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Picturesque Quebec by James MacPherson Le Moine

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Respectfully Inscribed



This volume, purporting to be a sequel to "QUEBEC PAST AND PRESENT,"
published in 1876, is intended to complete the history of the city. New
and interesting details will be found in these pages, about the locality,
where Samuel de Champlain located his settlement in 1608, together with a
rapid glance at incidents, sights, objects, edifices, city gates and other
improvements, both ancient and modern, which an antiquarian's ramble round
the streets, squares, promenades, monuments, public and private edifices,
&c., may disclose. It will, it is hoped, be found a copious repository of
historical, topographical, legendary, industrial and antiquarian lore--
garnered not without some trouble from authorities difficult of access to
the general reader. May it prove not merely a faithful mirror of the past,
but also an authentic record of the present!

THE SKETCH OF THE ENVIRONS OF QUEBEC will take the tourist or student of
history beyond the ramparts of Old Stadacona, to the memorable area--the
Plains of Abraham--where, one century back and more, took place the hard-
fought duel which caused the collapse of French power in the New World,
established British rule on our shores, and hastened the birth of the
great Commonwealth founded by George Washington, by removing from the
British Provinces, south of us, the counterpoise of French dominion. More
than once French Canada had threatened the New England Settlements; more
than once it had acted like a barrier to the expansion and consolidation
of the conquering Anglo-Saxon race.

THE ENVIRONS OF QUEBEC are, indeed, classic soil, trodden by the footsteps
of many of the most remarkable men in American History: Cartier,
Champlain, Phipps, d'Iberville, Laval, Frontenac, La Galissonnère, Wolfe,
Montcalm, Levis, Amherst, Murray, Guy Carleton, Nelson, Cook,
Bougainville, Jervis, Montgomery, Arnold, DeSalaberry, Brock and others.
Here, in early times, on the shore of the majestic St. Lawrence, stood the
wigwam and canoe of the marauding savage; here, was heard the clang of
French sabre and Scotch claymore in deadly encounter--the din of battle
on the tented field; here,--but no further--had surged the wave of
American invasion; here, have bivouaced on more than one gory battle-
field, the gay warrior from the banks of the Seine, the staunch musketeers
of Old England, the unerring riflemen of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode
Island. Another spot calculated to interest us is the vast expanse from
the Plains to Cap Rouge, round by Ste. Foye to the city, for which I
intend to use its former more general name, Sillery: the ground is not new
for us, as its annals and country seats furnished, in 1865, materials for
sketches, published that year under the title of _Maple Leaves_. These
sketches having long since disappeared from book-stores, at the request of
several enlightened patrons, I re-publish from them some selections, with
anecdotes and annotations. Several other sites round Quebec--Beauport,
Charlesbourg, the Falls of Montmorency and of the Chaudière, Château
Bigot, Lorette and its Hurons--will, of necessity, find a resting place in
this repertory of Quebec history, which closes a labour of love, the
series of works on Canada, commenced by me in 1861.

In order to enhance the usefulness of this work, extensive and varied
historical matter has been included in the appendix for reference.

To my many friends, whose notes and advice have been so freely placed at
my disposal, I return my grateful thanks.

SPENCER GRANGE, December, 1881.




Quebec as seen by Tourists--Descriptions--by Francis Parkman--M. Sand--
Eliot Warburton--Thoreau--Mrs. Moodie--Charles Dickens--Marmier--Sir
Charles Dilke--Henry Ward Beecher--Professor Silliman--Charles Lever--
Capt. Butler--Alfred Hawkins--Hon. P. J. O. Chauveau.



Samuel de Champlain--_L'Abitation_--the Dwelling of Champlain--Chief
Donaconna--Jacques Cartier's Landing--Interview between Cartier and



Streets and By-ways of the Old City--Names of Famous Men preserved by
Street Names--Dangerous Streets.


Louis Hébert, the First Resident--The First Street--The First Horse--
Marquis de Tracy--St. Louis Street--The Quebec Gazette--William Brown--
Samuel Neilson--Dr. Wilkie--Lawyers--Madame Péan--Montgomery's Assault--
Death of Montcalm--SOCIETY IN EARLY ENGLISH TIMES--Theatre--Early Society
Poets--Literature--United Empire Loyalists,--ST. LOUIS HOTEL--THE
FRÉCHETTE DINNER--Mr. Fréchette's Speech--Mr. Lamier's Speech--Mr.
Stewart's Speech--Mr. LeMay's, Speech---Mr. LeMoine's Speech---FORT ST.
Councillors--A Braggart Mohawk Hanged--The New Château--Fealty and
Homage--Re-building by Frontenac--Quebec Agricultural Society--The Loyal
League--An Antique Stone--Lord Edward Fitzgerald--The Duke of Richmond--
Sir Peregrine Maitland--John Galt--Lord Dorchester--Isaac Weld--Dufferin
Terrace--Laying of Corner Stone--Rev. Dr. Sparks--St. Andrew's Church--
The Lymburners--Hugh McQuarters James Thompson--The Rosses--The Georges--
Parloir Street--Jupiter Street--St. George Street--LAVAL UNIVERSITY--
Palace Street--Statue of General Wolfe--St. Famille Street--St. Stanislas
Street--Trinity Chapel--Theatre Royal--THE LITERARY AND HISTORICAL
SOCIETY--Mr. LeMoine's Lecture on Arnold's Assault--The Centenary Fete--
The Jesuit's Church--The Jesuit's Barracks--The Récollet Convent--The
Palace--Couillard Street--The Union Hotel--The Prisoners of 1812--Bell's
Cavalry--Rue du Trésor--Royal Notaries--St. John Street--Le Club des
Anciens--La Crucifix Outragé--Olden Times in the Ancient Capital--Durham


Le Chien d'Or--The Elevator--Mountain Hill--Landing of the Marquis de
Tracy--Landing of the Earl of Durham--The Inconstants--St. Peter Street--
Jean Taché--The Chronicle Building--The Neptune Inn--Press Gangs at
Quebec--Notre Dame Des Victoires--Notre Dame Street--Dalhousie Street---
Public Whipping--Sous-le-Fort Street--The Cul-de-Sac--The King's Wharf--A
Fighting Stevedore--M. Marmier--Sault-au-Matelot Street--Dog Lane--St.
Paul Street--Pointe à Carcy--The Duke of Saxe Weimar.


La Friponne--The Intendant Bigot--The Intendant's Palace--La Vacherie--
Côte à Coton--St. Valier Street--The Blue House--Horatio Nelson in Quebec
--Dorchester Bridge--Crown Street--The Harbour Docks--The Graving Dock at


The New Gates--The Kent Gate--The Citadel Gates--Theller and Dodge's
Escape from the Citadel--The Men of '37.



St. Louis Road--Parliament Buildings--Bleak House--Martello Towers--
Buttes-à-Nepveu--Wolfe's Landing Place--Ste. Foye Road--Association Hall.



City Government--Boundaries of the Wards--War Department Property.


MARCHMONT--Anecdote of Wolfe's Army
WOLFESFIELD--Carlyle's Account of the Capture of Quebec
SPENCER WOOD--The Perceval Family--A Fête Champêtre in 1809
SPENCER GRANGE--Audubon at Quebec
BARDFIELD--The Mountain Family
BENMORE--The Sparrows and Quails
MONTAGUE COTTAGE--The History of Emily Montague
MEADOWBANKS--A Raid in 1775
BELMONT--Irish Education in the Olden Time
THE HOLLAND TREE--A Scandal of the last Century
BIJOU--Anecdote of Wolfe's Army
RINGFIELD--Journal of Chevalier Johnstone
CHÂTEAU BIGOT--The Algonquin Maid--Marmette's Romance

Jacques Cartier's Officers and Crew
Jacques Quartier, the Pilot
Discovery of the Remains of Jacques Cartier's Vessel
The Bronze Cannon
The French who remained after the Capitulation of 1629
The Arms of the Dominion
Militia Uniforms
Ship-building at Quebec under French Domination
The Conquest of New York
The French Refugees of Oxford, Mass.
The Venerable Mother of the Incarnation
Variation of the Needle at Quebec
Our City Bells
General Wolfe's Statue
Vente d'une Négresse à Quebec
The Ice-Shove--April 1874
The Pistols and Sash of General Wolfe
The Post Office
Monument to the Victims of 1837-8
Fines for Duelling
Executions at Quebec Gaol
Quebec Golf Club
Quebec Snowshoe Club
French Governors of Canada
English Governors

Plan of Quebec in 1759
Map to Illustrate the Siege of Quebec in 1759
Map to Illustrate Operations of Generals de Levis and Murray, 1759-60
Plan of the Links--Quebec Golf Club

The description of ASYLE CHAMPÊTRE was written by Dr. P. Bender, the
biographer of Joseph Perrault, the founder of ASYLE CHAMPÊTRE.




Quebec, founded by Samuel de Champlain, in 1608, has certainly much to
recommend her, by her monuments, her historical memories and her scenery,
to the traveller--the scholar--the historian. The wintering of the
venturesome Jacques Cartier on the banks of the St. Charles in 1535-6, by
its remoteness, is an incident of interest, not only to Canadians, but
also to every denizen of America. It takes one back to an era nearly
coeval with the discovery of the continent by Columbus--much anterior to
the foundation of Jamestown, in 1607--anterior to that of St Augustine, in
Florida. Quebec, has, then, a right to call herself an old, a very old,
city of the west.

The colonization of Canada, or, as it was formerly called, New France, was
undertaken by French merchants engaged in the fur trade, close on whose
steps followed a host of devoted missionaries who found, in the forests of
this new and attractive country, ample scope for the exercise of their
religious enthusiasm. It was at Quebec that these Christian heroes landed,
from hence they started for the forest primeval, the bearers of the olive
branch of Christianity, an unfailing token of civilization.

A fatal mistake committed at the outset by the French commanders, in
taking sides in the Indian wars, more than once brought the incipient
colony to the verge of ruin. During these periods, scores of devoted
missionaries fell under the scalping knife or suffered incredible tortures
amongst the merciless savages whom they had come to reclaim. Indian
massacres became so frequent, so appalling, that on several occasions the
French thought seriously of giving up the colony forever. The rivalry
between France and England, added to the hardships and dangers of the few
hardy colonists established at Quebec. Its environs, the shores of its
noble river, more than once became the battle-field of European armies.
These are periods of strife, happily gone by, we hope, forever.

In his "_Pioneers of France in the New World_," the gifted Francis
Parkman mournfully reviews the vanished glories of old France in her
former vast dominions in America:--

"The French dominion is a memory of the past; and when we evoke its
departed shades, they rise upon us from their graves in strange
romantic guise. Again their ghostly camp-fires seem to burn, and the
fitful light is cast around on lord and vassal and black robed priest,
mingled with wild forms of savage warriors, knit in close fellowship
on the same stern errand. A boundless vision grows upon us: an untamed
continent, vast wastes of forest verdure, mountains silent in primeval
sleep; river, lake, and glimmering pool; wilderness oceans mingling
with the sky. Such was the domain which France conquered for
civilization. Plumed helmets gleamed in the shade of its forests;
priestly vestments in its dens and fastnesses of ancient barbarism.
Men steeped in antique learning, pale with the close breath of the
cloister, here spent the noon and evening of their lives, ruled savage
hordes with a mild, parental sway, and stood serene before the direst
shapes of death. Men of a courtly nurture, heirs to the polish of a
far-reaching ancestry, here, with their dauntless hardihood, put to
shame the boldest sons of toil."

Of all this mighty empire of the past, Quebec was the undisputed capital,
the fortress, the keystone.

