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Canadian Notabilities, Volume 1 by John Charles Dent

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were so ruthlessly slaughtered at Oswego and William Henry flitted around
his pillow in these last fleeting moments. Notwithstanding the fact that
his mind seemed to receive solace from the solemn rites in which he then
took part, we have never read the account of those last hours of Montcalm
without being reminded of the lines of the British Homer descriptive of the
death of him who fell "on Flodden's fatal field."

The exact place of Montcalm's death has never been definitely ascertained.
Various sites are indicated by different authorities, but no conclusive
evidence has been adduced in support of the claims of any of them. It is,
however, known for certain that his body was interred within the precincts
of the Ursuline Convent at Quebec, where a mural tablet was erected by
Lord Aylmer to his memory in 1832. The following is a translation of the


A few years ago his remains were disinterred, and his skull, with its base
enclosed in a military collar, is religiously preserved in a glass case
on a table in the convent. The monument to the joint memory of Wolfe and
Montcalm has been referred to in a previous sketch.

Thus lived and died the Marquis of Montcalm. He was forty-seven years of
age at the time of his death, and was constitutionally younger than his
years would seem to indicate. A Canadian historian thus sums up the
brighter side of his character: "Trained from his youth in the art of war;
laborious, just, and self-denying, he offered a remarkable exception to the
venality of the public men of Canada at this period, and in the midst of
universal corruption made the general good his aim. Night, the rushing
tide, veteran discipline, and more brilliant genius had given his rival the
victory. Yet he was not the less great; and while the name of Wolfe will
never be forgotten, that of Montcalm is also engraved by its side on the
enduring scroll of human fame. The latter has been censured for not abiding
the chances of a siege, rather than risking a battle. But with a town
already in ruins, a garrison deficient in provisions and ammunition, and an
enemy to contend with possessed of a formidable siege-train, the fire of
which must speedily silence his guns, he acted wisely in staking the issue
on a battle, in which, if he found defeat, he met also an honourable and a
glorious death."


James Bruce, who afterwards became eighth Earl of Elgin and twelfth Earl
of Kincardine, was born in London, on the 20th of July, 1811. He was the
second son of his father, the seventh Earl, whose embassy to Constantinople
at the beginning of the present century was indirectly the means of
procuring for him a reputation which will probably endure as long as the
English language. All readers of Byron are familiar with the circumstances
under which this reputation was gained. In the year 1799, Lord Elgin
was despatched by the British Government as envoy extraordinary to
Constantinople. During his embassy he had occasion to visit Athens, where
he found that the combined influence of time and the Turks was rapidly
destroying the magnificent vestiges of the past wherewith the city and its
neighbourhood abounded. Actuated by a wish to preserve some of these relics
of departed greatness--and probably wishing to connect his name with
their preservation--he conceived the idea of removing a few of the more
interesting of them to England. Without much difficulty he obtained
permission from the Porte to take away from the ruins of ancient Athens
"any stones that might appear interesting to him." The British Government
declined to lend its assistance to what some members of the Cabinet
regarded as an act of spoliation, and Lord Elgin was thus compelled to
carry out the project at his own expense. He hired a corps of artists,
labourers, and other assistants, most of whom were specially brought from
Italy to aid in the work. About ten years were spent in detaching from
the Parthenon, and in excavating from the rubbish at its base, numerous
specimens of various sculptures, all or most of which were presumed to have
been the handiwork of Phidias and his pupils. Other valuable sculptures
were disinterred from the ruins about the Acropolis, and elsewhere in the
neighbourhood. Upon the arrival in England of these great works of ancient
art all the world of London went to see and admire them. In 1816 they were
purchased for the nation for £35,000, and placed in the British Museum,
where they still remain. Many persons, however, censured Lord Elgin for
what they called his Vandalism in removing the relics from their native
land. Among those who assailed him on this score was Lord Byron, who hurled
anathemas at him both in prose and verse. "The Curse of Minerva" may fairly
be said to have made Lord Elgin's name immortal. The case made against him
in that fierce philippic, however, is grossly one-sided, as the author
himself subsequently acknowledged; and there is a good deal to be said on
the other side. The presence of these magnificent sculptures in the British
Museum gave an impetus to sculpture not only throughout Great Britain, but
to a less extent throughout the whole of Western Europe. It should also
be remembered that had they been permitted to remain where they were they
would most likely have been totally destroyed long before now in some of
the many violent scenes of which Athens has since been the theatre. Some
art critics have--more especially of late years--decried the workmanship of
these marbles, and have argued that they could not possibly have been the
work of Phidias. It is beyond doubt, however, that they display Greek art
at a splendid and mature stage of development, and their value to the
British nation is simply beyond price.

The subject of this sketch was destined to achieve a higher and less
dubious reputation than that of his father. Being only a second son, he was
not born heir-apparent to the family title and estates, and his education
was completed before--in consequence of the death of his elder brother and
of his father--he succeeded to the peerage. At the age of fourteen he
went to Eton, from which seat of learning he in due time passed to Christ
Church, Oxford. Here he formed one of a group of young men, many of whom
have since attained high distinction in political life. Among them we find
the names of William Ewart Gladstone, the late Duke of Newcastle (the
friend and guardian of the Prince of Wales upon the occasion of his visit
to this country in 1860), Sidney Herbert, James Ramsay (afterwards Earl
of Dalhousie, son of a former Governor-General of Canada), Lord Canning,
Robert Lowe, Edward Cardwell, and Roundell Palmer--now Lord Selborne.
Between young Bruce and two of these--Ramsay and Canning--an uncommonly
warm intimacy prevailed; and it is a somewhat curious coincidence that they
lived to be the three successive rulers of India during the transition
period of British Government there. Ramsay, then Lord Dalhousie, was the
last Governor before the breaking out of the Mutiny; Canning was the
over-ruler of the Mutiny; and Bruce, as Lord Elgin, was the first who went
out as Viceroy after the Indian Empire was brought under the government of
the Crown.

Among the brilliant young men who were his friends and compeers at college,
James Bruce is said to have been as conspicuous as any for the brilliancy
and originality of his speeches at the Union. Mr. Gladstone himself has
said of him, "I well remember placing him, as to the natural gift of
eloquence, at the head of all those I knew, either at Eton or at the
University." But he was not less distinguished by maturity of judgment, by
a love of abstract thought, and by those philosophical studies which lay
the foundation of true reasoning in the mind. In 1834 he published a
pamphlet to protest against a monopoly of Liberal sentiment by the
Whigs; and in 1841 he went into the House of Commons for Southampton on
Conservative principles, which had, however, a strong flavour of Whiggism
about them. He soon developed a remarkable aptitude for political life. He
seconded the Address which turned out Lord Melbourne and brought in Sir
Robert Peel, in a speech prophetically favourable to free trade, and he
would doubtless have been a cordial supporter of Peel's liberal commercial
policy had not his Parliamentary career speedily come to an end. In 1840,
George, Lord Bruce, elder brother of James, died, unmarried, and the latter
became heir-apparent to the family honours. On the 22nd of April, 1841, he
married Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Mr. C. L. Canning Bruce. The death of
his father soon afterwards raised him to the Scottish peerage. He had no
seat in either House of Parliament, and in 1842 he accepted from Lord
Stanley the office of Governor of Jamaica--an appointment which decided his
vocation in life. With his career at Jamaica we have no special concern,
and it need not detain us. It may be remarked, in passing, that he remained
there four years, during which period--owing, doubtless, in some measure to
the sudden death of his wife soon after their arrival in the island--he
led a somewhat secluded life. He quitted his post in 1846, and returned to
England. Almost immediately after his arrival there Lord Grey, the Colonial
Secretary, offered him the position of Governor-General of British North
America. He accepted it, says his biographer, not in the mere spirit of
selfish ambition, but with a deep sense of the responsibility attached to
it. It was arranged that he should go to Canada at the beginning of the
new year. In the interval, on November 7th, he married Lady Mary Louisa
Lambton, daughter of the first Earl of Durham, whose five months' sojourn
in this country in the year 1838 was destined to produce such important and
beneficial effects upon our Constitution. Lord Elgin was wont to say that
"The real and effectual vindication of Lord Durham's memory and proceedings
will be the success of a Governor-General of Canada who works out his views
of government fairly." Thus it happened that the young Conservative Peer,
who had already shaken off his early Tory prepossessions, found himself
called upon to build on the broad foundations laid by the most advanced
member of the Liberal party of that day, and to inaugurate the new
principle of government which Lord Durham and Charles Butler had conceived,
not merely in Canada, but throughout the colonial empire of Britain.
Leaving his bride behind him, to follow at a less inclement season, he set
out for the seat of his new duties early in January, and reached Montreal
on the 29th. He took up his quarters at Monklands, the suburban residence
of the Governor.

Nine years had elapsed since the Rebellion of 1837, Lord Durham, Lord
Sydenham, Sir Charles Bagot, Lord Metcalfe, and Lord Cathcart had
successively governed the North American Provinces in that short interval,
but--except in the case of Lord Durham--with not very satisfactory results.
The method of Responsible Government was new with us. The smouldering fires
of rebellion were only just extinguished. The repulsion of races was at
its strongest. The deposed clique which had virtually ruled the colony was
still furious, and the depressed section was suspicious and restive. It was
just at the time, too, when, between English and American legislation, we
were suffering at once from the evils of protection and free trade. The
principles upon which Lord Elgin undertook to carry on the administration
of the affairs of the colony were that he should identify himself with no
party, but make himself a mediator and moderator between the influential
of all parties; that he should retain no Ministers who did not enjoy the
confidence of the Assembly, or, in the last resort, of the people; and that
he should not refuse his consent to any measure proposed by his Ministry,
unless it should be of an extreme party character, such as the Assembly
or the people would be sure to disapprove of. For some months after
his arrival in this country matters went smoothly enough. The Draper
Administration, never very strong, had for several years been growing
gradually weaker and weaker, and was now tottering towards its fall; but so
far it could command a small majority of votes, and continued to hold the
reins of power. The result of the next general elections, however, which
were held at the close of the year, was the return of a large preponderance
of Reformers, among whom were nearly all the leading spirits of the Reform
Party. Upon the opening of Parliament on the 25th of February, 1848, the
Draper Administration resigned, and its leader accepted a seat on the
judicial bench. The Governor accordingly summoned the leaders of the
opposition to his councils, and the Baldwin-Lafontaine ministry was formed.
After a short session the House was prorogued on the 25th March. It did not
meet again until the 18th of January following. It is hardly necessary to
inform the Canadian reader that the Canadian Parliament sat at Montreal at
that time. During the session one of the stormiest episodes in our history
occurred. Every Canadian who has passed middle age remembers that disturbed
time. The excitement arose out of the Rebellion Losses Bill, as it was
called--a measure introduced by Mr. Lafontaine, the object of which was to
reimburse such of the inhabitants of the Lower Province as had sustained
loss from the rebellion of eleven years before. Within a very short time
after the close of that rebellion, the attention of both sections of the
colony was directed to compensating those who had suffered by it. First
came the case of the primary sufferers, if so they may be called; that is,
the Loyalists, whose property had been destroyed by rebels. Measures were
at once taken to indemnify all such persons--in Upper Canada, by an Act
passed in the last session of its separate Parliament; in Lower Canada,
by an ordinance of the Special Council, under which it was at that time
administered. But it was felt that this was not enough; that where property
had been wantonly and unnecessarily destroyed, even though it were by
persons acting in support of authority, some compensation ought to be
given; and the Upper Canada Act above mentioned was amended next year, in
the first session of the United Parliament, so as to extend to all losses
occasioned by violence on the part of persons acting or assuming to act on
Her Majesty's behalf. Nothing was done at this time about Lower Canada; but
it was obviously inevitable that the treatment applied to the one Province
should be extended to the other. Accordingly, in 1845, during Lord
Metcalfe's Government, and under a Conservative Administration, an Address
was adopted unanimously by the Assembly, praying His Excellency to cause
proper measures to be taken "in order to insure to the inhabitants of that
portion of the Province formerly Lower Canada indemnity for just losses by
them sustained during the Rebellion of 1837 and 1838." In pursuance of this
address, a Commission was appointed to inquire into the claims of persons
whose property had been destroyed in the Rebellion; the Commissioners
receiving instructions to distinguish the cases of persons who had abetted
the said rebellion from the cases of those who had not. The Commissioners
made their investigations, and reported that they had recognized, as worthy
of further inquiry, claims representing a sum total of £241,965 10s. 5d.;
but they added an expression of opinion that the losses suffered would be
found, on closer examination, not to exceed the value of £100,000. This
report was rendered in April, 1846; but though Lord Metcalfe's Ministry,
which had issued the Commission avowedly as preliminary to a subsequent and
more minute inquiry, remained in office for nearly two years longer, they
took no steps towards carrying out their declared intentions. So the matter
stood when the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration was formed. It was natural
that they should take up the work left half done by their predecessors; and
early in the session of 1849 Mr. Lafontaine introduced the Rebellion Losses
Bill. The Opposition contrived to kindle a flame all over the country.
Meetings were held denouncing the measure, and petitions were presented to
the Governor with the obvious design of producing a collision between him
and Parliament. The Bill was finally passed in the Assembly by forty-seven
votes to eighteen. Out of thirty-one members from Upper Canada who voted
on the occasion, seventeen supported and fourteen opposed it; and of ten
members for Lower Canada of British descent, six supported and four opposed
it. "These facts," (wrote Lord Elgin) "seemed altogether irreconcilable
with the allegation that the question was one on which the two races were
arrayed against each other throughout the Province generally. I considered,
therefore, that by reserving the Bill, I should only cast on Her Majesty
and Her Majesty's advisers a responsibility which ought, in the first
instance at least, to rest on my own shoulders, and that I should awaken
in the minds of the people at large, even of those who were indifferent or
hostile to the Bill, doubts as to the sincerity with which it was intended
that constitutional Government should be carried on in Canada; doubts which
it is my firm conviction, if they were to obtain generally, would be fatal
to the connection."

