J.M. Le Moine.

Picturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present online

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Simonne, who married Pierre Soumandre.

The grounds of the Archbishop's Palace formed part of the field possessed
by Couillard, whose house stood in the now existing garden of the
Seminary, opposite the gate which faces the principal alley, the
foundations of which were discovered and brought to light by the Abbé
Laverdière in 1866. The Union Hotel was for years the meeting place of our
festive ancestors, when the assembly balls brought together the Saxon and
the Gaul; it also recalls warlike memories of 1812.


In looking over old fyles of our city journals, we find in the _Quebec
Mercury_ of 15th September, 1812, the following item:

"On Friday, arrived here the detained prisoners taken with Gen. Hull,
at Detroit. The non-commissioned officers and privates immediately
embarked on board of transports in the harbour, which are to serve as
their prison. The commissioned officers were liberated on their
parole. They passed Saturday morning at the Union Hotel, where they
were the gazing-stock of the multitude, whilst they, no way abashed,
presented a bold front to the public stare, puffed the smoke of their
cigars into the faces of such as approached too near. About two
o'clock they set off in a stage, with four horses, for Charlesbourg,
the destined place of their residence."

The Union Hotel here mentioned is the identical building erected for a
hotel by a company in 1805, and now owned by the _Journal de Quebec_,
facing the ring.

Were these prisoners located at Charlesbourg proper, or at that locality
facing Quebec, in Beauport, called _Le Canardière_, in Judge de Bonne's
former stately old mansion, on which the eastern and detached wing of the
Beauport Lunatic Asylum now stands?

Tradition has ever pointed to this building as that which sheltered the
disconsolate American warriors in 1812, with the adjoining rivulet,
_Ruisseau de l'Ours_, as the boundary to the east which their parole
precluded their crossing.

The result of the American defeat at Detroit had been important - "one
general officer (Wadsworth), two lieutenant-colonels, five majors, a
multitude of captains and subalterns, with nine hundred men, one field-
piece and a stand of colors, were the fruits of the victory, the enemy
having lost in killed, wounded, missing and prisoners, upwards of fifteen
hundred." (Christie's History.)

Amongst the American prisoners sent down to Quebec was the celebrated
General Winfield Scott, who lived to cull laurels in the Mexican war. He
was then Col. Scott, and there is yet (1878) living in Quebec an old
resident, R. Urquhart, who well remembers, when a boy, seeing the "tall
and stern American Colonel." He was six feet five inches in height.
(Lossing, p. 408.)

Of these prisoners taken at Detroit, twenty-three had been recognized as
British born and deserters from the English army. they were sent to
England for trial. It is yet possible that some of the veterans of 1812,
by their diaries or other sources of information, may tell us who were the
Charlesbourg or Beauport captives in 1812. They had not been under
restraint much more than a week, when, by the following advertisement in
the _Quebec Mercury_, dated 29th September, we find the British Government
attending to their comforts with a truly maternal foresight: -

Commissary General's Office,

QUEBEC, 28th Sept., 1812

"Wanted for the American prisoners of war, comfortable warm clothing,
consisting of the following articles:

Moccassins or Shoes.
Also 2000 pounds of soap."

From which it is clear John Bull intended his American cousins should not
only be kept warm, but suitably scrubbed as well. Two thousand lbs. of
soap foreshadowed a fabulous amount of scrubbing. Colonel Scott and
friends were evidently "well off for soap."

Colonel Coffin, of Ottawa, the annalist of the War of 1812, in reply to a
query of mine, writes me:

"Scott remained in Canada from the date of his surrender, 23d October,
1812, to the period of his departure from Quebec, say May, 1813. But
he was on parole the whole time, and from Quebec, as given in his life
by Mansfield, p. 55, he went in a cartel to Boston, and soon after was
exchanged. Under these circumstances, I do not think it likely that he
would have been escorted militarily in custody anywhere. Winder may
have been also taken to Quebec, or he may have been exchanged on the
Western frontier. Armstrong's 'War of 1812' will probably give the

The _Quebec Mercury_, of 27th October, 1812, contains the following:

"The prisoners taken at Detroit and brought down to Quebec are on the
point of embarking for Boston for the purpose of being exchanged. Five
cannon are now lying in the _Château_ Court taken at Detroit."

