Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

started upon one leg, and saw his captain, about sixty yards distant, standing by the enemy's breastwork, with a French soldier attending him. Peyton thereupon called aloud: “ Captain Ochterlony, I am glad to see you at last under protection. Beware of that villain--he is more barbarous than a savage. God bless you, my dear captain. I see a party of Indians coming this way, and expect to be murdered immediately." A number of these barbarians had been employed on the left, in scalping the dying and the dead, and about thirty were then in march for Peyton. Anticipating no mercy at their hands, he snatched up his musket, and notwithstanding his broken leg, ran about forty yards without halting. Unable to proceed farther, he loaded his piece, and presented it to the two foremost Indians, who stood aloof, waiting for their companions; while the French, from their breastworks, kept up a continual fire of cannon and small arms, upon this poor, solitary, wounded gentleman. While in this situation, he discovered at some distance a Highland officer, with a party of men, skirting the field of battle. Waving his hand in token of distress, and being at once perceived by his friend, a party of three men came to his assistance; and, passing through a tremendous fire, they bore him off upon their shoulders. The Highland officer was Captain McDonald, of Frazier's battalion. Having learned that a young gentleman and a kinsman had fallen, he proceeded at the head of a party, and patrolled the battle-field, driving a considerable number of French and Indians before him; and, finding his relative still unscalped, caused him to be bome to a place of safety."-SMOLLET'S ENGLAND.

The advocates of war will here pause for a moment, and consider.

NOTE III. The above monument is particularly described in “ Westminster Abbey and its Curiquities."

“The subject is the tragic story of the general's death, in the very moment of victory. He is represented in the last agonies of expiring heroism, with his hand closing the wound which the ball that killed him had made in his breast, and falling into the arms of a grenadier, who catches, and endeavors to support him. While with one hand he holds his feeble arm, with the other, he points to glory, in the form of an angel, in the clouds, holding forth a wreath ready to crown himn. On the pyramid, in bas-relief, is the faithful Highland sergeant who attended him ; in whose countenance the big sorrow, at the mournful sight of his dying master, is so painfully and faithfully expressed, that the most insensible human being cannot look upon him without sharing in his grief."

The inscription carries no mark of ostentation, but simply records the facts in the following words :

To the memory of JAMES WOLF, major-general and commander-in-chief of the British land forces, in an expedition against Quebec-who, after sarmounting by ability and valor. all obstacles of art and nature, was slain in the moment of victory, on the 13th of September, 1759- The King and Parliament of Great Britain dedicate this monument.

While the British nation were thus doing honor to the victor, the French were not insensible to the fame of the vanquished. There is now and then a spot in the horizon of war, which the patriot and the philanthropist delight to contemplate. Its rarity gives it peculiar interest. The following being of that nature, we insert with pleasure the correspondence between M. Bougainville, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, at Paris, and Mr. Pitt, then Secretary of State.

TRANSLATION. SR: The honors paid during your ministry to the memory of Mr. Wolf, give me room to hope, that you will not disapprove of the grateful efforts made by the French troops to perpetuate the memory of the Marquis de Montcalm. The corpse of that general, who was honored with the regret of your nation, is buried in Quebec. I have the honor to send you an epitaph, which ihe Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres have wrote for him ; and I would beg the favor of you, sir, to read it over, and if there be nothing improper in it, to procure me permission to send it to Quebee, engraved on marble, to be put over the Marquis de Montcalm's tomb. If ihis permission should be granted, may I. presume, sir, to entreat the honor of a line to acquaint me with it, and at the same time to send me a passport that the engraved marble may be received on board an English vessel, and that Mr. Murray, Governor of Quebec, may give leave to have it put up in the Ursuline church. I ask pardon, sir, for taking off your attention even for a moment from your important concerns, but to endeavor to immortalize great men and illustrious citizens, is to do honor to you.

I am, etc.

BOUGAINVILLE. Paris, March 25th, 1761.

This letter, it will be observed, was written when the English and French nations were at war.

MR. PITT'S ANSWER.

