The Father of British Canada: a Chronicle of Carleton eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about The Father of British Canada.

Only one life of Carleton has been written, Lord Dorchester, by A. G. Bradley (1907).  The student should also consult John Graves Simcoe, by Duncan Campbell Scott (1905), Sir Frederick Haldimand, by Jean McIlwraith (1904), and A History of Canada from 1763 to 1812 by Sir Charles Lucas.  Carleton is the leading character in the first half of the third volume of Canada and its Provinces, which, being the work of different authors, throws light on his character from several different British points of view as well as from several different kinds of evidence.  Kingsford’s History of Canada, volumes iv to vii, treats the period in considerable detail.  Justin Smith’s two volumes, Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony, is the work of a most painstaking American scholar who had already produced an excellent account of Arnold’s March from Cambridge to Quebec, in which, for the first time, Arnold’s Journal was printed word for word. Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec, by J. Codman, is another careful work.  These are the complements of the British books mentioned above, as they emphasize the American point of view and draw more from American than from British sources of original information.  The unfortunate defect of Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony is that the author’s efforts to be sprightly at all costs tend to repel the serious student, while his very thoroughness itself repels the merely casual reader.

So many absurd or perverting mistakes are still made about the life and times of Carleton, and a full understanding of his career is of such vital importance to Canadian history, that no accounts given in the general run of books—­including many so-called ’standard works’—­should be accepted without reference to the original authorities.  Justin Smith’s books, cited above, have useful lists of authorities; though there is no discrimination between documents of very different value.  The original British diaries kept during Montgomery and Arnold’s beleaguerment have been published by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in two volumes, at the end of which there is a very useful bibliography showing the whereabouts of the actual manuscripts of these and many other documents in English, French, and German.  In addition to the American and British diarists who wrote in English there were several prominent French Canadians and German officers who kept most interesting journals which are still extant.  The Dominion Archives at Ottawa possess an immense mass of originals, facsimiles, and verbatim copies of every kind, including maps and illustrations.  The Dominion Archivist, Dr Doughty, has himself edited, in collaboration with Professor Shortt, all the Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada from 1759 to 1791.

The present Chronicle is based on the original evidence of both sides.

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