In retaliation for the twenty-three American prisoners sent for trial to
England, as deserters from the British army, the American Government had
ordered that forty-six British prisoners of war should be detained in
close confinement.

"In consequence of this," says Christie, "the Governor ordered all the
American officers, prisoners of war, without exception of rank, to be
immediately placed into close confinement as hostages, until the
number of forty-six were completed over and above those already in
confinement. In pursuance of this order, Generals Winder, Chandler and
Winchester were conveyed from their quarters in the country at
Beauport to a private house in Quebec, where their confinement was
rendered as little inconvenient as their situation could admit of."

They were exchanged in April, 1814, against British officers,
prisoners of war in the States.

In connection with General Scott's captivity at Quebec, Lossing relates a
little incident, which redounds to his credit: -

"When the prisoners were about to sail from Quebec, a party came on
board the vessel, mustered the captives and commenced separating from
the rest those who, by their accent, were found to be Irishmen. These
they intended to send to England for trial as traitors in a frigate
lying near, in accordance with the doctrine that a British subject
cannot expatriate himself. Scott, who was below, hearing a tumult on
deck, went up. He was soon informed of the cause, and at once entered
a vehement protest against the proceedings. He commanded his soldiers
to be absolutely silent, that their accent might not betray them. He
was repeatedly ordered to go below, and as repeatedly refused. The
soldiers obeyed him. Twenty-three had been already detected as
Irishmen, but not another one became a victim. The twenty-three were
taken on board the frigate in irons. Scott boldly assured them that if
the British Government dared to injure a hair of their head, his own
Government would fully avenge the outrage. He at the same time as
boldly defied the menacing officers, and comforted the manacled
prisoners in every way. Scott was exchanged in January, 1813, and at
once sent a full report of this affair to the Secretary of War. He
hastened to Washington in person, and pressed the subject upon the
attention of Congress. Fortunately, the President never had occasion
to exercise this retaliation, the British Government having abstained
from carrying out in practice, in the case of the American prisoners,
its cherished doctrine of perpetual allegiance.

"The final result of Scott's humane and courageous conduct in this
matter was very gratifying to himself. Almost three years after the
event at Quebec, he was greeted by loud huzzahs as he was passing a
wharf on the East River side of New York city. It came from a group of
Irishmen, who had just landed from an emigrant ship. There were
twenty-one out of the twenty-three prisoners for whom he had cared so
tenderly. They had just returned from a long confinement in English
prisons. They recognized their benefactor, and, says Scott's
biographer, "nearly crushed him by their warm-hearted embraces."
(Lossing's Field Book, p. 409.)

Some years back a discussion took place in the columns of the
_Morning Chronicle_, of Quebec, as to the names of the volunteers
of Bell's Cavalry who had escorted the U. S. prisoners of war in
1812 from Beauport to Quebec. The following extract from our diary
throws some light on this subject:


"Among more than one strange meeting, which that welcome haven of
the wearied wayfarer, the way-side inn, has brought me, in course
of many peregrinations through the length and breadth of the
Province of Quebec, none can I recall less anticipated, than the
one which happened to me this 22nd March, 1881. I reached that
night at 10.30, direct from the Kennebec Railway, the parlor of
Monsieur Lessard's Temperance Hotel at St. Joseph, Beauce. (Such
the euphonious name the Licence Act awards to these fallacious
emblems of comfort or good cheer). After a lengthy interview, I
next day parted, possibly for ever, from an old and withered
_sabreur_ of 1812, the last survivor, I think, of that dashing
volunteer cavalry corps, raised by Capt. the Hon. Matthew Bell at
Quebec in 1812.

I had the rare luck of having from the very lips of this
octogenarian, an account of the share he had in conducting as one
of the cavalry detachment detailed to escort Colonel Winfield
Scott and brother officers from Beauport, where they were confined
as prisoners on _parole_, to the district prison in St. Stanislas
street (the Morrin College) from whence the "big" Colonel and his
comrades were taken and lodged in Colonel Coffin's house in St.
Louis street.

