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- Canada and the States - 50/71 -

with sails and glistening in the sun--mellows the landscape most exquisitely. Quebec, as seen from the river, too, has a fine commanding aspect. The Citadel crowning the height does not give so great an appearance of extent or strength as it possesses. In reality, Gibraltar preeminent over all, it is one of the most impregnable strongholds in the world; and its underground works, I am told, are so extensive that 5,000 men may be garrisoned and hidden within the bowels of the earth beneath it. Visitors are not allowed to walk on the west ramparts; and on complaining of this to a distinguished military officer, I was assured that the workmen, who are still employed in the excavations below, are taken in blindfold--that the engineer officer alone knows the form and shape of the works in progress, and that the plan of the remainder is kept sealed up in the hands of the commandant, to be opened only in case of actual need. This is mystery with a vengeance, and but for the authority from whence I received the statement, I should doubt the fact--most decidedly.

"The lower town of Quebec stands upon the river bank, beneath the almost perpendicular face of rock, surmounted by the Citadel. It is old, and the houses are principally of wood, and ultra-French in appearance. The streets are narrow and not over clean. To reach the upper town you drive up a very precipitous road, or walk up a long flight of timber steps, which shorten the steepest portion of the way. The upper town is built on the acclivity and on the slopes of the hill- side, which slide down to the river St. Charles, to the north. The fire of 1845 improved the town, by clearing out miserable old wooden dwellings; and the buildings erected on the site are of good brick or stone. Since these fires, too, it has been forbidden to build houses of wood, within the walls; and the use of shingles for roofing has been prohibited. The roofs are mostly covered with tin, which shines and glares in the sun at mid-day, but reflects the morning light very pleasantly.

"The Protestant and Catholic Cathedrals are fine buildings, as are the new Catholic church outside the suburbs, the Catholic seminary, and many other edifices. But the narrow streets, steep ascents, and ancient buildings, take away all beauty from the town itself, delightful as is its situation, and beautiful as are the vistas and views from various parts of it.

"A pilgrimage to the Plains of Abraham, about a mile from the Citadel, which consist of the high tableland between the St. Lawrence and the St. Foix road and St. Charles river, was to me a traveller's duty.

"It was on the night of the 12th of September, 1759, that Wolfe, checked by the French, at Montmorenci, two months before, dropped down the St. Lawrence with his army in boats, and succeeded in landing at a little bend of the river, still half hidden by trees, where the high and precipitous shores are most accessible, though yet most difficult of ascent. The troops scaled the heights, meeting little opposition, formed into line across the plains, and waited the attack of the French, who had marched that morning from Beauport, near to which the battle of Montmorenci had been fought. The French came on gallantly, and the English stood their fire until they approached within forty yards, and then delivered theirs. The French wavered, and Wolfe charged at the head of his men, Montcalm heading his. A desperate fight took place, and Wolfe fell, struck by the third ball, just as the French line broke in confusion, and the English cheer of victory burst from his conquering army. Montcalm was mortally wounded immediately afterwards.

"On the spot where Wolfe fell, on the extreme right of his line, a plain unpretending pillar is placed, bearing the simple inscription,--


Near the Citadel, and in the town, another monument has been erected, which bears the name of Wolfe on one side and that of Montcalm on the other.

"To see the country, I had a drive of twenty-five miles along the St. Charles river, through the Indian village of Lorette, and back through the fine open district to the westward of the town. Our road was good for a few miles, but then became such a collection of deep pits and heaps of mud, that, but for a rude fence and wheel-marks, it would hardly have been distinguished from the fields. The course of the St. Charles, however, at this point, is between precipitous and sometimes rocky banks, covered with trees and jungle: and in enjoyment of the scenery, the fresh pure air, cooled by the previous night's rain, and the sweet scents thrown out by the trees and wild-flowers, the slow progress of the vehicle and the bumping of one's sides, were forgotten.

"Lorette was originally a colony of Christianized Huron Indians, to whom lands were granted by the French. The village is now principally inhabited by whites and half-breeds, though there are some of the pure race left--the men wearing European dresses, the women adhering to the ancient costume. Their cottages are generally neat and clean. Andre Romain, the chief, resides in the centre of the village, a high pole denoting his residence and rank. I found him bending over his simple dinner of milk and coarse bread. He was dressed in old, and somewhat ragged, garments. He seemed so extremely old, that I did not trouble him with more than a very short conversation, in French. He showed me a portrait of George IV., given to him, he said, from the hands of that monarch, and a coloured engraving of the installation of one of the royal princes as chief of the Hurons. The poor old man, broken down with extreme age, had still the remains of a commanding presence, which even his miserable dress, unshaven beard, and bleared and misty eye, could not altogether extinguish.

"This village gives an example of the fate of all the Indian tribes. Here, once brought together to live after the manner of the whites, this tribe has been reduced in number, and finally all but absorbed; and in a few years not one of the unmixed race will remain, and the language of the tribe will be obliterated.

