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The Grey Nuns at Prayer. First Settlements at Montreal. Cartier. Jealousy of the Indians.
ters of Charity connected with it, being devoted to the relief of poor and infirm old persons, and the nurture and education of orphans." The building is spacious, and a large number of both classes are there made comfortable. Our visit was at mid-day. When the clock struck twelve, a long procession of the nuns, veiled, marched slowly into the chapel, singing a Gregorian chant, and knelt within the nave in prayer. We followed in respectful silence. Each nun had a small crucifix and string of beads attached; and whatever may have been the case with their thoughts, their eyes never wandered, notwithstanding strangers were gazing upon them. They were habited in dark drab dresses, bound with black velvet and looped up behind; aprons with stripes, and over the head (on which they wore a cap with a deep border), covering the face and neck, a thin black veil was thrown, through which the features were discernible. Some were young and pretty, others old and plain, but the sacred character of their labor of love invested them all with beauty. We visited a few other places of note, and, after “lunch,” I left my company and went down to Longueuil, where Carleton was defeated by Warner in 1775. We are upon historic ground; let us open the old volume a few moments. Montreal is built upon an island thirty miles long and twelve wide, and is upon the site of ancient Hochelaga, a noted Indian village which gave its name to the river in this vicinity. . The first white man who visited the spot was Jaques Quartier or Cartier, a oesoters. French navigator, who discovered the Gulf and River St. 1535. Lawrence, and gave them the name they bear.” The vicinity, even up the slopes of the mountain, was tilled and covered with corn-fields. Cartier was enchanted with the view from the mountain—a view of “thirty leagues radius"—and, in honor of his king (Francis I.), he called it Mount Royal. In time the name was modified to Montreal, and in this form was borne by the white settlement that gathered there in 1640. The spot was consecrated by the superior of the Jesuits, and a chapel built in 1642. The Indians, at first friendly, became jealous, and at length hostile. The town was stockaded and slight bastions were built, but finally a strong wall of masonry was constructed, fifteen feet high, with battlements and six gates. The town gradually increased in size and commercial importance, and at the time of our Revolution was nearly as populous as Quebec. When, toward the middle of the last century, hostilities commenced between the English and French colonies, Montreal was an important place as a frontier town. There Duquesne de Menneville" and Vaudreuil de Cavagnal, French governors of Canada, fitted out their expeditions against the English on the Ohio and the unfriendly Indians of New York. Montreal was threatened by the English under Amherst in 1759, but it was not until the autumn septembers of 1760 that it passed out of the possession of the French. Quebec surrendered 1760. a year before, and Vaudreuil retreated to Montreal, with a determination to make
GREY NUN PRAYING.
* This hospital was founded by M. Charron and others, in 1692. In 1748 it passed into the hands of a society of ladies, at the head of whom was Madame Youville, who, being left a widow at the age of twentyeight, determined to devote her life and fortune to the relief of the infirm poor. In 1755 the plan of the establishment was enlarged, so as to embrace orphans, the cause of which was singular, as given in Bosworth’s “Picture of Montreal.” One winter day, as Madame Y. was passing the “Little River,” she saw an infant hard frozen in the ice, with a poniard sticking in its throat, and one of its little hands raised through the ice as if in the attitude of demanding justice against the perpetrator of the crime. Madame Y. was dreadfully shocked at the sight, and, on consultation with her associates, it was resolved to extend their charity and protection to orphans and foundlings.
* He arrived in the gulf on the festival of St. Lawrence (10th of August), and, on account of that circumstance, named the waters in honor of the saint.
* He built a fort on the Ohio, which was called Fort Duquesne. It is memorable as the place near which Braddock was defeated in 1755, when Washington's military talents were first conspicuously developed. The name of the fort was changed to Pitt, and the present city of Pittsburgh stands upon its site.