How different the careers! Scott in time became the hero of the
war with Mexico, and the dashing cavalry corporal who escorted
him, aged now 89, after 30 years tenure of office, still holds the
position of village Postmaster, in the township of Broughton,
Beauce. Among the incidents of which my ancient acquaintance seems
proud, is that of his having played at cards with General Scott
and his captive comrades.

"Charles Hy. J. Hall," (such his clear and well written autograph
authenticating the memorandum I drew up for him) a roystering
_militaire_ and _bon vivant_, in our good city, seventy years ago,
presents in his person a rare instance of mental and physical
faculties well preserved until the end - memory, sight, mind,
appetite, all unimpaired.

I was so interested when he informed me that he had been one of
Col. Bell's cavalry, (I felt convinced that, of all the members of
this dashing corps, he was the last survivor,) that I questioned
him very closely, and cross-examined him on such matters of
detail, which an eye-witness alone could know. Mr. Hall, the son
of the late Wm. Hall, of Fabrique street, Quebec, is connected
with several of our most noted families. His father came to Canada
about 1783, from the adjoining provinces, - a United Empire
Loyalist, and became wealthy. Subjoined will be found a short
statement taken down as it fell from the lips of my new
acquaintance, and authenticated by his signature. Mr. Chas. Hall
is Postmaster of Broughton, County of Beauce." - (_Diary of J. M.

* * * * *

"I am now 89 years of age. My father, the late Wm. Hall, a well-
to-do Quebecer, whose partner in business I subsequently was,
lived at what I should call No. 1 Fabrique street (the house
lately vacated by Behan Bros). I was born in a house in St. John
street. I loved to roam - have travelled the world over and
received some hard knocks in my day. As to that part of my career,
which seems particularly to interest you - the war of 1812 - I
regret I cannot tell you as much as you wish to know. In 1812 I
joined Capt. the Hon. Matthew Bell's Volunteer Cavalry; we
numbered between 90 to 100 men. Our uniform was blue coat, red
collar, - silver braid; arms, a sabre and holster pistols. As
volunteers every man furnished his own horse, suits, etc. My
horse, which cost me thirty guineas, I refused sixty for from Col.
McNeil; our mounts were of Canadian, American, and English

We were commanded by Col. Bell; Hon Wm. Sheppard (late of
Woodfield), was our Major, Mr. Hale, our Captain, Wm. Henderson,
our Lieutenant. I cannot say, in reply to your question, whether
the late Hammond Gowan was our Cornet. Our house stood next to
that where General Brock had lived, in Fabrique street. I was, in
1812, one of the escort who took General Winfield Scott, Col.
Winder, - - from Beauport; I remember well the big Col. Scott, as I
played cards with the American officers who were, on their parole,
quartered in Judge DeBonne's house, on the site of which the east
wing of the Lunatic Asylum has since been erected. I formed part
of the escort who conducted the American officers to the Quebec
jail, in St. Stanislas street, previous to their being located in
a St. Louis street house. During the war, under Sir George
Prevost, I formed, in March, part of the detachment of cavalry,
sent with a company of the 103rd, to the parish of St. Joseph,
Beauce, to arrest some militia men who had refused to enlist. The
ice-bridge before Quebec, started a few minutes after our last
horse had crossed.


St. Joseph, Beauce, 23rd March, 1881.

N B. - I can read yet without glasses; I reckon I am the last
survivor of Bell's Cavalry. - _Morning Chronicle_, 28th _April_,


_Extract from a Troop Order Book of Captain Bell's Troop, dated
Quebec, 1st March, 1813._


[Furnished by Lt.-Col. Turnbull, Q.O.C.H.]

This Troop was first formed by Capt. Bell, under an order of H. E.
Sir G. Prevost, dated 22nd April, 1812, as a part of 3rd
Battalion, Quebec Militia.

22nd May, 1812. - William Sheppard and Hammond Gowan are appointed
Sergeants. Mr. Hale attached to the Troop as Cornet.

27th June. - Intelligence of the declaration of war reached Quebec.
The gentlemen composing the Troop, to the number of 34,
volunteered their services, to act when and where the Government
thought proper.

