AN ACCOUNT OF THE French Settlements IN North America: Shewing from the latest Authors, the Towns, Ports, Islands, Lakes, Rivers, &c. Of Canada, Claimed and improved by the French King.

By a Gentleman.

To which is added an APPENDIX, Giving a more particular and exact ACCOUNT of QUEBEC, with its Inhabitants and their Manner of Living. By P. CHARLEVOIX.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by Rogers and Fowle in Queen-street next to the Prison. 1746.



THE Compiler of the following Account, understanding that many People of this Country would be glad to be more ac­quainted with the State of the French Set­tlements in Northern America, therefore has taken the Care and Pains to look over several Authors and make Extracts from them, and give them to the Printer to gratify them. He has principally improved Mr. SALMON'S Present State of French A­merica: But he has from other Authors, and from what he has learnt by Conversati­on and Enquiry, added sundry Particulars which are not to be found in that Writer.

The Gentleman, who has prepared this View of the French Interest in North A­merica, was far from designing a thorough History of their Settlements: And, if he was otherwise capable of doing such a Thing; he says, that he is not furnish'd with Materials for the Purpose, nor yet with sufficient Leizure to put them together: [Page] And he adds, that it was with much Diffi­culty he could spare the Time to look over his modern Historians and collect the fol­lowing Account for us.

Our Friend, who has taken this Trouble supposes, that the following Account will answer the Ends which he proposes in the Publication of it: For it will serve to shew, what a bad and incroaching Sort of People our French Neighbours are, and how ne­cessary it is that the English Colonies should be on their Guard against them, and that they should unite both Heart and Hand in subduing of Canada and reducing it to the Obedience of the Crown of GREAT-BRITAIN.

Nor has our kind Collector any Doubt but that, at the Reading of the following Account, short and imperfect as it is, all the Friends of these Colonies and Provinces will unite in servent Wishes, that the Ex­pedition proposed for their Defence and Safety, as well as the Good of our Mother Kingdoms, may be form'd under the Di­rection and Conduct of Heaven, and thro' the Divine Blessing be vigorously put in Execution and gloriously succeeded.


An Account of the Countries claimed by the French in North America.

THE French call all those Countries their own which lie between the mouth of the river St. Lawrence and the bay of St. Lewis on the north west part of the gulph of Mexico, extending their dominions from the north-east to the south-west, near four thousand miles, and from the south-east of Florida to the north-west of Ca­nada, being an extent of land very little short of the former.

The countries included within these limits, which formerly went under the general names of Canada and Florida, the French have changed into New-France and Louisiana. New-France or Canada they seem to divide from Louisiana or Florida by an imaginary line drawn directly from the British plantations on the east, to New-Mexico on the west, in 39 degrees of north latitude. In the grant of Louisiana to Mons. CROZAT, by LEWIS XIV. anno 1712, the bounds of it are said to be the river and lake of Illinois on the north, Carolina on the east, the gulph of Mexico on the south, and New-Mexico on the west. As to Canada or New-France, the French would scarce admit it had any bounds to the north on this side the pole, till they were limited on that side by an article in the treaty of Utrecht, which assigns New-Britain and Hudson's Bay on the north of Canada to Great-Britain. And commissioners on both sides afterwards ascertained the limits by an imaginary line running from a cape or promontory of New-Britain in the Atlantick-Ocean, at [Page 6] 58 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, and running from thence south west to the lake Miscosick, or Mistasin, and from thence further south-west indefinitely to the latitude of 49, all the lands to the north of the said line being assigned to Great-Britain, and all to the south of that line, as far as the river of St. Lawrence, to the French.

The eastern boundaries of New-France of Canada the French admit are the British plantations of Nova-Scotia, New-England, &c. the southern boundary, the line which divides New-France from Louisiana; and to the westward the French extend the country of New-France as far as the Pacifick-Ocean; and the continent of Asia shall be found hereafter to be contiguous to North­America.

It may be enquired in the next place what the French are really possessed of in North America that can support their claim to all those fine countries which lie between the British plantations on the east, and New-Mexico on the west; or what colour they have to oppose the Eng­lish extending their colonies westward as far as they can agree with the Indians for their lands; or to expose the Spaniards in extending their dominions from New Mexico to the eastward as far as the river Missisippi.