On the 25th of April Lord Elgin went down to the Parliament Buildings and
gave his assent to the Bill. On leaving the House he was insulted by the
crowd, who pelted him with missiles. In the evening a disorderly mob intent
upon mischief got together and set fire to the Parliament Buildings,
which were burned to the ground. By this wanton act public property
of considerable value, including two excellent libraries, was utterly
destroyed. Having achieved their object the crowd dispersed, apparently
satisfied with what they had done. The members were permitted to retire
unmolested, and no resistance was offered to the military, who appeared
on the ground after a brief interval to restore order, and aid in
extinguishing the flames. During the two following days a good deal of
excitement prevailed in the streets, and some further acts of incendiarism
were perpetrated. Similar scenes on a somewhat smaller scale, were enacted
in Toronto and elsewhere in the Upper Province. The house of Mr. Baldwin
and some other prominent members of the Reform party were attacked, and the
owners burned in effigy.

Meanwhile addresses numerously signed came pouring in to the Governor from
all quarters, expressing entire confidence in the Administration, and
unbounded regret for the indignities to which he had been subjected.
Lord Elgin, however, felt bound to tender his resignation to the Home
Government. Meanwhile the Bill which had caused such an explosion in the
colony, was running the gauntlet of the British Parliament. On June 14th
it was vehemently attacked in the House of Commons. Mr. Gladstone himself
describing it as a "measure for rewarding rebels." The strongest pressure
had already been put upon Lord Elgin to induce him to refuse the Royal
Assent to the Bill. To do so would have been to place himself in direct
collision with his Parliament, and this he steadily refused to do. The Home
Government, represented by Lord Grey, firmly supported him, approved his
policy, and shortly afterwards conferred upon him a British peerage as an
acknowledgment of the unshaken confidence of the Queen. Being urgently
pressed to remain in office as Governor-General he consented, and the more
readily because the agitation soon quieted down. From this time we hear no
more of such disgraceful scenes, but it was long before the old "Family
Compact" party forgave the Governor who had dared to be impartial. By many
kinds of detraction they sought to weaken his influence and damage his
popularity. And as the members of this party, though they had lost their
monopoly of political power, still remained the dominant class in society,
the disparaging tone which they set was taken up not only in the colony
itself, but also by travellers who visited it, and by them carried back to
infect opinion in England. The result was that persons at home, who had the
highest appreciation of Lord Elgin's capacity as a statesman,
sincerely believed him to be deficient in nerve and vigour; and as the
misapprehension was one which he could not have corrected, even if he had
been aware how widely it was spread, it continued to exist in many quarters
until dispelled by the singular energy and boldness, amounting almost to
rashness, which he displayed in China.

Since the session of 1849 no Parliament has ever sat, nor is any ever again
likely to sit, at Montreal. In view of the riot and the burning of the
Parliament Buildings it was determined to remove the Legislature, which
met at Toronto for the next two years. Subsequently it met alternately
at Quebec and Toronto until 1866, since which time Ottawa has been the
permanent capital of the Dominion.

After the storm consequent on the Rebellion Losses Bill, the most important
event by which Lord Elgin's Canadian administration was characterized was
the negotiation of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States. The
conclusion of this Treaty was a matter requiring much time and a good deal
of prudent negotiation. In 1854, after the negotiations had dragged on
wearily for more than six years, Lord Elgin himself was sent to Washington,
in the hope of bringing the matter to a successful issue. Within a few
weeks the terms of a Treaty of Reciprocity were agreed upon, and they soon
afterwards received the sanction of the Governments concerned. Lord Elgin
returned to England at the close of 1854, being succeeded in the government
of Canada by Sir Edmund Walker Head, who had examined him for a Merton
Fellowship at Oxford in 1833. Soon after Lord Elgin's return home,
the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster was offered him by Lord
Palmerston, with a seat in the Cabinet; but he preferred to take no active
part in public affairs, and enjoyed an interval of two years' rest from
official labour. His subsequent career can only be glanced at very briefly.
In 1857 he was sent to China to try what could be done to repair, or to
turn to the best account, the mischiefs done by Sir John Bowring's course,
and by the patronage of it at home, in the face of the moral reprobation
of the people at large. He was present at the taking of Canton, and in
conjunction with the French, succeeded by prompt and vigorous measures in
reducing the Celestial Empire to terms. After signing a Treaty with
the Chinese Commissioners at Tientsin, on the 26th of July, 1858, the
conditions of which were highly favourable to the British, he sailed for
Japan, and boldly entered the harbour of Jeddo, from which foreigners had
always been rigidly excluded. Here he obtained very important commercial
privileges for the British, and on the 26th of August concluded a treaty
with the Japanese. He returned to England in May, 1859. The merchants of
London, in recognition of his immense services to British commerce, did
themselves honour by the thoroughness of their acknowledgment of Lord
Elgin's services, and presented him with the freedom of the City.

He held the office of Postmaster-General till the hostile acts of the
Chinese Government towards the English and French Ministers in China
rendered it necessary that he should go out again, and opening Pekin to
British diplomacy, returned to England in April, 1861. Almost immediately
afterwards he was offered the Viceroyalty of India. This splendid
appointment he was not disposed to decline. He accepted, and went out to
the seat of his Government He lived only eighteen months longer, a period,
says his biographer, hardly sufficient for him to master the details
of administration of that great Empire, with which he had no previous
acquaintance, and I quite insufficient for him to give to the policy of
the Government the stamp of his own mind. He died of heart-disease; while
making a vice-regal excursion through his dominions, on the 20th of
November, 1863, and was buried in the cemetery at Dhurmsala, in a spot
selected by Lady Elgin.

"Perhaps," says a sympathetic critic of Lord Elgin's career, "the noblest
part of the history of England is to be found in the recorded lives of
those who have been her chosen servants, and who have died in that service.
Self-control, endurance, and an heroic sense of duty, are more conspicuous
in such men than the love of action and fame. But their lives are the
landmarks of our race. Lord Elgin, it is true, can hardly be ranked with
the first of British statesmen, or orators, or commanders. His services,
great as they unquestionably were, had all been performed under the orders
of other men. Even among his own contemporaries he fills a place in the
second rank. But happy are the country and the age in which such men are to
be found in the second rank, and are content to be there."


"Tis in the prime of summer-time, an evening calm and cool,
When certain bright-eyed English boys come bounding out of school."

The school is at Greenwich, six miles below London Bridge, and is kept by
the Reverend Samuel Swinden. Date, some time in the month of June, 1741.
The boys are of all ages, from five years upwards, and most of them are
sons of military and naval officers resident in the neighbourhood. One of
them, a sturdy little urchin of seven years, is a son of the Treasurer of
the great Marine Hospital down by the river's bank. He is destined by his
father for the legal profession, but has already begun to shew his contempt
for the law by breaking His Majesty's peace several times in the course of
every week. He has been at school only a few months, and hitherto he has
not displayed much aptitude for his lessons; but he has distinguished
himself in numberless hand-to-hand engagements with his fellow-scholars,
and has gained the reputation of being, for a youngster of his inches,
tremendously heavy about the fist. On this particular evening the school
has been dismissed barely five minutes before the pugnacious little rascal
contrives to get into an altercation with a lad several years his senior.
As to the precise nature, of the _casus belli_, history and tradition are
alike silent. The pair adjourn to a secluded part of the playground to
settle their differences _a la_ Dogginson, "by fighting it out with their
fistes." The other boys follow as a matter of course, to see fair play. It
is to be regretted that history has not furnished sufficient data to enable
us to describe the passage of arms very minutely. Suffice it is to say
that after a few rounds have been fought, it becomes apparent to all the
spectators that Master Jackey Jervis has at last found his match. His
opponent, a great hulking fellow without any forehead, who has arms like
sledge-hammers, and who has hitherto found it impossible to learn the
multiplication table, takes all Master Jackey's blows with seeming
nonchalance, and ever and anon puts in a tremendous rejoinder which
stretches the Treasurer's son upon the sward. When the contest has gone on
after this fashion for some time the seconds propose that, as there has
been a sufficient effusion of blood to vindicate the courage of both the
combatants, there may well be a cessation of hostilities. The big fellow
stolidly remarks that it is all one to him; but Master Jackey spurns the
proposal with lofty contempt. The contest is renewed; another round is
fought, and the lighter weight once more bites the grass. Before he can
arise to resume the fray, the company receives an accession in the person
of a tall, slabsided, awkwardly-made youth, who impetuously elbows the
others aside, and makes his way to the centre of the fistic arena. The
new-comer is somewhat older than any of the other boys, and is apparently
verging towards manhood. His appearance is somewhat peculiar. The most
partial admirer could hardly pronounce him handsome. Apart from his
ungainly build, he has fiery red hair, high, prominent cheek bones, a
receding forehead, and a proboscis of the kind which the French call a
nose in the air. There is a set, decisive expression about his mouth which
betokens an indomitable will; and a flash in his sparkling blue eyes bears
witness that he has an ominous temper of his own. But, though his personal
appearance is by no means that of an Adonis, the brightness of his
complexion and a certain bold frankness of facial expression preserves him
from absolute ugliness. Those who know him, moreover, are aware that he
possesses qualities which more than redeem his plainness of feature. Though
by no means of a robust constitution, he is endowed with unflinching
courage. He has a high sense of honour, and is the repository of the
secrets of nearly every boy in the school. He is a diligent student, and
though somewhat vain of his superior knowledge, is ever ready to assist
those of his fellow-pupils who are anxious to learn. Add to all this that
he is the senior boy of the school; that, though a stern disciplinarian, he
is generous, impartial, and a protector of the weak; and it will readily be
understood that he is popular both with master and scholars. Unnecessary to
say that there is no more fighting, for the senior boy has forbidden it,
and he is not one who tolerates any opposition to his authority. Two
minutes suffice to quell the disturbance; and the belligerents shake hands
and march off to their respective homes. Little Jackey, however, has been
rather severely handled in the encounter, and does not put in an appearance
for several days, when the preceptor reads him a lecture before the whole
school on the ill effects resulting from little boys permitting their angry
passions to rise.

It is to be presumed that the lecture was not taken very seriously to
heart, for Master Jervis, during the following seventy years, was many
times conspicuous for little ebullitions of temper. He never took kindly to
his father's scheme to make a lawyer of him. About three years subsequent
to the event just recorded he ran away to sea, and began that glorious
maritime career, the details of which form an important chapter in the
history of England. For Master Jackey Jervis lived to take part in more
deadly encounters than the one in the play-ground at Greenwich, and to take
high rank among the naval heroes of Great Britain. After valiantly fighting
the battles of his country in both hemispheres, and rising to the rank
of Admiral, he achieved that signal victory over the Spanish fleet which
procured for him the Earldom of St. Vincent. Nor is the low-browed lad who
was his opponent altogether unknown to fame. His name was Thomas Brett,
and he lived to do good service in various capacities under Nelson and
Collingwood. But the fame of the senior boy--the florid-complexioned youth
with the aspiring nose--is more dear to Canadians of British blood than is
that of either of his schoolfellows; for his name was James Wolfe.

His career was short, and was compressed within a space of less than
thirty-four years. It terminated in the moment of victory on the Plains of
Abraham. But, brief as was his earthly span, few lives of any length have
accomplished so much; and his death was so glorious that it should scarcely
have been regretted, even by his nearest and dearest, what he _did_ is
known to us. What he might have done if his life had been spared, can only
be conjectured; but he possessed all the qualifications of a great military
commander, and needed but time and opportunity for their development. Of
these, so long as they were vouchsafed to him, no man knew better how to
take advantage; and it is not extravagant to believe that had he lived to
the age of Marlborough or Wellington, he would have won a place in history
not less distinguished than theirs.

He was born at the Vicarage, in the little village of Westerham, Kent, on
the 2nd of January, 1726. [Footnote: Authorities are all but unanimous in
placing this date a year later--i.e., on the 2nd of January, 1727. Even the
standard biography of Wolfe (Wright's) repeats the error. That it _is_ an
error becomes apparent when we learn that he was baptized at twenty days
old, and that the parish register shows this ceremony to have taken place
on the 11th of January, 1726--the latter date being Old Style, equivalent
to January 22nd, New Style. The correct date is further confirmed by the
entry in the register of the baptism of his brother, Edward, who was about
a year younger, and who was baptized of the 10th of January, 1727.] His
father, Colonel Edward Wolfe, was an officer in the English army, who
subsequently rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. His mother was
Henrietta, daughter of Edward Thompson, of Marsden, Yorkshire. James was
their first-born, and was the only member of the family destined to attain
high distinction. The only other offspring of the marriage was a younger
son, Edward, who was born about a year after the birth of James, and who
did not live to reach manhood. Edward entered the army while still a mere
lad, and fought in the battle of Dettingen, on the 16th of June, 1743. He
died on October of the following year, of consumption, accellerated by the
hardships incidental to a campaigning life.

