Canadian history and biography, and passages in the lives of a British Prince and a Canadian Seigneur
By William James Anderson
[Originally published by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in Transactions, New Series, No. 5 (1867)]
In an address delivered at Fort Popham, Mr. McGee, in speaking of Canada, used the following language:— "France was ruled by a policy strictly martial to the last ; and though Richelieu, Colbert, De LaGallissonière, and other supreme minds, saw in the 'New France' great commercial capabilities, the prevailing policy, especially under Louis XIV., was to make and keep Canada a military Colony." And Parkman, in his "Pioneers of France in the New World," says :—"These banded powers, pushing into the wilderness their indomitable soldiers and devoted priests, unveiled the secrets of the barbarous continent, pierced the forest, traced and mapped out the streams, planted their emblems, built their forts, and claimed all as their own. New France was all head ! Under Knight, Noble, and Jesuit, the rank, lean body would not thrive. Even commerce wore the sword, decked itself with badges of nobility, aspired to forest seigniories and hosts of savage retainers. Here was a bold attempt to crush under the exaction of a grasping hierarchy, to stifle under the curbs and trappings of a feudal monarchy, a people compassed by influences of the wildest freedom—whose schools were the forest and the sea, whose trade was an armed barter with savages, and whose daily life a lesson of lawless independence. But this fierce spirit had a vent. The story of New France is from the first a story of war—for so her friends believed—with the adversary of mankind, himself; war with savage tribes, and potent forest commonwealths, and with the encroaching powers of Heresy and England. Her brave, unthinking people were stamped with the soldier's virtues and the soldier's faults; and in their leaders were displayed, on a grand and noble stage, the energies, aspirations and passions, which belong to hopes vast and vague, ill-restricted passions, and stations of command. The French dominion is a memory of the past, and when we wake its departed shades, they rise upon us from their graves in strange, romantic guise. Again their ghostly camp-fires seem to burn, and the fitful light is cast around on lord and vassal and black-robed priest, mingled with wild forms of savage warriors, knit in close fellowship on the same errand. A boundless vision grows upon us, an untamed continent ; vast wastes of forest verdure ; mountains silent in primeval sleep ; river, lake and glimmering pool ; wilderness oceans mingling with the sky. Such was the domain which France conquered for civilization. Plumed helmets gleamed in the shades of the forest, priestly vestments in its dens and fastnesses of ancient barbarism. Men steeped in antique learning, pale with the close breath of the cloister, here spent the noon and evening of their lives, ruled savage hordes with a mild paternal sway, and stood serene before the direst shapes of death. Men of courtly nature, heirs to the polish of a far-reaching ancestry, here with their dauntless hardihood put to shame the boldest sons of toil."
Here is the portrait and there stands the bust of the Pilot of St. Malo—the skilful and intrepid mariner, Jacques Cartier ; his resolute countenance gives us "assurance of a man" bold and keen, with a spirit not apt to quail before the wrath of man or of the elements. He stands first among the Canadian immortals as the discoverer of Canada, and first in the estimation of all French Canadians. Yet, after the lapse of two centuries, the dispassionate student of history must note, that Canada first presented herself to him as a magnificent country, inhabited by a friendly, hospitable, and confiding people, who looked up to the stranger as of a superior and beneficent race; that he unjustifiably abused their confidence by the treacherous abduction of Donnacona, " The Lord of Canada," and his nine attendants. This was the great error of his life. Another, almost as fatal, was the mode of colonising the country, by his third expedition with Roberval. The commission set forth the objects of the enterprise viz.,-—discovery, settlement, and conversion of the Indians—men without knowledge of God, or use of reason. The machinery of conversion was questionable, since he was empowered by the same commission to ransack the prisons for thieves and other malefactors, to complete his crew, and strengthen the colony.
Can we be surprised that on his arrival in Canada, four years after this outrage, with only one of those whom he had abducted, and accompanied as I have described, he found a distrustful, if not a hostile people ; and that, on the failure of his high hopes, he returned to France a disappointed man—reporting "a rigorous climate, a savage people, a fatal disease, and a soil barren of gold," and carrying, as his sole trophies, a few quartz diamonds from Cap Rouge, and some sham gold from the slates of the adjoining rocks. "Thus pitifully," says Parkman, "closed the career of this noted discoverer. His discoveries had gained him a patent of nobility. He owned the seignorial mansion of Limoilou, a rude structure of stone, still standing. Here, and in the neighbouring town of St. Malo, where he also had a house, he seems to have lived for many years." Other writers, however, state, that Cartier died soon after his return, having sacrificed health and fortune in the cause of discovery. He left no descendants to inherit his name and fame; but I have heard our distinguished fellow-colonist, Mr. G. E. Cartier, say, that his family claimed descent from a brother of Jacques Cartier.
Some six years after the return of Cartier, the two Robervals and an enterprising company of young men, sailed for Canada, but they were never afterwards heard of, and they were supposed to have perished at sea. "With these two," says Charlevoix, "fell every hope of an establishment in America." In 1547 the Robervals were lost, and half a century elapsed before the next great actor appeared on the stage of Canadian history; but in 1604 Samuel de Champlain, of a noble French family, and an officer already distinguished in the royal navy, set out on his first voyage to New France, thus commencing a connexion which continued almost without interruption for nearly thirty years ; during which he conducted seven expeditions from France to the infant colony, and made many and great discoveries on this continent extending to the Far-west. In 1608 he founded Quebec, near the spot where Cartier had built his fort in 1541 ; and now he committed the great error of his life. To influence Indian councils, to hold the balance of power between adverse tribes, might have been a policy worthy of a statesman, and might have resulted in reciprocal benefit ; but when he embroiled himself in Indian warfare, by personally taking the part of the Hurons and Algonquins against the Iroquois, he sowed the seed which produced a prolific crop of troubles to the colonists, bearing havoc and flames to unborn generations.
In 1610 he made his fourth voyage, and founded Montreal.
In 1615 he made his fifth voyage, when he was accompanied by four Recollet Fathers—the commencement of what he considered the vital principle of propagandism, to which, ever after, the military as well as the commercial character of the colony were subordinated. In 1620 he brought his family to Canada. Up to this time no child of French parents had been born in the colony; but in 1621, on the 20th of May, a son was born in Quebec, to Abraham Martin and Margaret Langlois, who was christened 'Eustache.'
In 1627 the Company of One Hundred Associates was projected by Richelieu, and approved by Champlain. This Company engaged to supply settlers with food, clothing and implements for three years and then give them sufficient land to support themselves, cleared to a certain extent ; but all must be natives of France, and no strangers or heretics were to be permitted to immigrate. In 1628 Champlain had the mortification to be compelled to surrender Quebec to the Kirke expedition, and was carried a prisoner to England ; the population of the city at the time being only one hundred and five. In 1633 he had the happiness to return to Canada.
Champlain is universally acknowledged as the father of New France : he embodied her religious zeal and romantic spirit of adventure, and before the close of his career she took the posture which she held the day of her death, purged of heresy, and in the one hand the crucifix, in the other the sword. His zeal for the propagation of the faith was so great that he said-"The salvation of one soul was of more value than the conquest of an empire." In Champlain alone, says Parkman, was the life of New France! By instinct and temperament he was impelled to the adventurous toils of exploration rather than to the duller task of building colonies. The profits of trade had value in his eyes as means to these ends, and settlements were important only as bases of discovery. Two great objects eclipsed all others—to find a route to the Indies, and to bring the heathen tribes into the embraces of the Church; since, when he cared little for their bodies, his solicitude for their souls knew no bounds.
"Christmas-day, 1635. was a dark day in the annals of New France :in a chamber of the fort, breathless and cold, lay the hardy frame, which war, the wilderness and the sea had buffeted so long in vain. After two months and a half of illness, Champlain, at the age of 68, was dead. His last cares were for his colony, and the succour of its suffering families. Jesuits, officers, soldiers, traders, and the few settlers of Quebec, followed his remains to the church, Lejeune pronounced his eulogy, and the feeble community built a tomb to his honor."
A soldier from his youth, in an age of unbounded licence, when the principles of religion and morality were neither fully understood nor faithfully practised, he stood out a bright example of purity and fidelity. An enthusiastic, intrepid, persevering and successful explorer; an undaunted soldier; a pious and sincere, though bigoted, member of the Church of Rome ; never thinking of self, but always of his great purpose, he was in everything truthful. "With the life of this faithful soldier." says Parkman, "closes the opening period of New France. Heroes of another stamp succeed ; and it remains hereafter to tell the story of their devotedness, their faults, their follies, and their virtues."
Before closing this part of my subject, I must allude to the interest recently excited, by the alleged discovery of the tomb of Champlain. Should this be an actual discovery, what a lesson does it teach us of the vanity of all human greatness! In the city which he had founded and fostered, the tomb of the great discoverer and propagandist had been so neglected as to be utterly lost sight of, and the place that once knew him knew him no more ; and for nearly a century stranger and heretics unwittingly have daily trampled his dust under foot. But dust to dust, and the spirit to God who gave it The earthly tomb has vanished, and its place had been blotted out of the memory of man ; but Champlain has erected for himself a monument more imperishable than brass. He has left no heir of his body ; but his name will live for ever,, and his fame will spread to the utmost bound of civilization.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE SECOND PERIOD.
