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ever they admitted the addresses of a lover, it was sure to end in marriage. Lent was found a season the most tedious and diffipass of
the climate during the months of February and March being the most severe of the winter. The cold then excessive, but the weather nevertheless fine, and the sky clear : a Canadian winter possesses indeed this distinction, that there is very little foggy weather, so that every one preserved their health. People got accustomed to the cold as to every thing else, and without wearing too many clothes, the men went for the most part with their coats open.
When there was only two feet of snow upon the ground they called it a very mild winter ; but it was generally five or six feet deep, especially in the woods.
The long duration of the snow rendered it impossible to commence the sowing of grain before May ; but the harvest was nevertheless gathered in during the months of August and September. This abundance of snow was like manure, enriching and warming the soil. If the winters were cold, the summers, which in point of fact were only June and July, were not less insupportable. The heat was then excessive, more so than in the West Indies. Like the cold, it came on without preparation, as it were tout à
coup. No spring was felt bringing on the warm season by imperceptible gradations : the thaw came without being remarked, and there were no deluges of rain as at Paris. Hard frost was sometimes known in the mornings of August ; but it used to pass away and the warm days to return. Thunder was frequent in summer: it had a dull and hollow sound, and generally fell whenever it was heard. Unlike the thunder in the West Indies, it occurs in
Canada in extremely close weather, when there is not a breadth of air. It is then that the heat is intolerable, and a coid, or rather a hoarseness is to be guarded against.
DESCRIPTION IN 1720.
CHARLEVOIX, speaking of the harbor, observes, that “there is no other city besides this in the known world, that can boast of a fresh water harbor one hundred and twenty leagues from the sea, and that capable of containing an hundred ships of the line. It certainly stands upon the most navigable river in the universe." The following is his description of the Lower Town : 66 When CHAMPLAIN founded this city in 1608, the tide usually rose to the foot of the rock. Since that time the river has retired by little and little, and has at last left dry a large piece of ground, on which the Lower Town has since been built, and which is now sufficiently elevated above the water's edge, to secure the inhabitants against the inundation of the river. The first thing you meet with, on landing, is a pretty large square, and of irregular form, having in front a row of well built houses, the back part of which leans against the rock, so that they have no great depth. These form a street of considerable length, occupying the whole breadth of the square, and extending on the right and left as far as the two ways which lead to the Upper Town. The square is bounded towards the left by a small Church, and towards the right by two rows of houses placed in a parallel direction. There is also another street on the other side between the Church and the harbor, and at the turning of the river under Cape Diamond, there is likewise another pretty long flight
of houses on the banks of a creek called L'Anse des Mères. This quarter may be reckoned properly enough a sort of Suburb to the Lower Town. 'Between this Suburb and the great street, you go up to the higher town by so steep an ascent, that it has been found necessary to cut it into steps. Thus it is impossible to ascend it, except on foot. But in going from the square towards the right, a way has been made, the declivity of which is much more gentle, and which is lined with houses. At the place where these two ways meet begins that part of the Upper Town which faces the River, there being another Lower Town on the side towards the Little River St. Charles. The first building worthy of notice you meet with on your right hand in the former of those sides, is the Bishop's Palace ; the left being entirely occupied with private houses.”
This topography of CHARLEVOIX is perfectly correct, and intelligible at the present day, very little alteration having taken place. It will be remembered that there was then no Gate near the Bishop's Palace—a simple barrier of pickets was all the defence ; and so it remained at the capture in 1759, as is shown by an ancient print with which we have been favored. It has been noticed in a former place, that the path, afterwards called Mountain Street, was made by CHAMPLAIN after building the first Fort. It is most probable that the descent into the Cul-de-Sac, by the steps opposite to Mr. Neilson's Printing Office, was the most ancient way to the Lower
Town, and was the one made by CHAMPLAIN. The other descent for carriages was made subsequently, and is spoken of by LE BEAU, who was in QUEBEC nine years after CHARLEVOIX, as being in his time extremely difficult for carriages. It
was so, indeed, until macadamized a few years ago; and even now it is very steep.
Until the year 1682, the houses in the LOWER Town were of wood. On the 5th August, in that year, a fire took place which consumed the whole of the buildings, except one house. All the merchandise in the stores, which were full, was destroyed ; and as expressed in our French manuscript, “they lost that night more valuables than all Canada at present possesses.” The house which escaped the fames belonged to M. AUBERT DE LACHENAYE. He was a rich and generous merchant, and liberally assisted his countrymen with his power and means in rebuilding their houses. He lent his money so freely that there was scarcely a house in the Lower Town which was not mortgaged to him ; and this he did for no sordid purpose, but for the good of the Colony, and of his fellow citizens.
The Lower Town, as might be expected, suffered greatly from the fire of the British batteries in 1759. We have seen an old print representing the state of the Place de Notre Dame, or Lower Town Market Place, drawn upon the spot, in 1761. The CHURCH was entirely destroyed, nothing remaining but the walls very much shattered. The houses in Notre Dame Street, and on the opposite side of the square, appear untenanted, many of them roofless, and all in the vicinity more or less injured. The size and height of the houses are the same as they are now : that on the south-west angle of the square appears exactly as at present. This print is interesting, as showing the substantial and convenient manner in which the best houses in the LOWER Town had been rebuilt, after the great fire mentioned above, in 1682. In point of appearance they were little