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Title: Montreal 1535-1914, Volume II (of 2)

Under British Rule 1760-1914

Author: William Henry Atherton

Release Date: February 12, 2015 [eBook #48244]

Language: English

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cover

MONTREAL 1535-1914 UNDER BRITISH RULE 1760-1914

By WILLIAM HENRY ATHERTON, Ph. D.

Qui manet in patria et patriam cognoscere temnit Is mihi non civis, sed peregrinus erit

VOLUME II

Seal of the City of Montreal Under a Crown

ILLUSTRATED

THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY MONTREAL VANCOUVER CHICAGO 1914


[iii]

PREFACE


The history of “Montreal Under British Rule” is the “Tale of Two Cities”, of a dual civilization with two main racial origins, two mentalities, two main languages, and two main religions. It is the story of two dominant races growing up side by side under the same flag, jealously preserving their identities, at some times mistrusting one another, but on the whole living in marvelous harmony though not always in unison, except on certain well defined common grounds of devotion to Canada and the Empire, and of the desire of maintaining the noble traditions and the steady progress of their city.

Montreal of today is a cosmopolitan city, but it is preponderatingly French-Canadian in its population. This fact makes it necessary to give especial attention to the history of two-thirds of the people. There has, therefore, been an effort in these pages, while recognizing this, to respect the rights of the minority, and open-handed justice has been observed.

The position of a dispassionate onlooker has been taken as far as possible in the narration of the domestic struggles in the upbuilding of the city through the crucial turnstiles of Canadian history under British rule—the Interregnum, the establishment of civil government, the Quebec act, the Constitutional act, the Union, and the Confederation. This attitude of equipoise, while disappointing to partisans, has been justified if it helps to present an unbiased account of different periods of history and serves to maintain the city’s motto of “Concordia Salus”—a doctrine which has been upheld throughout this work. Tout savoir c’est tout pardonner.

Charles Dickens in his visit to Montreal in 1842 observed that it was a “heart-burning town.” There is no need to renew the occasion for such a title in the city of today.

It only remains to express thankful indebtedness to those, too numerous to mention, who have assisted in the compilation of certain information otherwise difficult of access, and also to thank a number of friends, prominent citizens of Montreal, who in connection with the movement for city improvement and the inculcation of civic pride have encouraged the author to embark on the laborious but pleasant task of preparing this second volume of the history of “Montreal Under British Rule,” as a sequel to the first volume of “Montreal Under the French Régime.”

WILLIAM HENRY ATHERTON.

December, 1914.


[iv]
[v]

NOTE TO THE READER


In presenting the second volume to the reader the writer would observe that its first part deals mainly with the story of city progress under the various changes of the political and civic constitution, with certain chapters of supplementary annals and sidelights of general progress. The second part treats in detail, for the sake of students and as a reference book, the special advancement of the city through its various eras in religion, education, culture, population, public service, hospital, charitable, commercial, financial, transportation and city improvement growth, and in so doing the author has desired to present the histories of the chief associations that have in the past or in the present been mainly responsible for the upbuilding of a no mean city.

W.H.A.

[vi]


[vii]

CONTENTS


PART I


CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIC PROGRESS


CHAPTER I

THE EXODUS FROM MONTREAL

1760

“THE OLD ORDER CHANGETH, GIVING PLACE TO NEW”

AMHERST’S LETTER REVIEWING EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE CAPITULATION—THE SURRENDER OF ARMS—THE REVIEW OF BRITISH TROOPS—THE DEPARTURE OF THE FRENCH TROOPS—END OF THE PECULATORS—VAUDREUIL’S CAPITULATION CENSURED—DEPARTURE OF THE PROVINCIAL TROOPS—ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COLONY—DEPARTURE OF AMHERST—THE TWO RACES LEFT BEHIND. NOTES: (1) THE EXODUS AND THE REMNANT.—(2) THE POPULATION OF CANADA AT THE FALL 3

CHAPTER II

THE INTERREGNUM

1760-1763

MILITARY GOVERNMENT

BRIGADIER GAGE, GOVERNOR OF MONTREAL—THE ADDRESS OF THE MILITIA AND MERCHANTS—GOVERNMENT BY THE MILITARY BUT NOT “MARTIAL LAW”—THE CUSTOM OF PARIS STILL PREVAILS—COURTS ESTABLISHED—THE EMPLOYMENT OF FRENCH-CANADIAN MILITIA CAPTAINS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE—SENTENCES FROM THE REGISTERS OF THE MONTREAL COURTS—GOVERNOR GAGE’S ORDINANCES—TRADE—THE PORT—GAGE’S REPORT TO PITT ON[viii] THE STATE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTREAL—THE PROMULGATION OF THE DECLARATION OF THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PARIS—REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE LIQUIDATION OF THE PAPER MONEY—LEAVE TO THE FRENCH TO DEPART—LAST ORDINANCES OF GAGE—HIS DEPARTURE 13

CHAPTER III

THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PARIS

1763

THE NEW CIVIL GOVERNMENT

THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PEACE—SECTION RELATING TO CANADA—CATHOLIC DISABILITIES AND THE PHRASE “AS FAR AS THE LAWS OF GREAT BRITAIN PERMIT”—THE TREATY RECEIVED WITH DELIGHT BY THE “OLD” SUBJECTS BUT WITH DISAPPOINTMENT BY THE “NEW”—THE INEVITABLE STRUGGLES BEGIN, TO CULMINATE IN THE QUEBEC ACT OF 1774—OPPOSITION AT MONTREAL, THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SEIGNEURS—THE NEW CIVIL GOVERNMENT IN ACTION—CIVIL COURTS AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ESTABLISHED—MURRAY’S ACTION IN ALLOWING “ALL SUBJECTS OF THE COLONY” TO BE CALLED UPON TO ACT AS JURORS VIOLENTLY OPPOSED BY THE BRITISH PARTY AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL—THE PROTEST OF THE QUEBEC GRAND JURY—SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATIONS IN 1766 TO SUIT ALL PARTIES—GOVERNOR MURRAY’S COMMENT ON MONTREAL, “EVERY INTRIGUE TO OUR DISADVANTAGE WILL BE HATCHED THERE”—MURRAY AND THE MONTREAL MERCHANTS—A TIME OF MISUNDERSTANDING. NOTE: LIST OF SUBSEQUENT GOVERNORS 25

CHAPTER IV

CIVIC GOVERNMENT UNDER JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

1764

RALPH BURTON, GOVERNOR OF MONTREAL, BECOMES MILITARY COMMANDANT—FRICTION AMONG MILITARY COMMANDERS—JUSTICES OF PEACE CREATED—FIRST QUARTER SESSIONS—MILITARY VERSUS CITIZENS—THE WALKER OUTRAGE—THE TRIAL—WALKER BOASTS OF SECURING MURRAY’S RECALL—MURRAY’S DEFENSE AFTER HIS RECALL—THE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ABUSE THEIR POWER—CENSURED BY THE COUNCIL AT QUEBEC—COURT OF COMMON PLEAS ESTABLISHED—PIERRE DU CALVET—CARLETON’S DESCRIPTION OF THE “DISTRESSES OF THE CANADIANS” 35

CHAPTER V

THE PRELIMINARY STRUGGLE FOR AN ASSEMBLY

THE BRITISH MERCHANTS OF MONTREAL

“VERY RESPECTABLE MERCHANTS”—A LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON BRITISH LINES PROMOTED BY THEM—INOPPORTUNE—VARIOUS MEMORIALS TO GOVERNMENT—THE[ix] MEETINGS AT MILES PRENTIES’ HOUSE—CRAMAHE—MASERES—COUNTER PETITIONS 45

CHAPTER VI

THE QUEBEC ACT OF 1774

THE NOBLESSE OF THE DISTRICT OF MONTREAL

THE GRIEVANCES OF THE SEIGNEURS—MONTREAL THE HEADQUARTERS—“EVERY INTRIGUE TO OUR DISADVANTAGE WILL BE HATCHED THERE”—PETITIONS—CARLETON’S FEAR OF A FRENCH INVASION—A SECRET MEETING—PROTESTS OF MAGISTRATES TODD AND BRASHAY—PROTESTS OF CITIZENS—CARLETON’S CORRESPONDENCE FOR AN AMENDED CONSTITUTION IN FAVOUR OF THE NOBLESSE—THE QUEBEC ACT—ANGLICIZATION ABANDONED 51

CHAPTER VII

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR OF 1775

MONTREAL THE SEAT OF DISCONTENT

THE QUEBEC ACT, A PRIMARY OCCASION OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION—MONTREAL BRITISH DISLOYAL—THE COFFEE HOUSE MEETING—WALKER AGAIN—MONTREAL DISAFFECTS QUEBEC—LOYALTY OF HABITANTS AND SAVAGES UNDERMINED—NOBLESSE, GENTRY AND CLERGY LOYAL—KING GEORGE’S BUST DESECRATED—“DELENDA EST CANADA”—“THE FOURTEENTH COLONY”—BENEDICT ARNOLD AND ETHAN ALLEN—BINDON’S TREACHERY—CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FEEBLY ANSWERED—MILITIA CALLED OUT—LANDING OF THE REBELS—ENGLISH OFFICIAL APATHY—MONTREAL’S PART IN THE DEFENCE OF CANADA—THE FIRST SOLELY FRENCH-CANADIAN COMPANY OF MILITIA—NOTE: THE MILITIA 63

CHAPTER VIII

MONTREAL BESIEGED

1775

THE SECOND CAPITULATION

ETHAN ALLEN—HABITANTS’ AND CAUGHNAWAGANS’ LOYALTY TAMPERED WITH—PLAN TO OVERCOME MONTREAL—THE ATTACK—ALLEN CAPTURED—WALKER’S FARM HOUSE AT L’ASSOMPTION BURNED—WALKER TAKEN PRISONER TO MONTREAL—CARLETON’S FORCE FROM MONTREAL FAILS AT ST. JOHN’S—CARLETON[x] LEAVES MONTREAL—MONTREAL BESIEGED—MONTGOMERY RECEIVES A DEPUTATION OF CITIZENS—THE ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION—MONTGOMERY ENTERS BY THE RECOLLECT GATE—WASHINGTON’S PROCLAMATION 71

CHAPTER IX

MONTREAL, AN AMERICAN CITY SEVEN MONTHS UNDER CONGRESS

1776

THE CONGRESS ARMY EVACUATES MONTREAL

MONTREAL UNDER CONGRESS—GENERAL WOOSTER’S TROUBLES—MONEY AND PROVISIONS SCARCE—MILITARY RULE—GENERAL CONFUSION—THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY, AMERICAN HEADQUARTERS—THE COMMISSIONERS: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SAMUEL CHASE AND CHARLES CARROL—FLEURY MESPLET, THE PRINTER—THE FAILURE OF THE COMMISSIONERS—NEWS OF THE FLIGHT FROM QUEBEC—MONTREAL A STORMY SEA—THE COMMISSIONERS FLY—THE WALKERS ALSO—THE EVACUATION BY THE CONGRESS TROOPS—NOTES: I. PRINCIPAL REBELS WHO FLED; II. DESCRIPTION OF DRESS OF AMERICAN RIFLES 79

CHAPTER X

THE ASSEMBLY AT LAST

1776-1791

THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT OF 1791

REOCCUPATION BY BRITISH—COURTS REESTABLISHED—CONGRESS’ SPECIAL OFFER TO CANADA—LAFAYETTE’S PROJECTED RAID—UNREST AGAIN—THE LOYALTY OF FRENCH CANADIANS AGAIN BEING TEMPTED—QUEBEC ACT PUT INTO FORCE—THE MERCHANTS BEGIN MEMORIALIZING FOR A REPEAL AND AN ASSEMBLY—HALDIMAND AND HUGH FINLAY OPPOSE ASSEMBLY—MEETINGS AND COUNTER MEETINGS—CIVIC AFFAIRS—THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROJECTED “CHAMBER OF COMMERCE”—THE FIRST NOTIONS OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS—THE MONTREAL CITIZENS’ COMMITTEE REPORT—THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS—THE DIVISION OF THE PROVINCE PROJECTED—THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT OF 1791. NOTE: MONTREAL NAMES OF PETITIONERS IN 1784 87

CHAPTER XI

THE FUR TRADERS OF MONTREAL

THE GREAT NORTH WEST COMPANY

MERCHANTS—NATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS ORIGINS—UP COUNTRY TRADE—EARLY COMPANIES—NORTH WEST COMPANY—CHARLES GRANT’S REPORT—PASSES—MEMORIALS—GEOGRAPHICAL[xi] DISCOVERIES—RIVAL COMPANIES—THE X.Y. COMPANY—JOHN JACOB ASTOR’S COMPANIES—- ASTORIA TO BE FOUNDED—THE JOURNEY OF THE MONTREAL CONTINGENT—ASTORIA A FAILURE—THE GREAT RIVAL—THE HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY—SIR ALEXANDER SELKIRK—THE AMALGAMATION OF THE NORTH WEST AND HUDSON’S BAY COMPANIES IN 1821—THE BEAVER CLUB 97

CHAPTER XII

FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY DESIGNS

MONTREAL THE SEAT OF JACOBINISM

THE ASSEMBLY AT LAST—MONTREAL REPRESENTATIVES—FRENCH AND ENGLISH USED—THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—MUTINY AT QUEBEC—THE DUKE OF KENT—INVASION FEARED FROM FRANCE—MONTREAL DISAFFECTED—ATTORNEY GENERAL MONK’S REPORT—THE FRENCH SEDITIONARY PAMPHLETS—PANEGYRIC ON BISHOP BRIAND—MONTREAL ARRESTS—ATTORNEY GENERAL SEWELL’S REPORT—M’LEAN—ROGER’S SOCIETY—JEROME BONAPARTE EXPECTED 105

CHAPTER XIII

THE AMERICAN INVASION OF 1812

MONTREAL AND CHATEAUGUAY

FRENCH CANADIAN LOYALTY

THE CAUSES OF THE WAR OF 1812—THE CHESAPEAKE—JOHN HENRY—HOW THE NEWS OF INVASION WAS RECEIVED IN MONTREAL—THE MOBILIZATION—GENERAL HULL—THE MONTREAL MILITIA—FRENCH AND ENGLISH ENLIST—MONTREAL THE OBJECTIVE—OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF CHATEAUGUAY—COLONEL DE SALABERRY—RETURN OF WOUNDED—THE EXPLANATION OF THE FEW BRITISH KILLED 115

CHAPTER XIV

SIDE LIGHTS OF SOCIAL PROGRESS

1776-1825

THE “GAZETTE DU COMMERCE ET LITTERAIRE”—A RUNAWAY SLAVE—GUY CARLETON’S DEPARTURE—GENERAL HALDIMAND IN MONTREAL—MESPLET’S PAPER SUSPENDED—POET’S CORNER—THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY DISCUSSED—FIRST[xii] THEATRICAL COMPANY: THE “BUSY BODY”—LORD NELSON’S MONUMENT—A RUNAWAY RED CURLY HAIRED AND BANDY LEGGED APPRENTICE—LAMBERT’S PICTURE OF THE PERIOD—MINE HOST OF THE “MONTREAL HOTEL”—THE “CANADIAN COURANT”—AMERICAN INFLUENCE—THE “HERALD”—WILLIAM GRAY AND ALEXANDER SKAKEL—BEGINNINGS OF COMMERCIAL LIFE—DOIGE’S DIRECTORY—MUNGO KAY—LITERARY CELEBRITIES—HERALD “EXTRAS”—WATERLOO—POLITICAL PSEUDONYMS—NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION—THE ABORTIVE “SUN”—A PICTURE OF THE CITY IN 1818—THE BLACK RAIN OF 1819—OFFICIAL, MILITARY AND ECCLESIASTICAL LIFE—ORIGIN OF ART, MUSIC, ETC. 123

CHAPTER XV

BUREAURACY vs. DEMOCRACY

THE PROPOSED UNION OF THE CANADAS

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT—MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS—FRENCH-CANADIANS AIM TO STRENGTHEN THEIR POLITICAL POWER—THE “COLONIAL” OFFICE AND THE BUREAUCRATIC CLASS VERSUS THE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY—L. J. PAPINEAU AND JOHN RICHARDSON—PETITIONS FOR AND AGAINST UNION—THE MONTREAL BRITISH PETITION OF 1822—THE ANSWER OF L.J. PAPINEAU—THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL—THE BILL FOR UNION WITHDRAWN. NOTES: NAMES OF JUSTICES OF THE PEACE FROM 1796 TO 1833—MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR MONTREAL DISTRICT, 1791-1829—PETITION OF MONTREAL BRITISH—1822 133

CHAPTER XVI

MURMURS OF REVOLUTION

RACE AND CLASS ANTAGONISM

“CANADA TRADE ACTS”—LORD DALHOUSIE BANQUETED AFTER BEING RECALLED—MOVEMENT TO JOIN MONTREAL AS A PORT TO UPPER CANADA—THE GOVERNOR ALLEGED TO BE A TOOL—EXECUTIVE COUNCIL—RIOTOUS ELECTION AT MONTREAL—DR. TRACY VERSUS STANLEY BAGG—THE MILITARY FIRE—THE “MINERVE” VERSUS THE GAZETTE AND HERALD—THE CHOLERA OF 1832—MURMURS OF THE COMING REVOLT—MONTREAL PETITION FOR AND AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES—MR. NELSON BREAKS WITH PAPINEAU—THE NINETY-TWO RESOLUTIONS—MR. ROEBUCK, AGENT FOR THE REFORM PARTY, ADVOCATES SELF-GOVERNMENT—FRENCH-CANADIAN EXTREMISTS—THE ELECTIONS—PUBLIC MEETING OF “MEN OF BRITISH AND IRISH DESCENT”—TWO DIVERGENT MENTALITIES—THE CONSTITUTIONAL ASSOCIATIONS—PETITIONS TO LONDON—LORD GOSFORD APPOINTED ROYAL COMMISSIONER—HIS POLICY OF CONCILIATION[xiii] REJECTED—MR. PAPINEAU INTRANSIGEANT—RAISING VOLUNTEER CORPS FORBIDDEN—THE DORIC CLUB—“RESPONSIBLE” GOVERNMENT DEMANDED 139

CHAPTER XVII

MONTREAL IN THE THROES OF CIVIL WAR

1837-1838

THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL TO REMAIN CROWN-APPOINTED—THE SIGNAL FOR REVOLT—FIRST INSURRECTIONARY MEETING. AT ST. OURS—DR. WOLFRED NELSON—CONSTITUTIONAL MEETINGS—THE PARISHES—THE SEDITIONARY MANIFESTO OF “LES FILS DE LIBERTE” AT MONTREAL—REVOLUTIONARY BANNERS—IRISH REJECT REVOLUTIONARY PARTY—MGR. LARTIGUE’S MANDEMENT AGAINST CIVIL WAR—THE FRACAS BETWEEN THE DORIC CLUB AND THE FILS DE LIBERTE—RIOT ACT READ—THE “VINDICATOR” GUTTED—MILITARY PROCEEDINGS—WARRANTS FOR ARREST—PAPINEAU FLIES—RELEASE OF PRISONERS AT LONGUEUIL—COMMENCEMENT OF HOSTILITIES—ST. DENIS—LIEUTENANT WEIR’S DEATH—GEN. T.S. BROWN—ST. CHARLES—ST. EUSTACHE—CAPTURE OF WOLFRED NELSON—SECOND MANDEMENT OF BISHOP LARTIGUE—DAY OF THANKSGIVING—CONSTITUTION SUSPENDED—THE INDEPENDENCE OF CANADA PROCLAIMED BY “PRESIDENT NELSON”—THE REGIMENTS LEAVE THE CITY—LORD DURHAM ARRIVES—AMNESTY AND SENTENCES—DURHAM RESIGNS—THE SECOND INSURRECTION—MARTIAL LAW IN MONTREAL—SIR JOHN COLBORNE QUASHES REBELLION—STERN REPRISALS—ARRESTS—TRUE BILLS—POLITICAL EXECUTIONS—“CONCORDIA SALUS” 149

CHAPTER XVIII

PROCLAMATION OF THE UNION

1841

HOME RULE FOR THE COLONY

THE DURHAM REPORT—THE RESOLUTIONS AT THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY—LORD SYDENHAM—THE PROCLAMATION OF UNION AT MONTREAL—RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT AT LAST 159

CHAPTER XIX

RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE UNION

KINGSTON THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—THE RACE CRY RESUSCITATED—LAFONTAINE—RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT—MONTREAL ELECTIONS—RESTRICTION[xiv] REMOVED ON FRENCH LANGUAGE IN PARLIAMENT—FREE TRADE MOVEMENT—FINANCIAL DEPRESSION—GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER—REBELLION LOSSES BILL—THE BURNING OF THE PARLIAMENT HOUSE—THE MONTREAL MOVEMENT FOR ANNEXATION WITH THE STATES—“CLEAR GRITS” AND THE “PARTI ROUGE”—THE RAILWAY AND SHIPPING ERA—THE CAVAZZI RIOT—THE RECIPROCITY TREATY—EXIT THE OLD TORYISM—CLERGY RESERVES AND SEIGNEURIAL TENURE ACTS—THE MILITIA ACT—MONTREALERS ON THE ELECTED COUNCIL—THE Année Terribe OF 1857—THOMAS D’ARCY MC GEE—QUEBEC TEMPORARY SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—PROTECTION FOR HOME INDUSTRIES—CONFEDERATION BROACHED IN MONTREAL—THE TRENT AFFAIR—ST. ALBAN RAID PROSECUTIONS—THE REMODIFIED CIVIL CODE—FENIAN RAID EXCITEMENT IN MONTREAL—OTTAWA SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—THE BRITISH NORTH AMERICAN ACT—CONFEDERATION 163

CHAPTER XX

THE MUNICIPALITY OF MONTREAL

EARLY EFFORTS TOWARDS MUNICIPAL HOME RULE—1786—1821—1828—THE FIRST MUNICIPAL CHARTER OF 1831—THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL—JACQUES VIGER FIRST MAYOR—THE RETURN TO THE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE—LORD DURHAM’S REPORT AND THE RESUMPTION OF THE CORPORATION IN 1840—CHARTER AMENDMENT, 1851—FIRST MAYOR ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE—CHARTER AMENDMENT OF 1874—THE CITY OF MONTREAL ANNEXATIONS—CIVIC POLITICS—THE NOBLE “13”—1898 CHARTER RECAST, SANCTIONED IN 1899—CIVIC SCANDALS—THE “23”—JUDGE CANNON’S REPORT—THE REFORM PARTY; THE “CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION”—REDUCTION OF ALDERMEN AND A BOARD OF CONTROL, THE ISSUE—THE WOMEN’S CIVIC ASSOCIATIONS—THE NEW REGIME AND THE BOARD OF CONTROL—FURTHER AMENDMENTS TO CHARTER—THE ELECTIONS OF 1912—ABOLITION OF THE SMALL WARD SYSTEM ADVOCATED—THE ELECTIONS OF 1914—A FORECAST FOR GREATER MONTREAL—SUPPLEMENT: LIST OF MAYORS—CITY REVENUE 181

CHAPTER XXI

SUPPLEMENTAL ANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS OF SOCIAL LIFE UNDER THE UNION

FOREWORD—MARKED PROGRESS GENERAL—THE EMBRYONIC COSMOPOLIS—THE DEEPENING OF LAKE ST. PETER—FOUNDATION OF PHILANTHROPIES—LIVING CHEAP—THE MONTREAL DISPENSARY—RASCO’S HOTEL AND CHARLES DICKENS—PRIVATE THEATRICALS—MONTREAL AS SEEN BY “BOZ”—DOLLY’S AND THE GOSSIPS—THE MUNICIPAL ACT—ELECTION RIOTS—LITERARY AND UPLIFT MOVEMENTS—THE RAILWAY ERA COMMENCES—THE SHIP FEVER—A RUN ON THE SAVINGS’ BANK—THE REBELLION LOSSES BILL AND THE BURNING OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE—RELIGIOUS FANATICISM—GENERAL D’URBAN’S FUNERAL—A[xv] CHARITY BALL—THE GRAND TRUNK INCORPORATORS—EDUCATIONAL MOVEMENTS—THE “BLOOMERS” APPEAR—M’GILL UNIVERSITY REVIVAL—THE GREAT FIRE OF 1852—THE GAVAZZI RIOTS—PROGRESS IN 1853—THE CRIMEAN WAR OF 1854—THE PATRIOTIC FUND—THE ASIATIC CHOLERA—THE ATLANTIC SERVICE FROM MONTREAL—ADMIRAL BELVEZE’S VISIT—PARIS EXHIBITION PREPARATIONS—“S.S. MONTREAL” DISASTER—THE INDIAN MUTINY—THE FIRST OVERSEAS CONTINGENT—THE ATLANTIC CABLE CELEBRATED—A MAYOR OF THE PERIOD—THE RECEPTION OF ALBERT EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES—FORMAL OPENING OF THE VICTORIA BRIDGE—THE GREAT BALL—“EDWARD THE PEACEMAKER”—THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR—MONTREAL FOR THE SOUTH—FEAR OF WAR—CITIZEN RECRUITING—THE MILITARY—OFFICERS OF THE PERIOD—PEACE—THE SOUTHERNERS—THE WAR SCARE—THE BIRTH OF MODERN MILITIA SYSTEM—THE MILITARY FETED—CIVIC PROGRESS—FENIAN THREATS—D’ARCY MCGEE—SHAKESPEARE CENTENARY—GERMAN IMMIGRANTS’ DISASTER—ST. ALBAN’S RAIDERS—RECIPROCITY WITH THE UNITED STATES TO END—ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE CITY COUNCIL—THE FIRST FENIAN RAID—MONTREAL ACTION—MILITARY ENTHUSIASM—THE DRILL HALL—A RETROSPECT AND AN APPRECIATION OF THE LATTER DAYS OF THE UNION 195

CHAPTER XXII

CONSTITUTIONAL LIFE UNDER CONFEDERATION

FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL INFLUENCE

MONTREAL AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL POLITICS—CONFEDERATION TESTED—CARTIER AND THE PARTI ROUGE AT MONTREAL—ASSASSINATION OF THOMAS D’ARCY M’GEE—THE HUDSON’S BAY TRANSFER—THE METIS AND THE RIEL REBELLION—LORD STRATHCONA—THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY BILL—RESIGNATION OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD—SECOND FENIAN RAID—THE “NATIONAL POLICY”—VOTING REFORM—TEMPERANCE BILL—ORANGE RIOTS—SECOND NORTH WEST REBELLION—THE “SIXTY-FIFTH REGIMENT”—THE MANITOBA SCHOOL QUESTION—PROMINENT CITIZENS—BRITISH PREFERENTIAL TARIFF—BOER WAR—“STRATHCONA HORSE”—THE NATIONALIST LEAGUE—RECIPROCITY AND FEAR OF ANNEXATION—THE ELECTIONS OF 1911—NAVAL BILL—PROVINCIAL POLITICS—MONTREAL MEMBERS—PROVINCIAL OVERSIGHT OVER MONTREAL—HOME RULE—THE INTERNATIONAL WAR OF 1914—THE FIRST CONTINGENT—MONTREAL’S ACTION 219

CHAPTER XXIII

SUPPLEMENTAL ANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS OF SOCIAL LIFE

UNDER CONFEDERATION

1867-1914

CONFEDERATION—IMPRESSIONS OF—FUNERAL OF D’ARCY M’GEE—PRINCE ARTHUR OF CONNAUGHT—THE SECOND FENIAN RAID—THE “SILVER” NUISANCE—ORGANIZATION[xvi] OF CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD—RUN ON A SAVINGS BANK—FUNERAL OF SIR GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER—NEW BALLOT ACT—THE “BAD TIMES”—THE NATIONAL POLICY—THE ICE RAILWAY—THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD CONTRACT—THE FORMATION OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CANADA—OTHER CONGRESSES—THE FIRST WINTER CARNIVAL—FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. JEAN BAPTISTE ASSOCIATION—THE GREAT ALLEGORICAL PROCESSION AND CAVALCADE—THE MONUMENT NATIONAL—THE RIEL REBELLION—SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC AND RIOTS—THE FLOODS OF 1886—THE FIRST REVETMENT WALL—THE JESUITS ESTATES BILL AND THE EQUAL RIGHTS PARTY—LA GRIPPE—THE COMTE DE PARIS—ELECTRICAL CONVENTION—HISTORIC TABLETS PLACED—THE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF VILLE MARIE—THE BOARD OF TRADE BUILDING BURNT—THE CITY RAILWAY ELECTRIFIED—HOME RULE FOR IRELAND—VILLE MARIA BURNT—THE “SANTA MARIA”—CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOURERS CONVENTION—THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY AS A PUBLIC MUSEUM—MAISONNEUVE MONUMENT—LAVAL UNIVERSITY—QUEEN VICTORIA’S DIAMOND JUBILEE—MONTREAL AND THE BOER WAR—THE VISIT OF THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL—TURBINE STEAMERS—A JAPANESE LOAN COMPANY—FIRST AUTOMOBILE FATALITY—FIRES AT MCGILL—ECLIPSE OF SUN—THE WINDSOR STATION ACCIDENT—THE “WITNESS” BUILDING BURNT—THE OPENING OF THE ROYAL EDWARD INSTITUTE—GREAT CIVIC REFORM—THE DEATH OF EDWARD VII—THE “HERALD” BUILDING BURNT—THE EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS—MONTREAL A WORLD CITY—THE DRY DOCK—THE “TITANIC DISASTER”—CHILD WELFARE EXHIBITION—MONTREAL AND THE WAR OF 1914 231

PART II


SPECIAL PROGRESS


CHAPTER XXIV

RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

EARLY CHAPELS AND CHURCHES—THE FIRST PARISH CHURCH—OTHER CHURCHES STANDING AT THE FALL OF MONTREAL—NOTRE DAME DE VICTOIRE—- NOTRE DAME OF PITIE—THE “RECOLLET”—THE PRESENT NOTRE DAME CHURCH—ERECTION AND OPENING—THE “OLD AND NEW”—THE TOWERS AND BELLS—THE ECCLESIASTICAL DIOCESE OF QUEBEC—THE BISHOPS OF MONTREAL—THE DIVISION OF THE CITY INTO PARISHES—THE CHURCHES AND “RELIGIOUS”—ENGLISH-SPEAKING CATHOLICS—ST. PATRICK’S, IRISH NATIONAL CHURCH, ETC. NOTE: THE “RELIGIOUS” COMMUNITIES OF MEN AND WOMEN 251

[xvii]

CHAPTER XXV

OTHER RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

ANGLICANISM—EARLY BEGINNINGS—FIRST “CHRIST CHURCH”—THE BISHOPS OF MONTREAL—HISTORY OF EARLY ANGLICAN CHURCHES.

PRESBYTERIANISM—ST. GABRIEL’S STREET CHURCH—ITS OFFSHOOTS—THE FREE KIRK MOVEMENT—THE CHURCH OF TODAY.

METHODISM—FIRST CHAPEL ON ST. SULPICE, 1809—THE DEVELOPMENT OF METHODIST CHURCHES.

THE BAPTISTS—FIRST CHAPEL OF ST. HELEN STREET—FURTHER GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT—PRESENT CHURCHES.

CONGREGATIONALISM—CANADA EDUCATION AND HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY—FIRST CHURCH ON ST. MAURICE STREET—CHURCHES OF TODAY.

UNITARIANISM—FIRST SERMON IN CANADA, 1832—ST. JOSEPH STREET CHAPEL—THE CHURCHES OF THE MESSIAH.

HEBREWS—SHEARITH ISRAEL—SHAAC HASHOMOYIM AND OTHER CONGREGATIONS.

SALVATION ARMY—ITS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

OTHER DENOMINATIONS.

A RELIGIOUS CENSUS OF MONTREAL FOR 1911 271

CHAPTER XXVI

1760-1841

SCHOOL SYSTEM OF MONTREAL BEFORE THE CESSION

NEW MOVEMENT FOR BOYS—THE COLLEGE OF MONTREAL—THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH EDUCATION—THE FIRST ENGLISH SCHOOLMASTERS BEFORE 1790—A REPORT OF 1790 FOR THE SCHOOLS OF CANADA—THE DESIRE TO REAR UP A SYSTEM OF PUBLIC EDUCATION—THE JESUITS’ ESTATES—THE “CASE” AGAINST AMHERST’S CLAIM TO THE JESUITS’ ESTATES AND FOR THEIR DIVERGENCE TO PUBLIC EDUCATION—NEW ENGLISH MOVEMENT FOR A GENERAL SYSTEM OF EDUCATION—THE ACT OF 1801—THE ROYAL INSTITUTION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING—NEVER A POPULAR SUCCESS—ITS REFORM IN 1818—A COUNTERPOISE—THE FABRIQUE ACT OF 1824—REVIEW OF SCHOOLS UNDER THE ROYAL INSTITUTION—SUBSIDIZED SCHOOLS—REVIEW OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS—LAY SCHOOLS—LORD DURHAM’S REPORT ON EDUCATION. NOTE: THE JESUITS’ ESTATES 293

CHAPTER XXVII

1841-1914

THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AFTER THE UNION

THE RISE OF THE “SCHOOL COMMISSIONS OF MONTREAL”

EDUCATION AFTER THE REBELLION—THE EDUCATIONAL ACT OF 1846—THE PERSONNEL OF THE FIRST CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT COMMISSIONERS—NORMAL[xviii] SCHOOLS—THE AMENDED SCHOOL ACT OF 1868-69—THE CHARTER—THE PROTESTANT HIGH SCHOOL—THE PROTESTANT COMMISSIONERS, 1869-1914—HISTORY OF SCHOOLS—LIST OF CATHOLIC COMMISSIONERS, 1869-1914—PRESENT SCHOOLS UNDER COMMISSION—INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC SCHOOL COMMISSIONS—THE ORGANIZATIONS COOPERATING WITH THE CENTRAL COMMISSION—“NUNS”—“BROTHERS”—“LAITY.”

NOTE: SECONDARY EDUCATION—TECHNICAL AND COMMERCIAL—VOCATIONAL 305

CHAPTER XXVIII

UNIVERSITY DEVELOPMENT

I. M’GILL UNIVERSITY

THE ROYAL INSTITUTION—JAMES M’GILL—CHARTER OBTAINED—THE “MONTREAL MEDICAL INSTITUTE” SAVES M’GILL—NEW LIFE IN 1829—THE RECTOR OF MONTREAL—THE MERCHANTS’ COMMITTEE—M’GILL IN 1852—THE HISTORY OF THE FACULTIES—BUILDINGS—DEVELOPMENT SINCE 1895—RECENT BENEFACTORS—MACDONALD COLLEGE—THE STRATHCONA ROYAL VICTORIA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN. NOTE: THE UNION THEOLOGICAL MOVEMENT—THE JOINT BOARDS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL, ANGLICAN, PRESBYTERIAN AND WESLEYAN AFFILIATED COLLEGES.

II. LAVAL UNIVERSITY (MONTREAL DISTRICT)

THE STORY OF ITS COMPONENT PARTS—EVOLUTION FROM THE “ECOLES DE LATIN”—COLLEGE DE ST. RAPHAEL—ENGLISH STUDENTS—COLLEGE DECLAMATIONS—THE PETIT SEMINAIRE ON COLLEGE STREET—THE COLLEGE DE MONTREAL—THE SCHOOLS OF THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY, CLASSICS, LAW AND MEDICINE—THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION “JAM DUDUM”—DESCRIPTION OF THE UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS—AFFILIATED BODIES—THE FACULTIES AND SCHOOLS. NOTE: NAMES OF EARLY “ENGLISH” STUDENTS AT THE “COLLEGE” 325

CHAPTER XXIX

GENERAL CULTURE

I. THE LIBRARY MOVEMENT

FRENCH:—L’OEUVRE DES BONS LIVRES, 1844—THE CABINET DE LECTURE PAROISSIAL, 1857.

ENGLISH:—“MONTREAL LIBRARY” AND MONTREAL NEWS ROOM, 1821—MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, 1844—THE FRASER INSTITUTE, INCORPORATED 1870—ITS EARLY LITIGATIONS—ITS PUBLIC OPENING IN 1885—OTHER LIBRARIES.[xix]

II. LITERARY AND LEARNED SOCIETIES

THE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY, 1827—THE MECHANICS INSTITUTE, 1828—LA SOCIETE HISTORIQUE, 1856—CONFERENCE DES INSTITUTEURS, 1857—THE “INSTITUT CANADIEN”—CERCLE LITTERAIRE DE VILLE MARIE, 1857—UNION CATHOLIQUE, 1858—(THE GUIBORD CASE)—THE ANTIQUARIAN AND NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION, 1862—THE “ECOLE LITTERAIRE” 1892—ST. JAMES LITERARY SOCIETY, 1898—THE “DICKENS’ FELLOWSHIP” 1909—OTHER LITERARY ASSOCIATIONS—THE “BURNS SOCIETY”—THE ALLIANCE FRANCAISE—THE CANADIAN CLUB, 1905.

III. ARTISTIC ASSOCIATIONS

FOREWORD:—INTELLECTUAL AND ARTISTIC EXCLUSIVENESS.

ART:—EARLY ART IN CANADA—THE MODERN MOVEMENT—THE MONTREAL SOCIETY OF ARTISTS—THE ART ASSOCIATION OF MONTREAL—ITS HISTORY—ITS PAINTINGS—MONTREAL ART COLLECTIONS—THE ART SCHOOL—MONTREAL ARTISTS—THE WOMAN’S ART SOCIETY—THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY—THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS—THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CANADA—OUTSTANDING ARTISTS.

THE DRAMA:—PLAYS IN 1804—THE FIRST THEATRE ROYAL BUILT IN 1825—THE SECOND OPENED IN 1850—OTHER THEATRES TO THE PRESENT—AMATEUR THEATRICAL ASSOCIATIONS—THE DRAMATIC LEAGUE.

MUSIC:—MODERN SOCIETIES—SOCIETE DE STE CECILE—SOCIETE DE MONTAGNARDS—AMATEUR MUSICAL LEAGUE—MENDELSSOHN CHOIR—MONTREAL PHILHARMONIC—INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.

NEWSPAPERS:—MONTREAL HISTORIES 349

CHAPTER XXX

NATIONAL ORIGINS OF THE POPULATION

1834, THE YEAR OF THE SIMULTANEOUS ORIGIN OF THE EARLIEST NATIONAL SOCIETIES.

ST. JEAN BAPTISTE ASSOCIATION—REORGANIZATION IN 1843—THE “MONUMENT NATIONAL”—EDUCATION AND SOCIAL AMELIORATIONS—THE FRENCH-CANADIAN SPIRIT—PRESIDENTS.

ST. GEORGE’S SOCIETY—A CELEBRATION IN 1821—OBJECT—EARLIEST OFFICERS—THE HISTORY OF ST. GEORGE’S HOME—PRESIDENTS.

ST. ANDREW’S SOCIETY—ORGANIZATION AND FIRST OFFICERS—JOINT PROCESSIONS OF NATIONAL SOCIETIES—EARLIEST CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES—THE HEALTH OF THE POPE—THE LORD ELGIN INCIDENT—THE CRIMEAN WAR—SUBSCRIPTION TO A PATRIOTIC FUND—THE HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW’S HOME BEGINS—THE HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW’S HALL—CONDOLENCE ON DEATH OF D’ARCY MCGEE—PRESIDENTS.

ST. PATRICK’S SOCIETY—ORIGINALLY NON-DENOMINATIONAL—EARLY PRESIDENTS—THE REORGANIZATION IN 1856—FIRST OFFICERS—FIRST SOIREE—FIRST ANNIVERSARY DINNER—NATIONAL SOCIETIES PRESENT—THE TOASTS—IRISH[xx] COMPANIES IN CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION—IRISH PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION—T. D’ARCY M’GEE—EMIGRATION WORK—ST. PATRICK’S HALL—PRESIDENTS.

IRISH PROTESTANT BENEVOLENT SOCIETY—EARLY MEMBERS—WORKS—PRESIDENTS.

GERMAN SOCIETY—HISTORY AND PRESIDENTS.

WELSH SOCIETY—ORIGINALLY THE “WELSH UNION OF MONTREAL”—AFTERWARD—ITS OBJECT—PRESIDENTS.

NEWFOUNDLAND SOCIETY—ORIGIN—PRESIDENTS.

THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT—THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.

OTHER NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND CENSUS OF POPULATION FOR 1911 369

CHAPTER XXXI

PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES

FIGHTING FIRE—DARKNESS—FLOODS—DROUGHT

1. FIRE FIGHTING—THE FIRE OF 1765—“THE CASE OF THE CANADIANS OF MONTREAL”—THE EXTENT OF THE FIRE—FIRE PRECAUTIONS SUGGESTED—OTHER HISTORICAL FORCES—THE MONTREAL FIRE FORCES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT.

2. THE LIGHTING OF MONTREAL—OIL LAMPS, 1815—GAS, 1836—ELECTRICITY—FIRST EXPERIMENTS IN THE STREETS, 1879—THE ELECTRIC LIGHTING COMPANIES—NOTES ON INTRODUCTION OF THE TELEGRAPH—FIRE ALARM—ELECTRIC RAILWAY.

3. FLOODS, EARLY AND MODERN, 1848, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1886—THE PRACTICAL CESSATION IN 1888.

4. THE CITY WATER SUPPLY—THE MONTREAL WATER WORKS—PRIVATE COMPANIES—THE MUNICIPAL WATER WORKS—THE PUMPING PLANTS—THE WATER FAMINE OF 1913 397

CHAPTER XXXII

LAW AND ORDER

JAILS—POLICE SERVICES—COURTHOUSE—LAW OFFICERS

EARLY PUNISHMENTS—FIRST CASES OF THE MAGISTRATES—GEORGE THE “NAGRE”—“EXECUTION FOR MURDER”—OTHER CRIMES PUNISHED BY DEATH—SOLDIER DESERTIONS—A PUBLIC EXECUTION—THE JAILS—- THE JAIL TAX TROUBLES—OBNOXIOUS TOASTS—THE NEW JAIL OF 1836—ITS POPULATIONS—THE NEW BORDEAUX PRISON—OTHER SUPPLEMENTARY PRISONS—THE EARLY POLICING OF MONTREAL—THE LOCAL POLICE FORCE OF 1815—THE POLICE FORCE AFTER THE REBELLION OF 1837-1838—POLICE CHIEFS—MODERN LAW COURTS AND JUDGES—THE HISTORY OF THE BAR—THE BAR ASSOCIATIONS OF MONTREAL—THE RECORDERS—THE ARCHIVES.[xxi] SUPPLEMENT—THE JUDGES OF THE HIGHER COURTS FROM 1764 TO 1914—THE SHERIFFS OF MONTREAL—THE PROTHONOTARIES—THE COURTHOUSE SITES—THE BATONNIERS 413

CHAPTER XXXIII

HOSPITALS

THE HOTEL DIEU: JEANNE MANCE—THE HOSPITALIERES OF LA FLECHE—THE HOTEL DIEU CHAPEL—ST. PATRICK’S HOSPITAL—THE MIGRATION TO PINE AVENUE—THE PRESENT MODERN HOSPITAL.

THE GENERAL HOSPITAL: “THE LADIES BENEVOLENT SOCIETY”—THE HOUSE OF RECOVERY—THE MONTREAL GENERAL HOSPITAL—ITS BENEFACTORS AND ITS ADDITIONS—THE EARLY TRAINING OF NURSES—THE ANNEX OF 1913.

THE NOTRE DAME HOSPITAL: THE LAVAL MEDICAL FACULTY—THE OLD DONEGANI HOTEL—THE LADY PATRONESSES—MODERN DEVELOPMENT.

THE WESTERN HOSPITAL: THE BISHOPS COLLEGE MEDICAL FACULTY—THE WOMEN’S HOSPITAL.

THE ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL: IN MEMORY OF QUEEN VICTORIA—ITS DESCRIPTION—ITS INCORPORATION—ITS EQUIPMENT.

THE HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITAL: FIRST ORGANIZED WORK—INCORPORATION—THE FIRST HOSPITAL—THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS—THE PHILLIPS TRAINING SCHOOL FOR NURSES.

THE HOSPITALS FOR THE INSANE: EARLY TREATMENT OF INSANE—THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE HOSPITALS ST. JEAN DE DIEU AT LONGUE POINTE AND THE PROTESTANT ASYLUM AT VERDUN.

CIVIC HOSPITALS: THE SMALLPOX HOSPITAL—“CONTAGIOUS” HOSPITALS—HOSPITAL ST. PAUL—ALEXANDRA HOSPITAL.

TUBERCULOSIS DISPENSARIES: THE ROYAL EDWARD INSTITUTE—PIONEER TUBERCULOSIS CLINIC IN CANADA—PUBLIC HEALTH EXHIBITIONS—THE INSTITUTE BRUCHESI: ITS DEVELOPMENT—THE GRACE DART HOME—CIVIC AID.

CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS: THE CHILDREN’S MEMORIAL HOSPITAL—STE. JUSTINE.

OTHER HOSPITAL ADJUNCT ASSOCIATIONS.

NOTE: MEDICAL BOARDS: PRIVATE, PROVINCIAL, MUNICIPAL 433

CHAPTER XXXIV

SOCIOLOGICAL MOVEMENTS

I.CARE OF THE AGED, FOUNDLINGS AND INFANTS.
II.RELIEF MOVEMENTS.
III.SICK VISITATION AND NURSING BODIES.
IV.MOVEMENTS FOR THE “UNFORTUNATES.”
V.VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR THE HANDICAPPED.
VI.IMMIGRATION WORK.
VII.HUMANITARIAN MOVEMENTS FOR BOYS.
VIII.HEBREW SOCIAL WORKS.
IX.COOPERATIVE MOVEMENTS.
X.MOVEMENTS FOR SAILORS AND SOLDIERS.
XI.TEMPERANCE MOVEMENTS.
XII.THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE CONDITIONS OF WORKERS.
XIII.RECENT SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.
XIV.MUNICIPAL CHARITIES.457
[xxii]

CHAPTER XXXV

COMMERCIAL HISTORY BEFORE THE UNION

MONTREAL’S EARLY BUSINESS FIRMS—A PROPHECY AT BEGINNING OF NINETEENTH CENTURY—CULTIVATION OF HEMP—ST. PAUL STREET—SLAVES IN MONTREAL—DOCTORS AND DRUGS IN 1815—WHOLESALE FIRMS IN 1816—FIRST MEETING OF COMMITTEE OF TRADE—NOTRE DAME STREET—M’GILL STREET—FRENCH CANADIAN BUSINESSES—SHIP CARGOES—THE SHOP FRONTS IN 1839 527

CHAPTER XXXVI

COMMERCIAL HISTORY SINCE THE UNION

THE RISE OF MODERN MANUFACTURES AND INDUSTRIES

MONTREAL CENTER OF CANADIAN TRADE—LORD ELGIN’S OPINION OF THE CANADA CORN ACT—TRADE DEPRESSION BEGINNING IN 1847—SUGAR AND FLOUR INDUSTRIES—THE PANIC OF 1860—A PROSPEROUS DECADE—ANOTHER DEPRESSION—THE NATIONAL POLICY—PROSPERITY AGAIN IN THE EIGHTIES—ST. CATHERINE STREET—THE RISE OF FURTHER INDUSTRIES—THE RISE OF THE COMMERCIAL ASSOCIATIONS—THE COMMITTEE OF TRADE—ITS ACTIVITIES—THE BOARD OF TRADE—ITS ACTIVITIES IN CANAL, PORT, RAILWAY, CANADIAN AND EMPIRE EXPANSION—ITS INTEREST IN CIVIC GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL CIVIC BETTERMENT—ITS BUILDING—ITS SOCIAL FUNCTIONS—THE “CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE”—ITS ORIGIN—THE OTHER MERCHANTS’ ASSOCIATIONS OF THE CITY—A TRIBUTE TO THE MERCHANTS OF MONTREAL. NOTES: PRESIDENTS OF THE BOARD OF TRADE—CENSUS (1912) OF MONTREAL MANUFACTURES 535

CHAPTER XXXVII

FINANCE

MONTREAL BANKING AND INSURANCE BODIES

I. BANKING: HAMILTON’S PLAN FOLLOWED BY THE FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1791-1792, THE ATTEMPTED CANADA BANKING COMPANY AT[xxiii] MONTREAL—DELAY THROUGH AMERICAN WAR OF 1812-1815, RENEWED AGITATION FOR A BANK CHARTER FOR MONTREAL—1817, THE FIRST BANK OF MONTREAL WITHOUT A CHARTER—ITS FIRST OFFICERS—OTHER BANKS FOLLOW—THE QUEBEC BANK—THE RIVAL “BANK OF CANADA”—THE BANK OF BRITISH NORTH AMERICA—MOLSONS BANK—THE MERCHANTS BANK—BANQUE JACQUES CARTIER, PREDECESSOR TO BANQUE PROVINCIALE—THE ROYAL BANK—THE BANQUE D’HOCHELAGA—THE MONTREAL CITY AND DISTRICT BANK—BANKS WITH HEAD OFFICES ELSEWHERE—MONTREAL BANK CLEARINGS WITH CANADIAN AND NORTH AMERICAN CITIES.

II. INSURANCE: THE PIONEER FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA—THE “PHOENIX”—THE “AETNA”—IN THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES—THE GREAT FIRE OF 1854—LATER COMPANIES. A. LIFE INSURANCE: THE PIONEER COMPANIES—THE SCOTTISH AMICABLE AND SCOTTISH PROVIDENT COMPANIES. B. MISCELLANEOUS INSURANCE 553

CHAPTER XXXVIII

TRANSPORTATION

I

SHIPPING—EARLY AND MODERN

BY RIVER AND STREAM

MONTREAL HEAD OF NAVIGATION—LAKE ST. PETER—JACQUES CARTIER’S DIFFICULTIES—THE GRADUAL DEEPENING OF THE CHANNEL—THE LACHINE CANAL IN 1700—ITS FURTHER HISTORY—MONTREAL THE HEAD OF THE CANAL SYSTEM OF CANADA.

II

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MONTREAL SHIPPING

A—SAILING VESSELS

BIRCH BARK CANOE—BATEAU—DURHAM BOAT—SHIPBUILDING IN MONTREAL.

B—STEAM VESSELS

JOHN MOLSON’S ACCOMMODATION, 1809—PASSENGER FARES BETWEEN MONTREAL AND QUEBEC—PASSAGE DESCRIBED—THE TORRANCES—INLAND NAVIGATION—THE RICHELIEU AND ONTARIO COMPANY—THE FIRST UPPER DECK STEAMER TO SHOOT THE LACHINE RAPIDS.

[xxiv]

C—ATLANTIC LINERS

THE ROYAL WILLIAM FIRST OCEAN STEAMER AND PIONEER OF THE OCEAN LINERS—ITS CONNECTION WITH MONTREAL—MAIL SERVICE TO MONTREAL—THE GENOVA—- ARRIVAL IN MONTREAL IN 1853—DINNER TO CAPTAIN PATON—THE CRIMEAN WAR—THE MONTREAL OCEAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY—THE FIRST CANADIAN ATLANTIC SHIP COMPANY—THE ALLAN LINE—EARLY BOATS—MAIL CARRIERS—1861 DISASTERS—SUBSEQUENT SUCCESS—THE PRESENT MONTREAL ALLAN SERVICE—THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY STEAMSHIP LINES—OTHER LINES—THE SHIPPING AND THE WAR OF 1914—THE GREAT ARMADA 569

CHAPTER XXXIX

TRANSPORTATION

I

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PORT OF MONTREAL—HERIOT’S DESCRIPTION IN 1815—T.S. BROWN IN 1818—THE ISLAND WHARF—THE CREEK—THE PRIMITIVE WHARVES—THE “POINTS”—THE RIVER FRONT—THE SPRING FLEET—FIREWOOD RAFTS—TOW BOATS—THE EVERETTA—AN ACCOUNT OF 1819—BOUCHETTE’S PLAN OF 1824—THE FIRST HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS, “THE TRINITY BOARD”—FIRST REPORT—LATEST REPORT—EARLY ENGINEERS—REVIEW OF HARBOUR IN 1872—A TRANSFORMATION FROM 1818—GRAIN ELEVATORS—NUMBER OF VESSELS—MARKET AND WOOD BOATS—THE BONSECOURS MARKET—1875 PLAN FOR IMPROVEMENT NOW CARRIED OUT—FLOATING DOCK—DESCRIPTION OF PRESENT HARBOUR—ITS FACILITIES FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT—THE DESIRE TO LENGTHEN THE SHIPPING SEASON.

II

HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS—THE HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS FROM 1830 TO THE PRESENT TIME.

III

CUSTOMS—SHIPPING FEDERATION—THE PILOTAGE AUTHORITY—IMPORTS AND EXPORTS 585

CHAPTER XL

TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL

IV

MONTREAL AND THE RAILWAYS OF CANADA

MONTREAL THE CENTRE OF RAILWAY COMMUNICATION—THE FIRST RAILWAY—THE SNAKE RAIL AND THE “KITTEN”—“THE CHAMPLAIN AND THE ST. LAWRENCE”—THE[xxv] SECOND RAILWAY. THE ATLANTIC AND ST. LAWRENCE—THE AMALGAMATION INTO THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.

1. ITS HISTORY—ITS PRESIDENTS—AN INTERESTING REPORT AT CONFEDERATION—NEW FREIGHT YARDS—CHAS. M. HAYS AND THE GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY—THE BUILDING OF THE VICTORIA BRIDGES BY THE GRAND TRUNK RAILROAD.

2. THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY—ITS FINANCIERS—TWIN TO CONFEDERATION—OPPOSITION TO PROMOTERS—EARLY FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES—NO BIG FORTUNES MADE—ROLLING STOCK—A REAL EMPIRE BUILDER—HELPING NEW INDUSTRIES—HUGE LAND HOLDINGS—IRRIGATION OF BARREN LANDS.

3. OTHER SYSTEMS—THE “INTERCOLONIAL”—THE CANADIAN NORTHERN AND ITS MOUNTAIN TUNNEL 607

CHAPTER XLI

TRANSPORTATION BY ROAD

I

THE ANCIENT AND MODERN POSTAL SERVICE OF MONTREAL

ANCIENT ROADS—THE “GRAND VOYER”—GOOD ROADS MOVEMENT—THE EVOLUTION OF ROADS—“POST” MASTERS RECOGNIZED IN 1780—THE EARLY POSTAL SYSTEM OF MONTREAL AND BENJAMIN FRANKLIN—BURLINGTON THE TERMINUS—EARLY LETTER RATES—MAIL ADVERTISEMENTS—THE QUEBEC TO MONTREAL POSTAL SERVICE—EARLY POSTOFFICE IN MONTREAL—OCEAN AND RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE—THE PRESENT POSTOFFICE—ITS HISTORICAL TABLETS BY FLAXMAN—THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE POSTAL SYSTEM—THE POSTMASTERS OF MONTREAL.

II

STREET TRANSPORTATION

MODERNIZING MONTREAL

MONTREAL IN 1861—THE STREET RAILWAY MOVEMENT—THE “MONTREAL CITY PASSENGER RAILWAY COMPANY” CHARTERED—THE HISTORY OF THE COMPANY—ITS FIRST PROMOTERS—EIGHT PASSENGER CARS, SIX MILES, HORSE SERVICE IN 1861—THE OPENING UP OF THE STREETS—WINTER SERVICE OF SLEIGHS—1892 THE BEGINNING OF ELECTRIC ERA—THE CONVERSION OF THE SYSTEM INTO ELECTRIC TRACTION—THE GRADUAL GROWTH OF THE COMPANY 623

CHAPTER XLII

1760-1841

CITY IMPROVEMENT FROM THE CESSION

UNDER JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

EARLY STREET REGULATIONS—A PICTURE OF MONTREAL HOUSES IN 1795—FURTHER STREETS OPENED—A “CITY PLAN” MOVEMENT IN 1799—HOUSES AT THE BEGINNING[xxvi] OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY—MAP OF 1801—CITY WALLS TO BE DEMOLISHED—CITADEL HILL REMOVED—FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS—ROAD COMMISSIONERS—PICTURE OF 1819—IMPROVEMENTS DURING THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD OF THE JUSTICES AND THE MUNICIPALITY—PICTURE OF 1839 BY BOSWORTH 635

CHAPTER XLIII

1841-1867

CITY IMPROVEMENT AFTER THE UNION

UNDER THE MUNICIPALITY

GREAT STRIDES AT THE UNION—THE EARLY MARKET PLACES—THE BONSECOURS MARKET—OTHER MARKETS—PUBLIC PLACES—THE EARLY SQUARES—PRESENT PARKS—THE EARLY CEMETERIES—THE FIRST JEWISH CEMETERY—THE DORCHESTER STREET PROTESTANT CEMETERY—DOMINION SQUARE—MOUNT ROYAL—COTE DES NEIGES—OTHER CEMETERIES—GENERAL CITY IMPROVEMENT—AREAS OF PUBLIC PLACES 641

CHAPTER XLIV

1867-1914

CITY IMPROVEMENT SINCE CONFEDERATION

THE RISE OF METROPOLITAN MONTREAL

THE METROPOLITAN ASPECT OF MONTREAL IN 1868—EDUCATIONAL BUILDINGS—THE CITY STREET RAILWAY AIDS SUBURBAN EXTENSION—FORECAST OF ANNEXATIONS—THE CITY HOMOLOGATED PLAN—THE ANNEXATION OF SUBURBAN MUNICIPALITIES IN 1883—TABLE OF ANNEXATION SINCE 1883—PREFONTAINE’S REVIEW OF THE YEARS 1884-1898—IMPROVEMENTS UNDER THE BOARD OF CONTROL—A REVIEW OF THE LAST TWO DECADES OF METROPOLITAN GROWTH—THE CHANGES DOWNTOWN—THE GROWTH UPTOWN.

STATISTICAL SUPPLEMENTS: 1. STATEMENT OF BUILDINGS. 2. REAL ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. 3. RECENT BUILDINGS ERECTED OR COMPLETED. 4. THE METROPOLITAN POPULATION; COMPARATIVE STUDIES ON THE POPULATION OF MONTREAL WITH THE CITIES OF THE CONTINENT. 5. OF THE WORLD. 6. OPTIMISTIC SPECULATIONS FOR THE FUTURE. 7. VITAL CITY STATISTICS IN 1912. 8. A PLAN FOR “GREATER MONTREAL”—THE HISTORY OF THE PRESENT MOVEMENT 651

[1]

UNDER ENGLISH RULE
PART I


CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIC PROGRESS

CHAPTER
ITHE EXODUS—“The Old Order Changeth, Giving Place To New.
II THE INTERREGNUM—Military Rule.
IIITHE TREATY OF PARIS—New Civil Government.
IVCITY GOVERNMENT UNDER JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
VPRELIMINARY STRUGGLES FOR AN ASSEMBLY—The Case For The Merchants.
VITHE QUEBEC ACT—1774. The Case For The Noblesse.
VIIREVOLUTIONARY WAR OF 1775.
VIIIMONTREAL BESIEGED.
IXMONTREAL AN AMERICAN CITY.
XTHE ASSEMBLY AT LAST. 1791.
XITHE FUR TRADERS.
XIIFRENCH REVOLUTIONARY DESIGNS.
XIIITHE INVASION OF 1812-1813.
XIVANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS.
XVBUREAUCRACY AND DEMOCRACY.
XVIMURMURS OF REVOLUTION.
XVIIIN THE THROES OF CIVIL WAR.
XVIIIPROCLAMATION OF UNION—Responsible Government.
XIXUNDER THE UNION.
XXTHE MUNICIPALITY OF MONTREAL.
XXIANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS.
XXIIUNDER CONFEDERATION.
XXIIIANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS.

[2]
[3]


HISTORY OF MONTREAL

CHAPTER I

THE EXODUS FROM MONTREAL

1760

“THE OLD ORDER CHANGETH, GIVING PLACE TO NEW”

AMHERST’S LETTER REVIEWING EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE CAPITULATION—THE SURRENDER OF ARMS—THE REVIEW OF BRITISH TROOPS—THE DEPARTURE OF THE FRENCH TROOPS—END OF THE PECULATORS—VAUDREUIL’S CAPITULATION CENSURED—DEPARTURE OF THE PROVINCIAL TROOPS—ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COLONY—DEPARTURE OF AMHERST—THE TWO RACES LEFT BEHIND. NOTES: (1) THE EXODUS AND THE REMNANT.—(2) THE POPULATION OF CANADA AT THE FALL.

On the capitulation of Montreal in the grey of the early morn of September 8, 1760, British Rule began and the Régime of France was ended. On the 9th the victorious Amherst wrote his official account to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor Hamilton. The details therein will serve to recapitulate the history of the final downpour on Montreal during the days preceding its fall, with the new era commencing, and accordingly we present it to our readers.

“Camp of Montreal,

9th September, 1760.

Sir:

In Mine of the 26th ultimo I acquainted You with the progress of the Army after the departure from Oswego and with the Success of His Majesty’s Arms against Fort Levis, now Fort William Augustus, where I remained no longer than was requisite to make Such preparations as I Judged Essentially necessary for the passage of the army down the River, which took me up to the 30th.

In the morning of the following day I set out and proceeded from Station to Station to our present Ground, where we arrived on the 6th in the evening, after having in the passage sustained a loss of Eighty-Eight men drowned,——Batteaus of Regts. seventeen of Artillery, with Some Artillery Stores, Seventeen[4] Whaleboats, one Row Galley staved, Occasioned by the Violence of the Current and the Rapids being full of broken Waves.

The Inhabitants of the Settlements I passed thro’ in my way hither having abandoned their Houses and run into the Woods I sent after them; Some were taken and others came of their own Accord. I had them disarmed and Caused the oath of Allegiance to be tendered to them, which they readily took; and I accordingly put them in quiet possession of their Habitations, with Which treatment they seemed no less Surprised than happy. The troops being formed and the Light Artillery brought up, the Army lay on their Arms till the Night of the 6th.

On the 7th, in the morning, two Officers came to an advanced post with a Letter from the Marquis de Vaudreuil referring me to what one of them, Colonel Bouguinville, had to say. The Conversation ended with a Cessation of Arms till 12 o’Clock, when the Proposals were brought in; Soon after I returned them with the terms I was willing to grant, Which both the Marquis de Vaudreuil and Mons. de Lévis, the French General, were very strenuous to have softened; this Occasioned Sundry Letters to Pass between us During the day as well as the Night (when the Army again lay on their Arms), but as I would not on any Account deviate in the Least from my Original Conditions and I insisted on an Immediate and Categorical answer Mr. de Vaudreuil, soon after daybreak, Notified to me that he had determined to Accept of them and two Sets of them were accordingly Signed by him and me and Exchanged Yesterday when Colonel Haldimand, with the Grenadiers and the Light Infantry of the Army took Possession of One of the Gates of the town and is this day to proceed in fulfilling the Articles of the Capitulation; By which the French Troops are all to lay down their arms; are not to serve during the Continuance of the Present War and are to be sent back to Old France as are also the Governors and Principal Officers of the Legislature of the Whole Country, Which I have now the Satisfaction to inform You is entirely Yielded to the Dominion of His Majesty. On which Interesting and happy Event I most Sincerely Congratulate you.

Governor Murray, with the Troops from Quebec, landed below the Town on Sunday last & Colonel Haviland with his Corps (that took possession of the Isle aux Noix, Abandoned by the enemy on the 28th) Arrived Yesterday at the South Shore Opposite to My Camp. I am, with great regard,

Sir,

Your most Obedient,

Humble Servant

Jeff Amherst.

The Honourable Lt. Governor Hamilton.

(Endorsed by Hamilton, Camp Montreal, 7 ber, 1776. General Amherst, received by Post Tuesday, 23d September.)”1

Haldimand, as directed by Amherst on the 9th, received the submission of the troops of France.

In the French camp, de Lévis reviewed his forces—2,132 of all ranks. In his Journal they are thus summarized:

[5]

Officers present179
Soldiers1953
——
2132
Officers returned to France46
Soldiers invalided241
——
287
——
Total2419
Soldiers described as absent from their regiments927
——
3346
FORTIFICATIONS OF MONTREAL, 1760

FORTIFICATIONS OF MONTREAL, 1760

There on the Place d’Armes yielded up their arms, all that was left of the brave French warriors who had no dishonour in their submission, surrendering only to the overwhelming superior numbers of the English conquerors. With de Lévis was the able de Bourlamaque and the scholarly soldier de Bougainville, with Dumas, Rocquemaure, Pouchot, Luc de la Corne and so many of the heroes of Ticonderoga and Carillon. There too was de Vaudreuil, the Governor General, Commander-in-Chief, and last governor of New France, with his brother, the last Governor of Montreal under the Old Régime. Haviland’s entourage and the British troops present could not but admire their late opponents.

The only jarring note of the ceremony was the absence of the French flags from the usual paraphernalia to be delivered up. The omission is thus signaled by Amherst, in his official report of the submission, who after mentioning the surrender of the two captured British American stands of colours goes on to say that there were no French colours forthcoming: “The Marquis de Vaudreuil, generals and commanding officers of the regiment, giving their word of honour that the battalions had not any colours; they had brought them with them six years ago; they were torn to pieces and finding them troublesome in this country they had destroyed them.”

They had however been but recently destroyed, for the “Journal” of de Lévis, written by him Cæsar-like in the third person, tells how, after being unable to shake the determination of de Vaudreuil to capitulate without the honours of war, de Lévis, in order to spare his troops a portion of the humiliation they were to undergo, had ordered them to burn their colours to avoid the hard condition of handing them over to the enemy. “M. le Chevalier de Lévis voyant avec douleur que rien ne pouvoit faire changer la determination de M. le Marquis de Vaudreuil voulant épargner aux troupes une partie de l’humiliation quelles alloient subir, leur ordonna de brûler leurs drapeaux pour se soustraire à la dure condition de les remettre aux ennemis.2 (Cf. Journal des Campagnes du Chevalier de Lévis en Canada, 1756-1760. Edited by l’Abbé H.R. Casgrain, Montreal, C.O. Beauchemin et fils, 1889.)

[6]

On the 11th Amherst turned out his whole force and received Vaudreuil on parade. Between these two, friendly relations had been established. Place d’Armes was again a scene of colour with the presence of the British regiments led by Murray, Haviland, Burton, Gage, Fraser the gallant Highlander, Guy Carleton, who was to become the famous viceroy of Canada and to die Lord Dorchester, Lord Howe, and the scholarly Swiss soldier Haldimand. There were present, too, Sir William Johnston, the baronet of the Mohawk Valley and leader of the six nations, Major Robert Rogers of the famous rangers,3 with his two brothers, and others of note. No doubt de Vaudreuil’s suite was not far off with de Lévis, de Bourlamaque, de Bougainville, Dumas, Roquemaure, Pouchot, Luc de la Corne, with the nefarious Intendant Bigot and all the principal officers of the colony who had been in Montreal, the headquarters of government since the fall of Quebec.

During the three following days the town was definitely occupied by the British, and the arrangements completed for the departure of the French Regulars. The regiments of Languedoc and Berry, with the marine corps, were embarked on the 13th; the regiments of Royal Rousillon and Guyenne on the 14th; on the 16th the regiments of La Reine and Béarn. On the 17th de Lévis, with de Bourlamaque, started for Quebec; de Vaudreuil and Bigot left on the 20th and 21st. By the 22nd every French soldier had left Montreal, except those who had married in the country and who had resolved to remain in it and transfer their allegiance to the new government.4

Fate had dealt a severe blow to the brave defenders of Canada whom we now find sailing from Montreal to France, which would appear to have abandoned them. The regulars and the colonial troops, in spite of their jealousies and emulations, were brave men, and duly honoured as such by the British soldiery who saw the vessels bearing on the broad St. Lawrence so many of those who had recently disputed the long drawn out strife for the conquest of Canada. Speaking of this, “the most picturesque and dramatic of American wars,” Parkman continues: “There is nothing more noteworthy than the skill with which the French and Canadian leaders use their advantages; the indomitable spirit with which, slighted and abandoned as they were, they grappled with prodigious difficulties and the courage with which they were seconded by regulars and militia alike. In spite of occasional lapses, the defence of Canada deserves a tribute of admiration.”—(“Montcalm and Wolfe,” Vol. II, p. 382.)

The departures from Montreal and Quebec must have been indeed heart-rending. That from Montreal, since the fall of Quebec, the home of all the high officials of the civil, religious and military governments, was the most striking, as the natural leaders of the colony were mostly there. “There repassed into Europe,” says the French Canadian historian, F.X. Garneau, “about 185 officers, 2,400 soldiers valid and invalid, and fully 500 sailors, domestics, women[7] and children. The smallness of this proved at once the cruel ravages of the war, the paucity of embarkations of succour sent from France, and the great numerical superiority of the victor. The most notable colonists at the same time left the country. Their emigration was encouraged, that of the Canadian officers especially, whom the conquerors desired to be rid of and whom they eagerly stimulated to pass to France. Canada lost by this self-expatriation the most precious portion of its people, invaluable as its members were from their experience, their intelligence and their knowledge of public and commercial affairs.”5 (Bell’s translation, Vol. II, p. 294.)

SIR GUY CARLETON

SIR GUY CARLETON

GENERAL JAMES MURRAY

GENERAL JAMES MURRAY

LORD JEFFREY AMHERST

LORD JEFFREY AMHERST

The clergy, however, solidly remained at their posts to build up the self-esteem of the people and to rear up a loyal race. Hence the respect and gratitude due to them by the French Canadians of today.

Yet there were many of whom the country was well rid, such as Bigot, Cadet, Péan, Bréard, Varin, Le Mercier, Pénisseault, Maurin, Corpron and others, accused of the frauds and peculations that helped to ruin Canada. A great sigh of relief might well have escaped from the French who had been ruined by them.

Most of the ships provided by the English government weathered the November gales. The vessel L’Auguste containing Saint-Luc de la Corne, his brother, and others, after being storm-tossed and saved from conflagration, finally drove towards the shore, struck and rolled on its side, and became wrecked on the Cap du Nord, Ile Royale. La Corne, with six others, gained the shore, and he reached Quebec before the end of the winter, as his journal tells us. His name was to become familiar at Montreal under the British régime.

The sloop Marie, which had been fitted up to receive the Marquis de Vaudreuil, his family and staff, had an early mishap between Montreal and Three Rivers, having run aground.

M. de Vaudreuil and the staff of officers of the colony arrived at Brest on the English vessel L’Aventure under a flag of truce, with 142 passengers from Canada. Thence, de Vaudreuil wrote to the minister of mariné. On December 5th the latter wrote back acknowledging this letter and that of September from Montreal containing the articles of capitulation, with papers relating thereto. A précis of this letter to Vaudreuil reveals that, although the king was aware of the condition of the colony, in default of the reinforcements it was unable to receive, yet, after the hopes the governor had given, by his letters in the month of June, of holding out some time longer, and his assurances that the last efforts would be put forth to sustain the honour of the king before yielding, His Majesty did not expect to learn so soon of the surrender of Montreal and of the whole colony. Granting the force of all the reasons which led to the capitulation, the king was nevertheless considerably surprised, and less satisfied, at having to submit to conditions so little to his honour, especially in the face of the representations which had been made to him by M. de Lévis on behalf of the military corps of the colony. The king, in reading the memorandum of these representations, which the minister was unable to avoid placing before him, saw in it that, notwithstanding the slight hope of success, Vaudreuil was still in a condition,[8] with the diminished resources remaining to him, to attempt an attack or a defence that might have brought the English to grant a capitulation that would have been more honourable for the troops. The king left him at liberty to remain at Brest for the time, for his health. With regard to the officers who were with him, they could retire to their families or elsewhere. It was sufficient for him to be informed of their place of residence.—(“Canadian Archives,” Vol. III, p. 313.)

Not only was Vaudreuil censured for the capitulation of Montreal, but finally he had the honour of being placed in the Bastille with the peculators whom we have above mentioned.6 His release, however, was speedy. Whatever his gains might have been from trading in the early part of his career, e. g., as Governor of Louisiana, he reached France from his government of Canada a poor man. The trial of those accused of peculation lasted from December 1, 1761, till the end of March, and on December 10, 1763, the president of the commission rendered his final decision. Vaudreuil with five more were relieved from the accusation, but he died in 1764 less from age than from sorrow.

“In the course of his trial he stood by the Canadian officers, now being slandered by Bigot. ‘Brought up in Canada myself,’ said the late Governor General, ‘I knew them, every one, and I maintain that almost all of them are as upright as they are valorous; in general the Canadians seem to be soldiers born; a masculine and military training early inures them to fatigues and dangers. The annals of their expeditions, their explorations, and their dealings with the aborigines abound in marvelous examples of courage, activity, patience under privation, coolness in peril, and obedience to leaders during services which have cost many of them their lives, but without slackening the ardour of the survivors. Such officers as these, with a handful of armed inhabitants and a few savage warriors, have often disconcerted the projects, paralyzed the preparations, ravaged the provinces, and beaten the troops of Great Britain when eight or ten times more numerous than themselves. In a country with frontiers so vast, such qualities were priceless.’ And he finished by declaring that he would fail in his duty to those generous warriors, and even to the state itself, if he did not proclaim their services, their merits and their innocence.”—(Bell’s translation of Garneau, Vol. II, p. 298.)

Governor Carleton, writing in 1767 to Lord Shelburne, confirms this tribute.[9] “The new subjects could send into the field about eighteen thousand men well able to carry arms, of which number, above one-half have already served with as much valour, with more zeal, and more military knowledge for America, than the regular troops of France that were joined with them.”

Vaudreuil might also have paid a compliment to the brave women of New France, who, like Madeleine de Verchères and others, were ready to fight with the men, and who were true women and wives. “Brave and beautiful,” George III summed them up in a compliment paid at his court in London after the conquest to Madame de Léry, the wife of Chevalier de Léry, the engineer who repaired the fortifications of Montreal: “If all the Canadian ladies resemble you, I have truly made a fine conquest.”

It must not be thought that the departure of the French colonial officers was an entire abandonment of the project of regaining the country. They were to be retained for the French service and possibly for future use in Canada.7 They were called to Tourraine and there held at the king’s pleasure under pay, to all intents and purposes officers in the French service, and liable to be sent on any service.

“The British provincial troops were sent from Montreal at an early date. The New Hampshire and Rhode Island regiments crossed the river and proceeded to Chambly, thence went to Crown Point. The Connecticut troops were ordered to Oswego and Fort Stanwix; the New York and New Jersey regiments to the lately named Fort William Augustus, at the head of the rapids, and to Oswegatchie (Ogdensburg). Rogers, with four hundred men, bearing letters from Vaudreuil instructing the forts to be given over, was sent to Detroit, Miami, St. Joseph and Michillimackinac.8 Moncton at the same time received orders to forward regular troops to take permanent possession of these forts.”—(Kingsford, “History of Canada,” Vol. IV, p. 409.)

The troops that were to remain in Montreal for the winter were now established in their quarters. The French Indians in the neighbourhood were summoned to the city and requested to bring their prisoners; they appeared with several men, women and children, and Johnston established rules and regulations for their future government.

Amherst remained in Montreal till September 26th, when he went down the river to Quebec. He left on October 5th and on the 18th was on Lake Champlain, thence to Albany, which he left on the 21st to arrive in New York on the 28th of October. He never visited Canada again, but he left it, however, well organized.

Immediately after the capitulation of Montreal he had occupied himself with the establishment of a provisional military government with tribunals to administer justice summarily until a definite form of government should be determined. The French division of the province into the three administrative districts of Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal was maintained. In a despatch to Pitt dated October 4, 1760, from Quebec (Amériques et Indes Occidentales, No. 699), Amherst renders an account of all the dispositions which he had made since the date of the capitulation of Montreal. Although the greater part of these were[10] military matters, the following items concerning the civil administration may be found:

September 15; I have sent officers with detachments to the different villages to collect the arms and to make them take the oath of allegiance.

September 16; I have named Colonel Burton governor of Three Rivers.

September 17; I have given order to the militia of the town (Montreal) and of the suburbs to give up their arms and to take the oath of allegiance next day, immediately after the embarkation of M. de Vaudreuil.

September 22; I have named Brigadier General Gage governor of Montreal.

On the same day he published a proclamation for the government of Three Rivers similar to the one for Montreal, dated merely September, 1760 (“Amériques et Indes Occidentales”), in which arrangements are made for the transaction of business and amicable arrangements with the new government and the troops.

The new government was only, however, of an ad interim nature, for it was not certain that England would keep Canada. It was this thought that reconciled the Canadians to the new situation.

Meanwhile the British Flag floated over Citadel Hill.

The country was now British. France had been tried in the balance and found wanting. It had lost, through its wavering policy, a fair domain and a noble people. This poignant loss was voiced by de Vaudreuil, the deposed governor general, who, in spite of his faults, was a true Canadian and had visions of its future as one of the proudest jewels in the crown of France, for was it not La Nouvelle France? On quitting his beloved country he paid it this homage in a letter to his minister:

“With these beautiful and vast countries, France loses 70,000 inhabitants9 of a rare quality; a race of people unequaled for their docility, bravery and loyalty. The vexations they have suffered for many years, more especially during the five years preceding the reduction of Quebec—all without a murmur, or importuning the king for relief—sufficiently manifest their perfect submissiveness.”

The qualities, they had then, remain still the mark of those of the same race living in Montreal of today.

“In all things we are sprung, from
Earth’s best blood, have titles manifold.”

As their predecessors took the oath of allegiance to King George II, and became good Britishers, so have their descendants remained today, in the days of George V. “What perished in the capitulation of Montreal,” says Parkman, “was the Bourbon monarchy and the narrow absolutism which fettered the life of New France throughout the Old Régime. What survives today is the vigour of two races striving to make Canada strong and free and reverent of law.”

NOTE I

THE EXODUS AND THE REMNANT

Judge Baby of Montreal, in an article in the Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, 3d Edit., Vol. II, p. 304, has combatted very successfully[11] the traditional view started by Bibaud and followed by Garneau that after the capitulation of Montreal, and the Treaty of Paris, 1763, the seigneurs, the men of learning, and the chief traders and others of the directing classes, left the country. This emigration was from the town but the country places were untouched. He proves that a great many remained outside the civil and military party who had governed the country, and the soldiery who were taken officially to France; that many of the young colonial officers who had thought to have a chance to follow a career in the army or navy of France shortly returned at the call of their fathers whose interest in their lands and whose poverty, heightened by the depreciation of the paper money, would not have induced them to begin life again in France; that even of those who did go to France there were very many who returned, as they had intended; hence the recurrence of names, in the history after the cession, made familiar before it. The long list given by Judge Baby of Seigneurs and gentlemen proved by him to have remained, strengthens his case. An interesting list of French-Canadians remaining in Montreal engaged in business at this time is also given by him as follows:

Guy, Blondeau, Le Pellé De LaHaye, Lequindre Douville, Perthuis, Nivard St. Dizier, Les freres Hervieux, Gaucher-Gamelin, Glasson, Moquin, St. Sauveur, Pothier, Lemoine de Monnière, De Martigny, De Couagne, Desauniers, Mailhot, St. Ange-Charly, Dumas, Magnan, Mitiver, L’Amy, Bruyère, Pierre Chaboillez, Fortier, Lefèbre du Chouquet, Courtheau, Vallée, Cazeau, Charly, Carignan, Auger, Porlier frère, Pommereau, Larocque, Dumeriou, Roy-Portelance, De Vienne, De Montforton, Sanguinet, Campeau, Laframboise, Vauquier, Guillemain, Curot, Dufau, Campion, Lafontaine, Truillier-Lacombe, Périneault, Arillac, Léveillé, Bourassa, Pillet, Hurtubise, Leduc, Monbrun, Landrieu, Mezière, Hilbert, Tabeau, Sombrun, Marchesseau, Avrard, Lasselle, Dumas St. Martin, Beaubien-Desrivières, Réaume, Nolin, Cotté, St. Germain, Ducalvet, L’Eschelle, Beaumont.

The Judge gives the names of many jurisconsults who remained in the country, three of whom eventually became members of the Superior Council; also of doctors; the great majority of the notaries remained in the country. In summing up, he finds “130 seigneurs, 100 gentry, 125 traders of mark, twenty-five jurisconsults, and men of law, twenty-five to thirty doctors and surgeons, notaries of almost the same number”—“were these not,” he asks, “sufficient to face the political, intellectual and other needs of the population then in Quebec, Montreal and Three Rivers?”

NOTE II

POPULATION OF CANADA AT THE FALL

M. de Vaudreuil’s estimate of 70,000 population has been challenged by Dr. Kingsford (“History of Canada,” Vol. IV, p. 413).

Amherst before leaving Canada obtained a census of the population which he reported as 76,172 by parishes and districts.

[12]

ParishesCompanies
of
Militia
Number
of
Militia
Total of
all souls
Montreal46877,33137,200
Three Rivers19191,1056,388
Quebec43647,97632,584
——————————
10817016,41276,172

The census must have been obtained through the French and there is no ground for supposing that they would designedly furnish an incorrect statement. It does not, however, accord with the previous or subsequent tables of population.

The population in 1736 was 39,063; 1737, 39,970; 1739, 42,701; 1754, 55,009. In the fifteen years between the last two dates the population increased 12,003, something less than one-third. If we apply this increase to the next six years we may be justified in estimating the increase at one-eighth, which would place the population at 62,000. It is not provable that in these six years of war the population could have increased upwards of 20,000,—five-elevenths—nearly half of the former total. In 1761 the three governors were called upon to furnish a census of their several districts. The reports were:

(Gage) Montreal24,957
(Burton) Three Rivers6,612
(Murray) Quebec30,211
———
Total of61,780

“I am inclined, therefore,” says Kingsford, “to estimate the French population of Canada in 1760 at 60,000 souls, the number of which hitherto has been generally accepted as correctly representing it.”

At the same time Doctor Kingsford placed too much reliance on the census of 1761. It is well known that fear of conscription and other bogies caused the census returns of French-Canadian inhabitants to be minimized for many a long day under British rule. If Amherst’s census of 76,172 is correct, as well as the 61,780, that of the year 1761, then a loss of 14,392 is to be accounted for.

FOOTNOTES:

1 From R. McCord’s collection.

2 A detailed and romantic account of their burning on St. Helen’s Island is to be found in “L’Ile de Ste. Helène, Passè, Présent et Avenir, par A. Achintre et J.A. Crevier, M.D., Montreal, 1876.” I have found no historical proof of them being burnt there.—Ed.

3 Major Rogers’ picture in ranger uniform long decorated the shops of London. His bold, bucanneering deeds caught the popular fancy. The late Lord Amherst recalled long afterward how certain verses traditional in his family had been taught the children of successive Amhersts so long that the meaning of the allusion was forgotten until quite recently, when it was found that they referred to Rogers.

4 The French troops were only able to leave Quebec on the 22nd and 25th of October.—“Can. Arch. A. and W.I.,” 95, p. 1.

5 See Appendix for Judge Baby’s criticism and qualification of the extent of this exodus.

6 The accused numbered fifty-five. Among those condemned either to banishment from France or restitution and fines were: Bigot, the Intendant, Varin, his sub-delegate, and Duchesnaux, his secretary; Cadet, commissary general of Canada, and his agent, Corpron; Péan, captain and aide-major of the marine troops in Canada; Estèbe, the keeper of the King’s stores in Quebec; (all these had operated in Montreal directly or through their agents); Martel de St. Antoine, keeper of the King’s store at Montreal; Maurin, Pénisseault, merchants and operators in Cadet’s offices in this city; and Le Moyne-Despins, a merchant employed in furnishing provisions to the army. See “Montreal Under the French Régime,” Vol. I.

7 In 1767 Guy Carleton feared an uprising in Canada on the probable return of this body of officers. See letter to Lord Shelburne. (Constitutional Documents—Shortt & Doughty.)

8 Rogers reached New York, on his return from Detroit, the following February. Owing to the setting in of winter he had been unable to proceed to other forts. He reported that he had found one thousand Canadians in the neighbourhood of Detroit.—“Can. Arch. A. and W.I., 961,” p. 219.

9 See note at the end of this chapter.


[13]

CHAPTER II

THE INTERREGNUM

1760-1763

MILITARY GOVERNMENT

BRIGADIER GAGE, GOVERNOR OF MONTREAL—THE ADDRESS OF THE MILITIA AND MERCHANTS—GOVERNMENT BY THE MILITARY BUT NOT “MARTIAL LAW”—THE CUSTOM OF PARIS STILL PREVAILS—COURTS ESTABLISHED—THE EMPLOYMENT OF FRENCH-CANADIAN MILITIA CAPTAINS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE—SENTENCES FROM THE REGISTERS OF THE MONTREAL COURTS—GOVERNOR GAGE’S ORDINANCES—TRADE—THE PORT—GAGE’S REPORT TO PITT ON THE STATE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTREAL—THE PROMULGATION OF THE DECLARATION OF THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PARIS—REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE LIQUIDATION OF THE PAPER MONEY—LEAVE TO THE FRENCH TO DEPART—LAST ORDINANCES OF GAGE—HIS DEPARTURE.

Brigadier Gage was appointed governor of Montreal on September 21, 1760.1 He early won the esteem of the townspeople. All his ordinances manifest the desire to act in accordance with justice and in harmony with the people. Montrealers recognized this and shortly after the death of George II, which took place on October 25th, expressed their confidence in their rulers in an address written in English and French. The English version as inserted in the New York Gazette is as follows:

“To his Excellency, General Gage, governor of Montreal and its dependencies.

“The address of the officers of militia and merchants of the city of Montreal.

[14]

“Cruel Destiny has thus cutt short the Glorious Days of so Great and so Magnanimous a Monarch! We are come to pour out our Grief unto the paternal Bosom of Your Excellency, the Sole Tribute of Gratitude of a People who will never cease to Exalt the mildness and Moderation of their New Masters. The General who has conquered us has rather treated Us as a Father than a Vanquisher and has left us a precious Pledge2 by name and deed of his Goodness to Us. What acknowledgements are we not beholden to make for so many Favours? Ha! They shall be forever Engraven in our Hearts in Indelible Characters. We Entreat Your Excellency to continue us the Honour of Your Protection. We will endeavour to Deserve it by Our Zeal and by the Earnest Prayers We shall ever offer up to the Immortal Being for Your Health and Preservation.” (Canadian Archives, A. & W., I, 96, I, page 327.)

The mildness and moderation of the “New Masters” was particularly shown by the retention of existing laws and customs. It will be recalled that Vaudreuil, in the Articles of Capitulation had asked that “French and Canadians should be continued to be governed according to the customs of Paris and the laws and usages established for this country and should not be subject to any other laws than those established under the French dominion.” Whereupon Amherst had replied that this had been answered by the preceding article and especially by the reply to the last (Article 41), asking that the British government should only require a strict neutrality of the Canadians, which said curtly: “They become subjects of the king”—a non-committal reply, which at first looked severe but was, as the conscientious historian, Jacques Viger,3 has said, just and reasonable under the circumstances. In the event, Amherst granted more than his answer would suggest, for during the Interregnum, the French and British incomers continued to be governed according to the custom of Paris. Hence the gratitude expressed through General Gage was well deserved.

The period of the Interregnum, now beginning (September 8, 1760, to August 10, 1764), which was to last until the promulgation of the treaty of Paris, and the official publication by Governor General Murray of his civil appointment, has been called erroneously by several French historians, “La Regne Militaire,” a term suggestive of military despotism and summary justice. Commander Jacques Viger, M. Labrie, Judge Mondelet and others rejected this erroneous misnomer in the columns of the Journal “La Bibliotheque Canadienne,” being edited in 1827 by Bibaud, the well known historian. For, after examining the documents of the period they came to the conclusion that the name of La Regne Militaire could only be merited because, as most of the official men of the law having been in Government employ had left the country and new justices had to be created who should judge according to “les lois, formes et usages” of the country, the government devolved perforce on the military men and of themilices,” the only educated men left besides the clergy.

This is made clear by a memoir of October 15, 1777, to the British government on the subject of the administration of justice, drawn up by Judges Panet, Mabane and Dunn, of whom Pierre Panet had been one of the greffiers at Montreal, and the others had had close relations with the military judges. Their testimony is therefore convincing. They state:[15] “Though Canada was conquered by His Majesty’s arms in the fall of 1760, the administration in England did not interfere with the interior government of it till the year 1763. It remained, during that period, as formerly, with three districts, under the separate command of military officers who established in their respective districts, military courts under different forms, indeed, but in which, according to the policy observed in wise nations towards a conquered people the laws and usages of Canada were observed in the rules of decision.”

The basis of the new military government was the placard issued by General Amherst from Montreal on the 22d of September, 1760, in which he announced the new order of the government for the old and new subjects, and outlined the new form of military government throughout the three districts, by the appointment in each parish of the officers of the militia, the commandant of the regular troops and a third court of further appeal to the governor, as the future demonstrators of justice, and then left it to the local governors of the other two divisions of the country to establish their own courts. These officers of militia were the most competent at the time to carry on the traditional “custom of Paris” as they were mostly appointed from the Seigneurs of the district and the educated class.

Accordingly on October 28, 1760, General Gage issued his orders establishing tribunals of militia officers to regulate civil disputes among individuals and a second tribunal of appeal before the regular military court, with a final court of appeal to himself.

The rest of the document deals with police prohibitions to the inhabitants, not to harbour deserters or to traffic with the soldiers for their arms, clothing, etc., or any other of their accoutrements; it orders chimneys to be swept once a month, and other precautions against fire; carpenters were to be prepared with an adz, the inhabitants with an axe and bucket; also arrangements for safety against snow from falling from houses, the cleansing of the portions before the house and the disposal of garbage, the keeping of the roads and bridges in good order, and regulations concerning the sale of provisions brought in by the country people, the sale to be made in the common market place with the prohibition to town merchants to forestall the citizens by buying up the supplies brought in. The militia captains being no lawyers, were only required by Amherst to dispense law and justice as best they could, being limited to civil cases.

The ordinance of Thomas Gage, governing the administration of justice in his jurisdiction of Montreal by dividing it into five districts with definite powers and the regulations for the upkeep of the courts therein, was dated at Montreal, October 13, 1761. In each of the five districts there was to assemble on the first and fifteenth of each month a court of officers of the “Milice.” These militia courts were to be composed of not more than seven and not less than five members, of which one should hold the rank of captain, the senior to act as president. The officers of militia of each district were summoned to meet in their parishes on the 24th of October to make arrangements for the whole of these courts and to prepare rosters of officers for duty therein.

The Town of Montreal was set apart as a judicial district of its own, with a local board of officers to administer the laws. Appeal was allowed from these courts to three boards of officers of His Majesty’s Troops, one to meet at Montreal, the other at Varennes and the third at St. Sulpice, these courts of appeal to sit on the 20th of each month. A further appeal from these courts to the governor in person was provided for.

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In the event of capital crimes, officers of militia were authorized to arrest the criminals and their accomplices and to conduct them under guard to Montreal, the militia officers to furnish with each prisoner an account of the crime and a list of witnesses. In civil cases involving small amounts, not exceeding twenty livres all the officers of the militia were individually granted authority to adjudicate with an appeal to and no further than the militia courts of the districts.

Provision was made for the payment of the militia officers for all of these duties by a scale of fees, a treasurer to be appointed for each court. The officers of militia were especially enjoined to maintain peace and order within their respective districts.

On October 17th the Conseil des Capitaines de Milice de Montreal presented a memorial to the governor expressing their willingness to administer justice gratuitously, as they had done in the past, but requesting as a favour from His Excellency that they be exempted from the obligation to billet troops in their domiciles. They requested that six cords of wood be purchased to heat the chamber in which their sittings were held and that Mr. Panet, their clerk, be compensated for his services at the rate of thirty sols for each sentence. Two militia sergeants had been appointed to act as bailiffs and criers of the court, and a tariff of fees was asked for to provide for their pay. These sergeants, it was also explained, were not only made use of in the administration of justice but also for the district, for the supervision of the statutory labour or corvèe. This memorial, which was signed “R. Decouange,” was approved by the governor.4

The inclusion of the French officers in the administration of the affairs of the country was a wise and honest attempt on the part of the British to carry out the promise of the capitulation to retain for the present the laws and customs of the past. In choosing the officers of the militia they were well advised, since the commissions there were held by the Seigneurs and the other notabilities of their respective districts, men who were the best educated and the most esteemed in the country. The choice was politic also, for it secured the continuance of the services of men who, under the old régime, had already been in charge of the conduct of justice, as well as public and communal affairs. Indeed it was to them that there had been intrusted the carrying out of the public works, such as road making and repairs, bridge building, the regulation of statutory labor through corvèes, etc. In the new régime, therefore, the militia officers were practically reinstated in their former functions.

