THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE
OF MAJOR-GENERAL SIR ISAAC BROCK, K.B.
INTERSPERSED WITH NOTICES OF THE CELEBRATED INDIAN CHIEF, TECUMSEH;
BRIEF MEMOIRS OF DANIEL DE LISLE BROCK, ESQ.; LIEUTENANT E.W. TUPPER, R.N., AND COLONEL W. DE VIC TUPPER,
"What booteth it to have been rich alive? What to be great? What to be glorious? If after death no token doth survive Of former being in this mortal house, But sleeps in dust, dead and inglorious!"
SPENCER'S "Ruins of Time."
EDITED BY HIS NEPHEW,
FERDINAND BROCK TUPPER, ESQ.
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL & Co. GUERNSEY: H. REDSTONE.
In the early part of last year, a box of manuscripts and the trunks belonging to Sir Isaac Brock, which had remained locked and unexamined for nearly thirty years, were at length opened, as the general's last surviving brother, Savery, in whose possession they had remained during that period, was then, from disease of the brain, unconscious of passing events. With that sensibility which shrinks from the sight of objects that remind us of a much-loved departed relative or friend, he had allowed the contents to remain untouched; and when they saw the light, the general's uniforms, including the one in which he fell, were much moth-eaten, but the manuscripts were happily uninjured. On the return of the Editor from South America in May last, he for the first time learnt the existence of these effects; and a few weeks after, having hastily perused and assorted the letters and other papers, he decided on their publication. Whether this decision was wise, the reader must determine. If, on the one hand, part of their interest be lost in the lapse of years; on the other, they, and the comments they have elicited, can now be published with less risk of wounding private feelings.
It has been the Editor's study to avoid all unnecessary remarks on the letters in this volume, so as to allow the writers to speak for themselves. But he has deemed it a sacred obligation due to the memory of Sir Isaac Brock, to withhold nothing descriptive of his energetic views and intentions, and of the obstacles he experienced in the vigorous prosecution of the contest—obstacles which his gallant spirit could not brook, and which necessarily exposed "his valuable life" much more than it would have been in offensive operations. He regrets, however, that in the performance of this duty, he must necessarily give pain to the relatives of the late Sir George Prevost, of whose military government in Canada he would much rather have written in praise than in censure.
Brief memoirs are inserted, at the conclusion of the Appendix, of one of Sir Isaac Brock's brothers, the bailiff or chief magistrate of Guernsey, and of two of their nephews, Lieutenant E.W. Tupper, R.N., and Colonel W. De Vic Tupper, of the Chilian service. The premature fate of these two promising young officers is, to those who knew them best, still a source of unceasing regret and of embittering remembrance.
The notices of the celebrated Tecumseh interspersed throughout the volume, and the connected sketch of him near its close, can scarcely fail to interest the reader; that sketch is drawn from various and apparently authentic sources, and the Editor believes that it is more copious than any which has yet appeared of this distinguished Indian chief. A perusal will perhaps awaken sympathy in behalf of a much-injured people; it may also tend to remove the films of national prejudice, and prove that virtue and courage are not confined to any particular station or country, but that they may exist as well in the wilds of the forest, as in the cultivated regions of civilization.
GUERNSEY, January 15, 1845.
[Footnote 1: See pages 275-280, 298, 304, 305, 315-317.]
Parentage and birth—Boyhood—Enters the King's Regiment—Trait of determination of character—Becomes Lieutenant-Colonel of the 49th—Campaign in Holland, in 1799—Russian troops in Guernsey—Battle of Copenhagen, in 1801—Notice of John Savery Brock, Esq.
Proceeds to Canada with the 49th—Suppresses a mutiny at Fort George—Returns to Europe, and recommends the formation of a Veteran Battalion for Upper Canada—Re-embarks for Canada, and succeeds Colonel Bowes in command of the troops there—Letters to Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, Right Hon. W. Windham, the Adjutant-General, Mr. President Dunn, and to Lord Castlereagh—Arrival of Sir James Craig
Is made a Brigadier—Letters to his family—Proceeds to Upper Canada—Letters from Colonels Baynes and Thornton—Lieut.-Colonel Murray—Baroness de Rottenburg
Letters to and from Lieut.-Governor Gore—from Colonels Kempt and Baynes—to Sir James Craig and Major Taylor—from Colonel Vesey—P. Carey Tupper, Esq.
Is made a Major-General—Sir James Craig returns to England; his character and administration—Letters from Major-General Vesey and Colonel Baynes—Duke of Manchester—Arrival of Sir George Prevost—Letters from Lieut.-General Drummond and Lieut.-Colonel Torrens—to and from Sir George Prevost
Origin of the American war—Letters to and from Sir G. Prevost and Colonel Baynes—Meeting of the Legislature—Letter to Colonel Baynes relative to Detroit and Michilimakinack, &c.—Letters to Lieut.-Colonel Nichol—from Sir James Saumarez, Major-General Le Couteur, and Sir John Dumaresq
Description of the boundaries, military posts, and lakes of Upper Canada—of the Michigan territory, Detroit, and Michilimakinack
War declared—Major-General Brock's proceedings—Force under his command—Letters from Colonel Baynes, and to and from Sir George Prevost—American newspaper.
General Hull invades Upper Canada—His proclamation, and that of Major-General Brock in reply—Letters to Sir G. Prevost and from Sir T. Saumarez—Meeting of the Legislature—Critical state of the Province
Capture of Michilimakinack—Letters to and from Sir G. Prevost, from Colonels Baynes and Bruyeres
Occurrences in the Western District—Tecumseh—Major-General Brock proceeds to Amherstburg—Voyage described—General Order—Indians, and notice of Tecumseh—Summons to General Hull, and his answer—Surrender of Detroit, and its consequences—Anecdotes of Tecumseh—Country about Detroit—Indian war in 1763.
Letters relative to Detroit, to and from Sir G. Prevost, to Earl Bathurst, from W.D. Powell, Esq., Chief Justice Sewell, General Maitland, Major-General Burnet, from Major-General Brock to his brothers, and from Lieut.-Colonel Nichol—General Hull's reception at Montreal
Major-General Brock returus to the Niagara frontier—Armistice—Proposed attack on Sackett's Harbour prevented—Letters to and from Sir G. Prevost and Major-General Van Rensselaer—from Colonel Baynes—to Colonel Proctor and to J.S. Brock—Wrongs of the Indians, and speech of Tecumseh
Rival forces on the Niagara frontier—Capture of brigs Detroit and Caledonia—Letters to Sir G. Prevost and Colonel Proctor—Battle of Queenstown, and death of Sir Isaac Brock, with remarks on his funeral and character—Description of Queenstown Heights, &c
Sir R. Sheaffe and armistice—Further remarks on Sir Isaac Brock—Americans obtain the command of Lake Ontario—Capture of York—Attack on Sackett's Harbour—Colonel Proctor's proceedings near Detroit—Defeat of British squadron on Lake Erie—Retreat and surrender of Major-General Proctor's army—Capture of Fort George, and surprise of the American troops at Stoney Creek—Attack on Michilimakinack—23 British deserters—Peace—Sir G. Prevost's death and character—Inscription on monument to—Colonel Tupper—Connected notice of Tecumseh
Servant—Letters from the Duke of York—J. Savery and Irving Brock, Esqrs. and Mrs. Eliot—Introduction of four Indian chiefs to George the Fourth, at Windsor—Destruction of Monument, and "gathering" on Queenstown Heights—Intended obelisk—Notice of Sir Isaac Brock's brothers, sisters, and nephews
SECTION I.—BRITISH AUTHORS.
1. Letter from Lord Aylmer—2. Dispatch from Captain Roberts—3. Extracts from Letters of Veritas—4. Sir G. Prevost's general order—5. Brief extracts from various authors—6. Council of condolence—7. Monument in St. Paul's cathedral—8. A Huron chief's surprise on seeing this monument—9. Address of the Commons of Upper Canada to the Prince Regent—10. Re-interment described—11. Dickens' American notes
SECTION II.—AMERICAN AUTHORS.
1. Jefferson's correspondence—General Hull's revolutionary services—Letter from Captain Wool—Battle of Queenstown—Hull's army at Detroit
Daniel De lisle Brock, Esq
Lieutenant E. William Tupper, R.N.
Colonel W. De Vic Tupper, Chilian service
* * * * *
The Guernsey family of BROCK is probably of English origin, but we have been unable to ascertain the period of its first establishment in the island. The parochial register of St. Peter-Port extends only to the year 1563, soon after which time it contains the name of Philip Brock. By "Robson's Armorial Bearings of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland," eight families of the name of Brock appear to bear different arms, one of which was borne by all the Brocks of Guernsey—viz. azure, a fleur de lis or, on a chief argent a lion pass. guard. gu.—crest, an escallop or—until the death of Sir Isaac Brock, when new and honorary armorial bearings were granted by the sovereign to his family. Brock is the ancient Saxon name for badger, and as such is still retained in English dictionaries. Froissart, in his Chronicles, makes mention of Sir Hugh Brock, an English knight, keeper of the castle of Derval, in Brittany, for his cousin Sir Robert Knolles, who was governor of all the duchy, and resided in Brest, during the absence of the duke in England. The French overran Brittany at this period, and leaving 2,000 men near Brest, so as to prevent its receiving succours, sat down with "great engines" before the castle of Derval, to the siege of which came the constable of France, the Duke of Bourbon, the Earls of Alencon and of Perche, and a great number of the barony and chivalry of France. The castle being sore oppressed, Sir Hugh Brock was at length constrained to agree to surrender it at the end of two months, if not relieved by that time. Sir Robert Knolles, hearing this, also began to treat with the French; and while at the head of 30,000 men, he was afterwards defeated by Bertrand du Guesclin. These events occurred in the reign of Edward the Third, about the middle of the fourteenth century, when the English were driven out of France; and as Guernsey is in the direct course between Brittany and England, may not one of Sir Hugh Brock's family, on his passage across the Channel, have visited the island and settled there?
