* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This ebook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the ebook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the ebook. If either of these conditions applies, please contact a FP administrator before proceeding.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

Title: French Canada and the St. Lawrence

Date of first publication: 1913

Author: J. Castell Hopkins

Date first posted: Dec. 21, 2016

Date last updated: Dec. 21, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20161214

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Alex White & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net




One of Montreal’s Modern Palaces of Ice

Copyright, 1913, by


The John C. Winston Co.


Quebec is picturesque in its history, in its natural setting and environment, in the evolution and character of its people, in its politics and religion and daily life. As French Canada, it has left a powerful impress upon the history and life of the continent—a more pronounced one than is generally understand. As a part of British Canada it has always been important in its influence and interesting in its action.

This volume is an attempt to bring together the past and the present in the history and environment of an attractive people. It is not a record of party contests or of the rise and fall of politicians; nor is it a detailed description of events which may be found dealt with in histories of varied character and points of view. It is not a guide-book to the places and scenery of Quebec, as to which several compact and useful little volumes have been prepared and published. These things have their places, of course, with a value and interest all their own.

The author has endeavored, however, to portray the conditions of the past in their association with the places of the present, rather than to provide an exact and consecutive record or a geographical study. He has also tried to analyze the undercurrents of sentiment and action which have made French Canada so interesting and which will probably keep it as an important and attractive element in the life of this continent and the history of the British Empire.


I.The French Pathway to a Continent11
II.The Making of the French Canadian29
III.The French Canadians as Nation Builders48
IV.Footprints of the French Pioneers58
V.Quebec—The Cradle of New France87
VI.Montcalm, Wolfe and the Plains of Abraham108
VII.Montreal—The Seat of an Ancient Faith121
VIII.The Jesuits—Pioneers of the Cross in Canada143
IX.The Heroic Age of Canada162
X.Acadia—The Land of Evangeline184
XI.The Seigneurs—An Old-World Aristocracy in America208
XII.Life, Customs and Environment of the Habitant231
XIII.Churches and Shrines of French Canada256
XIV.Religious Evolution of the French Canadian277
XV.Religious Traditions, Folk-Lore and Ballads299
XVI.Pioneers and Patricians of Literature323
XVII.British Landmarks in French Canada342
XVIII.Educational Interests and Ideals in Quebec363
XIX.Picturesque Personalities of French Canada386


One of Montreal’s Modern Palaces of IceFrontispiece
Percé Village and Rock, Shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence16
Capes Eternity and Trinity, Saguenay32
Montmorenci Falls, Quebec48
Chicoutimi, Saguenay River64
Church of Notre Dame des Victoires, Quebec72
Rivière du Loup96
Château Frontenac and Citadel, Quebec104
Scene on the Saguenay River, Quebec120
Château de Ramézay, Montreal136
Ouatchouan Falls, Lake St. John160
Scene on the St. Lawrence in Winter176
Thatched Barn, Cap à L’Aigle, Quebec192
French Canadian Fishermen208
Château St. Louis, Quebec216
Habitant Woman Weaving Homespun Cloth232
Habitant Woman Spinning, Cap à L’Aigle, Quebec256
Church of Ste. Anne de Beaupré272
Scene on the Metabetchouan River in Quebec304
Tadousac Bay, Entrance to the Famous Saguenay River312
Bread Oven, Cap à L’Aigle, Quebec328
Little Champlain Street, Quebec City344
Snowshoe Scene near Montreal360
Timber Coves at Quebec376
Toboggan Slide near Montreal400

The French Pathway to a Continent

If the French sailors seeking new, unknown lands in far Cathay, or the French explorers planting roots in the soil of a vast new continent, more deeply and more firmly than they knew, had deliberately sought the most splendid setting in the world for dominion and settlement they could have found none greater than that of New France as it slowly grew around and beyond Quebec with the St. Lawrence at its feet. Cartier and Champlain and De Roberval, and the stream of French voyageurs and trappers, soldiers and priests, noblemen and gentlemen and peasants, who traversed the waters of the great river in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, saw no such scene as would be witnessed today with all its familiar sights and accompaniments of civilization and commerce. The greatness and the gloom, the grandeur and the grace, the sternness and the silence of the majestic river were as nature had produced them.

There were long miles of lofty cliffs surmounted by dark forests which echoed from time to time the wail of the wolf or the war-song of the savage; there were the icy blasts and more icy water, the fierce storms and white snow-clad shores of the river faced by men fresh from the sunny slopes of France; there were the marvelous and gloomy portals of the Saguenay, the varied scenery at the mouths of other great rivers as they poured from unknown inland reservoirs into the St. Lawrence; there was the exquisite beauty of the summer and autumn seasons when the shores revealed something of nature’s wooded charm and beauty and the river itself showed graces all its own, crowned by a solemnity and mystery which must have proved an inspiration of courage and strength to the early adventurer or explorer.

Gradually, as exploration and adventure, war and settlement, trade and mission effort, impressed themselves upon this land of mountain, forest and wilderness which lay on either side of the St. Lawrence, knowledge of its geographical and physical features came in limited form to the rulers and pioneers at Quebec and Montreal. It is, however, doubtful if they ever knew, with any exactness, the details which are possessed today. They would have deemed it impossible that the five great inland seas of which they caught glimpses or the shores of which they partially explored in birch-bark canoes, could have a total area of 94,660 square miles; that the vast waterway up which, in part, their tiny ships first sailed could traverse, from the western end of Lake Superior to the Gulf as it widened into the ocean, a distance of 2,384 miles; that the lesser rivers opening into the greater one could drain various lakes immense in themselves though small in comparison with the St. Lawrence system—the Saguenay 100 miles long and the St. Maurice 400 miles, draining Lake St. John; the Ottawa 750 miles long, draining Lake Timiskaming; the Richelieu, 75 miles in length, coming from Lake Champlain and the St. Francis, the Mississagi, the Nepigon, the Pigeon, and many more. To realize that the immense system of waterways which they were tentatively exploring contained more than one-half the fresh water in the world; to think of the Great Lakes as a Mediterranean Sea set in the midst of a continent with shores skirted only by parties of wandering Indians; to understand that all these vast bodies of water were united and were really parts of one river rising in a little many-named stream which fell into Lake Superior; to see into the dim future and find the St. Lawrence proving to a greater Canada what the Nile was to ancient Egypt; to dream of it as crowded with river, lake and ocean steamers carrying supplies for many millions of people and bearing on its bosom a tonnage of commerce greater than that of the equally far-off Suez Canal; would have been, indeed, to possess the qualities of a prophet greater than those of the birth-time of Christianity.

French Canada stood in early days merely as a geographical expression, which involved much or little as the tide of exploration and occupation, of French and English warfare, passed up and down the center and coasts of the continent. There was a time when French dominion reached across America and clasped hands with the Acadians, when marks of ownership and possession were planted down the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys to the Gulf of Mexico and the French of Quebec were brought into touch with the French pioneers of Louisiana. But that was New France glorified and, for a moment, almost attaining the heights of Richelieu’s imperial dream and Frontenac’s hope. Usually, in these periods of early struggle it included Quebec and Acadia and the main portion of the Ontario of today with an ill-defined and changing region which stretched for some distance into what are now the Central American States—a territory sometimes held and sometimes lost, but as to which hope was not abandoned until the final victory of the English on the Heights of Abraham.

The French Canada of the past century, the country which had grown out of its fluctuating conditions of pioneer settlement and warfare into one of settled boundaries and fewer external difficulties, was a region of 350,000 square miles and so remained until 1912, when the vast Ungava territory was added to it. It was bounded on the north by Hudson’s Bay, only accessible through a wilderness which has remained more or less unknown up to the present time, and by Ungava, of which much the same may be said; on the west by Upper Canada or Ontario; on the east and south by the River and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Province of New Brunswick and the States of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine—touching on the extreme northeast the Labrador territory of Newfoundland. For 550 miles along the gulf and north side of the river, up to the mouth of the Saguenay, the country is mountainous, bold and rugged in outline with many rivers, and a scenery more picturesque than beautiful; for 200 miles from the mouth of the Saguenay up to the St. Maurice River and toward Lake Ontario there is, on the north shore, an alternation of mountain and lowland, of slighter elevations and undulating valleys, of beautiful scenery and rich agricultural resources. South of the river the heights and hills which skirt the shores from the Gaspé headland upwards resemble in appearance the Laurentian range to the north, but are further away from the river and leave room in modern days for delightful glimpses of towns and villages and a beautiful farming country.

The St. Lawrence comes down to the gulf under various names. From the little River St. Louis it pours through the great inland sea of Lake Superior and the St. Mary’s River, with its crowded canals, into Lake Huron; thence, in another outflow, through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers to Lake Erie and from there by the Niagara River and its wonderful falls, to Lake Ontario. From Lake Ontario, for 750 miles, it rolls to the gulf and the ocean under its own historic name and is never less than a mile in width. As it broadens and deepens into beautiful lakes or narrows and shallows into restless rapids; as it sweeps past cliffs crowned with verdure or great natural ridges capped with dense forests; as these break frequently to reveal fertile valleys and a rolling country, or rise into rugged and yet exquisitely picturesque embodiments of nature such as the heights of Quebec; there comes the thought that here, indeed, is a fitting entrance to a great country, an adequate environment for the history of a romantic people, a natural stage-setting for great events and gallant deeds.

Though greater than any other Canadian river, the St. Lawrence was, and is, a natural type and embodiment of them all. Sweeping in its volume of water, sometimes wild and impetuous, never slow or sluggish, on its way to the sea; ever changing in its currents and rapids and waterfalls, its lakes and incoming river branches; passing through varied scenery yet always preserving in its course a degree of dignity which approaches majesty; it reveals a combination of volume and vastness, beauty and somberness which make it in more senses than one the father of waters on this continent—“the great river without an end,” as an Indian once described it to Cartier.

The gulf into which the river broadens is more or less a land-locked sea, deep and free from reef or shoal, running 500 miles from north to south and 243 from east to west. In its center lies the once lonely and barren Isle of Anticosti; not far from Gaspé Bay, two miles out at sea, lies La Roche Percé, a gigantic pile of stone with perpendicular walls forming, in certain conditions of the weather, a marvelous combination of colors outlined against the blue sky and emerald sea. In this rock there is now an opening broken by the unceasing dash of the waves; according to Denys there were at one time three great arches, and seventy years before his time Champlain stated that there was only one but that one big enough for a ship to sail through; in still earlier days Indian legends describe its connection with the shore.

Percé Village and Rock, Shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Let us at this stage look lightly at some of the geographical and associated conditions as we pass slowly up the St. Lawrence from its mouth, and try to see what manner of region this is which has witnessed so much of romance and has brought together and kept together the new and the old—the Europe of three centuries ago and the America of today. From Percé and its memories of a naval battle in 1776, when two American ships were sunk, we pass along a shore devoted with undying allegiance to codfish and possessing at Mount Ste. Anne one of the finest scenic views in eastern Canada. At Gaspé, the chief place in the Peninsula—the furthest point of Quebec on the south shore of the St. Lawrence—there are abundant salmon and fruitful inland fields. Here Cartier once landed, took possession of vast unknown regions for the King of France and erected a cross thirty feet high which flew the fleur-de-lis, also, as a mark of ownership; near here, Admiral Kirke defeated a large French fleet. Then comes Cape Gaspé with its towering rampart of sandstone, nearly 700 feet high, and many succeeding miles of rocky walls and lofty cliffs. Near Cape Chatte, another English and French naval fight took place, and near here, also, runs into the St. Lawrence the Matane River, famous for its trout and salmon, while the great river itself stretches thirty-five miles across to its northern shores.

Thence, one goes up the river to Tadousac, the ancient village on the north shore, which nestles at the black jaws of the Saguenay and seems unafraid of all the majesty and mystery of the scene, of all the weird tales and fables which centuries have woven around it, of the dark depths which go down into the bowels of the earth and of shores which are bleak, inaccessible and perpendicular walls of soaring rock. A little higher up on the other side of the St. Lawrence are Rivière du Loup and Cacouna—the latter a fashionable summer resort perched on a rocky peninsula many feet above the water. Back on the north shore is Murray Bay—the Malle Baie of Champlain, now famous for its fishing and bathing. Not far up the river, which here is fifteen miles wide, are the picturesque village and mountain of Les Éboulements with Isle aux Coudrés and its mediæval population out in the center of the river. As the modern traveler passes on up to Quebec City he realizes something of what scenery is in Canada. On the north, for a time, there is visible a region of splendid vistas, a country of volcanic origin where rocks and mountains seem to roll into one another and commingle in the wildest fantasies of nature’s strangest mood.

Then comes Cap Tourmente, towering 2,000 feet from the water’s edge, and other massed piles of granite jutting out into the river, with the Isle of Orléans green and beautiful in the sunlight, with the St. Lawrence jewel-bright and showing glimpses of the white curtain of Montmorenci Falls in the distance, with the naked, somber heights of the Laurentides to the north. Everywhere, indeed, along the north shore, from far down on the Labrador coast up to Cap Tourmente, there is this wall of mountains, like a sea of rolling rocks, cleft here and there by such recesses as Murray Bay or the Saguenay. Everywhere, also, are footprints of the early explorers. Here Cartier landed, there Champlain camped, here De Roberval is supposed to have disappeared forever between the wide walls of the Saguenay, there Pont-Gravé or Chauvin left traces of adventurous exploits.

At Quebec there looms up the sentinel on the rock which overlooks all the pages of Canadian history and still stands as the most picturesque and impressive city of the new world. Here, on one side of the mile-wide river stand the green heights of Lévis; on the other are the grand outlines of Cape Diamond, crowned with the ramparts of Quebec and now embodying age and power as the graces of the Chateau Frontenac represent modern luxury and business. In the neighborhood of this once famous walled city lie the Falls of Montmorenci and the historic shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupré; a succession of villages typical of the life of the old-time habitants and redolent of mediæval Europe; ruins of famous chateaux embodying memories of history and politics, love and laughter, tragedy and crime.

Passing from Quebec up the river to Montreal, the mouth of the Chaudière is seen with its splendid falls in the distance and the valley through which Benedict Arnold marched his disastrous expedition to the hoped-for capture of Quebec. At Pointe-aux-Trembles, further on, there took place several encounters between French and English. Three Rivers stands at the mouth of the St. Maurice, which rises, with the Ottawa and the Saguenay, in a maze of lakes and streams hundreds of miles to the north. In the city lie varied historic memories running back to 1618 and including masses of legend and romantic tradition. Not far from here the St. Lawrence widens into Lake St. Peter and just above it the Richelieu pours its waters into the greater stream, and at this point stands Sorel where in 1642 a fort was built by M. de Montmagny.

Montreal, with its modern population of 500,000 people, rests at the meeting-place of the new and the old. It combines in itself the great and sometimes rival interests of church and commerce, the customs and methods of the English and French races, the streets and narrow passages of the past with the great financial thoroughfares and buildings of the present. It stands at a point where all the commercial and business ideals of English Canada meet and press upon the traditions, practices and policy of French Canada; it preserves itself by combining these varied interests and maintaining a center of wealth, commerce and transportation, while, so far as its French population is concerned, remaining devoted to racial instincts and loyal to one religious faith.

From this commercial metropolis of Canada, crowned by Mount Royal and faced by a distant view of other mountains on the American side, the St. Lawrence—crossed here by the Victoria Bridge, which was long thought to be an eighth wonder of the world—forms itself into rapids which must have caused tribulations and sorrow and many portages in pioneer days and which are now relieved by canals and chiefly utilized for the benefit of tourists. Here are the beautiful Cascade Rapids with waves flashing high over rocky masses; the Cedars, where close in shore the green foliage sweeps down to meet the turbulent waters; the Long Sault, which is the most strenuous and inspiring of all; the Galoups, where the water first awakens to the situation and begins to writhe and foam in an anger which grows with the rocks it feeds upon. Near the blue waters of Lake St. Francis lies the battlefield of Chateauguay where De Salaberry and his French Canadians defeated an American army; near Morrisburg, farther up the river, lies Chrysler’s Farm, the scene of another victory of Canadian volunteers and British regulars. Soon after this a stretch of forty miles is entered where rest the famous Thousand Islands of scenic history—in reality 1,800 of them—and here the river enters the Province of Ontario and soon comes to its home in Lake Ontario, where it loses identity in the vast water expansions of the center of the continent.

Around and about the other great rivers of the Province—streams which in volume of water and splendors of scenery might themselves rank with the historic rivers of Europe—there lies a varied country with traditions and records and memories which are attractive to the visitor, interesting to the student and important in the making of Canada. The Ottawa runs into Lake St. Louis—one of the many widened waters of the St. Lawrence—from the northwest and mixes its dark colors, drawn from the pine and fir-clad hills along its course, with the lighter blue of the greater river. In the old days of the French régime it was the chief path of the fur trade and the site of the future capital of Canada. Where Ottawa on the Ontario side and Hull on the Quebec side now join and merge into an important center of population and business the Iroquois and the Algonquins had many a hostile encounter. At this point another and better known Chaudière Falls pour over a great pile of rock and afford a picturesque background for the great city, while the river rolls on between the solid forest-crowned Laurentian hills, in many a rushing rapid, and with wide reaches containing varied islets. Today its chief traffic is lumber carried in great fleets of roomy barges; in the olden days it was known for the many French boatmen along its course, who inspired the famous Canadian boating song of Thomas Moore:

Faintly as tolls the evening chime,

Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time.

Soon, as the woods on the shore look dim,

We’ll sing at St. Anne’s our parting hymn.

Row, brothers, row! the stream runs fast,

The rapids are near and the daylight’s past.

For some distance the Ottawa is the boundary line of the two provinces; into it runs a wild and turbulent river called the Gatineau, which drains a great extent of country and possesses near its mouth seven miles of fiercely rushing rapids; La Lièvre, a little farther down, is a much smaller branch, yet it has a course of several hundred miles. On the Ottawa itself the next points are the well-known Chateau of Montebello and town of L’Orignal, with the beautiful mountain-girt Lake Comandeau in the distance running into the Ottawa through the River Kinonge. The historic Pass of the Long Sault, the lake of Two Mountains, the village of Rigaud, known for its place in Rebellion records, and Oka, famous for its modern Indians and an old-time Trappist monastery, follow, and then the river splits into three mouths and loses itself in the Father of Canadian Waters.

The Richelieu and the St. Francis run into the St. Lawrence on the south not very far below Montreal. Along the former river lie places historic in name and in fact, such as Varennes and Fort Chambly, Contrecœur and Verchères—reminiscent of the days when the mouth of this river was the Iroquois gateway and the Carignan-Sallières regiment guarded the approaches to Ville Marie or Montreal. Through the fertile and yet mountainous Eastern Townships—once the almost sole possession of English-speaking settlers—these two rivers carry life to the people and richness to the soil. Beautiful lakes abound—Memphramagog, Megantic, Brome, Massawippi and many another; magnificent mountain scenery is there, such as the Heights of Belœil, Yamaska, Mannoir and Boucherville; throughout a whole succession of counties in this region fertile soil and beautiful scenes, lakes and rivers, mountain heights and valleys—all seem mixed up in one attractive whole.

Along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, from Montreal to Three Rivers and the St. Maurice, is a country of settled, level, plain-like characteristics marked by many small towns and villages bearing the saintly nomenclature which so greatly interests American tourists and is so typical of French Canada and marked also by the long, narrow fields which are so characteristic of the habitants. Above the roaring Falls of La Tuque the country along the upper reaches of the St. Maurice was supposed only a few years ago to be a wilderness of little value—the home of lumbermen, Indians and trappers. As in the Lake St. John region (a sportsman’s paradise far north of the St. Lawrence and drained by the somber, silent Saguenay), the rapid development of recent years has found in all this country much of value in natural resources, in fertility and in commercial possibilities.

On the St. Maurice are the Shawinigan Falls, so remarkable for their beauty even in this country of cataracts, for the play of colors on the shifting waters, for the peculiar variations and complications of the road traversed by the boiling, foaming, furious river as it conquers the obstacles in its way. At and around Lake St. John there is a vast country covered with primeval forests—trackless, tangled woods which hold myriads of dainty lakes hidden in their midst and shelter varied forms of bird and animal life. Here roam the majestic moose and the proud caribou, here are stately solitudes and rippling waters, here are lofty mountains and all the charm of a magnificent unbroken forest. Into this glorious wilderness the railway had to come, but the scenery along its course is still characteristic of the country—still free from too much civilization. Lake St. John itself is a splendid inland sea of turbulent, saucy-looking, uncertain waters—peaceful and polished on the surface at one moment, stormy and savage at the next.

Around and below the City of Quebec there is one of the most beautiful and characteristic portions of French Canada. Ste. Anne de Beaupré, for its traditions and reputation and religious interest, deserves many pages of description and will certainly have some at a later stage. Here the whole country breathes peace and contentment; the history of past warfare and sanguinary Indian conflict seems inappropriate to such a region; the habitant lives a life which looks like a leaf from rural Normandy in some forgotten century. Much more might be said of many places and of myriad incidents in French Canada’s geography or record, but this chapter is only a summarized picture of conditions. Chicoutimi, the seat of a city at the mouth of the river of the same name, where it pours its waters into the Saguenay from Lake Kenogami, after a precipitous course of seven falls and a continuous series of rapids, might be mentioned. Much could be said of the beautiful Isle of Orléans opposite Quebec, or of the various smaller isles which dot the St. Lawrence up and down with spots of verdure—breaks in the vastness of water and sky and lofty, piled-up masses of rugged rock. Kamouraska, Rimouski, Bic, Matane and many other towns or villages along the shores of the St. Lawrence are picturesque and clad with a mantle of history or romance to those who delve deeply below the surface of things. Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships country, Lennoxville, Farnham and other places bring back memories of early days when the St. Francis was a waterway from New England to Quebec, while the deep chasm of the Coaticook winds in and out of a richly prosperous region.

Geologically this country of the French Canadian is of intense interest. It reaches back into the most ancient period of the world’s evolution; it was a later product of titanic changes and movements of the earth’s surface. The grinding, crushing flow of great masses of ice from the Arctic regions had potent force in creating the vast basin of the St. Lawrence; upheavals of a volcanic character are obvious around Montreal, are clearly marked in the Lake St. John region, are found in the Laurentian ranges; evidence of earthquakes comes to us from within historic ages. Of the mountains in the Eastern Townships country, where the elemental struggles of geological antiquity must have been violent beyond description, Jesuit records at St. Francis describe an earthquake of September 5, 1732, so powerful as to destroy a neighboring Indian village. The better-known disturbance of 1663 along the lower St. Lawrence lasted for months and resulted in continuous landslides and a series of convulsions. The St. Lawrence was said to have run white as milk for a long distance because of the hills and vast masses of sand which were thrown into it, ranges of hills disappeared altogether, the forests, according to an Indian description, became as though they were drunk, vast fissures opened in the ground, and the courses of streams were changed. The whole of the Mount Royal region and valley shows clear evidences of volcanic action.

These latter disturbances were, however, only episodes in geologic ages of formation; there are no signs of a continuing character. Forever, so far as finite vision can see, the mighty piles of the Laurentian and other ranges of this part of the continent will stand as memorials of still more mighty world-movements, as a somber environment for the history of the Indians and the early struggles of the French Canadian people, and as solemn witnesses of the civilization which has now taken possession of this inherited greatness and hopes in its own fleeting, fitful, fighting way to build upon and refine and cultivate nature’s splendid storehouse for its own purposes and the advancement of its people.

The Making of the French Canadian

Casual visitors from the older countries of the world have been heard to say in parts of Quebec, as their train whirled through tiny villages nestling around the lofty spire of a church or passed through long stretches of country with small farmhouses and attenuated farms, that it was all rather uninteresting but as much as could be expected in a region so devoid of history and tradition! Yet, if the truth had been known to them—even though they came from a soil where statesmen, heroes, martyrs, sages, had left their imprint through two thousand years of history—much that was romantic, attractive, inspiring, might have been seen or felt. As a matter of fact, the existence of savage life, of wild animals, of wilderness conditions, of vast and lonely spaces of great forests and greater waterways, created in early Quebec elements of romance and interest which for centuries Continental Europe could not entirely grasp and which without individual experience must to the people of England’s “sceptered isle” have always seemed more or less incomprehensible. To the historic record of such regions, these conditions add forces of rugged strength and picturesque memory, of barbarous brutality and sacrificial fire, of military achievement and religious heroism, which many volumes and much description will not fully picture unless the reader has also the gift of imagination.

The first important element in the making of the French Canadian, who now holds the portals of a great Dominion, was his relation to and bitter life-grapple with the North American Indian. It is difficult in these prosaic days to portray some of the scenes, the basic events of early Canadian history, in this respect. Indeed, if the Indians were dealt with alone, the record would go to the very root of things human. Back of the white man’s fixed memories in this connection, beyond the pages of Fenimore Cooper on the one side and Parkman on the other, long before the days of blazing settlements and martyred priests or tortured pioneers, lie shrouded centuries in which the wilds of Quebec, in common with all the vast forests and stretches of the continent, saw the solitary form of the Indian, stalking game, hunting food or fighting his foe. Whether he drove a preceding and more civilized race out of this great region, or had himself lost ground in a savage struggle for subsistence, there is no adequate record to show. That another and greater civilization was to first conquer and then ruin the Indian, we do know.

When Cartier in 1535 and Champlain in 1608 first came into contact with different tribes of Indians, they unfortunately assumed a hostile attitude—the former in carrying away Donnacona on a voyage from which he never returned, the latter in espousing the cause of the Hurons against the Iroquois. They could not see into the future, they could not well estimate the nature of these savage forces of the wilderness, they could not comprehend a native character which all history has failed to satisfactorily decipher. Through the experience of French settlers and English pioneers alike, the Indian has since come down to us imbedded in the literature of a hostile and conquering race as the very embodiment of cruelty and savagery. Yet that mysterious figure was in many respects a noble one to which nature had given a vast and varied environment. Cold and hard in character, passionate and revengeful in temper, ignorant and superstitious in belief, keen and quick in thought, the Indian was never, in the days prior to his period of decadence under external influence, guilty of the effeminate and meaner vices which have destroyed peoples such as the Roman and the Moor.

Love of liberty in its wilder forms and contempt for all arbitrary rule or personal control he carried to an extreme greater than can be anywhere paralleled. Sleepless suspicion of others was a natural part of his surroundings of war and treachery. That he was ignorant of his opportunities and subservient to the passions of pride and cruelty were perhaps misfortunes more than they were faults. Compared with the greater knowledge, the gentler faith, the more cultured surroundings, the kindlier home-life of the white man, his chances were very slight and his sins not so lurid as their flaming background might imply. The curious federal system of the Iroquois, and the characters of Pontiac, Tecumseh and Thayendenagea indicate his individual capabilities under favorable circumstances. The Indian was, in brief, the product of nature, the outcome of wilderness conditions; the result of long and continuous struggle with the forces of extreme heat and cold and of contact with the wild, free vagaries of a wandering forest life.

The Iroquois, with whom Champlain first came face to face in the inauguration of a drama which had a continent for its stage and a century for its enactment, were at once the best and the worst of all the Indian nations. Their pride was intense and overmastering, their lust of conquest was individually as strong as that of Alexander or Napoleon, their savage passions and cruelties were vented in an indescribable degree upon their enemies. Yet in courage, constancy and concentrated energy it would be difficult to find their equal as a people; and where they inflicted pain they were equally ready to endure it. As Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas and afterwards the Tuscaroras, they stretched in what was practically a loose federation of nations across the wide lake region and into what was destined to become the State of New York and the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. In their day of greatest power the Iroquois warriors never numbered more than four thousand men, though they became a thought of terror to all the tribes from the rolling waters of the St. Lawrence to the sunny slopes of Carolina and from the far West to the Atlantic shores. To the French colonists they became and were called a scourge of Satan—a source of untold suffering and sorrow.

Capes Eternity and Trinity, Saguenay

The effect of this Indian environment upon the character of the French Canadian was not altogether what might have been expected. It did not make the people permanently warlike in character, though it intensified the military atmosphere of pioneer Quebec, quickened the missionary spirit of the Church, enhanced the difficulties of local administration and of wars with the English and prevented, perhaps, a greater influx of the French peasantry into the colony. In the earlier stages of settlement there were practically no habitants or peasants in the country; there were soldiers or adventurous spirits of a wandering type. The fur-traders wanted workers and hunters and did not care for settlements of a permanent character; the early Governors required men who could fight and farm and naturally did not desire the added responsibility of guarding homes and families at a distance from the forts. Between 1608 and 1645 little more than a hundred actual settlers, or heads of families, arrived in the colony. When they did come in any large number the scattered settlements were always in some peril or in a situation where fear was natural, and it was not until the British Cession had disposed of the matter of external war for a time and had quieted the Iroquois, with whom the English had always been more or less friendly, that peace came to the habitant.

More important than this factor of Indian war in its final impress upon the French Canadian were the work and influence and personal qualities of the Jesuits. From the first these black-robed missionaries of a great Church dominated much of the life of the colony. They controlled the essential lightness of the French nature and life in the interest of more solemn themes; modified the extremes to which an irresponsible court life in an isolated community might have naturally led; encouraged the building of monasteries and convents and churches; promoted a study of the lives and characters of the Indians which no military or French administration would have taken seriously in hand; plunged themselves into the thick of a missionary effort which for heroism, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom has been unexcelled in the history of the world; shared in privations and dangers and journeys which enabled them to discover or explore the shores of Lake Erie, the upper reaches of the Mississippi, the stormy waters of the far-off Hudson’s Bay of a century later, that great wonder of nature, the Falls of Niagara.

Had Richelieu not been checkmated by British ships in his effort to make the Company of the Hundred Associates a dominant power in the colony, New France would have been placed almost entirely under the control of this Order of Jesus. Its missionaries, in fact, gathered at Quebec from all over the continent to welcome a large number of additional priests whom the victory of Admiral Kirke in 1629 prevented from reaching their destination. So far as Canada was concerned these missionary priests were the pioneers of religion, the pathfinders of territorial power. Over all the vast countries from the confines of Hudson’s Bay to the heart of the Mississippi Valley they carried with alternate failure and success the banner of the Cross. To them no self-sacrifice was too great, no suffering too painful, no hardship too severe, if but one savage child were baptized into the faith, or the passions of a solitary Indian modified by the influence of persuasion and the power of Christian hope. Many a gloomy forest of the middle of the seventeenth century echoed with the prayers of wandering priests and often blazed with the martyr-fires of their execution by the merciless Iroquois or vacillating Huron. Often, too, those lonely aisles of nature’s primeval church witnessed scenes of torture such as the pen must fail to adequately describe and even imagination to fully understand. Daniel, Brébeuf, Lallemant, Garnier, Garreux, Buteaux, Chabanel, thus wrote their names across the pages of early Canadian history in letters illumined by the light of a great sacrifice.

In the two French Canadian cities of the future stately buildings of stone grew up emblematic of the ambitious policy of this and other religious Orders; while early in the history of New France, women of sacrificial soul, such as Madame de la Peltrie, Marie de l’Incarnation, Mlle. Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, helped in founding institutions of religion, charity and education. Thus it was that the policy of Richelieu—the establishment of a powerful French and Catholic state upon the American continent—was commenced; as to how far it succeeded in a development along lines which the famous French statesman could never have imagined, the present situation is the best comment. Of the influence of this Order and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole upon the succeeding life of French Canada, there can be no question. The record of the Jesuits and the progress of the Church were interchangeable terms in the early history of Quebec, and though changes afterwards came and the ruling force and material wealth of the Order of Jesus were eliminated, its impress remained upon the mind of the people and made for the strength and unity of their faith.

As to the Church herself, to which this consideration naturally brings us in thought and pen, it has been the most direct, explicit and obvious single influence in the making of French Canadian character and nationality. Details can be allowed to develop as this volume proceeds; the broad general principle and fact is that the French Canadian knows no other faith. From the time when De Caen and the Huguenots sought place and power in the infant colony to the latest days of Baptist missions from Ontario, Protestantism has, with a few exceptions, found no permanent footing in the life of the French people. Around them it has ebbed and flowed. Montreal has been and always will be a center of the opposing faith to which, in its varied forms, the English-speaking commercial and financial interests of the Province adhere; the Eastern Townships, once settled by English people and loyalists from the United States, are rapidly falling into line with the rest of the Catholic and French population of rural Quebec; the Church has been and remains first in the home and the school, first in the lives and customs of the habitant.

Politics may at times appear to create a divergence of feeling and one Party may not always be as tender in its treatment of the Church or as respectful to tradition and obedient to ecclesiastical opinion as the other. But these are more or less surface indications of external influences which have been and must be powerful; below them is a deep-seated, though not always clearly expressed, devotion to the faith which has been so woven into the hearts and history and lives of the people. From the Church have come the instruction and ideals which reach back to the earlier days of settlement; from it came the educational institutions such as Laval and the classical colleges, which have steadily maintained the highest standards of learning and culture; from it have risen the leaders of religious thought and ecclesiastical statecraft and political action from the days of Laval to those of Taschereau, from the times of Papineau to those of Cartier or Laurier. Amongst the people a church building was provided for every tiny settlement and budding village; the parish curé became and remains to this day in rural villages the most important local personage; each local school was kept under religious control and guided upon the basic principle that religion was, is and must be the vital element in the life of the child, with secular matters following in a necessarily secondary place.

What was the influence upon French Canadian character of the prolonged struggle between French and English for the mastery in North America? During a hundred years of intermittent conflict, ended by the battle on the Heights of Quebec, the flag of England and the flag of France had “waved in war’s alternate chance.” It was a part of the birth-pains of a continent in national characteristics, conditions and constitutions; and it was, therefore, all important in the making of history as a great whole. But it would be easy to over-estimate the effect upon French Canadian evolution in particular. The victory of Wolfe may have made the United States possible; it did remove from the New England colonies the menace of an ambitious neighbor and the possibility of a great French empire in America. It did not greatly affect or alter the position of the French settler except that he was no longer a unit in the aggressive and patriotic designs of a Champlain or a Frontenac, a Richelieu or a Colbert.

It is questionable, indeed, if a great victory won by Montcalm instead of by Wolfe, and the establishment of a new or stronger French state—backed by France with zeal and with a wiser local statecraft than that of Bigot—could have preserved the permanent independence of New France. The world trend of English-speaking population and the aversion of the French at home to emigration would have still remained as the great factors in Continental evolution and would, finally, have given the dominance in North America to the nation or race which has there produced in a century nearly 100,000,000 of people as compared with 3,000,000 of the French race. If, when United States independence came, the republic had found itself checked in its expansion by a French state of attenuated population to the north, or in the heart of the continent, supported only by a France enfeebled through the world-wide ambitions of Napoleon and hampered in expansion by the home-loving instincts of its people, the result could hardly have been doubtful and would have meant, finally, the swamping of French nationality in America.

As it was, the French Canadian conflicts of a century had been as often with the English colonists on the Atlantic as with England herself; the wars between the white races were frequently over-shadowed by the horrors of Indian struggle; the France of the soldiers’ loyalty and the habitants’ faith was, as they afterwards realized, a very neglectful France; the Peace of 1763 threw a British mantle of power over the whole continent and brought rest to the much harassed settler in French Canada. When that rest was disturbed by the American Revolution the French Canadian found himself in a situation where he possessed the same rights of language, laws and religion as he had during the French régime, with an added element of greater liberty and a period in which he had enjoyed assured peace.

The Quebec Act of 1774 was, of course, a potent influence in this process of mental growth or newly evolved point of view. This act of the British Parliament had fixed the boundaries of the Province, made provision for its civil government, vested authority in a governor with a council of seventeen members, established the English criminal law while in civil rights and property preserving the old French laws, recognized the Roman Catholic religion with its preceding rights and immunities, preserved all the religious Orders in their rights and privileges with the exception of the Jesuits. Such a measure, followed by that of 1791, which separated Lower or French Canada from Upper or English Canada and gave each a constitution with a governor and executive council, a legislative council and assembly, was enough to impress any people with belief in the fairness of the British authorities. There were troubles and complications, of course, but this policy, helped by the open antagonism of New England to the Quebec Act with its maintenance of Catholicism in Quebec, proved an efficient counter-balance to natural memories of the long warfare between French and English. Added to this was a growing feeling that peace was preferable to war and that when peace brought with it the rights and liberties for which war had been so often invoked, it was wise to conserve the conditions under which this result had developed. Hence it was that aversion to war grew and deepened in the nature of the habitant.

This fact or process of thought explains, in some degree at least, his refusal to accept the influence of Lafayette, the wiles of D’Estaing, or the appeals of Washington, and to plunge into the American revolutionary war. Twenty years later the habitant was growing in his love for what was now his native soil, and in 1812, therefore, a part of the population was more than passive; it was active. But this activity was not because of any innate military spirit in the people; had it been so the fiery eloquence of Papineau in 1836-37 would have fired the heather indeed. This second American war simply increased the French Canadian love for his native country; the several invasions by United States troops brought the war into the homes and hamlets of the people; the struggle gave the French peasantry an enemy to discuss and denounce and deal with, other than their British traditional foe; and no matter how generous England might have been since 1763, this was in itself a most important matter. The Church took active steps and, just as in 1775 Bishop Briand of Quebec had issued a Mandement denouncing the “pernicious designs” of the Americans, so in 1812 Bishop Plessis urged his people to “fear God and honor the King,” to encourage loyalty and to stand by their allegiance.

The awakening of the people to a fuller and more just appreciation of the benefits which had accrued to them from British rule was the chief indirect influence of this war. It also checked a growth of republicanism which would have been natural in view of events in France and which afterwards found some active expression in the troubles of 1837; it prevented the influences of United States contiguity and of that geography which a distinguished writer in after days claimed as ordained by God to bring together the peoples of this continent, from having any effective result; it for a time brought together Canadians of French and English extraction in defence of their hearths and homes and laid a foundation, invisible yet powerful, for a realization of that splendid vision of Nicholson, Sewell, Pownall, William Smith and others—a permanent federal union of British America for the purposes of common interest, defence, trade and government.

The next great factor in French Canadian evolution was the problem of self-government. The whole confused medley of recrimination, protest, violent language, charge and counter-charge, deadlock between legislatures and governors, rebellious action and fiery controversy, which made up the history of 1800-1840, was the effervescence of an excitable people struggling for constitutional powers which they did not clearly understand; which no other dependent people in the world had as yet enjoyed and which were quite outside the ken of the most experienced statecraft; which the people of the United Kingdom themselves did not yet fully possess. Out of evil, however, came good; out of the conflict between those in power and those who wanted power, plus larger liberties, grew knowledge as to how to use liberty when it did come.

During the first part of the eighteenth century the French population, in the main, was a rural and agricultural one, essentially poor, obviously irresponsible in a political sense, absolutely dependent for protection upon British troops, money and connection. The commerce of the Province was in the hands of the English settlers, the money of the Province was, in the main, possessed by English financial interests, the most important city of the Province, Montreal, was rich and dominant by virtue of English capital and enterprise. A part of the public revenues still came from England, the greater portion of the remainder came from taxation of the English minority. The English were accustomed to governing and they naturally did so under the changing conditions of the local constitutional system; the French were inexperienced and, when placed by agitation and then by election in control of a tentative legislative system, they naturally concluded that their main mission in public life was to overcome the dominance of the English. Hence a contest of forty years’ duration.

It was not usually a disloyal controversy or one of estrangement from England as a sovereign power; it was a local and racial rivalry which was bound to find expression and which, in its final solution, reflected honor upon both sides—upon the dominating English classes for giving way without exercising the real military and financial powers which they possessed, and upon the great Catholic majority of French Canadians for having so well learned the difficult lesson of self-government and for afterwards using, so moderately and so wisely, the powers of executive and legislative authority which they obtained. The period of constitutional stress and struggle which followed 1800 included the rise and fall of Papineau with his fiery cross of rebellion and gospel of a liberty which reached the extreme of license; the rebellion itself, with its fitful folly and final collapse and its earnest, honest adherents who, in death, are heroes still and are enshrined in memorial and record as martyrs to the cause of human liberty; the union with Upper Canada in 1841 and twenty-five years of succeeding evolution which brought inevitable racial complications in its train.

It was a period which finally formed the French Canadian character and formulated the place of its people upon this continent. There was just enough of bloodshed and passion to produce a local patriotism without destroying wider national growth or checking individual progress; there was just enough of struggle and ill-feeling between races and religions to strengthen and deepen the French love for their possessions and ideals without creating a lasting bitterness in the race or against it; there was just enough of keen political conflict to impress upon the French Canadian mind the value and responsibility of self-government and the greatness of the boon so readily given by Great Britain when her people once became convinced that the trouble was not imperial but racial and local. To obtain similar gifts of freedom within and immunity from danger without—as French leaders of education and experience came to realize—other nations or states have had to go through centuries of war and struggle and turmoil and evolution. During this period was developed also a vague, almost intangible, yet very real, aspiration for a Quebec which should be all French in its local characteristics and racial dominance; today it seems not unlikely that, outside of Montreal, this ambition will be ultimately realized.

One other influence of an intangible yet very real character was that of the Seigneurs and Seigneurial system. By the middle of the nineteenth century the question and the situation had become a mere football of the politicians and the abolition of the system, when it was once brought into open antagonism to democracy, was inevitable. It did not altogether deserve that fate; its influence and the individual lives of the Seigneurs had very often been of real service to a people who required an element of culture and hereditary wealth to round out the result of their pioneer labors. The feudal customs may at times have been abused, the habitants may have had occasional cause for serious complaint, but on the other hand, the lives and homes of the rural population absolutely required the strong hand of a local leader and educated man for the purposes of defence and organization, and if in early days the hand of the over-lord was sometimes heavy, it was far heavier upon the enemy at the gates.

Without the Seigneurs the light-hearted, irresponsible peasantry would have fared ill at many stages in their early history; the literary light of French Canada would have been hampered or checked instead of scintillating with a brightness which has passed upon the pages of history; much of the charm of old-world manners and the culture of an olden time would have been absent from the life of Canada; the politics of the Province would have lost the presence and public services of many interesting figures and the life of the Province been devoid of such families as those of Taschereau and De Lotbinière, Baby and Casgrain, Boucher, Le Moyne, De Salaberry and many more. In 1854 the institution disappeared in the United Parliament of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada and one of the most picturesque elements in the life of the French Canadians more or less went with it.

Such, in brief summary, were the major influences in the making of French Canada. Minor ones there were in plenty, such as the Hudson’s Bay Company with its picturesque element of hunters and trappers; the court life of olden Quebec with its sometimes gorgeous and sometimes somber and sometimes trivial conditions, its rivalries of Church and State, its high ambitions and low intrigues, its imitation of the graces and vices of distant Paris; the influence of poetry and song upon the character of a people dwelling at first in a rugged wilderness and afterwards in an isolated state; the preservation of old-time systems of farming and living in the midst of newer and more enterprising populations. All these and many other things had a place in the evolution of French Canadian character, but it was a lesser place and one which was not fundamental in its nature.

The French Canadians as Nation Builders

The French race in Canada, as a separate people, represents much that is interesting, much that is unique in origin and evolution, much that is picturesque in character and environment. Beginning early in the seventeenth century with tiny pioneer settlements on the St. Lawrence—which at the time of Wolfe’s victory in 1759 had grown to a population of only 69,000—the French people had maintained for more than a hundred years an unequal, eventful struggle with the slow, steady, ever-advancing force of English settlers on the Atlantic, with the power of Britain on the sea, and with the ever-present menace and almost unceasing hostility of the Iroquois. They had to endure or overcome the inertia or feebleness of French administrations in distant Paris; the fitful and passing regard of Kings who knew little of and cared less for the vast region their loyal subjects sought to preserve or conquer for the Crown; the corruption and indifference of local administrators.

Yet these few and afterward scattered people, from their historic, original vantage point on the ramparts of Quebec, stamped a record of great achievement across the map of America. They swept down the center of the continent and left memorials of their possession scattered throughout the Ohio and Missouri and Mississippi valleys of the United States and in the still spoken mother tongue of Louisiana. They stormed the northern fortresses of cold and wilderness and savage life and made the story of exploits on lake and river, in primeval forest and lonely wastes, their own. In later days they have faced the dominating characteristics of English-speaking Canada and the pressure to the south of great masses of a still more alien people; while at the same time they have preserved their language, held to their faith and conserved their own national identity.

Montmorenci Falls, Quebec

To understand fully, or to indicate even faintly, the causes which have embedded in this continent of teeming millions, amid our great commercialized, wealth-loving masses of English-speaking people, a bit of mediæval Europe and preserved it through centuries of strife and turmoil and change, something more than the ordinary records of history must be reviewed. What is meant will not be found in the pages of political annals, in the story of the rise and fall of public men, in the interminable difficulties and natural divergencies of party life in a land of restricted or of enlarged liberties. To comprehend the position of French Canada, to grasp the real picturesqueness and romance of its position, to realize the nature of its people, the by-paths of history should be studied and they will not be found—except occasionally—in the passing view of tourists, in the feelings of English Canadians living amongst the French amid conditions not altogether congenial, or in the pages of controversial historians dwelling almost entirely upon unavoidable and obvious racial complications.

The habitant is usually voiceless as to the past—to a stranger almost always so; the parish priest is full of it, and frank regarding it, but his viewpoint is, properly and naturally, that of the Church which he regards as the father and mother and brother and sister of his people; the French Canadian press is frequently edited by Frenchmen from Paris, who clearly can know little of the workings of the peasant mind or of undercurrents of thought in a people who are French and yet separated from France by centuries of time, thousands of miles and ever-growing divergencies of life. There has been something exceptional and unusual in the French Canadian’s condition and process of development—influences there were which have been already briefly summarized. Religion, it is true, moulded him to a considerable extent and language isolated him in a marked manner. But neither religion nor language, nor both combined, have held the Spanish communities of South America in close touch with the past nor preserved amongst them the institutions, laws and loyalty of another century. The Scotchman, who is described as “twisting his creeds with an iron twist” and who of all English-speaking peoples is the most dominant and assertive in racial type, has settled amongst French Canadians and in many cases lost in a few generations his language and his religion and his race—even at times finding his name corrupted.

Yet the French Canadian goes down into New England, up into the Canadian West, across the western border into Dakota or Minnesota, over the provincial line into Eastern or Northern Ontario, and settles in little communities where he preserves the customs and traditions and language and religious law of his race to an amazing extent. A million of these sturdy people are to be found in the United States today and nearly half a million in the provinces other than Quebec. Nor does the second or third generation under these circumstances become, as might be expected, merged and lost in the Anglo-Saxon atmosphere of their environment. They may become good Canadians in a broad sense or good Americans in a national sense, but they still remain French for causes which no superficial judgment will ever comprehend and in a nationality which, in certain obvious respects, is distinct from that of France.

In this latter fact rests the germ of much interesting speculation. Had the French Canadians remained in close touch with France the Church might have lost its influence as in the mother-land; the people might have become republicanized as was the case there, and then gradually moulded along the lines of American institutions; the social life and thought of the masses and the classes would have been controlled by the looser forms and varied, changing character of the French nation in Europe; the large birth-rate and natural increase of population in French Canada would not have been an ever-present factor in its expansion and influence. But other conditions prevailed. Abandonment by France caused reaction and dependence upon England; English appreciation of local loyalty at a critical period was shown in the preservation of laws and conservation of a religion alien to those of her own people; this, in turn, antagonized the Puritans of New England and helped to prevent a rapprochement of the American friends of Lafayette and of the French Republic with the people of Quebec. The departure of so many of the officers and aristocrats of the old régime after the Peace of 1763 made possible a democratic development fitted to meet the later grant of full liberty and self-government by England; the Church remained and became established, as the Church of the people, in a sense which it failed to maintain in France itself; while the gradual evolution of constitutional government brought the people into a wider circle of national union and power without the loss of laws, or faith, or language.

It was this combination of circumstances which kept French Canada as a country within a country, a people within a nation and belonging to an empire alien in tongue and faith, a race alone amidst the bounding activities of a great continent given over to the Anglo-Saxon. The people in the first place preserved united faith in one great Church and without the dividing influences which inevitably come from the religious freedom of Protestantism. The Church was itself apart from the inherited difficulties of centuries in Continental Europe; it stood for race as well as for faith and remained a living factor in the life of the people. The language was preserved by British law, cultivated by racial pride, promoted by religious and ecclesiastical influence, helped by partisan complications in the rest of Canada. British constitutional institutions, meantime, aided in conserving the essentials of French Canadian life by bringing the non-essentials into harmony with people elsewhere in Canada and thus avoided a conflict of sentiment, of agitation and legislation, perhaps of civil war, which might have eventually submerged the Province and its racial type.

To the trinity of elements—religion, laws and language—which are generally and vaguely supposed to have preserved the French type in Canada, must, therefore, be added another. It was the influence of free institutions in Quebec, and in the rest of Canada, which by a gradual process of negation at times and construction at other times enabled this trinity of elements to adjust itself to an opposing and dangerous environment and to, at the same time, modify that environment at points where conflict would have been perilous in the last degree. The early stage of self-government prevented a discontent which in 1812 would have thrown the French people into the arms of the American republic and eventually stripped them of their special privileges; the knowledge that Britain had gone far in the direction of freedom, and would go further, prevented the rebellion of 1837 from being more than a passing émeute which did not develop permanent hostility between French and English Canadians as a serious civil war would have done; the union of 1841 with Upper Canada, while still conserving their language and laws and faith, brought a wider development of self-government, though one which had special complications of its own; the Confederation of 1867 set a seal upon real deadlock or difficulty between the races, established still more clearly and effectively the rights of the French Canadian, broadened his sphere of possible expansion, and promoted toleration in the English people while it helped a judicious moderation in the French.

Self-government within certain limits was, therefore, the keynote of a condition which might never otherwise have endured, and liberty was a British birthright acquired for French Canada by Wolfe upon the Heights of Abraham, preserved for it by Wellington upon the field of Waterloo, conserved for it by Brock and De Salaberry on Canadian battle-grounds. Without it French Canada might have worshipped and fallen at the shrine of French military glory, imitated the weaknesses of French social life, shared in the collapse of French religious vitality. Without it, and British power combined, as another alternative, French Canada might have fallen under the dominance of the United States by pressure of republican developments, or at a later stage by the force of economic considerations.

