In the latter part of 1775, a force from the Continental Army under Irish-born Major-General Richard Montgomery (formerly a Captain in the British army), Major-General Benedict Arnold and Major-General Robert Livingston invaded Montreal, Quebec, and after some heavy fighting with the British army, managed to defeat them, and on November 13, 1775 the city surrendered to the Continental Army. The commanders of the victorious Continental Army then appointed Colonel Moses Hazen of Haverhill, Massachusetts as Military Governor of the City of Montreal.
The Continental Congress on January 20, 1776, gave permission to Colonel Moses Hazen, the Military Governor of Montreal to recruit an army from the local Metis population, which he carried out. Thus, Colonel Hazen created the 2nd Canadien (Canadian) Regiment, also called Hazen's regiment and they served throughout the Revolutionary War, and were even involved in the siege of York Town. On October 19, 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the Franco-American forces under General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. The 2nd Canadien Regiment was disbanded on November 15, 1783, two months after the Anglo-American Peace Treaty of Versailles.
In April, 1776, Benjamin Franklin in the company of Fr. John Carroll of Maryland, businessman Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland (The only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence in 1776) along with Samuel Chase arrived in Montreal to have talks with the Habitants (Metis) and members of their clergy, including the Bishop of Montreal in an attempt to win them over to the Revolutionary cause. But the bishop of Montreal did not want any discussions on that subject and summarily excommunicated Fr. Charles Carroll, without giving them any reason for it. Of course Benjamin Franklin was very upset with this sudden turn of events on the part of the Habitants.
Meanwhile Benjamin Franklin arranged to have a printing press brought over from Vermont, along with a Frenchman who could handle the job. In 1774, Marseilles-born printer the Frenchman Fleury Mesplet immigrated to Philadelphia, PA in 1774 and published "Letter to the inhabitants of Canada" in 1775 for the Continental Congress. In 1776 Mesplet moved from Philadelphia, PA to the newly captured City of Montreal. When the British Army re-captured Montreal on June 15, 1776, Fleury Mesplet was tried for sedition and served a short term in prison for it. Upon being released he began printing again and it was not till 1785 that he began his publication of "La Gazette de Montreal", which was then a French-language newspaper.
Colonel Hazen being a very determined man could not give up his dream of capturing Canada even after American independence. And went on to discuss his plans for such a venture with the Marquis de Lafayette. They began the building of a 54-mile-road through New England stretching from Wells River to the west side of Walden to Hazen's Notch in Westfield. Hazen's Road was finally completed between during the years 1776 - 1779
Kenneth T. Tellis