It would be a curious study to place in juxtaposition the impressions
produced on Tourists by the view of Quebec and its environs--from the era
of Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of Canada, down to that of the Earl of
Dufferin, one of its truest friends.

Champlain, La Potherie, La Houtan, Le Beau, Du Creux (Creuxius), Peter
Kalm, Knox, Silliman, Ampère, Mrs. Moodie, Dickens, Lever, Anthony
Trollope, Sala, Thoreau, Warburton, Marmier, Capt. Butler, Sir Charles
Dilke, Henry Ward Beecher, have all left their impressions of the rocky
citadel: let us gaze on a few of their vivid pictures.

"The scenic beauty of Quebec has been the theme of general eulogy. The
majestic appearance of Cape Diamond and the fortifications, the
cupolas and minarets, like those of an eastern city, blazing and
sparkling in the sun, the loveliness of the panorama, the noble basin,
like a sheet of purest silver, in which might ride with safety a
hundred sail of the line, the graceful meandering of the river St.
Charles, the numerous village spires on either side of the St.
Lawrence, the fertile fields dotted with innumerable cottages, the
abode of a rich and moral peasantry,--the distant falls of
Montmorency,--the park like scenery of Point Levis,--the beauteous
Isle of Orleans,--and more distant still, the frowning Cape Tourmente,
and the lofty range of purple mountains of the most picturesque form,
which, without exaggeration, is scarcely to be surpassed in any part
of the world." (Hawkins' _Picture of Quebec_.)

"Quebec recalls Angoulême to my mind: in the upper city, stairways,
narrow streets, ancient houses on the verge of the cliff; in the lower
city, the new fortunes, commerce, workmen;--in both, many shops and
much activity." (M. Sand.)

"Take mountain and plain, sinuous river, and broad, tranquil waters,
stately ship and tiny boat, gentle hill and shady valley, bold
headland and rich, fruitful fields, frowning battlement and cheerful
villa, glittering dome and rural spire, flowery garden and sombre
forest,--group them all into the choicest picture of ideal beauty your
fancy can create; arch it over with a cloudless sky, light it up with
a radiant sun, and lest the sheen should be too dazzling, hang a veil
of lighted haze over all, to soften the lines and perfect the repose,
--you will then have seen Quebec on this September morning." (Eliot

"I rubbed my eyes to be sure I was in the nineteenth century, and not
entering one of those portals which sometimes adorn the frontispiece
of old black-letter volumes. I though it would be a good place to read
Froissart's Chronicles. It was such a reminiscence of the Middle Ages
as Scott's Novels.

"Too much has not been said about the scenery of Quebec. The
fortifications of Cape Diamond are omnipresent. You travel ten,
twenty, thirty miles up or down the river's banks, you ramble fifteen
miles among the hills on either side, and then, when you have long
since forgotten them, perchance slept on them by the way, at a turn of
the road or of your body, there they are still with their geometry
against the sky....

"No wonder if Jacques Cartier's pilot exclaimed in Norman-French
_Que bec!_ ("What a peak!") when he saw this cape, as some suppose.
Every modern traveller uses a similar expression....

"The view from Cape Diamond has been compared by European travellers
with the most remarkable views of a similar kind in Europe, such as
those from Edinburgh Castle, Gibraltar, Cintra, and others, and
preferred by many. A main peculiarity in this, compared with other
views which I have beheld, is that it is from the ramparts of a
fortified city, and not from a solitary and majestic river cape alone
that this view is obtained.... I still remember the harbour far
beneath me, sparkling like silver in the sun,--the answering headlands
of Point Levis on the south-east,--the frowning Cape Tourmente
abruptly bounding the seaward view in the north-east,--the villages of
Lorette and Charlesbourg on the north,--and farther west, the distant
Val Cartier, sparkling with white cottages, hardly removed by distance
through the clear air,--not to mention a few blue mountains along the
horizon in that direction. You look out from the ramparts of the
citadel beyond the frontiers of civilization. Yonder small group of
hills, according to the guide-book, forms the portals of the wilds
which are trodden only by the feet of the Indian hunters as far as
Hudson's Bay." (Thoreau).

Mrs. Moodie (Susannah Strickland), in her sketches of Canadian life,
graphically delineates her trip from Grosse Isle to Quebec, and the
appearance of the city itself from the river:--

"On the 22nd of September (1832), the anchor was weighed, and we bade
a long farewell to Grosse Isle. As our vessel struck into mid-channel,
I cast a last lingering look at the beautiful shore we were leaving.
Cradled in the arms of the St. Lawrence, and basking in the bright
rays of the morning sun, the island and its sister group looked like a
second Eden just emerged from the waters of chaos. The day was warm,
and the cloudless heavens of that peculiar azure tint which gives to
the Canadian skies and waters a brilliancy unknown in more northern
latitudes. The air was pure and elastic; the sun shone out with
uncommon splendour, lighting up the changing woods with a rich mellow
colouring, composed of a thousand brilliant and vivid dyes. The mighty
river rolled flashing and sparkling onward, impelled by a strong
breeze that tipped its short rolling surges with a crest of snowy

"Never shall I forget that short voyage from Grosse Isle to Quebec.
What wonderful combinations of beauty and grandeur and power, at every
winding of that noble river!

"Every perception of my mind became absorbed into the one sense of
seeing, when, upon rounding Point Levis, we cast anchor before Quebec.
What a scene! Can the world produce another? Edinburgh had been the
_beau ideal_ to me of all that was beautiful in nature--a vision
of the Northern Highlands had haunted my dreams across the Atlantic;
but all these past recollections faded before the _present_ of
Quebec. Nature has ransacked all our grandest elements to form this
astonishing panorama. There, frowns the cloud-capped mountain, and
below, the cataract foams and thunders; woods and rock and river
combine to lend their aid in making the picture perfect, and worthy of
its Divine originator. The precipitous bank upon which the city lies
piled, reflected in the still, deep waters at its base, greatly
enhances the romantic beauty of the situation. The mellow and serene
glow of the autumn day harmonized so perfectly with the solemn
grandeur of the scene around me, and sank so silently and deeply into
my soul, that my spirit fell prostrate before it, and I melted
involuntarily into tears."

Such the poetic visions which were awakened in the poetic mind of the
brilliant author of "_Roughing it, in the Bush._" Charles Dickens also had
his say in this matter, on his visit to Quebec, in May 1842, where he was
the guest of the President of the _Literary and Historical Society_, Dr.
John Charlton Fisher:--

"The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America,
its giddy heights, its citadel suspended, as it were, in the air; its
picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways; and the splendid
views which burst upon the eye at every turn, is at once unique and
lasting. It is a place not to be forgotten or mixed up in the mind
with other places, or altered for a moment in the crowd of scenes a
traveller can recall. Apart from the realities of this most
picturesque city, there are associations clustering about it which
would make a desert rich in interest. The dangerous precipice along
whose rocky front Wolfe and his brave companions climbed to glory; the
Plains of Abraham, where he received his mortal wound; the fortress so
chivalrously defended by Montcalm; and his soldier's grave, dug for
him when yet alive, by the bursting of a shell, are not the least
among them, or among the gallant incidents of history. That is a noble
monument too, and worthy of two great nations, which perpetuates the
memory of both brave Generals, and on which their names are jointly

"The city is rich in public institutions and in Catholic churches and
charities, but it is mainly in the prospect from the site of the Old
Government House and from the Citadel, that its surpassing beauty
lies. The exquisite expanse of country, rich in field and forest,
mountain-heights and water, which lies stretched out before the view,
with miles of Canadian villages, glancing in long white streaks, like
veins along the landscape; the motley crowd of gables, roofs and
chimney tops in the old hilly town immediately at hand; the beautiful
St. Lawrence sparkling and flashing in the sunlight; and the tiny
ships below the rock from which you gaze, whose distant rigging looks
like spiders' webs against the light, while casks and barrels on their
decks dwindle into toys, and busy mariners become so many puppets; all
this framed by a sunken window [1] in the fortress and looked at from
the shadowed room within, forms one of the brightest and most
enchanting pictures that the eye can rest upon." (Dickens' _American

A distinguished French _littérateur_, fresh from the sunny banks of
the Seine, thus discourses anent the Ancient capital; we translate:--

"Few cities," says M. Marmier, [2] "offer as many striking contrasts
as Quebec, a fortress and a commercial city together, built upon the
summit of a rock as the nest of an eagle, while her vessels are
everywhere wrinkling the face of the ocean; an American city inhabited
by French colonists, governed by England, and garrisoned with Scotch
regiments; [3] a city of the middle ages by most of its ancient
institutions, while it is submitted to all the combinations of modern
constitutional government; an European city by its civilization and
its habits of refinement, and still close by, the remnants of the
Indian tribes and the barren mountains of the north, a city of about
the same latitude as Paris, while successively combining the torrid
climate of southern regions with the severities of an hyperborean
winter; a city at the same time Catholic and Protestant, where the
labours of our (French) missions are still uninterrupted alongside of
the undertakings of the Bible Society, and where the Jesuits driven
out of our own country (France) find a place of refuge under the aegis
of British Puritanism!"

An American tourist thus epitomises the sights:--

"As the seat of French power in America until 1759, the great fortress
of English rule in British America, and the key of the St. Lawrence,
Quebec must possess interest of no ordinary character for well-
informed tourists. To the traveller, there are innumerable points and
items vastly interesting and curious--the citadel and forts of Cape
Diamond, with their impregnable ramparts that rival Gibraltar in
strength and endurance against siege, the old walls of the city and
their gates each of which has its legend of war and bloody assault and
repulse, the plains of Abraham, every foot of which is commemorated
with blood and battle; Wolfe's monument, where the gallant and brave
soldier died with a shout of victory on his lips, the Martello towers,
with their subterranean communications with the citadel; the antique
churches, paintings, and all their paraphernalia, treasures, and
curiosities that are religiously preserved therein, the falls of
Montmorency, the natural steps. Montcalm's house, and a thousand other
relics of the mysterious past that has hallowed these with all the
mystic interest that attaches to antiquity, great deeds, and beautiful
memories. To see all these, a tourist requires at least two days'
time, and surely no one who pretends to be a traveller, in these days
of rapid transit will fail to visit Quebec, the best city, the most
hospitable place, and richer in its wealth of rare sights and grand
old memorials. French peculiarities and English oddities, than any
other city on this broad continent."

"Leaving the citadel, we are once more in the European Middle ages.
Gates and posterns, cranky steps that lead up to lofty, gabled houses,
with sharp French roofs of burnished tin, like those of Liège;
processions of the Host; altars decked with flowers; statues of the
Virgin; sabots, blouses, and the scarlet of the British lines-man,--
all these are seen in narrow streets and markets that are graced with
many a Cotentin lace cap, and all within forty miles of the down-east,
Yankee state of Maine. It is not far from New England to Old
France.... There has been no dying out of the race among the French
Canadians. They number twenty times the thousand that they did 100
years ago. The American soil has left physical type, religion,
language, and laws absolutely untouched. They herd together in their
rambling villages, dance to the fiddle after Mass on Sundays,--as
gayly as once did their Norman sires,--and keep up the _fleur-de-
lys_ and the memory of Montcalm. More French than the French are the
Lower Canada _habitans_. The pulse-beat of the continent finds no echo
here."--(Sir Charles Dilke.)

