By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Canadian Scenery, Volume I (of 2)
Author: Willis, Nathaniel Parker
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Canadian Scenery, Volume I (of 2)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


[Illustration: _The Chaudière Falls, near Quebec._]

                            CANADIAN SCENERY


                    FROM DRAWINGS BY W. H. BARTLETT.

                       THE LITERARY DEPARTMENT BY

                           N. P. WILLIS, ESQ.


                 *        *        *        *        *
                                VOL. I.
                 *        *        *        *        *

                 VIRTUE & CO., CITY ROAD AND IVY LANE.


              I. CANADIAN SCENERY.

                        LIST OF THE ENGRAVINGS.

                 *        *        *        *        *

                                VOL. I.

                 *        *        *        *        *

        THE MAP
        PORT HOPE
        WOLFE’S COVE

[Illustration: THE MAP]

                           CANADIAN SCENERY.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The name of this magnificent link in the colonial chain with which
England has encircled the world, is a matter of considerable doubt.[1]
It has been dignified with some research and ingenuity, however, and we
can record the result, leaving the choice of solutions to the reader.
Hennepin thus unfolds his idea of its origin:—“Les Espagnols ont fait
la première découverte du Canada. Ayant mis pied à terre, ils n’y
trouvèrent rien de considérable. Cette raison les obligea d’abandonner
ce pays, qu’ils appellèrent _il Capo di Nada_, c’est-à-dire le Cap de
Rien (or _Cape Nothing_), d’où est venu par corruption le nom de

La Potherie corroborates this statement, with this difference, that he
attributes the Spaniards’ idea of the nothingness of the country to its
being covered with snow. He says also that the Indians, on the arrival
of Jacques Cartier, frequently pronounced these words: _Aca nada_
(nothing here), which is a very plausible derivation. The words were
taught them probably by the Spaniards, who had visited the Baie des
Chaleurs, and pronounced them because they found no gold or silver

Our own opinion, however, is, that the word Canada is derived from the
word _Kanata_, which, in Iroquois, signifies _a collection of huts_. By
so unpromising an appellation, is known a province containing upwards of
350,000 square miles, which offer to the agriculturist almost
measureless fields of pasture and tillage—to the manufacturer, an
incalculable extension of the home market for the disposal of his
wares—to the merchant and mariner, vast marts for profitable traffic in
every product with which nature has bounteously enriched the earth—to
the capitalist, an almost interminable extent for the profitable
investment of funds—and to the industrious, skilful, and intelligent
emigrant, a field where every species of mental ingenuity and manual
labour may be developed and brought into action with advantage to the
whole family of man.

The first query that occurs to the reader’s mind in taking up any book
on Canada, is, What was the real character of the aboriginal inhabitant,
and how far and in what manner has he receded before the advancing step
of the white man? Before touching on the history of the civilization of
the country, the condition of its savage owners should be well

In their physical character, the American savage is considered by
Blumenbach as forming a particular variety in the human species,
differing, though not very widely, from the Mongolian. Believing that
the New World was peopled from the Old, and considering that the Mongol
race was situated nearest the point where Asia and America come almost
into contact, we are inclined to ascribe these variations merely to a
change of circumstances. The face is broad and flat, with high cheek
bones; more rounded and arched, however, than in the allied type,
without having the visage expanded to the same breadth. The forehead is
generally low; the eyes deep, small, and black; the nose rather
diminutive, but prominent, with wide nostrils; and the mouth large, with
somewhat thick lips. The stature, which varies remarkably throughout the
continent, is, in the quarter of which we treat, generally above the
middle size. This property, however, is confined to the men, the females
being usually below that standard—a fact which may be confidently
ascribed to the oppressive drudgery they are compelled to undergo. The
limbs, in both sexes, are well proportioned, and few instances of
deformity ever occur.

The colour of the skin in the American is generally described as red, or
copper-coloured; or, according to Mr. Lawrence’s more precise
definition, “it is an obscure orange or rusty-iron colour, not unlike
the bark of the cinnamon tree.” Although we believe that climate is the
chief cause of the diversities in human colour, yet it is certain that
all savages are dark-tinted. This peculiarity may be accounted for by
their constant exposure to the inclemency of the seasons, to sun, air,
and tempests; and the same cause, in civilized countries, produces a
similar effect on sailors, as well as on those who work constantly in
the fields. In the Old World, the intermediate tints between white and
black are generally varieties of brown and yellow. The _red_ tint is
considered characteristic of the New World. We must, however, observe
that the traveller Adair, who lived upwards of thirty years among the
Indians, positively asserts that it is produced artificially; that in
the oil, grease, and other unctuous substances with which they keep
their skin constantly smeared, there is dissolved the juice of a root
which gradually tinges it of this colour. He states that a white man,
who spent some years with the natives and adorned himself in their
manner, completely acquired it. Charlevoix seems also to lean to the
same opinion. Weld, though rather inclined to dissent from it, admits
that such a notion was adopted by missionaries and others who had
resided long in the country. It is certain that the inhabitants glory in
this colour, and regard Europeans who have it not as nondescript beings,
not fully entitled to the name of men. It may be noticed also, that this
tint is by no means so universal as is commonly supposed. Humboldt
declares that the idea of its general prevalence could never have arisen
in equinoctial America, or been suggested by the view of the natives in
that region; yet these provinces include by far the larger part of the
aboriginal population. The people of Nootka Sound and other districts of
the north-western coast are nearly as white as Europeans; which may be
ascribed, we think, to their ample clothing and spacious habitations.
Thus the red nations appear limited to the eastern tribes of North
America, among whom generally prevails the custom of painting or
smearing the skin with that favourite colour. We are not prepared to
express a decided opinion on this subject; but it obviously requires a
closer investigation than it has yet received.

The hair is another particular in which the races of mankind remarkably
differ. The ruder classes are generally defective, either in the
abundance or quality of that graceful appendage; and the hair of the
Americans, like that of their allied type the Mongols, is coarse, black,
thin, but strong, and growing to a great length. Like the latter also,
by a curious coincidence, most of them remove it from every part of the
head with the exception of a tuft on the crown, which they cherish with
much care. The circumstance, however, which has excited the greatest
attention, is the absence of beard, apparently entire among all the
people of the New World. The early travellers viewed it as a natural
deficiency; whence Robertson and other eminent writers have even
inferred the existence of something peculiarly feeble in their whole
frame. But the assertion, with all the inferences founded upon it, so
far as relates to the North American tribes, has been completely refuted
by recent observation. The original growth has been found nearly, if not
wholly, as ample as that of the Europeans; but the moment it appears,
every trace is studiously obliterated. This is effected by the aged
females, originally with a species of clam-shell, but now by means of
spiral pieces of brass wire supplied by the traders. With these an old
squaw will, in a few minutes, reduce the chin to a state of complete
smoothness; and slight applications during the year, clear away such
straggling hairs as happen to sprout. It is only among old men, who
become careless of their appearance, that the beard begins to be
perceptible. A late English traveller strongly recommends to his
countrymen a practice, which, though scarcely accordant with our ideas
of manly dignity, would, at the expense of a few minutes’ pain, save
them much daily trouble. The Indians have probably adopted this usage,
as it removes an obstacle to the fantastic painting of the face, which
they value so highly. A full beard, at all events, when it was first
seen on their French visitors, is said to have been viewed with peculiar
antipathy, and to have greatly enhanced the pleasure with which they
killed these foreigners.

The comparative physical strength of savage and civilized nations has
been a subject of controversy. A general impression has obtained that
the former, inured to simple and active habits, acquire a decided
superiority; but experience appears to have proved that this conclusion
is ill-founded. On the field of battle, when a struggle takes place
between man and man, the savage is usually worsted. In sportive
exercises, such as wrestling, he is most frequently thrown, and in
leaping comes short of his antagonist. Even in walking or running, if
for a short distance, he is left behind; but in these last movements, he
possesses a power of perseverance and continued exertion to which there
is scarcely any parallel. An individual has been known to travel nearly
eighty miles a day, and arrive at his destination without any symptoms
of fatigue. These long journeys, also, are frequently performed without
any refreshment, and even having their shoulders loaded with heavy
burdens, their power of supporting which is truly wonderful. For about
twelve miles, indeed, a strong European will keep a-head of the Indian,
but then he begins to flag; while the other, proceeding with unaltered
speed, outstrips him considerably. Even powerful animals cannot equal
them in this respect. Many of their civilized adversaries, when overcome
in war, and fleeing before them on swift horses, have, after a long
chase, been overtaken and scalped.

Having thus given a view of the persons of the American Aborigines, we
may proceed to consider the manner in which they are clothed and
ornamented. This last object might have been expected to have been a
very secondary one, among tribes whose means of subsistence are so very
scanty and precarious; but so far is this from being the case, that
there is scarcely any pursuit which occupies so much of their time and
regard. They have availed themselves of European intercourse to procure
each a small mirror, in which, from time to time, they view their
personal decorations, taking care that every thing shall be in the most
perfect order.

Embellishment, however, is not much expended on actual clothing, which
is simple, and chiefly arranged with a view to convenience. Instead of
shoes they wear what are termed moccasins, consisting of one strip of
soft leather wrapped round the foot, and fastened in front and behind.
Europeans, walking over hard roads, soon knock these to pieces; but the
Indian, tripping over snow or grass, finds them a light and agreeable
_chaussure_. Upwards, to the middle of the thigh, a piece of leather or
cloth, tightly fitted to the limb, serves instead of pantaloons,
stockings, and boots; it is sometimes sewed on so close as never to be
taken off. To a string or girdle round the waist are fastened two
aprons, one before and the other at the back, each somewhat more than a
foot square; and these are connected by a piece of cloth like a truss,
often used also as a capacious pocket. The use of breeches they have
always repelled with contempt, as cumbrous and effeminate. As an article
of female dress, they would consider them less objectionable; but that
the limbs of a warrior should be thus manacled, appears to them utterly
preposterous. They were particularly scandalized at seeing an officer
have them fastened over the shoulder by braces, and never after gave him
any name but Tied-Breech.

The garments now enumerated form the whole of their permanent dress. On
occasions of ceremony, indeed, or when exposed to cold, they put over it
a short shirt, fastened at the neck and wrists, and above it a long
loose robe closed or held together in front. For this purpose they now
generally prefer an English blanket. All these articles were originally
fabricated from the skins of wild animals; but at present, unless for
the moccasins, and sometimes the leggings, European stuffs are
preferred. The dress of the female scarcely differs from that of the
male, except that the apron reaches down to the knees; and even this is
said to have been adopted since their acquaintance with civilized
nations. The early French writers relate an amusing anecdote to prove
how little dress was considered as making a distinction between the
sexes. The Ursuline Nuns, having educated a Huron girl, presented her,
on her marriage to one of her countrymen, with a complete and handsome
suit of clothes in the Parisian style. They were much surprised, some
days after, to see the husband, who had ungenerously seized on the whole
of the bride’s attire and arrayed himself in it, parading back and
forward in front of the convent, and betraying every symptom of the most
extravagant exultation. This was further heightened, when he observed
the ladies crowding to the window to see him, and a universal smile
spread over their countenances.

These vestments, as already observed, are simple, and adapted only for
use. To gratify his passionate love of ornament, the Indian seeks
chiefly to load his person with certain glittering appendages. Before
the arrival of Europeans, shells and feathers took the lead; but since
that period, these commodities have been nearly supplanted by beads,
rings, bracelets, and similar toys, which are inserted profusely into
various parts of his apparel, particularly the little apron in front.
The chiefs usually wear a breastplate ornamented with them; and among
all classes, it is an object of the greatest ambition to have the
largest possible number suspended from the ear. That organ therefore is
not bored, but slit to such an extent that a stick of wax may be passed
through the aperture, which is then loaded with all the baubles that can
be mustered; and if the weight of these gradually draw down the yielding
flap till it rest on the shoulder, and the ornaments themselves cover
the breast, the Indian has reached the utmost height of his finery.
This, however, is a precarious splendour; the ear becomes more and more
unfit to support the burden, when at length some accident, the branch of
a tree, or even a twitch by a waggish comrade, lays at his feet all his
decorations, with the portion of the flesh to which they were attached.
Weld saw very few who had preserved this organ through life. The
adjustment of the hair, again, is an object of especial study. As
already observed, the greater part is generally eradicated, leaving only
a tuft, varying in shape and place according to taste and national
custom, but usually encircling the crown. This lock is stuck full of
feathers, wings of birds, shells, and every kind of fantastic ornament.
The women wear theirs long and flowing, and contrive to collect a
considerable number of ornaments for it, as well as for their ears and

But it is upon his skin that the American warrior chiefly lavishes his
powers of embellishment. His taste in doing so is very different from
ours. “While the European,” says Creuxius, “studies to keep his skin
clean, and free from every extraneous substance, the Indian’s aim is
that his, by the accumulation of oil, grease, and paint, may shine like
that of a roasted pig. Soot scraped from the bottoms of kettles, the
juices of herbs having a green, yellow, and above all, a vermilion tint,
rendered adhesive by combination with oil and grease, are lavishly
employed to adorn his person—or, according to our idea, to render it
hideous. Black and red, alternating with stripes, are the favourite
tints. Some blacken the face, leaving in the middle a red circle,
including the upper lip and tip of the nose; others have a red spot on
each ear, or one eye black and the other of a red colour. In war, the
black tint is profusely laid on, the others being only employed to
heighten its effect, and give to the countenance a terrific expression.
M. De Tracy, when Governor of Canada, was told by his Indian allies,
that, with his good-humoured face, he would never inspire his enemies
with any degree of awe: they besought him to place himself under their
brush, when they would soon make him such, that his very aspect would
strike terror. The breast, arms, and legs are the seat of more permanent
impressions, analogous to the tattooing of the South Sea Islanders. The
colours are rather elaborately rubbed in, or fixed by slight incisions
with needles and sharp-pointed bones. His guardian spirit, and the
animal that forms the symbol of his tribe, are the first objects
delineated. After this, every memorable exploit, and particularly the
enemies whom he has slain and scalped, are diligently graven on some
part of his figure; so that the body of an aged warrior contains the
history of his life.

The means of procuring subsistence must always form an important branch
of national economy. Writers taking a superficial view of savage life,
and seeing how scanty the articles of food are, while the demand is
naturally urgent, have assumed that the efforts to attain them must
absorb his whole mind, and scarcely leave room for any other thought.
But, on the contrary, these are to him very subordinate objects. To
perform a round of daily labour, even though insuring the most ample
provision for his wants, would be equally contrary to his inclination
and supposed dignity. He will not deign to follow any pursuit which does
not, at the same time, include enterprise, adventure, and excitement.
Hunting, which the higher classes in the civilised parts of the world
pursue for mere recreation, is almost the only occupation considered of
sufficient importance to engage his attention. It is peculiarly endeared
by its resemblance to war, being carried on with the same weapons, and
nearly in the same manner. In his native state, the arrow was the
favourite and almost exclusive instrument for assailing distant objects;
but now the gun has nearly superseded it. The great hunts are rendered
more animating, as well as more effectual, from being carried on in
large parties, and even by whole tribes. The men are prepared for these
by fasting, dreaming, and other superstitious observances, similar to
those which we find employed in the anticipation of war. In such
expeditions, too, contrivance and skill, as well as boldness and
enterprise, are largely employed. Sometimes a circle is formed, when all
the animals surrounded by it are pressed closer and closer till they are
collected in the centre, and fall under the accumulated weight of
weapons. On other occasions, they are driven to the margin of a lake or
river, in which if they attempt to take refuge, canoes are ready to
intercept them. Elsewhere a space is enclosed by stakes, only a narrow
opening being left, which, by clamour and shouts, the game are compelled
to enter, and thereby secured. In autumn and spring, when the ice is
newly formed and slight, they are pushed upon it, and their legs
breaking through, they are easily caught. In winter, when the snow
begins to fall, traps are set, in which planks are so arranged, that the
animal, in snatching at the bait, is crushed to death. Originally the
deer, both for food and clothing, was the most valuable object of chase;
but since the trade with Europeans has given such a prominent importance
to furs, the beaver has in some degree supplanted it. In attacking this
animal, great care is taken to prevent his escape into the water, on
which his habitation always borders; and with this view, various kinds
of nets and springes are employed. On some occasions, the Indians place
themselves on the dyke which encloses his amphibious village. They then
make an opening in it, when the inmates, alarmed by seeing the water
flowing out, hasten to this barrier, where they encounter their enemies
armed with all the instruments of destruction. At other times, when ice
covers the surface of the pond, a hole is made, at which the animal
comes to respire; he is then drawn out and secured.

The boar is a formidable enemy, which must be assailed by the combined
force of the hunters, who are ranged in two rows, armed with bows or
muskets: one of them advances and wounds him, and on being furiously
pursued, he retreats between the files, followed in the same line by the
animal, which is then overwhelmed by their united onset. In killing
these quadrupeds, the natives seem to feel a sort of kindness and
sympathy for their victim. On vanquishing a beaver or a bear, they
celebrate its praises in a song; recounting those good qualities which
it will never more be able to display, yet consoling themselves with the
useful purposes to which its flesh and skin will be applied.

Of the animals usually tamed and rendered subservient to useful
purposes, the Americans have only the dog, that faithful friend to man.
Though his services in hunting are valuable, he is treated with no
tenderness; but is left to roam about the dwelling, very sparingly
supplied with food and shelter. A missionary who resided in a Huron
village, represents his life as having been rendered miserable by these
animals. At night they laid themselves on his person, for the benefit of
the warmth; and whenever his scanty meal was set down, their snouts were
always first in the dish. Dog’s flesh is eaten, and has even a peculiar
sanctity attached to it: on all solemn festivals it is the principal
meat, the use of which on such occasions seems to import some high and
mysterious meaning.

But besides the cheering avocations of the chase, other means must be
used to ensure the comfort and subsistence of the Indian’s family; all
of which, however, are most ungenerously devolved upon the weaker sex.
Women, according to Creuxius, serve them as domestics, as tailors, as
peasants, and as oxen; and Long does not conceive that any other
purposes of their existence are recognised, except those of bearing
children and performing hard work. They till the ground, carry wood and
water, build huts, make canoes, and fish; in which latter processes,
however, and in reaping the harvest, their lords deign to give
occasional aid. So habituated are they to such occupations, that when
one of them saw a party of English soldiers collecting wood, she
exclaimed that it was a shame to see men doing women’s work; and began
herself to carry a load.

Through the services of this enslaved portion of the tribe, these
savages are enabled to combine, in a certain degree, the agricultural
with the hunting state, without any mixture of the pastoral, usually
considered as intermediate. Cultivation, however, is limited to small
spots in the immediate vicinity of the villages; and these being usually
at the distance of sixteen or seventeen miles from each other, it
scarcely makes any impression on the immense extent of forest.

[Illustration: _Georgeville._]

The women, in the beginning of summer, after having burnt the stubble of
the preceding crop, rudely stir the ground with a long crooked piece of
wood; they then throw in grain, which is chiefly the coarse but
productive species of maize peculiar to the continent. The nations in
the south have a considerable variety of fruits; whereas those of Canada
appear to have raised only “turnsoles, watermelons, and pompions.”
Tobacco used to be grown largely; but that imported by Europeans is now
universally preferred, and has become a regular object of trade. The
grain, after harvest (which is celebrated by a festival), is lodged in
large subterraneous stores lined with bark, where it keeps extremely
well. Previous to being placed in these, it is sometimes thrashed; on
other occasions, merely the ears are cut off and thrown in.

When first discovered by settlers from Europe, the degrees of culture
were found to vary in different tribes. The Algonquins, who were the
ruling people previous to the arrival of the French, wholly despised it,
and branded as plebeian their neighbours by whom it was practised. In
general, the northern clans, and those near the mouth of the St.
Lawrence, depended almost solely on hunting and fishing; and when these
failed, they were reduced to dreadful extremities, being often obliged
to depend on the miserable resource of that species of lichen called
_tripe de roche_.

The maize, when thrashed, is occasionally toasted on the coals, and
sometimes made into a coarse kind of unleavened cake. But the most
favourite preparation is that called _sagamity_, a species of pap formed
after it has been roasted, bruised, and separated from the husk. It is
insipid by itself, but when thrown into the pot along with the produce
of the chase, it enriches the soup or stew, one of the principal dishes
at their feasts. They never eat victuals raw, but rather over-boiled;
nor have they yet been brought to endure French ragouts, salt, pepper,
or indeed any species of condiment. A chief, admitted to the Governor’s
table, seeing the general use of mustard, was led by curiosity to take a
spoonful and put it in his mouth. On feeling its violent effects, he
made incredible efforts to conceal them, and escape the ridicule of the
company; but severe sneezings, and the tears starting to his eyes, soon
betrayed him, and raised a general laugh. He was then shown the manner
in which it should be used; but nothing could ever induce him to allow
the “boiling yellow,” as he termed it, to enter his lips.

The Indians are capable of extraordinary abstinence from food, in which
they can persevere for successive days without complaint or apparent
suffering. They even take a pride in long fasts, by which they prepare
themselves for any great undertaking. Yet when once set down to a feast,
their gluttony is described as enormous, and the capacity of their
stomachs almost incredible. They will go from feast to feast, doing
honour to each in succession. The chief giving the entertainment does
not partake, but with his own hands distributes portions among the
guests. On solemn occasions, it is the rule that every thing shall be
eaten; nor does this obligation seem to be felt as either burdensome or
unpleasant. In their native state, they were not acquainted with any
species of intoxicating liquors; their love of ardent spirits being
entirely consequent on their intercourse with Europeans.

The habitations of the Indians receive much less attention than the
attire, or at least embellishment of their persons. Our countrymen, by
common consent, give to them no better appellation than “cabins.” The
bark of trees is the chief material both for the houses and boats; they
peel it off with considerable skill, sometimes stripping a whole tree in
one piece. This coating, spread, not unskilfully, over a framework of
poles, and fastened to them by strips of tough rind, forms their
dwellings. The shape, according to the owner’s fancy, resembles a tub, a
cone, or a cart-shed, the mixture of which gives to the village a
confused and chaotic appearance. Light and heat are admitted only by an
aperture at the top, through which also the smoke escapes, after filling
all the upper part of the mansion. Little inconvenience is felt from
this by the natives, who, within doors, never think of any position
except sitting or lying; but to Europeans, who must occasionally stand
or walk, the abode is thereby rendered almost intolerable; and matters
become much worse when rain or snow makes it necessary to close the
roof. These structures are sometimes upwards of a hundred feet long;
four of them occasionally compose a quadrangle, each open on the inside,
and having a common fire in the centre. Formerly, the Iroquois had
houses somewhat superior, adorned even with some rude carving; but these
were burnt down by the French in successive expeditions, and have never
been rebuilt in the same style. The Canadians in this respect seem to be
surpassed by the Choktaws, Chickasaws, and other tribes in the south,
and even by Sauks in the west, whose mansions Carver describes as
constructed of well-hewn planks, neatly jointed, and each capable of
containing several families.

In their expeditions, whether for war or hunting, which often lead them
through desolate forests, several miles from home, the Indians have the
art of rearing, with great expedition, temporary abodes. On arriving at
their evening station, a few poles, meeting at top in form of a cone,
are in half an hour covered with bark; and having spread a few pine
branches within, by way of mattress, they sleep as on beds of down. Like
the Esquimaux, they also understand how to convert snow into a material
for building; and find it, in the depth of winter, the warmest and most
comfortable. A few twigs, plaited together, secure the roof. Europeans
in their Indian campaigns, have, in cases of necessity, used with
advantage this species of bivouac.

[Illustration: _A Forest Scene._]

[Illustration: _Canoe-building at Papper’s Island._]

The furniture in these native huts is exceedingly simple. The chief
articles are two or three pots or kettles for boiling their food, with a
few wooden plates or spoons. The former, in the absence of metal, with
which the inhabitants were unacquainted, were made of coarse earthenware
that resisted the fire, and sometimes of a species of soft stone, which
could be excavated with their rude hatchets. Nay, in some cases, their
kitchen utensils were of wood, and the water made to boil by throwing in
heated stones. Since their acquaintance with Europeans, the superiority
of iron vessels has been found so decided, that they are now universally
preferred. The great kettle or cauldron, employed only on high festivals
associated with religion, war, or hunting, attracts even a kind of
veneration, and potent chiefs have assumed its name as a title of

Canoes, another fabric which the Indians construct very rudely, are yet
adapted with considerable skill to their purpose. These are usually
framed of the bark of a single tree, strengthened at the centre with
ribs of tough wood. The ends are of bark only; but being curved upwards,
are always above water, and thus remain perfectly tight. Our sailors can
scarcely believe such nut-shells safe even on the smoothest waters, and
see with surprise the natives guiding them amid stormy waves, when their
very lightness and buoyancy preserve them from sinking. They have
another quality of great advantage in the devious pursuits of the
owners; being so extremely light, that they can be easily conveyed on
the shoulder from one river or branch of a lake to another. One man, it
is said, can carry on his back a canoe in which twelve persons can
navigate with safety.

Having taken this minute survey of the physical condition of the
Indians, we shall proceed to an examination of their social condition.
The fundamental principle of their polity is, the complete independence
of every individual, his right to do whatever he pleases, be it good or
bad, nay, even though criminal or destructive. When any one announces an
intention which is disagreeable to his neighbours, they dare not attempt
to check him by reproach or coercion; these would only rivet his
determination more strongly. Their only resource is to soothe him, like
a spoiled child, by kind words, and especially by gifts. If,
notwithstanding, he proceeds to wound or murder any one, the public look
on without concern, though revenge is eagerly sought by the kindred of
the injured person.

Notwithstanding this impunity, which in countries under the bonds of
law, would be followed by the most dreadful consequences, it is somewhat
mortifying to the pride of European civilization to learn, that there
reigns a degree of tranquillity greater than the strictest police can
preserve with us. The Indians are divided into a number of little
nations or tribes, fiercely hostile to each other but whose members are
bound among themselves by the strictest union. The honour and welfare of
the clan supply their ruling principle, and are cherished with an ardour
not surpassed in the most brilliant eras of Greek or Roman patriotism.

This national attachment forms a social tie, linking the members to each
other, and rendering exceedingly rare, not only deeds of violence, but
even personal quarrels; and banishing entirely that coarse and abusive
language which is so prevalent among the vulgar in more enlightened
communities. This feeling, added to the sentiment of dignity and
self-command considered suitable to the character of a warrior, renders
their deportment exceedingly pleasing. They are completely free from
that false shame which is termed _mauvaise honte_. When seated at table
with Europeans of the highest rank, they retain the most thorough
self-possession; and at the same time, by carefully observing the
proceedings of the other guests, they avoid all awkwardness in their

The generosity of the Indian in relieving the necessities of others of
the tribe, scarcely knows any bounds, and only stops short of an
absolute community of goods. No member of a tribe can be in the least
danger of starving, if the rest have wherewithal to supply him. Children
rendered orphans by the casualties to which savage life is subject, are
immediately taken in charge by the nearest relative, and supplied with
every thing needful, as abundantly as if they were his own. Nothing
gives them a more unfavourable opinion of the French and English, than
to see one portion revelling in abundance while the other suffers the
extremity of want; but when they are told that for want of these
accommodations, men are seized by their fellow-creatures and immured in
dungeons, such a degree of barbarism appears to them almost incredible.
Whole tribes, when obliged by the vicissitudes of war to seek refuge
among their neighbours, are received with unbounded hospitality;
habitations and lands are assigned to them, and they are treated by
their new friends, in every respect, as part of themselves. It may,
however, be observed, that as such an accession of numbers augments the
military strength of the tribe, there may be a mixture of policy in this
cordial reception.

In consequence of this spirit of order and internal union, the unbounded
personal freedom which marks their social condition seldom breaks out
into such crimes as would disturb the public peace. Its greatest evil,
of which we shall see repeated instances, is, that individuals, actuated
by a spirit of revenge or daring enterprise, think themselves justified
in surprising and murdering a hated adversary. From this cause, every
treaty between the tribes is rendered precarious; though, as each is
aware of these lawless propensities, room is left for mutual
explanation, so that particular outrages may not involve a general war.
This circumstance leads us to notice, that the favourable aspect
presented by the interior of these communities can by no means warrant
any conclusion as to the superiority of savage life, when compared with
civilized man. On the contrary, the most perfect form of government
devised by the human being in the state of nature has never been
exempted from those feelings of relentless enmity and continual fear
with which bordering nations regard each other. These, as will appear in
the sequel, often compel to the most direful crimes; but, at present, we
shall proceed with our survey of their domestic usages.

Some writers have denied that there exists among the Indians any thing
that can properly be termed a matrimonial union. This, however, seems
only a prejudice, in consequence of there not being any regular
ceremony, as with us. The man, it appears, after having made an
arrangement with the parent of his bride, takes her home, and they live
in every respect as husband and wife. The mode of courtship among
several of the tribes is singular:—the wooer, attended often by several
comrades, repairs at midnight to his fair one’s apartment, and there
twitches her nose. If she be inclined to listen to his suit, she rises;
otherwise she must depart. Though this visit be so very unseasonable, it
is said to be rarely accompanied with any impropriety. The missionaries,
however, did not think it right to sanction such freedoms in their

The preliminary step is in this manner taken with the lady, but the
decision still rests with the father, to whom the suitor now applies.
Long has given no unpleasing specimen of the address:—“Father, I love
your daughter; will you give her to me, that the small roots of her
heart may entangle with mine, so that the strongest wind that blows may
never separate them?” He offers at the same time a handsome present, the
acceptance of which is considered as sealing the union. Considerable
discrepancy prevails in the descriptions, and apparently in the
practice, as applied to different tribes; yet, on the whole, great
reserve and propriety seem to mark this intercourse.

The young men of the Five Nations valued themselves highly for their
correct conduct toward the other sex. Of numerous female captives who
fell into their hands during a long series of wars, though some were
possessed of great personal beauty, no one had to complain that her
honour was exposed to the slightest danger. The girls themselves are not
always quite so exemplary; but their failures are viewed with
indulgence, and form no obstacle to marriage. Once united by that tie,
however, a strict fidelity is expected, and commonly observed. The
husband, generally speaking, is not jealous, except when intoxicated;
but when his suspicions are really excited regarding the conduct of his
partner, he is very indignant, beats her, bites off her nose, and
dismisses her in disgrace.

There are occasional instances of a divorce being inflicted without any
assigned reason; but such arbitrary proceeding is by no means frequent.
As the wife performs the whole of the labour, and furnishes a great part
of the subsistence, she is usually considered too valuable a possession
to be rashly parted with. In some cases, the domestic drudges become
even an object of dispute and competition. A missionary mentions a
woman, who, during the absence of her husband, formed a new connexion.
Her first partner having returned, without being agitated by any
delicate sensibilities, demanded her back. The question was referred to
a chief, who could contrive no better scheme than that of placing her at
a certain distance from both, and decreeing that he who should first
reach her should have her. “Thus,” says he, “the wife fell to him who
had the best legs.”

With regard to polygamy, the usual liberty is claimed; and by the chiefs
in the west and the south it is indulged to a considerable extent, but
among the tribes on the lakes the practice is rare and limited. When it
does occur, the man very commonly marries his wife’s sister, and even
her whole family, we may suppose, that the household may be thereby
rendered more harmonious. The Indian is said never to betray the
slightest tenderness towards his wife or children. If he meets them on
his return from a distant expedition, he proceeds, without taking the
slightest notice, and seats himself in his cabin as if he had not been a
day absent. Yet his exertions for their welfare, and the eagerness with
which he avenges their wrongs, testify that this apparent apathy springs
only from pride, and a fancied sense of decorum. It is equally displayed
with regard to his most urgent wants. Though he may have been without
food during several days, and enters a neighbour’s house, nothing can
make him stoop to ask for a morsel.

The rearing (for it cannot be called the education) of children is
chiefly arranged so that it may cost the parents the least possible
trouble, in addition to the labour of procuring them subsistence. The
father is either engrossed by war and hunting, or resigned to total
indolence; while the mother, oppressed by various toils, cannot devote
much time to the cares of nurture. The infant, therefore, being fastened
with pieces of skin to a board spread with soft moss, is laid on the
ground, or suspended to a branch of a tree, where it swings, as in a
cradle—an expedient which is so carefully adopted as scarcely ever to
be attended with accident. As soon as the creatures are able to crawl on
hands and feet, they are allowed to move about every part of the house
and vicinity, like a cat or dog. Their favourite resort is the border of
the river or lake, to which an Indian village is usually adjacent, and
where, in summer, they are seen all day long sporting like fishes. As
reason dawns, they enjoy, in the most ample degree, that independence
which is held the birthright of the tribe; for, whatever extravagances
they may indulge in, the parents never take any steps to restrain or
chastise them. The mother only ventures to give her daughter some
delicate reproach, or throws water in her face, which is said to produce
a powerful effect. The youths, however, without any express
instructions, soon imbibe the spirit of their forefathers. Every thing
they see, the tales which they hear, inspire them with the ardent desire
to become great hunters and warriors. Their first study, their favourite
sport, is to bend the bow, to wield the hatchet, and practise all those
exercises which are to be their glory in after life. As manhood
approaches, they spontaneously assume that serious character, that
studied and stately gravity, of which the example has been set by their

The intellectual character of the American savage presents some striking
peculiarities. Considering his unfavourable condition, he, of all other
human beings, might seem doomed to make the nearest approach to the
brute; while, in point of fact, without any aid from letters or study,
many of the higher faculties of his mind are developed in a very
remarkable degree. He displays a decided superiority over the
uninstructed labourer in a civilized community, whose mental energies
are benumbed amid the daily round of mechanical occupation. The former
spends a great part of his life in arduous enterprises, where much
contrivance is requisite, and whence he must often extricate himself by
presence of mind and ingenuity. His senses, particularly those of seeing
and smelling, have acquired, by practice, an almost preternatural
acuteness. He can trace an animal or a foe by indications which, to a
European eye, would be wholly imperceptible; and in his wanderings he
gathers a minute acquaintance with the geography of the countries which
he traverses. He can even draw a rude outline of them, by applying a
mixture of charcoal and grease to prepared skins; and on seeing a
regular map, he soon understands its construction, and readily finds out
places. His facility in discovering the most direct way to spots
situated at the distance of hundreds of miles, and known, perhaps, only
by the report of his countrymen, is truly astonishing. It has been
ascribed by some to a mysterious and supernatural instinct, but it
appears to be achieved by merely observing the different aspect of the
trees or shrubs, when exposed to the north or south; as also the
position of the sun, which he can point out, although hidden by clouds.
Even where there is a beaten track, if at all circuitous, he strikes
directly through the woods, and reaches his destination by the nearest
possible line.

Other faculties of a higher order are developed by the scenes amid which
the life of savages is spent. They are divided into a number of little
communities, between which are actively carried on all the relations of
war, negotiation, treaty, and alliance. As mighty revolutions, observes
an eloquent writer, take place in these kingdoms of wood and cities of
bark, as in the most powerful civilized states. To increase the
influence and extend the possessions of their own tribe—to humble, and,
if possible, destroy those hostile to them—are the constant aims of
every member of those little commonwealths. For these ends, not only
deeds of daring valour are achieved, but schemes are deeply laid, and
pursued with the most accurate calculation. There is scarcely a
refinement in European diplomacy to which they are strangers. The French
once made an attempt to crush the confederacy of the Five Nations, by
attacking each in succession; but as they were on their march against
the first tribe, they were met by the deputies of the other, who offered
their mediation, intimating, that if it were rejected, they would make
common cause with the one threatened. That association, also, showed
that they completely understood how to employ the hostility, which
prevailed between their enemy and the English, for promoting their own
aggrandizement. Embassies, announced by the calumet of peace, are
constantly passing from one tribe to another.

The same political circumstances develop, in an extraordinary degree,
the powers of oratory; for nothing of any importance is transacted
without a speech. On every emergency a council of the tribe is called,
when the aged and wise hold long deliberations for the public weal. The
functions of orator among the Five Nations, had even become a separate
profession, held in equal or higher honour than that of the warrior; and
each clan appointed the most eloquent of their number to speak for them
in the public council. Nay, there was a general orator for the whole
confederacy, who could say to the French governor, “Ononthio, lend thine
ear—I am the mouth of all the country; you hear all the Iroquois in
hearing my word.” Decanesora, their speaker, at a later period, was
greatly admired by the English, and his bust was thought to resemble
that of Cicero. In their diplomatic discourses, each proposition is
prefaced by the delivery of a belt of wampum, of which what follows is
understood to be the explanation, and which is to be preserved as a
record of the conference. The orator does not express his proposals in
words only, but gives to every sentence its appropriate action. If he
threatens war, he wildly brandishes the tomahawk; if he solicits
alliance, he twines his arms closely with those of the chief whom he
addresses; and if he invites friendly intercourse, he assumes all the
attitudes of one who is forming a road in the Indian manner, by cutting
down the trees, clearing them away, and carefully removing the leaves
and branches. To a French writer, who witnessed the delivery of a solemn
embassy, it suggested the idea of a company of actors performing on a
stage. So expressive are their gestures, that negotiations have been
conducted, and alliances concluded between petty states and communities,
who understood nothing of one another’s language.

The composition of the Indian orators is studied and elaborate. The
language of the Iroquois is even held to be susceptible of an Attic
elegance, which few can attain so fully as to escape all criticism. It
is figurative in the highest degree, every notion being expressed by
images addressed to the senses. Thus, to throw up the hatchet, or to put
on the great cauldron, is to begin a war; to throw the hatchet to the
sky, is to wage open and terrible war; to take off the cauldron, or to
bury the hatchet, is to make peace; to plant the tree of peace on the
highest mountain of the earth, is to make a general pacification. To
throw a prisoner into the cauldron, is to devote him to torture and
death; to take him out, is to pardon and receive him as a member of the
community. Ambassadors coming to propose a full and general treaty, say,
“We rend the clouds asunder, and drive away all darkness from the
heavens, that the sun of peace may shine with brightness over us all.”
On another occasion, referring to their own violent conduct, they said,
“We are glad that Assarigoa will bury in the pit what is past; let the
earth be trodden hard over it; or rather let a strong stream run under
the pit to wash away the evil.” They afterwards added, “We now plant a
tree, whose top will reach the sun, and its branches spread far abroad;
and we shall shelter ourselves under it, and live in peace.” To send the
collar underground, is to carry on a secret negotiation; but when
expressing a desire that there might be no duplicity or concealment
between them and the French, they said, that “they wished to fix the sun
in the top of the heaven, immediately above that pole, that it might
beat directly down, and leave nothing in obscurity.” In pledging
themselves to a firm and steady peace, they declared that they would not
only throw down the great war cauldron, and cause all the water to flow
out, but would break it in pieces. This disposition to represent every
thing by a sensible object extends to matters the most important. One
powerful people assumed the appellation of Foxes, while another gloried
in that of Cats. Even when the entire nation bore a different
appellation, separate fraternities distinguished themselves as the tribe
of the Bear, the Tortoise, and the Wolf. They did not disdain a
reference even to inanimate things. The Black Cauldron was at one time
the chief warrior of the Five Nations; and Red Shoes was a person of
distinction, well known to Long the traveller. When the chiefs concluded
treaties with Europeans, their signature consisted in a picture, often
tolerably well executed, of the beast or object after which they chose
to be named.