Mr. LeMoine, in his very interesting '"Maple Leaves," gives an account of the most important effort ever made by the French Crown in connexion with Canada—an effort the results of which are visible at the present day. He points out, among other things, how the names of several of the leading minds of France were associated with the fortunes of the colony, and that among the galaxy of young noblemen, who alone, in the days of privilege, could claim as a right commissions in the French regiments serving in Canada, we will find the historical names of the reign of the great monarch Louis XIV. In 1664 he sent out to Quebec the most brilliant emigration that ever sailed from France : consisting of a Viceroy, a Governor-General, an Intendant, and other necessary officers of the Civil Government; and the Regiment of Carignan, commanded by Col. DeSallières, and officered by sixty or seventy French gentlemen, most of whom were connected with the noblesse. The strength of the regiment exceeded one thousand ; and, in addition, there was a considerable body of artizans and agriculturists, with horses and cattle ;—an accession exceeding in numbers all the settlers already in the colony. Many of the officers settled in the colony, and having obtained concessions of lands, became the noblesse or seigneurs of Canada, and were the founders of the best French Canadian families of the present day. "This infusion," says Mr LeMoine, "of superior blood, education and accomplishments, operated beneficially as regards the social and domestic manners of the colonists, previously devoted to the humblest occupations of trade. Liberal tastes were encouraged, and sentiments of honor and generosity pervading the higher ranks, were felt through every class of the inhabitants."
On referring to "Titles and Documents relating to the Seigniorial Tenure," published by order of the House of Assembly in 1852, there will be found one to the Sieur De Chambly, as follows :—
"JEAN TALLON, King's Councillor of State, &c. To all, &c.
"His Majesty having at all times sought with care and the zeal suitable to his just title of the eldest son of the church, the means of making in the most unknown countries, by the propagation of the Faith and the diffusion of the Gospel, the glory of God and the Christian name, first and principal object of the establishment of the French colony in Canada, and accessorily of making known to the parts of the earth remotest from intercourse with civilized men, the greatness of his name and the power of his arms; and having judged that there were no surer means to that effect, than to compose this colony of men fit, by their personal qualities, properly to fill up, to extend by their labour and application to agriculture, and to maintain it by a vigourous defence against the insults and attacks to which it might be hereafter exposed ; has sent to this country a number of his faithful subjects, officers of his troops in the regiment of Carignan, and others, most of them, agreeably to the great and pious designs of this Majesty, being willing to connect themselves with this country by forming therein settlements and seigniories of an extent proportionate to their means ; and the Sieur de Chambly, captain in the said regiment, and commander of the troops in Canada, having petitioned us to grant him a portion of land : We, in consideration of the good, useful and praise worthy services which he has rendered to his Majesty in different places, as well in Old as in New France, since he came here by his Majesty's order."
Then follows a grant of the Seigniory of Chambly, to be held agreeably to the Coutume de Paris, "subject to the conditions that he shall continue to keep and cause to be kept house and home on his said Seigniory; and that he shall stipulate in the title deeds which he may give to his tenants, that they shall be held within one year to reside and keep house and home on the lands which he may grant or have granted to them." The grant reserves all oak timber for ship building, and all mines of gold, &c.
This grant is dated at Quebec, 29th October, 1672.
Provision was thus made for the permanent settlement of the country and cultivation of the land ; but concessions were also made to the Sieur Denis Riverin and his Company, at Cap Chat and elsewhere, for the establishment of fisheries "for the catching of cod, whales, and other fish," and with the right of hunting and trading with the Indians
But the most important concessions, and what have exercised the most prominent influence on the colony, existing at the present moment in the fullest vigor, were those made to the Jesuits and other religious bodies, male and female, for the propagation of the Faith, and the education of the children of the Indians, and of Frenchmen residing in the colony. These grants were so extensive, and the land was selected with such judgment, that in Quebec and Montreal religious corporations are at this day extremely wealthy, being, in fact, in possession of the best parts of these cities, and owning the most valuable lands in their vicinity.
In 1668 there was great scarcity of women, and several hundreds were in consequence sent from France; on whose arrival it was advertised that a supply had been sent over, and that such as had the means of supporting a wife, should have the first choice. Within a fortnight the whole lot was disposed of.
In 1720-1 Charlevoix says he found about 7,000 inhabitants in Quebec ; society agreeable ; the military officers and noblesse very poor, but elegant and polished. "Agriculture and commerce were little attended to." Three Rivers contained about 800 ; and the inhabitants of Montreal did not amount to more than one-half of Quebec.
The polity inaugurated in 1664, was maintained in comparative integrity till the conquest by the British in 1759. Its success, however, was not very marked, for during the progress of a century the population had only increased to 65,000 : consisting chiefly of censitaires or cultivators—a frugal, industrious and moral race ; and seigneurs or noblesse, who, though poor, were very much respected ; and a large, equally respected, and at least as powerful, of clergy ; also a considerable number of Indians, converted to the Catholic faith. With the conquest closed the second period of Canadian history.
COMMENCEMENT OF THIRD PERIOD.
Some time before the conquest, there came to Canada, in command of a French frigate, a cadet of a noble family in Du Pays des Basque, called DeSalaberry. He was of herculean frame, and distinguished for his bravery during all the operations immediately preceding and terminating with the conquest. He had married Mademoiselle Duches-nay de St. Dennis, daughter of the Seignior of Beauport. The issue of this mariage was a son and two daughters. After the conquest he remained in Canada, cheerfully transferring his allegiance to the new sovereign. Indeed, the terms in favor of the French colonists were so liberal, civil and religious liberty was so fully granted and so faithfully observed, that the great body of Canadians were well content to come under British rule, and in a short time proved themselves loyal and attached subjects.
Of the two daughters of M. DeSalaberry, one married a French gentleman, whom she accompanied to Old France ; the other, after the manner of many high-born ladies, dedicated herself to God, by entering the Convent of the General Hospital in this city, where she was long known and revered as Sister St. Catherine.
The son, Louis-Ignace, at the age of seven, witnessed the battle on the heights of Abraham, from the General Hospital ; went to France in 1760 to prosecute his education, and returned to Quebec in 1768 to complete it, at the Quebec Seminary. He had inherited a handsome person, tall, and strong as Hercules. His mien was dignified, and he had a most courteous and polished address. He soon became most popular with his fellow-countrymen.
In 1775, during the American war, he joined the British army as a volunteer, and served at the siege of St. Johns, where he was twice seriously wounded. DeGaspé, in his delightful "Mémoires," relates that during this siege a shell was thrown into the barrack occupied by DeSalaberry and other officers, all of whom, but he, had time to escape before it exploded. After the explosion, his friends returned, fully expecting to find nothing but a mangled corpse ; but, to their great surprise, they found the second Sampson, more fortunate than the first, sustaining on his broad shoulders the whole weight of the edifice! The gouts of blood which he for a long time afterwards occasionally expectorated, testified to the strain his system had undergone. In the following year he served in Captain DeRouville's Company and was wounded by a musket ball in the knee. He continued to serve to the close of the war in 1783 ; but he had, in February, 1778, married Mademoiselle Catherine DeHertel ; and, on the conclusion of the war, he retired to his home, and, subsequently received half-pay as Lieutenant. The issue of his marriage was four sons and three daughters.
While he was living happily in the bosom of his family, at his mansion at Beauport, in 1791, H. R. H. Prince Edward, afterwards Duke of Kent, arrived in Canada, in command of the 60th Regt., and there at once sprung up an intimacy between the Prince and Seignior only terminated by death, and which had a most important influence on the career of the young DeSalaberrys. The Prince became a frequent, almost a constant, visitor at Beauport ; he became warmly attached both to M. and Madame De-Salaberry, and took a deep interest in the welfare of their children, which shewed itself in every possible way, and subsequently led to all the four sons seeking a profession in the British army.
In 1794 the Prince was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia ; and then commenced a correspondance between him and the members of the DeSalaberry family, which was only terminated by his death. I have had the advantage of studying the whole of it, and there remains the impression that a correspondance more creditable to the heads and hearts of the parties could not have taken place. The letters addressed to the elder DeSalaberry are in French—those written to the younger are in English ; but one and all, from beginning to end, exhibit, on the part of the Prince, great good sense, but warmed with a heart overflowing with generous, considerate and practical kindness, and endeavouring to anticipate every wish. Neither time, absence, change of place nor fortune, produced change in him, but he remained faithful to the last. It is my intention at a future time, and possibly in another way, to make use of these letters ; in the meantime, in the course of this paper, I shall introduce such passages as are best calcuted to elucidate and to interest.
It is anticipating, but I think it better here to introduce one or two anecdotes, as told by DeGaspé :-"Without being rich," says he, "he practised a generous hospitality, and his house was open daily to such as desired to pass an agreeable evening with his amiable family, around the tea-table. He loved, and was beloved, by the young, and was amused and delighted by their society, and encouraged frequent re-unions. He was deeply impressed with religious faith, and the scene was most impressive, when, at the last sound of the bell, the father and mother, and their seven beautiful children, advanced to participate in the communion." It is pleasant, also, to read DeGaspé's account of the manner in which, in his more advanced years, he was received in passing along the streets of Quebec. He was universally saluted as one loved and esteemed; even the children had learned to revere him, and it was remarked that the dignified and venerable Seignior was as marked in returning their salutation as that of the most prominent member of the community.
His feeling of loyalty made it a point of duty to present himself at the levees of the representative of his sovereign. In 1819, when he was far advanced in life, being then in his sixty-seventh year, the Duke of Richmond was appointed Governor-General. Shortly after his arrival, he gave a soiree, at which the ladies were to be presented. DeSalaberry appeared dressed in the full costume of the Court of Louis XVI., taking his proper position before the arrival of the Governor. It thus happened that the guests, as they entered (not having as yet seen the Governor), led away by the richness of his dress, and his imposing person, mistook him for the Governor, and made profound obeisance, which he returned with all the dignity of a prince, and in good faith, not knowing there was any mistake.
