Page 68t Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The view that Arnold's men had, as they attacked the barricade that the French and English had built between the houses and the cliff here.

The French, who had only been under British rule for 16 years, fought vigorously alongside them now, to repel the American invaders.

Site of the Rue du Sault-au-Matelot Barricade where the Americans under Benedict Arnold, were repulsed, in Dec. 1775
Orig. historic site - Image Size - life size
Found - Quebec, Lower Town

The locations where the action took place in December 1775.

1 - Where Montgomery and Arnold were heading for, the winding Rue de la Montagne, the only way up the cliffs from the port side.

2 - The Rue du Sault-au-Matelot, where Arnold's attack was repulsed and the photo below was taken.

3 - As far as Montgomery got, as he advanced towards the town. The plaques on the cliff here show this as the place he died.

4 - Where Champlain built his Habitation in 1608, started the first permanent settlement in Canada which is taken as the founding of Canada. To the left is the Church of des Victoires on the Place Royale, the heart of the old Lower Town.

To the right of the spot is the Batterie Royale, an angled wall where Frontenac set up the guns to defend the town in the 1600s.

5 - The Plains of Abraham battlefield, where a few hundred meters further down, General Wolfe defeated General Montcalm, in 1759 - only 16 years before Montgomery invaded - which turned French Canada into a British colony.

6 - The apartments of the Governor-General of Canada at the Citadel of Quebec.

7- The birthplace of agriculture in Canada on the site of the cathedral.

Where Louis Hébert laid out the first commercial farm in Canada, early in the 1600s. The Héberts are considered Canada's first farmers.

The spot where Montgomery was killed.

The Governor-General's apartments look down over the spot where the American attack on Quebec was repulsed.

Montgomery had captured eleven ships and stores at Montreal. The Continental Congress made him a Major General for his success. Wrote Montgomery ". . until Quebec is taken, Canada is unconquered".
On December 3rd, Montgomery was joined by Colonel Benedict Arnold's force of 700 men just outside the city of Quebec.

Quebec became the capitol of Canada in 1763, and by 1775 had some 1,500 homes in the upper and lower towns.

Since Montgomery had no artillery to lay siege to Quebec, he could only count on a frontal surprise attack at night to gain him the victory over a well fortified city.

Under the cover of a snowstorm, Montgomery approached the barricade. From 50 yards away, he, with four officers, and 13 men charged, with the general shouting, "Men of New York, you will not fear to follow where your general leads!"

He raised his sword and led the attack. The defending British withheld their fire until the Americans were within point blank range and then opened fire. The hail of musket fire and cannon ball devastated the attacking force.

All except three men were instantly killed. The rest called off the attempt.

An eyewitness account by Judge John J. Henry has survived, which is abridged below:

"General Montgomery had marched at the precise time stipulated, and had arrived at his destined place of attack, nearly about the time we attacked the first barrier, he was not one that would loiter. Colonel Campbell, of the New York Troops, a large, good­looking man, who was second in command of that party, and was deemed a veteran, accompanied the army to the assault, his station was rearward, General Montgomery with his aids, were at the point of the column. . . . . within Cape Diamond, and probably at a distance of fifty yards, there stood a block-house, which seemed to take up the space between the foot of the hill and the precipitous bank of the river, leaving a cartway or passage on each side of it. . . . .

A block-house, if well constructed, is an admirable method of defense, which in the process of the war, to our cost, was fully experienced. In the instance now before us, it was a formidable object. It was square of perhaps forty or fifty feet. The large logs, neatly squared, were tightly bound together by dove-tail work. If not much mistaken, the lower story contained loop-holes for musketry, so narrow that those within could not be harmed from without. The upper story had four or more portholes, for cannon of a large calibre. These guns were charged with grape or canister shot, and were pointed with exactness towards the avenue at Cape Diamond.

The hero Montgomery came. The drowsy or drunken guard did not hear the sawing of the posts of the first palisade. Here, if not very erroneous, four posts were sawed and thrown aside so as to admit four men abreast. The column entered with a manly fortitude. Montgomery accompanied by his aids, McPherson and Cheeseman, advanced in front. Arriving at the second palisade, the General, with his own hands, sawed down two of the pickets, in such a manner as to admit two men abreast. These sawed pickets were close under the hill, and bit a few yards from the very point of the rock, out of view and fire of the enemy from the Blockhouse. Until our troops advanced to that point, no harm could ensue but by stones thrown from above. Even now there had been but an imperfect discovery of the advancing of an enemy, and that only by the intoxicated guard. The guard fled; the General advanced a few paces. A drunken sailor returned to his gun swearing he would not forsake it while undischarged. This fact is related from testimony of the guard on the morning of our capture, some of those sailors being our guard. Applying the match, this single discharge deprived us of our excellent commander.

