The Life of General The Hon. James Murray
Chapter IX. The First Winter in Quebec, 1759-60


When on September 18 Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Murray, with his three companies of Louisburg Grenadiers, took possession of the gates of the upper town of Quebec, and Captain Hugh Palliser of the Royal Navy, with a body of seamen, similarly took formal possession of the lower town, an important event was marked in the history of the British Empire. It was certainly not possible at the time to appreciate to its full the far-reaching character of this laying of the foundation-stone of a Dominion, now the heritage of a people proud to be t he greatest and not the least loyal of the numerous offsprings of the Mother Country. A Dominion taking its full share in that great defence which has proved to the world that those crabbed doubters, who accused the old mother of decadence and slumber, have under-estimated her power to rise to a great occasion.

Events moved rapidly after the hoisting of the Union flag on the citadel of Cape Diamond. Free from immediate anxiety that Vaudreuil would attempt any important operations to regain possession of the town, Townshend despatched Major Eliot with 500 men to take possession of the enemy's lines on the Beauport side, and to make good the occupation of the country surrounding the city. The camp was found deserted, and much of the provisions and equipment left behind by Vaudreuil, in his hurried retreat on the night of the 13th, was found to have been taken or destroyed by the Indians and Canadians. Some writers have blamed Townshend for not acting more promptly. The question is open to argument; but it must be remembered that it was impossible for the General in command to know the complete state of demoralisation of the French army, nor to be certain that a fresh attack by the superior numbers which they still possessed would not force him to defend his rear, and especially his line of communication, with the fleet at the Anse au Foulon. His force was none too large to assume the double duty of attacking the town still held by De Ramezay, and of defending himself from further attack from the west, and not a man could be spared. His decision to confine his efforts to the main purpose appears to be justified, and as soon as his communication with the river, by the more convenient passage of the lower town, was established, he took the necessary action to complete the zone of military occupation.

There has, moreover, been a disposition to attack Townshend for having assumed a position to which he was not entitled during the negotiations for the capitulation and subsequently. To whatever source the origin of such statements may be traceable, there is no doubt but that the prosecution of them in England was purely the outcome of political animosity, which then frequently found voice in anonymous pamphlets. The letter "To an Honourable Brigadier-General" (already referred to), in which Townshend was roundly accused of assuming Monckton's place, is an instance. The facts, however, indicate that there was no justification for the attack. Monckton was wounded and in the doctor's hands, and technically he was not in military command; moreover, the letters which passed between them at the time do not give colour to the accusation. Nor in the despatch sent by Townshend to Pitt on September 20 is there any indication of self-laudation; on the contrary, the prominent position as commander of the; first disembarkation and the front line of battle is given to Monckton and Murray, and he refers to himself as being in the second. His own services as commanding the covering force on the left rear, an important and honourable post, especially having in view the danger of attack from Bougainville's force approaching from Cap Rouge, he refers to but slightly, and adds, "the action on our left and rear was not so severe." On September 20 it is true that Townshend wrote to Pitt a despatch reporting the action and relating the signing of the capitulation by " Us" (meaning himself and Saunders), but there had been correspondence with General Monckton on the 16th and 18th. In the former Monckton says: "I have wrote a short letter to Mr. Pitt, referring him to yours for the particulars of that day," and in the latter:

"You are one of the last men in the world that could give me offence, and I do most sincerely assure you that I have never said anything, either pro or con (that is that Townshend had presumed too much), except that I did suppose I should see the capitulation before it was signed, and that to Admiral Saunders and Colonel Carleton, the latter of whom was of that opinion."

This letter was written on the same date as the signing, which took place at 8 o'clock in the morning. Monckton was on board the Medway, and Townshend was rightly anxious to get. the matter settled, and events proved him to be very wise—a delay in sending to Monckton might have had important consequences.

On the 26th Townshend wrote to Amherst: "Having General Monckton's commands to write to you a relation of the action." In this letter he attributes the victory to the " admirable and determined firmness of every British soldier in the field." In all this I confess I see no reason for attributing to Townshend any intention of self-laudation. Nor, indeed, would it be necessary for me to refer to the matter at all were it not that the same malicious tongues which commenced the intrigue against Townshend also involved Murray, though Townshend's political prominence attracted to him the greater part of the attack.

On September 19 Murray records in his diary: "This day I marched into the town, or more properly the ruins of it, with the battalions of Amherst, Bragg, and Otway" (the 15th, 28th, and 35th Foot). The ruin had indeed been complete. More than one-third of the houses were entirely destroyed, and those that remained were so shattered as to be for the most part uninhabitable; many were unsafe and had to be pulled down, while the streets were badly blocked by the fallen beams and masonry. In the lower town the destruction had been even greater than in the upper, and that famous monument that conneted the idea of victory to the French colonists, "Notre Dame des Victoires," was now as completely destroyed as were the hopes of the French themselves.

Townshend had never altered his intention of returning to Europe at the end of the campaign—the prospect of a winter in the frozen north, and of passing it in the ruined city, did not appeal to him. Monckton, in the doctor's hands, seriously wounded in the right lung, was advised that he must go south at the earliest opportunity. There remained Murray, and to him the military governorship of Quebec was deputed.

The entry in the diary under date September 21 records: "This night it was resolved in a council of war, consisting of the admiral and generals, that we should keep possession of Quebec, and that I should remain in command." There is nothing on record to show whether this appointment was one which attracted Murray at the time or not. To him, as to Townshend, the glamour of war service in Europe was, no doubt, preferable to service in America. He had, however, the sturdy soldierly spirit which led him to accept, without question, whatever service fell in his way, without attempting to pick or choose a path which appeared at the moment more to his inclination. At a later period he wrote concerning the long-deferred confirmation of his Governorship:

"I have heard nothing about the government of Canada. If any propositions are made to me relative to it, I shall know how to answer them; in the meantime, I desire that my friends may be assured that I never made an application (so far from proposition) for the government of Canada. I am always ready to do what the King pleases, provided I am not ordered to serve under such a . . . as . . . which is all I ever wrote to my friends in the matter."

