William Charles Henry Wood.

The father of British Canada : a chronicle of Carleton online

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CHRONICLES OF CANADA

Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton

In thirty-two volumes



12

THE FATHER OF
BRITISH CANADA

BY WILLIAM WOOD



Part IV

The Beginnings of British Canada



THE FATHER OF
BRITISH CANADA

A Chronicle of Carleton

BY

WILLIAM WOOD




TORONTO

GLASGOW, BROOK & COMPANY

1920



Copyright in all Countries subscribing to
the Berne Convention



PsBss OF The Huntbk-Rosb Co., Limited, Toronto



TO

WILLIAM DOUW LIGHTHALL
AUTHOR, PATRIOT, FRIEND



CONTENTS



I. GUY CARLETON, 1724-1759
II. GENERAL MURRAY, 1759-1766

III. GOVERNOR CARLETON, 1766-1774

IV. INVASION, 1775 .
V. BELEAGUERMENT, 1775-1776 .

VI. DELIVERANCE, 1776
VII, THE COUNTERSTROKE, 1776-1778
VIII. GUARDING THE LOYALISTS, 1782-1783
IX. FOUNDING MODERN CANADA, 1786-1796
X. 'NUNC DIMITTIS,' 1796-1808 .
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
INDEX



Page
I

14

40

60

93

130

143

162

181

225

229

232



ILLUSTRATIONS

THE FIGHT AT THE SAULT-AU-MATELOT Frontispiece
From a colour drawing by C. W. JeEferys.

SIR GUY CARLETON, LORD DORCHESTER Facing imac 6
From an engraving by A. H. Ritchie.

JAMES MURRAY ,, i5

From an engraving in the Dominion Archives.

BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN NORTH

AMERICA, 1763-1775 . . . . ,,32

Map by Bartholomew.

THE ISLAND OF MONTREAL AND QUEBEC

CITY ,,64

From a map by Captain Carver and other officers,
published in London in 1776.

RICHARD MONTGOP/IERY ... ,, 9<5

From an engraving in the John Ross Robertson
Collection, Toronto Public Library.

BENEDICT ARNOLD .... ,,128

From an engraving in the John Ross Robertson
Collection, Toronto Public Library.



CHAPTER I

GUY CARLETON
1724-1759

Guy Carleton, first Baron Dorchester, was
born at Strabane, County Tyrone, on the
3rd of September 1724, the anniversary of
Cromwell's two great victories and death.
He came of a very old family of English
country gentlemen which had migrated to
Ireland in the seventeenth century and
intermarried with other Anglo-Irish families
equally devoted to the service of the British
Crown. Guy's father was Christopher Carle-
ton of Newry in County Down. His mother
was Catherine Ball of County Donegal. His
father died comparatively young ; and, when
he was himself fifteen, his mother married
the rector of Newry, the Reverend Thomas
Skelton, whose influence over the six step-
children of the household worked wholly for
their good.

At eighteen Guy received his first com-



2 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

mission as ensign in the 25th Foot, then known
as Lord Rothes' regiment and now as the
King's Own Scottish Borderers. At twenty-
three he fought gallantly at the siege of
Bergen~op-Zoom. Four years later (1751)
he was a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards.
He was one of those quiet men whose sterling
value is appreciated only by the few till some
crisis makes it stand forth before the world
at large. Pitt, Wolfe, and George II all re-
cognized his solid virtues. At thirty he was
still some way down the list of lieutenants in
the Grenadiers, while Wolfe, two years his
junior in age, had been four years in command
of a battalion with the rank of lieutenant-
colonel. Yet he had long been ' my friend
Carleton ' to Wolfe, he was soon to become
one of * Pitt's Young Men,' and he was enough
of a * coming man ' to incur the king's dis-
pleasure. He had criticized the Hanoverians ;
and the king never forgave him. The third
George * gloried in the name of Englishman.'
But the first two were Hanoverian all through.
And for an English guardsman to disparage
the Hanoverian army was considered next
door to lese-majeste.

