CCHA Report, 3 (1935-36), 11-22
1739 - 1814
BY ROBERT CANNON, K.C.
I certify that I have known Mr. Edward Cannon since the year 1782, that I believe him to be a faithful, loyal subject and that he performed the services stated, and is therefore deserving of such portion of His Majesty’s bounty of the waste land of the Crown as has been usually granted to persons in his situation.
Montreal, 30th, November 1801.
It is in these terms that Sir .John Johnson, Bt., introduced to the authorities of the Colony the man who was to become the head of the Cannon family in Canada. The certificate was a eulogy, but what was even more important than the words used was the name of the person who signed the document. To be sponsored by Sir John was in itself a recommendation, for he had a great influence in the councils of the Government. A son of Sir William Johnson, commander of the Allied Indians in the army of Amherst, Sir John was, in 1787, superintendent general of Indian affairs and a member of the Legislative Council. In 1796 he became a member of the new Council established by the Constitutional Act of 1791, a position which he held until his death is 1830. From 1794 to 1826 he was the seigneur of Monnoir.
This certificate was attached to a petition of Edward Cannon, dated November 15, 1801, in which the petitioner sought for himself and for his family, a grant from the lands of the Crown. As early as 1792 Edward Cannon, then in Saint John, Newfoundland, had, through the mediation of Dr. Longmore, asked for a grant of land in Canada. Dr. Longmore was held in high esteem in the city of Quebec, where he practised medicine for twenty years. Since 1789 he had been a member of the outdoor staff of the Hôtel-Dieu. It was as “leader” of a group of thirty-nine persons that he had presented this petition, which, apparently, had no result. The document of 1801 is the oldest that we have been able to discover bearing the signature of Edward Cannon himself, but it does not indicate his country of origin. According to a tradition in the family, he came from Wexford county, Ireland. In fact, the only element of doubt is in regard to the county, for the scrapbook of his son John, lying under our eyes as we were writing these lines, with the coat of arms of Ireland, the device “Erin Go Bragh” and the poems of Moore reproduced on many of its pages, leaves no doubt as to the nationality of the ancestors of Edward Cannon. It would appear, then, that Edward Cannon was one of those thousands of Irish Catholics who, from the reign of George I, were driven by political persecution from the Emerald Isle. Since 1760, a veritable reign of terror had been established in Ireland. On the one hand, numerous secret societies, the White Boys, Hearts of Steel, Oak Boys, Peep o’Day Boys, were openly challenging constituted authority; on the other hand a ruling oligarchy, taking advantage of the situation to repress these excesses ruthlessly, made life unbearable for peaceable citizens. The county of Wexford had always been one of the most disturbed. It was the rising of Wexford in 1798 that determined for many years the era of bloody rebellions in Ireland. England avenged herself by imposing the final humiliation, the union of 1801. Ireland indeed seemed dead. To-day England, as well as other great powers, has come to know that a free nation cannot be smothered. Our generation has witnessed the resurrection of Poland and the revival of Ireland. But let us return to the reign of George III.
It is not surprising that in such a time Edward Cannon thought of leaving his unhappy country. No more is it surprising that when seeking a favour from the English government of Canada he did not emphasize his Catholic and Irish origin. So we must content ourselves with the scanty information taken from an old Bible published in Dublin in 1741, which accompanied him in his migrations; that he was born in 1739 and in 1764 married Eleonor Murphy, by whom he had eleven children, nine sons and two daughters.
Edward Cannon himself will now furnish us with information on the events which followed his departure from Ireland and preceded his arrival in Canada:
(Public Archives of Canada, S. Series.)
To His Excellency Sir Robert Shore Milnes, Barrt.,
Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Lower Canada, etc., etc., etc.
The petition of Edward Cannon formerly of St. John, Newfoundland, at present residing in Quebec, In behalf of himself, Four Sons, Wife, and two Daughters.
