J.M. Le Moine.

Picturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present online

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endroits qu il jugera à propos par mer ou par terre, ensemble ou
séparément le tout suivant qu il trouvera plus seur pour les dissiper et
empescher qu en se réunissant ils ne puissent donner occasion à des
entreprises contre cette Colonie. Il envoyera en France les Français
fugitifs qu'il y pourra trouver et particulièrement ceux de la Religion
Prétendue-Reformée (_Huguenots_) - (New York Col. Docs. IX 422)

_Vide - Le Roy à Denonville, 7 juin 1689 le Ministre à Denonville, même
date, le Ministre à Frontenac, même date ordre du Roy à Vaudreuil, même
date le Roy au Sieur de la Coffinère; même date, Champagny au Ministre, 16
Nov. 1689_


Leave was asked by the French Government to have the marble tablet, on
which this epitaph was inscribed, sent out to Quebec, and granted by the
English Government (_Vide_ William Pitt's Letter, 10th April, 1761).
This inscription, from some cause or other, never reached Quebec.


Hic jacet
Utroque in orbe aeternum victurus,
Marchio Sancti Verani, Baro Gabriaci,
Ordinis Sancti Ludovici Commendator,
Legatus Generalis Exercituum Gallicorum
Egregius et Civis et Miles,
Nullius rei appetens praeterquam verae laudis
Ingenio felici et literis exculto
Omnes Militiae gradus per continua decora emensus,
Omnium Belli Artium, temporum, discriminum gnarus,
In Italia, in Bohemia, in Germania
Dux industrius
Mandata sibi ita semper gerens ut majoribus par haberetur,
Jam clarus periculis
Ad tutandam Canadensem Provinciam missu
Parva militum manu Hostium copias non semel repulit,
Propugnacula cepit viris armisque instructissima
Algoris, mediae, vigiliarum, laboris patiens,
Suis ucice prospiciens immemor sui,
Hostis acer, victor mansuetus
Fortunam virtute, virium inopiam peritia et celeritate compensavit,
Imminens Coloniae fatum et consilio et manu per quadriennium sustinuit
Tandem ingentem Exercitum Duce strenuo et audaci,
Classemque omni bellorum mole gravem,
Mulitiplici prudentia diu ludificatus
Vi pertractus ad dimicandum,
In prima acie, in primo conflictu vulneratus,
Religioni quam semper coluerat innitens,
Magno suoram desiderio, nec sine hostium moerore,
Extinctus est
Die XIV. Sept, A. D. MDCCLIX. aetat. XLVIII.
Mortales optimi ducis exuvias in excavata humo,
Quam globus bellicus decidens dissiliensque defoderat,
Galli lugentes deposuerunt,
Et generosae hostium fidei commendarunt
_The Annual Register for 1762._


An elegantly printed volume has just issued from the press of Noyes, Snow
and Co., Worcester, Mass, from the pen of George F. Daniels, containing a
succinct history of one of the earliest Massachusetts towns - the town of
Oxford; we think we cannot introduce it to the reader more appropriately,
than in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose graceful introduction
prefaces the volume.

Oliver Wendell Holmes to George F. Daniels: - "Of all my father's
historical studies," says the Autocrat of the Breakfast-table, "none ever
interested me so much as his 'Memoir of the French Protestants who settled
at Oxford, in 1686,' - all the circumstances connected with that second
Colony of Pilgrim-Fathers, are such as to invest it with singular
attraction for the student of history, the antiquary, the genealogist. It
carries us back to the memories of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, to
the generous Edict of Nantes, and the gallant soldier-king, who issued it;
to the days of the Grand Monarque, and the cruel act of revocation which
drove into exile hundreds of thousands of the best subjects of France -
among them the little band which was planted in our Massachusetts half-
tamed wilderness. It leads the explorer who loves to linger around the
places consecrated by human enterprise, efforts, trials, triumphs,
sufferings, to localities still marked with the fading traces of the
strangers who, there found a refuge for a few brief years, and then
wandered forth to know their homes no more. It tells the lovers of family
history where the un-English names which he is constantly meeting with -
Bowdoin, Faneuil, Sigourney - found their origin, and under what skies were
moulded the type of lineaments, unlike those of Anglo-Saxon parentage,
which he finds among certain of his acquaintance, and it may be in his own
family or himself. And what romance can be fuller of interest than the
story of this hunted handful of Protestants leaving, some of them at an
hour's warning, all that was dear to them, and voluntarily wrecking
themselves, as it were, on this shore, where the savage and the wolf were
waiting ready to dispute possession with the feeble intruders. They came
with their untrained skill to a region where trees were to be felled, wild
beasts to be slain, the soil to be subdued to furnish them bread, the
whole fabric of social order to be established under new conditions. They
came from the sunny skies of France to the capricious climate where the
summers were fierce and the winters terrible with winds and snows. They
left the polished amenities of an old civilization, for the homely ways of
rude settlers of another race and language. Their lips, which had shaped
themselves to the harmonies of a refined language, which had been used to
speaking such names as Rochefort and Beauvoir and Angoulême, had to
distort themselves into the utterances of words like Manchaug and
Wabquasset and Chaubunagungamang. The short and simple annals of this
heroic and gentle company of emigrants are full of trials and troubles,
and ended with a bloody catastrophe.