But apart from his adherence to the sound principle of accepting without demur any service that offered, Murray was singularly gifted with the power of taking the "long view" of the existing situation. Everything goes to prove that he recognised, and in no way under-estimated, the difficulties of the situation—a ruined city to defend, surrounded by a still powerful enemy, whose resources, though seriously diminished, were yet formidable, and who still commanded the allegiance of the European population of the colony and a numerous body of Indian auxiliaries, of whose prowess, in their particular form of warfare, he had already had sufficient experience. Cut off by the long winter months from all succour by sea, and without command of the river communication from the moment the fleet should sail; separated by an immense distance from Amherst, whose slow and methodical advance could not possibly relieve the stress which an active enemy might exert against him, at earliest until the following summer; and more than all, faced by the unknown quantity of a Canadian winter, which we may be sure was not painted to him by the inhabitants in colours less vivid than the reality. Yet there remained in the background the military position ; the defender of au important outpost,

At the same time one gathers that he was not sorry to be quit of the disputes and cabals which had been somewhat frequent during the late campaign. Writing to Amherst, he says, "Everybody is cheerful and happy in having Quebec. . . . All those that did not like it are, thank God, gone to places they like better!" the command of a considerable body of troops, the hope of victory, if attacked, which might bring with it the glory of completing the conquest of Canada before the commander-in-chief could reach Montreal; and besides all this, we may easily suppose that Murray's administrative instincts were aroused by the magnificent prospect of bringing into solidarity with his country a province of whose future he could see, if only dimly, the immense and splendid possibilities.

At thirty-nine James Murray was still full of ardour; ambition in him may perhaps have been tempered by experience which had had little of military success. The horrors of the Cartagena campaign, followed by participation in the inglorious campaigns of the Netherlands, and the unfortunate descents on the French coast, cannot but have had a steadying effect on as clear a brain as his. It is of interest to read the following character-sketch by an enemy, with whom Murray had been in contact at this period :

"L'homme est jeune, bouillant, fier de ses forces, decidee dans ses idees, avide de figurer. Bon par caractere, mechant ou a craindre par opposition, prompt a s'allumer et dans ces moments pret a tout faire ; et un moment apres, cherchant a faire du bien mille fois phis qu'il n'a fait de mal. Devant lui chacun des siens craint que le pied ne lui glisse. J'avais preru de longue mains quel il tenait, ctj'agis en consequence."

Thus wrote the commissary Bernier, who remained with Murray during part of the winter in Quebec, and if the opinions expressed are not altogether complimentary, at least we can accept that Murray was a man of character, who would not be lightly influenced by anticipated difficulties.

Whatever views he may have held at this time on the question of civil government, there were many months to pass before any possibility of putting them into practice could occur, and the first labours of the governor must unquestionably be devoted to strengthening the military position, which was very far from satisfactory. To this problem Murray applied himself at once with characteristic energy ; disarming the militia which had formed part of the garrison, administering the oath of allegiance to the colonists of the conquered districts, and embarking the French troops to be sent to Europe under the terms of the capitulation, were the first duties. The inhabitants of the town rendered houseless by the bombardment, were allowed to withdraw with their effects, but nothing likely to be of use to the garrison was permitted to be taken away. From the very commencement he endeavoured to anticipate the requirements of the army and of the townspeople who elected to remain, and on September 26 he records :

"As a prodigious quantity of wood would be wanted in so cold a country for the fuel of this garrison, a field officer with 150 regulars and 350 irregulars was ordered for Isle Madame to cut trees, provided with proper tools . . . now we had the occasion to regret the quantity of fine cord wood we had burned, and to consider, though too late, we had been a little too hasty in so doing."

It is to be feared that the newly-made governor had cause to regret many things which had been done during the operations preceding the capitulation. The fuel supply became one of enormous importance and great difficulty, as we shall see, and, indeed, may be said to have exercised an effect on the garrison which was largely responsible for the troubles which followed. The very promiscuous bombardment which lasted for sixty-three days had much to answer for in creating a situation which almost led to disaster, and besides causing the destruction of the available supplies, had rendered the housing of the troops almost impossible.

On September 29 the remaining troops and the field train were brought into the town. "What made this necessary was the ruinous condition of the several quarters allotted to them, which, considering the quick approaches of a severe winter, called for a speedy repair." The men were thus brought nearer to their work, and also to that of landing and lodging the provisions—a work of immense labour, as the whole had to be dragged to the upper town. At the same time the repair of the batteries was put in hand, and continued "without ceasing in such a way that not a man but. was constantly employed." On Sunday, October 4, a "solemn thanksgiving for the success of His Majesty's arms " was celebrated; the troops were excused all duties of labour and fatigue, and about 11 o'clock the several regiments marched to the church of the Ursulines, preceded by our general officers, where they heard an excellent sermon suitable to the occasion. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Eli Dawson, Chaplain of H.M.S. Stirling Castle, the text being, "Give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles." No doubt the Rev. Eli felt that an opportunity of exhorting his hearers in the very precincts of those whom he regarded as being far from a chosen people was one not lightly to be missed ! On this date the effective strength of the garrison is recorded as officers, 310; other ranks, 8973.

In these early days, rapidly shortening, of the Indian summer, let us pause for a moment and survey the scene which lay before Murray and his comrades. The least emotional man among them could scarce avoid a feeling of personal pride in the magnificent spectacle, and Murray himself, born and bred in the rugged and unlovely surroundings of his Scottish home, could not but be affected by the almost indescribable beauty of the panorama,

From the high pinnacle of Cape Diamond the spectator is at once awed and charmed by the wide stretches of the river lying more than 300 feet below. In its spacious distance it resembles rather a great lake. Reyond the city to the eastward the north shore of the St. Lawrence fades away in mdistinet outlines, terminated by the frowning headland of Cap Tourmente; every detail is familiar— beyond the St. Charles River lies the Beauport shore, which from this height and distance seems comparatively flat and low lying; the entrenched lines lately occupied by the French army are still intact. A little further on, the scar which indicates the chasm through which the Montmorency River tumbles is visible ; this side of the chasm is the fatal redoubt which cost so many lives on July 31. Across the water lies the Island of Orleans, the high land at its nearer end decreasing gently in the distance, until the further extremity, some twenty-five miles away, seems to blend into the slopes of Cap Tourmente, and this arm of the waters almost appears landlocked.