We cannot find that the French have yet five towns in all that vast extent of country that lies between the Bri­tish and the Spanish dominions in North-America; and it is very well known that the Spaniards possessed the west side of North-America, and the English the east, long before the French had a settlement in the country. Indeed the French have since crept into the mouth of St. Lawrence on the north-east, and into the river Mis­sissipi on the south-west, and have built a town or two with some forts on these rivers and on the neighbouring lakes which run thro' this vast continent; and no doubt, were they strong enough in those parts, they would el­bow both the Spaniards and English out of Canada and Florida. But if the first discovery, and the actual pos­session and improvement of a country can give a Prince or state any title to it, the Spaniards and English must [Page 7] have a better right to it than the French, especially where the natives have put themselves under the pro­tection of either nation, and acknowledged themselves subjects of the respective Sovereigns. Now most of the nations on the east of the rivers Missisippi and St. Law­rence, it appears, voluntarily have acknowledged them­selves subject to the crown of England, and the countries west of the Missisippi have most of them submitted to the Spaniards: Where then shall we find the countries of New-France and Louisiana, unless it be within the reach of the great guns of their forts on the rivers of St. Lawrence and Missisippi; and here they have scarce any other title to the country than what they obtained by usurpation, or a lawless force, very seldom asking leave of the natives to settle in their country; which alone can give a foreigner a just right to the dominion of it. We look upon it, therefore, that the French have the least pretensions to Florida or Canada of any of the three powers already mentioned. However, as they have actually been possessed of some countries in Canada between the river of St. Lawrence and New-Britain or Hudson's Bay for about an hundred years, and these countries seem to be confirmed to them as far as the English had a right to confirm them, I shall readily allow their title to that part of Canada. But as to the rest of Canada and Louisiana, we cannot admit they have a right to any part of them, notwithstanding the forts they have erected on those rivers. The eastern side of the [...] is the property of the Indians subject to Great-Britain, and the western side of it belongs to the Indians who are under the dominion of the Spaniards; and we find the Spaniards asserting their title to it by demolish­ing the forts that Mons. DE SALE and D' IBBERVILLE erected on the west side of that river, and have as much right to demolish the forts the French have erected on the west side of it.


Concerning the chief Rivers in these Countries claimed by the French.

THE chief rivers in this vast extended country are, The river St. Lawrence. The river Missisippi. The river Illinois. The Oubach. The Hohio. The Pelesipi; and, The Hogohegee.

The Missisippi, or river St. Lewis, according to the French accounts, rises in the north-west part of Canada, taking its course first to the south-east, and in 45 de­grees, turning almost due south, continues that course till it discharges itself into the gulf of Mexico in 30 degrees north latitude, and 95 degrees of western longi­tude, by four or five mouths, several large rivers falling into it both from the east and west. The Missisippi is agreed to be a very large deep river; and some French writers add, that it is a gentle stream, and navigable for large vessels from the source almost to the mouth. But other French writers, and some English seamen, assure us, that it has a very rapid stream, and that there are cataracts in several parts of it which obstruct the navi­gation; and that there are such shoals at the mouth of the river that large ships cannot enter it.

The river Illinois is another navigable river, which rising near the lake of the same name, takes its course to the south-west, and falls into the Missisippi.

The rivers Oubach and Hohio are two navigable ri­vers, which rising near the lake Erie unite their streams, and fall into the Missisippi in 36 degrees north latitude.

The Pelesipi and Hogohegee rise in the Apalathian mountains, and uniting their streams, flow almost due west till they meet with the Hohio a little before it falls into the Missisippi, in 36 degrees north latitude; at the mouths of which rivers stands a French fort, called the Old Fort.

[Page 9]The river of St. Lawrence issues out of the lake Ontario or Frontenac, in 45 degrees of north latitude, and 78 degrees of western longitude; and taking its course to the north-east by Montreal and Quebeck, dis­charges itself into the bay or gulph of St. Lawrence, in 51 degrees north latitude, being navigable for large ves­sels as high as Montreal; but near that town there is a cataract which interrupts the navigation. This is one of the greatest and fairest rivers in the world: It is at the mouth 25 leagues, some say 30 leagues, in breadth; and, it is 150 fathom deep as some report, others affirm it to be two hundred fathom deep: Its length may be about 500 leagues, or fifteen hundred miles: It empties it self into the great bay or gulph mentioned before over against the isle of Natiscotec, since called by the French the isle of [...], and commonly known now by the name of the island of Anticosta. There are three ways of going into this great river: The principal is directly by the island of Anticosta: The second is round the island of Newfoundland through the straits of Belle Isle. And the third is thro' the Gut of Canseau, which is about two leagues broad, and deep enough for the greatest ships: And it is remarkable, that this passage is clear at all seasons of the year: Whereas the channel of Cape de Raye is often cover'd with ice in April. This river of St. Lawrence abounds not only with fresh water fish, but with sea fish also: Its banks are very pleasant, having wild vines growing on the borders of them: And its channel, which is very large, contains many great islands. The Nut-Tree-Island is three leagues long and two broad. The island of Bacchus, as it was formerly called by reason of the great quantity of wild vines that grow on it, but now called the isle of Orleans is six leagues long and one and half broad; and it is about a league and a half from Quebec. It was over against this, that Sir WILLIAM PHIPS made his Descent; but he was here repulsed by the Indians in ambuscade, who did the Army under his Command more Damage than all the French People put together.

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Concerning the Lakes in this extended Country.

THIS country has several spacious lakes, the chief whereof are, The lake of Ontario or Frontenac. The lake Erie. The Huron Lake. The Illinois Lake; and, The Upper Lake, any of which are several hun­dred miles in length.