The common ancestor of the present Guernsey family of the name of Brock was William Brock, Esq., a native of the island, who died in the year 1776, and was the grandfather of the subject of this volume. He had three sons and one daughter, who became connected by marriage with some of the principal and most ancient families of Guernsey; namely, William, married to Judith, daughter of James De Beauvoir, Esq.; John, married to Elizabeth De Lisle, daughter of the then lieutenant-bailiff of the island; Henry, married to Susan Saumarez, sister of the late Admiral Lord de Saumarez; and Mary, wife of John Le Marchant, Esq
John Brock, Esq., born January 24, 1729, second son of the above-named William, had by his wife, Elizabeth De Lisle, a very numerous family of ten sons and four daughters, of whom eight sons and two daughters reached maturity. He died in June, 1777, at Dinan, in Brittany, whither he had gone for the benefit of the waters, at the early age of forty-eight years. In his youth he was a midshipman in the navy, and in that capacity had made a voyage to India, which was then considered a great undertaking. As he was possessed of much activity of mind and considerable talent, his death was an irreparable loss to his children, who were of an age to require all the care and counsels of a father; the eldest, John, having only completed his seventeenth year. They were left in independent, if not in affluent, circumstances; but the fond indulgence of a widowed mother, who could deny them no enjoyment, tended, notwithstanding their long minority, to diminish their patrimony.
Isaac Brock, the eighth son, was born in the parish of St. Peter-Port, Guernsey, on the 6th of October, 1769, the year which gave birth to Napoleon and Wellington. In his boyhood he was, like his brothers, unusually tall, robust, and precocious, and, with an appearance much beyond his age, remarkable chiefly for extreme gentleness. In his eleventh year he was sent to school at Southampton, and his education was concluded by his being placed for a twelvemonth under a French Protestant clergyman at Rotterdam, for the purpose of learning the French language. His eldest brother, John, a lieutenant in the 8th, the King's, regiment, being promoted to a company by purchase, Isaac succeeded, also by purchase, to the ensigncy which consequently became vacant in that regiment, and to which he was appointed on the 2d of March, 1785, soon after he had completed his fifteenth year. He joined in England, and was quartered there in different places for a few years. Having entered the army at so early an age, he happily felt sensible of his deficiencies of education, and for a long period he devoted his leisure mornings to study, locking the door of his room until one o'clock, to prevent intrusion. In 1790 he was promoted to a lieutenantcy, and was quartered in Guernsey and Jersey. At the close of that year he obtained an independent company, by raising the requisite number of men to complete it, and was put on half pay. He exchanged soon after, by giving the difference, into the 49th, which regiment he joined at Barbadoes, in 1791, and he remained doing duty there, and afterwards at Jamaica, until 1793, when he was compelled to return very suddenly to England on sick leave, having nearly fallen a victim to the pestilential effects of the climate, and an immediate embarkation being pronounced his only chance of recovery. His first cousin, Lieutenant Henry Brock, of the 13th foot, who was ill at the same time at Jamaica, died of the fever; and the survivor always thought that he was indebted for his life to the affectionate attentions of his servant, Dobson, whom he subsequently ever treated with the kindness of a brother, until he died in his service shortly before himself, in Canada. The mention of the following trait of great determination of character may serve as a guide to other young officers, similarly circumstanced. When Captain Brock joined the 49th, the peace of the regiment was disturbed by one of those vile pests of society—a confirmed duellist. Captain Brock soon proved to his brother captain, who took advantage of being a dead shot, that he was neither to be bullied nor intimidated, and the consequence was a challenge from the latter, which was promptly accepted. On the ground, Captain Brock, who was very tall and athletic, observed that to stand at twelve paces was not to meet his antagonist on any thing like equal terms, and, producing a handkerchief, insisted on firing across it. This the duellist positively declined, and being in consequence soon after compelled to leave the regiment, the officers were thus relieved, by the firm and resolute conduct of a very young man, of the presence of one with whom all social intercourse had previously been difficult and dangerous. On his return from Jamaica, Captain Brock was employed on the recruiting service in England, and afterwards in charge of a number of recruits at Jersey. On the 24th June, 1795, he purchased his majority, and remained in command of the recruits until the return of the regiment to England the following year. On the 25th of October, 1797, just after he had completed his twenty-eighth year, Major Brock purchased his lieutenant-colonelcy, and soon after became senior lieut.-colonel of the 49th. This was very rapid promotion for one who had not only entered the army during a period of profound peace, but had been five years an ensign, and, having no interest excepting that which his own merit might have procured him, he was generally considered at that time as one of the most fortunate officers in the service. In a little more than seven years, he had risen from an ensign to be a lieut.-colonel. Owing to gross mismanagement and peculation on the part of his predecessor, who was in consequence recommended privately to sell out, if he did not wish to stand the ordeal of a court martial, the regiment was sadly disorganized; but the commander in chief, the late Duke of York, was heard to declare that Lieut.-Colonel Brock, from one of the worst, had made the 49th one of the best regiments in the service.
In 1798, the 49th was quartered in Jersey, whence it proceeded, to England early the following year, to take part in the projected expedition to Holland, as in 1799 the British Government determined on sending a strong military force to that country, then in alliance with the French republic, which force was to be joined by a Russian army. The first English division, consisting of twelve battalions of infantry, among which was the 49th, and a small body of cavalry, assembled at Southampton under Sir Ralph Abercromby, and, having embarked, finally sailed from the Downs early in August. On the 26th of that month, the fleet, consisting of fifteen ships of the line, from forty-five to fifty frigates, sloops, and smaller vessels of war, and about one hundred and thirty sail of transports, anchored along the coast of North Holland, from the mouth of the Texel as far as Calants-Oge. Early the next morning, the flank companies were landed, under the protection of the guns of the fleet. An engagement commenced as the British were about to march forward; but being continually reinforced by the arrival of fresh troops, they compelled the enemy to retreat. This warm engagement lasted till four o'clock in the afternoon, and cost the British about 1,000 men. Sir Ralph Abercromby, having become master of the point, or peninsula, of the Helder, completed his landing, entrenched his advanced posts toward the right, and occupied with his left the point of the Helder, and the batteries there which had been evacuated. In these positions he awaited the arrival of the second division, under the Duke of York, the commander-in-chief, which remained in England until news were received of the landing of the first on the coast of Holland. These two divisions were composed of thirty battalions of infantry, of 600 men each, 500 cavalry, and a fine train of artillery. During this campaign, Lieut.-Colonel Brock distinguished himself in command of his regiment, which, on the 2d of October, in the battle of Egmont-op-Zee, or Bergen, had Captain Archer and Ensign Ginn killed; and Major Hutchinson, Captains Sharp and Robins, Lieutenant Urquhart and Ensign Hill, wounded; Lieutenant Johnston missing, and supposed to be killed, exclusive of nearly one hundred non-commissioned officers and privates killed and wounded. In this action, Lieut.-Colonel Brock was slightly wounded, although his name does not appear in the returns; and his life was in all probability preserved by his wearing, as the weather was very cold, a stout cotton handkerchief over a thick black silk cravat, both of which were perforated by a bullet, and which prevented its entering his neck: the violence of the blow was, however, so great, as to stun and dismount him. The following letter contains some interesting particulars relative to this campaign, and the part taken in it by the 49th.
Lieutenant-Colonel Brock, 49th regiment, to his brother, brevet Lieutenant-Colonel John Brock, 81st regiment, at the Cape of Good Hope.
"LONDON, November 26, 1799.