On the other side of the island the southern branch of the river can only be seen as another bay, land -barred by the Beaumont shore and the Point of Levis.

Levis itself and the bluff headland of Pointe-aux-Peres frame the view across the river, and there can be easily discerned the batteries which wrought such havoc in the city. On the right the narrow water (from which the city is said to take its name) expands into the broad bay, which seems enclosed by the upland of Sillery, with its church and spire standing then, as now, a landmark for inarmers. This side of the promontory is the place of the adventurous landing of September 13. Away across this bay is Goreham's Post, with many memories of difficulties overcome, the Ktchemin River, and in the distance the embouchure of the Chaudiere.

Northward and westward the prospect must be viewed from the high ground outside the citadel. In the middle distance lies the broad valley through which the St. Charles River winds its way. Beyond is the rising country on which stand the villages of Lorette and Ste. Foy, with its church standing delightfully situated on the higher slopes, commanding an extensive prospect over cultivated lands and wooded areas. Below Ste. Foy are the marines of the Suette, wherein that devious streamlet finds its way to the St. Charles. Beyond, and closing the picture as far as the eye can reach, the Laurentian Mountains rise tier on tier, forming a fitting background to a landscape which can scarcely be excelled by any in the world.

Lying in the bason between Orleans and Levis, far below the spectator, is the great fleet. Even the Neptune of 90 guns looks dwarfed, and the trim and saucy frigates seem miniature and little formidable. The sound of preparation for departure comes from the ships—10,000 busy hands are getting ready for the rough voyage which has still to be faced ; some, indeed, did they know it, are bound for fresh laurels.

And below, on the sloping ground, lies the city itself— not as now closely packed with houses and streets innumerable, but generously spaced with gardens and open ground. The shining roofs of the Basilica with its quaint tower— the slender spirette of the Ursulines surrounded by trees and gardens. The Seminary, the Jesuits' College, the Hotel Dieu, and the Chateau with its gardens, stand out from the clustering houses. Low down on the shore is a glimpse of one end of the Basse Ville, and conspicuous is the Church of Our Lady of Victory, dear to the citizens as commemorative of deliverance from the enemy which had twice sought a footing at its altars. Now unroofed and partly in ruins the charm is broken, and the conqueror of to-day, soon to be the friend and protector, stands within the walls.

Over all this beautifull scene Nature is casting her most lavish colours. No Venetian of them all could have transferred to his canvas a blend of colour at once so harmonious, so varied, or so vivid. The wooded banks of Orleans, of Beauport, of Levis, all the shore up and down the river, is an endless succession of arresting beauty spots. The dark blue-green of the firs and spruces are thrown into sharp relief by the gold and yellow of the beeches and elms, the greens of willows, and poplars blend with the russet brown of the oaks, while the dead white stems of the birches begin to stand out like silver threads among the lessening foliage.

But green and gold, russet and brown, are hut the background which the great artist has designed to bring out the tone which really dominates the colour scheme. Reds, crimsons, scarlet, ruby, rose, pink, every variety and gradation of the queen of colours. Nature is preparing for the winter, but before succumbing to the long months of ice and snow she has donned her finest fmcry. On the precipitous rock at one's feet are great splashes of red-leafed undergrowth, liberally decorating the grey bare stone. The maples show every shade of scarlet and crimson, and far in the distance the hills themselves, fading in ethereal blue, have nevertheless a rose-pink under-colour due to the autumnal foliage which clothes them.

Down in the low country about Ste. Foy it is the same ; wide stretches of blueberry are reddening in the sunlight; even the grass itself asserts a rosy hue from the tinted undergrowth showing from below.

Over all the clear blue sky of the Indian summer, as they call it, the bright sunlight still comforting, and the exhilarating breeze, which yet has a touch of the coming winter.

Perhaps I am too enthusiastic on the subject of this prospect, but I have stood on this spot and watched the changing light on the scene below and tried to picture to myself the feelings of my ancestor as he, too, surveyed the scene. If any reader thinks I exaggerate, let me recommend him to see Quebec for himself on a clear day in autumn— I will guarantee that he is not disappointed!

On October 12 Murray wrote his first reports to Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle, and though the latter was too thoroughly Whig in principles to do much for a brother of so pronounced a Jacobite as Lord Elibank, he was, nevertheless, on terms of friendship with him. and, through his Collier connections, Murray could always count, or at least always counted, on his good will, which was a considerable asset to those fortunate enough to possess it.

"My Lord," he wrote to Newcastle, "General Monckton, having honoured me with the command of His Majesty's troops left here, I take the first opportunity of assuring your Grace that, unequal as I feel myself to the task, I shall, with great zeal and assiduity, exert the utmost of my abilities to preserve to His Majesty this important conquest. Your Grace will be informed, no doubt, by the General how weak the fortifications here are, the rampart not being complete, that it can be called at best a strong cantonment, and that its safety must chiefly depend upon the vigilance and bravery of those who guard it, and I think I can venture to say, this little army has given sufficient proofs there will be no failure on their part. . . . There is one unlucky circumstance which I much fear will in some measure obstruct the service—the small sum of money left me to subsist the troops, provide fuel, procure intelligence, and every other possible contingency; to remedy the scarcity I propose establishing a paper currency, and endeavour to give it all the credit I can. . . ."