Colonel Campbell, appalled by the death of our General, retreated a little way from Cape Diamond, out of the reach of the cannon of the block-house, and called a council of officers, who it was said, justified his receding from the attack."

Left Guy Carleton. Below General Montgomery.

From this point the Judge wrote about his capture and detention.

Then. he continued: "It was on this day (January 2nd) that my heart was ready to burst with grief at viewing the funeral of our beloved General. Carleton had, in our former wars with the French, been a friend and fellow-soldier of Montgomery. Though political opinion, perhaps ambition or interest, had thrown these worthies on different sides of a great question, yet the former could not but honour the remains of his quondam friend. About noon the procession passed our quarters, it was most solemn. The coffin, covered with a pall, surmounted by transverse swords, was borne by men. The regular troops, particularly that fine body of men, the 7th Regiment, with reversed arms, and scarfs on the left elbow, accompanied the corpse to the grave. The funerals of the other officers, both friends and enemies, were performed this day. From many of us it drew tears of affection for the deceased and speaking for myself tears of greeting and thankfulness towards General Carleton. . . if such men as Washington, Carleton and Montgomery, had had the entire direction of the adverse war, the contention, in the event, might have happily terminated to the advantage of both sections of the nation. McPherson, Cheeseman, Hendricks and Humphreys were all dignified by the man of burial. . . . . ."
Word of the failure of the attack on Quebec was dispatched to Major General Schuyler, who notified Congress and General Washington. His letter to Washington read:

" Albany, January 13th, 1776
I wish I had no occasion to send my Dear General this melancholy account. My admirable friend, the gallant Montgomery is no more. Brave Arnold is wounded. We have met with a severe check in an unsuccessful attempt on Quebec. . . .

I am Sir, Etc. Philip Schuyler"
General Washington's response to Major General Schuyler was as follows:
"The Major General Schuyler
January 17th, 1776

Dear Sir;
I received your favor of the 13th, inst' with its enclosures & am heartily sorry & most sincerely console with you upon the fall of the brave & worthy Montgomery & those gallant officers & men who have experienced a like fate.
In the death of this gentleman America has sustained a heavy loss having approved himself a steady friend to her rights & of ability to render her the most essential service
George Washington"

The loss of General Montgomery was heartfelt by the Second Continental Congress.

On January 25th, 1776 the Congress passed a resolution which read: "That it is the opinion of this committee that in consideration of the many signal and important services which with the greatest valour and conduct have been rendered to these Colonies by their late General Richard Montgomery who after a series of successes obtained under amazing difficulties at length fell in a gallant attack upon Quebec the Capital of Canada as a tribute of ] justice to the memory of that valiant officer, that his Patriotism, Conduct, Boldness of enterprise & scorn of danger and fearlessness Contempt of danger & of death may stand recorded to posterity exhibiting an example truly worthy of imitation. Resolved that a Monument be procured from Paris or any other part of France, and erected in that Room of the State House in Philadelphia in which the Continental Congress now sit & that it bear an inscription sacred to the memory of General Richard Montgomery & best calculated to perpetuate his fame & that the Continental Treasurer be directed to advance a sum not exceeding 300 pounds sterling to the order of Doctor Franklin who shall be appointed & shall undertake to see this Resolution duly executed in order to pay the expense thereof. "

The monument left was made in France and erected in 1789 on the side of St. Paul's Chapel, where it stands today, directly across the street from the former location of the World Trade center.

This monument was the first Revolutionary War monument created by the United States.

General Montgomery's wife, Janet built a beautiful home and named it Montgomery Place in memory of her late husband. She never remarried and lived until 1827.

In 1818 Janet spearheaded a movement bring back the general's body, still buried in Quebec. His second burial was accompanied with great pomp and ceremony when his remains were interred at St. Paul's Chapel.

Wrote one American expert: "He can safely be called the first true American hero."

Fittingly, as a starting hero for America, he was not a scientist, a philanthropist, a great teacher or thinker, but a general attacking a foreign country.