Montreal in 1760. Captured by the English. Ethan Allen in Canada. Proposed Attack on Montreal.
there a bold stand in defense of French dominion in Canada. The English invested Mont
From an old French print.
real in September, 1760. Amherst approached down the St. Lawrence from Oswego, Gen. eral Murray advanced up the river from Quebec, and Colonel Haviland took post on the south side of the St. Lawrence, opposite the city. Vaudreuil perceived that re- September 6, sistance would be vain, and two days afterward the city was surrendered to the 1760. English. With this event French dominion ceased in Canada. The terms of capitulation were honorable to both parties. Private property was respected; the revenues of the priesthood were held sacred to their use; the Roman Catholic religion was undisturbed ; the privileges of all classes were preserved and guarantied ; and every thing was done to reconcile the people to their new masters. General Gage, afterward Governor of Massachusetts, was appointed Governor of Montreal. Montreal remained in quiet possession of the English until 1775, when the invading army of the insurgent colonies disturbed its repose, after the capture of Forts St. John's and Chambly. A month previous to these events the town was alarmed by the appearance of an American detachment under Ethan Allen, but the result quieted their fears. When the command of the Northern army devolved upon Montgomery, he sent Allen, who had been traversing Canada in the neighborhood of the St. Lawrence, to retrace his steps and further arouse the people in favor of the rebellion. Active and brave, Allen gathered a large number to his standard. A week after he left the American camp at Isle Aux Noiz he was at St. Ours, twelve miles south of the Sorel, with two hundred and fifty Canadians under arms. He wrote to Montgomery that within three days he would join him in laying siege to St. John's, with at least five hundred armed Canadians. On his way to join the main army, he marched up the east side of the St. Lawrence to Longueuil. When between that place and La Prairie, he fell in with Major Brown, at the head of an advanced party of Americans and Canadians, who informed him that Montreal was weak and defenseless, and proposed to make a joint attack upon the city. Allen had confidence in the courage and judgment of Brown, and, as the scheme opened an adventurous field, he agreed to the proposition.
* The island with buildings, seen on the left, is St. Helen's or Helena, now strongly fortified. It is in front of the city, a mile distant, and is a beautiful summer resort. It formerly belonged to the Barons of Longueuil, and is now the property of the crown. The picture is a fac-simile of the print, with all its desects in drawing.
Battle near Montreal. Capture of Allen. Brutality of Prescott. Harsh Treatment of the Prisoners. Biography of Allen
Allen was to return to Longueuil, procure canoes, and cross the St. Lawrence with his troops below the city, while Brown was to cross above the town, with two hundred men, and the attack was to be made at opposite points simultaneously. September 24, Allen crossed the river at night with eighty Canadians and thirty Americans. 1775. It was a rough, windy night, and so few were the canoes that they had to cross three times, yet the whole party passed the foaming waters in the light vessels safely before daylight. At dawn Allen expected to hear the signal of Brown, but the morning advanced, and it was evident that the latter had not crossed over. Guards were placed upon the roads to prevent persons from carrying intelligence into the town, and Allen would have retreated if his boats could have carried all over at once. The Americans being discovered, armed men were soon seen issuing from the gates. A force of forty British regulars, more than two hundred Canadians, and a few Indians came down upon them from the town; but, notwithstanding the disparity in numbers, such was the bravery of some of the Americans, that the engagement lasted an hour and three quarters. At length, his men having all deserted but twenty-eight, seven of whom were wounded, Allen agreed to a surrender upon being promised honorable terms. They were marched to Montreal, and the officers who were on the field acted very civilly toward them; but when they were delivered into the custody of General Prescott, they experienced the most brutal treatment at his hands. On learning, by conversation with Allen, that he was the same man who had captured Ticonderoga, Prescott was greatly enraged, threatened him with a halter, and ordered him to be bound hand and foot in irons and placed on board the Gaspee war schooner. A bar of iron eight feet long was attached to his shackles, and, with his fellow-prisoners, who were fastened together in pairs with handcuffs, he was thrust into the lowest part of the ship, where neither seat nor bed was allowed them.' We shall have con