To Amherst he wrote a few days later:

We have little cash, much labour, no prospects of fresh provisions, a great scarcity of fuel, and ill-housed; but everybody is cheerful and happy in having Quebec. All those that did not like it are, thank God, gone to places they like better."

There is another passage in the same letter worth quoting, which appears to show that Murray had views on the subject of the American colonies, which were justified by later events.

"Everybody will inform you how powerful and flourishing this colony was, and how formidable it might be under any other governor than Monsieur Vaudreuil, en bonne politique; it should be perhaps destroyed, but there may be reasons why it should remain, as it is a guarantee for the good behaviour of its neighbouring colonies."

To his brother George he wrote :

"The news of the battle of Quebec will have reached you long before this can come to your hands. I had too great a share in it to condescend to particulars, because I hold it odious to speak of oneself. I have the honour to be appointed Governor of Quebec and the conquered country, which is a noble one, indeed infinitely beyond what any in Britain imagined it to be, whether for fertility of its soil or number of its inhabitants. . . .

"I have now served two campaigns under three officers who were put over my head, and I don't find I have got a regiment yet, though I have had the strongest assurances from the ministers. I think I cannot miss it now, and I believe my enemies will agree that I have earned it.

"Pray, my dear George, let me hear from you n the spring, and write sometimes to my dear wife, who has been too much neglected by all my family, except yourself. I am making provision for snow shoes for a winter expedition, and will not allow Chevalier de Levis to be quiet in his cantonment. I have an eye on his magazines.

On October 18 the sound of guns was heard again in the war-worn town, but this time without the accompanying shriek of projectiles or the sound of falling masonry. The citadel was firing its farewell salute to the fleet whose co-operation had done so much to procure success, and giving the honour due to an admiral whose faithful interpretation of his duty had contributed, to an extent which has hardly been recognised, to the founding of the British Dominion of Canada. In the many combined land and sea campaigns of the past there were not wanting unfortunate instances, of which none knew the disastrous results better than Murray, when the want of cordial relations between the navy and army had caused disaster; but no General had ever more loyal and thorough support than that given by Saunders and his second in command, Holmes, and we may be sure that the salute which echoed over the St. Lawrence on this day, when Admiral Saunders and the main part of his squadron sailed past the Isle of Orleans and were lost to sight on their homeward voyage, meant more than the mere compliment which his rank entitled him to. With the admiral sailed Townshend, and a week later Monckton, almost recovered from his wounds, sailed in the Fowey en route for New York in company with the Medway and Orford, the last of the squadron. The sole representatives of the naval might of Britain left behind were the Porcupine and Racehorse, sloops of war, besides three small schooners.

This departure of the fleet was, no doubt, considered necessary to avoid hazarding the ships during the winter, and yet the situation in which the loss of command of the river left Murray was one which might well have condoned the risk of leaving a small squadron in the St. Lawrence. The omission to do so was described at the time by the chronicler of the Annual Register as a "misfortune." Had this " misfortune " been avoided it cannot be in doubt that the subsequent advance of De Levis would have been rendered far more difficult if not impossible. It must not be forgotten that the French squadron still lay intact in the upper river, and placed at the disposal of Vaudreuil a naval force much superior to the sloops left behind by Saunders. Under the able and enterprising command of the French commodore, De Vauquelin, the French seamen were not 'ikcly to remain passive.

When the last echoes of the salutes had reverberated from the height of Point Levis, Quebec and its garrison passed from knowledge of the outside world, and the people of England, occupied by constant fresh adventures, to think further of the commander and the gallant troops holding this outpost on the frontier of the Empire. "Who the deuce was thinking of Quebec?" exclaimed Horace Walpole a few months later. "America was like a book one has read and done with, or at least if one looked at the book one just recollected that there was a supplement promised, to contain a chapter on Montreal, the starving or surrender of it," and Walpole's attitude of mind may be accepted as typical of the mind of the country; probably not one man in England estimated the situation at its true value, and when Murray was called upon to face the inevitable result of mistaken strategy, for which he was not only without responsibility, but had done his utmost to rectify, the result in England was a feeling of irritation that an affair which the public regarded as closed should again be thrust on its notice, and that too in a fashion which at first seemed to threaten disaster.

Left to his own resources, Murray's first care was to reduce by every means the number of inhabitants within the walls, in order to economise his provisions and fuel. The Jesuit priests were ordered out of the town, partly, no doubt, to save their subsistence, but also and principally because they were strongly suspected of giving information to the enemy, who lurked in the neighbourhood and raided up to the walls of the town, often aided by the Canadians of the adjoining districts. It was these frequent attacks, as well as the necessity to hold an area within comparatively easy reach of the town for the purpose of obtaining fuel, that decided Murray to extend the zone of his authority, and at the same time advance his outposts, serving the double purpose of keeping the enemy at a distance and observing their movements.

By this time the necessity of housing the troops, distributing the stores, and preparing for the winter had been got into a forward state, and the Governor felt at liberty to undertake a more active policy. In order to leave no doubt as to his intentions, he issued a manifesto to the Canadians, in which, with a fine fanfare, he describes himself as " The Honourable James Murray, Brigadier-General, Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty's Troops in the River St. Lawrence (dans la Riviere de St. Laurent), Governor-General of Quebec and of the conquered country, etc., etc." How many additional biles the et cetera included is left to the imagination, but Murray's proclamation could leave no doubt in the minds of those to whom it was addressed exactly what his view of the situation was, and what he intended to do to confirm it.