Lady Dorchester burnt all her husband's
private papers after his death in 1808 ; so we



GUY CARLETON 3

have lost some of the most intimate records
concerning him. But * grave Carleton ' ap-
pears so frequently in the letters of his friend
Wolfe that we can see his character as a young
man in almost any aspect short of self-revela-
tion. The first reference has nothing to do
with affairs of state. In 1747 Wolfe, aged
twenty, writing to Miss Lacey, an English girl
in Brussels, and signing him.self ' most sin-
cerely your friend and admirer,' says : * I
was doing the greatest injustice to the dear
girls to admit the least doubt of their con-
stancy. Perhaps with respect to ourselves
there may be cause of complaint. Carleton,
I 'm afraid, is a recent example of it.' From
this we may infer that Carleton was less
* grave ' as a young man than Wolfe found him
later on. Six years afterwards Wolfe strongly
recommended him for a position which he had
himself been asked to fill, that of military
tutor to the young Duke of Richmond, who
was to get a company in Wolfe's own regiment.
Writing home from Paris in 1753 Wolfe tells
his mother that the duke * wants some skilful
man to travel with him through the Low
Countries and into Lorraine. I have proposed
my friend Carleton, whom Lord Albemarle
approves of.* Lord Albemarle was the British



4 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

ambassador to France ; so Carleton got the
post and travelled under the happiest auspices,
while learning the frontier on which the
Belgian, French, and British allies were to
fight the Germans in the Great World War of
19 14. It was during this military tour of
fortified places that Carleton acquired the
engineering skill which a few years later proved
of such service to the British cause in Canada.

m 1754 George Washington, at that time a
young Virginian officer of only twenty-two,
fired the first shot in what presently became
the world-wide Seven Years' War. The im-
mediate result was disastrous to the British
arms ; and Washington had to give up the
command of the Ohio by surrendering Fort
Necessity to the French on — of all dates — the
4th of July ! In 1755 came Braddock's de-
feat. In 1756 Montcalm arrived in Canada
and won his first victory at Oswego. In 1757
Wolfe distinguished himself by formulating
the plan which, if properly executed, would
have prevented the British fiasco at Rochefort
on the coast of France. But Carleton re-
mained as undistinguished as before. He
simply became lieutenant-colonel command-
ing the 72nd Foot, now the Seaforth High-



GUY CARLETON 5

landers. In 1758 his chance appeared to
have^ come at last. Amherst had asked for
his services at Louisbourg. But the king had
neither forgotten nor forgiven the remarks
about the Hanoverians, and so refused point-
blank, to Wolfe's ' very great grief and dis-
appointment. . . . It is a public loss Carleton's
not going.' Wolfe's confidence in Carleton,
either as a friend or as an officer, was stronger
than ever. Writing to George Warde, after-
wards the famous cavalry leader, he said :
' Accidents may happen in the family that may
throw my little affairs into disorder. Carleton
is so good as to say he will give what help is
in his power. May I ask the same favour of
you, my oldest friend ? ' Writing to Lord
George Sackville, of whom we shall hear more
than enough at the crisis of Carleton's career,
Wolfe said : ' Amherst will tell you his opinion
of Carleton, by which you will probably be
better convinced of our loss.' Again, ' We
want grave Carleton for every purpose of the
war.' And yet again, after the fall of Louis-
bourg : ' If His Majesty had thought proper
to let Carleton come with us as engineer it
would have cut the matter much shorter and
we might now be ruining the walls of Quebec
and completing the conquest of New France.'



6 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

A little later on Wolfe blazes out with indigna-
tion over Carleton's supersession by a junior.
* Can Sir John Ligonier [the commander-in-
chief] allow His Majesty to remain unac-
quainted with the merit of that officer, and
can he see such a mark of displeasure without
endeavouring to soften or clear the m.atter up
a little ? A man of honour has the right to
expect the protection of his Colonel and of the
Commander of the troops, and he can't serve
without it. If I was in Carleton's place I
wouldn't stay an hour in the Army after being
aimed at and distinguished in so remarkable a
manner.* But Carleton bided his time.

At the beginning of 1759 Wolfe was ap-
pointed to command the army destined to
besiege Quebec. He immediately submitted
Carleton's name for appointment as quarter-
master-general. Pitt and Ligonier heartily
approved. But the king again refused. Ligo-
nier went back a second time to no purpose.
Pitt then sent him in for the third time,
saying, in a tone meant for the king to over-
hear : * Tell His Majesty that in order to
render the General [Wolfe] completely re-
sponsible for his conduct he should be made,
as far as possible, inexcusable if he should
fail; and that whatever an officer entrusted




SIR tJUV CARLKTON, T.ORD DOR( HI-.S'ri'.R
l-'roiu an ciigraviiiL; l.y A. II. Ritchie



GUY CARLETON 7

with such a service of confidence requests
ought therefore to be granted.' The king then
consented. Thus began Carleton's long, de-
voted, and successful service for Canada, the
Empire, and the Crown.

