Canada Under English Rule





General James Murray, the son of Lord Elibank, was appointed the first

British Governor of Canada. Previous to the fall of Montreal, de Levis,

refusing to consider the cause of France lost on the St. Lawrence,

valiantly resolved on an attack on General Murray at Quebec. The news of

his advance was conveyed to Murray by a "half-frozen cannonier, whom

the British troops carried up Mountain Hill in a sailor's

hammock."--April 26th, 1760. Hearing of this unfortunate circumstance,

which gave up to the enemy his intention of taking him unawares, de

Levis hurriedly led his men under the walls of the city, where Murray,

promptly coming out to meet him, the battle of "Ste. Foye" took place,

when the French this time saw their efforts crowned with success, the

British having to find a shelter within the walls of the old Citadel.

The French leader was too weak to operate a regular siege, so remained

camped on the battle-field, awaiting the reinforcements expected.






One bright sunny morning it was heralded on all sides that a fleet had

been signalled, and the joy of the French troops knew no bounds; but,

alas! for them it was found out but too soon that the ships were under

England's flag. Instead of de Levis receiving the assistance he

required, it came to the already victorious Briton. It but remained,

therefore, for him to retire in haste to Montreal, where, being soon

followed up by the enemy and surrounded on all sides, he had to submit

to the dictates of fate, as already stated.



He affixed his name to the Articles of Capitulation, with, it is said,

the document placed against a tree at the head of St. Helen's Island.



De Levis, although blamed for his unsoldierlike act in the destruction

of his regimental colours, was, nevertheless, a fine specimen of the

long line of chivalrous nobles, whose names and deeds emblazon French

chronicles of field and foray since the days when Charlemagne wore his

iron crown. Deeply chagrined at the refusal of the British to allow the

garrison to march out with the honours of war, although high-spirited to

a fault, he humbled himself to pray in writing for the reversal of the

order. It may have been in the salon of the Chateau that the

representatives of the two knights stood face to face as suppliant and

arbiter. Their fathers may have crossed swords at Crecy, when the

Plantagenet Prince bore off the feathered crest which was to be the

insignia of all future first-born sons of English kings, or they may

have tilted with lance and pennon on the Field of the Cloth of Gold; but

here de Levis, with his petition sternly denied, was forced to retire in

anger, filled with humiliation at the failure of his intercession.



It may be imagined with what conflicting emotions he entered the

following words in his journal:--



"The British sent a detachment to Place d'Armes with artillery,

whither our battalions marched one after another, to lay down their

arms, and the enemy took possession of the posts and watches of the

city." As they filed past the Chateau, which was on their line of march,

many a heavy heart beat beneath the blue coats, and when a few days

later they embarked with their chief for France, even valour need not

have been ashamed if tears dimmed the sight of the English colours

flying from their flag staffs, and the fair land fading from their sight

forever.



The Chateau de Vaudreuil was then dismantled of its treasures of fine

china and specimens of the arts revived in what is known as the

Renaissance, when everything that was exquisite in painting,

sculpture, working in metals, and art in all its forms had received such

an impetus from the Italian artists whom Louis the Fourteenth gathered

around his court, as well as from the influence of Madame de Pompadour,

whose taste, unhappily, far exceeded her morals. It was purchased by

Chartier de Lotbiniere, and it is pleasant to chronicle that a few years

ago his direct descendant, M. de Lery Macdonald, while visiting France,

had the honour of meeting la Comtesse de Clairemont-Tonnerre, the last

living representative of the De Vaudreuil family, who graciously

presented to him the "Croix St. Louis," which had been bestowed upon

the first Vaudreuil who held an official position in Canada, which relic

is now to be seen in the Chateau de Ramezay.



The old fortifications of Ville Marie were planned by a de Lery; he, and

the military engineer who traced out his campaigns with Bonaparte, and

whom he called the "Immortel General," were members of this family, in

the possession of which are priceless old tapestries, which were gifts

from royalty as rewards of diplomatic or personal services.



About a year after the evacuation of Quebec, Murray was sitting in the

chilliness of an October evening by the chimney meditating. As he gazed

at the glowing fire of maple logs, he may have fancied that he saw again

the face of his dead commander, and may have thought of that desperate

charge outside the gates--of the shouts of victory and cries of

defeat--where then the only sound to be heard was the wind rustling the

withered grass that had been dyed red in the blood of so many gallant

young hearts. The soldier's face may have softened as he thought of the

old hearthstone among the heather hills, where tales of the Border and

the traditions of his clan had fired his young soul for the glory of

conquest.



