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520 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

I '^ 1(1 ^

the surveyors and spies were
out. Fifteen hundred or
two thousand volunteers, Be-
del assured Wheelock, could
be found for the expedition
in those parts. Don't delay
about recruiting, he added."

But now came one of those
whirls that kept the Cana-
dian operations perpetually
waltzing. Within a week
Hazen wrote : ' Our proposed
expedition to Canada, must
be Post poned,' for Congress
and the generals are busy
shutting up Howe's fleet, ' in
hopes of Burgoyning Clin-
tons Army.' '

Soon, however, and under
better auspices, another plan
for invading the north by
this route began to take
shape. It was a general belief
that Great Britain would
soon evacuate the States ;
and, were that done, the
men and resources for an
expedition could be spared.
Still firm in his opinion that
Canada ought to make a part
of the Union, Washington
lost no time. Gates, Bayley
and Hazen were appointed as a Board of Ofiicers, to con-

' § Bedel to Gates, July, 14, 1778 : Chase, Hanover, I., p. sga. Bedel to
Wheelock, July 19, 1778: N. H. State Papers, XVII., p. 243 ; Wheelock Papers.
' Hazen to Bedel, July 25, 1778 : N. H. State Papers, XVII., p. 248.


Washington's Move 521

sider ' what would be the most eligible plan ' ; and, about
the middle of September, the Commander-in-chief sent
their findings to Congress with his own cautious and
conditional endorsement. ' Essential advantages ' might
be derived, he thought, from such a movement, should
Congress regard it as warranted by the circumstances. In
the interim, he had ordered stores of provisions and
forage gathered at Coos, and the best possible answers
obtained in Canada to a series of important questions.
As Colonel Hazen was deputed to carry and supplement
the letter. Congress was evidently to hear all that could
be said for the project. To send him was itself an

Then the kaleidoscope turned again. Lafayette also
found the glamour of the north too strong to resist. In
August, he sent an engineer to examine the route from
Coos, and in October he proposed the co-operation of
France and the United States in a vigorous invasion.
Congress took the project up at once, and, on the twenty-
second of the month, in the form of Instructions to Doc-
tor Franklin, the American representative at Paris, an
elaborate scheme was adopted."

By this plan, sixteen hundred chosen men of the rank
and file were to be gathered at Fort Pitt fromVirginia and
Pennsylvania, and march by the first day of June against
Detroit. A nearly equal force, drawn from Pennsylvania
and New Jersey would rendezvous in the Wyoming val-
ley on the upper Susquehanna, and move not later than
June the first against Niagara ; and a third party of the

8 § Wash, to Jay, Apr. 14, 1779; Wash., Writings (Ford), VII., p. 393. Id. to
Carter, May 30, 1778: ib., p. 37. Id. to Cong., Sept. 12. 1778: ib., p. igi and note.
Bayley to Bedel, Oct. 13, 1778: N. H. State Papers, XVII., p. 276.

« § Engineer to I^afayette, Aug. 25, 1778: N. H. State Papers, XVII., p. 264.
Wash, to Jay : N'ote8. Journ. Cong., Oct. 21, 22, 1778. Secret Joum. Cong.,
Oct. 22. Instructions: Cont. Cong. Papers, Reports of Committees, 25, I., p. 35.
The Committee were G. Morris, Chase, Drayton, S. Adams, R. H. tee, and
Witherspoon .

522 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

same strength, assembled on the Mohawk, would march
west at about the same time, destroy the hostile Indian
towns on its route, and join the Susquehanna men on the
way to Niagara.

Twenty-five hundred more, drawn in part from the regu-
lar army and in part from the militia of New York,
Massachusetts, and Connecticut, would advance from the
Mohawk as early as possible to Oswego, and proceed —
suitable preparations having been made in the winter — to
build vessels of force, gain control of the lake, and assist
the work at Niagara by alarming the Indian country.

Further, a body of five thousand Continentals, rank
and file, gathered in the course of the winter on the upper
Connecticut, would advance as early as they could to St.
Francis, and gain possession of Montreal, St. Johns, and
Lake Champlain. A detachment would then join the
forces at Oswego, and as many as possible of the troops
assembled there would finally go to Niagara, where the
Detroit party, also, whether successful or not, was to end
its campaign.