But little is known of the childhood of the two brothers. Both of them seem
to have been of rather frail constitutions, and the precarious state of
their health is said to have caused their parents much anxiety. As they
grew up to youth they appear to have become somewhat more healthful, though
still far from robust. Their earliest scholastic attainments were received
at the hands of a Mr. Lawrence, who kept a small school in their native
village. Their father was almost always on active service with his
regiment, and the boys saw very little of him. About 1737 the family
removed from Westerham to Greenwich, where the children at once began to
attend Mr. Swinden's School. The episode described in the opening paragraph
is about the only anecdote which has been preserved of their connection
with that institution, and for it we are indebted, not to any life of
Wolfe, but to an old history of Greenwich. Early in November, 1741, within
five months after the happening of the incident above described, Master
James received his first commission, appointing him Second Lieutenant in
his father's regiment of Marines; but there is no trace of his ever having
served under it. He shortly afterwards exchanged into the Line, and his
first active service was in the capacity of Ensign of the Twelfth, or
Colonel Duroure's Regiment of Foot. The exchange took place early in 1742,
and in April of that year he embarked with his regiment for Flanders. The
first of his letters which have been preserved, is written to his mother
from Ghent, and is dated August 27th, 1742. His brother Edward followed
him to the Continent during the same year, and died, as we have seen, in
October, 1744. James's aptitude for the military profession soon became
apparent to his superior officers, and shortly after the completion of his
seventeenth year we find him filling the important pest of Adjutant. He, as
well as his brother, took part in the battle of Dettingen, on the 16th of
June, and though they were placed in the middle of the first line, they
both escaped without a scar. A few days afterwards James, in consequence of
the talent for command which he had already displayed, was promoted to
a lieutenancy and on the 3rd of June, 1744, he received a captain's
commission in the Fourth, or King's Regiment of Foot, commanded by
Lieutenant-General Barrell. His life for some months thereafter was one
of uninterrupted campaigning, but it contains no incident necessary to
be remarked upon. Nest year, Great Britain was compelled to withdraw her
forces from Flander's in order to suppress the Jacobite rebellion in
Scotland, known as the "Rising of the Forty-five." Early in June, Wolfe was
commissioned a Brigade-Major, and almost immediately afterwards he returned
to England. He was at once despatched northward to Newcastle, and fought at
Falkirk and Culloden, in both of which engagements his regiments suffered
severely, though he himself escaped unwounded.

The Anti-Jacobin _Review_ for 1802 contains an anecdote which, though
probably apocryphal, may as well be inserted here. It is said that when
Wolfe was riding over the field of Culloden with the Duke of Cumberland
they observed a Highlander, who, although severely wounded, was able to
sit up, and who, leaning on his arm, seemed to smile defiance upon them.
"Wolfe," said the Duke, "shoot me that Highland scoundrel, who thus dares
to look on us with such insolence." To which Wolfe replied: "My commission
is at your Royal Highness' disposal, but I can never consent to become an
_executioner_." From this day forward, it is said, Wolfe visibly declined
in the favour of the Commander-in-Chief. It is manifestly impossible to
disprove such a story as this; but it is an undoubted fact that Wolfe did
_not_ decline in the Duke's favour after the battle of Culloden, and as no
authorities are cited in support of the anecdote, it is not unreasonable to
infer that the whole is fictitious. For some months after the "dark day of
Culloden," Wolfe remained in the Highlands, but we have no information as
to how he spent his time there. He passed a part of the following winter in
London, where he took up his quarters with his parents, who then lived
in their town house in Old Burlington-street. During his stay in the
metropolis at this time he must frequently have passed through Temple Bar.
If so, he doubtless had the grim satisfaction of seeing the heads of some
of his former opponents, the Highland rebels, grinning at passers-by from
the spikes over the gateway.

In January, 1747, he again set out for the Continent with the British
reinforcements for the Netherlands. At the battle of Laffeldt, fought on
the 2nd July, he received a slight wound, and was publicly thanked by the
Commander-in-Chief for his distinguished services. We do not find that he
took part in any other active engagement at this time, and we hear no more
of his wound. We next find him in London, where he seems to have spent the
greater part of the winter of 1747-8. The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was
signed soon after, whereby peace was restored to Europe.

About this time Wolfe had his first experience of the tender passion, the
object being a Miss Lawson, one of the maids of honour to the Princess of
Wales. His suit, however, was disapproved of by his parents, and does not
appear to have been particularly acceptable to the young lady herself, for,
after a good deal of delay, she rejected his offer of his hand. She died
unmarried in March, 1759--the same year which witnessed the death of her
former admirer. Wolfe was not precisely the kind of material of which
despairing lovers are made, and beyond a few expressions of regret, he does
not seem to have taken the rejection very deeply to heart. On the 5th of
January, 1749, he was gazetted as Major of the 20th Regiment, stationed
in Scotland, whither he repaired soon after. His promotion to a
Lieutenant-Colonelcy in the same regiment followed fifteen months later,
and the next three years were for the most part spent with his regiment
in the Highlands, which were gradually recovering from the effects of the
rebellion. Then came a journey to Paris, where he remained several months,
and where he was presented to the King, Louis XV., and to Madame de
Pompadour. The following two or three years of his life were not marked by
any incident of special importance.

In 1757, in consequence of the recommencement of hostilities with France,
British forces, under Sir John Mordaunt, were despatched to attack
Rochfort, and Wolfe accompanied the expedition as Quartermaster-General.
This expedition was destined to exercise an important influence upon his
future career. He had hitherto been known simply as a brave and efficient
officer, but it was not commonly supposed, even by his intimate friends,
that he was endowed with an original military genius of high order. The
time had arrived when the world was to form a more accurate estimate of
him. Sir John Mordaunt, who was placed in command of the land forces for
the Rochfort expedition, was totally unfit for so responsible a post. Sir
Edward Hawke, who commanded the fleet, did good service both before and
after that time; but this expedition was one for which he does not appear
to have been suited. The incapacity of both the commanders soon began to be
painfully apparent; and Wolfe, a soldier by nature as well as by training,
determined to show them how the siege of Rochfort should be conducted.
While they were wasting time in laying and abandoning immature plans, and
in suggesting this, that and the other impracticable schemes, he, with
Sir John's sanction, quietly landed on the island at one o'clock in the
morning, and made his observations. He saw a small post on the promontory
of Fouras, which it was evident must be taken before Rochfort could be
besieged with success. He further noted the most favourable point for
landing the troops. Having matured his scheme, he returned and made his
report to Sir John and Sir Edward, and urgently recommended that his
suggestions be acted upon. Sir Edward approved of the plan, but Sir John
thought proper to call a Council of war, which, after a long session,
decided that such an attempt was neither advisable nor practicable. The
lucky moment was lost, and the expedition returned to England without
having accomplished anything. The English people had confidently counted
on the success of the expedition, and were proportionately dissapointed.
A committee of inquiry was summoned, and Sir John Mordaunt was tried by
court-martial. He was acquitted; but Pitt, who was at the head of the
Government, after carefully mastering the evidence given by Wolfe, came to
the conclusion that the Quartermaster was an extraordinary young man, and
that if his advice had been followed there would have been a very different
result from the expedition. The youth who had the intrepidity to take the
initiatory observations, and who had had the military skill to concoct the
plan of attack, was evidently a person whose services it might be worth
while to turn to account. At no period in the history of England had there
been a greater scarcity of capable military leaders, and not often had
capable leaders been more urgently needed. This young Wolfe was evidently
an original military genius, and must be pushed forward. He was immediately
promoted to the rank of Colonel, and was soon to receive still higher

The incompetency of the superior officers in the British army had of late
become painfully manifest on both sides of the Atlantic. The American
campaign of 1757 was even more disastrous than were British operations in
Europe. Lord Loudoun, who had been despatched to America in the preceding
year, to direct the campaign against the French, had accomplished nothing,
and the enemy, under Montcalm, were uniformly successful in their
operations. In August occurred the terrible massacre at Fort William Henry.
Other massacres followed, and the colonists were literally panic-stricken.
The border settlements were laid waste, the houses and property of the
inhabitants destroyed, and the colonists themselves scalped and murdered by
the French and their Indian allies. French spies gained early intelligence
of every movement contemplated by the British, and were thus, in many
cases, the means of rendering those movements abortive. The grand British
scheme of the year, however, was the reduction of Louisburg, in furtherance
of which an armament such had never before been collected in the British
Colonies, assembled at Halifax. This armament consisted of about 12,000
troops, 19 vessels of war, and a considerable number of smaller craft.
The troops were embarked early in August with the ostensible object of
capturing Louisburg; but Lord Loudoun, learning that the French anticipated
the attack, and were prepared to oppose it, abandoned the idea. He landed a
part of the forces on the coast of Nova Scotia, and returned with the rest
to New York. A fleet specially sent out from Great Britain, under the
command of Admiral Holborne, sailed for Cape Breton about the same time;
but the sight of the French ships in Louisburg harbour proved too much for
the Admiral's nerves, and he steered for Halifax. Here he was reinforced
by four men-of-war, and the fleet again set sail for Louisburg. The French
fleet remained under the shelter of the batteries in the harbour; and would
not be coaxed out. Holborne cruised about the coast until late in the
autumn, when his fleet was dispersed and almost destroyed by a succession
of violent storms. Considering that, under the circumstances, he had done
enough for his country for that time, he returned to England with the
shattered remains of his fleet.

Such was the position of affairs at the close of the year 1757. Public
indignation was aroused by the incompetency and supineness of the military
and naval commanders, and it became apparent either that more efficient
leaders most be found or that all operations in America must be abandoned.
The new Ministry, with Pitt at its head, proved equal to the occasion. Lord
Loudoun was recalled and General Abercromby appointed in his stead. The
Great Commoner formed his plans for next year's campaign, which included
the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Louisburg, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point.
The expedition against Louisburg required a conjoint naval and military
armament. The naval command was assigned to Admiral Boscawen, and the
military forces to Colonel Amherst, who was advanced to the rank of
Major-General. With the latter was associated Wolfe, Whitmore, and
Lawrence, as Brigade-Generals. Operations against Crown Point and
Ticonderoga were entrusted to General Abercromby and Lord Howe. Those
against Fort Duquesne were conducted by General Forbes. The expedition
against Fort Duquesne was completely successful, but Abercromby proved
himself as inefficient as his predecessor in office, Lord Loudoun. Howe,
who was a thoroughly capable officer, was killed at Ticonderoga on the 6th
of July, before his powers could be brought into play. The expedition
under Abercromby proved an utter failure. Not so the expedition against
Louisburg, the capture of which was the most important event of the year.
Being regarded as the key to the St. Lawrence, it was a strongly fortified
place. A fortress had been erected there at a cost of 30,000,000 livres.
The garrison was defended by the Chevalier de Drucourt, with 3,100 troops
and about 700 Indians; while two frigates and six line-of-battle ships
guarded the harbour, the entrance to which was blocked by three sunken
frigates. Boscawen's fleet crossed the Atlantic, and in due course laid
siege to Louisburg. Wolfe led the left division of attack, which may be
said to have borne the brunt of the entire siege. A landing was effected on
the 8th of June, and during the following seven weeks the operations were
almost entirely conducted by Wolfe, to whose skill and judgment their
success is mainly to be attributed. The garrison surrendered on the 26th
of July, and together with sailors and marines, amounting collectively to
5,637 men, were carried to England as prisoners of war. 15,000 stand of
arms and a great quantity of military stores became the property of the
victors; and a glorious array of captured colours were sent to England,
where they were carried in solemn procession through the principal
thoroughfares, and finally placed in St. Paul's Cathedral. The town of
Louisburg was reduced to a heap of ruins. The inhabitants were sent to
France in English ships, and the fortifications were soon after demolished.
A few fishermen's huts are all the dwellings to be found on the site at the
present day.

From the moment when the news of the fall of Louisburg reached England,
the eyes of the entire nation were turned upon Pitt and Wolfe, who jointly
shared the popular enthusiasm. The lustre of the British arms--tarnished by
so many reverses--began to shine with restored brilliancy, and the nation
rose almost as one man to do honour to the brave young officer whose
prowess and courage had been so signally displayed in its behalf. He
returned to England towards the close of the year, and at once rejoined
his regiment. His health had suffered a good deal during the campaign in
America, but this did not prevent his offering his services to Pitt for the
forthcoming campaign in the St Lawrence. His offer was accepted, and he was
rewarded with the rank of Major-General. To him was assigned the command of
the land forces; the naval armament being entrusted to Admiral Saunders.