'After Plymouth, I do not think there is any locality in New England more
interesting. This little band of French families, [343 ] transported from
the shore of the Bay of Biscay to the wilds of our New England interior,
reminds me of the isolated group of Magnolias which we find surrounded by
the ordinary forest trees of our Massachusetts town of Manchester. It is a
surprise to meet with them, and we wonder how they came there, but they
glorify the scenery with their tropical flowers, and sweeten it with their
fragrance. Such a pleasing surprise is the effect of coming upon this
small and transitory abiding-place of the men and women who left their
beloved and beautiful land for the sake of their religion. The lines of
their fort may become obliterated, 'the perfume of the shrubbery may no
longer be perceived but the ground they hallowed by their footsteps is
sacred and the air around their old Oxford home is sweet with their

This exclusiveness in the selection of settlers for Canada, ever since the
days of the DeCaens, to render the population homogeneous and prevent
religious discord, was extended to Frenchmen, whose only disability, was
their faith, and who did not belong to the national Church, and though the
colony, more than once was at its last gasp, for want of soldiers and
colonists to defend it, it was forbidden ground to the 500,000 industrious
Frenchman, whom the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1682, drove to
England, Holland and Germany, and the English and Dutch colonies in
America. This policy of exclusiveness, was vigorously denounced by the
leading historian of Canada, F. X. Garneau, in 1845.

"The poorly expressed request, for fifteen hundred colonists to take the
place of those who had joined the army, remained unanswered - unattended
to. Though at the very time the Huguenots solicited as a favour permission
to settle in the New World, where they promised to live peaceably under
the shadow of their country's flag - which they could not cease to love - it
was just when they were denied a request, which had it been granted would
have saved Canada and permanently secured it to France. But Colbert's
influence," says Garneau, "at Court had fallen away; he was on his death-
bed. So long as he was in power he had protected the Calvinists, who had
ceased to disturb France and who then were enriching it. His death which
took place in 1684, handed them over to the tender mercy of the Chancellor
Le Tellier and of the fierce Louvois. The _dragonnades_ swept over
the protestant strongholds, awful heralds of the revocation of the edict
of Nantes. The king, said a celebrated writer, exhibited his power by
humbling the Pope and by crushing the Huguenots. He wished the unification
of the Church and of France - the hobby of the great men of the day,
presided over by Bossuet. Madame de Maintenon, a converted Calvinist, and
who had secretly become his wife (1685) encouraged him in this design and
suggested to him the cruel scheme of tearing away children from their
parents, to bring them up in the Roman Catholic faith. The vexatious
confiscations, the galleys, the torture of the wheel, the gibbet, - all
were successively but unsuccessfully resorted to as a means to convert
them. The unhappy Protestants' sole aim was to escape from the band which
tortured them, in vain were they prohibited from quitting the kingdom, and
those who aided them in their flight sent to the galleys - five hundred
thousand escaped to Holland, to Germany, to England, and to the English
colonies in America. They carried thither their wealth, their industry,
and after such a separation - ill blood and thirst for revenge, which
subsequently cost their native country very dear. William III, who more
than once charged the French troops at the heads of French regiments, and
Roman Catholic and Huguenot regiments, were seen, when recognising one
another on the battle-field, to rush on one another with their bayonets,
with an onslaught more ferocious than soldiers of different nationalities
exhibit to one another. How advantageous would not have been an
emigration, strong in numbers and composed of men, wealthy, enlightened,
peaceful, laborious, such as the Huguenots were - to people the shores of
the St. Lawrence, or the fertile plains of the West? At least, they would
not have borne to foreign lands the secret of French manufactures, and
taught other nations to produce goods which they were in the habit of
going and procuring in the ports of France. A fatal policy sacrificed
these advantages to the selfish views of a party - armed by the alliance of
the spiritual and temporal power with an authority, which denied the
breath of life to conscience as well as to intellect. 'If you and yours
are not converted, before such a day, the king's authority will ensure
your conversion,' thus wrote Bossuet to the dissenters. We repeat it, had
this policy not been resorted to, we should not be reduced, we Canadians,
to defend every foot of ground, our language, our laws, and our
nationality, against an invading hostile sea. How will pardon be granted
to fanaticism, for the anguish and suffering inflicted on a whole people,
whose fate has been rendered so painful, so arduous - whose future has been
so grievously jeopardized.