An examination has been made by Judge Mondelet of Three Rivers, of the registers kept of the decisions of the military court of Montreal. These latter have been generally found equitable and founded on positive law; they are legally attested to in most cases, the secretary of the council being a Frenchman skilled in the law, such as was Pierre Panet, the notary, and the minutes are all in French. The first four registers contain the transactions of the “Chambre de Milices” presided over by the captains of the militia, and dealt only with civil cases. The fifth and sixth of these registers contain the criminal decisions of[17] the court martials of the Chambre Militaire of Montreal and that of St. Sulpice, as well as appeals from the “Chambre de Milices.” This court was composed only of officers of the regular army to the number of five. In addition there was the further right of appeal to the governor. The seventh register “appeals to the governor,” records the decisions of General Gage (page 299), and of General Burton (page 95).

By consulting the records we find that order during this period was observed independently of the racial distinctions in the city. We hear of, for instance, early in 1761 of the execution of a grenadier of the Forty-fourth Regiment for robbery, which is balanced by that of a French soldier, formerly of the La Salle Regiment, for the murder of a habitant at Ile Jésus, the execution being carried out in the market place.

It will be interesting here to notice some of the court martials held at Montreal in the years 1761 and 1762. It will be seen that French and English, the “new” and the “old” subjects, came equally under them, being treated with equal justice. The following cases from the “Livre d’orde” reveal this.

Montreal, June 3, 1761, at the court martial general, Lieutenant-Colonel Grant presiding, Jean Marchand of Boucherville, was prosecuted for the murder of Joseph Carpentier, a Canadian,—acquitted.

Tuesday, June 30, William Bewen accused of having intoxicated soldiers and of selling rum without license, is found guilty, having been accessory to his associate, Isaac Lawrence, who has the habit of selling rum to the soldiers,—condemned to receive 200 stripes of the cat-o’-nine tails, and to be driven from the town at the beat of the drum. (First of July, Isaac Lawrence similarly condemned.)

August 6, Joseph Lavalleé and François Herpin, inhabitants of Montreal, prosecuted for theft,—acquitted.

Joseph Burgen, one of those who came following the army, is accused and convicted for theft, and condemned to be hanged by the neck until death shall ensue. The General approved the sentence, but pardoned him on the condition that he left this government without delay.

August 13, George Skipper and Bellair, bakers, accused and arraigned by Captain Disnay for having sold bread, which had not the requisite weight,—acquitted.

September 19, John Charlette and one named Lameure, Canadians, are indicted for having solicited Joseph Myard, a drummer, to desert. Charlette is acquitted and Lameure is found guilty and condemned to receive 300 blows from the whip. He is pardoned by the General.

December 13, William Morris, accused of having kept a dissolute house, is condemned to a fine of £5.

December 24, two Canadians prosecuted for having the property of the King in their possession. One is acquitted and the other found guilty and condemned to receive 400 stripes of the lash. The General approves the sentence, but reduces the lashes to fifty.

For 1762, we may choose an incident which shows the growth of the tendency towards the unpleasant relations between the Montreal English merchants and the military, which afterwards had such serious results, and helped to occasion the recall of General Murray.

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February 26, Mr. Grant and Edward Chinn, merchants, accused of having insulted Ensign Nott of the Fourth Battalion of the Sixth Regiment of Royal Americans, are found guilty and condemned, Mr. Grant to a fine of £30 and Mr. Chinn to a fine of £20, “which sums will be employed according to the direction of the General to the relief of the unhappy poor in Montreal.” Pardon is to be asked of Ensign Nott in the presence of the garrison of Montreal in the following terms, namely—“Ensign Nott I am very sorry for having been guilty of assault in your regard and very humbly ask your pardon.” The General approved the sentence, but reduced the fine of Mr. Grant to £20. Mr. Forrest Oakes was also prosecuted for a like offence and condemned also to ask pardon of Ensign Nott, and to undergo fourteen days’ imprisonment. The General reduced the imprisonment to twenty-four hours and exempted Mr. Oakes from asking pardon, because it appeared to him that the injuries received had been reciprocal.

From these judgments, we may see that, while the Chambre de Justice of Chambre de Milices judged purely civil affairs, all criminal affairs, great and small, were relegated to the “Council of War,” otherwise called the “Court Martial,” which performed the functions nowadays of the courts of Quarter Sessions and criminal courts of King’s Bench. The “General” was the final court of appeal.

A glance at some of the ordinances of this period will further illustrate the life of the town. On November 27 Governor Gage found it necessary to issue ordinances against merchants, who without permission of the governor, went to sell their merchandise and intoxicating liquors in the country places. On the 13th of January, 1762, there occurred a further ordinance, explaining the former and forbidding in addition the sale of liquors to soldiers and savages, and fixing the quantity lawful to be sold to the inhabitants at one time. These merchants were probably newcomers from the English colonies now drifting into the city and anxious to make good quickly rather than scrupulously.

On the 12th of May regulations were issued concerning the amount of cords of wood that should be furnished to the troops.

On July 26th, Gage endeavors to arrange for the money exchange values. He orders that six livres tournois shall be equal to eight shillings, or ten sols of Montreal money.

On July 31st, Gage has his mind on the repair of the fortifications, “seeing that they are falling into ruin and wishing to carry on the old regulations for the common good, following in this time of uncertainty, the ancient usages, which are not opposed to the service of the king,” and therefore he ordered that there shall be imposed every year commencing with 1762, a sum, of which a third shall be paid by the Seminary of St. Sulpice and the other two-thirds by the regular and secular communities and the inhabitants of the said Town of Montreal, for repairs to commence in the following spring, but that the gate, on which they are working, shall be made perfect this year, and “that the said imposition, for which the money shall be remitted to a person named by the Chambre of Militia of the said Montreal, shall not surpass the sum of 6,000 livres each year” and shall continue until the entire repair of the said enclosure is made, at the end of which repairs, the present ordinance shall remain null and void.

On August 3d, Gage seeing that different standards of weights and measures were being used, and to prevent frauds slipping into the commercial life of the[19] city, established that, in Montreal, the English standard yard measure should be used according to the standard to be kept by the “major of the place.” This regulation it was hoped would suit both the English and French.

St. Amable Street

IN THE DAYS OF THE OLD REGIME

St. Amable Street, a narrow thoroughfare west of the lower part of Jaques Cartier Square and near the spot where the Chateau de Vaudreuil once stood, was a fashionable quarter in the gay days before the “Capitulation.” The house marked by a projecting sign “The Woodbine” is said to have been the site of a saloon for two hundred years.

On October 18th he has to settle the prices, which the bakers of the town should charge for various kinds of bread.

On November 15th, foreseeing the future possibilities of Montreal trade, Governor Gage issued an ordinance for the establishment of a Customs House and he orders Thomas Lambs to be recognized as its director, and Richard Oakes as the visitor of the said Custom House in Montreal.

The following will interest Montreal merchants of today, being significant of the first loosening of restrictions upon Montreal on the part of Quebec. “All ship owners and others interested in trade are warned that all of the vessels coming from Europe or the colonies charged on account of merchants and others, who wish to come there to do business, can follow their destinations up to the city of Montreal without being discharged and re-charged with merchandise at Quebec under any pretext whatever, unless they are suspected of carrying goods of contraband, in the design of making illicit trade.”

On the 7th of January, 1763, regulations forbidding excess speed of the carriages and horses in the streets of Montreal and suburbs had to be laid down.

On the 4th of April Gage issued an ordinance establishing the Custom House at Montreal, with regulations to the captains of ships and officers, sailors and others to carry out the regulations issued, which show that all the paraphernalia and customary duty of ships reporting to the customs, avoiding smuggling, etc., were now full of vigour. Montreal was beginning to be a port of some pretensions.

All these regulations show that the British authorities, while affirming the customs of the country and maintaining the law, as known by the people and administered by their own men of ability and learning, the captains of the militia, of whom many were of the noblesse, providing progressive trade regulations, required for the development of the port and of the up-country commerce, of which the headquarters were at Montreal, were wise rulers.

The care with which the inhabitants were instructed in the knowledge of political events happening outside of their own sphere, the participation in their own judicial code by their own officers, thus beginning, as it were, to be permitted for the first time to participate in their duty of taking part in the government, the justice with which they were treated by the conquerors, the faithful fulfilment of dues for service received, brought about a unity with the English soldiery and the new governors, that disposed the conquered people to feel little regret at the departure of the French Régime from Canada.

Many there were, who were still borne up by the hope that the expected peace would restore Canada to France, but the majority were indifferent and if anything glad to have things remain as they were. The position at Montreal may be summed up in the words of General Gage’s report to Amherst, dated March 20, 1762, sent on to London the same year.5

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“I feel the highest satisfaction that I am able to inform you that during my command of this government I have made it my constant care and attention that the Canadians should be treated agreeable to His Majesty’s kind and humane intentions. No invasion on their property or assault on their person has gone unpunished. All reproaches on their subjection by the fate of arms, revilings on their customs or country and all reflections on their religion, have been discountenanced and forbid. No distinction has been made between the Briton and Canadian, but equally regarded as subjects of the same prince. The soldiers live peaceably with the inhabitants and they reciprocally acquire an affection for each other.”

Those who know the British soldier will not be surprised to hear that in the distress that fell upon the French Canadians in 1761, mostly through the non-payment of the obligations incurred by the French government, for the redemption of the paper money not yet liquidated since the capitulation, the soldiers gave each one a day’s provisions monthly to relieve the immediate distress. Quebec suffered most. Montreal merchants came to the rescue and swelled the general subscription lists.

As Governor Gage was on the spot, his official report may be further largely quoted as that of an historian of Montreal. After the above opening remarks on the amicable relations existing between the French-Canadians and British, he continues: “The Indians have been treated on the same principles of humanity. They have had immediate justice for all their wrongs and no tricks or artifices have hitherto been attempted to defraud them in their trade.”

He sends a return of the present state of the troops and artillery and a report of the fortifications. Speaking of those of Montreal he notes: “Upon a height within the city is a small square work of wood, completed since the capitulation, provided with a few pieces of artillery and capable of containing seventy or eighty men.”

“The soil produces all sorts of summer grains. In some parts of the government the wheat is sown in autumn. Every kind of pulse and other vegetables to which I may add some fruits, viz., apples, pears, plums, melons, etc. Cider is made here, but as yet in small quantities. In general every fruit tree hardy enough to withstand the severity of the winter will produce in the summer, which affords sufficient heat to bring most kinds of fruit to maturity.”

Reporting as befits one stationed at the center and headquarters of the fur trade on the profits to the French king from the posts he says, “I must conclude His Majesty gained very little from this commerce.”

He then records what must have been of great importance to the interests of the British merchants of Montreal desirous of up-country trade.[21] “Immediately after we became masters of this country all monopolies were abolished and all incumbrances upon trade were removed. The traders chose their posts without the obligation of purchasing them and I can by no means think the French management in giving exclusive grants of trade at particular posts for the sake of the sale thereof or the sale of permits to trade at the free posts worthy our imitation. The Indians, of course, paid dearer for their goods and the trade in general must have been injured by the monopolies.”

Summing up the gain to France of Canada he says: “The only immediate importance and advantage the French king derived from Canada was the preventing the extension of the British colonies, the consumption of the commodities and manufactures of France and the trade of pelletry. She had no doubt views to further advantages that the country might in time supply her with hemp, cordage, iron, masts and generally all kinds of naval stores. The people in general seemed well enough disposed to their new masters.

“The only causes of dislike which I can discover proceed from the fear of money, and the difference of religion. I understand Canada to be on the same footing in respect of this money as all the French colonies and if France pays any of them I don’t see how she can avoid paying the bills of exchange drawn from Canada in the same proportion as she pays the rest. It is the Canadians only who would be sufferers by an exception, as Canadian bills to a very large amount are in the possession of French merchants and the rest may be sent to France and nobody be able to distinguish which is French and which Canadian property.”

Speaking of the second cause of dislike, the difference of religion, he says: “The people having enjoyed a free and undisturbed exercise of their religion ever since the capitulation of their country, their fears in that particular are much abated, but there still remains a jealousy. It is to be hoped that in time this jealousy will wear off and certainly in this, much will depend upon the clergy. Perhaps methods may be found hereafter to supply the curés of this country with priests well affected. But whilst Canada is stocked as she is now with corps of priests detached from seminaries in France, on whom they depend and to whom they pay obedience, it is natural to conceive that neither the priests nor those they can influence will ever bear that love and affection to a British government which His Majesty’s auspicious reign would otherwise engage from the Canadians as well as from his other subjects.”

In passing it may be noted that Gage’s fears were never realized, for to the Canadian clergy is due the credit of having saved Canada to English rule, as will be seen afterwards. A last quotation is interesting as bearing on the question of the exodus in 1760 after the capitulation. “No persons have left this government to go to France except those who held military and civil employment under the French king. Nor do I apprehend any emigration at the peace, being persuaded that the present inhabitants will remain under the British dominion. I perceive none preparing to leave the government or that seem inclined to do it unless it is a few ladies whose husbands are already in France, and they propose to leave the country when peace is made, if their husbands should not rather choose to return to Canada.”

Meanwhile the peace was eagerly looked forward to. The proclamations of the 26th of November, given from the Palace of St. James in London, having reference to the preliminaries for peace and the cessation of hostilities, prepared the minds of all for further intelligence. This was eventually given by Thomas Gage from his Château of Montreal on the 17th of May, 1763, in which the definitive treaty of peace made between their Brittannic and very Christian and[22] Catholic majesties, signed on the 6th of February, and ratified on the 10th of March, was made known. On this occasion Gage indicated to the people the chief portions bearing upon their rights, especially that of the exercise of their religion according to the rights of the Roman church “as far as the laws of Great Britain permit,” and secondly that whereby the inhabitants of His Christian Majesty had permission to leave Canada in safety and liberty, the limit fixed for this emigration being the space of eighteen months, to count from the day of the exchange of the treaty. He communicated to the captains of his government a letter from Monseigneur de Choiseul, which had reference to the payment of debts due and relating to the redemption of the paper money, which was still in circulation, although the English governors sought to prohibit it. It was set forth that the Most Christian King would pay the sum due to the new subjects of Great Britain, but that the amount must not be confounded with the money held by the French subjects.

On May 27, the governor of Montreal issued through the captains of Militia of Montreal regulations concerning the liquidation of this paper money, directing the captains to make a declaration of the amount in their possession. They were to place the amount held by them in the hand of Pierre Panet, Notaire et Greffier of Montreal, appointed for this purpose, between the first and thirtieth of June, designating the character of the notes, with the name of the holder and other safeguards to be observed, upon which certificates of receipt would be given. Care was to be taken that the money, which they brought, should belong to them and that they did not lend their names to anyone. Fault in this regard would lead to prosecution for falsifying. For this transaction a fee of five sous was to be paid for every thousand livres so deposited. Money was received from 7 o’clock in the morning to midday and from 2 o’clock to 5, except on Sundays and holidays. This must have caused great excitement in the city. Great care was taken to instruct the habitants of the value of their money and warn them against becoming the victims of speculators.6

Meanwhile preparations were being made for the removal of General Gage from the post, which he had filled with excellent judgment and with habitual prudence.

On August 5th, Gage issued some further ordinances regulating the transport of merchandise and ammunition to the savages, seeing that these latter had again been making incursions into the country.

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On August 18 he upheld a complaint of the established merchants against the peddlers who were underselling the merchants in the streets, forbidding anyone to sell in the public places of the city, the streets and even the squares, river banks and suburbs.

On the 16th of September he issued an ordinance concerning certain uncultivated lands in the districts of the Government, which had been granted with titles of concessions “en fief” under the former régime, and on which there had been no ground broken as yet, on account of wars or other events. Those having these should present their credentials or applications at once, so as to have them recognized, to avoid any conflict with future concessions.

General Gage left Montreal with the esteem of all. He was presented with an affectionate address by the captains of the Chambre de Milice, over which he had presided as the Chief Judge, and he replied to them by a letter on October 15, 1763, begging them to accept his testimony in recognition of the services which they had rendered to the king of the country, trusting that they would continue the same for the public good and that their service, for which they had already required so great a reputation among their own compatriots, would not fail to draw upon them the good-will and protection of the king. Certainly Gage might safely boast, as he had done in his letter to Amherst, of the peaceful state of Montreal under his government. He had helped to forge the links of intimacy that bound the noblesse and the British officials, the militia and the military officers, which made for the harmonious transition between the old and the new régimes. Whether or not the alliance was an unmixed blessing is shown by subsequent events.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 Before leaving, General Amherst appointed military governors for three districts. Their tenures of office were as follows: District of Montreal, General Thomas Gage, September, 1760, to October, 1763; Colonel Ralph Burton, October, 1763, to August, 1764. District of Quebec, General James Murray, September, 1760, to August, 1764. District of Three Rivers, Colonel Ralph Burton, September, 1760, to May, 1762; Colonel F. Haldimand, May, 1762, to March, 1763; Colonel Ralph Burton, March, 1763, to October, 1763; Colonel F. Haldimand, October, 1763, to August, 1764.

2 The French runs: “Et nous a laissé un gage precieux, etc.” The word “pledge” instead of “gage” in the English translation destroys the delicate double entendre and compliment, evidently meant in the French version.

3 The first mayor of Montreal.

4 For the above abstracts of the ordinance of October 13th and October 17th see “The Canadian Militia,” by Captain Ernest J. Chambers, 1907.

5 This was prepared for Pitt according to the order of Lord Egremont in his dispatch to Sir Jeffrey Amherst of December 12, 1761, in which the king approves of the system of military government established in the districts of Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal. He instructs Amherst to send for His Majesty’s information a full account of the newly acquired country. In response to this command communicated to Murray, Burton and Gage, reports from the latter were prepared and forwarded to Amherst. These reports were among the documents submitted to the Board of Trade for their information in preparing a plan of government for the territories ceded to Britain by the treaty of Paris of 1763.

6 The same arrangements were carried out at Quebec and Three Rivers and Murray reported that the total amount of the paper money in circulation was nearly 17,000,000 of livres, that, in the government of Montreal alone, being 7,980,298-8-4. Kingsford, History of Canada, Vol. V, page 181, remarks: “An attempt to depreciate the value of this paper was made by the court of France in which it was pointed out that from the discredit to which it had fallen it had been purchased at 80 to 90 per cent discount; that it did not represent the value of what had been received, owing to the high price paid for the articles obtained; that the bills of exchange of 1759 were paid in part and that bills that remained were only such as had been issued after this payment. The British reply was that the court of France, having been the cause of the discredit alleged had no right to profit by it, that the prices paid for supplies had been established by the intendant, that the date of the ordinances could not constitute a reason why they should not be paid, that such paper money was the currency of the colony issued by France, consequently the country was responsible for it.”

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CHAPTER III

THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PARIS

1763

THE NEW CIVIL GOVERNMENT

THE DEFINITIVE TREATY OF PEACE—SECTION RELATING TO CANADA—CATHOLIC DISABILITIES AND THE PHRASE “AS FAR AS THE LAWS OF GREAT BRITAIN PERMIT”—THE TREATY RECEIVED WITH DELIGHT BY THE “OLD” SUBJECTS BUT WITH DISAPPOINTMENT BY THE “NEW”—THE INEVITABLE STRUGGLES BEGIN, TO CULMINATE IN THE QUEBEC ACT OF 1774—OPPOSITION AT MONTREAL, THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SEIGNEURS—THE NEW CIVIL GOVERNMENT IN ACTION—CIVIL COURTS AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ESTABLISHED—MURRAY’S ACTION IN ALLOWING “ALL SUBJECTS OF THE COLONY” TO BE CALLED UPON TO ACT AS JURORS VIOLENTLY OPPOSED BY THE BRITISH PARTY AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL—THE PROTEST OF THE QUEBEC GRAND JURY—SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATIONS IN 1766 TO SUIT ALL PARTIES—GOVERNOR MURRAY’S COMMENT ON MONTREAL, “EVERY INTRIGUE TO OUR DISADVANTAGE WILL BE HATCHED THERE”—MURRAY AND THE MONTREAL MERCHANTS—A TIME OF MISUNDERSTANDING. NOTE: LIST OF SUBSEQUENT GOVERNORS.

Before proceeding further it will be well to set before the reader some special portions of “The definitive treaty of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty, the Most Christian King, and the king of Spain, concluded at Paris the 10th day of February, 1763, to which the king of Portugal acceded on the same day.”

Section IV relating to Canada was as follows:

“His Most Christian Majesty renounces all pretensions which he has heretofore formed or might have formed to Nova Scotia or Acadia in all its parts, and guarantees the whole of it and with all its dependencies to the King of Great Britain. Moreover his most Christian Majesty accedes and guarantees to his said Britannic Majesty in full right, Canada with all its dependencies as well as the island of Cape Breton and all the other islands and coasts in the Gulph and river of St. Lawrence and in general everything that depends on the said countries, lands, islands and coasts with the sovereignty, property, possessions and all rights acquired by treaty or otherwise, which the Most Christian King and the crown of France have had till now over the said countries, lands, islands, places, coasts and their inhabitants, so that the Most Christian King cedes and makes over the whole to the said King and to the Crown of Great Britain[26] and that in the most ample manner and form, without restriction and without any liberty to depart from the said cession and guarantee under any pretense, or to disturb Great Britain in the possessions above mentioned.

“His Britannic Majesty on his side agrees to grant the liberty of the Catholick religion to the inhabitants of Canada; he will in consequence give the most precise and most effectual orders that his new Roman Catholick subjects may profess the worship of their religion according to the rights of the Romish church as far as the laws of Great Britain permit. His Britannic Majesty further agrees that the French inhabitants or others who have been subjects of the Most Christian King in Canada may retire with all safety and freedom whenever they shall think proper and may sell their estates provided it be to the subjects of His Britannic Majesty, and bring away their effects as well as their persons without being restrained in their emigration under any pretense whatever except that of debts or of criminal prosecutions; the term limited for this emigration shall be fixed to the space of eighteen months to be computed from the day of the exchange of the ratification of the present treaty.”

The definitive treaty of Paris of February 10, 1763, proclaimed by Governor Gage in Montreal on May 17th, was received with delight by the English merchants, for they looked forward eagerly for the civil government to be set up in which they, but a handful, hoped by the right of conquest to assume the high hand. They had long chafed under what they, more than the “Canadians,” chose to call military despotism. They had looked upon the amicable temporary participation of the Canadians in their own government, with eyes of envy. They were of the same metal as the British merchants of Quebec who, relying on their undoubted energy in developing the commercial interests of the country, and in their self-satisfaction, so aggrandized their own importance that they wished to rule solely, so that they early petitioned his Majesty for a representative assembly in this province as in all the other provinces of His Majesty. “There are,” they said, “a sufficient number of loyal and interested Protestants outside the military officers to form a legislative assembly, and the new subjects of His Majesty, if he should believe it proper, could be authorized to elect Protestants without having to take oath against their conscience.” (See constitutional documents, Doughty & Shortt.)

There were only about two hundred Protestants, and these not all educated or upright men, in the whole country at this time—in Quebec 144, in Montreal 56. Yet they desired to represent the whole people and to exclude the “new subjects” from every position of trust under the new civil government. At the time of Murray’s recall in 1766 they had reached the number of 450.

The Canadians were not prepared for the new turn of the tide. In consequence we shall see that between 1763 and 1774 the country was in an unsettled state, owing to the conflict inevitable between the two forces of the old and new régimes striving for recognition.

Under the military law the “new subjects” had been entrusted with a share in the government. The English rulers were officers and gentlemen who respected the claims of the Seigneurs as well as of the simple habitants, and moreover their religion was held in honour. They had been led to believe that this happy state would continue. Gage and Murray in their report to Egremont seem to hint how they were hoodwinked.[27] “Canadians are very ignorant and extremely tenacious of their religion. Nothing can contribute to make them staunch subjects to His Majesty as the new government giving them every reason to imagine no alteration is to be attempted in that point.”

Thus when the “new subjects” came to understand that they were only to “profess the worship of their religion according to the rights of the Romish church as far as the laws of Great Britain permit,” and that that permission was to be interpreted along the lines of the Catholic civil disabilities in England, they felt that they were proscribed men who had been ensnared by roseate promises of a wise interpretation of British liberty to be extended to them as new subjects.

The situation was impossible and at once there began the inevitable struggle and the long series of accommodations that were eventually to culminate in the Quebec act of 1774, the Magna Charta of French Canadians. The significance of this act cannot be understood unless the religious proscription in the policy of the new government be understood. Hence the opposition among the Seigneurs in Montreal, their headquarters, was secretly fostered, which later alarmed Carleton so much, as we shall see. The French Canadian clergy and Seigneurs of Montreal looked upon the new change of government as an attempt to Anglicize their religion as well as their laws. And they were not far wrong. In a letter to Governor Murray, the secretary of state, Lord Egremont, wrote from Whitehall on August 13, 1763, acquainting him that the King had been graciously pleased to confer on him the civil government of Canada and making special reference to the qualification, “as far as the laws of Great Britain permit,” which laws, he explains, prohibit absolutely all Popish hierarchy in any of the dominions belonging to the Crown of Great Britain and can only admit of a toleration of the exercise of that religion; this matter was clearly understood in the negotiation of the exercise of that religion; the French ministers proposed to insert the words comme ci-devant in order that the Romish religion should continue to be exercised in the same manner as under their government; and they did not give up their point until they were plainly told that it would be deceiving them to admit those words, for the king had not the power to tolerate that religion in any other manner than as far as the laws of Great Britain permit. “These laws must be your guide in any disputes that may arise on this subject.”

The intention was precisely to tolerate for a time the Romish religion and gradually to supplant it. The royal instructions to Governor Murray, given from the court of St. James by King George on the 7th day of December, 1763, leave no doubt on this head. The intention to suppress the natural growth of the Catholic church in Canada by crippling it forever at its fountain head by giving no guarantee of the recognition of the Episcopal power and jurisdiction, had already been foreshadowed in the two clauses submitted by Vaudreuil in the terms of the capitulation of Montreal.

Article XXX: “If by the treaty of peace Canada shall remain in the power of His Britannic Majesty, His Most Christian Majesty shall continue to name the bishop of the colony, who shall always be of the Roman communion and under whose authority the people shall exercise the Roman religion: ‘Refused.’”

Article XXXI:[28] “The bishop shall, in case of need, establish new parishes and provide for the building of his cathedral and his Episcopal palace; and in the meantime he shall have the liberty to dwell in towns or parishes as he shall judge proper. He shall be at liberty to visit his diocese with the ordinary ceremonies and exercise also the jurisdiction which his predecessor exercised under the French dominion, save that an oath of fidelity or a promise to do nothing contrary to His Britannic Majesty’s service, may be required of him: ‘This article is comprised under the foregoing.’”

The reason for this was signalized in the instructions later to Murray, Carleton and Haldimand in the clause beginning:

“And to the end that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the lord bishop of London may take place in our province under your government as conveniently as possible,” etc.

Section XXXII reads: “You are not to admit of any ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the See of Rome or of any other foreign jurisdiction whatsoever in the province under your government.”

Section XXXIII: “And to the end that the Church of England may be established both in principle and practice and that the said inhabitants may by degrees be induced to embrace the Protestant religion and their children be brought up in the principles of it, we do hereby declare it to be our intention when the said province shall have been accurately surveyed and divided into townships, districts, precincts or parishes in such manner as shall be hereinafter directed, all possible encouragement shall be given to the erecting of Protestant schools in the same districts, townships and precincts by settling, appointing and allotting proper quantities of land for that purpose and also for a glebe and maintenance for a Protestant minister and Protestant schoolmaster, and you are to consider and report to us by our Commissions for Trade and Plantation by what other means the Protestant religion may be promoted, established and encouraged in our province under your government.”

This instruction to Murray is repeated in those to Governor Carleton, 1768, and to Governor Haldimand, 1778.

Let us see how the civil government worked out. It was proclaimed on April 10, 1764, the delay being caused to allow the French Canadians the eighteen months, stipulated by the treaty of Paris, in which they might leave the country. Murray had been appointed governor-general of the province of Quebec by the commission of November 21, 1763, and the instructions were dated on December 7th. But Murray had not promulgated the new dignity accorded him till on September 17th, 1764, the first great act of the new régime being opened by his ordinance establishing civil courts. It may be briefly stated as follows: there was to be a Superior Court of judicature or King’s Bench, which should be held at Quebec twice a year at the Hilary term commencing on January 1st and at Trinity term on June 21st. Its president should be the chief justice of Canada. This was William Gregory. This man, with the attorney-general,[29] Suckling, were soon removed for incompetency. Later in 1766 a Michaelmas term was added. Montreal and Three Rivers were to have the chief justices’ court of assizes and jail delivery after Hilary once a year.

Strangely enough, though not unnaturally, Murray had inserted a clause in the act which was afterwards violently objected to by the English merchants as going beyond his commission, viz., that all the subjects of the colony could be called upon without distinction to take their place on the jury. Murray had to explain this to the English government and accordingly with the copy of the above act sent, he remarked to the following effect: “As there are only two hundred Protestant subjects in the province, the greater part of which is composed of disbanded soldiers of small fortunes and of little capacity, it is considered unjust to prevent the Roman Catholic new subjects from taking part on juries, for such an exclusion would constitute the said two hundred Protestants perpetual judges of the lives and fortunes not only of the eighty thousand new subjects but of all the military in this province. Moreover, if the Canadians are not admitted to juries many will emigrate.” Murray felt that his position might not carry, for he adds: “This arrangement is nothing else than a temporary expedient to leave affairs in their present state until the pleasure of His Majesty on this critical and difficult point be made known.”

Besides the superior court there should be an inferior court of “Common Pleas” to settle civil cases involving sums of beyond ten louis. Beyond twenty louis there was appeal allowed to the superior court. If desired there could be juries called in this court. French advocates and proctors could practice in this court, though not in the superior court. Murray explains the liberty taken by him in allowing this: “Because we have not as yet a single English advocate or proctor understanding the French language.” He also observed that the court of common pleas was established solely for the protection of the French Canadian.

In addition to the other two courts, Justices of the Peace were established at Quebec and Montreal who should hold quarter sessions. These officers of the magistracy, according to Murray’s instructions, had to be Protestants. One justice was to have jurisdiction in disputes to the value of five pounds; two were required for cases to the value of ten pounds. Three justices should form a quorum to hold quarter sessions, to adjudicate in cases from ten pounds to thirty pounds. Two justices were to sit weekly in rotation in Quebec and Montreal.

Finally there should be elected in every parish in the country bailiffs and sub-bailiffs. The elections were to take place every 21st day of June and they were to enter upon their duties on September 29th. “We call them bailiffs,” commenced Murray, “because the new subjects understand the word better than that of constables.” The word constable, will, however, better explain the nature of their multifarious duties.

We now have a view of the change in the law courts in Montreal: a yearly session of the king’s court and of the court of common pleas, quarter sessions held by the justices of the peace, and in the parishes, the bailiffs or constables.

Hardly had the courts erected by the act of September 7th been held, than the grand jury of Quebec protested vehemently at the new courts and especially at the privileges given the new subjects. Their opposition was expected by Murray for his comment, sent with the act, ran: that some of the English merchants residing[30] here of whom only ten or a dozen at most possess any settled property in this province, are very dissatisfied at the privileges granted to the Canadians to act on juries; the reason of this is very evident as their influence is restrained by the measure.

Britishers on the jury who thought the favours to Catholics unconstitutional were only victims of their narrow prejudices formed by the prevailing intolerance then existing in England and its colonies. The toleration to Catholics according to the phrase “as far as the laws of Great Britain allow” was not the wide freedom we see nowadays.

A protest against allowing the latter class to practice in the courts or to serve on juries was made early by the Protestant members of the grand jury of Quebec on October 16, 1764, as follows: “That by the definitive treaty the Roman religion was only tolerated in the province of Quebec as far as the laws of Great Britain had met. It was and is enacted by the third act, January 1st, chapter V, section 8, ‘No Papist or Popish recusant convict shall practice the common law as a counsellor, clerk, attorney or solicitor, nor shall practice the civic law as advocate or proctor, nor practice physick, nor be an apothecary, nor shall be a judge, minister, clerk or steward of or in any court, nor shall bear any office or charge as captain, master, or governor, or bear any office of charge of, or, in any ship, castle or fortress, but be utterly disabled for the same, and every person herein shall forfeit one hundred pounds, half to the king and half to them that shall sue.’ We therefore believe that the admitting of persons of Romish religion, who own the authority, supremacy and jurisdiction of the church of Rome, as jurors is an open violation of our most sacred laws and liberties, tending to the utter subversion of the Protestant religion and His Majesty’s power, authority, right and possession of the province to which we belong.” Later these jurors pretended that they had never meant to exclude Catholic jurors, but only as jurors when Protestants were contestants. The above argument shows their original intrinsigeance.

Later, in February, 1766, modifications were introduced; when the contestants were British the jury should be British; when Canadians, Canadians; when the contestants were mixed the jury should also be mixed. These conflicts were inevitable in unsettled times when two peoples were of different mental outlooks, politically, racially and religiously. The melting pot of time will solve such difficulties, when the viewpoints of both parties would be more sympathetically understood. In the meantime the historical situation at the time was painful.

Governor Murray’s letter to the Lords of Trade, written a few days after the presentment of the jury is a fair and statesman-like view of the difficult period.

“Quebec, 29th of October, 1764.

* * * Little, very little, will content the new subjects, but nothing will satisfy the licentious fanaticks trading here, but the expulsion of the Canadians who are perhaps the bravest and best race upon the globe, a race who, could they be indulged with a few privileges which the laws of England deny to Roman Catholics at home, would soon get the better of every national antipathy to their conquerors and become the most faithful and most useful set of men in this American empire.

“I flatter myself there will be some remedy found out even in the laws for the relief of this people. If so, I am positive the popular clamours in England[31] will not prevent the humane heart of the king from following its own dictates. I am confident, too, my royal master will not blame the unanimous opinion of his council here for the ordinance establishing the courts of justice, as nothing less could be done to prevent great numbers from emigrating directly and certain I am, unless the Canadians are admitted on juries and are allowed judges and lawyers who understand their language, His Majesty will lose the greatest part of this valuable people.”

His letter immediately continues with the following allusion which helps us to place the position of Montreal in the above general constitutional crisis then affecting the colony. “I beg leave further,” says Murray, “to represent to your Lordship that a lieutenant governor at Montreal is absolutely necessary. That town is in the heart of the most populous part of the provinces. It is surrounded by the Indian nations and is 180 miles from the capital. It is there that the most opulent priests live and there are settled the greatest part of the French noblesse. Consequently every intrigue to our disadvantage will be hatched there.”

A postscript to this letter to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, gives Murray’s appreciation of some of the great commercial class: “P.S.—I have been informed that Messrs. William McKenzie, Alexander McKenzie and William Grant have been soliciting their friends in London to prevail upon Your Lordship to get them admitted into his Majesty’s council of this province. I think it my duty to acquaint Your Lordships that the first of these men is a notorious smuggler and a turbulent man, the second a weak man of little character and the third a conceited boy. In short it will be impossible to do business with any of them.”

This postscript indicates the strain and bitter personal relations between Murray and some of the British commercial element in the colony, who finally succeeded in obtaining his recall.

Unfortunately, Murray was not always as discreet or as just in the consideration of his opponents, as his position justified. He was a soldier rather than a peace maker. In addition, others besides the British merchant did not see eye to eye with him in the interpretation of the new Treaty of Paris or in the application of English laws in Canada.

They retorted as did the Quebec traders, that the governor “doth frequently treat them with a rage and rudeness of language and demeanour as dishonourable to the trust he holds of Your Majesty as painful to those who suffer from it.”

In commenting on this period, Prof. F.P. Walton, dean of the faculty of Law at McGill University, has the following criticism (Cf. University Magazine, April, 1908):

He is speaking of the charge against Murray’s interpretation of the new situation of the application of the new civil government.

“It is probable,” he says,[32] “that at no period in the history of Canada were legal questions so much discussed among the mass of the population as in the first ten years of the English régime. This is not surprising when we consider that the question whether the English or the French law was in force in the Province was one of no little difficulty. It was contended with much plausibility that Murray’s Ordinances were of no legal validity because, under the King’s proclamation, legislative authority in the Province was to be exercised only by the governor with the consent of a council and assembly, and that no assembly had ever been summoned. This is not the place for a discussion of this subject. I prefer the view of those who maintain that the English law was introduced by the proclamation of 1763. The case of Campbell and Hall is sufficient authority for the proposition, that the King had the power without parliament to alter the law of Quebec. It seems to me that the natural construction of the proclamation itself is, that the King intended to introduce the English law there and then. Murray, as Masères says in his very convincing argument, ‘meant only to erect and constitute courts of judicature to administer a system of laws already in being, to wit, the laws of England.’ The whole affair was to a great extent a misunderstanding. The English government had no intention to force the English laws on an unwilling people. They understood that they were giving ‘Home Rule’ to the Province of Quebec, and expected that the Canadians would abrogate such parts of the English law as they did not consider suitable, and would re-enact the portions of the old French law which they desired to retain. They did not foresee that, owing to the impracticability of calling an assembly, the Province would be left without any authority competent to legislate.”

It was, indeed, a time of great misunderstanding.

NOTE

GOVERNORS UNDER BRITISH RULE

As it may be convenient henceforth to omit mention of the advent of successive governors, this list is appended for the purpose of reference.

*(Gen. Jeffrey Amherst)1760
*Gen. James Murray1763
P. Aemilius Irving (President)1766
*Gen. Sir Guy Carleton (Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor General) 1766
H.G. Cramahé1770
*Gen. Sir Guy Carleton1774
*Gen. Frederick Haldimand1778
Henry Hamilton (Lieutenant Governor)1784
Henry Hope (Lieutenant Governor)1785
*Lord Dorchester (Guy Carleton)1786
ON THE DIVISION OF THE TWO CANADAS
Alured Clarke1791
*Lord Dorchester1793
*Maj.-Gen. Robert Prescott1796
Sir. R.S. Milnes1799
Hon. Thomas Dunn1805
*Sir James H. Craig1807
Hon. Thomas Dunn1811
*Sir George Prevost1811
Sir Gordon Drummond1815[33]
Gen. John Wilson1816
*Sir John Sherbrooke1816
*Duke of Richmond1818
Sir James Monk1819
Sir Peregrine Maitland1820
*Earl of Dalhousie1820
Sir. F.N. Burton1824
*Earl of Dalhousie1825
Sir James Kempt1828
*Lord Alymer1830
*Earl of Gosford1835
*Sir John Colborne1838
*Earl of Durham1838
*C. Poulett Thomson (Lord Sydenham)1839
UNDER THE UNION
*Baron Sydenham (Hon. Charles Poulett Thomson)1841
R.D. Jackson (Administrator)1841
*Sir Charles Bagot1842
*Sir Charles Metcalfe1843
*Earl Cathcart1845
*Earl of Elgin1847
W. Rowan (Administrator)1853
*Sir Edmund Head1854
*Lord Viscount Monck1861
UNDER THE CONFEDERATION
*The Rt. Hon. Viscount Monck, G.C.M.G.1867
*The Rt. Hon. Lord Lisgar, G.C.M.G. (Sir John Young)1868
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Dufferin, K.P., K.C.B., G.C.M.G.1872
*The Rt. Hon. The Marquis of Lome, K.T., G.C.M.G., P.C.1878
*The Rt. Hon. The Marquis of Lansdowne, G.C.M.G.1883
*The Rt. Hon. Lord Stanley of Preston, G.C.B.1888
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Minto, G.C.M.G.1898
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Aberdeen, K.T., G.C.M.G.1893
*The Rt. Hon. The Earl Grey, G.C.M.G.1904
*Field Marshal, H.R.H., The Duke of Connaught, K.C., G.C.M.G.1911
——
Those not marked * acted only as administrators. When a governor had acted as administrator immediately before becoming governor, the earlier date is given. The names of all the ad interim administrators are not given.

[34]

LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS OF QUEBEC

(After Confederation)

[35]


CHAPTER IV

CIVIC GOVERNMENT UNDER JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

1764

RALPH BURTON, GOVERNOR OF MONTREAL, BECOMES MILITARY COMMANDANT—FRICTION AMONG MILITARY COMMANDERS—JUSTICES OF PEACE CREATED—FIRST QUARTER SESSIONS—MILITARY VERSUS CITIZENS—THE WALKER OUTRAGE—THE TRIAL—WALKER BOASTS OF SECURING MURRAY’S RECALL—MURRAY’S DEFENSE AFTER HIS RECALL—THE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ABUSE THEIR POWER—CENSURED BY THE COUNCIL AT QUEBEC—COURT OF COMMON PLEAS ESTABLISHED—PIERRE DU CALVET—CARLETON’S DESCRIPTION OF THE “DISTRESSES OF THE CANADIANS.”

The governor of Three Rivers, Ralph Burton, proclaimed to the Montrealers on October 29, 1763, his nomination by General Amherst as governor of Montreal in succession to General Gage. He announced that the civil justice would be administered by the same courts as hitherto. His ordinances have nothing striking beyond one ordering all who had gunpowder in their homes, and there were many, to take it to the powder magazine, and another announcing that on April 24, 1764, all who in accordance with the definitive treaty of peace wished to leave for France must within three weeks send in their declarations with their exact descriptions and the number of their household they propose to take with them. In August, Murray reported that only 270 men, women and children, mostly officers and their families, left the colony.

On August 10th military rule ended in Montreal but Burton continued on as military commandant.

Burton resigned his governorship in July, 1764. As the position of governor was not to be continued at Montreal or Quebec, no one succeeded him. He was confirmed, however, as Brigadier. Yet, although in command of a few troops, he refused to recognize Murray as his military superior, hence complications and conflicts arose. Murray wrote in indignation that if Burton were removed it would be better for himself and everybody. Murray is accused by his enemies of quarreling with everybody, but it is evidently hard on a governor general to have his wings clipped by having under him in a civil capacity a commander who took his orders from General Gage of New York. Where the military rights and civil duties of Burton at Montreal or of Haldimand at Three Rivers and Murray at Quebec, began and ended, was a harassing doubt to all three.

On January 11, 1764, letters patent were sent to the first justices of the peace at Montreal, including Moses Hazen, J. Grant, John Rowe, Francis McKay,[36] Thomas Lambe, F. Knife, John Burke, Thomas Walker and others. Among these were two Swiss Protestants, Catholics being excluded from the office as yet, owing to the difficulty of their subscribing to the religious test not being yet solved.

The first general quarter sessions of the peace was held on December 27, 1764, and there were present Moses Hazen, J. Dumas, F. McKay, Thomas Lambe and Francis Knife. The court adjourned. The first case was one of battery and assault.

On August 10, 1764, military rule ceased. The new civil government brought to a head much of the ill feeling existing in the city. The tables were now turned, the merchant class, already become the magistrates, were now in the ascendant and rancours prevailed. The old-time antipathies between the soldiers and citizens at New York and Boston were being reproduced in Montreal. There were no barracks, although the troops had been there four years. Consequently the system of billeting became necessary and caused continual annoyance.

The famous Walker outrage grew out of one of these troubles. Captain Fraser had billeted a Captain Payne on a French-Canadian. In the house lodged one of the new justices of the peace who claimed exemption for the house. In reply he was told that the justices’ rooms were exempt but not the other rooms, and on Payne’s persistence in claiming the billet, the magistrate refused to yield his possession. The case was brought before Justice Walker, who, as a magistrate, ordered Payne to vacate the rooms and on his refusing to comply committed him to jail for contempt. He was released on bail. Two days afterwards, on the 6th of December, 1764, occurred the “Walker outrage,” which has been described more or less fully in various histories of Canada, sometimes incorrectly.

Walker was an Englishman who had lived for many years in Boston, coming to Montreal some time after the close of the war in 1760, where he engaged in trade with the upper country. He was a bold, aggressive man, full of democratic notions, who set himself up as the agent of the people, opposed the actions of Governor Murray in every way, and afterwards had endeavoured to use his influence to have Murray recalled. In many ways he showed that he was no great friend of the Military then established in Montreal.

The outrage on him, dated on the night of the 6th, he attributed to the Military, and was the occasion of the seizure of “John Fraser, Esq.,” Deputy Grand Paymaster; “John Campbell, Esq.,” now Captain of His Majesty’s Twenty-seventh Regiment; “Daniel Disney, Esq.,” now Captain of the Twenty-fourth Regiment; “St. Luke La Corne, Esq.,” (Knight St. Louis), “Samuel Evans,” Lieutenants in His Majesty’s Twenty-eighth Regiment, and “Joseph Howard,” Merchant, all of the City of Montreal, being to their great surprise seized and taken out of their beds in the middle of the night of the 18th inst., November, 1766, by “Edward William Gray, Esq.,” Deputy Provost Martial in and for the district of Montreal, assisted by a party of soldiers with fixed bayonets, and by them hurried down to Quebec, where they were in close custody on the charge of having on or about “the sixth day of December, 1764, feloniously and with malice forethought, and by lying in wait assaulted, wounded and cut off part of the ear of ‘Thomas Walker, Esq.,’ of Montreal in this Province, with intention in so doing to disfigure the said ‘Thomas Walker.’” The informant was[37] “George Magovock” late soldier in the Twenty-eighth Regiment of foot, making oath before “William Hey,” Chief Justice in and for the Province of Quebec.

The Chief Justice was petitioned by the prisoners to be released on bail, but apparently the influence of Walker was so great, that this was not easy. The whole of Montreal was in a great state of irritable excitement, a deputation of the members of the Council, the principal merchants of Montreal and the officers of the Fifteenth, Twenty-seventh, Fifty-second and Royal American Regiments entreated the Chief Justice to grant the petition of the prisoners for bail, asking him to interpose his authority and to mitigate the rigour of the law for gentlemen, “whose honors we are so well convinced, that we offer to become their bail until the trial.”

The petition is signed by the following: Colonel Irving, A. Mabane,1 Thomas Dunn,1 J. Goldfrap, F. Mounier, T. Mills, Members of the Council; Thomas Ainslie, Collector of the Customs and Justice of the Peace; J. Marteilhe, J.P.; J. Collins, J.P.; C. Drummond, Comp. of the Customs; J. Porteus, Charles Grant, S. Frazer, J. Woolsey, W. Grant, G. Measam, T. Scott, J. Werden, E. Gray, J. Aitken, Wm. Garett, G. Allsopp, J. Antill, Gridley, H. Boone, J. Watmough, Samuel Jacobs, H. Taylor, F. Grant, S. Lymbery, Amiet, Perras, Dusault, Deplaine, Fleurimont, Fremont, Perrault, Bousseau, Guillemain, Panet, Beaubien, Principal Merchants; La Naudiere, Crois de St. Louis; Captain Grove, Royal Artillery; Colonel Irving, Captain Prescott, Captain-Lieutenant D’Aripe, Lieutenants Mitchel, Lockart, Dunn, Magra, Doctor Roberts, Fifteenth Regiment; Captain Morris, Ensign Winter, Twenty-seventh Regiment; Colonel Jones, Captains Phillips, Williams, Addison, Davidson, Alcock, Geofrey, Lieutenants Neilson, Dinsdale, Smyth, Aderly, Hamilton, Watters, Holland, Hawksley, Adjutant Splain, Ensigns Stubbs, Molesworth, Fifty-second Regiment; Captains Carden, Etherington, Schloser, Tucker, Burin, Rechat, Ensign McKulloch, Royal Americans.

Whatever the whole hubbub was about it was evidently of such importance that the Chief Justice did not see his way to grant the bail, and it was not until two years later that the case came before the Grand Jury in Montreal. Meanwhile the city had been divided in two factions.

On the 28th of February, the cases against all but Captain Disney were thrown out by the Grand Jury,2 but a true bill was brought against him. This[38] was on a Monday. Francis Masères, who succeeded Suckling as attorney general, prosecuted for the Crown, and Morison, Gregory and Antill defended Town Major Disney.

We may now tell the story in the words of the report of Chief Justice Hey, transmitted to London on his return to Quebec on April 14, 1767.

The bill against Major Disney being returned on a Monday, I appointed Wednesday for his trial, his Jury, after some few challenges on both sides, was composed of very reputable English merchants residing at Montreal, of very fair characters & as unprejudiced as men could be who had heard so much of so interesting a story.

The only evidence that affected Major Disney was that of Mr. & Mrs. Walker & Magovock, the substance of which I will take the liberty to state to yr. Lordship as shortly & as truly as my notes & my memory will enable me to do, all the other witnesses speaking to the fact as committed by somebody without any particular knowledge of Major Disney.

The narrative will perhaps be less perplexed—The house opens with two doors, one a strong one next the street, (within that a sashed one), into the hall where the Family were at supper when the affair began; short on the right hand at the entrance from the street are folding doors which lead into a Parlour, at the further end of which Fronting the Folding doors is ye door of the bed chamber where Mr. Walker keeps his fire arms of which he has great numbers ready loaded. In the hall almost fronting the street doors, are 2 which lead into a kitchen & a back yeard, through which Mrs. Walker & the rest of the family separately made their escape very soon after the entrance of the Ruffians.

The account which Mr. Walker gave to the Jury upon the trial was that on the 6th of Decr. 1764 at ½ past 8 in the evening Mrs. Walker looked at her watch and said it was time to go to supper—that the cloth was laid in the hall but that he not having been very well that day she was persuading him to stay & eat his supper in the Parlour—that they staid about 10 or 15 minutes in this and other conversation & then went into the hall to supper—that he sat with his back to, & very near the street door—that he had been but a very little time at supper when he heard a rattling of the latch of the door as of Persons wanting to come in in a hurry—that Mrs. Walker said Entre, upon which the outward door was thrown open & thro’ the sash of the inward one he saw a great number of People disguised in various ways, some with little round hats others with their faces blacked, and others with crapes over their faces—that he had time to take so much notice of them as to distinguish 2 Persons whose faces tho’ blacked he was sure he should know again if he saw them—that they burst the inward door & several of them got round to the doors leading to the Parlour as designing to cut off his retreat into that room—that upon turning his head towards that room he received from behind a blow which he believes was given with a broad sword,—that he passed thro’ them into the Parlour receiving many wounds in the passage[39] got to the further end of the room near the chamber door before which stood 2 men who had got before him & prevented his entrance into it—that these 2 with others who had followed him striking and wounding all the way, sett upon him & forced him from the door into window, the curtains of which entangled itself round him and he believes prevented their dashing his brains out against the wall, that he received in the whole no less than 52 contusions besides many cuts with sharp instruments—that he believes during the struggle in the window he was for some little time deprived of his senses, sunk in stupefaction or stunned by some blow, till he heard a voice from the opposite corner of the room say ‘Let me come at him I will dispatch the Villian with my sword’ that this roused him and determined him to sell his life as dear as he could—that ’till this time tho’ he had apprehended & experienced a great deal of violence, he did not think they intended to take away his life because he had seen Major Disney in the outer room & knowing he had done nothing to disoblige him, he did not believe that he would have been amongst them if they had intended to murther him—that he broke from the persons who held him in the window & advanced towards the Part of the room from whence the voice came where 2 persons were standing with their swords in a position ready for making a thrust at him, but does not know whether they actually made a Pass at him or not, that he put by one of their swords with his left hand upon which they both retreated into the corner—that his Eyes at this time being full of blood, he was not capable of distinguishing the features of a face with great accuracy, but from the size & figure & gesture of the person whose sword he parried & from whom he believes the words came, he thought it to be Major Disney—that several of them then seized him at once (one of them in particular taking him up under the right thigh) and carried him towards the fire place with the intention as he believed to throw him upon the fire—that the marks of his bloody fingers were upon the jamb of the chimney—that he turned himself from the fire with great violence & in turning received a blow on his head which the surgeons say must have been given with a Tomahawk—which felled him to the ground & after that a blow upon his Loins which he feels to this day—that then one of them sat or kneeled by him (he lying at his length upon the floor) andeavouring as he imagined to cut his throat—that he resisted it by inclining his head upon his shoulders & putting his hand to the place, a finger of which was cut to the bone—that it was a fortnight before he knew that he had lost his ear, his opinion all along having been that in that operation they intended to cut his throat & believed they had done it—that one of them said the Villian is dead, another Damn him we have done for him, and a third uttered some words but his senses then failed him & he does not recollect what they were.

This was the whole of the Evidence given by him in Court in the cross-examination great stress was laid upon his positive manner of swearing to Major Disney in disguise upon the transient view which by his own account he had of him, and under the circumstances of terrour and confusion which such an appearance must have occasioned; to which he answered that he had time in the hall before any blow was given to take a distinct view of him, and that he actually did do it, and tho’ it was true he had a crape over his face, yet it was tied so close that he discerned the features and Lineaments of it very perfectly and that he was positive it was Mr. Disney, of his dress other than the crape upon his face he could give no account, and then he was questioned if he had not often declared that he knew[40] nobody but upon slight surprise he said that he remembered Mr. Disney perfectly the next morning, but that he mentioned him to nobody but Mrs. Walker, charging her at the same time to conceal it, because he thought he had suffered by her in discretion in mentioning the name of another Person whose influence with People in Power had prejudiced the inquiry which was then making into the affair.

Mrs. Walker confirmed all the circumstances of their manner of coming in & swore as directly to Major Disney, that Lieut. Hamilton (as she did for some time believe but has since had occasion to think she was mistaken) was the first that entered that she saw Major Disney among a Groupe of figures very distinctly with a crape over his face and dressed in a Canadian Cotton Night Gown.

Magovock went thro’ his story as contained in his affidavit a copy of which has been transmitted to your Lordship, not without a manifest confusion of his countenance & a trembling in his voice common to those who have a consciousness that they are telling untruly, & a fear of being detected—his cross examination took a great deal of time in the course of which he contradicted all the other witnesses & himself in circumstances so material that I am persuaded he was not himself present at the transaction.

Major Disney proved by several witnesses, Dr. Robertson, Madam Landrief, Madam Campbell & Mrs. Howard that he spent that afternoon from 5 till ½ past 9 when he was sent for by Genl. Burton (he being town Major, upon the uproar that this affair had occasioned) at the house of Dr. Robertson—it was a particular festival with the French of whom the company was mostly composed, that he danced ’till supper time with Madam Landrief in the midst of which Genl. Burton’s servant came & called him out—they spoke all very positively to his being present the whole time & the impossibility that he could be absent for 5 minutes without their knowing it.

Upon this evidence the Jury went out of Court and in about an hour returned with their Verdict Not Guilty—In justice to them and to Major Disney I must declare that I am perfectly satisfied with the Verdict.

Mr. Walker’s violence of temper and an inclination to find People of rank in the Army concerned in this affair, has made him a Dupe to the artifices of a Villian whose story could not have gained credit but in a mind that came too much prejudiced to receive it, the unhappy consequence of it I fear will be that by mistaking the real objects of his Resentments the public will be disappointed in the satisfaction of seeing them brought to justice.

I should inform Your Lordship that the G. Jury inflamed with Mr. Walker’s charge against them are preparing to bring in several actions for words and have presented both him and Mrs. Walker for Perjury—I have endeavoured to put a stop to both and I hope I shall succeed.

I have the honour to be

My Lord

Yr. Lordship’s most obedt & humble servant,

W. Hey.”

The report of the trial was printed by Brown and Gilmour at Quebec, it being the second book that appeared in Canada. The first book published is generally believed to be “Catechisme du Diocese de Sens Imprimé a Quebec chez, (Brown and Gilmour).” Brown and Gilmour were the printers of the first journal[41] “The Quebec Gazette” published on June 21, 1764. It was printed with columns of English and French and was issued weekly.

Walker was afterward removed on the consideration of the Council from the commission of the peace at Montreal because of his seditionary tendencies and of the frequent accusations of his insolent and overbearing temper which made it impossible for his brother magistrates to associate with him. General Murray reluctantly consented if for no other reasons than his enemies would otherwise see vindictiveness in his actions.

On the 27th of March, 1766, Walker, who had powerful friends in England, was ordered by His Majesty to be restored to the magistracy. On the same day an order from the privy council was issued by the governor of Michillimackinac and Detroit to give him effectual assistance in his business pursuits. At the same time stringent orders were given for the discovery of the perpetrators of the outrage on him. The government offered a reward of two hundred pounds, and of a free pardon and a discharge from the army to any person informing. Montreal inhabitants offered another three hundred pounds. But there was nothing done.

Between the actual outrage and the final acquittal of Captain Disney, Walker had been a thorn in the flesh to Murray. His dismissal from the bench made him no friend of the Governor and he boasted afterwards that he had influenced Murray’s recall.

The first news of this likely recall came in 1765; on February 3d Murray wrote lamenting that Mr. Walker should have known it before himself.

Murray’s position was an unenviable one; his sympathy with the French Canadians was the basis of the anger of the little knot of powerful merchants against him; he was made the scape-goat for the difficulties arising from the bad working of the unfavorable new civil government. In addition he had troubles with the commandants of Montreal and Three Rivers who as military commanders had much independent authority, over which Murray had no control, much to his chagrin. The constitutional documents of this period contain the petitions signed by twenty-one of the merchants for his recall, and that of the seigneurs for his maintenance. Their description of those allied against Murray runs thus: “A cabal of people who have come in the train of the army as well as clerks and agents for the London merchants.” Their testimony to Murray is his justification. “We were suited in the government of Mr. Murray. We knew his character, we were fully satisfied with his probity and his feelings of humanity; he was fitted to bring your new subjects to a regard for the yoke of your kindly domination by his care to make it light.”

On April 1, 1766, Conway, secretary of the colonies, wrote to Murray requesting his immediate return. He left Quebec on June 28th, leaving the government in the hands of the senior councillor, Lieut.-Col. Aemilius Irving; on the same day there arrived the new bishop, M. Briand to fill the vacancy left by Pontbriand, who died in Montreal before the capitulation.

The result of the Walker outbreak was that Murray’s frequent representations that barracks should be built were listened to and in 1765 they were erected, but hardly so, when in February, 1766, they were burned down with all the stores placed there. A public meeting was called to appeal for shelter for the soldiers, who were again billeted upon the inhabitants, but with the promise that by May 1, houses should be hired for them. On his return to London[42] Murray in his report to Shelburne on August 20, 1766, had his revenge on the New England settlers whom he calls broadly the most immoral collection of men he had ever known, and says:

“Magistrates were made and juries composed from four hundred and fifty contemptible sutters and traders. The judge pitched upon to conciliate the minds of seventy-five thousand foreigners to the laws and government of Great Britain was taken from a jail, entirely ignorant of law and of the language of the people.

* * * On the other hand the Canadians, accustomed to an arbitrary and a sort of military government, are a frugal, industrious and moral race of men who from the just and mild treatment they met with from His Majesty’s military officers that ruled the country for four years past until the establishment of the civil government had greatly got the better of the natural antipathy they had of their conquerers. They consist of the noblesse who are numerous and who pride themselves much upon the antiquity of their families, their own military glory and that of their ancestors. These noblesse are Seigneurs of the whole country and though not rich are in a situation, in that plentiful part of the world where money is scarce and luxury still unknown, to support their dignity. The inhabitants, their tenanciers, who pay only annual quit rent of about a dollar for one hundred acres, are at their ease and comfortable. They have been accustomed to respect and obey the noblesse; their tenure being military they have shared with them the dangers of the field and natural affection has been increased in proportion to the calamities which have been common to both in the country. So they have been taught to respect their Seigneurs and not get intoxicated with the abuse of liberty; they are shocked at the insults which their noblesse and the king’s officers have received from the English traders and lawyers since the civil government took place.”

He adds: “The Canadian noblesse were hated because their birth and behaviour entitled them to respect and the peasants were abhorred because they were saved from the oppression they were threatend with.”

The letter concludes: “I glory in having been accused of war with unfairness in protecting the king’s Canadian subjects and of doing the utmost in my power to gain to my royal master the affections of that great, hardy people whose emigration, if ever it should happen, will be an irreparable loss to this country.”

Though Murray was recalled it must not be assumed that his policy of colonial government was disapproved of by the ministers for it was not until April, 1768, that he relinquished the office of governor in chief. After a time the opposition between the military and the magistrates died down, but the latter now became a fertile source of oppression to the civil population.

Let us then turn our attention to the Montreal justices of the peace. In 1769, reports had reached the Council at Quebec as to the oppresive practices of some of the magistrates of the Montreal district, and in consequence the council addressed to many of them on July 10, 1769, a letter of remonstrance applicable to “those magistrates only who had given occasion for the complaint.”

The circular prepared by a committee of the Council was addressed “To the Justices of the Peace active in and for the district of Montreal.” It opened with a charge that[43] “it appears from facts too notorious to be dispelled that His Majesty’s subjects in general, but more particularly his Canadian subjects, are daily injured and abused to a degree they are no longer able to support nor public justice endure.” The chief charges were of extorting excessive fees from litigants applying freely to the court and that in addition a low class of bailiffs, many of them French Canadians, who provoked and instituted lawsuits among the inhabitants were going about with blank forms signed with the justices’ names ready to be filled up at any moment. Thus abuses were numerous.

In August a committee of the Council sat to consider further the state of the administration of Justice under the justices of peace. A report was prepared and was read on August 29th and September 11th. It was agreed to in the Castle of St. Louis by the council on September 14th, and Acting Attorney General Kneller was instructed to prepare an ordinance on the point.

The report after stating that although the original powers in matters of property given to justices of the peace by the ordinance of September 14, 1764, were exceedingly grievous and oppressive to the subjects, yet even so “the authority given to the Justices hath been both too largely and too confidently entrusted and requires to be retrenched if not wholly taken away.” It then notices “The Justices of Montreal have in one instance, and probably in many others which have passed without notice, assumed to themselves powers of a nature not fit to be exercised by any Summary Jurisdiction, whatsoever, in consequence of which Titles to Land have been determined and possessions disturbed in a way unknown to the laws of England and inconsistent with the solemnity and deliberation which is due to matters of so high and important a nature. And we are not without information, that even where personal property only has been in dispute, one magistrate in particular under pretense that it was at the desire and request of both the contending parties has by himself exercised a jurisdiction considerably beyond what the ordinance has allowed even to three Justices in full court at their Quarter Sessions.

“From an omission of a similar nature and for want of ascertaining the manner in which their judgments were to be inforced, we find the Magistrates to have assumed another very high and dangerous Authority in the exercise of which Gaols are constantly filled with numbers of unhappy objects and whole families reduced to beggery and ruin.”

Later the report refers to evils “which will probably always be the case when the office of a Justice of Peace is considered as a lucrative one and must infallibly be so when it is his principal, if not, only dependence.”

One consequence of the report was the appointment in the ordinance of a Court of Common Pleas to be held before judges constantly residing in the town of Montreal. This court was now to be independent of, and with the same powers as, that at Quebec. Hitherto the latter had held adjourned meetings on different days at Montreal. The object was to give inexpensive, speedy and expert hearing to Montrealers.

The ordinance passed in the council on February 3, 1770, was translated and soon appears in English and French in the “Gazette.” When it appeared in Montreal it roused strong indignation among the magistrates whose powers were now curtailed. A memorial signed by fifty signatures only was presented on the part of “merchants and others of the city of Montreal” with twenty objections to the Ordinance. Pierre du Calvet, a French Huguenot magistrate, was one of the indignant protestors and his usual high-flown style characterizes his memorial.[44] According to Sir Guy Carleton’s statement to the deputation they had issued handbills calling a meeting of the people to discuss grievances, they had importuned and even insulted several French Canadians because they would not join them. Carleton who had now succeeded Murray in the Government of Canada warned them that they were acting against their own interests, that the firm refusal of the Canadians as well as of most of their countrymen plainly showed the opinion the generality of the public entertained. In his letter to Lord Hillsborough of the 25th of April, 1770, Carleton, however, after pointing out the evils caused by the law as administered by the justices says: “Though I have great reason to be dissatisfied with the conduct of some of the justices there are worthy men in the commission of the peace in both districts and particularly in this of Quebec.” (See Brymner’s Canadian Archives Report, 1890, whose abstract is here used.)

To the credit of the better class of Montreal merchants of this period we must clearly dissociate the names of men who like James McGill and others have deserved the city’s most grateful remembrance, from the inferior “grafters,” to use a modern term, then exploiting the people. These were disapproved of by many of their own race. Carleton’s report of them to Lord Hillsborough dated Quebec, 28th of March, 1770, clearly designates the “rascals” of the day. “Your Lordship has already been informed that the Protestants who have settled, or rather sojourned here since the conquest, are composed only of Traders, disbanded soldiers and officers, the latter, one or two excepted, below the Rank of Captains, of those in the Commission of the Peace such as prospered in business could not give up their time to sit as Judges, and when several from accidents and ill-judged undertakings became Bankrupts they naturally sought to repair their broken fortunes at the expense of the people; hence a variety of schemes to increase their business and their own emoluments. Bailiffs of their own creation, mostly French soldiers either disbanded or Deserters, dispersed through the parishes with blank citations, catching at every little feud or dissension among the people, exciting them on to their Ruin and in a manner forcing them to litigate what, if left to themselves, might have been easily accommodated, putting them to extravagant Costs for the Recovery of very small sums; their Lands, at a time there is the greatest scarcity of money and consequently but few Purchasers, exposed to hasty sales for the Payment of the most trifling debts, and the money arising from these sales consumed in exorbitant Fees, while the Creditors reaped little benefit from the Destruction of their unfortunate Debtors. This, My Lords, is but a very faint sketch of the Distresses of the Canadians and the cause of much Reproach to our National Justice and the King’s Government.” (Report Canadian Archives for 1890.)

FOOTNOTES:

1 For their action in this case Carleton removed their names from the council.

2 List of the grand jury of the district of Montreal before which bills were laid against the prisoners charged with the assault on Thomas Walker:

  1. Samuel McKay, Esq. (Foreman).
  2. M. St. Ours (K. of St. Louis).
  3. Isaac Todd.
  4. Francis de Bellestre (K. of St. Louis).
  5. Louis Mattorell.
  6. Mons. Contrecoeur (K. of St. L.).
  7. Mons. Niverville (K. of St. L.).
  8. Thomas Lynch.
  9. Mons. La Bruiere.
  10. John Livingston.
  11. Jacob Jordan.
  12. Mons. Niverville de Trois Rivières.
  13. Mons. Normanville.
  14. Moses Hazen.
  15. Dailbout de Cuisy.
  16. Jas. Porteous.
  17. Jno. Dumas.
  18. Wm. Grant.
  19. Samuel Mather.
  20. Augustus Bailie.
  21. John Jennison.

In a P.S. from Sir Guy Carleton to Lord Shelburne it is stated:[45] “The attorney general at the desire of Mr. Walker objected to the Knights of St. Lewis being of the grand jury as not having taken the oath of allegiance, which objection they immediately removed by cheerfully taking them.”


CHAPTER V

THE PRELIMINARY STRUGGLE FOR AN ASSEMBLY

THE BRITISH MERCHANTS OF MONTREAL

“VERY RESPECTABLE MERCHANTS”—A LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON BRITISH LINES PROMOTED BY THEM—INOPPORTUNE—VARIOUS MEMORIALS TO GOVERNMENT—THE MEETINGS AT MILES PRENTIES’ HOUSE—CRAMAHE—MASERES—COUNTER PETITIONS.

Trade passed over almost bodily to the English. The records of the Chambre de Milice de Montreal at present at Quebec reveal even in the civil disputes during the Interregnum of 1760-63 a boom in trade in Montreal such as those of the past never portrayed.

The early traders have been whipped unmercifully by Murray and Carleton but there were certainly some who were recognized as “very respectable merchants.” The British merchants were first at Quebec at its fall, and soon they also followed to Montreal at the Capitulation. Many were weeded out by failure and the climate, but the residue that remained of the class of the canny mercantile adventurers who always adorn the hour of advancing civilization, with the addition of more solid representatives of the large English houses, was the foundation of the enterprising merchant class of Quebec and Montreal, but especially of the latter centre, which quickly seized the control of the wholesale business, particularly the fur trade, the traffic with the Indians and the foreign commerce. Despite the narrowness of their vision and the jealous grasping after power due to them, they considered, as the conquering body, this small group of men by their superior activity, wealth and political skill came to wield great influence in the city and on the country on the whole well and wisely.

Hitherto, we have had to point out some of the weaknesses of those of the less honourable and unsuccessful merchant class, even of those who became magistrates. It remains now to chronicle the action of a well meaning body of the substantial business men at Montreal toward consolidating the constitutional system of the country and developing it along British colonial lines. Their political foresight was ahead of their time. Yet from the earliest days of British rule the English merchants of Montreal, together with those of Quebec, certainly kept before themselves and the Home Government the need of a representative assembly as promised to them, such as they had been familiar with in other British colonies in America. Unfortunately the desire to have this manned by Protestants only was made too evident from the outset and alienated the sympathy of those of the French Canadians otherwise becoming well disposed. Their[46] narrow inherited spirit of intolerance, their conception of British rights, for they came “bearing all the laws of England on their backs,” their belief in their own capabilities, their evident business success and the large capital they invested in Canada,1 the strong conviction of the ultimate needs of such an institution, if ever the country was to be reduced to the same uniformity as the other colonies where British institutions flourished, blinded them to the inopportuneness of the hour for the establishment of such an assembly. They forgot, imbued as so many of them were with democratic and republican tendencies, that the New British Province was not an infant colony, but one which had been long in existence and impregnated with French feudalism.

Again the upper classes were against the assembly, and the lower not prepared by education2 or desire, to take their share in popular government; much less were they inclined to be permitted to vote for a class who desired openly and not very discreetly to ignore the political existence of their race.

Still the merchants persisted. An opportunity was given by the departure of Carleton, who had asked leave of absence for a few months to place his views directly before the government, but it was not till 1774 that he returned. During that time his delayed presence in London was valuable for consultation in the preparation of the “Quebec Act.” Carleton left behind his first counsellor, a Swiss Protestant, Hector Theophile Cramahé, to act for him. Carleton departed early in August and on the 9th Cramahé issued a proclamation declaring that the command had temporarily devolved upon him. In 1771, on July 21st, Cramahé was appointed Lieutenant Governor. Shortly after Carleton’s departure Cramahé sent two petitions to him to be presented to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty.

The first was that of the Quebec and Montreal British free-holders, merchants and traders on behalf of themselves and others. His Majesty is reminded of his direction to governors in his Royal proclamation of the 7th of October in the third year of his reign, that general assemblies should be called as soon as the state and circumstances thereof would admit, in such manner as is used in the provinces of America under His Majesty’s immediate government. The arguments adduced are, that such an assembly would strengthen the hands of government, give encouragement and protection to agriculture and commerce, increase the public revenue and in time would be a happy means of uniting the new subjects in a due conformity to the British laws and customs.

The memorialists represented: “That Your Majesty’s British subjects residing in this province have set examples and given every encouragement in their power to promote industry, are the principal importers of British manufactures, carry on three-fourths of the trade of this country, annually return a considerable revenue into Your Majesty’s exchequer in Great Britain; and though the great advantages this country is naturally capable of, are many and obvious, for promoting the trade and manufactures of the mother country, yet for some time past both the landed and commercial interests have been declining and if a General Assembly is not soon ordered by Your Majesty to make and enforce due obedience[47] to laws for encouraging agriculture, regulating the trade, discouraging such importations from the other colonies as impoverish the Province, your petitioners have the greatest reason to apprehend their own ruin as well as that of the province in general.

“That there is now a sufficient number of Your Majesty’s subjects residing in and possessed of real property in this province and who are otherwise qualified to be members of a General Assembly.”

This petition is signed by thirty-one of the principal merchants. It will be noticed that there are only two of these names that appeared on the petition of 1765 for the assembly and the recall of Murray. The whole document is more dignified. The memorialists are men of great weight. Their claim as the developers of commerce is undoubted. The only weakness lay in the concluding clause which is merely the outcome of the traditional intolerance then in vogue but which was to be the chief cause of the delay of their efforts till the act of 1791 at last crowned their efforts. Among the Montreal signatures in the above memorial are those of Alexander Henry, John Porteous, James McGill, Alexander Paterson, Richard Dobie, J. Fraser and Isaac Todd.

The above memorial was set off by that of fifty-nine “Canadian” leaders who appealed for the restoration of their customs and usages according to the laws, customs and regulations under which they were born and which served as the basis and foundations of their possessions. They also ask not to be excluded from offices in the service of the king. The petition is to be presented by Sir Guy Carleton. “It is to this worthy representative of Your Majesty who perfectly comprehends the ambitions of this colony and the customs of this people that we confide our most humble supplications to be conveyed to the foot of your throne.”

The year 1773 saw great activity in the duel; the case of the old and new subjects was being argued in London. The most eminent statesmen and lawyers, state officials, were studying the numerous documents in view of the proposed Quebec act of settlement. The merchants of Montreal and Quebec determined to make a great effort. In the winter of 1772 Thomas Walker, of Montreal, and Zachary Macaulay, of Quebec, had already conferred in London with Masères about the prospect of an Assembly. Mazères, though now a cursitor baron of the exchequer, still kept his interest in Canadian affairs as when attorney general at Quebec. There is no name more prominent among those who contributed to the elucidation of the difficulties of this time than this able man. His Huguenot upbringing, however, somewhat warped his otherwise calm judgment in surveying the French Canadian position, yet his was a warning of the opportunist. “I told them,” wrote Masères to Dartmouth on January 4, 1774, “that I thought a legislative council, consisting of only Protestants and much more numerous than the present, and made perfectly independent of the Governor so as to be neither removable nor suspendible by him on any pretense but only removable by the King in council, would be a better instrument for that province than an assembly for seven or eight years to come, and until the Protestant religion and English manners, laws and affections shall have made a little more progress there and especially an assembly unto which any Catholics shall be admitted.”

The two representatives, however, seemed to have been resolved to push for an Assembly for they were both found to be on the committee organized for[48] that purpose on October 30, 1773, in Quebec at Miles Prenties’ Inn. The meeting was called by John McCord. The circumstances are related by Cramahé’s letter to Dartmouth of December 13th when he inclosed the final petitions sent to him by the merchants. “About six weeks or two months ago a Mr. McCord from the north of Ireland, who settled here soon after the conquest, where he picked up a very comfortable livelihood by the retailing business in which he is a considerable dealer, the article of spiritous liquors especially, summoned the principal inhabitants of this town that are Protestants to meet at a tavern where he proposed to them, applying for a house of assembly.”

The transactions, of the meeting called by McCord and of the subsequent ones, were recorded and sent to Masères by Quebec and Montreal citizens. He was thought to be the right person to approach as their agent, to have their case ventilated in London. They wrote to him on November 8, 1773, “The British inhabitants of whom we are appointed a committee are of very moderate principles. They wish for an assembly as they know that to be the only sure means of conciliating the new subjects, etc.” How the assembly is to be composed is a matter of the most serious consideration; “They would submit that to the wisdom of His Majesty’s council.”

They had evidently become less exacting in their demands that it should be reserved for Protestants. What they really wanted was the Assembly.

The meeting at Miles Prenties’ in the Upper Town held on October 30th resulted in a committee of eleven being formed to draw up a petition for an assembly. The following were the eleven: William Grant, John Wells, Charles Grant, Anthony Vialars, Peter Fargues, Jenkin Williams, John Lees, Zachary Macaulay, Thomas Walker (of Montreal), Malcolm Fraser (secretary), John McCord (chairman). It was resolved that a copy of the minutes be sent to the gentlemen of Montreal. At the second meeting at Prenties’, November 2d (Tuesday), it was resolved to translate the petition into French and that the principal French inhabitants be invited to meet them at Prenties’ on Thursday, November 4th. It was further resolved to send a copy of the minutes and a draft of the petition by next post to Montreal addressed to Mr. Gray, to be communicated to the inhabitants of Montreal. On Thursday, November 4th, of the fifteen invitations sent out only eight French gentlemen appeared. The translation of the petition was read, and the clause on the composition of the assembly according to His Majesty’s wisdom, doubtless noted. After discussion M. Decheneaux and M. Perras undertook to convene a meeting of their fellow French citizens at 2 o’clock on Saturday next, to interest them in furthering the petition.

On Monday, November 8th, the English committee met at Prenties’. Being anxious to know what measures had been taken by the French on Saturday, Malcolm Fraser sent a note by a bearer to M. Perras, M. Decheneaux being out of town. A brief reply was sent back dated Quebec, 8-10th November, saying that the hasty departure of the vessels for Europe had not permitted him to reply according to his desire; “However I have seen some of my fellow citizens who do not appear to me to be disposed to assemble as some of us could wish. ‘Le grand nombre l’emporte et le petit reduit a prendre patience.’”

The next meeting of the committee was to be called at the discretion of the secretary as[49] “the business will depend on the letters to be received from Montreal.”

Cramahé, explaining to Dartmouth, who had succeeded Hillsborough as Colonial Secretary, the want of cooperation by the French, says: “The Canadians, suspecting their only view was to push them forward to ask, without really intending their participation of the privilege, declined joining them here or at Montreal.” Had the petition asked for the abolition of the religious test and the inclusion of Catholics in the assembly the Canadians would have doubtless cooperated. The petition was presented on December 4, 1773; the Quebec (fifty-two) and Montreal (thirty-nine) signatures are both dated November 29th. It was presented to Cramahé as the Lieutenant Governor and he was prayed in accordance with the powers given the Governor by the Royal proclamation of 1763: “To summon and call a general assembly of the freeholders and planters within your government in such a manner as you in your jurisdiction shall judge most proper.” As the words stand it may be argued that the merchants were ready to forego their Protestantism in favour of a mixed assembly, but evidently the acting Governor had his doubts. Cramahé therefore answered cautiously, as was expected, “That the petition was altogether of too much importance for His Majesty’s Council here to advise at a time when the affairs of the province were likely to become an object of public regulation. The petition and his answer would be transmitted to His Majesty’s Secretary of State.”

The second petition already arranged for, and containing the answer of Cramahé, was prepared and sent to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, praying him “to direct Your Majesty’s Governor or Commander in Chief to call a general assembly in such manner and of such constitution and form as to Your Majesty, in your Royal wisdom, shall seem best adapted to secure its peace, welfare and good government.” Besides the copy sent through Cramahé to Dartmouth, the committee sent another to Masères to enable him to present their case and to communicate its purport to their mercantile associates in London. The signatures of the Quebec subscribers, dated December 31, 1773, numbered sixty-one, those of Montreal dated January 10, 1774, reached eighty-one.

Cramahé’s comment on these signatures in his letter to Dartmouth reads: “It may not be amiss to observe that there are not above five among the signers to the two petitions who can be properly styled freeholders and the value of four of these freeholds is very inconsiderable. The number of those possessing houses in the towns of Quebec and Montreal, or farms in the country held of the king for some private seigneur upon paying a yearly acknowledgment, is under thirty.”

As an offset, the memorial to the petition sent by the seigneurs and principal Catholics about February, 1774, and made in opposition to an assembly, urges the granting of their request “because we possess more than ten out of twelve of all the seigneuries of the province and almost all the lands of the other tenures or which are holden by rent service.”

In addition to the petition to the king signed by the “ancient and loyal subjects” of Quebec and Montreal, two memorials to Lord Dartmouth were separately sent by the promoting committees at either place. These seemed to have been presented through Masères since they are not indorsed, as were the petitions to the king, as received through Cramahé.

The Montreal memorial urging the furtherance of their petition is dated Montreal, January 15, 1774, and signed by a committee appointed at a general[50] meeting of the inhabitants of Edw. W. Gray, R. Huntley, Lawrence Ermatinger, Will Haywood, James McGill, James Finlay, Edward Chinn.

The memorial included a new element, viz., “Your Lordship’s memorialists further see with regret the great danger that children born of Protestant parents are in of being utterly neglected for want of a sufficient number of Protestant pastors and thereby exposed to the usual and known assiduity of the Roman Catholic clergy of different orders who are very numerous and who for their own friends have lately established a Seminary for the education of youths in this province, which is the more alarming as it excludes all Protestant teachers of any science whatever.” The name of James McGill, the founder afterwards of McGill University, is significant, therefore, on this petition.

The counter petition and the memorial accompanying it, signed by sixty-five of the noblesse, followed in February, 1774. Thus the duel went on. We delay recounting its outcome till the case for the Seigneurs is more fully disclosed in the next chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Witness the appeal for Murray’s recall. Thomas Walker is said to have brought ten thousand pounds into the province.

2 M. Lothbiniere, the representative of the noblesse in London said that he doubted whether more than four or five persons in a parish could read.


[51]

CHAPTER VI

THE QUEBEC ACT OF 1774

THE NOBLESSE OF THE DISTRICT OF MONTREAL

THE GRIEVANCES OF THE SEIGNEURS—MONTREAL THE HEADQUARTERS—“EVERY INTRIGUE TO OUR DISADVANTAGE WILL BE HATCHED THERE”—PETITIONS—CARLETON’S FEAR OF A FRENCH INVASION—A SECRET MEETING—PROTESTS OF MAGISTRATES TODD AND BRASHAY—PROTESTS OF CITIZENS—CARLETON’S CORRESPONDENCE FOR AN AMENDED CONSTITUTION IN FAVOUR OF THE NOBLESSE—THE QUEBEC ACT—ANGLICIZATION ABANDONED.

The Noblesse of the district of Montreal are now to play a great part in the making of the constitutional history of Canada. They had appreciated the government of Murray and had petitioned for his continuance but in vain. At the same time while thanking the king for the appointment of the Bishop Briand which was a great concession, they asked for two favours: first, the suppression of the Land Register, the expense of which exhausted the colony without its drawing any profit therefrom; second, that all the subjects of this province without any distinction of religion should be admitted to all offices without any other qualifications but those of talent and personal merit; for to be excluded by the state from having any participation in it is not to be a member of the state. This petition was signed by Chevalier D’Ailleboust and thirty-nine other seigneurs and was endorsed as received on February 3, 1767.

The grievance of the seigneurs in the latter request was briefly this: that though the French Canadians were not obliged by the Royal Instructions of 1763 to take the oath of the test of allegiance, supremacy and religious abjuration, yet these oaths were obligatory on all who would hold an appointment under government such as members of the proposed assembly, civil and military officials, etc. Hence the constant effort of the noblesse to remove this odious civil disability continued until in 1774 the act of Quebec made it disappear and saw a formula substituted which was acceptable to all honest and conscientious “new subjects.” The following oath, afterwards taken almost textually by Bishop Briand, in the light of today will be seen to be quite adequate:

“Je, A.B. promets et jure sincèrement que Je serai fidèle et porterai vraie allégeance à Sa Majesté le roi George, que Je le défendrai de tout mon pouvoir contre toutes conspirations perfides et tous attentats quelconques, dirigés contre sa personne, sa couronne et sa dignité; et que Je ferai tous mes efforts pour découvrir et faire connaitre à Sa Majesté, ses heretiers et successeurs, toutes trahisons et conspirations perfides et tous attentats que Je[52] saurai dirigés contre lui ou chacun d’eux; et tout cela, Je le jure sans aucune équivoque subterfuge mental ou restriction secrète, renoncant pour m’en relever, à tous pardons et dispenses de personne ou pouvoir quelconques.

“Ainsi que Dieu me soit en aide,”

The same form taken from the English was as follows:

“I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty, King George, and that I will defend him to the utmost of my power against all traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatever, which shall be made against His Person, Crown and Dignity, and that I will do my utmost endeavor to disclose and make known to His Majesty, His Heirs or Successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies and attempts which I shall know to be against him or any of them; And all this I do swear without any equivocation, mental evasion or secret reservation and renouncing all pardons and dispensations from any Person or Power whichever to the Contrary.

“So help me God.”

After the recall of Murray the seigneurs and clergy had looked forward to the arrival of the new lieutenant governor, Sir Guy Carleton, who reached Quebec on September 23, 1766, to relieve Col. Aemiluis Irving, who had acted for nearly three months as administrator on the departure of General Murray. He did not become governor-in-chief until October 25, 1769, Murray yielding up the government about April, 1768.

It may be noted that Carleton’s first message to the Council is one which promulgated the doctrine Salvation through Harmony or, Safety in Concord, which under the form of “Concordia Salus” is that now recognized as the official motto of the City of Montreal:

“Gentlemen of the Council:

“I return you Thanks for your kind and dutiful Address and for the Respect shown to His Majesty’s Commission; I doubt not but I shall always find your hearty Concurrence to Everything I shall propose for the Good of His Service.

“My present Demand is that all may join to preserve good Humour and a perfect Harmony, first among His Majesty’s natural born Subjects, also between His Subjects by Birth and His Subjects by Acquisition, so that no Distinction may be noted but the great Difference between good men and bad. As the Good and Happiness of His People is the first Object with the King, our Sovereign, we must all know, nothing would be more acceptable to them; We must all Feel nothing can be more agreeable to the great Laws of Humanity.

“Quebec, 24th Sept., 1766.”

The new Governor soon found that in proportion to the arrogance of the English-speaking minority demanding an assembly in which they would be the sole representatives, the noblesse were becoming increasingly restless, for while accepting the English criminal law they demanded their French civil code and customs unmodified. Carleton was inclined to accept this view, but Masères, the attorney-general, who had presented lengthy reports on the situation and had pointed out his own remedies, argued that the English law should be the basis of jurisdiction with the admission of certain sections of Canadian law and customs which would have been acceptable to the English inhabitants, also. He recommended the immediate[53] preparation of a code reviving the French law relating to tenure, dower and inheritance of landed property, and the distribution of the effects of persons who died intestate.

What may have influenced Carleton in his willingness to concede so much to the demand of the seigneurs was the fear of the movement spreading in Canada among the seigneurs to cast off British rule. His attention was drawn to Montreal as the center of the secret negotiations and dissatisfaction. General Murray in his letter of October 29, 1764, had already pointed out to the Lords of Trade and Plantation the difficulties likely to be created there if the Canadians were not accepted on juries. “I beg leave,” he says, “further to represent to Your Lordship that a lieutenant-governor at Montreal is absolutely necessary; that town is in the heart of the most populous part of the province. It is surrounded by the Indian nations and is 180 miles from the capital. It is there that the most opulent priests live and there are settled the greatest part of the French noblesse, consequently every intrigue to our disadvantage will be hatched there.” (“Canadian Archives,” Vol. II, page 233.)

One of the causes of General Murray’s allusions to plots at Montreal at this time may have been the presence of Ensign William Forsyth who had commanded an independent patrol of Scotch settlers in New Hampshire during the Indian war along the border, shortly after the session of Canada in 1763. He had been wounded and escaped to Montreal. He was related to several of the Canadian noblesse, particularly that of the Denys family. It is suggested that on the occasion of this visit there may have been planted the germs of an alliance between the French noblesse and the Scotch legitimists in favour of a Stuart dynasty which afterwards ripened into a more complete understanding.

On January 7, 1763, a petition signed by ninety-five of the chief inhabitants, including Montrealers such as Guy, and Jacques Hervieux, was presented to the king, protesting against the attitude of the British minority in excluding them from the law courts and asking for a confirmation of the privileges contained in Murray’s act for French Canadians. “Who are they that wish to proscribe us? About thirty English merchants of whom fifteen at the most are settled. Who are the proscribed? Ten thousand heads of families who breathe only submission to Your Majesty’s orders.”

Can it be wondered that at Montreal, the headquarters of the seigneurs, there is much dissatisfaction? The seigneurs at this time in petitioning the king for the maintenance of General Murray complained: “Our hopes have been destroyed by the establishment of the civil government that had been so highly extolled; we saw rise with it cabal, trial and confusion.” This may be taken as their prevailing attitude of mind.

On the 25th of November, 1767, Carleton wrote a remarkable letter in which, forecasting the possibility of a French war surprising the province, he recommends “The building of a citadel within the town of Quebec that the troops might have a fort capable of being defended by their numbers till succour could be sent them from home or from the neighbouring colonies; for should a French war surprise the province in its present condition the Canadian officers sent from France with troops might assemble such a body of people as will render the king’s dominion over the province very precarious while it depends on a few troops in an extensive fort open in many places.” (“Archives,” Series Q, Vol. V, page 250.)

[54]

Again Carleton, in the same letter to Shelburne, feared the possibility of former French officers, especially those who left after the capitulation, being sent back to Canada to lead an uprising. He knew these had been encouraged to return to France and were being upkept as a separate body with pay. “For these reasons,” he says, “I imagine, an edict was published in 1672, declaring that, notwithstanding the low state of the king’s finances, the salary of the captains of the colony troops of Canada should be raised from 450 livres, the establishment by which their pay was fixed at first, to 600 livres a year, to be paid quarterly, upon the footing of officers in full pay, by the treasurer of the colonies, at the quarters assigned them by His Majesty in Tourraine, and that such of them as did not repair thither should be struck off, the king’s intentions being that the said officers should remain in that province until further orders, and not depart from thence without a written leave from the secretary of state for the marine department.

“A few of these officers had been sent to the other colonies, but the greater part still remained in Tourraine, and the arrears due to those who have remained any time in this country are punctually discharged, upon their emigration, from them and obedience to the above mentioned injunction.

“By the secretary of state’s letter a certain quantity of wine, duty free, is admitted to enter the towns where these Canadian officers quarter, for their use according to their several ranks.”

In a further letter to Shelburne of December, 1767, he again clearly recognized the difficult political situation. “The most advisable method in my opinion for removing the present as well as for preventing future evils is to repeal that ordinance (of September 17, 1764) as null and void in its own nature and for the present leave the Canadian laws almost entire; such alterations might be afterwards made in them as time and occurrences rendered the same advisable so as to reduce them to that system His Majesty shall think fit, without risking the dangers of too much precipitation; or else such alterations might be made in the old and new laws judged necessary to be inevitably introduced and publish the whole as a Canadian code as was practiced by Edward I after the conquest of Wales.”

Meanwhile the seigneurs were not idle. In 1767 there was an assembly at Montreal of the noblesse presided over by the Chevalier D’Ailleboust and the petition was signed of remonstrance to the king, dated February 3d, already quoted, against discrimination against them.

This leads us to ask the question: Did the seigneurial body meet in open or secret conclave when their interests were to be safeguarded? Both kinds of conclaves would seem likely. It is certain, however, that such meetings were as far as possible prevented. Garneau “Histoire du Canada,” 4th edit., (Vol. II, page 400) relates that in 1766 Hertel de Rouville in the name of the seigneurs of Montreal applied for permission for the seigneurs to meet, which was granted on condition that two of the Supreme Council should be present with power to dissolve the gathering. When the seigneurs assembled General Burton, who had not been warned, wrote to the magistrates who replied that all was in order. “In any case,” replied the suspicious general, “if you have any need of assistance I will send it you.” The meeting was called by Hertel de Rouville “by a particular order of the Governor and Council” who doubtless thought by conciliating[55] the seigneurs, so far the responsible representatives of the people, that peaceful relations could be maintained with the new subjects.

A document recently unearthed by Mr. Massicotte, at the Court House archives, reveals that on the 3d of March, 1766, the Montreal merchants met in the house of James Crofton, inn-keeper “to protect against the meeting of the seigneurs held in the public court house on Friday, February 21st, 1766.” Their declaration before Edward William Gray, “Notary and Tabellion Publick,”1 protested that the seigneurs had been unconstitutionally chosen at the different parish meetings to represent the inhabitants of the seignories as agents “without the knowledge or consent of the magistrates of the districts, the commander-in-chief of His Majesty’s forces or the inhabitants of the city;” that these separate meetings not only for the entire exclusion of His Majesty’s ancient British subjects in general but of the mercantile part of His Majesty’s new subjects, did not make for unity or content. They further protested that “several of His Majesty’s British subjects who are possessed of seignories never received an order or summons to this said meeting.” The declaration further states that upon the principal English and French citizens assembling at the courthouse in order to be present at and know the cause of the public meeting they were informed by Adam Mabane, Esq., one of His Majesty’s council for the province that their presence was not necessary, as the meeting did not regard them and ordered them out. There were two of His Majesty’s justices of the peace present, Isaac Todd and Thomas Brashay, who “the public, thinking they had been given sanction to it, expressed them in such a manner that they sent down their resignation to the governor.” The malcontents withdrew under the impression that representatives for the people were being chosen without their consent. They flattered themselves, however, that when the house of assembly promised in His Majesty’s proclamation should come “His Majesty’s ancient subjects will be permitted at least to have a share in the choice of their representatives.”