The absence, among these tribes, of any written or even pictorial mode
of recording events, was supplied by the memories of their old men,
which were so retentive, that a certain writer calls them living books.
Their only remembrancer consisted in the wampum belts, of which one was
appropriated to each division of a speech or treaty, and had, seemingly,
a powerful effect in calling it to recollection. On the close of the
transaction, these were deposited as public documents, to be drawn forth
on great occasions, when the orators, and even the old women, could
repeat verbatim the passage to which each referred. Europeans were thus
enabled to collect information concerning the revolutions of different
tribes, for several ages preceding their own arrival.

The earliest visitors of the New World, on seeing among the Indians
neither priests, temples, idols, nor sacrifices, represented them as a
people wholly destitute of religious opinions. Closer inquiry, however,
showed that a belief in the spiritual world, however imperfect, had a
commanding influence over almost all their actions. Their creed includes
even some lofty and pure conceptions. Under the title of the Great
Spirit, the Master of Life, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, they
distinctly recognise a supreme ruler of the universe, and an arbiter of
their destiny. A party of them, when informed by the missionaries of the
existence of a being of infinite power, who had created the heavens and
the earth, with one consent exclaimed, “Atahocan! Atahocan!” that being
the name of their principal deity. According to Long, the Indians among
whom he resided ascribe every event, propitious or unfortunate, to the
favour or anger of the Master of Life. They address him for their daily
subsistence; they believe him to convey to them presence of mind in
battle; and amid tortures, they thank him for inspiring them with
courage. Yet, though this one elevated and just conception is deeply
graven on their minds, it is combined with others which show all the
imperfection of unassisted reason in attempting to think rightly on this
great subject. It may even be observed, that the term, rendered into our
language, “Great Spirit” does not really convey the idea of an
immaterial nature. It imports with them merely some being possessed of
lofty and mysterious powers, and in this sense is applied to men, and
even to animals. The brute creation, which occupies a prominent place in
all their ideas, is often viewed by them as invested, to a great extent,
with supernatural powers—an extreme absurdity, which, however, they
share with the civilized creeds of Egypt and India.

When the missionaries, on their first arrival, attempted to form an idea
of the Indian mythology, it appeared to them extremely complicated, more
especially because those who attempted to explain it had no fixed
opinions. Each man differed from his neighbour, and at another time from
himself; and when the discrepancies were pointed out, no attempt was
made to reconcile them. The southern tribes, who had a more settled
faith, are described by Adair as intoxicated with spiritual pride, and
denouncing even their European allies as “the accursed people.” The
native Canadian, on the contrary, is said to have been so little
tenacious, that he would at any time renounce all his theological errors
for a pipe of tobacco, though, as soon as it was smoked, he immediately
relapsed. An idea was found prevalent respecting a certain mystical
animal called Meson, or Messessagen, who, when the earth was buried in
water, had drawn it up and restored it. Others spoke of a contest
between the hare, the fox, the beaver, and the seal, for the empire of
the world. Among the principal nations of Canada, the hare is thought to
have attained a decided preeminence, and hence the Great Spirit and the
Great Hare are sometimes used as synonymous terms. What should have
raised this creature to such distinction seems rather unaccountable,
unless it were that its extreme swiftness might appear something
supernatural. Among the Ottawas alone the heavenly bodies become an
object of veneration: the sun appears to rank as their supreme deity.

To dive into the abyss of futurity has always been a favourite object of
superstition. It has been attempted by various means, but the Indian
seeks it chiefly through his dreams, which always bear with him a sacred
character. Before engaging in any high undertaking, especially in
hunting or war, the dreams of the principal chiefs are carefully
watched, and studiously examined; and according to the interpretation
their conduct is guided. A whole nation has been set in motion by the
sleeping fancies of a single man. Sometimes a person imagines in his
sleep that he has been presented with an article of value by another,
who then cannot, without impropriety, leave the omen unfulfilled. When
Sir William Johnson, during the American war, was negotiating an
alliance with a friendly tribe, the chief confidentially disclosed,
that, during his slumbers, he had been favoured with a vision of Sir
William bestowing upon him the rich laced coat which formed his full
dress. The fulfilment of this revelation was very inconvenient; yet, on
being assured that it positively occurred, the English commander found
it advisable to resign his uniform. Soon after, however, he unfolded to
the Indian a dream with which he had himself been favoured, and in which
the former was seen presenting him with a large tract of fertile land,
most commodiously situated. The native ruler admitted that, since the
vision had been vouchsafed, it must be realized, yet earnestly proposed
to cease this mutual dreaming, which he found had turned much to his own

The manitou is an object of peculiar veneration; and the fixing upon
this guardian power is not only the most important event in the history
of a youth, but even constitutes his initiation into active life. As a
preliminary, his face is painted black, and he undergoes a severe fast,
which is, if possible, prolonged for eight days. This is preparatory to
the dream in which he is to behold the idol destined ever after to
afford him aid and protection. In this state of excited expectation, and
while every nocturnal vision is carefully watched, there seldom fails to
occur to his mind something which, as it makes a deep impression, is
pronounced his manitou. Most commonly it is a trifling and even
fantastic article; the head, beak, or claw of a bird, the hoof of a cow,
or even a piece of wood. However, having undergone a thorough
perspiration in one of their vapour-baths, he is laid on his back, and a
picture of it is drawn upon his breast by needles of fish-bone dipt in
vermilion. A good specimen of the original being produced, it is
carefully treasured up; and to it he applies in every emergency, hoping
that it will inspire his dreams, and secure to him every kind of good
fortune. When, however, notwithstanding every means of propitiating its
favour, misfortunes befall him, the manitou is considered as having
exposed itself to just and serious reproach. He begins with
remonstrances, representing all that has been done for it, the disgrace
it incurs by not protecting its votary, and finally, the danger that in
case of repeated neglect, it may be discarded for another. Nor is this
considered merely as an empty threat; for if the manitou is judged
incorrigible, it is thrown away, and by means of a fresh course of
fasting, dreaming, sweating, and painting, another is installed, from
whom better success may be hoped.

The absence of temples, worship, sacrifices, and all the observances to
which superstition prompts the untutored mind, is a remarkable
circumstance, and, as we have already remarked, led the early visitors
to believe that the Indians were strangers to all religious ideas; yet
the missionaries found room to suspect that some of their great feasts,
in which every thing presented must be eaten, bore an idolatrous
character, and were held in honour of the Great Hare. The Ottawas, whose
mythological system seems to have been the most complicated, were wont
to keep a regular festival to celebrate the beneficence of the sun; on
which occasion, the luminary was told that this service was in return
for the good hunting he had procured for his people, and as an
encouragement to persevere in his friendly cares. They were also
observed to erect an idol in the middle of their town, and sacrifice to
it; but such ceremonies were by no means general. On first witnessing
christian worship, the only idea suggested by it was that of their
asking some temporal good, which was either granted or refused. The
missionaries mention two Hurons, who arrived from the woods soon after
the congregation had assembled. Standing without, they began to
speculate what it was the white men were asking, and then whether they
were getting it. As the service continued beyond expectation, it was
concluded they were _not_ getting it; and as the devotional duties still
proceeded, they admired the perseverance with which this rejected suit
was urged. At length, when the vesper hymn began, one of the savages
observed to the other—“Listen to them now in despair, crying with all
their might.”

The grand doctrine of a life beyond the grave, was, among all the tribes
of America, most deeply cherished, and most sincerely believed. They had
even formed a distinct idea of the region whither they hoped to be
transported, and of the new and happier mode of existence, free from
those wars, tortures, and cruelties, which throw so dark a shade over
their lot upon earth; yet their conceptions on this subject were by no
means either exalted or spiritualized. They expected simply a
prolongation of their present life, and enjoyments under more favourable
circumstances, and with the same objects, furnishing greater choice and
abundance. In that brighter land the sun ever shines unclouded, the
forests abound with deer, the lakes and rivers with fish—benefits which
are farther enhanced in their imagination by a faithful wife and dutiful
children. They do not reach it however, till after a journey of several
months, and encountering various obstacles—a broad river, a chain of
lofty mountains, and the attack of a furious dog. This favoured country
lies far in the west, at the remotest boundary of the earth, which is
supposed to terminate in a steep precipice, with the ocean rolling
beneath. Sometimes, in the too eager pursuit of game, the spirits fall
over, and are converted into fishes. The local position of their
paradise appears connected with certain obscure intimations received
from their wandering neighbours of the Mississippi, the Rocky Mountains,
and the distant shores of the Pacific. This system of belief labours
under a great defect, inasmuch as it scarcely connects felicity in the
future world with virtuous conduct in the present. The one is held to be
simply a continuation of the other; and under this impression, the arms,
ornaments, and every thing that had contributed to the welfare of the
deceased, are interred along with him. This supposed assurance of a
future life, so conformable to their gross habits and conceptions, was
found by the missionaries a serious obstacle, when they attempted to
allure them by the hope of a destiny, purer and higher, indeed, but less
accordant with their untutored conceptions. Upon being told that, in the
promised world, they would neither hunt, eat, drink, nor marry a wife,
many of them declared that, far from endeavouring to reach such an
abode, they would consider their arrival there as the greatest calamity.
Mention is made of a Huron girl, whom one of the christian ministers was
endeavouring to instruct, and whose first question was, what she would
find to eat? The answer being “nothing,” she then asked what she would
see? and being informed that she would see the Maker of heaven and
earth, she expressed herself much at a loss what she could have to say
to him. Many not only reject this destiny for themselves, but were
indignant at the efforts made to decoy their children after death into
so dreary and comfortless a region.

Another sentiment, congenial with that now described, is most deeply
rooted in the mind of the Indians—this is reverence for the dead; with
which Chateaubriand, though, perhaps, somewhat hastily, considers them
more deeply imbued than any other people. During life they are by no
means lavish of their expressions of tenderness; but on the approach of
the hour of final separation, it is displayed with extraordinary force.
When any member of a family becomes seriously ill, all the resources of
magic and medicine are exhausted in order to procure his recovery. When
the fatal moment arrives, all the kindred burst into loud lamentations,
which continue till some person, possessing the requisite authority,
desires them to cease. These expressions of grief, however, are renewed
for a considerable time, at sunrise and sunset. After three days the
funeral takes place, when all the provisions which the family can
procure are expended in a feast, to which the neighbours are generally
invited; and, although on all solemn occasions it is required that every
thing should be eaten, the relations do not partake. These last cut off
their hair, cover their heads, paint their faces of a black colour, and
continue long to deny themselves every species of amusement. The
deceased is then interred with his arms and ornaments, his face painted,
and his person attired in the richest robes which they can furnish. It
was the opinion of one of the early missionaries, that the chief object
of the Hurons, in their traffic with the French, was to procure
materials for honouring their dead; and as a proof of this, many of them
have been seen shivering, half naked, in the cold, while their hut
contained rich robes to be wrapped round them after their decease. The
body is placed in the tomb in an upright posture; and skins are
carefully spread round it, so that no part may touch the earth. This,
however, is by no means the final ceremony, being followed by another
far more solemn and singular. Every eighth, tenth, or twelfth year,
according to the custom of the different nations, is celebrated the
festival of the dead; and, till then, the souls are supposed to hover
round their former tenement, and not to depart for their final abode in
the west. On this occasion the people march in procession to the places
of interment, open the tombs, and, on beholding the mortal remains of
their friends, continue sometime fixed in mournful silence. The women
then break out into loud cries, and the party begin to collect the
bones, removing every remnant of flesh; the remains are then wrapped in
fresh and valuable robes, and conveyed, amid continued lamentation, to
the family cabin. A feast is then given, followed during several days by
dances, games, and prize combats, to which strangers often repair from a
great distance. This mode of celebration certainly accords very ill with
the sad occasion; yet the Greek and Roman obsequies were solemnized in a
similar manner—nay, in many parts of Scotland, till very recently, they
were accompanied by festival, and often by revelry. The relics are then
carried to the council-house of the nation, where they are hung for
exhibition along the walls, with fresh presents destined to be interred
along with them. Sometimes they are even displayed from village to
village. At length, being deposited in a pit, previously dug in the
earth, and lined with the richest furs, they are finally entombed. Tears
and lamentations are again lavished, and during a few days, food is
brought to the place. The bones of their fathers are considered by the
Indians the strongest ties to their native soil; and when calamity
forces them to quit it, these mouldering fragments are, if possible,
conveyed along with them.

Under the head of religious rites we may include medicine, which is
almost entirely within the domain of superstition. The great warmth of
affection which, amid their apparent apathy, the natives cherish for
each other, urges them, when their friends are seriously ill, to seek
with the utmost eagerness for a remedy; an order of men has thus arisen,
entirely different from the rest of society, uniting the characters of
priests, physicians, sorcerers, and sages. Nor are they quite strangers
to some branches of the healing art: in external hurts or wounds, the
cause of which is obvious, they apply various simples of considerable
power, chiefly drawn from the vegetable world. Chateaubriand enumerates
the ginseng of the Chinese, the sassafras, the three-leaved hedisaron,
and a tall shrub called bellis, with decoctions from which they cure
wounds and ulcers in a surprising manner. With sharp-pointed bones they
scarify inflamed or rheumatic parts; and shells of gourds, filled with
combustible matters, serve instead of cupping-glasses. They learned the
art of bleeding from the French, but employed it sometimes rashly and
fatally, by opening the vein in the forehead. They now understand it
better; but their favourite specific in all internal complaints is the
vapour-bath. To procure this, a small hut or shed is framed of bark, or
branches of trees, covered with skins, and made completely tight on
every side, leaving only a small hole through which the patient is
admitted. By throwing red hot stones into a pot of water, it is made to
boil, and thus emit a warm steam, which, filling the hut, throws the
patient into a most profuse perspiration. When he is completely bathed
in it, he rushes out, even should it be in the depth of winter, and
throws himself into the nearest pond or river; and this exercise, which
we should be apt to think sufficient to produce death, is proved by
their example, as well as that of the Russians, to be safe and salutary.
As a very large proportion of their maladies arise from cold and
obstructed perspiration, this remedy is by no means ill chosen. They
attach to it, however, a supernatural influence, calling it the
sorcerer’s bath, and employ it not only in the cure of diseases, but in
opening their minds whenever they are to hold a council on great
affairs, or to engage in any important undertaking.

All cases of internal malady, or of obscure origin, are ascribed,
without hesitation, to the secret agency of malignant powers, or
spirits. The physician, therefore, must then invest himself with his
mystic character, and direct all his efforts against these invisible
enemies. His proceedings are various, and prompted, seemingly, by a
mixture of delusion and imposture. On his first arrival, he begins to
sing and dance round the patient, invoking his god with loud cries.
Then, pretending to search out the seat of the enchantment, he feels his
body all over, till cries seem to indicate the bewitched spot. He then
rushes upon it like a madman, or an enraged dog, tears it with his
teeth, and often pretends to show a small bone, or other object, which
he has extracted, and in which the evil power had been lodged. His
disciples, next day, renew the process, and the whole family join in the
chorus; so that, setting aside the disease, a frame of iron would appear
necessary to withstand the remedies. Another contrivance is, to surround
the cabin with men of straw, and wooden masks of the most frightful
shapes, in hopes of scaring away the mysterious tormentor. Sometimes a
painted image is formed, which the doctor pierces with an arrow,
pretending that he has thereby vanquished the evil spirit. On other
occasions, he professes to discover a mysterious desire, which exists in
the patient unknown to himself, for some particular object; and this,
however distant or difficult of attainment, the poor family strain all
their efforts to procure. It is alleged, that when the malady appears
hopeless, he fixes upon something completely beyond reach, the want of
which is then represented as the cause of death. The deep faith reposed
in these preposterous remedies caused to the missionaries much
difficulty, even with their most intelligent converts. When a mother
found one of her children dangerously ill, her pagan neighbours came
round, and assured her that if she would allow it to be blown upon, and
danced, and howled round in the genuine Indian manner, there would be no
doubt of a speedy recovery. They exhorted her to take it into the woods,
where the black-robes, as they called the Christian priests, would not
be able to find her. The latter could not fully undeceive their
disciples, because in that less enlightened age, they themselves were
impressed with the notion that the magicians communicated with, and
derived aid from the prince of darkness; all they could do, therefore,
was to exhort them resolutely to sacrifice any benefit that might be
derived from so unholy a source. This, however, was a hard duty; and
they record with pride the example of a Huron wife, who, though much
attached to her husband, and apparently convinced that he could be cured
by this impious process, chose rather to lose him. In other respects,
the missionaries suffered from the superstitious creed of the natives,
who, even when unconverted, believed them to possess supernatural
powers, which it was suspected they sometimes employed to introduce the
epidemic diseases with which the country was from time to time
afflicted. They exclaimed, it was not the demons that made so many
die—it was prayer, images, and baptism; and when a severe pestilential
disorder followed the murder of a Frenchman, who fell by their hands,
they imagined that the priests were thus avenging the death of their

We have still to describe the most prominent object of the Indian’s
passions and pursuits—his warfare. It is that which presents him under
the darkest aspect, effacing almost all his fine qualities, and
assimilating his nature to that of fiends. While the most cordial union
reigns between the members of each tribe, they have neighbours whom they
regard with the deepest enmity, and for whose extermination they
continually thirst. The intense excitement which war affords, and the
glory which rewards its achievements, probably give the primary impulse;
but after hostilities have begun, the feeling which keeps them alive is
revenge. Every Indian who falls into the power of an enemy, and suffers
the dreadful fate to which the vanquished are doomed, must have his
ghost appeased by a victim from that hostile race. Thus every contest
generates another, and a more deeply embittered one. Nor are they
strangers to those more refined motives which urge civilized nations to
take arms—the extension of their boundaries, an object pursued with
ardent zeal, and the power of their tribe, which last they seek to
promote by incorporating in its ranks the defeated bands of their
antagonists. Personal dislike and the love of distinction often impel
individuals to make inroads into a hostile territory, even contrary to
the general wish; but when war is to be waged by the whole nation, more
enlarged views, connected with its interest and aggrandizement, guide
the decision. To most savages, however, long-continued peace becomes
irksome and unpopular; and the prudence of the aged can with difficulty
restrain the fire of the young, who thirst for adventure.

As soon as the determination has been formed, the war-chief, to whom the
voice of the nation assigns the supremacy, enters on a course of solemn
preparation. This consists not, however, in providing arms or supplies
for the campaign; for these are comprised in the personal resources of
each individual: he devotes himself to observances which are meant to
propitiate or learn the will of the Great Spirit, who, when considered
as presiding over the destinies of war, is named Areskoui. He begins by
marching three times round his winter-house, spreading the great bloody
flag, variegated with deep tints of black. As soon as the young warriors
see this signal of death, they crowd around, listening to the oration by
which he summons them to the field. “Comrades!” he exclaims, “the blood
of our countrymen is yet unavenged; their bones lie uncovered; their
spirits cry to us from the tomb. Youths, arise! anoint your hair, paint
your faces, let your songs resound through the forest, and console the
dead with the assurance that they shall be avenged. Youths! follow me,
while I march through the war-path to surprise our enemies, to eat their
flesh, drink their blood, and tear them limb from limb! We shall return
triumphant; or, should we fall, this belt will record our valour!” The
wampum, that grand symbol of Indian policy, is then thrown on the
ground. Many desire to lift it, but this privilege is reserved for some
chief of high reputation, judged worthy to fill the post of second in
command. The leader now commences his series of mystic observances. He
is painted all over black, and enters on a strict fast, never eating, or
even sitting down, till after sunset. From time to time he drinks a
decoction of consecrated herbs, with a view of giving vivacity to his
dreams, which are carefully noted, and submitted to the deliberation of
the sages and old men. When a warlike spirit is in the ascendant, it is
understood that either their tenor or their interpretation betokens
success. The powerful influence of the vapour-bath is also employed.
After these solemn preliminaries, a copious application of warm water
removes the deep black coating, and he is painted afresh in bright and
varied colours, among which red predominates. A huge fire is kindled,
whereon is placed the great war cauldron, into which every one present
throws something; and if any allies, invited by a belt of wampum and
bloody hatchet to devour the flesh and drink the blood of the enemy,
have accepted the summons, they send some ingredients to be also cast
in. The chief then announces the enterprise by singing a war-song, never
sounded but on such occasions; and his example is followed by all the
warriors, who join in the military dance, recounting their former
exploits, and dilating on those they hope to achieve. They now proceed
to arm, suspending the bow and quiver, or more frequently the musket,
from the shoulder, the hatchet or tomahawk from the hand, while the
scalping-knife is stuck in the girdle. A portion of parched corn, or
sagamity, prepared for the purpose, is received from the women, who
frequently bear it to a considerable distance. But the most important
operation is the collection of the manitous, or guardian spirits, to be
placed in a common box, which, like the Hebrew ark, is looked up to as a
protecting power.

The females, during these preparations, have been busily negotiating for
a supply of captives, on whom to wreak their vengeance, and appease the
shades of their fallen kindred; sometimes, also, with the more merciful
view of supplying their places. Tenderer feelings arise as the moment
approaches when the warriors must depart—perhaps to return no more!
and, it may be, to endure the same dreadful fate which they are
imprecating on others. The leader having made a short harangue,
commences the march, singing his war-song, while the others follow, at
intervals sounding the war-whoop. The women accompany them some
distance, and when they must separate, they exchange endearing names,
and express the most ardent wishes for a triumphant return; while each
party receives and gives some object which has been long worn by the
other, as a memorial of this tender parting.

As long as the warriors continue in their own country, they straggle in
small parties for the convenience of hunting, still holding
communication by shouts, in which they imitate the cries of certain
birds and beasts. When arrived at the frontier, they all unite and hold
another great festival, followed by solemn dreaming, the tenor of which
is carefully examined. If found inauspicious, room is still left to
return; and those whose courage shrinks, are, on such occasions,
supplied with an apology for relinquishing the undertaking; but such an
issue is rare. On entering the hostile territory, deep silence is
enjoined; the chase is discontinued; they crawl on all fours; step on
the trunks of fallen trees, or through swamps. Sometimes they fasten on
their feet the hoof of the buffalo, or the paw of the bear, and run in
an irregular track like those animals. Equally earnest and skilful are
they in tracing through the woods the haunts of the enemy. The slightest
indications, such as would wholly escape the notice of a European,
enables them to thread their course through the vast depths of the
western forests. They boast of being able to discern the impression of
steps even on the yielding grass, and of knowing, by inspection, the
nation or tribe by whom it has been made. Various and ingenious
artifices are employed to entrap their foe. From the recesses of the
wood they send forth the cries of the animals which are most eagerly
sought by the rival hunters. Their grand object, however, is to surprise
a village, and if possible the principal one belonging to the hated
tribe. Thither all their steps tend, as they steal like silent ghosts
through the lonely forest. On approaching it, they cast hasty glances
from the tops of trees or of hillocks, and then retreat into the
thickest covert; but in total disregard of the most disastrous
experience, the obvious precaution of placing nightly sentinels has
never been adopted. Even when aware of danger, they content themselves
with exploring the vicinity two or three miles around, when, if nothing
is discovered, they go to sleep without dread.

This supineness is much fostered by a delusive confidence in the
manitous enclosed in the holy ark. If during the day the assailants have
reached unperceived a covert spot in the neighbourhood of the devoted
village, they expect the satisfaction of finding its inhabitants buried
in the deepest slumber in the course of the ensuing night. They keep
close watch till immediately before day-break, when silence and security
are usually the most complete; then, flat on their faces, and carefully
suppressing the slightest sound, they creep slowly towards the scene of
action. Having reached it undiscovered, the chief by a shrill cry gives
the signal, which is instantly followed by a discharge of arrows or
musketry; after which they rush in with the war-club and the tomahawk.
The air echoes with the sound of the death-whoop, and of arms. The
savage aspect of the combatants; their faces painted black and red, and
some streaming with blood, and their frightful yells, make them appear
like demons risen from the world beneath. The victims, too late aroused,
spring from their fatal slumber, and foreseeing the dreadful fate which
awaits them if taken prisoners, make almost superhuman struggles for
deliverance. The contest rages with all the fury of revenge and despair,
but it is usually short. The unhappy wretches, surprised and bewildered,
can seldom rally or resist; they seek safety by fleeing into the depths
of forests or marshes, whither they are hotly pursued. The main study of
the victorious party is to take the fugitives alive, in order to subject
them to the horrible punishments which will be presently described.
Should this be impracticable, the tomahawk or the hatchet dispatches
them on the spot; and the scalp is then carried off as a trophy. Placing
a foot on the neck of his fallen enemy, and twisting a hand in the hair,
the warrior draws out a long sharp-pointed knife, specially formed for
this operation; then cutting a circle round the crown of the head, by a
few skilful scoops he detaches the hair and skin, lodges the whole in
his bag, and returns in triumph.

At the close of the expedition, the warriors repair to their village,
and, even in approaching, announce its result by various signals well
understood among their families. According to the most approved custom,
the evil tidings are thus communicated. A herald advances before the
troop, and for every kinsman who has fallen sounds the death-whoop,—a
shrill lengthened note ending in an elevated key. An interval is then
allowed, during which the burst of grief excited by these tidings may be
in some degree exhausted. Then rises the loud and inspiring sound of the
war-whoop, which by its successive repetitions expresses the number of
captives brought home as the fruits of the victory. The barbarous joy
thus kindled banishes for the moment all trace of lamentation. The women
and children form two rows, through which the prisoner is led, having
his face painted, and crowned with flowers as for a festival. Then
begins the darkest of all the scenes by which savage life is deformed. A
series of studied and elaborate torture commences, in which ingenuity is
tasked to the utmost to inflict the intensest agony that can be endured
without actually extinguishing life. The first caress, as the French
call it, is to tear the nails from the fingers, the flesh is then
pierced to the bone, and fire in various forms applied to the
extremities. Blows are also given to the last degree that nature can
sustain; and sometimes an amusement is found in tossing, for a long
time, the victim like a ball from one to the other. Other contrivances,
peculiar to infuriated savages, are sometimes resorted to. One
missionary, for example, being made to lie on his back, had his stomach
covered with sagamity, on which hungry dogs were set to feed, which tore
his flesh with their teeth. The unhappy wretch is occasionally paraded
from village to village, kept for weeks in this state of suffering, fed
on the coarsest refuse, and allowed only a neglected corner of the cabin
to sleep in. At length a grand council is held to decide his fate, or in
other words, to determine whether all the furies of vengeance shall be
let loose upon him, and his life be taken away amid the most frightful
tortures, or whether he shall be saluted as one of themselves, and
treated as a brother. The decision is influenced by various
considerations. If he be a youth, or new to the field, a lenient course
may probably be adopted; but a veteran warrior, who has been the terror
of the nation, and on whose skin is painted a record of triumphs, has to
dread a sterner sentence. The women have much influence, according as
they either demand revenge for the loss of a husband or brother, or
solicit that the captive may supply the vacancy. The Iroquois, though
the fiercest of these barbarians, being the deepest politicians, were
always anxious to augment their numbers; hence, though they prolonged
and heightened the preliminary torture, they usually ended it by
adoption. This was carried so far that they are described as having at
length become less a single nation than an aggregate of all the
surrounding tribes. The stranger being received into one of the families
as a husband, brother, or son, is treated with the utmost tenderness;
and she, who perhaps immediately before exhausted all her ingenuity in
tormenting him, now nurses the wounds she has made, and loads him with
caresses. He becomes completely one of the clan, and goes with them to
war, even against his former countrymen; and so far is the point of
honour carried, that to return into their ranks would be branded as an
act of baseness. There are, however, many occasions in which the more
inhuman resolution is taken, and a fearful display is then made of the
darkest passions that can agitate the human breast. The captive is
informed of his fate by being invested with moccasins of black
bear-skin, and having placed over his head a flaming torch, the sure
indication of his doom. Before the fatal scene begins, however, he is
allowed a short interval to sing his death song, which he performs in a
triumphant tone. He proclaims the joy with which he goes to the land of
souls, where he will meet his brave ancestors who taught him the great
lesson to fight and to suffer. He recounts his warlike exploits,
particularly those performed against the kindred of his tormentors; and
if there was any one of them whom he vanquished and caused to expire
amid tortures, he loudly proclaims it. He declares his inextinguishable
desire to eat their flesh, and to drink their blood to the last drop.
This scene is considered, even when compared with the field of battle,
as the great theatre of Indian glory. When two prisoners were about to
be tortured by the French at Quebec, a charitable hand privately
supplied a weapon with which one of them killed himself; but the other
derided his effeminacy, and proudly prepared himself for his fiery
trial. In this direful work the women take the lead, and seem
transformed into raging furies. She, to glut whose vengeance the doom
has been specially pronounced, invokes the spirit of her husband, her
brother, or her son, who has fallen in battle or died amid torture,
bidding him come now and be appeased, a feast is prepared for him, a
warrior is to be thrown into the great cauldron; his blood will be
poured out; his flesh torn from the bones: let the injured spirit then
cease to complain. A game begins between the torturers and the
tortured—one to inflict the most intense suffering, the other to bear
it with proud insensibility. That there may be some appearance of open
contest, he is not chained, but merely tied to a post, and a certain
range allowed, within which, while the brand, the hatchet, and every
engine of torture are applied, he can do something to repel his
assailants, and even attack in his turn. He struggles fiercely in the
unequal strife, and while his frame is consuming in agony, still defies
his tormentors, and outbraves death itself. Some even deride the feeble
efforts of their executioners, boasting how much more effectively they
themselves had applied torture to individuals of their tribe. Yet there
are instances where the murderers at last triumph; the sufferer
exclaims, “Fire is strong, and too powerful;” he even utters loud
shrieks, which are responded to by exulting shouts of savage laughter.
Some few have been known by almost incredible efforts to break loose,
and by rapid flight effect their escape. The general result, however, is
death, after protracted suffering; when the scalp, if still entire, is
taken off, and deposited among the military trophies.

It has been made a question whether the Indian can be justly charged
with cannibalism. It is certain that all the terms by which they
designate their inhuman mode of putting a prisoner to death bear
reference to this horrid practice. The expressions are,—to throw him
into the cauldron—to devour him—to eat soup made of his flesh. It has
hence been plausibly inferred that this enormity really prevailed in
early times, but was changed, we can scarcely say mitigated, into the
present system of torture. Yet, as every action is described by them in
terms highly figurative, those now quoted may have been used as
expressing most fully the complete gratification of their revenge. Of
this charge they cannot now be either condemned or wholly acquitted. In
the excited fury of their passions, portions of the flesh are often
seized, roasted, and eaten, and draughts taken of the blood. To eat an
enemy’s heart is considered a peculiar enjoyment. Long mentions a
gentleman who came upon a party who were busy broiling a human heart,
when he with difficulty prevailed upon them to desist. There is little
hesitation amongst them, in periods of scarcity, to relieve hunger with
the flesh of their captives; and during one war, this fate is said to
have befallen many French soldiers who fell into the hands of the Five
Nations. Colonel Schuyler told Colden, that having entered the cabin of
a chief who had some rich soup before him, he was invited to partake.
Being hungry and tired, he readily agreed; till the ladle, being put
into the great cauldron, brought up a human hand, the sight of which put
an immediate end to his appetite and meal. Although war may be
considered as the ordinary state of those tribes, yet, after having for
a considerable time experienced its destructive effects, there usually
arises a desire for an interval of tranquillity. To procure this, a
regular form is observed. The nation which resolves to make the
overture, despatches several individuals, usually of some note, as
ambassadors, with at least one orator. They bear before them the calumet
of peace, which renders their character sacred, and secures them from
violence. They carry also a certain number of belts of wampum, with
which are respectively connected the several motives and terms of the
proposed treaty. The orator having obtained an audience of the chiefs on
the other side, expounds the belts, dancing and singing in unison, and
by actions expressing the peaceful purpose of his mission. If the
opposite party be favourably inclined, they accept the offered symbols,
and next day present others of a similar import. He then smokes in the
calumet, and the contract is sealed by burying a hatchet; if there be
any allies, one is deposited for each. This agreement is often
accompanied with professions, at the moment perhaps sincere, of
maintaining the sun always in the heavens, and never again digging up
the hatchet; but the turbulence of individuals, and the satiety of long
peace, to which the whole nation is subject, usually rekindle
hostilities at no distant period.

Some notice may, finally, be expected of Indian amusements; the most
favourite of which are smoking, music, and dancing. These, however, are
viewed in a much higher light than mere pastime; being ranked among the
most serious occupations, and esteemed quite indispensable in the
conduct of every important affair. Without them a council cannot be
held, a negotiation carried on, peace or war proclaimed, nor any public
or private contract entered into; for not one of these transactions is
accounted valid, till it has been smoked over, and sung and danced to.
The calumet is the grand instrument of their policy. No important affair
can be taken into consideration without the pipe in their mouths; and
hence, to call an assembly of the chiefs is said to be lighting the
council fire. This tube accompanies and is the guardian of every
embassy, and to smoke together is the chief cement of national union.

Music and dancing, accompanying each other, are equally indispensable to
every solemn celebration. Yet the instruments and performance are alike
simple and rude; for their song, though often continued for a long
period, consists merely in the perpetual reiteration of a few wild
melancholy notes. The words are usually of the minstrel’s own
composition, and record his exploits in war or hunting, and sometimes
the praises of the animals which he has killed in the chase. The song is
accompanied by performance on the drum, and on the chichikoue or pipe.
The former is merely a hollowed piece of wood covered with skin; the
latter is formed of a thick cane, upwards of two feet in length, with
eight or nine holes, and a mouthpiece not unlike that of a common
whistle. Those who know how to stop the holes, and bring out a sound,
consider themselves performers; yet they cannot play upon it even those
simple airs which they execute with the voice, though they will often
continue for hours drawing out wild irregular notes.

The dances of the Indians, even those at common festivals, are on an
extensive scale; requiring to a complete performance forty or fifty
persons, who execute their evolutions by following each other round a
great fire kindled in the centre. Their movements, monotonous but
violent, consist in stamping furiously on the ground, and often
brandishing their arms in a manner compared by an able writer to a baker
converting flour into dough. They keep good time; but the music is so
exceedingly simple, that this implies little merit. They conclude with a
long shout or howl, which echoes frightfully through the woods. The
dances in celebration of particular events are of a more varied
character, and often form a very expressive pantomime. The war-dance is
the most favourite and frequent. In this extraordinary performance, a
complete image is given of the terrible reality; the war-whoop is
sounded with the most frightful yells, the tomahawk is wildly
brandished, and the enemy are surprised, seized, and scalped, or carried
off for torture. The calumet-dance, which celebrates peace between
nations, and the marriage-dance, which represents domestic life, are
much more pleasing. Some mention is made of a mystic-dance, carried on
by the jugglers or doctors, with strange superstitious ceremonies, and
in which a supernatural personage, termed by some the devil, rises and
performs; but it does not seem to have been witnessed by any European,
and is said to be now in a great measure disused.

There are, moreover, games to which the Indians are fondly attached,
which, though they be only ranked under the head of amusement, are yet
conducted in the same serious manner as their other transactions. Their
great parties are said to be collected by supernatural authority,
communicated by the jugglers, and they are preceded, like their wars and
hunts, by a course of fasting, dreaming, and other means of propitiating
fortune. The favourite game is that of the bone, in which small pieces
of that substance, resembling dice, and painted of different colours,
are thrown in the air, and according to the manner in which they fall
the game is decided. Only two persons can play: but a numerous party,
and sometimes whole villages, embrace one side or the other, and look on
with intense interest. At each throw, especially if it be decisive,
tremendous shouts are raised; the players and spectators equally
resemble persons possessed; the air rings with invocations to the bones,
and to the manitous. Their eagerness sometimes leads to quarreling and
even fighting, which on no other occasion ever disturb the interior of
these societies. To such a pitch are they occasionally worked up, that
they stake successively all they possess, and even their personal
liberty; but this description must apply only to the more southern
nations, as slavery was unknown among the Canadian Indians.

A temporary interval of wild licence, of emancipation from all the
restraints of dignity and decorum, seems to afford an enjoyment highly
prized in all rude societies. Corresponding with the saturnalia and
bacchanals of antiquity, the Americans have their festival of dreams,
which during fifteen days enlivens the inaction of the coldest season.
Laying aside all their usual order and gravity, they run about,
frightfully disguised, and committing every imaginable extravagance. He
who meets another, demands an explanation of his visions, and if not
satisfied, imposes some fantastic penalty. He throws upon him cold
water, hot ashes, or filth; sometimes rushing into his cabin he breaks
and destroys the furniture. Although everything appears wild and
unpremeditated, it is alleged that opportunities are often taken to give
vent to old and secret resentments. The period having elapsed, a feast
is given, order is restored, and the damages done are carefully

[Illustration: _View across the Boundary Line, from the Sugar Loaf._]

On the first settlement of Europeans in Canada, that territory was
chiefly divided between three great nations,—the Algonquins, the
Hurons, and the Iroquois or Five Nations. The first held an extensive
domain along the northern bank of the St. Lawrence, about a hundred
leagues above Trois-Rivières. Shortly before, they had been the most
powerful of all these tribes, and considered even in some degree as
masters over this part of America. They are described also as having the
mildest aspect, and most polished manners of any. They subsisted
entirely by hunting, and looked with proud disdain on their neighbours
who consented to bestow on the soil even the smallest cultivation. The
Hurons were a numerous people, whose very extensive territory reached
from the Algonquin frontier to the borders of the great lake bearing
their name. They were also more industrious, and derived an abundant
subsistence from the fine territory of Upper Canada. But they were at
the same time more effeminate and voluptuous, and had less of the proud
independence of savage life, having chiefs hereditary in the female
line, to whom they paid considerable deference.

The Iroquois, destined to act the most conspicuous part among all the
native tribes, occupied a long range of territory on the southern border
of the St. Lawrence, from Lake Champlain to the western extremity of
Lake Ontario. They were thus beyond the limits of what is now considered
Canada; yet, as all their transactions were completely connected with
the interests of that country, we cannot at present avoid considering
them as belonging to it.