In 1796 Lord Dorchester determined to raise a Canadian regiment, and called upon M. Joseph de Longueuil, M. de Salaberry, and M. Dambourges, to aid him. The Baron de Longueuil was Colonel ; DeSalaberry, who had shewn great energy and had raised his company in a very short time, was appointed Major, and Dambourges was appointed Captain, of the Grenadier Company. The regiment, "Les Voluntaries Canadiens," was six hundred strong, and had on its Colours the device, "Try us." It served, successively, two years in Montreal, two at Sorel, and two at Quebec, when it was disbanded. The biographer of Dambourges asserts that it was frequently short of pay and supplies, and that Colonel Longueuil actually sustained it, for a very considerable time, out of his own revenue, and writes indignantly that, notwithstanding the sacrifices made by both officers and men, the Duke of Portland had forwarded a despatch, in 1801, to Governor Sir R. N. Milnes, containing this unjust expression: "But before I proceed further, I cannot help expressing to you my surprise that the establishment of the Canadian Battalion in Lower Canada, the principal object of which was to draw the Canadian gentlemen from their indolent and inactive habits and attach them to the King's service, should have met with no greater success."
M. L. DeSalaberry was twice elected to the Provincial Parliament, and was subsequently called to the Legislative Council. He was President of the great Committee of Quebec, and was chosen to carry the address, signed by 70,000, against the Union of the Provinces. Under the administration of Sir James Craig, he would not consent to stand a policy in support of that measure; and when threatened by him with deprivation of office, replied, "You may take from me the bread of my family, but shall never deprive me of honor !"
On the eve of the war of 1812, DeSalaberry and General DeRottenburg, by desire, wrote a joint memorial to Sir Geo. Prévost, pointing out the necessity of employing the Canadians in defence of the country ; and it was that confidential communication, so favorable to the character of the Canadians, which determined Sir George to throw himself into their arms. He was subsequently named Commandant of the 1st Battalion Incorporated Militia. He enjoyed the full confidence of the men, who followed him to L'Acadie with enthusiasm; but being struck with paralysis in the right leg, he was compelled to resign the command. He lived to mourn the loss of his three younger, and to witness the triumph of his eldest son in the service of their country, having survived till 1828.
His four sons, Charles, Maurice, Louis and Edward, through the influence of the Duke of Kent, obtained commissions in the British army. Maurice and Louis, after a brief but honorable career, died on active service in India; while Edward, the youngest, the godson of the Duke of Kent, fell, at the head of the forlorn hope of his company, at the storming of Badajos. I shall incidentally, before the close of this paper, have occasion to advert to these again ; but I will now leave them, and direct your attention to their elder and more distinguished brother, Charles Michel, the "Hero of Chateauguay." Under the auspices of the Duke of Kent, he entered the army some time in 1794, having received a commission in the Duke's own regiment, now known as the 60th Rifles ; his first services were in the West Indies, where he served eleven years. He was present, under General Prescott, at the Siege of Fort Matilda, and though scarcely sixteen years of age, the General selected him, with his Grenadiers, to cover the evacuation, which he did so as to meet the marked approbation of his chief. In command of the same company of Grenadiers, he served during the Dominica campaign in 1795.
It was during his services in the West Indies, while he was stationed at Jamaica, that there occurred what may be called, not the great error, but the great misfortune, of his life. The story has been well told by DeGaspé :—"The officers of the 60th Regiment, of which Charles-Michel DeSalaberry was lieutenant, were of different nationalities, English, Prussians, Swiss, Hanoverians, and two French Canadians, Lieutenants DeSalaberry and DesRivières. It was difficult to preserve harmony among them—the Germans especially being passionate, quarrelsome, and duellists. One morning, DeSalaberry was sitting at breakfast with some of his brother officers, when one of the Germans entered, and looking at him with an insulting air, said, "1 have just come from sending a French Canadian to the other world!" meaning that he had just killed Des Rivières in a duel. DeSalaberry sprang like a tiger from his seat; but instantly calming himself, said, "We will finish breakfast, and then you shall have the pleasure of finishing another French Canadian." They fought, as was then the custom, with swords; both were noted for their great skill, and the contest was long and obstinate.
De Salaberry was very young; his antagonist more aged, and a rough bully. The young Canadian received a wound on his forehead, which time never effaced, and as it bled freely and interfered with his sight, friends attempted to stop the conflict; but he would not consent, but binding his handkerchief round his head, recommenced the fight with greater fury. At length his adversary fell mortally wounded."
How thankful ought we to be that, in our day, this barbarous practice of duelling has been discountenanced. We may not blame DeSalaberry : viewed in the light of the moral code, and the code of honor, of the time, he was in the eyes of the world, not only justified, but worthy of all commendation ; for he acted under a just indignation and the generous impulse of youth ; the provocation was great, and the punishment not more than adequate. We have said that this was the great misfortune of his life, and we have reason to know that he felt it so himself. Like all brave men, he never talked of his own achievements ; but many years after this event, when he was happily married, and a father, his son, who had heard of his exploits, said, "Father, you were in a great many battles ; were you ever wounded?" "No, my boy !" was the answer. "What, then," was the rejoinder, "is that mark on your forehead?" The father staggered as if had been shot, and getting up left the room, followed by his wife, who, on her return, explained to her son, requesting him never again to revert to the subject, as any allusion to it always gave his father great pain.
I have had before me numerous letters, written in French, by the Prince Edward, while he was in command at Halifax, to the elder DeSalaberry ; they all express the deepest concern for the welfare of his family, and describe plans for their advancement. Time will not permit me to read them ; but I shall give a short extract from one, dated "Kensington Palace," 9th April, 1799, immediately after his arrival in England. Having described the unpleasant passage encountered from Halifax, he says:—"On my return, I was received in the most flattering manner by their Majesties, and all my family. My establishment has passed both houses of Parliament and has received the Royal assent, and I have reason to know that, in a few days, I shall be created Duke of Kent. It is his Majesty's pleasure that I shall remain for the present on service in England, my head-quarters being at the centre of Hampshire, and I am to command the troops which are in camp for the defence of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight."
It may be remarked here, that the Prince had served with distinction- during the campaigns in the West Indies, having, at the capture of Guadaloupe, in 1794, led the first division in such a way "as to do the officer who commanded, and every officer and soldier under him, more honor than words can convey." Both houses of the Imperial Parliament passed him a vote of thanks "for his gallant conduct and meritorious services." Yet, though he was now 27 years of age, having been born 2nd November, 1767, and though the Duke of York had obtained his settlement at the age of 21, and the Duke of Clarence at 24, we find that the King suffered him to remain unprovided for, and in known pecuniary difficulty, till his 32nd year; and then, with marked partiality, caused at the same time an allowance to be voted to his younger brother, the Duke of Cumberland. Parliament granted him £12,000 a-year, but, strange to say, no "pecuniary assistance" to aid him in setting up an establishment, as had been the case with the Duke of Clarence. He subsequently pressed his claims on the King and Ministry, and though pledges were given, they were never fulfilled. Why? it may be asked. The only apparent answer is—his political tendencies were liberal ; an offence which, in the eyes of George the Third, and his Ministry, would excuse any act of injustice. The Prince had an impression of his own, which he has recorded in a letter, in which he alludes to his career in the West Indies, "The wish entertained about me, in certain quarters, when serving there, was, that I might fall!"
However, at the time he wrote the letter quoted, and one on the 10th June, 1799, he appeared satisfied with his prospects. In the last letter, he says, " The reception I received on my arrival here proves the advantageous opinion which the King entertains of me. He has advanced me to the grade of General, and honored me with the post of Commander-in-Chief in British North America; and I have now to inform you that I will set out for my command in three weeks." He adds, "On account of the conflict between General Prescott and his Council, his Majesty has resolved to recall him, and appoint me his successor in his military function." He came out in the month of July; but his health gave way, and he was obliged to return to England in the autumn.
In further illustration of the undeviating interest taken by the Duke in the career of his proteges, I shall give a few more extracts from his letters :—
"Kensington Palace, 5th Feb., 1807.
"Dear DeSalaberry,—I have great pleasure in informing you that your brother Edward passed his examination at Marlow, in my presence, with credit to himself, on Tuesday, and that I left him there in charge of a very worthy man, Captain McDermott, who has promised me that he would take the same care of him as if he were his own son ; so that you may write your good father and your excellent mother, that all the roughest of his labour is over, and that I trust there is now none but the most pleasant prospect before us."
On the 18th April, 1807, Maurice and Louis sailed for India, attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Royals, and on the 21st the Duke wrote announcing their departure; and the letter contains the following extract :—"As yet I do not know who v/ill go to command the forces in Canada ; but whenever I find it is decided, I will strive to get you nominated to their staff, knowing what a gratification it must be to your parents to have one of their sons so near them. But even if that should fail, I will be on the watch to avail myself of anything else that may offer for your advantage, of which, rest assured, I never will be unmindful."
Extract from a letter, 3rd August, 1807 :—
"I had the pleasure of conducting your brother Edward to Great Marlow, on Saturday last, after having spent a month at Castle-hill Lodge; and I have infinite gratification in assuring you that his conduct has been so much everything that I could wish, during the whole time, that it quite went against me to part with him; and I am sure his godmother "était au moins de moitié" in the same sentiments. Madame de St. Laurent, who knows that I am writing to you, bids me assure you of her kind remembrance, and thanks you for your recollection of her ; and, as for myself, you must be sensible, I am ever, with the most friendly regard.