Before starting on this, his final expedition, he became a suitor to
Miss Katherine Lowther, sister to Sir James Lowther, afterwards Earl of
Lonsdale. Her father had formerly been Governor of Barbadoes, and died
in 1745. We have no means of ascertaining when Wolfe first formed the
acquaintance of this lady, but there is no allusion to her in any of his
letters written previous to this time, and it is probable that until his
return from America there had been no love passages between them. His
courtship in this instance was successful. What young lady of generous
impulses would be likely to refuse the hand of the brave hero of Louisburg,
whose praises were in everybody's mouth, and who was the favourite of the
greatest statesman that ever swayed the destinies of Great Britain? His
suit was accepted, and he carried the lady's portrait with him across the
seas, wearing it next his heart until the evening before his death.

Having got together a staff of officers to his liking, he embarked at
Spithead on the 17th of February, 1759, and reached Halifax on the 30th of
April following. Louisburg harbour was not clear of ice until about the
middle of May, when the fleet sailed thither. During his stay at Louisburg
Wolfe received intelligence of the death of his father, who died at
Blackheath on the 26th of March, in the 75th year of his age. The fleet
left Louisburg early in June, and proceeded to the St. Lawrence. Wolfe, in
due course, landed on the Isle of Orleans, just below Quebec, where the
troops, to the number of 8,000, were landed without opposition, on the
morning of the 27th of June. Having seen his army encamped, Wolfe set out,
accompanied by his Chief Engineer, and an escort to reconnoitre the enemy's
position. Upon reaching the western point of the island, he was not long
in perceiving that Quebec would not fall without a struggle. The prospect,
sufficiently grand at any time, was rendered more than ordinarily
impressive by the warlike preparations to be seen on every hand. In front,
on the summit of Cape Diamond, rose the lofty citadel, with the flag of
France fluttering in the breeze. Above, all the way to Cape Rouge, every
landing-place bristled with well-guarded encampments. Below, on the
elevated range extending from the mouth of the River St. Charles to the
mouth of the Montmorenci--a distance of eight miles--was a still more
imposing array. Every assailable point was efficiently guarded by a
redoubt. A bridge, protected by _tetes de pont_, spanned the St. Charles,
and formed a ready means of communication between the garrison and the
troops on the opposite side of the river. The mouth of the stream, just
below the citadel, was closed by a boom, and was further defended by
stranded frigates. The natural advantages of the situation had been
enhanced by the highest military skill, and there was not a vulnerable
point to be seen anywhere. The enemy's forces, 12,000 strong, composed
of French regulars, Canadian militia, and a few Indians, were under the
direction of the Marquis de Montcalm, one of the most consummate generals
of the age. The position was one which was one which might have well been
pronounced impregnable, and Wolfe could hardly have been censured if he had
then and there abandoned all hope of success.

But there are some men whom no difficulties can discourage, and no danger
can daunt. Such a man was the intrepid young Major-General who had been
sent out by Pitt to sound the death-note of French Dominion in Canada.
With a shattered constitution, and a frame already in an advanced stage of
consumption, the indomitable young hero commenced the first moves in that
desperate game which he was finally destined to win at the cost of his
own life. The siege lasted nearly three months, during all of which time,
consumed by organic disease, and worn out by long and uninterrupted
service, his dauntless resolution never wholly failed him. For weeks and
weeks his eagle eye, ever on the alert to spy out a vulnerable point in
that seemingly immaculate coat-of-mail, scanned the redoubts from Cape
Rouge to the Montmorenci. There was no fool-hardiness--no wilful throwing
away of life--but there was much to be dared, and much to be left to mere
chance. Whenever there seemed to be any, even the slightest, prospect of
effecting an opening, that chance was greedily seized and eagerly acted
upon. Contemplated in the light of the grand result, we are lost in
amazement at the indomitable soul of that frail young invalid who,
undismayed by repeated defeat, by conflicting counsels, and by the effect
of continued exposure upon his enfeebled frame, steadfastly persevered
in his course until the goal was won. For British dominion in Canada was
established, not by bravery alone. Montcalm's veteran troops were as
brave as those to which they were opposed. Quebec was won by patience, by
unceasing vigilance, by military skill, and by an inward conviction in the
breast of the English commander that "All things are possible to him who
will but do his duty, and who knoweth not when he is beaten." The time was
one which called for action and no time was lost in useless deliberation.
Wolfe's plan of attack was soon formed, and he at once proceeded to carry
it out. The soldiers were directed to hold themselves in readiness either
to march or fight at the shortest notice. A little before midnight on the
28th--about thirty hours after the forces had been landed--the sentinel
on the western point of the island perceived certain black objects in the
river which were slowly moving towards the land where he stood. He had no
sooner aroused his companions than a tremendous discharge of artillery took
place. The force immediately turned out and prepared for battle, but no
enemy being, visible, it was necessary to wait for daylight. It then
appeared that the French commander had despatched eight fire-ships and
rafts, freighted with explosives, towards the British fleet in the river.
These explosives had been launched from the shore in the darkness, but had
been lighted prematurely, and failed to accomplish anything beyond a grand
display of fireworks. Wolfe proceeded with his plans, and on the 30th he
issued a proclamation to the inhabitants, calling upon them to transfer
their allegiance, and enjoining upon them that they should at least
preserve a strict neutrality. Monckton, one of Wolfe's Brigadier-Generals,
then crossed over the arm of the river with a strong detachment, took
possession of Peint Levi, threw up entrenchments, and planted batteries
along the southern shore. In effecting this manoeuvre a body of 1,200
Canadians were dislodged and repulsed, and the British gained an
advantageous position for attacking the citadel. Monckton held the position
in spite of all Montcalm's efforts to dislodge him, and on the 13th of July
the batteries opened fire from here upon the citadel. The fleet in the
river also opened fire upon the French lines on the northern shore between
Quebec and the Falls of Montmorenci, and under cover of the fire Wolfe
landed on the eastern bank of the Montmorenci River, and intrenched his
position there. The shells from the batteries at Point Levi set fire to the
Upper Town of Quebec, whereby the great Cathedral and many other buildings
were destroyed. Hostilities were renewed day by day, and there was great
destruction both of property and of human life; but after weeks of toilsome
operation the capture of Quebec seemed as far off as when the British fleet
first arrived in the St. Lawrence. On the night of the 28th of July, the
French made a second attempt to destroy the English fleet with fire-rafts,
but the sailors grappled the rafts before they could reach the fleet and
quietly towed them ashore.

Meantime, Wolfe's efforts to decoy Montcalm to emerge from his fastnesses
and to enter into a general engagement were unceasing; but the French
General was not to be tempted. Several British men-of-war sailed up the
St. Lawrence, past the city, and got into the upper river. Wolfe was thus
enabled to reconnoitre the country above, the bombardment of the citadel
being kept up almost without intermission. On the 31st, Wolfe, from his
camp near the month of the Montmorenci, made a formidable attack upon the
French on the other side of the (Montmorenci) River, near Beauport. The
attack was unsuccessful, and the British were compelled to retire with
considerable loss. Attempts to dislodge the French were made at all points
along the river; but owing to their advantageous position, all such
attempts were fruitless, and as the weeks passed by without securing any
decisive advantage to his arms, Wolfe's anxiety became so great as to bring
on a slow fever, which for some days confined him to his bed. As soon as he
was able to drag himself thence he called his chief officers together and
submitted to them several new methods of attack. Most of the officers were
of opinion that the attack should be made above the city, rather than
below. Wolfe coincided in this view, and on the 3rd of September
transferred his own camp to Point Levi. Soon afterwards a narrow path,
scarcely wide enough for two men to march abreast, was discovered on the
north bank of the St. Lawrence, leading up the cliffs, about two miles
above the city. The spot was known as _L'Anse du Foulon_, but has since
been known as Wolfe's Cove. Wolfe determined to land his forces here, and
under cover of night, to ascend to the heights above. The heights once
reached, it was probable that Montcalm might hazard a battle. Should he
decline to do so, the British troops would at any rate have gained an
advantageous point for a fresh attack upon the citadel.

Having determined upon this line of proceeding, preparations were at once
set on foot for carrying it out. An important point was to keep the French
in ignorance of the design, and if possible to mislead them as to the spot
where it was proposed to make the attack. With this view, soundings were
made in the river opposite Beauport, between the mouth of the St. Charles
and the Falls of Montmorenci, as though with the intention of effecting
a landing there. The ruse was successful, and Montcalm's attention was
directed to this spot as the probable point which he would soon have
to defend. He hurried down to the entrenchments at Beauport, and made
preparations to oppose the British in their anticipated attempt to land.

On the evening of the 12th of September, several of the heaviest vessels of
the British fleet anchored near Beauport. Boats were lowered, and were soon
filled with men, as though it were intended to effect a landing forthwith.
Montcalm's attention having been thus concentrated upon this point, the
smaller vessels sailed up the river past Cape Diamond, and joined the
squadron under Admiral Holmes, which lay near Cape Rouge. The forces on the
south bank of the St. Lawrence simultaneously advanced up the shore from
Point Levi, and having arrived opposite the squadron, were quietly taken on
board, where they awaited further orders. Wolfe, with the germs of a hectic
fever still rankling in his blood, was nevertheless actively engaged in
reconnoitring the position both on the river and on land. And now we again
meet for a few moments with our old friend, Mr. John Jervis. Eighteen
years have passed over his head since we last met him in the playground at
Greenwich. He is now commander of the _Porcupine_, one of the sloops of
war in the St. Lawrence. A few weeks before this time he had rendered
an essential service to his old school-fellow, James Wolfe. One of the
General's passages up the river had been made in the _Porcupine_, and in
passing the batteries of the Lower Town of Quebec, the wind had died away,
and the vessel had been driven by the current towards the northern shore. A
cannonade was at once opened upon the vessel from the French batteries, and
Wolfe would soon have been in the hands of the enemy. Jervis proved equal
to the occasion. His word of command rang out to lower the ship's boats.
The command was at once obeyed, and the crew soon towed the _Porcupine_ out
of danger. The memory of this event may perhaps have had something to do
with Wolfe's conduct towards his old friend on the evening of this 12th of
September. The General sent for young Jervis, and had a conversation with
him upon various private matters. He expressed his conviction that he would
not survive the impending battle, and taking Miss Lowther's picture from
his bosom, he delivered it to Jervis. "If I fall," he said, "let it be
given to her with my best love." Jervis, of course, promised compliance,
and the somewhile pupils of, Mr. Swindon bade each other a last farewell.

The hours intervening between this conference and midnight were chiefly
spent by the General in adding a codicil to his will, and in making a final
inspection of arrangements for the proposed landing at _L'Anse du Foulon_.
The night was calm and beautiful, and as he passed from ship to ship he
commented to the officers on the contrast between the quietness which
reigned supreme, and the resonant roar of battle which would almost
certainly be heard there on the morrow. As he quietly moved about he was
heard repeating in a low tone several stanzas of Gray's "Elegy." One of
these stanzas he repeated several times:

"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, and all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

The occasion was a solemn one, and he doubtless felt that, for him, the
last line had a special significance at that time. Who shall say what other
thoughts filled his breast on that last evening of his life? Perchance he
thought of his mother, of his dead father and brother, and of her who was
pledged to share his name and fame. Let us hope that, in that solemn hour,
with the forebodings of his coming doom strong upon him, he was able to
look back upon his life with a consciousness that he had served his God
with at least some measure of the zeal which he had ever been wont to
display in the service of his country. He continued to repeat the beautiful
lines of the poet, down to the concluding words of the epitaph. Then after
a brief pause, turning to his officers:--"Gentlemen," he said, "I would
rather be the author of that piece than take Quebec to-morrow." [Footnote:
There is a story to the effect that Wolfe, on this night, composed the
well-known song which bears his name, commencing: "How stands the glass
around?" The story is altogether without foundation, the song having been
written and published long before General Wolfe was born. The poetical
talent of the family seems to have been confined to the Irish branch,
one of the members whereof, the Rev. Charles Wolfe, subsequently won
immortality by a single short poem, "The Burial of Sir John Moore."]

But not much time could be given to sentiment. A little after midnight,
Wolfe embarked a strong detachment of forces in flat-bottomed boats, and,
placing himself at their head, quietly glided down the river to _L'Anse du
Foulon_. The spot was soon reached, and the landing was effected in safety.
The cliff here rises almost perpendicularly to a height of 350 feet, and
one of the soldiers was heard to remark that going up there would be like
going up the side of a house. No time was lost, and the ascent of the
ravine was at once begun. The enemy had a line of sentinels all along the
top of the cliff, and one of the sentries was stationed at the precise spot
where the British would emerge on the summit. When those who were in the
van of ascent had reached a point about half way up the acclevity, the
sentry's attention was aroused by the noise of scrambling that was
necessarily made by the British soldiers. Calling "_Qui vive_?" down
the cliff, he was answered in French, and, suspecting nothing amiss, he
proceeded on his rounds. Meanwhile the British had not waited to ascend two
abreast, but were scrambling up as best they could. Seizing hold of bushes,
roots, and projections of rock, they rapidly scaled the steep sides of the
cliff, and were soon within a few yards of the top. About a hundred of them
made the ascent at a point a few yards further east than the ravine, and
directly above their heads was a sentry-post with five or six French
soldiers, who, hearing the noise, began to peer down the side of the cliff.
Darkness prevented their seeing much, but the roots and bushes seemed all
alive, and firing a volley down at random, they took to their heels and
fled. The British vigorously pushed their way up, and were soon on level
ground. Long before daylight 4,828 British troops stood upon the Heights of
Abraham, commanding the city from the West. One solitary cannon had been
toilsomely dragged up the ravine. It was destined to do good service
against the French troops, and to carry a message of death to their
commander, ere many hours had passed.