"Louis XIV, who had myriads of dragoons to butcher the Protestants, and
who by his own fault was losing half a million of his subjects - the
monarch who dictated to Europe, could only spare two hundred soldiers to
send to Quebec, to protect a country four times larger than France, a
country which embraced Hudson's Bay, Acadia, Canada, a large portion of
Maine, of Vermont, New York, and the whole Mississippi valley" -
_Garneau's History of Canada_, (Vol. I. p. 492-96 - 1st edition.)

[See page 107.]


"In one of the many works which the philosopher of Chelsea has given to
the world, we find the assertion of a great truth that history is but the
biography of leading men. The poet of Cambridge also tells us that the
lives of the great are so many models, and that as they have left their
footprints on the sands of time, so may we by following their noble
example render our lives illustrious. These reflections of the philosopher
and poet extend no doubt to those of the fairer sex, in whom exalted
virtue was manifested, and whose devotion in the pursuit of noble deeds
awakens the spirit of emulation in all hearts. From the earliest period of
time heroic women have appeared. The mother of the Maccabees, the mother
of the Gracchi, the grand prophetesses whose actions are recorded in that
sublimest of books, the Bible - these and many others adorn the pages of
history, whether sacred or profane, and afford living, ever-present
proofs, that the pathway of glory and honour may be pursued by even the
weaker members of the human race.

In Canada, youthful though her record may be, there have appeared
actresses on the great stage of humanity, whose virtues appeal for
admiration, whose nobility of soul provokes general reverence, and whose
impress upon the future destinies of the country is of a more profound
nature than may be imagined at first sight.

Foremost among such heroic women, may be regarded the foundress of the
Ursuline Convent in Quebec, the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation.
Gifted by nature, burning with zeal for the welfare of souls, imbued with
the greatest confidence in the mercies of a bountiful Creator, she fully
realized the great idea of Blessed Angela de Merici, that the preservation
of the world from innumerable evils, largely depended upon the correct
training of youth. Born in sunny France, she braved the dangers of the
deep, so that on our virgin soil she might plant the pure, untainted flag
of Christian education; and, now that the Province of Quebec has emerged
from the lowliness of its early condition - now that the settlers by the
banks of the St. Lawrence have become a great people, with a literature
all their own, rich in its very youthful exuberance, with their language
preserved, and the free exercise of their religion guaranteed no less by
the faithful adherence to treaty obligations, than by their own hardy
devotion, we can calmly review the past, and gratefully acknowledge the
blessings bestowed on the country through the instrumentality of that lady
who founded that holy sisterhood in our midst, which daily labours to
honour the Intelligence of God, by the cultivation of intellectual graces.
Few, indeed, are the families in Quebec which have not experienced the
value of the Ursuline community in our city. One of the crowns of
womanhood is gained in Christian education - an education which falls upon
the soil of the soul, like freshening dew, and adorns the heart and mind
with the flowers of virtue. Hence the life of the Venerable Mother Mary
should be carefully studied and pondered over; hence her deeds should be
proclaimed and her saintly legacies preserved, and therefore, it is, that
the writer humbly calls attention to a new work, written by a daughter of
Erin, written lovingly and sweetly in the quiet precincts of the Ursuline
Convent, Blackrock, Cork, and in which may be found the story of the
devoted French woman, whose name is now inseparably linked with that of
Canada, told in chaste language worthy alike of the virtuous theme, and of
the ability which marks the narration. The earlier days of the French
Colony are depicted therein; and with an accuracy no less commendable than
useful. In fact the book is eminently a readable one, the object of the
publication being to extend the knowledge which all of us ought to possess
of one whose life glorified God, and whose advent to our shores was a very