In 1808 Charles-Michel, being then Brigade-Major, and stationed at Ashford, in Kent, obtained leave to visit a relative in Ireland ; and it was thus his fate to fall a victim to that passion which so often turns the "young and tender wit to folly." Yet what could be more natural : the young officer was handsome and accomplished, and the lady, young, beautiful and gentle; and in every respect but fortune they were suited for each other. They loved, and wished to marry ; but, before taking so grave a step, DeSalaberry thought it his duty to consult his patron and guardian. I have not seen his letter; but I subjoin the Duke's reply, which DeSalaberry has left thus endorsed : "Advice to me on the subject of marrying—paying me a very handsome compliment as a soldier." This composition is a "chef d'œuvre.
"Kensington Palace, 1st Nov., 1808.
"My Dear DeSalaberry,—Having now replied to every point contained in your letter to me, I have to advert to that you have written to Madame De St. Laurent, under date of the 30th ultimo, which she communicated to me immediately on the receipt of it last night, and will endeavour to give you my sentiments on its contents with all that candour which my friendship for your excellent parents, as well as yourself, of so many years' standing, gives you every right to expect from me.
"From the long experience I have now had of the service of the regiments of the line, I am satisfied that no situation is so unenviable as that of a married officer, even when he possesses an independent fortune to enable him to support his wife and family in the style in which a gentleman ('such as the profession should make every one who holds the King's commission) not only would wish, but ought to do. Of course, therefore, when the married officer has not the aid of private fortune to add to the small pittance which the regimental pay affords him, in these dear times, his situation must be deplorable, being obliged either to see his wife and family want those comforts, without which their life must be a burden to them, or to run in debt to procure them. You, my dear DeSalaberry, at this moment, possess about twenty shillings a-day pay, exclusive of those allowances which are not more than adequate to furnish and support your equipage as a staff officer. But the moment you get promotion, which naturally must be your first object, you will be reduced to fifteen shillings ; for you cannot expect that, with my interest only to support you ('which literally at this time is worse than none), you will be appointed to any situation on the staff, while every advancement must make you vacate the Brigade-majorship you now hold ;—that being the case, I leave it to your own good sense to judge whether, upon that small stipend, it would either be right or honorable to table away a young woman, for whom you have a regard, from those comforts- she has been used to at home, to share the wretched accommodation of, at most, two barrack-rooms, if you are so situated as to be enabled to have her with you ; or, if the imperious call of duty separates you, to vegetate in some obscure lodging, on the few shillings which, I contend, you can ill spare, from your scanty pay. Were I to write volumes, I could not express my sentiments more fully than I have done in the three foregoing pages : from which you will easily see that the sum of my opinion is, you ought not and cannot think of marrying your cousin ; indeed, I would go further, and say, you ought to shun the very thought of matrimony, situated as you are; but if, under any circumstances, it can be right for you to think of it, it would be if chance threw in your way a woman of respectable character, who is enabled to give you, the day you marry her, that independence which there is little prospect of your being ever able to give her. After saying this, let me advise you, de prendre sur vous, to be explicit without loss of time, for honor, good sense, and every consideration, require it; and believe me, when you have done this, you will, to the last hour of your existence, feel grateful to me for having given you this counsel ; for to be a good soldier ('for which highly honorable qualification no man possesses more the requisite than yourself,), it is absolutely necessary for a man to be independent, and with a wife and the prospect of a family, it is impossible for you to be so.
"As you cannot doubt my friendship, I am sure you will ascribe every word I have said to the only motive that could guide me—that of your welfare and future prospects. I shall not therefore attempt to apologize for the freedom with which I have spoken, but conclude here by assuring you of the warm sentiments of regard with which I ever am,
"Dear DeSalaberry, yours faithfully,
"P.S.—Madame De St.Laurent desires me to say, that I will return you your letters to your friend, Captain Levery, being convinced that you will now see the necessity of writing one of another complexion ; in doing which you have my full sanction to say that you have consulted me, and to communicate the advice I have felt it my duty to give you."
In 1809 DeSalaberry accompanied his regiment on the unfortunate Walcheren expedition; and, on the 19th July, the Duke wrote him as under:—"I shall rely on your promise to write by every opportunity that offers, and that you will desire Captain Smith, who is with Brigadier General Brown, to do the same, as it is always interesting to receive accounts from two different hands, of events of the nature of those you are likely to encounter." "Madame De St. Laurent and I most cordially unite in every wish for your success, honor, and advancement."
From all the Duke's letters, it is evident, he anticipated nothing but disappointment from the blundering and incapacity which pervaded the management of the expedition. I shall give one or two further extracts. Under date 18th September, 1809, he writes ;—"But,—exclusive of certain apprehensions which I was led to entertain ('from reports which were in circulation here, of a degree of jealousy existing at your head-quarters, in regard to those officers who corresponded with me), and which made me feel backward in writing to you, for fear of its doing you disservice there,—I cannot help expressing my regret at the misapplication of the noble army that has been so uselessly employed upon a service the result of which, so far from being commensurate with the extent of the means employed upon it, could hardly be justified, even if two-thirds less force had done so little."
On the 25th September, he wrote:—"It would really seem as if those fellows (for I have no patience to call them anything else,) were paid by the enemy to do everything against our troops, instead of being supported at a heavy expense by our own Government, to provide for their wants." "Madame De St. Laurent desires me to say how sincerely she unites with me in every wish for your welfare and happiness ; and that I should inform you, for the honor of Maurice and Chevalier (Lewis.), that we heard yesterday, by a letter from Mr. Hale, that these two brothers of yours had transmitted to your excellent father one hundred guineas, the result of their little savings since they had embarked for India. Such traits, she observes, ought to be engraved in indelible characters, and so they will be in our hearts."
On the 10th November following, he wrote:—"There are very unpleasant rumours about a mutiny in the garrison of Flushing, among our troops, in consequence of two or three severe, though, I have no doubt, very proper examples having been made of some soldiers who were caught plundering and marauding. God grant it may not be true, and, above all, that my regiment is not among the faulty. Perhaps to-morrow you will be able to tell something further about it." And :—"All now to be hoped is, either that such a change will take place in administration as will lead to the immediate adoption of the only feasible plan which in our present situation can be thought of—that of evacuating Walcheren, after razing or blowing up all its defences ; or, that the existing Ministry will have the candour to avow the egregious error they have committed, and take that step without which we have nothing to look forward to, but the annihilation of those unfortunate corps, who are destined to encounter the pestilential sickness of that aguish climate." And :— "Nothing can be more distressing than the details you give me of the extent of the sickness, or be more bitter than the reflection, that so many poor fellows should have been so wantonly sacrificed. In the number of those who have fallen, there is none I more sincerely regret than my old, worthy friend, Major Hill, who was one of the few standards of the old stock, of which now, alas ! there are but few remaining; I feel, too, much for his poor wife, whose situation, I apprehend, will be rendered most lamentable by his loss. What a scandalous shame it is, that when your commissariat had the power in their hands, as you tell me they had, of procuring you an abundant supply of fresh provisions, they should have neglected that most important point, and that, through that neglect on their part, you should now be reduced to the sad alternative, in the midst of all your sickness, of being fed six days in the week on salt provisions."
Captain De Salaberry, who had landed at the head of the Light Brigade, as aide-de-camp to General DeRottenburg, served during the whole campaign, being at the advanced posts before Flushing during the whole of the siege. After the evacuation he was transferred to Canada, and placed on the staff of General De Rottenburg. It was while he was on duty at Quebec, he received the following-letter, which I must give in extenso :—
"Kensington Palace, Aug. 6, 1810.
"Dear DeSalaberry,-It was my intention on the receipt of the annexed truly afflicting letter from your brother Lewis, which reached me on the 9th ultimo, to have transmitted it to you, that you might be apprised of the melancholy event of which it contains the relation, and to have commissioned you to break it to your good parents and your sisters ; but being unfortunately obliged, as no official report had reached the Horse Guards of your poor brother Maurice's demise, to transmit Lewis' letter to Lieutenant-Colonel Torrens, it was, through some oversight in the Military Secretary's Office, not returned to me until yesterday ; so that it was out of my power to send it to you sooner. Fortunately, the departure of your friend, Dr. Keith's protégé, Mr. Morris, for Quebec (for whom I have obtained an Ensigncy in the 49th Infantry), affords me an opportunity of sending it, and I hope and trust it will arrive in time to prevent the account of the sad catastrophe from reaching your parents before this comes to hand, and enable you to prepare them for it.
"To you, who know how attached I am to your whole family, and how particularly partial I ever have been to poor Maurice, I need not attempt to express all I feel upon this distressing loss ; but I shall depend upon you to say everything for me that is most consoling to both your parents, and your sisters, upon communicating the circumstance to them, and to assure them that were he my own brother, I could not lament his loss more sincerely than I do. I fear that it will be a very severe blow, particularly to your mother. However, she is a thoroughly religious woman, and I trust she will in time overcome it, though, I am well aware, it will be a sad task.
"No change has taken place in my situation since you left this, except a severe and most inopportune blow to ray finances, which the failure of my bankers, Messrs. Devaynes & Co., has just given them—not from any actual loss, perhaps, which I have eventually to apprehend, but as leading to an unavoidable and immediate deprivation of some of those comforts which we have hitherto always been used to ; however, I have been accustomed to disappointment, and I hope I know how to meet this fresh and unforeseen one as I ought. Could I get out to Gibraltar, all would soon be right again, but I do not apprehend that so much good fortune is in store for me.
