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The Englishwoman in America by Isabella Lucy Bird

Part 4 out of 6

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August, and the British, scattered and sauntered on their toilsome way,
till, overcome by fatigue or curiosity, they sat down near the margin of
the precipice. A fearful yell arose, accompanied by a volley of bullets,
and the Indians, breaking from their cover, under the combined influences
of ferocity and "fire-water," rushed upon their unhappy victims before
they had time to stand to their arms, and tomahawked them on the spot.
Waggons, horses, soldiers, and drivers were then hurled over the
precipice, and the little stream ran into the Niagara river a torrent
purple with human gore. Only two escaped to tell the terrible tale. Some
years ago, bones, arms, and broken wheels were found among the rocks,
mementos of the barbarity which has given the little streamlet the terror-
inspiring name of Bloody Run.

After depositing our purchases at the Clifton House, where the waiter
warned us to put them under lock and key, I hoped that sight-seeing was
over, and that at last I should be able to gaze upon what I had really
come to visit--the Falls of Niagara. But no; I was to be victimised still
further; I must "go behind the great sheet," Mr. and Mrs. Walrence would
not go; they said their heads would not stand it, but that, as an
Englishwoman, go I must. In America the capabilities of English ladies are
very much overrated. It is supposed that they go out in all weathers,
invariably walk ten miles a day, and leap five-barred fences on horseback.
Yielding to "the inexorable law of a stern necessity," I went to the Rock
House, and a very pleasing girl produced a suit of oiled calico. I took
off my cloak, bonnet, and dress. "Oh," she said, "you must change
everything, _it's so very wet_." As, to save time, I kept demurring to
taking off various articles of apparel, I always received the same reply,
and finally abandoned myself to a complete change of attire. I looked in
the mirror, and beheld as complete a tatterdemallion as one could see
begging upon an Irish highway, though there was nothing about the dress
which the most lively imagination could have tortured into the
picturesque. The externals of this strange equipment consisted of an oiled
calico hood, a garment like a carter's frock, a pair of blue worsted
stockings, and a pair of India-rubber shoes much too large for me. My
appearance was so comic as to excite the laughter of my grave friends, and
I had to reflect that numbers of persons had gone out in the same attire
before I could make up my mind to run the gauntlet of the loiterers round
the door. Here a negro guide of most repulsive appearance awaited me, and
I waded through a perfect sea of mud to the shaft by which people go under
Table Rock. My friends were evidently ashamed of my appearance, but they
met me here to wish me a safe return, and, following the guide, I dived
down a spiral staircase, very dark and very much out of repair.

Leaving this staircase, I followed the guide along a narrow path covered
with fragments of shale, with Table Rock above and the deep abyss below. A
cold, damp wind blew against me, succeeded by a sharp pelting rain, and
the path became more slippery and difficult. Still I was not near the
sheet of water, and felt not the slightest dizziness. I speedily arrived
at the difficult point of my progress: heavy gusts almost blew me away;
showers of spray nearly blinded me; I was quite deafened and half-drowned;
I wished to retreat, and essayed to use my voice to stop the progress of
my guide. I raised it to a scream, but it was lost in the thunder of the
cataract. The negro saw my incertitude and extended his hand. I shuddered
even there as I took hold of it, not quite free from the juvenile idea
that "the black comes off." He seemed at that moment to wear the aspect of
a black imp leading me to destruction.

The path is a narrow, slippery ledge of rock. I am blinded with spray, the
darkening sheet of water is before me. Shall I go on? The spray beats
against my face, driven by the contending gusts of wind which rush into
the eyes, nostrils, and mouth, and almost prevent my progress; the
narrowing ledge is not more than a foot wide, and the boiling gulf is
seventy feet below. Yet thousands have pursued this way before, so why
should not I? I grasp tighter hold of the guide's hand, and proceed step
by step holding down my head. The water beats against me, the path
narrows, and will only hold my two feet abreast. I ask the guide to stop,
but my voice is drowned by the "Thunder of Waters." He guesses what I
would say, and shrieks in my ear, "_It's worse going back._" I make a
desperate attempt: four steps more and I am at the end of the ledge; my
breath is taken away, and I can only just stand against the gusts of wind
which are driving the water against me. The gulf is but a few inches from
me, and, gasping for breath, and drenched to the skin, I become conscious
that I have reached _Termination Rock_.

Once arrived at this place, the clouds of driving spray are a little
thinner, and, though it is still very difficult either to see or breathe,
the magnificence of the temple, which is here formed by the natural bend
of the cataract and the backward shelve of the precipice, makes a lasting
impression on the mind. The temple seems a fit and awful shrine for Him
who "rides on the wings of mighty winds," and, completely shut out from
man's puny works, the mind rises naturally in adoring contemplation to Him
whose voice is heard in the "thunder of waters." The path was so very
narrow that I had to shuffle backwards for a few feet, and then, drenched,
shivering, and breathless, my goloshes full of water and slipping off at
every step, I fought my way through the blinding clouds of spray, and,
climbing up the darkened staircase, again stood on Table Rock, with water
dripping from my hair and garments. It is usual for those persons who
survive the expedition to take hot brandy and water after changing their
dresses; and it was probably from neglecting this precaution that I took
such a severe chill as afterwards produced the ague. On the whole, this
achievement is pleasanter in the remembrance than in the act. There is
nothing whatever to boast of in having accomplished it, and nothing to
regret in leaving it undone. I knew the danger and disagreeableness of the
exploit before I went, and, had I known that "going behind the sheet" was
synonymous with "going to Termination Rock," I should never have gone. No
person who has not a very strong head ought to go at all, and it is by
every one far better omitted, as the remaining portion of Table Rock may
fall at any moment, for which reason some of the most respectable guides
decline to take visitors underneath it. I believe that no amateur ever
thinks of going a second time. After all, the front view is the only one
for Niagara--going behind the sheet is like going behind a picture-frame.

After this we went to the top of a tower, where I had a very good bird's-
eye view of the Falls, the Rapids, and the general aspect of the country,
and then, refusing to be victimised by burning springs, museums, prisoned
eagles, and mangy buffaloes, I left the Walrences, who were tired, to go
to the hotel, and walked down to the ferry, and, scrambling out to the
rock farthest in the water and nearest to the cataract, I sat down
completely undisturbed in view of the mighty fall. I was not distracted by
parasitic guides or sandwich-eating visitors; the vile museums, pagodas,
and tea-gardens were out of sight: the sublimity of the Falls far exceeded
my expectations, and I appreciated them the more perhaps from having been
disappointed with the first view. As I sat watching them, a complete
oblivion of everything but the falls themselves stole over me. A person
may be very learned in statistics--he may tell you that the falls are 160
feet high--that their whole width is nearly four-fifths of a mile--that,
according to estimate, ninety million tons of water pass over them every
hour--that they are the outlet of several bodies of water covering one
hundred and fifty thousand square miles; but unless he has seen Niagara,
he cannot form the faintest conception of it. It was so very like what I
had expected, and yet so totally different. I sat there watching that sea-
green curve against the sky till sunset, and then the crimson rays just
fell upon the column of spray above the Canadian Fall, turning it a most
beautiful rose-colour. The sun set; a young moon arose, and brilliant
stars shone through the light veil of mist, and in the darkness the
cataract looked like drifted snow. I rose at length, perfectly unconscious
that I had been watching the Falls for nearly four hours, and that my
clothes were saturated with the damp and mist.

It would be out of place to enter upon the numerous geological
speculations which have arisen upon the structure and recession of
Niagara. It seems as if the faint light which science has shed upon the
abyss of bygone ages were but to show that its depths must remain for ever
unlighted by human reason and research.

There was such an air of gloom about the Clifton House that we sat in the
balcony till the cold became intense; and as it was too dark to see
anything but a white object in front, I could not help regretting the
waste (as it seems) of this wonderful display going on, when no eyes can
feast upon its sublimity. In the saloon there was a little fair-haired boy
of seven years old, with the intellectual faculties largely developed--
indeed, so much so as to be painfully suggestive of water on the brain.
His father called him into the middle of the room, and he repeated a long
oration of Daniel Webster's without once halting for a word, giving to it
the action and emphasis of the orator. This was a fair specimen of the
frequent undue development of the minds of American children.

At Niagara I finally took leave of the Walrences, as I had many visits to
pay, and near midnight left for Hamilton, under the escort of a very kind,
but very Grandisonian Scotch gentleman. I was intensely tired and sleepy,
and it was a very cheerless thing to leave a warm room at midnight for an
omnibus-drive of two miles along a bad, unlighted road. There did not
appear to be any waiting-room at the bustling station at the suspension
bridge, for, alas! the hollow scream of the locomotive is heard even above
the thunder of Niagara. I slept in the cars for an hour before we started,
and never woke till the conductor demanded payment of my fare in no very
gentle tones. We reached Hamilton shortly after two in the morning, in the
midst of a high wind and pouring rain; and in company with a dozen very
dirty emigrants we entered a lumber waggon with a canvas top, drawn by one
miserable horse. The curtains very imperfectly kept out the rain, and we
were in continual fear of an upset. At last the vehicle went down on one
side, and all the Irish emigrants tumbled over each other and us, with a
profusion of "Ochs," "murders," and "spalpeens." The driver composedly
shouted to us to alight; the hole was only deep enough to sink the vehicle
to the axletree. We got out into a very capacious lake of mud, and in
again, in very ill humour. At last the horse fell down in a hole, and my
Scotch friend and I got out and walked in the rain for some distance to a
very comfortable hotel, the City Arms. The sun had scarcely warmed the
world into waking life before I was startled from my sleep by the cry,
"Six o'clock; all aboard for the 'bus at half-past, them as goes by the
_Passport_ and _Highlander_:" but it was half-past, and I had barely time
to dress before the disagreeable shout of "All aboard!" echoed through the
house, and I hurried down stairs into an omnibus, which held twenty-two
persons inside, commodiously seated in arm-chairs. I went down Lake
Ontario in the _Highlander_; Mr. Forrest met me on the wharf, and in a few
hours I was again warmly welcomed at his hospitable house.

My relics of my visit to Niagara consisted of a few Indian curiosities,
and a printed certificate filled up with my name, [Footnote: "Niagara
Falls, C. W.: Register Office, Table Rock.--This is to certify, that Miss
---- has passed behind the Great Falling Sheet of Water to Termination
Rook, being 230 feet behind the Great Horse-shoe Fall.--Given under my
hand this 13th day of ----, 1854.--THOMAS BARNETT."] stating that I had
walked for 230 feet behind the great fall, which statement, I was assured
by an American fellow-traveller, was "a sell right entirely, an almighty
all-fired big flam."


A scene at starting--That dear little Harry--The old lady and the race--
Running the Rapids--An aside--Snow and discomfort-A new country--An
extemporised ball--Adventure with a madman--Shooting the cataract--First
appearance of Montreal--Its characteristics--Quebec in a fog--"Muffins"--
Quebec gaieties----The pestilence--Restlessness--St. Louis and St. Roch--
The shady side--Dark dens--External characteristics--Lord Elgin--Mistaking
a senator.

The _Arabian_, by which I left Toronto, was inferior to any American
steamer I had travelled in. It was crowded with both saloon and steerage
passengers, bound for Cobourg, Port Hope, and Montreal. It was very
bustling and dirty, and the carpet was plentifully sprinkled with tobacco-
juice. The captain was very much flustered with his unusually large living
cargo, but he was a good-hearted man, and very careful, having, to use his
own phrase, "climbed in at the hawse-holes, and worked his way aft,
instead of creeping in at the cabin window with his gloves on." The
stewards were dirty, and the stewardess too smart to attend to the
comforts of the passengers.

As passengers, crates, and boxes poured in at both the fore and aft
entrances, I went out on the little slip of deck to look at the prevalent
confusion, having previously ascertained that all my effects were secure.
The scene was a very amusing one, for, acting out the maxim that "time is
money," comparatively few of the passengers came down to the wharf more
than five minutes before the hour of sailing. People, among whom were a
number of "unprotected females," and juveniles who would not _move on_,
were entangled among trucks and carts discharging cargo--hacks, horses,
crates, and barrels. These passengers, who would find it difficult to
elbow their way unencumbered, find it next to impossible when their hands
are burdened with uncut books, baskets of provender, and diminutive
carpet-bags. Horses back carts against helpless females, barrels roll upon
people's toes, newspaper hawkers puff their wares, bonbon venders push
their plaster of Paris abominations almost at people's eyes, yet, strange
to say, it is very seldom that any accident occurs. Family groups
invariably are separated, and distracted mammas are running after children
whom everybody wishes out of the way, giving utterance to hopes that they
are not on shore. Then the obedient papa is sent on shore to look after
"that dear little Harry," who is probably all the time in the ladies'
saloon on some child-fancier's lap eating bonbons. The board is drawn in--
the moorings are cast off--the wheels revolve--the bell rings--the engine
squeals, and away speeds the steamer down the calm waters of Lake Ontario.
Little children and inquisitive young ladies are knocked down or blackened
in coiling the hawser, by "hands" who, being nothing but _hands_,
evidently cannot say, "I beg your pardon, miss." There were children, who
always will go where they ought not to go, running against people, and
taking hold of their clothes with sticky, smeared hands, asking commercial
gentlemen to spin their tops, and corpulent ladies to play at hide and
seek. I saw one stern-visaged gentleman tormented in this way till he
looked ready to give the child its "final quietus." [Footnote: American
juveniles are, generally speaking, completely destitute of that agreeable
shyness which prevents English and Scotch children from annoying
strangers.] There were angry people who had lost their portmanteaus, and
were ransacking the state-rooms in quest of them, and indolent people who
lay on the sofas reading novels and chewing tobacco. Some gentleman,
taking no heed of a printed notice, goes to the ladies' cabin to see if
his wife is safe on board, and meets with a rebuff from the stewardess,
who tells him that "gentlemen are not admitted," and, knowing that the
_sense_, or, as he would say, the _nonsense_ of the community is against
him, he beats a reluctant retreat. Everybody seems to have lost somebody
or something, but in an hour or two the ladies are deep in novels, the
gentlemen in the morning papers, the children have quarrelled themselves
to sleep, and the captain has gone to smoke by the funnel.