In the rosy days of his budding fame, the gifted Henry Ward Beecher
discoursed as follows of the Rock City [4]:--

"Curious old Quebec!--of all the cities on the continent of America,
the quaintest.... It is a populated cliff. It is a mighty rock,
scarped and graded, and made to hold houses and castles which, by a
proper natural law, ought to slide off from its back, like an ungirded
load from a camel's back. But they stick. At the foot of the rocks,
the space of several streets in width has been stolen from the
river.... We landed....

"Away we went, climbing the steep streets at a canter with little
horses hardly bigger than flies, with an aptitude for climbing
perpendicular walls. It was strange to enter a walled city through low
and gloomy gates, on this continent of America. Here was a small bit
of mediaeval Europe perched upon a rock, and dried for keeping, in
this north-east corner of America, a curiosity that has not its equal,
in its kind, on this side of the ocean....

"We rode about as if we were in a picture-book, taming over a new leaf
at each street!... The place should always be kept old. Let people go
somewhere else for modern improvements. It is a shame, when Quebec
placed herself far out of the way, up in the very neighbourhood of
Hudson's Bay, that it should be hunted and harassed with new-fangled
notions, and that all the charming inconveniences and irregularities
of narrow and tortuous streets, that so delight a traveller's eyes,
should be altered to suit the fantastic notions of modern people....

"Our stay in Quebec was too short by far. But it was long enough to
make it certain that we shall come back again. A summer in Canada
would form one of the most delightful holidays that we can imagine. We
mean to prove our sincerity by our conduct. And then, if it is not all
that our imagination promises, we will write again and confess."

Professor Benjamin Silliman discourses thus:--

"A seat of ancient dominion--now hoary with the lapse of more than two
centuries--formerly the seat of a French empire in the west--lost and
won by the blood of gallant armies, and of illustrious commanders--
throned on a rock, and defended by all the proud defiance of war! Who
could approach such a city without emotion? Who in Canada has not
longed to cast his eyes on the water-girt rocks and towers of
Quebec."--(Silliman's _Tour in Canada_, 1819.)

Charles Lever has left a curious glimpse of Quebec from Diamond Harbour,
as seen, by his incomparable Irish Gil Blas, Mr. Cornelius Cregan, the
appreciated lodger of Madam Thomas John Davis at the "Hotel Davis."

"As viewed from Diamond Harbour, a more striking city than Quebec is
seldom seen. The great rock rising above the Lower Town, and crowned
with its batteries, all bristling with guns, seemed to my eyes the
very realization of impregnability. I looked upon the ship that lay
tranquilly on the water below, and whose decks were thronged with
blue-jackets--to the Highlander who paced his short path as sentry,
some hundred feet high upon the wall of the fortress, and I thought to
myself with such defenders as these that standard yonder need never
carry any other banner. The whole view is panoramic, the bending of
the river shuts out the channel by which you have made your approach,
giving the semblance of a lake, on whose surface vessels of every
nation lie at anchor, some with the sails hung out to dry, gracefully
drooping from the taper spars; others refitting again for sea, and
loading the huge pine-trunks moored as vast rafts to the stern. There
were people everywhere, all was motion, life and activity. Jolly-boats
with twenty oars, man-of-war gigs bounding rapidly past them with
eight; canoes skimming by without a ripple, and seemingly without
impulse, till you caught sight of the lounging figure, who lay at full
length in the stern, and whose red features were scarce
distinguishable from the copper-coloured bark of his boat. Some moved
upon the rafts, and even upon single trunks of trees, as, separated
from the mass, they floated down on the swift current, boat-hook in
hand to catch at the first object chance might offer them. The quays
and the streets leading down to them were all thronged, and as you
cast your eye upwards, here and there above the tall roofs might be
seen the winding of stairs that lead to the Upper Town, alike dark
with the moving tide of men. On every embrasure and gallery, on every
terrace and platform, it was the same. Never did I behold such a human

"Now there was something amazingly inspiriting in all this,
particularly when coming from the solitude and monotony of a long
voyage. [5] The very voice that ye-hoéd; the hoarse challenge of the
sentinels on the rock; the busy hum of the town--made delicious music
to my ear; and I could have stood and leaned over the bulwark for
hours, to gaze at the scene. I own no higher interest invested the
picture--for I was ignorant of Wolfe. I had never heard of Montcalm--
the plains of "Abraham" were to me but grassy slopes, and "nothing
more." It was the life and stir,--the tide of that human ocean, on
which I longed myself to be a swimmer--these were what charmed me. Nor
was the deck of the old "Hampden" inactive all the while, although
seldom attracting much of my notice: soldiers were mustering,
knapsacks packing, rolls calling, belts buffing, and coats brushing on
all sides; men grumbling, sergeants cursing; officers swearing; half-
dressed invalids popping up their heads out of hatchways, answering to
wrong names, and doctors ordering them down again with many an
anathema: soldiers in the way of sailors, and sailors always hauling
at something that interfered with the inspection-drill: every one in
the wrong place, and each cursing his neighbour for stupidity. At last
the shore-boats boarded us, as if our confusion wanted anything to
increase it. Red-faced harbour-masters shook hands with the skipper
and pilot, and disappeared into the "round-house" to discuss grog and
the gales. Officers from the garrison came out to welcome their
friends--for it was the second battalion we had on board of a regiment
whose first had been some years in Canada;--and then what a rush of
inquiries were exchanged. "How is the Duke?"--"All quiet in England"--
"No sign of war in Europe!"--"Are the 8th come home!"--"Where is
Forbes?"--"Has Davern sold out?" with a mass of such small interests
as engage men who live in coteries." (Confessions of Con. Cregan, Chap

There are yet among the living in Quebec many who can recall the good
olden times when our garrison contained two regiments and more of the red-
coated soldiers of England, at the beck of the "Iron Duke"--_him_ of

A Haligonian tourist thus writes:--

"HALIFAX, N. S., 1880.--I reached Halifax on the Saturday after
leaving Quebec.....Nothing was wanting to make my impressions of
Quebec perfect, but a little more time to widen, deepen and strengthen
the friendships made; alas! to be severed (for a time) so soon. I went
expecting to see a city perched on a rock and inhabited by the
descendants of a conquered race with a chasm between them and every
Englishman in the Dominion. In place of this, I found the city more
picturesque, more odd, more grand, than I had ever imagined, and
peopled by a race who, if conquered in 1759, have had sweet revenge
ever since, by making a conquest of every stranger who has entered
Quebec--through his higher nature. It is no wonder that Quebec has
such a story of song and adventure. There is romance in the river and
tragedy on the hill, and while the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm is
green, the city will be the Mecca of the Dominion. But keep the hand
of the Goth--the practical man--from touching the old historic
landmarks of the city. A curse has been pronounced on those who remove
their neighbours' landmark, but what shall be said of those who remove
the landmarks which separate century from century and period from
period." (J. T. Bulmer.)

The following affords a good specimen of Capt W. F Butler's pictorial

"Spring breaks late over the province of Quebec--that portion of
America known to our fathers as Lower Canada, and of old to the
subjects of the Grand Monarque as the kingdom of New France. But when
the young trees begin to open their leafy lids after the long sleep of
winter, they do it quickly. The snow is not all gone before the maple
trees are all green--the maple, that most beautiful of trees! Well has
Canada made the symbol of her new nationality that tree whose green
gives the spring its earliest freshness, whose autumn-dying tints are
richer than the clouds of sunset, whose life-stream is sweeter than
honey, and whose branches are drowsy through the long summer with the
scent and the hum of bee and flower! Still the long line of the
Canadas admits of a varied spring. When the trees are green at Lake
St. Clair, they are scarcely budding at Kingston, they are leafless at
Montreal, and Quebec is white with snow. Even between Montreal and
Quebec, a short night's steaming, there exists a difference of ten
days in the opening of the summer. But late as comes the summer to
Quebec, it comes in its loveliest and most enticing form, as though it
wished to atone for its long delay in banishing from such a landscape
the cold tyranny of winter. And with what loveliness does the whole
face of plain, river, lake and mountain turn from the iron clasp of
icy winter to kiss the balmy lips of returning summer, and to welcome
his bridal gifts of sun and shower! The trees open their leafy lids to
look at him--the brooks and streamlets break forth into songs of
gladness--"the birch tree," as the old Saxon said," becomes beautiful
in its branches, and rustles sweetly in its leafy summit, moved to and
fro by the breath of heaven"--the lakes uncover their sweet faces, and
their mimic shores steal down in quiet evenings to bathe themselves in
the transparent waters--far into the depths of the great forest speeds
the glad message of returning glory, and graceful fern, and soft
velvet moss, and white wax-like lily peep forth to cover rock and
fallen tree and wreck of last year's autumn in one great sea of
foliage. There are many landscapes which can never be painted,
photographed, or described, but which the mind carries away
instinctively to look at again and again in the after-time--these are
the celebrated views of the world, and they are not easy to find. From
the Queen's rampart, on the citadel of Quebec, the eye sweeps over a
greater diversity of landscape than is probably to be found in any one
spot in the universe. Blue mountain, far-stretching river, foaming
cascade, the white sails of ocean ships, the black trunks of many-
sized guns, the pointed roofs, the white village nestling amidst its
fields of green, the great isle in mid-channel, the many shades of
colour from deep blue pine-wood to yellowing corn-field--in what other
spot on the earth's broad bosom lie grouped together in a single
glance so many of these "things of beauty" which the eye loves to
feast on and to place in memory as joys for ever?" (_The Great Lone

Let us complete this mosaic of descriptions and literary gems, borrowed
from English, French and American writers, by a sparkling _tableau_ of the
historic memories of Quebec, traced by a French Canadian _littérateur_,
the Honourable P. J. O. Chauveau:--

"History is everywhere--around us, beneath us; from the depths of
yonder valleys, from the top of that mountain, history rises up and
presents itself to our notice, exclaiming: 'Behold me!'

"Beneath us, among the capricious meanders of the River St. Charles,
the Cahir-Coubat of Jacques Cartier, is the very place where he first
planted the cross and held his first conference with the _Seigneur
Donnacona_. Here, very near to us, beneath a venerable elm tree,
which, with much regret, we saw cut down, tradition states that
Champlain first raised his tent. From the very spot on which we now
stand, Count de Frontenac returned to Admiral Phipps that proud
answer, as he said, _from the mouth of his cannon_, which will
always remain recorded by history. Under these ramparts are spread the
plains on which fell Wolfe and where, in the following year, the
Chevalier de Lévis and General Murray fought that other battle, in
memory of which the citizens of Quebec are erecting (in 1854) a
monument. Before us, on the heights of Beauport, the souvenir of
battles not less heroic, recall to our remembrance the names of
Longueuil, St. Hélène, and Juchereau Duchesnay. Below us, at the foot
of that tower on which floats the British flag, Montgomery and his
soldiers all fell, swept by the grape-shot of a single gun pointed by
a Canadian artilleryman.

"On the other hand, under that projecting rock, now crowned with the
guns of old England, the intrepid Dambourgès, sword in hand, drove
Arnold and his men from the houses in which they had established
themselves. History is then everywhere around us. She rises as well
from these ramparts, replete with daring deeds, as from those
illustrious plains equally celebrated for feats of arms, and she again
exclaims: 'Here I am!'"



Fancy borne on the outspread wings of memory occasionally loves to soar
o'er the dull, prosaic present, far away into the haunted, dream-land of a
hazy but hopeful past.

Let us recall one year, in the revolving cycle of time--one day above all
days--for dwellers in Champlain's eyry keep pre-eminently sacred that
auspicious 3rd of July, 1608, when his trusty little band, in all twenty-
eight, founded the city destined soon to be the great Louis's proud forta-
lice,--the Queen city of the French western world.

