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Full text of "Travels through Canada, and the United States of North America, in the years 1806, 1807, & 1808. To which are added, biographical notices and anecdotes of some of the leading characters in the United States"

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1806, 1807, 8$ 1808. 





VOL. I. 





C. Baldwin, Pnnur, 
ew Bndjte-itreet, London. 




JL HE obstacles which for nearly three 
years have retarded the publication of a 
second edition of these Travels being now 
removed, the work is again presented to 
the Public with such emendations and 
improvements as opportunity and further 
information have rendered available. Its 
publication also at this particular moment 
will no doubt prove acceptable, as it af 
fords a more recent account of those parts 
of North America which have lately been, 
or are likely to become, the seat of war, than 
any other work of the kind. It will enable 
the British reader to form a just opinion 
of the Canadian colonies, and to appre 
ciate the character of the neighbouring 
enemies who threaten their existence. The 
various manners, customs, and dispositions 
of the several classes of inhabitants, both 


in Canada and the United States, are 
given with fidelity and truth; and the 
distinguishing features of society are de 
picted in their natural colours. It has 
been the author s object to describe things 
not as he had read or heard of them, but 
as he found them; and to exhibit to the 
European world the vast and rapid strides 
which the American continent is making to 
wards wealth, power, and dominion. 

Few men thirty years ago would have 
believed the United States capable of at 
taining such a rank among nations as she 
ho]Hs at this day; and yet it is nothing to 
that which might be expected from her, 
were her councils guided by wisdom. The 
two Canadas have also rapidly improved, 
but not in proportion to their neighbours, 
for colonies have not the vigour and spirit 
of independent states. The genius and dis 
position of the French Canadians, who 
form so large a proportion of the inhabi 
tants of the Lower Province, are of so pe 
culiar a nature that they require more than 
an ordinary attention on the part of their 
Government. Much, however, has cer-r 


tainly been accomplished in the manage 
ment of a people so opposite to ourselves 
both in religious and political feelings. 
The wise and beneficial measures which 
have been pursued towards the Canadians 
reflect the highest credit on the British 
Government. French as well as English, 
Catholics as well as Protestants, are all 
unanimous in defence of their country. 
Every man throughout the Canadas is a 
soldier; and not one of them but has 
cheerfully attended the call of arms. This 
interesting fact cannot but convey to the 
mind the most pleasing sensations; since 
we find a nation of ancient foes both in 
politics and religion now united in the 
strictest friendship, and vying with each 
other who shall display the greatest ardour 
in protecting that Government under which 
they have enjoyed so much happiness. 

The character and manners of the Ca 
nadians, as well as the people of the 
United States, are even at this day but 
little understood by us; and the most 
vague notions and ideas are entertained 
both of the countries and their inhabi- 


tants. Prejudice and animosity have con 
tributed to warp the judgment of some 
writers; while others, seeing every thing 
with interested or partial eyes, have pre 
sented to the world the most flattering 
and deceptive accounts. The true cha 
racter of a people, and particularly such 
a one as that of the United States, is of 
a very mixed nature, and can never be 
gathered from this or that remarkable 
feature. Manners and customs are all 
more or less subservient to local circum 
stances and situation, and may perhaps 
carry a nationality about them; but the 
mind, the disposition, and humours of 
men are ascertained with difficulty. The 
Canadians have less variety in their com 
position, being separated into French and 
English, and partaking of the peculiari 
ties incident to each of those nations. The 
inhabitants of the United States, on the 
contrary, are composed of people from 
almost every nation in Europe, though by- 
far the greater part are descended of 
British parents. The establishment of 
their independence has created an evident 



change in their moral as well as political 
character; and from this no doubt arises 
that self-consequence and conceit in the*- 
young American, which gives such an air 
of rude licentious liberty to the mass of the 

This kind of liberty frequently proves 
more tyrannical in society than the occa 
sional abuse of magisterial power in a mo 
narchical government; for a man in the 
American States, if he does not happen to 
be on the popular side of the question, is 
often afraid to speak his sentiments, lest 
he should be abused and ill treated. 
These political animosities and arbitrary 
conduct extend even to courts of justice, 
where the Judges on the bench too often 
feel their contagious effects. It is such 
coarseness and vulgarity in their political 
disputes which render the American man 
ners so repulsive to Europeans, and have 
raised in their minds so great a prejudice 
against them. There is, nevertheless, much 
real worth in the American character. 
The United States can boast of having 
produced many excellent men, who have 


reflected the greatest credit on their coun 
try. Many at this day could be found who 
would prove distinguished ornaments in 
the councils of their nation, did not the 
virulence of party faction, and the intrigues 
of a foreign despot, render their services 

The war with this country has been 
commenced on the part of the Americans 
in total disregard of their own interests, as 
well as those of honour and humanity. 
They have voluntarily enrolled themselves 
in the cause of universal despotism, and, 
could they receive his assistance, would 
put themselves under the banners of one 
of the greatest tyrants that ever swayed 
a sceptre. Yet these people talk loudly 
of their republican liberty, their love of 
freedom and virtue. If their Government 
possessed one spark of either, it would 
have lent itself to a better cause. The 
American name is degraded under such 
rulers. The whole people are stigmatized 
for the sottish ignorance of a few dema 
gogues ; and they are regarded by Euro 
peans with distrust and contempt, for the 


paltry equivocation and shuffling which 
have marked their official character. Had 
a Washington or a Hamilton presided at 
this eventful period, how different would 
have been their conduct ! 

The misfortunes which have attended the 
American arms in Upper Canada will most 
likely contribute to check the pride and 
insolence of the populace, though it may 
not convince an ignorant Government of 
its errors. Their ill success on land was 
as unexpected by the generality of the 
Canadians, as their temporary success at sea 
was unlocked for by the British nation. The 
invasion and reduction of the Upper Pro 
vince, at least, was considered almost in 
evitable, from the superior numbers which 
it was thought would be brought against it. 
Lower Canada might be overrun ; but while 
Quebec and the navigation of the St. Law 
rence remained to us, it was not likely that 
it would be conquered. 

The ignorance and imbecility of the 
American Government have, however, com 
pletely baffled the expectations of all parties; 


for it cannot be imputed to the wisdom of 
its councils, that its naval captains fought 
with skill and bravery. Several of those 
officers were educated in the British navy, 
and acquired their knowledge in a school 
which it was not in the power of the United 
States to create. The generals and officers 
commanding their land forces have displayed 
every thing but knowledge, conduct, and 
valour; and their troops, every thing but 
discipline and subordination. One army, 
after a march of some hundred miles into 
the interior, turns short round, and runs 
home frightened at an enemy which it had 
never seen ; and leaves its unfortunate com 
mander behind it, lamenting his hard fate, 
and a troublesome diarrhoea. Another sets 
out on a contrary direction ; but, instead of 
pursuing its enemies, is employed in running 
after pigs and poultry, and plundering the 
houses of its countrymen. One officer and 
his corps are surrounded and taken by a 
handful of British ; another surrenders a 
fort without firing a shot ; and a third, who 
is no less a person than the commander-in- 


chief*, winds up the campaign by going 
distracted ! ! 

The province of Upper Canada, which has 
borne the chief brunt of this unnatural 
contest, was before the former war, nearly 
one vast wilderness : a few forts and small 

settlements for the convenience of the fur 

trade, were all that relieved the gloomy 
appearance of interminable forests and im 
mense lakes. Since the conclusion of that 
war, the settlement and cultivation of Upper 
Canada have been an object of much atten 
tion on the part of the British Government. 
The Loyalists who were driven from the 
United States found here a comfortable 
asylum, and, together with numerous families 
who emigrated from Scotland, soon formed 
a respectable colony. The settlements were 
also considerably increased by the disbanded 
officers and soldiers who had served in 
America. These people received large grants 
of land from Government as a reward for 
their services ; and either cultivated the 
spots themselves, or sold them to others who 

* General Dearborn, Secretary at War, 


did. This zeal for peopling the Upper Pro 
vince met with every encouragement from 
home, as it tended to form a strong barrier 
against any future invasion from the neigh 
bouring States. Towns of considerable 
magnitude were in a few years constructed 
upon the sites of old forts and blockhouses ; 
and the shouts of hunters and the Indian 
warhoop now gave place to the busy hum 
of trade and commerce. The Lakes be 
came covered with ships instead of canoes ; 
and every town resembled a sea-port. 

Kingston, York, Queenstown and Nia 
gara, are the principal towns of the Upper 
Province. York, the capital, is situated 
on Lake Ontario, and has every prospect 
of becoming a city of much importance 
in that distant part of the world. It pos 
sesses great facilities for commerce and 
navigation. The Americans got possession 
of this town in the early part of the year, 
but were scon driven out of it by our 
troops. The vast lakes which cover so 
great a portion of this province, have 
brought into action the naval tactics of 


both powers, and these oceans of fresh 
water have proved extremely serviceable 
in contributing to the defence of Upper 
Canada. The Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Su 
perior, are capable of receiving the largest 
fleets. One of them, viz. Superior, is up 
wards of 4oo miles in length, and 3500 in 
circumference. The depth of these vast 
lakes in many places cannot be ascertained. 
And the storms which frequently occur, are 
often more destructive than those which 
happen on the ocean. 

The climate of Upper Canada is more 
mild and temperate than that of the Lower 
Province, and for that reason is preferred 
to the latter by most of the European emi 
grants who proceed to North America. 
Vegetation of all kinds is most abundant ; 
the harvests are extremely luxuriant ; and 
by many people Upper Canada is termed 
the garden of North America. One un 
pleasant attendant on the warm climate 
of this province, is the prodigious number 
of noxious reptiles, particularly rattle 
snakes, which infest the woods and islands 
every where: cultivation, however, is ra- 


pidly destroying them. The forests abound 
with animals of every kind capable of yield 
ing food and raiment: and the Indians, 
who reside here in great numbers, live al 
most entirely on the profits arising from 
the chase. The skins of the animals are 
sold for considerable sums, and the bodies 
serve them for food. The commerce of 
Upper Canada has within these few years 
increased amazingly; and large quantities 
of flour, potash, timber, and other native 
productions, have been exported to England. 
The English laws entirely prevail in this 
province. Direct taxation is but trifling; 
and any man with a moderate sum of 
money, has it in his power to acquire a very 
handsome competency. The manners, cus 
toms, and amusements of the people resem 
ble those of the British nation ; and though 
society is yet in its infancy, it is not wanting 
in those requisites that make it agreeable to 

The Upper Province is indeed a valu 
able appendage to the British empire, and, 
in connexion with Lower Canada, is es 
sentially necessary to the maintenance of 


its power in North America. It is the 
magazine from whence this country derives 
considerable resources, in some of which it 
even excels the Lower Province. Without 
the latter, however, it would have no open 
ing for the diffusion of its commerce and 
productions to foreign parts. The St. Law 
rence is the great outlet for Upper Canada. 
Quebec is the key of all our possessions in 
that quarter, and is the only port through 
which the productions of the two provinces 
can find their way to Europe. While we 
keep possession of this strong hold, which is 
now become almost a second Gibraltar, and 
have the pre-eminence on the lakes and 
rivers of Canada, neither province can be 
wrested from us. 

These prefatory observations respecting 
Upper Canada have been called for by the 
events which have occurred since the pub 
lication of the first edition of these Travels. 
At that time the war was only in embryo, 
and no particular interest could attach to any 
place from military events. Since then it 
has acquired a greater interest by the ope 
rations of the war with the United States, 


though they have by no means been con* 
fined entirely to that province : Lake Champ- 
lain and the neighbourhood of Montreal 
have felt their influence : and it is probable 
that the Americans, finding themselves baf 
fled in all their attempts to subjugate the 
Upper Province, may be induced in the en 
suing campaign to invade Lower Canada; 
in which case these volumes will be found 
to possess a greater claim to the public 
attention than any other account of North 
America extant. 

Nov. 15/, 1813. 




What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within 
this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in 
every thing ; and who having eyes to see what time and 
chance are perpetually holding out to him, as he journey, 
eth on his way, misses nothing he can fairly lay his hands 
on ! " STERNE. 

JL HAD long entertained a desire to visit 
the American continent, and to explore 
those parts which have been rendered in 
teresting by the glories of a Wolfe and a 
Washington. In the one I had to see the 
effect of a foreign government upon the 
minds and manners of a people widely 
differing from ourselves : and in the other, 
the effect of a new government upon those 
who a few years ago were British subjects, 
but who now hold a distinguished rank in 
the scale of independent nations. In short, 
VOL. i. b 


to see the new world, and to tread on that 
ground which little more than three centu 
ries before was unknown, was an object 
which I ardently longed to accomplish. 

My wishes in this respect were at length 
gratified; and I arrived at Quebec in the 
autumn of 18o6. I had previously read se 
veral authors who had written on Canada ; 
but I had not been long arrived, before I 
found that a considerable alteration and 
improvement had taken place within the 
last twenty years. The descriptions then 
given, were no longer perfect. Many in 
teresting particulars had likewise never been 
noticed ; and Lower Canada seemed to be 
as little known to the people of England, 
as the deserts of Siberia. 

I therefore availed myself of this favour 
able opportunity to collect information, 
and to make myself acquainted with the 
present state of Canada. Every thing was 
of an interesting nature; for though the 
province belonged to the British Govern 
ment, yet the majority of the people were 
totally different from those whom I had 
been accustomed to see; their manners, 


customs, language, and religion, were all 
new to me ; and I found myself at once 
upon a strange soil, and among a foreign 

After residing a twelvemonth in Canada, 
I visited the United States, a country, whose 
real state and condition is almost as little 
known in England, as that of Canada ; and 
the manners and disposition of whose inha 
bitants are seldom viewed but through the 
false medium of popular prejudice. What 
ever truth there may have been in the ac 
counts given of the United States by former 
writers, they present at this day, but imper 
fect or distorted pictures of the country and 
its inhabitants. Those who have not seen 
the United States for the last twenty years, 
would be astonished at the alteration that 
has taken place. No country, perhaps, ever 
increased in population and wealth, or rose 
into importance among other Nations, more 
rapidly than the United States. Within the 
space of thirty years they have emerged 
from the obscurity of colonies, into the 
rank of independent States ; governed by 
a constitution altogether novel in the pre- 

b 2 


sent times, but which, whatever defects it 
may contain, has proved the source of all 
their prosperity. The people of England 
are too apt to hold the character of the 
Americans in trifling estimation ; but when 
it is known that their country is fast ap 
proaching to importance, that their imports 
and exports already amount to one-half of 
those of Great Britain, while their annual 
expenditure is not a twentieth, and their 
national debt not a fortieth part of ours, 
we cannot avoid giving them our meed 
of admiration. It is to be hoped that the 
two nations will no longer give way to 
blind and acrimonious prejudices against 
each other, but endeavour to cultivate the 
blessings of peace, instead of the horrors 
of war. 

I certainly felt a lively interest in visiting 
the United States, with which 1 was but 
imperfectly acquainted from written ac 
counts. My eyes and ears were open to 
every thing I saw or heard ; and though I 
met with a people whose manners and cus 
toms differed but little from those of my 
own countrymen, yet there was a novelty 


in many things which arrested my attention, 
and was not always unworthy of notice. 

The result of rny labours I now lay be 
fore the public, and trust that their liberality 
and candour will make allowances for the 
errors and deficiencies of a first attempt. If 
I have been too prolix in some things, it has 
been occasioned by a desire to impart all 
the information which I considered useful 
or interesting, and by looking upon a variety 
of subjects, new to me, with more interest 
perhaps than they really deserved. If I may 
have said but little upon other subjects, it is 
because much has been before said of them, 
.and I wished only to touch most upon such 
things as were possessed of the greatest de 
gree of novelty or importance ; not but that 
it is a difficult task to speak only of what 
others have omitted; for, $s Dr. Johnson 
truly observes, " to oblige the most fertile 
genius to say only what is new, would be 
to contract his volumes to a very few pages." 

In the course of my tour through Lower 
Canada, and part of the United States, my 
object has been to describe the people as I 
found them ; to remove the veil of unjust 


prejudice, and the gloss of flattery. If in 
some places it may be supposed that I have 
spoken with too much freedom, I can only 
say, that it is the freedom of truth; yet, 
where truth has obliged me to speak freely, 
I have done it only from a consciousness of 
its being of public utility, and not from a 
desire to hurt the feelings of any individual. 
In expressing my opinion of such things as 
offered themselves to my notice, I hope that 
I shall not be accused of presumption by 
those who may differ from me : we are all 
anxious to learn the thoughts of each other, 
and a man writes, to little purpose who is 
afraid of speaking his real sentiments. A 
traveller who visits foreign nations should 
bring home that knowledge and information 
which may be of service to his own coun 
try; such as may supply some want, or 
mitigate some evil : but he would ill perform 
the duty incumbent upon him, were he ser 
vilely to flatter the errors and prejudices, 
which he should endeavour to correct. 

Amidst the variety of manners and dis 
positions which distinguish the natives of 
every country, a stranger meets with cha- 


racters of all descriptions, and often of the 
most contradictory nature. Hence, even 
his own opinions are, at times, rendered 
almost irreconcileable ; and he himself is at 
a loss how to judge of the people whom he 
wishes to describe. In most countries there 
are certain traits and peculiarities in the 
natives, which may, in some measure, form 
what is called a national character ; yet to 
designate a people thus indiscriminately, is as 
erroneous in judgement, as to sum up the 
total of a man s disposition from particular 
lineaments of his countenance. If, there 
fore, opposite qualities are found, and seem 
ingly contradictory characters displayed, in 
the people whom I have attempted to deli 
neate, they are such as characterize human 
nature more or less : for perfection is unat 
tainable in this life ; and virtue may predo 
minate where vice exists. 

Upon the same principle, every country 
has its advantages and defects ; and whether 
it be the frozen deserts of the Eskimaux, or 
the luxurious plains of the Italian, each 
prefers that country which gave him birth. 
Hence, while I acknowledged and admired 


the easy independence and happiness of the 
Canadians, the rising prosperity and freedom 
of the Americans, I could not look back on 
the country I had left, without sentiments of 
greater veneration and attachment than any 
I had before felt. I compared the advan 
tages and defects which each country pos 
sessed, and the result was decidedly in favour 
of my own. 

I have considered it indispensable to say 
thus much in explanation of my sentiments, 
not for the purpose of laying claim to merit 
which I do not deserve, but because I ven 
ture before the public as a stranger, whose 
principles are unknown, and may therefore 
be misconceived. As to the work itself, I 
submit it to the impartial judgement of the 
public, with the utmost deference to their 
opinion, by which it must stand or fall. 


VOL. I. 

PREFACE to the Second Edition ". Page iii 

INTRODUCTION to the First Edition xvii 


Passage to the Grand Bank. Fine Weather. Trepasse Bay. 
Newfoundland. Description of that Island. Dearness of 
Provisions. Gale of Wind. Alarming Night. Capt. Cook s 
Charts. Dreadful Shipwreck. Uncertainty of a Sailor s 
Life. The protecting Power of a Supreme Being. Mag 
dalen Islands. Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin. Passage through 
the Gulf. Island of Anticosti. Father Point. Facetious 
Pilot. Confession of the Ladies. Cannot keep a Secret. 
Story of the Priest and the Bible. Arrival at Quebec. Beau 
tiful Appearance of that City and the surrounding Country 



Hire of Houses at Quebec. Roofs. Chimney-sweepers. 
Narrow Streets of the Lower Town. Cape Diamond. 
Dreadful Accidents. Mountain-street. Steep Ascent. 
Breakneck Stairs. Singular Escape of a Boy. Canadian 
Stores. Taverns. Union Hotel. Irish Landlord. Gene 
ral Montgomery s Attack on Quebec. Sudden Defeat 
and Death. Application to the Canadian Government for 
his J3ones. General Arnold. Intendant s Palace. . . 14 



Origin of the Name of Quebec. Its strong natural Situation 
and Advantages. Capability of Defence in case of War 
with the United States. Origin of the War between the 
Iroquois and Algonquins. Impolitic Conduct of Champlain. 
Fortifications of Quebec. Expedition of Sir William Phipps. 
New Improvements. Martello Towers. Wolfe s Cove. 
Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Death of General Wolfe, 
Ingratitude of his Countrymen in Canada. His Statue in 
St. John s Street. Garrison Troops. Colonel Glasgow 
Commandant. Inspecting Field Officers of the Canadian 
Militia Page 31 


Chateau St. Louis. Improvements. Public Buildings of the 
Upper Town. Court House. English Cathedral. Fire at 
the Monastery of Franciscan Friars. College of Jesuits. 
Mode of Living of the Jesuits. Canadian Proverb. Inde 
fatigable Perseverance. Genius and Ability. Anecdote of 
a German Jesuit. Jean Joseph Casot, the last of the Cana 
dian Jesuits. Hotel Dieu. Seminary. Remarkable Anec 
dote of a young Lady. Convent of St. Ursule. General 
Hospital. Useful Avocations of the Nuns. Benefit of 
Monastic Institutions in Canada. Begging Friars. Roman 
Catholic Clergy . 49 


Upper Town of Quebec. New buildings. Butchers Market. 
Show of Meat the Day after Good Friday. Feasting after 
Lent. Price of Provisions. Frozen Provisions kept for five 
Months. Extravagant Price of European Goods. Tommy 
Cods. Fish. Wild Pigeons. A Market Scene. Poor 
Mulrooney. The Habitant outwitted. Stinking Cheese an 


Epicurean Delicacy. Butter from Green Island. Frozen 
Milk. Maple Sugar. Origin of eating sweet Things 
with Meat. Price of Articles at Market. Canadian Cur 
rency Page 67 


Curious Jargon in the Market-place. Bon Tabac. An Anec 
dote of an Irishman and an Habitant. Moccasins. Swamp 
Boots. Strawberries. Raspberries. Fruit brought to Mar 
ket. Vegetables. Potatoes formerly looked upon as poison 
ous by the French. Rows of Cabbages and Onions. Bread. 
Price regulated by the Magistrates. Large Exportation of 
Wheat. Colonel Caldwell. Breweries established at Quebec. 
Hop Plantation at Sillery. Settlement of the Algonquins. 
Emily Montague. Wines drunk in Canada. Rum. Sugars. 
Quantity of Tea received from the United States. Tobacco. 
Salt. Trades and Professions 87 


Climate of Lower Canada. Severity of the Cold. Drifting of 
the Snow in the Streets up to the Garret Windows. Frozen 
Channel. Passage over the broken Masses of Ice. Canoes. 
Noise of the floating Ice. Travelling in Winter. Warm 
Clothing. Frost-bitten Cheeks. Clear Sky. Supposed Al 
teration in the Climate. Journals of the Weather in 1745 
and 1807. Canadian Exaggeration. Use of Stoves. Open 
Fire-places. Observations upon the Change of Climate. 
Longevity in Canada. Breaking up of the Ice. Arrival 
of the first vessel. Progress of Vegetation. Wet Months. 
Thunder and Lightning. Severe Storm at Quebec. State 
of the Thermometer. Plagues of Canada. Scorching 
Summers. Agreeable Autumns 106 


Soil of Lower Canada. Meadows. Cultivated Lands. Mode 
of Farming. Few Orchards. Indian Corn* Tobacco. 

xxviii CONTENTS. 

Culinary Roots. Seigniory of Grondines. Barren Soil. 
Price of Land. Gradual Improvement. Want of Enter 
prise among the Canadians. Formed themselves on the 
Model of their Forefathers. View of the Shores of the St. 
Lawrence. Extensive Chain of Settlements. Beautiful 
Scene. Settlement at Stoneheim Township. Clearing of 
Land. Canadian Cattle. The first Horse seen in Canada. 
Poultry. American Horse-Dealers. Rough Treatment of 
Canadian Horses . ..... Page 129 


Population of Lower Canada. Different Statements reconciled. 
Census of the Province. Present Number of Inhabitants. 
Statistical Statement for 1808. Irish and Scotch Emigrants. 
French Settlers. Acadians. Character of the French Habi- 
tans, or Countrymen. Description of their Houses. Cleanly 
Maxims. Picture of the Interior of a Habitant House. 
Mode of Living among the Canadian Peasantry. Anecdote 
of a Dish of Tea. Pernicious Effects of Rum. Fracas in 
the Market-Place. Drunkenness of the Market-People. 
Portrait of the Habitant. Old-fashioned Dress of the 
Women. Resources of the Habitans. . , 141 


Handsome Children. Pernicious Effects of the Stove. Man 
ners of the Habitans. Modesty. Genius. General Defi 
ciency of Education. Necessity for diffusing a Knowledge 
of the English Language more generally throughout he Pro 
vince. Marriages. Calashes. Berlins. Carioles. Covered 
Carioles. Laws of the Road. Civility of the Habitans. 
Partiality to Dancing and Feasting on certain Days. Vanity 
of a young Fellow in painting his Cheeks. Superstition of an 
old Lady. Anecdote of the Holy Water. Corrupt French 
spoken in Canada. Observations upon the Habitans 162 



Government of Lower Canada. Governors. Executive and 
Legislative Councils. House of Assembly. Provincial Par 
liament. Canadian Orators. Oath of a Member. Debates. 
Ignorant Members. Anecdote of a Legislator. Laws of 
Lower Canada. Courts of law. English and French Laws. 
The Rights of Seigniors. Feudal Tenures. Coutume de 
Paris. Fiefs. Succession to Estates. Division of Property. 
Wife s Dower. Community of Property by Marriage. 
Timely Interference of a Quarter Cask of Madeira, and 
Piece of Russia Sheeting, in the Purchase of a House. 
Arrests. Canadian Lawyers. Anecdote of a Governor. 
Evil Consequences of being at Law. Tedious Laws. Chief 
Justice Allcock. Attorney-General. Receipts and Ex 
penses of the Government. Forges of St. Maurice. Taxes. 
Turnpikes Page 179 


Commerce of Lower Canada. Settlement of the French in 
the Country. Situation of the Colony in 1765. Improper 
Conduct of the British Traders. Dissatisfaction of the Ca 
nadian Noblesse and Peasantry. General Murray s Letter 
to the Lords of the Council. Table of Imports and Exports 
of Canada, from 1754* to 1807. Progressive Increase of 
Commerce. Wheat. Exports of 1808. Residence of the 
Governor-general, necessary for the Welfare of the Colony. 
Fur Trade. Mr. M Tavish. North- West Company. 
Michillimakinak Company. Outrage committed by the 
Americans on Lake Ontario. . .213 


Trade between Canada and the United States. Burlington 
JMemorial to Congress. American Merchants settling at 


Montreal. Interest for Money not allowed to Catholics in 
Canada. Rafts of Timber. Productions of Upper Canada. 
Prosperity of that Province. Necessity of having good Roads. 
Manufactures. Iron-works at Three Rivers and Batiscan, 
Ship-building. Reduction of the Imports of English aud 
East India manufactured Goods. Balance of Trade in 
favour of the United States. Smugglers. Evasion of the 
Embargo Laws. Yermontese in a State of Insurrection, 
Inferior Commodities preferred by the Canadians. Diversity 
of Opinion respecting the establishing a Bank in Lower 
Canada. Imports and Exports of 1807 and 1808. Duties 
payable on imported Goods. Post-Office Regulations. 
Roads and Distances, &c Page 239 


Society of the Towns in Lower Canada. Different Classes of 
Society. Education. Investigation of the Causes of mental 
Disability. Defects of Education of the original Settlers. 
Degrading Policy of the French Government. State of the 
People before the Conquest. Levity of the Canadians. 
Extravagance and Dissipation. Ignorance of the British 
Settlers. Change of Manners after the Conquest. The 
Ledger and Waste Book preferred to splendid Entertain 
ments. Rising Importance of the British Merchants. De 
gradation of the French Noblesse. Female Boarding-Schools. 
Boarding- School Misses. Manners of the French Canadian 
Ladies in 1749, and in 1808. Anecdote o? Mademoiselle 

. . Morals of Canadian Society. Female Servants. 

Scandal. North-west Merchants. . .... 273 


Amusements and Diversions. Quebec Assembly. Bal de 
Societe. Private Tea and Card Parties. Routs at the Cha 
teau. The Theatre. Present State of Canadian Theatricals. 
Drunken Performers. Arrival of a Company from Boston. 



Concerts. Freemasons Lodges. The Duke of Kent. 
Barons* Club. Grand Entertainment on the Installation of 
the Knights. Society of Rousticouche. Canadian Bond- 
Street. Billiards. Carioling. Dress of the Ladies and Gen 
tlemen. Officers of the Army in Tippets. Mutations of 
Fashions. Retrospect of British Fashions. Pyramidal Head 
dresses. Old and New Fashions compared. Long-toed 
Shoes, prohibited under pain of Cursing by the Clergy. 
Tapering Waists. Races. Mode of Kissing on New Year s 
Day. Doors. Stoves. Boarding-Houses Page 297 


Literature, Arts, and Sciences. Marquis de la Galissoniere. 
His extensive Knowledge. Literature in Canada. Almanacs. 
Quebec and Montreal Gazettes. Newspapers. Quebec 
Mercury. Canadian Courant. Le Canadien. Abuse of 
the Liberty of the Press. Public Peculation. Courier de 
Quebec. Newspaper Warfare. Public Library. Novels 
and Romances. Amatory Poems. Modern Refinement in 
Writing. Tom Jones and Roderic Random. Novel Read 
ing. Pictures of fictitious Life. Accomplishments of the Ca 
nadian Ladies. Progress and Influence of Music on Society. 
" O, Lady Fair." Oilman s Daughter. America, Mistress 
of the World. Model of Quebec . . . . 318 


Roman Catholic Clergy. Religious Orders. Toleration of the 
Catholic Religion. Character of the Canadian Priests. Zeal 
of the Nuns. Double Funeral. Fetes and Holidays. Num 
ber of Clergy in Canada. Errors and Corruption of the 
Romish Church. Fallen State. Harmless at the present 
Day. Canadian Catholics. Irish Catholics. Catholic 
Emancipation. Disinterested Conduct in the Reign of 
Queen Elizabeth. Unanimity. Religion of our Ancestors. 
Reasons why it should be preferred. Variety of Religions. 


Exemplary Conduct of the Canadian Catholics. Conversiftn. 
Anecdote of First Cousins* Protestant Clergy. Bishop of Que 
bec. Trafalgar Dinner. Protestant Religion in Danger 333 


Aborigines of North America. Domiciliated Indians. Indians 
ofLorette. French Peculiarities. Groups of Savages. Por 
trait of the Indians. Squaws. Contrast between the Indians 
and the Squaws. Dwellings. Chapel at Lorette. Jesuit 
Missionaries. Indian Dress. Cradle Boards. Encampment 
at Point Levi. The Female Pugilists. Delivery of the Pre 
sents. Indian Chief. Sagacity of the Indians. Wigwams. 
Bullock s Head. Night Scene. Indian Dance. Pretty 
Squaws. Distribution of Rum. Passage across the River 
at Night. Attempts to civilize the Indians. Travels in the 
Interior. Voyage up the Missouri. Anecdote of a Cree. 
Indian Population. Presents. Civilization. Degenerated 
State of the Indians. Wretched Appearance. Indian Pro 
phet Page 353 


Face of Lower Canada. Mountain of Quebec. Black Lime 
Slate. Minerals. Mineral Springs. Rock Stones. Re 
markable Earthquake of 1663. Particulars translated from 
the French Jesuits Journal. Dreadful Night. Sickness and 
Giddiness of the Head. Wreck of Nature. Forests over 
turned. Springs choked up. Rivers lost. Violent Shocks. 
Mountains swallowed up. General Devastation. New 
Lakes and Islands. Three extraordinary Circumstances. 
Wonderful Preservation. Extraordinary Protection of 
Divine Providence. Natural Curiosities. Falls of Saguenay, 
Montmorency, and Chaudiere. An Excursion up the River. 
Through the Woods. Melancholy Accident. Anecdote of 
two young Ladies. Arrival at the Falls of Chaudiere. The 
Cataract. Return to Quebec. Rapids of Richlieu. Cas 
cades. Rapids of the Cedars 386 



Canadian Animals. Anecdote of a young Man. Animals of 
the Forest. Amphibious Animals. Canadian Hare. Birds. 
Turkey. Partridge. Fish. Reptiles. Snakes. Bull Frog. 
Excellent Fricasee of a Bull Frog. Lizards. Terrebins. 
Insects. Locusts. Extraordinary Devastation. Musquitoes. 
Bees. The Ephemera, or Day Fly. Fire Fly. Phosphores 
cent Light which it emits resembles distant Stars, or Sparks 
of Fire. Delicate Formation. Noxious Insects. Page 413. 


Forest Trees. Shrubs. Plants. Pine Trees. Clearing of 
Lands. Singular Adventure of Miss Van C . Ame 
rican Oak. Birch Tree. Maple Tree. Cedar. Ginseng. 
Capillaire. Sumach. Poisonous Sumach. Herb a la Puce. 
Gold Flies. Cotton Plant, or Cotonier, yields Sugar re 
sembling Honey. Onion Tree. Sweet Garlic. Wild 
Turnip. Tripe de Rochers. Indian Tea. Aromatic Grass. 
Cranberry. Juniper Tree. Sun Flowers. Oil extracted 
from the Seed, equal to Florence Oil. Hemp and Flax 427 


Leave Quebec. Mode of Travelling. Steam Boat. Schooners. 
Voyage to Three Rivers. Beautiful Scenes. Eel Traps. 
Spearing Fish by Torch Light. Second Journey to Three 
Rivers by Land. Pass the River at Cape Rouge. Arrive at 
Jacques Cartier. Rapid Torrent. New Bridge. Post House. 
Monsieur Garnoux the Blacksmith. Deschambault. Seig 
niory of Grondines. St. Anne. Charles Lanaudiere, Esq. 
Grand Voyer of the Province. Batiscan. Iron Works. 
Champlain. Rivulets. Bridges. Canadian Farms. Roman 
Catholic Crosses. Post House at Cape Madelaine. Arrival 

at Three Rivers 453 

VOL. i. c 



Town of Three Rivers. Houses. Streets. Musquitoes. 
Fleas. Baron La Hontan. Public Buildings, Fire at the 
Convent. Intrepidity of a Soldier. Escape of a Nun with 
an Emigrant Priest. New Convent. Visit to the Nuns of 
St. Ursule. Abbe de Calonne, Cure of the Convent. Por 
trait of the Grand Vicar. Setting Watches during the 
Litany. Monastery. Billiard Room. Canadian Fencibles, 
Deserters. Death of a Canadian. The Irish Landlady. 

Anecdote of Colonel T . Trade of Three Rivers. 

Store-keepers. Visit to the Forges of St. Maurice. Iron 
Works. Brickmaker. Society. Party Spirit. The Elec 
tion of Mr. Ezekiel Hart. Amusements. Scuffle in the 
Market-Place. Swelled Necks. Mad Girl. Foundlings 465 


Leave Three Rivers. Voyage to Montreal. Point du Lac 
Baron de Becancour. Lake St. Peter. Machicbe. River 
du Loup. Richlieu Islands. Town of Sorel. Horrid 
Murders. Captain Sorel. Chambly. Boucherville. Eagle 
Island. Island of Montreal. Rapids. Incredible Anecdote. 
Island of St. Helen. City of Montreal. Ignorance of a Pilot. 
Interior of Montreal. Dillon s Hotel. Parade. M Tavish s 
Monument. Convents. Franciscan Friars. Paul-Street. 
Notre Dame-Street. View of Montreal Theatre. Public 
Amusements. Hospitality. Ship-building. Advice to Gen 
tlemen respecting European Servants. Useful Hints. Mar 
kets. Turnpike Road. Visit to La Chine. Indian De 
partment. Visit to the Indians at Cachenonaga. Indian 
Doll. Chevalier Lorimier. Distressing Event. Provi 
dential Deliverance. Adventures of Captain John. His 
Daughter. Love and Revenge. Roman Catholic Fune 
rals. Leave Montreal . . . 503 

Directions to the Binder for placing the 

VOL. I. 

A Map of North America, to face the title page. 
View of Cape Diamond and part of the Lower Town 

of Quebec Page 17 

Prescot Gate and Bishop s Palace at the top of Moun 
tain Street 19 

Chart of the Basin of Quebec, &c 44? 

Seminary Boy ; and a Gentleman in his Winter Dress. . 60 

French Habitans, or Countrymen 158 fc, .fo 

Habitans in their Summer Dress 160 

Canadian Cariole 170 

Cape Diamond from Wolfe s Cove. . 245 

An Officer of the British Army and a Merchant of 

Quebec in Winter 307 

French Canadian Lady and Priest. 336 

Indian and his Squaw 358 

Town of Three Rivers 479 

Town of Sorel 506 

Place d Armes, Montreal 517 

Notre Dame Street, Montreal 522 


View of General Burgoyne s Encampment at Saratoga. . 25 

Plymouth, Massachusetts . 352 

Books recently pullished ly Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 
47, Paternoster Row. 

TRAVELS IN SWEDEN during the Autumn of 1812, 
with an Account of Lapland. By THOMAS THOMSON, 
M.D. F.R.S.L. and E. F.L.S. Illustrated by Maps, 
Portraits, and other Plates, 4to. 2/. 2*. 

This work is the result of a journey through Sweden, undertaken 
principally with a view to mineralogical researches, of which it con 
tains many interesting details. Besides a map of Sweden, a plan of 
Stockholm, and a variety of other plates, it comprises geognostic maps 
of Gothland, Nerike, and Sconia, plans of the copper mine at Fahlun, 

TRACTS, Historical and Statistical, on INDIA, wkh 
Journals of several Tours through various Parts of the 
Peninsula; also an Account of Sumatra, in a Series of 
Letters. Illustrated by Maps of the Peninsula of Hindos- 
tan, and by a Variety of other Plates. By BENJAMIN 
HEYNE, M. D. F. L. S. Member of the Asiatic Society at 
Calcutta, and Surgeon and Naturalist on the Establishment 
at Fort St. George, 4to. 2/. 2s. 

The information contained in these tracts is of a very miscellaneous 
nature; historical, statistical, scientific, economical, and political. 
They are the result of inquiries made under the direct authority of the 
government in India. 

NERS ; taken in Dublin and the North of Ireland in 
1810. By J. GAMBLE, Esq. Strabane. 8vo. price 8s. 

NORTH of IRELAND in the Summer and Autumn of 
1812. By the same Author. 1 vol. 8vo. price 10s. 6d. bds. 

" Mr. Gamble is a man of vivacity and good humour, mingled with 
a due portion of feeling and gravity ; whick give to the remarks which 
he makes, the scenes which he describes, and (he incidents which he 
relates, a considerable degree of interest, and render the perusal always 
agreeable, and often edifying." Critical Review, May 1813. 

" Mr. Gamble exhibits animated sketches of the prominent qualities 
of his countrymen, the inhabitants of the North of Ireland : and creates 
an impression on the attention of his reader, which is likely to remain 
when more elaborate descriptions have escaped from recollection." 
Monthly Review, September 1813. 

of HONDURAS ; being a brief View of its Commercial 
and Agricultural Resources, Soil, Climate, Natural History, 
c. with a Map. To which are added, Sketches of the 
Manners and Customs of the Mosquito Indians, preceded 
by the Journal of a Voyage to the Mosquito Shore. The 
Second Edition, Svo. 7s. 



Passage to the Grand Bank Fine Weather 
Trepasse Bay Newfoundland Description of 
that Island Dearness of Provisions Gale of 
Wind Alarming Night Capt. Cook s Charts 
Dreadful Shipwreck Uncertainty of a Sailor s 
Life The protecting Power of a Supreme Being 
Magdalen Islands Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin 
Passage through the Gulf- Island ofAnticosti 
Father Point Facetious Pilot Confession of 
the Ladies Cannot keep a Secret Story of 
the Priest and the Bible Arrival at Quebec 
Beautiful Appearance of that City and the sur 
rounding Country. 

OUR passage to the Banks of Newfoundland 
was not attended with any remarkable circum 
stance. We met with the usual squalls and gales 
so frequent on the Atlantic Ocean in the fall of 
VOL. i. B 


the year, and the winds were sufficiently capri 
cious to give me a tolerable notion of traverse 

I was told that we should certainly meet with 
very foggy weather on the Banks, and have to 
ring the ship s bell, and rattle our tin kettles, to 
prevent being run down by other vessels : but 
to the surprise of all on board we had finer wea 
ther on the Grand Bank, than we had experi 
enced during the passage. Not the least haze 
was visible, and the sea, for a day or two, was 
as calm and as smooth as a canal. We caught 
about a dozen cod, and should have taken many 
more, had not an easterly breeze sprung up and 
wafted us over the Bank. The season for fishing 
being over, we did not meet with a single vessel ; 
all around us was therefore a clear expanse of 
sky and water, and we the centre of our heavenly 
arch and liquid plain. I shall not detain my 
readers with a long account of the mode of catch 
ing fish, and other peculiarities of this immense 
Bank, as they have been repeatedly mentioned 
by every writer of voyages, who has sailed over or 
near it since the days of Cabot. 

The first land we made was Trepasse Bay, on 
the south coast of Newfoundland, in the after 
noon of the 11 th October. Our reckoning must 
have been remarkably correct, as we were within 
two hours sail of the spot laid down on the Cap- 


tain s chart 5 and which agreed exactly with the 
bearings of the coast. We stood a considerable 
way into the bay, the shores of which are bold 
and rugged. As it was the first portion of the 
New World that regaled my eyes after a tedious 
passage, it was on that account doubly acceptable ; 
and, barren as it appeared, I gazed on it with 
pleasure, while tny imagination wandered from 
the trifling privations and difficulties of my own 
voyage, to those which the great Columbus en 
countered in search of a new hemisphere. 

Newfoundland is an immense island, abound 
ing with numerous harbours, some of which are 
very capacious, and extend a great distance into 
the country ; but the interior having never been 
perfectly explored, the greatest part of the island 
remains an unknown wilderness. A small part 
only is cultivated, and even that scarcely repays 
the labour of the husbandman. Potatoes, and a 
few other vegetables, are all that the soil is capable 
of producing in any perfection; for the season is 
too short for wheat, and oats seldom ripen. In 
May the winter breaks up, and till September 
the air is temperate. During this period vegeta 
tion is rapid ; but the poverty of the soil is such, 
that it requires a supply of manure to produce 
what, in other countries, would be regarded as 
very inadequate to the trouble and expense be 
stowed upon it. Small quantities of hay are 

B 2 


made, but of an indifferent quality. St. John s 
is the capital town of the island, and the place 
where all the fish caught on the Banks is dried, 
and packed up for Europe. The streets are nar 
row and dirty, the buildings low and inelegant. 
Every other kind of provision, but fish, is scarce 
and dear. The town is supplied with poultry, 
meat, and vegetables, by the Canadians and Ame 
ricans, who are sure to find a good market for 
their productions. A turkey often sells for a 
guinea, and a leg of mutton for fifteen shillings. 
In short, the situation of the inhabitants at St. 
John s seems very much to resemble that of the 
people of St. Helena; and were it not for the 
abundant supply of fish, which is procured at 
both those places, their fare would be extremely 
scanty. At St. Helena, the inhabitants are al 
lowed fresh meat only four times a year ; and no 
man is permitted to kill a sheep or an ox of his 
own, without an order from the Governor. The 
inhabitants of Newfoundland are robust and 
healthy, and though enveloped the greatest part 
of the year in the dense vapours of the Grand 
Bank, yet possess the jolly, ruddy countenance 
of the English ; which thus seems to be congenial 
with a foggy atmosphere. The women are said to 
be extremely prolific ; but, as Sterne says, There 
is nothing wonderful in that, since it may be ac 
counted for on the principles of their diet. 



The bleak and rugged shores of Newfoundland 
impress their beholders with no favourable opi 
nion of the country ; while the boldness of the 
coast, and the raging of the ocean, make them 
tremble for their safety. The night we passed 
between Cape Ray and the island of St. Paul 
was pregnant with danger and alarm. It blew a 
gale of wind ; and such was the darkness of the 
night, that even if the vessel had been driven 
ashore, I question whether we should have seen 
the land. Four days had elapsed since Our depar 
ture from Trepasse Bay, during which time no 
observation could be taken, in consequence of the 
fogs and hazy weather that prevail upon the Small 
Banks, over which we had been sailing. By the 
Captain s reckoning, we were within a few miles 
of Cape Ray ; and though we had every reason 
to be satisfied with its correctness, yet few on 
board could easily divest themselves of their ap 
prehensions. We were going at the rate of twelve 
miles an hour before the wind, and a fault in the 
compass, or the want of a light in the binnacle, 
might in less than twenty minutes have proved 
our destruction. Fortunately, -the gale was in our 
favour ; but the howling of the wind, and the 
beating of the sea over the stern of the vessel, 
were far from alleviating the uneasiness we felt at 
being unable to ascertain our distance from land. 
Upon deck all was pitchy darkness/ while we 


flew through the water with amazing velocity, 
uncertain of our situation. We however assem 
bled in the cabin, and employed ourselves, during 
the night, in looking over the charts of the coast; 
and it was some satisfaction to see the name of 
Captain Cook engraved upon them, having been 
taken from surveys made by that enterprising 
navigator soon after the conquest of Quebec. 

It is most likely that we should have been 
much easier, had not the circumstance of a trans 
port with troops on board being wrecked on 
Cape Kay the year before, presented itself in 
frightful colours to our imaginations. That vessel, 
in company with several others, was going from 
Halifax to Quebec in the month of October, 
1805 ; but encountering a violent gale of wind 
nearly in the same place as we then were passing, 
she was driven ashore on Cape Ray, and Major 
Bertram, with upwards of two hundred officers 
and soldiers belonging to the lOOdth regiment, 
lost their lives. Those who escaped from the 
wreck found themselves in the midst of a dreary 
forest, far from any human habitation. Some of 
them endeavoured to reach the nearest settlement 
along the coast, but they perished in the attempt. 
A few only, who remained behind, survived to 
tell the melancholy tale. They were taken oft" a 
considerable time after by a vessel that heard of 
their distress, and carried them to Quebec ; but 

in such an emaciated state, that they have never 
yet recovered from the effects of that disaster. 

Our apprehensions were therefore not without 
some foundation : fortunately, however, they were 
dispelled as the dawn of day hroke through the 
chaotic darkness of the night, and we found that 
we had passed within a very short distance of our 
so much dreaded Cape. 

How checkered is the life of a seaman ! and 
what a variety of dangers and hardships does he 
encounter ! One moment he is basking in all the 
security of a clear sky and unruffled ocean the 
next, he is tossed about at the mercy of the winds 
and waves, expecting every moment to be his 
last. At the best of times, there is but a short 
distance between him and the grave, and a thou 
sand dangers menace him, of which the landsman 
has no conception, and of which he himself is 
often unaware. Yet though he is thus continually 
sailing on the brink of destruction, he frequently 
is the most careless being in existence ; and it is 
astonishing that he so seldom suffers from that 
danger into which his own thoughtlessness repeat 
edly precipitates him. Notwithstanding, how 
ever, that apparent levity and carelessness which 
distinguish the sailor s character, he has perhaps 
a higher notion of the Supreme Being, than those 
who pass the whole of their lives on shore ; and 


I have often found more real piety under his 
rough husk, than under the smooth exterior of 
him who professed greater devotion. Indeed, it 
is almost impossible for a man to traverse such an 
immense expanse of ocean, and not have a lively 
sense of the protecting power of an Almighty 
Being, whose care and attention are for ever ex 
tended to the very meanest of his creatures. Yet 
his ways are inscrutable, and far beyond the reach 
of human comprehension : for while some are 
rescued from destruction in a marvellous manner, 
others are doomed to perish by the most simple 
means. The guilty too are often saved, while the 
innocent are lost : and some people live in unin 
terrupted prosperity and happiness, while others, 
who perhaps appear to us more deserving, are 
exposed to a series of misery and disasters, seeith 
ingly incompatible with an impartial distribution 
of divine justice. 

After passing Cape Ray, we entered the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, and about noon were in sight of 
the Magdalen Islands. The wind changing, we 
were obliged to run down along the coast of these 
Islands, which presents the same dreary view as 
the coast of Newfoundland, though not so bold 
and lofty. At this season of the year, the trees 
with which these islands* and the mountains and 
rugged shores of Newfoundland, were covered, 


had lost their verdant foliage, and presented no 
thing to the eye but the brown and gloomy tint 
of barrenness. 

The Magdalen Islands, situated near the en 
trance of the Gulf, are seven in number, and be 
long to Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin. The number 
of inhabitants is about a thousand, of whom four 
hundred and fifty are men. Each settler pays 
two quintals of fish per annum to the Admiral, 
whose brother resides on one of the principal 
islands, with a collector. The latter receives 100/. 
per annum from Sir Isaac, and is also a justice of 
the peace. No cultivation is carried on here, 
except in potatoes, and that but trifling. The 
Americans carry on a small lucrative trade with 
the inhabitants, in articles chiefly contraband; 
and pay a certain annual sum for drying their fish 
on the islands. The Admiral is of a very specu 
lative turn, and has expended a considerable sum 
of money in endeavouring to make these islands 
of some importance ; but except as a depot for 
the fisheries, they are not likely to become of any 
material consequence. The inhabitants are sup 
plied with provisions and manufactured goods 
from Canada. 

During the remainder of our passage through 
the Gulf, for nearly eight days, we experienced 
contrary winds and indifferent weather: nor did 
we meet with any thing worthy of particular re- 


mark, Whales,, porpoises, and seals, were all 
that we saw of the aquatic tribe ; and of the 
feathered race we saw only wild geese, ducks, and 
gulls. We had but a distant view of the island 
of Anticosti, which separates the mouth of the 
river St. Lawrence into two channels, as we kept 
close over to the shores of Gaspe and Cape 
Rosieres, along which we coasted for four days, 
until we arrived off Cape Chat. The island of 
Anticosti is of very considerable size, being one 
hundred and twenty miles long, and thirty broad. 
The French formerly had a settlement on this 
island, but at present it is uninhabited ; rior can 
it ever become of much importance, as it does not 
possess a single harbour where a vessel can ride 
in safety. The wood which grows upon it is 
small, and the soil is reckoned unfruitful ; which, 
added to the severity of the winter, will ever 
prove serious obstacles to its colonization. 

On the 23d October we took a pilot on board 
off Father Point, about 200 miles below Quebec. 
This place is inhabited chiefly by pilots, who, by 
a regulation of the Trinity House at Quebec, are 
restricted from going further down the river to 
meet ships. Formerly they were in the habit of 
cruizing as far as Chaleur Bay ; but, to prevent an 
enemy taking advantage of them, they were not 
allowed to board vessels below Father Point. 
Indeed they are not absolutely wanted before, as 


the navigation is very clear and open to that 
place. We had a very good view of this little 
settlement, which is extremely pretty : and the 
white cottages of the Canadians scattered over the 
cleared land, which appeared neatly, fenced in, 
had a very pleasing effect, amidst such a wild 
and dreary scene as the surrounding country 
presented, of trackless forests, and gloomy moun 

Our pilot, Louis Le Clair, was an old French 
Canadian, possessed, like the rest of his country 
men, of a tolerable opinion of himself; yet was 
a good-humoured, friendly fellow. It was not 
long before we found that his predilection for 
the clergy was not excessive. He entertained us 
with many of his whimsical opinions, and de 
clared, that for his own part, he never went to 
confession, though he allowed his wife and 
daughters to go. " Women," says he, " can never 
be happy until they let out their secrets, and on 
that account it is necessary they should have a 
confessor ; I therefore pay him his fees, which is 
only justice: but for myself I consider it all as a 
mere farce ; and it must be so, since the women 
say that they only tell the priests a part, and 
conceal the rest." A few years ago the pilot 
picked up an English Bible, which had been 
thrown ashore from the wreck of a ship : as he 
understood the language, he read it through, 


and it opened his eyes so much, tbat he could 
not forbear, soon after, disputing with his cure 
upon certain points of religion. The latter was 
much surprised to find him so knowing, and in 
quired how he had obtained his information ; upon 
which the old man showed him the Bible. The 
priest declared it was not a fit book for him to 
read, and desired he would give it into his charge. 
This the pilot refused, and the cure threatened 
to write to the bishop and have him excom 
municated as a heretic : but finding that neither 
threats nor entreaties had any effect, he was 
necessitated to request that he would keep it to 
himself, and not let any of his neighbours know 
that he had such a book. The old pilot declared 
that he considered the finding of that Bible the 
happiest event of his life, in consequence of the 
comfort and consolation which he derived from 
perusing it. 

Our passage up the river was extremely plea 
sant ; the weather was fine ; and the shores studded 
with white farm-houses, and neat churches, con 
trasted with the cultivated lands, and the sur 
rounding scenery of islands and mountains covered 
with immense forests, formed a succession of the 
most beautiful and sublime landscapes, 

On entering the basin formed by the shores of 
Point Levi and the Island of Orleans, the view 
of Quebec and the surrounding country suddenly 


arrests the attention of the spectator, and dis 
plays, at once, an assemblage of every thing that 
is grand and beautiful. In the front is seen an 
immense projecting rock, covered with houses, 
churches, and warehouses, of stone, rising gradu 
ally one above another in the form of an amphi 
theatre : above these are the glittering spires of 
the cathedrals, convents, and other religious build 
ings, whose refulgence dazzles the eye ; while 
below is seen a crowd of shipping, whose masts 
sink into insignificance against the mountain 
which towers above them. On the left is Point 
Levi, adorned with its little cluster of houses, 
and neat church, which, as the vessel moves along, 
emerges gradually out of a thick wood. To the 
rightj is the fruitful island of Orleans, with its 
neat dwellings, cultivated slopes, high grounds, 
and its yet uncultivated forests. Beyond, is the 
majestic chasm of Montmorency, and its snow- 
white falls, seen in an opening upon the elevated 
shores of Beauport, which rise in the form of 
terraces, until they reach the huge and lofty 
mountains that form the back ground, and extend 
far beyond the ken of mortal vision. It was the 
most beautiful combination of scenery I had ever 
beheld ; and the vessel had come to an anchor off 
the town, before I quitted the contemplation of 
such a variety of charming objects. 



Hire of Houses at Quebec Roofs Chimney- 
siveepers Narrow Streets of the Lower Town 
Cape Diamond Dreadful Accidents Moun 
tain-street Steep Ascent Breakneck Stairs 
Singular Escape of a Boy Canadian Stores 
Taverns Union Hotel Irish Landlord Ge 
neral Montgomery s Attack on Quebec Sudden 
Defeat and Death Application to the Canadian 
Government for his Bones General Arnold 
Intendanfs Palace. 

THE season of the year in which we arrived 
was by no means favourable for procuring good 
lodgings at Quebec. Houses are seldom to be 
obtained except in the month of May, when the 
term for which they are taken expires; besides 
this, the House of Assembly was to meet shortly, 
and the influx of its members, from different parts 
of the country, rendered it very difficult to pro 
cure either a house or apartment. We were 
therefore obliged to be contented with a very in 
different house in Champlain-street, one of the 
most disagreeable parts of the Lower Town. The 
building itself had nothing to recommend it to 


our favour, and the situation was extremely re 
pulsive. It was some consolation, however, to 
have Mr. Mure, one of the most distinguished 
merchants in Quebec, as our next door neigh 
bour; the house we occupied belonged to that 
gentleman, who also owned an extensive wharf 
and range of large store-houses adjoining. 

The houses in Quebec are, with few exceptions, 

built of stone ; the roofs of the better sort are, 

generally covered with sheets of iron, or tin, and 

those of an inferior description with clap-boards. 

Shingles have been prohibited ; though many old 

buildings have them. In case of fire, the burning 

shingles, scattered about by the wind, spread the 

destructive flames to a great extent : it was the 

danger apprehended on this account, that caused 

the provincial parliament to prohibit, in future, 

the covering of houses with them ; but the 

boarded roofs which are at present chiefly in use, 

are equally dangerous in catching fire, though 

perhaps not so likely to communicate it to 

distant parts of the town. On the roofs of the 

houses, two or three ladders are placed near th^ 

garret windows, for the purpose of assisting the 

chimney-sweepers to get on the roof, and clean 

the chimneys. Boys do not go up as in England, 

but two men perform the work with a bundle of 

twigs, or furze, tied to a rope, which they pull up 

and down till the chimney is sufficiently clean ; 


one man goes upon the roof, and the other re 
mains below : a similar mode is practised in Scot 

The streets of the Lower Town, with the ex 
ception of two or three in the vicinity of the 
market-place, are scarcely deserving of that ap 
pellation ; they are rugged, narrow, and irregular, 
and can be compared only to the dirtiest lanes of 
London. St. Peter s-street is the best paved and 
widest of the Lower Town : it contains several 
good substantial houses, which are chiefly occu 
pied by the principal merchants and traders. It 
has a very gloomy appearance ; yet the attention 
of foot passengers is constantly kept alive by the 
continual noise and bustle of the carters, whose 
yehicles are drawn up on o*ne side of the street, 
near the market-place, for the purpose of being 
hired ; carts are therefore continually on the move 
along this street ; and the adjoining wharfs afford 
them constant occupation in the summer season, 
during which period this place is a complete 

4 The Lower Town is built along the base of the 
mountain by the water side, extending on the 
south as far as L Ance des Meres, and to the north 
as far as the suburbs of St. Rocque, a length of 
nearly two miles. That part which comprises 
the market-place, St. Peter s-street, and the 
wharfs adjacent which extend a considerable 


Prescot-gate, and terminates near the French ca-> 
thedral, within a short distance of the Upper 
Town market-place. In its present winding form 
it is very steep, and requires strength to ascend 
it. The little Canadian horses have a laborious 
task to drag up the heavy loads which their 
masters impose upon them. The carts used in 
Quebec are light, and usually drawn by one 
horse ; their loads are not excessive, when draw 
ing upon even ground ; but the carters seldom 
make any allowance up Mountain-street, though 
half the ordinary load is more than their horse 
can manage ; and they are obliged to make fre 
quent stoppages on their way up. 

For a pedestrian, it is very fatiguing, if his 
business requires a frequent intercourse between 
the upper and lower towns ; otherwise, I conceive 
that two or three excursions up this hill in the 
course of a day are extremely conducive to health, 
and I believe the benefit of them is generally felt 
by the inhabitants. This hill is not paved more 
than half way, the upper part, I suppose, being 
thought too steep for that purpose : if that is the 
case, I do not, however, *ee the necessity of 
keeping the foot-paths and the road in such a 
rugged state : Mountain-street requires more at 
tention than any other in Quebec, yet it is neg 
lected the most. In winter time it is extremely 
dangerous ; the quantity of snow and ice, which 


Accumulate in large masses, renders it absolutely 
necessary for the inhabitants to provide them 
selves with outer shoes shod with iron spikes or 
creepers. These they call goloshoes, and are most 
frequently used in the fall or spring of the year, 
when it generally freezes and thaws in succession 
for two or three weeks. After the snow is well 
settled on the ground, and it becomes dry walk 
ing, they make use of Shetland hose and list 
shoes, which are worn over their boots and shoes, 
and have the effect of keeping the feet both warm 
and dry, while they prevent them slipping about. 

There is another communication between the 
two towns. This is by a long flight of steps, 
from the head of Cham plain-street up to Moun 
tain-street, nearly opposite Neilson s printing- 
office, which is situate about half way up the 
hill. This communication saves foot passengers 
a considerable round by the foot of the hill, which 
the winding of the street would otherwise occa 
sion : by these steps they ascend into the Upper 
Town in a few seconds. In the winter, however, 
this is a very dangerous place, particularly if the 
people who reside in the houses on each side 
neglect to keep the stairs clear from the ice and 
snow. Many a person has made a somerset from 
top to bottom, or, missing the first step, has slid 
down upon his back the whole length of the 
stairs. The frequency of such accidents has given 


occasion to the inhabitants to style them Break 
neck stairs ; certainly a very appropriate and ex 
pressive title. 

During the winter of 1807, I one day saw a 
little boy in a small sleigh, in which was a dog 
completely harnessed, driving with great rapidity 
down the hill from Prescot-gate, and endeavour 
ing to keep the clog (who was turning off every 
now and then) in the proper road. Just as they 
came to Breakneck stairs, the dog, I suppose, 
considering that to be the shortest way into the 
Lower Town, bolted out of his course, and down 
he went with the boy and sleigh at his heels. I 
immediately ran to the head of the stairs, expect 
ing that the boy s neck was broke, but was most 
agreeably surprised to find that the dog had car 
ried him safe down, without even upsetting the 
sleigh. The boy kept his seat, but hollaed 
most lustily. On recovering from his fright, he 
smacked his whip over the dog s back, and turned 
the corner of a house at the bottom of the stairs, 
with as much apparent dexterity as some of our 
noble coachmen would have displayed in turning 
Hyde Park Corner. 

The boys at Quebec have also a peculiar amus. 
ment in the winter season, of laying themselves 
at full length, with their breast upon a small 
sleigh, and sliding down from the top of the hill 
to the bottom : they glide along with surprising 


velocity, yet can guide, and stop themselves with 
their feet, at pleasure. A few years ago, one of 
them amusing himself in this way, and neglect 
ing to stop in time, was dashed against a house 
at the turning near the printing-office, and killed 
upon the spot. 

The shops, or stores, of the traders in the 
Lower Town do not exhibit that diversified and 
pleasing exhibition which is seen in London, of 
bow windows crowded with every description of 
goods, from the most trifling article of domestic 
manufacture, to the most costly productions of 
foreign countries. Here the stranger sees nothing 
but heavy stone buildings, gloomy casements, 
and iron cased shutters painted red. If any show 
is made at the window, it is with paltry articles 
of crockery, earthen, and hardware : on one side 
may be seen pans, mugs, tea-cups and saucers, 
tureens, and pots de chambre : on the other, saws, 
files, knives and forks, jars, pots, hammers, and 
axes. These, with a tolerable display of bear 
skins, seal-skins, foxes tails, and buffalo robes, 
form the invariable exhibition of a Canadian 
store. Even the British store-keepers make little 
or no show of their goods ; and the merchants, 
all of whom have stores and warehouses for the 
disposal of their commodities, by wholesale or 
retail, content themselves with advertising every 
week, " their few pipes of London particular 


hogsheads of claret of superior quality fine old 
port prime French brandy superfine flour- 
capital pickled pork and salmon excellent mus 
covado good pine and oak timber, pine boards 
and heading, all for cash or short notes." 

The French store-keepers purchase their goods 
mostly at the auctions, where they sometimes buy 
things very cheap ; but in general, I believe, 
they pay more than they would at the merchants 
stores, independent of the time they lose in at 
tending the sale. The cargo of a vessel that was 
lost in the river St. Lawrence, in 1807, was sold by 
auction at Quebec, in a damaged state : it amount 
ed to upwards of sixty thousand pounds ; and, I am 
told, cleared more than ten per cent, profit upon 
the prime cost. The eagerness of the people to 
purchase at auctions, and the number of sales that 
takes place every week, considerably lessen the 
trade of the regular store-keepers, and render the 
profession of the auctioneers extremely lucrative : 
they are already numerous in Quebec, and con 
trive to realise very handsome incomes: they 
receive two and a half per cent, on large sales, and 
five per cent, upon the smaller ones. 

The taverns in Quebec are very numerous, and 
yet a stranger is much surprised to find, on his 
arrival, only two houses which deserve that high- 
sounding name. This arises from the vanity that 
has taken possession of all our Transatlantic bre- 


thren, from the confines of Florida to the coast of 
Labrador, to designate their paltry public-houses, 
or spirit-shops, by the more sonorous and digni 
fied title of Taverns. Every little dirty hole, 
where a few glasses of rum, gin, or whiskey are 
sold, is a Tavern. The better sort are of course 
Htitels ; and so ignorant are the painters who be 
daub their signs, that the " Skip Taw en" Such- 
a-ones <c Tavernne" constantly meet your eye. 
Some few French Canadians keep to the good 
old titles of " Auberge? and " Aubergiste" and 
now and then take care to inform the public 
in bad French orthography, that they sell their 

u Aujourd hui pour 1 argent, 
Demain pour rien." 

The only taverns or hotels in Quebec that are 
really respectable, are the Union Hotel on the 
Parade near the Governor s chateau, and Sturch s 
in John-street. The Union Hotel, formerly kept 
by a half-pay officer of the name of Holmes, now 
proprietor of Hamilton s Tavern at Montreal, 
was built by a subscription raised among the 
principal merchants and inhabitants of Quebec. 
Though the shares were only twenty-five pounds, 
yet it was a considerable time before a suffi 
cient sum was raised to complete the building, 
which appears to have been planned with little 
judgment. ... 


The whole house comprises only four large 
rooms. On the ground floor is a coffee-room, 
much too large for the company who frequent it, 
and two dining-rooms. The other apartment is 
above them, and has been fitted up for a ball 
room : it contains a good orchestra, and other 
requisites for the assemblies and concerts which 
are held there in the winter season. This is the 
only part of the plan that has been laid out 
with success ; for the room is lofty and exten 
sive, well furnished, and excellently adapted for its 
intended purposes. A small house at the back 
of, and adjoining to, the new building, has been 
converted into bed-chambers, kitchens, and apart 
ments for the master of the hotel ; but not more 
than twenty or thirty persons can be accommo 
dated with beds, though, from appearances, the 
house ought to contain accommodation for four 
times that number. 

The principal support of the house, at first, 
was by an annual subscription of two guineas ; all 
who chose to pay that sum were entitled to fre 
quent the coffee-room, but no others : this dis 
gusted a great many of the original subscribers, 
who refused to contribute beyond their share of 
twenty-five pounds ; in consequence of which it 
was laid aside, and the room thrown open to all 
without distinction. Matters were, however, but 
little improved by this proceeding ; for it com- 


pelled the gentry and principal merchants to keep 
away, because it hurt their pride to mix with the 

About three hundred yards from our residence, 
in Champlain-street, the American General 
Montgomery perished in his attempt to surprise 
the Lower Town, in the early part of the American 
war. Several persons have claimed the merit of 
having defeated that enterprise : it is generally 
thought to have been effected by a detachment 
of soldiers and sailors ; yet I have heard it posi 
tively asserted, that no regular military force was 
near the spot at the time the attack commenced ; 
but that at the moment General Montgomery 
and his party were passing, in apparent security, 
along the foot of the rock, where there was then 
only a very narrow path, a brisk fire of musketry, 
and a piece of cannon, immediately opened upon 
their flank, out of the window of a small house, 
situated at the water s edge, where a small party 
of the inhabitants and a few sailors had posted 

The surprise and alarm which this unexpected 
attack created, together with a heavy fall of snow, 
under cover of which General Montgomery had 
commenced his march, threw the Americans into 
confusion ; and seeing their general, his two 
aides-du-camp, and a number of men, killed by 
the first fire, they retreated in the greatest dis- 


order. The general s body, in which no less than 
eleven balls were found, was carried into the 
town, and buried within the fortification, near the 
citadel. No stone or monument distinguishes 
his grave ; but the place is remarkable, being 
within the walls which inclose a powder-maga 
zine, and was pointed out to me by Colonel Glas* 
gow of the artillery. 

A man of the name of M Quarter, who keeps 
a tavern in Champlain-street, has the credit of 
being the person who resided in the house, and 
headed the small party that so suddenly stopped 
the progress of General Montgomery, by their 
brisk fire from the window. I know not how far 
this account may be entitled to belief, amidst 
the various contradictory statements that I have 
heard ; but more credit is generally given to it 
than to any other. An extensive brewery is now 
situated nearly upon the spot where that memo 
rable affair took place. 

Arnold, the other American general, made his 
attack upon the Upper Town, Mr. Weld has said 
at St. John s Gate ; which occasions him to re 
mark upon the absurdity of Arnold s attacking 
one of the strongest parts of the fortification. 
This, I have been informed, was not the case, 
but that he made his attack in person upon that 
part now called Hope s Gate, leading to St. 
Rocque s Suburb, at that time merely a barrier 


of picketing. Two or three other places were, 
however, attacked at the same time ; and it is most 
likely that a feint was made at St. John s Gate, as 
well as at Palace Gate : but the points where Ar 
nold principally depended for success were the place 
where he attacked in person, and at a picket guard, 
now called Prescot Gate, a short distance from 
the top of Mountain-street, which commands the 
entrance into the Lower Town. This barrier is 
now strongly fortified, and surmounted with a 
kind of block-house, with loop-holes for mus 
ketry, beneath which is an archway of stone 
secured with double gates. On one side of the 
gate are embrasures, with two pieces of cannon 
of large calibre ; on the other are powerful works 
of stone, within which is situated a large building, 
called the Bishop s Palace : it was formerly the 
abode of the French catholic bishop ; but at pre 
sent it is occupied for public offices on one side, 
and for the house of assembly, legislative and 
executive councils, on the other. 

It is generally thought that Arnold would have 
succeeded in entering with his party, had he not 
been wounded. The Americans kept possession of 
the Lower Town for three or four days after the 
attack. Many of them sheltered themselves from 
the fire of the garrison in a large stone building, 
called the Intendant s Palace, situated just with 
out the walls adjoining the suburb of St. Rocque, 


In the time of the French government it was the 
residence of the intendant, an officer of secondary 
rank to the governor, though frequently pos 
sessed of much greater power and influence. 
For some time this building was spared by the 
garrison ; but finding the Americans annoyed 
them very much with their rifles, being defended 
only by a wooden picketing along the rock, they 
soon reduced it to a heap of ruins, and compelled 
the Americans to shift their quarters. 

In this state the building remains at this day : 
but massy stone walls have been erected upon the 
opposite rock where the picketing formerly stood ; 
and loop-holes for musketry are left at short dis 
tances, so that in future the garrison can never be 
annoyed in that quarter, except by heavy artillery, 
an article which the Americans did not possess, 
and without which it is the very height of folly to 
attempt to besiege Quebec. 

The house of the intendant was called the 
Palace, because the council of the French govern 
ment of North America was held there. It was 
a very handsome stone building, and contained 
several large, elegant apartments, which were 
furnished with magnificence and splendour. To 
the northward there was a spacious garden, well 
stocked with every variety of fruit-trees, shrubs, 
plants, &c. On one side of the court-yard were 
placed the king s stores, and on the other the 


prison. In this house all the deliberations con 
cerning the province were held, and those ma 
gistrates who had the management of the police 
and civil power also met here. The intendant 
generally presided, but in affairs of importance 
the governor-general was present. This building 
had been burnt down no less than three times, 
previous to its demolition in the American war. 
The walls are all that are now left of it, and it is 
not likely that it will ever be rebuilt. 



Origin of the Name of Quebec Its strong natural 
Situation and Advantages Capability of De 
fence in case of War with the United States 
Origin of the War between the Iroquois and 
Algonquins Impolitic Conduct of Champlain 
Fortifications of Quebec Expedition of Sir 
William Phipps New Improvements. Martello 
Towers Wolfe s Cove Battle of the Plains of 
Abraham Death of General Wolfe Ingrati 
tude of his Countrymen in Canada Statue in 
St. John s Street Garrison Troops Colonel 
Glasgow Commandant Inspecting Field Offi 
cers of the Canadian Militia. 

THE name of Quebec is said to have originated 
from the Norman language, and that one of the 
persons who accompanied M. de Champlain in 
his expedition up the river, on his arriving in 
sight of the peninsula formed by the rivers St. 
Lawrence and St. Charles, exclaimed,, " Quel 
bee!" "What a point!" Others, however, as 
sert that the name is derived from the Algonquin 
word Quebeio or Quebec, which sinifies contract 
ion, because the St. Lawrence becomes con- 


tracted between Quebec and Point Levi, where 
it is scarcely three quarters of a mile across, which 
is very narrow when compared with other parts 
of the river. The Abenaquis word Quelibec, 
signifying shut up, has also been thought to have 
given rise to the name, because the Abenaquis 
Indians, who lived over at Claudiere^ about three 
leagues from Quebec, coming from thence, could 
see nothing of the two channels formed by the 
island of Orleans, that to the southward being hid 
by Point Levi, and the northern one by the island. 
The port of Quebec, thus inclosed, appears like 
a great bay or lake. 

From which of these three languages the name 
of Quebec has originated is yet undecided ; 
though I think the Algonquin word has a prefer 
ence over the Norman, because the language of 
the Algonquins, at one time the most powerful 
nation in Canada, was universally spoken by the 
Indians of that country. The Abenaquis expres 
sion Ouelibec, is nothing more than a corruption 
of the Algonquin Quebeio or Quebec : this is the 
more evident, as their significations are nearly 
synonymous. Another reason why I think the 
Indian appellation was more likely to have origi 
nated the name than the Norman, is the impro 
bability that M. de Champlain should have de 
nominated that remarkable spot, where he after 
wards built a city, merely from the casual excfa- 


mation of one of his men. It is most likely that 
he preserved the Indian name, as he did in several 
other places ; not wishing, perhaps, totally to de 
stroy the only vestige of antiquity that he found 
in the country. The rage for altering ancient 
names was as prevalent in his age as it is in ours ; 
and kings, princes, and saints, received their full 
share of that species of honour. It is not proba 
ble, therefore, that Cham plain would have neg 
lected such an excellent opportunity as the foun 
dation of a new city afforded him, of honouring 
the memory of some favourite saint, king, or 
prince of the blood royal, without some better 
reason than that one of his attendants exclaimed 
" IV hat a point /" The near affinity, however, 
of the Norman expression to the Indian name, 
has no doubt furnished the Jesuit missionaries 
with a plausible pretext for their assertion. 

The strong natural situation of Quebec, and 
the apparent strength of its fortifications, have 
led many people to look upon it as another Gi 
braltar. Nothing however can be more errone 
ous. Within these few years, great additions and 
improvements have certainly been made, which 
have strengthened many of its former weak points : 
but there yet remains much to accomplish before 
it ever can rank even second to that celebrated 
fortress. Nature has, indeed, done more for it 
than art will ever accomplish. Besides its local 

VOL. I. D 


advantages, it is separated by immense forests 
and rivers from an invading army of the United 
States, the only country from which Quebec has 
any thing to dread while it remains in the hands 
of the English. An expedition from France will 
never be undertaken, while we keep possession of 
the ocean. 

Should a war ever take place between Great 
Britain and the United States, it is more than 
probable that the latter would attempt to conquer 
Canada. Their great object would be to drive 
us from the American continent, as much as to 
obtain an equivalent in the event of peace. Great 
exertions would undoubtedly be made; and an 
immense army transported across Lake Cham- 
plain would most likely carry all before it, till it 
arrived in the neighbourhood of Quebec. The 
difficulty of bringing with it a large battering 
train would, I think, prove insurmountable ; and 
without that all their attempts to get possession 
of the city must fail, provided the works were well 
manned. As long as we retain the capital in our 
hands the country can never be conquered ; it 
may be overrun and desolated j but the enemy 
must eventually retreat, if we keep up any tole 
rable force of regulars and militia. 

When the French first settled in Canada, their 
only object of defence was against the hostile 
tribes of Indians, who committed continual de- 


predations upon their persons and property. The 
harassing and destructive attacks which those 
savages made upon the new settlers, compelled 
the latter to fortify their different posts, and for 
upwards of a century the annals of Canada pre 
sent a continued scene of warfare between the 
French and Iroquois: an unceasing round of 
treachery, cruelty, and bloodshed. On Cham- 
plain s arrival in Canada, he found the Iroquois 
at war with the Hurons, Algonquins, and other 
Indian nations. How long the contest had con 
tinued was unknown, but it was generally thought 
to have existed for many years ; its origin only 
could be learnt from the Indians. It arose in the 
following manner : the Algonquins, who are now 
extirpated, were formerly the greatest hunters 
and warriors in Canada : the Iroquois, on the 
contrary, followed agricultural and domestic pur 
suits ; and being of course liable to the attacks of 
those Indian nations who were of a more warlike 
disposition, they, in order to live in security, 
entered into a confederacy with the Algonquins, 
by which it was stipulated that the produce of the 
harvests and the chase should be mutually divided 
between both parties : the Iroquois were also to 
perform the more menial duties of domestic life^ 
as flaying the animals caught in the chase, pre 
paring the food, &c> in return for which the 
Algonquins were to defend them from the violence 



of other Indian nations. This compact lasted for 
an unknown length of time ; till the Iroquois 
imbibing a portion of the Algonquin courage and 
intrepidity, some of their young men ventured 
to enter into a competition with a party of the 
young Algon quins. The pride of the latter was 
alarmed, and they bade the Iroquois to stay at 
home, and flay the beasts which they would kill. 
The Algonquin boasters went out to hunt, but in 
two or three days returned home unsuccessful ; 
upon which the young Iroquois stole out at night, 
and the next day came home laden with the ani 
mals which they had killed in their excursion. 
This daring enterprise provoked the others almost 
to madness ; and they soon after took an oppor 
tunity to murder their rivals. 

The Iroquois nation immediately resented this 
outrage, and demanded that the murderers should 
be delivered into their hands : this was refused by 
the Algonquins, who, knowing their own power, 
treated the others with contempt* The Iroquois 
however swore eternal enmity, and were deter 
mined to be revenged. For this purpose they re 
moved to the opposite side of the river St. Law 
rence, and settled on the spot where the remains 
of their nation yet reside. From that period 
open war commenced between the two nations ; 
and the Algonquins, as might naturally be ex 
pected, being then the most renowned, were joined 


by the smaller nations, as the Hurons, the Abe- 
naquis, &c. The Iroquois however had no sooner 
tasted blood, than their prowess became irresisti 
ble ; and at the time of Champlain s arrival, they 
were greatly superior in courage and military 
skill to their former masters, whom they had 
nearly exterminated. The conduct of these two 
rude and unpolished nations may afford a serious 
lesson to their more civilised brethren, as it shows 
that though a people may be degraded into a 
state of slavery, yet the taunts and injustice of 
tyrannical masters may one time or other drive 
them to desperation, and cause them to annihi 
late their oppressors. It also evinces, in the ex 
ample of the Algonquins, that a nation which 
suffers itself to relax into indolence and effemi 
nacy, subsisting more upon the labour of its slaves 
than upon the industry of its own people, must 
sooner or later sink under the weight of feeble 
ness and corruption ; for it appears that the Al 
gonquins had lost much of that courage and in 
trepidity which they possessed before their con 
nexion with the Iroquois, of whose weakness they 
had taken advantage, and from allies had con 
verted them into vassals. 

Champlain committed a fatal error, when he 
joined the Algonquins in their war against the 
Iroquois. The latter then became as determined 
enemies of the French as they were of their old 


oppressors ; and to the destructive wars, in which 
the new settlers were afterwards involved for up 
wards of a century, may be attributed the little 
progress which they made in cultivating and im 
proving the colony. Their fortifications were at 
first mere palisades or picketing, until necessity 
obliged them to erect works of a stronger nature. 
It does not appear that the fortifications of Que 
bec were of much importance till the year 1690, 
when eleven stone redoubts, which served as bas 
tions, were erected in different parts of the heights 
on the Upper Town. The remains of several of 
these redoubts are still in existence. They were 
connected with each other by a strong line of 
cedar picketing, ten or twelve feet high, banked 
up with earth on the inside. This proved suffi 
cient to resist the attacks of the hostile Indians 
for several years. 

Quebec must have been in a very weak state 
in 1620, when it was captured by the English., 
who were looked upon as deliverers for saving the 
inhabitants from starvation. It is also a curious 
fact that the French court, at the peace of 1 632, 
was doubtful whether they should reclaim Canada 
from the English or leave it in their possession, 
so little value did they set upon the colony at 
that time. Many persons were of opinion that it 
would prove very injurious to France to keep it ; 
that, the cold being so intense, it could never be 


rendered a profitable colony. Others, among 
whom was M. de Champlain, were however of a 
contrary opinion, and took into account the great 
profits that would accrue from the trade in peltry, 
the herring,, whale, and cod -fisheries ; ship-build* 
ing, and the produce of its immense forests. The 
arguments of the latter weighed down the more 
confined views of the former, and the colony was 
recovered by France in the treaty of 1 632. 

In 1690 the English made an unsuccessful 
attempt to re-conquer Quebec ; the expedition^ 
which was commanded by Sir William Phipps, 
arrived so late in the season, that several of the 
ships were lost, and the design miscarried. 

