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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part I: Chapter XIII. Canada under Royal Government


BARON D'AVAUGOUR was succeeded by the Chevalier de Mezy. In consequence of the continual quarrels between the late Governor and Bishop Laval, De Mezy had been chosen because, from his ostentatious professions of piety, lit was thought that he would be certain to act in harmony with the priesthood, so powerful m New France. This proved to be a mistake. Of De Menzy's government there is nothing left worthy of record. He quarrelled with two members of the Council, and, in utter contempt of law, dismissed them from office. This was trenching on the royal prerogative, of which his master, Louis XIV., was so jealous. Worse still, knowing that Bishop Laval and the Jesuits were most unpopular in the colony, on account of the tithes exacted by the Bishop, and the constant interference of the Jesuits in secular matters, he actually made an appeal to the people by calling a public meeting to discuss the conduct of the officials he had displaced. This was the worst of all sins in the opinion of the Grand Monarque. Louis resolved to make an example of De Mezy. He was superseded, and death only saved him from being impeached in the Quebec court. Alexander de Protiville, Marquis de Tracy, was appointed by King Louis as Viceroy. He reached Quebec in 1665, bringing with him one who was destined to succeed linn as Governor, Daniel de Rerni, Sieur de Courcelles, and M. Talon, who was to till the new office of Intendant, and prove one of the wisest and most successful fosterers of industry and colonization that New France has ever known. In the same year with De Tracy, arrived almost the entire regiment of Carignan, veteran soldiers of the war against the Turks .n Hungary. With them came their Colonel, M. de Salieres. The transport which conveyed them brought a considerable number of new colonists, and of sheep, cattle, and horses; the latter never before seen in Canada, although the Jesuits had imported some to their short-lived Acadian settlement. De Tracy's first care was to check the Iroquois., For this purpose he built three new forts on the Richelieu R.ver, two of them called after his officers MM Sorel and Chambly, who were the first commandants. Meanwhile, three out of the five nations of the Iroquois had made peace. De Tracy and Sorel marched into the country of the other two Iroquois nations, who sued for peace, but who, with their usual perfidy, could not resist the opportunity to massacre a party of Frenchmen who fell in their way. Amom those murdered was a nephew of Marquis de Tracy.