On that memorable July day, would you, kind reader, like to ascend the
lofty slope of Cape Diamond, at the hour when the orb of light is shedding
his fierce, meridian rays on the verdant shores and glancing waters below,
and watch with bated breath the gradually increasing gap in the primeval
forest, which busy French axes are cleaving in order to locate the
residence--"L'ABITATION"--of a loved commander, Samuel de Champlain?

Or else would you, in your partiality for the cool of the evening, prefer
from the dizzy summit, where now stands our citadel, to gaze--which would
be more romantic--over the silent strand at your feet, pregnant with a
mighty future, at the mystic hour of eve, when the pale beams of Diana
will lend incomparable witchery to this novel scene. Few indeed the
objects denoting the unwelcome arrival of Europeans in this forest home of
the red man: the _prise de possession_ by the grasping outer barbarian--
for such Champlain must have appeared to the descendants of king
Donnacona. In the stream, the ripple of the majestic St. Lawrence caresses
the dark, indistinct hull of an armed bark: in Indian parlance, a "big
canoe [6] with wings"; on an adjoining height waves languidly with the
last breath of the breeze the lily standard of old France; on the shore, a
cross recently raised: emblems for us of the past and of the present:
State and Church linked together.

Such the objects decernible amid the hoary oaks, nodding pines, and green
hemlocks, below Cape Diamond, on that eventful 3rd of July, 1608.


"Above the point of the Island of Orleans," says Parkman, "a constriction
of the vast channel narrows it to a mile; on one hand, the green heights
of Point Levi; on the other, the cliffs of Quebec. Here, a small stream,
the St. Charles, enters the St. Lawrence, and in the angle betwixt them
rises the promontory, on two sides a natural fortress. Land among the
walnut-trees that formed a belt between the cliffs and the St. Lawrence.
Climb the steep height, now bearing aloft its ponderous load of churches,
convents, dwellings, ramparts, and batteries,--there was an accessible
point, a rough passage, gullied downward where Prescott Gate (in 1871)
opened on the Lower Town. Mount to the highest summit, Cape Diamond, [7]
now zig-zagged with warlike masonry. Then the fierce sun fell on the bald,
baking rocks, with its crisped mosses and parched lichens. Two centuries
and-a-half have quickened the solitude with swarming life, covered the
deep bosom of the river with barge and steamer and gliding sail, and
reared cities and villages on the site of forests; but nothing can destroy
the surpassing grandeur of the scene.

"Grasp the savin anchored in the fissure, lean over the brink of the
precipice, and look downward, a little to the left, on the belt of woods
which covers the strand between the water and the base of the cliffs. Here
a gang of axe-men are at work, and Point Levi and Orleans echo the crash
of falling trees.

"These axe-men were pioneers of an advancing host,--advancing, it is true,
with feeble and uncertain progress: priests, soldiers, peasants, feudal
scutcheons, royal insignia. Not the Middle Age, but engendered of it by
the stronger life of modern centralization; sharply stamped with parental
likeness, heir to parental weakness and parental force.

"A few weeks passed, and a pile of wooden buildings rose on the brink of
the St. Lawrence, on or near the site of the market-place of the Lower
Town of Quebec. The pencil of Champlain, always regardless of proportion
and perspective, has preserved its semblance. A strong wooden wall,
surmounted by a gallery loop-holed for musketry, enclosed three buildings,
containing quarters for himself and his men, together with a court-yard,
from one side of which rose a tall dove-cot, like a belfry. A moat
surrounded the whole, and two or three small cannon were planted on
salient platforms towards the river. There was a large magazine near at
hand, and a part of the adjacent ground was laid out as a garden."
(_Pioneers of France in the New World_, p. 301.)


On the 14th of September, 1535, under the head "Shipping News, Port of
Quebec," history might jot down some startling items of marine
intelligence; the arrival from sea of three armed vessels--the "Grande
Hermine," the "Petite Hermine," and the "Emerillon." One would imagine
their entrance in port must have awakened as much curiosity among the
startled denizens of Stadacona--the Hurons of 1535--as did the anchoring
in our harbour, in August, 1861, of Capt. Vine Hall's leviathan, the
"Great Eastern." Were the French fleet the first European keels which
furrowed the Laurentian tide under Cape Diamond? We like to think so. Let
the Basques make good their assumed priority: let them produce their
logbook, not merely for the latitude of Newfoundland or Tadoussac, but
also an undisputed entry therein, for the spot where, a century later,
Samuel de Champlain lived, loved, and died. Had the advent of the St. Malo
vikings been heralded by watchful swift-footed retainers to swarthy king
Donnacona, the ruler of the populous town of Stadacona, and a redoubtable
agouhanna of the Huron nation? 'Tis not unlikely.

An entry occurs in the diary of Jacques Cartier, commander of the flagship
"Grande Hermine," to the effect that Donnacona, escorted by twelve canoes,
had met the foreign craft several miles lower than Quebec, where he had
parleyed with his fellow-countrymen, Taiguragny and Domagaya, kidnapped
the year previous at Gaspé and just brought back by Cartier from France;
that, dismissing ten of his twelve canoes, the agouhanna had invited and
received the French commander in his canoe of state, harangued him, and
readily accepted from him a collation of bread and wine, which the captain
of the "Grande Hermine" (thoughtful host) had brought with him.

The meeting over, Donnacona steered for home; and Jacques Cartier ordered
his boats to be manned and ascended the river to seek for a safe anchorage
for his ships. He soon found what he sought, entered then the river Saint
Charles, by him called the St. Croix, landed, crossed the meadows, climbed
the rocks, and threaded the forest. On his return, when he and his party
were rowing for the ships, they had to stand another harangue from the
bank, from an old chief, surrounded by men, boys and some merry squaws, to
whom they gave as presents glass beads, &c., when they regained their

What took place at the interview between the French commander and the
Huron potentate? What were the thoughts, hopes, fears of the grim
chieftain on that fateful September day which brought in across the
Atlantic the first wave of foreign invasion--the outer barbarian to his
forest abode?

One would fain depict king Donnacona roaming, solitary and sad; mayhap, on
the ethereal heights of Cape Diamond, watching, with feelings not
unmingled with alarm, the onward course of the French ships--to him
phantoms of ill-omen careering over the dreary waters--until their white
shrouds gradually disappeared under the shadow of the waving pines and
far-spreading oaks which then clad the green banks of the lurking,
tortuous St Charles.

Chief Donnacona, beware! O beware!




"I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes
With the memorials and the things of fame
That do renown this city."--(_Shakespeare_.)

What a field here for investigation? Has not each thoroughfare its
distinctive feature--its saintly, heathenish, courtly, national, heroic,
perhaps burlesque, name? Its peculiar origin? traceable sometimes to a
dim--a forgotten past; sometimes to the utilitarian present time. What
curious vistas are unfolded in the birth of its edifices--public and
private--alive with the memories of their clerical, bellicose,
agricultural or mercantile founders? How much mysterious glamour does not
relentless time shed over them in its unceasing march? How many
vicissitudes do they undergo before giving way to modern progress, the
exigencies of commerce, the wants or whims of new masters? The edifices,
did we say? Their origin, their progress, their decay, nay, their
demolition by the modern iconoclast--have they no teachings? How many
phases in the art of the builder and engineer, from the high-peaked Norman
cottage to the ponderous, drowsy Mansard roof--from Champlain's picket
fort to the modern citadel of Quebec--from our primitive legislative
meeting-house to our stately Parliament Buildings on the Grande Allée?

The streets and by-ways of famous old world cities have found chroniclers,
in some instances of rare ability: Timbs, Howitt, Augustus Sala,
Longfellow, &c. Why should not those of our own land obtain a passing

Is there on American soul a single city intersected by such quaint,
tortuous, legend-loving streets as old Quebec? Is there a town retaining
more unmistakable vestiges of its rude beginnings--of its pristine,
narrow, Indian-haunted, forest paths?

Our streets and lanes bear witness to our dual origin: Champlain,
Richelieu, Buade streets, by their names proclaim the veneration our
fathers had for the memory of men who had watched over the infancy of the
colony, whilst the mystic, saintly nomenclature of others exhibited the
attachment of the early dwellers in Quebec to the hallowed old Roman faith
which presided at their natal hour.

One also finds here and there, in the names of certain thoroughfares,
traces of the sojourn within our walls of popular Governors, famous
Viceroys, long since gathered to their fathers, some of whose ashes mingle
in our cemeteries with the dust of our forefathers--[8] Champlain,
Frontenac, Mesy, De Callières, De Vaudreuil, De la Jonquière, Ramsay,
Carleton, Hope, Dalhousie, Richmond and Aylmer.

A student of history, in the signboards affixed to street corners, loves
to light on the names of men whose memories are fragrant for deeds of
heroism, devotedness, patriotism or learning. Bréboeuf, Champlain,
Dollard, Ferland, Garneau, Christie, Turgeon, Plessis, and many others of
blameless and exemplary life--each has his street. We know of a worthy and
learned old antiquary whose lore and advice has been more than once placed
at our disposal in unravelling the tangled skein on which we are engaged,
who rejoices that his native city, unlike some of the proud capitals of
Europe, is free from vulgar names, such as "Tire-Boudin," "P--t--au
D----le," in gay Paris, and "Crutched Friars," "Pall-Mall," and "Mary-le-
bone," in great London.

In fact, does not history meet you at every turn? Every nook, every lane,
every square, nay, even the stones and rocks, have a story to tell--a
record to unfold--a tale to whisper of savage or civilized warfare--a
memento to thrill the patriot--a legend of romance or of death--war,
famine, fires, earthquakes, land and snow-slides, riot?

Is it not to be apprehended that in time the inmates of such a city might
become saturated with the overpowering atmosphere of this romantic past--
fall a prey to an overweening love of old memories--become indifferent,
and deadened to the feelings and requirements of the present? This does
not necessarily follow. We are, nevertheless, inclined to believe that
outward objects may act powerfully on one's inner nature: that the haunts
and homes of men are not entirely foreign to the thoughts, pursuits and
impulses, good or bad, of their inmates.

Active, cultured, bustling, progressive citizens, we would fain connect
with streets and localities partaking of that character, just as we
associate cheerful abodes with sunshine, and repulsive dwellings with
dank, perennial shadows.

Mr. N. Legendre, in a small work intituled "_Les Échos de Quebec_," has
graphically delineated the leading features of several of our

"In a large city each street has its peculiar feature. Such a street
is sacred to commerce--a private residence in it would appear out of
place. Such another is devoted to unpretending dwellings: the modest
grocery shop of the corner looks conscious of being there on
sufferance only. Here resides the well-to-do--the successful merchant;
further, much further on, dwell the lowly--the poor. Between both
points there exists a kind of neutral territory, uniting the
habitations of both classes. Some of the inmates, when calling, wear
kid gloves, whilst others go visiting in their shirt sleeves. The same
individual will even indulge in a cigar or light an ordinary clay
pipe, according as his course is east or west. All this is so marked,
so apparent, that it suffices to settle in your mind the street or
ward to which an individual belongs. The ways of each street vary.
Here, in front of a well-polished door, stands a showy, emblazoned
carriage, drawn by thoroughbreds; mark how subdued the tints of the
livery are. There is, however, something _distingué_ about it, and
people hurrying past assume a respectful bearing.

"In the next street, the carriage standing at the door is just as
rich, but its panelling is more gaudy--more striking in colour are the
horses--more glitter--more profusion about the silver harness
mountings. Though the livery has more _éclat_, there seems to be
less distance between the social status of the groom and that of his

"Walk on further--the private carriage has merged into the public
conveyance; still further, and you find but the plain _calèche_.

