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Extract of a Letter to a Gentleman in London



The Governour and Legislative Council of this Province have been assembled, but after several meetings have not


been able to agree upon any ordinances. Monsieur St˙ Luke La Corne, and others of the Counsellors, would not hear of Juries, but insisted on following the letter of the Quebeck Act. The Governour suddenly broke up the Council, and set off for Montreal. On his way there, every attempt was made to induce the Canadians to join him. Arms for two thousand men were sent up by land, and ammunition in proportion, to arm those Canadians who should join him on the road; and reports came down to this place that he had not arms enough for the numbers that had joined him. But all this would not make the Canadians about Quebeck stir. At one time St˙ John' s was said to be invested by five thousand Provincials; then it was said they were retired; then the River Chambly (that is, Richelieu or Sorel) was said to be full of them, and that they were sending circular letters about the country; then Montreal was said to be surrounded by them; in short, not a single report could be depended on. We, however, learnt at last that Jeremiah Duggan and young Livingston, who are settled on the River Chambly, (that is, Richelieu or Sorel,) had joined them with a hundred and fifty Canadians, and that he had nearly taken the Governour prisoner, as also Lord Pitt. And soon after, unexpectedly and all on a sudden, Lady Maria Carleton' s passage was taken on board one of the vessels in the harbour, and she set off in two days, with her family, for England. The fortifications of this Town were ordered to be put into an immediate state of defence; a barrier-gate built on the hill which divides the upper Town of Quebeck from the lower; every avenue stockaded; several large vessels taken into the Government' s service, pierced, and mounted with cannon; an embargo laid on all shipping by Proclamation; the sailors taken to man the ships of war, and for other services, such as erecting batteries and the like; and Lord Pitt and others took their passage for England. This struck every one with amazement, as we did not know which way to look for the attack, every motion made by the Provincials being kept a secret from us. In this general apprehension, many fell to packing up their goods, others made preparations to move out of Town; some talked of making a good defence, others a good capitulation. However, just in the midst of this desponding situation (when the communication between St˙ John' s and Montreal was cut off, and the enemies had appeared about La Prairie, and even at La Chine) the last post brought us news from Montreal, that Jeremiah Duggan had crossed the river at Long Point, with some, of that banditti, and Colonel Allen at the head, and some Canadians, and had marched towards Montreal; but that the people of Montreal had by some chance received intelligence of their approach, and that thereupon the English inhabitants of that Town, with a few Canadians, had immediately turned out to oppose them; and that Major Campbell had headed the party, and that they had met with the others, and given them battle near Colonel Christie' s farm. Duggan' s people were pretty stiff, but the Canadians who were with them left them, and took to a barn. Our people, however, got the better, and took Allen prisoner, with thirty or forty of this banditti; but Duggan set off before the rout, and made his escape. Captain Cardon was wounded, and soon died of the wound; Alexander Patterson was wounded in the belly. Duggan had given his followers reason to expect that when they had crossed the river, all the Canadians would join them. He promised them one shilling three pence per diem, and the plunder. It is lamentable to think of the Province being thrown into this distracted state, with an entire stop to trade.