This view does not minimize the great power of the Church in its possible resistance to the conditions named, but it deals with the creation of a force which, as already stated, stood behind and with the Church in preserving the essentials of racial solidarity—language, laws and religion—by the smoothing down of asperities and the preventing of a serious issue with the stronger racial type of the continent. Not that self-government in itself was intended to produce this result or was expected to do so. In the earlier days it was indeed looked upon with suspicion as possibly leading to the very opposite conclusion—a flooding of the dykes and ramparts of the Church by the forces of a democracy which had so far shown itself chiefly in the French Revolution or in English religious independence and, in another century, was to evolve the loose social system of the United States and the political socialism of Europe.

As a national or racial unit French Canada has taken its part in the making and keeping of the Canadian Dominion. It was, to summarize briefly, a loyal element in the American wars of 1776 and 1812, a restless, dissatisfied, uncertain, but in the end, and in the main, a passive force during the so-called Rebellion of 1837. It was a people reaching out for the light of constitutional government and groping in the darkness of experiment, ignorance and prejudice for the knowledge of how to use liberties which were not very clearly defined or understood during the years from 1837 to 1860; it was a force for national unity in the days of constructive statecraft which followed the creation of Confederation in 1867; it has, in later years, assumed a position of determined Canadianism and of intense pride in and love for this Canadian soil—even when that soil includes in the mind of the habitant little more than the boundaries of his Province. With it all has been preserved and intensified the thought of Champlain on the Rock of Quebec, the aim of Frontenac in his struggle with the Indians, the work of Montcalm in his efforts to hold the country for his King, the spirit of the modern crusade for preservation of the French language, the sentiment of the priest and politician, of the habitant, of the merchant, of the poet or the writer of today—France is here!

But it is a France isolated from the flag of the Republic and apart from weaknesses of the looser social system of the mother-land. It is a France of the past, of tradition and history; a France replete with romance and religion and patriotism. This sentimental feeling is accompanied by one of passive loyalty to Great Britain, of a friendliness which is satisfied and even gratified at the existing relationship with the British Empire. At any great crisis the French race in Canada would loyally support the flag under which they have been reared, but it would be done from a sense of duty, of obligation, of individual and racial advantage, rather than from any such sentimental feeling as the French Canadians have for their own mother-land of the past. Even this measure of imperial loyalty, however, is marvelous and it is due to two special elements in the history of French Canada—the liberality with which Great Britain guaranteed and preserved to its people their peculiar institutions, and the generosity with which she conceded to them the benefits of gradual self-government.

Footprints of the French Pioneers

The period when France commenced to take a fitful yet vital interest in American exploration was one of intense maritime activity, of commercial enterprise which included also the taking of great and unknown risks, of dreams on the part of statesmen and active curiosity amongst intelligent and educated classes, of a stirring up in all the elements of adventure amongst the masses of the people. Spain through the genius and courage of Columbus, England by means of the Cabots, Italy through Amerigo Vespucci, Portugal through Corti-Real, France through Verrazanno, and then Cartier and Champlain, plunged into the search for new worlds or a new route to ancient lands. During this period of conflict and rivalry on sea and land, of golden galleons in southern seas and the deeds of Drake and Hawkins and Frobisher and many another in more northern waters, the pages of history reveal a prolonged struggle by merchants to carry commerce into great new countries which were slowly being opened up; they teem with the courageous, yet cruel deeds of buccaneers and pirates and gold seekers; they deal with events which made the Spanish Main, the West Indian shores and seas, the South American coasts, replete with elements of romance.

While English sailors were disputing the wealth and supremacy of the New World with the mighty ships of Spain and, at the same time, skirting the shores of the continent in a thousand places, planting the English flag at many points and carrying it into the farthest north and south, France was entering the portals of the St. Lawrence and making good her hold upon an immense region of the interior. Jacques Cartier, between 1534 and 1542, discovered and studied the shores of the St. Lawrence and named many places with the names of his beloved France. Brest Harbor on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the port of Blanc Sablon, the Isle de Bouays, the Isles de Margaulx, Brion Island and Baie des Chaleurs, are some of the designations which have lived. It was on his second voyage (1535) that Cartier called the waters around the present Ste. Genevieve Island the Baye Saint Laurens—the name which gradually grew into that of the whole vast body of water which he proceeded to partially explore.

The Island of Anticosti Cartier called L’Assomption in honor of the festival of that day, and indeed all through the explorations of the early French navigators the names of saints and other reminiscences of devotion to the Church of their fathers are continually in evidence. The Indians, according to Dr. S. E. Dawson—a careful authority—appear to have previously called the river Hochelaga, and the site of Quebec, Canada. To them, it must be remembered, these vast waters meant much. In their birch-bark canoes they paddled everywhere with ease, and came and went with almost invisible swiftness, through vast regions which could not otherwise have been traversed in months of time; on these various rivers they fished for food and attacked, or evaded, their foes. To the explorers the St. Lawrence and its great branches provided a scenery and surroundings which in summer were a constant source of enchantment. The waters teemed with myriad fish, and even whales, seal and walruses were seen in the Gulf and lower reaches of the St. Lawrence. The forests on the shore were green and rich with pine and maple and ash; in the autumn they burst into brilliant rainbow hues of beauty. Here and there meadows were discovered in blossom and flower—shadowed perhaps by rugged hill or mountain side. Everywhere were salmon or other fish in the shallows; wild pigeons and gulls winging through the air; penguins or great auks, wild ducks, guilemots, puffins, margaulx, and many other birds on the countless islands and along the shores. In winter, of course, this was all reversed, but with a cold splendor which still remained unique.

Through these islands and along the shores, through reefs and shoals and in places where the most experienced modern pilot goes cautiously with the aid of charts and surveys, Cartier seemed to sail by instinct—without accident or serious difficulty. At Saguenay the precipitous mountains of rock rose out of a deep dark river and struck Cartier as doubly singular because of the great forests which apparently grew from their bare sides without the need of earth. Here he seems, as was the case later on at Hochelaga, to have accepted local Indian names. To Isle-aux-Coudres he gave the name which still lives; a spacious green isle, rich in wild vines and fruitful soil, and now known as the Isle d’Orléans, he termed the Isle de Bacchus. At this point the footprints of the pioneer became an actual fact and to him came countless savages in their noiseless canoes seeking assurances of friendship or enmity, wondering at the marvelous ship with wings which flew over the surface of the water, ready to give an admiration and respect which might easily have been retained and which might have made easy the coming century of alien settlement.

From the point on the north shore where, at the mouth of the St. Charles River, Cartier rested for a few days (September, 1535) he could see all the wonderful panorama of nature provided by the promontory of Cape Diamond, by the sweep and curve of the great river at its base, by the blue hills of the Laurentides in the distance, untouched by the creations of civilization, unmarred by the growth of cities and towns. At the point of junction of the St. Charles and a small stream called the Lairet, Cartier erected a fort upon the remains of which, today, stands a monument to the explorer. On October 2d Cartier was welcomed at the Indian town of Hochelaga—now the site of Dorchester Street and the St. James Cathedral of Montreal. From here he ascended the elevation which he named Mount Royal and looked out upon a scene which left a deep impression upon his mind and which included the Ottawa River in the distance opening out into the Lake of Two Mountains, the main flood of the St. Lawrence broadening into the Lake St. Louis of modern times, the roaring rapids where this great body of water rushes down forty-five feet in seven miles, the dim Laurentian ranges far away, and detached hills and plains to the south covered with forests which flamed into color under the early frosts.

In 1540 Cartier received his royal commission for a third voyage to the new lands, and was described in this document as “the discoverer of the countries of Canada and Hochelaga,” said to be “a portion of Asia on its western side.” A sudden change occurred at Court, however, and eventually Cartier sailed under commission from La Roque, Sieur de Roberval, acting as the King’s Lieutenant-General. It was in August, 1541, that he again reached Stadacona, the Indian village nestling at the foot of Cape Diamond, and it was at Cap Rouge, afterwards the scene of a great timber industry and now covered with the summer residences of Quebec City, that he fortified his camp for a winter of suffering, disease and death. It was here that he found traces of iron and gold and “stones like diamonds,” and it was from the latter claim that Cape Diamond obtained its name. Amongst Cartier’s associates were Viscount de Beaupré, from whom, no doubt, came the name of the famous shrine of the future. In September Hochelaga was again visited, but, in the main, the footprints of Cartier during the ensuing period are records of endurance, Indian hostility, misfortunes and privation. De Roberval arrived in the summer of 1542 with a large expedition and met Cartier returning home. The arrogant and inexperienced nobleman went on his way up the river and erected forts and buildings on a considerable scale upon the site which Cartier had abandoned. No remains exist to-day, little is known of the ensuing winter and less of an alleged expedition into “the Province of Saguenay.” In the spring De Roberval returned to France and there is no proof that he ever made that somber trip up the Saguenay where he was supposed to have disappeared forever, and about which has been woven so much of romance and poetry:

Chill blew the wind in his face

As, still on his treasure chase,

He entered that gloomy place

Whose mountains in stony pride

Still soulless, merciless, sheer,

Their adamant sides uprear;

Naked and brown and drear,

High o’er the murky tide.

Cartier left imperishable memories in the history of Canada. Yet he was but a simple seaman, without rank, or brilliance, or outstanding qualities. Instinct and natural skill seemed to guide him in his seamanship; a certain primitive faith marked his actions and proved his inspiration. Bretagne, in his day, was far removed from the intellectual stir of the period and even from the national life of France. Despite all this he has left a wiser, better reputation than Columbus; his statecraft in dealing with the Indians was marked by only one fault, while that of Columbus in dealing with the Caribs inaugurated a disastrous system of forced labor which ran up a heavy score for future generations to settle. Cartier founded no great city and administered no great country, yet the landmarks of his presence loom large in French Canada.

Following him came an era of fitful action and hastily passing personalities. The region described by Cartier in letters and careful maps which, however, have perished somewhere in the centuries, soon came to be called New France. Trade seems to have been carried on between the old and new lands, but no settlements were made. In the Gulf and adjoining waters and up as far as Tadoussac, enterprising fishermen were numerous—notably the Spanish Basques with Bretons and Normans from France. Into this situation came also the English under Frobisher, Drake and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and, in 1598, occurred the melancholy colonizing effort of the Marquis de la Roche, under mandate of Henri IV, which ended in the bones of most of his companions strewing the bleak shores of Sable Island. Amongst other adventurous spirits of this time was Françis Gravé, Sieur du Pont, who took an interest in the fur trade which centered at Tadousac, and, with Pierre Chauvin and others, made futile efforts in the beginning of the seventeenth century to found a settlement there. In 1603, however, an expedition was sent out under Samuel de Champlain, of Brouage, the practical father of Canada. With him was Pont-Gravé.

Chicoutimi, Saguenay River

The footprints of Champlain are everywhere in Canada. He was at once cautious and brave, a statesman and a soldier, a loyalist to both King and Church, a typical Frenchman of the age in all the finer national characteristics of his people. In him centered the earlier romance and around him has been woven much of the patriotism of French Canada. With a combined experience of sea and shore, the inspiration given all his followers in war by Henri IV, and with the added possession of high personal qualities, he made an ideal pioneer leader. One can imagine this determined and fearless explorer ascending the silent spaces of the great river and exploring in canoes the lesser waters running into it; standing on the beetling rock where he was to erect his future fort and house and lay the foundation of a great French state within a British empire of whose still greater scope he could not even dream; journeying with a few friendly Indians through the wilds of the interior, portaging around or perilously crossing swift rapids and great waterfalls, traversing vast forests and encountering great inland seas; standing upon the wooded heights of Mount Royal and gazing up and over the sweeping river which led to such vast, unknown regions and which held within its bosom such potentialities of war, and commerce, and shipping, and development. One can even picture this representative of the military civilization of Europe as, clad in steel breast-plate and plumed casque, with sword at his side and matchlock ready to hand, he passed through the mighty wilderness—ever listening for the war-whoop of the savage and ever on the alert for some new and undefined danger.

On his first voyage Champlain visited the meeting place of traders and Indians at Tadoussac, with its environment of granite hills and great mamelons of sand, and then passed up the Saguenay to a point a little beyond the modern Chicoutimi. So far as is known his passage through the mighty precipices of rock which we call Capes Trinity and Eternity, into the walled chasm half filled with water which is styled the Saguenay River, was the first visit of a white man to this wonderful region. It is not difficult to imagine this intrepid Frenchman in his tiny ship, with a superstitious and naturally terror-struck crew, traversing in ever-growing silence and somber fear mile after mile of this stupendous cleft in the Laurentian plateau which some earthquake or upheaval of prehistoric times had constructed. The unknown is often terrible, and in this case they would see on either side an almost unbroken line of lofty, naked cliffs, they could look down and around into waters so deep as to become black as pitch, with only purple glints in the sunlight, and so vast as to be capable of holding all the fleets of the world though with hardly a place for anchorage; they could almost feel the silence of dark solitudes which neither bird nor insect cared to share; they could not help but be profoundly impressed with what one writer has termed a River of Death and another described as making Lethe or the Styx look like purling brooks.

This first experience was a fitting one for such a man as Champlain. In the years that followed his footprints were stamped all over the center of the continent. He saw the beautiful falls below Stadacona—from which all Indian settlement had then passed—and named them after Admiral de Montmorenci; he passed over and named the broad waters of Lake St. Peter; he visited Mount Royal and stood on the site of the future commercial metropolis; he explored the lower St. Lawrence and visited Gaspé and Percé. His second voyage was financially aided by the Huguenot, Pierre du Guast, Comte de Monts, who was commissioned as Lieutenant-Governor for the King and in 1604 accompanied Champlain to Canada. With them were Biencourt de Poutrincourt and one hundred and twenty colonists, and following in another ship was Pont-Gravé with additional supplies. Along the coast of the Nova Scotia of to-day Champlain passed and named many places. A settlement was established at Ste. Croix Island and, finally, made at Port Royal under the authority of De Monts. Meantime Champlain had been traversing the coast north and south and at one time actually stood on Plymouth Rock, where fifteen years later the Pilgrims were to land as the first of that stream of population which was to one day check the sweep of French ambition and empire. To Port Royal in 1606 came further settlers with Marc Lescarbot, a bright and clever lawyer, and a writer who has left us the most reliable description of pioneer French conditions.

In his further explorations Champlain, frequently accompanied by Poutrincourt, searched the shores of the Bay of Fundy, visited the Halifax harbor of the distant future, studied with enthusiasm the Acadia of his time. At Port Royal he and his gallant associates had founded the first permanent settlement of Europeans, excepting the far distant Spanish posts in Southern America. They had instructed the local Indians in religion and won their hearts; with proper support from home, following upon Champlain’s further work in the interior and at Quebec, France might, at this early stage in American history, have established its position and held its vast possessions against the influences of the future.

After a period of three years’ absence Champlain returned to St. Malo and prepared another expedition. On June 3d he was again at Tadoussac and a little later he was busy clearing the ground and building a post or “Abitation,” where now stands the Church of Notre Dame des Victoires in the Lower Town of Quebec. A little later he started up the river with a few Frenchmen and a number of Indians. His footprints on this journey are numerous. He stood on the site of Three Rivers, called the Rivière du Loup of today by the name of Ste. Suzanne, styled the St. Francis River of the future the Rivière du Pont, named the Yamaska as the Rivière de Gennes. He discovered the Richelieu and called it the Rivière des Iroquois; with two Frenchmen and a number of Indians he started in birch canoes to explore its waters to their source. To the modern traveler who passes in a steamer up this great stream, who evades rapids by going through a canal and who sees smiling farms and villages on either side, it is difficult to realize the situation as the three Frenchmen were paddled by their somewhat doubtful allies over unknown waters with primeval forests standing on either side in dense and continuous masses of dark green foliage; with the knowledge also that hostile bands of Iroquois might be gathering in the woods to cut off the little party on its return. They persisted, however, and the intrepid explorer gave his own name to the great lake which they finally reached and which afterwards proved the scene of several battles, which was long a key to French Canada on the south, which English soldiers and American colonists so often sought to utilize.

As with Cartier, the site of Montreal had great attractions for Champlain, and in 1611 he examined the locality with care and appears to have proposed a settlement at Pointe à Callières where now stands the Custom House in the center of the modern city. In 1613 he explored the Ottawa River and narrowly escaped death in some of its turbulent waters. He stood on the site of the future Canadian capital; saw something of the Gatineau and its innumerable waterfalls; discovered the beauties of the Falls of the Chaudière which a succeeding civilization has tried to destroy with factories and mills; and passed up the Ottawa as far as Allumette Island which was then the center of the chief Algonquin nation. Following this journey Champlain, in 1615, passed into the mighty wilderness which afterwards became the Province of Ontario. Up the Ottawa again he went, up the Mattawa to its head, over to Lake Nipissing he passed by portage, and then down the French River to Georgian Bay. It was a laborious and difficult work of exploration and was ended by a visit to the Hurons at a point near the site of the present town of Midland in Simcoe County. He, of course, discovered Lake Simcoe and Balsam Lake, passed up the Otonabee River to Rice Lake and followed the River Trent to the Bay of Quinte, issuing thence into the waters of Lake Ontario at the site of the present town of Trenton. With the possible exception of Étienne Brulé, Champlain was thus the first white man to see Lake Ontario. On his return he spent some time at the point where Orillia now rests.

This ended the explorer’s wonderful work. He had studied the coasts of what are now the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with thoroughness; he had traversed the Saguenay and St. Maurice and Ottawa, the Mattawa and French Rivers; he knew the eastern shores of Lake Huron and understood the vastness of that body of water as he did of Lake Ontario; he had penetrated the northern part of New York State and hunted in the country between Kingston and Ottawa; he had traversed on foot much of Central and Western Ontario and knew fairly well the topography of a dozen modern Ontario counties. His analysis of soil and natural productions, his description of varied Indian tribes, his maps and cartographic studies are all able and wonderfully exact. As a builder of cities his selection of Quebec was an achievement; his hope of Montreal an inspiration. As a soldier he won the respect of the Indians and whenever he fought them was successful. As a statesman he seems to have held the confidence of Court and Church and Colonists—a difficult feat in those days; as a man he was the central figure of French Canada’s origin. Over much of the Canada of today his footprints are visible to the student, and while he did not excel in naming permanently the great waters he discovered or the places upon which he stood in the birthday of our history, he did leave an impress of personality and action which time cannot eradicate or events disturb.

Meanwhile, the spirit and efforts of Champlain were stirring up the adventurous feeling and ambitions of his countrymen in every direction. They found special attractions in the work of Canadian exploration. There was enough danger to attract men of spirit; there were spaces so vast and possibilities so varied as to excite the least curious mind; there were chances of wealth in furs and there were constant stories of gold and silver and precious stones. The immense size, numbers and varieties of the bodies of water in the interior of the continent and the myriad deep undulations along its ocean shores made travel easier than in waterless countries, while the presence of Indians added not only the spice of peril but also the element of service. The Indians also brought into play the religious spirit of the Jesuits and Récollets and to the labors of the priests were due many important discoveries. With them, or in advance of them at times, were the fur traders who acted from love of adventure or gain, or officiated as interpreters between the pioneer priests and the Indians, but did not, as a rule, care anything for geography or science or the records which constitute so important a part of discovery or exploration. The missionaries, on the other hand, recorded their data and posterity has, therefore, a double reason for gratitude to the devoted men who were pioneers for their nation.

An illustration of the fur-trading and commercial pioneer was Etienne Brulé, who caught the fever of travel from Champlain, a spirit of wildness from the Indians and added a quality of licentiousness all his own. He lived much amongst the savages and seems to have been the first white man to stand upon the site of Toronto. He explored central Pennsylvania and went down the Susquehanna to Chesapeake Bay, discovered the waters of Sault Ste. Marie and was the first white man to paddle along the shores of Lake Superior. Of the four Récollet friars whom Champlain brought from France in 1615 Father Le Caron was the first missionary to the Hurons and Father d’Olbeau to the Montagnais. With Father Sagard and other later arrivals they added much to the slowly accumulating volume of knowledge. In 1625 the Jesuits arrived and their Relations cover a long period and record a vast amount of travel and study as well as of noble missionary effort. Down to the Rapids in the rear of Montreal came the Récollet Father Nicholas Viel to meet one of the Jesuit Fathers, and the Huron Indians who were paddling him down the river threw him to his death in its waters. Hence the first Christian martyrdom in Canada and the Sault au Récollet of today.

Church of Notre Dame des Victoires, Quebec

In the succeeding year Father D’Aillon penetrated to and dwelt amongst the Neutral Indians on Niagara River. He seems to have heard of Niagara Falls, but there is no record of his having ever seen them nor, indeed, is there any evidence of other missionaries or explorers reporting at this time more than vague rumors of a mighty waterfall. Fathers Chaumonot and de Brébeuf discovered Lake Erie in 1640, and in 1678 Father Hennepin stood upon the cliffs of Niagara Falls as the first European who had seen that natural wonder of the world. Grand as it is today the spectacle must then have been absolutely awe-inspiring. The dark primeval forests on either hand, the roar of the vast cataract and rush of the turbulent rapids amidst the vast and otherwise unbroken solitudes of nature must have presented sights and sounds fit for the Olympians. This priest also explored the Wisconsin River up to the Falls of St. Anthony and appears to have stood upon the site of Minneapolis. Other Jesuits who left footprints of exploration across and down the continent in this period were Fathers Allouez, Dablon, André and Druillettes, with the saintly Marquette, who has been described as the “sweet-souled hero of Western discovery.” In this double work of exploration and missions, of labor for country and Church, there is, indeed, writ large upon this continent the thought of the French hymn:

The Royal banners forward go,

The Cross shines forth with mystic flow.

Louis Jolliet was a native Canadian who, with Father Marquette, appears to have been the first to discover the source and nature of the waters of the Mississippi. An explorer and trader by nature he was also a mathematician and hydrographer and his footprints extend from the Mississippi to Hudson’s Bay on the north and to Labrador on the east. In 1673 the trader and the priest, under commission from Frontenac, traversed the shores of Lake Michigan, turned into Fox River and passed to its head waters, thence journeyed to an elbow of the Wisconsin and at a place now called Prairie du Chien glided into the broad waters of the Mississippi, which Jolliet christened La Rivière Buade after Frontenac’s family name. They floated down the river, seeing bands of bison and flocks of wild turkeys, meeting ever new bodies of Indians, passing the mouth of the Missouri and the Arkansas and then returned rather than meet with the Spaniards and perhaps lose all the fruits of their discoveries. They ascended the Illinois and Chicago rivers and reached within four miles of the site of the western metropolis. They crossed the portage connecting the two great water systems of the continent and, late in September, reached the Fox River after a voyage of 2,800 miles.

Another Frenchman in the person of René Robert Cavelier de la Salle completed the labors of these two men. Proud, persevering and self-reliant he was a figure worthy of the great arena in which he was to move. He joined his brother, Abbé Jean de la Salle, at Montreal in 1667 and two years later accepted a commission from De Courcelles, the French Governor. The object of his expedition was to discover the Ohio of the Senecas and, despite the obscurity of the facts available, there is little doubt that he did ascend the Ohio River of today. In 1679, after varied vicissitudes, La Salle, accompanied by Henri de Tonty in a sailing vessel built under his orders, traversed Lake Erie, the St. Clair River and thence journeyed to Michilimackinac and Lake Michigan. After many adventures he and a portion of his party reached a place now known as South Bend, Indiana. Supplies failed here and the return was effected under conditions which the most vivid imagination would find it hard to create. In his next expedition La Salle seems to have touched the site of Toronto and to have passed by way of Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. He reached the Mississippi again, but was then obliged to return. Eventually, in 1682, he descended the great river to its mouth and issued out upon the Gulf of Mexico, where, on April 8, he erected a pillar upon the shore, bearing the arms of Louis XIV, and formally took possession of a vast unknown region in the name of his country.

This problem of the continent’s waterways, as well as those of the center and the north, had thus been solved by a Frenchman, and from the cold cliffs of the Saguenay to the tropical waters of the Mississippi delta the greatest bodies of fresh water in the world—over which was to some day pass an almost incalculable volume of commerce—had become, for a time, part of the New France of Frontenac and his brilliant dreams. Michilimackinac was at this time a name replete with memories of French pioneers and included somewhat varied and confusing localities. It covered the mythology-laden isle of Algonquin reverence in the middle of the strait between Lakes Michigan and Huron, the points of land on the north and south of the strait, the mission place of Father Marquette at St. Ignace on the north mainland, the fur-trade center into which this also developed and from which La Motte Cadillac went in 1701 to found Detroit, a later French fort on the south shore and still later an English fort on the island. St. Ignace was the center of much adventurous exploration, mission effort and fur-trading—familiar to Fathers Allouez and Hennepin and many another brave priest of the wilderness, to Jolliet, Radisson, La Salle, Du L’hut and many more.

Another leader of this period was the explorer whose name is enshrined in that of Duluth—“the zenith city of the unsalted seas” as an enthusiastic American once termed it. His variously spelled name appears to have been Daniel de Greysolon, Sieur du L’hut; he was of noble family and high social connections in France, but from preference and love of the wild free life of the forests and prairies he devoted himself to Canadian exploration. In 1678 he left Montreal to study the almost unknown Northwest, and passed along the shores of Lake Superior, across the Mississippi and down one of the streams to a Sioux village where he planted the flag of France. He held a great Council of the Sioux at Fond du Lac, the extreme western end of Lake Superior, and thereafter, for years, lived in and thoroughly explored all this great region—much of which no white man had ever seen. His main post was at the mouth of the Kaministiquia River, and from here, where now rests the busy town of Fort William, he traveled and traded south and north, around the Lake of the Woods country and into the basin of the Winnipeg. On Lake Nepigon he had another post from which he dealt with the Crees and covered much of the vast region up to Hudson’s Bay. Through his friendship with the Indians, Du L’hut on more than one occasion was able to bring assistance to his Governors at Quebec, and in 1710 died at Montreal with a high reputation for bravery, chivalry and capacity.

Meanwhile Jean Nicollet, under special commission from Champlain, discovered, in 1634, the Strait of Michilimackinac and passed through it into the Lake Michigan of today. First amongst white men he traversed the beautiful strait with its clustering islands and haunts of Indian tradition; first amongst his people he saw the great “Freshwater Sea” which was believed to be one more portion of a mighty waterway leading to China and the glowing East. So vast were these waters that the silence and loneliness met by the explorer’s solitary canoe was little less than is encountered in later days of enormous traffic and great steamers. Paddling along the western shore of Lake Michigan the Frenchman came to what is now Green Bay and the Menominee River, and not long afterwards to the mouth of Fox River where he was met by about four thousand Indians. One can imagine the picturesque scene of splendid lake and river, wild forest and wilder red men, the explorer robed in embroidered Chinese damask and discharging, as he advanced to the meeting, a pistol from either hand. He was to the savages a Manitou, or god, wielding thunder and lightning, and to him, therefore, a warm welcome was given. Many such scenes occurred in the experience of the early pioneers. The explorer then passed up the Fox River, through Lake Winnibago, and up the river beyond to the portage of the Wisconsin. He seems to have stood upon the water-parting of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence basins.

Of explorers in the Northwest during this eventful time Pierre Esprit Radisson has left an impression which, like that of Jolliet or La Salle, would fill volumes if fully described. His experiences and adventures equal the most thrilling of romances. His family came to Three Rivers from France, in 1651. He, himself, lived much amongst and knew much of the Indians and at first proved a useful interpreter for the Jesuits. With his brother-in-law, Médard Chouart, he explored Wisconsin and neighboring regions and appears to have been the first white man to traverse Lake Superior beyond the Sault Ste. Marie. Radisson saw much of the Mississippi, explored some of its lesser branches and studied its head waters, traversed the southern shores of Lake Michigan, wandered over what is now the State of Minnesota, traded and talked and lived with the Indians and started, in 1662, from La Pointe on Lake Superior to go to Hudson’s Bay. He and Chouart coasted its shores for some distance and returned by way of Moose River and, probably, the head waters of the Saguenay. The rest of the career of these men was one of adventure, perhaps, more than exploration or discovery, but was none the less remarkable in its way. Radisson appears to have been the real discoverer of what has been vaguely termed the Northwest—a phrase applicable to a great region in the United States and an equally important later center of attraction in Canada.

A later pioneer of the West was Gaultier de Varennes de la Vérendrye, a gallant French Canadian soldier who was born at Three Rivers and essayed, time and again, to discover the fabled Western Sea which was supposed to lie between America and Japan. He had fought in New England and Newfoundland, been wounded at Malplaquet in Europe, and experienced many vicissitudes of fortune when, accompanied by fifty grizzled adventurers, he first started from Montreal on June 8, 1731, to trade, to explore, to discover, to fight or to do anything that might be necessary in the wild wastes of the North and West. Up the Ottawa and through the Great Lakes to Nipegon the party proceeded and thence to Michilimackinac, where De la Vérendrye was joined by his nephew Sieur de la Jemmeraie and by Father Messaiger the Jesuit. The two days’ journey from the Straits to Kaministiquia took the party in their frail canoes a month; thence the explorers proceeded to the Lake of the Woods or, as it was then called, Lake of the Isles. There they discovered the Winnipeg River and later on the lake of the same name.

Thence, up the Red River went the intrepid party until, at its junction with the Assiniboine, De la Vérendrye met a party of Crees (1738) on the spot where Winnipeg now stands and looked out upon an illimitable ocean of rolling prairie. He, with his three sons—Jean had been killed by the Sioux not long before—stood upon the site of a great modern city, studied the Assiniboine Valley, erected Fort Rouge on the banks of the river and for the first time the bugle call of the French sounded across the prairies of Manitoba. Up the Souris River, through the plains to the southwest, along ravines where grazed hundreds of thousands of buffalo, and accompanied by six hundred Indians, De la Vérendrye then proceeded to the Upper Missouri and again took possession of fresh territory for the French King. Meanwhile, Pierre, François and Louis de la Vérendrye, his sons, reached the banks of the Saskatchewan and erected a fort there and one on Lake Manitoba. Some years later, on New Year’s Day, 1734, Pierre and François de la Vérendrye were the first white men to sight from land the lofty peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The gallant father and his sons had set out to discover the Western Sea and they had found a sea of prairies and a sea of mountains; they had traversed parts of two great and hitherto unknown rivers—the Missouri and the Saskatchewan; they had planted plates with the royal arms of France in a new and vastly rich portion of the American continent.

In 1669 the Sulpicians, Dollier de Casson and Bréhant de Galinée, explored the north shore of Lake Erie, in March, 1670, encountered Marquette and Dablon at Sault Ste. Marie and returned by way of Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa. Galinée’s narrative of the expedition was sent to the King. Another picturesque pair of explorers was Nicholas Perrot and Daumont de St. Lusson. The former was a master of Indian tongues, a useful interpreter to De Denonville and De Vaudreuil, a widely-traveled explorer, and the discoverer of lead mines on what was afterwards the Des Moines River in Iowa. In 1665 he first encountered St. Lusson at Sault Ste. Marie. Six years later (June 14th), in one of the most picturesque scenes of French life in America, St. Lusson, who had been despatched by the Intendant Talon to take possession of the Northwest in the name of the King, did so on the heights overlooking Sault Ste. Marie amid much barbaric pageantry intermixed with civilized state and ceremony. Representatives were present from a dozen Indian tribes which roamed the prairies and lake-lands for hundreds of miles, and they affixed their names, or rather marks, to a document claiming for Louis XIV all of the known continent from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic seas of the north and to the far-off Labrador coast. An immense wooden Cross was erected and a cedar mast placed beside it with the King’s escutcheon affixed.

Following Marquette and Jolliet and La Salle the thoughts of French Canada toward the close of the seventeenth century had been mainly directed to the Mississippi Valley—despite the many and varied efforts to the far north and west. In 1689 Nicholas Perrot had forts at the mouth of the Wisconsin and on Lake Pepin. A little later Fathers Montigny, St. Cosmé, Davion and Thaumer de la Source established missions as far south as Baton Rouge; in 1700 Father Gravier reached the Gulf of Mexico with a similar purpose in view, while Father Le Sueur ascended the Minnesota and stood upon the site of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 1699-1702 expeditions under Le Moyne d’Iberville and Le Moyne de Bienville of Montreal founded Biloxi and Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico with a view to guarding for Old and New France the portals of the Mississippi. At the same time Henri de Tonty, noted for his association with La Salle, abandoned his Fort St. Louis on the Illinois and established another of the same name at Mobile, while French ports were also established on the site of Detroit and at Miami, Outanon and Vincennes in the Illinois region. In later years and around Lake Chatauqua, the source of the Alleghany River, Forts La Bœuf, Presqu’isle and Venango were built. Fort Duquesne was a famous place in the English-French wars. Up the Richelieu River, which was for long years the high road between French Canada and the English colonies under the name of Rivière aux Iroquois, the route was studded with forts of both nations and the soil of its shores is stamped with much of adventurous and romantic story.

There were many other French priests or missionaries, explorers or adventurers, traversing these wonderful wildernesses. Hudson’s Bay, discovered from the sea entrance by Henry Hudson in 1610, was a source of great attraction to many. Radisson and Chouart no doubt reached its shore from land before Father Albanel, who, however, is generally credited with having been the first to do so, and they are said to have suggested the formation of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the English at a time of personal resentment against D’Avaugour, the Governor at Quebec. In 1672 Father Albanel, following the unsuccessful expedition of Fathers Druillettes and Dablon in 1661, sighted its gloomy shores, found the English flag already there and is said to have torn it down. From Three Rivers in 1651 Father Buteux had, meanwhile, ascended and explored the River St. Maurice, which Cartier, Pont-Gravé and Champlain had all examined in lesser degree and with reference, chiefly, to the importance of Three Rivers as a fur-trading center. Father Buteux left a clear description of Shawinigan Falls amongst his limited geographical records and was murdered by the Iroquois while returning to the mouth of the river. The Upper Saguenay region was the home of prolonged missionary work by Fathers du Quen and de Crepieul, who, at Tadousac and Lake St. John, devoted more time to the souls of the heathen than to the geography of the region where later, under English rule, their missions were forgotten and the country for a long time regarded as being a hopeless wilderness.

At other points also the omniscient Jesuit was pursuing his adventurous way. Mission stations in the middle of the seventeenth century were established at the mouths of the chief rivers running into the St. Lawrence. Some have been already mentioned. Father Bailloquet ascended the Papinactoix on the north shore of the St. Lawrence and Father Nouvel explored the Manicouagan. On the south shore Father Druillettes passed by way of the Chaudière River, opposite Quebec, and the Kennebec, to the Atlantic seaboard; the missions to the Etchemins of New Brunswick were carried on from Rivière du Loup, opposite Tadousac, and by way of a portage to Lake Temiscouta and the Madawaska into the River St. John region. Restigouche and Nipisiquit on the Baie des Chaleurs, and Richibucto and Miramichi on the Gulf coast of New Brunswick, were mission centers and the bases of various missionary journeys. The far Labrador coast was the source of varied effort and Father Nicholas in 1673 opened a mission at Seven Islands.

It will thus be seen that from the far north to the furthest south of a great continent, the Frenchmen made their mark and left memorials of voyage and journey, exploration and settlement, adventure and peril, religious effort and self-sacrifice, upon all the wonderful water stretches of the interior and upon the shores of two of the greatest rivers of the world. They impressed upon the continent a splendid national imprint and the record of a great ambition which however often it might flicker or fail amidst the distractions and varied responsibilities of court life in Paris or Quebec, never wavered in the hearts of heroic missionaries and courageous pioneers. In the end the hope that New France would dominate a vast continent failed, but it was not the fault of the earlier representatives of the nation or the Church, in the heart of the wilderness, that such was the case. If failure did come in this great aim, success was all the more conspicuous in the record of individual achievement and individual example which these men of a bygone age have left to their people. It indeed forms a part of traditions and history which take no second place, in certain forms of comparison, even to a hundred years or more in the history of their greater motherland.

Quebec—The Cradle of New France

Upon the Rock of Quebec, at one time or another in two centuries of struggle, there have stood the rulers and the ruled, the impetuous and picturesque French adventurers and the inscrutable, self-sacrificing, obedient priests, the gallant representatives of a line of French kings and the corrupt administrators of colonial wealth, the reckless and the wise, the chivalrous and the mean, the statesmen and the soldier—all the moving panorama of men who looked out over a wide continent upon the wild struggles of a scattered and proud race of savages, upon the rivalries and warfare of two great European powers in a world still fresh from centuries of solitude, upon the birth-pains of two new nations in process of creation. To the reader or traveler who thinks today of Dufferin Terrace only, who considers the scenery as very beautiful and then passes hurriedly on to see and share in the more attractive and bounding life of greater cities, there is nothing much to be said about Quebec. History is, in a certain real sense, what one makes it. Parkman and Green and Macaulay put the puppets of the past in their proper place and made the real influences of life, the actual, breathing people and controlling principles of the period move across their pages. It was the power of imagination which did it and, despite any errors in detail or in the minor facts of their records, it is this power and this only which enabled them to reconstruct history and make facts and events clear.

If a visitor to Quebec, or even a life-long resident of that cradle of history, should possess the faculty of imagination the facts of four centuries are easy to understand and the romance of his surroundings become clear; if he has not that faculty let him consult the pages of some writer who has. Near the Quebec of the future on the banks of the St. Charles, Jacques Cartier and his sailor comrades in 1535-36 passed a season of severe privations and were the only white men living upon the whole continent of North America. Here, on May 3, 1536, Cartier erected a cross thirty-five feet high bearing a shield with the fleur-de-lys and the inscription in Latin: “Francis I, By the Grace of God, King of France.” On the St. Lawrence and above the site of Quebec, Cartier passed another winter in 1541 and built at Cap Rouge a small fort which De Roberval occupied in the succeeding year.

At the foot of the Rock of Quebec Champlain planted on July 3, 1608, the white flag of France, built his “Abitation” and founded the city of the future. If Napoleon as he stood with folded arms and inscrutable face viewing the Sphinx of Egypt and conjuring up an eastern empire which might compensate him for European disappointments of the moment is an attractive figure of the world’s history, it should not be very difficult to surround with the widest and deepest interest the lonely figures of Cartier and Champlain as, in long-separated years, they faced the mystery of the ages, sought a water route to the Orient from Europe and in doing so paved the way in a new continent of the world for discoveries of vast inland seas and rivers, of untold areas of fertile soil, of mighty mountains and rolling prairies.

In founding this seat of future empire, in organizing a base for expeditions and explorations of whose results he could have no real conception, Champlain selected the site of Quebec as being also most defensible from a military point of view and best fitted as a port for purposes of the fur trade and shipping interests. At the foot of the cliff, amidst a forest of birch trees, he built himself a house—on the spot where the Church of Notre Dame des Victoires now stands. It was in reality three separate houses, joined together, with a courtyard, storehouse, watch-tower and an esplanade in front, guarded by five cannon with palisades and a ditch sixteen feet wide and six feet deep. From this “Abitation” Champlain directed the alliance with the Algonquins and Hurons and that first hostile movement against the Iroquois which seems to have controlled the history of New France for a century and a half and which may, indeed, have been a primary cause for the situation in which Wolfe encountered on the Heights of Abraham the small army of a 60,000 population instead of the armed settlers and soldiers of a strong young nation. It was his one mistake, though the motives no doubt were those of a statesman. To advance the commercial and trading interests of his country an alliance with strong Indian tribes could not but be useful; to draw some line of demarcation across the center of the continent and along the Atlantic settlements of the impetuous and pushing English pioneers must have seemed desirable; to have natives help in exploring the vast interior was obviously important. He could not in the brief time at his disposal understand the dominating qualities of the Iroquois or realize that before long they would sweep these other tribes before them like chaff before a wind.

Up to 1612 Champlain’s residence was the home of a limited local authority and the center for military expeditions and inland fur trade. In that year the free trading rights of the Basques and Malouins were restricted to the river below Quebec and Champlain was given large additional powers. Population came but slowly and was not greatly encouraged. Champlain described the number in 1622 as fifty, including women and children; and in 1629, when Admiral Kirke captured the place for England—and held it for three years—the population was about the same. Meantime the “Abitation” had seen some important changes. Though the Hundred Associates, or Le Compagnie de Canada, which Champlain represented after 1627 and in which was vested by Richelieu the Viceroyalty of New France, was supported mainly by Huguenots of Rouen and St. Malo, Champlain was himself an ardent Catholic. Récollets had already been brought out (four of them) in 1615 and they founded, five years later, the first convent chapel in Quebec, while six Jesuits came in 1625 and soon constructed quarters at Notre Dame des Anges. It was proposed to make the colony purely Catholic, and in the main this object was achieved.

In 1620 Champlain commenced the erection of the Fort or Castle of St. Louis on the brow of the cliff overlooking his “Abitation” (the corner of Dufferin Terrace near the present post-office), and this famous building, or its successor, remained the palace of the Governors of New France until the final cession of the country to Great Britain. From this new seat of authority Champlain, as representing in turn the company, the viceroy and the king, watched the rivalry of the Récollets and Jesuits in the missionary work of the time; from here he guided and modified the jealousies of the infant colony which at his death in 1635 still numbered only a hundred souls; from here he watched and assisted the fur traders in their dangerous but attractive and lucrative occupation; from here he planned and carried on expeditions which gave vast territories to the Crown of France and immense funds of geographical knowledge to the world; from here he departed on constant missions to Paris in the vain effort to hold in one stable policy of trade and settlement and acquisition, the conflicting interests of Court and Church and the selfish rivalries and intrigues of men and women working for evil ends; from here he led French soldiers to fight side by side with the Hurons against the Iroquois. Here, also, Champlain’s beautiful young wife supported him with her sympathy and helped the settlers with unselfish labors for their welfare.

This Fort and Chateau of St. Louis saw many a scene of interest in succeeding years. As the settlement grew in numbers and importance—Quebec was always more influential than the size of its population would have warranted in a European or Asiatic town—the Chateau became the center of a varied and changing history and the home of men with many-sided qualities and performances. De Montmagny was a successor worthy of Champlain, though perhaps only Frontenac and Montcalm in a long line of royal appointments could be said to reach his standard of ability and devotion. Deeply religious, Ferland (the French Canadian historian) describes him as kneeling upon his arrival at Quebec, with all his suite, at the foot of a Cross on the roadside and invoking the protection and guidance of the Almighty in his future work. He rebuilt Fort St. Louis in stone, drew plans of streets for the future city and welcomed the construction by the Jesuits of a College on the site of the present City Hall.

During this period the Chateau was not a very gay or bright place. The last days of De Champlain and the twelve years of De Montmagny covered a period of Church control in which society was dignified, austere and gracious, rather than vivacious or sparkling. Montreal, also, was founded at this time under influences pre-eminently religious, and life, both there and at the Chateau, moved along lines of high dignity and religious observance. Then ensued the heroic period in the history of French Canada and a prolonged death-grapple with the Iroquois. Following it came D’Ailleboust de Coulonge as Governor, Jean de Lauzon, Vicomte D’Argenson, Baron D’Avaugour, Chevalier de Saffrey-Mezy and Rémy de Courcelles. Society took on a more varied hue. There were quarrels between governors and bishops, between Church and State. D’Avaugour, for instance, was full of energy, hot-tempered and rather unwise, while Bishop de Laval was powerful in policy and determination, proud of his Church, its authority and its mission. Discord was inevitable. Then came a number of French nobles and their ladies, more settlers of varied classes, more and more officers clanked their sabers in the Governor’s halls, while soldiers paraded the streets of the little capital side by side with black-robed Jesuits or gaily attired habitants.

With De Courcelles, a just and fearless administrator, at the Chateau in 1665-72 and De Tracy as the King’s viceroy helping for two years to subdue the Iroquois; with the Jesuits moving freely amongst the Indians and passing up and down the continent and around the great lakes in continuous succession; with French influence felt from the Heights of Land to the Illinois, and accentuated by the presence and settlement of the regiment of Carignan-Sallières; with Talon as Intendant, wise, far-seeing and patient—acting the part of a statesman and bringing the colony into a period of production and prosperity—New France entered at this time upon its golden age, and was further aided and kept in this position by the services of Comte de Frontenac in 1672-82 and 1689-98.

If the walls of the old Chateau of St. Louis could live and speak their tales of council during this period the result would hold high place in the pages of romantic history. De Frontenac, in particular, and of all the French King’s representatives in Canada after Champlain, was essentially a picturesque figure. Noble by birth, dignified and yet vivacious, free in his mental poise to the point of autocracy, a brave soldier and excellent military leader, he made Fort St. Louis a brilliant center of an extended administration. During it he cowed the Iroquois with his military skill and placated them with his personal courtesy and bearing, while encouraging explorations which made New France a force from the far north to the southern seas. Incidentally he had the defects of his qualities and disagreed with the Intendant Duchesnay while his proud disposition ill brooked the equally proud and powerful attitude of the Church under Monsigneur de Laval. It was in 1690, under his rule, that Sir William Phips attacked Quebec and was repulsed along the lines of Beauport with such signal results as caused pæans of praise in all the churches of French Canada and the dedication of a new chapel in the city called Notre Dame de la Victoire.

There were two other picturesque characters during this period. The Marquis de Tracy came to New France in 1665 with wide powers as the King’s lieutenant-general in America and with a high military reputation. He was accompanied by a brilliant staff and by a crowd of young nobles anxious to share in the wonderful sport, to see the natural grandeur of the country, and to have a place in the adventurous life of the wilderness. He had, also, 200 soldiers and was joined by 1,000 additional regulars of the regiment Carignan-Sallières. Gorgeous in lace and ribbons, in colors and flowing wigs, he and his staff were greeted on June 30th by Bishop de Laval in his stately robes, surrounded by priests and officials, officers and gentlemen. Down upon his knees on the bare flooring of stone—discarding an offered cushion—knelt the brilliant representative of the King to receive the blessing of the Church from its highest representative in America. There were many such scenes in those days of rule by Church and State.

A greater and more permanent influence in the city and colony during these years than De Tracy was Jean Baptiste Talon, one of the most remarkable figures of the whole French period. Though not of noble birth or title, he was King’s Councillor of State and Privy Councillor, Intendant of Justice, Police and Finance of New France, of the Island of Newfoundland, Acadia and other countries in what the state documents quaintly describe as “North France.” He was an able lieutenant to Frontenac, the first to build ships in the colony, the first to open up trade with the West Indies, the first to build a brewery in North America, the first ruler who developed cod-fisheries along the St. Lawrence. He encouraged agriculture and manufactures, strove earnestly to keep the great West for the French flag, and worked to that end with Frontenac despite the commands of Louis XIV to concentrate the slim forces of France in America and to hold securely what they had in hand rather than expand loosely over a continent.

Rivière du Loup

Meanwhile, population had been growing and social conditions changing. This golden age of Quebec was naturally influenced by the ambitions of Louis XIV and his talented minister, Colbert, as well as affected by the brilliant group of Frenchmen in local control. The King spent money freely to colonize this great country and in doing so proved himself a statesman more truly than in some of his larger and more famous lines of European policy. From Normandy and Pictou in the main, and also from Brittany, Picardy and Paris itself, came shiploads of emigrants—1,200 girls being sent out between 1665-70 as wedding gifts to the settlers. This influx produced a change in social conditions and with the growth of seigneural wealth modified somewhat the half monastic, half military aspect of the Upper Town of Quebec as it grew steadily with its Ursuline convent, founded in 1639 by Mère Marie de l’Incarnation, its Hotel Dieu, its Chateau and fort, its Jesuit college and church, its Laval Seminary and Court House and private homes, its one tavern which stood on the Heights along the line of what is now St. Louis Street. Here in Upper Town lived the priests, officers, government officials and soldiers, nuns, and all the elements of local society; below the Promontory was the trading part of what was at once a fortress, a trading post and a pioneer settlement. In this Lower Town lived the workmen and settlers and traders of various kind, and from here the beaver and other skins were shipped to France; here collected the hunters and trappers and voyageurs, the men who followed in the wake of or accompanied priests and explorers over the vast expanses of a continent; here gathered along the shores, Indians in varied guise and with great variety of spoils for bargaining and trade or, perhaps, in meeting to consult with the white chiefs as to ways and means of defeating their foes; here, when the occasional ship came in, there gathered the whole settlement while the King’s representative, accompanied by Intendant and Bishop, went aboard to welcome the arrivals and hear news of sometimes great import to the welfare of the town and perchance to the future of a continent.

Between the first and second administration of De Frontenac the fort on the Rock of Quebec saw an unhappy period of Indian warfare under M. de La Barre and the Marquis de Denonville, when the colony was plunged from a high position of progress and hope to one of gloom, suffering and almost despair. De Frontenac was sent to the rescue and soon revived the spirit and restored much of the prestige of French Canada before death came to him in 1698 and ended a career which had won for him some enemies, created for him many devoted friends and placed the Fort of St. Louis, during his administration, as high above any other center of government upon the continent as it was in a natural sense above the splendid river and scenery which it overlooked. Following Frontenac came a succession of French nobles bringing with them something of the good and something of the evil of French court life—Chevalier de Callières, long commandant at Montreal; Philippe Marquis de Vandreuil, Charles Marquis de Beauharnois, the Marquis de la Jonquière, the Marquis de Duquesne de Mennenville, the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.

It was an age of brilliant uniforms, bright costumes, wigs of flowing and picturesque locks. Soldiers were on guard day and night, officers clanked their swords at dance and card-games and varied amusements, priests in somber black, or ecclesiastics in rich robes of state, came and went. With the wit and lightness of French conversation and the charm of the women who were now gracing the court of the King’s representatives, the old Chateau must in those days have been the home of many a striking scene—with a background vastly different from the beauty, grace and cultivated charm of Fontainebleau or Versailles. As to this, Charlevoix the historian said of social conditions in 1720 that Quebec with its current population of 7,000 had a very interesting society. It was composed of military officers and nobles, with a fur trade well suited to the adventurous tastes of the period, and occasional Indian struggles well fitted to the fighting characteristics of men born and bred in conditions of European warfare. As the chronicler put it: “The English know better how to accumulate wealth, but we alone are acquainted with the most agreeable way of spending it.”

