19 July

Kirke Brothers Raise British Flag in Quebec

In these days when efforts are being made to bring about church unity, it is interesting to look back on the bitterness that existed for many years.

When Champlain persuaded the Duke of Montmorency to help him (see February 25), the Duke reorganized the Company of New France and gave the brothers Guillaume and Eméry de Caën a monopoly. They were Huguenots (Protestants) and their appointment caused a terrific row. They were supposed to support six Récollet priests in Quebec. Instead they left them to starve and brought out Protestant workmen who jeered at the priests and sang heretical hymns that shocked the/ Catholics!

Strained feelings between England and France eventually led to war. This was unfortunate for Champlain. The Company of New France tried very hard in 1628 to send him settlers and supplies. There were twelve ships for fishing, and four others laden with merchandise. A Scottish trader at Dieppe, Lewis Kirke, saw the convoy prepared and notified his sons, David and Lewis Kirke Jr. They obtained Charles I's permission to equip three armed ships to capture the supplies going to Champlain.

The Kirke brothers intercepted the French convoy between Gaspé and Tadoussac. According to history, there was a fierce battle for twelve hours, but no one was killed on the English side and only two on the French. The fighting could not have been very serious! The French ships were captured, however, and the Kirke brothers took the supplies and 600 prisoners. As a result, Champlain, who had 100 people to feed, was left without supplies for a year. Most of the settlers had to leave Quebec and live with the Indians in order to survive.

On July 19, 1629, the year following the capture of the supply ships, the Kirke brothers arrived back in Quebec. Champlain had only sixteen men in the garrison, but he tried to bluff the Kirkes into believing that he could blow their ships out of the water. They weren't fooled; they entered Quebec easily and raised the British flag. Quebec was captured by Britain 130 years before Wolfe's campaign.

There was a catch. The Kirkes took Champlain to England, but had to release him because the war had ended! Quebec was returned to France and back went Champlain.


19 July

-1695    The first sawmill in New Brunswick was built at the mouth of the Nashwaak River.

-1701    The Iroquois deeded hunting grounds north of Lake Ontario and west of Lake Michigan to England.

-1817    Selkirk settlers returned to the Red River after being driven out by the Northwest Company.

-1846    Toronto received news that had been sent by telegraph from New York to Buffalo, and then by steamer to Toronto.

-1875    The Parliament of Canada Act defined the powers and privileges of its members.

-1886    Captain Scott was fined at Digby, Nova Scotia, for seizing an American fishing vessel. The fishing agreement with the States had ended July 1, but the Americans were       allowed to continue fishing until the end of the season.

-1921    Prohibition carne into effect in Ontario.

-1958    Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana visited Ottawa and addressed a joint session of Parliament.