The decisive moment was at hand. By this time Wolfe felt certain that the
French General would now emerge from his entrenchments and fight. His
conviction proved to be well founded. About six o'clock in the morning,
Montcalm, who had been vigilantly watching during the night for an attack
at Beauport, received the intelligence of Wolfe's manoeuvre. Hastening
across the St. Charles, he hurried along past the northern ramparts of
Quebec, and advanced to do battle. His forces consisted of 7,520 troops,
besides 400 Indians. In addition to these, he had a force of about 1,500
men farther up the river, near Cape Rouge, under H. de Bougainville.
Messengers were dispatched to this officer directing him to hasten to the
scene of action and attack the British in their rear.

The battle began early in the forenoon, when Montcalm's artillery opened
fire upon the British. His force, independently of that under H. de
Bougainville, being nearly double that of the British, he hoped to turn
his numerical superiority to account by out-flanking the enemy's left, and
crowding them towards the bank, when he would oppose them to the front and
to the north, while H. de Bougainville would sweep down upon their rear. M.
de Bougainville, however, was slow in arriving, and Montcalm's attack on
the north and east was opposed by the British with such determination that
he was compelled to draw back. Then, remustering his troops, he returned to
the charge. This was the decisive moment. The British, by Wolfe's command,
threw themselves on the ground, and though the hot fire of the approaching
Frenchmen did terrible execution among them not a shot was fired in return.
On came the foe until they had advanced to within forty yards of the
British. Then Wolfe's voice was suddenly heard above the din of battle like
the note of a clarion. Responsive to his call, the troops rose as one
man and poured in a volley so deadly as to strike even the well-trained
veterans of France with awe. Scores of them fell to rise no more, and
hundreds sank wounded on the plain. Such of the terrified Canadian troops
as were able to run, fled in sheer terror. Before the smoke of that
terrible volley had cleared away, Wolfe, his delicate frame trembling with
illness, but buoyed up with the assurance of a glorious victory, placed
himself at the head of the Louisburg Grenadiers and the 28th Regiment, and
led them to the fray. Wrapping a handkerchief round his left wrist, which
had just been shattered by a bullet, he continued to advance at the head of
his men, inspiriting them alike by his acts and his deeds. He gave the word
to "Charge," and the word has scarcely passed his lips when he received
a bullet in the groin. Staggering under the shock, he yet continued to
advance, though unable to speak above his breath. The battle had not yet
raged more than fifteen minutes, but it was even now virtually decided.
The French troops were utterly disorganized, and fled in all directions.
Montcalm, brave to rashness, rode along the broken ranks, and vainly tried
to re-form them. As he continued to harangue them, exposing himself to the
enemy's fire with utter indifference to his own safety, he was struck by a
shot from the solitary gun which the British had been able to drag up the
heights. He fell, mortally wounded; and from that moment there can no
longer be said to have been any fighting. It was a fierce pursuit on the
one side and a frantic flight on the other.

Less than three minutes before Montcalm's fall, Wolfe had received a third
bullet wound--this time in the left breast. He leant upon the arm of the
nearest officer, saying, "Support me--do not let my brave fellows see
me fall. The day is ours--keep it." He was at once carried to the rear.
Hearing some one giving directions to fetch a surgeon, he murmured, "It
is useless--all is over with me." As his life ebbed away he heard a voice
exclaim "They run, they run!" The words inspired him with temporary
animation. Slightly raising his head he asked, "Who--who run?" "The
enemy, sir," was the reply; "they give way everywhere." Summoning his
fast-fleeting strength, he rejoined, "Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton.
Tell him to march Webb's regiment with all speed down to Charles River to
cut off the retreat." His head then sank, and turning slightly on one side,
as in a heavy sleep, he was heard to murmur, "Now, God be praised, I die in

And thus died all that was mortal of James Wolfe. [Footnote: There are
various accounts extant of this closing scene in Wolfe's life, all
professing to come more or less directly from eye-witnesses. No two of them
agree in all points, and one of them states that the General never uttered
a syllable after he was carried to the rear. The above is the version
generally accepted by historians, and is supported by the testimony of the
most trustworthy of those who were present at the scene.]

Everybody knows the rest of the story; how M. de Bougainville appeared on
the field too late to be of any service; how, seeing what had befallen, he
retreated again to Cape Rouge; how the Marquis de Vaudreuil, the Governor,
and his 1,300 Canadians deserted the lines below Quebec, and made what
haste they could to Montreal; how the beleagured garrison, reduced by
famine and slaughter, capitulated on the fifth day after the battle; how a
year afterwards Canada was surrendered to the British Crown; and how the
surrender was ratified by the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of February,

And Montcalm. He had his wish, expressed shortly after he received his
death-wound, and did not live to see the surrender of the city which he
had defended so bravely. The story of his life and death has been told at
length in a previous sketch. At present it is sufficient to day that he
died on the day following the battle, and that he was buried within the
precincts of the Ursuline Convent, on Garden street, Quebec.

The British loss on the Plains of Abraham consisted of 59 killed and 597
wounded. The French loss was much greater, amounting to about 600 killed
and more than 1,000 wounded and taken prisoners. The death-roll seems
wonderfully small when compared with the carnage in many fields famous in
history; but, judged by its results and all the attendant circumstances,
the battle may very properly be numbered among the decisive conflicts of
the world.

When intelligence of the death of Wolfe and the fall of Quebec reached
England, the enthusiasm of the people rose to a height which may almost be
described as delirious. The effect was much heightened by the fact
that such good news was wholly unexpected; for only three days before,
despatches had arrived from Wolfe wherein it did not appear that he was by
any means sanguine of success. Bonfires blazed from one end of the
kingdom to the other, and the streets of the metropolis were redolent of
marrow-bones and cleavers. Persons who had never seen each other before
shook hands, and in some cases even embraced one another, when they met on
the streets. The coffee-houses were thronged with hysteric orators who held
forth about the days of chivalry having come back again. Sermons about
the sword of the Lord and of Gideon were heard in churches and chapels
throughout the land. While all these things were passing in nearly every
city, town, and important village in the kingdom, one spot remained
unillumined. That spot was Blackheath, where the hero's mother mourned the
loss of her only child--the child to whom, notwithstanding his delicate
health, she had tried to look forward as the stay of her declining years.
The neighbours, one and all, of whatsoever degree, respected her great
sorrow, and forbore to take part in the general rejoicings. We can fancy,
too, that there was mourning and desolation at Raby Castle, the home of the
beautiful Miss Lowther.[Footnote: The portrait of this lady confided
by Wolfe to John Jervis on the night of the 12th of September, was
subsequently delivered to her, and she wore it in memory of her dead hero
until her marriage, nearly six years afterwards, to Harry, Sixth and last
Duke of Bolton. She survived until 1809, when she died at her mansion in
Grosvenor Square, London, at the age of seventy-five.] A month later this
lady wrote to one of her friends as follows, concerning Mrs. Wolfe: "I
feel for her more than words can say, and should, if it was given me to
alleviate her grief, gladly exert every power which nature or compassion
has bestowed; yet I feel we are the last people in the world who ought to

Wolfe's body was embalmed and conveyed to England, where, on the 20th of
November, it was deposited beside that of his father in the family vault,
beneath the parish church of Greenwich. An immense concourse of people
assembled to do honour to the dead hero's remains. On the day after the
funeral, Pitt rose in the House of Commons and proposed an address to the
King, praying that a monument might be erected in Westminster Abbey to
the memory of the Conqueror of Quebec. The prayer was assented to, and
a committee appointed to carry out the details. The sculpture occupied
thirteen years, and the ceremony of unveiling did not take place until the
4th of October, 1773. The monument is of white marble, and stands in the
Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, facing the ambulatory. The sculpture
is very fine, and embodies various emblematic scenes in Wolfe's life. The
inscription runs as follows:



A monument was also erected to Wolfe's memory in the parish church of
Westerham, the village where he was born; and other memorials are to be
found in Spuerries Park and at Stowe. In the year 1832, Lord Aylmer,
Governor-General of Canada, erected a small pillar, on the Plains of
Abraham, on the exact spot where Wolfe is believed to have breathed his
last. The railing around it being insufficient for its protection, it was
ere long defaced by sacrilegious hands. In 1849 it was removed, and a more
suitable memorial set on in its stead. The cost of the latter was chiefly
defrayed by British troops stationed in the Province. The inscription upon
it is as follows:



Among the many Canadians who at one time or another in their lives have
visited Great Britain, comparatively few, we imagine, have thought it
worth while to travel down to the fine old cathedral city of Exeter, in
Devonshire. The sometime capital of the West of England is of very remote
antiquity. It was a place of some importance before Julius Cęsar landed
in Britain, and eleven hundred years after that event it was besieged and
taken by William the Conqueror. Later still, it was the scene of active
hostilities during the wars of the Roses and of the Commonwealth. So much
for its past. At the present day, for those to the manner born, it is one
of the most delightful places of residence in the kingdom. It is not,
however, of much commercial importance, and is not on any of the direct
routes to the continent. Add to this, that the local society is a very
close corporation indeed, and it will readily be understood why the place
is somewhat _caviare_ to the general public, and not much resorted to by

Like every other old English town, it has its full share of historic and
noteworthy localities. The Guildhall, with its oldtime memories, and
Rougemont Castle, once the abode of the West-Saxon kings, are dear to the
hearts of local antiquarians. The elm-walk, near the Sessions House, is
an avenue of such timber as can be seen nowhere out of England, and is
a favourite resort for the inhabitants on pleasant afternoons. The
Cathedral-close has been consecrated by the genius of one of the most
eminent of living novelists, and its purlieus are familiar to many persons
who have never been within thousands of miles of it. But the crowning glory
of all is the cathedral itself, a grand old pile founded in the eleventh
century, and the building of which occupied nearly two hundred years. Here,
everything is redolent of the past. The chance wayfarer from these western
shores who happens to stray within the walk of this majestic specimen
of medięval architecture will have some difficulty, for the nonce, in
believing in the reality of such contrivances as steamboats and railways.
Certainly it is one of the last places in the world where one might
naturally expect to see anything to remind him of so modern a spot as the
capital of Ontario. But should any Torontonian who is familiar with his
country's history ever find himself within those walls, let him walk down
the south aisle till he reaches the entrance to the little chapel of St.
Gabriel. If he will then pass through the doorway into the chapel and look
carefully about him, he will soon perceive something to remind him of
his distant home, and of the Province of which that home is the capital.
Several feet above his head, on the inner wall, he will notice a
medallian portrait in bold relief, by Flaxman, of a bluff, hearty,
good-humoured-looking English gentleman, apparently in the prime of life,
and attired in the dress of a Lieutenant-General. His hair, which is pretty
closely cut, is rather inclined to curl--evidently would curl if it were a
little longer. Below the medallion is a mural tablet bearing the following

"Sacred to the memory of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-General in the
army, and Colonel in the 22nd Regiment of Foot, who died on the 25th day
of October, 1806, aged 54. In whose life and character the virtues of the
hero, the patriot, and the Christian were so eminently conspicuous, that it
may justly be said, he served his King and his country with a zeal exceeded
only by his piety towards God."

On the right of the inscription is depicted the figure of an Indian warrior
with a conspicuous scalp-lock. On the left is the figure of a veteran
of the Queen's Rangers. To the well-read spectator, the portrait stands
confessed as the likeness of the first Governor of Upper Canada, and the
founder of the Town of York.

Monumental inscriptions, as a rule, are not the most trustworthy
authorities whereby one may be enabled to form an unprejudiced estimate of
the moral and intellectual qualities of "those who have gone before." In
visiting any of the noteworthy resting-places of the illustrious dead,
either in the old world or the new, we are not seldom astonished upon
reading the sculptured testimony of the survivors, to find that "'tis still
the best that leave us." One may well wonder, with the Arch-Cynic, where
the bones of all the _sinners_ are deposited. In the case of Governor
Simcoe, however, there is much to be said in the way of just commendation,
and the inscription is not so nauseously fulsome us to excite disgust.
Toronto's citizens, especially, should take pleasure in doing honour to
his memory. But for him, the capital of the Province would not have been
established here, and the site of the city might long have remained the
primitive swamp which it was when his eyes first beheld it on the morning
of the 4th of May, 1793.

