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Title: A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs - The Story of a Hundred Years, 1761-1861
Author: Wrong, George M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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In spite of many pleasant summers spent at Murray Bay one had never
thought of it as having a history. The place and its people seemed
simple, untutored, new. Some of the other summer residents talked
complacently even of having discovered it. They had heard of Murray Bay
as beautiful and had gone to explore this unknown country. When this
bold feat was performed there was abundant recompense. Valley, mountain,
river and stream united to make Murray Bay delightful. The little summer
community grew. At first visitors lived in the few primitive hotels or
in cottages at Pointe au Pic, vacated for the time being by their
owners, who found temporary lodgings somewhere,--not infrequently in
their own out-buildings. The cottages left something to be desired, and,
gradually, the visitors bought land and built houses for themselves:
to-day dozens of them dot the western shore of Murray Bay. In due time
appeared tennis courts; then a golf links. Murray Bay had become, alas,
almost fashionable.

It still seemed to have no past. True, near the village church, a
fair-sized house stood, embowered in trees, with a fine view out over
the bay and the wide St. Lawrence. A high fence shut in a beautiful old
garden, with a few great trees: as one drove past one got a glimpse of
shady walks and old-fashioned flowers. The extensive out-buildings near
this manor house, stables, carriage-house, dairy, showed that the
establishment was fairly large. There were sleek cattle in the farm
yard. On one of the out-buildings was a small belfry, with a bell to
summon the work-people from afar to meals, and this seemed like the
olden times when the seigneur fed his labourers under his own roof. On
making a formal call at the manor house one noted that some of the rooms
were of fine proportions and that a good many old portraits and
miniatures hung on the walls. This all spoke of a past; and yet of it
one asked little and knew nothing.

Just across the bay stood another manor house; of stone, too, in this
case not concealed by a covering of wood. Thick walls crowned by a
mansard roof spoke of a respectable age. This manor house, also looked
out on the bay and across the St. Lawrence. One knew that it was named
Mount Murray Manor, while that on the right bank of the river Murray was
called Murray Bay Manor. It was said vaguely that a Colonel Fraser had
dwelt at Mount Murray and a Colonel Nairne at Murray Bay; but all that
one heard was loose tradition and there were no Nairnes or Frasers of
whom one might ask questions. One could see that, in both places,
something like an old world dignity of life had in the past been kept

Making a call at the Murray Bay Manor House, I was told one day of a
manuscript volume in which the first seigneur had copied some of his
letters. I begged to be allowed to spend an afternoon or two in looking
through it. I went and went again. To me the book was absorbing. It told
the story of the first people of British origin who went to settle at
Malbaie, which they named Murray Bay, just after the British conquest;
of the career of a soldier brother of Colonel Nairne who died in India
not long after Plassey; of campaigns fought by Colonel Nairne during the
period of the American Revolution; of his plans and hopes as the ruler
of the little community where he settled. When I had read the book
through, I asked if there was not something more. Yes, there were some
old letters, preserved in a lumber room at the top of the house. These
I was allowed to see. This task, too, was of great interest and I spent
the better part of a summer holiday reading, analyzing, and copying
letters. Some of them told of the schoolboy days, in Edinburgh, of the
old Colonel's son and heir, the second seigneur, of this son's life at
Gibraltar at the time when Trafalgar was fought, of his return to
Canada, of campaigns in the war of 1812. Then there were touching
letters from others to tell how he fell at the battle of Crysler's Farm.
So intimate were the letters that one experienced again the hopes and
fears of more than a century ago. In time, out of the dimness in which
all had been shrouded, Murray Bay's history became clear. Of course one
had to seek some information elsewhere, especially in attempting an
analysis of French Canadian village life. But the story told in this
volume is based chiefly on the papers read during that holiday. Not only
did they enable one to reconstruct the story of a spot made almost
sacred by the joys of many a delightful summer; they furnished, besides,
an outline of the tragic history of a Canadian family. Here at Murray
Bay, a century and a half ago, a brave and distinguished British officer
secured a great estate and made his home. In his letters we read almost
from day to day of his plans. He had a strong heart and a deep faith. He
reared a large family and built not merely for himself but for his
posterity. And yet, just one hundred years after he began his work at
Murray Bay, the last of his descendants was laid in the grave and the
family became extinct. It is the fashion of our modern fiction to end
the tale in sorrow not in joy. Perhaps the fashion has a more real basis
in fact than we like to think. At any rate this true story of the
seigneur of Murray Bay ends with the closed record of his family history
on a granite monument in Quebec. There is no one living for whom the
tale has the special interest that attaches to one's ancestors.

I have received help from many but my deepest obligation is to Mr. E.J.
Duggan, the present seigneur of Murray Bay, for his great kindness in
permitting me to use the letters and papers in the Manor House. I owe
much to the Right Honourable Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, who has taught me,
in many holiday outings, most of what appreciation I have learned for
French Canadian village life, and has corrected errors into which I
should otherwise have fallen. So also have Mr. W.H. Blake, K.C., of
Toronto, a good authority on all that concerns life at Murray Bay, and
M. J.-Edmond Roy, Assistant Archivist at Ottawa, whose "Histoire de la
Seigneurie de Lauzon" and many other works relating to the Province of
Quebec entitle him to the rank of its foremost historical scholar. To
another authority on the seigniorial system in Canada, Professor W.
Bennett Munro, of Harvard University, I am much indebted for information
readily given. My colleagues Professor W.J. Alexander, Ph.D., of
University College, and Professor Pelham Edgar, Ph.D., of Victoria
College, Toronto, have given me the benefit of their discriminating
criticism. Dr. A.G. Doughty, C.M.G., Dominion Archivist, and the Rev.
Abbé A.E. Gosselin of Laval University, have responded with unfailing
courtesy to my numerous calls upon them, and Mr. John Fraser Reeve, the
great-grandson of Colonel Malcolm Fraser, who figures so prominently in
the story, has given me invaluable information about the Fraser family.
Dr. J.M. Harper and M. P.-B. Casgrain, of Quebec, and Mr. A.C.
Casselman, of Toronto, have also aided me on some difficult points. To
the Honourable Edward Blake, K.C., of Toronto, I am indebted for
reproductions of some of his paintings of scenes at Murray Bay, and to
the Honourable Dudley Murray, of London, England, for a photograph of
the portrait of General Murray preserved in the General's family.

Toronto, _July, 1908_.





The situation of Malbaie.--The physical features of
Malbaie.--Jacques Cartier at Malbaie.--Champlain at
Malbaie.--The first seigneur of Malbaie.--A new policy for
settling Canada.--The Sieur de Comporté, seigneur of
Malbaie, sentenced to death in France.--His career in
Canada.--His plans for Malbaie.--Hazeur, Seigneur of
Malbaie.--Malbaie becomes a King's Post.--A Jesuit's
description of Malbaie in 1750.--The burning of Malbaie by
the British in 1759.                                           1



Pitt's use of Highlanders in the Seven Years' War.--The
origin of Fraser's Highlanders.--The career of Lord
Lovat.--Lovat's son Simon Fraser and other Frasers at
Quebec.--Malcolm Fraser and John Nairne future seigneurs of
Malbaie.--The Highlanders and Wolfe's victory.--The
Highlanders in the winter of 1759-60.--Malcolm Fraser on
Murray's defeat in April, 1760.--The return of Canadian
seigneurs to France.--General Murray buys Canadian
seigniories.--Nairne and Fraser at Malbaie.--Their grants
from Murray.                                                  22



Colonel Nairne's portrait.--His letters.--The first Scottish
settlers at Malbaie.--Nairne's finance.--His tasks.--The
curé's work.--The Scottish settlers and their French
wives.--The Church and Education.--Nairne's efforts to make
Malbaie Protestant.--His war on idleness.--The character of
the habitant.--Fishing at Malbaie.--Trade at
Malbaie.--Farming at Malbaie.--Nairne's marriage,--Career
and death in India of Robert Nairne.--The Quebec Act and its
consequences for the habitant.                                40



Nairne's work among the French Canadians.--He becomes Major
of the Royal Highland Emigrants.--Arnold's march through the
wilderness to Quebec.--Quebec during the Siege,
1775-76.--The habitants and the Americans.--Montgomery's
plans.--The assault on December 31st, 1775.--Malcolm Fraser
gives the alarm in Quebec.--Montgomery's death.--Arnold's
attack.--Nairne's heroism.--Arnold's failure.--The American
fire-ship.--The arrival of a British fleet.--The retreat of
the Americans.--Nairne's later service in the War.--Isle aux
Noix and Carleton Island.--Sir John Johnson and the
desolation of New York.--Nairne and the American prisoners
at Murray Bay.--Their escape and capture.--Nairne and the
Loyalists.--The end of the War.--Nairne's retirement to
Murray Bay.                                                   62



Nairne's careful education of his children.--His son John
enters the army.--Nairne's counsels to his son.--John Nairne
goes to India.--His death.--Nairne's declining years.--His
activities at Murray Bay.--His income.--His daughter
Christine and Quebec society.--The isolation of Murray Bay
in Winter.--Signals across the river.--Nairne's
reading.--His notes about current events.--The fear of a
French invasion of England.--Thoughts of flight from
Scotland to Murray Bay.--Nairne's last letter, April 20th,
1802.--His death and burial at Quebec.                        93



His education in Scotland.--His winning character.--He
enters the army.--Malcolm Fraser's counsels to a young
soldier.--Thomas Nairne's life at Gibraltar.--His desire to
retire from the army.--His return to Canada in 1810-11.--His
life at Quebec.--His summer at Murray Bay, 1811.--His
resolve to remain in the Army.--Beginning of the War of
1812.--Captain Nairne on Lake Ontario.--Quebec Society and
the proposed flight from danger to Murray Bay.--Anxiety at
Murray Bay.--The progress of the War.--An American attack on
Kingston.--Captain Nairne on the Niagara frontier.--Naval
War on Lake Ontario.--Nairne's description of a naval
engagement.--Sense of impending disaster at Murray Bay.--The
American advance on Montreal by the St. Lawrence.--Nairne's
regiment a part of the opposing British force.--The Battle
of Crysler's Farm.--Nairne's death.--His body taken to
Quebec.--The grief of the family at Murray Bay.--The
funeral.                                                     124



Life at Murray Bay after Captain Nairne's death.--Letters
from Europe.--Death of Malcolm Fraser.--Death of Colonel
Nairne's widow and children.--His grandson John Nairne,
seigneur.--Village Life.--The Church's Influence.--The
Habitant's tenacity.--His cottage.--His labours.--His
amusements.--The Church's missionary work in the
Village.--The powers of the bishop.--His visitations.--The
organization of the Parish.--The powers of the
_fabrique_.--Lay control of Church finance.--The curés'
tithe.--The best intellects enter the Church.--A native
Canadian clergy.--The curé's social life.--The Church and
Temperance Reform.--The diligence of the curés.--The
habitant's taste for the supernatural.--The belief in
goblins.--Prayer in the family.--The habitant as voter.--The
office of Churchwarden.--The Church's influence in
elections.--The seigneur's position.--The habitant's
obligations to him.--Rent day and New Year's Day.--The
seigneur's social rank.--The growth of discontent in the
villages.--The evils of Seigniorial Tenure.--Agitation
against the system.--Its abolition in 1854.--The last of the
Nairnes.--The Nairne tomb in Quebec.                         168



Pleasure seeking at Murray Bay.--A fisherman's experience in
1830.--New visitors.--Fishing in a mountain lake.--Camp
life.--The Upper Murray.--Canoeing.--Running the
rapids.--Walks and drives.--Golf.--A rainy day.--The
habitant and his visitors.                                   222

AUTHORITIES                                                  243


APPENDIX A (p. 31)   The Journal of Malcolm Fraser,
                        First Seigneur of Mount Murray,
                        Malbaie.                             249

APPENDIX B (p. 38)   Title Deed of the Seigniory of
                        Murray Bay, granted to Captain
                        John Nairne.                         271

APPENDIX C (p. 78)   The Siege of Quebec in 1775-76.
                        Colonel Nairne's Narrative.          273

APPENDIX D (p. 98)   Memorandum of Colonel Nairne,
                        5th April, 1795, for his son
                        John Nairne in regard to
                        military duty.                       277

APPENDIX E (p. 104)  The "Porpoise" (Beluga or
                        White Whale) Fishery on the
                        St. Lawrence.                        279

APPENDIX F (p. 122)  The Prayer of Colonel Nairne.           286

APPENDIX G (p. 144)  The Curés of Malbaie.                   287

INDEX                                                        291


COLONEL JOHN NAIRNE                                 Frontispiece
(From the Oil Painting in the Manor House at Murray Bay.)

(From the Water Colour by the late L.R. O'Brien, in the
possession of the Hon. Edward Blake, K.C.)

(From an Oil Painting by E. Wyly Grier, in the possession of
the Hon. Edward Blake.)

GENERAL JAMES MURRAY                                          35
(From an Oil Painting preserved in the General's Family.)

THE MANOR HOUSE AT MURRAY BAY                                 74
(From amateur photographs.)

VIEW FROM POINTE AU PIC UP MURRAY BAY                        102
(From a Water Colour by the late L.R. O'Brien in the
possession of the Hon. Edward Blake.)

THE GOLF LINKS AT MURRAY BAY                                 237
(From a Photograph by W. Notman and Son, Montreal.)



ILLUSTRATE THE WAR OF 1812-14                                148


A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs



     The situation of Malbaie.--The physical features of
     Malbaie.--Jacques Cartier at Malbaie.--Champlain at Malbaie.--The
     first seigneur of Malbaie.--A new policy for settling Canada.--The
     Sieur de Comporté, seigneur of Malbaie, sentenced to death in
     France.--His career in Canada.--His plans for Malbaie.--Hazeur,
     Seigneur of Malbaie.--Malbaie becomes a King's Post.--A Jesuit's
     description of Malbaie in 1750.--The burning of Malbaie by the
     British in 1759.

If one is not in too great a hurry it is wise to take the steamer--not
the train--at Quebec and travel by it the eighty miles down the St.
Lawrence to Malbaie, or Murray Bay, as the English call it, somewhat
arrogantly rejecting the old French name used since the pioneer days of
Champlain. This means an early morning start and six or seven hours--the
steamers are not swift--on that great river. Only less than a mile apart
are its rugged banks at Quebec but, even then, they seem to contract the
mighty torrent of water flowing between them. Once past Quebec the river
broadens into a great basin, across which we see the head of the
beautiful Island of Orleans. We skirt, on the south side, the twenty
miles of the island's well wooded shore, dotted with the cottages of
the habitants, stretched irregularly along the winding road. Church
spires rise at intervals; the people are Catholic to a man. Once past
this island we begin to note changes. Hardly any longer is the St.
Lawrence a river; rather is it now an inlet of the sea; the water has
become salt; the air is fresher. So wide apart are the river's shores
that the cottages far away to the south seem only white specks.

Hugging the north shore closely we draw in under towering Cap Tourmente,
fir-clad, rising nearly two thousand feet above us; a mighty obstacle it
has always been to communication by land on this side of the river. Soon
comes a great cleft in the mountains, and before us is Baie St. Paul,
opening up a wide vista to the interior. We are getting into the Malbaie
country for Isle aux Coudres, an island some six miles long, opposite
Baie St. Paul, was formerly linked with Malbaie under one missionary
priest. The north shore continues high and rugged. After passing Les
Eboulements, a picturesque village, far above us on the mountain side,
we round Cap aux Oies, in English, unromantically, Goose Cape, and, far
in front, lies a great headland, sloping down to the river in bold
curves. On this side of the headland we can see nestling in under the
cliff what, in the distance, seems only a tiny quay. It is the wharf of
Malbaie. The open water beyond it, stretching across to Cap à l'Aigle,
marks the mouth of the bay. The great river, now twelve miles broad,
with a surging tide, rising sometimes eighteen or twenty feet, has the
strength and majesty almost of Old Ocean himself.

As we land we see nothing striking. There is just a long wharf with some
cottages clustered at the foot of the cliff. But when we have ascended
the short stretch of winding road that leads over the barrier of cliff
we discover the real beauties of Malbaie. Before us lies the bay's
semi-circle--perhaps five miles in extent; stretching far inland is a
broad valley, with sides sloping up to rounded fir-clad mountain tops.
It is the break in the mountains and the views up the valley that give
the place its peculiar beauty. When the tide is out the bay itself is
only a great stretch of brown sand, with many scattered boulders, and
gleaming silver pools of water. Looking down upon it, one sees a small
river winding across the waste of sand and rocks. It has risen in the
far upland three thousand feet above this level and has made an arduous
downward way, now by narrow gorges, more rarely across open spaces,
where it crawls lazily in the summer sunlight:--_les eaux mortes_, the
French Canadians call such stretches. It bursts at length through the
last barrier of mountains, a stream forty or fifty yards wide, and flows
noisily, for some ten miles, in successive rapids, down this valley,
here at last to mingle its brown waters with the ice-cold, steel-tinted,
St. Lawrence.

When the tide is in, the bay becomes a shallow arm of the great
river,--the sea, we call it. The French are better off than we; they
have the word "_fleuve_" for the St. Lawrence;--other streams are
"_rivières_." Almost daily, at high water, one may watch small schooners
which carry on the St. Lawrence trade head up the bay. They work in
close to shore, drop their anchors and wait for the tide to go out. It
leaves them high and dry, and tilted sometimes at an angle which
suggests that everything within must be topsy-turvy, until the vessel is
afloat again. With a strong wind blowing from the north-east the bay is
likely to be, at high tide, an extremely lively place for the mariner; a
fact which helps perhaps to explain the sinister French name of Malbaie.
The huge waves, coming with a sweep of many miles up the broad St.
Lawrence, hurl themselves on the west shore with surprising vehemence,
and work destruction to anything not well afloat in deep water, or
beyond the highest of high water marks. At such a time how many a
hapless small craft, left incautiously too near the shore, has been
hammered to pieces between waves and rocks!

Tired wayfarers surveying this remote and lovely scene have fancied
themselves pioneers in something like a new world. In reality, here is
the oldest of old worlds, in which pigmy man is not even of yesterday,
but only of to-day. This majestic river, the mountains clothed in
perennial green, the blue and purple tints so delicate and transient as
the light changes, have occupied this scene for thousands of centuries.
No other part of our mother earth is more ancient. The Laurentian
Mountains reared their heads, it may be, long before life appeared
anywhere on this peopled earth; no fossil is found in all their huge
mass. In some mighty eruption of fire their strata have been strangely
twisted. Since then sea and river, frost and ice, have held high
carnival. Huge boulders, alien in formation to the rocks about them,
have been dropped high up on the mountain sides by mighty glaciers, and
lie to-day, a source of unfailing wonder to the unlearned as to how they
came to be there.

Man appeared at last upon the scene; the Indian, and then, long after,
the European. In 1535, Jacques Cartier, the first European, as far as we
know, to ascend the St. Lawrence, creeping slowly from the Saguenay up
towards the Indian village of Stadacona, on the spot where now is
Quebec, must have noted the wide gap in the mountains which makes the
Malbaie valley. Not far from Malbaie, he saw the so-called "porpoises,"
or white whales, (beluga, French, _marsouin_) that still disport
themselves in great numbers in these waters, come puffing to the surface
and writhe their whole length into view like miniature sea-serpents.
They have heads, Cartier says, with no very great accuracy, "of the
style of a greyhound," they are of spotless white and are found, he was
told (incorrectly) only here in all the world. He anchored at Isle aux
Coudres where he saw "an incalculable number of huge turtles." He
admired its great and fair trees, now gone, alas, and gave the island
its name--"the Isle of Hazel Nuts"--which we still use. For long years
after Cartier, Malbaie remained a resort of its native savages only.
Perhaps an occasional trader came to give these primitive people, in
exchange for their valuable furs, European commodities, generally of
little worth. In time the Europeans learned the great value of this
trade and of the land which offered it. So France determined to colonize
Canada and in 1608, when Champlain founded a tiny colony at Quebec, the
most Christian King had announced a resolution to hold the country. Ere
long Malbaie was to have a European owner.


"A great headland sloping down to the river in bold curves."]

As Champlain went up from Tadousac to make his settlement of Quebec he
noted Malbaie as sufficiently spacious. But its many rocks, he thought,
made it unnavigable, except for the canoes of the Indians, whose light
craft of bark can surmount all kinds of difficulties. Perhaps Champlain
is a little severe on Malbaie which, when one knows how, is navigable
enough for coasting schooners, but his observations are natural for a
passing traveller. In the years after Quebec was founded no more can be
said of Malbaie than that it was on the route from Tadousac to Quebec
and must have been visited by many a vessel passing up to New France's
small capital on the edge of the wilderness. In the summer of 1629 the
occasional savages who haunted Malbaie might have seen an unwonted
spectacle. Three English ships, under Lewis Kirke, had passed up the
river and to him, Champlain, with a half-starved force of only sixteen
men, had been obliged to surrender Quebec. Kirke was taking his captives
down to Tadousac when, opposite Malbaie, he met a French ship coming to
the rescue. A tremendous cannonade followed, the first those ancient
hills had heard. It ended in disaster to France, and Kirke sailed on to
Tadousac with the French ship as a prize.

When peace came France began more seriously the task of settling Canada.
Though inevitably Malbaie would soon be colonized, it was still very
difficult of access. A wide stretch of mountain and forest separated it
from Quebec; not for nearly two hundred years after Champlain's time was
a road built across this barrier. Moreover France's first years of rule
in Canada are marked by conspicuous failure in colonizing work. The
trading Company--the Company of New France or of "One Hundred
Associates"--to which the country was handed over in 1633, thought of
the fur trade, of fisheries, of profits--of anything rather than
settlement, and never lived up to its promises to bring in colonists.
It made huge grants of land with a very light heart. In 1653 a grant was
made of the seigniory of Malbaie to Jean Bourdon, Surveyor-General of
the Colony. But Bourdon seems not to have thought it worth while to make
any attempt to settle his seigniory and, apparently for lack of
settlement, the grant lapsed. Even the Company of New France treasured
some idea that would-be land owners in a colony had duties to perform.

After thirty years France at length grew tired of the incompetence of
the Company and in 1663 made a radical change. The great Colbert was
already the guiding spirit in France and colonial plans he made his
special care. Louis XIV too was already dreaming of a great over-sea
Empire. The first step was to take over from the trading Company the
direct government of the colony. The next was to get the right men to do
the work in New France. An excellent start was made when, in 1665, Jean
Talon was sent out to Canada as Intendant. He had a genius for
organization. Though in rank below the Governor he, with the title of
Intendant, did the real work of ruling; the Governor discharged its
ceremonial functions. Talon had a policy. He wished to colonize, to
develop industry, to promote agriculture. In his capacious brain new and
progressive ideas were working. He brought in soldiers who became
settlers, among them the first real seigneur of Malbaie. An adequate
military force, the Carignan regiment, came out from France to awe into
submission the aggressive Iroquois, who long had made Montreal, and even
Quebec itself, unsafe by their sudden and blood-thirsty attacks.
Travelling by canoe and batteau the regiment went from Quebec up the
whole length of the St. Lawrence, landed on the south shore of Lake
Ontario, and marched into the Iroquois country. With amazement and
terror, those arrogant savages saw winding along their forest paths the
glittering array of France. Some of their villages were laid low by
fire. The French regiment had accomplished its task; with no spirit left
the Iroquois made peace.

A good many officers of the Carignan regiment, with but slender
prospects in France, decided to stay in Canada and to this day their
names--Chambly, Verchères, Longueuil, Sorel, Berthier and others are
conspicuous in the geography of the Province of Quebec. Malbaie was
granted to a soldier of fortune, the Sieur de Comporté, who came to
Canada at this time, but apparently was not an officer of the Carignan
Regiment. His outlook at Malbaie cannot have been considered promising,
for Pierre Boucher, who in 1664 published an interesting account of New
France, declared the whole region between Baie St. Paul and the Saguenay
to be so rugged and mountainous as to make it unfit for civilized
habitation. But Philippe Gaultier, Sieur de Comporté, was of the right
material to be a good colonist. Born in 1641 he was twenty-four years of
age when he came to Canada. Already he had had some stirring adventures,
one of which might well have proved grimly fatal had he not found a
refuge across the sea. Comporté, then serving as a volunteer in a
Company of Infantry led by his uncle, La Fouille, was involved in one of
the bloody brawls of the time that Richelieu had made such stern efforts
to suppress. The Company was in garrison at La Motte-Saint-Heray in
Poitou. On July 9th, 1665, one of its members, Lanoraye, came in with
the tale of an insult offered to the company by a civilian in the town.
Lanoraye had been marching through the streets with a drum beating, in
order to secure recruits, when one Bonneau, the local judge, attacked
him, and took away the drum. Lanoraye rushed to arouse his fellow
soldiers. When Comporté and half a dozen other hot-heads had listened to
his tale, they cried with one voice, "Let us go and demand the drum. He
must give it up." So at eight or nine o'clock at night they set out to
look for Bonneau. They came upon him unexpectedly in the streets of the
town. He was accompanied by seven or eight persons with whom he had
supped and all were armed with swords, pistols or other weapons. When
Lanoraye demanded the drum, Bonneau was defiant and told him to go away
or he should chastise him. The inevitable fight followed. Comporté,
whose own account we have, says that it lasted some time and the results
were fatal. Comporté declares that he himself struck no blows but the
fact remains that two of Bonneau's party were so severely wounded that
they died. Comporté and the rest of the Company soon went to Canada. In
their absence he and others were sentenced to death.

In Canada he appears to have behaved himself. In France a simple
volunteer, in New France he became an important citizen. Talon trusted
him and made him Quarter-Master-General. In 1672 Comporté received an
enormous grant of land stretching along the St. Lawrence from Cap aux
Oies to Cap à l'Aigle, a distance of some eighteen miles, including
Malbaie and a good deal more. About the same time he married Marie
Bazire, daughter of one of the chief merchants in the colony, by whom he
had a numerous family. So eminently respectable was he that we find him
churchwarden at Quebec. In time he retired from trade, in which he had
engaged, and became a judge of the newly established Court of the
Prévôté at Quebec. This was not doing badly for a man under sentence of
death. But over him still hung this affair in France and, in 1680, he
petitioned the King to have the sentence annulled. For this petition he
secured the support of the families of the men killed in the quarrel
fifteen years earlier. In 1681 Louis XIV's pardon was registered with
solemn ceremonial at Quebec, and at last Comporté was no longer an

He had plans to settle his great fief. Working in his brain no doubt
were dreams of a feudal domain, of a seigniorial chateau looking out
across the great river, of respectful tenants paying annual dues to
their lord in labour, kind, and money, of a parish church in which over
the seigniorial pew should be displayed his coat of arms. But if these
pictures inspired his fancy and cheered his spirit, they were never to
become realities. In 1687 he was, apparently, in need of money, and he
resolved to sell two-thirds of his interest in the seigniory of Malbaie.
The price was a pitiful 1000 livres, or some $200, and the purchasers
were François Hazeur, Pierre Soumande and Louis Marchand of Quebec, who
were henceforth to get two-thirds of the profits of the seigniory. Then,
in 1687, still young--he was only forty-six--Comporté died, as did also
his wife, leaving a young family apparently but ill provided for. His
name still survives at Malbaie. The portion of the village on the left
bank of the river above the bridge is called Comporté, and a lovely
little lake, nestling on the top of a mountain beyond the Grand Fond,
and unsurpassed for the excellence of its trout fishing, is called Lac à
Comporté; it may be that well-nigh two and a half centuries ago the
first seigneur of Malbaie followed an Indian trail to this lake and wet
a line in its brown and rippling waters.

Comporté and his partners in the seigniory had planned great things.
They had begun the erection of a mill, an enterprise which Comporté's
heirs could not continue. So the guardian of the children determined to
sell at auction their third of the seigniory. The sale apparently took
place in Quebec in October, 1688. We have the record of the bids made.
Hazeur began with 410 livres; one Riverin offered 430 livres; after a
few other bids Hazeur raised his to 480 livres; then Riverin offered 490
and finally the property was sold to Hazeur for 500 livres. Malbaie was
cheap enough; one third of a property more than one hundred and fifty
square miles in extent sold for about $100! In 1700 for a sum of 10,000
livres ($2,000) Hazeur bought out all other interests in the seigniory
and became its sole owner. Its value had greatly improved in 22 years.

Of Hazeur we know but little. He was a leading merchant at Quebec and
was interested in the fishing for "porpoises" or white whales. When he
died in 1708 he left money to the Seminary at Quebec on condition that
from this endowment, forever, two boys should be educated; for the
intervening two centuries the condition has been faithfully observed;
one knows not how many youths owe their start in life to the gift of
the former seigneur of Malbaie. There, however, no memory or tradition
of him survives. In his time some land was cleared. The saw mill and a
grist mill, begun by Comporté, were completed and stood, it seems, near
the mouth of the little river now known as the Fraser but then as the
Ruisseau à la Chute. Civilization had made at Malbaie an inroad on the
forest and was struggling to advance.

On Hazeur's death in 1708 his two sons, both of them priests, inherited
Malbaie. Meanwhile the government developed a policy for the region. It
resolved to set aside, as a reserve, a vast domain stretching from the
Mingan seigniory below Tadousac westward to Les Eboulements, and
extending northward to Hudson Bay. The wealth of forest, lake, and
river, in this tract furnished abundant promise for the fur and other
trade of which the government was to have here a complete monopoly.
Malbaie was necessary to round out the territory and so the heirs of
Hazeur were invited to sell back the seigniory to the government. The
sale was completed in October, 1724, when the government of New France,
acting through M. Begon, the Intendant, for a sum of 20,000 livres
(about $4,000) found itself possessed of Malbaie "as if it had never
been granted," of a saw mill and a grist mill, of houses, stables and
barns, gardens and farm implements, grain, furniture, live stock,
cleared land, cut wood and all other products of human industry there
in evidence.[1]

Within the reserve, in addition to Malbaie, were a number of trading
posts--Tadousac, Chicoutimi, Lake St. John, Mistassini, &c. In this
great tract the government expected to reap large profits from its
monopoly of trade with the Indians. Some of the fertile land was to be
used for farms which should produce food supplies for the posts. The
Intendant had sanguine hopes that the profit from trade and agriculture
would aid appreciably in meeting the expense of government. It was, we
may be well assured, an expectation never realized.

We get a glimpse of Malbaie in 1750 as a King's post. There were two
farms, one called La Malbaie, the other La Comporté. The two farmers
were both in the King's service and, in the absence of other diversions,
quarrelled ceaselessly. The region, wrote the Jesuit Father Claude
Godefroi Coquart, who was sent, in 1750, to inspect the posts, is the
finest in the world. He reported, in particular, that the farm of
Malbaie had good soil, excellent facilities for raising cattle, and
other advantages. Only a very little land had been cleared, just enough
wheat being raised to supply the needs of the farmer and his assistants.
The place should be made more productive, M. Coquart goes on to say, and
the present farmer, Joseph Dufour, is just the man to do it. He is able
and intelligent and if only--and here we come to the inherent defect in
trying to do such pioneer work by paid officials who had no final
responsibility--he were offered better pay the farm could be made to
produce good results. The old quarrel with the farmer at La Comporté had
been settled; now the farmer of Malbaie was the superior officer,
rivalry had ceased, and all was peace.

Coquart gives an estimate of the farming operations at Malbaie which is
of special interest as showing that, if the old régime in Canada did not
produce good results, it was not for lack of criticism. Better cattle
should be raised, he says; at Malbaie one does not see oxen as fine as
those at Beaupré, near Quebec, or on the south shore. The pigs too are
extremely small, the very fattest hardly weighing 180 pounds; in
contrast, at La Petite Rivière, above Baie St. Paul, the pigs are huge;
one could have good breeds without great expense; it costs no more to
feed them and [a truism] there would be more pork! Of sheep too hardly
fifty are kept at Malbaie through the winter; there should be two or
three hundred. From the two farms come yearly only thirty or forty pairs
of chickens.

Father Coquart's census is as rigorous and unsparing of detail as the
Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror. He tells exactly what the
Malbaie farm can produce in a year; the record for the year of grace
1750 is "4 or 6 oxen; 25 sheep, 2 or 3 cows, 1200 pounds of pork, 1400
to 1500 pounds of butter, one barrel of lard,"--certainly not much to
help a paternal government. The salmon fishery should be developed, says
Coquart. Now the farmers get their own supply and nothing more. Nets
should be used and great quantities of salmon might be salted down in
good seasons. Happily, conditions are mending. The previous farmer had
let things go to rack and ruin but now one sees neither thistles nor
black wheat; all the fences are in place. Joseph Dufour has a special
talent for making things profitable. If he can be induced to continue
his services, it will be a benefit to his employer. But he is not
contented. Last year he could not make it pay and wished to leave.
Nearly all his wages are used in the support of his family. He has three
grown-up daughters who help in carrying on the establishment, and a boy
for the stables. The best paid of these gets only 50 livres (about $10)
a year; she should get at least 80 livres, M. Coquart thinks. Dufour has
on the farm eight sheep of his own but even of these the King takes the
wool, and actually the farmer has had to pay for what wool his family
used. Surely he should be allowed to keep at least half the wool of his
own sheep! If it was the policy of the Crown to grant lands along the
river of Malbaie there are many people who would like those fertile
areas, but there is danger that they would trade with the Indians which
should be strictly forbidden. So runs M. Coquart's report. It was
rendered to one of the greatest rascals in New France, the Intendant
Bigot, but he was a rascal who did his official tasks with some
considerable degree of thoroughness and insight. He knew what were the
conditions at Malbaie even if he did not mend them.

After 1750 the curtain falls again upon Malbaie and we see nothing
until, a few years later, the desolation of war has come, war that was
to bring to Canada, and, with it, to Malbaie, new masters of British
blood. After long mutterings the war broke out openly in 1756. In those
days the farmer at Malbaie who looked out, as we look out, upon the
mighty river would see great ships passing up and down. Some of them
differed from the merchant ships to which his eye was accustomed. They
stood high in the water. Ships came near the north shore in those days
and he could see grim black openings in their sides which meant cannon.
Already Britain had almost driven France from the sea and these French
ships, which ascended the St. Lawrence, were few. Then, in 1759,
happened what had been long-expected and talked about. Signal fires
blazed at night on both sides of the St. Lawrence to give the alarm,
when not French, but British ships, sailed up the river, a huge fleet.
They stopped at Tadousac and then slowly and cautiously filed past
Malbaie. On a summer day the crowd of white sails scattered on the
surface of the river made an animated scene. In wonder our farmer and
his helpers watched the ships silently advance to their goal. There were
39 men-of-war, 10 auxiliaries, 70 transports and a multitude of smaller
craft carrying some 27,000 men; it was the mightiest array Britain had
ever sent across the ocean. New France was doomed.

The French fought bravely a campaign really hopeless. Montcalm massed
his chief force at Quebec and there awaited attack. In vain had he
appealed to France for further help; he was left unaided to struggle
with a foe who had command of the sea, whose fleet could pass up and
down before Quebec with the tide and keep the French guards for twenty
miles in constant nervous tension as to where a landing might be made.
Wolfe carried on his work relentlessly. He warned the Canadians that he
would ravage their villages if they did not remain neutral. Neutral it
was almost impossible for them to be for the French urged them in the
other direction. With stern rigour, Wolfe meted out to them his
punishment. He sent parties to burn houses and destroy crops and Malbaie
was not spared. On August 15th, 1759, Captain Gorham reported to Wolfe
that with 300 men, one half of them Rangers from the English colonies,
the other half Highlanders, he had devastated the north shore of the St.
Lawrence. The soldiers did their work thoroughly. From Baie St. Paul,
the last considerable village east of Quebec, they went on thirty miles
to Malbaie where they destroyed almost all of the houses. We do not know
whether the competent Dufour was still the farmer at Malbaie. But all
the fine pictures of better cattle, better pigs and sheep, better
farming, better fishing, ended with the applying of the British
soldiers' torch to the wooden buildings: much of the settlement went up
in smoke. Some of the cattle, pigs and sheep found their way perhaps to
Wolfe's commissariat. But a good many were left and no doubt they are
the ancestors of many of the cattle, sheep and pigs we see at Malbaie
still. This first visit of Americans and Highlanders to Malbaie has its
special interest. A few years later Highlanders came again, not to
destroy but to settle, and to become the ancestors of families that to
this day show their Highland origin in their names and in their
faces, but never a trace of it in their speech or in their customs.[2]
The Americans were longer in coming back. But, after more than a hundred
years they, too, were to come again, not to destroy but in a very
literal sense to build; their many charming cottages now stretch along
the shore of the Bay that looks across to Cap à l'Aigle.


(The farther point: Cap aux Oies, the nearer Pointe au Pic)]

[Footnote 1: Exact information in regard to the brothers Hazeur, who
have a place in this story merely because they held the seigniory of
Malbaie, may be found in articles by Mgr. H. Têtu, in the _Bulletin des
Recherches Historiques_ (Lévis, Quebec) for August, 1907, and the
following numbers. They were the Canon Joseph Thierry Hazeur, born in
1680, and Pierre Hazeur de L'Orme, born in 1682, both apparently at
Quebec. The younger brother took the name de L'Orme from his mother's
family. He was for many years the representative in France of the
Chapter of the Cathedral at Quebec, which held, from the Pope and the
King, four or five abbeys in France. His copious letters published by
Mgr. Têtu illustrate with some vividness details of the ecclesiastical
life of the time. For several years after the British conquest of Canada
the Quebec Chapter continued to receive the revenues of the Abbey of
Meaubec. The elder Hazeur, less able than his brother, was Curé at Point
aux Trembles. An invalid, he spent his later years chiefly in Quebec.]

[Footnote 2: Malcolm Fraser, an officer in the 78th Highlanders and
afterwards first seigneur of Mount Murray, one of the two seigniories
into which Malbaie was divided, was sent out on these ravaging
expeditions. Years after, some of Fraser's neighbours of French origin
rallied him on his capacity for devastation as shown at this time. See
Fraser's _Journal_, Appendix A, p. 253, and the _Mémoires_ of Philippe
Aubert de Gaspé, 1866, Ch. II.]



     Pitt's use of the Highlanders in the Seven Years' War.--The origin
     of Fraser's Highlanders.--The career of Lord Lovat.--Lovat's son
     Simon Fraser and other Frasers at Quebec.--Malcolm Fraser and John
     Nairne, future seigneurs at Malbaie.--The Highlanders and Wolfe's
     victory.--The Highlanders in the winter of 1759-60.--Malcolm Fraser
     on Murray's defeat in April, 1760.--The return of Canadian
     seigneurs to France.--General Murray buys Canadian
     seigniories.--Nairne and Fraser at Malbaie.--Their grants from

The great British fleet which has passed up beyond Malbaie to Quebec is
important for our tale. It carried men who have since become world
famous; not only Wolfe but Jervis, afterward Lord St. Vincent, Cook, the
great navigator, Guy Carleton, who saved Canada for Britain during the
American Revolution, and many others of lesser though still considerable
fame. But for Malbaie the most interesting men in that great array were
those connected with the 78th, or Fraser's, Highlanders. On the decks of
the British ships were hundreds of these brawny, bare-legged and kilted
sons of the north, speaking their native Gaelic, and on occasion
harangued by their officers in that tongue. A few years earlier many of
them had served under Prince Charles Stuart to overthrow, if possible,
King George II, and the house of Hanover; now they were fighting for
that King against their old allies the French. Unreal in truth had been
the rising in behalf of the Stuarts. Scotland had no grievances: she did
not wish to dissolve the union with England, and if the tyranny of any
royal house troubled her it was that of the Stuarts, alien from most
Scots in both religious and political thought. But when, in 1745, some
of the chieftains called out their clansmen, loyalty made these heed the
summons, though half-heartedly. The same devotion was now given to the
house of Hanover. Years earlier Duncan Forbes of Culloden, one of the
noblest and wisest Scots of his age, had urged Walpole to call the
Highlanders to fight Britain's battles. The hint was not then taken but
later, Pitt, the greatest war minister Britain has ever had, revived
Forbes's plan. Some Highland regiments were formed. The Highland dress
that had been proscribed after Culloden as the brand of treason was now
given its place in Britain's battle array: ever since it has played
there its creditable part. Wolfe called his Highland companions in arms
the most manly lot of officers he had ever seen.

The Highland regiment that came with Wolfe to Quebec was known as
Fraser's Highlanders because recruited chiefly from that ancient and
powerful Scottish clan. In the rising of 1745 the Frasers had supported
the Stuart cause and they suffered when that cause was lost. In 1747
the head of the clan, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, an old man of 80,
perished on the scaffold for his treason. The details of Lovat's career
are amazing. In one aspect he was a wild, half barbarous Highland
chieftain, in another one of the polished gentlemen and courtiers of his
time. He was devoured by the ambition to be the most powerful man in
Scotland. In that age others, more reputable than Fraser, found it wise
to stand well with both royal houses, but he surpassed them all in
tortuous treachery. In the rising of 1715 he was on the Whig side; in
1745 he was forced at last to come out openly for the Stuarts. For
neither side did he really care: he was merely serving his own ends.
Considering his deeds it is a wonder that he so long escaped the
scaffold. When he was a young man a certain Baroness Lovat stood in the
way of his own claims to be the heir to the title of Lovat; so he
offered to marry this lady's daughter and thus end the dispute. When his
advances were refused he determined to use force and seized Lady Lovat's
residence, Castle Dounie, only to find that the young lady had been
spirited away. He resolved on the spot to marry her mother who was in
the castle. She was a widow of thirty-four, he a man of thirty, so the
disparity of age was not great. Stories of what happened vary, but it is
said that in the dead of night a clergyman was brought to Lady Lovat's
chamber and she was forced to go through the form of marriage, the
bag-pipes playing in the next room to drown her cries. The lady was
connected with the great house of Atholl who warred on Fraser with fire
and sword. Outlawed, he escaped to the Continent to survive for half a
century of intrigue and treason.

Though profligate, cruel, treacherous and avaricious, so smooth was
Lovat's address, so profound his knowledge of Scotland, and so strong
his hold upon his own clansmen, that he always remained a man to be
reckoned with. Since he served on the Hanoverian side in 1715 George I
granted a pardon for his many offences; for his treason in 1745 George
II let him go to the block. His last days in London were like those of a
dying saint. He wrote to his son Simon Fraser, who led Fraser's
Highlanders at Quebec in 1759, a beautiful spiritual letter. To the
Major of the Tower he said he was going to Heaven where, he added, "very
few Majors go." He was gay on his last morning:--"I hope to be in heaven
by one o'clock or I should not be so merry now,"--and expressed his pity
for those who "must continue to crawl a little longer in this evil
world." He took what he called an eternal farewell from some of those
about him: "we shall not meet again in the same place; I am sure of
that." He practised kneeling at the block so that he might do it with
dignity on the scaffold. A great crowd assembled to witness his
execution and a platform fell killing several people. "The more
mischief, the better sport," said Lord Lovat grimly, but he wondered
that so many should come to see the taking off of his "old grey head."
He carefully felt the edge of the executioner's axe to make sure that it
was sharp.

No doubt there was a touch of madness in Lord Lovat but the Fraser clan
was devoted to him. By his treason all his honours and estates were
forfeited. At the time his heir, Simon Fraser, only twenty-one years
old, was a prisoner in the Castle of Edinburgh, attainted for high
treason. But so good was his conduct that in 1750 he received a pardon.
Then, a penniless man, he was called to the Scottish Bar. But another
career was in store for him. Some years later when Pitt formed his
design to use the Highlanders in the Seven Years' War he made Simon
Fraser Colonel of a battalion, to be raised on the forfeited estates of
his family and from the clan of which he was head. Success was
instantaneous. Within a few weeks Fraser was at the head of some 1500
men. They wore the Highland dress, with a sporran of badger's or otter's
skin and carried musket and broadsword; some of them wore a dirk at
their own cost. Among the officers were no less than five Simon
Frasers,[3] three or four each of Alexander Frasers and John Frasers,
and a good many other Frasers, among them a young Ensign, Malcolm
Fraser, destined to rule one of the seigniories at Malbaie for more than
half a century. Other Scottish names also appear, Macnabs, Chisholms,
Macleans, and among them John Nairne who, like Malcolm Fraser, spent the
best part of his life at Malbaie.

The head of the Nairne clan, a John Nairne, third Baron Nairne, had
fought for the Stuarts in 1745. He died an exile in France. Of how close
kin to him was the young Highland Officer, John Nairne, who settled
later at Malbaie, we do not know. His family was of course Jacobite. In
"Waverley" Sir Walter Scott mentions a Miss Nairne with whom he says he
was acquainted, and this lady appears to have been one of the sisters of
Captain John Nairne. In 1745, as the Highland army rushed into
Edinburgh, Miss Nairne was standing with some ladies on a balcony, when
a shot, discharged by accident from a Highlander's musket, grazed her
forehead. "Thank God," she said, "that the accident happened to me whose
principles are known; had it befallen a Whig [the name then identified
with the anti-Jacobite party] they would have said it was done on
purpose."[4] At Murray Bay there is still a miniature portrait of Prince
Charlie given it is said by himself to Miss Nairne.

Before fighting under Wolfe John Nairne had followed the Dutch flag.
Just before the rising of 1745, when a youth of only 17, he, like a
great many others of his countrymen, is found serving in the well known
"Scots Brigade"; many years later at Malbaie, he tells in his letters,
of old companions in this service with well known Scottish names--Bruce,
Maclean, Seton, Hepburn, Campbell, Dunbar, Dundass, Graham, and so on.
In the pay of Holland Nairne remained for some nine years. He made, he
says, "long voyages" possibly to the Dutch possessions in the far East.
But he was glad of the chance to serve his own land which came when
Britain, embarked upon the Seven Years' War, was anxious to recall her
banished sons and to find soldiers, Scots or of any other nationality,
who would fight her battles. So John Nairne left the Dutch service to
join the 78th Highlanders and henceforth his loyalty to the house of
Hanover was never questioned. From the first, since Scotland offered
only a poor prospect of a career, Nairne may have thought of remaining
in the new world when the war should end. The Highlander of that day,
like the Irishman, found better chances abroad than at home. Unlike
Nairne, Malcolm Fraser, a younger man, had not seen foreign service. The
two met for the first time when, in 1757, they both joined the 78th
Highlanders. Soon they became fast friends and for nearly half a century
they were to live in the closest relations.

Fraser's Highlanders had landed at Halifax in Nova Scotia in June, 1757.
Their dress seemed unsuited to both the severe winters and the hot
summers of North America and a change of costume was proposed; but
officers and men protested vehemently and no change was made. During the
campaigns in America the Highlanders boasted, not with entire truth as
we shall see, that they with their bare legs enjoyed better health than
those who wore breeches and warm clothing. At Louisbourg they did well.
At Quebec a Highland officer's knowledge of French proved a great boon.
When, in the darkness of the momentous morning of September 13th, 1759,
Wolfe's boats were drifting down with the tide close to the north shore
near Quebec, intending to land and scale the heights at what is now
Wolfe's Cove, a French sentry called out sharply from the bank, "_Qui
vive?_" A Highland officer, who had served in Holland, was able to reply
"_France!_" without betraying his nationality.

"_A quel régiment?_" demanded the sentry.