Most humbly sheweth,
THAT your Excellency’s Petitioner, resided at St. Johns, Newfoundland, from the year of 1774, until his departure for this country in the year 1795. That during the time he resided there, he was occasionally employed in the Fortifications and other Government Buildings, by Colonel Pringle, Captain Cody, Capt. Nepean and Colonel Skinner. That during the whole continuation of the American Rebellion, himself and a Son, (at present absent, a petty Officer, in the Royal Navy and most probably at this time engaged in the defence of his King & Country) did belong to a Corps of Independant Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Pringle, and did occasionally do the duty of the Garrison, and cloathed themselves in Uniforms at their own expence and evinced their loyalty by volunteering their services to accompany the Troops that were ordered to the Bay of Bulls, in consequence of Information obtained, That an American Privateer had made a descent on the Coast and was Plundering the Inhabitants in that Place; That upon the appearance of the Troops & Volunteers, said Privateer, Instantly Slipt, or Cut her Cable, and made out to Sea with the Plunder, but was fortunately captured by the Surprise Frigate, which had been dispatched from St. Johns in order to Intercept her.
That at the commencement of the present war, between Great [Britain] and France. Your Excellency’s Petitioner, and Three Sons now with him, joined a Corps of Independant Volunteers Commanded by Colonel Skinner. That they in like manner as before, at their own Cost, did put themselves into Uniforms, and did the Duty of the Garrison occasionally and continued in said Volunteers until their departure from Newfoundland, which will more fully appear by the enclosed Certificate which your Excellency's Petitioner has the Honor of Submitting.
That neither your Excellency’s Petitioners nor any of his Sons, received any compensation whatever for the Expences they put themselves to; nor for their past Services: Nor did they at the time they volunteered themselves ever expect any, for what they considered as the duty of every Loyal Subject. But understanding that His Majesty in his great Benevolence has made a provision (of the Waste Lands of the Crown in this Province) which he wished to be extended to the Meritorious & Deserving Subject – Your Excellency's Petitioner, would consider himself deficient in attention to his own & families welfare, did he omit endeavouring to profit by the Bountiful Indulgence of his Royal Master.
Your petitioner therefore most Humbly Prays That your Excellency and the Honourable Council will be graciously pleased to extend the full Indulgence of the Royal Bounty, in respect to the Waste Lands of the Crown to himself and his Three Sons now with him, in such place or Situation as to your Excellency and the Honourable Council may appear Eligible – Together with whatever Addition you may be favorably disposed to consider his Absent Son, wife and two Daughters entitled to – and for which your Excellency’s Petitioner, will as a grateful subject whilst life remains ever pray.
Quebec 15th November 1801.
Referred to a Committee of the whole Council by order of His Excellency the Lieut. Governor.
8th Feb. 1802. (P) H. W. Ryland.
The other part of the Cover was given to Mr. Cannon having a Certificate from Sir John Johnson written thereon.
This 23rd April 1802.
Even while making allowance for what is mere phraseology in a document of that kind, we can see quite clearly that Edward Cannon was neither a rebel nor a revolutionist, and that if he had left Ireland, it was not so much to flee from English domination, as it was to seek, in another country, the right to live in peace and to rear his family in the religion of his ancestors.
After a stay of twenty years in Newfoundland, then and even now a mere adjunct of the Metropolis, he doubtless came to the conclusion that of all the British colonies, Catholic French Canada, which had become a distinct unit in 1791, was the one in which he could best realize his plans. So there he came in 1795 and took up his abode in the city of Quebec.