* Ethan Allen was born in Roxbury, Litchfield county, in Connecticut. He went to Vermont at an early age, and about 1770 took an active part in the disturbances that occurred between the Hampshire Grants and the state of New York. The Legislature of the latter province proclaimed him an outlaw, and offered fifty pounds sterling for his apprehension. A party, determining to capture him while on a visit to his friends in Salisbury and lodge him in the jail at Poughkeepsie, came near effecting their object. He afterward led the expedition against Ticonderoga, and his former sins were forgotten by his enemies. In the autumn of 1775 he was twice sent into Canada to observe the disposition of the people, and, if possible, win them over to the American cause. On returning from his last tour to camp, he was induced by Major Brown to cross the St. Lawrence and attack Montreal. The former failed to eo-operate with him, and he was captured and put in irons. He remained five weeks in irons on board the Gaspee, at Montreal, and when Carleton was repulsed by Warner at Longueuil, the vessel was sent down to Quebec. There he was transferred to another vessel, where he was treated humanely, and sent to England to be tried for treason. He was placed in charge of Brook Watson, a resident of Montreal, and afterward Lord Mayor of London. Allen, in his grotesque garb, attracted great attention in the streets of Falmouth, where he was landed. He was confined for a time in Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth, and was sent to Halifax in the spring of 1776. He was confined in jail there until autumn, and was then sent to New York, then in possession of the British. There he was kept about a year and a half. In May, 1778, he was exchanged for Colonel Campbell, and returned to his fireside in Vermont. He never afterward actively engaged in military service. He died at Colchester, Vermont, February 13th, 1789, and his remains repose in a beautiful cemetery near the Winooski, at Burlington. Ethan Allen was a blunt, honest man, of purest virtue and sternest integrity. In religion he was a free-thinker, and passed for an infidel. An anecdote is related of him, which illustrates the purity of his principles. He owed a citizen of Boston sixty pounds, for which he gave his promissory note. It was sent to Vermont for collection. It was inconvenient for Allen to pay, and the note was put in suit. Allen employed a lawyer to attend the court, and have the judgment postponed until he could raise the money. The lawyer determined to deny the genuineness of the signature, as the readiest method of postponing the matter, for in that case a witness at Boston would have to be sent for. When the case was called, it happened that Allen was in a re
mote part of the court-house, and, to his utter astonish-
rebuked him in a voice of thunder. “Mr. , I did not
SIGNATURE of Ethan ALLEN.
Montgomery's March upon Montreal. Flight and Capture of Prescott. Escape of Carleton. Mutiny in Montgomery's Camp.
siderable to say of the character and career of the brutal Prescott, while commanding afterward on Rhode Island. The cause of Major Brown's failure to cross, and, with Allen, attack Montreal, has never been explained. The plan was good, and would doubtless have been successful. Half carried out, it proved disastrous, and both Brown and Allen were blamed, the one for proposing, the other for attempting, such a hazardous enterprise. After the fall of St. John's, General Montgomery pressed on toward Montreal. Carleton knew its weakness, and at once retreated on board one of the vessels of a small fleet lying in the river. Montgomery entered the town in triumph the day after Carleton and November 13, the garrison left it. He treated the people humanely, and secured their confi- 1775. dence and good will. Finding there a large supply of woolen goods, he set about clothing his army, so that those who accompanied him further in the campaign might be prepared for the rigors of a Canadian winter. As soon as Montgomery saw the disposition of the garrison to flee, he dispatched Colonel Easton with Continental troops, cannon, and armed gondolas to the mouth of the Sorel. This force was so advantageously posted that the British fleet could not pass, and General Prescott, several officers, members of the Canadian Council, and one hundred and twenty private soldiers, with all the vessels, surrendered by capitulation." At the midnight preceding Governor Carleton was conveyed in a boat, with muffled oars, past the American post to Three Rivers, and _– the important posts in arrived safely at Que- - Canada except Quebec bec. The Americans were now in possession were very anxious to of the Americans, Montsecure Governor Carle- gomery justly asserted, ton, for his talents, judg- in a letter to Congress, ment, and influence that, “till Quebec is formed the basis of taken, Canada is unstrength against the conquered.” Impressinvaders. They were ed with this idea, he watchful in their guard- determined to push forboats, but a dark night ward to the capital deand a secret way fa- spite the inclemency of vored his escape, and the season and the dethey secured a far in- sertion of his troops. ferior captive in Pres- The term of service of cott, whose conduct, on many had expired, and many occasions, made others absolutely refushim a disgrace to the ed to proceed further. British army. Insubordination maniNotwithstanding all fested itself among the officers, and it required all the address the general was master of to induce a respectable force to march to Quebec, after garrisoning Montreal. But amid all these discouragements
to come here and lie and juggle about it.” “The result was, that the postponement of the claim was amicably arranged between the two lawyers.
* There were eleven sail of vessels. Their contents were 760 barrels of flour, 675 barrels of beef, 376 firkins of butter, 3 barrels of powder, 4 nine and six pounders, cartridges and ball, 2380 musket cartridges, 8 chests of arms, 200 pairs of shoes, and a quantity of intrenching tools.
