Saturday, 30 April 2016

Conflict in Canada: A Brief Look at the French and British Wars in the New World (PART 2)

This is Part Two of this article - to read Part One, click HERE.

        The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, as it came to be known, was the last major military engagement between the opposing forces of the French and British colonies on Canadian soil. General the Marquis de Montcalm commanded the French troops, while the attacking British regulars were led by General James Wolfe. On September 13, 1759, the fate of French Canada was decided. After cutting off French supplies and threatening connections between Quebec City and Montreal, General Wolfe scaled the cliffs below Quebec City and by 0800hrs had assembled his entire force of over 4500 men on the Plains of Abraham below Quebec City. General Montcalm had no choice but to fight. He quickly arranged his army, which was of similar size, and advanced upon the British lines. The British stood firm until the French were no more than 40 yards away and then poured in their devastating volleys(1).

        The French retreated, disordered and broken, but not before both Wolfe and Montcalm were killed. The British laid siege to Quebec City and captured it before winter. Next spring the British advanced upon Montreal and captured it too. With both major cities of Quebec in British hands, the French surrendered Quebec to the British, and with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Quebec was officially ceded to Britain. Over the next few scores of years there would be more hostility, with the American Revolution and the subsequent migration of the Loyalists to Canada, and also the War of 1812-14 which, had the British and Canadian militia not secured and protected Canada’s borders, would have made Canada the 52nd State. Through all this the British presence remained in Canada, and guarded the country until Confederation.

        The conflicts between the British and the French have decidedly shaped Canada into the country we know today. From the early rivalries of the fur traders – the North-West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company – to the great military offensives on the east coast, the French and British conflicts have left their mark. The French colonization of Quebec and settlement of towns such as Montreal and Quebec City have bestowed a rich heritage upon the population of Canada, specifically Quebec, even until now. The British presence and military events which took place over the years in Ottawa, York, Niagara, and Kingston are still recognized and commemorated two hundred years later. Even now, in the 21st century, French sympathy runs quick in the blood of French-Canadians, while strong loyalties remain in the hearts of descendants of the early English pioneers.

        There are still conflicting interests between French-Canadians and English-Canadians. But even though the use of politics, not open war, is the way things are fought about nowadays, tensions still flare-up between the mostly French Quebec and the rest of Canada. The Quebec Referendum of 1995 was proposed by those who wanted Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada and become its own independent country. The vote was taken and 49.5% of Quebeckers voted to separate, while 50.5% voted to remain in Canada. Despite many vocally advocating Quebec should be a separate country, it is interesting to note that the majority still want to stay in Canada. The benefits of being a province were considered to outweigh the benefits of separation.

        In conclusion, through the British and French interests in the New World, and in particular Canada, there has arisen a great and long-lasting history of conquest and settlement, war and conflict, peace and justice. From the early First Nations and the French fur traders, to the British colonials and the early English pioneers, to the people who make up the population of Canada today, we can see the rich history which has shaped this land. This is my country. This is Canada.

Written by William A Moore

(1) ‘Battle of the Plains of Abraham’, Tabitha Marshall,, August 2th, 

Recommended Reading:
   ~ Bond, Douglas, Guns of Thunder, P&R Publishing Co., 2007
   ~ Marshall, Tabitha, ‘Battle of the Plains of Abraham’,, Published August 2nd, 2006
   ~ Morton, Desmond, A Short History of Canada, McClelland & Stewart, 2006

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Conflict in Canada: A Brief Look at the French and British Wars in the New World (PART 1)

        From the time that the land we now know as Canada was first discovered and settled, there have been many major wars and minor conflicts that have occurred throughout the centuries on North American soil. Almost all of these were related in some way to the British and French interests in the New World as they vied for supremacy for over 150 years. Even though these wars were fought more than 250 years ago, the effect that these conflicts had on the shaping of the country of Canada are still visible today.

        There were three periods of conflict that successively followed each other from circa 1610 to 1762. The first period of conflict was the French and Iroquois War, also known as the “Beaver War”, which lasted from the early 1600’s until the beginning of the 18th Century. French interests in the New World created factions and alliances among the native tribes. The French sided with the Huron-Algonquin alliance and defeated the Iroquois Confederacy in the beginning. However, the Iroquois soon began to use guerilla style warfare tactics, and with their skill in the use of rifles they soon gained the upper hand. A treaty signed by the French and Iroquois in 1701 put an end to the conflict.