As with Frontenac and M. de Callières, Philippe de Vaudreuil died at his post and was buried in the Récollet chapel. The Marquis de la Jonquière also died in Quebec and was buried in the same old church—the remains of all being afterwards transferred to the Basilica or Seminary Church. De Mésy also died in the city, as did its founder Champlain and its defender Montcalm. Acting at times during this period (1698-1760) as administrators or lieutenant-governors were other picturesque figures—Claude de Ramézay, Charles Le Moyne, Baron de Longueuil, and the Comte de la Gallissonnière. The last named endeavored, unsuccessfully, to plant 10,000 French colonists along the line of the Alleghanies in order to check the advance of the English, and in 1750 sent Céleron de Bienville to mark the boundaries of French and English possessions down through the heart of the United States of today. Metal plates bearing the arms of France were affixed to trees at certain intervals, and at the foot of each tree was buried another plate—inscribed with a proclamation of ownership. This line was drawn all around the valley of the Ohio up to the Alleghanies. With La Jonquière in control (1749-52) began the corruption which was to eat into the vitals of New France, defeat the ambition and genius of Montcalm and help to transfer the northern part of the continent to the dominance of the British Crown.

Of society and life in Quebec during the closing years of French rule, François Bigot, Intendant of the King, was a conspicuous and malevolent figure. Somewhat commonplace in appearance, brave enough, in a physical sense, skillful in the unscrupulous accumulation of money, fond of pleasure in its more degrading forms as well as of the lighter, brighter social life of the times, he came to New France (Louisbourg) in 1739 after a career of lucrative character in Paris. Six years afterwards he returned to France with charges of misappropriating public moneys hanging over his head. In 1748, however, he secured the post of Intendant at Quebec and there developed a system of speculation and what we would call “graft” which was monumental in character, picturesque in its lavish expenditure upon his “palace,” his entertainments, his pleasures; dreary and cruel in its squeezing of taxes out of the people; elaborate in its swindling of soldiers and the government; wicked beyond words in its profits made out of food withheld from the starving masses and in its crippling of Montcalm’s military efforts.

His final fate was peculiarly fitting to the crime. After the conquest he was tried in Paris (1763), found guilty and condemned to be taken to the principal gate of the Tuileries by the public executioner in a tumbril with a rope about his neck and bearing in his hand a lighted torch of yellow wax, two pounds in weight. On his chest and on his back were to be placed placards with this inscription: “The Public Administrator—Perfidious Thief.” And there, kneeling, bareheaded and with bare feet, clad only in his shirt, “he shall declare in a loud and intelligible voice that during his administration of New France, in peace and in war, he has been guilty of frauds, extortions and thefts.” But the irreparable harm was done. All the millions of francs which were restored to the French treasury by himself and his accomplices Cadet and Péan, could not give back to France its great territories, its loyal people, its vast American potentialities.

With the coming of Montcalm in 1756, had commenced the Seven Years’ War, in which England and Prussia stood against France and Austria and Russia, and various lesser states, while fierce battles were fought in America, in India and on the sea. At Louisbourg and Quebec, as on the plains of Hindustan, England was victorious. The weak character of Louis XVI and the growing abuses of government in France affected conditions at the European seat of French power as did the corruption and weakness of Bigot at the seat of authority in America. Failure was not the fault of the military leaders in New France. With Montcalm were the Marquis de Lévis, the Comte de Bougainville, General de Bourlamaque and others worthy of the great question of national power which was at issue. Corruption was the present cause with, back of that as a primary reason, the lack of population and financial resources. The result of the centuries-old duel between France and England in America was at last settled on the Plains of Abraham and in 1763 Quebec ceased to be the capital of a vague, vast, intangible New France and became for a time one of the outposts of British military power. Through all these years it had been a center of life and strife, of hope and fear, of religion and war. It had passed through the tremendous difficulties of pioneer settlement; it had survived the prolonged agony of Iroquois days; it had passed through the siege and capture by Admiral Kirke in 1629, through the siege by Sir William Phips in 1690; it had endured the attack of 1759 and that of De Lévis in the succeeding year; it faced the desperate effort of Montgomery and Arnold in 1775. From the days of tiny fortification and weak isolation it had grown to be a pivotal point in the world-wide struggles of two great nations and an object of determined effort by the Continental forces of Revolutionary days. As F. G. Scott has well said of this period:

Ah God! what thunders shook those crags of yore,

What smoke of battle rolled about this place,

What strife of worlds in pregnant agony:

Now all is hushed, yet here in dreams once more

We catch the echoes ringing back from space,

Of God’s strokes forging human history.

By another transformation under a new flag, and developed through the rapidly passing footprints of British governors and Canadian politicians, French Canadian agitators and “patriots,” popular and unpopular leaders, a part of the French Canada of the past became once more centered at Quebec as the provincial capital in a preliminary union with Upper Canada, 1841-67, and then in a wider and greater Dominion of Canada. Through all these later stages it remained a center of the storm-cloud of politics or insurrection, of legislation and administration. It was also the home of French thought in Canada, the pivot of literary activity, the seat for many years of a great lumbering industry with Cap Rouge as its central point, the home of ship-building for another period at the mouth of the St. Charles, the seat in St. Roch of immense tanneries which have largely passed away, the present home of a most important boot and shoe industry. Interesting sights of the modern city are Wolfe’s Monument, the Wolfe-Montcalm Memorial, the Champlain Monument and a Memorial of Queen Victoria. Outside of the city are Memorials of Jacques Cartier at the junction of the St. Charles and Lairet, of Murray and De Lévis on the Ste. Foy Road, of Father Massé at Sillery.

This modern Quebec, which curious and interested travelers from all parts of the continent delight to visit, still retains much of its old-time color and character, though much, alas, has passed away. The gates of the city have gone, though large stretches of the ancient walls remain, and in one or two cases adaptations of the gates have been built to convey an idea of their nature and significance. With what history and life, suffering and joy, traditions and memories, were those old gates—Prescott, Hope, St. John and the like—replete! What castigation will the unknown names of those responsible for their entire removal—changes were no doubt necessary—receive from the ever-growing number of those who love memorials of the past; who base their patriotism in some measure upon the visible tokens of that past; who feel a curious fascination in seeing things so different to the newness and swiftness and changes of modern construction and modern taste.

Chateau Frontenac and Citadel, Quebec

The commercial age has come upon the city. Street cars and trade dislike narrow gates and they had to go; modern buildings require space and in some cases they have replaced most ancient structures. But none of these things have or can affect fundamental conditions—the wonderful site of the city, the old-time twistings and turnings of its narrow streets, the steep grades of its Upper Town, the characteristics of its ancient and modern religious structures, or the exquisite view of nearby river and distant hills, of winding waters and beautiful valleys and picturesque villages. Dufferin Terrace, one of the finest promenades in the world, and the Chateau Frontenac, one of the world’s great hostelries, have, it is true, replaced the ancient chateaux and government edifices of the past; the post-office of today stands where an Indian fort was built in 1649 to house the flying Hurons from their ruthless Iroquois foes; the present Roman Catholic Seminary and Laval University stand where Louis Hébert cleared the ground and erected the first humble house upon the cliff in the shadow of the Chateau; the City Hall stands where the Jesuit College once sent out or received with open arms the missionaries and explorers who held the varied parts of a new continent within their purview, which trained others for similar work and then for a century echoed to the tread of British soldiers; the Quebec Bank stands where the Lymburners in British days had famous offices and in its vicinity a British barricade was erected in 1775 to oppose the advance of Arnold’s forces; Frontenac Park was the site of the Bishop’s Palace which once overlooked Prescott Gate and in latter days it was the home of the Parliament Buildings which preceded those of the present time; Boswell’s Brewery has replaced the walls of the Intendant’s Palace which was erected in 1655 by De Meules who succeeded Talon in that office—in Bégon’s days twenty buildings were grouped around the main structure.

Still, much remains in the most ancient historic sense. St. Louis Street, in its quaint buildings and narrow roadway, shows the house where H. R. H. the Duke of Kent lived in 1791-93, the old-time residence of Chief Justice Sewell and various lieutenant-governors under British rule, the house where the remains of General Montgomery were deposited. Down below the Citadel and the modern Chateau, at the foot of the cliff, there are myriad tokens of an olden day. The Church of Notre Dame des Victoires stands upon the site of Champlain’s “Abitation” and every foot of soil and street teems with memorials of the past. In front of the church—the plural style was assumed in 1811 after the projected siege by Admiral Hovenden Walker had been abandoned—stood in early days the pillory and, within the square, the scaffold for executions used to be erected. The church itself dates from 1648 and was partially destroyed by shot and shell in 1759. The first church in Quebec stood at the head of the curious little place called the Cul-de-Sac and was destroyed at the siege of 1629.

Champlain Street extends from the base of Cape Diamond, where it touches the market place, still noted for its Saturday sale of products by habitants, to the city limits and includes the one-time business center of the town, the old Guard House and the remains of the ancient inner harbor of Quebec. On the Charlesbourg Road, not far from Quebec, are to be seen the remains of what is popularly called Chateau Bigot. Tradition has woven round this old mansion various romantic tales of love and cruelty fitting to the life of Intendant Bigot, but the facts appear to be that it was built by Intendant Bégon (1712-26) who was quite a different man in both character and fame. Elsewhere in the city there are varied quaint and tortuous streets peeping out of modern thoroughfares and reminding the casual visitor that Europe once held a vivid place in the making of American history. Nooks and squares and roadways, houses and churches have, in a sudden and surprising way, tales to tell of the stirring past, lessons to teach for a greater if not so brilliant a future. Some of them were taught in that splendid demonstration of national unity and international friendship which marked, in 1908, the four-hundredth anniversary of Champlain’s memorable action in founding a settlement on the Rock of Quebec which would forward French power in the New World and advance Christianity amongst the ancient, strange and savage people then in possession.

Montcalm, Wolfe and the Plains of Abraham

Memorials of this vital conflict, of the two commanders who died in the hour of victory or defeat, are everywhere in the City of Quebec. Its literature teems with studies of the event and stories of the leaders; its patriotism, whether English or French, is influenced by the record, by the double death, by the joint memorial which faces the river. Parkman, Bancroft, Warburton, Smith, Garneau, Ferland, Beatson, Miles, Bradley, Waddington, Casgrain, Doughty, Wood and many another historian have vied in their elaborate analyses and descriptions. Everywhere are signs and tokens of the great event. Wolfe, the victor, was not honored until 1832, when Lord Aylmer, the British Governor, erected a simple monument on the spot—just outside the city—where the General expired and where the monument of today, which was erected by the garrison of Quebec in 1849, now Stands. Along the Ste. Foy Road stands a 65-foot column of fluted bronze bearing an inscription in honor of two other captains of the war—the opposing leaders in the Battle of Ste. Foy: “Aux Braves de 1760—Erigé par la Société St. Jean Baptiste de Québec 1860.” On the side of the monument facing the city stands out in relief above the arms of Great Britain the name of Murray; on the Ste. Foy side appears the name of Lévis above the insignia of Old France. The Wolfe-Montcalm Memorial, situated at the entrance to the Governor’s Garden, was erected under the administration of Lord Dalhousie (1827) with an afterwards famous inscription penned by Charlton Fisher:

Valour gave them a common death,

    History a common fame

And posterity a common monument.

The year 1759 was indeed pregnant with destiny for New France. Montcalm, in a superb struggle with greater forces and resources than his own, was holding the gates at the center, but in the middle west the French had lost control of the Lake country and of certain strong allies amongst the Indians, while on the Atlantic Louisbourg had fallen, and at the heart of everything, in Quebec and Montreal, Bigot’s corruption was eating into the vitals of power. France was hard pressed in Europe and could give little support; England was dominant upon the seas, and the 60,000 or 70,000 French Canadians were in their final death-grapple with 3,000,000 English colonists backed by the might of England.

The twin heroes of this conflict were somewhat alike in character, though vastly different in race, in religion, in position. Louis Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis de Montcalm, Lord of Saint Véran, Candiac, Tornemire and Saint-Julian d’Arpam, Baron de Gabriac, was of the French aristocracy and member of a family described in the local language of his birthplace by the statement that “war is the tomb of the Montcalms.” James Wolfe, though the son of an officer, could not boast a family of any special importance. Montcalm was accustomed to the life of courts as well as of the field; Wolfe showed to ill advantage in ceremonial or on social occasions and made such curious mistakes that the Duke of Newcastle once said in the presence of the King that Pitt’s new general was “a mad fool.” “If he is mad,” said George the Third, “I hope he will bite some of my generals.” Montcalm was handsome, physically strong, with all the confident bearing of inherited position; Wolfe was ugly, suffered constantly from ill-health, yet was cheerful and good humored. The French leader was happily married; the English commander hoped to be wedded on his return from Quebec. Both were brave men, skillful officers, experienced soldiers. Both had already won signal victories on American soil.

The actual battle was a brief one. The scene was about where the Wolfe Monument stands today, though it included more of the modern city than of what is popularly known as the Plains of Abraham—called after Abraham Martin, a Quebec pilot who in early days owned a large portion of the land. The operations leading up to the conflict, covered, of course, a wide area of land and river and only the climax occurred under the walls of the city. The forces engaged on the French side included one of the most famous regiments of the day—that of Béarn; the Royal Roussillon, which distinguished itself in this conflict and later at Ste. Foy; the Languedoc, which was ill-disciplined and undistinguished; La Sarre, which had helped Montcalm to defeat Abercrombie at Ticonderoga, or Carillon as the French called it; the Guienne, which had been fighting in Canada for five years. With these troops were a number of French Canadian recruited regulars, a vague and uncertain support of French militia who made excellent raiders and skirmishers, a number of Indians who were uncertain allies and very trying to the patience of their leader, some French marines from vessels anchored in the Richelieu during the siege. Altogether there were about 14,000 men under Montcalm as commander-in-chief. His troops, however, though more numerous than those of Wolfe, were mixed in their qualifications and varied in experience, and the regulars and colonial soldiers did not always work well together; while over them and their commander was the constant interference, the undisciplined vanity, the weak administration of the Governor—De Vaudreuil. Around them in every direction, also, was the disorganization, the immense difficulties, created by the corruption of Bigot and his satellites.

Wolfe was more fortunate. The British fleet, anchored in or sailing up and down the great river in front of the Rock of Quebec, had 9,000 trained troops aboard, though of these only 5,000 took part in the ultimate struggle. This latter portion of the army included the Fifteenth Regiment, now the East Yorkshires; the Twenty-eighth, now the First Gloucesters; the Thirty-fifth, an Irish regiment now called the First Royal Sussex; the Forty-third, afterwards famous in the Peninsula campaign; the Forty-seventh or First Loyal North Lancashires; the Forty-eighth or First Northamptonshires; the Seventy-eighth Fraser’s, now the Second Seaforth Highlanders, and the Louisbourg Grenadiers. The fleet itself was a powerful part of the British navy and included six men-of-war, nine frigates and sixty transports. It neutralized to a considerable degree Montcalm’s possession of the strategical spot in the struggle.

On the 26th of June, 1759, the fleet anchored off the Isle d’Orléans and on the following day the troops were camping on the upper portion of the island. French engineers had already commenced fortifying the Beauport shore, opposite, from the River St. Charles to the Falls of Montmorenci. Montcalm had come up from Montreal to direct the French campaign, and on his arrival had at once pressed forward this work of strengthening the defences at the mouth of the St. Charles and along the shore below the city, while batteries and barricades were set up in the Lower Town of Quebec and guns placed wherever possible. Fire-ships were designed at the urgent instance of De Vaudreuil and against the opinion of Montcalm. They cost a million livres and proved a perfect fiasco when let loose upon the enemy. The British occupation of Pointe Lévis ensued with a continuous bombardment of Quebec, succeeded by a landing of troops at Montmorenci. A month followed without serious action and then a fight took place at Montmorenci in which the British advance was checked; the Lower Town (August 9th) was burned by shells from Lévis; and on September 3d the British position at the Falls was evacuated while a detachment went up the river to the other side of Quebec and landed at Cap Rouge.

At this point Wolfe became more than impatient and developed a plan of action which he did not confide to his brigadiers. Townshend, Monckton, Murray and Carleton were all men of courage and resource, but he conceived his enterprise to be too hazardous for any but personal attention. He had for some days been using his thousand men above and beyond Cap Rouge to bewilder Bougainville, the French commander, who was watching them and who could make nothing of their movements—which included camping on shore by day and passing up the river in ships at night. On September 12th, however, instead of actually getting into the ships the troops under Carleton remained in the boats and the ships passed on, followed by De Bougainville on land towards Pointe Aux Trembles—about twenty miles from Quebec. Meanwhile the Lévis batteries commenced a severe cannonade of Quebec and Admiral Saunders threatened a descent at Beauport. Carleton carried his men in boats down the river, unseen by the French, and landed on the opposite or south shore, to be ready should Wolfe succeed in climbing the Heights.

There is no need to describe the battle in detail. At the Cove, now called after him, and situated about two miles above Quebec, Wolfe succeeded in landing and in climbing the steep cliff despite unknown dangers in men and guns, the difficulties of scaling heights in utter darkness, the responsibility for the lives of thousands dependent upon absolute silence and upon the result being a surprise to the enemy. Wolfe had, indeed, almost given up hope of finding a place in this long line of towering crags where his men could make even an attempted ascent. Finally, by chance, he had noticed with his glass a slight marking amid the bushes and trees of the cliff which might indicate a pathway and on closer examination it was found to be the dry, almost precipitous course of a little stream called the Foulon. It was at least an opportunity, and at this point De Vaudreuil came in again as being, with Bigot, the twin evil spirit of New France’s last days.

Just above the lofty cliffs there were known to be troops on guard despite the fact that Montcalm deemed them inaccessible. The latter, however, felt the curious movements of the British troops to be dangerous and twice had despatched his trained and trusted Guienne Regiment to patrol the cliffs in that direction. Twice the Governor, with his superior authority and his almost infantile weakness, or worse, countermanded this order. On the last and fatal occasion he sent in place of seasoned troops others of doubtful mettle and placed in command a man (Vergor) who was already under suspicion of either corrupt trafficking with the enemy, or cowardice, at the surrender of Beauséjour. The result was that by daybreak Wolfe had passed the Rubicon of his hopes, had surprised the careless troops at the top of the cliffs and stood with 3,000 men—afterwards increased to 5,000—upon the Plains of Abraham.

On the morning of the 13th Wolfe’s lines were fairly complete when face to face with the French, the formation was satisfactory, and the General was passing up and down urging coolness and the withholding of fire until within forty paces of the enemy. Meanwhile Montcalm had come up in haste from the St. Charles, where he was anxiously watching the manœuvres of the enemy’s fleet, only to find the British in possession of the easiest approach to the city. Sailors were seeking to land guns below and soon every available man of a total of 9,000 might be face to face with his land defences. An immediate attack by Montcalm was necessary and at ten o’clock he advanced with about 4,000 men to meet the British. He hoped Bougainville with his 2,000 men might arrive from Cap Rouge and catch the British in the rear; Wolfe knew that he must have either victory or time to bring him reinforcements.

The conflict was short, sharp, decisive. The troops of Montcalm advanced to the charge with the French Canadians throwing themselves to the ground to reload their muskets after the first order to fire. Temporary delay and disorder followed owing to the regulars not being accustomed to this method, but the advance then continued until within forty paces of the enemy when Wolfe gave his order to fire and a volley poured in upon the French lines with fearful effect—followed by a sharp command to advance. As he uttered the words Wolfe fell fatally wounded and was carried to the rear to die. Montcalm, meanwhile, was trying to rally his men from that close-ranged volley of shot but in the effort was himself fatally wounded. At the same time he lost five of his chief officers. On the British side Monckton and Carleton were wounded while General Townshend (years afterwards created a Marquis) assumed command and reformed his men who were pursuing the French to the gates of Quebec. He was just in time to repulse De Bougainville who had arrived too late to save his cause, too late to affect the result—after wasting precious hours in storming a stone house occupied by the British at Sillery. As with De Grouchy at Waterloo, a little more haste, or skill, or luck, might have changed the fate of an empire.

Meanwhile Wolfe was dying in the arms of his officers. He had himself directed the charge in a bright new uniform which seems to have made him a conspicuous object to the French Canadian sharpshooters who had twice wounded him before the final ball struck home. He was lying apparently unconscious, when one of his officers cried “They run! They run!” “Who run?” Wolfe asked, as if the words had electrified him. “The enemy,” was the reply. “They give everywhere.” Wolfe at once gave orders for the St. Charles bridge to be seized and the retreat cut off, turned on his side murmuring “God be praised, I die happy,” and expired. The remains were embalmed, taken to England on the Royal William and buried at Greenwich. A monument was erected in Westminster Abbey by a grateful government and nation.

Montcalm’s death was more mournful in its character and surroundings. He was carried into the city on horseback, supported by soldiers, taken to the house of Dr. Arnoux, king’s surgeon, and there told that he had less than a day to live. “So much the better,” was the response. “I shall not live to see the English masters of Quebec.” He then dictated a letter to De Vaudreuil approving certain dispositions of the troops and to Townshend asking that he entertain towards French prisoners and the French Canadians “the sentiments they have inspired in me.” “I was their father, be you their protector.” Bishop de Pontbriand administered the sacraments and the General’s last words were an expression of confidence in his friend and successor, the Marquis de Lévis. In the great confusion following his death the Hero of Quebec found but a poor burial. A coffin was hastily made by an old man in the service of the Ursuline convent, a mournful procession passed through ruined and shattered streets with no sounds other than those of projectiles hurtling through the air from British artillery, a solemn service was held in the Ursuline chapel and burial given in an excavation torn out of the flooring and soil by a British bombshell. Such was the apparently sad end of the man who had done so much for New France, who might have done so much more but for the fatal foes of corruption and incapacity around him, whose name, however, lives in the hearts of the millions who have succeeded to the thousands of his day, and whose reputation is cherished in the records of both races now living upon the soil of Canada.

What was really the first Battle of the Plains had thus ended with both commanders dead, with British troops in possession of the field and at the gates of the city, with Quebec itself shattered, its defenders utterly discouraged, its people sullenly indifferent to the inevitable. De Vaudreuil was supreme and that (in the absence of De Lévis at Montreal) meant the immediate retreat of several thousand fresh soldiers from the lines of Beauport to a safe distance at Jacques Cartier. The British loss in the battle had been about 600; that of the French about 800. Five days later (September 18th) Quebec capitulated to Admiral Saunders and General Townshend. With General Murray afterwards in charge, a weary winter wore to its close and on April 20, 1760, De Lévis marched from Montreal with over 6,000 troops to try and win back the citadel of his race in North America. On the 26th he was at St. Augustine, threw a bridge over the River Cap Rouge, and moved upon the British post at Lorette. The latter troops fell back upon Sainte Foy, about five miles from the city, pressed closely by the French commander, who had about 9,000 men, including a number of Indians. General Murray was now in a position somewhat similar to that of Montcalm—holding a dispirited and depleted garrison behind walls in a very feeble condition. Ships and support might come at any moment, but the ships might be either English or French. With about 3,000 soldiers Murray marched out of the St. John’s Gate to either attack his foe or await him in some advantageous position. After a succession of fights, manœuvres, advances and retreats, he had to return to the city with a loss of 1,000 men—the critical scene of the battle being at Wolfe’s Redoubt, where the Quebec Gaol now stands. The French were said to have lost another thousand men. While Murray may have been rash, yet his skill and personal valor in all the details of the fight made honors almost even, and this is a good deal to say where De Lévis was involved.

On May 1st the French commander, flushed with victory and hoping for greater things, planted his batteries against the already enfeebled garrison and walls with a result dependent upon the first arrival of reinforcements. A French frigate would mean the probable fall of the fortress; a British frigate—which arrived on May 9th with two others on the 15th—would and did mean the saving of the city. The siege was raised on the 17th and De Lévis retired to Montreal. British forces under Murray, Haldimand and Amherst converged upon that center, where, on September 8th, De Vaudreuil surrendered the city and with it the position of France in North America. A great page in history was thus closed; a new one was turned over which involved much that was interesting and important but could not possibly equal the picturesque, striking and romantic characteristics of New France fighting for life in a new world during a century and a half of struggle.

Scene on the Saguenay River, Quebec

Montreal—the Seat of an Ancient Faith

One of the oldest and most interesting cities on the continent is Montreal. Its attraction is not alone due to the fact that many of the streets are very old and narrow, or because here and there is pointed out a building whose thick walls and ancient architecture indicate historic associations, or because in it now center the export trade of Canada and its greatest transportation interests. These things have their place, of course, as have the many severe-looking ecclesiastical and educational edifices, the handsome churches, the splendid homes of a more solid character than the flimsy, fantastic structures of modern fancy, the noble vistas of earth and sky and water which appear at various points and which, from the top of Mount Royal, concentrate in one of the finest panoramas in the world. These are all attractive; but to the thinking traveler, to the artistic mind, to the real student of the times and therefore of other ages as well, Montreal is primarily interesting because its history and associations, its races and its languages, combine the past with the present and merge the civilization of Europe, under Louis XIV, with that of the New World in a commercial age and under a dispensation of democracy.

When the first French navigators and explorers sighted the scene of this Canadian metropolis of the distant future, it was a spectacle of wondrous curiosity and beauty. The Indian town of Hochelaga—where Sherbrooke and Metcalfe Streets afterwards stood—was surrounded by waving fields of maize and rice and great forests of oak and maple; the view from the mountain which faced Cartier in October, 1535, as he gazed far out from the threshold of an unknown world was rarely beautiful and picturesque. Great masses of primeval forest flaming in golden autumn colors mixed with red and changing green; the distant silvery rush of waters in the rapids to the west; the vast plain to the south broken only by the sweep of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa and the peaks of nameless mountains; the quiet, even flow of that part of the great river which he had just traversed; these were some of the things which greeted Cartier and afterwards Champlain—though in the later case all trace of Indian settlement was gone and nature was alone in its stillness, its rugged strength, its graceful beauty.

Champlain was especially charmed with the scene and explored the region upon several occasions. Upon his first visit he thought the opening in the waters was, at last, the route to China; hence the Lachine of a later date. The Island of Montreal he examined carefully with a view to settlement, and named the point where the Custom House now stands “La Place Royale” and the large island below as Ste. Hélène, in honor of his wife. For many succeeding years nothing further was done and the site of Montreal remained the scene of an occasional visit from a fur trader or the camp of some wandering band of Indians. It did not, however, escape the keen observation of the Jesuit missionaries and, finally, their reports interested a number of notable people at the court of Louis XIII. The Company of Notre Dame de Montreal was formed with Jerome le Royer de la Dauversière as Director. Upon the advice of Father Lallemant, of Jesuit fame in the distant colony, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, was selected to head the expedition into the wilderness, and he left La Rochelle in the spring of 1641 with two tiny sailing ships, and thirty-seven men, Father La Place, and Mdlle. Jeanne Mance—who was to establish and take charge of a hospital. His principle or policy was implied in these words: “I will employ both my purse and my life in this new undertaking without seeking for honor other than to serve God and the King in my profession of arms.” The object was to establish a fortified settlement and convert the Indians to Christianity, thus at once strengthening New France and the Church. It was on May 18, 1642, that the landing took place at the Place Royale of Champlain and that the founding of Ville Marie de Montreal was inaugurated. De Maisonneuve was accompanied by De Montmagny, Governor of New France; and Father Vimont, Superior of the Jesuits at Quebec; while Mdlle. Mance had a new companion in Madame de la Peltrie from Quebec, who possessed a soul of similar sacrificial devotion.

Religion and the Church were conspicuous from the first. As De Maisonneuve sprang ashore he fell on his knees in prayer; his followers did the same and an altar was then raised and decorated by Mdlle. Mance and her companion. One more picturesque scene of sacrifice and zeal was added to the history of French Canada. With the splendid background of forest and water there stood Father Vimont in the rich vestments of his office; De Montagny, cold and stern and not very hopeful of results; De Maisonneuve, a tall, erect, warlike, enthusiastic figure; the two devout gentlewomen with their servant, and the clustering group of followers. Around them was the balmy air of spring, but in the whispering trees and amid the myriad sounds of animal life there fluttered the spirit of Iroquois hostility, the silent breathings of a savage hate which was to give the colony many years of terror and suffering and individual death. The little gathering knelt in reverent prayer as the Host was raised aloft, and the priest addressed them: “You are a grain of mustard seed that shall rise and grow till its branches overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work is the work of God. His smile is on you and your children shall fill the land.”

Thus commenced the Canadian city of churches and commerce. The proud, duty-loving personality of De Maisonneuve was one well fitted to be the central figure of such an event, and his words—used when the dangers and difficulties of his task had been pointed out to him at Quebec—may well be inscribed in the hearts of the Canadian people of today without limitation of race or creed: “Gentlemen, if all the trees of the Island of Montreal were changed into Iroquois I am bound by honor and duty to go.” Difficulties surrounded every stage of the early settlement. The Governor proved right in his fear of not being able to protect it from the seat of authority at distant Quebec, and the colonists had to at once devote themselves to strengthening their crude defences against the ever-menacing Iroquois. A few years later the new Governor, D’Ailleboust de Coulonge, brought them a new band of settlers and helped in the construction of better fortifications, while the new King, Louis XIV, sent a present of cannon. De Maisonneuve made an ideal governor in this troublous period—calm, courageous and cautious. So careful was he of his men and their safety, so averse was he to the reckless raids they would like to have made upon the surrounding and under-estimated foe, that they were for a time inclined to attribute cowardice to a chief who was, personally, brave to the point of contempt.

On March 30, 1644, he gave his followers a lesson and, gravely warning them to be as valiant as their own words, he marched out of the fort at the head of thirty men. At about the spot where the present Place d’Armes is seen they were faced by two hundred Iroquois, and after a taste of fighting so hot and so merciless as to strike terror into their souls, the troops finally ran for shelter and safety. Their leader was left to retreat alone and did so, holding the enemy off with his pistol and aided by their hope to take him alive. When not very far from the fort the chief of the Indians closed in and the pistol missed fire, but in the ensuing grapple, watched by soldiers and Indians, De Maisonneuve succeeded in discharging his other pistol and the chief fell, shot through the head. The Indians were so taken aback that the gallant Frenchman had a moment in which to gain safety. There were no further murmurs about the commander and his caution! Meanwhile, though De Maisonneuve was the Royal “Governor of Montreal and the lands depending thereon,” a grant had been made of the entire Island of Montreal to the Seminary of St. Sulpice—an Order founded about the same time in Paris by Jean Jacques Olier de Verneuil, an enthusiastic and youthful French priest. By this Order it was afterwards conveyed to the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Ville Marie or Montreal. To the Virgin Mary the Sulpicians consecrated the Island of Montreal in order that she might defend it as her property and increase it as her domain; the early name of Ville Marie confirmed this religious invocation; the Company which they controlled had the figure of “Our Lady” as its official seal.

Great care was taken as to the first immigrants in respect to character, habits and physique. Gentlemen of good family came to the settlement, and Testard de Montigny, Jacques Le Ber and Charles Le Moyne built houses; the members of the Seminary of St. Sulpice were created Seigneurs of the Island with the quaint designation of the Gentlemen of St. Sulpice; a fortified mill was built by the latter at what was known in modern days as Windmill Point and another on the site of what is now Dalhousie Square. Family after family came from France, and as conditions improved and knowledge of the climate increased, the very large infant death-rate of the earlier years decreased and the population grew apace. Meanwhile and for twenty-five years M. de Maisonneuve labored unceasingly for his settlement and its people. Time, money, all the best years of his life, he gave to it and in 1665 when he returned home to Paris the Town Major was appointed in his place! Four years later a visitor from New France found him living in poverty and forgotten by the world, but thinking anxiously of his life-work in the far-away land.

During these years the right-hand man of De Maisonneuve in secular matters had been Charles Le Moyne, founder of the most distinguished of French Canadian families, though not himself an aristocrat by birth. Point St. Charles was named after him and he was given the Seigneury of Longueuil which he settled, fortified and developed while fighting for the colony, sharing in the fur trade and contracting for public supplies. His residence was on St. Paul Street, just east of the Custom House Square. Here were born his still more famous sons—Le Moyne d’Iberville and Le Moyne Bienville. The former conquered the Hudson’s Bay region for France, discovered the mouths of the Mississippi in 1669, and was the first French governor of Louisiana. His brother was with him in his southern explorations, founded New Orleans in 1717, and was governor of its province for forty years. Other eminent names of this period—men who helped to make and keep Montreal or to record its conditions and sufferings in the period of Indian struggle—were Robert Cavelier de La Salle, the great explorer, whose home in 1668 was on the corner of St. Peter and St. Paul Streets; Gédéon de Catalogne, the engineer who projected the first Lachine Canal; Pierre de la Vérendrye, the western explorer, who made Montreal his headquarters.

On the west half of the Bonsécours Market stood for many years the Palace of the Intendant. It was a headquarters of Bigot, Cadet, Varin, and the scene of many rascalities; it was also the home of better men, and for a time, after the Cession, was occupied by Sir John Johnson, the famous Loyalist. An old stone building, still standing (according to W. D. Lighthall, an authority on Montreal’s history and traditions) on the corner of Friponne Street, was the French government warehouse in which Bigot and his associates carried on many of their frauds and which, like the similar building in Quebec, was labelled “La Friponne” or “The Cheat.” On Coté Street the Christian Brothers now occupy a house which was the home of another of the famous Le Moynes—De Maricourt. At the corner of St. Antoine and St. Margaret Streets still stands the house where Daniel de Beaujeu, “the hero of the Monongahela,” and his family lived. He was the French officer who did so much to cause Braddock’s defeat in that memorable fight. On Jacques Cartier Square, where St. Paul Street crosses it, was the house built and occupied by Du L’hut the explorer, and founder of the city named after him as Duluth. Long afterwards there was erected on the same site the mansion and gardens where the last French governor—the Marquis de Vaudreuil—lived in the splendor which characterized the times. Here came Montcalm and De Lévis in those last tragic years of French rule; here came the Le Moynes, De Beaujeu, Bourlamaque, De Bougainville and many others; here was the miniature court with its guards of honor in their brilliant blue and white uniforms. On St. Sacrament Street stands the house once occupied by the Marquis Chartier de Lotbinière, the engineer-in-chief, under Montcalm, of fortifications at Ticonderoga and Isle-aux-Noix.

Passing from the revival of individual names with which the early history of Montreal is associated, one naturally thinks of the long period of one hundred and fifty years in which the struggling settlement, village and town had to face the constant fear and stern, though intermittent, reality of war with the Iroquois. It hung over the whole life of the people like a pall, though French characteristics of light-heartedness in many cases and the inborn, inbred, religious feeling of the community in other cases, enabled them to often rise above it. It is a record of war today and peace tomorrow; of surprises and raids and massacres; of captures, tortures and frightful death. The fighting was desultory though fierce, and its history is more or less a recital of individual incident, of personal heroism, of gallant endurance of sufferings. Mixed up with it was the experience of devoted priests and missionaries such as Dollier de Casson, a cavalry officer in Europe under Turenne, who came to Montreal in 1666, joined the Sulpicians, explored with Galinée a portion of the Great Lakes, acted frequently as a missionary amongst the Indians at daily risk of his life, and became eventually Superior of the Seminary and Vicar-General of Montreal.

One of the early heroes of this prolonged Indian struggle was Raphael Lambert Closse, Town Major. It was a time when no man’s life was safe away from the fort, and he was constantly risking his life to save others. On one occasion, in October, 1652, Closse and twenty-four of his men were surrounded in a small house, on the confines of the town, by two hundred savages. Presently the ammunition of the French began to give out and this meant death, or capture and torture and death combined. In this predicament the commander selected a man named Baston, celebrated for his running powers, and he, in a rush from the house covered by a united volley from all the defenders, managed to get through the enemy and run to the fort, whence he soon returned with a few men and two light field-pieces which decided the issue. Such incidents were of continuous occurrence, and Dollier de Casson writes of this man that, a short time before his death, on February 6, 1662, when he rushed out into the fields alone to save some colonists who were being attacked by an Iroquois band, he had said to some friends who warned him that death would result from his efforts: “I but came here to the end I might die for God, serving him in arms.” It was this spirit of the Crusader that makes this period glorious and this man and others like him heroes of history. Like De Maisonneuve, he cared nothing for ease, or profit, or pleasure—except the pleasure of saving others and sacrificing himself.

In the spring of 1655, after sweeping over the Isle-aux-Oies in the St. Lawrence near Quebec, killing the settlers, and laying waste the settlements, the Iroquois moved on to Montreal and endeavored under peace guise to lure the Governor into their hands. Charles Le Moyne arrived from Quebec just in time to avert the danger by a stratagem of his own, and the result was a parley and, eventually, the exchange of certain prisoners held by the Indians. Four of them were little girls, survivors of the recent Island massacre. Mdlle. Mance took charge of the latter at the Hotel Dieu and one of them in after years married Closse, the Town Major, while another became the wife of Sieur de Boisbriant.

Of the events of this time the most striking and the best known was the heroic action of Adam Dollard des Ormeaux and his sixteen companions who deliberately sacrificed themselves in an effort to hold in check a new and sweeping onslaught of the Iroquois. The movement of the latter was a wide and far-reaching one with the determined object of finally driving the hated French into the sea. Quebec was so weak at the time (1660) that hearts there were wrung with fear. Three Rivers was practically defenseless and Montreal stood in the vanguard of probable attack with slight fortifications, which did not cover the settlement as a whole, and with few troops. Under these circumstances Dollard, a young officer lately from France, volunteered to lead others who might offer and to endeavor at some advance post to hold the enemy in check for at least a time. It was a daring and seemingly hopeless task, but on April 18th the little band heard their last mass and received their last communion at the chapel of the Hotel Dieu, and departed amid the earnest prayers of the nuns and, indeed, of the whole population.

In the beginning of May the party found themselves within a ruined fort, a building at a place called Greece’s Point, at the foot of the Long Sault on the Ottawa River. Here they were joined by two small bands of Indian allies, and here they were shortly afterwards attacked by a large force of the Iroquois. Day after day, night after night, the little garrison fought and prayed for a week against constantly increasing masses of the enemy. Eventually all the friendly Indians, except an old chief named Anahotaha and four Algonquins, deserted and the end was in sight. No man of the French survivors wavered, however, and the defence became so desperate that even the Iroquois recoiled and only the arrival of five hundred more braves braced them to the final attack on May 21st. In it so many Indians were killed at close quarters that the savages actually lost sight, for a time, of the desire to capture the defenders for purposes of torture. When it was all over they could only find one body with life enough in it to serve their purpose. Though lost by Dollard and his companions, so far as their lives were concerned, the victory was really won. So dismayed were the Iroquois by the gallantry, the persistent heroism of the defence, by the feeling that if a few men could fight like this what would not a large number do in places such as Montreal, that they gave up their object of exterminating the white men in one sweeping onslaught, and the little colony at Ville Marie was saved once more. Incidents such as this are more than picturesque or striking. Leonidas at Thermopylæ lives in the history of Greece and of the world; no less a place is merited by Dollard des Ormeaux and his companions:

What though beside the foaming flood untombed their ashes lie!

The world becomes the monument of men who bravely die.

The fighting which followed was, however, merciless in its desultory way; the savages were everywhere, and no man knew as he worked or ate or slept, outside of the defenses or fortifications, at what moment he and the members of his family might be killed, or captured and tortured and scalped. It was late in October, 1661, that M. Vignal, treasurer of the Seminary—whose predecessor had lost his life not long before—obtained permission from the Governor to cross to what is now called Moffatt’s Island, with his workmen and a guard, for the purpose of obtaining construction material. Amongst the latter were René Cuillerier and Claude de Brigiac, secretary to De Maisonneuve. As they were landing a force of Iroquois surprised the party and the attack was so sudden that in the ensuing fight four were captured. One of these was killed at once; another’s fate is unrecorded; Cuillerier was saved at the demand of a woman whose husband he had killed and who made a slave of him; poor De Brigiac was tortured to death with indescribable suffering.

The Massacre of Lachine occurred on the night of August 4, 1689, in a little settlement on the upper end of Montreal Island, about eight miles from the present city and on a site once owned and settled by La Salle. Noiselessly, under cover of storm and darkness, some fifteen hundred Iroquois stole into the village and surrounded each house. Then with the awful war-whoop of the savage, doors and windows were broken in and the sleepers slain or captured in their beds. Fortunate, however, heaven-blessed in fact, was the man, woman or child who was killed instantly in the first heat of the assault. Others were dragged forth, old or young, child or woman, tied to stakes and tortured with indescribable tortures in the light of their blazing homes. Some who survived were carried away prisoners to further sufferings before the merciful release of death, while to his eternal disgrace, De Denonville, one of the weaker Governors of New France, who happened to be at Montreal, refused to allow any of his troops to go to the rescue. Such were the struggles through which the Ville Marie of New France passed; such were the men who founded the great city of the future.

There was also war in other directions. The conflicts with the English colonies were distant, of course, and intermittent in character, but at times the war came home directly to the settlers of Montreal—it seems to have been usually called Ville Marie in early days—as well as indirectly through the Indians. Early in February, 1690, for instance, a party composed of two hundred and ten men—Indians and French—left Montreal with a view to attacking Orange, now Albany, in New York State. Most of the notable young Frenchmen of the place were in the party, including Testard de Montigny, Jean Le Ber, Le Moyne d’Iberville, De Maricourt, Le Gardeur de Repentigny, D’Aillebout, De Montesson, etc. On the way the destination was changed to Corlaer—afterwards Schenectady, N. Y.—and a terrible revenge exacted for the Massacre at Lachine which the French had attributed to English influence. The surprise was complete, the attack was made at night, and with the severity of the times and the ferocity bred of constant danger and savage warfare, most of the inhabitants were put to the sword. Volunteers from Montreal served gallantly under Le Moyne de Ste. Hélène in the defence of Quebec against the English under Sir William Phips. In these wars other Montreal figures were Chevalier La Corne de St. Luc, who for a time commanded the French posts west of Lake Superior, and his brother, the Sieur de Breuil, who lived on the site of the building used in modern times by Frothingham and Workman on St. Paul Street.

With the final scene of the war drama closed by Wolfe and Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham and sealed by De Vaudreuil in the surrender of Montreal to the British on September 8, 1760, Generals Amherst, Murray, Haldimand and Carleton took the place of the brilliant leaders of French Canada; the dejected soldiers of France, who numbered about four thousand, were sent back to Europe; and a new era in the history of Montreal as well as of America was inaugurated. One cannot now look around this City of the Saints, this home of the Church, this center, also, of a brilliant social French life, without noting that despite the influence of modern commerce and the financial dominance of the English in latter years, it is still a French and a Catholic city. Many portions of it breathe association with that period which has been called the Heroic Age of Canada and of those years when, at times, the blood of even the bravest soldiers ran like water in their veins.

Château de Ramézay, Montreal

There, on La Place Royale, is not only the site of the landing of Champlain and Maisonneuve, but the site of the first public square where French executions took place and which, in 1676, the Seigneurs of the Seminary granted to Ville Marie; here, on the Commissioners Street of today, stood the Fort de Ville Marie, succeeded in 1686 by the home of M. de Callières, and near by was the first Manor House of Montreal and residence of De Maisonneuve. The Place d’Armes, where now stands the statue of its founder, was the center of the city’s earlier life, and facing it stands today the Notre Dame parish church, the chief religious structure of the French people in Canada. Adjoining it is the quaint old Seminary of St. Sulpice, erected in 1657; through the site of the Bank of Montreal building there once passed the stone-bastioned walls of ancient Montreal—extending from Dalhousie Square to Commissioners Street and thence back to the Square. They were commenced in 1721 by Chaussegros de Léry and demolished in 1817. Craig Street, by the way, was in early days a swamp with a little river running through it. On Jacques Cartier Square was the original Place des Jésuites, and adjoining it was the monastery where Père Charlevoix, the historian of New France, lived for many years. Here, also, four Iroquois prisoners were tortured to death in 1696 as a stern reprisal on the part of De Frontenac for continued Indian atrocities and as a warning for the future.

Between Notre Dame Street and the Harbor is the oldest part of Montreal—St. Amable Street, for instance, is fully a century old and most antique in its structure. In this neighborhood is the Chateau de Ramézay, built in 1705 by Claude de Ramézay, eleventh Governor of Montreal, and afterwards occupied by various British governors up to the time of Lord Metcalfe. Under De Ramézay it was a place of great hospitality and entertainment; it was long afterwards the headquarters of the Continental Army under Montgomery, of the American Commissioners in 1776 (Benjamin Franklin, Carroll of Carrollton and Samuel Chase); of Benedict Arnold for several weeks. It was the home of the first Canadian printing press brought over by Franklin and operated by Fleury Mesplet. It is now the home of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society and the premises constitute an excellent memorial of the old-time thick-walled, defensive structure prepared for emergencies and constructed when large wine cellars and immense fireplaces were the vogue. Dalhousie Square is the site of what was called the Citadel, erected in 1685; where the Fire Station now stands there lived the first British governor of Montreal—Thomas Gage, who afterwards kept New York for the Crown throughout the Revolution. All these and many more memorials of a picturesque past are a part of the life of French Canada; they should be an inspiration to the youth of all its future. As a Montreal poet well puts it:

Sprung of the Saint and Chevalier

And with the scarlet tunic wed,

Mount Royal’s crown upon thy head,

And past thy footstall broad and clear

St. Lawrence sweeping to the sea;

Reign on, majestic Ville-Marie.

Of the English régime in Montreal much might be said. Its first portion at least was picturesque. Upon Bonsécours Market there stood for many years the home of Sir John Johnson, British Indian Commissioner and son of Sir William Johnson; here, also, lived General Ralph Burton, second British governor of Montreal. On St. Gabriel Street were the famous Northwest Fur Company’s stores, and in them centered enough adventure, discovery, and stormy incident and trade to fill volumes; hither, at times, came Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser, Alexander Henry, J. J. Astor, Washington Irving, McTavish, Franchère and all the strong, sturdy, rough and capable men who followed the French pioneer period with another of wide discovery and sweeping accomplishment. In Montreal centered, as a matter of fact, the great fur trade of the eighteenth century, and Alexander Henry lived on St. Urbain Street, Mackenzie on Simpson Street, and Simon Fraser not far away, while Simon McTavish built a great house on Mount Royal (owned as a property in recent years by James B. Allan), and on the slope above Victoria Square lived Joseph Frobisher, one of the founders of the Company. The American wars left, also, their impression upon Montreal. In 1775 the city surrendered to Montgomery, the commander of the Continentals, and during the winter of 1776 remained in possession of the Americans. General Montgomery, Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, were figures familiar to the history of that period in Montreal. In 1777 Sir Guy Carleton and the British troops re-occupied Montreal, and Dorchester Street stands today as a lasting memorial of the man who as General Carleton and Lord Dorchester did so much for his country’s flag in America.

From days of war and fur trading the modern city grew into an age when transportation was the great factor and element in a new national life which Montreal helped to create and helped to maintain. John Molson, in 1809, launched the first of Canadian steamboats—the second on the continent. From Montreal, half a century later, came the inception and operation of the Grand Trunk Railway; in Montreal originated the Canadian Pacific project and in that city has since centered the great wealth created by its success and employed, in part, so wisely and well by Lord Strathcona, Lord Mount Stephen, Sir William Van Horne, Sir Thomas G. Shaughnessy and other financial magnates. In Montreal centered the operations of the Bank of that name, while the personality of James McGill is cherished in the institution of learning which he founded and which has had so great a sphere of usefulness.

In more recent years the spirit of commercialism, of the new age which has come to the civilized world, has had its effect in Montreal as it has everywhere upon this continent. The corruption of Bigot under French rule has been succeeded by the corruption of the notorious “Twenty-Three” under modern conditions; city government has not always been of the best, here as elsewhere. But Montreal remains one of the great picturesque centers of the New World and combines in itself much of the good of olden days with the swiftness, speed, and onward rush of the present. Just as the Victoria Bridge, once an additional wonder of the world, connected the far-separated shores of the mighty river at its door, so the spirit of the past and present has been fused in the union and friendship of two great races and proven in the general harmony which exists. The dream of a city of God, of a center of faith devoted to the shrines and scepter of a great Church, has not been wholly realized, but there has evolved a powerful religious organization bound to the past by ties of blood and sacrifice, bound to the present by deeds of good and strong influence wielded for a high morality. Romantic trade and adventure have gone, but are replaced by the pulsations of commerce in a great new nation which uses this seat of Maisonneuve’s religious enthusiasm as the outport of trade for half a continent:

Child of the hope of noble hearts,

  Brought into being through sacrifice

Of men and women who played their parts

  And counted not their lives in price,

She has grown in strength like a Northern Queen

  Neath her crown of light and her robe of snow,

And stands in her beauty fair between

  The Royal Mount and the river below.

The Jesuits—Pioneers of the Cross in Canada

The footprints of the Jesuits are almost everywhere in that part of the Continent once called New France. Up to Hudson’s Bay or down the Mississippi; in the Land of Evangeline or amid the forests of Ontario; wherever a savage could be taught the sacred meaning of the Cross or new lands studied and described for the benefit of the great Mother Order in Europe; there the restless, devoted, fearless priest of the Order of Jesus was to be found. Around and through the wilderness now known as the Nipissing and Muskoka regions of Ontario—even yet wild and uninviting in many parts—on the shores of Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, there centered in the settlements of the Huron Indians the greatest of the Jesuit missions. Here occurred events and incidents which constitute some of the finest pages of heroism in all history; here are footprints which no traveler can overlook and which no Canadian can forget.