"Remember me to Col. Hale most particularly, and tell him that the first leisure hour I have, I will answer his letters up to the 11th of April (the last of them,), which reached me on the 24th June, I shall devote to him.
"I had nearly forgotten observing to you, that now Baron De Rottenburg has attained the rank of Major-General, it will be in his power, without putting himself under an obligation to any one, to retain you with him as his aide-de-camp, which, I have no doubt, he will himself do, on being apprised of it.
"I remain ever, with the most friendly regard,
"Faithfully yours, dear DeSalaberry,
This letter requires no comment.
Some time before the declaration of war by the Americans Sir George Prévost urgently solicited DeSalaberry to raise the "Canadian Voltigeurs." The rapid levy; the equally rapid formation of this corps ; their constant success against the enemy : the good example which they always set to the other young corps and the militia in general—bespeak alike their value and the service rendered in raising them.
On the advance of General Dearborn, with 10,000 men, to Odelltown, in November, 1812, Sir George Prévost sent him, with 400 men and some Indians, to dispute his entrance into L'Acadie. In this he completely succeeded, for the American general, after fruitless attempts to force him, decamped on the 23rd. November. For this service he received thanks in the following General Order, which I copy in full, to shew that at this time there was a disposition to do justice:—
"Adjutant General's Office, "Head-quarters, La Prairie, 27th Nov., 1812.
"G. O.—His Excellency the Commander of the Forces takes this opportunity of expressing to Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry, his entire approbation of his conduct in the management of the advance, as well as the high sense he entertains of the alacrity with which the corps of the Voltigeurs, Voyageurs, the Battalion of embodied Militia, Captain Piatt's troop of light Cavalry, and the Montreal Militia, repaired to their different posts to repel the threatened invasion, and which, had it taken place, his Excellency feels confident, from the tried valour and discipline of his Majesty's regular forces, and from the enthusiastic loyalty and courage of all classes of his Majesty's Canadian subjects, would have terminated in the defeat and disgrace of the enemy. The extraordinary exertions which have been made on this occasion, and which thus calls forth his Excellency's notice and commendation, cannot fail from producing the most happy consequences to the future tranquillity and prosperity of the country. The General Orders of this day, and the 27th current, are to be entered into the General Orderly Books, and read at the head of every corps on parade.
(Signed) "EDWARD BAYNES,
"Adj.-General, N. A."
In 1812 he married his cousin, Demoiselle Marianne Hertel de Rouville, a descendant of that Sieur de Rouville to whom was first granted the Seigniory of Chambly. I have given a letter of the Duke's on a former intended marriage :—
(Copy.) "Kensington Palace, 8th August, 1813.
"Dear DeSalaberry,—I have now before me your four letters of the 4th and 18th October last year, and of the 2nd of June of the present one. the former of which I received on the 28th November, and the last on the 7th instant. The first of these letters being written in all the bitterness of your anguish upon receiving that large packet of mine which contained the melancholy details of the loss of all your poor brothers, I shall only observe on it, that if I have so long delayed in acknowledging it, it has arisen from an unwillingness on my part to rip up those sores, which, I am aware, for a length of time can be but slightly cicatrised ; and now that I resume my pen, I do it with some degree of pleasure, perceiving that your last letter is written in so much better spirits, although it gives but a melancholy account of your good and valuable parents.
"Madame De St.Laurent and myself, who were delighted to hear, in the first place, of the very judicious marriage you have made, have also been highly gratified in learning that she has given you a son, and not a little pleased with the compliment you have paid her by naming him after her. You will therefore judge how cordially we both unite in the fervent prayer, that the name may prove more fortunate to him than it was to your poor brother Edward.
"The accounts which you sent me of your Battalion of Voltigeurs, and the progress you make in bringing them forward in a state of discipline, prepared me for the very handsome but well-deserved compliment paid you, at a subsequent period, by the Commander of the Forces, as well as to them. It was therefore a matter of real satisfaction to me to be able to succeed in getting you the permanent rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, which, I may in truth say, you so hardly earnt; but I hope now all painful recollections will be done away with, and that you will continue to serve with alacrity, so long as the war lasts— looking forward to retire with honor, credit, and some advantage, at a peace ; unless we can succeed in securing you, at that time, one of the principal staff situations in Canada. At the same time that I say this, if you could previously exchange into a permanent corps, you should not lose sight of it, as thereby establishing your right to sell out.
"To revert for a moment to the melancholy event of poor Edward's death, I most fully subscribe to the propriety of your having kept back my letter announcing it to your poor father, which, of course, will now remain in your hands, to be made use of, or not, in course of time, as circumstances may require. I grieve much to find that your father's debilitated state should have rendered his resignation of the command of his Regiment of embodied Militia unavoidable, as I fear that circumstances must necessarily have circumscribed his comforts. You have not mentioned, in your last letter, your good mother; I fear, therefore, you had nothing comfortable to say of her. Pray do not fail, in your next, to name her, as well as all yourselves ; for Madame De St. Laurent and myself still preserve the same lively interest in their welfare, and desire to know everything about them. When I contrast the present melancholy scene of Beauport, with the recollection of what we formerly remember it, I own it depresses my spirits much, and therefore I am always ready to make every allowance for your feelings on that head.
"Should the war continue much longer, and you once attain the rank of Colonel, I trust you would obtain the clothing of your corps into your own hands ; and in that case I hope you will remember Carder for your clothier, and Mr. Kirland for your agent.
"I shall long to hear from you some account of my 1st Battalion, in case you should at any time come across them; for after being separated as they were, for above eleven years, in the West Indies, I am fearful their appearance and discipline cannot be much to their credit.
"In general, all you tell me of the appearance of things in your vicinity, as to the present campaign, is extremely cheering, and I look forward with some degree of confidence to a succession of comfortable accounts from Canada during the remainder of the season. I have been doing all I can here to impress the necessity of doubling your number of seamen on the lakes, and sending you out a couple of thousand Highlanders yet this season ; but I am not able to say whether my counsel will be attended to or not.
"I have recently met myself with an awkward accident, from my horse falling with me, as I was trotting briskly down the hill between the gates of Castle-hill and the bottom of Mr. Meuxe's grounds. Though it happened as far back as the 2nd of last month, I have not yet been able to leave my own premises—the cuts and bruises, though not dangerous, having been very severe. I have, however, been able to keep off fever through care and abstinence, and I hope by the time this month is up to feel nothing of the effects of it.
"It now only remains for me to convey to your wife Madame De St. Laurent's kindest thanks for her obliging message, to assure you of our united best wishes for your health, wealth and happiness, and to subscribe, myself, with the most friendly regard,
"P.S.—The enclosed letter was left with Beck some time since for you, and he requested me to enclose it.
It must have been observed, that while the Duke never lost sight of an opportunity of advancing' the interest of his friend and protégé, he always made it a point to recommend that he should place himself in the post of honor and danger; and there DeSalaberry was always to be found. We accordingly find that, before the receipt of this letter, he had—obeying the imperious call of duty—left his young wife and first-born son and child, and placed himself at the head of his Voltigeurs.
In 1813, General Hampton having contemplated an attack on Montreal with 7,000 men, DeSalaberry was again sent to dispute his entrance into L'Acadie, which he successfully did ; for the enemy, after several skirmishes, did not care to risk a general engagement in the woods, but decamped to "Four Corners." DeSalaberry, having positively ascertained his intention, took upon himself, without orders, to countermarch with his regiment; and, on the 1st October, with 50 Voltigeurs and 150 Indians, surprised him in his camp, and, after a very warm action, succeeded in putting him into confusion and making a reconnoissance. Dearborn and Wilkinson having been foiled, and the Americans having been defeated at Chrysler's farm, there remained only General Hampton to contend with. In advancing to meet him, DeSalaberry, who had made himself acquainted with the country some weeks before, felled trees, and completely obstructed the road from Odelltown to L'Acadie, along which he had proposed to advance. Hampton made an attempt to form a junction with his Commander-in-Chief, by the route leading to Chateauguay, believing the route to be open; but DeSalaberry had been sagacious enough to know that this was the road he would probably take, completely obstructed the route, and had with great judgment thrown up field works at every strategic point. DeSalaberry then shifted his position and ascended the left bank of the Chateauguay river, to reach the other extremity of a wood, where he knew there was an excellent position in a deep swamp, permeated by rivulets. On four of these he established successive lines of defence, the last, about half a mile in the rear, commanding a ford on the right shore. Breastworks, extending into the wood, were thrown up on the lines in order to protect his right. The whole of the day was occupied in making these arrangements, and thirty men of the division of Beauharnois were sent to the front for the purpose of destroying the bridges, and still further obstructing the roads to the extent of a mile in advance of the first line. Major-General DeWatteville visited and entirely approved of the works. Sir George Prévost, with his force, was thirty miles in the rear. On the 25th October, General Hampton, with his whole army, consisting of seven thousand infantry, four hundred horse, and twelve pieces of artilery, advanced to the Canadian encampment, in which was DeSalaberry with three hundred men—Voltigeurs, Fencibles and Indians. Hampton, during the night, despatched Col. Purdy, with some troops, to take possession of the ford; but he lost his way. The next day (the 26th) Hampton, with three thousand five hundred men, made an advance towards the abattis, and placed Purdy at the head of one thousand five hundred more, leaving the rest in reserve. DeSalaberry, being fully prepared, advanced towards the first line of defence, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel McDonnell in charge of the second. Firing commenced effectively on the part of the Canadians, but ill-directed by the Americans. Purdy again attempted the ford ; but, on arriving, found he had been anticipated by DeSalaberry, who threw him into disorder and repulsed him. Hampton, finding himself outgeneraled and foiled on all hands, ordered a retreat, which was not effected without considerable loss. DeSalaberry slept on the field of battle, and in the morning, at sunrise, was joined by his brother-in-law, Captain DeRouville, with his company of Voltigeurs, the Watteville Grenadiers, and a few Indians. DeSalaberry sent out Captain DuCharn, with one hundred and fifty warriors to reconnoitre, when they discovered that the Americans had abandoned their camp and retreated to Plattsburg. Wilkinson, who was at Cornwall, hearing of Hampton's defeat, retired to Salmon river, where he fortified himself.