Was it really the intention of Edward Cannon to settle on the lands for which he petitioned in 1801? Everything leads us to think otherwise. Master mason by trade, with, as we shall see later on, many important undertakings in Quebec, why should he have needlessly condemned himself to the hardships of a settler and forced them on his family? It is more probable that, seeing what orgy of concessions was going on, possessing the same claims as others, and having the support of his connections, he yielded to the temptation to traffic on a small scale for his own benefit in the lands of His Gracious Majesty. At any rate, his request was granted and he obtained some hundreds of acres, for himself and his several sons. (Is this not so at all times, and is it not often easier to obtain what is superfluous from a government than what is necessary?) He went further. He bought 1,300 acres from other grantees who had been favoured at the same time as himself and who apparently had a like eagerness to commence clearing operations immediately. All these lands were in the townships of Aston, Milton and Clifton. If he had wished to speculate in these lots, he apparently did not meet with success, for mention is made of all the titles in an inventory of the estate of his son John, drawn up in 1833. One of these transactions brought him into correspondence, and almost into a lawsuit, with the Reverend Mr. Doty, Protestant minister at Sorel. The Reverend John Doty is a historical personage. He was one of the four chaplains of the British troops from 1763 to 1766, and in the latter year he became master of a school in Montreal. In 1784 he was given charge of a parish in Sorel, and had the honour of building there the first Anglican church in Canada, Christ Church, the consecration of which took place on Christmas Day, 1785. He retired into private life in 1803 and died at Three Rivers in 1841 at the advanced age of ninety-six, after thirty-eight years of retirement.
Owing to this litigation we are privileged to have in our possession an autograph letter of the Reverend John Doty, dated Aug. 15, 1809, and also a written legal opinion of Mr. Berthelot, solicitor at Three Rivers in 1811.
In 1801, a certain Augustin Paradis had sold to Edward Cannon a lot situated in the township of Clifton. In 1809, four years after the timely death of the said Augustin Paradis, Edward Cannon was told that a Mr. Lindsay had settled on this lot. He wrote to him and told him to remove himself. As an answer, he received a letter from the Reverend John Doty, informing him that the lot belonged to that reverend gentleman, who had bought it from Augustin Paradis. Here is the letter:
Three Rivers, 15th August 1809.
Some weeks ago, I received a letter from Mr. Lindsay of Clifton, enclosing one which he had received from you dated 26th February last; wherein you threaten him with an action at law for settling on your land without your consent. Mr. Lindsay did not, that I know of, settle on your land but upon mine; I requested Mr. Stilson to ask you the No. of the lot, with the range and the township and likewise the name of the vendor; all of which as he informs me, are the same with those by which I claim the land in question; he says that you have regular notarial deed for it, and have besides observed all the customary and other formula. So have I. He says that you have paid for obtaining a patent from the Government. So have I. He says that you have bought the land of Augustin Paradis. So did I. Now, Sir, all that seems necessary to be done is that we compare our deeds of sale by which it will appear whether you or I have been cheated; for in all probability, one of us have. I am ready to produce my deed and I presume you are not unwilling to do the same; by which it will be seen immediately whether you or I have the better claim to the premises. In the mean time I hope you are too just and good a man to institute a suit against Lindsay, who certainly is not the person you should look to, he having settled on the land by sale from another; and as the whole costs of suit are likely to fall upon me (if mine be not the better right) I hope you will have the candor and justice not to put me to additional and unnecessary costs if indeed it should so turn out that not I but you are the rightful owner of the premises. I request therefore that you will appoint a time and place when and where you and I may produce our respective deeds of sale, that on comparing them it may be known which of us is the rightful owner and proprietor of the lot in question.
I am, Sir,
Your Most obdt Sert, John Doty.
It cannot be denied that this seemed a quite reasonable proposition. But Edward Cannon, diffident, no doubt, or lacking any desire to cross swords with such a dialectician, confided the protection of his interests to Mr. Berthelot. A correspondence was kept up between them for two years. Those were the happy days! As can be seen from that of the Rev. Mr. Doty, a letter written in February received its answer in August! So it was that a missionary and a builder of churches could attain the age of ninety-six!
As could be foreseen, Edward Cannon did not have the last word. A pessimistic letter from his solicitor, dated March 1, 1811, shows this and at the same time proves that long ago even as to-day the legal profession was of a scrupulous honesty, and never undertook cases that were already lost. The opinion given on this occasion, so frank as to be almost brutal, is, I believe, of sufficient interest to be quoted in full:
Three Rivers, March 1st, 1811.
