the clear, clarion notes of a
trumpet thrilled all hearts present. A panel in the wainscotting of the
lower dancing-room flew open as if by magic, and out jumped a jaunty
little trumpeter with a slashed and decorated jacket and the busby of a
hussar. The blast he blew rang in tingling echoes far and wide, and a
second later the weird piping and drumming of an unfamiliar music were
heard in a remote part of the barracks.
"Nearer and nearer every moment came the sharp shrill notes of the fifes
and the quick detonation of the drum-stick taps. The rattle of the drums
came closer and closer, when two folding-doors opened, and through them
stalked in grim solemnity the 'Phantom Guard,' led by the intrepid
Sergeant Hugh McQuarters.
"Regardless of the festive decorations and the bright faces around them,
the 'Guard' passed through the assembly as if they were not. On through
salon and passage--past ball-room and conversation parlor--they glided
with measured step, and halting in front of the 'Montgomery Trophy,'
paid military honours to the memento of a hero's valiant, if
unsuccessful act. Upon their taking close order, the Bombardier, who
personated the dead Sergeant, and who actually wore the blood-stained
sword-belt of a man who was killed in the action commemorated, advanced
and delivered an address to the Commander of the Quebec Garrison, of
which the concluding words were:--
'We ask of you to pay us now one tribute,
By firing from these heights one last salute.'
"The grave, sonorous words of the martial request were hardly uttered,
ere through the darkness of the night the great cannon boomed,--a
soldier's welcome and a brave man's requiem,--which caused women's
hearts to throb and men's to beat exultingly." While the whole air
trembled with the sullen reverberations, which echoed from crag to crag,
the glare of rockets lit up the path of Pres-de-Ville, as the signal
lights had done one hundred winters before.
At the suggestion of the American Consul, the old house on St. Louis
street, in which the body of Montgomery was laid out January 1st, 1776,
was decorated with the American flag, and brilliantly illuminated, in
honour of him who had so nobly tried to do what he considered his duty.
And thus the years of the century, as they rolled around, have in a
great measure smoothed away the animosities which marked those days that
tried men's souls, when the sons of those who had played around the same
old English hearths fought to the death for liberty or loyalty. That the
angry strifes are forgotten, leaving only the memory of the bravery
which distinguished the star actors in the great drama, needs no further
proof than can be found on a green hill near the Palisades, in the State
of New York, where one hundred and twenty years ago a warm young heart,
beating beneath the soldier's red coat, was stilled by American justice.
The granite shaft on the spot tells its sad and sombre story:--
Here died, October 2nd, 1780,
Major John Andre, of the British Army, who, entering
the American lines on a Secret Mission to
Benedict Arnold for the Surrender of
West Point, was taken prisoner,
tried and condemned
as a spy.
His death, though according to the stern code of
war, moved even his enemies to pity, and
both armies mourned the fate of
one so young and so brave.
In 1821 his remains were removed to
A hundred years after his execution this stone was
placed above the spot where he lay, by a citizen of
the States against which he fought; not to perpetuate
a record of strife, but in token of those
better feelings which have since united
two nations, one in race, in language
and religion, with
the earnest hope that
this friendly union
will never be
"He was more unfortunate than criminal,
An accomplished man and a gallant officer."
An American visitor to Quebec was recently shown the cannon used in the
trophy, which the British Corporal proudly explained had been taken at
"Ah! yes, friend," the stranger replied, "you have the cannon, but we
have the hill."
On the top of the monument, near Boston, which marks the spot on which
this battle took place, are two guns similar to this one, the
inscription on which corroborates the soldier's statement; it reads:--
"Sacred to Liberty."
This is one of the four cannon which constituted
the whole train of field
artillery possessed by
the British Colonies
at the commencement of the
on the 19th of April, 1775.
This cannon and its fellow belonged to
a number of citizens of
The other two, the property of the Government
of Massachusetts, were taken by the enemy.
With the failure of the American expedition, and the return of the
British troops to Montreal, the Chateau again became Government
headquarters and was called Government House.
When internal and international tranquillity were completely restored,
and the people were permitted to return to their ordinary avocations of
life, Sir Guy Carleton established himself at Quebec with his wife, the
Lady Maria, and their three children, one of whom had been born in
Canada. She had joined him at Montreal, being the bearer of the
decoration of the Order of the Bath, which she had received from the
hands of the King to present to her husband. Sir Guy Carleton or Lord
Dorchester was one of those men "who, during a long and varied public
life, lived so utterly irreproachably, that his memory remains unstained
by the charge of any semblance of a vice."
On the occasion of his last appearance in an official character he
arrived to make his final inspection of the troops. After general parade
the officers waited upon him to pay their last respects to one who had
been the bulwark of Canada through her greatest vicissitudes. The
leave-taking of their old General, whom they never expected to see
again, was marked by the deepest feelings of regard and regret. His
connection with Canadian history covered a period marked by events of a
nature the most critical, the results of which will colour the entire
future of the Dominion.
Between the years eighteen thirty-seven and forty, when Canada was torn
by internal rebellion, the Earl of Elgin, who was then Governor-General,
drove in hot haste to the Chateau, where had sat the special council
during the suspension of the Constitution. After giving the Queen's
sanction to what was called by a certain party "The Rebel Indemnity
Bill," he rushed into one door and out of another, when this Peer of the
Realm, in all the dignity of coach and four, postillions and outriders,
was pelted with rotten eggs and other unpleasant missiles. Then, in the
dark of night, at the instance of some so-called politicians, the mob
moved on to the Parliament buildings, and, most unfortunately for
Montreal, deliberately set them on fire; which act resulted ultimately
in the removal of the seat of government to Ottawa and the decline of
the glory of the old Chateau.