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Sketches Illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada
Chapter 12


Raising of the Glengarry Fencible or British Highland Regiment in Scotland.—-Incidents Previous Thereto.—Mr. Alexander (Afterwards Bishop) Macdonell Accompanies a number of the Highlanders to Glasgow, where they are Employed by the Manufacturers.—Closing of the Manufactories on Proclamation or War Between Britain and France.—Proposal to Raise a Regiment to be Under Command of the Young Chief of Glengarry.— First Catholic Corps since the Reformation.—Stationed in Guernsey.—Offer to Garrison St. Marcou.—Services in Ireland in Suppression of Rebellion of '98.—Disbanded with other Fencibles in 1802.—Services of the Chaplain on behalf of the Men.—He Procures a Grant of 200 Acres for each man in Glengarry in Canada.—Lord Hobart's Letter to Lieut.-Gov. U. C.

The last emigration on a large scale of Glengarry Highlanders took place in 1802 under the circumstances mentioned in Thomson's "Memoirs of the Jacobites," page 322 et seq., but as they are so interesting and of such historic value to the County, I prefer to quote from the words of the person best qualified to speak authoritatively on the subject, and who brought the immigrants to Canada, the former Chaplain of the Glengarry Fencible Infantry or British Highland Regiment, afterwards the Honourable and Right Reverend Alexander Macdonell, first Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada and a member of the Legislative Council of the Province. I take them from the Canadian Literary Magazine of April, 1833, vol. 1, page 3 et seq.

Alter explaining how, consequent upon the abolition of the feudal system of clanship which had obtained from time immemorial, and had been based upon the mutual interest of chieftain and clans men, by the influence and consequence in proportion to the number of his followers it afforded the former— and the protection and support it gave to the latter—-the "bleak and barren mountains of the north," which had previously raised men, had been converted into sheep walks, and the suffering thus necessarily entailked upon the people —their utter misery in fact—he proceeds:

It was in this conjecture that the writer of these pages, then a Missionary on the borders of the Counties of Inverness and Perth, in the highest inhabited parts of the Highlands of Scotland, affected by the distressed state of his Countrymen, and heating that an emigrant vessel which had sailed from the Island of Barra, one of the Hebrides, had been wrecked and had put into Greenock, where she-landed her passengers in the most helpless and destitute situation, repaired in the spring of 1792 to Glasgow. Having secured an introduction to several of the professors of the University and to the principal manufacturers of that city, he proposed to the latter that he should induce the Highlanders who had been turned out of their farms, and those lately escaped from the shipwreck, to enter into the works if they (the manufacturers) would but encourage them, and this they really promised to do upon very liberal terms. There were two serious obstacles, however, to the usefulness of the Highlanders: the one that they did not understand the English language, the other that a large portion of them were Roman Catholics. The excitement raised by Lord George Gordon about Catholics twelve years before, when the Catholic chapels of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the clergymen's houses, were burned, had not yet subsided, and a strong and rancorous feeling against the professors of the Catholic religion still remained amongst the lower orders of the people of Glasgow; so much so, indeed, that no Catholic clergyman could with safety reside there from the time of the burning of the chapels to the period we are now speaking of the manufacturers represented to the Missionary that although perfectly willing themselves to afford the Catholics all the countenance and protection in their power, yet, as the Penal Laws still remained in full force against them, they could not be answerable for the consequences in the event of evil deigned persons assailing or annoying them ; and they represented that the danger was still greater to a Catholic Clergyman, who was subject not only to the insult and abuse of the rabble, but to be arraigned before a court of justice. To this the Missionary replied 1hat although the latter of the law militated against Catholics, the spirit of it was greatly mitigated, and that if they would but assure the Highlanders of their protection, he himself would take his chance of the severity of the law and the fanaticism of the people, and accompany the Highlanders to the manufactories, in order to serve them in the double capacity of Interpreter and Clergyman; for the Missionary saw that it was a notorious fact that Catholics following the dictates of their religion, and restrained by its morality, made faithful and industrious servants; but, discarding those ties and obligations, they became vicious and unprincipled.

