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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   57

colonials under General Nicholson began its march north-wards, with Montreal as its objective.

Exceptionally stormy weather at sea lack of efficient pilots, and the difficulties of the navigation of the St. Lawrence caused the naval expedition to miscarry. Arriving in the Gulf of St. Lawrence about the middle of August, Walker's fleet encountered a thick fog, followed by strong winds. A number of ships were wrecked at Isle-aux- Eufs on the north shore of the Gulf, and upwards of 800 men drowned. Among the wrecked vessels were several store-ships, and, as there remained provisions sufficient for only ten weeks, it was deter-mined at a council of war to abandon the enterprise and return home. General Nicholson, on receiving tidings of this disaster, naturally decided to retire, as his land expedition was only part of a concerted scheme. Leaving 150 men as a guard for the frontier, Nicholson marched back to Albany and disbanded his force.

The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, March 31st, 1713, was followed by thirty-one years of peace between France and England. This treaty dispossessed France of Acadia and Newfoundland, and of any rights in Hudson Bay, but left her undisturbed in Canada, and ac-corded to her sovereignty over Cape Breton and Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). The fisheries of the banks of Newfoundland were of supreme importance to France, both for their commercial value and as a training ground for the French navy. A strongly fortified sea-port within reach of the Newfoundland banks, which would also serve as a naval base for the protection of the approaches to the St. Lawrence, was an absolute necessity. As Newfoundland itself had been ceded to England, it was decided that the best position available was a harbour on the island of Cape Breton, Havre a 1'Anglais, for many years a resort of English fishermen. The garrison of Placentia in Newfoundland was transferred to this place in 1713, under its Governor, Costebelle,


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