General Brock: Quebec Mercury, June 22, 1813, page 195
From a Late London Paper.
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock was deprived of his valuable life at the early age of 42. He was born in Guernsey, in the month of October, 1769; was only 16 when he entered the ary; and was Lieut. col. of the 49th regt from the year 1797 to the period of his death. During the campaign in Holland, in 1799, he acquired considerable distinction at the head of his regiment; and was second in command of the land forces in the memorable battle of Copenhagen, under Lord Nelson. He was of tall stature, athletic, and well proportioned, and in his manners elegant and engaging.
Of this distinguished officer, the writer of this article was, from his earliest year, the bosom friend. No man can delineate his character with a more faithful hand. His portrait should be drawn by a master. Though incompetent to the task, he is yet animated by the memory of their mutual Friendship; and the tears which flow, while with a trembling pen, he strives to render justice to the departed hero, are a worthier tribute of affection to his blessed spirit, than any eulogism composed with more art, but dictated with less sincerity.
General Brock was indeed a hero—a hero, in the only true and in the most extensive sense, resembling what history or fable has represented, rather as the offspring of the imagination, than as a personage that could have real existence; so entirely was every great quality comprehended in his character; brave and undaunted, yet prudent and calculating; devoted to his Sovereign, and loving his country with romantic fondness, but gentle and persuasive to those who were impressed with less ardent feelings. Elevated to the government of Upper Canada, he reclaimed the disaffected by mildness, and fixed the wavering by argument; all hearts were conciliated; and, in the awful and trying period of invasion, the whole province displayed a spirit of zealous and even enthusiastic loyalty, that astonished those most, who had believed they knew the Canadians best.
Even over the minds of the Indians, general Brock gained an ascendency altogether unexampled, which he judiciously exercised for purposes conducive equally to the cause of humanity and the interests of his country. He engaged them to throw aside the scalping knife, implanted in their breasts the virtues of clemency and forbearance, and taught them to feel pleasure and pride in the compassion extended to a vanquished enemy. Circumscribed in his means of repelling invasion, he studied to fix the attachment of that rude and wavering people, and to improve the value of their alliance, by reducing their military operations to the known rules of war and discipline. The qualities he displayed were calculated to impress their haughty and masculine minds with respect and admiration; and the speech delivered by Tecumseth, (the Prophet's brother), after the capture of Fort Detroit, is illustrative of the sentiments with which he had inspired the warlike tribes. "I have heard," observed that Chief to him, "much of your fame; and am happy to shake by the hand a brave brother warrior. The Americans endeavour to give us a mean opinion of English generals; but we have been the witnesses of your valour. In crossing the river, to attack the enemy, we observed you, at a distance, standing the whole time in erect posture, and when the boats reached the shore, you were the first who jumped on land. Your bold and sudden movements frightened the enemy, and you compelled them to surrender to half your own force."
Of all the excellent qualities which adorned thing accomplished soldier, none was more prominent than his decision. It formed the discriminating feature in his military character, and it was ever under the guidance of a clear and sound judgment.
It deserves to be recorded as an instance of good fortune, unprecedented perhaps in military annals, that from the 5th of August, the day on which Gen. Brock left York for Detroit, to the period immediately preceding the victory of Queenstown, the force under his command suffered no diminution in its numbers, either by desertion, natural death, or the sword. This comprehends a period of nearly ten weeks, during which an army had been captured, and incessant marches of several hundred miles accomplished with astonishing rapidity.
"Push on the York Volunteers," were the last words of this hero; they were spoken within pistol-shot of the American army, and this sentence had no sooner escaped his lips than he received the fatal wound.
In conclusion, it is due to the memory of this excellent man to declare that, eminent and undisputed as were his public virtues, he was no less estimable in private life. With perfect truth, it may be affirmed, that he lived for others; and by the troops under his command he was beloved for his benevolence and humanity, as much as he was respected for skill and courage. His cares and anxieties had no reference to the wealth he should amass, but to the sum of human misery he might relieve; and, towards the close of his bright career, as the prospect of increasing honours and emolument opened to his view, he contemplated his good fortune only as the means of diffusing felicity, of drying the tear of affliction.
As the American people, in the Message of their President, are desired to extract consolation from his death, so will England know how to appreciate her loss.