The manufacturers, appearing much pleased with this proposal, offered every protection and encouragement in their power to himself and followers. Accordingly, with the approbation of his Bishop, he took up his residence in Glasgow in June, 1792, and in the course of a few months procured employment for upwards of 500 Highlanders.

On the few occasions previous to this, that a priest had officiated in Glasgow, he was obliged to have his meetings up two or three pairs of stairs, and to station at the door a sturdy Irishman or Highlander armed with a bludgeon to overawe the intruders who might attempt to disturb the service. But the missionary, by the advice of one of the most influential Presbyterian of the city, opened his chapel to the street and did not close the door during the service. Two respectable members of the congregation attended to show any decent persons, attracted thither by curiosity, into a seat; and several who thus came were repeatedly heard to say that this was not Popery at all, although the principal tenets of the Catholic Religion were taught and explained both in English and Gaelic: and because they saw neither pictures nor images, and the mass was said early in the morning, before those who might be disposed to give annoyance were up, and who, being of the lower class of labourers and tradesman, generally spent the Saturday evenings in a tavern and Sunday morning in bed.

For two years the manufactories went on with astonishing prosperity and success, but in the year 1794 the principles of the French Revolt, spreading rapidly over Great Britain, and meeting with the warmest abettors in the manufacturing districts, the English Government found it necessary to adopt measures to check its progress and to prevent intercourse between the two countries.

War was at length proclaimed between England and France. The export of British manufactures to the Continent was stopped; the credit or the manufacturers was checked; their works were almost at a stand, frequent bankruptcies ensued, a general dismissal of labouring hands took place, and misery and distress overtook those thus suddenly thrown out of employ.

Among the sufferers were the poor Highlanders above mentioned. Unaccustomed to hard labour and totally ignorant of the English language, they became more helpless and destitute than any other class of the whole community.

At this crisis the Missionary conceived the idea of getting these unfortunate Highlanders embodied as a Catholic Corps in His Majesty's service, with his young Chief, Macdonell of Glengarry, for their Colonel. Having procured a meeting of the Catholics at Fort Augustus, in February, 1794, a loyal address was drawn up to the King, offering to raise a Catholic corps, under the command of the young Chieftain, who, together with John Fletcher, Esq., of Dunans, proceeded as a deputation to London with the address, which was most graciously received by the King. The manufacturers of Glasgow furnished them with the most ample and honourable testimonials of the good conduct of the Highlanders during the time they had been in their works, and strongly recommended that they should be employed in the service of their country. A Letter of Service was accordingly issued to raise the first Glengarry Fencible Regiment as a Catholic corps, being the first that was raised as such since the Reformation.

The missionary, although contrary to the then existing law, was gazetted as Chaplain of the Regiment- Four or five Regiments which had been raised in Scotland, having refused to extend their services to England, and having mutinied when they were ordered to march, the Glengarry Fencibles, by the persuasion of their Chaplain, offered to extend their services to any part of Great Britain or Scotland, or even to the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. This offer was very acceptable to the Government, since it formed a precedent to all Fencible corps that were raised after this period. The Regiment, having been embodied in June, 1795, soon afterwards embarked for Guernsey, and remained there until the summer of 1798.

Sir Sidney Smith having taken possession of the small island of St. Marcou, in the mouth of Cherbourg Harbor, the Glengarries offered to garrison that post, but the capture of that gallant officer and of the much lamented Captain Wright, who was first tortured and then put to death in a French prison because he would riot take a commission in the French navy, prevented the enterprise from taking place.

In the summer of 1798 the rebellion broke out in Ireland, and the Glengarry Regiment was ordered to that country. Landing at Ballenack, they marched from thence to Waterford, and from Waterford to New Ross the same day. At the former place a trilling circumstance occurred which afforded no small surprise to some and no slight ridicule to others, while at the same it showed the simplicity of the Highlanders and their ignorance of the ways of the World. The soldiers who received billet money on the entrance in the town returned it on their being ordered to march the same evening to New Ross for the purpose of reinforcing General Johnson, who was surrounded, and, in a manner, besieged by the rebels.