27th July. - The Troop declared independent of the 3rd Battalion,
Quebec Militia. In case of alarm, to assemble on their private
parade, in front of the Castle, by order of General Glasgow.

October. - Mr. Hale appointed Lieutenant, and Mr. Sheppard, Cornet,
dated 24th April last.

19th December. - The Troop to be held in readiness to march on
active service early in the spring.

15th February, 1813. - Orders received to add 25 dismounted men to
the Troop.



1st March, 1813.

Captain (Commandant) Matthew Bell.
Lieutenant Edward Hale,
Cornet W. G Sheppard,
Quarter-Master Benjamin Racy, (from the Ste. Marie, Nouvelle
Beauce Battalion), attached to the Troop.

_N.C. Officers_
Sergeant Hammond Gowan, Corporal Charles Hall,
" Wm. Henderson, " Wm. Sheppard,
" Alex. Gowan, Acting " G. Wilson,
" James Heath, Acting Trumpeter Thos. Pearson.

On the full establishment, furnishing horse, clothing, &c.: -
*William Turner, John Stansfield, *James Capper,
*Wm. Thomas, James McCallum, Robert Page,
*John Patterson, John Connolly, John White,
William Price, Peter Burnet, William Hoogs,
John Dempster, *James Dick, J. G. Clapham,
*John Campbell, James Henderson, George Chapman,
Andrew Moire, George Cossar, *James Black,
James Oliver, *John McQuay, William Henderson,
John Racy, Archibald Campbell, *Amos Priest,
William Moore, James George, James McCallum,
*David Robertson, Webb Robinson, John McCallum,
James Whyte, Daniel Buckley, Frank Bell.

_Dismounted Party._
Age. Ft. In.
James Winton . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 5 10
*Frederick Petry . . . . . . . . . . 19 5 10
*George Burns . . . . . . . . . . . 19 5 10
Henry Connolly . . . . . . . . . . . 16 5 10
*Francis Martineau . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Daniel Baker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
James Stewart . . . . . . . . . . . 19 5 9
Frederick Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . 27 5 9
John Menzies . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 5 9
David Flynn . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 5 8-1/2
*William Graves . . . . . . . . . . . 21 5 8
*Richard Burns. . . . . . . . . . . . 22 5 8
*James Loan . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 5 7-1/2
Alexander Russell . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
*William Parker . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
*Charles Gethings . . . . . . . . . . 19 5 7
*Thomas Burney. . . . . . . . . . . . 21 5 7
John Chillas . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 5 7
George C. Ross. . . . . . . . . . . . 17 5 8
*Godfroi Langlois . . . . . . . . . . 20 5 10
George Patterson. . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
Peter Legget. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
J. Dion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
David Denny . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..
Wm. Hobb. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ..

[Note: * Reside in Upper Town.]

Troop Order, 1st March. - Foot drills on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays in the Riding House at 12 o'clock till further orders.

8th March. - The Captain commanding desires that the following
articles be provided as soon as possible by each person in the
Troop, to enable him to comply with the General Orders of the
Commander-in-Chief, dated 19th December last, viz: Helmet; blue
cloth forage cap; black silk handkerchief or stock; dress jacket,
undress jacket (plain), plain linen jacket (stable); a pair of
brown linen trowsers; a pair of grey cloth overalls; a pair of
grey cloth or stockinett pantaloons; a pair of half boots and
spurs; two flannel shirts; two pair flannel drawers; three pairs
of stockings; one pair of shoes; one razor; one knife; one brush;
one curriecomb, brush and mane comb; one linen haversack; one
linen nose-bag; one linen bag for necessaries.

The dismounted men may make their undress jacket of strong brown
linen if they prefer it.

Quarter-Master Racy will shew patterns and give any information
that may be required. The Captain wishes the different articles to
be good and strong, but not of an expensive kind.

28th March. - A detachment was ordered on service to Ste. Marie
Nouvelle Beauce and St. Joseph, returning on the 31st under the
command of Lieutenant Hale, consisting of two officers, two
sergeants, one corporal, 18 privates; total, 23.

