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on Stme dy Sproule from an Original by IV S Sowell.
fo Haw Arture et Quebro. CASTLE OF ST LEWIS,QUEBEC.
too, in intervals of peace, were laid those benevolent plans for the religious instruction and conversion of the savages, which at one time distinguished the policy of the ancient Governors. At a later era, when, under the protection of the French Kings, the Province had acquired the rudiments of military strength and power, the Castle of St. Lewis was remarkable, as having been the site whence the French Governors exercised an immense sovereignty, extending from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, along the shores of that noble river, its magnificent lakes,--and down the course of the Mississippi, to its outlet below New Orleans. The banner which first streamed from the battlements of Quebec, was displayed from a chain of forts, which protected the settlements throughout this vast extent of country : keeping the English Colonies in constant alarm, and securing the fidelity of the Indian nations. During this period, the council chamber of the Castle was the scene of many a midnight vigil,--many a long deliberation and deep-laid project, -to free the continent from the intrusion of the ancient rival of France, and assert throughout the supremacy of the Gallic lily. At another era, subsequent to the surrender of Quebec to the British arms, and until the recognition of the independence of the United States, the extent of empire, of the government of which the Castle of Quebec was the principal seat, comprehended the whole American continent, north of Mexico! It is astonishing to reflect for a moment, to how small, and, as to size, comparatively insignificant an island in the Atlantic ocean, this gigantic territory was once subject !
Here also was rendered to the representative of the French King, with all its ancient forms, the fealty
and homage of the noblesse, and military retainers, who held possessions in the Province under the Crown-a feudal ceremony, suited to early times, which imposed a real and substantial obligation on those who performed it, not to be violated without forfeiture and dishonor. The King of Great Britain having succeeded to the rights of the French Crown, this ceremony is still maintained.*
In England, it is also still performed by the Peers at the coronation of our Kings, in Westminster Abbey, although the ceremony is much curtailed of its former impressive observances.
The Castle of St. Lewis was in early times rather a strong hold of defence, than an embellished ornament of royalty. Seated on a tremendous precipice,
On a rock whose haughty brow
Frown'd o'er St. Lawrence' foaming tideand looking defiance to the utmost boldness of the assailant, nature lent her aid to the security of the position. The cliff on which it stood rises nearly two hundred feet in perpendicular height above the
* Fealty and homage is rendered at this day by the Seigniors to the Governor, as the representative of the Sovereign in the following form : His Excellency being in full dress and seated in a state chair, surrounded by his staff, and attended by the Attorney General, the Seignior, in an evening dress and wearing a sword, is introduced into his presence by the Inspector General of the Royal Domain and Clerk of the Land Roll, and having delivered up his sword, and kneeling upon one knee before the Governor, places his right hand between his, and repeats the ancient oath of fidelity ; after which a solemn act is drawn up in a register, kept for that purpose, which is signed by the Governor and the Seignior, and countersigned by the proper officers.
river. The Castle thus commanded on every side a most extensive prospect, and until the occupation of the higher ground to the south west, afterwards called Cape Diamond, must have been the principal object among the buildings of the city.
When Champlain first laid the foundation of the Fort, in 1620, to which he gave the name of St. Lewis, it is evident that he was actuated by views of a political, not of a commercial character, His mind was in better keeping with warlike enterprises than the acquirement of wealth, either for himself or his followers. He was perfectly disinterested in all his proceedings ; and foreseeing that Quebec would become the seat of dominion, and invite a struggle for its future possession, he knew the necessity of a strong hold, and determined to erect one, in opposition to the wishes of the company of merchants. He tells us, that on his return from France, in July, 1620, having read the King's commission, and taken possession of the country in the Viceroy's name, by his direction - “ Part of the laborers commenced a fort, to avoid the dangers which might occur, seeing that without one there could be no security in a country removed by its distance from all hopes of assistance. I placed this building in an excellent situation, upon a mountain which commanded the passage of the St. Lawrence, one of the narrowest parts of that River ; and yet none of the company's associates were able to perceive the necessity of a strong hold, for the
preservation of the country, and of their own property. The house thus built afforded no satisfaction to them ; but for that matter, I felt it my duty, nevertheless, to carry into effect the commands of the Viceroy ; and this is the real way to avoid receiving an affront, for