I sat on the slip of deck with a lady from Lake Superior, niece of the
accomplished poetess Mrs. Hemans, and she tried to arouse me into
admiration of the shore of Lake Ontario; but I confess that I was too much
occupied with a race which we were running with the American steamer
_Maple-leaf_, to look at the flat, gloomy, forest-fringed coast. There is
an inherent love of the excitement of a race in all human beings--even old
ladies are not exempt from it, if we may believe a story which I heard on
the Mississippi. An old lady was going down the river for the first time,
and expressed to the captain her earnest hope that there would be no
racing. Presently another boat neared them, and half the passengers urged
the captain to "_pile on_." The old lady shrieked and protested, but to no
purpose; the skipper "piled on;" and as the race was a very long and
doubtful one, she soon became excited. The rival boat shot ahead; the old
lady gave a side of bacon, her sole possession, to feed the boiler fires--
the boat was left behind--she clapped her hands--it ran ahead again, and,
frantic, she seated herself upon the safety-valve! It was again doubtful,
but, lo! the antagonist boat was _snagged_, and the lady gave a yell of
perfect delight when she saw it discomfited, and a hundred human beings
struggling in the water. Our race, however, was destitute of excitement,
for the _Maple-leaf_ was a much better sailer than ourselves.

Dinner constituted an important event in the day, and was despatched very
voraciously, though some things were raw, others overdone, and all greasy.
But the three hundred people who sat down to dinner were, as some one
observed, three hundred reasons against eating anything. I had to endure a
severe attack of ague, and about nine o'clock the stewardess gave up her
room to me, and, as she faithfully promised to call me half an hour before
we changed the boats, I slept very soundly. At five she came in--"Get up,
miss, we're at Guananoque; you've only five minutes to dress." I did dress
in five minutes, and, leaving my watch, with some very valuable lockets,
under my pillow, hastened across a narrow plank, half blinded by snow,
into the clean, light, handsome steamer _New Era_. I did not allow myself
to fall asleep in the very comfortable state-room which was provided for
me by the friend with whom I was travelling, but hurried upstairs with the
first grey of the chilly wintry dawn of the morning of the 18th of
October. The saloon-windows were dimmed with snow, so I went out on deck
and braved the driving wind and snow on that inhospitable morning, for we
were in the Lake of the Thousand Islands. Travellers have written and
spoken so much of the beauty of this celebrated piece of water, that I
expected to be disappointed; but, _au contraire_, I am almost inclined to
write a rhapsody myself.

For three hours we were sailing among these beautiful irregularly-formed
islands. There are 1692 of them, and they vary in size from mere rocks to
several acres in extent. Some of them are perfect paradises of beauty.
They form a complete labyrinth, through which the pilot finds his way,
guided by numerous beacons. Sometimes it appeared as if there were no
egress, and as if we were running straight upon a rock, and the water is
everywhere so deep, that from the deck of the steamer people can pull the
leaves from the trees. A hundred varieties of trees and shrubs grow out of
the grey lichen-covered rocks--it seems barbarous that the paddles of a
steamer should disturb their delicate shadows. If I found this lake so
beautiful on a day in the middle of October, when the bright autumn tints
had changed into a russet brown, and when a chill north-east wind was
blowing about the withered leaves, and the snow against the ship--and
when, more than all, I was only just recovering from ague--what would it
be on a bright summer-day, when the blue of heaven would be reflected in
the clear waters of the St. Lawrence!

By nine a furious snow-storm rendered all objects indistinct, and the fog
had thickened to such an extent that we could not see five feet ahead, so
we came to anchor for an hour. A very excellent breakfast was despatched
during this time, and at ten we steamed off again, steering by compass on
a river barely a mile wide! The _New Era_ was a boat of a remarkably light
draught of water. The saloon, or deck-house, came to within fifteen feet
of the bow, and on the hurricane-deck above there was a tower containing a
double wheel, with which the ship is steered by chains one hundred feet
long. There is a look-out place in front of this tower, generally occupied
by the pilot, a handsome, ruffian-looking French _voyageur_, with earrings
in his ears. Captain Chrysler, whose caution, urbanity, and kindness
render him deservedly popular, seldom leaves this post of observation, and
personally pays very great attention to his ship; for the river St.
Lawrence has as bad a reputation for destroying the vessels which navigate
it as the Mississippi.

The snow was now several inches deep on deck, and, melting near the deck-
house, trickled under the doors into the saloon. The moisture inside,
also, condensed upon the ceiling, and produced a constant shower-bath for
the whole day. Sofas and carpets were alike wet, everybody sat in
goloshes--the ladies in cloaks, the gentlemen in oilskins; the smell of
the latter, and of so many wet woollen clothes, in an apartment heated by
stove-heat, being almost unbearable. At twelve the fog and snow cleared
away, and revealed to view the mighty St. Lawrence--a rapid stream
whirling along in small eddies between slightly elevated banks dotted with
white homesteads. We passed a gigantic raft, with five log shanties upon
it, near Prescott. These rafts go slowly and safely down the St. Lawrence
and the Ottawa, till they come to La Chine, where frequent catastrophes
happen, if one may judge from the timber which strews the rocks. A
gentleman read from a newspaper these terrible statistics, "horrible if
true,"--"Forty-four murders and seven hundred murderous assaults have been
committed at New York within the last six months." (_Sensation_.) We
stopped at Prescott, one of the oldest towns in Canada, and shortly
afterwards passed the blackened ruins of a windmill, and some houses held
by a band of American "sympathisers" during the rebellion in 1838, but
from which they were dislodged by the cannon of the royal troops. Five
hundred American sympathisers, with several pieces of cannon, under cover
of darkness, on a lovely night in May, landed at this place. Soon after,
they were attacked by a party of English regulars and militiamen, who
drove them into a windmill and two strong stone houses, which they
loopholed, and defended themselves with a pertinacity which one would have
called heroism, had it been in a better cause. They finally surrendered,
and were carried prisoners to Kingston, where six of them were hanged.
Their leader, a military adventurer, a Pole of the name of Von Schoultz,
was the first to be executed. He fought with a skill and bravery worthy of
the nation from whence he sprung, and died without complaint, except of
those who had enticed him to fight for a godless cause, under the name of
liberty. Brighter days have since dawned upon Canada, and at this time the
most discontented can scarcely find the shadow of a grievance to lay hold

As an instance of the way in which the utilitarian essentials of a high
state of civilisation are diffused throughout Canada, I may mention that
when we arrived at Cornwall I was able to telegraph to Kingston for my
lost watch, and received a satisfactory answer in half an hour.

After sailing down this mighty river at a rapid rate for some hours, we
ran the Galouse Rapids. Running the rapids is a favourite, and, I must
add, a charming diversion of adventurous travellers. There is just that
slight sense of danger which lends a zest to novelty, and it is furnished
by the facts that some timid persons land before coming to the rapids, and
that many vessels have come to an untimely end in descending them. There
is a favourite story of General Amherst, who during the war was sent down
by the river to attack Montreal, with three hundred and fifty men, and the
first intimation which the inhabitants received of the intended surprise
was through the bodies of the ill-fated detachment, clothed in the well-
known scarlet, floating by their city, the victims of the ignorance or
treachery of the pilot.

One of the great pleasures which I promised myself in my visit to Canada
was from running these rapids, and I was not disappointed. At the Galouse,
the river expands into a wide shallow stream, containing beautiful
islands, among which the water rushes furiously, being broken into large
waves, boiling, foaming, and whirling round. The steamer neared the
rapids--half her steam was shut off--six men appeared at the wheel--we
glided noiselessly along in smooth, green, deep water--the furious waves
were before us--the steamer gave one perceptible downward plunge--the
spray dashed over the bows--and at a speed of twenty-five miles an hour we
hurried down the turbulent hill of waters, running so near the islands
often that escape seemed hopeless--then guided safely away by the skill of
the pilot.

The next rapid was the Longue Sault, above a mile in length. The St.
Lawrence is here divided into two channels. The one we took is called the
Lost Passage; the Indian pilot who knew it died, and it has only been
recovered within the last five years. It is a very fine rapid, the islands
being extremely picturesque. We went down it at dizzy speed, with all our
steam on. I suppose that soon after this we entered the Lower Province,
for the aspect of things totally changed. The villages bore French names;
there were high wooden crosses by the water-side; the houses were many-
gabled and many-windowed, with tiers of balconies; and the setting sun
flashed upon Romish churches with spires of glittering tin. Everything was
marked by stagnation and retrogression: the people are _habitans_, the
clergy _cures_.

We ran the Cedars, a magnificent rapid, superior in beauty to the Grand
Rapids at Niagara, and afterwards those of the Coteau du Lac and the Split
Rock, but were obliged to anchor at La Chine, as its celebrated cataract
can only be shot by daylight. It was cold and dark, and nearly all the
passengers left La Chine by the cars for Montreal, to avoid what some
people consider the perilous descent of this rapid. As both means of
reaching Montreal were probably equally safe, I decided on remaining on
board, having secured a state-room. My companions in the saloon were the
captain's wife and a lady who seemed decidedly _flighty_, and totally
occupied in waiting upon a poodle lapdog. After the captain left, the
stokers and pokers, and stewards and cooks, extemporised a ball, with the
assistance of a blind Scotch fiddler, and invited numerous lassies, who
appeared as if by magic from a wharf to which we were moored. I cannot say
that they tripped it "on the _light_ fantastic toe," for brogues and
highlows stumped heavily on the floor; but what was wanting in elegance
was amply compensated for by merriment and vivacity. The conversation was
rather of a polyglot character, being carried on in French, Gaelic, and

Throughout the night I was occupied in incessant attempts to keep up vital
warmth, and when the steward called me at five o'clock, I found that I had
been sleeping with the window open, and that the water in the jug was
frozen. Wintry-looking stars were twinkling through a frosty fog; the wet
hawsers were frozen stiff on deck; six came, the hour of starting, but
still there were no signs of moving. Railroads have not yet taught
punctuality to the Canadians, but better things are in store for them.
Cold to the very bone, I walked up and down the saloon to warm myself. The
floor was wet, and covered with saturated rugs; there were no fires in the
stoves, and my only resource was to lean against the engine-enclosure, and
warm my frozen hands on the hot wood. I was joined by a very old
gentleman, who, amid many complaints, informed me that he had had an
attack of apoplexy during the night, and some one, finding him insensible,
had opened the jugular vein. His lank white hair flowed over his
shoulders, and his neckcloth and shirt-front were smeared with blood. He
said he had cut his wife's throat, and that her ghost was after him.
"There, there!" he said, pointing to a corner. I looked at his eyes, and
saw at once that I was in the company of a madman. He then said that he
was king of the island of Montreal, and that he had murdered his wife
because she was going to betray him to the Queen of England. He was now,
he declared, going down to make a public entrance into Montreal. After
this avowal I treated him with the respect due to his fancied rank, till I
could call the stewards without exciting his suspicions. They said that he
was a confirmed lunatic, and had several times attempted to lay violent
hands upon himself. They thought he must have escaped from his keeper at
Brockville, and, with true madman's cunning, he had secreted himself in
the steamer. They kept him under strict surveillance till we arrived at
Montreal, and frustrated an attempt which he made to throw himself into
the rapid as we were descending it.

At seven we unmoored from the pier at La Chine, and steamed over the calm
waters of the Lac St. Louis, under the care of a Canadian _voyageur_, who
acted as a subordinate to an Indian pilot, who is said to be the only
person acquainted with the passage, and whom the boats are obliged under
penalty to take. The lake narrows at La Chine, and becomes again the St.
Lawrence, which presents a most extraordinary appearance, being a hill of
shallow rushing water about a mile wide, chafing a few islands which look
ready to be carried away by it. The large river Ottawa joins the St.
Lawrence a short distance from this, and mingles its turbid waters with
that mighty flood. The river became more and more rapid till we entered
what might be termed a sea of large, cross, leaping waves, and raging
waters, enough to engulf a small boat. The idea of descending it in a
steamer was an extraordinary one. It is said that from the shore a vessel
looks as if it were hurrying to certain destruction. Still we hurry on,
with eight men at the wheel--rocks appear like snags in the middle of the
stream--we dash straight down upon rocky islets, strewn with the wrecks of
rafts; but a turn of the wheel, and we rush by them in safety at a speed
('tis said) of thirty miles an hour, till a ragged ledge of rock stretches
across the whirling stream. Still on we go--louder roars the flood--
steeper appears the descent--earth, sky, and water seem mingled together.
I involuntarily took hold of the rail--the madman attempted to jump over--
the _flighty_ lady screamed and embraced more closely her poodle-dog; we
reached the ledge--one narrow space free from rocks appeared--down with
one plunge went the bow into a turmoil of foam--and we had "shot the
cataract" of La Chine.