I received your letter of the 14th February with the certificate of the death of Paradis. I have been so very unfortunate with all the instructions I gave you in that business that you never would do nor believe anything I told you on that account. I told you, before you should be at the expense of taking a copy of the patent, to take out the copy of the register to know the time of the death of Paradis. The certificate of his death is dated the twenty seventh of February eighteen hundred and five and the ratification of your deed made by his Attorney is of the third of August eighteen hundred and nine and consequently null and void, it is to say, as if it had never been made. And do not flatter yourself that Mr. Doty knows nothing about it, for it was him who told me of it, and it was in consequence of his observation that I advised you to take out the certificate. There is something more, Mr. Doty has the ratification of his deed by Paradis and wife passed before Crebassa Notary, on the seventh September, seventeen hundred and ninety nine, two months after the patent. He has then a better title than yours, and besides, he is in possession. It is in vain for you to trust to the certificates of Crebassa that he had no such deed, for I have seen his certified copy and I know his hand writing as well as mine, so it must be a mistake of Crebassa. And without this deed of ratification, Joran’s deed is as good as yours, and possession perfects the sale, and it is in vain that you say that the patent was not issued before the first deed, for in law you may sell your hopes to a thing. So by all means you have no right to an action, and I will not institute it for any money or consideration in the world, for it would hurt my credit as Attorney. Take my advice, and if you will trust your cause to any other, I shall deliver your papers to whom you may please. I remain with,
May I mention that what I have just read is not a translation. Mtre Berthelot’s letter was written in English.
I presume that Lindsay remained in possession of the lot. It would have been an ill event had he been dispossessed, for, according to the Storied Province of Quebec, he succeeded to the first settler of the township and for seven years worked all alone on his farm without even the presence of a neighbour to cheer him. He was a real settler.
As for Edward Cannon. I said at the beginning that I do not think be was a bona fide settler in the legal sense of the word. But, having established that his land purchases, far from being profitable to him, had only been a source of trouble, we may afford to be lenient. Let us only recall the large scale upon which speculation in Crown lands was then practised. The Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Robert Shore Milnes, had given the example by entering his name at the head of the list for 8,000 acres of land. The Duke of Portland, then minister of the colonies, had to make official remonstrances to the legislative councillors, so much had they openly favoured their friends. So, without pressing the subject further, let us return to Quebec, where Edward Cannon has established himself, and where, until his death, he will hold to his craft as master-mason and master-builder.
At his arrival he was accompanied by his wife, Eleonore Murphy, three sons and two daughters. Five children, all boys, had died in infancy. The eldest of those surviving, Edward, born in 1770, is the one referred to in the petition as being “absent” and a “petty officer” in the Royal Navy. He never came back nor was he ever heard from. He remained the “missing one”. Yet his mother never gave up the hope of some day seeing him again. Her will, received by Mtre. Jean Bélanger, notary, in 1820, contained the following clause: “She gives to her son, Edward Cannon, absent, the sum of four hundred pounds, declaring that if he should not make his appearance within ten years after her death and lay claim to the said legacy, she directs that the said sum be divided equally between the said John Cannon, Helen and Martha Cannon, her children, on condition however, that they will reimburse the same to the said Edward Cannon if he should afterwards claim the said sum”. Is it not touching, the sight of this old woman of eighty years whom even the approach of death cannot deprive of her tenacious faith in the possibility of her son’s return! He would then have been fifty years old, but he for whom she is longing is always in her eyes the sailor-boy whom one day she saw disappearing in the fog of the Grand Banks. For twenty-five years and over she has been expecting him, ever since he departed on the King’s ships. And what years! ... The whole period of the wars of the Revolution and of the Empire! What an echo the report of the victories of Aboukir and Trafalgar must have brought into that maternal heart, when after months had elapsed, it resounded on the far-away rock of Quebec. It seems as if we saw her attending the singing of the De Teum when its exultant music soared towards God in thanksgiving for the defeats of revolutionary France, driving back her tears and praying for that son whose lifeless body was perhaps being tossed about by the great waves of the Mediterranean. Did Edward Cannon die that glorious death? We may believe it and think that he lost his life in one of those sanguinary naval battles which finally assured England’s supremacy of the seas. How many sons of green Erin so sacrificed their lives for the triumph of the nation which had subdued their native land?