His life, from the cradle to the grave, was one of almost uninterrupted
activity. He was born at Cotterstock, Northamptonshire. sometime in the
year 1752, and was a soldier by right of inheritance. His father, Captain
John Simcoe, after a life spent in his country's service, died in the St.
Lawrence River, on board H. M. ship _Pembroke_, of miasmatic disease,
contracted in exploring portions of the adjoining country for military
purposes. His death took place only a few day's before the siege of Quebec,
in 1759. He left behind him a widow and two children. The younger of these
children did not long survive his father. The elder who had been christened
John Graves lived to add fresh laurels to the family name, and at the time
of his father's death was in his eighth year. Shortly after the gallant
Captain's death his widow removed to the neighbourhood of Exeter, where the
remaining years of her life were passed. Her only surviving son was sent to
one of the local schools until he had reached the age of fourteen, when he
was transferred to Eton. Few reminiscences of his boyish days have come
down to us. He appears to have been a diligent student, more especially in
matters pertaining to the history of his country, and from a very early
age he declared his determination to embrace a military life. From Eton
he migrated to Merton College, Oxford, where he continued to pursue his
studies until he had entered upon his nineteenth year, when he entered
the army as an ensign in the 35th regiment of the line. This regiment was
despatched across the Atlantic to take part in the hostilities with the
revolted American Colonies, and young Simcoe did his devoirs gallantly
throughout the whole course of the war of Independence. In June, 1775, he
found himself at Boston, and on the 17th of that month he took part in the
memorable fight at Bunker Hill. He subsequently purchased the command of a
company in the 40th Regiment, and fought at the battle of Brandywine, where
he was severely wounded. Upon the formation of the gallant, provincial
corps called "The Queen's Rangers," he applied for the command, and as soon
as he had recovered from his wound his application was granted. Under his
command, the Rangers did good service in many engagements, and fought with
a valour and discipline which more than once caused them to be singled
out for special mention in the official despatches of the time. Sir Henry
Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the royalist forces in America, in a letter
written to Lord George Germaine, under the date of 13th May, 1780, says
that "the history of the corps under his (Simcoe's) command is a series
of gallant, skilful, and successful enterprises. The Queen's Rangers have
killed or taken twice their own numbers."

Upon the close of the war, the Rangers were disbanded, the officers being
placed on the half-pay list. Young Simcoe had meanwhile been promoted to
the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. During the progress of hostilities he
had conceived an intense dislike to the colonists and their political
principles, and the termination of the war caused no change in his
sentiments toward them. This aversion accompanied him through life, and as
we shall presently see, was destined to materially affect his subsequent
career. Meanwhile, he returned to England with his constitution much
impaired by the hard service he had undergone. Rest and regular habits,
however, soon enabled him to recover, in a great measure, his wonted
vigour. We next hear of him as a suitor to Miss Gwillim, a near relative of
Admiral Graves, Commander of the British fleet during the early part of the
Revolutionary War. The courtship soon terminated in marriage; and not long
afterwards the ambitious young soldier was elected as member of the British
House of Commons for the constituency of St. Maw's, Cornwall. The latter
event took place in 1790. During the following session, Mr. Pitt's Bill for
the division of the Province of Quebec into the two Provinces of Upper
and Lower Canada came up for discussion. The member for St. Maw's was a
vehement supporter of the measure, and upon it receiving the royal assent
the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of the new Province of Upper Canada
was conferred upon him. He sailed from London on the 1st of May, 1792,
accompanied by a staff of officials to assist him in conducting the
administration of his Government. His wife, with her little son,
accompanied him into his voluntary exile, and her maiden name is still
perpetuated in this Province in the names of three townships bordering on
Lake Simcoe, called respectively North, East, and West Gwillimbury. The
party arrived in Upper Canada on the 8th of June, and after a brief stay
at Kingston took up their abode at Newark, near the mouth of the Niagara

What Colonel Simcoe's particular object may have been in accepting the
position of Lieutenant-Governor of such an uninviting wilderness as this
Province then was, it is not easy to determine. He had retained his command
in the army, and in addition to his receipts from that source, he owned
valuable estates in Devonshire, from which he must have derived an income
far more than sufficient for his needs. Upper Canada then presented few
inducements for an English gentleman of competent fortune to settle within
its limits. Its entire population, which was principally distributed along
the frontier, was not more than 20,000. At Kingston were a fort and a few
houses fit for the occupation of civilized beings. At Newark, there was the
nucleus of a little village on the edge of the forest. Here and there along
the St. Lawrence, around the Bay of Quinté, and along the Niagara frontier,
were occasional little clusters of log cabins. In the interior, except at
the old French settlement in the western part of the Province, there was
absolutely nothing that could properly be called a white settlement. Roving
tribes of Indians spread their wigwams for a season along the shores of
some of the larger streams, but the following season would probably find
the site without any trace of their presence. A few representatives of the
Six Nations had been settled by Joseph Brant at Mohawk, on the Grand River,
and there were a few Mississaugas near the mouth of the Credit. There was
not a single well-constructed waggon road from one end of the Province to
the other. Such was the colony wherein Governor Simcoe took up his abode
with seeming satisfaction. It has been suggested that he must have been
actuated by philanthropic and patriotic motives, and that he was willing to
sacrifice himself for the sake of rendering Upper Canada a desirable place
of settlement. Another suggestion is that he believed the flames of war
between Great Britain and her revolted colonies likely to be re-kindled;
in which case, he as Governor of an adjoining colony, which must be the
battle-ground, would necessarily be called upon to play an important part.
Whatever his motives may have been, he came over and administered the
government for several years with energy and good judgment. He selected
Newark as his temporary capital, and took up his quarters in an old
store-house--upon which he bestowed the name of Navy Hall--on the outskirts
of the village. Here, on the 16th of January, 1793, was born his little
daughter Kate, and here he began to lay the foundation of the great
popularity which he subsequently attained. He cultivated the most friendly
relations with the Indians in the neighbourhood, who soon began to look
upon him as their "Great Father." They conferred upon him Iroquois name of
Deyonynhokrawen--"One whose door is always open." At a grand Council-fire
kindled a few weeks after his arrival they conferred upon his little
son Frank the dignity of a chieftain, under the title of "Tioga." The
friendliness of the Indians conduced not little to the Governor's
satisfaction: but there were other matters imperatively demanding his
attention. The quality of the land in the interior, and even its external
features, were subjects upon which very little was accurately known. He
directed surveys to be made of the greater part of the country, which was
laid out, under his supervision, into districts and counties. He did what
he could to promote immigration, and held out special inducements to those
former residents of the revolted colonies who had remained faithful to
Great Britain during the struggle. These patriots, who are generally known
by the name of United Empire Loyalists, received free grants of land in
various parts of the Province, upon which they settled in great numbers.
Free grants were also conferred upon discharged officers and soldiers of
the line. To ordinary emigrants, lands were offered at a nominal price;
and under this liberal system the wilderness soon began to wear a brighter

About two months after his arrival--that is to say, on the 17th of
September, 1792, the first Provincial Parliament of Upper Canada met at
Newark. The House of Assembly consisted of sixteen representatives chosen
by the people; the Upper House of eight representatives appointed for
life by the Governor on behalf of the Crown. This Legislature remained in
session nearly a month, during which time it passed eight Acts, each of
which was a great boon to the country, and reflected credit upon the
intelligence and practical wisdom of the members. One of these Acts
introduced the law of England with respect to property and civil rights,
in so far as the same is applicable to the circumstances of a new and
sparsely-settled country. Another established trial by jury. Another
provided for the easy collection of small debts. Still another provided for
the erection of gaols, courthouses and such other public buildings as might
be necessary, in each of the four districts (the Eastern, Middle, Home and
Western) into which the Province had been divided. The session closed on
the 15th October, when the Governor complimented the members on their
having done so much to promote the public welfare and convenience, and
dismissed them to their homes.

Governor Simcoe was not long in discovering that Newark was not a suitable
place for the capital of the Province. It was not central; and its
proximity to the American Fort of Niagara, [Footnote: This fort was still
occupied by British troops, but it was well understood that it would
shortly be surrendered. The surrender took place under Jay's treaty on 1st
June, 1796.] on the opposite bank of the river, was in itself a serious
consideration. "The chief town of a Province," said he, "must not be placed
within range of the guns of a hostile fort." As a temporary measure, he set
about the construction of Fort George, on our side of the river, and then
began to look about him for a suitable site for a permanent capital. He
spent a good deal of time in travelling about the country, in order that
he might weigh the advantages of different localities after personal
inspection. He travelled through the forest from Newark to Detroit
and back--a great part of the journey being made on foot--and to this
expedition the Province is indebted for the subsequent survey and
construction of the well-known "Governor's Road." The site of the future
seat of Government meanwhile remained undecided. Lord Dorchester, the
Governor-General, who had his headquarters at Quebec, urged that Kingston
should be selected, but the suggestion did not accord with Governor
Simcoe's views. The question for sometime continued to remain an open one.
Finally, Governor Simcoe, in the course of his travels coasted along the
northern shore of Lake Ontario, and after exploring different points along
the route he entered the Bay of Toronto, and landed, as we have seen on the
morning of Saturday, the 4th of May, 1793. The natural advantages of the
place were not to be overlooked, and he was not long in making up his mind
that here should be the future capital of Upper Canada. A peninsula of land
extended out into Lake Ontario, and then came round in a gradual curve,
as though for the express purpose of protecting the basin within from the
force of the waves. Here, then, was an excellent natural harbour, closed
in on all sides but one. An expanse of more than thirty miles of water
intervened between the harbour and the nearest point of the territory of
the new Republic. Toronto, too, was accessible by water both from east and
west--a point of some importance at a time when there was no well-built
highway on shore. These considerations (and doubtless others) presented
themselves to the Governor's mind, and having come to a decision, he at
once set about making some improvements on the site. To Lieutenant-Colonel
Bouchette, he deputed the task of surveying the harbour. To Mr. Augustus
Jones [Footnote: This gentleman's name is familiar to all Toronto lawyers
and others who have had occasion to examine old surveys of the land
herebouts. He subsequently married the daughter of an Indian Chief, and
Rev. Peter Jones, the Indian Wesleyan missionary, was one of the fruits of
this marriage.], Deputy Provincial Surveyor, was entrusted the laying out
of the various roads in the neighbourhood. The great thoroughfare to the
north called Yonge street, was surveyed and laid out for the most part
under the personal supervision of Governor Simcoe himself, who named it
in honour of his friend, Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War in the home
government. In the course of the following summer, the Governor began to
make his home in his new capital. The village, composed of a few Indian
huts near the mouth of the Don, had theretofore been known by the name
of Toronto, having been so called after the old French fort in the
neighbourhood. Discarding this "outlandish" name, as he considered it, he
christened the spot York, in honour of the King's son, Frederick, Duke of
York. By this name the place continued to be known down to the date of its
incorporation in 1834, when its former designation was restored.

At the date of the founding of York, the public press of Upper Canada
consisted of a single demy sheet, called the _Upper Canada Gazette_,
published weekly at Newark. Its circulation varied from 50 to 150
impressions. It was printed on Thursday, on a little press--the only one in
the Province--which also printed the Legislative Acts and the Govermental
proclamations. From the issue of August 1st, 1793, we learn that,
"On Monday evening," which would be July 29th, "His Excellency the
Lieutenant-Governor left Navy Hall and embarked on board His Majesty's
schooner the _Mississaga_, which sailed immediately with a favourable
gale for York, with the remainder of the Queen's Rangers." From this time
forward, except during the sitting of the Legislature, Governor Simcoe make
York his headquarters. The Queen's Rangers referred to in the foregoing
extract were a corps which had recently been raised in Upper Canada by the
royal command, and named by the Governor after the old brigade at the
head of which he had so often marched to victory during the war of the
Revolution. The first Government House of Toronto was a somewhat remarkable
structure, and deserves a paragraph to itself. When Colonel Simcoe was
about to embark from London to enter upon the duties of his Government
in this country, he accidentally heard of a movable house which had been
constructed for Captain James Cook, the famous circumnavigator of the
globe. This house was made of canvas, and had been used by its former owner
as a dwelling in various islands of the southern seas. Governor Simcoe
learned that this strange habitation was for sale, and upon inspecting it
he perceived that it might be turned to good account in the wilds of Upper
Canada. He accordingly purchased it, and brought it across the Atlantic
with him. He found no necessity for using it as a dwelling at Newark, where
the storehouse furnished more suitable accommodation; but upon taking up
his quarters at York, Captain Cook's pavilion was brought into immediate
requisition. We have been able to find no very minute account of it; but
it must have been large, as he not only used it as his general private
and official residence, but dispensed vice-regal hospitalities within his
canvas walls. It seems to have been a migratory institution, and to have
occupied a least half-a-dozen different sites during its owner's stay at
York. At one time it was placed on the edge, and near the mouth, of the
little stream subsequently known as Garrison Creek. At another time it
occupied a plot of ground on or near the present site of Gooderham's
distillery. In short, it seems to have been moved about from place to place
in accordance with the convenience or caprice of the owner and his family.

But there is one spot so intimately associated with Governor Simcoe's
residence here that it is time to give some account of it. Every citizen of
Toronto has heard the name of Castle Frank, and most have some general idea
of its whereabouts. It is presumable that the Governor found his canvas
house an insufficient protection against the cold during the winter of
1793-4. Perhaps, too, (observe please, this is a joke), the idea may have
intruded itself upon his mind that there was a sort of vagabondism in
having no fixed place of abode. At any rate, during the early spring of
1794 he erected a rustic, nondescript sort of log chateau on the steep
acclivity overlooking the valley of the Don, rather more than a mile from
the river's mouth. The situation is one of the most picturesque in the
neighbourhood, even at the present day, and there must have been a wild
semi-savagery about it in Governor Simcoe's time that would render it
specially attractive to one accustomed, he had been, to the trim hedges and
green lanes of Devonshire.

