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108   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

from the corps organized in the centres of population, the number of recruits was very small, the few who did join being principally French gentry and retired British soldiers. The need being urgent, on June 9th, 1775, Carle-ton put the Province under martial law; and at the same time called upon the seigneurs to muster their tenants. The peasants vigorously protested. They saw in this action a revival of those powers of Crown and noble which had been their scourge under the French regime.

The seigneur of Terrebonne, M. La Come, was instructed by General Carleton to enrol his tenants. La Come told the habitants that, by the tenure of their lands, he had a right to command their military services, to which they replied that they had now become subjects of England, and did not look upon themselves as Frenchmen in any respect whatever. M. La Come struck some of the more outspoken; this maddened the people, who vigorously attacked him, and he fled to Montreal, threatening to bring back 200 soldiers. The people armed themselves for resistance, but the prudence of Carleton soothed them. He sent an English officer, Captain Hamilton, to Terre-bonne with La Come. To Hamilton the habitants declared that if General Carleton needed their services, they were ready to serve under English officers, but not under the Seigneur. They refused to disperse until Hamilton promised them that La Come should have no military authority over them.

This incident, one of many of a like kind, will serve to illustrate the difficulties confronting Carleton. But it was not the peasants only to whom the Quebec Act was in some respects a menace and a grievance. The men of the towns held the measure in detestation. In Montreal, the captain of the French-Canadian militia declared to Carleton that "his compatriots would not take up arms unless His Excellency would assure them, on his honour, that he would use his utmost endeavours to get the Quebec Act repealed." The Governor thereupon gave the promise.


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