        King William’s War, which was fought from 1688 to 1697, followed next, with two expeditions sent by British and the American colonies against Montreal and Quebec in 1690 following the successful capture of Port Royal in Acadia from the Acadians. Both offensives were forced to withdraw, and did not succeed in their objectives; the Montreal venture had to return because of disease and lack of supplies, while the Quebec mission was forced back by French defenders. The French hold upon a large part of North America was strongest at this time. But with the turn of the century, the major French and British hostilities were just beginning.

        The French built the Fortress of Louisburg in 1720, and began to build up their military strength in Canada. The British were somewhat concerned with the French army being built up in Canada fearing that it might possibly lead to a controlling French presence in North America. But the French were stretching themselves thin around the world, leaving many small garrisons spread far apart which were vulnerable to attack. Soon the British had captured many positions from the French forcing them to regroup and defend themselves in Quebec. But the French still had control of much of the eastern seaboard. This began what was known as the War of the Austrian Succession.

        In 1744 part of the French forces based at Louisburg launched an attack on the more southerly town of Canso, which was controlled by the British. The French captured the town and took prisoner about 100 British soldiers after a short but fierce fight. The objective in attacking Canso was supposed to guard the supply lines from nearby settlements, and stop the British from using the town as a staging point for an attack on French Canada. The British reacted quickly to this military move and gathered together an army of Colonial militia commanded by British regulars. In the spring of 1745 the combined British and American colonial armies sailed for Louisburg.

        Despite setbacks caused by foul weather and partially trained soldiers, the fleet of ships arrived off Louisburg Harbour and landed their troops with few problems. The French defenders of the beach were beaten back with few casualties on the landing forces, and the attacking forces made camp. For a few weeks a stalemate ensued; then, without warning or negotiations, the French marched out of the citadel – and surrendered. Louisburg was now in British hands and the French hold on the New World was greatly relaxed. But through the strange twisting of political intrigue, only a few years later, in 1748, it was returned to the French in exchange for towns in Belgium, ending the War of the Austrian Succession(1).

However, once again, the British saw reason to attack Louisburg in 1758 and stop the French from forever having a major portion of the North American continent under her control. Under the leadership of Sir Jeffery Amhurst and General James Wolfe, Louisburg was wrested from French hands forever. The final capture of Louisburg, and subsequent retreat of the French to Quebec, was a major point in the beginning of the Seven Year’s War, sometimes known as the French and Indian War – with the British siding with the Indians, leaving the French with little support in Canada. Slowly the British took control of much of the French holdings in Canada, leaving the French with just Quebec. The final showdown between the British and the French occurred in 1759 in Quebec, just outside Montreal.

This is the end of Part One.  Please click HERE for Part Two.

Written by William Moore

(1) ‘Guns of Thunder’, Douglas Bond, P&R Publishing, 2007

Friday, 15 April 2016

On "Out of the Silent Planet" by C. S. Lewis

        Out of the Silent Planet, by C. S. Lewis, is a remarkable book. It charts some of the adventures of Dr. Elwin Ransom, a philologist, who, when on a walking tour in England, was abducted by an old schoolfellow and his partner in devious deeds. After managing to land in a spacecraft on a planet, his two companions try to give him as an offering to the inhabitants of the strange world – but Ransom escapes and runs away. In his exciting and mysterious travels he meets many sorts of creatures, and learns that the planet he is on, known as Malacandra, is actually Mars. He then receives a summons to come to someone called Oyarsa, who rules over the world. When he gets there, there is a very intriguing confrontation between Oyarsa and Ransom and his two companions – which serves well as the climax of the book. This book is a well written story of a world which acknowledges its need for a Saviour – unlike our world, which needs to read this book.

        There are many good things regarding this very engaging yet thought-provoking novel to be pondered, studied, and discussed. In reading Out of the Silent Planet, there are two things which probably stand out the most to any reader. One is the corruptible nature of mankind and the solution for him; the other is the remarkable contrast between our world and Malacandra. The corruptibleness of man might seem a little too obvious to some, but there is a hidden element. Even though it was in God’s plan that man would fall, it was not the way man was created to be.