"I was pretty constant in my correspondence with you whilst the regiment was quartered at Portsmouth, and no opportunity offered from thence direct to the Cape without taking letters and newspapers from either Savery or myself, and often from both; but the very active and busy life I have passed since put an end to all such communications. Knowing, however, that you will be gratified in hearing from my own pen the various incidents which have occurred since that time, I proceed to give you the substance of them. You will have seen in the public prints that the 49th embarked among the first regiments under Sir Ralph Abercromby, and that the army, amounting to about 10,000 men, after beating the seas from the 8th to the 27th of August, effected a landing near the Helder; that the enemy most unaccountably offered no opposition to our landing; and that, after a well-contested fight of ten hours, he retreated, and left us in quiet possession of the Heights, extending the whole length of the Peninsula. The 4th Brigade, under General Moore, consisting of the Royals, 25th, 49th, 79th, and 92d, landed to the left, where the greatest opposition was expected, as it was natural to suppose that so essential an object as the Helder would be defended to the last, but, to our utter astonishment, the enemy gave us no annoyance; on the contrary, soon after the affair on the right had terminated, he evacuated the town, which we took quiet possession of the following morning, and with it the whole of the fleet. The garrison, consisting of 1,600 men, could easily have been intercepted had it not been for a large body of cavalry and a number of cannon, which completely commanded a plain of a mile and a half in breadth, necessary to be crossed to get to them: as we had neither the one nor the other, it would have been the height of folly to attempt it. The regiments which distinguished themselves most on this occasion were the 23d, 27th, and 55th. The evening of our landing, a reinforcement of 5,000 men arrived, but could not disembark until two days after, owing to the badness of the weather. During all this time the troops lay exposed on the sand hills, without the least shelter to cover them against the wind and rain. At length the army moved forward eleven miles, and got into cantonments along a canal extending the whole breadth of the country, from the Zuyder sea on the one side to the main ocean on the other, protected by an amazingly strong dyke, running half a mile in front of the line. In this position we remained unmolested until the 10th of September, on which day the enemy made a most desperate attack in three columns, two on the right and one on the centre of the line: he could not avoid being beaten, as it was the most injudicious step imaginable, and his loss was in proportion very great. The Guards, 20th, and 40th, acted conspicuous parts in this affair. The 49th was here again out of the way, with the exception indeed of Savery, whom nothing could keep from going to see what was doing on the right, and as it happened he proved of great use to Colonel Smith, whom he assisted from the field after being wounded. The French soldier was taught to consider the British troops as the most undisciplined rabble in the world, and he advanced confident of conquest; but this affair, and others which followed, made him very soon change his opinion. Nothing remarkable occurred after this until the arrival of the Duke of York with the remainder of the British troops and 16,000 Russians, which increased the army to about 35,000 men. Continued rain, however, prevented any thing being done before the 19th, when the whole army was put in motion. Sir Ralph took 12,000, of which the 4th Brigade formed a part, to the left on the evening preceding, and got possession of the city of Horn the following morning at daylight, without a shot being fired: 200 prisoners were taken. Horn is a very populous, handsome city, and evidently in the interest of the Prince of Orange. Nothing could exceed the joy of the inhabitants at our arrival, and in proportion as they rejoiced they mourned our departure, which took place before sun-set, in consequence of a fatal disaster which had befallen the Russians on the right. They of course threw the blame off their own shoulders, and wished to attribute the whole misfortune to the want of concert and a proper support on the part of the British; but I verily believe the real fact to be this. After most gallantly driving the enemy before them as far as Bergen, where it was previously arranged they should halt, they dispersed for the sake of plunder;—the French, hearing of this disorder, renewed the attack, and never gave the Russians an opportunity to form, but continued driving them with the bayonet until they encountered a body of English, under General Manners and Prince William, whose brigades suffered considerably. The Russians were, however, thus happily enabled to effect their retreat without further molestation; they were certainly the original cause of this disaster, but whether the British were sufficiently brisk in coming to their assistance, is doubted. The Russians in their persons are rather short of stature, and very thick and clumsy; they have nothing expressive in their features, but resemble much the Chinese countenance. I remarked an exception to this rule in a grenadier battalion, who, with tall, elegant persons, possessed remarkably fine, commanding faces. The officers in general are the most despicable wretches I ever saw: accustomed, as they have always been, to fight with troops much inferior to themselves, they thought themselves invincible. They take the field with an immense number of artillery, with which they cover their front and flanks, and thus never dreamed it possible, from their former experience, for troops to rally after being once beaten. This fatal security was the cause of the misfortune which befell the allies on the 19th. After the retreat from Horn, the 4th brigade took its station on the right, preparatory evidently to being actively employed; accordingly, on the 2d of October, the weather not permitting it sooner, the brigade assembled before daylight at Petten, and formed the advanced guard of a column, consisting of 10,000 men, which was to proceed along the beach to Egmont-op-Zee. After every thing had been properly arranged, it moved forward, supported by 1,000 cavalry, under Lord Paget. It was intended that the reserve, under Colonel M'Donald, should cover our flank, and that the column should rapidly advance to Egmont, in order to turn the flank of the enemy at Bergen. This was, however, prevented by a strong body of the enemy, who engaged the reserve the moment it ascended the sand hills; and although he retreated before the reserve, he constrained Colonel M'Donald to follow in a different direction to that intended, thereby leaving our left flank uncovered. But this did not impede our moving forward, and it was not until we had proceeded five or six miles that we found the least opposition. The enemy then appeared in small force, and the 25th was ordered up the sand hills, but, he having increased, the 79th followed, and it was not long before the 49th was also ordered to form on the left of that regiment. It is impossible to give you an adequate idea of the nature of the ground, which I can only compare to the sea in a storm. On my getting to the left of the 79th, I found that its flank was already turned, and that the ground, which we were to occupy, did not afford the least shelter: my determination was instantly taken. I had gone on horseback to view the ground, and on my return to the regiment, which I met advancing, I found the left actually engaged with the enemy, who had advanced much beyond our left. I, however, continued advancing with six companies, and left Colonel Sheaffe with the other four to cover our left: the instant I came up to the 79th, I ordered a charge, which I assure you was executed with the greatest gallantry, though not in the greatest order, as the nature of the ground admitted of none. The enemy, however, gave way on every side, and our loss would have been very trifling had the 79th charged straightforward; but unfortunately it followed the course the 49th had taken, thereby leaving our right entirely exposed. I detached Lord Aylmer with the grenadiers, who, after charging different times, totally cleared our right. The 25th then advanced, and behaved with the greatest good conduct. The enemy after this never attempted to make a stand, but continued to retreat, and their loss on this occasion was very considerable. Nothing could exceed the gallantry of the 25th, 49th, 79th, and 92d. For my own part, I had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of both officers and men, and no commanding officer could be more handsomely supported than I was on that day, ever glorious to the 49th. Poor Archer brought his company to the attack in a most soldierlike manner; and even after he had received his mortal wound, he animated his men, calling on them to go on to victory, to glory; and no order could be more effectually obeyed: he is an irreparable loss to the service. I got knocked down soon after the enemy began to retreat, but never quitted the field, and returned to my duty in less than half an hour. Savery acted during the whole day as aide-de-camp either to Sir Ralph or Moore, and nothing could surpass his activity and gallantry. He had a horse shot under him, and had all this been in his line, he must have been particularly noticed, as he has become the astonishment of all who saw him. We remained that night and the following on the sand hills; you cannot conceive our wretched state, as it blew and rained nearly the whole time. Our men bore all this without grumbling, although they had nothing to eat but the biscuits they carried with them, which by this time were completely wet. We at length got into Egmont, and on the following day (5th) into Alkmaar, where we enjoyed ourselves amazingly. Alkmaar is a most delightful city; but the inhabitants are rank patriots, and none of the higher class remained to welcome our arrival. The following day another engagement ensued, in consequence of the Russians advancing further than they were ordered to do: during this severe contest we were snugly in church. It is extraordinary that both parties were so beaten as to find a retreat necessary, as while we retreated to our old position, the enemy was also in full retreat. I shall say no more of the expedition to Holland, as what remains to be added, you will see fully detailed in the papers. I go to Norwich, where the regiment is quartered, this evening. Another expedition is talked of, under Lord Moira. Adieu."
In the battle of Egmont-op-Zee, seven pieces of cannon, a great number of tumbrils, and a few hundred prisoners, were taken, and the loss of the enemy was estimated as exceeding 4,000 men. Major-General Moore, in whose brigade was the 49th, although severely wounded through the thigh, continued in action for nearly two hours, until a second wound in the face obliged him to quit the field. In his dispatch relative to this battle, the Duke of York observed, that "under Divine Providence this signal victory obtained over the enemy, is to be attributed to the animating and persevering exertions which have at all times been the characteristics of the British soldier, and which on no occasion were ever more eminently displayed." The following extract from this dispatch, dated Alkmaar, 6th of October, will shew the part borne in the engagement by Sir Ralph Abercromby's division, in which was Major-General Moore's brigade.
"This was the last event which took place on the side of Bergen; and, as the close of the day was fast approaching, Colonel Macdonald with two battalions was sent to the support of General Sir Ralph Abercromby. The heights of the sand hills, surrounding Bergen for about three miles, remained crowned and possessed by about eleven British battalions. General Sir Ralph Abercromby had marched, according to the disposition, along the beach, with Major-General D'Oyley's, Major-General Moore's, and Major General Lord Cavan's brigades, the cavalry and horse artillery, (the reserve under Colonel Macdonald not having been able, owing to the great extent of the sand hills, to rejoin him, after turning to the left at Campe.) The main body of Sir Ralph Abercromby's column had proceeded, without meeting with much resistance, in the early part of the day, but was nevertheless much inconvenienced, and his troops harassed, by the necessity of detaching continually into the sand hills to his left, to cover that flank against the troops whom the enemy had placed in the sand hills. The admirable disposition, however, which he made of his troops, and their determined spirit and gallantry, enabled him to arrive within a mile of Egmont. Here he was seriously opposed by a very considerable corps of French infantry, which occupied Egmont-op-Zee, and the high sand hills in its front, and who had formed a very strong corps of cavalry and artillery to their left. The engagement was maintained during several hours with the greatest obstinacy; and in no instance were the abilities of a commander, or the heroic perseverance of troops in so difficult and trying a situation, more highly conspicuous. Animated by the example of General Sir Ralph Abercromby, and the generals and officers under him, the troops sustained every effort made upon them by an enemy then superior in numbers, and much favoured by the strength of his position. Late in the evening, the enemy's cavalry, having been defeated in an attempt which they made upon the British horse artillery on the beach, and having been charged by the cavalry under Colonel Lord Paget, was driven, with considerable loss, nearly to Egmont-op-Zee; his efforts then relaxed considerably on the right; and General Sir Ralph Abercromby, having soon after been joined by the reinforcements under Colonel Macdonald, took post upon the sand hills and the beach, within a very short distance of Egmont-op-Zee, where the troops lay upon their arms during the night."