It must at least have possessed the charm of novelty. When finished, the
edifice was a very comfortable place of abode. From Dr. Scadding's "Toronto
of Old" we learn that it was of considerable dimensions, and of oblong
shape. Its walls were composed of "a number of rather small, carefully hewn
logs, of short lengths. The whole wore the hue which unpainted timber,
exposed to the weather, speedily assumes. At the gable end, in the
direction of the roadway from the nascent capital, was the principal
entrance, over which a rather imposing portico was formed by the projection
of the whole roof, supported by four upright columns, reaching the whole
height of the building, and consisting of the stems of four good-sized,
well-matched pines, with their deeply-chapped, corrugated bark unremoved.
The doors and shutters to the windows were all of double thickness, made of
stout plank, running up and down on one side, and crosswise on the other,
and thickly studded over with the heads of stout nails. From the middle of
the building rose a solitary, massive chimney-stack."

Such was the edifice constructed by Governor Simcoe for the occasional
residence of himself and his family. He called it Castle Frank, after his
little son, previously mentioned; a lad about five years of age at; this
time. The cleared space contiguous to the building was circumscribed within
rather narrow limits. A few yards from the walls on each side a precipitous
ravine descended. Through one of these ravines flows the Don Elver; while
through the other a little murmuring brook meanders on until its confluence
with the larger stream several hundreds yards farther down. In addition to
a numerous retinue of servants, the household consisted of the Governor,
his wife, Master Frank, and the infant daughter already mentioned. Dr.
Scadding draws a pleasant picture of the spirited little lad clambering up
and down the steep hill-sides with the restless energy of boyhood. He was
destined to climb other hill-sides before his life-work was over, and to
take part in more hazardous performances than, when scampering with his
nurse along the rural banks of the Don. Seventeen years passed, and the
bright-eyed boy had become a man. True to the traditions of his house, he
had entered the army, and borne himself gallantly on many a well-contested
field in the Spanish Peninsula. He eagerly pursued the path of glory which,
as poet tells us, leads but to the grave. The dictum as applied to him,
proved to be true enough. The night of the 6th of October, 1812, found him
"full of lusty life," hopeful, and burning for distinction, before the
besieged outworks of Badajoz. During the darkness of night the siege
was renewed with a terrific vigour that was not to be resisted, and the
"unconsidered voluntaries" of Estramadura tasted the sharpness of English
steel. The town was taken--but at what a cost! If any one wishes to know
more of that fearful carnage let him read the description of it in the
pages of Colonel Napier, and he will acquiesce in the chronicler's
assertion that, "No age, no nation ever sent braver troops to battle than
those that stormed Badajoz." The morning of the 7th rose upon a sight which
might well haunt the dreams of all who beheld it. In the breach where
the ninety-fifth perished almost to a man was a ghastly array, largely
consisted of the mangled corpses of young English officers whose dauntless
intrepidity had impelled them to such deeds of valour as have made their
names a sacred inheritance to their respective families. Many of them were
mere boys

"With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens"

upon whose cheeks the down of early manhood had scarce begun to appear.
Among the many remnants of mortality taken from that terrible breach was
the pallid corpse of young Frank Simcoe.

And what of the little sister, whose first appearance on life's stage was
chronicled a few paragraphs back? Poor little Kate was a tender plant,
not destined to flourish amid the rigours of a Canadian climate. She died
within a year after the building of Castle Frank. Her remains were interred
in the old military burying-ground, near the present site of the church of
St. John the Evangelist, on the corner of Stewart and Portland streets. The
old burying-ground is itself a thing of the past; but the child's death is
commemorated by a tablet over her father's grave, in the mortuary chapel on
the family estate in Devonshire. The inscription runs thus:--"Katharine,
born in Upper Canada, 16th Jan, 1793; died and was buried at York Town, in
that Province, in 1794."

In less than a month from the time of his arrival at York, Governor Simcoe
was compelled to return for a short time to Newark in order to attend the
second session of the Legislature, which had been summoned to meet on the
31st of May. During this session thirteen useful enactments were added to
the statute book, the most important of which prohibited the introduction
of slaves into the Province, and restricted voluntary contracts of service
to a period of nine years. After the close of the session the Governor
returned to York, and proceeded with the improvements which had already
been commenced there, under his auspices. The erection of buildings for the
accomodation of the Legislature was begun near the present site of the old
gaol on Berkeley street, in what is now the far eastern part of the city.
Hereabouts various other houses sprang up, and the town of York began to
be something more than a name. It laboured under certain disadvantages,
however, and its progress for some time was slow. A contemporary authority
describes it as better fitted for a frog-pond or a beaver-meadow than for
the residence of human beings. It was on the road to nowhere, and its
selection by Governor Simcoe as the provincial capital was disapproved
of by many persons, and more especially by those who had settled on the
Niagara peninsula. Lord Dorchester, the Governor-General, opposed the
selection by every means in his power. In civil matters relating to his
Province, Governor Simcoe's authority was paramount; that is to say, he was
only accountable to the Home Government; but the revenue of the Province
was totally inadequate for its maintenance, and it was necessary to draw on
the Home Government for periodical supplies. In this way, Lord Dorchester,
who, from his high position, had great influence with the British Ministry,
had it in his power to indirectly control, to some extent, the affairs
of Upper Canada. He was, moreover, Commander-in-Chief of British North
America, and as such had full control over the armaments. He determined
that Kingston should at all events be the principal naval and military
station on Lake Ontario, and this determination he carried out by
establishing troops and vessels of war there. The military and naval
supremacy then conferred upon Kingston has never been altogether lost.

There were other difficulties too, which began to stare Governor Simeoe in
the face about this time. The nominal price at which land had been disposed
of to actual settlers had caused a great influx of immigrants into the
Province from the American Republic. To so great an extent did this
immigration proceed that the Governor began to fear lest the American
element in the Province might soon be the preponderating one. Should such a
state of things come about, invasion or annexation would only be a matter
of time. His hatred to the citizens of the Republic was intense, and
coloured the entire policy of his administration. In estimating their
political and national importance he was apt to be guided by his prejudices
rather than by his convictions. In a letter written to a friend about this
time, he expressed his opinion that "a good navy and ten thousand men would
knock the United States into a nonentity." As the ten thousand men were
not forthcoming, however, he deemed it judicious to guard against future
aggression. The north shore of Lake Erie was settled by a class of persons
whom he knew to be British to the core. This set him reflecting upon the
advisability of establishing his capital in the interior; and within easy
reach of these settlers, who would form an efficient militia in case of an
invasion by the United States. He finally pitched upon the present site
of London, and resolved that in the course of a few years the seat of
government should be removed thither. This resolution, however, was never
carried out. He did not even remain in the country long enough to see the
Government established at York, which did not take place until the spring
of 1797. In 1796 he received an appointment which necessitated his
departure for the Island of St. Domingo, whither he repaired with his
family the same year. Various reasons have been assigned for this
appointment. The opposition of Lord Dorchester, we think, affords a
sufficient explanation, without searching any farther. It has also been
alleged that his policy was so inimical to the United States that the
Government of that country complained of him at headquarters, and thus
determined the Home Ministry, as a matter of policy, to find some other
field for him. After his departure, the administration was carried on by
the Honourable Peter Russell, senior member of the Executive Council, until
the arrival of Governor Peter Hunter, in 1799.

Two years before his removal from Canada, Governor Simcoe had been promoted
to the rank of Major-General. He remained at St. Domingo only a few months,
when he retired to private life on his Devonshire estates. In 1798 he
became Lieutenant-General, and in 1801 was entrusted with the command of
the town of Plymouth, in anticipation of an attack upon that place by
the French fleet. The attack never took place, and his command proved a
sinecure. From this time forward we have but meagre accounts of him until
a short time before his death, which, as the monumental tablet has already
informed us, took place on the 25th of October, 1806. During the summer of
that year he had been fixed upon as Commander-in-Chief of the East Indian
forces, as successor to Lord Lake. Had his life been spared he would
doubtless have been raised to the peerage and sent out to play his part
in the history of British India. But these things were not to be. Late in
September he was detached to accompany the Earl of Rosslyn on an expedition
to the Tagus, to join the Earl of St. Vincent; an invasion of Portugal
by France being regarded as imminent. Though fifty-four years of age, he
sniffed the scent of battle as eagerly as he had done in the old days of
the Brandy wine, and set out on the expedition in high spirits. The vessel
in which he embarked had just been repainted, and he had scarcely got out
of British waters before he was seized with a sudden and painful illness,
presumed to have been, induced by the odour of the fresh paint. The
severity of his seizure was such as to necessitate his immediate return.
Upon landing at Torbay, not far from his home, he was taken very much
worse, and died within a few hours. He was buried in a little chapel on
his own estates, and the tablet in Exeter Cathedral was shortly afterwards
erected in his honour.

But we Canadians have more enduring memorials of his presence among us than
any monumental tablet can supply; and unless the topographical features
of this Province should undergo some radical transformation, the name of
Governor Simcoe is not likely to be soon forgotten in our midst. The large
and important county of Simcoe, together with the lake, the shores whereof
form part of its eastern boundary; the county town of the County of
Norfolk; and a well-known street in Toronto--all these remain to perpetuate
the name of the first Governor of Upper Canada. It is well that such
tributes to his worth should exist among us, for he wrought a good work in
our Province, and deserves to be held in grateful remembrance. He was not a
man of genius. He was not, perhaps, a great man in any sense of the word;
but he was upon the whole a wise and beneficent administrator of civil
affairs, and was ever wont to display a generous zeal for the progress and
welfare of the land which he governed. When we contrast his conduct of the
administration with that of some of his successors, we feel bound to speak
and think of him with all kindness.

The portrait which accompanies this sketch is engraved by kind permission
of Dr. Scadding, from the frontispiece to his work, 'Toronto of old,' which
was copied from a miniature obtained by the author from Captain J. K.
Simcoe, a grandson of the Governor, and the present occupant of the family
estates. The copy is a remarkably faithful one, and the authenticity of the
original, coming, from such a source is beyond dispute.

The name "Castle Frank," as applied to the site of Governor Simcoe's abode,
requires some explanation, as the original castle is not now in existence.
After General Simcoe's departure from the Province, his rustic chateau was
never used by any one as a permanent abode. Several of his successors
in office, however, as well as various ether residents of York, used
occasionally to resort to it as a kind of camping ground in the summer
time, and it soon came into vogue for pic-nic excursions. Captain John
Denison, a well-known resident of Little York, seems to have taken up his
quarters in it for a few weeks, but not with any intention of permanently
residing there. In. or about the month of June, 1829, the building was
wantonly set on fire by some fisherman who had sailed up the Don. The
timber was dry, and the edifice was soon burned to the ground. It has
never been replaced, but the name of Castle Frank survives in that of the
residence of Mr. Walter McKenzie, situated about a hundred yards distant.
It is commonly applied, indeed, to all the adjoining heights; and on a
pleasant Sunday afternoon in spring or summer, multitudes of Toronto's
citizens repair thither for fresh air and a picturesque view. The route is
through St. James' Cemetery, and thence through the shady ravine and up the
hill beyond. Very few persons, we believe, could point out the exact site
of the old "castle." It is, however easily discoverable by any one who
chooses to search for it. A few yards to the right of the fence which is
the boundary line between St. James' Cemetery and Mr. McKenzie's property
is a slight depression in the sandy soil. That depression marks the site of
the historic Castle Frank. It should be mentioned, however, that no curious
citizen can legally gratify his desire to behold this momento of the past
without first obtaining Mr. McKenzie's permission, as the site belongs to
him, and cannot be reached from the cemetery without scaling the fence.

Besides his son Frank, whose death is recorded in the foregoing sketch.
General Simcoe left behind him a younger son, Henry Addington Simcoe,
christened after the eminent statesman who subsequently became Lord
Sidmouth. The younger son took orders, and officiated for some years as a
clergyman in the West of England. After the death of his brother in the
breach at Badajos, he succeeded to the family estates; and in his turn was
succeeded by his son, Captain J. K. Simcoe, above mentioned.