Meanwhile, ' a Body [of] from 2,000 to 5,000 French
Troops,' convoyed bj^ four ships of the line and as many
frigates, would pass up the St. Lawrence, and about the
first of July reach Quebec, which ' they would in all
Probabilitjr find quite defenceless ' on account of the de-
mand for troops in the west. After occupying that capital,
gathering and arming the Canadians, and planting a small
garrison of marines and regulars, they would go on with
the frigates and transports to St. Francis, and combine
with the Americans for the operations against Montreal
and St. Johns. Should the Americans not have arrived,
a part of the French troops would await them, and the
rest advance in the lightest vessels. ' By the latter End
of July or about the Middle of August the Reduction of
Canada might be so far compleated that the Ships might

The State of Canada


proceed to the Investiture of Halifax' aided by a ' con-
siderable Body of American Troops . . . with the Militia
of the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire ' ; and,
by the beginning or middle of October, the victorious
forces might occupy Newfoundland.

Shrewd plans were laid for deceiving the British.
Whereas the other parts of the scheme were to be kept
profoundly secret, the movements against Detroit and
Niagara might be judiciously mentioned. While the
real destination of the French troops was to be given out,
their clothing and stores were apparently to ' designate
them for the West Indies ' ; but each soldier was to have
' a good Blanket of a large Size to be made into a Coat '
when the weather grew cool ; regular winter clothes were
to be despatched separately ; and arms for the Canadians
were to be marked ' as for the Militia of one of the French
Islands ' in the Antilles."

'» § Instructions: Note 9. Secret Journ. Cong., Oct. 22, 1778; Jan. i, 1779.

524 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

The state of things in Canada at this time invited an
attack. Carleton had turned over the government to
General Haldimand in July ; and the new head, though
capable, had found it an immense labor to gather up the
reins of Greater Quebec, a line of champing steeds that
reached from Labrador to the Mississippi. The mere dis-
tances were enough to make his work difficult. The task
of transporting provisions to the upper posts was by no
means a light one, and at present a dearth of supplies
could be seen in the near future. The walls of Quebec
were still pronounced ' rotten,' and repairs or new works
were needed at other points also. A ' swarm of Priva-
teers ' infested the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as the Governor
himself admitted, — ^greatly injuring trade, almost ruining
the fisheries in that quarter, and undermining confidence
in the power of Britain ; and, for almost six months of the
year, the intense cold paralyzed work so completely, that
anxious Haldimand was driven to dancing and fierce
Maclean to getting up theatricals."

The Governor's most serious difficulty, however, was
the temper of the people.

Canada had not found the expulsion of the Americans
an unqualified boon. The day Carleton's army halted in
its pursuit of them , he directed the habitants to ' hold them-
selves in readiness to March ' as soon as the chase could
be resumed. Four days later General Phillips, in charge
of the naval preparations, 'sent an order for the assem-
bling the Country people with their Tools.' Only during
the harvest were they exempt from forced labor (corvies).
Troops were billeted upon them ; and, as many petitions
revealed, they squirmed lustily under the burdens of un-
paid work and uninvited guests. Burgoyne tried to coax

' 1 §Hald. to Germain, July 25, 1778: Can. Arch., B, 42, p. 6. Id. to Id., Sept.
14, 1779: ib., 54, p. 178. Id. to Id.. June 7, 177Q : ib., 54, p. 85. Id. to Id., Oct. 24,
1778: ib., 54, p. 47. Id. to Buda, Mar. i, 1779: ib.,66, p. 105. Maclean to Mathews,
Dec, IT, 1780: ib., i2g, p. igi.

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Many Canadians Discontented 527

them; but, when coaxing failed, he put six hundred of
the young men under guard, and forced them to march
south on his ill-fated excursion. ' Cuff and kick them
well about ! ' appeared to be the general prescription of
the regular officers for making Canadians work ; and very
possibly the poor habitants remembered now the occa-
sional exactions of the American troops as almost acts of

Besides these afflictions, which fell like the rain on the
just and theunjust alike, that large percentage of the peo-
ple which had sided with the Americans found a heavy
hand upon them. ' The rewarding those who had pre-
served their I,oyalty and the punishing those who had
forsaken their Allegiance,' was recommended by Ger-
main ; and Carleton himself, however excusable he con-
sidered the people, realized the sound policy of this rule.
At the first anniversary of Montgomery's assault, a ser-
vice of thanksgiving was held in the cathedral with
Bishop Briand upon his throne ; and eight Canadians who
had taken part with the invaders had to present them-
selves with ropes about their necks, do penance before the
congregation, and humbly 'crave pardon of their God,
Church and King.' "

More substantial punishments also were meted out.
Not Rusoe d'Eres and his family alone, but many others
of the people, found themselves persecuted. Carleton ' has
rendered himself very odious to the Canadians by levying
contributions on them in general,' said Thomas Jef-
ferson, ' & confiscating the estates of all those who fol-
lowed our army or who abscond ' ; and of course he did