The document written in English and French is signed in the former by John Wells, R. Stenhouse, Mathew Lessey, Samuel Holmes, John Stenhouse, G. Young, Joseph Howard, Lawrence Ermatinger, Mathew Wade, James Price, Thomas Barron, Jonas Desaulles, Richard Dobie, William Haywood, John Blake, and in the French by Jean Orilliat, Le Cavelier Pappalon, Le Prohon Dissan, Guy, Am. Hubert, St. Germain, Gagnée, Hervieux, Jacques Hervieux, Lg Bourassa, C. Depré, P. Le Duc, Pillet, Augé, Chenville. The witnesses to both documents are B. Frobisher, John Thomson.2 The names of the seigneurs given as present at the meeting are, (1) Claude Pierre Pecaudy de Contrecoeur, (2) Roch St. Ours Deschaillons, (3) Jacques Michel Hertel de Rouville, (4) Joseph, Michel Legardeur Sr. de Croiselle-Montesson, (5) Joseph Boucher de Niverville, (6) Joseph Godfrey de Normanville, (7) Louis François Pierre Paul Margane de Lavaltrie, (8) Hyacinthe Godfrey de Lintot, (9) Pierre Louis Boucher de Niverville, (10) Louis Gordian or Louis Charles, D’Ailleboust, (11) René Ovide[56] Hertel de Rouville, (12.) Louis Joseph Godefroy de Tonnancourt, (13) Jean François Nepveu, Seigneur d’Autray, (14) Jacques Hyacinthe Simon dit Delorme, Seigneur Delorme (or St. Hyacinthe), (15) Jean Baptiste Normand, Seigneur de Repentigny, (16) Charles Etienne Crevier, Seigneur de St. François, (17) Joseph de Fleury, Sr. d’Archambault, (18) René Boudier de la Breyère, (19) Abbé Etienne Montgolfier (Superior of the Seminary and Seigneur of the Isle of Montreal).

Carleton writing to Earl of Shelburne, one of His Majesty’s principal secretaries (given in Q 5, page 260, “Canadian Archives”), may again be quoted as indicating the grounds on which his toleration of such meetings as the one above recorded.3

“Quebec, 25th November, 1767.

“The king’s forces in this province, supposing them compliant to their allowance and all in perfect health, rank and file, would amount to 1,627 men. The king’s old subjects in this province, supposing them all willing, might furnish about five hundred men able to bear arms, exclusive of his troops; that is, supposing all the king’s troops and old subjects collected in Quebec; with two months’ hard labor they might put the works in a tolerable state of repair and would amount to about one-third the forces necessary for its defense. The new subjects could send into the field about eighteen thousand men well able to carry arms; of which number above one-half had already served with as much valour, with more zeal and more military knowledge for America than the regular troops of France that were joined with them. As the common people are greatly to be influenced by their Seigneurs, I annex a Return4 of the noblesse of Canada, showing with tolerable exactness their age; rank and present place of abode, together with such natives of France as served in the colony troops so early in life as to give them a knowledge of the country, an acquaintance and influence over the people equal to natives of the same rank; from whence it appears that there are in France and in the French service about one hundred officers, all ready to be sent back in case of a war to a country they are intimately acquainted with and with the assistance of some troops to stir up a people accustomed to pay them implicit obedience. It further shows there remain in Canada not more than seventy of those who ever had been in the French service; not one of them in the king’s service nor any one who from any motive whatever is induced to support his government and dominion; gentlemen who have lost their employment at least by becoming his subjects and as they are not bound by any offices of trust or profit we should only deceive ourselves by supposing they would be active in the defense of a people that has deprived them of their honours, privileges, profits and laws and in their stead have introduced much expence, chicannery and confusion with a deluge of new laws unknown and unpublished. Therefore, all circumstances considered, while matters continue in their present state, the most we can hope for from the gentlemen who remain in this province is a passive neutrality on all occasions, a respectful submission to government and deference for the king’s commission in whatever hand it may be lodged; this they almost to a[57] man have persevered in since my arrival, notwithstanding much pains have been taken to engage them in parties by a few whose duty and whose office should have taught them better. * * *

“Having arrayed the strength of His Majesty’s old and new subjects and shewn the great superiority of the latter, it may not be amiss to observe there is not the least probability this present superiority should ever be diminished. On the contrary ’tis more than probable it will increase and strengthen daily. The Europeans who migrate never will prefer the long inhospitable winters of Canada to the more cheerful climates and more fruitful soil of His Majesty’s southern provinces; the few old subjects at present in this province have been mostly left here by accident and are either disbanded officers, soldiers or followers of the army, who not knowing how to dispose of themselves elsewhere, settled where they could at the Reduction; or else they are adventurers in trade or such as could not remain at home, who set out to mend their fortunes at the opening of this new channel for commerce, but experience has taught almost all of them that this trade requires a strict frugality they are strangers to, or to which they will not submit; so that some from more advantageous views elsewhere, others from necessity, have already left this province and I fear many more for the same reason will follow their example in a few years; but while this severe climate and the poverty of the country discourages all but the natives, its healthfulness is such that these multiply daily so that, barring a catastrophe shocking to think of, this country must to the end of time be peopled by a Canadian race who already have taken such a firm root and got to so great a height that any new stock transplanted will be totally hid and imperceptible amongst them except in the towns of Quebec and Montreal.”

This last consideration no doubt largely influenced Carleton in his readiness to uphold the ancient laws and customs. He had not the vision of an English-speaking Dominion such as that of today, of which the British merchants of Montreal and Quebec of the early days with all their faults were laying the sure foundation by their commercial enterprise and dogged pertinacity.

Writing again to Shelburne on December 24, 1767, Carleton reminds his Lordship that the colony had submitted to His Majesty’s arms on certain conditions. He doubtless had in view, good tory as he was, the objection of the noblesse to the institution of a democratic representative assembly already urged by the merchants of Quebec and Montreal with their experience of such in the English colonies, as inimical to the established order of things, for the system of laws so long in vogue before the act of 1763 maintained the subordination between the different social divisions from the highest to the most humble ranks and upheld the harmony now being threatened, thus keeping this far-off province in its loyalty to the crown.

On January 20, 1768, he again wrote recommending the inclusion, in the Council and the army, of a number of the noblesse. By this means he said:[58] “We would at least succeed in dividing the Canadians and in case of war we would have a certain number on our side who would stimulate the zeal of the national troops of the king. Besides, the nobles would have reason to hope that their children without having received their education in France and without serving in the French service would be able to support their families in the service of the king, their master, in the exercise of offices which would prevent them from descending to the level of the common people through the division and the subdivision of their lands in each generation.” (Constitutional Documents, French Edit.)

On April 12, 1788, he again champions the noblesse and even recommends that the ceremony of seigneurial feudalism be kept up as under the ancient régime. “All lands here,” he says, “are dependent on His Majesty’s Château of St. Louis and I am persuaded that nothing can be more agreeable to the people and more suitable to secure the allegiance of the new subjects as well as the payment of fines, dues and rights which take the place of quit rents in this colony as a formal requisition, enjoining all who hold their lands directly from the king to render him foi et homage in his Château of St. Louis. The oaths taken by the vassals on this occasion are very solemn and binding and involve serious obligations; they are obliged in consequence to produce what they call here their ‘aveux et dénombrement,’ i. e., an exact return of their tenants and their revenue. In addition they have to pay their dues to their sovereign and to take arms to defend him in the case of an attack on the province.” (Constitutional Documents, French Edit.)

A letter of Carleton to Lord Hillsborough of November 20, 1768, is headed “Secret Correspondence” (“Archives,” Series Q, Vol. V, page 890).5 It shows that others besides Murray and Carleton had been viewing with suspicion the actions of the noblesse who were thought to be meditating a revolt. “My Lord,” writes Carleton,[59] “since my arrival in this province I have not been able to make any discovery that induces me to give credit to the paper of intelligence inclosed in Your Lordship’s letter of the 20th of May, last, nor do I think it probable the chiefs of their own free notion in time of peace dare assemble in numbers, consult and resolve on a revolt; that an assembly of military men should be so ignorant as to fancy they could defend themselves by a few fire ships only against any future attack from Great Britain after their experience in fifty-nine. Notwithstanding this and their decent and respectful obedience to the king’s government hitherto, I have not the least doubt of their secret attachment to France and think this will continue as long as they are excluded from all employment under the British government and are certain of being reinstated at least in their former commissions under that of France by which chiefly they supported themselves and families. When I reflect that France naturally has the affections of all the people, that to make no mention of fees of office and of the vexations of the law, we have done nothing to gain one man in the province by making it his private interest to remain the king’s subject, and that the interests of many would be greatly promoted by a revolution, I own my not having discovered a treasonable correspondence never was proof sufficient to convince me that it did not exist in some degree, but I am inclined to think if such a message had been sent, very few were intrusted with the secret; perhaps the court of France informed a year past by Mons. de Chatelet that the king proposed raising such a regiment of his new subjects caused this piece of intelligence to be communicated to create a jealousy of the Canadians and prevent a measure that might fix their attachments to the British government and probably of those savages who have always acted with them; however that may be, on receiving this news from France last spring, most of the gentlemen in the province applied to me and begged to be admitted to the king’s service, assuring me that they would take every opportunity to testify their zeal and gratitude for so great a mark of favour and tenderness, extended not only to them but to their posterity.”

The passage following is prophetic of the active interference which ten years later France was to take in the American war against Great Britain. “When I consider further that the king’s dominion here is maintained but by a few troops necessarily dispersed without a place of security for their magazines, for their arms or for themselves, amidst a numerous military people, the gentlemen all officers of experience, poor, without hopes that they or their descendants will be admitted into the service of their present sovereign, I can have no doubt but France as soon as determined to begin a war will attempt to regain Canada, should it be intended only to make a diversion while it may reasonably be undertaken with a little hazzard should it fail, and where so much may be gained should it succeed. But should France begin a war in hopes the British colonies will push matters to extremities, and she adopts the project of supporting them in their independent notions, Canada, probably, will then become the principal scene where the fate of America may be determined. Affairs in this situation, Canada in the hands of France would no longer present itself as an enemy to the British colony but as an ally, a friend and protector of their independency.”

The sympathy, respect and even fear of the seigneurs which Carleton evinced in his reports home largely influenced the final passage of the Quebec act. Their firmness and persistency in their demand for their privileges and their influence over the habitant and the possibility of their allegiance being tampered with by France made them prevail over the small but active minority of the commercial class. At this time preparations were being made in London for the settlement of the Quebec difficulty. Secrecy was being observed in high quarters. Lord Hillsborough’s answer, January 4, 1769, to Carleton’s last is also secret, “acknowledging your secret dispatch of November 21st before His Majesty. The remarks you make upon the state and temper of His Majesty’s new subjects will be of great utility in the consideration of the measures now under deliberation and do evince both the propriety and necessity of extending to that grave and faithful people a reaonable participation in those establishments which are to form the basis of the future government of Quebec.” He fears, however, although he agreed with Carleton’s recommendation, that prejudice being so strong it will be difficult to admit them to military offices.

The following summary of investigations conducted for the governments at this time may now be added as evidence of the military strength of the party Carleton wished to conciliate.

Noblesse in the Province of Quebec:

Captains having the order of St. Louis9
Captains named in the order but not invested1
Captains who have not the order4
Lieutenants having the order1
Lieutenants16
Ensigns2
Officers de Reserve2[60]
Cadets23
Have never been in the service44
In the upper country who have never been in the service6
——
Total126
(At least eighty-five of these are reported as in the Montreal district.)

Noblesse in France:

Grand Croix1
Governors, lieutenant governors, majors, aide majors, captains and lieutenants of ships of war, having the order of St. Louis26
Aide-majors and captains not having the order6
Lieutenants12
Ensigns19
Canadian officers in actual service whose parents have remained in Canada15
——
Total79

Natives of France who came over to Canada as cadets, served and were preferred in the colony troops and were treated in France as Canadian officers:

Captains not having the Croix of St. Louis7
Had the rank of captain in 1760, raised to lieutenant in France, Knight of St. Louis1
Lieutenants7
Was captain in the colony troops at Mississippi, came to Canada in 1760 and is raised to the rank of colonel in the Spanish service at Mississippi; Knight of St. Louis1
Having had civil employment5
Officers of the port2
——
Total23

The case of the seigneurs and that of the merchants was by this time well understood in England by the colonial authorities and the parliament. The insistent demand for an assembly had been well presented by Masères, while the no less repeated opposition to it in the form of an amended constitution to guarantee French-Canadian liberties had been equally well presented by the seigneurs and their upholders. It remained for legislators to settle which was the more opportune, the delay of the assembly or the immediate concessions of favours to the conquered race.

The session of 1774 was drawing to a close but the culminating point looked to with such eagerness on both sides of the Atlantic, the Quebec act, was not introduced till May 17th, when it quickly passed the three readings in the house of lords. On the 26th it reached the second reading in the commons when the serious opposition began. The debate was continued on June 6th, 7th, 8th and 19th, on which latter day the bill was carried in committee by eighty-three to forty. On the third reading the final vote was fifty-six to twenty. The House[61] of Lords received the bill and its amendments for further consideration on June 17th and the bill was passed on June 22d. The house was prorogued.

The Quebec Act restored the French civil law in toto. It declared that Roman Catholics were to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, though the clergy might only levy tithes on their own subjects. It amended the oath of allegiance so as to make it possible for an honest Roman Catholic to take it.

The act was in a sense a formal renunciation of the British government to Anglicize the province of Quebec.6 It was the logical ratification of the British government’s promises to protect the laws and institutions of the French-Canadians. It was also a wise move. We know the views of Murray and Carleton. General Haldimand, writing in 1780, six years after it had been tried, confirms this thus: “It requires little penetration to discover that had the system of government solicited by the old subjects been adopted in Canada this colony would, in 1775, have become one of the United States of America.”[62]

FOOTNOTES:

1 Mr. Gray was the first English notary of Montreal, being named such October 7, 1765; on August 15, 1768, he became an advocate; on the 1st of May, 1776, he succeeded Mr. Turner as sheriff. In 1784 he accepted the position of sub-director of the post in the city.

2 The above names are not given with this fullness. Some are obscure, hence Mr. Massicotte’s identification of them is used here. (Canadian Antiquarian, January, 1914.)

3 The object of this letter is to urge the strengthening of the fort at Quebec against the possibility of an uprising.

4 (Canadian Archives, Q 5, page 269.) This is printed in full in Canadian Archives for 1888, page 44.

5 This letter does not appear among the state papers in the Canadian Archives.

6 Cf. F.P. Walton, Dean of the Faculty of Law, McGill University, in an article in the University Magazine, April, 1908, entitled “After the Cession.”


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CHAPTER VII

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR OF 1775

MONTREAL THE SEAT OF DISCONTENT

THE QUEBEC ACT, A PRIMARY OCCASION OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION—MONTREAL BRITISH DISLOYAL—THE COFFEE HOUSE MEETING—WALKER AGAIN—MONTREAL DISAFFECTS QUEBEC—LOYALTY OF HABITANTS AND SAVAGES UNDERMINED—NOBLESSE, GENTRY AND CLERGY LOYAL—KING GEORGE’S BUST DESECRATED—“DELENDA EST CANADA”—“THE FOURTEENTH COLONY”—BENEDICT ARNOLD AND ETHAN ALLEN—BINDON’S TREACHERY—CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FEEBLY ANSWERED—MILITIA CALLED OUT—LANDING OF THE REBELS—ENGLISH OFFICIAL APATHY—MONTREAL’S PART IN THE DEFENCE OF CANADA—THE FIRST SOLELY FRENCH-CANADIAN COMPANY OF MILITIA—NOTE: THE MILITIA.

The Quebec act, which was hailed by the leaders of the French-Canadians as their Magna Charta, was received with execration in England and America. On the day of the prorogation of Parliament, June 22d, the mayor of London, attended by the recorder, several aldermen and 150 of the common council, went to St. James with a petition to the king to withhold his assent from the bill. The lord chamberlain receiving them, told them that it was too late, that the king was then on the point of going to parliament to give his consent to a bill agreed on by both houses of parliament and that they must not expect an answer. Among other objections this petition claimed: “that the Roman Catholic religion which is known to be idolatrous and bloody is established by this bill and no legal provision is made for the free exercise of our reformed faith nor the security of our Protestant fellow subjects of the church of England in the true worship of Almighty God according to their consciences.”

In the American colonies the Quebec act largely precipitated the American Revolution then being concocted. Strong protest was made, as for example, that shown by the delegates of Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, in the address to the people of England; “By another act the Dominion of Canada is to be so extended, modeled and governed as that by being disunited from us, detached from our interests by civil as well as by religious prejudices, that by their numbers, swelling with Catholic emigrants from Europe, and by their devotion to administration so friendly to their religion, they might become formidable to us, and on occasion be fit instruments in the hands of power to reduce the ancient free Protestant colonies to the same state of slavery as themselves.” Again speaking of the Quebec Act, it adds[64] “Nor can we suppress our astonishment that a British parliament should ever consent to establish in that country a religion which has deluged your Island in blood and dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world.” The Quebec act added fuel to the fire of discontent and the people were ready for war if the Congress said so. The congress of Philadelphia at the same time published a long, bombastic and revolutionary address signed by Henry Middleton, president.

“To the inhabitants of the province of Quebec.”

“We do not ask you to commence hostilities against the government of our common sovereign but we submit it to your consideration whether it may not be expedient to you to meet together in your several towns and districts and elect deputies who after meeting in a provincial congress may chose delegates to represent your province in the continental congress to be held at Philadelphia on the 10th of May, 1775.” An unanimous vote had been resolved “That you should be invited to accede to our federation.” It is interesting to note that, forgetful of the previous letter to the British parliament breathing religious intolerance just referred to, the artful Americans now used also the following argumentum ad hominem: “We are too well acquainted with the liberality of sentiment distinguishing your nation to imagine that difference of religion will prejudice you against a hearty amity with us. You know that the transcendent nature of freedom, elevates those who unite in the cause above all such low-minded infirmities.”

This was printed for wide circulation in Canada and the question of sending the delegates was eagerly discussed in Montreal’s affected circles.

The Quebec act was one of the causes of grievance which led to the American Revolution; it was one of the acts of tyranny specified in the Declaration of Independence, “For abolishing the free system of English law in a neighbouring province (Canada), establishing therein an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rules into these colonies.”

But how was the bill received in Montreal? Truth to tell, Montreal was the seat of discontent in Canada. Its infection was carried to Quebec. Sir Guy Carleton, who shortly after the passage of the Quebec bill left England with his young wife,1 the Lady Maria Howard, the third daughter of Thomas, the second Earl of Effingham, to resume his office as governor general, tells how the trouble started at Montreal in his letter to Dartmouth, dated Quebec, 11th of November, 1774. We are there informed that at Quebec there were addresses of loyal acceptation of the situation. “I believe,” wrote Carleton,[65] “that most of them who signed this address were disposed to act up to their declaration, which probably would have been followed by those who did not, if their brethren at Montreal had not adopted very different measures. Whether the minds of the latter are of a more turbulent turn or that they caught the fire from some colonists settled among them, or in reality letters were received from the general congress, as reported, I know not; certain it is, however, that shortly after the said congress had published in all the American papers their approbation of the Suffolk County Resolves2 in the Massachusetts Assembly, a report was spread at Montreal that letters of importance had been received from the general congress and all the British there flocked to the coffee house to hear the news. Grievances were publicly talked of and various ways for obtaining redress proposed, but that the government might not come to a true knowledge of their intentions a meeting was appointed at the house of a person then absent, followed by several others at the same place and a committee of four named, consisting of Mr. Walker, Mr. Todd, Mr. Price and Mr. Blake, to take care of their interests and prepare plans of redress. Mr. Walker now takes the lead. * * * Their plans being prepared and a subscription commenced, the committee set out for Quebec, attended in form by their secretary, a nephew of Mr. Walker and by profession a lawyer.”

Carleton proceeds to describe how the Montreal emissaries worked up the Quebecers3 through several “town meetings” to join in petitions, for a repeal of the Quebec act, which were sent to “His Majesty, to the Lords spiritual and temporal, to the Honourable, the Commons.” The chief grievances were that they had lost the protection of the English laws and had thrust on them the laws of Canada which are ruinous to their properties as thereby they lose the invaluable privilege of trial by juries; that in matters of a criminal nature the habeas corpus act is dissolved and they are subjected to arbitrary fines and imprisonment at the will of the governor and council. Masères was entrusted with the promotion of their cause. The petitions were signed on November 12th. In February secret agents from congress were in Montreal to see if an aggressive policy could be safely pursued.

The majority of the English population was on the side of the discontented provinces. The French-Canadian habitants were encouraged to remain neutral, being plied with specious arguments to undermine their loyalty to the king. They were told that they had nothing to lose from the government by this position and everything to gain from the congress faction who threatened reprisals if they became actively opposed to them. But the noblesse, the gentry and the clergy were against the congress, for the Quebec act had guaranteed them the securities for the rights they most valued; they knew that there was little to hope for from the Americans. The Quebec act came into operation on May 1st and an instance of the unsettled state of men’s minds in Montreal is remembered by the incident of the desecration of the king’s bust on this day. It was discovered daubed with black and decorated with a necklace of potatoes, and a cross attached with the words “voila le pape du Canada et le sot Anglais.”4 Kingsford, following Sanguinet,[66] says that the perpetrator of the foolish insult, for such it was intended to be, was never discovered. The act was regarded as insolent and disloyal and it caused great excitement. A public meeting was called at which 100 guineas were subscribed to discover the perpetrators. The company of grenadiers of the Twenty-Six made a proclamation by beat of drum offering a reward of $200 and a free pardon excepting the person who had disfigured it to any one giving information which would lead to the discovery of the offenders. The principal French-Canadians were greatly annoyed at this proceeding, the words being in French. It was claimed, however, that they were written by an English speaking revolutionist.

On April 19th the affair at Lexington, the commencement of a civil revolution, took place and rapidly the news of it spread. Montreal was well posted. The leaders of the provincial sympathizers here reported to the leaders of congress the easy fall of Canada to the insurgents. Canada was more feverishly coveted at this time than ever. In 1712 Dummers had written: “I am sure it has been the cry of the whole country ever since Canada was delivered up to the French,—Canada est delenda.” In 1756 Governor Livingston of New Jersey had cried: “Canada must be demolished—Delenda est Carthago,—or we are undone.” And now Canada was desired as the “fourteenth colony.”

In Montreal those who had received in the coffee house John Brown, John Adams’ ambassador, were still keeping up communications led by Thomas Walker, Price and others. At last the Congressists thought the conquest was being made, relying on the presumed neutrality of the Canadians. Ticonderoga had fallen in the beginning of May to the revolutionary party under Ethan Allen’s self-constituted forces. The road to Canada was being cleared. Benedict Arnold, sailing from Ticonderoga, had arrived unexpectedly on the morning of the 18th of May at Fort St. John’s and captured the small war sloop there and took prisoners the sergeant and ten men in charge of the military garrison. A second landing was made by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys at St. John’s on the 18th and 19th with a party said to be three hundred strong, as Carleton was informed at Quebec. There was great consternation in Montreal when the news of the seizure of Ticonderoga and Crown Point and the first capture of St. John’s was brought by Moses Hazen,5 a merchant of Montreal now living near St. John’s. The military was immediately put in motion by Colonel Templer who dispatched Colonel Preston with a regiment of one hundred men of the Twenty-sixth and this would have cut off Allen’s descent up the lake with his bateaux had not Bindon, a friendly Montreal merchant, hurried on horseback from Longueuil to St. John’s to apprize Allen of the approach of the party from Montreal.6

[67]

Allen before embarking gave a letter to this same Bindon addressed to one Morrison and the British merchants at Montreal, lovers of liberty, demanding a supply of provisions, ammunition and spirituous liquors which some of them were inclined enough to furnish had they not been prevented. (Carleton to Dartmouth, June 7, 1775, from Montreal.) Bindon in returning to Montreal fell across Colonel Preston who would have detained him but he rode off and, crossing the St. Lawrence, found his way to Montreal with his letters. On arriving he added to the excitement of Montreal—it being market day—by reporting that Preston’s detachment had been defeated. Colonel Templer called a meeting of the citizens for 3 o’clock at the Récollet church to consider the situation. It was numerously attended and it was resolved to take arms for the common defense. During the proceedings Templer received a letter from Preston detailing Bindon’s reprehensible conduct. Bindon was himself present and turned pale as the facts were read. The meeting was adjourned until 10 o’clock next morning when it was held on St. Anne’s common. Templer proposed that the inhabitants should form themselves into companies of thirty and elect their officers. Several well known citizens were chosen to make the roll of those willing to serve.7 They were of the old Canadian families known for their loyalty. Preston’s detachment returned to Montreal, the men greatly infuriated against Bindon. They had learned that it was from no fault of his they had not been intercepted in the woods and shot down. So soon as they were dismissed for parade they went in search of him. When he was found the men forcibly led him to the pillory with the intention of hanging him, but they were without a ladder and the officers rescued Bindon before one could be obtained. But he was arrested and carried before the magistrates, when he pleaded guilty to imprudence but protested his innocence. To save his character he played the part of a loyalist and took service in the force organized for defense. The action of the troops with regard to Bindon was the occasion of a public meeting called by the party for congress.

Meanwhile a call for volunteers was met by an insignificant enrollment of fifty Canadians who set out for St. John’s under Lieutenant McKay, to remain there until relieved by the Twenty-sixth regiment. Carleton moved the troops from Quebec thither, also. The few troops at Three Rivers were also sent; the garrison of Montreal as well. Carleton arrived at Montreal on May 26th. He found how poorly the French-Canadians had responded to the call to organize themselves into companies. In St. Lawrence suburb the commissioners sent to enroll volunteers had been met by the women with threats of stoning. The loyalty of the French-Canadians had been sorely tampered with. There is not a family resemblance between the letters written by Carleton about the quality of their obedience, before the Quebec act and after. On June 7, 1775, Carleton wrote from Montreal to Dartmouth gloomily reviewing the situation and telling of the preparations for the safety of St. John’s. “The little force we have in the Province was immediately set in Motion and ordered to assemble at or near St. John’s; the Noblesse of this Neighbourhood were called upon to collect their Inhabitants in order to defend themselves. The Savages of these parts likewise[68] had the same orders but though the Gentlemen testified great Zeal, neither their Entreaties or their Example could prevail upon the People; a few of the Gentry consisting principally of the Youth residing in this place and its Neighbourhood, formed a small Corps of Volunteers under the Command of Mr. Samuel McKay and took post at St. John’s; the Indians showed as much Backwardness as the Canadian Peasantry. * * * Within these few Days the Canadians and Indians seemed to return a little to their senses, the Gentry and Clergy had been very useful on this occasion and shewn great Fidelity and Warmth for His Majesty’s Service, but both have lost much of their influence over the People. I proposed trying to form a Militia and if their minds are favourably disposed will raise a Battalion upon the same plan as the other Corps in America, as to Numbers and Experience, and were it established I think it might turn out a great public Utility; but I have my doubts as to whether I shall be able to succeed.

“These Measures that formerly would have been extremely popular require at present a great Degree of Caution and Circumspection; so much have the Minds of the People been tainted by the Cabals and Intrigues, I have from time to time given to your Lordship some information of. I am as yet uncertain whether I shall find it advisable to proceed in the forementioned Undertaking; to defame their King and treat with Insolence and Disrespect, upon all Occasions to speak with the utmost contempt of His Government, to forward Sedition and applaud Rebellion, seems to be what too many of his British-American Subjects in those parts think their undoubted Right.” (Constitutional Documents, 1760-1791, page 450.)

On the 9th of June, Carleton, by proclamation, authorized the calling out of the militia throughout the whole province according to the provisions of the old law, reinstating officers appointed by Murray, Gage and Burton. The movement was not popular even with the new subjects, uninfluenced by the discontent of the disloyalists who feared in the return of the old militia the exactions of the French régime. Chief Justice Hey, then in Montreal, prevailed upon some of the dissatisfied “old” but “loyal” subjects to enroll for good example, which done, they were joined by the French-Canadians so that a sufficient force was ready for a review before General Carleton.

The Indians of Caughnawaga at first hesitated in their loyalty, which had also been tampered with, but they were also brought to serve. At this time Colonel Johnson arrived in Montreal with 300 Indians of the six nations; a council of 600 Indians was held and all agreed to take the field in defense, but not to commence hostilities. The congressists had endeavoured to persuade them to neutrality and the leaven was still working.

July was drawing to a close. Carleton left Montreal by way of Longueuil to inspect the militia at Sorel and then proceeded to Quebec, where he arrived on August 2d, to make preparations for the establishment of the new Legislative Council. This met for the first time on August 17th but it was adjourned on September 7th on account of news of the congress troops again appearing on the Richelieu. The lieutenant governor, Cramahé, writing to Dartmouth from Quebec on September 21st, tells the circumstances how on the news of the rebel army approaching, Carleton set out for Montreal in great haste; that[69] “on the 7th inst. the Rebels landed in the woods near St. John’s and were beat back to their Boats by a Party of Savages encamped at that Place. In this Action the Savages behaved with great Spirit and Resolution and had they remained firm to our Interests probably the Province would have been Saved for this Year, but finding the Canadians in General adverse to taking up Arms for the Defence of their Country, they withdrew and made their peace. After their Defeat the Rebels returned to the Isle aux Noix, where they continued till lately, sending out some Parties and many Emisaries to debauch the Minds of the Canadians and Indians.”

Cramahé adds that no means had been left untried to bring the Canadian peasantry to a sense of their duty and to engage them to take up arms in defense of the province but to no purpose. “The Justice must be done to the Gentry, Clergy and most of the Burgeoisie that they have shewn the Greatest Zeal and Fidelity to the King’s Service and Exerted their best Endeavours to reclaim their infatuated Countrymen. Some Troops and a Ship of War or two would, in all likelihood, have prevented this general Defection.”8

Chief Justice Hey, writing at the end of August to the Lord Chancellor, says in a postscript dated September 11th “that all there was to trust to was about five hundred men, two war boats at St. John’s and Chambly; that the situation is desperate and that Canada would shortly be in complete possession of the rebels.” In a further postscript of September 17th he adds that not one hundred Canadians, except in the towns of Quebec and Montreal, are with the king. He holds himself ready to return, to be of more use in England. Carleton, sick at heart with disappointment at the ingratitude of the Canadians who would not march to defend their own country, the uncertainty of the Indians, and the disloyalty of many of the old subjects, and crippled by an inadequate army which was nearly all enclosed in Forts Chambly and St. John’s, nevertheless determined to act boldly on the defensive until General Gage should send from Boston the two regiments earnestly asked for.

Canada was abandoned at this period by as criminal apathy and ignorance on the part of English officials, as it had been before by the French. As Cramahé had pointed out, some troops and a ship of war or two sent from England, or from Gage in America, would have saved Canada from the invasion of 1775.

The part that Montreal took in the defence of Canada must now be told. When the news of the rebels advancing on to St. John’s reached Montreal, Colonel Prescott, then in command, sent an order to the parishes around the city for fifteen men of each company of militia to join the force at St. John’s. Though no report came from without, the Montreal army men came forward to the number of 120 French and Canadians under the command of de Belestre and de Longueuil, many of the volunteers being young men of family and several being prosperous merchants, this being perhaps the first recorded separate unit composed solely of French-Canadians, ever raised as an arm of Imperial defence. The party for St. John’s departed on September 7th. The loyal British volunteers remained to perform duty in Montreal. Time will discover who were truly loyal and who were not.

The Imperial forces in Canada were now represented by the two companies in Montreal, eighty-two men at Chambly and the garrison of St. John’s, consisting of 505 men of all rank, of the Seventh Royal Fusiliers and the Twenty-sixth Regiment, thirty of the Royal Artillery, eight of Colonel McLean’s newly raised[70] corps from Quebec and fifteen of the Royal Horse and 120 volunteers from Montreal—the whole making a total of 696 in the garrison, not counting some artificers.

Around St. John’s and in the district of the Richelieu the inhabitants were either neutral or, with the majority, actively espousing the congress party, some by taking to the field, others by supplying provisions, assisting in the transport of munitions of war and artillery and giving information.

Surely the morale of the once loyal French-Canadian habitants had been undermined effectively by Walker and other malcontents and had been recently further weakened by the manifesto of General Schuyler from the Isle aux Noix on September 15th to his “dear friends and compatriots, the habitants of Canada,” advising them to join him and escape the common slavery prepared for them. Montgomery’s scouting parties, out for supplies and information, did the rest. Of Richard Montgomery, Schuyler’s second in command, we shall hear more.

NOTE

THE MILITIA

The militia, which was called out for service in the field in 1775, 1776, 1812, 1814, 1837, 1839, with the exception of a few small independent corps, consisted of provisionally organized units armed and equipped from the magazines, the regular army, paid by the British government, drilled, disciplined and often commanded by regular officers. After the denudation of Canada of the regular troops at the time of the Crimean war, it became necessary for the colony to take more provisions for its own defence. In 1855 the military act (18 Victoria, Chapter 77), passed by the Upper Canada, for raising and maintaining at the colonial expense, created the nucleus of our present militia system. The “Trent” excitement of 1861-62 and the Fenian raids of 1867-70 further stimulated the movement. The first Dominion militia act (31 Victoria, Chapter 40) was passed in 1868. The present militia act (4 Edward VII, Chapter 23) received assent on August 15, 1904. According to this statute the militia is divided into active and reserve forces.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Carleton was then in his fiftieth year, his wife in her twenty-second. They were married on May 22, 1772.

2 Adopted on September 9, 1774.

3 The Montreal agitators were fiercer than those of Quebec. John McCord, of Quebec, wrote April 27, 1775, to Lieutenant Pettigrew, “I pray God to grant peace at any price; the blood of British subjects is very precious.” Walker, writing to Samuel Adams on April 7th, breathes fire: “Few in this colony dare vent their quip but groan in silence and dream of Lettres de Cachets, confiscations and improvements.” The colonists had declared they would fight for their rights and liberties while they had a drop of their blood left.

4 “This is the pope of Canada and the fool of England.”

5 Moses Hazen passed his boyhood at Haverhill, in Massachusetts. He served in the Louisberg expedition, rose to be a captain in the Rangers at the taking of Quebec and was remarked by General Wolfe as a good soldier. Later he obtained a lieutenant’s commission in the 44th Foot and soon after the conquest retired on half pay. We then find his name attached to petitions of the Montreal merchants. At this time he appears to have settled near St. John’s, carrying on not only large farming operations but owning sawmills, a potash house and a forge.

6 When the Americans appeared there in arms he saw, doubtless, the losses war would bring him and he wished them elsewhere. For a time he “trimmed” successfully, but at last was held suspicious by both parties and was held prisoner by both.

7 Dupuy-Desauniers, de Longueuil, Panet, St. George Dupré, Mesére, Sanguinet, Guy and Lemoine Despins. (See the Abbé Verreau’s valuable book “Invasion du Canada par les Americains.”)

8 Constitutional Documents, page 435.


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CHAPTER VIII

MONTREAL BESIEGED

1775

THE SECOND CAPITULATION

ETHAN ALLEN—HABITANTS’ AND CAUGHNAWAGANS’ LOYALTY TAMPERED WITH—PLAN TO OVERCOME MONTREAL—THE ATTACK—ALLEN CAPTURED—WALKER’S FARM HOUSE AT L’ASSOMPTION BURNED—WALKER TAKEN PRISONED TO MONTREAL—CARLETON’S FORCE FROM MONTREAL FAILS AT ST. JOHN’S—CARLETON LEAVES MONTREAL—MONTREAL BESIEGED—MONTGOMERY RECEIVES A DEPUTATION OF CITIZENS—THE ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION—MONTGOMERY ENTERS BY THE RECOLLECT GATE—WASHINGTON’S PROCLAMATION.

While Montgomery at Isle aux Noix is planning his descent on St. John’s, the portal of Canada, twelve miles lower down, it will be well to follow Ethan Allen on his venturesome and abortive attempt to take Montreal. Ethan Allen, of Bennington, was, as Carleton had reported, “an outlaw in the province of New York, who had become famous by his daring capture of Ticonderoga and had been emboldened enough by his success to persuade the New York congress to raise a small regiment of rangers.” Thus this freebooter, with his Green Mountain Boys, became a commissioned officer. He got employment under Schuyler and it was Ethan Allen with John Brown, now Major, who had formerly been sent to Montreal to sound the merchants, who bore Schuyler’s manifesto from Isle aux Noix to the habitants of Canada. From parish to parish he hurried and his ready wit and hustling address captivated the peasant housewives who, being educated better than their husbands, read the proclamation with approval to them. He visited the Caughnawaga Indians and played havoc with their loyalty, receiving beads and wampum from them. His reappointment was from Montgomery, then commencing the investment of St. John’s, who, it is said, wanting to find employment for Allen at a distance from himself, sent him to gather up a recruit of Canadians around Chambly. According to his own account he was easily successful. Writing to Montgomery on September 20th from St. Ours, “You may rely on it,” he says, “that I shall join you in three days with five hundred or more Canadian volunteers. * * * Those that used to be enemies to our cause come cap in hand to me; and I swear by the Lord I can raise three times the number of our army provided you continue the siege.” Yet, on the night of September 23d, when he found himself at Longueuil looking across the St. Lawrence to the city which it was his ambition to capture, he had only about eighty still following.[72] He was returning to St. John’s next morning, and when two miles from Longueuil he met John Brown, now Colonel in command of a considerable force at La Prairie. These two, retiring to a house with some others, conceived the plan of attacking Montreal. The plan was for Brown with two hundred followers to cross over the St. Lawrence in canoes above the town, and Allen’s party below it; each would silently approach the gate at his end of the city; Brown’s party would give three Huzzas! Allen’s would respond and then both would fall to.

It was a brilliant idea and elated Allen. Montreal, captured by a force of two to three thousand and the easy fall of the rest of Canada had been the vision put before congress often enough. “I still maintain my views,” says Colonel Easton before the congress of Massachusetts on June 6, 1775, “that policy demands that the colonies advance an army of two or three thousand men into Canada and environ Montreal. This will inevitably fix and confirm the Canadians and Indians in our interests.” On June 13, 1775, Benedict Arnold wrote to congress, sketching out a plan by which with an army of 2,000 men, Chambly and St. John’s should be cut off with 700 men, 300 more should guard the boats and the line of retreat and a grand division of 1,000 should appear before Montreal, whose gates on the arrival of the Americans were to be opened by friends there “in consequence of a plan for that purpose already entered into by them.”

On May 29th Allen, over confident, had written to the Continental Congress: “Provided I had but 500 men with me at St. John’s when we took the king’s sloop, I would have advanced to Montreal.” On June 2d he wrote to the New York congress: “I will lay my life on it that with 1,500 men and a proper train of artillery I will take Montreal,” and on July 12th to Trumbull that if his Green Mountain Boys had not been formed into a battalion under certain regulations and command he would further “advance then into Canada and invest Montreal.”

Here, then, was Allen to attempt to take the city of his dreams with a smaller force than his dreams provided for! He had forgotten, perhaps, that Carleton was in that city. He was elated that he had added about thirty English Americans to his force, but he was sorry that Thomas Walker had been communicated with at his home in L’Assomption. Night came on. Allen’s little fleet spent all the night being driven backward and forward by the currents, but at last after six crossings were made to land his men in the limited number of available boats, on the morning of the 25th the daring invaders were all landed at Longue Pointe. But they heard no Huzza! from Brown’s party from the other side of the city. Brown had either known better or was jealous of Ethan Allen’s desire to claim the capture of Montreal, as he had done that of Ticonderoga.

Longue Pointe was not unfriendly but thought discretion better than valour. Allen saw himself in a foolish position; his slightness of force would soon be known in Montreal through the escape from his guards of a Montrealer named Desautel going out early to his Longue Pointe farm.

Montreal was in great excitement and confusion at the news of the presence of the notorious New Hampshire incendiary. Even some of the officers took to the ships.1 It was, however, only at 9 o’clock that Carleton heard the news. There was a hurry and scurry and a beating of drums and the parade ground of the Champ de Mars behind the barracks was filled with the people.[73] Carleton briefly told the citizens of their dangers and ordered them to join the troops at the barracks. The instinct of self-preservation in a common danger made most obey except some, chiefly American colonists, that stepped forward and turned off the contrary way.

COLONEL ARNOLD

COLONEL ARNOLD

GENERAL RICHARD MONTGOMERY

GENERAL RICHARD MONTGOMERY

HOUSE AT THE CORNER OF NOTRE DAME AND ST. PETER STREETS

HOUSE AT THE CORNER OF NOTRE DAME AND ST. PETER STREETS

Occupied by Montgomery and the American officers during the winter of 1775-76.

HOUSE ON THE CORNER OF RUE BONSECOURS AND ST. PAUL STREET

HOUSE ON THE CORNER OF RUE BONSECOURS AND ST. PAUL STREET

Occupied by government representatives from 1775 to 1791.

At last the Montreal party was ready. They dashed through the Quebec gate, smashing the boats there to cut off the enemies retreat, and hurried up north. The fight with Allen’s men began at 2 o’clock and lasted an hour and three-quarters by the watch. Though carefully using all natural advantages of the ground, ditches and coverts chosen beforehand, Allen himself was compelled to surrender his sword to Peter Johnson, a natural son of Sir William, “providing I can be treated with honour,” he added. The officers received him with politeness, like gentlemen. In the fight Allen lost twelve to fifteen men, killed and wounded; some had fled, but a body of forty prisoners were marched to the city. The defenders had lost only six to eight of their men, so it was a famous victory. When the prisoners were brought before Colonel Prescott in Barrack Yard an extraordinary incident occurred, according to “Allen’s Narrative.”

“Are you the Colonel Allen who took Ticonderoga?” thundered out the British soldier. “The very man,” was the reply. Prescott angrily raised his cane to strike the roughly dressed, dust-stained ranger in a short deerskin coat, breeches of sagathy, and woolen cap. “You had better not strike me, I’m not used to it,” cried the aroused prisoner, shaking his fist at the angry commander of the garrison. Prescott then turned to the habitant prisoners and ordered a sergeant to bayonet them. Allen then stepped between his men and the soldiers and, tearing open his clothes and exposing his shaggy bosom, exclaimed to Prescott: “I am the one to blame. Thrust your bayonets into my breast. I am the sole cause of their taking up arms.” A long pause. Finally muttered Prescott, “I will not execute you now, but you shall grace a halter at Tyburn, —— ye!” There was no suitable prison in Montreal so Allen was put into the hold of the Gaspé in the harbour to wait until he should be shipped to England for trial.

Montreal was saved for the present; and Allen’s failure, as the governor reported it, gave a favourable turn to the minds of the people and many began now to come back to loyalty. It seems strange, the impunity with which known plotters had been hitherto treated. Carleton would now make an example. He turned his eyes sternly upon Thomas Walker. Already Mrs. Walker had been told that her husband must quit the country. Now an order for arrest on the charge of high treason was issued. Prescott handed the warrant to Captain Bellair. On the night of the 5th-6th of October in their comfortable farm house at L’Assomption they were surprised by a posse of twenty regulars and twelve Canadians. Walker, determined to resist, shot into the crowd, who fusilladed back. At last the four corners of the house were fired. As the house began to burn, the smoke within almost suffocated Mrs. Walker, so that he took her to a window and held her by the shoulders while she lowered herself in her nightdress as far as she could, clinging to the windowsill. Finally she was rescued by one of the soldiers setting a ladder to the wall. The floor that Walker was standing on was in flames, and on the promise of good treatment from the soldiers, he surrendered. Their property was plundered and destroyed and the farm house wrecked. The Walkers were given some wraps to cover their unfinished attire and were hurried to Prescott at Montreal. Charged with rebellion, Walker was taken to the barracks and[74] for thirty-three days and nights he was confined in his solitary cell on a straw pallet under a heavy load of irons. Then he was taken to Lisotte’s armed schooner and buried in the hold prison, to be taken for trial over seas. It was a terrifying example to all, a leading citizen, a wealthy merchant, a Montreal magistrate and a felon! Truly a warning to traitors.

Using this as a propitious moment Carleton issued another levy of men from the militia around Montreal. That October he was so encouraged that he assembled on St. Helen’s island, facing Montreal, seven or eight hundred men, counting Indians, and later on the afternoon of October 30th pushed off, accompanied by Luc la Corne and Lorimier with thirty-five or forty boats for the shore of Longueuil to bear relief to the invested fort of St. John’s. Alan Maclean was to go from Quebec to meet Carleton at St. John’s. But as they approached the harbour they were met with such havoc by a force under Seth Warner that had been making use of Longueuil Castle and who had a four-pounder emptying grape and a goodly backing of musketry at the landing, and quickly playing upon the astonished flotilla, so that it turned around, bearing some forty or fifty dead and as many wounded. No American received a scratch.

The grand stroke had failed. Maclean’s force heard the bad news and many began to desert. It was a game of battledore and shuttlecock for the French Canadian peasantry. It was not that their want of loyalty was to be blamed as the practical politics of the affair. It was a war of Englishmen again Englishmen, and they were for the winners. The loss of Chambly was the turning point in the siege of St. John’s which had been going on since September 18th. Chambly had been surrendered by Major Stafford after a siege of one day and a half, on October 17th, a sorry event, for it was well supplied with winter provisions and ammunition. The rebels, with the aid of others, were able for six weeks to reinforce Montgomery at St. John’s, when he would have been forced by the approach of winter to retire. Thus on the morning of the 3d of November, at 10 o’clock, the surrender of St. John’s was made by Colonel Preston to Montgomery.

The fall of Montreal was now assured and with winter approaching, Montgomery secured his position at Chambly, St. John’s and the Richeleau district. At Longueuil, Warren was posted with 300 men. The complacent Indians at Caughnawaga willingly enough received an order to remain neutral. Everything was ready for the march on Montreal and Montgomery advanced to La Prairie, there collecting all the boats and bateaux available for the transportation of the troops across the river to the city. On the 11th of November news came to Carleton in Montreal that Montgomery was crossing over. It was now his policy to leave. The capture was inevitable and he had prepared for it since the fall of St. John’s. He spiked the guns and burned the bateaux he could not use and caused the munitions, provisions and baggage to be loaded on the three armed sloops. About one hundred and twenty regular troops were embarked on the vessels available. In the evening at 5 o’clock Carleton went aboard. Brigadier Prescott and the military and staff accompanied. Eleven sail went down to Quebec. At Lavaltrie, twelve miles west of Sorel, owing to contrary winds the flotilla was detained during the 13th and 14th of November. On the 15th a written summons came from Colonel Easton calling on Carleton to capitulate. On the night of the 16th and 17th of November Carleton went on the barge of Captain Bouchette and[75] arrived at Quebec on Sunday, November 19th, escaping the batteries erected beyond Sorel to intercept the fleet at Lavaltrie.

On the same day this fleet was visited by Major Brown with a peremptory order to surrender. Prescott saw no way out of it; he first threw the powder into the St. Lawrence and then surrendered. The congress troops now took charge of the fleet and with a favourable north wind convoyed the army and fleet back to Montreal. Walker, a prisoner in irons in the hold, was released as soon as possible. The fleet arrived on November 22d. The prisoners were ordered by Montgomery to parade on the river front the following morning before the market and then lay down their arms.

We must go back to the 11th of November and visit defenseless Montreal. The loyalists were sad, as having been at a funeral, in the passing away of its defenders. The discontented, now that Montreal was on the point of changing hands, openly abandoned their arms and threw off their disguise. That night Montgomery’s force encamped on St. Paul’s Island. On Sunday morning, about 9 o’clock, when many were going to church, news arrived that Montgomery was coming from the island to Point St. Charles and a committee of twelve citizens was appointed to go to meet him. Meanwhile he had arrived and the inhabitants of the suburbs west of the city had assured him of their neutrality. He had also received encouraging messages from the disaffected within the city, for Bindon, now a sentry at one of the embrasures, traitorously allowed a partner of Price, whom we have mentioned as in league with the Boston party, and another, to communicate with the congress party now advancing. Montgomery must have learnt that there was a strong following in the city prepared to side with him and that those opposed to him were handicapped for want of ammunition and provision. It was reliance on these elements within and without the city, with the knowledge that few were willing to take up arms against him, that made it possible for Montgomery with his slight force to capture a city of 1,200 inhabitants.

The deputation meeting him was told that he gave them four hours to consider the terms on which they would accede to his authority. Being told that he must not approach nearer the city, he answered that it was somewhat cold weather and he immediately sent fifty men to occupy the Récollet suburb, and before 4 o’clock his whole force was established there. This made an uproar in the town and the loyalists were for shooting on them. The articles of capitulation were prepared and presented to Montgomery. “I will examine them and reply soon,” said he. They demanded that[76] “The religious orders should enjoy their rights and properties, that both the French and English should be maintained in the free exercise of their religion, that trade in the interior and upper part of the provinces and beyond the seas should be uninterrupted, that passports on legitimate business should be granted, that the citizens and inhabitants of Montreal should not be called upon to bear arms against the mother country, that the inhabitants of Montreal and of every part of the province, who have borne arms for the defense of the province then prisoners, should be released, that the courts of justice should be reestablished and the judges elected by the people, that the inhabitants of the city should not be forced to receive the troops, that no habitant of the country parishes and no Indians should be admitted into the city until the commandant had taken possession of it and made provision for its safety.”

The general in reply stated first, “that owing to the city of Montreal having neither ammunition, adequate artillery, troops nor provisions and not having it in its power to fulfill one article of the treaty, it could claim no title to its capitulation, yet the continental army had a generous disdain of every act of oppression and violence; they are come for the express purpose of giving liberty and security.”2 He accepted most of the provisions laid down. But from the unhappy differences of Great Britain and the colonies he was unable to engage that trade should be continued with the mother country. In acceding to the demands he made it understood that the engagements entered upon by him would be binding on his successors.

Next day, the 13th of November, the congress troops, many of whom wore the scarlet uniforms of the British troops found in the military stores at St. John’s and Chambly, entered by the Recollet gate (at the corner of McGill and Notre Dame streets) and, receiving the keys to the storehouses of the city, marched proudly along Notre Dame Street to the barracks opposite what is now known as Jacques Cartier Square.

The capture of Montreal was quickly made known in the American province. “Dispatches for His Excellency, General Washington; news of Montreal’s quiet submission of that city to the victorious arms of the United Colonies of America” was soon announced in the New England Chronicle.

Montgomery remained in Montreal until November 28th. News came of the success of the detachment placed at Sorel. For, on the 22d, as already stated, the eleven vessels captured by Colonel Easton at Lavaltrie were brought into Montreal with Colonel Prescott and the military prisoners and the released Thomas Walker. One reason for Montgomery’s delay was due to the expectancy of the arrival of the detachments he had ordered. He now left General David Wooster in command of the detachment kept behind in the city and went down the river to join Benedict Arnold, who had been unsuccessful in his attack on Quebec, and to take command of the besieging forces. For unless Quebec were taken, Canada could not be said to have been subdued.

Wooster’s first action was to disseminate Washington’s proclamation confided to Arnold for the inhabitants of Canada. It started “Friends and Brethren.” The second paragraph runs thus:[77] “Above all we rejoice that our enemies have been deceived with regard to you. They have persuaded themselves, they have even dared to say, that the Canadians were not capable of distinguishing between the blessings of liberty and the wretchedness of slavery; that gratifying the vanity of a little circle of nobility would blind the people of Canada. By such artifices they hoped to bind you to their views, but they have been deceived; they see with a chagrin equal to our joy that you are enlightened, generous and virtuous; that you will not renounce your own rights or serve as instruments to deprive your fellow subjects of theirs. Come then, my brethren, unite with us in an undissoluble union, let us run together to the same goal. We have taken up arms in defence of our liberty, our property, our wives and our children; we are determined to preserve them or die. We look forward with pleasure to that date not far remote, we hope, when the inhabitants of America shall have one sentiment and the full enjoyment of a free government.”

ENDORSEMENT ON SAMUEL ADAMS’ LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1775

ENDORSEMENT ON SAMUEL ADAMS’ LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1775

FROM LETTER OF APRIL 8, 1775, TO ADAMS AND HIS ASSOCIATES

FROM LETTER OF APRIL 8, 1775, TO ADAMS AND HIS ASSOCIATES

SAMUEL ADAMS

SAMUEL ADAMS

GEORGE WASHINGTON

GEORGE WASHINGTON

FROM SCHUYLER’S LETTER TO WASHINGTON

FROM SCHUYLER’S LETTER TO WASHINGTON

The reference to the little circle of noblesse blinding the people of Canada shows the line of argument which had been making the people, until lately so happy, now so discontented and disloyal. Will any impartial student of Canada under the French régime say that the Bostonians’ insinuation of oppression as being the habitual lot of the French Canadian peasants, was founded on fact? They had succeeded so far in unsettling for a time a people newly enfranchised with powers hitherto not entrusted to them, but the reaction will follow and the argument of slavery and oppression will fall on deaf ears. To the credit of the clergy, seigneurs and professional classes of this period be it said that they saved Canada.

If the French habitant was weak in 1775, watching which way to jump, he will be strong in 1812 and 1813 and the victory of Chateauguay, though but a “bush fight,” will serve to consolidate the British rule in Canada. It has been noticed that the French Canadian loyalty is of the “head” rather than of the “heart.” But the analogy between French Canadians and Scotchmen has also been pointed out. The latter point with pride to Bannockburn as well as to Waterloo. They, with the help of time, have a hearty affection for the Empire. So it is with the French Canadians in a more and more growing manner.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 There must have been a miscellaneous collection of canoes, and one or two bateaux.

2 A transcript lately issued by the Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Society of Montreal, of the expense book of the commissary under Arnold which has entries from February to May, 1776, goes to show that, to give the invader his due, large sums of money were disbursed for beef and other supplies. During the war bread was very dear and wheat was scarce. A brown loaf cost thirty sols or 1 s. and 3 d. a pound; white, 25 sols, or 1 s. ½ d. a pound.


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CHAPTER IX

MONTREAL, AN AMERICAN CITY SEVEN MONTHS UNDER CONGRESS

1776

THE CONGRESS ARMY EVACUATES MONTREAL

MONTREAL UNDER CONGRESS—GENERAL WOOSTER’S TROUBLES—MONEY AND PROVISIONS SCARCE—MILITARY RULE—GENERAL CONFUSION—THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY, AMERICAN HEADQUARTERS—THE COMMISSIONERS: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SAMUEL CHASE AND CHARLES CARROL—FLEURY MESPLET, THE PRINTER—THE FAILURE OF THE COMMISSIONERS—NEWS OF THE FLIGHT FROM QUEBEC—MONTREAL A STORMY SEA—THE COMMISSIONERS FLY—THE WALKERS ALSO—THE EVACUATION BY THE CONGRESS TROOPS—NOTES: I. PRINCIPAL REBELS WHO FLED; II. DESCRIPTION OF DRESS OF AMERICAN RIFLES.

Meanwhile the efforts of Montgomery and Arnold with a force of about one thousand, five hundred men, among whom were the Canadians under Major Duggin, formerly a Quebec barber, were engaged in besieging Quebec, a more difficult task than they expected. On the last day of 1775 Montgomery met his death. Arnold was wounded in the foot and many of the congress soldiers had caught the smallpox. Still the siege went on, although under great depression. The death of Montgomery had placed General Wooster in command of the province till the appointment of General Charles Lee in February. “For God’s sake,” wrote Arnold to Wooster at Montreal on December 31st, “order as many men as you can possibly spare consistent with the safety of Montreal.”

But Wooster had his own troubles. The Canadians around him could not be relied on. Besides he had no cash. Price, of Montreal, who had enticed the Americans over, had enabled them to subsist as an army, having already advanced about £20,000; but now he was “almost out of that article himself,” and could find no one in the city willing to lend. (Price to General Schuyler, January 5th.) Wooster, therefore, looked upon Montreal as the place to be reserved for a retreat. “I shall not be able to spare any men to reinforce Colonel Arnold,” he wrote to Schuyler on January 5th. “What they will do at Quebec for want of money God only knows, but none can be spared from Montreal.” Yet in the last week of January Wooster had been enabled to send about one hundred and twenty from Montreal.

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During February Wooster’s letters from Montreal were gloomy: “Our flour is nearly expended, we have not more than enough for the army for one week; we can purchase no provisions or wood or pay for the transporting of anything without hard cash. Our credit sinks daily. All the provisions and wood that we want for the army for two or three weeks to come must be purchased and transported to camp by the middle of March. There will be no passing for a month or six weeks; these things must be provided immediately, or the consequences will be dreadful.”

In Montreal, Wooster found other trouble. The clergy were in favour of the British régime. On January 6th, writing to Warner, the commandant wrote: “The clergy refuse absolution to all who have shown themselves our friends and preach damnation to all those who will not take up arms against us.” Then there was nothing but paper money, which had little value, seeing that it might never be redeemed. At Quebec and Montreal men were forced to serve congress, even when legally freed. Quarrels between the military authorities such as that between Schuyler and Wooster were not edifying to the Canadians, used to harmony in government. A mutiny arose among the soldiers who refused to go to serve at Quebec. Six ring leaders were flogged. On the 14th of January an ordinance of General Wooster appeared at the church doors forbidding anyone speaking against congress under penalty of being sent out of the province. It is to be owned that orders were given for the soldiers to live peacefully and honestly with their Canadian brethren, but in spite of this, there were many individual abuses, at least. The people began to feel that the strangers who came to them as suppliants to succour them, ruled them with military law at times despotic. General Lee gave an order to General Wooster which made the Montreal merchants consider their trade injured; he was told “to suffer the merchants of Montreal not to send any of their woolen cloths out of the town.”

The loyalists were named tories and Wooster became convinced “of the great necessity of sending many of their leaders out of the province,” and he would have sent Hertel de Rouville, the Sulpician Montgolfier, and many others out of the way, and it is said no less than forty sleds of indignant tories made the journey to Albany.1 Carleton, be it remembered, took a long time before he requested Walker to leave the country. When expostulated with by a number of citizens Wooster answered: “I regard the whole of you as enemies and rascals.” He was unwise enough to have the churches shut up on Christmas eve. Altogether the reports, sent to Schuyler and others, indicated that there was great confusion in Montreal and Canada. Soon it began to appear as if nothing but terror was keeping the Canadians. A plot was laid as early as January to overcome the garrison of Montreal.2 Secretly many were combining under the royal flag.

FROM THE COMMISSIONERS’ LETTER TO CONGRESS, MAY 1, 1776

FROM THE COMMISSIONERS’ LETTER TO CONGRESS, MAY 1, 1776

FROM THOMAS WALKER’S LETTER TO ADAMS, MAY 30, 1776

FROM THOMAS WALKER’S LETTER TO ADAMS, MAY 30, 1776

POSTSCRIPT OF ARNOLD’S LETTER TO CLINTON, MAY 12, 1776

POSTSCRIPT OF ARNOLD’S LETTER TO CLINTON, MAY 12, 1776

FROM CARLETON’S LETTER TO GERMAIN, MAY 25, 1776

FROM CARLETON’S LETTER TO GERMAIN, MAY 25, 1776

FROM MONTGOMERY’S LETTER TO MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 12, 1775

FROM MONTGOMERY’S LETTER TO MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 12, 1775

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Meanwhile at Quebec, Carleton pursued Fabian tactics and would not venture out into the open. He had seen this mistake made by Wolfe, and he had not been his quarter-master-general for nothing, so he waited for the ships from England to come, as indeed they did, at last, on May 6th, the Surprise leading, followed by the Isis and the Martin. The flight of the Americans to Montreal soon began.

At Montreal exciting circumstances had occurred at the American headquarters, the Château de Ramezay, which had been that of Gage, Burton and other British commandants since it had ceased being the seat of the East India Fur Company under the French regime.

On April 26th its doors had opened to General John Thomas on his arrival to take command of the army before Quebec, and its council chamber had been the scene of hasty conference with Arnold and other gentlemen. It was now to receive the commissioners from congress, long asked for by Montgomery and Schuyler, but only named and appointed on the 15th of February by the resolution “that a committee of three (two of whom to be members of congress) to be appointed to proceed to Canada, there to pursue such instructions as shall be given them by congress.” The instructions given later directed the commissioners to represent to the Canadians in the strongest terms that it was the earnest desire of congress to adopt them as a side colony under the protection of the Union and to urge them to take a part in the contest then on, that the people should be guaranteed “the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion,” that the clergy should have the full, perfect and peaceable possession and enjoyment of all their estates and the entire ecclesiastical administration beyond an assurance of full religious liberty and civil privileges to every sect of Christians should be left in the hands of the good people of that province and such legislature as they should constitute. The commissioners started from New York on April 2d. They were men of mark—the great Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase of Maryland, and Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, described by John Adams as a “gentleman of independent fortune, perhaps the largest in America, one hundred and fifty or two hundred thousand pounds sterling, educated in some university in France, though a native of America, of great abilities and learning, complete master of the French language, a professor of the Roman Catholic religion, yet a warm, a firm, a zealous supporter of the rights of America in whose cause he has hazarded his all.” With the commissioners was adjoined John Carroll, the brother of Charles. He was a clever ecclesiastic, become through the suppression of the Society of Jesus, an ex-Jesuit who was afterwards to become the first archbishop of Baltimore. Much reliance was placed on his intermediary overtures to the Canadian clergy. On their arrival at St. John’s the commissioners felt their first check. They had carried no hard cash with them. They were brought up at once against the fundamental difficulty. In their letter to congress on May 1st the commissioners wrote, “It is impossible to give you a just idea of the lowness of continental credit here from the want of hard money and the prejudice it is to our affairs. Not the most trifling service can be purchased without an appearance of instant pay in silver or gold. The express we sent from St. John’s to inform the general of our arrival there and to request carriages for La Prairie, had to wait at the ferry till a friend, passing, changed a dollar for us into silver.” This friend, a[82] Mr. McCartney, had also to pay for the calèches for La Prairie or they would have had to remain stranded.

They reached Montreal on April 27th and were received by Arnold with some ostentation at the Château, where guests among the French ladies were invited to meet them. That night after supper the commissioners lodged in Thomas Walker’s house.

Walker’s house was that originally built by Bécancourt, which became the depôt of the Compagnie des Indes. It passed finally into the McGill family. It stood immediately west of the Château de Ramezay. It was demolished in 1903.

With the commissioners there came about the same time the French printer, Fleury Mesplet. He was brought, along with his printing press, to spread campaign literature for the congress. His press was soon installed in the basement of the Château. It had been his press in Philadelphia from which the original proclamation of 1775 to the Canadians originated. He became the first printer of Montreal. The first book published by him is supposed to be “Réglement de la Confrèrie de l’Adoration Perpetuelle du Saint Sacrément et de la Bonne Mort, chez F. Mesplet et C. Berger, 1776.”3 Another book bearing the same date, 1776, and published by Mesplet at Montreal, is “Jonathan et David, ou le Triomphe de L’Amitié,” tragedie en trois actes, representèe par les ecoliers de Montréal, a Montréal chez Fleury Mesplet et C. Berger, Imprimeurs et Libraires, 1776.

John Carroll early began to get in touch with the clergy, but he found an impenetrable barrier—the clergy had nothing to gain by swerving from their allegiance to England. What more than the Quebec act could the provincials give them? They feared the intolerance of the Americans. Had they not seen Wooster’s conduct? They were now offering religious freedom, but the clergy could not forget the letter addressed by congress to the British people in 1774, after the Quebec act, containing this significant sentence: “Nor can we suppress our astonishment that a British parliament should ever consent to establish in that country a religion that has deluged your island in blood and dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world.”

The political arguments of the commissioners were of no avail, either. The great Continental Congress was there before their eyes, and the great Continental Congress was bankrupt. The paper money was discredited. Not all Charles Carrol’s wealth was of avail, unless it were in hard cash. An urgent request was sent to Philadelphia to send £20,000 in specie. Only one-twelfth of this could be promised.

There were other grievances, but most were from the non-payment of money lent or furnished for supplies. On the commissioners fell the superintendence of the army. This was no easy task, as provisions were giving out. Smallpox was breaking out among the soldiers. The commissioners were not trained to rule the army and in the confused state of affairs they recognized the failure of their mission. In their letter of May 17th to congress they said:[83] “The possession of this country must finally be settled by the sword. We think our stay here no longer of service to the publick * * * and we await with impatience the further orders of the congress.”

FROM FRANKLIN’S LETTER TO CHASE AND CARROLL

FROM FRANKLIN’S LETTER TO CHASE AND CARROLL

FROM CHASE AND CARROLL’S LETTER TO THOMAS

FROM CHASE AND CARROLL’S LETTER TO THOMAS

JOHN CARROLL

JOHN CARROLL

FRANKLIN MEMORIAL TABLET (ENGLAND)

FRANKLIN MEMORIAL TABLET (ENGLAND)

CHARLES CARROLL

CHARLES CARROLL

LETTER FROM CHASE AND CARROLL TO GENERAL WOOSTER

LETTER FROM CHASE AND CARROLL TO GENERAL WOOSTER

CARROLL’S REPORT ON MRS. WALKER’S CONDUCT

CARROLL’S REPORT ON MRS. WALKER’S CONDUCT

The commissioners in their first report from Montreal blamed Wooster and declared him totally unfit for his command; the state of Canada was desperate; everything was in confusion, there was no discipline, the army unpaid, credit exhausted. “Such is our extreme want of flour that we were obliged yesterday to seize by force sixteen barrels to supply the garrison with bread. We cannot find words to describe our miserable condition.”

To crown the difficulty of the commissioners, the news of the Quebec disaster and flight reached their ears on the 9th of May. “Every military plan and hope staggered under the shock. Montreal became a stormy sea.” Dreading that one of the British frigates, which were ascending the river but with an unfavourable wind, would run up and cut them off, the commissioners began to prepare to leave the city.

The state of Montreal after the news of Quebec, is well described by Justin H. Smith in “Our Fight for the Fourteenth Colony,” (Vol. II, page 374): “Montreal is listening eagerly for his drum (Captain Young’s of St. Anne’s Fort).” Hazen had declared a month before, “There is nothing but plotting and preparations making against us throughout the whole district.” When it was proposed to abandon the town after the news of the flight from Quebec arrived, Arnold feared the people would attack his departing troops. On all sides the tories whom Ripley had found very plenty in March but mostly living like woodchucks underground, were now showing noses and even feet. The commissioners, getting daily intimations of plots hatching and insurrections intended, had abandoned perforce the rôle of dispensing pure liberty, filled the jails with malcontents and sent others into the exile they had lately protested against, but these measures did not reach the seat of the trouble. Night after night a rising was talked of and expected; Lieutenant Colonel Vose would go round the barrack, waken the men coming down with smallpox and make them dress themselves and load their guns. “If they do take us it shall not be for nothing,” he quietly said.

On the morning of May 17th Benjamin Franklin left, accompanied by Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Price.4 Next day he was joined by Father Carroll and the party ascended Lake Champlain for New York. Walker joined them later and both were left at Albany, “civilly but coldly.” So he passes out of the history of Montreal.

The other commissioners, Carroll and Chase, left Montreal on May 29th for Chambly for a council of war; on the 31st they left St. John’s; on the 2d of June they left for Crown Point, a distance of 106 miles. Thus ended their unsuccessful mission.

How finally the congress troops were driven out of the country, how the additional reinforcements arrived at Quebec on June 1st under Burgoyne, is Canadian history beyond that of Montreal. Suffice it to say that by June 17th[84] things had become so hot in Montreal for Arnold who saw that the junction of the Canadas with the colonies was now at an end, that the evacuation commenced on this day. In two hours, the sick, the baggage and the garrison, reduced by this time to 300 men, embarked on eleven bateaux and in two hours more a procession of carts, escorted by the troops, set out from Longueuil for La Prairie.5

Wilkinson, who was Arnold’s aide-de-camp in Montreal, has placed it on record “that among the property on the bateaux was the merchandise obtained by Arnold in Montreal. It was transferred to Albany and sold for Arnold’s benefit.” “This transaction is notorious,” says Wilkinson (Volume I, page 58), “and excited discontent and clamour in the army; yet it produced no regular inquiry, although it hurt him in the esteem of every man of honour and determined me to leave his family on the first proper occasion.”

NOTE I

PRINCIPAL REBELS WHO FLED

That those of the French Canadians of the better class who sided with the Bostonians were very few is evinced by a list sent by Carleton to Lord George Germain on May 9, 1777. There is only one French name mentioned and that is Pelissier, of Three Rivers, who was a Frenchman from France. The list is referred to in a postscript by Carleton as follows: “Enclosed your Lordship will receive a list of principal leaders of sedition here. We have still too many remaining amongst us that have the same inclination, though they at present act with more caution and so much subtlety as to avoid the punishment they justly deserve.” The enclosure is headed “List of the principal persons settled in the province who very zealously served the rebels in the winter of 1775-1776 and fled upon their leaving it, the place they were settled at, and the country are natives of as England, Scotland, Ireland, America or France.”

At Quebec two Englishmen, two Scotchmen and seven Americans are named. At Three Rivers, Pelissier, a Frenchman. At Montreal were named:

Thomas WalkerELived many years at Boston.
Price
Heywood
A
A
}Great zealots, originally barbers.
Edward AntillALieutenant colonel and * * *
Moses HazenAHalf-pay lieutenant of the 44th.
Colonel of the rebel army.
Joseph Bendon or BindonE
William Macarty or McCartneyA
Joseph Tory and two brothersA
David Salisbury FranksA
Livingston and two brothersAThe eldest, lieutenant colonel; second,
major; and youngest, captain.
John BlakeACarried goods down to the colonies in winter
and did not return. The first known to
be a rank rebel.
—— BlakeleyA

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NOTE II

DESCRIPTION OF DRESS OF AMERICAN RIFLES

Lossing’s Field Book—Vol. I, p. 195—thus describes the dress of the invaders: “Each man of the three rifle companies (Morgan’s, Smith’s and Hendrick’s) bore a rifle-barreled gun, a tomahawk or small axe, and a long knife, usually called a scalping knife, which served for all purposes in the woods. His underdress, by no means in a military style, was covered by a deep ash-coloured hunting shirt,—leggings and moccasins, if the latter could be procured. It was a silly fashion of those times for riflemen to ape the manners of the savages. The Canadians who first saw these (men) emerge from the woods said they were vêtus en toile—‘clothed in linen.’ The word ‘toile’ was changed to ‘tôle,’ iron plated. By a mistake of a single word the fears of the people were greatly increased, for the news spread that the mysterious army that descended from the wilderness was clad in sheet-iron.

“The flag used by what was called the Continental troops, of which the force led into Canada by Arnold and Montgomery was a part, was of plain crimson, and perhaps sometimes it may have had a border of black. On the 1st of January, 1776, the army was organized and the new flag then adopted was first unfurled at Cambridge at the headquarters of General Washington, the present residence of the poet Longfellow.

“That flag was made up of thirteen stripes, seven red and six white, but the Union was the Union of the British flag of that day, blue bearing the Cross of St. Andrew combined with the Cross of St. George and a diagonal red cross for Ireland. This design was used by the American army till after the 14th of June, 1777, when Congress ordered that the Union should be changed, the Union of the English flag removed and in its place there should be a simple blue field with thirteen white stars, representing the thirteen colonies declared to be states.

“Since then there has been no change in the flag, except that a star is added as each new state is admitted.”

W.C. Howells.6


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FOOTNOTES:

1 Among those banished by Wooster was St. Luc de la Corne. He had been well treated under the British régime and was one of the first legislative council formed by Carleton. He is reported to have been a trimmer during the late troubles.

2 One advantage in holding Montreal was that British supplies and presents for the savages could not reach the interior that way. Yet the Americans had little means of supplying the Indian trade. To meet the difficulty, the commissioners, desirous of being on good terms with the Indians up country, offered early on their arrival, passports to all traders who would enter into certain engagements to do nothing in the upper country prejudicial to the continental interests.

3 The first book published in Canada is believed to be “Catéchisme du Diocèse de Sens Imprimé a Quebec, chez Brown et Gilmour, 1765.” The latter were the proprietors of the Quebec Gazette, the first journal, established on June 21, 1764. The Gazette Littéraire appeared in French, June 3, 1778, and in French and English.

4 Mrs. Price, according to Franklin’s letter to the commissioners, had three wagon-loads of baggage with her. The Walkers “took such liberties in taunting at our conduct in Canada that it almost came to a quarrel. I think they both have an excellent talent in making themselves enemies and I believe even here they will never be long without them.” (Franklin’s Works, Vol. VIII, pp. 182-3.)

5 On July 4, 1776, the American Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and in 1781, on July 9th, the Articles of Confederation were ratified.

6 Cf. Lemoine’s[87] “Picturesque Quebec.”


CHAPTER X

THE ASSEMBLY AT LAST

1776-1791

THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT OF 1791

REOCCUPATION BY BRITISH—COURTS REESTABLISHED—CONGRESS’ SPECIAL OFFER TO CANADA—LAFAYETTE’S PROJECTED RAID—UNREST AGAIN—THE LOYALTY OF FRENCH CANADIANS AGAIN BEING TEMPTED—QUEBEC ACT PUT INTO FORCE—THE MERCHANTS BEGIN MEMORIALIZING FOR A REPEAL AND AN ASSEMBLY—HALDIMAND AND HUGH FINLAY OPPOSE ASSEMBLY—MEETINGS AND COUNTER MEETINGS—CIVIC AFFAIRS—THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROJECTED “CHAMBER OF COMMERCE”—THE FIRST NOTIONS OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS—THE MONTREAL CITIZENS’ COMMITTEE REPORT—THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALIST—THE DIVISION OF THE PROVINCE PROJECTED—THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT OF 1791. NOTE: MONTREAL NAMES OF PETITIONERS IN 1784.

Montreal was again occupied by the British in the last week of June.1 Sir John Johnson arrived about this time with 200 followers. On June 28th Carleton held a meeting in the Jesuit church of about three hundred Iroquois who offered their services. The Caughnawagas, of whom some were present, were blamed for their neutrality during the war. An arrangement was entered into for the services of the Iroquois for a year. As the ceremony ended the braves passed by Carleton, each one giving him his hand. On July 18th Carleton, still in Montreal, received a deputation of about one hundred and eighty Indians from the west offering their active service to their great father, the king of England, and to their father Carleton. They were received graciously and sent away happy.

Before leaving, Carleton issued commissions for the creation of judges in the districts of Montreal and Quebec; a court of appeal was established and judges were given authority to examine into, and report on, the damages suffered during the invasion of the Congress troops.

On the 20th of July 4 the governor returned to Quebec to reestablish the courts of justice and to restore the legislative council to its functions. Mr. Fraser, who had been judge of the Court of Common Pleas at Montreal since 1764 was at this time a prisoner among the rebels. In the meantime Carleton, unable to get on with[88] Lord St. Germain, the secretary in England, resigned his position on June 27th, but he did not leave the country till June 27th of the following year, 1777, when he was replaced by Haldimand.

Meanwhile Congress still eyed Canada with longing. On the 4th of July the eleventh article of “confederation and perpetual union” provided that Canadas acceding to the confederation and joining in the measures of the Union “shall be admitted into and entitled to all the advantages of this union, but no other colony shall be admitted to the same unless such admission shall be agreed to by nine states.” In 1793 another bill was introduced into the United States Congress for the admission of Canada, as one or more of the United States, whenever asked with the consent of Great Britain.

During the year 1777 young Marquis de Lafayette, who had joined the continental army and had become a major general, backed by Silas Deane, Major General Horatio Gates and those who thought they could use him as a Frenchman to promote the political views of the congress in Canada, was appointed with an independent command to make an inroad into Canada, Montreal being his objective. He was to prevail upon the people to confederate with the States, but there was not wanting opposition to ruin the Canada expedition lest it should ruin Congress, among these being Gouverneur Morris and Arnold. Finally the mortified Lafayette was recalled to the “grand army.” But those who promoted him on the grounds of using him and the affection of the French in Canada for France, as a lever in the present situation were soon rejoiced with an alliance with France. Lafayette’s projected descent on Montreal had come to naught, but what could be expected now that the news of an alliance between France and America became known? The symptoms became evident of universal unrest. Montreal, already in ferment, was further disturbed in November by a proclamation to the Canadians which was spread broadcast through the parishes and seems to have unsettled many of the best minds as well as those of the hitherto disaffected, but who were settling down to loyalty again. It came from the Comte d’Estaing, who had sailed from Toulon in May, 1778, in command of a French fleet of twelve ships of the line and six frigates, to throw in their lot with the Americans. It was a move long thought of secretly, perhaps long previously nurtured in the circle of the seigneurs around Montreal. The longings for the old régime, it had been thought, had died down. The new appeal carried weight not for any love for Congress or sense of injustice or tyranny evoked on the part of the English government, but from the powerful reminiscences it awoke. It is said that even the clergy wavered.

The proclamation was dated from the “Languedoc in the harbour of Boston, October 28, 1778.” It opened with the statement that the undersigned was authorized by His Majesty to offer assistance to all who were born to taste the sweets of his government. “You were born French. There is no other house so august as that of Henry IV, under which the French can be happy and serve with delight.” He did not need to appeal to the companions in arms of M. le Marquis de Lévis, to those who had seen the brave Montcalm fall in their defence. “Could such fight against their kinsmen? At their names alone the arms should fall from their hands.” The priests were promised particular protection and consideration against temporal interests. He then argued that it were better for a vast monarchy having the same religion, the same customs and the same language to unite for commerce and wealth with their powerful neighbours of the United States than[89] with strangers of another hemisphere who as jealous despots would doubtless, sooner or later, treat them as a conquered race. “I will not suggest to a whole people when it is gaining the right to think and act, and understand its interest, that to link itself with the United States is to seek its happiness; but I will declare, as formally I do in the name of His Majesty who authorized and commanded me so to act, that all the former subjects of North America who will no longer recognize the supremacy of England may count on His Majesty’s protection and support.”

ADDRESS TO THE ANCIENT FRENCH OF NORTH AMERICA

ADDRESS TO THE ANCIENT FRENCH OF NORTH AMERICA

WILLIAM PITT

WILLIAM PITT

MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

This proclamation which said ten words for France and one for Congress, did not please even the leaders of the Revolution. Washington viewed it with suspicion for he suspected it meant eventual separation with the advantage all for the French. In Canada it was most successful. It played adroitly upon the hopes, ambitions, pride, vanity, race instincts and dearest memories, so that Haldimand noted in 1779 “a very visible alteration amongst all ranks of men.” This alteration continued for some time for Haldimand wrote later: “I have for many months observed in the Canadian gentry expectations of a revolution.”

The war of 1775 had delayed the putting into force of the Quebec act of 1774. In 1777 the work of readjustment took place. But on the 2d of April, 1778, the merchants of Quebec and Montreal, through a committee of them then in London, returned to the charge of petitioning Lord George Germain for the repeal of the Quebec act. They again demanded trial by juries and the commercial laws of England. They claimed that the Quebec act reintroduced the feudal system and in consequence the system of forced corvées and other compulsory services without any emoluments whatever during the war; hence discontent and dissatisfaction with His Majesty’s government had crept up. For these reasons the memorialists “humbly entreat Your Lordship to take into consideration the dangerous and confused situation of this colony and grant us your Patronage and assistance in endeavoring to obtain a repeal of the Quebec Act, the source of these Grievances, and an establishment in its stead of a free Government by an assembly or Representation of the People agreeable to His Majesty’s Royal Promise contained in the proclamation made in the year 1763.”

Haldimand in 1780, after an experience of upwards of two years in the country, wrote to Germain a direct negative.[90] “It Requires but Little Penetration to Discover that had the System of Government Solicited by the Old subjects been adopted in Canada this colony would in 1775 have become one of the United States of America. * * * On the other hand the Quebec Act alone has prevented, or can in any Degree prevent, the Emissaries of France from succeeding in their Efforts to withdraw the Canadian Clergy and Noblesse from their allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain. For this reason among many others this is not the time for innovations and it cannot be Sufficiently inculcated on the part of Government that the Quebec Act is a Sacred Charter granted by the king and Parliament to the Canadians as a Security for their Religion, Laws and property. * * * The clamour about the trial by juries and Civil Causes is calculated for the Meridian in London; in Canada Moderate and upright Men are convinced of the abuses to which that institution is liable in a Small Community where the jurors may be all Traders and very frequently either directly or indirectly connected with the Parties. * * * Be assured, My Lord, that however good the institution of Juries may be found in England, the People of this Country have a great aversion to them.”

On September 2d the definitive treaty of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America was signed at Paris. As soon as this was known the British population at Montreal with that of Quebec again began agitating for a change in the constitution. Their numerical strength was little, but their activity great. Four years later Mr. Hugh Finlay, postmaster general and member of the council, writing on October 2, 1784, to Sir Evan Nepean criticizing the agitation for an assembly says: “The advocates for a House of Assembly in this Province take it for granted that the people in general wish to be represented; but that is only a guess for I will venture to affirm that not a Canadian landowner in fifty ever once thought on the Subject and were it proposed to him he would readily declare his incapacity to Judge of the Matter. Although the Canadian Peasants are far from being a stupid race they are at present an ignorant people from want of instruction; not a man in 500 among them can read. The Females in this Country have a great advantage over the males in point of Education. * * * Before we think of a house of Assembly for this country let us lay the Foundation for useful Knowledge to fit the people to Judge of their Situation and deliberate for the future wellbeing of the Province. The first step towards this desirable End is to have a free School in every Parish. Let the schoolmasters be English if we would make Englishmen of the Canadians; let the Masters be Roman Catholic if it is necessary, for perhaps the people at the instigation of their Priests would not put their children under the tuition of a Protestant.”

The English population of Quebec and Montreal did not think with Finlay, for two days later, on November 24th, at Quebec, they presented a petition for a House of Assembly outlining a definite plan which they had never done before, having always left it to his Majesty’s pleasure. It was the most numerously signed document as yet appearing, bearing over two hundred and thirty-three Quebec names, with, about eighteen of Three Rivers and two hundred-forty-six in Montreal.

On November 30th, a counter meeting was held in a convent of the Recollects and the objections of the French Canadians to the petition above were registered, at the same time an address was drawn up to the king briefly stating that the House of Assembly “is not the unanimous wish nor the general Desire of your Canadian People who through Poverty and the misfortunes of a recent war of which this colony has been the Theatre are not in condition to bear the Taxes which must necessarily ensue and that in many respects the petition for it appears contrary to and inconsistent with the wellbeing of the New Catholic Subjects of Your Majesty.” On the 25th of February next, 1785, the seigneurs and leading men were authorized at meetings held in the parishes to sign a petition against any change as advocated by the petition of 1784.

While the constitutional struggle is going on and preparations are being made for the drafting of some inevitable amendments to the Quebec act, we may now turn to an important move being agitated to promote a larger sense of civic progress and municipal freedom. The history of the future municipality of Montreal may now be said to be in its conceptional stage.

In November of 1786 the merchants and citizens of Montreal, Quebec and Three Rivers were taken into consideration by a committee of the Council of Legislature who asked them to give their views on the state of the external and[91] internal commerce and the police of the province. The Montreal names given in the invitation are: Neven Sylvestre, E.W. Gray, St. George Dupré, James McGill, Pierre Guy, James Finlay, J.S. Goddard, Pierre Messiere, Pierre Fortier, Hertel de Rouville, John Campbell, Edward Southouse, Alexander Fraser, Jacques Le Moyne, Benj. Frobisher, Stephen de Lancey, Esq., and Messrs. Jacob Jordan, Isaac Todd, Forsyth J. Blondeau, P. Perinault, Richard Dobie, F. Chaboillez, McBeth and William Pollard, merchants. These who appreciated the courtesy of being taken into consideration thought it their duty to “call in and collect the general voice of our citizens without delay.” “The report of the Merchants of Montreal by their Committee to the Honorable Committee of Council on Commercial Affairs and Police” subsequently appeared dated Montreal, 23d January, 1787, and contained observations on various points: e. g., “the establishment of a chamber of commerce duly incorporated.”

This had been already promoted in Quebec ten years previously and a plan presented on April 3, 1777. The object of this Quebec plan, according to Shortt and Doughty (Constitutional Documents) was to avoid bringing commercial matters into the regular courts where under the Quebec act the French and not the English civil law was made the basis of decision. The virtual effect of this plan, had it been authorized, would have been to set up a legislative, executive and judicial system within the Province to govern the trade relations of the members of the Chamber; and this in time must have involved the trade of others dealing with them. The observation of the Montreal committee on this is: “However beneficial to Trade and Commerce, Institutions of this nature be considered, yet we are of opinion that the same would prove ineffectual and inexpedient at this time; considering the connection that subsists more or less among the Trading People of this Place.” Observations were also returned on “Holding tenures and the abolition of Circuits,” “The present establishment of Appeals in Commercial Causes,” “The establishment of a Court of Chancery” on “a register of all deeds,” on a “Bankrupt Law,” and on the subject of Police in city administration in general.

There also were a number of important observations made of a historical value. The first to be quoted heralds the idea of a charter of corporation for Montreal. The question had also been put for Quebec: “Whether or not we should apply for a charter, incorporating a select number of citizens on some good and Improved Plan with Powers to make By-laws, deeds, Civil and Criminal Causes under certain restrictions, whether under the stile and Title of Recorder, Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of the City and County of Quebec and the Precincts and Liberties thereof or under any other Denomination,”—and similarly for a like charter for Montreal. The observation of the Montreal Committee was as follows:

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“The bad state of the Police of this Town calls loudly for Reform and tho’ Government in its Wisdom has attended thereto by the Appointment of an Inspector of Police, yet we are sorry that the Appointment has in no wise proven adequate to the Intent, and by Experience we find that the exertions of the Magistrates are not sufficient to remedy the Evil complained of. We beg leave to point out as the only remedy that can be applied with Effect the incorporating by Charter, of a select number of the Citizens of Montreal on a good and approved Plan with such Powers and privileges as are usually granted to Corporations for the purpose of Police only. And we further beg to request that in case the Honorable Council should approve of this move and Government inclined to grant the same, That it be recommended to His Excellency, Lord Dorchester, to bestow on the Corporations such lots of Ground and Houses, the Property of the Crown, within the Town and Suburbs of Montreal as Government has no present use for in order to the same being applied towards the Erecting Schools, workhouses and other Establishments of Public Utility.”

Other observations followed on the necessity of regulations to reduce the number of liquor licenses for public houses, and for the avoidance of fires, to enact that no wooden fence or building of wood of what description soever be erected in the town of Montreal in future under a severe penalty.

But the idea of a Municipal Corporation though now sown was not to fructify till many years later. In the meantime the civic government by justices of the peace or magistrates obtained as before.

We must now return to the final stages of the Constitutional struggle for an Assembly. An important factor has now entered into the political aspect of the province, namely the advent of the United Empire Loyalists, now beginning to leave the United States for a wider freedom to settle on the lands above Montreal, as were also the disbanded troops, a move which did much more than anything else to promote the movement for an assembly, and to point the direction in which the amendments to the Quebec act must follow.

On April 11, 1786, Sir John Johnson, then in London, presented a petition from the officers of the disbanded troops praying for a change in the tenure of land. They prayed for the establishment of a district from Point au Baudet upwards, distinct from the province of Quebec, in which they prayed that “the blessings of the British laws and of the British government and an exemption from the French tenures,” might be extended to them. There is no doubt, as Lord Dorchester2 remarked in his letter of June 13, 1787, that the English party had gained strength by the arrival of the loyalists and the desire for an Assembly would no doubt increase.

At this time the movement for dividing the country into an upper and lower province began. It was thought premature by Dorchester. But the act of 1791 thought otherwise. By February 9, 1789, according to the letter of Hugh Finlay, “the great question whether a House of Assembly would contribute to the welfare of this Province in its present state has been so fully discussed that the subject is entirely exhausted; both old and New Subjects here who have openly declared their sentiments now Composedly await the decision of the British Parliament with respect to Canadian affairs.”

In the Montreal district the seigneurs held their old position while the merchants never budged from their original demand in general for an assembly though their plans had been greatly modified. The next two years were spent in preparing drafts for the Constitutional act which was passed in 1791 under the title of “An act to repeal certain Parts of an Act” passed in the Fourteenth Year of His Majesty’s Reign entitled[93] “an Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America and to make further Provision for the Government of the said Province.”

Owing to the uncertainty of the maintenance of peace with Spain in 1789, the Canada act was not introduced into parliament until 1790. On the 7th of March, 1791, Pitt introduced the bill to divide Canada into two provinces. The bill became a law on the 14th of May, 1791. It divided Canada into two parts, Lower and Upper; each province was to have an executive council appointed by the crown, Lower Canada to have no less than fifteen members and Upper Canada no fewer than seven; each was to have a legislative assembly, the members for Lower Canada to be no less than fifty and those for Upper Canada to be no less than sixteen.

The long struggle of the Merchants of Montreal for an assembly was at last ended.

NOTE

MONTREAL NAMES ATTACHED TO THE PETITION FOR AN ASSEMBLY. DATED NOVEMBER 24, 1784

These are given as an indication of the national origins of the citizens of the period.3

(Parchment Copy) endorsed: In Lt Govr Hamilton’s No 2 of 9 Jan., 1785. [96]


FOOTNOTES:

1 Montreal was occupied by General Phillips with the artillery including a company of the Hesse Hanon and the Twenty-ninth Regiment. McLeans’ Regiment and that of Sir John Johnson were quartered on the island and the Ninth Regiment at Ile Jésus.

2 Sir Guy Carleton returned to Quebec as the Earl of Dorchester on August 23, 1786.

3 A special chapter on National origins will be found in Part II of this volume.


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CHAPTER XI

THE FUR TRADERS OF MONTREAL

THE GREAT NORTH WEST COMPANY

MERCHANTS—NATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS ORIGINS—UP COUNTRY TRADE—EARLY NORTH WEST COMPANY—CHARLES GRANT’S REPORT—PASSES—MEMORIALS—GEOGRAPHICAL DISCOVERIES—RIVAL COMPANIES—THE X.Y. COMPANY—JOHN JACOB ASTOR’S COMPANIES—ASTORIA TO BE FOUNDED—THE JOURNEY OF THE MONTREAL CONTINGENT—ASTORIA A FAILURE—THE GREAT RIVAL—THE HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY—SIR ALEXANDER SELKIRK—THE AMALGAMATION OF THE NORTH WEST AND HUDSON’S BAY COMPANIES IN 1821—THE BEAVER CLUB.

After the inefficient and unstable set of trade adventurers, sutlers and purveyors for the army who came in upon the heels of Amherst’s conquering band had been sifted, there remained a strong nucleus of substantial business men, whose connections were good in credit and in business methods, and who founded the basis of Montreal’s future mercantile success. We get an idea of the national origins or religion of some of the early settlers from the censuses prepared by government for jury service. In the last of 1765 there are 136 Protestant names and their birthplace, former occupation and present calling are given. Of these thirty-seven were from Ireland (mostly soldiers who became inn-keepers), thirty from England, twenty-six from Scotland, thirteen from New England, sixteen from Germany, six from Switzerland and one each from France, Canada, Lapland, Italy and Guernsey. The origin of three is undetermined.

The earliest merchants, as we have seen, were scored by Murray and afterwards by Carleton. The records of the “military courts” from 1760 to 1763 show that there was some cause for it. Yet it is pleasing to hear Murray writing as early as December, 1760, confess as follows: “I flatter myself you will pardon the liberty I take in troubling you with the enclosed (petition); it regards a set of men who have been very serviceable to His Majesty’s troops, who have run many risks and who have been induced to pour in their merchandise here for a laudable prospect of promoting trade at the invitation of Mr. Amherst, the commander in chief.”

Howard, Chinn and Bostwick was probably the first British firm in Montreal. Chinn became the deputy provost marshal and got the licenses from Quebec; he also himself traded up country. Joseph Howard shortly severed his connection with the firm and established himself successfully on St. Paul street.[98] William Bostwick was a hatter but, hats not being in much demand, he joined the Indian trade.