The exploit is one of the most agreeable which the traveller can perform,
and the thick morning mist added to the apparent danger. We steamed for
four or five miles farther down the river, when suddenly the great curtain
of mist was rolled up as by an invisible hand, and the scene which it
revealed was _Montreal_. I never saw a city which looked so magnificent
from the water. It covers a very large extent of ground, which gently
slopes upwards from the lake-like river, and is backed by the Mountain, a
precipitous hill, 700 feet in height. It is decidedly foreign in
appearance, even from a distance. When the fog cleared away it revealed
this mountain, with the forest which covers it, all scarlet and purple;
the blue waters of the river hurried joyously along; the Green and
Belleisle mountains wore the rosy tints of dawn; the distances were bathed
in a purple glow; and the tin roofs, lofty spires, and cupolas of Montreal
flashed back the beams of the rising sun.

A lofty Gothic edifice, something from a distance like Westminster Abbey,
and handsome public buildings, with a superb wharf a mile long, of hewn
stone, present a very imposing appearance from the water. We landed from
the first lock of a ship-canal, and I immediately drove to the residence
of the Bishop of Montreal, a house near the mountain, in a very elevated
situation, and commanding a magnificent view. From the Bishop and his
family I received the greatest kindness, and have very agreeable
recollections of Montreal.

It was a most curious and startling change from the wooden erections, wide
streets, and the impress of novelty which pervaded everything I had seen
in the New World, to the old stone edifices, lofty houses, narrow streets,
and tin roofs of the city of Montreal. There are iron window-shutters,
convents with grated windows and long dead walls; there are narrow
thoroughfares, crowded with strangely-dressed _habitans_, and long
processions of priests. Then the French origin of the town contrasts
everywhere with the English occupation of it. There are streets--the Rue
St. Genevieve, the Rue St. Antoine, and the Rue St. Francois Xavier; there
are ancient customs and feudal privileges; Jesuit seminaries, and convents
of the _Soeurs Gris_ and the Sulpicians; priests in long black dresses;
native carters in coats with hoods, woollen nightcaps, and coloured
sashes; and barristers pleading in the French language. Then there are
Manchester goods, in stores kept by bustling Yankees; soldiers lounge
about in the scarlet and rifle uniforms of England; Presbyterian tunes
sound from plain bald churches; the institutions are drawn alike from
Paris and Westminster; and the public vehicles partake of the fashions of
Lisbon and Long Acre. You hear "_Place aux dames_" on one side of the
street, and "_g'lang_" on the other; and the United States have
contributed their hotel system and their slang.

Montreal is an extraordinary place. It is alive with business and
enterprising traders, with soldiers, carters, and equipages. Through the
kindness of the Bishop, I saw everything of any interest in the town. The
first thing which attracted my attention was the magnificent view from the
windows of the See-house, over the wide St. Lawrence and the green
mountains of Vermont; the next, an immense pair of elaborately-worked
bronze gates, at a villa opposite, large enough for a royal residence. The
side-walks in the outskirts of the town were still of the villanous wood,
but in the streets they were very substantial, and, like the massive stone
houses, look as if they had lasted for two hundred years, and might last
for a thousand more. We visited, among other things, some schools--one,
the Normal School, an extremely interesting one, where it is intended to
train teachers, on Church-of-England principles. I was very much surprised
and pleased with the amount of solid information and high attainments of
the children, as evidenced by their composition, and answers to the Bishop
of Montreal's very difficult questions. They looked sallow and emaciated,
and, contrary to what I have observed in England, the girls seemed the
most intelligent. The Bishop has also established a library, where, for
the small sum of four shillings a year, people can regale themselves upon
a variety of works, from the volumes of Alison, not more ponderous in
appearance than matter, to the newspaper literature of the day.

The furriers' shops are by no means to be overlooked. There were sleigh-
robes of buffalo, bear, fox, wolf, and racoon, varying in price from six
to thirty guineas; and coats, leggings, gloves, and caps, rendered
necessary by the severity of a winter in which the thermometer often
stands at thirty degrees below zero. People vie with each other in the
costliness of their furs and sleigh equipments; a complete set sometimes
costing as much as a hundred guineas.

I went into the Romish cathedral, which is the largest Gothic building in
the New World. It was intended to be very imposing--it has succeeded in
being very extravagant; and if the architects intended that their work
should live in the admiration of succeeding generations, like York
Minster, Cologne, or Rouen, they have signally failed. Internally, the
effect of its vast size is totally destroyed by pews and galleries which
accommodate ten thousand people. There are some very large and very
hideous paintings in it, in a very inferior style of sign-painting. The
ceiling is painted bright blue, and the high altar was one mass of gaudy
tinsel decoration. In one corner there was a picture of babies being
devoured by pigs, and trampled upon by horses, and underneath it was a box
for offerings, with "This is the fate of the children of China" upon it.
By it was a wooden box, hung with faded pink calico, containing small
wooden representations, in the Noah's-ark style, of dogs, horses, and
pigs, and a tall man holding up a little dog by its hind legs. This peep-
show (for I can call it nothing else) was at the same time so inexplicable
and so ludicrous, that, to avoid shocking the feelings of a devout-looking
woman who was praying near it by an "_eclat de rire_," we hurried from the

I met with many sincere and devout Romanists among the upper classes in
Canada; I know that there are thousands among the simple _habitans_; and
though, in a thoughtless moment, the fooleries and puerilities of their
churches may excite a smile, it is a matter for the deepest regret that so
many of our fellow-subjects should be the dupes of a despotic priesthood,
and of a religion which cannot save.

Close to the cathedral is the convent of the Grey Sisters, who, with the
most untiring zeal and kindness, fulfil the vocations of the Sisters of
Charity. There are several other convents, some of them very strict; and
their high walls and grated windows give Montreal a very Continental
appearance. On a lady remarking to a sister in one of these, that the view
from the windows was very beautiful, she replied, with a suppressed sigh,
that she had never seen it. There are some very fine public buildings and
banks; but as I am not writing a guide-book, I will not dilate upon their

We walked round _Le Champ de Mars_, formerly the great resort of the
Montreal young ladies, and along the Rue Notre Dame, to the market-place,
which is said to be the second finest in the world, and, with its handsome
_facade_ and bright tin dome, forms one of the most prominent objects from
the water. As those disgusting disfigurements of our English streets,
butchers' shops, are not to be seen in the Canadian towns, nor, I believe
I may say, in those in the States, there is an enormous display of meat in
the Montreal market, of an appearance by no means tempting. The scene
outside was extremely picturesque; there were hundreds of carts with
shaggy, patient little horses in rows, with very miscellaneous tents--
cabbages and butter jostling pork and hides. You may see here hundreds of
_habitans_, who look as if they ought to have lived a century ago--shaggy
men in fur caps and loose blue frieze coats with hoods, and with bright
sashes of coloured wool round their waists; women also, with hard features
and bronzed complexions, in large straw hats, high white caps, and noisy
_sabots_. On all sides a jargon of Irish, English, and French is to be
heard, the latter generally the broadest patois.

We went into the Council Chamber, the richly cushioned seats of which
looked more fitted for sleep than deliberation; and I caught a glimpse of
the ex-mayor, whose timidity during a time of popular ferment occasioned a
great loss of human life. That popular Italian orator, "_Father Gavazzi_"
was engaged in denouncing the superstitions and impositions of Rome; and
on a mob evincing symptoms of turbulence, this mayor gave the order to
fire to the troops who were drawn up in the streets. Scarcely had the
words passed his lips, when by one volley seventeen peaceful citizens (if
I recollect rightly), coming out of the Unitarian chapel, were laid low.

Montreal is a turbulent place. It is not very many years since a mob
assembled and burned down the Parliament House, for which exercise of the
popular will the city is disqualified from being the seat of government. I
saw something of Montreal society, which seemed to me to be quite on a par
with that in our English provincial towns.

I left this ancient city at seven o'clock on a very dark, foggy evening
for Quebec, the boats between the two cities running by night, in order
that the merchants, by a happy combination of travelling with sleep, may
not lose that time which to them is money. This mode of proceeding is very
annoying to tourists, who thereby lose the far-famed beauties of the St.
Lawrence. It is very obnoxious likewise to timid travellers, of whom there
are a large number both male and female: for collisions and striking on
rocks or shoals are accidents of such frequent occurrence, that, out of
eight steamers which began the season, two only concluded it, two being
disabled during my visit to Quebec.

Scarcely had we left the wharf at Montreal when we came into collision
with a brig, and hooked her anchor into our woodwork, which event caused a
chorus of screams from some ladies whose voices were rather stronger than
their nerves, and its remedy a great deal of bad language in French,
German, and English, from the crews of both vessels. After this we ran
down to Quebec at the rate of seventeen miles an hour, and the
_contretemps_ did not prevent even those who had screamed the loudest from
partaking of a most substantial supper, which was served at eight o'clock
in the lowest story of the ship. The _John Munn_ was a very fine boat, not
at all the worse for having sunk in the river in the summer.

I considered Quebec quite the goal of my journey, for books, tongues, and
poetry alike celebrate its beauty. Indeed, there seems to be only one
opinion about it. From the lavish praise bestowed upon it by the eloquent
and gifted author of 'Hochelaga' down to the homely encomiums pronounced
by bluff sea captains, there seems a unanimity of admiration which is
rarely met with. Even commercial travellers, absorbed in intricate
calculations of dollars and cents, have been known to look up from their
books to give it an enthusiastic expression of approval. I expected to be
more pleased with it than with anything I had seen or was to see, and was
insensate enough to rise at five o'clock and proceed into the saloon, when
of course it was too dark for another hour to see anything. Daylight came,
and from my corner by the fire I asked the stewardess when we should be in
sight of Quebec? She replied that we were close to it. I went to the
window, expecting that a vision of beauty would burst upon my eyes. All
that I saw might be summed up in very few words--a few sticks placed
vertically, which might be masts, and some tin spires looming through a
very yellow, opaque medium. This was my _first_ view of Quebec; happily,
on my _last_ the elements did full justice to its beauty. Other objects
developed themselves as we steamed down to the wharf. There were huge
rafts, some three or four acres in extent, which, having survived the
perils which had beset them on their journey from the forests of the
Ottawa, were now moored along the base of the lofty cliffs which, under
the name of the Heights of Abraham, have a world-wide celebrity. There
were huge, square-sided, bluff-bowed, low-masted ships, lying at anchor in
interminable lines, and little, dirty, vicious-looking steam-tugs twirling
in and out among them; and there were grim-looking muzzles of guns
protruding through embrasures, and peripatetic fur caps and bayonets
behind parapets of very solid masonry.

Above all, shadowing all, and steeping all, was the thickest fog ever seen
beyond the sound of Bow-bells. It lay thick and heavy on Point Diamond,
dimming the lustre of the bayonets of the sentinels as they paced the
lofty bastions, and looked down into the abyss of fog below. It lay yet
heavier on the rapid St. Lawrence, and dripped from the spars and rigging
of ships. It hung over and enveloped the town, where, combined with smoke,
it formed a yellow canopy; and damp and chill it penetrated the flag of
England, weighing it down in heavy folds, as though ominous of impending

Slowly winding our tortuous way among multitudinous ships, all vamped in
drizzling mist, we were warped to the wharf, which was covered with a
mixture of mud and coal-dust, permeated by the universal fog. Here
vehicles of a most extraordinary nature awaited us, and, to my great
surprise, they were all _open_. They were called _calashes_, and looked
something like very high gigs with hoods and C springs. Where the dash-
board was not, there was a little seat or perch for the driver, who with a
foot on each shaft looked in a very precarious position. These conveyances
have the most absurd appearance; there are, however, a few closed
vehicles, both at Montreal and Quebec, which I believe are not to be found
in the civilized world elsewhere, except in a few back streets of Lisbon.
These consist of a square box on two wheels. This box has a top, back, and
front, but where the sides ought to be there are curtains of deer-hide,
which are a very imperfect protection from wind and rain. The driver sits
on the roof, and the conveyance has a constant tendency backwards, which
is partially counteracted by a band under the horse's body, but _only_
partially, and the inexperienced denizen of the box fancies himself in a
state of constant jeopardy.

In an open calash I drove to Russell's Hotel, along streets steeper,
narrower, and dirtier than any I had ever seen. Arrived within two hundred
yards of the hotel, we were set down in the mud. On alighting, a gentleman
who had been my fellow-traveller politely offered to guide me, and soon
after addressed me by name. "Who can you possibly be?" I asked--so
completely had a beard metamorphosed an acquaintance of five years'

Once within the hotel, I had the greatest difficulty in finding my way
about. It is composed of three of the oldest houses in Quebec, and has no
end of long passages, dark winding staircases, and queer little rooms. It
is haunted to a fearful extent by rats; and direful stories, "horrible, if
true," were related in the parlour of personal mutilations sustained by
visitors. My room was by no means in the oldest part of the house, yet I
used to hear nightly sorties made in a very systematic manner by these
quadruped intruders. The waiters at Russell's are complained of for their
incivility, but we thought them most profuse both in their civility and
attentions. Nevertheless, with all its disagreeables, Russell's is the
best hotel in Quebec; and, as a number of the members of the Legislative
Assembly live there while Parliament meets in that city, it is very lively
and amusing.

