12 Comments

  1. Sadly or perhaps not, people come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. With many of those with the brilliant ideas, drive and other skills often total ************ i.e. you don’t have to be a ******* to do some things. But ‘sometimes’ it helps / is necessary – though in at least as many occasions (and typically generally) it a formidable obstacle-totally disastrous.

  2. Hello Ian,

    What?
    Sir Charles Ross being a jerk?
    What?
    A member of the Scottish-Canadian ruling elite being a jerk?
    Surely you jest Ian.
    hah!
    Hah!

    Seriously, my family resembles that remark. We are descended from a variety of Scots/Irish, English, etc. middle-class immigrants.
    There were severe class distinctions between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians up until the mid-20th century. French Canadians were always treated as third class peasants good for little more than farming and manual labour under the semi-feudal government that dominated Quebec until the 1950s.

    However I am not clear on why French Canadians got upset about Sir Charles Ross firing at the Martello Tower on the Plains of Abraham. That Martello Tower was a reminder of British occupation after 1759. It was built after the French were ousted from Quebec during the Seven Years War. The Seven Years War was started by that uppity Virginian surveyor named George Washington. You might have heard of him during your American history class in high school.
    The British only started building Martello Towers after the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1796, they were deeply impressed by a Corsican defensive tower at Mortella. Brits built dozens of Martello Towers aroudn their Empire.
    Naturally, Brits miss-spelled the name of the town when they copied its best defensive feature. They substituted the Italian word for hammer: Martello (martel in French).

    The first time I ever saw a Martello Tower was in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    The second time was in Kingston, Ontario.

    Did you have a chance to tour the Quebec Citadel while you were there?
    How about CARDE in Valcartier?

    Keep up the good work,

    Master Corporal (retired) Rob Warner, CD, BA, etc.

    • “at Mortella”
      Punta Mortella in the Saint-Florent Gulf. It is not a town, just a small cape in the sea. The Republic of Genoa had built many of these towers on the Corsican coast.

  3. It is supportive to see Ian having interest in Canadian landmarks and country in general. Come again, Ian – you can practise you French!

  4. As others have said, Martello Towers are British, and are found all over the British Empire. There are also some good ones in the area around the fortifications in Kingston Ontario.

    The city of Quebec itself still has the original French fortifications in the form of the walls and gates around the old town. They are quite impressive and I hope that Ian took the opportunity to see them while he was there, and perhaps even took some footage.

    Quebec City, along with Halifax, was one of the key strategic points in Canada. Holding the city meant controlling Canada. France lost New France when Britain defeated them in the battle of the Plains of Abraham (the location of the video) in the Seven Years War. The US invasion of Canada during the American Revolutionary War was defeated when the US lay siege to Quebec city over the winter, but was forced to withdraw in the spring. The US plan for the War of 1812 involved trying to capture Quebec City by the end of the the first year’s campaign (the American invasion stalled at the border year after year though).

    So the presence of Martello Towers around Quebec City is quite understandable, as they formed part of the defence system. Quebec City is one of the oldest cities on the continent, and the residents would have been quite understandably interested in preserving their historical and architectural heritage.

  5. Being of thoroughly Scottish ancestry (Craig on one said, Ross on the other, all of them in America before the Revolution), I don’t find this hard to believe at all.

  6. Martello Towers seem like cool fortifications. But the firepower of a signle muzzle loading cannon seems negligible in terms of building and manning a small fortification?

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