The next day General Johnson attacked and dislodged the rebels from Laggan Hill, who, after a very faint resistance, retreated to Vinegar Hill. The Chaplain, upon this and all other occasions, accompanied the Regiment to the field, with the view of preventing the men from plundering or committing any act of cruelty upon the country people. The command of the Town of New Ross devolved on Colonel Macdonell, and the Chaplain found the Jail and Court House crowded with wounded rebels, whose lives had been spared, but who had been totally neglected. Their wounds had never been dressed, nor any sustenance been given to them since the day of the battle. Colonel Macdonell, on being informed of their miserable condition, ordered the Surgeon of his Regiment to attend them, and every possible relief was offered to the wretched sufferers. From New Ross the Regiment was ordered to Kilkenny, and from thence to Hackett's Town, in the County of Wicklow, to reduce a body of rebels and deserters, who had taken possession of the neighboring mountains, under the command of the rebel chiefs, Holt and Dwyer.

The Village of Hackett's Town had been entirely consumed to ashes, partly by the insurgents and partly by the military. Deprived of this shelter, the troops were compelled to live under tents the greater part of the winter, and the Chaplain considered it his duty to share their privations and sufferings.

Colonel Macdonell, who now commanded the Brigade, which consisted of the Glengarries, two companies of the Eighty-Ninth Regiment of Foot, two companies of Lord Darlington's Fencible Cavalry, and several companies of the Yeomanry, finding that the rebels made a practice of descending from the mountains in the night time to the hamlets in the valleys for the purpose of plunder, adopted a plan of getting the troops under arms about midnight and marching them from the camp in two divisions without fife or drum. One division was ordered to gain the summits of the mountains, the other to scour the inhabited parts of the country; so that the rebels, in attempting to regain their footsteps, found themselves entrapped between two fires. The Chaplain never failed to accompany one or the other of these divisions, and was the means of saving the lives of. and preserving for legal trial, many prisoners, whom the yeomanry would, but for his interference, have put to immediate death.

The Catholic chapels in many of those parts had been turned into stables for the yeomanry cavalry, but the Chaplain, when he came, caused them to be cleaned out and restored to their proper use. He also invited the terrified inhabitants and clergy to resume their accustomed worship, and laboured not in vain to restore tranquility and peace to the people, persuading them that if they behaved quietly and peacefully the Government would protect Catholics as well as Protestants, and impressing upon their minds that the Government having entrusted arms to the hinds of the Glengarry Highlanders, who were Roman Catholics, was a proof that it was not inimical to them on account of their religion. These exhortations, together with the restoration of divine service in the chapels, the strict discipline enforced by Colonel Macdonell, and the repression of the licentiousness of the yeomanry, served in a great measure to restore confidence to the people, to allay feelings of dissatisfaction and to extinguish the embers of rebellion wherever the Glengarry Regiment served.

The Highlanders, whom the rebels called "the Devil's Bloodhounds," both on account of their dress and their habit of climbing and traversing the mountains, had greatly the advantage of the insurgents in every encounter, so much so that in a few months their force was reduced from a thousand to a few scores. Holt, seeing his numbers so fast diminishing, surrendered to Lord Powerscourt, and was transported to Botany Bay. Dwyer, after almost his whole party had been killed or taken, was at length surprised in a house with his few remaining followers by a party of the Glengarries. Here he defended himself and killed some of his pursuers, till the house being set on fire, he was shot while endeavoring to make his escape, stark naked, through the flames.

The Marquess Cornwallis, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Commander of the forces, was so well pleased with the services of the Glengarry Fencibles that he advised the Government to have the Regiment augmented. In furtherance of this plan, the Chaplain was despatched to London with recommendations from every General under whose command the corps had served in Guernsey or in Ireland, to procure the proposed augmentation and to settle on the terms. Previous to his departure from Dublin, the measure of a legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland had been brought into the Irish Parliament and miscarried. The Catholic Bishops and Catholic nobles of Ireland having assembled in Dublin to discuss this subject, came to a determination favourable to the views of Government, and communicated their sentiments to the Chaplain, authorizing him to impart them to the Ministry. The Chaplain did :so accordingly in his first interview with the Right Honourable Henry Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, but that statesman considered the Chaplain's information incorrect, and insinuated that the intention of the Irish Catholic dignitaries and nobility was quite contrary to what was stated.