The mission and work of the Jesuits in New France was not the isolated, accidental embodiment of individual enthusiasm: it was part of a wonderfully organized, directed, and controlled movement then going on in all parts of Christendom. Its picturesque features of self-sacrifice, personal suffering, individual bravery and endurance, persistent effort and marvelous faith, were qualities inherent in the extraordinary Order of Jesus to which these priests and missionaries belonged. Founded by Ignatius of Loyola, early in the sixteenth century, these disciples and preachers of the Cross had in the hundred years before they came to Canada spread themselves over the known world and into every new region as it came into the light of European knowledge and the mission of the Church for which they struggled. Enduring everything for their cause, facing any danger no matter how great, or any suffering no matter how intense, they had accompanied the maritime discoveries of that great age, preceded civilization and commerce, and carried the crucifix to countries and peoples whose names were almost mythical to the masses of Europe. Amongst the slave-raiders of darkest Africa, in the heart of the Indian jungle, at the court of Oriental despots where tortured life or death turned on the raising of a finger or the fall of an eyelash, amongst the wild populations of almost unknown islands, or in the midst of the cold cruelties of a Chinese city, everywhere they labored and taught and suffered for the cause which formed a veritable part of their lives—physical, spiritual and mental.

That this dominating, invincible spirit brought power and sometimes arrogance is not to be wondered at; that the indifference to life which characterized all nations and peoples in that age sometimes found a place in the treatment of what they termed schismatics or heretics is not very extraordinary; that the simplicity, severity and sternness of their own characters induced a teaching and practice of life which were not always acceptable to their own followers was natural; that the Order was feared and hated in Protestant countries and was not popular with rulers in any land, and that no body of men in the annals of Christendom have been at once so eulogized and so vigorously denounced, are obvious facts. What they did achieve for their Church in Europe and Asia and Africa and what they hoped to achieve in Canada is clear and undisputed. They strengthened the Church in Europe against the onrush of the Protestant movement; they presented a front of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice to the world which was as great as any shown by the martyrs of other faiths; they stood amid great difficulties and under varied conditions for morality and purity of life. It may be that there was at times, in a world-wide conflict, laxity or versatility in the choice and use of means to a great end—all Protestant history makes this charge.

But there is no doubt that when the Voltairism of the eighteenth century swept over Europe, succeeded by the onrush of the French Revolution, the first and greatest outpost of the Roman Catholic Church to fall was the Order of Jesus. When the Church began to recover from this combined cataclysm and to strengthen itself in the nineteenth century to a degree far beyond that of the previous period, the revival of this mighty fighting force was inevitable and it is today a power in many lands. In the period under review Jesuits were organized, as to obedience and loyalty, like the armies of Germany in modern days; yet they fought for their faith with the detached, often isolated, patriotism of the guerillas of some great cause. They wanted the world to be Roman Catholic; in Canada they hoped to found a new French nation, apart in its dominating Christian zeal from all other nations, and to make the wandering and fighting Indians a living example to the world of savagery turned to gentleness, of warfare turned to peace, of barbarity turned to Christianity by the softening influence of the Cross.

Such was the record and such were the characteristics of the Order which, in the coming of Fathers Charles Lallemant, Enemond Massé and Jean de Brébeuf to Quebec, on June 19, 1625, set the seal of a great endeavor and a great sacrifice upon the history of the American continent. Their first act on reaching shore was to kneel and thank God for the opportunity of service now given them. It was, indeed, a desperate service. The Huron Indians, who were the first objects of their solicitude and the first converts to their missionary zeal, lived, it is true, in homes of a better character than the supposedly typical Indian wigwam and were the most easily influenced of all the tribes, as they believed to some degree in a Supreme Being and an after life. But they had neither modesty, decency nor refinement; their minds and actions were filled with the grossest superstitions and they lived like animals in some respects. War turned them into fiends of cruelty; as with the Iroquois whom they fought, no element of inconceivable torture was omitted when a prisoner fell into their hands. At the same time they were brave, they had certain crude but strong ideas of hospitality, they were good friends when suspicion was once removed. Their enemies the Iroquois, their rivals the Algonquins, were keener in character, quicker in thought, more clever in warfare. They were less amenable to religious influence; still further away from the gentleness of the Christian faith. Into this easily developed inferno of barbarism was later on introduced the great evil of war alliances between opposing Christian nations and opposing savage tribes—a situation which caused various horrible massacres and which greatly hampered missionary activity.

Of the men who pioneered a long period of Jesuit effort amongst the Hurons and Iroquois and indeed many tribes of Indian nations, Father de Brébeuf was one of the most notable and his life a study in everything that to a modern commercial age is picturesque, sacrificial and martyr-like. Born of an aristocratic family, bred in cultured and refined society, trained in the best schools of his Order, De Brébeuf had been specially selected for the Huron Mission and, as a preliminary, passed the succeeding autumn and winter of 1625-26 with a roving band of the Montagnais—sharing their hardships, learning something of the intense cold of a Canadian winter, suffering the penalties of filth, vermin and smoke which marked the savage camps, realizing much of what real loneliness meant in the midst of savages wandering through a vast wilderness. In July, 1626, with Fathers de Noüe and Noiret, who had just arrived from France, and Father de la Roche Daillon, a Franciscan, he started for the great Lake of the Hurons. During the journey, De Brébeuf touched even the stoicism of the accompanying Indians by the endurance of labor and immunity from fatigue which his large frame and great physical strength enabled him to show—through seven hundred miles of wilderness, which included unknown swamps, and rushing rivers, and precipitous rocks, and dark forests.

Finally he settled upon the tribe he proposed to convert, lived with and amongst them for two years, studied their habits and characters, nursed their sick and wounded, learned their language, of which he prepared a dictionary and grammar. For the balance of his life he renewed every morning a solemn promise to bear patiently all insults and injuries and sufferings “for the greater glory of God.” This, indeed, was the principle and motto of all his colleagues—of the many brave souls who in succeeding years descended upon the wilderness and sacrificed themselves for their cause. Paul Rageneau, Pierre Chastelain, Charles Garnier, Jérôme Lallemont, Isaac Jogues, Simon le Moyne, Gabriel Lallemont, Pierre Pijart, Charles Raymbault, François du Peron, Claude Dablon, Claude Allouz, Leonard Garreau, Jos. Poucet, Druillettes, James Fremin, J. M. Chaumonot, René Menard, James Francis Bressani, Antoine Daniel, Noël Chabanel, Jacques Morin, Adrian Daran, Adrian Grelon, were amongst them.

The experiences of De Brébeuf with the savages was in many respects the experience of all these priests. They might not suffer death, some even escaped torture, but they were dealing with men who were brave to the point of indifference regarding pain, who were swayed by easily aroused passions and superstitions, who were unrestrained in treatment of a supposed enemy, or hurtful personality, by any code human or divine. On one occasion the tribes which De Brébeuf and his associates happened to be with were attacked by an epidemic which the witch doctors at once charged against the missionaries. It was no use protesting or objecting, and the priests walked in daily, hourly peril. Believing martyrdom to be near, Father de Brébeuf, on behalf of Le Mercier, Chastelain, Garnier, Ragueneau, Pijart and Jogues, wrote a letter to Paul le Jeune, Superior of the Order at Quebec, which was a model of Christian resignation: “With all sincerity I can say that not one amongst us has any fear of death. Nevertheless we all feel keenly for the unfortunate savages who have deliberately closed against themselves the door of grace and instruction. No matter how they may deal with us we will try, with God’s grace, to accept our sufferings patiently.” Doomed to death, however, though they were, the priests were not yet destined to die. A year or two after this incident a sort of mission headquarters was decided upon and buildings erected at Ste. Marie, near the present site of Penitanguishene, Ontario, which were dedicated in due course to the Virgin Mary.

In 1642 a plague of small-pox broke out amongst the Hurons and, as usual, they suspected the missionaries of being responsible for it—especially as, in their devoted nursing of the sick day and night, they seemed to be themselves immune. Father Brébeuf was insulted, stoned and beaten as he moved from village to village, but nothing could quench his fervor. A mission at this time to the Neutral nation by Brébeuf and Chaumonot, and to the Petuns by Jogues and Garnier, resulted in months of insults, taunts, starvation and every conceivable hardship. The priests were viewed as sorcerers and a storm followed and environed them on every side. They fasted voluntarily when not starving involuntarily; they prayed and preached and labored, but without much apparent effect. Finally they returned to the Huron settlements, though with the intention of seeking another opportunity. It was, however, not to be. In the picturesque language of the time, the Iroquois were already digging the graves of the great Neutral nation and the warcry of the Senecas was to be their requiem.

In 1641 Fathers Pijart and Raymbault opened a mission to the Nipissings, a tribe of the powerful widespread Algonquins, on the northern shore of Lake Nipissing. They had to face the now familiar conditions, but still more accentuated, if possible, and the success was not very great. A few years later Fathers Pijart and Garnier—the latter suffered an agonizing death in 1656 from an Iroquois bullet through his backbone—opened a mission in the wilds of Muskoka with a harvest greater than in some other cases. So for twenty-four years these unflinching heroes labored among the Hurons and kindred tribes until, at last, came the long-feared sweep of the Iroquois over the land like a devastating flood upon a tiny village. In such measure as the Hurons had become Christianized they had been weaned from some of the war practices, some of the wildness of life, some of the fierceness of character, which were positive assets in war to their great rivals. While the Hurons were cultivating the arts of peace and civilization—and they had by 1648 gone a long way in that direction—the Iroquois had been absorbing, eating up and destroying other rival tribes and making themselves a scourge even to the powerful French. The change which had come over the Hurons may be gathered from the prayer repeated at Ste. Marie by large native congregations: “Pardon, O Lord, those who pursue us with undying hatred, who murder us without pity. Open their eyes to the truth, that they may know and love Thee, that they may be friends to Thee and us.” It was beautiful, it was Christian, it was a signal triumph for the Jesuit Fathers, but it was not war, and without the heart to fight, and fight fiercely, there could, in those days, be no safety for life or home.

In the summer of 1648 the St. Joseph village and mission—on the site of the modern town of Barrie—was surprised by a large war-party of Iroquois. They burst upon the unhappy people like a thunderbolt, set fire to the buildings and burned the women and children and old men—the warriors were abroad on a hunting expedition—in the chapel. Father Daniel, who was in charge, baptized and exhorted and blessed his people as the flames mounted around them, and then going to the door, stood while the Iroquois poured shot and arrows into his body and he fell at last rent with wounds but praying as he passed away. The warning was, unfortunately, not taken and the charred remains of St. Joseph marked only the first of a series of similar massacres. Early in March, 1649, a thousand Iroquois on the warpath captured St. Ignatius, tomahawked and scalped its inhabitants, smeared their own faces with blood of the victims and then stormed the neighboring village of St. Louis. The two priests, Brébeuf and Lallemant, were captured and tortured to death with atrocious cruelty.

The former, a man of great stature and strength, lived for hours in untold suffering; the latter, delicate and slight in constitution, endured more than could have been deemed possible and lived twice as long as his companion. De Brébeuf’s sufferings were typical of the martyrdoms of that period. The Iroquois’ idea was to torture in such a way as to prolong pain and create fresh forms of suffering without causing death. They tore the flesh in strips from his body; plucked out his finger nails and scorched the wounds with fiery brands; they hung a red-hot collar of hatchets around his neck, tore away his lips and cut out his tongue; they poured boiling water on his head in imitation of baptism, scalped him and, finally, still alive, drank blood from his side so as to partake of his courage. Tearing out his heart, they devoured it with the same object. So, also, died the heroic Lallemant, who was slowly roasted to death—both praying with their last breath for the salvation of their torturers.

This was practically the end of the Huron Mission, as the tribe itself broke up and sought refuge in small detachments with other Indian nations; some fleeing to the walls of Quebec and being guarded there by the guns of the fort. The Fathers gathered such remnants together as were possible, abandoned Ste. Marie with all its sweet and bitter memories and selected an island on Lake Huron for a new settlement which they designated Isle St. Joseph—called today, Christian Island. Here they erected a military fort. Meanwhile the Iroquois had burst upon the Petun Mission of St. Mathias and massacred Father Garnier and the inhabitants. Father Chabanel met a similar fate not far away, while on his road to the island by order of his superior. Ultimately the island fort, with starvation facing its inmates, had to be abandoned, and shortly afterwards little groups of Hurons and priests were struggling through hundreds of miles of wilderness and every species of hardship and suffering toward some place of safety.

Before leaving this melancholy, and yet glorious, chapter in the religious history of Canada a word must be said of the services and death of Father Isaac Jogues. He had served with Father Raymbault amongst the Petuns of the Sault Ste. Marie region, and in 1642 was captured on the western rim of Lake St. Peter by a band of Iroquois. Carried to a Mohawk town, he and two companions suffered agonies of torture. He was compelled to run the gauntlet of fierce blows from a long line of savages, who then applied fire to his wounds and mangled and tortured his poor body in various ways. One method was to suspend him by the arms with bark ropes from two posts raised in the center of the cabin. Day after day he was tortured and harried with insult and brutality; finally he was allowed to escape more dead than alive, but even then hesitating whether he should leave these people to their savage devices. He finally reached the Jesuit College of Rennes, France, in a condition which made him almost unrecognizable. In view of his mutilations the Pope granted a special dispensation as to the services of the Church and in 1646 he was again amongst the Mohawks on a government mission. The war party amongst them demanded his death and finally won. This time his tortures were ended. Even greater sufferings were meted out to Father Joseph Bressani, a scholarly young priest who dedicated himself in 1642 to the Huron Mission. Captured, in the same way, by Mohawks he was carried up the Richelieu and on to the Upper Hudson, where for a month he suffered such prolonged and slow and awful tortures as one hesitates to transcribe from the Jesuit Relations in which the narrative is imbedded. How he lived, it is impossible to understand in these days of smooth and easy living and horror of pain or physical privation. Eventually ransomed by the Dutch, he reached Europe, but returned again to his work. He lived to write a History of the Missions and died as a missionary in Italian villages.

With the passing of the Hurons came the still more desperate effort amongst the Iroquois, led by Joseph Marie Chaumonot. He was a nephew of a priest at Chatillon, France, a devotee from the shrine of Loretto, a man of intense enthusiasm, zeal and piety, an expert in Indian languages and forms of speech, a master of simple yet powerful oratory. Accompanied by Fathers Fremin, Le Mercier, Menard and Dablon, he reached the Iroquois country in 1655 and his address on one occasion in the great Council House of the Onondagas, an appeal for the vital truths of Christianity, is said to have been a masterpiece. A little later Fathers Ragueneau and Du Peron joined the Mission and for a while the priests met with gratifying success. Then suspicions of treachery became certainty and by a clever stratagem the missionaries all got together and escaped on the verge of a wholesale slaughter. In later years others took up the cross in the Iroquois country, Father Albanel preached on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, Father Allouez led the Mission at Sault Ste. Marie. Everywhere, north, south, east and west, the footprints of the Jesuits in early Canadian and American history were clear and distinct. They passed up and down all the great waterways of the continent. Chaumonot, Brébeuf, Jogues, Raymbault, Le Caron, Du Quen, Marquette, Allouez, Messaiger, Hennepin and others were first, or else a close second, in the discovery of vast lakes and rivers and continental landmarks. There were few parts of the great new continent in those days where a Jesuit did not pioneer the way with his crucifix or traverse the paths of danger as companion to the lay explorer. Where the one carried and planted the flag of France the other held aloft the cross of his Church.

Yet of all that they did the epic of the Huron Mission remains the most lasting memorial of the Order of Jesus in America. Garnier, Chabanel, Daniel, Jogues, Brébeuf, Lallemant were dead—martyrs of a vivid faith, a devoted spirit, a great Order and Church. Others there were who had suffered as much, perhaps, as these, though just escaping the final crown of martyrdom. Their chapels were in ruins, their adherents scattered to the winds of heaven, their numbers were depleted until less than twenty remained in New France. But the memory of their heroism, their conviction, their unstinted zeal, their devotion, remained as a basis for religious life, as a bulwark of the Church, as a vital factor in the future life of the Province of Quebec—greater in its population, though not in extent, than the New France which the Jesuits had hoped to aid in establishing.

As they were preceded by the Franciscans for a brief period, so they were replaced to some extent in after years by the Sulpicians—a body of great force, influence and lasting power in French Canada. Even in these later years, however, and up to the time of the expulsion from Quebec which became inevitable when the British came into control, the Jesuits were still a powerful element in the life of the colony. The Jesuit College in Quebec was, up to 1763, the chief seat of learning in New France so far as general education and the training of priests was concerned. The Order also became wealthy, owners of fiefs and seigneuries, of land in the heart of Quebec and Montreal. It became influential in the homes, and when Father Chaumonot, in 1663, established in Montreal the Society of the Holy Family he helped an association which is variously described but which in any case wielded great influence. Parkman charges the organization in Montreal with undue interference in home affairs, with petty tyranny in matters of moral discipline, with undue prohibitions in respect of books, dress, society, dancing and various customs and habits of the day. Dean Harris, a modern Catholic writer, describes the Society, on the other hand, as exercising a saving influence in the family, sanctifying homes, encouraging domestic purity and fostering filial devotion.

In the public affairs of New France the Jesuit Order had exercised a considerable influence. There was no difficulty with Protestantism such as there was in Europe; speaking generally, there were no Protestants. It was an intolerant age and in Quebec, as elsewhere, the laws were stern and were rigidly enforced whenever it happened that the Governor and Intendant and priests worked together. In days when looseness of life and morals and religious thought were eating into every department of French life at home, of French government and French society, this was not in itself an evil, though it may and must have been an inconvenience. Such trouble of the kind as did develop in Quebec or Montreal, from time to time, was the result of an influx of new immigrants and an occasional laxness in enforcing laws. Some writers of the time criticize the regulations regarding social and individual life, liquor and drinking conditions, the relations of the sexes in general, as arbitrary, as evidences of priestly intolerance, and so on. Perhaps they were, but it must not be overlooked that life in those days was a very stern thing; that these scattered populations were living on the verge of a savage volcano which burst into eruption at intervals and which was liable to break out at any moment; that war was always possible with the English colonies even when not present; that when looseness of life and government did develop, Colonial disaster ensued. The conditions of 1759 are a sufficient illustration of this latter fact.

In diplomacy the Jesuits wielded much influence and were of substantial value to the Government of New France and to the King—in the wilds of America as in the courts of Europe. Charlevoix, the historian, has stated that the presence of a priest among the Indians was often of more value than a garrison of soldiers. It is, of course, obvious that a converted Indian would be a friend of France and that the alliance of the Christian Hurons, if properly guided and controlled, might have been enormously valuable. Like all powerful organizations, with determined views and vigorous principles, the Order of Jesus did not always get on with other branches of the Church in Quebec; zeal and obedience were under perfect control within their own body, but intense enthusiasm in one organization does not always run well in harness with individuals and institutions without its borders—even though all are working for the same end.

Not the least important product of Jesuit labor in North America was the Journal des Jésuites. Written by individual missionaries to the head of the Order in the form of reports and published first in Paris in small monthly volumes, they embodied in life-like, natural form the unselfish devotion and absolute aloofness from worldly affairs and interests of these soldiers of the Cross. Modesty and self-sacrifice were the characteristics of their letters; information of the greatest possible historic value is one lasting result. They were penned under every condition of hardship and difficulty—on the field or bare ground, in the smoke-laden air of dark huts, with maimed and broken fingers, in conditions of extreme cold or extreme heat, with death in the air and torture imminent or recently suffered. They are amongst the most extraordinary literary documents of all time and constitute a mine of knowledge as to early conditions on this continent which is of untold value.

As to the rest, the Jesuit Order was suppressed in France in 1762 and also in Louisiana and Quebec. They were suppressed by the Pope in 1773, but afterwards restored to their religious position by a successor at Rome in 1814. After the cession of New France to Great Britain the Order was not allowed to replace its members by novices and its property was taken over and devoted to educational purposes. They ceased for a time to be a factor in Canadian affairs, except as an inspiration to the people of their own Church who realized the early history of the Order in North America; or as an incentive to the fear felt by Protestants as to Roman Catholic power and progress in the light of what they believed to be the record of the Order in other countries. When the Jesuits commenced to come to Canada again is not quite clear; that they did so about 1839 and became influential in Quebec ecclesiastical affairs is known. There is a strong Jesuit College in Montreal and there are Jesuit educational centers elsewhere in the Dominion. A wave of political excitement and much religious controversy was created in Canada by the policy of the Mercier Government of Quebec (1888) in voting $400,000 to the Order as compensation for the original loss of its lands. The Dominion Government refused to veto the legislation and much unpleasant discussion followed—unpleasant because when political and sectarian feelings are aroused at one and the same time, all history and all religion can be twisted to serve the purpose of one party or the other.

Oucatchouan Falls, Lake St. John

One conclusion is positive, however, and can be stated here positively. So far as Canada is concerned, the history, the record, the lives of the Jesuits individually can only be an object of respect and admiration. Their characteristics stand out with vividness, their actions and sacrifices were those of heroes, their continued efforts constitute a page in history which any country—even our motherlands of France or Britain—might be proud to possess.

The Heroic Age of Canada

The two hundred years during which war in North America was the constant and seemingly unavoidable feature of settlement and progress were marked by innumerable incidents of heroism, records of romance, footprints of a vivid history. To the Indians who occupied the vast regions into which French soldiers and sailors and priests and traders penetrated, or where English Puritans and Cavaliers, preachers and peasants settled, warfare was a pastime, a positive pleasure, a life-occupation. They fought amongst themselves and decimated the ranks of kindred nations; even in historic ages the Indian tribes seen by Cartier at Stadacona and Hochelaga passed away and the Hurons, Eries, Neutrals and many another tribe were wiped out. When the white men came, their arrogance in dealing with savages who were equally arrogant, and who possessed whatever ownership there was at issue, developed instant friction and irretrievable disaster. The rivalry of the two chief civilized nations concerned, in Europe and America, helped this result, and amid the gloomy aisles of endless forests, in a region thousands of miles in length and breadth, amid a myriad lakes and rivers, bodies of armed white men marched to and fro while the war-whoop of the red man echoed amongst them and the scalping knife shared with cannon and shot-gun the horrors or honors of the conflict.

One of the obvious features of this prolonged struggle—footprints which are of intense interest in this century of peace and commerce—was the construction of forts. Quebec, the most ancient of French Canada’s fortifications, covered an area of forty acres with the old-time fort and modern citadel 333 feet above the great river rolling at its base. The walls of Montreal are not now visible, but they once ran around the old-time town with bastions located here and there and gates of which only the names are now known—the Récollet, the Quebec, the St. Lawrence, with certain openings on the river front. Through the Récollet Gate, which stood at the corner of the Notre Dame and McGill streets of today, General Amherst took possession for the British in 1760; on September 20, 1812, General Hull and 375 American officers and men passed as prisoners of war from Brock’s capture of Detroit. Through the Quebec Gate (on Dalhousie Square) there passed Ethan Allen as a prisoner of war in 1775, and near it was the old-time wooden blockhouse or citadel. The first fort actually built in Canada was Cartier’s structure (1541) at Cap Rouge, near Quebec, which he called Fort Charlesbourg and which De Roberval afterwards utilized and enlarged. In 1604 Poutrincourt erected the Fort of Port Royal on the Atlantic coast of Acadia (Nova Scotia) and Fort Louis, or Lomeron, near Cape Sable, N. S., followed in 1615. Seventy-nine years after Cartier’s action near Quebec Champlain started his Fort of St. Louis on Cape Diamond, where Dufferin Terrace now enables the peaceful traveler to see one of the most beautiful views in the world. De la Tour, the hero of Acadia, built a fort at the mouth of the St. John River in 1627. Champlain erected a fortified station on the St. Maurice; the Hundred Associates constructed Forts Sorel, Champlain, Ste. Thérèse and La Motte along the Richelieu; Frontenac erected a palisaded fortification at Cataraqui near the Kingston of today—where rest in a peaceful cemetery the remains of Canada’s greatest statesman—and it is known to history as Fort Frontenac; Louisbourg, on Cape Breton, at the gateway of the St. Lawrence, was commenced in 1720 and cost the huge sum (in those days) of ten million dollars before it was completed.

As a natural corollary of the French claims to the watershed of St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes and to that of the Mississippi and its tributaries, many forts were constructed in those regions—notably Fort Rouille, built in 1749 upon the site of the future City of Toronto; Pontchartrain, long afterwards replaced by the modern city of Detroit; Duquesne, called after the French marquis and governor of that name, and now a center of wealth and industries known as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There were others, such as Le Bœuf, Venango, Sandusky, Prud’homme, Vincennes, Frédéric or Crown Point, Niagara, St. Joseph (near Lake Michigan), Michilimackinac, Green Bay, Crêvécœur, Presqu’isle, Miami, Outanon, Chambly, Necessity, Ticonderoga or Carillon, Anne, Monsipi, St. Louis in the Illinois country, and some at the mouths of the Wabash, the Ohio and the Missouri. This vast semicircle of fortifications, flying the flag of France, was intended to hem in, to crib, cabin and confine the boundless energies of the English settlers. The great rivals of the French were hardly less active. Halifax was founded in 1749 as an Atlantic arsenal and fortification; Fort Lawrence frowned at Fort Beauséjour on Chignecto Bay; Fort Frederick covered the ruins of Fort De la Tour; Forts Edward, George, and William Henry watched La Motte, St. Jean and Ste. Thérèse in the Champlain region; Fort Oswego stood on guard against Fort Frontenac, and so on over a great area of disputed territory and clashing interests.

The forts built by Radisson and the De la Vérendrye in the West included Bourbon on Hayes River and Bourbon and Poskoyac on the Saskatchewan, Dauphin near Lake Manitoba, King Charles on James Bay, La Jonquière where Calgary now stands in its modern wealth and western pride, Maurepas on Lake Winnipeg, De la Reine on the Assiniboine, Rouge on the site of modern Winnipeg, and St. Pierre on the Minnesota side of Rainy Lake. They marked the French advance in that great region, stamped its history with definite points of adventure, striking story and deadly Indian struggle. If properly traced and located, their ruins today would afford new light to shadowy pen pictures of French bravery and sacrifice in those years of new life in a new world.

Throughout all this wonderful continental wilderness—hidden in secluded ocean bays, perched on lofty cliffs, nestling amongst the trees on the shores of great lakes, guarding jutting crags, or green-clad isthmuses, planted on the banks of lakes and rivers and spread over the prairies of the far West, watching important portages, passes or points on pathways through the vast forests, were forts, forts, forts! There were probably not less than a hundred of them, descending in the scale of strength from the proud example of French engineering skill at Louisbourg to the simple palisade structures of the far interior. They guarded settlements against Indian raids, or the sudden attack of small detachments of the white enemy; they protected traders and welcomed fur-buyers, hunters, trappers and voyageurs; they were centers of communication, of discovery, of rescue from Indians and of such production as there was in those pioneer days.

Around and about these fortifications circle tales of suffering and heroism such as history loves to preserve; some of them shared in all the French and English and Indian wars; others were built, like the Jesuit forts in the Huron country, solely for self-protection against the Iroquois; some were built by Western explorers and at times were the only safety of settlers or traders against torture and death at the hands of the Sioux and kindred tribes. The wars of Europe during this period may have been more important—though if final developments in the womb of the centuries be regarded even this is not certain. But they could not have been more picturesque. The armor-clad figure of Champlain sallying out from his tiny fortifications on the Rock of Quebec to meet a more merciless foe than Richard Cœur de Lion ever faced in his war against the Infidel of his day; the black-robed Jesuit in the wildernesses of half a continent facing probable torture and death at the hands of the Huron or Sioux or Iroquois; the cold, cruel, silent, inscrutable Indian struggling in a vague, detached, or isolated way for the holding of freedom to do as he liked in a wild world of his own; the blue and gold columns of French soldiers with the fleur-de-lys flying over them, meeting here and there, throughout thousands of miles of wilderness, the red coats of an enemy with the British flag flying to the winds, presented, on the whole, a picture of absorbing interest, of splendid artistic force.

Some of these forts hold a distinctive place in any record of the heroic times of Canada and have been incidentally referred to in considering the position of Quebec and Montreal as the central communities of New France, the seat of its government, the source of its weakness and its strength. The first fortifications were for protection against the Indians; the second line of forts was to guard New France against the English Colonies. Relations with the Indians turned upon many things; one of the chief was the astuteness with which individual leaders took advantage of French and English rivalries and played one nation or its representatives off against the other. In the last quarter of the seventeenth century, when the worst period in its history, the lowest ebb in the fortunes of French Canada developed, this was notably the case. The English colonists on the Atlantic were then ten-fold the numbers of the French; the fur traders and trappers of the two peoples were everywhere rivals and the English were, quite naturally, endeavoring in various ways to divert the profitable traffic in peltries from Montreal and Quebec to Albany and New York.

The first scene of what has been called “The agony of Canada” centered at Fort Frontenac, whence De la Barre, as Governor of New France, after seeing the Illinois allies of the French attacked by the Iroquois and permitting this to be followed up by the plunder of French traders, started to make separate treaties with three of the Iroquois nations—who had no intention of keeping them. Finally, he got together a force of 1,000 militiamen and Indians with the object of invading the Seneca country, but wasted time at Fort Frontenac and near Oswego until terms of peace were actually dictated to him by the confederate Iroquois tribes. Shortly afterwards (1684) he was superseded by De Denonville, who at once passed from Quebec to Fort Frontenac, strengthened the place, and prepared to maintain it with a garrison of five hundred men, to guard the fur trade and check the British. Three years later, by an act of treachery, he succeeded in getting fifty of the Iroquois chiefs to a conference at the same fort and seized and shipped them to France to work in the Royal galleys. To the lasting credit of the Indians the missionaries, who had been unwilling and unintentional instruments of this action, were allowed to leave the Iroquois country unharmed. Shortly afterwards Denonville defeated the Senecas at the mouth of the Genesee River, ravaged their country and destroyed their villages; Fort Niagara was rebuilt and garrisoned, while palisaded forts were planted on the sites of Toronto, Detroit, Sault St. Marie, Michilimackinac and down the Illinois River.

It was then—within a decade of the end of the seventeenth century—that the Five Nations of the Iroquois burst like a storm-cloud upon the French settlements. They attacked and destroyed the fort at the entrance to Niagara River and spread themselves like a pestilence along the frontiers of French colonization. The country was ravaged for a thousand miles, probably a thousand French colonists were victims of the tomahawk or scalping knife, an army of Iroquois warriors assembled at Lake St. Francis and there tried to dictate terms of peace. The Massacre of Lachine was the culminating act of this period. Following it Montreal Island, outside of the feeble walls of Ville Marie, was for two months in possession of the Iroquois and no life was safe for a moment, while peril was the daily and nightly portion of the people of that isolated post. To Three Rivers, and Quebec, and Ville Marie the power of New France was for a time confined. Fort Frontenac had been abandoned and when De Frontenac returned as governor in 1690 he found the country of his pride and hope prostrate at the feet of the enemy, shaken by fear and in imminent peril, menaced by an alliance of all the northern and western tribes with the Iroquois and the English. He had to act and he did so in a way characteristic of the man and of the times. Three bodies of French and Indians marched from Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal and in the depth of winter attacked, surprised and captured Schenectady, N. Y., Salmon Falls, N. H., and Casco in New England. Little mercy was shown and these places were practically destroyed.

The effect of this quick and definite action upon the general situation was electrical. It restored the waning prestige of the French, strengthened the spirit of the people and reopened the channels of the fur trade. On the other hand the brutality displayed in the capture of the villages embittered the spirit of New England and New York to a degree which nothing could efface except the final destruction of French power. Sir William Phips and an English Colonial expedition against Acadia at once succeeded in capturing Port Royal; the same officer was put in charge of a naval attack upon Quebec; a land force was launched from New York against Montreal; the Iroquois ravaged and burned and slaughtered wherever an opportunity offered.

A picturesque incident of this period occurred when Phips reached Quebec on October 16th with thirty-two ships, plenty of cannon and 2,000 men. He at once sent a messenger to De Frontenac, who received him in the Throne Room of the Chateau clad in gorgeous uniform, with stately and impressive bearing, and surrounded by such an array of military and official splendor, in costume and appearance, as the simple New Englander had probably never seen before. The letter presented to the Lieutenant-General of Louis the Great was a haughty demand to surrender within an hour, to which the Comte de Frontenac declined any but a verbal and immediate reply: “The only answer I will give will be from the mouths of my cannon and musketry.” Meanwhile the weak defences of the place had been strengthened, De Callières had come down post-haste from Ville Marie with 800 men, the batteries were ready for action, and the Beauport and Beaupré shores, below the city, were guarded by French Canadian sharpshooters. An effort, prolonged for three days, was made by Phips’ second in command, with 1,300 men and some field-pieces, to land at the St. Charles River near Quebec, but was defeated, while the well-directed guns of the fortress played havoc with the fleet. Phips then withdrew and sailed back to Boston.

Outstanding amongst the raids, massacres and varied conflicts of the next few years is the incident of which Marie Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was the heroine. Daughter of the Seigneur de Verchères and living on the banks of the St. Lawrence some miles below Montreal, in a fortified and palisaded manor house, she was, in 1692, but fourteen years of age and, from all that can be ascertained, a child of marked beauty and unusual courage. Around the house had grown up the dwellings of laborers and dependents who sought its protection whenever danger threatened. At the time when the incident in question occurred it was early autumn, the great forests were ablaze with color, the indentations and bays of the river were alive with the flutterings of wild game and waterfowl. There had been no Indian outbreak for some months, the Sieur and Madame de Verchères had gone to Quebec to present their annual fealty to the Sovereign’s representative for their fief and seigneurial rights, the garrison and even many of the laborers were away shooting in the woods and along the banks of the river.

Hence when Mdlle. de Verchères, wandering by the river on a beautiful afternoon, suddenly heard shots and the blood-curdling Iroquois war-whoop, looked hastily around and saw a number of savages emerging from the woods not far away, her peril was very great. She made a wild dash for the house, calling, “To arms! To arms!” as she ran, with one young brave, in advance of the others, almost upon her. Just as she reached the heavy door of the house which was, fortunately, open for her, the savage reached out and caught her, not by the flying hair as was their usual custom, but by a covering to her shoulders. With a swift gesture she unfastened it in front and as she flew in and barred and bolted the door the discomfited Indian fell back with only the garment in his hand. Inside all was confusion and for protection there was only an old man of eighty, her two youthful brothers and two soldiers. Mdlle. de Verchères took instant command, fired off the small swivel gun in the court-yard with her own hands to warn the scattered garrison, had the defences strengthened in every direction and though she could not save the unfortunate harvesters in the fields from slaughter, she did hold the fort during two long days of siege. One soldier was told off to take care of the women and children in the blockhouse; Madeleine, the old man and the two boys, each fully armed, took charge of the four bastions or redoubts at the corners, and through the storm which came up, through darkness and daylight, for forty-eight hours they stood at their posts with the lurking, alert enemy in every direction—thinking naturally that the place was well defended. Then came relief and the name of the child who saved the Manor House of Verchères and its occupants passed into history. She, herself, married Thomas de la Naudière, a French officer and Seigneur, and, after his death, De la Pérade, another officer of good birth. In her later years she was given a government pension for life.

A French Canadian hero of this period was Le Moyne d’Iberville. Born in Montreal or Ville Marie, he spent a lifetime in exploration and in fighting for his flag. It is a question whether any Canadian, before or since, has had such a career of strenuous adventure, gallant struggle and, from the standpoint of France, useful performance. In his forty-five years of life he crowded such activity as seems almost marvelous. He entered the French navy in 1686 and took part with De Troyes in capturing from the English the Hudson’s Bay forts of Moose Factory, Rupert and Albany; in 1689 he was again on the Bay and captured a British ship with a cargo of guns which he brought to Quebec; in 1690 he was a leader in the raid from Montreal on Schenectady, N. Y., and thence, in the far north, he captured Fort Severn; four years later he was again in the Bay and this time he took Fort Nelson from the British and practically brought the whole vast northern region, for the moment, under French control; in 1696 he was sailing the Atlantic coast, captured Pemaquid on the coast of Acadia, which had already been destroyed by the Indians and rebuilt by the New Englanders as Fort William Henry; at the same time he took possession of St. John’s and the coast of Newfoundland; in the following year he again sought the Hudson’s Bay, defeated a larger British fleet than his own and recaptured Fort Nelson; in 1698 he sailed from France with an expedition which sought and found the far-southern mouths of the Mississippi; he spent the balance of his life in building up French power in what became the colony of Louisiana. His name is and should be a household word in the City of Montreal and the annals of his race in Canada.

Around Fort Chambly, on the Richelieu, twelve miles below St. John’s, centered in all these years much of conflict and interesting history. No more attractive ruins exist today than those of the old Fort which was first erected of wood in 1665 and reconstructed and built of stone in 1711 by soldiers and residents from Montreal under plans drawn by M. de Léry. It was constructed, and so remains, in a large square, with four bastions, and must in early days have been very strong and imposing. The name it now bears was given it by Captain Jacques de Chambly of the Carignan-Sallières Regiment (afterwards Governor of Acadia and Martinique and Seigneur of Chambly), though at times it was also called St. Louis. Here, the oft-times slight and inadequate garrison, and surrounding settlers of the Chambly Seigneury, faced the silent sweep of the Iroquois upon French settlements in many a night of terror and darkness, or waited for their war parties, as they passed, in fearful expectation; here, in after years, it guarded the highway of New England expeditions into New France and, with a chain of posts built for purposes of defence, it played an important part during the first half of the eighteenth century; here, until August, 1760, its garrison held the French flag flying even while French power was crumbling to pieces over half a continent; here, in 1775, the American flag flew for a brief period and here, in the War of 1812, as many as 6,000 British troops were kept to guard a vital strategic point; here, up to the early seventies, Imperial troops were kept and the British bugle-call heard where for so long a period French soldiers had held their cheerful sway.

Not very far from this fortification, and about twelve miles below where the Richelieu pours out of Lake Champlain, is Isle-aux-Noix. It is a small island and the ruins left upon it are slight and apparently insignificant. Yet here was, for a time, the strategic point in the protection of Montreal from the onward sweep of the English in 1759, when, after the fall of Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) and Fort Frédéric (Crown Point), Bourlamaque threw his army on to this island and held it in defiance of the British advance. Fortifications were erected and, after the fall of Quebec, De Lévis, himself, assisted by the French Canadian De Lotbinière, directed the work of added fortifications. De Bougainville succeeded to the command, but the island was evacuated in the following year. In 1775 General Schuyler, of the Continental forces, took possession and rebuilt the fortifications; from here Ethan Allen undertook, with 200 rangers, to capture Montreal and had, instead, to spend an enforced period in England; from here General Montgomery marched to attack Quebec and here, during the Revolutionary period, various negotiations took place while the contending armies passed through or briefly occupied its shores; here in the War of 1812 were erected several British forts, of which Lennox still survives, with blockhouses and other defences; near here in 1813, three American ships were captured and from here went the expedition to capture Plattsburg and later on troops to help at the memorable fight of Lacolle’s Mills not far away. British troops occupied it until the Seventies, and it is interesting to note that, in all these earlier years of warfare, while Isle-aux-Noix was safe Montreal was safe; when it was lost Montreal was also lost.

Scene on the St. Lawrence in Winter

Memorials of these times of stress and warfare exist everywhere throughout Quebec, though it is doubtful if many visitors know of, or hear of, them. From Montreal, for instance, there extended for some miles a chain of outposts or fortified palisaded buildings to St. Anne’s and including Forts St. Gabriel, Verdun, Cuillérier, Lachine, Rémy, Rolland, Gentilly, Pointe Claire and Senneville or Boisbriant. The first-named was an excellent embodiment of these days of danger and its remains have been resuscitated in pictorial form from ruins which existed on Montmorenci Street as late as 1890. It was a long, low, solid house built of stone with protecting walls two and three feet thick and twelve feet high with heavy stone gateway buttresses calculated, on the whole, to stand any attack except that of artillery. A stone storehouse stood near the house and on the borders of the Lachine Canal. The fort was first erected of wood as far back as 1659.

Many other places in Quebec, towns of modern days, with modern life and industrial activities everywhere evident, have similar survivals of historic days. Sorel, for instance, at the mouth of the Richelieu, with its turbulent memories of the past, was established by De Montmagny in 1642 as a fortification intended to stand in the vanguard of Indian trade or Indian war, as the case might be. Called after Pierre de Sorel, he, in 1665, erected stronger and more elaborate fortifications, and it was for a century a stopping place between Quebec and Montreal for governors and soldiers and missionaries and priests. Here, in 1787, came gay Prince William Henry, afterwards William IV, and so popular was he that for a time the place was locally called after him. It was refortified in 1778 by Haldimand to meet a possible American invasion and near it were settled many of the Loyalists of 1783.

Three Rivers, at the mouth of the St. Maurice, was an even more important military post and is now a larger and more imposing city of peace. It was founded in 1633, before the days of Ville Marie; Jesuit missionaries came in the succeeding year and afterwards the Récollets, while in 1634 Laviolette built a substantial fort; throughout the seventeenth century it was a center of the fur trade, a resting place, or starting place, for explorers and voyageurs and a central point for expeditions against the Iroquois and the English and a pivotal place in attack and defence; for long it was a separate governorship and a center of the French life of the country, with such early notables as La Salle, Du L’hut and Frontenac and a whole series of leaders in French activity and adventure; it was used as a depôt for American military supplies in 1776 and was a rendezvous for Carleton’s troops; it was the seat of Haldimand’s government for a time and from here he rescued and relieved many of the Loyalists of the American Revolution.

Of all the French forts, however, Carillon or Ticonderoga is probably the best known to the public and to the modern traveler, though it is not nearly so old or historic as many others. Built by De Lotbinière in 1756, on a promontory at the southern end of Lake Champlain, it is now in United States territory. It was the advanced post of the French in their last days of power and the scene of a famous victory by Montcalm in 1758; it was captured by Amherst in the succeeding year; in 1775 was taken by the Americans, and two years later recaptured by Burgoyne. One of the most spirited and memorable scenes in the dying days of New France was the attack by Abercrombie upon Montcalm at Carillon. It was a vital period in the prolonged contest, and although the causes undermining French power were actively at work in Quebec, they were not generally understood. Louisbourg, it is true, had been taken by Amherst shortly before Carillon was invested, but about this time, and especially in 1757, the swing of success had been, on the surface, with the French. Montcalm’s victories at Oswego and Fort William Henry had come at a period when high taxes, constant Indian forays, frequent militia levies, and the not always pleasant presence of British troops had added to local rivalries and jealousies and hampered English colonial operations.

In these last stages of the struggle no one place or portion of the continent can be said to have been the headquarters of the soldiers on either side. From one point to another, through immense primeval forests and wilderness stretches, across streams and rivers of unknown depth and current, along miry pathways and over wild morasses, troops were on the march continuously. As the war centered, temporarily, on Fort Carillon or Ticonderoga, Montcalm found himself, in the middle of June, 1758, with about 4,000 men face to face with Abercrombie and his 15,000. The situation appeared desperate and, indeed, hopeless, though the French commander held a splendid position. The Fort, from a rocky height, overlooked the head of Lake Champlain. Behind it ran a rough valley and beyond that a ridge fortified with high breastworks and palisades built of tree trunks, with sharpened branches pointing outwards, and a sloping descent in front thickly set with stakes and felled trees.

Second to Montcalm was De Lévis, an able officer; second to Abercrombie, who, himself, had little ability, was Lord Howe, a young officer of radiant character and great popularity in the army. After prolonged preparations by Abercrombie and patient waiting by Montcalm, who at this critical juncture dared not make a false or venturesome move, the British General on July 5th started from Fort George to capture Carillon. His forces and artillery required 900 bateaux, 135 whaleboats and numerous heavy floats for transportation, and at the Narrows of the lake was over six miles in length. With the beauty of a summer day and surrounding scenes of woodland splendor, with lofty hills and rolling waters, with the varied accessories of music and striking uniform and flying banners, the sight must have been a memorable pageant even for the youth-time of the New World. On the 6th the force disembarked and in a succeeding skirmish with Canadian sharpshooters Howe was killed—the greatest loss short of defeat which the British troops could have had. Montcalm received the charge of the enemy on July 8th at the fortified ridge already described. Without artillery and during a long, fearful day of desperate charge and fierce attack Abercrombie hurled his men against the tremendous defences of the French. It was a useless though splendid sacrifice and at nightfall he withdrew, leaving 2,000 British dead behind and with the famous Black Watch, in particular, almost decimated. Of this regiment twenty-four officers were killed or wounded. By the French the victory was regarded as a miracle and in honor of the gallantry of their defence against tremendous odds the greatly inspirited Montcalm erected on the spot an immense wooden cross bearing these lines:

Soldier and Chief and ramparts’ strength are naught;

Behold the conquering Cross! ’Tis God the triumph wrought.

Following this conflict, however, and while Abercrombie with his troops lay trembling in Fort William Henry, Bradstreet and his English colonial militia had captured Fort Frontenac (near Kingston) and all its rich stores with the French ships on the Great Lakes. Meanwhile Louisbourg also had fallen, and in its fall closed a romantic and striking career. Named after Louis XIV and commenced in 1720, it was, perhaps even more than Quebec, the strongest post of French power in America. Twenty-five years were consumed in its construction and many millions in its cost. Built at the end of a rocky ridge jutting into the Atlantic from the coast of Cape Breton Island, there was behind its land-walls ground which was chiefly morass; strong bastions, backed by powerful batteries, protected it, while in the mouth of the harbor stood another powerful battery. It was first reduced in 1745 by Pepperell and Warren with their Colonial troops and five hundred guns from a great fleet; it was now captured again by Amherst and Wolfe and Boscawen in 1758.

Since the first surrender by Duchambon it had been vastly strengthened, within its ramparts were three thousand veteran troops with one thousand militia, under its bastions on the water-front were twelve war-ships with 544 guns, in the batteries of the fortress were 219 heavy cannon. The Chevalier de Drucour seems to have put up an excellent defence. The siege was directed from the land side and while the French could arrest, they seemed unable to stop, the steady advance of the British troops to the walls of the fortress. On June 26th, it surrendered and with it went French power on the Atlantic. The event wounded Louis XIV to the heart and encouraged to a triumphant degree the men who were to win the final stages of the war. The mighty fortifications were demolished after months of labor and today only vast lines of earthworks are visible, covered with green turf and echoing to the sounds of pastoral nature. Yet no spot on the continent is more worth visiting and none bears more interesting historical memories.

Those times of war have passed away, the war-paint and feathers of the Indian have vanished forever, the cassock and the breviary are now emblems of peace and brotherly love; the crucifix is no longer carried aloft in primeval forests, the blue and white and gold of the French uniforms have disappeared, the fleur-de-lys is now only seen in Quebec as a relic of past patriotism; while the wings of peace are said to have enfolded forever the Great Lakes and the water-stretches of the continent. Yet those scenes and events and the vast vistas of history and study which they open up cannot but be of interest to the inquiring mind—to the intelligent British or French tourist in particular, to the patriotic Canadian or American in general. Memorials of those stormy and strenuous days are spread all over the continent: they well merit modern attention and even modern devotion to some, at least, of the ideals embodied.

Acadia—The Land of Evangeline

The Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Islands of Cape Breton and Prince Edward, with a portion of the State of Maine east of the Kennebec River, constituted the Acadia, or La Cadie, of the early French explorers, of the earliest French settlement in America, of one hundred and fifty years filled with the sorrow and suffering, the struggle and success, the darkness and brightness of pioneer life. Four years earlier than the foundation of Quebec, Champlain and De Monts started, on a small island in the St. Croix River, a settlement which, in the following year and after varied hardships, had to be transferred to Port Royal—not far from the site of a later place of the same name, now known as Annapolis Royal.

There, on the north shore of the Annapolis River at its junction with the Basin, a small fort was erected and the first village commenced in all the vast region which was to later on fly the flag of France. Back of these settlers was the primeval forest, around them and throughout the Acadia of succeeding centuries were beautiful rivers and brooks and streams, exquisite valleys and scenery of the milder type, shores washed by seas which swarmed with fish, soil which ripened readily into production and the growth of flowers and fruit. The Indian life of the woods was, fortunately, not of the fierce type so characteristic of the forests and lakes of the far interior and the upper St. Lawrence, but it was at times wild enough. And, at the beginning, the colonists found things sufficiently gloomy; if they had been imaginative the thought of what lay beyond and behind them in the recesses of a seemingly endless wilderness would have been, in itself, a tremendous burden. As Longfellow put it centuries afterwards:

This is the Forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

Bearded with moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic;

Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

Loud from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced neighboring ocean

Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

The site of Port Royal was a beautiful one and in the summer of their hopes and of their first settlement its sunshine and softness of air, its sentinels of rock serving as a shelter against storms from sea, its wooded hills guarding the colonists from storms by land, must have made it seem a very haven of rest to the inexperienced, light-hearted, optimistic Frenchmen. With the two leaders were Jean de Biencourt, Baron de Poutrincourt, a wealthy and energetic noble of Picardy, the merry, shrewd and scholarly L’Escarbot who has left so many interesting records of those stirring times, and Pont-Gravé, the adventurous Breton merchant who sought profit as well as the pleasures of exploration in the wilds of America. The years that immediately followed were of stirring and ever-changing interest. Port Royal became the center of storm-clouds which reached in shadowy outline from Paris to London and back again to this tiny settlement on the verge of a vast continent. Champlain explored and surveyed and schemed in a wider sphere, while L’Escarbot looked after the local planting and sowing and reaping. De Monts went to Paris to try and counter the plots of enemies and hold the territorial rights he had been granted. The winter of 1606-07 was the famous occasion of Champlain’s “Order of a Good Time,” when the fifteen leading men of the colony met in Poutrincourt’s dining-hall and revelled each day for some hours in good fellowship and good fare and the good cheer of a wit which was Parisian in its character and cleverness. With the picturesque group of gentlemen-adventurers sat the Indian Memberton, bearing the burden of a hundred years of life, the responsibility of tribal leadership, and a reputation of sincere friendship for the whites.

This jolly and prosperous season, however, was the calm before the storm, and in the spring-time came a ship from St. Malo, bearing, not the familiar figure of De Monts with new resources and fresh settlers, but the intelligence that his enemies had triumphed and his charter been revoked. There was nothing for it but to pluck up the deepening roots of settlement and return to the motherland, and this Poutrincourt did with a sore heart and a steadfast determination to return again. He took up the mantle of interest and labor which De Monts now dropped and, while Champlain proceeded to write his own name large in the history of the New France which he hoped to establish on the banks of the St. Lawrence, Poutrincourt continued faithful to Port Royal. In 1610 he returned with new settlers and a zealous priest—Father la Flèche—who soon succeeded in converting the friendly Memberton and influencing his entire tribe.