Early in this memorable Empire Year of
1759 he sailed with Wolfe and Saunders
from Spitheado On the 30th of April the
fleet rendezvoused at Halifax, where Admiral
Durell, second-in-command to Saunders, had
spent the winter with a squadron intended to
block the St Lawrence directly navigation
opened in the spring. Durell was a good
commonplace officer, but very slow. He had
lost many hands from sickness during a par-
ticularly cold season, and he was not enter-
prising enough to start cruising round Cabot
Strait before the month of May. Saunders,
greatly annoyed by this delay, sent him off
with eight men-of-war on the 5th of May.
Wolfe gave him seven hundred soldiers under
Carleton. These forces were sufficient to turn
back, capture, or destroy the twenty-three
French merchantmen which were then bound
for Quebec with supplies and soldiers as rein-
forcements for Montcalm. But the French
ships were a week ahead of Durell ; and, when
he landed Carleton at Isle-aux-Coudres on the



8 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

28th of May, the last of the enemy's transports
had already discharged her cargo at Quebec,
sixty miles above.

Isle-aux-Coudres, so named by Jacques^
Cartier in 1535, was a point of great strategic
importance ; for it commanded the only
channel then used. It was the place Wolfe
had chosen for his winter quarters, that is,
in case of failure before Quebec and supposing
he was not recalled. None but a particularly
good officer would have been appointed as
its first commandant. Carleton spent many
busy days here preparing an advanced base
for the coming siege, while the subsequently
famous Captain Cook was equally busy * a-
sounding of the channell of the Traverse '
which the fleet would have to pass on its way
to Quebec. Some of Durell's ships destroyed
the French 'long-shore batteries nea*- this
Traverse, at the lower end of the island of
Orleans, while the rest kept ceaseless watch
to seaward, anxiously scanning the offing,
day after day, to make out the colours of the
first fleet up. No one knew what the French
West India fleet would do ; and there was a
very disconcerting chance that it might run
north and slip into the St Lawrence, ahead
of Saunders, in the same way as the French



GUY CARLETON 9

reinforcements had just slipped in ahead of
DurelL Presently, at the first streak of dawn
on the 23rd of June, a strong squadron was
seen advancing rapidly under a press of sail.
Instantly the officers of the watch called all
hands up from below. The boatswains'
whistles shrilled across the water as the sea-
men ran to quarters and cleared the decks for
action. Carleton's camp was equally astir.
The guards turned out. The bugles sounded.
The men fell in and waited. Then the flag-
ship signalled ashore that the strangers had
just answered correctly in private code that all
was well and that Wolfe and Saunders were
aboard.

Next to Wolfe himself Carleton was the
busiest man in the army throughout the siege
of Quebec. In addition to his arduous and
very responsible duties as quartermaster-
general, he acted as inspector of engineers and
as a special-service officer for work of an
exceptionally confidential nature. As quarter-
master-general he superintended the supply
and transport branches. Considering that the
army was operating in a devastated hostile
country, a thousand miles away from its bases
at Halifax and Louisbourg, and that the inter-
action of the different services — naval and



10 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

military, Imperial and Colonial — required ad-
justment to a nicety at every turn, it was
wonderful that so much was done so well with
means which were far from being adequate.
War prices of course ruled in the British
camp. But they compared very favourably
with the famine prices in Quebec, where most
' luxuries ' soon became unobtainable at any
price. There were no catiteen or camp-follower
scandals under Carleton. Then, as now,
every soldier had a regulation ration of food
and a regulation allowance for his service kit.
But ' extras ' were always acceptable. The
price-list of these ' extras ' reads strangely to
modern ears. But, under the circumstances,
it was not exorbitant, and it was slightly
tempered by being reckoned in Halifax curr
rency of four dollars to the pound instead of
five. The British Tommy Atkins of that and
many a later day thought Canada a wonderful
country for making money go a long way
when he could buy a pot of beer for twopence
and get back thirteen pence Halifax currency
as change for his English shilling. Beef and
ham ran from ninepence to a shilling a pound.
Mutton was a little dearer. Salt butter was
eightpence to one-and-threepence. Cheese was
tenpence ; potatoes from five to ten shillings



GUY CARLETON ii

a bushel. ' A reasonable loaf of good soft
Bread ' cost sixpence. Soap was a shilling a
pound. Tea was prohibitive for all but the
officers, * Plain Green Tea and very Badd '
was fifteen shillings, * Couchon ' twenty
shillings, ' Hyson ' thirty. Leaf tobacco was
tenpence a pound, roll one-and-tenpence,
snuff two - and - threepence. Sugar was a
shilling to eighteen pence. Lemons were six-
pence apiece. The non-intoxicating ' Bad
Sproos Beer ' was only twopence a quart and
helped to keep off scurvy. Real beer, like
wine and spirits, was more expensive. ' Bristol
Beer ' was eighteen shillings a dozen, ' Bad
malt Drink from Hellifax ' ninepence a quart.
Rum and claret were eight shillings a gallon
each, port and Madeira ten and twelve re-
spectively. The term ' Bad ' did not then
mean noxious, but only inferior. It stood
against every low-grade article in the price-
list. No goods were over-classified while
Carleton was quartermaster-general.

