Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

establishment; and was besides distinguished for his liberality on many other occasions.

THE INTENDANT'S PALACE.

Immediately through PALACE-Gate, turning towards the left, and in front of the Ordnance buildings and storehouses, once stood an edifice of great extent, surrounded by a spacious garden looking towards the River St. Charles, and as to its interior decorations, far more splendid than even the Castle of St. Lewis. It was the Palace of the Intendant, so called, because the sittings of the Sovereign Council were held there, after the establishment of the Royal Government in New France. A small district adjoining is still called, Le Palais, by the old inhabitants, and the name of the Gate, and of the well proportioned street which leads to it, are derived from the same origin.

The Intendant's Palace was described by La Potherie, in 1698, as consisting of eighty toises, or four hundred and eighty feet, of buildings, so that it appeared a little town in itself. The King's stores were kept there,

Its situation does not at the present time appear advantageous, but the aspect of the River St. Charles was widely different in those days. The property in the neighborhood belonged to the Government, or to the Jesuits-large meadows and flowery parterres adorned the banks of the river, and reached the base of the rock ; and as late as the time of CHARLEVOIX, in 1720, that quarter of the city is spoken of as being the most beautiful. trance was into a court, through a large gateway, the ruins of which, in St. Vallier Street, still remain. The buildings formed nearly a square—in front of

The en

the river were spacious gardens, and on the sides the King's store houses. Beyond the Palace, towards the west, were the pleasing grounds of the Jesuits, and of the General Hospital.

This building, like most of the public establishments of QUEBEC, went through the ordeal of fire, and was afterwards rebuilt with greater attention to comfort and embellishment. In September, 1712, M. BEGON arrived as Intendant, with a splendid equipage, rich furniture, plate and apparel befitting his rank. He was accompanied by his wife, a young lady lately married, whose valuable jewels were the general admiration. A fire, which it was found impossible to extinguish, broke out in the night of the 5th January, 1713; and burned so rapidly, that the Intendant and his lady with difficulty escaped in their robes de chambre. The latter was obliged to break the panes of glass in her apartment, before she had power to breathe, so as to attempt her escape through the smoke with which the

passages were filled. Two young French women, who attended Madame BEGON, perished in the flames—the Intendant's valet anxious to save some of his master's clothes, ventured imprudently within the burning chambers, and was consumed by the flames—his secretary, desirous of rescuing some valuables, passed several times through the gardens towards the river in front of the house, without shoes, and was frozen. He died in the Hotel Dieu, a few days afterwards. The loss of the Intendant was stated at forty thousand crowns : his lady lost her jewels and rich dresses. Such, however, were the resources of M. BEGON, that he is said to have lived with as much state in the Bishop's Palace, where he established himself, as he had maintained before the fire. On this occasion, the papers and

you enter.

records of the Treasury were lost, as well as the registers of the Council, and other valuable documents belonging to the King of FRANCE. The Palace was afterwards rebuilt in a splendid style by M. BEGON at the King's expense. The following is its description, given by CHARLEVOIX, in 1720, a few years afterwards; “ The Intendant's house is called the Palace, because the Superior Council assembles in it. This is a large pavilion, the two extremities of which project some feet; and to which you ascend by a double flight of stairs. The garden front which faces the little river, which is very nearly on a level with it, is much more agreeable than that by which

The King's magazines face the court on the right side, and behind that is the prison. The gate by which you enter is hid by the mountain on which the Upper Town stands, and which on this side affords no prospect, except that of a steep rock, extremely disagreeable to the sight. It was still worse before the fire, which reduced some years ago this whole Palace to ashes ; it having at that time no outer court, and the buildings then facing the street which was very narrow. As you go along this street, or to speak more properly, this road, you come first of all into the country.”

The Intendant's Palace was neglected as a place of official residence after the conquest in 1759. In 1775, it was occupied by a detachment of the American invading army, and destroyed by the fire of the Garrison. The only remains at present are a private house, the gateway alluded to above, and several stores belonging to Government, formed by repairing some of the old French buildings. The whole is now known by the name of the King's woodyard.

THE BISHOP'S PALACE.

This is one of the ancient buildings of QUEBEC, having been erected soon after the establishment of the See ; and possesses a degree of historical interest, standing on, probably, the first cleared land in this part of the continent. Nothing could be more beautiful than the site chosen. It is at the south-eastern extremity of the grand battery, between it and the descent into the Lower Town by Mountain Street. It is believed that here was the first clearance made by CHAMPLAIN, who commenced his labors at the end of St. George Street, near the stone store of the Ordnance department, and continued them as far as the Récollet Convent and the Place d'Armes. He built his first Fort nearly on the site of the Bishop's Palace. It was afterwards, as has been mentioned in another place, removed to a more commanding position, that of the CASTLE OF ST. Lewis.

The Bishop's Palace commands an extensive prospect towards the north, with a delightful view of the basin, and of Pointe Lévi. The garden was formerly inclosed, reaching to the brow of the precipice called the Sault-au-Matelot. It was divided from that of the Seminary by a wall, as at present; and another wall ran along the ascent from the Lower Town. A gateway, which was nearly opposite the rear of Mr. CLOUET's house, gave admittance to the Evéché, or the official residence of the BISHOP, to which it has been customary to apply the title of PALACE.

It was originally intended that the Bishop's PaLACE should maké in figure an oblong square, the

« ForrigeFortsett »