"In consequence of a most severe and painful campaign, we thought of nothing else but to repose our troops and to let the people breathe in tranquility after the misfortunes they have suffered in the course of this year, marked with so many grand and decisive events ; but, notwithstanding such, our humane intentions, I see myself, through that fidelity which I owe to my king, and for the protection of the people submitted to his arms, again called into the field. By what authority can M. Vaudreuil issue his commands to the people whom he has abandoned to their distresses? What reason can he assign for the unjust and cruel orders he has given to the savages to fall upon and destroy the Canadians thus deserted, and thus, after a series of injustice and insolence, to put the finishing stroke to their misfortunes ? As the generals of the enemy have thought proper to raise contributions on the parishes that are submitted to us, the laws of war and of justice oblige me to make reprisals on those of the upper country—in such cases in future their conduct shall always regulate mine. . . . All communications with the ocean stopped up, without hope, without resource, with an army of experienced veterans in the heart of your country, another at its gates, almost all your frontier barriers snatched from you or abandoned ! We ardently ask you to have recourse to a free people, wise, generous, ready to embrace you, to free you from a severe despotism, and to make you partake of the blessings of a moderate and upright government.

"But if you will not profit by this advice, you must expect the most rigorous treatment consistent with the laws of war. . . . Seeing therefore that the Canadians have no further excuse, if ever they shall presume to have recourse to arms, they must expect all the horrors that can be inflicted by a victorious and justly enraged army ; the blame will then revert upon themselves; human nature will warrant such a procedure, and the laws ol nations and of war will sufficiently justify it. Given at Quebec and sealed with the seal of our arms. By His Excellency's command.

At the same time, while thoroughly prepared to treat military action with the utmost rigour, he took every precaution that the susceptibilities of the habitant should not be wounded; thus he ordered due respect to be paid to the religious processions which frequently appeared in the streets of Quebec.

"Officers are to pay them the compliment of the hat, because it is a civility due to the people who have chosen to live under the protection of our laws. Should this piece of ceremony be repugnant to the conscience of any one they (sic) must retire when the procession approaches."

On November 12 the diary records:

"I thought it proper to march a strong detachment out, which, after reconnoitring the country myself, I took post in the churches of St. Foix and Lorette to command all the avenues to Quebec, so that no considerable body could march to it without first forcing these two posts, and for this purpose I fortified them in such manner as to resist any attack without cannon to support in . . . also established a civil jurisdiction for the inhabitants, and appointed Colonel Young chief judge, taking into the other offices some of the men of best character I could find in the place."

The winter was setting in, and Knox, who gossiped on every subject, and seemed to have been a forerunner of that most chatty of war correspondents known to us in the early days of the Great War as "Eye Witness," tells us that the wet and stormy weather was giving way to hard frosts with cold nights, which tried the troops a good deal. The post at Ste. Foy, which was about five miles from Quebec, proved most useful, and enabled the woodcutting parties to work, not only in comparative safety, but to accomplish the arduous work of carrying the cut timber to the town with considerably less labour. "We are secured of an excellent vein of wood in the forest of St. Foy," is the quaint entry in Knox's record. The occupation of Ste. Foy and Lorette was undoubtedly a strong and useful measure, which secured to a much greater extent than heretofore the safety of the garrison, which in the early days could scarce venture, except in well-armed parties, beyond the gates.

To add to many other troubles, Murray was faced with considerable want of discipline in the garrison. "The plundering kind of war which had been carried on this last campaign had so debauched the soldiers that there was no putting a stop to these without severe punishment." Desertion and drunkenness were common offences, and the inhabitants, and especially the Jesuits, gave connivance to these offences, in the one case supplying liquor, and in the other aiding the soldiers to hide until they could be conveyed up country. The Governor was not a man to be trifled with, and he records very briefly: "I recalled all licenses, and ordered for the future every man who was found drunk to receive twenty lashes every morning till he acknowledged where he got the liquor, and to forfeit his allowance of rum for six weeks." On November 16 a man was hanged for plundering, on the 18th a Frenchman received the same fate for inducing men to desert, one soldier received 1000 lashes for exciting to mutiny, and another 300 for being out of quarters at undue time, a third to 1000 for intent to desert, and another the death sentence for desertion. These stern measures show the extent of the evil, and happily had the desired effect, though it took some time to bring the men to a sense of the danger induced by their actions.

On November 15 Murray made his first considerable military movement. He had received intelligence that the enemy had but a small force between Cap Rouge and Jacques Cartier, and ordered out Colonel Hunt-Walsh with 700 men to make a night march to surprise Pointe-aux-Trembles, to raise contributions in that parish and that of Ecureuils beyond it, to publish the manifestoes, and to burn the habitations of such as were with the enemy. This scheme, through a mistake or misapprehension of orders, was effected only in part, and the colonel, having advanced to within a mile of Pointe-aux-Trembles, retired to the place whence he departed, after burning a few of the habitations.

The failure of this expedition was unfortunate, for it brought a large body of French troops "this side of Jacques Cartier," and the diary records: "I had now reason to consider how unlucky it was my scheme had not been thoroughly executed, as in that case the enemy could not have subsisted any body of troops." On November 22 activity of the French ships was reported, ten of them " came to an anchor in sight of the town (from the upper river), but the wind falling and fearing a bombardment, they removed again out of sight." This movement ended in a double disaster, for on the following day we found five of the ten ships wrecked by the bungling management of the French," and

"Captain Miller of the Racehorse went up with the boats manned, without my knowledge, and boarded one of the vessels. Having lighted a fire, he unfortunately blew himself up, his lieutenant, and several men; the rest were taken, as was a schooner which had been stationed above the town to watch the enemy's motions and to make signals."

In this accident Murray lost the ships' carpenters, on whom he principally relied for building his floating batteries in the spring.

This was a matter of very great importance, for it was the floating batteries that Murray intended should counter the French frigates.

About this date Gossip Knox records an order which reads humorously. Apparently there had been complaints as to the quantity on the rations issued, and Murray, after explaining that these were in excess of any that "ever was allowed in any of the King's provisions before," added:

"Every officer, sergeant, corporal, and faithful soldier is enjoined to discover any man who shall presume to complain of the said allowance, that the offender may be brought to trial for sedition and receive the punishment so notorious a crime deserves; on the other hand, if the soldiers find any deficiency, they will be redressed on representing it to their commanding officer, and the defrauder will not escape the Governor's resentment, be he who he will."