This people were divided into five cantons, each of which was considered
as an independant nation. They were united, however, by the closest
alliance; are never found waging war with each other, nor did they often
fail to combine their forces when attacked by neighbouring tribes. The
following are the names given to them by English and French authors.

                ENGLISH.             FRENCH.

                Mohawks.             Aguiers.
                Oneidas.             Onneyouths.
                Onondagoes.          Onontagues.
                Cayugas.             Anniegué.
                Senekas.             Tsonnouthouans.

We add to these general remarks on the habits and character of the
natives of North America, a few anecdotes which were collected by a
distinguished soldier in Canada, and which we copy literally from his
MS. The first is a legend of the Falls of Shawenagam, river St. Maurice.

Shortly after the Hurons established themselves in the part of the Lower
Province to the N. E. of the St. Maurice, that rapid river was fixed as
the boundary between this nation and the Algonquins. In one of the many
fierce rencontres that took place between these two warlike tribes, the
following circumstance occurred, too descriptive of the Indian character
to pass unnoticed. A party of Hurons had been hunting on the shores of
the St. Maurice, and were returning in loaded canoes down the stream,
when, on approaching the head of these falls, they suddenly heard a
signal, and on looking up descried a large party of Algonquins half
hidden among the thick foliage in the tops of trees. The Hurons had
advanced too far to recede; to pull back against the stream was totally
impossible, and to land at the head of the falls was only throwing
themselves into the hands of the host of enemies waiting to bear their
scalps in triumph to their nation. The mind, like the eye, of an Indian
is quick and determined. The chieftain in the leading canoe cast one
hurried glance on his enemies, and setting up a yell of defiance,
steered his frail bark to the edge of the foaming precipice: in this
resolute action he was followed by his people, and the whole party were
hurried down the dreadful abyss mingled in one mass of wreck and
destruction. Scarcely a vestige of these brave men was washed ashore to
gratify the vengeance of the disappointed Algonquins.

_Tête-de-Bules._—The Indians frequenting the Fur Post of Wemontashingur
in the St. Maurice, latitude 47° 55' 58" N. are not numerous, and
generally speaking are a very inoffensive people, although some actions
of a horrid nature, committed by individuals of the tribe, have come to
our knowledge. They are ignorant and superstitious, influenced in all
their actions by dreams, which they imagine are sent to them for a good
purpose by the Great Spirit: under this cloak they oftentimes commit
great barbarities. They are likewise much addicted to ardent spirits.

That cannibalism is occasionally practised to a great extent among the
aborigines inhabiting these dreary regions, the many accounts which have
reached our ears would lead us to believe; but as these things are
generally exaggerated, we know not what degree of credence they deserve.
Among the anecdotes of this nature related to us, are the following,
which, if true, show to what a degraded state of mind these miserable
people are reduced. An Indian _Montagnier_, whose name is Mocontagan, or
Crooked Knife, in a drunken fit confessed having in the course of his
life killed and eaten several Indians and Metifs, or half-breeds. When
sober, he attempted to deny it; but upon being closely pressed he
acknowledged the fact, but said starvation drove him to kill and eat the
first man, and that he slew and ate the others from a decided preference
of that to any other kind of flesh; and finished his statement by
declaring that he would kill any Metif, and eat him, that he should meet
alone. He is much feared by the other Indians, who are inclined to
believe him to be an evil spirit. He is described as a powerful man, six
feet high, and strong built, and possessing what is termed “a bad
countenance.” Upon one occasion, about six years since, at
Wemontashingur, the Algonquins took courage and rose upon him: he fled
for protection to Mr. Hyslop, the resident clerk of the Post, who with
Mr. Le Blanc, now at Rat River, advised him to leave the place, as they
could not be answerable for his life. This man is still living, much
dreaded by the Indians frequenting the St. Maurice.

Another instance was related to us by Mr. Vassal, belonging to the
King’s Post company. One day, during the winter, as he was travelling
among the mountains, he saw an Indian stretched on the snow. Vassal
approached him, and demanded what was the matter. The Indian replied he
was sick, doubtless imagining Vassal would be alarmed by the thoughts of
fever, and quit the place without entering the cabin: but Vassal,
anxious to collect furs, attempted to go in, the Indian pulled him back
by the leg; Vassal made another attempt, and succeeded in entering. A
fire was burning, and a large kettle was on it, which, to his horror, he
found contained a portion of a very young child. The savage acknowledged
that it was his grandson, and that hunger had driven him to eat it.
This, Vassal says, could not be possible, as there were remains of
musk-rats about the place.

With respect to “bad dreams,” there is a Tête-de-Bule belonging to
Wemontashingur at present labouring under the delusion. He imagines he
shall fail in every undertaking until he has slain some person; and once
he actually fired at his brother, but fortunately missed him. He is much
feared by the tribe, as they imagine him possessed of an evil spirit,
which will not depart until he has spilt blood.

The Indians navigating the St. Maurice have a notion that in a large
cavern at the back of the Upper Caribonif Mountain, are a species of
wood demons, and that when encamped near the place, they can distinctly
hear the screams of children, but where the children come from in these
desolate and unpeopled regions, our informant could not tell. The place
is certainly very gloomy, but it being our encamping time, we made
ourselves comfortable for the night in spite of the wood demons. Before
morning, we ascertained the screams of the children to be the hooting
and screeching of the owls and night hawks, so numerous in this part of
the country.

In one of the deep bays of Lake Kempt, we saw three Indian graves, built
in the usual long narrow shape adopted by the Indians, and well defended
from wild beasts by an outer covering of split wood, bound together with
branches. Within this outer mausoleum was one made of birch bark, and
under this rested the body, covered over with the fine white sand
forming the shores of the Lake. Opposite one of the graves was a cross.
From the information we received, it appears that one of these graves
belonged to Menesino’s mother, the second contained the body of his
wife, and the third that of his infant child.

We were assured that the mother met with her death from the hands of her
daughter, in a quarrel which took place a few years since in one of the
sandy bays of Lake Malawin. The wife was slain by Menesino in a fit of
jealousy, by striking his axe between her shoulders while she was in the
act of stooping. How the infant came to its end, we did not hear. This
man Menesino also slew another wife, and shot a Canadian who went to
take him. For these murders, and others of which he was accused,
Menesino was once taken and conveyed handcuffed to within a short
distance of Three-Rivers. His guards being excessively fatigued, fell
asleep, which Menesino took advantage of, and plunged into the river. In
spite of his handcuffs he succeeded in gaining the opposite shore,
whence crossing many large lakes,—God knows how,—and travelling a vast
extent of forest covered with thick underwood, he regained his own
country, and has never since been taken. Indeed, he is such a powerful
man, and in the prime of life, that few would like to make the attempt,
although we have since heard that a party are in pursuit of him. He is
said to possess unbounded influence, occasioned by fear, over the male
part of his tribe; but the female part, as may easily be supposed, have
a great repugnance to living with him.

M. Le Blanc, when at Wemontashingur, was compelled to stand all night
over an Indian woman whom Menesino wanted to carry off with him into the
woods. He is described as a good looking man, and, what is unusual among
the Indians, not at all addicted to ardent spirits. From all we heard,
it would appear that he is constantly on his guard, fearful of some
stratagem; living entirely alone, the sole inhabitant of these dreary

On arriving at the point of the graves in Lake Nemeashingur, we landed
to examine them. They were three in number, and similar in construction
to those we had seen on Lake Kempt, except that they were more
ornamented according to the pagan rites of Indians. Near the principal
grave was a pile of wood, a paddle, snow shoes, and a snow shovel, for
the use of the departed during his journey to the hunting grounds in the
next world. In addition to these articles, on one of the mausoleums was
a sword, the emblem of a chieftain. At the foot of this grave was a rude
wooden cross. We had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the
history of the parties who were buried here, of which the following is a
slight sketch:—

Near the graves are the remains of a log-hut, which had been erected as
a temporary receiving place for furs, until a sufficient quantity had
been collected to send into the Post at Wemontashingur. This hut was in
charge of a man named Tefu, a Bois-Brulé, who was married to a woman
belonging to the tribe inhabiting the lake of the two mountains. One day
in the year 1816, while Tefu was absent, a brother of Menesino named
Kenecabannishcum, accompanied by his wife and mother, went to the hut
and demanded of Tefu’s wife some provisions, which she refused. He
insisted upon having some, a scuffle ensued, and the villain shot the
woman dead upon the spot. They then departed, taking with them a young
boy who was living with Tefu. The mother observed, that if the boy met
any of the half-breeds who were in the habit of going round to collect
furs, he would certainly tell them, in French, of the murder.
Kenecabannishcum replied, he would soon settle that, and steered his
canoe to the rocky point of an island directly opposite. On his arrival
at the point, the ruffian seized the child by his legs, and dashed his
brains out against the rock. The murderer’s mother returned to the hut
and buried the body of the unfortunate infant. This is the woman who
afterwards met her death on Lake Malawin from the hands of her
daughter-in-law, and lies buried on Lake Kempt. Some time after the
murders had been committed, a quarrel ensued between Kenecabannishcum
and his wife and mother; in consequence of this, the two women repaired
to the cabin of the wife’s father, a chieftain named Meshenawash, and
acquainted him with the crimes of her husband: when this reached the
murderer’s ears he vowed vengeance against the old chieftain, who
consequently was compelled to secrete himself until the day of his
death, which took place a short time after, for he was no match for such
a powerful man as his son-in-law. The grave with the sword upon it was
this chieftain’s.

[Illustration: _The Squaw’s Grave_
 (Ottawa River.)]

In the year 1824, this man came to his end in the following manner. An
Algonquin, named Michel, was married to a very handsome woman, whom
Kenecabannishcum endeavoured more than once to carry off by force. In
the scuffles which ensued, Michel, who was not possessed with the
strength of his opponent, was glad to make his escape, and in one
instance, he was obliged to swim across a rapid stream, and dive
repeatedly to avoid being shot. In the last encounter, which took place
in the year above mentioned, each man was armed with an axe, when a
fierce conflict ensued. Michel by a lucky blow struck off the nose of
his adversary, and the next stroke took off his ear. These wounds so
bewildered Kenecabannishcum, that he lost all presence of mind, and
before he could recover, Michel struck his axe so deep into his enemy’s
skull, that he was under the necessity of placing his foot on the neck
of the fallen man to withdraw it. Thus fell this noted character: his
body was buried by his brother Menesino on the point near the log-hut,
close by his father-in-law and the infant whom he had murdered eight
years before in cold blood. The body of Tefu’s wife was never found.
Michel was obliged to fly that part of the country, fearful of the
vengeance of Menesino, and is now resident at the post on Lac des


[1] We have to acknowledge our obligations for most valuable information
in the following pages, first, to our distinguished friend Col.
Cockburn, of the Royal Artillery, long resident in Canada; next, to Hugh
Murray, Esq., F.R.S.E. for extracts from his most admirable work on that
country; to the Author of “Backwoods of America,” and to many writers,
both old and modern, including Charlevoix, Adair, Colden, La Potherie,
Rogers, Champlain, Heriot, M^{c}Gregor, Raynal, Talbot, Hall, and
others. From the inconvenience of making these acknowledgments in every
instance, we return our thanks simply in this note, and embody the
information simply as it comes, without further mark or comment.

                               CHAP. II.


                 *        *        *        *        *

Having given, from the best authority, the condition and characteristics
of the aboriginal tribes of America, we go on briefly to enumerate the
prominent events in the first stage of discovery and civilization. Those
who read the curious picture we have been enabled to present, in the
foregoing pages, of a nation almost, we may say, recently sprung to
light, and who now look into the singular events of the first civilized
history of the land they possessed, will have materials for a comparison
between these and the lovely pictures on the other pages of the work,
such as, for force of contrast and interest, is not often presented.

The Italian adventurers, John, and his sons Sebastian, Louis, and
Sanchez Cabot, who received a commission on the 5th of March, 1495, from
Henry VII. of England, to discover what Columbus was in search of, a
north-west passage to the East Indies or China, (or, as the latter named
country was then called, _Cathay_,) claim the honour of having been the
first discoverers of Canada. The adventurers sailed in 1497 with six
ships, and early in June of the same year, discovered Newfoundland;
whence continuing a westerly course, they reached the continent of North
America, which the Cabots coasted (after exploring the gulf of St.
Lawrence) as far north as 67° 50' N. lat. They returned to England in
August, 1497, but although Sebastian subsequently performed three
voyages to the New World, no settlement was effected on its shores.

[Illustration: _Port Hope._]

In 1500, Gaspar Cortereal, a Portuguese gentleman, visited the coast,
and pursued the track of Sir John Cabot (who was knighted by our
sovereign); but Cortereal and his brothers accomplished nothing further
than the kidnapping of several of the natives, whom they employed and
sold as slaves. In 1502 Hugh Elliot and Thomas Ashurst, merchants of
Bristol, with two other gentlemen, obtained a patent from Henry VIII. to
establish colonies in the countries lately discovered by Cabot: but the
result of the permission granted is not known. In 1527 an expedition was
fitted out by Henry VIII. by the advice of Robert Thorne, a merchant of
Bristol, for the purpose of discovering a north-west passage to the East
Indies; one of the ships attempting which was lost.

Francis I. of France, piqued at the discoveries of Spain and Portugal,
and having his ambition roused by the monopolizing pretensions of these
two powers to the possessions in the New World, authorized the fitting
out of an expedition, the command of which he gave to Verrazzano, a
Florentine, who on his second voyage discovered Florida, and thence
sailing back along the American coast to the 50° of lat. took formal
possession of it for his royal master, and called it _La Nouvelle
France_. On Verrazzano’s return to Europe in 1525, without gold or
silver or valuable merchandize, he was at first coldly received, but, it
is said, subsequently sent out with more particular instructions and
directions to open a communication with the natives; in endeavouring to
fulfil which, he lost his life in a fray with the Indians. This,
however, is denied; and it is asserted that the capture of Francis I. at
the battle of Pavia in 1525, prevented him from further exploring the
coast, and that he returned to his native country and died in obscurity.

When the government ceased to follow up the result of Verrazzano’s
formal acquisition of Canada, the Frenchmen of St. Maloes commenced a
successful fishery at Newfoundland, which so early as 1517 had fifty
ships, belonging to the English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese,
employed in the cod-fishery on its banks. _Jacques Cartier_, a native of
St. Maloes, engaged in the Newfoundland fishery, took the lead in
exploring at his own risk the northern coasts of the new hemisphere.

This bold and experienced navigator at last received a commission from
his sovereign, Francis I., and left St. Maloes on the 20th of April,
1534, with two vessels of sixty tons each; arrived at Newfoundland on
the 10th of May, remained there ten days, and then sailed to the
northward, passing through the straits of Bellisle; changed his course
somewhat to the southward, traversed the great gulf of St. Lawrence,
(already known to Europeans,) and, in the month of July, arrived in the
_Bay of Chaleurs_, which he so named on account of its heat. On the 24th
of July, Cartier was at Gaspé, where he erected a cross, surmounted by a
_fleur-de-lis_, and on the 25th of July sailed for France with two
native Indians.

The enterprising character of his royal master induced him to despatch
Cartier in the following year with three larger vessels, and a number of
young gentlemen as volunteers. The ships rendezvoused at Newfoundland,
and in August sailed up the St. Lawrence, so called from its being
discovered on the 10th day of that month, being the festival of the
saint of that name.

Cartier anchored off Quebec, then called Stadaconna, and the abode of an
Indian chief called Donnaconna. After leaving his ships secure, he
pursued his route in the pinnace and two boats, until, on the third of
October, he reached an island in the river, with a lofty mountain, which
he named _Mont Royal_, now called Montreal. After losing many of his
followers by scurvy, during his wintering at Stadaconna, which he named
St. Croix, Cartier returned to France in 1536, carrying off by force
Donnaconna, two other chiefs, and eight natives. The French court,
finding there was no gold and silver to be had, paid no further
attention to _La Nouvelle France_, or Canada, until the year 1540, when
Cartier, after much exertion, succeeded in getting a royal expedition
fitted out under the command of François de la Roque, Seigneur de
Roberval, who was commissioned by Francis I. as viceroy and
lieutenant-general in Canada, Hochelaga, or Montreal.

Roberval despatched Cartier to form a settlement, which he did at St.
Croix harbour on the 23d of August, 1541, but suddenly left it early in
the ensuing year. The viceroy himself arrived in Canada in July, 1542,
where he built a fort, and wintered about four leagues above the Isle of
Orleans (first called the Isle of Bacchus); but for want of any settled
plans, in consequence of the scurvy, and the insurrections and deadly
hostility of the Indians, owing to Cartier’s having carried off
Donnaconna and his attendants (who had all perished in France), little
was accomplished.[2]

Roberval’s attention was soon after called from Canada, to serve his
sovereign in the struggle for power so long waged with Charles V. of
Spain; and Jacques Cartier, ruined in health and fortune, died in France
soon after his arrival there. Roberval on the death of Francis I.
embarked again for Canada in 1549, with his gallant brother Achille, and
a numerous train of enterprising young men; but having never afterwards
been heard of, they are supposed to have perished at sea.

In 1576, Martin Frobisher was sent out by Queen Elizabeth with three
ships on discovery, when Elizabeth’s Foreland, and the Straits which
bear his own name, were discovered. Frobisher mistaking _mica_ or _talc_
for gold ore, brought quantities of it to England, and was despatched by
some merchants with three ships in the following year, to seek for gold,
and to explore the coast of Labrador and Greenland, with the view of
discovering a north-west passage to India. He returned without any other
success than 200 tons of the supposed gold ore, and an Indian man,
woman, and child.

[Illustration: _The Whirlpool on the Niagara._]

In 1578 Martin Frobisher again sailed for the American continent with no
fewer than fifteen ships in search of gold, to the ruin of many
adventurers, who received nothing but mica instead of gold ore; the
fact, however, shows the speculative avidity of mercantile adventurers
at that period.

For fifty years France paid no attention to Canada, and the few settlers
or their descendants left by Cartier or Roberval were unheeded and
unsuccoured; but in 1598 the taste for colonial adventure revived, and
Henry IV. appointed the Marquis de la Roche his lieutenant-general in
Canada, with power to partition discovered lands into seigniories and
fiefs, to be held under feudal tenure, and as a compensation for
military services when required. La Roche fitted out but one vessel, and
unfortunately reinforced his crew with forty malefactors from the
prisons. It is sufficient here to state that Sable Island, a barren sand
bank, and a rude part of Acadia (now called Nova Scotia), were first
settled on and afterwards abandoned; and that to private enterprise,
rather than to royal decree, the French nation were at last indebted for
a permanent and profitable colonisation in Canada. M. Pontgrave, a
merchant of St. Malo, who had distinguished himself by making several
profitable fur voyages to Tadoussac, at the mouth of the Saguenay river,
engaged as an associate M. Chauvin, a naval officer who obtained from
Henry IV. in 1600 a commission, granting him an exclusive trade with
Canada, and other privileges. Chauvin associated other persons with him
in his enterprise, and made two successful trading voyages to Tadoussac,
where the Indians gave the most valuable furs in exchange for mere
trifles. Chauvin died in 1603, but Commander De Chatte, or De Chaste,
governor of Dieppe, founded a company of merchants at Rouen, to carry on
the fur trade on an extensive scale; an armament was equipped under
Pontgrave, and a distinguished naval officer named Samuel Champlain, who
sailed up the St. Lawrence as far as Sault St. Louis in 1603. On the
death of Chauvin, which happened in the ensuing year, Pierre Dugast
Sieur de Monts, a Calvinist and gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry IV.
received a patent conferring on him the exclusive trade and government
of the territories situate between 40° and 54° of lat.; and although of
the reformed religion, the Sieur was enjoined to convert the native
Indians to the Roman Catholic tenets. De Monts continued the Company
founded by his predecessors, and fitted out an expedition in 1604 of
four vessels, two of which were destined for Acadia, then an object of
attraction. Suffice it to say, that trading ports were established at
several places: the fur trade prosperously carried on; the Acadian
colony neglected; and Quebec made the capital of the future New France,
founded by Samuel Champlain on the 3d July, 1608. The various Indian
tribes contiguous to the new settlement, namely, the Algonquins, the
Hurons, &c. who were at war with the Iroquois, or Five Nations,
solicited and obtained the aid of the French. Champlain taught them the
use of fire-arms, which the Iroquois also acquired from their English
friends in the adjacent territory; and hence began the ruinous wars,
which have ended in the nearly total extermination of the Indians of the
North American continent, wherever they have come in contact with the
Europeans and their descendants. But little success attended the first
colonization on the banks of the St. Lawrence; in 1622, fourteen years
after its establishment, Quebec had not a population exceeding fifty
souls.[3] The mischievous policy of making religion (and that of the
Jesuit caste) a part of the colonial policy, long hampered the French
settlers; and to remedy the distressed condition of the colony, the
commerce of Canada, heretofore vested in the hands of one or two
individuals, was transferred in 1627 to a powerful association, called
the _Company of a hundred Partners_, composed of clergy and laity, under
the special management of the celebrated Cardinal Richelieu. The primary
object of the Company was the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic
faith, by means of zealous Jesuits; the secondary, an extension of the
fur trade, of commerce generally, and the discovery of a route to the
Pacific Ocean and to China, through the great rivers and lakes of New

This Company held Canada or New France, with the extensive privileges of
a feudal seigniory under the king, to whom were owing fealty and homage,
and the presentation of a crown of gold at every new accession to the
throne. With the right of soil, a monopoly of trade was granted, the
king reserving for the benefit of all his subjects only the cod and
whale fisheries in the gulf and coast of St. Lawrence; and to such
colonists as might not be servants of the Company, was secured the right
of trading with the Indians for _peltries_ (skins), it being understood
that on pain of confiscation they should bring all their beaver skins to
the factors of the Company, who were bound to purchase them at 40 sous
a-piece. Under the new system, “protestants and other heretics,” as well
as Jews, were entirely excluded from the colony, and a Jesuit corps was
to be supported by the Company. Thus monopoly and bigotry went hand in
hand, and no auspicious Providence attended the efforts of such a
selfish and fanatic project.

The very first vessels despatched by the new religio-commercial-company
for Quebec, were captured by the English. In 1628, a squadron of English
vessels, under the command of Sir David Kertk, a French refugee, visited
Tadoussac, and destroyed the houses and cattle about Cape Tourmente;
Kertk and his little band next proceeded to Gaspé bay, where he met M.
de Roquemont, one of the hundred partners, commanding a squadron of
vessels, freighted with emigrant families, and all kinds of provisions.
Roquemont was provoked to a battle, and lost the whole of his fleet,
provisions, &c.; and the last hope of the colony of Quebec was blasted
by the shipwreck of two Jesuit missionaries, on the coast of Nova
Scotia, in a vessel laden with provisions for the starving colonists,
who were now reduced to an allowance of five ounces of bread per day.
Kertk, reinforced by some more English vessels, commanded by his two
brothers, sent them up the St. Lawrence, when they easily captured
Quebec on the 20th July, 1629: and, on the 20th October, Champlain
arrived at Plymouth, on his return to France, most of his countrymen
having, however, remained in Canada. While Quebec was being captured by
Kertk and his English squadron, peace was under ratification between
England and France; and, in 1632, (the latter power having previously
opened a negotiation with England,) Quebec, Acadia, (Nova Scotia,) and
Isle Royal, (Cape Breton,) were ceded to France, and Champlain resumed
the government of Canada. The Jesuits, with their accustomed zeal,
commenced anew their efforts; and from this period to the final British
conquest in 1760, a rivalship and growing hostility, partly religious
and partly commercial, took place between the French and English
settlers in North America, which were evinced by mutual aggressions,
while profound peace existed between their respective sovereigns in

A minute detail of local occurrences would be out of place in a work of
this nature; it may be sufficient to say, that from this period, (1674,)
when the population, embracing converted Indians, did not exceed eight
thousand, the French settlement in Canada continued to increase, and as
it rose in power, and assumed offensive operations on the New England
frontier, the jealousy of the British colonists became roused, and both
parties, aided alternately by the Indians, carried on a destructive and
harassing border warfare. And here it may not be amiss to observe, how
much the progress of the British colonists in New York, New England,
&c., and the prosperity of the French in Canada, were influenced during
successive years by the strength and moral character of their respective
sovereigns. I may allude, for instance, to the licentious reign of Louis
XV., and the vigorous administration of William III., during whose
governments the progress of their respective colonies was retarded or
advanced by the example or stimulus afforded by the mother country; thus
demonstrating how much, under a monarchy, the character and happiness of
nations are influenced by the principles and habits of their rulers.

For many years the French in Canada made head against the assaults of
their less skilful, but more persevering neighbours, owing to the active
cooperation and support which the Canadians received from their Indian
allies, whom the British were by nature less adapted for conciliating;
but at length the latter, seeing the necessity for native cooperation,
conciliated the favour of the aborigines, and turned the tide of success
in their own favour. The hostilities waged by the Indians were dreadful.
Setting little value on life, they fought with desperation, and gave no
quarter; protected by the natural fastnesses of their country, they
chose in security their own time for action, and when they had enclosed
their enemies in a defile, or amidst the intricacies of the forest, the
war-whoop of the victor and the death-shriek of the vanquished were
almost simultaneously heard; and while the bodies of the slain served
for food to the savage, the scalped head of the white man was a trophy
of glory, and a booty of no inconsiderable value to its possessor. The
Canadians themselves sometimes experienced the remorseless fury of their
Indian forces. On the 26th of July, 1688, Le Rat, a chief of the Huron
tribe, mortified by the attempt of the French commanders to negotiate a
peace with the Iroquois, or Five Nations, without consulting the wishes
of their Huron allies, urged his countrymen, and even stimulated the
Iroquois, to aid him in an attack on Montreal. The colonists were taken
by surprise, a thousand of them slain, and the houses, crops, and cattle
on the island destroyed. Charlevais, in his history of _La Nouvelle
France_, says of the Indians, “Ils ouvrirent le sein des femmes
enceintes pour en arracher le fruit qu’elles portoient; ils mirent des
enfans tous vivant à la broche, et contraignirent les mères de les
tourner pour les faire rôtir!” The French, reinforced from Europe, sent
a strong force in February, 1690, who massacred the greater part of the
unresisting inhabitants of Shenectaday. According to Colden, (p. 78,)
the Indians whom the French took prisoners in the battle at Shenectaday,
were _cut into pieces and boiled to make soups for the Indian allies who
accompanied the French!_ Such were the desolating effects of European
colonization on the continent of America, equalling, in fact, as regards
the destruction of human life, the miseries inflicted by the Spaniards
on the more peaceful and feeble Indians of the West India islands.

The massacre of the Indians at Shenectaday by the French had the effect
of inducing the Iroquois and other nations to become more closely
attached to the English, and the French were compelled to act on the
defensive, and keep within their own territory. Our countrymen at Albany
were at first so much alarmed at the determined hostility of the French,
that they prepared to abandon the territory; but, at this crisis, the
New England colonists came to an understanding, and formed a coalition
for their mutual defence. Commissioners were sent to New York, and a
mission despatched to London, explaining their views, and soliciting aid
towards the successful completion of the naval and military expedition
which was planned against the French settlements in Canada, in 1690.

[Illustration: _Aylmer, Upper Canada._]

What a signal change had taken place in the views and relative position
of the parties, when, but a few years after, those very colonists sent
to France, whose dominion in Canada they had been the chief instruments
in annihilating, for succour and support in their war of independence
against Great Britain!

The plan of attack on Canada by the New England colonists, which they
fitted out at an expense of £150,000 (a heavy one to them at this
period), was twofold—1st, by land, and inland navigation on the
southern frontier of the French; and 2d, by a fleet, under Sir W.
Phipps, with a small army on board, which was sent round by sea from
Boston to attack Quebec. The force of the English was undisciplined; it
consisted of colonists who were stimulated by deadly resentment to
avenge the murder of their numerous relatives and friends, who had been
slain by the French and their Indian allies. Quebec was formally
summoned by Sir W. Phipps to surrender, and bravely defended by the
Sieur de Frontenac, who compelled his foes to return to Boston with
considerable loss in ships and men, owing to the delay and bad
management of the commander, who, had he persevered in his efforts,
would undoubtedly have starved out the garrison. The attack on Quebec by
land had, without waiting for cooperating with the fleet, previously
failed; so that the French were thus enabled to meet and defeat their
enemies in detail, a policy which a good general, when assailed by
superior numbers, will usually adopt.

The French, feeling secure in their dominions, pushed forward their
outposts with vigour by means of the fur-traders, and more than ever
alarmed the contiguous English colonists, who now became daily convinced
of the impossibility of both nations remaining as rivals on the same
continent; the French seeking dominion by military power and conquest,
the English by an extension of the arts of peace, aided by a liberal
spirit. The latter, therefore, resolved on using every possible means
for the total expulsion of their Gallic neighbours from Canada, who
refused the offer made to them to remain pacific while the mother
countries were at war. The main object of Frontenac was to take
possession of every point calculated to extend the dominion of France,
to cut off the English from the fur-trade, and, finally, to hem them in
between the Highlands of Nova Scotia and the Alleghany mountains. He
began by checking the incursions of the Iroquois, whom he weakened so
much by destructive warfare, and hemmed so closely in by a judicious
distribution of military stations or forts, as to prevent them ever
after from making an impression on Canada, such as they had been wont to
produce. Frontenac’s next step was the preparation, in 1697, of a large
armament to cooperate with a strong force from France, which was
destined for the conquest of New York; but while the brave and active
Canadian Governor was preparing to take the field, the news arrived of
the treaty of peace between France and England, concluded at Ryswick,
11th of September, 1697, much to the dissatisfaction of Frontenac.

The renewal of the war between Great Britain and France in May, 1702,
soon led to acrimony and hostility in America; and the cruel
persecutions of the Protestants in France caused a religious animosity
to be superadded to the hatred entertained by the New Englanders towards
their neighbours, whose numbers had now increased to about 15,000. In
1708 the Marquis de Vandreuil carried his operations into the British
frontier settlements, having previously negotiated for the neutrality of
the Iroquois, who were flattered by being treated as an independent
power; but the destruction of the village of Haverhill, and the massacre
of some of its inhabitants, compelled the Canadians again to assume a
defensive position. The New Englanders made every preparation for an
attack on Montreal by land; but the English forces destined for the
cooperation by the St. Lawrence river were required for Portugal, and
thus the Marquis de Vandreuil had time to make better preparations for
defence. The ensuing year (1709) was spent by the English in reducing
Acadia, now Nova Scotia; and when the combined land and sea expedition
against Canada took place in 1711, it was so ill-managed, and the
British fleet, owing to tempestuous weather and ignorance of the coast,
met with so many disasters,—losing by shipwreck in one day (the 22d of
August) eight transports, 884 officers, soldiers, and seamen—that the
expedition returned to Boston, and the restoration of peace between
France and England by the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, left the former
yet a little longer to harass and molest the British colonists along the
Canadian frontier. The Marquis de Vandreuil availed himself of the peace
to strengthen the fortifications of Quebec and Montreal; the training of
the military, amounting to 5,000 in a population of 25,000, was
carefully attended to; barracks were constructed; and a direct
assessment levied on the inhabitants for the support of the troops and
the erection of fortifications. During ten years of foreign and internal
tranquillity, the trade and property of Canada made rapid progress: in
1723 nineteen vessels cleared from Quebec, laden with peltries, lumber,
stones, tar, tobacco, flour, pease, pork, &c.; and six merchant ships
and two men-of-war were built in the colony.

[Illustration: _Long Sault Rapid, on the St. Lawrence._]

The death of the Marquis de Vandreuil in October, 1725, was deservedly
lamented by the Canadians. He was succeeded in 1726 by the Marquis de
Beauharnois, (a natural son of Louis XIV.) whose ambitious
administration excited yet more the alarm and jealousy of the English
colonists of New York and New England; while the intrigues of the
Jesuits with the Indians, contributed not a little to bring about the
final struggle for dominion on the American continent, between the two
most powerful nations of Europe. The war between Great Britain and
France in 1745, led to the reduction in that year of Cape Breton, by a
British naval and military force, combined with the provincial troops of
the New England colonies; but the successful battle of Fontenoy roused
the martial spirit of the Canadians to attempt the re-conquest of Nova
Scotia in 1746 and 1747, in which they failed, and the treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 suspended further hostilities. Commissioners
were then appointed to settle a boundary line between the British and
French territories in North America. The object of the French was to
confine the English within the boundary of the Alleghany mountains, and
prevent their approach to the Lakes, the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi,
(where the former were now establishing themselves,) and their tributary
streams. The Canadian Government, without any authority from home, and
accompanied by a display of military pomp, calculated to impress on the
minds of the Indians the idea that France would assert her territorial
right to the limits marked, proceeded to survey the projected line of
demarcation between the possessions of France and those which the
Canadian Governor was pleased, _in his liberality_, to assign to
England: leaden plates, bearing the royal arms of France, were sunk at
proper distances, and the whole ceremony was concluded with much
formality. Such an imprudent step, it may be imagined, seriously alarmed
the Indians, as well as the English, and terminated in their active
cooperation for the utter expulsion of the French from North America.

In pursuance of the line of policy marked out by the French consuls at
home and in Canada, the Jesuits were employed to intrigue with the
Acadians, or descendants of the early French inhabitants, with the view
of prevailing on them to quit Nova Scotia, and resort to a military post
now established beyond its frontier, on the Canada side, where a new
colony was to be formed, in aid of which the royal sanction was granted
for an appropriation of 800,000 livres. Cornwallis, the governor of Nova
Scotia, soon convinced the French that he was aware of their
proceedings; he caused a fort to be erected opposite the French, near
the bay of Fundy, on the side of the river Beauhassin; and placed it
under the command of Major Laurence, and caused to be captured at the
mouth of the St. John river, a vessel laden with supplies for the
French. While these measures were in progress, the French commenced
enforcing their power along the line of demarcation they had marked out;
three individuals, who had licenses to trade from their respective
English governors, with the Indians on the Ohio, were seized by the
French, and carried prisoners to Montreal, whence, after severe
treatment and strict examination, they were at length liberated, with
injunctions not to trespass _on the French territories_.

The intrigues of the Jesuits with the Iroquois, to detach them from the
English, were so far successful, that the Indians permitted the French
to erect the Fort La Presentation near their border; and but for the
perseverance and extraordinary influence of Sir William Johnston, the
wily character of the Canadians would have gone far to frustrate the
confederacy forming between the English and the Indians, for the
expulsion of the French; whose downfall was ultimately occasioned by the
corruption that prevailed within the colony, and the scandalous jobs
that the very highest authorities not only winked at, but profited by.
The arrival of the Marquis du Quesne de Menneville, in 1752, as Governor
of Canada, Louisiana, Cape Breton, St. John’s, and their dependencies,
gave indications that hostilities might soon be expected in Europe; and
the activity of the marquis was displayed in training and organizing the
militia for internal defence: detachments of regulars, militia, and
Indians, were despatched to the Ohio; Fort du Quesne (actually within
the Virginian territory) and other posts were erected, with a view of
keeping the English within the Apalachian or Alleghany mountains; and
from Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Fort Niagara, the most ferocious
attacks were made on the peaceable English settlers, notwithstanding the
treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748. The British, though still acting on
the defensive, were not idle; a fort was built in the vicinity of Du
Quesne, quaintly termed _Necessity_, and a garrison was despatched from
Virginia, under the command of George Washington, whose name has since
become so illustrious, and who then held a Lieutenant-colonel’s
commission. Washington, on his march to assume the command of Fort
_Necessity_, was met by a reconnoitring party from Du Quesne fort, under
M. de Jumouville, who peremptorily forbad the English to proceed
further. This mandate was answered by a burst of indignation, and a
volley of musquetry, which killed Jumouville and several of his men. The
French commandant at Du Quesne, Monsieur Contrecœur, quickly commenced
offensive hostilities, invested Fort _Necessity_, and obliged Washington
to capitulate. England at that time was preparing for an open war with
France, which the ambition of Frederick of Prussia, and the state of
Europe soon rendered general. A strong fleet, with troops and warlike
munition, was despatched to reinforce Quebec; an English fleet pursued
it, but succeeded in capturing only two frigates, with the engineers and
troops on board, on the banks of Newfoundland.

[Illustration: _Quebec,_
 from the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence.]

In 1755, the Marquis du Quesne having resigned, he was succeeded, in
July, by the last French governor in Canada, the Marquis de Vandreuil de
Cavagnal, whose administration was auspiciously opened by the defeat of
the brave but rash General Braddock, on the 29th July, 1755, in one of
the defiles of the Alleghany mountains. Braddock, accustomed to
European, rather than to Indian warfare, neglected every precaution of
scouts and advanced posts, and refused to make any preparations against
the French and their Indian allies, who, when the enemy had entered a
gorge, where retreat was almost impossible, poured from their ambuscades
on the devoted British a deadly fire, under which the soldiers of the
unfortunate Braddock fell rapidly, without even the satisfaction of
seeing or meeting their foes. The death of their leader was the signal
that further advance was hopeless; and to the credit of George
Washington, the second in command, he succeeded in rescuing the
remainder of the British army, who were afterwards joined by 6,000
provincial troops, under General Johnston and Governor Shirley.
Johnston, with the intention of investing Crown Point, joined General
Lyman near Lake George, where they were attacked by 3,000 French,
commanded by Baron Dieskau. After a battle of four hours’ duration, the
French retreated to Crown Point, with the loss of 1,000 men, and the
capture of their leader, who was severely wounded. This success restored
the drooping spirits of the British army, and helped to train the
provincials (who were brigaded along with the regular troops,) for those
contests which they were soon to wage for their independence with the
very men by whose side they now fought hand to hand against the
French—their subsequent allies. Little did Washington then contemplate
the destiny that awaited him.

The campaign of 1755 was closed in October, by the British retiring to
Albany, after reinforcing the garrison of Oswego, but without any attack
on Crown Point. France, fully aware of the importance of Canada, sent
out early in the ensuing year a large body of chosen troops, under the
command of the gallant and experienced Major-General the Marquis de
Montcalm, who soon invested Fort Oswego, and compelled the garrison to
surrender. In the next year’s campaign (1757), success still signalized
the progress of the French arms; Fort George was invested and captured;
and the English prisoners, amounting to nearly 2,000 regular troops of
His Majesty’s service, were brutally massacred while on their march to
Fort Edward, by the Indian allies of the French—the latter asserting,
or pretending that they were, through inability or neglect,
incapacitated from preventing the perpetration of this horrid slaughter.
The feelings with which the news of this monstrous deed was received in
England, and throughout British America, may well be conceived; it
helped to hasten the downfall of the French dominion in Canada, the
deepest abhorrence being excited against those who permitted or
sanctioned such a diabolical act. The elder Pitt (afterwards Earl of
Chatham) then at the head of affairs, and in the full blaze of his
eloquence, infused a noble spirit into His Majesty’s counsels, and so
wielded the resources and energies of the nation, that the effects were
speedily felt in America.