When my English friends Mr. and Mrs. Alderson arrived, we saw a good deal
of the town; but it has been so often described, that I may as well pass
on to other subjects. The glowing descriptions given of it by the author
of '_Hochelaga_' must be familiar to many of my readers. They leave
nothing to be desired, except the genial glow of enthusiasm and kindliness
of heart which threw a _couleur de rose_ over everything he saw.

There are some notions which must be unlearned in Canada, or temporarily
laid aside. At the beginning of winter, which is the gay season in this
Paris of the New World, every unmarried gentleman, who chooses to do so,
selects a young lady to be his companion in the numerous amusements of the
time. It does not seem that anything more is needed than the consent of
the maiden, who, when she acquiesces in the arrangement, is called a
"_muffin_"--for the mammas were "muffins" themselves in their day, and
cannot refuse their daughters the same privilege. The gentleman is
privileged to take the young lady about in his sleigh, to ride with her,
to walk with her, to dance with her a whole evening without any remark, to
escort her to parties, and be her attendant on all occasions. When the
spring arrives, the arrangement is at an end, and I did not hear that an
engagement is frequently the result, or that the same couple enter into
this agreement for two successive winters. Probably the reason may be,
that they see too much of each other.

This practice is almost universal at Montreal and Quebec. On the fine,
frosty, moonlight nights, when the sleigh-bells ring merrily and the crisp
snow crackles under the horse's feet, the gentlemen call to take their
"muffins" to meetings of the sleighing-clubs, or to snow-shoe picnics, or
to champagne-suppers on the ice, from which they do not return till two in
the morning; yet, with all this apparent freedom of manner, the Canadian
ladies are perfectly modest, feminine, and ladylike; their simplicity of
manners is great, and probably there is no country in the world where
there is a larger amount of domestic felicity.

The beauty of the young ladies of Canada is celebrated, and, though on
going into a large party one may not see more than two or three who are
strikingly or regularly beautiful, the _tout ensemble_ is most attractive;
the eyes are invariably large and lustrous, dark and pensive, or blue and
sparkling with vivacity. Their manners and movements are unaffected and
elegant; they dress in exquisite taste; and with a grace peculiarly their
own, their manners have a fascination and witchery which is perfectly
irresistible. They generally receive their education at the convents, and
go into society at a very early age, very frequently before they have seen
sixteen summers, and after this time the whirl of amusement precludes them
from giving much time to literary employments. They are by no means deeply
read, and few of them play anything more than modern dance music. They
dance beautifully, and so great is their passion for this amusement,
probably derived from their French ancestors, that married ladies
frequently attend the same dancing classes with their children, in order
to keep themselves in constant practice.

At the time of my visit to Quebec there were large parties every night,
most of which were honoured with the presence of Lord Elgin and his suite.
One of his _aides-de-camp_ was Lord Bury, Lord Albemarle's son, who, on a
tour through North America, became enamoured of Quebec. Lord Elgin's
secretary was Mr. Oliphant, the talented author of the 'Russian Shores of
the Black Sea,' who had also yielded to the fascinations of this northern
capital. And no wonder! for there is not a friendlier place in the whole
world. I went armed with but two letters of introduction, and received
hospitality and kindness for which I can never be sufficiently grateful.

The cholera, which in America assumes nearly the fatality and rapidity of
the plague, had during the summer ravaged Quebec. It had entered and
desolated happy homes, and, not confining itself to the abodes of the poor
and miserable, had attacked the rich, the gifted, and the beautiful. For
long the Destroying Angel hovered over the devoted city--neither age nor
infancy was spared, and numbers were daily hurried from the vigour of
living manhood into the silence and oblivion of the grave. Vigorous
people, walking along the streets, were suddenly seized with shiverings
and cramp, and sank down on the pavement to rise no more, sometimes
actually expiring on the cold, hard stones. Pleasure was forgotten,
business was partially suspended; all who could, fled; the gloom upon the
souls of the inhabitants was heavier than the brown cloud which was
supposed to brood over the city; and the steamers which conveyed those who
fled from the terrible pestilence arrived at Toronto freighted with the
living and the _dead_. Among the terror-stricken, the dying, and the dead,
the ministers of religion pursued their holy calling, undaunted by the
terrible sights which met them everywhere--the clergy of the different
denominations vied with each other in their kindness and devotedness. The
priests of Rome then gained a double influence. Armed with what appeared
in the eyes of the people supernatural powers, they knew no rest either by
night or day; they held the cross before many a darkening eye, and spoke
to the bereaved, in the plenitude of their anguish, of a world where
sorrow and separation are alike unknown. The heavy clang of tolling bells
was hourly heard, as the pestilence-stricken were carried to their last
homes. Medical skill availed nothing; the "pestilence which walketh in
darkness" was only removed by Him in whose hand are the issues of life and

Quebec had been free from disease for about six weeks before I visited it;
the victims of the pestilence were cold in their untimely graves; the sun
of prosperity smiled upon the fortress-city, and its light-hearted
inhabitants had just begun their nightly round of pleasure and gaiety. The
viceroyalty of Lord Elgin was drawing rapidly to a close, and two parties,
given every week at Government House, afforded an example which the good
people of Quebec were not slow to follow. There were musical parties,
_conversaziones_, and picnics to the Chaudiere and Lorette; and people who
were dancing till four or five o'clock in the morning were vigorous enough
after ten for a gallop to Montmorenci.

The absolute restlessness of the city astonished me very much. The morning
seemed to begin, with fashionable people, with a desultory breakfast at
nine o'clock, after which some received callers, others paid visits, or
walked into the town to make trifling purchases at the stores; while not a
few of the young ladies promenaded St. Louis Street or the ramparts, where
they were generally joined by the officers. Several officers said to me
that no quarters in the world were so delightful as those at Quebec. A
scarlet coat finds great favour with the fair sex at Quebec--civilians,
however great their mental qualifications, are decidedly in the
background; and I was amused to see young ensigns, with budding
moustaches, who had just joined their regiments, preferred before men of
high literary attainments. With balls, and moose-hunting, and sleigh-
driving, and "tarboggining," and, last but not least, "muffins," the time
passes rapidly by to them. A gentleman, who had just arrived from England,
declared that "Quebec was a horrid place, not fit to live in." A few days
after he met the same individual to whom he had made this uncomplimentary
observation, and confided to him that he thought Quebec "the most
delightful place in the whole world; for, do you know," he said, "I have
got a muffin."

With the afternoon numerous riding parties are formed, for you cannot go
three miles out of Quebec without coming to something beautiful; and calls
of a more formal nature are paid; a military band performs on Durham
Terrace or the Garden, which then assume the appearance of most
fashionable promenades. The evening is spent in the ball-room, or at small
social dancing parties, or during the winter, before ten at night, in the
galleries of the House of Assembly; and the morning is well advanced
before the world of Quebec is hushed in sleep.

Society is contained in very small limits at Quebec. Its _elite_ are
grouped round the ramparts and in the suburb of St. Louis. The city until
recently has occupied a very isolated position, and has depended upon
itself for society. It is therefore sociable, friendly, and hospitable;
and though there is gossip--for where is it not to be found?--I never knew
any in which there was so little of ill-nature. The little world in the
upper part of the city is probably the most brilliant to be found anywhere
in so small a compass. But there is a world below, another nation, seldom
mentioned in the aristocratic quarter of St. Louis, where vice, crime,
poverty, and misery jostle each other, as pleasure and politics do in the
upper town. This is the suburb of St. Roch, in whose tall dark houses and
fetid alleys those are to be found whose birthright is toil, who spend
life in supplying the necessities of to-day, while indulging in gloomy
apprehensions for to-morrow--who have not one comfort in the past to cling
to, or one hope for the future to cheer.

St. Roch is as crowded as the upper town, but with a very different
population--the poor, the degraded, and the vicious. Here fever destroys
its tens, and cholera its hundreds. Here people stab each other, and think
little of it. Here are narrow alleys, with high, black-looking, stone
houses, with broken windows pasted over with paper in the lower stories,
and stuffed with rags in the upper--gradations of wretchedness which I
have observed in the Cowgate and West Port at Edinburgh. Here are shoeless
women, who quiet their children with ardent spirits, and brutal men, who
would kill both wives and children if they dared. Here are dust-heaps in
which pigs with long snouts are ever routing--here are lean curs,
wrangling with each other for leaner bones--here are ditches and puddles,
and heaps of oyster-shells, and broken crockery, and cabbage-stalks, and
fragments of hats and shoes. Here are torn notices on the walls offering
rewards for the apprehension of thieves and murderers, painfully
suggestive of dark deeds. A little further are lumber-yards and wharfs,
and mud and sawdust, and dealers in old nails and rags and bones, and
rotten posts and rails, and attempts at grass. Here are old barrel-hoops,
and patches of old sails, and dead bushes and dead dogs, and old
saucepans, and little plots of ground where cabbages and pumpkins drag on
a pining existence. And then there is the river Charles, no longer clear
and bright, as when trees and hills and flowers were mirrored on its
surface, but foul, turbid, and polluted, with ship-yards and steam-engines
and cranes and windlasses on its margin; and here Quebec ends.

From the rich, the fashionable, and the pleasure-seeking suburb of St.
Louis few venture down into the quarter of St. Roch, save those who, at
the risk of drawing in pestilence with every breath, mindful of their duty
to God and man, enter those hideous dwellings, ministering to minds and
bodies alike diseased. My first visit to St. Roch was on a Sunday
afternoon. I had attended our own simple and beautiful service in the
morning, and had seen the celebration of vespers in the Romish cathedral
in the afternoon. Each church was thronged with well-dressed persons. It
was a glorious day. The fashionable promenades were all crowded; gay
uniforms and brilliant parasols thronged the ramparts; horsemen were
cantering along St. Louis Street; priestly processions passed to and from
the different churches; numbers of calashes containing pleasure-parties
were dashing about; picnic parties were returning from Montmorenci and
Lake Charles; groups of vivacious talkers, speaking in the language of
France, were at every street-corner; Quebec had all the appearance, so
painful to an English or Scottish eye, of a Continental sabbath.

Mr. and Mrs. Alderson and myself left this gay scene, and the constant
toll of Romish bells, for St. Roch. They had lived peacefully in a rural
part of Devonshire, and more recently in one of the prettiest and most
thriving of the American cities; and when they first breathed the polluted
air, they were desirous to return from what promised to be so peculiarly
unpleasant, but kindly yielded to my desire to see something of the shady
as well as the sunny side of Quebec.

No Sabbath-day with its hallowed accompaniments seemed to have dawned upon
the inhabitants of St. Roch. We saw women with tangled hair standing in
the streets, and men with pallid countenances and bloodshot eyes were
reeling about, or sitting with their heads resting on their hands, looking
out from windows stuffed with rags. There were children too, children in
nothing but the name and stature--infancy without innocence, learning to
take God's name in vain with its first lisping accents, preparing for a
maturity of suffering and shame. I looked at these hideous houses, and
hideous men and women too, and at their still more repulsive progeny, with
sallow faces, dwarfed forms, and countenances precocious in the
intelligence of villany; and contrasted them with the blue-eyed, rosy-
cheeked infants of my English home, who chase butterflies and weave May
garlands, and gather cowslips and buttercups; or the sallow children of a
Highland shantie, who devour instruction in mud-floored huts, and con
their tasks on the heathery sides of hills.

Yet, when you breathe the poisoned air, laden with everything noxious to
health, and have the physical and moral senses alike met with everything
that can disgust and offend, it ceases to be a matter of wonder that the
fair tender plant of beautiful childhood refuses to grow in such a
vitiated atmosphere. Here all distinctions between good and evil are
speedily lost, if they were ever known; and men, women, and children
become unnatural in vice, in irreligion, in manners and appearance. Such
spots as these act like cankers, yearly spreading further and further
their vitiating influences, preparing for all those fearful retributions
in the shape of fever and pestilence which continually come down. Yet,
lamentable as the state of such a population is, considered merely with
regard to this world, it becomes fearful when we recollect that the wheels
of Time are ceaselessly rolling on, bearing how few, alas! to heaven--what
myriads to hell; and that, when "this trembling consciousness of being,
which clings enamoured to its anguish," not because life is sweet, but
because death is bitter, is over, there remains, for those who have known
nothing on earth but misery and vice, "a fearful looking for of judgment
and fiery indignation," when they that have done evil "shall rise to the
resurrection of damnation."