In the battle of the 6th of October, in which the 49th was not engaged, the English and Russians, after gaining some advantage, were suddenly charged by the enemy's cavalry and separated, so that they could neither support each other nor retain the ground which they had gained. The allied armies were repulsed beyond Baccum, after having sustained a very severe loss; and as they were unable either to advance or to draw any resources from the country in their possession, their supplies were necessarily obtained from the fleet. The Duke of York, therefore, assembled a council of war, whose decision was, that the allied forces should fall back and wait the instructions of the British Government. As the season was so far advanced, as the approach of winter was daily making the navigation of the coast more dangerous, and as there was no time to effect diversions or to change the plan of operations, the Duke of York was ordered to evacuate the country. In the meanwhile, as the English and Russians concentrated themselves behind their entrenchments at the Zyp, the enemy pressed upon them, and the Duke of York sent a flag of truce to General Brune, proposing a capitulation on the basis of an armistice, or of the free embarkation of his army. This was agreed to at Alkmaar, on the 18th of October, and thus ended this memorable expedition, the most considerable that had been attempted in modern times up to that period. As the introduction of foreign troops into England was prohibited by the Bill of Rights, the Russians were sent to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, the season not admitting of their return home. About 6,000 were quartered in the latter island, where a disease, contracted by exposure to the marshy grounds of Holland, carried off some hundreds, who were buried at the foot of the hill on which stands Vale Castle, and where their graves are still to be seen. Their conduct in Guernsey was at first peaceable and orderly;—the inhabitants were surprised at seeing them eat the grease from the cart wheels, and they were also excessively fond of ardent spirits; and, having plenty of money, they indulged in them freely, swallowing large draughts in a raw state. But in June, 1800, while the transports were in the roads to convey them to Russia, a soldier, who was robbing vegetables on a small farm, which had been frequently plundered by his comrades before, was fired at and wounded by the proprietor. This so exasperated the whole body, that fears were entertained of their revenging themselves on the inhabitants generally; and as the British garrison was very small, it required all the tact and conciliation of the lieutenant-governor, Sir Hew Dalrymple, to prevent an outbreak. The Russians embarked, but the guns at Castle Cornet were kept shotted to prevent their relanding. The 49th, on the return of the expedition from Holland, after remaining a short time in England, was again quartered in Jersey, where the fine person and manly bearing of Lieut.-Colonel Brock are still favorably remembered. In return for the many attentions which he and his officers received in that island, he obtained an ensigncy in his own regiment for a young man resident there, whom he afterwards pushed forward in the service, and who died recently a major-general and a companion of the bath. Early in the year 1801, the 49th was embarked in the fleet destined for the Baltic, under Sir Hyde Parker; and Lieut.-Colonel Brock was second in command of the land forces at the memorable attack of Copenhagen, by Lord Nelson, on the 2d of April. He was appointed to lead the 49th in storming the principal of the Treckroner batteries, in conjunction with five hundred seamen, under Captain Fremantle, of the Ganges, of 74 guns; but the protracted and heroic defence of the Danes rendering the attempt impracticable, Colonel Brock, during the hard-fought battle, remained on board the Ganges; and at its close he accompanied Captain Fremantle to the Elephant, 74, Nelson's flag ship, where he saw the hero write his celebrated letter to the Crown Prince of Denmark. Savery Brock was also on board the Ganges, and while in the act of pointing one of her quarter deck guns, his cocked hat was torn from his head by a grape shot: a naval officer, who was present, afterwards described the scene which followed this narrow escape in these words: "I now hear Sir Isaac exclaim, 'Ah! poor Savery is dead!' But Savery was not an instant on his back; in the same moment he rubbed his head, assured his brother that he was not injured, and fired the gun with as much coolness as if nothing had happened." The effect of the shot passing so near him was such that, although a remarkably powerful young man, six feet two inches in height, he was knocked down and stunned for the moment. Of the 49th, Captain Sharp was badly wounded on board of the Bellona, and Lieutenant Dennis was wounded on board of the Monarch, which ship had 55 killed and 155 wounded, exclusive of officers, but including 8 soldiers of the 49th killed, and 20 wounded. In addition to the 49th was a detachment of the 95th, rifles—consisting, we believe, of two companies—under Lieut.-Colonel the Honorable William Stewart, who was senior officer of the troops embarked. As such his name was included in the thanks of Parliament; but we cannot understand why a lieutenant-colonel, with only two companies, was placed over the head of an officer of equal rank with his entire regiment, unless indeed the cause was that Lieut.-Colonel Brock was not an "honorable!" We are not aware that he ever complained of what appears to us to have been an act of injustice to him, and we may therefore be wrong in our view of the subject. The British loss, in killed and wounded, was 953, or 58 more than fell at the battle of the Nile. In mentioning the loss at Copenhagen, Southey, in his admirable Life of Nelson, says, on what authority we know not: "Part of this slaughter might have been spared. The commanding officer of the troops on board one of our ships, asked where his men should be stationed? He was told that they could be of no use; that they were not near enough for musquetry, and were not wanted at the guns; they had, therefore, better go below. This, he said, was impossible—it would be a disgrace that could never be wiped away. They were, therefore, drawn up upon the gangway, to satisfy this cruel point of honor; and there, without the possibility of annoying the enemy, they were mowed down! The loss of the Danes, including prisoners, amounted to about 6,000."
John Savery Brock, of whose gallantry mention is made in the preceding pages, was the next younger brother of Lieut.-Colonel Brock, and had been in the navy; but it being supposed that he was influential, in the year 1790, in inducing his brother midshipmen, of the fleet at Spithead, to sign a round robin against their being subjected to the practice of mast-heading—one having been hoisted up to the gaff end in an ignominous manner, because he refused to go to the mast head as a punishment—he was recommended privately to retire from the service. Being at this time a tall and high spirited young man of eighteen, it is not surprising that he deemed such a punishment unnecessarily degrading to the feelings of an officer, and which has since been very properly abolished. Had it not been for this circumstance, it is the opinion of a naval officer of high rank, that Savery Brock would have distinguished himself and risen to eminence in the navy during the late revolutionary wars. Some little time after this affair, being in Guernsey, he wished to go to England, and was offered a passage in the Amazon, frigate, Captain Reynolds, afterwards Rear-Admiral Reynolds, who perished in the St. George, of 98 guns, on her return from the Baltic, in 1811. The Amazon, bound to Portsmouth, left the roadstead late in the afternoon, and before she was clear of the small Russel—a dangerous passage—night overtook her. By some accident the pilot mistook the bearings, owing to the darkness and thick weather. Savery Brock, being acquainted with the intricate course, was on the fore yard looking out, when he suddenly espied some rocks towards which the frigate was steering. There was no time for communication, and, without hesitating an instant, he cried out in true nautical style: "H-a-r-d up, h-a-r-d up." "H-a-r-d up it is," replied the helmsman. "H-a-r-d up," repeated Savery in a louder key. "Gently, young man," said the captain, who was standing forward. The ship fortunately bore away just in time to clear the rocks, and was thus saved by the prompt interference of her passenger. We have often heard him in his latter days tell the story with excusable pride, and he especially remembered how the crew pointed him out the next morning to each other, as the young man who had got the ship out of her danger. As he was without employment, his brother Isaac subsequently procured him the paymastership of the 49th, which he retained only three or four years, the office being one quite unfitted to his previous education and active mind. In 1808, his military zeal induced him to serve for a short time as an amateur aide-de-camp to Sir John Moore, on the Peninsula. He married and settled in Guernsey; and whether as a militia colonel, or in the exercise of a generous hospitality, or, above all, as a projector and zealous promoter of many public improvements in his native island, his memory will long live in the recollection of its inhabitants.
When Kean performed in Guernsey, two or three years before his appearance on the London boards, Savery Brock was enthusiastic in his admiration, and predicted the future eminence of that celebrated tragedian, in whose memoirs his name is gratefully mentioned.
[Footnote 2: With a slight variation, the field being gules instead of azure. Motto, Vincit Veritas.]
[Footnote 3: Translation from the French by Lord Berners, vol. 2, chap. 39, 40. London Edition, 1815.]
[Footnote 4: The name of this ancient family, second to none in wealth and station, became extinct in Guernsey, in 1810, on the death of Osmond De Beauvoir, Esq., when his large property was inherited by distant relatives.—Duncan's History of Guernsey.]
[Footnote 5: Major-General Le Marchant and his eldest son, a captain in the Foot Guards, who both fell in Spain during the late war, and Captain Philip Saumarez, who was Lord Anson's first lieutenant in the Centurion, and was slain in 1747, while commanding the Nottingham, of 64 guns, were members of those families.]
[Footnote 6: Brock street, at Bath, was named after him by the projector, in testimony of friendship.]
[Footnote 7: New Annual Register for 1799, page 395.]
[Footnote 8: See the returns in the New Annual Register, for 1799, Principal Occurrences, page 143. Singularly enough, the loss of the non-commissioned officers and privates in each corps is not given, but the casualties among the officers of the 49th exceeded those of any other regiment engaged on this day, with the exception of the 25th and 92d.]
[Footnote 9: Afterwards Sir John Moore, who fell at Corunna.]
[Footnote 10: Lieut.-Colonel Smith, commanding the 20th, a native of Guernsey, afterwards Colonel Sir George Smith, aide-de-camp to the king. He died at Cadiz, in 1809, and was a distinguished officer.]
[Footnote 11: The present General Lord Aylmer, G.C.B., formerly governor-general of British North America. He was then a captain in the 49th. See Appendix A, Sec. 1, No. 1.]
[Footnote 12: In this engagement, the gallant Lieut.-Colonel Bainbrigge, of the 20th, was killed. He married Miss Dobree, of Beauregard, Guernsey.]
[Footnote 13: Duncan's History of Guernsey.]
[Footnote 14: The late Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Fremantle, G.C.B.]
[Footnote 15: It is worthy of remark, that Lieut.-Colonel Brock's almost immediate superiors, during his active service in Europe, fell like himself in action, as knights of the bath, viz. Sir Ralph Abereromby, Lord Nelson, and Sir John Moore.]
[Footnote 16: Afterwards Sir W. Stewart, G.C.B., who commanded a division in the Peninsular war.]
[Footnote 17: While the above was in type, the Duke of Rutland visited Guernsey in his yacht, and wrote the following note at Detroit, the residence of the once outcast middy, on whom, while we write this, the hand of death is but too apparent: "The Duke of Rutland called to pay his respects to Mr. Savery Brock, and sincerely regrets to find that he is so unwell. Saturday, July 13, 1844."]