Jew merchants early settled here; the earliest firm was probably that of the Levy Brothers, Solomon, Eleazer, Gershom and Simon. Gershom came with the soldiers, Eleazer in 1763, and the other two were already settled here by this date. The firm of Ezekiel Solomon & Company was established in 1764. Tobias Isenhout was a German sutler who prospered in the Indian trade, but was murdered in 1771 or 1772 on a business trip by Michel Dué, his French clerk, who was subsequently hanged under the mutiny act. The Honourable Conrad Gugy, a Swiss, settled in the Montreal district and became a legislative councillor. He died in April, 1786, and was buried in the Dorchester street cemetery. Lawrence Ermantinger arrived in 1762 and became a prosperous merchant. His name appears on many of the petitions sent from Montreal. Benjamin Price was another legislative councillor, coming to Canada in 1762 and died in 1768. James Price, of Price & Haywood, was from New England, as was his partner. James Price it was who abetted Ethan Allen in his march on Montreal. The name of Thomas Walker, another merchant, enters largely into Montreal history, as we have seen. James Finlay came to Montreal in 1762; he was the first of the Englishmen to reach the upper Saskatchewan, wintering at Nipawi House in 1771-2. He was one of those who established the first Protestant school in the city; one of the founders of the first Presbyterian church and one of the signers of the capitulation to Montgomery in 1775. Alexander Henry came to Montreal with the troops and became a great explorer in the Indian trade. One of his spells up country lasted fifteen years. He was one of the founders of the North West Company. In 1796 he retired from the Indian trade and lived to the age of eighty-four, dying in Montreal on April 4, 1824. The prosperous city merchants, McGill Brothers, John, James and Andrew, were all settled by 1774. The firm of McTavish, Frobisher & Company stands out as the actual founders of the North West Company, the rivals of the Great Company. Of the Frobisher Brothers, Benjamin seems to have settled first, before 1765. He died in 1787; Joseph retired from business in 1798; Thomas died ten years earlier at the age of forty-four. Simon McTavish came after the others.

The professions were not well represented by the English at this time. Dr. Daniel Robertson, a retired lieutenant from the forty-second regiment, practiced medicine in the city after the conquest and there was a Doctor Huntly. Edward Antill was the only English lawyer, moving here from New England in 1770. The first Protestant school master was an Irishman, John Pullman, brought from New York in 1773. The first Protestant divine was a Swiss, the Reverend Dr. Chatrand Delisle, who came in 1766. In striking contrast with latter-day practice, this clergyman’s name heads the list of the supporters of practically all applicants for liquor licenses in the city in his time.

The traders who left Montreal for the distant posts had no license office in the city. Recourse had to be made to Quebec, and the delay was annoying, although, no doubt, Edward Chinn, who was the deputy provost marshal, did his best for his fellow Montreal merchants. The value of the cargoes taken on the up-country ventures averaged about five hundred pounds, and their destinations, recorded on the passes, were mostly Oswegatchie, LaBarge, Niagara, Detroit,[99] Michillimackinac and the Grand Portage on Lake Superior. The canoe men were voyageurs from Montreal and the district.

THE HON. JAMES McGILL

THE HON. JAMES McGILL

A prosperous Montreal merchant, the founder of McGill University. He was born in Glasgow, October 6, 1744, and died at Montreal, December 18, 1813.

The following gives some idea of their ventures:

Monday, April 26, 1771, pass for Edward Chinn’s men—seven men—£550 merchandise, ten fusils, 500 pounds gunpowder, 350 pounds shot and ball.

No. 10—Ezekial Solomon (April 10, 1772)—two canoes to Michillimackinac, value £800; twenty men (La Prairie); 1,400 pounds shot and ball.

No. 21—Benj. and Jos. Frobisher—3 canoes for Grand Portage; merchandise £2,000, fusils 96, powder, 2,000 pounds, shot, etc., 1,300 pounds; liquor, 260 gals.; men, 28.

No. 10—Jas. and John McGill (March 10, 1773)—3 canoes; value about £1,500; 48 guns, etc.; 23 men.

No. 65—James Morrison—1 small bateau, Niagara (July 17, 1775)—4 men; 22 bales mdse.; 1 quarter cask wine; 1 bbl. loaf sugar; 1 bbl. coffee; 1 bbl. salt; 1 bbl. tea; 1 nest brass kettles.

In the beginning the merchants themselves would join the party; later, becoming richer, they entrusted it to an agent. On the return they brought down the pelts to Montreal, whence they were transferred by river sloops to Quebec for London, with which there was a close connection. The “Mdse.” carried was for Indian trade and contained scalping knives, hatchets, paints, blankets, hosiery, beads, etc.

We have spoken of the Montreal merchants after the capitulation of the city engaging in the fur trade.1 As early as 1765 yearly attempts were made by the first adventurers to trade with the northwest beyond Michillimackinac, but with little success. In 1768 other adventurers joined, but in 1769 Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher formed a connection with Messrs. Todd and McGill. Gradually others were added. At first their canoes had difficulty in getting beyond Lake La Pluye, for the natives plundered their goods, but later they reached Lake Bourbon. This encouraged the traders to persevere and by 1774 new ports were discovered, hitherto unknown to the French. New adventurers followed in their wake, independently, and, without regard to the management of the Indians and the common good of the trade, soon caused disorder, so that many of the substantial traders retired, there only remaining at the latter end of 1782 twelve who persevered. These, convinced by long experience of the advantage that would arise from a general connection, not only calculated to secure and promote their mutual interests but also to guard against any encroachments of the United States on the line of boundary as ceded them by treaty from Lake Superior to Lake du Bois, entered upon and concluded articles of agreement under the title of the North West Company, dividing it into sixteen shares. These were arranged as follows: Todd & McGill, two shares; Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher, two shares; McGill & Paterson, two shares; McTavish & Company, two shares; Holmes & Grant, two shares; Walker & Company, two shares; McBeath & Company, two shares; Ross & Company, one share; Oakes & Company, one share. The above seemed to have been bound together about[100] 1779, but the North West Company, as such, seems to date from about 1782 and for a “term of five years” as first promoted. (Benjamin Frobisher to Doctor McBane, April 1, 1784.)

The story of the North West Company founded at Montreal must now be told. The war of 1775-6 had sadly interfered with the trade of Montreal with the Indians up country. Haldimand set to work to help the traders to rebuild it. A report of April 24, 1780, of Charles Grant, one of the members of the North West Company, to Haldimand, reveals the enterprise of the founders of Montreal’s commercial prosperity, thus, that “at all times the trades of the upper countries had been considered the staple trade in this Province but of late years it has been greatly increased, in so much that it may be reckoned one year with another to have produced an annual return to Great Britain in Furrs to the amount of £200,000 sterling, which is an object deserving of all the encouragement and protection which Government can with propriety give to that trade. The Indian Trade by every communication is carried on at a great expense, labour and risk of both men and property; every year furnishes instances of the loss of men and goods by accident and otherwise; indeed few of them are able to purchase with ready money such goods as they want for their trade. They are consequently indebted from year to year until a return is made in Furrs to the merchants of Quebec and Montreal who are importers of goods from England and furnish them on credit. In this manner the Upper Country Trade is chiefly carried on by men of low circumstances, destitute of every means to pay their debts when their trade fails; and if it should be under great restraints or obstructed a few years the consequences will prove ruinous to the commercial party of this Province and very hurtful to the merchants of London, shippers of goods to this country, besides the loss of so valuable branch of trade in Great Britain. In these troublesome times the least stop to the Indian Trade might be very productive of very bad effects, even among the savages who are at present our friends or neuter, who on seeing no supply of goods would immediately change sides and join the enemies of the Government under pretense that the rebels had got the better of us and that we had not it in our power to supply them any more. All the property in the Upper Countries in such a case would become an easy prey to their resentment; and the lives of all of His Majesty’s Subjects doing business in these Countries at the time of a rupture of this nature might probably fall a sacrifice to the fury and rage of disappointed, uncivilized barbarians.”

He then gives an insight into the value of each canoe load: “I am informed that of late years, from ninety to one hundred canoes have annually been employed in the Indian Trade from Montreal by the communications of the Great River to Michillimackinac, Lakes Huron and Michigan, LaBarge, and the North West. * * * In this I shall insert the average value of a canoe load of goods at the time of departure from Montreal, Michillimackinac and at the Grand Portage. * * * A canoe load of goods is reckoned at Montreal worth in dry goods to the amount of £300, first sterling cost in England, with fifty per cent charges thereon makes £150; besides that every canoe carries about 200 gallons of rum and wine which I suppose worth £50 more, so that every canoe on departure from that place may be said worth £500, currency of this Province. The charges of all sorts included together from Montreal to Michillimackinac,[101] £160, and from thence to the Grand Portage, £90; so it appears that each canoe at Michillimackinac is worth £660, currency; every canoe is navigated by eight men for the purpose of transporting the goods only and when men go up to winter they commonly carry ten.”

FIRST RESIDENCE AND STORE OF THE HON. JAMES McGILL

From a sketch by R.G. Mathews, Esq.

FIRST RESIDENCE AND STORE OF THE HON. JAMES McGILL

The report ends with an appeal for the early issue of passes. For “last year the passes were given out so late that it was impossible to forward goods to the places of destination, especially in the North West. Considering the great number of people in this province immediately interested in the Indian Trade it is hardly possible to suppose but there may be among them some disaffected men, but the major part of them I sincerely believe are sure friends to Government and it would be hard the whole community should suffer for the sake of a few bad men since regulations and laws are or may be made sufficiently severe to prevent in a great measure, or altogether, every effort that may be made to convey goods to the enemy and if any person, whatever, should attempt to ignore or violate such regulations as are made for the safety of the whole, the law ought to be put into execution against him with the utmost rigour on conviction of guilt and the offender never should be forgiven offences committed against the publick in general.” From which we may learn that our justly honoured pioneer Montreal merchants were law-abiding citizens and were not among the rebels of 1775-6.

This letter was followed by a memorial from the North West traders on May 11, 1780, asking for no let or hindrance to the departure of the canoes. The additional names of Adam Lymburner and J. Porteous appear adjoined to this.

On October 4, 1784, Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher, the directors of the North West Company, memorialized General Haldimand, praying him to recommend to His Majesty’s ministers to grant to the North West Company an exclusive privilege of trade from Lake Superior to that country for ten years only as a reward “for discovering a new passage to the River Ouinipigue and thereby effectively securing to this Province the Furr trade to the North West. And in consideration, also, of exploring at their own expense between the latitudes of 55 and 65, all that Tract of Country west of Hudson’s Bay to the North Pacific Ocean and communicating to Government such surveys and other information respecting that Country as it may be in their power to obtain.”

Mr. Peter Pond, one of the company, in memorializing Governor Hamilton on the 18th of April in the following year, begs him to recommend the memorial, already mentioned, of the Frobishers “as a plan which will be productive of Great National advantages” and the ten years’ exclusive monopoly as “only a reward for the toil and expense of such an arduous and public Spirited Enterprise.”

This company gained in strength. While its headquarters were in Montreal, it had “wintering” partners in the interior posts. Fort William became the meeting ground of the partners who were merchant princes of the period for the annual meetings which are described by Washington Irving in “Astoria” as marked with great splendour. It provided serious competition for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The policy of the latter had been only to trade in the winter with the natives, thus making a close season in summer. Their posts were at first all on the coast, but the competition forced them also to seek interior quarters.[102] The contributions to our geographical knowledge provided by the earlier explorers of the first North West Company include the first overland journey to the Pacific Ocean made by Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1793 and his previous descent in 1789 from Lake Athabasca to the Arctic Ocean by the Mackenzie River, called after this explorer, from Montreal. The discovery of the Peace River must also be attributed to him.

In 1798, troubles arising among the partners, the seceding party formed a rival firm popularly known as the “X.Y.” from those initials following the W. in N.W. Company.2 Jealous and rancourous friction arose again and the two companies were amalgamated in 1804 into one firm called the North West Company. It became a powerful body, purely Canadian and with exclusive privileges. Sir Alexander Mackenzie was its moving spirit and his cousin Roderick became one of the chief agents.

Meanwhile the great North West Company by 1806 had spread over the continent from the Great Lakes to the remote side of the Rocky Mountains and had established a trading post at Columbia River. By 1812 it had fifty agents, seventy interpreters and over one thousand one hundred voyageurs. Thus when the partners, mostly Scotchmen, met at Fort William they were surrounded by retainers and they acted like barons of old, the story of their feasting and lavishness lighting up the tale of the otherwise dreary days—the old north west days—and when they met at their famous Beaver Club in Montreal they added considerable magnificence to the social life of the city.

Meanwhile another rival to the North West Company was arising in the person of the founder of the Astor family. John Jacob Astor, born in the honest little village of Waldorf, near Heidelberg, on the banks of the Rhine, arrived in America in a ship bound for Baltimore in the month of January, 1783. In 1784 he settled in New York and soon turned his attention exclusively to the fur trade. The peltry trade not being regularly organized in the United States, he determined to go to Canada, the seat of the main supply. Accordingly he made annual visits to Montreal and thence shipped furs to London, as trade was not allowed otherwise than directly with the old country.

In 1794 or 1795 a treaty with Great Britain lifted the trade restrictions and a direct commercial intercourse was established with the United States. Mr. Astor then made a contract with the North West Company and he was now enabled to ship furs direct from Montreal to the United States for the home supply. In 1809 he obtained a charter from the legislature of New York state incorporating a company under the name of “The American Fur Company.” In 1811 he bought out the Anglo-Canadian Company, the “Mackinaw,” whose headquarters were at Michillimackinac, and merging it into the American Fur Company, called it the “South West Company,” or the “Pacific Fur Company,” as it afterwards became known. He associated with himself, as his agents several of those who had hitherto served the North West Company of Montreal,[103] among these being Alexander McKay, who had accompanied Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1789 and 1793, Duncan McDougal and Donald Mackenzie. He planned headquarters at the north of the Columbia River. Accordingly the expedition was sent out in duplicate to the mouth of the Columbia River, one-half going on a six-months’ voyage around Cape Horn in a sailing vessel, the Iroquois, the other marching overland or canoeing on lakes and rivers in eighteen months from Montreal via the Mississippi and the Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River.

ERECTED 1759

ERECTED 1759

John Jacob Astor, the founder of the Astor fortunes, is said to have lived in this building, on the southwest corner of Vaudreuil and Ste. Therese streets, still standing, and stored here Canadian beaver, racoon and muskrat skins, Canadian coatings, etc., all of which he sold in 1789 at No. 81 Queen Street, New York.

OLD ST. GABRIEL CHURCH ON ST. GABRIEL STREET

OLD ST. GABRIEL CHURCH ON ST. GABRIEL STREET

Erected in 1792, standing till recently. The first “Scotch” Church in the Province. Its chief supporters were the Scotch fur-traders of the North-West Company. The bell in the steeple of this church is said to have been “the first Protestant bell sounded in Canada.”

The voyageurs he got at Montreal in July, 1810, were not of the best, for the old rival North West Company had secretly interdicted the prime hands from engaging in the new service. It was not long after the party left Lachine for St. Anne’s that the “recruits enlisted at Montreal were fit to vie with the rugged regiment of Falstaff; some were able-bodied but inexpert; others were expert but lazy; while a third class were expert but totally worn, being brokendown veterans incapable of toil.” (“Astoria,” by Washington Irving, Chapter XII.)

These two parties together founded “Astoria” at the mouth of the Columbia. But most of Astor’s employees were British subjects derived from men of the North West and Mackinaw Companies, and when the 1812 War broke out between the United States and Great Britain a British warship came up the Pacific coast and promptly turned it into “Fort George.” Forthwith the North West Company bought up the derelict property of Mr. Astor’s company. British employees and a few Americans in the concern retreated inland and after almost incredible suffering from the attacks of unfriendly Indians succeeded in reaching the Mississippi.” (“Pioneers in Canada,” by Sir Harry Johnston.)

But the most powerful rival of the North West Company was to be found in the person of Lord Selkirk, who had bought two-fifths of the stock of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In May, 1811, he prevailed on the directors to grant him 160,000 square miles of territory in fee simple on condition he should establish a colony and furnish from the settlers men required by the company at a certain rate. In 1811 ninety persons, mostly Highland cotters from Sutherlandshire, with some emigrants from the west of Ireland, reached Hudson’s Bay, sent by Selkirk. Others followed in subsequent years. This may be regarded as the beginning of the North West Red River settlement. Its history was one of bitter rivalry for the Montreal company. This was felt all the more since Lord Selkirk, being a Douglas and a Scot, had after the failure of this first settlement in Canada at Buldoon received much hospitality and attention at Montreal from the Scottish merchants of the company, who had given him so much inside information on the subject of the fur trade industry that he had turned his thoughts to the Hudson’s Bay Company and become for many years the most determined opponent of his hosts. This opposition, to the extent of bloodshed, did not cease till the union of the two bodies as the reestablished Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821.

But the competition with Selkirk’s Hudson’s Bay party had brought sorry losses to both; no dividends were able to be paid by the North West and there was a loss of men on either side in the sanguinary incursions into one another’s territories. The amalgamation of 1821 was therefore not too soon. The union was followed by the gift of the government to the impoverished companies of the exclusive trade of the territory which, under the names of the Hudson’s Bay[104] and North West territories, extended from Labrador to the Pacific and from Red River to the Arctic Ocean. The Hudson’s Bay Company, as the amalgamated company was called, held Rupert’s Land by perpetual charter and the rest of the territory, including Vancouver Island, granted to it in 1848 by special license till 1859, maintaining under its supreme rule about four million square miles. In 1860 it employed five surgeons, eighty-seven clerks, sixty-seven postmasters, 1,200 permanent servants and 500 voyageurs, making with temporary employees about three thousand men on its payroll, while about one hundred thousand Indians were actively engaged in supplying it with furs. Its profits were enormous, being from May 31, 1852, to May 31, 1862, an annual average of £81,000 on a paid-up capital of £400,000. In 1863 the company was reorganized with a capital of £2,000,000, with Sir Edmund Head as governor. After confederation the northwestern territories and Manitoba were joined to the Dominion on the indemnification of £3,000,000. This will be told in its place. Henceforth the old company, no longer a feudal government, is to play its part as one of the mercantile bodies of Canada, but one which still has a great civilizing power in the northern wilds of Canada.

THE BEAVER CLUB

“The members of the famous Beaver Club, constituted perhaps the most picturesque and magnificent aristocracy that has ever dominated the life of any young community on this continent, with the possible exception of the tobacco lords of Virginia. The majority of them were adventurous Scotsmen, but they included French-Canadians, Englishmen and a few Irishmen, and were thoroughly cosmopolitan by taste and associations.”

The Beaver Club was instituted at Montreal in the year 1785, by the merchants then carrying on the Indian trade of Canada. Originally the club consisted of but nineteen members, all voyageurs, having wintered in the Indian Country, and having been in the trade from their youth. Subsequently the membership was extended to fifty-five, with ten Honorary Members.

On the first Wednesday in December of each year, the social gatherings were inaugurated by a dinner at which all members residing in the town were expected to be present.

The club assumed powers which would, in the present day, be strongly resisted; among the most notable of them was the rule, that “no member shall have a party at his house on club days, nor accept invitations; but if in town, must attend, except prevented by indisposition.”

The meetings were held fortnightly from December to April and there was, in addition, a summer club for the captains of the fur vessels, who, in some instances, were honorary members.

The object of the meetings (as set forth in the rules) was “to bring together, at stated periods, during the winter season, a set of men highly respectable in society, who had passed their best days in a savage country and had encountered the difficulties and dangers incident to a pursuit of the fur trade of Canada.”

The members recounted the perils they had passed through and after passing around the Indian emblem of peace (the calumet), the officer appointed for the purpose, made a suitable harangue.

FOOTNOTES:

1 The effect of the conquest on the fur trade in the Northwest, according to Mr. Beckles Wilson, “The Great Company,” was that for awhile the Indians and the voyageurs and coureurs de bois awaited patiently for the French traders. Many of the French thus cut off intermarried with the Indians and virtually lived as such.

2 The new North West Company were composed of Gregory and McLeod, now independent. It was first called the “little Company,” or the “Potties,” an American corruption of the French “Les Petit.” Later it developed into the X.Y. Company, or Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s Company. Alexander Mackenzie and his cousin, Roderick Mackenzie, became the chief agents of the new company. (Alexander Mackenzie was knighted in 1799.)


[105]

CHAPTER XII

FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY DESIGNS

MONTREAL THE SEAT OF JACOBINISM

THE ASSEMBLY AT LAST—MONTREAL REPRESENTATIVES—FRENCH AND ENGLISH USED—THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—MUTINY AT QUEBEC—THE DUKE OF KENT—INVASION FEARED FROM FRANCE—MONTREAL DISAFFECTED—ATTORNEY GENERAL MONK’S REPORT—THE FRENCH SEDITIONARY PAMPHLETS—PANEGYRIC ON BISHOP BRIAND—MONTREAL ARRESTS—ATTORNEY GENERAL SEWELL’S REPORT—M’LEAN—ROGER’S SOCIETY—JEROME BONAPARTE EXPECTED.

The persistence of the English merchants had at last secured constitutional government with an assembly. It was inaugurated by the lieutenant-governor, Sir Alured Clarke, in the absence of Lord Dorchester in England, the day of its coming into effect being December 26, 1791. The division of the province into twenty-one counties with four town buroughs was made later in 1792, viz., Gaspé, Cornwallis, Devon, Hertford, Dorchester, Buckinghamshire, Richelieu, Bedford, Surry (sic), Kent, Huntingdon, York, Montreal, Northumberland, Orleans, Effingham, Leinster, Warwick, St. Maurice, Hampshire and Quebec. Each county returned two members except Gaspé, Bedford and New Orleans, returning one each. Quebec and Montreal were to return four each, Three Rivers two and William Henry (Sorel) one; in all fifty members.

The house met on December 17, 1792, there being about sixteen members of British origin, a proportion more or less maintained for forty-six years. The Catholic members, objecting to take the oath prescribed by the act of 1791, were allowed by Sir Alured Clarke to take that of the act of 1774. The meeting was held in the Bishop’s palace of Quebec hired by government and altered and repaired at a cost of £428. Chief Justice Smith was nominated speaker of the legislative council, the fifteen (legal number) members being J.G. Chaussegros de Léry, Hugh Finlay, Picotté de Belestre, Thomas Dunn, Paul Roc de St. Ours, Edward Harrison, François Baby, John Collins, Joseph de Longueuil, Charles de la Naudière, George Pownal, R.A. de Boucherville, John Fraser, and Sir Henry Caldwell, Receiver General, subsequently named.

The assembly met to chose a speaker. Mr. Joseph Antoine Panet, a lawyer of eminence in Quebec, was appointed. Montreal was represented in the west ward by James McGill and J.B. Durocher and in the east ward by Joseph Frobisher and John Richardson, the county being represented by James Walker and Mr. Joseph Papineau. French and English were both used from the beginning,[106] being accepted as a matter of course without any formal resolution.1 The first formal vote on the subject was taken a year later, on December 27, 1792, when the following motion was proposed by Mr. Grant, who accepted an amendment by Mr. Papineau “that it be an instruction of the committee of the whole house charged with the correctness of the minutes (or journals) that the digest they may prepare as the journal of the house from the commencement to the time of reference shall be in the English or French language, as it may have been entered in the original minutes without drawing into precedent for the future.”

Number 9 of the rules for conducting the business of the assembly ran:

“No motion shall be debated or put unless the same be in writing and seconded. When a motion is seconded it shall be read in English and French by the speaker if he is master of both languages. If not, the speaker shall read in either of the two languages most familiar to him and the reading in the other language shall be at the table by the clerk or his deputy before the debate.”

On the method of keeping the journals:

“Resolved, that this house shall keep its journal in two registers, in one of which the proceedings of the house and the motion shall be wrote in the French language, with a translation of the motions originally made in the English language; and in the other shall be entered the proceedings of the house and the motions in the English language with a translation of the motions originally made in the French language.”

Finally it was resolved that the rules for introduction of bills should be as follows:

“The bills relative to the criminal laws of England enforced in this province and to the rights of the Protestant clergy as specified in the act of the thirty-first year of His Majesty, Chapter 31, shall be introduced in the English language; and the bills relative to the laws, customs, usages and civil rights of this province shall be introduced in the French language in order to preserve the unity of the texts.”

On the 9th of May, 1793, Sir Alured Clarke in his speech from the throne was forced to make allusions to the first French revolution, which had been already four years in progress before the opening of the assembly of Lower Canada in December, 1792. The Bastille had fallen on June 17, 1789. “At the first meeting of the legislature I congratulated you,” he said,[107] “upon the flattering prospects which opened to your view and upon the flourishing and tranquil state of the British empire, then at peace with all the world; since that period, I am sorry to find, its tranquility has been disturbed by the unjustifiable and unprecedented conduct of the persons exercising the supreme power in France, who, after deluging their own country with the blood of their own fellow citizens and embruing their hands in that of their sovereign, have forced His Majesty and the surrounding nations of Europe in a contest which involves the first interests of society.”

The king of France had been executed on January 21st and war with Great Britain had been declared on February 1st, although Great Britain had made every effort to avoid hostility. Washington had issued the proclamation of neutrality on April 22d, warning Americans of the penalties incurred by its infraction. The revolted provinces had first shown great sympathy with the French revolutionists. On the news of the evacuation of the allied forces which began on September 20, 1793, all New England seems to have lost its head: McMaster in his “History of the People of the United States” (Vol. II, page 13-14) says: “Both men and women seemed for a time to have put away their wits and gone mad with republicanism. Their dress, their speech, their daily conduct were all regulated on strict republican principles. There must be a flaming liberty cap in every house. There must be a cockade in every hat, there must be no more use of the old titles, Sir and Mr. and Dr. and Rev., etc.”

But later when the excesses of the Revolution began to be known excitement somewhat cooled. It was no pleasure, consequently, to Washington to hear on the day of the proclamation of neutrality that Genet, sent as minister by the French republic, had arrived at Charleston. Genet was well received on his way to Philadelphia, but was chilled by the reception given by Washington and left in a rage. (Archives Report, 1891, Douglas Brymner.)

Lower Canada was not uninfluenced by all this. Genet’s agents, or those of his successor, Fauchet, for Genet was superseded in February, 1794, had succeeded in creating a disaffected spirit among people. At Quebec there was an open manifestation of sedition on the parade. Kingsford tells how Prince Edward (Duke of Kent)2 was in command of the Seventh Fusileers at Quebec when a threatened mutiny was suppressed. Several were charged on a plot to seize the Prince, the general and the officers. One man was sentenced to be shot, but at the Prince’s interception was spared. Three men were severally sentenced to 500, 700 and 400 lashes, one being a sergeant. The details cannot be traced. (Kingsford, Vol. VII, page 383.)

A descent on Canada by way of St. John’s and Lake Champlain was reported to be meditated by congress. In April, 1794, the authorities of Vermont had, as reported to Lord Dorchester, made an offer to Congress to undertake the conquest of Canada without assistance from the federal government, provided the troops were allowed to plunder the inhabitants, and in order to facilitate communications[108] with the seditious of Montreal, Mason lodges were instituted in Vermont under pretended charters from lodges in Montreal.

On September 23d Dorchester arrived in Quebec; shortly Sir Alured Clarke returned to England. The second parliament was opened on November 11th. In January M. Chartier de Lothbinière succeeded M. Panet as speaker, the latter having been made judge of Common Pleas. At the end of November, 1793, Dorchester issued proclamations to take means against the French emissaries in the country. In May, 1794, orders were issued for the embodiment of 2,000 militia to be ready for service. The extent of the poisonous and seditious influences at work is shown by the fact that out of the 7,000 men fit for service in forty-two parishes only 900 men obeyed the law. Lord Dorchester attributed this unwillingness to serve as due more to long absence from military duty than disloyalty. The habitants were, however, dissatisfied, for though the hand of the government was easy they claimed to be oppressed by the expenses of the law and to be unprotected against the exactions of their seigneurs as they had been under the French intendants. (Dorchester to Dundas, May 24, 1794.)

The district of Montreal was reported to be universally disaffected, though the British subjects were loyal and well disposed. The militia law was opposed. At Côte de Neiges a party of habitants had become possessed of arms and were determined to defend themselves if attacked. As said, information was received that a Freemasons’ lodge had been established at Montreal in connection with a lodge in Vermont for the sole purpose of carrying out a traitorous correspondence with the disaffected. On all sides it was reported that the French were coming to seize Canada.

Attorney General Monk, writing from Quebec to Dundas on May 3, 1794, gives an alarming picture of the spread of French revolutionary principles becoming general. He states that threats were used by disaffected new subjects against the loyal new subjects; that it was astonishing to find the same savagery exhibited here as in France, in so short a period for corruption; that blood alliances did not check the menaces upon the non-compliant peasants of burning their houses, of death, emboweling, decapitation and carrying their heads on poles; that religion was being thrown aside. The intrigues had been traced to Genet and the French consuls; that correspondence had been carried on between the disaffected Canadians of the United States and Canada, and that French emissaries had been sent to prepare the people to follow the example of France.

A pamphlet, extracts from which have been preserved, was circulated in January, 1794, under the title of “les Français Libres a Leurs frères les Canadiens.” This pamphlet deserves the extracts extant being made known as indicating a picture of the feelings of the seditionary party. They are to be found in French in the Canadian Government Archives, Q 62, page 224.

The object was to encourage the Canadians[109] “to emulate the example of the people of America and of France. Break then, with a government which degenerates from day to day, and which has become the most cruel enemy of the liberty of the people. Everywhere are found traces of the despotism, the avidity, the cruelties of the king of England. It is time to overthrow a throne which has been seated so long on hypocrisy and imposture. In no way fear George III with his soldiers, too small in number to successfully oppose your valour. The moment is favourable and insurrection is for you the holiest of duties. Remember that being born French you will always be envied and persecuted by the kings of England and that this title will be more than ever today a reason for exclusion from all offices. Also what advantages have you drawn from the constitution which has been given you since your representatives have been assembled? Have they presented you with a single good law? Have they corrected any abuse? Have they had the power to free your commerce from its shackles? No! And why not? Because all the means of corruption have been secretly and publicly employed to make the balance weigh in favour of the English. They have dared to impose an odious veto which the king of England has reserved only to prevent the destruction of abuses and to paralyze all your movements; here is the present which the vile stipendaries have dared to offer you as a monument of the beneficence of the English government. Canadians, arm yourselves. Call to your assistance your friends, the Indians; count on the help of your neighbours and on that of Frenchmen.”

A resumé is given of the advantages that Canadians will obtain in throwing over the English domination.

  1. Canada will be a free and independent state.
  2. It can form alliances with France and the United States.
  3. The Canadians will choose their own government; they will themselves name the members of the legislative body and the executive power.
  4. The veto will be abolished.
  5. All persons who have obtained the right of citizenship in Canada can be named for all offices.
  6. The Corvées will be abolished.
  7. Commerce will enjoy a more extensive liberty.
  8. There will be no longer any privileged company for the fur trade. The new government will encourage this trade.
  9. The seigneurial droits will be abolished. The lods et ventes, the millrights, the tolls, the lumber reservations, work for the service of the seigneur, etc., will be equally abolished.
  10. Hereditary titles will be also abolished. There will be no lords, seigneurs or nobles.
  11. All cults will be free. Catholic priests named by the people as in the primitive church will enjoy a treatment analogous to their ability.
  12. Schools will be established in the parishes and towns; there will be printing offices; institutions for the high sciences; medicine and mathematics. Interpreters will be trained who, known for their good morals, will be encouraged to civilize the savage nations and by this means to extend the trade with them.

In spite of these inflammatory circulars, and outside those immediately disaffected, the majority of the Canadians were in good disposition with the government. They would have resisted an American invasion without hesitation. When their own people tampered with them and offered to regain Canada to the French it is only natural that many should have been unsettled. But it[110] must clearly be understood that the reports of the French emissaries being in the country were not the dreams of visionaries. It was expected in many quarters that Napoleon, the First Consul, would have redemanded Canada at the general treaty of peace. Canada was desired for the French “as an outlet for French products and for the means of speculation to an infinite number of Frenchmen who have no resources in their own country.” The last quotation occurs in a letter dated January 12, 1803, from France by an ex-Canadian, Mr. Imbert, to a brother of Judge Panet.

Yet a panegyric on the occasion of the death of Bishop Briand in 1794 reveals a change of opinion undergoing at this period with regard to the relations of the English and the French. “Ah!” cried the preacher, “how the perspective of our future formerly spread out bitterness in all Christian families! Each one mourned his unhappy plight and was afflicted not to be able to leave a country where the kingdom of God seemed about to be forever destroyed. No one could be persuaded that our conquerors, strangers to our soil, to our language, our law, our customs, our worship, could ever be able to give back to Canada what it had just lost in the change of masters. Generous nation! which has made us see with so much evidence how this prejudgment was false; industrious nation! which has made riches sprout forth which the bosom of this land enclosed; beneficent nation! which daily gives to Canada new proofs of your liberality; No! no! you are not our enemies, nor those of our properties which your laws protect, nor those of our religion, which you respect. Pardon this first mistrust in a people which had not yet the honour of knowing you.”

At Montreal some important arrests were made; one, Duclos, an active agent of the United States who had moved among the people confidently foretelling the invasion of the French, and a traitor named Costello, who was proved to have been diligent in circulating the incendiary pamphlets in French. To meet this disaffection Constitutional Associations were formed in Montreal and Quebec of the leading French Canadian and British loyalists. Gradually the sedition died down. But during the great fear of a French invasion there had been no little doubt and uncertainty among the mercantile classes as to the fate of the vessels that might be dispatched with cargoes on the St. Lawrence. Jay’s treaty, 19th of November, 1794, with Great Britain, for the amicable adjustment of all differences between it and the United States, was a potent factor in making for peace. It was finally agreed to in the senate of the United States in 1795, although the sympathizers of the French fought it determinedly.

In April, 1796, Dorchester, who had sent in his resignation, received official information that Gen. Robert Prescott had been appointed lieutenant governor of Lower Canada and commander-in-chief in North America. Prescott arrived at Quebec on the 18th of June and Dorchester sailed in July, being wrecked on the island of Anticosti, but, being taken off by a ship of war, reached his destination in safety. On the 18th of June, 1796, Sir Robert Prescott, Lord Dorchester’s successor, did not find matters in the province in a satisfactory state. The French republican designs on Canada were still represented in the Montreal district by many sympathizers. Riots were caused and the magistrates of Montreal seemed to have acted weakly, if not with connivance, so that a new commission of the peace was issued with several names omitted. The ostensible cause was opposition to the execution of the Road Bill, but in reality it was a[111] disaffection stirred up by emissaries from the French republic, then in the province.

Attorney General Sewell had been sent to Montreal to get information and he reported the above to the executive council at Quebec on Sunday, October 30, 1796, on the authority of Messrs. de Lothbinière, McGill, Richardson, Murray, Papineau and others. He reported: “That a pamphlet of most seditious tendencies, signed by Adet, the embassador from the French republic to the United States, was now in circulation in the district. That this pamphlet bore the arms of the French republic and was addressed to the Canadians assuring them that France, having now conquered Spain, Austria and Italy, had determined to subdue Great Britain and meant to begin with her colonies; that she thought it her duty in the first instance to turn her attention to the Canadians, to relieve them from the slavery under which they groaned, and was taking steps for that purpose; that it pointed out the supposed advantages which the republican form of government possessed over the British and concluded that in a short time there would only be heard the cry of ‘Vive la Republique!’ from Canada to Paris.” The attorney-general added that he had heard at Montreal that the French republic intended to raise troops in Canada and had actually sent four officers’ commissions into the country. This brought a proclamation from Lieutenant-Governor Prescott, commander-in-chief, ordering the arrest of seditious persons, especially “certain foreigners being alien enemies who are lurking and lying concealed in various parts of the province.” This proclamation was ordered to be published for three successive weeks in the Quebec Gazette and Montreal papers in both languages, and also copies to be printed to be affixed to the church doors in the province. During the rest of the year various people were examined in Montreal, which revealed the existence of a widespread revolt organized by agitators.

On May 17th at the recent assizes for the district of Quebec and Montreal a number had been arrested and tried. Attorney-General Sewell in his report to Prescott on May 12, 1797, mentions among the several indictments preferred the following:

“High Treason: Inciting persons to assemble in a riotous manner for the purpose of opposing the execution of the Road Act; Conspiracy to prevent the market of Montreal being supplied with Provisions until the inhabitants of that city should unite with those of the Country in their opposition to the Road Act.

“Assault on a Constable in the execution of his office under the Road Act.

“Riot and assault on a justice of the peace in the execution of his Office.

“Riots, assaults on and false Imprisonment of different overseers of the High Roads.

“Riots and Rescue of Persons apprehended for the offence last above mentioned from the hands of the sheriff’s officers. Assault on the sheriff of Montreal in the execution of his Office and Rescue of a Prisoner from his custody for an offence against Government.

“Seditious Conversation and Libels on the House of Assembly.

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“The number of Persons indicted in Montreal for the above offences amounted in all to nineteen, of which four for High Treason have not yet been tried. Thirteen were tried and of that number eleven were convicted and received Judgment. The remaining Two absconded.

“The number of persons indicted at Quebec for the above offences amounted to twenty-four, of which twenty-three were convicted and received punishment.”

It is needless to review these cases. As, however, the name of McLean stands out in this sedition, he must be noticed. This man was not arrested till May 10, 1797, although information of his seditionary mission work on the borders of Canada and the United States was in the hands of the authorities in December, 1796. On July 7th he was tried and found guilty and executed on the 21st. On various occasions he had been known to be in Montreal planting sedition. He was in close touch with Ira Allen, of Vermont, who had been on board the “Olive Branch” from Ostend with 20,000 stand of arms. He tried to explain that these were purchased for the Vermont militia. But there is no doubt that they were furnished by the Directory in Paris for the army of the Lower Canadians in an expedition in which McLean was to be interested. Among McLean’s papers was found one from Adet confirming this.

The attempts of the French on Canada already mentioned under the dates of 1796 and 1797 seemed never to have entirely relaxed. In 1801 Lieutenant-Governor Milnes became warned that persons were plotting for the subversion of Canada and that a society of “a parcel of Americans” had been formed in Montreal, proceeding on the principles of Jacobinism and Illuminism, having one Rogers as leader, it being supposed that he was the only one who knew the real objects of the society, which had increased from six to sixty-one members. Six were arrested and held for trial but Rogers escaped. Attorney-General Sewell made a report of his investigation. Rogers was a New England schoolmaster who had settled a short time before at Carillon, forty miles west of Montreal. The society formed by him was composed “of sundry individuals of desperate fortunes,” and among them were many of the persons concerned in McLane’s (sic) conspiracy, particularly Ira Allen and Stephen Thorn, who were lately arrived from France. The pretext on which Rogers founded his society was to search for treasure. The depositions accompanying Sewell’s report implicate Ira Allen and his Vermont marauders as bent on plundering Canada. In this regard Montreal was especially aimed at. The trouble died down somewhat in 1802 when peace with France was proclaimed, but on June 1, 1803, long before any steps could be taken after the declaration of war again, French emissaries were in the province sapping the loyalty, some of them being in Montreal. Again, this was no visionary conception, but a reality. A keen lookout was maintained on strangers. Mr. Richardson, a magistrate of Montreal, was appointed secret agent. One of those to be watched was Jerome Bonaparte, the brother of the First Consul of France. His description is as follows, as sent by Barclay from New York, 2d December, 1803, to Milnes:[113] “Jerome Bonaparte appears about twenty-one years of age, five feet, six or seven inches high, slender make, sallow complexion, sharp and prominent chin, cropped dark hair, short, but he sometimes adds a queue and is powdered; dark eyes.” Jerome had arrived at New York about November 20th and was reported to be making, via Albany, for Lake Champlain, where there was “a Frenchman named Rous, who is notorious for assisting deserters. McLean, hung for treason, is particularly intimate with Rous.” Richardson came to terms with this Rous, whom he employed as a spy. The attempt on Canada by the French was temporarily abandoned, the reason, given by Pichon, Chargé d’affaires at Washington, being that Great Britain was too powerful by sea.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 One of the first statutes was an act to prevent gun powder drawn in ships and other vessels into the harbour of Montreal and to guard against the careless transportation of the same into the powder magazines.

2 He landed at Quebec in August, 1791, and left Canada in 1794. On the 13th of September, in passing through Montreal, he received a complimentary address. He went up country probably as far as Niagara, returning through Montreal in September of 1792. On December 6, 1793, Chief Justice Smith died at Quebec. His remains were interred on December 8th, and were attended to the grave by H.R.H. Prince Edward.—(Quebec Gazette, Thursday, December 12, 1793.)


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CHAPTER XIII

THE AMERICAN INVASION OF 1812

MONTREAL AND CHATEAUGUAY

FRENCH CANADIAN LOYALTY

THE CAUSES OF THE WAR OF 1812—THE CHESAPEAKE—JOHN HENRY—HOW THE NEWS OF INVASION WAS RECEIVED IN MONTREAL—THE MOBILIZATION—GENERAL HULL—THE MONTREAL MILITIA—FRENCH AND ENGLISH ENLIST—MONTREAL THE OBJECTIVE—OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF CHATEAUGUAY—COLONEL DE SALABERRY—RETURN OF WOUNDED—THE EXPLANATION OF THE FEW BRITISH KILLED.

The loyalty of the British and French Canadians was again to be tested during the American war of 1812, which involved Canada in war as a dependency of England.

Its causes were as follows: In 1806, on November 1st, Napoleon issued his “Berlin decree” declaring a blockade on the entire British coast, and let loose French privateers against her shipping and that of neutral nations trading with her. Great Britain retaliated by the celebrated “orders in council which declared all traffic with France contraband and the vessels prosecuting it with their cargoes, liable to seizure.”1 By both of these the United States was injured in its carrying trade. Congress, therefore, in the following year superceded President Jefferson’s contra-embargo on all shipping, domestic and foreign, in the harbours of the United States, by a “non-intercourse act” prohibiting all commerce with either belligerent till the “obnoxious decree” or “orders” were removed.

Another cause conspired to fan the war feeling to a flame. Great Britain, pressed by the difficulty of manning her immense fleets, asserted the “right of search” of American vessels for deserters from her navy. The United States frigate “Chesapeake” resisted this right, sanctioned by international law, but was compelled by a broadside from H.M. Ship Leopard (June, 1807) to submit. The British government disavowed the violence of this act and offered reparation. But the democratic party was clamorous for war and eager to seduce from their allegiance and annex to the United States, the provinces of British North America.

A further cause exasperating the United States, was the publication of the secret correspondence of a Captain Henry, an adventurer, sent by Sir James[116] Craig, Governor General of Canada, in 1809 to ascertain the state of feeling in New England towards Great Britain. Henry reported a disposition to secede from the Union and subsequently offered his correspondence to the American government, demanding therefor the exorbitant sum of $50,000, which he received from the secret service fund. His information was authentic but unimportant and the British government repudiated his agency, but the war party in Congress was implacable.

This John Henry had lived as a boy in Montreal, after which he crossed the border. In 1807 he applied through merchants in Montreal for the office of puisné judge in Upper Canada, it appearing that he had obtained the favour of the merchants of Montreal by defending their conduct in a party newspaper. His correspondence (1808-9) with Sir J. Craig while on his mission, reveals that for some time in April, 1808, Henry was in Montreal.

On June 18, 1812, James Madison, the president, and Congress approved the “act declaring war between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof and the United States of America and their territories.” This news, sent by an express of the North West Company, did not reach the governor, Sir John Prevost, till July 7th. It had, however, been sent by private means to General Brock in Upper Canada about June 26th by the Hon. John Richardson of Montreal, though others say by John Jacob Astor, who had extensive fur interests in Canada.

How the news of the war was received in Montreal has been published recently in the Huntingdon “Gleaner” (under the editorship of Mr. Robert Sellar). The late Mr. Lewis MacKay of Huntingdon, then twenty-one years of age, there relates what he saw as an eye witness. “I recollect very well the day when word reached Montreal that the American government had declared war against Britain. It caused great dejection, for the general belief was that the Americans would come at once and take Canada. At night especially, there was great alarm. Everything in the shape of a man was pressed into service. If dogs could have carried firelocks they would have been taken. I saw at the sentry posts mere boys too weak to carry their guns which they rested against their bases.”

Quickly the militia and military were organized. Colonel Baynes, adjutant general, writing to Brock from Quebec on July 3d, says: “The flank companies here are on the march and 2,000 militia will form a chain of posts from St. John’s to La Prairie. The town militia of Montreal and Quebec to the number of 3,000 from each city have volunteered, and are being embodied and drilled, and will take their part in garrison duty to relieve the troops. The proclamation for declaring martial law is prepared and will be speedily issued. All aliens will be required to take the oath of allegiance or immediately quit the Province.”

Writing from Montreal on August 17th, Sir George Prevost wrote to Lord Bathurst, secretary of war:[117] “A part of the Forty-ninth Regiment has already proceeded from Montreal to Kingston and has been followed by the remainder of the Newfoundland Regiment of some picked Veterans; the other companies of the Forty-ninth Regiment will proceed to the same destination as soon as sufficient number of bateaux can be collected. * * * From Kingston to Montreal the Frontier line appears at present secure. * * * The Eighth or King’s Regiment has arrived this M(ornin)g from Quebec to relieve the Forty-ninth Regiment. This fine and effective Regt. of the Eighth, together with a Chain of Troops established in the vicinity of this place, consisting of regular and militia Forces, the whole amounting to near four thousand, five hundred men, effectually serve to keep in check the enemy in this quarter where alone they are in any strength and to prevent any Attempt to carry on a Predatory Warfare against this flourishing portion of Lower Canada.”

MONTREAL IN 1810

MONTREAL IN 1810

A view of the city of Montreal and the river St. Lawrence from the mountain, by E. Walsh, Forty-ninth Regiment, 1810.

Brock made preparations to meet the American general, William Hull, who was early in July descending on Canada from Detroit. He had soon to return in hot haste and on August 16th surrendered Detroit to Sir Isaac Brock.2 Brock paroled many of the prisoners but the rest he sent to Montreal on their way to Quebec for embarkation. The Montreal Herald of Tuesday, September 12, 1812, facetiously describes their entry thus:

“Montreal, September 12th.

“Last Sunday evening the inhabitants of this city were gratified with an exhibition equally novel and interesting. That General Hull should have entered our city so soon at the head of his troops rather exceeded our expectations. We were, however, happy to see him and received him with all the honours due to his rank and importance as a public character. The following particulars relative to his journey and reception at Montreal may not be uninteresting to our readers.

“General Hull and suite, accompanied by about twenty-five officers and three hundred and fifty soldiers, left Kingston under an escort of 130 men commanded by Major Heathcote of the Newfoundland Regiment. At Cornwall the escort was met by Captain Gray of the quartermaster general’s department who took charge of the prisoners of war and from thence proceeded with them to Lachine, where they arrived about 2 o’clock on Sunday afternoon. At Lachine Captains Richardson and Ogilvie, with their companies of Montreal militia and a company of the King’s, commanded by Captain Blackmore formed the escort till they were met by Colonel Auldjo with the remainder of the flank companies of the militia, upon which Captain Blackmore’s Company fell out and presented arms as the general passed with the others, and then returned to Lachine, leaving the prisoners to be guarded by the Montreal militia alone.” Then follows the order of march in procession into the town through the illuminated streets to the Château de Ramezay:

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“When they arrived at the governor’s house the general was conducted in and presented to his Excellency, Sir George Prevost. He was received with the greatest politeness and invited to take up his residence there during his stay in Montreal. The officers were quartered in Holmes Hotel and the soldiers were marched to Quebec Gate Barracks. The general appears to be about sixty years of age and bears his misfortune with a degree of resignation that but few men in similar circumstances are fitted with.”

General Hull was exchanged for thirty British soldiers taken by the Americans. The rest of the prisoners proceeded to Quebec.3

Montrealers were elated at Hull’s capture, but they knew well that revenge was being prepared. Montreal was still the objective of the congress army as of old. Their secretary of state had said that “Montreal was the apple of his eye. Why waste men and money upon distant frontiers? Strike at their vitals, then you will paralyze their extremities. Capture Montreal and you will starve de Rottenburg and Proctor. In Montreal your troops will find winter quarters and an English Christmas.”

The Montreal militia, therefore, had to keep up their drill in earnest. On November 19th there was a call to arms on a report the city was to be attacked. The militia left the city to meet the foe, but on November 28th returned from “their pleasure trip” unscathed, for either the enemy had disappeared or it was a false alarm.

But it was not only volunteers for the militia that were being required. Men were wanted for the front. Lewis MacKay describes how Colonel McDonell (or Macdonnell) of Glengarry (who was afterwards mortally wounded and whose remains were buried beside those of Brock) came to Montreal to enlist men for his regiment. “The men he brought with him were mostly from Glengarry. As I spoke Gaelic I got amongst them. I enlisted with them, but on examination was rejected because I was not up to the standard in height. I was transferred to the Voltigeurs. There was nothing doing in Montreal but raising troops of cavalry and regiments, and they took everybody that offered, almost. The bounty was $100, but the pay was very small. There were French among the Glengarries and there were old country men in the Voltigeurs. * * * Among others in Montreal was Captain Coleman of the Eighth Dragoons. He got liberty to raise a troop for himself. He was rich and bought horses with his own money and men were keen to enlist with him. Wanting me as his body servant he got me transferred from the Voltigeurs. When he had got his complement of men the government did the rest, giving uniforms, saddles, arms, etc. The troop got the name of the ‘French Troop’ and were ordered to Upper Canada.”

The enthusiastic readiness of the French Canadians to protect their country and the camaraderie with which the different subjects, old and new, now joined side by side, are also evidenced in glancing at the lists of militia records of the times. A picture is preserved by Dunlop of the good times of the two corps “formed of the gentlemen of Montreal,” of whom he says,[119] “that if their discipline was commendable their commissariat was beyond all praise. Long lines of carts were to be seen bearing in casks and hampers of the choicest wines, to say nothing of the venison, turkeys, hams and all other esculents necessary to recruit their strength under the fatigues of war. With them the Indian found a profitable market for his game, and the fisherman for his fish. There can be little doubt that a gourmand would greatly prefer the comfort of dining with a mess of privates of these distinguished corps to the honour and glory of being half starved (of which he ran no small risk) at the table of the Governor-General himself.”

LETTER OF DE LORIMIER (1812)

LETTER OF DE LORIMIER (1812)

A call to arms

While, therefore, the struggle was in the Upper Province, the attack on Montreal was, however, reserved for the next year and the Montreal militia, with men like Lieut. Col. Charles de Salaberry, Lieutenant McDonell, Captains Jean Baptiste and Jucherau Duchesnay, Daly and Ferguson, Bruyère and la Motte, with adjutants O’Sullivan and Hedder—all to be mentioned in despatches—were to give the Americans no cause to doubt either British or French Canadian loyalty to the British flag.

The chance came to save Montreal in 1813, on October 21st, when the militia battalions of Montreal and the district took the field at Chateauguay to prevent the advance on the city by the American army under General Hampton. It was a glorious victory for the militia.

The attack on Montreal was planned by Major-General Wilkinson, who had arrived about the end of August, 1813, in Sacketts Harbour to take charge of the troops of the North American frontier. There in his council of officers it was determined: “To rendezvous the whole of the troops on the lake in the vicinity4 and in cooperation with our squadron to make a bold feint upon Kingston; step down the St. Lawrence; lock up the enemy in our rear to starve or surrender; or oblige him to follow us without artillery, baggage or provisions, or eventually to lay down his arms; to sweep the St. Lawrence of armed craft; and in concert with the division of Major-General Hampton to take Montreal.”5

Montreal was therefore the main object of attack. “Montreal is the safer and greater object,” wrote Armstrong to the Secretary of War, fearing hard blows at Kingston, the weaker place, “and you will find there a small force to encounter.” Montreal offered no terrors for there were “no fortifications at that city, or in advance of it,” and only “200 sailors and 400 marines with the militia, number unknown,” but there were, to be sure, “2,500 regular troops expected daily from Quebec.”

Yet the American force which made its way under Major-General Hampton from Burlington was a powerful army. It arrived on October 8th at Chateauguay Four Corners, a small settlement distant five miles from the national boundary, about forty-six from Montreal, and about forty-five from the proposed junction of Hampton’s force with Major-General Wilkinson’s.

William James, who published in London in 1818, “a full and correct account of the military occurrences of the late war between Great Britain and the United States of America,” says of General Hampton’s force, now prepared against Montreal, that it “has been stated at 7,000 infantry and 200 cavalry,” but we have no American authority for supposing that the latter exceeded 180 or the former 5,520, making a total of 5,700 men accompanied by ten pieces of cannon.[120] This army, except the small militia force attached to it, was the same that, with General Dearborn at its head, paraded across the line and back to Plattsburg in the autumn of 1812. During the twelve months that had since elapsed, the men had been drilled under an officer, Major-General Izard, who had served one or two campaigns in the French army. Troops were all in uniform, well clothed and equipped; in short, General Hampton commanded, if not the most numerous, certainly the most effective regular army which the United States were able to send into the field during the war.

At Montreal there was bustle and stir in getting the additional forces out which were to join Lieutenant-Colonel Salaberry of the Canadian Fencibles, who commenced operations to check the American advance as soon as he had learned that the Americans had crossed the lines. But the whole of the force that went to meet Hampton between October 21st and 29th was only about eight hundred rank and file, with 172 Indians under Captain Lamotte at the settlements of Chateauguay. The battle of Chateauguay and its results may now be told by Sir George Prevost in his dispatch from Montreal to Earl Bathurst.

“Headquarters, Montreal, October 30, 1813.

“My Lord:

“On the 8th instant I had the honour to report to Your Lordship that Major-General Hampton had occupied with a considerable force of regulars and militia a portion of the Chateauguay River, near the settlement of the Four Corners. Early on the 21st the American army crossed the line of separation between Lower Canada and the United States, surprised the small party of Indian warriors and drove in a picket of sedentary militia posted at the junction of the Outard and Chateauguay Rivers, where it encamped, and proceeded in establishing a road of communication with its last position for the purpose of bringing forward its artillery. Major-General Hampton having completed his arrangements on the 24th, commenced on the following day his operations against my advanced posts. At about 11 o’clock in the forenoon of the 26th his cavalry and light troops were discovered advancing on both banks of the Chateauguay by a detachment covering a working party of habitants employed in felling timber for the purpose of constructing abattis.6 Lieutenant-Colonel de Saluberry (sic), who had the command of the advanced piquets composed of the light infantry company of the Canadian Fencibles and two companies of Voltigeurs on the north side of the river, made so excellent a disposition of his little band that he checked the advance of the enemy’s principal column led by Major-General Hampton in person and accompanied by Brigadier-General Izard; while the American Light Brigade under Colonel McCarty was in like manner repulsed in its progress on the south side of the river by the spirited advance of the right flank company of the Third Battalion of the embodied militia under Captain Daly, supported by Captain Bruyer’s Company of Chateauguay Chasseurs; Captains Daly and Bruyers being both wounded and their companies having sustained some loss, their position was immediately taken up by a flank company[121] of the first battalion of embodied militia; the enemy rallied and repeatedly returned to the attack, which terminated only with the day in his complete disgrace and defeat; being foiled at all points by a handful of men who, by their determined bravery, maintained their position and screened from insult the working parties who continued their labours unconcerned. Having fortunately arrived at the scene of action shortly after its commencement, I witnessed the conduct of the troops on this glorious occasion, and it was a great satisfaction to me to render on the spot that praise which had become so justly their due. I thanked Major-General De Watteville for the wise measures taken by him for the defense of this position and lieutenant-Colonel de Saluberry for the judgment displayed by him in the choice of his ground and the bravery and skill with which he maintained it; I acknowledged the highest praise to belong to the officers and men engaged that morning for their gallantry and readiness, and I called upon all the troops in advance as well for a continuance of that zeal, steadiness and discipline as for that patient endurance of hardship and privations which they hitherto evinced; and I particularly noticed the able support lieutenant-Colonel de Saluberry received from Captain Ferguson in command of the Canadian Fencibles and from Capt. J.B. Duchesnay and Capt. J. Duchesnay and adjutant Hedder, of the Voltigeurs, and also from adjutant O’Sullivan of the sedentary militia and from Captain La Motte, belonging to the Indian warriors.

“Almost the whole of the British troops being pushed forward for the defence of Upper Canada, that of the lower province must depend in a great degree on the valour and continued exertion of its incorporated battalions and its sedentary militia until the Seventieth Regiment and the two battalions of marines daily expected should arrive.

“It is therefore highly satisfactory to state to Your Lordship that there appears a determination among all classes of His Majesty’s Canadian subjects to persevere in a loyal and honourable line of conduct. By a report of the prisoners taken from the enemy in the affair on the Chateauguay, the American force is stated at 7,000 infantry and 200 cavalry, with 10 field pieces. The British advanced force actually engaged did not exceed 300. The enemy suffered severely from our fire and from their own; some detached corps in the woods fired on each other.

“I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship a return of the killed and wounded on the 26th. I avail myself of this opportunity to solicit from his royal highness, the prince regent, as a mark of his gracious approbation of the conduct of the embodied battalions of the Canadian Militia five pair of colours for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth battalions.

“I have the honour to be, etc.,

George Prevost.

“Return of killed, wounded and missing of his Majesty’s forces in the action of the enemy in the advance on Chateauguay on the 26th of October, 1813.

“Canadian fencible infantry, light Company; three rank and file killed; one sergeant, three rank and file wounded.

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“Third battalion embodied militia, flank company; two rank and file killed; one captain, six rank and file wounded; four rank and file missing.

“Chateauguay Chasseurs; one captain wounded.

“Total: Five rank and file killed, two captains, one sergeant, thirteen rank and file wounded; four rank and file missing.

“Names of officers wounded: Third battalion embodied militia—Captain Daly twice wounded, severely. Chateauguay Chasseurs: Captain Bruyers, slightly.

Edward Baynes, Adjutant-General.

Right Hon. Earl Bathurst.”

The slight number of the British forces opposed to the Americans could hardly be believed after the disorganization of the latter. When Captain Debartzch of the militia was sent to the headquarters of General Hampton with a flag and announced the number of the opposing force, Hampton, scarcely able to keep his temper, insisted that the British force amounted to 7,000 men for he asked, “What, then, made the woods ring with rifles?”

This incident must be told. In the early course of the fight the Americans opened a spirited fight upon the Canadians and drove the skirmishers stationed near the left behind the front edge of the abattis. “The Americans,” says William James, already quoted, “Although they did not occupy one foot of the abattis nor lieutenant-colonel de Saluberry retire one inch from the ground on which he had been standing, celebrated this partial retiring as a retreat. They were not a little surprised, however, to hear their Huzzas repeated by the Canadians, accompanied by a noise ten times more terrific than even ‘Colonel Boerstler’s stentorian voice.’ By way of animating his little band when thus momentarily pressed, colonel de Saluberry ordered his bugle men to sound the advance. This was heard by lieutenant-colonel McDonell, who, thinking that the colonel was in want of support, caused his own bugler to answer, and immediately advanced with two of his companies. He at the same time sent ten or twelve bugle men into the adjoining woods with orders to separate and blow with all their might. This little ruse de guerre led the Americans to believe that they had more thousands than hundreds to contend with and deterred them from even attempting to penetrate the abattis. They contented themselves with a long shot warfare in which, from the nature of the defences, they were almost the only sufferers.”

The Americans, after bungling the battle, delayed at Four Corners, but on November 11th Hampton, feeling himself unsafe, broke up his encampment and retreated to Plattsburg.

Chateauguay had served Montreal well and the tide of war again rolled away from its gates.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Cf. Withrow “History of Canada,” pp. 301-302.

2 William Hull was born in Derby, Connecticut, on June 24, 1753. He graduated with honors from Yale at the age of nineteen, studied law and was admitted to practice. He allied himself with the Revolutionary party and obtained a commission from Congress eventually rising to the rank of a colonel. At the conclusion of peace he held a judicial office in Massachusetts and served for eight years as a senator. In 1805 he was appointed the first governor of the territory of Michigan and was commissioned a brigadier general in the army of the United States on April 8, 1812. He was court-martialed for his surrender of Detroit in 1814 and after a trial of three months he was ordered to be shot, but President Madison remitted his sentence in consideration of his services in the Revolutionary war. His name was, however, dropped from the army lists. He died at Newton, Massachusetts, in November, 1825.

3 Their arrival at Quebec is thus described by A.W. Cochran, assistant civil secretary to the governor general in a letter to his mother: “Both men and officers are a shabby looking set as ever you set your eyes on, and reminded me of Falstaff’s men very forcibly. Some of the officers talked very big and assured us that before long there would be 100,000 men in Canada and that they soon would have Quebec from us.” Later on, writing to his father from Montreal on October 10th he further expresses his views on the Americans: “The Americans, I think, bid fair to rival and surpass the French in gasconading as well as in everything that is dishonorable, base and contemptible. * * * Yankees cannot tell a plain story like other folks; they cannot help ‘immersing the wig in the ocean’ as Sterne says of the Frenchmen.”

4 The spot chosen was Grenadier Island, eighteen miles from Sacketts Harbour.

5 “Wilkinson’s Memoirs,” Vol. III, Appendix No. 1.

6 Abattis. These were obstructions made by felled timber which served as a succession of breastworks.


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CHAPTER XIV

SIDE LIGHTS OF SOCIAL PROGRESS

1776-1825

THE “GAZETTE DU COMMERCE ET LITTERAIRE”—A RUNAWAY SLAVE—GUY CARLETON’S DEPARTURE—GENERAL HALDIMAND IN MONTREAL—MESPLET’S PAPER SUSPENDED—POET’S CORNER—THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY DISCUSSED—FIRST THEATRICAL COMPANY: THE “BUSY BODY”—LORD NELSON’S MONUMENT—A RUNAWAY, RED CURLY HAIRED AND BANDY LEGGED APPRENTICE—LAMBERT’S PICTURE OF THE PERIOD—MINE HOST OF THE “MONTREAL HOTEL”—THE “CANADIAN COURANT”—AMERICAN INFLUENCE—THE “HERALD”—WILLIAM GRAY AND ALEXANDER SKAKEL—BEGINNINGS OF COMMERCIAL LIFE—DOIGE’S DIRECTORY—MUNGO KAY—LITERARY CELEBRITIES—HERALD “EXTRAS”—WATERLOO—POLITICAL PSEUDONYMS—NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION—THE ABORTIVE “SUN”—A PICTURE OF THE CITY IN 1818—THE BLACK RAIN OF 1819—OFFICIAL, MILITARY AND ECCLESIASTICAL LIFE—ORIGIN OF ART, MUSIC, ETC.

Colonel Moses Hazen, who took command of Montreal, on April 1, 1776, for the congressional cause, was shrewd when in order to strengthen their position he wrote to General Schuyler for a printer, and Benjamin Franklin did a good thing for Montreal when he brought Fleury Mesplet, the French printer, and his plant with him, to the Château de Ramezay as an adjunct to the commission which was to seduce the French Canadians from their allegiance. Though this aim failed Mesplet remained behind on his own account after the commissioners had returned on their bootless quest and after publishing two works he started the “Gazette du Commerce et Littéraire Pour Le Ville et District de Montreal” which first saw light in French on Wednesday, June 3, 1778. His previous address to the public announced that the subscription was to be two and a half Spanish dollars per annum. Subscribers would pay one Spanish dollar for every advertisement inserted in the said paper during three weeks successively, non-subscribers one and one-half Spanish dollars, and the paper was to be a quarter sheet. The first number was rather literary than commercial. Advertisements came with the second number. Jean Bernard exhorts the public not to throw their wood-fuel ashes away. He would buy them at ten coppers a bushel. In number four occurs the advertisement: “Ran away on the 14th instant, a slave belonging to the widow Dufy Desaulnier, aged about thirty-five years, dressed in striped calico, of medium height and tolerable stoutness. Whoever will bring her back will receive a reward of $6, and will be repaid any costs that may be proved to have been incurred in finding her.”

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The Gazette du Commerce did not realize its name for some time, there being in the small community a dearth of such, as Mesplet deplored in the first paragraph of No. 1. Very little political news ever filtered through the Gazette, but the arrival and departure of governors was safe; consequently he printed the address of Colonel Sevestre commanding the militia at Montreal to Sir Guy Carleton, who finished his term of office in July, 1778; and the reply commending the virtues and experience of his successor, General Haldimand.

The issue of August 12, 1778, records the latter’s visit thus:

“On the 8th instant at 6 P.M. General Haldimand made his entrance into the town amid discharges of artillery from the citadel and the vessels in the harbour. The English merchants were in the front, followed by the Canadian Militia and the regulars, the whole forming a line from the Quebec gate to the Company’s house, where His Excellency now resides. A band of 600 Indians, with Messrs. St. Luc de la Corne and Campbell, their officers and interpreters at the head, came out of the town and welcomed the new Governor with cries which proclaimed the joy they felt at his arrival. The citizens of the two nations proved their gratification by their enthusiasm and cheerful countenances.”

The next number does not appear, apparently being suppressed by the new Governor, but in the succeeding week it again was issued through the good graces of certain leading citizens who had procured him this liberty. He promises gratitude to the Governor and the succeeding numbers are strictly literary subjects, such as discussions on the opinions of Voltaire and the utility of the establishment of an Academy of Science.

In April, 1779, Mesplet invited criticism on a recent judicial decision, for which he was summoned to court and reprimanded against any repetition of the offence. But he was recalcitrant and in the fall he was arrested and taken to Quebec, the paper being suspended apparently till 1785.

By 1788 Mesplet’s paper was enlarged from quarter to foolscap four pages, printed in double columns in French and English. It seems to have become more of a newspaper and news a month old was served up to eager Montrealers. In 1789 there was still little commercial news, but there was a “Poet’s Corner” and several poems of Robert Burns, then rising to fame, are honoured there. In this year political discussion, a subject in the early days tabooed, appears in the Gazette. A correspondent discussing the burning question of a House of Assembly sums up thus:

“We are all Canadians and subjects of Great Britain. The distinction of old and new subjects ought to have been done away with long since. The prosperity of this country must depend on the unanimity that prevails amongst us. I am of the opinion that much good may be derived from a House of Assembly. Yet I fear the consequent evils, one of which is taxing a country unable to support the dignity of a House. The peasantry would not easily digest what that House of Assembly might impose and few, if any, of their class would be able to share in the legislation. It will, therefore, be the policy of Government to procrastinate this event until the province is really and fully Anglified, when, perhaps, a House of Assembly may be better known and received with the united voice of approbation.”

Up to this year the paper was published by F. Mesplet, 40 Notre Dame Street. In 1795 it passed into the hands of Thomas A. Turner and was issued from an[125] office on the corner of Notre Dame Street and St. Jean Baptiste. By 1804 it had passed over to E. Edward, 135 St. Paul Street.

The date of November 10, 1804, records the movement for the first theatre in Montreal.

“Mr. Ormsby from the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, respectfully informs the ladies and gentlemen of Montreal that he intends, with their approbation, establishing a company of comedians in Canada, to perform in Montreal and Quebec alternately. The theatre in this city is fitted up in that large and commodious house next door to the Post Office, where will be presented on Monday evening, 19th inst., a comedy in five acts called ‘The Busy Body,’ to which will be added the much admired farce called ‘The Sultan.’

“N.B. Particulars in advertisement for the evening: Boxes, 5s; gallery, 2s. 6d. Tickets to be had at Mr. Hamilton’s Tavern, the Montreal Hotel and at the theatre where places for the boxes may be taken.”

The news of the death and victory of Lord Nelson at Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, reached Montreal in the winter of 1805-6 and was the occasion of great activity among the inhabitants, so that immediately a subscription was taken up to raise their first monument. A committee was appointed and these in conjunction with Six Alexander Mackenzie, Thomas Forsyth and John Gillespie, then in London, took steps to raise it. The Governor-General, Sir J. Craig, having given the magistrates a piece of ground for general improvement, these granted a portion of it, at the upper end of the new market place, as a site for the intended column. The foundation stone was laid on August 17, 1809, and the monument was built of grey compact limestone of the district.

The four panel ornaments were of artificial stone invented by Coade & Seeley, of London. The battle of the Nile is represented on the north side. That on the east represents the interview between Lord Nelson and the Prince Regent of Denmark on the landing of Lord Nelson after the engagement off Copenhagen. The panel on the south side facing the river commemorates the battle of Trafalgar. The west side has the neatest panel, being ornamented with cannon, anchors and other appropriate naval trophies with a circular wreath surrounding the whole inscription:

In Memory of
The Right Honorable Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson
Duke of Bronté
Who terminated his career of Naval glory in the memorable
Battle of Trafalgar
On the 21st of October, 1805,
After inculcating by Signal
This Sentiment
Never to be forgotten by his Country,
“ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY.”
This monumental column was erected by the
Inhabitants of Montreal
In the year 1808.

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The expense of this column when complete with the iron railing was £1,300. In the first cut stone at the east corner of the base, a plate of lead was deposited bearing the following inscription:

“In memory of the Right Honourable Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, who terminated his career of naval glory on the 21st of October, 1805, this monumental pillar was erected by a subscription of the inhabitants of Montreal, whereof the Hon. Sir John Johnston, Knight and Baronet, the Hon. James Monk, Chief Justice of Montreal, John Richardson, John Ogilvie and Louis Chaboillez, Esquires, were a committee appointed for carrying it into execution, and the same was erected under the direction of William Gilmore, stone cutter and mason, from designs obtained from Mitchell, an architect in London.—17th August, 1809.”

Returning to the Gazette, a sidelight of 1806 thrown by an advertisement of William Gilmore, dated 7th June, reveals to us the apprenticeship system as then in vogue. It may seem to some an industrial tyranny.

“Ran away from the subscriber: Alexander Thompson, an indentured apprentice, about 22 years of age, 5 ft. 5 in. in height, red curly hair and bandy legs. All persons are hereby forbid hiring him under penalty of law. Any person who will bring him back shall receive three pence reward, no charges paid.”

Thus far the Gazette. The history of the Gazette of today, its successor, may be found in “Montreal, the Commercial Metropolis of Canada,” 1907.

Let us now present a side light of about this period.

At this time the Montreal Hotel was one of the chief hotels and it was kept by a Mr. Dillon who had some reputation as a water colourist of local scenes.

John Lambert, who visited the United States and Canada in 1806, 1807 and 1808, has the following picture: “The only open place or square in the town,” he says in his account of Montreal, “except the two markets, under the French Government was the place where the garrison troops were paraded. The French Catholic church occupies the whole of the east side of this square; and on the south side, adjoining some private houses, is a very good tavern, called the Montreal Hotel, kept by Mr. Dillon. During my stay in this city I lodged at his house and found it superior to any in Canada; everything in it is neat, cleanly and well conducted.” From his characterization of the landlord, one is somewhat disappointed that he does not mention his artistic gift. “The old gentleman,” he says, “came out in the retinue of Lord Dorchester; he is a very ingenious character.” But then, instead of commending his water colors, as one would naturally expect, Lambert concludes his notice of Dillon in these words: “and fond of expressing his attachment to his King and country by illuminations and firing his pedereroes off in the square.” Lambert also refers to the new parade ground. “At the back of the town, just behind the new courthouse, is the parade ground where the troops are exercised.” And, after some further words of description, he proceeds to suggest a truly attractive picture of suburban Montreal in the early nineteenth century. “Here,” he says, “the inhabitants walk of an evening and enjoy a beautiful view of the suburbs of St. Lawrence and St. Antoine, and the numerous gardens, orchards and plantations of the gentry, adorned with neat and handsome dwelling houses.” These, with green fields interspersed, lead up to the mountain from which the island and the city have taken the name of Montreal.

We will now turn to a new literary venture.

NELSON’S MONUMENT

About 1875

NELSON’S MONUMENT

The building on the left is the house originally built in 1720 by Baron de Becancourt. It became the store of the Campagnie des Indes, which in the French times answered to the Hudson’s Bay Company. This was also the residence of the Hon. James McGill, founder of McGill University. It was demolished in 1903.

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After the Gazette there came the “Canadian Courant” founded at Montreal in 1807 by Nahum Mower, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts. There came with him Stephen Mills, who was born in Rozalton, Vermont. The latter remained at Montreal till 1810, when he went to Kingston, where he founded the Kingston Gazette. He became a minister in 1835. These two New Englanders placed a distinctly American stamp on the new paper. The name “Canadian” was revolutionary to the old British colonists, but it pleased the French. The “Courant” lasted until between 1835 and 1840. That it should have continued its existence so long, looked on with suspicion by the chief English residents as democratic and revolutionary, would suggest that it was subsidized either by American merchants, for the trade relations now between the two countries were becoming intimate and profitable, or by the government of the United States, who, baulked in their revolutionary designs hitherto, were still desirous of seducing the neighbouring “Fourteenth” colony from its allegiance.

Nahum Mower left in 1829, and in his valedictory he claims to have made good his pledge in the first number that he “should make it his duty to become a good subject and endeavour others to continue so.” He worshiped, till 1813, when he sold his pew, in St. Gabriel’s Church, the only non-Anglican church then in existence, and the temporary home of all English-speaking non-conformists. Still he was accused of undue intimacy with the enemies of the British Connexion in Canada, especially during the troublous times of 1812 and the years of apprehension after.

The Canadian Courant had an early rival in the Montreal Herald, which published its first number on Saturday, October 19, 1811. Its first printer and founder was a young Scotchman, William Gray, of Huntly, Aberdeenshire, born on August 12, 1789. He arrived in Montreal in June, 1811. In 1812, May 25th, he was married to Agnes Smith, of Aberdeen, by the Reverend Mr. Somerville. William Gray, as surmised by Doctor Campbell in his “History of St. Gabriel’s Church,” seems to have been related in some degree of cousinship to Alexander Skakel, the most noted of the Montreal early British schoolmasters. He died at the early age of thirty-three, on February 28, 1822, having caught a cold on a journey in a Durham boat on his way from Toronto to attend to his business affairs, on hearing that in his absence his office had been mobbed by a crowd of French-Canadians, displeased with the tone of some of his articles. This young editor has left behind him a record of personal probity, good discernment and strong personal courage. His task in 1811 was no easy one—to establish an independent and unsubsidized paper in a small town.

The files of the early Herald give a contemporary picture of life of the community. Canada then had about four hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom most were in the Lower province; about four thousand five hundred regular British troops were mostly stationed there, also. Upper Canada consisted of only a few settlements, scattered here and there on the highways. Fur trading was the basic industry of the colony and its headquarters was at Montreal, the home and storage centre of the wealthy fur traders of the Beaver Hall Club. Agriculture was neglected till after the War of 1812, when it became realized that farming should be the staple industry of the colony. Unskilled labour was then performed by French Canadians, for there was yet no British immigrant labouring class. The skilled artisans came mostly from across the border, but the lesser[128] storekeepers and merchants, chiefly Scotch, with an admixture of English and Yankees, were beginning to build up the permanent commerce of the city that was not always to be exclusively that of the fur trade. Among the business men then building up Montreal trade who were already well established before the war of 1812 were Alexander Henry, auctioneer; Benaiah Gibb, merchant; John Dillon, lumber merchant; James Brown, book-seller and owner of the Gazette; Peter McCutcheon, merchant; James and Andrew McGill, Forsyth, Richardson & Company, Maitland, Garden & Auldjo, Woolrich & Cooper, John Shuter, Samuel Gerrard, John Molson & Son, brewers and steamboat proprietors; Daniel Arnoldi, surgeon, and others.

The first home of the Herald, as far as ascertainable, was the 23 St. Paul Street given in Doige’s Directory of Montreal in 1819, the first systematic list of Montreal addresses. There is no proof of its having moved from elsewhere since 1811. On either side of it were two taverns, the Montreal Academy, a famous school kept by William Ryan, the residence of Joseph Papineau, eminent notary and public notary and father of the famous Louis Joseph, who was to become the “patriot” leader, and a small bookshop kept by a J. Russell. Near at hand, following Doige’s numbering, was the commissariat office and the residence of Colonel McKey, of the Indian Department, while a few doors away was the house of Peter McCutcheon, the famous merchant who afterward took the name of McGill. The “Canadian Courant” was established at 92 St. Paul Street, barely thirty doors from the Herald, and shared its premises with Daniel Campbell, a grocer. William Gray lived above his printing premises, as did his editor in 1819, Doctor Christie, and probably the latter’s predecessor, Mungo Kay, who was a Montreal merchant before he took to the journalist’s pen. At that date, and indeed for many long years, most of the storekeepers on St. Paul Street lived over their places of business. St. Paul Street was then the chief retail street; it ran the southern length of the town from the eastern fortifications of the Quebec suburbs to the western ones, ending at the present McGill Street. At either end there was a generous supply of taverns to meet the needs of those coming in from the country. In between them was a close succession of groceries, tailor shops, dry goods houses, hardware stores, druggists, bootmakers, glaziers, plumbers and the like. The Gazette at this period had its home on St. François Xavier Street.

The newspapers of the period received an addition by the advent of the first French-Canadian paper issued in Montreal, the “Spectateur.” They frequently had “brushes” with one another. In 1814, on July 2, a writer for the Herald, probably Mungo Kay, addressed an ode to a French-Canadian writer in the Spectator whom he calls “a certain gros bourgeois” and rallying him concerning a story, evidently known, of his efforts to cozen a certain negro:

See, wrapt in whirlwinds, from his stand
On leathern wings he takes his flight,
And on fell Mungo, with unequal hand
Sped rancorous the rodures of the night;
In deeds of darkness are their chief delight.
And see, advancing ’thwart the storm
Deception with his blotted form;
[129] Who tried the sable African to charm,
But failed in his attempt to make him green,
Albeit he the Justice did alarm,
Who quaked with fear that he ’mong Truth’s friends should be seen.
THE PRESS BUILDINGS: The Herald

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: The Herald

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: La Presse

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: La Presse

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: The Star

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: The Star

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: La Patrie

THE PRESS BUILDINGS: La Patrie

Next week another satiric poem was addressed to certain “Spectators” who had two urns.

“One flows for B. and M——r warm with praise,
And one for M——o bitter gall displays.”

For B. read Brown (John), the owner of the Gazette; for M——r, Mower (Nahum), the proprietor of the Courant; and M——o for Mungo Kay. Mungo Kay is credited by the Gazette in an obituary notice of him in 1813 on his death on September 18th, as having as editor for nearly seven years justified his choice of motto: “Aninos Novitate Tenebo”—“I will hold attention by means of novelty.” This was not meant to be satire but a tribute to his efforts to obtain the earliest intelligence. The Herald early began its “extra special additions.” In 1812, before it had been a year in existence, the Quebec Gazette reprinted such a special edition with the following acknowledgment:

“We beg the editors of the Herald to accept our thanks for their attention in transmitting the intelligence of the surrender of General Hull. This is not the first time that the public has been indebted to them for early intelligence.”

News in those days was hard to obtain, but even if a month late it was read with avidity, for the Napoleonic wars, involving the peace and security of the mother country and their own colony, which became involved in all British quarrels, found a passionate source of interest in the truly colonial loyalists of Montreal, who were surrounded by ill-wishers, secret or open, on all sides. It is amusing, however, to read the account of the Battle of Waterloo under the single line caption “Highly Interesting Intelligence,” the art of display headlines not then having become so pronounced.

The news of the victory of Waterloo reached Montreal in July, 1815. Montreal in its joy bethought itself of the widows and children of those who fell in the fateful battle and in consequence of a meeting called in the courthouse an amount of £2,717 16s 8d was soon raised, which was later added to largely.

Of local or colonial news, there being little or none, there was scant supply. But after 1815 the Montreal papers begin to have criticisms on matters nearer home. A class of writers now arose, especially in the Herald, the most daring unofficial paper of the period, who dealt ably and trenchantly on questions of policy and administration in Canada. These were written mostly under mythological pseudonyms to avoid personal responsibility and attack. This continued for many years. The anonymity of many has not yet been disclosed in literature, although there must have been many at Montreal to whom the real authorship was an open secret. “Nerva,” who wrote in the Herald much to inflame public opinion, has been disclosed later by the Montreal Gazette in an obituary notice, to have been the Hon. Samuel Gale, afterwards a famous justice of the superior court. Others, like “Aristides,” an early critic of the House of Assembly; “A true Jacobin,” a violent satirist of abuses in the police administration;[130] “Observer,” complaining of extortion and sale of justice by police court officials; “Alfred,” with his suggestion that a strip of land ten miles wide should be laid and kept absolutely waste along the American frontiers as the only real safeguard against renewed invasion after the peace of 1814 (this same writer also protests earnestly against the insidious effects of Webster’s republican spelling book); “Veritas,” with his crushing exposure of the incapacity of Sir George Prevost—these contributed letters, together with outspoken editorial utterances written by Gray or Skakel, causing a fluttering in the dovecots of officialdom.

In 1815 bills of indictment were found against the editor and printer of the Herald for libel on the commander in chief, but as Sir George Prevost was recalled the case never came to trial.

The earliest extant copy known of the Herald is dated March 2, 1812. It was a paper 13 inches by 20½ inches, and contained four pages of four columns, which latter, in 1814, was changed to five. It started with a circulation of 170 subscribers, 150 being Montrealers. On its third anniversary the statement was given in the paper that the “weekly distribution rather exceeds one thousand impressions.” The price was $4.00 per annum. In August a larger sheet appeared, 15 inches wide by 21½ inches deep, and was divided into five columns, the editor calling his paper “a quarter larger than our former or any other paper published in North America,” and adding “The Herald has more circulation, probably by some hundred, than any other paper in Canada.” The enlargement of the sheet, which was followed by frequent supplementary sheets on a Wednesday, indicate the growth of advertising and commercial correspondence, and the immense increase of commerce after the peace. Indeed, at the time an attempt was made to establish a fourth Montreal paper, “The Sun.” Its promoters were Lane, a printer on St. Paul Street, and Bowman, a stationer on St. François Xavier Street. It only lasted a few issues.

Anti-American animadversions, however, still survived. The democratic leaders of the time were accused of being supplied with Yankee money and Yankee ideals. Samuel Sherwood, an American by birth and an early leader for popular government, was accused by the Herald of having given traitorous support and advice to the Americans during the War of 1812 and of keeping the “Sun” and the Canadian Courant supplied with “Jacobin” information from American sources.

A picture of the pigmy city of the period, written in 1870 by Mr. T.S. Brown in a small, forgotten pamphlet entitled “Montreal Fifty Years Ago”, may fitly help to illustrate this period:

“On the 28th of May, 1818, I first landed at Montreal. On my left was a dirty creek running down inside of a warehouse, being the outlet of a ditch, now tunnelled, that then, as a part of the old fortifications, ran around the city, westerly from the Champ de Mars through Craig street, with dilapidated banks, the receptacle of all sorts of filth. Above and below there was a revetment of a few hundred feet; except this, the beach and river bank were in their natural state. Just above the Grey Nunnery there was a cottage with a garden running down to the river, and adjoining this a ship yard where vessels continued to be built for some years later. Further on, the place of the Lachine Canal was a common with three windmills and the graves of three soldiers shot for desertion. The Island Wharf was then a little island, far off and alone.

“The city gates and fortifications, such as they were, had been removed some time previous. A remnant of walls remained at the corner of McGill and Commissioners streets, and between Bonsecours street and Dalhousie Square there was a mound of earth 55 feet high, called the ‘citadel.’ The old rampart on Great St. James street had been levelled, but[131] there was no building on the west side between St. François Xavier and McGill streets. The northern portion had been a cemetery and an old powder magazine still stood in the middle of the street.... I came into the city through a narrow passage leading to the Custom House Square, then the ‘Old Market,’ a low, wooden shed-like building; and along the south side of the square was a row of old women seated at tables with eatables for sale. Capital street was a succession of drinking houses carrying on an active business from morning until night.... The largest was that of Thomas l’Italien (Thomas Delvecchio), facing the Market with a clock, on which small figures came out to strike the hours, to the continued wonderment of all, and next came Les trois Rois, of Joseph Donegani. This was the center of trade. A new market of similar construction had been erected on the present Jacques Cartier Square, running from Nelson’s monument (opposite to which was the guard house, jail, pillory and courthouse) to St. Paul street, but it was not liked. Everybody crowded to the little space of the Old Market and habitant vehicles so filled St. Paul street in each direction that constables were often sent to drive them down to the new market....

“Along the beach were moored several small ships and brigs, constituting the spring fleet.... The city was bounded by the river on the east, by Bonsecours street and the Citadel on the north, Craig street on the west, and McGill street on the south; within which limits all the ‘respectable’ people with few exceptions resided. The population in it was nearly as great as today—the upper part of nearly every store being occupied as a dwelling. All the houses in Notre Dame street were dwellings—in its whole length there were but two shops and three auction rooms. The cross streets’ buildings were nearly all dwellings and commercial business was almost confined to St. Paul street. Wholesale stores, except the establishment of Gillespie, Moffat & Company, were small indeed compared to the growth of after years.... There were numerous shops for country trade, all doors and no windows, always open winter and summer, with a goodly portion of the stock displayed outside, where salesmen without number were stationed to accost and bring in customers, who were often dragged forcibly....

“Nunneries occupied more space than now—the Hotel Dieu making an ugly break in St. Paul street. Of churches there were few.... The city was composed of one and two story houses, very few of three stories, built, with very few exceptions, of rubble stone, plastered over. All the stores and many of the houses had iron doors and shutters; many buildings had vaulted cellars and many had the garret floored with heavy logs, covered with several inches of earth, and flat paving stones, with a stone staircase outside, so that a roof might burn without doing other damage....

“Four streets leading to the country—St. Mary’s, St. Laurent, St. Joseph and St. Antoine—were bordered by houses, mostly of wood—one story, but intervening streets were short and vacant ground extensive. Log fences divided fields on the west of Craig street as far as Beaver Hall Hill, which was a grassy lawn with a long, one-story wooden building across the summit and a garden behind. All to the west of this was open fields where now stands the city of our richest people....

“Village primitiveness had not disappeared in Montreal fifty years ago. Old men sat out on the doorsteps to gossip with passing friends and often the family would be found there of an evening. In the suburbs neighbours would collect for a dance in the largest house and any respectable passer-by was welcomed if he chose to step in.... Business relations were more intimate between French and English fifty years ago than now, and I think there was more kindly feeling.... But social relations were much as they are now, the races keeping separate in their charities, their amusements and their gatherings. The English were more dominant—they were more generally the employers, the French the employed.”

November of 1819 was marked by an alarming natural phenomenon. On Sunday the 9th a dense black rain descended, depositing a substance which to the eye and taste resembled common soot. On the following Tuesday, after a dark morning of gloom, with the sun clouds at times greenish black, pitch black, dingy orange colour and blood red, so that some thought that the history of Pompeii or Herculaneum was to be repeated, and feared that Mount Royal,[132] reported already to be the extinct crater of a volcano, was again in activity. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon rain fell again of the same sooty character mid fearful lightning and thunder. At 4 o’clock the summit of the steeple of Notre Dame Church was struck with lightning. The tocsin sounded a fire alarm; the steeple was on fire. The people gathered on Place d’Armes and before the conflagration was extinguished, the great cross fell with a crash, breaking into many pieces. The rain had deposited greater quantities of the sooty substance than on the Sunday preceding and “as it flowed through the streets it carried on its surface a dense foam resembling soapsuds. The evening again became darker and thus ended a day which may be classed among the dies atri of Montreal.”

At this time there was a certain official society life in the city which was fostered by the young military officers from the old country, to whom, apart from their extravagances, the colony is largely indebted for its heritage of culture, literature and art. The religious situation was filled by three Catholic churches, the Notre Dame parish church, built in 1672; the Bonsecours Chapel, rebuilt in 1771, and the “Recollets,” built in 1695, and loaned at different periods to the Anglicans and Presbyterians till they had their own temples. There were two Protestant churches, the Anglican Christ Church, which was the old disused Jesuit church till 1803, but which was now in its own edifice on Notre Dame Street in 1814, and the Presbyterian or Scotch chapel on St. Gabriel’s Street, built in 1792. The religious horizon was not clear. The Catholics and Presbyterians, or non-Conformist group, both had grudges against the Anglicans, arising from the question of the clergy reserves by which, according to the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Anglicans were the established church and reserves of land were provided for their growth and expansion to the exclusion of other Protestant denominations, who resented this privilege in a new country, especially by the “Church of Scotland,” who claimed equal rights to establishment, and the Catholics who had become civilly crippled and disestablished since the conquest, when they came under the same condition of the civil disabilities meted out to the Catholics in the old country.

The government officials and most of the British military officers therefore attended the Anglican services, while the fur lords and the traders, those of St. Gabriel’s church. The newspapers took sides. The Gazette followed the government party, while the Courant and the Herald voiced the views of the dissentients. In 1825 the Herald was bought by Archibald Ferguson, a rich merchant of Montreal, for the express purpose of upholding the rights of the Presbyterian church to a share in the clergy reserves, on the ground that the Scottish Church in Canada should be considered as much an established church as that of the Anglicans. Eventually it gradually came to be recognized in the courts that there were three “established” churches in Canada, the Anglicans, the Scottish and the Catholics.1 But the increasing number of non-conformist bodies arising could not brook this, and so the old opposition against the “clergy reserves” was renewed and it was not till 1854 that this long burning question was settled by total diversion of the reserves from all religious purposes.

We may now return to the story of the Constitutional struggles again about to commence and in which Montreal was to take a leading part.

FOOTNOTES:

1 The historical development of the churches of Montreal is specially treated in the second part of this volume.


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CHAPTER XV

BUREAURACY vs. DEMOCRACY

THE PROPOSED UNION OF THE CANADAS

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT—MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS—FRENCH-CANADIANS AIM TO STRENGTHEN THEIR POLITICAL POWER—THE “COLONIAL” OFFICE AND THE BUREAUCRATIC CLASS VERSUS THE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY—L. J. PAPINEAU AND JOHN RICHARDSON—PETITIONS FOR AND AGAINST UNION—THE MONTREAL BRITISH PETITION OF 1822—THE ANSWER OF L.J. PAPINEAU—THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL—THE BILL FOR UNION WITHDRAWN. NOTES: NAMES OF JUSTICES OF THE PEACE FROM 1796 TO 1833—MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR MONTREAL DISTRICT, 1791-1829—PETITION OF MONTREAL BRITISH—1822.

The new Constitution of 1791 was honestly framed with the desire of giving a measure of representative government, but it was used, before long, by an oligarchy of the bureaucratic classes to whom the governors were victims. In Lower Canada the bureaucratic party opposed the French-Canadians and many of those of British origin. Furthermore there was added the development of a race enmity which ended so disastrously in the uprising of the “patriots” in 1837. The political situation was tense for half a century. The fight for mastery was between the legislative and executive council appointed by the Governor, and the legislative assemblies elected by the people.

Montreal felt the strain keenly. Viewed municipally its affairs were regulated from Quebec. The Parliament there exercising similar powers to those of our municipal council of today, but greater. The justices of the peace nominated by the executive council of the Province were but the executive arm carrying out the will of Quebec.

The constitutional struggles of this period so affected the life of Montreal, that to preserve a true picture we must still study their history. Passion always showed itself there more than elsewhere.

The war with the United States being over, the prevailing sentiment of all parties was one of loyalty to Great Britain. To none was this more attributable than to the French-Canadians, for they saw that an alliance with the States would swamp them politically and subvert their religion. They turned their attention to securing a strong hold on the management of government with the intention of strengthening the position granted them by the Quebec and Constitutional acts in the retainment of their laws, institutions and customs. They were learning self-government. They were beginning to demand a form of responsible government. Not, indeed, as it was afterwards understood, for it[134] took the form only of desiring an elective council, one that, being outside crown nomination, would give them real power to control revenues. This the Governors, acting under instructions from the Colonial Office, were not prepared to grant. Canada was to be ruled as a colony from Downing Street. It was in statu pupillari.

The history of the next twenty-five years and more reveals the efforts of the two classes; on the one hand, of the Governors, the legislative council, the office holders under government, British and French-Canadians and the wealthier British merchants, whose interests lay in being in combination with the governing classes; and on the other, the majority of the people feeling their power, using their new freedom and striving democratically to make their numerical superiority give them the dominance they thought their right. Add to this the natural tendency of any democratic assembly to assert itself and to claim the fullest of powers for itself. Hence the House of Assembly, reflecting the people, is seen to be in constant opposition to the executive council, sometimes extravagantly asserting itself and running to extremes. Thus attacked, the bureaucratic party grew nearer together. Hence two spirits of suspicion and race enmity were being formed. All this was reflected in the life of the people and nowhere more strongly than in Montreal.