The life of Robert Baldwin forms so important an ingredient in the
political history of this country that we deem it unnecessary to offer any
apology for dealing with it at considerable length. More especially is
this the case, inasmuch as, unlike most of the personages included in the
present series, his career is ended, and we can contemplate it, not only
with perfect impartiality, but even with some approach to completeness. The
twenty and odd years which have elapsed since he was laid in his grave have
witnessed many and important changes in our Constitution, as well as in our
habits of thought; but his name is still regarded by the great mass of the
Canadian people with feelings of respect and veneration. We can still point
to him with the admiration due to a man who, during a time of the grossest
political corruption, took a foremost part in our public affairs, and who
yet preserved his integrity untarnished. We can point to him as the man
who, if not the actual author of Responsible Government in Canada, yet
spent the best years of his life in contending for it, and who contributed
more than any other person to make that project an accomplished fact. We
can point to him as one who, though a politician by predilection and by
profession, never stooped to disreputable practices, either to win votes or
to maintain himself in office.. Robert Baldwin, was a man who was not only
incapable of falsehood or meanness to gain his ends, but who was to the
last degree intolerant of such practices on the part of his warmest
supporters. If intellectual greatness cannot be claimed for him, moral
greatness was most indisputably his. Every action of his life was marked
by sincerity and good faith, alike towards friend and foe. He was not only
true to others; but was from, first to last true to himself. His useful
career, and the high reputation which he left behind him, furnish an apt
commentary upon the advice which Polonius gives to his son Laertes:--

"This above all, to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

To our thinking there is something august in the life of Robert Baldwin.
So chary was he of his personal honour that it was next to impossible to
induce him to pledge himself beforehand, even upon the plainest question.
Once, when addressing the electors at Sharon, some one in the crowd asked
him if he would pledge himself to oppose the retention of the Clergy
Reserves, "I am not here," was his reply, "to pledge myself on any
question. I go to the House as a free man, or I go not at all I am here to
declare to you my opinions. If you approve of my opinions, and elect me, I
will carry them out in Parliament. If I should alter those opinions I will
come back and surrender my trust, when you will have an opportunity of
re-electing me or of choosing another candidate; but I shall pledge myself
at the bidding of no man." A gentleman still living in Toronto once
accompanied him on an electioneering tour in his constituency of North
York. There were many burning questions on the carpet at the time, on some
of which Mr. Baldwin's opinion did not entirely coincide with that of the
majority of his constituents. His companion remembers hearing it suggested
to him that his wisest course would be to maintain a discreet silence
during the canvass as to the points at issue. His reply to the suggestion
was eminently characteristic of the man. "To maintain silence under, such
circumstances," said he, "would be tantamount to deceiving the electors. It
would be as culpable as to tell them a direct lie. Sooner than follow such
a course I will cheerfully accept defeat." He could not even be induced to
adopt the _suppressio veri_. So tender and exacting was his conscience that
he would not consent to be elected except upon the clearest understanding
between himself and his constituents, even to serve a cause which he felt
to be a just one. Defeat might annoy, but would not humiliate him. To be
elected under false colours would humiliate him in his own esteem, a state
of things which, to high-minded man, is a burden intolerable to be borne.

It has of late years become the fashion with many well-informed persons
in this country to think and speak of Robert. Baldwin as a greatly,
over-estimated man. It is on all hands admitted that he was a man of
excellent intentions, of spotless integrity, and of blameless life. It is
not disputed, even by those whose political views are at variance with
those of the party to which he belonged, that the great measures for which
he contended were, in themselves conducive to the public weal, nor is it
denied that he contributed greatly to the cause of political freedom
in Canada. But, it is said, Robert Baldwin was merely the exponent of
principles which, long before his time, had found general acceptance among,
the statesmen of every land where constitutional government prevails.
Responsible government, it is said, would have become an accomplished fact,
even if Robert Baldwin had never lived. Other much-needed reforms with
which his name is inseparably associated would have come, it is contended,
all in good time, and this present year, 1880, would have found us pretty
much where we are. To argue after this fashion is simply to beg the whole
question at issue. It is true that there is no occult power in a mere name.
Ship-money, doubtless, was a doomed impost, even if there had been no
particular individual called John Hampden. The practical despotism of the
Stuart dynasty would doubtless have come to an end long before the present
day, even if Oliver Cromwell and William of Orange had never existed. In
the United States, slavery was a fated institution, even if there had
been no great rebellion, and if Abraham Lincoln had never occupied the
Presidential chair. But it would be a manifest injustice to withhold from
those illustrious personages the tribute due to their great and, on the
whole, glorious lives. They were the media whereby human progress delivered
its message to the world, and their names are deservedly held in honour and
reverence by a grateful posterity. Performing on a more contracted stage,
and before a less numerous audience, Robert Baldwin, fought his good
fight--and won. Surrounded by inducements to prove false to his innate
convictions, he nevertheless chose to encounter obloquy and persecution for
what he knew to be the cause of truth and justice.

"Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,"

says Professor Lowell. The moment came to Robert Baldwin early in life. It
is not easy to believe that he ever hesitated as to his decision; and to
that decision he remained true to the latest hour of his existence. If it
cannot in strictness be said of him that he knew no variableness or shadow
of turning, it is at least indisputable that his convictions never varied
upon any question of paramount importance. What Mr. Goldwin Smith has said
of Cromwell might with equal truth, be applied to Robert Baldwin: "He bore
himself, not as one who gambled for a stake, but as one who struggled for a
cause." These are a few among the many claims which Robert Baldwin has upon
the sympathies and remembrances of the Canadian people; and they are claims
which, we believe, posterity will show no disposition to ignore.

In order, to obtain a clear comprehension of the public career of Robert
Baldwin ft is necessary to glance briefly at the history of one or two of
his immediate ancestors. In compiling the present sketch the writer deems
it proper to say that he some time since wrote an account of Robert
Baldwin's life for the columns of an influential newspaper published in
Toronto. That account embodied the result of much careful and original
investigation. It contained, indeed, every important fact readily
ascertainable with reference to Mr. Baldwin's early life. So far as that
portion of it is concerned there is little to be added at the present time,
and the writer has drawn largely upon it for the purposes of this memoir.
The former account being the product of his own conscientious labour and
investigation, he has not deemed it necessary to reconstruct sentences
and paragraphs where they, already clearly expressed his meaning. With
reference to Mr. Baldwin's political life, however, the present sketch
embodies the result of fuller and more accurate information, and is
conceived in a spirit which the exigencies of a newspaper do not admit of.

At the close of the Revolution which ended in the independence of the
United States, there resided near the City of Cork, Ireland, a gentleman
named William Wilcocks. He belonged to an old family which had once been
wealthy, and which was still in comfortable circumstances. About this time
a strong tide of emigration set in from various parts of Europe to the New
World. The student of history does not need to be informed that there was
at this period a good deal of suffering and discontent in Ireland. The more
radical and, uncompromising among the malcontents staid at home, hoping for
better times, many of them eventually took part in the troubles of '98.
Others sought a peaceful remedy for the evils under which they groaned,
and, bidding adieu to their native land, sought an asylum for themselves,
and their families in the western wilderness. The success of the American
Revolution combined with the hard times at home to make the United States
"the chosen land" of many thousands of these self-expatriated ones. The
revolutionary struggle was then a comparatively recent affair. The thirteen
revolted colonies had become an independent nation, had started on their
national career under favourable auspices, and had already become a
thriving and prosperous community. The Province of Quebec, which then
included the whole of what afterwards became Upper and Lower Canada, had to
contend with many disadvantages, and its condition was in many important
respects far behind that of the American Republic. Its climate was much
more rigorous than was that of its southern neighbour, and its territory
was much more sparsely settled. The western part of the Province, now
forming part of the Province of Ontario, was especially thinly peopled,
and except at a few points along the frontier, was little better than a
wilderness. It was manifestly desirable to offer strong incentives to
immigration, with a view to the speedy settlement of the country. To effect
such a settlement was the imperative duty of the Government of the day, and
to this end, large tracts of land were allotted to persons whose settlement
here was deemed likely to influence colonization. Whole townships were in
some cases conferred, upon condition that the grantees would settle the
same with a certain number of colonists within a reasonable time. One of
these grantees was the William Willcocks above mentioned, who was a man
of much enterprise and philanthropy. He conceived the idea of obtaining a
grant of a large tract of land, and of settling it with emigrants of his
own choosing, with himself as a sort of feudal proprietor at their head.
With this object in view he came out to Canada in or about the year 1790,
to spy out the land, and to judge from personal inspection which would be
the most advantageous site for his projected colony. In setting out upon
this quest he enjoyed an advantage greater even than was conferred by his
social position. A cousin of his, Mr. Peter Russell, a member of the Irish
branch of the Bedfordshire family of Russell, had already been out to
Canada, and had brought home glowing accounts of the prospects held out
there to persons of capital and enterprise. Mr. Russell had originally gone
to America during the progress of the Revolutionary War, in the capacity of
Secretary to Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the British forces
on this continent. He had seen and heard enough to convince him that the
acquisition of land in Canada was certain to prove a royal road to wealth.
After the close of the war he returned to the Old Country, and gave his
relatives the benefit of his experience. Mr. Russell also came out to
Canada with Governor Simcoe in 1792, in the capacity of Inspector-General.
He subsequently held several important, offices of trust in Upper Canada.
He became a member of the Executive Council, and as the senior member of
that body the administration, of the Government devolved upon him during
the three years (1796-1799) intervening between Governor Simcoe's departure
from Canada, and the appointment of Major-General Peter Hunter as
Lieutenant-Governor. His residence in Canada, as will presently be seen,
was destined to have an important bearing on the fortunes of the Baldwin
family. Meanwhile, it is sufficient to note the fact that it was largely
in consequence of the valuable topographical and statistical information,
furnished by him to his cousin William Willcocks that the latter was
induced to set out on his preliminary tour of Asenation.

The result of this preliminary tour was to convince Mr. Willcocks that his
cousin had not overstated the capabilities of the country, as to the future
of which he formed the most sanguine expectations. The next step to be
taken was to obtain his grant; and, as his political influence in and
around his native city was considerable, he conceived that this would be
easily managed. He returned home, and almost immediately afterwards crossed
over to England, where he opened negotiations with the Government. After
some delay he succeeded in obtaining a grant of a large tract of land
forming part of the present Township of Whitchurch, in the County of York.
In consideration of this liberal grant he on his part agreed to settle
not fewer than sixty colonists on the laud so granted within a certain
specified time. An Order in Council confirmatory of this arrangement seems
to have been passed. The rest of the transaction is involved in some
obscurity. Mr. Willcocks returned to Ireland, and was soon afterwards
elected Mayor of Cork--an office which he had held at least once before his
American tour. Municipal and other affairs occupied so much of his time
that he neglected to take steps for settling his trans-Atlantic domain
until the period allowed him by Government for that purpose had nearly
expired. However, in course of time--probably in the summer of 1797--he
embarked with the full complement of emigrants for New York, whither they
arrived after a long and stormy voyage. They pushed on without unnecessary
delay, and in due coarse arrived at Oswego, where Mr. Willcocks received
the disastrous intelligence that the Order in Council embodying his
arrangement with the Government had been revoked.

Why the revocation took place does not appear, as no change of Government
had taken place, and the circumstances had not materially changed. Whatever
the reason may have been the consequences to Mr. Willcocks and his
emigrants were very serious. The poor Irish families who had accompanied
him to the New World--travel-worn and helpless, in a strange land, without
means, and without experience in the hard lines of pioneer life--were
dismayed at the prospect before them. Mr. Wilcocks, a kind and honourable
man, naturally felt himself to be in a manner responsible for their forlorn
situation. He at once professed his readiness to bear the expense of their
return to their native land. Most of them availed themselves of this offer,
and made the best of their way back to Ireland--some of them, doubtless, to
take part in the rising of '98. A few of them elected to remain in America,
and scattered themselves here and there throughout the State of New York.
Mr. Wilcocks himself, accompanied by one or two families, continued his
journey to Canada, where he soon succeeded in securing a considerable
allotment of land in Whitchurch and elsewhere. It is probable that he was
treated liberally by the Government, as his generosity to the emigrants had
greatly impoverished him, and it is certain that a few years later he was
the possessor of large means. Almost immediately after his arrival in
Canada he took up his abode at York, where he continued to reside down to
the time of his death. Being a man of education and business capacity he
was appointed Judge of the Home District Court, where we shall soon meet
him again in tracing the fortunes of the Baldwin family. He had not been
long in Canada before he wrote home flattering reports about the land of
his adoption to his old friend Robert Baldwin, the grandfather of the
subject of this sketch. Mr. Baldwin was a gentleman of good family and some
means, who owned and resided on a small property called Summer Hill, or
Knockmore, near Cairagoline, in the County of Cork. Influenced by the
prospects held out to him by Mr. Willcocks, he emigrated to Canada with his
family in the summer of 1798, and settled on a block of land on the north
shore of Lake Ontario, in what is now the Township of Clarke, in the County
of Durham. He named his newly-acquired estate Annarva (Ann's Field), and
set about clearing and cultivating it. The western boundary of his farm was
a small stream much until then was nameless, but which has ever since been
known in local parlance as Baldwin's Creek. Here he resided for a period of
fourteen years, when he removed to York, where he died in the year 1816. He
had brought with him from Ireland two sons and four daughters. The eldest
son, William Warren Baldwin, was destined to achieve considerable local
renown as a lawyer and a politician. He was a man of versatile talents, and
of much firmness and energy of character. He had studied medicine at the
University of Edinburgh, and had graduated there two years before
his emigration, but had never practised his profession as a means of
livelihood. He had not been many weeks in this country before he perceived
that his shortest way to wealth and influence was by way of the legal
rather than the medical profession. In those remote times, men of education
and mental ability were by no means numerous in Upper Canada. Every man was
called upon to play several parts, and there was no such organization
of labour as exists in older and more advanced communities. Dr. Baldwin
resolved to practice both professions, and, in order to fit himself for the
one by which he hoped to rise most speedily to eminence, he bade adieu to
the farm on Baldwin's Creek and came up to York. He took up his quarters
with his father's friend and his own, Mr. Willcocks, who lived on Duke
street, near the present site of the La Salle Institute. In order to
support himself while prosecuting his legal studies, he determined to

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