If Montcalm, as Vaudreuil says, really intrusted papers to the care of the Jesuit missionary Roubaud, he was not fortunate in his choice of a depositary. After the war Roubaud renounced his Order, adjured his faith, and went over to the English. He gave various and contradictory accounts of the documents said to be in his hands. On one occasion he declared that Montcalm’s effects left with him at his mission of St. Francis had been burned to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy (see Verreau, Report on Canadian Archives, 1874, p. 183). Again, he says that he had placed in the hands of the King of England certain letters of Montcalm (see Mr. Roubaud’s Deplorable Case, humbly submitted to Lord North’s Consideration, in Historical Magazine, Second Series, VIII. 283). Yet again, he speaks of these same letters as “pretended” (Verreau, as above). He complains that some of them had been published, without his consent, “by a Lord belonging to His Majesty’s household” (Mr. Roubaud’s Deplorable Case).
The allusion here is evidently to a pamphlet printed in London, in 1777, in French and English, and entitled, Lettres de Monsieur le Marquis de Montcalm, Gouverneur-General en Canada, a Messieurs de Berryer et de la Mole, ecrites dans les Annees 1757, 1758, et 1759, avec une Version Angloise. They profess to be observations by Montcalm on the English colonies, their political character, their trade, and their tendency to independence. They bear the strongest marks of being fabricated to suit the times, the colonies being then in revolt. The principal letter is one addressed to Mole, and bearing date Quebec, Aug. 24, 1759. It foretells the loss of her colonies as a consequence to England of her probable conquest of Canada. I laid before the Massachusetts Historical Society my reasons for believing this letter, like the rest, an imposture (see the Proceedings of that Society for 1869-1870, pp. 112-128). To these reasons it may be added that at the date assigned to the letter all correspondence was stopped between Canada and France. From the arrival of the English fleet, at the end of spring, till its departure, late in autumn, communication was completely cut off. It was not till towards the end of November, when the river was clear of English ships, that the naval commander Kanon ran by the batteries of Quebec and carried to France the first news from Canada. Some of the letters thus sent were dated a month before, and had waited in Canada till Kanon’s departure.
Abbe Verreau—a high authority on questions of Canadian history—tells me a comparison of the handwriting has convinced him that these pretended letters of Montcalm are the work of Roubaud.
On the burial of Montcalm, see Appendix J.