So, in 1795, the family of Edward Cannon and Eleonor Murphy was composed of three sons, Ambrose, Lawrence and John, born in 1778, 1780, 1783, and two daughters, Eleonor and Martha, born in 1788 and 1790. Though not rich, they must have been in easy circumstances, for the father immediately set up in business as master-architect and took as partners his two elder sons, and later, in or about 1800, the third, John. He must have had some means or he would not have been able thus to rely on himself alone, in a town where he had just come to live and where members of his trade were already numerous among different nationalities. Moreover, Edward Cannon enjoyed a good education. The correspondence he left is in a firm, flowing hand, with clear and legible characters. His style is not studied, but is clear and precise. I am not sufficiently skilled in graphology to judge of his character by his hand-writing, but his deeds show that he was an active, energetic and enterprising man. It would seem that he made it his aim to become thoroughly familiar with, to associate with, in a word, to assimilate himself to the people in whose midst he was going to live and with whom – most important of links – he shared a common faith.
As early as 1799 he and his son, Ambrose, signed the address presented to General Prescott at his departure from Quebec. Prescott had, from 1796 to 1799, showed himself sympathetic with the Canadian Assembly and rather hostile towards the Council, of which the majority was English. But Edward Cannon did more: he early entrusted to the Ursuline Ladies the education of his two daughters. Could he have made a better choice? In that sanctuary of pure Catholicism and of ardent love for the Canadian land, how could his daughters, surrounded by those good mothers and their school-mates of French origin, have failed to become attached to their new country and to understand its character and its traditions? Moreover, as, early as 1803, he bought, in part from the sheriff and in part from Mr. P. E. Desbarats, a property of 140 feet front and 160 feet depth, situated in the Upper Town. In 1833 this property was bounded in front by Ste-Genevieve Street (Sur le Cap); at the back by St-Denis Street; to the east by the estate of PierreEdouard Desbarats and the property of the Honourable John Hale and to the west by the property of Joseph Defoy and of the Measam heirs. The house was of stone, two stories high, with stables and sheds.
From that day, Edward Cannon could truly call himself a “Quebecker” and this title which he assumed has been borne by his descendants without a break for one hundred and thirty years.
He soon found, in the success of his career, the reward due to his intelligent and loyal conduct. As early as 1799, he was entrusted with the work which, no doubt, will longest preserve his memory: the building of the English Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. On this subject, much information has been taken from Quebec under Two Flags, by Doughty and Dionne, and from Storied Province of Quebec, by Colonel Wood and his collaborators, a work that has already been cited. In 1793, when Bishop Mountain arrived, the Anglicans had not yet a church in Quebec. “In this degenerate 20th century,” as related with humour by the Rev. S. B. Lindsay in Storied Province of Quebec, Anglican laymen “would set to work and build a church. In the good old days of the 18th century they preferred to appeal to King George III. He generously responded to the extent of $80,000, so that the Quebec Anglican cathedral is the munificent gift of one layman – George III.”
With regard to the architect, we may say that for a first attempt it was the stroke of a master, and that his first client was well calculated to bring him others. The corner stone was laid on August 11, 1800, by Sir Robert Shore Milnes, lieutenant-governor of Quebec. The church was consecrated on August 28, 1804. “This was”, continues the Rev. S. B. Lindsay, “the first Anglican cathedral to be built since the Reformation, not counting St. Paul’s, London, which was really a rebuilding.” A dark grey stone, inserted in the vestibule, bears an inscription in white letters giving the name of the builder: “The first stone laid Aug. 11th 1800. This stone the last was laid May 1st 1804 by Edward Cannon MAr MAn.”
It may appear strange that a Catholic contractor should have so inscribed his name on the fronton of a temple consecrated to Protestant worship. But at that period, which we freely represent as one of violent racial and religious hatred, the Protestants were holding their services, up to the time of the building of their own church, in Catholic chapels; Mgr. Briand, the Catholic bishop, had greeted the Protestant Bishop Mountain as he landed, and had given him the kiss of peace. No wonder then that a simple architect, having hired his services to his separated brethren for the building of their church, placed in it a stone to commemorate his work. Later on, the Protestants of Quebec were to contribute generously to the building of St. Patrick’s Church, and a delegation of members of their faith to go to congratulate the Rev. M. McMahon at the time of the completion of that church.
