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king of France. In the year 1664, the king assumed the government; a governor was appointed; but the trade of the country was given exclusively to the Company des Indes Occidentales.
The English had by this time established colonies in New England, and at Boston, who did every thing in their power to weaken and annoy the French colony, which they found interfered in their trade with the Indians. Indeed, the English attacked and took Quebec so far back as the year 1629; but it was restored to the French by the treaty of St. Germain in 1632.
The French government, even after they took the colony under their own immediate care, seem to have paid more attention to the fur trade, to exploring the interior of the country, cultivating the friendship of the Indians, and spreading the Roman catholic religion, than to the improvement of the country in agriculture, and the promotion of the arts, and the domestic pursuits of civil society.
It is surprising to think with what perseverance and industry the Roman catholic
missionaries explored the interior of the country; submitting to the privation of every comfort, adopting the savage mode of life, subjecting themselves to a thousand insults, and even to death itself, which was inflicted sometimes in the most barbarous manner. Without going into the merits of the cause which prompted such perseverance,-such heroic conduct, we cannot help admiring the men who thus evinced their zeal and courage. Where the intention is good, praise is due, and we may suppose will have its reward from Him who knoweth the heart.
I shall close this, as an opportunity occurs for England. In my next you shall have some account of one of the first cities on the Continent of America, in celebrity at least, if not in extent.
Quebec, August, 1806,
AMONGST the great variety of cities which I have had occasion to visit in my peregrinations through Britain, and the different countries on the continent of Europe, I think I never saw any one which has so happy a situation as Quebec*.
Samuel de Champlain, who founded it in the year 1608, deserves immortal honours for the judiciousness of his choice. It ever has been considered, and probably ever will be considered, as the capital of that immense region called the Canadas. certainly is the key of the river St. Lawrence, which contracts suddenly opposite to the city, being only about a mile in breadth; whereas the bason of Quebec, immediately below, is from four to five miles in breadth; and the river widens immediately above the city. The grand battery of Quebec is opposite to the narrowest
* Latitude 46.55, longitude 70.10.
part of the river, and is an extensive range of very heavy ordnance, besides some 13 inch mortars, which, if properly served, must destroy any vessels which might attempt to pass, or come near enough to injure the town.
The river opposite to Quebec is about 100 feet in depth, and affords good anchorage: for a considerable way above Quebec it is navigable for ships of any size. Indeed, large ships go as high up as Montreal, which is near 200 miles above Quebec.
The site of Quebec seems to have been destined by nature for the capital of an empire. The surrounding country is magnificent; and it is seen to great advantage from Cape Diamond, which overlooks the great river, and is the termination of the plains of Abraham.
It is a very difficult thing to convey by words a correct idea of any town, or give a just notion of the situation of a place, and the appearance of its surrounding scenery. In reading the description of a place, we naturally draw a picture of it in our own mind; but it is always an
erroneous one. Nothing but a model, if properly executed and coloured, or a panorama, the most excellent of all sorts of painting, can enable one to form so correct an idea of a place as to supersede the necessity of visiting it.
I recollect how much I was struck with the difference between the picture I had drawn in my own mind of many places of consequence and celebrity, the descriptions of which I had read, and their real and true appearance on inspection. Of these the most striking were London, Lisbon and its magnificent Cintra, Gibraltar, Montpellier, Lyons, Paris, and many other places of note on the continent of Europe. Although the picture I had drawn to myself of Quebec was not correct, yet it was fully as near the truth as I expected it would be.
I do not pretend to be a great proficient in the topographic art, but the drawings of Quebec are, in general, so very erroneous, or at least so inadequate to the end proposed, that the aid of description seems extremely necessary, in order that a