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finest waterfalls in the world. The eye then runs along a cultivated country for about half a dozen miles, and the prospect is terminated by a ridge of mountains on the right, and by Cape Diamond and the Plains of Abraham on the left, where you see the city and battlements of Quebec commanding majestically the surrounding country.
The ship is alongside the wharf; and although she is as good a ship, and we have had as good a voyage as falls to the lot of most people, yet I do assure you, I very willingly step out of her,-into the Continent of America.
LETTER V. .
Quebec, July, 1806.
HAVING led you, my worthy friend, across the Atlantic, and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and conducted you up the river to Quebec, let us take a view of this famous city and its neighbourhood. I have now been here a few weeks; and a few weeks residence is, I conceive, quite enough to enable one to see and judge of the outward and visible part of a country, its inhabitants, and their customs. Indeed, I am convinced that it is during the first few weeks' residence that you are best qualified to judge of, and describe these matters. In the first place, the appearance and manners of the country you came from, are alive in recollection; hence you will the more forcibly be struck with every thing new; and in the second place, while these impressions are new, they will so occupy your mind, as to enable you, with facility, to describe
them clearly and forcibly, which you would have great difficulty in doing after time had familiarized them to you, and weakened your recollection of that country, and of those appearances with which you originally contrasted them. Hence you always find that the truest and most lively descriptions of countries, of people, and of manners, are given by travellers who make a point of noting down, under the impressions of the moment, whatever may strike them as worthy of remark.
Europeans have ever been told that the appearance of America is extremely imposing; and, so far as I have seen, I can safely bear testimony to the truth of the remark. Nature seems to have sketched the picture with a bold hand: the outline is rough, but the effect is grand, and à la distance, the scenery is extremely pleasing.
There is not, perhaps, in the whole extent of this immense continent, so fine an approach to it as by the river St. Lawrence. In the southern states you have, in general, a level country for many miles in
land; here you are introduced at once into a majestic country: every thing is on the grand scale; mountains, woods, lakes, rivers, precipices, waterfalls, all shew the hand of nature in a vast and imposing manner the stamp, the impression of originality, are conspicuous every where. The pigmy operations of man, the marks of civilization and of cultivation, here and there meet the eye; yet, nevertheless, the country has still the appearance of an immense forest.
When we reflect on the number of years this country has been in the possession of Europeans, we cannot help being surprised that it should still retain so much of its original rudeness: it is now about 260 years since it was taken possession of by the French.
However, it must be confessed, they cannot be said to have had peaceable possession. They were very soon attacked by the Indians, who kept them in an almost constant state of warfare; they were never free from alarms; and in this perilous situation they continued for many years. The infant colony seems to have been very much neglected by Old France,
who did not by any means watch over it with a motherly care.
The colonizing of Canada was for many years entrusted to private individuals, who, at their own expence, fitted out expeditions. They were usually men of rank and fortune, who took the lead in these expeditions, receiving from government an exclusive right to trade with the Indians in furs, which at first was the principal article of Canadian commerce. These leading men found no difficulty in enticing as many individuals to accompany them as their funds could provide for. But experience ever shewed that these expeditions were on too small a scale to ensure success or safety to the settlers. They were quite inadequate to putting them on a footing with their opponents, the Indians; who harassed them in such a manner by continued and reiterated incursions, that they could neither sow nor reap in safety.
From the year 1535, when Quebec was first discovered, to the year 1664, a period of 129 years, the government and trade of Canada were in the possession of private merchants holding under patents from the