From that period the fortifications of Quebec 
have gradually risen into importance. At the 
time of its capture by General Wolfe s army it 
was considered as a place of remarkable strength. 
Since then repairs and improvements have been 
yearly going on ; and at the present day, if it is 
not actually a Gibraltar, it is at least a fortress 
of considerable strength and remarkable for its 
natural and local advantages. 

The most elevated part of the fortifications on 
Cape Diamond is called the Citadel, which I 
always understood to be a sort of fortress or castle, 
for the purpose of affording the last retreat to the 
garrison in case of attack ; but there is no appear 
ance of any building of that description. An 


engineer may very possibly be able to detail, in 
technical terms, the construction of the present 
Avorks on Cape Diamond ; he may be able to de 
scribe its bastions, curtains, and half-bastions ; its 
ditch, counter-guard, covered-way, and glacis ; but 
my unprofessional eye could discern nothing but 
a heap of ruins and rubbish ; a heterogeneous 
collection of old wooden log-houses and broken- 
down walls. The arrival of Sir James Craig has, 
however, caused a vast alteration in the garrison. 
The old works, which were falling to decay, are 
naw repairing with the utmost expedition. New 
walls, bastions, and curtains ; half-moon batteries, 
and martello towers, are rising in all directions. 
Mines are sprung, rocks blown up, and the artil 
lerymen frequently with them, occasioned by their 
own carelessness. 

The heights about a quarter of a mile from 
St. Louis gate, formerly commanded the highest 
part of the citadel, so that an enemy having pos 
session of that elevated position, would be able 
to silence the fire of the garrison in that quarter. 
To counteract the ill effects apprehended from 
such an event, a large battery has been raised on 
the highest spot within the fortifications, in a 
line with those heights. Its construction, how 
ever, is not generally approved, being exposed 
in the rear to an enemy on the opposite banks 
of the river St. Lawrence, It is said that the 


General disapproves it, and that one of a differ 
ent description is to be erected in its place. Four 
martello towers are erecting on the heights, about 
half a mile from the garrison ; they run in a line 
with each other, across the plains, from the ele 
vated position which 1 mentioned, to where the 
mountain subsides into the valley to the north 
ward, beyond St. John s suburb. These towers 
must all be carried by storm, or demolished, be 
fore an enemy can approach near enough to injure 
the garrison. 

Beyond these towers are the celebrated plains 
of Abraham, where our gallant Wolfe so dearly 
purchased that honour and renown which will 
ever accompany his name. The place where the 
British troops landed is about three miles from 
Cape Diamond, and forms a sort of small bay, 
now generally known by the name of Wolfe s 
Cove. The path up the side of the mountain to 
the heights above was, at that time, very steep 
and narrow, and much obstructed by felled tim 
ber, and a battery which the French had raised 
at the top : at present it is wide enough for carts 
to go up. On that memorable occasion, the men 
of war and transports got under weigh early in 
the morning, and sailed up as far as Cape Rouge, 
about nine miles above Quebec. Montcalm be* 
lieving their intentions were to land there, de 
tached Bougainville, with eight battalions and 


some artillery, to oppose them. In the mean 
time the British squadron silently put about,, and 
dropped down with the tide to Wolfe s Cove, 
while Mons. Bougainville kept marching with his 
detachment* in a contrary direction. 

The landing commenced about four o clock 
in the morning, and ended before eight. By 
that time the British had scaled the heights, and 
formed their line, with two field-pieces in front, 
and the 48th regiment as a body of reserve ; the 
light infantry to cover the rear, the 15th regiment 
and the royal Americans to cover the landing- 

The Marquis de Montcalm, who was with the 
main body of his army on the shores of Beau- 
port, hearing that the English had gained the 
heights of Abraham, could scarcely credit his 
senses. He immediately hurried across the river 
St. Charles, and formed his line on the plains 
between eight and nine o clock, with one field- 
piece, and his irregulars posted in flying parties to 
attack the British flanks. 

The French line began to charge about nine, 
advancing briskly, and for some little time in 
good order : a part of the line began to fire too 
soon, which immediately caught through the 
whole. They then began to waver, but kept ad 
vancing with a scattered fire. When they had got 
within about a hundred yards of the British 


V i 

the latter moved up regularly with a steady fire, 
and when within twenty or thirty yards of closing 
gave a general volley ; upon which a total rout of 
the enemy ensued. 

Bougainville s detachment appeared in sight 
just before the conclusion of the battle : but 
being satisfied that there were no laurels for him 
to gain, he decamped, in double quick time, to 
Point au Tremble, from thence to Three Rivers, 
and afterwards to Montreal ; a distance of one 
hundred and eighty miles. 

This decisive battle was fought on the 13th 
Sept. 1759, and on the J8th Quebec surrendered 
by capitulation. The terms granted were honour 
able to the garrison and advantageous to the in* 
habitants, who were to be protected in the full en- 
joyment of their civil rights, and the free exercise 
of their religion, until a general peace should 
decide their future condition. 

Wolfe, like Epaminondas, breathed out his soul 
in the arms of victory. His death was a national 
loss, and as greatly lamented as that of Nelson, 
who also fell in the moment of victory, and died 
with nearly the same words upon his lips. The 
memory of such men can never be prized too 
much, since it requires ages to replace them. 

The spot where Wolfe died I have often 
visited with a sort of pleasing melancholy. It 
is trie corner of a small redoubt, which is yet 


visible, and was formerly distinguished by a large 
rock-stone, upon which it is said he was sup 
ported after he received the fatal wound. From 
this stone strangers were frequently prompted, 
by their feelings, to break off a small piece to 
keep as a memento of the fate of that gallant 
hero ; but the sacrilegious hands of modern up 
start innovators have removed that sacred relic, 
because it came within the inciosure of a certain 
Commissary-general, who had erected what he 
called a pavilion, and would, probably, have soon 
planted potatoes and cabbages in the redoubt, 
had he not been discharged from his office by the 
present Governor-general, for a trifling deficiency 
in his accounts. 

I never could contemplate the rock, the forti 
fications of Quebec, the plains of Abraham, and 
the little redoubt to which General Wolfe was 
borne in the midst of the battle, without reflect 
ing on the ingratitude of his countrymen in Ca 
nada, who have not only shamefully neglected 
his memory, by withholding from him a monu 
ment or statue, which his merits deserve, and in 
the benefits of which they are now participating ; 
but have suffered the last sad remains of the spot 
on which he breathed his last, to be sacrificed to 
the insolent vanity of an obscure individual. His 
countrymen in England have honoured his me 
mory with an elegant monument in their venera* 


ble mausoleum for distinguished characters ; but 
the only mark of respect which his countrymen 
in Canada have vouchsafed to bestow, is a paltry 
wooden statue, about four feet high, stuck up at 
the corner of a house in St. John-street. This 
humble (or I should rather say elegant) specimen, 
of Canadian carving represents the general in the 
uniform of a common soldier, with his musket, 
belts, cartouch-box, and bayonet ; a little three- 
cornered hat, and long-skirted coat reaching half 
way down his legs. It is possible this may be a 
correct delineation of the general, as he went into 
battle at the head of his army. As such it is not 
unworthy a stranger s notice ; but surely it is not 
a statue worthy of commemorating such extra 
ordinary talents, courage, and perseverance, as our 
gallant hero possessed and displayed at the siege 
and conquest of Quebec. I hope, therefore, that 
under the administration of the present Governor- 
general, himself so celebrated for his military 
services, the inhabitants of Canada will display 
their generosity and spirit, by erecting a suitable 
monument to the memory of General Wolfe. 
The commerce of the country was never so great 
as at present, nor the people better able to defray 
the expenses attending a design far more worthy 
of their munificence than that hideous structure 
of wood and stone which at present disgraces the 


Upper Town market-place, and of which I shall 
soon have occasion to speak. 

To garrison Quebec in a complete manner, it 
is said that ten thousand troops are requisite. 
Though the number usually kept there falls very 
short of that amount, yet it is sufficient for all the 
purposes of garrison-duty. In case of an attack 
being apprehended, the different regiments of the 
line and fencibles, which in war-time are generally 
distributed at Three Rivers, Montreal, and other 
posts, can be transported to Quebec in a few 
hours, if necessary ; besides which, the militia 
regiments formed by its inhabitants are always on 
the spot to assist the regular troops. 

The troops are lodged in a large building for 
merly belonging to the Jesuits, situate in the 
Upper Town market-place, the apartments of 
which have been turned into excellent barrack- 
rooms. This building will accommodate upwards 
of two thousand soldiers. Before this house and 
property appertaining to the society of Jesus came 
into the possession of the English Government, 
the troops were partly lodged in block-houses on 
Cape Diamond. Those buildings, composed en 
tirely of wood, have been suffered to remain in 
a ruinous state for several years, highly dangerous, 
in case of fire, to the neighbouring storehouses 
and powder magazines. They were in existence 


when I visited the Cape, but it was intended very 
shortly to pull them down. 

The present Governor-general possesses the 
largest staff that has been known in Canada for 
several years ; and there are upwards of ten regi 
ments of the line and fencibles, with about six 
hundred artillery. The latter are commanded by 
Colonel Glasgow, who is also commandant of the 
garrison. This officer, whose acquaintance I shall 
ever esteem, served under the gallant Elliot during 
the siege of Gibraltar. He has been upwards of 
twenty years in Canada, and is respected by all 
who know him, for the amiableness of his private 
life, and for the ability and integrity which he dis-* 
plays in his public character. 

The British Government seems at present dis 
posed to maintain its possessions in Canada upon 
a respectable footing. Many new appointments 
have taken place in that country, particularly in 
the military department. Six inspecting field- 
officers of militia are among the number ; but it 
is not yet known upon what plan the militia is to 
be organized. At present there are not above one 
thousand militia, or rather volunteers, either in 
Quebec, Three Rivers, or Montreal, that . are 
armed; and they have furnished themselves with 
clothing and accoutrements at their own expense, 
and are in every respect like our volunteers, ex 
cept that the latter are superior to them in disci- 


pline. At the time that a war was expected , 
in 1807, between Great Britain and the United 
States, the Canadian people universally offered to 
embody themselves for the defence of the country. 
The services of only five thousand were accepted, 
and they were never armed, as the necessity of 
the case was not very urgent. The alacrity and 
zeal with which the Canadians came forward were 
however highly honourable to them, and afforded 
a strong proof of their good sense, in properly 
appreciating the happiness which they enjoy under 
a mild and liberal government.* The British and 
French Canadians are divided into separate corps 
of militia, and officered by their own people : a 
distinction which might as well be dispensed with ; 
for it is calculated to prevent that union of in- 
rest and sentiment, which ought to prevail be 
tween all classes of his majesty s subjects in the 
colony. .^v 

* Since writing the above, the President of the United 
States has declared war against Great Britain ; and the 
brave Canadians, in the campaign of 1812, under Sir G, 
Prevost, have nobly confirmed my opinion, by annihilating 
three American armies sent to conquer them. 



Chateau St. Louis Improvements Public Build 
ings of the Upper Town Court House Eng 
lish Cathedral Fire at the Monastery of Fran 
ciscan Friars College of Jesuits Mode of 
Living of the Jesuits-*- Canadian Proverb In 
defatigable Perseverance Genius and Ability 
Anecdote of a German Jesuit Jean Joseph 
Casot, the last of the Canadian Jesuits Hotel 
Dieu Seminary Remarkable Anecdote of a 
young Lady Convent of St. Ursule General 
Hospital Useful Avocations of the Nuns 
Benefit of Monastic Institutions in Canada - 
Begging Friars Roman Catholic Clergy. 

THE residence of the Governor is a large plain 
stone building, erected, I believe, by General Hal- 
dimand, and forming one side of the open place or 
square called the Parade. Opposite to it stand the 
English Cathedral Church and the Court House, 
both handsome buildings of modern construction. 
The other sides of the Parade are formed by the 
Union Hotel, in a line with some large dwelling- 
houses and opposite, by a row of buildings 

VOL. i. E 


which forms the commencement of St. Louis- 

The old chateau, or castle of St. Louis, is built 
upon the verge of an inaccessible part of the 
rock, and separated by a court-yard from the new 
building which fronts the Parade. 

It was formerly occupied by the Governor, for 
his residence ; but, on the erection of the other, 
was converted into public offices. It is now un 
dergoing considerable improvements, for the use 
of Sir James Craig. It is to be raised one story 
higher, and the expenses are to be defrayed by 
the colony, agreeable to an act passed for that 
purpose by the provincial Parliament. When 
finished, it will possess every requisite for the 
abode of the most distinguished person in the 
colony. Its situation for fine prospects and ex 
tensive views of the river and surrounding country 
cannot be surpassed in any part of the Upper 
Town. Behind the building is a large stone gal 
lery or balcony, even with the lower apartments. 
This gallery, which serves as a very agreeable pro 
menade, is situated more than two hundred and 
fifty feet above the level of the river, and com 
mands a beautiful panorama view of the Lower 
Town the shipping in the River Point Levi 
the Island of Orleans shores of Beauport and 
distant mountains, a scene as grand and extensive 


as it is possible for the imagination to conceive, 
or the eye to survey. 

To complete the plan upon which the old 
chateau is rebuilding, the guard-house on the 
right has been pulled down, and a new one of 
stone is constructing on a larger scale. The back 
part of this building and the sides, which will 
open into the court-yard, are to contain the Go 
vernor s horses and carriages, and a part is to be 
appropriated for a riding-school. The other cha 
teau on the left, it is said, is also coming down in 
part, for the purpose of making both wings uni 
form, and enlarging the entrance to the grand 
chateau. When this plan is completed, that side 
of the parade will be greatly improved, and will 
give a more regular feature to the square. The 
situation, however, of the cathedral and of the 
new court-house on the opposite side are but very 
ill adapted to render the square complete, as the 
gable end only of the latter comes into view ; the 
front of it opening into St. Louis-street. I am. 
not acquainted with the motives which occasioned 
the court-house to be erected on its present site, 
when so favourable an opportunity seems to have 
offered for building it with its front opposite the 
chateau, as there is a considerable space of unoc 
cupied ground between it and the cathedral. But 
the public buildings of Quebec seem never to 
have been constructed with any view to improve 

B 2 


the appearance of the town ; and if we except 
the English church, we shall not find one at 
present that can excite our applause. The plan 
of the cathedral church is said to have been taken 
from St. Martin s in the Fields, London. It is 
built of a light-coloured gray stone, with a hand 
some steeple and spire of proportionate height, 
covered as well as the roof with sheets of tin, 
which give it a remarkable light and brilliant 
appearance ; for the tin-covered roofs of houses 
and churches in Canada never rust, but constant 
ly maintain their shining appearance, in conse 
quence of a particular method of doubling down 
the tin over the nails. Sheets of iron painted 
black or red are sometimes used for covering roofs, 
instead of tin. 

The Union Hotel is the only building beside* 
those which I have mentioned that contributes 
to adorn the Parade. It is a very neat house, one 
story above the ground floor. The rooms are 
lofty and spacious. The building is partly of 
stone and of wood, covered with a sloping roof of 
clapboard, painted of a slate colour. The front 
is ornamented with a handsome portico and steps, 
and the whole has a pretty effect. 

The ground upon which the court-house and 
cathedral stand, was formerly occupied by a mo 
nastery of Franciscan Friars or Recollets, which 
was burnt down a few years ago by accident, and 


did considerable damage in that quarter of the 
town. Many other parts were also much endan 
gered, particularly the Lower Town, into which 
the blazing shingles were carried by the wind ; 
they even fell into the river, and obliged a frigate 
lying at anchor to slip her cable and run down to 
the Island of Orleans. This order of friars, of 
whom there were then but few, being by pro 
fession very poor, and subsisting only upon the 
charity of the inhabitants, were unable to rebuild 
their house, and became distributed in different 
parts of the country. There are only two now 
alive, and they reside at Montreal ; they continue 
to go about habited in the dress of their order. 

The college of the Jesuits is situated in the 
market, and now makes very excellent barracks 
for the soldiers. As the Jesuits in Canada, as 
well as in different parts of the world, were once 
a very powerful body of men, and possessed more 
influence for a time over the people among whom 
they lived than even the sovereigns themselves, 
it may be amusing, and perhaps instructive, to 
describe them as they existed in that country 
about sixty years ago, at which period their power, 
though on the decline, was yet considerable. At 
this day not an individual of that society is alive 
in Canada, the British Government having wisely 
prohibited the religious male orders, the priests 
excepted, from augmenting their numbers. The 


Government faithfully allowed the orders to enjoy 
the whole of their revenues, as long as there ex 
isted a single individual of the body ; but on his 
death the property reverted to the crown. 

The building in which the Jesuits resided is 
well laid out ; and when occupied by them, and 
in good order and repair, must have been the 
handsomest building in Canada. It consists of 
stone, and is three stories high, above which are 
garrets with a sloping roof covered with slate, 
even at this day in a good state of preservation ; 
a circumstance which I am surprised has not in 
duced the inhabitants to cover their houses with 
slate, as they could import it from Scotland 
cheaper than tin. The college is built in a square 
form, and includes a large court-yard within. 
In every story there is a long walk, on both sides 
of which the brethren had their private cells or 
rooms, exclusive of the public halls, refectory, 
library, apothecary s shop, and other apartments 
for general use. A large orchard and kitchen 
garden were situated on the south side of the 
building. A part of the trees in the former were 
the remains of the forest which covered the moun 
tain when the French began to build the city, 
and are in existence at the present day. 

The interior economy of the college was well 
regulated. The Jesuits used to dine in a great 
hall, around which were placed long tables with 



seats between them and the walls, but not on the 
opposite side. On one side the -refectory was a 
pulpit, in which, during meals, one of the fathers 
used to read some religious book ; but when 
visitors dined with them, this practice was omit 
ted ; the time being generally employed in con 
versation. Their dinners were always good ; and 
when company was present, their dishes were as 
numerous as at a great feast. They never per 
mitted a woman to reside among them. All were 
fathers or brothers, the latter of whom were young 
men brought up to be Jesuits ; they used to pre 
pare every thing for dinner in the hall, and 
bring it on table ; the common servants not being 

There were three kinds of clergy in Canada : 
the Jesuits, the Priests, and the Recollets. The 
first were considered so much superior to the rest, 
that the Canadians had the following proverb to 
show how much the one surpassed the other. 
" Pour faire un Recollet, il faut une hachette, 
pour un Pretre un ciseau, mais pour un Jesuite, 
il faut un pinceau." " To make a Recollet you 
must have an axe, for a Priest a chisel, but for a 
Jesuit you must have a pencil." 

The Jesuits were generally very learned and 
studious, and very agreeable company. In their 
whole deportment there was something so pleas 
ing and irresistible, that it is not surprising they 


captivated the minds of the people. In mixed 
company they never spoke of religious matters, 
and if the subject by chance was introduced, they 
generally avoided disputes. They had the cha 
racter of being always ready to render assistance, 
often even before it was required of them ; and 
their conversation was so entertaining ?nd learned, 
that a person seldom could be tired of their com 
pany. They never cared to become preachers to 
a congregation in town or country, but always 
left those places and the emoluments arising from 
them to the priests. All their business in Canada 
was to convert the Indians, and with that view 
their missionaries were scattered over every part 
of the country. These missionaries were so zeal 
ous in their cause, that in winter they accom 
panied the Indians in their great hunting parties, 
when they were frequently obliged to suffer all 
imaginable inconveniences : walking in the snow 
all day, and at night lying in the open air, regard 
less of good or bad weather, and what was often 
worse, lying in the Indian wigwams, huddled 
together with the savages, who were frequently 
swarming with fleas and other vermin. These 
hardships, sometimes aggravated by hunger, did 
the Jesuits undergo for the sake of converting the 
Indians ; but as much perhaps for political as re 
ligious reasons. Yet what an indefatigable body 
of men must they have been! for though they 


were seeking their own aggrandisement, as well 
as to further the political views of their own coun 
try, one would think that the life of hardships 
which they led, would have cooled their zeal ; 
and no doubt but it would, had they been any 
other people than Jesuits. This body of men 
must have been of great service to their country ; 
for they were often able to persuade the Indians 
to break their treaties with the English, and 
make war upon them, to bring their furs to the 
French, and not permit the English to come 
amongst them. Sometimes the Indians, when 
in liquor, would kill the Jesuits, calling them 
spies, or excuse themselves by saying that the 
brandy had killed them. 

The Jesuits never attended at funerals, nor 
visited the sick, nor heard confessions ; those of 
fices they left for the priests. They were reck 
oned a most cunning set of people, who generally 
succeeded in their undertakings, and surpassed 
all others in acuteness and understanding ; they 
were therefore not without jealous enemies in 
Canada. It was their custom never to receive 
any amongst them but persons of very promis 
ing parts ; so that no blockheads ever crept into 
their society. An anecdote to this effect is re 
lated of Christopher Clavius, a German Jesuit, 
distinguished for his mathematical knowledge, 


and employed by Gregory XIII. in the reforma 
tion of the calendar. He died at Rome in l6i2, 
at the age of seventy-five. This learned charac 
ter, when a boy, was entered in a college of Je 
suits ; and, after having been tried at several 
parts of learning, was upon the point of being 
dismissed as a hopeless blockhead, until one of 
the fathers took it in his head to make an essay 
of his parts in geometry, which it seems hit his 
genius so luckily, that he afterwards became one 
of the greatest mathematicians of the age. It is 
commonly thought that the sagacity of the fathers 
in discovering the talent of a young student, has 
not a little contributed to the distinction which 
their order has obtained in the world. 

On the other hand, the Priests received the 
best kind of people they could meet, and the Re- 
collets were yet less careful. They never endea 
voured to get cunning fellows among them, but 
took all that offered ; and so far from tormenting 
their brains with much learning, they, on putting 
on the monastic habit, often forgot what little 
they knew. As they had made vows of poverty, 
they subsisted by begging, and the young monks 
or brothers used to carry a bag from house to 
house to receive alms. Such an order of men in 
a new country, like Canada, was most destruc 
tive to society, and to the prosperity of the co- 


lony. They were the locusts of the land, and the 
benefit of their extermination must be sensibly 

The revenue of the Jesuit society was very 
considerable, being upwards of twelve thousand 
pounds per annum, at the time it reverted to the 
crown. It had been for several years enjoyed 
solely by an old father, who had survived all the 
rest. This Jesuit, whose name was Jean Joseph 
Casot, was a native of Switzerland, and born in 
1728. In his youth he was no more than porter 
to the college ; but having considerable merit, 
he was promoted, and in the course of time re 
ceived into the order. He had the character of 
possessing an amiable and generous disposition, 
and employed his large income in charitable 
purposes. He died a few years ago, at a very 
advanced age. For some time previous to his 
death he shut himself up in his apartments, and 
became inaccessible to all but his attendants. 
The crown, on his demise, came into possession 
of the property, for the management of which 
commissioners have been appointed. The lands 
which belonged to that body, as well indeed as 
to the religious orders in general, are by far the 
best in the country, and produce the greatest 

The French seminary or college at Quebec is 
situated close to the French cathedral, between 


the market-place and the ramparts. The building 
is spacious, and substantially built, though, like 
most of the public edifices in Quebec, it has suf 
fered much from fire. It was burned down in 
1703, and again in 1705, when just rebuilt. At 
the back of the seminary there is a very extensive 
garden, well laid out, and possessing every requi 
site that can contribute to the recreation of the 
students. It commands a beautiful view of the 
river, the Island of Orleans, and the opposite 
shores. The seminary was originally instituted 
to bring up students for the priesthood. No 
funds were allowed for the education of youth 
in general ; but since the conquest it has ad 
mitted scholars without limitation of number, for 
an acknowledgement of five shillings per annum 
for out- pensioners, and twelve pounds ten shil 
lings for boarders. The boys educated there at 
present are numerous, and chiefly the children of 
the French inhabitants. Those intended for the 
church remain there till their education is com 
pleted, or till a parish can be given them. 

The nunneries have not been restricted by Go 
vernment, consequently they are in general well 
filled. The Hotel Dieu is a large building, situ 
ated, with its gardens, near Palace Gate. It was 
founded in l638 by the Duchess d Aiguillon, 
who sent from the Hospital at Dieppe three nuns, 
for the purpose of commencing this charitable 


institution. It consists of an hospital for the 
sick, who are received here, and attended by the 
nuns, without any expense to the patients. The 
invalids of both sexes are comfortably lodged in 
wards, and every attention paid to them by the 
sisters, of whom there are about twenty-seven, 
with a superior. Females are received as novices 
for two years, during which time they wear the 
white veil ; and if they then are determined to 
enter the order, they take the black veil, which 
seals their initiation, and encloses them in the 
convent for life. It is very seldom, however, that 
a female goes into the religious houses of this 
country until she despairs of ever getting a hus 
band. Some few young and handsome girls have 
at different times sacrificed themselves, either 
from resentment or despair, at the caprice of a 
parent, or the faithless conduct of a lover. 

I heard of a singular anecdote concerning a 
young lady, who had a narrow escape from per 
petual imprisonment in one of the convents at 
Quebec. It seems that the mother, Madame 

B 1 d A y, had made a most absurd and 

ridiculous vow, previous to the birth of this child, 
that if she died in child-birth, and the infant was 
a female, it should be dedicated to the service of 
Christ. This event did happen, and the child 
was accordingly brought up in the strictest man 
ner at the convent. The father too appeared 


fully determined, that when of age his daughter 
should take the veil, agreeable to the dying re 
quest of her mother. When the young lady, 
however, grew up to years of maturity, she 
seemed more inclined to fulfil the divine com 
mand of the Almighty, to " increase and multi 
ply," than to lead a life of celibacy in a convent. 
Her heart was soon captivated by the tender assi 
duities of a gallant youth, and vows of love, 
instead of religion, bound her to him. Their 
affection was mutual, and as long as she reflected 
upon that, she dreaded not the infatuated vow of 
her mother. 

It happened that her lover was obliged to go 
abroad for some time. Imperious circumstances 
delayed his return, and the time approached 
when she was to be sacrificed at the altar. It 
was now two years since he had left her, and for 
a long time she had heard no tidings of him. 
Hope, fear, and despair, alternately took pos 
session of her mind. She could not believe that 
he was faithless, yet knew not how to account 
for his absence and neglect ; at a period too when 
he must be acquainted with her unfortunate des 
tination. The father persisted in his determina 
tion to make her renounce the world, and the 
day arrived when this distressing scene was to 
take place. Her story was well known in Que 
bec, and crowds were at the convent at an early 


hour to witness the sight. Like a lamb led to 
be sacrificed, she approached the altar. The 
bishop commenced the ceremony, which gene 
rally lasts a considerable time. At length he 
came to that part where she is asked whether 
she will accept the veil, that is to wed her to 
Christ ? At this moment all eyes were fixed upon 
her pale and death-like countenance. Her eyes 
were drowned in tears, and her frame was nearly 
sinking under such a weight of woe, when, look 
ing round the crowd, she suddenly started, and 
immediately turning to the bishop, declared, 
with much firmness, that she would be wedded 
to no one on earth but that young man, pointing 
to her lover. In an instant all eyes were turned 
upon the fortunate youth, who had providentially 
arrived that day at Quebec, and, on hearing the 
melancholy tale, immediately hurried to the con 
vent ; and, pushing his way through the crowd, 
arrived just in time to prevent the unfortunate 
catastrophe. It was a joyful scene, and the 
bishop, without hesitation, married the young 
couple on the spot. 

The convent of Ursulines was instituted in 
1639, by a rich young widow in France, Ma 
dame de la Peltrie, for the education of female 
children. It belongs to a superior and thirty -six 
nuns, who instruct the girls in reading, embroi 
dery, and fine work ; no men are allowed to visit 


this or any of the convents, without permission 
from the bishop. The sisters of St. Ursule are 
more strict and recluse than those of the other 
convents. They have a large garden adjoining 
their house, which supplies them with a variety 
of fruit, herbs, and vegetables, a portion of which 
they sell to the inhabitants ; for their institution 
is not very rich. They also employ themselves 
with embroidery, pickling and preserving of 
fruits and vegetables, which are disposed of for 
the benefit of the society. This convent, like 
the rest of the public buildings in Canada, has 
suffered two or three times by fire. It is now 
substantially built of stone, and the roof covered 
with tin. 

The general hospital, which is situated some 
distance out of the town., on the banks of the 
river St. Charles, surrounded by meadow lands, 
is the third convent belonging to Quebec. It 
was founded about the year l6Q3, by M. de St. 
Vallier, bishop of Quebec, for the purpose of 
affording support and relief to the infirm, the 
aged, the sick, and wounded poor, of both sexes^ 
and in this charitable and praise-worthy service 
it continues to this day. A superior and thirty- 
seven sisters fulfil the duties of the institution, in 
a manner that does them the highest honour, and 
entitles them to the gratitude and thanks of the 
public. Their religious duties are performed 


without relaxing those of humanity, and their 
leisure moments are spent in useful and ornamen 
tal works, the profits of which assist the revenues 
of the hospital. 

I cannot quit this cursory notice of the female 
religious institutions at Quebec, without paying 
them a tribute of applause to which they are 
justly entitled. Few, it is true, go into those holy 
receptacles, but such as are tired of the world. 
They are either satiated with its pleasures, or 
disgusted with its cares. But the objects for 
which they leave the world are not to live in 
easy idleness, or careless indifference. Two out 
of three institutions bestow their time, attention, 
and property, upon the sick and aged poor. The 
other devotes the services of its sisters to the 
education and instruction of young females. Such 
are the charitable offices performed by the Ca 
nadian nuns, whose religious duties are equally 

The existence, therefore^ of these religious 
orders I conceive to be highly advantageous to 
the people of Canada, and serviceable to the 
Government. In a catholic country governed and 
regulated by the liberal constitution of England, 
those institutions are rendered of public utility. 
The suppression of the male orders was wise and 
politic, because, however useful the Jesuits might 
have been to their own Government, it is hardly 

VOL. i. F 


possible that they could have ever been recon 
ciled to act in favour of one whose religious 
tenets clashed with their own. As to the begging 
friars, no nation could be benefited by them. 
The priests or catholic clergy, at present so 
numerous, and who have received the support and 
protection of the English Government, are en 
titled to particular notice. From the great in- 
.fluence which they possess over the minds of the 
Canadians, their importance cannot be questioned. 
In a subsequent chapter I shall offer some obser 
vations upon them. 



Upper Town of Quebec ^V<?w; Buildings Butchers* 
Market Show of Meat the Day after Good 
Friday Feasting after Lent Price of Provi 
sions Frozen Provisions kept for fire Months 
Extravagant Price of European Goods Tommy 
Cods Fish Wild Pigeons A Market Scene 

Poor Mulrooney The Habitant outwitted 
Stinking Cheese an Epicurean Delicacy Butter 

from Green Island Frozen Milk Maple Sugar 

Origin of eating sweet Things with Meat 

Price of Articles at Market Canadian Cur- 


THE Upper Town is certainly the most agree 
able part of Quebec both in summer and winter. 
In the former season, the heat is not so intense 
as in many parts of the Lower Town, nor in 
winter is it so dreary and dull. The cold is, 
however, severer by several degrees. Even be 
tween Cape Diamond and the Upper Town, there 
is frequently a difference in the weather of nearly 
10 degrees. The thermometer in February 1807 
was 20 degrees below in St. Louis street, and 
F 2 


on the Cape 3O below ; the latter being elevated 
upwards of 70 feet above the former. 

The streets in the Upper Town are not remark 
able for width ; but many of them are tolerably 
paved, yet a considerable part of the town remains 
without that beneficial improvement. A fortified 
town, confined like Quebec to the summit and 
base of a steep rock, is not very well adapted 
either for convenient streets or elegant buildings ; 
they must always be regulated by the localities 
of its situation. But much more might certainly 
have been effected for general comfort and con- 
veniece, had this place fallen into the hands of 
any other than a Roman Catholic people, whose 
numerous religious institutions have occupied 
nearly one-half the town. Their large buildings, 
and extensive gardens, were not of so much con^ 
sequence in the early settlement of Quebec ; but 
when population increased, those who would 
otherwise have lived within the walls were obliged 
for want of room to reside without ; and have 
formed what are called the suburbs of St. John, 
St. Rocque, &c. 

Since the conquest, improvements have gone 
on but slowly, owing to the fluctuating state of 
commerce ; from which source alone the means 
can be provided. Of late years, however, several 
alterations have taken place in consequence of the 
extinction of the male religious orders, whose 


houses and lands have devolved to the crown, 
and made room for the erection of new edifices. 
Some public buildings have been erected, but ex 
cept the English church, with very little taste ; 
and even that is not yet complete, for it requires 
to be inclosed with an iron railing, instead of 
the old rotten wall which at present degrades the 
building. Several streets have been paved, and 
private houses built upon more improved prin 
ciples than those which before occupied their 
sites. There is yet room enough, in different 
parts of the town, for many more houses, which 
will no doubt be erected as commerce and popu 
lation increase. 

In speaking of the new buildings, I cannot 
avoid observing, that of all those which have dis 
graced the public taste, the circular building 
erected in the Upper Town market-place has 
disgraced it the most. This edifice, to which I 
have before alluded, is a kind of amphitheatre of 
stone, surmounted by an immense dome or cupola 
of wooden frame-work, covered on the outside 
with planks. On the top is a sort of lantern, 
or circular chamber, with planked roof. The 
sides of this lantern are glazed for the admit 
tance of light into the interior, but they have 
very little effect in such an extensive building. 
The frame-work inside the dome is ingenious 
enough, and does more credit to the artist who 


erected than to those who designed such a crude 
mass as the whole building presents. 

The heaviness and disproportion of its parts 
may be easily conceived, when it is known that 
the diameter of its base, and its perpendicular 
height, are exactly the same, being just one 
hundred feet each. 

At first sight a stranger fancies that he beholds 
the grand amphitheatre of the inhabitants of 
Quebec, where skilful horsemanship or splendid 
spectacles enliven the long evenings of a Cana 
dian winter ; but how great is his surprise when, 
qn a closer inspection, he discovers that this vast 
edifice is neither more nor less than the butchers 
shamble, a mere receptacle for beef, mutton, and 
pork ! Not, indeed, that the elegance *bf the 
building itself would lead him to think that it 
was unworthy of such a fate : on the contrary, he 
would decide in his own mind, that the butchers 
are not much honoured by the structure, however 
they may be by the sum of money that has been 
expended for them. 

Before this edifice was erected, the butchers 
occupied small wooden stalls. These were very 
inconvenient, very irregularly built, and much 
exposed to the weather. It was necessary that 
the meat stalls should be secured against the 
heat in summer, and the cold in winter. The new 
building has provided for the first of these requj- 


sites, but the severity of the winter is felt at pre 
sent in its greatest rigour. 

The other parts of the market-place are occu 
pied from five o clock in the morning till twelve, 
by the Habitans (country people), who bring 
the productions of their farms to market in carts 
during the summer, and in sleighs in the winter. 
They generally bring their wives and daughters 
with them, who often remain exposed all the 
morning to the piercing cold of winter, or the 
burning sun of summer, disposing of their provi 
sions, while their husbands or fathers are getting 
drunk in the spirit-shops and taverns. The carts 
with hay and wood are stationed by themselves, 
near the barracks. The rest with meat, fruit, 
vegetables, &c., occupy the other parts of the 
market-place. Here the groups of country people 
who present themselves to view with their little 
stock of provisions, their singular mode of dress, 
their language and behaviour, form a novel and 
curious sight to a person unaccustomed to the 

The markets are supplied with beef, mutton, 
pork, and veal, by the Habitans, as well as the 
butchers ; though the latter generally feed their 
own cattle, and kill them for sale as required. 
Their meat is frequently better than that of the 
country people. The fattest pork that can be 
procured is bought by the lower order of the Ca- 


nadians, who scarcely eat any other meat. The 
Habitans, in particular, live for months upon 
pork ; a small piece of which, boiled down with 
some peas or beans into a soup, constitutes their 
chief dish. The veal sold by the Habitans is in 
general very young, as red as beef, and does not 
eat well. 

During Lent the French people live upon fish 
and vegetables, which they contrive to dress in 
the most palatable manner. The day after Good 
Friday the butchers make a sh ow of their meat, 
somewhat similar to our butchers before Christmas. 
The former decorate their meat with flowers and 
ribbands in order to tempt their customers, though 
one would think that but little inducement was 
necessary to invite them to eat after so long a 
fast. The Catholics at the close of Lent have a 
regale, and the butchers do not neglect to take 
advantage of that propitious moment. The finest 
quarters and joints are ticketed with the names of 
those happy people, who are alert enough to rise 
at three or four o clock in the morning and get to 
market before their neighbours. 

The dogs in little carts, which are mentioned 
by Mr. Weld and former writers, are now not 
much in use, except by boys ; every thing is 
brought to market in carts, or sleighs, drawn by 
Jiorses. The markets of Quebec are well supplied 
with every thing the country affords. In summer 






the following articles are brought to market by the 
Habitans, and generally sold at the prices affixed 
to them. 

Sterling money. 
Beef per lb. l^d. to 4d. 
Mutton per lb. 4 d. to 6d. ; per sheep 

8s to 10s. 

Meat. ! Lamb per quarter 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d. 
Veal (jd. to *jd. per lb. 
Pork 5d. to 6d. per lb. 
" Turkeys per couple 3s. 6d. to 5s. 


3d. to 2s. lOd. 
Is. 6d. to 4$. 6d. 

lOd. to lod. 
Is. 6d. to 4s. 
6d. to gd. 


Wild. do. 
Pigeons per doz. 
Hares each 

Eels, price according to the size 
Trout do. 

Perch do. 

Poisson Doree do. 
Maskinonge do. 
Shad each id. to id, 
Black basse 
Fresh Cod 
Salt Cod 
Cat Fish 
Potatoes I8d. to lOd. per bushel. 
Cabbages id. to id. each. 
, Onions per hundred lOd. 

Of various prices.accordinx to the size. 
At some periods cod and salmon are 
as dear as in London. 






Leeeks per bundle 4d. 
Carrots but very little cheaper than in 







Asparagus per bundle 
Cotpnnier do. 
^Boiled Corn, Herbs, &c. 




Apples l&s. per barrel 
Pears but few at market 
Strawberries about Qd. per quart 

Maple sugar id. to 3d. per Ib. 
Flour per cwt. 18s. to 25s. 
Lard ... 6d. to gd. per Ib. 
Tallow . . . gd. to lOd. do. 
Tobacco ..... gd. do. 
Butter . . . Qd. to I4d. do. 
Oats per minot 2,9. Qd. to 3 s, 
Hay per bundle 6d. to 7d. 
Straw per do. id. to 3d. 
Wood per cord 12s. to 15s. 
Stinking Cheese, Soap, Mogasins, 


In winter a portion only of the preceding ar 
ticles are brought to market. As soon as the 
river between Quebec and the Island of Orleans 
is frozen over, a large supply of provisions is re r 
ceived from that island. The Canadians at the 
commencement of winter kill the greatest part 
of their stock, which they carry to market in 
a frozen state. The inhabitants of the towns then 
supply themselves with a sufficient quantity of 
poultry and vegetables till spring, and keep them 
in garrets or cellars. As long as they remain 
frozen, they preserve their goodness, but they 
will not keep long after they have thawed. I have 
eaten turkeys in April which have been kept 
in this manner all the winter, and found them 
remarkably good. Before the frozen provisions 
are dressed, they are always laid for some hours 
in cold water, which extracts the ice ; otherwise, 
by a sudden immersion in hot water, they would 
be spoiled. 

The articles of life are certainly very reasonable 
in Canada ; but the high price of house rent and 
European goods, together with the high wages of 
servants, more than counterbalances that advan 
tage. A person must pay at least 70 or 10O per 
cent, upon the London price, for every article of 
wearing apparel, furniture, &c., unless he attends 
the public sales, which are pretty frequent, and 
where articles are sometimes sold very low ; but 

y PISH. 

there he is often liable to be deceived, and many 
a keen (Economist has been confoundedly bit. 

The Lower Town market- place is reckoned 
cheaper than the other. It is not so large, but is 
generally well supplied. Fish is at certain seasons 
abundant, particularly salmon and shad ; the latter 
is classed among the herrings, which it somewhat 
resembles in flavour, though widely differing in 
size, the shad being as large as a moderate-sized 
salmon. They are a great relief to the poor 
people in the months of May and June, as at that 
season they are taken in shoals in the river of 
St. Lawrence from the entrance to more than two 
hundred miles above Quebec : large quantities 
are salted down for the use of the upper province. 
Fresh cod are very rarely brought to market. A 
merchant in the Upper Town usually gets a sup 
ply once during the summer season, which he 
keeps in an ice-house, and retails to the inhabi 
tants at nearly the London price. Montreal re 
ceives a supply from the United States during the 
winter season ; they are packed up in ice, and a 
few of them find their way to Quebec. 

The maskinonge is a fish of the pike species, 
with a long hooked snout projecting over the 
mouth. It is caught in the small river of Maski 
nonge, about a hundred and thirty miles above 
Quebec. Trout, perch, and other small fish, are 
plentiful. The sturgeon, the basse, the achigan, 

FISH. 77 

and a large species of eel, are all favourite fish 
with the Canadians; but the pickerel, or poisson 
dorse, is reckoned the best that comes to market. 
It is a small fi^h, seldom exceeding the size of a 
haddock, which I think it much resembles in 
flavour. In speaking of the fish I must not omit 
a curious species, about the size and appearance 
of large smelts, but far inferior to them in 
quality. They are called by the inhabitants 
tommy cods, and are caught in the St. Lawrence, 
during the winter season, in little holes which 
are made in the ice. Small huts are erected over 
these holes, and in them the Canadians fish for 
the tommy cods with hooks and lines. They 
generally obtain enough to reward them for their 
trouble. Many sit up all night at this work ; for 
it is found that the fish bite better at that time 
than in the day. Great quantities are brought to 
market, and are very serviceable during Lent. 
In many places up the river, where they are taken 
in great abundance, and no sufficient sale is found, 
the country people feed their cattle with them. 
The eels of this country are all large, and by no 
means inviting to a refined taste. They have a 
strong rancid flavour, and contain a great deal pf 

Considering the vast quantities of fish, with 
which the river and gulf of St. Lawrence abound, 
I think the markets in Canada are very ill sup*. 


plied. Though the gulf is full of mackerel, yet 
none ever appear at Quebec. Oysters are some 
times brought from Chaleur Bay, but so seldom, 
and in such small quantities, that an oyster feast 
is considered by the inhabitants as a very rare 
treat. They are, however, but of an indifferent 
quality ; and though of large size when taken out 
of the shell, yet have so little substance in them, 
that when cut with a knife, the water runs out, 
and they diminish at least a fourth. The shells 
are large, and adhere to each other in great clus 
ters. The herrings of Canada are large, but of 
indifferent quality. Sprats there are none ; at least 
none ever appear on shore. 

In the spring the markets are abundantly sup 
plied with wild pigeons, which are sometimes 
sold much lower than the price I have mentioned : 
this happens in plentiful seasons; but the im 
mense flocks that formerly passed over the country 
are now considerably diminished ; or, as the land 
becomes cleared, they retire farther back. 

The beef of Canada is in general poor, and 
tough eating. The Canadians have not got into 
a proper method of fattening their cattle, which 
are for the most part lean and ill fed. The 
butchers however contrive to furnish a better 
sort, which they fatten on their own farms. The 
veal is killed too young to please an English taste, 
and the pork is overgrown. Mutton and lamb 


are very good; and the latter, on its first coming 
in, is sold at a price which would, not disgrace 
a London market. The Habitans sell their meat 
by the quarter, half, or whole carcase ; which 
accounts for the different prices I have affixed to 
those articles. The butchers retail them by the 

It is curious in winter time to see the stiff head 
less carcases of the sheep stuck upon their hind 
legs in different parts of the market-place. It 
is also highly amusing to behold the various 
groups of people, of all descriptions, that sur 
round the Habitans, looking over and scrambling 
for meat, poultry, and vegetables. Here may 
be seen men, women, and children ; masters, mis 
tresses, and servants; judges and members of the 
council; colonels, captains, and private solders; 
all promiscuously huddled together round the Ha 
bitant s cart, his basket, or his sack. One with a 
couple of turkeys in his hand ; another with a goose; 
a third snatching it out of her hand, exclaiming 
" That s my goose, ma am ;" a fourth smelling at 
a brace of partridges ; a fifth throwing the fellow s 
potatoes, cabbages, onions, apples, &c. into a little 
basket which she carries on her arm ; a sixth 
moving off with a slinking cheese in his pocket ; a 
seventh putting a mutton carcase under his arm, 
and bawling to the Habitant to take his money 
for it. In the midst of all this crowd stands the 


poor fellow, telling the price of half a dozen dif 
ferent things in a breath, taking the money of 
some, and refusing it of others. Yet it very 
seldom happens that he loses any of his articles, or 
suffers himself to be cheated. 

An anecdote is however told of a soldier, a few 
years ago, who stole a mutton carcase from one of 
the Habitans, and carried it into the adjoining 
barracks. The countryman got information of it, 
and applied to the officer on duty for leave to 
search the barrack rooms for his mutton. The 
officer accordingly accompanied him ; and after 
going through several of the apartments they came 
into one where two or three woman were crying 
and groaning lamentably over a dead body, stretch 
ed out on the bed and covered with a sheet. The 
officer asked who was dead ; " Ah, plase your 
honour, it s poor Mulrooney, who died suddenly 
with the gripes this morning." The Habitant, 
however, began to suspect that poor Mulrooney 
might be no other than his mutton, and therefore 
requested to see the corpse. The officer was upon 
the point of complying with his wishes, when 
the women immediately set up the Irish howl, 
shrieking and tearing their hair most piteously, 
and falling on the body, declared that they never 
would suffer poor dear Mulrooney to be taken for 
the carcase of a sheep, and would scratch the 
Frenchman s eyes out for wishing to disturb the 


dead. They were just going to put their threats 
in execution, when the countryman, alarmed for 
his safety, and frightened at their howlings, im 
mediately took to his heels and ran out of the 
barracks, though not without strong suspicions 
that Mulrooney s body was neither more nor less 
than his mutton. The fact was afterwards disco 
vered ; and, I believe, some remuneration was 
made the man for the loss of his sheep. 

Another trick was once played upon a Habi 
tant by a soldier, who had dressed himself as an 
officer s footman. He went to the countryman 
and asked what he had got in his bag ? The 
man answered, " A pig ;" upon which the soldier 
said he could not tell whether it would suit his 
master, but would take the pig for him to look 
at, and leave a dollar till he came back. He 
accordingly took the pig into the barracks, and 
returned to the man about five minutes after, 
saying that he was sorry the pig did not suit his 
master, and received his dollar back again. The 
unsuspecting countryman placed his bag again in 
the cart amongst his other articles : presently an 
old gentleman, a member of the house of assembly, 
came up, and began to overhaul the provisions in 
the cart. "What have you in the bag there?" 
said the old gentleman. "A pig, Sir." " Ah ! 
ah ! let me look at it." The Habitant laid hold 
of the bag, and the old gentleman opened the 

VOL. I. Gr 


mouth of it to examine the pig. when a large 
torn cat instantly sprung up in his face and made 
off with all speed for the barracks, leaving the 
member of the house of assembly and the Habi 
tant in the utmost consternation. 

Among the articles brought to market is one 
of a peculiar description called stinking cheese, 
which, from the richness of its flavour, is worthy 
of a place at any of our city feasts. It only re 
quires to be known in order to be sought after by 
all the lovers of highly-flavoured dainties ; by all 
who can feast upon venison and wild fowl in a state 
of putridity; for this cheese exactly resembles 
those epicurean delicacies in the odours which it 
exhales. It is a kind of new cheese made into 
small flat cakes ; but to reduce it to a rich pala 
table state, the country people wrap it up in wet 
hay or straw, and place it under a dunghill, where 
after it has lain a sufficient time to putrefy, it is 
taken out and carried to market for sale. I have 
frequently, on passing these cheeses, been obliged 
to hold my nose ; yet gentlemen reckon them 
a great delicacy, and put two or three with the 
wet musty hay into their pockets ! 

The best butter is brought from Green Island, 
about one hundred and fifty miles below Quebec. 
That sold by the Canadians iii the market-place 
is generally of a cheesy or sour flavour ; owing to 
the cream being kept so long before it is churned. 


Milk is brought to market in the \vlnter i,n 
large frozen cakes. 

Large quantities of maple sugar are sold at 
about half the price of the West India sugar. The 
manufacturing of this article takes place early in 
the spring, when the sap or juice rises in the 
maple trees. It is very laborious work, as at 
that time the snow is just melting, and the Ca 
nadians suffer great hardships in procuring the 
liquor from an immense number of trees dispersed 
over many hundred acres of land. The liquor is 
boiled down, and often adulterated with flour, 
which thickens, and renders it heavy : after it i$ 
boiled a sufficient time, it is poured into tureens, 
and, when cold, forms a thick hard cake of the 
shape of the vessel. These cakes are of a dark 
brown colour, for the Canadians do not trouble 
themselves about refining it. The people in 
.Upper Canada make it very white; and it may 
be easily qlarified equal to the finest loaf sugar 
jnade in England. 

It is very hard, and requires to be scraped 
with a knife when used for tea, otherwise the 
lumps would be a considerable time dissolving. 
Its flavour strongly resembles the candied hore- 
hound sold by the druggists in England, and the 
Canadians say that it possesses medicinal qualities, 
for which they eat it in large lumps. It very 
possibly acts as a corrective to the vast quantity 

G 2 


of fat pork which they consume, as it possesses a 
greater degree of acidity than the West India 
sugar. Before salt was in use, sugar was eaten 
with meat in order to correct its putrescency. 
Hence, probably, the custom of eating sweet apple 
sauce with pork and goose ; and currant jelly with 
hare and venison. 

Hay is sold at market in bundles of ITlbs- 
weight each, at 50s. the hundred bundles. Straw 
is sold in the same manner, at about half the 
price. Wood is brought to market in carts or 
sleighs ; three loads make one cord, which sells for 
from 12s. to 15s. Most people at Quebec, how 
ever, lay in their wood from the water side, near 
the Lower Town market-place. It is brought 
down the river in summer, in cribs of six cords 
each. A cord of wood is six feet long, four feet 
high, and two feet deep, and is sold at the water 
side for from 8s. to Qs. The expense of carting, 
piling, and sawing the wood is about 4s. Qd. 
more. Coals are generally brought by the vessels 
as ballast, and sell from 20s. to 30s. per chaldron 
at Quebec ; they are a cheaper fuel than wood, 
but the latter is better adapted for the stoves 
which are used in Canada. The French people 
sell their commodities by the minot, a measure 
which is one twelfth more than the Winchester 
bushel. They also measure land by the ctrpent,. 
which is four-fifths of a statute acre. 


Money in Canada is reckoned at the following 
weight and currency, agreeably to an act passed 
by the provincial parliament in April 1808 : 

Dwts. Grs. . s. d. 

British Guinea .......... 5 6 Troy* J 3 4 

Joannes of Portugal ...... 18 .... 4 O O 

Moidore of do .......... 6 18 .... 1 1O O 

American Eagle .......... 11 6.... 2100 

When weighed in bulk, the rate is currency, 4s. 9d. pec oz. 


Milled Doubloon, or four > . * 

3 14 6 

Pistole piece. .. 
French Louis d or. coined > 

before .793..! ..... $ * 4 - " l 28 
French Pistole, coined S 

before the same period f 
When weighed iu bulk, the rate is currency, 4l. 7s. &d. per 

oz. Troy j and in the same proportion for all the higher 

and lower denominations of the said gold coins. 
For every grain which the British, Portugal, 
and American coins weigh more than the stand 
ard, there is to be allowed and added l^d. cur 
rency; and for every grain less 2d. is to be deduct 
ed. And for every grain which the Spanish and 
French gold coins weigh more or less than the 
standard, there is to be an allowance of 1\d. cur 

In every payment exceeding the sum of twenty 
pounds, where one of the parties requires it, gold 
is to be weighed in bulk, and pass at the above 
rates ; and a deduction of half a grain Troy is to 


be made on every piece of coin so weighed, as a 
compensation to the receiver for the loss he may 
sustain in paying away the same by the single 

The silver coins are as follow : 

Canadian currency. 
. s. d. 

Spanish Piastre or Dollar O 5 

English Crown O 5 6 

French Crown, of 6 livres tournois. . . . O 5 6 
French do. of 4 livres 10 sols tournois O 4 2 

English Shilling O 1 1 

French piece of 24 sols tournois O 1 1 

L Escalin, or Pistoreen O 1 O 

French piece of 36 sols tournois. . . . . O 1 8 
The copper coin in circulation is English. The 
halfpence are called sols by the French, and cop* 
pers by the British. To bring sterling money 
into Canadian currency, one-ninth must be added ; 
and to bring currency into sterling one-tenth 
must be deducted. 



Curious Jargon in the Market-place Bon Tabac 
An Anecdote of an Irishman and a Habi 
tant Moccasins Swamp Boots Strawberries 
Raspberries Fruit brought to Market Vege 
tables Potatoes formerly looked upon as poi 
sonous by the French Rows of Cabbages and 
Onions Bread Price regulated by the Magis 
trates Large Exportation of Wheat Colonel 
Caldwell Breweries established at Quebec 
Hop Plantation at SULery Settlement of the 
Algonquins Emily Montague Wines drunk in 
Canada Rum Sugars Quantity of Tea re 
ceived from the United States Tobacco a// 
Trades and Professions. 

A CURIOUS sort of jargon is carried on in the 
market- place, between the French who do not 
understand English, and the English who do not 
understand French. Each endeavours to meet 
the other half way, in his own tongue ; by which 
means they contrive to comprehend one another, 
by broken phrases, for the common French mar 
keting terms are soon picked up. This inter 
course between the French and English has occa- 


sioned the former to ingraft many anglicisms in 
their language, which to a stranger arriving from 
England, and speaking only hoarding-school 
French, is at first rather puzzling. The Cana 
dians have had the character of speaking the 
purest French ; but I question whether they de 
serve it at the present day. 

A laughable anecdote is related of an Irishman 
and one of the Habitans, occasioned rather by a 
play upon words, than from any misunderstand 
ing between the parties. 

An Irish soldier one day bought a large quan 
tity of Canadian tobacco, and wishing to dispose 
of a part of it, he divided it into smaller rolls, 
similar to those which are sold in the market. 
He then posted himself in a crowded place and 
offered his tobacco for sale. A Habitant came 
up, and taking one of the rolls in his hand, 
asked if it was " bon tabac" " Oh, by Jasus," 
says Pat, " you will find it bone enough." Upon 
which the Frenchman and the Irishman struck 
a bargain for it ; and the tobacco was sold at a 
very good profit. The next day, however, the 
Habitant happening to espy Pat in the market 
place, immediately accused him of cheating, and 
complained to an officer who was passing at the 
time of the Irishman s roguery, and produced the 
bargain which he had purchased. The Irishman, 
on being interrogated respecting his conduct, de~ 


clared that it was a fair and honest sale. " Plase 
your honour, I would not chate a Christian for 
all the world : he asked me if it was c bone tabacj 
and sure enough, your honour, it was ; for I had 
wrapped round it a large marrow bone" The 
Frenchman, when he came to understand the 
joke, which was explained to him by the officer, 
enjoyed it so highly, that he agreed to compro 
mise the matter at the tavern. Pat joyfully ac 
ceded to the proposal, and swore it was a pity that 
such a jewel of a fellow was not born in sweet 
little Ireland. j 

Besides articles of provisions, a quantity of furs, 
skins, moccasins, and baskets of birch bark, are 
brought to market by the Indians, from the neigh 
bouring village of Lorette, whose chief subsistence 
rests more upon these commodities than upon the 
culture of the ground. Straw hats, moccasins, 
and baskets, are also offered for sale by the Cana 
dians. The moccasins are in general use among 
the country people as shoes. They are of Indian 
origin, and well adapted for dry weather, or when 
the snow is hard on the ground ; but they are not 
calculated to resist the wet, being made of a 
spongy sort of leather, slightly tanned, and with 
out the thick soles which shoes possess. Thick 
woollen socks are worn inside, and partly remedy 
their defects. Boots of the same leather, with 
moccasin feet, are much worn by the Habitans, 


and are also worn over others, as swamp boots, by 
those who are fond of shooting. 

The fruit of Canada is not remarkable either 
for goodness or cheapness, except strawberries and 
raspberries, which are brought to market in great 
abundance during the season. They are gathered 
on the plains at the back of Quebec, and in the 
neighbouring woods, where they grow upon the 
ground, or among the shrubs, in wild luxuriance. 
The poor Canadians send their children to gather 
them, and afterwards sell them to the inhabitants 
at a moderate price. It is an agreeable sight to 
view the fields covered with strawberries, in blos 
som or ripe ; and few persons keep them in gar 
dens. The raspberry bushes are intermingled 
with the underwood of the forests, and afford an 
agreeable treat to those who are fond of rambling 
in the woods. That pleasure is however more 
than counterbalanced by the musquitoes and sand 
flies, which never fail, for three or four months in 
the summer, to annoy those who venture to pene 
trate their abode. 

Apples and pears are procured from Montreal, 
where they grow in more abundance and in greater 
perfection than in any other part of Lower Ca 
nada. They are sold for much the same price as 
in England. The apple which is most prized is 
what they call the " pomme gris," a small light 
brown apple, somewhat resembling the russetin 


in appearance. Many persons say that it is su 
perior to any English apple, bnt I never could 
agree with them in that particular. In my opinion 
it is not equal to many of our apples, and cannot 
be compared with the nonpareil, an apple which 
is unknown in Canada. Several species of wild 
apples and pears are found in the woods, but they 
are of inferior quality to those cultivated in the 
gardens and orchards. 

The grapes brought to market are mostly of 
the wild species, which are gathered in the woods, 
or from vines that have been planted near the 
houses. Little care has been taken to improve the 
latter, so that very trifling alteration is discernible. 
They are scarcely larger than currants, but when 
ripe have a pleasant flavour, though rather sharp 
and pungent. There are a few European vines 
cultivated in the gardens, but the grapes are sel 
dom to be purchased. 

Oranges and lemons are imported from Eng 
land, and are always extremely scarce ; for the 
damage which they sustain on the voyage renders 
them a very unprofitable article for sale. They 
frequently sell (particularly oranges) at one or two 
shillings each. The lemons, which generally keep 
better, are sometimes as low as sixpence ; but they 
are often not to be purchased at any price. 

Gooseberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are 
in great abundance, and grow wild in the woods. 

02 FRUIT. 

Those cultivated in gardens are much superior. 
Currants came originally from Europe, and are 
to be found only in gardens ; there is, of course, 
but a scanty supply of them at market. Plums 
are plentiful in the market ; they are of the wild 
species, though often introduced into gardens. 
They are generally of two sorts, the white and 
black, and resemble the most common of our 

Walnuts and filberts are by no means common 
in Canada, and are procured principally by im 
portation from England. Hickory and hazel nuts 
are met with in the forests. The English walnut- 
trees do not thrive well in Canada ; and it has 
been remarked by naturalists, that the European 
trees were always more forward in their leaves 
and flowers than the native trees of America ; in 
consequence of which they were very often blight 
ed by the cold nights, which are frequent in the 
early part of the spring; while the American 
trees, which did not leaf or flower so soon, were 
generally preserved. Many days of an American 
spring are often hotter than English summers ; 
consequently, our trees feeling a certain degree of 
warmth so early, and which in their own country 
brings them to maturity, are not prepared for the 
sudden changes to which the American climate is 
liable. The English walnut-tree seems particu- 
la/ly subject to the variableness and severity of 

FRUIT. 93 

that climate. Even in the more southern parts 
of North America, it has been repeatedly killed 
by the frost. There is a species of black walnut- 
tree, a native of the country, the fruit of which 
is called, by the inhabitants, butter-nuts ; they are, 
however, very inferior to the English walnut. 
The inhabitants pickle them in the same manner 
as we do the latter, but they do not possess their 

Cherries are seldom seen in the markets ; they 
are the production only of gentlemen s gardens. 
Two sorts of wild cherries are plentifully scat 
tered over the country. They are, probably, mere 
varieties, though they differ materially in flavour. 
They are called choke cherries by the inhabitants, 
and seldom applied to any other purpose than the 
making of liqueur. The berries with their stones 
are bruised, and put into bottles of rum, brandy, 
or gin, with sugar, and in the course of a fort 
night they make a very agreeable liqueur, resem 
bling noyau. 

Melons of various kinds are cultivated in great 
plenty in Canada. The water and musk melon 
are most general. They do not thrive so wel^ 
about Quebec, as at Three Rivers and Montreal. 
They are sown frequently on hot-beds, but oftener 
in the open fields and gardens, and the summer 
heat is sufficient to ripen them without the aid 
of glasses. A species of yellow fly is often very 


destructive to the early plants, and sometimes 
totally destroys them. The Indians are as partial 
to melons as the French Canadians. It is how 
ever a subject of disputation, whether that fruit 
is a native of the country, or was introduced by 
Europeans. Gourds, pumpions, and cucumbers, 
are equally esteemed by the Habitans. The latter 
particularly are great favourites with them, and 
with a little salt and a piece of bread the cucum 
ber often constitutes the dinner of the poorer 

Vegetables of every description thrive well in 
Canada, and are in tolerable abundance at the 
markets. Those most in request by the French 
Canadians are onions, leaks, peas, beans, cab 
bages, and potatoes. The latter vegetable is now 
cultivated in large quantities all over Canada, but 
was scarcely known in the country before the 
conquest. The English settlers could not remain 
long without their favourite root, and soon com 
menced planting it. The French, who before 
that time declared they could find no relish in 
that vegetable, no sooner found that a good 
market was to be obtained for it, than they imme 
diately followed their example, and by degrees 
came to relish what they had before looked upon 
as poisonous. 

The Habitans are as poor gardeners as they 
are farmers. Those vegetables, which require 


some care and management are seldom brought 
to market in any perfection ; and are conse 
quently far inferior to ours, notwithstanding the 
soil and climate of Canada are as well adapted to 
them as that of England. The Canadians lay 
in a stock of vegetables and herbs, just before 
the winter sets in, which lasts their family till 
the following spring. Potatoes, carrots, turnips, 
parsnips., and beets, are preserved in the cellars, 
in sand. Cabbages, onions, &c., are hung up in 
the garrets of the gentry, and in the kitchens and 
sitting-rooms of the lower orders. A common 
Habitant s house, at that season of the year, ex 
hibits regular rows of onions, leeks, cabbages, 
and paper bags of dried herbs, all which regale 
the nose, as well as the eye, and render a night s 
lodging in one of their apartments by no means 

Bread is not cheap in Canada, and generally 
of very indifferent quality, though several Scotch 
bakers have emigrated to that country. They 
complain of the want of yeast at certain seasons ; 
but I believe their bad bread is oftener occa 
sioned by the indifferent flour which they pur 
chase of the Habitans in the market-place at a 
low price, and which they mix with the better 
sort of flour supplied from the mills of Colonel 
Caldwell, Messrs. Coltman, and others. Con 
siderable quantities of flour also come from 


06 WHEA1*. 

Upper Canada, but they are generally for expor 

The price of bread is regulated every month 
by the magistrates, who affix it according to the 
price of flour the preceding month. The white 
loaf of 4 Ibs. and the brown loaf of 6 Ibs. are sold 
at one price, which, upon an average, during 
/the time I remained in Canada, was about ten- 
pence sterling, nearly equal to the English quar 
tern loaf at eleven-pence, a price which cannot 
be called reasonable in a country that produces 
such an abundance of wheat for exportation ; 
though that is most likely the cause of its high 

Within the last twenty years great quantities 
of wheat have been raised in Canada, and ex 
ported to Great Britain. The temporary scarcity 
experienced in England, at certain periods, in 
creased the demand for that article, and encou 
raged the Canadians to cultivate with more spirit 
than, till then, they had been accustomed to. The 
demand did not always answer their expectations, 
and has been for some years in a decreasing state. 
In 1796 only 3,106 bushels were exported, in 
1802 the exports of wheat had increased to 
1,010,033 bushels, and in 1808 it had fallen to 
180,708 bushels. The average price of wheat 
September 1 808 was seven shillings and sixpence 
sterling per busheL 


Colonel Caldwell has four or five large mills, 
in the district of Quebec, for grinding wheat. 
They are reckoned the best in the province, and 
are superintended by his son, who possesses 
considerable mechanical abilities, a great portion 
of the machinery having been improved under 
his direction. They employ European and Ca 
nadian workmen, and several Americans from 
the States, whom they engage for a certain term. 
The Colonel is possessed of large property, con 
sisting chiefly of seignories and townships. It 
is said that he obtained the greatest part of his 
landed property, by purchasing, at a very cheap 
rate, the lots which fell to the share of the soldiers \ 
belonging to several regiments that were dis 
banded in Canada. It was certainly a very poor 
remuneration for long services, for the Canadian 
government to grant lots of land to the soldiers, 
upon which fees of four or five pounds each 
were to be paid to the government clerks. The 
men could not raise the money, and were obliged 
to dispose of their lots, consisting of two hundred 
acres each, for not more than thirty or forty j 
shillings the lot. Colonel Caldwell is receiver- 
general of Lower Canada, and receives a salary of 
four hundred pounds per annum. He was an 
ensign in Wolfe s army at the capture of Quebec, 
and at the conclusion of the war settled in the 

VOL. i. # 


country. He is a very respectable old gentleman, 
and much esteemed throughout the province. 

Within these few years, three or four extensive 
breweries have been established at Quebec. The 
first, I believe, was begun by Messrs. Young and 
Ainslie, who had also a very large distillery at 
Beauport. The success of these gentlemen, it is 
said, prompted Messrs. Lester and Morrough to 
set up the Cape Diamond Brewery ; which un 
fortunate opposition ended in the failure of both* 
Some smaller concerns have also risen into no 
tice, and with the two former, which are now in 
the possession of other proprietors, supply Que 
bec and the rest of the country with ale, porter* 
arid table beer. That which is called mild ale 
is in most request, and sells for sixty shillings the 
hogshead. Table beer is twenty shillings. A 
few years ago very little barley was raised in 
Canada. At present there is more than sufficient. 
to supply the breweries ; a circumstance which 
shows that the Canadians are not disinclined to 
exert themselves, when their efforts are likely to 
turn to a good account. 

Hops are supplied by a Mr. Hullett, who re 
sides at Sillery, about four miles above Quebec. 
He purchased the beach between the mountain 
and the water side, as far as Wolfe s Cove. Part 
of this he inclosed, and converted it into an 


excellent hop-ground ; the remainder he rents out 
to the merchants, for culling and stowing their 
timber and staves. It is on this shore, from his 
house down th L Ance des Meres, that the Ame 
ricans lay all their rafts of timber, planks, and 
staves, which they bring from Lake Champlain 
down the river Chambly. Here it is culled and 
sold to the merchants, who contract with govern 
ment, or otherwise dispose of it to their agents in 
England. Mr. Hullett was fortunate enough to 
purchase this property for a very trifling sum, 
and from his improvements it is now become 
extremely valuable. His hop-plantation succeeds 
to the utmost of his wishes, and is as extensive as 
the ground will permit. It is sheltered from the 
bleak N. W. blasts by the lofty and extensive 
mountain, or high land, which commences at 
Quebec, and continues along the river to Cape 
Rouge, where it subsides into a valley. This 
spot was formerly occupied by a French religious 
institution for the conversion and instruction of 
the Indians. It was founded in 1^37, and at 
one time was inhabited by twelve French families. 
Two old stone houses, and the remains of a small 
chapel, are all that exist of that settlement. This 
spot is remarkable for the interest given to it by 
Mrs. Brookes, in her Emily Montague. The 
Algonquins once had a village in the neighbour 
hood of this, place : and hieroglyphics cut on tree*, 

H 2 


as well as several of their burying-places, are yet 
visible in different parts of the woods. The hops 
produced here are equal to those of English growth, 
and the soil and climate appear to be extremely 
well adapted to their cultivation. Exclusive of 
the quantity supplied by Mr. Hullett, hops are 
also imported into Canada from England, and 
the United States, and sell for eighteen pence 
per pound. 

The generality of the wine drank in Canada 
rs of an inferior quality. A few of the principal 
people who do not regard the expense, import a 
better sort for their own consumption ; but the 
best wines would never answer the purposes of 
the merchants. Madeira is the favourite wine of 
the inhabitants ; but, unfortunately for them, 
they seldom or never drink it in perfection. The 
excellent London particular, which they prize so 
highly, and which the merchants puff off so much, 
is nothing more than a compound of Teneriffe, 
Sicilian, or Lisbon wines, with a few gallons of new 
Madeira. This choice wine is sold at sixty or 
seventy pounds per pipe. Their Port, which sells- 
at about seventy pounds, is equally bad ; and if by 
chance a pipe or two of superior quality arrives, 
it becomes a mere drug in the merchant s store ; 
for their taste is so vitiated by the bad wine in 
-common use, that they do not know how to ap 
preciate the good when it is offered them. Their 


spirits are very little better than their \vines. 
Brandy and hollands are not worth noticing, ex 
cept that the former is most execrable Spanish* ^/ 
and sells for ten shillings per gallon, Their rum ) 
is new and of a very indifferent quality, yet it is 
drunk the most of any other liquor. Old rum is 
unknown. In the year 1807, 380,130 gallons 
were imported from Great Britain and her colo 
nies, and were retailed at five shillings and six 
pence per gallon. An article has only to be cheap 
to recommend it for sale in Canada ; it is of little 
consequence what its qualities may be, if it is 
high priced ; as in that case it will never answer 
for a Canadian market ; that is, it will never bring 
the merchants fifty or one hundred per cent. 

Refined and coarse sugars are reasonable. Loaf 
sugar is frequently to be bought at ninepence, U 
and moist sugar at fourpence per Ib. Teas are 
high, consktering there is no duty upon them. 
Nearly the whole of the tea drunk in Canada is 
green, and is retailed from five to ten shilling* [/ 
per Ib. The best hyson is sometimes twelve or 
fourteen. Souchong tea, so much used in En 
gland, is scarcely known : execrable bohea sells 
for from two shillings to three and sixpence. Teas 
are brought in large quantities from the United- 
States. In 1807 the importation of that article 
was 42,000 Ibs., while the importation from En 
gland was only 4,500 Ibs. This is occasioned by 


their procuring teas cheaper from the United 
States than from England, though they are greatly 
inferior in quality. 

Coffee and chocolate are drunk principally by 

the French inhabitants. The quantity imported 

, in 1807 was 19,598 Ibs. of coffee from Great Bri- 

j tain and her colonies, and 8,070 Ibs. chocolate 

from the United States, where manufactories of it 

are established. Both these articles are of inferior 

quality, and are retailed upon an average at two 

shillings per Ib. 

Manufactories of soap and candles are esta 
blished at Quebec, and those articles are sold 
nearly at the same price as in London; if any 
thing, rather higher. The country people make 
their own soap and candles. 

English cheese, in consequence of the loss fre 
quently sustained on the voyage, bears a high 
price ; and the small quantity which arrives safe, 
sells at two shillings, and two shillings and six 
pence per Ib. The deficiency is supplied by Ame 
rican cheese, some of which is tolerably good, but 
the greatest part is little better than our Suffolk 
cheese. It is imported in considerable quantities 
from the States, and is retailed at from sixpence 
to ninepence per Ib. In J8O7, 37,188 Ibs. were 
brought into Canada. 

Tobacco, notwithstanding it is cultivated by 
almost every farmer in Canada, yet is imported 


in large quantities both from England and the 
United States. In 1807, the following quantity 
was imported from those countries. 

From Great Britain and her colonies : 

Leaf Tobacco 151,578 Ibs. 

Manufactured do 1,145 Ibs. 


From the United States : 

Leaf Tobacco 150,747 Ibs. 

Manufactured do 51,O82 Ibs. 

Snuff l6,058lbs. 


Difference in favour of the United States 35, 164 

Thus it appears that the United States have 
the advantage of Great Britain in the exportation 
of manufactured tobacco and snuff, to the amount 
of 65,995 Ibs., and upon the whole article of to 
bacco to the amount of 3 5,1 64 Ibs. Leaf tobacco 
sells from gd. to 1$., and the manufactured from 

l&d. to 2$. 


Salt is procured chiefly from Liverpool. In J 
1807, upwards of 220,000 bushels were imported. 
The preceding winter there was a great scarcity 
of that article ; and the last ship which arrived 
with it sold her cargo at 7s. 6d. per bushel. At 
one time during the winter it was as high as 
and 14s. ; but the next spring it fell to 3$. 



which is generally the price at which it is retailed. 
Ships from Liverpool are most commonly baU 
lasted with salt ; and during the season of their 
arrival at Quebec some of the merchants pur 
chase it from 1 5d. to 20d. per bushel, and mono 
polize it until the season is over, when ne more 
supplies can be procured till the following spring. 

A considerable quantity is annually exported to 
the United States. The Vermontese, on the con 
fines of Canada, depend wholly on that country 
for their supply of salt, as they procure it much 
cheaper than from the sea-port towns in the New 
England states. These people salt large quanti 
ties of beef, pork, and butter; a great part of which 
they export to Canada. More than 250,000 Ibs. 
were received in 1807 from the United States. 

Trades and professions, though not so nume 
rous in Quebec and the other towns of Canada 
as in those of England, or even the United States, 
yet are much more so than is generally known ; 
and there are few articles requisite for use in that 
country but what may be easily procured. There 
are saddlers, blacksmiths, carpenters, mill-wrights, 
potters, brewers, distillers, wheel- wrights, ca 
lash and cariole-builders, boat-builders, ship 
builders, tanners, cabinet-makers, house-painters, 
bakers, tailors, tinmen, hatters, shoe-makers and 
sail-makers, block and mast-makers, barbers and 
perfumers, auctioneers and brokers, spruce-beer 


merchants^ a hop-planter, a dancing-master, a few 
school-masters, and two music-masters ; besides 
a quantum sufficit of physicians, surgeons, and 
practitioners in pharmacy ; one of whom, who 
resides at Quebec, has " one of the neatest and 
best provided shops for the three branches in the 
province." There is no paucity of store-keepers 
and merchants ; neither is there any lack of 
bishops, priests and curates, judges, advocates, 
notaries and magistrates, military men and tavern- 



Climate of Lower Canada Severity of Ike Cold 
Drifting of the Snow in the Streets up to the 
Garret Windows Frozen Channel Passage 
over the broken Masses of Ice Canoes Noise 
of the floating Ice Travelling in Winter 
Warm Clothing Frost-bitten Cheeks Clear 
Sky Supposed Alteration in the Climate Jour 
nals of the Weather in 1745 and 1807 Cana 
dian Exaggeration Use of Stoves Open Fire 
places Observations upon the Change of Climate 
Longevity in Canada Breaking up of the Ice 
Arrival of thejirst Vessel Progress of Vege 
tation Wet MontJis Thunder and Lightning 
Severe Storm at Quebec State of the Ther 
mometer Plagues of Canada Scorching Sum 
mers Agreeable Autumns. 

THE climate of Lower Canada is liable to vio 
lent extremes of heat and cold ; the thermometer 
is sometimes up to 103 of Fahrenheit in summer, 
and in winter 36 degrees below O : these extremes 
do not, however, last above two or three days at 
a time. The average of summer heat is, in gene- 


ral, from 75 to 8 O degrees, and the mean of the 
cold in winter about O. 

During ten months which I remained in Quebec, 
from November 1806 to August 1&07, I paid par 
ticular attention to the weather. We arrived at 
the latter end of October, at which time there 
was a very sharp frost, but no snow had fallen. 
During the early part of November the weather 
was at times very mild, with frequent rain and 
snow ; the latter, however, never settled till the 
last week in that month, when scarce a day passed 
without a heavy fall of snow, sleet, or hail, which 
rendered this period extremely unpleasant, and 
generally confined us to the house. 

When business obliged me to go out, I found 
the severity of the weather was excessive. The 
sleet and snow frequently froze as it beat in my 
face, and almost prevented me from walking along. 
Large bodies of snow drifted in the streets, in 
several places above the height of a man, and 
frequently rendered the passage impassable. In 
the narrow streets the snow reached up to the 
garret windows of the small houses ; but, by the 
exertions of the inhabitants, was kept in the mid 
dle of the street, so as to leave a narrow passage 
between their houses and the high mound of 

This weather continued till about the middle 
of December, when the clouds dispersed, and the 


rough boisterous snow storms were succeeded by 
a fine, clear, frosty air. The sky became serene, 
and assumed a bright azure hue, which, with 
little alteration, lasted till the month of March. 

The last ship sailed from Quebec on the 5th 
December, at which time there was scarcely any 
ice in that part of the river ; but so rapidly did it 
accumulate, that in less than two days after her 
departure, large masses were floating up and down 
with the tide. The vessel did not get further 
than Kamouraska, about 100 miles below Quebec, 
having been overtaken by a snow storm, which 
drove her on shore, where she was obliged to re 
main all the winter. 

It is very hazardous for vessels to stay so late 
in the season before they leave Quebec; for the 
ice increases so incredibly fast in the course of a 
night, that the navigation of the river, which is 
clear one day, becomes the next morning im 

The river, from Montreal downwards, generally 
freezes across as far as the rapids of Richlieu, 
which are situated about 45 miles above Quebec. 
From Richlieu to Quebec, the river is seldom 
completely frozen over. The ice continues all 
the winter to float up and down with the tide, 
increasing or diminishing with the seventy or 
mildness of the weather. 

The Island of Orleans, which divides the river 


into two channels,, contributes greatly to the ac 
cumulation of the ice in the neighbourhood of 
Quebec. On the north side of that island the 
channel is much narrower, and the tide less rapid 
than on the south side. The vast masses of ice 
which are therefore collected together in the 
basin that is formed by the end of the islands, 
the shores of Beauport, Point Levi, and Quebec, 
generally block up the north channel about the 
first week in January, and open a communication 
between the inhabitants of the island and Quebec. 
This bridge of ice is always anxiously looked for 
by both parties ; the one to sell, and the other 
to buy, the large stock of provisions which the 
islanders prepare for market at the commence 
ment of winter. 

The people of Orleans, besides the advantage of 
a more fruitful soil, are reckoned better farmers 
than their neighbours ; their provisions are there 
fore more prized than those of the other Habitans. 

Another part of the river between Quebec and 
the opposite shore of Point Levi is sometimes, 
though very rarely, frozen over. This is occa 
sioned more by accident than the severity of the 
weather, and happened only for a few hours one 
day, during my residence in Canada. The Ca-? 
nadians call this the pont or bridge, as it affords 
the inhabitants of the south shore the same con 
venience as the islanders enjoy, of carrying their 


provisions to the Quebec market in sleighs across 
the ice. As this so seldom occurs, they cannot, 
of course, often enjoy that convenience ; but it 
only serves to stimulate them to greater exertions, 
and it is wonderful to see with what dexterity they 
bring over their provisions in canoes across the 
large bodies of floating ice. 

Eight or ten men, accompanied frequently by 
two or three women, with a canoe laden with 
meat and vegetables, seize a favourable moment 
when the tide is slack, and paddle from the shore 
to the nearest mass of ice ; there they disembark, 
haul the canoe across, and lamich it in the largest 
space of water adjoining. When all are embarked, 
they paddle to the next floating body of ice, and 
disembarking again, drag their canoe to the oppo 
site side, where they once more reimbark, and 
pursue the same course, perhaps, over a dozen 
other pieces .of ice, and intermediate spaces of 
water, until they arrive at Quebec, where they 
dispose of their provisions, and return at the next 
slack tide in the same manner. 

The canoes are hollowed out of the trunks of 
large elm trees. The larger sort are made of two 
trees, properly shaped and hollowed, and secured 
together in the centre. The seam is caulked and 
pitched, and the bottom and sides strengthened 
with thwarts. They are capable of carrying up 
wards of a dozen people, besides large stocks of 



provisions. The French Canadians never make 
use of any other than these wooden canoes. The 
Indians use canoes of bark taken from the birch- 
tree. They are extremely light, and very liable 
to be upset, and perforated, by persons unac 
quainted with the management of them. 

The ice floating up and down opposite Quebec, 
makes a hollow crashing noise in its progress, 
extremely well suited to, and in unison with, the 
gloomy splendour of the scene. This continues 
till the latter end of April, when the ice disappears 
as suddenly as it came. After the ice from Lake 
St. Peter has passed, it is gone in the course of a 
night : not a vestige remains. 