• 2 § Carleton to Burgoyne, June 20, 1776: Can. Arch,, B, 3q, p. 25. Foy to
Fraser, June 24, 1776 : ib., 39, p. 31. Harvest : Carleton to Powell, Aug. 24, 1776
(ib. 3g, p. iiD (inference)). Foy to Marr, Aug. 18, 1777: ib., p. 678. Billeting;
petitions: Can. Arch., B, 218, pp. 12, go, loi, 106,221,266; 219, pp. 39, 100, etc.
Bayley, Narrative. Burgoyne: Rey to S. Adams, 1780 [?] (S. Adams Papers).
' Cuff": Wv., Journal, Oct. ig.

• 3 § Germain to Carleton, Aug. 22, 1776: Can. Arch., Q, 12, p. 88. Carleton
to Germain, May 23, 1777; ib., 13, p. 160. Stone (ed.), Letters, p. 66.

528 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

not make the statement without grounds. Jean Menard,
and nobody knows how many others, were cast into
prison and there vegetated until the war came to an end.
A German staff-oflBcer saw the houses of many disloyal
habitants pulled down. Moreover, the Tories doubtless
went far beyond, when they could, the Governor's ofiScial
sternness. Haldimand suggested their temper by lament-
ing later that too little severity was shown at this time.
Goulet's American commission was burned to ashes in his
hand at the church door by royalist neighbors, and con-
tinual insults finally drove him from the country. No
wonder the German ofiBcer could write : ' I have indeed
passed through Parishes in which the faces of all the hab-
itans seemed to betray their rebellious tendencies' (No-
vember, 1776). "

St. Leger's failure and still more Burgoyne's disaster
had naturally a great effect in Canada. At first deserters,
and then fugitives, made ' very unfavourable impressions'
upon the minds of the people, reported the Governor.
The brilliant prowess displayed by the Americans can-
celled the bad effects of their repulses in Canada, and it
was necessary to make special efforts ' to raise the spirits
of the [loyal] People from that Dejected state into which
they had been plunged.' Once more the Tories felt
abandoned, as in 1775 ; and sympathy with the Americans
gathered force. Carleton's departure deepened the
gloom. ' No people ever loved their ruler more than
the Canadians do theirs,' testified a German ; and his
resignation, growing out of just resentment against Lord
George Germain, could but stimulate the reaction."

1 * § C. D R. d'Kres, Memoirs, ^a^^'w. Jeif. to Page, Aug. 20, 1776: JeflF.,
Writings (Ford), II., p. 85. Menard, Petition: Cont. Cong. Papers, No. 35, p.
157. Stone (ed.), Letters, pp. 24. 2q. Hald. to Germain, June 7, 1779: Can.
Arch., B, 54, p. 85. Goulet to Wash., Jan., 1781 : Wash. Papers, VI., p. 250,
Lib. of Cong.

15 § Carleton to Germain, June 10, 1778: Can. Arch., B, 37, p. 187. Stone
(ed.), Letters, p. 20.

American Scouts 529

Influences from beyond the border had a powerful
effect in the same direction.

Every effort had been made by the British to build a
voice-proof wall on the frontier, with gates of bronze and
no latch -string. Parliament prohibited all intercourse;
King George, to give the law a special sanctity, put his
royal hand to the parchment ; and Germain ordered
Carleton to pay this command ' the most punctual and
exact obedience.' All strangers were jealously watched.
The pass of the Chaudiere was guarded. Scouts were
glued upon all the avenues leading into Canada from Os-
wego and Fort Schuyler. At St. Johns and Nut Island
the sharpest precautions were taken. When any person
arrived at a British post or vessel, whatever papers he
carried were seized, ' packed up, sealed & directed to the
Commander in Chief or Officer Commanding at Montreal
to be forwarded to him,' and the bearer was then passed
along under guard from post to post, in a silence as deep
as possible, to the same destination. Caughnawagas as-
sured an officer of Stark's that, on a mere suspicion of
dealings between them and the States, ' our friends in
that Country would be instantly secured and obliged to
suffer at least a Close Confinement.' In fact, a party from
the south under a flag of truce, conducting an exchanged
British officer back to Canada, were arrested and held as

Every effort possible was made to catch the American
spies. In the Chaudiere district, both sides of the river
were patrolled, and scouts went long distances back and
forth across the country at right angles to the stream. If
Carleton heard that three St. Regis Indians or two from

1 « § Germain to Carleton, Feb. 26, 1776: Can. Arch., B, 37, p. 126. Carleton
to Cramah^, Ang. 27, 1776: Can. Arch., B, 39, p. 116. Id. to Officer, Jan. 21,
1777- ib., :!Q, p. 339. Precantions, e. g.: Carleton to Germain, June 10, 1778 (Can.
Ar^h., B,"37, p. 187). Circular to officers, Aug. 19, 1778 : ib., 62, p. 88. Cochran
to stark, Oct. 20, 1778: Emmet Coll. Arrested: Bayley, Narrative.

