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Town, actually overhanging its streets, so that the burning flakes fell upon the roofs of the houses below, combined to make this mastery of the flames almost an object to be admired. The scene, from the Lower Town, was truly picturesque; and at a distance, the view of the fire, and its reflection on the ice and snow, lave been described as singularly beautiful.
The Provincial Parliament being then in session, His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief sent down the following message, on the 24th January, 1834:
“ AYLMER, Governor-in-Chief. “ It is with regret that His Excellency feels him. self under the necessity of informing the House of Assembly, that the ancient Castle of St. Lewis, which he occupied as his official residence, caught fire yesterday about noon, and that notwithstanding the efforts of His Majesty's troops, of his Honor the Mayor of Quebec, of the gentlemen of thc Seminary, of the firemen and the crowd of citizens of all classes, who had hastened to the spot, and exerted themselves unceasingly to save that public edifice, it has entirely become a prey to the flames.
66 Castle of St. Lewis, Quebec, 24th January, 1834.”
This was replied to in the Legislative Council by a loyal address of condolence, and an expression of readiness on their part to unite in any appropriation which might come before them, for the purpose of erecting a suitable residence for the Governor-in-Chief of these Provinces. It has been generally regretted that the House of Assembly did not proceed upon this message ; but it is to be hoped and expected on the part of the people of the Province, that another session will not be allowed to pass over with
oat 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 names 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 braveThe Gallic Lily once claimed regal sway,
Where'er ST. LAWRENCE rolls his mighty wave!
Thy latest* Chief, who ne'er from honor swerv'd,
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 fit 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-trill'd 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'hall,
Nor venerate the site so long renown's !
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 commencement 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