On the north and west of the five nations lie several, spacious lakes, the most considerable whereof, are those of Champlain, Ontario, and Erie.

The lake Champlain, or Corlaer, extends itself from north to south, between Montreal and Albany, being about two hundred miles in length; and, by a stream which falls into the great river St. Lawrence, has a communication with that river on the north, while the southern part of the lake, on which the French have built the fort called the Sacrament, extends almost to Hudson's River, on which Albany stands, and would give the French an easy access to New-York and New-England, if some forts had not been built by the Eng­lish further north, to cover those frontiers from their invasions, of which the chief is fort Nicholson.

The second lake is that of Ontario, called by the French Frontenac, and by some Cataracui, while others give it the name of The Lake of Canada, because the river Canada or St. Lawrence, issues out of it: But the first and most proper name that was given to it was that of Iroquois, the shores of it on the south and east at least being inhabited by the Iroquois or five nations. This lake is about an hundred leagues in length, and forty in breadth, abundance of rivers falling into it on the south-east especially; but the greatest body of waters fall into it from the river Niagara, or Oniagara, being a [Page 11] streight or channel between the lake of Erie and this lake, in which is one of the most remarkable cataracts or waterfalls in the world, which prevents both ships and boats passing from one lake to the other.

The third lake we mentioned is that of Erie, separated from the lake Ontario by the streight or river of Niagara. This lake extends from the country of the Iroquois to the westward, about four hundred miles in length, and is near an hundred miles broad. From the lake of Erie there is a passage through the lake St. Clair into that of the Hurons, and so into the lake Illinois, near which rises a river which falls into the Missisippi; but from the best information we can get, there is no conti­nued navigation from the lake Erie to the Missisippi, nor is Missisippi River navigable in all parts of it, as the French once flattered themselves, there being se­veral cataracts or steep falls in it.

The lake of Hurons has a communication with that of Erie, and with the lakes of Illinois and the upper lake: And the river Illinois rising near the lake of the same name, and falling into the Missisippi, the French proposed by this means to have an easy com­munication between the rivers of St. Lawrence and Missisippi, and to unite New-France and Louisiana into one province. But as there is no passage by water from the lake Ontario to that of Erie, on ac­count of the cataract of Niagara; and as there are several cataracts in the rivers St. Lawrence and Mississippi, and they must take so vast a compass to the north-east in such a journey to pass through the lakes of the Hurons and Illinois, and as there is a conside­rable space between the lake and the river Illinois, we question whether it would not this way take up five or six months for a single man to travel from Quebeck to the mouth of the river Mississipi: And probably it would be impracticable for a great body of men to march the same ground in twice that time.

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Concerning the chief Towns and Ports improved by the French in North-America.

IT is said, that the French have lately erected a town called New Orleans, at or near the mouth of the river Missisippi in Louisiana: But we have never yet seen any particular description of this town, or any of the other French settlements in those remote parts to the southward of us.

As for the towns in Canada, there are but three of any considerable Figure: These are Quebeck, Mont­real and Trois Rivieres.

Quebeck is the capital, is situated in 47 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, and in 71 degrees of western longitude, on the north shore of the river of St. Law­rence, about two hundred leagues south-west of the mouth of it; being divided into the upper and lower town, both of them about three miles in circumference, and defended by a castle which stands on an eminence: There being in the upper town five churches, besides the cathedral; the Bishop and twelve Prebends residing together in the chapter-house, which, it is said, is a most admirable structure.

This city is the metropolis of the French dominions in North-America as well as a Bishop's see; The French king's prime officer, who resides here, assuming the title of Governor and Captain-General both of New-France and Louisiana, which, according to the French, compre­hends all Canada and Florida; except some little por­tions they are pleased to permit Great-Britain to possess, till they are in a condition to drive our colonies from thence into the sea, in the language of one of their writers. The Governor-general has twenty thousand crowns a year, including the pay of his company of guards and the particular government of the fort: Not [Page 13] to mention the presents made by the farmers of the bea­ver skins to him, and other ways and means whereby he sucks as much money out of the country as the a­bovemention'd articles. The Bishop's incomes are so small, that, if the King were not pleas'd to add to his bishoprick some other benefices in France, he would have but short commons. A Captain here has one hun­dred and twenty livres a month; a Lieutenant ninety; and a common soldier six sous a day of the current mo­ney of the country. It is said, that the Governor-general, though he neglects no opportunity of enriching him­self, yet commonly hears two masses a day and is obli­ged to confess once in twenty four hours. He has Clergymen hanging about him wherever he goes; and indeed, properly speaking, they are his counsellors. When the governor is thus back'd by the clergy; the Intendants, the under governors and the sovereign-council dare not censure his conduct, be it ever so faul­ty: For the support and protection of the Ecclesiasticks shelters him from all the charges that can be laid against him. The present governor of Canada is Monsieur BEAUHARNOIS, who, it is reported, though he be above ninety years of age, is a boon companion. The inten­dant is monsieur HOCQUART.