"Finally, every kind of vehicle having disappeared, the house-doors
are left ajar; the inmates like to fraternise in the street. On fine
evenings the footpath gets strewed with chairs and benches, occupied
by men smoking--women chatting _al fresco_ unreservedly--laughing
that loud laugh which says, "I don't care who hears me." Passers-by
exchange a remark, children play at foot-ball, while the house-dog,
exulting in the enjoyment of sweet liberty, gambols in the very midst
of the happy crowd. These are good streets. One travels over them
cheerfully and gaily. An atmosphere of rowdyism, theft, wantonness,
hovers over some thoroughfares. Dread and disgust accompany him who
saunters over them. Their gates and doorways seem dark--full of pit-
falls. Iron shutters, thick doors with deep gashes, indicate the
turbulent nature of their inhabitants. Rude men on the sidepaths stare
you out of countenance, or make strange signs--a kind of occult
telegraphy, which makes your flesh creep. To guard against an unseen
foe, you take to the centre of the street--nasty and muddy though it
should be,--for there you fancy yourself safe from the blow of a
skull-cracker, hurled by an unseen hand on watch under a gateway. The
police make themselves conspicuous here by their absence; 'tis a fit
spot for midnight murder and robbery--unprovoked, unpunished. Honest
tradesmen may reside here, but not from choice; they are bound to
ignore street rows; lending a helping hand to a victim would cause
them to receive, on the morrow, a notice to quit.

"Be on your guard, if necessity brings you, after nightfall, to this
unhallowed ground. Danger hovers over, under, round your footsteps. If
an urchin plays a trick on you at a street corner, heed him not. Try
and catch him, he will disappear to return with a reinforcement of
roughs, prepared to avenge his pretended wrongs by violence to your
person and injury to your purse.

"Should a drunken man hustle you as he passes, do not mind him: it may
end in a scuffle, out of which you will emerge bruised and with rifled

"We dare not tell you to yield to fear, but be prudent. Though
prudence may be akin to fear, you never more required all your wits
about you. It is very unlikely you will ever select this road again,
though it should be a short cut. Such are some of the dangerous
streets in their main features. There are thoroughfares, on the other
hand, to which fancy lends imaginary charms; the street in which you
live, for instance. You think it better, more agreeable. Each object
it contains becomes familiar, nay cherished by you--the houses, their
doors, their gables. The very air seems more genial. A fellowship
springs up between you and your threshold--your land. You get to
believe they know you as you know them--softening influences--sweet
emanations of 'Home.'"--_Translation._


The Upper Town in 1608, with its grand oaks, its walnut trees, its
majestic elms, when it formed part of the primeval forest, must have been
a locality abounding in game. If Champlain, his brother-in-law, Boullé, as
well as his other friends of the Lower Town, [9] had been less eager in
hunting other inhabitants of the forest infinitely more dreaded (the
Iroquois), instead of simply making mention of the foxes which prowled
about the residency (_l'abitation_), they would have noted down some
of the hunting raids which were probably made on the wooded declivities of
Cape Diamond and in the thickets of the Coteau Sainte Geneviève, more
especially when scurvy or the dearth of provisions rendered indispensable
the use of fresh meats. We should have heard of grouse, woodcock, hares,
beavers, foxes, caribou, bears, &c., at that period, as the probable
denizens of the mounts and valleys of ancient Stadacona.

In 1617 the chase had doubtless to give way to tillage of the soil, when
the first resident of the Upper Town, the apothecary Louis Hébert,
established his hearth and home there.

"He presently," (1617) says Abbé Ferland, "commenced to grub up and
clear the ground on the site on which the Roman Catholic cathedral and
the Seminary adjoining now stand, and that portion of the upper town
which extends from St. Famille Street up to the Hôtel-Dieu. He
constructed a house and a mill near that part of St. Joseph Street
where it received St. François and St. Xavier Streets. These edifices
appear to have been the first which were erected in the locality now
occupied by the upper town."

At that period there could have existed none other than narrow paths,
irregular avenues following the sinuosities of the forest. In the course
of time these narrow paths were levelled and widened. Champlain and Sir
David Kirtk bothered themselves very little with improving highways.
Overseers of roads and _Grand-Voyers_ were not then dreamed of in _La
Nouvelle France_: those blessed institutions, macadamized [10] roads, date
for us from 1841.

One of the first projects of Governor de Montmagny, after having fortified
the place, was to prepare a plan for a city, to lay out, widen and
straighten the streets, assuredly not without need. Had he further
extended this useful reform, our Municipal Council to-day would have been
spared a great amount of vexation, and the public in general much
annoyance. On the 17th November, 1623, a roadway or ascent leading to the
upper town had been effected, less dangerous than that which had
previously existed.

"As late as 1682, as appears by an authentic record (_procès-verbal_)
of the conflagration, this steep road was but fourteen feet wide. It
was built of branches, covered with earth. Having been rendered
unserviceable by the fire, the inhabitants had it widened six feet, as
they had to travel three miles, after the conflagration, to enter the
upper town by another hill."--(T. B. Bédard.)

In the summer season, our forefathers journeyed by water, generally in
birch-bark canoes. In winter they had recourse to snow-shoes.

To what year can we fix the advent of wheeled vehicles? We have been
unable to discover.

The first horse presented by the inhabitants to the Governor of the colony
arrived from France on the 25th June, 1647. [11] Did His Excellency use
him as a saddle horse only? or, on the occasion of a New Year's day, when
he went to pay his respects to the Jesuit Fathers, and to the good ladies
of the Ursulines, to present, with the compliments of the season, the
usual New Year's gifts, was he driven in a _cariole_, and in the summer
season in a _calèche_? Here, again, is a nut to crack for commentators.

Although there were horned cattle at Quebec in 1623, oxen for the purpose
of ploughing the land were first used on the 27th April, 1628.

"Some animals--cows, sheep, swine, &c.--had been imported as early as
1608. In 1623, it is recorded that two thousand bundles of fodder were
brought from the pasture grounds at _Cap Tourmente_ to Quebec for
winter use."--(Miles.)

On the 16th of July, 1665, [13] a French ship brought twelve horses. These
were doubtless the "mounts" of the brilliant staff of the Marquis de
Tracy, Viceroy. These dashing military followers of Colonel de Salières,
this _jeunesse dorée_ of the Marquis de Tracy, mounted on these twelve
French chargers, which the aborigines named "the moose-deer (_orignaux_)
of Europe," doubtless cut a great figure at Quebec. Did there exist
_Tandems_, driving clubs, in 1665? _Quien sabe?_ A garrison life in 1665-7
and its amusements must have been much what it was one century later, when
the "divine" Emily Montague [14] was corresponding with her dear "Colonel
Rivers," from her Sillery abode in 1766; she then, amongst the vehicles in
use, mentions, _calèches_. [15]

They were not all saints such as Paul Dupuy, [16] the patriarchal seigneur
of _Ile-aux-Oies_, these military swells of Colonel de Salières! Major
Lafradière, for instance, might have vied with the most outrageous rake in
the _Guards_ of Queen Victoria who served in the colony two centuries

If there were at Quebec twelve horses for the use of gentlemen, they were
doubtless not suffered to remain idle in their stables. The rugged paths
of the upper town were levelled and widened; the public highway ceased to
be reserved for pedestrians only. This is what we wanted to arrive at.

In reality, the streets of Quebec grew rapidly into importance in 1665.
Improvements effected during the administration of the Chevalier de
Montmagny had been highly appreciated. The early French had their _Saint
Louis (Grande Allée), Saint Anne, Richelieu, D'Aiguillon, Saint John,
streets_, to do honour to their Master, Louis XIII.; his Queen the
beautiful Anne of Austria; his astute Premier the Cardinal of Richelieu;
his pious niece la Duchesse D'Aiguillon; his land surveyor and engineer
Jehan or Jean Bourdon. This last functionary had landed at Quebec on the
8th August, 1634, with a Norman priest, the Abbé Jean LeSueur de Saint-
Sauveur, who left his surname (St. Sauveur) to the populous municipality
adjoining St. Roch suburbs. [17]

In the last and in the present century, St. Louis Street was inhabited by
many eminent persons. Chief Justice Sewell resided in the stately old
mansion, up to June 1881 occupied as the Lieutenant-Governor's offices;
this eminent jurist died in 1839. "One bright, frosty evening of January
1832," says Mr. Chauveau, "at the close of a numerously attended public
meeting held at the Ottawa Hotel, to protest against the arrest of Messrs.
Tracy, editor of the _Vindicator_, and Duvernay, editor of the _Minerve_,
the good citizens of Quebec, usually so pacific, rushed in a noisy
procession, led by a dozen students wearing tri-coloured ribbons in their
button-holes, and sang the _Marseillaise_ and the _Parisienne_ under the
windows of the Chief Justice, whose ear was little accustomed to such a
concert." The ermined sage, 'tis said, was so startled, that he made sure
a revolution was breaking out.

"Among the fiery, youthful leaders, the loudest in their patriotic
outburst, there was one who would then have been much surprised had any
one predicted that after being President of the Legislative Council, Prime
Minister of the Canadas, and knighted by H. R. H. the Prince of Wales in
person, he would one day, as Lieutenant-Governor, enter in state this same
former residence of Chief Justice Sewell, whilst the cannon of Britain
would roar a welcome, the flag of England stream over his head, and a
British regiment present arms to him." Such, however, has been the fate of
Sir Narcissus Fortunatus Belleau.

The mansion of M. de Lotbinière, in St. Louis street, was the residence of
Madame Pean, the _chère amie_ of M. Bigot the Intendant. The late
Judge Elmsley resided there about the year 1813; Government subsequently
purchased it to serve as an officers' barracks. Nearly opposite the old
Court-House (burned in 1872), stands the "Kent House," in which His Royal
Highness the late Duke of Kent resided in summer, 1791-3. [18] No. 42 St.
Louis Street is the house [19] which belonged to the cooper, François
Gobert; it now has become historical. In it were deposited the remains of
General Montgomery on the 31st December, 1775. This summer it is leased by
Louis Gonzague Baillargé, Esq., the proprietor, to Widow Pigott, whose
late husband was in the "B" Battery.

In the street sacred to Louis XIII., St. Louis street, Messrs. Brown [20]
& Gilmor established, in 1764, [21] their printing office for the _Quebec
Gazette_, "two doors higher up than the Secretary's Office," wherever this
latter may have stood. The _Gazette_ office was subsequently removed to
Parloir Street, and eventually settled down for many a long year at the
corner of Mountain Hill, half-way up, facing _Break-Neck_ steps,--the
house was, with many others, removed in 1850 to widen Mountain Street.
According to a tradition published in the _Gazette_ of the 2nd May, 1848,
the prospectus of this paper had, it would appear, been printed in the
printing office of Benjamin Franklin.