It was not that the miserable degraded appearance of St. Roch was anything
new to me; unfortunately the same state of things exists in a far greater
degree in our large towns at home; what did surprise me was, to find it in
the New World, and that such a gigantic evil should have required only two
hundred years for its growth. It seemed to me also that at Quebec the gulf
which separates the two worlds is greater even than that which lies
between Belgravia and Bethnal Green or St. Giles's. The people who live in
the lower town are principally employed on the wharfs, and in the lumber
trade. But my readers will, not thank me for detaining them in a
pestiferous atmosphere, among such unpleasing scenes; we will therefore
ascend into the High-street of the city, resplendent with gorgeous
mercers' stores, and articles of luxury of every description. This street
and several others were at this period impassable for carriages, the
roadways being tunnelled, and heaped, and barricaded; which curious and
highly disagreeable state of things was stated to arise from the laying
down of water-pipes. At night, when fires were lighted in the narrow
streets, and groups of roughly dressed Frenchmen were standing round them,
Quebec presented the appearance of the Faubourg St. Antoine after a

Quebec is a most picturesque city externally and internally. From the
citadel, which stands on a rock more than three hundred feet high, down to
the crowded water-side, bustling with merchants, porters, and lumbermen,
all is novel and original. Massive fortifications, with guns grinning from
the embrasures, form a very prominent feature; a broad glacis looks
peaceful in its greenness; ramparts line the Plains of Abraham; guards and
sentries appear in all directions; nightfall brings with it the challenge
--"_Who goes there?_" and narrow gateways form inconvenient entrances to
streets so steep that I wondered how mortal horses could ever toil up
them. The streets are ever thronged with vehicles, particularly with rude
carts drawn by rough horses, driven by French peasants, who move stolidly
along, indifferent to the continual cry "_Place aux dames_." The stores
generally have French designations above them, the shop men often speak
very imperfect English; the names of the streets are French; Romish
churches and convents abound, and Sisters of Charity, unwearied in their
benevolence, are to be seen visiting the afflicted.

Notices and cautions are posted up both in French and English; the light
vivacious tones of the French Canadians are everywhere heard, and from the
pillar sacred to the memory of Wolfe upon the Plains of Abraham, down to
the red-coated sentry who challenges you upon the ramparts, everything
tells of a conquered province, and of the time, not so very far distant
either, when the lilies of France occupied the place from which the flag
of England now so proudly waves.

I spent a few days at Russell's Hotel, which was very full, in spite of
the rats. In Canadian hotels people are very sociable, and, as many during
the season make Russell's their abode, the conversation was tolerably
general at dinner. Many of the members of parliament lived there, and they
used to tell very racy and amusing stories against each other. I heard one
which was considered a proof of the truth of the saying, that "the tailor
makes the gentleman." A gentleman called on a Mr. M----, who had been
appointed to a place in the government, and in due time he went to return
the visit. Meeting an Irishman in the street, he asked, "Where does Mr.
'Smith' live?"--"It's no use your going there." "I want to know where he
lives, do you know?"--"Faith, I do; but it's no use your going there." Mr.
M----, now getting angry, said, "I don't ask you for your advice, I simply
want to know where Mr. 'Smith' lives."--"Well, spalpeen, he lives down
that court; but I tell ye it's no use your going there, for I've just been
there myself, and _he's got a man_." It is said that the discomfited
senator returned home and bought a _new hat!_

Passing out by the citadel, the Plains of Abraham, now a race-course, are
entered upon; the battle-field being denoted by a simple monument bearing
the inscription "_Here died Wolfe victorious_." Beyond this, three miles
from the city, is Spencer-Wood, the residence of the Governor-General. It
is beautifully situated, though the house is not spacious, and is rather
old-fashioned. The ball-room, however, built by Lord Elgin, is a beautiful
room, very large, admirably proportioned, and chastely decorated. Here a
kind of vice-regal court is held; and during the latter months of Lord
Elgin's tenure of office, Spencer-Wood was the scene of a continued round
of gaiety and hospitality. Lord Elgin was considered extremely popular;
the Reciprocity Treaty, supposed to confer great benefits on the country,
was passed during his administration, and the resources of Canada were
prodigiously developed, and its revenue greatly increased. Of his
popularity at Quebec there could be no question. He was attached to the
Canadians, with whom he mixed with the greatest kindness and affability.
Far from his presence being considered a restraint at an evening party,
the entrance of the Governor and his suite was always the signal for
increased animation and liveliness.

The stiffness which was said to pervade in former times the parties at
Spencer-Wood was entirely removed by him; and in addition to large balls
and dinner-parties, at the time I was at Quebec he gave evening parties to
eighty or a hundred persons twice a-week, when the greatest sociability
prevailed; and in addition to dancing, which was kept up on these
occasions till two or three in the morning, games such as French
blindman's-buff were introduced, to the great delight of both old and
young. The pleasure with which this innovation was received by the lively
and mirth-loving Canadians showed the difference in character between
themselves and the American ladies. I was afterwards at a party at New
York, where a gentleman who had been at Spencer-Wood attempted to
introduce one of these games, but it was received with gravity, and proved
a signal failure. Lord Elgin certainly attained that end which is too
frequently lost sight of in society--making people enjoy themselves.
Personally, I may speak with much gratitude of his kindness during a short
but very severe illness with which I was attacked while at Spencer-Wood.
Glittering epaulettes, scarlet uniforms, and muslin dresses whirled before
my dizzy eyes--I lost for a moment the power to articulate--a deathly
chill came over me--I shivered, staggered, and would have fallen had I not
been supported. I was carried upstairs, feeling sure that the terrible
pestilence which I had so carefully avoided had at length seized me. The
medical man arrived at two in the morning, and ordered the remedies which
were usually employed at Quebec, a complete envelope of mustard plasters,
a profusion of blankets, and as much ice as I could possibly eat. The
physician told me that cholera had again appeared in St. Roch, where I,
strangely enough, had been on two successive afternoons. So great was the
panic caused by the cholera, that, wherever it was necessary to account
for my disappearance, Lord Elgin did so by saying that I was attacked with
ague. The means used were blessed by a kind Providence to the removal of
the malady, and in two or three days I was able to go about again, though
I suffered severely for several subsequent weeks.

From Spencer-Wood I went to the house of the Hon. John Ross, from whom and
from Mrs. Ross I received the greatest kindness--kindness which should
make my recollections of Quebec lastingly agreeable. Mr. Ross's public
situation as President of the Legislative Council gave me an opportunity
of seeing many persons whose acquaintance I should not have made under
other circumstances; and as parties were given every evening but one while
I was at Quebec, to which I was invited with my hosts, I saw as much of
its society as under ordinary circumstances I should have seen in a year.
No position is pleasanter than that of an English stranger in Canada, with
good introductions.

I received much kindness also from Dr. Mountain, the venerable Protestant
Bishop of Quebec. He is well known as having, when Bishop of Montreal,
undertaken an adventurous journey to the Red River settlements, for the
purposes of ordination and confirmation. He performed the journey in an
open canoe managed by French _voyageurs_ and Indians. They went up the
Ottawa, then by wild lakes and rivers into Lake Huron, through the
labyrinth of islands in the Georgian Bay, and by the Sault Sainte Marie
into Lake Superior, then an almost untraversed sheet of deep, dreary
water. Thence they went up the Rainy River, and by almost unknown streams
and lakes to their journey's end. They generally rested at night, lighting
large fires by their tents, and were tormented by venomous insects. At the
Mission settlements on the Red River the Bishop was received with great
delight by the Christianized Indians, who, in neat clothing and with books
in their hands, assembled at the little church. The number of persons
confirmed was 846, and there were likewise two ordinations. The stay of
the Bishop at the Red River was only three weeks, and he accomplished his
enterprising journey of two thousand miles in six weeks. He is one of the
most unostentatious persons possible; it was not until he presented me
with a volume containing an account of his visitation that I was aware
that he was the prelate with the account of whose zeal and Christian
devotedness I had long been familiar. He is now an aged man, and his
countenance tells of the "love which looks kindly, and the wisdom which
looks soberly, on all things."


The House of Commons--Canadian gallantry--The constitution--Mr. Hincks--
The ex-rebel--Parties and leaders--A street-row--Repeated disappointments
--The "habitans"--Their houses and their virtues--A stationary people--
Progress and its effects--Montmorenci--The natural staircase--The Indian
summer--Lorette--The old people--Beauties of Quebec--The _John Munn_--Fear
and its consequences--A gloomy journey.

One of the sights of Quebec--to me decidedly the most interesting one--was
the House of Assembly. The Legislature were burned out of their house at
Montreal, and more recently out of a very handsome one at Quebec--it is to
be hoped this august body will be more fortunate at Toronto, the present
place of meeting. The temporary place of sitting at Quebec seemed to me
perfectly adapted for the purposes of hearing, seeing, and speaking.

It is a spacious apartment, with deep galleries, which hold about five
hundred, round it, which were to Quebec what the Opera and the club-houses
are to London. In fact, these galleries were crowded every night; and
certainly, when I was there, fully one half of their occupants were
ladies, who could see and be seen. The presence of ladies may have an
effect in preventing the use of very intemperate language; and though it
is maliciously said that some of the younger members speak more for the
galleries than the house, and though some gallant individual may
occasionally step up stairs to restore a truant handkerchief or boa to the
fair owner, the distractions caused by their presence are very
inconsiderable, and the arrangements for their comfort are a great
reflection upon the miserable latticed hole to which lady listeners are
condemned in the English House of Commons. I must remark, also, that the
house was well warmed and ventilated, without the aid of alternating
siroccos and north winds. The Speaker's chair, on a dais and covered with
a canopy, was facing us, in which reclined the Speaker in his robes. In
front of him was a table, at which sat two black-robed clerks, and on
which a huge mace reposed; and behind him was the reporters' gallery,
where the gentlemen of the press seemed to be most comfortably
accommodated. There was a large open space in front of this table,
extending to the bar, at which were seated the messengers of the house,
and the Sergeant-at-arms with his sword. On either side of this open space
were four rows of handsome desks, and morocco seats, to accommodate two
members each, who sat as most amiable Gemini. The floor was richly
carpeted, and the desks covered with crimson cloth, and, with the well-
managed flood of light, the room was very complete.

The Canadian Constitution is as nearly a transcript of our own as anything
colonial can be. The Governor can do no wrong--he must have a responsible
cabinet taken from the members of the Legislature--his administration must
have a working majority, as in England--and he must bow to public opinion
by changing his advisers, when the representatives of the people lose
confidence in the Government. The Legislative Council represents our House
of Peers, and the Legislative Assembly, or Provincial Parliament, our
House of Commons. The Upper House is appointed by the Crown, under the
advice of the ministry of the day; but as a clamour has been raised
against it as yielding too readily to the demands of the Lower House, a
measure has been brought in for making its members elective for a term of
years. If this change were carried, coupled with others on which it would
not interest the English reader to dwell, it would bring about an
approximation of the Canadian Constitution to that of the United States.

On one night on which I had the pleasure of attending the House, the
subject under discussion was the Romish holidays, as connected with
certain mercantile transactions. It sounds dry enough, but, as the debate
was turned into an extremely interesting religious discussion, it was well
worth hearing, and the crowded galleries remained in a state of

Mr. Hincks, the late Premier, was speaking when we went in. He is by no
means eloquent, but very pointed in his observations, and there is an
amount of logical sequence in his speaking which is worthy of imitation
elsewhere. He is a remarkable man, and will probably play a prominent part
in the future political history of Canada. [Footnote: This prognostication
is not likely to be realised, as the late Sir W. Molesworth has appointed
Mr. Hincks to the governorship of Barbadoes. If the new governor possesses
_ principle_ as well as _talent_, this acknowledgement of colonial merit
is a step in the right direction.] He is the son of a Presbyterian
minister at Cork, and emigrated to Toronto in 1832. During Lord Durham's
administration he became editor of the _Examiner_ newspaper, and entered
the Parliament of the United Provinces in 1841. He afterwards filled the
important position of Inspector-General of Finances, and finally became
Prime Minister. His administration was, however, overturned early in 1854,
and sundry grave charges were brought against him. He spoke in favour of
the abolition of the privileges conceded to Romish holidays, and was
followed by several French Canadians, two of them of the Rouge party, who
spoke against the measure, one of them so eloquently as to remind me of
the historical days of the Girondists.

Mr. Lyon Mackenzie, who led the rebellion which was so happily checked at
Toronto, and narrowly escaped condign punishment, followed, and diverged
from the question of promissory notes to the Russian war and other
subjects; and when loud cries of "Question, question, order, order!"
arose, he tore up his notes, and sat down abruptly in a most theatrical
manner, amid bursts of laughter from both floor and galleries; for he
appears to be the privileged buffoon of the House.

The appearance of the House is rather imposing; the members behave with
extraordinary decorum; and to people accustomed to the noises and unseemly
interruptions which characterise the British House of Commons, the silence
and order of the Canadian House are very agreeable. [Footnote: In justice
to the Canadian Parliament, I must insert the following extract from the
'_Toronto Globe_,' from which it will appear that there are very
disgraceful exceptions to this ordinarily decorous conduct:--

"Mr. Mackenzie attempted to speak, and held the floor for two or three
minutes, although his voice was inaudible from the kicking of desks,
caterwaulings, and snatches of songs from various parts of the house."]
The members seemed to give full attention to the debate; very few were
writing, and none were reading anything except Parliamentary papers, and
no speaker was interrupted except on one occasion. There was extremely
little walking about; but I observed one gentleman, a notorious exquisite,
cross the floor several times, apparently with no other object than that
of displaying his fine person in bowing profoundly to the Speaker. The
gentlemanly appearance of the members, taken altogether, did not escape my

Sir Allan M'Nab, the present Premier, is the head of a coalition ministry;
fortunately, it is not necessary to offer any remarks upon its policy; and
Canada, following the example of the mother-country, submits quietly to a
coalition. The opposition, which is formed of the Liberal party, is seated
opposite the Government, fronted by Mr. Lyon Mackenzie, who gives a
wavering adherence to every party in succession, and is often indignantly
disavowed by all. The Liberals of Upper Canada are ably led by Mr. George
Brown, who excels in a highly lucid, powerful, and perspicuous course of
reasoning, which cannot fail to produce an effect.