Montreal is situated on an island in the river of St. Lawrence, sixty leagues south-west of Quebeck; the island being about fourteen leagues in length and five in breadth. The whole island is full of fine plantations, and the town strongly situated; at least we find it was strong enough to defend itself against the attacks of the Iroquois or five nations, when they burnt and plundered all the French settlements in the island but this town, in the year 1688: And we do not doubt but the fortifi­cations have been since improved, as it is the principal frontier garrison of the French against the Iroquois or Indians under the protection of New-York. The river of St. Lawrence is not navigable above Montreal on account of some cataracts and the rapidity of the stream.

[Page 14]Trois Rivieres is a town so named from its situation at the confluence of three rivers, one whereof is that of St. Lawrence, and lies almost in the midway between Quebeck and Montreal: It is said to be a well built town, and considerable mart, where the Indians ex­change their skins and Furrs for European goods.

From Quebec to Montreal, on each side of the river are, as one may call them, two continued villages about sixty leagues in length. Mr. de FRONTENAC governor of Canada, when Sir W. PHIPS went against it, was at Montreal; and, as soon as he heard of the approach of the English, he set out for Quebec and on the third day arrived there.

There is indeed another town in New-France, upon the bay of St. Lawrence, where it receives the river Saguen, a hundred miles from Quebec to the south-east, the name of which is T [...]d [...]usac: But this is a place of no great strength or consequence.

Concerning the two unsuccessful Attempts of the English to take Canada.

THE success, which Sir WILLIAM PHIPS, in the year 1690 met with in the reduction of Nova Scotia encouraged him to attempt the conquest of Canada, which would have rendred the English masters of all the north-east part of America; and to support him in this enterprize, the people of New-England fitted out a fleet of two and thirty sail, putting on board of it two thousand men under his command: And it was con­certed with the western colonies, that a thousand Eng­lish and fifteen hundred Indians should march over land from Connecticut and New-York at the same time, and attack the fortress of Montreal, situate above Quebeck, [Page 15] on the river St. Lawrence, that the French might be obliged to divide their forces.

The fleet set sail from the town of Hull, on the 9th of August, but contrary winds prevented their coming before Quebeck till the 5th of October; and the de­tachment which [...] land not meeting with the canoes or boats the [...] had promised to provide to transport them over the lakes, they were obliged to re­turn home, which gave Count Frontenac, the Governor of Canada, an opportunity to unite all his forces in the defence of Quebeck; and when Sir WILLIAM sent him a summons to surrender, he did not only [...] the sum­mons, but threatened to hang up the Officer who brought it, telling him they were a pack of pyrates, having no commission from the true King of England.

Sir WILLIAM PHIPS hereupon, landed fourteen hun­dred men, giving the command of them to Colonel WALLEY, with orders to attack the town on the land­side, while he battered it with his ships from the river: But WALLEY making his descent a league and a half from the town, to which the way lay through a wood that the French had fortified, he was twice repulsed and could never penetrate it. Whereupon Sir WILLAIM PHIPS ordered his men to embark again, resolving to land them close to the town; but a storm arose in the night which dispersed the fleet, and at the same time it grew so extreme cold that many of their men fell sick. Whereupon it was thought adviseable to return home.

When the war between the confederates and the French commenced in Europe in the year 1702, New­England was soon involved in it. In this war the New­England people made another effort for the Recovery of Port-Royal in Acadia, but were not successful in their first attempt. However, being assisted the next year with five hundred regular troops, commanded by Colonel NICKOLSON, they carried the place.

[Page 16]Encouraged by this success, the ministry in Old-Eng­land proposed the attacking of Canada once again; and the colonies of New-England and New-York came rea­dily into it, and actually made considerable levies of men and money to assist and support that enterprize, being in daily expectation of a squadron of men of war, and a body of land forces from Great-Britain, to enter upon action; but our Generals on this side being un­willing to spare any troops from Flanders, the enterprize was laid aside until the year 1711: When the Generals as well as the ministry, being changed, that important expedition was revived, and Admiral WALKER was com­manded for New-England with a squadron of twelve men of war, six store ships, and forty transports; on board whereof were 5000 veteran troops, under the command of Brigadier General HILL. All manner of warlike stores, and forty horses, for the use of the artillery, also were put on board; and with these the Admiral arrived at Boston on the 25th of June 1711, having been seven weeks and three days in his passage from Plymouth. Whereupon the land forces were set on shore on Noddle's Island, in the Massachuset Bay, to refresh them­selves, and wait until all things were in readiness to besiege Quebeck, the capital of Canada. Here the for­ces lay waiting for provisions until the 20th of July, when they were reimbarked, and on the 25th two New-England regiments also were added to them, and embarked on board the fleet, by the command of Go­vernor DUDLEY.