He also privately informed Sir John Cox Hippesley, who accompanied the Chaplain to the Secretary of State's Office, that by a despatch received through that day's mail from Lord Castlereagh, the Secretary of State for Ireland, he was informed that the purpose of the meeting of the Catholics was to counteract the measures of the Government. This the Chaplain took the liberty to deny, and offered to prove his assertion to the satisfaction of Mr. Dundas by being allowed time to refer to the Catholic meeting at Dublin. He accordingly wrote to Colonel Macdonell, whom he had left in that city, and received by return of post an answer from Viscount Kenmare, contradicting to the assertions of Viscount Castlereagh. On this occasion the Government papers indulged in severe reflections upon the conduct of the Irish Catholics. The Chaplain requested that they should be contradicted, which was done very reluctantly, and not until he had threatened to have the truth published is the Opposition papers. The correspondence on that subject is now in his possession.

The proposed augmentation, however, did not take place. The views of government were altered, and instead of augmenting the Fencible Corps, they gave commissions in the regiments of the Line to those officers of the Fencibles who could bring a certain number of volunteers with them.

The Glengarry Fencibles were afterwards employed in the mountains and other parts of Conomaragh, where some of the most desperate rebels had taken refuge, and where the embers of rebellion continued longest unextinguished. The Chaplain was their constant attendant down to the year 1802, when at the short Peace of Amiens, the whole of the Scotch Fencibles were disbanded.

I have obtained a list of the officers of this Regiment from an army list of 1798. The Regiment was stationed at Kilkenny at the time. It will be observed that Colonel Macdonald is named as Colonel, Glengarry being in charge of the Brigade :

Colonel—Donald Macdonald.
Lieutenant-Colonel—Charles McLean.
Major—Alexander Macdonell.

Captains.

Archibald McLachlan,
Donald Macdonald,
Ranald Macdonell,
James Macdonald,
Archibald Macdonell,
Roderick Macdonald,
Hugh Beaton.

Captain-Lieutenant and Captain—Alexander Macdonell

Lieutenants.

John Macdonald,
Ronald Macdonald,
Archibald McLellan,
James Macdonell,
James McNab.
D. Mclntyre,
Donald Chisholm,
Allan McNab.

Ensigns.

Alexander Macdonell
John Macdonald,
Charles Macdonald,
Donald Macdonell.
Donald Maclean,
Archibald Macdonell,
Alexander Macdonell,
Andrew Macdonell,
Francis Livingstone.

Adjutant—Donald Macdonell.

Quarter-Master—Alexander Macdonell.

Surgeon—Alexander Macdonell.

Taken as a whole, the names seem to be somewhat Scotch, and to savor, as did these of the men, of the clan whose suaicheantas was the heather!

I may mention that this is but one of the twenty-six Scottish regiments, almost all Highland, enumerated in the army list of 1798, though a young essayist has gravely assured us that the finer qualities and instincts of the men of that and previous generations had been dwarfed by long subjection to the despotism of their chiefs, and that even their physique had degenerated under oppression, and that it required years and another climate and changed surroundings to counteract the stunting influences of centuries.