In the following year the death of Henri IV of France brought upon the European scene the stormy personality of Marie de Medicis and introduced to the smaller Acadian arena the black-robed and ambitious figure of the Jesuit who was at this time dominant in Paris and destined to become a dominating figure over the greater part of North America. The large interests of the Huguenots of St. Malo in the settlement and in the Royal charter passed from the control of De Poutrincourt, who was only able to hold his little territory around Port Royal, and wide powers were placed in the hands of Madame de Guercheville, a lady of the French Court famed for both beauty and virtue and a strong supporter of the Order of Jesus. Father la Flèche was soon aided by Fathers Biard and Massé and their labors carried the banner of their faith far and wide amongst the Indians of the Atlantic coast. In 1613 Madame de Guercheville sent out a fresh expedition with men and stores and accompanied by two more Jesuits—Fathers Quentin and Du Thet—and a settlement called St. Laurent was made further down the coast.

At this point and in connection with the elaborate and widely-extended, though necessarily vague, charters of the French King, there commenced the hostile and historic antagonism of the English colonists to the claims and ambitions and power of New France. Argall, a military leader from Virginia, sailed in the same year into the harbor of this new settlement and uprooted it. He followed this success by a raid upon Port Royal, which he found defenceless—Biencourt, the gallant son of the adventurous Poutrincourt—being engaged in an expedition against the Indians. The place was pillaged and burned to the ground and even the crops in the fields destroyed. Argall returned in triumph to Virginia and the unhappy French colonists struggled through the ensuing winter by means of wild roots and the help of half-starved and friendly Indians. Poutrincourt, shortly after this event, died a soldier’s death in France and his son, who had evidently inherited his ability and energy, was given the rank of Vice-Admiral and remained in Acadia to hunt, fish, shoot, trade and guard the remnants of his cherished settlement. Ultimately, though the facts are obscure, he appears to have rebuilt Port Royal and in this as well as in his generally adventurous life was seconded by a young Frenchman of good family—Charles de la Tour—who was destined to take an important part in the stern game of war and colonization which followed.

Meanwhile, as one result of Argall’s raid, Great Britain began to press the claims upon the soil of North America which Cabot’s discoveries seemed to give. By right of settlement the greater part of the Atlantic coast from Acadia downward was already British; by right of discovery and, despite a record of colonization and exploration which crowned French energy and enterprise with honor, claim was also laid to the whole of what was then called New France—including Acadia. In times of war between France and England this claim continued to be aggressively presented by British invasion or British expeditions; in times of nominal peace it was too often urged by Colonial invasion and New England raids, followed or preceded by French expeditions of a similarly lawless character. In 1614, King James I granted to a Plymouth Association all the lands lying between the forty-fifth and forty-eighth parallels and called the region New England. Sir William Alexander, afterwards Earl of Sterling and Viscount Canada, a man of letters and a patriotic Scotchman, resolved that there should also be a New Scotland. From the English King he obtained, in 1621, a grant of Acadia under the general name of Nova Scotia and began operations at Port Royal—which seems for the moment to have been abandoned by the French.

Port Royal continued to be the Acadian center of the struggle. When Admiral Kirke arrived on the expedition (1629) which terminated in the temporary capture of Quebec, he bore down upon this little place and from it declared the whole country to be under the rule and government of Sir William Alexander and his company. Meanwhile, Charles de la Tour held a strong position some distance away at Fort St. Louis, now known as Port La Tour, near Cape Sable. Here, in the same year, he shut himself up and defied the English, though his father, Claude de la Tour, had been captured on his way with supplies and armament and been carried to England, where this survivor of the Huguenot aristocracy of France, with well-known influence and resources in Acadia, was considered a great prize. He was made much of in England, fêted everywhere, married to a lady of the Court, made a Knight-Baronet of Nova Scotia, granted forty-five hundred square miles of territory on the Atlantic coast, and won over to espouse the cause of England and to promise the support of his son—who was included in the titles and grants.

He had, however, undertaken too much and when, in 1630, he arrived at Fort St. Louis with British ships and colonists and the assurance of British support to his plans, he was repulsed by his son as well as in the assault which followed upon the fort, and was compelled to withdraw to Port Royal with his settlers and the wife who had been led to expect a triumphant entry into new and great possessions for the Crown of England. Claude de la Tour now found himself unable to return to England because of his failure and exiled from France because of his treason. His son protected him and built him a house and thence he fades from the canvas of history. Charles de la Tour had, in the meantime, won high credit in France for his conduct and in 1631 became the King’s lieutenant-general in Acadia with sufficient men and arms and supplies to surround the position with something more than an empty halo.

Then followed the despatch of Isaac de Razily, a relation of Richelieu, with a definite mission to drive the Scotch out of Acadia; and with him were Nicholas Denys, destined to succeed L’Escarbot as a picturesque scribe, and D’Aunay Charnisay, a Frenchman of good position, ability and intense ambition. Various minor struggles with New England ensued in which success generally rested with the French and in which both De la Tour and Charnisay distinguished themselves. De Razily died in 1636 and left his power in the divided hands of two antagonistic and ambitious men. The ensuing events read like a romance. De la Tour retired to a new fort which he had built at the mouth of the St. John River and for five years ruled from there over much of the New Brunswick of the future. Charnisay remained at Port Royal, which he had rebuilt on the south shore of Annapolis Basin and greatly strengthened, and there he maintained authority in what is now Nova Scotia.

Each was jealous of the other’s power and plans, but while De la Tour rested in proud contempt within the walls of his fortress, surrounded by his family and relatives, his soldiers, Indians and steadily successful fur-traders, Charnisay sought the seat of power and undermined his rival’s reputation at the Court of France. In 1641 he was successful. De la Tour was stripped of his position and possessions and ordered to France under arrest. It was a desperate case. To go was to meet ruin at the hands of a Cardinal who naturally disliked the Huguenots; to stay was to court ruin as a rebel. In the latter case, however, De la Tour knew his friends would stand by him and his followers fight for him; while chance might at any time reverse the conditions prevalent at Paris. He, therefore, stayed and his defiance resulted in a strife which filled the forests and coasts of Acadia with all the evils of civil war for a number of years.

It was the war of a hero, and the fitting wife of a hero, with a man whose character has been revealed by the light of passing years and of history as infamous in its indifference to honor and integrity. The real qualities of De la Tour were open to the world, and had won the respect of all who knew him. As so often happens in the history of countries, he was the one man who, at this crisis, might have made Acadia a great and prosperous French state and he was the one man who was denied the opportunity. His ambitions were those of a patriot combined with much of the prescience of a statesman. Those of Charnisay were the self-seeking principles of a trader combined with the unscrupulous personal designs of a Philippe Egalité. The conflict began by Charnisay attacking Fort La Tour, at the mouth of the St. John, in the spring of 1643, and being repulsed with considerable loss. It continued through his close investment of the place with, also, the arrival of reinforcements from France; and was marked by the escape of De la Tour and his wife to Boston through the close lines of the enemy and by their return in triumph with five ships full of strong and willing men from Massachusetts—during a brief period of peace between Britain and France and between their Colonies. It ended, for the moment, in the chagrin and amazement of Charnisay and his hasty flight to Port Royal.

Thatched Barn, Cap a L’Aigle

The result should have been a permanent one, with Port Royal taken and Charnisay captured. But the New Englanders had to be considered and De la Tour found that they were amply content with the booty in furs which they had gained and the terms which they had forced him to yield. Perhaps, too, their thrifty patriotism saw possibilities of injury to France and benefit to themselves in not too suddenly ending the war of the rivals. De la Tour, therefore, set himself to strengthen his defences and consolidate his resources, while his brave wife—whose conduct through the hardships of the siege, the escape, and the journey to Boston had already been heroic—started for France to obtain assistance from her Huguenot friends in Rochelle. Charnisay, meanwhile, had left for Paris where he arranged to have his rival’s wife arrested on a charge of treason. She escaped him, however, reached England in safety and after twelve weary months of peril and adventure arrived home at Fort La Tour.

She had brought some help back with her and her husband went to Boston to get further aid with the intention of this time finishing his foe. Charnisay heard of his departure and (1645) with cruisers and troops at once invested the fortress. The gallant wife did everything to supply her husband’s place and, possibly, more than filled it. Supplies ran short and traitors were discovered. Instead of being hung they were mistakenly driven with contempt from the fort and intelligence thus afforded Charnisay as to the state of the garrison. Fire was opened by his battleships, but it was replied to with a force and good-will which destroyed one of his ships and drove back his men with heavy loss.

For two months the heroic garrison and gallant lady defied his blockade and laughed, apparently, at the assault which he threatened but was afraid to deliver. De la Tour, meanwhile, had returned from Boston and lay cruising as near as possible to the scene of the siege, but his single ship was no match for the fleet of his enemy. One night, in the month of April, Charnisay plucked up courage to once more defy the chances of battle and during three days the struggle lasted with every rampart attacked at once and every weak spot apparently known to the enemy. At last a Swiss mercenary turned traitor and threw open the gates. Charnisay entered and there followed one of the blackest and meanest deeds in the history of the northern part of the continent. Afraid of this woman, afraid of being again repulsed by her leadership in the struggle yet to come, Charnisay asked for a truce and offered honorable terms. With a woman’s natural desire to save her brave followers, Madame de la Tour consented and the terms of capitulation were duly drawn up. Then, with the fortress in his hands and the Chatelaine at his mercy, this man tore up the document, repudiated his obligations and his honor, and, placing a halter around the neck of the brave woman who had beaten him in fair fight, forced her to watch the death struggles of her soldiers as one by one they were hung upon the ramparts. Carried to Port Royal by the conqueror, the heroine of Acadia died of a broken heart at the end of three long and weary weeks spent, no doubt, in brooding thought over a broken home and butchered followers and a husband who, through this succession of misfortunes, was now a wanderer on the face of the earth. As Miss Marjorie Pickthall has beautifully described it:

Did God weep for the heart that broke there,


Only the lips of the dead men spoke there,

And she who dared them, she who led them,

Drank her death in the death he fed them

    Cold in clay.

She in the flowers of God upstanding,


Sees the Hosts of the Heights disbanding,

Spear on spear of a lilied splendor

Hears them hail her, hears the tender

    Words they say.

Charnisay flourished to the full of his expectations during the next few years. Supreme in Acadia, confident of his favor at Court, fair of word and arrangement with New England, reaping riches from the fur trade, successful in crushing his only remaining rival—Nicholas Denys, who had been his friend and schoolmate but had become rich and strong in Cape Breton Island—this extraordinary character seemed well content with his fortune and fate. Then suddenly, in 1650, as if in mockery of his position and prospects, he fell into the little river at Port Royal and was drowned like a rat. De la Tour, meanwhile, had been treated with the respect he deserved in parts of New England and Europe where he had spent five years of a wandering life and was now able to go to France, refute the falsehoods of his enemy, and receive every reparation which the King could give. He was made Governor of Acadia, the fur-trade monopoly was placed in his hands and, to ensure the permanance of his fortune he cut another knot of difficulty by marrying Charnisay’s widow and taking the children of his former enemy into his hands and under his protection.

This remarkable story then took another turn on the wheel of fate. England was in the stern and successful hands of Cromwell and a large expedition which had been sent to capture the Dutch settlements on the Hudson was thrown suddenly upon Acadia. De la Tour was overpowered and Acadia overrun. Boston and New England were at the back of the new move. Cromwell, who seems to have understood the great issues at stake in apparently petty struggles, refused to intervene, or to restore Acadia to France, and De la Tour was seemingly crushed once more. But he was not the man to meet such a fate without effort. Going to England, he saw Cromwell, impressed him by his arguments and his personality and obtained a grant of the whole region known as Acadia to a company which included De la Tour and Sir Thomas Temple. The latter was made Governor, the former soon sold out his great interests in the grant and, weary of tempting fate, retired to the comfortable obscurity of private life.

Until 1667, when Charles II gave back Acadia to France in the Treaty of Breda, the land rested in reasonable quietude. From that time until the finger of fate placed its seal upon the country in 1710 and made Acadia finally British it had many governors and amongst them were several names familiar to the history of Quebec, such as Robineau de Menneval, Robineau de Villebon, Denys de Bonaventure and Daniel de Subercase. The most striking figure in these last years of French rule was that of the Baron de Saint Castin—hunter and wood-ranger, fighter in a lawless fashion on behalf of law and order, warden of the marches upon the Penobscot, friend of the Indians and guardian of Acadian soil against New England raids. With his Indian wife, with wealth gained in the fur trade and with influence at Port Royal maintained through his power over the Indians, Saint Castin presented a most picturesque personality and one full of material for the romancist in these later days of historical fiction.

Meanwhile the Province and Port Royal shared in the ups and downs of Colonial rivalry and war. The fort was captured by Sir William Phips and his Boston men in 1690; threatened by the soldiers of Fort William Henry at Pemaquid; surrounded from time to time by the devastation of Indian fighting on one side or the other. In these conflicts Saint Castin shared and at times triumphed, while in 1692 Le Moyne d’Iberville, the dashing darling of French-Canadian history, sailed into the Bay of Fundy, fought the British fleet in a drawn battle and captured the fort at Pemaquid. In 1710 the end of Acadia as a French country came when Colonel Nicholson with English ships and Colonial soldiers, on the way to again attempt the capture of Quebec, overpowered the little garrison of Port Royal and overran the Province. The war-scarred fortress was re-named Annapolis Royal in honor of Queen Anne, and though Saint Castin and his Indians did their best for the Lilies of France, the struggle was futile. Although the expedition against Quebec had failed, England was in a strong enough position in Europe to dictate terms and, by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, to retain Acadia with the exception of the islands now known as Cape Breton and Prince Edward. In 1744 an effort was made by the French to re-capture Annapolis Royal, as Port Royal was now called, but it was defeated.

The grass-grown ramparts of this historic fort may still be seen amidst surroundings which are both beautiful and romantic. Annapolis Royal stands on the south shore of Annapolis Basin with its sapphire waters and turquoise sky, its picturesque and peaceful scenery belying the record of the past. The well preserved and ancient fortifications cover thirty acres of land with old cannon and buildings which speak volumes as to the centuries of struggle that are gone and a bronze statue of De Monts looking down and back over three hundred years of history. Back of the modern town is the river which winds its way seventy miles into the interior through one of the most beautiful and fruitful regions of the continent—the famous Annapolis Valley with its sea of apple blossoms in June, its blaze of scarlet and golden fruit in September, its ever-exquisite scenery and sweetly-scented air. It is difficult in this atmosphere of peace and contentment and quiet prosperity to think of the war-drum and flaunting flags and roaring cannon, but to do so is interesting and the result inspiring. Passing from this historic spot, one comes naturally to the Bay of Fundy with its famous tidal phenomena, its shores which hold still more famous memories of Acadian life and expulsion, its mighty promontory of Blomidon with the stormy ocean in front and the lovely vales of Evangeline’s story and Grand Pré annals behind it:

This is that black bastion, based in surge,

  Pregnant with agate and with amethyst,

Whose foot the tides of storied Minas scourge,

  Whose top austere withdraws into its mist.

This is that ancient cape of tears and storms

  Whose towering front inviolable frowns

O’er vales Evangeline and love keep warm,

  Whose fame thy song, O tender singer, crowns.

After the conquest began the evolution of the romantic yet sorrowful Acadian question. The people of French extraction, during the years of peace which followed, increased largely in numbers and certainly did not decrease in their sentimental loyalty towards France. Their mother-country was steadily strengthening its position in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with a view to the future re-conquest of Acadia and the vast fortifications of Louisbourg were designed by Vauban and built at great expense on the Island of Cape Breton. That place became the headquarters of French power and pretentions on the Atlantic, the home of French privateers, and the Mecca of Acadian hopes. It supplied the Acadians with a market for their products, kept them in touch with French sympathies and aspirations and plots, and prevented their peaceful acceptance of British rule.

Through all these picturesque incidents and the prolonged struggles of large interests, rival personalities and great outside Powers, Acadia had been growing slowly in population. The early settlers who came with Razilly in 1632 and with Charnisay and Grand-Fontaine, at later dates, were from Rochelle, Saintonge and Poitou on the west coast of France; at the first census of 1671 there had been only 441 inhabitants all told and most of these were in Port Royal. For a hundred years this was, indeed, the chief settlement of Acadia, but, at the time of the expulsion of the Acadians, Minas and Chignecto had become more populous and there were about 15,000 French people in the Colony. Latterly many disbanded French soldiers had also settled in different parts of the territory and were grafted upon the original Acadian stock. Most of the early settlers were farmers and in the valleys and fields of Nova Scotia, particularly, they found conditions—except for a little harsher winter—not dissimilar to those of the marsh and dyke land of the part of France from which they came. They were unlike most American pioneers in not caring to fell trees, or clear the forest, or create farms by the usual processes of early life in French or English America. They stayed by the sea-shore, erected large dikes, and reaped fruitful crops.

They were a frugal people, industrious in a quiet way, peaceful also in their characteristics, not educated in the ordinary sense of the word, devoted to their Church and obedient to the priests, moral in their lives. Around them Longfellow has cast a glamour, the color of beauty and romance, which literature loves and history hates to destroy. It is not in this case necessary to do so. As a matter of fact the position of each element in the controversy, and in the difficult situation faced by the English Governor, was a perfectly natural one and easy to understand. The Acadians were conquered but not really subdued; they had been too isolated and small in numbers to feel any very terrible effect from the conquest and were not, therefore, over-awed or badly frightened; they had not faced month by month the horrors of the scalping knife and the merciless raids of the foe—either red or white—as had their fellow subjects on the St. Lawrence or the Great Lakes and they did not fully realize the penalties of war, rebellion, disaffection or whatever it might be termed under new conditions; their hearts and sympathies and hopes were all with the New France which was fighting so gallantly for a great place and wide power on the continent; their evasion of the oath of allegiance under all the circumstances was not unnatural.

For a part of the period between 1710 and 1755 the towering ramparts of Louisbourg were a constant reminder that the power of France might some day be reasserted and the fleur-de-lys fly again over a New France greater than before; when that outstanding picture of power passed away there was still Quebec—the Seats of the Mighty. There was always present, also, the natural antagonism to New England, to the presence of its troops and to the aggressive assertion of its authority over the whole Atlantic coast. Meantime New France indirectly, insidiously and constantly asserted its claims and expressed its hopes; the loss of Louisbourg was followed by the erection of Fort Beauséjour on the north side of the Missequash River (afterwards the boundary between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) and by the maintenance of Fort Gaspereau on Baie Verte; the Micmac Indians stood by the French in the main and were a further encouragement to the Acadians under the leadership of Father La Loutre, a powerful priest of much-discussed and contradictory character.

On the other hand Colonel Lawrence, the British Governor, found himself dealing with a most difficult problem. There was in those days little to give a conquered people in the way of constitutional liberty and self-government; such a thing was unheard of and not thought of in any quarter. There was always possible a new war in Europe or fresh complications in America and the rivalry of France and England was very real and very bitter; the Acadians were restless and dissatisfied and might easily become more so with probable Indian support in case of an uprising; as time passed on French claims from Quebec became more active and French support to Acadian sentiment more obvious; New England dislike of the Roman Catholic side of Acadian life and of existing treaty rights was constantly expressed; Halifax, after its foundation by Cornwallis in 1749, became very quickly a power in the Provinces and an influence with the Governor which was naturally along the lines of developing a powerful British Province; while the English troops available were not enough in number to hold the region if they were to be girdled by a hostile population.

Colonel Lawrence in his official letter to the governors of the other English Colonies explained the policy of expulsion as finally decided upon in 1755 after Fort Beauséjour had been besieged and captured by 2,000 troops from New England and Fort Gaspereau also taken. He declared that every opportunity had been given, in fact reiterated requests made for the Acadians to take the oath of allegiance in return for the retention of their lands and possessions; that this was unanimously refused even in face of the threatened alternative of expulsion; that if the people would take this attitude at a time when there was a large British fleet on the coast and a large land force in the Province, what would they not do when, in the coming winter, the small British population was left unprotected by the fleet and unguarded by the New England troops who would have to return home. What followed was one of the most drastic measures recorded in history, although in its degree of suffering and humiliation and danger to individuals, it hardly compares with the later and infinitely larger compulsory migration of Loyalists or “Tories” from the United States.

The total number removed was about 6,000, of whom 2,242 went from Minas, 1,100 from Piziquid, 1,664 from Annapolis and 1,100 from Chignecto. The arrangements were made with sternness and secrecy, the operations were carried out in the summer season with, it would seem, a minimum of hardship and within a few months the unfortunate Acadians were dispersed amongst the English Colonies to the south. Every effort appears to have been made to keep families together and to preserve the precious lares and penates of the households. Much hardship, however, was unavoidable and many stories of individual suffering were afterwards told; the beautiful village of Grand Pré was given to the flames, though destined to be rebuilt in after years, to be the home of a very few returned Acadians and to be the birthplace and home of Canada’s Prime Minister of 1913. In succeeding years, after the fall of Quebec and New France, many of these people drifted back to their old homes or to new ones built on the ruins of the old or, in the main, to the shores of St. Mary’s Bay on the west coast of Nova Scotia. Today their descendants constitute over 150,000 of the best, most peaceful, most loyal-hearted inhabitants of a Province of British Canada while their story lives in literature and romance and history. The gentle, attractive, courteous character of the Acadians, the lovely little cottages of the people, the happy valleys and villages in which they dwelt have been immortalized by Longfellow in an alien language and from the very land which the Acadian himself detested. We seem, indeed, to live again the life of the past, to see once more the sights of centuries agone, in those simple, beautiful verses:

In the Acadian land, on the shores of the Basin of Minas,

Distant, secluded, still, the little village of Grand-Pré

Lay in the fruitful valley. Vast meadows stretched to the eastward,

Giving the village its name, and pasture to flocks without number,

Dikes, that hands of the farmers had raised with labor incessant

Shut out the turbulent tides; but at stated seasons the floodgates

Opened, and welcomed the sea to wander at will o’er the meadows.

There in the midst of its farms reposed the Acadian village.

Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of chestnut

Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henries,

Thatched were the roofs, with dormer-windows and gables projecting

Over the basement below, protected and shaded the doorway.

There, in the tranquil evenings of summer when brightly the sunset

Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys.

Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps and in kirtles

Scarlet and blue and green, with distaffs spinning the golden

Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuttles within doors

Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens.

Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children

Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless them.

Reverend walked he among them; and up rose matrons and maidens,

Hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate welcome.

Then came the laborers home from the field, and serenely the sun sank

Down to his rest, and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry

Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village

Columns of pale blue smoke, like clouds of incense ascending

Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment.

The Seigneurs—An Old-World Aristocracy in America

Wrapped up in the schemes of Richelieu, included in the policy of Louis XIV, was the establishment around the French King’s representative in America of a landed aristocracy which would be a new buckler to the throne in a new world. Many considerations were involved in this plan. It was naturally thought that the New France of the future would develop along the lines of life in Old France; that the Governor or Viceroy should have for his court the social customs and institutions of Paris and the environment of a brilliant aristocracy which is so essential to Monarchy; that the aristocracy thus created or gradually evolved would, in a way similar to that of the feudal system in Europe, supply a local military force from amongst the tenants or censitaires sufficient to be a substantial help in maintaining or extending royal authority; that the system would naturally fit in with the social conditions and class distinctions of the Old France from which noble and officer, peasant and soldier, would have come; that the Crown, the aristocracy and the Church would work together in some measure of harmony—perhaps all the stronger because of distance from inherited jealousies and difficulties at home.

French Canadian Fishermen

The theory was a natural one, the practice did work out with some degree of success for a time and, had there been a continuous and organized French policy in the way of emigration and support to the authorities at Quebec, it might have been much more successful. The method first adopted was to give an unlimited grant of land in New France to the Company of One Hundred Associates upon terms which still left the King as actual proprietor. The chief of the conditions exacted was the distribution of the land to those “who shall inhabit the country”—the Seigneurs who were vassals of the Company, the censitaires who were vassals of the Seigneurs. The Company remained vassals to the King and were to render fealty and homage. Under these conditions Robert Giffard, in 1634, became the first Seigneur in Canada with, ultimately, four leagues of the north shore of the St. Lawrence, below Quebec, as his Seigneury of Beauport. Cheffault, the agent of the Company of New France at Quebec, was soon after granted the Seigneury of Beaupré, Jacques de Castillon, another shareholder of the Company, was given the Island of Orleans, the Duchess d’Aiguillon received the Seigneury of Grondines and thirty acres within the banlieu of Quebec which, however, she ceded to the Hotel Dieu. Jean De Lauzon, afterwards Governor, received as Seigneur a large tract on the south shore of the St. Lawrence.

The sixty Seigneurs created between this date and 1663, when the Company’s rights were resumed by the Crown, had to pay homage yearly to the King’s representative in the Chateau St. Louis, and to present the Company with a piece of gold and the whole or part of one year’s rental—according to the Coutumé de Paris. The grants were generally two or three leagues square and had various special clauses from time to time, but the chief items were the preservation of oak trees on the property; the pledge not to carry on fur trade; the disclosure to the Crown of any mines discovered on the lands; the settling and clearing of the Seigneuries; the reservation to the Crown or Company of any ground which might be needed for forts; the reservation of necessary land for roads.

As to the censitaire, or vassal, or tenant of the Seigneur, he had to do yearly homage and pay a rental of one or two sous per acre and half a bushel of oats; he had also to grind his corn at the Seigneur’s mill with about one-fourteenth of the yield payable for the service. He had to work for the Seigneur during certain days in each year, to give him one fish in every eleven caught, to pay in addition to the nominal rental a small yearly tribute for each acre held, such as a goose or pair of fowls. The Seigneur had the additional privilege of levying the lods et ventes or a tax of one-twelfth the amount of every sale of property or real estate made by a tenant, and it was this which, in after years, constituted the chief popular objection to the system. As time went on there were modifications in law and practice, but nothing was ever done under the French régime to give unconditional ownership of the land to either Seigneurs or censitaires. The system as a whole failed chiefly in the point of immigration; it did not promote settlement as Richelieu and Louis XIV both hoped it would do. It did, however, create what the great Cardinal expected it would—a distinctive French community or series of communities with a gradation of dignities and interests, of distinctions and duties, which bound together the social body and the Church in a unity that not even the eventual legal separation could destroy.

Of the first Seigneurial grants such of the French nobility as had come out to the Colony and desired to take up land were the natural recipients. Amongst these were the Marquis de Vaudreuil, whose Seigneury is now represented by the County of that name, and who was, also, Seigneur of St. Hyacinthe; the Sieur Boucher de Grosbois, who was ennobled by Louis XIV and given the Seigneuries of Boucherville, Montarville and Soulanges; the Marquis de Beauharnois, who held the Seigneury of that name; Claude de Ramézay, who held several Seigneuries in France and those of Mannoir and Ramézay in New France; the Baron de Longueuil, who was ennobled in France and given the Seigneury of Longueuil near Montreal. The Church was also recipient of various properties. The Jesuits were Seigneurs of Sillery, Batiscan, Notre Dame des Anges and four other properties in the District of Quebec, they held two Seigneuries in the District of Three Rivers, and that of La Prairie near Montreal; the Sulpicians were Seigneurs of the whole Island of Montreal and of the Lake of Two Mountains; the Ursuline Nuns held the Seigneury of Three Rivers itself.

The military forces, the officers of France and New France, were numerous recipients of grants. Jacques de Chambly was Seigneur of the region around the fort bearing his name, and others of this character or origin included Sorel, Verchères, Berthier, Granville, Contrécœur, Varennes, Rougemont, La Valtrie, La Pérade and De la Naudière. When the Carignan-Sallières Regiment disbanded to a considerable extent (1668) after a distinguished record as wardens of the marches, or guardians of the country bordering on Montreal, many of the officers and men remained in Canada and the former were given Seigneuries. Amongst other early or original grants were the Seigneury of Portneuf to Sieur de la Poterie, and that of Foucault to M. Foucault. Well-known Seigneurs and families were those of De Repentigny, De Normanville, De Chavigny, De St. Ours, De Vitré, De Comporté, De Crevier, De la Cardonnière, D’Artigny, De Lanaudière, Louis Jolliet.

These and other names were amongst the most distinguished in the history and achievements of New France. Of the Seigneurs, individually, were many who did their duty to King and country on the battlefield while to many, perhaps, the social side of life at Quebec—after the first years of pioneer privation and limitation—had a special and natural charm. Some of those mentioned did a little in regard to colonizing their lands; others did nothing. Of one hundred Seigneuries in existence in 1681 only sixty were mentioned in the census of that year as having any cultivation or settlement and the total area of land cultivated was only 24,827 arpents with a revenue averaging $138 a year for each Seigneur. It is, therefore, apparent that in the early stages of the system the returns from rental were very small and that the holders of these large areas of land were dependent upon other sources for their incomes—the army or navy, or official position, or estates in France.

Some of the original Seigneurs had their land grants cancelled for this neglect; others, such as Le Moyne de Longueuil, Robineau de Bécancour, Chartier de Lotbinière, Juchereau de Maure, Fleury d’Eschambault, Tarien de Lanaudière, Couillard de Beaumont, Morel de la Durantaye, Deschamps de la Bonteillerie, Berthier de Villemure and Le Gardeur de Tilly, were careful to clear some portion of their domain. Cavelier de la Salle in his Seigneury of Cataraconi placed a few settlers; the notable sons of Le Moyne de Longueuil helped to colonize his Seigneury; Hertel de Lafrenière, Godefroy de Lintot, Leneuf de la Poterie, spent their time in commerce; others lived on half-pay, held judicial or official positions, or lived a life of exploration, adventure, and war.

As time passed on and into the eighteenth century, however, conditions changed. Settlers arrived in larger numbers and filled the ranks of the censitaires and the coffers of some, at least, of the Seigneurs; a few of the latter had built houses or chateaux on their estates and lived a life as near that of a French aristocrat as pioneer conditions would permit. It was at this time, also, that another process evolved and the sons of prosperous habitants occasionally purchased Seigneurial rights from the holders of original grants or their descendants, and assumed a position to which they were not born or bred. In the ranks of the Seigneurage, therefore, were the rich and the poor, the nobleman and, in a limited number of cases, the peasant. Some of the gentlemen who held these positions were really little more than farmers on a small scale—with long descent and designations, well-known names and intense pride. Poverty, however, held them in its grip; lack of surrounding settlers and workers hampered revenues and prevented production; they added little to the advancement of the country in a material sense, though they helped to keep alive the traditions of loyalty, courtesy and honor.

There are not many existing memorials of the life and times of the Seigneurs. Manor Houses are scattered here and there throughout Quebec; fortified windmills and other indications of bygone construction and customs are occasionally visible in rural villages; Seigneurial pews in old-time churches remind the visitor of days when the Lord of the Seigneury drove to church in state followed by his censitaires with no one daring to drive in front or beside him. A first and most conspicuous mansion of this feudal period was the Chateau de Longueuil, opposite Montreal, the home of the early Barons of that name and described in the ennobling patent of Louis XIV as “a fort flanked by four strong towers, all in stone and masonry, with a guard-house, several large buildings and a very handsome church, all of masonry, enclosed in said Fort.” The dimensions were about 210 by 170 feet and it was erected about 1690. In 1792 the buildings were burned down and the Manor House rebuilt on St. Helen’s Island.

Over the ruins and out of the walls of the latter home of the Le Moynes there has since been erected the Parish Church of Longueuil. It is not hard to imagine the war-like scenes in that old chateau, the softer social festivities, the drinking bouts of a time which was wild and free in that respect, the clanking of spurs and swords and tramp of armed men, the soft step of the black-robed priest, the gliding through the halls of graceful ladies clad in the beautiful garments of an olden time, even the distant war-whoop of the Iroquois. The presence of the sons alone, in the case of a reunion during the days of the first Baron, would have been enough to create a memorable scene—De Ste. Hélène, the hero of many a fight, who fell during Phips’ siege of Quebec; D’Iberville, who led French forces in war and peace all over the continent and along its shores; De Bienville, the founder of New Orleans; De Serigny, who died Governor of Rochefort in France; De Chateauguay, who was killed at the taking of Fort Bourbon in the far Hudson’s Bay region; De Maricourt, who was in the navy and was eventually killed by the Iroquois.

Beauport Manor, about four miles from Quebec, was built in 1634 by the first Seigneur as a long, low, thickly-walled, irregular house, constructed of massive stone. In this grim and antique building Montcalm is said to have had his headquarters for a time in 1759 and here, certainly, the social and military life of Quebec for two centuries had full play. Around it game was more than plentiful and certain records of 1648 state that 1,200 ptarmigan were shot there in that year. The Seigneury passed through Robert Giffard’s daughters by marriage into the Juchereau and then the Duchesnay families and for two hundred years represented in French Canada the institution as it was intended to be in a wider and more extensive application. Nicholas de St. Denys, Seigneur of Beauport, distinguished himself in 1690 at the siege of Quebec and was given a patent of nobility; his son did splendid service in Louisiana, and two members of the family long afterwards distinguished themselves at Chateauguay. The chateau was burned to the ground in 1879, but the ruins are still to be seen.

Château St. Louis, Quebec

An interesting Beauport souvenir of Seigneurial days is a document recording the annual feudal ceremony under which a censitaire named Guion, on July 30, 1640, knelt at the door of the chateau and recited these words: “Lord of Beauport, Lord of Beauport, Lord of Beauport, I render you the fealty and homage due to you on account of my land du Buisson which belongs to me by virtue of the title deed avowing my readiness to acquit the Seigneurial and feudal rents whenever they shall be due.” Of other known manor houses that of De Salaberry was built in 1738, not very far from Beauport; it was very small and unpretentious though of solid construction with much quaint ornamentation. Here H. R. H. the Duke of Kent was a frequent guest of his friend Chevalier de Salaberry and here the hero of Chateauguay was born. The De Lotbinière Manor at Vaudreuil was built by M. de Lotbinière about 1764 and stood till very recent years where the hotel of that name now stands. In the olden days it was near a small river on a slight elevation and was officially described in 1815 as “a mile and a half from the Church.”

The De Bellefeuille Manor House dates from about 1786 and originally belonged to the Seigneury of Mille Isles of which the De Bellefeuilles obtained half in the year mentioned. It represents an old type of house with rubble walls, steep gables and a gallery reaching out over the road. There are various manor houses scattered through the Province of a more modern kind, such as Berthier, of Cuthbert Seigneurial days, and Dautray, near Berthier, belonging to the same family; Lacolle, of the old De Beaujeu Seigneury, sold to an Englishman named Hoyle and built in 1825; Montebello on the Ottawa, purchased in 1812 by the father of L. J. Papineau together with the Seigneury originally granted to Bishop de Laval; Pointe Platon, the home of the late Sir Henri Joly de Lotbinière, who latterly represented the family to whom the Seigneury of that name was originally granted in 1672.

At Sillery, a league from Quebec, on the north shore, there still stands what is called the Manor House of the Jesuits—who once owned the local Seigneurial rights. According to the antiquarian, Sir J. M. Le Moine, it was erected in 1637 and is perhaps the oldest house remaining in Canada. Its walls are three feet thick and within them must have rested—from time to time—most of the early martyrs of the Faith in New France. Here, in 1645, De Montmagny held a grand council with the Indian chiefs. Nearby there once stood a solidly-built church, a hospital and a convent. Belmont is an old mansion of typical interest and historic character on the Ste. Foy Road about three miles from Quebec. The present structure only dates from 1800, but it is built upon the site of the old Manoir in which lived the Intendant Talon and it was in turn acquired by Chief Justice William Gregory, General James Murray, Governor of Quebec, the Caldwell family, who also held the Seigneury of Lauzon, the Irvines and others. Not far away stood Holland House, a little back of where the present structure is built. It dated from 1740 and was erected by Jean Taché, who married Mlle. de Mingan, grand-daughter of the Seigneur Louis Jolliet, the discoverer of the sources of the Mississippi. M. Taché was a member of the Supreme Council of Quebec and ancestor of Sir E. P. Taché, Premier of Canada in British days. At the foot of the Charlesbourg Mountain, five miles from Quebec, are the ruins of what has long been called the Chateau Bigot, or Beaumanoir. The gloomy old walls have been the theme of much tradition and many stories, but modern research seems to show that the chateau with its massive walls, deep cellars and vaulted underground apartment belonged to Intendant Bégon and not the infamous Bigot.

Near Ste. Anne, on the Island of Montreal, there were, up to a recent date, the imposing ruins of the Chateau Senneville, the seat of the Seigneurs of Boisbriant. The first holder of the title and estate was Captain Sidrac du Gué, of the Carignan-Sallières Regiment, who, however, sold it to Jacques Le Ber, a wealthy resident of Ville Marie. It was attacked by the Iroquois on several occasions and rebuilt of massive stone in 1692. The old Manoir, with its thick-walled fortifications, was maintained in a style of feudal splendor by the family of Le Ber de Senneville up to the changes of 1759 and afterwards passed into the hands of the De Montigny family. In other places there are memorials of the Seigneurial days. The Manor House of Saint Jean Port-Joly, near Quebec, was built upon the ruins of the one burned by the British troops in 1759 and the Seigneury there held by the famous novelist, P. A. de Gaspé, was the one granted to Aubert de la Chenaye in 1673. On Crane Island, thirty-six miles below Quebec, are some crumbling ruins of the Manoir once erected and lived in by Pierre de Bécart, Seigneur de Granville. The old Manoir of Deschambault was until recently, and perhaps now, to be seen at Cap Lauzon, forty-six miles below Quebec; its first Seigneurs were important personages in the early days of British rule.

The life of the more prosperous and powerful, or important, Seigneurs—the real representatives of feudalism, and members of the aristocracy which it was hoped to establish permanently in New France—was, upon the whole, a pleasant one. Brilliant were the scenes at the old Chateau St. Louis, in which they shared and in which many were conspicuous figures. They were scenes replete with vivid contrasts, bright with varied colors, dark with grim possibilities, or actual facts, of war and massacre, interesting with an ever-changing series of stories relating to Indian life, explorations and discoveries, instinct with the excitements of the fur trade, filled with events in the opening of a vast continent. Society in the first century of New France, whatever its privations and limitations, could never have been dull; in the second century there was more comfort and luxury but quite as much peril and excitement and change. In the great hall of the Chateau St. Louis, with its lofty carved ceiling, its polished pillars and panels of wainscoating, its historical pictures and delicate arabesques, the Seigneurs had to attend at least once a year and present to the Governor, as he sat under the cluster of white flags stamped with the golden lilies of France, their homage and oath of allegiance. Kneeling there in uniform and wearing occasionally the cherished Order of St. Louis—without however wearing a sword—and surrounded by a semi-royal court, the Seigneur was made to feel that he had a high position, though unfortunately he did not always realize that he also had high responsibilities.

The methods of life in the more prosperous Manoirs were much the same in city and country. Gaiety was an essential quality of the French gentleman and his wife, hospitality was of the open-handed character which marked the greater chateaux of Old France before the Revolution. The long, low, stone-built structures had more room than might be supposed; their thick walls, as illustrated in the still existing Chateau de Ramézay, produced an extraordinary degree of warmth or rather immunity from cold; the huge fire-places and ovens and solid cooking utensils were constantly in use. In front of the house and, in special cases within the walls of a large enclosure, stood the stone mill for the habitants’ grain with also a fortified windmill.

As to customs, the Seigneur and his family breakfasted at eight o’clock on rolls, white wine and coffee; dinner was at noon and supper at seven in the evening. Decanters were much in evidence; brandy and cordials were frequently drunk. The sideboard was laden with quantities of ancestral silver and china. A feature of dinner at certain seasons was a huge pasty served on a great tray covered with a napkin—one described by De Gaspé contained a turkey, two chickens, two partridges, two pigeons, portions of two rabbits, slices of fat pork, two hams seasoned with onions, and the whole flavored with the finest of spices. A curious custom at meals was that of the guests carrying their own knives; the things provided by the host being a napkin, plate, silver goblet, fork and spoon. The furniture of the house, generally, was that of the higher-class mansions of France—though its style at any given time or place might be somewhat antiquated. Cards were a favorite amusement, with sleighing and skating and snow-shoeing in winter; hunting and fishing and shooting were the sports in summer with driving in carioles or calêches. Dancing was at times frowned upon by the Church, though at other times it was permitted with strict limitations. The Seigneurs and officers and officials and, of course, the ladies liked to dress well; conversation at social functions was gay and witty.

The entertainments at the Chateau St. Louis or the Intendant’s Palace at Quebec, in the neighboring Chateaux towards Montmorenci and Beauport or along the Ste. Foy Road, at Longueuil or in the Chateau de Ramézay, Montreal, must have been both brilliant and interesting. It is not hard to picture such a salon as that of Mde. de Ramézay, for instance, in days when her husband was Governor of Montreal, Seigneur, soldier and statesman. Much of the court ceremony and display, something of the lightness and brightness of the court wit, a fair share of the military and official life which made the environment of Le Grand Monarque at Paris so memorable, were transplanted here to the wilderness. Though some high-bred French women, such as the Comptesse de Frontenac, refused to accompany their husbands to New France, the majority did so and lent the charm of their presence to the pioneer life of the New World.

How strange it must have seemed to a wandering savage who, in times of peace, might see the lights from silver candelabra shining out on the snow of a winter night, or through the leafy branches of forest trees in the summer time, and illuminating, within, for a fleeting moment, the social life of a brilliant civilization. There were the family paintings of other centuries, the silver-decked table and rich antique furniture of a dining-room or the crowded walls and stately furnishings of a drawing-room; there were clusters of dainty women and maids in stiff brocade and jewels, in the high heels, the paint and patches, the tresses à la Pompadour of the period; there were men dressed in the flowing locks and the gorgeous colors and garb of a time when Fontainebleu or the Tuileries led the social world. To see the stately and yet lowly bows of men and women, to watch the courtesies and manners of an age of chivalry, to listen, perhaps, for a moment, on one of these outposts of savagery, in a vast wilderness and amid lonely forests, to the accents of cultured Paris, must have been an unique experience.

O, fair young land of La Nouvelle France,

With thy halo of olden-time romance,

Back like a half-forgotten dream

Come the bygone days of the old régime.

Such in brief and hasty outline was the evolution and character of this interesting institution—akin to the Dutch aristocracy of New York or the English aristocracy of Maryland, though with points of difference so marked as to show little affinity in comparison to the divergence. The class development of life in New France was deliberate, constitutional and constructive; the object was clear and in many respects wise when the character of the French people is taken into account; the forms and fashions and ceremonies were suited to the society of the period and to the customs of the men who had to govern in these far-away regions. The system, also, was fully organized by legal enactments and the Coutumé de Paris controlled regulations in the main. Military service was not a condition technically, but, practically, the working out of the plan constituted the Seigneur and his tenants as parts of the militia—the former, or members of his family, being the officers. The Church was associated with the system through the parishes being usually coterminous with the Seigneuries. The Seigneurs were often called to the Supreme Council and they could administer justice at pleasure, though they did not often do so except in the case of the Gentlemen of St. Sulpice at Montreal.

They were not as a rule nobles, although from time to time representative members of the class were ennobled by the King; but they bore a title which in France meant that the holder was a landed gentleman and an aristocrat. Talon’s Seigneury of Des Islets was erected into a barony and he became afterwards Comte d’Orsainville; François Berthelet, Seigneur de St. Laurent (Isle d’Orléans), received a similar title; René Robineau, Seigneur de Portneuf, became a baron as did Le Moyne de Longueuil, whose barony survives today under British recognition. There were others and there would have been many more had individual success and position warranted it. By 1736 a certain number of noble families were seemingly well established in New France. The Le Gardeurs had several branches and Seigneuries—Repentigny, Courcelle, Tilly de Beauvais; the Denys were represented by De La Ronde, De St. Simon, De Bonaventure; the D’Aillebouts by De Perigny, Manthet, D’Argenteuil and Des Mousseau. So with other families.

The events of 1759 created a tremendous change. It might have come in some other form, as the elegant profligacy, the public plundering, the intrigues and counter-intrigues of that period in Quebec could not have continued indefinitely. The Seigneurial system itself was not at fault in the matter; the trouble came from outside officials appointed by the French authorities without due care or knowledge. New France was sound in the rural districts, but the canker of corruption, which at times affects aristocracies and democracies alike, had eaten into life of every kind, and debilitated character as well as conduct, at the seat of government. With the Cession many of the Seigneurial names disappear from Canadian history and the owners of large Seigneuries, such as those of Longueuil, Lauzon, Terrebonne, Foucoult, La Prairie, Le Chenaye, Belœil, etc., left to live in France.

Naturally loyal to monarchical institutions and hating vigorously the growing republicanism of the people to the south, the remaining Seigneurs seem to have taken the change of allegiance in a good-humored way when once the century-long war was settled. They had fought to the best of their ability against England; with the issue decided they accepted the situation with typical cheerfulness and sang froid. In 1776 and 1812 they were, as a rule, loyal to the new order of things and helpful in many ways to the British rulers; and in this they were hand in hand with the priests. They settled on their properties and prospered with the gradual growth of the country. Many changes of family and ownership naturally took place, but in 1842 there were French Canadian Seigneurs of Varennes, St. George, Ste. Thérèse and de Blainville, Lasalle, St. Eustache, Verchères, De La Gauchetière, St. Charles, Soulanges, St. Aimé, St. Paul, St. Ours, Terrebonne, St. Hillaire et de Rouville and St. Hyacinthe. Old families such as Baby, Dumont, DeLéry, Jolliet, Duchesnay, Hertel, Masson, Papineau, were still represented and there was yet some of the spirit surviving of the old lines:

Happy is he who in a country life

Shuns more perplexing toil and jarring life,

Who lives upon the natal soil he loves

And sits beneath his old ancestral groves.

In one respect, however, a great change had taken place. During the years following the Cession sundry old French Seigneuries had been granted to, or purchased by, various British officers and gentlemen, from time to time. Hector T. Cramahé (a Swiss by birth), Sir T. Mills, Major Samuel Holland, Captains Nairne and Fraser, H. W. Ryland and many more were amongst them; so that by the middle of the nineteenth century many of the old Seigneuries of New France were hardly recognizable under such names as Yule of Chambly, Ellis of Beauharnois, Christie of Lacolle, De Bleury of Repentigny, Johnson of Argentueuil, Hamilton of De Léry, Bingham of Rigaud. Then came the final change and abolition of the institution brought about by one who was himself a Seigneur.

The holders of the Seigneuries no longer held or exercised any power outside of certain legal claims upon their tenants which the latter had come to consider burdensome; they neglected very often their duty as to the sale and grant of lands and promotion of settlement; the day labor enforced upon the censitaire or habitant upon certain occasions was greatly disliked; their assumed rights of preemption, and their taxes upon transfers of land, checked conveyance and were very unpopular. These, however, were only surface reasons for the abolition of the Seigneurial Tenure system which was brought about in the United Legislature of Upper and Lower Canada in 1854 by the Hon. L. T. Drummond. Back of the movement and of the expressed discontent was the feeling which is so easily aroused in democracies that the land occupied by the habitant or peasant should be his land and that the immemorial rights of the landlord were, or are, tyrannous and unjust. It is probable that this sentiment would never have come to a head if (1) the Seigneurs themselves had not so greatly changed, if (2) the politics of the Province had not been so closely associated with the democracy of Upper Canada or Ontario.

As to the first point many of the Seigneurs were now of the dominant English race and associated in the public mind of the habitants with their struggles for self-government and the bitter memories of 1830-40. They could not, even when personally popular, be any actual strength to the system itself and the carrying out of any feudal practices in their connection would naturally lack the sympathetic feeling which lay behind the relations of the old-time French Lord of the Manor and his censitaires. Where the Seigneur, in other localities, had himself risen from the habitant class the objection would be different but equally obvious. It is rarely, indeed, that a man likes one of his equals in labor and position to rise above him and to expect from him the courtesies and duties willingly accorded to the gentleman with traditions of class and personal distinction. A further difficulty was the division of the Seigneuries amongst different personages and the consequent weakening of family wealth and associations. As to the political aspect it is abundantly clear that no aristocratic institution in Quebec, or elsewhere on this continent, could expect to live after it had once ceased to be popular with the people concerned. The grievances were not great in this case and those that did exist were grossly exaggerated; but the system and the Seigneurs had lost touch with the people and the end was certain. It was hastened by the help of the Ontario democracy in a common Legislature—a democracy which would in those days have also deprived the Church of French Canada of many privileges if it had possessed the power.

With the passing of the Seigneurial system there closed a page of history which possesses great interest to the lover of the picturesque or to the imaginative mind and intellect. It was an experiment which might have lasted had New France lived and become purified of its corruptions—a condition always remediable when strong men come to the front and one which Montcalm, himself, would have overcome had he been given a free hand from France. Even under British rule, had the Seigneurs remained French, held their properties intact, done their full duty to the people, and lived in close association with their own race, the institution might have lasted indefinitely. Given these conditions, no democracy, however near and politically insistent, could have destroyed the fabric which Richelieu created and Louis the Great had aided; which lends a charm to many pages of French annals in America; which produced many able men and, in a most substantial but indirect way, established culture and courtesy as strong characteristics of the educated French Canadian of today.

Life, Customs and Environment of the Habitant

To the people of the United States and even to many of the people of Canada the habitant of Quebec is something picturesque and peculiar, something one speaks of as a problem, something extraneous to the continent in which he dwells. There is no doubt about the French Canadian being a picturesque figure in this commercial, rushing, money-getting age; as to the rest it is a point of view, a matter perchance of prejudice, or even of ignorance. In truth the habitant is very much at home in Canada, very much a part of its civilization and its best interests, very much a pioneer in the history of the continent. His villages are attractive to the visitor because they are different to those found anywhere else in America; his life and customs are of interest because he has preserved the traditions and habits of the past while elsewhere the people, of whatever race or language, have more or less departed from traditions and deified something which is labeled progress.