VOL. II.— 34

530 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

Caughnawaga had been talking with ' rebels,' he or-
dered the matter investigated. ' I employ all methods,'
reported Haldimand, ' to become acquainted with the in-
tricate & secret Paths,' by which American scouts reach
the parishes."

But ■ all methods ' were not methods enough. Many a
bold and wary eye, trained to read the moss on the tree-
trunks, familiar with every dell and crag, acquainted
with each peasant's inmost feelings, threaded safely those
intricate paths. Colonel Hazen was known to visit Can-
ada, but he could not be found. Major Whitcomb, a
mild, benevolent-looking justice of the peace at home,
but a hard, cunning, restless dare-devil when on British
soil, was a frequent invader, and his tall, thin figure,
broad shoulders, rough-hewn face, light-brown hair tied
behind, bhie vest, flask-pockets, leather breeches, grey
woollen stockings, and flapped hat with a gold cord round
it, were made known to every British oflBcer ; yet he went
and came as he pleased. Traversie, a ' famous Canadian
Rebel,' as Haldimand described him to Germain, did the
same. Goulet, Boileau, Cadieux, and Gosselin were
some of the other Canadian spies. Bayley and Bedel
kept men out almost constantly. Stark and Schuyler
busied themselves in the same work. Messengers came
and went by Oswegatchie ; and, now and then, volun-
teers in the cause ventured south, even to Philadelphia,
with information."

The field was too large and the arts of secrecy were

' ' § Foy to officer, Dec. 8, 1776 : Can, Arch., B, 39, p. 295. Carleton to Mac-
lean, Aug. 21, 1777: ib., 39, p. 680. Hald. to Germain, Oct. 15, 1778: ib., 54, p. 30.

1 8 § Powen to Hald., July 30, 1778 : Can. Arch., B, 129, p. 16. Whitcomb:
Morris, Address, pp. 19, 21, etc.; F. Bayley, Narrative; Burgoyne, Gen. Ord.,
July 23, 1776 (Can. Arch., B, 83, p. 27). Traversie: Hald. to Germain, Oct. 15,
1778 (Can. Arch., B, 54, p. 30) ; Gates to S. Adams, Aug. 23, 1779 (S. Adams
Papers); Verreau (Badeaux), Invasion, p. 187; etc. Wash. Papers, VI. and VIL,
passim; particularly VII., pp. 244-247, 249, 250-2^3, 361. N. H. State Papers,
XVII., pp. 133, 152, 218, 241, 243, 265, 276, etc. Hernck to Stark, May 19, 1779: C.
stark, Stark, p. 195. Sch., Colon. N. Y., II., p. 275. Cochran to Stark, Oct.
20, 1778: Emmet Coll. Cramah^ to Foy, Sept. 17, 1778: Can. Arch., B, 95, p. 44.



Messages from the States 533

too many for the Governor's patrols to accomplish much.
Chambly Mountain was a roomy hiding-place. Any big
hollow log served Whitcomb for a nest. A tipsy Indian
might be Traversie. Women, stealing to the woods at
night with little packets, could bear priceless documents.
Invisible messages were easily written with milk and
brought out before a fire, or the signature of a letter
could be torn off and forwarded separately. While the
British scouts were peering at stumps in Sertigan, illicit
papers could be laid on door-sills or fastened to doors at
Three Rivers. While the bearer of an American flag of
truce was being clapped into the guard-house at St.
Johns, a man with a scar on his cheek, dressed in a blue
coat with a crimson velvet collar, could slip into a cot-
tage near Quebec, utter a few words, and vanish. I can-
not discover the channels of communication, admitted
Haldimand, precisely while Congress was meditating on
I,afayette's plans. The province was full of secret Amer-
ican agents, he discovered at about the same time.
' People receive Earlier Intelligence of the state of Affairs
in all quarters than I can possibly obtain,' he lamented

These operations of the American scouts were sure
evidence that many people in Canada sympathised with
their cause, and they were also sure evidence that what
the scouts carried north would increase this kind feeling.
Countless exhortations from the Canadian refugees natu-
rally made up a large part of the papers and messages
that entered the province. News of the military operations
and the military outlook, inevitably colored, were no

