Gouvernement du Canada - Commission des champs de batails nationaux Gouvernement du Canada - Canada

The National Battlefields Commission

Plains of Abraham





When the British came into town they saw a city in ruins, a mere shadow of its former self. Following the bombardments, a third of the houses had been burned down and many more were in a pitiable state. All the public buildings – the Château Saint-Louis, the Séminaire, the Évêché, the Collège des Jésuites, the Hôtel-Dieu, the Récollets and Ursulines convents – had been damaged and needed repairs, except for the Intendant's palace and the Dauphine Redoubt barracks. Knox has this to say on the subject: "The lower town is so much in ruins that it is almost impossible to walk in the streets leading to the portes Saint-Jean, Saint-Louis and du Palais. [...] They bear the marks of almost total destruction130." Murray ordered his troops to clear away the streets and repair public buildings and 500 houses131.

Moreover, there was total confusion in the town. Thefts were rampant and the soldiers, who were used to violence and ransacking under war-like conditions, were undisciplined. To face up to the situation, Murray deployed guards in problem areas, their duty being to survey the roads and control the movements of the citizens; he also set up a curfew132.

The capture of Québec by the British also had important repercussions for its inhabitants. First of all, as early as September they had to swear allegiance to His Majesty George II. The religious issue was also the focus of attention. Governor Murray granted freedom of religion but, knowing that the soldiers were very hostile to the religion of the defeated, he implemented a number of measures, such as demanding that the nuns who cared for the wounded refrain from telling them about their religion. However, due to the precautions taken by the Governor, the first winter spent under British rule did not lead to any major incidents133.