It would be tedious to follow the various sessions of Parliament, even to watch the Montreal county and town representatives such as the members for Montreal West, L.J. Papineau, the son of Joseph Papineau, now being in the ascendant and the incarnation of the most advanced Canadian pretensions, and Mr. Richardson, a Montreal merchant, a member of the council of legislature who represented the British minority, strongly siding with the government. The tension existing between the two parties was voiced by Mr. Richardson in 1821, when he exclaimed: “How can we (the legislative council) rescind our resolutions when there is a secret committee sitting in the House of Assembly which is, perhaps, deliberating on the appointment of the governor of their choice and on the removal of the person now in the castle, and putting their own in his place. The committee even sits without the knowledge of several members of the house of which there is no example in England except in the times of Charles I. The committee is, perhaps, a committee of public safety.” (“Christie,” Vol. II, page 72.)

The words produced a hurricane. The assembly passed resolutions calling for Mr. Richardson’s removal from all posts of honour. The adverse state of feeling may be best described by the passion aroused over a supposed act for the union of the two provinces in 1822, when the legislatures were to be united under the name of “the legislative council and assembly of the Canadas.” The bill was introduced in the English parliament by Sir Wilmot Horton, Under Secretary of State of the Colonies. It was opposed by Sir James McIntosh and others on the ground that Canada had not been made aware of the contemplated changes, which was very true. Consequently the bill was delayed.

In November Lower and Upper Canada were preparing their petitions for and against the proposed union, both French and English names being attached to the petition. Quebec was against it; Montreal district was divided. The French constitutional committee also refuted it. The names of those present embrace the Honourables: L.J. Papineau (chairman); Chs. de St. Ours, [135]M.L. C.; L.R.C. de Léry, M.L.C.; P.D. Debartzch, M.L.C.; Chs. de Salaberry, C.K. and M.L.C.; and Messrs. Louis Guy, Frs. Derivières, D.B. Viger, M.P. P., J. Bouthillier, J. Bedard, J.R. Roland, H. Cuvillier, M.P.P., H. Henry, M.P.P., F.A. Quesnel, M.P.P., Louis Bourdage, M.P.P., F.A. Larocque, J. Quesnel, and R.J. Kimber. Eventually L.J. Papineau and Mr. John Neilson were chosen to proceed to England to represent the non-union case. Lower Canada as such prepared a petition against the union. It is claimed to have been signed by 60,000 by signature or by a mark. The Montreal bulky petition of twenty-nine pages in favour of the union from His Majesty’s “dutiful and loyal subjects of British birth and descent, inhabitants of the city and county of Montreal” bore 1,452 signatures and the date, December, 1822. The committee in charge of forwarding the petition was: John Richardson (chairman); C. W. Grant; J. Stuart; S. Gerrard; George Garden; Fred’k W. Ermatinger; Samuel Gale; G. Moffatt; John Molson; John Fleming. Mr. Stuart was chosen to present the case for union in England.

The petition represented that the division of the Province of Quebec into two provinces has been prolific of evil; that it has resulted in that the English population of Lower Canada has been rendered inefficient from the comparative smallness of their numbers since the whole power of the representative branch of the government had been given to the French-Canadians, so that of fifty members who represent Lower Canada only ten are English; that the assembly may indeed be said to be exclusively in possession of the uneducated peasantry of the country, under the management and control of a few of their countrymen whose personal importance, in opposition to the interests of the country at large, depend on the continuance of the present vicious system; that the speaker elected by the assembly was never of English origin “although if regard had been had to ability, knowledge and other qualifications, a preference must have been given to persons of that description;” that the French-Canadian population hitherto unused to political power had not used it with moderation, so that British emigration had been prevented; that the advancement of the colony was paralyzed; agriculture and “all commercial enterprise and improvement have been crippled and obstructed and the country remains with all the foreign characteristics which it possessed at the time of the conquest; that is, in all particulars French. The division into two provinces would result in Upper Canada availing itself of the advantages offered to trade with American seaports through the new canal system being elaborated by the state of New York. Secondly it has resulted in the continual disputes between Upper and Lower Canada respecting revenues from import duties, which can only be settled by the union of the provinces under one legislature. The petition refers to the desire of the French to establish a separate nation under the nature of the “Nation Canadienne.” The petitioners in conclusion beg leave to[136] “specify succinctly the benefits to be expected from a Union of the Provinces. By this measure the political evils complained of in both Provinces would be removed. The French population in Lower Canada, now divided from their fellow subjects by their national peculiarities and prejudices and with an evident disposition under the present system to become a separate people, would be gradually assimilated to the British population of both Provinces; and with it moulded into one people of British character and with British feelings. All opposition of interest and cause of difference between the Provinces would be forever extinguished: an efficient Legislature, capable of conciliating the interests of the Colony with those of the Mother Colony, and providing for the security and advancing the agricultural and commercial prosperity of the country, would be established, by means of which the international improvement of both Provinces would not only be rapidly promoted with the consequent benefits thereto arising from Great Britain, but the strength and capacity to resist foreign oppression be greatly increased: the tie of connection between the Colony and the Parent State would be strengthened and confirmed and a lasting dependence of the Canadas on the latter be ensured, to the mutual advantage of both.”

Having given the British view of the situation it would only be just to give that of the other side. Analysis of their various petitions shows that they relied mainly on the wisdom of the Government in its past enactments which had been successful so that the country was progressing in agriculture and commerce in spite of great obstacles. The differences that had arisen between Upper and Lower Canada relative to revenues were not in consequence of the division of the two provinces but of temporary causes which could easily be removed by the acts of the executive legislature. The Union of the Provinces would only resuscitate dissension resulting from differences of language, religion, laws and other local interests. The new bill was directed against the dearest interests of nine-tenths of the population of this province. Allusion was made to the injustice of the new bill which would make English the language of debate, would exclude many from being elected to the Assembly and would give humiliating preference to the members of the Assembly from Upper Canada by affording the minority an equal representation with those of the Lower Province, whose population was five times as numerous.

It may be well here to allow the criticisms of Mr. L.J. Papineau to supply an element underlying the opposition of the opponents of the bill. In a letter to Mr. R.J. Wilmot, M.P., 23 Montague Square, London, Mr. Papineau alluding, doubtless, to the Montreal pro-union petition of which he had known, and speaking for his committee, wishes to dispel the odious aspersions on the great body of the people in this province, contained in several communications intended for England:[137] “such as assertions that the opposition, manifested in this province on the part of the population so stigmatized, is the effect of prejudices alone; alluding to their supposed attachment for France and French principles; calling them foreigners (foreigners in their own land!). The bill in question, say these friends of the union, being so well calculated to Anglify the country which is to be ultimately peopled by the British race. * * * The preposterous calumny against the Canadians of French origin as to their supposed attachment for France requires no further answer than that which is derived from their uniform conduct during the wars and the loyalty evinced by them on every occasion. They are not foreigners in this, the land of their birth; they claim rights as British subjects in common with every other subject of His Majesty in these colonies. By what they call Anglifying the country is meant the depriving the great majority of the people of this province of all that is dear to men, their laws, usages, institutions and religion. An insignificant minority wish for a change and are desirous of ruling against every principle of justice by destroying what they call Canadian influence, that is to say, the influence of the majority of men entitled to the same rights as themselves, of the great mass of the natives. * * * Great Britain wants no other Anglifying in this country than that which is to be found in the loyalty and affection of the inhabitants, no other British race than that of natural born subjects, loyal and affectionate.”

The opinion of the legislative council of Lower Canada is finally to be recorded. In its petition it gives its fixed and determined opinion that the union of the two legislatures in one would only tend directly to enfeeble and embarrass His Majesty’s government and finally to create discontent in the minds of His Majesty’s faithful subjects in this colony. Upper Canada was quite satisfied with the existing conditions. The chief agitators, therefore, for the bill were to be found in Montreal and with them sided the Eastern Townships.

The bill for the union was withdrawn. When it was brought up later it was more wisely thought out. It did not tread on established prejudices and rights and it brought with it the panacea of true responsible government. But at the present date this was not fully seen. The great objective was to become independent of the colonial office by a representative and elective legislative council. It was hoped thus to control all expenditures. Hence the members of the lower assembly, not content with the exercise of mere municipal legislation, were ever asserting their rights in the latter regard and the Colonial Office as often, checking their aspirations.

NOTE I

NAMES OF JUSTICES OF PEACE OF MONTREAL FROM 1796-1833

NOTE II

MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FROM MONTREAL DISTRICT FROM 1792-1829


SESSION
COUNTY OF
MONTREAL
MONTREAL
WEST
MONTREAL
EAST
1 Joseph Papineau
James Walker
James McGill
J.B. Durocher
James Frobisher
John Richardson
2 J.M. Ducharme
E. Guy
Joseph Papineau
D. Viger
A. Auldjo
L.C. Foucher
3 Joseph Papineau
Thomas Walker
James McGill
Joseph Perinault
P.L. Panet
F. Badgeley
4 Benjamin Frobisher
L. Roy Portelance
James McGill
Louis Chaboillez
John Richardson
J.M. Mondelet
5 J.B. Durocher
L. Roy Portelance
Wm. McGillvray
D.B. Viger
J. Stuart
J.M. Mondelet
6 J.B. Durocher
L. Roy Portelance
E.B. Viger
Thomas McCord
J. Stuart
Jos. Papineau
7 J.B. Durocher
L. Roy Portelance
E.N. St. Dizier
A.N. McLeod
Stephen Sewell
Joseph Papineau
8 James Stuart
Aug. Richer
L.J. Papineau
James Fraser
Sauveuse de Beaujeu
George Platt
9 James Stuart
August Richer
L.J. Papineau
F. Souligny
L. Roi Portelance
John Molson
10 Joseph Perrault
Joseph Valois
L.J. Papineau
George Garden
Hughes Heney
Thomas Busby
11 Joseph Perrault
Joseph Valois
L.J. Papineau
George Garden
Hughes Heney
Thomas Thain
12 Joseph Perrault
Joseph Valois
L.J. Papineau
P. de Rocheblave
Hughes Heney
James Leslie
13 Joseph Perrault
Joseph Valois
L.J. Papineau
Robert Nelson
Hughes Heney
James Leslie

[139]


CHAPTER XVI

MURMURS OF REVOLUTION

RACE AND CLASS ANTAGONISM

“CANADA TRADE ACTS”—LORD DALHOUSIE BANQUETED AFTER BEING RECALLED—MOVEMENT TO JOIN MONTREAL AS A PORT TO UPPER CANADA—THE GOVERNOR ALLEGED TO BE A TOOL—EXECUTIVE COUNCIL—RIOTOUS ELECTION AT MONTREAL—DR. TRACY VERSUS STANLEY BAGG—THE MILITARY FIRE—THE “MINERVE” VERSUS THE GAZETTE AND HERALD—THE CHOLERA OF 1832—MURMURS OF THE COMING REVOLT—MONTREAL PETITION FOR AND AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES—MR. NELSON BREAKS WITH PAPINEAU—THE NINETY-TWO RESOLUTIONS—MR. ROEBUCK, AGENT FOR THE REFORM PARTY, ADVOCATES SELF-GOVERNMENT—FRENCH-CANADIAN EXTREMISTS—THE ELECTIONS—PUBLIC MEETING OF “MEN OF BRITISH AND IRISH DESCENT”—TWO DIVERGENT MENTALITIES—THE CONSTITUTIONAL ASSOCIATIONS—PETITIONS TO LONDON—LORD GOSFORD APPOINTED ROYAL COMMISSIONER—HIS POLICY OF CONCILIATION REJECTED—MR. PAPINEAU INTRANSIGEANT—RAISING VOLUNTEER CORPS FORBIDDEN—THE DORIC CLUB—“RESPONSIBLE” GOVERNMENT DEMANDED.

The bill for the proposed union, shorn of the notion of union, came up in the Imperial parliament and passed as the “Canadian Trade Acts.” Its object was to secure Upper Canada from the possible injustice and caprice of the legislature of Lower Canada and the imposition and payment of duties. The act was challenged in the house of Quebec, but to no avail. In 1824 the president of the United States claimed the free navigation of the St. Lawrence to the ocean. This was objected to by the legislative council as pernicious to the interests of British trade and the merchants of Montreal in a petition of February 20, 1826, combatted the admission of the claim.

The constitutional record of the next few years of Montreal shows the growth of contention between the English and French population. In 1828 this came temporarily to a head in the petition and counter petition for the recall of Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General. Messrs. Denis B. Viger and Cuvillier were the bearers of a petition from Montreal. Lord Dalhousie was in consequence appointed commander in chief in India. At a banquet held in Montreal on June 7, 1828, with the Hon. John Richardson in the chair, a farewell was given to Lord Dalhousie prior to his leaving Canada, approving of his just government.

In 1831 a movement began to be advocated, especially in Upper Canada, that the island of Montreal should be separated from the Lower province and added to the Upper, so that this might have a seaport of its own, with power to regulate[140] the duty on the imports without interference from Quebec. It was argued that in a few years the Upper province would be in advance of Lower Canada in agriculture and population. The movement found favour among the British party in Montreal but was strongly resented by those of French-Canadian birth. The house in session in 1832 rejected it as a premeditated and unprovoked spoilation in violation of the Capitulation treaty. This year, Montreal was incorporated as a city with a charter. (William V, Cap. 39.)

It was a charge against the legislative council that it consisted largely of officials holding their places at the pleasure of the crown and therefore irresponsible to the people and subversive of its interests. A view of the position of the legislative council may be seen from the returns that Gov. Gen. Sir James Kempt (1828-1830) was requested to furnish to the colonial office. These showed that the legislative council consisted of twenty-three members, twelve of whom held office under the crown, sixteen were Protestants and seven Roman Catholics. The executive council consisted of nine members, only one being unconnected with government, and all were Protestants with one exception.

In order to gain confidence and to remove the suspicion that the legislative council was under the influence of local government and guided in its proceedings by the will of the Governor, which he alleged to be an absolute misrepresentation, Sir James advised that one or two of the most important of the assemblymen should be advanced to the legislature.

Lord Aylmer, who succeeded Sir James Kempt, in a private letter to Mr. Hay said, on the other hand, that the impression on the public mind was that a sinister influence was continually operating on the governor, who was being swayed to a very great extent by the executive council; although this was not the case, he thought the public should be satisfied on that head. But he agreed that Mr. Papineau and Mr. Neilson should be advanced. He disapproved of Mr. Papineau’s public conduct and language, though he esteemed his private character. “There is,” he wrote to Mr. Hay, “one consideration which, more than any other, renders it desirable, in my view of the matter, to make choice of these gentlemen. A very general opinion prevails in this country that the person at the head of the government is always more or less influenced by the executive council which, whether justly or otherwise, I will not take it upon myself to say, is not held in general estimation, and it appears to me that the introduction of two gentlemen enjoying like Mr. Papineau and Neilson the confidence of the public, into that body and, as it were, behind the scenes, would go far towards removing the opinion alluded to, and which I can positively state, as far as regards myself, is wholly without foundation.”1

In 1832 a vacancy occurred in the west ward of Montreal by the resignation of Mr. Fisher. As it reflects the turbulent conflicts that had been going on so long in the House at Quebec and indicates the high pitch of excitement to which minds were then brought, a lengthy notice is not out of place. It also foreshadowed the violent scenes of 1837. The candidates were Mr. Stanley Bagg, a representative of one of the oldest British firms in Montreal who shared in the views of British party, and Doctor Tracy, an Irishman attached to the “Vindicator” which had espoused the extreme views of the assembly; indeed, he had been recently[141] imprisoned for his censures on the legislative council. The contest was very close and lasted for some days. On May 21st, when Doctor Tracy was a few votes ahead, there was every appearance of a riot around the polls. The Fifteenth Regiment was called out, the riot act was read but the tumult continued. The account given by Kingsford’s History of Canada, Volume IX, pp. 481-99, tells graphically what follows. As the poll was being closed the partisans of Tracy, headed by himself, rushed against those of the opposite side. The troops were now ordered to advance and reached the old Montreal Bank, the site of the present postoffice. The troops were received with volley after volley of stone. Colonel McIntosh called to the mob to cease this aggressiveness, or he would give orders to fire. The troops continued to advance up St. James Street, giving opportunity for the mob to retire. The stones continued to be thrown. A second halt was made. The crowd, now composed almost entirely of Tracy’s supporters, had greatly increased. The attack upon the military continued. Again Colonel McIntosh threatened to give the order to fire. According to the evidence of the lieutenant present, Mr. W. Dawson, from whose testimony this narrative is taken, several men in the ranks were severely hurt by these missiles. The colonel was struck, as was the subaltern. Colonel McIntosh, still hesitating to act, again warned his assailants. It was all in vain. To judge by the testimony given at the inquest the mob evidently believed that the military would not dare to act. They were cruelly mistaken. The first platoon of sixteen men were ordered to fire; three of the crowd fell dead, two were wounded. In a few seconds the street was cleared. * * * It was the first event of this character in Canada and caused a great sensation. From the violence shown it was dreaded that the riot might continue. The consequence was that a detachment with some field pieces was stationed at the Place d’Armes. During the night pickets paraded the streets. The Minerve in its continuation of abuse described the event as the massacre of peaceable, unarmed citizens, and that in order to make the military forget their crime they had been abundantly supplied with rum. * * * No arrests were made. * * * The coroner’s inquest was held. Mr. Papineau attended every day.2 * * * Nine witnesses testified that the soldiers fired upon the people as they were dispersing after the close of the poll. Three witnesses described the act as the consequence of the riot. No verdict was given.3 * * * The coroner, nevertheless, issued warrants for the arrest of McIntosh and Temple. They were immediately bailed to the amount of £1,000. The proceedings of the coroner were set aside as illegal, but the matter did not stop here. These officers were again arrested and subjected to much annoyance. Finally, in September, the grand jury returned the indictment with “no bill.” The same result was obtained in the case of the magistrates, Messrs. Robertson and Lukin, indicted on a similar criminal charge as having given orders to the troops.

The action of the military was approved by the grand jury, and by the commander in chief, the latter being further commended by Lord Fitzroy Somerset through Lord Aylmer, the governor general. An address of sympathetic citizens was presented to the two officers. La Minerve on the 24th of May, 1832, however,[142] was implacable. “It is difficult,” it says, “not to be convinced that there was a desire to make a general massacre. It is clearly proved that the faction hostile to the Canadians has been preparing for this atrocity for a long time. The party that we have opposed for thirty years desired today to shoot us down. * * * They also wished to shoot Mr. Tracy. * * * Mr. Bagg’s partisans laughingly approached the corpses and saw with fierce joy the Canadian blood flowing down the street. They have been seen shaking hands congratulatingly and regretting that the number of the dead was not greater. * * * Let us never forget the massacre of our brethren. * * * Let the names of the wrongdoers who have planned, advised and executed this crime be inscribed in our annals handed down to infamy and execration.”4 (History of Canada, page 109.)

The funeral of the three Canadians was attended by about five thousand persons and following the bodies were Mr. Papineau, the speaker of the assembly, the leader of the French-Canadian party and his chief supporters.

From this date the tone of the newspapers Le Spectateur at Quebec and La Minerve at Montreal is noticeably inflammatory in the demand for the redress of their grievances. On the other hand, the English papers representing the British party, especially the Gazette and Herald of Montreal, dealt no uncertain blows in return and Mr. Papineau fared ill. He was looked upon as a demagogue inciting dissension and making political capital from the late misfortune of May 21st.

The memory of the riot was not allowed to die down in the neighbourhood of Montreal and elsewhere. At Longueuil on June 11th a resolution, provoked by the affair of May 21st, set forth that “the British government deceived by men who are our envenomed enemies, are following in a line of conduct leading to our destruction and slavery; that the fate of the Acadians is being prepared for us, that the neglect of the frequent demands of our rights on the part of England had tended to break the contract between her and us.” In these and other meetings there was generally a protest against granting to capitalists independently of the colonial legislature a large portion of the uncultivated lands of the crown. This was aimed at members of the British party.

Another protest was at immigration from Great Britain. The parishes were being inoculated with discontent. This last was emphasized at this period especially, as in 1832 Canada was suffering from cholera; from June 9th to September 30th, the number described as having died being 3,292. It was at this date that Gross Ile, thirty miles below Quebec, was established by the provincial executive as a quarantine station on the warning from the home government, having itself suffered its ravages in the winter of 1831-2. The disease was thought to have been brought early in June by the “Carrick” with emigrants from Dublin containing 133 passengers, of whom fifty-nine had died on the voyage. The malady is supposed to have quickly spread from the emigrants to others through Quebec and Montreal. Apparently the disease did not spread in Upper Canada to any extent. The boards of health lately established did all they could, by the establishment of hospitals, to stay the disease. The Montreal board of health reported on the 26th day of June that there had been from the 10th to the 25th of June inclusive 3,384 cases and 947 deaths. The Fifteenth Regiment suffered[143] severely. But at the end of June the disease was abating. A correspondent writing from Montreal on the 25th of June said that the printers, like others, had deserted their work a fortnight before, but at the date he wrote activity was resumed, the stores were again opened and the markets better supplied. On the 6th of July Lord Aylmer wrote: “The panic in the public mind is rapidly subsiding and the people are returning to their ordinary occupations, which at one period of the prevalence of the disease were almost entirely abandoned.” The arrival of emigrants during 1831 and 1832 had been numerous. The official returns for 1831 and 1832 give the numbers as being 48,973 and 49,281.

At Montreal the seriousness of the political and social situation and the menaces that were looming to the peace and to the security of life and property, was not blinked. Moderate men of both parties already heard the rumblings of the revolt of 1837. A meeting was held at the British American Hotel on the 4th of November with 500 persons present. Mr. Horatio Gates, a prominent merchant, was in the chair and many other important men discussed the situation earnestly. A committee was formed to draft the petition, to the throne, based on the resolutions of the meeting. The names reveal the inclusion of weighty French-Canadians: “J.C. Grant, Hypolite Guy, Alex Buchanan, Jules Quesnel, George Auldjo, Turton Penn, Pierre Bibaud, Dr. W. Caldwell, Dr. B. Rollin, Augustin Perreault, T.B. Anderson, Felix Souligny, Joseph Masson, and J.T. Barrett.”

Briefly the resolutions expressed confidence in the present system of government, desiring no change in the system of the legislative council which was an essential product of the legislature; it was stated that the political excitement of disaffected persons was creating a want of confidence in the security of property and had embarrassed all commercial relations, and it was felt now a boundened duty “to declare their unalterable attachment to the government, etc.”

This action at Montreal was offset by a petition from Montreal considered in the session, praying for constitutional changes; it demanded an elective government in every department; it protested against any system of emigration which, while being beneficial to the Upper Province was not so to the Lower. It assailed the officials for the proceedings consequent upon the riot of May 21st at Montreal. Mr. Leslie, a British merchant of Montreal and extreme supporter of Mr. Papineau, moved the inquiry into the affairs of the 21st. On this occasion Mr. Andrew Stewart threw it into the face of Mr. Papineau that he was creating national distinctions, that he had given rise to the consternation which he felt, when he should have shown moderation. During this session Mr. Neilson also took a decided stand against Mr. Papineau, the first step towards a break in their political relationship. The discussion on the events of May 21, 1832, was deferred to next session. The house was prorogued on April 3, 1833.

This year, 1833, was remarkable as that of coming into effect of the municipal act of Montreal and Quebec, a forward movement treated of elsewhere. During the session of 1834 the famous Ninety-two Resolutions introduced by Mr. Bibaud kept up the agitation for change and redress. In 1834 Mr. Roebuck, who had left Canada in 1825 and had, as member for Bath, moved in April, 1834, in the house of parliament in London for the appointment of a committee to enquire into the means of remedying the evils in the government of Upper and Lower Canada, took a step which largely fanned the fire of discontent in Montreal.[144] Addressing the united and permanent committee of the reform party of Montreal in favour of self-government as then meditated through a representative elective legislative council, he advised them to resist the parliament of Great Britain. He advocated peaceable methods before taking to arms. But they had to fight sooner than lose all hope of self-government.

This infused, if possible, more vigour to the pens of the writers in La Minerve and the Vindicator, of which Doctor O’Callaghan was editor.5 Violent attacks on the government were renewed. French-Canadians were urged to organize for the revolutionary movement. The moderate French-Canadians were fearful of the outcome. The British party, in self-defence, prepared a petition, and a deputation to Quebec to Lord Aylmer with an address conceived in opposition to the spirit of the Ninety-two Resolutions. On August 24th Mr. Hume presented Mr. Bibaud’s Ninety-two Resolutions to the imperial parliament signed by 18,083 persons. On the 24th of September the supporters of the Ninety-two Resolutions met and supported resolutions on the same lines. Among those present was Girod as a delegate from Verchères; he was a strong adherent of Papineau and later, in 1838, was one of the leaders in the insurrection of St. Eustace.

In October and November the elections took place. In the west ward of Montreal Papineau and Dr. Robert Nelson were declared elected by the returning officer Lusignan before the legal time for the close of the polls had arrived. A protest was made by Mr. Walker and Mr. Donnellan, the opposing candidates, without avail. A few days later Mr. Papineau issued a fiery philippic—a common custom of his—against the Governor General with the effect when Lord Aylmer visited Montreal later, La Minerve and the Vindicator appeared with their columns in mourning. In Quebec the new city council had the insolence to pass a vote not to pay the “visite de cérémonie” to Lord Aylmer on New Year’s Day.

During November Constitutional Associations were formed in Montreal and Quebec by the British party who now feared a separation with the mother country. At Montreal an address was prepared as a result of a public meeting on November 22d to men of “British and Irish descent.” It was signed by John Molson, Jr., and was directed to their fellow countrymen of the Province of British America for their oppressed brethren of Montreal, and solicited their “attention to a brief and temperate exposition of our principles and grievances.” It is a lengthy statement containing about three thousand words, though not so long as the grievances of the Ninety-two Resolutions, which occupied twenty-five pages of the journals of the house in 1834. As we have not reproduced the latter neither do we those of the British party, though a perusal of each would give a vivid picture of the seriousness of the situation and the tension on both sides. It was the conflict of two mentalities become, for the time, hopelessly irreconcilable and highly inflamed by the vision of their real or imaginary grievances and injustices. It was commercial progress and British expansion versus a conservative agriculturalism and a “nation Canadienne” for Lower Canada.

St. James Street, West

Drawn by John Murray.

ABOUT 1845

St. James Street, West. The Bank of Montreal on the right

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In February of 1835 the new parliament met. Its proceedings are more marked with the signs of the anarchy so soon to become a thing of fact. In answer to the Governor’s address there was demanded in the name “of the great body of the people without distinction, the introduction of the elective principles for the legislative council.” A petition was also prepared for the king, in which it was claimed that the people at large “fully participated in the opinions of the majority of the house.” The real proportion of the constituencies for and against the Ninety-two Resolutions was less than three to one,6 the country parishes largely contributing to this result. The house was prorogued on March 18th, having sat only twenty-five days.

Scenting trouble, the “constitutional associations” of Quebec and Montreal prepared to meet emergencies. Branches were multiplied in other places when possible. Circulars to public bodies and prominent men over Canada were diffused. The interest and aid of the United States were canvassed. The statement of grievances from Montreal signed by John Molson was a dangerous precedent. Leading men in London were approached. To meet the activity of Mr. Roebuck, who had recently been appointed an agent for the reform party, Mr. Neilson was sent to present a petition to the king from Quebec, and Mr. William Walker that of Montreal. They left via New York in April. Mr. Roebuck presented the counter petition of the House of Assembly to the House of Commons on March 9, 1835. That from Montreal was presented by Mr. Stuart on March 16th.

The Canadian difficulties were now so notorious that the king determined to send an extraordinary commissioner. Lord Gosford was finally appointed and with him were associated Sir Charles Grey and Sir George Gibbs. These arrived at Quebec on August 23d. On September 17th Lord Aylmer with his family left for England. His term of office had been stormy but while vituperation fell upon him on one hand, he was otherwise sustained by the strong minority. Lord Gosford came with a policy of conciliation openly manifested and openly rejected. He met his parliament within two months after his arrival. His opening speech as governor general, the longest on record on such an occasion, was delivered on October 27, 1835. He unfolded his theory of conciliation and promises of redresses of grievances. The house, however, was tuned up only for extremes and showed no readiness for compromise. This lesson has been since well learned, experience of the failure of any other course having been abundant. The concluding words of Lord Gosford’s speech are noteworthy and impressive.[146] “To the Canadians, both of French and British origin, and every class and description, I would say, consider the blessings you might enjoy and the favoured situation in which but for your own dissensions you would find yourselves to be placed. The offsprings of the two foremost nations of mankind, you hold a vast and beautiful country, a fertile soil, a healthy climate and the noblest river in the world makes your most remote city a port for the ships of the sea. Your revenue is triple the amount of your expenditure for the ordinary purposes of government. You have no direct taxes, no public debt, no poor who require any aid more than the natural impulses of charity. If you extend your views beyond the land in which you dwell you find that you are joint inheritors of the splendid patrimony of the British empire which constitutes you in the best sense of the term citizens of the world and gives you a home on every continent and in every ocean on the globe. There are two paths open to you. By the one you will advance to the enjoyment of all the advantages which lie in prospect before you. By the other I will say no more than you will stop short of these, and will engage yourselves and those who have no other object than your prosperity in darker and more difficult courses.”

The existence of the Commission was studiously ignored by the Assembly. But on the 6th of November an amendment to the draft in answer to the address was moved, approving of the appointment of the commission as a proof of the wisdom and magnanimity with “which the grievances of the province had been listened to, and now confidently hope that the results of its labours will be satisfactory to all classes.”7 Mr. Papineau vehemently attacked the motion. The commissioners were without legal or constitutional power. Their report, favourable or not, was immaterial. The motion was voted down by forty-five to eight. The governor general’s position as such was, however, recognized.

The “Constitutional” associations of Montreal and Quebec, composed of those who held substantially by the existing constitution with certain reforms dictated by expediency, were meanwhile viewing with dissatisfaction the intransigeant attitude of the majority of the house. At Montreal it was proposed by the British population to raise a volunteer corps of 800 strong. A memorial was sent at the close of December to the Governor General asking for official sanction for the enrollment and offering its services to the Government. It was not granted on the grounds that no rights were in danger and that the enrollment would endanger public tranquillity. The organization was proceeded with. Lord Gosford issued a proclamation declaring it illegal and unconstitutional. The corps was dissolved and in notifying Lord Gosford he was informed that “As committee men of the British Rifle Corps we must express to Your Excellency our regrets that the day has arrived when, in a colony conquered by British arms, a body of loyal subjects has been treated as traitors by a British Governor General for no other crime than that of rousing themselves to protect their persons and property and to assist in maintaining the rights and privileges granted them by the constitution.”

In addition a meeting was called and a memorial sent to Lord Gosford justifying their conduct on the grounds that the constitution was endangered. They[147] would always be ready to defend British institutions.8 It is said that the Doric Club, a more or less secret society of Britishers, now dated its formation.

The policy of conciliation was meeting a rebuff on both sides. The Montreal “Vindicator” later even spoke of “the treacherous administration of Lord Gosford.”

On the 21st of March, 1836, the parliament was prorogued. There was the same stubborn determination of the majority of the assembly to assert itself to overrule the existing constitution and thus control the situation on the lines of the Ninety-Two Resolutions so as to make government impossible. It met again on September 22d. No bills were passed; two were introduced, one for the appointment of an agent in London, another to amend the Imperial act of 1791 (an unconstitutional proceeding beyond the powers of the assembly), with a view of establishing an elective legislative assembly directly responsible to the representatives of the people. This appeal for “responsible” government as it was then vaguely conceived, was always steadfastly pursued as the basic reform needed to solve all the other grievances under which the province was suffering. The aim was self-government and the abolition of the bureaucracy and privileged class incidental on an appointed legislative council chosen by the Crown. After a short session of thirteen days in all, the house was prorogued on October 4th. The parliament of Lower Canada met again on August 18, 1837, but as its members would not transact any business at all, it was prorogued on August 20th, never to meet again.

The annual meeting of the Montreal Constitutional Association met in December, 1835. Ward committees were appointed. Among the principles to be advocated was the abolition of the feudal tenure, the continued improvement of the harbour of Montreal and of the canal communications. In February, 1836, Sir John Colborne was relieved of his position as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. Before embarking for England he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the forces in both provinces. On July 1st he issued a general order from Montreal on the assumption of command. In June a movement of a “Constitutional” committee was afoot in Montreal for the recall of Lord Gosford. It dropped, however, on opposition from the Quebec Constitutional party.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 “Canadian Archives,” Q. 197, p. 78; see report by Dr. Brymner for 1899.

2 The Quebec Gazette justified Mr. Papineau’s being present as he was acting in his profession as an advocate.

3 These were French Canadians.

4 Bibaud, “History of Canada,” Vol. III, p. 109.

5 Dr. O’Callaghan was subsequently returned to the house of assembly in the new parliament of 1835 as the representative of Yamaska. There he was unknown but Mr. Papineau’s influence carried the seat. In the subsequent parliament he became a staunch lieutenant of his leader.

6 Mr. Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal and also a conscientious historian and archaeologist, made a concise statement of the political strength of the opposing parties in the counties, towns and boroughs as recorded in the votes at the last election for and against the spirit of the Ninety-Two Resolutions on which the election turned.

For Against Not Voting
361,801½ 115,838   35,619½
Quebec 7,120½ (i.e. ¼) 20,148½ (i.e. ¾)
Montreal 13,714   (i.e. ½) 6,254   (i.e. ¼)

One-fourth did not vote, owing to the vacancy in the seat of one of the representatives. See “Christie,” Vol. V, 238-242.

7 The commissioners finished their six reports before the end of 1836. They were eventually doubtless useful to Lord Dunham in the preparation of his report. The commissioners considered an elective legislative council undesirable but they formulated a system of representative government on lines which we now understand. While granting the government of internal affairs it strove to preserve the unity of empire.

8 In the Imperial parliament in 1837 Mr. Robinson quoted La Minerve of Montreal, which stated that immediate separation from England was the only means of preserving French Canadian nationality.


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CHAPTER XVII

MONTREAL IN THE THROES OF CIVIL WAR

1837-1838

THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL TO REMAIN CROWN-APPOINTED—THE SIGNAL FOR REVOLT—FIRST INSURRECTIONARY MEETING AT ST. OURS—DR. WOLFRED NELSON—CONSTITUTIONAL MEETINGS—THE PARISHES—THE SEDITIONARY MANIFESTO OF “LES FILS DE LIBERTE” AT MONTREAL—REVOLUTIONARY BANNERS—IRISH REJECT REVOLUTIONARY PARTY—MGR. LARTIGUE’s MANDEMENT AGAINST CIVIL WAR—THE FRACAS BETWEEN THE DORIC CLUB AND THE FILS DE LIBERTE—RIOT ACT READ—THE “VINDICATOR” GUTTED—MILITARY PROCEEDINGS—WARRANTS FOR ARREST—PAPINEAU FLIES—RELEASE OF PRISONERS AT LONGUEUIL—COMMENCEMENT OF HOSTILITIES—ST. DENIS—LIEUTENANT WEIR’S DEATH—GEN. T.S. BROWN—ST. CHARLES—ST. EUSTACHE—CAPTURE OF WOLFRED NELSON—SECOND MANDEMENT OF BISHOP LARTIGUE—DAY OF THANKSGIVING—CONSTITUTION SUSPENDED—THE INDEPENDENCE OF CANADA PROCLAIMED BY “PRESIDENT NELSON”—THE REGIMENTS LEAVE THE CITY—LORD DURHAM ARRIVES—AMNESTY AND SENTENCES—DURHAM RESIGNS—THE SECOND INSURRECTION—MARTIAL LAW IN MONTREAL—SIR JOHN COLBORNE QUASHES REBELLION—STERN REPRISALS—ARRESTS—TRUE BILLS—POLITICAL EXECUTIONS—“CONCORDIA SALUS.”

In the March and April of 1837, the parliament in London seriously considered the Canadian emergency. On March 6th, Lord John Russell introduced ten resolutions, which passed. The fourth stated that it was inadvisable to make the legislative council of Canada an elective body, but that measures should be taken to secure for it a greater degree of public confidence, and the fifth, that while expedient to improve the composition of the executive council, it was inadvisable to subject it to the responsibility demanded by the house of assembly.

The news was received with welcome by the British constitutional party who had clung tenaciously to the crown-appointed executive as their only hope of adequate representation in the government of the province. To the national party it came as a signal for revolt. On May 7th, the first insurrectionary meeting was held at St. Ours, Dr. Wolfred Nelson having a large share in its convention. Mr. L.J. Papineau was acclaimed as an O’Connell, a man called by God as the regenerator of his nation. Other meetings now began in the parishes of the Montreal district and Mr. Papineau left his home in Montreal for his mission of agitation.

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On July 6th the constitutional party held a meeting in the Place d’Armes. On the motion of the Hon. Peter McGill, the Hon. George Moffatt took the chair. Messrs. Quesnel and de Bleury were elected vice presidents. Among the resolutions proposed were those of the necessity of the connections with the mother country for the prosperity and advancement of the colony and the necessity of resisting any attempts at dismemberment. A similar meeting was held at Quebec on July 31st, on which day the news of the death of William IV reached Canada. On August 1st Victoria was proclaimed Queen of British North America.

The country districts outside of Montreal were fomenting revolt. At St. Eustache and St. Benoit “anti-coercion” meetings were held, as well as at Napierville, seven miles west of the Richelieu. On August 18th the last parliament of Lower Canada was called but was prorogued on the members refusing to legislate because of want of confidence in the Imperial government in London through its failure to grant their demands. Forty years later the House of Assembly was reestablished as that of the Province of Quebec. The proceedings of the last assembly were regarded by the constitutional association as a virtual annihilation of the constitution and an address was issued on September 4th to this effect and signed by the Hon. Peter McGill and Mr. Badgley as secretary. This address given in full in the Montreal Gazette on the 9th of September advocates the union of the legislatures of the two provinces as affording a solution by giving a fair share of proportional representation to the British population.

On the 5th of September the new society “Les Fils de Liberté” held a meeting in Montreal. The members were to meet as a military corps with arms for the purpose of being drilled as if under sanction of the government. Its motto was to be “En Avant!” On October 1st it published a manifesto of which certain paragraphs clearly disclose its seditionary purpose. “The authority of a parent state over a colony can only exist during the pleasure of the colonists; for the country, being established and settled by them, belongs to them by right and may be separated from all foreign connection, whenever the inconveniences, resulting from an executive power residing abroad and ceasing to harmonize with the local legislature, makes such a step necessary to the inhabitants for the pursuit of happiness.” Again: “The separation as commenced between parties which will never be cemented but which will go on increasing until one of those sudden, those unforeseen events that attend the march of time, affords us a fit opportunity for assuming our rank among the independent sovereignties of America. Two splendid opportunities have been lost. Let us not be unprepared for the third.”

Writing on October 6th Sir John Colborne, an old Peninsular veteran who had fought at Waterloo and was now the commander in chief of the forces, says: “The game which Mr. Papineau is playing cannot be mistaken and we must be prepared to expect that if four hundred or five hundred persons be allowed to parade the streets of Montreal at night, singing revolutionary songs, the excited parties will come in collision.” On the 7th of October the offer of a British rifle corps in Montreal was again politely declined. Yet those of British, Irish and United States origin were facing the inevitable conflict foreseen by them.

It soon came. On October 23d a meeting took place at St. Charles on the Richelieu. Dr. Wolfred Nelson took the chair. Mr. Papineau, Thomas Storrow Brown, L.M. Viger, Lacoste, Coté, Girod, and others, being present among the[151] speakers. It was a fine day and the militia were there. Flags in abundance streamed out with inscriptions such as “Long live Papineau and the elective system!” “Down with Debartzch!”1 “Independence, Lord of the Eagle Heart and Lion Eye!” “The Canadians know how to die but not to surrender!” “Papineau and the Majority of the House of Assembly!” “An elective council, a sine qua non of liberty: I will conquer or die for her!” A death’s head and cross-bones with the words “Legislative Council.” (See Montreal Gazette, Tuesday, 31st October, 1837.)

It is said that on this occasion Papineau, fearing the excitement prevalent, counseled moderation, but Wolfred Nelson rejoined: “Well, I differ from Mr. Papineau. I think the time has come to melt our spoons and make balls of them.” A wooden pillar with a cap of liberty was erected with an inscription in French that was dedicated to Papineau by his grateful brother patriots of 1837. Lengthy resolutions were passed of no uncertain seditionary tendency. The British soldiers were encouraged to desert and assistance was promised. On the same day a great meeting of constitutionalists was held in Montreal with Peter McGill in the chair; 7,000 persons were said to be present. The note struck was the need of organization in anticipation of crimes now threatening civil life. On this occasion the Irish, abhorring attempts to connect them with the rebellious party, declared their readiness to repel by force, if necessary, the enemies of the constitution.

Next day, October 24th, Monseigneur Lartigue, who had become the first Catholic bishop of Montreal on September 8, 1835, issued a mandement taking the view that revolt to constituted authorities was against the doctrine of the Catholic church. It condemned the proceedings of the revolutionary leaders at public meetings. He bade the faithful not to be seduced, and called upon the country to reflect on the horrors of civil war. On November 6th what Sir John Colborne had feared, took place. The Doric Club, a kind of secret society recently founded and joined by a number of the British and Irish young men, met the “Fils de Liberté.” It had been reported that the “Fils de Liberté” were to proceed in procession and to hold a demonstration in the Place d’Armes and there plant a tree of liberty. A proclamation was issued calling upon all to refrain from the procession. About 2 o’clock the “Fils de Liberté” began to muster at Bonacina’s Tavern at the corner of St. James and McGill streets, opposite the American church which then stood there. A party of “loyalists” watching the proceedings provoked the “Fils de Liberté” to chase them up St. James street, breaking the windows of the loyalists’ houses, among them being that of Doctor Robertson. The members of the Doric Club now came to the rescue, changing the face of affairs and driving the opponents “pell mell” down St. Lawrence Main Street in confusion until they were dispersed. In the early course of the fracas “Gen.” Thomas Storrow Brown, a leader, or at least a sympathizer of the “Fils de Liberté,” received an injury which resulted in the loss of an eye.

The riot act was read in the afternoon and the First Royals and the artillery, with some field guns, marched through the streets headed by two French-Canadian[152] magistrates, Mr. Desrivières and Mr. John Donegani. The loyalists marched to Bonsecours Street and were, with difficulty, restrained from attacking Mr. Papineau’s house. The office of the Vindicator on St. Lambert’s Hill, near Fortification Lane, was gutted, type, presses, paper, etc., being thrown into the street.

This paper in the reform and malcontent interest had made itself particularly obnoxious to the constitutionalists. Such incitements as the following had been appearing in its columns: “Henceforth there must be no peace in the province, no quarter for the plunderers. Agitate! Agitate!! Agitate!!! Destroy the revenues; denounce the oppressors. Everything is lawful when the fundamental liberties are endangered. The guards die, they never surrender.” During that night the main guard was strengthened; pickets were placed on St. Lawrence Main, Place d’Armes and in the Quebec suburbs. The Montreal Royal Artillery patroled the streets and Griffintown was paraded by a body of independent mechanics. On November 9th Sir John made Montreal his headquarters and his firm conduct gave confidence in contrast with the dilatory methods of Lord Gosford. Soon Montreal began to receive fugitives from the parishes, many of these being magistrates and militia officers and others under government who had been forced by threats to resign.

On the 12th of November a proclamation was issued against meetings for military drills. All public assemblies and processions were forbidden. Volunteer corps of riflemen, artillery and cavalry were now raised under the authority of the Government. A new commission of the peace was issued for the Montreal district. Sixty-one of the former had been struck off.

On November 16th2 warrants were issued for the arrest of twenty-six insurgents, among them being Mr. Papineau, Doctor O’Callaghan, Mr. Thomas Storrow Brown and the accredited leaders of the “Fils de Liberté.” The principal leaders escaped, Mr. Papineau flying to Doctor Nelson at St. Denis.

On the same day Lieutenant Ermatinger with a party of eighteen of the Montreal cavalry was sent to St. John’s to arrest three who had been instrumental in forcing the resignation of government officials. They were returning with the prisoners when they were surprised at Longueuil by a rescue party of two or three hundred and after some heavy firing the assailants departed with the rescued prisoners. This victory organized by Mr. Bonaventure Viger and others, gave courage to the insurrectionists and was the commencement of hostilities. To counteract the dangers arising from the éclat of the release, an address to the parishes was issued and signed by thirteen French-Canadian magistrates of Montreal, D.B. Viger, Pierre de Rocheblave, Louis Guy, Edouard M. Leprohon, Etienne Guy, P.R. Leclerc, W.B. Donegani, Charles J. Rodier, Alexis Laframbroise, Jules Quesnel, Felix Souligny, P.J. LaCroix, and N.G. Barron, counseling submission to law and order. “Those who urge you to these excesses,” it said,[153] “are not your true friends. They have already abandoned you and will abandon you in a moment of danger, whilst we, who recall you to the paths of peace, believe ourselves to be the most devoted servants of the country.”

The insurrection feared was likely to be confined to the counties bordering on the Richelieu and to the county of Two Mountains north of Montreal. Consequently detachments of military were sent from Montreal to the disaffected districts, such as St. Denis and St. Charles. At St. Denis on November 23d Colonel Gore’s detachment besieged Madame St. Germain’s storehouse, whither Dr. Wolfred Nelson had retreated with a number of men and from which Papineau had already fled early in the day. Gore left behind him thirteen of the defenders killed, and of his own, six dead, five wounded, and a spiked howitzer. On the morning of November 23d the tragedy of the death of Lieutenant Weir of the Thirty-second regiment took place. He had been sent with dispatches and was captured by Doctor Nelson’s patrol. He was given to a Captain Jalibert to be taken in a wagon to St. Charles. On the way thither Weir attempted to escape. It was alleged that he was brutally cut down. The autopsy disclosed many sword wounds and pistol shots. His body was found in the Richelieu weighted down with stones, lying on its face in two feet of water. On December 8th it was buried with much solemnity. In 1839 Jalibert was tried for murder but was acquitted.

At St. Charles the insurgents were under the leadership of Thomas Storrow Brown who, from being in the iron retail trade in Montreal, now became “General” in the absence of the accredited leaders. He had lost an eye in the riot of November 6th and was looked upon as a patriot. At St. Charles the curé, M. Blanchet, lent his support to the insurgents, one of the few examples of the clergy meddling in this trying time. The other was M. Chartier of St. Eustache, who was afterward interdicted by Mgr. Bourget for his conduct. The engagement at St. Charles took place on November 24th. Of Colonel Wetherall’s detachment, the official report gives one sergeant, two rank and file killed, eighteen wounded, ten seriously. It is difficult to chronicle the returns of the insurgents. One statement is that 152 of the insurgents were killed and 300 wounded. The tradition in the village today is that forty-two were left on the field and a great many wounded. It is certain that thirty prisoners were received in Montreal.

In the north of Montreal the insurrection broke down after the news of St. Charles, so that even at St. Eustache the opposition offered by Amery Girod and Doctor Chenier collapsed on December 14th, though it is said not without the loss of seventy killed. The loss of military is reported as one private killed, one corporal and seven privates wounded. Sir John Colborne had been in charge of the column. This returned to Montreal on the 16th with 106 prisoners from the insurrectionary district, including St. Eustache. The Abbé Chartier escaped to the States; Amery Girod fled but on the fourth day of his flight he blew his brains out to avoid falling into the hands of the police. Doctor Chenier fell pierced with a ball as he was escaping from the window of the parish church.

On the 29th of November a proclamation had been issued offering £500 for the apprehension, among others, of Dr. Wolfred Nelson, Thomas Storrow Brown, Doctor O’Callaghan, Doctor Coté and Drolet of St. Marie. On December 1st a proclamation offered £1,000 for the arrest of Mr. Papineau. Mr. Papineau and his faithful companion, Doctor O’Callaghan, had fled together from St. Denis to St. Hyacinthe and after the news of the disaster at St. Charles they made[154] for Swanston in Vermont. Afterwards he spent some years in Paris. Doctor O’Callaghan never returned to Montreal, although permitted with Wolfred Nelson and Thomas Storrow Brown by the nolle sequi of 1843, secured through Mr. Hippolyte Lafontaine, attorney general under the Union. He became distinguished at New York as a peaceful translator and editor of the documentary history of New York. Dr. Wolfred Nelson escaped in the direction of the United States, but was captured on December 12th, worn out with hunger and cold, and was taken back prisoner to Montreal. His courage and uprightness, however, entitled him to the respectful treatment he was there accorded. On December 5th martial law was proclaimed and the banks conveyed their “specie” to the citadel. On January 8, 1838, Mgr. Lartigue issued a second mandement in which he blamed those who turned a deaf ear to the clergy, who had warned them against the danger of listening to the “coryphèes d’une faction” with whom they had become infatuated.

On February 20th a day of thansgiving was held for the termination of rebellion and the renewal of peace. This day also marked the handing over of the administration of Lord Gosford to Sir John Colborne, who entered on his authority on the 27th. In the meantime, in London, it had been determined to send Lord Durham as special commissioner. The act suspending the constitution of Canada reached Canada in February and was proclaimed on the 20th of March. A special council3 of the legislature was appointed and gazetted on April 5th with a summons to meet on the 18th. This provisional council was afterwards dissolved by Lord Durham on his arrival.

About the beginning of March an abortive attempt to arouse insurgents was made under Robert Nelson, brother of Wolfred, and Doctor Coté, on the frontier, who were both arrested and handed to the civil power. Six hundred “patriots” surrendered on this occasion to General Wool of the United States army. At this time a fatuous declaration of the independence of Canada appeared in the Montreal papers signed by Robert Nelson, president, by order of the Provincial Government: the proclamation accompanying it was also signed by Nelson as Commander-in-Chief.

About the end of April the Glengarry and Lancaster Regiments marched through Montreal on their way home, their presence being no longer required, owing to the proclamation of the termination of martial law on April 27th.

On May 29th Lord Durham arrived with his large staff. One of his early acts was to issue on the 28th of June an amnesty to all who had engaged in the late insurrection on giving security for their good behaviour applicable to those in custody or who had fled. There was an exception made for eight who were to[155] be sent without trial to the convict station of Bermuda. These were Dr. Wolfred Nelson, R.S.M. Bouchette, Bonaventure Viger, Simeon Marchesseault, Godda, Dr. L.H. Masson, Gauvin, and Desirivières. Death penalties were to be awarded to L.J. Papineau, Doctor O’Sullivan, Thomas S. Brown, John Brown (father and son), George Etienne Cartier and others if they should return of their own accord. This was afterward annulled. On the 7th of July, Durham left Quebec for Montreal and the west. In Montreal he was well received. His stay in the country as a commissioner was, however, very short. For on September 25th, as the Imperial government disallowed these ordinances, Durham notified his resignation to the British government, remaining at his post till November 1st, when he sailed for Quebec.4 Sir John Colborne assumed the administration on this day. On the 16th of January, 1839, he became governor general.

LORD DURHAM

LORD DURHAM

The second insurrection opened on November 4th, when Robert Nelson entered Napierville to declare himself President of the Republic of Canada. During the summer Nelson, Coté, Mailhot and others of the refugees on the Vermont and New York frontiers had been organizing the insurrection among the habitants of the counties of the Richelieu extending west to Beauharnois. The district of the Two Mountains did not rise this time.

Sir John Colborne was at Sorel when he heard of the Richelieu gatherings. Posting to Montreal he proclaimed martial law and by the 7th and 8th of November the military was dispatched from the city under Sir James Macdonell. The campaign was over by November 10th, when the resistance at Beauharnois was suppressed. Yet but for the decisive action of Colborne it might have been serious. Sir John wrote that no fewer than thirteen thousand habitants had assembled between the 3d and 8th of November expecting to be furnished arms by their Vermont and New York sympathizers.

If the second insurrection was of less importance its reprisals were more serious. The first rebellion had passed without the judicial shedding of any blood and with a generous amnesty. On the second revolt it was thought necessary by Sir John Colborne to put the fear of the law into all further harbourers of treason. A special court martial was constituted in Montreal, and many suspects were imprisoned. In Montreal 679 had been arrested in December, and in January following 129 more. Sir Hippolyte Lafontaine was one, but he was released on December 13th. Mr. D.B. Viger refused to give a security for his good conduct and he was kept prisoner until he was specially and unconditionally released by Governor General Lord Sydenham. Those arrested elsewhere were few. Of those convicted and sentenced to death, twenty-seven were pardoned on security of good behaviour. Four were bound not to come within a stated distance of the frontier. Of the prisoners tried in Montreal, sixty-eight were embarked at Quebec on the transport “Buffalo” for New South Wales, accompanied by eighty-three from Upper Canada. Later, within five years, they returned, pardoned, to the Province.

In September, 1839, the trial of Jalibert and others for the murder of Lieutenant Weir took place, and the prisoners were released. The grand jury found true bills against Louis Joseph Papineau, Thomas Storrow Brown, Robert[156] Nelson and E.B. O’Callaghan. The political executions which took place in Montreal as the aftermath of the January insurrection were twelve in number. Six were convicted as murderers and five zealous insurgents of 1838. The last was a foreign adventurer. The executions were as follows:

Friday, December 21, 1839: Joseph Narcisse Cardinal, a notary and member of the Assembly for Beauharnois. Joseph Duquette, a young man who had followed his leader, Cardinal, in the attack of Caughnawaga.

Eighteenth of January, 1839: Pierre Theophile Decoigne, notary of Napierville, a leader in the insurrection of January, 1838, at Napierville. Joseph Jacques Robert, a farmer and leader. François Xavier Hamelin, a lieutenant of Robert; Ambroise Sanguinet, a captain; Charles Sanguinet, his brother, a lieutenant; who all four had been engaged in the murder, in 1838, of one, Walker, living at La Tortue, seven miles from La Prairie.

Fifteenth of February, 1839: Pierre René Narbonne, a house painter, present at Napierville. Marie Thomas, Chevalier de Lorimier, a lawyer, who had been prominent in the insurrection and had been engaged in the seizure of the “Lord Brougham”; François Nicholas and Amable Daunais, both acquitted of murder of Chartrand in 1837, but retaken on the occasion of their presence in the engagement of Odelltown, and Charles Hinderlang, taken at Odelltown, a foreign adventurer.

On the eve of their execution5 the five last named were allowed to give a supper to their “compatriotes” imprisoned with them. It was a sorry repast. The Chevalier de Lorimier is reported to have said on this occasion: “Can my country ever forget that we die for her upon the scaffold? We have lived as patriots—as patriots let us die. Down with the tyrants! Their reign is over!” Next day, as Hindelang was approaching the gallows, de Lorimier called to him: “Courage, mon ami! the end is near!” “Death is nothing to a Frenchman,” was the reply. On his arrival at the scaffold Hindelang addressed the crowd. “On this scaffold, raised by English hands, I declare that I die with the conviction of having done my duty. The sentence which condemns me is unjust, but I willingly forgive my judges. The cause for which I die is noble and great. I am proud of it and I fear not to die. The blood shed will be redeemed by blood. Let the blameworthy bear the responsibility. Canadians! In bidding you adieu I bequeath to you the device of France! ‘Vive liberté.’” Nicholas also made a short address: “I have only one regret,” he said, “and that is, to die before seeing my country free, but Providence will end by having pity on it, for there is no country in the world more badly governed.” The Chevalier de Lorimier was the last to suffer the extreme penalty. When he was cut down, a brief letter was found on his breast addressed to his wife and children. It ended, “Adieu, my tender wife, once more adieu! Live and be happy. (Signed) Your unhappy husband, Chevalier de Lorimier.”6

Among the prominent Montrealers arrested in 1838 and 1839 the following names are found: Louis H. Lafontaine, Denis B. Viger, Charles Mondelet, François Desrivières, advocates; L.J. Harkins, D. Chopin, Aug. Racicot, George Dillon, Henry Badeau, Louis Coursolles, F. Pigeon, Cyrille David, François Blanchard, Louis Morin, William Brown, T. Willing, J.A. Labadie, J.B. Choquette,[157] Derome P. de Boucherville, J. Donegani, M. de Marchand, Felix Goulet, Avila Weilbrenner, Richard Dillon, H. Hamelin, J.B. Houlée, A. Dupère, M. Bourbonnière, Samuel Newcombe, Pierre Lussier, François Lauzon, Luc Dufresne, E.A. Dubois, Bouthillier, John Fullum, François Contant, François St. Marie, E. Hauschman, J.E. Coderre, P. Coté, Jérémie Hippolyte, Jérémie Barrette, Leandre Ducharme, John McDonald, J. Berthelet, A. Perrault, E.R. Fabre, G.J. Vallée, Jean Dubrec, A.B. Lesperance, Jean Leclaire, Chevalier de Lorimier, François Cinq Mars, J.P.B. Belleville, S. Reeves, J.S. Ney Smith, Celestin Beausoleil, Louis Dubois, Jérémie Longpré, etc.

It is a significant commentary on the sad troubles of 1837-8 that the names of several prominent British Montrealers are to be found as actively sympathizing with the insurgents. The fact, too, that the “Vindicator,” conducted by Doctor O’Callaghan, could find sufficient English readers to support it, is another indication of a wider sympathy than usually recognized. A man like Dr. Wolfred Nelson who had lived with the French habitants at St. Denis, spoke their language and understood their grievances, a man of uprightness, sincerity and disinterestedness, would never have resisted authority and risked his reputation and fortune unless the irksomeness of the situation had become intolerable.7 Writing from jail at Montreal on the 18th of June, 1838, to Lord Durham, he said on behalf of his fellow prisoners: “We rebelled neither against Her Majesty’s person nor her government, but against colonial misgovernment. * * * We remonstrated; we were derided. The press assailed us with calumny and contumely; invective was exhausted; we were goaded on to madness and were compelled to show we had the spirit of resistance to repel injuries or to be deemed a captive, degraded and recreant people. We took up arms not to attack others but to defend ourselves.”

His imprisonment and his loss of fortune effected his health, but without repining he boldly played the game of life. In 1843 a “nolle sequi” allowed him to return to practice medicine in Montreal. He was shortly elected to the Assembly under the Union. He became twice mayor of his native city. He was one of the first harbour commissioners and became the inspector of prisons. In siding with the insurgents he was no hair-brained enthusiast or adventurer and he died without the stain of reproach—an honoured citizen.

It has been felt necessary to delay long on this unpleasant part of civic history because it exemplifies the evil of different races living together with mistrust and misunderstanding of one another. If they would but strive to see each other’s viewpoints and would read each other’s history there would be an end of racial prejudices.

“Tout savoir, c’est tout pardonner.” May the mutual misunderstanding of 1837-8 never occur again. “Concordia Salus,” the motto chosen by Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal, for the city arms, should never be forgotten.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 Mr. Debartzch, of St. Charles, a legislative councillor, had till this date been a strenuous upholder of Mr. Papineau. The turn of events seemed to him to be unconstitutional and he became opposed to the new insurrectionary methods. He was now accounted a traitor. He escaped to Montreal with his family.

2 On November 16th Mr. Turton Penn, one of the justices of the peace, signed the order for the imprisonment of Charles A. Leblanc (afterwards sheriff), Jean Dubrec, Amable Simard, Georges de Boucherville, Andre Ouimet and François Tavernier accused of high treason on November 17th, Jean François Bossé Lionnais, and on the 18th Louis Michel Viger (Beau Viger), the president of the recently founded Banque du Peuple and father of D.B. Viger were imprisoned; on the 21st Michel Vincent, and on the 26th, Narcisse Lamothe suffered the same fate.

3 The following constituted the first special council, District of Quebec: The Honorable C.E.C. de Léry (Quebec); the Honorable James Stuart (Quebec); John Wilson, Esq., and William Walker, Esq. (Quebec); Amable Dionne, Esq. (Kamouraska); Charles Casgrain, Esq. (Rivière Oulle); the Honorable R.P. de Sales de la Terrière (Eboulements), District of Montreal: The Honorable T. Pothier; P. McGill; P. de Rocheblave (Montreal); Samuel Gerrard, Esq.; Jules Quesnel, Esq.; W.P. Christie, Esq.; Turton Penn, Esq.; and John Molson, Esq. (Montreal); the Honorable J. Cuthbert (Berthier); the Honorable B. Joliette (St. Paul Lavaltrie); Joseph E. Fairbault, Esq. (L’Assomption); Paul H. Knowlton, Esq. (Brome); Icabod Smith, Esq. (Stanstead). District of Three Rivers: Joseph Dionne, Esq. (St. Pierre les Becquets); Etienne Mayrand, Esq. (Rivière du Loup).

4 Lord Durham did not live to see the eventual success of the Union recommended by his famous report. Prematurely worn out, he died at Cowes on the 28th of July, 1840.

5 See “Histoire Populaire de Montreal,” p. 357. LeBlond Brumath.

6 See “Histoire Populaire de Montreal,” p. 357. LeBlond Brumath.

7 Writing a reminiscence of Montreal from 1818 to 1868. Mr. Thomas Storrow Brown has the following allusion to 1837-8: “Mixing much with these French Canadians, I became interested in the cause. I thought the stipulation of the capitulation had not been fulfilled to a ceded people and when grown to manhood a sense of justice, that generous inheritance from a British ancestry, urged me to a knight errancy in their battle that terminated in the overthrow of my own fortunes and that after years of hard struggle to regain a lost position, all for no thanks or even recognition of service.”


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CHAPTER XVIII

PROCLAMATION OF THE UNION

1841

HOME RULE FOR THE COLONY

THE DURHAM REPORT—THE RESOLUTIONS AT THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY—LORD SYDENHAM—THE PROCLAMATION OF UNION AT MONTREAL—RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT AT LAST.

Durham was wisely lenient with the political prisoners waiting for trial at Montreal, but his injudicious step in securing confessions, through an intermediary, from Doctor Nelson and his companions—by inducing them to place themselves at his discretion, and then his condemnation of them without trial to be transported to Bermuda, forbidding them to return under pain of high treason, and his extraordinary ordinance declaring that Papineau and the fifteen others who had escaped and had neither confessed nor been found guilty should suffer death if they returned to Lower Canada—was held in the English parliament, on the initiative of his enemy, Lord Brougham, to be utterly subversive of the principles of English colonial law. Accordingly his ordinance was disallowed; hence his resignation and return to England. He died about eighteen months later, a broken man. But he did much for Canada and his famous report stands out a masterpiece of statesmanship. It is to the credit of Adam Thom, of Montreal, to have been associated in its compilation as Durham’s secretary for the purpose.

This report of Durham has had far reaching effect. It was based on a study of the situation. He found an acute political association as follows:

The Assembly complained that the constitutional government given them in 1791 was a mockery. They could elect members but members who had no control, who might fret and fume and froth but could not appoint a single crown servant. In name it was a representative body, French, Catholic and popularly elected. The legislative council was all powerful, its members nominated by the government, and holding their offices permanently, but British, Protestant and exclusive, and above all the clatter was the Executive Council and the governor, who were dependent hand and foot on Downing Street officialdom and from it received instructions, so that the few ruled the many, independently of the council’s representation of the latter. Thus a race war had developed, the majority, French, savagely demanding their rights of popular representation and the minority, British, desirous of keeping the upper hand. Thus the French Assembly developed into a permanent opposition to everything British till it[160] flamed out into recourse to arms when British and French paired off into distinct camps.

“I expected,” says Durham in his report, “to find a contest between a government and a people. I found two nations warring in the bosom of a single state. I found a struggle not of principles but of races.” Hence his grand solution was “home rule” for the colony and the abolition of the Downing Street restrictive régime of red tape. He was accused by the British of deserting his own side; he pleased the French-Canadians by this above recommendation but bitterly disappointed them by making responsible government dependent on the Union of the Canadas, for it was feared by this Union with Protestant Ontario their national existence was jeopardized. But this was precisely what Durham wanted, trusting in the inevitable growth of immigration: “I have little doubt,” he says, “that the French, when once placed in a majority by the legitimate course of events and the working of natural causes in a minority, would abandon their vain hopes of nationality.”

Durham looked forward to the time when British North America should have one parliament only. Thus he foresaw confederation.

Lord Durham’s masterly and statesmanlike report was presented to the Imperial parliament on January 31, 1839. It advocated the repeal of the Constitutional Act of 1791, which divided the two provinces and so created two distinct nationalities, and it recommended the legislative Union of the Canadas. The bill proposed for this effect by Lord John Russell was postponed till next year. Another bill, however, passed to continue the legislative council in their especial powers till 1842. Canada was still, therefore, without a constitution.

The new governor general to succeed Sir John Colborne, who had been invested with the Grand Cross of the Bath for his services, arrived at Quebec on October 17th. He was Mr. Charles Poulett Thomson, who had been president of the Board of Trade in England. He entered on his office on October 19th. He left for Montreal in October to meet the legislative council, now established there.

The news of the proposed union was grateful, especially at Montreal, to the British merchant class, who foresaw commercial expansion and progress. At Quebec there was some dissension, since the meeting place of the projected union parliament was likely to be at Montreal, and thus Quebec would lose its ancient prestige. The measure was not as yet looked on with full favour by the French-Canadians in general, as it seemed to them to be a scheme to weaken the influence of their political life and to be destructive of their national aspirations. On the 11th of November the legislative council of Lower Canada met and on the 16th six resolutions were passed at the Château de Ramezay.

First: The Union was affirmed to be an indispensable and urgent necessity. Second: that the determination to reunite the Provinces received ready acquiescence. Third: that suitable civil lists should be provided securing the independence of the judges and maintaining the executive in its functions. Fourth: that the proportion of debt of Upper Canada contracted for the improvement of internal communication should be charged to the revenue of both provinces; the outlay for defraying expenses of a local character not to be included. Fifth: that the adjustment and settlement of the terms of Union should be submitted to the wisdom and justice of the Imperial parliament. Sixth: that a permanent[161] legislature composed of the people of both Provinces should be convened as soon as possible.

The resolutions were carried with three dissenters, Messrs. Cuthbert (Berthier), Neilson (Quebec) and Quesnel (Montreal), the members of the council supporting the union being Chief Justice Stuart, Pothier, de Léry and Walker (Quebec), McGill, de Rocheblave, Gerrard, Christie, Molson, Moffatt (Montreal), Harwood and Hale (Sherbrooke).

The majority of the legislative assembly being ready for the union of the provinces, which was an equivalent to yielding to responsible government power they had held so long and arbitrarily, must be noted as significant of the trend of opinion. Some ordinances were passed: first, continuing until June, 1840, the power to retain arms and gunpowder; second, continuing the ordinance relating to persons charged with high treason; third, incorporating the Ecclesiastics of Montreal in the fief and seignories of St. Sulpice and of Two Mountains—the conclusion of many years’ negotiations.

On November 18th Mr. Paulett Thomson wrote from Montreal to Lord John Russell to urge the speedy adoption of the Union by parliament. He wrote: “All parties look with extreme satisfaction on the present state of government. * * * The suspension of all constitutional rights affords to reckless and unprincipled agitators a constant topic of excitement. * * * All parties, therefore, without an exception, demand a change. On the nature of that change there undoubtedly exists some difference of opinion. The large majority, however, of those whose opinions I have had the opportunity of learning, both of British and French origin, and of those, too, whose character and station enable them to the greatest authority, advocate warmly the establishment of the union and that upon terms of perfect fairness, not merely to the two provinces but to the two races within the provinces.” Mr. Thomson then left for the Upper Province, arriving at Toronto on November 21st.

The union bill of Lord John Russell received the royal sanction on July 23, 1840, but it did not take effect till February 10, 1841. On this day the union was solemnly established at Montreal. Mr. Paulett Thomson now became Lord Sydenham of York and Toronto in recognition of his part in the union. He took the oath of office as governor-general in 1840.

February 10, 1841, Lord Sydenham issued a proclamation uniting Upper and Lower Canada into the province of Canada.

“The choice of this date,” says Kingsford, “was because it was on this day that the Imperial parliament assented to the act which had suspended the constitution of Lower Canada three years previously, and it was thought an act of wisdom to re-establish on the anniversary of this extreme measure constitutional liberty, which effectively terminated it. It was also the date of the conclusion of the treaty of 1763, which ceded Canada to the British crown, and it was likewise the marriage day of the Queen.

“On that day, in Montreal, in the presence of all the dignitaries of the church and of civil life, of the commander of the forces, of officers commanding regiments, and all who could be collected of the principal citizens, the oath was taken and the two provinces were established as the province of Canada.

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“Lord Sydenham issued a proclamation on this occasion, in which he urged the inhabitants to be united in sentiment as in name and reminded them that they were ‘a part of the mighty empire of England, protected by her arms, assisted by her treasury, admitted to all the benefits of trade as her citizens, their freedom guaranteed by her laws, and their rights supported by the sympathy of their fellow-subjects there.’”

Lord Sydenham lived to call the first session of the United Province, which met at Kingston on June 14th, when Mr. Cuvillier was elected speaker, and on July 15th His Excellency gave the speech from the throne, but he was a sick man and he never lived to the close of the session. The prorogation of the legislature had been appointed for September 15th. It was deferred till September 17th to allow him to be present, since on September 4th he had met an accident horse-riding (taken for his health) in the neighbourhood of Kingston. He died on September 19th. “The Success of the Union,” as Kingsford1 remarks, in the last chapter of his “History of Canada,” “is Lord Sydenham’s epitaph.”

Responsible government was at last attained. The union so ardently denied by the British party and needlessly feared by the other was to bring progress and prosperity to both. The Union was not a perfect measure, but it redressed many grievances and made for a more united people.

“The act provided for a legislative council of not less than twenty members for a legislative assembly in which each section of the united province would be represented by an equal number of members—that is to say, forty-two for each, or eighty-four in all. The speaker of the council was appointed by the crown and ten members, including the speaker, constituted a quorum. A majority of voices was to decide and in case of an equality of votes the speaker had a casting vote. A legislative counsellor would vacate his seat by continuous absence from two consecutive sessions. The number of representatives allotted to each province could not be changed except with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of each house. The quorum of the assembly was to be twenty, including the speaker. The speaker was elected by the majority and was to have a casting vote in case of the votes being equal on a question. No person could be elected to the assembly unless he possessed a free-hold of land and tenements to the value of £500 sterling over and above all debts and mortgages. The English language alone was to be used in legislative records. A session of the legislature should be held at least every year and each legislative assembly was to have a duration of four years unless sooner divided.” (Bourinot’s “Constitution of Canada,” page 35.)

FOOTNOTES:

1 Mr. Kingsford published, after twelve years of labour the last of his ten volumes of the “History of Canada,” in 1898. The preface was signed “Ottawa, 24th of May, 1898.” He died on September 29, 1898. His work is that of a conscientious historian and the facts he has marshalled together are invaluable to students.


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CHAPTER XIX

RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE UNION

KINGSTON THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—THE RACE CRY RESUSCITATED—LAFONTAINE—RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT—MONTREAL ELECTIONS—RESTRICTION REMOVED ON FRENCH LANGUAGE IN PARLIAMENT—FREE TRADE MOVEMENT—FINANCIAL DEPRESSION—GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER—REBELLION LOSSES BILL—THE BURNING OF THE PARLIAMENT HOUSE—THE MONTREAL MOVEMENT FOR ANNEXATION WITH THE STATES—“CLEAR GRITS” AND THE “PARTI ROUGE”—THE RAILWAY AND SHIPPING ERA—THE GAVAZZI RIOT—THE RECIPROCITY TREATY—EXIT THE OLD TORYISM—CLERGY RESERVES AND SEIGNEURIAL TENURE ACTS—THE MILITIA ACT—MONTREALERS ON THE ELECTED COUNCIL—THE Année Terribe OF 1857—THOMAS D’ARCY MC GEE—QUEBEC TEMPORARY SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—PROTECTION FOR HOME INDUSTRIES—CONFEDERATION BROACHED IN MONTREAL—THE TRENT AFFAIR—ST. ALBAN RAID PROSECUTIONS—THE REMODIFIED CIVIL CODE—FENIAN RAID EXCITEMENT IN MONTREAL—OTTAWA SEAT OF GOVERNMENT—THE BRITISH NORTH AMERICAN ACT—CONFEDERATION.

The seat of the new parliament was chosen for Kingston. This was naturally regarded jealously by Montreal and Quebec. The Montreal elections resulted in the sending thither of Mr. Benjamin Holmes and the Hon. George Moffatt to represent the city at the first session, which opened for the dispatch of business on the 14th of June, 1841. Mr. D.B. Viger was elected for the Richelieu district. Another well known at Montreal, one who had there conducted the “Minerve,” Mr. Augustus Norbert Morin, sat for Nicolet.

The language of the house was English. This, together with the absence of any French name from the new cabinet ministry was a natural grievance which was seized upon by a part of the French press and race hatred seemed in danger of being renewed. The following extract from a British Montreal paper of the day adverts to this:

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“It is but a few weeks since the olive branch has been frankly and honorably extended, since several English journals earnestly advocated an oblivion of the past and a reconciliation of the future. We must own that, however much we respect the attempt, we never anticipated that it would be successful, and we daily find in the pages of the Canadien, the French Gazette, the Aurora and the other small fry, the proof of our prognostication. It is the truth, a truth boldly and continually proclaimed by the above mentioned public journals printed in the French language, that the Canadian leaders and all who aspire to lead this class of the population, now, as heretofore, must base their only pretentions to popular support on their utter and entire abhorrence of everything that is English. The word ‘anti-British’ is the type of their political existence, the only true passports to the affections of a French constituency. They hate us not because we are unionists or anti-unionists, whigs, tories, radicals or conservatives, but because we are British. They hate us not because we are Catholics, Protestants, Presbyterians or Methodists, but because we are British. They hate us because we speak English, because we love English laws, because we admire English constitutions, because we would introduce English improvements, because we have given them two or three good English drubbings and are ready to give them again if provoked. First they hate the Briton, secondly the American and lastly their seigneurs and clergy are included in the same category, and if they could only accomplish what they never will, get rid of the Briton, they would be rapidly ‘used up’ by the Americans, who would rob their seigneurs, discard their priests and improve the ‘nation Canadienne’ off the face of the earth.”

It is pleasing to find that our newspapers of today do not reflect a like jarring exchange of bitterness. Montreal has learned that its “salvation lies in harmony,” according to the city’s motto, “Concordia Salus.”

The session passed without any hitch. The Union act had stood its test. The advent of Sir Charles Bagot as governor-general with his policy of reconciliation saw M. Joseph Remi Vallières appointed chief justice of the district of Montreal and Dr. Jean Baptiste Meilleur the superintendent of public instruction for Lower Canada. When parliament met on September 8, 1842, Montreal looked with interest for the development likely to follow on the entrance into the House of Mr. Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine, an able lawyer who had practiced at Montreal and who was known to be a born leader of men and to have succeeded to the position of M. Papineau in popular estimation. His short imprisonment as a rebel in 1838 added to his prestige. He was an old parliamentarian, having been in 1830, when only twenty-three years of age, elected to the assembly of Lower Canada. On October 12th the reconstructed government1 saw the Hon. L.H. Lafontaine as attorney-general for Lower Canada (his friend, the Hon. Robert Baldwin, held the same office for Upper Canada) and the Hon. A.N. Morin, commissioner of crown lands. These appointments made the Union more palatable to French-Canadians and it began to appear that out of evil good was to come.

During the next session of 1843 question of the future location of the parliament was settled by the choice of Montreal, on the motion of Mr. Baldwin, seconded by Mr. Lafontaine.

The full signification of the term “Responsible Government” now began to be tested. The new governor, Sir Charles Metcalfe, who had been sworn in on March 29, 1843, had come from Bengal with Indian ideas of dictatorship and he acted now independently of his ministers, making appointments without consultation with them, so that nine out of ten of the ministers resigned on November 26th on the ground that by the system of responsible government adopted in the resolutions of the house in September, 1841, to carry on a government the ministry must not only have the confidence of the house and through it of the people, but also of the head of the government. For nine months, therefore, the country was without a ministry, Sir Charles Metcalfe being unable to construct one.

At this point Mr. D.B. Viger came into prominence as a supporter of the[165] governor and it was his efforts to win over the French-Canadians. Accordingly he visited Montreal and Lower Canada to be followed by Mr. Draper, but Lafontaine’s hold was too great. The hold-up of government created much anxiety, and trade and industry were affected. After great efforts a partial ministry was formed, the post of attorney-general for Lower Canada being accepted by Mr. James Smith, of Montreal, Mr. Denis Benjamin Papineau, a brother of Louis Joseph, becoming commissioner of lands. Other offices were filled but the completion of the names was left until after the election.

These were held over the country mid scenes of riot and even bloodshed. At no place was the party strife more keenly shown than at Montreal. By an election scheme it is said, to the surprise of the opposition who ought to have commanded a majority, the Hon. George Moffatt and Charles Clement Sabrevois de Bleury, supporters of the newly formed ministry, were elected against Mr. Lewis Thomas Drummond, a lawyer of Irish Catholic origin, afterwards a well known judge, and Doctor Beaubien. Mr. Drummond was returned, however, for Port Neuf. Among the new members of other constituencies Dr. Wolfred Nelson was returned for Richelieu against D.B. Viger, the president of the new council, who found a seat, however, elsewhere. John Alexander Macdonald was returned for Kingston as a supporter of the government. The new government entered into power with a small majority. Early in 1844 the government moved from Kingston to Montreal and Monklands became the home of the governor-general. On July 1st the Parliament met in Montreal, being dissolved on September 23d.

On November 12th the general elections began, the like of which had never been seen in Canada. The voting in these times was open, lasting for days. Citizens were keen politicians; axe handles were in readiness; heads were broken and the “claret” flowed. Party spirit ran high and men were kept drunk in the taverns so as not to allow them to reach the polls. In this election at Montreal, Drummond was opposed to Molson, who was beaten. On November 28th parliament met and was prorogued on March 29th of the following year.

The removal of the restrictions on the French language in parliament took place on January 31, 1845. Mr. Lafontaine had desired to make the motion, but his plan, having become known to the new government, desirous of furthering a popular move, he was anticipated by Mr. D.B. Papineau, seconded by the Hon. George Moffatt of Montreal.

In 1846 the merchants of Montreal held meetings to protest against the Free Trade movement, then being promoted in England by Cobden. On January 30, 1847, Lord Elgin, the successor of Sir Charles Metcalfe, proceeded from Monklands, the home of the governor-general of Montreal, to be sworn in at Government House. On May 31st Mr. Peter McGill became speaker of the legislative council, with a seat in the cabinet of the reconstructed cabinet, known as the Sherwood-Daly ministry. Mr. D.B. Papineau was the only French-Canadian in it. Parliamentary life this year was affected by the evils of the “ship fever” brought over by the Irish emigrants who had made their exodus after the failure of the potato crop. The opposition made political capital out of the event by making the government responsible for the emigration laws of the country.

On Friday, the 25th of February, 1848, the new parliament was held at Montreal. Messrs. L.H. Lafontaine and Benjamin Holmes were returned for[166] the city. On the occasion Mr. L.J. Papineau, who had been in pleasant exile so long in Paris, although he could have returned in 1843, found himself elected in the Union parliament. He was little changed, but his star had waned, while that of Lafontaine was in the ascendant. On March 10th Mr. Lafontaine accepted office as Premier and attorney-general and with his friend Baldwin formed the Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry. During this year the Canadian merchants suffered great commercial depression, owing to the working out of the free trade act of 1846. “Three-fourths of the merchants were bankrupt and real estate was practically unmarketable.”

The session of 1849 saw the advent into political life of George Etienne Cartier, the erstwhile rebel. He was born in Verchères county, at St. Antoine, but was educated at the college of St. Sulpice at Montreal. His early law studies were in the office of M. Edouard Rodier and he was called to the bar and began practice in Montreal in 1835. He came early under the magnetic influence of Mr. Papineau and we find him a member of the “Fils de Liberté” and engaged in the fight under Doctor Nelson at St. Denis, thence flying as a proscribed man to the States. He quietly returned later, when the embargo was raised, and settled down again to practice law at Montreal, but still keeping his attention on politics.

An important bill came up this session entitled “an act to provide for the indemnification of parties in Lower Canada whose property was destroyed during the rebellion in the years 1837 and 1838.” It was called the Rebellion Losses Bill. It would seem rather belatedly brought in but it had been promised in some form during the past ten years as a means of indemnifying those who had suffered from the very great destruction of property during that agitated period. In 1845 the rebellion losses committee first sat. On April 18th the commissioners reported that they recognized 2,276 claims, amounting in the aggregate to £241,965, and were of the opinion that £100,000 would be sufficient to pay all real losses. On January 18, 1849, Mr. Lafontaine moved the belated bill. It made provision for the appointment of five commissioners to carry out the act and a sum of £100,000 was appropriated to pay the claims. Those, however, who had been convicted of treason during the rebellion and who had been sent to Bermuda, were excepted from claiming any share in the grant. This, it will be seen, allowed “rebels” who had not been convicted, an equal right to compensation with the “loyalists.” Consequently a storm broke out in parliament and in the country, but especially in Montreal. Various pamphlets appeared in Montreal at this time, indicating opposition, such as that entitled “The Question Answered; Did the Ministry intend to pay Rebels? Montreal, 1849,” supposed to have been written by the Hon. Alexander Morris, then a law student, and a young tory journalist, Hugh E. Montgomerie. Yet the government was right in their inclusion of “rebels” for it would have been very unwise at that period to reopen the question as to who had been rebels and who had not. Besides the amnesty granted long since had plastered over all differences.

Yet, within and without Parliament the opposition was loud, fierce and tumultuous. The bill, however, passed the third reading in both houses. For some time previously petitions from the tories of the opposition body had been pouring in to Lord Elgin, praying that the bill should either be reserved for Imperial sanction, or that parliament should be dissolved. Lord Elgin, who personally[167] did not approve of the diversion of so much public money from more useful objects, feeling, however, that while no imperial interests were at stake, that the principle of responsible government was assented to the bill when it had passed both houses. This he did on Wednesday afternoon, the 25th of April, 1849. On this occasion the galleries of the house were packed with “loyalist” opponents to the bill, and a tumult immediately arose which was continued as the crowd went out down the stairs to await Lord Elgin’s departure. When the governor-general, having finished his business, reached the front door, a hostile crowd had gathered and the fury of the opponents to the bill visited itself on him in oppobrious epithets. Groans, hisses, mud and addled eggs brought for the purpose were hurled at him. Some say also stones were added and in the midst of this hostile demonstration he drove off to Monklands, surrounded by the military, by a long detour east and round the mountain to his home. Three days afterwards at a special meeting of the Scotch National Association, the “St. Andrew’s Society,” a resolution was passed, erasing his name as a patron and an honorary member of that body.

AUGUSTIN-NORBERT MORIN

AUGUSTIN-NORBERT MORIN

GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER

GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER

ROBERT BALDWIN

ROBERT BALDWIN

LOUIS-JOSEPH PAPINEAU

LOUIS-JOSEPH PAPINEAU

SIR LOUIS-HIPPOLYTE LAFONTAINE

SIR LOUIS-HIPPOLYTE LAFONTAINE

A.A. DORION

A.A. DORION

That night about 8 o’clock the parliament buildings were burned by an angry mob. It was not unpremeditated, for the day previously even some of the soldiers were warned to shut their eyes next day if anything happened, and many did. After the signing of the bill a meeting was held on Champ de Mars as the result of printed notices, at which inflammatory speeches were made. One of the leaders was a Fred Perry, who lived to be sorry for his deed. “We are not in ’37,” he cried. “If you are men follow me to the parliament house!” and he drove in a buggy, surrounded by a sympathetic crowd, some carrying lighted torches and crying, “To the parliament house.” The parliament building which had been built as St. Ann’s market and leased to the government, was a two-story building, the bottom floor of which was remodeled to contain the government offices, while upstairs, at the head of a broad staircase, leading off a wide passage, were two halls, one that of the legislative assembly, a room 342 by 50 feet, and the other of the legislative council. Meanwhile the house of assembly was discussing the judicature bill, and it was warned by the noise of the advancing mob. When the crowd reached the building, at a given signal stones crashed through the windows like hail. A rush was made by some of the crowd into the assembly hall from which the members had retreated. One of the mob named Courtney sat boldly in the Speaker’s chair and muttered threats about dissolving the parliament. The work of demolition was begun, sticks being thrown at the glass globes on the gaseliers that were out of reach. Then there was raised the cry of “fire!” The gas pipes in the building had been cut and a light applied. An explosion followed and a blinding sheet of flame lit up the scene. Then ensued a mad rush of the members and their friends and enemies to get out of the building. The mob made no attempt to save it. The fire engines were only used upon the surrounding property and an eye witness relates that the soldiers who were ordered to fire on the mob discharged their shots in the air. In half an hour the whole building was wrapped in one sheet of flame. The valuable library containing the archives and records of the colony was destroyed. In the beginning of the incendiarism lighted torches thrown through the window began the sad work of destruction. Little was saved but the mace and the picture of Queen Victoria with the gilt crown surmounting it. A newspaper account of two days later stated in effect[168] “that the Queen’s picture was carried away by four scoundrels.” These have lately been identified as Colonel Wiley, formerly chief of police, a Scotchman of the name of McGillivray, from the eastern townships, an employee of the parliament, the uncle of Mr. Todd, of the Library of Parliament, and Mr. Sanford Fleming (afterwards Sir).

The latter in reply to the historian, Henry J. Morgan, wrote in 1901:

“Having spent a number of days previously in examining rare books, I felt I should try to save some of them. I gained an entrance but the fire had taken possession of the library and I could do nothing. Turning to the legislative hall I saw the Queen’s picture. With three other men (then) unknown to me I made an effort to save it, but it was no easy matter. It was in a massive gilt frame, firmly bolted to the wall. We at last put our shoulders underneath and raised the whole, little by little, allowing it to fall down each time. This was repeated many times till at last the fastenings gave way and all came down. We laid it on its face and, not being able to carry very easily the heavy frame, removed the canvas on its stretching frame and the four of us carried it out in a horizontal position, a shoulder under each corner. With difficulty we got it downstairs on account of the flames passing overhead, but each stooped and covered the picture to prevent it getting scorched and thus got it to the open door. Having done so, I left it to be taken to a place of safety by others, some of whom were connected with the House. I thought I would return to the chamber to try to save something else, but I saw nothing of much value which I could myself remove. I did, however, carry out the gilded crown which had been over the picture, carrying it to Mack’s Hotel, where I was stopping, and afterwards took it with me in a tea chest to Toronto, where it remained in my possession for some years. What afterwards became of it I am not aware.” The picture of Queen Victoria is in the House of Commons at Ottawa.

The most unpopular man of the hour after Lord Elgin was Mr. L.H. Lafontaine, who was in charge of the bill. His stables were burnt and his house ransacked. There were no proceedings taken against the rioters and incendiarists, this being an evident sign that many of those in power secretly sympathized with the movement. The house of Mr. Hays, on Dalhousie Square, was leased for a temporary parliament house, but shortly afterwards government moved to Toronto and Montreal lost its position as the political capital of Canada.

In August, 1849, the British American League was formed in Montreal with branches at Toronton, Kingston and elsewhere in Upper Canada. It had various aims—the chief planks being opposition to the existing government, a return to a protective policy, the election of members of the legislative council, and most important of all, a general union of the British North American provinces. A meeting was held in Kingston towards the end of July. Among the chief speakers were George Moffatt and Hugh E. Montgomerie, of Montreal, John A. Macdonald, of Kingston, also spoke. The League did not hold together, but the extreme party soon banded together and in consequence during the month of October a manifesto “to the people of Canada,” advocating the annexation of Canada to the United States, appeared in Montreal, signed by many leading citizens, including the Torrances, the Redpaths, the Molsons, the Workmans, the Dorions, Luther Hamilton Holton, Benjamin Holmes, David Lewis Macpherson, Jacob de Witt, Edward Goff Penny, D. Lorn Macdougall and John Ross—325[169] signatures in all. L.J. Papineau threw in his weight to the movement. Among the subscribers to the manifesto were justices of the peace, officers of the militia, Queen’s counsels and others holding commissions at the pleasure of the crown. Men of different political parties forgot their differences to promote the scheme. The ebullition was the outcome of the commercial depression and unpromising outlook then prevailing. The manifesto, after pointing out the deplorable state of the country, proceeded to suggest the remedies: the revival of protection in the markets of the United Kingdom; the protection of home manufactures; a federal union of the British American colonies as a federal republic and reciprocal free trade with the United States. But the most sweeping remedy of all was the last one suggested, namely, a “friendly and peaceful separation from British connection; a union upon equitable terms with the great North American Confederacy of Sovereign States,” in brief, annexation.2 The movement was known in England and the Morning Advertiser of London of the period said in comment that England would be no loser were the Canadas to carry their threat of annexation into effect; indeed, England would gain.

“The result,” it says, “of careful examination of the Canadian connection in all its aspects, is, that so far from England being a sufferer from the renunciation of their allegiance to the British Crown on the part of the Canadas, she would be an actual gainer. It is a well ascertained fact that the expenses of the connection have more than counterbalanced its advantages. The maintenance of that part of our colonial possessions subjects us to a yearly expenditure of £800,000 hard cash. Will any one tell us that the Canadas confer on us benefits at all equivalent to this? It may, indeed, be debated whether our exports to the Canadas would not be as great as they have been at any former period. At any rate we speak advisedly when we say that this country would be no loser by the secession of the Canadas. That is certainly the conclusion at which ministers have arrived after the most able and careful consideration. On that conclusion they have determined to act. When the session meets we shall see the fact brought fully before the public, with the ground on which the cabinet has come to the conclusion at which it arrived.”

Such a statement, from a responsible English journal, sounds strangely to us even today—but it is of value in reminding us that at that time Britain was spending some four millions of dollars annually on the Canadas. Four years later, in 1854, the annexation movement received its quietus at the hands of Lord Elgin, when he secured the passage of the Reciprocity Treaty.

As there was no very general support in Canada, the movement soon collapsed. It was begotten of temporary gloom and despair. Annexation was thought by serious and well meaning men to be the necessary remedy—if it could come peaceably. Hence it was not rebellion. The annexation movement was communicated to the Upper Province, but it never had as great a hold anywhere as in Montreal. There was little aftermath beyond the cancelling of the commissions of those who held them at pleasure, a course deemed necessary as a protest by the governor general, Lord Elgin.

In the beginning of November of this year, 1849, the government offices were removed to Toronto. In the early part of 1850 a party known as the[170] “Clear grits,” composed of the more progressive of the reform party in Upper Canada, and dissatisfied with the slowness of ministry, elaborated a programme which, among other heads, advocated, first, the complete application of the elective principle from the highest to the lowest member of the government, and, secondly, universal suffrage. A corresponding but more radical movement was organized at Montreal for Lower Canada by L.J. Papineau, under the title of “La Parti Rouge.” Its members were mostly young French-Canadians, although a number of British radicals were with them, such as L.H. Holton, and others. The “Parti Rouge” pronounced in favour of the repeal of the Union, of a republican form of government and of annexation to the States. “La Parti Rouge,” says La Minerve, the organ of the “bleus,” “has been formed at Montreal under the auspices of Mr. Papineau in hatred of English institutions, of our constitution, declared to be vicious, and above all, of responsible government which is regarded as a takein, with ideas of innovation in religion and in politics, accompanied by a profound hatred for the clergy and with the very formal and very pronounced intention of annexing Canada to the United States.” By the end of the year the prospects of trade had so brightened that with this annexation and other desperate remedies were forgotten. In October the first provincial exhibition of agricultural and industrial products was held at Montreal.

During the session of 1851, the legislation for railways was of primary importance to Montreal; if it was to keep its place as the center of transportation by land as it had been by water it would now enter into its new railroad era forced by the competing enterprises of the adjoining republics. In October the great Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry resigned. Mr. Lafontaine resumed his law practice at Montreal. In the month of August, 1853, he became chief justice of Lower Canada and held that position to his death, February 26, 1864. Ten years previously, in 1854, he was created a baronet. Sir L. Hippolyte Lafontaine’s name and fame stand high in the remembrance of Montreal.