The 49th, on its return from Copenhagen to England, was collected at Colchester, and in the spring following, (1802,) the regiment sailed for Canada, which country was destined to bestow on it many additional laurels, as well as to be the scene of the fame and death of its commanding officer. In less than eighteen months after the arrival of the 49th in Canada, and while it was quartered in the upper province, a serious conspiracy was on the point of breaking out in that part of the regiment which was in garrison at Fort George, on the Niagara, under the command of the junior lieutenant-colonel, the head quarters being, we believe, at York, the capital. This officer, it seems, more by useless annoyance than by actual severity, had exasperated the men under his command to that degree that they formed a plot to murder all the officers present, with the exception of a young man who had recently joined; and then to cross over to the United States. Far be it from us to justify the intention, which indeed was highly criminal; but in all such extreme cases we hold that a sad abuse of power, or a gross want of tact, must be the exciting cause, and that even in the passive obedience of a military life, there may be a limit to human endurance. The proximity of the United States rendered this plot a very feasible one, as the men in a body could have crossed the river Niagara without molestation or difficulty. The suspicions of the officer in command having been aroused, he hastily wrote to Lieut.-Colonel Brock on the subject, and sent his letter by one of the men, who delivered it as the latter officer was shooting, or on his return from a shooting excursion. On reading the letter, and knowing from the character of the man that he must be engaged in the conspiracy, if there were any, he threatened to shoot him on the spot, if he did not instantly divulge the names of the ringleaders. The man, thus taken by surprise, did as he was ordered, and Lieut.-Colonel Brock hurried off to Fort George. On his arrival he found the men at dinner, and placing the officers with their drawn swords at the doors, he went into the rooms with handcuffs, and secured the most culpable, among whom was a sergeant, none offering the slightest resistance. The ringleaders were immediately embarked, so as to prevent any attempt at their rescue. On being tried by a court martial, four were condemned to suffer death, and, with three deserters, were shot at Quebec, in presence of the garrison, early in the month of March, 1804. A most awful and affecting sight it was: the wind was easterly, strong, and cold,—a thick drift of snow added to the gloom,—and, as if to increase the horror of the scene, a few of the firing party, fifty-six in number, instead of advancing to within eight yards of the prisoners, as was intended, owing to some mistake commenced firing at the distance of at least fifty yards. The consequence was, that the unhappy wretches were only partially wounded, and dropped one after another. Nearly forty shots were fired before one poor fellow in the centre fell, although he was wounded through the abdomen at the first discharge. The men who had reserved their fire, were at length ordered up, and, lodging the contents of their muskets in the breasts of the culprits, by that means put them out of torture. The unfortunate sufferers declared publicly that, had they continued under the command of Colonel Brock, they would have escaped their melancholy end; and, as may be easily conceived, he felt no little anguish that they, who had so recently and so bravely fought under him in Holland and at Copenhagen, were thus doomed to end their lives, the victims of unruly passions inflamed by vexatious authority. He was now directed to assume the command at Fort George, and all complaint and desertion instantly ceased.
In the fall of 1805, in October of which year he was made a full colonel, Colonel Brock returned to Europe on leave; and early in the following year, he laid before his royal highness the commander-in-chief the outlines of a plan for the formation of a veteran battalion, to serve in the Canadas. In support of the plan he wrote:
"The advantages which may attend the establishment of a corps such as is here recommended, will be perhaps more clearly understood by first adverting to some of the causes that produce the inconvenience to which the troops occupying the frontier posts of that country are continually exposed.
"A regiment quartered in Upper Canada is generally divided into eight different parts, several hundred miles asunder, and in this situation it remains at least three years. Great as is the evil incidental to a state of separation, even where the mind is in no danger of being debauched, what may not be apprehended in a country where both the divided state of the regiment, and the artifices employed to wean the soldier from his duty, conspire to render almost ineffectual every effort of the officers to maintain the usual degree of order and discipline. The lures to desertion continually thrown out by the Americans, and the facility with which it can be accomplished, exacting a more than ordinary precaution on the part of the officers, insensibly produce mistrust between them and the men, highly prejudicial to the service.
"Experience has taught me that no regular regiment, however high its claim to discipline, can occupy the frontier posts of Lower and Upper Canada without suffering materially in its numbers. It might have been otherwise some years ago; but now that the country, particularly the opposite shore, is chiefly inhabited by the vilest characters, who have an interest in debauching the soldier from his duty; since roads are opened into the interior of the States, which facilitate desertion, it is impossible to avoid the contagion. A total change must be effected in the minds and views of those who may hereafter be sent on this duty, before the evil can be surmounted."
In a letter from Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, dated Horse Guards, January 17, 1806, Colonel Brock received the Duke of York's "thanks for the communication of his very sensible observations respecting the distribution of the troops in Canada, which his royal highness will not fail to take into consideration at a seasonable opportunity."
While on a visit to his family and friends in Guernsey, Colonel Brock deemed the intelligence from the United States to be of so warlike a character, that he resolved on returning to Canada before his leave was expired; and such was his anxiety to be at his post, that he overtook at Cork the Lady Saumarez, a Guernsey vessel, well manned and armed as a letter of marque, bound to Quebec. He left London on the 26th June, 1806, and hurried away from Europe never to return—never to revisit those who fondly loved him, not only from ties of kindred, but for his many endearing qualities; but he had the satisfaction of knowing that the commander-in-chief was much pleased with the zeal and devotion evinced by him on this occasion.
Soon after his arrival in Canada, Colonel Brock succeeded, on the 27th September, 1806, to the command of the troops in the two provinces, Colonel Bowes having resigned that command on his departure for England. At this time, the civil government of the lower province was administered by Mr. President Dunn, and Colonel Brock resided at Quebec, in command of the forces, until the arrival of the governor-general, Sir James Craig, in October, 1807, who appointed him to act as a brigadier, which appointment was confirmed by the king, to date from the 2d of July, 1808.
Colonel Brock to Lieut.-Colonel J.W. Gordon.
QUEBEC, September 28, 1806.
I have the honor to acquaint you, for the information of the commander-in-chief, that Colonel Bowes, preparatory to his departure for England, has resigned the command of his majesty's forces in this country, which, as the next senior officer, devolves on me.
I find great pleasure in reporting to his royal highness the good order and discipline which, much to the credit of Lieut.-Colonel Sheaffe, I found on my arrival to prevail among the eight companies of the 49th regiment, quartered in this garrison.
It has been the fate of the 49th to be divided, for the last four years and a half, several hundred miles apart, and however anxious I must be to assemble the whole together, I have not, considering the youth of the 100th regiment, which alone affords me the means of effecting that measure, thought it prudent to withdraw the company stationed at St. John's and the other frontier posts of this province, but the one at Montreal will be relieved this autumn.
Colonel Bowes having complied with Lieut.-Colonel Otway's earnest application for leave to return to England, I have appointed Captain Ormsby, of the 49th regiment, an officer of approved merit, to act as deputy adjutant-general during his absence; an arrangement which, I presume to hope, his royal highness will be graciously pleased to sanction.
Colonel Brock to the Right Hon. W. Windham.
QUEBEC, February 12, 1807.
I have the honor to transmit for your consideration a proposal of Lieut.-Colonel John M'Donald, late of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, for raising a corps among the Scotch settlers in the county of Glengary, Upper Canada.
When it is considered that both the Canadas furnish only two hundred militia who are trained to arms, the advantages to be derived from such an establishment must appear very, evident.
The military force in this country is very small, and were it possible to collect it in time to oppose any serious attempt upon Quebec, the only tenable post, the number would of itself be insufficient to ensure a vigorous defence.
This corps, being stationed on the confines of the Lower Province, would be always immediately and essentially useful in checking any seditious disposition, which the wavering sentiments of a large population in the Montreal district might at any time manifest. In the event of invasion, or other emergency, this force could be easily and expeditiously transported by water to Quebec.
The extent of country which these settlers occupy, would make the permanent establishment of the staff and one sergeant in each company very advisable. I shall not presume to say how far the claims of the field officers to the same indulgence are reasonable and expedient.
In regard to the Rev. Alexander M'Donald, I beg leave to observe, that the men being all Catholics, it may be deemed a prudent measure to appoint him chaplain. His zeal and attachment to Government were strongly evinced whilst filling the office of chaplain to the Glengary Fencibles during the rebellion in Ireland, and were graciously acknowledged by his royal highness the commander-in-chief.
His influence over the men is deservedly great, and I have every reason to think that the corps, by his exertions, would be soon completed, and hereafter become a nursery from which the army might draw a number of hardy recruits.
* * * * *
The following letter affords a good idea of the confidential report of a general officer on the state of a regiment after its periodical inspection.
Colonel Brock to the Adjutant-General of His Majesty's Forces.
QUEBEC, March 17, 1807.
In obedience to the commander-in-chief's commands, communicated to me in your letter dated 20th November last, I shall proceed to state, for His Royal Highness's information, such observations as a strict attention to the conduct and interior economy of the 100th regiment during the preceding six months has enabled me to make.
The greatest praise is justly due to Lieut.-Colonel Murray, who has commanded, with only a short interval, from the first formation of the regiment to the present time, for his unremitting care and attention to the several important duties of his office.
The good effects of his exertions and intelligence are strikingly visible in every department of the corps. He has been ably supported by Major Hamilton and the rest of his officers, who on all occasions evince the utmost zeal for the service, and the highest respect and attachment towards his person. He has succeeded in establishing an interior discipline and economy, which I have never before witnessed in so young a corps, and scarcely seen surpassed by any, and in a way too the most satisfactory to the feelings of an officer.
Although I trust the garrison duty at Quebec is carried on with every regard to the safety of the place, together with the strictest attention to all prescribed forms and regulations, yet the winter has nearly passed without a single instance of neglect or misconduct having occurred among the 100th regiment; and it is a pleasing task to report, that so exemplarily have the men behaved, that, even regimentally, only one corporal punishment has been inflicted for the last three months.