The victory at Chateauguay prevented the junction of Hamilton and Wilkinson, arrested the invasion, saved Montreal, and enabled the British commanders in Upper Canada to resume offensive operations.
I cannot refrain from giving here a translation of a letter written by Col. DeSalaberry to his young wife, from the field of battle. It is dated Wednesday—the day after the battle—and is addressed to his father-in-law, Col. DeRouville, with an indorsement as follows :—" Recommended to the care of Major Burke, with the hope that he will forward it with as little delay as possible.—
C. M. DESALABERRY."
"My dear Maryanne,—I have to inform you that yesterday, with about 250 men, I had the honor to defeat the American army, more than 6,000 strong. I had more troops, but they were placed in position in rear. The enemy made repeated attacks on our abattis, and, after a contest of four hours, he was compelled to retire to the river at the ford, four miles from the field of battle. We have pushed our piquets in advance. This is the most extraordinary thing which has been performed since the declaration of war by the Americans.
"The Governor said to me (he arrived after the action),
' The action which you have performed does you and your countrymen great honor, the whole of you being Canadians.' I hope he will be satisfied, though he appeared cold.
"I cannot take more than to say how much I love, or rather how I adore, you and your dear little one. Embrace him for me, and a thousand kisses for yourself. "
C. M. DESALABERRY."
"We have lost six killed and sixteen or eighteen wounded —four Voltigeurs. The enemy has lost, in killed, wounded and prisoners, more than one hundred. Rouville is well, but did not arrive till after action. A thousand regards to papa and mamma."
Messrs. Morgan and LeMoine have both given accounts of the battle ; and Mr. LeMoine gives extracts from the Montreal Gazette of 3rd November, 1813, from an account furnished by an eye-witness and participator, the late Chief-Justice O'Sullivan, who was DeSalaberry's adjutant:—"It is highly gratifying," says O'Sullivan, "that the three hundred men engaged, together with their brave commander, were all Canadians, with the exception of the gallant Capt. Ferguson, three of his company, and three officers belonging to other corps. Let this be told whenever mention is made of the battle of Chateauguay, and prejudice must hide its head, and the murmurs of malevolence be hushed in confusion."
The Hon. Juchereau Duchesnay, whose father and uncle were present at the battle, writing of DeSalaberry, says : —"It is difficult which to admire the more—his personal courage as an individual ; or his skill and talents as a commander. We find him, long before the battle, displaying the greatest judgment in the choice of his position, and strengthening it, when chosen, with every means within the reach of his ingenuity. We see him, in the heat of action, embracing every object with a comprehensive view, defending every point, and providing for every contingency."
But the most gratifying testimony is that furnished by the Duke of Kent, in the following letter :—
"Kensington Palace, 25th March, 1814.
"My dear DeSalaberry,—It was on the 22nd December that I received your letter of 28th October ; and a few days afterwards, the details of your brilliant repulse of the enemy, through your worthy father, and your brother-in-law, Duchesnay.
"As in the inclosed letter for your father, which I send under flying seal in order to enable you to withdraw the postscript, or not, as you may see fit, you will see my sentiments on that business, it will be unnecessary for me to say more in this, than that I appreciate as highly your distinguished conduct on the memorable occasion in question, as if it had been noticed by those whose duty it was to notice it in a manner commensurate to your merits. It is easy to form an opinion why more ample justice was not done you ; but upon this head it may perhaps be more prudent to be silent—more especially as you may take my word for it, that there is but one opinion as to the credit which you have done yourself, and the remuneration which you are entitled to.
"It is a great satisfaction to me to find that the Canadian Militia, both embodied and sedentary, have behaved so well ; and when it is considered how insufficient the Militia laws are to the proper government of the men upon military principles, I think your merit in having brought your Voltigeurs to the state of perfection which, I understand, they have attained, is beyond all praise.
"With respect to yourself, I will tell you candidly my wish is, when a proper opportunity offers, to get you promoted to the rank of Colonel, by being nominated an honorary A.D.C. to the Prince Regent; and then, some day or other, appointed Colonel-Proprietaire of the Canadian regiment—which will then thrive under you, and enable you to remain in your own country, with benefit to that and honor to yourself. So do not think of quitting the army upon any consideration, while there is not a chance of your being removed from the defence of your Dieux Penates. As to your worthy father, the granting him his full pay for life, upon retirement, was but an act of justice ; and the withdrawing of that grant afterwards, most unjustifiable, and I do not wonder it should have hurt you ; but times may alter.
"Repeating, as I conclude, the sentiments of friendship and esteem, with which I ever am, my dear DeSalaberry,
This was the sensible and suitable way in which H. R. H. proposed to reward the great service of DeSalaberry. Let us see what was actually done. Great Britain commemorated the victory, by causing a medal to be struck ; the Voltigeurs were presented with colors ; and DeSalaberry, besides the gold medal, had the Order of the Bath conferred upon him—transmitted, with an autograph letter, from the Prince Regent. The two houses of Provincial Legislature passed a vote of thanks to him; and his father's pension, which had been "most unjustifiably withheld," was restored. This was all ; and we must admit a most inadequate recompense it was.
Col. DeSalaberry was selected by Sir George Prévost to take a share in an expedition against the enemy at Salmon River. In addition to his own Regiment, four companies of the 49th Regiment marched with him to Coteau du Lac ; but the expedition was given up.
In April, 1814, he was sent into L'Acadie, with 1,800 men, to attack General Wilkinson ; but that General had retreated from Odelltown, before he could cross the inundated roads, In July, 1814, he was again sent to Odelltown, with 2,200 men and some artillery, the greater part regulars, to make head against the American General, Izard, who was intrenched at Champiain and menaced L'Acadie with 6,000 men. Soon after this, the British troops arrived from France ; peace was concluded, the Voltigeurs were reduced, and DeSalaberry, being reduced to half-pay, retired to his home at Chambly. In 1818 he was called to the Legislative Council—his father being still a member ; and in this position he remained till death. The elder died in 1828.
In explanation of the allusions made in the notice of O'Sullivan, and the letter of the Duke of Kent, I may say that they arose from an attempt made, in certain quarters, to deprive DeSalaberry of his just fame. In order to place this matter in its true light, I have placed in the Appendix documents which speak for themselves, and cannot be gainsaid.
DEATH OF THE HERO OF CHATEAUGUAY.
Colonel Charles-Michel DeSalaberry, like his father, was always fond of the society of the young. In 1829 he was spending the evening at the house of the Hon. Mr. Hatt, at Chambly, when a young lady, to whom he was much attached, prevailed upon him to dance a reel with her : he danced so spiritedly and long, that his eldest son, who was present, glided in before his partner and assumed his place. On ceasing to dance he withdrew to an adjoining room, and throwing himself on a couch, said to a young medical friend, who chanced to be there, "I feel very unwell !" and almost immediately became speechless, but retained his other faculties. He was bled, and on the following day Dr. R. Neilson arrived from Montreal, when he was again bled; but human skill was in vain.
" At length no more his deafened ear the minstrels' melody can hear, His face grows sharp ; his hands are clenched, set are his teeth ; his fading eye Is sternly fixed on vacancy."
The strong man, "in manhood's glory," expired at the early age of 51. Madame DeSalaberry survived many years, and his children are still with us—Lieut.-Col DeSalaberry, D.A.G., being the representative of the family.
Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. If the hero of our story was not born great in a world-wide sense, he had the fortune to be born of one of the oldest and most distinguished French Canadian families, so that it may be said fortune smiled on his birth. Greatness was not thrust upon him; but here again fortune was propitious and afforded opportunities of advancement possessed by few. That he achieved greatness few will be disposed to deny ;— the warmhearted, generous, chivalrous friend ; the loyal subject ; the brave, the prudent, and the skillful soldier ; the Canadian Leonidas ; the victor at Chateauguay ; the saviour of Canada—will never pass from the admiration and affection of his own countrymen, and his name will flourish in immortal youth wherever the tale of his great exploit at Chateauguay shall be told. May our country never want subjects as loyal and brave as DeSalaberry ; and may she learn how better to reward them !
I cannot close this paper without making one more allusion to the Prince who occupied so prominent a part in it. His letters to the DeSalaberrys, extending over a period of more than twenty years ("some of them sixteen pages in length,), give us a true index of his character, and exhibit him as a warm-hearted, considerate, and discreet friend—above all, truthful and faithful: indeed, if it could with propriety be said of mortal man, that he was "without variableness or shadow of turning," it might in all truth be said of him, who, being a King's son, was further nature's nobleman. Had he lived, there can be little doubt Canada would have felt the benefit of his wise and liberal counsels; and that justice would have been done to DeSalaberry which, I regret to say, has not been rendered to himself or family.