On the 6th of November the existing parliament was dissolved. In the following elections Mr. John Young was returned from Montreal and was given a place in the Hincks-Morin cabinet as commissioner of public works. Mr. Papineau was defeated in Montreal, but found a seat for the county of Two Mountains. In the early part of 1852 Mr. Hincks visited England and arranged for the capitalizing of the Grand Trunk Railway to proceed westward from Montreal. Consequently during the fourth parliament’s first session at Quebec, which opened on August 19th, conspicuous among the acts passed was one to incorporate the Grand Trunk Railway. Other acts interesting to Montrealers were the municipal loan fund act to enable municipalities to borrow money on the credit of the province for local improvement, an act for the establishment of a trans-Atlantic line of steamers and the appropriating of £19,000 sterling per annum for the purpose. The contract was secured by McKean, McLarty & Company, of Liverpool, and steamers began to run during the following spring. Two years later the contract was annulled and an arrangement was made with Messrs. Edmonstone, Allan & Company, of Montreal. The small fleet of the last named company has since developed into the well known Allan line of trans-Atlantic steamships. On October 23d Mr. Charles Wilson, mayor of Montreal, was added to the legislative council. Before the session ended there occurred the famous Gavazzi riots in Quebec and Montreal, the latter place especially maintaining[171] its reputation for mob violence. As the government was afterwards attacked for delay in ordering an unavoidable and searching investigation into the perpetrators of the fatal disaster at Montreal the story may be told here rather than in the ecclesiastical history of the city. During the spring of 1853 Alessandro Gavazzi, an ex-monk, had been giving a course of lectures in the States, mostly against Romanism. He had previously been received with success in England. Posing as an Italian patriot of liberty, with the reputation for impassioned and eloquent oratory and the added piquancy of being an ex-priest, he had attracted elsewhere a favourable hearing. But on his entrance to Lower Canada, at Quebec, he received a check on June 6th when delivering a lecture on the Inquisition in the Free Church on St. Ursule Street. A scene of disorder occurred in the church. The lecturer was attacked in the pulpit, and though he defended himself right valiantly with a stool, knocking down some sixteen of his assailants, he was overmastered and thrown on to the heads of the people below. Confusion reigned. The military were providentially soon on the scene and quiet obtained. The proceedings were sufficient to warrant an informal discussion in the House next day. On the night of the 9th of June Gavazzi was in Montreal, lecturing in Zion Church on the Haymarket square, now Victoria Square. Without, to prevent a recurrence of the Quebec assault, a posse of police was placed opposite the church, another in the Square and a small body of military, hard by, in concealment. These were the “Cameronians” but recently arrived in the city. There was an attempt of a body of Catholic Irishmen to break a way into the church, but they were repulsed. On retreating the second time a shot was fired by one of the intruders who was immediately shot down by a Protestant. Other shots followed. Confusion reigned. The lecture was hurriedly concluded and the people made for home. On the church being attacked the Gavazzi called for three cheers for the Queen and congratulated his hearers on freedom of speech being maintained. On their way through the streets shots were fired at them by the military. Who gave the order to fire has never been discovered. The mayor, the Hon. Charles Wilson, who had read the riot act, was accused and denied it. So also did Colonel Hogarth, of the Twenty-sixth Cameronian Rifles, also accused. It is said that the soldiers fired, at the order of some one in the crowd, but over the heads of the people, so that those making their way up Beaver Hall Hill received the shots. The Cameronians were very unpopular for a time. About forty were killed or wounded, of whom many were injured by stones and other missiles. Two women were struck down and almost trampled to death. The scene was one of frenzied riot, heightened by the screams of women. Gavazzi made his way between two clergymen to St. James street, narrowly escaping with his life. He afterwards escaped from St. Lawrence Hall in an inclosed cab to the wharf, where the Iron Duke took him to La Prairie. Thus his career ended in Canada. On June 26th an investigation was held into the causes of the riot, but nothing was the outcome and there were no apprehensions, at which there was much disapproval, as it was thought the affair was being hushed up as a political move. It is for this reason that the story has been inserted in this portion. The occasion was made an occasion of odium theologicum. At that time the St. Patrick’s Society, founded in 1834, was composed of Irishmen of different religions, but as Mr. Hincks and the mayor, the Hon. Charles Wilson, were both prominent members, Mr. Hincks was accused of being under the influence of the[172] Roman Catholic majority for political purposes. Mr. Drummond, the attorney-general for Lower Canada, being a Catholic, was also accused in being dilatory in bringing the rioters to justice.

L.H. HOLTON

L.H. HOLTON

SIR FRANCIS HINCKS

SIR FRANCIS HINCKS

D’ARCY McGEE

D’ARCY McGEE

Parliament adjourned on the 14th of June. It did not meet again till June 13, 1854, just a day within the limit allowed by the thirty-first clause of the Union act. The chief reason for this was the absence of the governor and the premier in England and at Washington, at which latter place, on June 15th, the treaty of reciprocity was signed between the United States and Canada. The parliament was dissolved in view of the general elections to come in July and August, when the attitude of the people on the two great questions so long postponed, the clergy reserves and the seigneurial tenure was to be taken as an index of confidence and trust in the government. Mr. L.H. Holton and Mr. (afterwards Sir) A.A. Dorion, the leader of the “Parti Rouge,” since Mr. Papineau did not seek reelection, were returned for Montreal. The country as a whole had pronounced in favour of the abolition of the seigneurial tenure and the secularization of the clergy reserves. The parliament met on the 5th of September. The rejection of the ministerial candidate, George Etienne Cartier, for speaker in the assembly, in favour of Mr. Sicotte, indicated to Mr. Hincks and Mr. Morin that they could not carry on the administration against the combined opposition of the conservative, clear grits and the “Parti Rouge.” This was confirmed on September 7th when, on a question of privilege, the opposition carried it. On September 8th the resignation of the Hincks-Morin ministry was accepted by Lord Elgin. The government fell without dishonour. It had obtained the imperial acts enabling the Canadian parliament to deal with the clergy reserves and the application of the elective principle to the legislative council. It had completed the reciprocity treaty with the States and had inaugurated the era of Canadian railway. Montreal largely shared in the prosperity which prevailed in its term. The task of forming a new ministry was entrusted by Lord Elgin to Sir Allan MacNab. With the concurrence of Mr. Morin, Sir Allan effected a coalition between his own conservative following and the late liberal government resulting in the liberal-conservative alliance as the only method possible of obtaining a majority in the assembly capable of conducting the administration in accordance with the now accepted principle of responsible government. The death knell of the old toryism had been sounded. It also marked the virtual extinction of the British party in Lower Canada as a separate political body. Since that date there may be traced the growth of a more united policy in Montreal in the common welfare.

A bill giving effect to the reciprocity treaty with the United States was introduced by attorney-general (East), Hon. L.T. Drummond. The long delayed bill for secularizing the clergy reserves was introduced by Attorney-General (West), Hon. John A. Macdonald, and that abolishing the seigneurial tenure originally introduced by Mr. L.T. Drummond became law. By the former not only the Anglican establishment, but all churches were deprived of any participation in the funds accruing from the reserved lands granted for the support of the Anglican communion since the commencement of the British régime, a privilege that had been all along keenly contested by other denominations. It was now enacted that all proceeds arising from the sale of these lands should be placed into the hands of the receiver-general, by whom, after expenses were paid, they[173] were to be apportioned equally among the several county and city municipalities in proportion to population.

The Seigneurial Tenure Act while abolishing the system of feudal rights and duties so long prevailing in Lower Canada, authorized the governor to provide commissioners to appropriate indemnifications for the despoiled seigneurs. Thus the two great questions which had long been exercising Montreal politicians were at last solved. Parliament was prorogued on the 18th of December and Lord Elgin concluded his office as governor-general with credit and honour.

Parliament opened on February 23, 1855. It was marked by the retirement of Mr. Morin from the ministry. The McNab-Taché administration was therefore formed. The Crimean war was now on, and as it became necessary to remove the Imperial Troops from Canada “a militia act was passed, which was the first step toward the modern organization of a regular volunteer force in Canada.”

The fifth parliament was opened at Toronto on the 15th of February, 1856. On Her Majesty’s birthday, May 24th, through the resignation of Sir Allan McNab, the Taché-Macdonald ministry assumed the reins, in which John A. Macdonald held the whip hand. In this session the postponed elective legislative council act was passed for which imperial authority had already been given. While those already in the legislative council were to retain their seats for life, every future member was to be elected by the people for a term of eight years. This continued till confederation, in 1867, when the system of appointment for life was reverted to. The Montreal members in the legislative council for 1856 were the Honourables Peter McGill, William Morris, Adam Ferrie, James Ferrier, Denis B. Viger, James Leslie, Frederic A. Quesnel, Joseph Bourret and Charles Wilson. This year the stringency in the money market was felt as the result of the Crimean war.

The year of 1857 is spoken of as l’année terrible. The toll of death was exacted as the price of advancing civilization. Near Hamilton seventy lives were lost by a train crashing through a bridge spanning the Desjardins canal. The steamer Montreal which plied between Montreal and Quebec, was burned so rapidly near Cape Rouge that about two hundred and fifty emigrants lost their lives. The harvest was a failure. By the beginning of winter trade had become almost stagnant. Mercantile disaster which was to last for a long time stared the wholesale and retail merchants in the face. Mercantile credit collapsed and every industry was crippled. Agriculture also shared in the general paralysis. The cause of this disastrous state was the public extravagance in that era of public works and railway development. The whirlwind was being reaped. During the year the Taché-Macdonald government had sat continuously from February 26th to June 10th. The premier, Colonel Taché, resigned on November 25th and thereupon the Hon. John A. Macdonald and the Hon. George Etienne Cartier formed their administration. At the general elections held in consequence at Montreal, Mr. A.A. Dorion, leader of the “Rouge Party,” was one of the few of his party returned, but Mr. Holton was defeated by the new attorney-general.

A new member for the city was the brilliant young Irishman, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, who had only been a year in Canada. He was, however, well known in the United States as a powerful journalist and public speaker imbued with Irish-American ideas. He was born in Carlingford, County Louth, in Ireland, in 1825. In his seventeenth year he went to the States and began journalism.[174] In 1845 he undertook the editorship of the “Freeman’s Journal” in Dublin. Becoming identified with the New Ireland party and involved with Charles Gavan Duffy in the Smith-O’Brien’s insurrection, he escaped to New York, where he started the “New York Nation,” which was suppressed by Bishop Hughes for the attacks on the Irish hierarchy. At Boston he founded the “American Celt” and continued it at Buffalo for five years. Gradually he became reconciled to the hierarchy and received their support, so that his paper was the exponent in America of Irish Catholic opinions. In 1857 he accepted an invitation from the Irish party in Montreal to settle here. After having fulfilled the necessary period of “domicile” he was soon nominated for parliament, as we have seen.

The new parliament assembled on February 25th. It had become known after the election that Her Majesty had fixed upon Ottawa as the permanent seat of government. Parliament had ratified the choice and a sum of money had been appropriated for the erection of buildings. But there was serious opposition in many quarters. It broke out in the House on July 28th, when Mr. Dunkin moved an address to the Queen, praying Her Majesty to reconsider the decision and have Montreal named instead of Ottawa. Mr. Brown moved for an amendment for delay in the erection of buildings and the removal of government offices to Ottawa, and Mr. Piché moved as a further amendment that “in the opinion of this house Ottawa ought not to be the permanent government for the province.” The amendment was carried, supported by the opposition, and being considered by the minority equivalent to a vote of censure on Her Majesty, the government resigned on the following day. Mr. George Brown was put in charge of forming a ministry which was announced on Monday, August 2d. At once a vote of want of confidence in the new Brown-Dorion government, moved by Mr. Hector Langevin, was passed in the Assembly and in the Upper House. On Wednesday afternoon after having been in office for forty-eight hours and without having initiated a single act, parliamentary or administrative, the short-lived administration was forced to resign. On August 6th George Cartier becoming prime minister, the Cartier-Macdonald ministry virtually resumed the situation of the Macdonald-Cartier government of a few days ago. The portfolios, however, were exchanged and thus, by making use of a statute of 1857 there was avoided the necessity of the ministers going to the people for reelection. This was known as the “Double Shuffle.” The reconstructed government found themselves with a strong majority. During the session of this year the question of “protection to home industries,” a live subject at Montreal, came up for legislation and was followed by the protective tariff of the following year.

The government offices having been removed from Toronto, parliament met at Quebec on January 29th, for the government offices were not removed to Ottawa till 1865, where the first session was held in 1866. During this year the principle of Confederation began to be broached tentatively but surely, by the opposition party led by Mr. George Brown. A reform convention in Toronto held in November drew up a series of resolutions which, when compared with the British North American act of 1867, show a clear family likeness. At Montreal similar meetings were held under the auspices of Messrs. Dorion, Drummond, McGee and others for the same purpose of approving a federal union, but as yet the movement was weak in Lower Canada.

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The sixth parliament met at Quebec for its fourth and last session on the 16th of March, 1861. By a proclamation of the governor-general on the 10th of June it came to an end.

On the 8th of November there occurred in mid-ocean, during the Civil war in the States between the North and South, the “Trent Incident,” which caused a commotion at Montreal and throughout Canada. The British Mail steamer Trent had on board the Confederate envoys, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, when they were forcibly taken prisoners by Captain Wilkes of the United States sloop of war San Jacinto. War looked inevitable and the Canadian Volunteers were augmented, drilled and ready for war. Regular military troops arrived also from England. The first day of the new year, 1862, saw the envoys delivered back to England and the danger of war was over. One result of the “Trent” affair was a great deepening of the Canadian sympathy, especially at Montreal, with the southern Confederacy.

In 1862 the Cartier-Macdonald government fell, on the occasion of their “Militia Bill,” on May 21st, and on the 24th the Macdonald (J.S.)-Sicotte ministry was sworn in, being succeeded on May 26, 1863, by the Macdonald (J.S.)-Dorion combination, which only lasted till the 2d of March, 1864, when the Taché-Macdonald (J.A.) again came into power. It was agreed upon, that the government should be pledged to introduce the federal principle into Canada and to aim at a confederation in which all British America should be “united under a general legislature based upon the federal principle.”

The idea of confederation as a remedy for government ills had occupied attention at intervals with increasing acuteness even before the Union of 1841. It had not been confined to Upper and Lower Canada, for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had long discussed the idea of a union among themselves. Various political dreamers had forecasted it, no doubt following the lead of the United States. A meeting for the purpose being called at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the coalition government of Canada sent eight ministers3 to confer with their representatives on the merits of a larger scheme of union between all the provinces with the result that by agreement a further convention was to be held at Quebec on a day named by the governor general. His excellency fixed upon October 10th and notified the respective lieutenant governors of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The result was the pledge to promote the projected confederation.

During the fall of this year, 1864, Montreal was the scene of the St. Alban’s Raid prosecutions. As already said, Canada and Montreal especially had sympathized with the Southerners. Many refugees had found a home here. Canada being so close to the frontier was, therefore, frequently used as the basis of southern plots. In the summer two vessels plying on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, belonging to American merchants, had been seized and partially plundered by the southern refugees. In September St. Albans, a little town in Vermont,[176] on the frontier, was raided by twenty-three southerners from Canada under the command of Bennett H. Young, an ex-Confederate soldier, who escaped to Canada on captured horses with $223,000 booty, after having plundered three local banks and shot one of the cashiers. Their excuse was that they were representatives of the Confederate States of America and they were there to retaliate the outrages committed by General Sherman. In November the trial of the captured rioters took place at Montreal and on March 30th they were discharged.

Parliament met on the 19th of January. It was prorogued on the 18th of March. During the following month four of the administration, J.A. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Galt, proceeded to England to discuss with the imperial government the scheme of confederation. The delegates returned in time for the opening of the last session of the Canadian legislature at Quebec on the 8th of August. The premier, Sir E.P. Taché, had died full of honours on the 30th of July. He was succeeded by Sir N.F. Belleau. During this session the bill was passed to carry out the recommendation of the commissioners appointed in 1857 “to reduce into one code to be called the civil code of Lower Canada those provisions of the laws of Lower Canada which relate to civil matters and are of a general and permanent character.” Attorney-General Cartier who had introduced the bill appointing the commission in 1857 had the satisfaction of seeing its labours adopted in 1865. The code came into operation in 1866. This was welcomed by the jurists of Montreal and Quebec, as it simplified the law, reducing order out of chaos; the abolition of the seigneurial tenure act of 1854 had rendered the codification very necessary. Parliament closed on the 18th of September. The public offices were removed to Ottawa during the autumn, but for a time the cabinet meetings were held at Montreal.

In the beginning of 1866 a delegation was sent by the government to Washington to obtain a renewal of the reciprocity treaty which came to an end this year. The mission was a failure. St. Patrick’s day, March 17th, was looked forward to in Canada by more than those of Irish nationality. For although during the year 1865 rumours had gone around that the Fenian Brotherhood of the States, organized about this time with a branch in Ireland to liberate Ireland, had determined to invade Canada as a base of their operations against England, they were not taken very seriously. But in 1866 the announcement of combined movements upon Canada to commence on St. Patrick’s day forced serious preparation for their reception and caused great anxiety over the country and much recruiting in volunteer circles. St. Patrick’s day passed and nothing happened. Beginning, however, in April and gaining strength in May and June, the filibustering Fenians massed their forces at various points, such as that marked by the raid under O’Neill upon the Niagara frontier in June, that of Ogdensburg, menacing a march upon Ottawa, and that at St. Albans on the Vermont frontier, where 1,800 men had collected on June 7th to pass over into Canada. In Montreal doubtless they hoped to find some sympathizers. None of these movements met eventual success and quiet was successfully maintained on the frontier by both governments. But these were the occasion of military ardour, shown by the enrollments of the militia and of general patriotism.

The parliament met at Ottawa on the 8th of June in the midst of the Fenian excitement. The address of His Excellency, the governor general, forecasted the hope that the next time parliament met at Ottawa it would be under the confederation[177] of Province. It lasted to the 15th of August. About three months later a joint delegation of the representatives of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick met on December 4th in London at the Westminster Palace Hotel and a conference was held. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland had seceded from the project. The upshot of the negotiations was such that on the 22d of May, 1867, the Confederation Act, technically known as “the British North American Act, 1867,” was proclaimed at Windsor Castle by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, appointing the 1st of July following as the date upon which it should come into force. This act joined Canada (Upper and Lower), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one Dominion, under the name of CANADA. There should be one federal parliament, consisting of the Queen, represented by the governor general, an upper house consisting of seventy-two life members appointed by the Crown, and a House of Commons elected on the principle of representation by population. Its jurisdiction was to affect matters concerning the Dominion at large. Each of the four provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was to have a provincial legislature to manage its internal affairs. Each was to have a lieutenant governor. In Ontario the legislature consisted only of a house of assembly. In the other three provinces a council was added.

CONFEDERATION SISTERS
CONFEDERATION SISTERS

CONFEDERATION SISTERS

Arranged from studies of the Cartier monument (G.W. Hill) being erected in 1914

In the following year the northwest territories were added to the Dominion, in 1870 Manitoba, in 1871 British Columbia, and in 1873 Prince Edward Island, and in 1905 the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were established. Since confederation the history of Canada has been one of continued commercial and social development. The British North American act was the Magna Charta of Canadian nationhood.

Montreal is proud of the share it took in the promotion of Confederation.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY FOR MONTREAL DISTRICT FROM THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT, 1791 TO CONFEDERATION, 1867

MEMBERS

Montreal (County)—
Papineau, JosephJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Walker, JamesJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Ducharme, Jean-MarieJuly 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
Guy, Et.July 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
Papineau, JosephJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
Walker, ThomasJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
Frobisher, BenjaminAugust 6, 1804, to April 27, 1808
Roy Portelance, LouisAugust 6, 1804, to March 22, 1814
Durocher, Jean BaptisteJune 18, 1808, to July 12, 1811
Stuart, JamesDecember 4, 1811, to February 9, 1820
Richer, AugustinMay 13, 1814, to February 9, 1820
Perrault, JosephApril 11, 1820, to September 2, 1830
Valois, JosephApril 11, 1820, to September 2, 1830[178]
Montreal (East)—
Frobisher, JosephJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Richardson, JohnJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Papineau, JosephJuly 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
Viger, DenisJuly 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
Panet, Pierre LouisJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
Badgley, FraJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
McGill, JamesAugust 6, 1804, to April 27, 1808
Chaboillez, LouisAugust 6, 1804, to April 27, 1808
Mondelet, Jean-MarieJune 18, 1808, to October 2, 1809
Stuart, JamesJune 18, 1808, to March 1, 1810
Papineau, JosephNovember 23, 1809, to March 22, 1814
Sewell, StephenApril 21, 1810, to March 22, 1814
Beaujeu, Saveuse deMay 13, 1814, to February 29, 1816
Platt, GeorgeMay 13, 1814, to February 29, 1816
Roy Portelance, LouisApril 25, 1816, to February 9, 1820
Molson, JohnApril 25, 1816, to February 9, 1820
Heney, HughesApril 11, 1820, to September 2, 1830
Busby, ThomasApril 11, 1820, to May 29, 1820
Thain, ThomasJuly 25, 1820, to July 6, 1824
Leslie, JamesAugust 28, 1824, to September 2, 1830
Montreal (West)—
McGill, JamesJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Durocher, Jean-BaptisteJuly 10, 1792, to May 31, 1796
Auldjo, AlexJuly 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
Foucher, Louis CharlesJuly 20, 1796, to June 4, 1800
McGill, JamesJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
Périnault, JosephJuly 28, 1800, to June 13, 1804
Richardson, JohnAugust 6, 1804, to April 27, 1808
Mondelet, Jean-MarieAugust 6, 1804, to April 27, 1808
McGillivray, WilliamJune 18, 1808, to October 2, 1809
Viger, Denis BenjaminJune 18, 1808, to March 1, 1810
McCord, ThomasNovember 23, 1809, to March 1, 1810
St. Dizier, Et. N.April 21, 1810, to March 22, 1814
McLeod, Arch. N.April 21, 1810, to March 22, 1814
Papineau, Louis JosephMay 13, 1814, to September 2, 1830
Fraser, JamesMay 13, 1814, to February 29, 1816
Vinet dit Soulignay, FélixApril 25, 1816, to February 9, 1820
Garden, GeorgeApril 11, 1820, to July 6, 1824
Rocheblave, Pierre deAugust 28, 1824, to July 5, 1827
Nelson, RobertAugust 25, 1827, to September 2, 1830
Montreal (County)—
Valois, JosephOctober 26, 1830, to October 9, 1834
Perrault, JosephOctober 26, 1830, to August 28, 1831
Mondelet, DominiqueOctober 13, 1831, to November 24, 1832
Papineau, l’hon. Louis JosephNovember 22, 1834, to November 3, 1835
Cherrier, CômeNovember 22, 1834, to March 27, 1838
Jobin, AndréNovember 25, 1835, to March 27, 1838[179]
Montreal (East)—
Heney, HughesOctober 26, 1830, to February 28, 1832
Leslie, JamesOctober 26, 1830, to March 27, 1838
Berthelet, OliverApril 6, 1832, to October 9, 1834
Roy, JosephNovember 22, 1834, to March 27, 1838
Montreal (West)—
Papineau, l’hon. Louis JosephOctober 26, 1830, to March 27, 1838
Fisher, JohnOctober 26, 1830, to March 26, 1832
Tracey, DanielMay 22, 1832, to July 18, 1832
Nelson, RobertNovember 22, 1834, to March 27, 1838
Montreal (City)—
Moffatt, l’hon. GeorgeApril 8, 1841, to October 30, 1843
Holmes, BenjaminApril 8, 1841, to September 23, 1844
Beaubien, PierreNovember 22, 1843, to September 23, 1844
Moffatt, l’hon. GeorgeNovember 12, 1844, to December 6, 1847
Bleury, Charles-Clément Sabrevois deNov. 12, 1844, to Dec. 6, 1847
Lafontaine, l’hon. Louis-HippolyteJan. 24, 1848, to Nov. 6, 1851
Holmes, BenjaminJanuary 24, 1848, to November 6, 1851
Young, l’hon. JohnDecember 6, 1851, to June 23, 1854
Badgley, l’hon. WilliamDecember 6, 1851, to June 23, 1854
Montreal (County)—
Delisle, Alexandre-MauriceApril 8, 1841, to July 13, 1843
Jobin, AndréOctober 26, 1843, to November 6, 1851
Valois, Michel-FrançoisDecember 10, 1851, to June 23, 1854
Montreal (City)—
Dorion, Antoine-AiméJuly 28, 1854, to June 10, 1861
Holton, Luther-HamiltonJuly 28, 1854, to November 28, 1857
Young, l’hon. JohnJuly 28, 1854, to November 28, 1857
Rose, JohnDecember 28, 1857, to June 10, 1861
McGee, Thomas D’ArcyDecember 28, 1857, to June 10, 1861
Montreal (Center)—
Rose, l’hon. JohnJuly 9, 1861, to July 1, 1866
Montreal (East)—
Cartier, l’hon. George-EtienneJuly 9, 1861, to July 1, 1867
Montreal (West)—
McGee, Thomas D’ArcyJune 26, 1861, to July 1, 1867
Montreal (County)—
Hochelaga
Laporte, JosephJuly 24, 1854, to November 28, 1857
Jacques-Cartier
Valois, Michel-FrançoisJuly 20, 1854, to November 28, 1857

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FOOTNOTES:

1 Sometimes called the “First Baldwin-Lafontaine Government.”

2 See Dent, “The Last Forty Years of Canada,” Vol. II, pp. 180-1.

3 The eight were J.A. Macdonald, George Brown, George Etienne Cartier, A.T. Gault, T. D’Arcy McGee, H.L. Langevin, W. McDougall and Alexander Campbell. Of these fathers of confederation, Montreal records with pride the names of Cartier and McGee, its sometime political representatives. The two especially did much to disarm the strong opposition in certain quarters in the province of Quebec.


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CHAPTER XX

THE MUNICIPALITY OF MONTREAL

EARLY EFFORTS TOWARDS MUNICIPAL HOME RULE—1786—1821—1828—THE FIRST MUNICIPAL CHARTER OF 1831—THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL—JACQUES VIGER FIRST MAYOR—THE RETURN TO THE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE—LORD DURHAM’S REPORT AND THE RESUMPTION OF THE CORPORATION IN 1840—CHARTER AMENDMENT, 1851—FIRST MAYOR ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE—CHARTER AMENDMENT OF 1874—THE CITY OF MONTREAL ANNEXATIONS—CIVIC POLITICS—THE NOBLE “13”—1898 CHARTER RECAST, SANCTIONED IN 1899—CIVIC SCANDALS—THE “23”—JUDGE CANNON’S REPORT—THE REFORM PARTY; THE “CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION”—REDUCTION OF ALDERMEN AND A BOARD OF CONTROL, THE ISSUE—THE WOMEN’S CIVIC ASSOCIATIONS—THE NEW REGIME AND THE BOARD OF CONTROL—FURTHER AMENDMENTS TO CHARTER—THE ELECTIONS OF 1912—ABOLITION OF THE SMALL WARD SYSTEM ADVOCATED—THE ELECTIONS OF 1914—A FORECAST FOR GREATER MONTREAL—SUPPLEMENT: LIST OF MAYORS—CITY REVENUE.

The citizens of Montreal, as already narrated, had had in view for many years under the British rule, the introduction of a responsible form of Home Rule in municipal affairs. As early as 1786, on the invitation of the Superior Council, they had reported in favour of the incorporation by charter of a municipality, but notwithstanding, the system of government by justices of the peace was continued. At a meeting of October 23, 1821, the citizens again agitated for a charter. In 1828 a great meeting was held on December 6th and resolutions were passed to the effect that in the flourishing state of the growth of population and the progress of trade the government by magistrates was not sufficient to provide for municipal advance in the future; that among the evils due to insufficient powers granted to the magistrates was the inefficiency of police regulations and the want of an efficient system of bookkeeping in the appropriation of the revenues of the town; the deplorable state for many years of the water front and the lands adjoining the “little river,” which by their unhealthy condition, had become dangerous to the well being of the great part of the surrounding population; the lack of means and authority for undertaking and executing a preconceived and general plan of improvement, it being left to the individual to put obstacles to the proper growth of the town which narrowness of view and self-interest might suggest to the delay in growth and the increase of avoidable expenses. The citizens concluded by demanding from the legislature the incorporation of the town. The committee formed to present the petition was as follows: For the town, J.B. Rolland, P. McGill, J. Quesnell and A. Laframbroise; for the districts of St.[182] Antoine, St. Ann and the Recollets, John Fry, Father Desautels, John Torrance, Charles de Lorimier, C. Wagner and H. Corse; for St. Lawrence, C.S. Delorme, A. Tullock (Père), A. Tullock (Fils), John Baptiste Castonguay, B. Hall and Louis de Chantal; for the Quebec and St. Louis districts, John Richelieu, Louis Parthenais, Francis Derome and C.S. Rodier.

In 1830 the harbour commission was appointed as a partial remedy.

In 1831 the first act incorporating the city of Montreal was presented on March 31st for the sanction of His Majesty, which was given on April 12, 1832, its publication being by proclamation of the governor general on June 5th following. On the 18th of July, 1833, the city council unanimously adopted the seal of the arms of the city, the Beaver,1 the Rose, the Shamrock and the Thistle, and its motto, “Concordia Salus.” By this act under the name of “The Corporation of the City of Montreal” the city was divided into eight wards, East, West, St. Ann, St. Joseph, St. Antoine, St. Lawrence, St. Louis and St. Mary. Each was to elect two councillors with certain financial qualifications, and these sixteen were to elect from their number one to act as mayor to whom a salary not exceeding four hundred dollars should be granted. The right of citizenship was to be accorded to every man attaining the age of twenty-one years and possessing real estate in the limits of the city and having resided therein for twelve months prior to the election. Every elector became a member of the corporation. The corporation acquired powers to borrow, acquire and possess property, to take action at law, to be in turn liable to legal prosecution and to have a seal. The other powers granted them were similar to those exercised hitherto by the justices of the peace for the government and maintenance of the city. The act was not to remain in force after May 1, 1836.

On the first Monday in May, 1833, the justices of the peace met to appoint the first Monday of June as the day of election of the councillors. These, when elected, met on June 5th in the courthouse for the first séance. Jacques Viger, who acted as secretary, was elected the first mayor, the councillors being John Donegani, William Forbes, Joseph Gauvin, Alexander Lusignan, John McDonell, Robert Nelson, C.S. Rodier, Joseph Roy, John Torrance, Augustin Tullock, John Turney, Guillaume J. Vallée, François Dérome, Mahum Hall, Julien Perrault, and Turton Penn. The secretary appointed was Francis Auger. On the first Monday of June, each year, half of the council had to be replaced or re-elected. The charter required that each regulation of the council before taking effect should be submitted for approbation to the court of King’s Bench after having been published in the newspapers and by town criers.

This charter remained in force till May 1, 1836, when for unaccountable reasons its renewal was refused, and the justices of the peace again ruled the city till August, 1840. These, following the official lists, were: Denis B. Viger, Peter McGill, Pierre de Rocheblave, William Robertson, Lawrence Kidd, James Miller, Austin Cuvillier, James Quesnel, Adam L. McNiver, Joseph Shuter, William Hall, Jos. Ant. Gagnon, Daniel Arnoldi, E.M. Leprohon, George S. Holt, Joseph T. Barrett, Jacob DeWitt, Pierre Lukin, Turton Penn, Thomas Cringan, Joseph Masson, Henry Corse, John Molson, Sidney Bellingham, James Browne, Pierre[183] E. Leclere, John Donegani, Guillaume J. Vallée, Charles Lamontagne, Henri Desrivières, Theophile Dufort, Benjamin Hart, James McGill Desrivières, Charles S. Rodier, John Jones, Charles Tate, Hugh E. Barron, Alexis Laframboise, J. Bte. Castonguay, Patrice Lacombe, Olivier Berthelet, Paul Jos. LaCroix, Thomas B. Wragg, M.J. Hayes, Etienne Guy, Logan Fuller, François P. Bruneau, Pierre Louis Panet, Hugh Brodie, Joseph Baby, Alexander Buchanan, John Dyke and William Evans. The clerks of the justices were Delisle and Delisle, then Delisle and Brehaut.

SEAL OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL

SEAL OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL

During this period Lord Durham arrived and his report animadverting on the absence of municipal government in Montreal and Quebec, doubtless caused the reintroduction of the municipal council under the name of the mayor, the aldermen and the citizens of the city of Montreal. The governor, Mr. C. Poulett Thomson (afterwards Lord Sydenham) was authorized to name the first council for the first term to end on December 2, 1842. His choice was as follows: Mayor, the Hon. Peter McGill; councillors, Jules Quesnel, Adam Ferrier, C.S. Rodier, J.G. McKenzie, C.S. De Bleury, J.M. Tobin, Olivier Berthelet, F. Bruneau, Hippolyte Guy, John Donegani, Charles Tate, J.W. Dunscomb, Thomas Philipps, Colin Campbell, Stanley Bagg, Archibald Hume, D. Handside and William Molson. On September 12, J.P. Sexton was appointed city clerk and remained in office till 1858.

In 1843 the second council was elected by the people from six wards only, viz., East, Center, West, Queen, St. Lawrence and St. Mary. These councillors, two for each ward, elected the mayor from among themselves, as well as six other citizens under the title of aldermen who all composed the council as follows: Mayor, Joseph Bourret; aldermen, Joseph Masson, Benjamin Holmes, William Molson, Joseph Roy, Joseph Redpath, C.S. De Bleury; councillors, James Ferrier, Pierre Jodoin, Peter Dunn, William Lunn, William Watson, Olivier Frechette, Pierre Beaubien, P.A. Gagnon, François Trudeau, François Perrin, and John Mathewson. The six wards into which the city was divided were: East, Center, West, Queen, St. Lawrence and St. Mary. In 1845 the city was divided into nine wards, the city wards being East, Center and West and having each three representatives in the council, the other six, called the suburban wards, only having two councillors each. Thus the whole council had twenty-one members.

This system obtained till 1852,2 when by the statute Victoria, 14, 15, chapter 128, passed in 1851, the election of the mayor passed from the council to the people at large. The first thus elected was the Hon. Charles Wilson. The number of the aldermen was raised to nine and each of the suburban wards received the same rights as the city wards to three representatives. This brought the council up to twenty-seven members. The statute of 1851 only imposed four quarterly sessions of the council, but the mayor had the right, however, to call special meetings. As an instance of the parochial measures then engaging the thoughts of our municipal rulers, we may quote the following relating to the breaking of a monopoly:

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“Mayor Wolfred Nelson, in his address to the Council in 1854, after alluding to the pestilence which had visited the city and the poverty which followed, said: ‘The misery in which we have been involved would have been immeasurably greater had not the Council adopted energetic measures having the effect of breaking down a cursed monopoly—that of firewood—by purchasing several hundred cords of firewood and selling it in small lots at cost price; as well as of arresting the most extraordinary practice of converting our greatest thoroughfares, the wharves, into wood yards by speculators and monopolists, who prevented the purchase of wood in small quantities from the boats. The adoption of these measures in one week reduced the price of fuel over one quarter, at a period when it had been boasted that it would be worth ten or twelve dollars a cord during the winter. Instead of this exhorbitant rate the best wood can now be obtained for $6 a cord.’”

In 1859 Charles Glackmeyer was appointed city clerk and remained in office till 1892, when he was succeeded by L.O. David till today.

In 1874 (Victoria 37, Chapter 41) the charter was amended and the name of the corporation was changed to that of “The City of Montreal.” The distinction between aldermen and councillors was abolished, the title for all being that of aldermen, who were all elected by the people.

The history of Greater Montreal now begins in the annexation of the rural municipalities. In 1883 the new Hochelaga ward added three aldermen; in 1886 that of St. Jean Baptiste three others; in 1887 St. Gabriel ward also added three.

Commenting on the state of civic politics under this charter a contemporary has the following chatty appreciation:3

“For many years the English-speaking element had dominated in civic affairs by virtue of a very small majority in the City Council, and there was just a little tendency among the city fathers forming that majority, not only to dominate but to domineer. They were not disposed to be unjust to the citizens who formed the majority of the electorate, but they showed a lack of tact amounting at times to a want of delicacy in dealing with and speaking of the diverse elements of the population. The French-Canadians had the good sense to elect their ablest men. To be quite frank there was a long period during which the English-speaking people seemed to think that almost anybody was good enough to make an alderman. The result was inevitable. Each ward was represented by three aldermen, one retiring each year and the English-speaking majority in the Center Ward was in 1880 only a little one. It took just three years of good electioneering work to replace three English-speaking aldermen by three French-Canadians. The latter element now dominated the Council and to prevent accident Hochelaga was annexed in 1883. This not only brought in three more French-Canadian aldermen on December 1, 1883, but it brought in Raymond Préfontaine, who was a host in himself, and who almost immediately became the ruling spirit in civic affairs. Of course, most of the English-speaking aldermen did not take kindly to the new régime and Raymond Préfontaine got his full share of their hot shot and it hurt him as much as water hurts a duck’s back. The attitude of most of the English journalists (including the writer) must have been consoling to the Council minority, on account of the sweet sympathy expressed. ‘The Honest Minority,’ the[185] ‘Noble Thirteen,’ the ‘Faithful Anti-Monopolists’ were among the compliments lavished by a discriminating press; and were taken not only seriously but appreciatively by the recipients, some of whom were in the habit of discussing on the floor of the Council their own sterling qualities with a frankness which left nothing to be desired. One of the noblest Romans of them all could seldom speak of his own honesty (and he had no false delicacy about introducing the subject), without shedding tears and sobbing. Strangers might have imagined he was crying over his lost opportunities, but he wasn’t; it was just his way.

“Time is apt to and ought to modify our judgments of our fellowmen. Let it be said for Raymond Préfontaine by one who generally disagreed with his plans and disapproved of his public actions that among his qualities were some decidedly good ones. He was a man of his word and a man of ideas and infinite resource. He was the first public man to set about systematic modernizing and development of Montreal. When he talked about electric cars and electric lighting, he was laughed to scorn by the ‘Noble Minority’ in the Council and the rest of the nobility outside the Council. He went in for street widening and permanent paving (no doubt at an expensive rate) and he added to the size of the debt as well as to the size of the city. He was, in fact, Montreal’s Baron Haussmann. The Baron was ‘fired’ by the Olivier government for his financial extravagance; he only borrowed a hundred million dollars, from 1865 to 1869; but he made the modern Paris.

“The Noble Thirteen and their admirers, like the coloured troops in the American Civil war fought nobly against Mr. Préfontaine’s schemes and predicted unmerciful disaster if the City Passenger Railway were electrified. To the plea that electric railways were a success elsewhere the opposition replied triumphantly and without fear of contradiction ‘but New York isn’t Montreal’—and neither Alderman Préfontaine nor any of his followers ever dared to take up the challenge and prove that New York was Montreal.

“Then the Noble Thirteen had its own troubles. One, at least, lost his patent of nobility by voting wrong on the gas question; another was laid out on the City Passenger Railway Monopoly; a third was promoted to the retired list because his popularity threatened to make him a dangerous rival to another nobleman in a parliamentary election. Strenuous opponents of ‘monopoly’ in street railways became first lukewarm, then indifferent, then apologetic, and finally strenuous supporters of Monopoly with the biggest ‘M’ in the printer’s upper case. Most of the Noble Thirteen have gone to a better world, which is a good thing for them, because if they were still in the Council, they would miss the old admiration dreadfully.”

The city charter was recast in 1898 and the work was confided to the mayor, Raymond Préfontaine, Aldermen Rainville, Beausoleil, Martineau, Laporte, McBride, Ames and Archambault, aided by the city law officers and the heads of departments. This commission revised and examined clause by clause the preliminary draft prepared by Messrs. Choquette and Weir, appointed revising advocates in conjunction with the city clerk and the city attorneys. The new charter, a progressive document, was sanctioned on the 10th of March, 1899. By it Montreal was divided into seventeen wards called respectively East, Center, West, St. Ann, St. Antoine South, St. Antoine West, St. Antoine East, St. Lawrence, St. Louis, St. James South, St. James North, St. Mary West, St. Mary East, Hochelaga, St.[186] Jean Baptiste, St. Gabriel and St. Denis. In 1903 Duvernay Ward was formed with a part of St. Jean Baptiste Ward. Among the clauses of this charter was one giving power to the council to extend the limits of the city and to annex municipalities. The elections now began to take place every two years instead of annually. The mayor’s qualifications required that he should possess real estate in the city under his own name to the value of $10,000. His yearly salary was not to exceed four thousand dollars. The property qualification for an alderman was fixed at $2,000 and his yearly indemnity at $600, with an additional sum of $200 for every chairman of a permanent committee. These permanent committees were appointed at the first monthly meeting in February for the year and apportioned the general superintendents and administration of the various city departments among themselves. These were supplemented by an occasional special committee. The council assembled once a month, on the second Monday, but the mayor could convoke a special meeting on notice given to each alderman. Five members of the council could also call a special meeting. The mayor could only cast his vote when there was an equality of votes.

The fault of the civic administration under this charter was in the ever-growing abuses arising from the system of standing committees of aldermen conflicting with one another, delaying the course of business. Towards its close corruption and inefficiency were rampant under the monopoly of a few who became stigmatized in the mouths of the citizens as the “23.” In 1909 a royal commission was appointed to examine into the malversations under the late administration. On December 12, 1909, Mr. Justice Cannon presented his report, in which he named twenty-three of the aldermen as guilty of malpractices. Twenty-two of these were not returned in the subsequent elections. The following general conclusion may be taken as a summary of his recommendations and findings:

1. The administration of the affairs of the city of Montreal by its Council has, since 1892, been saturated with corruption arising especially from the patronage plague.

2. The majority of the aldermen have administered the committees and the council in such a manner as to favor the private interests of their relatives and friends, to whom contracts and positions were distributed to the detriment of the general interests of the city and of the taxpayers.

3. As a result of this administration, the annual revenue of $5,000,000 has been spent as follows: 25 per cent in bribes and malversation of all kinds; as for the balance, the greater part has been employed in works of which the permanence has very often been ephemeral.

6. As for the division and the representation of the city by wards, all agree in condemning this system, which gave rise to patronage and to its abuses. I recommend to the citizens of Montreal, after a serious study of this question, to adopt another system creating a council composed of aldermen representing the entire city and working in unity for its growth and prosperity.

7. The council of today is composed of groups and coteries struggling one with another with such bitterness that they necessarily lose sight of the high interests of the community.

Meanwhile many of the prominent citizens, about 1908, began to prepare for a charter reform. In 1909 the “Citizens’ Association” was formed for governmental reform. Its president was an ex-mayor, Mr. Hormisdas Laporte, and the[187] honorary treasurer was Mr. James Morgan, a prominent merchant and a good citizen, who personally contributed to the funds of the campaign, begun then and carried on for some years, very substantial sums of money and its other adherents, men of solid and approved citizenship. The object of the charter reformers was to remedy the prevalent abuses by a reduction of the number of aldermen to one representative to each ward, making thirty-one in the council, and by a curtailment of their powers, reducing them to a purely legislative body, with no executive power in financial matters. This latter function was to be held by a body of four commissioners or “controllers” and the mayor elected from the city at large. It was hoped that by this adaptation of the “commission” form of government, then obtaining great prominence in muncipal literature in the United States, where the method was being practiced, that the waste of civic energy, time and money would be best secured by a small executive board elected by the people at large and uninfluenced by ward politics. The charter for the Board of Control, (9 Edw. Chap. 82) of 1909, at the request of Farquhar Robertson, Charles Chaput, Victor Morin, S.D. Vallières and others, was accordingly secured from the provincial government after a plebiscite had been previously taken in favour of this great radical change of government, the most important since the original municipal charter in 1831. The new form had already been foreseen by Mayor Wilson Smith in his valedictory address in 1896. He said:

“The question has been frequently discussed, both in the Council and outside of it, as to whether the aldermen should be paid for their services. I have to acknowledge that one result of my experience has been to change my mind on this subject. I am now decidedly of the opinion that not only should the aldermen be remunerated for their services, but that they should be relieved, as far as possible, of attending to purely administrative duties. And it is worthy of serious consideration whether it would not be in the best interests of the city to appoint paid Commissioners to superintend all details, in connection with the civic administration. These Commissioners might have associated with them the heads of the departments, with the Mayor as chairman, who might form an Advisory Board, and submit all matters to the City Council, which would act as a legislative body, but their recommendations should be subject to a veto of a two-thirds vote of the Council. The Commissioners might be three in number, one of whom could be elected by the rate-payers generally, one by the real estate owners, and one by a two-thirds vote of the City Council; said Commissioners to be under the control of the City Council, and subject to dismissal for cause, by a two-thirds vote of the Council.”

In virtue of the recent change in the charter, the new Board of Control was invested with the following powers:

1. To prepare the annual budget and to submit it to the council;

2. To recommend every expense, no expense or matter referring to city finances being able to be adopted unless recommended by the controllers;

3. The council on the report of the controllers to be charged with the granting of franchises and privileges by regulation, resolutions, contracts, by the issue of debentures and contraction of loans;

4. The controllers were further to prepare contracts and plans, to ask for tenders, to decide all formalities relating to the latter, to receive and to open such;

5. To inspect or oversee public works;

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6. To employ the money voted by the council for the purpose designed;

7. To nominate and suspend all employees, except those nominated by the council whose nomination, suspension and dismissal should be made by the council on the recommendation of the controllers;

8. No report or recommendation made by the controllers to be executed without the acceptation of the majority of the council;

9. No amendment to a report or recommendation of the controllers to be made without the approbation of two-thirds of the members of the council present at the meeting.

The work now to be given to the Board of Control was that hitherto done by eleven committees of the aldermen of seven members in each.

The Citizens’ Association undertaking the campaign for good government and the conduct of the forthcoming elections formed up in the middle of 1909, and was hailed by all good citizens, receiving the support of all public and volunteer associations having a civic tendency. About this time an important association was formally inaugurated on April 12, 1909, by His Excellency Earl Grey entitled the “City Improvement League,” and lent its aid in the campaign of education on good government and civic progress. Other societies also cooperated. The women associations under the local Council of Women on the English-speaking side, and La Fédération Nationale St. Jean Baptiste on the French, entered more largely than ever before into the movement for civic progress and influenced the women voters for clean government. The choice of the people for the new officers was made on February 1, 1910, when the “whole slate for the board” prepared by the Citizens’ Association was unanimously adopted at the polls as follows: Mayor, J.J. Guerin, M.D.; controllers, E.P. Lachapelle, M.D., president of the Provincial Board of Health; L.N. Dupuis, merchant; Joseph Ainey, labour candidate; and F.L. Wanklyn, a civil engineer and former manager of the Montreal Street Railway. (The latter resigned in the fall of 1911 and was succeeded by the election in the spring of 1912 of Mr. C.H. Godfrey.) The thirty-one wards were represented as follows:

EastL.A. Lapointe
CentreJ.Z. Resther
WestS.J. Carter *
St. AnnT. O’Connell *
St. JosephU.H. Dandurand
St. AndrewJoseph Ward *
St. GeorgeLeslie H. Boyd, K.C. *
St. LouisJean B. Lamoureaux
St. LaurentJames Robinson *
PapineauJ.A.E. Gauvin
St. MaryJ.P. Roux, M.D.
St. JacquesA.N. Brodeur
LafontaineEudore Dubeau
HochelagaJ.H. Garceau, M.D.
St. Jean BaptisteNoé Leclaire
St. GabrielPatrick Monahan *
St. DenisErnest D. Tétreau[189]
DuvernayLudger Clément
St. HenryO. Letourneau, M.D.
St. CunegondeN. Lapointe
Mount RoyalA.E. Prud’homme, N.P.
De LorimierGeorge Mayrand, N.P.
LaurierN. Turcot
Notre Dame de GracesGeorge Marcil
St. PaulM. Judge
AhuntsicT. Bastien
EmardJ.U. Emard, K.C.
Longue PointeE. Larivière
BordeauxE. Lussier
Cote des NeigesA.S. Deguire
RosemountJ.N. Drummond *

* English-Speaking.

The consequent dispatch in city business, the improvement in public works, the strengthening of heads of departments in the city hall, hitherto hampered by aldermanic interference, and the abolition of patronage secured universal approbation of the new form of civic government. After awhile the spirit of opposition among a certain number of the aldermen began to jeopardize the early universal acceptance of the board of control system. Again the Citizens’ Association, with its backing, had to seek to strengthen the hands of the Board of Control. The following extracts from the Secretary of the Board of Trade’s annual report (Mr. George Hadrill) will indicate the new phase:

“In 1908, it being evident that the City Council, while comprising some good and capable men, was sadly misgoverning this city, your Council, with representatives of other organizations, endeavoured to secure such amendment of the City Charter as would provide for a reduction in the number of Aldermen and for the election of a Board of Commissioners. This effort resulted successfully in 1909, but unfortunately the amendments to the Charter submitted by the Citizens Committee were so changed in their passage through the Legislature that the Board of Commissioners did not possess the full powers it was intended to give them, and the result has been that, while the Commissioners have done much for the City, many of their plans for its advantage have been frustrated by the City Council and hence the hope for improvement in the condition of the City has been only partially realized. Your Council, therefore, in October last, joined with the following other organizations in an endeavour to secure such further amendments to the City Charter as would give the Board of Commissioners all executive powers, leaving with the City Council the general legislative powers and the making of by-laws: Montreal Trades and Labour Council, Canadian Manufacturers’ Association, La Chambre de Commerce, Montreal Citizens’ Association, Association Immobilière Montréal, Montreal Business Men’s League.

The substance of these amendments was as follows:

“That the Commissioners shall prepare the annual budget and the supplementary budget, and submit each to the City Council, which shall have the power to amend them by a two-thirds majority, or to reject them by a majority.

[190]

“That in the event of the budget not being adopted, amended or rejected within a certain period, it would be considered adopted.

“That once the budget is adopted, with or without amendment, the entire control of the expenditure, within the limits prescribed by the budget, would be left to the Board of Commissioners.

“That the Board of Commissioners shall have the appointment, suspension, dismissal and full control in all respects of all employees, including the heads of departments.

“That the initiative as to loans and franchises shall be with the Board of Commissioners, subject to approval by the City Council, who could amend or reject by a two-thirds majority.

“That the general legislative power and the making of by-laws shall be with the City Council, but the Board of Commissioners shall have all executive powers.

“That if any change in the composition of the City Council is decided upon, it would best be obtained by dividing the city into five wards (each to elect three aldermen), such division to be made equitably in proportion to population, assessed value and possible growth.

“Amendments to the City Charter Bill, based upon the foregoing, were presented to the Private Bills Committee at Quebec by the Citizens Association, the Board of Trade and other leading associations resulted in their adoption, with a slight change and thus the Board of Commissioners is now in possession of the powers necessary for the proper discharge of its duties.”

It is to be noted that, by a strange oversight of the framers of the amended charter, the following important clause in the original charter for the Board of Control was omitted: “To make all recommendations involving the expenditure of money. No recommendation involving the expenditure of money, and affecting in any manner whatever the finances of the city shall be adopted by the Council without it having been previously submitted to the Board of Commissioners and approved by them.” There was, however, added the power to conclude without tender, urgent purchase of materials not exceeding the value of $2,500.

The elections of 1912, in which the four controllers, who had completed their term of four years, did not compete, resulted in the election of Mr. L.A. Lavallée, K.C., as the next mayor. Among the new aldermen elected were several of those who had been scored in Judge Cannon’s report, so short-lived is a city’s remembrance. During the next two years the position of the Board of Control was further jeopardized by organized opposition from the part of the council, but the evident value of the system still retained the favour of the people.

In preparation for the campaign of 1914 the chief civic bodies of the city called together by the Citizens Association sought to diminish the number of the aldermen further by a redistribution of the city into five districts with three aldermen to each, with the object of the abolition of the small ward system as such. An amendment to the charter was prepared for five districts with three aldermen to each, and presented to the legislative committee of the Provincial Government at Quebec. Its delegation obtained a lukewarm reception as its opponents, within the Council, fearing to be reduced in number in the city hall, had forestalled the deputation by previous action. In addition it was thought that the redistribution demanded was premature. The “status quo” therefore remained, and at the municipal elections of 1914 the organized reaction against the Citizens Association[191] leading the reform party was very clearly marked in the results of the poll. An attempt was made to vilify the Citizens Association for its efforts to provide a harmonious “slate” representative of the different elements in the city; disorganization and want of cohesion reigned among those otherwise interested in good government, and the unwritten law which should have offered the mayoralty this year to an English-speaking citizen was broken.

This election was the most important of recent years, the positions of mayor, four controllers and thirty-two aldermen being vacant. The mayor elected was the Mr. Médéric Martin, the controllers being Mr. Joseph Ainey, E. Napoléon Hébert, Thomas Coté and Duncan McDonald. The personnel of the Council was likewise overwhelmingly French Canadian.

This Government is now under trial. Let us repeat the city’s motto “Concordia Salus.”

There are not wanting signs in forecast that the reduction of the number of wards will take place on the lines above indicated. Montreal civic students of this period, seeing the growth of the Greater Montreal, are groping towards some coherent system, which will eventually embrace the whole island while securing the local government of its various subdistricts or municipality. Another movement of the future connected with the foregoing will be a larger measure of Civic Home Rule, than is at present allowed by the Province of Quebec.

The system of the financial government of the city by the Board of Control is not, however, universally approved of, especially by the aldermen. The fault lies in the manner of election of the mayor, aldermen and the controllers, all being elected by the people on a Democratic basis of public favour; hence there is likelihood of temporary popularity rather than special professional ability being the criterion in the selection of controllers and the mayor, who is, by his office, chairman of their board.

There are, therefore, at present several theories under discussion which will influence a further change of the latest charter amendments.

Among these are the following:

(1) The appointment by the Provincial Legislature of a Board of Control. This militates against the upholders of Civic Home Rule and is a partial recurrence to the old system of Justices of the Peace, appointed by Government before the erection of the municipality.

(2) The removal of the Board of Control and the restitution of the standing committees as hitherto. This has not proved successful in the past.

(3) The aldermen to be elected by the city at large through five or six great divisions.

(4) The election of the councillors by the city at large with the establishment of a permanent “Board of Works” with at least a fair proportion of professional men, such as engineers, who shall be appointed by the people for a long term of usefulness so as to encourage the best men to devote a life service in the city’s employ.

(5) The mayor to be elected by the people but not to sit as chairman of the Board of Control. This Board to be elected only by the votes of the electors entered as “proprietors” on the voters list. Thus, with property qualifications for controllers added perhaps, a more judicious choice could be made. The election of alderman to be as before or by larger divisions.

Of these modifications the last compromise has more weight.

[192]

NOTE 1

MAYORS OF MONTREAL

Term.Name.Elected by.
1833-36Jacques Viger The Council
(The interval was filled again by the Justices of the Peace.)
1840Hon. Peter McGillGovernor General
1841-42Hon. Peter McGill (2 terms)The Council
1843-44Joseph Bourret (2 terms)The Council
1845-46Hon. James FerrierThe Council
1847John E. Mills (died in November, was
replaced by Joseph Bourret)
The Council
1848Joseph BourretThe Council
1849-50E.R. FabreThe Council
1851-52-53Hon. Charles Wilson (3 terms)The People
1854-55Wolfred NelsonThe People
1856-57Hon. Henry Starnes (2 terms)The People
1858-59-60-61Hon. Charles S. Rodier (4 terms)The People
1862-63-64-65Hon. J.L. Beaudry (4 terms)The People
1866-67Hon. Henry Starnes (2 terms)The People
1867-68-69William Workman (3 terms)The People
1871-72Charles J. Coursol (2 terms)The People
1873Francis Cassidy (died in June,
1873, being replaced by Aldis
Bernard)
The People
1874Aldis BernardThe People
1875-76Sir William Hingston (2 terms)The People
1877-78Hon. J.L. Beaudry (2 terms)The People
1879-80Hon. Severe Rivard (2 terms)The People
1881-82-83-84Hon. J.L. Beaudry (4 terms)The People
1885-86H. Beaugrand (2 terms)The People
1887-88Sir J.J.C. Abbott (2 terms)The People
1889-90Jacques Grenier (2 terms)The People
1891-92Hon. James McShane (2 terms)The People
1893Alphonse DesjardinsThe People
1894-95Hon. J.O. Villeneuve (2 terms)The People
1896-97R. Wilson Smith (2 terms)The People
1898-99-1900-01 *Hon. Raymond Préfontaine (3 terms)The People
1902-03James CochraneThe People
1904-05H. LaporteThe People
1906-07H.A. EkersThe People
1908-09L. PayetteThe People
1910-11Hon. J.J. GuerinThe People
1912-13L.A. LavalléeThe People
1913-14Médéric MartinThe People

* By the new charter to begin with 1900 the term of mayor was now increased to two years.

[193]

NOTE II

COMPARATIVE STATEMENT OF GENERAL REVENUE OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL, FROM 1880 TO 1912

Assessment on real
estate.

Water rate.
Business and personal
tax.
YearCurrent
year
Arrears Current
year
Arrears Current
year
Arrears
1880$ 582,100.31$ 190,866.89$ 327,104.61$ 37,846.38$146,148.23$14,726.00
1881612,255.49239,469.45364,797.4733,640.71145,957.0613,690.77
1882643,687.06190,534.03384,936.5125,820.51147,949.5714,409.82
1883676,613.03187,408.78395,768.7427,301.43150,578.6915,941.73
1884708,134.15155,180.45424,014.3834,126.87156,552.3223,523.55
1885748,507.00142,092.33412,660.0427,739.88164,872.6527,181.73
1886798,041.29192,874.42468,398.7249,712.67167,052.1819,132.84
1887842,852.25109,218.52502,408.7235,657.91175,320.7226,255.86
1888895,298.75137,475.38533,614.6048,638.03183,394.4429,968.13
1889936,528.54139,897.14578,312.1956,617.51188,181.9731,547.90
1890991,620.11154,769.43539,917.3748,489.27187,383.5743,583.58
18911,027,719.09174,498.63610,401.75115,879.28188,398.8244,661.04
18921,129,198.38208,519.69532,699.0076,086.76190,375.4249,987.64
18931,238,494.32218,969.31559,666.0680,509.28204,052.8151,332.26
18941,257,092.01312,836.50544,739.9176,061.81200,414.6948,692.44
18951,270,846.41307,656.66524,930.9481,914.08194,972.0755,850.02
18961,271,628.00384,043.97539,740.8298,472.93190,191.6663,607.71
18971,290,911.32386,608.08546,515.51101,250.89202,234.8466,407.16
18981,313,352.17394,688.51589,188.08183,163.07204,464.4856,453.88
18991,277,513.19388,715.13596,851.18119,868.04205,471.4963,398.28
19001,250,163.18524,900.81565,239.23139,196.59199.447.8664,879.10
19011,304,407.26580,162.53663,767.73140,590.76233,329.6171,463.20
19021,319,782.89536,518.81662,467.1182,253.19240,932.4449,114.44
19031,386,212.56564,227.48706,285.4993,339.97275,618.2657,703.28
19041,486,917.48531,599.76737,518.1592,634.46272,081.8242,599.27
19051,672,867.93613,298.99792,649.33110,868.30310,909.0646,218.33
19061,933,357.09539,999.99849,222.70114,373.15347,924.8042,512.48
19071,979,426.63721,218.19885,686.24131,719.63364,117.2748,306.12
19082,160,037.12864,946.19786,825.16148,894.53413,888.7459,813.81
19092,542,513.68962,555.19860,925.60113,733.26473,248.2664,269.42
19102,915,396.101,026,172.07934,362.14104,250.34538,678.1451,383.66
19113,344,172.041,328,208.871,037,436.56114,608.06619,855.0858,105.94
19124,176,083.471,547,827.751,174,773.84132,365.69739,384.9566,028.93

[194]

COMPARATIVE STATEMENT OF GENERAL REVENUE OF THE CITY OF MONTREAL, FROM 1880 TO 1912 CONTINUED

YearMarketsLicensesRecorder’s
Court
MiscellaneousInterestYearly
totals
1880$ 30,366.85$ 43,635.35$ 7,770.57$ 40,008.23$ 24,956.94$1,495,616.39
188177,709.4245,001.3212,665.0335,824.0435,706.651,617,117.41
188280,364.5048,275.3014,380.7235,982.9026,940.951,618,221.87
188381,777.7150,968.1511,130.6242,307.4430,474.541,670,270.91
188486,853.0454,077.7012,019.1547,597.3939,541.191,732,620.69
188585,242.0160,006.8011,547.0841,179.6024,991.311,746,020.43
188689,086.7765,579.0018,003.9857,259.5633,717.821,908,859.25
188789,279.6970,264.8225,053.0639,491.9532,589.571,948,393.07
188888,336.3774,269.4826,097.6433,404.4745,913.482,095,411.27
188983,308.6476,475.1522,883.4141,081.3167,263.632,222,097.39
189082,705.6381,365.8526,269.5942,269.3342,557.562,240,931.29
189185,533.9381,370.0023,445.9153,196.7734,971.512,440,076.73
189280,470.9166,627.0022,412.2557,650.1744,925.522,458,952.74
189380,686.8166,654.2516,314.4994,004.6640,471.312,651,155.56
189476,970.5966,823.9117,356.0292,052.6456,295.232,743,335.75
189578,697.9872,755.2314,506.1998,740.4356,790.922,757,660.93
189677,362.8270,767.5014,372.9891,194.6964,678.402,866,061.48
189777,599.2579,555.2517,341.6899,197.8554,303.552,921,925.38
189876,190.4178,546.0013,961.57115,985.2552,845.733,078,839.15
189974,419.99101,009.8020,569.05105,263.4851,649.093,004,728.72
190075,363.96121,348.0031,578.77121,854.7663,642.073,157,614.33
190186,190.48132,064.7726,957.69124,309.2469,992.613,433,235.88
190284,790.51140,955.7526,032.01144,287.2892,085.473,379,219.90
190390,384.42151,957.0025,827.64144,721.6058,150.263,554,428.96
190497,451.78179,706.5033,431.38178,180.6543,135.003,695,256.25
1905100,761.59204,688.7543,186.37208,713.7845,399.614,149,562.04
1906102,305.08223,008.1538,851.88293,499.5456,001.634,541,056.49
1907108,801.41244,618.0738,927.38306,511.2968,943.864,898,276.09
1908111,260.20243,418.2547,944.03353,515.9367,700.395,258,244.35
1909112,555.26261,789.0037,352.83361,658.19107,393.455,897,994.14
1910106,690.76315,447.5057,278.12435,478.08130,564.676,615,701.58
1911109,407.42371,252.5068,100.61445,024.90160,661.267,656,833.24
1912112,167.43422,013.5780,150.35566,092.70173,767.819,190,656.49

The annexation of the suburban municipalities, begun in 1883, has added partially to the revenue.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Before 1815 Commander Jacques Viger had introduced the beaver into a fancy coat of arms.

2 In 1844 the council which hitherto sat in a house belonging to Madame de Beaujeiu, situated between St. Francois Xavier and St. John streets on Notre Dame Street, and demolished in 1858 on the enlargement of the latter street, was moved to the Hayes Acqueduct House and sat below the reservoir. In 1852 it held its first sessions in the Bonsecours Market.

3 Mr. Henry Dalby, Herald Centennary number, 1913.


[195]

CHAPTER XXI

SUPPLEMENTAL ANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS OF SOCIAL LIFE UNDER THE UNION

FOREWORD—MARKED PROGRESS GENERAL—THE EMBRYONIC COSMOPOLIS—THE DEEPENING OF LAKE ST. PETER—FOUNDATION OF PHILANTHROPIES—LIVING CHEAP—THE MONTREAL DISPENSARY—RASCO’S HOTEL AND CHARLES DICKENS—PRIVATE THEATRICALS—MONTREAL AS SEEN BY “BOZ”—DOLLY’S AND THE GOSSIPS—THE MUNICIPAL ACT—ELECTION RIOTS—LITERARY AND UPLIFT MOVEMENTS—THE RAILWAY ERA COMMENCES—THE SHIP FEVER—A RUN ON THE SAVINGS’ BANK—THE REBELLION LOSSES BILL AND THE BURNING OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE—RELIGIOUS FANATICISM—GENERAL D’URBAN’S FUNERAL—A CHARITY BALL—THE GRAND TRUNK INCORPORATORS—EDUCATIONAL MOVEMENTS—THE “BLOOMERS” APPEAR—M’GILL UNIVERSITY REVIVAL—THE GREAT FIRE OF 1852—THE GAVAZZI RIOTS—PROGRESS IN 1853—THE CRIMEAN WAR OF 1854—THE PATRIOTIC FUND—THE ASIATIC CHOLERA—THE ATLANTIC SERVICE FROM MONTREAL—ADMIRAL BELVEZE’S VISIT—PARIS EXHIBITION PREPARATIONS—“S.S. MONTREAL” DISASTER—THE INDIAN MUTINY—THE FIRST OVERSEAS CONTINGENT—THE ATLANTIC CABLE CELEBRATED—A MAYOR OF THE PERIOD—THE RECEPTION OF ALBERT EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES—FORMAL OPENING OF THE VICTORIA BRIDGE—THE GREAT BALL—“EDWARD THE PEACEMAKER”—THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR—MONTREAL FOR THE SOUTH—FEAR OF WAR—CITIZEN RECRUITING—THE MILITARY—OFFICERS OF THE PERIOD—PEACE—THE SOUTHERNERS—THE WAR SCARE THE BIRTH OF MODERN MILITIA SYSTEM—THE MILITARY FETED—CIVIC PROGRESS—FENIAN THREATS—D’ARCY McGEE—SHAKESPEARE CENTENARY—GERMAN IMMIGRANTS’ DISASTER—ST. ALBAN’S RAIDERS—RECIPROCITY WITH THE UNITED STATES TO END—ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE CITY COUNCIL—THE FIRST FENIAN RAID—MONTREAL ACTION—MILITARY ENTHUSIASM—THE DRILL HALL—A RETROSPECT AND AN APPRECIATION OF THE LATTER DAYS OF THE UNION.

“Annals and sidelights” best suits the title of this chapter, and as such are necessarily disjointed, the events recorded reflect a corresponding note. Therefore, origins and seeds are only indicated, of many movements which have since grown to great proportions. These latter, such as primary, secondary, technical, and university education, the public services of fire, water, lighting, health, law and order; the commencements of commercial and financial bodies; the growth of the municipal life, as such; the development and modernization of the harbour and of our public places; the progress of general city improvement; the development[196] of our transportation system by canal, river and roads by rail and by carriage; the charitable, the religious, the national, the literary, the intellectual and the artistic institutions of the city, etc., are left for special historical treatment in the second part of this volume.

In this place the general social aspect of the life of the city is chronologically treated, with partial reference at times to the above as they make their first bow to the public under the Union. A similar foreword might preface a subsequent chapter of annals of social life under the Confederation.

The picture presented by Montreal at the beginning of the Union was one of hopeful promise. The bill, when understood, was acceptable to most, and it soon became seen, that with responsible government,—though a daring experiment,—in working order, peace and prosperity would be assured. The re-birth of municipal life insured by the new charter was also gratifying. The mayor and corporation and the institution of the recorder’s court gave a dignity soothing to civic “amour propre.” City development in municipal functions, in the public services and physical embellishments, began to be marked. Trade began to raise its head, for Montreal was becoming recognized as the commercial metropolis of Canada. The meeting of April 6, 1841, to organize the new board of trade, was a significant fact of the period of progress now anticipated. The improvement in the harbour facilities, of the water transportation system, and the advent of the railway era soon to be celebrated, also marked the beginning of a new period of progress.

The city, too, was coming to be recognized as an embryonic cosmopolis. It was already beginning to have a mixed population. Sir Richard Bonnycastle, who visited Montreal in the year before the Union, has described this in “The Canadas in 1841” (Volume I, pp. 76-77). “In this city, one is amused by seeing the never changing lineaments of the long queue, the bonnet rouge and the incessant garrulity of Jean Baptiste, mingling with the sober demeanour, the equally unchanging feature and the national plaid of the Highlander, while the untutored sons of labour, from the green isle of the ocean, are here as thoughtless, as ragged and as numerous as at Quebec. Amongst all these the shrewd and calculating citizen from the neighbouring republic drives his hard bargain with all his wonted zeal and industry, amid the fumes of Jamaica and gin sling. These remarks apply to the streets only. In the counting houses, although the races remain the same, the advantages of situation and of education make the same differences as in other countries. I cannot, however, help thinking that the descendant of the Gaul has not gained by being transplanted; and the vastly absurd notions which a few turbulent spirits have of late engendered and endeavoured to instil into the unsophisticated and naturally good mind of the Canadian, tilling the soil, have tended to restrict the exercise of that inborn urbanity and suavity which are the Frenchman’s proudest boast after those of ‘l’amour et la gloire.’”

At the beginning of this period great ideas are reflected in the newspapers, such as the Herald and the Times.

The deepening of Lake St. Peter was a burning theme at the time; and there is abundant editorial comment in the connection.

“The governor-general has sanctioned the immediate deepening of Lake St. Peter,” says the editor;[197] “but it appears that there was great difficulty in getting the proper dredging machines manufactured.”

“We have other resources at our command,” exclaimed the editor; “and the manufacturers of New York or Great Britain would gladly accept orders to any extent. The aid of steam, all powerful steam, must be invoked. We have no hesitation in saying that the expenditure of £100,000, if that sum would suffice to deepen Lake St. Peter, would be submitted to with perfect prudence.

“Few will be dogmatical enough to deny that when the navigation is free, ships descending the river may avoid the use of steam tugs; and if we calculate the saving thus effected upon 200 vessels annually at £30 each, the amount thus realized would suffice to pay the interest on a loan at 6 per cent.

“A brisk, fair, and continuous breeze would ensure the speedy, safe and cheap progress of ships up the St. Lawrence, and augment the extent of our commercial marine.”

Referring, in another part of the paper, to the actual commencement of the work of deepening Lake St. Peter, which only gave eleven feet of water, the Times says:

“Improvements thus disseminating the germs of future wealth and prosperity command the applause of every colonist. The spirit of patriotism must be dormant, indeed, in the breasts of those who would thwart the efforts of a governor, who has thus identified himself with the system of internal navigation.

“The repose of the colony has been too long disturbed by those theoretical revolutions which sprang from the fluctuating councils of the late Viceroy. A healthier tone of feeling has been produced; and the practical labours of Sir Charles Bagot bid fair to soothe the asperities of political warfare. Under his auspices the deepening of Lake St. Peter has been commenced and ere his departure, we trust the undertaking will be brought to maturity.”

Since then something in the neighborhood of $20,000,000 have been spent between the work of deepening and lighting and buoying the channel, and the extension and improvement of the port of Montreal.

The editors of these days had to burn the midnight oil or tallow candle, for then gas was not general. As for matches, the old tinder chips dipped in sulphur ind ignited by use of the flint still prevailed. The rich used wax candles or lamps, but the poor made their own “dips,” or for the nonce, even small improvised lamps out of spoons filled with oil. Tallow candle moulds were the prized possession of many poor houses before the manufactured candles became cheap on the market. When coal oil came, it was looked on as a miracle.

The town was inadequately provided with water works, as it was not till 1845 that the municipality took over the old-fashioned plant in Montreal, and the old puncheons, driven by horses still went from door to door distributing the water taken from the river.

Place d’Armes was still a poor straggling square, though it was faced by the handsome new Notre Dame Church, opened in 1829. At this time there still stood the bell tower of the old Parish Church, standing solitary like a lighthouse till 1843. Crossing the square the genteel folk, the wives of doctors, lawyers, and merchants, would come from their residences on St. James and Craig streets to the Bonsecours Market, not ashamed to carry their baskets. There the “habitants” from the country could be seen dressed in blue or gray homespun cloth suits, with their picturesque, heavy knitted sashes and wearing the tuque and moccasins in winter.

For as yet, the city was in truth of small size. A four-paged, demi-zinc copy of the Times and Commercial Advertiser, the first daily to be printed in Montreal,[198] of the issue of March 3, 1842, gives a glimpse of this. An advertisement announces that a three-storey stone house at the head of Coté Street, “enjoys a commanding situation in a most quiet and healthy part of Montreal and which nevertheless is within five minutes walk of the business part of the city.” Splendid dwelling houses are for rent on Great St. James Street suitable for genteel families.

Yet life was intense and earnest and the bases of many of the present educational, philanthropic and artistic associations were being laid. This same number of the Times mentions that the

“The Montreal Provident and Savings Bank, which has just been projected, under the patronage of the governor-general, and which is to receive deposits of from one shilling and upwards, is a patriotic institution, as the directors and all concerned have only the advantage of the entire community at heart, receiving nothing for their services, and desiring, chiefly, to extend, by this means, the basis of social order and morality, and religion. For these reasons the directors respectfully entreat the ministers of religion, masters employing numerous bodies of workmen, and all having influence, to exert the same; and by the sanction of their names, and the moral weight of their advice, to induce the numerous classes, for whose use it is chiefly intended, to avail themselves of the benefits which the institution holds out for their acceptance.”

Living was cheap and quite a good deal could be bought with but a little money. Money, however, was scarce and wages were small. Twenty-five cents would buy a pair of chickens, 15 cents a pound of butter, 10 cents a dozen eggs and 5 cents a pound of beef. A man would work for 50 cents a day and walk many miles to his job. A mechanic who got $1, earned good wages. Clothing was expensive, and consequently simplicity ruled. Yet furs were cheap in comparison with the present date. Ladies would wear very large muffs, capable of holding in their mysterious interiors a week’s supply of groceries. Long boas were worn twice wound around the neck, and reaching to the toes. The dresses of the middle class of women and girls were for the most part print, with thick homespun for winter wear. Boys would go to the few schools in the town in “moleskins” as woolen was expensive. They would often come home on a rainy afternoon with their moleskin trousers shrunk up to their knees.

The houses of the ordinary working class were built for the most part of wood and consisted of one storey and a garret. Rents ran from about two dollars to four dollars a month.

In 1843 a dispensary which is still flourishing today was started and came as a great supplementary aid to the hospitals of the city. This was the Montreal Dispensary with which so many of our best citizens have been connected.

The memory of Rasco’s suggests that of the famous “Dolly,” J.H. Isaacson, who came out from England as a waiter here in 1838, but afterwards started for himself in a restaurant on St. François Xavier Street overlooking the Garden of the Seminary. He later moved to St. James Street, close to St. Lawrence Hall, a famous hostelry of this period, built in 1851, on the site where the Royal Bank now stands. His chop house became famous as “Dolly’s” from the original “Dolly’s” in London. Dolly, a little typical old John Bull of a Boniface, with[199] shining face beaming benevolence, with a ready fund of repartee and trenchant criticism, and resplendent in velvet coat, knee breeches and irreproachable calves, white silk stockings and silver buckles on his shoes, was in great favour with the military.

The social life of the period found one of its highest points of reflex in Rasco’s Hotel, on Bonsecours Street, which still stands, though with diminished glory. But when it was opened on May 1, 1836, it was, during the Union, the resort of the fine people of the time. It had the politicians gathered together during the rebellion of 1837 and it was for long the home for banquets. It expressed the social life of the time. The garrison officers knew it well. Distinguished strangers put up there as did Charles Dickens, who arrived from Niagara Falls in the spring of 1842. As private theatricals were then the rage, and were greatly promoted by the officers to while away the time, the histrionic ability of the great novelist was called into requisition at the first Theatre Royal, standing nearly opposite until it was pulled down to make room for the Bonsecours Market.

In one of the author’s letters from Montreal quoted in Forster’s “Life of Charles Dickens,” he says: “The theatricals, I think I told you I had been invited to play with the officers of the Coldstream Guards here, are ‘A Roland for an Oliver,’ ‘Two O’Clock in the Morning,’ and either ‘The Young Widow,’ or ‘Deaf as a Post,’ Ladies (unprofessional) are going to play for the first time.”

His last letter, dated from Rasco’s Hotel, Montreal, Canada, 26th of May, 1842, described the private theatricals and inclosed a bill of the play:

“The play came off last night, the audience, between five and six hundred strong, were invited as to a party, a regular table with refreshments being spread in the lobby and saloon. We had the band of the 23d (one of the finest in the service) in the orchestra; the theatre was lighted with gas, the scenery was excellent and the properties were all brought from the private houses. Sir Charles Bagot, Sir Richard Jackson and their staffs were present, and as the military portion of the audience were all in uniform it was really a splendid scene.

“I really believe I was really funny; at least, I know that I laughed heartily myself and made the part a character such as you and I know very well—a mixture of F. Harley Yates, Keeley and ‘Jerry Sneak.’ It went with a vim all the way through; and as I am closing, they have told me that I was so well made up that Sir Charles Bagot, who sat in the stage box, had no idea who played ‘Mr. Snobbington’ until the piece was over. * * *

“All the ladies were capital and we had no wait or hitch for an instant. You may suppose this when I tell you that we began at eight and had the curtain down at eleven. * * * It is their custom here to prevent heart-burnings, in a very heart-burning town, whenever they have played in private, to repeat the performance in public, so on Saturday (substituting, of course, real actresses for the ladies) we repeat the two first pieces to a paying audience, for the manager’s benefit. * * * I send you a bill to which I have appended a key.”


The programme was as follows:

[200]

PRIVATE THEATRICALS.

Committee

Mrs. TorrensW.E. Ermatinger, Esq.
Mrs. BerryCapt. Torrens
The Earl of Mulgrave.
Stage ManagerCharles Dickens

Queen’s Theatre, Montreal,
Wednesday Evening, May 25, 1842.
Will Be Performed

A ROLAND FOR AN OLIVER.

Mrs. SelborneMrs. Torrens
Maria DarlingtonMiss Griffin
Mrs. FixtureMiss Ermatinger
Mr. SelborneLord Mulgrave
Alfred HighflyerMr. Charles Dickens
Sir Mark ChaseHon. Mr. Methuen
FixtureCaptain Willoughby
GamekeeperCaptain Granville

After the Interlude, in one scene,
(from the French) called

PAST TWO O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING

The StrangerCaptain Granville
Mr. SnobbingtonMr. Charles Dickens

To conclude with the farce, in one act, entitled

DEAF AS A POST.

Mrs. PlumpleyMrs. Torrens
Amy TempletonMrs. Charles Dickens
Sophy WaltonMrs. Perry
Sally MaggsMiss Griffin
Captain TempletonCaptain Torrens
Mr. WaltonCaptain Willoughby
Tristram SappyDoctor Griffin
CrupperLord Mulgrave
GallopMr. Charles Dickens

Montreal, May 24, 1842.
Gazette Office.
RASCO’S HOTEL OPENED IN 1836, ST. PAUL STREET

RASCO’S HOTEL OPENED IN 1836, ST. PAUL STREET

The leading hotel in the ’30s, standing on site of former palace of Gov. Gen. Vaudreuil. This building, with original name on it, can be seen today although changed on lower floors.

THEATRE ROYAL, AT EASTERN EXTREMITY OF ST. PAUL STREET

THEATRE ROYAL, AT EASTERN EXTREMITY OF ST. PAUL STREET

Built by subscription in 1825, afterwards owned by Mr. John Molson.

PROGRAMME OF DICKENS’ PLAYS GIVEN AT THEATRE ROYAL DURING THE AUTHOR’S VISIT.

PROGRAMME OF DICKENS’ PLAYS GIVEN AT THEATRE ROYAL DURING THE AUTHOR’S VISIT.

CHARLES DICKENS

CHARLES DICKENS

[201]

Dickens visited the Bonsecours Church hard by, and met the leading citizens in the News Room on St. Sulpice Street, and cantered with the officers over the mountain or rode out to Lachine and the Back River. “All the rides in the vicinity,” he says in his American Notes, “were made doubly interesting by the bursting out of spring which is here so rapid that it is but a day’s leap from barren winter to the blooming youth of summer.” In the same recollections he refers to the quiet manners of the Canadian people, their self-respect, their hospitality in Montreal and the unassuming manners of their life. He notes the modernizing spirit even of that day. “There is a very large cathedral here, recently erected with two small spires, of which one is as yet unfinished. In the open space in front of this edifice stands a solitary, grim-looking square brick tower which has a quaint and remarkable appearance and which the wiseacres of this place have consequently determined to pull down immediately.” This the vandals did in 1843.

Walking along the quays he admired “the granite quays” which are remarkable for their beauty, solidity and extent. Referring to his walk here and his interest in the immigrants, he says: “In the spring time of the year vast numbers of emigrants who have newly arrived from England or from Ireland pass between Quebec and Montreal on their way to the back woods and new settlements of Canada. If it be an entertaining lounge, as I have found it, to take a morning stroll upon the quays of Montreal and see the groups in hundreds on the public wharfs about their chests and boxes, it is matter of deep interest to be their fellow passenger on one of these steamboats and, mingling with the concourse, see and hear them unobserved.”

Then follows a characteristic digression of the Master’s sympathetic pleading for the poor.

At the above meeting places the events of the day would have been discussed by the gossips, such as the marriage of Queen Victoria on February 10, 1840, the shooting at of the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on June 10, 1841, Her Majesty’s coronation of June 28th, the birth of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on November 9th, and the progress of preparations for the union proclaimed on February 10th in Montreal by Lord Sydenham. Municipal politics would have become an absorbing topic of conversation on January 1, 1842, when the municipal act went into force. On March 11th when the Montreal Board of Trade was incorporated, and on July 9th when the Shamrock was lost in the St. Lawrence, with its many immigrants there was plenty to discuss. Montreal, in 1843, talked of the birth of Princess Alice on April 25th, the visit to Montreal of the new governor general, Lord Metcalfe, on June 12th, while the “Nolle Sequi” against Wolfred Nelson, Dr. E.B. O’Callaghan and T.S. Brown renewed the painful memories of the revolt of 1837. This year the scientists and educationalists rejoiced at the Museum of Geological Survey then opened in the city. And again when, in 1844, the Mercantile Library Association purchased the Montreal Library and the Institut Canadien was formed.

Great interest prevailed in political circles when the seat of government was removed to Montreal on March 5th of this year, and the House met on July 1st.

On November 12th, such an election was held that many of the oldest inhabitants remember it still. It was the days of open voting and sometimes lasted for weeks. Axe handles were used, heads were broken, the “claret” flowed, and[202] the opposing parties used to keep men drunk in the taverns so that the other side could not get their men to the polls. Such scenes were long repeated, notably in the “Barney” Devlin and D’Arcy McGee election contests. The fight on this occasion was between Drummond and Molson. Drummond was Irish and it was recalled that he had been the defending lawyer for the rebels in 1837. The French-Canadians, therefore, rallied to his support and Molson was beaten. Parliament met on November 28th.

On March 27, 1845, Parliament was prorogued and on July 1st the new governor, Lord Cathcart, arrived. This year various educational movements were furthered. Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, was opened and the Mechanics’ Institute, so long in existence as an educational force, was incorporated. In December, John Dougall issued his specimen Witness and the first weekly Witness was published on January 5, 1846. Meanwhile the commission appointed in 1845 to investigate the rebellion losses indemnities was sitting and on April 18, 1846, it presented its report that the sum of £100,000 would be sufficient to pay all real losses. Already bitter feeling was being aroused among the English on this point. But the railway era, then commencing, diverted some attention from their grievances. In June, James Ferrier and others sought a charter for a railway from Kingston to Prescott and John A. Macdonald, then beginning his parliamentary career, and others, sought one from Montreal to Kingston, John Molson and others demanding one from St. Johns to the international boundary. On August 10th, on the Champ de Mars, a gathering of 2,000 Montrealers resolved to have a railway to the sea. Men were seeing visions and the Hon. John Young wrote this year to the Economist, advocating a bridge across the St. Lawrence. His dream was to come true.

The year 1847 saw the line from Montreal to Lachine opened. Otherwise the year was one of disaster—that of the ship fever. In this year 100,000 emigrants, mostly from Ireland, escaping the scourge of typhus fever and famine, came to Canada, but being exposed to ship fever nearly 10,000 became its victims; hundreds and hundreds died. The quarantine station of Grosse Isle was the most pestilential spot in the country. Every ship that could be chartered, good, bad and indifferent, was engaged in transporting emigrants. They were all slow-going vessels. Through want of sufficient room, neglect of ventilation, need of eatable food and cleanliness, the worst form of typhus soon appeared. “On the 8th day of May,” says Maguire’s “Irish in America,” “on the arrival of the ‘Urania’ from Cork, with several hundred immigrants on board, a large proportion of them sick and dying of the ship fever, it was put into quarantine at Grosse Isle, thirty miles below Quebec. This was the first of the plague-smitten ships from Ireland which that year sailed up the St. Lawrence. But before the first week of June as many as eighty-four ships of various tonnage were driven in by easterly gales. Of all the vessels there was not one free from the taint of malignant typhus, the offspring of famine and of the foul ship-hold.”

Montreal suffered terribly, also. There the Government caused to be erected three sheds of provisory hospitals from 100 to 150 feet in length and from 40 to 50 feet in width on the river banks at Point St. Charles. Soon eleven sheds had to be erected to receive the sick. In June, the city was in consternation and many fled to the country. But there were many who did noble service. The governor general, Lord Elgin, who had made his first coming to Montreal on January 29th,[203] visited the sheds; the mayor, John E. Mills, also made frequent visits and in November his assiduous devotion brought him low in death, a martyr to civic duty. The clergy, the doctors and the women of the city, Catholic and Protestants, were heroic in their services. The priests hurried down to the sick who were mostly Catholics, but only a few, two Sulpicians and a Jesuit, du Ranquet, could speak English adequately. In this extremity the rector of the Jesuits, who had returned to the city since 1842, sent to Fordham University, and two priests, Fathers du Merle and Michael Driscoll, were sent to assist Father du Ranquet, who was the first of the Montreal priests on the ground. This devoted man found the sick or dead lying in rows stretched on the bare ground, and there he ministered till 3 o’clock in the morning.

Conditions were soon improved by the municipal authorities. Wooden bunks were built to hold two patients; there were no mattresses but only straw strewn under them. Oftentimes the living lay side by side with the dead. To add to the horror, the letters of this period tell us that “after a few weeks’ service these wooden structures contained colonies of bugs in every cranny; the wool, the cotton, the wood were black with them. Double the number of nurses and servants would not have sufficed to keep this monstrous hospital clean.”

Things were better when the tents to be given to those who, unable to find shelter in the sheds, were placed on the banks of the St. Lawrence with a blanket over them, under the trees. Fortunately it was summertime.

Bishop Bourget called upon the nuns to act as nurses. The Providence Sisters were the first approached, on June 24th. Each one answered simply, “I am ready.” Next morning twelve of these brave women were driven in carriages to the sheds. There they found hundreds of the sick crouched upon straw, wrestling in the agony of death; little children weeping in the arms of their dead mothers; women, themselves stricken, seeking for a beloved husband, amid a doleful chaos of suffering and evil odours. Other nuns were called out; even the enclosed Sisters of the Hôtel Dieu were allowed to leave their cloisters for the sad work of tending the dying and burying the dead in their hastily constructed, rude coffins of planks. Fifty or sixty died each day and their bodies, awaiting burial, were placed in an immense charnel house erected on the river banks. In this were some that were buried alive. Many of the orphans were adopted in the city or cared for by the nuns. For this the Irish population of Montreal love the city with a personal love.

Not only did the mayor die, but numerous others, physicians, clergy and nurses, and the police officers of the city.

The events of 1848 include the flooding, on January 15th, of Wellington and Commissioners streets, and the run on the Savings Bank of the city on July 15th, which was shortly followed by a re-deposit. Educationalists will note the opening of the Jesuits’ College on September 20th in the improvised school at the corner of Alexander and Dorchester streets.

The year 1849 was one of political turmoil already recorded, centering around the rebellion losses bill and resulting in the burning of the Parliament house and the removal of the seat of government from the city, a loss to its social life.

An aspect of the burning of the Parliament house was that, with the political rancour there was mixed, in certain misguided quarters, a fanatical religious frenzy. It was planned to burn the “Grey Nuns,” near at hand, as well as the[204] Jesuits’ residence and St. Patrick’s Church. The menaces came to nothing, owing to the guards of Irish watchers. Yet at the time, according to a letter written from Montreal in August, 1849, by the Jesuit Father Havequez to a friend in France, the Grey Nuns hard by were likely to become a prey to the fire “had not the brave Irish run to the rescue and succeeded, after extraordinary efforts, in mastering the flames.”

The imposing public ceremony this year was the funeral, in the military cemetery on Papineau Road, of Sir Benjamin D’Urban, from whom Durban, in South Africa, bears its name, the charger of the deceased soldier being led through the streets in the procession by the groom, carrying the reversed boots of this companion of Wellington. It was long a remembered incident.

The next year, 1850, saw the first meeting of the Mount Royal Cemetery Company for the burial of non-Catholics and the consecration of the Rev. Francis Fulford in Westminster Abbey as the first Bishop of Montreal, both signs of the growth of the English-speaking population.

This year there was a great charity ball and it is interesting to note that among the subscribers to this ball were the Earl and Countess of Errol; Sir George and Lady Simpson (who lived at Lachine in a big stone mansion, standing on the present site of the Lachine Convent); the Chief Justice and Madame Rolland, Sir James and Lady Alexander, Colonel and Mrs. Dyley, Honorable Mr. and Mrs. Moffatt, Honorable Mr. Justice and Madame Mondelet, Honorable Mr. and Mrs. Drummond, Madame Rochblave, Mr. and Mrs. John Molson, the Commissary General and Mrs. Filder, Honorable Mr. and Madame Rolland, Mr. and Madame de Beaujeau, Honorable Mr. Justice and Mrs. Smith, Mr. Sheriff and Mrs. Coffin, Mr. and Mrs. Ogilvy Moffatt, Captain and Mrs. Claremont, Major and Mrs. MacDougall, Lieut.-Col. Sir Howard Dalrymple, Honorable McCall, Major Chester, Major Colley, Mr. and Mrs. Collingwood, Mr. Arthur Mondelet, Mr. Arthur Lamothe and many others.

The band of the Nineteenth Regiment also attended by kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel Hay.

The Grand Trunk was formed in 1851. The name of the incorporators which follow are also those of familiar families in the city of today: Thomas Allan Stayber, William Collins Meredith, Sir George Simpson, William Macdonald, David Davidson, J.G. McTavish, N. Finlayson, John Rawand, Edward B. Wilgress, John Boston, Theodore Hart, T. McCullough, John Matthewson, John M. Tobin, E.H. Mount, Wilkinson John Torrance, Isaac Gibb, Donald P. Ross, Robert Morris, James Henderson, Aaron H. David, John Ostell, J.H. Birss, William Lunn, Dougall Stewart, C. Wilgress, William Molson, W.S. McFarlane, A. Dow, John Lavanston, Peter McKenzie, D. McKenzie, John McKenzie, Hector McKenzie, William Foster Coffin, Hon. James Ferrier, William Molson, George Crawford, Duncan Finlayson, John Silveright, John Ballenden, Allen Macdonnell, Samuel Gall, Benjamin Hart, John Carter, Andrew Cowan, Walter Benny, John H. Evans, James H. Lamb, W. Watson, Charles H. Castle, J.B. McKenzie, James Crawford, W. Murray, M. McCullough, M.E. David, J.F. Dickson, John Leeming, Jesse Joseph, D.L. Macpherson, James Cormac, Archibald Hall, Hugh Taylor, Colin Campbell, John Simpson, Thomas Taylor, E.M. Hopkins, John Miles, Charles Geddes, John Macdonald, E.T. Renaud, J.D. Watson, and William Cunningham.

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Educational movement also began to gain strength in 1851. The College Ste. Marie on Bleury Street the Young Men’s Christian Association and the new Theatre Royal were opened, while this year the first external signs of the modern movement for woman’s emancipation was strikingly illustrated in July in the streets of Montreal by the appearance for the first time of the “bloomer costume,” made famous at the time by the cartoons of Punch.

Times of commercial prosperity seemed now promised.

The next year, 1852, McGill received its new lease of life, obtaining its new charter, and from this date its success was assured.

The great fire of 1852 started on July 8th; it is said to have burnt 11,000 houses, while thousands were rendered homeless. Money, however, was not scarce, for this year in December £5,000 was raised by merchants for a Merchants’ Exchange. Another financial sidelight is that in October of this year the Bank of Montreal issued its first notes like those of the Bank of England, the denominations being water-marked.

The Gavazzi riot, already described, with the investigations into its cause, was the social excitement for the year 1853, as well as the preparations for the Atlantic service between Montreal and England, secured by the first charter of May 23d.

On July 22d Pier No. 1 of the Victoria Bridge was begun, and on August 24th Lake St. Peter was deepened four feet, two inches. On July 20th of the next year, 1854, the first stone of the Victoria Bridge was laid and on August 2d the first cofferdam was ready for masonry. On October 11th the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railway was opened from Longueuil to Richmond. These facts illustrate the early movement of the era of progress by land and water, then beginning.

Among other events of this year it was announced that accounts could be kept from September 1st to the end of the year, either in pounds, shillings, or pence, or in dollars and cents, the decimal currency being expected to be generally in use by January 1st following. Money order offices were first opened on December 1st; reciprocity was established between Canada and the United States; the seigneurial tenure was abolished and the secularization of clergy reserves was brought about.