In the mean time Gen. NICHOLSON, Governor of New-York, assembled a body of 2000 English and 1300 In­dians, who were ordered to embark on the rivers which fall into the lake of Ontario, usually called the lake of Canada, or Frontenac, and so get into the river of St. Lawrence, and attack the fortress of Montreal, si­tuated in an island of that river in order to make a di­version, and divide the French forces, while Admiral WALKER and General HILL should attack Quebeck. But our unfortunate fleet never reached that city; for [Page 17] arriving in the mouth of the river Canada, there fell so thick a fog, that their pilots were at a loss which way to steer, having no soundings to direct them: and it afterwards blowing hard, they were driven upon the north snore among the rocks, where they lost eight of their transports with eight hundred men on board, and the whole fleet was in danger of being shipwreck­ed. Whereupon they made the best of their way to the east-ward, and coming to Spanish-River-Bay, they held a council of war, on the 4th of September, where­in it being considered that they had but ten weeks pro­vision for the fleet and army, and that the navigation was so bad at this Time of the year in those parts that they could not depend on supplies of provision from New-England, it was unanimously resolved to return home; and setting sail accordingly (after they had detached some ships and forces to Boston, and to An­napolis) the fleet arrived at Portsmouth on the 9th of October following; where, to compleat their misfor­tune, the Edgar, the Admiral's ship was blown up, and seven hundred people perished, including the sailors wives and those that came to welcome their friends home: But the Captain and most of the Officers being then on shore, escaped the terrible blow,

As for General NICHOLSON, and the forces that were designed to make a diversion by besieging Montreal, an express being sent after them with the advice of the loss of the transports in the river Canada, they returned to New-York without attempting any thing. And thus unhappily ended an expedition, which, if it had succeed­ed, would have made us masters of the best part of North-America, and driven the French entirely from that continent:

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Concerning the French Inhabitants in Canada,, and the Expedition at present forming against them.

IN the year 1700, it was computed, that there were about five thousand able, effective men in Canada: And, if by propagation and by removal from Old France to New, their number be now about twelve thousand men able to carry arms; some judicious people think it is a pretty round computation.

The French pretend, that in North America they have about a hundred thousand souls: But, allowing what they pretend and boast, it cannot be supposed that a fifth part of that number are fit for war: And, of these, how few can be spared from the business of their plantations? How then should they be able to defend and secure a line of three thousand miles long?

Besides, we, and all the world, know from what oc­curred at Louisburgh last year, that the French are not so good at defending their places of strength as at build­ing them. And we have reason to believe, that the account, which their allied Indians gave concerning them, according to the Baron la HONTAN, is a very suta­ble one, that ‘the French ardor, like a flash of fire, is extinguished as soon as kindled.’

Whereas it is well known, that our people in general do not want for real and steady courage and resolution: The wonderful success, which they had last year against Cape-Breton, was owing in a great measure to their shewing it. And what may we not further expect, un­der the divine blessing, from the display of the like English resolution and bravery?

It is a plain case, that we cannot live peaceably and quietly; nor be safe in the enjoyment of our religion and properties, our liberties and lives; while the French [Page 19] are such near neighbours to us, and continually in a time of war, furnishing the cruel salvages, with arms and ammunition, and spiriting them to improve the same against us.

We see therefore the royal wisdom, clemency and goodness towards us in New-England, and all the nor­thern provinces and colonies, in the military preparati­ons which the KING has taken care to furnish against Ca­nada, and in his calling us to be aiding and assisting with our forces in the expedition against it.

And, when the conduct and prosecution of this affair is left to such discrete heads and generous and faithful hearts as we find it is; it is to be hop'd, that there will be a happy direction, a gallant pursuit, and success­ful conclusion to it.

Some of the principal difficulties in the way will be such as were formerly experienc'd; either the lateness of the season, or the not having a sufficient number of good pilots, or the ambushments of the Indians, or mis­understandings and jars between our officers; and, in fine, our brave people's being discouraged by these and such like unfortunate circumstances occurring: But we trust, that there will be the most strict and sacred care taken to guard against these difficulties, and all other that may arise; and that our people, both officers and soldiers and seamen, as one will go disposed and resolved to encounter every hardship, and surmount every dis­couragement that may fall in their way, to promote the good of their country, and all these northern English colonies, as well as the interest of GREAT-BRITAIN and his most excellent Majesty KING GEORGE the second, our gracious Sovereign.

The war is just, and the cause is good, in which we are engaged: May our people then go forth at the call of Heaven, and relying on the help of their MAKER, and sutably acknowleging him in their ways, and so not be afraid, nor doubtful about succeeding!


AN APPENDIX, Giving a more particular and exact Account than the foregoing concerning QUEBEC, and its Inhabitants with their Manner of Living, by P. CHARLEVOIX.

ALL the accounts I have yet seen of Quebec are so faulty and defi­cient, that I believe, I shall not displease you by a true repre­sentation of this capital of New France. It indeed merits your knowledge, were it only on account of the singularity of its situation, for perhaps it is the only city in the world, that can boast a fresh-water harbour, capable of containing 100 men of war of the line, at 120 leagues distance from the sea. It lies on the most navigable river in the u­niverse.