Certainly Murray had "long hands," and it was not good to incur his displeasure. For the taming of men grown insubordinate as the result of too much licence no better commander could have been found. But a little incident that follows shows that the men had confidence in him. Finding himself in great difficulty for money to carry on the government, he issued a...

"Kind of proclamation to encourage the friends and well-wishers of His Majesty to lend what they could afford, for which Colonel Burton (the officer next in command to me) and I gave our bills, to be repaid in six months, with interest at 5 per cent. This in a short time produced so considerable a sum as £8000 . . . and be it remembered to the honour of the Highland or 63rd Regiment,* commanded by Colonel Fraser, that the non-commissioned officers and private men of that single regiment contributed of that sum £2000."

Gossip Knox tells us this was due to the "remarkable frugality and sobriety" of the Highlanders!

The weather was growing every day more inclement, and the men were obliged to undergo incredible fatigues ; it became necessary to relieve the sentries every hour.

Muiray decided on building a chain of block-houses to protect the weak fortifications, which had no outworks, from a coup de main, and this work, together with the everlasting one of dragging timber from Ste. Foy through what was now deep snow, told heavily on the garrison. On November 30 Knox records the first hint of the coming misfortunes :

"Our brave fellows growing sickly, their disorders are chiefly scorbutic, with fever and dysentery; this is far from surprising when we consider the fatigues and hardships they have hitherto undergone, which from indifferent clothing, uncomfortable barracks, worse bedding, and their being entirely confined to salt diet, are sufficient to reduce or emaciate the most robust constitution."

On December 14 Murray records: "No less than fifty men this day frost bitten on the wooding and sleying (sic) parties." On the next day sixty-five men were incapacitated from the same cause. Yet it was impossible to reduce the effort to obtain fuel for which the garrison was now in great straits. On December 24 the diary tells us:

"From December 17-24 153 have been frost bit; this happens always on the sleying parties; nor is there any possibility to avoid this, as, notwithstanding every measure taken, and the diligence of the officers, whose particular province it is, the Canadian horses do not bring in a sufficient quantity to provide for the present or against the spring."

On the 25th Captain Leslie, who had been sent on an expedition to the south shore to subdue the parishes about Point Levis, returned.

"Every officer and soldier of the party has been frost bit more or less, but none dangerously, except two. He had not been able to proceed quite as far as I intended, by reason that the lower parishes were entirely burned and there was no lodging for the troops."

About this time Knox records :

"The weather is now become inconceivably severe, and our soldiers grow numerous in the hospitals ; some who died within these few days are laid in the snow until the spring, the ground being at this time impenetrably bound up with frost."

The men were demoralised by their suffering, and discipline was affected, and severe sentences are again recorded. "For quitting post and robbing, two were to sulfer death and two to receive 1000 lashes each, another for trying to impose on the French inhabitants 800 lashes." This last was reduced to 200 lashes in consideration of the extreme severity of the weather." Of the two death sentences a curious record exists.

"The two men condemned to die for robbery have thrown dice for life, the Governor having been generously pleased to pardon one of them; eleven was the lucky number which fell to the lot of a soldier of the 43rd Regiment, who, it was remarked, did not discover the least satisfaction upon the occasion by his complexion or otherwise."

Nothing could better indicate the abject misery of the men than this sidelight. The sentences of the courts-martial, of course, appear to us to be brutal, but all this occurred 150 years ago, when hanging was a sentence inllicted for misdemeanours which are now considered of small account. Murray had, indeed, nothing to do with the sentences, and in confirming them he frequently made remissions, for there is no doubt that his natural inclination was towards leniency; but at the same time the circumstances of the time necessitated making examples if he would keep his men, whose condition of living drove them almost to despair, in that state of control which alone could save them from destruction.

On December 27 Lieut. Butler and four others of the New England Rangers started with despatches for Sir Jeffrey Amherst, a difficult and very dangerous embassy, both in respect of the climatic conditions and the number of hostile Indians through whose haunts the party must pass. The despatch, dated December 24, is of interest, as showing Murray's views and information at the time, and is here inserted, though some parts of it have already been referred to:

"Quebec, 24th December, 1739.

"Dear Sir,

"I send you the bearer, Lieut.. Butler, that you may know how well we are here.* We have had some difficulties, but they are now removed, and we wish for nothing more than the visit Monsieur de Levis has threatened to pay us. If he really intends it, I suppose he will think proper to put it off till the spring, which does not begin till the month of April. I am told he may then bring all the force in Canada against us, as it will be impossible for your army to advance upon them till July, for you must know they look upon the Isle aux Noix as impregnable, and the approaches to Montreal in any other way impracticable till the sun has had its influence. At present their regular troops are in cantonments in the government of Montreal,! and 1200 of the Troupes de Colonic arc at Jacques Cartier, ten leagues from here. They have made a fort there, have some Canadians, and are daily bringing more. In the course of the winter, when the rivers are all froze over, there may be a possibility of surprising it, but if I attempt it, I will be sure of my blow ; a little patience, and the game is sure. This post is of no consequence in the operations of next campaign—it will be out of the question ; be master of the river St. Lawrence, and the passage is open to Montreal. I am sorry to tell you I can do little to make you so. By an unhappy imprudence we have lost all our ship carpenters—of the twelve French ships which attempted to pass us the 18th ultimo, five run ashore ; Captain Miller, of the Seahorse, with a lieutenant, all the carpenters, and almost all the petty officers of the navy left with us, without my knowledge, eager for plunder, I suppose, went on board one of the wrecks, lighted a fire in her cabin, which by carelessness communicated to some powder, and blew her and themselves to atoms; two out of six and forty are only saved. You must not therefore depend on me for the craft I formerly promised to provide. My boats are in very bad order, but I flatter myself I shall be able to fit out as many as will embark 1800 or 2000 men. I Lave only five floating batteries of one gun each. They shall be in order, but further I cannot promise. For this reason, chiefly, I send Mr. Butler that you may have time enough to provide what craft may be necessary for the river next summer. Monsieur Vaudreuil has kept four frigates in Canada. They winter in the River Sorel, and, as I am informed, are to be placed advantageously in the spring to obstruct our passage from this to Montreal. Everybody will have informed you that last summer we never could call ourselves masters of the St. Lawrence, on which river our frigates have little command of the shore; besides, their progress in it is very uncertain. Flat-bottomed vessels are the things, and a number of them will make all very easy. Butler will tell you of the villainy of our English merchants, and of the methods I have taken to prevent the effects of it. He will inform you of the sobriety and good behaviour of the troops, who will wait patiently till cash arrives from England. . . ."