Quebec, 27th January, 1881.

We copy the following from the _Quebec Gazette_, 10th October, 1793: -


"For the information of the curious, the particular benefit of Land
Surveyors, and safety of seafaring people, please to insert in your
_Gazette_, that from critical observation on the variation of the
needle at Quebec, it is found to be on the decrease, or in other words to
be again returning to the Eastward, - a proof of which is, that in 1785,
when the Meridian line on Abraham's Plains was ascertained by me, the
variation was found to be 12 degrees, 35 minutes West; whereas at present
the variation is no more than 12 degrees, 5 minutes West, having in the
space of eight years diminished half a degree.

I am sir,

Your most obedient humble servant.


Quebec, 8th October, 1793.

How do matters now stand, Commander Ashe?


(_To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle._)

DEAR SIR, - "For the information of the curious, the particular benefit of
Land Surveyors, and safety of sea-faring people," I will endeavor to
explain how our compass variation stands.

With regard to the reprint from the _Quebec Gazette_ of 1793, in the
Chronicle of the 23rd instant, in which Major Samuel Holland observes that
he had passed our Maximum Westerly Variation, it is very likely that such
was the case, as I find that Major Sabine in 1818, found the Variation for
London to be 24° 30' West, and in 1822 to have retrograded to 24° 12':
this was not only the case in England, but all over Europe where
observations were taken, so that there is no doubt that the same
disturbing influence was affecting the needle here in 1793. Whatever that
influence is, it must shortly alter. Major Samuel Holland's observations
have affected us in the opposite direction, for in 1860 Captain Bayfield
found the variation for Quebec to be 15° 45' West, with an annual increase
of 5', which would give the present variation as about 17° 0' West. This
agrees very closely with observations taken here last November for
deviation, which with range of only 7° 30', gave a mean result of 17° 3'
9" West. I am, &c,

Commander R. N.

Observatory, Quebec, Feb. 23rd, 1876.


1st. Bell, Louise; 2nd, Olivier Geneviève; 3rd, Pierre Marie; 4th, Marie-
Joseph-Louise-Marguerite; 5th, Jean-Olivier, &c.

"Now, on the gentle breath of morn,
Once more I hear that _chiming_ bell,
As onward, slow, each note is borne,
Like echo's lingering, last farewell."
(_The Evening Bells_, of the General Hospitals:
by ADAM KIDD. - 1829.)

"Quebec Bells are an institution of the present and of the past:" so says
every Tourist. To the weary and drowsy traveller, steeped at dawn in that
"sweet restorer, balmy sleep," under the silent eaves of the St. Louis or
Stadacona hotel, this is one of the features of our city life, at times
unwelcome. We once heard a hardened old tourist savagely exclaim,
"Preserve me against the silvery voice of Quebec Evening _Belles_, I
rather like your early Morning Bells." Another tourist, however, in one of
our periodicals closes a lament over Quebec "Bell Ringing," with the
caustic enquiry "Should not Bell Bingers be punished?"

Being more cosmopolitan in our tastes, we like the music of our City Bells
in the dewy morn, without fearing the merry tones of our City _Belles_,
when the silent shades of evening lends them its witchery. There is
certainly as much variety in the names as there is in the chimes of our
Quebec Bells.

