Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Settlers in Canada
Chapter V Landing in Canada

The French sixty-gun ship proved to be the Leonidas; she had been sent out with two large frigates on purpose to intercept the convoy, but she had parted with her consorts in a gale of wind. Her loss of men was very great; that on board of the Portsmouth was trifling. In a couple of hours the Portsmouth and her prize in tow were ready to proceed with the convoy, but they still remained hove to, to wait for the frigates which were in chase of the captured vessels. All of these were speedily come up with except the London Merchant, which sailed so remarkably well. At last, to the great joy of Alfred (who as soon as the bullet had been extracted and his arm dressed, had held his telescope fixed upon the chase), she hove to, and was taken possession of. Before night, the convoy were again collected together, and were steering for their destination. The next morning was clear, and the breeze moderated. Mrs Campbell, who, as well as the rest, was very anxious about Alfred, requested Captain Wilson to run down to the Portsmouth, that they might ascertain if he was safe. Captain Wilson did as she requested, and writing in chalk “all well” in large letters upon the log-board, held it over the side as he passed close to thePortsmouth. Alfred was not on deck—fever had compelled him to remain in his hammock—but Captain Lumley made the same reply on the log-board of the Portsmouth, and Mr and Mrs Campbell were satisfied. “How I should like to see him,” said Mrs Campbell.

“Yes, madam,” observed Captain Wilson, “but they have too much to do on board of the Portsmouth just now; they have to repair damages and to look after the wounded; they have a great quantity of prisoners on board, as you may see, for a great many are now on the booms; they have no time for compliments.”

“That is very true,” replied Mr Campbell, “we must wait till we arrive at Quebec.”

“But we did not see Alfred,” said Emma.

“No, miss, because he was busy enough below, and I dare say no one told him. They have said that ‘all’s well,’ and that is sufficient; and now we must haul off again, for with such a heavy ship in tow, Captain Lumley will not thank me if I am always coming so close to him.”

“I am satisfied, Captain Wilson; pray do nothing that will displease Captain Lumley. We shall soon see Alfred, I dare say, with the spy-glass.”

“I see him now,” said Mary Percival, “he has his telescope, and he is waving his hat to me.”

“Thank God!” replied Mrs Campbell; “now I am satisfied.”

The Portsmouth cast off the French line-of-battle ship, as soon as they had jury-masts up and could make sail on them, and the convoy proceeded to the mouth of the Saint Lawrence.

“Captain Wilson,” said Percival, whose eyes were fixed on the water, “what animals are those, tumbling about and blowing,—those great white things?”

“They are what are called the white whale, Percival,” replied Captain Wilson; “they are not often seen, except about here.”

“Then what is the colour of the other whales?”

“The northern whales are black—they are called the black whales; but the southern, or spermaceti whales, are not so dark in colour.”

Captain Wilson then, at Percival’s request, gave him an account of how the whales were caught, for he had been several voyages himself in the northern whale-fishery.

Percival was never tired of asking questions, and Captain Wilson was very kind to him, and always answered him. John, generally speaking, stood by when Captain Wilson was talking, looking very solemn and very attentive, but not saying a word.

“Well, John,” said Emma to him after the conversation had been ended, “what was Captain Wilson telling you about?”

“Whales,” replied John, walking past her.

“Well, but is that all you can tell me, John?”

“Yes,” replied John, walking away.

“At all events, Miss Emma, he keeps all his knowledge to himself,” observed Captain Wilson, laughing.

“Yes; I shall know nothing about the whale-fishery, unless you will condescend to tell me yourself, that is evident,” replied Emma, taking the offered arm of Captain Wilson, who, at her request, immediately resumed the subject.

In three weeks from the day of the action they had anchored off the town of Quebec.

As soon as they had anchored, Alfred obtained leave to go on board of the London Merchant, and then, for the first time, his family knew that he had been wounded. His arm was still in a sling, but was healing fast.

I shall pass over the numerous inquiries on his part relative to their capture and recapture, and on theirs, as to the action with the French ship.

While they were in conversation, Captain Lumley was reported to be coming on board in his boat. They went on the deck of the vessel to receive him.

“Well, Mrs Campbell,” said Captain Lumley after the first salutations were over, “you must congratulate me on my having captured a vessel somewhat larger than my own; and I must congratulate you on the conduct and certain promotion of your son Alfred. He has richly deserved it.”

“I am very thankful, Captain Lumley, and do most heartily congratulate you,” replied Mrs Campbell; “I only regret that my boy has been wounded.”

“The very thing that you should, on the contrary, be thankful for, Mrs Campbell,” replied Captain Lumley. “It is the most fortunate wound in the world, as it not only adds to his claims, but enables me to let him join you and go to Canada with you, without it being supposed that he has quitted the service.”