Everywhere throughout modern Quebec—perhaps the phrase is a contradiction in terms—are villages nestling at the foot of some slight elevation or stretching along the side of a great or little river—perhaps the noble St. Lawrence or perchance some tiny rivulet bearing the name of a famous saint; clustered around the walls of a parish church, or built along the sides of some winding and beautiful country-road with trees in front and little slips of cultivable land behind; growing down upon the shores of a myriad lakes, large or small as the case may be, with quaint fishermen’s huts adding their quota of interest to the attractive homes of the habitant. There, everywhere and always in the village is the church. It is the center of the life and hope of the people, the scene of their weddings and funerals and religious festivities, the home of their traditions and habits and associations, the place near which, in a quiet graveyard, there usually lie the remains of ancestors going back into the primeval ages of Canada. Here, for instance, in one of them, marked by a large black cross, is the simple inscription: “Jean Baptiste Larocque, décédé 21 Janvier, 1809, agé 79 ans.” Father, grandfather, great-grandfather, may be in the same graveyard to carry the visitor back in time to the days when Ontario was a wilderness, New York a village, New Orleans a French post in the forest.

Habitant Woman Weaving Homespun Cloth

Around the church with its old, solid stone walls or, perhaps, a newer and more imposing modern structure, nestles the village with long, low, log or wooden houses, painted white, with small barns or outhouses similarly painted with doors colored dark red, or green, or brown and, in the houses, blinds of some vivid shade—hues to suit the owner’s tastes. There are the homes of the village grocer, the village blacksmith, the village shoemaker; there, perhaps, is the home of the doctor, though that is not always certain as one physician, in these regions of healthy, rural, out-of-door lives, can attend to more than one village; there, upon occasion, is the office and home of the village notary or avocat. Lawyers do not get rich in French Canadian villages, though they do often go into politics and, if successful, become great men and capitalists on the $2,500 a year Parliamentary indemnity.

Always, beside or near the church in these villages, is the home of the Curé, the great man of the parish since the disappearance of the Seigneur. To the habitant he is the source of advice and help, of repentance and amendment of life, of succour at the hour of birth, help in the day of his marriage, sympathy as death approaches. The Seigneur in the old days had his place of respect and regard in the hearts of the people and he was at times lucky if he escaped being godfather to every child born within leagues of the Manoir; the successful politician under the new dispensation may have another place of admiration and wonder and a popularity which is apt to be rather fickle; but the Priest has always had, and still holds, the highest and strongest of all places in the permanent life of the home, the family, and the faith of the individual. He shares in their amusements, he knows everything there is to know about their families, he feasts with them at baptisms, betrothals and weddings, he looks after them in times of want or trouble, he helps their young people with sage advice which may not be always followed but which is none the less useful, he watches over those who leave the home and then transfers his care to some other and perhaps far-away parish priest.

A word may be said as to the general situation in this respect apart from association of the Church with the racial element in the habitant mind and traditions. There is no doubt that the warmth and color, the ceremonial and the forms of Roman Catholicism appeal to him. If profound belief in the supernatural means superstition, there can be no question that the French Canadian is superstitious. He peoples the earth and air, the rivers and the forests with stories of a ghostly nature and religious character. The saints are very real to him, and his Calvaires and wayside crosses embody ideas of genuine devotion, which, however, do not affect his light-hearted view of life and freedom from serious thought. Why should he worry when an all-powerful Church can take care of his future if he lives the right life and regrets any sins he may happen to commit? When he celebrates the Fête of St. Jean Baptiste he does it with all his soul, and not even in countries close to the Papal Throne can processions more picturesque be seen than Montreal and Quebec will produce on such occasions. Cars with figures emblematic of saints and of great events in the life of the Church precede long lines of cheerful habitants doing their duty, paying their homage, to the patron saint of New France. So with the Fête de Dieu, when the Host is carried through crowded streets with thousands of devout believers on bended knees, and ecclesiastics and priests in brilliant or black robes, as the case may be, contributing their quota to the stately character of the procession. Everywhere in Quebec, in French parishes outside of Quebec, as in all Catholic communities, the First Communion of the children is a picturesque and pretty incident. Crowds of little girls and boys—the former in white frocks and caps and gloves and veils—march through the streets and up the aisles of their churches, with the proud parents looking on and all feeling it to be a most important moment in the lives of the little ones.

Around the habitant in every direction are names of villages, churches, parishes, counties, even municipal divisions, bearing the association of some saint of his Church. There are nearly fifty villages or towns called after Ste. Anne alone—of which Ste. Anne de Beaupré, de la Pocatière, de la Pérade, de Bellevue may be mentioned. Every place or settlement has, however, a patron saint, and it is obviously easy for some commonplace or unpopular name to drop out of use and the name of the local saint substituted or perhaps combined, as in St. André-de-Restigouche. This latter action is quite a common one, and many small places are burdened with long hyphenated names, while others, it may be said in passing, have a most incongruous sound, as Ste. Lucie-de-Disraeli or St. Jean-Baptiste-de-Sherbrooke.

The homes of the habitant vary a little, of course, in detail, but in broad general outline they have retained the characteristics of two centuries ago. There was a period when local conditions of war and peril and tiny settlements—branching out from a center like Quebec or Montreal, or creeping close up to the fortified residence of a Seigneur—made some differences in the habits and customs of the peasants or censitaires, but it was not a radical or permanent divergence from their old homes in an old France which has now passed away. The essentials they preserved and crystallized in the forests and pioneer wilderness of the New France which their rulers and soldiers were trying to establish. The leaders of those days have passed away and their dreams have gone with them into the clouds, but the simple habitants, of whom they thought little except as useful fighters and farmers, have preserved in the heart of an alien continent the home, family and religious life of rural France in the days of Louis le Grand.

Usually, the houses have three rooms on the ground floor with a loft reached in old days by a ladder and more recently by a curving stairway; or, perhaps, the more modern and prosperous home may have two or three rooms on the ground floor and two or three on the upper. The outside door opens into the living-room and kitchen of which in pioneer times the bare ground would be covered with sawdust as a floor but in the past century or so by wooden floors of scrupulous cleanness. The great fireplace of the past still exists as a rule with its large kettle of soup hanging upon an iron crane and simmering over the fire of logs, but with it very often there is now a modern stove; outside in the older villages may be seen the oven in which the habitant cooked his food and, at times, still does so. These curious ovens of the past were built of wicker work and plastered inside and out with a thick coating of clay or mortar; they were raised four feet from the ground and covered over with a roof of boards. In the better houses the living-room and kitchen are sometimes separated and the floor of the former is covered by home-made rag carpets or small rugs of vivid hues. Around the walls are highly colored pictures of St. Ignatius of Loyola, of the musical St. Cecilia, of the youthful and beautiful St. Catherine of Hungary and, perchance, of the late Pio Nono or, in fewer instances, of the reigning Pontiff or the British King. High on the wall, in some place of honor, hangs a crucifix, nearby perhaps are images of a guardian saint and others, or of the Virgin Mary, and not far away hangs the chapelet or beads of the housewife—perhaps one brought from Rome by a son of the house who was once a Pontifical zouave and obtained for it the blessing of the Pope in person.

In a corner or niche of the wall there is, perhaps, a statuette of the great Napoleon or, in sea-board parishes, of a sailor; sometimes there is a plaster cast of a parrot or some domestic fowl; at other times there is a wax figure of some special family interest—the face or hand or even the finger, kept in a glass case, of some departed loved one. On a table there may be a cherished family album—a rather modern product however—with pictures in strict gradation of the Pope and the local Curé, and of any member of the family who may have taken Holy Orders; then, possibly, the Governor General of the day or some notable of local attraction, and after that the family circle. There stands also the bottle of holy water brought from the church on the Holy Saturday before Easter, and elsewhere is sure to be seen the old eight-day clock reaching to the ceiling and having a bell whose clear metallic tinkle is said to be an art lost to modern clock-making.

Somewhere on the wall there may hang the long shot-gun used by the habitant for ducks and wild geese and for the occasional bear or caribou when he goes upon some special and notable trip. In much of the Province game abounds—wild fowl in the woods and along the rivers and streams and on the borders of countless lakes; fish everywhere and of many species; moose and caribou and red deer in Pontiac, on the shores of Lake Temiscamingue, in the forests of the Lake St. John and Lake Edward country, in Temiscouta and the Lake Megantic region, up through the Ottawa River country where for months a canoe can carry the hunter into places where deer roam in thousands. In the Laurentides, a few hours from Quebec City, are hundreds of lakes and various rivers teeming with fish and such is the case for four hundred miles up the St. Maurice. Around Quebec also are to be found immense game reserves, and the lucky habitant of Beauport or St. Anne, or of any village for a hundred miles below Quebec, has not only an excellent soil to cultivate, the exquisite air and scenery associated with the sweep of the St. Lawrence to live amidst, but quantities of wild game and of fish and fowl of every kind. The modern habitant, like the old-time settler and voyageur and hunter, loves the sport of the woods:

High life of the Hunter! He meets on the hill

The new-wakened daylight so bright and so still

And feels as the clouds of the morning unroll

The silence, the splendor, ennoble his soul.

’Tis his o’er the mountains to stalk like a ghost

Enshrouded with snow in which nature is lost.

To return to the home of the habitant. The housewife of today may still be seen sitting in a rocking chair turning the spinning wheel and making clothes, or rugs, or counterpanes, of wonderful strength and durability and comeliness, while the daughter perhaps is seated on a box or trunk actively engaged at her loom and humming a song as her shuttle moves with lightning rapidity in and out of the cloth—making as much as seven or eight ells of home-made linen in a day’s work. The dress of the housewife is simple—a mantelet of calico, a blue skirt of homespun, a neat white cap called the caline. The picturesque dress of the habitant himself used to consist of a long-skirted cloth frock or coat tied around the waist by a red worsted scarf with crude trousers and, in winter, moccasins and the bonnet rouge—a sort of loose, warm, red nightcap. Time has modified this garb somewhat, though it is still to be seen and both men and women, upon festive occasions, revel in colors.

The old-time food of the people has not greatly changed. Fat pork is still the staple diet, pea soup, puddings or sausages made of blood and the entrails of hogs are great favorites, vegetables and fish constitute the diet during Lent. The habitant is fond of thick, sour milk. Thanks to the efforts of the Church, he is, generally speaking, sober and temperate, but in the old days there was a good deal of drinking indulged in by habitants as well as by Seigneurs, and the travelers of a hundred years ago describe this condition freely, though perhaps unfairly, because they would see, in the main, only the indulgence of special occasions at the market places or in the larger communities.

The houses are usually to be found at or near the end of a long, narrow strip of land leading down to a river, a roadway, a lake or some place of special interest or value in the life or work of the habitant. Originally this was useful for purposes of defence, as the houses were then brought close together into a little village or community into which a church soon came also. Hence the long, single streets so characteristic of French Canada. The tendency with these strips of farming or gardening land is to become more and more attenuated as division and sub-division take place. Near a large city the village habitant will clear perhaps a couple of hundred dollars a year from his little bit of garden or farm land besides abundance for living purposes. In his house of four or five rooms there are often two families—a younger son living at home with his wife and children.

These families vary in size from ten to fifteen and sometimes reach twenty and twenty-five children. The more there are the prouder and more satisfied are the parents; they do not think of poverty or the privations inevitable to a crowded house and with many mouths to feed; if you inquire about the matter you may perhaps be told that the more numerous the family the greater is the number of willing workers in home or farm. The Church encourages this view of life’s duties; the natural domesticity of the average habitant helps it; the kindly relations between the members of a family and the mutual obligations taught and enforced by religion establish it as an institution in Quebec. The Government even encourages it and at one time a free grant of land was given to every father of a specified number of children. The mothers of the race do not seem to be overburdened by their responsibilities, and a few years ago* Sir Lomer Gouin, Premier of Quebec, paid them a tribute which is not too highly colored: “Despite the cares and responsibilities of maternity, there are few more active, more helpful and more light-hearted companions than the habitant wife and mother. How attractive she is those of you who have traveled in the Province of Quebec do not need to be told. How good she is time would fail me to tell. Usually of robust constitution, strong in the religious faith that sustains her; firm in her sense of duty; domestic, frugal and industrious; a devoted wife and indulgent mother, she appears to be a combination of all the virtues.”

It may be regretted that the women are allowed at times to do field or garden work, but it certainly makes the girls strong and healthy—though it may not improve the prettiness which they usually have as children. There is, however, plenty to do in the home and no doubt the condition rights itself. Socks and mitts are made by the mother or her girls; mats and rugs and white or colored rag-carpets are still the product of looms in many a home; coarse linen table-covers, curtains and bedspreads are made from flax which has been soaked and beaten into fibrous matter fitted for the spinning wheel. Straw hats, gloves, candles and even soap are made by the women. The wedding dot of the girl is often made by the accumulated results of years of such patient and pleasant labor. Sometimes the men work at home and they are very handy—making in the more remote villages practically everything that is needed in or around the house.

Of modern agricultural methods the habitant knows little and cares less. His personal pride, his self-satisfaction, his kind of happy conceit in himself are clearly marked characteristics. Why should he learn from those who have never had what he considers his advantages, his privileges? He disliked and practically abolished the use of the word censitaire because, whatever his relations to the Seigneur might really be, he would not call himself a vassal; he chose the word habitant because it meant that he was the free inhabitant of a free new country; he revelled in and still greatly enjoys the open, wild life of the woods, the sports of the wilderness, the things that only a rural existence where spaces are vast, rivers and lakes numerous, land and forests reasonably clear of civilization, can afford. He has an inherited, inborn, inbred belief that his life and religion are the greatest, the oldest and the best in the world; he feels that his ancestors came from the land of Napoleon and from a people who, whatever their faults of recent years, were once, he considers, the greatest nation in the world. Why, therefore, should he change the customs of his fathers—even in such a little thing as farming methods? He, therefore, frequently declines to bother about fertilizing or rotation of crops.

The habitant raises horses whenever possible and keeps a cow and some hogs. The products of his little farm keep him and his family; sometimes they enable him to educate a son for the proud position of a priest or, perhaps, of an avocat. He is very proud of his land, and of his little property, and is devoted to the soil of Canada in a spirit which no other class of people on the American continent can share or perhaps even understand. In many cases farms are still held by families in direct line and descent from the censitaires to whom they were first granted in the early days of New France. A Committee at Quebec in 1908, under instructions from the Government, investigated a number of cases and awarded medals to 270 families which claimed that they still lived in family homesteads built or acquired by their ancestors from two hundred to two hundred and fifty years before. Hence, in part, the fact that from the days of the Seigneurs to the present time the habitant’s manners have been and are courteous; an independent, open-air life has developed an appreciation of the fact that courage and courtesy go together as do internal servility and external rudeness. He has faith in his God, faith in himself, faith in his past and his future. Who shall blame him if that faith now and then takes the form of the Scotchman’s “unco gude” opinion of himself and leads him to fight clear of modern change and so-called improvement even when it promises to give him a few more potatoes to the acre, a few more turnips in his cellar, a little more produce for the market. He has contentment enough to be indifferent to the statement and philosophy enough to doubt it. As a matter of fact the census figures of 1901 and 1911 show that farm buildings in the Province increased from $102,000,000 to $218,000,000, or over 100 per cent; while the value of farm implements rose from $27,000,000 to $54,000,000.

The most common criticism by a casual visitor to Quebec is probably one dealing with this question of the somewhat archaic methods of agriculture. It would possibly interest such a person if he were able to delve more deeply into matters and see how really intelligent and quick, how versatile in many ways, the habitant is. He often manufactures his own wagon and harness; in days when the sheep industry was prosperous he or his wife made their homespun clothes; he often makes his own boots and, amongst the chief industries of the Province—replacing the humble, wandering shoemakers and cobblers of early days who worked on a bench outside the habitant’s door—are the large factories employing the young French Canadian at perhaps twenty dollars a week to make boots and shoes. He is naturally clever as a craftsman. Though modern industry and commerce are making a difference the habitant can still make many articles of home consumption; in days not yet altogether gone, sons and grandsons and great-grandsons followed the same craft. In carpentry he excels and as a cabinetmaker he was always a clever copyist—undertaking even Chippendale furniture, excelling in ceiling and wall woodwork, in carving statues and in wood sculpture generally.

In his winter workshop, which is often the family living-room, many a habitant makes things in a casual way which an Ontario workman would consider amazing. He creates baskets out of pieces of white ash, makes wooden horses from bits of spruce, manufactures quite a good kind of chair from birch wood, with rush or thong bottoms, builds corner cupboards of excellent style, even makes four-poster bedsteads for his family. At one time the habitant was good at iron work, and even now in Quebec there are to be found occasional brass, metal, and silver workers. The bookbinders of that city do beautiful work in both design and hand-tooling and it is hardly an accident that the young French Canadian is so much in demand in the factories of New England.

The habitant and his family love amusement, gaiety and the simple pleasures of rural life, in communities where everybody knows everybody and has done so through many generations. Even here, however, there are gradations, and subtle differences exist as between the habitant’s daughter, for instance, and the mechanic’s son. They may be overcome if the former is gracious and the latter prosperous, but they are none the less existent. Men, women and children alike love good stories, are fond of singing and dancing, are fluent talkers with a real love for their own voices, and revel in the music given by a violin, which is often made at home but which suffices for such dancing as may be permitted by the Curé under very strict surveillance. The men and boys smoke constantly, too much indeed, and they learn very young—the tobacco being grown in the home garden. Reading is not considered an amusement and religious books are the only ones really common to habitant households.

Occasions for social festivity are many; distance is immaterial, as a horse and sleigh, or some other vehicle, are the property of every habitant. A drive of twenty-five miles over snow-deep roads or through summer scenes is thought nothing of to share a hospitable feast, to pay a friendly visit, to attend a religious festival or a holiday celebration. Winter was and is the great social season of the habitants. Between Christmas and Ash Wednesday they pay frequent “surprise” visits in large parties to each other’s homes and feast gaily upon boundless supplies of cooked meats and pies prepared for the occasion. What dancing and music, songs and laughter, chatter and story-telling, kissing games and flirtations, these merry-makings evoke! In the old days of New France, and even of Quebec up to modern times, in some localities, the great frolics of the year were in connection with the making of maple syrup at the close of Lent and the celebration of May Day. Immense cauldrons of sap were hung on poles over fires and around these young men and maidens, old men and young children gathered and sang or danced to welcome the coming of happy spring, to speed the going of the cold, yet cheerful, winter.

The May Day celebration was largely associated with the old Seigneurial system and was a part of the joyous social life in which the lord of the manor shared as of right. The May pole, a tall fir tree stripped of its bark, was usually erected in the Seigneur’s farm-yard and thither went every one in the neighborhood who could walk or drive; blank musket shots were fired at the tree trunk until it was black with powder; then the doors of the manor house were thrown open and the habitants feasted at tables groaning with game and meats, pies and cakes, white whiskey and tobacco; quaint stories and homely wit and jokes sped the day; the Seigneur passing from table to table talking and joking with his guests. Amongst other old customs now falling into desuetude was the Ignolée or celebration of the renewal of the year; the Corvées or bees for the doing of some special work in which the aid of a number of neighbors is sought; the épluchettes or corn-shucking and the brayages or flax-beatings. These were usually accompanied by dances and festivities. The fête of La Grosse Gerbe was perhaps the chief of these celebrations when a large sheaf of grain surrounded by smaller ones were gaily decked and young and old danced around them. New Year’s Day is still a great occasion and Christmas is celebrated by everyone in a spirit of gaiety which is most attractive and with that religious spirit which is a part of most French Canadian festivals. To quote Lord Dufferin’s translation of a Chanson, popular amongst the habitants:

Let dead Yules lend—their bright reflections:

Let fond friends blend—their recollections:

Let Love revive—joy’s ashen embers;

For Love is Life—since Love remembers.

The courtesy of the habitant is one of the things which stamp the French Canadians as a people apart from the rest of the continent; as, individually, a product of some other age and clime and condition. Like the better-class portion of the population, he inherits something of the traditional charm of French customs in the days of long ago; something of the politeness which is even yet more natural to a Frenchman than it is to any other nationality. It is not at all due to servility, it is not an acceptance of inferiority, it is not even a recognition of greater wealth—though the average habitant is quite keen in the making of money. The politeness of manner so far as it is instinctive comes from a racial type; so far as it is acquired it comes from the teachings of the Church. The young man who touches his hat and says “Monsieur” or “Madame,” when addressed, has the habit of respectful speech drilled into him in church and school. Little of the crude looseness in speech of our continental democracy has yet penetrated the French villages of Quebec; when it has done so through some repatriated workman from an Ontario factory or a New England town it meets the fact that natural as well as acquired taste makes the local habitant somewhat oblivious, in this respect, to his comrade’s “progress.”

Besides this he has a certain feeling of self-pride and equality which, in itself, prevents him from being ashamed of civility. It is a feeling akin to that of the properly brought up English or Canadian or American youth who says “Sir” to his father or his elders without question and without the least dislike. Complaints are heard at times from English-speaking sources that the courtesy of children is growing less in these later days and that the democratic air of the continent, coupled with political denunciations of Imperialism and British “schemes” of closer union, are affecting old-time conditions—especially in the case of English-speaking Canadians visiting rural centers. There may be something in the contention, but the situation is not serious yet.

The habitant’s voice has not retained the softness of sunny France; it is somewhat shrill and shares in the continental characteristics of enunciation. He is fond of using words which are not quite innocent in their origin but which are merely exclamations, mild expletives, or points of emphasis under existing corruptions. “Sacristi,” “Palsambleu,” “Ventré bleu,” “Corbleu,” “Sacré bleu” are a few instances. The laws are very stringent, and always have been in French Canada, against profanity of any kind and, needless to say, it is severely dealt with by the Church. Even slang is discouraged and though here and there inevitable English words have crept into what might be called the commercial use of the French language, the tongue of the habitant is usually remarkably pure. Not long ago Archbishop Bruchési proclaimed the absence of patois from the French Canadian forms of speech and it is claimed that the language really approaches more nearly to the standard of some centuries ago than does the ordinary speech of the modern Frenchman. The Archbishop himself, and the educated French Canadians of today, in general, speak the French of the old school. The habitant has, however, some of the peculiarities of speech which characterized his Norman ancestors centuries ago and they have been crystallized, like some of the old-time customs and habits, in the midst of the American continent; even the architecture of the steep-roofed cottages with their dormer windows, deep and large chimneys, and old-fashioned rafters, is Norman in its style.

Of miscellaneous characteristics peculiar to the French Canadian it may be said that he dislikes gardening and leaves it largely to the women and children; that he marries young, with twenty years for the man and seventeen for the girl as popular ages to begin the interesting process of courtship; that the habitant and his women folk are alike thrifty, careful, economical, saving of money, and in this respect take after the peasantry of France; that they are clean in appearance and apparently so in person, with homes which are quite remarkable in that respect, that the newspapers are more carefully and cleanly edited than in English Canada or the United States, with clear precedence given to church events and local interests over the latest murder or awful crime; that the people appear to be exceedingly healthy despite the habit of keeping doors and windows sealed during the keen winters of the country; that as to sickness the most serious trouble is in the matter of smallpox, due to prejudice against vaccination, and in that of infant mortality at Montreal due to laxness in looking after sanitary conditions and to lack of cleanliness in the milk supply.

Picturesque details of ordinary life in French Canada include the thatched roofs of barns and outhouses in the older villages; the curved roofs, with projecting eaves, of many of the houses; the quaint and crowded markets of the cities and towns where the habitants, their wives and members of their families on a Saturday morning throughout the summer, bring in and display for sale carts full of domestic produce—vegetables, butter, meat, home-made sausages and puddings, fruit, basket-ware, etc.; the frequent appearance in the streets of Quebec of priests and nuns in their cassocks or prescribed garb and of the boys or young men of the Seminary in the long blue coats and green sashes of their institution, and the similar conditions prevalent in Montreal; the sight frequently witnessed in rural regions of two or three oxen abreast drawing a load of wood or of farm products to market, or the quaint spectacle of a man carrying water in pails which are balanced without apparent trouble from a pole held across the shoulders.

A word must be said here as to the old-time relations of the Seigneur and censitaire out of which evolved some at least of the special characteristics of the French Canadian. In the first place, the obligations of the habitant, as he gradually came to be called, were not very heavy. The yearly total of the Cens et rentes was only a few dollars in our money for his small holdings of land with, too, the option of paying in produce or game if he preferred—a live capon or a measure of grain for an acre of land. Rent day, instead of being a monthly season of weariness to the flesh as it is to the workman in our modern civilization, was a pleasure, a yearly and festal occasion, when the tenants gathered at the manor house on New Year’s Day and were regally feasted by the Seigneur. Even when the Seigneurs were poor and did manual labor on their own farms—so long as their birth was good—it did not affect their position of social superiority. This the Church aided by giving the Seigneur a special place in the sacred building and precedence at religious functions; where the Seigneur lived on his estate he and his wife were often the source of much patriarchal aid and kindly sympathy for the habitant; when he lived at Quebec and only came occasionally on a visit to his estate, he was still the one great man of the habitant’s acquaintance.

Some of the powers which the Seigneurs possessed in French days they did not exercise; others were evoked after the Conquest and utilized by men who wanted more than a rental of one cent an acre for land which they no longer held as vassals of the King and had naturally come to regard as their own. The habitants particularly objected to the Corvée, or about six days’ labor upon the highways, which was exacted yearly and which sometimes was switched to the building of manor houses and similar work. They also objected to the increased rentals under conditions which involved cash and not produce; to the lods et ventes, or tax of one-twelfth of the price of any land sold by the habitant, which did not amount to much in the old days but became very important in times of progress and growing population; to the droit de banalité under which the habitant had to use the Seigneur’s oven and his mill. The former condition was ineffective and the latter became burdensome when the right eventually stood in the way of establishing independent grist and saw mills and even factories of certain kinds. Much of this, however, was the product of a new and commercialized system; the old-time Seigneurs and habitants seem to have had the very best of kindly relations. It was this previous period in pioneer conditions, surrounded as it was by religious sanction, which seems to have left the strongest imprint—perhaps an indirect and not always understood one—upon the habitant mind.

In passing from this subject it may be added that the tremendous influence of the Church in forming the habitant’s thought, and leading his life, has only been touched upon in this chapter. Nothing has been said either as to political conditions. The two subjects require separate consideration, but not even the most rapid and indifferent traveler through Quebec can fail to be interested in both. Together with racial affiliations they have made the habitant, in the main, what he is, an industrious, contented, temperate, cheerful, devout and patriotic man, sure of his Church, sure of Canada, sure of himself, but quite confidently doubtful of matters outside of these lines of thought. Narrow he may be in some respects, ignorant he is in various things, egotistic he may be in personal matters. Yet these faults or conditions are, and may well be, forgotten when his whole-souled love of the soil, his cheerful, happy devotion to the Church, his generous appreciation of all that is bright and pleasant and joyful in life, are studied and understood. As to the more serious matters he stands as

One in whom persuasion and belief

Have ripened into faith and faith become

A passionate intuition.

Toronto Canadian Club, December 15, 1909.

Churches and Shrines of French Canada

The Church—there is only one for French Canadians—is everywhere in Quebec. In great stone buildings within the cities, in the little, picturesque village of the habitant, in the customs of the rich and the habits and lives of the poor, in the wayside shrine or Calvaire, in the great university or tiny parochial school, in the festivities of the habitant or the old-time hospitalities of the Seigneur, in the press and in the Legislature, in the control of civic morals and censoring of theatrical performances, the Church is found wielding its power through quiet, persistent, organized and, upon the whole, beneficial effort.

To the passing visitor in the Province it would seem as if church buildings were everywhere, as well as Church influence. The long-drawn-out villages or low yet steep-roofed cottages make the churches look more imposing and numerous than they really are, while in Montreal there are an immense number of Protestant churches for the English-speaking people—really out of proportion to the number of adherents, but built to meet the requirements of divided allegiance. In rural districts the churches are usually about ten miles apart, so that the habitants will not have to drive or walk too far to Mass, while a Diocese will sometimes not include more than forty parishes and church buildings—outside of the convents and religious educational institutions which, of course, are frequently met with.

Habitant Woman Spinning, Cap à L’Aigle, Quebec

Of the religious edifices of Quebec many are historically interesting, others are attractive from an architectural standpoint, many contain beautiful pictures, quaint religious devices and rich coloring. Almost all are impressive—even such a little old wooden church as the one at Indian-Lorette near Quebec City, where rude construction vies with crude ornamentation in a successful effort to meet the religious conceptions of the people appealed to. Magnificent are some of the structures in Montreal and Quebec. It is not exactly the architecture, or the mass of stone put together in a building; it is not the money expended upon it, nor is it the age of the church itself; it is not even the historic associations surrounding it, or the obvious sanctity which it bears to the kneeling people within; nor is it alone the solemnity of feeling which comes to the most casual visitor or Protestant tourist—it is the combination of these things which makes a Roman Catholic church in French Canada so attractive.

From all these points of view the Church of Notre Dame in Montreal is probably the most conspicuous. The structure itself only dates from 1829, though built not far from the site of the original parish church which was erected in 1656 on the north corner of the present St. Sulpice and St. Paul streets, and almost directly on the site of its successor which was built in 1672 across the Notre Dame Street of today. This great church is not beautiful in its external architecture, but it is impressive in appearance and has a distinct French trend in its style. The towers are 227 feet high, the chime of bells which ring out on festival occasions are each of them sweet and strong in tone and one of them is said to be the largest on the continent. When they all ring together a sweetness is heard “mingling and blending in the air like a rich embroidery of all sorts of melodious sounds.” Upon this structure the neighboring Seminary of St. Sulpice has lavished the wealth which came to that immensely rich institution as Seigneurs of Montreal and the cost of the church is roughly estimated at $6,000,000. The interior shows a temple worthy of an ancient faith and a great Church. Shrouded usually in a rich gloom, permeated occasionally by shafts of light which weave golden halos over the figures of saints or pictures of a costly and sacred character; solemn with a silence which is almost felt as the doors close behind the visitor or the worshipper; the general effect is most impressive.

In detail there is a multitude of objects—notable or attractive, valuable or ancient, beautiful or sacred, or with a combination of all these qualities. There are exquisite stained-glass windows; there is a beautiful wood-carving of the Entombment of Christ and a marble statue of the Virgin given by Pope Pius IX; there is a bronze figure of St. Peter which is a copy of that at Rome. Under one altar are said to rest the bones of St. Felix brought from the Catacombs of Rome, and on another is a picture of the Madonna copied from one supposed to have been painted by St. Luke. The grand altar is very rich in artistic carving and ornamentation representing the Sacrifice of Christ, and at one side of it is the small, but brilliant chapel of “Our Lady” which is remarkable for the harmony of its lines and proportions, for the mass of gilding, carving and sculpture with which it is decorated, for panels in mosaic, original paintings by Canadian artists, and a reproduction of one of Raphael’s celebrated friezes.

Near the foot of Mount Royal, upon the site once occupied, four centuries agone, by the Indian village of Hochelaga, stands St. James’ Cathedral. It is a reduced copy of St. Peter’s at Rome and its dome towers above all others in the city, being, with its cross, forty feet higher than the towers of Notre Dame. The interior in this case is not dimly religious but brilliant in white and gold, and no more picturesque sight can be imagined than a ceremonial occasion when the Archbishop in cardinal and purple, the priests in gorgeous canonical robes of scarlet and gold, the acolytes in white, are rendered complete in an artistic sense by a chorus from Handel echoing up to the vaulted roof and amongst the fluted pillars of the church. Carefully preserved in this connection and only used on ceremonial occasions are certain vestments and altar cloths of peculiarly beautiful texture, style and handiwork. They were made by Jean Le Ber of Ville Marie, in nineteen years of cloistered and rigorous seclusion, and have been described as solid masses of delicate silken work on a ground of fine silver threads with a color and luster which two hundred years of time have not impaired in the least. Beautiful as is the richly-piled velvet from the looms of Lyons, its modern robes are said not to compare with these made by the pious maiden of Montreal in years long gone by.

Of the older churches in French Canada, Notre Dame de Bonsécours, in Montreal, holds a prominent place. On its site stood the little church founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1673 and of which the foundations were used in 1771 for the present structure. It is Norman in its style of construction and is notable as having been saved from sale some years ago by Protestant agitation in order to preserve one of the most picturesque and historically interesting spots in the city. There is a statue of the Virgin in heroic size which was given by a noble of Brittany; there are pictures which were amongst the first works of art brought to the country; there is a most dainty chapel above the roof of the church, with tiny colored windows, which was designed after one described as a miraculous structure, at Loretto, on the Adriatic. The Jesuit or Gésu Church, in connection with the College of that Order on Bleury Street, has a beautiful interior, its frescoes are very pretty and its fine paintings notable; in the eastern part of Montreal amongst the purely French population is Our Lady of Lourdes Church—a building of Venetian type with a statue of the Virgin over the altar in which she appears standing on a cloud with these words underneath: “A woman clothed with the Sun and the Moon under her feet.” From an unseen source comes a bright light throwing a kind of exquisite radiance around the figure. The decorations of the church are in gold and colors, with arabesques and fifteenth-century detail work. Underneath the building is a shrine fitted up like the famous Grotto near Lourdes, France, and lit by dim, colored lights which give a curiously weird effect.

The Westminster Abbey of the French race in Canada is to be seen at Quebec in the Basilica or Notre Dame de la Paix—the latter name dating back from a certain peace made with the Iroquois in 1644. The structure was built in the succeeding year, when it took the place of Notre Dame de la Récouvrance erected by Champlain in 1633 as the first parish church of the ancient city. From the time when M. de Montmagny, the Governor, and Father Lallemant, the eminent Superior of the Jesuits, superintended the laying of the corner-stone up to the present time, and through all the eventful ups and downs of French Canadian history, this church has held its place. It was damaged by fire and shot and shell in 1759 and afterwards restored; it received a clock with three chimes from the British Governor, Lord Dorchester, in 1775; it was the scene of special services and ceremonial events of much splendor over a long series of years; it has probably received as guests, at one time or another, every Governor of Canada—French or British, Catholic or Protestant; in its sanctuary lie the remains of nearly every Bishop of Quebec—a series of singularly able ecclesiastics; it has buried within its walls, or sanctuary, the official curés and canons of New France in Quebec, representatives of the Jesuit missionaries and pioneers and of the Récollets, with many hundreds of the leading men and chief families in the annals of Quebec. The church contains many rich paintings, its pulpit and side chapels are particularly beautiful, its memorials of religious life and incident are of deepest interest to the pious Catholic.

Around the Convent and Church of the Ursulines in Quebec gathers much in history that is attractive and interesting and important. Founded in 1641 by Madame de la Peltrie, a woman of extraordinary character and qualities whose career prior to coming out to New France reads, in Parkman’s pages, like a vivid romance; it was presided over by Marie de l’Incarnation, another woman of fervid feelings, intense religious conviction, the victim of an unhappy marriage, the subject of intense joy in her new vocation. These two women contributed to Canadian history records of saintly character and of devotion and built up in their Ursuline Convent an institution of fruitful service to the infant colony and one of much influence in the molding of French Canadian character. The leaving of cultured homes and all the comforts of life in sunny France to cross the stormy Atlantic; the long journey in tiny vessels with rough seamen and only a few priests and two or three other nuns as companions; the devotion of their lives in a cold, severe, stone building, planted on the very verge of savagery, to the training and care of the young, presents one of many illumined pages of sacrifice in the story of the Church in New France.

The Convent was destroyed by fire in 1650 and in 1686—the present building dating from the latter year. The Chapel of the Ursulines, in association with the Convent, is the third that has been erected and is modern in construction though splendid in its proportions and appearance. The convent and the church possess paintings by Le Brun, Cortona, Hallé and Prud’hon, rare engravings and important books, with rich collections of religious souvenirs; the annals or records of the Community, its papers, title-deeds and Royal letters, its patent signed by Louis XV; a massive silver crucifix given by Madame de la Peltrie and a reliquary containing, it is said, a relic of the true Cross, with altar cloths made out of silk damask, and curtains which once belonged to Louis XVI. In a chapel is a votive lamp presented by Marie de Repentigny in 1717 and kept alight through the centuries since then—even when shot and shell in the time of the great siege were shrieking over the heads of the devoted nuns and tearing the walls and corridors; beneath the pavement of the church lie the remains of Montcalm and other notables whose memorials speak for them here as does the history of their country elsewhere.

The little, unpretentious Church of Notre Dame des Victoires stands upon the site of Champlain’s house as it nestled at the foot of the rock behind which lay so prolonged a struggle between the forces of civilization and savagery, between, ultimately, the power of France and England. It commemorates in its name two French celebrations over the English; its walls remain almost intact from the storms of the 1759 siege; its floors cover the remains of four French Governors, and painted panels at the back of the building depict, in artistic coloring and design, the historic facts associated with the structure. Of other churches in Quebec, that of St. Roch contains the heart of Mgr. Plessis, Bishop of the Diocese, and famous for his loyalty to the British throne in 1812; the Convent of the Sœurs Franciscaines Missionaires de Marie carries out an interesting Catholic custom of this Order, in all its hundred churches, and keeps the Blessed Sacrament exposed day and night; upon the site of the present Place d’Armes where, in part, the Court House now stands, the Récollets built a church (1693) which Charlevoix described as worthy of Versailles and which saw much of Quebec’s ecclesiastical history in the stormy century which followed.

The Convent of the Récollets was turned by Bishop de St. Valier into a General Hospital and since 1692 has been the unceasing refuge of the homeless, the poor and the sick, of the wounded soldier of whatever nation or faith, of all who needed succor. In its chapel there is a chalice with altar cruets, etc., which were sent out to the founder by Madame de Maintenon. The Hotel Dieu of Quebec is the oldest monastic establishment in French Canada and dates from 1637, though the existing building was not finished until twenty-one years later. The Hospitalières Nuns have charge of its sick and the medical services are in the hands of Laval professors. It possesses some great paintings such as The Crucifixion, by Van Dyke; Mary in the Temple, by Le Brun; and Visitation, by Rubens, which was presented by the Duchess d’Aiguillon. It has rare tapestries and valuable portraits of the Jesuit martyrs; its archives contain letters from St. Francis de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, Talon, Montcalm, Vaudreuil, Maisonneuve and many others.

In the East-end of Montreal there is a long succession of convents and Roman Catholic institutions. Priests and friars and cowled monks pass along the streets; nuns robed in black or gray, or in buff, walk sedately and silently upon their missions; students in Church caps and uniforms, with sashes of green or blue, parade in large numbers; pilgrimages to and from such shrines as Ste. Anne de Beaupré or Ste. Anne de Varennes pass on their way to the boats. Here, as in Quebec and elsewhere in French Canada, the churches are packed with devout worshippers at Christmas, in Holy Week, on Palm Sunday and All Saints. Near the head of Park Avenue stands the Hotel Dieu de Ville Marie of Montreal, an immense structure founded in 1664 by Jeanne Mance with money supplied by Madame de Bouillon of Paris and maintained by a strict and secluded order of what are popularly called Black Nuns—many of them vowed to cloistered lives and never leaving the walls of the institution. Mlle. Mance was one of those enthusiastic women who helped to make the history of this period memorable. The Hospital which she first took in hand was on St. Paul Street, surrounded by palisades and garrisoned as strongly as possible in defence against the Iroquois. At that time the Indians prowled constantly around the infant settlement and their silence was sometimes as deadly as their piercing war-whoop. There, with three other devoted women, she first took up her work and then carried it on until death came in 1673. The present building only dates back to 1861.

The Hospital of the Grey Nuns is vast and severe in outline, dates as a building on Grey Street from 1871 and contains over five hundred sisters and one hundred novices. Historically it was founded in 1737 by Mme. de Youville; practically it has, through branches and in its own work, a vital and immense influence today in the life of Montreal. Here in the mother institution the helpless through age or infancy, through incurable disease or infirmity, are cared for and foundling children received from all over Canada and the United States. In the branch institutions orphan girls and aged persons, servant girls out of work, women without a night refuge, blind children, etc., are cared for. In Western Canada many establishments are maintained by the Grey Nuns. The Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre Dame constitute a great teaching Order with many convent-schools throughout Quebec and elsewhere. In Montreal is the mother-house of the community which has altogether more than twelve hundred sisters. It was started and founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys (1653), one of the real founders of Montreal, a fitting companion to Maisonneuve in piety, bravery and devotion. Unlike Mme. de la Peltrie, Mlle. Mance, or Mère Marie de l’Incarnation, she was of the people and the daughter of a tradesman; unlike them she never reached the lofty heights of the supernatural in her personal experiences; like them, however, her religion appears to have been one of an absorbing and practical devotion to Christian duty.

Elsewhere in French Canada the religious memorials of the Church are many. At Tadousac is the old Jesuit chapel erected in 1746 on the site of a church dating from 1615; at St. Anne’s, on the western end of the Island of Montreal, is an old and sacred building which saw much of the heroes of the fur-trading days and was the last church which explorers and voyageurs visited to receive the Sacrament before plunging into the wilderness; at Mount Rigaud, on the banks of the Ottawa, where Dollard des Ormeaux and his men died for their country, is a shrine adorned with various images, and approached by a rocky road having fourteen stations of the Cross built from uncut stones; everywhere throughout Quebec are the wayside crosses which mean so much to the devout Catholic and are so interesting to the tourist. What are called Calvaires are usually about ten feet in height and often include not only the cross but the crown of thorns, the hammer and nails, the executioner’s ladder, and other mementoes of the great Sacrifice. Not only do the habitants salute the Cross as they pass, by a lifting of the hat, but they come with their families during the summer months and make these shrines into open-air altars. One further evidence of the Church’s work and place can only be mentioned at this point—that of Education—and the splendid seminaries, universities and colleges which are devoted to the training of priests and teachers and the youth of the land.

The Seminary of St. Sulpice at Montreal is, however, so associated with the religious life of the community, as well as with its education, that no reference to the Church in Quebec is complete without its inclusion. Quaint and unobtrusive, somber and silent in its life, replete with all the significance of Rome’s conduct of Church affairs through three hundred years of Canadian history, it stands as a gloomy, massive reminder of days gone by. Within its walls the priests of St. Sulpice control one of the largest revenues on the continent and are masters of much land on the Island of Montreal. For two centuries the cobble-stones of its courtyard have echoed the tread of pilgrims and penitents and soldiers, while the noiseless step of the priest has come and gone from the times of Iroquois horror to the days of commercialized liberty. In the thick walls of the Seminary are the loop-holes for musketry which remind the twentieth century tourist that there was a time on this continent when religion had to be supported by physical force as well as kept alive by continuous self-sacrifice.

Founded by a young priest, the Abbé Olier, as a result of those Divine communings which appeared to come so often to the faithful and devout souls of that period, the object of the Sulpician Order was, and is, to train the youth of the country, so far as available, for the priesthood and to teach secular subjects to others in combination with religious instruction. In 1657 the solid structure of today was erected as a branch of the establishment in Paris. Their holdings of land at the time of the Cession appear to have totaled 250,000 acres; what the value of these lands is now or just what are the relations between the Mother House in Paris and the Order in Montreal it is hard to say. The priests are still largely French in origin; there is an old-world flavor about the institution as there was in 1663 when its members became Seigneurs of the Island of Montreal, of Two Mountains, and of St. Sulpice; upon its pinnacles are still carved the fleur-de-lys. In the lives of its priests there has always appeared embodied the earlier Christian principles of self-denial and much of what Bishop de Laval once described when he wrote that they were “irreproachable in faith, doctrine, piety and conduct.”

Of all the Church institutions of Quebec, however, the most interesting to those outside of its pale is the Church of Ste. Anne de Beaupré with its miraculous claims, its attractive history and its extraordinary record. The parish itself goes back to 1657, when the only others existing in all the vast stretches of New France were those of Tadousac, Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers, and Chateau Richer. Tradition says that in or about 1650 some Breton mariners were wrecked on the coast and, while praying for their lives, vowed that if they were saved they would erect a chapel on the shore in honor of Ste. Anne—mother of the Virgin Mary and patroness of their own land of Brittany. A small wooden chapel is said to have been erected, though history is silent as to the fact; but it does appear that sailors on the St. Lawrence had special veneration for the spot and special prayers to their good Ste. Anne. Missionary priests were certainly at Beaupré as early as 1645 and there is nothing inherently improbable in the tradition as to the existence of the little church. In 1658 M. d’Ailleboust, Governor of New France, laid the corner-stone of a new church on the site of the present public square; in 1661 it was destroyed by floods and a new building erected where a memorial fountain now stands; in 1676 a stone church was erected on the site of the present Memorial Chapel, which is built of its walls and with its woodwork and ornaments, and this structure lasted for two centuries; the present Basilica, a splendid specimen of the religious architecture of Quebec, was built in 1876.

The beginnings of the sacred and miracle-working character of this shrine seem to have been very early. Bishop de Laval went several times to Beaupré as a pilgrim and wrote in 1667 that “nothing has aided us more powerfully in sustaining the weight of this church than the special devotion that the inhabitants of this country bear to Ste. Anne.” In the succeeding year an account of miracles wrought at the church was published by the local missionary priest, with the approval of the Bishop, and in it the Rev. Father Morel stated that he had in the past six years witnessed these miracles and also the many other cases of special spiritual grace accorded by God to sinners. Mère Marie de l’Incarnation, in a letter at this time, spoke of the blind receiving sight, the paralytic made to walk, and the sick enabled to regain their health. The pilgrimages of those days were small in number; it was naturally a matter of individual visits only. Time, however, brought population to the country and to the continent; the fame of the shrine gradually grew as did the mass of crutches piled up against the interior walls of the structure and in special receptacles; the number of the pilgrims increased in modern days until in 1880 they were 36,000; in 1890, 105,000; in 1900, 135,000; and in 1910, 188,266. Meantime, the mother shrine of Ste. Anne at Apt in France had contributed some of its famous relics to the Canadian daughter—indirectly in several cases—and these included a bone from the hand of Ste. Anne given by the Bishop of Carcassonne, a bone from the Saint’s wrist obtained by Cardinal Taschereau from Pope Leo XIII, a piece of rock from the wall of Ste. Anne’s home in Jerusalem.

The shrine itself, within the Basilica, is a most artistic production seven feet high and made of beaten brass, polished and gilded, with four columns supporting statues of Ste. Anne, St. Joachim, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin. The reliquary, containing the bone from the Saint’s wrist, is made of massive gold ornamented with precious stones and is only placed in the shrine during the week following Ste. Anne’s day—July 26th to August 2d—when many thousands of pilgrims crowd the edifice. The communion rail of the church is sixty-six feet long and is important for its unique and valuable panel work carved on the five different kinds of rich marble with which it is constructed. The statue of Ste. Anne herself is ten feet high, the pedestal being of Carrara marble and the monolith of Mexican onyx—almost transparent in appearance and crowned with a diadem of gold and precious stones presented in 1887 by Cardinal Taschereau in the name of Pope Leo XIII.

Church of Ste. Anne de Beaupré

Of the historical or semi-sacred relics connected with the church is the first Canadian wooden statue of Ste. Anne, dating from 1661 and brought from France; a collection box dating from 1663, noted for the sexton’s statement that when the Marquis de Tracy and his staff performed a pilgrimage to the church on one occasion they dropped seventy francs into it—a big sum in those days when wages were only one franc a day; a Mass vestment of silk, gold and silver, made and given by Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII; a silver ciborium used in Communion for two centuries of pilgrims; a chiselled and embossed silver portrait of the Comte de Paris presented in memory of his pilgrimage to the shrine in October, 1890; a solid gold seal which belonged to President Santa Anna of Mexico and a chalice made of gold and precious stones presented by pilgrims to the church; together with an infinite variety of gifts of various values from individual pilgrims. There are many paintings in the church of different ages and quality, and on the hill at one side of the edifice is the Scala Santa—a representation of the marble stairs which Christ ascended in order to appear before Pilate—and up these stairs pilgrims in thousands ascend on their hands and knees. Surrounding them are representations of the various incidents in the last days of the Saviour. Just behind the church with all its wealth of traditions, and lore of miracles, and beauty of interior, and richness in relics, lies the Monastery of the Redemptorist Fathers who are the custodians of the shrine; the Convent of the Franciscan Sisters; the Convent of the Redemptoristine Nuns. Such is this famous shrine and church, set in one of the most beautiful, historical and fertile spots on the continent, and surrounded with such vistas of lovely scenery, such freshness of ambient air, such volumes of rolling water, as may well cause the visitor to feel that nature has combined with tradition and religion to make the place attractive:

The waters of the grand St. Lawrence glide

  In calm majestic motion on their way

Past Bonne Sainte Anne as if the gentle tide

  Its silent, humble homage thus would pay

Before the ancient Shrine, as on its breast

It bears the pilgrims to this place of rest.

What may be said in comment upon such a place, upon claims so highly pressed, upon results so variously represented! Non-Catholic visitors to Ste. Anne de Beaupré, as to Our Lady of Lourdes in France, go to see, to admire, to wonder and perhaps to scoff; they leave with opinions which are affected naturally by their individual training, modes of thought, points of view and personal prejudices. Pilgrims go to do honor to a saint whom they revere and in whose miraculous intervention in human affairs they thoroughly believe; or else they reach the spot in a frame of mind which hopes against hope for the cure of some desperate ailment or condition, which cultivates a faith that the Bible has declared will move mountains, which reaches very often a state of mind abstracted entirely from the world and resembling somewhat the exaltation of the martyr in his sufferings or of the saintly women who first came to the wilds of Canada to nurse the sick or nurture the minds of the young.

Cures have undoubtedly been effected, wonderful cures in appearance and often in permanence. The Catholic will say and believe that they are caused by faith and miraculous action; he does not believe, as does the average Protestant, that miracles ceased with Christ and his Apostles or, as does the higher critic, that even the Biblical miracles are allegories or fables. He sees no reason why Divine intervention should have ceased with the Crucifixion and he is perfectly satisfied to accept the dictum of his Church in the matter of any specific miraculous power which may appear to have been exercised since that time. On the other hand, the Protestant enters the church with no hereditary or religious sympathy with its claims. He has a tendency to argue that because money now pours into its coffers after two hundred years of gradual development in faith and knowledge amongst Roman Catholics, therefore the primary object of the priests is mercenary. He sees the devout in prayer, he sees the abandoned crutches, he may even see the cures effected, yet he doubts the result. Despite the teachings of Scripture, despite the fact that Christianity is based upon the miraculous and environed in its birth by miracles which his own Churches teach as truth, he finds it hard, in this age of popular agnosticism and accepted criticism, to believe in spiritual manifestations.

