Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the 21st, viz. the Rifts le Galete, the Flat Rifts, the Long Falls, and the Maligne Rifts. All these run with great velocity; and at the lower end of each, where the stream rushes into waters that run on a lesser declivity, a great swell or heaving motion is produced. We stopped for the night at Cornwall, a considerable village on the Canadian shore. I was there told the river opposite to that place is so deep, that when the people attempted to drag it in search of the body of a man who had been drowned, the bottom was not felt.

On the 22d we passed St. Regis, an Indian town, which is built with stone. Below this place, the boundary line which separates the United States from Canada leaves the river. Lake St. Francis is an expansion of the river that is about thirty miles long, and from four to six miles broad. The banks are low, and the declivity of the neighbouring lands is very moderate. To the southeast, a number of high mountains in New York State are to be seen. Their distance from the river seems to be about thirty miles, and they are covered with trees to their summits.

On the northern bank of Lake St. Francis, is a settlement of Canadian French. It extends to the length of seven or eight miles, and is only about one mile broad. The farms are said to consist of one hundred acres each, and as they extend from the lake back to the woods, they are long narrow stripes of land, each having the dwelling-house, barn, &c. almost close to the bank. The houses are white-washed, and externally very neat. Their being almost completely uniform in size and appearance, might cause any stranger to believe that their owners are nearly on a parity in wealth.

At the east end of the lake are the falls of St. Francis. These are furious rapids, and a canal

1

for avoiding them has been cut at the village Cotu du Lac, but as the cut is not deep enough, the work is of very little use. Of the falls of St. Lawrence river, it may be remarked generally, that as there are no high floods, and as the banks are low, there can be no great difficulty in improving the navigation. There is a very small Fort at the Cotu du Lac, which is garrisoned by about half a dozen of soldiers.

On the 23d we took in a pilot, who conducted us over the Cedar Rifts, the Thicket Falls, and Le Trou Falls. The former of these rapids runs with tremendous fury. The two latter canals are cut, but, like that at the Cotu du Lac, they are too shallow to admit loaded boats. The Cedar village is most delightfully situated on the north side of the river.

The Utawas, or Grand river, forms the division line between Upper and Lower Canada, and falls into the St. Lawrence by two mouths, one above and the other below the island of Montreal. The great magnitude of the former river is manifested by the dark colour of its waters, which are sufficient to give a tinge to the Lake St. Louis, in which the two rivers meet. On this lake a new steamboat has lately begun to ply.

La Chine is a small town on the Island Montreal, and at the head of the falls of St. Louis. In consequence of this interruption to the navigation, La Chine is at the head of a portage over which a great portion of the produce and goods that pass upward of Montreal are carried. The inhabitants of this place are Canadian French, many of whom are employed as carters between the landing place and the city, which is about seven miles distant. Cachewaga, on the opposite side of

the river, is an Indian town, built of stone, and of a neat appearance.

On the 24th I proceeded by land to Montreal. The soil in that part is good, and well adapted to pasturage. I observed some farms that are occupied by Scotsmen, and cultivated in a neater style than any thing of the kind that I have ever seen in America. Several iron ploughs which were made at Uddingstone, on the Clyde, were lying by the side of the road. The horses are small, but elegantly formed and hardy.

The language in most common use here is the French. People of every possible shade of colour, between the French complexion and the copper colour of the Indian, are to be heard conversing in that tongue.

The suburbs of Montreal are composed of narrow dirty streets. The houses are of stone, plastered over with lime. A few private houses, and the court-house and jail, are built of hewed stone. The roofs of many of the houses are covered with small plates of tinned iron, which preserves its metallic lustre well, and produces a disagreeable glare during sunshine. In the end of the market place, is a monument in memory of Lord Nelson. It is a Doric column, with a plaster bust of the hero on the top, and some naval figures in relief upon the pedestal. This compound substance is already yielding to the weather, and probably will not long resist the effects of this rigorous climate. To the north of the town, there is a hill covered with timber, which contributes much toward giving the place a picturesque appearance. In the neighbourhood there are a few neat villas, and many luxuriant orchards. In the streets people are to be seen driving small carts drawn by dogs;

they are usually loaded with sticks, ashes, and other light articles. Montreal has a great trade, being the emporium of the upper country, and the residence of the principal agents of the North West Company. The port is accessible to large ships from the ocean, but is not a tenable harbour in the winter, on account of its being exposed to the breaking up of the ice. Montreal is the seat of justice for the upper district of Lower Canada. The court is composed of a chief justice, and three puisne judges. There is in the city, a barrack occupied by a small body of troops. A square in the form of a terrace, called the Place d'Arms, for the exercising of soldiers; a college, and a convent, where a considerable number of nuns are kept. The clergy of the Roman Catholic religion retain the tithes of the island.

Early on the morning of the 25th I sailed in a steam-boat for Quebec. There are now twelve large vessels of this kind which ply between Montreal and that place, and one that crosses between La Prairie and Montreal.

The steam-boats, on their passage between Montreal and Quebec, touch at the town of Sorel, at the mouth of Sorel river. Sorel is a small town, and its principal business is ship-building. It was formerly called Fort William Henry, known as the place of the earliest settlement of Europeans in North America, and as the scene of the cruel massacre committed by the Indians under the French General Montcalm, in 1757.

The Lake St. Peter's is another expansion of the river, about twenty miles long and fifteen broad. The great lakes in the upper country, and the smaller ones in the course of the St. Lawrence, have the effect of equalizing the stream, and pre

vent inundations, which are very injurious to the neighbourhood of most large rivers.

In the afternoon, the vessel was anchored in consequence of a contrary wind, which was accompanied with a fall of snow, the first that had occurred during the season. The town Trois Rivieres, (Three Rivers,) then in our sight, is a large place, and is the seat of justice for one of the three districts of Lower Canada. Most of the inhabitants here, as in the other parts of the lower province, are Canadian French. The houses are covered with tinned iron.

On both sides of the river, a row of farm houses, placed at very short intervals, stretches along almost without interruption: These houses are whitewashed, and have throughout a degree of similarity in size and appearance which I have not observed in any other part except the banks of the St. Lawrence. These houses are white-washed, and have each a barn and other inferior houses attached. As the grain is housed, and the barns seem to be of no great dimensions, it is a proof that the crops are certainly small. In viewing these ranges of farming establishments obliquely, the whole has the aspect of a continued village on both sides, with churches at very short distances from one another. Were it not for seeing the uncleared woods, which are in most parts only about a mile from the river, and for recollecting that the number of white people in Lower Canada was, a few years ago, estimated at only 200,000, I should have been induced to believe that this is a populous country.

On the 26th we proceeded downwards with a fair wind. The tide reaches to the distance of about sixty miles above Quebec. We descended the Falls of Richlieu, by the joint action of wind, tide, steam, and the stream, at the rate of fifteen

« AnteriorContinuar »