France reinforced her Canadian garrisons; and England opened the
campaign of 1759 with a plan of combined operations by sea and land,
somewhat, if not mainly, formed on the plan adopted in 1690, and already
detailed. The invasion of Canada was to take place at three different
points, under three generals of high talent; that destined for Quebec
being considered the chief. The forces for the latter place were under
the command of the heroic General Wolfe, and amounted to about 8,000
men, chiefly drawn from the army which, under the same commander, had
taken Fort Louisberg in Cape Breton, and subdued the whole island in the
preceding year. Wolfe’s army was conveyed to the vicinity of Quebec by a
fleet of vessels of war and transports, commanded by Admiral Saunders,
and was landed in two divisions off the island of Orleans, 27th June,
1759. The Marquis de Montcalm made vigorous preparations for defending
Quebec; his armed force consisted of about 13,000 men, of whom six
battalions were regulars, and the remainder well disciplined Canadian
militia, with some cavalry and Indians; and his army was ranged from the
river St. Lawrence to the Falls of Montmorency, with the view of
opposing the landing of the British forces. A few ships of war,
including fire ships, assisted De Montcalm. The skilful disposition of
the French commander was shown in the failure of the British attack on
the intrenchments at Montmorency, where the British lost 182 killed and
450 wounded, including 11 officers killed and 46 wounded. In consequence
of this repulse, Wolfe sent despatches to England, stating that he had
doubts of being able to reduce Quebec during that campaign.

[Illustration: _Montmorency Cove._]

[Illustration: _Monument to Wolfe and Montcalm_
 (near Quebec.)]

Prudence and foresight are the characteristics of a good general, as
well as of an able statesman. Wolfe called a council of war—he showed
that the fire of his ships of war, which had passed and repassed Quebec,
had done little damage to the citadel, though the lower town had been
nearly destroyed—that further attacks on the Montmorency intrenchments
were useless: it was therefore proposed, as the only hope of success, to
gain the heights of Abraham behind and above the city, commanding the
weakest point of the fortress. The council, composed of the principal
naval and military commanders, acceded to this daring proposal; and
their heroic leader, although suffering severely from sickness,
commenced his operations on the memorable morning of the 13th of
September, 1759, with an address, secrecy and silence, that have perhaps
never been equalled; indeed, so difficult was the ascent of the narrow
pass where the troops landed, that the soldiers had to climb the
precipice, by the aid of the branches of shrubs and roots of trees
growing among the rocks. De Montcalm found all his vigilance unavailing
to guard this important pass—he lost his usual prudence and
forbearance, and finding his opponent had gained so much by hazarding
all, he, with an infatuation for which it is difficult to account,
resolved to meet the British in battle array on the plains of Abraham.
The French sallied forth from a strong fortress without field
artillery—without even waiting for the return of a large force of 2,000
men, detached as a corps of observation under De Bougainville against
the British fleet—and with a heat and precipitation as remarkable as
were the coolness of the British. The eagle eye of Wolfe saw that to him
retreat was almost impossible; but, while directing his main attention
to the steady advance of his right division, he skilfully covered his
flanks, and endeavoured to preserve their communication with the shore.
Both armies may be said to have been without artillery, the French
having only two guns, and the English a light cannon, which the sailors
dragged up the heights with ropes; the sabre and the bayonet accordingly
decided the day, and never was the nervous strength of the British arm
better wielded. The agile Scotch Highlanders, with their stout
claymores, served the purpose of cavalry, and the steady fire of the
English fusileers compensated in some degree for the want of artillery.
The French fought with a desperation heightened by the fanaticism to
which their priests had excited them against the English heretics, while
the heroism of De Montcalm was as conspicuous as that of his illustrious
opponent; both headed their men—both rushed with eagerness wherever the
battle raged most fiercely, and often by their personal prowess and
example changed the fortune of the moment;—both were repeatedly
wounded, but still fought with an enthusiasm which those only who have
mixed in the heady current of battle can conceive; in fine, both those
gallant commanders fell mortally wounded, while advancing on the last
deadly charge, at the head of their respective columns. Wolfe, faint
with the loss of blood, reeled, and leant against the shoulder of one of
his officers—the purple stream of life was ebbing—the eye that but a
few moments before beamed bright with glory, waxed dim, and he was
sinking to the earth, when the cry of “_They run!—they run!_” arrested
his fleeting spirit. “_Who run?_” exclaimed the dying hero. “_The
French_,” returned his supporter. “_Then I die contented!_” were the
last words of a Briton who expired in the arms of victory. The
chivalrous Montcalm also perished—rejoicing in his last moments that he
should not live to witness the surrender of Quebec—and both the
conquerors and the conquered joined in deploring their national loss.

The battle may be said to have decided the fate of the French dominion
in Canada; five days after, the citadel of Quebec was surrendered, and
occupied by General Murray with a force of 5,000 men, and the British
fleet sailed for England. The contemplated junction of the invading
British forces took place at Montreal in September 1760; and by the
treaty between France and England, in 1763, the former resigned all
further pretensions to Canada and Nova Scotia,—thus losing at one blow
every acre of her North American dominions.

The population of Canada, on its conquest by the British, was about
65,000, inhabiting a narrow strip of land on the banks of the St.
Lawrence, and chiefly employed in agriculture. No people ever had juster
cause of gratitude for the cession of the country to Great Britain than
the Canadians. Bigot, the Intendant, or King’s financier, and his
creatures, plundered the colonists in every direction; a paper currency,
termed card-money, founded on the responsibility of the King of France,
for the general support of the civil and military establishments of the
colony, and which, from having been faithfully redeemed during a period
of thirty years, enjoyed unlimited credit, enabled Bigot to conceal for
a long time his waste and peculations; and while the British were
capturing Canada by force of arms, the French monarch was destroying the
commerce and prospects of his subjects by dishonouring the bills of
exchange of the Intendant, to whom he had granted absolute power; thus
involving in ruin not only the holders of 12,000 livres (£500,000
sterling) but also those who possessed any paper currency, which at the
conquest amounted to £4,000,000 sterling, and the only compensation
received for which was four per cent. on the original value.

Civil and religious liberty was granted to the Canadians; and in the
words of the writer of the Political Annals of Canada, “previous history
affords no example of such forbearance and generosity on the part of the
conquerors towards the conquered—forming such a new era in civilized
warfare, that an admiring world admitted the claim of Great Britain to
the glory of conquering a people, less from views of ambition and the
security of her other colonies, than from the hope of improving their
situation, and endowing them with the privileges of freedom.”

After the more stirring and scientific discoveries of civilized
navigators and adventurers, it will not be uninteresting to present the
simple story of an Indian chief, who crossed the continent without
compass or chart, and with no resources but his courage and native
talent for expedient; and in this rude way, made discoveries which would
thrill the bosom of the most romantic navigator. The story was told by
the chief himself (through an interpreter), to the gentleman who
reported it, in the following words, to the Historical Society of

“I had lost my wife, and all the children whom I had by her, when I
undertook my journey towards the sun-rising. I set out from my village,
contrary to the inclination of all my relations, and went first to the
Chicasaws, our friends and neighbours. I continued among them several
days, to inform myself whether they knew whence we all came,—they, who
were our elders; since from them came the language of the country. As
they could not inform me, I proceeded on my journey. I reached the
country of the Chasuanous, and afterwards went up the Wabash, or Ohio,
almost to its source, which is in the country of the Iroquois, or Five
Nations. I left them, however, towards the north; and during the winter,
which in that country is very severe, and very long, I lived in a
village of the Abenaquis, where I contracted an acquaintance with a man
somewhat older than myself, who promised to conduct me, the following
spring, to the Great Water. Accordingly, when the snows were melted, and
the weather was settled, we proceeded eastward; and, after several days’
journey, I at length saw the Great Water, which filled me with such joy
and admiration that I could not speak. Night drawing on, we took up our
lodging on a high bank above the water, which was sorely vexed by the
wind, and made so great a noise that I could not sleep. Next day, the
ebbing and flowing of the water filled me with great apprehension; but
my companion quieted my fears, by assuring me that the water observed
certain bounds, both in advancing and retiring. Having satisfied our
curiosity in viewing the Great Water, we turned to the village of the
Abenaquis, where I continued the following winter; and after the snows
were melted, my companion and I went and viewed the great fall of the
river St. Lawrence, at Niagara, which was distant from the village
several days’ journey. The view of this great fall at first made my hair
stand on end, and my heart almost leap out of its place; but afterwards,
before I left it, I had the courage to walk under it. Next day we took
the shortest road to the Ohio; and my companion and I cutting down a
tree on the banks of the river, we formed it into a pettiauger, which
served to conduct me down the Ohio and the Mississippi; after which,
with much difficulty, I went up our small river, and at length arrived
safe among my relations, who were rejoiced to see me in good health.

[Illustration: _The Plains of Abraham, near Quebec._
 (_The spot where General Wolfe fell._)]

“This journey, instead of satisfying, only served to excite my
curiosity. Our old men, for several years, had told me that the _ancient
speech_ informed them that the Red-men of the north came originally much
higher and much farther than the source of the river Missouri; and as I
had longed to see, with my own eyes, the land from whence our first
fathers came, I took my precautions for my journey westwards. Having
provided a small quantity of corn, I proceeded up along the eastern bank
of the river Mississippi, till I came to the Ohio. I went up along the
bank of this last river, about the fourth part of a day’s journey, that
I might be able to cross it without being carried into the Mississippi.
There I formed a _cayeux_, or raft of canes, by the assistance of which
I passed over the river; and next day meeting with a herd of buffaloes
in the meadows, I killed a fat one, and took from it the fillets, the
bunch, and the tongue. Soon after I arrived among the Tamaroos, a
village of the nation of the Illinois, where I rested several days, and
then proceeded northwards to the mouth of the Missouri, which, after it
enters the great river, runs for a considerable time without intermixing
its muddy waters with the clear stream of the other. Having crossed the
Mississippi, I went up the _Missouri_, along its northern bank; and
after several days journey, I arrived at the nation of the Missouris,
where I staid a long time, to learn the language that is spoken beyond
them. In going along the Missouri, I passed through meadows a whole
day’s journey in length, which were quite covered with buffaloes.

“When the cold was past, and the snows were melted, I continued my
journey up along the Missouri, till I came to the nation of the West, or
the _Canzas_. Afterwards, in consequence of directions from them, I
proceeded in the same course near thirty days; and at length I met with
some of the nation of the Otters, who were hunting in that
neighbourhood, and were surprised to see me alone. I continued with the
hunters two or three days, and then accompanied one of them, and his
wife, who was near her time of lying in, to their village, which lay far
off, betwixt the north and west. We continued our journey along the
Missouri for nine days, and then we marched directly northwards for five
days more, through the country of the Otters, who received me with as
much kindness as if I had been of their own nation. A few days after we
came to the Fine River, which runs westward in a direction contrary to
that of the Missouri. We proceeded down this river a whole day, and then
arrived at the village. A party of the Otters were going to carry a
calumet of peace to a nation beyond them, and we embarked in a
pettiauger, and went down the river for eighteen days, landing now and
then, to supply ourselves with provisions. When I arrived at the nation,
who were at peace with the Otters, I staid with them till the cold was
past, that I might learn their language, which was common to most of the
nations that lived beyond them.

“The cold was hardly gone, when I again embarked on the Fine River; and
in my course I met with several nations, with whom I generally staid but
one night, till I arrived at the nation that is but one day’s journey
from the Great Water on the West. This nation live in the woods, about
the distance of a league from the river, from their apprehension of
bearded men, who come upon their coasts in floating villages, and carry
off their children to make slaves of them. These men were described to
be white, with long black beards that came down to their breasts. They
were thick and short, had large heads, which were covered with
cloth;—they were always dressed, even in the greatest heats; their
clothes fell down to the middle of their legs, which with their feet
were covered with red or yellow stuff. Their arms made a great fire and
a great noise; and when they saw themselves outnumbered by Red-men, they
retired on board their large pettiauger—their number sometimes
amounting to thirty, but never more.

“Those strangers came from the sun-setting, in search of a yellow
stinking wood, which dyes a fine yellow colour; but the people of this
nation, that they might not be tempted to visit them, had destroyed all
those kind of trees. Two other nations in their neighbourhood, however,
having no other wood, could not destroy the trees, and were still
visited by the strangers; and being greatly incommoded by them, had
invited their allies to assist them in making an attack upon them the
next time they should return. The following summer I accordingly joined
in this expedition; and after travelling five long days’ journey, we
came to the place where the bearded men usually landed, where we waited
seventeen days for their arrival. The Red-men, by my advice, placed
themselves in ambuscade to surprise the strangers; and accordingly, when
they landed to cut the wood, we were so successful as to kill eleven of
them, the rest immediately escaping on board two large pettiaugers, and
flying westward upon the Great Water.

“Upon examining those whom we had killed, we found them much smaller
than ourselves, and very white: they had a large head, and in the middle
of the crown the hair was very long. Their head was wrapped in a great
many folds of stuff, and their clothes seemed to be made neither of wool
nor silk: they were very soft, and of different colours. Two only, of
the eleven who were slain, had fire arms, with powder and ball. I tried
their pieces, and found that they were much heavier than ours, and did
not kill at so great a distance.

“After this expedition I thought of nothing but proceeding on my
journey, and with that design I let the Red-men return home, and joined
myself to those who inhabited more westward on the coast, with whom I
travelled along the shore of the Great Water, which bends directly
betwixt the north and the sun-setting. When I arrived at the villages of
my fellow-travellers, where I found the days very long, and the nights
very short, I was advised by the old men to give over all thoughts of
continuing my journey. They told me that the land extended still a long
way in a direction between the north and sun-setting, after which it ran
directly west, and at length was cut by the Great Water from north to
south. One of them added, that when he was young, he knew a very old man
who had seen that distant land before it was eat away by the Great
Water, and that when the Great Water was low, many rocks still appeared
in those parts. Finding it, therefore, impracticable to proceed much
further on account of the severity of the climate, and the want of game,
I returned by the same route by which I had set out; and reducing my
whole travels westward to day’s journeys, I compute that they would have
employed me thirty-six moons; but on account of my frequent delays, it
was five years before I returned to my relations among the Yazous.”

The remarkable difference between the Natches, including in that name
the nations whom they treat as brethren, and the other people of
Louisiana, made me extremely desirous to know whence both of them might
originally come. We had not then that full information which we have
since received from the voyages and discoveries of M. De Lisle, in the
eastern parts of the Russian empire. I therefore applied myself one day
to put the keeper of the temple in good humour; and having succeeded in
that without much difficulty, I then told him, that from the little
resemblance I observed between the Natches and the neighbouring nations,
I was inclined to believe that they were not originally from the same
country which they then inhabited; and if the ancient speech taught him
any thing on that subject, he would do me a great pleasure to inform me
of it. At these words he leaned his head on his two hands, with which he
covered his eyes; and having remained in that posture about a quarter of
an hour, as if to recollect himself, he answered to the following

“Before we came into this land we lived yonder, under the sun, (pointing
with his finger nearly south-west, by which I understood he meant
Mexico); we lived in a fine country, where the earth is always pleasant;
there our sons had their abode, and our nation maintained itself for a
long time against the ancients of the country, who conquered some of our
villages in the plains, but never could force us from the mountains. Our
nation extended itself along the Great Water where this large river
loses itself; but as our enemies were become very numerous, and very
wicked, our Suns sent some of our subjects who live near this river, to
examine whether we could retire into the country through which it
flowed. The country on the east side of the river being found extremely
pleasant, the Great Sun, upon the return of those who had examined it,
ordered all his subjects who lived in the plains, and who still defended
themselves against the ancients of the country, to remove into this
land, here to build a temple, and to preserve the eternal fire.

“A great part of our nation accordingly settled here, where they lived
in peace and abundance for several generations; the Great Sun, and those
who had remained with him, never thought of joining us, being tempted to
continue where they were by the pleasantness of the country, which was
very warm, and by the weakness of their enemies, who had fallen into
civil dissensions in consequence of the ambition of one of their chiefs,
who wanted to raise himself from a state of equality with the other
chiefs of the villages, and to treat all the people of his nation as
slaves. During those discords among our enemies, some of them even
entered into an alliance with the Great Sun, who still remained in our
old country, that he might conveniently assist other brethren who had
settled on the banks of the Great Water to the east of the large river,
and extended themselves so far on the coast, and among the isles, that
the Great Sun did not hear of them sometimes for five or six years

“It was not till after many generations that the Great Suns came and
joined us in this country, when, from the fine climate and the peace we
had enjoyed, we had multiplied like the leaves of the trees. Warriors of
fire, who made the earth to tremble, had arrived in our old country, and
having entered into an alliance with our brethren, conquered our ancient
enemies; but attempting afterwards to make slaves of our sons, they,
rather than submit to them, left our brethren, who refused to follow
them, and came hither attended only by their slaves.”

Upon my asking him who those warriors of fire were, he replied, “that
they were bearded white men, somewhat of a brownish colour, who carried
arms that darted out fire with a great noise, and killed at a distance;
that they had likewise heavy arms which killed a great many men at once,
and like thunder made the earth tremble; and that they came from the
sun-rising in floating villages.”

“The ancients of the country,” he said, “were very numerous, and
inhabited from the western coast of the Great Water to the northern
countries on this side the sun, and very far up on the same coast beyond
the sun. They had a great number of large and small villages, which were
all built of stone, and in which there were houses large enough to lodge
a whole village. Their temples were built with great labour and art, and
they made beautiful works of all kinds of materials.”

“But ye yourselves,” said I, “whence are ye come?” “The ancient speech,”
he replied, “does not say from what land we came; all that we know is,
that our fathers, to come hither, followed the sun, and came with him
from the place where he rises; that they were a long time on their
journey, were all on the point of perishing, and were brought into this
country without seeking it.”

[Illustration: _Les Marches Naturelles,_
  near Quebec.]

Moncacht-apé, after giving me an account of his travels, spent four or
five days visiting among the Natches, and then returned to take leave of
me, when I made him a present of several wares of no great value, among
which was a concave mirror, about two inches and a half diameter, which
had cost me about three half-pence. As this magnified the face to four
or five times the natural size, he was wonderfully delighted with it,
and would not have exchanged it for the best mirror in France. After
expressing his regret at parting with me, he returned highly satisfied
to his own nation.

Moncacht-apé’s account of the junction of America with the eastern parts
of Asia, seems confirmed by the following remarkable fact. “Some years
ago the skeletons of two large elephants and two small ones were
discovered in a marsh near the Ohio; and as they were not much consumed,
it is supposed that the elephants came from Asia not many years before.
If we also consider the form of government, and the manner of living
among the northern nations of America, there will appear a great
resemblance betwixt them and the Tartars in the north-east part of

Indians who have never seen the ebbing and flowing of the tide are
wonderfully struck with this phenomenon. Many of the inhabitants of
Quebec must still remember that the great deputation of Indian chiefs,
from the interior, and from the Mississippi, which came to Quebec during
the administration of Sir George Prevost, and had in their company the
sister of Tecumseh, were often to be seen sitting in a row upon a wharf
in the Lower Town of Quebec, contemplating in silence, and evidently
under the deepest impression of awe, the rising and falling of the
waters of the St. Lawrence.

The white men here described correspond in every particular with the
Chinese, who, there is reason to believe, held commercial intercourse
with the south of Africa long before Vasco de Gama discovered and
doubled the Cape of Good Hope. The Chinese are rather smaller than we
are, and have the palest complexion indigenous to Asia. Their muskets
are match-locks, and heavier than ours; their powder is inferior in

The stinking wood mentioned by the Indian chief is probably fustic,
yielding a yellow dye, which is the prevailing colour of the garments of
the superior classes in China.


[2] The narrative of these proceedings must be received with due
allowance, as there is considerable discrepancy between the different
historians. The statements of Hakluyt are here generally followed.

[3] The first child born in Quebec of French parents was the son of
Abraham Martin and Margaret L'Angelois: it was christened Eustache on
the 24th of October, 1621.

                               CHAP. III.

                        LATER EVENTS IN CANADA.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Having presented the first two phases of the history of Canada—its last
period under the rule of the savage, and its first under that of
civilized man; we pass to the next, which brings us to our own time—its
rule by the government of England.

The war commenced by the United States against Britain in 1812, produced
a formidable crisis in the history of Canada, especially of the upper
province.[4] It is not proposed to enter into any discussion of the
grounds or merits of the hostile resolution adopted by Congress.
Doubtless, however, as Britain then stood with her whole disposable
force engaged against Napoleon, they calculated with full confidence on
obtaining possession of the Canadas, and, indeed, of all British
America. Dr. Eustis, secretary at war, said in Congress, “We can take
the Canadas without soldiers; we have only to send officers into the
provinces, and the people disaffected towards their own government will
rally round our standard.” Mr. Clay added: “It is absurd, to suppose we
shall not succeed in our enterprise against the enemy’s provinces. We
have the Canadas as much under our command as Great Britain has the
ocean. We must take the continent from them. I wish never to see a peace
till we do.” A similar impression prevailed in the colony itself,
defended then by only 4,500 troops, of whom not more than 1,450 were in
the upper province, though the most exposed, and presenting the most
extended frontier. Not a few were inclined, on the first alarm, to pack
up and quit the country; but Sir George Prevost, seconded by the
majority of the inhabitants, adopted a more spirited resolution. The
militia were called out; Quebec was garrisoned by the citizens; and the
frontier placed in a state of defence.

The States, though they had plunged into hostilities so eagerly, and
with such sanguine anticipations, were, by no means, in a forward state
of preparation. Few of the officers who had distinguished themselves in
the war of independence, survived the lapse of nearly thirty years.
General Hull, however, one of these veterans, was sent with a force of
2,500 men to open the campaign on the western frontier of Upper Canada.
On the 5th of July, 1812, he arrived at Detroit; and on the 12th crossed
the river, and took possession of Sandwich, whence he issued a
proclamation, inviting the colonists to join him, or at least to remain
neutral. He announced that no quarter would be given to a white man
fighting by the side of an Indian, though this is said never to have
been acted upon. Having no cannon mounted, he did not think it
practicable to attack Fort Malden, which covered Amherstburg, where
Lieut.-Colonel St. George, with his small force, was posted. Hull,
however, pushed forward detachments into the country, which gained some
advantages, and induced a few of the inhabitants to join them. But his
prospects were soon clouded. Capt. Roberts, with a small detachment, had
early reduced the fort of Michillimakinac, which “opened upon him the
northern hive of Indians.” Almost the whole of that race, indignant at
the encroachments of the Americans upon their territory, eagerly
espoused the British cause, and poured in from every quarter to support
it. Meantime, General Brock, having embarked all the troops that could
be spared from the Niagara frontier, arrived on the 12th of August at
Amherstburg, where he mustered about 320 regulars, 400 militia, and 600
Indians. Hull, whose force, weakened by sickness and by sending away two
detachments, is said not to have exceeded 800 effective men, retreated
across the river, withdrawing the cannon prepared for the siege of
Amherstburg, and shut himself up in Detroit. General Brock instantly
crossed, advanced upon the fort, and prepared for an immediate assault;
but a white flag then appeared from the walls, and a capitulation was
quickly signed, by which the whole American force, including the
detachments, were surrendered prisoners of war. The Canadian citizens,
who had despondingly anticipated speedy conquest, were not a little
surprised to see in less than three months the whole army destined for
that object marched in as captives. Loud complaints were made by the
Americans against the conduct of Hull, who was afterwards tried and
condemned to be shot, though spared on account of his age and former

The Americans made great efforts to obtain a more fortunate result on
the Niagara frontier. Though the New England States, disapproving of the
war, withheld their militia, yet early in September more than 6,000 men
were brought to the banks of the river, with the view of crossing it,
and penetrating into Canada. They were encouraged by the exploit of two
row-boats, which captured the same number of British gun-brigs, with
valuable cargoes, as they were passing Fort Erie. The troops are
represented as filled with enthusiastic confidence, urging, and almost
compelling General Van Rensselaer, their commander, to commence active
operations. Accordingly, after one abortive attempt, he succeeded, on
the morning of the 13th of October, in pushing across to Queenston a
detachment, which, being well reinforced, gained possession of the
heights. General Brock, having come up, resolved to check their
progress, but, making his advance with too small a force, he was
repulsed and killed, closing his brilliant career by a glorious death.
Meantime, General Sheaffe, having brought up the main force of the
British from Fort George, and being joined by a body of Indians, with a
detachment from Chippeway, attacked the enemy, and, after a sharp
contest of half an hour, compelled the whole, amounting to above 900, to
surrender at discretion.

The Americans made yet another attempt to retrieve this unfortunate
campaign. General Smyth, who succeeded Van Rensselaer, had assembled, on
the 27th of November, 4,500 men in the vicinity of Black Rock. Early on
the following morning two detachments succeeded in crossing, and, after
a long confused fight in the dark, drove in with loss the British
outposts; but when day broke, and Lieut.-Colonel Bisshop had collected
about 600 regulars and militia, they hastily retired to the other side,
leaving a party of thirty to fall into the hands of the English. Another
division began to cross, but some rounds of musketry and artillery
induced them to return. In the course of the day, after a vain summons
to surrender Fort Erie, nearly half the force was embarked, though in
the afternoon the postponement of the enterprise was announced. After
several days of uncertain councils, it was finally decided that the
expedition should be abandoned for the season.

[Illustration: _Queenston._]

[Illustration: _General Brock’s Monument,_
 above Queenston.]

The severity of the season caused a suspension of operations, scarcely
interrupted, unless by an attack on Ogdensburg by Captain M^{c}Donnell,
who, crossing the St. Lawrence on the ice, drove out the garrison, and
obtained possession of eleven pieces of cannon, and a considerable
quantity of stores. The Americans meantime were making extraordinary
exertions to open the new campaign under better auspices. At Sackett’s
Harbour, on the southern shore of Ontario, a naval armament was
equipped, which gave them for some time the control of that fine lake. A
large force had been assembled, and placed under a new commander,
General Dearborn. The plan of this campaign was limited to the conquest
of Upper Canada; the achievement of which, as that country was defended
by only 2,100 troops, was considered beyond the reach of chance. On the
25th of April, 1813, the general, with Commodore Chauncey, embarked
about 2,000 men, and sailed to York (Toronto), the rising capital of the
province. It was then very ill prepared for resistance, scarcely at all
fortified, and defended by General Sheaffe with only about 600 men. On
the morning of the 27th they reached the place, and succeeded in
landing, when, after a brave defence, protracted till two o’clock, the
English were obliged to abandon the town. The invaders suffered chiefly
by the explosion of a mine, which killed or wounded about 260, including
among the former General Pike, a young officer of distinguished merit,
who had planned and conducted the attack. After burning all the public
buildings, they carried off the artillery and naval stores, and by the
1st of May evacuated the place.

The next enterprise was still more important, being directed against
Fort George, near Newark, at the entrance of the Niagara channel,
considered the chief military position in the country. Nearly the whole
force was employed, a small part only being left to defend Sackett’s
Harbour. Brigadier-General Vincent, on the other hand, had only a
British detachment of about 1,000 regulars, and 300 militia; and Newark
had been exposed to so severe a fire from the American fort on the
opposite side, that it was no longer defensible. The enemy, therefore,
could be resisted only by opposing his landing, or by beating him
afterwards in the field. When Commodore Chauncey, on the 27th of May,
disembarked 4,000 men, under Dearborn and Lewis, both these operations
were attempted; but, after a long and severe contest, were rendered
unavailing by the superior numbers of the invaders. Vincent was obliged,
after calling in the garrisons of Chippeway and Fort Erie, to retreat,
first to the Beaver Dams, and then to Burlington Heights, near the
western extremity of Lake Ontario. The victors could not intercept his
retreat, but they established for the first time a regular lodgement in

Meantime, a respectable naval force having been organised at Kingston by
Sir James Yeo, Sir George Prevost, the governor, was prevailed upon to
employ it in the attack of Sackett’s Harbour, defended only by a small
party, while the main body of the enemy was employed against Fort
George. He sailed on the 27th of May, with about 750 men, but on
approaching showed considerable hesitation, and even gave orders for a
return to Kingston, till, encouraged by the success of the Indians in
capturing twelve boats with seventy dragoons, he succeeded in effecting
a landing on the morning of the 29th. Notwithstanding the difficulties
of the ground, he drove the enemy before him, till they took shelter in
a log-barrack and stockaded fort: thence they kept up such a destructive
fire, that General Prevost, considering it impossible to force the
position, and panic-struck, it is said, by a false alarm raised by
General Brown in his rear, ordered a retreat. Much difference of
opinion, however, prevailed among the officers. Major Drummond is
reported to have said, “A few minutes, Sir, and I will put you in
possession of the place.” He was ordered to obey; upon which, discontent
and a want of confidence in the Commander-in-Chief became general, and
had a most injurious effect on the subsequent operations.

Fortune, so favourable to the Americans at the opening of the campaign,
did not continue so throughout. Extraordinary exertions were made in the
western States, particularly Kentucky. Two corps were formed, and
despatched under Generals Winchester and Harrison, to march in different
lines through Michigan; then to unite, and cooperate in recovering
Detroit, and invading the adjoining districts. Winchester, suspected of
a desire to achieve something before yielding the command to his
coadjutor, advanced with about 1,000 men to French Town, within
twenty-six miles of Detroit. Colonel Proctor, justly appreciating the
importance of attacking him before the junction, hastily collected all
the force within his reach, amounting to about 500 whites, and 450
Indians. With these, on the 22d of January, 1813, he succeeded in
bringing the enemy to action. They made an obstinate resistance, and,
being posted in houses and inclosures, caused considerable loss to the
assailants; but they were ultimately overpowered, and nearly all made
prisoners. The general himself was among the number, having fallen into
the hands of a Wyandot Indian, who stripped off his uniform, adorned his
own person with it, and could not without great difficulty be induced to
make restitution.

General Harrison, on receiving intelligence of this disaster, took up a
position near the rapids of the Miami, to await reinforcements. Colonel
Proctor felt equally the importance of attacking him before their
arrival. Having assembled about 1,000 regulars and militia, and 1,200
Indians, he embarked them at Amherstburg on the 23d of April, then
sailed across Lake Erie, and up the Miami. Many delays, however,
occurred, by which the enemy was enabled so to strengthen his position,
that the attack made on the 1st of May had very little effect. The
Americans were then encouraged to assume the offensive, which they did
with large bodies of troops, partly landed from the river, partly
sallying from the fort. At first they gained possession of the British
batteries, but they were then attacked at different points with such
decisive success, that upwards of a thousand were killed or taken, and
the rest with difficulty found refuge within the entrenchments. These
Proctor found himself still unable to storm; but he had so weakened the
enemy’s force, as to remove all immediate danger of invasion.

[Illustration: _Citadel of Kingston_
 (from the St. Lawrence.)]

[Illustration: _View from the Citadel of Kingston._]

Let us now return to the main theatre of operations on the Niagara
frontier, where we have seen the British driven before the enemy to
Burlington Heights. Dearborn immediately sent forward Generals Chandler
and Winder with 4,000 men, to destroy if possible this shattered
remnant; a success which would have been followed by the conquest of all
the western provinces. On the 5th of June they took post at Stoney
Creek, to prepare for operations on the following day. In this critical
situation, Lieut.-Colonel Harvey, having carefully reconnoitred the
enemy’s position, suggested a night attack, to which General Vincent
readily assented. It was made with 700 chosen troops, and being favoured
by deep darkness, was completely successful; the Americans fled in every
direction, and the two commanders, with seven officers and 116 men, were
made prisoners. The British at day-light withdrew their small force. The
enemy’s loss, indeed, had not been great; yet such was the panic
inspired by the events of this night, that before eleven next morning
they had abandoned their camp, and commenced a retreat to Forty-mile
Creek, eleven miles distant. Here they received a reinforcement, but,
being threatened by Sir James Yeo, who had come with a squadron and a
small body of troops to support General Vincent, they determined on
retreating to Niagara. Nor did their disgrace stop here. Intelligence
being received that the English had a small advanced post at Beaver-dam,
Lieut.-Colonel Boerstler, with about 700 men, was sent to attack it.
That officer, however, being unexpectedly assailed, first by a party of
Indians, and soon afterwards by a small body of regulars, conceived
himself to be surrounded, and, on being summoned by Lieut. Fitzgibbon,
surrendered his whole corps prisoners of war. The Americans now held
nothing on the right bank of the river beyond Fort George. The British
even made incursions on the opposite shore; in one of which Col. Bisshop
gained possession of Black Rock, where he destroyed or carried off the
arms and stores; but being unfortunately attacked while re-embarking, by
a superior force, his party suffered some loss, and he himself received
three wounds which proved mortal.

The British at this time gained some advantages on Lake Champlain,
taking several vessels, and destroying the enemy’s magazines at
Plattsburg and Swanton. They were now, however, destined to experience
some severe reverses, and that too on the theatre of their most
brilliant triumphs.

The Americans made extraordinary exertions to retrieve their affairs on
the western frontier; volunteers crowded from Kentucky, a territory of
fierce and war-like habits; and by September they had succeeded in
augmenting General Harrison’s army to upwards of 5,000 men. They had
formed another fortified station on Sandusky River, which Major-General
Proctor, without success, attempted to reduce. A squadron of nine
vessels, mounting fifty-six guns, had been equipped by them on Lake
Erie, and it was with great difficulty that one at all able to contend
with it could be fitted out by the British, under Captain Barclay. An
engagement took place, which was maintained with the utmost obstinacy,
and the American commodore’s ship had even struck her flag; but fortune
afterwards turned, and the conflict ended in the defeat and entire
surrender of the English squadron. The event reduced General Proctor to
extreme distress, depriving him of access to supplies and
reinforcements, while his stock of provisions had become quite
inadequate for his own troops, and the numerous Indians who had joined
his standard. On the arrival, therefore, in the end of September, of
General Harrison at Detroit, he did not attempt to maintain his position
at Amherstburg, but retreated up the river Thames. The other pursued him
closely with 3,500 troops, while Proctor was deserted by most of his
Indians, of whom he had now only about 500, with 800 whites. At the
Moravian town, on the 5th of October, he took up a strong position,
flanked by the river on one side, and a wood on the other, where he
hoped to render unavailing the superior numbers of the enemy. Harrison,
however, had with him a body of combatants yet unknown in warfare, the
Kentucky mounted riflemen, accustomed to ride through the woods, using
their weapon with almost preternatural skill. Their very novelty he
justly hoped would make a strong impression. Following his instructions,
they received the fire of their opponents, then galloped forward, and in
a few minutes completely broke the British ranks, spreading among them a
general confusion. The severest conflict was with the Indians, who lost
their chief, Tecumseh, one of the bravest of the brave, stamped a hero
by the hand of nature, and equally distinguished by policy and
eloquence. The main object of his life had been to unite his followers
in a grand confederacy against American encroachment. In enmity to them
he had warmly attached himself to the cause of the British, and aided
them in successive victories. He was shot through the head by Col.
Johnson, a member of Congress. General Proctor retreated to Ancaster,
where he could rally only 200 men, with whom he joined the Niagara army.
Harrison, also, having thus recovered Michigan, and conquered the
western districts, marched to reinforce his countrymen in that quarter.

The Americans now formed a plan of operations on a grander scale,
directed against Montreal, the success of which would have placed in
their hands the whole of Upper Canada. In this enterprise two armies
were destined to cooperate; one, consisting of nearly 6,000 men, under
Major-General Hampton, from Lake Champlain; the other, amounting to
8,800, under Major-General Wilkinson, from Grenadier Island, near
Sackett’s Harbour, on Lake Ontario. As the city was defended by a very
small proportion of the regular soldiers, who were chiefly employed in
the upper province, Hampton hoped, by pushing vigorously forward, to
capture the place with little difficulty. But having passed the frontier
in the end of October, he found on the banks of the river Chateauguay
the advanced corps of 800 British, with 172 Indians, commanded by
Lieut.-Colonels De Salaberry and M^{c}Donnell. These officers posted
their troops so judiciously amid woods, and so skilfully concealed the
smallness of their number, that the Americans, though they made several
brisk attacks, were always repulsed; and Hampton, believing himself
opposed by a large force, determined to retreat.

[Illustration: _Copp’s Ferry,_
 near Georgeville.]

Meantime, the larger expedition, under General Wilkinson, having crossed
Lake Ontario, entered the river St. Lawrence. At Williamsburg, two
considerable detachments were landed, in order at once to clear the
banks and to lighten the boats while descending the rapids. On the 11th
of November, one of these, under Major-General Boyd, encountered
Lieut.-Colonel Morrison, with an inferior British force. A very
obstinate conflict ensued, in which both parties claimed the victory.
The English seemed to have gained the chief honour; but their success
was not so decisive as to prevent the enemy from continuing to descend
the river towards Montreal. Near Cornwall, the commander received
despatches from General Hampton, intimating that he declined the
expected cooperation, and intended to fall back upon Lake Champlain.
Wilkinson then conceived it necessary to give up for this season any
attempt upon Montreal, especially as he found the population altogether
hostile to the States, and attached to the British government. He
therefore placed his army in winter quarters, near French-mills, on the
Salmon river, where he formed a plan for attacking Prescott and
Kingston; but finding himself much straitened for provisions, was
induced to fall upon Plattsburg.

Meantime, the employment of the main army of the Americans in this
abortive expedition, enabled their opponents to resume the offensive on
the Niagara frontier. On the first intelligence of the disasters
sustained in the west, General Vincent had been ordered to fall back
upon Kingston; but he considered that circumstances now justified him in
maintaining his position. The enemy’s force in this quarter was not only
reduced, but was under the command, it was said, of an officer of little
spirit or enterprise. On the advance of a strong detachment under
Colonel Murray, he first fell back upon Fort George, then abandoned that
post, previously to which he reduced the adjoining town of Newark to
ashes. Murray was not content with driving him beyond the river; he
crossed it, surprised and stormed Fort Niagara, taking above 400
prisoners, with a large quantity of arms and stores. The English
afterwards surprised and plundered the villages of Lewiston, Black Rock,
and Buffalo, where they retaliated, not very considerately, the outrages
of this officer at Fort George.

Operations were recommenced early in the spring of 1814. Lieut.-Colonel
Williams, with 1,500 British, having taken post at La Colle, on the
river Richelieu. Wilkinson, who had upwards of 4,000 men at Plattsburg,
determined to attack them. On the 30th of March, he completely invested
a large mill, which the British had converted into a fortress. All his
attempts to carry it were, however, fruitless. Major Handcock even made
two attacks on the artillery posted in a wood, though without success.
The American general finally gave up the undertaking, and fell back upon
Plattsburg. In the beginning of May the British gained another
advantage, carrying, though with some loss, the fort of Oswego, where
they captured a considerable quantity of ammunition and stores.