Though the Bells of the "ancient capital" are famous in history and song,
Quebec cannot boast of any such monsters of sound as the "Gros Bourdon" of
Montreal - weighing 29,400 lbs., dating from 1847, "the largest bell in
America." The R. C. Cathedral in the upper town, raised in 1874, by His
Holiness, Pius IX to the high position of _Basilica Minor_, the only one
on the continent - owns two bells of antique origin; the Parish Register
traces as follows, their birth and christening. "1774 - 9th October. The
Churchwardens return thanks to His Lordship Jean 0. Briand, Bishop, for
the present he made of the big bell, which, exclusive of its clapper,
weighs 3,255 lbs. Name, LOUISE, by Messieur Montgolfier, _Grand Vicaire_,
and Mdlle de Léry, representing its Matron. Blessed by Monsigneur Louis
Masriacheau D'Esgley, coadjutor."

"1778. 28th July. Christening of the bells by M. Noel Voyer, on the 22nd
July. Blessed by _Sa Grandeur_, Monseigneur Briand; the first weigh
1,625 lbs. - named OLIVIER GENEVIÈVE - Godfather, _Sa Grandeur_, with
Madame Chanazard wife of M Berthelot 7 yards of white damask given as a
(christening) dress. The second, was called PIERRE MARIE, by M. Panet,
Judge of the Court, and his wife Marie Anne Rottot; said bell weighing
1,268 lbs."

A halo of poetry hovers over some of our bells. About 1829, Adam Kidd, a
son of song, hailing from Spencer Wood, - a friend of the Laird of the
Manor - Hon. H M Percival, wrote some graceful lines on the _Church
Bells_ of the General Hospital Convent. This poem was published at the
_Herald_ and _New Gazette_ office, in Montreal. In 1830, with the _Huron
Chief_, and other poems by Kidd, and by him inscribed to Tom Moore, "the
most popular, most powerful and most patriotic poet of the nineteenth
century, whose magic numbers have vibrated to the heart of nations," says
the Dedication.

A delightful volume has recently been put forth by a Ursuline Nun,
entitled "GLIMPSES OF THE MONASTERY," in which the holy memories of the
cloister blend with exquisite bits of word painting; we find in it a
glowing sketch of the Convent Bells, and of the objects and scenery,
surrounding the "Little World" of the Ursulines. "Marriage Bells" are of
course left out.

The writer therein alludes to that short-lived bell of Madame de la
Peltrie, melted in the memorable fire of the 31st December, 1650, which
the pious lady used to toll, to call "the Neophytes to the waters of
baptism, or the newly made Christians to Holy Mass."

(_See page 113._)

(_From "Trifles from my Diary."_)



Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum,
Cum faber, incertus scamnum faceretne Priapum
Maluit esse Deum.
Horace, Sat I. 8.

Henry Ward Beecher begins an amusing sketch of our city with the words,
"Queer old Quebec, - of all the cities on the Continent of America, the
quaintest." He concludes his humorous picture by expressing the wish that
it may remain so without being disturbed by the new-fangled notions of the
day. Some one has observed that its walls, streets, public places,
churches and old monasteries, with the legends of three centuries clinging
to them, give you, when you enter under its massive gates, hoary with age,
[344] the idea of an "old curiosity shop," or, as the name Henry Ward
Beecher well expresses it, "a picture book, turning over a new leaf at
each street." It is not then surprising that the inhabitants should have
resorted not only to the pen of the historian to preserve evergreen and
fragrant the historical ivy which clings to its battlements, but even to
that cheap process, in use in other countries, to immortalize heroes -
signboards and statues - a process recommended by high authority. We read
in that curiously interesting book, "History of Signboards - "

"The Greeks honored their great men and successful commanders by erecting
statues to them; the Romans rewarded their popular favorites with
triumphal entries and ovations; modern nations make the portraits of their
celebrities serve as signs for public-houses:

Vernon, the Butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke,
Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe,
Evil and good have had their tithe of talk,
And filled their signpost then, like Wellesley now."

If Wolfe served as a signboard recently in Britain, he has filled the same
office now close on a century in Canada, and still continues to do so. He
has defied wind and weather ever since the day when the Cholette Brothers
affixed to the house at the north-west corner of St. John and Palace
streets a rough statue of the gallant young soldier in the year 1771, with
one arm extended in the attitude of command, and pointing to the Falls of

Nor has Mr. de Gaspé, the author of the "Canadians of Old," thought it
beneath his pen to indite an able disquisition on its origin, brimful of

Online LibraryJ.M. Le MoinePicturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present → online text (page 49 of 59)