Of the cathedral, Mr. Wurtele says, as reproduced in Quebec under Two Flags: “The exterior of the Cathedral is much the same as it always was, a substantial, plain, rectangular stone edifice, standing in the centre of a well kept Close surrounded by those fine old trees which add beauty to the environment and remind Englishmen of the sacred buildings in Britain”.
At a stone’s throw from the Anglican church rises another edifice that is the work of Edward Cannon. It is the Morgan building, formerly the Hôtel Union, on the Place d’Armes. As we come down from the terrace, it is impossible not to admire the simple lines and the really imposing appearance of the front of that building.
Morrin College, originally the city jail, is also the work of Edward Cannon and his sons. But the merit for this is more John’s, for at the date of its erection (1809) he had become the head of their firm. Edward was then 70 years old and was leaving almost the full direction of the business to John.
His eldest son, Ambrose, had died prematurely in 1804. He had married, no doubt when he was still very young, an Irish girl by the name of Marie Baker, who had given birth to a daughter, Marie Elise, baptised at Notre Dame, on the 2nd of April, 1802. M. Georges Rinfret, alias Malouin, was the child’s godfather, and Eleonor Cannon, an aunt, was the godmother. A happy coincidence was that the family of the officiating priest, the Rev. Thos. Maguire, who was famous for his scholarship and his literary ability, was later to become related to the Cannon family through the marriage of the young godmother of that day to Mr. Gordian Horan.
Ambrose Cannon was buried in the cemetery des Picotés, on March the 3rd, 1804, at 28 years of age.
Lawrence, Edward’s second son, seems to have lived in the shadow of his father and of his brothers. Twice only is his name mentioned in official documents, first when he took the oath as a constable, on August 16th, 1804, and later when land was acquired for him in the township of Aston, on February 17th, 1806. He was, however, a partner of his father and of his brothers, for he is mentioned in all their building contracts. He was of delicate health (he, too, died young) and never married, but lived with his parents. Nothing would be known of his character were it not for a special mention made in his father’s will. One reads the following item, which is the best recommendation of a humble and unassuming life: “Considering that Lawrence Cannon, his son, constantly worked with his father, without receiving any recompense except food, raiment and lodging, and that he still continues to work for the common good of his family, wishing therefore to make a remuneration to him for his services, the said testator hereby gives and bequeaths to him the moiety or half part of the house he occupies and the lot. of ground whereon it is erected, the said house situate, lying and being in the Upper town of Quebec, Genevieve Street, and that he shall have, hold, enjoy and dispose of the same as his own property by force and in virtue of this my last will and testament”. This will is dated 3 July, 1813, in the presence of Voyer and Campbell, notaries.
Lawrence Cannon died on October 31, 1815, at the age of 35. Jean Langevin, Charles Jourdain, C. W. Ross, Thos. Oliva, Jos. M. Chinic, John Hunt and Thos. Forgues signed the certificate of burial on November the 4th.
So it was John, the youngest of Edward Cannon’s sons, who was to continue the line. His marriage, celebrated in 1808, constitutes another proof of this desire to attach the family to the soil of Quebec by linking it in the closest alliance with their new compatriots. In fact, the girl John Cannon betrothed belonged to one of the old French Canadian families of Quebec, that of Griault, dit Larivière
In contrast, Eleonor, or, as she almost always signed, Helen Cannon, was married, on the 28th of January, 1811, to Gordian Horan, a merchant, son of Peter Horan and of Margaret Ennis, of the county of Kildare, Ireland. This marriage was solemnized at Notre-Dame by the Rev. Father Doucet, the parish priest, and Messrs. George and John Hamilton were the groom’s witnesses. I cannot omit to mention that Mrs. Horan was the mother of Mgr. John Horan, a distinguished priest of the Seminary of Quebec, who was also first Secretary of Laval University, and Principal of Laval Normal School, and was consecrated bishop of Kingston in 1858. Mgr. Horan was born on October 26, 1817, and his godfather was Etienne Claude Lagueux, broher-in-law of John Cannon and for 13 years member of the Parliament of Lower Canada, representing the county of Northumberland. Mrs. Horan was also the mother of Mrs. (Judge) Maguire and of the Rev. Mother Marie Jean, of the General Hospital, who died in 1906 at the age of 83.