I am now speaking of men who, being nearly all Irish, are of all others the most volatile and easily led astray. Should they, therefore, hereafter be seduced by the various temptations by which they are surrounded, I hope to escape the imputation of judging too hastily and partially. The men were principally raised in the north of Ireland, and are nearly all Protestants; they are robust, active, and good looking.
The troops in this country are precluded, by the severity of the climate during seven months in the year, from exercising out of doors: it cannot, therefore, be expected that the 100th regiment can, considering the little practice it has had in the field, and after such a long interval, be very expert in its manoeuvres; but as Lieut.-Colonel Murray possesses both capacity and inclination, and as a good foundation is already laid, the most rapid progress may be expected so soon as the season enables him to commence his labours.
A large room has been allotted in the barracks to the purposes of drilling with arms, from which the garrison has derived essential benefit.
The clothing for the present year is all fitted, and appears very good. Every man is provided with a great coat, agreeably to His Majesty's regulations; but as the great coat is necessarily worn on all occasions for six months in the year, it cannot by the strictest economy be made to last the specified time. Those of the 100th have been two years in wear, and are so far expended, that they will become wholly unserviceable before next winter. I know of no other alternative but supplying others at the charge of the men, which opinion I have given to Lieut.-Colonel Murray, who applied to me on the subject.
The messes have been all along abundantly provided. Indeed, the soldiers in this country live in a perfect state of luxury unknown any where else.
The non-commissioned officers and privates acknowledge to have received every thing which is their due in respect to pay and clothing. One man claims a part of his bounty, which, he says, has been withheld. A regimental court martial has already decided against him, but the business shall again be investigated by a garrison court martial.
Lieut.-Colonel Murray has reported to me, that there are several men in his regiment who claim bounty, but as only one complained at the inspection, the remainder must be satisfied that he is doing his utmost to recover what is actually their due.
The hospital is in as complete order as the house which has been hired for that purpose can admit. Indeed, the troops in garrison are much inconvenienced for want of permanent hospitals. There were three cases of fever; the remainder of the patients were chiefly attacked with a disease too prevalent among young soldiers. Three men are unfit for service, being frost-bitten.
The men are supplied with necessaries in conformity to his majesty's regulations.
Colonel Brock to the Adjutant-General of His Majesty's Forces.
QUEBEC, July 1, 1807.
I have the honor to transmit herewith the inspection return of the 41st regiment for two distinct periods, viz. September 1, 1806, and March 1, 1807.
Some inaccuracies being found in the September return previously received, it was sent back to Lieut.-Colonel Proctor, at Fort George, for correction. This circumstance and the distance of the place, account for the delay which has occurred in complying, in the present instance, with the commands of his royal highness the commander-in-chief.
The very great distance of the quarters the 41st now occupy, has prevented my making personally the periodical inspection of that regiment required by my instructions. But its dispersed state and the many evils by which it is surrounded will, however great the zeal and intelligence of Lieut.-Colonel Proctor and the other officers, so far affect the discipline and morals of the men, as to justify my saying that both the one and the other must, without the possibility of a remedy, progressively suffer in proportion as the regiment remains stationed in the Upper Province. The 41st regiment, having a considerable number of old soldiers, is better calculated for that service than either the 49th or 100th regiments, and no change is therefore meditated.
Not being possessed with the means of making a more circumstantial report of the state of the 41st regiment, I have only to add, in justice to the officers commanding posts, that they evince in their communications with head quarters much attention and sound judgment.
Contemplating the probable arrival of a general officer by the fleet daily expected from England, I have so far presumed to deviate from my instructions as to postpone making the periodical inspection of the regiments quartered in this garrison, conceiving that his royal highness the commander-in-chief would esteem a report coming from such a high source more satisfactory, than if I were to undertake the task in my present situation, which may naturally be supposed, in some degree, to bias my judgment.
* * * * *
On the 17th July, 1807, in consequence of an expected rupture between England and the United States, Colonel Brock addressed a letter to Mr. President Dunn, in which he said that the number of militia armed and instructed in the province did not exceed 300, while he thought that as many thousands could easily, and with perfect safety, be formed into corps; and that Quebec, the only military post in the country, was not in a condition to make much defence against an active enemy, as the walls on the western side were old and decayed, and could not possibly sustain a continued heavy fire. He added, that he wished to throw up such works as would remedy this glaring defect; but as the garrison was totally inadequate to such an undertaking, he required from 600 to 1,000 men every day for six weeks or two months, besides a vast number of carts, &c., to complete the necessary defences of the citadel. This letter being submitted to the council, that body replied, that the only means by which assistance could be given by the civil government to the military, in the manner proposed by Colonel Brock, would be by embodying a proportion of the militia according to law, the men for which service must be taken from different parts of the province. And that as this measure had only once before been resorted to in the province, on which occasion a decided disobedience was generally manifested, and was again to be anticipated, the council inquired of Colonel Brock whether he had the means, and would furnish them, to enforce the attendance of the militia, who, when embodied, were entitled to the same pay and allowances as the king's troops. The council further informed Colonel Brock that it would meet again the next day, for the purpose of taking into consideration any representation, in writing, which he might think proper to make in answer to their communication, and that, if convenient to him, they requested his personal attendance. His reply was as follows:
QUEBEC, 23d July, 1807.
Colonel Brock has perused with attention the proceedings of his honor the president in council, communicated to him by Mr. Ryland, and begs leave to observe, that in addressing his honor on the 17th instant, it was far from his intention to assume a political character.
His sole object was to state the assistance required by the military to remedy a glaring defect in the fortifications of Quebec, should his honor conceive that preparatory measures were necessary to be adopted in consequence of the event which recently occurred between his majesty's ship Leopard and the American frigate Chesapeake, but more particularly the subsequent aggressive provisions contained in the proclamation of the American government.
In thus complying with the dictates of his duty, Colonel Brock was not prepared to hear that the population of the province, instead of affording him ready and effectual support, might probably add to the number of his enemies; and he feels much disappointment in being informed by the first authority, that the only law in any degree calculated to answer the end proposed was likely, if attempted to be enforced, to meet with such general opposition as to require the aid of the military to give it even a momentary impulse.
Colonel Brock is therefore obliged to observe, that the officer commanding certainly would not choose the time when the troops may every instant be called upon for the defence of Quebec, to disperse them over the country in aid of the civil government, coercively collecting a body of men, which, under such circumstances, would be of more detriment than service to the regular army. Colonel Brock cannot, therefore, look for any assistance from that quarter, but, should an emergency arise, he is confident that voluntary offers of service will be made by a considerable number of brave and loyal subjects, and feels himself justified in saying, that even now several gentlemen are ready to come forward and enroll into companies men on whose fidelity they can safely rely.
It remains with his honor to determine the degree of countenance which ought to be given to such sentiments.
Colonel Brock will be at all times proud to attend deliberations of his honor in council.
Colonel Brock to Lord Viscount Castlereagh.
QUEBEC, July 25, 1807.
I think it my duty to transmit for your lordship's information a copy of the communication that has passed between his honor the president and me, relative to the military situation of this country.
Your Lordship will perceive from the minutes of the council, how very inadequate the militia law is to afford assistance to the regular force, and the degree of dependance that may be placed on the population of this province.
My own observations, however, enable me to assure your Lordship, that a respectable force might be trained and rendered exceedingly useful on any exigency, were the least encouragement given to the spirit which at present pervades a certain class to volunteer their services.
To such characters arms might be safely entrusted, but I certainly would consider an indiscriminate distribution to the militia, were it possible to collect it, as highly imprudent and dangerous.
What I stated to his honor the president respecting the weakness of the works along the whole of the west front of this garrison, is consonant to the opinion transmitted by the officers of engineers and artillery, in their half-yearly periodical report, to the master-general of the ordnance.
To a question from the president, viz. "Should the council conceive it necessary to call out the militia, whether I thought myself warranted to issue pay and provisions to them?" I answered, Certainly not: that in all British Colonies, of which I had any knowledge, they on all such occasions defrayed their own expenses.
The consideration that there is about L30,000 in the civil chest, which cannot be applied to its object until next spring, and the ease with which the error I may have fallen into might be remedied, induced me to be so positive upon a subject, regarding which I am without instructions.
Colonel Brock to Lieut.-Colonel J.W. Gordon.
QUEBEC, Sept. 6, 1807.
It is impossible to view the late hostile measures of the American government towards England, without considering a rupture between the two countries as probable to happen.
I have in consequence been anxious that such precautionary measures might be taken as the case seemed to justify; but his honor the president has not judged it proper to adopt any other step, than merely to order one-fifth of the militia, which amounts to about 10,000 men, to hold itself in readiness to march on the shortest notice.
The men thus selected for service being scattered along an extensive line of four or five hundred miles, unarmed and totally unacquainted with every thing military, without officers capable of giving them instruction, considerable time would naturally be required before the necessary degree of order and discipline could be introduced among them. I therefore very much doubt whether, in the event of actual war, this force could assemble in time, and become useful.
Without considerable assistance from the militia, the few regulars which might be spared from this garrison could avail nothing against the force the Americans would suddenly introduce by various roads into this province.
The Canadians have unquestionably shewn a great willingness upon this occasion to be trained, and, I make not the least doubt, would oppose with vigour any invasion of the Americans—but how far the same sentiments would actuate them were a French force to join, I will not undertake to say; at any rate, I feel that every consideration of prudence and policy ought to determine me to keep in Quebec a sufficient force to secure its safety; the number of troops that could therefore be safely detached would be small, notwithstanding a great deal might be done, in conjunction with the militia, in a country intersected in every direction by rivers, deep ravines, and lined, at intervals on both sides the road, by thick woods.
From every information I can receive, the Americans are busily employed in drilling and forming their militia, and openly declare their intention of entering this province the instant war is determined upon; they will be encouraged to adopt this step from the very defenceless state of our frontiers; the means at my disposal are too limited to oppose them with effect in the open field, and I shall be constrained, unless his honor the president make exertions, which I do not think him at this moment disposed to do, to confine myself to the defence of Quebec.