SIR : It is a real satisfaction to me, to send you the king's consent on such an interesting subject as the very handsome epitaph, drawn by the Academy of Inscriptions, at Paris, for the Marquis de Montcalm, which is desired to be sent to Quebec, engraved on marble, to be set upon the tomb of that illustrious warrior. The noble sentiments expressed, in the desire to pay this tribute to the memory of their general, by the French troops who served in Canada, and who saw him fall at their head in a manner worthy of him and worthy of them, cannot be too much applauded.

I shall take pleasure in facilitating a design so full of respect to the deceased, and as soon as I am informed of the measures taken for embarking the marble, I shall immediately grant the passport you desire, and send orders to the Governor of Canada for its reception.

As to the rest, be assured, sir, that I have a just sense of the obliging things said to me in the letter with which you honored me, and that I think it a singular happiness to have an opportunity to express the sentiments of distinguished esteem and consideration, with which I have the honor to be, etc.

WM. PITT. April 10, 1761.

A translation of the inscription is as follows

Here lieth,
In either hemisphere to live for ever,
Lewis Joseph De Montcalm Gozen:
Márquis of St. Veran, Baron of Gabrial,
Commandatory of the Order of St. Louis,

Lieutenant-General of the French army,
Not less an excellent citizen than soldier,

Who knew no desire but that of true glory.
Happy in a natural genius, improved by literature,
Having gone through the several steps of military honor

With uninterrupted lustre.

Skilled in all the arts of war,
The juncture of times and the crisis of danger,
In Italy, in Bohemia, and in Germany,

An indefatigable General,

He so discharged his important trusts
That he always seemed equal to still greater.

At length, grown bright with perils,
Sent to secure the province of Canada

With a handful of men,
He more than once repelled the enemy's forces

And made himself master of their forts,

Replete with troops and ammunition.
Inured to cold, hunger, watchings, and labor,

Unmindful of himself,
He had no sensations but for his soldiers.
An enemy with the fiercest impetuosity,

A victor with the tenderest humanity,
Adverse fortune he combatted with valor,
The want of strength, with skill and activity,

And with his counsel and support,
For four years he protected the fate of the colony.

Having with various artifices

Long baffled a great army,
Headed by an expert and intrepid commander
And a fleet furnished with all warlike stores,

Compelled at length to an engagement,

He fell in the front rank in the first onset,
Warm with those hopes of religion which he had always cherished,

To the inexpressible loss of his own army

And not without regret of the enemy,
XIV. September, A.D. MDCCLIX. XLVIII. of his age.

His weeping countrymen
Deposited the remains of their excellent General

In a grave
Which a fallen bomb had excavated for him,
Recommending them to the generous faith of their enemies.

Whether the Marquis De Montcalm deserved all that is said of him by partial friends, is perhaps doubtful. He was unquestionably an active, efficient officer. Brave and conciliating, and by his personal efforts contributed much, without doubt, to arrest the downfall of the French power in North America. A less pretending epitaph, however, we think would have been more becoming. The idea of his weeping countrymen depositing the remains of their excellent general in a grave excavated by the explosion of a fallen bomb, we think is inimitably fine.

NOTE IV.

Carver says, that in 1767 Pontiac was assassinated by an Indian of the Peoria tribeeither commissioned by some one of the English garrison, or instigated by the love he bore the English nation. That this savage attended Pontiac as a spy; and being convinced from the speech he made in council, that he still retained his former prejudices against those for whom he professed a friendship, he plunged a knife into his heart, and laid him dead on the spot.

CHAPTER XI.

The Population of Illinois, at the time of its cession to England in 1763, about 3,000