The river St. Lawrence up to the isle of Orleans, that is, for about 112 leagues from its mouth, is no where less than from 4 to 5 leagues broad, but above that isle it narrows so, that before Quebec it is not above a mile over. Hence this place got the name of Quebeis, or Quebec, which in the Algonguin tongue, signifies a straitning, or strait. The Abenaquis, whose language is a dialect of the Algonguin, call it Quelibec, which signifies a place shut up or conceal'd, because, as you enter from the little river of Chaudiere, by which these savages come to Quebec from Acadia, the point of Levy, which jetts out beyond the isle of Orleans, entirely hides the South channel of the river St. Law­rence, as the isle of Orleans does that on the North; so that from the port of Quebec appears like a large bason, or bay, land-lock'd on all sides.

The first object, which presents it self on entering the road, is a beautiful cascade, or sheet of water, about 30 foot broad, and 40 high, which appears just at the entry of the little channel of the isle of Orleans, and is seen from that long point on the South of the river, which as I observ'd, hides the isle of Orleans. This cascade is called the fall of Montmorency, and the point, the point of Levy, in honour of two successive viceroys of New-France; viz. the admiral Montmorency, and his nephew the Duke of Ventadour. One would naturally con­clude that so plentiful a fall of water, which never decreases, should proceed from a large river. It is however only supply'd by an in­considerable brook, which in some places is not ankle deep, but it ne­ver dries up, and issues from a fine lake, about twelve leagues distant from the fall.

[Page 21]The city lies a league higher on the same side, and in the place where the river is narrowest. But between it and the isle of Orleans is a bason, a full league in diameter every way, into which the river St. Charles empties it self from the N. W. Quebec stands exactly between this river and Cape Diamond, which advances out behind it. The anchorage or road is opposite in 25 fathom, good ground; however when the wind blows hard at N. E. ships often drive, but without danger.

When Samuel Champlain founded this city in 1608, the tide sometimes flow'd to the foot of the rock; since that time the river has by degrees re­treated, and left dry a large space of ground, on which the lower town is built, and which at present is sufficiently elevated above the water mark, to secure it from any fears of inundation. The first thing you meet at land­ing is an open place, of a middling compass, and irregular form, with a row of houses in front, tolerably built, and having the rock behind them, so that they have no great depth. These form a pretty long street, which takes up all the breadth of the ground, and extends from right to left to two passages which lead to the high town. This opening is bounded on the left by a small church, and on the right by two rows of houses running parallel to each other. There is also another range of buildings between the church and the port, and along the shore, as you go to Cape Diamond, there is a pretty long row of houses on the edge of a bay, called the Bay of Mo­thers; this town may be regarded as a kind of suburb to the lower town.

Between this suburb and the latter you ascend to the high town, by a passage so steep, that they have been obliged to cut steps in the rock, so that it is only practicable on foot, but as you turn from the lower town to the right hand, there is a way more easy, with houses on each side. In the place where these two passages meet, begins the high town towards the river, for there is another part of the lower town towards the river St. Charles. The first building you meet, as you ascend from the right hand, is the episcopal pa­lace; the left is surrounded with houses. As you advance 20 paces further, you find yourself between two large squares. That on the left is the place of arms, adjoining to the fort, which is the residence of the governor general; opposite to it is the convent of Recollects, and part of the remainder of the square is surrounded with well-built houses.

In the square on the right stands the cathedral church, which is also the only parish church in the city. The seminary lies on one side in a corner, formed by the great river and the river St. Charles; opposite the cathedral is the Jesuits college, and in the space between handsome buildings. From the place of arms run two streets, cross'd by a third, and which form a large square, or isle, entirely taken up by the church and convent of Recollects. The second square has two descents to the river St. Charles, one very steep, joining to the seminary, with but few houses; the other near the Jesuits in­closure, which windes very much, has the hospital on one side about midway, and is bordered with small houses. This goes to the palace, the residence of the intendant of the province. On the other side the Jesuits College near their church is a pretty long street, with a convent of Ursuline nuns. As to the rest, the high town is built on a foundation of rock, partly marble and partly slate; it has greatly increased within 20 years past.

[Page 22]Such is the topography of Quebec, which takes up a considerable extent. The houses are large, and all of stone, yet there are reckon'd but about 7000 souls. To give a fuller idea of this city, I shall now speak of its principal edifices, and conclude with its fortifications.

The church in the [...] town was built in consequence of a vow made during the fiege of Quebec in 1690. It [...] consecrated by the name of our Lady of Victory, and served as a chapel of ease to the inhabitants of the lower town. The building is plain, its chief ornament being its neatness and simplicity. Some sisters of the congregation are settled between this church and the port; their number is four or five, and they keep a school.

