No war came. And, as we have seen already, Carleton’s last year, 1796, was more peaceful than his first. But even then the external dangers made the governor-general’s post a very trying one, especially when internal troubles were equally rife. Thus Carleton never enjoyed a single day without its anxious moments till, old and growing weary, though devoted as ever, he finally left Quebec on the 9th of July. This was the second occasion on which he had been forced to resign by unfair treatment at the hands of those who should have been his best support. It was infinitely worse the first time, when he was stabbed in the back by that shameless political assassin, Lord George Germain. But the second was also inexcusable because there could be no doubt whatever as to which of the incompatibles should have left his post—the replaceable Simcoe or the irreplaceable Carleton. Yet as H.M.S. Active rounded Point Levy, and the great stronghold of Quebec faded from his view, Carleton had at least the satisfaction of knowing that he had been the principal saviour of one British Canada and the principal founder of another.
‘NUNC DIMITTIS’ 1796-1808
Our tale is told.
The Active was wrecked on the island of Anticosti, where the estuary of the St Lawrence joins the Gulf. No lives were lost, and the Carletons reached Perce in Gaspe quite safely in a little coasting vessel. Then a ship came round from Halifax and sailed the family over to England at the end of September, just thirty years after Carleton had come out to Canada to take up a burden of oversea governance such as no other viceroy, in any part of the world-encircling British Empire, has ever borne so long.