It so happened that several envoys from the Iroquois had waited on De Tracy, and were being entertained by him at dinner. One of the savages, flushed with wine, boasted that it was his hand that had taken the seal, of De Tracy's nephew. All present were horrified, and the Marquis, saying that he would prevent the wretch from murdering anyone else, had him seized, and at once strangled by the common executioner. This most righteous punishment of course broke off the negotiation. Meantime M. de Courcelles invaded the Iroquois country. After a toilsome march of seven hundred miles through wilderness and forest deep with snow, he marched at the head of his men, shod with snow-shoes, and, like the private soldiers of his command, with musket and knapsack at his back. With him under La Valliere and other French nobles of historic name, marched for the first time the representatives of that Canadian militia which has since gained such deserved fame for courage and every soldierlike quality. They found the Iroquois country a solitude ; the men were all absent on expeditions elsewhere; the women had lied to the woods. Rut this expedition made at mid-winter, struck terror into the hearts of the savages, and showed them that they were contending with a civilization whose power was greater than they had supposed. It would exceed the limits of a work like this to give in detail all the benefits which Canada owes to the wise and virtuous Talon. It was he that discovered the existence of iron at Gaspe and at Three Rivers; it was he that opened up trade with the Hudson's Bay Territory, and that suggested the mission of Joliet and Marquette to the Mississippi. He and De Courcelles resigned office in the same year—1671-2. The next Governor was Louie de Buade, Count de Frontenac; a noble of high reputation for ability and courage. Taking advantage of existing peace with the Iroquois, and with the consent of their chiefs, Frontenac built at the head of Lake Onta* o a fort, called by his own name. It stood on the site of the present ar^llery barracks at Kingston. The discovery of the Mississippi by Joliet, although it took place m Frontenac's term of office, hardly belongs to Canadian History. Another explorer, La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He received a grant of Fort Frontenac, which he rebuilt with stone walls and bastions. A few miles above Niagara Falls he built a ship of sixty tons and seven guns,-which he called the Griffon. In this vessel he sailed to Lake Michigan. On his return he sent back the Griffon laden with furs, but. she was never seen again, and is believed to have foundered in a storm. Frontenac was much harassed bv disputes with Laval and the clergy on the old vexed question of the liquor trade, to which they were opposed. In 1682 he was succeeded as Governor by M. de La Barre. The Iroquois once more began to give trouble by endeavouring to take what remained of the fur trade out of the hands of the French, and transfer it to the British colonies. La Barre, with two hundred soldiers, marched .nto the Iroquois country; but sickness and a badly managed commissariat made his expedition a failure, and cancelled the influence which the successes of the three previous Governors had won over the savages. He was recalled in 1685, and the Marquis de Denonvule took his place. Denonville's administration marks the lowest point in the fortunes of New France, which now contained about ten thousand colonists. He was meditating an attack on the Iroquois, when, in 1686, he received a letter from the English Governor of New York, warning him that the Iroquois were now subjects of the King of England, and therefore must not be molested by the French. But Denonville was about to strike the Iroquois with weapons that were not carnal; he was about to degrade himself by fighting them with their own favourite arms, dissimulation and treachery. Through the influence of the missionaries in the Iroquois country, he called a meeting of the chiefs at Fort Frontenac, where he had them seized and sent in chains to France to work as galley-slaves. Even the selfish tyrant on the throne of France was ashamed of an act like this, and wrote to reprimand his viceroy. Denonville meantime collected as many Iroquois as he could lay hands upon, intending to send them also to the galleys; but an order from the King released these and the other victims. Denonville's act was not only a great crime, but a still greater mistake. Strange to say, the Iroquois did not visit it on the missionaries who lived in their country. They said to the Jesuits, " O men of the Black Kobe, we have a right to hate you, but we do not hate you ! Your heart has had no share in the wrong that has been done to us. But you must leave us. When our young men sing the song of war, haply they might injure you m their fury. Therefore, go m peace.f' And so the Iroquois chiefs sent away the missionaries, under the protection of armed guides, who escorted them to Quebec. For some time all seemed tranquil. A raid made by Denonville into the Iroquois country led to no adequate result; and an Indian of the Huron race, known as "The Kat," whom Raynal terms "the Machiavel of the Wilderness" complicated matters still further by seizing some Iroquois envoys who were on the way to treat of peace with Denonville. Of these "The Rat" murdered one, and having captured the rest, told them that this was done by Denonville's orders, but that he would set them free. This of course infuriated the Iroquois still more. "I have killed the Peace!" said the Rat. With the accession of William III. and Mary, war broke out between England and France, the first of the wars between their rival colonies. In that war the Iroquois gave their powerful support to New York and New England. But they had a private grudge for which a signal vengeance was to be exacted. On the night of August 5th, 1689, all was still m the picturesque village of Lachine. The industrious inhabitants, weary with the day's work in their harvest fields, lay asleep none the less soundly for a storm of hail which swept on their village from the lake. Under cover of this storm, which effectually disguised the noise of their landing, a force of many hundreds of Iroquois warriors, armed and painted, made a descent upon Lachine. Through the night they noiselessly surrounded every building in tile village. With morning's dawn the fearful war-whoop awoke men, women, and children to their dawn of torture and death. The village was fired. By the light of its flames in the early rnorning the horror-stricken inhabitants of Montreal could see from their fortifications the cruelties that preceded the massacre. It is said that the Iroquois indulged very freely in the fire water of the Lachine merchants, and that had the defendants of Ville Marie been prompt to avail themselves of the opportunity, the drunken wolves might have been butchered. Paralyzed by the horrors they had witnessed, the French let the occasion slip. After feasting all day, at nightfall the savages withdrew to the mainland, not, however, without signifying by yells, repeated to the number of ninety, how many prisoners they carried away. From the ramparts of Ville Marie, and amid the blackened ruins of Lachine, the garrison watched the fiercely-burning tires on the opposite shore, kindled for what purposes, of nameless horror they knew too well.