The main effort of the Americans during this campaign was made on the
Niagara frontier, where about 5,000 men were placed under Major-General
Brown, an officer who had distinguished himself on several occasions. On
the 3d of July, he crossed and summoned Fort Erie, which, with its
garrison of 170, immediately surrendered. He then marched towards
Chippeway, and beat at Street’s Creek the advanced guard of
Major-General Riall, which had endeavoured to stop his progress. The
English general was then obliged to retreat to Fort George, and thence
in the direction of Burlington Heights. Brown hereupon laid siege to the
fort, but finding it stronger than he expected, and being disappointed
of assistance from Sackett’s Harbour, he fell back upon Chippeway.
General Riall, on his part, having received some reinforcements,
advanced; the armies came close to each other, and on the 25th the
republicans commenced the attack. The battle of Lundy’s Lane was fought
long, obstinately, and with various fortune; a great part of it amid
thick darkness, which caused several strange mistakes. The American
general and his second in command were wounded; and Riall, on the other
side, was taken prisoner. By a singular accident, in the midst of the
conflict, Lieut.-General Drummond arrived with a reinforcement from
York, which restored the battle. Both sides claim a dearly-bought
victory; but the real issue seems clearly indicated by the retreat of
the Americans to Fort Erie. On the night of the 14th of August, Drummond
made an attack on the place in two divisions; but his men, in both
cases, were repulsed with very severe loss.

Meantime, another part of Canada became the theatre of important
operations. After the successes of the allied powers in Europe, the
capture of Paris, and the abdication of Napoleon, Britain was enabled to
turn her whole strength against the United States, over whom a full
triumph was then anticipated. A strong detachment from the south of
France arrived in Canada, and enabled Sir George Prevost to place
himself at the head of 11,000 men, with whom he undertook to carry the
war into the enemy’s country. He proceeded to the attack of Plattsburg
on Lake Champlain, defended only by 1,500 troops, the rest having been
sent to the upper province. Macomb, the American commander, on being
pressed by this superior force, fell back on his main position, which he
strongly fortified. Sir George, on the 11th of September, arrived in
front of it; but a flotilla, under Capt. Downie, destined to cooperate
with him, was attacked by the enemy, and, under his very eye, completely
defeated and captured. Conceiving, after this disaster, that any success
in storming the enemy’s position would be fruitless, as to ulterior
objects, and a useless sacrifice of men, he immediately withdrew his
army. This course was not approved by all; and the general result, so
contrary to expectation, gave rise to much discontent and recrimination.

The Americans were still strong in Upper Canada. On the 17th, General
Brown sallied from Fort Erie, and, though driven back, caused a severe
loss to the British, who soon after raised the siege. Being pressed by a
large additional force under Izard, General Drummond retreated to the
old position at Burlington Heights; but receiving a reinforcement,
consisting of a detachment of the troops newly arrived from Europe, he
again advanced. Izard evacuated Fort Erie, and took up winter quarters
on the opposite side of the river. During this autumn the republicans
gained some advantages on Lake Erie, but were repulsed with considerable
loss in an attempt to recover Fort Michillimakinac.

The war, meantime, in other parts of America was productive of important
events. The British obtained possession of Washington, where they
destroyed the public edifices and property; but they were defeated in
their attacks upon Baltimore and New Orleans. Thus, while one party felt
itself engaged in an unequal contest, the other had not reaped the
expected advantages from its superior means. Both became inclined for
peace, which was concluded at Ghent on the 24th of December, 1814, upon
terms, which, after this long and chequered contest, brought back the
two powers to exactly the same position as when they had commenced.

Sir George Prevost was succeeded in April, 1815, by Sir George Gordon
Drummond, under whom some discontents began again to appear. These
referred chiefly to the conduct of the judges, whom the Assembly viewed
with such jealousy, that they had impeached at one time the heads of the
court both at Quebec and Montreal. In 1816, Sir John Coape Sherbrooke
went out as Governor-General; and under his administration, at once
vigorous and conciliatory, harmony was little interrupted. In 1818, he
was instructed by Earl Bathurst to accept the offer formerly made, to
pay the whole civil list out of the funds of the province; and he
applied, not for a permanent settlement, but merely for the sum
necessary to meet the current expenses. This was readily granted; and,
in order to raise it, new taxes were imposed, of which, however, the
Assembly reserved to themselves the appropriation. Sir John, being
obliged by severe illness to return to England, was succeeded in 1818 by
the Duke of Richmond. This amiable nobleman, though personally popular,
introduced an innovation, which led to the long and serious conflict
between the Crown and the Assembly. Instead of submitting, like his
predecessors, a detailed estimate of every object of expenditure, he
divided the whole into chapters, each comprehending a head or branch,
the entire amount of which was alone specified. The Assembly refused to
sanction such a change, and passed a vote according to the estimate of
the former governor, stating each payment in detail. The legislative
council, however, withheld their concurrence from this resolution; and
the Duke, expressing his displeasure with the Lower House, had recourse
to the irregular measure of drawing upon the receiver-general for the
sum which he had demanded.

In September, 1819, his Grace’s life and government were suddenly
terminated by an attack of hydrophobia. After short intervals, under the
Hon. James Monk and Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Earl of Dalhousie, in
1820, was removed from Nova Scotia to Canada. This nobleman, possessing
a high military reputation, and an amiable disposition, had been very
popular in his former station; yet, sharing with his advisers, it is
probable, those extreme monarchical ideas which had hitherto prevailed
in the colonies, he was ill-fitted to meet the new crisis that had
arisen. Having estimated 22,000_l._ as the amount necessary for the
public service, in addition to the revenues vested in the crown, he
solicited this sum as a permanent grant; but the Assembly refused to
pass more than an annual bill of supply, in which they specified every
item. The council again rejected their vote, with the entire concurrence
of the governor, who hesitated not to draw upon the treasurer for even a
larger amount than had been asked from the Assembly.

Earl Bathurst, on receiving notice of these proceedings, did not
disapprove of Lord Dalhousie’s conduct, but strongly recommended
economy. He directed also that two estimates should be presented; one,
embracing the government expenses, to be defrayed by funds of which the
crown claimed the entire disposal; the other to be employed on popular
objects, in regard to which the members might be left uncontrolled. At
the same time it was enjoined, that both of these should be given in
full detail. This arrangement was well received, the required sum was
voted, and the session terminated amid mutual courtesies.

In the year 1823, the popular cause was strengthened by the insolvency
of the receiver-general, Sir John Caldwell; an inquiry into whose
accounts had been vainly demanded by the Assembly, and who proved to be
indebted to the public nearly 100,000_l._ When, in the following year,
the governor presented his estimates, the representatives assumed a high
tone; disputing the right of the crown to select the objects on which to
employ its revenue; condemning the unlawful appropriation of public
money; and materially reducing the amount of the sum demanded. These
proceedings drew forth a strong expression of displeasure from Lord

In 1825, the government, during his lordship’s temporary absence, was
administered by Sir Francis Burton. This officer, anxious to conciliate
the Lower House, yielded nearly all the points in dispute. He sanctioned
a bill of supply, in which no distinction was made between the
government and the popular expenditure; an annual grant being made, with
considerable reductions, so that a virtual control over the whole
revenue was thereby conceded to the members. Accordingly, they now
openly claimed the right to appropriate all that was raised within the
province, denying the privilege hitherto exercised by government—of the
uncontrolled disposal of certain branches. These were the produce of
duties on imports, imposed by act of parliament in 1774, and yielding
annually about 34,000_l._, with some of smaller amount, arising from the
sale of land, timber, and other casual sources. Earl Bathurst strongly
disapproved of the concessions made by Burton; and Lord Dalhousie,
having resumed office in 1826, disallowed a bill in which the above
claim was incorporated.

Lord Goderich, who, in 1827, received the seals of the Colonial Office,
though he maintained the right of government to dispose of the disputed
revenue, yet directed that an offer should be made of resigning it to
the Assembly, on their granting an annual civil list of 36,000_l._ On
the meeting of that body, however, M. Papineau was elected speaker—an
appointment which, on account of his violent opposition to the measures
of administration, Lord Dalhousie refused to sanction. The consequence
was, that no session of either house was held in the winter of

Discontent had now risen to an alarming height; and in the latter year a
petition was presented to the king, signed by 87,000 inhabitants,
complaining of the conduct of successive governors, particularly of the
Earl of Dalhousie, and urging a compliance with the demands of the
Assembly. Mr. Huskisson, who had become Colonial Minister, moved that
this petition should be referred to a committee of the House of Commons.
One was accordingly named, composed, in a great degree, of members
attached to liberal principles; who, after a very elaborate
investigation, gave in a report, in which they strongly condemned the
practice of appropriating large sums, taken from the public revenue,
without the sanction of the representatives of the people. With regard
to the main portion of the disputed income, being that produced by the
duties of 1774, its disposal appeared, from the report of his Majesty’s
law officers, to be vested in the crown; yet the committee judged, that
the real interests of the province would be best promoted by placing the
whole under the control of the Assembly. At the same time, they
distinctly expressed their opinion that the governor, the judges, and
the executive council, should be made independent of the annual votes of
that body. They recommended that a more liberal character should be
assigned in a more beneficial manner. Generally admitting that the
grievances complained of were more or less well-founded, they advised a
thorough and effectual redress.

This report appears to have given very decided satisfaction in the
colony, and the Assembly ordered it to be printed, and 400 copies
distributed. In a series of resolutions, passed on the 19th of March,
1830, they seem to limit their demands to the complete fulfilment of its
provisions. Sir James Kempt, who was sent out in 1828, had been
furnished with instructions to carry the recommendations of the
committee into effect with as little delay as possible, and generally to
follow a conciliatory system. He appears to have proceeded with zeal and
efficiency in the prescribed course. Three new members were added to the
legislative council, who are said to have been agreeable to the popular
party. The judges, with the exception of the Chief Justice, whose advice
on legal questions was considered desirable, were requested, with some
earnestness, to resign their places in that body. They declined
compliance, but agreed to take no share in its deliberations, and did
not afterwards attend its sittings. New members were also added to the
executive council, in which seats were even offered to Neilson and
Papineau, the leaders of the opposition. The act, transferring to the
Assembly the revenue in dispute, could not be obtained immediately, but
it was promised on the first meeting of parliament. The Assembly,
however, in voting the supplies of 1829, had proceeded on the
supposition of having the whole at their disposal, and cut off several
thousand pounds from the governor’s estimates; but as the vote did not
appear to involve any absolute recognition of their claim, and as it
seemed inexpedient to dispute a point virtually given up, Sir James
yielded his assent. This step, though not approved by Sir George Murray,
was not, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, positively
disallowed. The governor is said to have treated the ruling party in the
Assembly with a courtesy of manners to which they had not been
accustomed; and on his departure, in 1830, addresses were presented to
him by the most respectable inhabitants of Quebec and Montreal, which
were signed by Papineau and other popular leaders.

Lord Aylmer immediately succeeded to the government. His communications
with the Assembly were of the most friendly description; and though
circumstances, consequent on the death of George IV., had still
prevented the passing of the proposed act, it was promised with all
practicable speed. Lord Goderich, who now presided in the Colonial
Office, directed that the items, which had been again rejected in 1830,
and amounting now to 7,500_l._, should not be longer pressed, but a
compensation be requested for several individuals who had been thereby
deprived of their income. On the 24th of December, his lordship sent two
despatches, intimating his intention to bring in a bill, which should
empower his Majesty to place the proceeds of the duties in question at
the disposal of the Assembly. In return, that body was expected to make
a permanent provision for the judges, as well as for the principal
officers of government. The demand was fixed, according to a very
moderate estimate, at 19,100_l._, which, by a grant of 5,000_l._, made
in 1795, for the support of the civil government, would be reduced to
14,100_l._ It was intimated, however, that the casual and territorial
revenues, arising from the sale of land, the cutting of timber, and
other sources, were still to be considered as belonging to the king.
They had amounted in the previous year to 11,231_l._, but were reduced,
by expenses of collection and other deductions, to about 7,500_l._ This
sum it was proposed to employ chiefly in paying the stipends of the
clergy of the established church, hitherto drawn, not very
appropriately, out of the army extraordinaries. It was urged, that these
funds belonged legally and constitutionally to his Majesty, whose
employment of them upon objects, not of mere patronage, but closely
connected with the interests of the province, could not be reasonably
objected to.

Lord Aylmer was well aware that this last reservation would be deemed
very unsatisfactory; but he considered it most prudent to lay before the
Assembly a full and frank statement of the views of government. That
body, after inquiring into the mode of collection and amount of these
revenues, passed a resolution, that, “under no circumstances, and upon
no consideration whatever, they would abandon or compromise their claim
to control over the whole public revenue.” Particular objection was also
intimated to the support of exclusive religious establishments;
doubtless, more strongly felt from the circumstance, that the church to
be endowed was different from that of the ruling party. They determined,
therefore, for the present, not to grant any permanent supply; and on
the 8th of March, 1831, drew up, on the motion of Mr. Neilson, a pretty
long list of grievances, which was presented to the governor. He
expressed in return an earnest wish to know if these comprised the whole
of their complaints; giving them to understand that silence would be
construed into an admission of their being so. They were accordingly
silent; passed a bill of annual supply; and showed, on the whole, a more
favourable tone and temper.

His lordship transmitted the list of complaints, with an admission that
many of them were well founded; at the same time eulogising the loyal
disposition of the people of Canada. Lord Goderich, in a long reply,
dated July 7, 1831, declared that there was scarcely a point which
government were not ready to concede; and expressed his satisfaction at
the prospect thus afforded of a termination to this long and harassing
contest. This despatch was laid before the house, who, in a series of
resolutions, declared their gratitude for the expressions of his
Majesty’s paternal regard—the proofs of a just and liberal policy—and
the feelings of kindness and good-will manifested in it. The different
points to which it related were referred to separate committees.

Soon after, a despatch from the Colonial Secretary made known that the
act for transferring the funds in dispute had passed the houses of
parliament, and received the royal assent. Whether from extreme
liberality or total inadvertence, it was so worded as to preclude the
imperial treasury from ever exercising any control over them, leaving
thus no room for negotiation with the Assembly. Lord Aylmer was
instructed, however, to demand in return a grant of permanent salaries
to the judges, who were also, according to the Assembly’s desire, to be
made independent of the crown; and a similar provision was asked for the
governor, and a few of the chief executive officers. This matter being
referred to the Assembly, they began, on the 20th of January, 1832, with
the first particular. On providing that the judges should be independent
of the crown, and, with the exception of the Chief Justice, should not
sit in the executive or legislative councils, it was determined that
permanent salaries should be paid to them. But, at the same time, a
motion of Mr. Neilson was carried by a large majority, that these should
be drawn in the first instance from the casual and territorial revenues,
which Lord Goderich had expressly reserved to the crown. Lord Aylmer
considered it, therefore, necessary to send home the bill, yet with an
advice to accept the terms, as the best there was any likelihood of
obtaining. It was rejected, however, on two grounds: first, that it did
not render the judges really independent of the Assembly, but left an
annual vote still necessary. We cannot help suspecting that there was an
unhappy misconception. The terms of the bill are, “that the salaries
shall be secured to them in a fixed and permanent manner;” and “shall be
taken and paid out of the proceeds of the casual and territorial revenue
now appropriated by acts of the provincial parliament, for defraying the
charges of the administration of justice, and the support of the civil
government, and out of any other public revenue of the province which
may be or come into the hands of the receiver-general.” It would appear
that, according to the plain meaning of language, these terms involved a
full warrant for payment. Probably Lord Goderich had legal advice, and
some technical terms, usual in British acts, might be wanting; but a
provincial legislature could scarcely be expected to be fully aware of
these niceties. The legislative body, the governor, and we doubt not
also the Assembly, had considered this as a permanent settlement; the
latter, had it been so acted on, probably would not, and certainly could
not reasonably have objected. The other ground was the encroachment upon
the casual and territorial revenue, which, in this indirect manner, was
considered peculiarly offensive, though Lord Goderich had been fully
apprised of their determination against any agreement in which this
article was not included.

The next question which came before the Assembly was—the demand of a
permanent provision for the governor, and a certain number of the
leading executive officers. After a long debate, however, it was carried
by a large majority in the negative. This decision placed the Assembly
completely at issue with the crown, and has been represented as a breach
of faith on their part. They had not, it is true, come under any formal
engagement; yet the report of the committee of 1828, which decidedly
connected this arrangement with the cession of the disputed revenues,
had always been referred to by them as embracing almost every thing
desired; and to this part of it they had never hinted any objection. On
the 6th of December, 1830, they had passed resolutions, insisting,
indeed, on the control of the entire revenue; but expressing an
intention, were this gained, to grant the permanent provision now
demanded. That preliminary claim certainly embraced also the casual and
territorial branches still withheld; yet these were not of great amount,
and the present bill, like that relating to the judges, might have been
so framed as to be inoperative without these funds being embraced by it.
No reason was assigned; but the view of the Assembly is stated to have
been, that the executive, not being dependent on them for a naval and
military establishment, would, in case of such a permanent settlement,
have been entirely free from that control which they sought to exercise
over it. They passed, however, a vote of annual supply, which Lord
Goderich, though much dissatisfied with the tenor of their proceedings,
thought it expedient to sanction.

Next year (1833) the Assembly still granted only an annual bill, in
which, according to a requisition of Lord Goderich, they stated the
purposes to which each particular sum was to be applied. They added,
without its being asked or wished, the individuals to whom it was to be
paid; and appended a number of conditions, chiefly bearing, that such
persons should not hold any other situation, and should not be members
of the executive or legislative councils. This was considered
objectionable, because public officers were thus suddenly deprived of
situations which they had long held, without any consideration of their
claims to compensation; also, because those regulations ought not to
have been tacked to a money bill, but made the subject of a separate
enactment. On these grounds this bill was negatived by the Legislative
Council; and Lord Stanley, who had been placed at the head of the
Colonial Office, intimated that, had it reached him, he could not have
advised his Majesty to assent to it. In the same session, a measure was
introduced for securing independence and permanent provision to the
judges, in a form calculated to obviate Lord Goderich’s chief
objections; but on the motion of M. Papineau it was rejected, and the
speeches of the leaders of the Assembly are said to have implied, that
it was no longer considered advisable to exempt these functionaries from
their control.

The breach now continually widened. Lord Stanley, considering the
conduct of the Canadians as manifesting a resolution to engross the
whole power of the state, directed the funds, not yet made over by
parliament, to be employed in the partial payment of the civil officers;
and he is said to have determined to bring in a bill for repealing the
act by which the concession had been made. Meantime the Assembly had
raised, and placed in the front of their demands, a new article, which
almost entirely precluded all hope of accommodation; namely, the
abolition of the present Legislative Council, and the substitution of
one elected like themselves by the body of the people. Such an
arrangement was without example in any British colony; and the existing
state of political feeling in the mother country would have rendered it
scarcely possible for ministers to propose it in parliament. It had been
first started in March, 1831, when Lord Aylmer had just gone out, with
the announced intention of acting upon the report of 1828, and
redressing, if possible, every grievance hitherto complained of. There
seemed, therefore, room to suspect that the conciliatory disposition
shown, instead of producing final satisfaction, had only prompted to
higher demands, through the belief that by perseverance they would
finally obtain whatever they chose to ask. Yet, though a resolution of
the committee to that effect was approved by the members, it was not
expressly included in the list of grievances then presented. But on the
20th of March, 1833, a petition to the King, signed by M. Papineau,
speaker of the House of Assembly, strenuously urged this measure, and
the calling of a body of delegates to arrange the conditions. The
leading ones proposed were, a qualification in the electors of £10 in
the country, and of £20 in towns; a certain income to qualify the
councillor, and the duration of his functions for six years. Lord
Stanley, in reply, said this was an object to which, deeming it
altogether inconsistent with the very existence of monarchical
institutions, he could never advise his Majesty to consent; and he
particularly objected to the proposed mode of effecting it, by what he
termed “a national convention.” A counter address, however, by the
Legislative Council, was censured as intemperate in its language, and
appearing to ascribe generally to his Majesty’s subjects, of one origin,
views inconsistent with their allegiance. In conclusion, he alluded to
“the possibility that events might unhappily force upon parliament the
exercise of its supreme authority to compose the internal dissensions of
the colonies, and which might lead to a modification of the charter of
the Canadas.”

This despatch was submitted to the Assembly, and its entire tenor,
particularly the implied threat at the close, excited the highest
indignation in that body. They declined this year (1834) to pass any
bill of supply whatever, and employed the session in preparing another
long list of grievances. They complained that, while those formerly
urged were still unredressed, there had been added the partial payment
of the civil officers without their consent. They made a preparatory
demand of the elective Legislative Council, without which nothing would
be accepted as satisfactory. Lord Aylmer’s conduct was reprobated as
violent, unconstitutional, and contemptuous, and his recall urgently
demanded. The published correspondence assuredly does not bear out this
charge. His addresses to the Assembly are particularly courteous; and he
recommends generally to the government at home concessions so extensive,
that Lord Goderich, himself considered liberal towards the colonies,
refused to accede to them. The petition, however, was presented to
parliament, and a committee appointed for its consideration.

Meantime, Lord Stanley retired from power, and was succeeded in the
colonial department by Mr. Spring Rice. This gentleman renounced the
design entertained by his predecessor, of recalling the revenues yielded
to the Assembly, and gave intimation, it is said, that he would follow a
more conciliatory course. He only asked a little time, till he could
make himself master of the subject; and thus the popular leaders were
induced to delay taking any strong measures. They bitterly complained,
however, that the administration was carried on as before. Lord Aylmer
was continued in the government; and, though the Canadian funds were not
intrenched upon, a sum of £31,000 was advanced from the military chest
for payment of the civil servants, by which their responsibility to the
Assembly was equally evaded. Before Mr. Rice had matured his plan, he
was removed from office by the accession of Sir Robert Peel to power. He
stated that he had it completed, and was ready to submit it to the
cabinet on the very day when this change occurred; an assertion which
Mr. Roebuck treats with evident scepticism, though seemingly without any
adequate ground.

Sir Robert, on assuming the reins of office, early directed his
attention to the disturbed state of Canada. After some deliberation, he
determined to send out a commissioner, with power to examine on the
spot, and redress without delay, every real grievance which should be
proved to exist. Even the casual and territorial revenues were to be
surrendered, on condition of the settlement of a civil list for at least
seven years. The elective Legislative Council, however, and the entire
management of the public lands could not be conceded. Viscount
Canterbury, the late speaker, was first invited to fill this important
appointment; and, on his declining, it was conferred on Earl Amherst.
This arrangement, however, was nullified by the vote which led to the
resignation of Sir Robert, and the return of Lord Melbourne to power.

The restored ministry followed up, with certain modifications, the plan
of their predecessors. A commission was sent out for inquiry only, and
without the power of decision, composed of the following individuals:
the Earl of Gosford, Sir Charles Edward Grey, and Sir George Gipps. The
first, an Irish nobleman, professing principles decidedly liberal,
succeeded Lord Aylmer as governor. Lord Glenelg, now the Colonial
Secretary, drew up for their guidance a series of instructions, in which
he considered the claim to the disposal of the entire revenue somewhat
exorbitant, and not warranted by British example; yet was willing, for
the sake of peace, to consent to it on certain conditions. These
were—an independent provision for the judges, and salaries for the
civil officers, fixed for a certain number of years; ten being mentioned
as particularly suitable. With regard to the uncleared lands, the whole
proceeds arising from their sale were to be placed at the disposal of
the Assembly; but government could not consent to part with the
management of them, or annul the contract made with the Land Company,
though they would be ready to guard against all abuses, and even to
receive any suggestions on the subject. The existing pensions were also
to be retained, but the future power of granting them would be
surrendered. In regard to the critical question of the elective
legislative council, it was said: “The King is most unwilling to admit
as open to debate, the question—whether one of the vital principles of
the provincial government shall undergo alteration?” The right of
petition, however, was fully recognized; and his Majesty would not
“absolutely close the avenue to inquiry,” even where, “for the present,
he saw no reasonable ground of doubt.”

“The Earl of Gosford, having arrived in Canada, lost no time in calling
a meeting of the legislature, who were convoked on the 27th of October,
1835; and, in his opening speeches, he professed the most conciliatory
views, particularly towards the French, or popular party. He avowed the
opinion, that “to be acceptable to the great body of the people, is one
of the most essential elements of fitness for public station.” He
intimated his readiness to place the whole revenue at the disposal of
the Assembly, on the conditions formerly stated. All the other
grievances were to be carefully examined and redressed; and allusion was
made to “still graver matters,” respecting which the commissioners “were
not precluded from entering into an inquiry.”

The Legislative Council returned an answer, which, in all respects, was
extremely moderate. They generally concurred in the sentiments of the
speech, deprecated the idea that difference of origin should affect
political rights, which ought to be equal to all his Majesty’s subjects.
But the House of Assembly, while holding conciliatory language, advanced
much more lofty pretensions. The change in the Legislative Council was
repeatedly pressed, as absolutely essential to the tranquillity and
contentment of the province. The entire control of the public revenue
was referred to, not as a boon, but an incontestable and essential
right; and, while they stated their readiness to consider attentively
any measure tending to facilitate the exercise of this right, they
avoided all mention of conditions to be performed in return.
Notwithstanding the high ground thus taken, the intercourse between the
popular leaders and the governor was extremely friendly. He admitted
them to his table and his intimacy, and treated them on every occasion
with much kindness. They were understood to represent the great body of
the people, whom he had expressed his desire to conciliate; and he
professed liberal views to those who would understand that term in its
widest sense. So decided was the impression produced, that the opposite
party loaded him with the bitterest invectives, and even threw out
menaces of insurrection; while the leaders of the Assembly went so far
as to intimate, that they would relieve the immediate financial
embarrassments by granting the three years arrears, and a half year in
advance. They attached to the grant somewhat hard conditions, which,
however, were not rejected; and, on the remark being made, that these
would ensure its rejection by the Legislative Council, an intimation is
said to have been given, that it would be accepted directly by address,
without being liable to the veto of that body.

This good understanding was suddenly interrupted. The governor’s
language above cited, in regard to the Elective Council, had been very
different from that of his instructions; not pledging him, indeed, to
the measure, yet such as, combined with his other conduct, conveyed to
both parties the idea that it was determined upon. This course is
defended as the only one by which the supplies, so urgently wanted,
could be obtained; and it was hoped, that, by a continued conciliatory
course, the Assembly might, when the real intention of the cabinet could
no longer be concealed, be induced to waive their demand. Any degree of
duplicity in a government, however, must, when discovered, lower its
dignity, irritate the deceived parties, and, at the same time, give them
an impression of their strength, which had driven those in authority to
such an expedient. Unhappily, all these effects followed before any of
the expected fruits had been reaped. Sir Francis Bond Head had, at the
same time, been sent out to Upper Canada; and, being a very
straightforward person, and seemingly unapprized of Lord Gosford’s
intentions, had made public a part of his instructions, including that
momentous passage already quoted, relative to the Legislative Council.
It was such as, though not wholly precluding discussion on the object,
left to the popular leaders scarcely a hope of its attainment. Their
rage knew no bounds; they complained, not only of disappointment in
their favourite object, but of a deception by which they had been nearly
misled. It was now determined not to grant the three years’ arrears, but
merely a supply for the current half year, allowing only that short
period to comply with their demands. This slender boon, too, was clogged
with conditions, which, as had been foreseen, induced the upper house to
reject it; so that the session, in all respects very stormy, passed over
without any provision whatever being made for the public service. The
Legislative Council felt naturally indignant at the violent attempts
meditated for its overthrow; and instead of studying to show these to be
unmerited, the members vented their resentment by rejecting almost every
bill sent up from the Assembly. Among these was the vote, continuing the
funds for national education, which were thus entirely withdrawn. All
the political elements were disturbed, and in violent collision with
each other.

The commissioners, in March 1836, viewing this state of things, and
seeing no prospect of obtaining money to carry on the government,
without immediately yielding to every demand of the lower house,
considered it indispensable to obtain it without their consent. This,
they thought, would be best accomplished by parliament repealing the act
passed on the motion of Lord Goderich, by which funds to the amount of
£38,000 had been made over to the Assembly. This would, indeed, excite
bitter resentment; but, with the other reserved revenues, it would, at
least, enable the government to proceed without any grants from that
body. Lord Glenelg was not forward to act on this recommendation. He
wrote to the Earl of Gosford, expressing a hope, on grounds which do not
very distinctly appear, that the violent resolution complained of had
been induced by the partial and imperfect knowledge of the instructions,
and that a communication of the whole might lead to more favourable
views. He expressed a wish, therefore, that the provincial parliament
should be again called, and an opportunity afforded for retracting
before recourse was had to extreme measures. The meeting was accordingly
held on the 22d of September, 1838; but the majority soon presented an
address to the governor, denying that, according to the apprehension
expressed in his speech, they laboured under any kind of misconception;
they saw nothing to make them change their views, or prevent them from
insisting on the same demands, particularly that of the Elective
Council. They adverted in an indignant manner to certain pretended
authorities, as they termed the commission, and maintained that they
themselves were the legitimate and authorized organ of all classes of
inhabitants; that they had used their power in such a manner as ought to
have secured confidence; and to them, not to a few strangers, ought to
have been committed the fate of the country. They declared it their
imperative duty to adhere to the contents of their last address—“and to
them do we adhere.” They finally expressed a resolution not only to do
nothing more in regard to supply, but to adjourn their deliberations
altogether, unless government should commence the great work of justice
and reform, particularly in regard to the second branch of the

Matters had now reached an extremity, which seemed to render it no
longer possible to delay an interposition. The stoppage of the supplies,
like the granting of them, was no doubt a right inherent in a
representative assembly. Yet it is one, the exercise of which is
attended with such formidable evils, that the Commons of England, during
more than a century, had merely kept it in the back ground as a last
resort, and never brought it into actual operation. The constitutional
character of the measure became still more questionable, when employed,
not to control the abuses of the executive, but to overthrow a separate
and co-ordinate branch of the legislature, deriving its existence from
the same source with the Assembly itself. This was a mighty change,
amounting to a kind of revolution, and to be effected only with the
utmost deliberation. The stopping the whole machine of government, and
not allowing even an interval of time to effect it, was a measure of
extreme violence. Had the popular leaders listened to the dictates of
prudence and moderation, they might, availing themselves of the
conciliatory disposition shown by the new governor, have obtained all
their substantial objects. They would have gained the chief control in
the executive, after which the Legislative Council, whom they
continually reproached with subserviency to the latter branch, were not
likely to persevere in unavailing opposition.

Ministers now determined no longer to delay measures for counteracting
the proceedings of the violent party, and placing the executive
government in a state of regular action. Parliament having assembled,
and the reports of the commissioners laid on the table, Lord John
Russell, on the 6th of March, 1837, moved a series of resolutions, on
which acts were to be founded. After a statement of the actual posture
of affairs, it was proposed that the sum of £142,000 should be taken out
of the provincial funds locked up by the Assembly, and applied to the
payment of the judges and other civil officers, down to the 10th of
April. It was afterwards agreed, not, as the commissioners had
recommended, to resume any part of the ceded monies, but, by a strict
economy, to carry on the government from that date with the casual and
territorial revenues, which circumstances had now raised to about
£28,000. The elective Legislative Council, and the direct responsibility
of the executive one to the Assembly, were both declared inexpedient;
though it was stated as desirable, that considerable improvements should
be made in the composition of both. These suggestions gave occasion to
very warm debates. The Tories, while they supported the proposals of
government, accused them of an imprudent indulgence and want of energy,
which had emboldened the factious party to proceed to extremities. On
the other hand, a small but active section of the popular leaders
justified all the claims and proceedings of the Canadian Assembly,
denounced the resolutions as unconstitutional and tyrannical, and
predicted as their result civil war and the loss of the colonies. The
motion of Mr. Leader, however, in favour of an Elective Council, was
negatived by 318 to 56, and the cabinet measures were carried by
overwhelming majorities;—but the death of William IV. intervened before
they could be embodied in acts of parliament. The necessity of a
dissolution, and the unwillingness to begin the government of a young
and popular Queen by a scheme of coercion, induced ministers to
substitute the expedient of advancing the amount by way of loan from the
British revenue, in the prospect of being ultimately reimbursed from the
provincial funds.

As an interval was to elapse between the passing of the resolutions and
their being acted on, Lord Gosford was instructed to make a last trial
of the Assembly, in hopes that, seeing such a vast majority in
parliament against them, they might be induced of themselves to vote the
money, and thus save the necessity of any unwonted interference.
Already, however, several violent demonstrations had taken place.
Meetings were held in the counties of Montreal and Richelieu, in which
it was affirmed, that the votes of the Commons had put an end to all
hopes of justice; and that no further attempts should be made to obtain
redress from the imperial parliament. They considered the government as
now only one of force, to be submitted to from necessity during their
present weakness; and in order to reduce as far as possible its power,
they declared that all consumption of British manufactures, and of all
articles paying taxes, ought to be discontinued; and, finally, that a
general convention should be held, to consider what further measures
were advisable.

Lord Glenelg, in consequence of this state of things in Canada, had
resolved to send out two additional regiments; but afterwards, finding
this to be inconvenient, he gave authority to apply to Sir Colin
Campbell for such force as could be spared from Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick. On the 6th of May, the governor replied, that he had not the
least expectation of anything serious, though, in case of a dissolution,
he admitted that “there might be some broken heads.” On the 10th of
June, however, upon learning that a system of organization was carrying
on under the influence of Papineau, he applied to Sir Colin for a
regiment, which arrived early in July. He had already issued a
proclamation, warning the people against all attempts to seduce them
from their allegiance. Meetings, numerously attended, were held in
Montreal and Quebec, condemning the violent conduct of the House of
Assembly, declaring attachment to British connexion, and deprecating any
breach of the public peace.

On the 18th of August, Lord Gosford again called the provincial
parliament. The resolutions were laid before the Assembly, with the
expression of a hope that its proceedings would supersede the necessity
of their being acted on. The changes in the constitution of the councils
had been unfortunately delayed by difficulties as to certain
appointments; but these improvements were solemnly promised. Warm
debates ensued. Mr. Andrew Stuart, one of the members for Quebec,
proposed a compliance with the request of government, which was
negatived by 63 to 13. An address was then moved by M. Taschereau, a
representative of the county of Beance, expressing a willingness to give
a trial to the means proposed for amending the Legislative Council, but
declining any grant till they were brought into operation. Another
address, breathing the most determined hostility, was then moved, and
carried by 46 to 31. It denounced the step now taken as an absolute
destruction of the representative government in the province,—a total
refusal of all the reforms and improvements demanded. If these
resolutions were carried into effect, the colony, it was said, would no
longer be attached to the mother country by feelings of duty, of
affection, and mutual interest, but solely by physical force. In this
conjuncture, they could see no motive for the slightest departure from
their intention to withhold the supplies; and they adhered in every
respect to their resolutions of 30th of September, 1836. Lord Gosford,
in reply, gave utterance to his deep regret at measures which he
considered a virtual annihilation of the constitution, and immediately
prorogued the Assembly.

[Illustration: _March on Lake Chaudière._]

[Illustration: _The Chaudière,_
 near Bytown.]

The popular leaders seem now to have formed the resolution of having
recourse to arms. They, as well as their organs in this country, had
often asserted, and seem at length to have believed, that only an effort
was required to sever the colonies from the mother country. This was a
most hasty and inconsiderate conclusion. The example of the American
colonies was referred to; but they were much stronger than the Canadians
are now, while the power of Britain, on the other hand, was considerably
smaller. Yet it was only after a long and calamitous contest of eight
years, that they established their independence; and their success would
have been doubtful, had they not been aided by a most powerful European
confederacy. The aid of the United States was, indeed, held forth; but
the latter had been so little disposed to intermeddle on such occasions,
that they remained neutral during the long contest between Spain and her
colonies, although her situation gave them little to dread from her
resentment. It was therefore very unlikely that they should now engage
single-handed in a contest with the whole power of Britain.

The meetings, in pursuance of these views, were not held on so great a
scale, or in the same public and ostentatious manner, as formerly. They
were numerous, however, and breathed the most hostile spirit, renouncing
all hope of redress from the parent state, and pointing directly to a
separation. A central committee was formed at Montreal, whose
proceedings were, in a great measure, secret; and preparations were
understood to be making for a general convention. It was nearly vain to
attempt repressing the most violent demonstrations against the
government, since no petty jury could be found to convict; and in two
instances, when the evidence was considered perfectly conclusive, the
bills were ignored by the grand jury. The governor, however, learning
that numerous individuals, holding her Majesty’s commission, had taken a
share in those meetings, caused letters to be written to them demanding
an explanation. On receiving none that was satisfactory, he dismissed
eighteen magistrates and thirty-five militia officers. Among the latter
was Papineau, whose answer was couched in the most defying and
contemptuous terms. He, it is observed, had now gone such lengths, as
made it impossible for him to recede without losing all his
influence—he must either be put down, or allowed to put down the
government. In the beginning of October, the new arrangement of the two
councils was carried into effect, at least to a great extent; but it
excited little interest, and was rejected by the violent leaders as
wholly unsatisfactory.

The malcontent party became every day bolder. An association was formed,
under the title of “The Sons of Liberty,” who, without committing
violence, paraded the streets of Montreal in a hostile and threatening
manner. They emitted a proclamation, containing the most violent
expressions. “The wicked designs,” said they, “of British authorities
have severed all ties of sympathy for an unfeeling mother country.”—“A
glorious destiny awaits the young men of these colonies;” and this was
explained to be, “to disfranchise our beloved country from all human
authority, except that of the bold democracy residing within its bosom.”
They alluded to “the struggle for life and liberty, in which the day of
glory arrives that will see us emerge from a long dark bondage to the
splendour of light and freedom.” At the same time, in the county of Two
Mountains, the people determined not to obey the magistrates appointed
in the room of those displaced; an organization was formed of
_pacificator_ justices, to compose differences without recourse to the
constituted authorities, and in whose decisions all true patriots were
required to acquiesce. Meanwhile, the militia in that district were
organized in a new form, under officers of their own selection,
including those recently dismissed; and an active training was carried
on. All loyal and neutral residents were, by violent measures, compelled
either to join the malcontents or quit the territory, throughout which
British authority entirely ceased.