To the observer who has no prejudices in the matter, who would be glad if possible to believe that there is a higher power for good acting upon the world even though it should act at times through the mediation of sainted men or women of the past or even the present; who cannot see why there is anything more inherently impossible in answers to prayers at this or any other shrine than he was taught to believe there was in answer to the prayers he learned at his mother’s knee; there is little at Ste. Anne de Beaupré to cause anything but feelings of respect. To eyes unaccustomed to these things there may be something at times of crudeness in the figures, of excessive glitter in the ornamentation, of a startling appearance in representations of the Crucifixion, yet if the onlooker has imagination sufficient to see such things through the refining spectacles of faith—to say nothing of the brightness of a pilgrim’s hope—the subject has quite another aspect. There is, besides, much of real splendor in the scene, much of exquisite art and beauty, natural grace and solemnity in the environment. The well-balanced visitor can hardly leave such a place as Ste. Anne, or such a scene as the annual pilgrimage, without a profound hope that the implicit faith which he sees and feels around him may have some actual realization other than that which is looked for chiefly in the world to come.

Religious Evolution of the French Canadian

New France was born and bred in the fold of the Roman Catholic Church; its greatest pioneer achievements were those of the Jesuit missionaries; its early political controversies turned upon the relations of Governor and Bishop; its great requirement of immigration was guided, controlled and at times checked by the policy of the Church; its proudest achievements in exploration and war, in government and politics, were blessed by the one religious organization. The Church was the mainspring of popular enthusiasms, the basis of a limited public instruction, the fountain-head of knowledge or experience, the embodiment of a people’s faith, the natural leader of the race under the further dispensation of British rule. Historically speaking, the Church in this connection accomplished three clearly defined objects—it made and kept New France a completely Catholic community; it preserved the Province of Quebec as a French and Catholic country; it kept the 3,000,000 French Canadians, who have grown out of the 60,000 surrounding the fleur-de-lys in 1759, as members of its own organization. Whether for good or ill, whether it is to be admired, or disliked, or feared, each of these accomplishments was a great one and far-reaching in effect.

There were certain epochs in the development of this powerful position. The Récollets, or Franciscan Order, came first to New France in 1615 and remained until the temporary English conquest of 1629 removed them from the country; they included only Fathers Jamay, Dolbeau, Le Caron, Sagard and Viel. In 1625, and again seven years afterwards, the Jesuits came and the record of their missionary labors has been already dealt with; it was an epic of unselfish heroism. The Jesuit College at Quebec was founded in 1635 and flourished until the Order was suppressed in 1763; its influence in the molding of social and moral regulations and in the formation of religious character in New France can hardly be over-estimated. The establishment of the Episcopacy came in 1658 with Mgr. de Laval-Montmorency as the Vicar-Apostolic and afterwards Bishop. He was one of those men who loom large in the pages of history through dealing with great things in a great way. His environment was certainly vast enough and his diocese, as created in 1674, included the greater part of what was then known as North America; he repeatedly traversed immense distances amid privations, dangers and difficulties almost inconceivable today. He was amidst the missionaries in Acadia at one moment, then in the valley of Lake Champlain, anon upon the shores of one or other of the Great Lakes; then at home amidst the troubles of his own settlement. He obtained the creation of a Sovereign Council for New France of which he was the soul and heart; he fought great governors such as Frontenac in a prolonged effort to prevent the sale of liquor to Indians or settlers; he established the Great and Minor Seminary of Quebec in 1663 and 1668, respectively, to carry on training for the priesthood in the infant colony.

His successor, Mgr. de St. Vallier, was a man of dominating, aggressive character, who left his mark upon all the disputes and disorders and difficulties of the time—not always one of peace and concord and conciliation. L’Abbé Fornel, in his funeral oration, described him as a Bishop who was “great by his piety, greater still by his zeal, and greatest by his charity.” The latter quality ran to 600,000 livres—an immense sum in those days. Mgr. Dosquet succeeded and then came Mgr. de Pontbriand (1741-60), the last Bishop of the French régime, in a period which included the darkest days of the colony—a time of famine, pestilence, war, conquest. Mgr. Jean Olivier Briand, who followed, was, and had to be, a diplomat as well as a Bishop. It was a time when conqueror and conquered, soldier and habitant, Briton and Frenchman, had to be held together up to a point where he would be in a position to protect and advance the interests of his own people. Treaties had to be interpreted, regulations made or defined, the natural antagonisms of a Protestant power and a Roman Catholic people subdued. He succeeded so well that his Pastoral letters of 1774-75 were strong mandates to loyalty under the new conditions.

Mgr. J. O. Plessis was the eleventh Bishop of Quebec, and the first Archbishop, and was born in Montreal. Through him the Church in Canada obtained a higher civil status, the recognition by the British Government of his position as Bishop of Quebec, and an official allowance from that Protestant Government of £1,000 a year! He founded several colleges, extended the authority of the Church by appointing auxiliary Bishops of Montreal and the Northwest, and died in 1825. Of him Lord Dalhousie wrote officially to the Colonial Office: “The Church has lost in him a venerable prelate; his people a faithful and indefatigable guardian of its spiritual interests; the King a most true and loyal subject.” These were the great historic names in the French Canadian Church; other personages of eminent qualities came and went until Archbishop Taschereau was created a Cardinal in 1886; the Episcopate spread over a great area and from Montreal to Winnipeg, from Victoria to Halifax, the Roman Catholic Church in Canada became a powerful force in many communities. Especially was this the case in Montreal where Bishops, or Archbishops, Lartigue, Bourget, Fabre and Bruchési have, in succession, wielded ecclesiastical authority since 1836.

For a hundred years of the Episcopate in New France the Bishops ruled in accordance with the canons of the Church and in conformity with Royal ordinances. They did not always recognize vice-regal rights, they often resented the Governor’s action or opposed his policy, they erected parishes at pleasure, controlled churches, monasteries and colleges, issued regulations regarding discipline and morals which affected clergy and laity alike, and supervised the schools. Much of this power was lost at the Cession; most of it was gradually regained afterwards in that part of New France called Quebec; elsewhere it was partly merged in the rivalries of an English-speaking environment. When, however, the French race and the Catholic religion were, in these latter cases, combined together and a parish erected—whether in Manitoba, or Nova Scotia, in Dakota or New England—the Church retained much of its influence, though it lost, of course, the endorsation and authority of the civil power which it still retains in Quebec.

The region once vaguely called New France must now have within its borders about 10,000,000 Roman Catholics of various races and tongues together with immense wealth, numerous Dioceses and wide influence. Its wealth cannot be accurately estimated; in Quebec the figures are approximately available. In 1800 official statistics transmitted by Lieutenant-Governor Sir R. S. Milnes to the Imperial Government showed that prior to the conquest 2,096,754 acres of land-grants had been made to the Church—203,524 acres to the Ursulines of Quebec and Three Rivers, 693,324 acres to the Bishop and the Seminary of Quebec, 250,191 acres to the Sulpicians and 891,945 acres to the Jesuits, with other scattering amounts. The value of such of this land as was held—most of it, except the Jesuit grants, was retained and put to some of the purposes of the Church—must in these modern days be enormous; the tithes which are legal taxation and collectible under law, for specific purposes, in Quebec must make a very large yearly total; the gifts to the Church from time to time are large and always have been—either in things of beauty, or of service, or in money.

If an outside estimate in 1854 as to the total wealth of the Church in Quebec being $20,000,000 was even moderately close to the mark, the present-day total must be five or six times as great. As the revenues and work of the Church grew, its institutions, religious orders, charities and communities grew also. Something has been said of the Sulpicians and the Jesuits. The former used their wealth in unobtrusive systems of instruction. The latter, since they re-appeared in Canada, have established several colleges with hundreds of priests, scholastics, and novices, and dozens of chapels; with many Indian and other missions, and missionaries traveling along the north shores of Lake Superior and in the West. Then there are various French Orders with, in these latter days of suppression and difficulty in France, a steadily-growing membership in Quebec and Canada generally—the Oblate Fathers or Order of Immaculate Mary, the Catechists of St. Viateur, the Congregation of St. Croix, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Frères Maristes or Little Brothers of Mary, the Order of Franciscan Fathers. Fifteen years ago there were in all Canada 30,000 male students being educated by Catholic religious orders and 50,000 female students by the various Sisterhoods with 7,534 nuns in the Dominion and 466 establishments under their control. A very large majority of these students and institutions were in Quebec and the numbers in all these connections are very much greater at the present time. In Quebec there were last year 3,200 female religious teachers, or nuns, in the schools with 340,000 pupils.

A recent observer has declared that the Church organization throughout Quebec is “as perfect as the wit of thousands of devoted men, having no other object than its interests, can make it.” There can be no doubt of the accuracy of this statement and to it are owing the three conditions of development already outlined. This organization was not effected immediately or without struggle. In the days when De Frontenac and Bishop de Laval disputed about questions of precedency and the solution of the liquor-selling evil; when Bishop de St. Vallier and the Governor, the Seminary, the Cathedral Chapter, the Sulpicians, the Jesuits and even the Religious Communities of Women were more or less at variance; when society of a military type in Quebec and Montreal resented the strict religious regulations which aimed to make the practice of morals conform with precepts; it was then that the harmony and obedience, the perfect mechanism, the strong organization of another century, were gradually created.

In the seventeenth century the Jesuits, and then Mgr. de Laval plus the Jesuits, were in control of the Church and, despite obstacles and lapses, of society. Every detail of daily life was watched and whenever possible controlled; every tendency to looseness in morals or social custom was checked; crime was punished with the excessive severity which characterized all civilized countries in those days; the superstitions rife in New England, in Old England, and in Germany, as to witchcraft and punishable there with such frightful penalties, were held in check by the Church and neither this offence nor those of blasphemy and heresy were put under the civil power or very severely dealt with. During the Governorships of Champlain and De Montmagny, or of D’Argenson, D’Avaugour and Mézy, society was not only kept in check by the Church but in subjugation. The three latter Governors were in conflict with the Bishop over different matters of administration and were, therefore, particularly ready to meet his wishes in affairs of a religious, or moral, or social nature. So much was this the case that public balls were tabooed and dancing or amusements, bringing the sexes into close proximity, discouraged. Theatrical performances, such as the times developed, were, however, permitted and even used by the Jesuits to instruct the Indians and amuse the people. Later, under the administrations of De la Jonquière and Duquesne and the second Vaudreuil, different conditions were uppermost and then the end of the French régime came. The Bishop’s denunciation of conditions prevalent in 1759 under the social leadership of Bigot were so vigorous that even Montcalm is said to have advised caution.

For some reason there was, at times, a more rigid or severe code of discipline in Montreal than in Quebec. The Gentlemen of St. Sulpice were very strict regarding their flocks and during many years forbade dancing and gambling, masquerade parties and gayly colored or decolleté dresses. Society there, as in Quebec and in all parts of the world, was more or less influenced by periods of military power and the coming of the Carignan-Sallières Regiment had the effect of notably increasing the gay tone of social intercourse—even though the war-whoop of the Iroquois might at any moment be heard in the land. To offset such conditions Father Lallemant, the Jesuit Superior, created in Quebec the Brotherhood of the Holy Family and obtained for it the approbation of Pope Alexander VII. It found immediate and strong support in Montreal. The women members were urged to ask themselves on all occasions: “How would the Holy Virgin have acted under these circumstances?” and to abstain from frivolities in which they thought the Mother of Christ would be unwilling to share. Of this organization the Bishop was the head and, in 1667, a reproval of certain members for going to a ball given by M. Chartier de Lotbinière caused a prolonged difference between the Bishop and the Intendant Talon. The action of this organization and its priestly directors in Montreal also aroused sundry criticisms from writers and visitors which have come down to us.

While this rigorous rule of the Church, or of the Jesuits and Sulpicians, over personal conduct and in the regulation of private life seems strange to a Protestant civilization or community of the twentieth century, there was much to be said for it in New France. It strengthened the moral fiber and maintained the physical well-being of a people who needed every element of strength in their continuous struggle with the forces of savagery and nature; it countered the indirect and subtle influence of a Voltairism which was then eating into the upper circles of French life as well as a republicanism, and a wider socialism, which were preparing the way for the frightful excesses of the Revolution. Neither extreme of French society, nor of the terrible religious controversies of the century, reached Canada; the Revolution with all its horrors passed over the heads and outside the hearts of the people of New France; the Republic and the career of Napoleon only touched them on the side of their vivid glories and reflected splendor.

It may be safely said, therefore, that the Church showed excellent statecraft in much of this period even if, at times and after the event, it would seem that conciliation might have been better than controversy. The men and conditions, Kings and Governors, and the Church of that century, have to be considered with their surroundings and not with the environment of the present day. Frontenac and Bishop de Laval were both high-minded, able and patriotic men, but on certain points they did not see alike. Looking back now, for instance, upon the liquor traffic question and all the horrible possibilities of a powerful Indian race alternately degraded and inflamed by the use of alcohol, it is hard not to sympathize with the Bishop in his rigid attitude, or to say that he was not right in fighting the local civil authority and in ultimately getting the Royal support for his action.

Yet Frontenac argued (1) that the sale of brandy attracted the Indians to the French and brought them under refining, humanizing and Christian influences; (2) that when temperately used it enabled them to resist the great cold to which they were exposed; (3) that in withdrawing them from the protection of the Dutch or English, it protected them from heresy; (4) that in any event the religious authorities of Toulouse and the Sorbonne were divided as to the rights or wrongs of the matter. It was, beyond debate, this vigorous attitude of the Church toward questions involving public laxity of morals, coupled with the strenuous, self-denying, sacrificial, personal lives of the priesthood, the hierarchy, and the sisterhoods, which first laid deeply the roots of the Church in New France. Upon that basis was built up a steadily improving organization of parish life and priestly influence; out of these two things, and the important public policy involved in the hand-picking of immigrants and the exclusion of non-Catholics, came the fact that when New France, with 60,000 people in what was to be the province of Quebec, faced absorption by the greatest Protestant power in the world, it did so with a united religious front and a determination to preserve against all obstacles or aggressive attack the institutions and influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

To preserve this position was a more difficult and vital task than either the Pope’s representative or the Viceroy of an English King could have imagined. Religious toleration or equality was not yet the accepted policy of any great nation—not even of Britain. Much water had to run under the bridge before Ireland obtained what the defeated people of New France hoped for; the pledges of the Treaty of Paris and the Capitulation of Montreal were general and vague and depended largely upon interpretation; the British Government would have been more or less than human if it had been without suspicion of such projects as the appointment of a Frenchman as Bishop of Quebec or of curés and priests from France; the people of Quebec could hardly have believed it possible that their present conquerors would eventually give them a freedom of administration, laws, church government and self-control, greater than they had ever dreamed of obtaining from the Court of France.

Hence, for a time, the difficulties and real statecraft of Murray, Dorchester, and Haldimand, of Bishop Briand, Bishop Plessis and the ecclesiastical authorities at Rome. When the early clouds of suspicion and natural doubt had dispersed and the preliminary difficulties of a British and Protestant government in dealing with a French and Catholic people had been adjusted, it was found that the Roman Catholic Church was given absolute freedom of self-government and practically complete control over the religious life of its own people. Whatever the civil troubles of succeeding years, or the hot-headed utterances and actions of Rebellion days, or the political controversies of another epoch, this condition does not seem to have been ever seriously controverted, or to have been the subject of discussion. Hence, in part, the loyalty of the hierarchy in the War of 1812; hence also the ever-increasing influence of the Church amongst its own people.

In standing strongly and clearly for a Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec, who should be formally recognized by the British Government, the Church had stood for the recognition of Catholic supremacy within French Canada. It was a difficult thing for the British authorities, representing an Established Church of England antagonistic to the Church of Rome, to place a Roman Catholic Bishop in Quebec upon equality with, and in practice superior to, the Bishop of its own Church in that Province. Eventually it was done and the fact bound the French people more closely to their Church than might otherwise have been possible. From that time up to the present the Church has kept itself steadily in touch with the race; religion and patriotism of a local and racial character have developed hand in hand; as the country grew and its responsibilities enlarged this patriotism also took a wider range, though perhaps naturally, not in the form and shape which those outside of the Church, and the race, might have desired. The difficulty faced in that century by the Catholics of England was the arousing of a certain form of local patriotism against the control of the Church by an outside authority; in Quebec the influence of that outside authority was made an intimate part of the patriotism of a race.

Internal difficulties were unavoidable. Differences have occurred between the Church and legislators either at Quebec or Ottawa; differences between powerful institutions and the Church authorities such as those connected with Laval University; differences even between Ultramontane Bishops or priests and the more moderate school; differences between the Church in its relation to the State and the aggressive ideals of modern Liberalism; differences with the civil power over burial and marriage in such instances as the Guibord case or the more recent Hébert marriage. Most of these difficulties were met eventually by appeals to Rome and the solidity of the religious feeling of the people, their sense of allegiance to the Church, was seen in the submission which followed to the decision rendered. In most cases, also, the policy of the Bishops was sustained and their influence with the people correspondingly strengthened. The Papal authorities do not seem to have been subject in this respect to the weakness which destroyed the prestige of the Colonial Office in British Colonies during the first half of the nineteenth century when instructions were given today and rescinded tomorrow, a Governor sent out with a definite policy in one year and the Governor and policy changed in the next year, or perhaps the policy altered without even consulting the Governor!

It is to the skilful commingling of these elements of religious authority, racial ties, and moral supremacy—backed by a succession of devoted, kindly, high-living priests—that the Church has been able to carry its polity and policy beyond the bounds of Quebec into the distant regions and diverse communities where at least a million French Canadians have gone in the last twenty-five years. The parish system has gone with the people, the parish curé has carried his administrations and intimate knowledge of his people into the new environment, the Church control of education has accompanied the parish system. Hence it is that in New England manufacturing centers, in Eastern Ontario counties, in the districts of New Ontario where mines and woods and fishing and shooting attract the habitant, in the villages of Dakota or amid the growing prosperity of Manitoba, in the fruitful lands of Saskatchewan or in the cattle ranges of Alberta, the Church still stays with its people, still exercises its authority, still aids its people in their work or, perhaps, gently directs them back to their old homes by the St. Lawrence. Incidentally, the Church organization has in recent years gone further in a paternal direction, and there is no reason to doubt, as conditions have arisen which make the English-speaking settlers or farmers of the one-time English region called the Eastern Townships of Quebec abandon or sell their properties, the Church has stepped in and helped the Catholic habitants or farmers to obtain possession. In New Ontario and Eastern Ontario, and elsewhere, similar developments are taking place from time to time.

Passing from general conditions and development to local conditions in Quebec, a word must be said as to the administration of Church affairs in that Province. The first point that occurs to the outside observer is the paternal, intimate, family character of the relationship between the Church and the people. It dates, no doubt, from the time when tiny settlements and isolated communities depended upon the occasional missionary priest for what was to them the essential elements of religion. The black-robed figure bringing vessels for the celebration of the Mass, the giving of Communion, the baptism of infants, or perchance the final sacraments to the dying, was a venerated and valued personality. As time went on and the scattered settlements grew into a diocese, the parochial visit of the Bishop was one of the great events of, perhaps, a two or three-year period. With him came the authority of the Pope, in him rested the supreme decision of the Church in matters religious and moral, around him was such pomp or ceremonial as conditions permitted. The people knelt as his procession passed, they went at once to the church and received benediction, confirmations and communion and religious instruction followed, everything was inspected and grievances adjusted, complaints were listened to and peace brought to all the interests concerned—even the most trivial.

Meanwhile, after the parish had been formed, the curé was always there—unlike the Protestant minister who may be in charge of his people today and a thousand miles away in a week. Probably for a lifetime, so long, at any rate, as his strength permitted, the priest was with them—helping in their ambitions, whether parochial or personal, aiding in their trials, and sharing in their simple pleasures. The building of a church, the maintenance of French Canadian love for genealogy through the bare records of the church registers, the keeping, in olden days, of the habitant’s savings, the blessing given at his birth, his marriage and his death, the providing even of innocent amusements and recreations, the directing of his social life—all these and many more things formed and still form, in the main, the work of the parish priest. Naturally very much of this parish life turned upon the church building and the first essential was, and is, the construction of one suited to the wealth, or otherwise, of the parish and to the wishes of its people.

In this respect there has been a certain acceptance by the Church authorities of democratic instincts. As in very many rural districts everyone belongs to the Church there is less difficulty in carrying out a set plan than might be expected. A majority of the rate-payers intimate by petition to the Bishop what is desired—a church, a curé’s residence or a school. If after ten days’ public notice there is no objection submitted the decision to build is announced by a board of commissioners and the parochial rate-payers meet and vote the necessary money. Trustees are then appointed to collect the funds and the assessment becomes a first and legal charge upon the land. The procedure is usually clear, precise and business-like. Boiled down, of course, the whole matter means that the curé gets whatever he wants, but he gets it through the expressed will of his people.

The curé, himself, has an independent income from tithes—one twenty-sixth of all the cereals produced by his parishioners—and this runs from $600 a year to double that amount. Though Provincial law enforces this contribution, it is very rare, indeed, for a curé to resort to legal methods for collection. Of course, his income is affected by agricultural changes; if, for instance, the habitant takes to dairy produce, which the curé often encourages him to do, there is no tithe coming from that source. He receives a portion of the offerings in connection with masses and a part of the fees for wedding ceremonies or for baptisms. But these matters do not seem to trouble the curé as they do Protestant clergymen—probably because he has no family to maintain. He goes his way quietly, one in feeling and aim with his people, respectfully saluted by everyone as he passes, a source of appeal for every charitable need, the help of everybody in the way of advice and comfort—apart altogether from the confessional and its intimate confidences.

It is now the great ambition of the habitant to have one member of his large family in Holy Orders. This desire was, and is, naturally encouraged by the Church and the old couple who are present at the ceremonial induction of a son into the priesthood, are given a place of honor, are accorded the congratulations of the parish, and feel that a great ambition of their lives has been realized. This condition relieved the Church of a serious problem which existed in early days when the population was small. The British Government was then in deadly and vital conflict with France and naturally frowned upon the importation of priests from that country while Irish priests could not speak the language. The French Revolution, however, brought many priests of the emigré class to Quebec and these, of course, were quite satisfactory to Britain. Then there gradually developed the situation of today and there is now no difficulty in the matter; moreover many French priests are flocking into the country as a result of political changes in France.

As to public matters the Church in rural districts wields much authority. A churchwarden is yearly elected in each parish by majority vote and exercises considerable influence; the Municipal Council which looks after the highways, liquor licenses, etc., has several members—not all—elected yearly; the School Board also has its Commissioners chosen annually. Voting is open and upon matters associated with morals the Church, of course, uses its influence with effect. A large number of parishes—the rural parish, municipality and school district are usually coterminous—have no licensed drinking places. Of all minor positions that of churchwarden is most valued and most sought after. Elections to Parliament and the Legislature involve wider problems which will be considered elsewhere.

As to the Church outside of Quebec, its modern position is well illustrated by St. Boniface in Manitoba; from which during nearly a century strenuous and successful missionary effort was spread as far as the Pacific Coast. Almost a suburb of Winnipeg, prosperous in condition, French Canadian in population, Catholic in faith, it has large and imposing religious buildings and institutions; an Archbishop, in Mgr. Langevin, who more or less dominates the situation in Western Canada so far as it is effected by the votes and views of his people; and an influence in respect to Separate Schools and bi-lingual education which is not confined to Manitoba. The first church on the site of the present handsome Cathedral was built in 1818 through the efforts of Bishop (then Father) Provencher on land obtained for him by Lord Selkirk. In 1820 a new Cathedral church replaced this and about 1840 the existing structure was completed. It was of this pioneer church that Whittier sang in “The Red River Voyageur”:

The voyageur smiles as he listens

  To the sound that grows apace;

Well he knows the vesper ringing

  Of the bells of St. Boniface.


Bells of the Roman Mission

  That call from their turrets twain,

To the boatmen on the River,

  To the hunter on the plain!

Such is a brief picture of the Roman Catholic Church—especially as it appears in Quebec. Its present-day power is very great; just how much so it is difficult to say. Clerical control and censorship of theaters and newspapers and books is admitted. Of dealings with theaters the Théàtre des Nouveautés in Montreal is an illustration and of journals the fate of Les Débats, Le Combat, L’Action, Le Canada Revue and, within the past year, Le Pays is abundant evidence. Books and similar publications are more difficult to deal with, but it is probable that many a work of questionable character has in recent years fallen to the ground at Montreal or Quebec because of the Church’s position—those of Balzac and de Musset are cases in point. Its attitude towards education and its power in that connection need no comment here. The Church in its relation to politics is a wide and attractive subject; probably its influence is greatest when least seen or discussed. It has enemies at home and abroad, critics within the fold and without, able followers who are by no means devoted adherents. It has priests who are as ready today as their predecessors were, three centuries ago, to sacrifice their lives for the faith; it has enthusiasms restrained and unrestrained within its ranks as great as any shown in the past; it has immense wealth and the prestige of a record which has been, in Canada, one of statesmanship amongst those who had charge of its interests as an organization, blameless lives lived by those who ruled its destinies before the people, kindliness of heart and self-sacrifice in action amongst those who held the humbler parish positions. So long as these conditions are maintained, coupled with close racial and religious affiliations which yet do not dangerously antagonize other races in the country as a whole, there is no force apparent today which can undermine the power of the Church in French Canada.

Religious Traditions, Folk-Lore and Ballads

The period in which French Canada evolved its faith and traditions and habits of thought was an age of intense reverence for things spiritual, of the fullest belief in supernatural intervention, of the deepest confidence in prayer and the answer to prayer. On the other hand, it was, also, an age of growing scepticism amongst the learned and so-called scientific minds, a period when the intellectual predominance of Voltaire, Rousseau and their school was, in France, especially manifest; a time when Protestantism, or the gospel of dissent from Roman Catholicism, was widespread and growing. It so happened that New France became a product of the former line of development and the whole thought of its peasants, the folk-lore of its people, their traditions and fancies, became more or less permeated with religious incident.

Hence the fact that when prayers were said in some great public matter and destiny proved to be on the side of the French there was not the least question as to the direct intervention of Providence. For instance, when, in 1711, prayers were said in church and home, by priest and peasant alike, for a rescue from Hovenden Walker’s great fleet—a rescue which seemed impossible because of weak defences and inadequate soldiery at Quebec—the wreck of the English ships in the St. Lawrence, the loss of a thousand men, and the consequent return home of the fleet were considered to be a positive and obvious result of miraculous intervention. The event was celebrated in the special dedication of two churches and in public ceremonies and thanksgivings. Hence it was that, in the spirit of the old-time Puritan as well as of the Catholic enthusiast, when a Jesuit priest in the hands of savages prayed that the cup might pass from him and some event did occur to save him, it was accepted and so recorded in the Jesuit Relations as a direct, spiritual, and supernatural intervention.

Belief in the answer to prayer was an inherent quality of faith and religion in the wilds of New France and, as time went on, it naturally permeated the life of the habitant, the homes and haunts of the people, the teachings of the Church’s religious orders. It was not belief in a mere answer through the ordinary operations of nature, which appears to be the average faith of today in many Christian circles, but it was an expectation of direct and supernatural action by Divine or saintly power. As an illustration, Father Chaumonot may be quoted when he tells of an Indian warrior rushing at him like a madman, drawing his bow, and aiming an arrow at the priest. “I looked at him fixedly,” writes the Jesuit, “and commended myself in full confidence to St. Michael and, without doubt, the great Archangel saved us; for almost immediately the fury of the warrior was appeased and the rest of our enemies began to listen to the explanation we gave them of our visit to their country.”

To these priests visions came frequently, as they had come in far-away France to many of the self-sacrificing founders of institutions or missions in New France. They were visions of the Cross, on high in the heavens, leading onward to some great spiritual success or warning the coming martyr of his final sacrifice for Christ and the cause. Divine power and saintly support were constantly with these missionaries. The ordinary cures of sickness or the workings of nature might be good, might even be effective, but they relied still more on prayer and supernatural action. The efficacy of relics of departed saints was a vital element of their faith as it is of the habitant’s belief today. Signs and voices from the other world were frequent; those from Hell assuming the form of demons disguised as bears, wolves, or wildcats; angels frequently appeared and comforted them while Father de Brébeuf in 1640 saw a great Cross in the skies approaching from the Iroquois country.

Of definite miracles alleged to have occurred and which have been handed down from generation to generation, there are many. For instance, Père Le Maistre, one of the devoted seminary priests of early days, was (August 29, 1661) with some harvesters in the fields outside of Montreal when the Iroquois sprang upon him from ambush. He had only time to call out to his men to run when the savages cut off his head and carried it away in a handkerchief. According to the accounts of that period the features remained imprinted on the handkerchief which looked, on the upper side, “like a very fine white wax which bore the face of the servant of God.” So terrified were the Indians that they gave the handkerchief to the English, while the Indian (Hoondoroen) who committed the actual crime was converted and died years afterwards at the Seminary of St. Sulpice.

Parkman tells another story of Jean St. Père, a notary, who, after his head was cut off (1657) by the Iroquois, talked to them through the skull and condemned them for their action. The foundation of Montreal was preceded by a miraculous meeting between Olier and De la Dauversière; to Jeanne Mance in far-away France came a vision in which the shores of the island and the site of the Ville Marie of the future were clearly shown. After the Abbé Olier’s death his heart was kept by the Seminary of St. Sulpice at Paris in a leaden box and, on one occasion, Mlle. Mance being in France on a pilgrimage, resulting from a dislocated arm which had never healed, resolved to try the miraculous efficacy of the relic. According to Parkman its touch upon her arm restored the instant use of the limb so that she could even write with that hand. Similar incidents and tales of miraculous action might be greatly enlarged upon; what has been said is sufficient to indicate the deep religious basis of the habitant’s life and customs; a point accentuated by the crosses and crucifixes found on every roadway and by the place which the Church holds in almost every rural home. Typical of this feeling are the story and song of Cadieux, the brave woodsman, voyageur and interpreter of early Indian days. It is heard everywhere and his tomb on the banks of the Ottawa, near Portage du Fort, tells the tale of an escape from Iroquois raiders only to wander insanely and alone in the woods until exhaustion and starvation came and he made a narrow grave, laid himself in it, spread green branches over his body and died. His lament or message is sung in part as follows:

Oh nightingale! go tell my mistress true,

My little ones, I leave them my adieux,

That I have kept my love and honour free

And they henceforth must hope no more of me.


Here, then, it is the world abandons me—

But I have help, Saviour of Man, in Thee.

Most Holy Virgin, do not from me fly!

Within your arms, oh suffer me to die!

Passing from these elements lying at the root of the peasants’ character in Quebec, it may be said that none the less, or perhaps all the more, is Jean Baptiste a jolly, care-free, happy fellow. He accepts whole-heartedly the dreams and visions and miracles of the past, the supernatural manifestations of the present, the spiritual things which he is taught as to the future. But he does not take them too seriously, or rather he often puts his religion in one compartment of his life and his not very reprehensible amusements or pleasures in another; in many cases he combines the two as in his Christmas fêtes, the Paques or Easter holidays, La Toussaint or All Saints’ Day and other festivals. His poetry, his songs, his stories and his fiddle reign supreme on these occasions with much of his old-world racial instinct and character coming uppermost for the moment:

The Frenchman, easy, debonaire and brisk,

Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,

Is always happy, reign whoever may,

And laughs the sense of mis’ry far away.

Things comprising the folk-lore of a people—the traditions, fancies, stories and proverbs, the quaint customs, ballads and songs of a race—are always interesting and in recent years have become increasingly important to the adequate study of popular conditions and public development. The French Canadian folk-lore is not as deeply mystical as that of the German nor does it revel in mythological conditions such as those loved by the ancient Greek. It has an element of lightness in it balanced by a sadness born of religious expression; it does to some extent people the air and the earth and the water with gnomes and goblins though they take, more especially, the form of ghosts and apparitions; while, as already stated, supernatural intervention is frequent and is accepted as a matter of course.

Scene on the Metabetchouan River in Quebec

Many of the customs, beliefs and superstitions lingering amongst the habitants and fishermen had their origin in Old France; many others have arisen from historic association with the Indians. For instance, amongst those dwelling on the shores of the lower St. Lawrence many think that a tune played on some musical instrument or sung in the evening when the air is calm causes the Marionettes, or Northern Lights, to dance freely and beautifully in the sky. If, however, any luckless wight should become fascinated by the dancing movements of these golden threads of light and should attempt to join in the mazes of the dance he will be found next day stiff and stark on the shore! The French Canadian half-breeds in the Northwest believe, or did believe at one time, that it is possible to attract these Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, in the same way as they would the spirits of the air, by whistling for them, while they also believe that the lights can be frightened away by firing a gun. The belief apparently had its origin amongst the Crees and the Algonquins—the former styling the phenomena “the Spirits’ Dance.”

Will-o’-the-wisps, or jeux-follets, have all sorts of traditions attached to them; many habitants considering them sorcerers, or malignant spirits, others looking upon them as the transitory spirits of those who have been condemned to eternal punishment. J. C. Taché, in his Forestiers et Voyageurs, tells the story of a deep hole at the lower end of the Isle-aux-Corneilles, in the St. Lawrence, which remains full of water at low tide and over which there floats a strange light that suddenly disappears, mystifies the beholder, returns again, and sometimes lures the unwary to death. Similarly, in a certain part of the Baie des Chaleurs, there is said to exist a strange light or fire which, after burning for a time, disappears in a display of innumerable colored sparks. Some old Acadians along those shores believe that the lights first appeared after the removal of their people by the English and that they are flames tormenting those who were responsible for that action:

Who has not heard of the phantom light

That over the moaning waves at night

Dances and drifts in endless play?

Close to the shore, then far away,

Fierce as the flame in sunset skies,

Cold as the winter light that lies

    On the Baie des Chaleurs.

A legend is recorded of the same region by M. Faucher de Saint Maurice. At the very end of the Bay there is seen, at times, a luminous point flitting to and fro; in the belief of the local fishermen this marks a spot where some mariners named Roussi perished in a storm; the tradition adds that the light conveys to passers-by a desire for prayers on behalf of the souls of those lost. A similar belief exists on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence, in the vicinity of the Isle d’Orléans, where the habitants think that wandering lights, or will-o’-the-wisps, are evil spirits luring unfortunate victims to death. De Gaspé, in Les Anciens Canadiens, makes one of his characters tell the story of his own father’s experience who, usually, “like an honest man, loved his drop,” but was on this particular occasion quite sober. He was on his way home at a late hour when, suddenly, “it seemed to him as if the Isle d’Orléans was on fire. He stared with all his might and saw at last that the flames were dancing up and down the shore as if all the will-o’-the-wisps, all the damned souls of Canada, were gathered there to hold the witches’ sabbath. Then he saw a curious sight; you would have said they were a kind of men, a queer breed altogether. They had a head big as a peck measure topped off with a pointed cap a yard long; then they had arms, legs, feet and hands armed with long claws, but no body to speak of.” After further description Jules’ father quotes the following lines as being sung by the goblins for his personal benefit:

Come, my frisky Traveller’s Guide,

Devil’s minion, true and tried,

Come, my sucking-pig, my Simple

Brother Wart and Brother Pimple!

Here’s a fat and juicy Frenchman

To be pickled, to be fried.

In French Canadian tales and legends the loup-garou of France survives, but with additions born of the wilderness and of Indian superstitions. The Rev. Armand Parent, of Oka, describes a belief amongst the habitants that if a person neglects partaking of the Sacrament for seven years he will turn into a lougaroux, a sort of shapeless animal without head or limbs, and will so remain until some good friend kills this creature when the man once more appears. De Gaspé is authority for the story that a habitant says ouvrez or, open the door, instead of entrez or, come in, because once upon a time a young woman used the word entrez in response to a knock and the devil entered and took possession of her. Now and then one finds the belief that the spirit of evil appears in the form of an immense black cat darting fire from his eyes and making a terrible noise.

There are many similar fancies found here and there and not necessarily general, or widespread, because they are mentioned. La main de gloire, the dried hand of a man who has been hanged, will, it is thought, enable anyone who carries it to go anywhere he may wish to. Le chandelle magique is a candle composed of the fat of such a hand melted into a taper and enabling the holder to discover treasure at the spot where the lighted candle may go out. A story is told of a habitant (many similar ones pass current) who, passing the body of a dead criminal hanging in a cage, out of bravado invited him to supper that evening; greatly to the astonishment of himself and his friends the dead man duly appeared, carrying his cage. The intruder would only leave upon the promise of his unappreciative host that he would, the next night at 12 o’clock, dance at the foot of the gibbet to which the cage had been hung. Accompanied by his friends, reciting their chapelets, the village curé and a newly baptized infant, the man appeared at the hour promised and was let off with reproaches for not coming alone and an expressed hope that the incident might prove a salutary lesson.

Of traditions or stories based upon the supernatural, that of Rose Latulippe is one of the best known. She was a handsome girl, very gay and coquettish, fond of flirtation and passionately fond of dancing. On the festive occasion of Shrove Tuesday she went with her betrothed to a dance when, about eleven o’clock, a vehicle stopped at the door of the house and those who looked out of the window saw, before anything else, a wonderful black horse with fire in his eyes and fire in his motions. The newcomer, who got out of the vehicle, was a stranger clad in a splendid racoon-fur coat, and under it a suit of black velvet richly braided. He asked permission to keep on his fur cap and gloves, took a drink of brandy and then, inviting pretty Rose for a dance, stayed with her to the end of the evening despite the anger of her lover and a warning from an old dame in a neighboring room, that every time in her prayers she used the names of Jesus or Mary the stranger turned and glared at her. When twelve o’clock came—the hour to cease dancing so as not to infringe upon Ash Wednesday—the stranger asked for one more dance and, when it was over, tried to persuade Rose to accept a necklace of pearls in place of the glass beads around her neck to which were attached a tiny cross. Mrs. J. W. F. Harrison tells the end of the legend in the following verses:

“You are mine,” says the stranger. “From to-night.

Dance, dance, little Rose, a word in your ear,

You are dancing with Lucifer, what dost fear?”

The Curé! the Curé! He takes it all in

From Rose in her peril of horrible sin

To Mother Marinette and the aged Seigneur,

The whispering girls and the dazed voyageur,

And, breathing a hurried and silent prayer,

And making the sign of the Cross in the air

And saying aloud, “The Church hath power

To save her children in such an hour,”

He taketh the maiden by both her hands,

Whilst Lucifer dark and discomfited stands.

Snorting and stamping in fiendish ire,

He gains his steed with the eyes of fire,

Who gives one loud and terrible neigh

And then in the darkness thunders away.

It is a natural ending, under such circumstances, for the terror-stricken and repentant girl to enter a convent and become a nun. There is a similar tradition in Germany, where, however, the ghost of the fair maid awaits the time when some Christian shall dance with it and remove the spell. Another Mardi Gras legend is that of an ancient and pious settlement on the St. Lawrence, where, on a certain Shrove Tuesday, a stranger riding on a fast, coal-black trotter proposed to the habitants that they should take possession of a deserted manor in the neighborhood, borrow a fiddle which he would play, and invite the village maidens to a dance. The jollification commenced with the smoking of plenty of strong French Canadian tobacco, the drinking of Sangree—a sort of mulled wine—and continued with intermittent dancing until midnight, when, according to all church rules and local precedents, the party should have broken up. But the fiddler would have none of such rules, wilder and still wilder dances were played and indulged in until the lights grew dim and the dancers had disappeared with nothing visible but the red tuques on their heads—which were madly leaping up and down above the ground and their buried bodies!

The religious environment of these legends may be noted, as it is very general in French Canada. Sir J. M. Le Moine tells the story of a light being seen at midnight in a little church on Isle Dupas, near Montreal, with an apparently phantom priest standing motionless at the altar. Finally a parishioner, braver than the others, volunteered to stay one night in the church. Presently, the priest appeared in his soutane, went through the preparations for celebrating Mass, retired and assumed his sacerdotal garb and then returned, bearing the chalice. Mass was then said, the habitant helping in the service, repeating the responses and escorting the priest to the Sacristié, where he turned and said: “For three years I have come here every night to say a Mass I once said too hastily. I was condemned to do so every night until I should find here a person to serve the Mass. I thank you; my penance is ended.” The phantom then vanished.

The legends of the St. Maurice Forges—mining properties and works of very great age on the river of the same name—are typical of the ideas illustrated in the Rose Latulippe story. A quarrel over certain lands having arisen between Hon. Matthew Bell, owner of the Forges, and Madame Poulin of Three Rivers, the latter said in a moment of anger one day: “Since I cannot prevent others from unjustly appropriating my property, I bequeath it all to the Devil.” Shortly after she died, repeating the same statement with the declaration that those who had wronged her would not enjoy in peace what they had taken. Then came all kinds of rumors in the neighborhood—all kinds of ghostly incidents. Four men were seen carrying a coffin into the woods—it must be the devil taking Madame Poulin to hell! A man stalked the heights every day with a paper in his hands—it must be the devil checking his accounts! At midnight a great fire became daily noticeable on the hill which had been bequeathed to Satan and weird figures with clanking chains were seen while howls of mingled laughter and rage were heard followed by blasphemous utterances. All kinds of other stories of this hill—still called Vente-au-Diable—and of the Forges themselves were told, but these will suffice here.

Tadousac Bay, Entrance to the Famous Saguenay River

Of the first wooden Church of St. Augustine, built two centuries or so ago on the Jacques Cartier River, there is the tradition that a stranger came to the meeting which was called to deal with its construction and forcibly opposed the placing of a cross upon the steeple as being too expensive. He was a swarthy fellow, recently from Paris, and had ridden to the meeting on a coal-black, fiery Norman roadster, very restless and held by a spiked double bridle. Finally, when the cross was omitted the stranger offered to cart all the stone required in building at his own expense, and as construction proceeded it was noted that the horse did not seem to mind how huge or how heavy were the boulders he drew to the place of operations. One day the beadle of the future church led the horse to a well and though it was known that its bridle was never taken off he proceeded to do so, when, behold! the horse disappeared in a cloud of blue flame and sulphurous smoke. The exquisite satire of using the devil to build a church is obvious and indicates the keen sense of humor which the habitant undoubtedly possesses.

All the way down the St. Lawrence, out into the Bay, and even along the shores of the Acadia of old are to be heard superstitious stories, incidents of ghostly character which date from the long ago. Near Isle-aux-Coudres is a small island called Seal Rocks and on it, according to tradition, a young man named Chatigny was abandoned to starvation by a jealous comrade. Since then the place is supposed to be haunted by spirits whose cries and moans, however, may be accounted for by the cries of young seals and the groanings of the winds. The weird and melancholy tale told by Abbé H. R. Casgrain, in his volume of Canadian Legends, regarding the witch of the St. Lawrence, is of striking interest and great length. Reduced to brief outlines, it describes Le Canotier, an Indian canoeman, leaving Quebec one night two centuries ago with a stately, beautifully attired young woman and a boy of about nine—her son. The lady’s husband, M. Houel, had suffered a serious accident and, despite rumors of Iroquois being near and stories of remorseless raids elsewhere, she was now seeking him. The boy, who had been sleeping, awoke suddenly in the night, saying that he saw a woman in white walking on the water. Le Canotier explained an Indian belief that children see further into the supernatural world than adults and declared that this vision implied the neighborhood of the dreaded Iroquois witch Matshi Skoueow, a powerful enchantress with a personality of horror.

The story ends in the capture of Mme. Houel and her son by the Iroquois with the ultimate slaughter of the woman and the preservation of the boy, who is rescued many years later by Le Canotier. The center of the picture, the theme of the story told by one French Canadian to another over the campfire, is the awful figure of Matshi Skoueow gloating over a victim’s tortures, inventing new methods of suffering, urging on the tormentors. Very general amongst the habitants is the tale of a fantastic and fearsome boat, akin perhaps to the Black Huntsman of other lands, which is called the Chasse-Galérie; and goes flying through the air with the speed of an arrow; which is manned by a dozen red-coated figures, “paddling like damnation,” as a rural story-teller once told Fréchette the poet; and which has the Devil in the stern, leading in chorus with a song and a voice which strike terror to the heart of the hearer. Drummond depicts it thus:

But I know on de way Canoe she go, dat de crowd must be dead man,

Was come from the Grande Rivière du Nord, come from Saskatchewan.

Come too from all de place is lie on de Hodson Bay Contree.

An’ de ting I was see me dat New Year night is le phantome Chasse Gal’rie.

The country around Tadousac is replete with legends and the place itself furnished W. H. H. Murray with the Indian story upon which he based his sensational Doom of the Mamelons. It was from here that the news of the death of Father de la Brosse, a devoted missionary who passed away in 1782, was wafted by supernatural means to Father Compain in the Isle-aux-Coudres, out in the St. Lawrence—the bells on the Island being tolled by mysterious hands at the very hour of his death. There are traditions of a mansion built at Charlottetown, P. E. I.—then known as Isle St. Jean—over the graves where lay the remains of French soldiers killed when in charge of local forts. The story is that the new occupants could not sleep at night for the tap of muffled drums in the cellar, the sound of marching feet, the clash of grounding arms. These lasted until the local clergyman took to visiting the cellar and trying to find out the cause.

Many curious things are told of Louis Olivier Gamache, the so-called Wizard of Anticosti, but they were based upon his aversion to the society of his fellow-men. There are several rivers running into the St. Lawrence, famous for ghost stories—the voices of a troubled spirit, the soul of a shipwrecked mariner, the voices of weary, tortured murderers! The Isle of Miscou, in the Baie des Chaleurs, was the supposed home of uncanny, unlovely forms—including a female devil. From the Mal-Baie region come habitant stories of horses scared by awful screams at Douglastown Portage—horses which they say can, at night, see things hidden from men. On Deadman’s Island, one of the Magdalen group, rests the legend told by Moore:

To Deadman’s Isle in the eye of the blast,

To Deadman’s Isle she speeds her fast.

By skeleton shapes her sails are furled

And the hand that steers is not of this world.

The stories told by the habitants are masterpieces of exaggeration and mixtures of the supernatural, the fanciful, the practical and the religious. A type of the exaggerated tale is told by W. P. Greenough, an American dweller in Arcady—otherwise rural Quebec—for some seasons. It is supposed to be narrated by Nazaire, a guide and hunter, whom Mr. Greenough employed. There was once upon a time a very famous hunter named Dalbec of Ste. Anne. He was on his way home when he saw a fox on the other side of a little round lake. Just as he raised his gun to fire six ducks came flying out from the bushes near him. He was not sure at first which he would try to shoot—the fox or the ducks—but decided finally to try for both. “Placing the barrel of his long gun between two trees, he bent it into a quarter of a circle, fired at the ducks, killed them all, killed the fox also, and the bullet came back and broke the leg of the dog that was standing by him.” Dalbec was a real personage and a great story-teller as well as a mighty hunter. A favorite amusement with him was to get another hunter and rival in his art, gather a crowd of habitants around them after Vespers on Sunday, and then compete with each other by the hour in telling the most amazing yarns with mutual interjection of approving remarks or exclamations.

One more story of the kind that would thus be tossed to and fro may be given. Dalbec had expended his ammunition and was returning home one day when he saw a flock of wild ducks swimming about among some timbers. He waded out in the water, got hold of one duck after another by the legs and fastened them to his belt till he had a dozen or so when, suddenly, he found himself raised in the air and carried off up the St. Lawrence with a strong gale blowing and helping him on his journey. “Just as he passed the church at Ste. Anne he heard the first bell of the Mass sound and he wished he had stayed at home instead of going shooting. At the rate he was going he had not much time to think, but presently he realized that something must be done. He reached down and twisted the neck of one of the ducks. That let him down a little; then he twisted the neck of another. So he kept on until, when he had twisted all, he found himself dropped on the ground in front of the church at Sorel and heard the second bell of the Mass. He had been carried seventy-five miles up the river in just half an hour!”

Some of these stories take hours to tell; some occupy two evenings in narration. They are often fairy tales with a youthful prince and a beautiful princess as the central figures. A curious mixture of the modern and the allegorical and the fabulous is not the least interesting phase of these fairy stories. For instance, Petit Jean, the deliverer of a princess, will find in the enchanted palace a table spread with what the habitant loves to eat—boiled pork, sausages, etc., while the liquors accompanying the viands are whiskey and the best old Jamaica rum. In another and finer part of the building will be a table furnished with all these things and also black puddings, wines and French brandies; in the stables are horses, carriages and “a beautiful little buggy.” There is a traditional giant and Petit Jean shoots his nose off and sticks it on again with a piece of sticking plaster! And so the story goes on from one ridiculous or amusing incident to another.

Coming to the folk-lore of the people as expressed in songs, ballads, or Chansons Canadiennes, nothing can be said without consulting Ernest Gagnon’s volume of collections in that respect. He embodies in his pages the condition which means so much to the life of a people—the songs they sing. To hear the French Canadian habitant singing in the woods his favorite sentimental ballad framed after the style of three or four hundred years ago; to note the lusty and cheerful way in which he chaunts the romaunt of which there are said to be very many more than the hundred or so described by M. Gagnon; to hear and to see him is to understand the difference between the habitant and his Ontario or American neighbor or his fellow-subject in the fields of the distant England. Imagine an English-speaking farmer or laborer returning from his day’s work, through the fields of the farm, or the streets of a village, caroling at the top of his voice some song or lilting rhyme of old England, of bonny Scotland, or even of the distressful Isle! The favorite of them all with the French Canadian is À La Claire Fontaine of which a couple of verses and the chorus follow:

Unto the crystal fountain

  For pleasure did I stray;

So fair I found the waters

  My limbs in them I lay.


Sing, nightingale, keep singing,

  Thou hast a heart so gay,

Thou hast a heart so merry

  While mine is sorrow’s prey.


For I have lost my Mistress

  Whom I did true obey,

All for a bunch of roses,

  Whereof I said her nay.


Long is it I have loved thee,

  Thee shall I love alway,

      My dearest;

Long is it I have loved thee,

  Thee shall I love alway.