Panic-stricken, the French blew up Fort Frontenac and withdrew to Montreal, Hiree Rivers, and Quebec, to which towns the French possessions in Canada were now reduced. In this crisis Frontenac, superseding the incompetent Denonville, was once more sent to govern New France. He at once organized three expeditions, wliich invaded and ravaged what are now the States of New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. In retaliation, the British sent two expeditions against Canada. The first, under General Winthrop, broke down before it reached Montreal. The second, a fleet of twenty-two ships of war, was directed against Quebec, but owing to Frontenac's vigorous resistance, was forced to withdraw, abandoning the artillery to the Canadians, fn honour of this success a church was built in Quebec and dedicated to "Notre Dame des Vietoires." Next year another attack on Montreal by the English was repulsed. This war between the colonies, which is called " King William's war," was brought to a close by the treaty of Ryswick in 1697. The veteran soldier De Frontenac died at Quebec m the year 1698, and was succeeded by one of his lieutenants, M. de Callieres. In 1701 war broke out again between France and England, and, therefore, between their colonies. It is known as "Oueen Anne's war." In 1700 Callieres died at Quebec, and was succeeded by the Marquis de Vaudreuil, under whom the colony attained its greatest prosperity. The total population of New France was then 15,000. An attack was made by four hundred French on a border fort named Haverhill, winch they captured. In 1710 seven regiments of Marlborough's veterans were sent under Admiral Sir Hovendon Walker to meet a force of four thousand under General Nicholson. But the fleet was wrecked among the St. Lawrence reefs, and Nicholson, when he heard of this, marched back to Albany. This war closed with the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, by which Acadia, Newfoundland, and Hudson's Bay Territory were ceded to England. Canada was retained by France. In 1725 Vaudreuil, like his two predecessors, died at Quebec. He w as succeeded by the Marquis de Beauharnois, in whose time the population rose to 40,000. This Governor, with consent of the Iroquois chiefs, bunt a fort at the entrance of the Niagara River. In 1745 war broke out again between France and England, but happily this did not affect Canada, as its operations were chiefly carried 011 in the Maritime Provinces, where a British force took Louisbourg. The next Governor was the Marquis de la Jonquiere; but he was taken prisoner, his fleet being defeated by Admiral Anson. For the two years that followed—1747-1748—the war closed by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, when La Jonquiere, being released, assumed the government. As a defence against the British fort of Oswego, I.a Jonquiere built a fort near the River Humber 011 Lake Ontario, called, from the French Minister of Marine, Rouille', or by its Indian name, Toronto. This first feeble beginning of a great metropolis dates from 1749, a year for this reason one of the memorable ones of Canadian history. This fort, the germ of Canada's industrial and intellectual centre, was situated about a mile from the Humber, to the south of the present Exhibition Building, in West Toronto. Meanwhile the administration of New France was becoming more and more corrupt. The greed and dishonesty of Bigot, the last of the Intendants, did much to hasten the downfall of the colony. The wealth he accumulated by fraud amounted to the enormous sum of £400,000. La Jonquiere died at Quebec in 1752, and was buried in the church of the Recollet Friars, beside Frontenac and Vaudreuil. He was succeeded, fin 1752, by the Marquis Duquesne de Mennevilie. This Governor sent a force to destroy a fort named Fort Necessity, which was defended by a Virginian officer of militia known to history as George Washington. Washington was forced to capitulate to the French commandant, M. de Villiers. The war which ensued is called the French war. Duquesne having applied for his recall, was succeeded by the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, son of the former Governor Vaudreuil, and born at Quebec. He arrived in Canada in 1755. Every man in New France was now called to arms; the farms were deserted, the fields uncultivated, the fur trade was extinct, prices rose as provisions became scarce, and wretches like Bigot throve on the miseries of the people. But the English received a check by the almost total destruction of their army in the light in which General Braddock fell. This, however, was partly retrieved in the victory gained by General Johnson over the French General Baron Dieskau, near Lake George. George the Second made Johnson a baronet, as a reward for his success. In 1756, the French King named the Marquis de Montcalm Commander in-chief of the forces in New France. Thus, on the eve of her downfall, after suffering much from incompetent rulers and corrupt officials, there was given to New France a leader who, in the purity of his chivalrous nature, in his combination of the two-fold type of soldier and statesman, is not unworthy to be compared with the heroes of her earlier and nobler day, with Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Samuel de Champlain.