The Highlanders now found themselves in the same destitute situation as they were in when first introduced into the manufactories of Glasgow. Struck with their forlorn condition, the Chaplain, at his own expense, proceeded to London to represent their situation to the Government and to endeavor to induce ministers to lend them assistance to emigrate to Upper Canada. He was introduced to the Right Honourable Charles Yorke, Secretary at War, and by him to Mr. Addington, the Premier. The latter, on account of the testimonials which the Chaplain presented to him of the good conduct of the Regiment during the whole of their service, signed by the different general officers under whose command they had been, directed that a sum of money should be paid to the Chaplain, out of the Military Chaplains' fund in lieu of half-pay, which could not be ranted to him without forming a precedent to other Chaplains of Fencible Corps; and this favour was conferred upon him at the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, then Commander-in-Chief, on account of his having constantly attended the Regiment when every other regimental Chaplan had retired upon five shillings a day by virtue of an order issued from the War Office in 1798. Mr. Addington requested the Chaplain to state to him, in writing, the cause of the frequent emigrations from the Highlands of Scotland. The Chaplain complied with his request in a series of letters, on the perusal of which Mr. Addington expressed his deep regret that so brave and faithful a portion of His Majesty's subjects, who were always found ready at the call of Government, and from whom no murmurs or discontents were ever heard, even under the most trying and distressing circumstances, should be compelled to quit their native soil by the harsh treatment of their landlords, and to transfer their allegiance to the United States, whither the emigration had been flowing previous to this period.

Mr. Addington added that the loss of so many Highlanders was one of the circumstances which had given him the greatest uneasiness during his administration, and that nothing would give him greater satisfaction than to convince them of the friendly feelings and kind intentions of Government towards them by putting them in the way of acquiring, in a few years, prosperity, and even wealth, with which they might return and live in ease and independence in their native land. He then proposed to the Chaplain to send a colony of those Highlanders with whom he was connected to the Island of Trinidad, which was then first ceded to the British Empire; and to give a farm of eighty acres of land to every head of a family, and money out of the treasury to purchase four slaves for every farm a larger proportion of land and slaves to such gentlemen who would accompany the colony, and to the Chaplain as large a salary as he could reasonably demand. Mr. Addington also offered to send a surgeon and a schoolmaster, with salaries from Government, to the new colony, and, to remove the difficulties which the Chaplain had stated in regard to the unhealthiness of a tropical climate and the propensity of Highlanders to drink ardent spirits, undertook to furnish the colony with as much wine as the Chaplain and Surgeon should consider necessary for the preservation of the general health tor three years, also sufficient vinegar wherewith to wash their habitations for the same period; after which it might be supposed that the constitution of the settlers would become inured to the climate.

For these liberal and advantageous offers the Chaplain could not but feel grateful to Mr. Addington, but while he thanked him for kind intentions towards his countrymen, he assured him that no consideration on earth would induce him to prevail upon Highlanders to reside in the unhealthy climate of the West Indies, or reconcile to his conscience the bitter reflection of his being the cause of making a woman or a child a widow or an orphan.

Mr. Addington seemed greatly surprised and disappointed at this expression of the Chaplain's sentiments, and demanded in what other way he could serve the Highlanders. He was answered that what they expected and wished was to be assisted in emigrating to Upper Canada, where several of their friends had already settled themselves.

The Chaplain proceeded to state that if this assistance were tendered upon a more expensive scale, it would allay the irritated feelings entertained by the Highlanders against their landlords, whose cruel conduct was identified with the system and operations of Government. Moreover, the Scotch, quitting their country in this exasperated state of mind, and settling in the United States, readily imbibed republican principles and a determined antipathy against the British Government; whereas by diverting the tide of emigration into the British colonies, their population would be increased by settlers retaining British principles, British feelings and an attachment towards their native country, not only undiminished, but even increased by the parental conduct of the Government towards them.

Mr. Addington then offered to lend some assistance to the Chaplain to convey his adherents to the sea coast of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Cape Breton, but assured him that His Majesty's Government considered the hold they had of Upper Canada so slender and so precarious that a person in his situation would not be justified in putting his hand in the public purse to assist British subjects to emigration to that colony. The Chaplain, however, adhered to his first resolution of conducting his countrymen to Upper Canada, and Mr. Addington procured for him an order with the Sign Manual; to the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada to grant two hundred acres of land to every one of the Highlanders who should arrive in the Province.

No sooner was it known that this order had been given by the Secretary for the Colonies than the Highland landlords and proprietors took the alarm, considering the order as an allurement to entice from the country their vassals and dependents.