"_De la reine_," answered the Highlander, giving the name of a
well-known French regiment commanded by Bougainville; and then he added
in a low voice, "_Ne faites pas de bruit; ce sont les vivres_"--for a
convoy with provisions was expected by the French. The Highlanders were
at the forefront in the stiff climb up the heights which proved to be
Wolfe's master stroke. Malcolm Fraser has left his own account of that
morning's work. The troops, he says, had been in the boats since nine
o'clock on the previous night. At about twelve they had set out with a
falling tide and they landed just as day was breaking. The light
infantry struggled up the hill first, the French meanwhile firing on the
boats, killing and wounding some of the occupants; but "the main body of
our army soon got to the upper ground, after climbing a hill or rather a
precipice, of about three hundred yards, very steep and covered with
wood and brush." By ten the army was drawn up in order of battle,--"in a
masterly manner," John Nairne said later,--on the Plains of Abraham, the
bag-pipes of the Highlanders screaming a wild defiance to the foe. Then
followed that brief death grapple, fatal to the leader on each side.
Fraser and his Highlanders, we are told, rushed at the enemy with their
broadswords in such irresistible fury that they were driven with a
prodigious slaughter into the town. The Highlanders suffered as much
after the battle as in it, for General Murray led them to reconnoitre in
the direction of the General Hospital and a good many were shot by the
French from bushes and from houses in the suburbs of St. Louis and St.
John. To the French the Highlanders seemed especially ferocious,
possibly owing to the wild music of their pipes, their waving tartans,
their terrible broadswords, and perhaps, also, their partially naked
bodies. They were indeed christened "the savages of Europe."

Not many days after Wolfe's victory the Highlanders marched into Quebec
with the victorious army. The French garrison was sent away to Europe,
the British fleet itself soon followed, and the conquerors, with General
Murray in command, settled down to face for the first time the rigours
of a winter at Quebec. The Highlanders suffered terribly. One suspects
that, in spite of their protests, the Highland costume was ill-suited to
meet the severity of the climate; and, in any case, the army was
ill-fed, ill-housed, and overworked. Malcolm Fraser kept a journal,[5]
but Nairne, the other future seigneur at Malbaie, the most methodical of
men, was less ready with the pen and appears to have made no chronicle
of those slow but momentous days. The bitter weather was the dread
enemy. Fraser tells how men on duty lost fingers and toes and some were
even deprived of speech and sensation in a few minutes through "the
incredible severity of the frost.... Our regiment in particular is in a
pitiful situation having no breeches. Nothing but the last necessity
obliged any man to go out of doors." Colonel Simon Fraser is, he adds,
doing his best to provide trousers. Pitying nuns observed the need and
soon busied themselves knitting long hose for the poor strangers. The
scurvy carried off a good many. In April, 1760, of 894 men in Fraser's
Highlanders not fewer than 580 were on the sick list and it was a wan
and woe-begone host that set itself grimly to the task of meeting the
assault on Quebec for which the French under Lévis had been preparing
throughout the winter.

When it came on April 28th, 1760, the Highlanders were not wanting.
Instead of fighting behind Quebec's crazy walls Murray marched his men
out to the Plains of Abraham to meet the enemy in the open. On ground
half covered by snow, with here and there deep pools of water from the
heavy rain of the previous day, the two armies grappled in what was
sometimes a hand to hand conflict. Of the British one-third had come
from the hospital to take their places in the ranks. The proportion of
the Highlanders who did this was even greater; half of them rose on that
day from sick beds. It proved a dark day for Britain. Murray was
defeated, losing about one-third of his army on the field. Four of the
Highland officers were killed, twenty-three were wounded, among them
Colonel Simon Fraser himself. Malcolm Fraser was dangerously wounded;
but he tells us gleefully that within twenty days he was entirely cured.
Nairne seems to have gone through the fight without a hurt. It was
surely by a strange turn of fortune that men, some of whom fought
against George II in '45 and had been condemned as traitors, should
fifteen years later shed their blood like water for the same sovereign.
Malcolm Fraser was disposed to be critical of Murray's tactics. He ought
to have stood like a wall on the rising ground near Quebec, says Fraser;
but "his passion for glory getting the better of his reason he ordered
the army to march out and attack the enemy ... in a situation the most
desired by them and [that] ought to be avoided by us as the Canadians
and Savages could be used against us to the greatest advantage in their
beloved ... element, woods." Nearly half a century later when Malcolm
Fraser was giving advice to a young officer, Nairne's son, he advised
him not to be too critical of the actions of his superiors. The
confident young diarist of 1760 had meanwhile learned reserve. But he
was not alone among the Highlanders in his criticism of Murray. A Murray
led at Culloden in April, 1746, as at Quebec in April, 1760. Lieutenant
Charles Stewart was wounded in both battles; as he lay in Quebec
surrounded by brother officers he said, "From April battles and Murray
generals, Good Lord deliver me." It is to General Murray's credit that,
when the remark was repeated to him, he called on his subordinate to
express the hope for better luck next time.

A little later Quebec was saved by the arrival of a British fleet and
the French fell back on Montreal. Murray followed them but the
Highlanders remained in garrison at Quebec, apparently because, with
half the officers and men invalided, they could make but a poor muster
for active campaigning. It thus happened that Nairne and Fraser did not
share the glory of being present at the fall of Montreal. There, on a
September day in 1760, the Governor of Canada, the Marquis de Vaudreuil,
handed over to General Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief in America of the
armies of Great Britain, the vast territory which he had ruled. It was
not certain, albeit the great Pitt was resolved what to do, that, when
the war ended, the country would not be handed back to France. The
French officers professed, indeed, to believe that a peace was imminent
by which France should save what she held in America. Meanwhile,
however, they and their regiments were to be sent to France. The few
residents at Malbaie whom Captain Gorham had spared, looking out across
the river in October, 1760, saw it dotted with the white sails of many
ships outward bound. Though they floated the British flag, their decks
were crowded with the soldiers of France now carried home by the
triumphant conqueror.

But more than the soldiers went back to France. Rather than live under
the sway of the British, many civilians also left Canada, among them
some of the seigneurs of Canadian manors. Land was cheap in Canada and
it is not to be wondered at that young British officers, seeking their
fortune, should have thought of settling in the country. A hundred
years earlier French officers of the Carignan Regiment had abandoned
their military careers to become Canadian seigneurs. In the end John
Nairne and Malcolm Fraser took up this project most warmly and in their
plan to get land they had the support of their commanding officer,
General Murray. Murrays, Nairnes and Frasers had all fought on the
Jacobite side in 1745; and we know how the Scots hold together.


James Murray, son of a Scottish peer, Lord Elibank, was himself still a
young man of only a little more than thirty,--a high-spirited, brave,
generous and impulsive officer. His family played some considerable part
in the life of the time and they were always suspected of Jacobite
leanings. Murray's brother, Lord Elibank, was a leader among the
Scottish wits of his day. Dr. Johnson's famous quip against the Scots
when he defined oatmeal as a food in England for horses and in Scotland
for men was met by Elibank's neat retort: "And where will you find such
horses and such men?" Another brother, Alexander, was a forerunner of
John Wilkes the radical; the cry of "Murray and Liberty" was heard in
London long before that of "Wilkes and Liberty." A third brother, George
became an admiral. General James Murray sometimes described himself as a
soldier of fortune. He was certainly not rich. Yet now when many of the
Canadian seigneurs sold their manors, in some way Murray was able to
purchase half a dozen of these vast estates. He bought that of Lauzon
opposite Quebec on which now stands the town of Levis and half a dozen
villages. He bought St. Jean and Sans-Bruit (now Belmont), near Quebec,
Rivière du Loup and Madawaska, on the lower St. Lawrence, and Foucault
on Lake Champlain.

To Nairne and Fraser, brave young Scots, who had done good service,
Murray was specially attracted. Nairne, though only a lieutenant, till
1761, when he purchased a captaincy, was his junior by but a few years;
Lieutenant Malcolm Fraser was three years younger than Nairne. The young
men were seeking their fortunes but since they had very little money to
buy estates, as Murray did, they could not expect to get land in the
more settled parts of the country. For them Malbaie was a promising
field and in September, 1761, they went down to have a look at it. The
property was vested in the government, for which Murray could act. It
was not wholly untrodden wilderness, for some land was cleared and a
good deal of live stock still remained. The houses too had not been
entirely destroyed by Gorham's men. The war had not yet ended. It was
still uncertain whether Britain would hold Canada. But, for the moment,
there was little to do. It was possible that in Canada further
opportunities of military service would not be wanting. As seigneurs in
Canada the young officers would retain rank as gentlemen and would not
sink to the social level of mere cultivators of the soil. The experience
too of founding settlements in the Canadian wilderness had
compensations. Good sport was always to be had. They could pay at least
annual visits to Quebec for a few weeks, and were, perhaps, hardly more
remote from the cultivated world than some of the chieftains in their
own Scottish Highlands.

The survey of Malbaie must have proved satisfactory. It is true, as the
young officers said, that there was an over-abundance of "mountains and
morasses," with good land scattered only here and there. But in their
formal proposals to Murray they made this fact the plea for the grant of
a larger area. Nairne apparently had greater resources than Fraser and,
being now a captain, was his senior in rank. He asked for the more
important tract lying west of the little river at Malbaie and stretching
to the seigniory of Les Eboulements, Fraser for that lying east of the
river and stretching some eighteen miles along the St. Lawrence to the
Rivière Noire. The grants were to extend for three leagues into the
interior. They were to be held under seigniorial tenure but Nairne asked
for 3000 acres of freehold and Fraser for 2000. They thus close their
petition to Murray: "This [request], if his Excellency is pleased to
grant, will make the proposers extremely happy, and they shall forever
retain the most grateful remembrance of his bounty; and [they] hope his
Excellency will be pleased in the grant to allow them to give the lands
to be granted such a name as may perpetuate their sense of his great
kindness to them." They got what they asked for. It may indeed be
doubted whether Murray had any right to allot huge areas of land in a
country which had not yet been ceded finally to Great Britain, but any
defects of title in this respect were corrected long after by new grants
under the great seal. As it was, Murray wrote on a sheet of ordinary
foolscap, still preserved at Murray Bay, a brief deed of the land[6]
and, behold, the two young officers have become landed proprietors! To
their request for permission to use Murray's name, in grateful
remembrance of his kindness, he also assented. Nairne's seigniory was to
be called Murray's Bay and Fraser's Mount Murray. The grants were made
because "it is a national advantage and tends to promote the cultivation
of lands within the province to encourage His Majesty's natural-born
subjects settling within the same"; and the consideration was "the
faithful services" rendered by the two officers.

A good deal of stock and farm implements remained at Malbaie and this
the new proprietors arranged to buy, giving in payment their promissory
notes, Nairne's for £85, 6s. 8d., currency and Fraser, who got only
one-third, his for £42, 13s. 4d. They seem to have had a good deal for
their money. There were a score and a half or so of cattle, four or five
horses, (one of them twenty-two years old), twenty sheep, fourteen pigs,
besides chickens and other living creatures. In addition there were
waggons and other farm appliances, most of them probably old and of
little use, though they must have helped to tide over the first
difficult days when everything would have to be provided.

On getting his grant Nairne retired from the army on half pay, but
Fraser remained on active service for many years still. Thus Nairne was
the more continuously resident at Murray Bay and in its development he
played the greater part. Fraser's interests were divided, not only
between Murray Bay and the army, but also between Murray Bay and another
seigniory which he secured on the south side of the river at Rivière du
Loup and known as Fraserville. For us therefore the interest at Murray
Bay now centres chiefly in Nairne and his family.

[Footnote 3: The name Simon Fraser appears with credit more than once in
Canadian history. It was a Simon Fraser who crossed the Rocky Mountains
and first followed for its whole course the Fraser River named after

[Footnote 4: Waverley, Chapter II.]

[Footnote 5: See Appendix A., p. 249. "Journal of Malcolm Fraser, First
Seigneur of Mount Murray, Malbaie."]

[Footnote 6: See copy of the grant in Appendix B., p. 271.]



     Colonel Nairne's portrait.--His letters.--The first Scottish
     settlers at Malbaie.--Nairne's finance.--His tasks.--The curé's
     work.--The Scottish settlers and their French wives.--The Church
     and Education.--Nairne's efforts to make Malbaie Protestant.--His
     war on idleness.--The character of the habitant.--Fishing at
     Malbaie.--Trade at Malbaie.--Farming at Malbaie.--Nairne's
     marriage.--Career and death in India of Robert Nairne.--The Quebec
     Act and its consequences for the habitant.

In the dining room of the Manor House at Murray Bay Nairne's portrait
still hangs. It was painted, probably in Scotland, when he was an old
man, by an artist, to me unknown. The face is refined, showing
kindliness and gentleness in the lines of the mouth, and revealing the
"friendly honest man" that he aspired to be. His nose is big and in
spite of the prevailing gentleness of demeanour the thin lips, pressed
together, indicate some vigour of character. He has the watery eye of
old age and this takes away somewhat from the impression of energy. It
is not a clever face but honest, rather sad, and unmistakeably Scottish
in type. Nairne wears the red coat of the British officer and a wig in
the fashion of the time. The portrait might be one of a frequenter of
court functions in London rather than that of a hardy pioneer at Murray
Bay, who had carried on a stern battle with the wilderness.

Nairne was a good letter writer. To his kin in Scotland he sent from the
beginning voluminous annual epistles. They are not such as we now write,
hurriedly scratched off in a few minutes. With abundant time at his
disposal Nairne could write what must have occupied many days. When
written, the letters were sometimes copied in a book almost as large as
an office ledger. It is well that this was done, for in this book is
preserved almost the sole record of the life at Murray Bay of a century
and a half ago. The pages are still fresh and the handwriting, while not
that of one much accustomed to use the pen, is clear and vigorous. The
zeal for copying letters was intermittent. There are gaps, covering many
years. Then, for a time, not only the letters sent, but those received,
are copied into the book. In the long winter evenings there was not much
to do. Malcolm Fraser, it is true, lived just across the river at the
neighbouring manor house. But Malcolm was more usually away than not.
Besides, as one grows older, there is no place like one's own fireside
of a winter evening. So our good seigneur read and dozed and wrote and
we are grateful that he has told us so much about past days.

Nairne's first visit to Malbaie was, as we have seen, in the autumn of
1761, when he took possession of his seigniory. Not until the following
year was the formal grant made by Murray. Long afterwards, in 1798,
writing to a friend, Hepburn, in Scotland, Nairne recalled his arrival
at his future home. "I came here first in 1761 with five soldiers [alas,
we do not know their names!] and procured some Canadian servants. One
small house contained us all for several years and [we] were separated
from every other people for about eighteen miles without any road." He
contrasts this with what he sees about him at the time of writing--a
parish with more than five hundred inhabitants, with one hundred men
capable of bearing arms, grist mills, fisheries, good houses and barns,
fertile fields, a priest, a chapel, and so on. The five soldiers of whom
Nairne speaks were no doubt men of the 78th Highlanders and ancestors of
a goodly portion of the population of Malbaie at the present time.
Perhaps some of them had fought at Culloden; certainly all fought at
Louisbourg and Quebec.

In the first days at Murray Bay Nairne was in debt. In 1761, probably to
purchase his captaincy, he had incurred a considerable obligation to his
friend General Murray; where Murray got £400 to lend him is a mystery,
for he was himself always pressed for funds. With everything to do at
Murray Bay, mills to be built, roads to be opened, a manor house to be
constructed, it was not easy to get together any money; for years the
debt hung like a mill-stone round Nairne's neck. But he had always a
certain, if small, revenue in his half pay and, in time, he acquired,
chiefly by inheritance, what was, for that period in Canada, a
considerable fortune. In 1766, when Nairne was in Scotland, General
Murray, who had himself just arrived from Canada, wrote urgently to ask
for payment. Murray owed to a Mr. Ross £8,000 and could not borrow one
shilling in England on his estates in Canada; so he said "delay will be
a very terrible disappointment to me." But this disappointment he had to
bear. In 1770 the debt was still unpaid and may have remained so for
some years longer. Happily the friendship between the former comrades
was not impaired by their financial relations. Murray promised to put
Nairne in the way of being "very comfortable and easy" in Canada, if he
would follow his advice, but nothing came of his offer. For some years
after 1761 Nairne thought of returning to Scotland, whither ties of kin
drew him strongly. But his father's death in 1766 or 1767 helped to
weaken these ties. In any case Scotland offered no career and he must do
something to pay the debt to Murray and to provide for himself.

Nairne's chief task as seigneur was to put settlers on his huge tract.
The seigneur, indeed, discharged functions similar to those of a modern
colonization company, but with differences that in some respects favour
the older system. Now-a-days the occupier buys the land and the
colonization company gets the best possible price for what it has to
sell; it can hold for a rise in value and, if it likes, can refuse to
sell at all. Nairne had no such powers. Under the law, if a reputable
person applied for land, he must let him have it. Settlers required no
capital to buy their land, and, as long as they paid their merely
nominal rent, they could not be disturbed in their holdings. The rent
amounted to about one cent an acre, and some twenty cents or a live
capon for each of the two or three arpents of frontage which a farm
would have. The rent charge was uniform and depended not upon the
quality of the land or upon the individual seigneur but upon what was
usual in the district; moreover, under the French law, no matter how
valuable the land became, the rent could not be increased and, though so
trifling, it was rarely required until the settler's farm had begun to
be productive. Sometimes in a single year Nairne would put as many as
twenty brawny young fellows on his land to hew out homes for themselves.
Each of them got a tract of about one hundred acres and, as the annual
rental received for a dozen farms would be hardly more than twenty
dollars, the seigneur reaped no great profit from his tenants. It was
only when a tenant sold a holding, that the seigneur secured any
considerable sum. To him then went one-twelfth of the price. The other
chief source of profit, as settlement increased, was from the
seigneur's mill. To it all the occupiers of his land must bring their
grain and pay a fixed charge for its grinding. In scattered settlements
the mill brought little profit and was a source of expense rather than
of income. But, as population increased, this "_droit de banalité_"
became valuable. The mill at Malbaie was, in time, very prosperous.

In Canada the seigneur was not the oppressor of his people but rather
their watchful guardian. He planned roads and other improvements,
checked abuses, and enforced justice. At his side stood, usually, the
priest. The moment a parish was established a curé was entitled to the
tithe; near every manor house, the village church was sure to spring up.
Even when, as at Malbaie, the priest and the seigneur were not of the
same faith they were often fast friends. Nairne's relations were good
with the neighbouring curé, when, at length, Malbaie had a resident
priest. Each village would thus usually have at least two men of some
culture working together for its spiritual and temporal interests. Both
remained in touch with the outside world; the priest with his bishop at
Quebec, the seigneur with the representative there of the sovereign.
Upon each change of governor Nairne was required to appear at Quebec to
render fealty and homage. With head uncovered and wearing neither sword
nor spur he must kneel before the governor, and take oath on the
Gospels to be faithful to the king, to be party to nothing against his
interests, to perform all the duties required by the terms of his
holding, and, especially, to appear in arms to defend the province if
attacked. We find Nairne excused by General Haldimand in 1781 from
discharging this ceremony, but only because he was away on active

When Nairne settled at Murray Bay he was unmarried and so, no doubt,
were the soldiers he brought with him. Only after five or six years did
he himself find a wife but we may be sure that his men did not wait so
long. What more natural than that they should marry the French Canadian
servants of whom Nairne speaks? A visitor at Murray Bay is struck with
names like McNicol, Harvey, Blackburn, McLean, and one or two others
that have a decidedly North British ring. Some, if not all, are names of
one or other of the half dozen soldiers who settled at Murray Bay in
Nairne's time. There was no disbanding there of a regiment, as tradition
has it. In time the 78th Highlanders were disbanded, but certainly not
at Murray Bay, and, though hundreds of them remained in Canada, only a
few individual soldiers came to Nairne's settlement. Already when he
arrived French Canadians were there and from the first the community was
prevailingly French and Catholic. In 1784 when joined with Les
Eboulements and Isle aux Coudres under a single priest Malbaie already
had 65 communicants. As likely as not some even of the Highlanders were
Catholics. In any case their children became such and spoke French, the
tongue of their mothers; even Nairne's own children spoke only French
until they went to Quebec to school.

When, from time to time, a missionary priest visited the place he
baptized children of Catholic and Protestant alike, including even the
children of the Protestant family in the manor house. The only religious
services that the people ever shared in were those of the Roman Catholic
Church. Nairne would have wished it otherwise. He held sturdy Protestant
views, and wished to bring in Protestant settlers. On one or more of his
visits to Scotland he made efforts to induce Scots to move to Canada.
But he met with no great success. A Scottish friend, Gilchrist, who had
visited Nairne at Murray Bay, writes, in 1775, to express hope that he
will not encourage French settlers who will rob him, who have
"disingenuous, lying, cheating, detestable dispositions," and are the
"banes of society." He adds, "I am glad you give me reason to believe
you are to carry over some industrious honest people from hence with
you. I am convinced 'twere easy by introducing a few such [to bring
about that] the dupes to the most foolish and absurd religion now in the
world might be warmed out and your quiet as well as interest established
from Point au Pique to the Lake."[7] The Roman Catholic faith had more
vitality than Nairne's correspondent supposed. It was Protestantism that
should in time be "warmed out" of Murray Bay.

To prevent this Nairne did what he could; for a long time he entertained
hopes not only that the Protestants at Murray Bay might be held to their
faith but also that the Roman Catholics would be led into the Protestant
fold. His chief complaint against the Roman Catholic Church was in
regard to education. There was woeful ignorance. Nairne was in command
of the local militia and he found that officers of militia, and even a
neighbouring seigneur, could not read. When Roman Catholic services were
held at Murray Bay, as they were regularly before he died, the tongue
was one that the people did not understand. At the services there was
nothing "but a few lighted candles, in defyance of the sun, and the
priest singing and reading Latin or Greek.... None of us understands a
word." He complains of "the greatest deficiency in preaching sentiments
of morality and virtue." Indeed, very few of the priests could preach or
say anything in public beyond the Latin mass. Nairne tried to secure
better means of educating his people. Probably earlier also, but
certainly in 1791, he was writing to the Anglican Bishop of Quebec to
help him to do something. He lives, he says, in "the most Northerly and,
I believe, the poorest parish on the Continent of America." The people
cannot read and have no literary amusement. Their idle days they spend
in drunkenness and debauchery and he wishes something done for them. Ten
years later Nairne is returning to the charge. There are five Protestant
families in the neighbourhood. They cannot even be baptized except by
the curé. They cannot get any Protestant instruction; so the Protestant
children are reared Roman Catholics. Nairne wished to have a Protestant
clergyman established at Murray Bay; he could make that place his
headquarters and carry on missionary work in the neighbouring parishes.
But the five Protestant families at Murray Bay soon became three, for
Nairne says, in 1801, that his and Colonel Fraser's families and one
other man, an Englishman, are the only remaining Protestants. He and
Fraser, he adds, are growing old and, in any case, it was doubtful
whether the Englishman would attend service.

Yet Nairne still begged for a Protestant missionary. He desired most of
all a free school. The teacher should be, he says, French but able also
to preach in English; there was now no school at Murray Bay; a free
school and a church system which would release the people from paying
tithes could work wonders and, probably, most of the people would soon
become Protestants. Knowing the tenacity with which the French
Canadians have clung to their faith, it seems hardly likely that
Nairne's dreams would have been realized. At any rate nothing was done.
At that time there were hardly more than a dozen Anglican clergymen in
all Canada and the Bishop of Quebec had no one to spare to look after
the few scattered sheep at Murray Bay. On the other hand the rival
Church did not forget her own. Long before the British conquest
occasional services had been held at Malbaie and these were continued,
with some regularity, until a resident priest came in 1797. The visiting
priests worked hard. They were, Nairne says, "industrious in private to
confess the people, especially the women, which branch of their duty is
deemed most sacred and necessary." Against this tremendous power of the
confessional, Protestantism had nothing that could be called an opposing
influence. When a Protestant died he might not, of course, be buried in
the Roman Catholic burial ground. For these outcast dead Nairne set
aside a plot near his own house, where, still, under a little clump of
trees, their bones lie, neglected and forgotten. Not more than half a
dozen Protestants were ever buried there and this shows that even the
Protestant pioneers were few in number; hardly one of their children
remained outside the Roman Church.

Nairne thought the Canadians not too prone to industry and he deplored
the multitude of religious holidays that gave an excuse for idleness.
In a year there were not less than forty, in addition to Sundays, and on
some of the holidays, such as that of the patron saint of the parish,
there were scenes of great disorder. Nairne wrote on the subject to the
Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec asking him to take steps to ensure that
the people might come to think it not sinful but virtuous to work for
six days in the week. The Bishop promised consideration of the matter.
Already it had been under debate and in the end the Bishop gave orders
that labour might continue on most of the Church's festivals; that of
the patron saint of the parish was in time abolished. Nairne thus helped
to bring about a considerable industrial reform. But beyond this he
achieved little.

The French Canadians, who occupied his vacant acres, have shown both a
marvellous tenacity for their own customs and also a fecundity that has
enabled people, numbering 60,000 at the time of the British conquest, to
multiply now to some 2,500,000, scattered over the United States and
Canada. To govern them has never been an easy problem. Nairne says that
the French officer, Bougainville, who had known the Canadians in many
campaigns, called them at Murray's table a brave and submissive people;
he thought they needed the strong hand of authority and added that he
was sure the British method of government would soon spoil them. Under
the French régime they had had no gleam of political liberty. For twenty
years before the conquest France had exacted from them the fullest
possible measure of military service. The British ended this and brought
liberty. Its growth is sometimes so rapid as to be noxious, and, no
doubt, some of those who came to Nairne's domain gave him much trouble.
"No people," Nairne said of them, "stand more in awe of punishment when
convinced that there is power to inflict it, as none are so easily
spoiled as to be mutinous by indulgences." Some of them showed striking
intelligence: in 1784 we find Nairne recommending for appointment as
Notary one Malteste (no doubt the well-known name Maltais is a later
form) as a "remarkable honest, well-behaved countryman with more
education than is commonly to be found with one in his station." The
dwellers at Malbaie were for the most part a quiet people entirely
untouched by the movements of the outside world. "Nothing here," wrote
Nairne in 1798, "is considered of importance but producing food to
satisfy craving Stomachs, which the people of this cold and healthy
country remarkably possess, and to feed numbers of children.... They
have no other ambition or consideration whatever but simply to procure
food and raiment for themselves and their numerous families."

They had a very clear idea of their rights. Nairne's grant conferred
upon him those of fishing and hunting. But the inhabitants declared that
when land was once granted, the seigneur lost all control over the
adjoining waters. Nairne wished, for instance, to prohibit the spearing
of salmon at night by the Canadians, with the aid of torches or
lanterns. But they had never been hampered by such restrictions and,
when Nairne tried to check them, they said that they would not be
hindered. It was in vain that he said "I had rather have no power at all
and no seigneurie at all [than] not to be able to keep up the rights of
it." When, in 1797, he ordered one Joseph Villeneuve to cease the
"flambeau" fishing at night, the fellow "roared and bellowed" and set
him at defiance; no less than twenty companions joined him in the
fishing. They would acknowledge no law nor restraint and seem to have
had _force majeure_ on their side. It was not until long after that the
legislature at Quebec passed strict laws regulating the modes of

Whatever the limitations on the seigneur's authority he had the
undoubted right of control over fishing in rivers and lakes until the
adjacent lands were conceded to occupiers. It was important, therefore,
not to grant lands which carried with them the best fishing and Nairne's
ardent friend Gilchrist kept exhorting him from Scotland on this point.
"There is no place ... I would so willingly and happily pass life in,"
he wrote, in 1775, "as in your Neighbourhood and often have I been
seized with the memory of your easy and uncontrolled way of rising,
lying, dancing, drinking, &c., at your habitation.... One hope ... I
wish to be well founded and that is that your Stewart, Factor or
Attorney, has not conceded any lands with the River in front from the
Rapides du Vieux Moulin. If otherwise, you have lost more than the
profits [which] all above Brassar's will yield in our lifetime. The
fishing in that part of the River is alone worth crossing the Atlantic."

Over trade Nairne and Fraser tried to exercise some real control. Their
grants gave them no right to trade with the Indians and in reality no
authority over trade. But they were guardians of the law and took steps
to check traders from violating it. One Brassard, who lived up the
Murray River, seems to have been a frequent offender. It was easy to
debauch the Indians with drink and then to get their furs for very
little and the seigneurs needed always to be alert. In 1778 we find
Malcolm Fraser making with one Hugh Blackburn a bargain which outlines
what the seigneurs tried to do in regard to trade. Blackburn binds
himself in the sum of £200 to obey certain restrictions: he will not
attempt to debauch the Indians belonging to the King's Posts; in no
circumstances will he sell them liquor; nor will he sell liquor on
credit to anyone. He will obey the lawful orders of Nairne and Fraser
relative to the carrying on of his trade; he will pay his debts, and
will make others pay what they owe him, refusing them credit if accounts
are not paid within six months. In consideration of these pledges by
Blackburn Fraser guarantees his credit with the Quebec merchants. The
difficulty in regard to trade with the Indians settled itself by the
tragic remedy of their gradual extinction. In 1800 Nairne says that the
Micmacs, once a great nuisance, are now rarely seen.

Nairne was a good farmer and his letters contain many references to
farming operations. At Murray Bay, he says, plowing goes on for seven
months in the year, from the middle of April to the middle of November.
But the Canadians do not plough well; they do not understand how to
preserve the crops when cut; and, on the whole, are backward in
agriculture. He himself preserved for a domain more land than he could
ever get cleared, for this clearing was heavy work. Some of the soil at
Murray Bay is very good. Gilchrist writes indeed to say that he has been
talking in Scotland about Nairne's land. "On my mentioning that you had
lime, without digging for it, it was acknowledged that you possessed all
the advantages possible and that anything might be done with ground such
as yours which is dry; and I verily believe would you thoroughly lime
your land you may keep it in crops as long as you please and have
prodigious returns." Good farming, he says, Nairne may have and he
should preserve good fishing; then Murray Bay will be perfect. "If I
have the pleasure of seeing your sisters, I'll represent Mal Bay as the
counterpart of Paradise before the fall." He adds some local
characterizations. "Catish will do for Eve, La Grange for Adam, and
Dufour for the Devil."

Nairne was married in 1766 to Christiana Emery. Of her history I know
nothing, except that she was born in Edinburgh and married in Canada.
Soon after marriage Nairne paid a long visit to Scotland and there in
1767 the freedom of the borough of Sterling was conferred upon him. Mrs.
Nairne must have been considerably younger than her husband, for though
he lived to ripe old age, she survived him by twenty-six years, dying at
Murray Bay in 1828. Whether she brought any dowry I do not know; Nairne
certainly had had in mind the improvement of his position by marrying.
Nine children were born to them but three died in childhood of an
epidemic fever that broke out at Murray Bay in 1773 while Nairne was in
Scotland. A fourth child, Anne, died of consumption. Five children lived
to grow up--three daughters and two sons.

Canada seemed so remote that it was not easy for Nairne to keep in touch
with his kin. The scattering of families, one of the penalties Imperial
Britain, with a world wide domain, imposes upon her sons, had taken
Nairne's brother Robert to India. At a time only ten years later than
Clive's great victory of Plassey, Britain's grasp on the country was, as
yet, by no means certain and India was amazingly remote; five years
usually elapsed between the sending of a letter to India from Canada and
the receipt of a reply! On January 5th, 1770, Robert Nairne writes from
Marlborough, India, acknowledging a letter from his brother John, only
recently received, dated April 21, 1767. The brothers discuss family
news and family plans, their old father's health, the desirability of
settling down at home in Scotland, the life each is living, remote from
that home. Though an officer, Robert engaged in trade and made some
money. "The Company's pay is hardly subsistence," he says, "and here we
have not, as on t'other side of India the spoils of plundered provinces
to grow fat on. I keep my health very well and if I want the
satisfaction, I am also free from many Anxietys, people are subject to
who are more in the glare of life." He was in a retired place, where
there were few people and perennial summer, with "no variety of seasons
nor of anything else." Time passes insensibly, he says; "in India years
are like months in Europe ... I write, read, walk and go in company the
same round nearly throughout the year. Here we have little company; yet
everyone wants to go to out settlements where they are quite alone. I
cannot account for it. Mal Bay is your out settlement. Do you like that
as well as Quebec?"

Robert Nairne was something of a philosopher. "Have you ever so much
philosophy," he writes to the seigneur of Murray Bay in 1767, "as to
think everything that happens is for the best? I am so far of that mind
that content and discontent I think arises [_sic_] rather from the cast
of our own thoughts than from outward accidents and that there is nearly
an equal distribution of the means of happiness to all men, and that
they are the happiest that improve their means the most." He felt the
weariness of exile, the Scot's longing for his own land. "Certainly to a
person of a right tone of mind if there are enjoyments in life, it must
be in our own country amongst our friends and relations. With such
conditions the bare necessaries of life are better than riches without
them.... Death is but a limited absence and you and I are much in that
state with regard to our friends at home."

It was not long before Robert Nairne's letters ceased altogether. In
1776, John Nairne received at Murray Bay the sad news that, in November
or December, 1774, his brother had been killed in a petty expedition
against some local tribesmen. A native chieftain had murdered, cooked
and eaten a rival who was friendly to the East India Company and Robert
Nairne with some natives, and only three Europeans, went up country,
through woods and bogs, to seize the offender. When there was fighting
his natives fled, and he was shot through the body. It was a pity, says
John Nairne's correspondent, Hepburn, to lose his life "in so silly a
manner." He would soon have been governor of Bencoolen and was in a way
to make "a great figure in life." Of his fortune of £6,000 John Nairne
received a part. Twenty-five years after his brother's death Nairne was
to get at Murray Bay similar news of the loss of his own son in distant
India. It has levied a heavy tribute of Britain's best blood.

In 1774 Nairne again revisited Scotland. Though no politician, he must
have heard much about the Quebec Act, then before the Imperial
Parliament. The Governor of Canada, Sir Guy Carleton, after careful
consideration of the whole question, had reached the conclusion, not
belied by subsequent history, as far as the Province of Quebec is
concerned, that Canada would always be French and that, with some slight
modifications, the French system found there by Britain should be given
final and legal status under British supremacy. So the Quebec Act was
passed in 1774. While the British criminal law was introduced, the
French civil law, including the land system under which Nairne held
Murray Bay, was left unchanged. The Bill gave the Church the same
privileged position that it had enjoyed under Catholic sovereigns. The
tithe could be collected by legal process; taxation for church purposes
voted by the parochial authority called the _fabrique_ was as compulsory
as civil taxes, unless the person taxed declared that he was not a Roman
Catholic; and the whole ecclesiastical system of New France was
supported and encouraged. The Bill caused much irritation in Protestant
New England, which saw some malicious design in the establishment of
Roman Catholicism on its borders. The Continental Congress of 1775
denounced the Quebec Act, and even the Declaration of Independence has
something to say about it.

It is obvious that Nairne disliked the Bill. His irrepressible friend,
Gilchrist, wrote giving a picture of its probable dire social results,
upsetting all domestic relations between the two races. The Bill, says
Gilchrist, "is the most pernicious [that] could have been devised. Judge
of the Fêtes now that the fools have got the sanction of the British
Parliament to their beggaring principles. It is not clear that your
Protestant servants will [even] be allowed to work upon their [the Roman
Catholic] idle days. What would you and I think on being told by these
black rascals [the priests are meant of course] that our people, I mean
Protestants, durst not obey our orders without a dispensation from

The social consequences of the Quebec Act did not prove as revolutionary
as Nairne's animated correspondent feared. Less than is usually supposed
did the habitant like it since it placed him again under the priest's
and the seigneur's authority, suspended since the British conquest. To
the English colonies it added one to other causes of friction that boded
trouble to the British Empire. In the previous year the people of Boston
had defied Britain, by throwing into their harbour cargoes of tea upon
which the owners proposed to pay a hated duty, levied by outside
authority. The Quebec Act brought a final rupture a step nearer and at
last there was open war. "The colonists have brought things to a crisis
now, indeed;" wrote Gilchrist; "the consequences must be dreadful to
them soon and I am afraid in the end to our country." To Great Britain
indeed disastrous they were to be and soon the seigneur of Murray Bay
was busy with his share in preparing for the conflict.

[Footnote 7: The Lake is no doubt Lake Nairne, the present Grand Lac.]



     Nairne's work among the French Canadians.--He becomes Major of the
     Royal Highland Emigrants.--Arnold's march through the wilderness to
     Quebec.--Quebec during the Siege, 1775-76.--The habitants and the
     Americans.--Montgomery's plans.--The assault on December 31st,
     1775.--Malcolm Fraser gives the alarm in Quebec.--Montgomery's
     death.--Arnold's attack.--Nairne's heroism.--Arnold's failure.--The
     American fire-ship.--The arrival of a British fleet.--The retreat
     of the Americans.--Nairne's later service in the War.--Isle aux
     Noix and Carleton Island.--Sir John Johnson and the desolation of
     New York.--Nairne and the American prisoners at Murray Bay.--Their
     escape and capture.--Nairne and the Loyalists.--The end of the
     War.--Nairne's retirement to Murray Bay.

When war with the revolted colonies grew imminent, it was obvious that a
man of Nairne's experience in military matters would soon be needed. One
aim of the government was to keep the French Canadians quiet by
disarming their prejudices and impressing upon them their duty to George
III. From Quebec, on July 13th, 1775, Nairne was given instructions to
undertake this work for his district. Self-control and cool
persuasiveness fitted him for his task, he was told; his work would be
to visit all the parishes on the north shore, with the aim of winning
the loyal support of the French Canadians during the coming struggle.
Though fifteen years of tranquility under the mild British sway had made
the habitants prosperous and averse to war, it was still possible to get
from them useful military service, under the leadership of British
officers. Nairne was to tell them that the Americans would borrow their
dollars, take their provisions, pay for them only in worthless letters
of credit upon the Congress, and even make free with their lands. He was
to show, also, how bitterly the Protestant English colonies hated the
Roman Catholic faith of the Canadians. A British fleet, he was to add,
would soon arrive and, if the Canadians joined the revolt, the second
British conquest would be shorter and not quite so gentle as the first;
for "a fair and open enemy is a different thing from a rebel and a

Fifteen years earlier the Canadians had borne a heavy part in defending
their country against the British assailant; now they were to fight in
his interests. Whenever possible Nairne was to employ the same old
Captains of militia who had fought the battles of France against the
British; he was to make a roll of those fit to bear arms, and to report
the number of discharged soldiers in his district. To him were entrusted
commissions for Captains whom he might select; the inferior officers he
might also name. The Church aided his work as much as possible, the
Vicar-General sending to the priests instructions to this effect.

On taking up his task Nairne found that at Murray Bay there were
thirty-two men between the ages of 16 and 55. When summoned to meet him
they were respectful, but showed fear of having to serve in the army and
pleaded that they were only a new settlement. Had there been, as is so
generally supposed, many disbanded soldiers among them we should have
had a different tale but, already, in 1775, most of the people at Murray
Bay were French. Neither they nor their neighbours showed any zeal for
the upholding of British rule in Canada. At Les Eboulements and Baie St.
Paul, whither Nairne went, the inhabitants were respectful, as at Murray
Bay, but also objected to military service. At Isle aux Coudres they
disregarded Nairne's summons to meet him, while at St. Anne de Beaupré
they made open manifestations of hostility.

In the actual fighting, now imminent, Nairne was eager to take part,
and, on August 12th, he wrote to Sir Guy Carleton offering himself for
any service and applying for a vacant captaincy. On the 9th of September
he received an urgent summons to Quebec, and, from that time, for six or
seven years, he was engaged in the great fratricidal struggle.

Again, in a time of crisis, Great Britain made special use of the
Highlanders. Many of those who had served during the conquest of Canada
had become settlers in the New World. Now at the call to arms some of
them--between one and two hundred--rallied again to fight Britain's
battles. They were formed into a regiment known as the Royal Highland
Emigrants. It was not a regular corps but was organized for this special
campaign only. Nairne's rank in the regular army was that of Captain;
now he was given the duty of Major, though this promotion was not yet
permanent. Malcolm Fraser served in the same corps as Captain and
Paymaster. The commanding officer, Colonel Allan McLean, was brave and
indefatigable and he and his Highlanders played a creditable part in the
work of saving Canada for Britain.

When the American colonies saw that the war was inevitable they saw too
that Quebec was the key of the situation. Washington himself declared
that in favour of the holders of Quebec would the balance turn in the
great conflict. From the outset there was an eager desire to attack the
Canadian capital. Washington believed--with some truth, indeed,--that
its defences were ridiculous. He thought, too, that the Governor, Sir
Guy Carleton, had no money to buy even provisions, that the Canadians
were eager to throw off the yoke of Great Britain and to co-operate with
the revolted colonies, and that some even of the few regulars to be
found in Quebec would join the colonial army. To take Quebec seemed,
therefore, comparatively easy, and the task was undertaken by a man with
a sinister name for posterity as a traitor to the young republic, but a
vigorous and able officer,--Colonel Benedict Arnold. Wolfe's rôle Arnold
essayed to play and Wolfe's fame he fondly hoped would be his.

A fundamental difference existed, however, between Arnold's task and
that of Wolfe. Wolfe's army had been carried to Quebec in ships;
Arnold's was to advance by land. He chose the shortest route to Quebec
from the New England seaboard. It lay through the untrodden wilderness
and its difficulties were terrible. Half of it was up the Kennebec river
along whose shallow upper reaches the men would have to drag their boats
on chill autumn days in water sometimes to their waists; then they must
take them over the steep watershed dividing the waters flowing northward
to the St. Lawrence from those flowing southward to the Atlantic. Even
when they embarked on the upper waters of the Chaudière, which flows
into the St. Lawrence near Quebec, the hardships were killing. The
numerous rapids and falls on that swift and turbulent river would wreck
their boats. At the time no fleet defended Quebec. If, instead of
advancing by this land route, the Americans had been able to bring, by
sea, an adequate force as Wolfe had done, the later history of Canada
might indeed have been different.

Arnold set out in the middle of September with 1100 or 1200 men,--"the
very flower of the colonial youth" they have been called. Many were
hardy frontier men trained in Indian wars, who knew well the
difficulties of the wilderness. But now they were face to face with
something more difficult than they had ever before encountered. When one
Parson Emerson had committed the enterprise to the divine care in a
prayer that, tradition says, lasted for one hour and three-quarters, the
army began its struggle across the dreadful three hundred miles of
forest. The swollen rivers swept away much ammunition and food, until
upon the army settled down the horror of starvation. The boats proved to
be badly built; their crews were always wet and shivering. At night the
men had sometimes to gather on a narrow footing of dry land in the midst
of a swamp and huddled over a fire that at any moment rain might
extinguish. The cold became terrible. Many lay down by the trail to die.
When the journey was half over, Colonel Enos, deeming it useless to lead
the force farther amid such conditions, turned back. With him went some
hundreds of men; but Arnold held on grimly. He pushed ahead to get
succour for his starving force from the Canadian settlements near
Quebec. With a few boats and canoes his party committed themselves to
the Chaudière river. In two hours Arnold was swept down twenty miles,
steering as best he could through the rapids, and avoiding the rocks, in
the angry river. At one place all his boats and canoes were carried over
a fall and capsized, the occupants struggling to land. But this reckless
courage did wonders. By October 30th, after more than a month of
unspeakable hardship, Arnold had reached the borderland of civilization
in Canada, and was sending back provisions to his men. It is little
short of marvellous that at Point Levi on November 9th he could muster
six hundred men, five hundred of whom were fit for duty.

The Canadians and Indians had been very friendly; without their aid the
greater part of Arnold's force would have perished. Even before Quebec
he was dependent on their kindly offices. Its defenders, among whom were
Nairne and Fraser, moved every boat to the north side of the St.
Lawrence; the frigate _Lizard_ and the sloop-of-war _Hunter_, pigmy
representatives at Quebec of Britain's might upon the sea, lay near
Wolfe's Cove ready to attack him if he tried to cross. But the Indians
brought canoes and on the night of November 13th, silently and
unobserved, they carried Arnold's force across the river almost under
the bows of the ships watching for them. The Americans landed where
Wolfe had landed sixteen years earlier. On the morning of the 14th, to
the surprise of Quebec's garrison, a body of Americans appeared on the
Plains of Abraham, not eight hundred yards from the walls, and gave
three loud huzzas. The British answered with three cheers and with the
more effective retort of cannon, loaded with grape and canister shot,
and the hardy pioneers of Arnold's attacking force retired.

Quebec was not in a happy situation. Montreal had already fallen to the
Americans advancing by Lake Champlain, and to force the final surrender
of Canada General Montgomery was hurrying to join Arnold at Quebec. For
a time its defenders were uncertain whether Carleton himself, absent at
Montreal, had not fallen into the hands of the enemy. A miraculous
escape he indeed had. Leaving Montreal on a dark night, when the
Americans were already within the town, Carleton went in a skiff down
the river, both shores of which were already occupied by the enemy for
fifty miles below Montreal. At the narrows at Berthier their blazing
camp fires sent light far out over the surface of the water. Carleton's
party could hear the sentry's shout of "All's Well," and the barking of
dogs. But they let the boat float down with the current so that it might
look like drifting timber, and, when they could, impelled it silently
with their hands. At Three Rivers they thought themselves safe and
Carleton lay down in a house to sleep. But, while he was resting, some
American soldiers entered the house. His disguise as a peasant saved
him; he passed out unchecked. The skiff soon carried him to an armed
brig, the _Fell_, which lay at the foot of the Richelieu Rapids. He
hastened on to Quebec, which showed joy unspeakable when he arrived on
November 19th. Meanwhile Montgomery pursued his rival down the river and
on December 1st he joined Arnold before Quebec.

Now the siege began in earnest. Carleton had 1800 men; Arnold and
Montgomery can hardly have had more than a thousand, and these were
badly equipped. For the Americans the prospects of success were, at no
time, very great, unless they could secure help from the Canadians.
This, indeed, was not wholly wanting. Montgomery's march along the north
shore of the St. Lawrence to Quebec was a veritable triumph. He promised
to the habitants liberty, freedom from heavy taxes, the abolition of the
seigneurs' rights and other good things. Some of the Canadians hoped
that, in joining the Americans, they were hastening the restoration of
France's power in Canada--an argument however of little weight with
many, who remembered grim days of hard service and starvation when,
without appreciation or reward, they had fought France's battle. The
habitants were, in truth, friendly enough to the Americans; but they
would not fight for them. The invaders tried to arouse the fear of the
peasantry by a tale that when the British caught sixty rebel Canadians,
they had hanged them over the ramparts of Quebec, without time even to
say "Lord, have mercy upon me," and had thrown their bodies to the dogs.
But this only made the habitants think it as well perhaps not to take
arms openly against such stern masters. The Church's weight was wholly
on the British side. Canadians who joined the rebel Americans died
without her last rites. Only one priest, M. de Lotbinière, a man, it is
said, of profligate character, espoused the cause of the invaders. For
doing so he was promised a bishopric: to see Puritan New Englanders
offering a bishopric in the Roman Catholic Church as a reward for
service, is not without its humour.

As December wore on Montgomery grew eager to seize his prey. Carleton
sat unmoved behind his walls and allowed the enemy to invest the town.
He would hold no communication with the rebel army. When Montgomery sent
messengers to the gates, under a flag of truce, Carleton would not
receive them; the only message he would take, he said, would be an
appeal to the mercy of the King, against whom they were in rebellion.
Montgomery, too, showed for his foe lofty scorn, in words at least. On
December 15th in General Orders he spoke of "the wretched garrison"
posted behind the walls of Quebec, "consisting of sailors unacquainted
with the use of arms, of citizens incapable of the soldier's duty and
[a gibe at the corps in which Nairne served] a few miserable emigrants."
He went on to promise his troops that when they took Quebec "the effects
of the Governor, garrison, and of such as have been active in misleading
the inhabitants and distressing the friends of liberty" should be
equally divided among the victors. The opposing sides showed, in truth,
the bitterness and exasperation of family quarrels and abandoned the
usual courtesies of war. The Americans lay in wait to shoot sentries;
they fired on single persons walking on the ramparts. It was reported to
the British that Montgomery had said "he would dine in Quebec or in Hell
on Christmas"--gossip probably untrue, as a British diarist of the time
is fair enough to note, since it is not in accord with the dignity and
sobriety of Montgomery's character.