Then there is the Rouge party, led by the member for Montreal, which is
principally composed of very versatile and enthusiastic Frenchmen of
rather indefinite opinions and aims, professing a creed which appears a
curious compound of Republicanism and Rationalism. The word
Latitudinarianism defines it best. There are 130 members, divided into
numerous "ists" and "ites." Most of the members for Lower Canada are
French, and, consequently, the Romish party is a very powerful one in the
House. Taken as a whole, the members are loyal, and have proved their
attachment to England by a vote of 20,000_l._ for the Patriotic Fund.

I think that all who are in the habit of reading the debates will allow
that the speaking in the House will bear comparison with that in our House
of Commons; and if some of the younger members in attempting the sublime
occasionally attain the ridiculous, and mistake extravagance of expression
for greatness of thought, these are faults which time and criticism will
remedy. Canada is a great and prosperous country, and its Legislative
Assembly is very creditable to so young a community. Bribery, corruption,
and place-hunting are alleged against this body; but as these vices are
largely developed in England, it would be bad taste to remark upon them,
particularly as the most ardent correctors of abuses now reluctantly allow
that they are inseparable from popular assemblies. It is needless to speak
of the Upper House, which, as has been sarcastically remarked of our House
of Peers, is merely a "_High Court of Registry_"--it remains to be seen
whether an elective chamber would possess greater vitality and

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is a Frenchman, and French and
English are used indiscriminately in debate. Parliamentary notices and
papers are also printed in both languages.

It was a cold, gloomy October morning, a cold east wind rustled the russet
leaves, and a heavy, dry fog enveloped Point Diamond, when I left the
bustle of Quebec for a quiet drive to Montmorenci in a light waggon with a
very spirited little horse, a young lady acting as charioteer. The little
animal was very impetuous, and rattled down the steep, crowded streets of
Quebec at a pace which threatened to entangle our wheels with those of
numerous carts driven by apathetic _habitans_, who were perfectly
indifferent to the admonitions "_Prenez garde_" and "_Place aux dames_,"
delivered in beseeching tones. We passed down a steep street, and through
Palace-gate, into the district of St. Roch, teeming with Irish and dirt,
for I fear it is a fact that, wherever you have the first, you invariably
have the last. Beyond this there was a space covered with mud and sawdust,
where two _habitans_ were furiously quarrelling. One sprang upon the other
like a hyena, knocked him down, and then attempted to bite and strangle
him, amid the applause of numerous spectators.

Leaving Quebec behind, we drove for seven miles along a road in sight of
the lesser branch of the St. Lawrence, which has on the other side the
green and fertile island of Orleans. The houses along this road are so
numerous as to present the appearance of a village the whole way.
Frenchmen who arrive here in summer can scarcely believe that they are not
in their own sunny land; the external characteristics of the country are
so exactly similar. These dwellings are large, whitewashed, and many-
windowed, and are always surrounded with balconies. The doors are reached
by flights of steps, in order that they may be above the level of the snow
in winter. The rooms are clean, but large and desolate-looking, and are
generally ornamented with caricatures of the Virgin and uncouth
representations of miracles. The women dress in the French style, and wear
large straw hats out of doors, which were the source of constant
disappointments to me, for I always expected to see a young, if not a
pretty, face under a broad brim, and these females were remarkably ill-
favoured; their complexions hardened, wrinkled, and bronzed, from the
effects of hard toil, and the extremes of heat and cold. I heard the hum
of spinning-wheels from many of the houses, for these industrious women
spin their household linen, and the gray homespun in which the men are
clothed. The furniture is antique, and made of oak, and looks as if it had
been handed down from generation to generation. The men, largely assisted
by the females, cultivate small plots of ground, and totally disregard all
modern improvements. These French towns and villages improve but little.
Popery, that great antidote to social progress, is the creed universally
professed, and generally the only building of any pretensions is a large
Romish church with two lofty spires of polished tin. Education is not much
prized; the desires of the simple _habitans_ are limited to the attainment
of a competence for life, and this their rudely-tilled farms supply them
with. Few emigrants make this part of Canada even a temporary resting-
place; the severity of the climate, the language, the religion, and the
laws, are all against them; hence, though a professor of a purer faith may
well blush to confess it, the vices which emigrants bring with them are
unknown. These peasants are among the most harmless people under the sun;
they are moral, sober, and contented, and zealous in the observances of
their erroneous creed. Their children divide the land, and, as each
prefers a piece of soil adjoining the road or river, strips of soil may
occasionally be seen only a few yards in width. They strive after
happiness rather than advancement, and who shall say that they are
unsuccessful in their aim? As their fathers lived, so they live; each
generation has the simplicity and superstition of the preceding one. In
the autumn they gather in their scanty harvest, and in the long winter
they spin and dance round their stove-sides. On Sundays and saints' days
they assemble in crowds in their churches, dressed in the style of a
hundred years since. Their wants and wishes are few, their manners are
courteous and unsuspicious, they hold their faith with a blind and
implicit credulity, and on summer evenings sing the songs of France as
their fathers sang them in bygone days on the smiling banks of the rushing

The road along which the dwellings of these small farmers lie is
macadamised, and occasionally a cross stands by the roadside, at which
devotees may be seen to prostrate themselves. There is a quiet, lethargic,
old-world air about the country, contrasting strangely with the bustling,
hurrying, restless progress of Upper Canada. Though the condition of the
_habitans_ is extremely unprofitable to themselves, it affords a short
rest to the thinking and observing faculties of the stranger, overstrained
as they are with taking in and contemplating the railroad progress of
things in the New World.

While we admire and wonder at the vast material progress of Western Canada
and the North-western States of the Union, considerations fraught with
alarm will force themselves upon us. We think that great progress is being
made in England, but, without having travelled in America, it is scarcely
possible to believe what the Anglo-Saxon race is performing upon a new
soil. In America we do not meet with factory operatives, seamstresses, or
clerks overworked and underpaid, toiling their lives away in order to keep
body and soul together; but we have people of all classes who could obtain
competence and often affluence by moderate exertions, working harder than
slaves--sacrificing home enjoyments, pleasure, and health itself to the
one desire of the acquisition of wealth. Daring speculations fail; the
struggle in unnatural competition with men of large capital, or
dishonourable dealings, wears out at last the overtasked frame--life is
spent in a whirl--death summons them, and finds them unprepared. Everybody
who has any settled business is overworked. Voices of men crying for
relaxation are heard from every quarter, yet none dare to pause in this
race which they so madly run, in which happiness and mental and bodily
health are among the least of their considerations. All are spurred on by
the real or imaginary necessities of their position, driven along their
headlong course by avarice, ambition, or eager competition.

The Falls of Montmorenci, which we reached after a drive of eight miles,
are beautiful in the extreme, and, as the day was too cold for picnic
parties, we had them all to ourselves. There is no great body of water,
but the river takes an unbroken leap of 280 feet from a black narrow
gorge. The scathed black cliffs descend in one sweep to the St. Lawrence,
in fine contrast to the snowy whiteness of the fall. Montmorenci gave me
greater sensations of pleasure than Niagara. There are no mills, museums,
guides, or curiosity-shops. Whatever there is of beauty bears the fair
impress of its Creator's hand; and if these Falls are beautiful on a late
October day, when a chill east wind was howling through leafless trees
looming through a cold, grey fog, what must they be in the burst of spring
or the glowing luxuriance of summer?

We drove back for some distance, and entered a small _cabaret_, where some
women were diligently engaged in spinning, and some men were
superintending with intense interest the preparation of some _soupe
maigre_. Their _patois_ was scarcely intelligible, and a boy whom we took
as our guide spoke no English. After encountering some high fences and
swampy ground, we came to a narrow rocky pathway in a wood, with bright
green, moss-covered trees, stones, and earth. On descending a rocky bank
we came to the "natural staircase," where the rapid Montmorenci forces its
way through a bed of limestone, the broken but extremely regular
appearance of the layers being very much like wide steps. The scene at
this place is wildly beautiful. The river, frequently only a few feet in
width, sometimes foams furiously along between precipices covered with
trees, and bearing the marks of years of attrition; then buries itself in
dark gulfs, or rests quiescent for a moment in still black pools, before
it reaches its final leap.

The day before I left Quebec I went to the romantic falls of Lorette,
about thirteen miles from the city. It was a beauteous day. I should have
called it oppressively warm, but that the air was fanned by a cool west
wind. The Indian summer had come at last; "the Sagamores of the tribes had
lighted their council-fires" on the western prairies. What would we not
give for such a season! It is the rekindling of summer, but without its
heat--it is autumn in its glories, but without its gloom. The air is soft
like the breath of May; everything is veiled in a soft pure haze, and the
sky is of a faint and misty blue.

A mysterious fascination seemed to bind us to St. Roch, for we kept
missing our way and getting into "streams as black as Styx." But at length
the city of Quebec, with its green glacis and frowning battlements, was
left behind, and we drove through flat country abounding in old stone
dwelling-houses, old farms, and large fields of stubble. We neared the
blue hills, and put up our horses in the Indian village of Lorette.
Beautiful Lorette! I _must_ not describe, for I _cannot_, how its river
escapes from under the romantic bridge in a broad sheet of milk-white
foam, and then, contracted between sullen barriers of rock, seeks the deep
shade of the pine-clad precipices, and hastens to lose itself there. It is
perfection, and beauty, and peace; and the rocky walks upon its forest-
covered crags might be in Switzerland.

Being deserted by the gentlemen of the party, my fair young companion and
I found our way to Lorette, which is a large village built by government
for the Indians; but by intermarrying with the French they have lost
nearly all their distinctive characteristics, and the next generation will
not even speak the Indian language. Here, as in every village in Lower
Canada, there is a large Romish church, ornamented with gaudy paintings.
We visited some of the squaws, who wear the Indian dress, and we made a
few purchases. We were afterwards beset by Indian boys with bows and
arrows of clumsy construction; but they took excellent aim, incited by the
reward of coppers which we offered to them. It is grievous to see the
remnants of an ancient race in such a degraded state; the more so as I
believe that there is no intellectual inferiority as an obstacle to their
improvement. I saw some drawings by an Indian youth which evinced
considerable talent: one in particular, a likeness of Lord Elgin, was
admirably executed.

I have understood that there is scarcely a greater difference between
these half-breeds and the warlike tribes of Central America, than between
them and the Christian Indians of the Red River settlements. There are
about fourteen thousand Indians in Canada, few of them in a state of great
poverty, for they possess annuities arising from the sale of their lands.
They have no incentives to exertion, and spend their time in shooting,
fishing, and drinking spirits in taverns, where they speedily acquire the
vices of the white men without their habits of industry and enterprise.
They have no idols, and seldom enter into hostile opposition to
Christianity, readily exchanging the worship of the Great Spirit for its
tenets, as far as convenient. It is very difficult, however, to arouse
them to a sense of sin, or to any idea of the importance of the world to
come; but at the same time, in no part of the world have missionary
labours been more blessed than at the Red River settlements. Great changes
have passed before their eyes. Year, as it succeeds year, sees them driven
farther west, as their hunting-grounds are absorbed by the insatiate white
races. The twang of the Indian bow, and the sharp report of the Indian
rifle, are exchanged for the clink of the lumberer's axe and the "g'lang"
of the sturdy settler. The corn waves in luxuriant crops over land once
covered with the forest haunts of the moose, and the waters of the lakes
over which the red man paddled in his bark canoe are now ploughed by
crowded steamers. Where the bark dwellings of his fathers stood, the
locomotive darts away on its iron road, and the helpless Indian looks on
aghast at the power and resources of the pale-faced invaders of his soil.

The boat by which I was to leave Quebec was to sail on the afternoon of
the day on which I visited Lorette, but was detained till the evening by
the postmaster-general, when a heavy fog came on, which prevented its
departure till the next morning. The small-pox had broken out in the city,
and rumours of cholera had reached and alarmed the gay inhabitants of St.
Louis. I never saw terror so unrestrainedly developed as among some ladies
on hearing of the return of the pestilence. One of them went into
hysterics, and became so seriously ill that it was considered necessary
for her to leave Quebec the same evening. In consequence of the delay of
the boat, it was on a Sunday morning that I bade adieu to Quebec. I had
never travelled on a Sunday before, and should not have done so on this
occasion had it not been a matter of necessity. I am happy to state that
no boats run on the St. Lawrence on the Sabbath, and the enforced sailing
of the _John Munn_ caused a great deal of grumbling among the stewards and
crew. The streets were thronged with people going to early mass, and to a
special service held to avert the heavy judgments which it was feared were
impending over the city. The boat was full, and many persons who were
flying from the cholera had slept on board.

