Famous Names





Conspicuous among the portraits of soldiers, heroes and navigators which

adorn the walls of the different rooms of the Chateau, is one, a full

size painting of an old Highland Chief, a veritable Rhoderick Dhu, in

Scotch bonnet and dirk, who, with the call of his clan, and the pipes

playing the airs of his native glen, led the charge of Bunker Hill. He

was Sir John Small, who came to Canada with his regiment, the famous

"Black Watch," and served under Abercrombie in the battle of Carillon.

One of his descendants, visiting Boston early in the century, found on

the walls of a museum, and where it may still be seen, a painting of the

battle of Bunker Hill with General Small on his white horse, rallying

his men to the attack. It was to the credit of the successors of those

who fought that day, although only thirty or forty years had elapsed

since their forefathers had met in mortal combat, that the most gentle

courtesy and kindness were shown on both sides by their descendants.



A fine picture of a full-blooded Indian is that of Brant, the great

Mohawk Chief, an ally of the English and a cruel and ruthless foe; on

one occasion having, it is said, slain with his own hand, forty-four of

his enemies. Other portraits of Jacques Cartier, Champlain, Vaudreuil,

Montcalm, deLevis, Dorchester, deSalaberry and Murray are also there to

be seen and admired.



Many of the streets of Montreal, such as Dorchester, Sherbrooke, Wolfe,

d'Youville, Jacques Cartier, Guy, Amherst, Murray, Vaudreuil, de

Lagauchetiere, Olier, Mance, Longueuil, and others equally well named,

will carry down to future generations the memory of those who were

prominent in the making and moulding of Canada. It is strange that one

of the most insignificant streets in the city, a mere lane, of a single

block in length, should bear the name of Dollard, the hero of one of

the most illustrious deeds recorded in history, an event which has

rightly been called the Thermopylae of Canada. The facts were as

follows:--In 1660 the Colony was on the eve of extinction by the

Iroquois, the whole of the tribes being on the war-path with the

intention of sweeping the French from the St. Lawrence. Dollard des

Ormeaux and sixteen young men of Montreal determined upon a deed which

should teach the savages a lesson. They bound themselves by an oath

neither to give nor take quarter. They made their wills and took the

sacrament in the Chapel of the Hotel-Dieu, and then started up Lake

St. Louis. They were not accustomed to the management of the frail

canoes of bark, and day after day struggled to pass the currents of St.

Anne's, at the head of the island, where now the pleasure yacht spreads

its white sails to the breezes of summer, and on whose shores the

huntsmen and hounds gaily gallop when in the woods of autumn the leaves

turn crimson and gold under the mellow hunter's moon. At last, after a

week had been thus spent, they entered the Ottawa River, proceeding by

the shores until they descried the remains of a rough palisaded fort

surrounded by a small clearing. It was only a circle enclosed by trunks

of trees, but here they "made their fire and slung their kettles. Being

soon joined by some friendly Hurons and Algonquins they bivouacked

together. Morning, noon and night they prayed, and when at sunset the

long reaches of forest on the opposite shore basked peacefully in the

level rays, the rapids joined their hoarse music to the notes of their

evening hymn." As their young voices floated through the forest glades,

and they lay down to sleep under the stars of the sweet May skies, they

thought of the bells tinkling in the still air of their loved

Ville-Marie, where those they had come to die for sent up for them

Aves around hearth and altar. In the words of a Canadian poet, it is

thus described:--



"Beside the dark Uttawa's stream, two hundred years ago,

A wondrous feat of arms was wrought, which all the world should know.

'Tis hard to read with tearless eyes this record of the past,

It stirs our blood, and fires our souls, as with a clarion blast.

What, though beside the foaming flood untombed their ashes lie,--

All earth becomes the monument of men who nobly die.

Daulac, the Captain of the Fort, in manhood's fiery prime

Hath sworn by some immortal deed to make his name sublime,

And sixteen soldiers of the Cross, his comrades true and tried,

Have pledged their faith for life or death, all kneeling side by side.

And this their oath, on flood or field, to challenge face to face

The ruthless hordes of Iroquois,--the scourges of their race.

No quarter to accept nor grant, and loyal to the grave.

To die like martyrs for the land they'd shed their blood to save.

And now these self-devoted youths from weeping friends have passed,

And on the Fort of Ville-Marie each fondly looks his last.

Soft was the balmy air of spring in that fair month of May,

The wild flowers bloomed, the spring birds sang on many a budding spray,

When loud and high a thrilling cry dispelled the magic charm,

And scouts came hurrying from the woods to bid their comrades arm.

And bark canoes skimmed lightly down the torrent of the Sault,

Manned by three hundred dusky forms, the long-expected foe.

Eight days of varied horrors passed, what boots it now to tell

How the pale tenants of the fort heroically fell?

Hunger and thirst and sleeplessness, Death's ghastly aids, at length.

Marred and defaced their comely forms, and quelled their giant strength.

The end draws nigh,--they yearn to die--one glorious rally more

For the sake of Ville-Marie, and all will soon be o'er.

Sure of the martyr's golden crown, they shrink not from the Cross;

Life yielded for the land they love, they scorn to reckon loss.

The fort is fired, and through the flame, with slippery, splashing tread,

The Redmen stumble to the camp o'er ramparts of the dead.

Then with set teeth and nostrils wide, Daulac, the dauntless, stood,

And dealt his foes remorseless blows 'mid blinding smoke and blood,

Till hacked and hewn, he reeled to earth, with proud, unconquered glance,

Dead--but immortalized by death--Leonidas of France;

True to their oath, his comrade knights no quarter basely craved,--

So died the peerless twenty-two--so Canada was saved."



The historian says:--"It was the enthusiasm of honour, the enthusiasm of

adventure and the enthusiasm of faith. Daulac was the Coeur-de-Lion

among the forests and savages of the New World." The names and

occupations of the young men may still be read in the parish registers,

the faded writing illumined by the sanctity of martyrdom. The "Lays of

Rome" recount among her heroes none of greater valour than these by the

lonely rapids in the silence of the Canadian forest.





Echoes From The Past Heroes Of The Past facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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