The year 1854 was memorable as that of the Crimean War, when the English and French were allied against the Russians. In 1914 all three are allied against a common foe. The social life was invaded by the spirit of patriotism. An appropriation of £20,000 sterling was made by the Canadian Government “in favour of the widows and orphans of England and France.” It was the gift of the people of both French and English descent and the Emperor of the French, in acknowledging the gift, commented on the union of races it implied. A patriotic fund was organized in Montreal by concerts and other forms of charity as in 1914.

The year 1854 is also sadly memorable by the Asiatic cholera which carried off 1,186 persons.

After the commercial depression of 1854, due to the Crimean War, the spring of 1855 saw brighter prosperity.

The annals of this year record as signs of general progress the first issue, in February, of money orders in Canada, the coming into force of the reciprocity act with the United States, the establishment by the H. & A. Allan Company of[206] the Montreal Ocean Steamship Company with four steamers fortnightly, the completion of the general postoffice, the new building of the Mechanics’ Institute, the incorporation of Molson’s bank, and the opening of a new industry through the completion of Redpath’s sugar refinery.

In March the Industrial Exhibition, promoted to select articles to be sent to the coming Paris Exhibition was formally opened by the governor general, Sir Edmund Head, who made his first visit to Montreal on this occasion.

On July 27th the first French ship to sail the St. Lawrence since the conquest reached Montreal under Commander de Belvèze. The object was to obtain information to extend the commercial relations between Canada and France. The occasion, coming so soon after the fall of Sebastopol, was one of great public demonstration, illuminations and torchlight processions, the like of which the city had never yet beheld. The arrival of Admiral Belvèze’s warship, with dinners and receptions, especially among the French citizens, also made 1855 a memorable social year.

In 1856 Montreal was filled with preparations for the great Paris Exhibition and Alfred Perry was voted £500 to represent Montreal. It is remembered that at this exhibition he had a fire fighting invention on show which was lucky enough to be in readiness to stop a conflagration in the exhibition, a fact largely noticed in the continental papers and illustrated journals. A balloon ascension on September 16th in Griffintown, in the “Canada,” is seriously chronicled by the annalists as a striking novelty of the year.

On June 11, 1856, thirty-five lives were lost in the Grand Trunk ferry boat to Longueuil by the explosion of the boiler, through the carelessness of the engineer. The burning of the steamer Montreal off Quebec on June 27, 1857, which was carrying to Montreal about five hundred emigrants who had just arrived from the John McKenzie, caused great excitement in the city and was the occasion of much hospitality. As the immigrants it carried were mostly Scotch, the activities of St. Andrew’s National Society were largely engaged.

On June 18, 1856, the Thirty-ninth Regiment which had fought in the Crimea reached Montreal transported by the John Munn and Quebec. A civic dinner closed the day in the City Concert Hall with covers laid for 1,200 guests.

The 12th and 13th of November saw the city again en fète to celebrate the opening of the Grand Trunk between Toronto and Montreal, which terminated on the 12th in a banquet at Point St. Charles with 4,000 present. The evening of the 13th closed with a promenade through the brilliantly illuminated city with the roar of cannon at intervals and a great ball.

On November 5th a violent hurricane swept over Montreal and on December 10th Christ Church Cathedral was burnt down.

This year the additions and new works of Montreal waterworks were being made ready for use.

The cause of science received a great impetus in the city by the convention which started on Wednesday, August 12, 1857, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was continued for a week, during which the University of McGill, the Natural History Society and other learned organizations entertained their distinguished guests. In September of the same year the Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition was successfully held.

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On September 7th 500 of the Thirty-ninth Regiment left Montreal for active service, for this was the year of the Indian mutiny.

Educational circles remember the year of the meeting in Montreal of the American Association for the Advancement of Learning and as the opening of the Jacques Cartier and the McGill Normal schools for teachers. This was practically the earliest converging point of the two boards of school commissioners in the building up of their educational system.

January 1, 1858, marks the supplanting of the L.S.D. system by the decimal coinage; January 5th, the purchase of the Montreal and Bytown (Ottawa) Railway for £5,300 by Mr. (afterward Sir John) J.J.C. Abbott.

On February 26th, Griffintown was flooded and beds stood three feet in water, being one of the annual spring floods.

The martial enthusiasm of the citizens was evoked in the city in the early part of 1858 by the Indian mutiny, when the Imperial Government accepted the offer of a regiment to be raised in Canada for service abroad under the title of the “One Hundredth Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment.” The recruiting sergeant, with his flying ribbons, fife and drum band and his cry of “Come, boys, and join the war,” was a novelty then. Montreal contributed for the first overseas contingent 110 young men, who drilled with the detachment of 500 men on St. Helen’s Island previous to being embarked for England in July following. This was the first contingent raised for the front, but it did not get as far as India, doing duty at Malta and Gibraltar. None the less, as the old ballad says, “Their will was good to do the deed, that is if they’d have let ’em, with a ‘Re fol de roy, etc.’”

On September 1st the laying of the first Atlantic telegraph cable was celebrated in the city by trades, military and torchlight processions, the latter being two miles long on the average of six abreast. A bonfire on the mountain signalized this occasion.

Next year, 1859, the Prince of Wales presented the One Hundredth Regiment with its colours at Shorncliffe.

On December 12th, the Victoria Bridge was at last opened and on the 17th the first passenger train went through. It was called the “Victoria” after the revered Queen of that name and it was hoped to have had Her Majesty formally open it.

Before leaving the construction works the men engaged placed the great boulder over the resting place of the many victims of the ship fever of 1847. The words of a Montreal lady, Mrs. Leprohon, commemorate the event thus:

“Long since forgotten, here they rest,
Sons of a distant shore
The epoch of their short career
These footprints on life’s sand,
But this stone will tell through many a year
They died on our shores and slumber here.”

This year Mr. Charles S. Rodier was mayor. A picture worth preserving has lately been given of the city hall life of that time. The city was then very small and the questions were comparatively parochial and the revenue was negligible in comparison with today’s, yet the meetings were very important and very dignified[208] and probably more eloquence flowed than now. The English were then predominant and Mr. Rodden was the leader of the council. The mayor, Mr. Rodier, was, as a contemporary has recently described him, “a man of much eccentricity, but a man also of education and ability. He was what you might call an aesthete—well groomed, neat, and polished, to the finger nails; always with his frock coat and silk hat; always ready to make a sweeping bow; always on the watch to assist a lady from her carriage—a lady who might be shopping on Notre Dame Street, which was the great retail street of the city in my young days. It didn’t matter that His Worship was not always acquainted with the ladies; he was naturally a gallant and, anyway, there was less formality in those days than now.”

As he was the first mayor to receive royalty this description will serve as an introduction. Mr. Rodier’s home was at the corner of Guy and St. Antoine streets and was afterward purchased by the Dominion Immigration Agency for its offices.

The next great social event was the reception of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VII, the Peacemaker, and the preparation of the exhibition which was to be opened by him, both in connection with the formal opening of the great Victoria Bridge, marking the era of railways now prevailing.

In preparation for this event the Board of Arts and Manufactures, in March, 1860, decided upon and took immediate steps for the erection of a Crystal Palace for a permanent exhibition on land purchased by them on Peel Street, above St. Catherine Street. On Tuesday, May 22d, a public meeting was held to form the “reception committee fund.” A programme of festivities and functions was drawn up in June. Triumphal arches and illuminations were prepared, the house of the Hon. John Rose, afterward owned by the Ogilvie family, was decorated for the stay of the young prince therein and on Friday, August 24th, the royal visitor, described as a Prince of Romance, under the escort of the austere Duke of Newcastle, arrived by river from Quebec in a perfect deluge of rain. But he did not land till next day and all went well. The mayor, Mr. Rodier, the council, magistrates, the clergy, the heads of national and other societies with regalia, received him under a superb pavilion. Then followed the great procession, headed by the Caughnawaga Indians in full native costume. The scene was wild, with church bells ringing and the shouting of enthusiasm and loyalty. All the society of Canada had come to the city to be present. The royal party visited the Crystal Palace, where an address was presented by the governor general, Sir E.W. Head, and the Prince declared the Palace open.

In the afternoon took place the ceremony of the laying of the last stone by the Prince of the Victoria Bridge. The royal party entered the car of state and proceeded to the centre of the bridge and the Prince drove in the last—a silver—rivet. The party then proceeded to the other side of the river, where Mr. Blackwell, in the name of the Grand Trunk, presented the Prince with a gold medal, executed by Wyon, commemorative of the occasion, the suite receiving similar ones, but in silver. The royal car then returned to the city. A great lunch took place and the city and the harbour were given over that evening to wonderful illuminations, when the Prince rode through the streets. On Sunday the Prince and royal party attended divine service at the recently rebuilt Christ Church Cathedral on St. Catherine Street and were received at the door by Sir Fenwick Williams and Sir A. Milne. Bishop Fulford officiated and Reverend Mr. Wood[209] read the sermon. In commemoration of this visit His Royal Highness presented to the Cathedral a magnificent Bible with an autograph inscription.

In the evening the Montreal Oratorio Society of 400 voices performed a grand cantata especially written by a Mr. Semper and composed by M. Sabatier, in commemoration of the royal visit. On this occasion Marie Louise Lajeunesse, afterward Madame Albani, sang. She was then unknown, although she had made her debut as a piano player at the Mechanics’ Institute about 1854, when but seven years of age.

The great ball, at which the young Prince danced with the ladies of the charmed circle chosen by the committee of reception, took place later in the completed Crystal Palace, a building of colossal dimensions for the time, being nearly three hundred feet in diameter. It was then thought to be in the fields.

A recent reminiscence of the time describes the scene:

“But the grand ball in Montreal was the climax of the Prince’s visit. A special pavilion had been built for the occasion, and here the élite of the city, the province, the whole country it might be said, had assembled. The Prince with his suite appeared about ten o’clock and opened the ball. The Duke of Newcastle presented the Hon. Mrs. Young, and the ball was opened by the Prince dancing with that lady. He had on his right the Hon. Mr. Cartier with Mrs. Dumas, on his left Major Teesdale and Miss Rodgers. On the Prince’s right were Governor Bruce and Mrs. Denny, Captain Connolly, and Miss Penn; and on his left the Earl of Mulgrave, and Miss de Lisle, and Captain De Winton and Miss Tyre. His Royal Highness danced incessantly from half-past four in the morning, with a large number of ladies, most of whom are dead and gone.

“Among the ladies who had the honour of dancing with the Prince were Miss de Lisle, Miss Tyre, Mrs. F. Brown, Miss Leach, Miss Fisher, of Halifax, Mrs. Sicotte, Miss de Rocheblave, Mrs. C. Freer, Miss Laura Johnson, Miss Belson, Miss Napier, Miss King, Mrs. Forsythe, Miss Sophia Stewart, the Hon. Mrs. J.S. Macdonald, Miss Servorte, Lady Milne, Mrs. King, Miss E. Smith.

Although all the ladies, or most of them, are dead, they have relatives who might be interested in recalling the brilliant scene, which was witnessed at the famous ball, which was described with great particularity, even by the United States press, which sent over many representatives.”

On Wednesday morning there was a review at Logan’s Farm, now Lafontaine Park, the property of Sir William Logan, the geologist, who was knighted about 1856, and the Prince appeared in his uniform as colonel of the One Hundred Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment. In the evening the firemen had a torchlight procession, each fire fighter carrying a torch or Roman candle. On Thursday night the “peoples’ ball” took place in the new ballroom, with the Prince present. That night the foot of the mountain was illuminated with fireworks. Next day the royal party proceeded to Ottawa. The visit to Montreal was a great success. Its cost to the citizens’ reception committee was $43,031, not including the decorations of public buildings which cannot have been less than ten to twenty thousand dollars more. One of the permanent mementos of the visit is the name of Victoria Square, which a by-law of the city changed from its former title of Haymarket and Commissioners Square.

One of the acts of the young Edward, the Peacemaker, was on this occasion of his visit, to establish uniformity and harmony in the various companies comprising the Prince of Wales Regiment, which had heretofore turned out on parade in different facings and different racial emblems according to the company.[210] This had always been provocative of rivalry, but henceforth uniformity ruled.

Two events of artistic and literary interest marked this period. On the 23d of April the Art Association of Montreal was formed and on August 13th the first number of the Daily Witness appeared.

The year 1861 stands out preeminently in the military history of the city, for it was that of the Civil War between the northern and the southern states of the adjoining republic, and Montreal reflected the general turmoil. The Civil War began on January 9th, when the Southern Confederacy fired into the Federal steamer Star of the West. It was early feared that there might be war between Great Britain and the United States and the North British troops were ordered to Canada in January. Meanwhile, in January, the city was excited over the case of a fugitive slave named Anderson charged with murder, whose extradition was demanded. A meeting was held and addressed by Messrs. Dorion, Drummond, Holton, Benjamin Holmes and John Dougall, Dr. W.H. Hingston and the Rev. Messrs. W. Bond and Cordner, opposing surrender. In February it was decided that Anderson was not to be delivered without instructions from England. Finally he reached England in June.

Montreal sympathies were with the Southerners, but as yet according to instructions from Queen Victoria on May 13th, strict neutrality was to be observed. The position became, however, acute after November 8th, when Captain Wilkes, of the United States warship San Jacinto, took from the British mailship Trent the Confederates John Slidell and John G. Mason, Confederate commissioners to the Imperial Government. On the refusal of the American Government to hand them over, war was anticipated and there was extreme tension. Six steamers were chartered to bring troops to Canada. Reinforcements of regulars were sent from England and in Montreal, space being inadequate to receive them, the Molson College on St. Mary Street, the Collège de Montreal on College Street and the stores at the northeast corner of St. Sulpice and Notre Dame streets, then recently erected on the site of the property of Hôtel Dieu, which had been also recently transferred to Pine Avenue, were leased and known as Victoria Barracks. Canada was prepared to share the troubles of the Empire should war break out, and in consequence Montreal saw a hurrying to and fro of citizen soldiers. Recruiting in every arm of the service and drilling went on everywhere. “Stand to your arms,” “Defense not defiance” and such mottoes are to be found in newspapers of the period, in the exercise of their duty of making public opinion.

For two weeks the tension was great in the city. One of the soldiers has recently given his reminiscences of this time as follows:

“We marched to Molson’s College in the east end. Yes, it was called a college then, and had originally been built for some educational purpose. It was at the back of St. Thomas’ Church, or rather, this church, at the time, formed part of the building. Back of this again, and close to the river, was Molson’s Terrace, which is a pretty tawdry place today but which, when I was stationed in the city with my regiment, was most select. Why, the Molson’s themselves lived in the Terrace—that is, the founders of the brewery and of the college. The houses were then considered elegant, and that part of the city had a reputation which it does not now possess.

“At the time I am speaking of, the total military strength of Montreal was considerable. There was the First Battalion of the Sixteenth Bedfordshire Regiment, to[211] which I belonged. The Forty-seventh Lancashire; the Fourth Battalion; Sixtieth Rifles, which latter was quartered in the College Street Barracks; the Second Battalion of the Guards; the Second Battalion of the Scotch Fusiliers; three field batteries of Artillery, which later were stationed at the Quebec Gate Barracks where the Dalhousie Square depot is now, and the Forty-seventh Regiment.

“This Quebec Gate Barracks had two entrances—one on Water Street for the men, and one on Notre Dame Street for the officers. In that same barracks were two companies of the Royal Engineers. The commissariat and two troops of the Military Train were stationed at Hochelaga.

“The city was full of troops at the time. There was every belief that we would speedily be at war with the North, but the ill feeling passed over. Nothing happened. We remained, and lived the lives of soldiers. We had good times; we had no care; we had our beer; we had a brisk time in Montreal.”

His recollection of the officers is as follows:

“At that time the sons of noblemen thought it an honour to belong to the army, and the officers in Montreal were, for the most part, highly connected. Now the commission is obtained by competitive examination; but the old soldiers like to be under gentlemen born. Some of the officers stayed at the Donegana Hotel, and many of them messed in the building opposite Dalhousie Square, where the band played in the evening; but the bulk of the higher officers put up at the St. Lawrence Hall. The officer of the day, and the subaltern of the day, always lived in Molson’s Terrace, to be near the scene of their duties.

“Several of the officers, I remember, put up at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which stood on the present site of the New York Life Building. Opposite Molson’s brewery was the regimental hospital, while the Garrison Hospital was on Water Street. Each regiment had its own hospital.”1

At the time the hero of Kars, Lieut.-Gen. Sir William Fenwick Williams, Bart., K.C.B.; commander of the forces in British North America; Lord Paulet, in charge of the Guards; Sir William Muir, chief medical officer of the forces; Major Penn, of Crimean fame, in command of the gallant Grey Battery; Colonel Peacock, of the Sixteenth Bedfordshire; and others, were among the officers then in Montreal.

In its midst news came of the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, the Prince Consort. A loyal city sent its message of condolence to their beloved Queen. But on the release of Slidell and Mason the war alarms were over. This good news came on December 28th, and on Sunday the continuance of peace between the Empire and the United States was devoutly and thankfully blessed. The outburst of militarism served to keep the companies as already organized on a permanent basis. On January 1st, Slidell and Mason were released by the United States, but on January 4th Victoria Bridge had still to be guarded for fear of destruction by marauders from across the boundary.

“The alarm, which soon subsided, was really the birth of modern militia movement in Canada. I remember well,” says Lieut.-Col. Robert Gardner, in a reminiscence,[212] “the excitement that ruled everywhere. I can recollect the time when the business men and merchants of Montreal were all imbued with the necessity of defending their country. So enthusiastic were they that drilling was going on practically all the time. Everyone expected war, and patriotic feelings ran high. Business men would slip out in the morning and put in an hour at drill, another drill would be held after lunch, and more in the evening. It was that war scare of 1861-2 which really showed the necessity of a defensive force, and proved the forerunner of our militia system of today.”

During the war there were, however, merry times at the hotels and at Dolly’s restaurant. A reminiscence relates:

“That was a merry time in Montreal. The Americans had plenty of money, and were not afraid to spend it. The officers, too, were well supplied, and they, too, were prodigal with it. St. James Street was always busy, what with the soldiers and officers, the Southerners, the local military, the excitement attending the events of the war, and which were reflected in the city in the matter of sentiment, as well as the matter of money. I recollect very well that the feeling of our people was in favour of the South in the struggle. As time went on, the conviction gained ground that the South would be defeated; but the general feeling was in its favour. This made life for the Southerners very pleasant. They fraternized with the people; they spent their money; they made life merry in and about the old St. Lawrence Hall.”

Greenbacks, however, were looked askance at till the fortunes of war were with the North, so that silver was in demand. The Civil War meant good times for Canada for the farmers’ produce and stock were readily bought by the United States.

The military troops in town came in for a great recognition on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May, 1862, when they were feasted in sections on these days. It is recorded that among the items for the festivities there were ordered 3,200 pounds of sandwiches, 5,000 tarts, 3,700 pounds of cake, 50 barrels of fruit, besides an abundant supply of tea and coffee, the entertainments being on strictly temperance principles.

Montreal’s generosity was also that year shown to the destitute operatives in the manufacturing districts of England, when in consequence of a meeting in the Merchants’ Exchange $30,000 was subscribed for their relief.

The Civil War over, the arts of peace were resumed. The Montreal Street Railway, started in the year previous, was making its humble beginnings with its few horse-drawn cars. On April 2d there was a municipal by-law to establish the fire brigade. On May 20th, the Montreal waterworks were enlarged and improved as a result of the dearth of water at this time which had caused the ancient custom of providing water in puncheons again to be resorted to.

This year the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society was founded and the Corn Exchange organized, being incorporated the next year, when eight floating elevators were proudly said to be discharging hourly 24,000 bushels.

1863 saw the fire alarm established on January 19th, indicating the progress of our fire service.

On July 15th, the Corvette Oernen, the first Norwegian vessel to visit the St. Lawrence, sailed up to Montreal and civic hospitality was again displayed as previously to the French vessel.

The Provincial Exhibition, held on the 9th of September of this year, was superior to any other. A grand rifle tournament was opened by Sir William Fenwick Williams and lasted over ten days.

On April 21, 1864, there appeared a published letter of D’Arcy McGee, the Irish poet, litterateur and politician, in which he said:[213] “Even the threat of assassination covertly conveyed and so eminently in keeping with the entire humbug has no terrors for me. I trust I shall outlive these threats,” indicates that there was a ring of organized Fenianism in the city in sympathy with the movement now looming large in the United States. About this time he exposed the dangers and sophisms of those seducing the young Irish of the city and moreover told some of his young, hotheaded auditors at several meetings, then and subsequently, that he held in his pocket evidence enough to hang some of them. “I ask you,” he said, “to frown upon this thing. I ask you to have nothing to do with it. I tell you that I know many of the men who are associated with Fenianism. And I say this, that if they do not separate themselves from the organization, I will denounce them to the Government. Come out from among them. The organization will bring you to ruin. There are some who think they are secure; that they can go on and that they cannot be found out. I tell you I know such, and will denounce them if they do not mend their ways.”

At this time McGee was told that his days were numbered. Thus coming events cast their shadows before. But Confederation was in the air and its discussion was uppermost.

The Shakespeare centenary of 1864 was brilliantly celebrated at Montreal in April at the Crystal Palace. But sad news fell upon the city when, on June 29th, a train of eleven cars, having aboard 354 German emigrants leaving St. Hilaire for Montreal, was precipitated through an open drawbridge into the river at Beloeil. Ninety were killed and a very large number were drowned. The hospitable city opened its hospitals and public institutions for the sufferers and the bodies of the dead were brought to the city and buried in the Protestant cemeteries.

In September, 1864, the city saw the departure of six companies of the Scotch Fusileers and other military.

In November there was excitement in the city over the St. Alban’s raiders who had been captured and brought to the city for examination. On the 19th of October some southern raiders from Canada had made a descent on the St. Alban’s bank, compelling Mr. Sowles, the cashier, to surrender the bank’s money, and after intimidating the citizens, saying that “we represent the Confederate States of America and we come here to retaliate outrages committed by General Sherman,” they had returned to Canada on captured horses.

On March 30th of the next year, the St. Alban raiders were discharged. On this occasion Mr. Bernard Devlin had an opportunity of airing his forensic eloquence, being employed to defend certain of the prisoners. It is said that the motive behind the raid was to make a diversion in favour of the South by means of the raid which was to bring Federal troops from southern points to defend the invaded territory of the North.

The year 1865, which opened with the usual spring floods in April, was otherwise an interesting and exciting time to the merchants of the town, for Mr. Adams, the American minister in London, gave the requisite notice to terminate reciprocity between the United States and Canada on March 17, 1866. In July there was a convention at Detroit, from the 11th to the 14th, which promoted the forming of a new reciprocity treaty. At this several Montrealers attended, but only to give desired information. In September there was a delegation to Montreal to form an International Board of Trade. This year the Board of Trade Building, erected in 1855, was burnt down.

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The following resolution, passed unanimously on April 19th by the city council, on the motion of Alderman Grenier, seconded by Alderman Rodden, on the occasion of the assassination of the President of the United States, shows the gloom and commiseration of the city which went into mourning on the day of the funeral:

“Resolved, That in respect to the memory of the late President of the United States and sympathy with the people in the great calamity which has befallen them, and also as an expression of the regret and horror felt at the crime perpetrated upon the person of President Lincoln, this council do now adjourn.”

This allows us to cast a glance at our peaceful municipal life. One2 who knew it well has recently recorded his reminiscences:

“Citizens criticized the council then as they do today and on one particular occasion they manifested their disapprobation on some burning question by gathering in front of the council room, and, after due oratory from their leader, sent a volley of stones through the windows, to show the depth of their feelings. This stirred up the members most effectively, and if the celerity with which they jumped from one place to another, to avoid the ‘arguments’ was any indication of the attention they would give to the cause in question, it would not have remained long unattended to.

“One member, however, more courageous than the others, kept his seat with contemptuous indifference until he saw a missile coming direct for his desk, when he cleverly caught it in his hands, and called on the mayor to maintain order. His Worship looked unutterable things, and told Darcy to do it. The latter, however, disappeared, and was not seen more that night. It was suspected he went over to the enemy, and when he told me next morning that it was ‘the best bit of fun he had seen for many a day,’ I thought there was ground for the suspicion.

“But criticisms of the council were not confined to demonstrations of this kind. The press was not backward in saying what it thought, although in a more refined and cultured way. One editor, for instance, gave a free notice of a meeting of council in the following words, in large type:

“‘The Municipal Banditti meet in their den at the City Hall at 8 o’clock this evening.’

“We were more deliberate in those days than at the present. We were deliberate in all things. We did not hurry away the snow as we do now. We thought it cheaper to let the sun do that. Now in this advanced age we think nothing of spending $10,000 to beat the sun by twenty-four hours; but speed is everything today. At the time of speaking our whole revenue was not one-fourth of the interest on our debt today.

“I have enumerated the personnel to show the speed of time, for at the present time not one of those mentioned, except myself, remain. They have all passed to the ‘majority.’

“Prominently among the aldermen of that period were Ferdinand David, and William Rodden; the former as chairman of the roads committee, may be regarded as having been the father of our expropriation system, and the latter, as chairman of finance, was regarded as the father of our 7 per cent consolidation. Were both these men alive today they would be appalled at the outcome of their pet schemes. In those days we spoke with bated breath of $100,000, now we play with the millions as a very little thing. Then our 6 per cent securities sold at a heavy discount, since then our 3 per cent securities have sold over par.

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“An orator about this time, haranguing the taxpayers from the steps of the Nelson Monument, assured them that if they should elect him as their representative, he would reduce their taxes 150 per cent. Poor fellow, he meant well, but he was allowed to sink, with his invaluable arithmetical genius, into oblivion, while the other one, who was able to rouse another mob, occupies a seat on the king’s bench. This shows that it is better to break people’s windows than to abolish their taxes and give them a 50 per cent bonus beside. O, tempora, O, mores.”

This year (1865) Sir John Michel was sworn in as administrator of the governor general, then absent in England. As he took up his residence in the city and during his administration the executive council met here twice in each month, this event may be chronicled in the series of social events.

The peaceful progress of the inhabitants was again thrown into confusion and the military spirit reincarnated when news came the latter part of this year, 1865, that the threatened invasion of Canada by the Irish Fenian Brotherhood, led by “General” O’Neil, were at last becoming actual. They made use of the ill-feeling aroused between the United States and Britain by an element discontented through hard times, to strike a long premeditated blow. The first Fenian invasion eventually came to nothing at all of importance, but it was a great scare. Montreal was on the qui vive for a while, fearing the invasion, for the supineness of the American Government in allowing the invasion to be planned and provided for by filibusters, gave an unpleasant impression, suggesting that there might, possibly, be serious consequence if a strong front were not presented to the audacious attempt. The feeling, too, at the time, was not too friendly to Canada, which, with Great Britain, was supposed to sympathize with the South during the Civil War.

On Monday, March 13, 1866, a company of the Prince of Wales regiment and a battery of artillery were reviewed at 5 P.M. and by 9 P.M. were sent to the threatened frontier. A patriotic “relief” fund was started on March 26th. On June 2d, on account of news arriving on June 1st, the Fenians being already at Fort Erie, a further detachment of four more companies were sent to the west, viz., Nos. 3 and 8 batteries of the Brigade of the Montreal Garrison Artillery, under Captains Brown and Hobbes; a company of Prince of Wales Rifles, under Captain Bond; Victoria Rifles, under Captain Bacon; Royal Light Infantry, under Capt. K. Campbell; and the Chasseurs Canadiens, under Captain Labelle, who all left by special train for Point St. Charles for St. Johns and Isle aux Noix. The same evening a strong reinforcement of regulars left for the same stations, and on the 4th, several additional companies of volunteers were dispatched to Hemingford and other places along the frontier. Among those going to the front were the famous “Barney” Devlin, the great criminal lawyer and the political opponent of D’Arcy McGee, and the Rev. Father James Hogan of St. Patrick’s, who acted as chaplain.

The chief fight in Lower Canada was at Pigeon Hill, in the Township of St. Armand, adjoining the State of Vermont, which was attacked by the Fenians on June 17th, but from which, after a brief skirmish, they retired, not without several of their party being secured as prisoners by the “Montreal Guides,” and being brought, a sorry and ragged crowd, to the city gaol.

On June 18th, the volunteer companies returned, being welcomed enthusiastically by their fellow citizens, and June 23d was observed as a day of general rejoicing and inspection. The mayor, on behalf of the civic authorities, tendered an address to the troops, offering sincere expressions of gratitude and thanks for their devotion, loyalty and courage in the late emergency, and bidding them a[216] hearty welcome back to the city and to their happy homes and beloved and expectant families. This was responded to by Major-General Lindsay.

The loyalty of all sections of the community had again been proved against a common enemy. Every section had answered the call to arms, for Fenianism, after all, had few weighty supporters in Montreal.

The military enthusiasm, however, evoked by the late events had an immediate effect in determining the city council and other authorities already considering the point, to open a drill hall capable of meeting the increased demands, and in May, 1867, the contract for the armory on Craig Street, opposite the Champ de Mars, was given to Foster & Roy.

The confederation of the provinces was now in the air. It was not universally understood at the time and it was feared, and somewhat actively combatted, especially by the group of young French-Canadians opposed to Cartier in their new journal the Union Nationale, as likely to absorb them so that they might lose their political identity.

Confederation was, however, to mark a great period of progress and to see Montreal emerge from provincial citydom to the great metropolis of today. Before passing to the story of its achievement, a glance back will show that Montreal was a very quiet place under the Union. Yet it produced strong-minded and able men, even if the racial, religious and political rancours of a “heart burning town” showed themselves in no equivocal colours. The foundations of our present artistic, literary, religious, charitable and financial associations were also already being well laid. The life was simple; there was not much society but great heartiness. There were no millionaires, but the people spent freely. Public amusements were fewer, but private hospitality greater. The city hall was decorous, there were no emoluments for service, and the best men of the time thought it an honour to represent their wards.

Into the simplicity of the life there entered the society centering around the military. At the close of the Union there were about a hundred officers generally stationed here, many of them distinguished men of high rank and fame. There were often four or five regiments in the town, and the soldiery fraternized with the citizens. Pranks there were, the ringing of bells, the wrenching off of knockers and signs, and more serious peccadillos, but the indulgent public was not censorious. The officers gave many parties, balls, receptions, dances and hunts, all of which the prominent citizens participated in and returned. There were not highly organized kennel or hunt clubs, but they ranged the country far and wide. The officers were good judges of horse flesh as were the humbler citizens and Tattersalls, on St. James Street, opposite the present Star offices, was a busy place for such. It was no infrequent sight to see the horses being trotted up and down past Dolly’s, St. Lawrence Hall and Banque du Peuple for inspection along the street which is today’s busy financial thoroughfare, lined with banks and insurance buildings.

The ordinary people participated indirectly in the gaiety of the military régime through the brisk, lively trade with the officers and soldiery, who spent freely.

The life, colour, and zest they gave were also a free entertainment. Not only were the streets bright with the uniforms of the soldiers and gay with the sound of fife, drum and brass, but the people would make their way to the Champ de Mars during the day to see the evolutions of the military, where the firing of[217] the cannon frightened the timid boys and girls, or in the early evening the young folk would stroll sweethearting to Dalhousie Square (now the Viger Station tracks) to hear the regimental bands in Barrack Square, and the boys and girls, now no way shy, would peep in at the mysteries of the officers’ mess, which was in plain view. The music would last for hours and the square would resound with laughter till the sun-down gun from St. Helen’s Island proclaimed the time for early bed.

Art, literature and music were cultivated by associations at the time and to these the military officers contributed no little initiative. The scholastic system of the two boards of school commissioners was being solidified and Montreal at the end of the Union was progressing substantially, but not so dramatically or so visibly as after the next few decades when bustle began to rule. Life was then more leisurely, more reposeful and at least quite as happy and more contented.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 Reminiscences of Private Fitzgerald, who came out with the Sixteenth Bedfordshire Regiment in 1861. Cf. “I Remember” series of the Star, 1913.

2 Mr. William Robb, recently city treasurer. Cf. I Remember Series, The Star, 1913.


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CHAPTER XXII

CONSTITUTIONAL LIFE UNDER CONFEDERATION

FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL INFLUENCE

MONTREAL AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL POLITICS—CONFEDERATION TESTED—CARTIER AND THE PARTI ROUGE AT MONTREAL—ASSASSINATION OF THOMAS D’ARCY M’GEE—THE HUDSON’S BAY TRANSFER—THE METIS AND THE RIEL REBELLION—LORD STRATHCONA—THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY BILL—RESIGNATION OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD—SECOND FENIAN RAID—THE “NATIONAL POLICY”—VOTING REFORM—TEMPERANCE BILL—ORANGE RIOTS—SECOND NORTH WEST REBELLION—THE “SIXTY-FIFTH REGIMENT”—THE MANITOBA SCHOOL QUESTION—PROMINENT CITIZENS—BRITISH PREFERENTIAL TARIFF—BOER WAR—“STRATHCONA HORSE”—THE NATIONALIST LEAGUE—RECIPROCITY AND FEAR OF ANNEXATION—THE ELECTIONS OF 1911—NAVAL BILL—PROVINCIAL POLITICS—MONTREAL MEMBERS—PROVINCIAL OVERSIGHT OVER MONTREAL—HOME RULE—THE INTERNATIONAL WAR OF 1914—THE FIRST CONTINGENT—MONTREAL’S ACTION.

Constitutionally Montreal has always been an influence in the moulding of the Dominion. This has been brought about by its geographical situation and its public men. From the first the city has been favored in its sons—men who have controlled the destinies of the growing country, and who in turn have been influenced by their closer environments. This is seen in the constitutional acts of both the Province and the Dominion, for practically most public events, particularly since Confederation, have been shaped to meet the requirements of the commercial metropolis.

Confederation had its opponents, particularly amongst the younger members of the “parti rouge” or democratic party, who in Lower Canada, but now the Province of Quebec, had been waiting for an opportunity to break the power of Sir George Etienne Cartier, the great French Canadian leader in the confederation movement, so that in the elections called for to ratify the British North America Act, they determined, in spite of the advice to the contrary, of their brilliant leader (Dorion), to give Cartier the fight of his life. The new Federal government realized that the permanency of the constitution depended largely on the attitude of Quebec and much anxiety was felt as to the results of the elections which were to be held in the autumn of 1867—the British North America Act having come into force on July 1st.

Cartier particularly realized the crisis, and put his whole energy into the fight. He personally contested Montreal East, now St. James Division, having as[220] opponent Médéric Lanctot, a popular labour leader. Every division in the Province was contested, but thanks to the strong stand made by the Roman Catholic1 church in approving Confederation, the party headed by Cartier, who beat his opponent, won and the new constitution was confirmed in the Province of Quebec forty-three out of sixty-five seats. In Ontario the government won sixty-eight out of eighty-five seats and in New Brunswick twelve out of fifteen seats, but in Nova Scotia, owing to the opposition of Joseph Howe, only one government supporter, Charles Tupper, was returned. On the whole, Confederation was confirmed by the people.

Practically this most momentous election—upon which depended the future of Canada’s national life—was decided in Montreal, for had Cartier failed in winning his own seat, the impetus given to the “parti rouge” would have been strong enough to have wrecked the government and consequently the British North America Act. The Provincial legislature returns showed a similar result, the first provincial premier being that brilliant Montreal writer and orator, the Hon. P.J.O. Chauveau, who held office until 1873, his two immediate successors in the premiership being Montrealers also, the Hon. G. Ouimet and Sir Charles E.B. de Boucherville. The last named is still living, in the best of health, though in his ninety-fourth year, and enjoying the dual offices of Senator for Canada, and member of the Legislative Council of Quebec. Sir Charles is the last of the dual office men.

During the adjourned session of the first Dominion parliament which had met in Ottawa in March, 1868, the Hon. Thomas D’Arcy McGee, who represented Montreal West, was assassinated just outside his Ottawa lodging. There is no doubt that this dastardly outrage was the consequence of Mr. McGee’s condemnation of the Fenian movement against Canada, and though one man, Whelan, an ex-soldier and tailor, suffered the extreme penalty for being the instrument, the real miscreants got away. The murder of D’Arcy McGee robbed this country of one of her best sons. Brilliant and large minded he had risen to cabinet rank before he was thirty-eight years of age and in the last government under the Union he held the port-folio of Agriculture. Always a believer in the closest union between the component parts of British North America, he was an eloquent advocate for Confederation and on the formation by Sir J.A. Macdonald of the first Dominion government (1868) McGee’s eminent services gave him every right to be included, but his sense of loyalty made him stand aside so as to allow Sir John to form his cabinet on territorial lines. This great man, whose remains rest in Cote de Neiges Cemetery, is still—forty-six years after his death—the outstanding figure of Irish Canadianism—an example in broad mindedness and patriotism.

Another Father of Confederation was the Hon. A.T. Galt, whose representation of Sherbrooke, P.Q., and his years of residence here, made him a local figure. Mr. Galt’s great financial ability was very helpful in making equitable arrangements in the consolidation of the Dominion. To commemorate the consummation[221] of confederation the Hon. J.A. Macdonald received the honour of Knight Commander of the Bath, while his co-workers, including Cartier and Galt, received companionships of the Bath. The title was refused by both Cartier and Galt for the reason that being representatives of Lower Canada they could not accept a lesser title than Sir John Macdonald. The difficulty was overcome by a baronetcy conferred on Cartier and a K.C.M.G. on Galt.

In 1868 Cartier and William McDougall went to England on behalf of the Canadian government to negotiate the transfer of the Western territories from the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Dominion. The Hudson’s Bay Company asked the sum of $5,000,000 for the cession of its rights but had to be satisfied with $1,500,000 and a reservation of one-twentieth of the fertile belt. But a new difficulty had arisen in the transfer—in the territory itself—for in 1870 the half-breed settlers, who had the distinctive title of the “Metis,” feeling that they and their holdings had not been affected—stopped the new lieutenant-governor, the Hon. William McDougall at the border, and under Louis Riel the first North West rebellion was started, soon, however, to be broken. It was in this rebellion that the late Lord Strathcona, as chief officer of the Hudson’s Bay Company, was first brought into the public limelight. Mr. Donald Smith, as he was then known, and whose headquarters were at Montreal, was asked to go to Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) with Col. de Salaberry and Abbé Thibault with the object of pacifying the settlers, but the mission failed. On the breakdown of the rebellion Donald Smith administered the affairs of the territory until the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor Archibald.

Around this time (1870) the home government withdrew the Imperial troops from Canada—with the exception of a garrison left at Halifax—which was a blow to the social life of the commercial metropolis. The officers of the local garrison with their bright uniforms and gentlemanly manners and their cultivated entourage had been an acquisition to Montreal society, literary, social and artistic.

The material building up of Canada, and particularly Montreal, has been made possible by the splendid transportation facilities, both by stream, canal and rail, engineered by the big men of the time. During the ’70s and ’80s Montreal was well represented by names like Cartier, Dorion, and Sir John Rose, who though in separate political camps fought hard together for the Grand Trunk in parliament, and won.

Cartier in introducing the Victoria Bridge Bill met much opposition; the principal objection being that it would take the trade out of the country. His reply, which proved correct, was that the bridge would bring trade into the country. In the agitation for the Intercolonial Railway with its terminus at Montreal, Cartier was the leader. He was also the introducer into the parliament of 1872 of the first Canadian Pacific Bill. Both of these undertakings were urged as the best and most practical means of consolidating the new Dominion.

One cannot leave railway legislation without referring to what is known as the Canadian Pacific scandals, though Sir Charles Tupper in his “Reminiscences of Sixty Years” writes of it as the “Canadian Pacific Slanders,” because two of the principal actors were Montrealers and the place, Montreal. The bare facts are: Two companies, one of which was under the control of Sir Hugh Allan of Montreal, had competed for the construction of the railroad, the bill for which the Government, through Cartier, had passed in parliament. Owing to disputes[222] an effort was made to amalgamate the companies but without avail, so that Sir Hugh formed a new company under the title of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. This Company obtained a charter on February 19, 1873, to build the railway, and it was in connection with the granting of this charter that in the following April a Mr. L.A. Huntingdon charged the government with making a corrupt bargain with Sir Hugh Allan; in other words, that the Montreal promoter and his company had advanced large sums of money to the Conservative fund to secure the returns of candidates favourable to their obtaining the charter. The receiving of the money was neither contradicted by the government nor the contractors, and on behalf of the government it was offered as an extenuating circumstance that it was only in accordance with the “invariable custom,” and before a Royal Commission the ministers denied any corrupt bargain having been made. But the whole country was up in arms, and Sir John Macdonald, seeing inevitable defeat for his government, placed his resignation in the hands of the Governor-General. In the elections which followed, the new government, under the leadership of the new premier, the Hon. Alexander McKenzie, was sustained by a large majority.

When in 1870 the Fenians for the second time under “General” O’Neill made a raid into Canada, crossing the border at Trout Lake in the Eastern Townships, a flutter was caused at Montreal, but the “general” was soon routed by a small contingent made up largely by volunteers from Montreal.

Owing to a depression in trade, which set in about the fall of 1873 and which gradually grew worse in centres like Montreal as the years rolled by, Sir John A. Macdonald’s appeal to the country that it should protect its own industries by placing heavy duties against goods imported from other countries, met with success and he was returned at the elections of 1878 by a large majority. This became known as the “National Policy” and though immediate prosperity was the outcome, there is no doubt that the same policy has made possible the formation of trusts, which in this country go under the name of mergers.

The next constitutional act of importance that affected Montreal was the passing of an act which relieved the elections from the old time voting. On May 26, 1876, a Federal bill was passed introducing the vote by ballot, simultaneous elections, the abolition of property qualifications for members of the House of Commons and making stringent enactments against corrupt practices at elections.

The Canada Temperance Bill of 1878 (usually called the Scott Act) was the result of a great temperance movement that spread over the whole of Canada and has been the foundation in Montreal of scores of temperance societies. Practically all the churches have joined in lessening the drink evil and on the same platforms will be found the Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops of Montreal, as well as the ministers of other denominations. Montreal is a much more temperate city today than it was thirty years ago, in spite of a rapidly growing cosmopolitan population.

About this time (1878) there occurred in Montreal the Orange riots, which resulted in the death of one of the citizens named Hackett by shooting, an event of no importance, though magnified by certain writers.

In 1885 occurred the second North West rebellion. This was felt very deeply in Montreal for the reason that, the insurgents being French half-breeds, charges[223] of disloyalty were made against the whole French speaking people. To show its sense of loyalty Montreal despatched a large contingent to the scene of the disturbance, including the French-Canadian regiment—The Mount Royal Rifles, now known as the Sixty-fifth Regiment. This regiment did some remarkable work, marching as many as forty-five miles a day through brush and muskeg and arriving in time to take part in the routing out at Frog Lake of Big Bear, the Cree Chief who was supporting Riel, the rebel leader. The spirit of loyalty underlying this splendid achievement was sufficient evidence of the patriotism of French Canadianism, even to satisfy the most rabid of partisans.

The execution of Riel, which took place in Regina in the latter part of the year, again raised the racial cry and many demonstrations were held in Montreal by both French and English partisans. To exaggerate the feeling of bitterness, about this time small-pox had broken out and the heads of the local industries having insisted on vaccination and the bulk of the employees being French Canadian, the cry was raised that the employers were interfering with the work of Providence.

Montreal has not been directly affected by what is commonly known as the “school question,” that has at different times raised so much bitterness in other parts of Canada, particularly in New Brunswick and Manitoba, but because the majority of its citizens are Roman Catholics, and the fact of its own separate school system working satisfactorily, the local political parties have always taken a keen interest in the school problem in the other provinces, and every government when dealing with it has to take Montreal sentiment into account. This Cartier found to his cost in the 1872 elections, when, because his government sided, though only on legal grounds, with the New Brunswick Provincial government in its determination not to have separate schools, he lost his seat to Mr. L.A. Jetté, who afterwards became Lieutenant-Governor of the Province. Again because in Manitoba in 1890 the provincial legislature, by adopting nonsectarian schools, had in the minds of Roman Catholics broken the clause of the Manitoba Act of 1870, which secured to the religious minority the right in respect to denominational schools, much bitterness was caused in Montreal. To this vexed question a settlement was brought about in 1896 by the Laurier government, by which the Manitoba Government while adhering to the principle of a national school system under provincial control, agreed to make provision for religious teaching during certain school hours.

In the year 1888 two Montrealers of cabinet rank died, Sir John Rose, a former cabinet member, and Hon. Thomas White, M.P., Minister of the Interior.

Montreal in 1891 was particularly honoured in one of its citizens in the person of Hon. J.J.C. Abbott, who had twice been mayor, becoming Premier of Canada on the death of Sir John A. Macdonald, though he only held office for little more than a year, resigning November, 1892, on account of ill-health. In this year also died Sir A.A. Dorion, Chief Justice of Queen’s Bench, Montreal, who had been a big factor in the public life of Canada. As leader of the Liberals, or “patri rouge,” he was Sir G.E. Cartier’s chief opponent, and on the formation of the Liberal Government of 1873, he was appointed Minister of Justice, which office he resigned on June 1, 1874, to become Chief Justice of Montreal.

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On August 15, 1893, the Behring Sea Tribunal of Arbitration, of which Canada’s Prime Minister was a member, gave the decision that the Behring Sea was to be kept open and that seals be protected. At a banquet given in his honour by the citizens of Montreal, the Premier in a great speech explained Canada’s advantage by the arbitration.

In 1895 a treaty was made between this country and France which largely affected the trade of Montreal, because of the impetus given by the agreement to the importation of wines.

When the Liberals came into power in 1896, very largely on a Free Trade policy, it was found inexpedient by the government to change the general tariff of the country, but it made a compromise in 1899 by giving a preferential tariff of 25% to British made goods, which in 1901 was increased to 33⅓%. This was a popular move and no doubt, together with the wave of prosperity which spread itself over the country and in which Montreal largely participated, did much to keep the Liberals in power for fifteen years.

In 1898 the Boer war broke out, when the country as a whole demanded that the Federal government on behalf of Canada should take its share of the burden, although there was a certain contra agitation amongst a section of French Canadians, led by the eloquent and versatile grandson of Louis Joseph Papineau M. Henri Bourassa, who afterwards became the Chief of the young Nationalist Party.

In October of 1899, Mr. Bourassa gave up his seat for St. Hyacinthe in the Federal House in order to vindicate his position on the constitutional aspect of the participation of Canada in the South African war, contending that such participation, as contemplated and organized by the British Government and its representative in Canada, meant a deep change in our relations with Great Britain upon which the people of Canada should be thoroughly enlightened and directly consulted. In January of the following year he was returned by acclamation.

Though the attitude taken by Mr. Bourassa was mostly academic yet, like his renewal in 1914 of a similar obstructional and dialectical position, not always understood by the general public especially in time of war, it helped to encourage demonstrations of loyalty and patriotism throughout the Dominion, which forced the government to raise an expeditionary force. The first contingent embarked for the Transvaal October 30, 1899. At the beginning of the following year, Lord Strathcona equipped a mounted infantry regiment of 500, which became famous as “Strathcona’s Horse.” This body was despatched to South Africa with the second contingent. The Canadian regiments throughout the war did splendid service, particularly at Paardeburg, when the Boer general Cronje was completely surrounded and defeated. Montreal itself contributed largely to the contingent which represented Canada.

In 1902 the Nationalist League was organized by Mr. J.T. Olivar Asselin, who became president of the Montreal branch and Mr. Henri Bourassa became recognized as the outstanding leader. The Nationaliste was founded as the party organ in 1904 by its editor Mr. Asselin who, on its lapse, became a writer on the Devoir founded by Mr. Henri Bourassa.

A political event of far reaching importance took place in 1910 when the Hon. William Fielding and the late Hon. William Patterson on behalf of the Canadian Government signed an agreement with the government of the United[225] States by which certain goods, principally food-stuffs, were to pass from one country to the other free of duty. Since 1866 the United States had steadily refused all offers to negotiate for reciprocal relations, but in the spring of 1910 they veered around and sent plenipotentiaries to Ottawa. The Dominion Government received them courteously and sent Messrs. Fielding and Patterson to Washington to carry on the negotiations, which resulted in what became known as the “Reciprocity Pact.” But in submitting the agreement to the country for ratification in the election of 1911 the government was badly defeated. It should be stated though that the main issue itself throughout the country, and especially in Montreal, had become involved, from a question originally of purely commercial reciprocity, into one also of fear of danger of annexation to the United States. This was sufficient to bring out the latent patriotism of the electors, who gave a very decided answer to those across the line who had any belief in the American slogan that reciprocity was to be but the first step to annexation. The Montreal election returns showed this very strongly, not in the change of representatives, for there was none, but in the comparison of the votes. In the country parts of the Province the Navy Bill of 1910, which was unpopular with the French Canadians, gave an opportunity to the Nationalists, who by joining forces with the opposition were enabled to reduce the Federal Government’s majority sufficiently to cause its downfall.

THE STRATHCONA HORSE

THE STRATHCONA HORSE

(From the plaque on the Strathcona Monument, Dominion Square)

The defeat of the Federal Government ended the lengthy premiership of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, one of the Empire’s great statesmen. Sir Wilfrid has many associations with Montreal and many of his triumphs, national as well as political, have taken place in the city. The new government in 1911 introduced a bill into Parliament giving a contribution of $35,000,000 to the British admiralty to represent Canada’s naval contribution to the Empire. The bill passed the Commons but failed in the Senate. It was in connection with this naval contribution that the late Hon. F.D. Monk, the member for the Jacques Cartier division of the city, and one of Montreal’s brightest and most upright minds, resigned from the government, his reason being that a plebiscite of the people should have been made on the naval question. His death following hard upon his departure from politics made the latter the more deplored.

Of importance to the Port of Montreal is the West Indian commercial agreement made in 1913 between Canada and the British West Indies. By this reciprocal pact Canada secured a new market on advantageous terms, and the principal factor in bringing it about was the Canadian West Indian League with its headquarters in Montreal.

As in Federal politics, so also in the life of the Provincial parliament, Montreal has also been a large factor, the principal reason being that it supplies the biggest share of the income of the Province, and also because the city’s representatives have usually been leaders of thought and probity. Practically all the premiers, from confederation to the present holder of the office, have been either citizens of Montreal or largely connected with the city. In the first legislative assembly of 1867 Montreal had four members; they being Sir George E. Cartier, Edward Cartier, his brother, and law partner, and who Sir George always said was the legal brains of the firm; A.W. Ogilvie, a prominent member of one of Montreal’s best known families; and the Hon. Louis Beaubien, who became Commissioner of Agriculture in the de Boucherville and Flinn administrations. Since[226] that time Montreal has been represented at Quebec by such men as the Hon. L.O. Taillon (1875-1887) who became Premier in 1887, and afterwards joined the Federal government as Postmaster General; to-day he is Postmaster of Montreal; Hon. James McShane (1878-1891), who became in turn Provincial Minister of Public Works, Mayor of Montreal and Harbour Master of the Port; Hon. L.O. David (1886-1890), now Senator of Canada and City Clerk of Montreal; Dr. G. A. Lacombe (1897-1908), the author of the famous Lacombe Law of 1906, by which a debtor upon being too hard pressed by his creditors could come under the protection of the courts without any extra cost to himself; Sir Lomer Gouin, the present Premier, who first entered the legislature as member for St. James in 1897; Henri Bourassa (1908-1909); D.J. Decarie (1897-1904), and his son, the Hon. Jérémie Decarie, Provincial Secretary, who succeeded his father in the latter year; Hon. Dr. J.J.E. Guerin (1895-1904), Cabinet minister and Mayor of Montreal; Robert Bickerdike (1897-1900), the present federal member for St. Lawrence division of the city; the Hon. H.B. Rainville and the two George Washington Stephens—father and son—the one representing Montreal Centre from 1881 to 1886 and the other the St. Lawrence division, 1904 to 1908, being afterwards Chairman of the Harbour Commission.

The work of the Provincial legislature being largely of a constructive nature, such as the raising of taxes for the building of roads and the conserving of its vast resources, its principal effect on the city of Montreal itself is the oversight of the legislative work of the city council, and if acceptable to make it legal by passing it in the form of amendments to the city charter. In this respect a very important amendment to the charter was made in 1910 as a result of the report of the Cannon inquiry, which condemned the city administration of the period. Under the amendment the Council is cut in half by each ward having one instead of two representatives, and its work is of a legislative nature only, leaving the administration subject to the ratification of the council, in the hands of a board of control composed of four members, who with the mayor is elected by the city as a whole.

For a long time there has been a strong feeling that Montreal should have more freedom and a large measure of Home Rule in its local affairs, some even going so far as to urge that the island of Montreal should be a separate Province. At present, there is certainly a groping toward some such autonomy.

MONTREAL REPRESENTATIVES IN THE SENATE OF CANADA FROM CONFEDERATION

MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT FOR MONTREAL SINCE CONFEDERATION

Date of Election. District. Member.
1867 MontrealCity
West Hon. T. D’Arcy McGee
Centre T. Workman
East Hon. G.E. Cartier
1868,April 30th West M.P. Ryan, vice Hon.
T.D. McGee, deceased.
1872 MontrealCity
West Hon. J. Young
Centre M.P. Ryan
East L.A. Jetté
1874 MontrealCity
West F. McKenzie
Centre M.P. Ryan
East L.A. Jetté
1874,December MontrealCity F. McKenzie (re-elected, former
election being voided)
1875 MontrealCity
West T. Workman, vice McKenzie
(election voided)
1875,January 12th MontrealCity
Centre B. Devlin (elected vice
Ryan, election voided)
November 26th B. Devlin (re-elected, former
election declared void)
1878,November 21st MontrealCity
West M.H. Gault
Centre M.P. Ryan
[228] East C.J. Coursol
1882 MontrealCity
West M.H. Gault
Centre J.J. Curran
East C.J. Coursol
1887 MontrealCity
West Sir Donald A. Smith
Centre J.J. Curran
East C.J. Coursol
1888 MontrealCity
East A.T. Lepine, vice
Coursol (deceased)
1891 MontrealCity
West Sir Donald A. Smith, K.C.M.G.
Centre J.J. Curran
East A.T. Lepine
1892 MontrealCity
Centre J.J. Curran (re-elected
on accepting office)
1895 MontrealCity
Centre James McShane
J.J. Curran (appt. Judge)
1896 Montreal(St. Anne) M.J.F. Quinn
(St. Antoine) T.G. Roddick
(St. James) William Demarais
(St. Lawrence) E.G. Penny
(St. Mary) Hercule Dupré
1900 Montreal(St. Anne) Daniel Gallery
(St. Antoine) T.G. Roddick
(St. James) William Demarais
(St. Lawrence) Robert Bickerdike
(St. Mary) Hon. J.J. Tarte
1902,June Montreal(St. James) Joseph Brunet
(vice Demarais)
(St. James) Brunet (unseated Dec., 1902)
1904 Montreal(St. James) H. Gervais
1904 Montreal(St. Anne) D. Gallery
(St. Antoine) H.B. Ames
(St. James) H. Gervais
(St. Lawrence) R. Bickerdike
[229] (St. Mary) C. Piché
1906 Montreal(St. Anne) C.J. Walsh
(St. Mary) Médéric Martin
1908 Montreal(St. Anne) C.J. Doherty
(St. Antoine) H.B. Ames
(St. James) H. Gervais
(St. Lawrence) R. Bickerdike
(St. Mary) M. Martin
1911 Montreal(St. Anne) Hon. C.J. Doherty
(St. Antoine) H.B. Ames
(St. James) L.A. Lapointe
(St. Lawrence) R. Bickerdike
(St. Mary) M. Martin

MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY FOR MONTREAL FROM THE CONFEDERATION, 1867, TO THE PRESENT

(From 1867 to 1890)
Date.District.Name.
1867-1871Montreal CentreEdward Cartier
1871-1874Montreal CentreThe Hon. Luther H. Holton
1874-1875Montreal CentreCharles Alexander
1875-1878Montreal CentreAlexander Walker Ogilvie
1878-1881Montreal CentreHoratio Admiral Nelson
1881-1886Montreal CentreGeorge Washington Stephens
1886-1890Montreal CentreJames McShane
1867-1871Montreal EastSir George Etienne Cartier
1871-1875Montreal EastFerdinand David
1875-1886Montreal EastLouis Olivier Taillon
1886-1890Montreal EastLaurent Olivier David
1867-1871Montreal WestAlexander Walker Ogilvie
1871-1873Montreal WestFrancis Cassidy
1873-1878Montreal WestJohn Wait McGauvran
1878-1886Montreal WestJames McShane
1886-1890Montreal WestJohn Smythe Hall
1867-1886HochelagaLouis Beaubien
1886-1887HochelagaJoseph Octave Villeneuve
1888-1890HochelagaChas. Laplante dit Champagne
(From 1890 to 1912)
1890-1891Montreal Division No. 1Joseph Béland
1892-1897Montreal Division No. 1Francois Martineau
1897-1908Montreal Division No. 1George Albini Lacombe
1908-1912Montreal Division No. 1Napoleon Séguin
1890-1891Montreal Division No. 2Joseph Brunet[230]
1892-1897Montreal Division No. 2Olivier Maurice Augé
1897-1908Montreal Division No. 2Lomer Gouin
1908-1909Montreal Division No. 2Henri Bourassa
1909-1912Montreal Division No. 2Clément Robillard
1890-1891Montreal Division No. 3Henri Benjamin Rainville
1892-1897Montreal Division No. 3Damase Parizeau
1897-1904Montreal Division No. 3Henri Benjamin Rainville
1904-1912Montreal Division No. 3Godfroi Langlois
1890-1891Montreal Division No. 4William Clendenning
1892-1896Montreal Division No. 4Alexander Webb Morris
1896-1900Montreal Division No. 4Albert William Atwater
1900-1904Montreal Division No. 4James Cochrane
1904-1908Montreal Division No. 4G.W. Stephens
1908-1912Montreal Division No. 4John T. Finnie
1890-1897Montreal Division No. 5John Smythe Hall
1897-1900Montreal Division No. 5Robert Bickerdike
1900-1904Montreal Division No. 5Matthew Hutchison
1904-1906Montreal Division No. 5Christopher B. Carter
1907-1912Montreal Division No. 5Ernest C. Gault
1890-1891Montreal Division No. 6The Hon. James McShane
1892-1895Montreal Division No. 6Patrick Kennedy
1895-1904Montreal Division No. 6James John Edmund Guerin
1904-1908Montreal Division No. 6Michael James Walsh
1908-(election set aside)Montreal Division No. 6Denis Tansey
1908-1912Montreal Division No. 6Michael James Walsh
1890-1896HochelagaJoseph Octave Villeneuve
1897-1904HochelagaDaniel Jerome Décarie
1904-1912HochelagaJérémie Décarie
(from 1912)
1908Jacques CartierPhilémon Cousineau
1908LavalJoseph Wenceslas Lévesque
1912MaisonneuveThe Hon. Jérémie Décarie
1912Montreal DorionGeorges Mayrand
1912Montreal HochelagaSéverin Létourneau
1912Montreal LaurierNapoléon Turcot
1912Montreal Ste. AnneDenis Tansey
1912Montreal St. GeorgeC. Ernest Gault
1912Montreal St. JamesClément Robillard
1912Montreal St. LawrenceJohn T. Finnie
1912Montreal St. LouisJ.E. Godfroi Langlois
1912Montreal St. MaryNapoléon Séguin
1912WestmountCharles Allan Smart
HON. LOMER GOUIN, K.C.

HON. LOMER GOUIN, K.C.

Prime Minister of Province of Quebec

LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL

LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL

A High Commissioner for Canada

SIR WILFRID LAURIER

SIR WILFRID LAURIER

A Prime Minister of Canada

MONTREAL FOUNDED 1642

MONTREAL FOUNDED 1642

In 1905 this monument, by Philippe Hébert, was erected to the memory of the first Governor of Montreal, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, and commemorates, with its bas reliefs and supplementary statuary, several of the principal personages and dramatic incidents in the early days of the settlement.

FOOTNOTES:

1 Practically every bishop in the Province of Quebec issued an amendment which tended to create Union and promote the acceptance of Confederation. Cf. “The History of the Life and Times of Sir George Etienne Cartier” by John Boyd (McMillan, Toronto, 1914), pp. 288 et seq. The reader will find further interesting details on the political life of Montreal of this period, in the above work.


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CHAPTER XXIII

SUPPLEMENTAL ANNALS AND SIDELIGHTS OF SOCIAL LIFE

UNDER CONFEDERATION

1867-1914

CONFEDERATION—IMPRESSIONS OF—FUNERAL OF D’ARCY M’GEE—PRINCE ARTHUR OF CONNAUGHT—THE SECOND FENIAN RAID—THE “SILVER” NUISANCE—ORGANIZATION OF CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD—RUN ON A SAVINGS BANK—FUNERAL OF SIR GEORGE ETIENNE CARTIER—NEW BALLOT ACT—THE “BAD TIMES”—THE NATIONAL POLICY—THE ICE RAILWAY—THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD CONTRACT—THE FORMATION OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CANADA—OTHER CONGRESSES—THE FIRST WINTER CARNIVAL—FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. JEAN BAPTISTE ASSOCIATION—THE GREAT ALLEGORICAL PROCESSION AND CAVALCADE—THE MONUMENT NATIONAL—THE RIEL REBELLION—SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC AND RIOTS—THE FLOODS OF 1886—THE FIRST REVETMENT WALL—THE JESUITS ESTATES BILL AND THE EQUAL RIGHTS PARTY—LA GRIPPE—THE COMTE DE PARIS—ELECTRICAL CONVENTION—HISTORIC TABLETS PLACED—THE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF VILLE MARIE—THE BOARD OF TRADE BUILDING BURNT—THE CITY RAILWAY ELECTRIFIED—HOME RULE FOR IRELAND—VILLA MARIA BURNT—THE “SANTA MARIA”—CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOURERS CONVENTION—THE CHATEAU DE RAMEZAY AS A PUBLIC MUSEUM—MAISONNEUVE MONUMENT—LAVAL UNIVERSITY—QUEEN VICTORIA’S DIAMOND JUBILEE—MONTREAL AND THE BOER WAR—THE VISIT OF THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL—TURBINE STEAMERS—A JAPANESE LOAN COMPANY—FIRST AUTOMOBILE FATALITY—FIRES AT McGILL—ECLIPSE OF SUN—THE WINDSOR STATION ACCIDENT—THE “WITNESS” BUILDING BURNT—THE OPENING OF THE ROYAL EDWARD INSTITUTE—GREAT CIVIC REFORM—THE DEATH OF EDWARD VII—THE “HERALD” BUILDING BURNT—THE EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS—MONTREAL A WORLD CITY—THE DRY DOCK—THE “TITANIC DISASTER”—CHILD WELFARE EXHIBITION—MONTREAL AND THE WAR OF 1914.

The same foreword as that prefacing a preceding chapter is similarly applicable here. The curious reader is warned to pursue the history of the main movements indicated, in the second part of special history.

Confederation was received with mixed feelings. There were many of the parti national who thought that Confederation came too soon, that it had been hurried through without the people thoroughly being instructed in the details and[232] without their being consulted, and that the French Canadians would be politically annihilated, a foreboding never realized. It was indeed the quietus to the parti national, who had opposed it in their newspaper, the Union Nationale, established in 1865 by Médéric Lanctot, which represented the views of the young blood opposed to Cartier, such as Messrs. Joseph Loranger, Doutre, Dorion, Judge Delorimier, Lanctot, Labelle, Laflamme and L.O. David, then a brilliant writer on its staff. But in 1867 on the advent of Confederation agitation ceased and the inevitable was accepted with growing satisfaction. The country, however, was at the time in a bad state, suffering from the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty in 1866.

The year 1868 marks an important event in the French Canadian life of the city, for it saw the Papal Zouaves leave Montreal on February 7th, to fight in Italy against Garibaldi who wished to curtail the temporal sovereignty of the papal throne. On February 15th the roof of St. Patrick’s Hall, the home of St. Patrick’s National Society, at the south end of Craig Street, fell in. In March the first 3-cent letter stamp was issued in Canada, and on April 1st the first postoffice savings banks were opened. This same month saw the assassination of D’Arcy McGee at Ottawa. His funeral took place in Montreal on April 13th and was a great public testimonial to his citizenship and to his devotion to his adopted country.

Eighteen hundred and sixty-nine is remembered as the year the present Governor General, H.R.H., the Duke of Connaught, then the young Prince Arthur, a bright, frolicsome, light-hearted boy, first came to the city, in August, to join his regiment, the First Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. Rosemount, at the head of Simpson Street, a house which was occupied by Sir John Rose, and afterwards owned by the Ogilvie family, was set aside for him, under the tutelage of Lord Elphinstone. His advent added to the military and social gaiety of the small city. Among the brilliant officers then in the city was Col. Garnett Wolseley, then known only as a gallant officer who had served in the Crimea, who had now gone on the Red River expedition to the Northwest to quiet the first Riel rebellion, which occurred about this time, and who lived, at this period, at 172 Havelock Terrace, Mountain Street, above the Canadian Pacific Railway bridge. Another was General Windham, who was buried in this city on February 12, 1870.

One of the acts of the young Prince was to open the Caledonia skating rink on December 15th. A photograph of this represents the Prince surrounded by such men as David Brown, A. McGibbon, F. Gardner, Colonel Lord Russell, Mr. Hugh Allan, Mr. Andrew Allan, Colonel Dyde, H. Hutchinson, the architect, and the Rev. Dr. Robert Campbell. During his stay the Prince also opened the Royal Arthur School on Workman Street, and conferred in the St. Patrick’s Hall the order of St. Michael and St. George on Mr. A.T. Galt,—a striking and unusual ceremony in those days.

The Sixth Art Exhibition was held in Montreal the next year on March 8th and Prince Arthur was present.

The young Prince had more functions for he was soon to accompany his regiment in repelling the second Fenian raid.

Meanwhile, about April 10, 1870, an intimation having been received by the Dominion Government, from the British Minister at Washington, of an intended Fenian raid into Canada, several frontier corps were ordered to hold themselves in readiness for immediate action. There was great military enthusiasm in the city[233] and by the end of the week all the battalions so ordered were under arms. From Montreal, on the Monday following the receipt of this information, Muir’s troop of cavalry was ordered out and they arrived at Huntingdon on Tuesday afternoon, whither also went Prince Arthur. Colonel Chamberlain had already gone to Missisquoi to bring out the force under his command, whilst a large force of the volunteers in Montreal was collected under Lieutenant-Colonel Fletcher, the entire force being under Colonel Lowry.

FUNERAL OF THOMAS D’ARCY McGEE

FUNERAL OF THOMAS D’ARCY McGEE

FUNERAL OF THE LATE T.L. HACKETT AS SEEN COMING DOWN ST. JAMES STREET

FUNERAL OF THE LATE T.L. HACKETT AS SEEN COMING DOWN ST. JAMES STREET

The volunteer movement received an impetus and recruiting was lively. During the following week the streets of Montreal appeared gay with marching troops and sounds of martial music from the many bands which were moving to and from the execution of their military duties, now vividly recalled by the citizens of that time who have lived to see the great call to arms of 1914.

The day after the Queen’s Birthday, May 25th, the band of 200 of these, misguided Fenians, under command of “General” O’Neil, crossed the frontier and entered Canada, trying to effect a lodgment at Pigeon Hill. A finely equipped little army of itself in the shape of the Prince Consort’s Own Rifles (Regulars), 700 strong under command of Lord A. Russell and accompanied by our present Governor-General, then Prince Arthur, went by special train to St. Johns, where the volunteers had preceded them.

General Lindsay assumed command of the whole. The only fighting that occurred was at Cook’s Corners, where the whole of the Canadian troops did not exceed seventy men, though ample reserves were in waiting at points near at hand. The actual fighting was of no importance; it was a flash in the pan that made a great scare.

On May 26th President Grant issued a proclamation against Fenian raids into Canada and on May 30th in Montreal the mayor thanked the volunteers for their services. Little had had to be done but it was serious work mobilizing and there was much activity over the city in preparation.

Several other events are to be recorded for this year, the appearance of the Tyne Crew and the meeting to form the Dominion Board of Trade. The Frazer Institute was incorporated in 1870 and opened to the public in 1885 after a long delay from litigious actions. This year the “silver” nuisance was lessened by the export of $4,000,000 at a cost of $140,000, through the adoption of the plan of Sir Francis Hincks and Mr. William Weir, afterward president of the Ville Marie Bank.

In 1871 the first post cards issued by the Dominion postoffice were welcomed in the city. In this year the fuller organization of the Canadian Pacific Railway, organized by Montreal men, took place and the preliminary surveys were made for which Parliament had in 1870 appropriated $250,000.

On February 27, 1872, loyal Montreal observed the day as one of thanksgiving for the recovery of the Prince of Wales. On April 27th the intense interest of Montrealers in the new railway culminated in the voting on the million dollar railway subsidy. October 2d of this year saw St. Patrick’s Hall burned down; a run on the City and District Bank on the 7th, which was stopped by a citizen’s large deposit and by the timely advice of the Rev. Father Dowd, the pastor of St. Patrick’s parish; and on the 17th the city cars, then horse drawn, were stopped, owing to the animals suffering from the epizooty. This year was marked by the establishment of the first cotton mill at Hochelaga.

[234]

The memorable events of 1873 include the obtaining of the charter of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the public funeral in Montreal, on June 13th, of Sir George Etienne Cartier, who died in London on May 20th at the age of fifty-nine years, the unveiling of the statue of Queen Victoria by Lord Dufferin and the opening of the Wesleyan Theological College and the new Y.M.C.A. building.

In 1874 the manifesto of the Canada First party was issued on January 6th, preceding the general elections of January 29th.

In March the Queen’s Hall, the home of concerts and theatrical entertainments, was burnt down.

In September, 1875, the reinterment of Guibord in the Catholic cemetery took place under military escort.

On May 26th an act was passed that introduced vote by ballot, simultaneous elections, the abolition of property qualifications for members of the House of Commons and stringent enactments against corrupt practices at elections. On June 6, 1876, the Emperor and Empress of Brazil were entertained in this city.

This year was chiefly noticeable for trade depression and the number of business failures. This was in consequence of the bad times begun in 1874. On August 14th a great mass meeting was called to consider the Montreal taxes. The country was in a poor state after the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty with the United States and was suffering from the reaction after the Civil war.

In 1875 the Mechanics Bank and the Banque Jacques Cartier suspended payment. The industries were very few and could not compete with those of the States, and agriculture was feeble. There were heavy duties to pay for the many goods coming from the States. There was little population and many crossed the border line. Work was scarce; there was great distress. People were starving and free public soup kitchens were established for poor relief by the charitable agencies. Funds were too low for more liberal treatment. Politicians placed the blame on the free trade policy of Mr. McKenzie’s party then in power. This was opposed to the genius and the needs of a young country feeling its industrial way. While the Americans had a duty at that time of twenty to seventy per cent the Canadians for purely revenue purposes had only something like fifteen per cent, and nothing for protection. The occasion was one that demanded practical relief and not finely strung political theories, built on the experience of the custom prevailing in England. But nothing was done so that the people became hopeless and gloomy and there was a project about this time, as already recorded, for annexation, encouraged by the American party in Montreal for business reasons.

Meanwhile the city saw, in June and July, of 1878, the Orange troubles and the shooting of Hackett, a state of excitement no doubt caused by the general unsettled state of affairs. The great hope of this time was the national policy which Sir John A. Macdonald began to make public. The effect was magical at the start. In March, 1878, he expressed his opinion that to be prosperous Canada must adopt a “national policy” for the protection of home industries. It had to be fought out at the polls. There was now hope in every breast. Financial men began to look out for sites upon which to build mills and factories, the sugar refineries were reopened, the people took heart and when the policy carried at the polls in September by a tremendous majority and was ratified by a formal vote in the house, and when the national policy was introduced March 14, 1879, going into effect next day, it was felt that Montreal and Canada were saved. It was the[235] remembrance of this that caused the older men to vote against reciprocity when before the public in 1911.

A social event of this year was the investiture by the Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada, authorized by Her Majesty, of the six knights of the most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. Gregory.

On January 1, 1880, the South Eastern Railway began the construction of a railway across the ice from the north side of the river to the station between Bellerive Park and Longueuil Ferry, across to Longueuil. The contractors were Auguste Laberge & Son, who had built the city hall, its promoters being Mr. Sénecal, A.B. Foster, Judge Mousseau, J.B. Renaud and others. On the 29th of January loaded cars were drawn across to Montreal. Next day an engine of 50,000 pounds avoirdupois crossed from Montreal. On March 15th horses replaced the engines; on March 31st twenty cars were on the ice railway, when it began to be found insecure so that the rails were removed from the ice on April 1st.

In September the Governor General visited the exhibition at Montreal, when 50,000 persons were present.

On October 1st the contract was signed for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but at midnight on December 10th it was placed before the House. On February 16th of the next year the company received its letters patent and on May 2d broke the first ground for the great transcontinental railway.

On December 23d of this year Sarah Bernhardt made her first appearance here.

On January 5th, 1881, the South Eastern Railway laid a railway again across the ice but it was shortly abandoned on the loss of an engine by the freight train breaking through, without the loss of life.

The next year, 1882, was one of intellectual progress in the city for this year, on May 25th, the Royal Society of Montreal was formed with Sir William Dawson, principal of McGill, as president.

On August 21st there were the meetings of the Forestry and Agricultural congresses and on August 23d the American Association for the Advancement of Learning again chose the city for its convention after twenty-four years’ absence.

The first Montreal Winter Carnival was held in January, 1883, and was the outgrowth of a suggestion by Mr. R.D. McGibbon, an advocate of the city. One of the great features was the ice palace, which was erected in Dominion Square, a mediaeval castle of transparent crystal. The attack of 2,000 snowshoers, and the defence by the volunteers, was a great scene amid the detonation of bombshells and the interchange of pyrotechnic missles till at last the castle capitulated. After this an immense line of showshoers, each bearing aloft a blazing torch, scaled the mountain in a seemingly endless trail of fire. This has been repeated at more or less regular intervals but the fear that the ice palace would harm prospective immigrants through unnecessary fear of our bright, brisk and invigorating winter has caused the carnival pageant to fall into desuetude. Yet the carnival is but a development of the old frost fairs on the Thames, that most known being on the occasion of the visit of Charles II and the Royal Family to the Frost Fair of 1684, when the printers made a souvenir as follows:

[236]

Charles,KingMary,Duchess
James,DukeAnne,Princess
Katherine,QueenGeorge,Prince
Hans in Kilder
London, printed by J. Croome on the ice on the River
Thames, Jan. 31st, 1684.

The month of June, 1884, was the scene of great festivity among the French-Canadian population on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the parent society of St. Jean Baptiste Association of Montreal, being taken to hold a national congress of French-Canadians from June 24th to the 28th, to inaugurate the placing of the first stone of the Edifice Nationale, which afterwards became the “Monument National.” Outside of the literary, artistic and other intellectual sessions of the congress there were public sports, balloon ascensions and amusements, and a great procession of all the societies of St. Jean Baptiste in Canada and the United States, when a magnificent array of allegorical cars representing the chief features of Canadian history passed through the principal streets of the city.

In addition there was a grand historical cavalcade representing St. Louis, King of France, receiving the oriflamme of St. Denis and departing for the Seventh Crusade. The dresses for this dignified cavalcade cost about ten thousand dollars and the whole spectacle was one that far surpassed any similar dramatic pageant that had preceded it or has followed since in Canada.

On January 1, 1884, the River St. Lawrence again notably flooded the lower part of Montreal as was usual in the spring.

On July 4, 1884, Louis Riel arrived at Duck Lake and began to inflame the discontent in the half-breeds and Indians, who feared dispossession of their lands by the incoming settlers and the encroachment of the iron road of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. This, together with the Soudan war then in progress, produced a revival of the military spirit so that in the following year, 1885, Montreal sent the Sixty-fifth Regiment to suppress the rebellion.

The Montreal contingent returned home at a critical juncture and was employed to quell the anti-vaccination riots of 1885. At this time a virulent epidemic of smallpox had broken out in the city and a compulsory vaccination act had been passed which was resented by a great portion of the people, many complaining that the vaccine used had poisoned them, while others complained on sentimental and medical grounds. It was a time of terror. Mobs attacked the houses and even the persons of Larocque, Drs. E. Persillier-Lachapelle, J.W. Mount, Hingston, and others, who were before the public as the chief promoters of the vaccination movement. Meanwhile the doctors appointed for each district had their stations and went from door to door to vaccinate, while the houses could be seen with their isolation papers posted on them and with guards around and the yellow ambulances plying through the streets, taking away the affected sick or the dead.

The friends of many of the victims refused to allow the patients to be removed to the Exhibition grounds where a temporary hospital had been arranged. All the local troops were called out. The cavalry was there, too. A tremendous mob assembled at Mount Royal and attacked it with stones. Many of the men received cuts in the face. When the mob was at its worst, it was discovered that[237] there was no magistrate to read the riot act, and no ammunition for the rifles, in case the rifles had to be used. However, the cavalry rode through the crowds. A better feeling finally prevailed, so that the patients were peaceably allowed to be taken to the public hospital.

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Skiing

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Skiing

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Snow shoeing

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Snow shoeing

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: The Ice Palace

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: The Ice Palace

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Hockey match at Victoria Rink

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Hockey match at Victoria Rink

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Toboggan slide on Mount Royal

WINTER SPORTS IN MONTREAL: Toboggan slide on Mount Royal

The epidemic had important results in the effect it had on the modernizing and reconstruction of the medical bureau of the city hall.

The Montreal annals of 1886 for January 2d recall the meetings of the famous evangelist, D.L. Moody. In the same month Sir John A. MacDonald, while in England, defended French-Canadian loyalty and affirmed at the same time that 40,000 of the best soldiers in Canada were ready to leave to defend Imperial interests in Burmah or Turkestan.

This year was signalized by Montreal’s worst inundation, so that on April 17th from the foot of Beaver Hall Hill there was a 5 cent ferry by boat and carts to St. James Street. The flood abated on April 20th, after having been five feet, ten inches above the revetment wall. A similar flood occurred next year and a delegation went to Ottawa to arrange with the Government for adequate protection. In consequence the following year a wooden embankment, filled with cement, was built and pumping stations were erected to protect Montreal from further inundations. This revetment wall, however, gave place to the present one of stone.

On the 28th of June the first passenger train to the Pacific left the city, reaching Vancouver on July 4th, a distance of 2,906 miles having been covered in 140 hours.

On May 12, 1888, the Quebec Parliament passed the Jesuits’ estates bill.

On September 3d the first labour day was celebrated in the city, 5,000 taking part in the procession.

During the next year, 1889, the Jesuits’ bill was contested by the Equal Rights party; finally the Quebec Legislature paid the Jesuits $400,000 which was further divided among Catholic educational bodies and an additional sum of $60,000 was turned over to the Protestant Board of Education.

The year 1890 opened with la grippe which was then prevalent in the United States, Canada and Europe.

On May 6th the lunatic asylum at Longue Pointe was burnt down with the loss of seventy lives, owing to the incendiarism of a patient.

This year saw the reception of the Comte de Paris and his son. The reception tendered them was a brilliant affair. Not only the French population but the English also received them most royally, although a counter demonstration was started by a few revolutionary spirits, but they had no following and their efforts came to nothing.

The annals of 1891 recall the arrival in the city, on August 21st, of the Continental Guards from New Orleans.

On September 8th there was the first electrical convention and this was followed on September 18th by the Montreal Exhibition, which took place on the former Guilbeault’s zoological and pleasure grounds above Mount Royal Avenue, these having been moved from the first location on Sherbrooke Street, the attendance at the exhibition being 50,000, surpassing those of 1880, 1881, 1883 and 1884.

[238]

Lovers of the antiquities of the city will note the date of October 21st, as that of the historic tablets being unveiled under the auspices of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal, the movement having been promoted by Messrs. W.D. Lighthall with the aid of A.U. Beaudry, Gerald Hart and others of a subsequent committee.

The fifth jubilee of the founding of Montreal occurred in 1892. As early as April 17, 1888, a resolution was passed by the above association to celebrate it by an international exhibition in 1892. In October of 1888, Mr. Roswell Corse Lyman, one of its members, wrote a pamphlet “Shall we have a World’s Fair in Montreal in 1892 to celebrate the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Ville Marie?” It never eventuated in this city, but Montreal can rightly claim that through this pamphlet and the Montreal initiation the wonderful Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 had its origin.

In April many Jewish families left Montreal to colonize the Northwest.

April of 1893 opened with three incendiary fires and on April 3d Bonsecours Market was partially burnt with a loss of $20,000, without insurance. On May 18th the cornerstone of the new Board of Trade Building was laid by Sir Donald Smith, who humorously remarked that he had come down from Ottawa as a common labourer, but that his brother member of Parliament, Mr. J.J. Curran, afterward the Hon. Mr. Justice Curran, had come to make a speech. On May 28th the will of Mr. J.W. Tempest was published, bequeathing the Art Association of Montreal about $80,000. One of the first benefactors to this had been Mr. Benajah Gibb, a former citizen.

At the second congress of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire, held in London from June 28th to July 1st, the Montreal Board of Trade was represented by Mr. Donald A. Smith and Mr. Peter Redpath.

On July 5th, Sir William Dawson welcomed the Teachers’ Association to the city.

This year the street railway of Montreal was electrified and city planners saw the beginning of the present leap in the growth of Montreal through its suburbs following on the annexations which began in 1883.

On July 19th the city granted a thirty years’ franchise to the Street Railway Company.

In 1893 the progress of McGill University since 1852 was made manifest. University life was enlivened in this city on January 20th, when the students of the universities of Vermont and McGill held a joint concert in the city. At this time McGill had sixty-six professors. In April the chairs of pathology and hygiene were founded by the chancellor, Sir Donald A. Smith. McGill was benefited this year by the addition of the engineering and physics building, the gift of (Sir) William C. Macdonald, by the workshops, the gift of Thomas Workman, the library, by Peter Redpath, and the new Aberdeen medal, given by the new Governor General, Lord Aberdeen. But in the midst of the triumphs of this year, McGill regretfully received the resignation of Sir William Dawson, whom it had received as its principal in 1852, the year of its second lease of life.

On February 23d the International Mining Association met in Montreal.

On April 24, 1893, the interest of Montrealers in Imperial politics was manifested by the telegram of St. Patrick’s Society to the Canadian statesman, the Hon. E.S. Blake, a member of Parliament for an English constituency, to congratulate[239] Mr. Gladstone and himself on the second reading of the Home Rule bill.

A GROUP OF MONTREAL RESIDENCES

Residence of Sir William C. Van Horne

Residence of Sir William C. Van Horne

Residence of the Hon. Dr. James J. Guerin, Ex-Mayor of Montreal

Residence of the Hon. Dr. James J. Guerin, Ex-Mayor of Montreal

“Ravenscrag,” residence of Sir Hugh Montagu Allan

“Ravenscrag,” residence of Sir Hugh Montagu Allan

Montreal residence of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal

Montreal residence of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal

Residence of the late Hon. Sir William Hales Hingston

Residence of the late Hon. Sir William Hales Hingston

Residence of the late Charles M. Hays, Esq.

Residence of the late Charles M. Hays, Esq.

On May 1st there was held the first meeting of the Corn Exchange in its newly erected building. On the 23d Montreal was visited by the tornado which passed over the province, but without much injury or death.

On June 8th, Villa Maria, belonging to the “Congregation” Sisters, one of the largest educational structures on the American continent, was destroyed by fire.

On June 19th the three caravels, intended as the facsimiles of the ships of Columbus, were at Montreal on their way to the World’s Fair at Chicago. In the summer of 1914 one of them, the Santa Maria, reappeared at Montreal on a long tour in preparation for the Panama Exhibition at San Francisco in 1915.

The harbour also saw in July the arrival of the warship Etna. July witnessed a great convention of many thousands of an unsectarian body named the Christian Endeavourers. This year the railways of Montreal were flourishing and the fact that 132 trains were daily entering by the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk railways show the steady growth of the population and commerce. The earnings of the Canadian Pacific Railway had increased by almost five million dollars since 1887.

On October 30th the city mourned the loss by death of a great Montrealer, the late Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, K. C, M.G., a former mayor of the city and a prime minister of Canada. His burial took place on November 2d and his remains were followed by his successor, Sir John Thompson, and by many hundreds of the leaders of Canada.

The most important event closing the year of 1893 was the inauguration of the Royal Victoria Hospital in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.

On November 27th, Montreal experienced a shock of earthquake which was felt over Canada with no loss of life and little of property.

In 1894, Sir William Van Horne, the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and one of its pioneers, was knighted.

This year closed on December 31st with one of the greatest windstorms ever recorded in the history of Montreal, the velocity of the wind reaching eighty miles per hour, so that much damage was done.

In 1894, the first attempt towards a public portrait gallery, a museum of antiquities and the securing of the Château de Ramezay as its permanent home originated with the members of the Antiquarian Society of Montreal, the idea of the picture gallery arising with Mr. de Léry MacDonald, that of saving the Château from passing into private hands, with Mr. Roswell Lyman, and the employment of it as a public historical museum by Mr. W.D. Lighthall, which was promoted by a petition to the mayor and aldermen organized by Mr. R.W. McLachlan and others and signed by about three thousand principal citizens. The agitation was successful and the first reception was given in the Château de Ramezay on November 11, 1897.

The next year, 1895, was marked with the inauguration of other public movements. On June 6th the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald was unveiled in Dominion Square by Sir Donald A. Smith and the Maisonneuve monument by Phillipe Hébert was unveiled on the Place d’Armes on Monday, July 1st, by the Hon. J.A. Chapleau, lieutenant governor of the Province of Quebec, the president of the committee being M.S. Pagnuelo and the secretary being the Vicomte H. de la Barthe. This was followed on October 8th by the inauguration of the new[240] edifice of the Montreal branch of Laval University, but recently established in the city.

In 1896, Sir Donald A. Smith, later Lord Strathcona, was appointed High Commissioner for Canada. Another prominent Montreal citizen, Mr. Charles M. Hays, was appointed general manager of the Grand Trunk Railway.

Among the notable city events of 1897 were the meeting, in Montreal, of the Behring Sea Commissioners on June 16th, the celebration of the first day of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the consecration on June 30th of His Grace, Archbishop Bruchesi, by the Apostolic delegate, Mgr. Merry del Val, and the great meeting of the British Medical Society on August 31st.

In 1898 the public benefactions of a notable citizen, Sir William C. MacDonald, were rewarded by a knighthood.

January 1, 1899, is memorable as the day when the reduction of the 3 cent postage stamp to 2 cents came into force.

This year also marked the progress of the movement for the higher education of women by the opening of the Royal Victoria College for Women, being endowed with a gift of $1,000,000 by the chancellor of the University of McGill, Lord Strathcona.

This year being that of the beginning of the Boer war, Montreal again shared in the Imperial burden by providing a considerable part of the Canadian contingents for service in South Africa, it being represented in the first contingent by Company E, which sailed on October 30, 1899, and more largely in the second contingent which departed on January 4, 1900. The famous Strathcona Horse of three squadrons with 597 of all ranks sailed on March 1, 1900. During the progress of the war the citizens were actively engaged in promoting the patriotic fund and in works of providing comforts for the soldiers and those left behind by them.

During the course of 1900 the statue of Queen Victoria by Princess Louise was unveiled by the Governor General, Lord Minto.

The year 1901 was ushered in by the disastrous fire which destroyed the Board of Trade and many other commercial buildings on St. Paul Street to the extent of $2,500,000 loss. The new building was raised on the same site and was taken possession of on May 1, 1903.

On September 18, 1902, Montreal was honoured by the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, who are now happily reigning as King George V and Queen Mary. The loyalty of the city was manifested as on previous royal visits, the city being magnificently decorated and illuminated.

The growing importance of Montreal as a factor in Imperial commerce was demonstrated in the following year, 1903, when the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire met in the city.

The destruction by fire of the Mount Royal Club, frequented by the wealthiest and most important citizens, taking place this year is another sidelight calling attention to the growth of club life since the old Beaver Club days. Other clubs had, in the meantime, been established in great numbers to cope with the growth of its needs.

In 1905 the first turbine steamers to cross the Atlantic, the Virginian and Victorian, of the Allan Line, were placed on the St. Lawrence route, a fact showing[241] that navigation methods at Montreal have always kept abreast with the times. This same year the value of new buildings erected was $5,590,698.

The year 1904 opened with a terrible conflagration at St. Cunégonde on January 18th.

On June 4th, Lord Dundonald, on military service in Canada, made his famous arraignment at the Windsor Hotel of his government, for which he was recalled on June 14th. The harbour this year showed the prevalent great commercial development when an elevator capable of holding 1,000,000 bushels was erected. On the 22d of August the Manufacturers’ Association held a great banquet at the Windsor Hotel. In November, Patti made her last appearance in the city to be followed on January 5, 1905, by Rejanne, both of these latter appearances chronicling the position of Montreal as a musical and dramatic centre. Since then great singers, such as Calvé, Albani, Caruso and others have each triumphed here, as have the leading instrumental artists.

The Russo-Japanese war was the occasion of a subscription for a Japanese loan being started on March 31st. On August 22d Royalty again visited Montreal in the person of Prince Louis of Battenberg.

In 1906 the Labour party in Montreal elected a labour representative, M. Alphonse Verville, for Maisonneuve. This year St. Helen’s Island was secured for the people of Montreal by a purchase by the city from the Federal Government for $200,000.

In this year the advent of the automobile era is recorded at Montreal by the first fatality occurring, on August 11th, in the death of one named Toutant.

In 1907 the early months saw the burning of the Protestant school at Hochelaga and the civil engineering and medical buildings of McGill University. On April 1st the old Theatre Royal, which had fallen from the high palmy days into flagrant spectacles of a low class of vaudeville, was interdicted by the Archbishop Bruchesi and its final doom occurred a few years later.

The Bremen, one of the first German cruisers to visit this port, arrived on August 25, 1907. A significant sidelight of a phase of the continued growth of Montreal is the signing, on November 7th, of the contract for the building of the new city prison at Bordeaux. This year the temperance movement was greatly forwarded by the foundation of the Anti-Alcoolique League on December 29th.

International trade expansion was demonstrated in Montreal on February 5th, when the Marconi commercial telegraph service was installed.

The eclipse of the sun of 1908 was visible at Montreal on July 22d.

In 1909 a great accident took place in the Windsor Station by a train running off the tracks causing damage to the extent of $200,000, but with the loss, however, of only four lives.

The shipping in the port this year was increased by the advent of the White Star Liners, S.S. Laurentic on May 7th, and S.S. Megantic on June 27th. On the 27th of August the steamship Prescott was burnt in the harbour. The “Back to Montreal” movement recalled citizens to their homes for the week beginning September 13th, while the following day saw the closing of the civic investigation into aldermanic scandals at the city hall to be followed by the “Cannon Report.”

On September 23d the Witness Building was gutted by fire. In October the Royal Edward Tuberculosis Institute, the first of its kind in Canada, was[242] opened by telegraph from England by His Majesty, King Edward, who gave the name to the building. The last day of the year ended with a gas explosion at Viger Station with the loss of thirty-eight lives.

The year 1910 is memorable for the triumph of civic reform and the establishment of the Board of Control, owing to a change in the city charter, as the outcome of the referendum to the people in 1909, to stop which an aldermanic delegation to the Provincial Legislature had been fruitless.

In the year in question the electors were asked to vote on these two vital questions:

Do you approve of the creation of a Board of Control?

Do you approve of one alderman a ward instead of two?

The answer given to both of the queries was overwhelmingly in the affirmative. The following figures prove this beyond the question of a doubt:

SUMMARY OF THE VOTE

Votes.
For reduction of aldermen19,585
Against reduction1,640
———
Majority in favor17,945
For Board of Control18,528
Against Board of Control2,413
———
Majority in favor16,115

There was not a single ward, throughout the city, which did not favour the proposed changes and no less than 34 per cent of the entire vote was polled on this memorable occasion.

On May 6th, His Majesty, King Edward, died and loyal Montreal grieved as a city with majestic and magnificent emblems of sorrow over all the public buildings. On the occasion of the royal funeral in Westminster Abbey the city was represented by His Worship the mayor, Dr. J.J. Guerin. In preparation for this event the high commissioner of Canada, Lord Strathcona, in London, protested against the inferior position given to the representatives of autonomous colonies of the Empire and his timely intervention was generously acted upon.

