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very often in Mde Péan's drawing room. “We have here,” he wrote, “two good houses, the hôtel Péan and Mde. de la Naudière's....(1) I visit alternately the one or the other". He spent his evenings twice a week at M. Bigot's. Montcalm had no esteem for these people. He knew that Bigot was a thief, and that Mde. Péan exercised her charms to proniote her own interests and those of her relations. He called the first one Verrès (2) and the second one la Sultane. (3) True it is that his demeanor and habits were far above the level of Bigot's clique, and that he did not indulge in the same dissipation and extravagance. But without appearing austere he could have abstained more than he did from these entertainments, and gorgeous banquets, of which he disapproved in his heart, and which made him write once : “In spite of the public distress we liave balls and furious gambling". (4) Montcalm was enlightened and refined, and a good citizen. In his official capacity he had to deal with knaves. But as a man of the world he should have remained aloof. To write against Bigot, against his clique, to brand in eloquent pages their rascalities, and to meet them afterwards at pleasure parties is not an action that we can admire, although it is probable Montcalm
(1) Madame de la Naudière, -- born Geneviève de Boishébert, daughter of the Seignior of River-Ouelle, -lived at the corner of Du Parloir and Donaccona streets. On the sanie strect, at the other corner, -- St. Louis and Du Parloir-lived Mde. de Beaubassin, another of Montcalm's lady friends. Mde Péan's hôtel was situated midway.
(2) Journal de Montcalm, p. 461 : “ Here comes Verrès ; he builds for himself an immense fortune....'
(3) Lettres du Marquis de Montcalm à Bourlamaque, p. 257 : “ Péan has just passed six days at Lachine with “la sultane régnante."
(1) Lettre à Madame de Montcalm, 19 février 1758.
found it difficult to do otherwise, on account of his situation. Bigot was the Intendant of New-France; as long as he was kept in office, he represented the King's authority. Besides lie was clever, though dishonest, and possessed undoubted abilities. He was a man of resources, of activity, of energy, and more than once, Montcalm had found him useful in military matters, at critical moments. His talents were dearly paid, but he had rendered services. For all these reasons, the General may have found himself bound to suppress his inward feelings, and even to remain apparently on familiar terms with the Intendant. Montcalm appears to have doubted the wisdom of these visits to Bigot, for he stated in his Journal that, in future, he would go only once a week to the Palace.
Montcalm's social relations with Mde Péan, were probably due to the atmosphere of the time. Women of M. de Péan's order were prevalent during the eighteenth century, and they were surrounded by a circle of friends and admirers; the habitués of their celebrated salons where academians, artists, men of standing at court and in the camp.
Montcalm had more force of character than many of his contemporaries, and he was imbued with religious principles, but he was not entirely free from the influence of his age.
We have spoken of Montcalm's association with Mde Péan, who could scarcely be termed a friend. The general highly appreciated the society of two other ladies, the wives of Colonial officers, Mde de la Naudière, and Mde de Beaubassin.
The former was a Miss Boishébert, daughter of the Seigneur of River Quelle, and the latter was Miss de Verchères, the daughter of the Seigneur of Verchères.
Montcalm was particularly impressed with Mde de Beaubassin, and in a letter to Bourlamaque, written in 1757, he said : “ I am glad that you sometimes speak of me to the three ladies in the rue du Parloir, and I am flattered by their remembrance, especially by that of one of them, in whom I find at certain moments too much wit and too many charms for my tranquillity.” This sounded more like love than friendship. Montcalm was always impulsive in his feelings and in his expressions. He was a man of the South.
Returning to more important matters we must record here that it was during Montcalm's sojourn at Quebec that MM. de Vergor and de Villeray were tried by Court Martial for having surrendered Beauséjour and Gaspareaux. Vergor, one of Bigot's creatures was guilty, and Villeray probably innocent. Both were acquitted because Vergor was highly protected.
MONTCALM left Quebec for Montreal on the 20th of Feb
ruary 1758. The spring was uneventful. The great questions before the leaders of the colony were, what military operations should be conducted this year what reinforcements would come from France, and how could the victualling problem be solved.
In spite of the victories won during the preceding campaigns, never had the situation of Canada been worse than at the present moment. Starvation had scourged the colony ; resources of every kind were nearly exhausted, the news from France was not encouraging, and that from England was of the most alarming character.
It was clear that the English government and the English colonies were going to make a desperate effort this year to subdue New-France. What would be the plan of operations ? As the spring went on it became evident that an attack would be made at three points : Louisbourg, Fort Duquesne and Lake Champlain. Louisbourg and Fort Duquesne were two important posts. The first was the key of the St. Lawrence, the second was the safeguard of French influence in the West. But lake Champlain was the most vital point. On that frontier Carillon barred the progress of the enemy. If Carillon fell, St. Frédéric could not be defended, and through the lakes St. John and Chambly, the enemy could in a few days reach Montreal, the heart of Canada. Therefore it was at Carillon that the fate of New-France was to be decided this year.
At the beginning of June, it was resolved that an army of about 5,000 soldiers should be formed at Carillon. But, in the mean time, M. de Vaudreuil wanted to organize a detachment of 1600 men, with Indians, to make a diversion in the vicinity of the Mohawk river. This detachment was to be commanded by M. de Lévis, having as his lieutenant M. de Rigaud, brother of the governor, recently promoted to the government of Montreal. Here, once more, Montcalm and Vaudreuil did not agree. The general thought that this division of forces was not advisable; that all available troops should be sent to Carillon to face the dreadful storm that was likely to rage on that frontier. The governor, on the contrary, was of opinion that the Mohawk river expedition would be of great utility, as it would help to bring the Five Nations to the French side, or, at all events, prevent them from joining the English; and also that it would alarm the enemy for the safety of the Orange river region, and perhaps stop an offensive move on lake St-Sacrement. It appears that Vaudreuil had not a correct idea of the forces that the English could put in the field this year. Being very obstinate, he had his own way, and nearly three thousand men were withdrawn from the defence of Lake Champlain. (1) Lévis,
(1) In his Journal Montcalm wrote: “ That fanciful expedition of