Main content

Title: [Lord?] Alexander, Quebec, to The Countess Of Caledon, London.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Filelord caledon/94
SenderLord Caledon (James Du Pre Alexander)
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationarmy officer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginQuebec, Canada
DestinationLondon, England
RecipientCountess of Caledon
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD 2433/B/8: Deposited by the Trustees of The Caledon Estates
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, N.Ireland.
Doc. No.9602017
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 01:02:96.
Word Count1605
TranscriptCitadel Barracks,
June 29 1838
My Dear Mother
I take the opportunity of the Hercules being about to
sail to give you a line to say that I am quite well and that
I am going on leave for ten days to the river Saguiney. I
should have gone to Montreal and Niagara but there would
have scarcely have been time for it and I hope to be able
to get away some other time for a longer period. There are
some disturbances on the frontiers and the General will not
let us away for any length of time, we have got the great
General Sutherland in our barracks and 10 other prisoners,
all Americans & I believe we shall have some more soon, they
have not been able to catch. Bill Johnson who is the
cleverest of them all he is on one of the islands in the
river and has a [sixteen?] [oared?] galley with which he can
overtake any steamer œ1000 reward is offered for him. The
man who murdered Weir has been allowed to escape from
Montreal Jail but our gentlemen will not be so easily let
off here as Government could not tamper with us and it was
supposed that this man was let off on purpose. We had a
grand review yesterday and in the evening an amazing deal
of [firing?] all the ships of war manned with blue lights,
which were very beautiful - There was a ball in the evening
I did not go as I had to go out to fire with my company and
got wet through. I have been leading rather a monotonous
life as I have not had any time to go about much, but I hope
that I shall see something worth seeing in the river
Saguiney it is about [8?] times as large as the Thames
no [soundings?] for a long way up and perpendicular cliffs
from 60 to 200 feet high:the Indians tell me that there are
all sorts of animals beaver, cariboo or reindeer, seals,
moose deer and full of salmon. I will send you over some of
the Indian work the next ship that sails and if you send me
over any measure of the feet for any body that wants a pair
of worked moccasins for slippers I will get them done, they
make them of the hide of the moose deer beautifully worked
with the hair which is dyed different colours and the quills
of the porcupine they work also very beautifully with glass
beads on worsted saches there are some of the Indians on the
other side of the river who live in wigwams compared to
which the Star [hog?] abodes are perfect palaces, they have
blankets given them by government and that is all their
furniture with a checked shirt and a pair of trousers as to
a bed they never heard of such a thing. they tye [tie?]
their children into a sort of little sledge and hang them
up to grow. I am told by some of the 55th that there are
some of them good hunters in the winter but now they remain
in a dormant state, there are several different tribes and
each different dialects, so much so, they cannot understand
one another some of them speak a little English but they do
not understand French, their bark canoes are the most
beautiful things. One that can easily be lifted by a man with
one hand, will hold six people and with a blanket sail with
paddle, will beat any other boat in the world for speed. You
must think me stupid in not knowing what is going on in the
country but the fact is we hear more news about this country
from the English papers that we can collect here. I believe
that party was pretty high here amongst the higher classes
but that the lower class are afraid to speak out, I have
found them most civil, and they seem to me to be the most
inoffensive people, but very easily led away I believe I do
not think [Passineau?] in favor here now as he played a cowardly
part and the American prisoners which were marched up
through the town were much insulted and had it not been
for a strong guard of our men as well as a corps of
volunteers who came with them they would have been in all
probability murdered, they deserve any punishment having
come from another country and having stirred people up to
rebellion and being the cause of so many lives being lost.
I am going to Goose Island about 70 miles down the river
shortly when I return from leave with a detachment under
the command of a Captain of the 15th I believe it is a most
solitary place but I can generally amuse myself in some way;
I only wish I could get my promotion in which case I should
be living much more at my ease than I am doing now, as we
have two guards here. I have dined twice with Lord Durham
the last time I sat next to [Cads?] friend Lady C Harcourt
whom I like very much. You need not be under any alarm of
my getting married here as I have not seen any youny ladies
at all, indeed I do not believe there is such a thing,
except Lady Mary Lambton who is rather good looking but the
image of Durham if you can reconcile those two facts. I hear
that the [brevet?] takes away our chief and I think that one
or two more will leave the regiment this Winter so that I
shall gradually advance. We lead a very different life here
to a London one; we have our parade at 1/2 past 8, and when
we drill we go out at 1/2 past 5. We breakfast at about
8 o'clock and our mess is at 1/2 past 2. The northern lights
here are quite beautiful I thought the other night in my
room it was someone with a lamp outside we have had no very
hot weather, 84 is the hottest the nights are cool. We have
the most beautiful ice here, and you can make use of it by
putting it into wine or anything you like to drink. I have
seen enormous blocks of it without the slightest speck of
dirt in it. The ice here is broken up and put on the table.
There is a well here still full of ice which has not yet
melted. The General has a cousin a Catholic Bishop at
Glengarry in the Upper Province and he took us over the
[convent?] here of [Ursuline?]?] there were a good many
Irish; there was a School and the young ladies sung and
played the guitar it was worth seeing but there was
nothing very particular in it the nuns are of a certain
age and none of them very handsome. If you know whereabouts
Mrs.[Oliphant?] is gone to near New Orleans will you let me
know as I might be going there some day I mean to see as
much as I can of the country I hope my Father got the snuff.
I know of nothing at present to send and I do not know
these people well enough to send things by them. Bob Gore
went off with despatches to [Camaransa?] in the [Charybois?]. He
has not yet returned. If you see Grimston and he is likely
to come out, tell him to bring some portable soup and plenty
of good knives some of this shape, he will find them useful
for presents they are called Indian knives Couteaux des sauvages here

I see a G.R and crown on them so I should think they are
made in England and he could get them better there. I have
forgot to thank you for your long letter and all the news it
contained I was much grieved to hear the melancholy end of
poor Bignall. I hope all are well at Littenhanger and that
my Grandmother was not the worse for the second shock which
poor Bignall death (sic) must have occasioned after Heaston's
death. I shall have an opportunity I hope soon of sending
[Tranter?] some snuff which is the only good article I am told
that they make in Quebec. I hope that my next letter will be
more entertaining as I have not much to say for myself in
this one. Best love to all my friends and relatives. If you
hear of any of our officers coming out I should wish to
have a few knives and some pounds of gunpowder sent out a
few broad ribbons and some glass beads for the Indians they
must send us out some more subalterns for the winter duty
and they might bring these with them. Lambast is the first
to come out. His brother is over here in the 66th. Best love
to my father & Bell & Believe me
Ever your affect [affectionate?] Son
I open my letter again to say that I have got leave for
three weeks but that we are not allowed to go into the
States on account of some fresh disturbance, there has
also been an account of this man who murdered [well?] it
is said broke out of gaol and that the soldiers on sentry
let him go and that it was not done by Durhams wish if this
is the case we shall go up to Montreal immediately. I have
an idea of going to Niagara instead of the Saguiney.