“How so, Captain Lumley?”

“I can discharge him to sick-quarters here at Quebec. If they think anything about it at all at home, it will be that his wound is much more severe than it really is; and he can remain on half-pay as long as he pleases. There are plenty ready to be employed. But I cannot wait any longer. I am going on shore to call upon the Governor, and I thought I would just see you in my way. You may assure yourselves that if I can be of any use to you, I will not fail to exert any little influence I may have.”

Captain Lumley then took a cordial leave of the whole party, telling Alfred that he might consider himself as discharged from the ship, and might rejoin his family.

“Heaven sends us friends when we most need them and least expect them,” said Mrs Campbell, as she watched the boat pulling away. “Who would have imagined, when we anchored at Cork, that such good fortune should have awaited us; and that, at the very time Alfred had given up his profession for our sake, his promotion in the service was awaiting him?”

Shortly afterwards Mrs Campbell and Henry went on shore with Captain Wilson to look out for lodgings, and present the letters of introduction which he had received for some Quebec merchants. As they were looking for lodgings in company with a Mr Farquhar, who had kindly volunteered to assist them, they met Captain Lumley on his return from the Governor.

“I am glad to have met you, Mrs Campbell,” said Captain Lumley; “I found, on paying my respects to the Governor, that there is what they call the Admiralty House here, which is kept furnished by Government for the senior officers of his Majesty’s ships. It is at my disposal; and as the Governor has requested me to take up my abode at Government House, I beg you will consider it at your service. You will find better accommodation there than, in lodgings, and it will save you considerable expense.”

“We need look no further, Mrs Campbell,” said Mr Farquhar.

Mrs Campbell expressed her acknowledgments to Captain Lumley, and returned on board with this pleasing intelligence.

“Oh, Alfred, how much we are indebted to you, my dear boy,” said Mrs Campbell.

“To me, mother?—to Captain Lumley, I should rather think.”

“Yes, to Captain Lumley, I grant; but still it has been your good conduct when under his command which has made him attached to you; and it is to that we owe his acquaintance, and all the kindness we have received from him.”

The next day the family disembarked and took possession of the Admiralty house. Mr Farquhar procured them a female servant, who, with a man and his wife left in charge of the house, supplied all the attendance they required.

Mrs Campbell settled with Captain Wilson, who very generously refused to take any money for Alfred’s passage, as he had not remained on board of the London Merchant: promising, however, to accept their invitation to come to them whenever he could find leisure, he took leave of them for the present, and they were left alone in their new residence.

In a few days the Campbells found themselves comfortably settled in the Admiralty House, but they had no intention of remaining there longer than was necessary; as, notwithstanding the accommodation, their residence at Quebec was attended with expense, and Mr Campbell was aware that he had no money to throw away.

On the fourth day after their landing Captain Lumley called to take leave; but the day previous he had introduced them to the Governor, who returned Mr Campbell’s call, and appeared to be much interested in their welfare, owing of course to the representations of Captain Lumley. It was not, therefore, surprising that they should part with regret from one who had proved himself such a kind friend; and many were the expressions of gratitude which were made by the whole party. Captain Lumley shook hands with them all; and, assuring Alfred that he would not lose sight of his interests, wished them every success and left the house. An hour afterwards the Portsmouth was under weigh, and running out with a fine breeze.

On the following day the Governor requested Mr Campbell would call upon him; and when they met he pointed out to him that he would have great difficulties, and, he was fearful, great hardships, to encounter in following up his plan of settling in Upper Canada. He did not dissuade him from so doing, as he had nothing more promising to offer, which might induce him to change his mind, but he thought it right to forewarn him of trials, that he might be well prepared.

“I feel, of course, a strong interest in any English family so well brought up, and accustomed as I find yours has been, to luxury, being placed in such a situation; and the interest which my old friend, Captain Lumley, takes in you, is quite sufficient to induce me to offer you every assistance in my power: that you may depend upon, Mr Campbell. The Surveyor-General is coming here immediately; I must first introduce you to him, as it is from him that the land must be obtained, and of course he can advise you well on the point of locality; but you must recollect that it is not much more than thirty years since these provinces have been surrendered to Great Britain, and that not only the French population, but the Indians, are very hostile to the English, for the Indians were, and still are, firm allies to the French, and detest us. I have been reflecting upon the affair, and I hope to be of some service to you; if I am not, it will not, I assure you, be from any want of will; under every advantage which may be procured for you, at all events, you will require stout hearts and able hands. Your son Alfred will be of great service, but we must try and procure you some other assistance that can be trusted.”