The last mention made of Edward Cannon in the newspapers of the time is also a last manifestation of his broad-mindedness and of his sympathy for the Canadian party. On the 30th of December, 1813, an address was presented to the governor, Sir George Prevost, and the names of Edward, Lawrence and John Cannon appear with those of other signers. Sir George Prevost had redressed with tact and skill the mistakes of the administration of Craig and his consorts. Bédard had been appointed judge at Three Rivers, and Bourdages, colonel in the militia; advice had been given to London to recognize Mgr. Plessis as bishop of Quebec. Winning thus the sympathy of the Canadians brought him a popularity which contributed greatly to raise the enthusiasm for the defence of the country that they showed during the War of 1812. On the other hand, the English party and the upper functionaries could not forgive him for this sympathy towards the “new subjects”, and, taking as an excuse his military failure in the campaign against Plattsburg, they succeeded in having him recalled.
Edward Cannon could not better have terminated his career than by giving this mark of esteem to a governor who had practised in high duties the principles on which he himself – si parva licet – had based his private life.
As has already been stated, the will of Edward Cannon was received by notaries Voyer and Campbell on the 3rd of July, 1813. It contained the declaration that he and his wife accepted community of property according to the laws of Lower Canada. The same day, in the presence of the same notaries and in identical terms, Eleonor Murphy was also dictating her will. On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage, which they were to celebrate on the 16th of January, 1814, the husband and wife wished to give each other this last proof of mutual confidence.
Edward Cannon died in his home, on Ste-Geneviève Avenue, the 28th of July, 1814, at the age of 75. On the 30th of July he was buried in the cemetery des Picotés, in the presence of the Rev. P. N. Maynard, curate, and of Messrs. Laurence Organ, J. M. Verrault, Chs. Jourdain, William Morrison, Frs. Baillargé and Jacques Malouin.
Eleonor Murphy survived him for seven years. She died on the 21st of May, 1821, at the age of 80, and on the 24th of May was buried near her late husband. Messrs. James Maloney, John Byrne, F. Coulson, Etienne Claude Lagueux, member of Parliament, M. Moorhead and Fr. Quirouet, member of Parliament, signed the funeral register.
Their youngest daughter, Martha, was married on the 28th of January, 1822, to William Downes, clerk in the Royal Engineers’ Department, son of Edward Downes and Brigitte Burke, of Rathkell, Limerick county, Ireland. The marriage was celebrated at Notre-Dame and Messrs. Gordian Horan and James Sexton acted as witness for the groom.
Of the five children of Edward Cannon and Eleonor Murphy who died at Quebec, three lie in the crypt of the Basilica. They were John, buried in 1833, Mrs. Horan, 1855, and Mrs. Downes, 1862.
Edward Cannon and Eleonor Murphy deserve to be taken as models by their descendants. Of what courage and perseverance did they not give proof before definitely establishing their family in the old French city of Quebec? Three times they had to start life all over again. Their youth was spent in the midst of the troubles and dangers of a quasi civil war in Ireland. Their middle age saw them in Newfoundland, at the time of two wars which incessantly exposed the island to the attacks of the enemy. They were already advanced in years when they came to try their fortune in Canada, in the midst of a population, hospitable no doubt, but to whom they were strangers in race and language.
In spite of the difficulties and trials which filled their lives, they raised a family of eleven children, six of whom lived to adult age. To these, they transmitted a respected name, an honourable position, an education above the average. Their work, made fruitful by labour, privations and sacrifices, has been lasting. The family they established in Quebec has lived there for six generations, and it is one of their descendants who, a few steps from their last resting place, has written this simple narrative of their modest, laborious, but honourable life.