He was suddenly aroused from his dream by the announcement that two

warlike frigates were sailing below the cliffs. He hurried to the

bastion, which commanded the spot, to survey what might portend fresh

struggles and more bloodshed. But soon a standard was run up to the

masthead, unfolding to the breeze the flag of England. Immediately from

the ramparts, where so recently had proudly floated the flag of France,

an answering signal was shown, and, as the guns roared out a salute to

the British colours, it was also a farewell honour to the old Regime,

which has passed away forever from Canadian shores.



Of Murray, the first British Governor of Canada, it has been said that,

in the long roll of unblemished good service, in the record of his

honourable fidelity to his trust and duty, no passage of his life stands

out in brighter colours than this period, during which he turned a deaf

ear to intolerance and the spirit of persecution, and strove to show the

new subjects of the Crown how truly beneficent, just and good, with all

its errors, the rule of Great Britain had ever proved to be.



With the Treaty of Paris in 1763 King George III. abolished the French

laws, substituting for them the English Code in the newly won Dominion;

later on, however, by the "Quebec Act," they were restored to the

Canadians.



The members of the Noblesse, whose ties compelled their remaining in

Canada, sent to London to offer fealty to King George, and thus further

their personal interests.



When the Chevalier de Lery and his wife, the beautiful Louise de

Brouages, one of the most lovely women of her day, were presented at the

Court of St. James, the young Sovereign was so struck with her beauty

that he gallantly exclaimed:--



"If all Canadian ladies resemble her, we have indeed made a conquest."



A French writer of the time says:--



"How can we sufficiently deplore the loss of Canada, with all its

present value and with all its future hope--a possession of which all

the difficulties were already overcome, and of which the consequent

advantages were secure and within reach! That loss might have been

guarded against--yes, that land consecrated by the blood of a Montcalm,

a Jumonville, and so many brave Frenchmen who shared their dangers, and

were united with them in fate--that country honoured with the name of

New France--that country where we may yet trace her children enjoying

the manners and customs of their forefathers--that country might yet

have existed under its rightful princes, if the Cabinet of Versailles

had known the true position it held--had erected there a new throne and

had placed upon it a Prince of the Royal Family--it would have ruled

to-day over that vast region, and preserved the treasures vainly spent

in its defence."



After the conquest the Chateau de Ramezay was saved from being a mere

fur-trading post by becoming the city residence of the Baron de

Longueuil, a Canadian feudal lord, the towers, embattlements and chapel

of whose castle were visible on the south side of the river. The founder

of this house, which to-day holds the only hereditary feudal barony of

Canada, was Charles LeMoyne, who came to Canada in 1642 with

Maisonneuve. This man was the son of an innkeeper at Dieppe (France),

who it is alleged was descended from a younger branch of the old Norman

family of LeMoyne, the head of the house being the Marquis de Longueuil.



Fourteen years after his arrival in Canada, LeMoyne received the

Seigniory of Longueuil, he having in the meantime amassed a considerable

fortune in the fur trade.



The eldest son, who was named after his father, was born in 1656, and

in recognition of his services at a siege of Quebec, and against the

Iroquois, he was made a Baron of France in 1700 by Louis 14th. The old

deed of nobility is to this day in an almost perfect condition.



An original sketch of the Chateau de Longueuil, taken after a fire which

partially destroyed it in 1792, is still in possession of the family.

The Chateau, or in reality the Castle, was built by the first Baron in

1699, and for nearly a hundred years sheltered the family of LeMoyne.



It stood partly on the ground now occupied by the front of the present

parish church of Longueuil, and partly across the highway, at a corner

of the Chambly road. The north-west tower was located as late as 1835,

but was covered with earth by the excavation for the new church. The

Chateau, comprising the chapel, was 210 by 170 feet, and was constructed

in the strongest possible manner of stones which were gathered by the

river bank. The building was two storeys in height all around, and was

flanked by four towers with conical tops. There were high gables over

the building, and in the centre a court. On the river-side front it was

loop-holed for defence, and it was here that the retainers came in time

of trouble. On the west side was the chapel, which was large and

extensive.