"At Lorette are the falls of the St. Charles, which are very interesting. After seeing them, I had some milk at the 'Billy Button,' a public-house kept by a Yankee, who deals in the Indian ornaments made in the village, and shows the falls, and then drove round to Quebec, through a fine and richly-tilled district; and, in passing, saw a hotly-contested heat run upon the course on the plains of Abraham--for it was Quebec races."

* * * * *

"TORONTO, "Saturday, September 6th, 1851.

"Returning to Montreal, I spent Thursday in visiting various institutions of that city, and drove out with Mr.---- to see the country residence of a friend of his, which is hidden in a sweet little glen, from whence, however, glimpses of the St. Lawrence river are obtained. This gentleman lives here in summer, and employs his leisure in the cultivation of the fruits and flowers, which a fine soil and a forcing climate produce in perfection. He complains of the destruction of the large trees in his vicinage, regretting that those who own the neighbouring woods should be impelled to bring down, first, the oldest and finest timber, and should be unable to preserve even so much of it as might illustrate hereafter the magnificent proportions of the native forest wood. This is truly one of the sad features of advancing civilization. The fine old forests, like the native Indians, lose their noblest chieftains, and, degenerating to a few dwarfed and scattered specimens, at last disappear and are forgotten.

"Mr.---- told us much of the happy and comfortable lives of the farmers and settlers hereabouts. All have land; food in abundance, including sugar from their own maple-bush; cattle; horses; light spring waggons, which serve as family coaches when not required for the week-day's work; good homely furniture and clothing: in short, an abundance of all the essentials of existence, and even wealth--but they possess little money. In many cases, and now that agricultural improvement has become a necessity, this want of money is found to be a great evil. The ordinary sized farms, of 100 acres of good land, all in cultivation, are worth from 500_l_., to 1,000_l_.; and very often an expenditure of 200_l_. or 300_l_. in improvements would double their value. The legal rate of interest here is 6 per cent.; and as high a rate as 7 or 8 per cent could be got for small loans on mortgages for these purposes were the money to be had. The banks, however, do not, as a rule, lend money on mortgage, and the monied men of the country have usually lands of their own requiring the same sort of development. Foreign capital is therefore looked to; and doubtless it will ultimately be procured in abundance, the security being undeniable, and the rate of interest so high.

"Mr.---- does not consider the long winter any impediment to farming, but rather the contrary, as the sudden burst of spring, and the rapid growths of summer, make up for it; while in a country like this, where roads are so scanty, many of the farmers' operations are performed more easily during the snow and hard frosts which prevail.

"Leaving Montreal, by a short railroad of nine miles in length, constructed to avoid the rapids of a bend of the St. Lawrence, I came to Lachine. Here are the head-quarters of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the house of Sir George Simpson, the Governor; and hence, annually, towards the end of April, proceed the 'maitre-canots,' or large canoes, of the company, manned by its officers and hardy 'voyageurs,' up the waters of the Ottawa to Lake Nipissing, and down the Riviere des Francais into Lake Huron.

"At Lachine I took the 'Champion,' a fine new steamer, built and equipped at Montreal, and worked up the St. Lawrence, along Lake Ontario, to Toronto, a journey of 450 miles, and occupying about forty hours in the performance.

"The navigation of the St. Lawrence is impeded by several large 'rapids,' formed by the action of the suddenly descending current upon sunken rocks deep below the surface of the water. On the upward voyage these are impassable for merchandize vessels; and, though the large steamers struggle through many of them, there are others which no force can cope with. To remedy these impediments, several fine canals, equal to any similar works in the world, have been constructed. The first of these, the Beauharnois Canal, connects, by a cut eleven miles long, the broad embayment called 'Lake St. Louis,' above Montreal, with the similar reach called 'Lake St. Francis;' and in the narrow passage between these unruffled waters are the principal rapids--the 'Coteau du Lac,' the 'Cedars,' and the 'Cascades.' The passage through this 'sixteen miles' declivity of boiling waters' is exciting. The large steamers rush down with the rapidity of the wind, through waves lashed into foam--sweeping close past the rocks and islets in the stream, and only kept in safety in their course by the united exertions of six or seven 'voyageurs,' and a pilot, at the wheel.

"The upper shores of the St. Lawrence are populous and well cultivated. In stopping to take in our supply of wood, which we had to do several times during the day and night, usually at quiet secluded nooks along shore, or on some little island, I had many opportunities of seeing the comfort of the people, and the progress of the country. The houses, usually of wood, painted white, or of some showy colour, and having verandas covered with climbers, looked both commodious and gay. It might be mistake, but I fancied that improvement was more perceptible when, passing the point where line 45 degrees 'strikes' the river, we came

Canada and the States - 50/71

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