Sir John McPherson, Sir Archibald Macdonald (the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in England), the late Mr. Charles Grant, one of the Directors of the East India Company and M.P. for the County of Inverness, with other gentlemen connected with the Highlands, and even the Earl of Moira, then commanding the forces in North Britain, endeavored to dissuade the Chaplain from his purpose, and promised to procure a pension for him provided he would separate himself from the Highlanders whom he had promised to take to Canada, and that the amount of the pension should be in proportion to the number he should prevail upon to stay at home.

So anxious were these gentlemen to keep the Highlanders at home that they applied to the Prince of Wales, and by His Royal Highness' sanction, Sir Thomas Tyrrwhit, the Prince's agent, sent for the Chaplain to Carlton House for the purpose of prevailing upon him to induce the intending emigrants to settle on the waste lands of the County of Cornwall, under the patronage and protection of His Royal Highness. This the Chaplain also declined, and in concert with Major Archibald Campbell, then on the staff of General Pulteney, now Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, proposed a plan of organizing a Military emigration, to be composed of the soldiers of the several Scotch Fencible Regiments just then disbanded, and sending them over to Upper Canada for the double purpose of forming an internal defence and settling the country. It was requested that a certain portion of land should be granted to every man after a service of five years, or on his furnishing a substitute; so that the same force might always be kept up and the settlement of the country go on. It was considered that this plan would prevent the frequent desertion of His Majesty's troops to the United States; would make these military settlers interested in the defence of the Province, and be a prodigious saving of transport of troops in the event of a war with the United States.

Several distinguished officers appeared anxious to join this military emigration, and the scheme was nearly matured, when Mr. Addington found himself under the necessity of resigning the Premiership, and Pitt and Dundas returned to office.

The war was soon after renewed, and the Scotch landlords combined to keep their people at home.

Most of these gentlemen had received commissions from the Government to raise levies, and were, of course, anxious to fulfil their engagements. Seeing that so many thousands of their poor countrymen who had been let loose in the country in a state of destitution, had no other alternative, if prevented from emigrating, ♦ban to enter the army, they procured an Act of Parliament to impose certain restrictions and regulations on vessels carrying out emigrants to the Colonies. By those regulations, a vessel could not get her clearance from the Custom House if she had more than one passenger, even an infant, for every two tons of the registered burden of the ship—although the transport regulations for carrying troops to the East and West Indies allowed a ton and a half for every soldier, even without reckoning women and children; another clause was that the provision should be inspected and certified, that a pound of salt beef or pork and a pound and a half of flour or of hard biscuit should be found on board as the daily provision for every man, woman and child for the space of three months. A third clause was that a vessel carrying emigrants from any part in Great Britain and Ireland to the Colonies should be provided with a surgeon, who should have his diploma from Surgeons' Hall in London, from Edinburgh University or Trinity College, Dublin. A diploma from any other college or university in Great Britain would not qualify him for this charge. Several other clauses similar to the above were contained in this Act, and all under the specious pretext of humanity and tender benevolence towards the emigrants, and, forsooth, to prevent the imposition of those who were employed ip chartering vessels to carry emigrants to the Colonies, who were designated by the Scotch lairds, dealers in white slaves; yet, by the operations of this merciful Act of Parliament, an emigrant could not pay the passage of himself, his wife and four children under eight years of age for a less sum than 84!

Alexander Hope, then Lord Advocate of Scotland, was instructed to bring this bill into Parliament, and in his luminous speech in the House of Commons, the learned gentleman, to show the necessity of such regulations, related a most pathetic story of an emigrant vessel arriving in a harbour in one of the British Colonies of North America, the whole of the passengers and almost the whole of the crew of which were found dead in their berths, and the few survivors of the crew not able to cast anchor. He also asserted that emigrants who had been some time in the Colonies were desirous to get back to their native country, and when they could not accomplish their wishes, were desirous to prevent their friends at home from emigrating, but dared not acquaint them of their now miserable condition but by stratagem desiring them to consult their Uncle Sandy, and if he advised them to come, then they might proceed. Now, it was well known that Uncle Sandy was dead many years previous. These and many other such like pitiable and affecting passages of the Lord Advocate's speech in the House of Commons blazed through the public prints in Scotland, and were believed, or it was pretended that they were believed, like Gospel, by the Highland lairds and their friends.