This venerable sheet, which had existed one hundred and ten years, when it
was merged, in 1874, by purchase of the copyright, into the _Morning
Chronicle_, in its early days, was nearly the sole exponent of the wants--
of the gossip (in prose and in verse)--and of the daily events of Quebec.
As such, though, from the standard of to-day, it may seem quaint and puny,
still it does not appear an untruthful mirror of social life in the
ancient capital. Its centenary number of June, 1864, with the fyles of
the _Gazette_ for 1783, have furnished the scholarly author of the
"Prophecy of Merlin," John S. Reade, with material for an excellent sketch
of this pioneer of Canadian journalism, of which our space will permit us
to give but some short extracts:--

"The first number of the _Quebec Gazette_, judged by the _fac-simile_
before me, was a very unpretending production. It consists of four
folio pages, two columns to each page, with the exception of the
'Printer's Address to the Public,' which takes up the full width of
the page, and is written in French and English, the matter in both
languages being the same, with the exception of a Masonic
advertisement, which is in English only. In the address, accuracy,
freedom and impartiality are promised in the conduct of the paper. The
design of the publishers includes 'a view of foreign affairs and
political transactions from which a judgment may be formed of the
interests and connections of the several powers of Europe'; and care
is to be taken 'to collect the transactions and occurrences of our
mother-country, and to introduce every remarkable event, uncommon
debates, extraordinary performance and interesting turn of affairs
that shall be thought to merit the notice of the reader as matter of
entertainment, or that can be of service to the publick as inhabitants
of an English colony.' Attention is also to be given to the affairs of
the American colonies and West India Islands; and, in the absence of
foreign intelligence, the reader is to be presented with 'such
originals, in prose and verse, as will please the fancy and instruct
the judgment. And,' the address continues, 'here we beg leave to
observe that we shall have nothing so much at heart as the support of
virtue and morality and the noble cause of liberty. The refined
amusements of literature and the pleasing veins of well-pointed wit
shall also be considered as necessary to the collection; interspersed
with other chosen pieces and curious essays extracted from the most
celebrated authors; so that, blending philosophy with politicks,
history, &c., the youth of both sexes will be improved, and persons of
all ranks agreeably and usefully entertained.'

"As an inducement to advertisers, it is held out that the circulation
of the _Gazette_ will extend, not only through the British colonies,
but also through the West India Islands and the trading ports of Great
Britain and Ireland. The address very sensibly concludes with the
following remarks, which, however, cast a shade over the rather
tedious prolegomena: 'Our intention to please the whole, without
offence to any individual, will be better evinced by our practice than
by writing volumes on this subject. This one thing we beg may be
believed, that party prejudice or private scandal will never find a
place in this paper.'

"With this large promise began the first Canadian newspaper on the
21st of June, 1764.

"The news in the first number is all foreign. There are despatches
from Riga, St. Petersburg, Rome, Hermanstadt, Dantzic, Vienna,
Florence and Utrecht, the dates ranging from the 8th of March to the
11th of April. There are also items of news from New York, bearing
date the 3rd, and from Philadelphia the 7th of May. News-collecting
was then a slow process, by land as well as by sea.

"Of the despatches, the following is of historical importance:
'London, March 10th. It is said that a scheme of taxation of our
American colonies has for some time been in agitation, that it had
been previously debated in the Parliament whether they had power to
lay a tax on colonies which had no representative in Parliament and
determined in the affirmative,' etc. The occasional insertion of a
dash instead of a name, or the wary mention of a 'certain great
leader' or 'a certain great personage' tell a simple tale of the
jealousy with which the press was then regarded both in England and on
the continent. The prosecution of Smollett, Cave, Wilkes and others
were still fresh in the minds of printers and writers.

"Another despatch informs the readers of the _Gazette_ of an _arrêt_
lately issued for the banishment of the Jesuits from France, and
another of a deputation of journeymen silk weavers who waited on the
King at St. James with a petition setting forth their grievances from
the clandestine importation of French silk, to which His Majesty
graciously replied, promising to have the matter properly laid before

"An extract from a letter from Virginia gives an account of some
Indian outrages, and there is some other intelligence of a similar
nature. The other news is of a like temporary interest.

"I have already mentioned a masonic advertisement. I now give it in


That on _Sunday_, the 24th, being the Festival of _St. Jhon_ (sic),
such strange BRETHREN who may have a desire of joining the Merchants
Lodge, No. 1, _Quebec_, may obtain Liberty, by applying to _Miles
Prenties_, at the Sun, in _St. John Street_, who has Tickets, Price
_Five Shillings_, for that Day.

"One thing is evident, that a printing establishment of 1764 had to be
supplied with abundance of italics and capitals to meet the exigencies
of the typographic fashion of the time.

"Of the two remaining advertisements, one is an order of the Collector
of Customs for the prevention of composition for duties and the other
gives a list of 'an assortment of goods,' 'just imported from London,
and to be sold at the lowest prices by John Baird, in the upper part
of Mr. Henry Morin's house at the entry of the Cul de Sac'--an
assortment which is very comprehensive, ranging from leather breeches
to frying-pans. From this and subsequent trade advertisements we are
able to gather some not unimportant information as to the manner of
living of the citizens of Quebec in those days." [22]

William Brown was succeeded in the editorship and proprietorship of this
venerable sheet by his nephew, Samuel Neilson, the elder brother of John
Neilson, who for years was the trusted member for the County of Quebec; as
widely known as a journalist--a legislator--in 1822 our worthy ambassador
to England--as he was respected as a patriot.

Samuel Neilson had died in 1793;--his young brother and _protégé_, John,
born at Dornald, in Scotland, in 1776, being, in 1793, a minor, the
_Gazette_ was conducted by the late Rev. Dr. Alex. Sparks, his guardian,
until 1796. When John Neilson became of full age, he assumed the direction
of the paper for more than half a century, either in his own name or in
that of his son Samuel. Hon. John Neilson closed his long and spotless
career, at his country seat (Dornald), at Cap Rouge, on the 1st February,
1848, aged 71 years. Who has not heard of the Nestor of the Canadian
Press, honest John Neilson? May his memory ever remain bright and
fragrant--a beacon to guide those treading the intricate paths of
Journalism--a shining light to generations yet unborn!

In a pretty rustic cemetery, the site of which was presented by himself to
the Presbyterian Church of Valcartier, near Quebec, were laid, on the 4th
February, 1848, the remains of this patriotic man--escorted by citizens of
every origin, after an eloquent address had been delivered by the Rev. Dr.
John Cook, the present pastor of St Andrew's Church.

The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec is indebted to his son John
Neilson, of Dornald, for a precious relic, the iron lever of the first
Press used at Quebec in 1764--precious, indeed, as a souvenir of Canadian

There are indeed many Scotch names associated with the Quebec Press. Space
precludes us from enlarging more on this subject. In alluding to notable
Quebec Journalists we are bound to name Daniel Wilkie, LL.D., the editor
of the Quebec _Star_,--a literary gazette--in 1818--still better
remembered as the esteemed instructor of Quebec youth for forty years.

Dr. Wilkie was born at Tollcross, in Scotland, in 1777, one year later
than John Neilson: he settled in Quebec in 1803, and died here on the 10th
May, 1851. His pupils had the following truthful words inscribed on the
monument they erected to their patron in Mount Hermon cemetery:

"He was a learned scholar
And indefatigable student of philosophy and letters,
An able and successful instructor of youth,
Of genuine uprightness and guileless simplicity
A devout, benevolent and public spirited man."

The Abbé Vignal resided at the corner of St. Louis and Parloir street,
previous to joining the _Sulpiciens_. In October, 1661, he was roasted
alive and partly eaten by the Mohawks at Isle à la Pierre, _la Prairie de
la Magdeleine_, near Montreal. In our day, the judicial and parliamentary
heads, and the Bar have monopolized the street. In it have resided at
various times, Sir N. F. Belleau, Chief Justice Duval, the Judges
Taschereau, Tessier, Bossé, Caron, Routhier; Hon. H. L. Langevin, P.
Pelletier, M.P.; Messrs. Bossé, Baby, Alleyn, Languedoc, Tessier,
Chouinard, Hamel, Gauthier, Bradley, Dunbar, _cum multis aliis_, some
of whose rustic clients are as early birds as those in the days of Horace,
and scruple not to wake up their trusted advisers, "_sub galli cantum_."

St. Louis street legal luminaries are careful not to endanger their hard-
earned reputations by delivering their consultations with the oracular,
Solon-like gravity of the barristers who flourished in the palmy days of
Hortensius or Justinian. 'Twould be an anachronism. The traditional fee,
however, is rarely omitted. A busy day, indeed, in this neighborhood,
watched over by the shades of Louis XIII., St. Louis street, is, in each
year, the 1st of September, when the close of the sultry midsummer
vacation brings round "the first day of term," then

"Grave gownsmen, full of thought, to 'chambers hie,
From court to court, perplexed, attorneys fly;
... each! Quick scouring to and thro',
And wishing he could cut himself in two
That he two places at a time might reach,
So he could charge his six and eightpence each."
--(_The Bar, a Poem_, 1825.)

Matters judicial, legal, financial, etc., have much changed--we are
inclined to say improved--in Canada, especially for the Judges. "I will
not say," writes the satirical La Hontan, "that justice is more chaste and
disinterested here than in France; but, at least, if she is sold, she is
sold cheaper. We do not pass through the clutches of advocates, the talons
of attorneys and the claws of clerks. These vermin do not infest Canada
yet. Everybody pleads his own cause. Our Themis is prompt, and she does
not bristle with fees, costs and charges. The judges have only four
hundred francs a year--a great temptation to look for law in the bottom of
the suitor's purse. Four hundred francs! Not enough to buy a cap and gown,
so these gentry never wear them." [24] Justice is not now sold, either in
Quebec or elsewhere, but judges, on the other hand, viz., in Ottawa,
receive, not "four hundred francs," but thirty-five thousand francs
($7,000) a year, and have "enough to buy a cap and a gown," yea, and a
brilliant red one, to boot. _Voilà un progrès._

On an old plan, in our possession, of the Cape and Mount Carmel, showing
the whereabouts of lots and the names of their proprietors, drawn by Le
Maître Lamorille, a royal surveyor, bearing date 20th May, 1756, and duly
sanctioned by the French Intendant Bigot on the 23rd January, 1759, can be
seen at Mont Carmel, St. Louis street, a lot marked "No. 16, M. Pean."

M. Pean, Town Major of Quebec, a trusted confederate of the Intendant
Bigot, the proprietor of this land, was the husband of the beautiful
Angélique de Meloises, the _inamorata_ of the voluptuous and munificent
Intendant. In her youth she had been a pupil of the Ursuline nuns. In his
_Reminiscences of Quebec_, 2nd edition republished in 1859, Col. Cockburn
thus alludes to this St. Louis street house (now Dominion property and
occupied by Lt.-Col. Forest and Lt.-Col. D'Orsonnes). "It sometimes happened
in those days, when a gentleman possessed a very handsome wife, that the
husband was sent to take charge of a distant post, where he was sure to
make his fortune. Bigot's _chère amie_ was Madame P---- in consequence of
which as a matter of course, Mr. P---- became prodigiously wealthy. Bigot
had a house that stood where the officers barracks in St Louis street, now
(1851) stands. One New Year's Day he presented this house to Madame P----
as a New Year's gift."

Mr. Kirby, in his "_Chien d'Or_," a historical novel of rare Merit,
thus recalls this house--"The family mansion of the des Meloises was a
tall and rather pretentious edifice overlooking the fashionable rue St
Louis where it still stands, old and melancholy as if mourning over its
departed splendors. Few eyes look up now-a-days to its broad façade. It
was otherwise when the beautiful Angélique de Meloises sat of summer
evenings on the balcony, surrounded by a bevy of Quebec's fairest
daughters, who loved to haunt her windows where they could see and be seen
to the best advantage exchanging salutations, smiles and repartees with
the gay young officers and gallants who rode or walked along its lively

The novelist has selected this historic house for the meeting of the
lovers, on Christmas Eve 1748. Here Le Gardeur de Repentigny, the loyal
and devoted cavalier was to meet the fascinating, but luckless Cleopatra
of St Louis street a century ago and more.