The Duke married, on 29th May, 1818, the sister of the late King of the Belgians, the widow of the Prince of Leinengen ; and, on 24th May, there was born to him at Kensington Palace, a little daughter, now our most gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria. On the 29th December, 1819, he wrote from Walbrook Cottage, to a friend :—"My little girl thrives under the influence of a Devonshire climate, and is, I am delighted to say, strong and healthy— too healthy, I fear, in the opinion of some members of my family, by whom she is regarded as an intruder ; how largely she contributes to my happiness at this moment, it is needless for me to say to you, who are in such full possession of my feelings on the subject."
This was one of his last letters, as he died, after a few days' illness, of inflammation of the lungs, on the 23rd Jan., 1820, in the 53rd year of his age and the full vigor of manhood, prematurely cut off when he was most wanted to protect his wife and infant daughter, and just when his noble nature and manly virtues, which had been so long misunderstood and misrepresented, were beginning to be appreciated in England.
The Third Period of the History of Canada culminated in the unhappy rebellion of 1837-8. There is neither time, nor is this the place, to enter into the consideration of the causes which led to that outbreak; but I would recommend all who have not already heard or read it, to refer to the able paper on the History of Canada, by Mr. John W. Cook, which has been published in this year's transactions. It may, however, be remarked, that there must have existed during the period a fair measure of prosperity, as the population, which at the conquest was only 65,000, had then increased to about 465,000 in Upper Canada, and to 690,000 in Lower Canada—making a total of 1,155,000.
The Fourth Period of Canadian History is to be dated from the Union of the Provinces in 1841, when the population in the Upper Province amounted to 465,375, and in the Lower to 690,782—making a total of 1,156,157. The Union, we are aware, was objected to by Upper Canadians, on the ground that it would destroy the character of Upper Canada as a British Province. In Lower Canada it was asserted, that French Canadian influence would be rooted out for ever, and that the stipulations and guarantees would be violated. We are now about to enter upon a Fifth Period ; and it will be useful to turn to statistics to see how far these anticipations have been realised. We find that at the present moment the population of Upper Canada is given by Mr. Arthur Harvey, a careful and reliable statist, at 1,802,056; that of Lower Canada at 1,288,880—making a total of 3,090,936. And of these there are of French origin in Upper Canada 33,287, and in Lower Canada 847,320—making a total of French origin of 880,607 ; giving an increase of 183,825 over the whole population of Lower Canada at the time of the Union. Then, as to the great question of Religion : so complete has been Civil liberty, so perfect the "freedom to worship God," that we find our fellow-colonists of the Roman Catholic Church numbering forty-five per cent, of the population of the united Province. I think this requires no comment; so I shall conclude with a short extract from Mr. Cook's paper:—"The great national progress which Canada has achieved since the Union of the two Provinces, has been accompanied by progress of a higher order. Schools, colleges and universities have sprung into existence. As the education of the people advances, it will be easier to work well and wisely a system of government, which greatly depends for its success on the information possessed by the people. A broader and greater Union is advocated by our ablest statesmen, under the full sanction of Imperial authority. A national spirit is gradually growing and strengthening. Nor need the fact, that the population of Canada is sprung from different races, be a source of weakness. French and English, Scotch and Irish, may well retain the traditions of their fathers, and be at the same time good and loyal Canadians. They may cherish the memories of the old lands, while uniting in defence of the new, in which God has blessed them with a healthy climate, a productive soil, and a free government."
"Right's House, Chateauguay River,
"27th October, 1813.
"Advance Brigade Orders.
"Majer-General De Watteville has much satisfaction ill conveying to the troops composing the advance, by desire of his Excellency the Commander of the Forces, the high sense which his Excellency entertains of the conduct of the several corps engaged with the enemy in the affair of yesterday, under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry.
"His Excellency was pleased to express his entire approbation of the discipline, coolness and bravery display 3d all ranks on this occasion, which reflects the highest honor upon all concerned.
(Signed) "GEO. F. BURKE,
"Major of Brigade."
"Head Quarters, La Fourche,
"On the Chateauguay River,
"27th October, 1813. "General Orders.
"His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief and Commander of the Forces has received from Majer-General De Watteville, the report of the affair which took place in front of the advanced positions of his post, at 11 o’clock on Tuesday morning, between the American army, under the command of Major-General Hampton, and the advanced piquets of the British, thrown out for the purpose of covering working parties, under the direction of Lieut.-Colo-nel DeSalaberry; the judicious position chosen by that officer, and the excellent disposition of his little band, composed of the light company Canadian Fencibles, and two companies Canadian Votigeurs, repulsed with loss, the advance of the enemy's principal column, commanded by General Hampton in person, and the American Light Brigade, under Colonel McCarty, was in like manner in its progress on the south side of the river, by the gallant and spirited advance of the flank company 3d Embodied Militia, under Capt. Daly, supported by Captain Bruyer's company of Sedentary Militia. Captains Daly and Bruyers being both wounded, and their companies having sustained some loss, their position was immediately taken up a flank company of the 1st battalion Embodied Militia. The enemy rallied and repeatedly returned to the attack, which terminated with the day in his complete disgrace and defeat, being foiled by a handful of men not amounting to a twentieth part of the force opposed to them, but which nevertheless by their determined bravery maintained their position, and screened from insult the working parties, who continued their labors unmolested. Lieut.-Col. DeSalaberry reports having experienced the most able support from Captain Ferguson in command of the light company Canadian Fencibles, also from Captain Jean Bapt. Duchesnay, and Captain Juchereau Duchesnay of the two companies of Voltigeurs ; from Captain Lamotte and Adjutants Hebden and O'Sullivan, and from every officer and soldier engaged, whose gallantry and steadiness were conspicious and praiseworthy in the highest degree.
"His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief and Commander of the Forces having had the satisfaction of himself witnessing the conduct of the troops on this brilliant occasion, feels it a gratifying duty to render them that praise which is so justly their due: to Major-General De Watteville for the admirable arrangement established by him, for the defence of his post; to Lieut.-Colonel DeSalaberry for his judicious and officerlike conduct displayed in the choice of position and arrangement of his force; to the officers and men engaged with the enemy, the warmest acknowledgments of his Excellency are due, for their gallantry and steadiness, and to all the troops at the station the highest praise belongs for their zeal, steadiness and discipline, and for the patient endurance of hardship and privation which they have evinced. A determined perseverance in this honorable conduct cannot fail of crowning the brave and loyal Canadians with victory, and hurling disgrace and confusion on the head of the enemy that would pollute their happy soil.
"By the report of prisoners, the enemy's force is stated at 7,500 infantry, 400 cavalry, and 10 field pieces. The British advanced force actually engaged did not exceed 300. The enemy suffered severely from our fire, as well as from their own—some detached corps having fired upon each other by mistake in the woods.
"Canadian Light Company had 3 rank and file killed; I sergeant, 3 rank and file wounded.
"Voltigeurs, 4 rank and file wounded
"3rd batt. Flank Company, I captain wounded: 2 rank and file killed, 6 wounded, 4 missing.
"Chateauguay Chasseurs, 1 captain wounded.
"Total—5 rank and file killed: 2 captains, 1 sergeant, 13 rank and file wounded, and 4 missing.
"Officers wounded—Captain Daly, 3d Embodied Militia, twice wounded severely, but not dangerously ; Cat. Bruyers, Chateauguay Chasseurs, slightly
(Signed) "EDWARD BAYNES, Adjutant-General."
Advance Post, 1st November. 1813.
"Sir,--Referring to the General Order of the 31st ultimo, issued in consequence of the action in which I repulsed General Hampton's army, I observe, with regret, that the choice of the several positions which I defended, is not attributed to me,—neither is the disposition of the force, which was immediately under my command, understood to have been altogether mine ; from which the greater part of the merit (if any there was for contending against a whole army for the space of four hours,) is taken away from me. To elucidate this matter, it appears necessary I should state, that, when it was reported on the 21st ultimo at Chateauguay church, at night, the enemy had surprised the picket at Peper's Road, I was desired to move with my corps to English River ; and finding, when there, that the enemy's intention appeared to be to move down the River Chateauguay, on his way to Montreal, I lost no time in pushing on the troops, and took up the three advanced positions, and began to fortify them as well as I could ('having then only few axes,) and distributed the troops for their defence. I ordered also the famous abattis, situated two miles in front of the above-stated positions, to which I marched on the 26tb ; from whence I reconnoitered the American army in the act of advance; from whence I completed my dispositions for the defence of both sides of the Chateauguay ; from whence after an obstinate engagement of four hours, I succeeded in defeating their project of penetrating into the country, and finally obliged him to retire to his former position, five miles back, with the loss of about seventy killed and sixteen prisoners, besides a great number of wounded, about one hundred and fifty stand of arms and six drums, &c, &c. which fell into our hands. Moreover, he has since retired into his own country.
"It is true General De Watteville inspected my positions and approved of them, and of the orders I had given for their defence. The dispositions to receive the enemy on the 26th were made by myself: no one interfered with them; and no officer of superior rank came up till after the action was over. It is true I was ably seconded by Lieut.-Col. McDonnell, of the Glengary Fencibles, who had taken up the fourth position two days before the action, and by all the officers under my command.
"I regret also to observe, in perusing the order of the 27th, that it is supposed I had been thrown forward to cover working parties. This idea is erroneous, inasmuch as there were no works carrying on there but such abattis and defences as appeared to me necessary to prevent my positions from being outflanked or forced. Those I ordered myself—no engineer directed them. I placed myself in front of the abattis, with the view to begin the defence of the country. I judged it a good position, from whence I could have a good view of the enemy's columns, which, I was apprised, were in full march. This I did of my own accord. It was a desperate undertaking—it succeeded ; and the enemy, instead of going to Montreal, is gone to Four Corners.