* Guy Carleton, afterward Lord Dorchester, was Wolfe's quartermaster at the storming of Quebec, and was appointed a major in the British army in 1772. In 1774 he was constituted Captain-general and Governor of Quebec or Canada. He successfully commanded the British at Quebec when attacked by Montgomery in 1775, compelled the Americans to raise the siege in 1776, and drove them out of the province. In October he recaptured Crown Point. He was unjustly superseded in military command by Burgoyne in 1777. He was appointed to succeed Sir Henry Clinton in 1782, and was in command of the British troops when they evacuated New York on the 25th of November, 1783. He died in England at the close of 1808, aged 83 years.
Return Home of the Disaffected. Visit to Longueuil. The Village Oracle. Fruitless Historical Research.
the hopeful general did not despair. He knew that Arnold was traversing the wilderness along the Kennebeck and the Chaudière to join him, and was then, perhaps, menacing Quebec; and he knew also that the troops under Carleton and M'Lean were hardly adequate to defend the city, even against a smaller force than his own. He winnowed his army of the recusant and mutinous, and then pushed onward down the St. Lawrence.” I remarked that I left my pleasant company at Montreal, and went down to Longueuil. My object was to ascertain, if possible, the place where Warner planted his battery and repulsed the boats of Carleton. Longueuil is an old town, chiefly composed of small stone houses with steep roofs. It has a spacious French church, of antique appearance, though not more than thirty years old. The people all speak bad French, and for more than an hour I sought the “oldest inhabitant.” That mysterious creature was an old woman of unknown age, and so deaf that she could not hear half I said, or understand a word. I reciprocated the latter infirmity, and now confess profound ignorance of all she attempted to say. An intelligent lad came to the rescue, and silenced our jargon batteries by referring me to his uncle, who lived near the beach, and “knew everything.” He was a man about fifty, and spoke English pretty well. I made my business known, and he at once assumed the patronizing air of Sir Oracle, said he knew it all, and pointed to the shore a little above as the very spot where “the cavalry horses were stabled,” and where “the English dragoons drank a health to King George and vowed death to the Yankees.” He knew Sir George Prevost, and praised the veterans of Wellington who accompanied him. As British dragoons and Wellington's veterans were not with Carleton, and as my mentor's first birth-day doubtless occurred twenty years after the time in question, I properly doubted his knowledge of the facts I was in search of. I told him that it was the American Revolution I was inquiring about. He did not seem to understand me, and I called it rebellion. “Oh oui yes, yes, I know,” he exclaimed. “Two hundred crossed here for St. John's. Captain Glasgow was a fine fellow. Pity Lord Elgin wasn't as great a man as Sir John Colborne.” With exhausted patience, I explained to him the time and nature of the revolution of the last century, but he had never heard of it! He knew nothing behind his own “life and times.” As he represented the “collective wisdom” of the village, I despaired of better success, and returned to Montreal with the fruit of a three hours' expedition under a hot sum—a Yankee's postulate—a shrewd guess. I was as little successful in my search at Montreal for the battle-ground where Ethan Allen and his men were made prisoners. An intelligent gentleman, who was one of the leaders in the rebellion there in 1837, assured me that the spot was unknown to the inhabitants, for tradition has but little interest in keeping its finger upon the locality, and not a man was living who had personal knowledge of the event. It is probable that the northern suburbs of the city now cover the locality, and that the place is not far from the present Longueuil ferry-landing. Having accomplished my errand at Montreal, we departed for Quebec toward evening, in the fine steamer John Munn, accompanied by our Burlington friends of the morning. The magnificent stone quays were crowded with people, and our boat had a full complement of passengers. At the lower end of St. Helen's we entered the St. Mary's Rapids, and, darting past Longueuil, were soon out of sight of the spires of Montreal. The banks of the river are low, and on either side villages and cultivated fields exhibited an ever-changing and pleasing panorama. Belaeil Mountain loomed up eastward of us, and the white chapel, the pedestal of the bishop's huge cross upon the loftiest summit, sparkled like a star in the beams of the setting sun. It was twilight when we arrived at William Henry, or Sorel, an old town, forty-five miles below Montreal, at the mouth of the Richelieu or Sorel River. A
* Several hundred of the militia, regardless of order, took the nearest route to their respective homes in New England and New York. About three hundred arrived in a body at Ticonderoga, and, flinging their heavy packs over their shoulders, crossed the lake on the ice, and traversed the wilderness through the deep snow to their homes in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It was an undertaking quite as perilous as the siege of Quebec. The endearments of home were the goal of the one, military glory was that of the other. The choice, though not creditable to them as patriots, deserves our respectful homage.