When the snow ceases to fall, about the last 
week in December, it then hardens into a solid 
body, and horses, sleighs, and carioles, pass over 
it with great facility. But as the snow only 
covers thinly the elevated parts of the ground over 
which it drives, and settles in hollows and declivi 
ties to a great depth, as well as drifting into 
heaps at every little obstacle in its way ; the people 
at the commencement of winter level all their 
fences on the road side with the ground, except 
the standard posts, into which the rails are again 
put in the spring. The snow has thus a free 
passage between, and lies even upon the ground. 
If it was not for this precaution, the roads would 
be intolerably bad, and perhaps impassable. The 


fields and roads covered with the snow, present a 
dreary and vacant scene to the eye. The fences 
and rail posts are buried underneath, which 
obliges the inhabitants to stick up small branches 
of fir and pine in the snow, in order to mark out 
the road, as one fall of snow in the night would 
obliterate the track of the carioles, and people 
might lose their way. These evergreens at equal 
distances have a pleasant effect, and afford some 
relief to the white and monotonous appearance of 
the snowy plains. 

The cold at certain periods is excessive, and 
would be often dangerous if the people were not 
so well guarded against its effects by warm cloth<- 
ing. When travelling, they wrap themselves up 
in buffalo robes, exclusive of the great coats, 
fur caps, mittens, and Shetland hose, which 
they wear whenever they go out of doors. The 
warmest clothing, indeed, is absolutely necessary, 
as they are exposed to the inclemency of the 
weather in open carioles or sleighs, arid the situa 
tion of the driver, who sits or stands up in front, 
is by no means enviable. On some of the coldest 
days, when walking, I have found my English 
surtout sufficient ; but, when sitting in an open 
cariole, exposed to the keen and piercing wind, 
the severity of which was increased by the velo- 
city of the horse and vehicle, a thick great coat 
with a lining of shatnois leather was not sufft- 


cient to keep warmth within me, without the aid 
of a large buffalo robe. These robes, as they 
are called by the Canadians, are merely the hides 
of buffaloes, which are dressed, and lined with 
green baize ; they are very thick, and with the 
hair on them effectually prevent the cold air from 

The greatest degree of cold experienced during 
the winter I remained at Quebec was on the 15th 
February, when the thermometer fell 30 degrees 
below O. The preceding month it had been se- 
Veral times as low as 15 and 18, and at one time 
26 degrees below 0. The greatest degree of cold 
which I have heard of in Canada was 36 below O. 
On the coldest days I have walked through the 
town, and with the wind at my back suffered 
very little inconvenience ; but when I turned 
about, I found, as the keen air blew on my face, 
that my cheeks became numbed and insensible, 
and would most likely have been frost-bitten 
had I not rubbed them briskly with my hands, 
and restored the circulation of the blood. It is 
not uncommon on those severe days for people to 
have their cheeks, nose, or ears, frost-bitten ; and 
often before they are aware of it. It is then dan 
gerous to approach the fire hastily. The frost 
bitten parts must be rubbed with snow until the 
blood circulates, otherwise mortification would in 
all probability ensue. 

VOL. I. J 


The winter from Christmas to Lady-day fe 
almost always remarkable for a fine, clear, azure 
sky seldom obscured by fogs or clouds; and the 
dry frosty weather is rarely interrupted by falls 
of snow, sleet, or rain. These advantages render 
a Canadian winter so agreeable and pleasant, that 
the inhabitants are never under the necessity of 
changing their dress, from any sudden alteration 
of the weather, unless it is to discard their great 
coat and fur caps, which is rendered necessary 
sometimes by the powerful warmth of the sun, 
whose beams are scarcely ever intercepted by a 
single cloud. The aurora borealis is common 
m Canada, and frequently illuminates the winter 
evening with its playful light. 

On my return to Canada from the United 
States in May, 1808, I was informed that the pre 
ceding winter had been unusually mrld, the wea 
ther open, and subject to frequent falls of snow 
and rain ; so much so^ that the inhabitants were 
repeatedly deprived of the pleasures of carioling. 
This remarkable exception to the general cha 
racter of the Canadian winters is a singular cir 
cumstance, but it is no proof that the severity of 
the climate is abating. I shall offer a few obser 
vations upon that subject. 

It is the general opinion of the inhabitants 
that the winters are milder, and that less snow 
falls now than formerly ; that the summers ace 


also hotter. This might be easily accounted for 
by the improved state of the country. The 
clearing of the woods, and cultivation of the 
lands, together with the increased population, 
must naturally have a considerable effect upon 
the climate. The immense forests, which before 
interposed their thick foliage between the sun 
and the earth, and prevented the latter from re 
ceiving that genial warmth which was necessary 
to qualify its rigorous atmosphere, are now con 
siderably thinned, or entirely destroyed, in various 
parts of the country. The powerful rays of the 
sun now meet with little obstruction ; the culti 
vated soil imbibes its heat, and returns it again to 
the surrounding air in warm and humid vapours. 
Added to this, the exhalations arising from so 
many thousands of men and cattle, together with 
the burning of so many combustibles, must greatly 
contribute to soften the seventy of the climate* 
Yet with all these truths, which amount nearly to 
a demonstration of the fact, and apparently sub 
stantiated by the opinion of the inhabitants, I 
do not find, upon reference to a meteorological 
journal, that so great an alteration has taken 
place, at least within the last sixty years, as the 
circumstances I have mentioned would seem to 

In this old journal for the year 1745 it is ob* 
served, that on the 2Qth January of that year th* 

I 2 


river St. Lawrence near Quebec was covered with 
ice, but that in preceding years it had frequently 
been covered in the beginning of that month, or 
about the end of December. Now, during my 
stay at Quebec in 1806, the river was covered 
with ice by thejirst week in December, and a ship 
was prevented from going to Europe. Thus the 
winter commenced at least three weeks sooner in 
1806 than in 1745. 

In March, 1745, the journal mentions, that it 
had been a very mild winter, that the snow was 
only two feet deep, and the ice in the river of the 
same thickness. In 1 806 the snow was upon an 
average, in the vicinity of Quebec, at least four 
feet in depth, and the ice in the river more or less 
as it accumulated in floating with the tide. Many 
pieces were from twelve to sixteen feet in depth, 
and others still more* 

On the 20th April, 1745, the ice in the river 
broke near Quebec, and went down. It is ob 
served, however, in the journal, that it seldom 
happened so soon, for the river opposite Quebec 
was sometimes covered with ice on the 10th of 
May. On the 7th April that year the gardeners 
had begun to make hot beds, and on the 25th 
many of the farmers had begun to sow their corn. 

In April, 1807, the ice began to break up about 
the third week. On the 28th the ice from Lake 
$t. Peter, above Three Rivers, came down, and 


crowded the river and shores in the neighbour 
hood of Quebec with large masses. In the midst 
of this, with the flood tide, a vessel arrived at 
Quebec from Liverpool, being the first of tHe 
season. It was a very dangerous experiment, 
and excited the surprise of the inhabitants, who 
said that such an early arrival was very uncom 
mon. By the 3d of May the ice was entirely 

Strawberries were to be had at Quebec on the 
22d June, 1745. But in 1807 we could not 
procure them till about the 1 5th or 20th of July ; 
and while I remained at Three Rivers, in the 
summer of 18O8, it was the second week of July 
before the strawberries were ripe in that neigh 

On 22d August, 1745, the harvest began in 
the vicinity of Quebec, In 18O7 and 18O8 it 
was above a week or ten days later, though the 
summer of the latter year was remarkably hot. 
An observation in the old journal states, that the 
corn was never ripe in years preceding 1745 till 
about the 15th September ; and that corn seldom 
arrives at its proper maturity in Canada, except in 
very hot summers. 

The Habitans continued to plough in 1745 till 
the lOth November. As late as the 18th the cattle 
went out ef doors ; and on the 24th there was no 
ice in the St. Lawrence. 


On the 1st December of the same year, the 
journal mentions as remarkable, that a ship could 
set sail for France, the river being then so clear 
of ice; that on the l6th the river was covered 
with ice on both sides, but open in the middle, 
and on the 26th the ice was all washed away by 
a heavy rain ; but on the 28th part of the river 
was again covered with it, 

Now, in the first week of December in 1806 
and 1807, vessels were obliged to leave Quebec 
on account of the vast bodies of floating ice with 
which the river was covered, and which continued 
during those winters. 

From these statements it appears evident, that 
an improvement in the climate of Canada is ex 
tremely doubtful. It has also been observed by 
some of the religious orders who were in the 
practice of keeping meteorological journals, that 
the winters half a century ago were as hard as in 
former years, though somewhat shorter, and the 
summers rather longer, but not hotter, than they 
used to be. 

The winters sometimes differ so materially 
from each other, as well as the summers, that 
no accurate estimate can be formed, sufficient 
to ascertain whether the changes that take place 
are occasioned by any increase or diminution of 
the severity of the climate. It is possible that 
3 very hot summer, by heating the soil beyond 


the usual depth, may occasion the mildness of 
the subsequent winter. As to the statements of 
the inhabitants, they are influenced more by 
their own feelings, than by any accurate obser 
vation. They are also fond of exaggerating the 
rigour of their winters to strangers ; and when 
I observed to several that neither the cold nor the 
quantity of snow and ice answered my expecta 
tions, they replied, that the winters were milder 
than formerly : yet it appears that the winter of 
] 8O6-7 was severer and longer than that of 1745-6. 
The Canadians, however, feel the cold more than. 
Europeans on their first arrival. The constant 
use of stoves renders them very little better than 
hot-house plants during winter, and in summer 
they are exposed to a burning sun. These things 
do not affect the European constitution for the 
first two or three years, but afterwards it becomes 
as sensible to the heat and cold as that of the Ca 
nadians. It may astonish those who have heard 
such dreadful accounts of a Canadian winter, 
when I assert it as a fact, that the people of Great 
Britain suffer more from the cold than the people 
of Canada ; or at least they are more exposed to 
it ; for they seldom make any material alteration 
in their dress, either summer or winter; and, 
with their open fire-places, they are burning on 
one side and freezing on the other. This, how 
ever, hardens the constitution of an Englishman, 


while the stoves and warm clothing of Canada, 
which often heat the body beyond what the cli 
mate requires, weaken and debilitate the frames 
pf those who reside in that country. A proper 
attention, however, to heat and cold is all that is 
requisite for an European to enjoy the most per 
fect health in Lower Canada. By the same mode 
of life that he enjoys health in England, he may 
live to a good old age in that country. 

During my stay in Canada I was careful in 
noting those periods at which the winter began 
and finished ; and also those circumstances at 
particular seasons, which denote the mildness or 
severity of the weather. I have not judged of 
the climate merely by my own feelings, as to heat 
and cold, because such conclusions must be incor 
rect, when applied to the feelings of others whose 
constitutions and temperaments may be totally 
different from mine. I have stated facts which 
came immediately under my own observation ; 
and by comparing them with the observations of 
others who had attended minutely to the subject, 
the reader will be better able to form a correct 
judgement for himself, as to the melioration of 
climate which is generally supposed to have taken 
place in Canada. It is an interesting question, be 
cause it involves the truth of that universally re 
ceived opinion, that the clearing and cultivation 
pf lands effect a very considerable improvement in 


the climate. Were I to form an opinion on the 
subject, it would be, that the clearing and cultiva^ 
tion of land in Canada have occasioned a certain 
degree of alteration in the climate without improv 
ing it ; that the winters are as cold, and the sum 
mers as hot, as they were before the settlement of 
the country, but that the weather is more variable 
and inconstant. The country, however, is yet 
new, and the cultivated parts bear but a small 
proportion to the immense wildernesses that yet 
exist. It is too much, therefore, to expect that 
any very important change can have taken place 
in the climate of that country. 

The months of March and April are in general 
very hot, and the sun then begins to have great 
power, which is considerably heightened by the 
reflection of the snow and ice. The inhabitants 
are more tanned by the reflection of the snow iir 
these months than they are at any other season 
of the year by the sun. It is likewise so very hurt 
ful to the eyes, that they are obliged to wear shades 
of green gauze fastened to their hats. 

The snow begins to melt early in April, and by 
the second or third week it is generally all gone. 
Puring this period it is dreadful walking in town, 
and as bad travelling in the country. The streets 
of Quebec are inundated with snow-water, and the 
kennels have the appearance and sound of so many 
little rapids. The ice in the river is seldom totally 


gone before the first week in May. The breaking 
up of the ice in the vicinity of Quebec is not at 
tended with any remarkable noise or appearance ; 
but at Montreal, and the upper parts of the river, 
where it is frozen quite across, I am told it has a 
grand appearance, and breaks up with loud reports. 
The lake ice comes down in prodigious quantities 
for several days, bringing with it the roots and 
branches of trees which it tears from the islands 
and shores in its progress. Until these have 
passed, none of the river vessels can leave Quebec 
^for Montreal. Vessels, however, sometimes arrive 
from Europe in the midst of them, as was the case 
in 1807. The first vessel that arrived from Europe 
in 1 SOS came up to Quebec on the 1 Qth of April, 
nine days earlier than the preceding year. The 
river however was full of ice, which floated with 
the tide in large masses. The vessel was forced 
ashore on the island a few days before she got up 
to the town, and was near being lost. 

The progress of vegetation, as soon as the winter 
is over, is exceedingly rapid. The trees obtain their 
verdant foliage in less than three weeks. The fields, 
which the autumn before were apparently burnt 
up, are now adorned with the richest verdure. 
Nature seems anxious to arouse from the lethargy 
into which she had been thrown by the chilling 
blasts of winter, and to exchange her hoary raiment 
for one more splendid and magnificent. Spring can 


scarcely be said to exist before summer is at hand. 
The productions of the field and the garden are 
brought in quick succession to the markets ; and 
fresh meat, poultry, and vegetables, now regale 
the inhabitants, who for so many months had 
been confined to their frozen provisions. 

The months of May and June are often wet; 
sometimes greatly to the detriment of husbandry. 
In the spring of 1807 the weather was unusually 
wet from the latter end of April until the 10th 
of June, when it cleared up, after a most violent 
thunder storm which happened on the Qth. 
During May, scarcely a day passed without rain, 
and the weather was excessively changeable: 
Fahrenheit s thermometer was sometimes as high 
as 75, and at other times as low as 20, in the 
course of four-and-twenty hours. The farmers 
had not finished sowing by the middle of June, 
though they in general get all their wheat into 
the ground by the 20th of May. Some people 
are of opinion, that sowing late answers best in 
Canada, as the ground has then time to imbibe 
the heat of the sun after the snow has melted; 
and that wheat sown in June is ripe as soon as 
that sown in May. The practice of the Canadian 
farmers is, however, contrary to this theory. 

Thunder and lightning do not very often visit 
Canada ; but when they do^ their violence is 
great, and damage generally ensues. The storm 


on the Qth of June 1807 was the most violent 
combination of thunder, lightning, and rain, that 
I ever witnessed. It began in the forenoon, and 
continued without intermission till midnight. 
The weather had been very sultry, and the 
thunder and lightning followed each other in 
quick succession all day, accompanied by heavy 
showers of rain. But when night came on, the 
lightning was uncommonly strong and vivid. 
The whole sky was illuminated every moment, 
while it played in forky mazes through the air. 
The thunder rolled in long and dreadful peals 
over the lofty chain of mountains in the vicinity 
of Quebec ; while the valleys echoed with the 
fulminating voice of Nature, which seemed to 
threaten the dissolution of all her works. Up 
wards of sixty vessels were in the river, and I 
was greatly alarmed for their safety. Our house 
being situated close to the water- side, I had an 
extensive view of this sublime and awful specta 
cle, for many miles distant over the south shore, 
the island of Orleans, and the mountains to the 
northward. Fortunately, no accident of conse 
quence happened, though the electric fluid darted 
to the earth in all directions, and from eight to 
ten o clock at night its action was so rapid and 
incessant, that my eyes became painful in be 
holding such a continued glare of light. 

In 1806 a house near the ramparts was struck 


by lightning, and one side considerably damaged. 
No lives were lost ; but a few years ago a child 
was struck dead in one of the streets of Quebec, 
$nd several cattle destroyed. 

This violent storm had a good effect upon the 
weather, which before then had been very wet 
and changeable. It now became dry, mild, and 
serene, and afforded the farmers an opportunity 
of completing their sowing. The following is 
a tolerably correct state of Fahrenheit s thermo* 
meter in the shade during the summer of 1807 : 


May -, . SO - - - 75 continual rain. 

June - * 50 - - - 90 rain the first week, afterwards dry & warm, 
Jnly - - 55 - - - 96 dry and sultry. 
August - 68 - - - 90 fine warm weather with little rain, 
September46 - - - 78 fine mild weather. 

The spring, summer, and autumn of Canada 
are all comprised in these five months. The 
rest of the year may be said to consist wholly of 
winter* The month of October is sometimes 
agreeable ; but Nature has then put on her gloomy 
mantle, and the chilling blasts from the north 
west remind the Canadians of the approach of 
snow and ice. November and April are the two 
mot disagreeable months. In the one the snow 
is falling, in the other it is going away. Both of 
them confine the people to their houses, and render 
travelling uncomfortable, and even dangerous : 
nor can the inhabitants of Canada enjoy their 



fine summer months, with that comfort and plea 
sure experienced in Europe. 

One of the greatest plagues to which they are 
subject is, in my opinion, the common house- 
flies. It is not decided whether they are natives 
of the country or were imported ; I think, how 
ever, that their boldness and assurance exceed 
their European brethren. The torment which 
these insects occasion in the months of June, 
July, and August, is beyond conception. Your 
room must be entirely darkened, or it is impos 
sible to remain undisturbed ; the warmer and 
lighter it is, the more numerous and active the 
flies will be, and the greater will be your suffer 
ing. The stoves keep them alive in winter, but 
the sun restores them to their full vigour and 
power of annoying in the summer. I have sat 
down to write, and have been obliged to throw 
my pen away in consequence of their irritating 
bite, which has obliged me every moment to raise 
my hand to my eyes, nose, mouth, and ears, in 
constant succession. When I could no longer 
write, I began to read, and was always obliged 
to keep one hand constantly on the move towards- 
my head. Sometimes in the course of a few 
minutes I would take half a dozen of my tormen 
tors from my lips, between which I caught them 
just as they perched. In short, while sitting 
quiet in a chair, I was- continually v-orried by 


them ; and as it has been justly observed of the 
same insects in Russia, none but those who have 
suffered could believe them capable of so much 

At length, when my patience was exhausted 
within doors, I would put on my hat and walk out, 
thinking to enjoy the delightful zephyrs which 
often frolic in the atmosphere at that season of 
the year; but in less than five minutes I was 
oppressed by the scorching beams of the meridian 
sun. To avoid a coup de soleil, I retreated to a 
thick shady grove, which seemed inviting me te 
take shelter under its umbrageous foliage ; but as 
if to bring my sufferings to a climax, I was im 
mediately surrounded by myriads of musquitoes, 
sand-flies, and other venemous insects, whose re 
peated attacks upon my face, hands, and legs, 
compelled me reluctantly to return to my old 
tormentors at home, who, though equally teasing, 
are certainly not so venomous as their long-legged 

The sting of the musquito is trifling at first, 
but the next day is extremely painful, and some 
times dangerous if violently rubbed. The best 
remedy is to wash the part with some powerful 
acid. Lemon-juice, or vinegar, has relieved me 
frequently from the painful irritation which its 
venom excites. The brulots, or sand-flies, are so 
very small as to be hardly perceptible in they: 


attacks ; and your forehead will be Streaming with 
blood before you are sensible of being amongst 
them. These are the only disagreeable things 
which are attached to a Canadian summer : were it 
free from them, it would be equal to that of any 
other country in the world ; but as it is, a burning 
sun, house-flies, musquitoes, and sand-flies, cer 
tainly prevent the finest months of the year from 
being enjoyed in full perfection. 

The summer of 1 808 was the hottest that has 
been known for several years in Canada. In the 
months of July and August the thermometer was 
several times at 90 and 95, and one or two days 
it rose to 103 in the shade, at Montreal and 
Three Rivers. At Quebec it was 101 or 102. I 
was at Three Rivers during those months ; the 
soil of that town is sandy, and I think I never 
experienced in my life such an oppressive heat.- 
It "appears that it was unusually hot about that 
time in England, and I suppose it was the same 
upon the Continent. 

The fall of the year is the most agreeable season- 
in Canada. The sultry weather is then gone, and 
the night frosts have entirely destroyed or palsied 
the efforts of the venomous insects. The inha 
bitant of Canada has then no house-flies, no sand- 
flies, musquitoes, nor coups de soleilio fear. He can 
then, and then only, walk abroad, range the woods, 
or sit at home, with ease and comfort to himself. 

f r ftjpcffc 


of Lower Canada -- Meadows -- Cultivated 
Lands Mode of Farming Few Orchards 
Indian Corn -- Tobacco Culinary Roots -- 
Seigniory of Grondines Barren Soil Price of 
Land Gradual Improvement Want of Enter 
prise among the Canadians Formed themselves 
on the Model of their Forefathers View of the 
Shores of the St. Lawrence Extensive Chain of 
Settlements -- Beautiful Scene- -Settlement at 
Stoneham Township Clearing of Land- Ca 
nadian Cattle The first Horse seen in Canada 
Poultry American Horse-Dealers Rough 
Treatment of Canadian Horses. 

THE soil of Lower Canada is very various., 
and is more or less fertile as it approaches to 
the north or south. From Father Point (the 
lowest settlement on the south shore) to Kamou- 
raska but little is cultivated, and that little yields 
a crop only with considerable labour. From Ka- 
mouraska to the Island of Orleans, both on the 
north and south shores, the soil gradually im 
proves, and in some parishes on the south side 
great quantities of grain are produced. The 

VOL. i, K 


average crop is about 12 bushels an acre. Of the 
soil in the vicinity of Quebec, the island of Orleans 
is reckoned the best. This island is diversified 
with high and low lands, steep and sloping shores, 
covered with wood or converted into meadows 
and corn-fields. The soil is sufficiently fertile to 
afford the inhabitants a large surplus of produc 
tions beyond their own consumption, which they 
dispose of at Quebec. 

On the north and south shores in the neigh 
bourhood of Quebec, the soil on the elevated parts 
but thinly covers an immense bed of black lime 
slate, which as it becomes exposed to the air 
shivers into thin pieces, or crumbles into dust. 
There are, however, some excellent pasture and 
meadow lands on the borders of the river of St. 
Charles; and they indeed extend generally over 
that low land or valley which lies between the 
heights of Quebec and the villages of Beauport, 
Charlesbourg, and Lorette. 

The meadows of Canada, which have most com 
monly been corn-fields, are reckoned superior to 
those in the more southern parts of America. 
They possess a fine close turf, well covered at the 
roots with clover. They cannot be mown more 
than once a year, in consequence of the spring 
commencing so late. In autumn they exchange 
their beautiful green for a light brown hue, which 
gives them the appearance of being scorched by 


the sun. It is two or three weeks after the snow 
is gone before they recover their natural colour. 
This is the case all over America, whose pastures, 
during the autumnal and winter months, never 
possess that rich and lively verdure which they do 
in England. 

The high lands with good management would 
yield very tolerable crops, but the Canadians are 
miserable farmers. They seldom or never manure 
their land, and plough so very slight and careless, 
that they continue, year after year, to turn over 
the same clods which lie at the surface, without 
penetrating an inch deeper into the soil. Hence 
their grounds become exhausted, overrun with 
weeds, and yield but very scanty crops. The 
fields of wheat which I have seen in different 
parts of the country, were often much choked 
with weeds, and appeared to be stinted in their 
growth. When cut down, the straw was seldom 
more than 18 or 2O inches long, the ears small, 
and the wheat itself discoloured, and little more 
than two-thirds of the size of our English wheat. 
The wheat about Montreal appeared to be the 
best which came under my observation. It was 
generally clear of weeds, and seemed to have 
attained its full growth. It must however be 
observed, that there is nearly a month difference 
in the climate between Montreal and Quebep. 
The former is situated in latitude 45 30 , Three 



Rivers in 46 25 , and Quebec in 46 55 . The 
French Canadians sow only summer wheat, though 
I should think that winter wheat might be sown 
in autumn with success. Peas, oats, rye, and 
barley, are sown more or less by every farmer ; 
though the largest crops of these, as well as 
wheat, appeared to be in the island of Montreal 
and its vicinity. 

The French Canadians seldom trouble them 
selves with gardens or orchards ; while their 
neighbours in the United States would not feel 
happy without a large plantation of apple, pear, 
and peach-trees adjoining their houses. Except 
in the Island of Montreal, very little fruit is 
grown ; and that island, for its fertility in every 
production, may justly be called the garden of 
Lower Canada. 

The farmers assist each other at harvest time, 
labourers being in some places very scarce, and in 
others not to be procured. The wheat is sown- 
early in May, and is ripe generally about the -latter 
end of August. The Canadians sow small quan 
tities of maize or Indian corn ; they, however* 
do not make such general use of it as the people 
of the United States, who feed their cattle upon 
it, and make hominy and bread of it for them 
selves. The Canadians cultivate it more as an 
article of luxury than of necessity. They are 
extravagantly fond of the corn cobs boiled o? 


roasted, and rubbed over with a little butter and 
salt. They pick the corn off the cob in the same 
style, and with as much gout, as an alderman 
picks the wing of a fowl at a city feast. 

Tobacco is grown in small quantities, and at 
tended chiefly by the women, who are also fully 
employed in the other parts of husbandry. Each / 
Habitant cultivates enough for his own consump 
tion, and a small quantity generally for market. 
The Canadian tobacco possesses a very mild and 
agreeable flavour, totally devoid of those strong 
pungent qualities for which the Virginian tobacco 
is remarkabie. It is grown on a small spot of 
ground close to the house : the roots are hoed and 
attended by the children or the females of the 
family. It might no doubt become an article of 
some importance, if properly attended to ; but the 
scanty population is at present a check upon its 
being cultivated to any great extent. Culinary 
vegetables are raised in tolerable plenty. The 
favourite roots of the Habitans are onions, garlic, 
and leeks; of these they eat largely, and conse 
quently smell abominably. The disagreeable ef 
fects of these strong esculents are, however, some 
what checked by the fumes of the tobacco plant, 
which they are smoking from morning to night. 

With the exception of the seigniory of Gron- 
dines, the iands between Quebec and Three 
Rivers are remarkable neither for sterility nor 


extraordinary fruitful ness. They are cultivated 
.much in the same careless manner as the lands 
below them. Grondines, which is about 50 miles 
from Quebec, on the same side of the river, is a 
remarkable exception to the general quality of 
land in this part of the country. This seigniory, 
which is upwards of ten miles square, consists of 
one vast bed of gray rock or lime-stone, slightly 
covered with a poor soil about half a dozen 
inches in depth, intermingled with an immense 
quantity of loose stones, from which it is labour 
in vain to attempt to clear it. The people who 
reside on this barren spot, which gives birth only 
to pines and firs, are of course extremely poor, 
and scarcely able to procure enough for their 

Though the soil for some miles in the neigh 
bourhood of Three Rivers is sandy and barren, 
yet the adjoining seigniories upwards, of Machiche 
and River du Loup, are extremely fertile, and 
yield abundant crops of grain. The lands on the 
south shore of the district of Three Rivers are 
also very good. The price of land varies according 
to its quality and state of cultivation. Good 
arable land, in the best situations, sells in Lower 
Canada for about 5/. per acre ; indifferent land for 
4 and 5 dollars ; wood land at 2 dollars per acre ; 
but in the back townships it may be bought at 
the sheriffs sales for less than 6d. 

OF LAND. 135 

The land continues to improve as you approach 
Montreal, from which district the greatest quan 
tity of grain is procured. This gradual improve 
ment in the soil continues all through Upper 
Canada, where it as much surpasses that of the 
lower province in fertility, as Montreal surpasses 

The French Canadians are not possessed of any 
agricultural enterprise or spirit. They are a per 
fect contrast to the inhabitants of the United 
States, who wander from forest to forest, extend 
ing cultivation to the remotest regions ; while the 
Canadians have settled for upwards of two cen 
turies upon the banks of the St. Lawrence, with 
out attempting to remove from the spot, or explore 
the recesses of the forests which surround them* 
This close association of the first settlers was no 
doubt occasioned by a variety of circumstances. 
Exposed at an early period to repeated attacks 
from the Indians, their safety depended on num 
bers, which a scattered settlement could not furnish 
in proper time. Their religion exacted from them 
numerous ceremonials, which required a strict and 
frequent observance. No situation could there 
fore be so well adapted for settlement, as the 
shores of a large and noble river, which, besides 
the richness of the soil and inviting prospects, 
afforded them a ready communication with each 
other, and, what was of equal importance, the 


means of observing certain religious formalities,, 
and providing subsistence at a time when their 
lands were yet uncultivated. 

The present inhabitants, who have formed them 
selves on the model of their forefathers, conceive, 
either from affection for their parents or from an 
habitual indolence, that the same necessity exists 
for their adherence to each other. Few therefore 
ever think of emigrating from their paternal 
abode. The farm is separated by the father among 
his children, as long as it will last, and when its 
divisions can be no longer sub-divided, they reluc 
tantly part. 

The view which this extensive chain of farms 
exhibits along the lofty shores of the St. Law 
rence, for more than 400 miles, is beautifully 
picturesque, and carries with it the appearance 
of one immense town : corn-fields, pasture and 
meadow lands, embellished at intervals with 
clumps of trees, snow-white cottages, and neatly 
adorned churches, alternately present themselves 
to the eye, in the midst of the rich and verdant 
foliage which shades the steep banks or sloping 
shores of that noble river ; while the back ground 
of this rich landscape is closed by a chain of 
enormous mountains, or lengthened out beyond 
the compass of the human eye by interminable 

The interior of the country, from the settle- 



merits on the north shore of the River St. Law 
rence to the confines of Hudson s Bay, is en 
tirely uncultivated, and uninhabited except by 
the fur traders, and some few Indian tribes or 
Esquimaux. No roads, no villages, nor towns, 
enliven that dreary and immense waste. The 
woodman s axe is never heard, nor the silent 
monotony which reigns in that lonely space ever 
disturbed except by the birds and beasts of the 
forest, or the solitary wanderings of the fur-trader 
and his party. 

About fifteen years ago, an enterprising clergy 
man of the name of Toosey commenced a settle 
ment on that side, in the township of Stoneham, 
about 1 5 miles north of Quebec. For a few years 
it flourished under the fostering care of its pro 
jector, but when he died the settlement fell into 
decay. At this day the ruins of the house, and 
corn-fields overrun with rank grass and weeds, are 
all that remain of the fond hopes and expectations 
of their sanguine owner. Mr. Weld speaks of 
this settlement in his Travels : at that period it 
was in the height of its prosperity ; and though 
several persons at Quebec joined Mr. Toosey in 
procuring the township, none of them were in 
duced to settle there. One cause of complaint 
was the distance, which they consider too far from 

On the south side, adjoining the boundaries of 


the United States, the interior is settling fast ; not 
however by the French Canadians, hut by Amen* 
cans from the States, who set themselves down 
with very little ceremony upon the different town 
ships bordering on their country, and begin to 
clear the woods, and cultivate the land, often 
without the knowledge or consent of its propri 
etors. The Canadian Government seems to en 
courage their emigration from the States. Whe 
ther it is good policy or not, is extremely doubtful. 
They are certainly enterprising settlers, and im 
prove a country more in two or three years than 
the French Canadians do in a century. 

The cattle in Canada are rather diminutive, 
being mostly of the small Norman breed. If the) 
have not degenerated in size by their emigration, 
they have certainly not improved. The horses 
are strong and swift, many of them handsome ; 
but they are mere ponies, compared in size with 
the English horse. There is a larger breed about 
00 miles below Quebec, which are generally bought 
up for heavy work. The first horse seen in Canada 
arrived in the ship Le Havre on the l6th of 
July 1665. It appears that neither sheep nor 
horned cattle were in the province long before 
that time. 

Their cows and oxen are small, lean, and poor : 
keeping them so many months confined in stalls, 
during which they are poorly fed, contributes 


much to their meagre appearance. The oxen are 
sometimes used for the plough, or in carts ; in 
which service they always draw with their horns. 

The sheep are small, and have but little fleece. 
European breeds have degenerated very much in 
the course of time, in Canada, as well as in other 
parts of America. The wool is coarse, but answers 
the purposes of the Habitans, who clothe them 
selves with it. 

Swine are very numerous in Canada, for they 
constitute the chief subsistence of the French 
Canadians. The breed is but very indifferent^ 
though many attain to considerable size. They 
are a long-legged, narrow-backed species, very 
inferior to the English breed, of which there are 
but few in that country. Swine are such a hardy 
race of animals, that I do not think they could 
have degenerated much in Canada : I have very 
little doubt, therefore, that the breed was origi 
nally poor. 

The poultry are in general very good, and consist 
of turkeys, geese, ducks, and fowls. The turkeys 
are particularly hardy, and frequently roost upon 
the trees, exposed to the severity of the winter. 
The farmers keep only a sufficient number of 
cattle for their own consumption, and for breeding 
during the winter ; the rest they kill, and take to 

The Americans from the States carry on a 


lucrative traffic with the Canadians for their 
horses. The latter are very fond of a horse 
which runs with a quick shuffling pace, and the 
Americans bring in with them a parcel of rickety 
animals which possess that accomplishment. The 
Canadian willingly exchanges his fine little horse 
for the pacer, and often gives a few pounds to 
boot. The Americans return with the Canadian 
horses to Boston or New York, and there obtain 
SO or 40/. for each, according to their value, while 
in Canada they rarely sell for more than 10 or 
11L The Canadians are reckoned very adroit at 
a bargain, and even fond of over-reaching ; but 
they sink in comparison with an American horse- 

The horses are treated very roughly in Canada. 
The Habitans suffer them to stand in the markets, 
or at places where they stop to drink, in the 
severest weather, without any covering, while they 
are often wet with perspiration. Sometimes they 
are covered with hoar-frost, and long icicles hang 
from their nostrils to the ground. I have seen a 
horse in a cariole stand in the Quebec market 
place till its two fore-fetlock joints were frozen 
stiff, and the hoofs turned in. The driver after 
wards came out of the tavern, and drove away at 
a round trot. 



Population of Lower Canada Different Slate* 
nients reconciled Census of the Province Pre- 
sent Number of Inhabitants Statistical State 
ment for 1SOS Irish and Scotch Emigrants 

-French Settlers Acadians Character of 

the French Habitans, or Countrymen Descrip 
tion of their Houses Cleanly Maxims Picture 
of the Interior of a Habitant House Mode of 
Living among the Canadian Peasantry Anec 
dote of a Dish of Tea Pernicious Effects of 
Rum-^Fracas in the Market-Place Drunken 
ness of the Market- People Portrait of the Ha- 
litant Old fashioned Dress of the Women 
Resources of the Habitans. 

THE population of Canada has in the course 
cf the last forty years more than trebled itself. 
The first census after the English conquered the 
country was made, by General Murray in 1765. 
This estimate falls considerably short of the po 
pulation of 17-58, as mentioned by Mr. Heriot 
in his recent work. Mr. H. states, that " the 
white inhabitants of Canada amounted in 1758 
to 91,000, exclusive of the regular troops, who 
were augmented or diminished as the circum- 



stances or exigencies of the country might require ; 
that the domiciliated Indians, who were collected 
into villages in different situations in the colony, 
xvere about 1 6,000 ; and the number of French 
and Canadians, resident in Quebec, was nearly 
800O." If the Indians and inhabitants of Quebec 
are not included in the first number, and I sup 
pose the Indians are not, as Mr. H- particularly 
mentions ivhite inhabitants, the total population, 
exclusive of regular troops, would then be 1 1 5,000. 
The province of Canada was not divided into 
Upper and Lower till the year J7Q2 ; the census 
therefore, that was taken antecedent to that period, 
included the population of the whole colony. 

I am not acquainted with the source from 
whence Mr. Heriot derived his information ; but 
the census of General Murray, seven years sub 
sequent to J758, stated the entire population of 
the province to be, exclusive of the king s troops, 
76,2/5. This number included the Indians, who 
were stated to amount only to 7,400. Here is a 
vast and surprising decrease of the inhabitants in 
the course of seven years ; and upon the suppo 
sition that the numbers in 1758 were 115,OOO, 
there is a loss of no less than 38,725 : but taking it 
only at Ql,000, still there is a decrease of 14,725 
of the colonists and native inhabitants. We may 
easily suppose that a long war, and finally the 
subjugation of the country by a power totally op- 


posite in national manners, character, and prin 
ciples, must have occasioned a considerable dimi 
nution of its population ; for, besides those who 
were lost in battle, numbers no doubt emigrated 
to old France, or to other countries where they 
might find a government more congenial to their 
habits and sentiments. 

If we look at the number of Indians whom 
Mr. H. states to have been domiciliated in the 
province in 1758, and the number given in by the 
census of 1765, we shall there alone find a loss of 
8,600. It is possible that the ravages of war 
might occasion this great loss ; for in the course 
of a campaign the Indians are oftener opposed to 
enemies of their own description than to the Eu 
ropean armies ; and their mode of fighting occa 
sions a greater slaughter. 

I have no doubt, therefore, that this remarkable 
decrease of the population of Canada in the course 
of so short a period may be satisfactorily accounted 
for, when we consider the war that preceded the 
conquest, and the very unsettled state of the 
country for a considerable time after that event. 
The dissensions between the army and civil power 
of the British government, and the disgust which 
the French noblesse, the clergy, and inhabitants 
felt at being subjected to the will of a foreign 
people, must have strongly tended to emigration 
and contributed, with the losses sustained by the 



war, to thin the population of the colony, which 
was far from being recruited by British settlers, 
who in six years after the conquest did not amount 
to more than 500 persons. In no other way (if 
Mr. Heriot s statement be correct) can we account 
for the difference between the population of 1758 
and the census of 1765. 

In 1783 another census was taken by order of 
the Canadian government : since then, no other 
has been made, nor have we any data upon which 
we can rely for forming a correct estimate of the 
state of the country and its population at the pre 
sent day. But by a comparison of the census of 
1765 and 1783 we may be enabled to judge of 
the benefits which Canada has received from its 
new government, and perhaps form some notion 
of its progress for the last twenty years : for this 
purpose I shall present them in detail. 



Acres of 



Date of 


Land in 

of Grain 



of Inha 




























IncreHse in 
18. Yrars. 




1 6,339 ! 48,262 



These statistical accounts are highly satisfac 
tory ; and exhibit, in a clear and convincing man. 



ner, the benefits that have resulted to the colony 
under the excellent constitution of Great Britain. 
No sooner was a regular form of government esta 
blished, and the minds of the people tranquillized, 
than British subjects were induced to emigrate to 
Canada, and embark their property in agricultural 
or commercial speculations. These enterprising 
settlers communicated their spirit, in a certain 
degree, to the old inhabitants; and hence the 
surprising increase of population, commerce, and 
agriculture, which took place in the short period 
of eighteen years. 

Since the year J783 the colony has been 
gradually advancing in improvement. It s com 
merce has at times fluctuated considerably ; but 
population and agriculture have rapidly aug 

The number of inhabitants in Lower Canada, 
at the present day, is computed by Mr. Heriot at 
250,000 ; but I think his estimate is much ex 
aggerated ; for,- if we calculate the population 
agreeably to the ratio of its increase from 1765 
to 1783, during which period of eighteen years it 
augmented nearly one half, we shall find that in 
twenty-five years, from 1783 to 1808, the total 
amount will not exceed 200,000 ; and this number, 
I am of opinion, is nearest the truth. Upper Ca 
nada is stated by Mr. H. to have 80,000 inhabit 
ants : this may possibly be correct ; but from 

VOL. i. L 




every inquiry that I made on the subject, I never 
could learn that it contained more than 6o,OOO. 
But the truth may, perhaps, be found in the me 
dium between the two, as is often the case when 
statements are made from vague report. 

The prosperity of a country cannot be better 
exemplified than by a regular and continued in 
crease of its population and resources. That this 
is the case with respect to Canada, has been already 
shown by the statements which I have laid before 
my readers. There is every reason also to sup 
pose, that no diminution whatever has taken 
place in any part of those details ; but that the 
augmentation which occurred between 17(55 and 
1783 has continued with little variation, in the 
same regular manner, for the last thirty years, 
and even greatly increased in 1810 and 1811. 
Upon this hypothesis I shall offer the following 
statistical statement for the year 18O8. In the 
absence of official documents, it may afford some 
idea of the resources of Lower Canada at the pre 
sent day. 


v) - 



Acres of 





Land in 

of Grain 
















60,000 3,760,000 






Of the inhabitants of Lower Canada not more 
than one-tenth are British, or American settlers 


from the United States. In Upper Canada the 
population is almost entirely composed of the 
latter, and of British subjects who have emigrated 
from various parts of the United Kingdom. Very 
few French people reside in that province ; and it 
is a remarkable circumstance, that among all the 
British residents in the two colonies, not two 
hundred Englishmen, perhaps, can be found. I 
was told that at Quebec there were not more than, 
twelve or fourteen of that country. The rest are 
either Irish or Scotch ; though the former bear 
no proportion to the latter, who are distributed 
from one end of the Ganadas to the other. The 
Irish emigrate more to the United States than to 
Canada, and no less than 3O,OOO are said to have 
emigrated thither in 1801. Being discontented 
with their own government, they endeavour to 
seek relief under a foreign one whose virtues 
have been so greatly exaggerated, and whose 
excellent properties have been extolled to the 
skies. A few months, however, convince them 
of their error, and those who are not sold to tneir 
American masters generally find their way into 
Upper Canada. 

Of all British emigrants, the Scotch are the 
most indefatigable and persevering. In poverty 
they leave their native home, yet seldom return 
to it without a handsome competency. Their 
patient diligence and submission in the pursuit of 


riches, together with their general knowledge and 
good sense, render them highly beneficial to the 
mother country ; while their natural partiality for 
their ancient soil secures their steady attachment 
and adherence to the British government. 

The French settlers form a distinct class from 
the British, and present as great a contrast in 
their characters and manners, as exists between 
their brethren in Europe. The majority of the 
French who emigrated to Canada are said to have 
come originally from Normandy. The colony 
was peopled very slowly for many years, in con 
sequence of the few advantages which it held 
forth to men in that age, whose heated imagina 
tions could be satisfied only by mines of gold or 
mountains of jasper. Canada presented but few 
attractions to the stranger. Its dreary and un 
comfortable wilds, its bleak and lofty mountains 
covered one half the year with snow, repulsed 
rather than invited those who visited it. But when 
the value of the fur trade and fisheries came to be 
knewn, and properly estimated, a sufficient scope 
was opened for the activky and enterprise of rest 
less spirits. Individuals arrived and established 
themselves. Families and communities, detach 
ments of troops, regiments, and armies, followed 
each other in succession, and in the course of half 
.a century erected this bleak portion of the new 
hemisphere into a valuable and extensive colony. 


Those who settled in Acadia, now called Nova 
Scotia, formed a sort of independent community 
uncontrolled by the mother country. They pos 
sessed the interior, while the English occupied the 
sea-coast. In the course of time these people in 
termingled with each other, and their offspring 
possessed a mixed character, which at this day 
strongly marks those who are now settled in Ca 
nada and Louisiana, and distinguishes them from 
the French inhabitants of those colonies. They 
however partake more of the French than the 
British peculiarities. The Acadians of Louisiana 
are said to be rude and sluggish, without ambition, 
living miserably on their sorry plantations, where 
they cultivate Indian corn, raise pigs, and get 
children. Around their houses one sees nothing 
but hogs, and before their doors great rustic boys 
and big strapping girls, stiff as bars of iron, gaping, 
for want of thought or something to do, at the 
stranger who is passing. 

Their brethren of Canada differ very little from 
them. They are equally sluggish and inactive ; 
but as they live in a better regulated country, 
where slavery is not allowed, they are obliged to 
exert themselves in a greater degree than the 
Louisianian Acadians, and instead of the sorry 
plantations of the latter they possess very respect 
able farms. 

The French Canadians are an inoffensive quiet 


people, possessed of little industry and less am 
bition. Yet from the love of gain, mere vanity, 
or that restlessness which indolence frequently 
occasions, they will undergo the greatest hard 
ships. There cannot be a stronger proof of this 
than in those who labour in the spring to collect 
the sap of the maple tree : their exertions for five 
or six weeks while the snow is on the ground are 
excessive. None also undergo severer trials than 
those who are employed in the fur trade. They 
penetrate the immense forests of the north-west 
for thousands of miles, exposed to all the severities 
of the climate, and often to famine and disease. 

The Habitans content themselves with follow 
ing the footsteps of their forefathers. They are 
satisfied with a little, because a little satisfies their 
wants. They are quiet and obedient subjects, be 
cause they feel the value and benefit of the go 
vernment under which they live. They trouble 
themselves not with useless arguments concerning 
its good or bad qualities, because they feel them 
selves protected, and not oppressed, by its laws. 
They are religious from education and habit more 
than from principle. They observe its ceremonies 
and formalities, not because they are necessary to 
their salvation, but because it gratifies their Vanity 
and superstition. They live in happy mediocrity, 
without a wish or endeavour to better their con 
dition, though many of them are amply possessed 


of the means. Yet they love money, and are 
seldom on the wrong side of a bargain. From 
poverty and oppression they have been raised, since 
the conquest, to independent affluence. They 
now know and feel the value of money and free 
dom, and are not willing to part with either. 
Their parsimonious frugality is visible in their 
habitations, their dress, and their meals ; and had 
they been as industrious and enterprising as they 
have been frugal and saving, they would have been 
the richest peasantry in the world. 

Their houses are composed of logs slightly 
smoothed with the axe, laid upon each other, and b 
dove-tailed at the corners. Sometimes a frame 
work is first constructed, and the logs laid upon 
each other between two grooves. The interstices 
are filled with clay or mud, and the sides of the 
building washed outside and in with lime dis 
solved in water. This, they say, has the property 
of preserving the wood better than paint from the 
effects of the weather and vermin ; at all events 
it has the property of being cheaper, which is 
a consideration of more importance to them than 
weather or vermin. 

The roof is constructed with boards, and gene- 
rally covered with shingles. Sometimes they are "J 
white-washed, but oftener allowed to remain in 
their natural state. In a few months the weather 
changes the colour of the wood, and gives the 


shingles the appearance of slate, which, with the 
white sides, have a pleasing effect. The whole, 
however, falls very short of the neat wooden farm 
houses in the United States, which are generally 
clapboarded over the rough logs, and neatly 
painted. They present a more complete and 
finished appearance than the rough outsides of 
the Canadian farm-houses. 

f:> The Canadian habitations consist of only one 
story or ground floor, which is generally divided 
into four rooms. Over them is a garret, or loft, 
formed by the sloping roof. Some of the small 
houses have only one or two apartments, according 
to the affluence or poverty of their owners. The 
better sort of farmers have always four rooms. 
Their houses, however, never exceed what Dr. 
Johnson distinguishes by the name of huts. cc By 
a house (says that learned character) I mean a 
building with one story over another; by a hut, a 
dwelling with only one floor." According to this 
distinction, a house is very rarely to be met with in 
Canada, except in the towns. 

The chimney is built in the centre of the house ; 
and the room which contains the fire-place is the 
kitchen. The rest are bed-rooms ; for it matters 
not how many apartments a house consists of, 
they are seldom without one or two beds in each, 
according to the size of the family. This in 
dispensable piece of furniture, which is always 


placed in one corner cf the room, is a sort of four- 
post bedstead without the pillars, and raised three 
or four feet from the ground. At the head there 
is generally a canopy or tester -fixed against the 
wall, under which the bed stands. Upon the bed 
stead is placed a feather or straw bed, with the 
usual clothes,, and covered with a patchwork coun 
terpane, or green stuff quilt. In winter, the men 
frequently lay themselves along the hearth, or by 
the stove, wrapped up in a buffalo robe. In the 
middle of the night they will get up, stir the fire^ 
smoke their pipe, and lie down again till morning. * 

The French women have adopted more cleanly 
maxims since the English have settled in the 
country. Formerly, it is said, they would surfer 
their rooms to remain for a twelvemonth before 
they were swept, or scoured ; and to prevent the 
dust or dirt from rising, they sprinkled their 
apartments with water several times a day. That 
constant scouring of rooms and remarkable clean 
liness, which are the peculiar character of the En 
glish, the Canadian women affirmed to be injurious 
to health, and therefore they neglected the greatest 
comfort of life. But in all nations there is a great 
diversity of dispositions and manners ; and though, 
from the combination of certain traits and pecu 
liarities in the people, a country may appropriate 
to itself a national character, yet individuals of 
that nation often exhibit a direct contrast to it. 


General rules are not without partial exceptions ; 
and there are French women in Canada as re- 
markable for cleanliness as there are others re 
markable for the opposite extreme. 

The furniture of the Habitans is plain and 
simple, and most commonly of their own work 
manship. A few wooden chairs with twig or 
rush bottoms, and two or three deal tables, are 
placed in each room, and are seldom very orna 
mental; they however suffice, with a proper 
number of wooden bowls, trenchers, and spoons, 
for the use of the family at meals. A press, and 
two or three large chests, contain their wearing- 
apparel and other property. A buffet in one 
corner contains their small display of cups, saucers, 
glasses, and tea-pots, while a few broken sets may 
perhaps grace the mantle-piece. A large clock is 
often found in their best apartment, and the sides 
of the room are ornamented with little pictures 
of the holy virgin and her Son, or waxen images 
of saints and crucifixes. An iron stove is gene 
rally placed in the largest apartment, with a pipe 
passing through the others into the chimney. The 
kitchen displays very little more than kettles of 
soup, tureens of milk, a table, a dresser, and a few 
chairs. The fire place is wide, and large logs of 
wood are placed on old-fashioned iron dogs. A 
wooden crane supports the large kettle of soup, 
which is for ever on the fire. 



Their chief article of food is pork, as fat as they 
can procure it. They all keep a great number of 
swine, which they fatten to their liking. Pea-soup, 
with a small quantity of pork boiled in it, consti 
tutes their breakfast, dinner, and supper, day after 
day, with very little alteration, except what is oc 
casioned by a few sausages, and puddings made of 
the entrails when a hog is killed ; or during Lent, 
when fish and vegetables only will suffice. They 
are extremely fond of thick sour milk, and will 
often treat themselves with a dish of it after their 
pork. Milk, soup, and other spoon-meat, are eaten 
oat of a general dish, each taking a spoonful after 
the other. Knives and forks are seldom in request. 
The old people will sometimes treat themselves 
with tea or coffee, in which case they generally 
have to boil their water in the frying pan ; for it 
rarely happens that they have a tea-kettle in the 
house. An anecdote is related of a gentleman 
who was travelling on the road to Montreal several 
years ago, when tea was almost unknown to the 
Habitans, and when accommodation on the road 
was even worse than it is now. He carried with 
him his provisions, and among the rest he had a 
pound of tea. On his arrival at one of the post- 
houses in the evening, he told the mistress of the 
house to make him some tea, and gave her the 
parcel for that purpose. In the mean time, 
the woman spread out her plates and dishes, 


knives and forks, upon the table, and the gentle 
man took his meat and loaf out of the basket 
(for tea, without something more substantial, is 
poor fare when travelling ; and I always found, in 
such cases, that a beefsteak, or a slice of cold meat, 
was a considerable improvement to the tea-table). 
After waiting a longer time than the gentleman 
thought necessary to make a cup of tea, the wo 
man came into the room; but how shall I describe 
his astonishment, when he beheld the whole pound 
of tea nicely boiled, and spread out on a dish, with 
a lump of butter in the middle ! The good woman 
had boiled it all in the chauderon, and was placing 
it on the table as a fine dish of greens to accompany 
the gentleman s cold beef. 

Milk and water is the usual drink of the females 
and younger part of the family. Rum is, how 
ever, the cordial balm which relieves the men 
from all their cares and anxieties. They are pas 
sionately fond of this pernicious liquor, and often 
have a debauch when they go to market with their 
commodities. I have seen in the Upper Town 
market-place, at Quebec, a father and his son both 
drunk. The young one, however, was not so bad 
but that he was sensible of the impropriety : so 
he tumbled the old man out of the spirit shop into 
the street, and endeavoured to force him into the 
berlin, to carry him home. The old fellow, how 
ever, pulled his son down by the hair, and began 


to belabour him with his fist, uttering ten thou 
sand sacres and & rs upon his undutiful head. 
The young man could not extricate himself; and 
being pretty much in that state which is called 
" crying drunk/ he began to weep, calling out 
at the same time, " Ah, my father, you do not 
know me ! My God, you do not know me ! " 
The tears ran down his cheeks, though as much 
most likely from the blows and tugs of the hair 
which he received, as from the idea of his father 
not knowing him, His exclamations, however, 
caused the old man to weep with him, and the 
scene became truly ludicrous ; for the old fellow 
would not let go his hold, but continued his 
curses, his blows, and his tears, until the son was 
assisted by some other Habitans, who forced the 
father into the berlin ; upon which the young- 
man got in, and drove him home. 

Very few of the country people who frequent 
the markets in the towns return home sober ; 
and in winter time, when there is not room for 
more than one cariole on the road without plun 
ging the horse four or five feet deep in snow, 
these people, having lost their usual politeness by 
intoxication, do not feel inclined to make way for 
the gentry in carioles, and will often run their 
sleighs aboard and upset them. 

The Canadian country people bake their own 
bread, which is made of wheat-flour and rye- 


meal ; but for the want of yeast it has a sour 
taste, and is coarse and heavy. Their ovens are 
built of wicker-work, plastered inside and out 
with a thick coating of clay or mortar. Some are 
built of bricks or stones, but the former are more 
general. They are situate at a short distance 
from the house, to prevent accidents from fire, 
and are raised about four feet from the ground, 
covered with a roof of boards, supported by four 
posts to keep off the rain. 

The dress of the Habitant is simple and homely ; 
it consists of a long-skirted cloth coat or frock, of 
a dark gray colour, with a hood attached to it, 
which in winter time or wet weather he puts 
over his head. His coat is tied round the waist 
by a worsted sash of various colours ornamented 
with beads. His waistcoat and trowsers are of 
the same cloth. A pair of moccasins, or swamp- 
boots, complete the lower part of his dress. His 
hair is tied in a thick long queue behind, with 
an eelskin ; and on each side of his face a few 
straight locks hang down like what are vulgarly 
called " rat s tails." Upon his head is a bonnet 
rouge, or, in other words, a red nightcap. The 
tout ensemble of his figure is completed by a short 
pipe, which he has in his mouth from morning 
till night. A Dutchman is not a greater smoker 
than a French Canadian. 

The visage of the Habitant is long and thin, 


his complexion sunburnt and swarthy, and not 
unfrequently of a darker hue than that of the In 
dian. His eyes, though rather small, are dark 
and lively ; his nose prominent, and inclined to 
the aquiline or Roman form ; his cheeks lank 
and meagre ; his lips small and thin ; his chin 
sharp and projecting. 

Such is the almost invariable portrait of a Ca 
nadian Habitant, or countryman, and more or 
less of the lower order of French people in the 
towns. It is, in fact, a portrait of five sixths of 
the male inhabitants of Lower Canada. It is 
very seldom that any alteration takes place in the 
dress of the men ; unless in summer the long 
coat is exchanged for a jacket, and the bonnet 
rouge for a straw hat ; but it oftener happens that 
the dress which I have described is worn the 
whole year round. 

The dress of the women is old-fashioned ; for 
the articles which compose it never find their 
way into Canada until they have become stale in 
England. I am now speaking of those who deck 
themselves out in printed cotton gowns, muslin 
aprons, shawls, and handkerchiefs; but there, 
are numbers who wear only cloth of their own 
manufacture, the same as worn by the men. 
A petticoat and short jacket is the most pre 
vailing dress; though some frequently decorate 
themselves in all the trappings of modern finery, 


but which, in point of fashion, are generally a 
few years behind those of Europe. The elderly- 
women still adhere to long waists, full caps, and 
large clubs of hair behind. Some of the younger 
branches of the country women are becoming 
more modern, having imbibed a spirit for dress 
from the French girls who live in the towns as 

. The Habitans have almost every resource within 
their own families. They cultivate flax, which 
they manufacture into linen; and their sheep 
supply them with the wool of which their gar 
ments are formed. They tan the hides of their 
cattle, and make them into moccasins and boots. 
From woollen yarn they knit their own stockings 
and bonnets rouges; and from straw they make 
their summer hats and bonnets. Besides articles 
of wearing apparel, they make their own bread, 
butter, and cheese ; their soap, candles, and su 
gar ; all which are supplied from the productions 
of their farm. They build their own houses, 
barns, stables, and ovens ; make their own carts, 
wheels, ploughs, harrows, and canoes. In short, 
their ingenuity, prompted as much by parsimony 
as the isolated situation in which they live, has 
provided them with every article of utility and 
every necessary of life. A Canadian will seldom 
or never purchase that which he can make him 
self; and I am of opinion that it is this saving 


spirit of frugality alone, which has induced them 
to follow the footsteps of their fathers, and which 
has prevented them from profiting by the modern 
improvements in husbandry, and the new imple 
ments of agriculture introduced by the English 

VOL. I. M 




Handsome Children Pernicious Effects of the 
Stove Manners of the Habitans Modesty 
Genius General Deficiency of Education Ne 
cessity for diffusing a Knowledge of the En 
glish Language more generally throughout the 
Province Ma rriages Calashes Berlins Ca- 
rioles Covered Carioles Laws of the Road 
Civility of the Habitans Partiality to Dancing 
and Feasting on certain Days Vanity of a 
young Fellow in painting his Cheeks Supersti 
tion of an Old Lady Anecdote of the Holy 
Water Corrupt French spoken in Canada 
Observations upon the Habitans. 

THE children of the Habitans are generally 
pretty, when young; but from sitting over the 
stoves in winter, and labouring in the fields in 
summer, their complexion becomes swarthy, and 
their features ordinary and coarse. The boys 
adopt the pernicious habit of smoking, almost as 
soon as they have strength to hold a pipe in their 
mouth: this must insensibly injure the constitu 
tion, though from the mildness of their tobacco 


its effects must be less deleterious than that of 
the United States, or the British West Indies. 
The girls, from manual labour, become strong, 
bony, and masculine, and after thirty years of 
age have every appearance of early decrepitude ; 
yet their constitutions frequently remain robust 
and healthy, and some few live to a considerable 

When I have entered a Canadian house in the 
winter, I always felt a violent oppression on my 
lungs, occasioned by the insufferable heat from 
the stove ; while the inhabitants would perhaps 
be huddled round it, replenishing the fire in 
order to make their chauderon or saucepan of soup 
boil, which stood on the top of the stove. It 
may therefore be easily conceived what a de 
gree of heat it is necessary to create in these 
furnaces, for the purpose of penetrating through 
the iron plate at top, and the bottom of the sauce 
pan which is placed upon it. In fact, I have seen 
them red hot, and two or three gallons of soup in 
full boil. The men will also frequently stand 
over a stove till they are in a violent perspiration, 
and then go into the open air on the coldest days, 
even sometimes with their breast uncovered. 
Extremes like these must hurt the constitution ; 
and though some live to enjoy old age, yet their 
numbers cannot be compared with those who are 
cut off ia the prime of life. The climate is fa- 

M 2 


vourable to longevity A and it is the fault of the 
people if they do not live beyond the age of 

The women are prolific, and fat chubby chil 
dren may be seen at every Habitant s door. I 
have never heard, however, that the St. Lawrence 
possesses such properties as are ascribed to the 
waters of the Mississippi, which are said to faci 
litate procreation in the Louisianian females. It 
is even said that women, who in other parts of 
the world could never breed, have become preg 
nant in a year after their arrival in Louisiana. 

The manners of the Habitans are easy and 
polite. Their behaviour to strangers is never in 
fluenced by the cut of a coat, or a fine periwig. 
It is civil and respectful to all, without distinction 
of persons. They treat their superiors with that 
polite deference which neither debases the one 
nor exalts the other. They are never rude to 
their inferiors because they are poor, for if they 
do not relieve poverty they will not insult it. 
Their carriage and deportment are easy and un 
restrained ; and they have the air of men who 
have lived all their clays in a town rather than in 
the country. 

They live on good terms with each other ; pa- 
rents and children to the third generation residing 
frequently in one house. The farm is divided as 
long as there is an acre to divide ; and their de- 



sire of living together is a proof that they live 
happy, otherwise they would be anxious to part. 

They are universally modest in their behaviour; 
the women from natural causes, the men from 
custom. The latter never bathe in the river with 
out their trowsers, or a handkerchief tied round 
their middle. 

They marry young, and are seldom without a 
numerous family. Hence their passions are kept 
within proper bounds, and seldom become liable 
to those excesses which too often stigmatize and 
degrade the human character. 

The men are possessed of strong natural genius, 
and good common sense ; both of which are how 
ever but seldom improved by education, owing 
to the paucity of schools in Canada. The women, 
are better instructed, or at least better informed,- / 
for they are more attended to by the priests. 
Hence they generally acquire an influence over 
their husbands, which those who are gay and 
coquetish know how to turn to their own ad 

The general deficiency of education and learn 
ing among the great body of the people in Ca 
nada has long been a subject of newspaper-com 
plaint in that country. But it is extremely 
doubtful whether the condition of the people 
would be meliorated, or the country benefited, 
by the distribution of learning and information 


among them. The means of obtaining instruction , 
at present, are undoubtedly very limited ; but it 
is occasioned, in a great measure, by their own 
parsimonious frugality ; for, if they were willing 
to spare a sufficient sum for the education of 
their children, plenty of masters would be found, 
and plenty of schools opened. The British or 
American settlers in the back townships teach 
their own children the common rudiments of edu 
cation ; but the Canadians are themselves unedu 
cated, and ignorant even of the smallest degree of 
learning; therefore they have it not in their power 
to supply the want of a school in their own family, 
and thus do they propagate from age to age the 
ignorance of their ancestors : 

u For, as refinement stops, from sire to son, 
Unalter d, unimproved, their manners run." 

With respect to their obtaining a knowledge 
of the English language, I agree with those who 
are of opinion that so desirable an object might, 
to a certain extent, be attained by the interference 
of the government, and the establishing of paro 
chial Sunday schools. The number who under 
stand, or speak, English in Lower Canada does 
j not amount to one-fifth of the whole population, 
including the British subjects. Few of the 
French clergy understand it; for in the seminary 
at Quebec, where it ought to form an indispensa 
ble part of the student s education, it is totally 


neglected ; in consequence of which, a great 
inanv French children who are educated there, 
besides those that are designed for the church, 
lose a favourable opportunity of becoming ac 
quainted with it ; and that which is omitted in 
youth is neither easily nor willingly acquired in 
manhood. It is possible that the French clergy 
may look with jealousy upon the diffusion of the 
English language among their parishioners ; they 
may think that, as the intercourse between the 
British and French Canadians will be facilitated 
by such a measure, the eyes of the latter would 
be opened to many of the inconsistencies and de 
fects of their religion ; and that, in consequence 9 
they may be induced to change their faith, and 
throw off the dominion of their priests. These, 
.however, are but groundless fears ; for as long as 
vanity retains its hold in the breast of the Cana 
dians, and while the clergy continue that inde 
fatigable perseverance in their ministry, and that 
unblemished character and reputation, which dis 
tinguish them at present, it is not probable that 
their parishioners will depart from the religion of 
their forefathers. The instruction of the French 
children in the English language is therefore 
neither difficult nor liable to any serious objection. 
That it is a desirable object, and highly necessary 
for political as well as private reasons, is without 
doubt: that it is necessary for the dispatch of 


business, and for the impartial administration of 
justice, every man who has been in a Canadian 
court of law must acknowledge without hesita 

The marriages of the Canadians are remarkable 
for the numbers of friends, relations, and acquaint 
ance, who attend the young couple to the altar. 
They are all dressed in their Sunday attire, and 
ride to church in calashes or carioles, according 
to the season of the year in which it takes place. 
I have sometimes counted upwards of thirty of 
these vehicles, each containing three or four people, 
one of whom drives. Those who live in the towns, 
and are married in the morning, often parade the 
streets with their friends in the afternoon. 

The carriages made use of in Canada are ca 
lashes for the summer, and carioles and berlins 
for the winter. The calash is in general use 
all over the country, and is used alike by the 
/ gentry and Habitans ; only that those belonging 
to the former are of a superior description. The 
calash is a sort of one horse chaise capable of 
holding two persons besides the driver, who sits 
in front upon a low seat, with his feet resting 
upon the shafts. This carriage has no spring, 
but it is suspended by two broad leather straps, 
upon which the body is fixed. These straps are 
secured behind by two iron rollers, by which 
they are tightened when too loose. The body of 


the calash has a wing on each side, to prevent 
the mud from being thrown in by the wheels. 
Those of the better sort are handsomely varnished 
and fitted up with linings and cushions similar 
to an English chaise ; the inferior sort used by 
the country people are roughly built and mise 
rably painted ; but as they are often the workman 
ship of the Habitant himself, much elegance can 
not be expected ; he has, indeed, considerable 
merit in accomplishing so much without the aid 
of proper instruction. 

The harness is sometimes very heavy, and 
studded with a great number of brass nails, but 
that is now nearly exploded, and has given place 
to a much lighter and simpler caparison. It is 
used as well for carts as for the calash, and is 
several pounds lighter than the cumbersome En 
glish collar and harness. Plated harness is used 
for the best calashes, though made in the same 
simple form, and requires merely a ring and a 
bolt, which fastened to each shaft secures the 
horse in the cart or calash, the sleigh or the 
cariole. This kind of harness, being in general 
use all over the country, is extremely convenient 
in case of accident ; and as the horses are nearly 
of a size, there is little difficulty in borrowing a 
horse that will fit your carriage, or a carriage that 
will fit your horse, and harness that will suit both. 

The post calashes, which are the very worst of 


the kind used in the country, are most abomina 
ble machines for a long journey. They are most 
commonly driven by boys : but if you are unfor 
tunate enough to have a fat, unwieldy driver 
sitting in front, which is sometimes unavoidable, 
the body of the calash leans forward, and renders 
your seat not only extremely irksome, but also 
difficult to maintain ; added to which, your shoul 
ders and hips are jolted against its sides without 
mercy, and your journey, for that stage at least, 
becomes completely painful and distressing. 

The carioles nearly resemble the body of a one- 
horse chaise, placed upon two runners, like the 
irons of a pair of skates. They are painted, 
varnished, and lined like the better sort of ca 
lashes. The driver generally stands up in front, 
though there is a seat for him similar to that in 
the calash. Between him and the horse there 
is a high pannel which reaches up to his breast, 
and prevents the splashes from being thrown into 
the cariole. The body of the vehicle is some 
times placed on high runners of iron, though in 
general the low wooden runners are preferred, as 
they are not so liable to be upset as the others. 
Seldom more than one horse is driven in the ca 
riole ; but the dashing youths in the army, the 
government service, or among the merchants, are 
fond of displaying their scientific management of 
the whip in the tandem style. 


The Habitans make use of an old-fashioned 
sort of cariole, called a berlin ; it is better adapted 
for long journeys, as the sides are higher, and 
keep the traveller warmer than the other descrip 
tion of carioles. Sleighs are used in the winter, 
as carts are in the summer, for the transportation 
of goods. They are formed of a couple of low 
runners, with boards fastened across. The goods 
are kept from falling off by half-a-dozen sticks, 
which are fixed at the sides and corners of the 
sleigh, and fastened together at top by a rope or 
twisted twigs. 

The horses are obliged to have several little 
bells fastened to their harness in winter, in order 
to give notice to others of their approach ; for the 
carioles and sleighs proceed with such rapidity, 
and make so little noise over the snow, that many 
accidents might occur in turning the corner of a 
street, or on a dark night, if the alarm was not 
given by the jingling of the bells. 

Covered carioles resemble the body of a post- 
chaise or chariot placed upon runners ; they 
have doors at the sides and glasses in the front, 
but are never used, except for the purpose of 
going to an evening ball or entertainment; for 
the pleasure of carioling consists principally in 
seeing and being seen ; and therefore the open one, 
though it exposes the person to the severest wea 
ther; is always preferred. 


There is hardly a .Habitant in Canada who 

I does not keep his horse and cart, calash and 
berlin. Carters are also numerous in the towns, 
and calashes or carioles, &c., may be hired of 
them at a moderate price. They stand in the 
market-places both winter and summer, looking 
out for employment. Their horses are generally 
in good condition, though their labour is hard 
and their treatment severe. 

In Canada, as well as in some parts of the 
United States, it is a custom among the people 
to driv 7 e on the right side of the road, which to 
the eye of an Englishman has a very awkward 
appearance ; for in his country 

" The laws of the road are a paradox quite -, 

For, when you are travelling along, 
If you keep to the left you are sure to be right, 
If you keep to the rig/it you ll be wrong." 

From what cause the custom originated in 
America I cannot say ; but I have observed that 
in the winter season the driver frequently jumps 
out of the cariole on the right side, in order to 
prevent it from upsetting in places where the 
road is narrow and the snow uneven : this may 
possibly have given rise to their driving on the 
right side of the road, though I think the same 
thing might be accomplished as easily on the left. 
That which from necessity had become a habit 
in the winter, was not easily laid aside in the-. 


summer ; and consequently settled into a general 
custom, which was afterwards fully established 
by law. Acts of the legislature in the United 
States, as well as in Canada, now compel people 
to drive on the right hand side of the road. 

The French Canadians are remarkably civil to 
each other, and bow and scrape as they pass 
along the streets. When I have seen a couple of 
carmen, or peasants, cap in hand, with bodies 
bent to each other, I have often pictured to my 
imagination the curious effect which such a scene 
would have in the streets of London between 
two of our coal-porters or dray-men. Sometimes 
I have seen the men kiss each other on the cheek ; 
but the practice is not in general use. They are 
extremely civil and polite to strangers, and take 
off their cap to every person, indifferently, whom 
they pass on the road. They seldom quarrel but 
when intoxicated ; at other times they are good- 
humoured, peaceable, and friendly. 

They are fond of dancing and entertainments 
at particular seasons and festivals, on which occa 
sions they eat, drink, and dance in constant suc 
cession. When their long fast in Lent is con 
cluded, they have their " jours gras/ or days of 
feasting. Then it is that every production of 
their farm is presented for the gratification of 
their appetites ; immense turkey-pies ; huge joints 


of pork, beef, and mutton ; spacious tureens of 
soup, or thick milk ; besides fish, fowl, and a 
plentiful supply of fruit-pies, decorate the board. 
Perhaps fifty or a hundred sit down to dinner ; 
rum is drunk by the half-pint, often without 
water ; the tables groan with their load, and the 
room resounds with jollity and merriment. No 
sooner however does the clash of the knives and 
forks cease, than the violin strikes up and the 
dances commence. Minuets, and a sort of reels 
or jigs, rudely performed to the discordant scrap 
ings of a couple of vile fidlers, conclude the 
festival, or " jour gras*" 

On Sundays and festivals every one is dressed 
in his best suit, and the females will occasionally 
powder their hair and paint their cheeks. In 
this respect they differ but little from their supe 
riors, except that they use beet-root instead of 
rouge- Even the men are sometimes vain enough 
to beautify their cheeks with that vegetable. A 
young fellow who had enlivened his swarthy 
complexion by a fine glow from the beet-root, 
most probably to captivate the heart of some fair 
nymph on a " jour gras," was unfortunately so 
jeered and laughed at by several of his compa 
nions, that the next day he went to his priest, 
to inquire if it was a sin to paint his face ; think 
ing, no doubt > to obtain the sanction of his con- 


lesson The priest however told him that though 
it was no sin, yet it was a very ridiculous vanity, 
and advised him to discontinue it. 

Superstition is the offspring of the Roman 
Catholic religion, and the Canadians are conse 
quently not exempt from its influence. The 
women, particularly, have a much larger share of 
it than the men, who trouble themselves less than 
their wives with its peculiarities. Their ladies, 
in great emergencies, put more faith in holy 
water, candles, saints, and crucifixes, than confi 
dence in the Saviour himself. A friend of mine 
was once present at the house of a French lady, 
when a violent thunder-storm commenced. The 
shutters were immediately closed, and the room 
darkened. The lady of the house, not willing 
to leave the safety of herself and company to 
chance, began to search her closets for the bottle 
of holy water, which, by a sudden flash of light 
ning, she fortunately found. The bottle was 
uncorked, and its contents immediately sprinkled 
over the ladies and gentlemen. It was a most 
dreadful storm, and lasted a considerable time ; 
she therefore redoubled her sprinklings and be 
nedictions at every clap of thunder, or flash of 
lightning. At length the storm abated, and the 
party were providentially saved from its effects; 
which the good lady attributed solely to the pre 
cious water. But when the shutters were opened, 


and the light admitted, the company found, to 
the destruction of their white gowns and muslin 
handkerchiefs, their coats, waiscoats, and breeches,, 
that instead of holy water the pious lady had 
sprinkled them with ink. 

The Habitans are said to have as little rusticity 
in their language as in their deportment. The 
colony was originally peopled by so many of the 
noblesse, disbanded officers and soldiers, and per 
sons of good condition, that correct language and 
easy and unembarrassed manners were more likely 
to prevail among the Canadian peasantry than 
among the common rustics of other countries. 
Previous to the conquest of the country by the 
English, the inhabitants are said to have spoken 
as pure and correct French as in old France ; 
since then they have adopted many anglicisms in 
their language, and have also several antiquated 
phrases, which may probably have arisen out of 
their intercourse with the new settlers. Forfroid 
(cold) they pronounce fr cte. For id (here) they 
pronounce idle. For pret (ready) they pro 
nounce parre ; besides several other obsolete words 
which I do not at present recollect. Another cor 
rupt practice is very common among them, of pro 
nouncing thejinal letter of their words, which is 
contrary to the custom of the European French. 
This perhaps may also have been acquired in the 
course of fifty years communication with the 


British settlers ; if not, they never merited the 
praise of speaking pure French. 

Upon a review of the preceding sketch of 
the character and manners of the Habitans, who 
constitute the great body of the Canadian people, 
it will be found that few peasantry in the world 
are blest with such a happy mediocrity of pro 
perty, and such a mild form of government as 
they universally enjoy. They possess every ne 
cessary of life in abundance, and, when inclined, 
may enjoy many of its luxuries. They have no 
taxes to pay, but such as their religion demands. 
The revenues of the province are raised, in an 
indirect manner, upon those articles which are 
rather pernicious than beneficial to them ; and 
therefore it is their own fault if they feel the 
weight of the impost. They are contented and 
happy among themselves, and protected by a well 
regulated government. The laws are severe, but 
tempered in their administration with so much 
lenity and indulgence for human failings, that it 
has occasioned a singular proverbial saying among 
the people, that " it requires great interest for a 
man to be hung in Canada ;" so few in that coun 
try ever meet with such an ignominious fate. 

They have now enjoyed an almost uninter 
rupted peace for half a century, for they were so 
little disturbed in the American war, that that 
event can hardly be considered as an interrup- 

VOL. i. N 


tion. This has increased the population, agri 
culture, commerce, and prosperity of the country; 
and while it has raised the people to all the com 
forts of moderate possessions, of freedom, and 
independence, it has strengthened their attach 
ment to the constitution and government under 
which they have thus prospered. 



Government of Lower Canada -Governors Execu 
tive and Legislative Councils* House of Assembly 
^-Provincial Parliament Canadian Orators-^ 
Oath of a Member Debates- Ignorant Mem 
bers Anecdote of a Legislator Laws of Lower 
Canada Courts of Law English and French. 
Laws The Rights of Seigniors Feudal Tenures 
t-Coutume de Paris Fifs Succession to Es 
tatesDivision of Property Wifes Dower 
Community of Property by Marriage Timely 
Interference of a Quarter Cask of Madeira, and 
Piece of Russia Sheeting, in the Purchase of a 
House Arrests Canadian Lawyers Anecdote 
of a Governor Evil Consequenc -s of being at 
Law Tedious Laws Chief Justice Allcock 
Attorney-General Receipts and Expences of 
the Government Forges of St. Maurice Taxes 

THE form of government in Canada is an epi 
tome of the British constitution. In the upper 
province it assimilates itself nearer to that of the 
old country than in Lower Canada, the laws of 

N 2 


\vhich have unavoidably been obliged to admit of 
some local alterations, in order to adapt them to 
the majority of the people whom they govern, 
and who differ in so many respects from those of 
Upper Canada,, 

The civil government of the province consists 
of a governor, who is also a military man, and 
Commander-in-chief of the forces : a lieutenant- 
governor, an executive and legislative council, 
and house of assembly. In the absence of the 
governor and lieutenant-governor, the president 
of the executive council succeeds to the head of 
affairs, as was the case when we arrived in Ca 
nada ; Mr. Dunn being then president of the 
province, in the absence of General Prescott, the 
governor, and Sir Robert Milnes, the lieutenant-^ 
governor. On such occasions the powers of the 
president are more circumscribed than those of 
the governor, and even the executive council is 
timorous, and reluctant to take any responsi 
bility upon itself. The ill consequences, there 
fore, of the absence of the governor and lieutenant- 
governor may be easily perceived in cases of 
urgency and importance ; and its mischievous 
effects were sufficiently felt by us soon after our 
.arrival. Misapprehension, delay, and irresolution, 
marked the conduct o the government at that 
period, frustrated the plans of the board of trade 
for the cultivation of hemp, and involved my 


relation in losses and difficulties from which he 
has not yet recovered. 

The Executive Council, like the privy council 
of England, has the management of the executive 
part of the government, and is appointed by His 
Majesty. The Legislative Council, and House 
of Assembly, form the provincial parliament. 

The governor, or person administering the go 
vernment, represents the sovereign, and opens, 
prorogues, or dissolves, the assembly ; gives or 
refuses his assent to bills, or reserves them for His 
Majesty s pleasure. The bills to which he as 
sents are put in force immediately, and true 
copies transmitted to the British Government for 
the approbation of the king in council. 

Certain acts of the provincial parliament which 
go to repeal or vary the kws that were in exist 
ence at the time the present constitution was 
established, respecting tythes; the appropriation 
of land for the support of the protestant clergy ; 
the constituting and endowing of parsonages and 
rectories ; the right of presentation to the same ; 
the enjoyment and exercise of any mode of 
worship ; the imposing of any burthens or dis 
qualifications on account of the same ; the rights 
of the clergy to recover their accustomed dues or 
emoluments to any ecclesiastics ; the establish 
ment and discipline of the church of England; 


the king s prerogative concerning the granting of 
waste lands of the crown within the province ; 
are to be laid before the British parliament before 
they receive the royal assent. The acts of the 
provincial parliament are merely of a local nature, 
regulating the interior of the country, and cre 
ating a revenue for the maintenance of the govern 

The Legislative Council consists of fifteen 
members, appointed for life by the governor, who 
is invested with powers for that purpose by His 
Majesty. No one can be a counsellor who is not 
twent\ -one years of age, and a natural-born subject, 
pr naturalized according to act of Parliament. 

The House of Assembly consists of fifty mem 
bers, who are chosen for districts and counties by 
tho^e who are possessed of freehold property of 
the clear yearly value of 40/. The members for 
cities and towns are chosen by voters who^e 
property consists of a dwelling-house and lot of 
ground of the yearly value of five pounds ster r 
ling ; or who have resided in the town for twelve 
months pevious to the writ of summons, and 
shall have paid one year s rent for a dwelling or 
lodging at the rent of JO/, sterling per annum. 

No person is eligible to a seat in the House of 
Assembly who belongs to the Legislative Council, 
or that is a minister of religion, or not a natural- 


born subject, or naturalized according to law or 
conquest : nor any person that has been attainted 
of treason, or disqualified by any act of the pro 
vincial parliament. All religions are tolerated in 
Canada in the fullest extent; and no disqualifi 
cation on that account exists for the purpose of 
preventing any person from a seat in the provin 
cial parliament. Catholics, Jews, and Protest 
ants have all an equal right to sit, provided they 
are not disqualified from any other cause. The 
assembly is not to last longer than four years, but 
may be dissolved sooner ; and the governor is 
bound to call it at least once in each year. 

The oath of a member taking his seat is com 
prised in a few words. He promises to bear true 
allegiance to the king, as lawful sovereign of Great 
Britain, and the province of Canada dependent 
upon it ; to defend him against all traitorous con 
spiracies and attempts against his person, and to 
make known to him all such conspiracies and at 
tempts which he may at any time be acquainted 
with : all which he promises without mental eva 
sion, reservation, or equivocation, at the same time 
renouncing all pardons and dispensations from any 
person or power whatsoever. 

The provincial parliament is held in the old 
building called the Bishop s Palace, situate be 
tween the Grand Battery and Prescot Gate, at the 
top of Mountain-street. The assembly remains 


sitting for about three months in the winter, and 
out of fifty members seldom more than twenty 
attend : one or other contrive to elude their duty 
by pleas of illness or unavoidable business. The 
French have a large majority in the House of 
Assembly, their number being thirty-six to four 
teen British. The speeches are therefore mostly 
in French ; for the English members all under 
stand and speak that language, while very few of 
the French members have any knowledge of 

The debates are seldom interesting, and never 
remarkable for learning, eloquence, or profound 
argument. The orators of Canada never confuse 
their brains with logical reasoning, or learned 
disputations. They never delight their hearers 
with beauty of expression, masterly conceptions, 
or Ciceronian eloquence. Yet some few of the 
English members are tolerable speakers and 
possess very respectable abilities. Nothing how 
ever of very great importance, or that requires 
much ability to discuss, ever presents itself for 
debate. The regulation of the post-houses, the 
construction of bridges, jails, court-houses, &c., 
and the levying of duties for the support of the 
revenue, are nearly all that ever come under their 
consideration, The establishing of banks in the 
province has lately attracted their attention, and 
has been brought forward by Mr, Richardson in 


a very able manner: but there are several in the 
house who are perfectly ignorant both of figures 
and letters : how these gentlemen will be able to 
judge of the utility or inutility of banks remains 
to be seen. 

In England, we look upon a member of parlia 
ment as a man of superior ability ; at least we 
respect and venerate him for the high and digni 
fied situation which he fills : but in Canada, a 
member of the provincial parliament acquires no 
respect, no additional honour with his situation, 
because neither learning nor ability is requisite 
to qualify him for a seat in that assembly. If 
every member, when the oath is administered, 
was also obliged to write a few lines, and read 
a page or two in the journals of the house, the 
assembly would become honoured and respected ; 
its members would be exalted in the opinion of 
its constituents ; and several French gentlemen, 
who now sit there, would be sent back to their 
farms, where they might employ themselves 
more usefully in feeding pigs than in legislation. 
It was wittily enough proposed in the Quebec 
Mercury in May last, just after the election, to 
open a seminary, or college, for the instruction 
of those membe s who were deficient in the neces 
sary qualifications of reading, writing, and arith 

A friend of mine told me that he once asked a 


French member of the provincial parliament for 
an order : I forget upon what occasion he wanted 
it, but the member replied that he could not 
write : " Oh," says my friend, " I will write it 
out, and you can make your cross." " Ah, mon 
Dieu !" says the legislator, " that will not do." 

Previous to the year 1774 the country was go 
verned by the ordinances of the governor alone : 
but the Quebec bill of that year extended Canada 
to its ancient limits ; and its original system of 
civil law, the " Coutume de Paris," was restored. 
A new form of government was introduced, and 
the Roman catholic clergy, except the monks 
and Jesuits, were secured in the legal enjoyment 
of their estates, and of their tythes from all who 
were of the Romish religion. No person pro 
fessing the protestant religion was to be subject 
to the payment of tythes, their clergy being sup 
ported by the government. The French laws 
were introduced in civil cases, and the English 
law, and trial by jury, in criminal cases. 

In 1791 another bill was passed, which repealed 
the Quebec bill of 1774, and divided Canada into 
two separate provinces, the one called Lower, and 
the other Upper Canada. By this bill the present 
form of government was established ; and the 
Canadians now enjoy all the advantages of the 
British constitution. In 17Q4 an act was passed 
for dividing the province of Lower Canada into 


three districts, and for augmenting the numher 
of judges. The laws are now administered by 
two chief justices, and six puisne judges, who 
are divided equally between Quebec and Mont 
real. The chier justice of Quebec has, however, 
the largest salary, and the title of chief justice of 
the province. There is also a provincial judge 
for the district of Tnree Rivers, who resides there, 
and is assisted at the two superior terms by the 
chief justice of Quebec and one of the puisne 
judges. The chief presides there only in criminal 
causes. There is also a judge of the court of Vice- 
admiralty, who resides at Quebec and a provincial 
judge for the inferior district of Gaspe, who resides 
on that government. Besides the judges, there 
are an attorney-general resident at Quebec, and 
a solicitor-general resident at Montreal. 

Exclusive of the Courts of King s Bench and 
Common Pleas, there is a Court of Appeal, which 
sits the first Monday in every month, as long as 
business requires. This court is composed of the 
governor, or person administering the govern 
ment, and five or more members of the executive 
council, with those judges who have not previ 
ously heard or decided upon the causes which 
are appealed. A further ap^ eal may be made to 
His Majesty in Council. 

The courts of Quarter Sessions of the peace are 
held four times a year. The police of Quebec, 


Montreal, and Three Rivers, is in the hands of 
the justices of the peace : they also regulate the 
price of bread every month, and meet once a week 
to determine petty causes and offences under ten 
pounds. Counsellors attend, and argue for their 
clients, who are put to great expense for sum 
monses, fees, &c. The whole of the business has 
devolved into the hands of the three magistrates 
who erected the edifice for the butchers in the 
Upper Town market-place ; and though there 
are upwards of thirty justices of the peace in 
Quebec, yet few except the triumvirate ever act 
as such. I should have had no other opportunity 
of judging of these gentlemen, but by their abili 
ties as surveyors, had not our men frequently 
obliged us to attend their weekly sittings, where 
we very soon discovered that they decide causes 
with as much judgment as they design build 

The laws of Lower Canada are, I. The " Cou- 
tume de Paris," or Custom of Paris, as it existed 
in France in the year 1666, in which year the 
custom was reformed. II. The civil or Roman 
law in cases where the Custom of Paris is silent. 
III. The edicts, declarations, and ordinances of 
the French governors of Canada. IV. The acts 
of the British parliament made concerning Ca 
nada. V. The English criminal law in toto, and 
the acts of the provincial parliament. 


This complication of French and English laws 
is rendered necessary by the two different com 
munities which exist in Canada, and may be di 
vided into four distinct parts, viz. The criminal, 
civil, commercial, and maritime laws. 

The criminal law is wholly English, and in its ^ 
administration all are universally subject to its 
operations without distinction of persons. 

The civil law, or compound of laws regarding 
property, is taken from the " Coutume de Paris," 
from the civil law of the Romans, or from such 
edicts, declarations, and ordinances concerning 
property, as have been made at any time by the 
French governors of Canada. To this civil juris 
prudence both the British and French Canadians, 
in certain cases, are subject. These laws embrace 
a variety of subjects, particularly the feudal te 
nures, seigniories, fiefs, and estates, held nobly 
or by villainage ; moveabte or immoveable pro 
perty, marriage dowers, and community of pro 
perty between man and wife. 

The commercial laws relate to mercantile trans- 
actions, and are regulated nearly in the same man 
ner as in England ; except that in such cases there 
are no trials by jury, which are confined only to 
the criminal law. 

The maritime law, or Court of Vice-admiralty, 
is wholly English. Law proceedings are carried, 
on both in English and French. 


At the first settling of the colony a great erro? 
was committed, in granting to officers of the army, 
and gentlemen adventurers, extensive lots of land 
called seigniories, many of them from one to five 
hundred square miles in size, which were situated 
on the borders of the river St. Lawrence, from Ka- 
mouraska to several leagues beyond Montreal, 
comprehending a distance of more than three 
hundred miles. These great proprietors, who 
were generally men of moderate or small fortunes > 
and unskilled in agriculture, were unable to 
manage such vast estates : they were, therefore, 
under the necessity of making over their lands to 
soldiers or planters, on condition that they should 
receive a quit rent and certain services for ever. 
This was introducing into America a species of 
tenure similar to that of the feudal government, 
which had so long been fatal to Europe. The su 
perior ceded a portion of land to each of his vassals, 
of about three acres in breadth, and from 70 to 80 
in depth, commencing from the banks of the river, 
and running back into the woods ; thus forming 
that immense chain of settlements which now 
exists along the shores of St. Lawrence. The 
vassal, on his part, engaged to work at certain 
periods in the seignior s mill, to pay him annually 
one or two sols per acre, and a bushel and half of 
corn, for the whole grant. This tax, though but 
a small one, mantained a considerable number 


of idle people, at the expense of the only class 
with which the colony ought to have been 
peopled ; and the truly useful inhabitants, those 
engaged in laborious employments, found the 
burden of maintaining a lazy noblesse increased 
by the additional exactions of the clergy. The 
tythes were imposed in 1667 ; and though this 
grievous tax upon industry was reduced to a 
twenty -fifth part of the produce of the soil, yet 
even that was an oppression in an infant colony, 
and a grievance in a country where the clergy 
had property allotted them sufficient for their 

There are two kinds of tenure in Lower Canada, ; 

I V 

iz. the feudal tenure, and the tenure in free and \ 
common soccage. By the first all the French j 
Canadians hold their lands, under certain distinc 
tions. By free and common soccage are held those 
lands which the British settlers have received 
from the crown, few of them holding lands under 
the feudal tenure. 

In order to give some idea of the feudal tenure in 
this country, it will be necessary to give a sketch of 
the principal chapters of the " Custom of Paris." 
The first and most difficult chapter treats of fiefs, 
the origin of which is uncertain. 

Before we come to the definition of the nature 
and the different kinds of fiefs, it must be observed Y 
that estates are divided into two kinds in the Cus- 



torn of Paris : First, Those held nobly ; and, se~ 
condly. Those held by villainage. 

The estates held nobly are the fiefs and Franc 
aleu noble ; and the estates held by villainage are 
those held subject to cens or censive, and Franc 
aleu villain. 

Fief is an estate held and possessed on condition 
of fealty and homage, and certain rights, payable 
generally by the new possessor to the lord of whom 
the fief is held : these rights are quint and relief. 
The quint is the fifth part of the purchase- money, 
and must be paid by the purchaser : this is some 
what similar to the fine of alienation, which, by 
the ancient English tenure, was paid to the lord 
upon every mutation of the tenant s property. In 
England it was only strictly exacted by the king s 
tenants in capite, common persons being exempted 
by stat. 18 Edward I. Relief is the revenue of 
one year due to the lord for certain mutations, as 
if a fief comes to a vassal by succession in the direct 
line, there is nothing due to the seignior but fealty 
and homage ; but if in the collateral line, then a 
fine or composition is paid to the lord upon taking 
up the estate, which has lapsed or fallen by the 
death of the last tenant. 

The feudal lord, within 40 days after the pur 
chase of a fief has been made known to him, can 
take it to himself by paying to the purchaser the 
price which he gave for it, with all lawful charges. 

FIEFS. 193 

This privilege, enjoyed by the feudal lord (and in \ 
Canada by the king), is for the purpose of pre 
venting frauds in the disposal of fiefs ; for it has 
sometimes happened that, by an understanding 
between the buyer and seller, the quint or fifth 
has been paid upon only one-half, or even a quarter, 
of the purchase money, instead of the whole. By 
the right, therefore, which the lord possesses of 
purchasing the property himself, whenever the 
nominal sum is not equal to the value of the fief, 
he immediately ascertains the actual amount of 
the purchase money, and either receives the whole 
of the fifth share, or takes the property into his 
own hands, at a price considerably below its real 
value. If the fine is paid immediately, only one- 
third of the quint can be demanded. 

The succession to fiefs is different from that of 
property held en roture or by villainage. The 
eldest son takes by right the chateau or principal 
manor-house, and the yard adjoining to it; also 
an acre of the garden joining to the manor-house. 
If there are any mills, ovens, or presses, within 
the seigniory, they belong to the eldest son ; but 
the profits arising from the mills (whether com 
mon or not) and from the ovens and press, if 
common, must be equally divided among the 
heirs. A 

When there are only two heirs coming to the 
succession, the eldest son takes, besides the manor-, 

VOL. i. o 



house, &c., two-thirds of the fief; and the youngest 
son takes the other third : but when there are more 
than two heirs, the elder son takes the one half, 
and the other heirs take the remaining half. When 
there are only daughters coming to the succession, 
the fief is equally divided among them, the eldest 
daughter having no birth-right. In successions 
to fiefs, in the collateral line, females do not suc 
ceed with males in the same degree. If the eldest; 
son dies, the next does not succeed to his birth 
right; but the estate must be equally divided 
among the heirs. 

Franc aleu is a freehold estate, held subject to 
no seigniorial rights or duties, acknowledging na 
lord but the king. 

Censive is an estate held in the feudal manner, 
charged with a certain annual rent, which is paid 
by the possessor of it. It consists of money, fowls, 
or grain. It is thus that most of the Habitans 
hold their farms. The lods et ventes, or fines of 
alienation, are one twelfth part of the purchase- 
money, and are paid by the purchaser on all mu 
tations of property en roture (or soccage) to the 
seignior, in the same manner as the quint is paid 
upon mutations of fiefs. The seignior has also the 
same right of purchasing the property within forty 
days, in case he suspects that there is any collusion 
between the parties to defraud him of his dues. 

Tfhe succession to estates held en roture is re- 


gulated differently from the successions to fiefs, f 
that is to say, the heirs all succeed equally to f 
estates en roture. The seignior, whenever he finds 
it necessary, may cut down timber for the purpose 
of building mills and making roads which are con 
sidered of general benefit to his tenants. He is 
also allowed one tenth of all the fish caught on his 
property, besides an exclusive right to the profits 
of his grist mills, to which all his vassals are obliged 
to carry their corn, and pay a certain portion for 
the grinding it. Some of the rents paid by the 
Habitans to their seigniors amount to ten or fif 
teen shillings per annum ; others pay no more 
than a sol, a capon, or a bushel of wheat. But 
from the lods et ventes upon the sale of farms the 
seigniors often derive from fifty pounds to two or 
three hundred per annum ; even the barren seigni 
ory of Grondines brought the seignior, in one year, 
upwards of eighty pounds. Farms on good land 
will sell according to their size, from one to five 
hundred pounds. The Canadian government paid 
upwards of 500/. for the farm which they pur* * 
chased for my uncle, though it only consisted of 
sixty acres clear, and twenty acres wood land. It 
is situated on the seigniory of Besancour in the 
district of Three Rivers. Mr. Hart, the seignior, 
received between forty and fifty pounds from the 
government, as his lods et ventes. It will be per 
ceived, by the practice of dividing the seigniories* 

o 2 


fiefs, and farms, among the children of their pro-, 
prietors, how much the power of the seigniors must 
be reduced, and the people involved in litigation 
pnd disputes. Hence the noblesse are now nearly 
reduced to the common mass of the vulgar, and the 
Habitans make but little progress towards the 
acquisition of property and power. 

With respect to the division of property in 
general, according to the civil law of Canada, it 
consists of moveable and immoveable property. 
Moveable property is any thing that can be moved 
without fraction. Immoveable property is any 
thing that cannot be moved, and is divided into two 
kinds, propres (personal), and acquits (acquired). 

Propre is an estate which is inherited by succes 
sion in the direct or collateral line ; and acquit is 
an estate or property that is acquired by any other 

Community of property is the partnership which 
husband and wife contract on marrying ; but they 
may stipulate in their marriage-contract that there 
shall be no community of property between them. 

The dot, or dowry, is all the property which the 
wife puts into the community, whether moveable 
or immoveable. But immoveable property falling 
to her in a direct or collateral line is a propre or 
personal estate to her, and does not fell into the 

The dower is a certain right given to the wife 


by law, or by particular agreement : it is of two 
kinds, the customary dower, and the stipulated 
dower. The former consists of half the property 
which the husband was possessed of at the time 
of their marriage, and half of all property which 
may come to him in a direct line. The stipulated 
dower is a certain sum of money, or portion of 
property, which the husband gives instead of the 
customary dower. The widow has only the use of 
the customary dower during her lifetime ; at her 
death it falls to the children, who did not accept the 
succession of their father ; but her heirs succeed 
to the stipulated dower. Hence, by the commu 
nity, which exists in marriage, no man can dispose 
of any part of his property without the consent of 
his wife; and some compensation or present is 
generally made to the lady on those occasions; 
A gentleman of my acquaintance was once nearly 
prevented from purchasing a house, had not the 
fortunate interference of a quarter-cask of Madeira 
and a piece of fine Russia sheeting created a con 
siderable change in the sentiments of the lady. 

The custom of allowing community of property 
in marriages has frequently proved injurious to the 
survivor. If the wife died without a will, the chil 
dren, when of age, would demand their mother s 
share ; and it has often happened that the father 
has been obliged to sell off all his property, in order 
to ascertain its value, and divide it among the 


claimants. The loss of a good business, or an 
estate, has sometimes been the consequence of this 
law. The parents now get wiser, and make wills 
which regulate the disposal of their property 
agreeable to the wishes of the survivor. The law 
of dowers has also given rise, frequently, to fraud. 
Some of the Canadians have opened a store with 
goods purchased on credit, and made over perhaps 
one half to the wife as her dower ; they have then 
failed, and their creditors have lost their money. 
Some alterations and improvements have, however, 
been introduced of late, which render collusion in 
such cases less practicable. 

No property in Lower Canada is secure to the 
purchaser, unless advertised and sold by the sheriff, 
which clears it from all encumbrances and after- 
claims. Sometimes a written agreement is entered 
into between the buyer and seller, in which the lat 
ter exonerates the former from all claims upon the 
property ; but this is far from being safe, and is 
relying wholly upon the honour of another ; for 
the buildings, lands, &c. may be seized by the 
creditors of the estate, even though it might have 
passed through twenty private sales since the debts 
were contracted. The sale of property advertised 
by the sheriff may be delayed, by an opposition 
put in for the wife s dower, or on account of an 
illegal seizure. 

The power of arrest in Canada is limited, If 



an affidavit is made that a man is about to leave 
the province in debt, for a sum exceeding 10/< 
sterling, the debtor may be arrested^ and detained 
in prison until the debt is paid. But if he will 
swear that he is not worth 10/. sterling, the court 
will order the creditor to pay him five shillings 
currency per week. 

From the foregoing sketch of Canadian juris 
prudence, it may be easily conceived how puz 
zling and intricate some parts of the civil law must 
prove, and how much the Habitans are exposed 
and laid open to oppression from their seigniors 
under the feudal tenures. This subject was for 
merly canvassed in the provincial assembly, by 
some of the English members ; who were for 
having proper bounds fixed to the power of the 
seigniors, and having all the fines and services due 
from their vassals accurately ascertained, and made 
generally known. But the French members, who 
had a great majority in the house, strongly opposed 
it> and the subject was dropped. 

Instances of oppression on the part of the seig 
niors are, however, fortunately very rare, and the 
Habitans enjoy their property quiet and unmo 
lested. Yet, in case of violent outrage, they can 
always come under the protecting power of the 
British laws, which will afford them that security 
of which their own are incapable. 


The Canadians have no reason to complain of 
the change of government. Before the conquest 
they were often unacquainted with that protection 
which the laws now afford them. The will of the 
governor, or of his delegate was an oracle which 
they were not at liberty even to interpret. They 
were completely at the mercy of their seigniors 
and the government people. All favours, penal 
ties, rewards, and punishments, almost entirely 
depended upon the will of the chief, who had the 
power of imprisoning without the semblance of a 
crime ; and the still more formidable power of en 
forcing a reverence for his own decrees, as so many 
acts of justice, though in reality but the irregular 
sallies of a capricious imagination. The military, 
the people of the government^ and others in power, 
took the provisions and cattle from the farmers 
at whatever price they condescended to give, 
These were, no doubt, abuses which the law for 
bade ; but whenever the chief himself was guilty 
of oppression, there were always plenty to follow 
his example ; and redress is not easily obtained by 
the weak, when it is the interest of the powerful to 
be corrupt. It is related of one of their governors, 
that when a poor countryman once fell upon 
his knees, and complained that both his horses 
had died of fatigue in the service of le Grand 
fyfonarque, he exclaimed, while he twirled his 


croix de St. Louis, " My God ! but you have got 
the skins 9 and what more do you want ? They are 
too much for you ; they are too much." 

The lawyers who practise in Lower Canada are 
nearly all French ; not more than one-fifth at 
most are English. They are styled advocates, and 
act in the double capacity of counsellor and attor 
ney. Formerly they included the profession of 
notary public ; but that is now separated from the 
rest, and forms a distinct profession. Lawsuits 
are numerous, and are daily increasing; as may 
be ascertained by the duties upon them, for the 
purpose of erecting the new court-house at Quebec, 
In 1800 this tax produced 500/. per annum ; and 
in 1807 it had increased nearly to 100O/. per an 
num. The duty is now discontinued, as the object 
for which it \vas levied is accomplished. The 
building cost about 5OOO/. currency. 

The French lawyers are not possessed of very 
shining abilities. Their education is narrow and 
contracted, and they have but few opportunities 
of becoming acquainted with those intricacies and 
nice discriminations of the law that prevail in the 
English courts. The English advocates are gene 
rally better informed; and some of them either 
study law in England, or under the attorney-and 
solicitor-generals in Canada, who are generally 
men of considerable ability and extensive practice. 
The Canadian lawyers are not excelled in the art 


of charging even by their brethren in England. 
Their fees are high, though regulated in some mea 
sure by the court. Notaries charge 255. merely for 
making a protest. They are always accompanied 
by a brother notary, who receives ^ s. 6d. for his 
walk, and for attesting the signature to the protest. 
Tenacious as the Habitans are of their money, 
they are often involved in litigation, and the young 
advocates know how to avail themselves of the 
ignorance of their clients. 

" To be at law," says Monsesquieu, is a 
wretched condition of life ; the title accompanies 
a man to his last moment ; it descends to his pos 
terity, and passes from one descendant to another, 
until the final extinction of the unfortunate family. 
Poverty seems always attached to that melancholy 
title. The strictest justice can prevent only a part 
of its misfortunes ; and such is the state of things, 
that the formalities introduced for the preservation 
of public order are now become the scourge of 
individuals. Legal industry is become the scourge 
of fortune as well as commerce and agriculture : 
oppression there looks for food, and chicane brings 
on the ruin of the unfortunate litigant. The in 
justice, frequently, is not in the judgment but in 
the delay : the gaining of a suit often does more 
injury than would a contrary prompt decision. 
Honest men, heretofore, brought rogues before 
the tribunals, but now the rogues there sue honesl 


men. The trustee denies his trust, in the hope 
that timid right will soon cease to demand justice ; 
and the ravisher acquaints the object of his vio 
lence, that it would be imprudent to call him to 
an account for his transgression." 

The truth of the preceding observations will be 
readily admitted by every man who has had any 
thing to do with the law. It is, however, easier to 
expose evils than to remove them ; and it is but 
a poor consolation to grieve over that which we 
cannot remedy. The law in Canada is extremely 
tedious ; but, to compare it with the law of Scot 
land, and the English court of Chancery, is to 
compare the fleetness of the hare with the slug 
gish motion of the snail. 

Among the judges in Canada, the late chief 
justice Allcock shone conspicuously for learning 
and profound knowledge of jurisprudence. His 
abilities as a lawyer were equalled only by his 
upright conduct as a judge. In all his decisions 
he tempered the law with equity ; a proceeding 
highly necessary in such a country as Canada, 
where, from the anomalies of the French civil law, 
and the illiteracy of the great body of the people,; - 
it is difficult to render justice to whom it is due. 

Mr. Sewell, the late attorney-general, succeeded 
to Mr. Allcock s situation. He is a gentleman of 
considerable talents, and thoroughly conversant 
with the practice of the Canadian laws. The at- 


torney-generalship being thus vacated, it was not 
found a very easy matter to fill it with abilities 
equal to Mr. Sewell s ; and for some time the so 
licitor-general and all the English advocates were 
upon the qui vive, each expecting that he should 
be the happy man : but his excellency Sir James 
Craig, to the confusion of many, and the astonish 
ment of all, appointed Mr. Bowen, one of the 
youngest advocates of Quebec, of course not an 
experienced civilian, but possessed of very respect 
able talents and acquirements. The salary is not 
more than 300/. per annum ; but the govern 
ment-practice attached to the situation is con 
sidered worth more than 2000/. a year, inde 
pendent of the private practice. Mr. Bowen, 
however, received the situation only upon the con 
dition of his giving up the latter, and attending 
for three years wholly to the government business,, 
after which he was at liberty to resume it. This 
appointment, and the conditions upon which it 
was given, afford a certain proof of his excellency s 
desire to encourage merit and to benefit the public 

The expenses of the civil list, in Lower Canada, 
amounted in the year 1807 to 44,410/. 3s. \-\d+ 
sterling ; about three-fourths of this sum are de-^ 

* Since that time a new attorney-general has been sent 
out by Lord Castlereagh to supersede Mr. Bowen ! 


frayed by the province out of the king s domains, j 
and duties payable on the importation of certain 
articles into Lower Canada ; the remainder is sup 
plied by Great Britain, which also supports the 
protestant clergy, the military, and Indian esta 
blishments. In order to afford a clear idea of the 
expenses of the government of Lower Canada, 
I shall present the reader with the following state 
ment of receipts and expenses upon an average of 
three years, from the time the new constitution 
took place in 1791 to 1803. The civil expenses 
have augmented but little since the latter period, 
although the receipts have greatly increased in 
/consequence of the non-intercourse laws of the 
United States. 



By the preceding table of receipts and expenses 
of the civil government, it appears that the forges 
of St. Maurice, at Three Rivers, which belong 
to the king, have risen considerably in value, 
and that in 1798 they brought no more than 
20/. ifo. Sd. per annum, whereas in 1803 they 
let to Messrs. Munro and Bell, merchants of 
Quebec, for 850/, per annum : these gentlemen 
had a lease for three years, and the concern 
answered so well, that they laid out large sums of 
money upon the property. In 1806 the lease ex 
pired, and was again put up to public sale, when 
the same gentleman received the forges with a 
lease of twenty years for the paltry sum of (3o/. 
per annum ; they were the only bidders, through 
some accident which prevented another merchant 
from attending the sale ; but I was told that they 
intended to have bid as far as ] 2OO/. per annum 
for it, rather than have let it go out of their 
hands. How this transaction has been managed, 
is yet a mystery ; the fault can attach only to 
those who disposed of the property in such a 
shameful manner, by which the public will sustain 
a loss of 22,80O/. 

The fluctuation of the droits de quint, or fifths, 
upon the sale of fiefs, which I have before noticed, 
is fully exemplified in those of the royal domains 
mentioned in the table, where it appears that no 
Jess than 3,828/. J3,?. 1 id. were received in 1798,, 
and in the year 1803 only 263/. Os. The king s! 


posts are trading places for furs, and are now in the 
hands of the North-west Company ; they have also 
risen in value far above the annual rent paid for 
them, and when the leases are out will no doubt 
bring a very considerable sum, provided they are 
not disposed of like the forges of St. Maurice. 

Among the articles upon which duties have 
been laid, both by the provincial and imperial 
parliaments, rum is the most productive ; and in 
the course of eight years the duty has more than 
doubled itself. It is frequently retailed at 5s. per 
gallon, and might yet bear an additional duty that 
would make up the deficiency in the revenue, for 
the support of the civil government, which is at 
present supplied by Great Britain. 

Salaries of the different Officers belonging to the Government of 

Lower Canada, in Sterling Money. 


Governor General, if absent, 2,000/. resident 4,000 

Lieutenant Governor, ditto, 2,000/. ditto 4,000 

Lieutenant Governor of Gaspe 400 

The Members of the Executive Council, each 100 

Chief Justice of Quebec and the Province 1,500 

Chief Justice of Montreal 1 ,100 

Seven puisne Judges, including their Salaries as Coun 
sellors, each 850 

Provincial Judge of Three Rivers 500 

Provincial Judge of Gaspe 200 

Attorney-Gen. salary 300/. Government Practice 2,000 

Solicitor-General salary 200/. Ditto 1,500 

Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court 200 

Protestant Bishop of Canada 3,500 

Twelve Protestant Clergymen, each from 200 



Provincial Secretary . ... 1 ....;... 400 

Secretary to the Governor, Clerk to the Crown in 

Chancery, and Clerk to the Executive Council ; 

which three places are held by one person 800 

Assistant Secretary 200 

Clerk in the Chateau Office 120 

French Translator to the Government 200 

Provincial Aide de Camp 200 

Adjutant General of the Militia 200 

Receiver General 400 

Superintendant General of the Indian Department .. 1,000 

Storekeeper General of the Indian Department .... 350 

Inspectors and Cultivators of Hemp, each 200 

Inspector General of Accounts 360 

Surveyor General 300 

Deputy Surveyor General 150 

Grand Voyer of the Province 500 

Grand Voyer of Quebec, and Superintendant of Post. 

Houses f . . . . 250 

Grand Voyer of Montreal, 150/. Three Rivers, 90/. 

Gaspe 50 

Inspector General of Forests, and Inspector of Police 

at Quebec 300 

Inspector of Police at Montreal 100 

Inspector of Chimneys at Quebec, 60/. -Montreal, 

601. Three Rivers 15 

Naval Officer at Quebec 100 

Harbour Master of Quebec , 100 

Interpreters to the Indians, each 100 

Sheriffs at Quebec and Montreal, 100/. each, supposed 

perquisites 1,500 

Sheriff at Three Rivers, 50/. perquisites 500 

Sheriff at Gaspe, 4 O/. perquisites 200 

Coroners at Quebec and Montreal, each 50 

Pensions to various persons, about. .,..,,....... 

VOL. J. P 

210 TAXES. 


Exclusive of the expenses for the civil esta 
blishment of Lower Canada, which are chiefly 
defrayed from the province, the British government 
is at considerable expense for the maintenance of 
the English clergy, the distribution of presents 
to the Indians, and the military force and fortifi 
cations requisite for the security of the colony. 
As I am without the official documents necessary 
to ascertain the actual sum expended by Great 
Britain annually on account of the two pro 
vinces, I can only form a probable estimate of 
the amount, which, according to the best infor 
mation I have been able to procure, cannot be 
less than 500,OOO/. sterling. ^It jnust, however, 
be observed, that the expenses of the colony are 
always in a fluctuating state, in consequence of 
the increase or diminution of the military force, 
and the extraordinary repairs of fortifications. 
The military expenses alone for 1808 must be 
very great, and together with 1 80Q, most likely, 
be near a million sterling. 

The expenses of the civil government in Upper 
Canada are defrayed by direct taxes; by duties 
upon articles imported from the United States; 
and a sum granted by the Lower province out of 
certain duties. In Upper Canada, lands, houses, 
and mills; horses, cows, pigs, .and other pro 
perty are valued, and taxed at the rate of one 
penny in the pound. Wood-lands are valued at 
one shilling per acre, and cultivated lands at 50s, 


per acre. A house with only one chimney pays 
no tax ; but with two it is charged at the rate of j 
40/. per annum, though it may be but a mere 

The inhabitants of Lower Canada pay no direct 
taxes, except for the repair of roads, highways, 
paving streets, &c., and then they have the choice * 
of working themselves, or sending one of their 
labourers with a horse and cart, &c. The revenue 
is raised, as stated in the table of receipts and 

The French Canadians are very averse from 
taxation in a direct way, and much opposition is 
always experienced from the French members of 
the House of Assembly, whenever any proposi 
tion, however beneficial, may be offered, which 
involves a direct cess. The utility of turnpikes 
has often been agitated in the provincial parlia 
ment ; and though the country would be greatly 
improved by the opening of new roads and com 
munications with distant settlements, yet the 
measure has always been violently opposed by 
the French party. The communication between 
Canada and the United States, by the way of . 
Lake Champlairi, is extremely difficult ; the roads J 
are execrable, and will never be improved until 
turnpikes are established upon them. A very 
considerable trade is carried on between the two 
countries, and would increase with the facility of 

P 2 


communication. The ignorance and obstinacy, 
however, of several of the French members have 
hithero baffled the more enlarged and liberal 
views of the British merchants, who are ever 
desirous of affording the utmost facility to trade; 
and commercCo 



Commerce of Lower Canada- Settlement of the 
French in the Country- Situation of the Co 
lony in 1765 Improper Conduct of the Bri 
tish Traders Dissatisfaction of the Canadian 
Noblesse and Peasantry General Murray s 
Letter to the Lords of the Council Table of 
Imports and Exports of Canada, from 1754 
to 1807 Progressive Increase of Commerce 
Wheat Exports of 1808 Residence of the 
Governor-general, necessary for the Welfare 
of the Colony Fur-Trade Mr. M ( Tavish 
North- West Company Michillimakinak Com 
pany Outrage committed by the Americans on 
Lake Ontario. 

THE commerce of Canada, previous to the con 
quest of the country by the English, was trifling 
and unimportant, and the balance of trade con 
siderably against the colony. It is only within 
the last thirty years that it has become of suffi 
cient magnitude to claim the attention of enter 
prising individuals, and to be of political impor- \ 
tance to the mother-country. 

It was, perhaps, an unfortunate circumstance 


for Canada, that is was colonized by the French, 
who are a people little qualified for agriculture, 
and less for commerce. Their flighty and vola 
tile imaginations having been checked by the 
disappointment of not discovering gold or silver 
mines, by which they had promised themselves 
the immediate possession of immense riches, they 
could ill brook a residence in such a dreary 
country, where the ground was covered one half 
the year with snow. 

Agriculture, with them, was a matter of ne 
cessity rather than of choice, and it is possible 
that they were very ignorant of that art. The 
first settlers being composed chiefly of soldiers, 
and men of a roving and adventurous spirit, very 
steady or regular habits could not be expected 
from them. The chase, therefore, offered greater 
charms than the slow and tedious process of agri 
culture; and few could be found who did not 
prefer the gun to the plough. 

The produce of the chase not only supplied 
them with provisions, but also with clothing; 
and in a short time the peltry which they pro 
cured in their excursions came to be estimated 
at its proper value, and afforded them a very pro 
fitable article for exportation to the mother- coun 
try. The forests, independent of their animal 
productions, abounded with inexhaustible quan- 
tides of valuable timber ; and the seas, rivers, and 



lakfes, were equally abundant in every species and 
variety of fish. These articles, with a few other 
natural productions, formed the only source of 
trade in the colony for nearly a century and half; 
and they were far from being equivalent to the 
demands of the colonists, who imported from 
France more than double the amount of their 
exports ; by which means their expenses greatly 
exceeded their incomes, and reduced the credit 
of the colony to a very low ebb. 

A variety of expedients were proposed and 
adopted, to remedy this defect ; among the rest 
was the issuing of paper-money, which in a few 
years accumulated so rapidly, that scarcely any 
coin was to be found in the country. French 
sols, consisting of brass and a very small mix 
ture of silver, which passed for rather less than a 
penny, were all that was circulated. The paper- 
currency having no stability in itself, in conse 
quence of its payment being protracted from year 
to year, fell at length into disrepute, and at the 
period of the conquest more than 200,000/. were 
due to the colony by the French nation on ac 
count of bills of exchange and paper currency. 
This sum was afterwards liquidated by France, 
through the interference of Great Britain ; but 
the colonists sustained a very considerable loss. 

When the English took possession of Canada 
both commerce and agriculture were in a very 


low state, and it was several years before either 
became of sufficient value to interest the govern 
ment, or reward the exertions of individuals. Of 
the situation of the colony in 17^5, about six 
years after the capture of Quebec, a very accurate 
account has been given by General Murray, at 
that time governor and commander-in-chief, in 
a letter to the lords of trade and plantations. A 
long warfare, and the subsequent conquest of the 
country, had distressed and agitated the minds of 
the inhabitants, who saw themselves reduced to 
subjection and governed by a handful of men. 
The noblesse and clergy felt their pride hurt, and 
themselves humbled, by the loss of their power 
and influence among the people ; and the people, 
exposed to the action of laws and regulations with 
which they were unacquainted, or which they 
comprehended with difficulty, became restless 
and uneasy under a government differing so es 
sentially from their own. It seldom happens 
that innovations in the laws and government of a 
country, however beneficial they may eventually 
prove, are attended in their outset with peaceable 
acquiescence on the part of the people ; and in a 
subjugated country especially, a very ready com 
pliance with the will of the conquerors can hardly 
be expected from the conquered. Time, which 
generally annihilates or softens ail animosity and 
discontent, affords the only chance of success, 



The peculiarities of temper and opinion are gra 
dually worn away by promiscuous converse, as 
angular bodies and uneven surfaces lose their 
points and asperities by frequent attrition against 
each other, and approach by degrees to uniform- 

The letter to which I have alluded was written 
by General Murray, soon after his arrival in 
England, in 1766, in which year he left the 
government of Canada. As it is an official paper, 
its accuracy of course may be depended on. I 
therefore avail myself of the opportunity to lay 
it before my readers, as it affords a better picture 
of the situation of affairs in the province at that 
period, that any other account I have met with. 


" In Mr. Secretary Conway s letter to me of the 24th 
October, 1 764, I am ordered to prepare for my return to En 
gland, in order to give a full and distinct account of the pre 
sent state of the province of Quebec y of the nature and ac 
count of the disorders which have happened there ; and of my 
conduct and proceedings in the administration of the govern 
ment. In obedience to that command, I have the honour 
to report as follows : and first the state of the province : 

" It consists of one hundred and ten parishes,, exclusive of 
the towns of Quebec and Montreal. These parishes contain 
9,722 houses, and 54,5/5 Christian souls ; they occupy, of 
arable land, 9^5,754 arpen-ts. They sowed in the- year 1765, 
1 80,300 minots of grain, and that year they possessed 1 2, 54,6 
oxen, 22,724 cows, 15,039 young horned cattle, 27,064 
sheep, 28,976 swine, and 13,757 horses, as appears by the 


annexed recapitulation (rccenswnent) taken by iny order, hi 
the year 1765. The towns of Quebec and Montreal contain 
abont li-,700 inhabitants. The Savages, whe are called 
Roman-catholics, living within the limits of the province, 
consist ef 7,400 souls: so that the whole, exclusive of the 
king s troops, do amount to 76,275 souls; of which, in 
the parishes are 19 protestant families j the rest of that 
persuasion (a few half-pay officers excepted) are traders, 
mechanics, and publicans, who reside in the low towns of 
Quebec and Montreal. Most of them were followers of the 
army, of mean education, or soldiers disbanded at the re 
duction of the troops. All have their fortunes to make, and, 
I fear, few are solicitous about the means, when the end can be 
attained. 1 report them to be, in general, the most immoral 
collection of men I ever knew : of course, Httle calculated 
to make the new subjects enamoured with our laws, religion, 
and customs ; and far less adapted to enforce these laws, 
which are to govern. 

" On the other hand, the Canadians, accustomed to an arbi 
trary and a sort of military government, are a frugal, indus. 
trious, and moral race of men, who, from the just and mild 
treatment they met with from His Majesty s military officers, 
that ruled the country for four years, until the establishment 
of civil government, had greatly got the better of the natural 
antipathy they had to their conquerors. 

" They consist of a noblesse, who are numerous, and who 
pique themselves much upon the antiquity of their families, 
their own military glory, and that of their ancestors. These 
noblesse are seigniors of the whole country, and, though not 
rich, are in a situation in that plentiful part of the world, 
where money is scarce, and luxury stiil unknown, to support 
their dignity. Their tennnts, who pay only an annual quit- 
rent of about a dollar for one hundred acres, are at their ease, 
and comfortable. They have been accustomed to respect 
and obey their noblesse ; their tenures being military in the 


feudal manner, they have shared with them the dangers of 
the field, and natural affection has been increased in pro. 
portion to the calamities which have been common to both, 
from the conquest of the country. As they have been taught 
to respect their superiors, and are not yet intoxicated with 
the abuse of liberty, they are shocked at the insults which 
their noblesse and the king s officers have received from the 
English traders, and lawyers, since the civil government 
took place. It is natural to suppose they are jealous of 
their religion. They are very ignorant : it was the policy 
of the French government to keep them so : few or none 
can read. Printing was never permitted in Canada till we 
got possession of it. Their veneration for the priesthood i* 
in proportion to their ignorance : it will probably decrease 
as they become enlightened, for the clergy there are of mean 
birth and very illiterate ; and as they are now debarred 
from supplies of ecclesiastics from France, that order of men 
will become more and more contemptible, provided they are not 
exposed to persecution. The state of the Roman clergy I 
have already described in my report to your lordship s 
office, in the year 1?63 ; it will therefore be superfluous to 
say more on that subject here, as no alteration has happened 
since that time. 

" I am really ignorant of any remarkable disorders which 
have happened in the colony, while I commanded there; 
the outrage committed on Mr. Walker, magistrate at Mon 
treal, excepted. A thorough detail of that horrid affair I 
have already laid before the king s servants, in my letter to 
the lords of trade, of the 2d March 1765. I have annexed 
a copy of that letter, in case it may not have fallen into 
your lordships hands. 

" Disorders and divisions, from the nature of things, 
could not be aveided in attempting to establish the civil 
government in Canada, agreeable to my instructions, while 
the same troops who conquered and governed the country 


for four years remained in it. They were commanded by 
an officer, who by the civil establishment had been deprived 
of the government of half the province, and who remained, 
in every respect, independent of the civil establishment. 
Magistrates were to be made, and juries to be composed, 
out of 450 contemptible settlers and traders. It is easy to 
conceive how the narrow ideas and ignorance of such men 
must offend any troops, more especially those who had so 
long governed them, and knew the means from which they 
were elevated, it would be very unreasonable to suppose 
that such men would not be intoxicated with the unexpected 
power put into their hands, and that they would not be 
eager to show how amply they possessed it. As there were 
no barracks in the country, the quartering of the troops 
furnished perpetual opportunities of displaying their im 
portance and rancour. The Canadian noblesse were hated., 
because their birth and behaviour entitled them them to re 
spect; and the peasants were abhorred, because they were 
saved from the oppression they were threatened with. The 
resentment of the grand jury at Quebec put the truth of 
these remarks beyond doubt* The silence of the king s 
servants to the governor s remonstrances in consequence of 
their presentments, though his secretary was sent to them 
on purpose to expedite an explanation, contributed to en 
courage the disturbers of the peace. 

" The improper choice and numbers of the civil officers 
sent out from England increased the inquietudes of the colo 
ny. Instead of men of genius and untainted morals, the 
very reverse were appointed to the most important offices ; 
and it was impossible to communicate, through them, those 
impressions of the dignity of government, by which alone 
mankind can be held together in society. The judge fixed 

* The grand jury presented the Roman Catholics as a 
nuisance, on account of their religion, &c. 


Upon to conciliate the minds of 75,600 foreigners to the 
laws and government of Great Britain was taken from a 
gaol, entirely ignorant of civil law, and of the language 
of the people. The attorney-general, with regard to the 
language of the people, was not better qualified. The 
officers of secretary of the province, register, clerk of the 
council, commissary of stores and provisions, provost martial, 
&c. , were given by patent to men of interest in England, 
who let them out to the best bidders 3 and so little did they 
consider the capacity of their representatives, that not one of 
them understood the language of the natives. As no salary 
was annexed to these patent places, the value of them de 
pended upon the fees, which by my instructions I was ordered 
to establish, equal to those of the richest ancient colony. 
This heavy tax, and the rapacity of the English lawyers, 
were severely felt by the poor Canadians: but they patiently 
submitted ; and though stimulated to dispute it by some of 
the licentious traders from New-York, they cheerfully 
obeyed the stamp-act, in hopes that their good behaviour 
would recommend them to the favour and protection of 
their sovereign. 

" As the council-b ooks of the province, and likewise my 
answers to the complaints made against my administration, 
have been laid before your lordships, it is needless to presume 
to say any thing further on that subject, than that I glory in 
having been accused of warmth and firmness in protecting 
the king s Canadian subjects, and of doing the utmost in my 
power to gain to my royal master tJie affections of that brave, 
hardy people, whose emigration, if ever it should happen, mil be 
an irreparable loss to this empire ; to prevent which, I declare 
to your lordships, I would cheerfully submit to greater 
calumnies and indignities (if greater can be devised) than 
hitherto I have undergone. 

u I have the honour to be, &c." 

From the contents pf this letter, it appears eyi- 


dent that much cordiality could not exist between 
the French inhabitants and the British settlers. 
The former were a people who prided themselves 
on their ancestry, and consequently despised the 
latter, who were of mean birth, and possessed of 
still meaner abilities. The mutual disgust and 
jealousy which were thus created, tended very 
considerably to depreciate the state of the colony 
for some years : commerce declined rather than 
increased ; nor did she raise her drooping head 
till order and regularity were introduced into the 
government, and its affairs were conducted by 
men of talent and worth : British subjects were 
then induced to emigrate to Canada, and embark 
their property in speculations which have since 
raised the colony to an unexampled state of pro 

The following table of imports and exports will 
exhibit the progressive augmentation of com 
merce from the year 1754 to the present period. 
I have only enumerated the principal staple com 
modities which are exported ; the other colonial 
produce is included with the furs, which have 
always formed the chief support of the colony. 


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This table of imports and exports is derived 
from official documents, but for the years 1797, 
1807, and 1808, the amount of the exports was 
not mentioned in the lists published by the Cus 
tom house at Quebec: I have, however, been able 
to ascertain the sums by the price-current for those 
years ; and I have reason to believe there are but a 
few pounds difference, either one way or the other, 
when the amount of the exports is taken in the 
aggregate. The progressive improvement of com 
merce is strikingly exemplified in the exports for 
1807 and 1808, and, when compared with those 
of former years, must clearly show what the pro 
vince is capable of, provided that her resources 
are properly brought into action. 

It appears that in 1754, under the French go 
vernment, there was a balance against the colony 
of 141,209/. 5s. 4d. sterling: this great deficiency 
could have been supplied only by the large sums 
expended for the military establishment, the sup 
port of the government, and the building of ships 
for the service of the French government in Eu 
rope, which were paid for by bills drawn on the 
treasury of France. In 1/69 commerce appears 
to have increased more rapidly than could have 
been expected; and if the amount of exports for 
that year can be depended on, a balance remained 
in favour of the colony of 81,600/. sterling. 

At that period, and for several years subsequent, 
a 2 


the principal articles of export consisted of peltry, 
lumber, oil, and fish, with a small quantity of gin 
seng and capillaire: these were shipped from 
Quebec, Labrador, and Gaspe. Within the last 
twenty years new staples have arisen, which have 
been exported to very large amounts, and promise 
to enrich the country equally with the fur trade. 
These articles are wheat, biscuit, and flour ; pot 
J and pearl-ashes; which in ISO/ amounted to one 
half the total exports of 1797- It must be allowed, 
however, that considerable quantities of pot and 
pearl-ash are brought into Canada by the Ame 
ricans from the United States ; yet the clearing 
of the lands in Upper Canada and the Back settle 
ments of the Lower Province produces annually 
a much greater quantity than what is obtained 
from the States. The French Canadians within 
these two or three years have begun to make 
ashes : they have seen the facility with which 
their brethren of the United States clear their 
lands and pay their expenses ; and though late, 
yet are willing to profit by the example. Their 
poverty, or parsimony, had prevented them from 
paying 20/. for a pot-ash kettle, though they 
might, like the Americans, have made the salts in 
smaller quantities, and with little trouble or ex 
pense. But it requires a series of years to effect 
a change in the sentiments or actions of the French 



The great demand for wheat, which prevailed 
in Great Britain, and generally throughout Eu 
rope, in 1793-4 and 5, gave a sudden stimulus to 
the exertions of the Canadians, who during those 
years exported considerable quantities of wheat, 
as well as flour and biscuit. The increased price 
given for those articles tempted the inhabitants 
to continue as large a cultivation of grain in the 
subsequent years ; but the demand declining, they 
experienced a sensible reduction in their exports, 
and a consequent curtailment of their incomes. 
The following statement will exhibit the fluctu 
ating demand for wheat, biscuit, and flour, from 
1796 to 1808. 






Wheat Bushels 
Flour Barrels 
Biscuit Cwt. 







The unsettled state of the market for the above 
articles renders it necessary to establish some other 
of a more permanent nature, which might also be 
derived from agriculture, and would be the means 
of enriching the mother country as well as the co 
lony. The only article which could effectually 
supply this want is hemp ; and that alone, if cul 
tivated to a sufficient extent, would be more than 
adequate to meet the whole expense of the im 

230 EXPORTS OF 1808. 

The quantity of wheat exported in 1802 was 
unusually great, being one million ten thousand 
and thirty-three bushels; but in 1807 it had fallen 
to less than a fourth of that quantity, and in 1808 
to less than a fifth : yet the general aggregate of 
the exports has augmented, as well as the number 
of ships and seamen. 

The exportation of almost every other article in 
1808 greatly exceeded that of the preceding year, 
in consequence of the embargo in the United 
States. The number of shipping that cleared out 
from Quebec in 1808 amounted to 334, and were 
laden principally with timber, pot-ash, pitch, tar, 
and turpentine; wheat, flax-seeds, staves, &c. The 
tonnage was /O,275, and the number of seamen 
3,330. The greatest part of these vessels were 
sent by government, the usual supplies from the 
Baltic being in a great measure cut off by the 
war with Russia and Denmark ; and the impor 
tations from the United States being totally stop 
ped by the embargo. The advantage, therefore, 
of Great Britain deriving her supplies of hemp, as 
well as every other description of naval stores, 
from Canada, cannot for a moment be doubted. 
Even in time of peace they would encourage and 
enrich the British colonists, and the competition 
in the market with the productions of the United 
States, and the northern parts of Europe, would 


inevitably tend to lessen the expenses of our navy 
and commercial marine. 

The unusual demand for the natural productions 
of Canada, during 1808, enhanced the price of 
every article in proportion ; and in spite of the em 
bargo laws, abundance of timber and staves, pot 
and pearl-ashes, and provisions of every descrip 
tion found their way across the boundary-line into 
Canada, and were shipped off to Europe or the 
West Indies. The Canadian merchants rejoiced 
at the embargo, which enriched them while it 
made their neighbours poor indeed. It has truly 
been a harvest for them ; but I question whether 
this year will abound with such favourable oppor 
tunities for speculation as the last, 

A very great object to the welfare of the colony 
is the residence of the governor-general. His pre 
sence stimulates the inhabitants to extraordinary 
exertions ; while the large establishment he is ob 
liged to support, added to the increased number 
of troops generally maintained in the colony dur 
ing his residence, circulates a very considerable 
sum of money among the people, and creates 
throughout the community an universal spirit of 
activity. The laws are then better observed, and 
delay and irresolution in the actions of government 
can find no excuse : but when the principal is ah- 
sent, and, as it has frequently happened, his deputy 
also, the other members of the government never 


like to take any responsibility upon themselves : 
they would rather, I believe, that the most bene 
ficial plans should miscarry, or even an enemy be 
allowed to ravage the country, than they would 
attempt to act without positive instructions from 

The arrival of Sir James Craig diffused new 
life and activity through the province : the im 
becility and irresolution which before charac 
terized the government, instantly vanished ; large 
sums of money were circulated by the troops ; 
and the construction of new works, with the 
repairs of the old, gave full employment to the 
labouring part of the community; the price of pro 
visions became proportionally enhanced, chiefly 
at Quebec, where an unusual number of seamen 
and soldiers had taken up their residence : hence 
the country people were enriched, and encouraged 
to greater exertions. 

The price of every thing has been nearly 
trebled within the last 60 }ears; but the colony 
has risen into importance : agriculture and com 
merce continue to improve and augment ; many 
of its inhabitants possess handsome fortunes, and 
nearly all of them a moderate independence, or 
income, from trade. 

The fur trade has been the principal source of 
all the wealth which has for many years been ac 
cumulated in the province. This branch of com- 


merce, which fell into the hands of the English 
after the conquest, was carried on for several 
years by individuals on their own separate ac 
count ; but about 25 years ago, the enterprising 
arid active spirit of a Mr. M Tavish laid the 
foundation of that association, at present known 
under the title of The North-west Company, for 
the purpose of extending that trade to its utmost 
limits. This was more likely to be accomplished 
by the joint stock of a company than the small 
properties of individual merchants, and the result 
has justified the expectations of its author. Much 
jealousy and competition was, however, excited 
by those north-west traders, who did not associate 
with Mr. M Tavish and his friends, and for seve 
ral years the greatest animosity subsisted between 
them. This opposition naturally gave rise to a 
second company, consisting of the individuals 
opposed to Mr. M Tavish. Among the most 
conspicuous of the second association was Mr. 
M Kenzie, now Sir Alexander. The enterprising 
spirit of this gentleman is well known, since the 
publication of his Travels across the North-west 
Continent to the Pacific Ocean. The concerns 
of his company were, therefore, managed with as 
much ability as the other, which made their op 
ponents seriously wish to combine the two asso 
ciations in one ; but the proud and haughty 
spirit of Mr. M Tavish would not allow it : he 


resolutely withstood all attempts at an accommo 
dation, and spared neither expense nor trouble 
to crush the exertions of his rivals. Death, how 
ever, which too ften annihilates the fairest hopes 
of sublunary bliss, put an end to the contest ; 
Mr. M Tavish died, the companies immediately 
joined their stocks, and commenced partnership, 
in which state they remain at this day ; the 
business being conducted under the firm of 
M Gillivray, Roderick M Kenzie, and Co. though 
the number of persons who have shares in the 
company amounts, it is said, to more than forty. 
The clerks, travellers, and Indians, employed by 
the North-west company, amount to upwards of 

The clerks are all adventurous young Scotch 
men, who emigrate, from penury in the islands of 
the Hebrides, to certain hardships and dubious 
affluence in the dreary wilds of the north-west. 
They engage for a term of five or seven years, 
after which they have a certain yearly allowance, 
or become partners in the company. The hard^ 
ships and fatigue which they undergo, frequently 
tend to the enervation of their frame and the 
destruction of their health ; so that at the period 
of fifteen or twenty years it is not uncommon 
for them to retire from the company with a for 
tune of 20,OOO/. and a broken constitution. 

Of late years the profits of the company have 


been considerably diminished by the restrictions 
on our commerce on the continent of Europe, 
where the chief demand for furs exists. Consi 
derable quantities are however sent to the United 
States, from whence they are exported to Europe 
under their neutral flag : an opening is thus 
created for the company s peltry, which would 
otherwise have been very much contracted dur 
ing the war. The number of skins exported to 
England in 1807 was 460,000, and to the United 
States 286,703 ; but the embargo in 1808 must v 
have much lessened the demand from that quarter. 
Upwards of 20.000/. is annually paid in England 
for the duties on furs from Canada. 

The capital employed by the North-west com 
pany must be very extensive, as the returns are 
extremely slow. The trade is now pushed to the 
very extremity of the continent; from the coast 
of Labrador to the Pacific Ocean, extending to 
the northward beyond the arctic circle. The 
goods sent up annually from Montreal, for the 
barter of furs from the Indians, are upwards of 
four years before they produce a return. The 
dangers and difficulties attending the transporta 
tion of these articles so many thousand miles 
across rivers, lakes, and portages, have been so 
well described by Sir Alexander M Kenzie, in 
his history of the fur trade, that it is unnecessary 
for me to detail them here : it is sufficient to say 


that they surpass any thing that can be formed 
in idea, by persons who never explored the vast 
expanse of waters, the gloomy and interminable 
forests, which cover the extensive dominions of 
British North America. 

There is another association established within 
these few years, called The South-west or Michil- 
limakinak Company: some of the partners in this 
association have also shares in the North-west 
company, but the general concern is totally se 
parate. The South-west merchants pursue their 
trade across the lakes Ontario and Erie, and 
down the rivers Illinois, Ohio, amd Mississippi, 
in the territory of the United States. In conse 
quence of the embargo which took place last year 
in the United States, and which it was appre 
hended would affect the concerns of this company, 
one of the partners (Mr. Gillespie) went to Wash 
ington to procure from the government a safe 
conduct for their people and property employed 
in the trade. He was assured by Mr. Madison, 
that no interruption whatever should take place 
in the prosecution of their trade with the Indians 
in the United States territory ; and a clause was 
inserted to that effect in the supplementary em 
bargo-act. Upon the return of Mr. Gillespie to 
Montreal, the people with the boats laden with 
the property for trade belonging to the company 
were accordingly sent off op their usual voyage. 


On the 2 J st of May the first five boats arrived 
within the American limits, on Lake Ontario: 
they were hailed from the shore by order of the 
commandant of Niagara : but having no business 
at that place, the boats continued their route; 
when they were immediately fired upon by the 
Americans. Three of the advanced boats pulled 
up and escaped ; the other two were brought-to 
and taken by the Americans, who finding there 
were several more astern, embarked in an armed 
boat, w r ent in search of them, and captured five 
more, which they carried to Niagara. They then 
sailed after the remainder ; but information being 
given by a gentleman, who immediately armed a 
boat and went to inform them of their danger, 
the brigade put about for Kingston, where they 
arrived in safety ; having been chased for two days 
by the American armed boats. 

No other motives, it is said, were assigned for 
this proceeding by the commandant of Niagara, 
than that he had acted agreeably to his orders. 
Some persons accounted for the outrage by his 
being a British deserter; he having escaped across 
the line, and entered the American service, in 
which he had risen to the rank of major in the 
army, and commandant of Fort Niagara ; aad 
that his enmity to us had prompted him to act 
as he had done, under the pretence that the em 
bargo-law authorised him to do so. This, hovv- 



ever, is not a probable circumstance, after the as 
surances that were made to Mr. Gillespie by the 
American government ; and the mistake has no 
doubt by this time been rectified, as that gentle 
man set off again for Washington, immediately 
after the violence had been committed against the 

I shall perhaps be hardly credited, when I say 
that manufactured furs can be obtained consider 
ably cheaper in England than in Canada ; that 
muffs, tippets, caps, and hats, are all much in 
ferior, in their appearance, to those articles in 
London, and above a third higher in price. The 
Canadian furriers do not yet possess the art of 
turning their furs to the most advantage ; their 
muffs and caps are heavy and cumbersome ; and 
I hazard little in saying that a London furrier 
would make three muffs out of the quantity 
which a Canadian puts into one. The people of 
Canada, however, tell you that a London muff 
would not be warm enough in their country. As 
it is not yet the fashion for gentlemen to wear 
that comfortable appendage, I cannot refute their 
assertion ; but I have no doubt that, if a furrier 
from London was to settle in Quebec, he would 
be preferred to every other. He must not, 
however, expect to make a rapid fortune; for 
fashions are not so inconstant in Canada as in 



Trade letiveen Canada and the United States 
Burlington Memorial to Congress American 
Merchants settling at Montreal Interest for 
Money not allowed to Catholics in Canada 
Rafts of Timber Productions of Upper Canada 
Prosperity of that Province Necessity of 
having good Roads Manufactures Iron-works 
at Three Rivers and Bailsman Ship-building 
Reduction of the Imports of English and East 
India manufactured Goods Balance of Trade 
in favour of the United States Smugglers 
Evasion of the Embargo Laws Fermontese in 
a State of Insurrection Inferior Commodities 
preferred by the Canadians Diversity of Opi 
nion respecting the establishing a Bank in Lower 
Canada Imports and Exports of 1SO7 and 1808 
Duties payable on imported Goods Post- 
Office Regulations Roads and Distances, &c. 

A VERY considerable trade is now carried on 
between Canada and the United States across 
Lake Champlain. The importations into Lower 
Canada consist of various articles of merchandise, 
oak and pine timber, staves, pearl-ashes, provi- 


sions, &c., and amounted in 1807 to upwards 
of 1(X),000/. sterling. The exports from Lower 
Canada to the United Spates do not amount to 
half the value of tiie imports. They consist chiefly 
of peltry and salt : the other articles are of a 
trifling nature. The balance is therefore greatly 
in favour of the States, and they receive the dif 
ference in specie. 

When the first embargo-law took place, it did 
not affect those states bordering on Canada ; but 
in order to put all the states upon a level, the 
American government passed several supplemen 
tary acts, strictly prohibiting all trade and com 
merce with foreign places. The impolicy of such 
a measure, and the detriment likely to accrue 
to the newly-settled states on the confines of 
Canada, were ably set forth by the inhabitants of 
the town of Burlington, in Vermont, in their me 
morial to Congress, praying a repeal of that part 
of the law which related to their state. 

The whole of the memorial is well drawn up, 
and exhibits, in glowing colours, the distresses 
which the stagnation of their trade with Canada 
must entail upon the inhabitants of the newly 
settled states. But this, as well as innumerable 
other memorials for the repeal of the embargo, 
which arrived from all parts of the Union, made 
no impression upon Congress : the president an 
swered them all in a very soft and insinuating 


style, regretting that the outrages committed on 
the United States by the belligerent powers of 
Europe should render such sacrifices necessary. 

Several Americans have of late years settled in 
Montreal, and carry on a lucrative trade through 
out the country. Since the embargo, two or 
three merchants from Boston have opened large 
stores of British merchandise. I went to New 
York in company with one of them, Mr. Storrow, 
a gentleman of respectable family and connexions 
at Boston, where he has a partner who conducts 
his concerns during his residence in Canada* 
On my return to Canada, in the spring of J808, 
he had brought his wife and family with him, 
and intended to take up his abode in the p-j- 
vince for some time. He has met with great en 
couragement ; and what is rather remarkable, the 
merchants of Montreal do not eye his exertions 
with jealousy ; on the contrary, he has experi 
enced a very hospitable and kind reception from 

The people of the United States are certainly 
the most active and enterprising of any that in 
habit the continent of America ; they far surpass 
the British merchants resident in Canada, who, 
either from the inactivity produced by a long 
winter, or that they imbibe the languor of the 
French Canadians, have no great inclination to spe 
culate to any considerable extent beyond the cus- 

VOL. i. R 


ternary routine of business. I must, however, 
except the companies employed in the fur trade, 
who have exhibited an indefatigable exertion, 
and spirit of speculative enterprise, that cannot 
be surpassed by the people of any nation in the 

One great cause of the want of spirit and enter 
prise among the Habitans, or Canadian land- 
holders, who, generally speaking, are possessed 
of considerable property, is occasioned by the 
restrictions of their priests, who will not permit 
them to put their money out to interest. They 
have no other mode of turning their money to 
account, but by increasing their landed pro 
perty, or, if in trade, by increasing their stock. 
Hence, whatever profits and gains they are able 
to lay up must be put into a strong box, if they 
wish to secure it. 

To lend their money without being able to 
receive interest for it (which, however, they 
sometimes do) is only hazarding their property 
for nothing : consequently the great majority of 
the French people who have spare cash, lock it 
up, year after year, in their coffers, where it lies 
an useless burthen. In no country is there a 
greater variety of old coins to be met with than 
in Canada; for, as the old people die off, the 
young ones bring their hoards of specie into cir 
culation. 4 


If a bank was established under the authority 
of the British Government, it would, I conceive, 
be of considerable utility, inasmuch as it would 
prove a safe deposit for money, even if the priests 
continued to forbid their people from receiving 
interest for it: in that case a particular fund 
might be provided for vesting of such moneys,, the 
security of which should be guarantied by the 
British Government ; and in return for the bene 
fit they would derive from the use thereof, the 
people should not be liable to the smallest loss in 
the disposal of such property, whatever might 
be the price of stocks at the time of sale. Some 
of the British merchants, who were in favour 
with the French clergy, have sometimes obtained 
considerable sums from the Habitans on loan, and 
have kept them for several years without paying 
a farthing interest : whether they made any pre 
sents in return, I do not know ; but the Habitans 
have in one or two instances been great losers by 
their generosity. A merchant s house at Quebec, 
that broke about three years ago, was in posses 
sion of a great deal of money obtained in this 
way, most of which their creditors will never 
recover. In consequence of these losses, the Ha 
bitans will now put confidence only in their strong 

The merchants of Canada are almost wholly J 
British : they derive their resources from Eng- 

R 2 


land, and in general have established themselves 
upon small capitals and large credits. This may 
perhaps in some measure account for the nume- 
rous failures that have taken place amongst them ; 
and it is possitively asserted as a fact, that since the 
country has been in our posession not more than 
Jive in a hundred have paid their debts. A variety 
of causes^ no doubt, have contributed to this ex 
traordinary defalcation : a tedious winter of six 
months, during which no business can be carried 
on with Europe, while interest upon their Euro 
pean debts is charged after a certain period, and 
continues winter as well as summer, is certainly 
a great drawback in mercantile concerns : the 
long credit also which the Canadian merchants 
are obliged to give the country store-keepers, 
tends very considerably to impede their remit 
tances in due season, unless the utmost regularity 
is maintained. 

The Canadian merchants cannot in general be 
charged with extravagance ; yet, from the appear 
ance which many of them maintain, they are 
often looked upon as men of fortune, when they 
are on the verge of bankruptcy. Protested bills 
coming back with the extravagant addition of 
twenty or twenty-five per cent, are also highly 
injurious to the merchant, and tend greatly to in 
crease his difficulties. There are, however, no 
bankrupt laws in Canada, and perhaps the want 


of them has rendered men in business less punc 
tual in their transactions than they would other 
wise have been. A man in debt cannot be arrested, 
unless he is going to leave the province ; nor can 
he be prevented from disposing of his property. 
You may go to law with him ; but that only makes 
him spend your money the faster. 

The timber and staves which are brought into 
Canada from the States are cut down in winter or 
spring, and collected into large rafts on lake 
Champlain, from whence they are floated down 
the river Richlieu into the St. Lawrence, and de 
posited along the shores of Silleri and Wolfe s 
Cove for an extent of more than five miles. 
There they are culled and sorted for the mer 
chants, and then taken into the ships which lie 
off the Cove, or the wharfs at Quebec. Standard 
staves of 5 feet long, l^ inch thick, and five !} 
inches broad, sell in Canada usually from 40/. to 
50/. the. 1200. The freight is about the same 

The rafts, when coming down the river, exhibit 
a curious scene : they have several little sheds or 
huts, erected with boards for the accommodation 
of the rowers, whose number on large rafts fre 
quently consists of upwards of 100 or 15O. The 
men employed in this business are chiefly Ame 
ricans from the state of Vermont : they live upon 
the rafts until they are separated for sale, when 


they remove their huts to the shore, where they 
reside during the remainder of the season ; at the 
end of which they return home. 

Several rafts of timber, and scows laden with 
staves, flour, pork, and pot-ash, arrive annually, 
from Upper Canada, at Montreal and Quebec. 
The trade between the Upper and Lower Pro 
vinces has been important only within a very 
few years. The rapid increase of population and 
agriculture in the new settlements of Upper Ca- 
. nada has produced a large surplus of those ar 
ticles for exportation, and the demand for them 
has risen in proportion. The following is a re 
turn of the productions that passed the rapids 
from Chateauguay to Montreal, between the 27th 
of April and the 28th of November 1807, the 
only period in which the St. Lawrence is naviga 
ble during the year : 

1.9,893 barrels Flour *) 

1,46 bushels . . . Wheat | 

J27 barrels. . . . Pot-ash )>in 39 Scows. 

48 ditto Pork | 

8 packs Furs j 

2/7,010 feet Oak Timber . . . ^ 

4,300 ditto Pine ditto | 

691 ,200 Stares >in 340 Rafts. 

72,440 Boards & Planks ) 

985 . Masts J 

6,300 cords of Fire.wood, in 701 Cribs. 

This statement affords an agreeable presage of 
the future prosperity and opulence of the Upper 


Province. Those persons with whom I have con 
versed concerning the state of Upper Canada 
generally speak of it as the garden of America, 
subjected neither to the tedious freezing winters 
of Lower Canada, nor the scorching summers of 
the more southern parts of the continent of North 
America. The principal inconveniences to which 
the Upper Province is subject are the falls and 
rapids, which impede the navigation of the St. 
Lawrence, between Kingston and Montreal, and 
its distance from any commercial or shipping- 
town from whence its productions may be ex 
ported to Europe. These are, however, in some 
measure removed, and a considerable abundance 
of the surplus produce of that province is now 
forwarded to Montreal and Quebec. If gooc} 
roads were made between the two provinces, regu 
lar waggons might be established as in England, 
and goods conveyed up the country with more 
security and expedition than they can at present 
by water : a more regular communication would 
be then opened between the two seats of govern 
ment, which would be the means of expediting 
the public business, and facilitating the commerce 
of both countries. 

The manufactures of Lower Canada are carried 
on chiefly by individuals for their own domestic 
use : these and some others of a more general 
mature I have enumerated in a preceding chapter. 


A manufactory of iron was established by the 
French, at Three Rivers, soon after the settle 
ment of the country. That government, however, 
was never able to make it pay the expenses at 
tending the work, and it fell into the hands of 
individuals, who succeeded very little better. The 
iron ore was at one time supposed to be nearly 
exhausted ; but fresh veins having been discovered 
in the vicinity of the Forges, the works are now 
in a flourishing condition. I shall have an op 
portunity of describing them more particularly, 
when I speak of the town of Three Rivers, in a 
future chapter. 

Another manufactory of iron has been esta 
blished of late in the seigniory of Batiscan, about 
half way between Quebec and Three Rivers on 
the north shore. Large sums of money have 
been expended in endeavouring to bring these 
works to perfection ; but very little success has 
hitherto attended the exertions of the proprietors, 
several of whom are considerable losers. The 
articles manufactured here consist of cast-iron 
stove-plates, pots, kettles, and other domestic 

Within the laat twenty- years, ship building 

/ has been carried on at Quebec and Montreal to 

a very profitable extent every year. There are 

four bui j ders at the former place, and one at the 

latter ; from six to eight vessels are launched an 


nually : they range between two and five hundred 
tons, and are contracted for upon an average at 
lOl. per ton. The greatest advantage of this 
business is, that the men can work at it both 
winter and summer. The cordage and rigging are 
obtained from England ; but the iron-work is 
mostly of Canadian manufacture. Nearly 2O,000/. J 
is annually circulated in the country for ship 

Upon a review of the preceding account of the 
commerce of Canada, it appears that a very sen- 
sible improvement has taken place within the last 
twenty years ; and that the balance of trade, upon 
the whole, is now much in favour of the colony. 
It may be also worthy of remark, that the imports 
from Great Britain and her colonies, instead of 
increasing, have considerably diminished. For 
several years past, the East India and British ma 
nufactured goods imported into Canada annually 
from Great Britain, have been estimated at about 
330,000 /. sterling; but during the year 1807 - 
they did not amount to more than 200,000 /. : ; 
this surprising diminution, while the demands of 
the colony were increasing with its population, 
must naturally create astonishment, until it is 
known that the deficiency is supplied by the 
United States, partly by a regular trade, but 
much more by contraband. The articles now 


furnished chiefly by the Americans, and which 
were formerly procured solely from England, are 
tea, tobacco, and East India manufactured goods. 
By the table of imports received at the custom 
house at St. John s, on Lake Champlain, it ap 
pears that, in 1 807, 42,OOO Ibs. of tea, 187,887lbs. 
of tobacco, and merchandise consisting of British 
and East India goods to the amount of 30,000 /. 
were imported from the United States through 
the regular channel ; while the quantity of tea 
received from England was only 4,20Olbs. and to* 
bacco 15O,OOOlbs. That exclusive of timber, pot 
ash, and provisions, the total amount was calcu 
lated at 1OO,OOO /. equal to one-half the merchan 
dise received that year from Great Britain. 

Reckoning even upon this estimate, the defi 
ciency of imports from Great Britain appears to 
be accounted for ; but then no allowance is made 
for the increasing wants of the people, whose 
number must have greatly increased within the 
last twenty years : this, however, is to be found 
in the great latitude that is given to the intro 
duction of goods from the United States, without 
passing through the custom-house at St John s. 
The means of conveying them into Canada, across 
the extensive boundary line which divides the two 
countries, are so easy, and require so little exertion 
to avoid the Argus eyes of 3 custom-house officer, 


that every temptation is offered to introduce ar 
ticles which are either prohibited, or pay any con 
siderable duty. 

The facilities afforded to smuggling between 
Canada and the United States have been suffi 
ciently exemplified since the promulgation of the 
Embargo-act ; for, in spite of the armed militia 
and custom-house officers stationed along the 
American side of the line to enforce the laws, the 
timber, pot-ash, provisions, and almost every other 
article brought into the province in 1808 has 
more than doubled the quantity received from 
thence in 1807- A variety of curious expedients 
were resorted to by the Americans in smuggling 
their produce over the line : buildings were erect 
ed exactly upon the boundary line, one half in 
Canada, the other half in the States ; the goods 
were put in at night, and before morning were 
safe in Canada. Additional laws, however, put 
a stop to this proceeding, and the officers were 
empowered to seize all property which they 
suspected was intended to be run into Canada : but 
the ingenuity of the Vermontese still evaded even 
these rigorous mandates. They constructed a great 
number of timber-rafts, fastened them together, 
and formed immense bodies of floating wood ; one 
of them even covered ten acres ; and from its size, 
and in ridicule of Mr. Jefferson, was called the 
Mammoth Raft. These were manned wholly by 


French Canadians collected for that purpose, and 
were rowed within a short distance of the line ; 
when the custom-house officers, aided by a de 
tachment of the militia, immediately took pos 
session, and obliged the people on board to cast 
anchor : this was accordingly complied with, and 
for a few days the rafts remained quietly moored. 
There were immense quantities of provisions, pot 
ash, and staves on board ; and the people were con 
veniently lodged in their wooden huts, which, with 
the great number of men employed to row them, 
formed a very extraordinary spectacle. It was not 
long, however, before the whole were soon in ac 
tion again ; for a violent gale of wind coming on one 
night, blew the unwieldy rafts with all their civil 
and military heroes on board completely over the 
line. The American officers and militia no sooner 
found themselves in Canada, than they hastily took 
to their boats and rowed back to the States, sorely 
chagrined at losing so many valuable prizes. 

Strong remonstrances were made by the com- 
manding officers on these expeditions ; and infor 
mation was sent to Mr. President Jefferson, who 
at length was pleased to issue a proclamation de 
claring the inhabitants of Vermont to be in a state 
of rebellion and insurrection, and ordered out re 
inforcements of the militia to quell the disturb 
ances. The Vermontese were much enraged at the 
idea of being considered and denounced as rebels. 


in consequence of a few frays between the custom 
house officers and smugglers ; and many of them, 
as I passed through that state on my return to 
Canada, declared to me that the disturbance ex 
isted only in the president s brain. Nothing in 
deed very serious took place ; a few broken heads 
were all that resulted from the opposition to the 
laws. A great arid serious inconvenience was felt 
at this period by the British settlers in Missisqui 
Bay, the entrance from which into Lake Cham- 
plain is cut by the boundary line, and several rafts 
were thus prevented from passing down the Rich- 
lieu river into the St. Lawrence; they having no 
outlet but by way of the States. 

The lucrative trade which is carried on between 
Canada and the adjoining States has rendered the 
Americans very adverse to a war between the two 
countries, as the prosperity of their respective 
States almost entirely depends upon that opening 
for the disposal of their surplus produce. Greater 
facility and advantages are afforded by the expor 
tation to Canada than to any of the maritime towns 
in New England : nothing, therefore, but absolute 
necessity would drive them into a war with the 
British settlements. They also lay a duty of nearly 
3 5 percent, on goods from Canada, while their pro 
ductions sent into that country pay but a mere 

The Canadians are more inclined to encourage 


the importation of goods from the States, than 
from Great Britain, because they are obtained at 
a much cheaper rate, though generally of an in 
ferior quality. The intrinsic worth of an article is, 
however, of less consideration to the inhabitants of 
Canada than the price ; the best kind is seldom 
or never to be procured in that country : the mer 
chants find their own advantage in the vending 
of inferior commodities, upon which they obtain 
much larger profits than they could procure upon 
the better sort ; and the people are now so accus 
tomed to the use of these goods, that they scarcely 
know how to appreciate those of a superior quality. 
Much diversity of opinion has existed of late in 
Canada upon the propriety of establishing a bank 
in that country. The British merchants of course 
are eager for the creation of such an establishment, 
having before their eyes the example of Great Bri 
tain and the United States, where the banking 
system is carried on with so much success and ad 
vantage. The subject was discussed in 1808 in the 
house of assembly ; and Mr. Richardson of Mont 
real, one of the members, answered the several ob 
jections that were urged against the establishment 
of a bank in Lower Canada. It was said that the 
people were illiterate, and therefore liable to be 
imposed on ; that it would encourage a spirit of 
gambling, and speculation founded upon false 
capitals ; and that it would occasion the small por- 

BANKS. 255 

tion of specie at present in the province to disap 
pear. In reply to these objections it was urged, 
that the inconvenience to be apprehended from 
the illiteracy of the people had certainly some 
weight, but was capable of being remedied by de 
vices upon the bank-notes which should point out 
to them, on view thereof, the relative value. Forge 
ries might be guarded against, or at least rendered 
difficult, by additional precautions in the paper 
issued for the notes, and the plates from which the 
impressions were made : an advantage over the 
United States would also be had in the punishment 
of forgery, which would be death ! whereas in 
that country it was merely imprisonment: besides, 
gold and silver are liable to be counterfeited, 
and it would be strange to argue from thence that 
the use of coin ought to be abandoned. With 
respect to speculating upon a false capital, such 
might be practised to a certain extent : but all 
credit, whether given to a bank or to individuals, 
is a species of false capital, and of course liable to 
be misapplied ; but it is false reasoning to argue 
against the use of any thing because of its possible 

The objection which stated that the establish 
ing a bank would occasion the specie to disappear, 
was said to have foundation only in appearance, 
not in fact ; for that at present the intercourse 
with the United States, which leaves a balance of 

250 BANKS. 

trade against Canada, does annually drain thd 
country of a considerable quantity of specie, and 
this drain can only be remedied by the importa 
tion of specie by government, or by individuals ; 
but that a could not add to the diminution of 
specie, and would be the means of transporting 
property from one country to another, with less 
danger and difficulty than at present exists. 

A bill was then brought into the house : the 
following are its principal features : 

The stock is not to exceed 250,000 /. currency* 
unless the government of the province see fit to 
take an interest therein, in which case it may be 
50,000/. more. This stock is to consist of shares 
of 25 /. each. There are to be 24 directors, who 
are to choose out of their number a president and 
vice-president, whereof half are to be for Quebec 
and half for Montreal, at which cities the two su 
perior branches of the bank are to be held, with 
a power of erecting offices of deposit and discount 
in other parts of the Canadas when found advise- 
able. If government take an interest, they are to 
appoint two directors. The dividends are to be 
payable half-yearly. A deposit of 10 per cent, is 
to be paid down for each share on subscribing, 
which will be forfeited if the first instalment there 
after of 10 per cent, be not paid in due season. 
The shares are put at a low rate, that they may 
be more generally diffused over the province. Fo : 

BANKS. 257 

reigners may hold shares, but cannot be directors; 
they may, however, vote at general meetings by 
proxy, if the proxy be one of His Majesty s sub 

The votes are endeavoured to be established on 
such a scale of proportion as shall exclude an 
over-bearing preponderance in those who shall 
hold a large interest in the concern, and yet as 
sure to property therein, that influence which it 
ought to possess in every well regulated institu 
tion. It is proposed that there shall be no other 
corporate bank in Canada during the continuance 
of the contemplated one ; but there is a power of 
revocation thereof, under certain limitations and 
formalities, if found to be hurtful in practice. 
The stock of the bank may be increased when re 
quisite, and its notes are proposed to be receivable 
in payment of duties imposed on, or to be imposed 
by the provincial legislature. 

It is doubtful whether the French party in the 
House of Assembly will coincide with the ideas 
of the British merchants ; the old French paper 
currency is not yet forgotten, and will naturally 
prejudice a great many of them against the intro 
duction of a similar medium. The numerous 
gangs of forgers who infest the boundary line, 
and counterfeit immense quantities of the United 
States* paper money ; and the innumerable paltry 
notes for a few cents or half-dollars, which are in 
circulation all over the Northern States, are cer- 
VOL. i. s 

258 BANKS. 

tainly no great inducements to create a similar 
establishment in Canada, which would most likely 
give rise to the same evils. In short, it involves 
considerations of a very serious nature : what may 
suit Great Britain and the United States may not 
answer in Canada, and the mischievous effects of 
a paper medium have already been felt in that pro 
vince ; though it must be allowed that the colony 
is at present in a better condition for the establish 
ment of a bank than at any former period ; the ba 
lance of trade upon the aggregate being greatly in 
its favour. As a secure place of deposit for the 
people s money, which is now locked up in their 
chests, it would also be of considerable utility. 
At all events the experiment of the banking system 
could do very little harm, provided that, in case 
it was likely to entail upon the community any 
evils of a momentous nature, it was immediately 

I shall conclude this chapter upon the com- 
merce of Lower Canada, with the tables of im 
ports and exports for the years 1807 and 1808, as 
received from the custom-houses at Quebec and 
St. John s. The imports and exports at the 
custom-house of Quebec are from 1st May to 
jst December 18O8. Those at St. John s are 
from the 5th January 1807, to 5th January 1808. 
I have also subjoined some useful tables respect 
ing the duties on imported goods, post-office re 
gulations, roads and distances, &c. 







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Exports from Quebec. 1808, 


. s. d. 

Wheat 186,708 bushels 6 8 

Criblings 150 ditto 3 

Peas 52,934 ditto 5 

Oats 2,669 ditto 2 

Barley 5,994 ditto 3 4 

Indian Corn 3,467 ditto 4 

Hayseed 13,830 ditto 6 

Flour 42,462 barrels 2 7 6 

Biscuit 32,587 quintals 1 4 

Pork 179 tierces 700 

Ditto 732 barrels 5 

Beef 1,509 ditto 3 

Oak Timber 12,372 pieces 3 

Pine ditto 14,510 ditto 1 10 

Maple and Walnut . 188 ditto 2 

Staves and Heading . 1,824,861 (per 1200) 40 

Ditto Ends 62,453 per ditto 3 

Boards and Planks. . 194,467 per ditto 5 

Oak Planks 209 each 015 

Handspikes 4,144 1 

Oars 6,723 per pair 6 

Masts 3,994 each 5 8 

Bowsprits 373 

Yards 6 3 

Spars 1,612 15 

Hoops 215,500 (per 1000) 6 

Lathwood 130,215 pieces per ditto. . 12 10 

Scantling 2,426 each 5 

Punch. & hhd. packs 1,409 ditto 15 

Madeira ditto 2.026 ditto 015 

Cod-fish 2^949 quintals 014 

Salmon ,,., 794 tierces , 4 2 o 




. s. d. 




2 10 




12 6 

Pickled Fish 


tierces each 

1 10 















ditto and firkins 





1 12 








2 15 

Pickled Tongues . . . 



1 10 

Rounds beef 



12 17 











tierces ........ 






















Essence of Spruce. . 




Iron Stoves 





(per 1000) 


Ox Horns 



















Ditto Seed 















Birch . , 

30 boards ., 


Castor Oil 










puncheons . . . . 1 
casks J 






Pot and pearl-ashes. . 

r 107, 652 
t 30,838 

cwt. 7 Ib. . 7 per 
barrels . . . J cwt. 

2 15 

New Ships . . , 



10 00 





Ditto . 



7 6 



a@ S. 






















Bears and Cubs . . 


1 5 





Cased and open Cat 







Musk Cats 












39 - 





Buffalo . . 



334 Vessels cleared at the Custom-house. 
70,275 Tons. 
3,330 Men. 

The Exports from Labrador, Gaspe, and Chaleur Bay, 
consist of Cod-fish, Salmon, Herrings, and other Pickled 
Fish, besides Lumber, Oil, &c. the whole amounting to 
upwards of 130,6007. sterling. The Exports from Quebec 
in 1811 amounted to 974,7987., the Imports 962,2507.; 
above the half of which were goods not dutiable. 

Tonnage, &c. of Shipping trading to Canada, in 

Ships. Tons. Men. 

1806 193 33,996 1,603 

1807 239 42,295 2,039 

1S08 334 70,275 3,330 

1809 434 87,825 

J8H 557 118,899 5,653 



Duties on Imports. 


Duties payable in Lower Canada, on Imports, 
under several Acts of the British Parliament. 




6Geo. II. c. 13. 

4Geo.III.c. 15. 

Foreign Sugars, per cwf. . 5 
Ditto, white or clayed, per cwt. 1 2 

Foreign Indigo, per Ib 

Ditto Coffee, per cwt,. 2 19 

Madeira 1 

Fayal } Wines, per tun ..70 

Teneriffe J 

Portugal, Spanish, & other! 

Wines from Great Bri. >0 10 
tain, per tun J 

BritishPlantation coffee, per 1 o 7 n 

cwt / u 

Molasses, per gallon 1 

British Pimento, per Ib 0^ 

Brandy, or other spirits, ma-^| 

nufactured in Britain, per >0 3 

gallon J 

Rum, or other spirits, im. *) 

ported from the West In. > 6 

dies, per ditto 3 

Ditto fromColoniesin America C 9 
Brandy, or other foreign spi- "J _ 

rits, imported fromBritain J 
Rum, or Spirit, the produce^ 

Colonies in America, not) 

under the dominion of His f Q , ^ 

Majesty, imported from[ 

any other place than Great 1 

Britain ** 

Molasses in British bottoms ..003 
Ditto, in any other, 6 


Additional Dalies laid on by the Provincial Parlia 
ment. Acts 33 Geo. III. cap. 8. 35 Geo. III. 
c. g. and 41 Geo. III. c. 14. 

s. d. 

ForeignBrandy,or other foreign spirits, per gallon 003 

Rum, per gallon 3 

Molasses and syrups, per gallon 3 

Madeira Wine, by one act 4d. & by another 2oL 6 

Other wines, by one act 2e?. by another id 3 

Loaf or Lump Sugar, per Ib 1 

Muscovado or Clayed Sugar, per Ib 0| 

Coffee, per Ib .* 2 

Leaf Tobacco, per Ib 2 

Playing Cards, per pack 4? 

Salt, per minot 4 

Snuff, per Ib 004 

Tobacco manufactured in any other way 3 

Duties imposed by a Provincial Act, for building 
Gaols, to continue six Years from the 15th 
March 1805. 

Bohea Tea, per Ib 2 

Souchong, black, per ditto 4 

Hyson 6 

Green Teas. . . , 4 

Spirits, or other strong liquors, per gallon .... 3 

Wines 3 

Molasses and Syrups . Q 2 


Allowances at the Custom-house. 

Deduction of Weight. 
On Coffee, in bales or bags, 3 Ibs. for every cwt. 

in casks, 12 Ibs. per ditto. 

Loaf Sugar, in casks or boxes, 15 Ibs. per cwt. 
Leaf tobacco, in casks, 12 Ibs. per cwt. 
Leakage on Wines, Spirits, and Molasses, 3 gallons OB 

every hundred. 

For waste of articles, subject to duty by weight, an al 
lowance of three pounds on every hundred pounds. 
On Salt, an allowance of 3 minots per hundred. 
The import duty on Salt is 4c?. per minot. Salt landed be- 
low the east bank of the river Saguenay, on the north side of 
the St. Lawrence, and below the east bank of the river Grand 
Mitis, on the south side, is not subject to duty. There shall 
be drawn back, at the Custom-house, 4d. on ever^ bushel of 
Salt exported from the port of Quebec, to any place beyond 
the above limits ; Id. on every tierce of Salmon ; and 4d. on 
every barrel of salted Beef or Pork, or salted Fish of any 
sort exported from this province. 

Goods sold at auction are subject to a duty of 2 J per cent. 
The minot is about 8 per cent, larger than the Winchester 

The par of exchange is 111/. 2*. 3d. currency, for 100/. 
sterling, or dollar at 5s. 

Current-exchange for bills on London at 60 days sight, 
4 per cent, discount, 7th Sept. 1808. 

10 per cent, is added to all bills drawn in Canada on fo 
reign places, and returned dishonoured : this with the charges 
makes an increase of 20 or 25 per cent, on all protested bilk. 

Post-Office Regulations. 

At the beginning of every month a packet sails from Fal- 
meuth for North America, having on board a mail for Quebec. 


In the summer months she puts in at Halifax, on her way to 
New York, and there delivers the mail for Canada. From 
Halifax it is forwarded by land to Quebec. In the months 
of November, December, January, and February, the 
packets pass Halifax, and deliver the mails for Canada to 
the Agent for British packets at New York, who forwards 
them through the United States by post to Montreal. 

A mail for England is dispatched from Quebec once every 
fortnight in summer, and onee a month in winter, to be sent 
by the first packet for England. 

A mail for Burlington, in the United States, is made up at 
Quebec every Thursday, and at Montreal every Saturday, by 
which conveyance letters may be sent for Europe, under 
cover, to a friend at New York, on paying the Canadian 
postage. The post for Montreal leaves Quebec every Mon 
day and Thursday, and leaves Montreal for Quebec on the 
same days. The post arrives at these places on Wednesdays 
and Saturdays. A monthly communication, by post, be 
tween Lower and Upper Canada, has been lately opened. 

List of Governors of Canada from the Conquest, 
with the Date of their Appointments. 

James Murray, 21st November 1763 

P. M. Irvine, President, 30th June 1766 

Guy Carleton, Lieutenant Governor and Com-") 
mander in Chief, 24-th September j 

Ditto, 26th October 1768 

H. T. Cramahe, President, 9th August 1770 

Guy Carleton, llth October 1774 

F. Haldiman 177S 

H. Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor and Com-") ,-D,, 
mander in Chief } 

H. Hope, Lieutenant Governor and Commander") 

in Chief | 178 

Lord Dorchester, Governor General 1766 

A. Clarke, Lieutenant Governor and Commander") 
in Chief. J 


Lord Dorchester, 24th September 1753 

Robert Prescott 170,6 

Sir Robert Milnes, Lieutenant Governor 1799 

Thomas Dunn, President, and superseded by. ... 7 
Sir James Craig, Governor and Captain General J 

Sir George Prevost, bart., Capt.-Gen. and Go-7 

List of the Counties in Lower Canada the Num 
ber of Representatives in the Provincial Assem 
bly and the Number of Parishes. 

Parishes. Members. 

Gaspe ............................ i 

Cornwallis ........................ 11 2 

Devon .................. . ......... 6 2 

Hertford .......................... 7 2 

Dorchester ........................ 4 2 

Buckinghamshire ................... 12 2 

Richelieu ......................... 7 2 

And for the town of Sorel, in ditto i 

Bedford ........................ ... 1 i 

Surrey ............................ 5 2 

Kent ............................. 4 2 

Huntingdon ....................... 7 2 

York ............................. 5 2 

Effingham ......................... 3 2 

Leinster ........................... 8 2 

Warwick .......................... 4 2 

f county 2 
St. Maurice ....................... 9! Three 7 

I Rivers J 2 
Hamshire ......................... 7 2 

Northumberland ................... 1 2 

Orleans..., ......... , ............. _l 



Roads and Distances in Canada. 

From Quebec to Halifax. 


From Quebec to Point Levi, cross the river .... 1 

Thence to the Portage at Riviere du Cap 121i 

Thence to Timiskuata 36 

Thence to the settlement of Maduaska 45 

Thence to the great Falls in river St. John 45 

Thenee to Frederick Town 180 

Thence to St. John s 90 

Thence to Halifax 189i 


From Quebec to Michillimakinak, at the Entrance 
of Lake Huron. 

To Montreal 184 

To Coteau du Lac 225 

To Cornwall 266 

To Matilda 301 

To Augusta % 335 

To Kingston 385 

To Niagara 525 

To Fort Erie 560 

To Detroit 790 

To Michillimakiaak 1107 

From Quebec to New York, by way of Montreal. 

To Cape Ronge 9 

To St. Augustin 9 

To Jacques Cartier 15 

To St. Anne s 30 

To Three Rivers 22 

Carried over 85 


Brought orer 85 

To Riviere du Loup 27 

To Berthier 22 

To Repentigne 32 

To Montreal IS 


To Laprairie 9 

To St. John s 14 

To 1 sle au Noix 14 

To Windmill Point 12 

To Savage s Point 6 

To Sandbar 20 

To Burlington, the first post town in the States 14 


To Skenesboroagh 78 

To Fort Anne, south side of the Hudson 12 

To Dumont Ferry, ditto, ditto 24 

To Waterford, ditto, ditto 24 

To Albany City, ditto, ditto 12 


To Hudson City, north of the Hudson 34 

To Rhinebeck 31 

To Poughkeepsie 17 

To Peckskill 34 

To Kingsbridge 34 

To New York 15165 

The expense of travelling post in Lower Canada is 1*. 

currency per league. 

The American packets on Lake Champlain charge from 

three to four dollars for the passage from St. Jehn s to 

Skenesborough, a distance of nearly 160 miles. 

From Skenesborough the traveller proceeds to New York, 

in a waggon or stage, at the rate of 3d. sterling per mile. 



Society of the Towns in Lower Canada Different 
Classes of Society Education Investigation 
of the Causes of mental Disability Defects of 
Education of the original Settlers * Degrading 
Policy of the French Government State of 
the People before the Conquest Levity of the 
Canadians Extravagance and Dissipation 
Ignorance of the British Settlers Change of 
Manners after the Conquest The Ledger and 
Waste Booh preferred to splendid Entertainments 
Rising Importance of the British Merchants 
Degradation of the French Noblesse Female 
Boar ding- Schools boarding- School Misses 
Manners of the French Canadian Ladies in 
and in 1 808 Anecdote of Mademoiselle 
Morals of Canadian Society Female Servants 
Scandal North-west Merchants. 

THE towns of Quebec and Montreal, including 
their suburbs, are said to contain about 12,000 
inhabitants each, nearly three fourths of whom 
are French. In speaking of the society of Lower 
Canada, I shall confine my remarks chiefly to 
the city of Quebec, which, as it is the capital, and 

VOL,. I. T 


the manners of its inhabitants are in every respect 
similar to those of Montreal, will serve as a general 
view of society among the higher orders through 
out the country. 

The British inhabitants of Quebec consist of 
the government people ; the military ; a few per* 
sons belonging to the church, the law, and me 
dicine ; the merchants, and shopkeepers. 

The French comprise the old noblesse and 
seigniors, most of whom are members of the go 
vernment ; the clergy ; the advocates and notaries ; 
the storekeepers. 

These different classes form three distinct divi 
sions of society, which contrive to keep at a 
respectful distance from each other. The Jirst 
is composed of the highest orders next to the 
governor, comprehending the members of the 
government ; the honourable professions ; and a 
few of the principal merchants. These are ad 
mitted to the chateau. 

The second division is composed of the inferior 
merchants, the shopkeepers and traders ; together 
with the subordinate officers of the government, 
the army, the law, and the church ; the practi 
tioners in medicine, and other British inhabitants. 

The third division consists of the French inha 
bitants, most of whom, except the few who are 
members of the government, associate almost en 
tirely together, unless that a public entertainment, 


or the annual assemblies, bring some of them 
into company with the British. 

A very small proportion of the British Cana 
dians were born in the colony, and consequently 
very little difference in person, dress, or manners, 
is discernible between them and the inhabitants 
of the mother-country. The French have also 
assimilated themselves so nearly to the British in 
dress, manners, and amusements, especially the v 
younger branches, that, if it was not for their 
language, there would be little to distinguish 
their respective coteries. 

The Creoles * of Canada, both French and 
English, who inhabit the towns, are generally 
of a middle stature, rather slender than robust, 
and very rarely possess the blooming and ruddy 
complexion of the British ; a pale, sallow, or 
swarthy countenance characterizes the natives 
of Canada, and, with few exceptions, the whole 
of the American continent. It is rather singular, 
that a foggy atmosphere should be conducive to 
that bloom of health which glows on the cheek of 
a British islander ; yet the fact is corroborated 
by the appearance of the inhabitants of New- 

* By creates, I mean the descendants of Europeans, bora 
in Canada, in contradistinction to natives of Europe, who 
may be settled there ; and not (as many persons imagine) 
the offspring of black and white people, who are properly 
called peopk of colour, or mulattocs. 

T 2 


foundland, of the shores of Nova Scotia and the 
New EngLmd states ; who, enveloped in fogs 
more than one half the year, enjoy the same 
rudely complexion as the English ; while those 
who live in the interior, under a clear sky, are 
universally distinguished by sallow or swarthy 
complexions. Lower Canada cannot boast of 
much superlative beauty among its females ; but 
there are many who possess very pleasing and 
interesting countenances. Montreal is allowed 
to have the advantage over the other towns for 
female beauty ; but I have seen two or three 
at Quebec and Three Rivers, who surpassed 
any that I met with in the former city. The 
country girls, who are nearly all French, (with 
the exception of those who reside in the back 
townships,) are pretty when very young, but 
from hard work and exposure to the sun they 
grow up coarse-featured and swarthy, and have 
all the stufdiness but none of the beauty of our 
Welch girls. 

Upon the whole,, if the generality of the Cana 
dian females are not remarkable for beautiful faces 
or elegant figures, there is nothing in either that 
can offend, and both are certainly as good as the 
men are entitled to. 

Education having a natural influence upon the 
moral arid social character of a people, it is 
greatly to be regretted that so little attention 49 



paid to it by the Canadians. I have before no 
ticed the great ignorance or rather illiterateness of 
the Habitans or country people, and I am sorry 
that I cannot say much in favour of their supe 
riors who live in the towns, though possessing 
the advantages of public seminaries and private 

The Canadians are generally accused of pre 
ferring to live in ignorance rather than pay for 
knowledge : this accusation, however, I do not 
think will apply to the Canadian gentry. A cer 
tain levity of disposition, and false indulgence of 
their children, are rather to be ascribed as the 
cause of that paucity of learning and accomplish 
ed education, which exist among the higher 
classes of the people. The public seminaries and 
private schools are certainly deficient in all the 
superior branches of education, yet they are ca 
pable of affording a moderate share of learning 
to those who have any moderate share of genius 
or ability. 

To investigate the physical cause of mental 
disability, which has heretofore distinguished, and 
at present distinguishes, the Creoles of Canada, 
it will be necessary to trace its origin from the 
first settlement of the country. The first adven 
turers who took up their abode in Canada, were 
more gifted with romantic genius and a wander, 
ing disposition, than a taste for learning, or the 


steady habits of domestic life. The soldiery who 
at various periods settled in the country, did not 
increase the general stock of knowledge, and the 
officers and noblesse were too idle and dissipated 
to extend to their children the learning which 
they themselves might possess ; and the semina 
ries at that period were too poor and imperfect, 
to render much service to the rising generation. 

The clergy were the only people who could 
be said to possess any competent share of know 
ledge and learning ; and among this order of men 
the Jesuits were most conspicuous. Their in 
formation, however, was confined to their own 
body, for they possessed a selfish pride and co- 
vetousness, which impelled them to aggrandize 
themselves by keeping the other classes of the 
community in ignorance. This, indeed, was the 
policy of the Roman Catholic system ; it was 
the policy also of the despotic government under 
which they lived. Little benefit, therefore, could 
accrue to the people from the learning and infor 
mation of their priests ; and their own levity or 
prodigality, their poverty, or parsimony, pre 
vented them from profiting by the few oppor 
tunities that presented themselves for the educa 
tion of their children : hence they involuntarily 
aided the despotic views of the priests and their 
government, whose interest was to keep them ia 
ignorance and subjection. 


The manners of the Canadians in the most 
flourishing periods of the French government 
are represented to have been by no means favour 
able to literature and the arts, or to the promo 
tion of knowledge among the rising generation. 
Those who lived in the country are said to have 
spent the greater part of the winter in idleness, 
thoughtlessly sitting by the fire ; and when the re 
turn of spring called them out to the indispen 
sable labours of the field, they ploughed the 
ground superficially, without manuring it, sowed 
it carelessly, and then relapsed into their former 
indolent course of life till the approach of har 
vest. Even then, as the common people were 
too proud or too lazy to work by the day, and 
every family was obliged to gather in its own 
crops, nothing was to be seen of that sprightly 
joy which enlivens the reaping season in Europe : 
this languor and negligence might be owing to 
several causes. During the excessive cold, which 
by freezing up the rivers prevented all the exer 
tions of industry, and produced a winter of near 
seven months, they contracted such a habit of 
idleness, that labour appeared insurmountable to 
them even in the finest weather; and this in 
dolence was increased by the numerous festivals 
prescribed by their religion, which flattered a 
disposition to which they were themselves but 
too much inclined. 


The inhabitans of the towns, especially those 
of the capital, spent the winter as well as the 
summer in a perpetual round of dissipation. 
They were alike insensible to the beauties of na 
ture and to the pleasures of imagination : they 
had no taste for arts and sciences, reading, or in 
struction ; their only passion was amusement ; 
and persons of all ages and sexes were seized 
with the rage of dancing at assemblies. This 
mode of life naturally increased the influence of 
the women, who possessed every attraction ex 
cept those gentle graces, those soft emotions of 
the soul, which alone constitute the chief merit 
and the ineffable charm of beauty. Lively, gay, 
coquettish, and addicted to gallantry, they were 
more fond of inspiring than capable of feeling 
the tender passions. In both sexes there appear 
ed a greater share of devotion than virtue, more 
religion than probity, and a higher sense of 
honour than of real honesty. Giddiness took place 
of rational amusement, and superstition of mo 
rality ; which will always be the case where men 
are taught that ceremonies will compensate for 
good works, and that crimes may be expiated by 
money and prayers. 

The extravagance and dissipation which thus 
reigned throughout society, previous to the con- 
quen of the country, whiie they obstructed the 
agriculture and commerce of the colony, tended 


also to check the progress of learning and the arts. 
The education of their children was neglected, 
and, with but few exceptions, ignorance and il- 
literateness characterized the whole community ; 
their deficiencies are noticed by General Murray, 
in his letter soon after the conquest. " They 
are very ignorant (says the General) : it was the 
policy of the French government to keep them 
so. Printing was never permitted in Canada till 
we got possession of it, and few or none can 

The British settlers who at this period esta 
blished themselves in the province were so few, 
and withal so mean, both in birth and education, 
that little or no improvement could be expected 
from them : even the civil officers who were sent 
out to administer the government, were illiterate 
and dissipated characters ; they were ignorant of 
the language of those whom they were sent to 
govern ; and as they had obtained their places by 
purchase from those who possessed the patents, 
they had no other object in view but to accumu 
late a fortune, which could be done only by rapa 
city and extortion. 

The immoral conduct of these men, the natural 
levity and dissipation of the military, as well as of 
the inhabitants themselves, could not fail to have 
a baneful influence upon the morals and manners 
of society in Canada. The injurious effects were 


experienced for years after, and are not eradicated 
even at the present day. 

It was a considerable time before agriculture 
and commerce began to improve ; of course know 
ledge and learning made a still slower progress ; 
nor did they quicken their pace, even when the 
credit and prosperity of the colony were esta 
blished upon a respectable footing, and were pro 
ductive of riches and affluence to the colonists 
beyond the precedent of any former period. It 
might naturally have been expected, that the 
arts and sciences would have flourished as the 
prosperity of the country increased : but this 
does not appear to have been the case ; for trade 
and commerce, instead of illuminating the minds 
of their followers, begat in them only a sordid 
spirit of gain. With the augmentation of the 
British colonists, and the diminution of the old 
French nobility and gentry, much of that polite 
gaiety of manners, and that social dissipation 
which before characterized the society of the 
towns, gave place to the more steady, plodding, 
and uncouth habits of business. The merchants 
and traders were more amused in consulting their 
waste book and ledger, than in figuring away at 
a splendid entertainment. Their whole happiness 
was centred in acquiring riches ; and their chil 
dren, who were to follow in the same path, 
received no more education than was necessary 


to qualify them for the attainment of that 

As agriculture and commerce have increased, 
the British settlers have risen into consequence, 
and men of respectability been sent over to go 
vern the country. The French inhabitants have 
however degenerated in proportion as the British 
have acquired importance. The noblesse and 
seigniors have almost dwindled into the common 
mass of the vulgar ; their estates and seigniories 
have been divided among their children, or have / 
fallen into the hands of the opulent British mer 
chants. The few who still possess an estate or 
seigniory seldom live upon it, but reside wholly 
in the towns, equally averse from agriculture, com 
merce, and the arts. They visit their estates 
merely to pick up their rents ; and in collecting 
these, they often have many broils with their 
tenants, whose contributions in kind are not al 
ways of the best quality ; and so far do they 
sometimes carry their contempt of their seignior, 
that the latter has frequently been obliged to 
throw the corn and the poultry at their heads. 
These little frays, however, arise oftener from the 
irritability of the seignior s temper than from the 
insolence of the tenant. 

I have before mentioned, that the education j 
given by the British inhabitants to their children^ 
is no more than is necessary for mercantile affairs. 



A few are bred up to the law, and are sometimes 
sent home to England for education in that im 
portant branch of the government. Some of the 
young Frenchmen have been educated at our 
public schools, but on their return to Canada 
they soon forgot their knowledge and erudition. 

The French inhabitants send their boys to the 
French seminary, where there is just sufficient 
taught to make a priest, a clerk, an advocate, or 
a notary. These professions, however, must not 
be understood as requiring the same quantum of 
knowledge and learning as they do in England. 
A much smaller share of either will suffice for 
Canadian practice. As to the rest of the Cana 
dian people, it is said that not more than five in a 
parish can read or write : I cannot vouch for the 
accuracy of this assertion, but I should think it 
cannot be far from the truth, when it is known 
that some of the members of the provincial par- 
liament are deficient in those necessary qualifica 

Such are the defects in the education of youth 
in Canada, though there are hopes that informa 
tion, however slow, is daily gaining ground. Se 
veral new schools have within these few years 
been opened at Quebec, Montreal, and Three 
Rivers ; and there is a seminary at Montreal dig 
nified by the name of College, where Latin, 
French, English^ and the common rudiments of 


learning are taught to upwards of two hundred 
boys. Though the inferior parts of education 
only are attended to in these establishments, yet 
they are perhaps sufficient for all the purposes of 
agriculture and commerce, which in the present 
state of the colony are of more immediate utility 
than the arts and sciences. The plough and the 
desk will in time introduce the inhabitants to the 
study of nature, and the cultivation of the mind. 
The French send their daughters to the nun 
neries, where reading, embroidery, and supersti 
tion are taught at a trifling expense. The Bri 
tish inhabitants send their children to boarding- 
schools which have lately been established in the 
two principal towns ; but whether their mental 
and moral faculties have been improved in pro 
portion, is a question difficult to determine. The 
schools which have been opened in Canada are 
upon the style of many of our female boarding- 
schools in the vicinity of London, where more 
attention is paid by the governesses to notoriety 
and fashion, than to the improvement of their 
pupils. A gentleman of my acquaintance sent 
two of his daughters, the eldest not twelve years 
old, to one of these boarding-schools at Quebec: 
when the young ladies went home at the vacation, 
instead of their needles or books, their whole 
conversation ran upon the officers of the army ; 


" what handsome young men they were, and the 
charming things that captain or lieutenant such- 
a-one said to Miss so-and-so. * Their parents 
were confounded, and inquired how they came 
to be acquainted with so many officers ? " Why, 
papa, they used to come and dance with us every 
week, when the dancing-master came ; it was so 
delightful, for you cannot think how charmingly 
they dance; and they are so handsome too!" The 
gentleman never sent his daughters to school again, 
but procured a person to educate them at home, 
as the only means of preserving their morals from 

The education of females in Canada is slight 
and superficial ; more attention is paid to exter 
nal ornament than to internal improvement ; and 
the mistaken indulgence of their parents tends 
very much to increase the general levity and fri 
volity which prevail among the Canadian ladies. 
The presence also of so many military officers, 
who have very little other employment than to 
flirt and toy with the women, flatters the vanity 
of the young ladies, and renders them very ami 
able coquettes, but often very indifferent wives. 

" The thoughtless sex is caught by outward form 
And empty noise, and loves itself in man." 

It may be amusing to compare the manners 
of the Canadian females at the present day, with 


the account given of them by Professor Kalm 
sixty years ago, while under the French govern 

* The ladies in Canada," says the Professor, <c are 
generally of two kinds; sonae come over from France, the 
rest are natures. The former possess the politeness peculiar 
to the French nation 5 the latter may be divided into those 
of Quebec and Montreal. The first of these are equal to 
the French ladies in good breeding, having the advantage 
of frequently conversing with the French gentlemen and 
ladies who come every summer with the king s ships, and 
stay several weeks at Quebec, but seldom go to Montreal. 
The ladies of this last place are accused by the French of 
partaking too much of the pride of the Indians, and of 
being much wanting in French good-breeding. What I 
have mentioned above, of their dressing their head too 
assiduously, is the case with all the ladies throughout Ca 
nada. They dress out very fine on Sundays ; and though, 
on other days they do not take much pains with other parts 
of their dress, yet they are very fond of adorning their 
heads, the hair of which is always curled and powdered, and 
ornamented with glittering bodkins and aigrettes. 

" On those days when they pay or receive visits, they 
dress so gaily, that one is almost induced to think their 
parents possessed the greatest dignities in the state. The 
Frenchmen who considered things in their true light, com. 
plained very much that a great part of the ladies in Canada 
had got into the pernicious custom of taking too much care 
of their dress, and squandering all their fortunes, and 
more, upon it, instead of sparing something for future 
times. They are no less attentive to have the newest fashions, 
and they laugh at each other s fancy : but what they get as 
new fashions, are grown old and laid aside in France ; for 
the ships coming but once every year from thence, the 
people of Canada consider that as the new fashion for the 


whole year, which the poople on board brought with them, 
or which they imposed on them as new. 

" The ladies of Canada, and especially at Montreal, are 
very ready to laugh at any blunders strangers make in speak, 
ing. In Canada nobody ever hears the French language 
spoken by any but Frenchmen ; for strangers seldom come 
hitlur, and the Indians are naturally too proud to learn. 
French, but oblige the French to learn their language. From 
hence it naturally follows, that the nice Canada ladies cannot 
hear any thing uncommon without laughing at it. One of the 
first questions they propose to a stranger is, whether he is 
married; the next, how he likes the ladies of the country; 
and the third, whether he will take one home with him ? 

< 4 There is some difference between the ladies of Quebec 
and those of Montreal j those of the last place seem to be 
handsomer than those of the former. Their behaviour, like 
wise, seemed to me to be something too free at Quebec, and 
of a more becoming modesty at Montreal. The ladies of 
Quebec, especially the unmarried ones, are not very industri 
ous. A girl of eighteen is reckoned poorly off if she cannot 
enumerate at least twenty lovers. These yjung ladies, espe 
cially those of a higher rank, get up at stven, and dress, till 
wme, drinking their coffee at the same time. When they are 
dressed, they place themselves near a window that opens into 
the street, take up some needle-work, and sew a stitch now 
and then, but turn their eyes into the street most of the time. 
When a young fellow comes in, whether they are acquainted 
with him or not, they immediately lay aside their work, sit 
down by him, and begin to chat, laugh, joke, and invent 
doubles entendrcs ; and this is reckoned being very witty. In 
this manner they frequently pass the whole day, leaving 
their mothers to do all the business of the house. 

" In Montreal the girls are not quite so volatile, but more 
industrious. They are always at their needle-work, or doing 
some useful business in the house. They are likewise cheerful 
content; nobody can say that they want either wit or 


charms. They are apt to think too well of themselves. How. 
eyer, the daughters of people of all ranks, witjhout exception, 
go to market and carry home what they have bought. They 
rise as soon, and go to bed as late, as any people in the 
house. I have been assured that in general their fortunes 
are not considerable, which are rendered still more scanty 
by the number of children, and the small revenues of a 
house. The girls at Montreal are very much displeased 
that those of Quebec get husbands sooner than they. The 
reason of this is, that many young gentlemen who come over 
from France with the ships are captivated by the ladies at 
Quebec, and marry them ; but as these gentlemen seldom go 
up to Montreal, the girls there are not often so happy as 
those of the former place. 

The professor has been very severe in some of 
his remarks upon the Canadian ladies ; but I have 
every reason to believe they are just. The alter 
ation which has taken place since that periocf 
has arisen from the settling of so many of the 
British people in the colony. The manners of 
the English females are more reserved than those 
of the French, and they have consequently intro 
duced some of that gravity into society.- The 
French girls, however, continue nearly the same 
as described by Kalm. Many of them dress be 
yond what their situation in life demands, or the 
pocket of their parents can afford. Some will 
also flirt, joke, and laugh at doubles entendres 
with a very good grace, and, if you offend them, 
will not be very choice in the epithets they be- 

VOL. i. u 


stow upon you. They are also as fond of dis 
playing themselves at the. window as ever; and, to 
my knowledge, this mode of attraction has proved 
successful in one instance. While I remained at 
Quebec, I noticed, in walking from the Lower to 
the Upper Town, a young French mademoiselle 
sitting at the window of a house near Breakneck 
stairs, affecting to work, but evidently sitting there 
for the purpose of drawing upon her the gaze of 
the passers-by. She possessed a pretty but inex 
pressive countenance, which she heightened by a 
considerable quantity of rouge ; and her dress was 
more calculated for the ball-room than for a morn 
ing chamber. I had gazed for several months 
upon this pretty figure, in my peregrinations up 
Mountain-street, when all at once I missed her ; 
and it was not till my return from the United 
States the following year that I heard she had 
won the heart of a youth from Prince Edward s 
Island, who accidentally passing the window where 
she exhibited her charms, was so struck (I sup 
pose with her beauty) that he married her in less 
than a week after, though previous to that he had 
been a perfect stranger to her. 

Many of the British females are. not exempt 
from the weakness and volatility ascribed to the 
French fair. There are, however, several young 
ladies, French as well as English, who possess 


superior accomplishments, and better cultivated 
minds, than the generality of their sex in the 

There is nothing to boast of in the morals of 
the higher classes of the people in Canada. The 
little blackening accounts of scandal are sought 
for, promulgated, and listened to with avidity ; 
while good actions are often mangled, distorted, 
and heard with secret envy. Those most guilty 
of calumny are themselves most deserving of the 
condemnation they pass upon others. The female 
parties compose a school for scandal ; and, as a 
French gentleman once observed of the ladies of 
New Orleans, they would be much better em 
ployed in household affairs than in slandering the 
absent, and even each other when they have se 

For a small society like that of Canada, the 
numbers of unfaithful wives, kept mistresses, and 
girls of easy virtue, exceed in proportion those 
of the old country ; arrd it is supposed that in 
the towns more children are born illegitimately 
than in wedlock. The frequent infidelity of 
wives and husbands creates much animosity and 
discord in some of the higher circles of Canadian 
society ; and the ladies often run to each other s 
houses to inquire the truth of the scandalous re 
ports that fly about. Their passions have been 
roused, mutual recriminations have taken place, 

u 2 


and it is known that they have sometimes pro 
ceeded to blows. Trials for crim. con. are, how 
ever, unknown ; neither are duels ever resorted 
to by the Canadian gentry to avenge their injured 
honour. The husbands generally wink at the 
frailties of their wives, and either content them 
selves with increasing the number of their horned 
brethren, or fly for comfort into the arms of a 
fille de chambre. 

The female servants follow the example of their 
mistresses, and very few can be found who are free 
from the fashionable vices of the age. Attendance 
is, therefore, bad in proportion as the difficulty of 
/ procuring good servants is increased. Their wages 
are from 12 to 20/. per annum ; but their abilities 
do not deserve a fourth part of the sum : they 
seldom stay in a place above a month, and are 
never engaged for a longer period. A servant that 
remains in her place four or five months is con 
sidered as a pattern of excellence. The character 
of a servant, which in London is always strictly 
investigated before the person is hired, is never 
considered of any consequence in Canada ; no in 
quiries are made by the gentry as to the honesty, 
sobriety, or virtue of the servants they take into 
their houses ; and the consequence is, that those 
good qualities are very rare among that class of 
people. The female servants are for the most part 
ignorant French country girls, or the wives of the 


ioldiers who arrive in the country : they soon get 
corrupted by the dissolute manners prevalent 
among the lower classes of Europeans in the 
town ; nor have they very often a better example 
even from the higher orders. The ladies of Ca 
nada are not celebrated for possessing much of 
that domestic knowledge which constitutes the 
comfort and happiness of families in England. 
What the servants are ignorant of their mistresses 
can seldom supply ; so that the order and ceco- 
nomy of the English table are very rarely to be 
seen in that country. 

The society of the to\vns in Canada has been 
represented by some writers as so extremely gay, 
lively, and agreeable, and possessing such friendly 
unanimity and generous hospitality, that a stranger 
might fancy the inhabitants formed only one large 
family. I am sorry that it is not in my power to 
furnish a similar representation. At the period 
when I visited Canada, its society was, split into 
parties : scandal was the order of the day $ and 
calumny, misrepresentation, and envy, seemed to 
have erected their standards among the greater 
portion of the inhabitants. The weekly papers 
teemed with abusive scurrility and malicious insi 
nuations ; and all that gaiety and happiness which 
I had been led to expect in Canada seemed either 
to have totally deserted the country, or to have 
existed only in the imaginations of former writers.. 


It is true, I afterwards met with individuals whose 
amiable character and private virtues would do 
honour to any society ; but the general character 
and disposition of the people very ill accorded 
with the flattering accounts which had been given 
of them. In short, the same jealousy, pride, and 
party feuds exist in the society of the towns in 
Canada to which all small communities are liable. 
They are engendered by the knowledge of each 
other s origin and private history. Those who 
cannot trace their genealogy beyond a private 
soldier or a sutler in the army which conquered 
the country, are of course treated with contemp 
tuous pride by others, who can boast of a long 
line of ancestors that sprung, perhaps, from the 
illegitimate offspring of some nobleman s valet de 
chambre or cast-off mistress. No great cordiality 
can be expected to exist between such opposite 
and heterogeneous materials, especially in a small 
community, where full scope is given to the ope 
ration of petty competition and private malignity. 
In a large metropolis these contentions could not 
be felt, they would be lost in the crowd ; but in 
a small town, where every one knows his neigh 
bour, and generously interests himself in his con 
cerns, they act like the fire of a volcano, which 
at one time convulses the surrounding neigh 
bourhood, and at another time preys upon its own 


The increase of agriculture and commerce has 
caused several families to rise from poverty and 
obscurity into opulence and notoriety ; and the 
standard of individual merit in Canada is too often 
a man s riches or his rank : virtue and talents ob 
tain but little respect. The large fortunes acquired 
by some of the merchants have tended to raise the 
envy of many who would wish, but have not the 
means, to emulate them in their style of living. 
The North-west merchants, particularly^ have 
been subjected to the jealous and malignant ob 
servations even of those who have partaken of 
their hospitality ; who have drunk their wine and 
smiled in their face : but I never could discover 
that these gentlemen possessed any other fault 
than spending freely what they had earned labo 
riously. One of them, who resides at Quebec, is 
often the butt of the friends that dine at his table : 
yet he is one that has returned from the Upper 
country with a broken constitution, and surely 
has a right to enjoy the property which he has 
gained by so great a sacrifice, in whatever way is 
agreeable to his taste. But his friends tax him 
with pride, ostentation, and extravagance, be 
cause he is fond of giving them good dinners, and 
because he keeps two or three horses ; entertains 
the officers of the army often at his house, and 
receives those of the navy with hospitality when 
ever they arrive at Quebec. It is, to be sure> 


too much the custom among the fashionables of 
Canada to consider a stranger newly arrived as an 
object of curiosity and wonder, as a being whom 
they have a right to appropriate in their own 
manner. c They survey him from head to foot, 
compliment, feast, and caress him ; but when the 
novelty of the thing has subsided, he is, however 
rare and transcendent his merit, a mere nonentity, 
unless his opulence excites in them an interested 



Amusements and Diversions Quebec Assembly* 
Bal de Sodite Private Tea and Card Parties 
* Routs at the Chateau The Theatre Pre 
sent State of Canadian Theatricals Drunken 
Performers Arrival of a Company from Boston 
Concerts Freemasons Lodges The Duke of 
Kent Barons " Club Grand Entertainment on 
the Installation of the. Knights Canadian Bond* 
street Billiards Carioling Dress of the La 
dies and Gentlemen Officers of the Army in 
Tippets Mutations of Fashion Retrospect of 
British Fashions Pyramidal Head-dresses 
Old and New Fashions compared Long-toed 
Shoes, prohibited under pain of Cursing by the 
Clergy Tapering fiPaists Races Mode of 
Kissing on New Year s Day Doors Stoves-*- 
Boarding- Houses. 

THE natural gaiety and sprightliness of man 
ners peculiar to the French people, no doubt 
gave rise to the fascinating accounts which have 
been given of society in Canada. The long win 
ters were particularly favourable to dancing, an 
amusement of which the French are passionately 


fond; and, till within these few years, parties 
used to meet at each other s houses, or at some 
convenient place a few miles out of town,, for the 
purpose of enjoying that rational amusement. 

At those periods when the inhabitants were 
more upon a par in point of property, I have no 
doubt but there was more real friendship and 
sociability than at the present day, when riches 
and luxury have created greater distinctions in 
society. The French, in whatever station they 
may be, possess a certain affability and easy po 
liteness of manners, that can readily unbend the 
pride of ancestry ; but the natural reserve of the 
British is by no means calculated to unbend the 
pride of opulence. While the latter were accu 
mulating riches, the former were falling to decay, 
and at length were deprived of the means of main 
taining their usual appearance. Hence the so 
ciable little dances and entertainments which for 
merly kept the inhabitants in continual motion 
during a long and tedious winter, and made the 
town resemble one large family, are now dwindled 
down to one solitary, formal assembly ; and even 
the unanimity of that is often disturbed by the 
arrogance of some and the jealousy of others. 

The assembly at Quebec is kept at the Union 
Hotel, on the Parade. There are about six dances 
in the course of the season, for which the sub 
scribers pay eight dollars. A fev, of the inferior 


merchants and storekeepers are admitted to this 
assembly as a very great favour ; but none of 
them are noticed by the fashionables, and indeed 
some of the latter refuse to subscribe, because (as 
they observe) the assembly is not select. Hos 
tilities ran so high at one time, between the great 
Little and the little Great, that the two parties 
separated, and formed each an assembly for itself. 
It was, however, soon found that the Bal de 
Socictc of the middling classes was more agreeable 
than the Grand Assembly of the fashionables, 
and that even several of the latter had become 
subscribers to it, and danced with the pretty 
Bourgeoises. Upon this, a negotiation was opened, 
the preliminaries settled ; and when the new ball 
room was finished, the definitive treaty was ratified 
by the re-union of the two parties. Since then 
it has been called the Quebec Assembly; but 
though it is held at the Union Hotel, there is 
little union of sentiment among the visitors even 
now. The private entertainments are very few, 
and are mere formal tea and card parties, in which 
frivolous remarks upon the weather, their house 
hold furniture, or their neighbours follies, form 
the chief subjects of evening conversation. If 
the governor or lieutenant-governor is not in the 
country, the place is then extremely dull. During 
their residence at Quebec, routs, levees, and 
assemblies enliven the town once or twice a week. 


But those are entertainments which interest only 
a select few. The majority of the inhabitants 
have little else but carioling to drive away the 
tedium of winter. 

There is, indeed, a building at Quebec called 
a Theatre, and also one at Montreal ; but the 
persons who perform, or rather attempt to perform 
there, are as bad as the worst of our strolling 
actors ; yet they have the conscience to charge 
the same price nearly as the London theatres. 
Sometimes the officers of the army lend their 
assistance to the company ; but I have seen none, 
except Colonel Pye, and Captain Clark of the 
4Qth, who did not murder the best scenes of our 
dramatic poets. It may be easily conceived how 
despicably low the Canadian theatricals must be, 
when boys are obliged to perform the female cha 
racters : the only actress being an old super 
annuated demirep, whose drunken Belvideras, 
Desdemonas, and Isabellas, have often enraptured 
a Canadian audience. 

Last year an attempt was made at Montreal to 
introduce a company from Boston, in conjunction 
with the Canadian performers. The embargo had, 
partly driven them into Canada, where they 
wisely thought they might pick up a few dollars 
until better times. I went one hot summer s 
evening to see them perform in Catherine and 
Petruchio; but the abilities of the Bostonians 


were totally eclipsed by the vulgarity and mis 
takes of the drunken Catherine, who walked the 
stage with devious steps, and convulsed the au 
dience with laughter, which was all the entertain 
ment we experienced in witnessing the mangled 
drama of our immortal bard. A Mr. and Mrs. 
Usher afterwards arrived from Boston, and per 
formed several nights with considerable success. 
I had seen Usher perform at Boston, where he 
was reckoned only a second-rate actor; but in 
Canada he shone as a star of the first magnitude. 
They afterwards went to Quebec with the rest of 
the company, and performed several nights under 
the patronage of Sir James Craig, who for the 
first time honoured the theatre with his presence. 
It is said, that if they meet with sufficient en 
couragement they mean to establish themselves in 
Canada, and raise the drooping spirits of Thalia 
and Melpomene. They were at Quebec when I 
sailed for England, and from their sleek coun 
tenances and decent appearance I easily perceived 
that they had met with success in their theatrical 
speculation ; for, instead of the shabby habiliments 
which they brought from the States, they were 
equipped in new suits of clothes, hats, socks, and 
buskins. The alteration in the Canadian corps 
was also very conspicuous ; and instead of lan 
guishing away in a GAOL, as they perhaps would 
have done, they found their 

4J Stera alarms were changed to merry meetings." 


The tedious evenings of the winter are some 
times relieved by a private concert. The per 
formers are some gentlemen of Quebec, assisted 
by a part of the regimental bands in the garrison. 
But entertainments of this description very seldom 
take place, either from the expense which accrues 
to them, or the want of performers on particular 

There are only two music-masters in Quebec, 
one of them is a good violin performer ; but for 
any other instrument, they are both very indiffer 
ent teachers. 

There are several Freemasons lodges in Ca 
nada ; but I never heard that the people are any 


wiser or better for those institutions. The Duke 
of Kent is at the head of the Canadian lodges, 
and is indeed looked up to as the patron of all the 
Canadian youth, many of whom come to England 
to request his assistance. If they are Freemasons, 
they conceive they have a claim upon his patro 
nage. His Royal Highness during his residence 
in Canada paid great attention to the inhabitants, 
particularly the French, to whom he gave com 
missions for their sons. His politeness and affa 
bility gained him the esteem of the people, many 
of whom, I believe, really look upon him as their 
tutelar saint and patron ; at least such is the style 
in which I have heard him spoken of. 

There are only two other societies or clubs 
worthy of notice at Quebec ; the one a benefit 


society for the relief of distressed members, and 
the other a convivial meeting. The latter is 
called the Barons club, though it originally went 
by the name of the Beef-steak club. This society 
consists, I believe, of twenty-one members, who 
are chiefly the principal merchants in the colony, 
and are styled barons. As the members drop off, 
their places are supplied by knights elect, who are 
not installed as barons until there is a sufficient 
number to pay for the entertainment which is 
given on that occasion. 

The ceremony of the installation of seven new 
knights took place during the winter I remained 
at Quebec. It had not happened for nearly 
twenty years before ; and a very handsome enter 
tainment was given at the Union Hotel. The 
new assembly-room was opened for the occasion ; 
and upwards of 200 of the principal people in 
the country were invited by the knights elect to 
a splendid ball and .supper. Mr. Dunn, the pre 
sident of the province, aud who administered the 
government in the absence of Sir Robert Milnes 
the lieutenant-governor, attended as the oldest 
baron. The chief justice and all the principal 
officers of the government, civil and military, were 
present. Their ladies formed a more brilliant 
display that evening than on any other occasion 
I had an opportunity of witnessing ; and the 
whole was conducted with a regularity and de- 


cor uni that would have done credit to any similar 
entertainment in London. We sat down to sup 
per about two o clock, and it was nearly five 
o clock before the company began to depart. By 
that time some of the gentlemen were pretty 
merry, and I left them dancing what they called 
Bacchanalian reels. This entertainment is said 
to have cost upwards of 250 guineas, and was 
reckoned to have been the most splendid one 
given in Canada for many years. 

The summer in Canada is devoted to business ; 
a few parties of pleasure to the Falls or Lakes in 
the neighbourhood of the towns are all that en 
liven that season of commercial bustle. The 
winter is devoted to the amusements of the as 
sembly ; entertainments at the chateau ; and the 
private tea and card-parties mentioned before. 
The diversion of carioling at this season of the 
year is the greatest pleasure the inhabitants enjoy, 
and it is certainly a very delightful amusement, as 
well as a healthy exercise. 

The fashionable youths of Quebec generally 
drive in the tandem style. Some of their carioles 
are extremely neat, and have a seat for the ser 
vant behind. They usually display their skill in 
carioling from twelve to three o clock, through 
the principal streets of the Upper Town, parti 
cularly John-street, where these savans of the 
whip, and the gentry, who often parade between 


those hourSj render the Rue St. Jean a sort of 
Canadian Bond-street* Since the arrival of Sir 
James Craig, and the great increase of the civil 
and military officers belonging to the government 
and the staff, the fashionable society of Quebec 
is considerably improved, and the town rendered 
more lively and cheerful than during the presi 
dency of Mr. Dunn. 

There are two or three billiard-tables in Que- 
bec> which are frequented by all ranks of people. 
Fishing and shooting may be enjoyed in Canada 
to the greatest extent. There are no game laws 
in that country to obstruct the pleasures of the 
sportsman. The diversion of skaiting is very 
little enjoyed in Lower Canada, in consequence 
of the abundance of snow that falls, and covers 
the ice to the depth of four or five feet ; but the 
pleasures of carioling fully compensate for this 
loss. The rapidity with which the carioles glide 
along good roads is uncommonly agreeable ; but 
over roads that are indifferent, or have been much 
worn by the carters sleighs, the motion resem 
bles the pitching of a vessel at sea, and is occa 
sioned by what are called cahots, or ridges of 
snow in a transverse position across the roads. 
These cahots are formed after a heavy fall of snow 
by the sleighs, which gather up and deposit the 
snow in furrows. 

At this season of the year the men wrap them- 
VOL. i. x 


selves up in thick Bath great coats, with several 
large capes that cover their shoulders, above 
which is a collar of fur. They fasten their coats 
round their waist with a sash ornamented with 
beads. A fur cap fashioned in the helmet style, 
and list shoes or Shetland hose outside their 
boots, complete the remainder of their winter s 
dress. When riding in a cariole they are wrapped 
up in a buffalo robe, which, with a bear-skin 
apron in front, effectually prevents the intrusion 
of the cold. 

The ladies wear fur caps, muffs and tippets, 
velvet or cloth pelisses or great coats ; with list 
shoes or Shetland hose, the same as the gentle 
men. I have seen several French country-women 
come into the town on the severest days without 
either fur cap or bonnet. Their heads were 
dressed in the old-fashioned style with a long 
braid behind, and above that a large stiff muslin 
cap. They wore printed cotton gowns, orna^ 
mented with large flowers similar to a bed pat 
tern, of which they are generally very fond, with 
long waists. Over their neck was a white muslin 
handkerchief or coloured shawl : their appear 
ance altogether put me more in mind of summer 
than winter. 

In contrast to these ladies, who were walking 
about in the coldest weather in all the airy 
gaiety of the month of June, I have seen the 


young officers of the British army wrapped up 
in fur caps, large great coats, and immense tip 
pets of fur round their necks, nearly touching 
the ground, as represented in the annexed en 
graving, from a drawing which I made on the 
spot. I should not be surprised if those delicate 
young soldiers were to introduce muffs : they were 
in general use among the men under the French 
government, and are still worn by two or three 
old gentlemen. It is said that half a century 
ago the gentlemen used to walk the streets in 
winter with fine powdered heads, and their 
chapeau bras under their arm : this, however, is 
a fashion of too petrifying a nature for our mo 
dern beaux, and therefore not likely to be intro 
duced again. 

The dress of the Canadian ladies at the present 
day is in every respect similar to the English 
fashions which are exported annually to Canada. 
They have a better opportunity now of receiving 
them earlier than under the French government, 
as ships arrive every month as long as the navi-|% 
gation is open. Little novelty or variety is to be 
found in the dress of the men, who for the most 
part are very careless of that ornament to the 
person ; and even many of those who arrive 
from Europe get into the same negligent and 
slovenly habits, after residing a year or two in 
the colony. The winter is particularly favour- 

x 2 


able to the wearing of indifferent clothes; for, 
except in the house, the great coat is the only 
garment that is visible. 

The mutations of fashion among the ladies of 
the colony are not so frequent as in the old 
country. Those that are adopted as new, arc 
V/ generally a twelvemonth old in England, and 
often continue in vogue for several seasons after 
\ their arrival. The country people are very little 
influenced by fashion ; for with few exceptions 
they wear the same dress as was in existence a 
century ago. Some of their children are however 
beginning to dress in a more modern style ; but 
the change proceeds slowly, and is confined chiefly 
to those who have intercourse with the towns. 

Horse-racing has been introduced at Quebec 
since the arrival of Sir James Craig. The 
races took place for the first time in July ] 807, 
upon the plains of Abraham ; several of the mi 
litary and mercantile gentlemen rode their own 
horses, and were dressed in the true jockey style. 
The races continued nearly a week, and purses 
were made up by subscription. The governor 
gave a purse of ten guineas, together with a cer 
tain number of saddles and bridles, to be run for 
on the last day by Canadian horses only. It was 
? curious sight to see the Habitans in their long- 
skirted frocks, with a pipe in their mouth, and 
a bonnet rouge upon their head, riding over the 


course, many of them without a saddle ; flogging, 
kicking, and hallooing, in order to come in first 
for the prize : but their horses, though in general 
very fleet, were unused to the exertion of a race, 
and most of them foundered, or bolted from the 
course. The purse, and the saddles and bridles, 
were however delivered to the successful riders, 
by the governor, with whom the Habitans were 
highly delighted for his condescension. His ex 
cellency advised them to be careful of their breed 
of horses, and assured them that they should meet 
with every encouragement from him. 

The races answered the views of the governor, 
who wished to conciliate the esteem of the Cana 
dian Habitans, as well as to improve the breed of 
horses. They also gratified the inhabitants with 
a sight to which they had been unaccustomed. 
The present governor-general seems to be aware 
of the predilection of the people for shows and 
entertainments. The French have long been 
deprived of that outward pomp and parade of 
which they are so fond. His excellency has ac 
cordingly adopted a more splendid establishment 
than his predecessors, and has set up several 
handsome carriages which he took over with him. 
He also received some fine horses from England, 
and besides his usual attendants, has introduced 
two orderly dragoons into his establishment, who 
attend him whenever he rides out. Two or three 


of his staff officers have also sported their chariots, 
besides splendid carioles for the winter. These 
equipages enliven the town, and please the people, 
who are fond of seeing the government supported 
with proper dignity. 

Sir James Craig resided in summer at a country 
house about four or five miles from Quebec, and 
w^nt to town every morning to transact business. 
This residence is called Powel-Place, and is de- 
Hghtfully situated in a neat plantation, on the 
border of the steep bank which overlooks the 
St. Lawrence, not far from the spot where General 
Wolfe landed, and ascended to the heights of 
Abraham. Sir James gave a splendid public 
breakfast, alfresco, at this place, in 1807, to all 
the principal inhabitants of Quebec; and the 
following day he allowed his servants, and their 
acquaintance, to partake of a similar entertain 
ment at his expense. 

The mode of living in Canada, among the 
genteel people, resembles in every respect that of 
England ; and, except in such seasons as religion 
interferes with, the French inhabitants differ 
Very little in their meals from the British settlers. 
The country people use very early hours, which 
oblige the people in the towns to be up earlier 
than they otherwise would, to purchase provi 
sions at the markets. The Habitans are generally 
there by break of day, and the best of their arti* 


cles are often sold before eight o clock. At noon 
the market closes. This early rising induces the 
inhabitants to retire to rest soon, which is usually 
about ten o clock. 

Sixty years ago, the governor-general held his 
levee at seven o clock in the morning, and the 
gentry dined exactly at noon. Their dinner 
consisted of soups, ragouts, and the usual French 
dishes, with a dessert of fruits and sweetmeats. 
Silver forks and spoons only were laid on the 
table, the ladies and gentlemen being provided 
with their own knives. Claret and spruce beer 
were the liquors usually drunk, and immediately 
after dinner coffee was brought upon table ; after 
which they had no other meal till supper : this 
took place between seven and eight o clock, and 
was composed of similar dishes as the dinner. 

The present French and English gentry now 
dine at four o clock, upon substantial joints of 
meat, fish, fowl, and game, with puddings and 
pies; drink their Madeira, Port, and TenerifFe 
after dinner ; have their tea and card parties at 
seven, and conclude with a sandwich or petit 
souper in the true fashionable style. 

The French inhabitants have certain fetes and 
holidays prescribed by their religion : on those 
days they visit their friends, and give themselves 
up to pleasure and merriment. Before the set 
tlement of the English in the colony, these fetes 



were very numerous, and of course detrimental 
to business, as well as to the morals of the lower 
order of the people. Since then the number has 
been considerably diminished, and the good effects 
are visible in the diminution of the number of 
poor people and beggars who formerly inhabited 
the towns. There are yet a few beggars and 
idiots who are allowed to disgrace Quebec and 
Montreal, when they might be amply provided 
for in some of the hospitals. 

Among the Biitish inhabitants, the festivals of 
Easter, Whitsuntide, Michaelmas, and Christmas, 
are not noticed as they are in England. The only 
holiday which is kept with any degree of fes 
tivity is New-year s day. On this day, it is at 
present a very general custom throughout Canada, 
for the gentlemen to go round to all their 
friends and acquaintance, to reciprocate the com 
pliments of the season, and a happy new year; 
wine and cake are laid out for the visitors, who 
continue their peregrinations for three days. It 
was formerly the practice on these occasions, 
for the gentlemen, when paying their respects to 
the ladies, to salute them with a chaste kiss. 
The French ladies presented their cheek to the 
gentlemen, but the British ladies were saluted on 
the lips. This fashion prevailed until within 
these few years, when it most likely was dropped 
pn account of the visitors being so numerous. It 


could not always have been a very agreeable cus 
tom for the ladies, particularly the British, whose 
manner of kissing was not so well adapted to a 
large company as that of the French, with whom 
the custom originated. 

The ceremony of kissing on New-year s day 
was not, however, confined to Canada, but was 
also practised in former times in the then British 
colonies. That it is now fallen into desrepute in 
those parts, as well as in Canada, may be ga 
thered from a passage in a recent periodical work 
published at New York, entitled Salmagundi. 

* Only one thing (says Launcelot Langstaff, 
speaking of the new-year festivities) was wanting 
to make every part of the celebration accord with 
its ancient simplicity. The ladies, who (I write 
it with the most piercing regret) are generally at 
the head of nil domestic innovations, most fasti 
diously refused that mark of good will, that chaste 
and holy salute which was so fashionable in the 
happy days of Governor Rip and the Patriarchs. 
Even the Miss Cocklofts, who belong to a family 
that is the last intrenchment behind which the 
manners of the good old school have retreated, 
made violent opposition, and, whenever a gentle 
man entered the room, immediately put them 
selves in a posture of defence : this, Will Wizard, 
with his usual shrewdness, insists was only to 
give the visitors a JiijU, that they expected an 


attack, and declares, he has uniformly observed, 
that the resistance of those ladies who make the 
greatest noise and bustle is most easily overcome. 
This sad innovation originated with my good 
aunt Charity, who was as arrant a tabby as ever 
wore whiskers ; and I am not a little afflicted to 
find that she has so many followers among the 
young and beautiful*." 

The houses of the Canadians, though always 
sufficiently heated by stoves, yet are often very 
indifferently secured against the entrance of the 
cold. The number that have double windows 
and doors are very few, and the folding case 
ments in use, with so many small panes of glass, 
by no means succeed in wholly excluding the 
cold. The houses are also frequently very ill 
built, and the rooms awkwardly situated. To 
the street-door of some of the houses there is a 
kind of outer-door, meanly built, and covered in 
like a watch-box for the purpose of sheltering 
persons from the weather, while knocking at the 
inner door. They have a shabby appearance, 
especially if placed (as they often are) against 
the entrance of a respectable house ; besides which, 
they are scarcely big enough to hold one person, 

* This very entertaining collection of Essays, entitled Sal 
magundi, has been reprinted in London, with an Introduc. 
tory Essay and Explanatory Notes, and published by J. M. 
Richardson, Cornhill. 


until the other door is opened. A portico, or 
double entrance of some kind or other, is abso 
lutely wanted for the houses in Canada, where 
it is necessary to be sheltered from the severity of 
the cold, the rain, or the snow, until you get ad 
mittance into the house; and it would be very 
easy to build them with some little taste, to cor 
respond with the building : but at present they 
often consist of merely a few boards nailed toge 
ther, and left in their natural state without paint. 
Before the frost sets in, the inhabitants make all 
their windows fast, and paste paper over every 
crevice in order to exclude the external air. The 
windows are seldom opened again before the 
month of April. 

A few of the British inhabitants have intro 
duced open fire-places with grates as in England ; 
but they have also one or more stoves, the pipes 
of which pass through the different rooms in the 

The stove which stands in the kitchen often 
answers the double purpose of cooking for the 
family, ?.nd heating several other rooms of the 
house. Stoves have the advantage of open fire- \/ 
places, by diffusing the warmth more generally 
throughout the room ; but they are neither so 
cheerful to the eye, nor so beneficial to the con 
stitution. It is true that in England we fre 
quently roast on one side, and freeze on the 


other; but I would rather endure those extremes, 
than live in many of the Canadian houses, the 
heat of which is as oppressive as that of a vapour 

For the first two or three months after my ar 
rival in Canada, while I remained in the house, I 
was continually oppressed with the heat that 
issued from the stove. It was very severe wea 
ther ; and our family had had, I suppose, such a 
dread of a Canadian winter, from the reports they 
had heard, that they believed they could not keep 
the stove too hot, so that we often had the heat 
up to QO or 100. The consequence was, that I 
experienced violent headaches, and bleeding at 
the nose ; and I was glad to walk out even in the 
coldest weather, rather than be stewed in a hum- 
mums at home. 

I have very little doubt but these stoves are the 
cause of the consumptions of which so many 
of the Canadian females are the victims ; for the 
ladies, rather than spoil their shape by additional 
clothing, will hover over the stove in their thin 
habiliments, by which means they inhale an un 
wholesome vapour that proves injurious to their 
health, and renders their complexion pale and 

The furniture of the houses is generally made 
in Canada, for that brought from England falls 
to pieces in a room where there is a stove. The 


chairs are mostly like our Windsor chairs, painted 
green, and made of well seasoned wood ; the 
tables and other kinds of furniture are made of 
the beech or the maple- tree: mahogany is not 
very common in Canada. 

T he houses are very badly painted, and it is not 
often that they are fitted up and finished in a very 
complete style. The neat and cleanly appearance 
of an English dwelling is very rarely met with in 
the Canadian towns. 

The boarding-houses in Quebec are but few, 
and those few are kept by French ladies. They 
have nothing to recommend them to an English 
taste. The price of boarding is from one guinea 
to eight dollars per week. At the taverns they 
charge a dollar per day. The Union Hotel on 
the Parade and Sturch s in St. John-street are the 
two best for strangers. 



Literature^ Arts, and Sciences Marquis de la 
Galissoniere His extensive Knowledge Li* 
terature in Canada Almanacs Quebec and 
Montreal Gazettes Newspapers Quebec Mer 
cury Canadian Courant Le Canadien Abuse 
of the Liberty of the Press Public Peculation 
Courier de Quebec Newspaper Warfare 
Public Library Novels and Romances Ama 
tory Poems Modern Refinement in Writing 
Tom Jones and Roderic Random Novel Read 
ing Pictures of Jictilious Life Accomplish 
ments of the Canadian Ladies Progress and 
influence of Music on Society " 0, Lady Fair 9 
Oilman s Daughter America, Mistress of 
the World Model of Quebec. 

THE state of literature, the arts, and sciences^ 
in Canada, can scarcely be said to be at a low 
ebb, because they were never known to flow ; and, 
from what I have mentioned concerning the de 
fects in education which exist in the colony, it 
is not likely that they will, in our time at least, 
rise much above their present level. The policy 
of the French government kept the people in a 


state of ignorance, printing presses were un* 
known, and books were procured with difficulty 
and expense from France. The general levity 
and dissipation which prevailed in society tended 
also to the depreciation of learning. The Jesuits 
and their missionaries were the only people pos 
sessed of a taste for the sciences, or that possessed 
the means and opportunities of cultivating that 
taste. They investigated with ardour the natural 
history of the country and its inhabitants, and 
from them we derive the greatest part of the know 
ledge and information we have of the interior of 
North America. 

If the Canadian Creoles, under the French go 
vernment, had ever possessed a disposition to cul 
tivate the arts and sciences, it would have dis 
played itself under the administration of the 
Marquis de la Galissoniere, who was the most 
active and enterprising governor that had ever 
been sent out, and possessed a very extensive 
knowledge of every branch of science. He was 
in every respect a complete statesman, and his 
acquirements in natural history, philosophy, and 
mathematics, were made subservient to the views 
of his government. He procured information 
from the remotest parts of the colony, respecting 
its inhabitants, animals, trees, plants, earths, and 
minerals ; and the lakes, rivers, and oceans, that 
water the extensive portion of the American 


continent over which he ruled. He could even 
give a better account of distant places which he 
had never visited, than the very people who re* 
sided on the spot. In short, Galissoniere was the 
very man to arouse the spirit of the Canadians to 
a taste for science and the polite arts, had it been 
only dormant ; but the fact was, that sprung from 
an idle, restless, and volatile race of people > they 
never possessed the least inclination or ability to 
emerge from the ignorance and dissipation into 
which they had sunk. 

The state of literature and the arts did not 
improve very rapidly after the conquest of the 
country by the English. The traders and settlers, 
\vho took up their abode among the French, were ill 
qualified to diffuse a taste for the arts and sciences, 
unless indeed it was the science of barter, and the 
art of gaining cent, per cent, upon their goods. 

For many years no other work was printed in 
the colony than an almanac ; not even a news- 
paper could find either talents to indite, or money 
to support it ; which was the more surprising, as 
those periodical publications are such favourites 
with the British people, and in the United States 
have existed for upwards of a century. At the 
present day they are scattered like chaff before 
the wind all over that immense territory; and in 
point of worth many of them are not a whit better 
than that dross. 


Of late years the Canadians have appeared de 
sirous of establishing some claim to a literary cha 
racter. They seem determined to make amends for 
the neglect with which they have hitherto treated 
that polite and useful accomplishment of society. 
At all events, the publishing of six newspapers/ 
weekly is a proof of the progressive improvement 
and prosperity of the country, though it may be 
but a fallacious symptom of literary improve 

Four of the newspapers are published in Que 
bec, and two in Montreal. These, with an almanac, 
and the acts of the provincial parliament, are all 
the works that are printed in Lower Canada. 
Two of these newspapers have been established fif 
teen or sixteen years ; one of them is the Montreal 
Gazette, and the other the Quebec Gazette. They 
are published in French and English, and contain 
the governor s proclamations and edicts the ad 
vertisements of the sheriff s sales merchants 
stores public auctions, &c. together with a se 
lection of the earliest intelligence extracted from 
the English and American papers. The subscrip 
tion to each is twenty shillings per annum, and 
the price of advertisements is nearly the same as 
in England. 

The Gazettes seldom interfere with the morals 
or manners of society ; those subjects are left for 

the other weekly papers which are published on 
VOL. i. Y 


Saturdays and Mondays. These papers consist 
of the Quebec Mercury, published entirely in 
English, by Gary, on Monday afternoon, and has 
been established about eight years. The Canadian 
Courant, also published in English at Montreal 
every Monday by Nahum Mower, an American 
from the States, who set up the paper about 
six years ago. The other papers are wholly 
French, and have been established since the year 

The one called Le Canadien is conducted by 
some disaffected or rather dissatisfied French 
lawyers and members of the House of Assembly. 
It is the only opposition paper in the province ; 
\y but the Habitans either cannot read it, or pay 
very little attention to the complaints which it 
contains against the government. It is enough 
for them that they feel not the burthens and ca 
lamities of which others complain. The writers in 
Le Canadien, however, abused the liberty of the 
press to such a degree, in the course of the year 
1808, that Sir Jarnes Craig thought proper to di 
vest some of those gentlemen of the commissions 
which they held in the French militia, one of 
whom was a Colonel. It was said that the At 
torney-general had received directions to prosecute 
the editors and publishers of that paper, but I havQ 
not learnt that it has been carried into execution. 
The paper is still continued, and the writers still 


continue to complain ; they are only more cau 
tious in what they sny. 

It must be allowed that a watchful eye should 
be kept upon the public expenditure of every 
country ; and the defection of the late Com 
missary-general in Canada, as well as the shameful 
sale of the St. Maurice forges, &c. fully justify 
a censorial scrutiny into the conduct of public 
officers. I have also heard that abuses exist to 
a very alarming degree in the government of 
Upper Canada, which call for immediate inves 
tigation. Even the pure republicans of the 
United States, who are continually speaking with 
reproach of the old and vicious governments of 
Europe, confess that they lately had a Vice- 
president on trial for treason a Senator of Con 
gress on trial for conspiracy a Commander-in- 
chief of the navy on trial for cowardice and 
a Commander-in-chief of the army on trial for 
bribery and corruption ! ! ! 

The other French paper, called Le Courier de * 
Quebec, is of very small size, and published every 
Saturday at two dollars per annum. This little 
paper is conducted by two or three young FrencU 
Canadians, for the purpose of inserting their fri- 
gitive pieces. These gentlemen have recently 
established a literary society, which, though it 
may not contain the talents of a National Insti 
tute, or of a Royal Society, is notwithstarJing 

Y 2 


deserving of all the encouragement that can be 
given to it by the Canadian government. The 
first dawn of genius in such a country should be 
hailed with pleasure. 

The Mercury and Canadian Courant are de 
voted to news, and all the various ephemera which 
usually appear in periodical works of that descrip 
tion. The original essays which appear are merely 
of a local nature, and are generally the offspring 
of party disputation, acrimony, and slander ; and 
are of course generally written in Wit, and 
Sense, and Nature s spite. 

The writers in these Canadian papers are, like 
their brethren of England and the United States, 
in constant warfare with each other. Volumes 
of words have been expended, oceans of ink have 
been shed, nor has any mercy been shown to age, 
sex, or condition. This scribbling warfare is no 
doubt necessary to the existence of some of these 
papers, which are often supported by the desire 
that people have to know what one says of the 
.other, and what both say of them. I have fre 
quently noticed in London, that whenever a news 
paper is published, it is not out three days before 
the warhoop is raised, and it begins an attack 
upon some old established journal ; this draws on 
a retort, and to it they go pell mell ; discharging 
volumes of abuse at each other, and scattering 
their dirt in the faces of their customers, until 


the fame of the new one is fully established, or 
the other is tired : they then both agree to a sus 
pension of their inky arms, and compromise their 
differences by a coalition for or against the mini 
stry, as they find most convenient. 

The only public library in Canada is kept at 
Quebec, in one of the apartments at the Bishop s y 
palace. It is small, and very indifferently sup 
plied with new publications. The books circu 
late only in that city among those inhabitants 
who subscribe. Novels and romances are most 
in request among the Canadian ladies, as they 
indeed are among the ladies of Europe. These 
are the only books which seem to have any 
charms for the modern fair sex, and it is of little 
consequence in the opinion of many, how they 
are written or what they contain. The depart 
ment of novel-writing, which, like all other works 
of fancy, requires taste, judgement, and ability, 
has of late years fallen off considerably from its 
wonted spirit and originality, though it must be 
confessed that the language is in general less 
offensive to delicacy than the celebrated novels of 
Smollett and Fielding. But small is the number 
that are written with the abilities of those writers, 
or that have any claims to pre-eminence over the 
heterogeneous mass which the press so abun 
dantly lavishes on the public ; and it is a lament 
able fact, that the few which are superior to thr 


rest, have too often been made the vehicles of 
immoral sentiment, or of dangerous philosophy. 
Through the medium of a novel or romance, the 
voluptuary has conveyed in the most insinuating 
language his impure and lihidinous sentiments, 
and the sophister has infused his dangerous and 
insidious opinions. But to amuse is the object of 
these writers; and they care not how much the 
heart of the reader is inflamed by voluptuous de 
scriptions, revolutionary tenets, or impious dog 
mas, if they can but accommodate themselves to 
the reigning taste, which they themselves have 
contributed so largely o vitiate and deprave. 

The writers and publishers of obscene pam 
phlets and prints have of late been punished in 
England with laudable severity, and few of the 
low and vulgar magazines and periodical publica 
tions that prevailed about thirty years ago are 
now to be met with. This would certainly appear 
to augur well of the improvement of the national 
taste, and the depreciation of vice, was it not that 
the form onlv is changed, and that coarse wit and 
vulgar obscenity are merely laid aside for soft non 
sense and genteel voluptuousness. The licentious 
and lustful descriptions of modern writers have 
probably done more injury to the rising genera 
tion than the plain and open avowal of vice. For 
the impure sentiments of an elegant author are 
more likely to undermine the morals of youth A 


than the coarse ribaldly or low obscenity of a Grub- 
street writer. The one is fascinating, but the other 
is disgusting. The former may contaminate vir 
tue, but the latter can administer pleasure only to 

When in New York, I was told that The Monk 
made its first appearance in that city in a weekly 
magazine ; and such was the rage to peruse the 
detached parts of that elegantly-written but im 
pure novel, that the servants were waiting at the 
publishers several hours before the delivery of the 
magazine, in order to convey it to their masters 
or mistresses as early as possible. 

The mischievous effects which the amatory 
novels and poetry of the present day have upon 
the minds of the young and inexperienced are in 
calculable ; and, if it was not possible to find 
proper books for the instruction and amusement 
of youth, I would approve the choice of a lady of 
my acquaintance, who allowed her daughters to 
read Tom Jones and Roderic Random, rather than 
suffer them to look into a novel, romance, or poem 
written by our refined but licentious modern aur 
thors. Few, indeed, can sit down to read them, 
without fancying themselves the heroes pr hero 
ines of the tale ; and the fictitious picture of life, 
which is there represented in such glowing colours, 
creates in them a feeling of disgust at their Qwn 
situation. When they cast the book, aside, they 


find themselves to be common mortals, incapable 
of realising, in the present state of society, those 
romantic attachments of which they were ena 
moured in the novel. They perceive that the 
virtues of mankind, instead of being carried to 
excess, are often sullied by failings, and even vice ; 
and that the vicious part are not totally exempt 
from good qualities. In short, the characters in 
real life are seldom or never liable to those ex 
tremes which are to be found in novels ; and the 
absurd ideas and impure sentiments which are 
continually broached in works of that description, 
have often been the means of carrying some of 
their fair readers to the Magdalen or Doctors 

The ladies of Canada have not, however, so 
many temptations thrown in their way as the 
ladies of Britain ; very few new publications, 
good or bad, ever make their appearance in that 
country. The printing-offices at Quebec and 
Montreal are the only book stores in the country, 
and those collections consist chiefly of school 
books and a few old histories. Reading is not 
altogether so general an amusement as it is in 
England ; and I believe that the Canadian ladies 
spend the greatest portion of their time in doing- 
nothing, or at least in doing that which amounts 
to nothing. The polite accomplishments of draw 
ing and music are almost strangers in Canada. I 


never heard of more than half a dozen who un 
derstood either, and they were but moderate pro 
ficients. But the Canadian ladies labour under 
the disadvantage of indifferent teachers, in almost 
every branch of polite education ; it would, there 
fore, be severe to censure them for not possessing 
extraordinary talents and accomplishments. Many 
of them, however, have natural genius and abili 
ties, that only require to be properly cultivated ta 
render them in every respect equal to the Euro 
pean females. 

It would be a curious subject for research to 
investigate the progress and influence of music 
upon the morals, manners, and disposition of so 
ciety in England, for it never was so much in 
vogue as at the present day : it almost seems to 
supersede many other branches of female educa 
tion, which are more necessary to the cultivation 
of the mind. A fine shape, a good voice, and 
a sufficient knowledge of the piano for " O lady 
fair," appear to be the chief requisites for young 
ladies, and all that engross the attention of indul 
gent parents and fashionable governesses. Young 
ladies of all ranks mix together at the elegant se 
minaries in the vicinity of London ; though, when 
their education is finished, some go behind the 
counter, or into the kitchen, while others step 
into a chariot. On entering a small oil-shop 
once, near London, my attention was suddenly 


arrested by the dulcet strains of the oilman s 
daughter, who was practising her lessons on the 
piano in a little room adjoining the shop. I could 
not help admiring the whimsical circumstance of 
having three of my senses brought into action at 
once by such opposite materials. My sight was 
regaled by the mops, brushes, and brooms that 
hung over my head ; my nose was assailed by the 
effluvia of train oil, turpentine, and varnish ; while 
my ears were delighted with the melodious sounds 
of vocal and instrumental music. 

Refinement is the shrine at which all classes of 
the community now sacrifice, and it will most 
likely, in course of time, be carried to the same 
extent as it was in the most splendid reras of 
Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman grandeur ; till, 
like the refinement of those nations, it reverts to 
its almost primitive state of barbarism. The 
Americans, no doubt, flatter themselves that, as 
^improvement has been travelling westward since 
the beginning of the world, their quarter of the 
globe will prove to be the phoenix that shall rise 
out of the ashes of European luxury and refine 
ment ; that it shall survive the wreck of nations, 
and reign in future ages mistress of the world. 

Before I quit the subject of the arts in Canada, 
a country seemingly more capable of supporting 
than creating genius, I must not omit to mention, 
with the approbation he deservedly merits, a gen- 



tleman of the name of Duberger, a native of that 
country, and an officer in the corps of engineers 
and military draughtsmen. He is a self-taught 
genius, and has had no other advantage than what 
the province afforded him, for he has never been 
out of the country. He excels in the mechanical 
arts, and the drawing of military surveys, &c. He 
had the politeness to show me several of his large 
draughts of the country, and many other draw 
ings, some of which were beautifully done, and 
are deposited in the Engineer s office. The only 
correct chart of Lower Canada, and which was 
published in London by Faden, in the name of 
Mr. Vondenvelden, was taken by Mr. Duberger 
and another gentleman, whose names had a much 
greater right to appear on the chart than the one 
which is at present there. 

But the most important of his labours is a beau 
tiful model of Quebec, upon which he is at present 
employed, in conjunction with a school- fellow of 
mine, Captain By of the engineers, whom I had 
the unexpected pleasure of meeting in Canada 
after an absence of ten years. The whole of the 
model is sketched out, and a great part is finished, 
particularly the fortifications and public buildings. 
It is upwards of 35 feet in length, and comprises 
a considerable portion of the plains of Abraham, 
as far as the spot where Wolfe died. That which 
is done is finished with exquisite neatness ; cut 


entirely out of wood, and modelled to a certain 
scale, so that every part will be completed with 
singular correctness, even to the very shape and 
projection of the rock, the elevations and descents 
in the city, and on the plains, particularly those 
eminences which command the garrison. It is to 
be sent to England when finished, and will, no 
doubt, be received by the British government with 
the approbation it merits.* 

* It is now deposited at Woolwich, 1813. 



Roman Catholic Clergy Religious Orders Tole 
ration of the Catholic Religion Character of 
the Canadian Priests Zeal of the Nuns 
Double Funeral Files and Holidays Number 
of Clergy in Canada Errors and Corruption 
of the Romish Church Fallen State Harmless 
at the present Day Canadian Catholics Irish 
Catholics Catholic Emancipation Disinter 
ested Conduct in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth 
Unanimity Religion of our Ancestors Reasons 
why it should be preferred Variety of Religions 
Exemplary Conduct of the Canadian Catholics 
Conversion Anecdote of First Cousins Pro 
testant Clergy Bishop of Quebec Trafalgar 
Dinner Protestant Religion in Danger. 

WHEN Canada surrendered to the English, the 
free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion was 
stipulated for, and granted. Its ministers were 
also to be protected and supported as they had 
formerly been ; the Jesuits and Recollets only 
excepted, whose orders were to remain as they 
then were, without receiving in future- any aug 
mentation of their numbers. While there existed 


an individual of their order, the revenues and pro 
perty belonging to it were to be at his disposal ; 
but at his death they reverted to the king, and the 
order became extinct. 

Of the three religious male orders at that time 
in existence, the priests alone were allowed to in 
crease their numbers, and to officiate in every 
respect as they had been accustomed to under the 
French government. The female orders being- 
charitable institutions, and beneficial to the co 
lony, were also allowed to exist, and were per 
mitted to fill up their vacancies and increase their 
establishments as they had formerly done. They 
were to be protected in their persons and property 
upon the same footing as under the French go 

This toleration of the Catholic religion, and of 
its monastic institutions, was a measure of neces 
sity rather than of choice. In a conquered coun 
try where the whole population was of one faith, 
it would have been a dangerous experiment to 
have attempted, or even to have shown a wish, to 
subvert the established religion. Nothing more 
than what was done could be done with propriety 
or safety. It would have been worse than Quix 
otism to have forced 80,000 people to adopt the 
religion and form of worship of 500, who, exclusive 
of the king s troops, were all the British subjects that 
settled in the province for more than fourteen years 


after the conquest. Hence it appears that the to 
leration of the Catholic religion, and of the female 
institutions belonging to it, was a matter not only 
of necessity but of sound policy. It was necessary 
to obtain the confidence of the people, and their 
affection for the new government. It was a mea 
sure of policy, because, as long as the priests found 
that they enjoyed the same rights and privileges 
as they possessed before the conquest, it was of 
little consequence to them under what govern 
ment they lived ; and in return for the protection 
which they received, they would incite the people 
to obedience. 

They perhaps felt themselves rather elevated 
than depressed by the change ; for, on the extinc 
tion of the other ecclesiastical establishments, their 
order became the only male one in existence. 
Whereas, when they lived under the French go 
vernment, the priesthood was only second in rank, 
the Jesuits taking the lead in all affairs of impor 
tance ; and no little degree of jealousy existed be 
tween those two powerful bodies. The priests, 
therefore, gained a certain degree of importance 
by the change, without having their property, 
their rights, or immunities the least impaired. 

That they are sensible of the protection they 
receive from the English government, and the 
benefits they derive from the constitution under 
which they live, is sufficiently demonstrated by 


their conduct and behaviour, which have "ever 
been highly honourable to their character as men 
and as Christian pastors. 

I have read that the priests of Canada were, in 
the time of the French government, meddling 
and officious people, violent enthusiasts, and in 
tolerant fanatics, all which, as might naturally be 
supposed, was exceeded only by their ignorance. 
Whether the priests in those days deserved this 
severe character, which has been given them by 
some of the old writers, it is now impossible to 
say ; but I can safely answer for the Roman clergy 
of the present day, that they are distinguished by 
conduct totally the reverse of that attributed to 
their predecessors, and that the character which 
they universally bear throughout Canada, is that 
which is required of every man who undertakes 
to dispense the benefits of Christianity to his 
fellow-creatures. Their lives are exemplary; and 
it is seldom that any of them can be accused of 
giving advice which they themselves do not follow. 
If the British government is reproachable for 
exhibiting such a tolerant spirit towards the Ca 
tholic religion in Canada, it should, at least, be 
some mitigation of that reproach, when it is 
known that the Catholic clergy have imbibed the 
same spirit of toleration ; and that they have not 
only ceased to persecute for the sake of religion, 
but they forbear to importune, even though they 


should gain a convert by it. It is no doubt in 
grateful return for the tenderness with which 
their faith has been treated, that in Canada we 
hear nothing of that enthusiastic spirit of prose- 
lytism, for which the priests in other Catholic 
countries are so celebrated. The Canadian priests 
concern themselves only with their Catholic pa 
rishioners, with the Indians, or with those who 
have no religion at all. But the Protestant sub 
jects, as far as I have understood, they seldom 
or never interfere with ; and if ever any of the 
Protestants do exchange their faith for that of the 
Romish church, it is more owing to the negli 
gence of their own clergy than to the persuasions 
of the French priests. The nuns, however, appear 
to be more desirous of gaining converts, though 
I never heard of their being very successful. A 
singular instance occurred about the year 1807, 
upon the death of Dr. Syms of Montreal, who 
had attended the Hotel Dieu of that city, as 
physician, for upwards of sixteen years. At his 
decease the nuns of the Hospital claimed and took 
possession of his body, for the purpose of burying 
it in their chapel, declaring that they had con 
verted him to their communion, and that he died 

a Roman Catholic. Mr. M G } the intimate 

friend of Dr. Syms, resolutely opposed these zeal 
ous ladies, and demanded the Doctor s body, in 
order that it might be interred in the Protestant 

VOL. I. 1 


bury ing-ground. The nuns stood out for some 
time, but wg*e at length reluctantly obliged to 
part with their dear Doctor. They were, how 
ever, determined not to be deprived of doing ho 
nour to the soul of their convert, though his body 
was not in their possession. A coffin was accord 
ingly procured, and carried with much pomp 
and ceremony into their chapel, where mass was 
said for the repose of his soul ; after which the 
empty coffin was buried with great solemnity, the 
bells of the cathedral and chapel tolling during 
the whole of the funeral service. The holy sisters 
declared they had saved his soul, and it was of no 
consequence what became of his body. I was 
told that the Doctor had left a sum of money to 
the Hospital in his will. At all events the ladies 
were determined to honour his memory. 

The multitude of fetes and holidays, which 
under the French government checked the indus 
try and increased the poverty of the people, are 
now nearly abolished. A few only ,of the prin 
cipal saints days are enjoined by the church, the 
rest have sunk into oblivion ; so that a Popish 
procession is now a very rare sight in that country. 
There are seldom more than two or three in the 
course of the year, one of which is the Fete Dieu, 
(on Trinity-Thursday) : and was it not for the acci 
dental sight of a priest, or a funeral now and then, 
a stranger in Canada would scarcely know that he 


lived in a Cathgjic country ; yet the number of ^. 
Catholics, compared to that of the Protestants, is 
as ten to one.- There are about ISO Catholic I. 
priests and 1 2 Piotestant ministers, including those 
of the dissenting professions. Among the Pro 
testants the churches of England and Scotland 
are most numerous. Notwithstanding the Ca 
tholic priests are so many, I am told there are 
several parishes* in want of them. 

The errors, superstition, and corruption of the 
Romish faith originated chiefly from the ambition 
of its ministers in the early ages^f Christianity. 
They were not satisfied with teaching the mild 
and peaceful doctrines of that holy religion, but 
they must aspire to spiritual dominion over their 
votaries : they had totally forgotten the pattern of 
humility set them by their heavenly master. In 
course of time they erected themselves into tem 
poral as well as spiritual sovereigns, and at one 
period gave law to all Europe. Instead of en 
lightening their disciples, and removing that cloud 
of ignorance and superstition which overshadowed 
the minds of the people during the Gothic age ; 
they sought only how they might increase the 
darkness of that period, and lead the people blind^ 
fold through the intricate mazes which they had 
woven into their religious system. Hence, the 
divine precepts of Christianity, which breathed 
only peace and good will towards man, were ren- 

z 2 


dered subservient to the diabolical arts and ma 
chinations of a set of villains ; and instead of 
tending to the welfare and happiness of mankind, 
they were made the horrid and blasphemous in 
struments of tyranny, persecution, and blood 

The Romish religion, as being the mine from 
whence those evils sprang with which the Chris 
tian faith overwhelmed the civilived parts of the 
globe, came in process of time to be viewed with 
that horror which it so justly deserved. As the 
minds of the people became enlightened, they 
gradually threw off the fetters of superstition. 
Their eyes were opened to the errors and corrup 
tion of their faith, and reformation then dawned 
upon the world. Christianity was once more re 
stored to its primitive simplicity, and Popish fop 
peries were avoided with horror and detestation. 

At the present day the Roman Catholic reli 
gion, compared with its most flourishing periods, 
is humbled to the dust. With the exception 
of Spain and Portugal, it is in every other nation 
as harmless as many of those branches of the 
reformed religion, which are stalking with rapid 
strides over every quarter of the globe ; and whose 
missionaries, with all the fanaticism but with none 
of the genius and ability of the Jesuits, are wan 
dering about in search of converts. The Romish 
religion at this day is a serpent without a sting ; 


and like those which the jugglers of India carry 
about, it may come out of its box to amuse the 
people, but it can do them no injury. It is a sin 
gular fact, that religions of every denomination, 
prosper more under a state of persecution than of 
toleration. On those occasions the enthusiasm of 
their votaries is wrought up to the highest pitch ; 
but when they are living in ease and plenty, and 
allowed the same rights and privileges which 
others enjoy, the effervescence of their holy zeal 
subsides like the violent passion of a hasty man. 

The Catholics of Canada are a living evidence 
of the beneficial effects of religious toleration, re 
gulated by the prudent measures of a mild and 
liberal government, though professing a contrary 
faith, and one too that was formerly viewed by the 
Papists with as much horror as we looked upon 
theirs. But the Canadian Catholics never concern 
themselves about the religion of those who hold 
the reins of government. It is sufficient for them 
that they are allowed every privilege which the 
Protestants enjoy ; that they sit in the executive 
and legislative councils, in the House of Assembly, 
and upon the Bench. It is true, a Catholic has 
never yet been governor of the colony since it has 
been under the English government ; but that is 
of little consequence to them, because none ever 
aspire to that high and distinguished post, while 
every other of consequence and importance is 


open to them. AQ English or Irish Roman Ca 
tholic, upon the same principle^ would care very 
little whether a Potestant or Catholic prince filled 
the throne, as long as* he enjoyed the same honours 
and confidence as his Protestant brethren, and had 
nothing to gain by. the change. But while their 
passions are roused,, and their pride inflamed, by 
contumacious treatment, they will never cease to 
resent it, and to wish for such -a change as may 
turn the scale against their oppressors. Do away 
their grievances, -^nd they will have nothing to 
complain of; put fckem upon the same footing as 
ourselves, and they will have nothing to hope for, 
nothing to expect, beyond what they are lawfully 
entitled to. 

We seem to have forgotten the unanimity which 
prevailed among all ranks of people, Catholics as 
well as Protestants, in the days of Queen Eliza 
beth, when the Spanish armada threatened to sub 
vert the Protestant power, : and raise the Catholics 
to pre-eminence. It is recorded of the latter, that 
they voluntarily came forward and contributed 
ships and money towards the defence of the king 
dom, delicately forbearing to offer their own per 
sonal services, lest the sincerity of their motives 
might be suspected : nor is there one solitary in 
stance of plot, riot, or insurrection originating 
with the Catholics of the kingdom at that mo-i 
inentous period. But if ancient times are top re* 


mote for our notice, or lest there should be any 
perversion of fact in our history, let us look to our 
own times, when the scarlet monster is somewhat 
more harmless than she was a century and a half 
ago. Here we may see with our own eyes the 
unanimity that prevails in many parts of Europe, 
in the United States of North America, and more 
particularly in our own colony of Lower Canada, 
between Catholics and Protestants, and between 
Christians and Pagans of every denomination. 
There we hear of no disputes, no persecutions on 
account of religion ; no insurrections, plots, and 
conspiracies to subvert the governments because 
they are not of the true faith. In short, as to 
temporal matters, religion is only a secondary 
consideration with them ; and while they are 
allowed to follow the dictates of their own con. 
science, and to enjoy equal rights, liberties, and 
immunities one with the other, they look only 
to the preservation of that form of government, 
and that system of things, which protect them in 
the enjoyment of those privileges, and defend 
them from foreign usurpation. 

From the unanimity which reigns in those 
countries, with regard to religion, let us turn our 
eyes to our own country, where fifteen millions of 
people are afraid of trusting only one-fifth of their 
number, and their own countrymen too, with 
equal rights and privileges with themselves. If 


the Roman Catholics were really such a desperate 
body of people as they are represented to be, I am 
really astonished that the Canadians have not long 
ago cleared the colony of every English heretic 
tfiat had set foot on it. Why they, as Frenchmen, 
and old inveterate enemies, should be more tender 
of us than the English and Irish Roman Catholics, 
who are our own countrymen, is one of the mar 
vellous mysteries of this eventful period. An in 
different person, judging of things merely from 
common sense, might perhaps think it was owing 
to the different mode of treatment, and that we 
fostered the one while we persecuted the other. 
Though this may not be strictly true, yet it is 
certain that too little attention has been paid to 
the interests of the sister kingdom. 

It is, I think, more to the credit of a man to 
adhere to the faith in which he was initiated from 
the hour of his birth, than when arrived at man 
hood to take up with any plausible doctrine that 
may be broached in his presence by the artful or 
ignorant enthusiast ; unless, indeed, that his con 
science really revolts at the errors or absurdities of 
his own religion : then it is praise-worthy to de 
part from them. Independent of the veneration 
which we feel for the religion of our ancestors, we 
are more likely to keep to that in which we have 
always been bred ; because, were it even Pa 
ganism, no sin can attach to us on that account* 


How far the sin rests upon the head of those who 
originally departed from the worship of the true 
God, is a matter which surely cannot affect their 
offspring for thousands of generations. We are 
told that the sins of the fathers are visited upon 
their children, unto the third and fourth genera 
tions ; but we are not told that punishment con 
tinues for a series of ages. A man, therefore, 
cannot be said to be accountable for the errors 
and defects of that religion which originated cen 
turies before he was born, and in which he was 
initiated by his parents. The main precepts of 
every religion tend to the adoration of a supreme 
Being, though the forms under which he is wor 
shipped are nearly as various as the people who 
worship him. While, therefore, a man acts 
strictly up to the precepts inculcated by his faith, 
no matter whether Pagan, Christian, Jew, or Mo 
hammedan, he is, according to my humble ideas, as 
much entitled to admission into Heaven as one of 
a contrary religion, though the latter should arro 
gate to himself and others of his sect exclusive 
right and title to that holy place. 

If we were not guided by the religion of our 
fathers, and were left when of age to choose one 
for ourselves, what a variety would be laid before 
us from which to pick and choose ! What a mul 
titude of creeds, opinions, and forms of worship, 
should we be urged to accept by the zealous 


sionaries of Jews, Turks, Christians, and Pagans ; 
of Chinese, Hindoos, Peruvians and Otaheitans ; 
of Papists, Presbyterians, Jansenists, and Method 
ists ; of Quakers, Shakers, Swadlers, and Jurnpers; 
of Lutherans, Calvinists, Arians, and Socinians ; 
of Moravians, Hugonots, Muggletonians, and 
Anabaptists ; and of their innumerable branches 
and ramifications, each of which has a distinct 
form of its own ! Were a person, possessing no 
sort of faith or form of worship whatever, one, in 
short, who never had an idea of going to heaven 
through such means, were he, I say, to have his 
choice of such a molhy collection, how difficult 
would he find it to select the right one ! But when 
he was told that each of these separate sects abso 
lutely declared that its faith was the only true re 
ligion that its followers were the only elect people 
O f God and that all others would be everlastingly 
damned, he must be so staggered by the infojr 
mation, that he would naturally decline having 
any thing to do with either ; and would most likely 
prefer the dictates of his own conscience to all the 
invitations held out to him by the missionaries of 
such a variety of contradictory religions. 

It is better, however, to have an imperfect 
faith and form of worship, than to have no reli 
gion at all; foi- a man s mind is seldom firm 
enough to carry him safe through the allurements 
of vice, without the guide and support of some- 



thing stronger than his own conscience, which 
may be lulled to sleep when it interferes with his 
pleasures. A man without religion is like a ship 
without a rudder : he is left at large on the ocean 
of uncertainty, tost about at the mercy of a trou 
bled mind, nor does he gain the peaceful haven 
until Religion comes to his aid. 

For fifty years the Roman Catholics of Canada 
have lived under a Protestant government. 
They have been dutiful and obedient subjects ; 
and when our other colonies shook off the yoke 
of Great Britian, they remained true and faithful, 
notwithstanding great inducements were held out 
to them by their neighbours to follow their ex 
ample. This steady adherence of the Canadians 
to their conquerors can be attributed only to their 
due sense of the benefits they had received from 
them, and to the firm attachment of the clergy 
to the British government ; for had the latter been 
inimical, either from religious or political causes, 
they could with the greatest ease have stirred up 
the whole body of the people to rebellion. There 
were only 500 British settlers in the colony, and 
sometimes not a thousand troops ; and it is well 
known that General Carleton saved Quebec, when 
besieged by General Montgomery, chiefly by the 
exertions of the inhabitants. 

The Roman Catholic religion has been no way 
injurious to the Protestant establishment in that 


country ; for though their number has increased 
from 80,000 to 180,000, yet the British have in 
creased from 500 to 20,OOO. Some few instances, 
it is true, have occurred, in which Protestants 
have renounced their faith for that of the Romish 
church ; but this possibly happened in those places 
where there was no Protestant minister or place of 
worship, and where they must have neglected re 
ligion entirely, had they not gone to the Catholic 
church. The few British subjects that were then 
in the province were, according to General Mur 
ray s account, a most immoral set of men ; it was, 
therefore, of little consequence what faith they 
professed, when their works tended so little to the 
credit of themselves or the edification of others. 
If such men entered the Romish communion, it 
was more owing to the inattention of the Pro 
testant clergy than to the officiousness of the 
French priests. It is possible, however, that some 
of the latter may have been guided by a desire to 
make proselytes, but it was by no means general ; 
and indeed the Canadian priests have seemed anx 
ious to discharge only their own functions, with 
out interfering with those of the English ministers. 
As to the latter, they cannot be charged with even 
the most distant wish to convert the Roman Ca 
tholics into Protestants ; nor perhaps are they 
sufficiently qualified for the task. It is not a 
haughty, supercilious behaviour that will win the: 


esteem of the Canadians ; on the contrary, they 
are a people of such polite and easy demeanour 
themselves, that they are rather repulsed than 
invited by the manners of some of the English 

It is a misfortune for the Protestant interest in 
general, and for the English church in particular, 
that any of its ministers in Canada should be de 
ficient in those qualifications which might engage 
the affection and esteem of the people of that 
country ; but it is yet worse when they are defi 
cient in the very duties of their profession. The 
blunders that some of them make in the church 
service are not only painful to hear, but must tend 
considerably to lessen the dignity of our religion 
in the eyes of the Canadians. I have been told 
also, that besides their regular salaries, of from 
two to five hundred a year, they charge very high 
fees for christenings, &c. and it has been known 
that poor people, unable to pay the Protestant 
minister 12s. 6d. for baptizing their children, have 
taken them to the Catholic church, where they 
have been christened for a few pence. As a set-off, 
however, to the subject of high fees in christenings, 
I must mention an anecdote in favour of our clergy 
respecting marriage fees. A poor Habitant had 
fallen in love with her first cousin, and matters 
had proceeded to such a length, that nothing but 
marriage could make her an honest woman. The 


man applied to his priest to be married ; but it 
being contrary to the Catholic religion for persons 
to marry when so nearly related, the priest told 
him that he could not obtain a dispensation from 
the bishop under 150 dollars. The poor fellow of 
fered 60 dollars, which was all that he was worth 
in the world, but the priest refused it. The man 
then applied to the Protestant minister at Three 
Rivers, who readily offered to marry the Habitant 
and his cousin, upon paying the customary fees, 
which did not amount to more than three or four 
dollars. The banns were accordingly published 
three Sundays, and the marriage was about to take 
place, when the French priest, afraid probably of 
losing both man and money, sent for the Habitant, 
and told him that he had represented his case to the 
bishop, who at length agreed to receive the 60 dol 
lars. The man had paid the Protestant minister his 
fees; but he could not be happy without his own re 
ligion, which his priest declared would be renounced 
by marrying in the Protestant church, and that 
he never would administer the sacrament to him 
or his wife if he persisted in his resolution. The 
poor fellow accordingly parted with every farthing 
he possessed, and was married to his first Cousin. 
This is one of the artifices that has been ingrafted 
upon the Romish faith, in order to extort money 
from its votaries. Marriage was even prohibited 
to the fourteenth degree of relationship. But the 


church assumed a power of dispensing with the 
law ; and to such as were able to pay for it, with 
the exception of parents and children, and some 
other very near relations, a dispensation was in 
most cases readily granted. 

If the Protestant clergy in Canada were pos 
sessed of respectable abilities, and of pleasing 
manners, their influence would be very extensive 
among the French Canadian^ and it is more than 
probable that many of them would espouse the 
Protestant faith; for, as they become enlightened, 
they perceive the glaring absurdities of many 
parts of their religion. While I was at Three 
Rivers, an old man changed his faith, and attended 
the Protestant church. 

The Protestant bishop of Quebec is said to 
be a man of abilities, and a most eloquent and 
masterly preacher, but I never had the pleasure 
of hearing him. His salary is 3,500/. per annum, / / 
and he preaches two sermons annually ! 

If there are any defects in the Protestant esta 
blishment of Canada, they are the defects of its 
ministers, and not of the religion ; though they 
are such as may be easily remedied, because they 
spring rather from negligence than wilful errors. 
But in the Roman Catholjc system the defects 
are in the religion, and not in those who admi 
nister it. 

Much praise is however due, both to the 


testant and Roman Catholic clergy, inasmuch as 
they have lived together for a series of years upon 
the most amicable footing, and have never dis 
turbed the peace of their parishioners by illiberal 
attacks upon each other s religion : and however 
they may differ in some points of faith, they have 
both laboured in their ministry with that gentle 
ness and forbearance, which are the principal 
features of the religion they profess. I have 
heard only of one instance where any thing like 
jealousy has arisen. It occurred at Three Rivers, 
upon the celebration of Lord Nelson s victory off 
Trafalgar. The English minister was affronted 
because the French grand vicar of that town was 
placed at table on the right hand of the president, 
and himself on the left. This he considered as a 
great indignity to the church of England ; and, 
if there had been a printing-press in the town, 
there is no knowing to what length his zeal might 
have carried him, and what a furious pamphlet 
he might have written in defence of the Protestant 
religion. Fortunately there were no devils in Three 
Rivers, so that the grand vicar remained uncon 
scious of the offence he had committed, or the 
honour he had enjoyed, and the worthy clergy 
man confined his chagrin within the little circle of 
his own parishioners. 



Aborigines of North America Domiciliated In 
dians Indians of Lorette French Peculiarities 
^Groups of Savages 1 ortrait of the Indians 
Squaius-*- Contrast between the Indians and 
the Squaws Dwellings Chapel at Lorette 
Jesuit Missionaries Indian Dress Cradle 
.Boards Encampment at Point LeviThe Fe 
male Pugilists Delivery of the Presents In- 
dian Chief- Sagacity of the Indians Wigwams 
* Bullock s Head Night Scene Indian Dance 
~~ Pretty Squaws- Distribution of Rum Pas 
sage across the River at Night Attempts to 
civilize the Indians Travels in the Interior 
Voyage up the Missouri* Anecdote of a Cree 
Indian Population Presents Civilization 
Degenerated State of the Indians*-* Wretched 
Appearance Indian Prophet, 

To enter into a long history and description of 
the aborigines of North America, would be SIH 
perfluous in a work like the present, which has 
chiefly for its object the delineation of the pre 
sent state and condition of that part of the coun 
try and its inhabitants where I travelled; and 

VOL, i. 2 A 


where the natives Indians are seldom or never met 
with, except in a degenerated state, and in small 
societies, widely differing from the tribes situated 
in the interior of the North American continent. 
It is therefore unnecessary for me to wander from 
the arctic circle to Terra del Fuego, from the 
dog-ribbed Indians to the Patagonians, since 
very little additional information concerning the 
aboriginal inhabitants of America can be offered 
to the public beyond what we have received from 
so many eminent writers. The state of the In 
dian tribes in the interior of America is nearly 
the same as described by the Jesuit missionaries, 
by Robertson, Raynal, Douglas, and Adair, and by 
other historians and travellers who have penetrated 
the American forests, and made themselves ac 
quainted with the manners, customs, and amuse 
ments ; the maxims of legislation, polity, and 
warfare of the Indian tribes which are scattered 
over that immense continent, The remarks, 
therefore, which I shall have to make upon the 
Indians will be confined principally to those who 
are domiciliated in Canada, of whose real condi 
tion but little is known, and that little but im 

The Indians who inhabit Lower Canada are a 
few wandering tribes near the entrance of the 
St. Lawrence, and those who reside in the vil 
lages, of Lorette, Be^ancour, St. Francois, Lake 


of the Two Mountains, Cachenonaga, &c. The 
Indians of Lorette, about three leagues from 
Quebec, are for the most part descended from a 
nation which formerly resided in the vicinity of 
Lake Huron, from whence they take their name. 
The tribe was at that time very powerful, and 
Joined the Algon quins in their war against the 
Iroquois ; but the latter, by one of those cun 
ning stratagems in which the Indian delights to 
excel, took the opportunity of entering the Huron 
village under pretence of forming an alliance with 
them ; and no sooner found themselves in the 
midst of the unarmed inhabitants, that they 
commenced a horrid slaughter, sparing neither 
age, sex, nor condition, and burning every habi 
tation in the village : a few only of the Hurons 
escaped the general massacre, and fled to the 
French for protection. The latter seized this 
favourable opportunity of civilizing these savages, 
and established them in the village of Lorette, 
near the capital, under the care of a zealous 

For several years their dwellings were mere 
huts formed of the branches of trees, covered with 
birch bark, and they lived nearly in their usual 
style. But afterwards they laid aside their huts, 
and erected houses after the French fashion ; 
they also adopted many of the French customs, v 
their modes of dress, &c. ; and several Frenchmen 
2 A 2 


settled among them, which tended still more to 
accelerate their conversion. 

It is a peculiar trait in the character of the 
French, that they can unbend their dispositions, 
and assimilate themselves, more than any other 
people, to the manners and customs of the country 
where they reside; it is natural to them, whether 
prompted to it or not by inclination or interest. 
This accommodating disposition was of much 
service to the French government ; for those indi 
viduals who settled among the Indians intermar 
ried with many of the females, and by that means 
attached them still more closely to the French 
interest. This was more or less the case in all the 
settlements which the French government at- 
tempted to civilize; and, in consequence, the 
descendants of these people are at the present day 
almost wholly of a mixed blood. 

It is however remarkable, that the Indians, 
though so closely allied by intermarriages, have 
never entered fully into the European mode of 
living ; but follow, with few exceptions, the same 
indolent and erratic life which distinguished their 
ancestors. All the domiciliated Indians in Lower 
Canada employ themselves either in hunting or 
fishing ; or are engaged by the merchants in the 
North-West fur trade; very few attend much to 
agriculture : what little corn they raise, is gene 
rally cultivated by their wives. Some of them 


keep a horse and cart, a cow and a few pigs ; but 
the greatest part of them depend upon fishing and 
hunting for their subsistence, and often procure 
a surplus to dispose of at market. The money 
which they procure from the sale of those articles, 
or from the furs which they carry to market, 
is always spent in rum, of which they are extra 
vagantly fond. 

I have often stood a considerable time in the 
market-place at Quebec, admiring the whimsical 
appearance and gestures of a group of these sa 
vages, handing the rum bottle to one another, 
examining the contents as they put it to their 
mouths, and then placing the bottle in their bosom 
under their blanket or coat, where it would not 
remain three minutes before it was handed about 
again. During this while they shake hands, laugh 
loud, and talk vehemently ; sometimes brandish, 
ing their fists in each other s face in such a me 
nacing attitude that a stranger would fancy they 
were quarrelling: this, however, does not happen, 
unless they are very much intoxicated ; at other 
times they appear good-humoured and friendly. 

Their external appearance is extremely forbid* 
ding, and often disgusting ; a dark swarthy coun 
tenance, with high cheek bones, prominent nose 
and chin, and long black coarse hair hanging in 
disorder over their face. Their lanky limbs some 
times wrapped up in an old ragged coat, dirty 

358 SGUAtfS. 

blanket, or tattered shirt, which latter is most 
commonly their sole covering, and is never taken 
off, changed, or washed, as long as there is a rag 
left. Such is the miserable garb and appearance 
of most of these half-civilized half-savage inha 
bitants of the Indian villages, who roam about 
bare-legged and bare-headed, exhibiting a de 
graded picture of the Indian warrior, whose 
high-minded pride and spirit have been so much 

The domesticated Indians, wandering about the 
streets in such dirty, ragged habiliments, which 
are scarcely sufficient to cover their nakedness, 
with a bottle of rum in one hand and a raw bul 
lock s head in the other, do not give a stranger a 
very exalted opinion of the Indian character,, 
which has/hus a great resemblance to the outcast 
race of wandering gipsies. The latter, however, 
roam about in much better condition, though I 
believe with less innocent views, than the poof 

The females, or squaws, as they are most com 
monly called, are in general better dressed, 
though often very dirty. Some few take a pride 
in appearing to advantage ; and when decorated in 
all their finery, which among the better sort is 
sometimes of considerable value, they look very 
pretty and interesting: they are also more care 
ful than the men of their money, and with the 


produce of their baskets and toys purchase 
clothes and victuals instead of rum. It is very 
seldom that they intoxicate or disgrace themselves 
as the men too often do. There is a wide and 
marked difference between the persons and fea 
tures of the Indians and their squaws. The 
former are universally tall, large-boned, and long- 
visaged, with very prominent features. The wo 
men, on the contrary, are short, rather small- 
boned, and possess a round or oval visage, with 
very pleasing features rather broad than promi 
nent. Their complexions are much alike ; and 
the hair of the women is as black and as coarse 
as that of the men, but they take more pains 
with it. They wear it long behind their back, 
combed smooth, and parted over the forehead. 

The contrast between the persons and features 
of the men and women struck me very forcibly ; 
and I found that these characteristic differences 
prevailed generally among all the Indians I met 
with in Canada ; nor was any alteration visible 
between those who were domesticated and those 
who existed in a rude state. 

The females when young are generally pretty, 
but after twenty -five or thirty they gradually fall 
off in beauty, and acquire every appearance of 
premature old age. This early decay seems to 
be constitutional, or the effect of the climate, 
rather than the consequence of a laborious life ; 


for the women in the Indian villages appear 
more indolent than industrious, and spend more 
time in sitting idly in their houses than working 
in the fields. They also prefer sedentary to 
active employments, and like the making of 
baskets, moccasins, and other small articles, bet 
ter than cultivating the field or garden. It does 
not therefore appear that an early decay is the 
result only of the laborious avocations in which 
they are employed : it may perhaps be the case 
with the uncivilized tribes, whose means of exist 
ence are more precarious, and who are more ex 
posed to the vicissitudes of the weather. The 
constitutions of the women who reside much at 
home, must however be greatly injured by the 
constant use of stoves with which they warm their 
houses and cook their victuals ; so that summer 
and winter they inhale the noxious vapours that 
continually issue from the wood embers through 
the crevices of the stove and pipe. 

The buildings of the Indian villages corre 
spond with the miserable appearance of their 
owners. The houses are mere shells, devoid of 
almost every necessary article of domestic use. A 
wretched bed in one corner, a stove in the middle, 
and a few broken utensils scattered about the 
room, form the whole furniture of an Indian 
dwelling. The apartments are abominably filthy, 
and with the broken casements present as forlorn 


and repulsive an appearance as the persons of 
their inhabitants. 

There is a chapel in the village of Lorette 
where mass is performed by the priest under 
whose care the Indians are placed. They are 
said to be very attentive to the performance of 
their religious ceremonies, the service of which 
appears to make a considerable impression upon 
them. The Roman Catholic religion is, perhaps, 
better adapted than any other to catch the atten 
tion of untutored savages. The pomp and cere 
mony with which it is conducted, while it pleases 
the eye, is calculated to make a more lasting 
impression on their minds than the plain and 
simple instruction of the reformed religion. We 
have sufficient evidence of its efficacy in the 
success of the Jesuit missionaries, who established 
themselves in various parts of the American con 
tinent, but particularly in Paraguay, where they 
had gained over an immense number of converts. 

This success may, however, be attributed as 
much to the indefatigable exertions and the genius 
and abilities of the Jesuits, as to the peculiar 
advantages of the religion they taught. 

On the other hand, our methodists and anabap 
tists, whatever merit they may deserve for their 
7.eal in the cause of the Gospel, have, it must be 
confessed, made but little progress among the Pa 
gans in different quarters of the globe where their 


missionaries have been sent. Their success has 
been confined chiefly to the lower classes of civi 
lized society, all of whom have more or less 
knowledge of revealed religion. But among the 
American Indians, and the savages who inhabit 
the islands of the South Sea, their attempts have 
either entirely failed^ or their progress has been 
very slow. 

The greatest part of the Indians in Lower Ca 
nada have the wretched appearance before de 
scribed ; a few only, and those are principally 
chiefs and their families, paint and decorate 
themselves in a superior manner. No fashion 
able European can be prouder of his dress than 
the Indian chief. The clothing which the In 
dians receive annually consists chiefly of blankets ; 
but cloths of the most gaudy colours are distri 
buted to the chiefs and their families, who also 
decorate themselves in a profusion of silver or 
tin ornaments ; ear-rings, bracelets, and medals, 
which they procure either from the government, 
or from the produce of their furs. The women 
xvear a black beaver hat ornamented with fea 
thers and bands of various-coloured ribbons, to 
which are attached a number of small silver 
crosse* or other ornaments. Sometimes they wear 
a curious peaked cap of cloth, very ingeniously 
worked with coloured elk hair. Their black 
glossy hair is combed smooth and parted over 


their forehead. They wrap themselves up in a 
mantle, or piece of cloth, of a blue, green, of} 
scarlet colour, bordered at the bottom with broad 
stripes of yellow and green silk. In warm wea 
ther they fasten it round their waist, and in cold 
weather they put it over their head. They also 
wear a jacket or shirt of large pattern printed 
cotton, with a pair of blue or scarlet leggings re 
sembling pantaloons; and their moccasins are 
curiously worked with elk hair or porcupine 
quills dyed of various colours. Some of the 
women paint their faces, and load their persons 
with a profusion of silver or tin ornaments, beads, 
and feathers. 

The men, when dressed in their best apparel, 
differ very little from the women, except that they 
sometimes wear a long coat instead of the cloak 
or blanket. I have seen four or five rows of 
silver pieces, resembling the jingles of a tambou 
rine, strung close together, and hanging down 
from the back of their head to the ground ; at 
the top they were of the size of a dollar, but di 
minished gradually to the bottom, where they 
were not larger than a silver three pence. Their 
wrists and arms are also ornamented with large 
silver or tin bracelets, and a collar of the same 
round the throat. Medals of various sizes are 
suspended from the neck, and large rings from 
their ears. They beautify their faces with long 


streaks of vermilion, or charcoal, across their 
forehead and eye- brows, and down their cheeks, 
They wear a pouch in front, like the Highlanders 
of Scotland, made of the skin of a small animal, 
in which they carry their tobacco. The hairy 
side is turned outwards, and ornamented with 
beads. Their leggings and moccasins are made 
of the same materials and the same fashion as 
those of the women. Knives, sashes, and belts 
of wampum are indispensable appendages of their 
dress. The wampuin is made of the shell of the 
clam, and purchased from the people of the 
United States in considerable quantities by the 
Indians of the Upper Province^ who use wampum 
belts in all their .conferences and meetings. At 
the end of every harangue, a belt is delivered for 
the purpose of reminding the parties of what has 
been said ; and as a proof of the excellent memory 
which the Indians possess, it is said they will 
remember for years the substance of the discourse 
that was delivered with each belt. 

The women carry their children behind their 
back : they are wrapped up in swaddling-cloths, 
and fastened to a flat board, which has a piece of 
hickory-stick bent over at the top ; upon this a 
piece of cloth is fastened, which covers the child, 
and preserves it from being plagued by the mus- 
quitoes and flies, or scratched by the bushes when 
going through the woods. This mode of carry- 


ing children is well adapted to the wandering 
life of the Indians, and their fatiguing journeys 
through the forests. It is also worthy of imitation 
by soldiers wives who follow an army during a 
campaign. On Sunday the Indians are all drest 
in their gayest apparel ; the women then decorate 
their children upon these cradle boards, with a 
variety of coloured ribbons and printed cotton 
cloths. The face of the child is all that is seen, 
the arms and feet being confined under the band 
ages and cloths, which are wrapped tight round 
the body, so that it has a great resemblance to an 
Egyptian mummy. The practice of confining 
the feet one over the other is said to create that 
awkward gait which most of the Indians are sub 
ject to, by walking with their toes turned in ; 
others say that it is contracted by their mode of 
sitting in their canoes. 

During the summer, when the annual presents 
are delivered at Quebec, upwards of 200 Indians 
are encamped along the opposite shore, as far as 
Point Levi. They consist chiefly of detachments 
from the Mickmacks, Chalas, Abenaquis, and 
other small tribes who inhabit Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick, and the south shore of the St. Law 
rence. They stay between three and four months 
in their encampment, and, after receiving their 
presents, return to their respective homes. They 
hunt during the winter, and dispose of their furs 


when they go to receive their presents the fol 
lowing summer. 

While I remained at Quebec, I had an oppor 
tunity of seeing these Indians. They differed 
very little from those of Lorette, except that 
they appeared to have less European blood in 
their veins ; but their appearance was equally 
as filthy and wretched. On the day that the pre 
sents were delivered out, about the latter end of 
August, having heard they were to have a dance 
in the camp, I went over with two gentlemen of 
niy acquaintance, in order to be present at the 
entertainment. It was about five o clock in the 
afternoon when we arrived on the opposite side 
of the river, and by that time many of them were 
intoxicated, among whom were two or three 
squaws. These ladies were quarrelling and abusing 
each other most violently, till from altercation 
they at length proceeded to blows ; in a moment 
the two combatants were down upon the ground, 
rolling, kicking, and tumbling about in the sand. 
They held one another fast by the hair, by which 
means they pinioned their heads together upon 
the ground ; kicking out their legs, and uttering 
the grossest abuse their tongues could invent. 
The other women endeavoured to part them, but 
to no purpose. The men walked about uncon 
cerned, and never interfered with the quarrel, 
though the women were both married. The 


fray had now lasted upwards of an hour, and 
might have continued till dark if some of them 
had not applied to the chief to put an end to the 
disturbance. He accordingly went up, and in 
the coolest manner ordered the women who sur 
rounded the two amazons to force them asunder, 
and carry them to their respective tents. The 
order was immediately complied with, and har 
mony restored throughout the camp. 

The chief was a very respectable-looking man, 
about 4O years of age, with a countenance and 
features very much resembling Mr. John Kemble. 
His figure was noble and majestic, and his com 
plexion much lighter than the generality of the 
Indians. His disposition seemed to be grave, 
cool, and deliberate, and perfectly well adapted 
for the government of the rude, uncivilized race 
which he had under his charge. We found him 
busily employed in distributing to the men, wo 
men, and children, their share of the presents 
which had been delivered into his care from the 
stores at Quebec. A well dressed Indian stood 
on one side, and at intervals handed him a pen 
and ink, with which he wrote down in a pocket- 
book the articles he delivered out. 

It was a curious sight to see the children 
scampering about in their new blankets, and the 
squaws dressed out in their new presents, parti 
cularly the chiefs daughters, who were decorated 


in scarlet cloth bordered with yellow and green 
silk, new black hats and feathers, and a variety 
of silver bracelets, ear-rings, and trinkets. They 
were pretty girls, and the slight tinge of rouge 
with which they had heightened their com 
plexions rendered them highly interesting. The 
men were more attentive to the rum which had 
been given them as a treat that day, than to their 
other presents, and were talking, laughing, and 
capering about in the most antic manner. They 
were continually going up to the chief, and teasing 
him for more of the precious liquor ; but he re 
fused them with great good humour, telling them 
that they had already had too much, and that he 
nuist reserve the remainder for the dance. 

When they went away, he observed to us, what 
a pity it was that men should degrade themselves 
in such a manner by their fondness for liquor ! and 
that he considered a drunken man or woman more 
clespisable than the beasts of the forest, because 
the latter had no reason to guide them in any 
thing they did ; but men and women had ; and 
they ought to put it to a better use than to stupefy 
their senses and destroy their constitutions with 
intoxicating spirits. I was agreeably surprised to 
hear so sensible an observation from an Indian, 
because he must have possessed great strength of 
mind to have resisted that partiality for strong 
liquors so prevalent among his countrymen, par- 


licularly those who have much intercourse with 
the European settlements. 

He spoke English with great fluency, from 
which I was led to suppose that he was descended 
from European parents ; but, on inquiry, I learnt 
that he was a real Indian, though, from his fre 
quent intercourse with the English settlements, 
he had acquired considerable knowledge and in 
formation. I have little doubt, had his under* 
standing and natural genius been properly culti 
vated, that he would have displayed extraordinary 
abilities. We had a good deal of conversation 
with him, and his remarks proved him to be a 
sensible and sagacious observer of nature. I could 
not help regretting that such a man should be lost 
to civilized society, to which he would have done 
so much credit ; and that such an excellent natural 
genius should be sunk in the petty chieftain of a 
horde of wild savages. 

I was, however, glad of the opportunity of 
meeting him, as it satisfied my mind concerning 
the truth of those relations which have been 
handed down to us by the Jesuit missionaries, and 
other writers, concerning the sensible and inge 
nious remarks of the American Indians ; many of 
which are so pertinent and sagacious, that I have 
been tempted to doubt the veracity of the writers. 
But this chief, and several other Indians whom 
I afterwards met with, have completely verified 

VOL. i. 2 B 


the truth of their assertions respecting the men 
tal qualifications of those people, though clouded 
at times by rudeness and barbarism. Those who 
give themselves up to drunkenness and debauch 
ery, which unfortunately form a great majority, 
exhibit a depravity of mind, and stupid insensi 
bility, bordering upon a state of brutality. The 
few who resist the temptation of those odious 
vices, and preserve their constitutional and men 
tal faculties unimpaired, display such superior 
talents and virtues, and astonish by such strength 
of invincible reasoning and argument, that one 
is almost tempted to doubt the superiority of 
civilized society over a state of nature. 

By the time the chief had delivered out the 
presents it was dark, and fires were lighted in 
almost every tent. Many of the Indians with 
their squaws and children were huddled round 
the fire, picking some pieces of dried salt fish, or 
eating soup made of bullock s head, of which they 
are remarkably fond. They are not very nice in 
their cooking, and will boil the heads with all the 
filth and dirt upon them, as they are brought 
home by the men, who have perhaps laid them 
down fifty times upon the dirty steps of doors, or 
on the pavement in Quebec, while they stop to 
drink with their friends. 

The tents or wigwams, under which they sat, 
or rather squatted, were extremely small, and 


formed of a number of sticks placed at proper 
distances and secured together at the top, leaving 
a small hole for the smoke to go out at. The 
sticks were covered from top to bottom with 
pieces of the birch bark, which, if they had been 
properly secured, might have afforded a good 
shelter from the weather ; but it was then fine 
and dry, and the bark was carelessly put on. An 
opening was left between the sticks on one side 
for an entrance ; but the whole wigwam appeared 
scarcely sufficient to allow of two men to lie at 
their ease ; yet in many of them there were five 
or six in a family huddled together, leaving only 
a little space in the centre for the fire. They 
burn the birch bark, which gives a good light, 
and consumes slowly. When they lie down to 
sleep, they crowd together like a litter of pigs, to 
keep themselves warm. Even the chief and his 
family must have followed a similar plan ; for his 
tent was of the same materials, and afforded no 
better accommodation than the rest: yet his fa 
mily consisted of a wife, two daughters, a son, 
and his mother, an old woman whose shrivelled 
face would have led me to suppose she was ninety 
years of age, instead of sixty. 

About nine o clock at night the dance, com 
menced, by the light of the birch bark, pieces of 
which were rolled up in the form of tapers, and 
held by some of the old squaws who could not 
2 B 2 


mix with the dancers. A log of wood about 
eighteen or twenty feet long was placed on the 
ground. On one end sat a man who rattled a 
calibash filled with small pebbles, and hummed a 
sort of monotonous cadence, in which he was 
joined by the dancers, who were about thirty in 
number, and moved slowly round the piece of 
timber in a sort of oblong circle. They followed 
one after the other, but so crowded, that they had 
but just room to move their feet, and were in 
danger every moment of treading upon each 
other s heels. Men and women were promiscu 
ously intermixed, some in gaudy dresses, others 
in dirty blankets, and many only in an old ragged 
shirt that reached but halfway down their thighs. 
The squaws, and some of the men, merely 
danced along in a sort of shuffling motion ; but 
others moved their limbs violently, clapped their 
hands, and beat the ground forcibly with their 
feet. All, however, preserved the most exact 
time to the monotonous harmony of the calibash 
and the aspirating cadence of yo-he-ivaw, which 
they seemed to fetch from the bottom of their 
breasts. The sameness of this rude species of 
music was now and then relieved by loud shouts 
and yells, which, with the extravagant antics and 
gestures of some of the men, whose brains had 
been well steeped in rum, together with the ex 
hibition of their swarthy limbs and dishevelled 


locks, which hung in wild disorder over their 
faces, made me at times fancy myself among a 
crowd of bedlamites. 

This entertainment, I was informed, is very 
different from their war dance, which I never 
had an opportunity of seeing during my stay in 
America. Mr. Destimauville, a French gentle 
man, the agent and interpreter for these Indians, 
was present with his daughters and several other 
ladies and gentlemen from Quebec. The Indians 
are very fond of Mr. Destimauville, whom they 
have known many years, and to please them, he 
and his daughters joined in the dance. The 
young ladies borrowed the scarlet garments of the 
chiefs daughters, together with their hats and 
feathers ; and, having coloured their faces with a 
tinge of vermilion, shuffled away with a great 
deal of spirit in the ring of savages who formed 
the most motley group of human beings I ever 
beheld. The Misses Destimauvilles made exceed 
ing pretty squaws, and were much admired by the 
gentlemen present. 

The dancing had continued without interrup 
tion upwards of two hours, when we applied to 
the chief to take us across the river to Quebec, as 
we did not like to trust ourselves at that late hour 
with the other Indians, most of whom were in 
toxicated. He promised to take us over imme 
diately after lie had given the dancers some 


and accordingly brought a large tin kettle full out 
of his tent; then standing at the head of the ring, 
he handed a glass full to each Indian, v\ho drank 
it off, and moved round- without interrupting the 
dance. I noticed that very few of the squaws 
took it; and in justice to the men, I must say, 
that though apparently much inebriated, and 
dancing frequently in extravagant attitudes, yet 
nothing indelicate, or offensive to modesty, oc 
curred during the time I remained there. The 
dance probably continued till near da\-light ; for, 
if the caljbashman or any of the dancers are tired, 
they leave the ring, and their phices are supplied 
by others. 

As soon as the rum had been handed about, 
the chu j f put the remainder into his tent, and left 
his son to guard it till his return. He then lifted 
his bark canoe upon his head, and carried it to 
the water side; where having launched it, we all 
got in, and squatted down at the bottom. The 
night was extremely dark, and there were several 
ship^ lying off the town, which with the strong 
tide that always sets in there renders the passage 
frequently very dangerous; but our skilful chief 
carried us into the Cul de Sac without meeting 
with the least obstruction. Indeed little danger 
is to be apprehended from the Indians in the 
management of their canoes, when they are sober, 
so extremely dexterous are they even in the 


roughest weather, when their light and fragile 
bark floats like a cork upon the surface of the 
water. It requires, however, that the passengers 
should squat down, and move neither to the 
right nor the left, otherwise they will be assuredly 
upset. . 

Before the conquest of Canada by the English, ; 
the French had made considerable progress in j 
civilizing the Indians, of whom there were up 
wards of 16,000 in the province. At the con 
clusion of the war their numbers were reduced 
to 7,400 ; since which, they have continued to 
diminish, and at the present day the number of 
domiciliated Indians in Lower Canada does not 
exceed 2,OOO. The rest of the Indian tribes within 
the boundaries of Christian population in British 
America retain but a small glimpse of the religion 
which the Jesuit missionaries took such pains to 
implant in them : the attention which is at pre 
sent paid them by the British government, and 
the annual presents that are distributed, are 
merely for the purpose of preserving their friend 
ship, and not for improving either their moral or 
political condition. The United States, on the 
contrary, have passed several laws, empowering 
the president to promote civilization among the 
Indians by distributing useful domestic animals, 
implements of husbandry, money, and goods, as 
he should think proper ; and to prevent or re- 


strain at pleasure the vending and distributing of 
spirituous liquors among all or any of the Indian 
tribes. An ordinance similar to this was passed 
by the governor arid council of Quebec in 1777* 
but was never properly acted upon, and is now 
totally neglected. 

Mr. Jefferson, indeed, seems to have paid par 
ticular attention, during his administration, to 
cultivate the esteem and affection of the Indian 
nations on the borders of the United States ; and 
he has been successful both in improving their 
condition and gaining their friendship. The 
philosophical spirit of the president, and of the 
leading men in the government, is no doubt well 
adapted to such pursuits ; and we find that they 
have rendered their talents subservient to the 
public interest. Within the last four or five years 
they have pushed their discoveries through the 
interior of the North American continent to the 
shores of the Pacific Ocean, and have explored 
that immense tract at the back of their territory, 
which appears likely to belong to them by the 
purchase of Louisiana ; for at present the boun 
daries are not definitively settled. The example 
of Sir 4-lexander M Kenzie most probably stimu 
lated them to such an undertaking, though his 
travels have not afforded much additional infor 
mation to the stock we before possessed. They 
\vere undertaken more for mercantile than philp-, 


sophical views, yet are highly meritorious, as 
the exertions of an individual unaided by govern 

The discoveries of Captains Lewis and Clark 
up the Missouri have but very lately been pub-r 
lished by those gentlemen. The other accounts 
are by individuals employed in that expedition, 
whose information with regard to the inhabitants, 
natural history, Sec. must necessarily be very im 
perfect. Some letters from Captain Lewis and 
Messrs. Sibly and Dunbar, at the commencement 
of the journey, were laid before Congress, and 
have been since printed : they contain many in 
teresting particulars of the Indian tribes in Loui 
siana, some of which are numerous, and others 
consisting of only eight or ten persons. Many 
have totally diasppeared within the last fifty years, 
leaving behind them no other vestige of their 
having existed than their name, which is possibly 
preserved by a river, or the tract of land which 
they occupied. This great dt- population of the 
Indian nations is common in many parts of the 
American continent, more especially among those 
who have intercourse with the European settle 
ments, from whence they procure spirituous 
liquors, or catch a variety of diseases, of which 
the small-pox has proved the most fatal. Many 
nations have been totally exterminated by that 
disease alone ; and when I was in Canada in the 


spring of 1808, a village of Mississagas, residing 
near Kingston in the Upper Province, was. nearly 
depopulated by the small-pox ; not more than 
twenty escaped out of five hundred. The cow- 
pox has been but partially introduced, and very 
few of the Indians have been inoculated with it. 
It is rather singular, that such an admirable pre 
ventive of the variolous disease should have been 
so much neglected in America, where the latter 
commits such dreadful ravages. 

The more remote tribes appear also to decrease 
very rapidly: their irregular mode of living, in 
which they will sometimes fast for days, and 
afterwards eat enormouslv ; their constant ex 
posure to all the vicissitudes of the climate, and 
the barbarous practice of destroying a considerable 
portion of their offspring by abortion or taking 
away the lives of such as are sickly and deformed, 
must tend greatly to the decrease of their popu 
lation. Their passion for the females is also of 
that cool, phlegmatic temperament, that their 
wives do not often labour under " the pleasing 
punishment that women bear" and the laborious 
lives which most of them lead are also but little 
calculated to promote the tender passion. The 
men and women of some of the tribes have a 
singular method of administering relief to each 
other when indisposed, as will appear by the 
following anecdote, extracted from a manuscript 


journal of travels across the rocky mountains of 
the North-west, in 1801. 

c June 1 1 th, our guide, a Cree, whose spirits 
had visibly begun to droop ever since we entered 
the defiles of the mountains, was last night pre 
sented by Mr. with some rum, to keep 

him hearty in the cause: upon this he made shift 
to get drunk with his wife. This morning he 
complained that his head and stomach were out 
of order, and asked for a little medicine; which 
was given him : but finding it did him neither 
good nor harm, he called his wife to him, where 
he was sitting amidst us at a large fire we had 
made to warm ourselves. She readily came : he 
a*ked her if she had a sharp flint ; and upon her 
replying she had not, he broke one, and made a 
lancet of it, with which he opened a vein in his 
wife s arm, she assisting him with great good-will. 
Having drawn about a pint of blood from her, in 
a wooden bowl, to our astonishment he applied 
it to his mouth quite warm, and drank it off; 
then he mixed the blood that adhered to the 
vessel with water, by way of cleansing the bowl, 
and also drank that off. While I was considering 
the savageness of this action, one of our men, 
with indignation, exclaimed to our guide : " I 
have eaten and smoked with thee, but hencefor 
ward thou and I shall not smoke and eat together. 
What, drink warm from the vein the blood of thy 


wife ! " " Oh, my friend," said the Indian, " have 
I done wrong ? When I find my stomach out of 
order> the warm blood of my wife, in good health, 
refreshes the whole of my body, and puts me to 
rights : in return, when she is not well, I draw 
blood from my arm : she drinks it, and it gives 
her life ; all our nation do the same, and they all 
know it to be a good medicine." 

About twenty years ago., the number of war 
riors, or fighting men belonging to all the North 
American tribes hitherto discovered, was calcu 
lated at 6o,OOO, and the total number of souls at 
500,000. Since then many of those nations have 
decreased, and others have been totally annihi 
lated. As the European inhabitants of America 
augment, the original natives diminish, and in 
the course of time, they will most probably be 
come extinct. The Indian warrior will then be, 
known only in name, or be faintly traced in the 
diluted blood of his civilized posterity. This an 
nihilation of the native Indians will be brought 
about more by their precarious mode of living, 
the extravagant use of strong liquors, and disease, 
than by civilization or intermarriage with the 
Europeans ; though the settling of the latter 
among them must ever be considered as the sole 
cause of their present diminution and ultimate 

Except in the Jesuit settlement of Paraguay, 


little progress has been made in their conversion 
either from paganism or barbarism. Of the na 
ture of that settlement little more is known, than 
that it consisted of an immense population yield* 
ing obedience to the Jesuits, who erected a com 
monwealth among the Indians, and trained them 
to agriculture, commerce, and the arts. In North 
America the European governments have been 
less successful ; a few tribes only have of late years 
been brought to forsake their erratic and preca 
rious life, for the more certain and domestic one of 
agriculture. These people live chiefly in the ter 
ritory of the United States, whose government 
has been indefatigable in its endeavours to make 
them men as well as Christians. 

In the British settlements of Upper and Lower 
Canada, less attention seems to h^e been paid to 
their civilization and conversion, than to maintain 
their friendship and alliance for political pur 
poses. Large sums are yearly expended in pre 
sents, which the Indians receive more as their 
right than as a favour. They are well aware that 
the government gives them those things only to 
secure their services in case of war with the 
United States; they therefore consider themselves 
under no obligation, but look upon the presents 
as a retaining fee, which, like that given to a 
counsellor, is to keep them on the side of the 
donor incase of necessity; and whenever the gift 


falls short of their expectations, they exhibit their 
dissatisfaction in an unequivocal manner. They 
will often assume a threatening tone upon those oc 
casions ; which proves the precarious tenure upon 
\vhirh their adherence to us is founded, and how 
little reliance can be placed on them, in the event 
of hostilities between England and the United 

It would be therefore more to the interest of 
the British provinces, were the government to 
follow the judicious and liberal policy of the 
United States ; which, by civilizing and convert 
ing the Indians, and establishing them in well- 
organized settlements, meliorates their condition, 
and attaches them more closely to the interest of 
the country in which they reside. They would 
thus become settled and domesticated ; and by 
attending to agricultural pursuits, under proper 
instructors, they would procure the comforts of 
life, and realize property, which they would not 
afterwards be willing to quit for a precarious 
existence in the woods, or ruinous and destructive 
warfare. If they ever did take up the tomahawk, 
it would be to defend their property, and not for 
the purpose of procuring scalps. 

It may be said, that there are already several 
dorniciliated villages of Indians in Upper and 
Lower Canada ; but that they still prefer their 
wild and roving life ; and, except when they 


return from the chase to sell their furs, few of 
them ever inhabit their dwellings. This is cer 
tainly true ; but the proper steps have never been 
taken to create in those savages a domestic spirit. 
The French government, it must be confessed, 
was more successful in its attempts than the 
British has been. The Jesuit missionaries were, 
as in South America, possessed of all the zeal and 
ability necessary for accomplishing so important 
an object, and at the period of the conquest had 
made considerable progress in collecting together 
several tribes, and converting them to Christianity. 
From the exertions they displayed in this poli 
tical as well as religious object of the French 
government, it may be inferred they would have 
proceeded with equal talents, and allowing for the 
difference of views, perhaps with as much success, 
as their brethren in Paraguay, had not a long and 
destructive warfare, succeeded by the loss of the 
colony, disappointed their hopes and expectations. 

The Jesuits, whose order, as it then existed 
under the regulation of the British government, 
was to cease with the life of the last of that body, 
naturally lost their enthusiasm in the cause of a 
government which had determined upon their 
annihilation, and consequently neglected the im 
portant objects that had before occupied their 
attention. From that period, the domiciliated 
Indians, whose number had been lessened more 


than one half by the war, were little thought of. 
It was conceived to be enough, if their souls were 
saved by a Roman Catholic priest, and their 
nakednrss covered by a few Protestant blankets* 
Their political, civil, and moral condition, their 
manners, customs, habits, and disposition, were 
left to their own care and management. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that at the conclusion of the 
xvar, instead of returning to their agricultural and 
domestic pursuits, they launched out again into 
their former erratic and savage life. Their chil 
dren, whose education was consequently neglected, 
followed the footsteps of their parents, and fell 
into the same barbarous vices and debauchery. 

In this degenerated state we find all the inha 
bitants of the Indian villages in Lower Canada 
at the present day. Instead of following agricul 
ture, commerce, and the arts, they roam the 
woods in search of a precarious subsistence. The 
flesh of the animals which they kill in the chase 
serves them for food, and the skins to procure 
rum. They visit the villages, and the adjacent 
towns, for no other purpose than to dispose of 
their furs, and get drunk with their favourite 
beverage. At those periods they will perhaps 
attend with their families at chapel, dressed in 
their best clothes, on Sundays ; when they will 
kneel, cross themselves, and sing hymns in the 
Indian language, with apparent devotion; but the 


rest of the week they give themselves up to savage 
amusements, to indolence, and inebriation. They 
may then he seen in groups, rambling through the 
streets half naked, and in a continual state of 
drunkenness ; exhibiting an emaciated, wretched, 
and forlorn appearance, equally disgraceful to 
civilized society, and the government under 
which they live. They are a living reproach to 
the European inhabitants, who, in taking pos 
session of their country, have introduced among 
them disease, vice, and wretchedness, instead of 
Christian virtue, civilization, and happiness : and 
were it not for the inscrutable measures of Divine 
Providence, in which good often arises out of evil, 
the discovery of America might be deplored, as a 
circumstance that had entailed upon the inhabi 
tants, both of the old and new hemispheres, more 
misfortunes than blessings. 

VOL, i. 2 c 



Face of Lower Canada Mountain of Quebec 
Black Lime Slate Minerals Mineral Springs 
Rock Stones Remarkable Earthquake of 
1663 Particulars translated from the French 
Jesuits Journal Dreadful Night Sickness and 
Giddiness of the Head Wreck of Nature 
Forests overturned Springs choked up Rivers 
lost Violent Shocks Mountains swallowed up 
General Devastation New Lakes and Islands 
Three extraordinary Circumstances Won 
derful Preservation Extraordinary Protection 
of Divine Providence Natural Curiosities 
Falls of Saguenay Montmorency and Chaudiere 
An Excursion up the River Through the 
Woods Melancholy Accident Anecdote of two 
young Ladies Arrival at the Falls of Chaudiere 
The Cataract Return to Quebec Rapids of 
Richlieu Cascades Rapids of the Cedars. 

THE face of Lower Canada is remarkably bold 
and striking. The noble river St. Lawrence, 
flowing more than 400 miles between high lands 
and lofty mountains, sometimes divided into 
channels by large islands, and at other times inter* 


seated by clusters of small ones; numerous rapid 
streams rolling from the neighbouring mountains, 
breaking over steep precipices,, and mingling their 
waters with the grand river ; its bold and rugged 
shores, lofty eminences, and sloping valleys, co 
vered with the umbrageous foliage of immense 
forests, or interspersed with the cultivated settle 
ments of the inhabitants, present altogether to the 
eye of the spectator a succession of the most 
sublime and picturesque objects that imagination 
can conceive. 

Beyond the Rapids of Richlieu, which are si 
tuated about 40O miles from the entrance of the 
St. Lawrence, the country assumes a more level 
aspect: the mountains retire to the north and 
south as far as the eye can reach, leaving all that 
part of Canada extending to the south-west and 
north-east an almost interminable flat. Frozen 
oceans, gulfs, and bays ; immense lakes and wil 
dernesses, diversified at times by chains of enor 
mous mountains, constitute the features of the re 
maining part of the British settlements in North 
America, which extend from the coast of Labra 
dor to the sea of Kamtschatka and the Pacific 
Ocean ; and to the northward, beyond the Arctic 

The mountain on which Quebec is built, and 
the high lands for several miles along the St. 
Lawrence, consist chiefly of black lime slate. A 
2 c 2 


few mountains in the neighbourhood are com 
posed of a gray stone ; but they for the most 
part stand on a bed of lime slate. About a yard 
from the surface, this slate is quite compact, and 
without any cracks, so that one cannot perceive 
it is a slate, its laminae being imperceptible. It 
lies in strata, which vary from three or four to 
twenty inches thick and upwards. In Quebec 
the strata lie in some parts diagonally,, in others 
almost perpendicular, but none horizontally; and 
bear every mark of having been violently agitated 
by some convulsion of nature, which must have 
shaken the mountain to its very foundation. 
Whether or not it lost its horrizontal direction by 
the earthquake of 1663, I have never been able to 

In the unpaved streets of Quebec this slaty 
stone strikes out in corners at the surface, and 
injures the shoes extremely. The narrow crevices 
between the shivers, which are very thin, are 
commonly filled with a fibrous white gypsum : 
the larger cracks are, in particular parts of the 
rock, filled up with the transparent quartz crys 
tals which I have before mentioned. The largest 
I have met with were about two inches in length, 
and three or four in circumference ; but, in ge 
neral, they are extremely small, and many resem 
ble well cut polished diamonds. A sort of black 
or gray spar is also frequently met wijth-in the 


rock. Most of the old houses are built of the 
lime slate ; but it shivers into thin pieces on the 
outside, after being exposed to the air for some 
time: the masons, however, have a particular 
manner of placing the pieces of stone, which 
prevents them from cracking, except a little on 
the outside. The new public buildings, fortifi 
cations, and many of the private houses belong 
ing to the gentry at Quebec, have of late years 
been built with the gray stone, which has a light 
and handsome appearance, and is of a more du 
rable nature. 

The mountains and high lands in the vicinity 
of Quebec, and for many miles below, consist of 
different species of the lime slate, and of the gray 
rock or limestone, more or less impregnated with 
gray and black glimmer and quartz, fibrous 
gypsum, and pierre au calumet. The latter has 
received its name from the French, who, as well 
as the Indians, frequently use it for the heads of 
their calumets or tobacco pipes. It is a lime 
stone of rather a soft though compact texture, and 
may be cut with a knife. 

Iron, copper, and lead ore are found in dif 
ferent parts of Lower Canada, though not to any 
very great extent. Iron is most abundant, and 
has been discovered chiefly on the north side of 
the St. Lawrence, about Batiscan and Three Rivers. 
It was formerly believed that a silver mine existed 


near St. Paul s Bay, about 54 miles below Quebec, 
on the north shore, several pieces of ore having 
been discovered, which resembled that metal : it 
has since been found to consist only of lead, which 
lies in veins in a mountain of gray stone. 

No very important discoveries have hitherto 
been made in the mineral world of Lower Canada ; 
though in that, as well as in every other branch 
of natural history, there is sufficient, in that 
country, to occupy the attention of the philoso 
pher. Some mineral springs have been discovered 
in different parts of the province : one or two 
were found in the neighbourhood of Three Rivers, 
but are now either lost or remain unnoticed. 
Another was discovered in the suburb of St. John, 
just without the walls of Quebec : this has been 
kept open for several years, arid belongs to an old 
French woman, who has a small house adjoining 
it. Many of the gentry, I understand, walk out 
to this house in the summer about six o clock in 
the morning, and drink the waters, which are 
reckoned extremely salubrious : they are almost 
tasteless, but have a very unpleasant sulphureous 

Several excellent springs of fresh water gush 
out of various parts of the rock. The inhabitants, 
however, chiefly use the river water, though it 
is not reckoned very healthful in winter. I do 
not recollect seeing a pump at Quebec, nor of 


hearing that there is one in the town ; yet wells 
might be easily dug in the rock, and water might 
be obtained in many places for the use of the 
people, where it now runs to waste. The water 
is conveyed in barrels from the river to all parts 
of the Upper and Lower towns by the carters/ 
who charge sixpence or eightpence per barrel ac 
cording to the distance. 

In different parts of the country, and parti 
cularly the vicinity of Quebec, are to be found 
stones of various shapes and sizes lying scattered 
in the fields, meadows, and plains. Some of 
them measure nine or ten feet in circumference, 
and from three to four feet high ; but I have met 
with many considerably larger. They are mostly 
of a gray colour, round shaped, and of a very 
close and hard substance, impregnated with black, 
red, and white glimmer and spar. They lie upon 
the soil, having no connexion with any rock or 
bed of stone ; and a person cannot view them 
without asking himself the question, How, and in 
what manner, came such large masses of stone 
there ? It was upon one of these stones that 
General Wolfe is said to have breathed his 

The earthquake of 1 663 was one of the most 
remarkable phenomena that has happened in 
North America, or perhaps any part of the 
globe, within the memory of man. It continued 


upwards of six months, with more or less violence, 
during which period it overturned a chain of free 
stone mountains in Upper Canada of more than 
; 30O miles in length, and levelled it with the 
plain. In Lower Canada it caused several rivers 
to change their course; and the mountains in 
the vicinity, and for several miles below Quebec, 
were split and rent in a most extraordinary 
manner ; several were overturned, or swallowed 
up, and some were even lifted from their foun 
dations and plunged into the rivers, where they 
afterwards became islands. To the northward of 
Quebec there is a mountain which has every ap 
pearance of having been a volcano. Its summit 
is covered with seven or eight inches of mossy 
substance, under which are stones consisting prin 
cipally of granite impregnated with iron ore, and 
blackened by the effects of fire. The stones 
which are most burnt do. not lie at the summit, 
but at a certain depth, and there arises a warm 
vapour from the spot, sufficient to melt the snow 
as it falls. It is singular that no crater has been 
hitherto discovered, though, from the appearance 
of the stones, there is no doubt of one having for 
merly existed : it was, most probably, filled up or 
totally destroyed by the earthquake. 

As the particulars of that remarkable event are 
little known, and have never yet, I believe, been 
published in the English language, I have made a 


translation from the journal of the French Jesuits 
of Quebec, an extract of which I procured in that 
city. The account was written soon after the 
earthquake had ceased, and is remarkable for the 
antiquity of its language and orthography. The 
effects of that unprecedented event are described 
in rather glowing colours, as might naturally be 
expected from the people who witnessed them, 
and whose imaginations were yet heated with 
such dreadful scenes, and the alarming sensations 
they must have produced. But there does not 
appear to be any exaggeration of the facts, which 
are strongly corroborated by the appearance of 
the mountains and rivers at the present day. 

c It was on the 5th of February, 1663, about 
half-past five o clock in the evening, that a great 
rushing noise was heard throughout the whole 
extent of Canada. This noise caused the people 
to run out of their houses into the streets, as if 
their habitations had been on fire ; but instead 
of flames and smoke, they were surprised to see 
the walls reeling backwards and forwards, and the 
stones moving as if they had been detached from 
each other. The bells sounded by the repeated 
shocks. The roofs of the buildings bent down, 
first on one side, and then on the other. The 
timbers, rafters, and planks cracked. The earth 



trembled violently, and caused the stakes of the 
palisades and palings to dance, in a manner that 
would have been incredible had we not actually 
seen it in several places. 

* It was at this moment that every one ran out 
of doors. Then were to be seen animals flying 
in all directions ; children crying and screaming 
in the streets ; men and women, seized with 
affright, stood horror struck with the dreadful 
scene before them, unable to move, and ignorant 
where to fly for refuge from the tottering walls 
and trembling earth, which threatened every in 
stant to crush them to death, or sink them into a 
profound and immeasurable abyss. 

( Some threw themselves on their knees in the 
snow, crossing their breasts, and calling upon their 
saints to relieve them from the dangers with which 
they were surrounded. Others passed the rest of 
this dreadful night in prayer ; for the earthquake 
ceased not, but continued at short intervals with 
a certain undulating impulse resembling the 
waves of the ocean ; and the same qualmish sen 
sation, or sickness at the stomach, was felt during 
the shocks as is experienced in a vessel at sea. 

6 The violence of the earthquake was greatest 
in the forests, where it appeared as if there was a 
battle raging between the trees ; for not only their 
branches were destroyed, but even their trunks 
are said to have been detached from their places, 


and dashed against each other with inconceivable 
violence and confusion ; so much so, that the In 
dians, in their figurative manner of speaking, 
declared that all the forests were drunk. 

6 The war also seemed to be carried on between 
the mountains ; some of which were torn from 
their beds, and thrown upon others, leaving im 
mense chasms in the places from whence they 
had issued, and the very trees with which they 
were covered sunk down, leaving only their tops 
above the surface of the earth : others were com 
pletely overturned, their branches buried in the 
earth, and the roots only remained above ground. 

f During this general wreck of nature, the ice, 
upwards of six feet thick, was rent and thrown 
up in large pieces ; and from the openings in 
many parts there issued thick clouds of smoke, 
or fountains of dirt and sand, which spouted up 
to a very considerable height. The springs were 
either choked up, or impregnated with sulphur. 
Many rivers were totally lost ; others were di 
verted from their course, and their waters entirely 
corrupted. Some of them became yellow, others 
red, and the great river of St. Lawrence appeared 
entirely white, as far down as Tadoussac. This 
extraordinary phaenomenon must astonish those 
who know the size of the river, and the immense 
body of water in various parts, which must have 
required such an abundance of matter to whiten it. 



They write from Montreal, that during the 
earthquake they plainly saw the stakes of the 
picketing, or palisades, jump up, as if they had 
been dancing ; that of two doors in the same 
room, one opened and the other shut of their 
own accord ; that the chimneys and tops of the 
houses bent like the branches of trees agitated by 
the wind ; that when they went to walk, they 
felt the earth following them, and rising at every 
step they took ; sometimes striking against the 
sole of the foot and other things, in a very forcible 
and surprising manner. 

From Three Rivers they write, that the first 
shock was the most violent, and commenced with 
a noise resembling thunder. The houses were 
agitated in the same manner as the tops of trees 
during a tempest, with a noise as if fire was 
crackling in the garrets. 

The first shock lasted half an hour, or rather 
better, though its greatest force was properly not 
more than a quarter of an hour ; and we believe 
there was not a single shock which did not cause 
the earth to open more or less. As for the rest, 
we have remarked, that though this earthquake 
continued almost without intermission, yet it was 
not always of an equal violence. Sometimes it 
was like the pitching of a large vessel which 
dragged heavily at her anchors ; and it was this 
motion which occasioned many to have a giddi- 


ness in their heads, and qualmishness at their I 
stomachs. At other times the motion was hur 
ried and irregular, creating sudden jerks, some of 
which were extremely violent ; but the most com 
mon was a slight tremulous motion, which occurred 
frequently, with little noise. 

Many of the French inhabitants and Indians, 
who were eye witnesses to the scene, state, that a 
great way up the river of < Trois Rivieres, about 
eighteen miles below Quebec, the hills which 
bordered the river on either side, and which were 
of a prodigious height, were torn from their foun 
dations, and plunged into the river, causing it to 
change its course, and spread itself over a large 
tract of land recently cleared : the broken earth 
mixed with the waters, and for several months 
changed the colour of the great river St. Law 
rence, into which that of Trois Rivieres disem 
bogued itself. 

In the course of this violent convulsion of 
nature, lakes appeared where none ever existed 
before ; mountains were overthrown, swallowed 
up by the gaping earth, or precipitated into adja 
cent rivers, leaving in their place frightful chasms 
or level plains. Falls and rapids were changed 
into gentle streams, and gentle streams into falls 
and rapids. Rivers in many parts of the country 
sought other beds, or totally disappeared. The 
earth and the mountains were violently split and 


rent in inumerable places, creating chasms and 
precipices whose depths have never yet been as 
certained. Such devastation was also occasioned 
in the woods, that more than a thousand acres in 
our neighbourhood were completely overturned ; 
and where, but a short time before, nothing met 
the eye but one immense forest of trees, now were 
to be seen extensive cleared lands apparently just 
turned up by the plough. 

At Tadoussac (about 150 miles below Que 
bec on the north shore) the effect of the earth 
quake was not less violent than in other places ; 
and such a heavy shower of volcanic ashes fell in 
that neighbourhood, particularly in the River St. 
Lawrence, that the waters were as violently agi 
tated as during a tempest. 

Near St. Paul s Bay (about 50 miles below 
Quebec, on the north shore) a mountain about a 
quarter of a league in circumference, situated on 
the shore of the St. Lawrence, was precipitated 
into the river : but, as if it had only made a 
plunge, it rose from the bottom, and became a 
small island, forming, with the shore, a conve 
nient harbour well sheltered from all winds. 
Lower down the river, towards Point Alloiiettes, 
an entire forest of considerable extent was loosened 
from the main land, and slid into the river St. 
Lawrence, where the trees took fresh root in the 


There are three circumstances, however, which 
have rendered this extraordinary earthquake par 
ticularly remarkable. The first is its duration^ 
it having continued from February to August, 
that is to say, more than six months almost without 
intermission ! It is true, the shocks were not al 
ways equally violent. In several places, as towards 
the mountains behind Quebec, the thundering 
noise and trembling motion continued successively 
for a considerable time. In others, as towards 
Tadoussac, the shocks continued generally for two 
or three days at a time with much violence. 

( The second circumstance relates to the extent 
of this earthquake, which we believe was univer 
sal throughout the whole of New France, for we 
learn that it was felt from L Isle Percee and Gaspe, 
which are situated at the mouth of the St. Law 
rence, to beyond Montreal *, as also in New 
England, Acadia, and other places more remote. 
As far as it has come *to our knowledge, this 
earthquake extended more than 600 miles in 
length and about 300 in breadth. Hence, 
180,000 square miles of land were convulsed on 
the same day, and at the same moment. 

The third circumstance (which appears the 

* It appears from this, that the Jesuits at Quebec had not 
then received any account of the devastation which the earth 
quake had committed in Upper Canada, and of course were 
unacquainted with its real extent. 



most remarkable of all) regards the extraordinary 
protection of Divine Providence, which has been 
extended to us, and our habitations ; for we have 
seen near us the large openings and chasms which 
the earthquake occasioned, and the prodigious 
extent of country which has been either totally 
lost or hideously convulsed, without our losing 
either man, woman, or child, or even having a hair 
of their head touched? 

Few natural curiosities are to be found in 
Lower Canada, except rapids, cascades, and falls. 
Among the latter, those of Saguenay, Montmo- 
rency, and Chaudiere are the chief. The river 
Saguenay is situated about the entrance of the 
St. Lawrence on the north shore, and the falls are 
about QO miles up the river. They are 50 feet 
high, and remarkable for the immense sheet of 
water which breaks over the rocks, and preci 
pitates itself with amazing velocity into the River 
St. Lawrence, where it causes a strong eddy or 
current that frequently carries a vessel out of its 

The fall of Montmorency, which is situated 
about eight miles to the north-east of Quebec, 
derives its elegant and majestic appearance more 
from its height than from the body of water that 
flows over the precipice. According to the most 
accurate computation, it is 25O feet high and SO 
feet wide. Its breadth js, however, increased or 


diminished, according to the quantity of water 
supplied by the river, which is a narrow stream 
and in many parts extremely shallow. In spring 
and autumn, when the melting of the snow, or 
much rain, swells the current, the fall is increased, 
and is seen at those periods to great advantage. In 
winter but a small portion of the fall is visible, in 
consequence of the cones of ice which are formed 
by the rising spray, and intercept the view, nearly 
half way up. 

The river Montmorency falls between a large 
cleft in the mountain, which appears to have been 
formed by the shock of an earthquake. The 
waters thus precipitate themselves into a kind of 
basin, upwards of 30O yards wide, many parts of 
which are fordable towards the entrance at low 
water ; but under the fall there is an immense 
chasm. The mountain consists of the black lime 
slate, which as it becomes exposed to the air con 
tinually moulders away. Near the summit of the 
falls, the banks of the cleft are ornamented with 
a variety of shrubs, fir-trees, and other evergreens, 
whose dark foliage forms an agreeable contrast to 
the snowy whiteness of the fall, and gives to the 
tout ensemble a pleasing and romantic appearance. 
The fall of Montmorency has, however, more of 
the elegant and beautiful in it, than of the "awfully 
grand, or wonderfully sublime." 

While I remained at Quebec, I took the op- 
VOL. i, 2 D 


portunity of visiting the falls of Chaudiere, which 
in my opinion are far superior to that of Mont- 
morency. They are situated about nine miles 
above Quebec on the opposite shore, and about 
three or four miles back from the river St. Law 
rence, into which the river Chaudiere disembogues 
itself. The excursion to Chaudiere was accom 
panied with much more difficulty than that .to 
Montmorency, being obliged to penetrate upwards 
of five miles through a thick wood, in which the 
path was not discernible without a guide. 

Accompanied by Mr. Hawdon, the present 
storekeeper-general of the Indian department, 
and Lieutenant Burke of the 100th regiment, 
I left Quebec, one fine morning in the month of 
August, 1807, in a birch canoe, conducted by 
two Indians from the opposite camp. We had 
applied to our friend the chief for his services ; 
but he being busily engaged in the camp, he re 
commended two young Indians of the Mickmack 
tribe, who were brothers, as very steady sober 
characters : we hired them, and had no reason to 
repent it, for they behaved extremely well, and 
during the whole day would drink nothing but 
water. The eldest, who was not more than 25, 
declared his abhorrence of all spirituous liquors, 
and assured us, that neither he nor his brother 
ever accustomed themselves to take any. By 
this I perceived they had adopted the excellent 


example of their chief; and I mention this trait 
in the Indian character as a very great novelty ; 
so extremely rare is it to meet with any who do 
not give themselves up to inebriation. The eldest 
Indian spoke English remarkably well. He re 
sided, he said, near St. John s in New Brunswick, 
and passed the greatest part of his time in that 
town. He seemed to be possessed of as much 
modesty as sobriety ; for our friend Burke, having 
joked him rather freely about lying in the same 
tent with the young squaws, he became very 
serious, and told him that it was not good to talk 
of such things. The manner in which we sat in 
the canoe was curious enough to an European 
accustomed to boats with good seats in them. 
The youngest Indian knelt down at the head of 
the canoe, and paddled either on the right or left, 
as the current required. Mr. Hawdon sat next 
at the bottom, with his legs extended. I sat as 
close to him as possible, with my legs on each 
side of him ; and Lieutenant Burke behind me, 
with his legs extended on my sides. The other 
Indian knelt down in the stern of the canoe, and 
with his paddle steered or impelled it forward. 

Having arrived at a small bay, into which the 
river Chaudiere empties itself, and mingles its 
waters with those of the St. Lawrence, we disem 
barked, hauled the canoe upon the beach, and 
proceeded up a steep cliff that led to the house 


of the guide, which was situated about a mile in 
the wood. This part of the country is but thinly 
settled by the Canadians ; and from the rough 
state of their farms, and the half-cleared lands 
adjoining, it has a wild romantic appearance* 

We found the guide at home ; and followed by 
our two Indians, who were also desirous of seeing 
the falls, we entered a very narrow path in a 
thick wood composed of almost every species and 
variety of trees and shrubs. The season of the 
year was well adapted for our excursion, as the 
musquito, sand-flies, and other disagreeable in 
sects, had all disappeared ; the cold mornings 
and evenings having palsied their limbs, and 
driven them into their retreats. The plums, 
blackberries, raspberries, and other wild fruit, 
though nearly on the decline, were yet in consi 
derable abundance, and often tempted some of 
our party to stop and gather them. Fortunately, 
none of us ever lost sight of our guide, or the 
consequences might have been fatal. 

A melancholy instance of this occurred a few 
years ago, in which the captain of a ship, who 
had accompanied a party to see the falls, was 
lost in the woods on his return home, and 
perished! It is supposed that he had stopped 
behind to gather fruit, by which means he lost 
sight of the rest of the company, who had gone 
on before with the guide. As soon as they 


missed him, they shouted and hollaed as loud 
as they could, but to no purpose ; they then turned 
back a considerable way, but could neither see 
nor hear any thing of him. The next day parties 
of Indians were dispatched in all directions, but 
they returned with as little success ; and it was 
not till some months afterwards that his skeleton 
was found, by which it appeared that he had wan 
dered a mile or two from the right path, which is 
so extremely narrow as to admit only one per 
son to walk along at a time, and therefore easily 

It is a dangerous experiment to wander care 
lessly in the woods in Canada without a guide, or 
a sufficient acquaintance with the paths ; and in 
stances have occurred of people perishing even 
within a small distance of their own habitations. 
A few years ago two young ladies who were on 
a visit at the house of Mr. Nicholas Montour, 
formerly of the North-west Company, and who 
then resided at Point du Lac, near Three Rivers, 
strolled into the woods at the back of the house 
one morning after breakfast, for the purpose of re 
galing themselves with the stawberries and other 
fruit which grew abundantly there, and were then 
in great perfection. One of them had an amusing 
novel in her hand, which she read to the other ; 
and so interested were they with the story, and 
the scenery around them, that they never thought 


of returning to dinner. In this manner they 
strolled delightfully along, sometimes wrapt up 
in the charms of the novel., and at other times 
stopping to gather the fruit which lay luxuriantly 
scattered beneath their feet, or hung in clusters 
over their heads, when the declining sun at length 
warned them that it was late in the afternoon. 
They now began to think of returning ; but un 
fortunately they had wandered from the path, 
and knew not which way to go. The sun, which 
an hour before might have afforded them some 
assistance, was now obscured by the lofty trees of 
the forest ; and as the evening closed in, they found 
themselves yet more bewildered. 

In the most distracted state they wandered 
about among the shrubs and underwood of the 
forest, wringing their hands, and crying most 
bitterly at their melancholy situation. Their 
clothes were nearly torn off their backs; and 
their hair hung in a dishevelled manner upon their 
necks. In this wretched condition they wandered 
till nearly dark, when they came up to a small 
hut : their hearts beat high at the sight, but it 
was empty ! They were, however, glad to take 
refuge in it for the night, to shelter them from 
the heavy dews of the forest which were then 
falling. They collected a quantity of leaves, with 
which they made a bed, and lay down : but they 
could not sleep, and spent the night in unavailing 


tears and reproaches at their own carelessness. 
They however at times endeavoured to console 
each other with the hope that people would be 
dispatched by Mr. Montour in search of them. 
The next morning, therefore, they wisely kept 
within the hut, or went out only to gather fruit to 
satisfy the cravings of appetite. Towards the close 
of the day they heard the Indian yell in the woods, 
but were afraid to call out, or stir from the hut, 
not knowing whether they might be sent in search 
of them, or were a party of strange Indians into 
whose hands they did not like to trust them 

A second night was passed in the same forlorn 
state ; though, singular as it may appear, one of 
them became more composed, and, in some mea 
sure, even reconciled to her situation ; which, 
deplorable as it was, and uncertain when they 
might be relieved from it, she regarded as a ro 
mantic adventure, and the following morning, 
with great composure, staid in the hut and read 
her novel : the other, however, gave herself up 
to despair, and sat upon the bed of leaves, crying 
and bewailing her unhappy fate. In this state 
they were discovered about noon by a party of 
Indians,, who had been sent out after them, and 
whose yell had been heard by the young ladies 
the preceding evening. Their joy at being re 
lieved from such an alarming situation may be 


more easily conceived than described, and was 
only equalled by the pleasure which their return 
gave to Mr. Montour and his family, who had 
almost given them up as lost, having been absent 
nearly three days, and wandered several miles 
from the house. 

To return to our excursion : we proceeded 
through the forest as fast as the small shrubs and 
brushwood which obstructed the path would per 
mit ; and I often got some severe cuts in my face 
with the boughs that sprung back, as those be 
fore me pushed them aside. Sometimes when 
I thought I was stepping upon the substantial 
trunk of a large tree, that had fallen across the 
path, I have sunk knee deep in dust and rotten 
wood : at other times I was over my boots in a 
swamp or a rivulet, which we were often obliged 
to wade through. At length, after a fatiguing 
walk of an hour, we arrived at the falls, which 
I must confess amply repaid me for my trouble. 
The season had been dry, and there was less water 
in the river than usual ; but so far from lessening 
the beauty of the falls, they appeared to me to be 
exhibited to more advantage than when the vast 
fragments of rock, which now appeared in sight, 
were enveloped by a large body of water. 

The river is seen at a distance, emerging from 
a thick wood, and gradually expanding from an 
almost imperceptible stream, till it reaches the 


cataract, whose breadth is upwards of 360 feet. 
Here the disordered masses of rock, which appear 
to have been rent from their bed by some violent 
convulsion of nature, break the course of the 
waters, and precipitate them from a height of 
120 feet into an immense chasm below. In some 
parts large sheets of water roll over the precipice, 
and fall unbroken to the bottom ; while in other 
places the water dashes from one fragment of the 
rock to another, with wild impetuosity, bellowing 
and foaming with rage in every hollow and cavity 
that obstructs its progress : from thence it rushes 
-down with the rapidity of lightning into the boil 
ing surge beneath, where it rages with inconceiv 
able fury, till, driven from the gulf by fresh co 
lumns, it hurries away and loses itself in the 
waters of the St. Lawrence. 

The cataract of Chaudiere may be truly said to 
form a complete whole. The scenery which ac 
companies it is beautiful and romantic beyond 
description. In the centre a large fragment of 
rock, which first divides the water at the summit 
of the precipice, forms a sort of small island ; and 
a handsome fir-tree which grows upon it is thus 
placed in a most singular and picturesque situ 
ation. The forest on either side the river consists 
of firs, pines, birch, oak, ash, and a variety of other 
trees and shrubs intermingled in the most wild 
and romantic manner. Their dark green foliage, 


joined with the brown and sombre tint of the 
rocky fragments over which the water precipitates 
itself, forms a striking and pleasing contrast to the 
snowy whiteness of the foaming surge, and the 
columns of sparkling spray which rise in clouds 
and mingle with the air. 

The gratification on viewing this beautiful ca 
taract is considerably enhanced by the journey 
which the spectator is obliged to take through a 
wild and gloomy forest ; the toil of which is amply 
repaid when he emerges all at once from Cimme 
rian darkness into an expansive view of the falls 
and the light of heaven. It appears like a sudden 
enchantment, and the imagination is lost in the 
variety and grandeur of the scene. I could have 
contemplated it for hours ; but our time was short, 
and we wished to return to Quebec before dark. 
I quitted this beautiful and romantic spot with 
the greatest reluctance ; regretting that in all pro 
bability I should never see it again. 

We returned back with our guide ; and having 
launched the canoe, we embarked for Quebec, 
where we arrived about nine o clock, it being then 
nearly dark. 

There are some smaller cataracts in other parts 
of Lower Canada, but they do not merit any par 
ticular description. I regretted that no opportu 
nity offered, while I remained in America, of 
visiting the celebrated Falls of Niagara. Could 


I have staid in Canada last winter, my friend 
Hawdon promised to take me there in his cariole ; 
it would have been a journey of more than two 
hundred miles from Montreal, but the winter sea 
son is admirably adapted for expeditious travel 

The rapids of Richlieu are situated about forty- 
five miles from Quebec in the river St. Lawrence, 
and nearly half-way between that city and the 
town of Three Rivers. They are formed by a great 
number of sunken rocks and shallows, quite across 
the river, and two or three miles in length : at low 
water many of them are visible. The rapidity of 
the current, which always sets downwards at this 
place, is said to be at the rate of twelve or fifteen 
miles an hour. There is sufficient depth of water 
for the largest man of war ; but vessels can only 
stem the current in strong easterly winds. The 
tide flows up to these rapids, and rises nearly fifty 
miles above them, beyond the town of Three 
Rivers, notwithstanding the current always runs 
down as far as Richlieu. 

There are two smaller rapids near Montreal, 
one about, a mile and a half below the city, and 
the other about five miles above : the latter is 
called Sault de St. Louis, or the Fall of St. Louis ; 
but it is a mere rapid, similar to those of the 
Richlieu, except that the river at St. Louis is di 
vided into channels by two or three small islands ; 


which form, with the rapidity of the agitated 
stream, a very picturesque and beautiful view. 

The cascades, near the boundary line, between 
Upper and Lower Canada, are of a different de 
scription to the rapids of Richlieu, St. Louis, &c. 
and seem to present an almost insuperable bar to 
the navigation of the river between the two pro 
vinces : this obstacle is, however, in some measure 
removed by the construction of locks and canals 
on the western shore, through which the batteaux 
and small vessels pass. The cascades are about 
two miles in length, and are as violently agitated 
in the calmest weather, as the ocean is in a gale 
of wind. The waters appear as if they rushed 
into an immense gulf, and were boiled up again 
by some subterranean fire. Rafts of timber, and 
large scows laden with barrels of flour, pot- ash, 
and provisions, pass through these tremendous 
rapids every year with safety ; but smaller vessels 
cannot attempt it without imminent danger. 
About three miles above the cascades are the ra 
pids of the Cedars ; they are less violent than the 
former, but are infinitely more dangerous than the 
Richlieu and St. Louis ; yet the Canadians and 
Indians are so very expert in the management of 
their canoes and batteaux, that an accident very 
rarely happens in passing any of the rapids. 



Canadian Animals Anecdote of a young Man 
Animals of the Forest Amphibious Animals* 
Canadian Hare Birds Turkey Partridge 
Fish Reptiles - Snakes Bull Frog Ex 
cellent Fricassee of a Bull Frog Lizards Ter- 
rebins Insects Locusts Extraordinary De 
vastation Musqultoes Bees The Ephemera, 
or Day Fly Fire Fly Phosphorescent Light 
which it emits resembles distant Stars, or Sparks 
of Fire Delicate Formation Noxious Insects. 

THE forests of the British settlements in North 
America abound with a variety of animals; though 
in the neighbourhood of the settlements of Upper 
and Lower Canada the larger and more formidable 
species are seldom or never seen. The hunters 
have driven them into the remotest parts of the 

The animals of the ox kind are the buffalo, 
musk bull, and bison. The skin of the former is 
used by the Canadians for a winter covering, 
which they denominate a robe. Of the deer kind 
are the great stag, or round-horned elk. the black 
and gray moose^ the caribou or rein deer, the stag, 


fallow-deer, and cul-blanc. The moose deer, of 
which so much has been said and written, is merely 
a large species of the elk. Its name is derived from 
the Algonquin word Moosu, which signifies an elk. 
I was told that it had often been seen in the forests 
at the back of the village of Beqancour, opposite, 
Three Rivers. The people magnify the size of the 
animal beyond credibility ; but it very probably 
has made its appearance there, as that part of the 
country borders on the New England States, of 
which the moose deer is a native. 

The black and brown bears are found in various 
parts of America, but chiefly in the north-west. 
Some few are met with in the woods near the 
settlements of Lower Canada, to the northward 
of Quebec. A young man who arrived from 
England a few years ago, with an appointment in 
one of the public offices at Quebec, had been told 
that he would meet with bears running wild 
in the streets of that city, and was advised by his 
informant to take over with him a large cutlass 
for his defence. He complied with this friendly 
advice, and, on his arrival, hung the murderous 
weapon up in his apartment at the Merchants 
coffee-house where he resided for a few weeks ; 
till he found by the risible countenances of his 
new acquaintance, that his friend in England 
had completely hoaxed him. The bear is rather 
shy than fierce, and chooses for his lurking-place, 


instead of a cavern, the hollow rotten trunk of an 
old tree. There he fixes himself in winter as high 
as he can climb ; and, as he is very fat at the end 
of autumn, very well furnished with hair, takes no 
exercise, and is generally asleep, he can lose but 
little by perspiration, and consequently must sel 
dom have occasion to go abroad for food. He is 
frequently, however, forced from his retreat, by 
fire being set to it ; and, when he attempts to 
come down, he is assaulted by a shower of balls 
before he can reach the ground, or dispatched with 
a tomahawk. The Indians feed upon his flesh, 
rub themselves with his grease, and clothe them 
selves with his skin. The Polar or great white 
bear is seldom seen further south than New 
foundland. It inhabits only the coldest parts of 
the continent. 

The wolverine, or carcajou, is called by the 
hunters beaver-eater, and resembles the badger 
of Europe. The raccoon inhabits the temperate 
parts of the continent. Wolves and foxes, the 
latter in great variety, are found from Hudson s 
Bay to the most southern parts of North America. 
A species of porcupine, or urchin, is also found 
to the northward, and supplies the Indians with 
quills about four inches long, which they dye, and 
ornament their dresses with : the flesh is also 
reckoned as good eating as a pig. 

The animals of the cat kind consist of the 


cougar, or American lion, the catamount, the 
marguay or lynx, though it is more generally 
known by the name of the tiger cat ; thekircajou, 
beaver, otter, martin, swat or ermine, weasel, 
mink, fisher or pekin, the skunk or stinking pole 
cat, opossum, conepate, hare, &c. 

The other animals are the gray and red squir 
rels, garden and flying squirrels, the wood rat, 
mole, and musk rat, or musquash ; the common 
mouse and the shrew mouse. This last is remark 
ably small, and holds the same place among qua 
drupeds as the humming-bird does among the 
feathered race. They live in the woods, and are 
supposed to feed on grain and small insects. 

The amphibious animals are the walrus or sea 
horse, the sea-cow, the seal, and the otter, which 
are found more or less in the northern seas, and 
the gulf and river of St. Lawrence. 

Most of these animals are pursued by the 
Indians and North-west traders for the sake of 
th^ir skins ; and there is little doubt, from the im 
mense numbers that are annually destroyed, that 
many of the species will in the course of time 
become extinct. 

The hare in Canada, like the ermine, changes 
its colour. In summer it is a brownish gray, and 
in winter of a snowy white. At that season hares 
very much resemble rabbits, but their flesh is 
brown liktf the hares of Europe. The rabbit was 



never found wild in any part of America ; nor did 
I ever meet with a tame one in Canada ; but in 
the United States they are reared in great plenty, 
and sold at market. 

The birds of Canada are eagles, vultures, hawks, 
falcons, kites, owls, ravens, crows, rooks, jays, 
magpies, daws, cuckoos, woodpeckers, hoopers, 
creepers, and humming-birds; thrushes, black 
birds, linnets, finches, sparrows, fly- catchers, larks, 
wagtails, wrens, swallows, doves, pigeons, turkeys, 
grouse, ptarmigans, partridges, and quails. Among 
these, the humming-bird is the smallest and most 
curious ; it is often seen in Lower Canada during 
the summer, playing about among the flowers of 
the garden. It gathers the sweets from the blos 
som like the bee, and is continually fluttering 
upon the wing. Its plumage is extremely beau 
tiful, and resembles that of the peacock, being 
a compound of the most lovely tints. The body 
of this little creature, divested of its feathers, is not 
larger than a bee. The Canadians call it Toiseau 
mouche, or bird fly, and the species which visits 
that part of the country is said to be one of the 
smallest of the humming-bird genus. It generally 
lays five eggs, about the size of a small pea. It has 
a long beak, with which it is said to attack the 
crow when flying. It is a great enemy to that 
bird, into whose body it will dart its sharp beak 
and cause it to fall to the ground. 

VOL. i. 2 E 


A bird very much like the canary, both irr 
size and colour, is common in Canada. I have 
seen a great many in the vicinity of Montreal. 
They have a pretty effect in gardens, where they 
often build their nests and breed. They are 
known only by the name of the yellow bird, and 
have a pretty note, but their song is rather short. 

The turkey, of which there is only one species 
known, is a native of North America, but is mostly 
found in a domesticated state in Canada. It is a 
very hardy bird, and will roost upon trees in the 
severest weather. The Canadians take no parti 
cular pains in rearing them more than the rest of 
their poultry : great numbers are brought to mar 
ket, and the inhabitants generally lay in a suffi 
cient stock of them at the commencement of the 
winter to last them till spring. Their flesh is as 
fine eating as that of European turkeys. 

The Canadian partridge is larger than that of 
England, and much finer eating. The flesh is as 
white as a chicken, and more tender and delicate. 
Many people call them the pheasants of America, 
that bird being seldom seen so far to the north 
ward. There are several species of the partridge, 
but I have seen no other than the one I have de 

The water-fowls are in great abundance, and 
afford plenty of amusement to those who are fond 
of sporting. Among the principal are herons, 


cranes, bitterns, snipes, woodcocks, plovers, wild 
geese, ducks, widgeons, and teal ; a considerable 
number of these are brought to market by the In 
dians and Habitans. 

The fishes in the seas, gulfs, rivers, and lakes of 
Canada are innumerable ; they consist, indeed, 
of almost every species and variety at present 
known. Those brought to market I have noticed 
in a former chapter, they are mostly the fresh 
water fish ; and, considering the immense quan 
tities which might be procured with the greatest 
facility, it is surprising that so few are offered for 
sale. The salt-water fishery is carried on chiefly 
for the purpose of exportation, but no great quan 
tity is exported from Quebec. 

In Upper Canada the reptiles are numerous, 
and many of them dangerous ; but in Lower 
Canada they are confined to a few harmless spe 
cies, and even those but rarely met with in the 
cultivated parts of the country. The rattle-snake, 
so dangerous in Upper Canada, is unknown in the 
IxDwer Province ; nor is there indeed any other 
species of snake except of the smallest and most 
harmless description. The only one I saw in that 
country was about nine or ten inches long, very 
slender, and of a beautiful grass green. When 
attacked, it curled itself round upon its tail, and 
with its head erect, prepared to defend itself. It 
seemed so diminutive, and perfectly innocent, that 


I could not help regretting its being killed by a 
gentleman who happened to pass by. We found 
it lying on the grass, and the reason he gave for 
taking away its life was curious enough : he 
killed every snake he found, whether venomous 
or harmless, because it reminded him of the 
devil, who took that form to deceive our first 

The bull-frog is not so abundant in Lower Ca 
nada as in the warmer parts of North America. 
There is, however, a sufficient number of these 
noisy reptiles to disturb the peace of their neigh 
bours. The bellowing which they make may be 
heard at a very great distance, and their appear 
ance is as disgusting as their noise is troublesome. 
From their bulky size and short legs they re 
semble the toad much more than the common 
frog. How any person can find a stomach to 
cook and eat such unsightly creatures is to me 
astonishing, unless driven to it by actual starvation. 
I have never heard that the French Canadians ever 
eat them, or indeed any other kind of frog : but 
Mr. Janson, in his Stranger in America, men 
tions that he made an excellent fricassee of the 
hind-quarters of a bull-frog in the United States. 
He was forced to cook it himself, for the people 
of the house ran from it with disgust. The smaller 
species of frog is troublesome in marshy places, 
and their croaking in the summer evenings is 


abominable. Toads are not very numerous. A 
few lizards are found in the Lower Province ; I 
met with one in the winter frozen to death upon 
the ice. It was about six inches long, and of a 
light brown colour. A small tortoise, called a ter- 
rebin, or more frequently tarrapin, is found in 
small rivers, creeks, and marshy places. It is very 
common all over the American continent, and is 
dressed and eaten by the inhabitants, many of 
whom esteem it equal to turtle. 

The insects of the Lower Province are nume 
rous, but there are few of a dangerous nature. 
Locusts or grass-hoppers have sometimes, from 
their immense numbers in a hot season, committed 
great ravages. A circumstance of the kind hap 
pened a few years ago in the island of Orleans for 
two successive seasons. It is said their numbers 
were so great, that after destroying every vegetable 
production on the island, they were forced to leave 
it for fear of starvation ; and having assembled in 
bodies upon the water, they floated over with the 
flood-tide to Quebec, passed through the town, 
stripped the ramparts of the grass as they went 
along, and then proceeded in separate columns 
through the country to the southward. Many 
were lost in the voyage, which thinned their 
numbers ; and as the others were dispersed over 
a large tract of country, the injury they afterwards 
committed was not of so serious a nature as that 


in the island of Orleans. Every summer vast 
numbers of locusts, crickets, and grass-hoppers 
are to be found in the woods, plantations, and gar 
dens ; their disagreeable creaking noise is heard 
in every part of the country ; fortunately it is 
not often that any thing more unpleasant is expe 
rienced from them. 

Fleas, bugs, black beetles, or as they are gene 
rally termed, cock-roaches, and other disagreeable 
domestic insects, are not more common in Canada 
than in Europe. But the house-fly, as I have 
before said, is much more numerous and more 
troublesome : probably from the prolongation of 
their lives during winter, by the means of stoves, 
as well as the more powerful heat of summer. 

The musquito or gnat abounds in the woods 
for upwards of three of the hottest months. Its 
bite is venomous, and has sometimes proved 
dangerous. Instances have occurred of deserters 
who had fled into the woods losing their lives in 
consequence of the violent swelling and inflam 
mation which the bite of innumerable swarms of 
these insects had caused. Vinegar, or acid of any 
description, relieves the pain and inflammation 
almost immediately. It is curious to see this 
little insect dart upon your hand, insert its pro 
boscis into one of the pores and suck up the blood. 
In a few moments its body, which was before of 
3 light gray, and almost transparent, becomes red 


and distended with blood; nor does it quit its 
hold till its appetite is completely satiated. It is 
reckoned safer to let it fly away of its own accord, 
when satisfied, than to kill it on your hand, as the 
venom is supposed to be sucked out again with 
the blood. 

Moths and butterflies are numerous, but I saw 
none of remarkable beauty, or much different 
from those of England. 

Bees are plentiful, and fly in small swarms in 
the woods and gardens. It is said they were not 
known in America before the arrival of the Eu 
ropeans, and the Indians, having no word in their 
language to describe them, call them English flies. 
A few of the Canadians keep hives. The bees 
which I have seen in the gardens appear to be of 
a larger size than those of England. 

Dragon-flies, wasps, and horse-flies, are not 
more numerous in the cultivated parts of the coun 
try than in England. But a species of fly called 
the gad-fly, which comes in about the beginning 
of June, is extremely numerous, and flies about 
in large swarms, particularly in the towns. Some 
people call them the shad fly, because they make 
their appearance just when that fish is in season, 
and continue for about the same length of time, 
which is not more than a fortnight or three weeks. 
They are perfectly harmless, though coming under 
the class of those insects which have stipgs, 


While going from Quebec to Three Rivers by 
water, in the month of August, I met with a curious 
gpecies of fly, which rose in clouds from the surface 
of the water, and lodged upon the vessel. I have 
since found that they belong to the class of ephe 
mera, or day-fly; but they differ considerably 
from those of Europe, and I believe are of a similar 
kind to the ephoron leukon, or white fly, which is 
found on the river Passaic in North America, and 
lately discovered and described by Dr. Williamson. 
Those which I met with made their appearance 
about sunset, and were perfectly white ; they were 
about three quarters of an inch long in the body, 
and had two transparent nervous wings, erect, 
about the same length. The tail was furnished 
with two very slender bristles, nearly of the same 
length as the body. 

In flying they moved with amazing quickness, 
hovered over the water a few seconds, and then 
alighted upon the vessel ; where, in a little time, 
they changed their coat and flew away, leaving 
behind their whole skin from head to tail. It was 
exactly the complete form of the body, but with 
out wings. I watched hundreds of them, all of 
whom did precise!^ the same, and gradually 
worked their body and wings through the outer 
skin ; after which they flew off. It appeared to 
me that they could not have divested themselves 
of their skin, without lodging upon some sub- 

FIRE FLY. 425 

stance which assisted them in casting it off; and 
I never observed any of them settle on the water 
for that purpose. The surface of the river around 
the vessel (for it was a very fine, calm evening) 
was covered with the skins of these little insects. 
Many of them often flew away the moment their 
wings were free, and while the skin still adhered 
to their tail : this, however, they soon got rid of, 
by the motion of flying, and it consequently fell 
in the water. I could not procure any informa 
tion concerning them from the inhabitants ; for 
they are no great admirers of the beauties of 

The fire fly (lampyris) is another curious in 
sect, common in Canada, as well as in other parts 
of the American continent. It is remarkable for 
emitting a brilliant spark of light, when flying in 
the air on a summer s evening. It is of a light 
brown colour, of the class of beetles, and from 
half to three quarters of an inch in length. The 
light, as near as I could perceive, is emitted from 
the abdomen, which as far as the tail is of a light 
straw colour, and composed of joints : others have, 
however, asserted that the light is produced from 
two glandular spots, situated between the head 
and shoulders, and visible only when the insect 
is flying ; but I have caught several and put them 
in a phial with some grass, and they gave exactly 
the same light as when flying in the air. The 


spark, therefore, appears to be emitted at the plea, 
sure of the insect, or when it respires. In the 
open air at night they are extremely pretty, their 
phosphorescent light appearing like distant stars, 
or sudden sparks of fire. They are very delicate, 
and will not live long in confinement. They ap 
pear to abound most among the grass. 

There are but few other insects worthy of par 
ticular notice, or differing materially from those 
found in England. The most noxious and dan 
gerous species, as scorpions, tarantulas, centi 
pedes, &c. are confined to the southern parts of 
the continent. In short, the inhabitants of Lower 
Canada, and the north-eastern states of the Ame 
rican Union, are particularly blessed in living free 
from the dread of dangerous animals, venomous 
reptiles, and noxious vermin. 



Forest Trees Shrubs Plants Pine Trees 
Clearing of Lands Singular Adventure of 
Miss Van C. American Oak Birch Trees 
Maple Tree Cedar Ginseng Capillaire 
Sumach Poisonous Sumach Herb a la Puce 
-Gold Flies Cot Ion Plant or Cotonier y yields 
Sugar resembling Honey Onion Tree Sweet 
Garlic Wild Turnip Tripe de Rochers 
Indian Tea dramatic Grass Cranberry 
Juniper Tree Sun Floivers Oil extracted 
from the Seed, equal to Florence Oil Hemp 
and Flax. 

THE two Canadas abound with almost every 
species and variety of trees, shrubs, and plants. 
Among the timber-trees are the oak, pine, fir, 
elm, ash, birch, walnut, beech, maple, chesnut, 
cedar, aspen, &c. Among the fruit trees and 
shrubs are walnut, chesnut, apple, pear, cherrry, 
plum, elder, vines, hazel, hiccory, sumach, juni 
per, hornbeam, thorn, laurel, whortleberry, cran 
berry, raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry, blue 
berry, sloe, &c. Strawberries are luxuriantly 
scattered over every part of the country, but cur- 


rants are only met with in gardens. Such innu 
merable quantities of useful and beautiful plants, 
herbs, grasses, and flowers, are also to be found 
in the forests, that where the botanist is presented 
with so rich a field for observation and study, it 
is to be regretted that so little is known concern 
ing them. 

As it cannot be expected that I can enter into 
a very copious description of such a variety, I shall 
only notice a few of the most remarkable, as far as 
I have had an opportunity of observing during my 
residence in America. 

The pine-trees grow to the height of 12O feet 
and more, and from nine to ten feet in circum 
ference, in several parts of Lower Canada, bor 
dering on the states of Vermont and New York. 
They make excellent masts and timber for ship 
ping: but the quantity procured in the Lower Pro 
vince is very trifling compared to the supplies re 
ceived from Upper Canada and the United States. 
In other parts, particularly to the northward and 
westward of Quebec, the forest trees are mostly 
of a small growth. There are several varieties of 
the pine and fir trees, from some of which are 
made large quantities of pitch, tar, and turpentine. 
The clearing of lands has of late years been carried 
on to great advantage by those who properly under 
stand the true method ; for there is scarcely a tree 
in the forest but what may be turned to some ac- 


count, particularly in the making of pot and pearl 
ashes, which have enriched the American settlers 
far beyond any other article. The trees of a re 
sinous quality supply pitch, tar, and turpentine. 
The maple furnishes sugar ; and, with the beech, 
ash, elm, &c. will also serve for the pot-ash manu 
factory. Cedar is converted into shingles for the 
roofs of houses ; oak into ship-timber ; firs into 
deal planks and boards ; and, in short, almost 
every kind of tree is brought into use for some 
purpose or other. 

In the clearing of lands, however, it is always 
necessary that the settler should first look out for 
a market for his produce, and for some navigable 
river or good road to convey the same ; otherwise 
it is of little consequence that he obtains four or 
five hundred acres of land for four or five pounds. 
So much land for so little money is highly pre - 
possessing to an European, but appearances, par 
ticularly at a distance, are often fallacious. A few 
years ago a lady in England, who possessed a grant 
of several hundred acres of woodland in Lower 
Canada, had, from frequent calculation, conceived 
so high an opinion of their worth, and the riches 
that might be obtained from so many trees, each 
of which she valued at what it would fetch in Eng 
land, that she determined to go over and settle 
upon her property ; nor was she deficient in pa 
triotism, for she took into account the valuable 



timber that might by that means be procured for 
the navy. She therefore lost no time in laying 
the advantages of such a settlement before the 
commissioners of his Majesty s dock-yards, and, 
I believe, obtained an acknowledgment that they 
would receive whatever timber she should send 
home. Elated with this success, she immediately 
supplied herself at a great expense with imple 
ments of agriculture, and almost every new in 
vented instrument for farming she could think of; 
with an abundance of ropes and machines for pull 
ing down trees, and grubbing up their roots. Thus 
equipped, she embarked by herself for the happy 
land, which, to her sanguine imagination was far 
superior to Potosi or Peru. 

After a fatiguing voyage, which would perhaps 
have damped the ardour of a mind less enthu 
siastic than her s, she arrived at Quebec, and pro 
duced her letters from the great folks at home. 
But she soon learnt there were great people in 
Canada as well as in England ; for, instead of 
being received with open arms, as she expected, 
and as one who incurred much expense and trouble 
to benefit the colony and. mother country, as well 
as herself, she was treated with shyness, and was 
even considered as rather cracked in the brain. In 
spite, however, of the mortification she experi 
enced from the sneers and whispers of the good 
people of Quebec, she set off up the country, to 


carry her project into execution. After experi* 
encing many vexatious difficulties on the way, she 
arrived within a day s journey of her lands, which 
lay many miles back from any settlement. She 
put up for the night at a miserable log-hut, in the 
midst of a gloomy forest, where even Pan himself 
would never have thought of venturing in search of 
a wood nymph : but scarcely had she laid herself 
down to rest when she heard the report of a gun, 
and in an instant two or three men rushed into 
the hut. They were at first going to carry her 
off; but upon second thoughts, which are often 
better than the first, they merely begged the fa 
vour to help themselves to her money, and some 
other property she had brought with her, which 
having done they immediately departed. 

Nothing could exceed the terror and consterna 
tion of the poor unfortunate lady, who, notwith 
standing she was possessed of a greater share of 
courage than generally falls to her sex, yet was so 
much alarmed at being robbed in a place where 
she expected to have met with nothing but spot 
less innocence, and pastoral happiness, that she 
set off for Quebec the next morning. There she 
endeavoured to dispose of her lands, but on a sur 
vey being made, they were found to be so remotely 
situated, that nobody would give any thing for 
them. There was no communication but by narrow 
paths, and neither road nor river by which the 


timber might be carted or floated from the spot. 
The poor lady was therefore obliged to return to 
England unsuccessful, after incurring a very great 
expense, and being exposed to the insulting sneers 
of unfeeling strangers. I was told that some of 
her ropes and new-invented implements for clear 
ing land are yet lying in one of the merchants* 
stores at Quebec. 

The American oak is quicker in its growth, 
but less durable than that of Europe. One spe 
cies called the live oak, which is however found 
only in the warmer parts of the country, is said by 
many to be equal, if not superior, to the English 
oak for ship-building. The white oak is the best 
that is found in the Canadian settlements, and is 
chiefly used for the building of vessels at Quebec 
and Montreal. 

The birch tree affords an excellent bark, of 
which the Indians make canoes, baskets, and co 
vering for their huts and wigwams. The wood of 
the black birch is used by the Canadians for carts 
and cart-wheels, tables, and other articles of do 
mestic use. 

One of the most useful trees in Canada is the 
maple tree (acer saccharinum) which supplies the 
inhabitants with abundance of excellent sugar, 
and the best fire- wood. I have in a former chapter 
adverted to the mode of procuring the sap of this 
tree, and manufacturing it into sugar. It is not 


cut down for fire-wood till exhausted of its sap, 
when it is generally preferred, and fetches a higher 
price than any other fire-wood sold at market. 

There is another species, or rather variety, 
called the curled maple, which is much used for 
cabinet-work, the wood being very prettily waved 
or curled. It requires four or five years to season, 
properly, before it can be worked up. The white 
cedar is plentiful in Canada, and reckoned the 
most durable wood for posts, railings, and picket 
ing. The red cedar is scarcely ever met with 
in the forests. 

Two plants, formerly of great importance in 
Canada, are now either almost extirpated, or are 
little noticed as articles of commerce : these are 
ginseng and capillaire. The former plant was 
found in great abundance in the early settlement 
of the French in the colony ; and large quantities 
were exported to France, from whence it was re- 
exported to China. The high price which was 
given for it by the Chinese tempted the Canadians 
to gather the roots before the proper time ; not 
content with which, they employed the Indians 
in travelling through the country to collect them 
wherever a root could be found. The consequence 
was, that the Canadian ginseng soon became ex 
hausted, and at this day few plants are to be found. 
The trade in capillaire was also at one time ex 
tremely brisk, but is now either exhausted, like 

VOL. i. 2 F 


the ginseng, or neglected for more important 
articles. A small quantity is sometimes exported 
from Quebec. 

The sumach is a very common shrub in Lower 
Canada, as well as in other parts of America. I have 
seen only one species (rhus glabrum, I believe), 
though there are one or two others. It grows 
about five feet high, in hedges, and among other 
shrubs, and bears large clusters of berries of a deep 
crimson. The branches and berries, boiled toge 
ther, or separately, are very useful for dyeing ; but 
the Canadians seldom put the fruit to any other 
use than the making of vinegar. The berries re 
main on the plant during winter, but the leaves 
fall off. 

There is a species of the sumach remarkable 
for its poisonous nature, the rhus vernix, but it is 
little known in the Lower Province. It delights 
in swampy grounds, and in the United States is 
known by the name of the poison tree. Some ex 
traordinary particulars are mentioned concerning 
this shrub, whose noxious effluvia affect some 
people so much, that they cannot approach the 
place where it grows, or even expose themselves 
to the wind which carries its poisonous exhalation 
with it, without having their hands, face, and 
other parts of the body blistered and swelled ; 
even their eyes are closed for some days together, 
by the violent tumours it creates : yet others can 


approach this shrub, and handle it without the 
least inconvenience. It has, however, been known 
to affect the latter when in a state of perspiration, 
but then not without rubbing the plant violently 
between their hands. 

There is a plant, or weed, very common in 
Lower Canada, called by the French herbe a la 
puce, (herbe aux puces, Plantago p&yllium, Linn.) 
which possesses nearly the same deleterious qua 
lities as the rhus vernix, or poisonous sumach, 
being noxious to some, and harmless to others. I 
have seen several persons who have been confined 
to the house in consequence of having been poi 
soned in the woods by this weed ; even the mere 
treading upon it is sufficient to create swellings 
and inflammations. Yet I have seen other people 
handle it with safety ; and have myself often 
pulled it up by the root, broke the stem, and co 
vered my hands with the milky juice which it 
contains, without experiencing any disagreeable 
effect. What property it is in the constitution of 
people which thus imbibes or repels the poisonous 
qualities of this plant I have never been able to 
learn, nor can I, from observation, account for it. 

Many gardens are full of it, which occasions it 
to be considered there as a weed. The roots ap 
pear to spread under ground to a considerable 
extent, and though the plant may be cut off every 
year, yet it springs up again in another place. It 
2 F 2 


makes its appearance about the end of May, and 
runs up like the runners of scarlet beans, entwin 
ing itself round any tree, plant, or paling that 
comes in its way ; and if there is nothing upon 
which the young shoots can support themselves, 
they adhere to each other. Their leaves and 
stems are of a light green, and they are in full 
flower in July. Wherever the herbe a la puce 
grows, there is always to be found a great number 
of beautiful lady-flies (coccinella). They are co 
vered with a brilliant gold as long as they are on 
the leaf, or retain any particle of its j uice. I caught 
some of them, and put them into a phial ; but ne 
glecting to put some leaves of the herbe a la puce 
with them, they had by the next morning lost 
their splendid coat, and merely resembled the com 
mon red lady-fly which we have in England. I 
then caught a few more, and having supplied them 
well with the leaves of that plant, they retained 
their gold tinge equally as well as in the open air. 
In a few days they had reduced the leaves to mere 
skeletons ; but as long as there remained a morsel 
of the stalk or fibres to feed on, their beautiful 
appearance continued. I kept them upwards of 
a month in this manner, giving them occasionally 
fresh leaves of the plant; and admitting the air 
through some holes that I pricked in the paper 
with which I had covered the mouth of the phial. 
They would feed upon no other plant than that 


of the herbe a la puce, from which alone they de 
rived their beauty. I afterwards gave them their 
liberty, and they flew away, apparently little the 
worse for their confinement. 

Another plant of a remarkable, but more bene 
ficial nature, is the cotton plant, or as the French 
call it, the cotonnier, which grows abundantly in 
Lower Canada. As it delights in a good soil, it 
forms nearly as correct a criterion to judge of the 
quality of land as the maple tree ; for, like it, the 
cotonnier possesses saccharine qualities. It comes 
up in the month of May, much like asparagus ; 
and when it is nine or ten inches high, is cut down, 
sold at market, dressed and eaten much in the same 
manner. If left to grow, it rises to a plant about 
three feet high, and bears a flower resembling the 
lilac, but of a finer though weaker fragrance. In the 
month of August there is an abundant dew upon 
its leaves and flowers, which continues for a fort 
night or three weeks. This being shaken off into 
basons before or immediately after sun rise, a quan 
tity of sweet liquor or syrup is collected, which 
being boiled down to a proper consistency, yields 
a very good sugar resembling honey both in. colour 
and flavour. Some of the Canadian farmers pro 
cure a tolerable quantity of this sugar for their fa 
mily use ; but very little is ever sold. 

The cotonnier is of a pale dull green, and its 
stern contains a lactescent liquor similar to the 


herle a la puce, from which circumstance it has 
most probably been considered by the Canadians 
to possess some poisonous property : notwith 
standing which they eat the young plants, and 
make sugar of the syrup or dew which they col 
lect from the leaves and flowers ; and no instance 
has ever occurred of any deleterious effects having 
been experienced from it. The cattle, however, 
always avoid it. 

The pods of the cotonmer, when riper, are 
somewhat in the shape of an egg, only more 
pointed at the ends, and from three to four inches 
long. They contain a fine white silky substance, 
extremely soft, and resembling cotton, from which 
it takes its name. The seeds of the plant are at 
tached to one end of this substance, and are very 
numerous. The Canadians make no other use of 
the cotton than as a substitute for feathers to fill 
their mattresses and pillows with ; though it ap 
pears capable of being appropriated to much more 
important uses. Paper, and even cloth, I should 
think, might be made from it with facility. It 
requires no attention in the culture, but springs 
up wherever it finds a soil congenial to its nature. 
But the quality of its cotton might possibly be 
very much improved, if properly cultivated in 
plantations ; independent of which, considerable 
quantities of excellent sugar, apparently superior 
to the maple, might be collected with very little 


trouble. Were I to reside in Canada, there is 
nothing in which I should more delight than in 
forming a large plantation of the cotonnier, and 
endeavouring to bring the produce of that already 
valuable plant into some important use; which 
I am confident might be done with very little 
trouble and expense. I am only surprised that 
no person has hitherto treated it with the atten 
tion it merits. As a plantation for sugar only, it 
would be extremely valuable, and save the im 
mense labour and loss of time which the collecting 
of the maple sugar occasions, at a period when the 
husbandman is much wanted on his farm. The 
dew from the cotonnier may be gathered by chil 
dren, and at so early an hour in the morning that 
it could never interfere with the business of the 
day. The boiling of it down into sugar is a simple 
process, and might be easily conducted by the 

There is a shrub which the French also call co- 
tonniere, but it is of a very different nature to the 
preceding plant ; and is called by naturalists the 
water-beech. The three-leaved hellebore, and the 
galium tinctorium, are used by the Indians and 
Canadians for dyeing. The first yields a fine yel 
low, and the other a brilliant red. 

A plant called the onion tree, which is met with 
in the Canadian gardens, is of a curious nature. 
Its stalk runs up to the same height, and it has 


much the same appearance, as the common onion 
when in seed ; but it contains several branches, 
and at the end of each a cluster of moderate sized 
onions. These are its seed, and if left in the clus 
ter will frequently branch out, and each bear other 
clusters, but of a more diminutive size. The onion 
tree is propagated by planting. 

In the woods are found a variety of wild flowers 
and plants, many of them as handsome as those 
reared in gardens. One of these, which the French 
call sweet garlic, is extremely pretty : it has two 
large leaves springing up from its root, of a pale 
grass green, between which its stem rises to the 
height of ten or a dozen inches, bearing about half 
a dozen very pretty flowers, somewhat resembling 
in shape and colour the blue bell. 

Another, denominated the wild turnip, is also 
a very handsome plant, and grows to the height 
of two feet or more. Its stem is about half an inch 
thick at the root, and diminishes gradually in size 
to the top. It is streaked with green and brown, 
and bears three large dark green leaves, spreading 
out in the form of a cross ; other stems branch 
out from the main one, bearing similar leaves; 
and in the centre is a beautiful flower, having a 
slight resemblance to a tulip. It is handsomely 
variegated with brown, red, green, and yellow tints 
and streaks, which soften towards the stem. 

The forests are full of the most valuable herbs, 


roots, and grasses, the properties of which are ge 
nerally well known to the Indians, and to many 
of the Canadians. A moss called hy the French 
tripe de rochers, which I take to be the rein deer 
rnoss, often serves the Indian and Canadian voya- 
geurs for food when their provisions are short ; or, 
as is sometimes the case, quite exhausted. They 
boil it down and drink the liquor, which is reck 
oned very nutritive. An herb called the Indian 
tea is frequently used as a substitute for that of 
China, and considered much more wholesome. It 
has a pleasant aromatic flavour. 

Species of wild oats and rice grow in the swamps 
and marshes, and with several other plants, as the 
sea rye, sea-side plantain, bear-berries, sea-rocket, 
laurier or sweet willow, cranberry, juniper tree, 
sea-side peas, &c. are used by the Indians and 
French Canadians for a variety of purposes. 

An aromatic grass, called Indian grass, is ga 
thered in the woods by the Indian women, and 
brought into the towns for sale. It has a very agree 
able fragrance, which it retains for years. It is 
used as lavender is by us, for scenting clothes, &c. 

The Canadians are fond of sun-flowers in their 
gardens and near their houses, but I do not under 
stand that they turn them to any account. At the 
Moravian settlement of Bethlehem, in the United 
States, a considerable manufactory of oil is carried 


! on from these flow rs by the brethren, an example 
which I think is worthy of imitation in England 
as well as in Canada. The seed must be sown in 
a good soil, and about three feet distant from each 
other, in a small hole. When the plant is about 
a yard high, it must be hilled round with mould. 
An acre of land will produce about forty or fifty 
bushels of seed, which will yield as many gallons 
of oil. 

The seeds, when quite ripe, are hulled, and 
afterwards reduced to a powder. They are then 
put into a strong bag of woollen or canvas cloth, 
and placed between the iron plates of a press, by 
which the oil is expressed into proper vessels, 
which are placed underneath to receive it. The 
plates of the press are often heated ; but oil drawn 
from cold plates is best, and will keep much longer, 
for the heat is apt to make the other rancid, though 
it produces a larger quantity of oil. 

In a cold season a certain degree of heat is ne 
cessary ; but when the oil is wanted for aliment, 
or medicine, the plates should be heated by boil 
ing water only. Sometimes, when the bruised 
seed is dry, it may be exposed to the steam of 
boiling water, when tied up in a bag. 

Every expressed oil, when pure and fresh, and 
obtained with caution, is as void of acrimony, and 
free from any particular taste or smell, as Florence 


oil. The sun-flower oil is extremely mild, and 
may be used for sallad, and all the purposes for 
which olive oil is now used. 

Hemp and flax are both natives of the North 
American continent. Father Hennepin found 
the former growing wild in the country of the 
Illinois, and Sir Alexander Mackenzie, in his tra 
vels to the Pacific Ocean, met with flax in the 
interior, where no European was ever known to 
have been before. There is also another plant, 
a native of Canada and other parts of North i 
America, known by the name of Indian hemp. 
It is spoken of in the American Philosophical 
Transactions, published at Philadelphia, in the 
following manner : " This plant grows in many 
places, but delights more particularly in light 
sandy soils. Its bark is so strong that the Indians 
make use of it for bow-strings. Could we but 
find a method of separating and softening its fibres, 
so as to render it fit to be spun into fine thread, 
it might serve as a substitute for flax and hemp. 
This plant deserves to be cultivated on another 
account. The pod it bears contains a substance, 
that from its softness and elasticity might be 
used instead of the finest down. Its culture is 
easy, inasmuch as its root, which penetrates deep 
into the earth, survives the winter, and shoots out 
fresh stalks every spring. Five or six years after 
being sown, it is in its greatest perfection." 


It may therefore be truly said that Canada is a 
hemp country ; even more so than Russia or Po 
land. Yet, will it be credited, that though we have 
had the two provinces in our possession full half 
a century, in 1808 not a single ton of hemp had 
ever been procured from them, while we have been 
paying to foreign powers, often our very enemies, 
more than a million and a half annually for that 
important article. 

The Canadians cultivate flax merely for their 
own domestic use, but a few hundred bushels of 
linseed are sometimes exported from Quebec. 
Hemp is to be seen growing in a wild unculti 
vated state round their houses, where it runs into 
large plants of seven or eight feet in height ; but 
it is only for the purpose of producing seed for 
their birds, beyond which, they never concern 
themselves about it. The soil and climate are 
admirably adapted to the growth of hemp, and 
are in every respect as favourable to it as Russia 
and Poland. It is a very tenacious plant, and is 
with difficulty rooted out, where it has grown for 
any length of time. In the town and neighbour 
hood of Three Rivers, though a very sandy and 
otherwise barren soil, it springs up in almost 
every garden, and lines the banks of the river 
almost to the water s edge. Yet no other atten 
tion is paid to it, than for the purpose before 
mentioned. It may perhaps be worthy of remark. 


that birds of every description in Canada are fed 
wholly upon hemp-seed. 

Hetnp is one of the most profitable and valua 
ble productions of the earth. It enriches the 
cultivator, and furnishes shipping with the most 
useful and important part of its equipment. The 
several processes of hemp also benefit the state, 
by employing many hands that could not be so 
usefully and profitably engaged in other occupa 
tions. The advantage, therefore, which a country 
must derive from the culture and manufacture of 
hemp, throughout its several branches, cannot be 
doubted, and is sufficiently proved by the im 
portance which Russia has derived from her com 
merce in that article ; by which she has, in a 
manner, rendered the greatest navy in the world 
dependant upon her will and caprice. The wa 
vering conduct of that power has often threatened 
us with the stoppage of our marine stores ; and, in 
conjunction with the other northern powers, she 
has at times found it no unprofitable instrument 
to hold in terrorem over us. That we have never 
yet experienced any sensible difficulty for the 
want of naval stores has been more owing to a 
variety of fortunate events, which have dissolved 
or rendered defective their coalitions, than to the 
supplies we may have received from any other 

While such was the precarious state of our 


intercourse with the northern powers at various 
periods, and the uncertainty of being able any 
longer to procure our usual supplies of naval stores, 
especially hemp ; it was a matter of surprise and 
regret to all, that government was not able to 
procure those essential articles from our colonies 
abroad. Canada, in particular, was well known 
to be capable of affording every article as good, 
and in equal plenty, as those we derived from the 
Baltic ; provided the attainment of those supplies 
was made a national concern. It was evident that 
government must interfere ; for individuals, if they 
possessed the abilities, had not the means of ac 
complishing such an important object. 

At length, the attention of Government was 
roused to the necessity of procuring hernp from 
some of our own settlements ; and in the year 
1800, the lords of the council for trade and plan 
tations took into their consideration the means 
by which they might introduce the culture of 
that plant in the East Indies, and the British 
colonies of North America. Previous, however, 
to this, various experiments had been indirectly 
tried in Canada, and considerable sums of money 
expended for several years, but no other encou 
ragement was held forth than bounties and medals : 
compensations of too trifling a nature to influence 
a people naturally indolent, and to overcome a 
variety of obstacles of another description. The 


public money, however, was annually expended, 
abundant supplies of hemp-seed and manufactur 
ing implements were sent out ; and the govern 
ment agents appeared to be actively engaged in 
furthering this important concern, but all to no 
purpose. Eighteen or twenty years elapsed, and 
not a hundred weight of hemp had been sent 

It was at this period that the Board of Trade 
endeavoured to bring the culture of hemp to a 
successful issue, and determined not to confine 
their inquiries to Canada alone, they caused 
several experiments to be tried in the East Indies, 
and for two or three years their exertions were in 
defatigable. No better success, however, attended 
their endeavours (though larger bounties were 
offered, and new machines sent out) than had 
been before experienced in Canada. Why the 
culture of hemp did not succeed in the East Indies, 
I have never correctly ascertained; but I have heard 
that the climate is too hot, and that the hemp 
grows too fine for large cordage. As to Canada, 
a variety of obstacles were enumerated as the 
reason of its not succeeding in that country. 
Among the rest, Mr. Vondenvelden, of Quebec, 
wrote to the Society of Arts that its failure might 
be attributed to the attachment of the Canadians 
to old customs ; and to the opposition and preju 
dice of the Romish clergy, the wheat merchants, 


and the seigniors : The first of whom depend for 
tithes ; the second for success in trade ; and the 
third for the employment of their mills, the chief 
source of their revenues, upon abundant crops of 
wheat ; which they conceived the introduction of 
the culture of hemp would partly, if not totally 
annihilate. The idleness of the Canadians, the 
scarcity of working hands, and the scanty popu 
lation, were also enumerated among the greatest 
obstacles to the culture of hemp in Canada. 
Thus, after so many years exertion, and the ex 
penditure of upwards of 40,000/., we were still 
obliged to trust to the precarious supplies of that 
essential article from a foreign power ; who, what 
ever his real interest or inclination might have 
been, has several times been obliged to become 
our enemy. 

It appears, nevertheless, from several recent 
volumes of the Transactions of the Society for the 
Encouragement of Arts, &c. that the culture of 
hemp in Canada was not an hopeless undertaking, 
but that it required proper people to conduct it, 
and a sufficient capital to carry it into execution. 
In their preface to volume 2 1st. the Society say 
^ " That they have ascertained by actual experiments, 
that Canada can furnish hemp equal in quality for 
the uses of the navy to that from the Baltic, and it 
is hoped that Government will attend to that point 
upon which the balance now stands suspended, as 


the scale may be brought to preponderate for ever 
to the national advantage, if our government will 
purchase from our own colonies on fair terms with 
ready money, and by proper agents, that article 
for which the same sums must else be paid to 
foreign powers, of whose deliberations we must 
otherwise stand in awe" 

In the preface to their 22d volume, the Society 
observe that " Every man is sensible of providing 
supplies of this kind from our own colonies, and 
in our last preface we expressed our wishes that 
government would attend to that important point. 
It is well known that the growers of hemp in Ca 
nada have not capitals to give credit upon, nor are 
the cultivators merchants" From this it appears, 
that the Society were of opinion that the govern 
ment did not offer sufficient support or encourage 
ment, to carry the culture of hemp properly into 
effect ; and that it was left in the hands of ignorant 
or interested agents, who looked only to their own 
private emolument. If such was the opinion of 
the Society, it has since been fully verified by the 
treatment my uncle experienced in the course of 
his undertaking; not however that the least blame, 
as far as I know, can attach to the Board of Trade, 
whose exertions seem to have been directed wholly 
to the good of the country, and the accomplish 
ment of the important object which they had in 
view. That they were unsuccessful, must be at- 

VOL. i. 2 G 


tributed chiefly to their want of information re 
specting the real state of Canada, and relying too 
much upon the fallacious representations of in 
terested people in that country. 

As far as is known at present, we cannot pro 
cure a ton of hemp from any other part of the 
world. The United States have not enough for 
their own consumption ; and even they see the 
necessity of cultivating hemp within their own 
territories. Their newspapers, of late, have been 
filled with exhortations and instructions to the 
people upon that subject. In the East Indies the 
Board of Trade have tried several experiments, 
but they have never answered. Canada is the 
only country in our possession, properly adapted 
to the culture of hemp. It is formed by nature 
for it ; and as fine hemp has been grown there, 
as ever came from Russia. 

As the cultivation of hemp in Canada is a na 
tional concern, so it ought to be the subject of 
parliamentary consideration. If at peace with 
Russia, I own that we could hardly venture upon 
so much publicity, without giving offence ; but, 
in a state of hostility, no such delicacy can pos 
sibly exist. Parliament is certainly best able to 
judge of the propriety of throwing off our de 
pendence upon the Northern Powers for our 
marine supplies ; or whether it is better policy to 
remain as we are. 


It undoubtedly appears a self-evident principle, 
that to encourage the agriculture and commerce 
of our own colonies, is more advantageous than 
to encourage those of a foreign country ; and that 
procuring our most essential articles from our own 
people, is safer than trusting to the precarious 
will of an enemy. There, however, may be reasons 
which might dictate a policy diametrically oppo 
site ; not that I believe such reasons do exist, but 
a subject of so much importance can be properly 
investigated only by those who are thoroughly 
initiated in the grand arcana of politics. At all 
events, the mode hitherto adopted for the culture 
of hemp in Canada, and which is still going on, 
will never produce the desired effect. Things 
must be put upon a very different footing, if suc 
cess is ever meant to be the result. To continue 
a system so cramped and confined in its operation, 
is to continue an unnecessary waste of the public 
money, without the least prospect of benefiting 
the country. 

I cannot conclude this chapter without no 
ticing the success of the Earl of Shannon, in the 
cultivation of hemp in Ireland. His Lordship, 
in the course of last year, is said to have made 
upwards of 100/. per acre by his valuable crop. 
I am not informed of the extent of his Lordship s 
efforts ; but they sufficiently prove that the culti- 

2 G 2 


vation of hemp in our own dominions is not an 
idle speculation ; and that, with adequate encou 
ragement, we might in a few years become totally 
independent of the northern powers, for our sup 
plies of that very important article. 



Leave Quebec Mode of Travelling-^Steam Boat 
Schooners Voyage to Three Rivers Beau* 
tiful Scenes Eel Traps Spearing Fish by 
Torch Light Second Journey to Three Ritfers 
by Land Pass the River at Cape Rouge*-* 
Arrive at Jacques Cartier-^-Rapid Torrent 
New Bridge Post House Monsieur Garnoux 
the Blacksmith Deschambault Seigniory of 
Grondines St. Anne- Charles Lanaudiere, Esq. 
Grand Foyer of the Province ^Batiscan Iron 
Works Champlain Rivulets Bridges Ca 
nadian Farms Roman Catholic Crosses Post 
House at Cape Madelaine Arrival at Three 

MY first excursion to Three Rivers was by 
water; a mode of travelling not always very 
agreeable, when ascending the river. The nu 
merous rapids, and strong currents, which com- 
Hjence at the Richlieu, about 45 miles above 
Quebec, render the voyage extremely tedious, 
unless you are favoured with a strong easterly 
wind. As we had a considerable quantity of ma- 


chinery, agricultural implements, &c. to remove,, 
we chartered one of the schooners which sail re 
gularly between Quebec and Montreal. These 
vessels range from 30 to 100 tons, and being 
merely adapted for burthen, afford very poor ac 
commodation for passengers* Few of the inha 
bitants, indeed, ever take their passage in them, 
except upon the voyage down the river from 
Montreal to Quebec, which is generally accom 
plished in two days; and even with contrary winds 
is seldom more than four or five days. The people 
are obliged to take provisions with them, and go 
on shore at night to sleep at a farm house, unless 
they take a mattress with them ; for the cabin, 
which is extremely small, contains no other bed 
than the master s. The Frenchmen who com 
mand these vessels, are also not very nice in their 
manner of living, and the cabin is consequently 
always in a filthy condition. The passage money 
is a dollar from Quebec to Three Rivers, and two 
dollars to Montreal cheap enough if the accom 
modations were more decent. I should think a 
steam boat similar to that which runs on the north 
river, between Albany and New York, only on a 
smaller scale, would answer extremely well on 
the river St. Lawrence, where, without a fair wind, 
vessels are often upwards of a month getting up to 
Montreal, a distance of only ISO miles from Que 
bec: It might be made for the purpose of carry- 


ing merchandise as well as passengers. The Ame 
rican steam boat frequently goes a distance of 160 
miles, against wind and tide, in less than two 
days. It runs between Albany and New York 
regularly twice a week. 

The river St. Lawrence, all the way up on both 
sides, affords a variety of the most beautiful pros 
pects. As far as the rapids of Richlieu, the shores 
are steep, rugged, and lofty; in some places pro 
jecting into the river in the form of small capes 
and promontories ; and in others, receding into 
innumerable coves and bays, which in many parts 
expand the river to a considerable breadth. The 
banks are covered with trees and shrubs of various 
kinds, except in a few places where the black lime- 
slate, or lime-stone rock, shivers in thin pieces or 
moulders into dust. On the summit of the shores, 
the white farm houses, and neat churches, placed 
at almost regular distances, appear at intervals 
between clumps of trees and rich meadows. In 
other parts the shores are seen sloping into culti 
vated valleys covered with a beautiful rich verdure, 
and adorned with small neat villages, in which the 
church, the houses of the cure and the seignior, 
are generally the most conspicuous. Thick um 
brageous forests, and distant mountains whose 
summits mingle with the clouds, complete the 
charming scenery, which is viewed to great ad 
vantage during a voyage up the river, and which 


presents to the eye a succession of the most beau 
tiful landscapes. 

In several places along shore, the Canadians 
place hurdles, just beyond low water mark, for 
the purpose of catching eels, &c. A number of 
baskets or traps, are placed between the hurdles, 
which are covered at high water, and as the tide 
ebbs down, the eels and other fish bury themselves 
therein, and are easily taken. Another curious 
mode of fishing is also practised by the Canadians 
and Indians ; they go in their canoes on the river 
at night, the darker the better, for the purpose of 
spearing salmon and the larger species of fish, by 
torch light. They can see the fish to a consider 
able depth, and are extremely expert at spearing 
them. They are very fond of this sport, and 
pursue it with much avidity. 

About a month after, I had occasion to go to 
Quebec, and on my return again to Three Rivers 
I travelled by land. It was then the latter end 
of October, and the road, for the first stage out of 
Quebec, was extremely bad. The journey by land 
would be more pleasant if performed in comfort 
able vehicles ; but the Canadian post calashes are 
very ill adapted for a long journey : they afford 
neither shelter from the pouring rain, the scorch 
ing beams of the sun, nor the heavy dews of the 
night. The driver also, by sitting in front, presses 
it down, and renders the traveller s seat very un- 


easy; and at every nine or ten miles he has to 
step into a fresh vehicle. The post-houses are 
regulated by an act of the provincial parliament, \J 
which enjoins the proprietors to keep a certain 
number of horses, calashes., and carioles, ready at 
all hours of the day and night for the accommo 
dation of travellers, and in general very little 
delay is occasioned. The price of travelling is 
also regulated by the act, and a paper containing 
the sum to be paid from stage to stage is stuck 
up in every post-house. It cost me from Quebec 
to Three Rivers, including provisions which I 
took with me, about ten dollars, or forty-five shil- V 
lings sterling, for QO miles. The regulated price 
is one shilling currency per league : but the stage 
into and out of the town is charged two or three 
shillings per league, on account of the greater ex 
pense of keeping the horses than in the country. 
There is no post established on the left bank of 
the river. 

I left Quebec about noon, and. at the end of 
the first stage of three leagues passed the river 
of Cape Rouge in a kind of scow or flat-bottomed 
boat, secured to a rope stretched across the river. 
At this ferry, or traverse, fourpence is charged for 
passing with the horse and calash. From thence 
we proceeded to the post-house about a hundred 
yards further, where I got into another calash, 
I had no occasion to cross any more rivers till we 


arrived at Jacques Cartier, about 36 miles from 
Quebec. This river, which derives its name from 
the navigator who first explored the river St. Law 
rence, is frequently very dangerous to cross, on 
account of the extreme rapidity of the current, 
occasioned by the broken rocky bed over which 
the waters precipitate themselves into the St. 

It was dark when I arrived, and I was obliged 
to alight from the calash, and walk down a steep 
winding road to the river, which runs through a 
narrow valley inclosed on both sides by lofty 
heights. The canoe was conducted by one man, 
who held on by a rope stretched across the river, 
and secured to posts ; and such was the impetu 
osity of the current, that his strength was barely 
sufficient to prevent the canoe from being carried 
away by the stream. A considerable way up the 
river, a handsome bridge has been erected within 
these few years ; but the distance is too great from 
the post-road for travellers to pass over it, except 
in the spring or fall of the year, when the ferry is 
at times impassable without great danger. 

On arriving at the other side, I proceeded up 
the hill with the calash-driver, who carried my 
portmanteau to the post-house. Here I found 
the family at supper ; but, I was told, they could 
not afford me any accommodation for the night. 
It being extremely dark, I was not much inclined 


to travel any further, and therefore inquired if I 
could get a bed in the neighbourhood : this how 
ever*! found could not be procured nearer than 
three miles, at Cape Sante, where a blacksmith, 
of the name of Garnoux, keeps a house for the 
accommodation of travellers: upon this, I got 
into a calash, and in about half an hour was set 
down at Monsieur Garnoux s. The house is small, 
but every thing is neat and clean ; a very uncom 
mon circumstance in the post-houses. Monsieur 
Garnoux, who, by the bye, is a very decent black 
smith, received me very politely, and handed me 
out of the calash into his best room. Though it 
was Sunday night, he had not much in his larder. 
Tea or coffee, and bread and butter, were all that 
he could furnish. I had, however, a tolerable 
good larder of my own in a basket, and therefore 
did not feel the want of any thing but rest ; which, 
after supper, I procured in a very decent bed. 

At day-break, the calash from the post-house 
was at the door : having breakfasted, and paid 
four shillings for my entertainment, I took leave 
of the blacksmith, and proceeded on my journey. 
The accommodations at this house are the best 
on the road, between Quebec and Three Rivers ; 
and I would advise all travellers between those 
towns, to take up their abode for the night at 
Monsieur Garnoux s, in preference to any of the 


After passing through the seigniory of Des- 
chambault, I came to Grondines, the poorest 
seigniory in Lower Canada. The soil barely 
covers an immense bed of stone, and can scarcely 
supply the inhabitants with the necessaries of 
life. Its present seignior is Mr. Moses Hart, of 
Three Rivers, who possibly turns it to some ac 
count in the making of pot- ash, &c. ; though he 
told me, that he one year derived upwards of 80/. 
for his lods et vents only. Its former proprietor 
ruined himself by sanguine speculations in the 
culture of corn, and went to a very great expense 
in the erection of mills, &c. 

The next seigniory, called St. Ann s, is the 
property of Charles Lanaudiere, Esq. Grand 
Voyer of the province. In some parts it lies 
very low, and in the spring is usually inundated, 
which occasions the post-road to be situated fur 
ther from the river than it is in other seigniories, 
where it winds along the summits of the lofty 
banks which overlook the river, or along the 
borders of delightful valleys. Mr. Lanaudiere is 
one of the most respectable French gentlemen in 
the colony. He was an officer in the army of Ge 
neral Montcalm, and was wounded on the plains 
of Abraham. He is now between seventy and 
eighty years of age, yet possesses every faculty in 
such admirable preservation, that he does not 
appear more than fifty ; and is snore active and 


intelligent than many men at that age. He is 
sincerely attached to the British government ; and 
in his conduct, his manners, and his principles, 
appears to be, in every, respect, a complete En 
glishman. Many years ago, Mr. Lanaudiere vi 
sited England, where he lived in the first circles, 
and is, of course, well known to several of the 
Princes. On his return to Canada, he was ap 
pointed Grand Voyer of the Province. This 
office requires him to make an annual circuit of 
Lower Canada, to inspect the state of the roads, 
bridges, &c. in the several parishes. He has a 
salary of 500/. per annum. There are also Grand 
Voyers of Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers, 
who superintend their respective districts, and 
are subordinate to the Grand Voyer of the Pro 
vince. Mr. Lanaudiere possesses the esteem of 
his countrymen, and of every English gentleman 
that arrives in the country, who always meets with 
a hearty welcome at his house. 

The next seigniory is Batiscan, where the 
abundance of iron ore that was discovered, de 
termined several of its proprietors to establish an 
iron-foundry and forge, upon similar principles 
to those of Three Rivers. At present, I am told, 
it is a losing concern, and two of the partners 
have lately withdrawn their shares. It is to be 
hoped, however, that they will succeed, as every 
thing which tends to increase the manufactures 


and commerce of a new country cannot fail to be 

Champlain, which is situated next to Batis- 
can, is an extensive seigniory, being upwards of 
eighteen miles in length, and of considerable 
depth. Its soil consists of a sandy loam, in many 
parts of the colour of yellow ochre. Several 
small springs are met with in different parts of 
the seigniory; they form little rivulets, which run 
across the road into the river. A few loose logs 
of wood are thrown over them, by way of bridges. 
These little streams are found more or less along 
the road, from one end of the country to the 
other, and with the ditches that are cut by the 
farmers, between their respective grounds, are 
always covered by loose logs, which shake the 
calash very much in passing over . them, and 
would break the springs, were they constructed 
of steel, instead of leather. 

The farms situate along the roads in Lower 
Canada are generally cleared of trees for about a 
mile back. They are seldom more than two or 
three acres in breadth, but run back into the 
v woods to more than ninety or a hundred acres. 
The Canadians suffer few trees to remain near 
their houses, on account of the musquitoes: this, 
with the wooden railings and fences, have rather 
a naked appearance, compared with the hedges 
and rows of trees planted along the roads in 


England. There is, .however, upon the whole, 
a neatness in the cultivated parts of Canada, that 
is seldom met with in the United States, except 
in very old settlements. This neatness is occa 
sioned by clearing the land of the stumps of trees, 
and fencing in their farms with more regularity 
than is the practice in the States, where the 
slovenly zig-zag or worm fence is very prevalent. 
The Americans, however, have the advantage in 
the appearance of their houses and other buildings. 

By the road side, a few crosses still remain to 
attract the attention of the traveller, who for 
merly, if he was a pious Catholic, would kneel 
down and utter a short prayer, or pull off his hat 
with the greatest reverence ; but at present, the 
number of crosses is greatly diminished, and the 
few that remain are but little noticed. They are 
commonly about twenty or thirty feet high, and 
adorned with all the instruments which the Jews 
are supposed to have employed in the crucifixion 
of our Saviour, viz. the hammer, nails, pincers, 
a flask of vinegar, sponge, ladder, and the spear 
with which the soldier pierced his side. The 
crown of thorns is placed in the centre of the 
cross, and the cock which crowed when Peter de 
nied our Saviour is always placed at the top. 
Some of these crosses are railed in; and passing 
through St. Augustine on the Sunday I left Que 
bec, I saw several of the Canadian men and women 


kneeling and praying, apparently with great de 
votion, till the sound of the calash passing, drew 
their attention to a more irreverent object. One 
of the men who drove the calash that day, always 
crossed himself whenever we passed jany of those 
holy mementos ; the others never took any notice 
of them. 

On my arrival at the post-house of Cape Ma- 
delaine, in Champlain, I embarked in a canoe for 
Three Rivers, that passage being generally pre 
ferred to the ferry, which is situated a few miles 
up the St. Maurice river. It took us nearly an 
hour to reach the town, as we had to pass outside 
of two islands seated at the entrance of the St. 
Maurice. This river, in disemboguing itself into 
the St. Lawrence, is divided into three channels 
by these two islands ; from which circumstance it 
was denominated Three Rivers, and gave name to 
the town which is built at the confluence of the 
St. Lawrence, and one of the channels. 



Town of Three Rivers Houses Streets Mus- 
quitoes Fleas Baron La Hontan Public 
Buildings Fire at the Convent Intrepidity of 
a Soldier Escape of a Nun with an Emigrant 
Priest New Convent Visit to the Nuns of St. 
Ursule Abbe deCalonne, Cure of the Convent 
Portrait of the Grand Vicar Setting Watches 
during the Litany Monastery Billiard Room 
Canadian Ftncibles Deserters Death of a 
Canadian The Irish Landlady Anecdote of 
Colonel T .Trade of Three RiversStore 
keepers Visit to the Forges of St. Maurice 
Iron Works Brickmaker Society Party 
Spirit The Election of Mr. Ezekiel Hart 
Amusements Scuffle in the Market Place 
Swelled Necks Mad Girl Foundlings. 

THE town of Three Rivers is situate on a light 
sandy soil. One part, towards the St. Maurice 
river, is considerably elevated, and commands a 
beautiful and extensive prospect of the St. Law 
rence and opposite shore. The other part of the 
town lies nearly on a level with the water. The 
shore is notwithstanding bold and steep, and slopes 

vox,, i. 2 H 


off abruptly into eighteen or twenty feet water, 
capable of admitting large vessels to lie close 
along-side ; and, with the help of a couple of spars 
placed from the shore upon the deck of the vessel, 
to land their goods, and put them immediately 
into carts, which are backed over the spars as far 
as they can go, and receive them with great faci 
lity. This natural wharf is very convenient, and 
occasions little or no expense to the merchants. 

Three Rivers is very small, compared with Mont 
real and Quebec ; but in size it ranks as the third 
town in Lower Canada. It is, however, scarcely 
larger than some English villages. I was never 
able to ascertain the exact number of houses and 
inhabitants ; but the former, I believe, do not ex 
ceed 250, nor the latter 1 500. There are very few 
respectable-looking houses in the place ; the rest 
are paltry wooden houses, containing a few rooms 
on the ground floor, and a garret above. Some of 
them are in better condition than others ; but, for 
the most part, they appear to be falling to decay 
from neglect. It is very seldom that the houses in 
Canada have any paint bestowed upon them ; but 
they are often white-washed : yet few in Three 
Rivers have even this decoration to recommend 

The houses are mostly built with small intervals 
between them; apparently to prevent accidents 
from fire. The streets are narrow and unpaved ; 


-and on a dry windy day the sand and dust fly about 
in clouds. The foot-paths are badly kept up by 
pieces of timber placed about three feet from the 
houses. Notwithstanding the inconveniences of 
the arid soil of Three Rivers, it has its advantages, 
inasmuch as you may walk out immediately after 
the heaviest rain without soiling your shoes. 

The woods being almost close at the back of the 
town, favour the retreat of innumerable musquitoes 
and sand-flies. These, with the multitude of com 
mon flies which inhabit the town, are extremely 
troublesome in sultry weather. I was never par 
ticularly annoved by any other insect ; though, if 
any credit is due to the testimony of Baron la Hon- 
tan, Three Rivers must formerly have abounded 
with fleas. In his Travels he says, " A man that 
would live there must be of the like temper with 
a dog; or, at least, he must take pleasure in scratch 
ing his skin, for the fleas are there more numerous 
than the grains of sand." This assertion of the 
Baron I have, fortunately, never seen verified, and 
as I am not inclined to dispute his word, I will 
give all the merit to my fair countrywomen, who, 
since their settlement in the town, have, no doubt 
by their cleanly habits, expelled every thing that 
was before noxious and dirty. 

The public buildings of Three Rivers are the 
convent of St. Ursule, the Roman Catholic church, 
the barracks, and the old monastery of the RecoU 
2 H 2 


lets, or Franciscan friars ; which latter is now con 
verted into a gaol, a court of justice, offices for the 
sheriff and prothonotury, a billiard- room, and an 
episcopalian chapel ! 

The convent of St. Ursula was founded in J677, 
by M. de St. Valier, bishop of Quebec, for the 
education of female children, and as an asylum 
for the poor, the sick, and those who were tired of 
the world. The number of nuns at present does 
not amount to more than twenty; they are for the 
most part elderly women, and are governed by a 
superior. This nunnery was burnt down for the 
second time in 18o6, and is not yet completely 
rebuilt. It is said that a nun set it on fire, in 
order to effect her escape with a man belonging 
to the town, to whom she was attached ; at all 
events it appears suspicious that the fire should 
have originated in the belfry : the only possible 
means of it was from the friction of the wheel set 
ting the bell-rope on fire. The nun who is sus 
pected had to ring the bell that evening: she said 
that the moment she attempted to pull the rope 
it broke., and the flames burst out above her. The 
Canadian fencibles, who were then quartered in 
the town, were very active in saving the nuns and 
the property belonging to the convent. An old 
nun, who had been confined many years to her 
apartment, was with difficulty rescued from the 
devouring element. She refused to leave the place 



in spite of every entreaty: a soldier, however, took 
her up in his arms, and was just making his way 
out of the window upon a ladder which was placed 
against it, when a young nun ran up to him cry 
ing, " Ah, mon Dieu, sauvez moi aussi sauvez 
moi aussi." " Damn it," says the soldier, " why 
didn t you come before ? Here I have been obliged 
to force this old woman away in order to save her, 
when I would rather have carried you in my arms ; 
but come along, I ll try what I can do for you." 
Upon which the brave fellow took the young one 
upon his back, and the old one under his arm, and 
had contrived to get half way down, when unfor 
tunately the ladder broke, and all three tumbled 
to the ground : they, however, luckily escaped 
with only a few bruises. 

In consequence of the fire the nuns were dis 
tributed in the convents of Quebec and Montreal ; 
and subscriptions were set on foot throughout the 
country for the purpose of building a new one. 
The funds of the Ursulines were very poor, and 
the British inhabitants, much to their honour, 
contributed in common with the French people, in 
aid of the institution ; a convincing proof of the 
unanimity of Catholics and Protestants in that 

A few years ago an emigrant priest, who officiated 
as minister to the convent, and who is mentioned 
by Mr. Weld in his Travels as so amiable a man. 


ran away with one of the young nuns, the daughter 
of a very respectable French gentleman. The priest 
took her to New York, where, as soon as he was 
satiated with her company, he left her and went 
to France. She was reduced to great distress, and 
wrote to her father to intercede with the bishop to 
allow her to return to the convent, I understand 
the bishop refused her request, and that she yet 
remains at New York. It was her sister, I am 
told, who interested Mr. Weld so much in her 
favour, by the melancholy which seemed to prey 
upon her lovely countenance. She died a few 
months after his visit of a broken heart, having 
entered the convent in consequence of a disap 
pointment in love. 

The new convent was opened early in 1808, 
for the reception of the nuns, though then not 
more than half finished. In the August following, 
after my return from the States, I visited it in com 
pany with Mr. Gugy the sheriff and some other 
gentlemen, having first obtained permission from 
the Grand Vicar. The superior received us at the 
second door with great politeness : her dress was the 
same as that of the nuns, which consists of a coarse 
black stuff gown, made extremely plain, and long 
waisted. Above this is a white linen head-piece, 
which conceals all the hair, and covers the forehead 
almost to the eyebrows : over that a long black 
veil is thrown back. The white linen cloth comes 


down on each side the face, close round the chin, 
and covers all the neck and bosom. It is remark 
ably white and smooth, and shows a pretty face to 
advantage: but in what will not a pretty face look 
well ? The nuns of St. Ursule, however, whom I 
had the pleasure of seeing, had passed their grand 
climacteric, and of course were not well qualified 
to appear to advantage in such a dress, the supe 
rior excepted, who was really a fine handsome 
woman, and must have been a beautiful girl. She 
appeared to be about forty years of age, and had 
presided several years over the convent. 

She took us through all the apartments, except 
such as were occupied by those nuns who did not 
wish to be seen. In consequence of the building 
being in an unfinished stale, the nuns beds were 
placed in two or three large rooms, until their re 
spective apartments were completed. The house 
is very long, and built in the form of a cross ; the 
chapel for the performance of mass is in the centre 
on the ground-floor ; together with the refectory, 
the hall, and kitchen ; the rooms for educating the 
children, and the apartments of the cure or mi 
nister, who resides in the convent, and performs the 
religious duties of the house and chapel. The pre 
sent resident is the Abbe de Calonne, brother to 
the celebrated prime minister of Louis XVI. He 
was allowed by the English government to retire 
to Canada, and arrived in the autumn of 1 807 He 


is said to be a very amiable and accomplished man, 
and appears about sixty years of age. 

The superior conducted us into the study of the 
Abbe de Calonne, but he was absent. He pos 
sesses a tolerable good library, in which I observed 
several English books, particularly Blair s Sermons. 
Two or three fine cabinet pictures were hung up 
in his apartment ; and, together with the books, 
appeared to be the remnants of his former great 
ness. We afterwards proceeded up stairs, and were 
introduced to two or three old nuns, and as many 
novices, who were busily engaged with their 
needles ; they all rose up on our entrance, and 
would not be seated while we remained. The no* 
vices were dressed like the other nuns, except that 
they wore a white, instead of a black, veil. They 
appeared to be strapping country wenches, about 
thirty years of age ; and apparently better quali 
fied to increase the population of the country than 
to waste their lives in celibacy. However, " Cha- 
cun a son gout, dans ce monde ;" and as long as 
they devote their time to the care of the sick, and 
the education of youth, they are not useless mem 
bers of society. The novitiate lasts for two years ; 
after which, if they are still inclined to enter the 
order, they receive the black veil with great cere 
mony, and are immured for life. 

A naval gentleman, who happened to be of our 
party, hearing that there was an English woman 


among the nuns, was desirous of seeing her ; upon 
which one of them stepped forward and spoke to 
him. This lady was a widow about fort} 7 , and had 
formerly been a lively dashing woman ; but, being 
tired of the world, she renounced her religion and 
entered the convent. Her mother, Mrs. A , 
of Three Rivers, who keeps the only English ta 
vern in the town, was very much enraged when she 
found that her daughter had entered the nunnery, 
and went to the superior to demand her back 
again ; but her request being refused, the old lady 
was not sparing of abuse, and lavished her invec 
tives upon her daughter as well as the nuns. 

We did not see more than ten or a dozen of the 
nuns ; the rest either kept out of sight of their 
own accord, or by the desire of the superior. 
Those we saw were not calculated to inspire very 
tender sentiments, which made me suspect that 
the others were more likely to create impressions 
similar to those Mr. Weld experienced when he 
visited the same convent twelve years before : pos 
sibly the conduct of one of the nuns, since that 
period, had caused the superior to be more careful 
of throwing temptations in the way of the younger 
branches of her family. If those ladies, however, 
are debarred from the sight of real flesh and blood, 
they are allowed to feast their eyes upon the jolly 
figure and ruddy countenance of the grand vicar, 
whose portrait is hung up in the great bed-room. 


The charitable and humane offices in which the 
nuns employ the greatest portion of their time are 
highly praiseworthy, and reflect much credit on 
those respectable women. We inquired for some 
of their bark-work, for which they have been ce 
lebrated by former travellers ; but they informed 
us that their time was so much taken up in fur 
nishing their rooms, that they were obliged to 
neglect it. Having seen all that was worthy of 
notice, we took our leave of the ladies, accompa 
nied to the door by the superior and two or three 

The French church, in which service is per 
formed by the grand vicar and his assistants, is a 
plain stone building roofed with shingles painted 
red, and ornamented with a small belfry and spire 
covered with sheets of tin. In the interior is a 
handsome altar-piece, adorned with gilt ornaments, 
silver candlesticks, flagons, wax tapers,, crucifixes, 
&c. The church is generally well attended, and in 
summer is often very crowded. During that sea 
son a great many people sit or kneel in the open 
air close by the doors, or under the windows of the 
church : they appear attentive to the service, which 
is sung loud enough for them to hear without. Im 
mediately after mass is over, it is a frequent custom 
to sell the seats in the church by auction ; the 
crowd of people assembled near the church door, 
bidding for pews, or listening to the noise of the 


encanteury forms a curious contrast to the solemn 
devotion that reigned on the same spot a few mi 
nutes before. 

The English church is very small, being part 
of the chapel formerly occupied by the Franciscan 
friars, who resided in the adjoining building. 
The other part is appropriated to a court of justice, 
and is divided from the place of worship by a slight 
partition. It is only of late years that an English 
minister has resided in the town ; and, from ap 
pearances, there seems very little occasion for him 
even now, was it not for the purpose of marrying, 
christening, and burying. Service is performed 
only on Sunday mornings : and there are not above 
a dozen of the English inhabitants who attend 
even that regularly. If it was not for the 
officers and soldiers of the Canadian fencibles, the 
clergyman would have to preach almost to empty 

-It is true, that the number of English people is 
small when compared with that of the French ; and 
of them there are three or four families of the Jew 
ish persuasion : so that those who profess the Pro 
testant religion certainly form but a very small 
proportion of the inhabitants. Yet there are more 
than enough to crowd the church ; its emptiness 
cannot therefore be ascribed to the want of people 
to fill it, nor indeed is that the alleged cause. The 
inhabitants of Three Rivers are often agitated by 


jealousy and party feuds ; and those who fall out 
with the clergyman keep away from his church. 

It is by no means creditable tp the Protestant 
religion in Three Rivers, to see the French church 
overflowing, morning and afternoon, on Sundays, 
and open every day in the week besides ; while 
the English church, not a fourth of the size, is shut 
up all the week except for two hours on Sunday 
morning, and then never half filled. A clock is 
also very much wanted at the English church, to 
prevent the practice of setting watches during the 
performance of divine service ; for no sooner do 
the bells of the French church ring at twelve, and 
just as the clergyman is reading the litany, than 
out fly the watches in the very midst of Good 
Lord deliver us, or e Spare us, good Lord ; so that 
the gentlemen are at once employed in regulating 
the time and praying for the good of their souls ! 

The Recollet building is of stone, and much 
dilapidated. Next to the church and court house 
are the offices of the prothonotary ; adjoining 
which, on the ground floor, are the rooms that are 
at present converted into a gaol. Above them are 
the sheriff s office and a subscription billiard-room. 
The table is very indifferent, but it is sufficient to 
afford the gentlemen of the town a few hours 

The building now occupied by the soldiers of 
the Canadian fencibles for barracks was formerly 


the residence of the French governor. It is built 
of stone, and compared to the houses in the town 
is of considerable magnitude. It is situated on the 
most elevated part of the town, and has a court 
yard in front., enclosed by a wall and gates. An 
old stone building near it is turned into a guard 
house. On the right side of the barracks is an 
excellent garden, and on the left is a small lawn, 
where the soldiers are drilled and exercised. 

The Canadian fencible regiment is commanded 
by Colonel Shank, who resides at Three Rivers. 
It was formerly raised in Scotland, and consisted 
of a thousand men ; but in consequence of some 
misunderstanding the soldiers, who were all 
married men with large families, refused to em 
bark for Canada : upon which the regiment was 
disbanded, and the officers, together with some of 
the non-commissioned officers, were sent out to 
Canada to recruit in that country. They have 
been out upwards of three years, and procured (in 
1808) about 500 men, the majority of whom are 
French Canadians : there are also many Ameri 
cans from the United States among them. Most 
of the officers are Scotchmen, and were employed 
in the American war : for their services on that 
occasion they had grants of land in the country. 
Colonel Shank particularly distinguished himself 
in some engagements during that contest. He 
afterwards commanded the Queen s Rangers, and 


received from government a large tract of land in 
Upper Canada. The French Canadians make to 
lerable steady soldiers ; but the Europeans that 
are picked up in different parts of the country are 
generally a drunken dissolute set, and give the 
officers a great deal of trouble by their frequent 
desertion. The province, of late years, has paid 
the inhabitants 10 or 111. for every deserter they 
apprehend, and this has made the people very 
alert, so that few now can escape out of the coun 
try. In 1807 a Frenchman lost his life in at 
tempting to apprehend two deserters of the 4C)th 
regiment. The soldiers had gone off with their 
muskets and a supply of ammunition. As soon 
as it was known, a party of the militia of Three 
Rivers was ordered out to intercept them. After 
some time they were traced to a barn in the neigh 
bourhood of Be9ancour: the militia, amounting 
to thirty or forty persons, surrounded the build 
ing, and while two of them were endeavouring to 
force the door open, one of the deserters inside 
fired his piece, and shot one of them through the 
body. This frightened the rest of the party so 
much that, together with their commanding officer, 
they took to their heels and made their escape ; 
being of opinion that e those who fight and run, 
away, may live to fight another day. The de 
serters were taken a few days after by a party of 
the Canadian fencibles under Captain de Haren, 


and were both hung at Three Rivers for the mur 
der. The sheriff with great difficulty procured a 
man to hang them, for which he paid him upwards 
of twenty guineas. 

The remains of two redoubts, or fortifications, 
thrown up by the English army in the American 
war, are still visible on the common, and upon, 
the hill at the back of the town. The latter com 
mands the whole of Three Rivers, and is furnished 
with a well in the centre for supplying the sol 
diers with water. A large cross is erected near 
the spot, adorned with the instruments used at the 
crucifixion of our Saviour, and other ornaments. 
From this redoubt I drew the view of Three Rivers 
which accompanies this work. 

There are several small taverns or public- 
houses in Three Rivers, kept by French Cana 
dians ; but only one decent house for the accom 
modation of respectable travellers, and that unfor 
tunately is kept by an old lady who is more fond 
of scolding her customers than obliging them. 
Few gentlemen who are strangers to her humour 
ever stop at her house without experiencing the 
effects of her tongue. They enter the tavern in 
an authoritative manner, expecting to find its in 
habitants as pliant and submissive as their brethren 
in England ; instead of which the old lady either 
turns upon her heel, and disdains to notice them, 
or, sticking her arms a-kimbo, asks them by what 


authority they give themselves such airs, and often 
shows them to the door. As to the gentlemen s 
servants who frequently affect more than their 
masters, she never hesitates to turn them out of 
the house if they refuse to put up with the 

Colonel T , inspecting field officer of the 
militia, in Canada, who had recently arrived from 
England, met with a curious reception from the 
old lady in passing through Three Rivers for 
Montreal. He put up at her house for the even 
ing, and asked for rooms for his family and ser 
vants : " There is one room, and here is another," 
says she ; " they are all you can have in my house, 
and if you don t like them you may go elsewhere. * 
" Do you know who I am ?" says the Colonel. 

" No," says Mrs. A , " nor do I care a d n 

who you are." " Then you must know, madam, 

that I am Colonel T , inspecting field officer, 

&c." " I don t care who the devil you are," re 
joined the old lady ; " I have had Colonels, ge 
nerals, princes, and majors in my house, and don t 
care a fig for them more than other people. There s 
the two rooms ; if you don t choose to put up with 
them, you may leave the house." The Colonel 
thought it most prudent to lower his tone a little, 
and make the best he could of the old woman 
and her rooms till the next morning, when he set 
off for Montreal. Mrs. A-, nevertheless, has 


her good qualities, for though she gives every one 
to understand, that her terms are six shillings a 
day, eat or not eat, in her house ; yet if they do 
not give themselves the airs of great people, she 
seldom charges for more than what they actually 
receive. But she is the complete Wapping land 
lady, swears like a trooper, scolds from morning 
to night when the whim takes her, and delights 
in what she calls humbling the great folks. To 
those who are unacquainted with her humour, it 
is rather unpleasant putting up at her house. 
She, however, prides herself on having every 
thing neat r clean, and well cooked ; and it being 
the only British tavern in the town, she does not 
fail to take advantage of her customers. 

This old lady is the mother of the nun who 
I mentioned had entered the convent after the 
death of her husband, and abjured her religion. 
She has also two sons, one of them is an apothe 
cary of some eminence at Montreal. 

There is only one private boarding-house at 
Three Rivers. It is kept by an English gentle 
woman, whose husband was formerly a respectable 
merchant at Montreal. Her terms are reasonable, 
and some of the officers of the Canadian regiment 
board at her house, which is more convenient for 
those who remain any time in the town, than 
living at the Tavern. 

The trade of Three Rivers is confined chiefly 
VOL, i a i 


to the supplying of the inhabitants of the town 
and surrounding country with European manu 
factured goods and West India produce. The 
family of the Harts, who are Jews, carry on nearly 
all the business that is transacted in the town. 
There are four brothers, three of whom reside in 
Three Rivers, and have separate stores. The 
other, Alexander Hart, resides at Montreal. They 
arp said to be possessed of considerable property, 
and besides the stores which they keep, deal 
largely in furs, potash, &c. One of them is a ma 
nufacturer of pot and pearl-ash, and a brewer of 
ale and spruce beer. They purchase most of the 
furs brought down from the interior by a small 
party of Indians who pay an annual visit to 
Three Rivers. This trade, which a century and 
a half ago was the total support of the town, is 
now greatly diminished. The agents of the 
North-west Company are scattered over every part 
of the interior, and much money has been sunk in 
order to monopolize the whole of the fur trade. 
But a few of the Indians from the back country 
choose to bring their furs to the Harts at Three 
Rivers, and receive European goods and money 
in exchange, very often to a considerable amount. 
An Indian once gave Mr. E. Hart 60 guineas for 
a clock, and five guineas for a brilliant ring to 
decorate the finger of his squaw. A store-keeper 
of Three Rivers told me, that an Indian one day 


asked him the price of a small chest of gunpowder 
tea, which he had in his store for sale ; but think 
ing it was only idle curiosity that made him ask, 
he told him, rather roughly, to go about his busi 
ness. Upon this the Indian immediately went to 
another store, a few doors further, and gave four 
or five guineas for a little canister of that fine tea, 
which he carried away with him under his dirty 
blanket. Many of the Indians, who are fond of 
dress, will go to a great expense in the purchase 
of silver ornaments, and superfine scarlet or blue 
cloth, coloured silk, &c. with which they deco 
rate themselves in a costly manner. During their 
stay, they encamp about a mile from the town, 
and are generally in a state of intoxication the 
whole time, so that when they return in the au 
tumn to their hunting-grounds they have most 
commonly spent all their money. They are then 
obliged to go in debt to the Harts, sometimes to 
the amount of several hundred dollars, which they 
punctually repay in furs the following year. But 
if they die in the mean time, the money is lost. 

There are but few other stores of any consider 
ation in Three Rivers, and they are kept chiefly 
by French people. Mr Burns, who keeps a store 
by the water-side, has the advantage of the rest, 
being a licensed auctioneer ; so that, whenever 
he finds business a little flat, he advertises an 
2 i 2 


auction on the morning of the market days, when 
the Habitans come over from the opposite shore 
to dispose of their provisions, and frequently 
takes thirty or forty pounds on those occasions. 
The stores of Canada contain almost every de 
scription of goods that can be named, and exhibit 
a motley collection of woollen-drapery, haber 
dashery, hosiery, linen-drapery, grocery, cheese- 
mongery, stationery, ironmongery, and the con 
tents of the oil-shop, the gin-shop, and the wine- 
vaults. The store-keepers charge from 50 to 100 
per cent, profit upon most of their goods, and 
sometimes a great deal more. The Harts import 
a considerable portion of their goods from England, 
the rest they purchase at the Quebec auctions ; 
they also deal largely in pot and pearl-ashes and 
furs, which they remit to England. 

A store belonging to Messrs. Munro and Bell, 
of Quebec, is established at Three Rivers, for the 
sale of the cast-iron stoves, potash kettles, and 
bar-iron, manufactured at the St. Maurice forges, 
which belong to those gentlemen. The store is 
superintended by Mr. Graves, and the forges by 
Mr. M Cauley. In consequence of an invitation 
from these gentlemen during my stay at Three 
Rivers in August 1808, a party of us went to see 
the iron-works. The road to them is through the 
woods, at the back of the town, over an elevated 


sandy soil diversified with gentle acclivities, and 
covered with a variety of fir and pine-trees ; none 
of them, however, grow to any great height. 

After a pleasant ride of about eight miles, we 
came to the verge of a lofty cliff, down which 
the road meanders into an extensive valley where 
the works are situated. Here the manufactories, 
the furnaces, forges, and work -shops ; the barns, 
stables, and out-houses ; the habitations of the 
superintendant and work people belonging to the 
establishment, with their little gardens and plan 
tations, form altogether a small town. The river 
St. Maurice, which runs close by the side of the 
valley, between two lofty banks covered with 
trees, considerably heightens the beauty of the 
scene, and, with the surrounding woods and 
distant mountains, renders its situation truly ro 
mantic. The works are conducted by a superin 
tendant and two clerks, with a foreman to each 
branch of business. There is one foundry, with 
a large furnace for the purpose of casting stove 
plates, potash kettles, machinery for mills, &c. 
I saw the process of modelling and casting, which 
is conducted with much skill. It was a remark 
ably hot day, and when they began to cast the 
heat was intolerable. The men dipped their la 
dles into the melted ore, and carried it from the 
furnace to the moulds, with which the floor of the 
foundry was covered. After they were all filled^ 


they took off the frames while the stove plates and 
potash kettles were red hot, and swept off the 
sand with a broom and water. The sand for 
moulding is imported in casks from England ; and 
I was told that each cask costs them upwards of 
nine dollars. The sand of the country, which is 
in abundance in the vicinity of the forges, does 
not answer for that work. Forty or fifty horses 
are employed, and upwards of 300 men, more or 
less, according to the work in hand. They make 
use of charcoal only, for melting the ore ; and the 
neighbouring woods supply them with abundance 
of fir and pine for that purpose. It is reckoned 
superior to mineral coal for the use of the furnace. 
A great portion of the men are employed in 
making the charcoal and carting it to the works, 
digging ore, and conducting the batteaux on the 
St. Maurice to and from the store at Three 
Rivers. The river answers extremely well for 
that kind of craft, but is not deep enough for 
larger vessels ; the current is also very rapid in 
many places. 

The works were established by the French in 
1/37. The individuals who formed themselves 
into a company could not make them answer, 
and the works were purchased by the crown : 
but, from mismanagement, they could never be 
brought to pay the expenses attending them. 
Yet an intendant and upwards of fourteen clerks 


contrived to grow rich upon the loss. They made 
the stove plates at that time two inches thick / 
The hammers at the forges, the bellows at the 
foundry, and some other machinery, are worked 
by water ; only bar iron and ploughshares are 
made at the forges. The iron is reckoned equal, 
if not superior, to the best Swedish iron : it is 
extremely malleable, and rusts but little ; it is 
preferred by the Canadians to any other iron. I 
have heard that the present proprietors of the 
works, at the commencement of their taking them, 
in order to push the sale of their bar iron, which 
was at that time inconsiderable, purchased a large 
stock of very inferior British iron, and knowing 
that the Habitans regarded the price more than 
the quality, they sold it to them for a trifle less 
than the Three Rivers iron ; but the British iron 
was so bad, that when they came to use it, "sacre 
diable," they would have no more ; and the next 
time bought the Three Rivers iron, which being 
really of a good quality, has continued in reputa 
tion among them ever since. 

The workmen are paid according to the quan 
tity of work they perform. The forges are going 
night and day, and the men are relieved every six 
hours. But at the foundry, only the men em 
ployed in supplying the furnace work in the same 
manner ; those who cast and finish the stoves, 
&c. work from sun-rise to sun- set, which is the 


usual time among the French Canadians all the 
year round ; a great advantage is therefore derived 
by carrying on any work in summer instead of 
winter. The workpeople are chiefly French Ca 
nadians, a few English only being employed in 
making models, and as foremen or principal work 
men. The iron work is sent to the store at Three 
Rivers in batteaux, and shipped by Mr. Graves 
to Quebec, or Montreal, as required ; or sold to 
the people of the neighbourhood. They make 
about 1000 stoves per annum ; the small single 
stoves sell for 3/. and the larger sort for 61. each. 
The double stoves, which have an oven at the top. 
are sold for 10 or 12/. according to the size. 
Potash kettles sell from 20 to 25 /. each. Fresh 
veins of ore are daily discovered, and purchased 
at a trifling price of the people in whose land it 
is found. Messrs. Munro arid Bell had incurred 
great expense in collecting ore and improving the 
works at the expiration of their lease in 1806, and 
would have given 1,200/. per annum, it is said, 
rather than it should have gone into any other 
hands. They certainly deserve great praise for 
their liberal exertions, which though of course 
prompted by their own interest are yet very bene 
ficial to the colony. A fair bargain might, how 
ever, have been struck between them and the 
government, for surely 6o/. per annum is too little 
for what they had before paid 800/. per annum, 


and particularly as the works are in a progressive 
state of improvement and prosperity.* 

Most of the large bark canoes for the North 
west Company are made at Three Rivers ; and 
several women in the town make a variety of hand 
some toys, pocket-books, purses, work-baskets, 
pin-cushions, &c. of bark, curiously ornamented 
with flowers worked on the bark with elk hair 
dyed of various colours. The Indians make a few 
bark works of an inferior description. 

At a short distance from the town there is a 
brick-maker, and I believe the only one in Ca 
nada. The bricks are nearly of the same size as 
those in England, but not quite so thick ; they 
are of a deep red, and are made in a peculiar 
manner. Instead of throwing the clay in a mould, 
it is spread out to a great extent on a smooth piece 
of ground, of the thickness of one brick, the clay 
is then cut into parallelograms, each of which is 
afterwards subdivided into nine bricks ; they are 
then left to dry, and when sufficiently hard, are 
taken up and piled in stacks, after which they 
are formed into a kiln and burnt as in England. 
I do not think this method of brick- making is so 
easy and expeditious as ours ; it is, however, prac 
tised in the East Indies and some other parts. 

* I understand that these forges have since been relet to 
Munro and Bell upon more equitable terms. 


The genteel society of Three Rivers is very 
small, and consists of the officers of the Canadian 
regiment, the provincial judge, sheriff, English 
and French advocates ; the Protestant arid Catho 
lic clergy ; the grand voyer of the district ; the 
colonel of militia ; and the family of the Harts, 
who are the only merchants or store-keepers that 
are classed among the gentry of Three Rivers. 
The persons whom I have enumerated form with 
their families, and a few other individuals, the 
whole of the higher order of society in that town. 
It might naturally be expected that among so 
few the utmost harmony and good-will would 
prevail ; but unfortunately, that is not the case, 
for not half a dozen people in the place can be 
said to associate together in real friendship. 

In a small town it happens that the private his 
tories of its inhabitants are easily known to each 
other, and it is seldom but there is something in 
them which affords room for satirical animadver 
sion. One of the greatest weaknesses of human 
nature is the delight which people seem to take 
in pointing out the blemishes of their neighbours 
rather than their good qualities. They think by 
such exposure to hide their own delects, and that 
they will not be suspected of doing that which 
they condemn in others ; it is this which gives 
rise to what is called scandal. In small societies, 
there is also a continual struggle and competition 


for pre-eminence ; every one wishes to be thought 
of more consequence than his neighbour; and 
whether it is birth, riches, personal qualifications, 
or the possession of an office, each prides himself 
on that which in his opinion gives him a supe 
riority over the rest, whom he treats with con 
tempt in proportion as he values his own conse 
quence. These, to be sure, are frailties to which 
mankind are more or less subject ; but they are 
such as should be corrected and guarded against as 
much as any other faults which we may be guilty of. 
Perhaps there is no crime more injurious to the 
well-being and comfort of society than scandal ; 
it destroys the peace and happiness of individuals, 
introduces discord in families, and cuts asunder 
the social and friendly ties which ought to bind 
us to each other. All confidence is destroyed be 
tween man and man, and each becomes a spy 
upon the other s conduct; slight blemishes are 
then magnified into heinous vices, and good ac 
tions distorted into selfish views or ostentatious 
extravagance. In short, it unhinges the human 
frame, and transforms the image of God into a 
fiend of darkness. 

Notwithstanding the society of Three Rivers 
is thus broken and disjointed at times, it is some 
thing in its favour, that the bickerings and disputes 
which prevail among the inhabitants are engen 
dered by the elections which have taken place 


within the last two or three years, and not by ma 
licious or quarrelsome dispositions. Before that 
period the people of Three Rivers, I am told, were 
remarkable for their friendly and social habits. 
The best friends, it is said, become the worst 
enemies, and the election of Mr. Ezekiel Hart to 
a seat in the provincial parliament seems to have 
been the torch which has set the whole town in a 

The family of the Harts having acquired very 
considerable property, they naturally wished to 
acquire importance with it, and the eldest brother 
started as a candidate at the election of 1807, upon 
the death of one of the members of the provincial 
parliament ; though God knows there is but little 
consequence or respect attached to a seat in that 
house. The father of the Harts originally emi 
grated from England to Canada, and during the 
American war acquired property to a consider 
able amount. He settled at Three Rivers, where 
he opened an extensive store. He died about six 
or seven years ago, and left the bulk of his pro 
perty to his children, three of whom have since 
opened separate stores. By indefatigable attention 
to business, and profiting by the follies of others, 
they have each realized a large property, most of 
which, that is not employed in trade, consists of 
houses and land situated in seigniories and town 
ships; the greatest part of which has been bought 


remarkably cheap at sheriffs sales. Their pro 
perty has thus given them much influence among 
the people in the town and district, many of whom 
are beholden to them for assistance. 

At the election, which was sharply contested, 
Mr. Ezekiel Hart was chosen. The idea of a 
tradesman, and a Jew, being elected a member of 
parliament, naturally irritated the unsuccessful 
candidates and their party so much, that the 
flames of acrimonious party spirit immediately 
spread through the town, and have never yet been 
extinguished. Their violence has in some degree 
subsided, but the embers still smother in secret. 
When Mr. Hart attended at Quebec to take his 
seat, he met with violent opposition from the 
French members, upon the ground of his religion ; 
and though he took the prescribed oath, they 
would not allow him to sit. These gentlemen 
surely opposed him with a very ill grace, if it was 
merely on account of his religion ; but I rather 
suspect, they wished to keep the majority on their 
side, and, if possible, to get a French instead of 
an English member into the house. The laws 
which permit them to sit in the house contain 
no disqualifying clause on account of religion. 
When the parliament was dissolved in the sum 
mer of 1808, by the new Governor-general, Mr. 
Hart was again chosen for the town of Three 
Rivers by a large majority. As the parliament 


did not meet till the following winter, I had 
not an opportunity of ascertaining whether he 
was permitted to take his seat. In a country 
like Canada, where the number of French so far 
exceeds that of the British settlers, and where 
every religion is tolerated without any prejudice 
or hindrance whatever to its professors, surely it 
would be a great hardship to deprive a man of 
property, a good subject, and possessing abilities 
inferior to few who already sit there, of a seat in 
the provincial parliament, merely because he was 
a Jew. The laws of Canada do not authorize 
such a thing, nor ought the British government 
to suffer it. The whole family of the Harts, what 
ever might have been their origin, (and I have 
my doubts whether it is inferior to nine-tenths of 
the present British settlers in Canada,) are respect 
able both for their conduct and situation in life ; 
and it is generally allowed that, without them, 
Three Rivers would, in point of commerce, lose 
what little importance it at present possesses. 

The amiable family of Mr. Ross Cuthbert, as 
it is the first in the town for respectability, so it is 
the foremost in endeavouring to reconcile the 
differences of its neighbours, and to suppress the 
little jealousies and party feuds that agitate the 
place. Mr. Ross Cuthbert is the youngest of 
three brothers, who are proprietors of the seigniory 
of Berthier. He is also an eminent advocate^ 

MR. GUGY. 4Q5 

and as much distinguished for his talents, and 
for his free, open, and generous character, as his 
sister (who resides with him) is distinguished for 
her beauty, accomplishments, and amiable dispo 
sition. Mrs. Ross Cuthbert is a very charming 
woman, and daughter of the celebrated Dr. Rush 
of Philadelphia. 

Mr. Gugy, the sheriff, is a Swiss gentleman, 
and formerly held a commission in one of the 
Swiss regiments under Louis XVI. ; but in con 
sequence of the Revolution went over to Canada 
with his father and the rest of the family, and 
settled upon the seigniory of Machiche, which 
had devolved to them on the death of a relation. 
Mr. Gugy possesses an amiable, gentlemanly cha 
racter, and talents that deserve a post of more im 
portance than the shrievalty of Three Rivers. The 
profits of that office are fluctuating, but generally 
average about 500/. per annum, which arises chiefly 
out of the sale of lands, and from law- suits. A son 
of the celebrated Judge Blackstone occupied the 
office of sheriff a few years ago, but in conse 
quence of some inattention to the duties of the 
situation was superseded. I have been told that 
Mr. Blackstone was rather harshly treated in that 
affair. He still resides at Three Rivers as a pri 
vate gentleman, upon a small annuity. He was 
educated at the University of Oxford, and is said 
to be possessed of considerable abilities. 


A French gentleman of the name of D Aille- 
boust resides in the town, whose ancestor was 
governor of Three Rivers and Montreal nearly a 
century and a half ago. He possesses a respect 
able independency, which enables him to pass his 
time agreeably, by gallanting the ladies in the 
morning, and playing at whist, cribbage, or 
piquet with them in the evening. He is a plea 
sant, lively man, and is in much request at the 
Three River routs, tea parties, conversazioni and 
petits soupers. 

The amusements of Three Rivers consist of the 
beforementioned parties, and a few dances in the 
winter. Sometimes assemblies are held at one of 
the taverns ; in which there is a subscription ball 
once a fortnight during the winter season : but 
unless the genteel part of the society are on good 
terms with each other, very few attend, and 
scrcely enough can be found to make up a dance. 
In the winter of 1807 the military gentlemen 
subscribed, but would not attend because some 
persons were admitted whom they disapproved of; 
in consequence of which there was a paucity of 
gentlemen, which obliged the ladies to take one 
another for partners, and dance down by them 

Concerts and plays are unknown in Three 
Rivers, unless sometimes a few strollers arrive 
from the States, and pass through the town on 


their way to Quebec. The last summer I was 
there, a man arid his wife amused the inhabitants 
for a few nights by dancing blindfold over a dozen 
eggs, singing Tid-re-i, and murdering some of the 
finest passages in English plays. 

The post from Quebec and Montreal arrives at 
Three Rivers on Tuesdays and Fridays, in the 
forenoon. The couriers, after delivering their 
letters for this town at the post-office, receive the 
letters for the other towns, and continue on their 
route, the pne for Montreal and the other for 
Quebec. The courier from Montreal generally 
arrives an hour or two earlier than the other, 
which gives the inhabitants time to answer the 
letters of their Montreal correspondents before the 
Quebec post arrives ; but they are obliged to wait 
an interval of two or three days, till the next post 
day, before they can answer the letters of their 
Quebec correspondents, as the courier from Mont 
real proceeds immediately on his route to Quebec, 
after delivering his letters at Three Rivers. This 
is a great inconvenience to the inhabitants of that 
town, particularly those in business. It might, 
however, be easily remedied by a regulation en 
joining the couriers to be at Three Rivers together 
at a certain hour, and to wait one hour after the 
delivery of their letters before they departed for 
Quebec and Montreal. This interval would be 
sufficient to afford the inhabitants an opportunity 

VOL. i. 2 K 


of immediately answering their correspondents at 
both towns. 

The market is held twice a week on the post 
days; and in general the supplies are scarcely 
sufficient for the consumption of the town. The 
country people come from Champlain across the 
St. Maurice river, and from JBeqancour on the op 
posite shore of the St. Lawrence. They arrive at 
Three Rivers in the summer as early as five o clock 
in the morning, and most of the inhabitants are 
in the market-place frequently an hour before 
their arrival, in order to have their choice of the 
provisions. By eight o clock the market is gene 
rally over. A law prevails which forbids the 
country people from selling their provisions before 
they are taken to the market-place ; but the gen 
tlemen (for the ladies very rarely go to market) 
are so eager to purchase, that they go down to the 
water side, look over the provisions in the canoes, 
single out whatever they prefer, and follow the 
Habitans into the market, where they purchase it. 
In consequence of this eagerness some curious 
scuffles frequently take place for the possession of 
a brace of partridges, a quarter of lamb, or a fine 
salmon. A little member of parliament, one morn 
ing, having singled out a couple of fowls in the 
Habitant s canqe, followed the man to the market, 
intending to purchase them. It so happened, 
however, that a tall colonel of the army at that 


very moment fixed his eyes upon the same fowls, 
without knowing that any person had bought them 
(as it were by anticipation) before him. No sooner, 
therefore, did the Habitant arrive in the market 
place than the colonel immediately pounced upon 
the fowls, and asked the price of them ; for it is a 
custom in the Canadian markets to take possession 
of the article first, and bargain afterwards ; other 
wise, while one was haggling another would throw 
down the money and go off with it. Scarce had 
the colonel grasped the poultry when the little 
member of parliament, whose attention had been 
called off by a fine large salmon that had just ar 
rived, looked up in the officer s face and cried out, 
" Sir, they are my fowls." " How came they to 
be yours," said the officer, " when I followed the 
man to the market?" "I followed him first/ 
replied the other. " But I got possession first," re 
joined the officer: and as possession is nine points 
of the law, he was determined to keep the poultry. 
Some sharp words, however, escaped from the little 
man, and the officer shook a large stick over his 
head, which caused the member of parliament to 
jump from one side of the market-place to the 
other, for one blow would perhaps have annihilated 
him ; upon which the officer marched off tri 
umphantly with his fowls. 

Many of the females at Three Rivers are trou 
bled with wens, swelled necks, and other disorders 
2 K; 2 


of the throat, as mumps, swelling of the glands, Sec. 
In other parts of Canada there are but few who 
are afflicted with those complaints ; but in Three 
Rivers they seem to be more general, particularly 
among the women. I have never heard the cause 
of them satisfactorily accounted for. Some are of 
opinion that they are occasioned by the well-water 
of the town ; others, that they are caused by the 
water of the St. Lawrence, which is impregnated 
with snow and ice upwards of six months in the 
year. If swelled necks were occasioned by snow 
water, I should think they would not be so pecu 
liar to Three Rivers, and that they would prevail 
equally at Quebec and Montreal, where the river- 
water is used in abundance. It is certain, how 
ever, that in some of the mountainous parts of 
Switzerland and Styria the women have large 
wens and swellings on their necks, called by phy 
sicians bromhocele, which are supposed to arise 
from the frequent use of snow-water. It is pos 
sible, therefore, that the same disease in Canada 
may arise, in some measure, from a similar cause. 

In other respects Three Rivers is favourable to 
health, and possesses a more steady climate than 
Quebec, which being situated in the neighbour 
hood of so many lofty mountains, is oftener sub 
ject to rain and frequent variations of the weather. 
In the summer of ISO? Three Rivers was visited 
by the influenza, which had proceeded gradually 


from south to north, through the United States to 
Canada, like a destructive blast. In the southern 
parts of the continent it was so violent as to occa 
sion the death of several persons ; but before it 
reached Canada its force was nearly spent. It was 
nevertheless sufficient to afford plenty of employ 
ment for the medical gentlemen. At Quebec the 
symptoms were much slighter than at Montreal 
and Three Rivers, where some people were con 
fined to their beds upwards of a fortnight with it. 

A mad girl, about twenty years of age, is con 
fined in a little hut under the care of a French 
Canadian a short distance from the town. She is 
chained to the side of the room on account of her 
violence. The winter before last she was suffered 
to go about, to the disgrace of the town. She is 
now under the care of commissioners appointed 
by an act of the provincial parliament to provide 
for the maintenance of insane persons and idiots. 
This lunatic is the only instance in Three Rivers ; 
but in Quebec and Montreal there are several who 
are permitted to stroll about the streets, and are 
often a great nuisance to the inhabitants. One of 
them, at Quebec, I have frequently seen beat his 
head against a stone wall, uttering the most im 
pious curses : for it unfortunately happens, that if 
any money is given them, they immediately spend 
it in rum, and thus increase their paroxysms of 
madness or idiotism. As there are hospitals for 


their reception, it is disgraceful to permit them to 
be at large. 

Small as the town of Three Rivers is, the 
number of foundlings placed under the care of 
a poor person to bring up is equal, in proportion 
to its population, to the number of children at the 
Foundling Hospital in London. It would be cre 
ditable to the inhabitants of Three Rivers could 
I say that they are as well taken care of as in Lon 
don : but the contrary is the case ; for, in conse 
quence of the scanty allowance for their support, 
little attention is paid to them, and I am told that 
few live to maturity. This culpable neglect is 
highly disgraceful ; for there either ought not to 
be a receptacle of the kind, or it should be placed 
upon a respectable footing. 



Leave Three River Voyage to Montreal Point 
du Lac Baron de Be$ancour Lake St. Peter 
Machiche River du Loup Richlieu Islands 
Town of Sorel Horrid Murders Captain 
Sorel Chambly Boucherville Eagle Island 
Island of Montreal Rapids* Incredible An 
ecdoteIsland of St. Helen- City of Montreal 
Jgnorance of a Pilot ^Interior of Montreal-? 
Dillons Hotel-?- Parade M TavisKs Monu 
ment Convents Franciscan Friars Paul- 
Street Notre Dame StreetsView of Montreal 
Theatre Public Amusements Hospitality 
Ship-building Advice to Gentlemen respecting 
European Servants Useful Hints Markets 
Turnpike Road Fisit to La Chine-=r- Indian 
Department Visit to the Indians at Cacheno- 
naga Indian Doll Chevalier Lorimier Dis 
tressing Event Providential Deliverance- Ad 
ventures of Captain John His Daughter Love 
and Revenge Roman Catholic Funerals Leave 

ON the 3 1st of October 1807 I left Three Rivers 
for Montreal, in order to proceed to the United 
States, where I intended to pass the winter pre r 


vious to my return to England. There being a 
fair wind up the river, I embarked on board a large 
schooner with a good stock of provisions for the 
voyage. The master of the vessel, M. Boudrow, 
was a respectable young Canadian who had origi 
nally been bred to the law, but had quitted the 
desk for the deck. About four in the afternoon 
we got under weigh, but proceeded no further than 
the entrance to Lake St. Peter, where we anchored 
for the night. The accommodation on board was 
wretched, and I had to sleep upon the cabin lockers, 
wrapped up in my great coat. We lay about nine 
miles from Three Rivers, between the seigniory of 
Nicolet on the south-east shore and Point du Lac 
on the north-west shore. The seigniories of Ni- 
colet, Godefroi, Be^ancour, Gentily, &c. on the 
south-east are extremely fertile, well-settled, and 
yield large crops of wheat. The small lake St. 
Paul, situated in Beqancour, and discharging itself 
into the St. Lawrence by a small river that runs 
through Godefroi, adds greatly to the value of the 
land in its vicinity ; and the neat farms along its 
shores give it a delightful appearance. The village 
and seigniory of Beqancour received their name 
from the Baron de Beqancour, grand surveyor of 
the highways, and grand master of the waters and 
forests of New France. This nobleman resided 
about a century ago at the entrance of Begancour 
River, formerly called Riviere Puante/ or Stink 
ing River, in consequence of the waters having 


been infected by the dead bodies of a number of 
Indians who were slain while coming down the 
river in their canoes: their enemies lay in am 
bush, and sent a few of their warriors on the river 
as a decoy ; the others fell into the snare and were 
massacred. The Baron carried on a lucrative trade 
for furs with the Indians who lived in the village, 
but his extensive seigniory was not settled till 
1750. It now belongs to Colonel Bruyere of the 
engineers ; and a small fief to Mr. Ezekiel Hart. 
Several of the Abenaquis Indians still inhabit the 
village of Beqancour, and possess a small island in 
the river. 

On the north-west shore the soil from Three 
Rivers to Point da Lac, and for several miles 
above and below those places, is of a light sandy 
nature, intermixed in several places with a sort of 
clay or marl, which occasions it to be more pro 
ductive than it otherwise would be. The seigniory 
of Point du Lac is the property of Mrs. Montour, 
the widow of a gentleman formerly a partner in 
the North-west Company. He retired with about 
20,OOO /. with which he purchased the seigniory, 
and erected a handsome dwelling-house, large 
flour and saw-mills, &c. If he had managed his 
concerns with prudence, he migh have increased 
his fortune to a great extent ; but his style of liv 
ing, his free and generous disposition, were ill 
calculated for the accumulation of property. His 


house, being situated near the post-road, was a 
house of call for all his numerous acquaintance, 
who ate, drank, and slept there, whenever they 
travelled that road. In a few years his money was 
gone, and most of those who had basked in the sun 
shine of his prosperity took their leave. This too 
often happens with the gentlemen of the North 
west Company who retire from the concern. They 
emerge suddenly into civilized life, after a banish 
ment of many years in dreary forests and among 
a race of savages ; and are apt to be dazzled by the 
glare of refinement and luxury, whose temptations 
are too powerful to be resisted. Hence they are fre- 
uently led into error and extravagance, which ulti 
mately despoil them of their hard-earned property. 

The next morning at day-break we got under 
weigh ; but the wind falling off, we could but 
just reach the other end of the lake, and came to 
anchor near one of the Richlieu islands, situated 
within two or three miles of the town of Sorel. 
The lake is twenty-one miles in length, and about 
eighteen in breadth. This part of the River St. 
Lawrence is very shallow, and vessels drawing 
twelve feet water frequently get aground. In the 
spring it is somewhat deeper ; but the large vessels 
from Europe seldom arrive in time to go up to 
Montreal so early in the season. I should think 
that greater depths of water might be found if the 
lake was properly surveyed : at present vessels 


keep only in one channel, which has but little 
more than twelve feet water. The current of Lake 
St. Peter is very slight, and requires little wind 
for stem it. 

On the north-west shore, from Point du Lac, 
are the seigniories of Machiche, River du Loup, 
Maskinonge, York, and Berthier. They are re 
markable for their fertility, and the plentiful crops 
of wheat which they produce. They have also each 
a small village in the vicinity of the parish church. 
That of River du Loup is prettily situated on the 
border of the river of that name, which disem 
bogues itself into the lake. The church, which 
is of unusual size, and evinces the populousness of 
the seigniory, has been built in a costly manner ; 
and many of the Habitans have paid fifty or sixty 
pounds towards the building of it. It has two lofty 
spires covered with tin ; but they seem to have 
lost their perpendicular position, though lately 
erected. In the month of August 1808, after my 
return from the States, I travelled by land from 
Three Rivers to Montreal, and had an opportunity 
of passing through these seigniories. They appear 
better cultivated, and in a higher state of improve 
ment than any other part of Lower Canada below 
Montreal. The farmers are wealthy and numerous, 
and the land rich and productive. In many places 
I noticed large patches of fine hemp, above seven 
feet in height ; the seed had been roughly thrown 


on the ground, and it came up without having 
had the least care or attention bestowed upon it. 

The seigniories on the south-west shore of the 
lake are nearly as fertile, and yield plentiful crops 
of wheat. The inhabitants are not so numerous, 
owing most likely to the disadvantage of not hav 
ing a post-road on their side of the river ; but they 
are possessed of considerable property. The islands 
of Richlieu, situated at the south-west entrance of 
the lake, and amongst which we lay at anchor, are 
numerous, and of various sizes ; they lie between 
the seigniories of Berthier and Ymasca. Several 
of them are partly cleared of their woods, and 
afford good pasturage for cattle. They lie very 
low, and are always overflowed in the spring, when 
the lake is swelled by the melting of the ice and 
snow. They abound with a variety of wild fowl, 
principally duck and teal. I do not understand 
there are any animals upon them except those of 
a domestic nature. As we had to remain among 
these islands the next day in consequence of a foul 
wind, I amused myself by going ashore to the one 
nearest the vessel. It was covered with trees of 
a small growth, chiefly ash and birch, and with 
a variety of shrubs, brush-wood, and long grass. 
The wild grape vines were entwined round the 
trees in great plenty, and a few bunches were still 
hanging upon them. On the island was a small 
hut, in which we found an old French woman. 


Her husband was gone round on the othe"r side to 
fish. They reside there during the summer, and 
fish in the narrow channels formed by the cluster 
of islands. 

The next morning we weighed anchor, and in 
half an hour were clear of the islands. A gentle 
breeze carried us slowly past the town of Sorel 
on our left : it is situated at the entrance of the 
Richlieu, Chambly, or Sorel river, (for it has all 
three names), which runs into Lake Champlain, 
and has a respectable appearance from the water : 
it is somewhat smaller than Three Rivers, and is 
inhabited by several English and French families. 
The streets are prettily laid out, but the houses 
are yet very thinly scattered. Sorel, indeed, 
seems rather on the decline, both in wealth and 
population ; and the few stores that are kept 
there are mostly dependent upon the merchants 
of Montreal and Quebec. Its trade is confined 
to supplying the inhabitants of the town and 
neighbourhood with English manufactured goods, 
West India produce, &c. The little importance 
that was formerly attached to Sorel, arose from 
the ship-building carried on there for some years ; 
but of late that has entirely ceased. 

The country people in the vicinity are mostly 
employed as voyageurs in the North-west fur- 
trade, and the cultivation of their small farms is 
left to their wives and children. When they return 


home, they seldom bring more than enough to 
support them during the winter. The soil is thus 
neglected, and the town is badly supplied with 
provisions. Three horrid murders were committed 
here about twelve or thirteen years ago. A store, 
kept by an old man, was observed one morning net 
opened as usual : the neighbours knocked at the 
door ; but not getting admittance, they broke it 
open, and discovered the old man and his niece, 
who lived with him, lying dead behind the coun 
ter. It appeared that they must have been just 
called from supper to serve the villain who had 
murdered them, for the supper things were laid 
out on the table in an adjoining parlour. The till 
was emptied of all the money, and many articles 
strewed about the floor. 

The very next night, to the dread and astonish 
ment of this little town, another man was mur 
dered in his store in a similar manner, and his 
money stolen ; but what was most surprising, the 
murderer remained undiscovered, and even unsus 
pected! nor was it ever positively ascertained who 
had been guilty of such atrocious deeds. But when 
the foreman of the ship-yard, an European, de 
camped a few days after with the wife of a trades 
man in the town, strong suspicions were enter 
tained that he was the murderer. He however 
made his escape into the United States before any 
measures could be taken to apprehend him. 


A fort was constructed originally on the site of 
the town in 1665, as a defence against the Iro- 
quois. M. de Sorel, a captain in the regiment of 
Carignon Salieres, superintended the erection of 
the works, and gave his name to the place, and to 
that part of the river in its vicinity. It is now 
called William Henry, in honour of the Duke of 
Clarence, who visited Canada about twenty-five 
years ago. The Island of St. John, in the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, has also been called Prince Edward s 
Island, in honour of the Duke of Kent ; and se 
veral other parts and places have had their names 
unnecessarily changed. It is owing to this absurd 
practice that towns and cities, venerable for their 
antiquity, or remarkable for their history, in va 
rious parts of the world, are now confounded with 
the most insignificant villages, and often occasion 
many erroneous statements in geography. 

Several miles up the Richlieu river, is Fort 
Chambly, originally a mere wooden block-house, 
but now a substantial stone building bearing some 
resemblance to a castle. It was constructed by 
M. de Chambly under the French government. 
A small detachment of troops are stationed here ; 
and a few respectable Canadians reside in the 

As we passed Sorel, the protestant and catholic 
churches, with the houses, stores, and magazines 
near the water-side, had a very pretty effect. The 


shores on both sides the St. Lawrence, together 
with the small islands interspersed in several parts 
of the river, presented a succession of beautiful 
landscapes during the remainder of my voyage 
to Montreal. The richness of the soil and the 
number of inhabitants increase as you proceed up 
the river. The houses and villages are prettily 
scattered along the banks, and intermingled with 
clusters of trees and cultivated plantations. Bon- 
cherville, a small village situated on the south 
east shore, a few miles below Montreal, is a beau 
tiful spot, and forms the quiet retreat of several of 
the old French noblesse, and people of ancient and 
respectable families. Here they spend their small 
incomes in a little society of their own, far from the 
noise and bustle of the world, and enjoy at once the 
pleasures of retirement and social intercourse. 

Near " Bout de IMsle," or the end of the island 
of Montreal, the river is intersected by a number 
of small isles and islets. One, named Eagle Island, 
is the property of Captain Cartwright of the Ca 
nadian fencibles, and was celebrated for some ex 
cellent horses which he reared upon it. It contains 
only his own house, in which he resided for several 
years with his family. The surrounding scenery 
is beautiful, and must afford a delightful retreat to 
those who are fond of rural felicity. Within view 
of this island is the ferry which crosses from the 
post-road at Repentigny to the end of the Island 


of Montreal. A bridge was formerly built over 
the river in the vicinity of this place by Mr. Por- 
teous of Terrebonne, but was carried away two or 
three years ago by the ice. The Provincial Par 
liament have recently passed an act permitting him 
to build another from Repentigny to Isle Bourdon. 

The shores of the Island of Montreal are ele 
vated several feet above the level of the river. 
The soil is uncommonly rich and fertile, and yields 
more abundant harvests than any other part of 
Lower Canada. The price of land averages from 
20 to 30 dollars per acre. The island is 30 miles 
in length^ and about seven in breadth. It belongs 
to the seminary of St. Sulpice, by which order the 
island was originally settled, about 165 years ago, 
under the Abbe Quetus, for the purpose of esta 
blishing a seminary similar to that of France. 

As our vessel approached within two miles of 
the town, we met with the strong current, or 
rapid, which runs between Montreal and the 
opposite Island of St. Helen. Though we were 
favoured with almost a gale of wind, yet the 
schooner moved very slowly through the water; 
and it often happens that vessels are baffled in 
their attempts to get up to the town. I have 
heard an anecdote related, concerning a ship from 
England, that failed in getting through this rapid* 
which, as it staggers all belief, I should not have 
noticed, had it not been mentioned as a fact by 

VOL. i. 2 L 


many people in Canada. Two ships arrived from 
England, early in the year, and went up the river 
at the same time. The one drawing less water, 
I suppose, than the other, succeeded in reaching 
the town of Montreal ; but the other not being 
able to stem the current was obliged to anchor 
below. The successful vessel, having discharged 
her cargo and taken in another, sailed for Eng 
land ; after which she returned to Canada, the 
same year, with a fresh cargo, went up the river, 
and found her companion still lying at the foot 
of the rapid ! They afterwards returned to Eng 
land together. 

The opposite Island of St. Helen belongs to the 
Baroness de Longueil : this lady married a gentle 
man of the name of Grant, and brought him very 
extensive and valuable landed property. Since 
his death, it has been divided between her and 
the children. The eldest son goes by the familiar 
appellation of BARON GRANT. 

The town of Montreal has a singular appear 
ance when viewed from the water, in consequence 
of the light-gray stone of the new buildings, and 
the tin-covered roofs of the houses, which emit 
a strong glare when the sun shines. The shipping 
lie close to the shore, which is very steep, and 
forms a kind of natural wharf, uppn which the 
vessels discharge their cargoes. About twenty 
yards back, the land rises to the height of 15 or 


20 feet ; and an artificial wharf has been con 
structed, and faced with plank ; the goods are, 
however, all shipped from, and landed upon, the 
beach below. A great many English vessels arrive 
annually at Montreal, but it is a voyage that few 
captains are willing to make a second time, if 
they can possibly avoid it, the navigation up the 
river above Quebec being very hazardous, and the 
pilots unskilful and inattentive. The vessel in 
which I came home was run broadside on one of 
the islands just below Montreal, though going 
with the wind right aft. The pilot was intoxi 
cated, and the vessel was just running through 
the wrong channel, when he ordered the helm 
hard down : it was, however, too late, and she 
went ashore : fortunately she was got off with 
little damage, and arrived at Quebec. Upon our 
departure from Quebec, for England, we met with 
another accident of a similar nature, though the 
captain had procured a fresh pilot. The man had 
taken us safe through the most difficult passage 
in the river at night ; and the next day, about 
noon, at the very moment when we were going 
along with a fair wind, he ran us upon Hare Island 
reef. There we lay for three hours in the painful 
expectation that the vessel would beat her bottom 
out, or otherwise be seriously injured, as the 
wind continued to increase, and she thumped 
violently upon a hard chalky ground. Very luckily 


it was ebb tide when the accident happened ; and 
after lightening the vessel considerably of some 
staves and spars, she floated on the return of tide. 
We were then above a hundred miles below Que 
bec ; and it would have been mortifying to have 
had to return back to repair our damages : the 
vessel, however, did not make a great deal of 
water, and we proceeded to sea, after discharging 
the pilot at Father Point. The captain was so 
sickened of his Canadian trip, which was the first 
he had made, that he swore he never would enter 
the St. Lawrence again. The North-west mer 
chants have two or three vessels of their own, 
which make an annual voyage to Canada, to carry 
home their furs, &c. 

The interior of Montreal is extremely heavy 
and gloomy. The buildings are ponderous masses 
of stone, erected with very little taste and less 
judgment. They are seldom more than two stories 
above the ground floor, including garrets. The 
doors and window-shutters are covered with large 
sheets of tin, painted of a red or lead-colour, cor 
responding with the gloomy darkness of the stone, 
of which most of the old houses are built. There 
is a heavy sameness of appearance which pervades 
all the streets, whether new or old ; nor are they 
remarkable for width, though they are for the 
most part laid out in a regular manner, The only 
open place or square in the town, except the two 


markets, is the Place d Armes, and which, under 
the French government, was the place where the 
garrison troops paraded. The French Catholic 
church occupies the whole of the east side of the 
square ; and on the south side, adjoining some 
private houses, is a very good tavern, called the 
Montreal Hotel, kept by Mr. Dillon. During 
my stay in this city I lodged at his house, and 
found it superior to any in Canada : every thing 
in it is neat, cleanly, and well conducted, and 
perfectly agreeable to an Englishman s taste. The 
old gentleman came out in the retinue of Lord 
Dorchester ; he is a very ingenious character, and 
fond of expressing his attachment to his king and 
country, by illuminations, and firing his pedereroes 
off in the square, upon His Majesty s birth-day 
and on other extraordinary occasions. While I re 
mained at his house, I found the bells of the 
French church extremely unpleasant ; they have 
a fine loud tone, but are rung in such a discordant 
manner, and so frequently, that they become quite 
a nuisance to those who are obliged to live near them. 
The town walls and fortifications, which were 
erected to protect the inhabitants against the ir 
ruptions of the Iroquois and other hostile Indians, 
are now falling to decay. A great part have been 
levelled with the ground, and an act has lately 
passed the Provincial Parliament to remove the 

518 PARADE. 

At the back of the town, just behind the new 
court-house, is the parade, where the troops are 
exercised. The ground is considerably elevated 
along this part, and forms a steep bank for several 
hundred yards in length. Here the inhabitants 
walk of an evening, and enjoy a beautiful view of 
the suburbs of St. Lawrence and St. Antoine, and 
the numerous gardens, orchards, and plantations 
of the gentry, adorned with neat and handsome 
dwelling-houses. Large green fields are inter 
spersed amidst this rich variety of objects, which 
are concentrated in an extensive valley, gradually 
rising towards a lofty mountain, that stands about 
two miles and a half distant, at the back of the 
town : from this mountain the island has taken its 
name of Montreal, or Royal Mount. It is said 
to be elevated 70 toises above the level of the 
river, and is upwards of two miles in length from 
north to south. It is covered with trees and shrubs, 
except towards its base, where some parts have 
been cleared and cultivated. A large handsome 
stone building, belonging to the widow of the late 
Mr. M Tavish of the North-west company, stands 
at the foot of the mountain in a very conspicuous 
situation. Gardens and orchards have been laid 
out, and considerable improvements made, which 
add much to the beauty of the spot. Mr. M Tavish 
is buried in a tomb a short distance from his house 
on the side of the mountain, in the midst of a thick 


shrubbery. A monumental pillar is erected over 
the vault, and may be seen at a great distance. 

The town and its four streets or suburbs occupy 
a considerable extent of ground, and the number 
of inhabitants is computed at 12,OOO. The prin 
cipal public buildings are, the General Hospital ; 
the Hotel Dieu ; the convent of Notre Dame ; 
the French cathedral ; the English church, an 
unfinished building ; the old monastery of Fran 
ciscan friars, converted into barracks ; the Semi 
nary ; the Court-house ; Government- house, &c. 

The General Hospital was founded by Madame 
Youville, a widow lady, in 1753, and contains a 
superior and 1 9 nuns ; it is situated on the banks 
of the river, near a small rivulet which divides it 
from the town. There is also a college for the 
education of young men, founded in 1719 by the 
Sieur Charron. 

The Hotel Dieu was established in 1644 by Ma 
dame de Bouillon for the purpose of administer 
ing relief to the sick poor ; it contains a superior 
and 39 nuns, who attend and nurse the patients. 
An apartment in the upper part of the house is 
appropriated to the females, and a large room 
below for the men. The establishment is now 
chiefly supported by a slender income arising from 
landed property ; the funds upon which it for 
merly relied, being vested in Paris, were lost during 
the revolution. 


The convent of Notre Dame contains a superior 
and upwards of 40 nuns. It was founded about 
the year \65O, by Mademoiselle Marguerite Bour 
geois, for the instruction of female children. The 
sisters of this institution are not confined in so 
strict a manner as at the other convents, but have 
the liberty of going out. They attend mass at the 
French church on Sunday morning and afternoon. 
They are dressed in black gowns and hoods, and 
are chiefly elderly women. 

There are two of the old Franciscan friars still 
living in one corner of their monastery, the re 
mainder of which has been converted into barracks 
for the troops quartered in the city. Upon the 
arrival of several additional regiments at Quebec, 
the 49th and lOOdth were sent up to Montreal to 
do duty in that town, and to garrison the outposts 
near the American line. 

The French cathedral in the Place d Armes is 
a large substantial stone building, built with little 
taste. The interior is, however, plentifully deco 
rated in the Catholic style, with all the parapher 
nalia of that religion ; and the size of the building 
renders it a very commodious place of worship, 
and well adapted for the accommodation of its 
numerous congregation. In summer, a great 
many people kneel outside the church in prefer 
ence to being within. The service of the English 
church is performed at present in a small chapel^ 


All the principal North-west merchants reside 
at Montreal, which is the emporium of their trade, 
and the grand mart of the commerce carried on 
between Canada and the United States. They, 
and other respectable merchants, have country- 
houses a fewmiles from the city, which 9 with their 
numerous orchards and gardens well stocked with 
every variety of fruit trees, shrubs, and flowers, 
render the surrounding country extremely beau 
tiful and picturesque. The succession of rich and 
variegated objects that are presented to the eye of 
the spectator, from the base of the neighbouring 
mountain, cannot be surpassed in any part of Ca 
nada, with the exception, perhaps, of the view 
from Cape Diamond at Quebec. They are, how 
ever, of a very different nature, and may be de 
scribed like Homer and Virgil ; the one grand, 
bold, and romantic ; the other serene, beautiful, 
and elegant. Quebec has more of the majesty of 
nature ; Montreal more of the softness of art. 

A large store has been converted into a theatre, 
in which Mr. Prigmore s company occasionally 
perform. Mr. and Mrs. Usher, and a few others 
from Boston, whom I have mentioned in a former 
chapter, met last summer with a tolerable recep 
tion, which, unless the embargo is taken off in 
the States, will most likely induce them to remain 
in Canada. Society is reckoned more friendly and 
agreeable in Montreal than in any other town in 


Lower Canada. The North-west merchants live 
in a superior style to the rest of the inhabitants, 
and keep very expensive tables. They are friendly 
and hospitable to strangers who are introduced 
to them, and whom they entertain in a sumptuous 
manner. The envious, however, consider their 
apparent generosity as flowing more from pride 
and ostentation than from real hospitality, and 
they have often been the subjects of newspaper 
criticism. It is of very little consequence, in my 
opinion, what influences a man to treat his ac 
quaintance well, so long as he intends nothing to 
their prejudice. We have all of us some peculiar 
motive for our actions, which if strictly scrutinized 
would not, perhaps, be always found disinterested. 
A public assembly is held at Holmes s tavern 
during the winter ; and private dances, with tea 
and card parties, and cariole excursions out of 
town, form the whole amusements of that season. 
In summer, pleasure gives way to business, which 
at that period of bustle affords full employment 
to all. A few excursions and dinner parties in 
the country occur sometimes to relieve the weight 
of mercantile affairs. Concerts are very rare, and 
never take place unless the regimental bands are 
in town. The inhabitants, like those of Quebec 
and Three Rivers, possess very little knowledge of 
the polite and liberal accomplishments necessary 
to form the complete lady or gentleman. They 


however labour under the disadvantage of the 
want of proper masters, and institutions to instruct 
and complete them in the higher branches of edu 
cation ; yet it is, perhaps, their fault that they 
have them not, for without proper reward and 
encouragement they never can have them. 

Ship-building is successfully carried on by Mr. 
Munn who generally launches two or three vessels 
from 2OO to 500 tons every year. The shipwrights 
are mostly Europeans, and I one day, while view 
ing a vessel on the stocks, perceived among them 
one of the men who had run away from my uncle s 
service. He had been hired as a house carpenter 
by us ; but the ship-builders in Canada are not 
very scrupulous who they employ, so they can 
find men to handle the axe well. They have of 
late taken French Canadians as apprentices, who 
are highly praised for their capacity. This is a 
very good plan ; for European ship-builders have 
very high wages, and are besides a very drunken 
dissolute set. The Canadian workmen, on the 
contrary, are sober, steady men, and attend regu 
larly to their work from break of day to sun-set. 

One of the greatest errors committed by persons 
who go to Canada to settle is the taking of Euro 
pean servants with them ; for experience has fully 
proved in innumerable instances., one of which, 
my uncle s case, is a recent example, that no obli 
gations whatever are sufficient to ensure a master 


the labour of his European servants, more espe 
cially if he is in advance to them for any part of 
their wages. The inducements to leave him, in 
such cases, become so great, that the servant must 
be more than commonly virtuous, or have strong 
motives for staying, if he does not break his en 
gagement. This complaint is so general at Que 
bec, that little or nothing is done to remedy the 
grievance, which seems to set the laws at defiance : 
yet the magistrates have sufficient power to punish 
both masters and servants ; but they seldom or 
never give a satisfactory decision in cases where 
the latter are to blame. 

I have heard that of twenty servants brought 
out by Lord Dorchester some years back, when 
Governor-general of Canada, not one remained 
with him at the end of a twelvemonth. Many 
other persons have been served in the same way, 
and my uncle himself lost eighteen. One very 
great mischief is occasioned by the low price of 
spirits, particularly rum, which may be obtained 
for less than five shillings a gallon. Hence few of 
the lower order of Europeans who arrive at Que 
bec, but become drunkards in a very short time, 
and drunkenness never fails to precipitate them 
into worse vices. If they have a little money, it is 
soon squandered, either in liquor with their dis 
solute companions, or in going to law with their 
masters ; in which case it seldom fails to find its 


way into the pocket of a well-known advocate for 
disaffected servants ; and the account is generally 
wound up by some crimp for the shipping, or re 
cruiting serjeant for the army. 

The scarcity of hands for labour is certainly- 
considerable, yet by no means so great as is gene 
rally represented ; it is therefore more to the in 
terest of gentlemen settling in Canada, to engage 
the native artisans, than to take out men who will 
never remain in their service. The French me 
chanics and farmers may be, and indeed are, 
greatly inferior in abilities to Europeans ; but they 
are superior to them in sobriety, industry, and 
civility. The French Canadians, however, have 
great ingenuity, and it only requires cultivation 
to render them excellent artists. Some clever 
American mechanics are also frequently to be 
met with in Canada, particularly mill-wrights : 
these people are sometimes steady workmen ; but 
they will often give their employers the slip in the 
middle of their work, if they happen to meet with 
a more lucrative offer from another person. 

I am sorry to say that the practice of enticing 
away each other s servants is but too much the 
custom in Canada ; and it is owing as much to 
this want of good faith, that strangers on their ar 
rival find it so difficult to retain their servants, as 
to any other cause. We ourselves unfortunately 
experienced this treatment with some of our peo- 


pie, to whom very flattering offers were made im 
mediately on their arrival, and in consequence of 
which they ran away from our service, and were 
employed by ship-builders and others, in spite of 
a law to the contrary. 

The markets of Montreal are plentifully sup 
plied with all kinds of provisions, which are sold 
much cheaper than at Quebec or Three Rivers ; 
large supplies are brought in every winter from 
the States, particularly cod-fish, which is packed 
in ice and conveyed in sleighs from Boston. Hay 
and wood are sold in the Place d Armes. Two 
newspapers are printed weekly at Montreal ; the 
Gazette, and Canadian Courant, both on Monday 

From Montreal to La Chine is a turnpike road 
about seven or eight miles in length. This is the 
only turnpike in Lower Canada, and the road is 
not very well kept up for the toll that is demand 
ed ; fourpence is charged for a horse, and eight- 
pence for a horse and chaise ; but for a subscrip 
tion of one or two dollars per annum an inhabi 
tant of the island may be exempted from the 
daily toll. A great traffic is maintained on this 
road by the carters, who carry all the goods for 
the upper country from Montreal to La Chine, 
where they are put on board batteaux. 

For the first mile or two out of town, the road 
passes partly over a common, which is beginning 


to be enclosed and cultivated. After passing 
through the turnpike, the road proceeds up a 
steep ascent, and continues along a lofty height 
for nearly four miles, when it descends rather 
abruptly, and passes again over a low, flat coun 
try, until it reaches La Chine, which is situated 
along the shore of the river St. Lawrence. The 
road is lined with the houses and farms of the 
Habitans, and along the height the eye wanders 
with pleaure over an extensive cultivated valley, 
bordered by the St. Lawrence, which disappears 
amidst the thick foliage of the trees, while a small 
serpentine stream meanders prettily through the 
fields. This low country was, ages ago, probably, 
a part of the river, and the high land along which 
the turnpike road now runs was most likely the 
boundary within which it was confined. Its flat 
and marshy soil affords some foundation for this 
conjecture. There is another road to La Chine 
which winds along the shore of the St. Lawrence, 
and passes the rapids of St. Louis, situated about 
half way. It is about a league longer than the 
turnpike road. I was told that a few years ago, 
before the road was made, it was nearly a day s 
journey for carts to go from Montreal to La Chine. 
The road is certainly now in a better condition, 
but there is still room for improvement. 

La Chine is delightfully situated upon the 
banks of the river. It is of considerable extent, 

VOL, i. 2 M 


in consequence of the houses being built in the 
same straggling manner as the other small settle 
ments in Canada, where the dwellings are regu 
lated by the situations of the farms, and are seldom 
formed into an assemblage of houses laid out in 
streets. All the goods and merchandize sent to 
Upper Canada are embarked at this village, to 
which they are carted from Montreal, as the rapids 
of St. Louis prevent vessels from passing up the 
river from that city. The goods are put on board 
large batteaux, or flat-bottomed boats, each of 
which is worked by four men and a guide, who 
make use of paddles and long poles, as the depth 
or rapidity of the current requires. A gentleman 
of the name of Grant, who resides at La Chine, 
is the owner of the batteaux, and shipper of the 
goods for the merchants, \\ho pay him freight for 
the transportation of their merchandize. Upwards 
of 50 batteaux are employed in the voyage to and 
from Kingston, on Lake Ontario, in the course of 
the year. Mr. Grant also ships off the goods for 
the North-west merchants in large bark canoes 
belonging to the Company; these goods, which 
consist of provisions, cloth, blankets, fowling- 
pieces, powder and shot, and other articles for the 
Indian trade, are exchanged for furs. 

Between 40 and 50 canoes, deeply laden with 
the above articles, and navigated by Canadian and 
Indian voyageurs, are dispatched in the course of 


the spring from La Chine, and proceed up the 
Outaouais, or Grand River, through rapids, and 
over portages or carrying-places, into Lake Nipis- 
sing. From thence they pass through Riviere 
des Francois into Lake Huron, and arrive at the 
Company s post in Lake Superior, from whence 
the goods are afterwards transported to the Lake of 
the Woods, and distributed to the several trading 
posts, far in the interior of the continent. 

The government stores belonging to the Indian 
department are kept at La Chine, under the 
care of Mr. Hawdon, the store-keeper general. 
About 30 batteaux, laden with Indian presents, 
are dispatched every spring to Kingston, York, 
Niagara, and other posts belonging to the king 
in Upper Canada, as far as Lake St. Joseph s, 
near Michillimakinak ; where store-keepers and 
clerks reside, for the delivery of the presents in 
their respective districts. The presents are de 
livered out of the stores at La Chine, by an order 
from Sir John Johnson, who is the superintendant- 
general of the Indian department. They consist 
chiefly of the following articles: Scarlet and blue 
cloth ; strouds; Molton ; blankets of various sizes; 
Irish linen ; flannel ; Russia and English sheeting ; 
hats; laced coats; rifles and fowling-pieces ; pow- 
der, shot, and flints ; swords, spears, harpoons, 
hooks, and fishing-lines ; copper and tin kettles ; 
vermilion ; looking-glasses ; pins, needles, tapes, 



thread, &c. ; scissars, knives, nests of trunks, 
boxes, &c. 

In the stores I also saw upwards of twenty 
pieces of fine French cambric, a quantity of tea, 
Jews harps, razors, &c. the remains of former re 
quisitions, but which are not now delivered out. 
Articles of that description seldom or never reached 
the Indians, being much oftener used by the 
store-keepers and agents of the Indian depart 
ment for their own families. The great abuses 
which formerly existed in that branch of the 
public service were shameful, but are now greatly 
abolished. The former enormous requisitions are 
also reduced to little more than 1O,OOO/. for Upper 
and Lower Canada; and together with the salaries 
of the officers and agents of the Indian department 
the expenses do not amount to half the sum stated 
by Mr. Weld in 1 7Q6, which he computed at one 
hundred thousand pounds. 

Opposite to La Chine stands the Indian village 
of Cachenonaga. Its inhabitants, who amount in 
all to J 200, are descended from the Agniers, one of 
the Iroquois nations, who, though bitter enemies to 
the French, were, by the indefatigable zeal and 
abilities of the Jesuits, partly civilized, and con 
verted to the Christian faith. They were originally 
settled at La Prairie ; but the land producing very 
indifferent maize, they removed to Sault St. Louis, 
and from thence to the situation they now occupy. 


I took the opportunity during my stay at La 
Chine of visiting these Indians, and in company 
with Mr. Hawdon went over to the village. We 
saw very few men, but plently of squaws, who were 
dressed in their dirty blankets, lugging their chil 
dren about, or sitting down on the ground in groups, 
laughing and chatting with each other. Idleness 
reigned in every part of the village; nor could I find 
either man, woman, or child employed at any sortof 
work, though I looked into many of their houses. 
Their habitations are dirty, miserable, and desti 
tute of furniture ; and the whole village, which is 
divided into two or three streets, presents a most 
forlorn and wretched appearance. Among some 
of the groups of women I noticed three or four 
European children with light hair, whom they 
were nursing, and was informed, that they fre 
quently adopted the natural offspring of the white 
people, whenever the latter abandoned them. 

Such instances, I think, may serve to show the 
fondness of the Indian women for children, and 
indeed no mothers can appear more tender of their 
offspring than they do. It is an amiable trait in 
their character, and must make the Europeans 
blush for that false pride and inhumanity which 
induce them to forsake their children. 

We saw several handsome Indian women, with 
fine black hair and light olive complexions, tinged 
with the bloom of health, who only required a be- 



coming dress, instead of their dirty blankets, to 
make them rival our European females. I observed 
one of their little girls, about seven years old, with 
something in her arms which she seemed to be 
nursing ; and was going to look at it when she 
ran away, and hid it under her blanket as if 
ashamed : upon which I ran after her, and found 
it was a doll, placed upon a little cradle board, and 
bandaged up with little pieces of coloured cotton, 
in exact imitation of the manner in which the In 
dian women nurse their children. I call it the 
cradle board, because it serves that purpose when 
the child is restless far better than the English 
cradle; it being the practice to suspend it by a 
string from the branch of a tree, or the top of their 
wigwam, and swing it backwards and forwards till 
the child falls asleep. 

We called on Mr. Vanfelson, the cure of the 
village, under whose care the Indians are placed. 
He lives in a tolerable house adjoining a small 
chapel, in which service is regularly performed 
by him on Sundays and festivals. The Indians 
who happen to be at home, attend with their wives 
and children, and behave in a very respectful and 
becoming manner. The women particularly are 
solemn and devout in their deportment, and are 
strongly attached to the Holy Virgin, for whom 
they seem to have a remarkable veneration. They 
have good voices, and sing their Indian hymns in 


an agreeable manner. While we were viewing 
the chapel, one of the squaws had occasion to pass 
through it to the cure s house : she went up to the 
altar, crossed herself, curtsied, and passed on. 

Mr. Vanfelson is a most respectable young 
priest, and attends with much diligence to the im 
provement of the Indians. His brother at Quebec 
is an advocate of some eminence. In the course 
of our walk through the village we met the Che 
valier Lorimier, an old French gentleman, who 
resides as an interpreter for government, who ; 
allows him 100/. per annum. He was an officer 
in the French army at the conquest of the coun 
try ; and in the American war commanded a de 
tachment of Indians, with whom he assimilated 
himself so closely in manners, that he gained their 
affections and married one of their women. At her 
death he married a French lady of La Chine, who 
also died a few years after ; when such was his par 
tiality for the Indians, that he married another of 
their women, with whom he now lives. By his 
three wives he has had several children : one of 
them, a young man, carries on the fur trade among 
the Indians in the vicinity of Lake Tomisconing. 
Early in 1808, young Lorimier and his partner 
set out with a party of Indians from Cachenonaga 
upon their annual traffic. By the time they ar 
rived in the interior of the country, their provisions 
grew short, in consequence of the ravenous appe- 


tites of the Indians, who had secretly consumed 
more than their allowance. It being the month 
of February, the snow still on the ground, and 
they several hundred miles from any settlement, 
they were in a short time reduced to absolute star 
vation. The Indians, of whom there were nearly 
twenty, all perished in a few days, and only Lori- 
mier and his partner were left. They travelled as 
fast as they were able through the woods to the 
nearest post, hollaing as they went along, hoping 
to meet with some straggling parties of Indians 
who might be hunting. For seven days these un 
fortunate men subsisted only upon their shot belts, 
which they moistened with soap and sucked. At 
length they were so much exhausted that they 
could proceed no further, and laid themselves 
down, fully expecting never to rise again alive. 
They still endeavoured, as well as they were able, 
to shout and holla, but not a human being pre 
sented himself to their longing eyes, in that dreary 
and immeasurable wilderness. How long they lay 
in that famished state they knew not, as they were 
insensible when discovered by a hunting party of 
Indians and Canadians, who by mere accident 
passed the very spot where they lay. It was a most 
providential circumstance, for they had never heard 
the shouts of Lorimier and his companion ; yet 
when they were restored to their senses they could 
not be convinced but they were hollaing very 


loud, so much were they exhausted by their suf 
ferings. Lorimier arrived at Three Rivers about 
six months afterwards, while I was in that town : 
he had perfectly recovered ; but his partner was 
obliged to remain behind, being too weak to per 
form the journey. Notwithstanding their hard 
ships, I understand they procured that season 
above /OO/. worth of furs. 

The Indians of Cachenonaga cultivate a little 
corn, and breed hogs and poultry; but the princi 
pal part of them subsist upon hunting and fishing. 
A chief resides among them called Captain Tho 
mas : his house is but little better furnished than 
the rest, and he is a very drunken character. The 
old Iroquois chief, Captain John, of the Mohawk 
village in Upper Canada, whom I have before 
mentioned, played a very cunning trick upon his 
countrymen at Cachenonaga, when he carne down 
to La Chine to receive his presents from Mr. Haw- 
don. He was over at Cachenonaga very often, 
where he frequently got drunk with his friend 
Captain Thomas and other Indians. His son Peter, 
a fine lad, was repeatedly going after him to get him 
away from their company, but old John would 
continually gi e him the slip. We afterwards 
found that he had given his countrymen pieces of 
old letters, pretending that they were orders from 
Sir John Johnson upon the store-keeper general 
for goods, which they might receive if they would 


give him some rum. The simpletons took the bits 
of paper, which they could not read, and gave the 
sly old chief a quantity of liquor in proportion to 
the value of the articles which he said they were 
to have. A few days after some of them came over 
to Mr. Hawdon for hats, blankets, and fowling- 
pieces, and were much disappointed when they 
found themselves so completely duped ; though 
the Indian delights in a stratagem ! 

Captain John is about sixty years old. In the 
American war he served under Sir John Johnson, 
and was the most active and courageous Indian 
leader in the British service. Like most of his 
countrymen, he presents a singular compound of 
good and bad qualities, though I believe the latter 
arise only from his fondness for ardent spirits. He 
is strongly attached to our government, from whom 
he receives captain s half-pay and allowances, be 
sides considerable presents every year for himself 
and family. He called upon- us one day during 
my stay at Mr. Hawdon s : we had just dined, and 
the wine was on the table. Mr. Hawdon invited 
him to stay and take some ; to which he readily 
consisted. " My son," says he,, as he tasted the 
Madeira wine, which from its colour he at first 
sight took for rum, " have you not got something 
stronger?* Mr. Hawdon replied in the negative, 
not being willing to encourage him in drinking 
spirits. John, after making a wry face, drank it 


off: it however warmed him, I suppose, more 
than he expected, for he began to push the bottle 
about pretty freely, and got into a very good hu 
mour. He then entertained us with an account of 
some of his campaigns during the American war ; 
and of the singular manner in which he had both 
his arms broke. He was employed with other In 
dians at Fort Stanwix. One day he and a party, 
among whom was Captain Brandt, set out upon an 
expedition through the woods : John got drunk 
and fell asleep, during which Brandt and the rest 
of the party left him. No sooner was John awake 
than he fell in with a party of Americans who had 
been pillaging a camp; he immediately dashed 
in amongst them, sword in hand, thinking his 
party must be near him. The American officer 
wishing to spare him, would not suffer the soldiers 
to fire, and ordered them to secure him without 
injury. John, however, continued to lay about 
him on all sides with the fury of a madman, set 
ting up the war whoop, and shouting for his party 
to join him. The officer was therefore obliged to 
order his men to fire, and John was immediately 
shot through both his arms, which fell useless by 
his side. He was then secured, and two men left 
to guard him, while the rest marched to a fort in 
the neighbourhood. By this time the chief had 
recovered himself, and the fumes of the liquor had 


evaporated : finding, therefore, that his lenrs were 
fr^e, though his arms were of no use to him, being 
both broken, he took to his heels, and bounded 
into the thickest part of the forest with the ni no 
bleness of the deer. The two soldiers fin j d, but 
missed him ; and the next day John arrived at the 
English camp, where he got his wounds dressed, 
and soon recovered to take signal vengeance on 
his enemies. He then related another anecdote, 
which drew tears from his eyes, respecting the 
narrow escape which he and a British officer had, 
with a party of Indians each, of destroying one 
another by mistake. The British officer hap 
pened to be dressed in green, like some of the 
Americans ; and while skirmishing in the woods 
the two parties came suddenly upon each other. 
John and the officer immediately presented their 
rifles, and were on the point of firing, when the 
latter fortunately called out, " Is that Captain 
John ?" He was answered in the affirmative, just 
in time to save their lives ; another moment would 
have been too late ; for, as the old chief declared, 
while the big tear rolled down his sun-burnt cheek, 
" Both must have died ! Both were good shots." 
Captain Ferguson of the Canadian fencibles as 
sured me, that what Captain John had related of 
himself was strictly correct ; and he added, that 
the old chief could never speak of the latter cir- 


tumstance without tears, when he reflected how 
near he was shooting his friend, and being shot 
by him. 

Captain John declared to us that he suffered 
uncommon hardships during that war, often lying 
on the bare ground in winter-time with no other 
covering than an old ragged shirt, with which in 
wet weather he was also obliged to keep his rifle 
dry. John is said to have been when young, the 
handsomest and most warlike chief in the British 
service ; he boasted of the number of American 
officers whom he had slain ; and concluded with 
saying, u Ah, my son, I long to smell gun-powder 
again before I die!"* His son Peter dresses in 
the English style, and in good clothes ; he speaks 
English well, and bears an excellent character : 
except his complexion he has very little of the In 
dian about him. Captain John has also a daughter, 
who resides with him at the Mohawk village near 
Kingston. She dresses in the Indian style ; but 
always in the best manner, with silver ornaments 
and fine scarlet cloth. She is said to be very hand 
some, and some years ago attracted the attention 
of a Mr. C , who had the delivery of the In 
dian presents at La Chine. She was attached to 
him, and expected he would have married her : 

* The old chief has unfortunately for the happiness of 
the two countries realized his wish. 


under that impression she sacrificed her virtue at 
the shrine of love. Whether or not he promised 
her marriage I have never heard ; but after she 
was brought to bed of a child by him, finding that 
he would not comply with that ceremony, she 
armed herself with a brace of pistols, and for a long 
time watched for him at La Chine, threatening to 
take his life for his perfidy to her. He thought 
proper to keep out of the way till her anger cooled, 
and she returned to Upper Canada. Her unfaith 
ful lover died a short time after in the Hotel Dieu 
of Montreal, having lost his senses in consequence, 
it is said, of having been (as he thought) acces 
sary to the death of an officer of the 6th regiment, 
who was killed in a duel, and to whom he had 
been second, The officer was shot in the knee, 
and the doctors could not tell whether any part of 
the cloth had entered with the ball: some were of 
opinion it had, and others that it had not. While 
they disputed a mortification ensued, and the pa 
tient died ! Mr. C , looking upon himself as 

a participator in the melancholy event which had 
deprived him of his friend, took it so much to 
heart, that he became deranged in his mind, and 
died shortly after. 

The post road of Lower Canada extends nearly 
to the line between the two provinces, about forty 
miles from La Chine : but the road from thence 
to Kingston, in Upper Canada, is extremely bad 


in some places ; being through swamps and mo 
rasses in the woods,, which render it frequently 
impassable. In winter time, when covered with 
Show, it is an excellent road ; but, in summer, tra 
vellers generally proceed by water from La Chine 
in the batteaux which are setting off almost every 

I remained at Dillon s hotel, Montreal, about 
a week, waiting the arrival of a vessel at St. John s 
to take me across Lake Champlain. It was early 
in November, and the snow fell in abundance for 
two or three days ; during which the carioles were 
driven in the streets. Several Roman Catholic 
funerals passed before the door of the hotel during 
my stay : they were more or less splendid accord 
ing to the circumstances of the deceased. The first 
I saw was but indifferently attended : at the head 
marched an old man in his common habitant dress, 
carrying something like a pestle and mortar ; next 
to him was a little boy dressed in a black hood or 
cowl over a white surplice, which partly covered 
a black cloth petticoat. He carried a wooden cross 
about four times taller than himself. After him 
came the priest dressed in the same style, with 
the addition of two long pieces of white cloth 
edged with black, each of which terminated at the 
bottom with a square piece marked with a cross, 
and hung down before him from his shoulders. 
The body was supported by four men, and fol- 


lowed by two or three people in their usual dress : 
the coffin was of common deal, not painted, and 
partly covered with a shabby pall. 

The next funeral which I saw was of a superior 
description, and was attended by four priests, ten 
boys, one beadle, and three men carrying a wooden 
box and wax tapers. The coffin, however, was of 
common deal unpainted ; but supported on a bier, 
and carried by four men. An indifferent pall was 
thrown over it, and four men on each side carried 
wax tapers. They were, I suppose, in the capacity 
of pall-bearers ; but neither they nor the mourners 
behind were dressed in any other than their usual 
clothes. The priests and boys were dressed as be 
fore ; but instead of a large wooden cross they now 
carried a silver one, fixed upon a long black staff. 

It was a curious circumstance, that while the 
snow was falling in the streets I was plagued in 
doors with the flies. These troublesome companions 
are seldom driven away by the cold in Canada, being 
kept alive by the heat of the stoves. From this it 
may be easily conceived how little the inhabitants 
suffer from the seventy of their climate. 

A sloop having at length arrived at St. John s, 
the master came to Montreal to procure freight ; 
upon which I took the opportunity of engaging a, 
passage in his vessel to Skenesborough. 


Printed by C. Baldwin, 
fw Bridge-street, London. 





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