"As Le Gardeur spoke, adds Mr. Kirby; a strain of heavenly harmony
arose from the chapel of the Convent of the Ursulines, where they were
celebrating midnight service for the safety of New France. Amid the
sweet voices that floated up on the notes of the pealing organ was
clearly distinguished that of Mère St. Borgia, the aunt of Angélique,
who led the choir of nuns. In trills and cadences of divine melody,
the voice of Mère St. Borgia rose higher and higher, like a spirit
mounting the skies. The words were indistinct, but Angélique knew them
by heart. She had visited her aunt in the convent, and had learned the
new hymn composed by her for the solemn occasion. As they listened
with quiet awe to the supplicating strain, Angélique repeated to Le
Gardeur the words of the hymn as it was sung by the choir of nuns:--

Soutenez, grande Reine,
Notre pauvre pays!
Il est votre domaine,
Faites fleurir nos lis!
L'Anglais sur nos frontières,
Porte ses étandards
Exaucez nos prières
Protégez nos remparts!"

"The hymn ceased. Both stood mute until the watchman cried the hour in
the silent street."

We shall not follow further the beautiful but heartless Cleopatra through
her deadly schemes of conquest, or in her flight after the Intendant.
Sixteen years after the departure of the Court beauty, on a dark, stormy
winter morning, the 31st December, 1775, a loud note of alarm awoke at
dawn from their slumbers the demure denizens of St. Louis street. It was
the captain of the guard, Captain Malcolm Fraser, [26] formerly of
Fraser's Highlanders (78th), but now of the 84th Royal Emigrants, Col.
Allan McLean--who, on going his rounds between 4 and 5 in the morning, had
passed the guard at St. Louis gate, and had noticed flashes like lightning
on the heights without the works. Convinced it was for an attack, he sent
notice to all the guards, and ran down St. Louis street, calling "Turn
out" as loud and as often as he could. The alarm soon caught the quick ear
of the General (Guy Carleton) and the picquet at the Récollets Convent was
instantly turned out. Captain Fraser's alarm was timely. Before eight
o'clock on that memorable December morning, Benedict Arnold had been
wounded, routed at the Sault au Matelot barricade, and 427 of his daring
men taken prisoners of war, whilst the Commander-in-Chief, Brigadier-
General Richard Montgomery and thirteen followers were lying dead in their
snowy shrouds at Près-de-Ville. The rest had taken flight.

The saddest sight ever witnessed in St. Louis street was that which
heralded to its awe-struck denizens the issue of the momentous conflict on
the adjoining heights in Sept. 1759.

In the paper read by the writer before the Literary and Historical Society
of Quebec, on the 3rd of December, 1879, the mournful appearance of the
French hero, Montcalm, is thus described:--

"The morning of the 13th September, 1759, has dawned; an astounding
rumour fills the air; the citizens of Quebec repeat with bated breath:
_Wolfe's army is at the gates of the city._

"Hark! What means this deafening roar of artillery--this hissing of
shot and shell--these rolling, murderous volleys of musketry in the
direction of the heights of Abraham?

"Hark! to these loud cheers--British cheers mixed with the discordant
yells of those savage warriors, Fraser's Highlanders! The fate of a
continent has just been decided. The genius of William Pitt has
triumphed, though victory was bought at a dear price.

"Here comes from St. Louis gate [27] on his way to the Château, pale,
but dauntless--on a black charger--supported by two grenadiers, one on
each side of his horse, a General officer wearing the uniform which
won at Fontenoy, won at Laufeldt, as well as at the Monongahela [28]
and at Carillon. [29] A bloody trail crimsons the _Grande Allée_,
St. Louis street, on that gloomy September day. My friends, 'tis the
life-blood of a hero. Drop in reverential silence, on the moistened
earth, a sympathetic tear; France's chivalrous leader, the victor of
many battle-fields, has returned from his last campaign.

"_Oh! mon Dieu! mon Dieu! Le Marquis est tué,_" is repeated by female
voices as the death-stricken but intrepid general glides past, to
which he courteously replies, trying to quiet their fears, 'that he
was not seriously hurt, and not to distress themselves on his
account.' '_Ce n'est rien! ce n'est rien! ne vous affligez pas pour
moi, mes bonnes amies._'

"You have all heard the account of the death-bed scene--of his tender
solicitude for the good name of France--of his dying injunctions to de
Ramesay, the King's lieutenant in charge of the Quebec Garrison, and
to the Colonel of the Roussillon Regiment. '_Gentlemen, to your
keeping I commend the honour of France. Endeavour to secure the
retreat of my army to-night beyond Cape Rouge. As for myself, I shall
pass the night with God, and prepare for death._'

"At nine o'clock in the evening of that 14th of September, 1759, a
funeral cortege, issuing from the castle, winds its way through the
dark and obstructed streets to the little church of the Ursulines.
With the heavy tread of the coffin-bearers keeps time the measured
footsteps of the military escort. De Ramesay and the other officers of
the garrison following to their resting-place the lifeless remains of
their illustrious commander-in-chief. No martial pomp was displayed
around that humble bier, but the hero who had afforded at his dying
hour the sublime spectacle of a Christian yielding up his soul to God
in the most admirable sentiments of faith and resignation, was not
laid in unconsecrated ground. No burial rite could be more solemn than
that hurried evening service performed by torchlight under the
dilapidated roof of a sacred asylum, where the soil had been first
laid bare by one of the rude engines of war--a bombshell. The grave
tones of the priests murmuring the _Libera me, Domine_ were responded
to by the sighs and tears of consecrated virgins, henceforth the
guardians of the precious deposit, which, but for inevitable fate,
would have been reserved to honour some proud mausoleum. With gloomy
forebodings and bitter thoughts de Ramesay and his companions in arms
withdrew in silence.

"A few citizens had gathered in, and among the rest one led by the
hand his little daughter, who, looking into the grave, saw and
remembered, more than three fourths of a century later, the rough
wooden box, which was all the ruined city could afford to enclose the
remains of her defender.

"The skull of the Marquis of Montcalm, exhumed in the presence of the
Rev. Abbé Maguire, almoner, in 1833, many here present, I am sure,
have seen in a casket, reverently exposed in the room of the present
almoner of the Ursuline Convent."


Under the sway of the English Government, Canada soon recovered her wonted
gaiety, and the social condition of the country, following on so large an
admixture of a different nationality, is a subject stimulating inquiry. We
cannot do better than have recourse again to Mr. Reade's graphic pen in an
article on "British Canada in the Last Century," contributed to the New
Dominion Monthly, and suggested by the _Quebec Gazette_ of 1783, the St.
Louis Street journal above quoted:--

"If there were nothing left to the enquirer but the single
advertisement of John Baird, which appeared in the first number of the
Quebec _Gazette_, as the basis of information, he might, with a
moderate power of inductiveness, construct a very fair account of the
mode of living pursued at Quebec a hundred years ago. But the fact is
he is overwhelmed with _data_, and his chief difficulty is to
choose with discrimination. There is certainly ample evidence to show
that the inhabitants of the ancient capital did not stint themselves
in the luxuries of their day and generation. The amount of wine which
they consumed was something enormous, nor are we wanting in proof that
it was used among the better classes to an extent which public opinion
would not allow at the present day. A correspondent, more inclined to
sobriety than his fellow citizens, after complimenting Quebec society
for its politeness and hospitality--in which qualities it still
excels--finds fault with the social custom by which 'men are excited
and provoked by healths and rounds of toasts to fuddle themselves in
as indecent a manner as if they were in a tavern or in the most
unpolished company.' In connection with this state of affairs it may
be interesting to give the prices of different wines at that period:
Fine Old Red Port was sold at 17 shillings a dozen, Claret at 12s.,
Priniac at 17s.; Muscat at 24s., Modena at 27s., Malaga at 17s.;
Lisbon at 17s.; Fyall at 15s.

"Mr. Simon Fraser, perhaps one of those converted Jacobites who scaled
the height of Quebec, in 1759, turned civilian, gives us the price of
tea: Single Green tea is 13s. a pound, Best Hyson, 25s; Bohea, 6/6d.
Pity that tea was so dear and wine so cheap! Bread was very cheap, and
large quantities of wheat were exported--whereas now Lower Canada has
to import the most of its cereals. Great attention was paid to dress,
and though no sumptuary laws were in force, the principle on which
they were founded was still remembered, and attire bespoke the
position of the wearer. The articles and styles advertised by drapers
and tailors are, of course, in accordance with the manufacture and
fashion of the time. The lists of dry goods and fancy goods are very
full, but to those engaged in the business now the antique
nomenclature might be puzzling. Irish linen was sold at from 1/6 to
7/0 per yard, and Irish sheeting at from 1/6 to 2/6. We are not told
the prices of tammies or durants, romals or molletons, cades or
shalloons, but we are always carefully informed that they may be had
at the lowest prices. Pains are also taken, in many instances, to
indicate the previous experience of the advertisers. Thus tailors and
mantua-makers generally 'hail from' London. Mr. Hanna, the watch-
maker, whose time-keepers still tick attestation to his industry and
popularity, is proud to have learned his trade by the banks of the
Liffey. Mr. Bennie, tailor and habit-maker, from Edinburgh, 'begs
leave to inform the public that all gentlemen and ladies who will be
so good as to favour him with their custom may depend upon being
faithfully served on the shortest notice and in the newest fashion for
ready money or short credit, on the most reasonable terms.' There were
peruke-makers in those days and they seem to have thriven well in
Quebec, if we may judge by their advertised sales of real estate.
Jewellers also seem to have had plenty to do, as they advertise
occasionally for assistants instead of customers. Furriers, hatters,
_couturières_ and shoemakers also present their claims to public
favour, so that there was no lack of provision for the wants of the
outer man.

"From the general tone and nature of the advertisements it is easily
inferred that the society of Quebec soon after the conquest was gay
and luxurious. We are not surprised when we find that a theatrical
company found it worth their while to take up their abode there. Among
the pieces played we find Home's 'Douglas' and Otway's 'Venice
Preserved.' The doors were opened at five o'clock and the
entertainment began at half-past six! The frequenters of the 'Thespian
Theatre' were a select and privileged class, and only subscribers were
admitted. Private theatricals were much in vogue; and, indeed, there
was every variety of amusement which climate could allow or suggest,
or the lovers of frolic devise. Nor were bards wanting to celebrate
these festivities, witness the following extract from a 'carioling

"'Not all the fragrance of the spring,
Nor all the tuneful birds that sing,
Can to the _Plains_ the ladies bring,
So soon as carioling.

"'Nor Venus with the winged Loves,
Drawn by her sparrows or her doves,
So gracefully or swiftly moves,
As ladies carioling,"

"Another poet, whose mind was evidently less healthily braced by out-
door exercise, gives us a very different picture of the recreations of
the period. It occurs in the course of an essay in versification
called 'Evening.'

"'Now minuets o'er, the country dance is formed
See every little female passion rise,
By jealousy, by pride, by envy warmed,
See Adam's child the child of Eve despise.

"'With turned-up nose Belinda Chloe eyes,
Chloe Myrtilla with contempt surveys,
"What! with that creature dance!" Cleora cries,
"That vulgar wretch! I faint--unlace my stays.

* * * * *

"'Now meet in groups the philosophic band,
Not in the porch, like those of ancient Greece,
But where the best Madeira is at hand
From thought the younger students to release

"'For Hoyle's disciples hold it as a rule
That youth for knowledge should full dearly pay,
Wherefore to make young cubs the fitter tool
Presuming sense by Lethean drafts they slay.

* * * * *

"'With all the fury of a tempest torn,
With execrations horrible to hear,
By all the wrath of disappointment borne,
The cards, their garments, hair, the losers tear.'