        Man was created in the image of God, to be his image bearer and dominion-taker over all of His creation. But very soon man fell, bringing down with him all hope of being a friend and servant of God – or so it seemed. The relevance of this in Out of the Silent Planet in singularly striking. When Dr. Ransom was kidnapped, who kidnapped him? His old schoolfellow and his friend who were what? Partners in crime. Then when they take Ransom to Malacandra they want to sacrifice him to the creatures there. Who in his right mind would do such a thing to a fellow human being? Only those who are depraved.

        In the book, those who are depraved are called ‘bent’ by the creatures that live on Malacandra. Ransom, in his talking with the creatures, finds out that there is a bent Oyarsa ruling over Earth. That is what makes the men of Earth so evil. The same thing had happened to the world of Malacandra, but Maledil, the Son of the Great One, who created all the worlds and their Oyarsas, had sacrificed himself to free the world from the power of the bent Oyarsa, and banished him to rule only within the Moon’s orbit. This does sound familiar, especially when you understand that the Great One is God, the bent Oyarsa is the Devil, and Maledil is Christ.

        The second theme which is very evident is the contrast between our world and Malacandra. The worlds themselves, not just the life on them, are extremely varied. On Malacandra, the atmosphere lies far down in the deep valleys and never reaches the heights. The water is perpetually warm, not normally cold as it is on earth. The colours are all, according to our view, ‘wrong’. Rock is pink; plants and trees are green – and any other colour as well. But perhaps the most striking element, as on any ‘other world’, is the creatures and beings.

        There are three main ‘races’ of sentient living beings on Malacandra: the Hrossa; the Séroni; and the Pfifltriggi. These three each contribute to the technology, agriculture, and scholastic learning of Malacandra. Each of the races lives in harmony with each other – which is more than we can say who live on earth! Each of the races knows that they cannot survive without the help of one another. So they work together to live in peace and harmony.

        This is in direct contrast to our world. There may be some alliances between nations on earth, but they are tedious at best. The creatures of Malacandra are a great example of the peace and unity which comes from a civilisation that recognizes its Creator. On Malacandra, the creatures have been rescued from their Fall and live according to the moral code of the Great One, God. Our earth does not recognize that we need a Saviour – which is a terrible mistake. The contrast between Malacandra and Earth should make us want to change all that and preach the Gospel to our fallen world.

        And here we must end this look at Out of the Silent Planet, but it is certainly not the end of the story. The adventure may have finished for now, but the message ought to be remembered in the minds and hearts of those who read the book. C. S. Lewis, in subtly writing the history of our world into the amazing story of Dr. Ransom’s adventures, points out that the only way to be rescued from our bent condition is to trust in Christ alone for our salvation.  And that is the remarkableness of Out of the Silent Planet.

Written by William A Moore

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Oxford, England: A Pictorial Visit

        Many of you who read this blog mostly likely know that I recently returned from travelling in England, having gone to study the history and the craft of writing with author Douglas Bond and seven other writer-friends.  It would take too long to tell about all the places we visited, and the people we learned from, and the fun we had, and of course all of what Mr. Bond taught us, but below is a selection of my best photos.  In the future I plan on recounting some of what we did and certainly some of what Mr. Bond taught us.
        Eva, Rachel, Caitie, Faith, Alisa, Justin, and John -  if you are reading this, know that I considered it a great blessing to travel, learn, and explore with you.  God-speed all of your writing adventures!

Oxford, England, home of many great writers, poets, and Reformers.

Baliol College, where John Wycliffe studied.

Pembroke College, Oxford

Writing on location in the Bodlian Library, Oxford.

King's College, Oxford

Banbury Hill Farm, where we stayed.

The village of Olney, where John Newton & William Cowper lived.

Standing in front of Magdalen College, where C. S. Lewis lived and taught, and the 
Martyr's Monument, where the lives and death of Cranmer, Latimer, & Ridley are remembered.

Magdalen College, Oxford

 Walking 'Addison's Walk' where C. S. Lewis heard the
Gospel from his friends J. R. R. Tolkien & Hugo Dyson.

 The grave of C. S. Lewis & his brother in the 
churchyard of Holy Trinity, which Lewis attended.

Keble College, where Lewis trained for military service in WWI, and where a 
long forgotten photograph of a younger Lewis was recently discovered in the archives.

The last night - Sunset over the Cotswolds, Middle England.

Many more photos can be found on my Facebook profile: click HERE to view my complete album.

Here are links featuring some of my fellow author-traveler's websites:

Mr. Douglas Bond's website.

It truly was a magnificent trip!

I Gogoniant Crist,
William A. Moore