In the autumn of 1756 Montcalm captured Forts Ontario and Oswego, and demolished them. This gave the French command of the entire lake region which Fort Oswego had controlled, and diverted the fur trade from the English colonies to New France. Montcalm continued his victorious career until Fort William Henry—which a French force, under a brother of Vaudreuil, had vainly endeavoured to take in the early part of the year— had surrended, and was destroyed. This brilliant success gave Montcalm the control of Lake George, which he ut'lized by capturing and sinking all the English war ships that sailed on it. The glory of these exploits was stained by a series of massacres of English prisoners by Montcalm's Indian allies and camp followers. But so great was the impression made by his exploits that the ever-faithless Iroquois meditated deserting their alliance with England, and would have done so had it not been for the influence of Sir William Johnson.

The Pitt administration had now assumed power m England, and the war was carried on with greater energy. An expedition was sent to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton in 1758, and, in the face of great difficulties, Louisbourg was taken. This was due in part to the skill and courage of a young officer, Brigadier-General Wolfe, who succeeded in marching a body of troops up a height which had been thought inaccessible—tactics which he was destined to repeat, with an ampler success, on a more memorable occasion. A second expedition, consisting of the largest army yet assembled in America, marched on Ticonderoga and Crown Point under General Abercromby. Montcalm in van applied to the French King for succour; the selfish voluptuary, whose political wisdom was expressed in the saying, "After me the Deluge," preferred spending the people's money on diamonds for his mistresses, rather than in an effort to redeem the national honour by preserving to France her finest colony. But Montcalm did not relax his efforts, though he knew that his cause was hopeless. "We shall fight," he wrote to the French Minister, "and shall bury ourselves, if need be, under the ruins of the colony." One final triumph awaited him, the greatest victory ever gained on American soil by a far inferior force over a magnificent army. Montcalm, with 3,600 Canadians, had entrenched himself on a triangular space of elevated ground between a small river, called La Chute, and Lake Champlain into which it flows. At the apex of the triangle was a small fort, whose guns commanded lake and river. Abercromby advanced with his army of 15,000 veteran troops in four columns. Montcalm had defended his position on the only assailable side by a breastwork of felled trees, and had ordered the country in front to be cleared of woods, so as to afford no cover to an attacking force. The fight began by a movement made by a number of gun-barges on the river, which opened fire on the right flank of the French. They were speedily sunk by the cannon of the fort. Then the four columns of the British advanced, Montcalm writes, "with admirable coolness and order." The column, composed chiefly of Highlanders under Lord John Murray, opened fire on Montcalm's right wing, commanded by M. de Levis, who, seeing the danger, ordered a porte'e to be made in order to assail the flank of the attacking column. This move succeeded. The column of Highlanders, in order to avoid a cross flanking fire, were forced to incline the column next their own ; thus the four columns of the British as they advanced to the breast, work became massed into a dense body of troops, an easy mark for the fire of their opponents. Montcalm took advantage of the disgraceful blunder in strategy by which Abercromby sacrificed the lives of so many gallant soldiers. He gave strict orders that his troops should reserve their fire till the English came within twenty paces of the entrenchments. His order was obeyed to the letter. When the densely crowded mass of the English columns came quite close to the breastwork of trees, a storm of shot and flame leaped forth at once from all the French line in front of them; the leaden hail tore its way resistlessly through their crowded ranks. In vain they attempted to return the tire against the Canadians, secure behind the entrenchments. Falling' back in some confusion, the English columns reformed and returned to the attack. They displayed the utmost valour. The Highlanders, in Montcalm's own words, "covered themselves with glory," the picturesque costume of the Scotch mountaineers being distinctly visible through the smoke in the foreground of the battle. But Montcalm held a position impregnable except by artillery, and Abercromby's artillery lay on board the gun-boats at the bottom of the river. For six hours the attack was renewed by the British columns, but whenever they advanced to the breastwork of trees they were driven back by a murderous fire to which they could not reply with advantage. All through the battle Montcalm exposed himself to every danger. From his station in the centre he hastened to every spot where his men were most hotly assailed, bringing reinforcements, and cheering them by his voice and example. Such was the great victory which shed its lustre on the name of Montcalm and the declining fortunes of New France.