No long time passed before this course of proceeding was imitated in the
more populous portion of the Montreal territory, lying southward of the
St. Lawrence. On the 23d of October, a meeting was held of the five
counties on the Richelieu and the Yamaska, when a petition was presented
from L’Acadie, to be admitted as a sixth. The petitioners used the most
intemperate language, declaring themselves prepared to sacrifice every
thing most dear to them in this world, to emancipate from a vile slavery
the land that gave them birth. They renounced all principles but those
of the purest democracy, and desired to place themselves under the
guidance and behind the buckler of L. J. Papineau. At the meeting of the
six counties, the numbers attending were variously estimated from 1,500
to 5,000, of whom a proportion were armed. Their resolutions, without
absolutely announcing rebellion, went to place everything in preparation
for it. The recent appointments to the two councils were declared wholly
unsatisfactory, while the introduction of an armed force into the
province was stigmatized as a new and enormous grievance. The
magistrates and militia were to be organized after the model of those of
the Two Mountains; and the example of the Sons of Liberty was also
recommended, “that they might be prepared to support each other with
promptitude and effect, should circumstances require them to protect and
defend their threatened liberties.” A similar address was drawn up on
the following day, and circulated through the province. The same course
was followed, of compelling, by violence and threats, the officers to
resign their situations or leave the country.

[Illustration: _Lake of the Two Mountains._]

[Illustration: _St. John's, Richlieu River._]

Government could not remain passive while its authority was openly set
at nought, and insurrection matured under its very eye. Applications
were made to Sir Colin Campbell for two additional regiments, and
likewise for what force could be spared from the upper province. The
zealous offers of the loyal inhabitants to place themselves in arms,
which had been long declined from motives of prudence, were now
accepted, and volunteer corps were zealously and rapidly organized. The
catholic clergy took a decided part in the support of order and peace;
and an address was published by the Bishop of Montreal, exhorting his
flock against the violent and illegal proceedings now in progress. This,
among a religious people, though it did not stop the career of those who
had so deeply committed themselves, had probably a powerful effect in
arresting the spread of the disorder, and keeping it confined, as it
still was, to Montreal district.

The first blow was struck at the town now mentioned, between the Sons of
Liberty, and a loyal association formed in opposition to them. The
former were completely worsted, and pursued through the streets; none
were killed, but several severely hurt, particularly Brown, from New
York, who had assumed the title of their general. Papineau’s house,
which the victors attempted to burn, was saved, but the office of the
Vindicator newspaper was destroyed. Exaggerated reports of this affair
being spread throughout the country heightened the general ferment; and
it was announced from various quarters that resistance was daily
extending, and assuming a more organized form.

It was now obvious that, unless some decisive steps were taken, the
malcontent cause must continually gain new strength, and the connexion
of the colonies with the mother country become seriously endangered.

The course deemed most effectual, was immediately to arrest the most
active leaders. A warrant was accordingly issued at Montreal against
twenty-six, of whom seven were members of Assembly, including Papineau
and Viger. Nine were apprehended; but the arch-agitator himself had
disappeared, and doubts were even entertained if he were still in the
province. This step necessarily led to a crisis, especially as some of
the warrants were against persons residing in the heart of the disturbed
territory. Two being in the vicinity of St. John's, on the Richelieu, a
party of eighteen volunteer militia were despatched thither to apprehend
them. An oversight seems to have been committed in sending so small a
force, not regular, into the midst of a hostile country. They succeeded,
however, in capturing the parties; and an armed body of thirty, who
appeared near Chambly, made no attempt to intercept them. Near
Longueuil, however, they found a field on the right of the road occupied
by 300 well-armed men, protected by a high fence. From this assemblage a
fire was immediately opened upon the detachment, which, from its
position, could not be returned with effect. Several were wounded, the
rest retreated, and the two prisoners were rescued by the insurgents.

The standard of insurrection having been thus openly raised, it became
necessary to act with the utmost promptitude. Information was received
that Papineau, Brown, and Neilson were at the villages of St. Denis and
St. Charles, on the Richelieu, which had been occupied by the armed
inhabitants; and accordingly Sir John Colborne, the commander-in-chief,
sent strong detachments under Colonels Gore and Wetherall, to attack
these places. The former, on the 22d of November, having conveyed his
force in a steamer to Sorel, proceeded up the river against St. Denis;
but being obliged to take a circuitous route, through tracks which, from
the previous rain, were knee-deep, the troops arrived in a very jaded
state. Though the whole country was in arms, no serious resistance was
encountered till they reached the village, the entrance to which was
defended by a large stone house strongly fortified, from which, as well
as from others on each side, a heavy fire was opened. A howitzer was
brought up against it, whence round shot was fired, with a view to
batter it down, but without effect. Captain Markham, with the advance,
had gallantly cleared the way, and taken an adjoining house, but was
then severely wounded, and obliged to quit the field. Finding that no
impression could be made on the main barrier, that his ammunition was
nearly exhausted, and that the troops were overpowered with fatigue,
Gore considered a retreat unavoidable. It was effected without serious
inconvenience, though it became necessary to leave a cannon on the road,
while his loss was six killed, ten wounded, and six missing. No blame
seems to have been attached to the colonel, whose means, especially in
ammunition, were scarcely adequate; but this second advantage, gained by
the rebel cause at the opening of the contest, was a most unfortunate
circumstance, and, unless counteracted, might have spread disaffection
to an alarming extent.

[Illustration: _Fort Chambly._]

Meantime, Colonel Wetherall, with his detachment, proceeded by way of
Chambly to St. Charles, a point higher up the river. He was delayed in a
similar manner by the badness of the roads; and, on reaching St.
Hilaire, found it necessary to procure another company from Chambly, and
even to send a messenger to Montreal, we presume, for further aid.
Having reason, however, to consider his communications with that place
intercepted, he determined, on the 26th, to advance to the attack. About
1,500 insurgents, under the command of Brown, had posted themselves in
the village, and surrounded it with a strong stockade. The English
commander, on his arrival, drew up his force at a short distance, in the
hope of producing some defection; but none taking place, and a heavy
fire being opened upon him, he pushed forward to the assault. In about
an hour the intrenchment was carried, the fortified houses and palisades
were set on fire, the troops were masters of the town, and the rebels
fled in every direction. The carnage was great; the entire loss of the
malcontents being about 300. Charges have been made of severe and
vindictive proceedings, which we should hope are exaggerated. Another
body took up its position in his rear, with the view of cutting off his
return to Chambly; but when he approached them, on the 28th, they broke
and dispersed at the first onset.

The affair of St. Charles decided the fate of the contest. A general
panic spread among the peasantry, and they began to consider themselves
betrayed by leaders, who did not show the courage expected of them in
the hour of trial. Colonel Gore, strongly reinforced, again advanced
upon St. Denis, which he entered without resistance on the 2d of
December, Neilson and Brown having quitted it on the preceding evening.
He then marched upon St. Hyacinth, but found it also undefended, and
made a vain search for Papineau. The chiefs, renouncing their hopes,
were already seeking safety in the territory of the United States. Brown
reached it with great difficulty—through many perils; Neilson was taken
in a barn, conveyed to Montreal, and thrown into prison. Papineau could
not be traced; nor is there any record of his having compromised his
personal safety in a contest which he had been the main instrument in

Attempts, however, were made to support the cause from a quarter which,
under certain circumstances, might have proved very formidable. The
United States contained many individuals disposed to sympathize deeply
with the Canadians, and many restless spirits were inclined to join
them, allured by the promise of large lots of confiscated land. Even in
the present hopeless circumstances, 200 passed the frontier; but before
Sir John Colborne could send a force against them, a party of the
volunteers of Missiqui county, under the command of Capt. Kemp, took
arms, and drove them back with some loss. Thus, the whole of the six
counties, so lately in open rebellion, were in a fortnight reduced to
perfect tranquillity.

There remained still the districts of Two Mountains and Terrebonne,
north of Montreal, where insurrection had been first organized, and
still wore its most determined aspect. Sir John Colborne had judiciously
postponed operations against this quarter, till, the south being
completely tranquillized, he could direct thither his whole force. On
the 14th of December, he marched in person, with about 1,300 regular and
volunteer troops, against the large village of St. Eustache. The
disasters of their brethren elsewhere had spread a well-founded alarm;
and the greater number of the men and their leaders, including Girod,
the supposed commander-in-chief, fled precipitately. About 400 of the
most desperate, however, continued to occupy a church and adjoining
buildings, which had been carefully fortified; and here so obstinate a
stand was made, that a British detachment was at one point made to
recede. But fire having reached the adjacent edifices, soon spread to
the church itself, the defenders of which were thereby speedily
dislodged; while the troops, being protected by the houses, did not lose
more than one killed and nine wounded.

Colonel Maitland now marched towards St. Benoit, the chief village of
the Grand Brulé district, which had been the focus of insurrection; but
on his way he met a deputation, tendering the most humble submission,
and he entered the place without resistance. Unfortunately, the loyal
inhabitants, who had been plundered and driven out of the country, could
not be restrained from acts of violence, and a considerable portion of
the houses were reduced to ashes. Maitland, after occupying St.
Scholastique, returned to Montreal, leaving the district in a state of
perfect tranquillity. The people, complaining that their chiefs, after
instigating them to revolt, had deserted them, seemed determined not to
be again seduced into such a course. Several of the leaders were taken;
Girod himself, being surrounded, so that he could not escape, committed

Upper Canada, meantime, had become the theatre of important events. For
a considerable time, especially since the residence there of M. Gourlay,
a party had existed supporting extreme political opinions. These, it is
true, were not embittered by any feelings arising from difference of
race; but many of the inhabitants had emigrated from the United States,
to whose institutions they were naturally partial. They gained over a
number of the British residents, influenced by the usual motives, and
who complained especially of the favouritism shown in the granting of
land. These grounds of discontent were carefully investigated by the
committee of 1828, and instructions issued by Lord Goderich, which here,
as in the lower province, gave general satisfaction. The discontented
party, however, proceeded from one step to another, till Mackenzie,
Duncombe, and other leaders, scarcely made any secret of their desire to
separate from Britain and join the American Union. In 1834, this party,
for the first time, obtained a majority in the Assembly; and though they
had hitherto confined themselves to complaints on particular subjects,
they now commenced a general opposition to the royal government; and at
length, as in the other province, came into violent collision with the
Legislative Council. They transmitted to the King a long and elaborate
list of grievances, complaining that the officers in the colony were too
numerous, too highly paid, and the holders removable at the pleasure of
the crown; that support had been unduly given to particular religious
establishments; and that Lord Goderich’s recommendations had been by no
means fully acted upon. They also urged, with the same vehemence as in
the sister colony, the demand for an elective legislative council.

[Illustration: _Toronto._]

This union of the two provinces, pushing with equal zeal the most
extreme measures, brought affairs into a somewhat hazardous position.
When Lord Gosford and the commissioners were sent to Lower Canada, the
ministry placed the upper province under Sir Francis Head, a man of
literary talent, and of peculiar firmness, shrewdness, and energy of
character. Having arrived early in 1836, as already related, he took the
straightforward course of at once publishing the extent and limits of
his instructions; at the same time assuring the people of his most
zealous efforts to remove every practical grievance. The Assembly,
however, were by no means satisfied; and another ground of contest soon
arose. Sir Francis added to the executive three members, whose
appointment was highly satisfactory to the popular party; but, as
several weeks elapsed without their having been consulted on any
subject, they stated in a letter that they considered themselves thus
rendered responsible for measures in which they were allowed no share,
and therefore tendered their resignation. While accepting it with
regret, he maintained that he lay under no obligation to consult them on
every measure; but was at perfect liberty to judge of the occasions on
which the public interest might require their aid. The House of Assembly
immediately took up the affair, and having, agreeably to request, been
furnished with a copy of the correspondence, drew up a report, and
afterwards a long address to the King, strenuously controverting the
governor’s doctrine; and, in the course of it, broadly charging him with
“deviations from truth and candour.” Proceeding in the same hostile
spirit, they, for the first time, stopped the supplies; in consequence
of which Sir Francis reserved all their money bills for his Majesty’s
decision, and rejected the application for payment of their incidental

All hopes of accommodation being thus closed, he determined, on the 28th
of May, to make an appeal to the people by a new election. It was
contested by an extraordinary ardour; and a war of manifestos,
proclamations, and addresses was forthwith waged between the parties.
Perhaps no ruler ever effected more by writing than Sir Francis. The
frank, energetic, and popular style in which his addresses were penned,
produced an extraordinary effect; and already the peaceable inhabitants
had begun to shrink from the extremes into which the popular leaders
were hurrying them. These several causes produced the important result,
that, in the new Assembly, a decided majority supported the
constitutional side. The demagogues complained to the ministry that this
effect had been produced by illegal means—by extraordinary grants of
land, and even by violence and bribery. The Assembly, however, after
strict inquiry by a committee, declared these allegations to be utterly
false, expressing, at the same time, the strongest attachment to the
mother country and to the governor.

During this tranquil and satisfactory state of Upper Canada,
insurrection broke out in the lower province; and Sir Francis being
requested to state what force he could spare, his answer was, “_All._”
He considered it not only practicable, but desirable, that every soldier
should be removed out of his district, and a full display thus made of
its loyal and peaceful condition. He caused the arms to be deposited in
the city-hall of Toronto, under charge of the mayor, declining even to
place a guard over them to prevent sudden capture. In this state of
things, Mackenzie determined to make an attempt upon the capital. Having
a number of small detached parties throughout the province, who were
ready to obey his mandate, and had even been trained to the use of
weapons, he ordered them to assemble on the 4th of December, on the
great road, called Yonge-street, leading to Lake Simcoe. Hurrying by
cross-paths through the forest, they mustered at Montgomerie’s Tavern,
about four miles from Toronto. Their numbers, at first estimated at
3,000, are not supposed to have exceeded 500. With the view of effecting
a surprise, they attacked every one going to the city; among whom, Col.
Moodie, a distinguished officer, was wounded, and died in a few hours.
Alderman Powell, however, having shot one of his assailants, escaped,
roused the governor, and gave the alarm; upon which Sir Francis ran to
the town-hall, where he found the chief-justice with a musket on his
shoulder, surrounded by a band of brave men, who had hastily assembled.
The arms being unpacked and placed in their hands, they posted
themselves in a defensive attitude at the windows of the building, and
of others flanking it. But Mackenzie, presuming that Powell would
instantly give notice, did not venture to advance—a pusillanimous
resolution, assuredly, since he could never again expect so favourable
an opportunity. By morning 300 royalists were mustered; and in the
course of the day Mr. Allan M^{c}Nab, speaker of the House of Assembly,
arrived with sixty from the Gore District, and others from different
quarters raised the number to 500. On the 6th, the force was considered
sufficient for offensive operations; but the governor, anxious to avoid
the effusion of blood, sent a message to the insurgents, inviting them
to lay down their arms. Mackenzie offered to comply, on condition that a
national convention should be called, allowing till two o’clock for the
answer; but as no reply could be given to this proposition, arrangements
were immediately made for an attack on the following day.

On the 7th of December, at noon, the whole force marched out. In this
civic array, principal commands were held by Col. M^{c}Nab, the present,
and Mr. Justice M^{c}Lean, the late speaker of the Assembly; while the
clerk of the House officiated as adjutant-general. The rebels had
occupied an elevated position in the front of the tavern, where, being
in some degree protected by houses, they endeavoured to make a stand;
but the militia advancing to the charge, with the utmost enthusiasm,
soon broke the whole corps, which dispersed in every direction,
Mackenzie himself escaping with extreme precipitation. They were pursued
four miles; two of the chiefs were taken; the tavern was burnt to the
ground; and the revolt was so completely quashed, that Sir Francis
considered he might safely exercise the attribute of mercy, by
dismissing the greater part of the misguided prisoners.

[Illustration: _Fish Market, Toronto._]

The militia, meantime, had been marching toward Toronto in vast numbers;
2,600 from the Newcastle district; and in all upwards of 10,000.
Immediate notice was now issued, that they might return to their homes;
and those of the eastern districts were authorized to give their aid to
Lower Canada. As it was understood, however, that Duncombe had assembled
a corps in the London district, which had been a main seat of faction,
Col. M^{c}Nab was sent thither with a sufficient force. On its approach,
the chiefs disappeared, and about 300 of their followers laid down their
arms, expressing deep regret, and even a readiness to serve in the royal

The insurrection had thus been entirely put down, and Upper Canada was
everywhere completely tranquil, when a sudden danger arose, which
threatened to become very serious. Mackenzie fled to the town of
Buffalo, in which he held crowded meetings, and kindled a considerable
enthusiasm in his cause. Besides the prevalent democratic feeling,
commercial distress had thrown numbers out of employment, who were ready
to engage in any desperate enterprise. Some of a more opulent class
furnished resources; while Van Rensselaer, Sutherland, and other
individuals acquainted with military service, presented themselves as
leaders of the armament. Thus, a small corps was quickly assembled,
which took possession of Navy Island, situated in the Niagara channel,
between Grand Island and the British shore, which they fortified with
thirteen pieces of cannon. Hence Mackenzie issued a proclamation, in the
assumed name of the Provisional Government of Upper Canada. Volunteers
were invited from that country, and from the States; being assured, that
out of the ten millions of acres which victory would place at their
disposal, each should receive 300 in full property. There was to be no
more dependence on Downing-street; the Assembly, council, governor, and
officers were all to be elected by the people. Trade was to be freed
from all restraints; and, in a strain of rhodomontade, it was added,
that the largest vessels would be able to ascend to Lake Superior.
Recruits continued flocking to this post, till their numbers amounted to
about a thousand. Col. M^{c}Nab soon arrived with double that number of
militia; but he wanted materials for crossing the channel, and forcing
the strong position held by the rebels.

All eyes were now turned to the government of the United States, on
which the question of peace or war evidently depended. As soon as the
first notice was received, there was displayed the most sincere
determination to maintain a strict neutrality. Van Buren, the president,
issued two successive proclamations, warning the people of the penalties
to which they would become liable by engaging in hostilities with a
friendly power; and the debates in congress displayed the most complete
unanimity against any measure which might commit the American government
in such a contest. Clay, Davis, Benton, Calhoun, leaders of opposite
parties, united with one voice in this sentiment. The last of these
declared, that, “of all calamities which could befall the civilized
world, a war with Great Britain would, at this moment, be the most to be
deplored.” There was scarcely time for a legislative enactment; but the
president appointed General Scott, a veteran officer of energetic and
decisive character, to take the command of the disturbed frontier.

Meantime, an event occurred, which, while it weakened the insurgents,
excited a strong fermentation among their adherents. A small steamer,
named the Caroline, had been purchased, or at least was regularly
employed by them, between Fort Schlosser, on the American shore, and
Navy Island, conveying to the latter troops and stores. Capt. Drew was
instructed by Col. M^{c}Nab to intercept her return. He did not succeed;
but seeing her in the channel, moored to the American shore, determined
to attack her. He approached undiscovered to within twenty yards; and
being then asked the countersign, promised to show it when on deck. The
Caroline immediately opened a fire, but the British boarded, and in two
minutes were masters of her. Those who resisted were killed or made
prisoners; while others, who appeared to be peaceable citizens, were put
on shore. The vessel itself, which the strength of the current made it
inconvenient to tow across, was set on fire and abandoned, when the
stream hurried it rapidly to the brink of the great cataract, down which
the flaming mass was precipitated. The wild and picturesque character of
this scene acted strongly on the imagination, and the Americans
resolutely, though, it would appear, without reason, asserted that
unoffending persons had been involved in the massacre, and several even
hurried down the awful abyss.

The loss of the Caroline was soon followed by the arrival of General
Scott, who took vigorous and effective measures to prevent any supplies
or recruits from reaching Navy Island. Meantime, the force of the
assailants was continually augmented; two companies of regulars, with a
train of artillery, had been sent from Lower Canada, and a tremendous
cannonade was commenced. The insurgents, seeing their position become
every day more desperate, determined to evacuate it—an object which
they effected on the 14th of January. Van Rensselaer and Mackenzie were
arrested by the American authorities, but admitted to bail.

Sutherland, with a party of the fugitives, hastened to the extreme west,
where, being reinforced by some adventurers in that quarter, they
attempted an establishment on Bois Blanc, an island in the Detroit
channel. A body of troops, however, was soon despatched against them;
and a vessel, containing not only supplies, but several chiefs dignified
with high military titles, was captured. Finding it impossible to
maintain themselves there, they sought an asylum on Sugar Island, which
belongs to the United States. General Scott, meanwhile, was hastening to
the place; but Mason, the local commander, addressed the refugees, and
by mere dint of remonstrance prevailed upon them to disperse. Attempts
were made at other points to form tumultuary assemblages for invading
Canada; but, under the altered circumstances, these did not excite any
serious alarm.

[Illustration: _Navy Island_
 (from the Canada side.)]

Meantime, intelligence of the first insurrectionary movements reached
Britain, where it excited the strongest sensation. A few of the popular
leaders exulted in the event itself, and in the anticipation of its
triumphant issue; but the nation, in general, by no means shared this
sentiment. The Tories, though they accused government of having, by want
of energy, prepared this convulsion, expressed their cordial concurrence
in all the means suggested for its suppression. As the house was about
to rise for the Christmas holidays, ministers proposed, that, instead of
postponing their meeting, as usual, till the beginning of February, they
should fix it for the 16th of January, when, according to the course of
events, suitable resolutions might be adopted.

Parliament had no sooner reassembled, than information arrived, which
left no room to doubt that the rebellion would be suppressed without
having assumed any formidable character. The aims of the government were
therefore directed towards reorganizing the executive on such a footing
as, without suppressing Canadian liberty, might secure future
tranquillity. But it was considered indispensable, for the present at
least, to suspend the constitution of the lower province. A council was
to be named by the Queen, which, with the governor, might exercise the
functions now performed by the two legislative bodies; but their powers
were not to last beyond the 1st of November, 1840, nor were any of their
enactments, unless continued by the proper authority, to be valid beyond
the 1st of November, 1842.

Sir John Colborne, then acting as provisional governor of Lower Canada,
was instructed to carry these measures into immediate execution. The
ministry, however, had determined upon a farther step, with a view to
the ultimate settlement of the province. The Earl of Durham was
solicited and prevailed upon to undertake its government, as well as
that of all British America; and also to turn his attention towards an
improved plan for its future management. His lordship’s high reputation
as a statesman, and the liberality of his views on political subjects,
seemed to afford a security that he would act with vigour, and at the
same time with a strict regard to national freedom. He was empowered to
form a species of representative council, composed of thirteen members
from each province, but to use them merely as advisers, and to call and
dismiss them at pleasure.

On the 29th of May, 1838, his lordship arrived at Quebec, where he was
received in the most cordial manner, for all parties seemed to unite in
expecting from him a settlement of those dissensions which had so
greatly distracted the country. In his subsequent progress to other
districts, and to Upper Canada, as far as Niagara, he met similar
expressions of confidence and congratulation. He was soon, however,
called to decide upon a delicate and difficult question, which Sir John
Colborne had thought it expedient to reserve for his determination.
Wolfred, Neilson, Bouchette, Viger, and other individuals of some
distinction, were lying in the jail of Montreal, charged with high
treason. Some strong punishment was necessary to mark their crime, and
deter from its repetition; yet an impartial jury could not be expected
for their trial, which besides would have reopened all those party
animosities which it was the object of his lordship to appease. Under
this view, he adopted the following course: the prisoners, having been
induced to make a confession of guilt, were sentenced to be deported to
Bermuda, and to be there kept in strict surveillance. If they should
ever return to Canada, without leave from the governor, they were to
suffer the penalty of death. The same was awarded to Papineau and others
implicated in the late rebellion, but who, after its disastrous issue,
had fled the country.

As soon as this ordinance was known in Britain, it created an unusual
excitement in the legislature. Lord Brougham, in the House of Peers,
made a motion, declaring it illegal, as condemning to death without
trial, and to transportation to a colony which was not within the
jurisdiction of the governor-general; but, under the peculiar
circumstances of the case, he proposed a grant of indemnity. This vote,
though strenuously opposed by Lord Melbourne, was carried in the Upper
House by a considerable majority. Ministers then, having received from
the law-officers of the crown an unfavourable report, at least as to the
last particular, considered it impossible to make any farther
resistance. They annulled the ordinance, but at the same time conveyed
to Lord Durham expressions of their regret, of their general approbation
of his measures, and of the unaltered confidence with which they
regarded his administration.

His lordship, however, was not of a character to brook this
interposition. He had, it is true, passed the limits of strict law; but
he maintained that these were scarcely applicable in the critical and
convulsed state of the province; that the sentence was lenient; and, on
the principle of _volenti nulla fit injuria_, the parties concerned
could not be wronged by a decision in which they had cheerfully
acquiesced. In short, there being no substantial injustice inflicted,
Lord Durham thought he had reason to complain that his scheme was not
allowed a fair trial. He had, perhaps, an equal ground of
dissatisfaction in reference to the hostile interference of the
opposition lords, and more especially because the ministers, his
employers, did not resist it to the utmost. Yet it would certainly have
been more magnanimous on his part, had he endeavoured, under every
discouragement, to have done his best to accomplish his undertaking. He
yielded too far to passion and pride, when, even before receiving the
official accounts, he publicly announced his intention of throwing up
the administration. He did not even follow the established course, of
requesting her Majesty’s permission to resign, and waiting till he
received it. In announcing, too, the disallowance of the ordinance, he
commented on the decision with a severity which was considered
irregular, and tending to compromise the royal authority. On the 1st of
November his lordship set sail from Quebec, and on the 26th arrived at

Meantime, a fresh storm of rebellion brooded over the province. In the
course of the summer, even amid apparent quiet, the burning of a
steam-vessel, called the Sir Robert Peel, in the St. Lawrence, and the
acquittal of the murderers of Chartraud in the face of the clearest
evidence, showed that the spirit of disaffection was still deeply
cherished. By the beginning of winter, arrangements had been made for a
general rising of the _habitans_, supported by a numerous body of
American citizens, who, under the title of _sympathizers_, had
vehemently espoused their cause. Arms and ammunition had been
clandestinely introduced; and a species of association, bound by secret
oaths and signs, had been formed along the whole frontier. Lord Durham
imputes this movement to the proceedings at home, which had shaken the
confidence in his authority, and raised the hopes of the disaffected;
but Sir John Colborne considers that those preparations had been
actively pursued ever since the preceding June. The government of the
United States, though they had no adequate power to prevent the part
taken by their subjects, showed a good disposition, by giving the first
intimation of what was going on to Mr. Fox, the British ambassador at
Washington. The tidings were soon confirmed from other quarters; and Sir
John Colborne lost no time in putting the province in a state of
defence, and procuring an additional force from Nova Scotia.

On the night of the 3d of November, a concerted rising took place in all
the southern counties of Montreal District; but, owing to some failure
of arrangement, the stations along the Richelieu were not found supplied
with arms according to appointment, so that most of the inhabitants
there dispersed and returned to their homes. The chief seat of
insurrection was now farther west, between that river and the St.
Lawrence. There three arch-rebels, Dr. Robert Nelson, Côte, and Gagnon,
had collected about 4,000 men, and established their head-quarters at
Napierville. Their first object was to open a communication with their
friends in the States, for which purpose 400 men were detached to the
frontier. There a body of British volunteers, as brave as loyal, had
stationed themselves, by whom the rebels were attacked, and obliged to
retreat with great loss. To retrieve this disaster, Dr. Nelson, with
upwards of 900 men, marched against the loyalists. The latter, only 200
strong, took post in Odelltown chapel, on which the enemy commenced a
brisk attack; but, after two hours and a half, were obliged to retreat,
with the loss of one hundred killed and wounded. The defenders had an
officer and five men killed, and nine wounded.

Meantime, Major-General Sir James M^{c}Donnell, under orders from the
governor, with seven regiments of the line, crossed the St. Lawrence,
and marched upon Napierville. The rebels, discouraged by former losses,
after a vain attempt to unite their forces, dispersed in every direction
without firing a shot. They still retained a post at Beauharnois; but
Col. Carmichael, with a detachment of regulars, and 1,000 Glengary
militia, drove them out, though with the loss of two men killed and the
same number wounded. Mr. Ellice, and a party of friends, who had been
made prisoners by them at the outset, were allowed to return to
Montreal. On the 11th, a week only after the first movement,
M^{c}Donnell could announce that the insurrection was completely at an
end, without the rebels having been able to open any communication with
their supporters beyond the frontier.

We must now turn to Upper Canada, where, even before the former
outbreak, Sir Francis Head had resigned. The immediate cause was the
disapprobation expressed by Lord Glenelg for his removing Judge Ridout,
on account of his democratical principles, and his refusing to obey an
order to raise to the bench Mr. Bidwell, late speaker of the Assembly,
and an opposition leader. He at the same time, in no measured terms,
condemned the system of conciliation hitherto pursued in the Colonial
Office, whose members he even branded as republicans; insisting that a
stern uncompromising maintenance of the monarchical principle, and the
exclusion from office of all opposed to it, was the only basis on which
Canada could be governed. Ministers unwillingly accepted his
resignation; while the loyal inhabitants, among whom he had rendered
himself highly popular, expressed on the occasion deep regret and
disgust. Col. Sir George Arthur, who had previously held a similar
situation in Van Dieman’s Land, was appointed to succeed him.

The new governor soon found himself involved in difficult circumstances;
for, early in June, bands to the number of 1,000 or 1,200 Americans
crossed the Niagara channel, and endeavoured to excite the people to
insurrection. They attacked a party of fourteen lancers posted in an
inn, and, by setting it on fire, obliged them to surrender. But no
sooner did they learn that Sir George had arrived at Niagara, and that
the country was rising against them, than they hastily recrossed the
frontier, leaving about forty prisoners, among whom were Morrow and
Waite, the first and second in command. In the end of June, a smaller
party passed the St. Clair, and invaded the Western District; but
finding themselves unsupported, and the militia advancing, they
returned, after losing a few of their number, who fell into the hands of
the pursuers.

[Illustration: _The Banks of the River Niagara_
 (below the falls.)]

[Illustration: _Quebec._]

The summer now passed in comparative quietness, though the great
movement at the beginning of November continued to be deeply felt along
the upper frontier. Almost simultaneously with the rising in Montreal
District, a body of about 400 sailed from the vicinity of Sackett’s
Harbour, and landed at Prescott. On the 13th, Col. Young, with what
force he could muster, and aided by Capt. Sandom, with an armed steamer,
compelled a large proportion of them to disperse, while the rest took
refuge in a windmill and an adjacent house built of stone, whence they
could not be dislodged. Eighteen British were here killed and wounded.
In the course of the day, Colonel Dundas arrived with four companies
from Kingston, but considered the buildings, the walls of which were
three or four feet thick, too strong to be reduced without cannon. A few
guns and some additional troops being brought up, an attack was
commenced on the 16th, when the party within the stone building, after
some stand, sought to escape among the brushwood, but were all captured;
upon which those in the mill displayed a white flag, and surrendered at
discretion. The whole number of prisoners was 159. The militia, among
whom some lukewarmness had been suspected, showed the utmost zeal, and
mustered to the extent of 5,000.

The Niagara frontier was found by the enemy so well guarded, that no
attempt was made there. But early in the morning of the 4th of December,
about 350 organized at Detroit landed near Sandwich, set fire to a
steamer and to the barracks, and killed several individuals in cold
blood. Being as cowardly as cruel, they were no sooner attacked by a
party of militia, than they fled either to the woods or to the American
shore, leaving twenty-six killed and twenty-five prisoners.

The captives, on the former occasion, had been treated with
extraordinary lenity; but this forbearance not having produced its due
effect, and being loudly complained of by the inhabitants, it was judged
necessary to exercise greater rigour on the present occasion. A
considerable number of the ringleaders were accordingly put to death,
and the rest condemned to severe or ignominious punishments.


[4] I extract the chief part of this _resumée_ of Canadian history from
the very clever work before mentioned, written for the Edinburgh Cabinet
Library, by Hugh Murray, Esq. F.R.S.E. It is on the whole the best work
on the subject that I can find, though, as the reader will doubtless
see, it is written with a very strong national bias. With the reserve of
my own opinion as to his _colouring_, I take the liberty to make use of
the statements of Mr. Murray with little alteration, quite sure that no
where else is to be found so able and enlarged a view of the period of
history in question.

                                CHAP. IV


                 *        *        *        *        *

We have now brought the historical part of our labours to a close, and
proceed to what is more interesting to the general reader—the social
and moral condition of this interesting people.

The inhabitants of Canada are divided into three classes, among which no
complete amalgamation has yet been formed. These are, the original
French colonists, commonly called _habitans_, the British settlers, and
the Indian tribes.

The _habitans_, at the time of the conquest, formed almost the whole of
the European population. They had occupied the best lands along the
banks of the St. Lawrence, between Quebec and Montreal; a considerable
extent of those upon the Richelieu; and a small space on the Chaudière,
the Yamaska, the St. Maurice, and other tributaries of the great river,
as well as a detached settlement on the fertile shores of the Detroit.
These tracts had been granted to persons of distinction and to
favourites, usually in large blocks, which, as already stated, they held
under the title of seigneurs. But it accorded not with their habits to
clear and cultivate for themselves grounds covered with an unbroken
forest; nor would the task be undertaken by farmers on the terms of an
ordinary lease. The proprietors were therefore obliged to make them
over, in small lots, under the feudal title of fiefs, to hardworking
men, who, on receiving this permanent interest, were willing to
encounter the toil. The annual payment, or quit-rent, is in general
exceedingly small, amounting, on some properties, only to 10_s._ a-year,
with a bushel of wheat and two fowls. The seigneur has, besides, certain
feudal claims—a tithe on fish, mill-dues, and, more especially,
payments on sale or transference, which in some cases amount to a fifth
of the purchase-money.

The occupants of these fiefs or farms, under the burdens now specified,
are virtual proprietors of the soil, which they cultivate with their own
hands, aided by their families. They are described as a particularly
contented, industrious, and amiable race of people; and the lots, though
much subdivided in the course of succession, are still sufficient to
maintain them in simple plenty. They till their land with diligence,
though without skill, having scarcely adopted any of the modern
improvements. Their study is to produce from the farm every thing they
need; not only the whole of their food, but their candles, soap, and
even sugar. From flax of their own raising, too, and the wool of their
own sheep, they are enabled to manufacture almost every article of
clothing. Their houses, though generally built of wood, and only one
story high, are whitewashed, and tolerably commodious. A partition in
the middle separates the kitchen from the principal apartment, at one
end of which are the bed-rooms. There is a garden, which, though in a
somewhat rude and straggling state, and cultivated by the females only,
yields a comfortable supply of the more common fruits and vegetables.

The personal appearance of the _habitans_ is peculiar. They are tall,
thin, and, from exposure to the climate, almost as dark as the Indians.
They have thin lips, and often aquiline noses, with small, dark, and
lively eyes. Many of the girls are pretty oval-faced brunettes, with
fine eyes, good teeth, and glossy locks. The dress is nearly after the
old fashion of the French peasantry. The men wear the _capot_, a large
grey coat or surtout, covering nearly the whole body, and tied with a
girdle of brilliant colours. On the legs they have moccasins, and on the
head a straw hat in summer, and a red bonnet in winter. The hair is
still tied in a long queue behind. The women wear short jackets or
bed-gowns (mantelets), with petticoats distinct, and sometimes of a
different colour, and caps instead of bonnets—a mode of dress formerly
common in Scotland, and not yet wholly disused. They have long waists,
and sometimes the hair tied behind in a large club. At church, or other
occasions of full dress, they adopt the English fashion, but display a
much greater variety of showy colours. Hair-powder is sometimes worn,
and beetroot employed as rouge; but both in their dress and houses they
are perfectly clean.

The _habitans_ are frugal and moderate in their ordinary diet, which
mostly consists of different kinds of soup. They have, however, their
_jours gras_, or great feast-days, particularly before and after Lent,
when large companies assemble, and the board is spread with every
delicacy which their larder can afford. The table groans beneath immense
turkey pies, huge joints of beef, mutton, and pork, followed by a
profusion of fruit puddings. Extraordinary justice is said to be done to
these viands, as well as to the rum which follows; but the younger
members of the company are soon roused by the sound of the violin, and
the dancing, of which they are passionately fond, engages them till a
late hour. Weddings, above all, are celebrated by a mighty concourse of
friends and acquaintances. Twenty or thirty of the country carriages
bring in parties to witness the ceremony, which is followed by feasts
and dances, not unfrequently prolonged for several days. The young
people, however, have a somewhat rude method of expressing their opinion
of an unequal union, especially if arising from the relative age of the
parties. They assemble at night in large bodies, sounding various
discordant instruments—horns, drums, bells, kettles, accompanied by
loud shouts; and a contribution to the church, or some charitable
purpose, is indispensable to obtain a respite from this jocular
persecution. The short summer is necessarily spent in almost unremitting
labour; but when ice and snow have covered the ground the gay season
begins, and in their carioles or little chaises, on steel runners, which
pass swiftly over the frozen surface, they visit their neighbours, and
spend much time in social intercourse.

The Canadian French, like their forefathers, profess the Roman Catholic
religion with much zeal, and in a manner which occasionally approaches
superstition. The roads are marked by crosses erected at the side; their
houses are filled with little pictures of the Madonna and child, waxen
images of saints, and of the crucifixion; and there is a profuse
expenditure of holy water and candles. They reluctantly establish their
dwelling beyond hearing of the church bells, and on Sundays the
attendance is crowded. They have, however, those inadequate notions as
to the sanctity of that day, which are general in catholic countries.
When worship is over the remainder is devoted, without reserve, to
amusements. “Sunday,” it is said, “is to them their day of gaiety; there
is then an assemblage of friends and relations; the parish church
collects together all whom they know, and with whom they have relations
of business or pleasure; the young and old, men and women, clad in their
best garments, riding their best horses, driving in their gayest
_calèches_, meet there for purposes of business, love, and pleasure. The
young _habitant_, decked out in his most splendid finery, makes his
court to the maiden, whom he has singled out as the object of his
affections; the maiden, exhibiting in her adornment every colour of the
rainbow, there hopes to meet her chevalier; the bold rider descants upon
and gives evidence of the merits of his unrivalled pacer; and in winter
the powers of the various horses are tried in sleigh or cariole racing;
in short, Sunday is the grand fête.” Even the violin and the dance in
the evening are not considered unsuitable. Notwithstanding these
customs, the religious spirit of the Canadians appears sincere, and is
attended with great benefits. Their general conduct is inoffensive and
praiseworthy. Crimes of an atrocious description, as murder and violent
assaults upon the person, scarcely ever occur. Property is perfectly
safe, both from the thief and the robber; the doors of the houses stand
open, and all sorts of goods are exposed without any precaution. They
scarcely ever engage in those furious personal conflicts which, among
the Americans of English descent, are often carried on with such
violence; they know neither duelling, boxing, or gouging. On the
contrary, they mutually treat each other with all the ceremonious
politeness of the French school. One of the first things taught to a
child is to speak decorously, to bow or curtsey to its elders or to
strangers. This politeness is not accompanied with any degree of
insincerity or servility, above which last they are completely raised by
their independent situation. They are said to be generous in relieving
those in distress—liberal and courteous to all who have any claim on
their hospitality. The custom of parents and children living together,
often to the third generation, in the same house, marks a mild and
friendly temper. The only form under which hostile passions are vented
is that of litigation, to which they are immoderately addicted, being
favoured by the comparative cheapness of law. M. Bouchette defends this
as securing them from violent and turbulent modes of terminating their

The _habitans_ are not a stirring, enterprizing, or improving race. They
tread in the steps of their forefathers, following the same routine, and
with difficulty adopting the most obvious improvements of modern
husbandry. Although extensive tracts lie in their immediate
neighbourhood unoccupied, they resign them to the English and Americans,
and have scarcely at all extended the range of their original
settlement. Even their amiable qualities tend to retain them in this
stationary condition; to which we may add their social disposition,
their attachment to their kindred, their church, and the rites of their
religion. They feel as if in leaving these things they would leave all.
Their range of information has hitherto been very limited; and their
priests, it has been alleged, by no means favour the diffusion among
them even of the first elements of education; so that the majority of
the adults cannot even read or write. But the legislature have lately
made great exertions to improve them in this respect; and it is hoped
that the rising generation will be more enlightened.