The bishop's palace has nothing finish'd but the chapel, and part of the building, design'd by the plan, which is a long quadrangle; when finish'd, it will be a fine structure. The garden extends to the brow of the hill, and commands the road. When this capital of New France shall be as flou­rishing as that of the old (and Paris was once less than Quebec is now) what a prospect will this afford of towns, castles, villas! Below it, a noble bason, fill'd with vessels from all parts of the world; opposite the isle of Orleans, and the shores on each side of it, adorn'd with beautiful meadows, verdant hills, and corn-fields, on one side the river St. Charles, winding through a charming vale, crowded with villages; the port beneath adorned with spa­cious keys, and magnificent buildings. When all this happens, you will grant this terras admirably situated; even at present, the view from it is delightful.

The cathedral would make but a mean figure in one of our smallest French towns; judge then if it merits to be the only episcopal see of the French empire in America, an empire of greater extent than that of the ancient Romans. Its architecture, the choir, the grand altar, & chapels have all the air of a country church. The most tolerable part is a very high tower, solidly built, and which at a distance makes no ill appearance. The seminary which joins this church, is a large square, whose buildings are yet unfinish'd; what is done, is in good taste, and has all the conveniencies proper to this climate. It was wholly burnt in 1703, and in Oct. 1705, as it was just re-edify'd, it was a new confirmed by the flames. From the garden you see the road, and the river St. Charles, as far as the fight can reach.

The Fort is a handsome building with two wings. You enter by a spacious and regular court, but there is no garden, because it is built on the edge of the rock. This defect is supply'd in some measure by a fine gallery, with a balcony, or balustrade, which surrounds the building. It commands the road, from the middle of which a speaking trumpet may be heard, and you see all the lower town under your feet. Leaving the fort to the left, you cross a pretty large Esplanade, and by an easy descent you reach the summit of Cape Diamond, which forms a natural platform. Besides the beauty of the prospect hence, you breathe the purest air, and may see numbers of por­posses, white as snow, playing on the surface of the waters. On this Cape [...] are found a kind of diamonds, more beautiful than those of Alencan; I have seen some as well cut by nature, as if they had been done by the [...] artist. Formerly they were abundant here, and hence this Cape took [Page 23] its name; but at present they are rarely found. The descent on the side the country is yet more easy than that from the Esplanade.

The Fathers Recollect have a large and fine church, such as might even do them honour at Versailles. It is neatly wainscotted, and adorned with a large gallery, a little clumsey, but the work around well wrought. This part is the work of a lay brother, nothing is wanting, but it would be proper to re­move some pictures coarsely daubed, the rather as F. Luke has painted o­thers, which need not such foils. The convent is answerable to the church, large, strongly built, and commodious, with a spacious garden, kept in good order.

The convent of the Ursulines has suffered twice by fire, as well as the seminary. Their revenue is besides so small, and the portions they receive with the young Canadian ladies so inconsiderable, that the first time their monastery was burnt, the government were going to send them back to France. They have however found means to recover themselves each time, and their church is actually finish'd. They are cleanly and commodiously lodged; this is the effect of the good reputation they have in the colony, as well as owing to their frugality, temperance, and industry. They gild, they embroider, and in general are all employ'd; what they do is generally in a good taste.

You have no doubt, madam, in some accounts read that the Jesuits col­lege is a noble building. It is certain, when Quebec was only a confus'd heap of French barracks, and hutts of savages, this edifice, the only one of stone, except the fort, made some figure. Our first voyagers hence called it a fine structure, and their successors copied them; but now the city is so changed, that this college is a disgrace to it, and ready to tumble down on all sides. *

Its situation is no way advantageous, being depriv'd of the view of the road, which it formerly enjoy'd, by the cathedral and seminary, so that it only com­mands the adjoining square. The court is small and dirty, and looks like that of a farm house. The garden is large, and well kept, and is terminated by a small wood, the remains of that ancient forest, which once cover'd the whole mountain. The church has nothing beautiful without but a hand­some chapel. It is cover'd with state, in which it has the advantage of all the churches of Canada, which are only roof'd with planks; the inside of it is highly ornamented. The gallery is light, bold, and has a balustrade of iron, painted, gilt, and delicately wrought. The pulpit is all gilt, and the wood and iron work exquisite. The three altars are well plac'd, and there are some good pictures. It has no roof, but a flat cieling, well wrought. The floor is of wood, and not stone, which makes this Church warm, while others are insupportably cold. I shall not mention the four pillars [...] cylin­drical form, [...] black, without speck or veins, which La Hontan has [...] over the great altar. No doubt they would make a better figure than the present ones, which are hollow, and coarsely marbled. This wri­ter [Page 24] had been pardonable, if he had disguis'd the truth only to beautify the church.

The Hotel Dieu, or hospital, of Quebec has two great halls, appropriated to the different sexes. The beds are clean, the sick carefully attended, and e­very thing commodious and neat. The church lies behind the womens a­partment, and has nothing remarkable but the great altar, whose painting is fine. This house is serv'd by the nuns hospitalers of St. Augustine of the congregation of the mercy of Jesus, who first came here from Dieppe. Their apartments are convenient, but according to appearances their funds are too small to make any progress. As their house is situated on the slope of the hill, on an eminence, which commands the river St. Charles, they have a tolerably good prospect.