He did what he could to make possible this Christmas festivity within
Quebec's walls. His men got together some five hundred scaling ladders.
Then heavy snow came and the defenders jeered at such preparations: "Can
they think it possible that they can approach the walls laden with
ladders, sinking to the middle every step in snow? Where shall we be
then? Shall we be looking on cross-armed?" The clear and inconceivably
cold weather was also one of Quebec's defences for, as one diarist puts
it, no man, after being exposed to it for ten minutes, could hold arms
in his half-frozen hands firmly enough to do any execution. But by
nothing short of death itself was Montgomery to be daunted; steadily he
made his plans to assault the town.

Meanwhile Quebec was ready. Carleton ordered out of the town all who
could not assist to the best of their power in the defence. Some shammed
illness to escape their tasks. But this was the exception. Well-to-do
citizens worked zealously, took their share of sentry duty on the
bitterly cold nights, and submitted to the commands of officers in the
militia, their inferiors in education and fortune. On the loftiest point
of Cape Diamond Carleton erected a mast, thirty feet high, with a sentry
box at its top. From this he could command a bird's eye view of the
enemy's operations, to a point as distant as Ste. Foy Church. When one
of the besiegers asked a loyalist Canadian what the queer-looking object
on the pole really was he answered, "It is a wooden horse with a bundle
of hay before him." A second remark capped this one: "General Carleton
has said that he will not give up the town till the horse has ate all
the hay; and the General is a man of his word."

Although Montgomery did not eat his Christmas dinner in Quebec a few
days later he was ready for an assault. The crisis came on the last day
of the year 1775. Early on that day, between four and five in the
morning, Captain Malcolm Fraser, in command of the main guard, was
going his rounds in Quebec when he saw a signal thrown by the enemy from
the heights outside the walls near Cape Diamond. Fraser knew at once
that it meant an attack. He sent word to the other guards in Quebec and
ordered the ringing of the alarm bell, and the drum-beat to arms. He
himself ran down St. Louis street, shouting to the guards to "Turn out"
as loudly and often as he could, and with such effect that he was heard
even by General Carleton, lodged at the Recollet convent. It was a
boisterous night and the elements themselves raged so fiercely that some
of the alarms were not heard. But, in time, all Quebec was aroused and
the guards stood at their posts.

The alarm was completed when to its din was added the menacing sound of
cannon. The besiegers began to ply the town with shells, and those who
looked out over the ramparts could see in the darkness the flash of
guns. Soon began from behind ridges of snow, within eighty yards of the
walls of Cape Diamond, the patter of musketry. The Americans were
seeking to lead the defenders of Quebec to believe that an assault on
the walls of the Upper Town on the side of the Plains of Abraham was
imminent and to hold the defence to this point. In fact the real danger
was far away.


(The upper view from the West, the lower from the East)]

Montgomery's was a hazardous plan. He had resolved to try to seize the
Lower Town first and then to get his troops into the Upper Town by
way of the steep Mountain Street, thus taking the defenders of the walls
in the rear. It was a desperate venture, depending for its success
largely upon the surprise of the garrison which Malcolm Fraser's
thorough-going alarm had prevented. Montgomery himself, with a force of
several hundred men, marched to the Lower Town from Wolfe's Cove along
the narrow path under the cliffs, a distance of nearly two miles, with
progress impeded by darkness, by heavy snow-drifts, and by blocks of ice
which the tide had strewn along the shore. His men struggled on in the
dark hoping to surprise the post which guarded the road below Cape
Diamond at a point called Près de Ville. Here were some fifty defenders
and the tale of what happened is soon told. The guardians of the post
were on the alert, for at it, too, Malcolm Fraser's warning had been
effective. As Montgomery bravely advanced, at the head of his men, there
was a flash and a roar in the darkness and the blinding snow storm, and,
a moment after, Montgomery lay dead in the snow with a bullet through
his head. Two or three other officers were struck down. The British
heard groans and then there was silence. As daylight came they saw hands
and arms protruding from the snow, but only slowly did they realize that
the chief of their foes was killed.

Nairne was on duty elsewhere but he did not miss severe fighting. Arnold
was to advance on the Lower Town from the north-eastern suburb, St.
Roch's, to meet at the foot of Mountain Street Montgomery coming from
the west. At first he was more fortunate than Montgomery. When the
rocket from Cape Diamond went up he set out. The storm was frightful but
it served to conceal Arnold's force from Quebec's sentries. The
Americans passed under the height where stands the Hôtel Dieu. Here
Nairne was stationed with a small guard. They spied the Americans in the
darkness and kept up as effective a fire as the dim light permitted. But
the assailants were able to advance along the whole east side of Quebec
and to reach the entrance to the Sault au Matelot, a short and narrow
street opening into the steep Mountain Street, by which alone the Upper
Town could be reached. Here fortune favoured them for, apparently, in
spite of Fraser's alarm, they surprised the guard at the first barrier
by which the street was closed. The street itself they secured but when
they reached the second barrier at its farther end, commanding the road
to the Upper Town, it was well defended by an alert garrison. Arnold had
already been wounded and taken to the rear and Morgan, an intrepid
leader, was in command of the assailing force. Every moment he expected
that Montgomery would arrive to attack the second barrier on the Sault
au Matelot from the West as he attacked it from the East. But
Montgomery was dead and Morgan waited in vain.

While the Americans were checked by the second barrier, Carleton was not
idle. There was an excellent chance to send a force out of the Palace
Gate near the Hôtel Dieu, by which the assailants had passed, and to
attack them in the rear. For this duty Colonel Caldwell was told off and
he took with him Nairne and his picket of about thirty men. The force
plodded through the deep snow in the tracks of the enemy who, about
daybreak, were astonished to find themselves shut in by British forces
at each end of the Sault au Matelot. A hand to hand fight followed. The
Americans took refuge in the houses of the street and it was the task of
the British to drive them out. In this Nairne distinguished himself.
"Major Nairne of the Royal Emigrants and M. Dambourges of the same corps
by their gallant behaviour attracted the attention of every body,"
writes an English officer.[8] By ladders, taken from the enemy, they
mounted to a window of one of the houses, from which came a destructive
fire, and at the point of the bayonet drove the foe out by the door into
the street. In the end, to the number of more than four hundred, the
Americans were forced to surrender. The casualties included thirty
killed and forty-two wounded. By eight o'clock all was over. "It was
the first time I ever happened to be so closely engaged," Nairne wrote
to his sister on May 14th, 1776, "as we were obliged to push our
bayonets. It is certainly a disagreeable necessity to be obliged to put
one another to death, especially those speaking the same language and
dressed in the same manner with ourselves.... These mad people had a
large piece of white linen or paper upon their foreheads with the words
"Liberty or Death" wrote upon it." Nairne's account is modest enough.
One would not gather from it that his own conspicuous courage had
obtained general recognition.[9]

Even with Montgomery killed, Arnold wounded, and quite one-quarter of
their force dead or captured, those grim men who wished "Liberty or
Death" had no thought of raising the siege. Ere long Arnold was again
active and, for four months longer, the Americans kept Carleton shut up
within Quebec. So deep lay the snow that to walk into the ditch from the
embrasures in the walls was easy; buried in the snow were the muzzles of
guns thirty feet from the bottom of the ditch. Sometimes Nairne was
actively engaged in scouting work. In February we find him leading a
party to take possession of the English burying ground in the suburbs;
on March 19th, he went out into the open from Cape Diamond to the
height overlooking the Anse de Mer. But nothing happened; a diarist
expresses, on April 21st, his contempt for the American attack by
writing: "Hitherto they have killed a boy, wounded a soldier, and broke
the leg of a turkey."[10]

The assailants were, in truth, impotent before the masterly inactivity
of Carleton, who waited patiently behind his walls for the arrival in
the spring of a British fleet. Counting upon this expectancy the
Americans tried an old-time ruse. Between nine and ten o'clock in the
evening of May 3rd, with the moon shining brightly and the tide flowing
in and nearly high, a ship under full sail came into view from the
direction of the Island of Orleans. With the wind behind her she swung
in at a good rate of speed. Those who watched were, for a moment, sure
that the long expected rescue had come. But, as she bore down to the
_cul de sac_ where lay the shipping at Quebec, she made no response to
signals. At last, the British, after three vain efforts to draw a
response, warned her to reply or they should fire. When this threat was
carried out she was only some two hundred yards away. Then suddenly
flames burst out on the ship, followed by random explosions; a boat left
her side rowed very swiftly, and it was now apparent that she was sent
to burn, if possible, the British shipping. It must have been an
anxious moment when she was so near and heading straight for her prey.
But, showing a natural prudence, those who steered left her too soon
and, with no hand at the helm, her head came up quickly in the wind. By
this time all Quebec had been alarmed and, as attack from the landward
side was also expected, every man was soon at his post. The ship was a
striking sight as, with sails and rigging on fire, she drifted
helplessly before the town. When the tide turned she floated down, a
mass of fire, with explosions shaking her from time to time, to the
shallows off Beauport where she soon lay stranded, a blackened ruin of
half-burnt timbers.

Quebec still waited for rescue, and not in vain. At day break, on the
6th of May, a frigate appeared round Point Levi. Again went forth the
cry of "A ship," "A ship." "The news," we are told, "soon reached every
pillow in town." Men half dressed rushed to the Grand Battery, which was
quickly crowded with spectators, who indulged in much shaking of hands,
and in the exchange of compliments, as the character of the ship became
clear. She was the British frigate _Surprise_, and, with much
difficulty, had forced her way, under full sail, through the great
fields of ice which still blocked the river. Following her closely were
the _Isis_ and a sloop the _Martin_. Quebec went wild with joy. But
there was still serious business on hand. The _Surprise_ brought a part
of the 29th regiment and a good many marines. They were landed at once.
Carleton lost not a moment and, by twelve o'clock of the same day, the
gates of Quebec were thrown open and he marched out to attack the

It was only a thin red line that stretched across the Plains of Abraham.
But the Americans dared not face it. The newly arrived ships might, they
feared, carry a force up the river and cut off retreat; so, after some
desultory skirmishing, the investing army fled. It was now commanded by
General Wooster, for Arnold had gone to Montreal. The flight soon became
a panic. Arms, clothes, food, private letters and papers were thrown
away. Nairne was in command of a portion of the Highland Emigrants, who
were the vanguard of the British pursuing force, and was among the first
to occupy the American batteries. On that very ground he had fought,
victorious in 1759, woefully beaten in 1760; now, a victor again, he
helped to drive back a force, some of whose members had been his
companions in those earlier campaigns. That night the relieved British
slept secure in Quebec, while the bedraggled American force was making
its distressful way towards Montreal.

Though the American army soon withdrew from Montreal and from Canada,
the war was still to drag on for many weary years. Throughout the whole
of it Nairne remained on active service. In September, 1776, we find
him in command of the garrison at Montreal. In 1777 he was sent to
command the post at Isle aux Noix which guarded the route into Canada by
way of Lake Champlain. Here Fraser was serving under him as Captain; the
two friends were usually together throughout the war. At Isle aux Noix
Nairne remained until June, 1779. We get glimpses from his letters of
the defects in the service at this time. There were involuntary evils,
such as scurvy, caused by want of fresh meat and vegetables, but
relieved by drinking a decoction of hemlock spruce. Moral evils there
were too, such as gambling and drunkenness; in 1778 the commanding
officer gave warning that he had heard of losses at play, and that those
taking part in such practises would be excluded from promotion.

The British officers showed sometimes a fool-hardy recklessness. On
March 9th, 1778, one Lieutenant Mackinnon, with forty-five volunteers,
set out from Pointe au Fer, near Isle aux Noix, to surprise an American
post at Parsons' House, no less than sixty miles distant, and in the
heart of the enemy's country. A few days later two of the volunteers
returned with news that the attack had wholly failed, that six of the
party were killed and six wounded, and that Lieutenant Mackinnon and
four others were missing. So reckless an attack was bad enough and, in
the General Orders, it was condemned as "a presumptuous disregard of
military discipline"; only vigilance and watchfulness were required of
the picket at Pointe au Fer, so that the enemy might not invade the
province. At the incident the Commander-in-Chief was very angry. "I
never saw the General in such a passion in my life," wrote an officer to
Nairne. Mackinnon had surrounded the house in the darkness and both he
and his men, as far as is known, had done their best. Though wounded and
for a time missing, in the end Mackinnon got back crippled to Isle aux
Noix. But he had failed, and whispers soon began that he showed
cowardice in the attack; an absurd charge, as Nairne said, for he had
given proof of rather too much, than of too little, courage. The
accusation gave Nairne infinite trouble. The subalterns in the Royal
Highland Emigrants refused to do duty with Mackinnon, and General
Haldimand, who succeeded Carleton in the summer of 1778, would not take
the matter seriously enough to grant a Court Martial, that Mackinnon
might clear himself. For quite a year and a half the affair dragged on.
In the end, at a Court of Enquiry, Mackinnon was acquitted. Haldimand
told Nairne to rebuke the officers sternly for combining to subvert
authority, for disrespect to their superiors, and for refusing, on the
basis of futile reports and hearsays, to serve with Mackinnon. "I much
mistake his character," wrote Nairne of Mackinnon, "if he can ... be
prevented from calling one or two of those gentlemen to a severe

A part of Nairne's duty was to watch the French Canadians and check
sedition. In spite of the failure of Arnold's expedition many of them
were still favourable to the American cause. They harboured deserters in
the remoter parishes, gave protection and assistance to rebels, and
threw as many difficulties as possible in the path of loyalists. Nairne
found two men issuing papers from a printing press to foment sedition
and sent them down to Quebec to stand their trial for treason.

From Isle aux Noix Nairne was sent, in the summer of 1779, with fifty of
his Royal Highland Emigrants, to command at Carleton Island, near
Kingston where Lake Ontario flows into the St. Lawrence; some
thirty-five years later his only surviving son held a military command
at the same place. Here there was much to do in strengthening the
fortifications and in keeping up communications with Niagara and other
points in the interior. The situation was not without its
embarrassments. Prisoners were sent in from Niagara and he had no prison
in which to keep them. For want of fresh meat and vegetables there was
much sickness. But the Indians were his greatest trial. Through him came
their supplies and, to hold them at all, he had sometimes to serve out
the rum for which such savages are always greedy. On July 4th, Nairne
made a speech to these Mississaga Indians and said pretty plainly what
he thought of them. Against the American scouts they had proved no
defence; at night they fired off guns in the neighbouring woods and
created false alarms, which prevented Nairne's men from getting their
proper sleep. "My men work hard in the day," he said, "and I will have
them to sleep sound at night," and he warned the Indians that he would
fire upon them if their noise disturbed him further. The savages, he
wrote to Haldimand, are "almost unbearable, greedy and importunate."
They behaved more like rebels than friends and their talk ended always
in the demand for rum, "the cause of all bad behaviour in Indians."

On the remoter frontiers the war was ruthless beyond measure. Sir John
Johnson devastated the Mohawk valley, in the present State of New York,
and some of his prisoners were received at Carleton Island. Of this
inglorious warfare Haldimand's secretary, Captain Matthews, wrote to
Nairne a little later [17th June, 1780], "You will have heard that Sir
John Johnson has executed the purpose of his enterprise without the loss
of a man, having destroyed upwards of an hundred dwelling houses, barns,
mills, stock, &c., and brought off 150 Loyalists, besides Women and
Children." The worst outrages came from the Indian allies, of whom
Nairne thought so badly. From Niagara, on March 1st, 1779, Captain John
MacDonnell wrote to Nairne of the terrible massacre at Cherry Valley, on
the New York frontier, which excited horror throughout the colonies, and
did much to inflame the hatred of the Americans for England. Not,
however, the English but the Indians were really guilty. "There has
nothing appeared," wrote Captain MacDonnell, "on the theatre of the war
of near so tragical or rather barbarous a hue; the reflection never
represents itself to my view but when accompanyed with the greatest
horrors; both Sexes, young and old Tomahawked, Speared and Scalped
indiscriminately in the most inhuman and cruel manner. But that there
was all possible care and precaution taken to prevent them is
undenyable. Captain Butler, who had command of the expedition, was
indefatigable in his endeavours and exertions to restrain and mitigate
the fury and ferocity of the savages often at the risk of the Tomahawk
being made use of against himself as well as the Indian officers.... Out
of a hundred and seventy scalps three-fourths were those of Women and
Children." Butler's name is still looked upon in the United States as
that of a fiend incarnate, but the testimony of his fellow officer seems
to free him from blame for the worst of the horrors. Both sides were
bitter, but Nairne himself never shows any vehemence of passion. In his
view the war was a painful necessity, to be fought to the end without

Late in 1779, Nairne was recalled from Carleton Island. He reached
Montreal on the 5th of December, and, two days later, secured leave of
absence to look after his private affairs. At this time General
Haldimand had matured a plan to take advantage of the remote position of
Murray Bay to confine there some of his American prisoners. At Murray
Bay they seemed particularly safe. There was as yet no road over Cap
Tourmente; in any case to go in the direction of Quebec would mean
seizure sooner or later; to go in the opposite direction would be to
perish in the wilderness; and the only outlet was by water across a
wintry river some twelve miles broad. On the 26th of January, 1780,
Haldimand wrote to Nairne at Murray Bay that he was to erect buildings
for rebel and other prisoners, and that, to do the work, some men were
being sent down; he was to employ in addition as many of the inhabitants
as he might think necessary.

Nairne stayed on at Murray Bay in 1780 much longer than the two months
for which he had originally asked. A part of his duty was to watch that
American colony, so different in station and situation from the many
Americans who now visit the spot. As yet there were no barracks in which
to confine the poor fellows, and the climate of Murray Bay is not too
hospitable in winter. Some kind of rough quarters must have been
prepared for the prisoners, in the winter of 1779-80, and they were kept
busy in helping to build the houses intended for their occupation. They
seemed contented. One of them Nairne kept about his person. He knew
where everything was placed and all the men were used, Nairne says, in
the best manner he could think of. But liberty is sweet and they longed
for their own land. So, early in May, 1780, when the ice was out of the
river and there was a chance to get away, eight of them made a dash for
liberty.[11] No doubt under cover of night, they stole a boat and put
out boldly into the great river across which, in so small a craft, few
ever venture, even in mild summer weather. Almost wonderful to relate,
they reached the south shore in safety. Nairne was uncertain whether
they had gone up, down, or across the river. He hurried to Tadousac,
crossed to Cacouna and then went up the south shore. At St. Roch he
found that the men, rowing a boat, had been seen to pass. On May 14th
this boat was found abandoned. On the 15th the men were seen on the
highway carrying their packs. We are almost sorry to learn that the poor
fellows were in the end captured and taken to Quebec. Nairne reported
the flight of these men on the 14th of May. Their example was contagious
for, on the 18th, while he was absent in their pursuit, four others
made off, found a small boat on the shore some nine miles from Malbaie,
and put out into the river, where their tiny craft was seen heading for
Kamouraska on the south shore. A few days later two others also escaped.
These had not courage to strike out into the river, and one of them was
caught at Baie St. Paul. Nairne offered a reward of four dollars for
each of the prisoners and probably all were taken. A sequel of the
incident was that a non-commissioned officer and eight men of the
Anhalt-Zerbst Regiment were sent to guard the remaining prisoners at
Murray Bay--a task apparently beyond Nairne's local militia. This guard
was, no doubt, composed of Germans; one wonders to what extent they
fraternized with the French Canadians. It is amusing to read that, when
one of them deserted, he was brought back by a habitant.

In 1781 we find Nairne stationed at Verchères on the south side of the
St. Lawrence, nearly opposite Montreal. He was now in charge of the
expatriated Loyalists who had found refuge in that part of Canada. A
whole corps of them were billeted in the two parishes of Verchères and
Contrecoeur--the officers chiefly at Contrecoeur. They lived, of
course, in the cottages with the habitants. On December 16th, 1781,
Nairne writes to General Riedesel, a German officer who played a
conspicuous part on the British side in the Revolutionary war and was
now in command at Sorel, that the Canadians do not mind supplying
firewood for the loyalist officers but that they rather object to having
the same people quartered upon them for two years at a time. Though an
occasional officer had said that the Loyalists were not obedient, he
adds that they were quiet and orderly people. Some of them had large
families and must have crowded uncomfortably their involuntary hosts.
These colonial English living in the households of their old-time
enemies, the French Canadians, make a somewhat pathetic picture. We see
what domestic suffering the Revolutionary War involved. Some were very
old; one "genteel sort of woman," a widow, had four children, the
youngest but four months old; there was another whose husband had been
hanged at Saratoga as a spy. Very large sums passed through Nairne's
hands in behalf of the Loyalists. One account which he renders amounts
to about £20,000.[12]

Nairne's regiment, the Royal Highland Emigrants, had been put upon the
permanent establishment in 1779. Sometimes he complained that his own
promotion was slow; not until the spring of 1783 was he given the rank
of Lieutenant-Colonel. Having reached this goal he intended, as soon as
he decently could, to sell out and retire. Late in 1782 we find him
again in command at Isle aux Noix and not sure but that he may at any
time be surprised by the Americans. It seems odd that, though Cornwallis
had already surrendered at Yorktown, and the war was really over, Nairne
was still hoping for final victory for Great Britain; on February 8th,
1783, he writes: "It is to be hoped that affairs will at last take a
favourable turn to Great Britain; her cause is really a just one." In
fact preliminary articles of the most disastrous peace Great Britain has
ever made had already been signed.

Nairne was now anxious to go home. But even in June, 1783, he could not
get leave of absence from Isle aux Noix for even a fortnight. Conditions
were still unsettled. American traders were now pressing into Canada but
Nairne sent back any that he caught; the cessation of arms was, he said,
no warrant as yet for commercial intercourse and many suspicious
characters were about. The troops from Europe were returning home.
General Riedesel, about to leave for Germany, wrote from Sorel on July
6th, 1783, a warm letter of thanks to Nairne for the attention,
readiness, and punctuality of his services. Not long after, in the same
year, Nairne was at last free. He now sold his commission, receiving for
it £3,000. With the sale he renounced all claim to half-pay, pension, or
other consideration for past services and the sum he received was,
therefore, no very great final reward for his long services. There had
been some competition for this commission and its final disposal throws
some light on promotion in the army under the purchase system. General
Haldimand insisted that Captain Matthews, who appears to have been his
relative, should get it, since the General "must provide for his own
family." At this time Malcolm Fraser too thought of selling out but he
made difficulties about terms and the opportunity passed; Fraser was,
indeed, to live to see recruiting service in the war of 1812. When the
war was over, Nairne hurried to Murray Bay and to the country life in
which he delighted, and in his correspondence we soon find him
discussing not high questions of national defence but the qualities of
"a well-bred bull calf" and of an improved plough. "I have more
satisfaction," he says, perhaps with a touch of irony, "in a country
life and [in] cultivating a farm than even [in] being employed as first
major of the Quebec militia." Henceforth his heart is wholly at Murray
Bay and in his interests there.

[Footnote 8: Diary of an English Officer. Proceedings of the Literary
and Historical Society of Quebec, 1871-72, p. 61.]

[Footnote 9: See Appendix C., p. 273, for the text of his letter to his
sister describing the operations of the winter at Quebec. It is an able
review of the campaign.]

[Footnote 10: Proceedings of the Literary and Historical Society of
Quebec, 7th Series, 1905, p. 75; "Blockade of Quebec," etc.]

[Footnote 11: The men's names were Peter Ferris, Squir Ferris, Claudius
Brittle (Sr.), Claudius Brittle (Jr.), Nathan Smith, Marshal Smith,
Justice Sturdevant, John Ward.]

[Footnote 12: The book in which Nairne kept the accounts, with the names
of the recipients of the king's bounty, is still at Murray Bay.]



     Nairne's careful education of his children.--His son John enters
     the army.--Nairne's counsels to his son.--John Nairne goes to
     India.--His death.--Nairne's declining years.--His activities at
     Murray Bay.--His income.--His daughter Christine and Quebec
     society.--The isolation of Murray Bay in Winter.--Signals across
     the river.--Nairne's reading.--His notes about current events.--The
     fear of a French invasion of England.--Thoughts of flight from
     Scotland to Murray Bay.--Nairne's last letter, April 20th,
     1802.--His death and burial at Quebec.

Colonel Nairne's life was troubled with many sorrows. In 1773, when he
was on a visit to Scotland, Malcolm Fraser had had the painful duty of
writing to tell him of the death of three of his infant children at
Murray Bay from a prevailing epidemic. His daughter, Anne, born in 1784,
was sent to Scotland to be educated. She contracted consumption and
after a prolonged illness died there in 1796. "This event gave me great
affliction," wrote Nairne, "she was always a most amiable child." There
now remained two sons and three daughters,[13] and Nairne may well have
been certain that his name would go down to an abundant posterity. One
of the chief interests of his life was their training and education. All
in turn were sent to Scotland for their chief schooling. The eldest son,
John, born in 1777, and his sister Christine, some three years older,
lived in Edinburgh with aunts who showed exhaustless kindness and
interest. Nairne was grateful, and writing from Malbaie on August 27th,
1791, he says: "[I] am glad of an opportunity, my dear Christine and
Jack, to remind you both in the strongest manner I am able of the
gratitude and assiduous Duty you owe to your Aunts and other Relations
for admitting you into their family and also for the attention they are
pleased to bestow on your education." Upon his children he imposes
indeed counsels of perfection not easy to fulfil; "Remember it's my
injunctions and absolute orders to you both to have always an obedient
temper to your superiors ... to receive every reprimand with submission
and attention as it can only be intended for your benefit in order to
give you a valuable character which of all things is the greatest
blessing both for this world and the next; besides you must consider
that you are never to indulge yourselves in any sort of indolence or
laziness but to rise early in the morning to be the more able to fulfil
your Duty.... As to you, Jack, I expect to see you a Gallant and
honourable fellow that will always scorn to tell the least lie in your
life. It was well done to answer Captain Fraser [Malcolm Fraser, a
Lieutenant in 1762, is still only a Captain in 1791!] with which he was
well pleased.... Both of you have I think improved in your writing which
gives me pleasure." He adds regretfully to Christine: "I cannot send you
a muff this year but perhaps I may do so next year." The letter closes
with a modest list of purchases to be sent out from Edinburgh for
Malbaie: "one piece of Calico for two gowns; one piece of calico for
children; three pieces of linen (for shirts), two of which coarse and
the other a little finer; one yard of cambrick; five yards of muslin
(for caps and Handkerchiefs); six yards of lace (for caps); twelve yards
of different ribbons, three pairs of worsted stockings and three pairs
of cotton stockings for myself."

Jack was to follow a military career, and he entered the army when a
youth of sixteen or seventeen. His first active service was in the West
Indies, after war with revolutionary France broke out, and the dangers
of that climate gave his father some anxiety; all will be well, he
hopes, if Jack continues to take a certain "powder of the Jesuits'
Bark"; above all "the best rules are temperance and sobriety"; then "the
same gracious Power who protected me in many dangers through the course
of three Wars will also vouchsafe protection to you through this one."
In 1795, when Jack was only eighteen, his corps was back in England
and, through the influence of a distant relative, General Graeme, with
the Duke of York, Commander in Chief of the Army and all powerful in
days when promotion went avowedly by favour and purchase rather than by
merit, Jack secured a Lieutenancy in the 19th Regiment. His father was
delighted: "I wish you much joy with all my heart of your quick rise in
being at your age already a Lieutenant in an old Regiment whereas I was
past twenty-six years of age before I obtained a Lieutenancy in the
British service and that only in a young corps." At the time, with
Britain warring on the French Directory, service in Europe for Jack was
not unlikely, and was desired by Nairne. But in the end Jack's regiment
was ordered to India. Nairne was sorely disappointed, but writing to
Jack he laid down a great guiding principle: "we must suppose that
Providence orders everything aright and that, provided we are always
active and diligent in doing our duty, there is reason to be satisfied."
In view of what was to happen, his anxiety for the success of his son is
pathetic. He exhorts him in regard to every detail of conduct. He is to
avoid drink and gambling; to pay his accounts promptly; to be punctual
and scrupulously exact whenever duty or business is concerned. The
father is particularly anxious about his son's capacity to express
himself in good English and lays down the sound maxim that "writing a
correct and easy style is undoubtedly of all education the most
necessary and requisite." To acquire this he "ought to write and read a
great deal with intense labour, attention and application"; to write
several hours a day is not too much and to get time he must go to bed
early and rise early. It is wise to keep a grammar and dictionary always
at hand to correct possible errors. He should also translate from French
into English. The father himself undertakes the duty of the complete
letter writer, drawing up for Jack a model on which his letters may be
based. "In writing ordinary letters (as in conversation) a large scope
may be taken, as of News, all sorts of information, adventures,
descriptions, remarks, enquirys, compliments, &c., &c., but in a letter
upon business one is commonly confined only to what is necessary to be
said on the subject and to civilitys and politeness." Certainly Jack did
not lack admonition and when he does well his father writes that it
makes him "very happy." When in one letter Jack mentions the practise of
smoking his father is severe: "All our family have ever been temperate
not [practising] even the Debauchery of smoking tobacco, a nasty Dutch,
Damn'd custom, a forerunner of idleness and drunkenness; therefore Jack,
my lad, let us hear no more of your handling your Pipe, but handle well
your fuzee, your sword, your pen and your Books."

Certainly the pictures sometimes drawn of the brutality, violent manners
and ignorance of the British officer at this period find no confirmation
in Nairne's monitions to his son, or in the account of his own military
experience which dates from the mid-eighteenth century. He says to Jack:
"Say your Prayers regularly to God Almighty and trust entirely to His
Will and Pleasure for your own preservation.... If you should happen to
be in an engagement attend to your men, encourage them to act with
spirit in such a manner as most effectually to destroy their
enemy's."[14] When Jack is a little too free in his demands for money
the Colonel, writing on Nov. 22nd, 1795, tells him of his own

     I have done wrong in having given you so much money since you went
     into the Army which might have served you almost without any pay
     from the King and which by the bye I can little afford. You
     obtained it easily; for which reason I suppose you have spent it
     easily: you have no right to expect more than I had at your age yet
     you seem to regard twenty pounds as I would have done twenty
     shillings. But you must now understand that twenty pounds is a
     considerable sum to my circumstances they being straitened for the
     Rank and the family which I have to support; therefore I have to
     inform you that you are to draw no more Bills upon Mr. Ker nor upon
     me without first obtaining his or my consent in writing for so
     doing. It is no disgrace nor does it hurt the service (but quite
     the contrary) for every officer and soldier to live within the
     limits of the pay which Government has thought proper to allow
     them. They are thereby more led to temperance, to improve
     themselves by study, to mind their duty and how best to promote the
     service of their country. I served sixteen years as a subaltern
     officer in the army, made long sea voyages with the Regiment,
     furnished myself with sea stores, camp equipage and every other
     necessary equipments [and] my Father nor any Relation during that
     time was never [put to] one farthing's expense upon my account.
     Altho' I sometimes lost money in the Recruiting service I repayed
     it by stoppages from my pay, was always present with the men
     whether in camp or in Garrison and punctually attending on my Duty.
     I endeavoured to be in a good mess for my Dinner, drank small Beer
     or Water when it was good; when the Water was bad qualified it with
     a mixture of Wine or Ginger or Milk or Vinegar but no grog or
     smoking tobacco. I was always an enemy to suppers, never engaged
     myself in the Evenings, but on particular occasions or to be
     Complaisant to Strangers. Nor [did I] ask Company to see me when on
     Guard; nor show a Vanity to treat people. By which means I had a
     great deal of quiet and sober time to myself, to read and to write,
     &c., &c., especially as I always rose early in the Mornings. You
     may believe also that I was always far from being concerned in any
     sort of Gaming so as to risk losing any of my money or to have a
     desire to gain any from others. By such a Conduct I received more
     favour and regard sometimes from my Commanding officers even than I
     thought I was entitled to.

These monitions to Jack were written while his father was in Scotland in
1795. There they separated, the father to return to Canada with
Christine whose schooldays were now ended, Jack to go with his regiment
to India. In parting from his son the father pronounced a solemn
benediction: "that God may preserve you and assist you in following
always that which is good and virtuous shall ever be my most earnest
prayer." They never met again. Jack continued to draw rather freely upon
his father for funds, and Nairne wrote to the Colonel of the regiment to
ask for information about the young man. Before an answer came Scottish
relatives learned in 1800 of Jack's fate and wrote of it to Murray Bay.
A friend of the family in India had noticed in the newspaper that some
one was promoted to John Nairne's place. This led to enquiry, when it
was found that he had died in August, 1799. Not until six months after
his death, and then only in reply to the enquiry as to Jack's demands
for money, did his commanding officer write the following letter to
Colonel Nairne:

     _Colonel Dalrymple to Colonel Nairne_

     _From Columbo [India], 1st Feb., 1800._

     I received your letter dated October, 1798, but a short time ago
     but too late, had there been any occasion to have spoken to your
     son upon the subject it contained for, Poor fellow, it is with pain
     I'm to inform you of his death. He died upon the 7th of August,
     1799, in the Coimbalore country upon the return from the capture of
     Seringapatam. Never did a young man die more regretted nor never
     was an officer more beloved by his corps. He was an honour to his
     profession. An involuntary tear starts in my eye on thus being
     obliged to give you this painful information.

     The cause of his having drawn for so much money from Bombay was
     unfortunately his ship parted from us and they did not join at
     Columbo for some months, where I understand he had been induced to
     play by some designing people. But I assure you, from the moment he
     joined here, his life was exemplary for all young men. He was
     beloved by every description of people. From the very sudden way he
     took the field and the very expensive mode of campaigning in this
     country he was in debt to the paymaster. He was not singular; they
     were all in the same predicament. The first division of the prize
     money which was one thousand ster. Pagodas, about your hundred
     pounds, will only clear him with the Regiment.

Long before this letter arrived the news was known at Murray Bay.
Malcolm Fraser, the tried family friend, writes on September 1st, 1800,
that he has just discharged the most painful task of telling the sad
news to Jack's sister and companion, Christine, who was visiting in
Quebec. In his grief Nairne gives an exceeding bitter cry, "Lord, help
me. I shall lose all my children before I go myself." His sister
Magdalen wrote from Edinburgh on March 17th, 1800, to offer comfort and
to hope that he bears the trial "with Christian fortitude, and that God
will reward him by sparing those that remain to be a blessing to him,"
Nairne's sisters now had with them in Edinburgh the two remaining
children, Tom and Mary, called "Polly." John is gone but Tom is left,
says the fond aunt, and to console Nairne she tells of Tom's virtues:
"Never was father blessed with a more promising son than our little
Tom, and though I used to dread he was too faultless and too good to
live, I would now persuade myself he is intended by Providence to
compensate you for the losses you have sustained." On Tom now centred
the hopes of the Nairne family.


The sands of Nairne's own life were running out. As he looked around him
he could see much to make his heart content. He was never unmindful of
the singular beauty of the place. "I wish I could send you a landscape
of this place," he wrote to a friend, John Clark, in 1798; "Was you here
your pencil might be employed in drawing a beautiful one which this Bay
affords, as the views and different objects are remarkably various and
entertaining." This is, no doubt, a mild account of the beauties of a
very striking scene, but the 18th century had not developed our
appreciation for nature. Nairne tells of his delight in tramping through
the woods, and over the mountains, with a gun on his shoulder. The
increase of settlement, and the burning of the woods, had driven the
wild animals farther back into the wilderness, but partridges and water
fowl were still abundant. There was salmon fishing almost at his door
and "Lake Nairne," the present Grand Lac, had famous trout fishing. The
thick woods, which at his coming extended all round the bay, were now
cleared away. Much land had been enclosed and brought under cultivation
and to do this had been a laborious and expensive task. Now he had
three farms of his own, each with a hundred acres of arable land and
with proper buildings. There was also a smaller farm for hay and
pasture. "I have been employed lately," he writes in 1798, "making paths
into our woods and marking the trees in straight lines thro' tracts of
pretty good land in order to encourage the young men to take lots of
land." He tells how the successive ridges, representing, no doubt,
different water levels in remote ages, were numbered. In the highest,
Number 7, the lakes are all situated; the elevated land was generally
the best but as yet settlement was chiefly in Flats 1, 2, and 3. His
great aim had always been to get people on the land and he denounced
obstacles put in their way. "For God's sake let them pitch away, and if
they have not good titles give them better." The Manor House had become
a warm and comfortable residence well finished and well furnished. In
1801 Nairne wrote to his sister, with some natural exultation, that
where he had at first found an untrodden wilderness were now order,
neatness, good buildings, a garden and plenty of flowers, fruits and
humming birds. In the winter one might often say "O, it's cold," but
means of warming oneself were always available. His wife had proved
always a useful helper and was indeed a motherly, practical woman,
beloved by the people. These came to pay their compliments on the first
day of the year, when there was much drinking of whiskey and eating of
cakes, all costing a pretty penny. There were 100 young men in the
parish composing a complete company of militia. The children grew up so
fast that he could not distinguish the half of them.

On the commercial side also Murray Bay was developing. In 1800 a man
came through the district buying up wheat at "9 livers a Bushel," but
since the population was increasing very rapidly, and the people were
accustomed to eat a great deal of bread, there was not much wheat for
export. The total exports of all commodities amounted in 1800 to
£1500:--oil, timber, grain, oxen and a few furs being the chief items.
Oil was the most important product; it came from the "porpoise" fishery.
What Nairne calls a porpoise, is really the beluga, a small white whale.
The fishery is an ancient industry on the St. Lawrence.[15] The creature
has become timid and is now not readily caught so that the industry
survives at only a few points. At Malbaie it has wholly ceased; but in
the summer of 1796 sixty-two porpoises were killed at "Pointe au Pique."
In the summer of 1800, which was hot and dry, no less than three hundred
were "catched." Malbaie must have had bustling activity on its shores
when such numbers of these huge creatures were taken in a single
season. We can picture the many fires necessary for boiling the blubber.
The oil of each beluga was worth £5 and the skin £1. Nairne's own share
in a single year from this source of revenue was £70, but even then the
industry was declining.

We have Nairne's statement of income in 1798 and it indicates simple
living at Malbaie. We must remember that in addition, he had received a
number of bequests which brought in a considerable income and that he
had sold out of the army for £3000. Perhaps, too, 1798 was a bad year.

"Porpoise" fishery                          £20
Income from four farms at £20 each           80
Profits from mills                           20

The rent from the land granted to the habitants was scarcely worth
reckoning, as the people paid nothing until the land was productive, a
condition that could apparently be postponed indefinitely. Since under
the seigniorial tenure, the farmers must use the seigneur's grist mill,
Nairne had his mill in operation and Fraser was building one in 1798.
Nairne had also one or more mills for sawing timber. "I hope there are a
great many loggs brought and to be brought to your and my saw mills,"
Fraser wrote in 1797, but an income of only £20 a year from the mills
does not indicate any extortionate exercise of seigniorial rights.

Already some of the city people were beginning to find Murray Bay a
delightful place in which to spend the summer. In 1799 Nairne writes to
a friend, Richard Dobie, in Montreal, that it is the best place in the
world for the recovery of strength. "You shall drink the best of wheys
and breathe the purest sea air in the world and, although luxuries will
be wanting, our friendship and the best things the place can afford to
you, I know, will make ample amends:"--a simple standard of living that
subsequent generations would do well to remember. In 1801 the manor
house must have been the scene of some gaiety for there and at Malcolm
Fraser's were half a score of visitors. Christine, Nairne's second
daughter, who preferred Quebec to the paternal roof, had come home for a
visit and other visitors were the Hon. G. Taschereau and his son, Mr.
Usburn, Mr. Masson, Mrs. Langan and Mrs. Bleakley, Fraser's daughters,
described as "rich ladies from Montreal," the last with three children.
No doubt they drove and walked, rowed and fished, much as people from
New York and Baltimore and Boston and Toronto and Montreal do still on
the same scene, when they are not pursuing golf balls. The coming of
people with more luxurious habits made improvements necessary and also,
Nairne says, increased the expense of living--a complaint that
successive generations have continued with justice to make.

With Tom and Mary Nairne absent at school in Edinburgh, the family at
Murray Bay during Nairne's last days consisted of but four persons--of
himself and his wife and the two daughters Magdalen and Christine.
Christine, a fashionable young lady, disliked Murray Bay as a place of
residence, tolerated Quebec, but preferred Scotland where she had been
educated. "Christine does not like to stay at Murray Bay and Madie her
sister does not like to stay anywhere else," wrote Nairne in 1800. In
the manner of the eighteenth century he was extremely anxious that his
children should be "genteel". Christine's Quebec friends pleased him. "I
saw her dance at a ball at the Lieutenant-Governor's and she seemed at
no loss for Genteel partners but does not prepare to find one for life.
I am well pleased with her and do not in the least grudge her so long as
she is esteemed by the best company in the place." It was not easy to
find at Quebec proper accommodation for unmarried young women living
away from home. Nairne writes in August, 1797, that he and Christine
each paid $1.00 a day in Quebec where they lodged, although they mostly
dined and drank tea abroad. "The town gentry of Quebec are vastly
hospitable Civil and well-bred but no such a thing as an invitation to
stay in any of their houses." At length a Mr. Stewart opened his doors.
He must, Nairne wrote, be paid tactfully for the accommodation he
furnishes. Things went better when later Miss Mabane, the daughter of a
high official of the Government, kept Christine with her at Quebec all
the winter of 1799-1800; no doubt Christine was pleased when Miss Mabane
would not allow her to go to Murray Bay even for the summer. Her elder
sister, Madie, appears to have been hoydenish and somewhat uncongenial
to a young lady so determined to be "genteel."

In the winter time communication with the outside world was almost
entirely suspended. In case of emergency it was possible indeed to pass
on snow shoes by Cap Tourmente, over which there was still no road, and
so reach Quebec by the north shore. But this was a severe journey to be
undertaken only for grave cause. Partly frozen over, and often with
great floes of ice sweeping up and down with the tide, the river was
dangerous; the south shore, lying so well in sight, was really very
remote. Yet news passed across the river. On February 12th, 1797,
Malcolm Fraser, who was on the south shore, found some means of sending
a letter to Nairne. Anxious to get word in return he planned a signal.
He said that on March 6th he would go to Kamouraska, just opposite
Murray Bay, and build a fire. If Nairne answered by one fire Fraser
would be satisfied that nothing unusual had happened; if two fires were
made he would understand that there was serious news and would wish as
soon as possible to learn details. Signalling across the St. Lawrence
attained a much higher development than is found in Fraser's crude plan.
Philippe Aubert de Gaspé tells how the people on the south shore could
read what had happened on the north shore from Cap Tourmente to Malbaie.
On St. John's eve, December 26th, the season of Christmas festivities,
there was a general illumination. Looking then across the river to a
line of blazing fires the news was easily understood. "At Les
Eboulements eleven adults have died since the autumn, three of whom were
in one house, that of Dufour. All are well at the Tremblays; but at
Bonneau's some one is ill. At Belairs a child is dead,"--and so on. The
key is simple enough. The situation of the fire would indicate the
family to which it related. A fire lighted and kept burning for a long
time meant good news; when a fire burned with a half smothered flame it
meant sickness; the sudden extinguishing of the fire was a sign of
death; as many times as it was extinguished so many were the deaths; a
large blaze meant an adult, a small one a child. Before the days of post
and telegraph these signals were used winter and summer; so great an
obstacle to communication was the mighty tide of the St. Lawrence.[16]

At all seasons but especially in winter the news that reached Malbaie
was of a very fragmentary character. With his kin in Scotland Nairne
exchanged only an annual letter but since each side took time and pains
to prepare it, the letter told more, probably, than would a year's bulk
of our hurried epistles. Newspapers were few and dear and only at
intervals did any come. Books too were scarce. Occasionally Nairne notes
those that he thought of buying--St. Simon's "Memoirs;" an account of
the Court of Louis XIV; "A Comparative View of the State and Facultys of
Man with those of the Animal World;" "Elegant Extracts or Useful and
Entertaining passages in prose," a companion volume to a similar one in
poetry, and so on. He writes gratefully, in 1799, to a friend in Quebec,
who had sent newspapers and sermons, both of which remotely different
classes of literature had furnished "great entertainment." From Europe
he is receiving the volumes of the new edition of the Encyclopædia
Britannica, still on the shelves at Murray Bay, and is thankful that
they were not captured by the French. "The older I grow the fonder I am
of reading and that book is a great resource." Our degenerate age gets
little "entertainment" out of sermons and usually keeps an encyclopædia
strictly for "reference"; obviously Nairne read it.

The old soldier watched and commented upon developments which were the
fruit of seed he himself had helped to sow. He had fought to win Canada
for Britain; he had fought to crush the American Revolution. By 1800 he
sees how great Canada may become and is convinced that yielding
independence to the United States has not proved very injurious to Great
Britain. Though, in a short time, the United States was to secure the
great West by purchasing Louisiana from France, when Nairne died it had
not done so and in 1800 he could say that the United States "are small
in comparison of the whole of North America. They are bounded upon all
sides and will be filled up with people in no very great number of
years. Our share of North America is yet unknown in its extent.
Enterprising people in quest of furs travel for years towards the north
and towards the west through vast countries of good soil uninhabited as
yet ... [except] for hunting, and watered with innumerable lakes and
rivers, stored with fish, besides every other convenience for the use of
man, and certainly destined to be filled with people in some future
time. We have only [now] heard of one named Mackenzie[17] who is
reported to have been as far as the Southern Ocean (from Canada) across
this continent to the West." Long before Canada stretched from the
Atlantic to the Pacific Nairne was thus dreaming of what we now see.

Of war, then raging, Nairne took a philosophic view. "War may be
necessary," he writes in 1798, "for some very Populous countrys as any
crop when too thick is the better of being thinned." But it occurred to
him that the problem of over-population in Europe might have been solved
in a less crude manner. "It is strange," he says, "that there should be
so much of the best part of the globe still unoccupied, where the foot
of man never trod, and in Europe such destruction of people. It is
however for some purpose we do not, as yet, comprehend." Those were the
days when Napoleon Bonaparte's star was rising and when, in defiance of
England, led by Pitt, he smote state after state which stood in the path
of his ambition. Nairne's friend and business agent James Ker, an
Edinburgh banker, was obviously no admirer of Pitt, for he writes on
July 20th, 1797, of the struggle with revolutionary France which, though
it was to endure for more than twenty years, had already, he thought,
lasted too long:

     After a four years' war undertaken for the attainment of objects
     which were unattainable, in which we have been gradually deserted
     by every one of our allies except Portugal, ... too weak to leave
     us; and after a most shameless extravagance and Waste of the public
     money which all feel severely by the imposition of new and
     unthought of taxes, we have again sent an ambassador to France to
     try to procure us Peace.... If our next crop be as bad as our two
     last ones God knows what will become of us. If it were not for the
     unexampled Bounty and Charity of the richer classes the Poor must
     have literally starved, but we have been favoured with a very mild

In 1798 when Napoleon led his forces to Egypt and disappeared from the
ken of Europe, Nairne hopes devoutly that "he has gone to the Devil, or,
which is much the same thing, among the Turks and Tartars where he and
his army may be destroyed." After Nelson succeeded in his attack on the
French fleet at the Battle of the Nile Nairne rejoices that his country
is supreme on the sea, "By ruling the waves she will rule the wealth of
the world not by plunder and conquest but by wisdom and commerce and
increasing riches everywhere to the happiness of mankind." On March
20th, 1801, when Austria had just made with France the Peace of
Lunéville, Ker writes again to Nairne:

     We live in the age of wonders, sudden changes and Revolutions. The
     French have now completely turned the tables on us. They have
     forced Austria to a disastrous peace and Russia, Prussia, Denmark
     and Sweden from being our friends and Allies are now uniting with
     our bitter foes for our destruction, so that from having almost all
     Europe on our side against France we have now the contest to
     support _alone_ against her _and almost all Europe_ and nothing
     prevents the ambitious French Republic from being conquerors of the
     world but our little Islands and our invincible fleets.
     Notwithstanding all this we do not seem afraid of invasion and a
     large fleet under Sir Hide Parker and Lord Nelson is preparing to
     sail for the Baltic to bring the northern powers to a sense of
     their duty, and to break in pieces the unnatural coalition with our
     inveterate foes, the foes of Religion, Property, true Liberty,
     which but for our strenuous efforts would soon nowhere exist on
     this Globe.