At right angles from Buade Street, opposite the wall [66] which surrounds
St. Joseph Cemetery, enclosed between the Basilica and the street, there
exists, since the earliest times, a short, narrow street - more properly a
lane - _Treasury Street_. The French know it as _Rue du Trésor_, because
under French rule, the Government Office, where public monies were
paid out, stood in the vicinity. Until the departure of the English
garrison and removal of the Commissariat Staff, in 1871, Treasury Street
was one of the avenues which led contractors and others to the Royal
Commissariat Department, at the east end of St. Louis Street. Here, for
years, were dealt out lavishly either the old French or Spanish piastres
during the war of 1812-14, the proceeds of the army bills, and later on,
English sovereigns, guineas and doubloons, &c. The Commissariat office was
situate facing the Ring, and after the departure of the British troops,
about 1871, was used as the office and dwelling of the Deputy Adjutant
General of Militia. The lot, which, with the garden in rear, reaches to
Mount Carmel Street, had been bought by the Ordnance from Mr. Peter
Bréhault in the early part of the century.

Prince Edward had brought to Quebec from Gibraltar, in 1791, as his
Secretary, Capt. John Hale, 2nd Queen's Regiment. Capt. Hale was the
eldest son of Brevet Major John Hale, [67] of the 47th, who served under
General Wolfe at Quebec. Major J. Hale subsequently became General Hale.
Capt. John Hale, after stopping at Quebec with the Prince, subsequently
returned to Halifax with him. He was afterwards appointed by the Imperial
authorities Deputy Paymaster General to the Forces in Canada. He, it was,
who owned the lot on which the Commissary-General's office stood. This
occurred previous to 1812. He sold the property to Peter Bréhault, who had
come out to Canada as an employé to John Muire, Esq. Mr. Bréhault resold
it to the Imperial Government, the Paymaster's Office being merged into
the Commissariat Office. The Ursuline nuns have named, after their patron
Saint, Ste. Ursule, the first street to the west, which intersects at
right angles, St. Louis and Ste. Anne streets. Ste. Ursule and Ste. Anne
streets and environs seem to have been specially appropriated by the
disciples of Hippocrates. Physicians [68] and surgeons there assuredly do
congregate, viz.: Dr. James Sewell, his son, Dr. Colin Sewell, Drs.
Landry, Lemieux, Simard, Belleau, Russell, Russell, Jr., Gale, Ross,
Baillargeon, Roy, Fortier, LaRue, Parke, Rowand, Henchey, Vallée, Marsden,
Jackson - distinguished physicians. Notwithstanding that it is the abode of
so many eminent members of the Faculty, the locality is healthy; nay,
conducive to longevity.

The streets Aylmer, Burton, Bagot, Craig, Carleton, Dorchester, Dalhousie,
Haldimand, Hope, Metcalf, Murray, Prevost, Richmond, perpetuate the memory
of thirteen English Governors, while four French Governors have left their
names on as many thoroughfares - Buade, Champlain, d'Aillebout, Montmagny.
Many of the luxurious dwellings on the Cape date back to 1840 or so; this
now aristocratic neighborhood, after the conquest and until 1830, was
occupied by carters, old French market gardeners and descendants of French
artisans, &c. - such were the early tenants of Des Carrières, Mont Carmel,
Ste. Geneviève, St. Denis, Des Grissons streets. - "_Mais nous avons
changé tout cela._"

A few years since, the Town Council, on motion of Councillor Ernest
Gagnon, whose name is identified with our popular songs, [69] disturbed
the nomenclature of that part of D'Aiguillon street, _extra muros_, by
substituting the name of "Charlevoix." To that section of St. Joseph
street, _intra muros_, was conferred the name of our respected historian,
F. X Garneau. [70] To St. François street, the name of the historian,
Ferland, was awarded; the historian, Robert Christie, [71] has also his
street. This met with general approval.

"On ascending," says Abbé Faillon, "from the Lower to the Upper Town by a
tortuous road, contrived betwixt the rocks, and on the right hand side, we

Online LibraryJ.M. Le MoinePicturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present → online text (page 15 of 59)