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French Canadian Children. Falls of Montmorenci. Island of Orleans. Point Levi. Quebec in the Distance.
After passing Beauport, we were beset by troops of urchins, who stood in groups making
polite bows to win attention and coin, or ran beside the carriage
the picturesque scenery of the cascade assumes a new aspect.
These falls, though much high- TEMPERANCE CRoss.
er than those of Niagara, have none of the grandeur of that great wonder. Our first thought here is, How beautiful! but when the eye and the ear are first impressed with the avalanche of waters at Niagara, the solemn thought is, How sublime and wonderful ' When we visited the Montmorenci, a long drought had greatly diminished the volume of its waters, yet it exhibited a scene strikingly picturesque and pleasing. For two or three hundred yards the river is confined in a narrow limestone bed,” whence it rushes with great velocity to the brink of the precipice, and leaps into a crescent-shaped bay of the St. Lawrence, more than two hundred feet below. There, at low tide, the bare rocks receive the flood, and send up clouds of spray a hundred feet or more, on which the rays of the evening sun often depict the beautiful bow. In front, cleaving the broad bosom of the St. Lawrence, is the Island of Orleans, a paradise of beauty in summer, and a place of much resort by the citizens of Quebec, particularly the English residents, who see in it much that resembles their “sweet Devonshire coast.” Its length is nineteen miles, and its average breadth about five. A population of five thousand inhabit it, and its rich soil is thoroughly cultivated for the production of vegetables for the Quebec market. Beyond, on the right, is Point Levi, and up the St. Lawrence, glittering in the sun, lies Quebec. Grouping the beauties of the natural scenery, the historical associations, and the delights of a summer ride, a trip to Montmorenci is an event to be long remembered with pleasure. The sun was at meridian, and the mercury indicated ninety
* The river, in this channel, is not more than twelve feet wide, and here the Natural Steps occur. They rise on one side of the stream like irregular stairs. They have been formed by the action of the water on the softer layers of limestone, and present a curiosity for the visitor.
Religious Edifices in Quebec. The Citadel and the Walls. View from Dalhousie Bastion. Plains of Abrahaml
three degrees in the shade. The points of view were sparsely shadowed by trees, and we tarried only long enough to glance at the beauties of the fall and steal its features with a pencil, and then returned to Quebec, where, before dinner, we visited several churches, the chapel of the Ursuline Convent,' the Seminary of Quebec,” the chapel of the Hotel Dieu,” and the citadel. The citadel crowning Cape Diamond is a combination of powerful works. It is three hundred and fifty feet above the river, and is terminated on the east by a round tower, over which floats the national standard of England, the flag
“That's braved, a thousand years,
The approach to the citadel is by a winding road through the acclivity of the glacis from St. Louis Gate. It is foreign to my plan to notice in detail modern fortifications upon Revolutionary ground, and we will stop to consider only a few points of interest in this most perfect military work. The main entrance is through Dalhousie Gate, where we presented our permit, and were joined by a young Highland soldier to guide and guard us. On the top of Dalhousie Bastion is a covered way with a broad gravel walk, from which is obtained the finest view of the city, harbor, and surrounding country. The St. Charles is seen winding through a beautiful undulating plain, and the spires of Beauport, Charlesbourg, and Lorette, with the white cottages around them, form a pleasing feature in the landscape. The citadel and its ravelins cover about forty acres; and the fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains of solid masonry, and ramparts twenty-five to thirty feet in height, mounted with cannon, are continued entirely around the upper town. Upon the cliff called Sault au Matelot is the grand battery, of eighteen thirty-two pounders, commanding the basin and harbor below. At the different gates of the city sentinels are posted day and night, and in front of the jail and other public buildings the solemn march of military guards is seen The garrison at Quebec numbered about three thousand soldiers. Among them was the 79th regiment of Scotch Highlanders, lately from Gibraltar. They were six hundred strong, and, dressed in their picturesque costume, made a fine appearance. To a stranger the military forms a principal feature of Quebec, and the mind is constantly carried back to the era of Froissart, when “Everie fayre towne had strong high walls, and bowmen and spearmen were more numerous than all others.” We left the citadel, emerged from St. Louis Gate, and, after visiting the monument where “Wolfe died victorious,” rode over the battle-ground upon the Plains of Abraham, and, crossing to the St. Foix Road, went into the country as far as Holland House (the headquarters of Montgomery), and then returned, pleased and wearied, to the Albion. We strolled at evening through the governor's garden, rested upon Durham Terrace (see view on page 185), which was crowded with promenaders, and, losing our way in trying to ferret out the Albion, found ourselves at Hope Gate, where a kind priest, in long black cassock and broad beaver, conducted us back to Palace Street. I devoted the following day to business. Before breakfast I went to Durham Terrace,