In spite of what Ker says as to no fear of invasion, such a fear grew
really very strong in 1801, and, for a brief period, it seemed as if
Murray Bay might become a refuge for Nairne's kindred in the distressed
mother land. One of his sisters writes in an undated letter:

     We are much obliged to you for the kind of reception you say we
     should have met with at Mal Bay had we fled there from the French
     and I do assure you ... it was for some time a very great comfort
     and relief to think we had resources to trust to. I for one, I am
     sure, was almost frightened out of my wits, for a visit from these
     monsters, even the attempt, tho' they had been subdued after
     landing, was fearsome. I suspect you might have had more of your
     friends than your own family to have provided for. The Hepburns I
     know turned their thoughts toward you and all of us determined to
     work for our bread the best way we could. But you might have no
     small addition to your settlers; some of us poor old creatures
     would have settled heavy enough I fear upon yourself and family. It
     is a fine place Mal Bay turned by your account. What a deal of
     respectable company. I am glad of it on your account. A very great
     piece of good fortune to get Col. Fraser so near; I wonder he does
     not marry Maidy, but she will think him too old. I think Christine
     may do a great deal worse than spend the summer if not more at Mal
     Bay. You are most amazingly indulgent to her. I wish she would make
     a grateful return by bestowing more of her company on her friends
     at home in a situation it would appear so pleasant. But she is a
     good kind-hearted Lassie after all and I suppose when she has got
     her full swing of Quebec she will be very well pleased to return

A legislature now sat at Quebec, the result of the new Constitutional
Act passed in 1791, and Nairne might have become a member. Murray Bay
then formed a part of what, with little fitness, had been called by the
English conquerors the County of Northumberland, no doubt because it lay
in the far north of Canada as Northumberland lies in the far north of
England. Two members sat in the legislature for this county. "I never
had any idea of trying to be one of them," writes Nairne in 1800, "but
succeeded in procuring that honour for a friend Dr. Fisher, who resides
in Quebec. He is rich and much flattered with it and is ready on all
occasions to speak."

To Nairne, contrary to a general impression, the climate of Canada did
not seem to grow milder as the land was cleared. In any case the blood
of old age runs less hotly. Formerly the winter had its delights of
hunting excursions but now, he writes, these are all over. "The passion
I had formerly for hunting and fishing and wandering through the woods
is abated.... What with the cold hand of old age my former Winter
excursions into the woods seem impossible and no more now of fishing
and hunting which formerly I esteemed so interesting a business." He
writes again: "My employment is more in the sedentary way than formerly
and what from calls in my own affairs and calls from people here in
theirs, accounts to settle, &c., [I have] ... plenty of occupation.
Besides being a Justice of the Peace and Colonel of Militia ... I employ
myself without doors in farming, gardening, clearing and manuring land."
If we may credit the words of Bishop Hubert of Quebec written just at
this time (in 1794) the new liberties gained by the habitants did not
make the seigneur's task easier. The good bishop makes sweeping charges
of general dishonesty; of attempts to defraud the church of her tithe
and the seigneurs of their dues; of bitter feuds between families and
innumerable law suits. In such conditions Nairne, as a justice of the
peace, would have his hands full.

His end was drawing very near. One of his sisters died in 1798. This
brought sad thoughts but he wrote: "I am very thankful to have found in
the world connexions who have produced such regards and sympathys. Time
seems not to be going slowly now-a-days but running fast. I hope we are
to have other times and to know one another hereafter." "I must make
haste now," he wrote later, in 1801, "to finish all improvements here
that may be possible as I will soon be finished myself. Crushed already
under a load of years of 7 times 10 really I find the last 2 years ...
heavier than 20 before that time." "The scenes of this life," he had
written to his old friend and neighbour Malcolm Fraser "are continually
varying like the elements, sometimes cloudy, sometimes sun shine; [it]
never lasts long one way or the other till night soon comes and we must
then lie down and die. Therefore all is vanity and vexation of spirit,
but God will help us and most certainly some time or other bless and
reward the friendly honest man."

His last letter to his Scottish relations was intended to be a farewell:

     _Colonel Nairne to his Sister Miss M. Nairne From Murray Bay, 20th
     April, 1802._

     My Dear Madie,--

     I shall see our friends in the world of spirits probably before any
     of you; whatever darkness we are in here I have always convinced
     myself that we shall meet again in a better place hereafter.

     Although I have enjoyed good health till past 70 years of age, the
     agues of Holland and sometimes excessive fatigue have probably
     weakened parts of my inward machinery that they are now wore out
     and must soon finish their functions. I can have no reason to
     expect to live longer than our father; I am chiefly uneasy that the
     event may occasion grief to my sisters, yet it ought to be less
     felt my being at a distance; a poor affair to grieve when it must
     be all your fates to follow. I am happy that Mr. Ker understands my
     circumstances and my last will, and that he will be so good and so
     able to assist in settling it properly; I wish to follow his ideas
     therein in case of any difficulty, and I am likewise perfectly
     satisfied with all Mr. Ker's accounts with me. I write this letter
     to you to go by the first ship in case I should not be able to
     write later; I do not expect to be able to write to Robie Hepburn
     nor to Mr. Ker; nothing I can tell now from this country can
     entertain them; my mind is taken up with nothing but the
     Friendship, which they know.... So soon as the weather is warmer I
     intend to go to Quebec in order to obtain the best advice: I shall
     not personally be so conveniently situated there, as here. I am
     able yet to go out as far as a bank before the Door and to walk
     through the rooms; indeed the arrangements and conveniences of this
     house with the attendance and attention I receive are all in the
     best manner I can possibly desire; ... it's enough to say that were
     you here I think you would approve of them. Industry and neatness
     prevail and everything nesessary [is] foreseen and provided for. No
     wonder my wife and I agree so well now these thirty-five years as
     she happens to be equal in every moral attribute which I pretend
     to.... We are in friendship with everybody, because we do justice
     impartially and really without vanity have assisted many persons in
     forming farms and providing for the support of familys; although
     thereby not in the way of enriching ourselves it affords perhaps as
     much Satisfaction.

     This place certainly thrives exceedingly; although we may by such
     exertions be recommending ourselves to the Father of all things,
     how poor they appear in my eyes having read lately the Newspapers.
     Most unreasonable are some men in Parliament to find fault with the
     ministry of Pitt and Dundass who have steered the Vessel of the
     State so successfully through such dangerous times and threatening
     appearances. Every Briton I think has reason to be proud of his
     Country which is raised higher than ever before not only in
     national Character but in its prospects of Commerce and Wealth by
     the Peace [the brief Peace of Amiens signed in March, 1802]. What
     prodigious honour and glory has been acquired and bestowed upon our
     Army of Egypt, exertions indeed on the most conspicuous theatre of
     the World and at the most conspicuous period of the world. We
     formerly thought ourselves sort of heroes by conquering Louisbourg
     and Quebec but nothing must be compared to that of Egypt.... The
     French troops have fought much better under their Diacal
     Republican government than under their King's and our troops not
     only fight equally well as formerly, but our Generals and Officers
     are much better writers; never have I read better wrote letters
     than those describing these renown'd events.

     But pray allow me to sink into poetry to help to fill up this
     paper; ... let me transcribe a letter in verse which is handed me
     now by an old Soldier residing near us.[18] He received it from an
     acquaintance of his who is only a private soldier in the 26th
     Regiment. That Regt. is now gone home; ... should it be at
     Edinburgh pray invite James Stevenson to a dram of Whiskey for my
     sake; though I do not know the man we had served together in the
     American War and he shows the idea the private men had of me and
     how a man of a slender education (I believe from Glasgow) can make
     verses. The Canadians here, I believe, have the same opinion though
     they are very far from making verses upon any subject whatever; it
     is much more useful here to cut down trees which they can do with
     great dexterity.

     Quebec, 25th April, 1800.

        My worthy conty, gude Jock Warren,
        Thou's still jocose and ay auld farren,
        Gentle and kind, blythe, frank and free,
        And always unco' gude to me.
        And now thou's sold thy country ware
        And towards hame mean to repair.[19]
        Accept these lines although but weak
        And read them for thy Comrade's sake.
        May plenty still around thee smile
        And God's great help thy foes beguile,
        In Wisdom's path be sure to tread
        And her fair daughter Virtue wed.
        My compliments and love sincere
        To all our friends both here and there,
        But in particular to him
        That's tall in body, long in limb,
        Auld faithful Loyal, Johny Nairne,
        Lang may he count you his ain bairne;
        By his example still be sway'd;
        Be his good precepts still obeyed;
        Revere this good and worthy man
        And always do the best you can.
        This is my wish and expectation,
        God granting you and me salvation.
        We ance were young but now we're auld,
        Oour blood from heat commences cauld,
        A drop of whiskey warms the whole,
        Renews the body, cheers the soul;
        Observing still due moderation,
        In order to prevent vexation,
        Proceeding on with cautious care
        Till Death with his grim face appear;
        Then with a conscience, just and true
        See Heaven's Glory, in your View.

     My neighbour, Mr. Fraser, tells me that by my looks and speaking he
     cannot think me so ill as imagined. You will think the same by my
     writing the above. My distemper is owing to Gravelly Ulcers and it
     is a great chance at my time of life to recover, so [we] should be
     prepared for the worst.

     It is a satisfaction to me to have been able to write this letter,
     such as it is. My thoughts are every day and every night with my
     sisters and [I] figure myself frequently at your fireside. Remember
     I am not to write any more unless I get a great deal better. [I]
     shall refer you to Christine to correspond and to tell you all you
     would wish to know from this country. And now I have nothing but
     Compts. and love to send to all my friends--to Robie Hepburn as my
     oldest and nearest my heart--my blessings to his family, as to the
     Kers and Congaltons. And once more to Anny you and Mary and Mrs.
     Ker and my Polly and Tom. God bless you all. I am truly my dear
     Madie with much affection,

     Yours for aye,


Nairne was not mistaken in his view that the end was near. He writes
about this time to his physician at Quebec (there was no practitioner at
Murray Bay) describing his symptoms and ends: "Now, dear Doctor, I dare
say you think some apologies necessary for my troubling you so
particularly with the complaints of an old man of 71, as his inward
machinery is probably wore out and irreparable." In a last vain hope
they took him to Quebec for medical care. But the machinery was, indeed,
"wore out," and at Quebec, on July 14th, 1802, he closed his eyes on a
world which, though it brought him labour and sorrow, he thought to be
very good.

Among his own letters is preserved the printed invitation to his

     Quebec, _Wednesday, 14th July, 1802._


     The favour of your company is requested to attend the Funeral of
     the late Colonel Nairne, from No. 1 Grison Street, on Cape Diamond,
     to the place of interment, on Friday next at one o'clock in the

All that was most worthy in Quebec attended to do honour to his memory.
He was buried in the Protestant cemetery; long after his body was
removed to Mount Hermon Cemetery, to lie beside his son and
grandson--the last of his race.

Nairne played his part with high purpose and integrity. Among his papers
at Murray Bay is a prayer, intended apparently for daily use, in which
he asks that he may be vigilant in conduct and immovable in all good
purposes; that he may show courage in danger, patience in adversity,
humility in prosperity. He asks, too, to be made sensible "how little is
this world, how great [are] thy Heavens, and how long will be thy
blessed eternity." It is the prayer of a strong soul facing humbly and
reverently the tasks of life.[20] He would have wished to found a
community English speaking and Protestant. But the forces of nature were
against him. The few English speaking people who came in (and they were
but a few scattered individuals) for the most part married French
wives. The children held the faith and spoke the tongue which they
learned at their mothers' knees. It was the course of nature, and always
we are foolish to quarrel with nature. A granite monument marks the
resting place where the good old man sleeps in the cemetery at Quebec,
but some memorial might well stand at Murray Bay, that those who look
out upon the majestic river, the blue mountains, the smiling valley
should have before them a reminder of the "friendly, honest man" who, a
century and a half ago, began to win their heritage from the

[Footnote 13: It may be convenient to state at once the dates of the
births and deaths of each of these children:

Magdalen (Madie) (Mrs. McNicol)  born 1767  died 1839.
Christine Nairne                   "  1774    "  1817.
John Nairne                        "  1777    "  1799.
Mary (Polly) Nairne                "  1782    "  1821.
Thomas Nairne                      "  1787    "  1813.

[Footnote 14: See Appendix D., p. 277., for a formal memorandum drawn up
by Nairne for his son's guidance.]

[Footnote 15: See Appendix E., p. 279. "The 'Porpoise' (Beluga or White
Whale) Fishery on the St. Lawrence."]

[Footnote 16: "Les Anciens Canadiens," Chapter IV.]

[Footnote 17: Sir Alexander Mackenzie who accomplished in 1793 what was
then the astonishing feat of crossing the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific
Ocean and whose book, "Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence,
through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific
Oceans," first published in 1801, attracted general attention, including
even that of Napoleon Bonaparte.]

[Footnote 18: John Warren, the ancestor of the numerous family at Murray
Bay of that name.]

[Footnote 19: Warren, Nairne's neighbour, had been visiting Quebec
apparently for business reasons.]

[Footnote 20: See Appendix F., p. 286, for this Prayer of Colonel

[Footnote 21: The inscription to be placed on Nairne's tomb was long a
subject of debate in the family. Two drafts remain at Murray Bay, both
copious in length, and neither like the inscription now to be found at
Mount Hermon Cemetery. (See p. 221.) In the taste of the time
inscriptions were expected to give a full account of the career of the
dead man. One of these inscriptions speaks of Nairne's "enjoying as a
reward of his services a gift of Land on the River St. Lawrence. He had
alike the merit and the happiness of converting a wild and uninhabited
desert into a flourishing colony of above 1000 inhabitants, who regarded
him as their Tender Friend and Patriarch. He died honoured with the
esteem of all who knew him." The other inscription mentions what,
otherwise, we should not have known, that Nairne received a wound on the
Plains of Abraham. It goes on in verse:

    "Though 'gainst the Foe a dauntless Front he reared,
    Ne'er from his lips was aught assuming heard;
    Modest, though brave; though firm, in manners mild,
    Strong in resolve, though guileless as a child;
    To honor true, in probity correct;
    To falsehood [stern] and urgent to detect;
    To party strange, to calumny a foe;
    The good Samaritan to sons of woe;
    At a late hour he heard the fatal call,
    Obeyed and died, wept and deplored by all."



     His Education in Scotland.--His winning character.--He enters the
     army.--Malcolm Fraser's counsels to a young soldier.--Thomas
     Nairne's life at Gibraltar.--His desire to retire from the
     army.--His return to Canada in 1810-11.--His life at Quebec.--His
     summer at Murray Bay, 1811.--His resolve to remain in the
     army.--Beginning of the War of 1812.--Captain Nairne on Lake
     Ontario.--Quebec Society and the proposed flight from danger to
     Murray Bay.--Anxiety at Murray Bay.--The progress of the War.--An
     American attack on Kingston.--Captain Nairne on the Niagara
     frontier.--Naval War on Lake Ontario.--Nairne's description of a
     naval engagement.--Sense of impending disaster at Murray Bay.--The
     American advance on Montreal by the St. Lawrence.--Nairne's
     regiment a part of the opposing British force.--The Battle of
     Crysler's Farm.--Nairne's death.--His body taken to Quebec.--The
     grief of the family at Murray Bay.--The funeral.

At his father's death Thomas Nairne was the only surviving son. In 1791
the father had written of this boy, born in 1787 and thus only four
years old: "Tom continues very stout but not easy to manage and [I] am
afraid it will be difficult to separate [him] from his mother. He does
not speak a word of English; neither do your sisters Mary (now called
Polly) or Anny speak any other language than French; but I intend to
send them all to Quebec next summer, where it's to be hoped they will
soon learn to understand a little English." So to Quebec Tom was sent to
begin his education. By 1798, when only eleven years old, he had gone to
the relatives in Scotland and Nairne's friend, Ker, writes of him: "I
think Tommie one of the sweetest tempered fine boys I ever saw and he
will, I doubt not, be the comfort and delight of you all." Polly was
there too--"a very good girl ... of great use to her Aunts to whom she
pays every attention." Tom, like his brother John, was carefully
instructed by his father. He must look after himself, dress, care for
his clothes, and keep clean, without troubling others. Especially must
he try to think clearly and speak distinctly--truly a sound beginning of
education. His brother's death in 1799 made him an important person, the
pride of his house. "There are many Tams now in this parish," wrote his
father in 1801, "even a part of it is named St. Thomas, all in
compliment to our Tom." At the time of his father's death in 1802, a boy
of fifteen, Tom was attending the Edinburgh High School. Before me lies
a coverless account book of octavo size in which are written by some
careful person, in clear round-hand, recipes, scraps of poetry, problems
in arithmetic and geometry, and among other things, "Tom's Expenses,
1796." A quarter at the High School costs 10/6, "Lattin books," 4/-,
school money is 3/-, a ferret 3d., and so on. His sister Polly's
expenses are entered in the same book and that young lady's outlay was
more formidable. Items for the milliner such as "making up a Bonnet.
3/6," (young ladies still wore bonnets) are frequent. Miss Polly spent
6/- on ear-rings. Once when she took a "Shaise" it cost her 2/-, while
"Chair Hire" is sometimes 1/6 and sometimes reduced to the modest
proportions of 9d. No doubt for her health's sake she bought for 1/- a
"Sacred Tincture" which, we may hope, did her good.

Thomas Nairne was an attractive boy. He lived with his father's executor
and friend, James Ker, an Edinburgh banker, a wise, prudent, far-seeing,
man. Mr. Ker was married to Colonel Nairne's niece and he received Tom
as his own child. The boy was the inseparable companion of Ker's son
Alick. Tom won praises on all sides. An Aunt wrote seriously that she
had feared he was too good to live; and she comforted Nairne's grief at
his son John's death by the thought of what Tom will be to him. He is "a
happy chearful pleased little fellow always quiet at home"--but also
"happy and at home wherever he goes." So thoughtful, she adds, is he
that, entirely on his own motion, he deems it proper to write to his
mother; one of these letters is before me--beautifully written in a
large but well-formed schoolboy hand. "A very promising sweet young
man," was the renewed judgment of his business-like guardian upon Tom
in 1803, when he was a boy of only sixteen. By that time, it was thought
that Tom had exhausted the advantages of the Edinburgh High School. The
Edinburgh accent of the day did not suit the taste of his fastidious
guardian, who hoped that in an English school a better manner of speech
might be acquired. Tom's cousin and companion, Alick Ker, a boy a few
years older, was going to school at Durham and thither also went Tom.
The lads "are the greatest friends in the world," wrote his watchful
aunt; "Alick does not know how to exist without Tom but Tom is more
independent of Alick, for he is not so shy." In an aunt's, perhaps
partial, view Tom was quicker and showed more application than Alick.
"Tom advances with great deliberation in his height," she writes, which
was very convenient, for, since Alick was older, Tom came in for Alick's
out-grown clothes and this saved expense.

When the boy's school days were drawing to an end his future course was
the topic of much discussion. Tom's father had wished him to study law,
though not to practice it: in Canada, he thought, there was no lucrative
opening for any one trained in the law unless he was made a judge. Old
Malcolm Fraser, Tom's adviser after his father's death, would have had
him, for safety's sake, adopt a civilian life; he was the last male of
his house and therefore ought not to be exposed to a soldier's dangers.
Tom's Edinburgh friends wished him to become a Writer to the Signet or,
at any rate, to learn something about business since, as a landed
proprietor, he must be a man of affairs. But the youth took the matter
in his own hands. For his father's character and career he had always a
great reverence; soldier's blood was in his veins, and nature had her
way. Tom became a soldier and, when the school days are ended, we find
the boy, not yet eighteen, Lieutenant in the 10th Regiment of Foot.
Fraser wrote to Tom protesting against what he had done and from Maldon
Barracks, in Essex, on April 5th, 1805, Tom answers his godfather's
objections. Perhaps to add solemnity to his argument the old man had
assumed the tone of a valetudinarian and Tom replies: "I would fain hope
you had no reason for saying you would soon follow my dear Father. I
hope God will spare you to us since he has thought proper to take my
Father to Himself. Your loss would be irreparable, I having no other
person to protect my mother and sisters as I have chosen a line of life
in which I may never have the fortune of being near them." In spite of
Fraser's appeal, Tom's resolution to remain in the army was unshaken.

It was an amazing era in Europe and well may Fraser have feared for the
young Lieutenant's safety. While the boy was writing, Napoleon
Bonaparte, with the lustre fresh upon him of a recent gorgeous
coronation at Paris as Emperor of the French, was gathering at Boulogne
a great army and hundreds of small boats with which this army might, he
hoped, be thrown across into England within twenty-four hours. That
country was very nervous but, for some reason, Tom's regiment, instead
of being kept at home to meet the invader, was sent to Gibraltar. Here
he remained inactive while world-shaking events were happening, while
Trafalgar and Austerlitz and Jena were fought, and Pitt stricken with
"the noblest of all sorrows," grief for the seeming ruin of his country,
told those about him to "roll up the map of Europe," and died
heartbroken. Not unnaturally at such a time Gibraltar seemed dull; a
miserable place, Tom thought, a prison on a large scale. His friends
wrote him letters containing an abundance of good advice, all of which
he took with becoming modesty. A letter from Fraser of this character is
still excellent reading; his counsels to the young soldier have added
weight when we remember that the author was with Wolfe at Louisbourg and
Quebec and now, nearly fifty years later, was still active in the
militia forces of Canada.

     _Malcolm Fraser to Lieut. Thomas Nairne_

     _From Murray Bay, 7th October, 1805._

     My Dear Godson,--

     I had the very great pleasure of receiving yours of the 5th April
     last at this place on the 15th September and as your sister Miss
     Christine has wrote you I must refer you to her for the news of
     Murray Bay. She left this for Quebec a few days ago and every thing
     continues to go well here and I hope will do so. Your mother
     improves your estate daily and if she lives ten years I am
     convinced that she will make it worth double what it was ten years
     ago and if after a peace, when I hope you will have a company, you
     can get exchanged into a Regiment serving in this Country without
     losing rank, you will by that means have an opportunity of
     examining your own affairs here and it will give the greatest
     pleasure to your mother and other relations and friends within your
     native country, and particularly to me, should I happen to live so
     long. Christine has I suppose wrote that you are now an uncle, your
     sister Madie having been delivered of a fine boy about two months
     ago, and I have the pleasure to tell you that she and her husband
     seem to be very happy and, tho' I did not at first approve of the
     match, that I am now quite reconciled to it as are all her friends
     here, as well as those in Scotland as far as I can learn.

     Now as to yourself: tho' I had some objections to your going into
     the army so very young, yet now that you have become a soldier, I
     hope you will continue to follow the military life with ardour and
     Emulation as far as lays in your power and that you will endeavour
     to employ your spare time in acquiring the various accomplishments
     necessary to become a good officer. I would by no means advise you
     to avoid such innocent pleasures and amusements as are suitable to
     your age and rank. But I pray you beware of being led astray or
     going into any excess. I am very glad to find that the army is now
     in general much less addicted to (what was falsely called) the
     pleasures of the bottle than in former times, but you may still
     meet with temptations in that way which I hope you'll guard
     against. Try to resemble your late worthy father in temperance and
     moderation as well as in punctuality and exactness in doing your
     duty with strict subordination to your superiors, particularly to
     the commanding officer of your corps, as it is by his
     recommendation, commonly, that those under his immediate command
     may expect promotion. You must by all means avoid getting into any
     parties or factions against him, which I have known sometimes to
     have unfortunately happened to others; but there can be hardly
     anything more detrimental to the service as well as dishonourable
     to the corps wherein it takes place. I would also recommend to you
     ..., in case you are engaged in any action, to beware of passing
     judgment on the conduct of your Commanders, till at least you are
     of an age and have acquired experience to entitle you to give your
     opinion, as it is very common for a young man to be mistaken. You
     must also avoid any dispute or difference with your brother
     officers, for tho' there are unhappily some cases where a gentleman
     _must_ vindicate his honour yet where I have known such things
     happen they might have been prevented _with honour_ if the parties
     had not allowed their passions to get the better of their reason;
     and you must remember there is never honour to be acquired by being
     quarrelsome, but the reverse, and that your life ought now to be
     devoted to the service of your King and country. I know you will
     not be sparing of it when occasion requires.

     I would also recommend to you to read useful books when you have
     time and to acquire a competent knowledge of History, both Ancient
     and Modern, especially that of the country in whose service you
     are engaged, as also such books as treat of your profession; and to
     pay particular attention to the lives and actions of those who have
     distinguished themselves in its service, who you will find to have
     been in general as remarkable for their moral, as for their
     military characters; and I hope you will endeavour to imitate them
     and, tho' you may not acquire the rank, you must remember that you
     cannot become a _good general_ or even a good officer without first
     acquiring a competent knowledge of your profession. For this
     purpose (tho' I never had any proper knowledge of those matters
     myself yet I am sensible of my deficiency) I would have you study
     and read such books as treat of fortification and encampments; and
     as you are still very young I imagine you may soon acquire a
     competent knowledge by such reading, suitable to avail yourself of
     it on any emergency.

     I must now recommend you to keep those who may be under your
     command in that degree of subordination and obedience which the
     service requires. But you must never forget that your inferiors,
     even the Private Man who serves in the ranks, is your fellow
     soldier and fellow-man, and that you are bound to show him every
     attention and humanity in your power. This was one of the many good
     qualities for which your father was remarkable, for which he was
     beloved by all ranks; and I hope you will imitate him. I must now
     conclude by recommending to you to let me hear from you once a
     year, at least, or oftener if an opportunity offers. Nothing can
     give more pleasure than to hear good accounts of you to

     Your affectionate godfather,


     In short you must never forget that you may at times become
     responsible for the lives and honour of those under your command as
     well as for your own, and, it may even happen, for that of your
     King and Country, in some degree, and that you are to act
     accordingly. All this with more and much better you may read or
     hear from others; but I flatter myself that you will not think the
     less of it as coming from _me_.

It must be admitted that the soldier's ideal in that age for the British
army was as high as our own. We are accustomed to think that a hundred
years ago drunkenness was hardly accounted a vice. Perhaps it was not in
civil life, but in the army, in young Nairne's time, sobriety was the
rule. Writing on May 20th, 1807, he says that few in the army resort to
drink, as a pleasure, even at Gibraltar, where wine is cheap and
plentiful; the allowance in the regiment after dinner is but one-third
of a bottle, and only now and then when there are guests is it usual to
depart from this allowance. The deadly dullness and idleness of
Gibraltar were its chief defects, the young officer thought.

There had been futile talk of peace. On August 13th, 1806, Ker wrote to
Murray Bay from Edinburgh: "We expect to hear of Peace between this
country and France. The Earl of Lauderdale has been sent to Paris to
treat. But what sort of peace can we make with Bona Parte?" What sort
indeed? Peace was not to come during Tom Nairne's lifetime. He was
getting ready meanwhile for an enlarged career. At Gibraltar he pressed
his guardian to purchase him a captaincy. Those were the bad old days
when promotion in the army went largely by purchase and Tom had been
Lieutenant for little more than a year when, at a cost of £1,000, Ker
bought for him the desired rank; he attained to this dignity at the age
of nineteen. The purchase strained his resources severely but his family
got some comfort out of the thought that he was advancing. There was an
excellent library at Gibraltar and he had good opportunities for
self-improvement of which he promised to avail himself. But the promise
was hardly realized. At any rate Tom gave a very poor account of his own
doings for, after he had returned to England, he wrote to his mother
(from Chelmsford Barracks on March 19th, 1808) a not very flattering
account of himself at Gibraltar:

     Only figure to yourself a rock, about two miles and a half in
     length and scarcely the fifth part of that in breadth, and then
     most likely you will not be so much astonished at my making the
     above comparison [of Gibraltar to a prison], from which you may
     wisely suppose that those unfortunate beings who had the misfortune
     of being shut up in it led a most inactive and stupid life....
     However, to give the Devil his due, I must not omit to observe that
     it contained a most excellent Library, by which means officers
     might improve themselves greatly and spend their leisure hours to
     their credit, provided they were desirous of doing so; particularly
     as nothing existed in that place to take off their attention from
     study; and I make no doubt but some young men had the sense to
     profit by that favourable opportunity. At the same time [I] am
     extremely sorry to inform you your promising son did not, in any
     shape whatever, and am much concerned to add that he spent a very
     idle life whilst there, doing nothing else the live-long day than
     riding or lounging; which I presume you will think was a complete
     disgrace to any man of a liberal education, in which I perfectly
     agree with you.... I sincerely hope and trust that he [your son]
     will mend as he becomes older and wiser.

Tom confesses himself at this time "a complete idle, good for nothing
fellow," but he disarms his mother's reproaches when he adds that he is
chiefly occupied in thinking of her and of his large estate in Canada
where he longs to be. It had for him a new attraction, since his cousin
Alick Ker was just going out to Canada, a Captain on the staff of Sir
James Craig, the new Governor, who was related to the Kers. For the time
Tom's family was content that he should be at Gibraltar, where he was
safe, and where, too, as Ker prudently says, "he lives cheaper than he
could in England, has a genteel [how the age loved that word!] society
and the use of a large Library." He rode on the sandy beach; sometimes,
until the coming of the French troops, the British officers were allowed
to ride into Spain.

These diversions all came to an end on August 26th, 1807, when Tom
turned his back on Gibraltar for good. Incredible as it may now seem,
the voyage to England took nearly a month; he arrived on the 24th of
September. The young man had been turning over seriously his future
prospects. In a letter to his mother he makes some enquiry about his
own probable income from his estate. While protesting that he is himself
"a Devilish ugly fellow" he has some thought of getting his mother to
choose a "rib" for him and, presumptuous as it may seem, she must be
handsome. He was thinking now of a civilian career. At Gibraltar he had
found that he was short-sighted, and long sight seemed a necessity to a
soldier. But Fraser, to whom he poured out his woe, answered that
short-sightedness need not interfere with his efficiency; Colonel Nairne
had been short-sighted and yet, withal, a successful officer; the
question of sight would matter only if he was in command, in face of the
enemy, and, even then, he could get assistance. Fraser advised him to
stay in the army until he attained the rank of a field officer, when he
might retire on half pay to his estate at Murray Bay, "extensive but not
valuable in proportion." In truth Tom, tired of the army, was home-sick.
He says to Fraser that he is "feeling an indescribable degree of anxiety
to see my dearest mother, sisters, and yourself, not forgetting to
include my estate, where I often figure myself, strutting about like
unto a mighty Bashaw; which peaceful idea I sincerely hope will be
realized, some day or other, if it pleases God to spare me so long; ...
my only desire is now that blessed time may be near at hand or even that
I could afford to set out to Murray Bay without any further delay.
However it is proper to drown that wish, for the present, amongst the
noise of arms, as the whole world is up against us, and my assistance,
though little enough, God knows, may be of some use. At all events it
would be tasting the sweets of this life before I had ever felt the
miseries of it." He ends by asking that nothing of which he is possessed
may be spared "towards making Alick Ker pass a pleasant time in Canada."

The fear which the old aunt had ingenuously expressed that Tom might
prove too good to live was happily belied, for he appears to have been a
sufficiently idle young fellow, though, as his watchful guardian wrote,
"a good economist"; the same guardian thought this extremely opportune,
since "Bona Parte," with all Europe under his heel, was making it lively
for the fortunate islands, and forcing them to levy a tax of 10% on
incomes. "This tax," writes the indignant banker, "is one of the many
blessed fruits of the French Revolution, and of the horrible tyranny and
perfidy of their rascally Emperor."

Not long did Tom remain in England. Soon he was off with his regiment to
Sicily, at this period garrisoned by British troops, and saved by a
strip of inviolate sea from the grasp of the master of Italy. The
sojourn in Sicily must have been dull. He was stationed at Syracuse, but
his school training had not gone deep enough to interest him in
Thucydides's marvellous story of the siege of that place or in the
antiquities of Sicily. The chief surviving record of his sojourn in
Sicily is an account from his washerwoman, "Mrs. De Lass," dated at
Syracuse the 8th of March, 1809. His distaste for the army was now
complete. His sister Polly had ended her school days and, by a fortunate
circumstance, had gone out to Canada "under the protection of Sir
William Johnstone's lady" and to Canada Tom was himself resolved to go.
Early in 1810, he was back in Edinburgh, taking a few weeks' holiday
with the Kers, resolved to go on half pay at once, if possible, or,
failing this, to sell out, and after a delay of fourteen or fifteen
months, to go home to Murray Bay. The intervening time he intended to
spend in the study of farming; he had almost completed a plan for going
into Berwickshire to reside with a farmer and thus equip himself as a
land owner. His friends thought him changeable. "The Captain," wrote Ker
on the 30th of March, 1810, "is a sweet tempered good young man but he
wants steadiness.... I fear that after trying to be a farmer at Murray
Bay he may tire and want to return to the army." So serious was Tom
about his future bucolic life that he wrote to his sister Christine, as
he had written before to his mother, to ask whether she did not think he
should look round for a wife; such a companion would be necessary, he
thought, if he settled down as a farmer in Canada. We can imagine that
the proposition, from a youth of twenty-three, caused some dismay among
the occupants of the Manor House at Murray Bay; but Tom was soon
professing himself something of a woman hater and he never married.

His return to Murray Bay followed quickly. By a fortunate, or perhaps,
in view of the tragic fate awaiting poor Tom, unfortunate, chance,
instead of going on half-pay, he was able to exchange from the 10th
Regiment of Foot to the Newfoundland Regiment. The chief reason for the
exchange was that the Newfoundland Regiment was ordered to Canada, where
Tom could get leave of absence to pay a long visit to Murray Bay and
learn how its life would suit him. So, in the autumn of 1810, the young
man was in Canada, which he had not seen since childhood. To Murray Bay
he soon paid a flying visit; the longer leave of absence would come
later. His competent, busy, prudent and affectionate old mother welcomed
him with open arms. He had thought of himself as a young Bashaw
strutting round among the people of his seigniory. No doubt they were
much interested to see the young Captain; but his duties soon called him
back to Quebec, from which place on December 3rd, 1810, he writes to his

     I have this moment finished drinking tea, all alone.... You have
     totally spoiled my relish for anything except for Murray Bay; my
     notions of things in general appear to be entirely changed. Murray
     Bay while viewed only in perspective afforded me a sort of pleasing
     reflection; but now that I have a nearer view and enjoyed its
     comforts my ideas have experienced a complete revolution. So you
     see what your society and most kind loving treatment have effected.
     You may therefore rest assured that no stone will be left unturned
     to try to get back in order that we may remain together in this
     world as long as it may please the Almighty to permit us. On my
     arrival here at 2 o'clock p.m. I proceeded to the Upper Town in
     order to look out for a bed, concerning the getting of which I had
     entertained my doubts being, _tout ensemble_, a queer figure,
     having on my covered handkerchief, thick great coat, Canadian
     boots, and round hat; in short at the first essay I was refused by
     a "No room in the house, Sir," a common reply given to those whose
     unfortunate appearance happens not exactly to please the harsh and
     scrutinizing eye of the lord of the mansion. I then turned my
     frozen steps towards this house of hospitality where after
     explaining _mon besoin_ to the waiter he scrupulously and
     critically eyed me from top to toe, from head to foot, then turned
     on his heel to go to his master and report accordingly. During his
     absence I commenced a serious inspection of self to find if
     possible what had attracted his attention so pointedly towards my
     toes, when I observed the cause to be the silver chain of my
     over-alls peeping out from under my great-coat; which, no doubt,
     was the reason of having received a favourable answer; for on his
     re-entrance he asked me to sit down and I finally engaged a room.

On January 9th, 1811, Tom wrote to say that a man had arrived from
Murray Bay but without letters:

     "What the Devil has come over those sisters of mine? Pray are they
     still behind the stove patching their old stockings? No time
     forsooth--Rediculous--Could not the lazy wretches have only wrote
     me the scratch of a pen merely to wish me a good New Year? Mr.
     McCord to be sure mumbles something about time; it is highly
     diverting to have country lasses talk about want of time,
     particularly those I am now speaking of, unless they have greatly
     altered for the better since I saw them last, and turned their
     hands to cow-keeping, tending of poultry, or something of that
     description; but I'll be bound for it they still employ themselves
     with nothing else except perching behind the stove, growling, and
     driving carriols."

He exhorts his sisters to take long walks in the fine cold weather. Then
he dips into politics. There is to be an election at Murray Bay for the
county of Northumberland and Mr. Bouchette, a Canadian, had asked for
the interest of Tom as seigneur. He regrets that he cannot himself offer
to stand since he is unsettled in plans, "and totally unacquainted with
the language of the country"; a strange comment on the fact that in
early youth he had known only French. The habitant had recently secured
the right to vote but already pleased himself in exercising it. Though,
as Tom says, "Dr. La Terrière of the adjacent seigniory of Les
Eboulements, the Curés, and the Devil knows who" all wished Bouchette
elected and Tom was himself anxious that a habitant should not be
chosen, Bouchette failed and a habitant was sent to Quebec to represent
the district in the Legislature.

Tom's letters written during the winter of 1810-1811 are full of the
gossip and events of the time in Quebec. He is now obviously keen for
self-improvement, and, in the manner of his father, for the improvement
of others also; while congratulating Polly on the better style of her
letters which are now "sprightly", he corrects her spelling. Among other
things he is trying to complete a proper inscription for his father's
tomb. He sends for the title deeds of his property in order that he may
do homage to the governor Sir James Craig, and shows a lively interest
in the management of his estate. His father's old friend, Colonel
Fraser, was visiting Quebec which, more than fifty years earlier, he had
helped to win for Britain but where now, it is somewhat sad to think, he
has, as Tom says, very few acquaintances. So the young Captain spends
two or three hours daily with the Colonel and finds that he has many
interesting subjects to talk with him about. He drives with him into the
country. He enquires about a house in Quebec which his mother had some
thought of buying and talks of a trip to Montreal to buy a horse to send
to Murray Bay. In the letters home Christine, "Rusty" is the special
object of his teasing. She has been accustomed to spend the winters at
Quebec, but is now at Murray Bay, and he asks how she likes the dull
country at this season. "She never says anything about it, which is in
her favour.... I trust that through the means of Picquet you contrive to
keep her rusty dollars moving." Tom's absence from Murray Bay was soon
to end. On March, 23rd, 1811, he wrote joyously that he has got leave of
absence for six months, and is coming "to my own dear Murray Bay."
Christine had been dangerously ill and he is naturally anxious to be at

So behold the young seigneur disporting himself at Murray Bay in the
spring of 1811. Old Malcolm Fraser, at the manor of Mount Murray just
across the bay, kept a watchful eye on the godson who, he had begun to
fear, was not proving wholly satisfactory. The cause of Fraser's
misgiving is not clear but he lectured Tom with tactful insight. Of his
own career the young officer was now beginning to take a new view.
During the long holiday at Murray Bay he had time to taste its pleasures
and to learn its chief interests. He went out fishing and shooting; he
sailed and rowed on the river; he occupied himself in the daily business
of the seigniory, for which his competent mother had so long cared; she
was now building a mill which would probably add to Tom's revenues. He
made friends with the curé Mr. Le Courtois. This gentleman, a French
émigré, who found a refuge in Canada, had thrown himself with great
devotion into the rough life of a missionary among the scattered
peoples, Canadians and Indians alike, of his remote parish. He was a man
of culture and remained always a valued counsellor of the Protestant
family in the Manor House.[22] But, in spite of all the interests and
friendships at Murray Bay, Tom soon found that the little community
hardly needed him. Every thing was well looked after, prosperous and
promising. He would be only a fifth wheel to the coach and, before long,
he had made up his mind that he had better stick to his military career.

Without doubt Tom was a young man of winning character. Malcolm Fraser,
having studied him and lectured him, reconsidered his unfavourable
estimate, and wrote to Ker on the 10th of October, 1811: "I think him
incapable of any immoral or mean action; ... he seems to hearken to the
lectures of his old Godfather tho' not perhaps always delivered in the
most delicate Style." To his mother he was a tender son, and for his
father's memory he showed a filial reverence. One of his first acts on
arriving in Canada had been to arrange for the erection in Quebec of a
proper monument in his memory--something that others had long talked
about and which Tom brought to completion, but which has, alas, long
since disappeared. Tom was in truth a man of action, and to action in
the larger world he now turned. Towards the end of September, 1811, at
the time when, to-day, Murray Bay's summer sojourners turn reluctantly
homeward from the crisp autumn air and from the mountain sides beginning
to show the season's glowing tints, Captain Nairne set out from the
Manor House to join his regiment at Quebec. He had in mind a plan to go
back to Europe and to get to Spain or Portugal for a share in the
Peninsular War then raging. Fraser, now in his 79th year, writes on
October 10th, 1811, his advice that the young man "should continue on
full pay till he attains the rank of Major, by brevet or otherwise, and
then, if he chooses, he may exchange and retire on the half of whatever
full pay he holds at the time, and as soon as such exchange can be
accomplished with decency and propriety." War with the United States was
now impending, hardly a fitting time for a young man to withdraw from
the army, and Fraser points out that "in the present situation of public
affairs and at his age and fitness for service" Tom's retirement would
be hardly decent. "Next to my own nearest connections," he continues,
"my chief attention will be paid to Captain Nairne and the other
connections of his late Father with whom I had the happiness to live in
Friendship and intimacy from our first meeting (1757) till his Decease
(1802) and I trust we shall meet again in a future state."

The young man thus returned to his military duties with his old friend's
benediction and restored confidence. But to the family the plan for a
military career was a sore disappointment. His sister Christine, its
woman of the world, and the one most in touch with the Canadian society
of the time, was keen that Tom should live at Murray Bay. To her
entreaties he answers on October 6th, 1811, that there is no earthly use
for him at Murray Bay where everything is so well looked after that his
presence would do more harm than good. Time would hang heavy on his
hands if he were always employed in fishing, shooting and navigating the
river. It is better, he says, that he should continue in his present
position and he intends to withdraw his application for half pay. When
Christine returns to the charge and urges that Murray Bay is not to be
despised the young man retorts that he never said it was and answers her
with some dignity:

     It will ill become me to despise the favourite residence of a
     person for whom I have at all times testified the greatest love
     esteem and respect. Indeed I think my behaviour hitherto might have
     spared me such a severe remark.... You charge me with being
     inconsistent and changeable, in which opinion you are not, I
     believe, singular; but until you point out to me where I have been
     so, I shall till then, plead not guilty in my own mind.

War was now brooding over Canada--the fratricidal War of 1812. But for
the time Quebec was gay. There was hardly a week without a private ball,
Tom wrote in February, 1812; and the assemblies, dinners and suppers
were innumerable. He chaffs his sister Christine, whose rheumatic pains
had apparently become a kind of family joke, and says that, since they
are the enemies of high kicking, her inability longer for this pastime
"is partly the cause of her sounding a retreat to the peaceful shades
and grottoes of Murray Bay." Polly, the other unmarried sister, was more
content to be at Murray Bay, with results that led to a family tragedy
as we shall see later. Her brother pictures her driving his nag with her
carriole through the country; so reckless is she that she is sure to run
down some one. "Does she, proud and high, still continue hopping away to
the country weddings?" His request that Pope's Works and _The Spectator_
be sent to him seems to indicate a serious turn of mind. He is sending
to Murray Bay _The Lady of the Lake_ and _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_
whose middle-aged author was just turning from poetry to win
unprecedented success as a writer of fiction. In the spring he goes out
shooting for snipe nearly every day; and he sends to Murray Bay for his
fishing tackle. When a fellow officer falls ill he sends him down to
Murray Bay for a month.

Soon came a more active life. War with the United States was near and
Canada was getting ready. In May, 1812, Malcolm Fraser, led to Quebec
from Murray Bay and the intervening parishes what militia he could
muster. At the same time, he was made a commissioner to administer the
oaths of allegiance: in extreme old age the veteran was ready again to
do what he could. The Newfoundland regiment, to which Tom belonged, was
ordered to the interior. The storm cloud drew near and burst on June
19th, 1812, in the form of a declaration of war by the United States on
Great Britain. The Americans intended to pour troops into Upper Canada,
but sparsely settled at that time, and quickly to occupy it. The
frontier on the Niagara River was the chief danger point and the
Newfoundland Regiment was sent up to Lake Ontario to aid in the defence.
On July 3rd, 1812, Tom writes from Kingston in Upper Canada. The news
has reached him that war has been declared; and already, busy with the
task of placing men and supplies where they will be most needed, he has
been the length of Lake Ontario in the _Royal George_; staying two days
at York, now Toronto; going thence to Niagara and then sailing back to
Kingston. At Kingston there are 1,000 militia and Carleton Island,
(where Tom's father had commanded in the War of the American Revolution)
has been taken by the British--an inglorious success for its garrison
consisted of but three veterans and some women. The adjacent Indians,
says the young Captain, "are anxious to be at the Yankees with their
Toma-hawks." Altogether some exciting campaigns were in prospect and Tom
was glad that his family was "snug at Murray Bay."


There, remote and isolated, they seemed indeed safe--so safe that, to
share the security, a general descent of their friends seemed imminent.
At Quebec there was, for a time, something like a panic. "Every one
here," wrote Mrs. Hale to Miss Nairne "is in a complete state of anxiety
and suspense, not at all knowing whether we shall be attacked, or what
may become of us. I have just now seen Colonel Fraser, who assures me I
shall be welcome at your mother's house, in case we should be obliged to
leave Quebec. [He] advised my writing for fear you should have
applications from other quarters.... Many ladies are going to
England.... My spirits are so depressed that I cannot pretend to amuse
you with any anecdotes." Murray Bay offered its hospitality with great
heartiness and Mr. Hale wrote, "I believe all Quebec mean to move
towards you if necessary, so you must prepare."

Quebec was in a flutter of successive excitements, now certain that it
was invulnerable, now fearing an immediate descent of the enemy, and
always longing for peace. In England the Orders in Council which
provoked the war were now revoked, and Malcolm Fraser wrote that this
must soon bring peace in America, especially since New England and New
York were against the war. Miss Nairne's friend in Quebec, Judge
Bowen[23], wrote to her in November, 1812, announcing the armistice for
six months, arranged some time before, and assuring the ladies at Murray
Bay that all cause for anxiety was now past,--an illusive hope for the
armistice was not ratified by President Madison and the war went on. We
get echoes of social jealousies that may now amuse us. Sir James Craig,
the late Governor, had repressed sternly the aspirations of the French
element and had been specially friendly with the Nairne circle; he was
indeed a cousin of the Nairnes' relative by marriage, James Ker. But now
with Sir George Prevost as Governor things were changed. Sir George came
from Halifax and Quebec society looked with green-eyed jealousy upon his
"Halifax people." "They are not the right sort," Judge Bowen wrote to
Christine Nairne:

     It will be long before we meet a staff like Sir James Craig's
     gentlemanly men.... The castle affords no delight but to the
     Halifax people. They are all Gods, the Quebecers all Devils. As for
     me I have no desire to be deified.... Would you believe it Pierre
     Bedard [a French Canadian leader whom Sir James Craig had clapped
     into prison] is now Judge of the Court of King's Bench at Three
     Rivers. Would that poor Sir James[24] could raise his head to take
     a view of the strange scenes daily occurring here; but it is better
     he should be spared the Loathsome sight. What it will end in I dare
     scarcely express.

