« ForrigeFortsett »
out an appropriation being made by their representatives, for an object so necessary and indispensable, and at the same time, so independent of party feeling and prejudice. The beauty of the vacant site, and the extent of the area will afford an opportunity of erecting an edifice worthy of its ancient fame, honorable to the Province, and ornamental to the city of Quebec, as yet too deficient in public buildings where taste in architecture is displayed.
Such is a sketch of the history of the Castle of St. Lewis, for above two centuries the seat of colonial government. It is now a heap of blackened ruins. Relics like these, however, at once engage the attention by recalling images of past grandeur, of dames once illustrious, and of deeds that still adorn the historic page. Nor is there any mental association productive of so much melancholy pleasure, as that which unites the idea of those who tenanted an ancient edifice in its prosperous day, with the contemplation of the solitude and ruin to which the pile has since been doomed.
THE RUINED CHATEAU.
Here, from these storied walls, in ancient day
By CHAMPLAIN raised, the patriot and the brave-
Thy latest* Chief, who ne'er from honor swervid,
With ebbing life resigned his pride of placeThy fealty changed, thy glories all preserv'd,
The British Lion guards thee from disgrace!
Long shall thy gentler triumphs be our theme,
Thy beauteous dames, thy gallant, plumed train : The great and good flit by me as a dream,
Who once kept here their hospitable reign !
Here has the table groaned with lordly cheer
Here has the toast, the dance, the well-trilld song, Welcomed each coming of the infant year,
And served the festive moments to prolong!
Still, midst these ruined heaps, in mental pain,
Does faithful memory former years restoreRecall the busy throng, the jocund train,
And picture all that charmed us here before !
Yet now, how changed the scene! 'Tis silence all
Save where the heedful sentry steps his round ! We may not look upon that ruined ball,
Nor venerate the site so long renown'd!
CHAPTER THE NINTH.
ANCIENT APPEARANCE OF THE CITY-GENERAL DES
CRIPTION-CAPE DIAMOND-THE FORTIFICATIONS.
The settlement of colonies has always been a subject of deep historical interest and research. Their successful establishment has, indeed, been attended with the happiest results to mankind. By them new worlds have been peopled-languages perpetuated -commerce extended, and the art of navigation brought to its present state of perfection. The blessings of true religion have been communicated to man, redeemed from his savage state ; while cities and turretted walls have supplanted the solitude of the desert and the forest, or taken the place of the primitive caves and wigwams of the aboriginal inhabitants. By colonies the face of the earth has been cultivated, and the produce of the soil rendered the means of subsistence and social happiness.
The principal design of the French settlements in Canada,—after the trade in peltry had proved sufficiently attractive to the associated merchants of France, to induce them to maintain their property in the country-was evidently to propagate the Christian religion as professed by the founders of Quebec, to tame and civilize the heathen, and to bring him to the worship of the true God. It was a common
saying of CHAMPLAIN, “That the salvation of one soul was of more value than the conquest of an empire !" Their next object was of a more mundane and political complexion, namely, to acquire a preponderance on the American continent by means of their priesthood,—and through the influence which gratitude for their services had procured them among the Indian tribes, to whose temporal and spiritual wants they had rendered themselves nearly equally necessary, and whose affections they left no means unattempted to engage and retain.
This policy, long acted upon, influenced every part of their system. It extended even to the character of the earliest edifices which they erected in this country. The only permanent buildings were those devoted to the purposes of war and religion. The irregularity of the lines of the different streets in Quebec is attributable to the same remote cause. Any one who examines the site of the city will
perceive at once, that the greater portion of the area was occupied from the first by its public buildings. To show this more clearly, let us take a brief survey of the ancient city.
The space occupied by the buildings of the ancient Fort, afterwards the Castle of St. Lewis, was very extensive, reaching from Prescott-Gate to the commence, ment of the acclivity of Cape Diamond, and including the large open space where WOLFE's column now stands. Formerly there were no houses between the Castle and the Cape, and St. Lewis Street was merely a military road. Immediately in front of the Castle was an esplanade or open space, still called the Place d'Armes, on one side of which stood the Church and Convent of the Récollet Monks. Their buildings, with the garden, occupied the whole site on
which stand the Court House and the English Cathedral. They possessed the entire area between St. Anne and St. Lewis Streets, and gave the modern name of Garden Street. Not far from the corner of the Place d'Armes, in St. Anne Street, there stands within the precincts of the Church close, a venerable tree, the last relic of those which once shaded the Récollet fathers--a touching monument of olden time -perhaps the last tenant of the primeval forest. Under this tree or on its site, tradition relates that CHAMPLAIN pitched his tent, on landing and taking possession of his new domain. Here he lived until the habitation, which he was building near the brink of the rock, was ready for the reception of his little band. In the rear of the Récollet Church, at a short distance from it, was the Ursuline Convent, still occupying with its garden a considerable space enclosed within St. Anne, St. Lewis and St. Ursule Streets. Beyond the latter were the ancient ramparts of the city. St. Anne Street divided the possessions of the Ursuline Nuns from those of the Jesuits. The College of the latter stood in a considerable square, now the market-place ; and was surrounded by a garden, planted with lofty and umbrageous trees, extending from St. Anne to St. John Streets. The French Cathedral, occupying one side of this square, and its attached buildings covered a space reaching to Fort Street, and was divided from the Place d'Armes by a road, which was afterwards Buade Street. At the descent into Mountain Street, the buildings belonging to the French Cathedral communicated with the site occupied by the Bishop's Palace and gardens, reaching to the edge of the rock. The ancient Palace is said to have been equal to many similar establishments in France. From the French Cathedral to the