The engineers were under-staffed, under-
manned, and overworked. There were no
Royal Engineers as a permanent and compre-
hensive corps till the time of Wellington.
Wolfe complained bitterly and often of the
lack of men and materials for scientific siege



12 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

work. But he * relied on Carleton ' to good
purpose in this respect as well as in many
others. In his celebrated dispatch to Pitt he
mentions Carleton twice. It was Carleton
Whom he sent to seize the west end of the
island of Orleans, so as to command the basin
of Quebec, and Carleton v/hom he sent to take
prisoners and gather information at Pointe-
aux-Trembles, twenty miles above the city.
Whether or not he revealed the whole of his
final plan to Carleton is probably more than
we shall ever know, since Carleton's papers
were destroyed. But we do know that he
did not reveal it to any one else, not even to
his three brigadiers, Monckton, Townshend,
and Murray.

Carleton was wounded in the head during
the Battle of the Plains ; but soon returned
to duty. Wolfe showed his confidence in him
to the last. Carleton's was the only name
mentioned twice in the will which Wolfe
handed over to Jervis, the future Lord St
Vincent, the night before the battle. ' I leave
to Colonel Oughton, Colonel Carleton, Colonel
Howe, and Colonel Warde a thousand pounds
each.' * All my books and papers, both here
and in England, I leave to Colonel Carleton.'
Wolfe's mother, who died five years later,



GUY CARLETON 13

showed the same confidence by appointing
Carleton her executor.

With the fall of Quebec in 1759 Carleton
disappears from the Canadian scene till 1766.
But so many pregnant events happened in
Canada during these seven years, while so
few happened in his own career, that it is
much more important for us to follow her
history than his biography.

In 1 76 1 he was wounded at the storming of
Port Andro during the attack on Belle Isle
off the west coast of France. In 1762 he was
wounded at Havana in the West Indies.
After that he enjoyed four years of quietness
at home. Then came the exceedingly diffi-
cult task of guiding Canada through twelve
years of turbulent politics and most sub-
versive war.



CHAPTER II

GENERAL MURRAY
I 759- I 766

Both armies spent a terrible winter after the
Battle of the Plains. There was better shelter
for the French in Montreal than for the British
among the ruins of Quebec. But in the matter
of food the positions were reversed. Never-
theless the French gallantly refused the truce
offered them by Murray, who had now suc-
ceeded Wolfe. They were determined to
make a supreme effort to regain Quebec in
the spring ; and they were equally determined
that the habitants should not be free to supply
the British with provisions.

In spite of the state of war, however, the
French and British officers, even as prisoners
and captors, began to make friends. They
had found each other foemen worthy of their
steel. A distinguished French officer, the
Comte de Malartic, writing to Levis, Mont-
calm's successor, said : * I cannot speak too

14



GENERAL MURRAY 15

highly of General Murray, although he is oui
enemy.' Murray, on his part, was equally
loud and generous in his praise of the French.
The Canadian seigneurs found fellow-gentle-
men among the British officers. The priests
and nuns of Quebec found many fellow-
Catholics among the Scottish and Irish troops,
and nothing but courteous treatment from the
soldiers of every rank and form of religion.
Murray directed that ' the compliment of the
hat ' should be paid to ail religious processions.
The Ursuline nuns knitted long stockings for
the bare-legged Highlanders when the winter
came on, and presented each Scottish officer
with an embroidered St Andrew's Cross on
the 30th of November, St Andrew's Day.
The whole garrison won the regard of the town
by giving up part of their rations for the
hungry poor ; while the habitants from the
surrounding country presently began to find
out that the British were honest to deal with
and most humane, though sternly just, as
conquerors.