In these days there was ceaseless anxiety at Murray Bay. "We are all
here in a complete state of suspense," wrote Christine Nairne, "... My
brother is now in Upper Canada doing duty as a marine officer on board
the _Royal George_. We are in the utmost anxiety about him but on the
Almighty we rely for preservation in these horrid times." Echoes came of
stirring events. Tom wrote of General Brock's succeeds in capturing
Detroit and with it the American General Hull and his whole army. A
little later the Detroit garrison was sent to Montreal and Captain
Nairne, doing duty on the _Royal George_, carried General Hull--"the
extirpating General" he called him in view of dire threats that Hull had
made as to what he should do--with 200 prisoners from Niagara to
Kingston and then in batteaux down the River St. Lawrence on the way to
Montreal, through whose streets the Canadian militia marched their
prisoners to the strains of "Yankee Doodle." Elated with the success
against General Hull, Tom now expected to hear any day that the American
fort at the mouth of the Niagara River had been taken by General Brock.
He heard a much sadder tale. Instead of awaiting attack the Americans
became the aggressors and crossed the river into Canada. In a successful
attempt to dislodge them from Queenston Heights the gallant Brock was
slain. The invaders were driven back; but all Canada mourned for Brock.
Mrs. Bowen wrote to Christine Nairne, "I am sure you will have deeply
felt the loss of poor General Brock. He was always a great favourite of
yours as well as mine. Salter Mountain spoke in the highest terms of him
in his sermon last Sunday."

As the war became more grim in character Captain Nairne formed a fixed
resolve to see it through to the end. On October 5th, 1812, he writes
from Kingston that in response to his former request he had just
received notice of having been put on half pay. With this release he
might now have retired to the serenity of Murray Bay. But, even though
he had not changed his mind, this would have been to turn his back on
fighting when men were most needed. So when Captain Wall of the 49th
Regiment broke his leg, and was thus rendered unfit for service, with
him Nairne effected an exchange. "I could not reconcile myself to the
idea of sneaking down to Murray Bay and forsaking my post at the present
critical period," he wrote to Fraser. That old soldier was delighted at
Tom's spirit and made this note at the foot of the letter which
announced this action:

     Point Fraser, [Murray Bay], Oct. 23rd, 1812: I do hereby certify
     that my Godson Captain Thomas Nairne has, as I think, acted as
     becomes him and very much to my satisfaction--Malcolm ffraser.

From Prescott on the 29th of October, 1812, Tom wrote to his mother of
his delight at being once more a regular "in that distinguished old
corps the 49th." It was indeed a fine regiment. Brock had led it in
North Holland and in 1801 it had been on board the fleet at Copenhagen
with Hyde Parker and Nelson; it is now the Berkshire Regiment and the
name "Queenston" where its commander, Brock, fell, is on its flag.
Though a soldier not a sailor, Tom had now one gunboat and three armed
batteaux under his command, and, when writing, he had just arrived at
Prescott with the American prisoners taken in the gallant action at
Queenston where Brock was killed. His tone is serious and tender. "When
the war is over I trust in God we shall all have a happy meeting again
at Murray Bay, perhaps never more to part during our stay in this
world." It was now his plan that if he should outlive the war he would
go to Edinburgh, find a wife and settle himself on his property without
loss of time. A few days later, on November 15th, he writes from
Kingston of a lively incident in which he has taken part. With six
schooners and an armed tug, the _Oneida_, of 18 guns, all full of
troops, the Americans had appeared before the place. At 4 o'clock on the
morning of the 10th the adjutant of the 49th came into Tom's barrack
room to arouse him with the news that the enemy was thought to be
landing a force five or six miles above the town. "He lit my candle,"
says Tom, "and left. I immediately jumped out of bed, dressed myself in
a devil of a hurry and sallied forth to the Barrack yard where I found
three Companies of the 49th under arms, Gunners preparing matches and
artillery horses scampering out of the yards with field pieces." He was
soon sent to hold a bridge about three miles west of the town. The ships
kept up a fierce cannonade for some time but it was so briskly returned
that in the end they drew away having lost four men. But they had
command of the lake, a supremacy not to be challenged until a British
Commodore, Sir James Yeo, arrived in the following summer.

In his letters at this time Nairne speaks of his heavy expenses and says
that even if the opportunity came to visit Murray Bay he could not go
for lack of money. So he begs his mother to build all the mills and
houses she can, and thus to make the profits which he sorely needs. He
complains of hearing from home so rarely: "You have only wrote once, I
believe, since I came to the Upper Country. What in the name of wonder
are you all about? I hope Yankey Doodle has not run off with you. I am
sure there can be no complaints of my being negligent in this way."

The scene changed rapidly. Early in February, 1813, Nairne was sent to
Niagara. Here for a time he was stationed at Fort George. The Americans
were now menacing Fort Erie on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.
But things were looking well for the British. On January 22nd the
British Colonel Procter defeated the American General Winchester at
Frenchtown near Detroit and made him and 500 of his men prisoners. Now
young Nairne talked even of "extirpating" General Harrison whom the
English were attacking in what is now the state of Ohio. But again high
hopes were dashed. General Harrison succeeded in forcing the British to
evacuate Detroit; then he invaded Canada, and before the campaign of
1813 was over he defeated the British badly at the river Thames in what
is now Western Ontario. Meanwhile about Niagara there was some lively
campaigning. In March Nairne describes an exciting night journey in
sleighs from Fort George to Chippewa near Niagara Falls where an
American landing was feared. Echoes of more distant wars reach this
remote frontier. This was the winter of Napoleon's terrible retreat from
Moscow and word comes, "glorious news certainly if true," that 140,000
French have been captured by the Russians.

Nearer home the chronicle was less glorious. The American fleet appeared
before York (Toronto), burned the Parliament Buildings and public
records, and carried off even the church plate, and the books from the
library, of Upper Canada's capital, acts avenged by the burning of
Washington later in the war. Flushed with success, the Americans now
prepared to attack Fort George in overwhelming force. The 49th, Nairne's
regiment, were the chief defenders. The attack came on May 27th, 1813.
There was sharp and bloody fighting. Greatly outnumbered, the British
were beaten; so hastily did they evacuate the fort that Nairne and
others lost their personal effects. He writes, somewhat ruefully, that
he has now only the clothes on his back and his watch, a purse, a family
ring, and some trinkets. But this had its compensations; now he could
carry everything in a haversack and blanket. Even paper, pens and ink
are hardly to be got; he is writing on the last bit of paper he is
likely to have for some time.

For many weeks the young man took his share in this campaigning in the
Niagara peninsula. The British headquarters were by this time at
Burlington Heights at the head of Lake Ontario, half way between Fort
George and York, the ruined capital. By June the British had turned on
the foe with vigour. On June 6th they rather stumbled into victory at
Stoney Creek, capturing two American Generals, Winder and Chandler. On
June 7th a British squadron, under Sir James Yeo, appeared off
Burlington Heights, bombarded the American camp on the shore at Forty
Mile Creek and compelled a retreat towards Fort George. Soon the British
were menacing the enemy in Fort George itself. Nairne's letters, watched
for, we may be sure, at Murray Bay with breathless interest, recount the
incidents of the campaign. At Beaver Dam, only a dozen miles or so from
Fort George, Lieutenant Fitzgibbon of Nairne's regiment, the 49th,
entrapped an advancing party of Americans and, by the clever use of 200
Indian allies, filled them with such dread of being surrounded and
massacred by the savages that nearly 600 Americans surrendered to little
more than one-third of their number. These same wild Indians in their
war paint were enough, Nairne thought, "to frighten the Black Deil
himsel'," and their proximity in the campaign is one of many causes for
which he thanks Heaven that the plague of war is so far removed from
Murray Bay; even if it lasted for years, it would still not reach that
remote haven, he says. Meanwhile Murray Bay can help him. Two pairs of
socks, one flannel and one linen shirt, have been the modest increases
to his wardrobe since the hasty exit from Fort George many weeks before.
He begs his sisters to make him some shirts and socks, but not many,
since on the marches, usually made at night, he has to carry all his
belongings on his own back. The charge of a too elaborate transport
service sometimes brought against the British army in modern campaigns
seems to have no place in the War of 1812. The British, few in number
and defending an immense area, had to do killing work. Nairne says that
his men were able only rarely even to take off their accoutrements.

With the arrival of Yeo's squadron the war was again half military, half
naval. Yeo was a brilliant young officer and the remote waters of Lake
Ontario witnessed some clever naval tactics. The small fleets were
evenly matched. Chauncey, the American commander, was very cautious and
would not fight unless he could get the advantage of his longer range of
guns, while Yeo, if he fought at all, preferred to fight at close
quarters; so they manoeuvred for position, each declaring that the
other could not be brought to bay. On August 3rd, 1813, Nairne wrote
from Burlington Heights to Malcolm Fraser. In an earlier letter that
veteran had expressed the desire of dancing at Tom's wedding and Tom had
told him, with the prophetic saving clause "should I outlive this war,"
that to see his friend of eighty years dancing would be a considerable
inducement to marry. He hopes that they may soon discuss the war "over a
good bottle of your Madeira at Mount Murray."

He calls Burlington Heights the stronghold of Upper Canada. "The
situation we have chosen is by nature a strong position being bounded on
the east by Burlington bay, on the south by a commanding battery, ditch
and parapet, this being the only side bounded by the mainland; on the
west by a morass and creek; on the north by the continuation of this
same creek, which here discharges itself into Burlington bay. The height
of the land above the level of the water all round is upwards of 100
feet and the only side therefore necessary to fortify is the south,
which I assure you is pretty strongly so." Here was the chief British
supply depôt and Nairne had just been sent thither to aid in repelling a
menace from the American fleet. He had brought his force from Ten Mile
Creek, in boats, on the open lake, and the journey, lasting all day, was
ticklish enough. All the time the American fleet was in pursuit and it
reached the narrow gateway to Burlington Bay only an hour and a half
after Captain Nairne entered. The enemy intended to storm the heights,
and landed 800 men for that purpose; but finding the position too
strong, they re-embarked their force at daylight on August 1st, and bore
away for York (Toronto) where they wrought new havoc in that undefended
and "much to be pitied town."

On August 20th Nairne writes, still from Burlington Heights. This, his
last letter, gives a dramatic account of a running fight between the
rival fleets, in the dark, illuminated, however, by the flashes from
their cannon:

     It was a moment of great anxiety with us when the two fleets lay in
     sight of each other, the one wishing to avoid coming to hard knocks
     and the other straining every nerve to be at it. I rode 20 miles to
     see the hostile squadrons, and, for nearly two days, had the
     pleasure of observing their movements from the mountain at Forty
     Mile Creek, and I must confess I never saw a more gratifying or
     more interesting sight. At 11 o'clock on the night of the last day
     that I was there (the 10th inst.) Sir James Yeo contrived to bring
     them [the Americans] to a partial engagement and for an hour and a
     half the Lake opposite the _Leo_ appeared to be in a continual
     blaze. I remained in a state of uncertainty as to the result till
     daylight when I observed the Yanky fleet steering for Fort George
     with two Schooners less than they had the evening before, and our
     fleet steering towards York with two additional sail. [They were
     the _Julia_ and the _Growler_.] The Americans have besides lost two
     of their largest Schooners, which upset from carrying a press of
     sail, when our fleet was in chase of them.

While this dramatic fighting is going on before his eyes Nairne's one
regret is that his present quarters are "completely out of the way of
broken heads."

Meanwhile at Murray Bay events were happening. Colonel Fraser was kept
busy. Some of the French Canadians already showed a restiveness that
ended in open rebellion in 1837 and these misguided people now dreamed
of using the war with the United States as an opportunity for throwing
off the British yoke. At Murray Bay traitorous meetings were held.
Fraser watched them closely and caused a number of the habitants to be
imprisoned for a time on a charge of treason. For an old man of eighty
he showed amazing vigour. His neighbours of the Nairne household were
now in great trouble. Tom's elder sister by five years, Mary, the
sprightly "Polly" of his letters, had brought grief to her family. She
made a clandestine marriage with a habitant, the news of which, the
young man, in his last letter preserved to us, wrote, "nearly bereft me
of my senses." In those anxious days of domestic difficulty and of war
the old mother and her two remaining daughters at the Manor House had
assuredly enough to think of. Then came Fate's sharpest blow. The
tradition is still preserved at Murray Bay that on November 11th, 1813,
Mrs. Nairne, the Captain's mother, was in the kitchen at Murray Bay,
when suddenly a sound like the report of a gun came up as it were from
the cellar. She put her hands to her head, cried "Tom is killed," and
sank fainting into a chair. The day and the hour were, it is said, noted
by those about her.

By this time Thomas Nairne's regiment had passed from Burlington Heights
to Kingston, at the opposite end of Lake Ontario, some two hundred miles
away. The St. Lawrence River had now become the chief danger point for
Canada. On October 21st the American General Wilkinson, with 8,000 men,
left Sackett's Harbour near the east end of Lake Ontario, opposite
Kingston, in boats, to descend the St. Lawrence and attack Montreal--the
identical plan that the British had found so successful in 1760. In
addition, as fifty years earlier, another American force was to advance
through the country bordering on Lake Champlain so that the two armies
might unite before Montreal. From the first the American plans went ill.
The more easterly force met with ignominious defeat by a handful of
French Canadians at Chateauguay. Wilkinson did little better. British
troops, among them Nairne's regiment, were hurried down the river under
Colonel Morrison to harass, if possible, Wilkinson's rear and to fire
upon his 300 boats from the points of vantage on the shore. After a slow
descent, day after day, on the night of November 10th the rear of the
American force, under General Boyd, landed and encamped near Crysler's
farm, a short distance above the beginning of the Long Sault Rapids on
the St. Lawrence, to descend which needed caution. As the American rear
was some distance from the vanguard, the British, though much inferior
in numbers, thought the time favourable for attack. On the morning of
the 11th when General Boyd was about to begin his day's march forward,
the British, some 800 against a force of 1800, advanced in line. Their
right was on the river and the line extended to a wood about 700 yards
to the left. The American general did not refuse the gage of battle and
a sharp fight followed. Boyd tried to outflank the British left and
Nairne's company was sent forward to charge for one of the enemy's guns.
When well in advance it was checked by a deep ravine lying between the
two armies and the American cavalry made a movement to cut off the
advancing party. The pause was fatal to Thomas Nairne. A musket ball
entered his head just above the left ear; he died instantly and without
pain. The British won the day. After a fierce fight the enemy fled to
their boats, embarked in great disorder and fled down the river. Their
generals, when they could hold a council, decided that the attack on
Montreal must be abandoned.

Meanwhile dead on the field of battle lay Thomas Nairne. When the action
was over and the enemy had retired, his fellow officers bethought them
of the body of their companion lying stark where he fell. Already some
sinister visitor had been upon the spot for his watch was stolen--"as
was not unusual on such occasions," wrote Nairne's Commanding-officer,
Colonel Plenderleath, grimly. They dug a grave; Colonel Plenderleath
stooped over the body to cut off for those who loved him a lock of hair
falling over the dead face, and then, without a coffin, they laid him in
the earth. But before the grave was filled a member of the Canadian
militia stepped forward. He said that he had known Nairne's father, and
begged that, for the esteem and veneration which he bore that gallant
soldier, he might be allowed time to provide a coffin for his son. A
rough box was hastily prepared. In this the body was placed and once
more lowered into the grave and there, a few yards from where he fell,
the mortal remains of Thomas Nairne were committed to the earth with the
solemn rites of the Anglican Church.

The next day Colonel Plenderleath, who was not two yards away when
Captain Nairne fell, wrote to Judge Bowen what words of comfort he could
for Nairne's friends:

     He was a gallant officer of most amiable Manners and
     Disposition.... It may be of some comfort to his family that he has
     fallen in the honourable service of his country. We obtained a
     complete victory, having beaten a force greatly superior to ours,
     driven him from the field of battle, and captured one Gun and
     several Prisoners.

If Nairne fell Canada was saved and the gallant young officer did not
die in vain.

News travelled slowly in those days but bad news has swifter wings than
good; a week after Thomas Nairne fell the particulars of his death had
reached Quebec. It was Judge Bowen's painful duty to send to Murray Bay
the intelligence he had received from Nairne's Colonel. He wrote to Mr.
Le Courtois, the curé, giving the sad news and adding "I understand that
the enemy have since crossed over to their own side.... Would to God
their visit had fallen upon any other head than that of our poor
friends." He begged Mr. Le Courtois, who, himself an exile from France
because of the Revolution, had witnessed many sad days, to be the
minister of consolation at this time. "You will, I am sure be the friend
of the distressed and instil into their bosoms that peace which, I am
afraid, nothing but your assistance and time can restore to them." Mr.
Le Courtois was to hand to Miss Nairne a touching and wise letter from
Bowen. "Do not, my dear Miss Nairne," he wrote, "give way to feelings
but too natural upon a trying moment like this but rather exert
yourself to speak comfort and consolation to your dear Mother. Recall to
her that we are all but sojourners here on earth and that he is but gone
before to those blessed mansions of eternal peace and happiness where
she will one day meet him never to part again." Old Malcolm Fraser sent
the sad news to Tom's friends in Scotland. "I am not fit to write much,"
he said, but he found comfort in the thought that the young Captain died
gallantly and that the enemy "must have suffered great loss of men, as
they were entirely drove off the Field and they lost a piece of cannon.
But, alas! all this can afford little consolation to his good and
afflicted mother."

Nairne's body was not allowed to remain where he had fallen. Judge Bowen
thought he ought to lie at Quebec beside his soldier father and this was
also in accord with Mrs. Nairne's wishes. Colonel Morrison, the officer
in command on the field where Nairne fell, had already been transferred
to the garrison at Quebec and every attention was paid to the task.
Bowen ordered a strong oak coffin, large enough to contain that in which
Nairne was buried, and with this itself in an outer box a man was sent
to bring back the body. He bore a letter from the Bishop of Quebec to
the clergyman who had buried Nairne. All was carried out as arranged. A
second time Nairne's body was taken from the grave where it had been
laid and its bearer began his long winter journey to Quebec. The sleigh
with its sad burden, a moving dark speck on a white background, made its
slow way along the wintry roads and by the shores of the ice bound St.
Lawrence. We can picture the awed solemnity with which the French
Canadian peasants heard the story of Nairne's fall as his body rested
for the night in inn or farm yard. On January 20th, 1814, Bowen wrote to
Mr. Le Courtois that the body would arrive by Saturday as it was at
Berthier on the previous day when the stage passed.

The funeral took place at one o'clock on the 26th of January, 1814. Of
the people of Murray Bay a single unnamed habitant was present, a man
detained by Bowen in Quebec that he might witness the ceremony and carry
back an account of it to his home. "I examined the body," wrote Bowen
briefly of what must have been a grim task, "with the assistance of my
friend Buchanan and there cannot now be the smallest doubt as to the
identity of it. He was buried poor Fellow in the Cloathes he wore when
killed. His Regimental Jackit and shoes which were put into his coffin I
found in it upon opening it and have taken them out and will preserve
them for his poor friends if so melancholy a Remembrance of him should
be desired by them." The lock of hair cut off by Colonel Plenderleath at
the funeral was brought to Quebec by young Sewell, one of Nairne's
companions; the remainder of his effects, sent forward in a box, seem
to have been lost on the way. At the funeral the six senior Captains in
Quebec were his pall bearers and the mourners were fellow officers of
the 49th and Quebec friends of his family--well-known names--Caldwell,
McCord, Stewart, Hale, Mountain, Dunn and Bowen himself. A great crowd
was present. "Never," wrote Bowen to Miss Nairne, "was a funeral at
Quebec more generally attended." The death of the young officer was too
tragic not to call forth the sympathy of a wide circle. Eulogies were
pronounced upon him and they said only what was true--that a soldier,
brave, lovable and promising had fallen on the field of honour.

[Footnote 22: See Appendix G., p. 287. "The Curés of Malbaie".]

[Footnote 23: Bowen's career was remarkable. He continued on the bench
until 1866, having held the office of a Judge in Canada for well nigh
sixty years.]

[Footnote 24: He had recently died, and it did not diminish the Nairnes'
interest in him that he left £5,000 to their relative Ker.]



     Life at Murray Bay after Captain Nairne's death.--Letters from
     Europe.--Death of Malcolm Fraser.--Death of Colonel Nairne's widow
     and children.--His grandson John Nairne, seigneur.--Village
     life.--The Church's influence.--The habitant's tenacity.--His
     cottage.--His labours.--His amusements.--The Church's missionary
     work in the villages.--The powers of the bishop.--His
     visitations.--The organization of the parish.--The powers of the
     _fabrique_.--Lay control of Church finance.--The curé's tithe.--The
     best intellects enter the Church.--A native Canadian clergy.--The
     curé's social life.--The Church and Temperance Reform.--The
     diligence of the curés.--The habitant's taste for the
     supernatural.--The belief in goblins.--Prayer in the family.--The
     habitant as voter.--The office of Churchwarden.--The Church's
     influence in elections.--The seigneur's position,--The habitant's
     obligations to him.--Rent day and New Year's Day.--The seigneur's
     social rank.--The growth of discontent in the villages.--The evils
     of Seigniorial Tenure.--Agitation against the system.--Its
     abolition in 1854.--The last of the Nairnes.--The Nairne tomb in

With the death of Thomas Nairne almost end the dramatic events in the
history of the family. It remains briefly to bring this to its
conclusion, and to add to it some general account of a village of French
Canada in the past and in the present. Captain Nairne's mother was now
the owner of the property and it continued in her competent hands until
her death in 1828. "Polly's" marriage had taken that daughter away and,
though there was a reconciliation, no longer was the Manor House her
home. Mrs. McNicol (with her husband and children) and Christine Nairne
still lived there with the widow of Colonel Nairne, and life went on
much as before, save that its interests were now narrowed to Murray Bay;
no more was there an outside career, such as the young Captain's, to

When Thomas Nairne was killed the struggle against Napoleon in Europe
had reached a supreme crisis. Occasional letters to Murray Bay give
glimpses of great events. On March 16th, 1814, an Edinburgh friend
writes to Christine: "The Castle was fired to-day in honour of the
successes of our allies in France who have again routed Bonaparte, who
has retreated to Paris. His enemies are within twenty-five miles of that
capital so we must hope that the Tyrant's fate is at the Crisis and that
we shall soon enjoy the blessings of a permanent peace; much has Bony to
answer for." Ker wrote a little later from Edinburgh to say that
Bonaparte "is now a prisoner on board of one of our 74 gun ships," and
to express the hope that by his fall Britons will soon get quit of the
property tax.

On March 17th, 1815, we hear from another correspondent of the renewed
firing of the Castle guns at Edinburgh, this time to announce the
arrival from America of the ratification of Peace with the United
States. "We only regret this had not been settled before the disastrous
affair at New Orleans where we have lost so many brave men and able
generals, but such are the horrors of war." Just as this peace came in
America renewed war broke out in Europe. "That monster Bonaparte a
fortnight since landed and raised the standard of rebellion in the south
of France. The accounts from there are very contradictory." On March
22nd the news seems better. "Troops are assembling in defence of France
and the traitor does not seem to have any adherents, so we would fain
hope all may go well." The writer, a Miss Beck, sends, for the amusement
of Murray Bay, the book "Guy Mannering," which is "in very high
repute ... the author unknown, but very generally thought to be Walter
Scott, the Poet."

The hope that all would go well in regard to Bonaparte was soon
dissipated. Ker wrote on April 10th, 1815, a bitter letter:

     We were flattering ourselves with being at Peace with the whole
     world when like a thunderbolt, the tremendous news of the monster
     Buonaparte's Escape from Elba, his landing and rapid progress
     through France, and the second Expulsion of the unhappy Bourbons
     burst upon us!... We have the immediate prospect of being involved
     in a bloody and interminable war, the consequences of which no man
     can foretell. The French army, Marshalls, and Generals have covered
     themselves with indelible Disgrace and shewn themselves, what I
     always thought them, the most perfidious and perjured traitors and
     miscreants that the world ever produced, and the rest of the French
     Nation are a set of the most unprincipled Knaves and Cowards that
     ever were recorded in history. I trust however that their
     punishment is at hand and that the Almighty will speedily hurl
     vengeance on their guilty heads. Among other evils, a new tax on
     Property, with additions, is said to be in immediate contemplation
     and God knows how we shall bear all the accumulating Burdens to
     which this Country must be subjected.

Just at this time came old Malcolm Fraser's end. At the age of 82 he
died on June 17th, 1815, the day before the battle of Waterloo. He had
entered the army in 1757 and apparently was still serving in the
Canadian militia at the time of his death so that his military career
covered well nigh sixty years. One instruction given in his will is
characteristic; it is that his body might "be committed to the earth or
water, as it may happen, and with as little ceremony and expense as may
be consistent with decency." His removal was a heavy blow to the family
at the Manor House. It was Christine who kept most in touch with the
outside world and to her the letters of the period are nearly all
addressed. They contained the gossip of Quebec,--how in December, 1814,
a Mr. Lyman--"a bad name for a true story to come from,"--had brought
word of peace negotiations at Ghent; news of General Procter's Court
Martial and of a fee of £500 paid to Andrew Stuart, one of the lawyers
in the case. The letters are few and in 1817 they cease altogether.
During the spring of the year Christine had been ailing. On a June day
she drove out for an airing and, as she alighted from the carriage,
expired instantly. The feeling of the Protestant family towards the
Roman Catholic Church is shown in the fact that she left a small legacy
to the curé, Mr. Le Courtois.

There now remained but two daughters. In May, 1821, "Polly" died in
Quebec at Judge Bowen's house. Her old mother followed in 1828. Of
Colonel Nairne's large family but one child remained, Mrs. McNicol. Her
husband, Peter McNicol, appears to have been a quiet and retiring man
and of him we hear little. He was an officer in the local militia and,
in 1830, became a Captain in the second Battalion of the County of
Saguenay. There were two sons, Thomas and John. Thomas, the elder, was
to get the estate at Murray Bay; for John India was talked of; but his
mother could not let him go--"our family has been too unlucky by going
there." In 1826, when a youth of twenty, Thomas made a tour in Europe.
Then, or later, the young man fell into dissipated habits and he died in
early manhood. There remained only John. When he came of age in 1829 he
too travelled in Europe; in April he was at Rome and there saw the
newly-elected Pope, Pius VIII. He returned to Canada quite a man of the
world and for a time lived in Quebec, engaged in business. But in 1834
when his father Peter McNicol died[25] John's prospects changed. The
seigniory belonged to his mother, during her lifetime, but he was the
heir. It seemed desirable that the name of the first seigneur should be
continued and, in 1834, by royal warrant, John McNicol adopted the name
and arms of Nairne. Once more was there a John Nairne. In 1837 we find
him empowered to take the oath of allegiance from the habitants--to show
that they were not in sympathy with the rebel Papineau. His mother, the
old Colonel's last surviving child, died in 1839. She was a kindly
woman, of genial temper, with a fine faculty for friendship; so intimate
was she with Malcolm Fraser's daughter that she wrote "I do believe, nay
am sure, she has not a thought with which I am not made acquainted." She
never lost her sympathy with young people and her delight in their
"innocent gaiety."

As in 1762, so now again in 1839, a John Nairne ruled at Murray Bay. The
young seigneur soon took a wife. In 1841 he married Miss Catherine
Leslie, of a well known Canadian family, a bride of only seventeen, and
then settled down at Murray Bay to live the life of a country gentleman.
He became Colonel in the militia, took some part in politics on the
Conservative side, and studied agriculture. He was resolved to keep up
the dignity of his position and set about rebuilding the manor house.
The work was begun in 1845 and completed by the autumn of 1847; the new
structure with little change is the present Manor. It is of stone
covered with wood, a capacious dwelling with some fine rooms, and
admirably suited to its purpose. To John Nairne an heir was born in 1842
and named John Leslie Nairne and the prospect seemed excellent for the
final establishment of a Nairne dynasty in the seigniory. But, alas,
this was not to be. The child died in his third year and the last of the
Nairnes ruled at Murray Bay knowing that with himself the family should
become extinct.

We must turn now to study the type of community of which he was the
chief. A singular type it is, French in speech, Roman Catholic in faith,
half feudal in organization, in a land British in allegiance, if not in
origin. Long the determined rival of the Briton in America the French
Canadian, though worsted in the struggle, remains still unconquered in
his determination to live his own separate life and pursue his own
separate ideals. When the British took Canada they fondly imagined that
in a few years a little pressure would bring the French Canadians into
the Protestant fold.[26] Immediately after the conquest preparations
for this gradual absorption were made. The Roman Catholics were to be
undisturbed but, as soon as a majority in any parish was Protestant, a
clergyman of that faith would be appointed and the parish church would
be given over to the Protestant worship. The minority would, it was
hoped, acquiesce, and, in time, adopt the creed of the majority. The
most illuminating comment upon these expectations is the fact that,
during the half century after the conquest, Protestantism made probably
not more than half a dozen converts among the Canadians, while of
Protestants coming to the country during that time hundreds went over to
the Church of Rome. In other ways too the type in French Canada has
proved curiously persistent. A Lowland Scot of twenty-five married an
Irish woman of twenty-three and went to live in a French Canadian
parish. Hitherto they had spoken only English but after twenty-five
years they could not even understand it when heard. They explained that
at first they spoke English to each other but when the children went to
school they used only French. So the parents yielded "_C'était les
enfants, M'sieu!_"

A modern critic of France[27] has announced, as a sounding paradox, that
the French, even of present-day anti-clerical France, are a profoundly
religious people. Certainly this appears in France's efforts in Canada.
When the Roman Catholic faith was first planted there the ground was
watered with the blood of martyrs, done to death by brutal savages. At
the very time when in France Pascal's satire and scorn were making the
spiritual sincerity of the Jesuits more than doubtful, in Canada these
same Jesuits were dying for their faith almost with a light heart. They
and others, like-minded, won New France for the Catholic Church and to
that Church the conquered habitant has since clung with a tenacity
really heroic. He accepts its creed, he believes in its clergy. Whatever
license of conduct marked the clergy of France in the bad days before
the Revolution, the clergy in Canada during the 300 years of its history
have been notable for a severity in morals so austere that hardly once
in that long period has there been a whisper of scandal. In consequence,
they have always retained the respect of the people and to-day, in every
village, the curé commands extraordinary influence.

It may be that to the Church chiefly does the habitant owe the
preservation of his identity. Inferior to the heretic conqueror in
social status, the habitant yet retained in religion the sense of his
own superiority. Was he not a member of an ancient body, in the presence
of which Protestantism represented a mushroom growth of yesterday? The
Church taught him that wealth, honour, and worldly power were not always
given to the faithful; they had the truer riches of spiritual
privileges and spiritual hopes. What mattered the pride of life in the
face of these eternal treasures? So the habitant went his way. Led by
his teachers he showed striking tenacity of character. He would not
follow the customs of the English. He looked with suspicion upon their
methods. Even in agriculture, where he had everything to learn, he would
not imitate him. Their language he would not learn, their religion he
abhorred; so he remained, and he remains still, true to his own
traditions, a Gallic island in the vast Anglo-Saxon sea of North

The habitant has not proved a pliable person. The very name shows his
sense of his own dignity. Though he held his land under feudal tenure he
would not accept a designation that carried with it some sense of the
servile status of the feudal vassal in old France. So the Canadian
peasant, a feudal tenant _en censive_ or _en roture_, yet wished not to
be called _censitaire_ or _roturier_, names which he thought degrading;
he preferred to be called a habitant, an inhabitant of the country, a
free man, not a vassal. The designation obtained official recognition in
New France and has come to be the characteristic word for the French
Canadian farmer among English-speaking people.

In other respects too the Canadian has been hardly less assertive.
Earlier writers, while they call him obliging, honest and courteous,
speak also of his self-conceit, boastfulness, fondness for drink. At
Malbaie Nairne found him defiant when his spirit was aroused. Not less
tenacious than the men were the women. Malcolm Fraser tells how when he
was stationed at Beaumont, near Quebec, in January, 1761, he sent one of
his men to cut wood on the property of a certain habitant, the man
himself consenting. But Madame, his wife, was not pleased. She abused
Fraser, called him opprobrious names, and, in a war of words, remained,
he admits, mistress of the field. The wrathful virago carried her appeal
to Murray in Quebec, who, she said, had passed many officers under the
rod and Fraser found himself called upon to explain the matter. In a
petition he humbly begs that some "recompence" (of punishment of course)
may be made to the woman for "the insolent expressions used by her as
well against the general, as the officers, who have the honour to serve
under His Excellency."

Even when he knows only rude frontier life the French Canadian often
retains something of the politeness and deference in manner of the
nation from which he springs. But, unlike them, he has retained little
sense of what is artistic. No thought of beauty of situation seems to
determine his choice of the site for his dwelling. What he has in mind
is protection from the prevailing wind, if this is possible, and, for
the rest, convenience. So he puts his house close to the highway, in
many cases even abutting upon it. He shows no taste in grouping his
farm buildings. He plants few trees and his house stands bare and
unattractive by the road side. The absence of trees near his dwelling is
sometimes accounted for by the need, in earlier times, of clearing away
everything that might offer a chance of ambush to his Indian enemies. If
this is the true origin of the habit, an instinct survives long after
the need which developed it has disappeared. The houses are persistent
in type and nearly always of wood. The principle doorway opens into the
living room, usually of a good size. It is kitchen, diningroom, parlour,
often even workshop. In this chamber cooking, sewing, repairing of
tools, all the varied family activities, take place. One large guest
chamber or two small bedrooms open off it. In the corner there is a rude
staircase and up under the sloping roof are two more rooms; one a
bed-room probably with three or four beds, the other a general lumber
room. Often there are two families in a household. As always with the
French, family feeling is very strong. As soon as they are old enough
the elder sons may go out into the world; it is usually a younger son
whom the father selects to remain with him on the family property. This
son is free to marry and to him, when the old father dies, the land goes
on condition that he will always keep the door open to members of the
family who may seek its refuge. It is not easy to see how so small a
cottage can discharge these hospitable functions; in addition to adults
there are often, in a French Canadian family, from ten to fifteen,
sometimes twenty or twenty-five children. Through the long winters,
doors and windows remain closed. The family gets on without fresh air
and it gets on also without baths.

Since there are often many hands to do the work habitant farming is
greatly diversified. But improvements come only slowly. Some of the most
fertile areas in Quebec have been half ruined because the habitant would
not learn the proper rotation of crops. Of the value of fertilizing he
has had only a slight idea. His domestic animals are usually of an
inferior breed, except perhaps the horses. Of these he is proud and, no
matter how poor, usually keeps two, an extravagance for which he was
rebuked by successive Intendants under the French régime. In recent
times the French Canadian farmer has been making great progress. He is
pre-eminently a handy man. Though his versatility is lessening, to this
day, in some of the remoter villages, he buys almost nothing; he is
carpenter, farmer, blacksmith, shoemaker; and, if not he, his wife is
weaver and tailor. The waggon he drives is his handiwork; so is the
harness; the home-spun cloth of his suit is made by his wife from the
wool of his own sheep: it is an excellent fabric but, alas, the young
people now prefer the machine-made cottons and cloths of commerce and
will no longer wear homespun. Sometimes the habitant makes his own
boots, the excellent _bottes sauvages_ of the country. The women make
not only home-spun cloth, but linen, straw hats, gloves, candles, soap.
When there are maple trees, the habitant provides his own sugar; he
makes even the buckets in which the sap of the maple tree is caught.
Tobacco grows in his garden, for the habitant is an inveterate smoker:
sometimes the boys begin when only five years old or less. The women and
the girls, indeed, do not smoke and an American visitor, who declares
that he saw pretty French Canadian brunettes of sixteen puffing clouds
of smoke as they worked in the harvest field, is solemnly rebuked by a
French Canadian writer; the brunettes must have been Indian women.[28]

Though nearly all the children now go to school, yet reading can hardly
be considered one of the amusements of the habitant. In the
neighbourhood of Malbaie, at least, rarely does one see other than books
of devotion in a habitant household; the book-shelf is conspicuous by
its absence. Of course newspapers are read but many of the habitants are
still illiterate, or nearly so, and read nothing. Not less gay are they
for this deprivation. They are endless talkers, good story tellers, and
fond of song and dance. They have preserved some of the popular songs of
France,--_Malbrouck s'en va-t-en guerre_, _En roulant ma Boule
roulant_, _A la Claire Fontaine_, and others--and these airs simple,
pleasing, a little sad, have become characteristic of French Canada.
Nearly every house has its violin, often home-made, and though this
music is rude it suffices for dancing. But some of the bishops are as
severe in regard to dancing as is the Methodist "Book of Discipline" and
in their dioceses the practise is allowed only under narrow
restrictions. The short Canadian summer makes that season for the
habitant one of severe labour. Winter, though it has its own labours,
such as cutting wood, is the great season of social intercourse. For a
long time the habitant would not consider a mechanic his social equal;
perhaps, still, the daughters of a farmer would spurn the advances of
the village carpenter. But whatever the social distinctions, baptisms,
marriages, anniversaries, are made the occasions for festivity. There
are _corvées récreatives_, such as parties gathered for taking the husks
off Indian corn, when there is apt to be a good deal of kissing as part
of the game. At New Year, the _jour de l'an_, the feasting lasts for
three days. Hospitality is universal and it is almost a slight not to
call at this time upon any acquaintance living within a distance of
twenty miles. Every habitant has his horse and sleigh and thinks little
of a long drive.

Often in the foreground of the habitant's life, always in the background
at least, stand the Church and the priest. Malbaie, like a hundred other
populous, present-day Roman Catholic parishes, was nursed in the first
instance by the travelling missionary. In winter he could go on snow
shoes but his usual means of travel in a country, covered by forests,
but with a net-work of lakes and rivers, was by canoe. Malbaie could be
reached either from Tadousac, at the mouth of the Saguenay, one of the
earliest mission stations in Canada, or from Baie St. Paul in the other
direction. The St. Lawrence was oftentimes a perilous route. Its waves
rise at times huge as those of Ocean itself; a frail canoe could only
hug the shore and at times would be storm bound for days. The missionary
travelled usually with an attendant. They carried a portable chapel with
the vessels necessary for the celebration of the mass. We have a
description of the arrival of one of these missionaries, the Abbé Morel,
as long ago as in 1683, at Rivière Ouelle where one now takes the ferry
to cross to Murray Bay. A group of people stand on the shore watching a
small black object round a distant point. As it comes nearer they see it
is a birch bark canoe, paddled by two men. In a short time the bow of
the canoe has touched the sandy beach where stands the waiting group. As
the figure in the bow rises a long black cassock falls down to his
feet; he is the long expected missionary come to celebrate mass. With
the sun sinking behind the mountains of the north shore, a kind of
triumphal procession escorts the missionary to one of the neighbouring
houses. The evening is spent in preparation for the service of the
morrow. The priest hears confessions and imposes penances. At daybreak
on the following morning the people begin to gather, some coming by land
from the neighbouring clearings, others, in birch bark canoes, from
points more distant. Perhaps fifty persons gather before the house.
Meanwhile in its best room the portable altar has been arranged. Silence
falls upon the people as they enter the door. The mass begins; after the
gospel the priest preaches a practical sermon with impressive solemnity.
The mass over, a second service, vespers, soon follows. Then the people
separate. Before the priest leaves he says the office of the dead over a
grave made, it may be, many weeks ago, he baptizes children born since
his last visit, and perhaps marries one or more bashful couples. "How
beautiful upon the mountains," says a Canadian historian of the work of
these devoted men, "are the feet of those who bring the gospel of
peace."[29] Such a scene we may be sure was enacted many a time for the
benefit of the scattered sheep at Malbaie before and after the arrival
of Colonel Nairne.

It was not until 1797 that these occasional services ceased and Murray
Bay secured a resident priest. Then was fully established in the parish
the imposing church system that to-day probably retains its original
vigour more completely in the Province of Quebec than in any other
country in the world. At its head is the diocesan bishop. Subject only
to the distant authority of the Pope he reigns supreme. With one or two
exceptions, such as that of the curé of Quebec, he appoints and he can
remove any and every priest in his diocese, a right, it is said, almost
never exercised arbitrarily. He fixes the tariff to be paid for masses.
It is he who determines whether such a practise as, for instance,
dancing shall be permitted in the diocese. He watches over the Church's
rights and gives the alarm when a political leader proposes anything
that seems to menace them. If a newspaper adopts a course dangerous to
the Church it has often happened that the bishop gives it one or two
warnings; in case of continued obstinacy his last act is to forbid the
faithful to read the paper; and since most of them will obey, this
involves ruin for the recalcitrant journal.

The bishop visits each parish at least every third year and sometimes
even annually. A mounted cavalcade will probably meet him as he crosses
its boundary. A procession is formed. The roads have been cleared and
decorated with boughs of ever-green trees stuck in the ground. The
people watch the cavalcade from their doors and all kneel as the
procession passes. The bishop goes at once to the church where he gives
his benediction and holds confirmation. He remains for some days. There
is daily communion and spiritual instruction. He inspects
everything--the church and its furnishings, the registers, the accounts,
the inventory of effects, the cemetery. He has already given notice that
he is ready to hear any complaints or grievances even against the curé.
We may be sure that when he comes there is a general clearing up of
parochial difficulties. A wise bishop is a great peacemaker; an
arbitrary one commands an authority not lightly to be disregarded.

The church that towers over the humble cottages of a French Canadian
village invariably seems huge. But we need to remember how large are the
parishes and how few in number relatively are the churches; it is
probable that in English-speaking Canada there are half a dozen
churches, or more, to every one in the Province of Quebec. In all
Canada, rural and urban, there is probably not a Protestant parish to
which are attached as many, or perhaps half as many, people as the five
thousand who dwell in the parish of St. Etienne de la Malbaie, one of
secondary importance in the Province of Quebec. In a whole diocese there
are often not more than forty or fifty parishes. In the country the
churches are usually built at intervals of not more than three leagues
(nine miles) so that no one may have to travel more than a league and a
half to mass. The life of the people centres in the Church. In its
registers, kept with great accuracy, is to be found the chief record of
the village drama, the story of its births, marriages and deaths. True
to the tastes of old France the French Canadian has an amazing interest
in family history, and genealogies, based upon these ample records, are
closely studied. In the olden days the habitant brought his savings to
be kept in the Church's strong chest. The church edifice, its pictures
and its other furnishings, are things in which to take pride. Each
village aspires to have its own chime of bells. To chronicle baptisms,
marriages, burials, anniversaries, the chimes are rung for a longer or
shorter time according to the fee paid. Every day one hears them often
and a considerable revenue must come from this source. Whatever the
habitant knows of art, painting, sculpture, music, he learns from the
Church and it is all associated with religious hopes and fears.
"Dwellers in cities," says a French Canadian writer, "have concerts,
theatres, museums; in the rural communities it is the Church that
provides all this. During her services the most fervent among the
faithful taste by anticipation the joys of heaven and murmur, enchanted:
'Since here all is so beautiful in the house of the Lord how much more
so will it be in his paradise!'"[30]

Thus it happens that here the parish and its church have a significance
not felt where, as now in practically all English speaking countries,
each community represents a variety of religious beliefs. At Malbaie, as
in dozens of other parishes, there is not, except in summer, a single
Protestant. So strong is the pressure of religious and social opinion,
that even persons with no belief in Christianity are constrained to join
outwardly at least in the church services. In the villages, at least,
nearly every one confesses and partakes of the communion many times in
the year; at Easter there are practically no abstentions from the
sacrament. With this unanimity it has been possible to establish by
legislation a most elaborate system providing for the support of the
priests, for keeping up cemeteries and other parish needs. Elsewhere
left largely to voluntary action, in Quebec such duties become a tax on
the community as a whole. Whether a parishioner likes it or not, he
must, if the taxpayers so determine, pay his share for building a church
or for other similar expenditure decided upon.

We will suppose that a new residence for the priest is desired. A
majority of ratepayers must address to the bishop of the diocese a
petition with a plan of what is proposed. The commission of five
members which exists in every diocese then gives ten days' public notice
in order that objectors may have every opportunity to express their
views. When, in the end, a decision to build is reached, the
commissioners announce this by public proclamation. The next step is for
the ratepayers of the parish to meet and vote the necessary money.
Trustees are then appointed to carry out the work with power to collect
the required funds from the Catholic ratepayers. This assessment is a
first charge on the land; it must be divided into at least twelve equal
instalments and the payments are spread over not less than three, or
more than eight, years. To be quite safe the trustees levy fifteen per
cent. more than the estimated cost. If ready money is not on hand for
the work the church property may be mortgaged. When the building is
completed the trustees render their accounts with vouchers and take oath
that they are correct. All is precise, clearly defined, business-like.

No expenditure of money can be made for building without the consent of
the people. Always in French Canada a trace of old Gallican liberties
has remained, in the power over Church finances left in the hands of
churchwardens (_marguillers_) elected by the people. But in the old days
when the habitant was more ignorant and less alert than now he is, no
doubt the voice in this respect might be the voice of the churchwarden,
but the hand was the hand of the curé. No doubt, also, it is still true
that any project upon which the curé sets his heart he will in the end
probably get a majority of the parishioners to adopt. But he must
persuade the people. Sometimes they oppose his plan strenuously and
feeling runs high. Then when a churchwarden is elected, as one is
annually, the curé may have his candidate, the opposing party theirs. At
Malbaie recently there was a sharp difference of opinion between the
curé and the people on a question relating to the cemetery. The parties
divided on the choice of a churchwarden and the curé's candidate was

Yet the curé's position is one of great strength and authority. He has
his own income uncontrolled by the _fabrique_, which is master of the
rest of the church finances. The curé's tithe consists of one
twenty-sixth of the cereals produced by the parishioners. A further
tithe he has: the twenty-sixth child born to any pair of his
parishioners is by custom brought to the priest and he rears it;
sometimes, strange to say, this tithe is offered! From his tithe on
cereals the income is not large; at Malbaie it is probably never more
than from $1000 to $1200 a year; sometimes much less. The average income
of a curé is not more than $600. It is the custom for the parishioner to
deliver duly at the priest's house one twenty-sixth of his grain and in
the autumn a great array of vehicles may be seen making their way
thither. Usually there is considerable variety in the grain thus brought
but sometimes the curé is almost overwhelmed by a single product such as
peas; one of their number, thus paid, the neighbouring clergy christened
the "_curé des pois_." The French Canadian farmer is often narrowly
penurious and if he will not pay, as sometimes happens, the curé rarely
presses him or takes steps to recover what the law would allow. In any
case a bad harvest is likely to leave the curé poor. Changes in the type
of farming may also curtail his income. Of the products of dairy farming
he gets no share, yet it is a creditable fact that many priests have
urged their people to adopt this kind of farming. Fees for weddings
which, in Protestant Churches, go usually to the minister, are in the
Province of Quebec handed over to the general church fund. Of course the
priest has sources of income other than the tithe. He receives fees for
masses but the sums chargeable for these ceremonies are determined by
the bishop; the priest himself has no power of undue exaction. There is
indeed no evidence of a desire for such exaction. Whatever personal
differences may arise, the French Canadian curé is usually one in
thought and aim with his people. Wherever he goes he is always
respectfully saluted. To him the needy turn and there are heavy calls
upon his charity. Few curés have any surplus income. They keep up a
large house and have constant need of one or more horses. Most curés, it
is said, die poor.