This defeat was m some degree retrieved by the capture and destruction of Fort Frontenac (Kingston) and of Duquesne by General Forbes, who changed its name to Pittsburg, uh honour of the great Commoner. Abercromby was now superseded by General Amherst, who made a successful move against Ticonderoga and Crown Point. At the same time General Prideaux and Sit William Johnson attacked Fort Niagara, where Prideaux was killed by the bursting of a mortar. Johnson succeeded in taking the fort. Meanwhile, Mr. Pitt, with that instinctive appreciation of true genius which distinguished that great minister, had appointed young General Wolfe to the supreme command. James Wolfe was a typical example, to boirow Wordsworth's language, of "whatever man in arms should wish to be.'' Devoted to his profession, he declined lucrative staff appointments in order to go on active service. At the capture of Louisbourg he had already distinguished himself. Unlike most of the military men of his time, Wolfe had an ardent love for literature and art. He was engaged to be married to a young lady of great beauty and considerable wealth ; but he left England with the germs of a mortal disease in his constitution, which would too probably prevent his seeing her again. Late ui May, 1759, a fleet of twenty ships of the line and as many frigates conveyed Wolfe and his lieutenants, Townshend and Murray, with their eight thousand regular troops, up the St. Lawrence to the Isle of Orleans, where the troops disembarked, and took up a position at the western end, facing Quebec. The fleet meantime reconnoitred, the soundings being taken by James Cook, afterwards the celebrated sea captain and discoverer. It is a curious coincidence that there were then present <n the two opposing camps of France and England the two greatest explorers of-that age—Cook and Bougainville. Wolfe himself ascended the river, above Quebec, in a barge, in order to make a general observation of their position. It is characteristic of him that he held in his hand, and read from time to time, a poem, then lately published in England, by Mr. Gray, of Cambridge—"An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.'" "Gentlemen," he said to the officers beside him "I would rather have the glory of having written this poem than that of the capture of Quebec." "None but God knows how to attempt the impossible!" wrote Montcalm from his post within the beleaguered city. The king whom he had served with such signal success had abandoned him to his fate. His army was forced to subsist on horse-flesh and a small daily allowance of biscuit. In front of him, supported by a powerful fleet, was a well-appointed army abundantly supplied with provisions and munitions of war. The viceroy and his creatures thwarted hiin at every step; yet, amid all discouragements, the victor of Carillon held his ground, firm as the rock on which he stood.