The Montreal trade fleet again was reinforced in 1910 by the advent on May 11th of the Royal Edward from Bristol, the first of the Canadian Northern Railway steamers. On the 28th, of the same month, transportation was effected by the inauguration of the electric tramway between Longueuil and McGill streets via the Victoria Bridge.

In June the Herald Building, facing Victoria Square was destroyed by fire with the loss of thirty-three lives. During this month M. de Lesseps, of aviation fame, was received in the city hall, while on November 27th the city was visited by the Marquis de Montcalm, a name honoured in the city from the general who made Montreal his headquarters under the French régime.

In October a flight, however, has to be recorded—that of the plausible financial gambler, Sheldon, who had ruined many widows among his dupes. He was, however, captured in the following year and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

[243]

But the Eucharistic Congress of 1910, held in Montreal, at the choice of the Catholic world, was an event before which all others of a social character have paled during recent years. It was prepared for long in advance as a great civic occasion, irrespective of its denominational character. The railway and steamship companies, the civic authorities and public bodies fitly put forth all their strength to make Montreal realize its now acknowledged position as a world city, which its choice connoted.

All was in readiness when Cardinal Vincenzo Vannutelli, at the end of August, came to Quebec on the Empress of Britain, to represent His Holiness, Pius X. There in the old City of Champlain the eminent visitor was honourably and worthily entertained. After this the Government tugboat, the Lady Grey, and the Government steamboat Montmagny, with prominent members of the legislature and leading citizens, accompanied by other vessels, eighty yachts, motor boats, etc., went down to meet the delegate on the way up the river. Meanwhile great crowds were gathered to receive the party on the wharf, but the flotilla entered the port on Saturday afternoon, September 3d, in a downpour of torrential rain. At the foot of McGill Street, on the wharf, a splendid kiosk, topped with a handsome cupola, was crowded with the civic functionaries, who shortly left on receiving the Cardinal and the whole party were forced to adjourn to the city hall, where the ceremony of further reception by the mayor, Dr. James J. Guerin, was more worthily and comfortably performed. The rain, however, had not prevented the ringing of church bells and the shrill whistling of half a hundred steamships and numerous factories and the crowds of the expectant citizens from voicing a welcome. From the city hall, the Papal representative proceeded to the residence of Archbishop Bruchesi, who had organized the congress, to be held in Montreal, the first place in the new world to be so honoured by this national event, a sign of the growing recognition of the place of Montreal in the cities of the world. The Archbishop’s house was to be the home of the Minister for the week.

On Tuesday evening the formal opening of the congress took place in St. James’ Church on Dominion Square, amid picturesque religious ceremonies and brilliant ecclesiastical functions that surpassed anything previous on this continent. The delegate opened his remarks by a recognition of the enthusiastic reception given him by the provincial and municipal authorities, as well as by all classes. Archbishop Bruchesi, in his address of welcome, recognized the kindly feelings which other creeds had manifested towards the congress, how many prominent non-Catholic citizens, such as Lord Strathcona, had given their help in various practical ways in demonstrations of a high spiritual belief in the Unseen which the congress portended for all. Various telegrams were sent to Pius X at Rome and to George V in London expressing gratitude for the recent modification made by him in the form of the royal declaration which had continued till then to contain obsolete and obnoxious discriminations against a loyal part of his subjects.

It may also be noted here that at the luncheon given that day at the Windsor Hotel by Sir Lomer Gouin, prime minister of the Province of Quebec, the Cardinal, proposing the health of the King, congratulated the Canadians on the liberty that had been assured them under the British King who had shown how he could respect the legitimate susceptibilities of his Roman Catholic subjects throughout the Empire.

In the evening of this day, September 7th, the representative of the Federal Government, the Hon. Charles Murphy, Secretary of State of Canada, gave his official reception, which was attended by the largest throng of citizens that ever had entered this hotel. That night, midnight high mass was celebrated at the Notre Dame Church, which commenced when the great bell in the west tower, weighing 24,600 pounds, pealed out the hour of midnight, and the files of thousands of the representatives of the secular clergy and of the religious orders, and the laity, with prelates of a dozen different nations, assisted at a memorable occasion.

The practical work of the congress began on Thursday, September 8th. There were thirteen sessions held in the various large halls of the city, and in addition there were three general meetings held, two at Notre Dame Church and one in the Arena, at which three the Cardinal Legate presided. On two successive evenings, September 8th and 9th, 15,000 people crowded into the great entrance of Notre Dame to hear the most distinguished French and[244] English speakers of the congress. Among those who spoke were His Eminence, Cardinal Logue, Primate of Armagh, Ireland; Archbishop Bourne, of Westminster, England; Archbishop Ireland, of St. Paul, Minnesota; Monsignor Heylen, of Namur; Monsignor Touchet, of Orleans; Monsignor Rumeau, of Angers; Hon. Judge O’Sullivan, of New York; Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Lomer Gouin, the Hon. Thomas Chapais, and the Hon. C.J. Doherty, Henri Bourassa and J.M. Tellier, members of the federal and provincial governments of Canada. The sacred edifice, capable of seating 15,000, was crammed to the utmost, hundreds upon hundreds standing for two or three hours.

The enthusiasm was intense and the sacred edifice rang with unwonted applause. The sanctuary and the stalls were filled with brilliant ecclesiastical costumes and gay uniforms and the church was a mass of colour. Perhaps the most electrical moment of the evening was after the plea of the Archbishop of Westminster advocating, before this vast audience which was for the most part composed of French-Canadians of the Province of Quebec, a more general adoption of the English language to meet the changing conditions of Greater Canada, when Henri Bourassa, who had already been appointed to speak at this point, took the psychological opportunity of the occasion so temptingly offered him, to voice the aroused thoughts of his compatriots to whom their language, religion and racial traditions seemed inseparably bound. His words were punctuated with thundering applause and the waving of hats and hands amid a scence of vibrant national and religious feeling, the while the people hung upon the word of the speaker, who for the nonce was but the mouth-piece of their individual thoughts made a scene which the writer will never forget as an instance of a clever orator speaking under the best and most popular surroundings.

The third meeting, at the Arena, was composed of about eight thousand young men who were addressed by the Cardinal, Archbishhop Langevin, of Manitoba, and by Mr. Henri Bourassa on “Noble Ideals and Inspirations.” Both speakers urged them to hold to their traditions and national rights. There was plenty of room for English and French in Canada. Both could work out a noble destiny in this young and growing country.

Another, but one of the most appealing spectacles of the congress, was the procession of 30,000 school children who, wearing picturesque dresses and bearing emblems and banners, passed constantly before the Legate who was seated on the steps of St. James’ Cathedral and received their individual courtesy, the while he bestowed his blessing amid the thousands of spectators assembled around Dominion Square, the whole making a magnificent and unusual sight lasting for three hours, during which time all traffic in the neighbourhood was absolutely blocked.

The historic Mount Royal has witnessed many picturesque scenes but none more so than the great open air mass celebrated on Saturday, September 10th, at the foot of the mountain on the great open space below Mount Royal Avenue, where a superb and ornate altar, open to the winds of heaven, had been placed. Around it were 100 bishops, 2,000 priests in their picturesque costumes, and 200,000 of the faithful. A choir of 1,000 voices responded to the chaunts of the celebrant, Monsignor Farley, Archbishop of New York. Monsignor O’Connell, of Boston, and a Dominican priest, Father Hage, preached to all who could hear their voices. During the solemn celebration the Cardinal Legate arrived at St. Patrick’s Church, where another function was being held, and on his way to the altar he had to walk over a path carpeted with flowers, and there pausing, he bestowed his blessing on the kneeling multitude.

The supreme moment of the congress was to come in the great procession the following day. For weeks the long route from the Church of Notre Dame to the foot of Mount Royal, where stood the altar already described, had been given over to architects and workmen; tall handsome arches, things of beauty, had been raised here and there along the route, one of them being made of wheaten sheaves sent from the Western Canadian prairies. Thousands of Venetian columns, obelisks, pedestals and flag poles lined the streets; flags of all nations and innumerable electrical signs adorned the housefronts.

The forenoon of Sunday was spent in completing the details of the procession and precisely at 1 o’clock files of men, six abreast, began to move past the doors of Notre Dame and, like the corps of an immense army, then swung into the route of the procession. Long before the route had been densely thronged, and the mountain slopes thickly covered with expectant onlookers, for the various railways centering in Montreal had reduced their[245] passenger rates in every direction within a radius of hundreds of miles and trains laden with humanity had followed each other at close intervals and unloaded their thousands all day Saturday and during the early hours of Sunday. It is estimated by the railway authorities that 200,000 strangers entered Montreal in twenty-four hours to witness the procession. For hours before it began the whole route was lined with people patiently waiting, while at the foot of the mountain near the altar of repose at least 75,000 had gathered, 20,000 of whom had been there from early morning. It was an extraordinary spectacle to look from the top of the mountain and see the mass of human beings moving in every direction over the immense sward, all eventually turning towards the handsome repository with its overtopping dome, the whole a design of great architectural beauty. Downtown at 1 o’clock began the greatest demonstration of any kind, civic or religious, that Canada ever witnessed. During four hours and a half, between fifty and sixty thousand men marched silently and prayerfully between at least half a million spectators lining the route. The demonstration was international in its widest extent. Citizens of the United States and Canada, together with Lithuanians, Chinese, Syrians, Iroquois Indians in their tribal costumes and feathers, Italians, Poles and a dozen other nationalities besides, carrying their distinctive banners and religious emblems, marched in one solid phalanx and in perfect order.

But the most imposing spectacle of all was that following the lay sections at 4 o’clock, when 1,000 choir boys, clothed in red cassocks and surplices, followed by the Christian Brotherhoods, hundreds of seminarians and the various religious orders of the city took their place in the great procession; then came 2,000 priests in sacerdotal vestments, followed in order of precedence by 100 bishops and archbishops, in cope and mitre. In the rear of the papal officers and chamberlains came the huge golden baldachino under which walked the tall majestic figure of Cardinal Vannutelli, carrying the Sacred Host and accompanied on both sides by ecclesiastical guards of honour and soldiers, with children busily swinging censers and strewing flowers in his path, the while the dense multitude, irrespective of creed, bowed in the reverential awe of the moment. Behind the baldachino walked Cardinals Logue and Gibbons, the prime minister of Canada, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the speaker of the House of Commons, members of the federal and provincial governments, members of the legislative council, the mayor of Montreal, the chief justice and judges of the Superior Court of Canada, all in their robes of office, members of the city council and a long line of men belonging to the liberal professions. When these last bands accompanying the Legate arrived it was already growing dusk and the electric lights on the waiting altar glowed in the gloom. A thousand voices entoned the Tantum Ergo, the Cardinal ascended the steps, took the remonstrance containing the Sacred Host and, raising it aloft over the 200,000 men, women and children kneeling on the grass, gave the benediction of the congress.

The congress was over. Lights went out and the bishops and their attendant clergy retired to the neighbouring convent of the Hôtel Dieu to doff their robes, marching down Pine Avenue chanting the Gregorian “Te Deum,” which sounded like the war song of the priests, and gradually the vast multitude dispersed to their homes.

The events of the succeeding year of 1911 recall the general federal elections on July 11th on the question of a renewal of reciprocity with the United States when, as has been said, it was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the electorate, notably in Montreal.

Harbour development was signalized this year by the signing of the contract with the Canadian Vickers Company for the new dry docks at the east end, and on October 4th in fitting recognition to a great harbour builder, the monument of the Hon. John Young was unveiled on the water front by Earl Grey. Meanwhile the general city development and expansion had been steadily increasing since the annexations of 1883. Its population and religions were becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and domestic troubles among the Mohammedans of the city on July 10th sufficiently indicate this.

The year 1912 is memorable at Montreal through the sorrow caused in the city by the loss of the White liner S.S. Titanic, a huge vessel with a displacement of[246] 60,000 tons, which struck a submerged iceberg off Cape Race on April 14th with the loss of 1,600 souls on board. While the whole world thrilled with horror at the new revelation of the dangers of the sea to modern leviathans, Montreal had its particular grief in the loss of some of its respected citizens, Charles M. Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Railway system, Markland Molson, Thornton Davidson, Vivian Payne, Q. Baxter, R.J. Levy, Mr. and Mrs. H. Allison and daughter, and Albert Malette.

The churches of the city universally mourned this world-wide disaster at the services of April 21st.

The month of October is memorable as the occasion of the great educational Child Welfare Exhibition held for a fortnight under the auspices of the humanitarian societies of the city in the Craig Street Drill Hall, and drawing immense crowds.

The year 1913 was remarkable for the extraordinary activity in building operations. As elsewhere related in the special chapter on City Improvement, Montreal gave more evidences of being a modern New York rather than the Ville Marie of old. It may be called the year of the great real estate boom.

But the last weeks of this year will stand out in civic history as a serious warning of the possibility of a city being deprived of its water supply for a long period with the additional terror of fire and disease. For 193 hours, beginning with Christmas night, the greater part of Montreal was deprived of water by the breaking of the concrete conduit at Lachine. Its story is told elsewhere.

The year 1914 has been one of the greatest gloom. Shortly before 3 o’clock early in the morning of May 29th the disquieting news was flashed from Quebec to Commander J.T. Walsh, superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company, that about 2:30 o’clock its greatest steamer, the Empress of Ireland, had been struck about thirty miles east of Farther Point, but without further information. Shortly another report told that it had been struck by the Storstad, a Norwegian collier bound for Montreal, and was sinking rapidly in sight of Rimouski. At first the news was not credited as possible, but it was too true. The ship sank almost immediately, being struck in the bowels and filling straightway with water. Montrealers felt the disaster most keenly, as its sister ships have their headquarters here and its officers were men personally known on the St. Lawrence and the Montreal route. Of the total 1,367 souls on board, 959 lives were lost and less than four hundred saved. The disaster was faced with courage and sympathetic humanitarianism by the many officers of the company who journeyed down to Quebec and spared no effort by night or day to make the tragedy less painful to the relatives of the survivors. The sailor institutions of Montreal on this occasion were glad to cooperate with those of Quebec and supervised the sad task of identifying the drowned and burying the bodies of the sailors as they were rescued from the waters or the shores of Rimouski and taken to the mournful morgues at Quebec.

Towards the end of July, 1914, war was declared between Austria and Servia. This involved Germany on the side of Austria, and Russia and France on the side of Servia, and on August 30th Great Britain because of Germany breaking the neutrality of Belgium, entered what was to be the most devastating war in the history of nations. Canada at once declared her loyalty to the Motherland in a very practical way. The Federal government presented 3,000,000 bags of flour[247] and raised a contingent of 33,000 of her best men. The Provinces vied with each other in contributing huge quantities of wheat, flour, apples, and in the case of the Province of Quebec, 2,000,000 pounds of cheese. A National Patriotic Fund was started with branches in every municipality throughout the Dominion—Montreal’s contribution totalling $2,000,000, in addition to which a Montreal citizen, A. Hamilton Gault, gave $500,000 to raise a regiment to be composed of veterans. This regiment of 1,000 picked men was named after the daughter of the Governor-General, the Duke of Connaught, the “Princess Patricia Light Infantry” and joined the first contingent, which left Canada on October 2nd, in thirty-one transports, principally vessels trading to Montreal, and under eleven convoys. This armada, which was the largest that ever sailed the Atlantic seas, reached Plymouth, October 16th, and the contingent was immediately entrained to Salisbury Plain to complete its training. Montreal contributed 3,200 men towards this first contingent. Their arrival in England was the occasion of much popular satisfaction at this great spectacle of Imperial union.

HOMES OF PROMINENT MONTREAL CITIZENS

“Rokeby,” the residence of A. Hamilton Gault.

“Rokeby,” the residence of A. Hamilton Gault.

Residence of the Hon. Sir George A. Drummond, K.C.M.G.

Residence of the Hon. Sir George A. Drummond, K.C.M.G.

Summer residence of Hon. J.A. Ouimet, St. Anne de Bellevue

Summer residence of Hon. J.A. Ouimet, St. Anne de Bellevue

Country residence of Sir Rodolphe Forget, M.P., at Ste Irénée on the St. Lawrence

Country residence of Sir Rodolphe Forget, M.P., at Ste Irénée on the St. Lawrence

“Villa des Epinettes,” summer residence of Isaie Prefontaine, Belle Isle

“Villa des Epinettes,” summer residence of Isaie Prefontaine, Belle Isle

Whatever doubts there might have been in the minds of some people as to the responsibility of Canada in the Boer war there was absolutely none in this crisis. The spontaneity of the Canadian people in rising to their privileges as British citizens has never been so pronounced. Every man and every woman in the Dominion, irrespective of national origin, wanted to do something to aid the Motherland. And Montreal was in the van.

Immediately the first contingent embarked the government decided on raising a second and recruiting started afresh. While the French-Canadians of the country had contributed 2,146 to the first contingent, being the more notable contribution of Canadian born subjects, the majority of the volunteers were those who were British born. But now the French-Canadians of the city determined to raise a regiment composed entirely of their compatriots to be called “Le Régiment Royal Canadien” and over three thousand men applied for admission. The Irish-Canadians, too, raised a regiment for home defense named the “Fifty-fifth Irish Canadian Rangers” with the Minister of Justice, the Hon. Charles J. Doherty, as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel. The neighbouring city of Westmount, under the direction of the mayor and council, raised the “Westmount Rifles” and even the suburban town of Outremont raised an artillery battery of 105 men. A number of prominent citizens of Montreal, on the initiative of Mr. J.N. Greenshields, K.C., equipped and are sustaining a “Home Guard” of 3,000 at their own expense. Towards the Patriotic Fund the local councils contributed as follows: Montreal, $150,000; Westmount, $5,000; Outremont, $5,000; Maisonneuve, $2,000; Verdun, $3,000; and the smaller municipalities lesser but proportionate amounts. These funds are being augumented daily.

The war affected Montreal in another way, industrially and financially. On the declaration of war the banks called in their loans and though the government came to their aid in the negotiation of their collateral the fact of the stoppage of capital from Great Britain disorganized the industrial machinery of the country and thousands were thrown out of employment. In addition to this the forcible internment of the Germans and Austrians, of which 3,400 were in Montreal alone, caused much anxiety to the authorities, for none would employ them. A delegation from Montreal waited upon the acting premier, Sir George Foster, November 2d, asking for the cooperation of the Government in alleviating the[248] general distress. This Sir George promised as far as the interned enemies were concerned, but thought each municipality should take the responsibility of looking after its own unemployed.

Montreal at this period was like a huge garrison town. Recruits, with and without uniforms, university professors and students, rich and poor alike, were being drilled in every open space and many public and private halls. For barracks the dismantled Protestant High School on Peel Street and other buildings were used for the young men of the second contingent.

Not only were the canals, bridges, wharves and public buildings patrolled by soldiers in uniform, since the first news of the outbreak of the war, but the streets of Montreal and the suburbs have been the constant scenes of much militarism. A lasting memory will survive in numerous streets and avenues, either being opened or bearing names already employed elsewhere, being appointed henceforth to bear the names of generals and towns connected with the war, such as Joffre, Pau, Liège, Namur and Aisne.

About the city committees of devoted women of all national origins and of all the numerous charitable associations, were patriotically visiting the wives and dependents of volunteers for the front and administering the allowances granted by the Patriotic Fund, the headquarters of which were in the new Drummond Building at the corner of St. Catherine and Peel streets. And in this central room a busy committee was engaged all day on the careful systematic organization of the relief fund. Over the city in church, school, club and private rooms, groups were busily knitting and sewing and fashioning all sorts of comforts and necessities for those who had heard the call to fight for the maintenance of the Empire. The city has become a busy loom of patriotic charity.

All honour to the loyal women of Montreal in this moment of the world’s greatest war.

CANADIAN AID FOR BELGIAN SUFFERERS

CANADIAN AID FOR BELGIAN SUFFERERS


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UNDER ENGLISH RULE
PART II


SPECIAL PROGRESS

CHAPTER
XXIVTHE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
XXVOTHER RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS.
XXVISCHOOL SYSTEM OF MONTREAL BEFORE THE CESSION.
XXVIISCHOOL SYSTEM OF MONTREAL AFTER THE UNION.
XXVIIIUNIVERSITY DEVELOPMENT.
XXIXLITERATURE—DRAMA—MUSIC—ART.
XXXNATIONAL SOCIETIES AND POPULATION.
XXXIFIRE, LIGHTING, WATER.
XXXIILAW AND ORDER.
XXXIIIHOSPITALS.
XXXIVSOCIOLOGICAL MOVEMENTS.
XXXVBEFORE THE UNION.
XXXVISINCE THE UNION.
XXXVIIBANKING AND INSURANCE.
XXXVIIISHIPPING: EARLY AND MODERN.
XXXIXTHE PORT AND HARBOUR.
XLRAILROADS.
XLIPOST ROADS AND STREET RAILWAY.
XLIIFROM THE CESSION.
XLIIIUNDER THE UNION.
XLIVSINCE CONFEDERATION.

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CHAPTER XXIV

RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

I

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

EARLY CHAPELS AND CHURCHES—THE FIRST PARISH CHURCH—OTHER CHURCHES STANDING AT THE FALL OF MONTREAL—NOTRE DAME DE VICTOIRE—NOTRE DAME DE PITIE—THE “RECOLLET”—THE PRESENT NOTRE DAME CHURCH—ERECTION AND OPENING—THE “OLD AND NEW”—THE TOWERS AND BELLS—THE ECCLESIASTICAL DIOCESE OF QUEBEC—THE BISHOPS OF MONTREAL—THE DIVISION OF THE CITY INTO PARISHES—THE CHURCHES AND “RELIGIOUS”—ENGLISH-SPEAKING CATHOLICS—ST. PATRICK’S, IRISH NATIONAL CHURCH, ETC. NOTE: THE “RELIGIOUS” COMMUNITIES OF MEN AND WOMEN.

The history of the Catholic Church in Montreal is largely that of its churches and its religious orders or congregations.

Its history commences with the date of the first mass on the common on September 8, 1642, in the open air, the day of the arrival of M. de Maisonneuve and the first colonists, though mass had already been said on the island as far back as 1615 in Champlain’s presence at the Rivière des Prairies, by the first Recollect fathers, Joseph le Caron and Denis Jamay.

From 1642 to 1657 the Jesuit missionaries served the small group of colonists, at which dates these were succeeded by the priests of the congregation of St. Sulpice, founded in Paris by M. Jean Jacques Olier, at Vaugirard in January, 1649, a main purpose of which was to supply priests for the mission founded at Montreal by the Compagnie de Notre Dame de Montréal.

The first chapel “of the fort” was one of bark, which was succeeded shortly by a frame building which served adequately till 1656. In this year a new chapel building in wood was adjoined to the Hotel Dieu at the corner of St. Paul and St. Joseph (St. Sulpice) and served as the church of St. Joseph for the hospital and the citizens till 1678 on the completion of the first parish church of Notre Dame, begun in 1672.

This church was regarded as a wondrous monument in its time, and as it was standing at the time of the fall of Montreal, and was not entirely demolished till 1843, its history forms part of that of Montreal under British rule, serving to connect the two regimes.

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It stood on the top of St. Sulpice Street, then St. Joseph, and its front was placed on the axis of Notre Dame Street and Place d’Armes, in front of the site of the modern Notre Dame church. It was raised by subscriptions assisted by the Gentlemen of the Seminary.

The original church begun in 1672 was gradually enlarged. From 1720 to 1724 there were discussions among the Marguilliers or church wardens on the building of an imposing bell tower capable of holding four bells, as well as on the construction of a portail as an imposing entrance facade to the church. In 1722 discussions arose as to whether it should be placed southeast or northwest of the church. The new tower on the northwest was built about 1725. This served as a belfry for various bells cast in Montreal till that named Thomas Marguerite came from London in 1773, being one of the old ones recast, and was blessed on July 4th by M. Montgolfier, superior of the seminary. It received its name after Thomas Dufy Desaulniers and Marguerite, probably the name of Madame Le Moyne, the other godparent. The belfry proper was erected in 1777, the iron cross surmounting it in 1778, the copper gilt cock bought in London being placed in 1782.

Before relating the history of the Notre Dame church of today it will be proper to account for the other churches of Montreal erected before the capitulation in 1760, and bridging over the two periods of rule.

The Church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours was not standing on the arrival of the British. The first church of this name was built in wood by Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first stone being laid in 1657 by the famous Jesuit missionary among the Onondagas, Father Simon Le Moyne, the building being finished in 1659. The second building, also erected by Marguerite Bourgeoys, was the first stone church in Montreal. It was given to the Fabrique in 1678. It was reduced to ashes in the fire of 1754 and the third church was built between 1771 and 1773. In 1847-48 the church was decorated and on October 6, 1840, there was held a procession of the boats on the river and there took place, with Bishop Bourget presiding, the solemn translation of the new statue of Our Lady of Bonsecours specially destined for voyagers and sailors and placed on the exterior to dominate the port. It had been known as the Sailors’ Chapel, being on the quay. It was remodeled in 1889, according to critics, at the expense of many of its Breton-like attractive features. On the apse of the chapel is a colossal statue of the Blessed Virgin with outstretched arms to protect the sea-going vessels and sailors. On the roof is another chapel, a facsimile of the Holy House of Loretto. The church itself possesses a miraculous statue of Our Lady. The sanctuary is all marble, there are handsome stained glass windows and many historic pictures and votive offerings.

Until recently there stood off Notre Dame Street at the northwest entrance to the garden of the “Congregation” the quaint and picturesque church of Notre Dame de Pitié. Its original predecessor was commenced in 1693 and finished in 1695, principally through the benefactions of the recluse, Jeanne LeBer, daughter of the famous merchant, Jacques LeBer, who dwelt for twenty years (from 1694 to her death in 1714) in a little cell behind the altar. After the cession it was burnt down on April 11, 1768, and was rebuilt many years afterwards, the first mass being said in 1786. In 1856 this church of the “Congregation” (60 feet ×30) was demolished to make room for the Notre Dame de Pitié (108 feet ×46). This was built to receive a wooden, miraculous statue of Notre Dame de Pitié, which[253] originally was placed in the Church of St. Didier in Avignon, France, in the fourteenth century. In 1789 this church was demolished during the French revolution and the statue came into the possession of a Madame Paladére, who gave it to the clergy. In 1852 it came into the hands of the Rev. M. Fabris, who, at the request of the Abbé Faillon, the historian, gave it to the Congregation at Montreal. It reached Montreal on July 1, 1855, and, pending the completion of the Church of Notre Dame de Pitié, was kept in the convent hard by, its solemn transference to the church, by Bishop Bourget, taking place on August 15, 1860. In 1912 it was demolished to make room for the projected extension of St. Lawrence Main Street to the wharves, at which time the adjoining historic convent of the Congregation nuns also suffered the same fate.

LNOTRE DAME DE PITIE (REAR VIEW)

NOTRE DAME DE PITIE (REAR VIEW)

NOTRE DAME DE PITIE CHURCH

NOTRE DAME DE PITIE CHURCH

(Demolished)

In 1718 there was built near the church of Notre Dame de Pitié, and on the grounds of the Congregation, the chapel of Notre Dame de la Victoire. This was erected by the ladies of a pious sodality entitled Les Demoiselles de la Congregation Externe, in accordance with a vow made by them in 1711 on the occasion of the safety of Canada by the destruction of the fleet of Sir Hovenden Walker. It was burnt down on April 11, 1768, at the same time as the Mother House but rebuilt the same year. It was finally demolished in 1900. Other chapels connecting the old with the new Montreal were the Convent Chapel of the Charron Brothers, which became that of the Grey Nuns Hospital, and the Convent Chapel of the Hotel Dieu, on St. Paul Street. Their history is coincident with that of the buildings described elsewhere.

Two other churches built in the French régime were still standing at the capitulation during the early British period, the Jesuits’ church, which was commenced in 1692 and finished in 1694, being rebuilt and enlarged in 1742. After the capitulation of Montreal and the subsequent suppression of the Society of Jesuits, it became through the favour of the government the church of the Anglicans till 1803, when it was burnt down in the great fire of that year. The other church bridging over the two periods was that of the Recollects, which was built and finished between 1693 and 1700. There was also the Recollect Chapel, for towards 1709 there took place the blessing of M. de Belmont and the placing of the first stone of the Recollect Chapel by M. le Baron de Longueuil, major governor of Montreal. In the early days of the British rule the Recollects lent their church or chapel to the Anglicans and Presbyterians for service;

Their original grounds extended on the north from Notre Dame west to Lemoine Street on the south, and from McGill Street on the west to St. Peter Street on the east.

The “Récollet” began to fall on evil times, for before 1818 the Recollect property had passed into the hands of the Hon. Charles William Grant; the church, the house and part of the convent was purchased by the Fabrique of Notre Dame on August 28, 1818, from him. Collections were then taken up for its repairs, which were undertaken next year, according to the plan of M. Delorme in order to fit it for divine service. In 1822 the Rev. John Richard (or Richards) Jackson was permitted to occupy the lower part of the house by putting a schoolmaster there for the children of the Irish immigrants then beginning to arrive. About 1830 it became the recognized chapel for the Irish immigrants and at this time it became considerably improved by the gift of the portail of the old Notre Dame. On March 9, 1867, the church on the corner of Récollet and Notre Dame[254] streets with its land was sold to Messrs. Lewis, Kay & Company for the sum of $85,000, or $4.00 a foot, and was demolished. The successors of the Recollects, the Franciscans, O.F.M. (Order of Friars Minor) returned to the city and established themselves on Dorchester Street West about 1900.

NOTRE DAME PARISH CHURCH

We may now trace the history of the present Notre Dame parish church. By 1757 the parish church begun in 1672 being already too small, it was determined to buy land to build one 300 feet in length, and by 1823 land was bought for this purpose and the church commenced this year. This included the land on Place d’Armes on which there was the public library in Montreal. This eventually was not built on for the war ending in the cession took place. The Place d’Armes property bought, according to the description made in 1824 by Roy Portelance, Toussaint Peltier, père, and Charles Coté, père, was “L’Emplacement, situé sur la place d’armes contenait 180 pds de front sur 94 pds de profondeur, tenant pardevant a la place d’armes derrière à la ruelle des fortifications, d’un coté au Sieur Dillon et de l’autre coté au Docteur Leodel; sur lequel etaint construits une maison en pierre à deux etages converte en ferblanc de 60 pds de front sur 62 pds de profondeur, et autres bâtiments en bois.”

The Place d’Armes commenced in the middle of Great St. James Street and occupied the position now filled by the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Trust Building. It was thought then—in 1757—proper to build here and to transfer the Place d’Armes to some other position, the ground in front of the Jesuit residence being thought suitable. Subscriptions began in 1823 for the new church by a minute of the church warden on July 20th. The building committee appointed was M. le Curé; Le Saulnier, president; M.M. Louis Guy, J.P. Leprohon, F.A. Larocque, N.B. Doucet, T. Bouthillier and A. Laframboise, to whom later were added M. Olivier Berthelet in place of M. Doucet, and the following new church wardens, viz., M.M.C.S. Delorme, Pierre Pomminville, Pascal Comte, Jules Quesnel, Joseph Chevalier and Pascal Persillier-LaChapelle. Messrs. Francis Desrivieres and P. de Rocheblave (Marguilliers) were named treasurers in February, 1824.

The land bought for the new church included the houses and grounds of Messrs. Gerrard, Starnes, the estate, Perrault and Fisher, situated on St. Joseph Street (St. Sulpice), and also that proposed to be ceded to the Fabrique by the Gentlemen of the Seminary. The value of the land was estimated at £24,000. On October 5th the blessing of the cross marking the site was conducted by Mgr. B.C. Panet, coadjutor bishop of Quebec. In September, 1824, the first stone was blessed by M. Roux, superior of the seminary. The following minute tells of the blessing of the new church. “1829, June 7. Pentecost Day, at seven o’clock in the morning. The new parish church has been blessed according to the usage and custom of Holy Church under the invocation of the Holy Name of Mary by Messire Jean Henry Auguste Roux, superior of the seminary, curé of the parish and vicar general of the diocese, in presence of the undersigned priests and of several church wardens and other parishioners:

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“Roux, Vic. Gen., Malard, ptre., Sattin, ptre., Sauvage, ptre., Richard, ptre., F. ant. LaRocque, T. Bouthillier, P. de Rocheblave, P. Jos. Lacroix, Joseph Masson, O. Berthelet, Alexis Laframboise, Jules Quesnel, F. Souligny, Pierre Baudry, N.B. Doucet.”

BONSECOURS CHURCH

BONSECOURS CHURCH

BONSECOURS CHURCH AT AN EARLY PERIOD

BONSECOURS CHURCH AT AN EARLY PERIOD

BONSECOURS CHURCH WITH ITS BARNACLES, SHORTLY BEFORE ITS RECONSTRUCTION

BONSECOURS CHURCH WITH ITS BARNACLES, SHORTLY BEFORE ITS RECONSTRUCTION

The first mass said in the new parish church was by the Rev. Mr. Richards-Jackson, an English convert who died at Montreal of typhus on July 21, 1849, beloved by the Irish population. The celebration of the formal opening took place on July 15th when High Mass was sung by Mgr. J.J. Lartigue, bishop of Telmesse, and the first sermon delivered by M.J.V. Quiblier. A distinguished congregation was present, including the administrator of the province of Lower Canada, Sir James Kempt, his suite and the representatives of the different corporations of the city.

Meanwhile the old church of 1672 stood in front of the new one but not for long. The bodies of the dead were reverently removed to the vaults under the new church. On June 6, 1830, it was resolved by the Fabrique to give the Irish of the city, for the enlargement of the Récollet Church in which they now worshiped, the cut stone of the portail in front of the old church, together with other church objects from within. Then the church was demolished in August, 1830, but the belfry tower stood till 1843, a curious old-time relic blocking the passage on Notre Dame Street. The four bells were taken down on August 23d and the old tower pulled down on August 24th, about 4:30 P.M. Two of the bells, one of them the Charlotte, cast in Canada in 1774 and weighing, without the hammer, 2,167 pounds, were given later to St. Patrick’s Church. The architect of the new parish church died on January 30th, of the same year. He was a Mr. James O’Donnell, a native of Wexford, in Ireland. At his request his remains were buried in the new church.

The towers of the new church were not constructed till later. That on the Epistle side (west) called the Tower of Perseverence, was constructed in 1841 and blessed by the Bishop of Nancy, in November of the same year. That on the Gospel side (east), the Tower of Temperance, was not finished till 1842. Each tower is 227 feet high. The ten bells in the Tower of Temperance arrived at Montreal on May 24, 1843, and were blessed on June 29th by Bishop Bourget. They were cast in London by Mears & Company and were sounded for the first time on June 19th, at midday, from their position in the eastern tower. The history of the bells is as follows:

Name.Pounds.Donor.
 1. Maria Victoria6,041The Seminary.
 2. Edwardus-Albertus-Ludovicus3,633Albert Turniss and Edward Dowling.
 3. Joannes Genovefa2,730John Donegani and wife.
 4. Olivarius-Amelia2,114O. Berthelet and wife.
 5. Julius-Josepha1,631Hon. Jules Quesnel.
 6. Hubertus Justinin1,463Hubert Paré and wife.
 7. Ludovicus1,290Louis, Ant. Parent, priest.
 8. Joannes-Maria1,093Jean Bruneau.
 9. Tancredes Genovefa924T. Bouthillier and wife.
10. Augustinus897Auguste Perrault.

The first Gros Bourdon, cast in February, 1843, weighing 16,352 pounds and the largest bell on the continent, arrived from Mears & Company, London, in[256] October, 1843, the gift of merchants, artisans and farmers. It was broken in the month of May, 1845, and was sent to England to be recast. The second Gros Bourdon weighed 24,780 pounds. It arrived in 1847 an was solemnly blessed under the name of Jean Baptiste on June 18, 1848. The ascent commenced at 3:30 P.M., June 21st, and about 7:30 P.M. it was installed in its present position in the western tower.

The organ of the parish church, constructed in 1857 by Mr. S. Warren, was inaugurated in its unfinished condition on June 24, 1858.

The church may be described as follows: “There are two immense arcades (60 feet high) with three niches containing the statues of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist, patrons of the City and of the Lower Province. A flight of stairs or an elevator leads to the summit whence a splendid view may be obtained over the City and the St. Lawrence. The interior (including the sanctuary) is 255 feet long by 134 feet wide and 80 feet high. Two galleries extend 25 feet over the lower side aisles. The architect was instructed to plan a building with a seating capacity of 10,000 persons. The idea was to enable the congregation to follow the sacred functions and to hear the preacher without too much of an exertion. Notre Dame complies with this twofold condition. Beauty had to be sacrificed to practical use, and still the wealth of materials, the profusion of paintings and decorations throughout, the numerous statues and especially its imposing and well proportioned dimensions leave a deep and lasting impression on the visitor. There are nine chapels and altars in the body of the church. At the right: The chapels of the Holy Face; Our Lady of Perpetual Help with a copy of the Byzantine Virgin which is venerated in Rome; Saint Amable, St. Joseph’s, and, at the foot of the aisle, the Blessed Virgin’s chapel, with a painting by Del Sarto. On the tabernacle door is a fine painting of ‘The Virgin and Child’ by Fra Angelico. The cross and candlesticks on this altar were manufactured at Paris and are of most exquisite workmanship. On the outer wall of the sanctuary is a good copy of Mignard’s: ‘Saint Ignatius writing the constitutions of his Order.’ The altar of the Sacred Heart is on the other side of the sanctuary. To the right of this altar, which, by the way, is an artistic gem, may be seen a noteworthy old painting: ‘The Presentation in the Temple.’ Down the aisle, other altars may be seen; St. Ann’s (Painting by Carnevalli), the Souls in Purgatory and St. Roch’s. The pulpit is almost on a level with the gallery. On its sounding board are several fine statues and below the statues of two of the Prophets, the work of P. Herbert, one of America’s most renowned sculptors. The sanctuary is raised five steps above the nave and separated by the chancel-rail. The latter is of most precious wood and so are the chancel-seats and the monumental reredos. On the first pillar to the right just outside the chancel, under a gilt dome, is a white marble statue of the Madonna. It is the work of a Bavarian artist and displays remarkable skill. Pius IX, who prized it highly, presented it to the Rector of Notre Dame, Abbe Rousselot. At the other extremity of the railing is a second dome surmounting a bronze facsimile of the statue of St. Peter, in St. Peter’s, Rome. The high altar is ornamented with numerous sculptures of rare design and workmanship. ‘The Last Supper,’ in bas-relief, is most artistic, and so are the ‘Choirs of Angels’ at each side of the tabernacle. The sanctuary is illuminated on festal days with myriads of electric[257] lights which produce a dazzling effect. The organ is one of the most powerful in America. It was manufactured by Casavant Bros., St. Hyacinthe.

“Behind the sanctuary is a richly adorned chapel of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Its paintings are inestimable in value and the work of Canadian artists. Over the main door is a copy of Raphael’s: ‘Discussion on the Blessed Eucharist,’ by Larose. From left to right: ‘Paradise Lost,’ ‘The Sybil of Tibur,’ ‘The Annunciation,’ by Larose; ‘The Visitation,’ by Gill; ‘The Adoration of the Magi,’ by Saint Charles; ‘The Virgin of the Apocalypse,’ ‘The Transfiguration’ (above the high altar), ‘Christ the Consoler,’ by Franchere; ‘Dollard and his Sixteen Companions,’ ‘The First Mass in Montreal,’ by Saint Charles; ‘The Rock of Horeb,’ by Franchère; ‘The Wedding of Cana,’ by Beau; and ‘The Multiplication of the Loaves,’ by Franchère. The parochial sodalities meet in this chapel, but more especially so, the male and female members of the Association of Perpetual Adoration. In the treasury may be seen gorgeous costly church-ornaments and vestments, precious reliquaries, chalices, ciboriums of gold and silver, the embroidery work of Jeanne LeBer, a massive monstrance and the artistically arranged hangings or draperies of the grand dais which is used once a year for the solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of the City.”

NOTRE DAME CHURCH

NOTRE DAME CHURCH

SACRED HEART CHAPEL

SACRED HEART CHAPEL

INTERIOR OF NOTRE DAME

INTERIOR OF NOTRE DAME

THE ECCLESIASTICAL DIOCESE

Montreal was ecclesiastically in the jurisdiction of the diocese of Quebec till 1836. At the fall of Montreal there was no bishop, the occupant of the see, Henri Marie Dubreuil de Pontbriand, having died on June 1, 1760. His successors in the see of Quebec were:

Jean Olivier Briand, named January 21, 1766, consecrated March 16, 1766, resigned June 29, 1784, died November 25, 1784; Louis-Philippe Mariauchau d’Esglis, consecrated July 12, 1772, bishop of Quebec November 29, 1774, died June 4, 1788; Jean François Hubert, consecrated November 29, 1786, bishop of Quebec June 12, 1788, resigned September 1, 1797, died October, 1797; Pierre Denaut, born at Montreal July 20, 1743, consecrated June 29, 1789, bishop of Quebec, September 1, 1797, died January 17, 1806; Joseph Octave Plessis, born at Montreal, March 3, 1763, consecrated January 25, 1801, bishop of Quebec, January 17, 1806, archbishop in 1819, died December 4, 1825; Bernard Claude Panet, bishop-archbishop of Quebec December 4, 1825, died February 14, 1833; Joseph Signay, consecrated May 20, 1827, bishop of Quebec February 14, 1833, archbishop Metropolitan July 13, 1844, died October 3, 1850.

The first bishop of Montreal was Mgr. Jean Jacques Lartigue, who was born in Montreal on June 20, 1777, was elected titular bishop of Telmesse on February 1, 1820, and consecrated on January 21, 1821. He was elected bishop of the new diocese of Montreal on May 13, 1836, and enthroned on September 8th following. He died in the Hotel Dieu on April 30, 1849, before, therefore, the incorporation of the diocese on May 30, 1849. His successor to the see was Mgr. Ignace Bourget, born at Pointe Lévis on October 30, 1799. He was elected titular of Telmesse and coadjutor of Montreal “cum futura successione” on March 10, 1837, and was consecrated on July 25th following. He became bishop of Montreal on April 19, 1840, and resigned on May 11, 1876, but was named titular archbishop[258] of Marianopolis in the month of July. He died at Sault au Récollet June 8, 1885. His coadjutor bishop had been Mgr. J.C. Prince from 1845 and Mgr. Joseph Larocque from 1852. His Grace, Mgr. Edouard Charles Fabre, born at Montreal on February 28, 1827, succeeded him as bishop of Montreal on May 11, 1876, and took possession of the seat on September 19th following. He had been previously elected titular bishop of Gratianopolis and coadjutor “cum futura successione” of Montreal on April 1, 1873, being consecrated in the Church of the Gésu on May 1st following. In 1886, on June 8th, Mgr. Fabre became elected the first archbishop of Montreal, receiving the pallium on July 27th of the same year. His death occurred on December 30, 1896. The present occupant of the see is His Grace, Mgr. Paul Bruchesi, who was born at Montreal on October 29, 1855, was elected Archbishop on June 25, 1897, and consecrated in the Cathedral church on August 8th of the same year. Two years later, on August 8th, he received the pallium.

There are two auxiliary bishops: Mgr. Francois Theophile Zotique Racicot, born at Sault au Récollet on October 13, 1845, and elected bishop of Poglia and coadjutor of Montreal on January 14, 1905, and consecrated on the following May 3d; and Mgr. George Gauthier, born at Montreal on October 9, 1871, named titular bishop of Philippolis and auxiliary of Mgr. Bruchesi on June 28, 1912, being consecrated on August 24th of the same year.

Until 1866 Notre Dame was the only parish church. From that date other parishes began to be canonically erected as such. The parish churches of Montreal in the year 1913 were as follows, with the dates of foundation, but not of canonical erection. Those various and numerous semi-public chapels, oratories, or churches, attached to the religious congregations not recognized as parish churches, are not included:

Notre Dame (first church, begun 1672, canonically erected 1678), second, formally opened, 1829; Saint Jacques (first church, 1822-1825), (second, 1857), (third, 1860), constituted the second parish church in 1866; Saint Enfant Jesus, founded in 1849, erected canonically in 1867; Sacré Coeur de Jesus, 1874, 835 Ontario Street, East: Très Saint Nom de Jésus de Maisonneuve, 1888; Très Saint Rédempteur, 1913, Hochelaga; Immaculée Conception, 1884; Nativité de la B.V.M. d’Hochelaga, 1875; Notre Dame de Carmel, 1905, Italian; Notre Dame du Bon Conseil, 1881, 724 Craig Street, East; Notre Dame Della Difesa, 1910, Italian; Notre Dame de Grâce, 1867; Notre Dame des Neiges, 1901; Notre Dame de Perpétuel Secours, 1906; Notre Dame de Saint Rosaire de Villeray, 1898; Notre Dame de Sept. Douleurs de Verdun, 1899; Notre Dame de Victoire, 1907; Saint Agnes, 1903 (E.)1; Saint Alphonse d’Youville, 1910; Saint Ann, 1854 (E.); Saint Anselme, 1909; Saint Anthony’s, 1884 (E.); Saint Arsène, April 11, 1908; Sainte Brigide, 1867; Sainte Catherine d’Alexandre, 1912; Sainte Cécile, 1911; Sainte Charles, 1883; Sainte Claire de Tétreauville, 1906; Sainte Clément, 1898; Sainte Clotilde, 1909; Sainte Cunégonde, 1874; Saint Denis, 1899; Saint Dominic, December 23, 1912; Saint Edouard, 1896; Sainte Elizabeth du Portugal, 1894; Sainte Etienne, 1912; Sainte Eusèbe de Verceil, 1897; Saint François d’Assise, Longue Pointe, 1770: Saint Francois du Pari Lasalle, 1912; Saint Gabriel’s, 1875 (E.); Saint Georges, June 27, 1908; Saint Hélène, 1902; Saint Henri, 1868; Saint[259] Jacques, 1866; Saint Jean Baptiste, 1874; Saint Jean Baptiste de la Salle, 1913; Saint Jean Berchmans, April 24, 1908; Saint Jean de la Croix, 1900; Saint Joseph, 1862; Saint Joseph de Bordeaux, 1895, erected canonically, 1912; Saint Léon, Westmount, 1901 (E. and F.); Saint Louis de France, 1888; Saint Aloysius, March 24, 1908 (E.); Sainte Madeleine d’Outremont, July 22, 1908; Saint Marc, April 19, 1903; Saint Michael, May, 1902 (E.); Saint Nicholas d’Ahuntsic; Saint Pascal Baylon, Cote des Neiges, 1910; Saint Patrick’s, 1847 (E.); Saint Paul, 1874; Sainte Philomene de Rosemont, 1905; Saint Pierre Apôtre, 1900; Saint Pierre aux Liens, 1897; Saint Stanislaus de Kostka; Saint Thomas Aquinas, June 18, 1908 (E.); Saint Viateur d’Outremont, 1902; Saint Victor de la Terrace Vinet, 1912; Saint Vincent de Paul, 1867; Saint Willibrod, June 6, 1913 (E.); Saint Zotique, 1909.

MGR. PAUL BRUCHESI

MGR. PAUL BRUCHESI

Fourth bishop, second archbishop of Montreal

MGR. EDOUARD-CHARLES FABRE

MGR. EDOUARD-CHARLES FABRE

Third bishop, first archbishop of Montreal, 1827-1896

MGR. IGNACE BOURGET

MGR. IGNACE BOURGET

Second bishop of Montreal, 1799-1885

MGR. JEAN-JACQUES LARTIQUE

MGR. JEAN-JACQUES LARTIQUE

First bishop of Montreal, 1777-1840

In addition there are missions to Chinese (numbering 200), Lithuanians (1,000), Poles (1,500), Ruthenians (5,000), Syrians (3 rites), Pure Syrians, Syro-Maronites and Syro-Melchites (1,000).

It would require a volume to give the history of all these parishes or of their many beautiful churches, but we may choose the following for historical reasons, viz.: the present Cathedral of St. James, the seat of the Archbishop of Montreal; the Church of St. James, the second parish and the site of the first Cathedral; the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, as a type of several of the non-parish chapels in the city; the Gésu and St. Peter’s, as an example of public churches conducted by religious priests; and, as the English-speaking Catholic community is an entity of its own, St. Patrick’s church and others will be treated as affording an opportunity of reviewing the religious history of the Irish in the city.

ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

The Cathedral, one of the largest temples on the continent, is admirably situated on Dominion Square, and its location adds to the majestic loftiness of its monumental cupola. It is one third the size and an adapted replica of St. Peter’s, Rome. When Mgr. Lartigue became Bishop of Telmesse (1821) with jurisdiction over the Church in Montreal, his residence was at the Seminary of St. Sulpice, and Notre Dame was to all intents and purposes the cathedral church of Montreal. He realized the disadvantages of the situation and took up his quarters at the Hôtel Dieu. Its modest chapel became the temporary Cathedral. In 1825, the people petitioned the Bishop to sanction the erection of a Cathedral and a residence in keeping with his exalted dignity. Their request was granted and a site chosen at the corner of St. Catherine and St. Denis streets, where St. James church stands today. The new Cathedral was dedicated by Bishop Lartigue, in 1825. His house was a very plain building. An episcopal residence soon replaced it, and was considered one of the finest structures in Montreal. Unfortunately, in 1852, the fire which consumed a great part of the City reduced the Cathedral and the residence to ashes. Mgr. Bourget, his successor, lived at St. Joseph’s Home, and the humble chapel of the Providence Asylum became the fourth Cathedral. The present site was then chosen. A modest brick chapel was erected by the side of the episcopal residence which for over forty years has been the home of the Bishops of Montreal and of their assistants in the administration of diocesan affairs.

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July 25th, 1857, a cross was planted to mark the site of the future Cathedral. Mgr. Bourget, conceived the bold idea of erecting a duplicate of St. Peter’s Rome, to symbolize the union of the Church in Canada with the See of Peter, and he instructed Victor Bourgeault, the architect, to prepare his plans accordingly. The cornerstone was solemnly laid August 28, 1870. In 1878, the walls were raised to the height of thirty feet. The columns to support the dome were built as high as forty feet, and the other columns of the nave were elevated to the same height. The front of the portico was completed as far as the spandrel of the first arch, but the outer dome was left unfinished. In 1885, Archbishop Fabre, his successor, resumed operations which had been suspended for seven years. In 1894, the Cathedral was opened for worship. In 1886, the dome was finished, a noble adornment and a salient feature in the architecture of Montreal. The cross, of gilded iron, is eighteen feet in length, weighing sixteen hundred pounds, and was placed in position during August of the same year. Over the portico are thirteen bronze statues, donations of various parishes of the Diocese. They are the statues of St. James, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent of Paul, St. John, St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Patrick, St. Charles Borromeo, St. John the Baptist, St. Hyacinth and St. Ignatius. The interior is very imposing, with its rich white and gold decorations. The graceful lines of its arches, the symmetry of its pillars and the simplicity of its appointments inspire a sense of due reverence and devotion. Under the dome there is a faithful reproduction of Bernini’s baldachino. It was made at Rome by Victor Vincent and donated to the Cathedral by the Seminary of St. Sulpice. It cost about twelve thousand dollars. The main altar is under the baldachino. Like the chancel-rail it is of marble and onyx. At the Gospel side set against one of the pillars supporting the dome is the archiepiscopal throne finely sculptured and inlaid with ivory. Several interesting paintings recalling historical facts and events connected with the foundation and establishment of Montreal adorn the arcades of the transepts and the lower walls. With one exception they are from the brush of G. Delfosse, a gifted artist of Montreal, and under each is an inscription explaining the different subjects. “The First Mass in Montreal” was painted by Laurent, a French painter, and was presented to Archbishop Bruchesi by the Government of the French Republic. The most interesting chapel is the “Papal Zouaves.” There is an exquisite painting over the altar of “Our Saviour revealing to Blessed Margaret Mary the treasures of His Sacred Heart.” The names of the 507 Knights, who took part in the nineteenth century crusade, are inscribed in letters of gold on four large marble tablets. In the chapel are the Regiment’s military colors; a painting of St. Gregory the Great, a gift of Pope Pius IX, to the Union Allet; a silver statuette, a gift of General Charette; a copy of “St. John the Baptist,” the original of which hangs in the Zouaves headquarters at Rome; a silver vessel used as a sanctuary lamp, a facsimile of the votive offering which the Zouaves made to the Shrine of Notre Dame de Bonsecours.

At the north entrance is a fine bronze statue to the memory of Bishop Bourget. Adjoining the vestry and communicating with it is “The Bishop’s Palace,” a palace in name only. In the near future this huge brick building will be replaced by an edifice worthy the Diocese.

PRESENTATION OF PLANS OF ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

PRESENTATION OF PLANS OF ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

INTERIOR OF ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

INTERIOR OF ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL

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ST. JAMES

(St. Catherine and St. Denis Streets.)

In 1822-25 the first church of St. James (St. Jacques le Majeur) was built by Mgr. Lartigue, who became the first bishop of Montreal on January 21, 1821. He was a sulpician and lived until 1849. This church served as the Cathedral until 1852 when it was destroyed by the terrible fire which consumed a great portion of the City. Bishop Bourget, his successor, definitely left the neighbourhood of St. James and took up his quarters on Mount St. Joseph. In 1855, the Priests of the Seminary were placed in charge of the parish. The church was scarcely built in 1857 when it was destroyed by another fire. As the walls were uninjured the damage was easily repaired, and, in 1860, the new church was opened to the public. It is Gothic in style and the interior consists of three naves. It has the form of an irregular cross. The pulpit is a handsome design with its statues and turrets. In the transept are four paintings, the work of E. Cabane, a French artist: “Our Lady of the Rosary,” “The Education of the Virgin,” “The Death of St. Joseph,” and “The Holy Family.” The steeple is the bequest of the city and contains a very fine chime of bells. The entrance on St. Catherine Street is a splendid piece of architectural work and looks spacious in its framework of trees and terraces.

When the parishes were created in 1866 to supplement the Parish of Notre Dame, mother to the sole parish church, St. James became the second parish church.

OUR LADY OF LOURDES

(St. Catherine Street)

Close by the Church of St. James is the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin of Massabielle. It is a charming specimen of Canadian religious art. It was built under the supervision of the late Father Lenoir, with the generous cooperation of the Seminary of St. Sulpice and the Catholics of the City. The style of architecture is Byzantine and in art it is of the Renaissance order. The gallery is divided by an exquisitely beautiful rose-window. A nicely gilt statue of the Blessed Virgin has been placed on the dome and the crown of stars on its head is brilliantly lighted up at night by means of an ingenious electrical device. The alternate layers of white marble and grey stone give the front an attractive look. The central dome, thirty-five feet in diameter and 120 feet in height, looks down upon the nave and transept. There are two chapels in the church. One is in the basement and is a good reproduction of the Grotto of Lourdes, with an altar where Mass may be celebrated. The upper chapel is very richly decorated. Mr. N. Bourassa, the artist, has embodied in a series of beautiful tableaux the arguments of Catholic belief in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Among the subjects treated, there is a fine scroll above the high altar, at the first arch, representing “The Annunciation;” there are also two tableaux in the arcades at each side of the altar: “The Crowning of the Virgin,” and “The Assumption;” the large compositions of the transept: “The Adoration of the Magi” and[262] “The Visit of St. Elizabeth;” finally, “The Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception,” which takes up the whole interior of the dome.

Mass is celebrated and a sermon preached in this chapel every Sunday of the academic year for the benefit of the students of Laval University.

This chapel is the meeting place of four sodalities of men, women, and young men and young women.

RELIGIOUS CHURCHES

THE GESU

The Gésu is the successor in order of time of the church built in 1692 on the site of the present courthouse and city hall. This was burned in 1803. The Jesuits had left the colony after the capitulation and their property was held by the government, but in 1842 they were invited to return by Mgr. Bourget and in consequence there arrived soon the Fathers Pierre Chazelle, Felix Martin, Remi Tellier, Paul Luiset, Joseph Hanipaux and Dominique Duranquet. Several undertook the charge of the curé of La Prairie and others were employed at the bishop’s house. In 1843 a novitiate for future members was opened on July 31st in a little house adjoining the church at La Prairie and on September 9th it was transferred for five years to a house loaned by Lieut.-Col. C.S. Rodier, who became mayor in 1858.

In 1845 a public meeting invited the Jesuits to build a residence and college in the city and in 1846 the present lands on Bleury Street were sold at a very liberal price by Mr. John Donegani. But owing to the typhus epidemic intervening in 1847-48 the building was delayed. In the meantime the Fathers worked in the fever sheds for the suffering Irish with six fathers who came from New York and afterwards founded with the Seminary the first residence of St. Patricks, then situated at Nos. 57-59 St. Alexander Street. In 1850 the first stone of their college of Ste. Marie was laid and on July 31, 1851, the college, with its public chapel attached, was blessed. In 1851 their noviceship was transferred hither and on August 5, 1853, it was again transplanted to its present position at Sault au Recollet, outside the city.

In 1863, on October 22, M. Olivier Berthelet made a gift of an arpent and a half (for which he had paid $20,000) for a church to be built after the model of the Gésu in Rome. The work was commenced in the following year.

The Gésu, as it became to be called, is one of the finest specimens of its kind. It is 194 feet long, 96 feet wide, the transept 144 feet, and the nave 95 feet high. The style of architecture, Renaissance and Florentine, is fascinating and gives the church an aspect of elegance and comfort. It is not unlike the Gesu at Rome in its appointments. Its collection of fine paintings and tableaux deserves a special mention. They imitate or complete the plastic work of the sacred edifice. They are, for the most part, copies of masterpieces of the modern German School and are the work of Mr. Miller. Among its many rich chapels, one in particular attracts the attention of the visitor, on account of an old statue it possesses. It is under the gallery to the right of the main altar and is known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Liesse. A reliquary over the tabernacle contains the ashes of the statue of Our Lady of Liesse, which was burned during the French Revolution. Two[263] large tableaux which are on either side of the sanctuary represent St. Aloysius and St. Stanislaus Kostka in the attitude of receiving Holy Communion, the former from the hands of St. Charles Borromeo and the latter from an Angel. There are two smaller paintings over the altars of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph: “The Holy Family” and “The Flight into Egypt.” These remarkable paintings are from the studio of Cagliardi Bros., Rome.

ST. PETER’S

Montreal is the headquarters of several religious orders of men. Besides the Jesuits there are numerous others who are devoted either to the ministry or education, or to both. One of the first communities to be invited were the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an order founded at Aix in Provence on January 25, 1816, by Mgr. de Mazenod, bishop of Marseilles. In 1841 four Oblates reached Montreal, Fathers Honorat (Superior), Telmont, Baudrand and Lagier. Their settlement was first at St. Hilaire de Rouville, then at Longueuil. In 1848 a provisory chapel in wood was built in the Faubourg de Quebec (Quebec Suburbs). In 1851 the first stone of the new church of St. Peter, on the same spot, on Visitation Street, was laid. From this first home there went forth the first missionaries of the modern Canadian Northwest. To this order the Rev. Albert Lacombe, the northwest missionary, became early attached.

St. Peter’s has three naves of equal height. The sanctuary is lighted by large arched, stained-glass windows, which produce a magnificent effect. The white marble altar is surmounted by a turreted reredos and is shown to advantage by numberless electric bulbs most ingeniously adapted. St. Peter’s is one of the best proportioned churches of the City. The stained-glass windows of the sanctuary and side aisles are most attractive. They are from the factory of Champigneulle of Bar-le-Duc, France. The Sacred Heart altar is a rare work of art with its handsome candlesticks and its tabernacle door of gilded bronze.

ENGLISH CATHOLIC CHURCHES

ST. PATRICK’S

Especial notice should be given to the origin of the English-speaking Catholics of the city. Although before 1800 a few Irish immigrants sought a home in the city, the history proper of the Irish population of Montreal starts in 1817, when a Sulpician, the Rev. Father Richards-Jackson, commonly known as Rev. M. Richards, discovered a little band of worshipers from the Emerald Isle, driven thence by poverty and privation, gathering at Bonsecours church. A directory of 1819 only reveals about thirty presumably Irish names.2 In 1820 the number was still so small that a visitor to Bonsecours Church stated that “he could have covered with a good-sized parlour carpet all the Irish Catholics worshipping there on Sundays.” Yet the number of Irish orphans were so great that by 1823 the[264] “Salle des Petites Irlandaises” was opened in the Grey Nuns’ hospital and supported by the Gentlemen of the Seminary. Soon the complement of forty was reached. But by 1831, with the increase of immigration, the old “Récollet” church on Notre Dame Street, being considerably enlarged, was reopened for the use of the Irish Catholics of the center and western portions of the city, those of the eastern section still remaining attached to Notre Dame de Bonsecours. The Rev. Patrick Phelan, afterwards bishop, was the first Irish pastor. The Irish soldiers of the garrison met principally at the new Notre Dame church opened in 1829. Soon the “Récollet” became inadequate. On Sundays it was so overcrowded with devout Irish that the overflow knelt in the rain or the sunshine on Notre Dame Street or Dollard Lane. This was to be remedied by the steps taken on May 20, 1843, to purchase land for a church to be named St. Patrick’s, the present area of St. Patrick’s Church and the St. Bridget’s Home being secured by the Fabrique of Notre Dame from the Rocheblave family for £5,000. On the 26th of September the cornerstones were blessed by Bishop Bourget. They were seven in number and were laid by the following: First, by Bishop Bourget; second, by the mayor; third, by the speaker of the assembly; fourth, by the chief justice; fifth, by the president of the Irish Temperance Association; sixth, by the president of St. Patrick’s Society; seventh, by the president of the Hibernian Benevolent Society.

On the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day, 1847, the church of St. Patrick’s was dedicated. The first patron of St. Patrick’s was the Rev. J.J. Connolly, who had succeeded Father Phelan at the “Recollet” when the latter had been consecrated coadjutor bishop of Kingston in 1843.

Father Connolly nobly served the typhus-stricken emigrants in 1847 for a period of six weeks or more, consigning to the silent grave more than fifty adult persons a day. At this time Father Richards and Father Morgan died martyrs of charity. In this ministration, therefore, the Seminary called in the services of five Jesuit Fathers who laboured at St. Patricks for some years till the Seminary was able to provide its own members. The Rev. J.J. Connolly left St. Patricks in 1860 for Boston, where he died three years later, on the 16th of September, 1863, at the age of forty-seven years. He was succeeded by Father Dowd, who had been transferred with Rev. Father O’Brien, McCullough and others for service here from Ireland about 1848 at the request of M. Quiblier, superior of the Seminary.

In 1887, on the occasion of Father Dowd’s celebration of his fiftieth year of priesthood, the occasion was taken by every section of the community to testify its appreciation of his work as the pastor of St. Patrick’s and as a good citizen.

He commenced the St. Patrick’s Orphan Asylum, opened in November, 1851. In 1863 he established St. Bridget’s Home for the Old and Infirm and the Night Refuge for the Destitute, and in 1866-7 erected the building on Lagauchetière Street for a home and refuge. In 1872 he established the St. Patrick’s School for Girls on St. Alexander Street. In 1877 he organized the great Irish Canadian pilgrimage to Rome.

FRANCISCAN CHURCH

FRANCISCAN CHURCH

NOTRE DAME DE LOURDES CHURCH

NOTRE DAME DE LOURDES CHURCH

THE JESUITS CHURCH AND ST. MARY’S COLLEGE

THE JESUITS CHURCH AND ST. MARY’S COLLEGE

ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH

ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH

ST. JACQUES CHURCH

ST. JACQUES CHURCH

The position of St. Patrick’s as a national church for the Irish was jeopardized in 1866, when the dismemberment of the ancient parish of Notre Dame was proclaimed. St. Patrick’s would have become in the new division a general district, one for use by French-Canadians, but on the representations of Father Dowd to[265] the Holy See, the national privileges were confirmed to the church. Each succeeding pastor of St. Patrick’s has done much to the beautifying of this church, one of the purest specimens of the Gothic style in Canada. Its outside dimensions are: Length, 233 feet; width, 105 feet; inside height from floor to ceiling, 85 feet. The steeple is 228 feet high. The work of renovation of the interior of St. Patrick’s was carried out in 1893 under the late Father Quinlivan, S.S. pastor. Under the present pastor, the Rev. Gerald McShane, S.S., the parish has seen great improvements, notably those at the Eucharistic Congress of 1910 when the grounds adjoining the church and partially occupied hitherto by St. Bridget’s Orphanage were tastefully laid out as a semi-public garden. At this same time there took place the development of the chimes of St. Patrick’s. The following reproduction of the inscriptions on the memorial tables placed in the church tells its story:

AS A PERPETUAL MEMORIAL OF THE

XXI INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS,

At MONTREAL, SEPT 7-11, A.D. 1910,

And in Lasting Remembrance of the Solemn Congress Mass

And the Presence of the CARDINAL LEGATE in

SAINT PATRICK’S CHURCH, Sept. 10, was Erected

A CHIME OF BELLS,

Blessed with Imposing Liturgical Rites, May 15, 1910, by the

MOST REVEREND PAUL BRUCHESI,

Archbishop of Montreal.

“Ring out, sweet chime, from Gothic tower!
“A people’s faith thy belfry knells;
“At Matins, Lauds, and Vesper Hour,
“Peal forth our joy, sweet Congress Bells.”

TO COMMEMORATE THE RESTORATION AND SOLEMN

DEDICATION OF THE HISTORIC BELL,

CHARLOTTE,

Cast in Whitechapel Foundry, London, England,

A.D. 1774;

First Placed in Notre Dame, and Presented to

St. Patrick’s, A.D. 1840.


CHARLOTTE injured, was re-cast at Whitechapel, Blessed with

the Holy Name Bell in this Church, Dec. 13, 1908,

and Restored to the Tower.

“VOX POPULI, VOX DEI.”

FATHER QUINLIVAN’S BELL
THE HISTORIC BELL“John, Martin, Thomas.”
“Charlotte,” Restored by the Parishioners.From Mr. Martin Egan, in memory
Note E.2,250 lbs.of his beloved Wife.[266]
C. sharp.812 lbs.
THE POPE’S BELLTHE SEMINARY BELL
“Pius, Edward, Vincent.”“Charles, George, Frederick.”
Mr. C.F. Smith, donor.Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Ryan.
F. sharp.1,615 lbs.D. sharp.705 lbs.
THE ARCHBISHOPS BELL
“Paul, Gerald, James.”THE CONGRESS BELL
Gift of Mrs. M.A. McCrory, in memory of“Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.”
her Daughter, May.Mr. J.T. Davis, donor.
G. sharp.1244 lbs.Note E.674 lbs.
THE HOLY NAME BELLTHE CHOIR BELL
Blessed be His Holy Name.“Cecilia, Margaret, Mary.”
From “The Holy Name Society.”Presented by the Choir.
Note A.1100 lbs.F. sharp.582 lbs.
FATHER DOWD’S BELLTHE CHILDREN’S BELL
“Patrick, Andrew, Cornelius.”“Aloysius, Francis, De La Salle.”
Gift of Mrs. M.P. Ryan.Presented by the Children.
Note B.951 lbs.G. sharp.516 lbs.

In further commemoration of the Eucharistic Congress the Congress hall was added in 1914 and the blessing and laying of the foundation stone took place on Sunday, October 18th, of this year.

The interior of the church is most imposing with its beautiful Gothic arches and the wealth of its appointments and decorations. The walls are finished in imitation Venetian mosaic, after the style of St. Mary’s, Venice; the sanctuary pillars are imitations of Numidian marble, while those of the nave are delicately colored like Sienna marble; the coloring of the high altar resembles the tints of old ivory. The Celtic Cross predominates in the decorations of the arches and walls. There are some fine paintings in the sanctuary and on the side walls. “The Annunciation” and the “Death of St. Joseph” are very fine. Under St. Joseph’s altar is a life-sized figure of the Apostle of Ireland, attired in the pontifical vestments of the sixth century. The paintings of the Way of the Cross are works of art. The stained-glass windows are admirable. A series of painted panels ornaments the upper part of the wainscoting. The oak confessionals and pews are pretty in design. The harmonious combination is pleasing to the eye and gives the interior a picturesqueness of original conception.

ST. ANN’S

St. Ann’s Parish, the fifth in point of age and the second Irish parish of Montreal, was founded by the Sulpician Fathers. In early days, mass was celebrated in a brick house which is still standing and used as a tenement on the corner of Ottawa and Murray streets. The present church was commenced in 1851, the blessing and laying of the foundation stone being on August 3d and the opening on December 8, 1854. The Redemptorist Fathers took charge in 1884. The church which was found too small for the congregation was lengthened thirty-two feet and a tower added to the extension. In the tower is a fine chime of bells. Besides parochial work, the Fathers give missions throughout Canada and the United States. The origin of the name of St. Ann’s dates back to 1698, when[267] Pierre Le Ber, brother of the recluse, built a chapel at Point St. Charles to St. Anne. The first mass was said on November 12, 1698.

The ruins of the chapel were still to be seen in 1823.

The subsequent English-speaking Catholic churches that followed St. Patrick’s were founded in the following order:

1854, St. Ann’s, 32 Basin Street, served by the Redemptorist Fathers since 1884; 1875, St. Gabriel’s; 1884, St. Anthony’s; 1889, St. Mary (Our Lady of Good Counsel); 1902, St. Michael’s; 1903, St. Agnes’; 1908, St. Aloysius’; 1908, St. Thomas Aquinas’; 1912, St. Dominic’s; 1913, St. Willibrod’s.

NOTE

RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

Besides the Diocesan clergy composed of “Secular” priests, an essential feature of Catholicism in Montreal is the number of “Religious” orders or “Congregations” of men and women, Montreal being in many cases, especially of women organizations, the scene of the foundation and mother-house of numerous branch establishments in various parts of the American continent.

The following lists will, therefore, be of value. The names are those only of houses in Montreal or immediately close at hand:

COMMUNITIES OF MEN

Sulpician Fathers (1657): Notre Dame, St. James Church, Grand Seminary, Seminary of Philosophy, Petit Séminaire, St. Jean l’Evangeliste’s School (Montreal), Lac des Deux Montagnes.

Oblate Fathers: (1848) St. Peter’s Church (Novitiate at Lachine).

Jesuit Fathers (1642 and 1842): Immaculate Conception, N.D. du Mont Carmel Church, Immaculate Conception, The Gésu, Ste. Mary and Loyola College (Montreal, Caughnawaga, Sault-au-Recollet).

Redemptorist Fathers (Belgian Province), took charge of St. Ann’s in 1884: House and Novitiate, St. Ann’s, St. Alphonse de Ligouri, d’Youville, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Churches (Montreal).

Clerics of St. Viateur (Outremont, Montreal): Academy St. John the Baptist, Scholasticate Sacristy of Church (Montreal), Chapel, Parochial School (Bordeaux), Provincial House, Juvenate, Church, Parochial School (Outremont), Catholic Institute for Deaf Mutes, Parochial School, Patronage of St. Francis de Sales, Patronage of St. George, St. Jean de la Croix (Montreal, Boucherville, St. Eustache, St. Lambert’s, St. Remi, Sault-au-Recollet, Terrebonne).

Congregation of The Holy Cross, founded from Notre Dame, Indiana, U.S. A., came to Montreal in 1897: Scholasticate and Notre Dame des Neiges College, Hochelaga Parish, St. Joseph’s Commercial College (Hochelaga, Pointe Claire, St. Genevieve, St. Laurent).

Company of Mary (Montreal).

Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, originally at Rome, called to Montreal in 1890: (Montreal, Terrebonne.)

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Franciscan Fathers (1692 and 1890): St. Joseph’s Convent, Parc Lasalle residence, Church on Dorchester Street West.

Dominican Fathers (new quarters at St. Hyacinthe, P.Q.): Notre Dame de Grace.

Fathers of St. Vincent de Paul (Tournai, Belgium): St. Georgés.

Brothers of the Christian Schools, came to Montreal in 1837: Motherhouse and School, Maisonneuve, Pensionnat Mt. St. Louis, Archbishop’s Academy, Ste. Ann’s School, St. Bridget’s School, St. Gabriel’s School, St. James’ School, St. Joseph’s School, St. Laurent’s School, St. Patrick’s School, St. Henri des Tanneries, St. Leon (Westmount), Salaberry and Sacred Heart Schools (Lachine, Longueuil, St. Cunégonde, St. Jerome), St. Paul’s College (Varennes, Viauville, Oka).

Brothers of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, called to Montreal in 1865: (Montreal, Longue Pointe).

Brothers of the Sacred Heart: St. Eusèbe, Notre Dame de Grace (Verdun, Pointe-aux-Trembles).

Marist Brothers, from Iberville, P.Q.: St. Peter’s School, St. Michael’s School, St. Vincent de Paul.

Brothers of the Christian Instruction, La Prairie, P.Q.: St. Edward’s College, St. Elizabeth du Portugal School, St. Mary’s, St. Gregory’s, St. Stanislaus Schools (Chambly, La Trappe, Napierville, St. Scholastique, St. Anne de Bellevue, Vercheres), Coté St. Paul, St. John College.

Brothers of St. Gabriel: College and Patronage St. Vincent de Paul and School, St. Hélène, St. Claire de Tetreaultville Schools, St. Arsène’s School and Orphanage (La Assomption, St. Martin, Ste. Rose, St. Therese).

Brothers of the Presentation: (1910) High School, Durocher Street, for boys; St. Gabriel’s, school for boys.

COMMUNITIES OF WOMEN

Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys: Mother House, School of Higher Education for women, affiliated with Laval University, Villa-Maria, Pensionnats, Mt. St. Mary and St. Catherine’s Pensionnats, Visitation School, Ste. Ann’s School, St. Agnes’ School, St. Denis’ School, St. Anthony’s School, St. Hélène’s School, St. Joseph’s School, St. Stanislaus School, Notre Dame des Anges School, Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours School, Notre Dame de Bonsecours School, Bourgeoys’ School, St. Leo’s School, St. Urbain’s School, Notre Dame du Bon Conseil School, St. Laurent’s School, St. Anthony’s School, St. Eusèbe School, St. Patrick’s School, St. Louis’ School, Jeanne Le Ber School, St. Alphonsus’ School, St. Claire de Tetreauville School, St. Vincent de Paul’s School, Our Lady of the Seven Dolors (Verdun), St. Ann’s Schools.

Hospital Nuns of St. Joseph, founded for Montreal by M. de la Dauversière and erected as a community in 1659. Hôtel Dieu first administrated by Jeanne Mance (1642).

Grey Nuns Hospital Général, founded in Montreal by Madame d’Youville in 1747: St. Patrick’s Asylum, St. Joseph’s Hospice, St. Bridget’s Home, Nazareth[269] Asylum, Bethlehem Asylum, Notre Dame Hospital, Patronage d’Youville, Catholic Orphanage, St. Paul’s Hospital, St. Cunégonde Asylum, Hospice St. Antoine.

Religious of the Sacred Heart came to Montreal in 1842: St. Alexandra Street 1860, Secondary Education (School).

Sisters of Charity of Providence, founded in Montreal by Madame Gamelin: Mother House, Gamelin Asylum, Providence Asylum. Institution for Deaf Mutes, St. Alexis Orphan Asylum, St. Vincent de Paul Asylum, Hospital des Incurables, Providence Ste. Geneviève, Hospice Auclair, Hospice Bourget, Holy Child Jesus.

Sisters of the Most Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, founded at Longueuil in 1844 by Eulalie Durocher (Sister Marie Rose): Mother House, Pensionnat, Academy Marie-Rose, Academy of the Most Holy Names, Hochelaga Parish School, St. Clement School (Viauville).

Sisters of Notre Dame of Charity of the Good Shepherd, came to Montreal in 1841: Provincial Monastery, Ste. Marie Asylum, St. Louis de Gonzaga Academy.

Sisters of the Holy Cross and of the Seven Dolours, came in 1847: Mother House, Novitiate, Academy and School, St. Laurent School, St. Bridget’s School, St. Gabriel’s School, St. Denis’ School. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (Villeray): St. Edouard’s School, St. Paschal’s School, St. Ignatius and St. Basil’s Academies.

Sisters of Miséricorde, founded in Montreal by Madame Jetté in 1845: Mother House, Hospital and Foundling Asylum, Maternity Hospital.

Sisters of Ste. Anne, founded at Vaudreuil, 1850, by Esther Sureau dit Blondin: St. Arsène School, Ste. Cunégonde School, St. George School, St. Henry School, St. Jean de la Croix School, St. Michael School, Ste. Elizabeth of Portugal School, Holy Child Jesus School, St. Pierre aux Liens School, Three other Academies.

Sisters of the Precious Blood (Contemplative order), founded at St. Hyacinthe in 1861, came to Montreal district in 1874: Notre Dame de Grâce.

Carmelite Sisters: (Contemplative) established at Hochelaga in 1875.

Daughters of Wisdom: (Founded at La Vendèe), came to Montreal in 1910.

Little Sisters of the Poor (care of poor), came to Montreal in 1887.

Little Daughters of St. Joseph, founded in Montreal in 1857 by the Rev. M. Antoine Mercier.

Little Sisters of the Holy Family, founded at Sherbrooke: Notre Dame des Neiges (1877), Notre Dame College, St. Peter’s Church, St. John the Evangelist School, Archevêché de Montréal.

Soeurs de L’Espérance (Nursery Sisters), came to Montreal in 1901: Rue Sherbrooke.

Sisters of Immaculate Conception, erected in 1904 as an order by Mgr. Bruchesi: Montreal (Outremont).

Sociéte de Marie Réparatrue, came to Montreal in 1911.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 These marked E have English-speaking congregations. The rest have French.

2 The names, however, of the students at the College de Montreal show many unmistakable Irish names. See the note in the chapter dealing with the history of Laval University.


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CHAPTER XXV

OTHER RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

ANGLICANISM—EARLY BEGINNINGS—FIRST “CHRIST CHURCH”—THE BISHOPS OF MONTREAL—HISTORY OF EARLY ANGLICAN CHURCHES.

PRESBYTERIANISM—ST. GABRIEL’S STREET CHURCH—ITS OFFSHOOTS—THE FREE KIRK MOVEMENT—THE CHURCH OF TODAY.

METHODISM—FIRST CHAPEL ON ST. SULPICE, 1809—THE DEVELOPMENT OF METHODIST CHURCHES.

THE BAPTISTS—FIRST CHAPEL OF ST. HELEN STREET—FURTHER GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT—PRESENT CHURCHES.

CONGREGATIONALISM—CANADA EDUCATION AND HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY—FIRST CHURCH ON ST. MAURICE STREET—CHURCHES OF TODAY.

UNITARIANISM—FIRST SERMON IN CANADA, 1832—ST. JOSEPH STREET CHAPEL—THE CHURCHES OF THE MESSIAH.

HEBREWS—SHEARITH ISRAEL—SHAAC HASHOMOYIM AND OTHER CONGREGATIONS.

SALVATION ARMY—ITS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

OTHER DENOMINATIONS.

A RELIGIOUS CENSUS OF MONTREAL FOR 1911.

ANGLICANISM

Some notes written about 1790 on the “state of religion” (Canadian Archives, Series Q, Volume XLX, page 343) help us to see the beginnings of the Anglican church in Montreal. This document appears to be issued by the “Society for Propagating the Gospel” on England. After the peace of 1762 it was thought advisable by the English government to send some French Protestant clergymen who could minister to French Protestants, whose number were greatly exaggerated. Accordingly, while M. de Montmolten was sent to Quebec and M. Veyssiere to Three Rivers, M. De Lisle came to Montreal. There was, of course, no church as the account proceeds to say:

“The minister at Montreal (who is also chaplain for the garrison) when he does officiate it is in the chapel of the Recollects Convent on Sunday mornings only and on Christmas day and Good Friday.” Again,[272] “there is not a single Protestant church in the whole province. The greater part of the inhabitants of Montreal are Presbyterians of the church of Scotland. These being weary of attending a minister (M. de Lisle) whom they did not understand and for other reasons, have established a Presbyterian minister and subscribed liberally to his support. His name is Bethune and he was late chaplain of the Eighty-fourth Regiment, and while Mr. Stuart assisted Mr. de Lisle (which he did for a short time) he used constantly to attend the service of our church.”

Even on the arrival of the first Protestant bishop for the country, Doctor Mountain, who was made Bishop of Quebec about 1793, there were but nine Protestant clergymen in Canada. In the first years the duty was performed by the military and naval chaplains. In 1766 the Rev. D.C. De Lisle, a Swiss Protestant, was appointed rector of Montreal; hitherto, as said, he had acted as chaplain for the regiment. A minister was appointed for Three Rivers in 1768 and one for Sorel in 1783. In 1784 the Loyalists, establishing themselves in the north of the St. Lawrence and founding the Modern Ontario, chaplains were appointed for New Oswegatchie (Prescott), New Johnstone (Cornwall), and Kingston (Cataraqui).

The first Episcopal visitation of an Anglican prelate took place in Canada in 1787, Dr. Inglis, the first bishop of Nova Scotia, and then the only bishop in Canada, being appointed on August 12, 1787. He arrived at Quebec on June 11th. After a fortnight’s visitation he ascended the river, visiting Three Rivers, Sorel and Montreal. At Montreal he found that a part of the Récollect Church was kindly loaned at certain hours for the Protestant services. The city Protestants urged the Bishop to obtain permission from the government for the Jesuits church, now in its hands, the order being suppressed and the church falling into disrepair. The Governor, Lord Dorchester, agreed to place the building in good repair, but the interior of the pews were to be fitted up by the congregation. He proposed that the church be called Christ Church. We may call this the establishment of the Church of England in Montreal.

Christ Church was opened for service on December 20, 1789, when the sermon was preached by Mr. De Lisle. Mr. De Lisle died in 1794, being succeeded by the Rev. James Tunstall, who was followed in 1801 by the Reverend Dr. Mountain, brother of the Rev. Jacob Mountain, who had been appointed in 1793 to the new Anglican see of Quebec. In June, 1803, the church was destroyed by fire. A building committee was appointed, consisting of Doctor Mountain, the Hon. James McGill, George Ogden and the Messrs. Ross, Gray, Frobisher and Sewell. The site of the old French prison (about where No. 23 Notre Dame Street, West, now stands) was granted by the government. The cornerstone was laid in 1805. Meanwhile the Scotch Presbyterian Church of St. Gabriel’s, which had been erected since 1792, was loaned for services. On the 9th of October, 1814, after much delay, the new Christ Church was opened and dedicated. Doctor Mountain died in 1816 and the Rev. John Leeds succeeded. On his resignation in 1818 the Rev. John Bethune was presented by the king as rector under letters patent, which created a rectory and defined the limits of the parish. Thus Christ Church became the Anglican Mother Church of the city.

In 1850 Montreal was made a diocesan see and the Rev. Francis Fulford was appointed by letters patent the first bishop, and Christ Church was named his cathedral. These two seats of letters patent were the beginning of a long dispute as to the limitations of authority within the cathedral. Bishop Fulford was enthroned in Christ Church on September 15th of that year. In 1853 Doctor Bethune became the first dean of Montreal. In 1856, on the night of December 10th, the first cathedral was totally destroyed by fire; the tablets to the memory[273] of the Hon. John Richardson, now in the east transept of the present edifice, and the copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, now hung on the south wall, being among the few objects saved. A new building committee, of which the Hon. George Moffatt and Chief Justice McCord were leading members, then set to work. The present site of the cathedral was chosen, in spite of those who thought it was too far from the city, and in 1859, on November 27th, the beautiful Gothic cathedral, one of the most handsome of its kind on the continent, was opened for worship. In the interval, Gosford Street church was appropriated for worship under the name of St. John’s Chapel. In 1867 the Cathedral was consecrated by the Metropolitan Bishop Fulford. The rectory house was completed in 1877. In 1901 the cathedral act was promoted defining the rights of the rector, the bishop, the archbishop and the primate within the cathedral, and the duties of the cathedral chapter. The following is a list of the rectors of Christ Church and Christ Church Cathedral: 1789, Rev. D.C. De Lisle; 1791, Rev. James Tunstall; 1801, Rev. Dr. Mountain; 1815, Rev. John Leeds; 1818, Rev. John Bethune, afterwards dean; 1872, Rev. Maurice Baldwin, afterwards dean of Montreal and subsequently bishop of Huron; 1884, Rev. J.G. Norton, subsequently archdeacon of Montreal; vicars in charge of the parish, 1902, Rev. F.J. Steen; 1903, Rev. Herbert Symonds.

The Anglican Bishopric of Montreal has its origin as follows:

In 1787 His Majesty, George III, had created Nova Scotia into an Episcopal see, the bishop of the diocese being also granted jurisdiction, spiritual and ecclesiastical, over the province of Quebec as it then existed. In 1793 the bishopric of Quebec was created and curtailed the jurisdiction of Nova Scotia. The first bishop was the Rev. Dr. Jacob Mountain who was succeeded on his death, in 1826, by Bishop Stewart, a younger son of the Earl of Galloway, and when he died, in 1837, Dr. George Jehoshaphat Mountain took charge of the extensive diocese. Dr. G.J. Mountain had been appointed to assist the bishop of Quebec under the title of Bishop of Montreal, but he had no separate jurisdiction nor was any see erected at Montreal. This was divided in 1839 by the creation of a diocese of Toronto, in 1845 by that of Fredericton and by that of Montreal in 1850. The bishops of the diocese of Montreal from this date are: Francis Fulford, September 15, 1850, to September 9, 1868; Ashton Oxenden, August 31, 1869, to May 7, 1878; William Bennett Bond, January 25, 1879, to October 9, 1906; James Carmichael, November 4, 1906, to September 21, 1908; John Farthing, consecrated January 6, 1909.

Of the earliest Anglican churches of the city, the Gosford Street Church, now no longer existent, served as a temporary place of worship for the Christ Church Cathedral congregation between 1856 and 1859 after the fire on Notre Dame Street and saw many vicissitudes. It was purchased by Trinity Church Congregation in 1860 and used for worship till 1865. It then afterwards became the Dominion Theatre. Here Miss Emma Lajeunes of Chambly, afterwards famous as Madame Albani, made a debut as a plain piano player, for as yet she had not discovered the powers of her beautiful voice. In 1871 it was changed to “Debars Opera.” The Cercle Jacques Cartier, a dramatic organization of French-Canadian amateurs, who were the pioneers of the French theatre in America, presented a number of plays there. In 1889, the building passed into the hands of Mgr. Bourget, who placed the property at the disposition of the Union Allet,[274] an organization of Canadian Zouaves, who had fought for the temporal power of Pius IX. It then became a vinegar factory, and when demolished was a carriage depot, and the site has now become, in 1914, that of the City Hall Annex.

The original Trinity Church was built in 1840 on St. Paul Street, immediately opposite the center of Bonsecours Market, at the personal expense of Major William Plenderleath Christie, a son of General Christie of the “Royal Americans,” subsequently designated the Sixtieth Rifles. It was built on a lot 75 feet 6 inches, more or less, in front, by 174 feet, more or less, in depth. This church and its successor are proud of the military associations surrounding it. The edifice is described as an elegant structure, built in the Gothic style, 75 feet long by 44 wide. The first incumbent of the church was the Rev. Mark Willoughby. In 1860 the congregation of Trinity purchased the Gosford Street Church, lately used by the Congregation of Christ Church, under the title of St. John’s Chapel, and worshipped there for five years. The old building on St. Paul Street was torn down and the lot sold. In 1864 the Trinity Church congregation secured the present site of the church at the northwest corner of Viger Square and St. Denis Street. The corner stone was laid on Thursday, June 23, 1864, by the Lord Bishop Metropolitan, Bishop Fulford. It was opened for public worship September 17, 1865. It was consecrated on January 13, 1908, by Bishop Farthing, being his first official act.

The predecessor of St. George’s Church was opened as a proprietary chapel on St. Joseph Street on June 30, 1843, with St. George’s Society present in force. The present St. George’s Church was built in 1870 at the corner of the streets then named St. François de Sales and St. Janvier (now facing Dominion Square). It was opened on October 9th of the same year.

St. Stephen’s Church on Dalhousie Street, Griffintown, was consumed by the great fire of 1850. St. Luke’s Church, at the corner of Champlain Street and Dorchester Street, East, was opened in 1854 and enlarged in 1864. The church of St. James, the Apostle, had its foundation stone laid on July 4, 1853. Its congregation was formed partly of that originally belonging to St. Stephen’s church. St. John, the Evangelist, on Ontario and St. Urbain streets, was built in 1860 and opened in 1861. St. Thomas Church, corner of Sherbrooke, East, and Delorme Avenue, succeeded the former church of the same name on Notre Dame and was conducted by a clergyman of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, but opened for the regular Anglican clergy in 1866. St. Mary’s Church (Hochelaga) dates from 1828, when a stone church was erected on Marlborough Street on a lot presented by a farmer to the Rev. John Bethune, then rector of Christ Church. Shortly after 1851 the church was closed, but was reopened in 1861. In 1889 it was torn down and in 1891 the present church on the corner of Préfontaine and Rouville streets was built. In the meantime the congregation worshipped in a building at 321 Notre Dame Street.

Other Anglican churches are: St. Stephen’s Church, Weredale Park; St. Edward’s Church, corner of St. Paul and the Haymarket; St. Martin’s Church, corner of St. Urbain and Prince Arthur streets; St. Jude’s Church, corner of Coursol and Vinet streets; All Saints Church, corner of St. Denis and Marie Anne streets, East; St. Simon’s Church, corner of Courcelles Street and Notre Dame Street. West: Eglise du Rédempteur, corner Sherbrooke and Cartier streets; Grace Church, 715 Wellington Street; Church of the Advent, corner of Wood Avenue[275] and Western Avenue, Westmount; Church of the Redeemer; St. Clement’s Belcher Memorial Church, Gordon Avenue and Wellington Street, Verdun; the Bishop Carmichael Memorial Church, corner of St. Zotique and Chateaubriand streets; Church of the Good Shepherd, corner of Claremont and Sherbrooke Street; St. Cyprian’s Church, corner Pie IX Avenue and Adam Street, Maisonneauve; St. Augustine’s Church, corner of Dandereau Street and Fourth Avenue, Westmount; St. Margaret’s Church, Longue Pointe Ward.

CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL

CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL

ST. ANDREWS CHURCH

ST. ANDREWS CHURCH

SPANISH AND PORTUGESE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE

SPANISH AND PORTUGESE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE

OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH

OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH

The Anglican Missions are as follows: St. Thomas Mission, held in Delorme schoolroom; St. Cuthbert’s Mission, corner of Beaumont and King Edward Boulevard; St. Hilda’s Mission, Marquette Street; St. Aidan’s Mission, Hamilton Avenue.

PRESBYTERIANS

Presbyterianism, according to the Rev. Dr. Robert Campbell, in his history of St. Gabriel’s Street Church, started in Montreal in a room in St. Lawrence Suburbs on March 12, 1786, when the meeting for the organization of the first Presbyterian congregation took place. Most of those present were Scotch soldiers of the old Seventy-Eighth, or Fraser Highlanders, who had fought the campaign leading to the conquest of Canada at the capitulation of Montreal in 1760. After the peace of 1763 a large proportion of the Highlanders elected to stay in the country, many settling round Montreal and its district. When the North West Company was organized these men were of the same metal as that adventurous Gaelic band, and of the men now gathered, some “as youths had been actually engaged in the fight at Culloden in 1745, while several were the children or the descendants of those brave men who had stood on the side of ‘Prince Charlie’ on that fated field.” The organizer was the Rev. John Bethune, an ex-chaplain of the Eighty-Fourth Regiment who, however, left Montreal in 1787. His son, the Rev. John Bethune, an Anglican, became afterwards famous as the first principal of McGill University, from 1835 to 1852.

From May, 1787, till 1790 there exists no records of services held according to Presbyterian forms. They seem as said to have followed those of the “Rector of the Parish of Montreal and Chaplain of the Garrison,” the Rev. David Chatbrand De Lisle, a Swiss who spoke English indifferently. The first regular Presbyterian minister was the Rev. John Young, from Schenectady, who was a stormy petrel, but he did good work for eleven years at Montreal. It was he who organized the erection of St. Gabriel’s Street Church, the first regular Protestant Church in Old Canada, prior to 1867, for that chapel erected at Berthier six years earlier by James Cuthbert, seigneur of Berthier, a Scotch Presbyterian, is claimed to have been only in the nature of a private domestic chapel attached to his seigneurial manor. In the interval between 1786 and 1792, occasional services were held in the government property known as the old Jesuit Church, which was also being shared by the Anglicans prior to the erection of the first Christ Church.