It is the complaint in Great Britain and the United States that, rather
than enter the Christian ministry, the best intellects are seeking
secular pursuits. This is not the case in the Province of Quebec. The
curés watch the promising boys in the schools. The Church has many
boarding schools where boys are led on step by step to the final one of
entering the priesthood. A promising boy, if he needs it, is given a
scholarship. When the time comes he is sent to complete his education at
Rome or elsewhere. The Church has selected him, trained him in her
service, and, for the rest of his life, his best powers are at her call.
Every family is ambitious to have a representative in the priesthood and
this becomes the most notable thing not merely in the family but also in
the parish. The Province of Quebec has many parish histories. These
volumes are rather dreary reading, it must be admitted, consisting
chiefly of the record of the building or improvement of the church and
of the coming and the going of the curés. But one chief record is always
found--that of the sons of the parish who have entered the priesthood.
They are its glory. Not merely pride in the success of their offspring
leads parents to wish for a son in the priesthood. He may bring to them
more substantial benefits. He is the interpreter of sacred mysteries,
the intercessor in some respects between God and man, and he will plead
for them in the court of Heaven.

This ambition to get sons into the priesthood has made it possible now
for the Church to rely wholly upon priests Canadian in origin. Not
always was this the case. After the British conquest it was not easy to
get priests. The British government frowned upon the introduction of
priests from France, still Britain's arch-enemy. Irish priests were
thought of, but they could not speak French and, besides, the Bishop of
Quebec did not find in them the submissive obedience of the Canadian
priest. For a time it was seriously proposed to supply Canada with
priests from Savoy, since of them Britain could have no political fears.
But for the time the French Revolution solved the question. Emigré
priests, driven from France, could be in Canada no political danger to
Great Britain since, like her, they desired the overthrow of the
existing French government. So a good many emigré priests were brought
out, among them Mr. Le Courtois, so long the curé of Malbaie. This
movement soon spent itself. In time the Church in Canada had a number of
seminaries for training priests and it now levies a heavy tithe upon the
best intellects of the country. Recently a new emigration of French
priests to Canada has taken place. But they have not been wholly
welcome; their tone is not quite that of the Canadian priesthood;
sometimes they assume patronizing airs and they are felt to be
foreigners. I have even heard a French Canadian priest say in broken
English to a Protestant from the Province of Ontario: "I feel that I
have more in common with you than I have with the French priests who are
flocking into this country."

The Canadian curé is the priest always. Unlike the clergy in other parts
of Canada he wears his cassock even when he goes abroad; one sees dozens
of these black robes in the streets, on the steamers and trains. He does
not share in the amusement of other people. In Quebec Anglican clergymen
play golf and tennis; probably if a curé did so he might be called to
account by the bishop. Occasionally priests ride bicycles, but even this
is looked upon with some suspicion. Into general society the priests go
but little. They come together in each other's presbyteries for mutual
counsel and to celebrate anniversaries, such as the 25th year of the
ordination of one of their number. The large presbyteries, which one
sees even in remote parishes, are necessary to house the visiting clergy
on such occasions. They assist each other when their parishes have
special fêtes. But their social intercourse is chiefly with each other.
The courtly abbé of old France, a universal guest in salons and at
dinner tables, is hardly found at all in the Province of Quebec. Nor is
the scholar usual. Even in small parishes there are rarely less than 500
or 600 communicants and the calls upon the curé's time are heavy. There
are, of course, priests of literary tastes; as there are those with a
taste for art, to whom are due the occasional good pictures found in the
parish churches. Some priests interest themselves in agriculture and
give wise guidance to their people. But behind everything is the solemn,
severe, exacting, conception of the priest's high function as the medium
of God's speech to man. He is almost sexless--a being apart consecrated
to an awe-inspiring office. A mother will sometimes quiet an unruly
child by threatening the portentous intervention of the curé.

Yet he is the universal friend. His relation to his people is not merely
official; it is affectionate, personal. The confessional makes him
familiar with the intimate details of nearly every one's life. On all
the joyous and sad crises, at births, marriages, and deaths, he is at
hand with sympathy, comfort and support. When he goes on a journey he
looks up not merely his own but his parishioners' friends and is welcome
everywhere. He is the general counsellor, the reconciler of family
quarrels, the arbitrator in differences, the guardian of morals. The
seigneur at Malbaie found the priest enquiring as to the manner in which
the male and female servants of the Manor were lodged.

Colonel Nairne thought that the Church was too willing to see the people
remain ignorant; with her the primary virtue is obedience. But it is
not less true that on moral questions, such as sobriety and purity, the
Church has always shown great vigilance and zeal. In the old days there
was a mighty struggle between the Bishop of Quebec and the governor
Frontenac as to the sale of intoxicating liquors, and the Church is
still keen for temperance. It is due to her that public drinking places
are unknown in most Canadian villages. At Murray Bay it happened
recently that, by some lapse in vigilance, the party favourable to the
granting of licenses got the upper hand. The results were immediate and
deplorable. Summer visitors frequently found their drivers under the
influence of liquor and the habitant, usually courteous and respectful,
was now often rude and quarrelsome. The sudden fall made one realize how
slight might be the strength of virtue due merely to the absence of
temptation. The Church saw the danger. In the following winter she began
a systematic temperance campaign. For some ten days daily services were
held at which eloquent denunciations of intemperance roused the people.
Every effort was made to ensure attendance at these services and the
parish church, a great structure, was well filled daily. Hundreds signed
the pledge and by the next summer all was changed. No one was licensed
to sell liquor and the community was sober. If the relapse had been
rapid it must be admitted that the recovery was not less so.

The curé and his assistants do their work with the precision and
regularity of a business man in his office. They watch education, and
have their own educational ideals. In the public schools of the
English-speaking world in America, manners and religion receive, alas,
but slight attention. But in Quebec one need only pass along a country
road to see that the children are taught respect and courtesy. The chief
subject of instruction is religion and to prepare the children for the
first communion seems to be the main aim of education. In the parish the
priest is never far away. Nearly always one or other of the clergy is at
the presbytery to answer calls of urgency, and their duties begin at an
early hour. "I am very busy until nine o'clock in the morning," a curé
once said to me. My comment was that most of us are only beginning the
serious duties of the day at that hour. "But I am tired by that time,"
he said, rather sadly, "for already, so early in the day, I have heard
much of human sin." The people come early in the morning to confess and
by nine o'clock the curé was weary of the tale of man's frailty.
Thursday is his day of recreation. Only on that day usually does he
leave his parish and then he always arranges that a neighbouring priest
shall be within call. This oversight is not spasmodic; it is persistent,
alert, universal, and hardly varies with the individual curé. In human
society there is no institution more perfectly organized than the Roman
Catholic Church and in Quebec her traditions have a vitality and vigour
lost perhaps in communities more initiated. Of course not every one
accepts or heeds the curé's ministry. Many a _mauvais sujet_ is careless
or even defiant but, when his last moments come, at his bedside stands
the priest to show to the repentant sinner the path of blessedness, and,
when he is gone, his wayward course will give ground to call the living
to earlier obedience.

In the Canadian parishes faith is simple, with a pronounced taste for
the supernatural. In the year 1907 a Jesuit priest, M. Hudon, published
at Montreal the life of Marie Catherine de Saint Augustin, 1632-1668, a
Quebec nun. This devout lady lived in an atmosphere charged always with
the supernatural. She knew of events before they happened; with demons
who tempted her she had terrific combats; she read the thoughts of
others with divine insight. Perhaps the climax of her experiences is
found when she has regularly, as confessor and mentor, the Jesuit father
and martyr Bréboeuf, dead for some years. M. Hudon declared that he
had submitted the evidence for these wonders to all the tests that
modern scientific canons could require and that they were undoubtedly
true. The Archbishop of Quebec, Mgr. Begin, wrote a prefatory note
approving of the teaching of the book, and adding that Mother Marie
Catherine's life could not fail to be an inspiration to young girls to
live nobly. This simple belief in the constant occurrence of the
supernatural is not found only in the remoter parishes of the Province
of Quebec as a French Canadian writer seems to indicate;[31] it appears
everywhere. All Christians believe in a God who shapes human events and
hears and answers prayer. But many, Catholic and Protestant alike,
believe that the energy of God, in response to man's appeal, is applied
through the ordinary machinery of nature's laws. Modern thought is
pervaded with the conception of nature's rigour. I have seen good
Catholics shrug their shoulders at the wonders narrated by Marie
Catherine de Saint Augustin. But others, and these not only the
ignorant, think that this attitude shows the lack of a deeper faith.
Must God and his saints, they ask, be confined within the narrow
framework of nature's laws? Cannot He do all things?

So it is not strange that the Canadian peasant dwells in a world charged
with the supernatural. Night furnishes the opportunity for goblins to be
abroad; the flickering lights on the marshes are goblin fires. Then,
too, the vagrant dead wander about restlessly, sinful souls refused
entrance to Heaven until they have sought and secured adequate prayers
for their pardon and relief. To cross a cemetery at night might attract
the fatal vengeance of the dead thus disturbed. The grumbling mendicant
at the door may really be an evil spirit bent on mischief. With a few,
magic and the gift of the evil eye are still dreaded forces and it is
well to know some charm by which evil may be averted. Since night is the
time of danger, if abroad then be watchful; if at home close doors and
windows, ere you go to sleep. I was once on a fishing expedition with
habitant guides when we had to share the same _cabane_. The air becoming
insufferable, I got up quietly, opened the door and went back to bed.
Presently I heard one of the guides steal softly to the door and close
it. When I thought he was asleep I opened it again. But in vain; once
more it was closed. In the morning nothing was said about it. Certainly
not cold was what he feared, for the weather was hot. I do not think it
was the mosquitoes. Was it the goblins?

A simpler and touching faith is common. Every one has noticed in the
Province of Quebec the numerous crosses by the way side. These Calvaires
are of rough wood, usually eight or ten feet high; sometimes with the
cross are the dread implements of Christ's pain--the crown of thorns,
the hammer and nails, the executioner's ladder, the Roman soldier's
spear. Often at the foot is a box for alms to help the forgotten dead
who are in purgatory. As the habitant passes them he usually lifts his
hat. The Calvaires are a kind of domestic altar to which the people
come. In the summer evenings one may see a family grouped about them in
prayer. When there is need for special prayers, several families will
come across the fields to meet at the Calvaire. Dr. Henry, of whom more
later, tells how at Malbaie some eighty years ago he found in the
cottages social family worship night and morning. It is to be feared
that the present generation at Malbaie is less devout, corrupted it may
be by the heretic visitors' bad influence and example. But still the
guide with whom one goes camping rarely neglects his evening devotions.
In some families prayer sanctifies all the actions of the day. There is
prayer at rising, prayer at going to bed. Though here, as in France,
women are spoken of as only _créatures_, the mother is usually better
educated than the father and often leads these devotions, the others
joining in the responses. Before meals is recited a prayer, usually the
_Benedicite_. There is often a family oratory and here at the
appropriate seasons, in the month consecrated to the special family
saint and guardian, in May, the Virgin's month, in June, that of the
Sacred Heart, in November, "the month of the dead," special prayers are
said. On Sunday evenings the family chant the Canticles. The Church's
feasts are marked by festal signs such as the laying of the best rugs
on the floor. If there is drought groups gather frequently at the
Calvaires to pray for rain. Occasionally such supplications have a
curiously commercial basis in frugal minds. A habitant's wife, learning
that a near neighbour had made an offering to the curé for prayers for
rain, declared that she would give nothing, since if rain fell on the
neighbour's farm it would not stop there: "_S'il mouille chez les
Pierrot Benjamin, il mouillera ben icitte_."[32]

In each year, if he chooses, the habitant has a good many chances to
cast his vote. The Church, the greatest institution of the village has
its annual election--that for a churchwarden; of the three churchwardens
one retires every year. An annual election there is also for the
municipal council, two or three of whose members retire each year. This
body looks after the highways, the granting of licenses to sell
spirituous liquors and so on. Annually also are elected school
commissioners, who have charge of education. The municipal council and
the school commission are comparatively new institutions in the Province
of Quebec. They have been borrowed from the Anglo-Saxon world, but the
habitant takes kindly to the elector's privileges and struggles are
sometimes keen. The innovation of the ballot not having been adopted, as
yet, in municipal elections, the voting is open. Every voter must thus
show his preferences and when a moral question, such as the licensing of
drinking places, is before the electors this open voting aids the
Church's influence. Usually the curé is an ardent temperance man and to
vote for a license against his wishes, made known perhaps from the
pulpit, needs great strength of conviction. It thus happens that a very
large number of parishes in the Province of Quebec have no licensed
drinking places.

Of offices in the gift of the village voter those in the Church are the
most highly esteemed. To be a municipal councillor or a school
commissioner is indeed all very well. But the village council is not
really very important. It spends only a few hundred dollars a year and
to keep up the roads is not an exciting task. The village council rarely
has even the "town hall" usual in other communities; it meets in the
"salle publique," or the vestry, of the Church, or in the school house.
The school commissioners too have no very dazzling work to do. The curé
is sometimes their chairman and thus in some degree they come under the
control of the Church. The commissioners appoint the teachers in the
schools and keep up the school buildings, but their outlay is also very
small, for the salaries of teachers, usually women, are appallingly low.
The really important elective office in the parish is that of
churchwarden (_marguiller_). In the church the churchwardens have a
special seat of honour assigned to them. They control the temporalities
and may beard even the curé himself. Large sums of money pass through
their hands. They receive the pew rents,--and every habitant has a pew;
they receive the voluntary offerings. It often happens that the Church
accumulates large sums of money and that, if the building of a
_presbytère_ or parish church is decided upon, there is enough on hand
to pay for it outright. The municipal council and the schoolboard, on
the other hand, are always poor. The habitant watches their taxation
with a parsimonious scrutiny and it is a thankless task to carry on
their work.

Municipal interests represent of course only a part of the village's
political thought. In provincial politics, federal politics, there is
often in Quebec an interest keener even than in other parts of Canada.
It would be too much to say that the habitant has a wide outlook on
public questions; but the village notary and the village doctor are
likely to have political ambitions and rivalry becomes acute; often
indeed the curse of the village is the professional politician. At times
in Quebec politics have been closely associated with religion and always
the bishops are persons to be reckoned with. Their attitude has ever
been that, if the policy of one or the other party seems to be inimical
to the Church, they have the right to direct Catholic electors to vote
against such a party. From the point of view of British supremacy in
French Canada it would be a mistake to say that the bishops in a
political rôle have always been mischievous. After the conquest they
soon became the most staunch supporters of the authority of George III
and through the Church the British conqueror was able to reach the
people. When the American Revolution began, the bishops were strenuous
for British connection and from the pulpits came solemn warnings against
the Americans. Again in Britain's war on Revolutionary France the
Canadian bishops were with her, heart and soul. They ordered _Te Deums_
when Nelson destroyed the French fleet at the battle of the Nile, and
over Trafalgar there were great rejoicings. After Waterloo we find in
French Canada perhaps the most curious of all the thanksgivings; at
Malbaie, as elsewhere, a _Te Deum_ was sung and the people were told in
glowing terms of the victory of the "immortal Wellington" which had
covered "our army" with glory and ended a cruel war. Later, in the days
of Papineau, the Church opposed rebellion; she has since opposed
annexation to the United States. She has also helped to preserve order.
If a crime was to be detected, the curé read from the pulpit a demand
that any one, who could give information to further this end, should do
so. Solemn excommunication was pronounced against offenders; to make the
warning impressive the priest would drop to the ground a lighted candle
and put it out with his foot; so would God extinguish the offenders thus
denounced, and those who abetted their crimes.

Since the Church has aided the state, not unnaturally she expected some
special favours in return. She got them in the days of the early British
governors of Canada. Sir Guy Carleton, afterwards Lord Dorchester,
secured for the Church the legal power to levy the tithe on Catholics
and practically all the other privileges she had enjoyed under the old
régime. The bishops tended to become more and more active in politics
and this reached a climax in 1896. With great heat the bishops threw
themselves into the attack on the Liberal party, because it would not
support the Church's demands for her own separate schools in Manitoba,
supported by taxes levied on Roman Catholics by the state. Some of the
bishops went too far in denunciation; an appeal against their action was
carried by Catholics to the Pope and the offenders were rebuked. The
incident showed that in politics the habitant knows his own mind, for he
gave an overwhelming support to the party on which the bishops were
warring. Since then many a habitant draws a sharp distinction between
the spiritual and the political claims of the bishops. Their full
spiritual authority he does not doubt; in politics he thinks his own
opinion as good as theirs.

If in spiritual matters the Church led it was intended that in temporal
affairs too the habitants should always have guidance. An old world
flavour seems to pervade the relations between seigneur and vassal in a
French Canadian parish. The seigneur was himself the vassal of the
crown, bound to do humble homage at the capital when he received his
grant. We have a detailed account of the ceremony as performed, perhaps
for the first time under British rule. On December 23rd, 1760, in the
morning one Jacques Noël, a seigneur, accompanied by royal notaries,
proceeded to the government house in Quebec. He knocked at the principal
entrance and, when a servant appeared, Noël asked if His Excellency
James Murray, the Governor, was at home. The servant replied that His
Excellency was within and that he would give him notice. On being
admitted to the presence of the Governor, Noël with head uncovered, and,
to symbolize his humble obedience, wearing neither sword nor spur, fell
on his knees before him and declared that he performed faith and homage
for the seigniory to which, on his father's death, he had become the
heir. He then took an oath on the gospels to be faithful to the king and
to be no party to anything against his interests; to hold his own
vassals to the same obedience; and to perform all other duties required
by the terms of his holding.

The Crown required very little of the seigneur and so, in truth, did the
seigneur of his tenants. Their annual payment of _cens et rentes_ rarely
amounted to more than a very few dollars. When it fell due in the autumn
they were given abundant notice. Still in the Canadian parishes, when
the Sunday morning mass is over, the crier stands on a raised platform
near the church door, the people gather round, and the announcement is
made of tithes and taxes due, of articles lost or found, of anything
indeed of general interest to the community. It was in this way that as
St. Martin's day, November 11th, approached the people were reminded of
the falling due of the _cens et rentes_. The meaning of the two terms is
somewhat obscure. The _cens_ was a trifling payment by the _censitaire_
in recognition of the seigneur's position and rights as landowner; while
the _rentes_ represented a real rental based in some degree on the
supposed value of the land. But the rate was usually conventional and
very small. In early Canada the river was the highway and upon it
therefore every settler desired to have a frontage. There was, also,
greater safety from Indian attacks in having the houses close together
at the front of the farms. So these became long narrow strips, with the
houses built so close together that the country side often seems like a
continuous village. The habitant paid usually in _cens et rentes_ twenty
sols (about twenty cents) for each arpent (192 feet) of frontage;
instead of cash usually he might pay in kind--a live capon or a small
measure (demi-minot) of grain for each arpent. He paid also about one
cent of rent for each superficial acre. Thus for a farm of 100 acres,
with two arpents of frontage, a habitant might pay $1.00 in cash and two
capons. If each of 400 such tenants paid for their frontage in capons,
800 of these fowls would he brought to the seigneur's barn-yard each

Though payment was due on November 11th, the habitants usually waited
for the first winter days when the sleighing had become good. In many of
the sleighs, hastening with the merry sound of bells over the wintry
roads to the manor house, there would be one or two captive capons or a
bag or two of grain. M. de Gaspé has described how on such an occasion
the seigneur, or some member of his family for him, would be found by
the tenant "seated majestically in a large arm chair, near a table
covered with green baize cloth." Here he received the payments, or in
many cases only excuses for non-payment. The scene outside was often
animated, for the fowls brought in payment of the rent, with legs tied
but throats free, would not bear their captivity in silence. Rent day
was a festal occasion, but the great day in the year at the manor house
was New Year's Day. Then the people came to offer their respects to the
seigneur and Nairne speaks of the prodigious consumption of whiskey and
cakes at such a time. The seigneur was usually god-father to the
first-born of the children of his tenants. It is a pretty custom among
French Canadians for the children to go on New Year's Day, which is a
great festival, to the chamber of their parents in the early morning and
kneel before the bed for their benediction. To the seigneur as to a
parent came on this day his god-children and we have it from M. de
Gaspé, an eye witness, that on one occasion he saw no less than one
hundred of these come to call upon the seigneur at the manor house! In
the old days the people came also on the first day of May to plant the
May-pole before his door and to dance round it.

Some of the seigneurs were as poor as their own _censitaires_ and, like
them, toiled with their hands. But usually there was a social gulf
between the cottage and the manor house. Even the Church marked this.
The seigneur had the right to a special pew; he was censed first; he
received the wafer first at the communion; he took precedence in
processions, and was specially recommended from the pulpit to the
prayers of the congregation. Caldwell, who was seigneur of Lauzon
opposite Quebec, used to drive through his great seigniory in state,
half reclining on the cushions of his carriage and with a numerous
following. If on a long drive he stopped at a farm house, even for the
light refreshment of a drink of milk, he never paid the habitant with
anything less than a gold coin. I once asked a habitant, who remembered
the old days, whether the seigneur really was such a very great man in
the village. He replied, with something like awe in his voice,
"_Monsieur, il était le roi, l'empereur, du village_."

The ministrations of the manor house were often patriarchical and
beneficent; the seigneur's wife was like the squire's wife in an English
village. In time this relation aroused resentment. Some villager's son
with a taste for business or letters made his way in the world, got into
touch with more advanced thought, and when he came back to the village
was not so willing as formerly to touch his hat to the seigneur and
accept an inferior social status as a matter of course. M. de Gaspé
tells how he often accompanied Madame Taché, in her own right
co-seigneuress of Kamouraska, opposite Malbaie, in her visits to the
people on the seigniory. She took alms to the poor, and wine, cordials,
delicacies to the sick and convalescent. "She reigned as sovereign in
the seigniory," he says, "by the very tender ties of love and of
gratitude." When she left the village church after mass on Sunday the
habitants, most of whom drove to church in their own vehicles, would
wait respectfully for her to start and then follow her in a long
procession, none of them venturing to pass her on the road. At the point
where she turned from the high-way up the avenue leading to the manor
house, each habitant, as he passed, would raise his hat, although only
her back was in view disappearing in the direction of the house.

But early in the 19th century this spirit was changing:

     One day I was myself witness, says M. de Gaspé, of a violation of
     this universal deference. It was St. Louis's day, the festival of
     the parish of Kamouraska. As usual Madame Taché, at the close of
     mass, was leading the long escort of her _censitaires_, when a
     young man, excited by the frequent libations of which in the
     country many are accustomed to partake during the parish fêtes,--a
     young man, I say, breaking from the procession passed the carriage
     of the seigneuress as fast as his horse would go. Madame Taché
     stopped her carriage and turning round towards those who followed
     her cried in a loud voice:

     "What insolent person is this who has passed before me?"

     An old man went up to her, hat in hand, and said with tears in his

     "Madame, it is my son who unfortunately is tipsy, but be sure that
     I shall bring him to make his apologies and meanwhile I beg you to
     accept mine for his boorishness."

     I ought to add that the whole parish spoke with indignation of the
     conduct of the young man. The delinquent had committed a double
     offence. He had been rude to their benefactress, and besides,
     violating a French Canadian custom, he had passed a carriage
     without asking permission.[33]

This must have been before 1813 for in that year this good Madame Taché
died: even so early was youth restive under the old traditions of
deference and subordination. Already some even of the seigneurs were
saying that the system retarded settlement. It would have suited the
seigneurs to have their holdings converted into freehold, for then they
could have held the unsettled land as their own property instead of
being under obligation to grant it for a nominal rental to
_censitaires_. But to make this conversion would have been too kind to
the seigneurs; so the matter dragged on for a long time.

The grievances of the habitant against the seigneurs were numerous, some
of them real, some fanciful. It seemed anomalous that, in a British
colony in the nineteenth century, there should be men holding great
tracts of land with rights over their tenants, as some authors have
seriously claimed, extending from the power of trying them for petty
offences to that of inflicting the death penalty. This last right was,
in any case, only nominal and was never exercised by any seigneur in
Canada; but even the claim that it existed shows how high were the
authority and privilege of the seigneur. A right like the _corvée_ had a
sinister meaning. One of the greatest hardships of the old régime, in
France it meant that, on demand, the peasant must drop his own work to
join in making highways, in carrying from one place to another the
effects of a regiment, and other unwelcome tasks, all without pay. In
Canada it was milder. The seigneur levied a _corvée_ of so many days'
labour, which he employed on the useful task of improving the highway.
Some seigneurs required that at the times they chose, the habitants
should work for them a certain number of days, usually six, in each
year. They could even make the habitants work without pay at building a
manor house; a few of the massive stone mansions still fairly numerous
in the Province of Quebec were constructed by such labour. Not
unnaturally the habitant came to feel it odious and humiliating to be
obliged thus to give his labour at another's order.

The seigneuries too were often broken up. In Canada there is no law of
primogeniture and, at a seigneur's death, the land went to daughters as
well as to sons. Few of the old seigniorial families remained on their
original estates. In time those who held the property came to think that
a rental of about a cent an acre was not enough. In the days of French
rule they could not have increased it; but the old custom, they claimed,
did not apply under British sovereignty. So these charges were often
increased; in time instead of a penny the habitant had to pay
three-pence, six-pence, and even eight-pence, an acre; the seigneurs, as
a judge put it, showed an excellent knowledge of arithmetical
progression. Thus the _cens et rentes_ began to bring in a real income.
So did the _lods et ventes_, the tax of one-twelfth of the price of
whatever land the habitant sold. In early days land was rarely sold. But
when towns and villages had grown up on seigniorial estates, a good deal
of buying and selling took place and there stood always the seigneur
demanding in every transaction his share of the selling price. If the
land was sold two or three times in a year, as might well happen, each
time the seigneur got his share of one-twelfth. If the occupier had
built on the land a house at his own cost, none the less did the
seigneur, who had done nothing, get his large percentage on the selling
value of these improvements. This was a real grievance. To avoid paying
the seigneur's claim a price, lower than that really paid, was sometimes
named in the deed, and this led to perjury. To protect themselves the
seigneur used his _droit de retrait_ the right for forty days of himself
taking the property at the price named. This involved vexation and delay
and increased discontent. Moreover the seigneur's right to _lods et
ventes_ stood in the way of a ready transfer of property between members
of the same family.

There were other causes of discontent. The seigneur had the _droit de
banalité_, the banal rights, under which in France the habitant must use
the seigneur's wine-press, his oven and his mill. In Canada no wine was
made, so the seigneur's winepress did not exist. Some attempts were made
to force the habitant to bake his bread in the seigneur's oven but what
would do in a compact French village, where fuel was scarce, became
absurd in Canada; the picture is ludicrous of a habitant carrying a
dozen miles, over rough roads, to the seigneur's oven, unbaked dough
which might be hard frozen _en route_. Moreover new inventions made
ovens common and cheap so that the habitant could afford to have his
own. The seigneur's oven thus caused no grievance. Not so however the
seigneur's mill. In the early days when the seigneur had the sole right
to build a mill this became for him, in truth, a duty sometimes
burdensome; for, whether it would pay or not, the government forced him
to build a mill or else abandon the right. But in time the mill proved
profitable and to it the peasant must bring his wheat. There might be a
good mill near his house, while the seigneur's mill might be a dozen
miles away and even then might give poor service; yet to the seigneur's
mill he must go. If it was a wind-mill, nature, by denying wind, might
cause a long delay before the flour should be ready. As time went on,
some seigneurs claimed or reserved a monopoly in regard to all mills;
grist mills, saw mills, carding mills, factories of every kind. Canada
in time exported flour, but the seigneur's rights stood in the way of
the free grinding of the wheat for this trade. The habitant might have
on his land an excellent mill site with water power convenient, but he
could not use it without the seigneur's consent. More than this the
seigneur often reserved the right to take such a site to the extent of
six arpents for his own use without any compensation to the habitant.

In many cases the seigneur might freely cut timber on the habitant's
land to erect buildings for public use,--church, presbytery, mill, and
even a manor house. The rights to base metals on the property he also
retained. The eleventh fish caught in the rivers was his. He might
change the course of streams or rivers for manufacturing purposes; he
alone could establish a ferry; his will determined where roads should be
opened. Some seigneurs were even able to force villages and towns to pay
a bonus for the right to carry on the ordinary business of buying and
selling. So it turned out that if the habitant's crop failed he had
little chance to do anything else without the seigneur's consent; he is,
says the report of a Commission of Enquiry in 1843, "kept in a perpetual
state of feebleness and dependence. He can never escape from the tie
that forever binds to the soil him and his progeny; a cultivator he is
born, a mere cultivator he is doomed to die." No doubt this plaint is
pitched in a rather high key. But in time the burden of grievances was
generally felt and then the seigniorial system was doomed.

In the days of the last John Nairne political agitation became an old
story at Malbaie. We get echoes of meetings held in the village to
support the cause of the idol of habitant radicalism, Louis Joseph
Papineau; in 1836 ninety-two resolutions drawn up by him and attacking
the whole system of government in Canada appear to have met with
clamorous approval from the assembled villagers. Papineau was himself a
seigneur and did not assail the system. But after his unsuccessful
rebellion in 1837-38 the attack on the seigneurs intensified. We know
little of what happened at Malbaie but the end came suddenly. In 1854,
after an election fought largely on this issue, the Parliament of Canada
swept away the seigniorial system. The habitants then became tenants
paying as rent the old _cens et rentes_. They could not be disturbed as
long as this trifling rent was paid. Moreover at any time they might
become simple freeholders by paying to the seigneur a sum of money
representing their annual rent capitalized on a six per cent, basis. The
term seigneur is still used but is now a mere honorary title. No longer
does his position give him the authority of a magistrate; no longer must
the habitants grind their corn at his mill; no longer can he claim _lods
et ventes_ when land is sold. For the loss of these rights he was paid
compensation out of the public treasury.[34]

With the abolition of the seigniorial system ends too the story of the
Nairne family. In 1861, exactly one hundred years after Colonel Nairne
first visited Malbaie, died his grandson and the last of his
descendants, John McNicol Nairne, son of Colonel Nairne's eldest
daughter Magdalen. This last Nairne left the property absolutely to his
widow, tied only by the condition that it was to go to her male issue if
she had such, even by a second marriage. In 1884, she too died
childless, and bequeathed the property to an old friend, both of herself
and of her husband, Mr. W.E. Duggan. Had Mr. Duggan not survived Mrs.
Nairne the property was to go to St. Matthew's Church, Quebec. Mr.
Duggan occupied it, until his death in 1898, when it passed by will to
his half-brother, Mr. E.J. Duggan, the present seigneur.[35]

It is a sad story this of the extinction of a family. Both Thomas Nairne
and his father were buried at first in the Protestant cemetery at
Quebec. But not there permanently were they to lie, and many years ago
they found a resting-place in a new tomb in Mount Hermon Cemetery. On a
lovely autumn day in 1907 I made my way in Quebec to the spot where the
Nairnes are interred. In the fresh cool air it was a pleasure to walk
briskly the three miles of the St. Louis road to the cemetery. One
crossed the battle field of the Plains of Abraham where, within a few
months, a century and a half ago, Britain and France grappled in deadly
strife. The elder Nairne saw that field with its harvest of dead on
September 13th, 1759, and, in the following April, he saw its snow
stained with the blood of brave men who fell in Murray's battle with
Lévis. In May, 1776, he marched across it in victorious pursuit of the
fleeing American army. At Mount Hermon I readily found the Nairne tomb.
It lies on the slope of the hill towards the river. Through the noble
trees gleamed the mighty tide of the St. Lawrence. A great pine tree
stands near the block of granite that marks the Nairne graves and a
gentle breeze through its countless needles caused that mysterious
sighing which is perhaps nature's softest and saddest note. One's
thoughts went back to the brave old Colonel who wrought so well and had
such high hopes for his posterity to the soldier son, remembered here,
who died in far distant India; and to the other soldier son who fell in
Canada upon the field of battle. He was the last male heir of his line.
The name and the family are now well-nigh forgotten. The inscriptions on
the tomb, reared by a friend, connected with the Nairnes by ties of
friendship only, not of blood, are themselves the memorial of the rise
and extinction of a Canadian family.[36]

[Footnote 25: He must have been a Roman Catholic for he was buried in
the churchyard at Murray Bay.]

[Footnote 26: We have seen (_ante_ p. 49) how at Malbaie Colonel Nairne
expected that a Protestant missionary would soon make the community

[Footnote 27: Professor Barrett Wendell, France of To-day, New York,

[Footnote 28: Roy, Histoire de la Seigneurie de Lauzon, IV: 169, 170.]

[Footnote 29: The Abbé H.R. Casgrain: _Une Paroisse Canadienne au XVII.
Siècle_. _Oeuvres_, Vol. I, pp. 483 _sqq._]

[Footnote 30: Roy, La Seigneurie de Lauzon, IV: 247.]

[Footnote 31: M. Léon Gérin in "L'Habitant de Saint-Justin", p. 202.]

[Footnote 32: Roy, La Seigneurie de Lauzon IV: 245.]

[Footnote 33: De Gaspé, _Mémoires_, p. 533, 4.]

[Footnote 34: Mr. Nairne claimed as compensation for his _lods et
ventes_ £4,560, 9s. 6d., (Halifax currency) and for the banal rights
£3,400. He probably received considerably less. More than 400 dwellers
in the seigniory still pay the annual _cens et rentes_.]

[Footnote 35: Malcolm Fraser's seigniory, Mount Murray, remained
somewhat longer in the family of its original owner. On Fraser's death
in 1815 his eldest son William, who had become a medical practitioner
and a Roman Catholic, succeeded. He died without issue in 1830 and his
brother, John Malcolm Fraser, then fell heir to the seigniory. When he
died in 1860 the property passed by will to his two daughters, both
married to British officers. The elder, Mrs. Reeve, succeeded to the
manor house. The younger, Mrs. Higham, soon sold her share to the Cimon
family who became prominent in the district and one of whose members sat
in Parliament at Ottawa on the Conservative side. Mrs. Reeve died in
1879 leaving the use of the property to her husband, Colonel Reeve, for
his life. When he died in 1888, his son Mr. John Fraser Reeve, Malcolm
Fraser's great-grandson, became seigneur. In 1902 he sold the property
to the present seigneur, Mr. George T. Bonner, of New York, a Canadian
by birth. Though there are numerous living descendants of Malcolm
Fraser, Murray Bay knows them no more.]

[Footnote 36: Sacred to the memory of Lieutenant Colonel John Nairne,
First Seigneur of Murray Bay. This Gallant Officer during 38 years
distinguished himself as an able and brave Soldier. For simplicity of
manners as a man, for Intrepidity and humanity as a Soldier, and for the
virtues of a Gentleman, his memory will long be respected and cherished.
Born in Scotland, March 1, 1731. Died at Quebec, July 14, 1802.

Lieutenant Colonel Nairne first entered the Dutch Service where he
belonged to that distinguished Corps, the Scotch Brigade. He afterwards
entered the British Service where under Wolfe he was present at the
taking of Louisbourg and Quebec. He also served under Murray and
Carleton and distinguished himself in a most gallant manner when Quebec
was attacked by the Americans in the years 1775 and 1776.

And of his eldest son, Lieutenant John Nairne of the 19th Regiment of
Foot, who fell a victim to the climate of India when returning with the
victorious troops from the capture of Seringapatam in the 21st year of
his age; also of his youngest son, Captain Thomas Nairne, of the 49th
Regiment of Foot who bravely fell at the head of his Company in the
Battle at Chrysler's Farm in Upper Canada November 11, 1813, aged 26

Also of John Leslie Nairne, great grandson of Colonel Nairne, born July
23, 1842, died March 18, 1845; and of John Nairne, Esq., Grandson of
Colonel Nairne, born at Murray Bay, March 22nd, 1808, died at Quebec
June 8, 1861; and of his Widow, Maria Katherine Leslie, died at Quebec,
August 25, 1884, deeply regretted by her friends and by the poor of whom
she was the constant benefactress.

This monument is erected in affectionate remembrance of much kindness by
one who was privileged to enjoy their friendship during the best part of
his life.]



     Pleasure seeking at Murray Bay.--A fisherman's experience in
     1830.--New visitors.--Fishing in a mountain lake.--Camp life.--The
     Upper Murray.--Canoeing.--Running the rapids.--Walks and
     drives.--Golf.--A rainy day.--The habitant and his visitors.

In the Middle Ages mankind in pursuit of change of air and scene and of
bodily and spiritual health went on pilgrimage to some famous shrine; in
modern times dwellers in cities, in a similar pursuit, go in summer to
some beautiful spot by sea, or lake, or mountain. To many these places
then become as sacred as was the saint's shrine of an earlier age. Busy
men have leisure there to be idle, to read, to enjoy companionship, to
pursue wholesome pleasures. Such a spot has Murray Bay become to many.
Their intrusion was not looked upon with favour by those who wished to
preserve the old simplicity, but it could not be resisted. More than a
hundred years ago Colonel Nairne and Colonel Fraser had parties of
guests in the summer that must have made the two manor houses lively
enough. The beauty of the place, its coolness when Quebec and Montreal
suffered from sweltering heat in the short Canadian summer, the
simplicity and charm of its life, proved alluring. There was also
excellent sport. Salmon and trout abounded. Though time has brought
changes, in some seasons the salmon fishing is still excellent and, in
all the world, probably, there is no better trout fishing than in the
upper waters of the Murray and in some of the lakes.

Thus it happened that the earliest annals of pleasure seeking at Murray
Bay relate to fishing. It is at least possible that more than two
hundred years ago the Sieur de Comporté tried his fortune as a fisherman
in the lake that bears his name. A hundred and fifty years ago, as we
have seen, Captain Nairne and his guest Gilchrist had such excellent
salmon fishing that Gilchrist thought this sport alone worth a trip
across the Atlantic. Many other fishing expeditions to Malbaie there
must have been and, fortunately, a detailed narrative of one of them,
made in 1830, has been preserved. The fishermen were Major Wingfield and
Dr. Henry--attached to the 66th regiment at Montreal.

They went by steamer from Montreal to Quebec and an American General on
board jeered at them for travelling three hundred miles to catch fish
which they could buy in the market at their door! When they reached
Quebec they found no steamer for Murray Bay,--hardly strange as then the
steamboat was comparatively new. Three days they waited at Quebec until
at length they bargained with the captain of a coasting schooner bound
for Kamouraska, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, to land them at
Malbaie. The weather was stormy, the ship nearly foundered, and the
eighty miles of the journey occupied no less than four days and nights.
The fishermen had brought with them a quarter of cold lamb, a loaf, and
a bottle of wine, but, before the journey was over, sheer hunger drove
them to the ship's salt pork and to sausages stuffed with garlic. Rather
than take refuge below among "thirty or forty dirty habitants from
Kamouraska" they stuck to the deck and encamped under the great sail,
but the rain fell so heavily that they could not even keep their cigars
alight. At length "with beards like Jews," cold, wet, half-starved and
miserable, they reached their destination. As they landed at Murray Bay
they saw a salmon floundering in a net, bought it, and carried it with
them to the house of a man named Chaperon where they had engaged
lodgings. Here, says Dr. Henry, the sensation of being clean and
comfortable in their host's "pleasant parlour" was delicious. The tea,
the toast, the dainty prints of fresh butter were all exquisite "after
rancid pork and garlic," and he declares that they ate for two hours and
consumed "some half gallon of thick cream and half a bushel of new laid
eggs." Under their window bloomed a rose bush in full flower. Murray Bay
was at its best.

On Monday morning, July 5th, 1830, the two fishermen engaged a
_calèche_, and a boy named Louis Panet drove them up the Murray River.
The present village church was already standing, "a respectable church,"
says Dr. Henry, "with its long roof and glittering spire and a tall elm
or two"; the elms, alas, have disappeared and now there are only
willows. A wooden bridge crossed the Murray and its large abutments
loaded with great boulders told of formidable spring floods sweeping
down the valley. A recent "éboulement" or land slide had blocked the
road along the river and men were still busy clearing away the rubbish.
Eight or ten miles up the river at the fall known as the Chute, still a
favourite spot for salmon fishing, they had magnificent sport. One Jean
Gros, in a crazy canoe, took them to the best places for casting the
fly. The first salmon weighed twenty-five pounds and they had to play it
for three-quarters of an hour. That evening when they returned to M.
Chaperon's, to feast once more, they had five salmon weighing in all one
hundred and five pounds and forty-five sea trout averaging three pounds
each. No wonder Gilchrist has said such fishing was worth a trip across
the Atlantic! The blot on the day's enjoyment was that in the July
weather they were pestered with flies.

Excellent sport continued from day to day. Once Jean Gros lost his hold
of the pole by which he controlled the canoe and it drifted helplessly
towards a rapid, Henry all the time playing a salmon. The man was
alarmed and knelt to mumble prayers but Henry caught up a board thrown
from the shore, gave him a whack with it on the back and shouted:
"_Ramez! Sacré! Ramez!_" The effect was electrical. The old fellow
seized the board, paddled with it like mad, steered down the rapid, and
Henry finally landed his salmon. Day after day the two fishermen drove
up to the Chute to fish until, after a fortnight, the river fell and the
salmon ceased to rise; then they went down in a large boat to Rivière
Noire, said never yet to have been fished with a rod, slept at night on
the sandy beach, but had no luck. Henry tells of an annoyance at Malbaie
that still continues; mongrel dogs ran after their _calèche_; sometimes
one would try to seize the horse by the nose and nearly cause a
run-away. Each cur pursued the vehicle and barked himself hoarse, and
then, when he retired, his neighbour would take up the task. At length,
after this experience had been frequently renewed, they decided to
retaliate. One black shaggy beast had made himself specially obnoxious;
with his thick wooly fur he did not mind in the least being struck by
the whip. So one day Dr. Henry got ready the salmon gaff and, as the
brute darted out at them, skilfully hooked him by the side. The driver
whipped up his horse, which seemed to enjoy the punishment of his
enemy, and the vehicle went tearing along the road, the dog yelling
hideously as he was dragged by the hook. The people ran to the doors
holding up their hands in astonishment. The Doctor soon shook off the
dog and he trotted home little the worse. Next day when he saw the
fisherman's calèche coming he limped into the house "as mute as a fish"
with his tail between his legs.

Dr. Henry thought Murray Bay an earthly paradise. The people in this
"secluded valley" were the most virtuous he had ever seen. Flagrant
crime was unknown,--doors were never locked at night. There was no need
of temperance reform; "whole families pass their lives without any
individual ever having tasted intoxicating fluids." The devout people,
he says, had social family worship, morning and evening; the families
were huge, fifteen to twenty children being not uncommon; when a young
couple married the relations united to build a house for them; and so
on. Unfortunately we know from other sources that conditions were not as
idyllic at Murray Bay as Dr. Henry describes; but it was, no doubt, a
simple and virtuous community.

In time its isolation was to disappear before invaders like Dr. Henry,
in pursuit of pleasure. So gradual was the change that we hardly know
when it came. By 1850 there was a little summer colony mostly from
Quebec and Montreal. Soon a few came from points more distant. As means
of transport on the St. Lawrence improved a great many travellers passed
Murray Bay on their way to the Saguenay. Tadousac, at its mouth, was
already well known and an occasional stray visitor stopped off at Murray
Bay to see what it was like. The accommodation offered was rude enough,
no doubt, but perhaps less rude than one might suppose. At Pointe au Pic
stood a substantial stone house. This was turned into a hotel and known
some fifty years ago as Duberger's house. There were besides a few other
houses for summer visitors. Thus, long ago, was there tolerable comfort
at Murray Bay. In any case visitors soon found that the place had
abundant compensations even for discomfort. They came and came again.
Friends came to visit them and they too learned to love the spot. Some
Americans from New York chanced to find it out and others of their
countrymen followed; by 1885 already well established was the now
dominant American colony.

The influx has limited and restricted but has not destroyed the old
diversion of fishing. There are still many hundreds of lakes in the
neighbourhood on which no fisherman has ever yet cast a fly. But nearly
all the good spots within easy range are now leased or owned by private
persons and clubs; no longer may the transient tourist fish almost where
he pleases. All the better for this restriction is the quality of the
fishing. What magnificent sport there is in some of those tiny lakes on
the mountain side and what glorious views as one drives thither! To
reach Lac à Comporté, for instance, one crosses the brawling Murray,
drives up its left bank for a mile or so and then heads straight up the
mountain side. Turning back one can see the silver gleam of the small
river winding through its narrow valley until lost in the enveloping
mountains. From points still higher one looks northwestward upon the
mountain crests worn round ages ago, some of them probably never yet
trodden by the foot of man. Most are wooded to the top but there are
bare crags, a glowing purple sometimes in the afternoon light; but the
prevailing tone is the deep, deep blue, the richest surely that nature
can show anywhere. Along the road where we are driving stretch the
houses of the habitants and sometimes, to survey the passing strangers,
the whole family stands on the rude door-step. They rarely fail in a
courteous greeting, with a touch still of the manners of France.

Two or three days spent on one of these wild mountain lakes, such as Lac
à Comporté, is as pleasant an experience as any one can have. The walk
is beautiful from the last cottage where the vehicles are left and the
two or three men are secured who shoulder the packs with the necessary
provisions. At first the forest path is hewn broadly in a straight line
but it soon narrows to a trail winding up the mountain side. The way is
rough; one must clamber over occasional boulders and turn aside to avoid
fallen trees. The white stems of birches are conspicuous in the forest
thicket. After a stiff climb we have passed over the shoulder of the
mountain; the path is now trending downward and at length through the
arch of green over the pathway one catches the gleam of the lake. The
pace quickens and in a few minutes we stand upon the shore of a lovely
little sheet of water with a shore line perhaps three miles long, lying
in the mountain hollow. Evening is near and, half an hour later, each
fisherman is in a boat paddled softly by a habitant companion. In a
thousand places the calm water is disturbed by the trout feeding busily;
they often throw themselves quite clear of the water and, when the sport
has well begun, at a single cast one occasionally takes a trout on each
of his three flies. Before it is dark the whole circuit of the lake has
been made and a goodly basket of trout is the result.

A camp at evening is always delightful. The tired fishermen lie by the
cheery fire while the men prepare the evening meal, to consist chiefly
of the trout just caught. They have the vivacity and readiness of their
race: rough habitants though they are their courtesy is inborn,
inalienable. After the meal is over silence often falls on the group of
three or four by the fire. Every one is tired and at barely nine o'clock
it is time for bed. Before each of the two or three small tents standing
some distance apart by the water's edge the men have built a blazing
fire which throws its light far out over the tiny lake. All round rise
the mountains, now dark and sombre; a sharp wind is blowing and as one
stands alone looking out over the water there comes a sense of chill;
for a moment the mountain solitude seems remote, melancholy and
friendless: with something like a shiver one turns to the cheerful fire
before the tent. Here blankets are spread on sweet scented boughs of
_sapin_; the bed is hard, but not too hard for a tired man and one
quickly falls asleep.