"...The Ursuline Convent is situated on Parloir Street, near the English Cathedral. Influenced by an appeal from the French Jesuits of Canada, a young widow of Alençon, named Madame de la Peltrie, resolved to devote her life and fortune to the work of establishing a convent in Quebec. She founded the Ursuline Convent in 1641. An excellent school for the education of females is attached to it. In the chapel, as already noticed, is an inscribed marble slab, in memory of Montcalm, whose body lies within the grounds of the institution.
* This literary institution was founded in 1633, by De Laval de Montmorency, the first bishop of Canada. The professors, and all attached to it, receive no money compensation; they are simply guarantied “food and raiment, in sickness and in health.” The chapel contains several fine paintings. The library has nearly 10,000 volumes.
* The Hotel Dieu, a nunnery, stands between Palace and Hope Gates. It was founded in 1636, by the Duchess d’Aquillon, a niece of the famous Cardinal Richelieu. The cardinal was a liberal benefactor of the establishment during his life. The chapel is plain, and has but a few paintings,
Historical Localities at Quebec. An alarmed Englishman. Wolfe and Montcalm's Monument. Departure for Montreal.
and sketched Point Levi and the adjacent scenery beyond the St. Lawrence; and after receiving explicit directions respecting the various historical localities about the city from an old and intelligent resident, I procured a caleche and started in search of them, the result of which is given in the several sketches and the descriptions on preceding pages. As the day advanced, the heat became almost intolerable, until we reached the cool retreats of Wolfe's Cove, where, in the shade of a maple that overhangs a bubbling spring, Iloitered an hour, dreading my intended ramble over the Plains of Abraham above. We slowly ascended the steep and winding road up Wolfe's Ravine (in pity for the poor horse, walking half the way), and at the top I dismissed the vehicle and went over the plains on foot. Hardly a shrub breaks the smooth surface. The ground slopes from the city, and only a few chimney-tops and a roof or two indicated the presence of a populous town. While sketching the broken monument on the spot where Wolfe fell, a young Englishman, full of zeal for the perpetuity of British-colonial rule, was a spectator, and was very inquisitive respecting my intentions. With a pointer's keen perception, he determined my whereabout when at home, and of course looked upon me as a meddling foreigner. He saw me using the pencil on Durham Terrace in the morning, and also happened to pass while I was delineating Palace Gate. The idea of “horrible rebellion” and “Yankee sympathy” seemed to haunt his mind, and I fed his suspicions so bountifully with sinless fibs, that before I finished my sketch he started off for the city, fully impressed with the notion that he had discovered an emissary from the War Department at Washington, collecting military data preparatory to an invasion of her majesty's dominions ! I soon followed him, glad to escape from the burning heat upon the plains, and took shelter under the lofty trees in the governor's garden, near the citadel, a delightful public promenade on the west side of Des Carrieres Street. In the garden, near the street, is a fine monument, consisting of an obelisk and pedestal of granite, erected to the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm. At the suggestion of Earl Dalhousie, who was Governor of Canada in 1827, a subscription was opened for the purpose, and when it reached seven hundred pounds, the earl made up the deficiency and superintended the erection of the monument. It bears the names of Wolfe and MontcALM, and a Latin explanatory inscription." We left Quebec toward evening for Montreal, on our way up the St. Lawrence to Ontario. A gentle shower crossed our track two miles distant, leaving a cool breeze upon the waters, and dispelling the haziness of the atmosphere. Like a thin veil, it hung athwart the eastern sky, not thick enough to cover the face of the moon that gleamed dimly through it, yet sufficiently dense to refract and reflect the solar rays, and exhibit the radiant bow. While admiring the beautiful phenomenon, I had occasion to administer a quiet rebuke to a young fop, whose attempts at wit, loud tone, and swaggering manner had attracted our attention at the dinner-table at Quebec. He was accompanied by an elderly lady and two young maidens, and on the boat I observed him contributing largely to the amusement of the latter by asking silly questions of unsuspecting passengers, and receiving grave and polite answers, over
August 11, 1848.