It has been hinted, and sometimes definitely stated, by various writers that Murray was a headstrong officer, acting without due consideration, and not always taking proper precautions to ascertain the movements of his opponents. I shall have occasion to examine these opinions more fully, but in the meantime there is nothing in the letter other than the considered views of a commander who, while well informed of the intentions of the French, was by no means disposed to underrate their power, and his anxiety to assist and co-operate with the commander-in-chief is obvious. He made it clear elsewhere in this letter that his intention was to entrench and defend a position outside the town;—this should be remembered in connection with the subsequent course of events. In further confirmation of this we have the record made early n January: "This day Major McKellar gave me his opinion in writing, that the best method to defend the place was to fortify the Heights of Abraham, there to await our reinforcements."

Unfortunately the despatch above quoted never reached Amherst. Lieut. Butler and his party found it impossible to push through the country, and. finding numerous recent trails of Indians, he decided to return to Quebec.

On the last day of the year Murray recorded in his diary a brief statement of the events of the preceding three months:

"Quebec had not only capitulated for itself; but now the Province from Cap Rouge on the northern, and from the Chaudicre on the southern, shore, had submitted; the inhabitants had taken an oath of fidelity, and surrendered their arms; my orders were obeyed everywhere within this extent, and the parishes within reach of the garrison assisted to carry in our wood. . . .

"Mr. Wolfe, after warning the Canadians, chastised them for not returning to their houses and quitting their arms. Mr. Monckton rightly considered that the conquest of the land, if bereaved of its inhabitants and stock, would be of little value, gave them the strongest assurances of safety, and even encouragement, if they submitted. They confided in his promises. The country was as yet but partially conquered, and it would have been as impolitic to have crushed the inhabitants at this time as it was necessary to oblige them to give a reasonable assistance to His Majesty's forces. After all, with skill and tender management twenty years will hardly restore this province to the state it was in the beginning of this year."

The first week of the new year opened badly for the garrison, and Knox records:

"The weather is so severe, with frequent showers of freezing rain, that notwithstanding our distress for fuel the sleighing parties could not go out. The men grow more and more unhealthy. Scarce a day passes without two or three funerals."

Nevertheless, the men remained cheerful, and submitted to the necessity of the times. " Exerting all the wan and the good soldier upon every occasion." A century and a half was to pass before the campaigning cry, "Are we downhearted? No! became the assurance that British soldiers in the winter of 1914-15 were worthy descendants of the old fighting stock: but let us remember with pride the heroism of these soldiers of the winter m 1759 -60, badly clothed, badly fed, and without a grateful motherland providing to the utmost possible extent comforts to relieve their sufferings.

On January 26 another officer, Lieut. Montressor, with twelve New England Rangers, was sent to endeavour to open up communication with Amherst. Presumably the same despatch brought up-to-date was sent, but I have no copy of it. This attempt was successful, and after an adventurous journey the lieutenant delivered his message to Amherst at New York.

Early in February the river was frozen over; a party of the enemy came down and established themsleves near Point Levis, and Murray determined to attack them. Experiment showed that the ice would bear the passage of troops, and on the 13th a party under Major Dalling, with two field pieces, marched directly over the ice to the church at Point Levis, where a detachment of light infantry crossed above the town to cut off the retreat. There was some difficulty, as the landings were bad on account of the rise and fall of the tide, but the expedition was successful, with trifling loss, an officer and eleven men were taken prisoners, while seven dead were found in one house. A post was established, and 200 men left to defend it, with orders to hold it to the last extremity, unless attacked by artillery, in which case a retreat over the river to the town was ordered.

On the 22nd intelligence was received of further activity on the part of the enemy, and that 700 men, including some regulars, had passed the river above the town with the intention of attacking the outpost at Point Levis. A further detachment of a captain and 80 light infantry was sent over to hold a suitable landing-place to facilitate the despatch of any further body of troops found necessary to support the post. On the 24th the intelligence indicated that about 1000 or 1200 men were marching on Point Levis, and Murray, having detached the 28th and T>3rd (properly 78th) Highlanders to cover his right on the northern shore, marched across the ice with light infantry, the 15th Foot, ;J00 Highlanders, and four guns but the enemy gave way at once, and although Colonel Fraser with the Highlanders endeavoured to cut them off by marching up the river on the ice, he was only able to come on their rear, and took some fifteen or twenty prisoners. In punishment of the inhabitants for their aid given in this attack, the village of St. Michel on the west side of the Etchemin River was burned by Major Eliot, who crossed the river with 300 men for that purpose.

In the beginning of March the health of the garrison grew worse, the hospitals were crowded, and the garrison was reduced to 4800 effectives. It is remarkable that the fevers, dysentery, and scurvy which decimated the men did not seem to affect the women at all. These latter were heroines, too, and took all kinds of work, nursing the sick, and even at a later stage assisting at the batteries. Knox records in his diary that a return of the females being called for he found them to total 569:

"And it is remarkable that we have not lost one of them in the whole course of this severe winter, nor have they even been sickly. The sergeant who brought me this return reported them all well, able to eat their allowance, and fit for duty both by day and by night."