I have hastened the completion of the works which enclose the upper town of Quebec, and I have thought myself justified in causing a battery of eight 36-pounders to be raised sixteen feet upon the cavalier in the centre of the citadel, which will effectually command the opposite heights.
Although these remarks may be premature, I yet conceive it my duty to give his royal highness the commander-in-chief a view of my real situation.
I must freely confess that I am unable to account for the motives which seem at present to guide the councils of this province. Voluntary offers of service have been made by numbers, on whose loyalty the utmost reliance can be placed, to form themselves into corps of cavalry, artillery, and infantry, at little or no expense to government, provided they were furnished with arms; but this liberal spirit has not been encouraged by the president.
I have the honor to report, that at a recent interview I had at Montreal with Lieut.-Governor Gore, it was judged expedient that his excellency should assume the command in the upper province. I regretted exceedingly that I could not, with propriety, detach troops in support of the spirited exertions whioh will be immediately made to place that country in a respectable state of defence. He has been supplied with four thousand muskets from the king's arsenal at Quebec, and with various military stores of which he stood in need: this leaves in my possession only seven thousand muskets for the use of the militia of this province, and to supply, as far as they will go, every other emergency.
Sir James Craig to Colonel Brock.
H.M.S. Horatio, Oct. 16, 1807.
His majesty having been pleased to appoint me to the chief government of the British provinces in America, as well as to the command of his forces in these parts, I do myself the pleasure to announce to you my arrival in the river, to take these charges upon me.
Lieut.-Colonel Baynes, the adjutant-general, and Major Thornton, my secretary and first aide-decamp, will deliver you this, and will inform you of the very miserable state of my health, which obliges me to write to Mr. Dunn, to entreat that he will permit my landing to be as private as possible. Of you I must make the same request. A salute may be proper, but I beg nothing more may be done: my object must be to get to the chateau as speedily and with as little fatigue as possible.
[Footnote 18: Owing to the difficulty, after the lapse of above forty years, of obtaining the particulars of this event from any officer present, the preceding account may be slightly inaccurate notwithstanding our diligent inquiries, but we doubt not that it is substantially correct.]
[Footnote 19: The 10th Royal Veteran Battalion arrived in Canada the year following.]
[Footnote 20: Afterwards Major-General Barnard Foord Bowes, slain on the 27th June, 1812, while leading the troops to the assault of the forts of Salamanca. Monuments in St. Paul's, to the memory of Major-General Bowes and of Sir Isaac Brock, were voted in the House of Commons on the same day, 20th July, 1813.]
[Footnote 21: On the passage of the 100th to Quebec, in 1805, one of the transports was wrecked on the 21st October, on the coast of Newfoundland; and Major Bertram, three captains, six lieutenants, the assistant-surgeon, and about 260 men of the regiment, miserably perished.]
Brigadier Brock to his Brothers.
MONTREAL, July 20, 1808.
I have written to all of you since the navigation opened, and the only letters I have received from any of the family for several months came from Irving, who, to do him justice, is infinitely the most attentive and regular correspondent among you.
My appointment to be brigadier I first announced by the March mail. Those who feel an interest in my prosperity will rejoice in my good fortune, as this distinguished mark of favor affords undeniable proof that my conduct, during the period of my command, was approved;—a great gratification, considering the many difficulties I had to encounter. I once thought I should be ordered to the upper province, but General Ferguson being among the newly appointed major-generals, will not now probably visit this country. In that case, I stand a very good chance of succeeding him, both in rank and in the command of Quebec, where it was intended he should be stationed.
What will be the result of our present unsettled relations with the neighbouring republic, it is very difficult to say. The government is composed of such unprincipled men, that to calculate on it by the ordinary rules of action would be perfectly absurd. We have completely outwitted Jefferson in all his schemes to provoke us to war. He had no other view in issuing his restrictive proclamation; but, failing in that, he tried what the embargo would produce, and there he has been foiled again. Certainly, our administration is deserving of every praise for their policy on these occasions. Jefferson and his party, however strong the inclination, dare not declare war, and therefore they endeavour to attain their object by every provocation. A few weeks since, the garrison of Niagara fired upon seven merchant boats passing the fort, and actually captured them. Considering the circumstances attending this hostile act, it is but too evident it was intended to provoke retaliation: these boats fired upon and taken within musket shot of our own fort; their balls falling on our shore, was expected to have raised the indignation of the most phlegmatic; fortunately, the commandant was not in the way, as otherwise it is difficult to say what would have happened. A representation of this affair has been made at Washington, and, for an act certainly opposed to existing treaties, we have been referred for justice to the ordinary course of the law! If our subjects cannot command impunity from capture under the guns of our own forts, it were better to demolish them at once rather than witness and suffer such indignity. By the treaties which have expired, the navigation of the waters that divide the two countries is regulated and stipulated to be still in force, although every other part should cease to be obligatory.
I get on here pretty well, but this place loses at this season the undoubted advantage it possesses over Quebec in winter. Great additions are making to the fortifications at Quebec, and, when completed, the Americans will, if I mistake not, think it prudent not to trouble the place, for they can have no chance of making any impression upon it during the short period which the severity of the climate only permits an enemy to lay before it. I erected, as I believe I told you before, a famous battery, which the public voice named after me; but Sir James, thinking very properly that any thing so very pre-eminent should be distinguished by the most exalted appellation, has called it the King's Battery, the greatest compliment, I conceive, that he could pay to my judgment. Not a desertion has been attempted by any of the 49th for the last ten months, with the exception indeed of Hogan, Savery's former servant. He served Glegg in the same capacity, who took him with him to the Falls of Niagara, where a fair damsel persuaded him to this act of madness, for the fellow cannot possibly gain his bread by labour, as he has half killed himself with excessive drinking; and we know he cannot live upon love alone. The weather has been exceedingly hot the last week, the thermometer fluctuating from 94 degrees to 100 degrees in the shade. The embargo has proved a famous harvest to some merchants here. It is certainly the most ridiculous measure imaginable, and was evidently adopted with the view of pleasing France; but no half measure can satisfy Napoleon, and this colony has been raised by it to a degree of importance that ensures its future prosperity.
Brigadier Brock to his Brothers.
QUEBEC, September 5, 1808.
I have been here but a few days, having been superseded at Montreal by Major-General Drummond. I do not approve much of the change, as being separated from the 49th is a great annoyance to me. But soldiers must accustom themselves to frequent movements; and as they have no choice, it often happens that they are placed in situations little agreeing with their inclinations. My nominal appointment has been confirmed at home, so that I am really a brigadier. Were the 49th ordered hence, the rank would not be a sufficient inducement to keep me in this country. In such a case, I would throw it up willingly.
Curious scenes appear to have occurred in the Baltic. I fear very much that Sir James (Saumarez) may be induced to return to his retirement in Guernsey. Indeed, the navy has little left to do, while the army has now a glorious opportunity of distinguishing itself as much as the sister service. Valour the British troops always possessed, but unless they evince discipline, their fame will be blasted for a century to come.
Brigadier Brock to his Brothers.
QUEBEC, November 19, 1808.
Yesterday Irving's letter of the 19th September reached me. How very thankful I feel for his attention. But I have not received that which he mentions Savery had written on the same day, giving an account of his proceedings in Spain and Portugal. This is a truly mortifying disappointment, as it is impossible to discover by the public prints the mystery by which the conduct of our officers has been influenced. The precaution which Irving took to transcribe a part of the letter, has proved very lucky. Notwithstanding, I look for the original with unusual impatience, as Savery's opinion must be formed upon what he saw in full practice in the best disciplined army that ever, I imagine, left England. His observations are never thrown away.
I am still confined to my room, more indeed on account of the badness of the weather than any want of progress in my recovery. We have had very hard gales from the East. The Iphigenia frigate, with her convoy, could not have cleared the land, and the greatest apprehension is entertained for her safety. Her commander, Captain Lambert, is a friend of George Brock. I find him an exceedingly good fellow; and I have reason to think that he left us well satisfied with the attention he received from me.
Sir James Craig has certain intimation of the appointment of Colonel Baron de Rottenburg, of the 60th, to be a brigadier in this country, and he is daily looked for. This most probably will make a change in my situation, as one must go to the upper province, and, as he is senior, he will doubtless have the choice. My object is to get home as soon as I can obtain permission; but unless our affairs with America be amicably adjusted, of which I see no probability, I scarcely can expect to be permitted to move. I rejoice Savery has begun to exert himself to get me appointed to a more active situation. I must see service, or I may as well, and indeed much better, quit the army at once, for no one advantage can I reasonably look to hereafter if I remain buried in this inactive, remote corner, without the least mention being made of me. Should Sir James Saumarez return from the Baltic crowned with success, he could, I should think, say a good word for me to some purpose.
Vincent is doing extremely well. I however dread the severity of a winter upon his shattered frame. I must contrive to meet and dissipate the dull hours with my good friends of the 49th. I have prevailed upon Sir James to appoint Sergeant Robinson, master of the band, to a situation in the commissariat at Sorel, worth 3s. 6d. a day, with subaltern's lodging money and other allowances. He married a Jersey lass, whose relatives may inquire for him.
* * * * *
It will be seen by the next letter and a few others which follow, that Sir Isaac Brock was well aware of the existence among the French Canadians of a spirit of disaffection, which, in 1837, broke out into open rebellion, the suppression of which earned Sir John Colborne (the present Lord Seaton) his peerage. The outbreak caused great loss of life, and considerable expense arising not only from the hurried dispatch to Quebec of a large body of troops from Nova Scotia and England, but from the retention in the Canadas of about 10,000 men for a few years, to overawe the disaffected, and to repress the piratical incursions of the citizens of the United States in their favor.