In the following April Levis made his
desperate throw for victory ; and actually
did succeed in defeating Murray outside the
walls of Quebec. But the British fleet came
up in May ; and that summer three British



i6 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

armies converged on Montreal, where the last
doomed remnants of French power on the St
Lawrence stood despairingly at bay. When
Levis found his two thousand effective French
regulars surrounded by eight times as many
British troops he had no choice but to lay
down the arms of France for ever. On the
8th of September 1760 his gallant little army
was included in the Capitulation of Montreal,
by which the whole of Canada passed into the
possession of the British Crown.

Great Britain had a different general idea
for each one of the four decades which im-
mediately followed the conquest of Canada.
In the sixties the general idea was to kill re-
fractory old French ways with a double dose
of new British liberty and kindness, so that
Canada might gradually become the loyal
fourteenth colony of the Empire in America.
But the fates were against this benevolent
scheme. The French Canadians were firmly
wedded to their old ways of life, except in so
far as the new liberty enabled them to throw
off irksome duties and restraints, while the
new English-speaking * colonists ' were so
few, and mostly so bad, that they became the
cause of endless discord where harmony was




JAMES MrkkAV
From an engraving in the I )( miinioii Arcliives



GENERAL MURRAY 17

essential. In the seventies the idea was to
restore the old French-Canadian life so as not
only to make Canada proof against the dis-
affection of the Thirteen Colonies but also to
make her a safe base of operations against
rebellious Americans. In the eighties the
great concern of the government was to make
a harmonious whole out of two very widely
differing parts — the long-settled French Cana-
dians and the newly arrived United Empire
Loyalists. In the nineties each of these parts
was set to work out its own salvation under
its own provincial constitution.

Carleton's is the only personality which
links together all four decades— the would-
be American sixties, the French-Canadian
seventies, the Anglo-French-Canadian eighties,
and the bi-constitutional nineties — though, as
mentioned already, Murray ruled Canada for
the first seven years, 1759-66.

James Murray, the first British governor of
Canada, was a younger son of the fourth Lord
Elibank. He was just over forty, warm-
hearted and warm-tempered, an excellent
French scholar, and every inch a soldier.
Ke had been a witness for the defence of
Mordaunt at the court-martial held to tiy



i8 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

the authors of the Rochefort fiasco in 1757.
Wolfe, who was a witness on the other side,
referred to him later on as * my old antagonist
Murray.' But Wolfe knew a good man when
he saw one and gave his full confidence to his
* old antagonist ' both at Louisbourg and
Quebec. Murray was not born under a lucky
star. He saw three defeats in three successive
wars. He began his service with the abor-
tive attack on pestilential Cartagena, where
Wolfe's father was present as adjutant-
general. In mid-career he lost the battle of
Ste Foy.^ And his active military life ended
with his surrender of Minorca in 1782. But
he was greatly distinguished for honour and
steadfastness on all occasions. An admiring
contemporary described him as a model of all
the military virtues except prudence. But he
had more prudence and less genius than his
admirer thought ; and he showed a marked
talent for general government. The problem
before him was harder than his superiors could
believe. He was expected to prepare for
assimilation some sixty-five thousand ' new

^ See The Winning of Canada, chap. viii. See also, for the best
account of this battle and other events of the year between
Wolfe's victory and the surrender of Montreal, The Fall of
Canada, by George M. Wrong-. Oxford, 1914.



GENERAL MURRAY 19

subjects ' who were mostly alien in religion
and wholly alien in every other way. But,
for the moment, this proved the least of his
many difficulties because no immediate re-
sults were required.

While the war went on in Europe Canada
remained nominally a part of the enemy's
dominions, and so, of course, was subject
to military rule. Sir Jeffery Amherst, the
British commander-in-chief in America, took
up his headquarters in New York. Under
him Murray commanded Canada from Quebec.
Under Murray, Colonel Burton commanded
the district of Three Rivers while General
Gage commanded the district of Montreal,
which then extended to the western wilds.^

Murray's first great trouble arose in 1761.
It was caused by an outrageous War Office
order that fourpence a day should be stopped
from the soldiers to pay for the rations they
had always got free. Such gross injustice,
coming in time of war and applied to soldiers
who richly deserved reward, made the veterans
* mad with rage.' Quebec promised to be the
scene of a wild mutiny. Murray, like all his
officers, thought the stoppage nothing short
of robbery. But he threw himself into the
* See The War Chief of the Ottaivaa, chap. iii.



20 THE FATHER OF BRITISH CANADA

breach. He assembled the officers and ex-
plained that they must die to the last man
rather than allow the mutineers a free hand.
He then held a general parade at which he
ordered the troops to march between two flag-
poles on pain of instant death, promising to


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