^5 § Genevay to Schmid, May i8, 1780: Can, Arch., B, 117, p. 184. Morris,
Address, p. 17, Deserters, June 20, 1779 : Can. Arch., B, i8t, p. 197. Hald. to
St. Leger, June 28, 1779: ib., 139, p. 17. St. Leger to Mathews, Jan. 17, 1781: ib.,
134. P- 5- Maj, Carleton to Hald., July 30, 1780: ib., 205, p. 64. ^ Secret letters:
ib., 205, passim. Affidavit, June 14, 1779 : ib., 175, p. ,60. Affidavit, Mar. 23, 1779:
ib., 184, I, p. 50. Hald. to Gugy, Nov. i, 1778: ib., 62, p. 294. Id. to Buda, Oct.
24. 1778: ib., 66, p. 92. Ib. to Germain, June 18, 1779: ib., 54, p. 109. The later
letters doubtless illustrate what existed earlier.

534 Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony

doubt another part ; and information as to the political
doings and prospects of the young nation went in com-
pany. Under this last head, the Articles of Confedera-
tion were transmitted with an Address; and the Canadians
found that, in laying the foundations of the new Repub-
lic, the Congress had left one place vacant. Their
province and no other, whenever her people should
choose, might occupy it ; and such an opportunity was
itself an inducement.'"

All the while, in the same clandestine manner, the cam-
paign of political education went on. Ideas and argu-
ments crept unseen from mind to mind, from parish to
parish. We have at length satisfied the Canadians ' of
the natural rights of man in the social state,' asserted a
leader in this business while lyafayette's plan was under
consideration ; they are not willing to have their civil
and religious institutions depend upon the will of a for-
eign state ; they desire the power to legislate on such
matters for themselves : in brief, they wish the liberty
and self-government of the American States. Many were
the ' conversions ' to this agreeable doctrine, it was
reported. Even the noblesse and the clergy were said to
realize at last that all their privileges depended, as Con-
gress had pointed out, upon the nod of a Minister.'*

As the result of everything, Haldimand felt satisfied
that the Canadians — except the nobles, the clergy, and
some of the people in the towns — could not be relied
upon ; and a spy declared that the suspects, who filled the
jails and overflowed into the churches, rejoiced in their
sufferings and received constant encouragement 'from
multitudes of the inhabitants.' Even the King's chief

20 § Powell to Hald., July 2, 177Q: Can, Arch., B, 1^3, p. 122. Colored, e, g.:
Gosselin to wife, Oct. jg. 1778 (Can. Arch., 184, 2, p. 595); Indians (ib., 133, p. 57).
Art. Confed., XI, Van Tyne. Am. Revol., p. 202.

2' toEstaing, Dec. 31, 1778: Sparks MSS., No. 22, p. 74.

The Alliance 535

interpreter was accounted a friend by the American
agents. "^

But the grand, the essential, the deeply exciting mess-
age that crossed the border was the news of an alliance
between the United States and France. The supreme
military fact and prospect for the Canadians were that
the flag of the lilies was to march now with the flag of
the stars. Nothing could have interested them more.
As Haldimand admitted, a cordial feeling toward the
Americans was ' undoubtedly raised in numbers of them,
who in regard of the Rebellion were unquestionably at-
tached to Government ' ; and the symptoms of the change
were ' everywhere manifest.* In all quarters, the habitants
became ' adherents to the united Cause of France & the
Americans.' Even the gentry cooled. 'What!' ex-
claimed L,afa3'ette, on meeting some of them detained
as prisoners at Boston, ' What ! you fought in order to
remain colonials instead of becoming independent ! Re-
main slaves, then ! ' and the logic of the sarcasm could be
felt, even where the remark was not heard. Few of them,
said the Governor, had sagacity enough to see the bear-
ings of the French alliance; and some, on hearing that
an ambassador from the Court of Versailles had arrived
at Philadelphia, resigned their places in the British ser-
vice at once. The clergy, too, fell ofi". Already the
French priests in Canada had been restive for years, and
now their Canadian brethren yielded to the contagion.
American spies were aided by clergymen, and men of the
cloth even stole across the border. °'

2 2 § Hald. to Germain, July 25, 1778: Can. Arch., B, 42, p. 10. (At this date
the eflFect of the French aUiance had not had time to declare itself.) Bedel to

Online LibraryJustin Harvey SmithOur struggle for the fourteenth colony: Canada, and the American Revolution → online text (page 38 of 49)