"The winner's unfeeling composure is described in another verse, and

"'Now dissipation reigns in varied forms
Now riot in the bowl the senses steeps,
Whilst nature's child, secure from passion's storms,
With tranquil mind in sweet oblivion sleeps.'

"It is to be hoped, for the honour of the ladies and gentlemen of old
Quebec, that 'Asmodeus' was under the malign influence of envy, hatred
and all uncharitableness when he wrote those cynical verses. If he
wrote the truth we cannot be too thankful that the Chloes and Cleoras
are dead and buried.

"Who was Miss Hannah MacCulloch? She _was_ a young lady once; and, if
we may believe her panegyrist, was a beauty in her day. The acrostic
in her honor is anonymous, and occasion is taken in the course of it
to almost mention some other young ladies by the way of making a
climax of her charms. The poet seems to have been inspired by
indignation at the insinuations of 'Asmodeus,' for he begins thus.

"'Muses, how oft does Satire's vengeful gall
Invoke your powers to aid its bitter sting,'

and then he prefers his own claims to the favor of the Nine

"'Sure you will rather listen to my call,
Since beauty and Quebec's fair nymphs I sing'

"It seems his petition was heard, for he forthwith begins his

"'Henceforth Diana in Miss S--ps--n see,
As noble and majestic is her air,
Nor can fair Venus, W--lc--s, vie with thee,
Nor all her heavenly charms with thine compare.

"'Around the B--ch--rs Juno's glory plays,
Her power and charms in them attract our praise
Minerva, who with beauty's queen did vie
And patronized all the finer arts,
Crowned the McN--ls with her divinity,
Crowned them the queens of beauty and of hearts.

"'Unto fair F--m--n now I turn my song,
Lovely in all she says, in all she does,
Lo! to her toilet see each goddess throng,
One cannot all, but each a charm bestows
Could all these beauties in one female be,
_Her_ whom I sing would be the lovely she.'

"This effusion provoked more criticism than many a book of poetry is
subjected to nowadays, and the censors were in their turn criticized
by others. Montreal even took part in this literary tournament. But we
are left in the dark as to its effect on the spirits, tempers or
destinies of Miss MacCulloch and her sister belles.

"It would seem that the author was a young clerk or merchant of
Quebec, as one of the critics spitefully tells him not to desert his
shop. The ladies themselves do not escape, one writer suggesting that
they are coquettish enough already without making them more so. The
Montreal correspondent is warned off as an intruder, and told that he
had better have saved his ninepence of postage money. Just imagine
this silly acrostic furnishing gossip for Quebec and matter for the
_Gazette_ for two months!

"As another note of the state of society at that time may be mentioned
occasional advertisements for the sale of negro lads and wenches, or
of rewards for the recovery and restoration of missing ones. Slavery
was not abolished in Lower Canada till 1803. In Upper Canada, as a
separate province, it hardly ever existed. Did the manumitted blacks
remain in Canada after their liberation, or did they seek a more
congenial climate?

"For education there does not seem to have been any public provision,
but private schools for both sexes were numerous. These were probably
expensive, so that the poorer classes were virtually debarred from the
advantages of learning. The instruction of Catholic children was in
the hands of the clergy, and it may be that in some of the conventual
schools a certain number were admitted free of expense or at reduced
rates. It would appear that some of the young ladies were sent to
English boarding-schools, if we may judge by advertisements in which
the advantages of these institutions are set forth.

"A Miss or Mrs. Agnes Galbraith not only taught school, but also
carried on the millinery business, to which she informs the public
that she had served a regular apprenticeship, besides having been 'a
governess for several years to a genteel boarding-school.'

"The principal of a boys' school who resided at Three Rivers
'respectfully begs leave to remark that he means to presume no further
than he is perfectly able to perform, and build his hope of
encouragement on no other foundation than his assiduity to merit it.'
His 'course' is nevertheless a pretty full one, including English,
French, Latin, Greek, writing in a natural and easy style after the
best precedents; arithmetic, vulgar and decimal; geography, with use
of the globes; geometry, navigation with all the _late modern_
improvements; algebra, and every other useful and ornamental branch of
mathematical learning. Some of the other male teachers write in a
similar strain of their qualifications."

"It may be inferred, then, that the wealthier classes of Canada in
those days had much the same advantages of culture as their friends in
England. Intercourse with the mother country was much more general and
frequent than might be imagined, and, no doubt, many young gentlemen,
after a preliminary training at a colonial academy, were sent home to
enter some of the English public schools or universities. From the
higher ranks downwards education varied till it reached the 'masses,'
with whom its index was a cipher. There is no reason to suppose,
however, that the population of Canada, taken as a whole, was less
cultivated during the last forty years of the eighteenth century than
that of any European nation during the same period. From the
consideration of education, one naturally passes to that of crime.
Thefts were frequent, and sometimes committed on a large scale. The
punishment was whipping at a cart-tail through the streets of the
city--the culprits themselves being whipped and whipsters in turn.
Assault, stealing in private houses, and highway robbery were punished
with death. The expiation for manslaughter was being branded in the
hand which did the deed. Desertion was very frequent, especially among
the Hessians and Brunswickers then stationed in Canada. In some cases
they were promised pardon if they returned to their regiments, but woe
to them if they returned against their will! Towards the end of the
year 1783 'Gustavus Leight, a German doctor, confined for felony,
broke out of His Majesty's jail at Quebec.' He was '25 years of age,
about 5 feet high.' We are not told whether or not he was captured as
the advertisement is continued to the end of the year, but if he did
not change his dress he could not have succeeded in baffling very long
the keen eye of a detective, for "he had on, when he made his escape,
a brown coat, red plush waistcoat, white stockings and cock'd hat.' If
such a gentleman made his appearance in the streets of any Canadian
city to-day, he would certainly be requested to 'move on,' or asked to
'explain his motives.' One thing is certain, that prisoners for felony
in the year 1783 had not to submit to any arbitrary sumptuary
arrangement--at least in the Quebec _gaol_ (as it is always spelled in
the _Gazette_, perhaps because it is the goal of evildoers).

"The general state of society in Montreal, as well as in Three Rivers,
St. Johns, L'Assomption, Terrebonne, Sorel and the other towns and
villages in existence at the period which we are considering was, in
all probability, very like that of Quebec--the last-mentioned place
having, of course, a certain prestige as the capital.

"It would be futile to attempt to give an accurate picture of the
appearance of Montreal or Quebec at that distant date, and a
description pretending to accuracy would not be possible without the
collation of more ancient records than are easily obtainable by one
person. The names of some of the streets, as Notre Dame, St. Paul and
St. Antoine in Montreal, and St. John's, Fabrique, St. Peter and
others in Quebec, are still unchanged. Villages near these towns, such
as Ste. Foye, Beauport, Charlesbourg, Sault aux Récollets, St. Denis,
Ste. Thérèse, etc., are also frequently mentioned in the old
_Gazettes_. Detroit and Niagara were places of considerable
importance, and St. Johns, Chambly, Berthier, L'Assomption, L'Acadie
and other places were much more influential communities in comparison
with the population of the country than they are to-day. The
authorities at Quebec and Montreal were not wanting in endeavors to
keep these cities clean, to judge, at least, by the published
'regulations for the police.' Every householder was obliged to put the
Scotch proverbs in force, and keep clean and 'free from filth, mud,
dirt, rubbish straw or hay' one-half of the street opposite his own
house The 'cleanings' were to be deposited on the beach, as they still
are in portions of Montreal and Quebec which border on the river.
Treasure-trove in the shape of stray hogs could be kept by the finder
twenty-four hours after the event, if no claim had been made in the
meantime, and if the owner declared himself in person or through the
bellman, he had to pay 10s. before he could have his pork restored.
Five shillings was the penalty for a stray horse. The regulations for
vehicles, slaughter-houses, sidewalks, markets, etc., were equally
strict. Among other duties, the carters had to keep the markets clean.
The keepers of taverns, inns and coffee-houses had to light the
streets. Every one entering the town in a sleigh had to carry a shovel
with him for the purpose of levelling _cahots_ which interrupted
his progress, 'at any distance within three leagues of the town.' The
rates of cabs and ferry-boats are fixed with much precision. No carter
was allowed to plead a prior engagement, but was to go 'with the
person who first demanded him, under a penalty of twenty shillings.'
The rate of speed was also regulated, and boys were not allowed to

"Constant reference is made to the walls and gates of Montreal as well
as Quebec, and there is reason to believe the smaller towns were
similarly fortified. Beyond the walls, however, there was a
considerable population, and many of the military officers, Government
officials and merchants had villas without the city. The area in
Montreal which lies between Craig, St. Antoine and Sherbrooke streets
was studded with country-houses with large gardens and orchards
attached. The seigneurs and other gentry had also fine, capacious
stone-built residences, which much enhanced the charm of the rural
scenery. Some of the estates of those days were of almost immense
extent. The Kings of France thought nothing of granting a whole
province, and, even in British times, there were gentlemen whose acres
would have superimposed an English county. The extraordinary donation
of James I. of a large portion of North America to Sir William
Alexander was not long since brought before the public by the claims
of his descendants. Large tracts of land were given away by Louis
XIII., Louis XIV. and other French kings, by Oliver Cromwell and the
Stuarts, and the same extravagant system of entailing unmanageable
wealth on companies and individuals was continued after the conquest.

"It would be interesting to know what was the kind of literary fare on
which the intellect of Canada subsisted in those days. It cannot be
supposed that the people spent all their time in business and social
pleasure. There must have been readers as well as cariolers and
dancers, and the literature of England and France was by no means
scanty. Great writers on every subject have flourished since that
time, but some of the greatest that ever lived, some of those whose
productions are still read with the highest pleasure, were the
offspring of the two centuries which preceded the conquest. No one
will be surprised to find, then, that in the year 1783, a circulating
library in Quebec numbered nearly 2,000 volumes. Nor is the enquirer
left in the dark as to its probable contents. In the Quebec
_Gazette_ of the 4th of December, a list of books is given which
'remained unsold at M. Jacques Perrault's, very elegantly bound'--and
books were bound substantially as well as elegantly in those days. In
this list are found 'Johnson's Dictionary,' then regarded as one of
the wonders of the literary world, 'Chesterfield's Letters,' long the
_vade-mecum_ of every young gentleman beginning life, and which,
even in our own days (and perhaps still), were frequently bound along
with spelling and reading books, the 'Pilgrim's Progress', which it is
not necessary to characterize, Young's 'Night Thoughts,' the
'Spectator and 'Guardian,' Rapin's 'English History,' 'Cook's
Voyages,' Rousseau's 'Eloise,' 'Télémaque,' 'Histoire Chinoise,'
'Esprit des Croissades,' 'Lettres de Fernand Cortes,' 'Histoire
Ancienne' par Rollin, 'Grammaire Anglaise et Française,'
'Dictionnaire par l'Académie,' 'Dictionnaire de Commerce,' 'Dictionary
of the Arts and Sciences,' 'Smith's Housewife,' 'The Devil on Sticks,'
'Voltaire's Essay on Universal History,' 'Dictionnaire de Cuisine' and
several others on various subjects, 'Oeuvres de Rabelais,' 'American
Gazetteer,' etc. These, it will be remembered, had remained unsold,
but among the sold there must have been copies of the same.

"It is, according to our notions of to-day, a meagre collection, but,
no doubt, many families possessed good libraries, brought with them
from over the sea, and the bookseller may not have kept a large stock
at one time. It was the custom for merchants to sell off all their

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