A long conversation took place between the Governor and Mr Campbell, during which the latter received much valuable information: it was interrupted, however, by the arrival of the Surveyor-General, and the topic was resumed.

“The land that I would propose to Mr Campbell,” observed the Surveyor-General, after a time, “if there is no objection to part with it, is a portion of what has been laid aside as Government reserve on this part of the Lake Ontario; there are lands to be obtained nearer to Montreal, but all the land of good quality has been purchased. This land, you will observe, Mr Campbell, is peculiarly good, having some few acres of what we call prairie, or natural meadow. It has, also, the advantage of running with a large frontage on the beach, and there is a small river on one side of it; besides, it is not a great distance, perhaps four or five miles, from Fort Frontignac, and it might be easy to obtain assistance if required.”

The Surveyor-General pointed to a part of the map, near to Presqu’ Ile de Quinte, as he made this observation to the Governor.

“I agree with you,” replied the Governor, “and I observe that there is already a settler on the other side of the stream.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the Surveyor; “that allotment was granted before it was decided that the rest should be a Government reserve; and if proof were required of the goodness of the land, it would be found in the person who took it. It was taken four years ago by the old hunter, Malachi Bone; he has been over every part of it, of course, and knows what it is. You recollect the man, don’t you, sir? He was a guide to the English army before the surrender of Quebec; General Wolfe had a high opinion of him, and his services were so good that he was allowed that tract of 150 acres.”

“I now remember him,” replied the Governor, “but as I have not seen him for so many years, he had escaped my recollection.”

“It will be a great advantage to you, Mr Campbell, having this man as a neighbour.”

“Now,” continued the Governor, addressing the Surveyor-General, “do you know of any person who would be willing to serve Mr Campbell, and who can be depended on; of course one who understands the country, and who would be really useful?”

“Yes, Governor, I do know a very good man, and you know him also; but you know the worst part of him, for he is generally in trouble when you see him.”

“Who is that?”

“Martin Super, the trapper.”

“Why, that is the young fellow who breeds such disturbances, and who, if I recollect right, is now in prison for a riot.”

“The very same, sir; but Martin Super, although a troublesome fellow at Quebec, is worth his weight in gold when he is out of the town. You may think it strange, Mr Campbell, that I should recommend a man who appears to be so unruly a character; but the fact is, that the trappers, who go in pursuit of game for their skins, after having been out for months, undergoing every privation that can be imagined, return home with their packages of skins, which they dispose of to the merchants of this town; and as soon as they have their money, they never cease their revelry of every description until their earnings are all gone, and then they set off again on their wild and venturous pursuit. Now Martin Super, like all the rest, must have his fun when he comes back, and being a very wild fellow, he is often in scrapes when he has drank too much, so that he is occasionally put into prison for being riotous; but I know him well, he has been with me surveying for months, and when he is on service, a more steady, active, and brave man I do not know.”

“I believe you are right in recommending him,” observed the Governor, “he will not be sorry to get out of gaol, and I have no doubt but that he will conduct himself well if he once agrees to take your service, Mr Campbell, for one or two years. As for the Canadians, they are very harmless, but at the same time very useless. There are exceptions, no doubt; but their general character is anything but that of activity and courage. As I said before, you will require stout hearts, and Martin Super is one, that is certain. Perhaps you can arrange this for Mr Campbell?”

The Surveyor-General promised to do so; shortly after which, Mr Campbell, with many thanks, took his leave of the Governor.

Mr Campbell, who had gained every possible information relative to what would be most necessary for him to take with him, was actively employed for a fortnight in making his purchases. During this time much attention was shown to them both by the English and French residents at Quebec.

Alfred, whose wound was now nearly healed, was as active as usual, and Henry was of great assistance to his father in taking inventories and making out lists, etcetera. Nor were Mrs Campbell and the two girls unemployed; they had purchased the coarse manufactures of the country, and were very busy making dresses for themselves and for the children. Mr Campbell had been one morning at Mr Farquhar’s, the merchant’s, to make inquiries about a conveyance up to his new purchase (for he had concluded his arrangements with the Surveyor-General), when the Governor sent a message by one of his aides-de-camp, to say that it was his intention in the course of ten days to send a detachment of soldiers up to Fort Frontignac—news have been received that the garrison was weakened by a fever which had broken out; and that if Mr Campbell would like to avail himself of the opportunity, he and his family, and all his luggage, should go under the escort of the officer and troops. This offer was, of course, joyfully accepted, and on Mr Campbell’s calling upon the Governor to return his thanks, the latter told him that there would be plenty of room in the bateaux and canoes for them and all their luggage, and that he need not give himself further trouble, or incur any further expense.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus