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PICTURESQUE QUEBEC

BY

J. M. LEMOINE




TO THE CITIZENS OF QUEBEC

THIS VOLUME IS

Respectfully Inscribed

BY THE AUTHOR.




PREFACE


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

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

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

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

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

J. M. LEMOINE.
SPENCER GRANGE, December, 1881.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF QUEBEC

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


CHAPTER II.

FOUNDATION OF QUEBEC.

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


CHAPTER III.

THE ANCIENT CAPITAL.

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

THE UPPER TOWN.

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

THE LOWER TOWN.

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

ST. ROCH'S SUBURBS.

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

THE GATES OF QUEBEC.

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


CHAPTER IV.

SUBURBS OF QUEBEC.

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


CHAPTER V.

MODERN QUEBEC.

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


PART II.


THE ENVIRONS OF QUEBEC.
SILLERY
OUR COUNTRY SEATS
THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM
THE BATTLE-FIELD
BATTLE-FIELD PARK
THE DUKE OF KENT'S LODGE - MONTMORENCI
L'ASYLE CHAMPÊTRE
MARCHMONT - Anecdote of Wolfe's Army
WOLFESFIELD - Carlyle's Account of the Capture of Quebec
ELM GROVE
THORNHILL
SPENCER WOOD - The Perceval Family - A Fête Champêtre in 1809
SPENCER GRANGE - Audubon at Quebec
BAGATELLE COTTAGE
WOODFIELD
SOUS LES BOIS
SILLERY HOUSE
ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH - SILLERY
MOUNT HERMON
BARDFIELD - The Mountain Family
BENMORE - The Sparrows and Quails
CLERMONT
THE WILD FLOWERS OF SILLERY
BEAUVOIR
MONTAGUE COTTAGE - The History of Emily Montague
KIRK ELLA
CATARACOUI
ROSEWOOD
RAVENSWOOD
THE WOODS OF SILLERY
LONGWOOD
MEADOWBANKS - A Raid in 1775
THE HIGHLANDS
WINTER FOX HUNTING IN CANADA
CAP ROUGE COTTAGE
BEAUSÉJOUR
BELMONT - Irish Education in the Olden Time
HOLLAND FARM
THE HOLLAND TREE - A Scandal of the last Century
HAMWOOD
BIJOU - Anecdote of Wolfe's Army
MORTON LODGE
WESTFIELD
COUCY-LE-CASTEL
RINGFIELD - Journal of Chevalier Johnstone
CASTOR VILLE
THE JOYS OF WINTER
THE MANOR HOUSE - BEAUPORT - The Inscription
MOUNT LILAC - Beauport
A VISIT TO INDIAN LORETTE
TAHOURENCHE AND THE HURONS OF LORETTE
INDIAN CUSTOMS
CHÂTEAU BIGOT - The Algonquin Maid - Marmette's Romance
THE FALLS OF THE CHAUDIÈRE


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


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

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




PICTURESQUE QUEBEC


CHAPTER 1.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF QUEBEC.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An American tourist thus epitomises the sights: -



Online LibraryJ.M. Le MoinePicturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present → online text (page 1 of 59)