After the fire it was never again occupied, and later on the stone work

went to help make the present roadway, as had been the fate of many an

Italian palace and temple of Greece. The family gave the land where the

present church stands, and they also built the first church, with vaults

below. This was done on condition that the family should all be buried

there, and so far this has been carried out. The barony was once very

extensive, taking in a territory of about one hundred and fifty square

miles, including St. Helen's Island, upon which may still be recognized

the ruins of the residence which stood on the eastern side of it, Capt.

Grant and his wife, Madame de Baronne de Longueuil, having lived there

for some time.



Fort Senneville, an interesting ruin, at the western end of Montreal

Island, and which was destroyed by Benedict Arnold at the invasion of

Canada, during the American Revolution, was erected by the Le Ber

family, which was closely allied to that of LeMoyne, and was enobled at

the same time as the latter. The fort was intended for a fortified

fur-trading post.



In 1880 the seventh Baron claimed royal recognition from the English

Crown of his title to the old French Barony, which Queen Victoria was

graciously pleased to recognize. The de Longueuil family was always

generously treated by royalty, and on the Richelieu river are several

Seigniories which have been granted to members of it. On the same side

of the river St. Lawrence, but a considerable distance inland, is the

pretty town of Iberville. It is named after LeMoyne d'Iberville, a

member of this family, who, with his seven brothers, took their several

names from their seigniories, and were all distinguished for daring and

ambition in all the perilous adventures of New France in their day.






In the Indian village of Caughnawaga, situated near the Lachine Rapids,

is the half-ruined Curial House, if it may be so called, of the early

historian, the Jesuit Charlevoix. Like all French travellers of that

period, he had his visions of reaching the Pacific coast, which,

although never realized, yet he was a celebrated explorer and an

accurate and painstaking writer. His "Histoire Generale de la Nouvelle

France" is a valuable and authentic history of the period it covers,

and is looked upon as one of the most reliable authorities to-day.



In this thrifty hamlet, clustering around the church, under whose

steeple worship the remnants of the once fierce and dreaded Iroquois,

are the last of their race. They are adroit in the use of the canoe, and

for many years have acted as pilots for the St. Lawrence steamers in the

perilous navigation of the Rapids. The squaws are skilful in the bead

work so dear to the savage heart, and form picturesque groups in

blankets and moccasins exposing their wares for sale in the railway

stations.



About ten years after the British occupation, the Chateau de Ramezay

fell again into government hands, being selected as the official

residence. One of those who frequently crossed its threshold at this

period was General Thomas Gage, second in command under Sir Jeffrey

Amherst.



He was the first British Governor of Montreal, and the last of

Massachusetts, and was remarkable for his doughty deeds during the

American Revolution. And then in these rooms, where so often had

sparkled French wit and wine, high-born English dames held sway, with

the grand manners and stately dances of Queen Charlotte's Drawing Rooms

at Windsor Castle. These doors were none too large for the extended

skirts and towering head-dresses, some of which had satin cushions large

enough to have had the family coat of arms painted on them, and yet had

room to spare. The ladies naturally followed the fashions set by the

Queen, who was exceedingly fond of display in dress, and had an oriental

love for gems. A description of one of her toilettes has come down to

us, which was almost barbaric in its profusion of ornaments. At the

first Drawing Room held after King George's recovery from a dangerous

illness, she "fairly glittered in a blaze of diamonds. Around her neck

was a double row of these gems, to which was suspended a medallion.

Across her shoulders were festooned three rows of costly pearls, and the

portrait of the King was hung upon the back of her skirt from five rows

of brilliants, producing a gorgeous effect. The tippet was of fine lace,

fastened with the letter G. in diamonds of immense size and value, and

in Her Majesty's hair was--'God save the King,' in letters formed of the

same costly gems."






Under her sovereignty the guttural Anglo-Saxon tongue was heard in the

homes and on the streets mingling with the mellifluent French, and the

liturgy of Westminster Abbey was solemnized side by side with the ritual

of St. Peter's in the hush of Sabbaths, after the din and clamour of war

had ceased, and quiet once more reigned in the grey old town.



As memorials of those days of strife, carnage and conquest, some

Canadian names have taken root in British soil. Gen. James Murray chose

the name of Beauport for his country seat, and that of the Earls of

Amherst, among the hop gardens and rose hedges of Kent, bears the name

of Montreal, Amherst having been created Baron of Montreal.





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