I took a regretful farewell of my friends, and with them of beautiful
Quebec. I had met with much of kindness and hospitality, but still I must
confess that the excessive gaiety and bustle of the city exercise a
depressing influence. People appear absorbed by the fleeting pleasures of
the hour; the attractions of this life seem to overbalance the importance
of the life to come; and among the poor there is a large amount of sin and
sorrow--too many who enter the world without a blessing, and depart from
it without a hope. The bright sun of the Indian summer poured down its
flood of light upon the castled steep, and a faint blue mist was diffused
over the scene of beauty. Long undulating lines showed where the blue
hills rose above the green island of Orleans, and slept in the haze of
that gorgeous season. Not a breath of wind stirred the heavy folds of the
flag of England on the citadel, or ruffled the sleeping St. Lawrence, or
the shadows of the countless ships on its surface; and the chimes of the
bells of the Romish churches floated gently over the water. Such a morning
I have seldom seen, and Quebec lay basking in beauty. Surely that
morning's sun shone upon no fairer city! The genial rays of that autumn
sun were typical of the warm kind hearts I was leaving behind, who had
welcomed a stranger to their hospitable homes; and, as the bell rang, and
the paddles revolved in the still deep water, a feeling of sorrow came
over my heart when I reflected that the friendly voices might never again
sound in my ear, and that the sunshine which was then glittering upon the
fortress-city might, to my eyes, glitter upon it no more.

The _John Munn_ was a very handsome boat, fitted up with that prodigality
which I have elsewhere described as characteristic of the American
steamers; but in the course of investigation I came upon the steerage, or
that part of the middle floor which is devoted to the poorer class of
emigrants, of whom five hundred had landed at Quebec only the day before.
The spectacle here was extremely annoying, for men, women, and children
were crowded together in an ill-ventilated space, with kettles, saucepans,
blankets, bedding, and large blue boxes. There was a bar for the sale of
spirits, which, I fear, was very much frequented, for towards night there
were sounds of swearing, fighting, and scuffling, proceeding from this
objectionable locality.

A day-boat was such a rare occurrence that some of the citizens of Quebec
took the journey merely to make acquaintance with the beauties of their
own river. We passed the Heights of Abraham, and Wolfe's Cove, famous in
history; wooded slopes and beautiful villas; the Chaudiere river, and its
pine-hung banks; but I was so ill that even the beauty of the St. Lawrence
could not detain me in the saloon, and I went down into the ladies' cabin,
where I spent the rest of the day on a sofa wrapped in blankets. A good
many of the ladies came down stairs to avoid some quadrilles which a
French Canadian lady was playing, and a friend of mine, Colonel P----,
having told some one that I had had the cholera, there was a good deal of
mysterious buzzing in consequence, of which I only heard a few
observations, such as--"How very imprudent!" "How very wrong to come into
a public conveyance!" "Just as we were trying to leave it behind too!" But
I was too ill to be amused, even when one lady went so far as to remove
the blanket to look at my face. There was a very pale and nervous-looking
young lady lying on a sofa opposite, staring fixedly at me. Suddenly she
got up, and asked me if I were very ill? I replied that I had been so.
"She's had the cholera, poor thing!" the stewardess unfortunately
observed. "The cholera!" she said, with an affrighted look; and, hastily
putting on her bonnet, vanished from the cabin, and never came down again.
She had left Quebec because of the cholera, having previously made
inquiries as to whether any one had died of it in the _John Munn_; and
now, being brought, as she fancied, into contact with it, her imagination
was so strongly affected that she was soon taken seriously ill, and brandy
and laudanum were in requisition. So great was the fear of contagion,
that, though the boat was so full that many people had to sleep on sofas,
no one would share a state-room with me.

We were delayed by fog, and did not reach Montreal till one in the
morning. I found Montreal as warm and damp as it had been cold and bracing
on my first visit; but the air was not warmer than the welcome which I
received. Kind and tempting was the invitation to prolong my stay at the
See House; enticing was the prospect offered me of a visit to a seigneurie
on the Ottawa; and it was with very great reluctance that, after a sojourn
of only one day, I left this abode of refinement and hospitality, and the
valued friends who had received me with so much kindness, for a tedious
journey to New York. I left the See House at five o'clock on the last day
of October, so ill that I could scarcely speak or stand. It was pitch-
dark, and the rain was pouring in torrents. The high wind blew out the
lamp which was held at the door; an unpropitious commencement of a
journey. Something was wrong with the harness; the uncouth vehicle was
nearly upset backwards; the steam ferryboat was the height of gloom,
heated to a stifling extent, and full of people with oil-skin coats and
dripping umbrellas. We crossed the rushing St. Lawrence just as the yellow
gas-lights of Montreal were struggling with the pale, murky dawn of an
autumn morning, and reached the cars on the other side before it was light
enough to see objects distinctly. Here the servant who had been kindly
sent with me left me, and the few hours which were to elapse before I
should join my friends seemed to present insurmountable difficulties. The
people in the cars were French, the names of the stations were French, and
"_Prenez-garde de la locomotive_!" denoted the crossings. How the
_laissez-faire_ habits of the _habitans_ must he outraged by the clatter
of a steam-engine passing their dwellings at a speed of thirty-five miles
an hour! Yet these very _habitans_ were talking in the most unconcerned
manner in French about a railway accident in Upper Canada, by which forty-
eight persons were killed! After a journey of two hours I reached Rouse's
Point, and, entering a handsome steamer on Lake Champlain, took leave of
the British dominions.

Before re-entering the territory of the stars and stripes, I will offer a
few concluding remarks on Canada.


Concluding remarks on Canada--Territory--Climate--Capabilities--Railways
and canals--Advantages for emigrants--Notices of emigration--Government--
The franchise--Revenue--Population--Religion--Education--The press--
Literature--Observations in conclusion.

The increasing interest which attaches to this noble colony fully
justifies me in devoting a chapter to a fuller account of its state and
capabilities than has yet been given here.

Canada extends from Gaspe, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to Lake Superior.
Its shores are washed by the lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario, and by the
river St. Lawrence as far as the 45th parallel of latitude; from thence
the river flows through the centre of the province to the sea. Canada is
bounded on the west and south by the Great Lakes and the United States; to
the east by New Brunswick and the ocean; and to the north by the Hudson's
Bay territory, though its limits in this direction are by no means
accurately defined. Canada is but a small portion of the vast tract of
country known under the name of British America, the area of which is a
ninth part of the globe, and is considerably larger than that of the
United States, being 2,630,163,200 acres.

Canada contains 17,939,000 occupied acres of land, only 7,300,000 of which
are cultivated; and about 137,000,000 acres are still unoccupied. Nearly
the whole of this vast territory was originally covered with forests, and
from the more distant districts timber still forms a most profitable
article of export; but wherever the land is cleared it is found to be
fertile in an uncommon degree. It is very deficient in coal, but in the
neighbourhood of Lake Superior mineral treasures of great value have been
discovered to abound.

Very erroneous ideas prevail in England on the subject of the Canadian
climate. By many persons it is supposed that the country is for ever
"locked in regions of thick-ribbed ice," and that skating and sleighing
are favourite summer diversions of the inhabitants. Yet, on the contrary,
Lower Canada, or that part of the country nearest to the mouth of the St.
Lawrence, has a summer nearly equalling in heat those of tropical
climates. Its winter is long and severe, frequently lasting from the
beginning of December until April; but, if the thermometer stands at 35
below zero in January, it marks 90 in the shade in June. In the
neighbourhood of Quebec the cold is not much exceeded by that within the
polar circle, but the dryness of the air is so great that it is now
strongly recommended for those of consumptive tendencies. I have seen a
wonderful effect produced in the early stages of pulmonary disorders by a
removal from the damp, variable climate of Europe to the dry, bracing
atmosphere of Lower Canada. Spring is scarcely known; the transition from
winter to summer is very rapid; but the autumn or _fall_ is a long and
very delightful season. It is not necessary to dwell further upon the
Lower Canadian climate, as, owing to circumstances hereafter to be
explained, few emigrants in any class of life make the Lower Province more
than a temporary resting-place.

From the eastern coast to the western boundary the variations in climate
are very considerable. The peninsula of Canada West enjoys a climate as
mild as that of the state of New York. The mean temperature, taken from
ten years' observation, was 44 , and the thermometer rarely falls lower
than 11 below zero, while the heat in summer is not oppressive. The peach
and vine mature their fruit in the neighbourhood of Lake Ontario, and
tobacco is very successfully cultivated on the peninsula between Lake Erie
and Lake Huron. It seems that Upper Canada, free from the extremes of heat
and cold, is intended to receive a European population. Emigrants require
to become acclimatised, which they generally are by an attack of ague,
more or less severe; but the country is extraordinarily healthy; with the
exception of occasional visitations of cholera, epidemic diseases are
unknown, and the climate is very favourable to the duration of human life.

The capabilities of Canada are only now beginning to be appreciated. It
has been principally known for its vast exports of timber, but these
constitute a very small part of its wealth. Both by soil and climate Upper
Canada is calculated to afford a vast and annually-increasing field for
agricultural and pastoral pursuits. Wheat, barley, potatoes, turnips,
maize, hops, and tobacco, can all be grown in perfection. Canada already
exports large quantities of wheat and flour of a very superior
description; and it is stated that in no country of the world is there so
much wheat grown, in proportion to the population and the area under
cultivation, as in that part of the country west of Kingston. The grain-
growing district is almost without limit, extending as it does along the
St. Lawrence, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, to Windsor, with a vast expanse
of country to the north and west. The hops, which are an article of recent
cultivation, are of very superior quality, and have hitherto been
perfectly free from blight.

Vast as are the capabilities of Canada for agricultural pursuits, she also
offers great facilities for the employment of capital in manufacturing
industry, though it is questionable whether it is desirable to divert
labour into these channels in a young country where it is dear and scarce.
The streams which intersect the land afford an unlimited and very
economical source of power, and have already been used to a considerable
extent. Lower Canada and the shores of the Ottawa afford enormous supplies
of white pine, and the districts about Lake Superior contain apparently
inexhaustible quantities of ore, which yields a very large percentage of
copper. We have thus in Canada about 1400 miles of territory, perhaps the
most fertile and productive ever brought under the hands of the
cultivator; and as though Providence had especially marked out this
portion of the New World as a field for the enterprise of the European
races, its natural facilities for transit and communication are nearly
unequalled. The Upper Lakes, the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and the
Saguenay, besides many rivers of lesser note, are so many natural highways
for the conveyance of produce of every description from the most distant
parts of the interior to the Atlantic Ocean. Without these natural
facilities Canada could never have progressed to the extraordinary extent
which she has already done.

Great as these adventitious advantages are, they have been further
increased by British energy and enterprise. By means of ship-canals,
formed to avoid the obstructions to navigation caused by the rapids of the
St. Lawrence, Niagara, and the Sault Sainte Marie, small vessels can load
at Liverpool and discharge their cargoes on the most distant shores of
Lake Superior. On the Welland canal alone, which connects Lake Erie with
Lake Ontario, the tolls taken in 1853 amounted to more than 65,000_l._ In
the same year 19,631 passengers and 1,075,218 tons of shipping passed
through it: the traffic on the other canals is in like proportion, and is
monthly on the increase. But an extensive railway system, to facilitate
direct communication with the Atlantic at all seasons of the year, is
paving the way for a further and rapid development of the resources of
Canada, and for a vast increase in her material prosperity. Already the
Great Western Company has formed a line from Windsor, opposite Detroit, U.
S., to Toronto, passing through the important towns of Hamilton, London,
and Woodstock: a branch also connects Toronto with Lake Simcoe, opening up
the very fertile tract of land in that direction. Another railway extends
from Fort Erie, opposite Buffalo, to Goderich on Lake Huron, a distance of
158 miles. A portion of the Grand Trunk Railway has recently been opened,
and trains now regularly run between Quebec and Montreal, a distance of
186 miles. When this magnificent railway is completed it will connect the
cities of Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto, where, joining the Great Western
scheme, the whole of Upper and Lower Canada will be connected with the
great lakes and the western States of the neighbouring republic. The main
line will cross the St. Lawrence at Montreal by a tubular bridge two miles
in length. The Grand Trunk Railway will have its eastern terminus at
Portland, in the State of Maine, between which city and Liverpool there
will be regular weekly communication. This railway is, however,
embarrassed by certain financial difficulties, which may retard for a time
the completion of the gigantic undertaking.

Another railway connects the important city of Ottawa with Prescott, on
the river St. Lawrence, and has its terminus opposite to the Ogdensburgh
station of the Boston railway. Besides these there are numerous branches,
completed or in course of construction, which will open up the industry of
the whole of the interior. Some of these lines, particularly the Great
Western, have a large traffic already, and promise to be very successful

The facilities for communication, and for the transit of produce, are
among the most important of the advantages which Canada holds out to
emigrants, but there are others which must not be overlooked. The
healthiness of the climate has been already remarked upon, but it is an
important consideration, as the bracing atmosphere and freedom from
diseases allow to the hardy adventurer the free exercise of his vigour and

Communication with England is becoming increasingly regular. During the
summer months screw-steamers and sailing vessels ply between Liverpool and
Quebec, from whence there is cheap and easy water communication with the
districts bordering on the great lakes. From Quebec to Windsor, a distance
of nearly 1000 miles, passengers are conveyed for the sum of 31_s._, and
have the advantage of having their baggage under their eyes during the
whole journey. The demand for labour in all parts of Canada West is great
and increasing. The wages of farm-servants are 4_l._ per month with board:
day-labourers earn from 4_s._ to 5_s._ per diem, and in harvest 10_s._,
without board. The wages of carpenters and other skilled workmen vary
according to their abilities; but they range between 7_s._ and 12_s._
6_d._ per diem, taking these as the highest and lowest prices.