Other fishing expeditions at Murray Bay take one farther afield and into
more varied scenes. In its upper stretches, three thousand feet above
the sea, the Murray River flows through a level country before it
plunges into mountain fastnesses, almost impregnable in summer, for a
long and troubled détour, to emerge at length into this last valley. To
reach this flat upland one must drive through a beautiful mountain pass
with great heights towering on either side of the winding roadway. In
the upper river the fishing is still unsurpassed. Of small trout there
are vast numbers, excellent for the table, but in the deep pools are
also huge trout, ranging in weight from three to eight pounds. The
surrounding country is open; there are only clumps of scrubby timber;
and the plain is covered with deep moss readily beaten into a hard path
upon which the foot treads silently. Here the bears come to feed upon
the berries and the Canadians have called the plain prettily the "Jardin
des Ours." Other sport than trout fishing there is. In season the
caribou and the moose are abundant--but that is a sportsman's tale by

Fishing and hunting are not the sole diversions. As long ago as in 1811,
when young Captain Nairne came here fresh from Europe, the boating
attracted him and he spent much time on the bay and the river. No doubt
the young seigneur was soon skilful in the art of paddling a canoe. In
those days there were real Indians and no other canoes than those of
birch bark; now these have well-nigh disappeared and, indeed, few
visitors at Murray Bay, use any kind of a canoe. The pastime is thought
too dangerous for all but the initiated. Amid these mountains, winds
rise quickly and beat up a sea, and it is well to keep near the shore.
The rising tide sweeps like a mill race over the bar at the mouth of the
bay and when one has passed out to the great river it is like being
afloat on the open sea. On perfectly calm days we may go far out to be
swept up with the tide; but it is both safer and pleasanter to glide
along close to shore under the shadow of the cliffs, around sharp
corners, dodging in and out among boulders submerged, or now being
submerged, by the rising tide. The successive sandy beaches are each
backed by high cliffs. The river is a shining, spangled, surface of
light blue and white, reflecting the sky sprinkled with fleecy clouds.
Here a chattering stream, the Petit Ruisseau, falls over white rocks to
lose itself in the sand. Far ahead now one can see the Church of Ste.
Irénée perched on a level table-land, two or three hundred feet above
the river. Soon a dark green line on the high birch-clad shore marks the
gorge by which the Grand Ruisseau flows to the St. Lawrence. At its
mouth is a good place to land and make tea. The canoes are drawn up on a
sandy beach under the shadow of cliffs, a medley of red and grey and
brown. Near by, the Grand Ruisseau, a fair sized brook, babbles in its
bed crowded with great boulders. A wild path, part of it including steps
from rock to rock in the bed of the stream itself, leads to a lovely
little cascade where, in white foam, the water falls into a deep dark
pool. One hurries to visit it and then, with the evening shadows falling
and the narrow gorge becoming sombre, it is wise to hasten back. As one
steps out from the wooded path to the shore of the great river the scene
is enchanting. The river's shining surface is perfectly smooth. Far
across it is a dark-blue serried line of mountains. Houses, twenty miles
distant, stand out white in the last light of the sun. From the
tin-covered spire of a church far away, the flash of the rays comes back
like the glow of fire. Standing in shadow we look out on a realm of

    "As when the sun prepared for rest
    Hath gained the precincts of the West,
    Though his departing radiance fail
    To illuminate the hollow vale,
    A lingering light he fondly throws
    On the fair hills, where first he rose."

The shore is strangely silent; one hears only the occasional puffing of
the white whale or the sad cry of the loon.

A thrilling diversion is that of running the rapids in the Murray River.
The canoe is sent up by _charette_ and after luncheon it is a walk or
drive of eight or nine miles up the river to the starting point--a deep,
dark-brown pool, which soon narrows into a swift rapid, the worst in all
the stretches to the river's mouth. Formerly a procession of half a
dozen canoes would go through the rapid with light hearts, but, long
ago, when the river was very high, a canoe upset here and one of its
occupants was never seen alive again. As one paddles out into the pool
and is drawn into the dark current moving silently and swiftly to the
rapid the heart certainly beats a little faster. The water's surface is
an inclined plane as it flows over the ledge of rock. Straight ahead the
current breaks on a huge black rock in a cloud of white foam. One must
sweep off to the right, with the great volume of the water, and need
catch only a little spray in swinging safely past the danger point.
Then, in the waves caused by the current, before the canoe is quite
turned "head-on" a wave may curl over the bow and leave the occupants
kneeling in half an inch of water. In such a case it is wise to land and
empty the canoe. In the next rapid, a tangled maze, the water is shallow
and skill is required to wind in and out among the rocks and find water
enough to keep afloat. Then the canoe slips over a ledge with plenty of
water and the only care is to curve sharply to the left with the current
before it strikes the bank straight ahead. The whole trip down the river
occupies two glorious hours. There are short stretches of smooth and
deep water; then the river contracts and pours with impetuous swiftness
down a rocky slope. Sometimes trees stand close to the river; then there
are bare grey banks of clay; then smiling fields sloping gently up to
the high land; at times the canoe is in shade, then in the flashing
sunlight. The river grows milder as it nears its mouth but the
excitement does not end until we float under the bridge at Malbaie
village and lift the canoe over the boom fastened there to catch logs in
their descent. To paddle home in calm water across the bay seems tame
after dancing for two hours on that tossing current.

Of course there are many walks and drives--on the whole the most
delightful of Malbaie's diversions. The favourite walk is to "Beulah." A
generation that does not read its Bible as it should may need to be told
that Beulah is the name of the land no more desolate in which the Lord
delighteth; some Bible reader so named a spot on the mountain where one
looks out far, far, afield in every direction for immense distances. It
may be reached by a forest path straight up the mountain side from
Pointe au Pic. We go through spruce and birch woods till we reach an
opening where we look out northward on rounded mountain tops blue,
silent, immeasurable, spreading away, one might almost fancy to the
North Pole itself, so endless seems their mass. On beautiful turf
through woods, then by a cow path across a bog, the path leads until a
bare hill top lies full in view. This is Beulah. Standing there one
seems to have the whole world at one's feet. When Petrarch had climbed
Mount Ventoux, near Avignon, the first man for half a century to do so,
the scene overwhelmed him; thoughts of the deeper meaning of life rose
before his mind; he drew from his pocket St. Augustine and read: "Men go
about to wonder at the height of the mountains and the mighty waves of
the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers and the circuit of the ocean and
the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not." I never
stand on "Beulah" without thinking of this passage. Far away to the
distant south shore, and up and down the river we can survey a stretch
of eighty or ninety miles. We stand in the midst of a sea of mountains
and look landward across deep valleys in all directions with the ranges
rising tier on tier beyond.


Among diversions for men golf, in spite of a certain reaction, has still
the chief place. The club house is on the west shore of the bay. One
plays out northward. The players zigzag here and there among curious
earth mounds formed by the eddying swirl of water when the river's
current held high carnival over these level stretches. Then the course
leads up to the higher slope and mounts steadily, until, at the farthest
hole, a considerable height has been reached. As one turns back towards
the river he faces a wonder scene of changing grey and blue and green
and white. The smoke of passing steamers floats lazily in the air; they
take the deep channel by the south shore and are a dozen miles away. It
is usually a silent world that one looks out upon; but when there is a
north-east wind great green waves come rolling in upon the sandy shore
of the bay and fill the air with their undertone.

Even the rainy days have their own pleasures. One is glad of its excuse
to sit before a crackling fire of birch wood and read. When the rain has
ceased and the sun comes out, looking across to Cap à l'Aigle and up
the river valley one sees new beauties. The mist disperses slowly. First
it leaves bare the rounded mountain tops; they stand out dark, massive,
with bases shrouded still in fleecy white. When the sun grows strong,
river and valley are soon clear again, though the outlines are still a
little softened. Up over the sand and boulders of the bay comes the
rising tide changing sombre brown to shining blue. It rushes noisily
across the bar at the bay's mouth a few hundred yards away.

The visitors to this beautiful scene gather year by year from places
widely separated and form in this remote village a society singularly
cosmopolitan. English, French, Americans, Canadians, all mingle here
with leisure to meet and play together. For a time far away seems the
hard world of competition. Rarely do newspapers arrive until at least
the day after publication; the telegraph is used only under urgent
necessity; as far as possible business is excluded. The cottages are
spacious enough but quite simple, with rooms usually divided off only by
boards of pine or spruce. Very little decoration makes them pretty.
Gardening has a good many devotees; the long day of sunshine and in some
seasons the abundant rain of this northern region help to make
vegetation luxurious. If one drives he may take a _planche_--the
convenient serviceable "buck-board,"--still unsurpassed for a country
of hills and rough roads. But to me at least the _calèche_ is the more
enjoyable. It comes here from old France, a two-wheeled vehicle, with
the seat hung on stout leather straps reaching from front to back on
each side of the wooden frame. It is not a vehicle for those sensitive
to slight jars. The driver sits in a tiny seat in front and one is
amazed at the agility with which even old men spring from this perch to
walk up and down the steep hills. Their ponies are beautiful little
animals, specially fitted by a long development for work in this hilly
country. So well do they mount its heights that travellers repeat an
unconfirmed tradition of their having been known to climb trees!

It is not strange that in our happy summer days we acquire a deep
affection for this northern region, its brilliant colouring, its crisp
air. Not its least charm is in the cheerful and kindly people. One would
not have them speak any other tongue than their French, preserving here
archaic usages, with new words for new things, influenced of course by
English, but still the beautiful language of an older France than the
France of to-day. The people have their own tragedies. One sees pale
women, over-worked. The physician's skill is too little sought; the
country ranges are very remote; it is difficult and expensive to get
medical aid; and there are deformed cripples who might have been made
whole by skill applied in time. Consumption too is here a dread
scourge, though against it a strenuous campaign has now begun. Many
children are born but too many die. Still, most of the people live in
comfort and they enjoy life--enjoy it probably much more than would an
Anglo-Saxon community of the same type.

We who are among them in the summer are citizens of another and an
unknown world. New York and Chicago, Boston and Washington, Toronto and
Montreal are to us realities with one or other of which, in some way,
each of us is linked. To this simple people they are all merely that
outer world whence come their fleeting visitors of summer, as out of the
unknown come the migrant birds to pause and rest awhile. We bring with
us substantial material benefits; but it is not clear that our moral
influence is good. Leaving his farm the habitant brings to the village
his horse and calèche to become a hired _charretier_. He often gets good
fares but there is much idle waiting. Bad habits are formed and regular
industry is discouraged. The curé finds Malbaie a difficult sphere. We
alone get unmixed benefit from this fair scene, its days of glad
serenity, and of almost solemn stillness, when even a bird's note is
heard but rarely.

Because all that concerns it interests us I have tried to put together
from scattered fragments the story long forgotten of the past of
Malbaie. In it there is abundance of the tragedy never remote from
man's life: if the telling of the tale has been a pleasure it has proved
not less a sad pleasure. But the story adds only a deeper meaning to our
beautiful playground. After all it is man and his activities which give
to nature's scenes their deepest interest; Quebec's chief charm is due
to Wolfe and Montcalm, St. Helena's to Napoleon. The shaggy mountain
crests which we view from our valley, the glistening blue river, the
strong north-east wind which clouds the sky, turns the river to grey,
and sprinkles its surface with white caps,--all are full for us of
joyous beauty. But how much less of interest would there be did the
white spire of the village church not peep out above the green trees up
the bay to tell of man's weakness and his hopes! The story of the brave
old soldier who peopled this valley, the pathetic tragedy of his
successor's fate, add something here to the bloom of nature. It may be
that the chief service of the chequered and half-forgotten past when it
speaks is to show how vain and transient is all we think and
plan,--"what shadows we are and what shadows we pursue." But be it so.
One would not miss from life this last joy of knowing what it really


CHAPTER I.--For Jacques Cartier see his Voyages of 1535-36, in
French (Ed. D'Avezac) Paris, 1863, translated into English (Ed. Baxter),
New York, 1906. For Champlain see his Oeuvres (Ed. Laverdière) Quebec,
1870. Bourdon's Act of Faith and Homage is in Canadian Archives, Series
M., Vol. I, p. 387. M. B. Sulte gives an account of the Carignan
Regiment in the Proc. and Trans. of the Royal Society of Canada for
1902. The account of the Sieur de Comporté in France is in Canadian
Archives Series B., F., 213, p. 46; that of the auction sale of his
property is in a MS. preserved at Murray Bay, while a record of the sale
of Malbaie to the government is in Canadian Archives, Series M., Vol.
LXV, p. 75. "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents" (Ed. Thwaites)
(Cleveland, 1900), Vol. LXIX., pp. 80 _sqq._ contains the account of
Malbaie in 1750. The authority for the burning of Malbaie in 1759 is Sir
James M. Le Moine, "The Explorations of Jonathan Oldbuck," Quebec, 1889,
based upon documents printed by "T.C." in _L'Abeille_, Nov. and Dec.,
1859. Standard histories of the time such as Parkman's "Montcalm and
Wolfe" give references to authorities for the events of the Seven Years'

CHAPTER II.--The "Dictionary of National Biography" contains
good articles on Lord Lovat, General Murray, &c., with references to
authorities. Alexander Mackenzie's "History of the Frasers of Lovat"
(Inverness, 1896) is the most recent detailed history of the family.
MacLean, "An Historical Account of the Settlement of Scotch Highlanders
in America," (Cleveland, 1900), contains valuable information. The
portion of the chapter relating to Malbaie is based upon MSS. preserved
there in the Murray Bay Manor House.

CHAPTER III.--MS. material preserved at Murray Bay.

CHAPTER IV.--Much original material relating to the Siege of
Quebec in 1775-76 has been published by the Literary and Historical
Society of Quebec. To be specially noted are the two volumes of
documents on the "Blockade of Quebec in 1775-76 by the American
Revolutionists, (Les Bostonnais)" Edited by F.C. Würtele (Quebec, 1905
and 1906). Two or three works have been written recently on the episode
from the American point of view: Codman, "Arnold's Expedition to Quebec"
(New York, 1901); Justin H. Smith, "Arnold's March from Cambridge to
Quebec, a critical study, together with a reprint of Arnold's Journal,"
(New York, 1903); Justin H. Smith, "Our Struggle for the Fourteenth
Colony," 2 Vols. (New York, 1907). The story of Nairne's part in the war
is based chiefly upon MS. material preserved at Murray Bay. The incident
of the escaped prisoners is told in Nairne's reports; to Captain
Matthews, Secretary to Haldimand, on the 14th of May, 1780, and to Major
Le Maistre, on the 5th of June. These are at Murray Bay. A further
report to Matthews on the 3rd of June is preserved at Ottawa; Canadian
Archives, Series B, Vol. 73, p. 130. Mr. James Thompson was in charge of
the building of the houses for the prisoners and tells of their escape
in his MS. Diary.

CHAPTER V. and CHAPTER VI. are based upon MSS. at
Murray Bay.

CHAPTER VII.--M. Léon Gérin has given an exhaustive analysis of
the life of the habitant in "L'Habitant de Saint Justin," published in
the Proc. and Trans, of the Royal Society of Canada for 1898 (Ottawa,
1898). M. J.-E. Roy's "Histoire de la Seigneurie de Lauzon," of which
five volumes have been published (the last, Levis, Quebec, 1904) is the
most detailed and authoritative account of a Canadian Seigniory. Vol. IV
deals especially with the life of the habitants. Philippe Aubert de
Gaspé's "Les anciens Canadiens," (Quebec, 1863), and his "Mémoires"
(Ottawa, 1866), contain much that is interesting on the life of a
Canadian manor. So also do H.R. Casgrain's "Une Paroisse Canadienne au
XVIIe Siècle," Oeuvres Completes, Vol. I (Montreal, 1884), and
Parkman's "The Old Régime in Canada," (Boston, 1893). W. Bennett Munro's
"The Seigniorial System in Canada," (New York, 1907), and his "Documents
relating to Seigniorial Tenure in Canada," (Toronto, 1908), cover
adequately the whole subject, and contain, in addition, abundant
references to further authorities. The "Mandements des Evêques de
Québec," (Ed. Têtu and Gagnon), in six volumes, the first published in
1887, contain much of interest in regard to the attitude of the Church
to the people. The Second Part of "The Report of the Commission charged
with revising and consolidating the General Statutes of the Province of
Quebec," (Quebec, 1907), outlines the legal aspects of the school and
Church systems. M. André Seigfried's "Le Canada, Les Deux Races,"
(Paris, 1906), translated into English under the title of "The Race
Question in Canada," (London, 1907), is a passionless analysis of
religious and political thought in the Province of Quebec.

CHAPTER VIII.--The account of fishing at Murray Bay in 1830 is
by Walter Henry; "Events of a Military Life," 2 Vols. (London, 1843).
The chapter is based chiefly upon personal observation.


APPENDIX A (p. 31)


Malcolm Fraser was a young man of about twenty-six when he kept his
diary of Wolfe's campaign against Quebec. It shows that already he had
considerable powers of observation and very definite opinions. No doubt
Fraser preserved a record of events in the campaign earlier than those
of 1759; and it seems likely that the habit of recording his experiences
would also have been kept up in later life. When, some time before 1860,
were made the extracts from Fraser's Journal upon which the present
notes are based, the original remained in the possession of his son the
Hon. John Malcolm Fraser. The extracts were published by the Literary
and Historical Society of Quebec in 1868 and have been used by Parkman
and other historians, who usually, however, confuse Fraser with his
commanding officer Colonel Simon Fraser. The extracts have long been out
of print. I have not been able to trace the original MS. or any other
Journal of Fraser, except a brief and quite valueless one preserved at
Mount Murray. In one of his later letters, written fifty years after
this Journal, Fraser speaks of his reluctance to handle the pen. But
this did not keep him from writing in a beautiful round hand many long
letters and making also copies for his own use.

Early in the spring of 1859 a great British fleet had arrived in America
from England and a squadron under Admiral Holmes had gone to New York to
embark the Highlanders and other regiments wintering there to proceed
to Quebec. The place of rendezvous was Louisbourg. Fraser's Journal
begins on May 8th, 1759, with the departure of the regiments from Sandy
Hook, the fleet consisting of about twenty-eight sail. The Highlanders
had taken part in the siege and capture of Louisbourg in the previous
year but had gone to New York for the winter. On May 17th the fleet
sailed into Louisbourg Harbour after "a very agreeable and quick
passage" of nine days. Patches of snow lay still on the ground and on
the 29th of May Louisbourg Harbour was so full of ice that boats could
not pass from the ships to shore. "I suppose," says Fraser, "the ice
comes from the Gulf and river of St. Lawrence," regions he was in time
to be very familiar with. He hears that a Lieutenant has shot himself on
one of the men of war "for fear I suppose the French should do it. If he
was wearied of life, he might soon get out of it in a more honourable

On Monday, June 4th, after much bustle of preparation, the fleet set
sail for Quebec. "I take it to consist of about 150 sail," says Fraser;
so great was the array that to count the ships was almost impossible.
They numbered in fact nearly 300, a huge force. On June 13th the fleet
anchored at Bic in the St. Lawrence River. As they came up the river
Fraser noted that the north shore was but little inhabited, a defect
which, within a few years, he was himself to try to remedy in part. On
June 23rd a whole division of the fleet anchored near Isle aux Coudres
as Jacques Cartier had done more than two hundred years earlier.

Arrived before Quebec the Highlanders were sent to Point Levi where, on
July 1st, they pitched their tents. The next day Fraser's company
established itself in the Church of St. Joseph there. The Canadians were
carrying on guerilla warfare, firing on the British from the woods and
Fraser was shocked at the horrid practise of scalping. He writes on July

"While we were out, I observed several dead bodies on the road, not far
from our Camp; they were all scalped and mangled in a shocking manner. I
dare say no human creature but an Indian or Canadian could be guilty of
such inhumanity as to insult a dead body."

He was to see worse atrocities committed on his own side. On July 10th,
still at Point Levi, he writes of the doings of a company of the
colonial scouting force, the Rangers, commanded by Captain Gorham, who
soon after desolated Malbaie.

"A party of our Rangers having been sent out on this side of the river
(the south), on the 9th they took one man prisoner and two boys (his
children) having followed him a little way, making a great noise, were
in a most inhuman manner murdered by those worse than savage Rangers,
for fear, as they pretend, they should be discovered by the noise of the
children. I wish this story was not fact, but I'm afraid there is little
reason to doubt it:--the wretches having boasted of it on their return,
tho' they now pretend to vindicate themselves by the necessity they were
under; but, I believe, this barbarous action proceeded from that
cowardice and barbarity which seems so natural to a native of America,
whether of Indian or European extraction. In other instances, those
Rangers have hitherto been of some use, and showed in general a better
spirit than usual. They are for the most part raised in New England."

On Friday, July 13th, the scene changed. Wolfe was planning an attack on
Montcalm's camp and Fraser writes: "I was sent orderly officer to the
Camp, at Montmorency, where I had an opportunity of seeing our own, and
the French posts nigh the Fall. The river is fordable below the Fall at
low water." On July 24th, 350 of the Highlanders under Col. Simon Fraser
were sent down the river to bring in prisoners and cattle. The Highland
leader met with misfortune. On July 26th Fraser writes: "Lieut.
Alexander Fraser, Junior, returned to camp from the detachment which
marched with the Col. on the 24th. He brings news of the Colonel's
having been wounded in the thigh, by an unlucky shot from a small party
of Canadians who lay in ambush and fired on the detachment out of a
bush, and then retired. In the evening, the Col. came to camp with Capt.
McPherson, who was wounded by the same shot, and the ball lodged in his
thigh; but it is thought neither of their wounds are (_sic_) dangerous.
There was not another man of the detachment touched." Next day the rest
of the detachment "returned with three women and one man prisoners, and
above two hundred head of cattle."

On the following night July 28th, the French tried to destroy the
British fleet by a fire ship. "This night the French sent down a large
fire raft which they did not set fire to till they were fired on by some
of the boats who are every night on the watch for them above the
shipping. Our boats immediately grappled it, and tho' it burnt with
great violence, they towed it past all the shipping without any damage."
We know from other sources that one of the sailors engaged in dragging
away the fireship likened it to having "hell-fire in tow."

Fraser records on Tuesday, July 31st, the disastrous attempt by the
British to carry by a frontal attack Montcalm's entrenchments along the
Beauport shore. The attack failed partly through the rashness of the
Grenadiers who dashed forward prematurely. For this Wolfe rebuked them
but he commended the cool steadiness of the Highlanders. Some 700
British casualties were the results of the attack. When the British drew
off they left many of their men fallen on the shore. Fraser says: "I
observed some men coming down from the trenches where some of our people
lay killed; we imagined they were Indians who were sent to scalp them,
after the whole had retreated."

At once after the disaster, the Highlanders were moved back to their old
camp at Point Levi. Some idle days followed. But, on August 15th, a
detachment which included Fraser was sent to the Island of Orleans. It
was bent on the work of desolating the Canadian parishes, the people of
which still persisted in warring on the British. On Thursday, August
16th, the detachment, consisting of about 170 officers and men, marched
the length of the Island of Orleans and on the 17th it crossed to St.
Joachim--the fertile flats lying almost under the shadow of Cap
Tourmente: Fraser was drawing near to the Malbaie country. He writes:
"Friday, 17th August.--Crossed from the Isle of Orleans to St. Joachim.
Before we landed we observed some men walking along the fences, as if
they intended to oppose us and on our march up to the Church of St.
Joachim, we were fired on by some party's of the Enemy from behind the
houses and fences, but upon our advancing they betook themselves to the
woods, from whence they continued popping at us, till towards evening,
when they thought proper to retire, and we kept possession of the
Priest's house, which we set about fortifying in the best manner we
could." They remained quietly at St. Joachim for some days. But they
were getting ready for the grim task of desolating the parishes lying
between St. Joachim and Montmorency. Fraser tells the story with
soldier-like brevity, but obviously he hated the work.

"Thursday, 23rd.--We were reinforced by a party of about one hundred and
forty Light Infantry, and a Company of Rangers, under the command of
Captain Montgomery of Kennedy's or forty-third Regiment, who likewise
took the command of our detachment, and we all marched to attack the
village to the west of St. Joachim, which was occupied by a party of the
enemy to the number of about two hundred, as we supposed, Canadians and
Indians. When we came pretty near the village, they fired on us from
the houses pretty smartly; we were ordered to lie behind the fences till
the Rangers, who were detached to attack the Enemy from the woods, began
firing on their left flank, when we advanc^d briskly without great
order; and the French abandoned the houses and endeavoured to get into
the woods, our men pursuing close at their heels. There were several of
the enemy killed, and wounded, and a few prisoners taken, all of whom
the barbarous Captain Montgomery, who commanded us, ordered to be
butchered in a most inhuman and cruel manner; particularly two, who I
sent prisoners by a sergeant, after giving them quarter, and engaging
that they should not be killed, were one shot, and the other knocked
down with a Tomahawk (a little hatchet) and both scalped in my absence,
by the rascally sergeant neglecting to acquaint Montgomery that I wanted
them saved, as he, Montgomery, pretended when I questioned him about it;
but even that was no excuse for such an unparalleled piece of barbarity.
However, as the affair could not be remedied, I was obliged to let it
drop. After this skirmish we set about burning the houses with great
success, setting all in flames till we came to the church of St. Anne's,
[the now famous shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré], where we put up for this
night, and were joined by Captain Ross, with about one hundred and
twenty men of his company.

"Friday, 24th August.--Began to march and burn as yesterday, till we
came to Ange Gardien where our detachment and Captain Ross, who had been
posted for some days at Chateau Richer, joined Colonel Murray with the
three companies of Grenadiers of the 22nd, 40th and 45th Regiments,
where we are posted in four houses which we have fortified so as to be
able, we hope, to stand any attack which we can expect with small arms.

"Saturday, 25th.--Busy felling the fruit trees, and cutting the wheat to
clear round us.

"Sunday, 26th.--The same.

"Monday, 27th August.--I hear Brigadier Murray has returned with his
detachment, having had all the success expected of the detachment. We
received orders to march to-morrow to Chateau Richer. Some men were
observed skulking in the corn, round the houses we possessed; upon
which, some of our people fired from one of the houses, when the whole
took the alarm and continued firing from the windows and loopholes for
about ten minutes. For my own part I can't say I could observe any of
the Enemy, but as we had one man killed, and most of the men affirmed
they saw men in the Corn, I can't doubt but there were a few of the
Enemy near us."

So the record goes on. On August 30th the detachment was busy fortifying
itself in the Church at Château Richer near Quebec. On the next day
orders came to burn the houses there but not the church and return at
once to Montmorency. At Ange Gardien, on the way, General Murray, after
whom Murray Bay is named, joined them with his detachment. As they
marched along the force burned all the houses and was soon back in camp
at Montmorency. They had left a trail black with desolation between that
point and Cap Tourmente. Captain Gorham completed the tale of woe by
destroying Baie St. Paul and Malbaie. Hardly a house was left between
Montmorency and the Saguenay.

But all this was only side-play. The crisis of the campaign was now
near. On September 3rd Wolfe abandoned the camp at Montmorency. Fraser
writes: "The Army at Montmorency decamped this day, and crossed to the
Island of Orleans, and from thence to Point Levy, without molestation
from the French, tho' they must have known some time ago that we
intended to abandon that post."

Wolfe was now massing as many troops as possible above Quebec on the
south side of the river. On September 6th, 600 of the Highlanders,
together with the 15th and the 43rd, marched six miles above Point Levi
and there embarked on board the ships. Fraser says: "We are much
crowded; the ship I am in has about six hundred on board, being only
about two hundred and fifty tons." On the 7th and 8th it rained and the
men must have been very uncomfortable in their narrow quarters. For some
days still they remained in this condition. Meanwhile were issued to the
men careful instructions as to what they should do. The army was to drop
down the river in small boats, and to attempt to make a landing on the
north shore.

On the evening of September 12th came the final effort so carefully
planned. "About nine o'clock, the night of the 12th, we went into the
Boats as ordered." Fraser says that a shore battery began to fire on the
British boats about 4.0 A.M. before they landed and that the landing at
the Foulon to climb to the Heights was made at daybreak.

"Thursday, 13th September, 1759.--The Light Infantry under the command
of Colonel Howe, immediately landed and mounted the hill. We were fired
on in the Boats by the Enemy who killed and wounded a few. In a short
time, the whole army was landed at a place called 'Le Foulon,' (now
Wolfe's Cove) about a mile and a half above the Town of Quebec, and
immediately followed the Light Infantry up the hill. There was a few
tents and a Picket of the French on the top of the hill whom the Light
Infantry engaged, and took some of their Officers and men prisoners. The
main body of our Army soon got to the upper ground after climbing a hill
or rather a precipice, of about three hundred yards, very steep and
covered with wood and brush. We had several skirmishes with the
Canadians and Savages, till about ten o'clock, when the army was formed
in line of battle, having the great River St. Lawrence on the right with
the precipice which we mounted in the morning; on the left, a few
houses, and at some distance the low ground and wood above the General
Hospital with the River St. Charles; in front, the Town of Quebec, about
a mile distant; in the rear, a wood occupied by the Light Infantry ...
and the third Battalion of the Royal Americans.... The Army was ordered
to march on slowly in line of battle, and halt several times, till about
half an hour after ten, when the French began to appear in great numbers
on the rising ground between us and the Town, and [they] having advanced
several parties to skirmish with us, we did the like. They then got two
Iron field pieces to play against our line. Before eleven o'clock, we
got one brass field piece up the Hill, which being placed in the proper
interval began to play very smartly on the Enemy while forming on the
little eminence. Their advanced parties continued to annoy us and
wounded a great many men. About this time, we observed the Enemy formed,
having a bush of short brush wood on their right, which straitened them
in room, and obliged them to form in columns. About eleven o'clock, the
French Army advanced in columns till they had got past the bush of wood
into the plain, when they endeavoured to form in line of Battle, but
being much galled by our Artillery, which consisted of only one field
piece, very well served, we observed them in some confusion. However
they advanced at a brisk pace till within about thirty or forty yards of
our front, when they gave us their first fire, which did little
execution. We returned it, and continued firing very hot for about six,
or (as some say) eight minutes, when the fire slackening, and the smoke
of the powder vanishing, we observed the main body of the Enemy
retreating in great confusion towards the Town, and the rest towards
the River St. Charles. Our Regiment were then ordered by Brigadier
General Murray to draw their swords and pursue them, which I dare say
increased their panic but saved many of their lives, whereas if the
artillery had been allowed to play, and the army advanced regularly
there would have been many more of the Enemy killed and wounded, as we
never came up with the main body. In advancing, we passed over a great
many dead and wounded, (french regulars mostly) lying in the front of
our Regiment, who,--I mean the Highlanders,--to do them justice, behaved
extremely well all day, as did the whole of the army. After pursuing the
French to the very gates of the Town, our Regiment was ordered to form
fronting the Town, on the ground whereon the French formed first. At
this time the rest of the Army came up in good order. General Murray
having then put himself at the head of our Regiment, ordered them to
face to the left and march thro' the bush of wood, towards the General
Hospital, when they got a great gun or two to play upon us from the
Town, which however did no damage, but we had a few men killed and
Officers wounded by some skulking fellows with small arms, from the
bushes and behind the houses in the suburbs of St. Louis and St. John's.
After marching a short way through the bush, Brigadier Murray thought
proper to order us to return again to the high road leading from Porte
St. Louis, to the heights of Abraham, where the battle was fought, and
after marching till we got clear of the bushes, we were ordered to turn
to the right, and go along the edge of them towards the bank, at the
descent between us and the General Hospital, under which we understood
there was a body of the Enemy who no sooner saw us than they began
firing on us from the bushes and from the bank; we soon dispossessed
them from the bushes and from thence kept firing for about a quarter of
an hour on those under cover of the bank; but as they exceeded us
greatly in numbers, they killed and wounded a great many of our men,
and killed two Officers, which obliged us to retire a little, and form
again, when the 58th Regiment with the 2nd Battalion of Royal Americans
having come up to our assistance, all three making about five hundred
men, advanced against the Enemy and drove them first down to the great
meadow between the Hospital and town and afterwards over the River St.
Charles. It was at this time and while in the bushes that our Regiment
suffered most: Lieutenant Roderick, Mr. Neill of Bana, and Alexander
McDonell, and John McDonell, and John McPherson, volunteer, with many of
our men, were killed before we were reinforced; and Captain Thomas Ross
having gone down with about one hundred men of the 3rd Regiment to the
meadow, after the Enemy, when they were out of reach, ordered me up to
desire those on the height would wait till he would come up and join
them, which I did, but before Mr. Ross could get up, he unfortunately
was mortally wounded in the body, by a cannon ball from the hulks, in
the mouth of the River St. Charles, of which he died in great torment,
but with great resolution, in about two hours thereafter.

"In the afternoon, Mons. Bougainville, with the French Grenadiers and
some Canadians, to the number of two thousand who had been detached to
oppose our landing at Cap Rouge, appeared between our rear and the
village St. Foy, formed in a line as if he intended to attack us; but
the 48th Regiment with the Light Infantry and 3rd Battalion Royal
Americans being ordered against him, with some field pieces, they fired
a few cannon shot at him when he thought proper to retire.

"Thus ended the battle of Quebec, the first regular engagement that we
... fought in North America, which has made the king of Great Britain
master of the capital of Canada, and it is hoped ere long will be the
means of subjecting the whole country to the British Dominion; and if
so, this has been a greater acquisition to the British Empire than all
that England has acquired by Conquest since it was a nation, if I may
except the conquest of Ireland, in the reign of Henry the 2nd.

"The Enemy's numbers I have never been able to get an exact account of.
We imagined them seven or eight thousand: this has been disputed since.
However, I am certain they were greatly superior to us in numbers, as
their line was equal to ours in length, tho' they were in some places
nine deep, whereas ours was no more than three deep. Add to this, their
advanced parties and those in the bushes, on all hands, I think they
must exceed five thousand.

"Our strength at the utmost did not exceed the thousand men in the line,
exclusive of the 15th Regiment and 2nd Battalion Royal Americans, who
were drawn up on our left, fronting the River St. Charles, with the 3rd
Battalion Royal Americans and Light Infantry in the rear, and the 48th
Regiment, who were drawn up between our main body and the Light Infantry
as a Corps of Reserve. So that I am pretty certain our numbers did not
exceed four thousand men, the Regiments being very weak, most of them
under three hundred men each.

"We had only about five hundred men of our Army killed and wounded, but
we suffered an irreparable loss in the death of our commander the brave
Major General James Wolfe, who was killed in the beginning of the
general action; we had the good fortune not to hear of it till all was

"The French were supposed to have about one thousand men killed and
wounded, of whom five hundred killed during the whole day, and amongst
these Monsieur le Lieutenant Général Montcalm, the commander in chief of
the French Army in Canada, one Brigadier General, one Colonel and
several other Officers. I imagined there had been many more killed and
wounded on both sides, as there was a heavy fire for some minutes,
especially from us.

"We had of our Regiment three officers killed and ten wounded, one of
whom Captain Simon Fraser, afterwards died. Lieutenant Archibald
Campbell was thought to have been mortally wounded, but to the surprise
of most people recovered; Captain John McDonell thro' both thighs;
Lieut. Ronald McDonell thro' the knee; Lieutenant Alexander Campbell
thro' the leg; Lieutenant Douglas thro' the arm, who died of this wound
soon afterwards; Ensign Gregorson, Ensign McKenzie and Lieutenant
Alexander Fraser, all slightly. I received a contusion in the right
shoulder or rather breast, before the action became general, which
pained me a good deal, but it did not disable me from my duty then, or

"The detachment of our Regiment consisted, at our marching from Point
Levi, of six hundred men, besides commissioned and non-commissioned
Officers; but of these, two Officers and about sixty men were left on
board for want of boats, and an Officer and about thirty men left at the
landing place; besides a few left sick on board, so that we had about
five hundred men in the action. We suffered in men and Officers more
than any three Regiments in the field. We were commanded by Captain John
Campbell; the Colonel and Captain McPherson having been unfortunately
wounded on the 25th July, of which they were not yet fully recovered.

"We lay on our Arms all the night of the 13th September.

"Friday, 14th September.--We got ashore our tents and encamped our
Regiment on the ground where they fought the battle yesterday. He[re] we
are within reach of the guns of the town.

"Saturday, 15th September.--We were ordered to move our Camp nigh the
wood, at a greater distance from the Town. We are making advanced
redoubts within five hundred yards of the town."

Such is Fraser's account of the struggle on the Plains of Abraham and of
the conduct of the Highlanders in their first pitched battle in North
America. The resolute preparations to attack Quebec produced their
effect. On September 18th the fortress surrendered. A little later the
army broke up the camp outside the walls and marched into the town. The
outlook was certainly not cheerful: "Most of the houses are destroyed
and we have but a very dismal prospect for seven or eight months, as
fresh provisions are very scarce, and every other thing exorbitantly
dear." A little later the fleet sailed away and General Murray with a
small force was left in a hostile country to hold Quebec through a long
and bitterly cold winter. He established two out-posts, one at Ste. Foy,
the other at Lorette, and then the army bent all its energies to meet
the foes, cold, disease and the French. Fighting the cold was terrible
work. Fraser writes:

"December 1st.--The Governor ordered two weeks wood to be issued to the
Garrison. It is thought we shall have a great deal of difficulty in
supplying ourselves with fuel this winter. The winter is now very

"December 20th.--The winter is become almost insupportably cold. The men
are notwithstanding obliged to drag all the wood used in the Garrison on
sledges from St. Foy, about four miles distance. This is a very severe
duty; the poor fellows do it however with great spirit, tho' several of
them have already lost the use of their fingers and toes by the
incredible severity of the frost, and the country people tell us it is
not yet at the worst. Some men on sentry have been deprived of speech
and sensation in a few minutes, but hitherto, no person has lost his
life, as care is taken to relieve them every half hour or oftener when
the weather is very severe. The Garrison in general are but
indifferently cloathed, but our regiment in particular is in a pitiful
situation having no breeches, and the Philibeg is not all calculated for
this terrible climate. Colonel Fraser is doing all in his power to
provide trowsers for them, and we hope soon to be on a footing with
other Regiments in that respect.

"January, 1760.--Nothing remarkable during this month. The duty is very
severe on the poor men; we mount every day a guard of about one hundred
men, and the whole off duty with a subaltern officer from each Regiment
are employed in dragging fire wood; tho' the weather is such that they
are obliged to have all covered but their eyes, and nothing but the last
necessity obliged any men to go out of doors."

Early in February the St. Lawrence froze over. On February 13th the
British established a force in the Church at St. Joseph at Point Levi
but it was attacked by the French and then, on February 24th, Murray
sent a rescue party. The Highlanders and the 28th went across on the ice
and nearly intercepted the retreat of the French force, which was driven
off. The kilted Highlanders marching on the ice in the bitter winter
weather make an interesting picture. But by this time, no doubt, they
were not bare-legged!

Towards the end of March there was much illness and Fraser writes: "The
Scurvy, occasioned by salt provisions and cold, has begun to make fierce
havock in the garrison, and it becomes every day more general. In short,
I believe there is scarce a man of the Army entirely free from it." On
the 24th of April he writes again: "Great havock amongst the Garrison
occasioned by the Scurvy, &c.; this is the more alarming, as the General
seems certain that the French are preparing to come and attack the
place, and will he says, be here in a very few days."

Of the garrison of 5653 no less than 2312 were on the sick list, when,
on the 26th, came the great crisis of the defence of Quebec:

"On the night of the 26th April, a man of the French army who, with some
others had been cast away in a boat that night, came down the river on a
piece of ice, and being taken up next morning at the Town, gave the
General information that the chevalier de Levi [Lévis] was within twenty
miles of us, with an army of about twelve thousand men, made up of
regulars, Canadians and savages.

"27th April, 1760.--The Governor marched out, with the Grenadiers and
Piquets of the garrison, to support the Light Infantry which had taken
post some days before near Cap Rouge. By the time he got out, the
vanguard of the French army appeared; upon which, he thought it
adviseable to withdraw the Light Infantry, and all the other outposts,
and retire to Town; and for that purpose he sent orders to the 28th,
47th and 58th and Colonel Fraser's Regiment to march out to St. Foy and
cover his retreat; the 35th Regiment, 2nd Battalion Royal Americans
having been detached in the morning to prevent the enemy, in case they
attempted to land at Sillery or any other place near the Town. The
retreat was accordingly effected without any loss, tho' the enemy were
so nigh as to skirmish with our rear till we got within half a league of
the Ramparts.

"On the 28th April, 1760, about eight o'clock in the morning, the whole
Garrison, exclusive of the Guards, was drawn up on the parade, and about
nine o'clock we marched out of Town with twenty pieces of Field
Artillery, that is, two to each Regiment. The men were likewise ordered
to carry a pick axe or spade each. When we had marched a little way out
of Town, we saw the advanced parties of the Enemy nigh the woods, about
half a league distant from us. When we were about three-quarters of a
mile out of Town, the General ordered the whole to draw up in line of
Battle, two deep, and take up as much room as possible. Soon thereafter,
he ordered the men to throw down the intrenching tools, and the whole
Army to advance slowly, dressing by the right, having drawn up the 35th
Regiment and 3rd Battalion Royal Americans in our rear as a corps of
reserve, with one hundred men (in a redoubt which was begun by us a few
days preceding) to cover our retreat in case of necessity. In this
order, we advanced, about one hundred paces, when the canonading began
on our side, and we observed the French advanced parties retiring, and
their main body forming in order of Battle at the edge of the wood,
about three hundred paces distant we continued canonading and advancing
for some minutes. The enemy, on their side, played against the left of
our army, where our Regiment happened to be, with two pieces of cannon
and killed and wounded us some men. The affair begun now to turn
serious, when the General ordered the Light Infantry, who were posted on
the right of our army, to attack five companies of French Grenadiers who
they obliged to retire, but they being supported by a large column of
the enemy, the Light Infantry were in their turn obliged to give way,
which they doing along the front of our line on the right (as I am told)
hindered our men on the right from firing for some minutes which gave
the enemy full time to form. On the left, matters were in a worse
situation. The company of Volunteers of the garrison, commanded by
Captain Donald McDonald of our Regiment, and Captain Hazen's company of
Rangers who covered the left flank of our army having been almost
entirely destroyed, were obliged to give way; by this means the left of
the 28th Regiment was exposed, and this obliged them to give ground
after an obstinate resistance; Colonel Fraser's Regiment was next them
to the right, and being in danger of being surrounded, and at the same
time extremely galled by a fire from the Bushes in front and flank,
were under a necessity of falling back instantly, when Colonel Fraser
who commanded the Left Brigade consisting of the 28th, 47th and his own
Regiment, sent orders to the 47th to retire; they were drawn up with a
small rising ground in their front, which till then covered them pretty
much from the enemy's fire, but as most of the Regiment to the right, as
well as the two Regiments to the left of them, had by this time retired,
it was absolutely necessary for the 47th to quit that ground, otherwise
they must inevitably have been surrounded in a few minutes. Most of the
Regiments attempted to carry off their artillery, but the ground was so
bad with wreaths of snow in the hollows, that they were obliged to
abandon them, after nailing them up, as well as the intrenching tools.
Every Regiment made the best of their way to Town, but retired however
in such a manner that the enemy did not think proper to pursue very
briskly, otherwise they must have killed or made prisoners many more
than they did. Our loss was about three hundred killed, and about seven
hundred wounded, and a few Officers and men made prisoners. We had about
three thousand in the field, one-third of whom had that very day, come
voluntarily out of the Hospitals; of these, about five hundred were
employed in dragging the cannon, and five hundred more in reserve, so
that we could have no more than two thousand in the line of battle,
whereas the enemy must have had at least four times as many, beside a
large body in reserve, and notwithstanding their great superiority we
suffered very little in the retreat; some Regiments attempted to rally,
but it was impossible to form in any sort of order with the whole, till
we got within the walls.

"Our Regiment had about four hundred men in the field near one half of
whom had that day come out of the Hospital, out of their own accord. We
had about sixty killed and forty wounded, and of thirty-nine officers,
Captain Donald McDonald who commanded the volunteer company of the army,
and Lieutenant Cosmo Gordon who commanded the Light Infantry company of
our Regiment, were both killed in the field; Lieutenant Hector McDonald
and Ensign Malcolm Fraser died of their wounds, all very much regretted
by every one who knew them. We had twenty-three more Officers wounded;
of this number was Colonel [Simon] Fraser, who commanded the left wing
of the army, and it was with great pleasure we observed his behaviour
during the action, when he gave his orders with great coolness and
deliberation. He was touched at two different times; the first took him
in the right breast but having his cartouche box slung, it luckily
struck against the star of it and did not penetrate tho', otherways,
must infallibly have done his business. The second, he got in the
retreat, but striking against the cue of his hair, he received no other
damage than a stiffness in his neck for some days. [Fraser then adds
this tribute to Lord Lovat's son:] Here I cannot help observing that if
any unlucky accident had befallen our Colonel, not only his Regiment
must have suffered an irreparable loss, but I think I can, without any
partiality say, it would be a loss to his Country. His behaviour this
winter in particular to his Regiment has been such, as to make him not
only esteemed by them, but by the Garrison in general. Captain Alexander
Fraser of our Regiment, was wounded in the right temple, and thought
very dangerous, the rest are mostly flesh wounds. I received a musket
ball in the right groin, which was thought dangerous for three or four
days, as the ball was supposed to be lodged, but whether it has wrought
out in walking into Town, or did not penetrate far enough at first to
lodge, or is still in, I cannot say, but in twenty days I was entirely
cured, and the wound which was at first but small was entirely closed

"When we marched out, we thought the General did not intend to give the
French battle; and as he ordered the Army to carry out intrenching
tools, we thought he meant to throw up works on the rising ground,
before the Town, if the Enemy should not choose to attack him that day;
but, it seems he changed his mind on seeing their situation, which gave
him all the advantage he could desire with such an inferior Army and
where, if the Enemy ventured to attack him, he could use his Artillery,
on which was his chief dependence, to the best purpose: having a rising
ground, whereon he might form his Army and plant his Cannon, so as to
play on the Enemy as they advanced for about four hundred or five
hundred yards, with round shot, and when they came within a proper
distance the grape shot must have cut them to pieces. However, it seems
he observed the enemy, some formed at the edge of the wood, some
forming, and the rest marching from St. Foy. The bait was too tempting,
and his passion for glory getting the better of his reason he ordered
the Army to march and attack the enemy, as he thought, before they could
form, in a situation the most desired by them and ought to be avoided by
us, as the Canadians and Savages could be used against us to the
greatest advantage in their beloved (if I may say element) woods. It
would give me great pleasure to relate something more to the advantage
of this gentleman who is, in many respects, possessed of several
virtues, and particularly all the military ones, except prudence, and
entirely free of all mercenary principles; but, as his conduct on this
occasion is universally condemned by all those who are not immediately
dependent on him, truth obliges me to state matters as I believe, they
really stood; more especially as it is not said he advised with any of
those who had a right to be consulted before such a step should be
taken. Nay, it is said: that the preceding night, at a meeting with the
different Commandants of the Corps, he declared his intention of
fortifying himself on the heights and not to attack the Enemy, unless he
should be forced to it, which we were persuaded of by his orders to
carry out intrenching tools. We had very little chance of beating an
Army four times our number [an exaggeration: they were not twice as
numerous] in a situation where we could scarce act; and if the Enemy had
made a proper use of their advantage, the consequences must have proved
fatal to us, as they might have got betwixt us and the Town, cut off our
retreat, and by that means ruined us to all intents." [It will hardly be
denied that the young officer is rather severe upon his future friend
and patron, General Murray.]

"Our situation became now extremely critical: we were beat in the field,
by an army greatly superior in numbers, and obliged to rely on what
defence we could make within the walls of Quebec, which were hitherto
reckoned of very little consequence against a superior army.