This was to become the standard for a national American hero that has plagued mankind ever since... and run up an awesome pile of bodies of men, women, and children of all colours and creeds, around the world.

And since America could not get enough blood drenched heroes in the military they invented a whole new slew of civvy heroes bathed in blood of any hapless victims who came their way: Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Arnold, John Wayne...

Is it any wonder inspired American young people routinely decide to grab guns and sack the local school?

In Canada, in the meantime, another kind of founding hero was adopted very early on, that of French heroine Madeleine de Verchères who defended her community against attacks by the Iroquois.

Books, poems, were written about her, and passed down from generation to generation.

The largest bronze statue in Canada, was set up to honour her, a defender, a saviour, a nurturer, not a rapacious destroyer.

And breaking another stereotype this hero was a woman protecting her brood, not a steroidally driven male spewing death and destruction wherever he looked.

A fitting hero for Canada... that once was...

Go to JD Kelly's Madeleine
Go to Bronze Madeleines

Today's politicians, trying to curry favour with Americans besotted with heroes based on bloodlust, put up their own candidate for a hero: Canada's former top general Rick Hillier whose most famous saying was, "Our job is to be able to kill people..." notably "the detestable murderers and scumbags in Afghanistan." Sounds more like Charlie Bronson or Clint, just before they dispatch another lot of undesirables, than any Canadians we know of...

We would have thought this was not a fitting credo for any general worth his salt, and certainly not something you want Canadian schoolchildren to repeat, let alone emulate, when they're surrounded by down-putters all during their teenage years. But our politicians thought this was a worthy role model for the new right wing careening Canada of the 21st century.

But then, at least Clint and Charlie come out looking like winners at the end; Hillier left the Canadians on the ropes trying to carry out his credo, losing ground month after month. All his bravado accomplished was more and more Canadian young people coming home in boxes.

Dating your Currier & Ives Prints

This print is from Nathaniel Currier before he became Currier & Ives in 1857. It is signed N Currier on the left and has the 152 Nassau Street Cor Spruce address on the right bottom.

By correlating the name and address of the place in New York where they produced the pictures, you can date all Currier and Currier & Ives prints.

Strodart & Currier 1834 -1835 137 Broadway
N. Currier 1835 -1836 1 Wall Street
N. Currier 1836 - 1837 148 Nassau Street
N. Currier 1838 -1856 152 Nassau Street Cor. Spruce   - 2 Spruce Street
Currier & Ives 1857 -1872 152 Nassau Street
Currier & Ives 1872 -1874 125 Nassau Street
Currier & Ives 1874 -1877 123 Nassau Street
Currier & Ives 1874 -1877 123 Nassau Street
Currier & Ives 1877 -1894 115 Nassau Street
Currier & Ives 1894 -1896 108 Fulton Street
Currier & Ives 1896 -1907 33 Spruce Street.

Below right the sword of General Montgomery which Guy Carlton, the Governor-General of Canada at the time, in a gesture of gallantry, handed over to the late general's widow.

General Montgomery became fledgling America's first national hero

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

An extremely rare Nathaniel Currier Canadian subject print that is in mint condition even though it is over 150 years old. It started as a black and white image and was hand-painted, probably in the 1840s or 1850s.

The occasion was another of the many futile attempts by the Americans to conquer Canada over the past several hundred years.

The American 13 Colonies had just declared that they were rebelling against the British and started their war of independence.

Part of the strategy was to attack the British seats of power in Canada along the St. Lawrence at Montreal and Quebec.

37 year old General Montgomery brought an army north and quickly subdued the poorly defended and strung out Montreal.

He then marched on Quebec in the dead of winter.

The town's strong points were around the citadel on the hill overlooking the port and the lower town.

The strategy was to advance along the narrow path below the cliffs, split his forces, with Colonel Arnold coming from the east while he would attack from the west. They would meet and then together launch an assault up the narrow road leading to the upper town.

With the traditional bravery of generals of yesteryear Montgomery led the charge from the front - not like modern generals who lead with the Blackberry from the rear.

He and senior officers were cut down and instantly killed by a horrific fusillade from cannon and guns at the hands of British and French-Canadian defenders. Montgomery's demoralized force called off the assault.

The scene is obviously modeled on the big print below by John Trumbull.

Death of Montgomery, N Currier Print - (1838-1856)
Orig. hand coloured print - Image Size - cm
Found - Napanee, ON

Canadian Currier & Ives c 1845 - Death of General Montgomery, 1775

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