The society in Upper Canada, with the exception of the small French
settlement at Detroit, presents a very different aspect. A great
majority of the inhabitants consists of emigrants recently arrived from
Ireland, Scotland, and England, who have not yet made much change in
their original ideas and habits. Those established at successive periods
during the previous half century, are not represented by Mr. Howison,
Mr. Talbot, and other writers, under a very favourable light. The tone,
especially in the western districts, appears to have been in a great
measure given by such Americans as came, not from the civilised portions
of the Union, but from the back-wood tracks, breathing rather the spirit
of Kentucky than of New England. Disbanded soldiers and sailors were not
well calculated to improve the breed; and even the voluntary emigrants
were not always composed of the respectable classes, who, under the
pressure of the times, have lately embraced this resource. The removal
of the ordinary restraints of society, and the absence of religious
ordinances and ministration, concurred in giving to them a reckless and
unprincipled character. Intoxication, encouraged by the cheapness of
spirits, is indulged to a lamentable degree, and is often productive of
general ill conduct and ruin. Little regard is paid to the sabbath and
other sacred institutions; and the ear of the stranger is wounded, not
only by abusive language, but by swearing to an odious and disgusting
degree. Pugilistic contests are carried on with a violence rivalling
those of Kentucky, and have not always been unaccompanied by the savage
practice of gouging. Mr. Talbot, though he admits that he met with many
respectable females, charges a large proportion of the sex with a
disregard and even insensibility to their first duties. Although a
_spry_ lass, as she is termed, is certain of repeated offers, and is
sure of being early united in the bonds of matrimony, she may frequently
before that event have given birth to one or two children. Our author
was in company with a lady, who volunteered to the company the
information, that “her Betty” had been two years old at her marriage.
The correcter feelings, on this subject, of females from the old country
are contemned as ridiculous. Nay, where so little delicacy prevails, and
the children are so valuable a possession, the bringing two or three
into the world in this irregular manner, instead of being a bar to
marriage, proves, it is said, an additional attraction, by making the
young lady a species of heiress. After marriage, she makes an active and
industrious wife, but expects from her husband much deference, and even
that he should wink at occasional frailties. These faults are described
by Mr. Gourlay as rapidly disappearing, though Mr. Talbot, and even Mr.
Shirreff, found them still too prevalent; but the increased means of
instruction, and the example of respectable emigrants, will, it may be
hoped, gradually effect a thorough reform.

No people in the world live better than the inhabitants of Upper Canada.
The abundance of produce, and the low price at which it can be sold,
naturally inclines them to take the full use of it. Three copious meals,
often of twelve or fourteen dishes each, are daily served up, called
breakfast, dinner, and supper, but consisting generally of the same
component parts; among which are specially enumerated green tea, fried
pork, honeycomb, salted salmon, pound-cake, pickled cucumbers, stewed
chickens, apple tarts, maple-molasses, pease-pudding, gingerbread, and
sour crout. They are not very social in their daily habits, to which,
indeed, the almost impassable state of the roads opposes great
obstacles; but they are fond of large parties, and, in a favourable
season, five or six families often unite, and, without any notice, drive
to visit another at the distance of ten or twelve miles. Such an arrival
would not always be very opportune in an English household; but, “in
this land of plenty,” the flour-barrel, the pork-tub, and the fowl
house, afford at all times materials for meeting such an emergency, and
the board is soon spread with a plentiful meal. The dance is an
amusement of which they are passionately fond. No inn is considered
worthy of the name, unless it be provided with a spacious ballroom,
which is called into requisition as often as convenience will permit.
Intellectual recreations have not hitherto attracted all the attention
which they merit. Mr. Talbot, during a residence of five years, never
saw above two individuals with books in their hands; and, in one case,
it was a medical treatise consulted for health. The sources of
improvement already enumerated, however, have already made a great
impression, and will, we doubt not, ere long wipe off this reproach from
the Canadian people.

There remains yet undescribed a small but interesting portion—the
remnant of the Indian nations. It has appeared mysterious how tribes,
once so powerful, without war or bloodshed should have silently
disappeared, and only a handful survive. The occupation of their hunting
grounds by European settlers, the introduction of destructive diseases,
particularly small-pox, and the free use of intoxicating liquors, have
no doubt materially thinned their numbers. Our researches, however, have
led us to suspect that the diminution has not been nearly so great as is
supposed; in other words, that the original numbers were much
exaggerated. We have had occasion to observe, that the Iroquois, the
most powerful people in America, and occupying a territory extending
several hundred miles in every direction, were not estimated by the
French to include more than 3,000 warriors. Yet they enjoyed a better
climate, and were not so entirely ignorant of cultivation as the tribes
northward of the St. Lawrence.

The Indians, under British protection, are dispersed in small villages
and settlements in different parts of Upper and Lower Canada. The charge
made by Mr. M^{c}Gregor, that they have not been kindly treated by our
government, seems scarcely well founded, for not only do they remain
peaceably under her sway, but they have repeatedly taken up arms in her
cause against the “Big Knives,” as they term the Americans. In
consideration of their services, and in compensation for the
encroachments made on their domain, each individual, on repairing to a
fixed station, receives a certain amount of goods as an annual present;
and this grant affords the means of estimating the number residing
within the provinces. In Lower Canada, in 1828, it amounted to 2,922,
exclusive of about 450 Micmacs, or wandering tribes, from Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick. The number in Upper Canada to whom, about the same
time, donations were made, was 12,919; making in the two provinces
15,841. The estimate thus obtained, however, is not quite so accurate as
could be wished. Several thousands came from beyond the western
frontier, a distance in some cases of four or five hundred miles, and
even from the territory of the United States; but in consequence of the
signal services rendered by them during the last war, pledges had been
given, which Britain must now fulfil. On the other hand, in the immense
forest territory which the hand of cultivation has not yet approached,
there are doubtless very considerable numbers who retain their wild
independence, and hold no relation whatever with Europeans. We may
notice, in particular, the vast tracts to the east and north of Quebec,
whence no mention is made of any resort to the stations of distribution.

The Indians of Lower Canada have been converted to the catholic
religion, and their spiritual concerns are superintended by five
missionaries, who receive salaries of from 40_l._ to 70_l._ per annum.
They appear much attached to these instructors, and show a deep sense of
their religious duties; yet they have admitted scarcely any change in
their original habits, or made any progress in industry. Their
husbandry, as formerly, is on a small scale, of the rudest description,
and carried on entirely by women and old men. “The Indian tribes,” said
the late Lord Dalhousie, “continue to be warlike in their ideas and
recollections. Insignificant as are some of the tribes now in Lower
Canada, civilized and accustomed to social life, there is not one of
them that does not boast of the warlike days of their chiefs and
warriors; even now, the word warrior is assumed by every young man; he
is trained up to it, and has a higher idea of the approbation of his
chief, or the consideration of white men in that character of an active
hunter or warrior, than he has of any other object or use of his
existence.” The missionaries, though they execute their spiritual
functions with zeal and diligence, not only take no pains to instruct
them in reading or writing, but effectually oppose any efforts for that
purpose, at least when made by protestant teachers. We even suspect that
they indulge rather than check the warlike spirit of their flocks; since
it appears, that, on the annual religious festival called the grand
_fête de Dieu_, the Indians are in the habit of marching to church in
military order, headed by their chiefs, bearing arms, and amid the music
of drums and fifes.

[Illustration: _Village of Lorette, near Quebec._
 (Church of the Annunciation.)]

[Illustration: _Junction of the St. Francis and Magog Rivers_

A few miles northward from Quebec is the Huron settlement of Loretto,
consisting of sixty-seven men, sixty-five women, and forty-seven
children. This poor remnant of a race once so powerful, holding only
forty acres of land, derive a precarious subsistence from hunting,
fishing, and some trifling articles made by their females. They recently
preferred a claim to the fief of Sillery, a fine tract extending a
league along the St. Lawrence, near Quebec, in virtue of a grant made to
their ancestors in 1651. The case being brought before the courts, it
was argued by the crown lawyers that the grant had been made to the
Jesuits in general terms, for the purpose “of assembling the wandering
nations of New France, and instructing them in the christian religion;”
that, in 1699, these missionaries, representing that the Indians had
quitted the spot on account of the soil being exhausted, requested and
obtained a grant of it for themselves; and that it remained in their
possession till the extinction of their order in 1800, when it devolved
on the British government. On these grounds the judges decided against
the Hurons. We cannot help referring, however, to certain facts in our
historical narrative, founded on authorities which we incline to believe
were unknown to either party in this contest. It there appears that the
grant immediately followed the destruction of the Huron nation by the
Iroquois, when the Jesuits, as the only means of saving the remnant of
the tribe, removed to Quebec. The date, and the name of the principal
settlement, seem to show, that, however general the terms may have been,
the grant was made virtually for the benefit of these unfortunate
fugitives, and to the Jesuits only as their trustees. If this be
admitted, we know not how far their quitting it at one time for another
spot, without any formal relinquishment, could be considered as vacating
their title. On the loss of their cause, they sent two deputies to
London, who very earnestly solicited an interview with their great
father. Sir George Murray evaded this demand, but received them kindly;
and though he could not reopen a legal decision, offered them grants of
crown lands in other quarters; but they replied, that an arrangement
which would separate them, and require a complete change in their mode
of life, could not be felt by them as any real advantage.

In the vicinity of Three Rivers are 82 Algonquins, and near St. Francis
and Beçancour, on the opposite side, 359 Abenaquis. These tribes inhabit
rude villages, composed of very poor bark huts, though somewhat better
than the ordinary wigwams. They once possessed a considerable extent of
land, the greater part of which has been wrested from them under various
pretences by designing individuals; and to prevent such frauds, it is
proposed that no alienation of property by these untaught tribes shall
be held valid until it has been sanctioned by government. Farther down
the river are three settlements of Iroquois, one at Sault St. Louis and
Caughnawaga, amounting to 967; another at St. Regis of 348; and a third,
of 282, at the Lake of the Two Mountains. This tribe, once powerful, and
even intelligent, are now indolent, wretched, and despised by their own
countrymen. Those of Sault St. Louis possess some land, though, from
mismanagement, it produces little; and a late claim for an addition,
founded on minute boundary questions, was fruitless, though they also
sent two deputies to London to enforce it. At the Lake of the Two
Mountains are likewise 355 Algonquins and 250 Nipissings. These have no
land to cultivate, but by their activity in hunting, and supplying
Europeans with furs, they have placed themselves in a more comfortable
condition than any other Indians in Lower Canada. They complain much,
however, of the extended colonization on the Ottawa, by which their
hunting grounds are greatly narrowed.

In Upper Canada, along the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, the
Mississaguas are the leading tribe. Those of Kingston and Gananoqui,
only 82 in number, are described as worthless and depraved; but such as
dwell on the Bay of Quinté and Rice Lake, amounting respectively to 143
and 317, have been converted to Christianity, and are much improved. On
the Bay are also 319 Mohawks, many of whom have applied themselves to
agriculture, and even adopted in some degree the European dress, though
mixed in a grotesque manner with their native attire. On the river
Credit, which falls into the western part of Ontario, are 180 of the
same nation, who have been greatly civilized by their conversion. Around
Lake Simcoe and its vicinity, about 550 Chippeways reside under their
chief, Yellow-head. These also have expressed a strong desire for
instruction and the knowledge of religion, but have not yet experienced
those benefits in an equal degree. The banks of the Grand River, which
falls into Lake Erie, to the extent of six miles on each side, were, by
a proclamation of General Haldimand, set apart for the Mohawks and Six
Nations, who occupy it to the amount of about 2,000. Some part of these
lands has been sold with the consent of government, and the proceeds
lodged in the British funds, yielding an annual revenue of 1,500_l._,
which is distributed among them in goods. They still hold 260,000 acres
of an excellent soil, over which they have spread themselves in small
villages, and many of them attempt the simpler modes of farming. Farther
west are the Munseys on the Thames, 445 in number, and 309 Hurons,
connected with the French settlement on the Detroit, and converts to the
Catholic form of worship.

[Illustration: _Hallowell, Bay of Quinté._]

[Illustration: _Scene in the Bay of Quinté._]

With the last exception, all the tribes in Upper Canada, till within
these few years, remained in their primitive state of rudeness and
ignorance. They are now, however, willing converts to the Christian
faith, receiving instruction in reading and writing. Their morals are
greatly improved; and, in short, the way is paved for their adopting
generally the habits of civilized life. This good work has been almost
entirely accomplished by teachers from the United States, belonging to
the “Canada Conference Missionary Society,” auxiliary to that of the
Methodist Church of New York. The Indians have always shown themselves
desirous to be instructed. In 1827, the tribes, when receiving presents
at the remote station of Drummond Island, intimated to the agent that
there was at Michillimakinac a school or place where the natives were
taught to live as the whites do, “to mark their thoughts on paper, and
to think the news from books (read and write).” It was in their power to
send their children thither “to get sense;” but not being partial to the
Big Knives, and hearing that their great father at York was teaching
their brethren to “cut up the ground, and be beloved of the Great
Spirit,” they would rather be instructed by him. In the same year the
Chippeways at Gwillimburg, through their chief, Yellow-head, delivered
successive strings of wampum, importing that they wished to be settled
together, to pursue agriculture, and “to worship that God which is known
to the whites in the good book.”

The work of conversion and civilization was already proceeding, through
the exertions of the New York missionaries. Their first success was on
the River Credit, in the Home district, where they were greatly aided by
Mr. Peter Jones, alias Kakkewaquonaby, the son of a Welsh father by an
Indian mother, and thoroughly acquainted with their customs and
language. They formed themselves into a village, where Sir Peregrine
Maitland built for them twenty houses; they added fifteen for
themselves, with a mill; and the Methodist Society aided them in
erecting a chapel, schoolhouse, and workshop. They now renounced the
“firewaters” (spirits), the effects of which had been so pernicious;
and, without giving up hunting, combined with it the culture of the
ground and the rearing of cattle. According to the report of the Rev.
Mr. Magrath, they had, in March 1828, brought thirty-five acres into
cultivation, and possessed nine yoke of oxen, twelve cows, and six
horses. The adults were taught to get by heart the most essential
doctrines of religion; but for the children of both sexes schools were
established, attended by thirty-five boys and thirty-six girls. The
Mississaguas, near Belleville, soon followed the example of their
brethren; and, with the aid of the Society, formed a village on Grape
Island, in the Bay of Quinté. Finding this position too limited, they
applied for more land, and were allowed to select the requisite number
of vacant lots in the Midland district. This salutary process was soon
afterwards extended to the Mississaguas on the borders of Rice Lake and
of Mud Lake, northward of Cobourg. They occupied, by right, the islands
on the former; and, on the petition of their teachers, were allowed
besides 1,200 acres of waste land. Improvement was next extended to the
Chippeways, near Lake Simcoe. They were entitled to three islands; but
Sir John Colborne thought it more for their benefit that they should be
located on its north-western shore, and on the road to Lake Huron. In
these objects about 3,000_l._ were spent, chiefly saved out of the
annual presents. Another establishment has been formed at Munseytown, on
the river Thames; and it appears that much has been done among the Six
Nations, particularly the Mohawks, on the Grand River. In short, there
seems no room to doubt that the whole of this savage race will soon be
brought within the pale of Christianity and civilization.

Vehement objections have been taken against the religious body by whom
this change has been effected. They are accused of propagating the
political creed of their own country, accompanied with sentiments of
hostility to the established church. It does not appear, however, that
any disloyal or turbulent proceedings have resulted; and when they are
doing so much good, it would certainly be very inexpedient to obstruct
their operations, until some efficient substitute shall be found. Sir
John Colborne expressly says, “that the established clergy have not
effected any Indian conversions;” and the worthy bishop of Quebec
candidly observes that, whoever were the instruments, the effect must be
a source of satisfaction; and that the hand of God seems to be visible
in it. The Society allow 40_l._ or 50_l._ a-year to their missionaries,
and maintain ten schools, attended by 251 pupils.

The Indians, as already observed, have certain fixed stations, to which
they resort for the purpose of receiving their annual presents. These
are, in Lower Canada, Quebec, to which, in 1827, there came 652; St.
Francis, 541; Caughnawaga, 967; Lake of Two Mountains, 887; and St.
Regis, 348. In Upper Canada, they are, Kingston, 859; York, 781; Fort
George (Niagara), 1857; Amherstburg, 5906; and Drummond Island, 3516.
The expense became very large during the war, when their services were
so valuable. Between 1813 and 1816, it averaged 150,000_l._ a-year.
Since that time it has been reduced to about 16,000_l._, which, with
4,400_l._ for management, raises the Indian department to 20,400_l._
a-year. This, in Upper Canada, is estimated at 18_s._ 9_d._ to each
individual, for which slender remuneration some travel 500 miles.
References have been made from the Colonial Office, to ascertain whether
this sum might not be still further reduced, and paid in money, by which
the estimates could be formed with greater precision. To the first
point, it has been replied by the governors, that the donation is one to
which we are bound by the faith of treaties, made in return for
important services; and its discontinuance would excite the deepest
indignation, and provoke an hostility which might be attended with
disastrous consequences. Probably like all rude nations, the Indians,
instead of viewing these gifts as in any degree humiliating, pride
themselves upon them as testimonies of respect, perhaps even as a
species of tribute. As to the payment in money, it was deprecated in the
strongest terms by almost all the chiefs, and those interested in their
welfare; because the immediate consequence would be its conversion into
spirits, thereby causing a serious injury instead of a benefit. The
principle articles presented to them in 1832, were 35,700 yards of
different kinds of cloth, the prime cost varying from 1_s._ 1_d._ to
3_s._ 4_d._; 4,200 yards of linen; 33,800 yards of cotton and calico,
7_d._ to 1_s._ 7_d._; 84,500 yards of gartering, of scarlet, green, and
fancy colours, ¾_d._ per yard; 20,000 yards of blanketing, 1_s._ 11_d._
to 5_s._ 9_d._; 9,260 pairs of combs; 6,700 shoemaker’s awls; 8,740
butcher’s knives; 870 kettles; 18,160 sewing needles; 240 guns, 12_s._
9_d._ to 30_s._; 16,200 lbs. of lead ball; 46,300 lbs. of shot; 20,000
flints; 3,450 lbs. of carrot tobacco, 17_l._ 10_s._ per cwt.

[Illustration: _St. Regis, Indian Village._
 (St. Lawrence.)]

Since the diffusion of civilization, many of the Indians have consented,
and even desired, to exchange these presents for houses, implements of
agriculture, and other useful objects. A considerable number have even
begun to wish for money, which happily they no longer abuse as formerly,
but rather find the most convenient instrument in procuring whatever
they may happen to want. Asance, a chief, said that at York, “he found
it convenient when hungry to be able to put his hand into his pocket,
and find something jingling there for which he could get bread.” It may
be observed, that the Indians in Upper Canada are entitled to the annual
pay of 5,107_l._ current (4,426_l._ sterling), for land ceded by them to
government, who give the value in goods. As the crown obtained in
exchange nearly 5,000,000 acres of fertile land, we do think that this
slender annuity ought not to exhaust the kindness of the British
ministry towards this unfortunate race. They receive also 1,267_l._
sterling for property sold to private individuals, the greater part of
which is lodged in the funds. This sum is paid in money to the chiefs.

The Indians, as formerly observed, retain in general their original
fashion of dress; but instead of composing it entirely of the skins of
wild animals, they have adopted, as more commodious, materials of
English manufacture. For the outer covering or great coat, a blanket is
decidedly preferred; the shirt beneath is chiefly of calico or printed
cotton; the leggings and pouches of common cloths. The gartering, of
gaudy colours, serves for binding and ornamental borders. The moccasins
only, an article so extremely suited to their habits, cannot be composed
of any better material than their own deer-skin. When, however, any
particular piece of finery strikes their fancy, they eagerly seek to
procure it, and combine it, often fantastically, with their old
habiliments. The vicinity of Europeans, where it does not induce the
destructive habit of intoxication, affords them various means for
bettering their condition. A ready sale for venison, wild ducks, and
other feathered game, and for the fish which they spear, is found among
settlers who have themselves little leisure for angling or the chase.
The skins and furs also of the animals caught by them are readily bought
by the merchants. The women make baskets, trays, and other utensils, of
birch-bark, and sometimes of the inner rind of the bass-wood and white
ash, which, when ornamented with porcupine quills, dyed in beautiful
colours, form elegant articles of furniture. Their moccasins, similarly
adorned, are often purchased by Europeans for winter use. They cannot,
however, be depended upon for making or procuring any article to order.
They produce and bring their commodities to market when it suits their
own convenience; and they are disposed to drive a pretty hard bargain,
especially the females, on whom that task usually devolves. The
converted Indians are said to display a simple, fervent, and sincere
devotion. They pay a particular regard to the sanctity of the sabbath;
and while singing hymns on the evening of that day, their rich soft
voices, rising on the still air, are extremely sweet. This principle of
piety, having produced the valuable fruit of inducing them to renounce
the ruinous habit of intoxication, has made a most happy change in their
condition; and since the evils incident to the savage have thus been
removed, perhaps the admirer of the picturesque in human life may not
feel impatient for that thorough amalgamation with Europeans, which some
of their friends ardently desire. They may be willing that some trace
should still survive of the peculiar costume, aspect, and occupations of
this remarkable aboriginal race.

[Illustration: _Burial-Place of the Voyageurs._]

The means of religious instruction in Lower Canada have long existed on
a liberal scale. The great majority of the inhabitants, as formerly
observed, are French Roman Catholics. They support their clergy by a
contribution of a twenty-sixth part of the produce of their lands, which
does not, however, as has been sometimes represented, form a compulsory
assessment, since Protestant converts may discontinue payment. This
affords to upwards of 200 _vicaires_ and _curés_ an average income of
300_l._ per annum, which, in Canada, is very liberal. They are described
as respectable in character and attainments, very attentive to their
parishioners, and extremely beloved by them. They have been accused as
hostile to the diffusion of knowledge, yet no mention is made of any
opposition made by them to the late remarkable spread of elementary
schools. The bishop, who has under him two coadjutors and four
vicars-general, receives from government a stipend of 1,000_l._ a-year.
There are also monastic establishments, containing upwards of 300 monks
and nuns. The English church has assigned for its support a seventh of
all the lands unoccupied by the _habitans_, and formed into townships.
This proportion appears large, and has even been complained of as such,
yet it has not hitherto produced any great revenue. The clergy of this
church are at present forty in number, at the head of whom is the bishop
of Quebec, with a stipend of 1,000_l._ a-year. There are fourteen
Presbyterian ministers connected with the church of Scotland, partly
paid by government; and also twelve Methodists of the Wesleyan

Upper Canada, as already hinted, was long miserably destitute of the
means of religious instruction. In 1800, according to Mr. Talbot, there
were only three clergymen in the country; in 1819 they had increased to
ten; and in 1824 were still only sixteen. Since that time effective
measures have been taken to supply this great deficiency. There are now
forty-three clergymen belonging to the English established church; and
two archdeacons, at Toronto and Kingston, subject to the bishop of
Quebec, have each 300_l._ a-year. The remainder of the clergy received,
in 1835, an income of 6,784_l._ 11_s._ 8_d._, of which 5,484_l._ 18_s._
was defrayed from the proceeds of the ecclesiastical reserves, which, as
in Lower Canada, consist of one-seventh of the uncultivated lands; the
rest was paid out of the crown revenue. The Catholics have twenty-four
priests, of whom the bishop, bearing the title of Regiopolis, has
500_l._; the rest receive 1,000_l._ annually, divided among them, out of
the public purse. From the same fund were paid, in 1835, to the
ministers of the church of Scotland, 1,586_l._; to those of the
Presbyterian synod of Upper Canada 700_l._; 171_l._ was granted to the
fund for building Catholic churches; 550_l._ was given for the same
purpose to the Scottish church; and 550_l._ to the Wesleyan Methodists.
From this fund was also allowed 2,344_l._ 11_s._ 8_d._ for missionaries
of the Church of England. There are said to be also twenty-eight
Methodist and forty or fifty Baptist churches, which appear to be
supported by the congregations.

The means even of the most common education were long extremely
deficient in Canada. This want was equally felt in the lower province,
where the Catholic clergy, though diligent in their religious
ministrations, either opposed or did nothing to forward elementary
instruction. They particularly interfered to prevent attendance on the
schools organized in 1817, by what was termed the Royal Institution, as
being chiefly under the management of Church of England clergymen. In
1829, however, the legislature voted for this object 6,439_l._, which
was gradually increased to upwards of 20,000_l._ In that year the number
of scholars was 14,753, of whom only about a third paid fees. In 1835,
the number of free scholars had risen to 72,498, of those paying to
25,160; showing thus a wonderful increase both in the gross number and
in the proportion of those who defrayed their own charges. In 1836,
however, the vote of the House of Assembly for this patriotic purpose
was negatived by the Legislative Council, a step which seems not
unworthy of the severe animadversions made on it by the popular leaders.
The council stated that their motive was to induce the people to
contribute more towards the education of their families. This was
admitted to be desirable as an ultimate object; but it could not justify
the abrupt withdrawal of the means by which nearly 40,000 children were
educated, without allowing time or even legal authority to substitute
any other.

In Upper Canada, also, the government is making great exertions to
remove that cloud of ignorance in which the country was once involved. A
college at Toronto is supported on a liberal footing. There are also
grammar schools in every district, to the teachers of which 100_l._
yearly is allowed by the legislature. The scholars attending them amount
in all to about 350. The sum of 7,380_l._ also was granted in 1835 for
the support of common schools, estimated to amount to several hundreds,
and to educate about 20,000 children. In the same year, the legislature
voted 180_l._ and 90_l._ to the Mechanics’ Institutes at Toronto and

                                CHAP. V.


                 *        *        *        *        *

Among the various books on Canada, there is none which seems to us
written with a more friendly, fair, and philanthropic spirit than that
of Mr. Hodgson, who was there in 1822. A great part of his large volume
is occupied with his rambles in the United States; but from that which
is strictly Canadian, we extract the following interesting letters:—

[Illustration: _Scene among the Thousand Isles._]

[Illustration: _Rapids, on the approach to the Village of Cedars._]

    “Soon after I had finished my letter on board the steam-boat, we
    stopped near the mouth of the Genessee river, to give us the
    opportunity of seeing Rochester and its vicinity. Stages had
    been previously sent for, in which we proceeded to Rochester,
    nine miles distant. On our way we stopped to see the lower falls
    of the Genessee river, and Carthage bridge. This wooden bridge
    is now in ruins. When perfect, it must have been extremely
    beautiful. It was a single arch, whose span was about 350 feet
    wide, and its extreme height above the surface of the river 196
    feet. It gave way from the slightness of its materials,
    immediately after two children had crossed it. A short distance
    above it are the falls of the Genessee, which appeared to me to
    bear a strong resemblance to those of the Clyde. At Rochester we
    found a handsome mill, and every symptom of a thriving town.
    Instead of ‘cash store’ being painted over the shops, as in most
    towns of the United States, to tell the customers that the
    shopkeepers sell only for cash, while they may almost be induced
    to sell even a thimble on credit; ‘here cash _given_ for wheat,’
    ‘cash _given_ for, &c. &c.’ was the usual motto. We learnt also,
    that the town was blessed by the absence of a bank, while in the
    smallest American town I had been accustomed to find banks the
    first objects which presented themselves—the Farmer’s Bank, the
    Merchant’s Bank, the Planter’s Bank, the Mechanic’s Bank, the
    Franklin Bank, the Patriotic Bank, &c. &c. with their various
    combinations, had met my eye more or less in every village. We
    embarked again about two o’clock, and in the morning by
    day-light found ourselves at Sacket’s Harbour, of which we heard
    so much during the war. It is a noble natural harbour, and the
    place where the American ships employed on the lakes were built
    so rapidly. Many of them are now rotting under wooden covers.
    There is one half finished, _said_ to be longer than our largest
    ship of the line, covered with a wooden shade, which itself, our
    conductor told us, cost 7,000_l._ This immense vessel, so far
    inland, on the banks of a lake, was a singular sight, and
    excited some incongruous ideas.

[Illustration: _Prescott, from Ogdensburg Harbour._]

    “We sailed again soon after breakfast, and in the morning (9th)
    found ourselves at Ogdensburgh, about 260 miles from Niagara,
    which we had left on the 6th. The preceding afternoon we had
    entered the St. Lawrence, and I had been much delighted with our
    sail through that expanse of it which is called the Lake of the
    Thousand Islands. In reality, there are more than 2,000, of
    every size and form, and a lovely afternoon exhibited them in
    all their beauty. As we glided past them, on the smooth surface
    of the St. Lawrence, I thought I had never beheld a scene which
    so nearly realized my ideas of enchantment. The banks of the
    river as we proceeded were rather less wild and interesting than
    I had expected.

    “At Ogdensburgh, which is said to belong principally to Mr.
    Parish, who is endeavouring to settle a tract of land in the
    vicinity, we breakfasted at a large stone tavern, which he has
    built, and then prepared in high spirits to descend the Rapids.
    For this purpose we hired a long boat, which would accommodate
    the whole party, and which, with 25 people on board and their
    baggage, and 25 barrels of flour for ballast, was said to draw
    only eight inches of water. We set sail about ten o’clock, and
    in four hours and a few minutes had been carried 48 miles down
    the stream, in the course of which we had passed the first three
    rapids, one of which was half a mile, another two, and another
    about nine miles long. We always discerned them at a great
    distance, the dashing of the white foam resembling the tossing
    of the ocean; and as we approached them our velocity gradually
    increased, till we were carried by the stream at the rate of 14
    or 15 miles an hour. When we got into the middle of the surges,
    our velocity, though still great, was checked by the eddies and
    by waves which frequently struck the bottom of the boat with
    great force; and from the appearance of the troubled waters, it
    seemed difficult for a boat to live. The confidence of the
    boatmen, however, checked our apprehensions, and our ladies
    behaved extremely well. The most alarming appearance was that of
    pointed rocks, which, from the transparency of the water, seemed
    to rise almost to the surface, and to threaten inevitable
    destruction. As I stood on the bow, I saw combinations of rocks,
    towards which we were hurried with impetuosity, and which it
    seemed impossible our boat could pass without striking. In some
    of the Rapids there were channels, called lost channels, from
    the accidents which had happened in them, and into which our
    boatmen had to guard against our being carried. The river varies
    from three-fourths of a mile to two miles in width; and although
    there are no mountains near, (the green mountains of Vermont
    were often in sight at a distance,) the white pine and cedar
    gave a picturesque appearance to its banks, and a resemblance to
    the river views in Norway or Sweden. One of the most singular
    sensations we experienced, was that of sailing many miles
    perceptibly _down hill_. Soon after passing the third rapid, the
    St. Lawrence expanded into a wide lake—the Lake of St. Francis.
    There we lost our wind and stream, and were obliged to have
    recourse to our oars. The evening was now closing in, and a
    violent thunder-storm brought on a premature darkness; but the
    ladies enlivened us by singing the Canadian Boat-Song, ‘Row,
    brothers, row, &c.’ which transported me to ——, where I have
    so often heard it.

[Illustration: _Village of Cedars, River St. Lawrence._]

[Illustration: _Nelson’s Pillar,_

    “About ten o’clock, we made towards a light which we saw on the
    shore, and landed a committee of inquiry, who reported so
    unfavourably of the miserable cabin from which it issued, that
    we determined to proceed, tired as the ladies were. Our scouts
    informed us, that they had found in the cabin four or five
    Canadians, dancing to a sleeping fiddler, whose music ceased as
    soon as they awoke him. A mile or two further, we found a better
    house, where we called the family up, and, with the help of our
    well-bred and efficient ladies, some gunpowder tea they had with
    them, some milk that was obtained from a cow that was awakened
    for the purpose, and the services of my servant, we sat down, a
    party of twenty, to a tolerably comfortable meal. When the
    ladies were about to retire, they found there was no door to
    their chamber, but they supplied the deficiency with a sheet.
    The gentlemen lay on blankets, in a sort of barrack room; but I
    found the fleas so annoying, that I got up and sat at the door
    of the house. I should have enjoyed the clear night after the
    storm, and the placid lake, if I had been less tired and sleepy;
    but wearied as I was, I was very glad to see the day break. Our
    gunpowder tea made its appearance again at five o’clock; after
    which we embarked, passing the remaining rapids, (the Cedars,
    the Split Rock, and the Cascades, as they are called,) and the
    mouth of the Ottawa River; and, being becalmed in the fine lake,
    St. Louis, we arrived at night at La Chine, about 150 miles from
    Ogdensburgh, which we had left the preceding morning. As we
    approached La Chine, the houses and villages on the banks of the
    river and lake assumed a much more comfortable appearance; but
    of the Canadians in my next letter.

    “Some of our party staid all night at La Chine, but several of
    my friends and myself proceeded to Montreal in a wretched
    vehicle, for which I was obliged to apologize to my American
    companions, by reminding them that it was only a colonial, and
    that there were parts of our colonial system which none of us
    attempted to defend. We met some miserable _calèches_, of which
    I was ashamed even as colonials; and I was compelled to repress
    the rising smiles of the party, by suggesting to their
    recollection, that, after all, we were still in America and not
    in England. After riding nine miles, almost in the dark, we
    entered the faubourg of Montreal, and jolted along a narrow
    street a mile long, which my companions, accustomed to the
    spacious streets in America, supposed to be an alley, though it
    is the principal street. At the end of it we stopped at the
    Mansion-house, a very fine inn; and here I was not ashamed to
    welcome my companions to the dominions of his Britannic Majesty.

    “The Mansion-house is situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence,
    which its handsome apartments overlook, and which is here almost
    two and a half miles broad. The windows of our room open upon a
    fine terrace, from which there is a charming and extensive view
    of the distant country. In the evening this is a very favourite
    promenade with the inmates of the house.

    “I am delighted to sit down once more under the British flag,
    which is waving over us, for Lord Dalhousie, the governor, is
    staying in the house; and I am gratified by the sight of our own
    red coats, who have mounted guard.”

                                    “_Montreal, 23d August, 1822._

    “I have just received your letter of the 19th ult. The uncommon
    cold of the last winter, and the unusual heat of the present
    summer, appear, in some degree, to have extended to you.
    Individually, I am not sorry to have the opportunity of
    experiencing, in the course of the year I have passed in
    America, a range of temperature beyond even the ordinary limits
    of the country. The great and sudden changes, however, continue
    to strike me more than even extremes of cold and heat, so much
    beyond those we experience in England. After a week of the
    hottest weather they have had here this summer, (the other
    morning the thermometer was currently reported, and I believe
    correctly, to be 98° of Fahrenheit in the shade,) thin clothes
    of every description have disappeared; and last night, when I
    sat down to write to you, I found it too cold to proceed. The
    oppressive heat of the summer here, and in the United States, is
    alleviated, in some degree, by the liberal use of ice. We see it
    in every form, and use it with the utmost profusion. The butter
    regularly comes to table with a fine thick transparent piece of
    ice upon it; large pieces are generally floating in the water
    jugs at dinner, or in your chambers; and it is often handed
    round on plates, in small pieces, to be used at dinner. The plan
    of preserving ice in this country, and the United States, is
    much more simple than with us, and, I have no doubt, more
    judicious, as, notwithstanding the superior heat of the climate,
    it is so much more cheap and plentiful. Almost every farmer has
    his ice-house.

    “I have already given you some account of our sail down the
    Rapids. It was extremely pleasant; and although we were becalmed
    for many hours, we descended on the St. Lawrence in less than
    two days, a distance which the boatmen seldom reascend in less
    than nine or ten, even with the occasional assistance of locks
    at the side of the river. I am surprised we hear so little of
    this noble river. It is computed, I do not know with what
    accuracy, to discharge one-half more water than the Mississippi.
    Its depth between Ogdensburgh and La Chine (130 miles) seldom
    varies more than three feet in the course of a year; while the
    Mississippi was falling one foot each day when I ascended it.
    The St. Lawrence is much clearer than the Mississippi, and its
    current much more rapid; so rapid, indeed, that the Lake Erie
    steam-boat, which has been in operation for three years, has not
    been able to ascend from Black Rock to Lake Erie more than twice
    without twelve oxen. The banks of the St. Lawrence do not
    present the rich and beautiful cultivation which adorns the
    banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana; but if they do not
    exhibit extensive and highly-dressed plantations of sugar and
    cotton, or the magnificent forest trees peculiar to the south
    and west, the prospect is never blackened by a range of
    miserable slave-cabins, or gangs of negroes working like cattle
    in the field. I cannot describe to you the pleasure I derived
    from contrasting the various scenes through which I am passing
    with each other, they have so many peculiar features, and all so
    highly interesting.

    “It is remarkable, that, rising from the same table-land, and so
    intimately connected by intersecting branches, which
    occasionally flow into each other during periods of inundation,
    the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence present the most striking
    contrast in their general features. Many of these are mentioned
    in the observations I will copy for you from Darby; but others,
    not much less interesting, might be added.