Habits of the French Settlers-Common fields-Commons--The French Settlers and Puritans compared-King's proclamation, October 7th, 1763—Indian grants—Opinions of Lord Camden and others in relation to their validity-Carver's purchaseThe French retain possession of Illinois till 1765, at which time Captain Stirling arrived, took possession, and established his head-quarters at Fort Chartres-General Gage commander-in-chief-His head-quarters in 1764, at New-York-Proclamation-Catholic Religion tolerated in Illinois-Captain Stirling succeeded by Major Farmer, and the latter by Colonel Reid in 1766–Colonel Wilkins arrives at Fort Chartres in 1768, takes the command, and organizes Courts of Justice, by the direction of General Gage-French emigrate to Missouri_Other emigrants arrivePopulation, about stationary-Colonel Wilkins issues patents for land--Becomes interested in one-sixth of each, “the better to promote the service"-English authority established over the Indians-English debt increased by the War of 1756-Attempt to increase the revenue-Excise Duties in England - The American Stamp ActEarl of Bute Prime Minister-Grenville Ministry—Sir Robert Walpole's opinion of the Stamp Act-Roman Colonies-Greek Colonies-American colonization-Stamp Act becomes a law in 1754–Its effect on the Colonies--House of Burgesses in Virginia meet-Patrick Henry-Debate on the Stamp Act-Grenville Ministry dismissedSucceeded by the Buckingham Ministry—Stamp Act repealed-Declaratory Act passed-Exultation in the Colonies at the repeal of the Stamp Act-War in India-Cause of the American Revolution in part-Grafton Ministry-Lord NorthThe latter in power at the commencement of hostilities–Battle of Lexington-Lexington in Kentucky, founded and named-Policy of England-Dr. Johnson's pamph. let, “ Taxation no Tyranny'-Employment of Indians-Earl of Chatham-George Rogers, Clarke-Goes to Williamsburg in Virginia, and communicates his plan of an Illinois expedition to Patrick Henry, the Governor-Expedition to KaskaskiaTakes the place by surprise-Monsieur Cere-Cahokia surrenders-American authority established in Illinois Governor Henry's private and public instructions to Colonel Clarke.

Eighty years had now elapsed since La Salle first planted the banners of France upon the Illinois. During that period, large sums of money had been expended, principally by " the Western company,” or the company of the Indies, in order to promote its settlement. Kings and princes had been its patrons. Ministers of state and ministers of the gospel had lent their aid. Incorporated and other companies had expended their means, and private individuals had exhausted their resources with like views, and, apparently, to but little purpose. The whole population of

the State (exclusive of Indians) when ceded to England, in 1763, could not have exceeded three thousand souls. These were principally French, and resident upon the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Their largest towns were Kaskaskia and Cahokia. The former contained about one hundred families, and the latter between forty and fifty. There were other small villages in their vicinity, and one at Peoria, on the Illinois river. Prairie Du Rocher, near the rocky bluffs, from which it derives its name, in 1776, contained fourteen families, and Prairie Du Pont, a short distance from Cahokia, contained nearly the same. There was also a considerable settlement in and about Fort Chartres ; all, however, put together, would fall short of, rather than exceed the estimate already men. tioned.

The French population in their habits, manners, customs and character, were about the same then as now, and similar to what they had been for half a century before. That simplicity of character, and those habits peculiar to early times, are yet visible among them, and at the time of its cession, were analogous to those prevalent in Normandy and Picardy, previous to the French revolution. Each of their villages had, and some of them still have, their “ village lots,” their “ common fields,” and their « commons,” the American settlers having never sought to disturb the repose of these “ ancient and venerable communities."

The French and Spanish governments, in forming settlements in this country, and especially upon the Mississippi river, had reference, not only to personal convenience, but to protection against the savages. They were laid out in the form of villages or towns, and lots of convenient size for a house, a small garden, some fruit trees, and a stable, were assigned to each family. To each village a tract of land for “common fields," and another for “commons," was also appended.

A “common-field" contained several hundred, and sometimes several thousand acres, inclosed by the joint labor of all, each contributing his share ; and each family possessing an individual interest in certain por. tions, set off by definite bounds. Their interest in this separate portion was held in fee simple, and subject to sale and conveyance as other real estate. Their fences were repaired in common. The time of excluding cattle in the spring, and of gathering the crops and opening the field to cattle in the autumn, was regulated by special ordinances, equally obli. gatory with statute laws, and better enforced, because every individual had an interest in their observance.

A “common” contained frequently several thousand acres, and was granted to the town for wood and pasturage. In this, each villager had a joint or common, but not a separate interest.

A community thus organized, dependent for its prosperity on the In. dian trade, and having but few aspirations beyond it, unless their propensity for mining (wholly ungratified) be taken into view, it could hardly be expected would advance rapidly either in wealth or improvement. Hence a few thousand acres only were reclaimed in the whole State by eighty

« FöregåendeFortsätt »