April 2, 1812: Baynes to Brock

On April 2 1812, Colonel Edward Baynes, on the staff of Sir George Prévost in Lower Canada, writes to Major General Brock in Upper Canada about the death of Sir James Craig, who had been Governor-General of the Canadas and lieutenant-governor of Lower Canada from 1807 to 1811.The letter gives a sense of the time that it takes for news to travel. Craig had died on January 12, 1812. Canadian sensibilities will also be attuned to the fact that the news of his death comes through  American newspapers.  

QUEBEC, April 2, 1812.
Many thanks for the very kind and friendly note which accompanied your letter of the 9th ultimo, and I beg you to rest assured, that I am very sensible of your friendly disposition towards me, and feel particularly grateful and flattered by the kind manner in which you have the goodness to express it.
The American papers, under the head of English news, as late as the 20th January, give a circumstantial account of the death of Sir James Craig, on Sunday, the 12th, at his house in Charlotte Street. There are too many circumstances corroborating an event which was so greatly to be apprehended, to leave a shadow of doubt of the severe loss that all, who were favored with his friendship, have sustained. To me, from my earliest youth, he has been the best and kindest friend, a steady and powerful patron; for few sons ever experienced more truly paternal care and affectionate regard from the best of fathers, than I have received at the hands of that best of men. The grief that I cannot suppress is a selfish tribute to my own irreparable loss: his release from a state of cruel, lingering suffering, which, as I had so long witnessed, he bore with a degree of fortitude and patient resignation unparalleled, could have been no cause of regret to him, and therefore ought not to be so to those who most sincerely loved him; but I have so long been accustomed to cherish the grateful and affectionate sentiments of a highly favored son to the best of parents, that however I might have been prepared for this inevitable shock, I still feel that there are affections so rooted in our hearts, that this world's changes can never efface the impression. His memory will long be remembered with admiration by all who knew his merit. As a soldier he had few equals, and no knight had a fairer claim to the proud title of sans peur et sans reproche; while the widow, the orphan, and every distressed object that claimed his aid, will testify the generous heart that once animated that good and honorable man.
The ladies of this house always beg to be remembered to you, with the sincerest good wishes for your health and happiness. Mrs. Baynes has been plotting with Mrs. Colonel Robertson to elope and pay you a visit, pressing Heriot into their service as their knight errant.

No comments:

Post a Comment