The cost of living is considerably below that in this country; for
crockery, cutlery, &c., 50 per cent. advance on home retail prices is
paid, and for clothing 50 to 75 per cent. addition on old country prices,
if the articles are not of Canadian manufacture. The cost of a comfortable
log-house with two floors, 16 feet by 24, is about 18_l._; but it must be
borne in mind that very little expenditure is needed on the part of the
settler; his house and barns are generally built by himself, with the
assistance of his neighbours; and a man with the slightest ingenuity or
powers of imitation can also fabricate at a most trifling expense the few
articles of household furniture needed at first. I have been in several
log-houses where the bedsteads, tables, and chairs were all the work of
the settlers themselves, at a cost probably of a few shillings; and though
the workmanship was rough, yet the articles answer perfectly well for all
practical purposes. Persons of sober, industrious habits, going out as
workmen to Canada, speedily acquire comfort and independence. I have seen
settlers who went out within the last eight years as day-labourers, now
the owners of substantial homesteads, with the requisite quantity of

Canada West is also a most desirable locality for persons of intelligence
who are possessed of a small capital. Along the great lakes and in the
interior there are large tracts of land yet unoccupied. The price of wild
land varies from 10_s._ to 10_l._ per acre, according to the locality.
Cleared farms, with good buildings, in the best townships, are worth from
10_l._ to 15_l._ an acre: these prices refer to the lands belonging to the
Canada Land Company; the crown lands sell at prices varying from 4_s._ to
7_s._ 6_d._ per acre, but the localities of these lands are not so
desirable in most instances. The price of clearing wild lands is about
4_l._ 5_s._ per acre, but in many locations, particularly near the
railways, the sale of the timber covers the expenses of clearing. As has
been previously observed, the soil and climate of Upper Canada are
favourable to a great variety of crops. Wheat, however, is probably the
most certain and profitable, and, with respect to cereals and other crops,
the produce of the land per acre is not less than in England. In addition
to tobacco, flax and hemp are occupying the attention of the settlers; and
as an annually increasing amount of capital is employed in factories,
these last are likely to prove very profitable.

In addition to the capabilities of the soil, Lake Huron and the Georgian
Bay present extensive resources in the way of fish, and their borders are
peculiarly desirable locations for the emigrant population of the west of
Ireland and the west Highlands of Scotland.

With such very great advantages, it is not surprising that the tide of
emigration should set increasingly towards this part of the British
dominions. The following is a statement of the number of persons who
landed at Quebec during the last five years. The emigration returns for
1855 will probably show a very considerable increase:--

1850 32,292
1851 41,076
1852 39,176
1853 36,699
1854 53,183

It may be believed that the greater number of these persons are now
enjoying a plenty, many an affluence, which their utmost exertions could
not have obtained for them at home. Wherever a farmstead, surrounded by
its well-cleared acres, is seen, it is more than probable that the
occupant is also the owner. The value of land increases so rapidly, that
persons who originally bought their land in its wild state for 4_s._ per
acre, have made handsome fortunes by disposing of it. In Canada, the
farmer holds a steady and certain position; if he saves money, a hundred
opportunities will occur for him to make a profitable investment; but if,
as is more frequently the case, he is not rich as far as money is
concerned, he has all the comforts and luxuries which it could procure.
His land is ever increasing in value; and in the very worst seasons, or
under accidental circumstances of an unfavourable nature, he can never
know real poverty, which is a deficiency in the necessaries of life.

But in Canada, as in the Old World, people who wish to attain competence
or wealth must toil hard for it. In Canada, with all its capabilities and
advantages, there is no royal road to riches--no Midas touch to turn
everything into gold. The primal curse still holds good, "though softened
into mercy;" and those who emigrate, expecting to work less hard for 5_s._
a day than at home for 1_s._ 6_d._, will be miserably disappointed, for,
where high wages are given, hard work is required; those must also be
disappointed who expect to live in style from off the produce of a small
Canadian farm, and those whose imaginary dignity revolts from plough, and
spade, and hoe, and those who invest borrowed capital in farming
operations. The fields of the slothful in Canada bring forth thorns and
thistles, as his fields brought them forth in England. Idleness is
absolute ruin, and drunkenness carries with it worse evils than at home,
for the practice of it entails a social ostracism, as well as total ruin,
upon the emigrant and his family. The same conditions of success are
required as in England--honesty, sobriety, and industry; with these,
assisted by all the advantages which Canada possesses, there is no man who
need despair of acquiring independence and affluence, although there is
always enough of difficulty to moderate the extravagance of exaggerated

The Government of Canada demands a few remarks. Within the last few years
the position of this colony, with respect to England, has been greatly
changed, by measures which have received the sanction of the Imperial
Parliament. In 1847 the Imperial Government abandoned all control over the
Canadian tariff, and the colonial legislature now exercises supreme power
over customs duties, and all matters of general and local taxation. This
was a very important step, and gave a vast impulse to the prosperity of
Canada. The colony now has all the advantages--free from a few of the
inconveniences--of being an independent country. England retains the right
of nominating the Governor-General, and the Queen has the power, rarely if
ever exercised, of putting a veto upon certain of the acts of the colonial
legislature. England conducts all matters of war and diplomacy, and
provides a regular military establishment for the defence of Canada; and
though she is neither required to espouse our quarrels, or bear any
portion of our burdens, we should be compelled to espouse _hers_ in any
question relating to her honour or integrity, at a lavish expenditure of
blood and treasure. It appears that the present relations in which Canada
stands to England are greatly to her advantage, and there is happily no
desire on her part to sever them.

The Governor-General is appointed by the Crown, generally for a term of
five years, but is paid by the province; he acts as viceroy, and his
assent to the measures of the Legislature is required, in order to render
them valid. His executive council, composed of the ministers of the day,
is analogous to our English Cabinet. The governor, like our own Sovereign,
must bow to the will of a majority in the Legislature, and dismiss his
ministers when they lose the confidence of that body. The "second estate"
is the Legislative Council. The governor, with the advice of his ministry,
appoints the members of this body. They are chosen for life, and their
number is unrestricted. At present there are about forty members.

The functions of this council are very similar to those of our House of
Peers, and consist, to a great extent, in registering the decrees of the
Lower House. The "third estate" is denominated the House of Assembly, and
consists of 130 members, 65 for each province. [Footnote: The members of
the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly receive six dollars
(24_s._ sterling) a day for their attendance. The members of the Executive
Council are paid at the rate of 1260_l._ per annum.] The qualification for
the franchise has been placed tolerably high, and no doubt wisely, as, in
the absence of a better guarantee for the right use of it, a property
qualification, however trifling in amount, has a tendency to elevate the
tone of electioneering, and to enhance the value which is attached to a
vote. The qualification for electors is a 50_l._ freehold, or an annual
rent of 7_l._ 10_s._ Contrary to the practice in the States, where large
numbers of the more respectable portion of the community abstain from
voting, in Canada the votes are nearly all recorded at every election, and
the fact that the franchise is within the reach of every sober man gives
an added stimulus to industry.

The attempt to establish British constitutional government on the soil of
the New World is an interesting experiment, and has yet to be tested.
There are various disturbing elements in Canada, of which we have little
experience in England; the principal one being the difficulty of
legislating between what, in spite of the union, are two distinct,
nations, of different races and religions. The impossibility of
reconciling the rival, and frequently adverse claims, of the Upper and
Lower Provinces, has become a very embarrassing question. The strong
social restraints, and the generally high tone of public feeling in
England, which exercise a powerful control over the minister of the day,
do not at present exist in Canada; neither has the public mind that nice
perception of moral truth which might be desired. The population of Upper
Canada, more especially, has been gathered from many parts of the earth,
and is composed of men, generally speaking, without education, whose sole
aim is the acquisition of wealth, and who are not cemented by any common
ties of nationality. Under these circumstances, and bearing in mind the
immense political machinery which the Papacy can set to work in Canada,
the transfer of British institutions to the colony must at present remain
a matter of problematical success. It is admitted that the failure of
representative institutions arises from the unworthiness of
constituencies; and if the efforts which are made by means of education to
elevate the character of the next generation of electors should prove
fruitless, it is probable that, with the independence of the colony,
American institutions, with their objectionable features, would follow. At
present the great difficulties to be surmounted lie in the undue power
possessed by the French Roman Catholic population, and the Romanist
influences brought to bear successfully on the Government.

There is in Canada no direct taxation for national purposes, except a mere
trifle for the support of the provincial lunatic asylums, and for some
other public buildings. The provincial revenue is derived from customs
duties, public works, crown lands, excise, and bank impost. The customs
duties last year came to 1,100,000_l._, the revenue from public works to
123,000_l._, from lands about the same sum, from excise about 40,000_l._,
and from the tax on the current notes of the banks 30,000_l._ Every
county, township, town, or incorporated village, elects its own council;
and all local objects are provided for by direct taxation through these
bodies. In these municipalities the levying of the local taxes is vested,
and they administer the monies collected for roads, bridges, schools, and
improvements, and the local administration of public justice.

According to the census taken in 1851, the population of Upper Canada was
952,000 souls, being an increase since 1842 of 465,945. That of Lower
Canada amounted to 890,000, making a total of 1,842,000; but if to this we
add the number of persons who have immigrated within the last four years,
we have a population of 2,012,134.

Of the population of Lower Canada, 669,000 are of French origin. These
people speak the French language, and profess the Romish faith. The land
is divided into _seigneuries_; there are feudal customs and antiquated
privileges, and the laws are based upon the model of those of old France.
The progress of Lower Canada is very tardy. The French have never made
good colonists, and the Romish religion acts as a drag upon social and
national progress. The _habitans_ of the Lower Province, though moral and
amiable, are not ambitious, and hold their ancient customs with a tenacity
which opposes itself to their advancement. The various changes in the
tariff made by the Imperial Government affected Lower Canada very
seriously. On comparing the rate of increase in the population of the two
provinces in the same period of twelve years, we find that for Upper
Canada it was 130 per cent., for Lower Canada only 34 per cent. The
disparity between the population and the wealth of the two provinces is
annually on the increase.

The progress of Upper Canada is something perfectly astonishing, and bids
fair to rival, if not exceed, that of her gigantic neighbour. Her
communication between the Lake district and the Atlantic is practically
more economical, taking the whole of the year, and, as British emigration
has tended chiefly to the Upper Province, the population is of a more
homogeneous character than that of the States. The climate also is more
favourable than that of Lower Canada. These circumstances, combined with
the inherent energy of the Anglo-Saxon races which have principally
colonised it, account in great measure for the vast increase in the
material prosperity of the Upper Province as compared with the Lower.

In 1830 the population of Upper Canada was 210,437 souls; in 1842,
486,055; and in 1851 it had reached 952,004. Its population is now
supposed to exceed that of Lower Canada by 300,000 souls. It increased in
nine years about 100 per cent. In addition to the large number of
emigrants who have arrived by way of Quebec, it has received a
considerable accession of population from the United States; 7000 persons
crossed the frontier in 1854. The increase of its wealth is far more than
commensurate with that of its population. The first returns of the
assessable property of Upper Canada were taken in 1825, and its amount was
estimated at 1,854,965_l._ In 1845 it was estimated at 6,393,630_l_; but
in seven years after this, in 1852, it presents the astonishing amount of
37,695,931_l._! The wheat crop of Upper Canada in 1841 was 3,221,991
bushels, and in 1851 it was 12,692,852; but the present year, 1855, will
show a startling and almost incredible increase. In addition to the wealth
gained in the cultivation of the soil, the settlers are seizing upon the
vast water-power which the country affords, and are turning it to the most
profitable purposes. Saw-mills, grist-mills, and woollen-mills start up in
every direction, in addition to tool and machinery factories, iron-
foundries, asheries, and tanneries.

Towns are everywhere springing up as if by magic along the new lines of
railway and canal, and the very villages of Upper Canada are connected by
the electric telegraph. The value of land is everywhere increasing as new
lines of communication are formed. The town of London, in Upper Canada,
presents a very remarkable instance of rapid growth. It is surrounded by a
very rich agricultural district, and the Great Western Railway passes
through it. Seven years ago this place was a miserable-looking village of
between two and three thousand inhabitants; now it is a flourishing town,
alive with business, and has a population of 13,000 souls. The increase in
the value of property in its vicinity will appear almost incredible to
English readers, but it is stated on the best authority: a building-site
sold in September, 1855, for 150_l._ per foot, which ten years ago could
have been bought for that price per acre, and ten years earlier for as
many pence.

In Upper Canada there appears to be at the present time very little of
that state of society which is marked by hard struggles and lawless
excesses. In every part of my travels west of Toronto I found a high
degree of social comfort, security to life and property, the means for
education and religious worship, and all the accessories of a high state
of civilization, which are advantages brought into every locality almost
simultaneously with the clearing of the land. Yet it is very apparent,
even to the casual visitor, that the progress of Canada West has only just
begun. No limits can be assigned to its future prosperity, and, as its
capabilities become more known, increasing numbers of stout hearts and

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