which they made merry. At length it was my turn to be his “subject.” “Can you tell me," he said, “what causes that rainbow !” “Do you ask for information ?” I inquired, in return. “Well, yes,” he said, a little confused. “Do you understand the Newtonian
* The following is the inscription: Mortem virtus, communem famam historia monumentum posteritas dedit. Hanc columnam in virorum illustrium memoriam. Wolfe et MontcALM. P. C. Georgius Comes De Dalhousie in Septentrionalis America, partibus ad Britannos pertimentibus summano rerum administrans; opus per multos annos praetermissum, quid duci egregio convenientius? Auctoritate promorens, exemplo stimulans, munificentia fovens A.S., MDCCCXXVII., Georgio IV., Britanniarum Rege.
A Fop's Lesson. Arrival at La Chine. The Cascades. Dangerous Voyage. Moore's Boat Song.
theory of light? the laws of refraction and reflection? and are you familiar with the science of optics?” I asked, with a serious manner. “No, not much,” he mumbled, with an effort to assume a careless air. “I perceive, sir, that you are not far enough advanced in knowledge to understand an explanation if I should give it,” I mildly replied, and left him to his own reflections. Perhaps I was rude in the presence of that matron and those young girls, but the injunction of high authority, to “answer a fool according to his folly,” did not parley with politeness. The maidens, half smiling, bit their lips, while the young man gazed steadfastly from the window of the saloon upon the beautiful shores we were passing by. They were indeed beautiful, dotted with villages, meat white farm-houses, fields of grain, and widespreading woods bathed in the light of the evening sun; and I hope the calm beauty of the scene, above and below, soothed the disquieted spirit of the young gazer, and awakened in his bosom aspirations for that wisdom which leads her willing pupils to perceive
“Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
We arrived at Montreal at six in the morning, left it by rail-road at ten for La Chine, nine miles distant, and at the head of La Chine Rapids embarked in the steamer British Queen for Ogdensburgh. We were soon at the foot of the Cascades, or St. Ann's Rapids, near the southwestern extremity of the Island of Montreal.
The St. Lawrence here falls eighty-seven feet in the distance of seven miles. Steamboats and other vessels go down the rapids, but are obliged to ascend through the Beauharnois Canal, which we entered at about noon. This canal is fifteen miles long, fifty feet wide, and nine feet deep. The navigation of the rapids is very dangerous, and vessels are sometimes wrecked upon the submerged rocks. A sloop, loaded with staves and lumber, was lying in the midst of the foaming rapids, where it had struck the day before while guided by an unskillful pilot. The canal voyage was slow, for we passed mine locks before we reached the waters above Lake St. Louis, an expansion of the river, where the Ottawa or Utawas comes sweeping around each side of Isle Pero, at its mouth, and swells the volume of
* These rapids are so called from the circumstance that a village of the same name is near. This was considered by the Canadian voyageurs the place of departure when going from Montreal on fur-trading excursions, as here was the last church upon the island. This fact suggested to Moore the thoughts expressed in the first verse of his Canadian Boat Song :
“Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Moore says, in reference to this song, “I wrote these words to an air which our boatmen sung to us frequently while descending the St. Lawrence from Kingston to Montreal. Our voyageurs had good voices, and sung perfectly in tune together. I remember when we had entered, at sunset, upon one of those beautiful lakes into which the St. Lawrence so grandly and unexpectedly opens, I have heard this simple air with a pleasure which the finest compositions of the first masters have never given me.”
junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence. Cedars Rapids. Garrison there in 1776. Conduct of Bedell and Butterfield.
the St. Lawrence with its turbid flood.” We were most of the time in full view of the river, and had a fine opportunity to observe the people, dwellings, and agricultural operations along the line of the canal. We passed the Cedars Rapids, twenty-four miles from La Chine, at about three o'clock. These rapids vary in intricacy, depth, and rapidity of current, and are nine miles long, running at the rate of nine to twelve miles an hour. In some places the rocks are covered with only a few feet of water, and the descent is at all times rather perilous. Small islands, covered with trees and shrubbery, accelerate the speed of the waters. These rapids derive their
CEDARs RAPIDs, at St. TIMoTHY. name from the village of Cedars, on the north side of the St. Lawrence, in Vaudreuil district. The sketch was made from the steam-boat, in the canal, while stopping for wood and water at St. Timothy. The Cedars occupy quite a conspicuous place in the annals of the Northern campaign of 1775–76. Three hundred and ninety Americans, under Colonel Bedell, of the New Hampshire line, occupied a small fortress there in the spring of 1776. Early in May, Captain Foster, of the British army, with a detachment of forty regulars, one hundred Canadians, and five hundred Indians, under the celebrated Brant, or Thayendanegea, descended from the British station at the mouth of the Oswegatchie (now Ogdensburgh), and approached the fort. Bedell, under pretense of going to Montreal for re-enforcements, left the garrison in command of Major Butterfield, an officer quite as void of courage as his superior. Both have been branded by cotemporary writers as cowards, and their conduct on this occasion confirms the opinion.” Butterfield did not even make a fair show of resistance, but quietly
* For several miles below the confluence of the two rivers the muddy water of the Ottawa and the clear stream of the St. Lawrence are seen contending for the mastery. The line of demarkation may be traced by the color even below the St. Ann's Rapids.
* Washington, writing to General Schuyler under date of June 10th, 1776, said, “If the accounts of Colonel Bedell and Major Butterfield's conduct be true, they have certainly acted a part deserving the most exemplary notice. I hope you will take proper measures, and have good courts appointed to bring them, and every other officer that has been or shall be guilty of misconduct, to trial, that they may be punished according to their offenses. Our misfortunes at the Cedars were occasioned, as it is said, entirely by their base and cowardly behavior, and can not be ascribed to any other cause.” A late writer for one of our weekly papers, in giving a “true account of the Northern campaign,” is particularly laudatory of the bravery of Colonel Bedell at St. John's and Chambly. He seems to regard all the official and other records of the events there as quite erroneous, and “sets the matter right” by quoting a letter written by Bedell to the Committee of Safety of New Hampshire. He calls the style of the letter “Caesarean,” and in the free use of the pronoun I there is certainly a similarity to Caesar's Veni, Vidi, Vici. Taking the colonel's letter as verity, we must suppose that, in the capture of Forts Chambly and St. John's, Montgomery and all other officers were mere puppets in his hands. In a postscript he says, “This moment I have got possession of St. John's; and, the post being obliged to set off, have not time to copy the articles of capitulation; and to-morrow shall march for Montreal, leaving a detachment to keep the fort.” Other portions of his letter plainly indicate that he wished to impress those who sent him to the field with the idea that he was the master-spirit there. I should not have noticed this matter so minutely but for the disposition of a class of writers at present to make prominent the exploits of subalterns, upon ex-parte evidence, by hiding the brill iant deeds of those to whom compatriots and cotemporary historians have awarded the highest meed of praise. It is an easy, and the only, way to make a sapling conspicuous, to fell the noble trees that surround and overshadow it.