The moment that this bill passed into law, an embargo was laid on all emigrant vessels in British harbours, and this though many of them had already nearly received their complement of passengers, and the whole of the emigrants of the season, after selling their effects, had arrived or were on then way to the seaports to embark. Fortunately, however, for the soldiers of the disbanded Glengarry Fencibles, the greater part of them had got away before the bill came into operation. The Chaplin, having been detained m London on business, after the sailing of his adherents, received a call from the Earl of Selkirk, who proposed to him to join in his plan of taking emigrants to North America. The Chaplain requested his lordship to explain his views and intentions, upon which the Earl stated that he intended to settle those regions between Lakes Huron and Superior with Scotch Highlanders, where the climate was nearly similar to that of the north of Scotland, and the soil of a superior quality; besides, they would enjoy the benefit of the fish with which the lakes teemed, particularly the white fish of the Sault Ste. Marie,

The Chaplain at first declined this offer on the plea that private business would detain him in London. The Earl than offered him an order for 2,000 upon his agent, as an indemnification for any loss or inconvenience he might experience by so sudden a departure. The Chaplain was a second time compelled to give a refusal and to decline this generous offer of the Earl, declaring at the same time he felt most grateful for such generosity, but that he could never think of putting himself under so great an obligation to any man, that the situation which his lordship had selected for his settlement was beyond the jurisdiction of the Government of Upper Canada, and so far from any other location that he was apprehensive that emigrants settling themselves in so remote a region would meet with insuperable difficulties; that he could by no means induce those with whose interests he was connected to go beyond the protection of the Provincial Government, and, besides, such a settlement would entirely destroy the Northwest Company, as it would cut off the communication between the winterers and Canada; and as several of the principal members of that Company were his particular friends, no consideration would induce him to enter upon an enterprise that would injure their interest.

The Chaplain then asked the Earl what could induce a man of his high rank and great fortune, possessing the esteem and confidence of His Majesty's Government and of every public man in Britain, to embark in an enterprise so romantic as that he had just explained. To this the Earl replied that the situation of Great Britain, and indeed of all Europe, was at that moment (September 1803) so very critical and eventful that a man would like to have a more solid footing to stand upon than Europe could offer.

The following letter was addressed by Lord Hobart, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to Lieutenant-General Hunter, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, at the time of the departure of this important emigration to Canada:

"Downing Street, 1st March, 1803.

"Sir

"A body of Highlanders, mostly Macdonells, and partly dis-banded soldiers of the Glengarry Fencible Regiment, with their families and immediate connections, are upon the point of quitting their present place of abode, with the design of following into Upper Canada some of their relatives who have already established themselves in that Province. .

"The merit and services of the Regiment in which a proportion of these people have served, give them strong claims to any mark of favour and consideration which can consistently be extended to them and with the encouragement usually afforded the Province they would no doubt prove us valuable settlers as their connexions now residing in the District of Glengarry, of whose industry and general good conduct very favourable representations have been received here. . .

"Government has been apprized of the situation and disposition of the families before described by Mr. Macdonell, one of the Ministers of their Church and former!, C'haplain of the Glengarry Regiment, who possesses considerable influence with the whole body.

"He has undertaken, in the event of their absolute determination to carry into execution their plan of departure, to embark with them and direct their course to Canada.

In case of their arrival within your Government, I am commanded by His Majesty to authorize you to grant, in the usual manner, a tract of the unappropriated Crown lands in any part of the Province where they may wish to fix, in the proportion of twelve hundred acres to Mr. Macdonell and two hundred acres to every family he may introduce into the Colony.

"I have the honour to be, sir,

"Your most obedient, humble servant,

"Hobart."


 


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