The house of the intendant is call'd the palace, because the supreme council assemble here. It is a large building, whose two extremities sink some feet, and to which you ascend by a double flight of steps. The front to the garden, which has a prospect to the river St. Charles, is much more agreeable than that you enter at. The king's magazines form the right side of the court, and the prison lies behind them. The gate you enter at, is hid by the mountain, on which stands the high town, and which on this side, only presents the eye with a steep and disagreeable rock. This edifice was worse before the fire, which destroy'd it in 1726, for then it had no court, and the buildings joined the street, which is here very narrow.

Following this street, or to speak more properly, this road, you enter the country and at about a quarter of a league distant you find the general hospi­tal. This is the most beautiful building in Canada, and would be no dis­grace to the finest town in France. The Recollects formerly possess'd this spot of ground. M. de St. Valier, bishop of Quebec, remov'd them into the city, bought their right, and laid out 100,000 crowns in the building, furniture, and endowment. The only fault of this edifice is its marshy situation, but the river St. Charles in this place, making a turn, its waters do not flow easily, and the evil is without remedy.

The prelate-founder has his apartment in the house, where he usually re­sides; his palace in the city which he also built, he lets out for the benefit of the poor. He condescends even to officiate as chaplain to the hospital and the nuns, and performs the duties of that place, with a zeal and assiduity, that would be admirable even in an ordinary priest. Tradesmen, or others whose great age deprives them of the means of getting their subsistence, are receiv'd on this foundation as far as the number of beds will allow, and are serv'd by thirty nuns. It is a colony of the Hotel Dieu of Quebec, but to distinguish them, the bishop has made some peculiar regulations, and those admitted here wear a silver cross on their breast. The nuns for the most part are of good families, and as they are often poor, the bishop has given portions to several.

Quebec is not regularly fortify'd, but they have been long at work to render it capable of a siege. The town, as it is, is naturally strong; the port is flank'd by two bastions, which at high tides are even almost with the water, [Page 25] that is to say, they are 25 foot high, which is the height the tides flow here at the equinoxes. A little above the bastion, to the right, is a half bastion cut out of the rock; and a little higher, nearer the fort, is a battery mount­ed of 25 pieces. Higher still is a square fort call'd the citadel; the ways that communicate between these fortifications are extremely rugged. To the left of the port, along the road to the river St. Charles, are good batteries of cannon and some mortars.

From the angle of the citadel facing the town they have drawn a curtain a-slant, which joins a redoubt pretty steep, on which is a windmill fortify'd. Descending from hence you find, within a musket shot, a tower with a bastion, and at an equal distance a second. The design was to cover all this part with a counterscarp, having the same angles as the bastions, and which should end at the extremity of the rock, near the palace (of the intendant) where there is already a small redoubt, as there is another on Cape Diamond. I know not why the design was not executed. Such was the state of Que­bec in 1711, when the English fitted out a large armament for the conquest of Canada, which miscarry'd thro' the rashness of the admiral, who, contrary to the advice of his pilot, approaching too near the seven isles, lost all his largest ships, and 3000 men of his best troops.

Quebec still remains in the same condition, as you may see by the plan in Basso Relievo, sent this year by Mr. de Chaussegros de Lery, chief engineer, to be placed in the Louvre. But after this account of the capital, you may ex­pect I should say something of its principal inhabitants; for without regard to its edifice either publick or private, the quality of these justly entitle it to the name of capital.

I have already said the number of people does not exceed 7000: But amongst these you find a select Beau Monde, whose conversation is desirea­ble. A governor general with his houshold, nobility, officers; an intendant with a supreme council, and inferior magistrates, a commissary of marine, a grand provost, a grand hunter, a grand master of waters and forests, whose jurisdiction is the longest in the world, rich merchants, as such as appear to live at ease, a bishop and numerous seminary: two colleges of recollects and jesuits, three nunneries, polite assemblies, both at the lady governess's and lady intendants; so that it is scarce possible but a man must pass his time agreeably in this city.

Indeed every body here contributes to this end, by parties at cards, or of pleasure, the winter in sleds, or in skaits, the summer in chaises, or canoes. Hunting is much used, several gentlemen having no other resource. As to news indeed there is little, because the country affords none, and the packets from Europe come all at a time, but then they furnish matter of discourse for some months: The sciences and arts have their turn, and embellish conversation. The Creolians or the French born here, breathe an air of free­dom, which makes their acquaintance agreeable, and they speak our lan­guage with a purity not to be found in many parts of France, having no false accent.

There are few rich people in the colony, which is a pity, for these few are generous, and love to make a good figure. They live well, if they can get fine cloaths; if not, they retrench on the table to adorn the person. [Page 26] Indeed their dress becomes them, for they are generally well shaped, and have fine complexions. They are witty and lively, every body here is complai­sant and obliging, and rusticity either in style or behaviour seems banish'd from these climates.


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