Brigadier Brock to his brother William.
QUEBEC, December 31, 1809.
You will long since have been convinced that the American government is determined to involve the two countries in a war; they have already given us legitimate cause, but, if wise, we will studiously avoid doing that for which they shew so great an anxiety. Their finances, you will perceive, are very low, and they dare not propose direct taxes. They must have recourse to loans at a time when they have only six frigates in commission, and about five thousand men embodied. To what a state of poverty and wretchedness would the accumulated expenses of war reduce them! But they look to the success of their privateers for a supply, and contemplate the sweeping away of all foreign debts as the means of reducing the calls upon their treasury. Whatever steps England may adopt, I think she cannot, in prudence, avoid sending a strong military force to these provinces, as they are now become of infinite importance to her. You can scarcely conceive the quantity of timber and spars of all kinds which are lying on the beach, ready for shipment to England in the spring: four hundred vessels would not be sufficient to take all away. Whence can England be supplied with these essential articles but from the Canadas? Bonaparte, it is known, has expressed a strong desire to be in possession of the colonies formerly belonging to France, and now that they are become so valuable to England, his anxiety to wrest them from us will naturally increase. A small French force, 4 or 5,000 men, with plenty of muskets, would most assuredly conquer this province. The Canadians would join them almost to a man—at least, the exceptions would be so few as to be of little avail. It may appear surprising that men, petted as they have been and indulged in every thing they could desire, should wish for a change. But so it is—and I am apt to think that were Englishmen placed in the same situation, they would shew even more impatience to escape from French rule. How essentially different are the feelings of the people from when I first knew them. The idea prevails generally among them, that Napoleon must succeed, and ultimately get possession of these provinces. The bold and violent are becoming every day more audacious; and the timid, with that impression, think it better and more prudent to withdraw altogether from the society of the English, rather than run the chance of being accused hereafter of partiality to them. The consequence is, that little or no intercourse exists between the two races. More troops will be required in this country, were it only to keep down this growing turbulent spirit. The governor will, it is foreseen, have a difficult card to play next month with the assembly, which is really getting too daring and arrogant. Every victory which Napoleon has gained for the last nine years, has made the disposition here to resist more manifest.
Brigadier Brock to his sister-in-law, Mrs. W. Brock.
QUEBEC, June 8, 1810.
It was my decided intention to ask for leave to go to England this fall, but I have now relinquished the thought. Several untoward circumstances combine to oppose my wishes. The spirit of insubordination lately manifested by the French Canadian population of this colony, naturally called for precautionary measures, and our worthy chief is induced, in consequence, to retain in this country those on whom he can best confide. I am highly flattered in being reckoned among the number, whatever inward disappointment I may feel. Some unpleasant events have likewise happened in the upper country, which have occasioned my receiving intimation to proceed thither, whether as a permanent station, or merely as a temporary visit, Sir James Craig has not determined. Should, however, a senior brigadier to myself come out in the course of the summer, I shall certainly be fixed in the upper province, and there is every probability of such an addition very soon. Since all my efforts to get more actively employed have failed; since fate decrees that the best portion of my life is to be wasted in inaction in the Canadas, I am rather pleased with the prospect of removing upwards.
There is a lady living at Barnet for whom I feel much interested. If you should by chance drive that way, and do not object to form a new acquaintance, I wish you to call upon her. She is the wife of Captain Manners, of the 49th, and the daughter of the celebrated Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia. She has a most amiable disposition and genteel manners. Her sister, Mrs. Ross Cuthbert, a charming little creature, makes her husband—my most intimate friend, and with whom I pass a great part of my leisure hours—a most happy man.
I received the other day a long and exceedingly well written letter from Henrietta Tupper—she is really a charming girl. What Maria (Potenger) do you begin to slacken in your attention to your poor devoted uncle?
Brigadier Brock to his brother Irving.
QUEBEC, July 9, 1810.
I have a thousand thanks to offer you for the very great attention you have shewn in executing my commissions: the different articles arrived in the very best order, with the exception of the cocked hat, which has not been received—a most distressing circumstance, as, from the enormity of my head, I find the utmost difficulty in getting a substitute in this country.
I proposed writing to you early to-morrow, but Sir James having this instant intimated his intention of sending me upwards immediately, I avail myself of an hour's leisure to do that hastily which I would gladly have done quietly, and, consequently, more fully. If I am to remain in this country, I care little where I am placed; but going up, as I do now, without knowing whether I am to stay or return, is particularly awkward, and interferes materially in all my future arrangements: perhaps I shall be able to get the point settled before I commence my journey.
Every thing here remains in a state of perfect quietness. It is but too evident that the Canadians generally are becoming daily more anxious to get rid of the English. This they cannot effect unless a French force come to their aid, and I do not think that Bonaparte would risk the loss of a fleet and army for the chance of getting possession of the country. What infatuation! No people had ever more cause to rejoice at their fate; but they are not singular, as all mankind seems prone to change, however disadvantageous or productive of confusion.
Savery forwarded your pamphlet to me. You have taken a very proper view of the political dissensions which at this moment disgrace England. Those to whom I have allowed a perusal, and who are infinitely better judges than I can pretend to be, speak of the purity of the language in terms of high approbation. You have happily suited the style to the matter. Several copies have, within a few days, been in circulation here. Savery speaks of a letter you received, in consequence, from Lord Melville. I hope you will not fail in sending me a copy, as I am all anxiety for your literary fame. As you differ in sentiment from the Edinburgh Review, I hope that you have made up your mind to an unmerciful lashing.
I do not see the smallest prospect of my getting away from here, as the disposition manifested by the Canadians will occasion a large military force to be kept in the country, and it will serve as a plea to retain all at their posts. I wish that I could boast of a little more patience than I feel I now possess.
The fortifications of Quebec are improving pretty rapidly, but workmen cannot be procured in sufficient number to proceed as fast as government would wish. Labourers now get 7s. 6d. a day, and artificers from 12s. to 15s. Upwards of three hundred vessels have already arrived—a prodigious number.
Brigadier Brock to his sister-in-law, Mrs. William Brock.
QUEBEC, July 10, 1810.
I cannot allow the frigate to depart without sending my affectionate love to you. A Guernsey vessel arrived a few days ago, which brought me a letter from Savery of 10th May, and nothing could be more gratifying than the contents. The May fleet, which sailed from Portsmouth the 24th, reached this in thirty days, but as it had not a scrape of a pen for me, its arrival did not interest me. We have been uncommonly gay the last fortnight: two frigates at anchor, and the arrival of Governor Gore from the upper province, have given a zest to society. Races, country and water parties, have occupied our time in a continued round of festivity. Such stimulus is highly necessary to keep our spirits afloat. I contributed my share to the general mirth in a grand dinner given to Mrs. Gore, at which Sir J. Craig was present, and a ball to a vast assemblage of all descriptions.
I mentioned in a former letter my apprehensions of being ordered to the upper province. I return this moment from waiting upon Sir James, who sent for me, to say he regretted he must part with me, as he found it absolutely necessary that I should proceed upwards without delay. I am placed in a very awkward predicament, as my stay in that country depends wholly upon contingencies. Should a brigadier arrive I am to be stationary, but otherwise return to Quebec. Nothing could be more provoking and inconvenient than this arrangement. Unless I take up every thing with me, I shall be miserably off, for nothing beyond eatables is to be had there; and in case I provide the requisites to make my abode in the winter in any way comfortable, and then be ordered back, the expense will be ruinous. But I must submit to all this without repining, and since I cannot get to Europe, I care little where I am placed. I have the most delightful garden imaginable, with abundance of melons and other good things, all which I must now desert.
What am I to tell you from this out-of-the-way place. Your old friends of the 49th are well, but scattered in small detachments all over the country. They are justly great favorites at head quarters. I mentioned in a former letter my wish that, provided you could make it perfectly convenient, you would call upon Mrs. Manners, the wife of a captain of the 49th. I am satisfied that you would, after a short acquaintance, approve of her much—she is all goodness. By the last accounts they resided at Barnet.
I have no doubt that Maria and Zelia (Potenger, his nieces) continue to conduct themselves in such a manner as to reward you amply for the unbounded kindness you have all along shewn them. If I am able in the fall to procure handsome skins for muffs worth their acceptance, I shall send some to the dear little girls: they ought, however, to write to me. There are few here brought up with the advantages they have received; indeed, the means for education are very limited for both sexes in this colony. Heaven preserve you. I shall probably begin my journey upwards in the course of a few days.
* * * * *
Brigadier Brock accordingly proceeded to the Upper Province, Baron de Rottenburg having replaced him at Quebec, and, with the exception of a few months in 1811, during which he visited Lower Canada, he continued in command of the troops there till his death, Lieut.-Governor Gore at first administering the civil government.
Colonel Baynes, the Adjutant-General, to Brigadier Brock, at Fort George.
QUEBEC, September 6, 1810.
The Brigadier-General (Baron de Rottenburg) is Sir James' (Craig) senior in age by a year, but is still strong and active, and looks much younger. I am well pleased with the little I have seen of him, which by the bye is very little, for I only returned yesterday from Sorel. Mrs. de Rottenburg has made a complete conquest of all hearts. She is in reality remarkably handsome, both in face and figure, and her manners uncommonly pleasing, graceful, and affable. There is, I fancy, a very great disparity of years. They both speak English very fluently, and with very little foreign accent. Sir James (Craig) is remarkably well: we celebrated the anniversary of his sixtieth year yesterday at a very pleasant party at Powell Place. Our general court martial is over, and will be published in orders to-morrow. A soldier, who was under sentence of death for desertion from the 101st regiment, and transferred to the 8th, and a Jonathan of the Canadians, who is considered a ringleader, are sentenced to be shot; the others, a dozen in number, are to be transported to serve for life in the African corps.