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is seen a beaver. The figure points to the river, where there is a ship at anchor. In the back ground is a representation of Cape Diamond. The following are the legends on the seal, above-NATURA FORTIS, INDUSTRIA CRESCIT :-below-CONDITA QUEBECENSE, A. D. MDCVIII. Civitatis RegiMINE DONATA, A. D. MDCCCXXXIII.

CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH.

THE SIEGES OF QUEBEC.

One, who is conversant only with the petty and broken lines of European geography, cannot form any adequate conception of the political importance of our impregnable fortress. Placed, as if by the most consummate art, at the very lowest point that effectually commands the navigation of the largest body of fresh water in the world, Cape Diamond holds, and must for ever hold, the keys not only of all the vast and fertile regions, drained by our magnificent river, but of the almost untrodden world between Lake Superior and the rocky mountains.-On one side the icy barriers of the north, on the other, the dangers, delays and distempers of the Mississippi will for ever secure an almost exclusive preference to the great highway of the St. Lawrence. In Quebec and Montreal, respectively, must centre the dominion and the wealth of half a continent.

Quebec has been styled the Gibraltar of America a comparison that conveys a more correct idea of its military strength than of its commercial and political importance. Let the European reader complete the comparison by closing the Baltic, the Elbe and the Rhine, turning the Danube westward into the English channel, and placing Gibraltar so as to command that noble stream's navigation of two thousand miles.

Quebec, moreover, derives a vast degree of relative importance from its being almost the only fortified spot in North America. Over the whole continent nature has not planted a single rival ; while art in the more level districts of the south was in a great measure suspended by swamps and forests.

The spirit of the French system of American colonization appreciated fully the unrivalled advantages of Quebec, and made Cape Diamond the fulcrum of a lever that was to shake the English colonies from their foundations. Every page of the earlier history of these regions forces on the reflecting mind a fundamental distinction, between the English and the French colonies in North America. The former were planted by an intelligent people ; the latter were founded by an ambitious government.

The English settlements, forming, as it were, so many mutually independent states, directed their unfettered energies into the natural channels of agriculture and commerce.-- The French ones, entangled in the meshes of a net of unparallelled extent, were but the inert parts of a political machine, powerful, indeed, but unwieldy, expensive and unproductive. The French sought dominion in military power—the English cherished the spirit and enjoyed the blessings of freedom. Their fundamental distinction, while it gave France a temporary preponderance, could not fail to secure the ultimate triumph of her more enlightened, though less crafty, rival.

From the struggles between these hereditary rivals sprung most of the eventful scenes, which form the subject of this chapter ; and one cannot but wonder that Quebec, the source of all the evils that afflicted

the English settlements, was not more frequently the main object of attack.

Sieges are from various causes, such as the vicissitudes of fortune, the concentration of interest, the pre-eminent display of valour and generosity, and other popular virtues, the most spirit stirring occurrences in warfare ; but one of the sieges of Quebec is peculiarly interesting and important, from its cutting off the contending commanders in the decisive hour of victory, changing the civil and political condition of vast and fertile regions, and bringing to a close the European warfare which had rendered the basins of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi one vast field of blood and battle.

Many years, however, before the political jealousies of France and England rendered Quebec the object of unremitting and vigorous contention, several Indian tribes, influenced partly by a natural dislike of foreign intruders, and partly by hereditary hostility towards the native allies of the strangers, had attempted to sweep away the scarcely formed germs of our ripe and rich metropolis. In the year 1621, when the whole population of Quebec fell short of three score souls, the Five Nations, or, as they are often termed, the Iroquois, surrounded a fortified post on the shore of the River St. Charles, but fearing the consequences of an actual assault, turned their murderous wrath on the chief objects of their vengeance, the Indian allies of the colony. It is but just here to offer the tribute of applause to the superiority of the French over the English in conciliating the aboriginal savages of the North American continent.

While the English fought their way by inches in almost every settlement, the French generally lived

on fraternal terms with their immediate neighbors, and engaged in hostilities with distant tribes rather as allies than as principals. The Indian wars of the English were generally civil ones; those of the French were almost universally foreign. In the incursions, of which we have instanced one, the aim of the Iroquois was not so much the French, as the Hurons and the Algonquins.

After a lapse of eight years of dubious security, Quebec, as if in anticipation of its final and permanent destiny, fell into the hands of the hereditary enemies of France.

In the preceding year, that is in 1628, Sir David Kertk, accompanied by William de Caen, a traitor to his country, penetrated as far as Tadoussac with a powerful squadron, and thence summoned the Governor of Quebec to an immediate surrender. Champlain, who had founded the colony, and whose name will live for ever in a Lake rich in historic recollections, had at that time the command of Quebec. The gallant commander, relying perhaps as much on a bold front, as on the strength of the defences or the prowess of the garrison, saved the settlement from Kertk’s irresistible force by the spirited reply of himself and his companions.

In July following, an English fleet under two brothers of Sir David Kertk, who remained himself at Tadoussac, anchored unexpectedly before the town, Those, who know the difficulty, even in the present day, of conveying intelligence, between Quebec and the lower parts of the river, will not be surprised that this fleet should have, almost literally, brought the first intelligence of its own approach.

The brothers immediately sent, under the protection of a white flag, the following summons, which

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