"The French that very night after the Battle opened trenches within six
hundred yards of the walls, and went on next, 29th April, with their
works pretty briskly. For the first two days after the battle there was
very little done by us; and on the 1st of May, the largest of our block
houses (small square redoubts of Logs musquet proof) was blown up by
accident, and Captain Cameron of our Regiment and a subaltern of the
48th with several men, dangerously burnt and bruised. On the 3rd day
after the battle, the General set about to strengthen or (I may say)
fortify the Town, and the men worked with the greatest alacrity. In a
few days there were about one hundred additional guns mounted, with
which our people kept an incessant fire on the enemy, and retarded their
works very much.

"On the 9th May, the Leostaff Frigate, Captain Dean, arrived from
England, and brought us news from thence, and informed us that there
was a squadron in the River, which might be expected every tide to our
assistance. This added greatly to the spirits of the Garrison, and our
works were carried on briskly. The General seemed resolved from the
first to defend the place to the last. This, nobody doubted, and every
one seemed to forget their late misfortune, and to place entire
confidence in the General's conduct, which all must acknowledge very
resolute, when reduced almost to an extremity.

"On the 11th May, the French opened two Batteries mounting thirteen
guns, and one or two mortars. Their heavy metal consisted of one
twenty-four and two eighteen pounders, the rest were all light. They did
not seem to confine their fire entirely to any particular part of the
Walls, otherwise I believe they might in time have made a breach, and
their fire was not very smart. We were masters of a much superior fire,
and annoyed the besiegers at their batteries very much. Their fire
became every day more and more faint, and it was generally believed they
intended to raise the seige.

"On the 16th May, in the evening the Vanguard, commodore Swanton, and
Diana Frigate, Captain Schomberg, arrived from England, and next
morning, 17th May, 1760, they and the Leostaff attacked the two French
Frigates that lay at anchor in the Bay, above Cape Diamond; which when
they first observed, they made as if they intended to engage, but on our
ships approaching nearer, they set sail up the river; but one of them
ran ashore immediately, and our Frigates soon got up with theirs, and
obliged them also to run aground and thereafter destroyed them. One ship
however escaped out of their reach, and unluckily, the Leostaff, after
all was over, ran on a rock, sunk and was entirely lost.

"That very night several deserters came into the Town, and informed that
most part of the French army had marched, the Trenches being guarded by
their Grenadiers only. About twelve o'clock at night, the General sent
out a party who found the Trenches entirely abandoned and next morning,
18th May, 1760, we found ourselves entirely freed of very disagreeable
neighbours, having left behind all their artillery, with a great part of
their ammunition, Camp equipage and baggage. What made them retreat with
such precipitation we could not guess; but, it seems they were seized
with a panic. It appears they allowed the savages to scalp all the
killed and most part of the wounded, as we found a great many scalps on
the bushes.

"I have been since informed by Lieutenant McGregor, of our Regiment, who
was left on the field wounded, and narrowly escaped being killed, having
received two stabs of a bayonet from two French Regulars, that he saw
the savages murdering the wounded and scalping them on all sides, and
expected every moment to share the same fate, but was saved by a French
Officer, who luckily spoke a little English."

Thus ends Fraser's narrative of the two sieges of Quebec. He served in
the third siege, that of 1775-76, and was still alive in 1812-15 to give
counsel when Quebec was again menaced by the Americans.

APPENDIX B (p. 38)


By the Honourable James Murray, Esquire, Governor of Quebec, &c.

Whereas it is a national advantage and tends to promote the cultivation
of lands within the province to encourage His Majesty's natural-born
subjects settling within the same:

For these purposes, and in consideration of the faithful services
rendered by John Nairne, Esquire, Captain in the 78th Regiment of Foot,
unto His Majesty, I do hereby give, grant, and concede unto the said
Captain John Nairne, his heirs, executors, and administrators for ever,
all that extent of land lying on the north side of the river St.
Lawrence from the Cap aux Oyes, limit of the parish of Eboulemens, to
the south side of the river of Malbaie, and for three leagues back, to
be known hereafter, at the special request of said John Nairne, by the
name of Murray's Bay; firmly to hold the same to himself, his heirs,
executors, and administrators for ever, or until His Majesty's pleasure
is further known, for and in consideration of the possessor's paying
liege homage to His Majesty, his heirs and successors, at his castle of
St. Lewis in Quebec on each mutation of property, and, by way of
acknowledgment, a piece of gold of the value of ten shillings, with one
year's rent of the domain reserved, as customary in this country,
together with the woods and rivers, or other appurtenances within the
said extent, right of fishing or fowling on the same therein included
without hindrance or molestation; all kind of traffic with the Indians
of the back country hereby specially excepted.

Given under my hand and seal at Quebec, this 27th day of April, 1762.

(Signed) JAS. MURRAY.

APPENDIX C (p. 78)



_Quebec, 14th May, 1776._

The New England rebels were very successful on their first arrival in
this Province having got most of the Canadians in their interest. They
took the two Regiments (which were all the regular troops in the
Province) prisoners, made themselves masters of the Town of Montreal and
all the Forts and the whole open country. Flushed with this success they
came before our Capital (Quebec) where their main army was joined by a
reinforcement of six hundred men who had marched straight through the
Woods from Boston where scarcely any body had ever passed before and
thought utterly impracticable for a body of men. The suburbs about
Quebec which were extensive (now in ruins) were not all destroyed at the
first arrival of the enemy so that in two places they annoyed us with
their Riflemen though they only killed a very few. They also (though in
the Winter) got a Battery of five guns against the Town but [it] was
silenced by a superior fire from our Ramparts. They also bombarded the
Town in the night with small shell till the 31st December when about two
hours before day they made a general attack with their whole force upon
the Ramparts, their two principal attacks being against the two
extremitys of the low Town. Their General (Montgomery) an Irish
gentleman who had been a Captain in our army possessing extraordinary
qualifications fitting him for such a Command led the attack against a
very strong post in the low town. Our Cannon (six pieces) loaded with
grape shot, did not begin to fire till the enemy was within the distance
of twenty yards, which with the musketry of the guard at the same time
made terrible havoc. Their General with four of his officers lay slain
in one heap within twenty and others within ten yards of our
fortifications by which that attack was wholly frustrated and all that
part of their army retired in confusion. The attack upon the other
extremity of the low Town was made with six hundred men. At first they
had success though that turned out at last to their ruin. They forced
our advanced post where we had four pieces of cannon, afterward got
possession of another barrier and forced their way through a narrow
street to the last barrier, which if they had gained they would have
been in the low Town. At the same time the Governor ordered a sally out
at a Gate they had passed to follow their track in the snow (that was
then deep) and fall upon them behind. That we should open a Gate and
attack them when attacked ourselves was a thing very unexpected so that
finding they were stopped at the last barrier and thus attacked behind
they were obliged to take shelter in the houses of the narrow street and
at last gave themselves up prisoners to the number of about four hundred
and fifty amongst whom were thirty-two officers of all ranks from
Colonels to Ensigns. The morning of the attack I happened to have the
Piquet and guessing by the flashes in the air (in the dark) that it was
musketry at the other side of the town, tho' we heard no report, had the
Piquet drawn out upon the Ramparts at our alarm post, before the firing
came round that length, which it soon did and we fired away upon these
people as they passed along that way, which they were obliged to do to
get to the low Town. About break of day Major Caldwell came round with
some men, and took me with part of the Piquet along with him to the low
Town. When we got there the enemy had got on as far as the inner Barrier
and [had] a Ladder on both sides of it. There the Battle raged till the
Enemy falling back got into Houses. Some time after the Sorti coming
behind them put an end to the affair. It was the first time I ever
happened to be so closely engaged as we were obliged to push our
bayonets. It is certainly a disagreeable necessity to be obliged to put
one another to death especially those speaking the same language and
dressed in the same manner with ourselves. Only these mad people had a
large piece of white linen or paper upon their foreheads with the words
"Liberty or Death" wrote upon it. The Garrison in general behaved
remarkably well consisting in all of about 1400 men, mostly the town
Militia and sailors with 200 of Maclean's corps which were only raised
last summer. They certainly did their duty with much patience during a
severe winter of six months. In the day time we wrought a great deal at
the fortifications and shovelling the snow and in the night even those
not upon duty durst not sleep but with Clothes and accoutrements on and
by whole Companys in one House to be the more ready, for, upon our
vigilance, everything depended. For the last month the Enemy had two
Batterys of four Guns each, playing on the Town with red hot Balls, in
hope to set it on fire but luckily did very little harm. They also made
use of a fire ship in order to burn our shipping in the Harbour, which
would have communicated the flames to the Town, at the same time
intending to escalade the Walls, for which purpose they laid numbers of
ladders all round in our sight which had the effect to keep us more upon
our Guard. This fire ship got very near the Harbour but a Cannon being
fired that was well directed the men that were in her left her a little
too soon so that the tide carried her clear past the town without doing
the least harm and disappointed them of their attack for which their
whole army was prepared. Thus from the 14th of November last we passed
one dreary night after another either watching or making Rounds and
Patrole upon an extent of works of upwards of three miles round, till
the 6th of May when we had the agreeable sight of Commodore Douglass
with a Ship of War and two Frigates arriving in the Bason with part of
the 29th Regiment on board. And the same day with only the reinforcement
of about 300 Regular Troops the Gates were thrown open and the whole
garrison (except those on Guard) poured out, drove off the Enemy's
advanced Guards and marched forward near two miles clear out upon the
plain (our former field of Battles last war) with three pieces of cannon
in our front that fired away at some partys of men at a distance. This
Sally, so unexpected and the two Frigates [being] under sail at the same
time up the River; [and the enemy] being ignorant of our numbers and
suspecting probably that there was a force on board the Frigates which
might by taking possession of a strong post above cut off their retreat,
their whole army took to their heels (it is said about 3000 men) leaving
all their Artillery stores, baggage and provisions which fell into our
hands. I suppose they will retreat to Montreal where they expect strong
reinforcements from New England. We will probably soon follow them
though our Corps may possibly be left to garrison Quebec. General
Carleton has gained honour by his behaviour this winter. He showed
himself a brave steady officer careful not to expose rashly the lives of
his men, in short a chief whom we esteem and cheerfully obey. Lieut.
Colonel Maclean has likewise great merit in having contributed much to
the preservation of this place by his forwarding the reparations of the
fortifications and his indefatigable care and trouble in the directing
the duty of the Garrison, together with his management in every shape as
a good officer. He was here the second in Command and seemed the fittest
man in the world for the place he occupied. There were also several old
Officers who happened to be here and were of great service as Major
Caldwell who distinguished himself very much, Major Cox, two Captain
Frasers and several others.

Mr. Wauchope who you will wish to hear of is very well. He has done
Lieutenant's duty this winter in Maclean's Regiment, is a good officer
and went through some severe Duty with great perseverance.

Yours, &c., &c.,


APPENDIX D (p. 98)


1st. You ought to read the Articles of War.

2nd. To pay the greatest attention to all orders from your Superior

3rd. Take care to have your own Orders strictly obeyed by those who are
under your Command but before you give any Order, be sure it is right
and necessary.

4th. Attend the Parades, and learn without delay the different motions
and words of Command and every part of the Duty of a Subaltern officer
when upon guard; also when under Arms with the whole Battalion, or

5th. Be always ready and willing to go upon every military duty that may
be ordered. Never think you do too much in that way; the more the better
and the more honourable.

6th. Be careful in doing the Company Duty, in such a manner, that the
Soldiers may be kept in excellent Order and everything belonging to
them; as their Arms, Accoutrements, Ammunition, Necessarys, Dress,
Messing, etc., according as may be regulated by the standing Orders of
the Regiment, or that may be most agreeable to your Captain or
Lieutenant Commanding the Company; also not only to know every man of
the Company by Name, but, as soon as possible, to know their several
Characters and Dispositions that each may be encouraged, cherished, or
punished, as he deserves. You ought every day, or very frequently to
wait on your Captain, or Lieutenant Commanding the Company, in order to
report to him upon these matters, and to know if he has any directions
or Commands for you.

7th. Endeavour all you can to learn the Adjutant's Duty: To be able to
Exercise the Company (or even the Battalion) in the Manual, their
Manoeuvres and the firings.

8th. Make yourself fit for paying the Company, and to be exact in
keeping Accounts, so that you may be capable of even being paymaster to
a Regiment.

9th. You ought to practice writing Court-Martials, Returns, and Reports
of all sorts, Acquittance Rolls, Muster Rolls, and Letter Writing;
taking always great pains to have a good hand of writ and to spell well.

10th. It is also recommended to you to study Engineering and Drawing; To
read Military Books, The occurrences and news of the time and History,
etc.; Never to leave anything undone which you think ought to be done;
in short, not to lose or misspend time, but constantly [to] endeavour to
gain knowledge, and improvement, and to exert yourself in being always
steady and diligent in the Execution of every part of your Duty.

11th. No doubt you will soon get Acquainted with all the officers of the
Regiment, and to know the Companys the Subaltern Officers belong to,
likewise to know the Names and Characters of all the non-Commissioned
officers, and the Companys they belong to, even most of the private men
and what Companys they are in. You ought to have a Book of Quarters (or
List of the Army) and learn the Number, and any thing else Remarkable of
each Regiment; also concerning the Generals, and Field Officers, and the
Rules and Regulations of the Army.

N.B.--Never be ashamed to ask questions at any of your Brother Officers
in order to gain information. The Sergeants of your Company will furnish
you with any Rolls, Lists or Returns you may have occasion for
respecting the Regt.

APPENDIX E (p. 104)


The so-called "porpoise" of the St. Lawrence is in reality the French
_marsouin_, the English beluga, a word of Russian origin, signifying
white. The Beluga (_Delphinapterus leucas_), is a real whale with its
most striking characteristic the white, or rather cream-coloured, skin
described by some writers as very beautiful. Like the narwhal it has no
dorsal fin. Though the smallest member of the whale family it is
sometimes more than twenty feet long; but usually ranges from thirteen
to sixteen feet. The young are bluish black in colour and may be seen
swimming beside their mother who feeds them with a very thick milk.
These young grow rapidly and become mottled and then white as they grow
older. The beluga is peculiar to northern regions where the water is
cold: when one is seen at the mouth of an English river it is a subject
of special note. There are numbers in Hudson Bay and they have been
found in the Yukon River, it is said, 700 miles from its mouth, whither
they went no doubt after salmon or other fish.

Jacques Cartier saw the beluga disporting itself off Malbaie nearly 400
years ago and in summer it is still to be seen there almost daily. It is
never alone. One sees the creatures swimming rapidly in single file.
They come to the surface with a prolonged sigh accompanied by the
throwing of a small jet of water; the perfectly white bodies writhe into
view as the small round heads disappear. Sometimes the beluga makes a
noise like the half suppressed lowing of oxen and, since the aquatic
world is so silent, sailors have christened the beluga, for this slender
achievement, the "sea canary." It is a playful creature and is
apparently attracted by man's presence. Before its confidence in him was
shaken it used to linger about wharves and ships. But, in spite of the
extremely small aperture of its ear, it is very sensitive to sound and
modern man with his fire arms and clatter of machinery frightens it
away. In 1752 the Intendant Bigot issued special instructions to check
the use of firearms on the point at Rivière Ouelle, in order that the
beluga might not be frightened, to the ruin of the extensive fishery
that has existed there for more than two hundred years. Its sight, touch
and taste are also well developed but it has no olfactory nerve and is
apparently without the sense of smell. The creature has qualities that
we should hardly expect. It has been tamed and almost domesticated. The
enterprising Barnum exhibited in New York a beluga which drew a boat
about in his aquarium. At Boston another beluga from the St. Lawrence
drew about a floating car carrying a woman performer. It knew its keeper
and at the proper time would appear and put its head from the water to
be harnessed or to take food. This beluga would take in its mouth a
sturgeon and a small shark confined in the same tank, play with them and
allow them to go unharmed. It would also pick up and toss stones with
its mouth.

The beluga is greedy. In the early spring, when he is thin and half
starved, capelin and smelt in great numbers come to spawn along the
north and south shores of the St. Lawrence. With high tide comes the
beluga's chance to feed on the spawning fish and he will rush in quite
near to shore for his favourite food. So voracious is he that with the
fish he takes quantities of sand into his stomach. In eight or ten days
he will eat enough to form from five to eight inches of fat over his
whole body. "The facility with which he thus grows fat is explained,"
says the Abbé Casgrain, "by the easy assimilation of such food and by
the considerable development of his digestive apparatus."

No doubt the beluga enjoys himself hugely. But Nemesis awaits him. His
fish diet has a soporific effect; gorged with food he becomes stupid and
is easily taken. Man's trap for him is simple and ingenious. A century
and a half ago it was to be seen at Pointe au Pic and to-day it is in
operation at Rivière Ouelle on the south side of the river. The weir or
fishery for the beluga must be on a large scale and is expensive to keep
up; it is for this reason that when the number of these creatures
declined it was no longer possible to maintain the fishery at Pointe au
Pic. At Rivière Ouelle annually more than 7000 stakes, from 18 to 20
feet long, are necessary to keep in repair the fishery which is almost
entirely destroyed each year by ice. Beginning at the shore a line of
stakes is carried out into the river placed perhaps a foot apart to form
a rough semi-circle about a mile and a third long. The stakes curve back
to the shore leaving however a passage of perhaps 1000 feet open between
the farther end and the shore. This outer end of the weir is completed
by a smaller circle of stakes, so arranged as to make entrance easy by
following within the line of stakes, but exit difficult. The distance
between high and low water mark at Rivière Ouelle is about a mile and a
half and along this great stretch of beach the small fish come in great
numbers to spawn. There is a considerable point at the mouth of the
little Rivière Ouelle. The wide beach, bare at low water, and this point
furnish an admirable combination for the beluga fishery. At high tide
the beluga comes rushing in near to shore after his prey, sometimes in
water so shallow that his whole body comes into view. In his progress
along the shore he is checked by the stakes reaching out from the point,
so close together that he cannot get through. The stakes sway with the
current and sometimes strike together making considerable noise. Early
whalers thought the beluga would try to pass by squeezing between the
stakes and to prevent this they fastened the stakes together with ropes.
But this was not necessary. Frightened by the noise the timid beluga's
instinct leads him to make for the open water. He dashes across the
semi-circle of the fishery only to be checked by the line of stakes on
its outer edge. The line like a wall he follows, looking for an opening,
and may be led insensibly into the labyrinthine circle at its end from
which he will hardly escape. If he heads back towards shore where he
came in, he is frightened by the shallow water which he disregarded only
when in pursuit of his prey. Where was shallow water indeed he may now
find dry land for the tide is running out. So the creature becomes
bewildered. He swims about slowly, as it were feeling his way, or
disappears at the bottom, to be stranded when the tide goes out and thus
becomes the prey of his enemy, man.

Some old belugas are very cunning; they are called by the French
Canadian the _savants_, the knowing ones, and seem to understand the
wiles of the fisherman. They warn off the others and so foil the design
against them. But greediness proves often their destruction. From
over-feeding year after year they become fat and stupid and they too are
likely in time to be taken. The less knowing beluga has usually slight
chance of escape when once he encounters the line of stakes stretching
out from the point and, since they follow each other blindly, if one is
taken a whole troop is likely to meet the same fate.

The Abbé Casgrain, who, since his childhood was spent at the Manor House
at Rivière Ouelle, was long familiar with the "porpoise" fishery,
describes the scene witnessed there by him on May 1st, 1873. It was a
glorious day and the belugas appeared in greater numbers than for many
years. They swarmed off the mouth of the Rivière Ouelle. At high tide
they came in, skirting the rocks within a stone's throw of shore and
devouring greedily the innumerable small fish. The surface of the
shallow water in which they swam was white with their gleaming bodies.
When they puffed they spurted jets of water into the air which fell in
spray that sparkled in the sunlight. The Abbé then describes how the
creatures became entrapped in the fishery. Instances of the mother's
devotion are recorded. They have been known to wait outside the stakes
for their young, caught within, and to allow themselves to be stranded
and killed rather than leave their offspring.

When the tide is low the slaughter begins. In the season of the spring
tide the water at Rivière Ouelle retreats so far that the entrapped
"porpoises" are left high and dry in the fishery and are readily killed.
But in the season of neap tides enough water is left for them to swim
about within the semi-circle of stakes. Boats are taken into the fishery
through the outer line of stakes and then begins a regular whale hunt
within a very circumscribed area. If the belugas are numerous their
captors have not a moment to lose for the creatures may escape with the
next tide. And numerous they sometimes are; 500 have been taken in a
single tide; at Rivière Ouelle, about 1870, 101 were killed in one night
by only four men. They had not expected such a host and had no time to
send for help before the tide should rise again.

The captors are armed with barbed harpoons and with spears. The harpoon
is sometimes thrown at the beluga from a considerable distance. When
struck the creature rushes to the surface, plunges and rolls to get
free. He never defends himself but thinks only of flight. It is an
accident if a boat is upset by the stroke of its tail; such accidents
sometimes happen but the victim gets little more than a soaking, much to
the merriment of his companions. The harpooned beluga will make off at
full speed dragging in his wake the assailant's boat which flies over
the face of the water, boiling with the mighty strokes of the monster's
tail. Soon the water is red for each beluga sheds eight or ten gallons
of blood. When he is tired the boat is drawn in closer by the rope
fastened to the animal. As opportunity offers the spear is used and,
driven home by a strong hand, it sometimes goes clear through the body.
A skilful man will quickly strike some vital spot; otherwise the beluga
struggles long.

"Picture if possible," says the Abbé, "the animation of the beluga hunt
when a hundred of them are in the weir, when twenty-five or thirty men
are pursuing them, when five or six boats dragged by the creatures are
ploughing the enclosed waters in every direction, when the spears are
hurled from all sides and the men are covered with the blood which
gushes out in streams. Some years ago the passengers of a passing
steamer from Europe were witnesses of such a scene and showed their keen
interest by firing a salvo of cannon."

When the belugas have been killed the next task is to get them to shore.
The work must be done quickly for the next tide will stop all work and
may sweep the animals away. Horses are brought and the bodies are
dragged ashore or partly floated with the aid of the rising tide. The
task of cutting up and boiling follows immediately. Workmen with long
knives take off the skin and separate the blubber from the flesh. The
Abbé Casgrain describes the process in detail. In the end the blubber is
cut up into small pieces and boiled in huge caldrons. The poor never
fail to come for their share of the catch and, with proverbial charity,
the Company carrying on the operations never send them away empty. "The
share-holders" says the Abbé Casgrain, "are convinced that the success
of their labours depends upon the gifts which they make to God, and
their generosity merits His benediction," Many a habitant goes home with
a mass of blubber in his pot or hooked to the end of a stout branch.

The fishery is old and has been very profitable. La Potherie describes
the industry as it existed at Kamouraska in 1701: that at Rivière Ouelle
is found in 1707 and it remained in the hands of the heirs of the
original promoters until, in 1870, it was found necessary to form them
into an incorporated company. The oil is highly valued. It is very clear
and has good lubricating qualities. Before the universal sway of
petroleum it was much used for lighting purposes; an ordinary lamp would
burn for 72 hours without going out. The Abbé Casgrain says that a
barrel of the oil is worth from 100 to 200 dollars and since each beluga
would yield not less than a barrel the value of the fishery in a good
season is evident. The skin is very thick and of extraordinary strength.
It has no grain and will take a beautiful polish.

[Beddard, "A Book of Whales" (London, 1900), pp. 244 _sqq._

Sir Harry Johnston, "British Mammals," (London, 1903), pp. 22 _sqq._

La Potherie, "Histoire de l'Amérique Septentrionale," (Paris, 1703),
Vol. 1, Lettre X., pp. 273 _sqq._

Casgrain, "Une Paroisse Canadienne au XVIIe Siècle," Oeuvres, Vol. 1,
pp. 530 _sqq._

Casgrain, "Eclaircissements sur La Pêche aux Marsouins," Ib. p. 563

APPENDIX F (p. 122)


(There are several versions of parts of the Prayer. It is, I think,
partly copied from some other source, partly Nairne's own composition.)

We believe in Thee our God; do thou strengthen our faith; We hope in
thee; confirm our hope; we repent of all our Sins; but do thou increase
our repentance. As our first beginning we worship thee; as our
benefactor we praise thee; and as our supreme protector we pray unto
thee that it may please thee, O God, to guide and lead us by thy
Providence, to keep us in obedience to thy justice, to comfort us by thy
mercie, and to protect us by thy Almighty power. We submit to thee all
our thoughts, words, and deeds, as well as our afflictions, pains, and
sufferings, and in thy name and for thy sake [we desire] to bear all
adversity with patience. We will nothing but what thou Willest, because
it is agreeable to thee. Give us grace that we may be attentive in
prayer, vigilant in our Conduct, and immovable in all good purposes.
Grant, most merciful Lord, that we may be true and just to those who put
their trust in us, that we may be Courteous and kind to all men, and
that in both our words and actions we may show them a good example.
Dispose our hearts to admire and adore thy goodness, to hate all errours
and evil ways. Assist us, most gracious God, in subduing our passions,
covetousness by liberality, anger by mildness, and lukewarmness by zeal
and fervency. Enable us to Conduct ourselves with prudence in all
transactions, to show courage in danger, patience in adversity, in
prosperity an humble will. Let thy Grace illuminate our understanding.
Direct our will and bless our souls. Make us diligent in curbing all
irregular affections and Zealous in imploring thy Grace, careful in
keeping thy Commandments and constant in working out our own salvation.

We humbly beseech thee, O Lord, to assist us in keeping our temper and
passions under due restraint to reason and to virtue, so as not only to
contribute to our internal peace of mind, honour, and reputation in this
life, but also to our eternal Comfort and happiness in the life to come;
and to defend us, O Lord, from the arts and subtilties which designing
men may work against us in order to lead us into evil or idle purposes.
Finally, O God, make us sensible how little is this world, how great thy
Heavens and how long will be thy blessed eternity. O! that we may well
prepare ourselves for Death and obtain of thee, O God, eternal life
through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

APPENDIX G (p. 144)


Of the early missionaries I have found no record, though no doubt one
could be compiled from the episcopal archives. The registers at Malbaie
do not begin until 1790 but I find a note that in 1784 there were
sixty-five communicants. Isle aux Coudres, Les Eboulements and Malbaie
were then united under one curé, M. Compain, who lived at Isle aux
Coudres. He served Malbaie from 1775 to 1788. This curé has a share in
the legend of Père de La Brosse, which, since it is characteristic of
the region, is worth repeating.

Père de La Brosse was a much loved and saintly missionary priest,
dwelling in his later years at Tadousac. On the evening of April 11th,
1872, he played cards at Tadousac at the house of one of the officers of
the post. Rising to go at about nine o'clock he said to the company:

"I wish you good night, my dear friends, for the last time; for at
midnight I shall be a dead man. At that hour you will hear the bell of
my chapel ring. I beg you not to touch my body. To-morrow you will send
for M. Compain at Isle aux Coudres. He will be waiting for you at the
lower end of the island. Do not be afraid if a storm comes. I will
answer for those whom you shall send."

At first the company thought the good father was joking. None the less
did they become anxious to see what should happen. Watch in hand they
waited for the hour named. Exactly at midnight the bell of the chapel
rang three times. They ran to the chapel and there found Père de La
Brosse upon his _prie-dieu_ dead.

The next day, Sunday, a south-east wind blew with violence. Huge
white-capped waves made the great river so dangerous that the employés
of the post refused to undertake the journey to Isle aux Coudres of
forty or fifty miles in a canoe over a raging sea. But the chief clerk
at the post said to them: "You know well that the Father never deceived
you. You ought to have confidence in his word. Is there no one among you
who will carry out his last wish?"

Then three or four men agreed to go. When they put their canoe in the
water, behold a wonder! To the great surprise of every one the sea
subsided so that before them lay a pathway of calm water. To their
further amazement, they made the journey to Isle aux Coudres with
incredible rapidity. As they neared the shore they could see M. Compain
walking up and down, a book in his hand. When they were within hearing
distance he called out "Père de La Brosse is dead. You come to get me to
bury him. I have been waiting an hour for you." When the canoe touched
the shore M. Compain embarked and they carried him to Tadousac. At Isle
aux Coudres the bell of the chapel had distinctly sounded three times
at midnight as at Tadousac. M. Compain knew what it meant for Père de La
Brosse had told him what he told his friends at Tadousac. Other church
bells in the neighbourhood also rang miraculously on that night. Père de
La Brosse had said while curé at Isle Verte, "If I die elsewhere than
here, you will have certain knowledge of the fact at the moment of my

The legend, the rather obscure motive of which is to emphasize the
saintly virtues of Père de La Brosse, is believed even to this day by
many simple people, hundreds of whom know it by heart. But some are
skeptical. "I should have been able to give more certainty to this
tradition," says M. Mailloux, the historian of Isle aux Coudres and also
its curé, "had I been able to make more extended investigation.
Meanwhile," he adds naïvely, "my investigations suffice to give a high
idea of the virtues of this admirable missionary."

There is little to record of the careers of curés at Malbaie subsequent
to M. Compain. Often the annals of the good are not exciting and this is
eminently true of these virtuous teachers. M. Charles Duchouquet was
curé of Isle aux Coudres and served Malbaie in 1790. In 1791 he was
succeeded by M. Raphael Paquet who lived at Les Eboulements. The first
curé resident at Malbaie was M. Keller who came in 1797. When he went
away in 1799 M. J.-B.-A. Marcheteau who was curé of Les Eboulements and
lived there, served Malbaie. In 1807 M. Marcheteau was succeeded by M.
Le Courtois, the second resident curé, a French émigré who remained at
Malbaie until 1822 and was, as we have seen, an intimate friend of the
Nairne family. For a long time M. Le Courtois carried on missionary work
among the Indians. In 1822 M. Duguay became curé; he went to Malbaie
after being curé at Isle aux Coudres. In 1832 he was succeeded by M.
Zephérin Lévêque who, in 1840, was followed by M. Alexis Bourret. This
curé was something of a scholar. He read the Greek fathers in the
original which is, I fancy, very unusual among the priests of Canada. In
1847 M. Beaudry became curé and in 1862 he was followed by M. Narcisse
Doucet. It was under M. Doucet that the great influx of summer visitors
began. Naturally they desired to have their own Protestant service on
Sunday and M. Doucet did all he could to prevent their getting a place
of worship. Protestantism having disappeared from Malbaie the curé was
not anxious to see it revived. But the last Mrs. Nairne, a Protestant,
then ruled at the Manor House, and she gave for the purpose of
Protestant worship the admirable site of the present Union Church. M.
Doucet was a man of considerable culture. The parish church, first built
in 1806, was remodelled in his time as also was the _presbytère_; he
built, too, the convent for girls. In 1891 M. B.-E. Leclercq became
curé--a good man of the peasant type, who retired in 1906 and died at
Malbaie in the following year. The present energetic curé is M. Hudon.

[For Père de La Brosse, see Casgrain, Oeuvres, Vol. 1, "Une Excursion
a L'Ile aux Coudres"; Mailloux, "Histoire de L'Isle aux Coudres"
(Montreal, 1879). M. Mailloux has particulars about some of the curés
named above. The dates for the successive curés are found in the
registers at Malbaie.]


Abraham, Plains of, 30, 69, 74, 81, 123, 258, 262.

Amherst, General, 34.

Amiens, Peace of, 119.

Ange Gardien, 254, 255.

Arnold, Colonel Benedict, 66-70, 76, 78, 81.

Augustine, St., 236.

Austerlitz, Battle of, 129.

Avignon, 213.

Baie St. Paul, 2, 9, 16, 20, 64, 89, 183, 255.

Barnum, P.T., 280.

Baxter, J.P., 243.

Bazire, Marie, 11.

Beaudry, Père, 290.

Beauport, 252.

Beaupré, 16.

Beaver Dam, 156.

Beck, Miss, 170.

Bedard, Pierre, 150.

Begin, Mgr., 198.

Begon, M., Intendant, 14.

Belairs, 109.

Belmont Seigniory, 36.

Beluga Fishery on the St. Lawrence, 279-285.

Bencoolen, India, 59.

Berthier, 9, 69.

Bic, 250.

Bigot F., Intendant, 18, 280.

Blackburn, Hugh, 54, 55.

Bleakley, Mrs., 106.

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 112, 129, 133, 155, 169.

Bonneau, 10, 11, 109.

Bonner, G.T., 219.

Boucher, Pierre, 9.

Bouchette, Mr., 141.

Bougainville, Col., 29, 51, 259.

Boulogne, 129.

Bourdon, Jean, 8, 243.

Bourret, Père Alexis, 290.

Bowen, Judge E., 149, 150, 163-7.

Bowen, Mrs. E., 151.

Boyd, General, 162.

Brassard, 54.

Bréboeuf, 198.

Brock, Gen. Sir I., 151, 153.

Brosse, Père de la, 287-9.

Buchanan. Mr., 166.

Burlington Heights, 156, 158, 161.

Burlington Bay, 158, 159.

Butler, Captain, 86.

Cacouna, 88.

Caldwell, Colonel, 84, 85, 87, 148.

Cameron, Captain, 269.

Campbell, Lieut. Alex., 261.

Campbell, Lieut. Archibald, 261.

Campbell, Capt John, 261.

Cap à l'Aigle, 2, 11, 21, 238.

Cap aux Oies, 2, 11.

Cap Rouge, 259, 264.

Cap Tourmente, 2, 87, 108, 109, 253, 255.

Cape Diamond, 73-78, 270.

Carignan Regiment, 9, 34, 243.

Carleton, Sir Guy (Lord Dorchester) 22, 59, 64, 65, 69-78, 83, 206, 276.

Carleton Island, 84-7, 148.

Cartier, Jacques, 56, 244, 250, 279.

Casgrain, Abbé H.R., 245, 281-285.

Castle Dounie, 24.

Chambly, 9.

Champlain, Samuel de, 6, 7, 243.

Chandler, General, 156.

Chaperon, M., 224, 225.

Château, Richer, 254-5.

Chateauguay, Battle of, 161.

Chaudière River, 66.

Chauncey, Commodore, 158.

Chelmsford, 134.

Cherry Valley, 86.

Chicoutimi, 15.

Chippewa, 155.

Cimon family, 219.

Clark, John, 102.

Clive, Lord, 57.

Colbert, 8.

Columbo, India, 100, 101.

Compain, Père, 287-9.

Company of New France, 7, 8.

Comporté, Philippe Gaultier, Sieur de, 9-14, 223, 243.

Comporté, La, 15, 16.

Comporté, Lac à, 12, 229.

Continental Congress, 60, 63.

Contrecoeur, 89.

Cook, Captain, 22.

Coquart, Father Claude Godefroi, 16-18.

Cornwallis, General, 91.

Cox, Major, 276.

Craig, Sir James, 135, 142, 150.

Crysler's Farm, Battle of, 162.

Culloden, Battle of, 23, 33, 48.

Dalrymple, Col., 100.

Dambourges, M., 77.

D'Avezac, Editor of Cartier's Works, 243.

Dean, Captain, 269.

De Lass, 138.

Detroit, 151, 155.

_Diana_, the, 270.

Dobie, Richard, 106.

Dorchester, Lord, (See Carleton, Sir Guy).

Doucet, Père Narcisse, 290.

Douglas, Lieut., 261.

Douglass, Commodore, 276.

Duchouquet, Père C., 289.

Dufour, Joseph, 16-18, 20, 56, 109.

Duggan, E.J., 219.

Duggan, W.E., 219.

Duguay, Père, 289.

Dundass, 118.

Durham, 127.

East India Co'y, 57, 58.

Edinburgh, 94, 95, 101, 119, 125, 127, 128, 133.

Edinburgh Castle, 26, 169, 170.

Elibank, Lord, 35.

Emerson, Parson, 67.

Emery, Christiana, (Mrs. Nairne), 56.

Enos, Colonel, 67.

_Fell_, the, 70.

Fisher, Dr., 115.

Fitzgibbon, Lieut, 156.

Forbes, Duncan, of Culloden, 23.

Fort Erie, 154.

Fort George, 154-157, 160.

Forty Mile Creek, 156, 159.

Foucault, Seigniory of, 36.

Foulon, Anse de, 256.

Fraser, Alex., Jr., 252, 261, 267.

Fraser, John Malcolm, 219, 249.

Fraser, Malcolm, Seigneur of Mount Murray, 21, 28, 30-41, 49, 54, 55,
    65, 74, 75, 82, 92, 93, 95, 101, 105, 106, 108, 114, 117, 120,
    127-132, 136, 142-147, 149, 152, 158, 160, 165, 171, 178, 219,
    222, "Journal," 249-271, 276.

Fraser, Ensign Malcolm, killed, 267.

Fraser, Simon, Lord Lovat, 24-26, 243, 267.

Fraser, Colonel Simon, Commander of the 78th Regiment, 25, 26, 31, 32,
    249, 251, 252, 261, 264-267.

Fraser, Simon, Explorer, 26.

Fraser, Simon, Captain, 261.

Fraser, William, 219.

Fraserville, Seigniory of, 39.

Frenchtown, 154.

Frontenac, 196.

Gagnon, Mgr., 245.

Gaspé, Philippe Aubert de, 109, 209-212, 245.

Gaultier, Philippe, (See Comporté).

Gérin, Léon, 244.

Gibraltar, 129, 133, 134, 135, 136.

Gilchrist, Mr., 47, 53, 55, 60, 61, 223, 225.

Glasgow, 119.

Goose, Cape, 2.

Gordon, Lieut. Cosmo, 267.

Gorham, Captain, 20, 34, 36, 251, 255.

Graeme, General, 96.

Gregorson, Ensign, 261.

Gros, Jean, 225.

"_Growler_", the, 160.

Haldimand, General, 46, 83, 85, 87, 92.

Hale, Mr. and Mrs., 149.

Halifax, 150.

Harrison, General, 155.

Hazen, Captain, 265.

Hazeur, François, 12, 13, 14.

Hazeur, J.T., 15.

Hazeur, P. de l'Orme, 15.

Henry, Dr., 201, 223-227, 245.

Hepburn, 42, 59, 114, 118, 121.

Higham, Mrs., 219.

Holmes, Admiral, 249.

Hubert, Bishop of Quebec, 46

Hudon, M., Jesuit, 198.

Hudon, Père, 290.

Hudson Bay, 14, 279.

Hull, General, 151.

India, 96, 99, 100, 172.

Isle aux Coudres, 2, 6, 46, 64, 250, 287-289.

Isle aux Noix, 82, 83, 84, 91.

Isle Verte, 289.

Jena, Battle of, 129.

Jervis, John, Lord St. Vincent, 22.

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 35.

Johnston, Sir John, 85.

Johnston, Sir William, 138.

_Julia_, the, 160.

Kamouraska, 89, 108, 211, 212, 224, 285.

Keller, Père, 289.

Kennebec, River, 66.

Ker, Alick, 126, 127, 135, 137.

Ker, James, 98, 112, 114, 117, 118, 121, 125, 126, 133, 134, 137, 138,
    144, 150, 169, 170.

Ker, Mrs., 121.

Kingston, 148, 151, 152, 153, 161.

La Fouille, 10.

La Grange, 56.

La Motte-Saint-Heray, 10.

La Potherie, 285.

La Terrière, Dr., 141.

Lake Champlain, 36, 82, 161.

Lake Ontario, 9, 84, 148, 156, 161.

Lake St. John, 15.

Langan, Mrs., 106.

Lanoraye, 10.

Lauderdale, Earl of, 133.

Lauzon, Seigniory of, 36, 210.

Laverdière, Editor of Champlain's Works, 243.

Le Courtois, Père, 143, 164, 166, 172, 193, 289.

Leclercq, Père, B.-E, 290.

Le Maistre, Major, 244.

Le Moine, Sir J.M., 243.

Les Eboulements, 2, 14, 37, 46, 64, 109, 141, 287, 289.

_Leo_, the, 159.

_Leostoff_, the, 269, 270.

Leslie, Miss C., 173, 221.

Lévêque, Père, 289.

Levis, 36.

Lévis, Marquis de, 32, 220, 264.

Longueuil, 9.

Lorette, 262.

Lotbinière, Père de, 71.

Louisbourg, 29, 42, 119, 129, 221, 250.

Lovat, Baroness, 24.

Lovat, Lord, (See Fraser, Simon).

Lyman, Mr., 171.

Mabane, Miss, 108.

McCord, Mr., 141.

McDonald, Capt. Donald, 265, 267.

McDonald, Lieut. Hector, 267.

McDonnell, Alex., 259.

MacDonnell, Capt. John, 86, 259, 261.

MacDonnell, Lieut. Ronald, 261.

McGregor, Lieut., 271.

MacKenzie, Sir Alex., 111.

MacKenzie, Alex., author, 243.

MacKenzie, Ensign, 261.

MacKinnon, Lieut., 82-4.

McLean, Col. Allan, 65, 275, 276.

McNicol, John, (See Nairne, John McNicol).

McNicol, Peter, 172, 173.

McNicol, Mrs. Peter, 93, 107, 114, 130, 169, 172, 173, 219, 221, 290.

McNicol, Thomas, 172.

McPherson, Capt., 252, 259, 261.

Madawaska, Seigniory of, 36.

Madison, President, 150.

Mailloux, Père, 289.

Maldon, 128.

Malteste, notary, 52.

Marchand, Louis, 12.

Marcheteau, Père, 289.

Marie, Catherine de St. Augustin, 198, 199.

Marlboro', India, 57.

Masson, Mr., 106.

Matthews, Captain, 85, 92, 244.

Micmac Indians, 55.

Mingan seigniory, 14.

Mississaga Indians, 85.

Mistassini, 15.

Mohawk Valley, 85.

Montcalm, Marquis de, 19, 241, 251, 252, 260.

Montgomery, General R., 69-78, 273.

Montgomery, Capt., 253, 254.

Montmorency, 251, 253, 255.

Morel, Abbé, 183.

Morgan, 76.

Morrison, Colonel, 162, 165.

Mount Hermon Cemetery, 122, 123, 220.

Mount Murray Seigniory, 21, 38.

Mount Ventoux, 236.

Mountain, Salter, 152.

Munro, W. Bennett, 245.

Murray, Alex., 35.

Murray, Admiral George, 35.

Murray, General James, 30-38, 42, 43, 51, 178, 207, 243, 254, 255, 258,
    262, 272.

Nairne, Anne, 56, 94, 125.

Nairne, Baron, 27.

Nairne, Christine, 93, 94, 99, 101, 106-108, 114, 121, 130, 138, 142,
    145, 146, 150, 151, 164, 169, 171, 172.

Nairne, John, First Seigneur of Murray Bay, Chap's. I-V., 178, 184, 195,
    209, 219-223.

Nairne, John, Mrs., 56, 149, 161, 165, 168, 172.

Nairne, John, Captain, 93, 94, 95-101, 221, 277-279.

Nairne, John Leslie, 174, 221.

Nairne, John McNicol, 172-174, 218, 219.

Nairne, Magdalen (See McNicol, Mrs. Peter).

Nairne, Mary (Polly), 93, 101, 107, 121, 124, 126, 138, 142, 147, 160,
    169, 172.

Nairne, Miss, 27, 101, 117, 273.

Nairne, Robert, 57-59.

Nairne, Captain Thomas, 93, 101, 102, 107, 121, 124-167, 220, 221, 232.

Neill, Mr., of Bana, 259.

Nelson, Lord, 114, 153, 205.

Newfoundland Regiment, 139, 147, 143.

New Orleans, Battle at, 170.

Niagara, 148, 151, 154-156.

Niagara Falls, 155.

Niagara River, 148, 154.

Noël, Jacques, 207.

Northumberland County, 115, 141.

_Oneida_, the, 153.

Orleans, Island of, 1, 253, 255.

Panet, Louis, 225.

Papineau, L.J., 205, 218.

Paquet, Père Raphael, 289.

Parker, Sir Hyde, 114, 153.

Parsons' House, 82.

Pitt, William, Earl of Chatham, 23, 26, 34.

Pitt, William, 112, 118.

Pius VIII., Pope, 172.

Plassey, Battle of, 57.

Plenderleath, Colonel, 163, 166.

Point Levi, 80, 250, 251, 253, 255, 256, 261, 263.

Pointe au Fer, 82, 83.

Pointe au Pic, 47, 104, 228, 236, 281.

Pointe aux Trembles, 15.

"Porpoise" Fishery (See Beluga).

Prés de Ville Barrier, 75.

Prescott, 152, 153.

Prevost, Sir George, 150.

Procter, General, 154, 171.

Quebec Act, 59-61.

Quebec, Protestant Bishop of, 48, 50, 165.

Quebec, Roman Catholic Bishop of, 45, 51.

Queenston Heights, 151, 153.

Reeve, Colonel, 219.

Reeve, John Fraser, 219.

Reeve, Mrs., 219.

Richelieu, Robert, 70.

Riedesel, General, 89, 91.

Riverin, 13.

Rivière du Loup, 36, 39.

Rivière Noire, 37, 226.

Rivière Ouelle, 183, 280, 281, 283, 285.

Roderick, Lieut., 259.

Ross, Mr., 43.

Ross, Captain, 254, 259.

Roy, J.E., 244.

_Royal George_, the, 148, 151.

Sackett's Harbour, 161.

Saguenay River, 5, 183, 228, 255.

Saguenay County, 172.

Saint Anne de Beaupré, 64, 254.

Saint Charles River, 257, 258, 259, 260.

Sainte Foy, 73, 259, 262, 264.

Sainte Irénée, 233.

Saint Jean Seigniory, 36.

Saint Joachim, 253.

Saint Matthew's Church, Quebec, 219.

St. Roch's, Quebec, 76, 88.

St. Roch, 88.

Sans Bruit Seigniory, 36.

Sault au Matelot, 76, 77.

Schomberg, Capt., 270.

Scott, Sir Walter, 27, 170.

Sewell, Mr., 166.

Sicily, 137, 138.

Siegfried, André, 245.

Sillery, 264.

Smith, Justin H., 244.

Sorel, 9, 90, 91.

Soumande, Pierre, 12.

Stadacona, 5.

Sterling, 56.

Stevenson, James, 119.

Stewart, Andrew, 172.

Stewart, Lieut Chas., 33.

Stewart, Mr., 107.

Stoney Creek, 156.

Stuart, Prince Charles, 22, 27.

Sulte, B., 243.

Swanton, Capt, 270.

Syracuse, 137, 138.

Taché, Madame, 211, 212.

Tadousac, 6, 7, 14, 15, 19, 88, 183, 228, 287-289.

Talon, Jean, 8, 11.

Taschereau, Hon G., 106.

Ten Mile Creek, 159.

Têtu, Mgr. H., 15, 245.

Thames River, Ontario, 155.

Thompson, James, 244.

Three Rivers, 69, 150.

Toronto, 148, 155, 159.

Trafalgar, Battle of, 129, 205.

Tremblay, 109.

Usburn, Mr., 106.

_Vanguard_, the, 270.

Vaudreuil, Marquis de, 34.

Verchères, 9, 89.

Villeneuve, Joseph, 53.

Wall, Captain, 152.

Walpole, Sir R., 23.

Warren, John, 119.

Washington, 155.

Washington, George, 65.

Waterloo, Battle of, 205.

Wauchope, Mr., 277.

Wellington, Duke of, 205.

West Indies, 95.

Wilkes, John, 35.

Wilkinson, General, 156.

Winchester, General, 154.

Winder, General, 156.

Wingfield, Major, 223.

Wolfe, General James, 19, 20, 22, 23, 28, 29, 31, 66, 241, 252, 260.

Wolfe's Cove, 29, 68, 75, 256.

Wooster, General, 81.

Würtele, F.C., 244.

Yeo, Sir James, 154, 156-159.

York, Duke of, 96.

York (Toronto), 148, 155, 156, 159, 160.

Yorktown, 91.

Yukon River, 279.

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