A British force under Moncton defeated the French troops at Point Levis, directly opposite Quebec. From this commanding position, Wolfe, with his heavy artillery, proceeded to bombard the city. The cathedral and the best houses were destroyed, the whole of the Lower Town was consumed by fire; a shell struck the garden of the Ursulines, ploughing a deep trench close to the wall. Meanwhile, Montcalm had taken up a position outside the city, his army being entrenched from the mouth of the St. Charles, which was defended by a boom of ships, with masts chained together, to the mouth of the Montmorency ; every point where an enemy could land being defended by a small redoubt. Every point where access seemed possible was guarded by sentinels, especially one zigzag path that led from what is now Wolfe's Cove to the Plains of Abraham above the city. It seemed scarce likely that such a harebrained attempt would be made as to risk the ascent by such a narrow and precipitous approach. Still, sentries were posted on the river bank below, and a redoubt with cannon commanded the entire ascent. The command of the redoubt was intrusted to one Vergor, who, three years before, had surrendered Beausejour to the British. Brought to a court-martial for this unsoldierlike act, he was acquitted by the influence of the Intendant, Bigot, whose creature he was.

Wolfe resolved to attack Montcalm's army on the left wing, near the mouth of the Montmorency River. On July 31st, under cover of broadsides from the men of war, Wolfe, with eight thousand troops arranged in four columns, landed on the north St. Lawrence strand, crossed the Montmorency by a ford in the face of fire from a redoubt, which Wolfe captured. They were then withm musket shot of Montcalm's entrenchments. Wolfe's troops, having formed once more in column, attacked the entrenchments with fixed bayonets. But as at Carillon, the Canadian militia reserved their fire till the British were within a few yards of their position ; they then rose from the trenches and poured in their lire with unerring aim. The British soldiers fell fast before it. Wolfe's columns were broken, and they fled. Their retreat was covered by a violent thunderstorm. When the mist and rain cleared away, the British were seen re-embarking with their wounded. The glory of the victory of Montmorency belongs to De Levis, one of Montcalm's lieutenants. Anxiety at this defeat brought on a severe attack of Wolfe's malady. He called a council of war, and was in favour of renewing the attack from the direction of Montmorency. Colonel Townshend proposed the daring plan of marching the army up the steep ascent already referred to, and entrenching themselves on the Plains of Abraham, commanding the city. This plan Wolfe at once adopted. That night 4,828 men, with one field-piece, proceeded in barges to Wolfe's Cove. Wolfe had ascertained from deserters the watch word which the crews of some provision barges, expected that night, were to give to the sentries on the river bank. Officers who spoke French were appointed to answer the challenge of the sentries ; thus the barges passed undiscovered. When they touched the shore Wolfe sprang out, followed by his light infantry. They quickly overpowered the French soldiers in the guard-house at the foot of the ascent. Noiselessly and quickly, company after company ascended the narrow and precipitous pathway. At the top was a redoubt. It was surprised. Vergor, the commandant, was taken prisoner in bed. At dawn Wolfe's army was ranged in battle array on the heights above Quebec. Montcalm, probably fearing that the British might entrench themselves, marched through St. John's Gate to attack them. His army advanced <n an irregular line three deep, and began the fight with a well-sustamed fire, which the British bore without flinching* Wolfe passed through the lines of his men to animate their courage. He ordered each soldier to put two bullets into his musket, and not to fire till the French were within twenty yards. So effective was the storm of shot that met the French advance that their lines were broken, on which Wolfe, though wounded in the wrist, led his Grenadiers to the charge. Presently he fell, shot through the chest.

"They run!'', cried one of the officers who was supporting him in his arms. "Who run?" asked Wolfe. "The French," was the reply, "Then I die happy," were the last words of the hero.

Quebec was won, and with Quebec was won Canada for English speech, English law, English freedom of thought and utterance. The remains of Wolfe were sent to England to be bur ed. Those of the conqueror of Canllon who had fallen about the same time with Wolfe, found a resting place in the garden of the Ursulines, being buried in a trench which a shell had ploughed close to the wait On September 8th, 1760, the other French forces in Canada surrendered, and all Canada was ceded to England by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.


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