It seemed that the severe fatigue the men were obliged to undergo, and the great amount of guard duties to be performed, were the causes of their bad condition, and orders were issued to reduce all regimental guard mounting and only to retain those necessary on the defences. Murray was evidently an optimist, for at this time he issued an order which reads strangely, though perhaps its intention is obvious, the order included the words : Perhaps the re is not a garrison that has been for so long a time so healthy as this, the sobriety of the soldier and the vigilance of the officer have greatly contributed to it." Knox remarks with dry humour:

"With respect to this salutary order it was thought to be the effects of good policy; it was said that perhaps His Excellency's superior experience, particularly in the beginning of the late war at Porto Bello and Carthagena, when he had the opportunity of seeing both officers and men buried not by dozens or scores, but by hundreds, might influence him to think less of the daily decease of our most able duty men ... at the same time it has manifestly appeared that that excellent ingredient in the composition of an able and observant General, the preservation of the health of the soldiery, has been particularly prevalent in the Governor."

Which latter quaint remark we may suspect was intended for his Excellency's eye!

On March 20 Captain Donald McDonald, of the Highlanders, who frequently figures in the diary, and whom Murray elsewhere describes as a "brave, experienced, and enterprising officer," carried out a surprise at Calvaire, and Captain Archibald at another village called Brule, "with so good success that the former made seventy prisoners, and the latter seventeen. Our loss was one man killed and six wounded, but many were frost bit from the coldness of the night."

Towards the end of March the activities on both sides increased. Murray prepared a survey of the Heights of Abraham with a view to preparing an entrenched position as soon as the state of the ground would permit it, and began to collect fascines for the purpose. De Levis began to strengthen his advanced guards, and sent the whole regiment of Languedoc to Pointe-aux-Trembles and St. Augustin, while at the same time he called for pilots to help in navigating the frigates lying in the Sorel River.

Early in April the news from the upper river was disquieting; the French had armed several vessels, and with the frigates now possessed six, together with two galleys and a number of flat-bottomed boats. This squadron was overwhelmingly superior to anything which Murray could bring to oppose it, and the intelligence indicated they only awaited the breaking up of the ice to transport their troops to Cap Rouge. The plan of campaign was obvious, possessing interior lines, and aware that Amherst could not threaten Montreal in an important degree before the summer, and having as an additional and decisive factor the command of the water approach, De Levis intended to bring all the force at his command against Quebec, weakly defended by a worn-out garrison, and having conquered there, to return in good time to meet Amherst at lie aux Noix and Niagara.

To counter this, Murray decided to occupy Cap Rouge, and thus to hinder the enemy from using the water transport for their artillery, and force them to utilise the bad roads available. He recognised from the first that the game would fall to the combatant whose fleet first ascended the St. Lawrence on the opening of the river, and that to delay a decision until that event was the first consideration. A schooner was fitted out and despatched on April 21 to Lord Colviile, commanding the naval force at Louisburg, informing him of the intelligence received and urging despatch in sending relief. The letter runs:

"My Lord,

"I have despatched the bearer to inform you of the good state of this garrison. He will at the same time give you an account of the misfortune which happened to our frigates last November, from which accident, and the sickness of their crews in the course of the winter, they are at present almost unable to act. From this circumstance and until the arrival of your squadron, the enemy must remain master of the river, as their naval force consists of four frigates and two row galleys. This may enable them to put in execution the design of bombarding the town. We have certain intelligence that they have assembled 12,000 men and made all neccssary preparation for this or some other attempt, which, however chimerical, will still appear more so the instant, any part of your squadron appears in the basin, etc."

The inhabitants of the town, excepting the religious orders, were apprised by proclamation of the prospects of aa early siege, and were ordered to quit. Three days' notice was given, but even with this indulgence the misery of the people thus necessarily turned adrift was very great. The men, it appears, restrained their sentiments, but the women were loud in their denunciation of Murray for what they held to be a breach of the terms of the capitulation.

On April 23 the ice gave way everywhere, and the river was open once more.

"In consequence, I ordered the 15th Regiment, 28th, 47th, and 58th, and 2nd Royal Americans, together with the Grenadier companies of the whole (about 1600 men), to hold themselves in readiness to encamp on the shortest notice. My design," continued the diary, "was, if the weather had permitted, to have encamped with this body at St. Foy, to be at hand to strengthen any of my advanced posts and to prevent the enemy's landing, but it froze so hard every night that I could not venture on this measure yet, considering the sickly state of the men."

On the 25th the record states that 200 men had fallen sick during the week. The ground was still so hard that the weak working parties could scarce make impression on it, and the impossibility of sending out a force of sufficient strength to support the outposts forced Murray, in -view of the imminence of the French advance, to withdraw his outposts from Lorette to Ste. Foy, after breaking all the bridges over the Cap Rouge River. On April 20 Major McKellar marked out the ground for the entrenchment on the Heights of Abraham, but the ground was still too hard to permit a commencement.

On the 27th at 3 o'clock in the morning the news was brought to Murray that the enemy had landed during the night at St. Augustin, and were marching on Lorette. With them to cover the landing seven armed vessels laden with artillery and provisions. The dramatic story has often been told of how this information was conveyed by an unfortunate French sergeant, who, hav ing Fallen overboard during the landing, succeeded in clinging to a block of ice and thus carried down the river, was rescued by the crew of the Racehorse when almost at the last gasp. The story has been used in some quarters to point to the complete surprise which the French succeeded in giving Murray, but I think readers of the foregoing pages will agree that Murray was very fully informed of the enemy's approach, and had taken such steps as his circumstances admitted to counter the danger. The landing at St. Augustin was possibly made known to him by this strange method, but in all probability he would have had it in any case the following morning, and it was certainly an event he was hourly expecting. The Journal of the Chevalier Johnston goes so far as to say that De Levis "reached Cap Rouge without the enemy (the English) having any information of his having left Montreal!" Vaudreuil, writing to De Levis on May 2, says :

"It is a pity that the terrible storm of the 26th and 27th (April) was the cause of upsetting your plans. If you had, as you had good reason for hoping, surprised the enemy, you would have decided in a single day, by your foresight, the fortunes of the colony."


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