[Illustration: _Montreal, from the St. Lawrence._]

[Illustration: _The St. Lawrence at Montreal._]

    “‘The Mississippi is turbid, in many parts to muddiness; the St.
    Lawrence unusually limpid. One river is composed of almost an
    unbroken chain of lakes; the other, in all its vast expanse, has
    no lakes that strictly deserve the name. Annually the
    Mississippi overleaps its bed, and overwhelms the adjacent
    shores to a great extent; an accidental rise of three feet, in
    the course of fifty years, is considered an extraordinary swell
    of the waters of St. Lawrence; this circumstance has occurred
    the present season for the first time within the lapse of forty
    years past. The Mississippi, flowing from north to south, passes
    through innumerable climes; whilst its rival, winding from its
    source, in a south-east direction, to near north latitude 41°,
    turns gradually north-east, and again flows into its original
    climate of ice and snow. The Mississippi, before its final
    discharge into the Gulf of Mexico, divides into a number of
    branches, having their separate egress; the St. Lawrence
    imperceptibly expands to a wide bay, which finally opens into
    the gulf of the same name. The banks of the Mississippi present
    a level, scarce rising above the superior surface of that
    stream; those of St. Lawrence, by a gentle acclivity, exhibit
    the opposing sides of an elegant basin. Much of the surface
    watered by the Mississippi is a region of grass, where few
    shrubs or trees rise to break the monotony of the face of the
    earth; the shores that bound the St. Lawrence, when in a state
    of nature, are covered with an almost continuous and impervious
    forest. And, lastly, though rather an accidental than a natural
    distinction, the Mississippi rolls its mighty volume, swelled by
    more than a thousand rivers, through one empire; and is, as I
    once before observed, the largest stream on this globe, whose
    entire course lies within one sovereignty. The St. Lawrence is,
    for more than 1,300 miles, a national limit, and, as such,
    marked with the sanguinary points which distinguish the bounds
    of rival power.’

    “We arrived here on the 10th, as you would learn from my last
    letter. On the 11th, I was awakened by the matin-bells of the
    different catholic churches; and while my steam-boat companions
    went to see the _Lions_, I set out to deliver my letters of
    introduction, and soon found that the mornings of the ensuing
    week would be entirely occupied by commercial engagements, and
    the evenings with dinner-parties; for the merchants are very
    hospitable. On the 12th, I was left alone, all the party at the
    Mansion-house, with whom I was intimate, having proceeded to
    Quebec. On their return, in a few days, I was a little more at
    leisure, and accompanied them to the nunneries. The ‘Grey
    Sisters’ admitted us; but the ‘Black Sisters’ expressed their
    regret, in the politest French, that their devotional
    engagements would prevent them from seeing us till the following

    “On the 17th, there was a grand levée held here, (in a spacious
    room in our inn,) as Lord and Lady Dalhousie, with their suite,
    were paying a short visit to Montreal. I attended, and was duly
    presented. The Governor and Countess gave great satisfaction;
    but I hear many apprehensions expressed, that his lordship will
    not incur the responsibility which the Duke of Richmond is said
    never to have hesitated to assume, in acting first and sending
    for instructions afterwards. It was about this time last year
    that the Duke left this house, a few days before his melancholy
    death up the country. I was told, that on the day he had fixed
    for his return he was brought into the house a corpse; and on
    the subsequent day, which had been appointed for his levée, a
    large concourse of the gentlemen of Montreal attended his coffin
    to the vessel which carried him away. His loss is deeply
    regretted. Sir Peregrine Maitland, his son-in-law, the Governor
    of Upper Canada, and Lady Maitland, are much respected; and, I
    understand, are doing much for the promotion of religion in the
    newly settled districts in their neighbourhood.

    “The bishop of Canada preached at the church I attended on
    Sunday; and, as I was returning home, a veteran soldier of
    General Wolfe’s army was pointed out, in his scarlet uniform.

    “I have had a few rides into the country in the neighbourhood,
    which is very beautiful. I have also met most of the principal
    merchants at dinner during my stay. On these occasions I am
    always gratified by the allusions I continually hear to home.
    ‘At home, we do so and so;’ ‘Mr. ——’s carriage is just arrived
    from home;’ ‘Here are some biscuits from home; fresh from
    Threadneedle-street, where I always get them.’

    “In the streets, however, there were many peculiarities to
    remind us that we were not at home. More than three-fourths of
    the inhabitants are said to be catholics; and the bells of the
    cathedral are never at rest. The priests, who are the seigniors
    of the island, are very rich; but they are said to be
    charitable, moral, and by no means luxurious. Our young friends
    would be amused by the numerous dog-carts, the dogs in gig or
    tandem harness, in every part of the town, and by the _calèches_
    of the last century, which would serve as a foil for a north of
    England shandan. A considerable number of Indians are usually
    walking the streets with moccasins for sale; and I saw several
    on the river-side, a mile distant, in wigwams, of which their
    birch canoe formed a principal part. The town is most agreeably
    situated, and there is an air of industry and animation in the
    inhabitants; and yet, occasionally, the narrow streets and iron
    window-shutters excite a sensation of gloominess, of which I
    cannot readily divest myself till I return to our cheerful inn,
    where the arrival and departure of steam-boats occasion a
    constant succession of guests. Our party at table, which
    dwindled to six, rose, two days since, suddenly to sixty, all
    fugitives, as those who are not on business seldom allot above
    two days to this part of their tour. As the friends with whom I
    am most intimate have been detained since their return from
    Quebec, by the want of a steam-boat, I have been very well off,
    having access to their three drawing-rooms, with an agreeable
    female party in each. Our host, although a Londoner, and
    adopting London hours, accommodates himself by pursuing the
    American plan of compelling us to eat at a common table; but the
    style of the house is admirable, and we can obtain private
    sitting-rooms. One of those occupied by our party is that which
    Lord Selkirk usually occupied while here, and often recalls him
    to my recollection. All I hear, and I have conversed with many
    of both parties on the subject, has only served to confirm my
    previous impressions with respect to the treatment which he
    received; in some instances, too, in quarters where it was least
    excusable, and at the hands of those from whom every British
    subject was entitled to demand impartiality. In an hour we are
    going on board the Swiftsure steam-boat for Quebec, and I am
    glad to find that several of my acquaintances will be of the

[Illustration: _Raft in a Squall on Lake St. Peter._]

[Illustration: _The Three Rivers, River St. Lawrence._]

              “Steam-boat, on the St. Lawrence, August 28th, 1820.

    “I began this letter at Montreal, on board the Swiftsure
    steam-boat. This is probably the finest steam-boat which has
    been built, and I was proud to see her under the British flag;
    the Americans readily conceded her superior claims. The style of
    living and attendance is more like that of a good hotel, at the
    west end of London, than any thing I have seen on this side of
    the Atlantic, notwithstanding the handsome style of some of the
    American hotels, and the comfort of some of the boarding-houses.
    There is an ice-house on board, and the owner supplies her table
    with grapes and peaches from his own garden.

    “I often feel a strange sensation, when gliding down the
    American rivers, in these floating palaces; and have sometimes
    turned away almost ashamed, when bearing down in all this
    ostentatious luxury on the poor half-naked Indians, in their
    birch canoes, struggling to reach the shores on which their
    fathers roamed fearless and independent.

    “We left Montreal about noon on the 22d, and for sixty miles
    averaged thirteen miles an hour. The banks of the river, which
    is from one and a half to three miles broad, though too flat to
    be romantic, till you approach within thirty miles of Quebec,
    are interesting, from the white cottages, which seem to form one
    continued village, and the neat churches, of which two or three
    are often in sight at once; the spires are usually covered with
    tin, and have a very dazzling appearance.

    “The cottages have originally been placed at equal distances
    from each other, the farms having been laid off, with a front of
    a given length to the river; but the Canadian custom of dividing
    the farm between the children of the deceased (more congenial
    with their indolence than striking deeper into the woods) has
    broken uniformity by repeated and often inconvenient
    subdivisions. A mass of deep woods usually bounds the farms, at
    the distance of a few acres from the river.

    “The navigation on Lake St. Peter is so difficult, that we were
    obliged to lie at anchor all night. On the 23d, we passed the
    Three Rivers, a handsome town, on the three mouths of a
    respectable river; and at five o’clock in the evening arrived at
    Quebec, 180 miles from Montreal. As we approached the town we
    passed close under the plains of Abraham, and the precipitous
    rocks which our gallant hero scaled; and after straining our
    eyes to reach the fortifications, which seem to frown
    destruction to any hostile force which might have the temerity
    to approach, we were pleased, on looking round us, to find
    ourselves in the middle of British shipping. I cannot tell you
    with what satisfaction I renewed my acquaintance with old
    Cumberland brigs, which in England I should not condescend to
    notice. As soon as we landed, an English friend and I procured a
    calèche, and drove off to the Falls of Montmorency, nine miles
    distant, which we reached just at sunset. Our beautiful summer
    evening closed in upon us before we had seen the Falls from the
    most favourable situation. The full moon, however, soon rose,
    and threw her light upon the broken torrent, which precipitates
    itself from a height of 220 feet, while the dark shadows of the
    rocks and trees, which overhang the waters below, contributed
    greatly to heighten the grandeur of the scene. Our conductor was
    an interesting little peasant girl, nine years of age, whose
    pretty French was most agreeable. The ride home was delightful,
    the full moon ‘walking in brightness,’ and throwing her
    horizontal rays across the river as she rose. The fortresses of
    Quebec were constantly in sight, and did, indeed, seem
    impregnable by human force. It would be difficult even to
    imagine a more commanding site, and I could not help admiring
    the skill with which the French had chosen their northern post,
    which they evidently intended to connect with New Orleans, by a
    series of intermediate forts, which might confine the British
    within a narrow strip on the Atlantic. Reflections on their
    system of policy were the more interesting to me, from having so
    lately visited the southern extremity of their trans-Atlantic
    dominions, and having in the interval passed through so many of
    the immense forests which lie between them. We stopped at
    Malhrot’s, the best inn in Quebec; but an unwillingness to
    intrude on the present occupiers of my bed decided me to prefer
    a chair, in which I sat till after three o’clock, looking on the
    beautiful moonlight prospect before me. At five o’clock we set
    out in a calèche on our way to Loretto, an Indian village of the
    Hurons, nine miles from Quebec. They have a neat catholic
    church, and speak French; but, from what I could gather from the
    chief, they have no land, and support themselves by fishing and
    hunting. In that case they are not so well off as my friends the
    Choctaws and Cherokees, or the Caughnawagas, whom we saw nine
    miles from Montreal, who have a handsome catholic church, and
    cultivate the land.

    “In the course of our ride we were often reminded of home by the
    rich little meadows and thickly settled country on every side.
    The distant mountains were very fine. We reached our inn at nine
    o’clock, having accomplished, after six o’clock the preceding
    night, what usually occupies two days. After breakfast I devoted
    myself to business; and, declining an invitation from Judge ——
    to accompany him to the ‘military mess’ to dinner, I set off to
    the Falls of the Chaudière, seven miles distant, intending to
    drink tea on our return with a gentleman who lives on the way.
    It was so dark, however, when we reached his house, five or six
    miles from Quebec, and had begun to rain so heavily, that we
    thankfully accepted his offer of a bed. The Falls of the
    Chaudière were highly interesting, even after Niagara. In the
    deep seclusion of a thick wood, the river, nearly 250 yards
    wide, precipitates itself a hundred feet into a rocky channel,
    which appears to have been rent asunder by some dreadful
    convulsion of nature, by which the rock has been broken into
    huge masses, that combine with the surrounding objects to impart
    an air of most magnificent wildness to this extraordinary scene.
    On our return we had several fine views of Quebec down the

[Illustration: _Bridge near Quebec._]

[Illustration: _The Chaudière Bridge,_
 near Quebec.]

    “The next day we went into town early, and I was again engaged
    in business till afternoon, when I walked round the
    fortifications with my old military friend and his wife. At five
    o’clock I went to dine at Judge ——’s, where I met several
    gentlemen, and where I staid till it was nearly time to embark
    in the steam-boat, which was to set sail at midnight for

    “I think you will be amused by the following extract from the
    journal of one of my fellow-travellers, who left me at Montreal
    to visit Quebec, and on his return found on board the steam-boat
    one of the Indian chiefs, belonging to the village of Loretto,
    to which I have alluded.

    “‘We have on board one of the Indian chiefs who walked in the
    procession at Loretto, and his daughter, a genteel young woman.
    He speaks the English language. He said he knew General
    Washington, and had dined with him twice; and that the general
    had made him a present of a very good horse. ‘I told General
    Washington,’ said he, ‘that your horse; he tell me to call one
    of his aids, and he say, Col. Trumbull, write order for Vincent,
    (that my name,) for that horse; so I keep him. He very good
    horse.’ The story of the horse was thus explained. Vincent
    commanded a body of Indians at the capture of Burgoyne, and was
    made a prisoner with that general. The horse had been taken by
    him from the Americans; and hence he called him not his own, but
    Washington’s. This information I obtained from others on board.
    Taking me aside, he said, ‘I saw you Loretto.’ _C._ ‘I was
    there, and saw you walking at the head of the procession.’ _V._
    ‘Yes, I walk.’ _C._ ‘What was that the priest carried?’ _V._
    ‘What religion you?’ _C._ ‘I am a protestant.’ _V._ ‘Then you
    very good man; priest carry image Virgin Mary. This is all
    nonsense. He tell us poor Indians we must believe, or be
    condemned, that Virgin Mary was taken up into heaven—soul and
    body; you believe that?’ _C._ ‘I do not understand it: what is
    your opinion?’ _V._ ‘I do not believe; I do not read that in
    Scripture. Priest tell us poor ignorant Indians that we must
    worship her, and saints, and images. I do not find that in
    Scripture neither; but I read, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy
    God, and him only shalt thou worship. Thou shalt make no graven
    image, nor worship them: that my belief. I think it wicked to
    worship images; but God is merciful. Priest tell us ignorant
    Indians we must have mass; fetch out purgatory our fathers, dead
    hundred years ago; and we pay sometimes one, sometimes two
    dollars each mass. Brother, you believe there is a purgatory?’
    _C._ ‘I have no knowledge of such a place. What is your
    opinion?’ _V._ ‘I don’t believe; and tell you my opinion. I
    believe if our heart be not purge in this life, it never will
    purge.’ On my assenting to his doctrine, he asked, ‘Where do you
    think is hell?’ I told him I did not know. Then added he, ‘I’ll
    tell you where I think it is: it is in the sun.’ I felt some
    surprise at all this; and, asking him where he had been
    educated, he replied at Hampshire. He then asked me to drink a
    glass of grog; and on my declining, he bid me good bye, and
    walked to the forecastle to sip it by himself. On observing a
    young Indian on board very attentive to the chief’s daughter, I
    told Vincent I supposed this man was courting her; on which he
    replied with much warmth, ‘No; him Mohawk.’

    “I do not know why he regarded a connexion with the Mohawks as
    degrading, for they were members of the celebrated confederation
    of the Six Nations—the Iroquois Confederation. The other
    members were the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the
    Senecas, and the Tuscaroras.”

[Illustration: _The Chaudière Falls,_
 near Quebec.]

It is our wish to assemble pictures of Canada by as many different
classes of observers, and during as many different seasons, as is
possible. Here are some winter sketches, which are not unentertaining.

    “Nothing could be more Siberian than the aspect of the Canadian
    frontier; a narrow road, choked with snow, led them through a
    wood, in which patches were occasionally cleared on either side
    to admit the construction of a few log-huts, round which a brood
    of ragged children, a starved pig, and a few half-broken rustic
    implements, formed an accompaniment more suited to an Irish
    landscape, than to the thriving scenes we had just quitted. The
    Canadian peasant is still the same unsophisticated animal whom
    we may suppose to have been imported by Jacques Carrier. The
    sharp unchangeable lineaments of the French countenance, set off
    with a blue or red night-cap, over which is drawn the hood of a
    grey capote, fashioned like a monk’s cowl, a red worsted girdle,
    hair tied in a greasy leather queue, brown moccasins of
    undressed hide, and a short pipe in his mouth, give undeniable
    testimony of the presence of Jean Baptiste. His horse seems to
    have been equally solicitous to shame neither his progenitors
    nor his owner, by any mixture with a foreign race, but exhibits
    the same relationship to the horses, as his rider to the
    subjects of Louis XIII. Now, too, the frequent cross by the road
    side, thick-studded with all the implements of crucifixional
    torture, begins to indicate a catholic country: distorted
    virgins and ghastly saints decorate each inn room, while the
    light spires of the parish church, covered with plates of tin,
    glitter across the snowy plain.

[Illustration: _Raft on the St. Lawrence, Cape Sante._]

    “At La Prairie we crossed the ice to Montreal, whose isolated
    mountain forms a conspicuous object at the distance of some
    leagues. From thence to Quebec, the road follows the course of
    the St. Lawrence, whose banks present a succession of villages,
    many of them delightfully situated; but all form and feature
    were absorbed in the snowy deluge, which now deepened every
    league; add to which, the sleigh-track, by frequently running on
    the bed of the river, placed us below prospect of every kind. We
    found the inns neat, and the people attentive; French politesse
    began to be contrasted with American bluntness. It is curious to
    observe that this characteristic of the Americans, which so
    frequently offends the polished feelings of English travellers,
    is exactly what was formerly objected by the French to
    ourselves. The ‘rudesse’ of the English character was long a
    standing jest with our refined neighbours; but we have now, it
    seems, so far shaken off this odious remnant of uncourtly
    habits, as to regard it with true French horror in our
    trans-Atlantic cousins.

    “It was Sunday when we arrived at St. Anne’s; mass was just
    finished, and above a hundred sleighs were rapidly dispersing
    themselves up the neighbouring heights, and across the bed of
    the river, to the adjacent villages. The common country sleigh
    is a clumsy box-shaped machine, raised at both ends, perhaps not
    greatly unlike the old heroic car. It holds two persons, with
    the driver, who stands before them. One horse is commonly
    sufficient, but two are used in posting, when the leader is
    attached by cords, tandem-wise, and left to use his own
    discretion, without the restraint of rein, or impulse of whip.
    Should, however, the latter stimulus become indispensable, the
    driver jumps from the sleigh, runs forward, applies his
    pack-thread lash, and regains his seat without any hazard from
    extraordinary increase of impetus. The runners of these sleighs
    are formed of two slips of wood, so low that the shafts collect
    the snow into a succession of wavy hillocks, properly christened
    ‘cahots,’ for they almost dislocate your limbs five thousand
    times in a day’s journey. An attempt was once made to correct
    this evil, by prohibiting all _low runners_, as they are called,
    from coming within a certain distance of Quebec; meaning thereby
    to force the country people into the use of high runners in the
    American fashion. Jean Baptiste, however, sturdily and
    effectually resisted this heretical innovation, by halting with
    his produce without the limits, and thus compelling the
    townspeople to come to him to make their purchases.

    “The markets, both of Montreal and Quebec, exhibit several
    hundred market sleighs daily. They differ from the pleasure or
    travelling sleigh, in having no sides; that is, they consist
    merely of a plank bottom, with a kind of railing. Hay and wood
    seem the staple commodities at this season, both of which are
    immoderately dear, especially at Quebec; even through the
    States, the common charge for one horse’s hay for a night was a
    dollar. Provisions are brought to market frozen, in which state
    they are preserved during the winter; cod-fish is brought from
    Boston, a land-carriage of 500 miles, and then sells at a
    reasonable rate, the American commonly speculating on a cargo of
    smuggled goods back, to make up his profit; a kind of trade
    extremely brisk betwixt the frontier and Montreal.

    “As we approached Quebec, snow lay to the depth of six feet;
    from the heights of Abraham, the eye rested upon what seemed an
    immense lake of milk; all smaller irregularities of ground,
    fences, boundaries, and copse woods, had disappeared; the tops
    of villages, and scattered farm-houses, with here and there dark
    lines of pine-wood, and occasionally the mast of some ice-locked
    schooner, marking the bed of the Charles river, were the only
    objects peering about it. A range of mountains, sweeping round
    from west to north, until it meets the St. Lawrence, bounds the
    horizon; no herald of spring had yet approached this dreary
    outpost of civilization; we had observed a few blue thrushes in
    the neighbourhood of Albany, but none had yet reached Canada;
    two only of the feathered tribe brave the winter of this
    inclement region—the cosmopolite crow, and the snow-bird, a
    small white bird, reported to feed upon snow, because it is not
    very clear what else it can find.

    “It would be acting unfairly to Quebec, to describe it as I
    found it on my arrival, choked with ice and snow, which one day
    flooded the streets with a profusion of dirty kennels, and the
    next cased them with a sheet of glass. Cloth or carpet boots,
    galoshes, with spikes to their heels, iron pointed walking
    sticks, are the defensive weapons perpetually in employ on these
    occasions. The direction of the streets too, which are most of
    them built up a precipice, greatly facilitates any inclination
    one may entertain for tumbling or neck-breaking.

    “The Falls of Montmorency are formed by a little river of that
    name, near its junction with the St. Lawrence, about five miles
    north of Quebec. They have a peculiar interest in winter, from
    the immense cone of ice formed at their foot, which was
    unimpaired when I visited them, in the second week of April.
    After winding up a short but steep ascent, the road crosses a
    wooden bridge, beneath which the Montmorency rushes betwixt its
    dark grey rocks, and precipitates itself in a broken torrent
    down a wooded glen on the right. It is not until you have wound
    round the edge of this glen, which is done by quitting the road
    at the bridge-foot, that you obtain a view of the Falls; nor was
    their effect lessened by this approach. A partial thaw,
    succeeded by a frost, had spread a silvery brightness over the
    waste of snow. Every twig and branch of the surrounding
    pine-trees, every waving shrub and briar, was encased in
    crystal, and glittering to the sun-beams like the diamond forest
    of some northern elf-land. You are now on the edge of a
    precipice, to which the Fall itself, a perpendicular of 220
    feet, seems diminutive; it is not until you descend, and
    approach its foot, that the whole majesty of the scene becomes
    apparent. The breadth of the torrent is about fifty feet; the
    waters, from their prodigious descent, seem snowy-white with
    foam, and enveloped in a light drapery of gauzy mist. The cone
    appears about a hundred feet in height, mathematically regular
    in shape, with its base extending nearly all across the stream;
    its sides are not so steep, but that ladies have ascended to the
    top of it; the interior is hollow. I regret to add that a mill
    is constructing on this river, which will, by diverting the
    stream, destroy this imperial sport of nature; or, at least,
    reduce it to the degradation of submitting to be played off at
    the miller’s discretion, like a Versailles fountain.

[Illustration: _Scene from the Summit of the Fall of Montmorency._]

[Illustration: _Montmorency Bridge._]

    “Towards the end of April, the townspeople begin, according to a
    law of the province, to break up the ice and snow from before
    their doors; and by the first week in May the streets are
    tolerably clear. The intermediate state, as may be supposed, is
    a perfect chaos, through which the stumbling pedestrian, like
    the arch-fiend of old—

                               ‘Pursues his way,
               And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps.’

    Meanwhile, the landscape begins to exchange its snowy mantle for
    a russet brown. A few wild-fowl and woodcocks, with some small
    birds, cautiously make their appearance; the sheltered bottoms
    of the pine-woods throw out the earliest flowers; the St.
    Lawrence and Charles rivers become gradually disburthened of
    ice, and enlivened by the gliding sail; still, however, the foot
    of spring seems lingering; the mists, exhaled by the warmth of
    the sun, frequently encounter the keen north-west, and are again
    precipitated in heavy snow showers; snow still blocks up the
    roads, and fills the dells and ditches, sheltered from the
    influence of the sun, thus preserving the gloomy aspect of
    winter through the month of May.

    “The town, or rather city, of Quebec, is built on the northern
    extremity of a narrow strip of high land, which follows the
    course of the St. Lawrence, for several miles, to its confluence
    with the Charles. The basis of this height is a dark slate rock,
    of which most of the buildings in the town are constructed. Cape
    Diamond terminates the promontory, with a bold precipice towards
    the St. Lawrence, to which it is nearly perpendicular, at the
    height of 320 feet. It derives its name from the crystals of
    quartz found in it, which are so abundant, that, after a shower,
    the ground glitters with them. The lower town is built round the
    foot of these heights, without the fortifications, which, with
    the upper town, occupy their crest in bleak preeminence: the
    former, snug and dirty, is the abode of thriving commerce, and
    of most of the lower classes employed about the navy; the
    latter, cold and lofty, is the seat of government, and principal
    residence of the military; and claims, in consequence, that kind
    of superiority which some heads have been said to assert over
    the inglorious belly. To speak the truth, neither has much to
    boast on the score either of beauty or convenience.

    “Among the principal buildings, the government-house, or Castle
    of St. Louis, may take precedence, being a thin blue building,
    which seems quivering, like a theatrical side-scene, on the
    verge of the precipice, towards the St. Lawrence; its front
    resembles that of a respectable gentleman’s house in England;
    the interior contains comfortable family apartments. For
    occasions of public festivity there is another building, on the
    opposite side of the court-yard, much resembling a decayed gaol.
    The furniture is inherited and paid for by each successive
    governor. The grand entrance to the chateau is flanked on one
    side by this grim mouldering pile, and on the other by the
    stables, with their appropriate dunghills. There is a small
    garden on the bank of the river, commanding, as does the chateau
    itself, an interesting view of the opposite shores of the St.
    Lawrence. These rise boldly precipitous, clothed with pine and
    cedar groves, and studded with white villages and detached
    farms; beyond which the eye reposes on successive chains of
    wooded mountains, fading blue in the distant horizon; meanwhile,
    the river below is spreading broadly towards the north, until it
    meets and divides round the Isle of Orleans.

    “In front of the chateau is an open space of ground, with great
    capabilities of being converted into a handsome square; but at
    this season, a formidable barrier of bog-land is all that it
    presents to the bewildered pedestrian, who endeavours vainly to
    steer for the castle gate. On one side of it stands the
    protestant cathedral church, an unfinished building, much more
    than large enough for the congregation usually assembled in it.
    In style and arrangement it resembles a London parochial church,
    and has nothing about it reproachable with earthly beauty. There
    is a good organ, but mute for want of an organist; and as there
    is no choir, the heavy flatness of the service amply secures the
    English church from all danger of being crowded with the
    overflowings of its neighbour, the catholic cathedral, in which
    are still displayed, with no inconsiderable degree of splendour,
    the enticing ceremonies of the Roman worship. I was present at
    the service on Easter Sunday; a train of not less than fifty
    stoled priests and choristers surrounded the tapered altar; the
    bishop officiated in _plenis pontificalibus_, nor lacked the
    mitre, ‘precious and aurophrygiate;’ while the pealing organ,
    incense rolling from silver censers, and kneeling crowds
    thronging the triple aisles, presented a spectacle on which few
    are rigid enough, either in belief or unbelief, to look with
    absolute indifference. A lofty pile of gingerbread cakes,
    ornamented with tinsel, was carried to the bishop to receive his
    blessing, and a sprinkling of holy water, after which they were
    distributed among the people, who received them with most devout
    eagerness. These cakes I understood to be the pious offering of
    some devotee, more rich than wise, who certainly adopted a
    somewhat ludicrous expedient—

              ‘To bribe the rage of ill-requited heaven,’

    with gingerbread.

[Illustration: _Prescott Gate, Quebec._]

[Illustration: _View from the Citadel,_

    “In catholic countries there are few public buildings, either
    for use or ornament, but are in some way connected with
    religion, and most frequently with charity. There are several
    charitable catholic institutions in Quebec: the principal of
    these is the Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 1637 by the Duchess
    d’Aiguillon, (sister to Cardinal Richelieu,) for the poor sick.
    The establishment consists of a superior and thirty-six nuns.
    The General Hospital is a similar institution, consisting of a
    superior and forty-three nuns, founded by St. Vallier, bishop of
    Quebec, in 1693, for “Poor Sick Mendicants.” It stands about a
    mile from the town, in a pleasant meadow, watered by the
    Charles. The style of building is simple, and well suited to the
    purposes of the establishment, consisting only of “such plain
    roofs as piety could raise.” The present superior is a lady of
    Irish extraction, her age apparently bordering on thirty. In
    this conventual seclusion, (devoted to what might well seem to
    the mind of a delicate female the most disgusting duties of
    humanity) she exhibits that easy elegance, and softened
    cheerfulness of manner, so often affected and rarely attained by
    the many votaries who dress their looks and carriage in “the
    glass of fashion.” She conducted us, with the greatest
    politeness, through every part of the building, which, as well
    as the “Hôtel Dieu,” in point of order, neatness, and
    arrangement, seems singularly adapted to the comfort and
    recovery of the unfortunate beings to whose reception they are
    consecrated. Their funds I understood to be small, and managed
    with strict economy. They receive a small sum annually from
    government, in addition to the revenue arising from their domain
    lands. There is no distinction in the admission of catholic or
    protestant; the hand of charity has spread a couch for each in
    his infirmities. Both houses have a small pharmacopœia in charge
    of a sister instructed in medicine. The several duties of
    tending the sick by night, cooking, &c. are distributed by
    rotation. Employment is thus equally secured to all, and the
    first evil of cankering thought effectually prevented. Good
    humour and contented cheerfulness seem to be no strangers to
    these “veiled votaresses;” seem! nay, perhaps are; for, without
    ascribing any miraculous effect to the devotion of a cloister,
    it is no unreasonable supposition, that in an establishment of
    this kind, the duties and occupations of which prevent seclusion
    “from stagnating into apathy, or thought from fretting itself
    into peevishness,” a greater degree of tranquillity, (and this
    is happiness,) may possibly be obtained, than commonly falls to
    the lot of those who drudge through the ordinary callings, or
    weary themselves with the common enjoyments of society. Grave
    men have doubted whether the purposes of these institutions
    might not be better answered by our common hospital
    establishments; and have even indulged themselves in a sneer at
    the idea of young men being attended in sickness by nuns! On the
    question, generally, it may be observed, that few (who have any
    knowledge of the system of common hospitals) can be at a loss to
    appreciate the difference betwixt the tender solicitude with
    which charity smooths, for conscience’ sake, the bed of
    suffering, and the heartless grudging attendance which hospital
    nurses usually inflict upon their victims. If the action of the
    mind produce a sensible effect on the frame, particularly in
    sickness, this is no immaterial circumstance in a medical point
    of view. Even when the hour of human aid is past, it is,
    perhaps, still something that the last earthly object should be
    a face of sympathy, and the last duties of humanity be paid with
    a semblance of affection. For those who dedicate themselves to
    this ministry, some apology may be urged to such as admit
    motives as, at least, an extenuating circumstance in the
    consideration of error. The moral critics, perhaps, who are
    foremost to condemn their practice as superstitious, revolt less
    from the superstition, than from the self-sacrifice it requires.
    Let the lash of satire fall mercilessly on mere bigots, wherever
    they are found: but against the spirit, which, abjuring the
    pleasures, devotes itself to the most painful duties of life,
    what argument can be directed which may not be left for its
    refutation to the prayers and blessings of the poor? The most
    objectionable part of the institution seems to be the committing
    of insane persons, of both sexes, to the charge of females: the
    answer is, that there is no other asylum for them; the blame
    therefore attaches to the police of the country; for it is
    evident, that women are very inadequate to the charge of such
    patients as require coercive treatment, particularly men.”

The Ursuline Convent, founded by Madame de la Peltrie, in 1639, for the
education of female children, stands within the city. It has, both in
its interior decoration, and the dress of its inhabitants, a greater
appearance of wealth than the “General Hospital,” and “Hôtel Dieu.”
Among the ornaments of the chapel, we were particularly directed to the
skull and bones of a missionary, who had been murdered by the savages
for attempting their conversion; it is perhaps doubtful, considering the
general indifference of the Indians on matters of religious controversy,
whether this was the real and sole offence by which he won the crown of
martyrdom. These nuns have generally about 200 little girls under their
care; but I was sorry to observe their education bought with their
health—not one of them but had a pallid, sickly appearance, arising
probably from much confinement, during a long winter, in an atmosphere
highly heated with stoves, joined to the salt unwholesome diet,
generally used by the Canadians.

[Illustration: _Wolfe’s Cove._]

The Seminary is a collegiate institution, for the gratuitous instruction
of the catholic youth of Canada. The number of scholars is commonly
about 200. The expenses of professors, teaching, &c. are defrayed by the
revenue arising from the seignorial domains belonging to the
establishment. The course of studies here qualifies for ordination.
There is a small museum, or “cabinet de physique,” which seems in a
growing condition; it contains, besides natural curiosities, electrical
apparatus, telescopes, and other instruments of science. The library is
somewhat too theological; there is a small hall attached to it, in which
I perceived our Common Prayer Books, Testaments, &c. in company with
many divines, as well catholic as protestant, Bayle, and a few
travellers and philosophers, but the greater part theologians. The old
palace, besides the chambers for the Council, and House of Assembly,
contains a good public library; the nature of the collection may be
defined generally as the reverse of that of the seminary library. There
is a good assortment of historical works, of a standard quality, and of
travels; but no classics, probably because none of the inhabitants
affect to read them. A library is also on the eve of being established
by the officers of the staff and garrison; but the society of Quebec is
generally on too limited a scale, and too exclusively military or
commercial, to foster any considerable spirit of literature or science.
An attempt was made, during Sir G. Prevost’s administration, to
establish a society on the plan of the Royal Institution, but it fell to
the ground for want of a sufficiency of efficient members, eleven being
the supposed necessary quantum to begin with; nor is this seeming
scarcity surprising, when we consider that the short Canadian summer is
appropriated to business, and that during the tedious winter, the men
are never tired of dinners, nor the ladies of dancing.

There are some peculiar and interesting features in the neighbourhood of
Quebec. The lofty banks of the St. Lawrence, from Cape Diamond to Cape
Rouge, are composed of clay-slate, generally of a dark colour, sometimes
of a dull red, whence the name of “Cape Rouge.” The bed of the river is
of the same crumbling stone; and being triturated by time and the
elements, gives its sands a close resemblance, both in colour and
consistency, to smith’s filings. Bare, however, as they are of soil,
these perpendicular cliffs are everywhere clothed with a luxuriant
verdure of shrubs and trees, whose roots, wreathing themselves round
barren rocks, seem to woo from the charity of the heavens the nutriment
denied them by a niggard parent.

About two miles above Quebec, a break in the magnificent line of cliffs
forms the little recess, called Wolfe’s Cove; a steep pathway leads up
the heights to the Plains of Abraham; traces of field-works are still
visible on the turf, and the stone is pointed out on which the hero
expired. The cove is at present appropriated to the reception of lumber,
which comes down the river from the States and Upper Province, in rafts,
which frequently cover the surface of half an acre; when the wind is
favourable they spread ten or twelve square sails, at other times they
are polled down; the men who navigate them build small wooden houses on
them, and thus, transported with their families, poultry, and frequently
cattle, form a complete floating village. A great proportion of the
timber is brought from Lake Champlain, and the trade is almost wholly in
the hands of the Americans.

A second crescent-like recess, about a mile from Wolfe’s Cove, conceals
the little village of Sillori. Nothing can be more romantic than the
seclusion of this charming spot. The river road to it turns round the
foot of gigantic cliffs, which seem interposed betwixt it and the
world’s turmoil. The heights which encircle it are deeply wooded to
their summits, and retire sufficiently from the river to leave a
pleasant meadow and hop-ground round the village, consisting of about
half-a-dozen neat white houses, one of which is an inn. On the river’s
edge stands the ruin of an old religious house, built by French
missionaries, for the purpose of preaching to the Huron tribes, who then
inhabited this neighbourhood. There is now no trace of these
missionaries, or of their labours, except in the little village of
Loretto, which contains the only surviving relics of the once powerful
Huron nation; so efficaciously have disease and gunpowder seconded the
converting zeal of Europeans. Besides the road which winds under the
cliffs, Sillori has two leading to Quebec through the woods. These woods
cover the greater part of the country betwixt the St. Foi road and the
river, offering all the luxury of shade and sylvan loveliness to the few
disposed to accept it. I say the few, for the fashionables of Quebec
commonly prefer making a kind of Rotten-row of the Plains of Abraham,
round which they parade with the periodical uniformity of blind horses
in a mill.

Lake Charles is generally talked of as one of the pleasantest spots
round Quebec, and instances have been known of parties of pleasure
reaching it. It is about three miles in length, and perhaps one at its
greatest breadth. Towards the middle of it, two rocky points shoot out
so as to form, properly speaking, two lakes, connected by a narrow
channel. A scattered hamlet, taking its name from the lake, is seen with
its meadows and tufted orchards, along the right bank of the outward
basin. Wooded heights rise on the opposite shore, and surround the whole
of the interior lake, descending everywhere to the water’s edge; the
whole forming a scene of lovely loneliness, scarcely intruded on by the
canoe of the silent angler. There is more in the whole landscape to feel
than to talk about, so that it is little wonderful that an excursion to
Lake Charles should be more frequently talked about than made.

The Huron village of Loretto stands on the left bank of the Charles,
about four miles below the lake, (eight from Quebec). The river,
immediately on passing the bridge, below the village, rushes down its
broken bed of granite, with a descent of about seventy feet, and buries
itself in the windings of the deeply-shadowed glen below. A part of the
fall is diverted to turn a mill, which seems fearfully suspended above
the foaming torrent. The village covers a plot of ground very much in
the manner of an English barrack, and altogether the reverse of the
straggling Canadian method; it is, in fact, the method of their
ancestors. I found the children amusing themselves with little bows and
arrows. The houses had generally an air of poverty and slovenliness;
that, however, of their principal chief, whom I visited, was neat and
comfortable. One of their old men gave me a long account of the manner
in which the Jesuits had contrived to trick them out of their seignorial
rights, and possession of the grant of land made them by the king of
France, which consisted originally of four leagues by one in breadth,
from Sillori north. Two leagues of this, which were taken from them by
the French government, upon promise of an equivalent, they give up, he
said, as lost; but as the property of the Jesuits is at present in the
hands of commissioners appointed by our government, they were in hopes
of recovering the remainder, which it never could be proved that their
ancestor either gave, sold, lent, or in any way alienated.

                             END OF VOL. I.

                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES

Spelling maintained as written except where obvious errors or omissions.
Multiple spellings of words and names were adopted consistent with
Volume II as follows: General Wolf to Wolfe; General Van Ranssellaer or
Van Renssellaer to Van Rensselaer; Montmorenci to Montmorency; St.
Laurence (river) to St. Lawrence (river); St. John for river and town in
New Brunswick; St. John's for Newfoundland and Quebec early settlement
on the Richelieu River; Abram to Abraham; and moccassins or mocassins to

Punctuation maintained except where obvious omissions or printer errors

Engravings have been enhanced and some engravings have been relocated to
coincide with the text.

[The end of "Canadian Scenery Vol. I of II", by N. P. Willis (Nathaniel

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Canadian Scenery, Volume I (of 2)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.