"The enemy's intention is ascertained by concurring circumstances, and by the report of prisoners. He was not, then, in full march, with all his baggage and artillery, for the purpose of only attacking a few workmen.
"These are the true circumstances attending the action on the 26th ; and it grieves me to the heart to see that I must share the merit of the action, and that it must be reduced to my having covered a few workmen. Methinks, if any merit is to be obtained, I am entitled to the whole.
"I cannot conclude without soliciting that this representation may be placed before His Excellency the Governor General, to whose justice I confidently appeal.
"I have the honor to be, Sir,
"Your most obt. humble servant,
"Lieut.-Colonel, commanding Voltigeurs.
"To the Adjutant-General."
Extract of a General Order, dated—
"Head-quarters, Montreal, 4th Nov., 1813.
"His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief and Commander of the Forces has the highest pride and satisfaction in declaring his acknowledgments to the loyal and brave Militia of Lower Canada, for the zeal and alacrity with which they flew to their posts, and for the patience and firmness with which they have endured, in this inclement season, the severe hardships and privations to which they have been exposed. The steadiness and discipline of the whole have been conspicuous ; and the undaunted gallantry displayed by six companies, almost to a man composed of Canadian Fencibles and Militia, under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel De Salaberry, in repelling, with disgrace, an American invading army, twenty times their number, reflects unfading honor on the Canadian name.
(Signed) "EDWARD BAYNES,
"18th April, 1814. "I am directed by the Commander of the Forces to transmit, enclosed for your information and for the information of the detachments concerned, the copy of a letter His Excellency has just received from the Commander-in-Chief, expressive of His Royal Highness's satisfaction at the good conduct displayed in the affair on the Chateauguay.
"I have the honor to be, Sir,
"Your most obedient humble servant,
"NOAH FREER, "Military Secretary. "To Lieut.-Colonel Chas. DeSalaberry,
" Inspecting Field Officer, Militia Lt. Infantry."
(Copy) "Horse Guards,
"24th December, 1813. "Sir,—I am to acknowledge the receipt of your Dispatch of the 30th October last, respecting the very gallant and successful resistance made by the detachments under the command of Lieut.-Colonel DeSalaberry, against an attack of a very superior body of the enemy's army, led by Major-Gen. Hampton in person, upon the advanced posts, near the Chateauguay- River ;—and I have derived much satisfaction from receiving so flattering an account of the eminent skill and determined bravery displayed by the officers and men of the very small portion of the Regular Troops and Militia employed on this occasion; and I shall not fail to bring their conduct under the gracious consideration of the Prince Regent.
"I am, Sir, yours,
"Sir George Prévost, Bart.,
" &c, &c, &c,
A true copy.
"House of Assembly,
"Tuesday, 25th January, 1814.
"Resolved, nemine contradicente, that the thanks of this House be given to Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry. of the Canadian Voltigeurs, and the several other officers under his command, for their distinguished exertions on Tuesday, the twenty-sixth day of October last, in the glorious action on the Chateauguay River ; and that the Speaker of this House have it in charge to signify the same to the said Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry and the several other officers, that this House doth highly feel and acknowledge the distinguished valour and discipline so conspicuously displayed by the non-commissioned officers, private soldiers and militia men of the little band under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry, in the signal defeat of the American army, under the command of General Hampton, at Chateauguay aforesaid ; and that the same be signified to them by the commanding officers of those corps, who are desired to thank them for their gallant and exemplary conduct.
"Attest. WM LINDSAY, JR..
"Quebec, 11th March, 1814.
Sir,—I have the honor to transmit to you the thanks of the Legislature Council of this Province, unanimously voted on the 2nd of February last to yourself, and to the officers and men under your immediate command, for 'distinguished conduct and bravery in the action of the 26th October last, on the River Chateauguay, when a small but heroic band of native troops repulsed the advance of ' the American army, under General Hampton.'
"Upon an occasion so exclusively and so highly honorable to His Majesty's Canadian subjects, in which loyalty, courage, zeal and ability were equally conspicuous, I have
the highest satisfaction in obeying the order of the Legislative Council, which directs me to signify their thanks to you, and to request that you will communicate them to the officers and men, to whom they have reference, in the way which you may deem proper.
"I have the honor to be, Sir,
"Your most obt. and very humble servant,
"Speaker Legislative Council,
"Head-quarters, Quebec, 26th March, 1814.
"His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief and Commander of the Forces feels the highest gratification in obeying the commands of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, transmitted in a letter from the Right Honble. the Earl Bathurst, one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, of which the following is a copy, and which His Excellency directs to be published in General Orders, and read at the head of all corps in this command :—
" 'His Royal Highness has observed with the greatest satisfaction the skill and gallantry so conspicuously displayed by the officers and men who composed the detachment of troops opposed to General Hampton's army. By the resistance which they successfully made to an enemy so vastly disproportionate, the confidence of the enemy has been lowered, their plans disconcerted, and the safety of that part of the Canadian frontier ensured. It gives his Royal Highness peculiar pleasure to find, that His Majesty's Canadian subjects have at length had the opportunity (which His Royal Highness has been long anxious should be afforded them,) of refuting, by their own brilliant exertions in defence of their country, that calumnious charge of disaffection and disloyalty with which the enemy prefaced his first invasion of the Province.
" 'To Lieutenant-Colonel DeSalaberry, in particular, and to all the officers and men under his command, in general, you will not fail to express His Royal Highness's most gracious approbation of their meritorious and distinguished services. His Royal Highness has commanded me to forward to you, by the first safe opportunity, the colours which you have solicited for the embodied battalions of the Militia, feeling that they have evinced an ability and disposition to secure them from insult, which gives them the best title to such a mark of distinction.'
"By His Excellency's command,
"Adjutant-General, N. A."
"To His Royal Highness the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.
"May it please your Royal Highness, we, the faithful subjects of His Majesty, the Commons of Lower Canada in Provincial Parliament convened, most humbly beseech your Royal Highness to take into your most gracious consideration the services which Lieutenant-Colonel Charles DeSalaberry has rendered to his country, by his skill and courage, in the glorious affair of 26th Oct., 1813, on the River Chateauguay, in repulsing, at the head of three hundred of his country-men, a division of the American army, under the command of General Hampton, disconcerting the plans of the enemy, diminishing his confidence, and securing the safety of the Province.
"Therefore His Majesty's most faithful Commons most humbly pray, that your Royal Highness will be pleased to take into consideration these most distinguished services,
so as to stimulate in the future the emulation of our compatriots for the defence of this Province against the enemies of His Majesty ; and ordain that a grant of the lands of the Crown be made to Lieutenant-Colonel Charles DeSalaberry, or to issue any other order which, in your Royal Highness's opinion, may be suitable.
"Address passed 20th March, 1815."
Extract of a letter from the Duke of Kent, dated—Kensington Palace, 15th June, 1814 :—
"I am most happy to tell you that, however the Commander of the Forces may have sought to obscure your high and distinguished merit for your gallant cool conduct in the affair of Chateauguay, it is not the less appreciated on this side of the water ; for it has appeared evident to every reader of the public despatches, that to you the public are indebted, as the gallant leader of the heroic band, for the glorious result of the business. I have only to add my hearty good wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity, and to assure you of the friendly regard and sincere esteem with which I shall ever remain,
"My Dear DeSalaberry,
Extract from Montreal Gazette, 22nd August, 1817 :— " We understand that Lieut-Colonel Charles De Salaberry, late commanding the Canadian Voltigeurs, has been appointed member of the Legislative Council. It is said that the mandamus has lately arrived. However trifling this mark of distinction, when compared with the character of that distinguished officer, we are gratified to see it conferred on him by Government, in the absence of any other recompense for his meritorious services."
"15th March, 1814.
"My dear DeSalaberry,—On 31st December, I received your interesting letter of 10th November, in which you give me an account of the advance of the Canadian army on 27th October, and of the brilliant affair which your son gained by his arrangements. I received at the same time his letters, in which he gave me the details ; and I hesitate not to declare my opinion, that you have reason to be proud of the victory gained by my protégé over forces so superior in numbers to those which he commanded,—but also that he displayed talents and judgment rarely to be found, unless in veterans, both in making his dispositions and during the battle.
"I have seen, with pain, that the report of the Adjutant General does not do him justice, as he does not give him exclusive credit for the dispositions made, and the success which resulted from them. But you may confort yourself with the idea, that there is not any one here who does not regard him as the hero who saved Lower Canada, by the decisive steps which he took and the bravery with which he opposed his little band of heroes to the troops of the enemy, so superior in numbers. I have talked the matter over with the Duke of York, and he appears completely convinced that to your son belongs the whole merit ; and I have no doubt he will find occasion to reward him in a manner appropriate to his desire and merit. You may rest assured that this is the effect produced by the reports of the English officers who were present and witnesses of the affair.
"I must confess that, for a moment, I had very great fears for Canada, after the disgraceful defeat of General Proctor, and the defeat of our navy on Lake Erie ; but the recent success of my friend, Lieutenant-General Drummond, has given me hope, and as the Government have made considerable efforts to re-establish our superiority on the lakes, I anticipate that during the coming summer the face of things will be changed entirely to your advantage. This is the more likely, as it now appears that things on the continent are about to terminate with honor.
"Madame De St. Laurent, who is confined to her room by severe indisposition, will not be able to write you by this mail, as she desired, but has commissioned me to convey to you and Madame DeSalaberry and all your family a thousand regards ; and I take the opportunity to renew those sentiments of friendship and affection with which I always am,
"Yours most affectionately,
"Lieut.-Colonel DeSalaberry, Sen.,