The little boy imbibes these Chansons as he does more serious things such as canticles, psalms, hymns. He murmurs the words and lines as he walks, or works, or plays; they find a living place in his heart and memory. They should, however, be heard in all the unconscious melody of their environment when, by boy or man, they may be sung in the woods, by the side of a stream, or in some shady nook where the words and the music fit into the scene. When several are singing together the tunes are pitched high, and the voices are not always in unison; on canoe trips and around camp-fires are the occasions when they seem most delightful. A very popular song is the one of a snow-white drake shot by a prince:

The cruel ball has found its quest,

His golden bill sinks on his breast;


His golden bill sinks on his breast,

His plumes go floating East and West.


Far, far they’re borne to distant lands,

Till gathered by fair maidens’ hands;


Till gathered by fair maidens’ hands

And form at last a soldier’s bed.


And form at last a soldier’s bed,

    En roulant ma boulë.

Sweet refuge for the wanderer’s head,

    En roulant ma boulë.

The words of these Chansons, it may be added, afford little idea of the melody and charm which they have under natural conditions. Just a few lines may be quoted here, at random, from Malbrouck—a most popular and widely sung melody—in concluding a rambling study of things that lie below the surface so far as ordinary history or travelers’ experiences are concerned, yet which are really vital to any knowledge of a people’s position, the records of a race, or the real life of the often voiceless masses:

Malbrouck has gone a-fighting,

  Mironton, mironton, mirontaine.


Malbrouck has gone a-fighting

  But when will he return?


Monsieur Malbrouck is dead, alas!

  And buried too, for aye;


And at the corners of his tomb

  They planted rose-marie.


And from their tops the nightingale

  Rings out her carol free.

Pioneers and Patricians of Literature

It is an easy step from the ballads of a people—the instinctive, irresponsible expression of their thoughts and fancies and feelings—to the literature which still further embodies or describes their history, their opinions, their development. The one is really of the other; to write the songs of a nation, even in these commercial days, means much in evolving or cementing the patriotism of its people. The literature of French Canada is and has been a living, breathing entity, a factor in its creation and preservation, an element in the very lives of the people. It would not be difficult in any important collection of Canadian books to find several hundred volumes of history, poetry, belles-lettres, romance, travel, written by men and women whose names are practically unknown to the public outside of Quebec; who have spoken for and to a narrow audience growing in a century and a half from less than a hundred thousand to three millions; who have been hampered rather than helped by the vastness of their surroundings and by the richness of material opportunity on every hand.

Canada, even French Canada with all its superior brightness and lightness of thought, its facility of speech and inherited poetry of sentiment, its old-world traditions of literature, art and drama, has been influenced by the inevitable difficulties and requirements of pioneer days, the still greater material demands of the present. The peasant or habitant might have developed more singers of national thought in the form of poetry, more creators of national fiction, but he was immersed at first in the dangers of early settlement days, then in the struggles for political change, then in those great modern interests—the development of the land and the entry into factory and city life. The Seigneurial system promised much and a class which could produce a whole family of Le Moynes, which could present to its people a heroine such as Mlle. de Verchères, which could evolve such families as the Duchesnays, the De Lotbinières, the St. Ours, the Bouchers, the De Salaberrys and many more, might well have developed a great literature. It did not, however, have a fair chance, its opportunities were limited and confined, its development was never very complete as a class. The days of New France were, upon the whole, days of war; when peace came the change of allegiance, the reversal of patriotism, the transfer of so many families to France, the change from a government of autocracy and paternalism to one of modified and then slowly increasing liberty, were not conditions fitted for a creative literature. It was a time of transition when French Canadian patriotism was naturally unsettled and ill-defined. The people were neither British nor French nor Canadian; their institutions and ideals and patriotism were all in the melting-pot.

In the war-time, and first struggling period of French nationality in Canada, there was little writing of any kind except in the form of official reports and despatches to Paris from Governors, Intendants and Bishops or in that splendid series of letters by Jesuits to the head of their Order which now constitute seventy volumes of history and literature. The leaders of New France were very often cultivated in their tastes and would, in any case, have helped literature to flourish had there been men, or time, or openings for such a pursuit. Frontenac was fond of literature and all that it means; his wife, who, however, never came to Canada, was a friend of Mme. de Sevigné and other lights of France in that period; Mgr. de la Galissonnière was a savant who made his mark in other fields than government and politics and war; M. Dupuy, one of the Intendants, brought out a large library to Quebec; M. Boucher, Seigneur, founder of a family, Governor of Three Rivers, a soldier and a fighter, wrote a volume on natural history; Champlain himself was a man of science, an able writer, a real student of geography, navigation and nature; Jolliet, Nicollet, De la Vérendrye, were all educated men who based their explorations and described the results upon scientific lines; M. Talon, when Intendant, had investigations carried on over a wide range of country as to conditions and resources and it was done by men of science imported for the purpose; the Marquis de Beauharnois as Governor and M. Hocquart as Intendant, were fond of circulating and discussing the French literature of the period; poems were written at the Chateau St. Louis and circulated in manuscript for want of a printing press, but, in the main, are lost to us; the songs of Old France traveled everywhere, with the soldiers and fur traders and explorers and voyageurs, and helped undoubtedly to create and establish the merry spirit of the modern habitant.

All this did not, however, constitute a native literature, though it proved and voiced intellectual activity just as did much of the private correspondence of that period of which we get glimpses now and then. There were, however, the writings of the Church—something confidential, in a sense, yet seen by many in France and amongst the cultured circles of Rome. The letters of the Jesuit Fathers were literature in the finest sense; descriptions of actual events and incidents, products of intense suffering, of exalted feelings or, sometimes, of a poetic fire and force straight from the forge of nature’s mighty hammer. Pères Charlevoix and Lafitau were students in ethnology and botany as well as recorders of current history; Fathers Marquette and Dollier de Casson were writers as well as militant priests and explorers. This literature was, of course, confined to the men of monasteries, to the missionaries in the field, to the ecclesiastics who were founding and developing schools of religious learning; to the Seminary and Jesuit College of Quebec or the Sulpician Seminary of Montreal. It was essentially religious in its elements; it naturally did not touch the lighter and fanciful side of the French character; it lives in history, yet was hardly creative of a national literature in the fullest and widest sense.

It was, therefore, natural when the French Canadians settled down in 1800-1840, or thereabouts, to find themselves in a patriotic, political and national way and to use the printing press—which had been first utilized in the French publication of prayer-books and, in 1776, of a work called L’Adoration Perpetuelle—that the issue of pamphlets should be the initial development. The people had to deal with new and peculiar problems and relationships; they could not know what was going to be the outcome of existing conditions. A passive acquiescence in British rule, a sort of vague feeling that Great Britain had been generous, teachings by the Church of loyalty to existing conditions were not enough, in themselves, to form a basis for mental alertness or literary effort. The books in the Colony at this time were fairly numerous; it is estimated that in 1765 there were 60,000 of them, but they were held in private libraries and in the hands of cultured families who understood public affairs and discussed matters in the spirit of a Parisian Salon.

Two events, however, made a native literature possible and evoked the popular spirit out of which such a development comes. One was the publication in Europe (1771) of Delolme’s Constitution de l’Angleterre, a work evoked by the French Revolution and intended to describe the operation of the constitutional system of English government. It was a revelation to the Quebec politicians and out of it came an immense mass of subsequent controversial matter. The second event was the starting in Quebec of Le Canadien (1806) as a French weekly newspaper with a full programme of constitutional government for its initiatory proposal, keen and continuous controversy as its chief characteristic, brightness and wit in various excellent literary articles as a feature. From this time on, for several decades, there poured out of the press of French Canada a series of pamphlets and publications which dealt with myriad phases of party warfare, French and English relations in the province, self-government and political activity. Montreal started a number of transient periodicals of a literary and historical nature and writers came to the front there and in Quebec whose names are still cherished in French Canada—A. N. Morin, the Mondelets, F. X. Garneau, M. A. Plamondou, Jacques Labrie, Berthelet, Cauchon, the Dorions, Doutre, Etienne Parent, Raphael Bellemare, Gérin-Lajoie, G. B. Faribault and others.

Bread Oven, Cap a L’Aigle

Debating and literary societies were a feature of this period; the revival of literary activities in France found certain restricted echoes in Quebec. French Canadians had paid little attention to Corneille, Molière and the encylopædists of the latter end of the eighteenth century, but the younger spirits of 1830-40 listened to the voice of the charmer when it came through the brilliant writings of Lamartine, Victor Hugo and others. They were held in check by religious or Church influences, but a certain French vogue did touch the literary efforts of this period. Quesnel, Mermet and Bibaud produced poetry of a didactic and pastoral character; Real Angers, J. G. Barthe, J. E. Turcotte, Crémazie and Garneau came to the front with verse which rioted in wrath against existing conditions or limitations, revelled in a patriotism which wanted change and reform, and delighted at times in the expression of French ideas and radical ideals. Bibaud, Ferland, Faillon and Garneau embodied many of their ideals in historical works which, in turn, had a powerful influence upon public opinion—an effect enhanced by the re-appearance of Le Canadien for a short time in 1821 after a temporary submergence and again, more permanently, in 1831.

Of these pioneers and leaders in literature Octave Crémazie and F. X. Garneau were probably the patricians. The former was rich in rhetoric, strong in passionate appeal, instinct with the public sentiment and environment of his time. Whether in his Le Drapeau de Carillon, and many other poems, he did what an English Canadian writer has recently described as necessary for permanence in verse—keeping “essential human nature in harmony with universal art”—is a question which can be left to a still further posterity. There is no doubt that Crémazie embodied in permanent form much of the fleeting thought and fancy and passion of his hour; in doing so he was like Kipling in later days, of the people, in their spirit, and with their ideals. Apart from the writing of a Recessional or a Crossing the Bar, what more could he have desired?

Of François Xavier Garneau much might be said here and much has been written elsewhere. He, also, was of the French people and with the people and interpreted their feelings not only in powerful verse but in his Histoire du Canada—which is quite a different matter. As a consequence he is a great authority in Quebec regarding the contentious annals of a bitterly controversial period; he is to a considerable extent the representative of French Canadian opinion upon the past relations of English and French in that Province and of Great Britain and French Canada; his statue, unveiled by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, graces the Parliament grounds of the Ancient Capital while his praise echoes through the words of French librarians, journalists and authors. No student of French Canada can afford to neglect his pages and, perhaps, the opinion of one who is himself respected by everyone interested in the annals of Quebec—Benjamin Sulte—may well be quoted in this connection: “He is less passionate or partial than historians who have dealt with the subject before him; for instance he never hides the good doings of the British people upon this continent.” Of Garneau’s poetry, Sir J. M. Le Moine has said that much of it reminds one of Béranger and that it was marked by enduring loftiness of ideas and nobleness of sentiment.

Meantime there had been some development in the realm of fiction. Eugene L’Écuyer, P. J. O. Chauveau, P. A. de Gaspé, Patrice Lacombe, Joseph Doutre, Napoleon Bourassa, J. Talon Lésperance, and Antoine Gérin-Lajoie wrote novels dealing with French Canadian life and characteristics. Gérin-Lajoie in his Jean Rivard is described as carrying the palm for roman de mœurs in the Province of Quebec. Chauveau was of the best type of literary man produced by French Canada. Cultured in taste, kindly and broad-minded in character, moderate in opinion, a politician and educationalist as well as an author, he stands out distinctly as one of the patricians of Canadian literature in its highest sense. None of the volumes of these writers, or others touching the realm of fiction, however, were really historical in character. Despite a soil redolent of forest life, of Indian customs, of the venturesome deeds and unrecorded heroism pertaining to the pioneer life of the past, they do not seem to have been so inspired.

One can so well imagine heroes of a great historical novel, moving through its pages amid all the picturesque splendor of early French Canadian surroundings, with all the brilliant garb and bright conversation, the daily and hourly peril to their lives, the vivid background of mighty forests—sullen and gloomy in their depths or illumined by autumn winds into vast seas of golden color or flaming red. To look around and dream of the great continental wilderness which these tiny groups of men and women had undertaken to subdue; to think of the vast lakes or rivers stretching for thousands of miles in a primeval silence only broken by the stormy dash or peaceful ripple of their own waters; to picture the plumed casques and knightly armor of Europe, or the priestly robes and even the ecclesiastical vestments of a mighty Church in the shadow of savage camp-fires; to see men of courtly training, priests of mediæval polish, women of the cloister or of cultured homes, facing a pioneer life on the very shores of a sea of savagery; to carry the mind back into all this wonderful environment is to surely experience surprise that French Canadian literature is not, as a whole, steeped in the atmosphere which Sir Gilbert Parker, William Kirby and other English writers have so well portrayed. Joseph Marmette did, in his François de Bienville, touch this fascinating theme and took the times of Frontenac and the 1690 Siege of Quebec as the environment of his story. De Gaspé in his romance, Les Ancien Canadiens, produced a work of interest for its description of conditions in early days, as did Gérin-Lajoie in his novel dealing with La Tour and Nova Scotia life, but they were not of the school of historical fiction which Walter Scott originally made famous and which a host of modern followers have made attractive to the uttermost degree.

It was in poetry that French Canadians really excelled amid the fighting scenes of political and racial conflict and afterwards when full constitutional liberties were accorded and the people had burst the bonds of bureaucracy. The poetry of the two periods was different just as the two chief patriotic songs of French Canada were widely divergent. Sir George Étienne Cartier in youthful days of a rash, impetuous patriotism, which led him to share in the Rebellion of 1837, wrote in 1834 O Canada! Mon pays, Mes Amours. It was for long a popular air, but has been superseded by an O Canada! from the pen of Sir Adolphe Basile Routhier—lawyer and judge, author and historian, poet and orator—which has found popularity outside and beyond its native province and original language. Joseph Le Noir and Pamphile Le May were two poets of different periods who represented some of the best qualities in French Canadian verse.

It remained, however, for Louis Honoré Fréchette to bring the highest honors to French Canadian literature, to make its qualities widely known abroad, to win recognition from France in the laureateship of the Académie Française, and from Great Britain in a Companionship of St. Michael and St. George. M. Fréchette was in his day, and not very long ago, the acknowledged doyen of French Canadian literature. As Crémazie was a follower of Béranger so he was a passionate admirer of Victor Hugo. He was a champion of sentimental relations with France and at one time was doubtful of Canada being able to hold itself away from the United States; he was an adherent of the modern school of liberal thought and an assailant of British historical policy in French Canada; a believer, at the same time, in the general advantages of British rule in Canada and of the desirability of permanence in the British connection. The French Academy is the most conspicuous of all the literary organizations of Europe; its influence on French literature has been very great, conservative in character and favoring refinement of style rather than originality; its membership, “the Forty Immortals,” included in recent years such names as the Duc de Broglie, Emile Olivier, Sully-Prud’homme, Ludovic Halévy, Coppée, Sardou, Claretie, De Freycinet, Bourget, Theuriet, Hanotaux and Rostand.

In August, 1880, the Academy’s laurel crown, awarded for poetical excellence, was given to M. Fréchette for his two poems: Les Fleurs Boreales and Les Oiseaux de Neige. On October 13th, following, he was banqueted in Quebec by a representative gathering, with Mr. Justice Taschereau in the chair. The latter delivered a speech typical of cultured French Canadian oratory in which he referred to the French Academy as “the great interpreter and infallible judge of the difficulties, the beauties, and the genius of the French language,” and dealt with “Sacred France, Mother of Civilization,” and “Fairy Paris, Capital of the Muses.” In his address the French Poet Laureate was never more eloquent and revealed the poetic feelings of his heart toward Old Quebec: “When my tent of exile shook in the winds from off the great Western Lakes or slept on the bowery shore of Louisianian streams; when my traveler’s skiff was rocked in the waters of the southern gulfs or was reflected on the blue waves of the Loire; when I had before me the wild majesty of Niagara, the immensity of the ocean, or when filled with admiration I paused to gaze upon the stupendous monuments of the Old World; my thoughts ever instinctively flew back to the old City of Champlain, unparalleled in the world for the picturesque splendor of its site and the poetry which no less issues from the very stones of the fortress than it lingers upon every page of its history.” M. Fréchette referred also to his youthful days of struggle, to the poverty which was then, in Canada, the inevitable accompaniment of literature. Applicable to his and to many another in the life of Quebec and of all Canada were Macaulay’s beautiful lines describing an infant over whom the Faery Queen was supposed to cast a mantle of literary life and literary joys:

“Yes, darling; let them go,” so ran the strain:

  “Yes, let them go, gain fashion, pleasure, power,

And all the busy elves to whose domain

  Belongs the nether sphere, the fleeting hour.


Without one envious sigh, one anxious scheme,

  The nether sphere, the fleeting hour assign.

Mine is the world of thought, the world of dream,

  Mine all the past and all the future mine.


Of the fair brotherhood who share my grace,

  I from thy natal day pronounce thee free;

And if for some I keep a nobler place,

  I keep for none a happier than for thee.”

There are many more French Canadian names which deserve a place in any future pantheon of fame. Between 1820 and the close of the century there were two hundred writers who had each done something worthy of note in prose or verse. Some families, such as those of Barthe, Provencher, Gelinas, Doutre, Fréchette, Boucher, Garneau and Gagnon, had each produced two or three writers; some of the more prominent authors, such as L. H. Fréchette, Sir J. M. Le Moine, P. J. O. Chauveau, N. E. Duinne, F. G. Marchand, had produced excellent work in English as well as in French; priestly students of the Church were conspicuous in historical studies, as might have been expected, and Abbé H. A. Verreau, Abbé H. R. Casgrain, Abbé Cyprien Tanguay, Abbé L. B. Bois, Abbé C. Guay, Mgr. Henri Têtu, Abbé G. Dugas, Abbé A. H. Gosselin, Abbé J. Camille Roy, published volumes of marked value. Benjamin Sulte, in his eight-volumed Histoire des Canadiens-Français, produced a most important work and has written, besides, an immense number of books on various phases and developments of Quebec annals. The last quarter of the century, however, developed more literary effort in French Canada than the whole of the preceding century. Hon. Thomas Chapais, A. D. De Celles, Arthur Buies, L. O. David, L. P. Turcotte, J. Edmund Roy and Ernest Myrand may be mentioned in prose and Mme. Dandurand, N. Legendre and J. L. Archambault in poetry.

Literature has been aided in French Canada during the past hundred years by Literary Societies. There was a French one in Quebec as far back as 1809; the Literary and Historical Society of that city, which was founded in 1824 and is still in existence, was helpful to both races; the Institut Canadien of Quebec and Montreal and the Institut Canadien-Français of Ottawa were central points for the study of racial interests. A multitude of literary journals, reviews and magazines were also started in the Province and conducted for a brief period before collapse came; but they usually lived long enough to imbed in their pages, to preserve for future study, or perhaps publication in some other and later form, valuable contributions to current literature.

An impetus was given in more recent years to a wider knowledge of French Canadian literature by the organization of the Royal Society of Canada in 1882. Whatever the faults and weakness of that body it has at least brought the two races together in this particular connection; made each familiar with the names and attributes and work of leading exponents in the public thought and literary taste of the other race; taught the English and the French Canadian to respect the labors and point of view of the other. The names of its French Presidents—P. J. O. Chauveau, Mgr. T. E. Hamel, L’Abbé H. R. Casgrain, Sir J. M. Le Moine, Hon. F. G. Marchand, L. H. Fréchette, C. M. G., Benjamin Sulte, J. Edmond Roy—alone afford an excellent picture of culture and literary capacity. Of the twenty-eight members in the French section in 1912, and apart from those already mentioned in a specific connection, there were Paul De Cazes, Errol Bouchette, Ernest Gagnon, Léon Gérin, N. Beauchemin, L’Abbé Amédée Gosselin, Sir F. Langelier, Hon. R. Lemieux, P. B. Mignault, Albert Lozeau and P. G. Roy, who had distinguished themselves in different branches of literary effort.

Canadian literature, whether French or English, has passed out of the pioneer stage and is slowly but surely escaping from a later condition where prosperity and either prose or poetry, as a pursuit, were utterly incompatible companions—when the creation of farms and homes, of private fortunes, of industrial and financial institutions, were the dominant accomplishments of the hour. They are so yet, on the surface of affairs, and to the passing visitor or tourist, but if the latter investigates more closely he will find that, in French Canada, at least, literature is now greatly encouraged; that men engaged in that pursuit are aided by government, supported by the influence of politicians, given civil service positions, considered as men of no mean honor in their own country. Some French Canadian newspapers or journals are an additional encouragement to literature through their development of a literary style and the cultivation of good writing. L’Action Sociale, an ecclesiastical organ of Quebec, and Le Devoir of Montreal, the special and personal product of Henri Bourassa’s clever pen and political force, may be mentioned in this respect.

The evolution of a wider national patriotism has also helped. The habitant, the merchant, the workman in factory and city, or the politician, has larger ideas now than he used to have when his country was not only a dependency of France but one autocratically administered, or than he had when it became a British dependency without complete British institutions. Moreover, in regard to France, religious influences and conditions cut him off for a century from most of its literary life—with the exception of its songs and ballads; while in a later period he was cut off from English literature by his own language. Now he has a great Dominion to think of, vast in size, in resources, in possibilities, and who can greatly blame the imaginative mind which now and then transcends space, and time, and probability and traces in glowing prose or patriotic verse a future in which New France has renewed its vitality, vivified its clipped wings, and once more holds half a continent in fee! These are the dreams by which literature is created. They are, however, not frequent in Quebec; the ordinary evolution and expansion of his province is enough for the writer or journalist of today.

Moreover the Church, in literature as in politics, education or philosophy, has been a steadying force and the stream of bright young men who have come from its colleges and schools were, with certain brilliant exceptions, an influence for the quieter by-ways of literary effort—except when they took to the stormy but pleasing paths of political journalism. A Zola or a Flaubert in French Canada is inconceivable; a Voltaire or a Rousseau is difficult to imagine, although some weak imitations have occasionally flamed up and then flickered out; a Daudet or a Cherbuliez is not so impossible now that literary relations with France are close and friendly and when the spirit of the people is stirring with the pulse of a vigorous Canadian nationality. It must not be inferred from what is said here that the Roman Catholic Church in Canada has discouraged literature. The contrary is the case along certain lines; if there has been a check given anywhere it has only been given to the extremes which this great pursuit or occupation may sometimes touch.

Such, in brief review, is the literature of French Canada. It has not yet reached the altitude of its motherland any more than has that of English Canada; it has not quite risen to the height of its eventful history and brilliant racial traditions in America. On the other hand, it has produced a poetry that is in some respects the best which this continent has seen and is not inferior, in a general way, to that of English Canada or the United States; it has developed a certain form of culture which has reacted upon its journalism and language and oratory; it has exhibited qualities of lightness and deftness of touch, simplicity and at times richness of style, which are French in the main yet local to the soil in certain details. Certainly, in its fanciful traditions, solid realities, religious annals, military memories, folk-lore and environment, its people have every essential to the creation and establishment of a living literature. As Wilfrid Campbell somewhere says:

You ask me where I get these thoughts,

  These dreams melodious, mystical,

I read them in God’s book of lore,

  Wide-open, splendid by my door.


I read them in those curious runes

  Those tragedies of love and strife,

That chart of memory-haunted dunes

  That demon, angel-book, that man calls Life.

British Landmarks in French Canada

There are visible and invisible landmarks of British rule in what was once New France—many which are material and obvious to the tourist in Quebec or Acadia, others which are intangible except to the eye of the mind and the imagination. Conspicuous amongst the former is the Citadel of Quebec. As it exists today it is a product of plans approved by the Duke of Wellington—who, by the way, offered his services to the British Government for America in 1813, after the conclusion of operations in France, and would have come out but for the sudden close of the war here. The structure took years to complete and dates from 1823; it is stated by Colonel William Wood, an authority on Quebec history, to have cost the British Government $35,000,000 at a time when labor was cheap and money went many times further than it does in these piping times of peace—and high prices!

The principal approach to the Citadel still has a most martial air; there are masses of lofty stone wall with earthworks, loop-holed for musketry and pierced with openings, where the mouths of cannon menace the now peaceful tourist invaders; the construction is massive and thorough as might be expected and underground passages are said, unofficially, to communicate with certain localities outside the fortifications. These were, as a whole, built with formidable facings and protections for batteries, there are deep ditches, thick walls, secret doors and great bastions on the edge of the rocky crags which face and overhang the river. The whole takes the place of the wooden works of the French, which in their day, however, and with their splendid strategic position, answered the purpose of their builders and guardians to a considerable extent. Canadian soldiers in British uniform now guard the ramparts, British military airs echo over the rippling waters of the great river at the foot of the cliffs, the Union Jack floats over the mighty walls, which, moss grown as they may be, still rank amongst the world’s great fortresses.

The present fortifications have not stood a siege, nor have they shared in the great events of Canadian history, but there is no doubt that the fact of their existence and known strength has been a consideration to possibly hostile neighbors, in the days now gone by, when trouble existed along our borders. What the strength and value of the cannons, or of the defences, may now be against modern cannon and modern ships is for military authorities to say—to a layman the Citadel looks most delightfully strong. Within the ramparts is a tiny cannon which the soldier accompanying visitors delights to exhibit—especially to Americans. Every one is told the same story, but it sometimes receives unexpected additions. To one tourist from the United States the guard remarked, as indeed the inscription shows: “This cannon was captured by the British at Bunker’s Hill.” “Well,” said the doubtful visitor, knowing only that the battle in question had always been described to him as a great American victory, “you may have the cannon but we’ve got the hill!” “Yes,” replied the soldier, “but if the hill had been on wheels as the cannon was we would have carried that off too.”

Another landmark at Quebec, of special interest to Americans, and in connection with which certain Massachusetts organizations have long tried, in vain, to obtain permission to erect a monument, is the spot on the walls of the Rock below the ramparts where Major-General Robert Montgomery fell. It was one of those occasions upon which great successes or failures seem to turn in war: when a few moments in the arrival of troops, a few yards in the disposition of attacking soldiers, the unexpected death of a leader, some brief delay in receiving a dispatch, may change the destiny of armies, of cities, or of nations. It was a critical period in the history of Canada. Ticonderoga and Crown Point had been captured (1775) by the Continental troops and the gates of Canada were ajar; the French people were being appealed to by persuasive emmissaries from their motherland and they decided presently to be passive and neutral in the fight, to let the English decide their own quarrel; M. de Beujeu, who raised 350 men below Quebec to help Carleton, had to disband them because of the opposition of surrounding French Canadians.

Little Champlain Street, Quebec City

Montgomery finally invaded Canada, captured Chambly and St. John’s, Sorel and Three Rivers, and then Montreal and in November General Benedict Arnold, with another army reached Quebec, after a perilous, difficult and memorable march through the wilderness, and was there joined by Montgomery. On December 31st the American troops converged in an attack upon the fortress and Montgomery—who, curiously enough, had fought under Wolfe at Louisbourg as Carleton, now the defender of the city, had done on the Heights of Abraham—decided that a surprise was essential to success. He approached the ramparts from Wolfe’s Cove, by a narrow path under Cape Diamond, to the barricade of Près-de-Ville, where a small battery had been erected manned by a few French Canadians, English militiamen and British sailors. The Americans expected to surprise the post; they were, however, surprised themselves by an unexpected volley which killed Montgomery and his aides. Retreat followed and elsewhere, also, the attack was unsuccessful, Carleton’s barricade at Sault-au-Matelot, in the Lower Town, being stubbornly defended against the assault of Arnold and his forces. The latter was wounded and one hundred of his troops killed or wounded and others captured. Montgomery’s remains were afterwards carried into the city and buried quietly and, in 1818, removed by a relative to New York. Upon the steep face of the great cliff there is today a large unpretentious plate with the simple inscription: “Montgomery fell here December 31st, 1775.”

There are in Quebec romantic and less formidable memorials of this period. In the autumn of 1782 a British warship, The Albemarle, lay at anchor in front of the town while many beautiful days glided quietly away and the coloring of the forests gleamed in the golden and scarlet of the season. In command of the ship was the man who in later years was to crush the power of France upon the high seas and give to his country the phrase which will ring on through all the centuries of British history: “England this day expects every man to do his duty.” A young man, only twenty-four years of age, in command of an important ship, with all the world before him, with perhaps a brilliant future, Horatio Nelson was sure of a welcome in hospitable Quebec. In the society of the day was Mary Simpson, a beauty and a toast of the town, living at Bandon Lodge in Grand Allée—upon the site of which Hon. Mr. Shehyn’s house was afterwards built. Here was told the old, old story of the sailor and the girl; here Nelson passed through a brief romance only to awake one day and find his ship ordered to India at a few hours’ notice. Farewells were said without any definite understanding, but, on the verge of sailing, the young captain left his ship to return and ask Miss Simpson to be his wife. So much appears to be certain; as to the rest authorities differ, though a balance of opinion seems to be that fellow-officers, fearing for his future success, carried him back to the ship by force. Miss Simpson afterwards married Major Matthews, Lord Dorchester’s secretary; Nelson made, long afterwards, an unhappy marriage which was followed by his famous infatuation for Lady Hamilton. In a short twenty-three years from that time of autumnal splendor, and of a romantic interlude, on the Heights of Quebec, Nelson died a Viscount and Admiral of Great Britain, a man of many victories and a hero of his race.

Memorials are everywhere, in and around Quebec, of H. R. H. the Duke of Kent, son of King George III and father of Queen Victoria. While there he was Colonel-in-command of the Seventh Royal Fusiliers from 1791 to 1794; in 1797-99 he was Commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America with headquarters at Halifax, where he built a pretty house on the shores of Bedford Basin. In Quebec City, on St. Louis Street, there still stands a plain, solid-looking residence called Kent House, where the Royal Duke lived at times and entertained lavishly the society of his day—the Hales, the Caldwells, the De Salaberrys, etc. At the old-fashioned picturesque place called Haldimand House near Montmorenci—now a summer hotel—he lived the greater part of the time. It was a beautiful site for a residence, one of the most beautiful in all that region of lovely vistas and historical scenes. Here he also entertained his guests and from here hunted big game or led shooting parties into the country around. The romance of his sojourn in Quebec and at Halifax consists in his relations with Madame de St. Laurent, the beautiful widow of Baron de Fortisson, a Colonel in the French Army. Sir J. M. Le Moine and other writers state that there was a morganatic marriage; Quebec and Halifax society certainly accepted her as his wife. Years afterwards, in 1818, the Duke was married at Brussels to the Princess Victoria Mary Louisa, sister of Prince Leopold, afterward King of the Belgians.

Of British memorials, in general, there are many in Quebec—center though it is of the prestige of New France and the presence of the French race. Next to the Citadel the most important is the site of Dufferin Terrace and the Chateau Frontenac. It is a sort of holy ground of British as well as French history. Haldimand Castle, built there in 1784 by Sir Frederick Haldimand as a wing of the old Chateau of St. Louis, held, in later years, the Laval Normal School. In this famous building Prince William Henry, afterwards King William IV, spent some time in 1788. Here lived in succession Lord Dorchester, the British “Saviour of Canada,” upon two occasions; Sir Alured Clarke, afterwards a field marshal of Great Britain, and Sir R. S. Milnes; General Sir George Prevost, who nearly played the part in 1812 for Canada which Sir William Howe did in earlier years for British power in the United States; Sir Gordon Drummond, Sir J. C. Sherbrooke and the unfortunate Duke of Richmond, who died from the bite of a fox; Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Earl of Dalhousie who has placed a considerable mark upon Canadian history, Lord Aylmer and the Earl of Gosford. The Earl of Durham found Haldimand Castle too small for his entertainments in 1838 at a time when his squadron of men-of-war was in the harbor and the Coldstream Guards were acting as a ceremonial escort while all Quebec was agog with excitement and social functions. He was given the old Parliament Buildings as a residence and festivities were the order of the day.

Haldimand House echoed, also, with the footsteps of stern old Sir John Colborne in Rebellion days and here Lord Sydenham planned the union of Upper and Lower Canada; here, also, Lord Metcalfe, Sir Charles Bagot and the Earl of Cathcart lived for a part of each year as Governors of a United Canada. Here, in 1789, Lord Dorchester had welcomed as a visitor young Lord Edward Fitzgerald who, nine years afterwards, died in an Irish prison as an Irish rebel; here, in 1812, the British Governor dealt with Generals Winder, Chandler and Winchester who had been brought to Quebec as American prisoners of war together with Winfield Scott, captured at Queenston Heights, and afterwards the chief figure in the United States war with Mexico; here, on September 4, 1819, were exposed in state the remains of the Duke of Richmond and Lennox before their burial in the Anglican cathedral and here his daughter, Lady Sarah Maitland, performed the social duties for her husband while he was administrator; here, in 1824, came Hon. E. G. Stanley, afterward Earl of Derby and a British Prime Minister, as a visitor; here, in 1825, came H. R. H. the Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and during three-quarters of a century, the representative men and visitors of British Canadian history. Upon the site of this castle of olden days as well as of the still older Chateau of St. Louis, there has been built the beautiful hotel which a great railway, the Canadian Pacific, called after a military hero of New France, but which may also stand as a memorial of the new British era of peace, transportation and commerce.

With the passing of Haldimand Castle as a seat of government, Spencer Wood came into historical publicity. It is a picturesque, old-fashioned house, buried in trees, on the south side of the St. Louis Road, about two miles from the old city wall, and was built in 1780 by General H. W. Powell. In 1808-10 Sir J. H. Craig occupied it as a summer residence and in 1815-33 it was owned by Hon. H. M. Perceval, M.L.C., who called it after his relative, the British Premier—Rt. Hon. Spencer Perceval. In 1849 it was purchased from Henry Atkinson by the Government of Canada as a residence for the able, genial and kindly Earl of Elgin, who was then doing splendid service as Governor-General and who made it the home of a boundless hospitality. Sir Edmund Head, Lord Monck, Lord Lisgar and Lord Dufferin all lived within its walls—though the building itself was partially burned in 1861.

Here, in 1860, had stayed H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII, here, also, visited the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Arthur—again long afterwards as Duke of Connaught and Governor-General—Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, and Prince Leopold, afterwards Duke of Albany; here, also, had come as visitors many famous men of other than royal rank—the Dukes of Newcastle, Buckingham, Argyll, Athol and Sutherland, Generals Grant and Sherman, and all the many men of note who, during the latter half of the nineteenth century, came to see Canada or Canadians. Since 1867 Spencer Wood has been the official home of the Lieutenant-Governors of Quebec—Belleau, Caron, Letellier, Robitaille, Masson, Angers, Chapleau, Jetté, Pelletier, Langelier—and the seat of cultured hospitality for a mixed English and French society which is not as frequently seen together as might be desired. Near Spencer Wood, and once a part of its grounds, is the Spencer Grange property so well known, with its quaint, old-fashioned delightful country house, as the residence since 1860 of the late Sir J. M. Le Moyne—Prince of French Canadian gentlemen, litterateurs and antiquaries. Of the scene in which center these two landmarks of the days of British rule it has been well said by Adam Kidd, the English poet:

Through the green groves and deep receding bowers,

  Loved Spencer Wood, how often have I strayed,

Or mused away the calm unbroken hours,

  Beneath some broad oak’s cool refreshing shade.


The blushing arbors of those classic days

  Through which the breathing of the slender reed,

First softly echoed with Arcadia’s praise,

  Might well be pictured in this sheltered mead.


And blest were those who found a happy home

  In thy loved shades without one throb of care—

No murmurs heard, save from the distant foam

  That rolled in columns o’er the great Chaudière.

Other memorials of this period may be mentioned. That pretty park-like garden hanging suspended on the flank of the cliff, and a little lower than Dufferin Terrace, is now called Frontenac Park. It has been the scene of most varied events. Here, in 1616, there was a vegetable garden for the Récollet Convent, then a farm for Louis Hébert, in part it became a cemetery—the first in Quebec; here, from 1688 and for years afterwards, was the house of Mgr. de Saint Vallier and then a new structure occupied by the Marquis de Beauharnois and the Intendant Bégon; here lived for many years Mgr. de Pontbriand and in a deserted chapel near the Bishop’s house there gathered, on November 13, 1775, a meeting of citizens who wanted to yield the fortress to the American troops. This inauspicious beginning under British rule was followed by the erection of a building which was occupied from 1792 to 1832 by the Parliament of Lower Canada.

Here for forty years a strife was maintained which was often bitter, frequently patriotic, always eloquent; here Papineau, Bédard, Panet, Neilson, Lafontaine and Morin were heard in that series of speeches which helped to educate French Canadians in self-government, though, at times, causing great trouble to Governors, government and governed, to the British people and the French population, alike. Here, in the Upper House, or Legislative Council, were heard the calm and conciliating speeches, the patriotic, far-seeing advice of Bishop Plessis. Here came British Governors who were angry, who were statesmanlike, who were conciliatory, to deal with difficult questions and far-reaching demands. In 1833 a new and handsome edifice was erected and used from 1838 to 1852 as a City Hall in a period when sessions of the Legislature were not held in Quebec; destroyed by fire in 1854 there is not even a ruin left now to show the seat and home of all those stormy incidents and events which preceded the rebellious fiasco of 1837-38.

A word must be said as to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, standing as the representative of the Church of England in an historic city which, as a whole, does not recognise its religious claims or ecclesiastical authority. Built in 1800-4 upon the site of the Récollet Church and Convent it is a substantial stone edifice surrounded by splendid trees with a beautifully arched and tesselated ceiling and massive supporting pillars. Within it are many marble monuments, brass plates and memorial windows marking the historical events and characters of British rule in Quebec. The communion plate was a gift from King George III, and the Governor General’s official pew, with the royal arms at the front, is in the north gallery. Here, in 1893, was celebrated the centenary of the diocese and in the Cathedral have been held many important ceremonials, including the last church parade on Canadian soil of the Canadian troops who, in 1899 and 1900, left for Imperial service in South Africa.

One thing must be mentioned before leaving Quebec, though it is not, strictly speaking, a matter of the British régime. Over the doorway of the new Post Office building, which was erected in 1872, appears a basso-relievo, a solid block of stone, taken from the doorway of the massive stone structure which used to occupy the site and which was the home of a rich French merchant—Nicolas Jacquin Philebert—in and following 1735. A quatrain of verses are engraved upon the stone in golden letters over the sculptured figure of a dog, lying down and gnawing a bone. What the words and symbol meant has been the subject of unlimited speculation since first Captain Kirke of Wolfe’s army, recorded, in 1759, that his investigations had been fruitless. Legends galore have gathered around this “Golden Dog.” Auguste Soulard wrote a romance based upon it in 1839, Sir J. M. Le Moine and Sir A. B. Routhier have written about it at length; Jacques Viger, a learned scholar, studied and dealt with it; William Kirby, an Ontario writer, made himself famous by a novel based upon it and called Le Chien d’Or. All legends agree in associating with the tradition and the inscription the names of Philebert, of Le Gardeur de Repentigny, a young Seigneur and soldier, of Bigot the Intendant, of Angélique des Meloises—the Mme. Péan of unsavory social history, Cadet and other historical characters; but the facts are still in doubt and the mystery will probably never be cleared up. A literal translation of the famous words is as follows:

I am a dog gnawing a bone,

While gnawing it I take my rest.

A time will come, not yet arrived,

When I will bite those who have bitten me.

To Montreal the British régime meant much. It was not a political or government headquarters like Quebec except during the brief period of American possession when Montgomery ruled a large part of the Province from the old Chateau de Ramézay and Benjamin Franklin used his astute intelligence in preparing addresses and leaflets for circulation amongst the French in which he had to explain away the statement of the Continental Congress in 1774 that the Quebec Act established in French Canada a religion which had “dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world!” The first great phase of Montreal’s development following the Cession was during the period in which British explorers, land-holders in the great West, hunters or fur traders for the Hudson’s Bay Company, the lords of the lakes and forests of the North and West made that city their headquarters. The famous Beaver Club was, for forty years following 1785, the scene of sumptuous fortnightly banquets during the winter months which were enlivened with toasts and songs and the bringing together of distinguished visitors and most of the wealth and commercial intelligence of the city. Here came the Earl of Selkirk on his way to found the City of Winnipeg, in a work which these magnates were afterwards to bitterly oppose, and here upon one occasion came Sir John Franklin. Around the table there sat from time to time, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, James McGill, the Frobishers, McTavish, McGilivary, De Rocheblave and many more.

In Rebellion days Montreal was a headquarters for Sir John Colborne and his forces and, later, for the pacificatory efforts of Lord Durham. Here, in Montreal, were prepared the Ninety-two Resolutions upon which the more rash spirits based their militant activities and which included denunciation of the inclusion of Judges in the Legislative Council and of the participation of appointed Legislative Councillors in elections; of the hostility shown by the Council, which was largely English in composition, to the Lower House; of the accumulation of public office in the hands of the Administration’s favorites and the otherwise inadequate distribution of such offices; of the distribution of public lands to friends of the Government and the too frequent checking in the Council of bills passed by the Assembly. Much was said of the need for popular liberty and a responsible ministry. It was after the actual violence of the conflict was over that Lord Durham reported to the Home Government: “I expected to find a contest between a government and a people: I found two nations warring in the bosom of a single state; I found a struggle not of principles but of races and I perceived that it would be idle to attempt any amelioration of laws or institutions until we could first succeed in terminating the deadly animosity that now separates the inhabitants of Lower Canada into the hostile divisions of French and English.” The attaining of this condition was one of the invisible but most imposing landmarks of British rule in French Canada; even though the process evoked a period of English-speaking dissatisfaction which culminated in the riots of 1849, the stoning of Lord Elgin, and the burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal.

Another landmark of, however, a shifting nature was the construction of the Eastern Township settlements out of an English-speaking immigration from the United States which developed at the Revolution and proceeded into the early years of the nineteenth century. After Waterloo, and the adoption of a short-sighted land policy in Quebec, most of the settlers from the States went into Ontario. Of the eleven counties between the headwaters of the Chaudière and the Richelieu, lying between Montreal and Quebec, with Vermont and New Hampshire to the south and east, thus partially settled by Loyalists, British soldiers, and American pioneers, the names tell the early story—Brome, Compton, Drummond and Arthabaska, Megantic, Mississquoi, Richmond and Wolfe, Shefford, Sherbrooke and Stanstead. The scenery of this region is varied and beautiful, the soil fertile and agriculture prosperous, the industries progressive. Sherbrooke, called after the Governor General of that name, is the chief center and a notable city in many ways. In recent years a great and vital change has, however, occurred and the racial supremacy of the English in this historic portion of the Province appears to be passing away. French Canadian farmers are taking possession of lands vacated by English or Scotch, and this process is steadily increasing from year to year. The end seems to be obvious and, if so, there will be one British landmark which was not destined to be a permanent one.

In 1849 a movement for annexation to the United States found place and life amongst the merchants and financial interests of Montreal—a city then sorely stricken by the repeal of the British Corn Laws and the preferential system of duties. A manifesto declaring annexation necessary and imperative was signed by men so, afterwards, famous in Canadian life as the late Sir A. T. Galt, High Commissioner in London, Sir J. J. C. Abbott, Premier of the Dominion, and Sir A. A. Dorion, Chief Justice of Quebec. The movement, however, was as ephemeral as it was hasty and ill-advised. Four years after this incident there was launched at Montreal the project of a railway which should connect all parts of the united Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and in the succeeding construction of the Grand Trunk, which gave Montreal its first impetus as a great railway center, were interested such local leaders as Hon. John Ross, Sir Francis Hincks, Hon. Peter McGill and Benjamin Holmes. The Barings, Glyns, Sir S. Morton Peto, and other British financial interests were also involved and much history made and written before the enterprise was completed. In 1860 (May 25) the Prince of Wales inaugurated the famous Victoria Bridge across the St. Lawrence, built in connection with this railway. It cost $7,000,000 and at the time was the greatest structure of the kind in the world while, since then, it has been greatly improved and strengthened. The Allan Line was another great Montreal enterprise and was followed by many steamship lines connecting Canada in general, and Montreal, in particular, with varied countries and important trading interests.

To the magnates of Montreal in a financial sense—Donald Smith, afterwards Lord Strathcona, George Stephen, afterwards Lord Mount Stephen, R. B. Angus, now president of the Bank of Montreal, Donald McIntyre and others—were due the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway which today has its headquarters there with a splendid railway station and its Place Viger Hotel. Today, with its $260,000,000 of capital, its equipment and railway costing $382,000,000, its 16,900 miles of line, the carrying of 14,000,000 passengers and 26,000,000 tons of freight, its Chateau Frontenac at Quebec and great hostelries in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria; its employment of 75,000 men and possession of 11,000,000 acres of western lands, this railway is the greatest, and the corporation the biggest, in the world. Of all its varied interests Montreal has been and is the center and in its history there lives one of the greatest landmarks of British rule in Canada. If the Board Room where Sir Thomas Shaughnessy now rules, and where Sir William Van Horne preceded him, could speak, what tales of financial daring, financial skill and, perhaps, personal courage could be unfolded!

Of memorials which can be seen and inspected, the harbor improvements originally designed under Lord Sydenham’s administration seventy years ago and including walls, wharves, elevators, railway conveniences of every description, are conspicuous; Mount Royal Park with its superb views of land and city and water is delightful; the Champ de Mars, once the parade ground of British troops, and the monument to Nelson erected in Jacques Cartier Square (1808) by the merchants of Montreal, are interesting; the colossal statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square, sculptured by Marshall Wood, is notable. Amongst Protestant churches, which, in Quebec or Montreal, are naturally the product of the British period, Christ Church Cathedral is noteworthy as having been erected in honor of the first resident Anglican Bishop, Dr. Fulford. Of financial institutions the first and greatest and most historically important is the Bank of Montreal, which has for so many years controlled or vitally influenced the financial interests of the city, the Province and, at times, of Canada. The site of its imposing yet unpretentious building on St. James Street has been for nearly a century a center of Canadian affairs and Canadian progress—although the building itself has gone through various transformations. Hardly less important, though so different in its functions and development, is McGill University, which for more than half a century has been a vigorous, effective, molding force in the English life of the Province and, indeed, of all Canada.

Snow Shoe Scene near Montreal

Passing from the visible or material landmarks of British rule there is one in Quebec which no traveler or student can wisely omit to understand yet which is quite invisible and intangible. To some extent it is represented by the comparatively new buildings which impose themselves upon the visitor in Quebec City as being the Parliament House of French Canada. The real point, however, is what that structure stands for. It represents a constitutional system of government which has only recently developed in France itself after revolutions and wars, popular starvation and misery, national degradation and humiliation had worked themselves out in a century of change, of crumbling dynasties, of loosening morals, of decaying faith. It represents a liberty and free form of government such as no colony of France, no dependency of Germany, none of the possessions of powers other than Great Britain possess today. It represents the British right of a one-time alien and hostile people to rule themselves in the confident belief that such rule means a combination of liberty with loyalty. It means faith on the part of the great Empire, in which French Canada is an important factor, and appreciation on the side of the French Canadians. It spells opportunity for the cheerful and contented people of that Province to go on and prosper in peace under a flag which brings much to them and receives nothing in return except a loyalty which is obvious and which may be found, in any possible day of danger, much more real and effective than appears on the surface. In the words of Dr. J. M. Harper, of Quebec—poet, essayist, educationalist—the people of his Province may well join:

My native land, a debt of song I pay,

  A debt of love that lieth on my soul,

When memory draws the veil of by-gone days,

  And olden music greets the lifting scroll,

A tribute to thy freedom’s faith I bring,

The piety that scents thy glebe I sing.

Educational Interests and Ideals in Quebec

To the superficial, hasty, or passing observer, to the man who mentally flits over the surface of things either in his own country or elsewhere, to the person who, perhaps, has certain prejudices which he wants to prove, the education of the French Canadian may not appear complete, or thorough. Of course, in this as in other matters of public concern a critic under such conditions will be very apt to indicate his own real ignorance in the premises. Then so much depends upon the point of view! One person considers that education turns, as it were, upon the top of a pyramid and regards the University as the end and aim of all things; another wants the child trained solely for skilled manual labor or to become an expert in technical science; still another believes in the three “R’s” as the root of all learning and all happiness. The school of thought most largely represented in Quebec believes that religion is and must be the first essential to which all others may be added.

There is something picturesque about the latter view in these utilitarian and commercial days; something which carries one back to times when men and women were willing to suffer and die for their faith and when religion and not trade appeared the vital issue of all the ages. Certainly it has been a conspicuous one in French Canada and its association with education is obvious from a first glance at the somber buildings dedicated to the training of men and women for religious duties, for the education of youth of both sexes in religion plus culture, for the education of children in schools where black-robed priests and women in the garb of nuns are everywhere in evidence. The earliest institutions of education in New France were the Jesuit College in Quebec and the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Montreal, which were devoted to the training of men for the priesthood, or in cultivating fitness for the instruction of others, and which have been elsewhere described; in 1639 came the Ursuline Convent at Quebec and in 1853 the Congrégation de Notre Dame at Montreal.

It must not be supposed that because the Jesuit and Sulpician priests and missionaries were primarily teachers of religion that they did not teach other things. Father Le Jeune, in 1632, wrote home after his arrival in the wilderness: “I have become a teacher in Canada. A few days ago I had as pupils a little Indian and a little negro whom I was teaching to read. After passing so many years of my life as a classical teacher I am at last back at the A-B-C, but with so much contentment and satisfaction that I would not exchange my two scholars for the finest audience in France.” As a matter of fact the priests and the nuns were the teachers of every branch of education in the pioneer days of Quebec and they had the great advantage of being themselves, as a rule, cultured in their training and past lives. It was a very different class of teacher from that which the pioneers of Upper Canada had to submit to; old soldiers being the unavoidable favorites for many years in the wilds of what is now Ontario. In 1656 the Sulpicians established the first primary school at Montreal and, in 1668, the Petit Séminaire was established in Quebec as a preparatory school while Bishop de Laval also organized at St. Joachim, near Quebec, a school which had the double object of teaching the useful arts and training teachers. Louis Jolliet, the famous explorer, and afterwards a Seigneur of New France, was a pupil of the Jesuits and in 1646 maintained a thesis in philosophy before Intendant Talon.

When the Récollets returned to the Colony in 1670 they devoted themselves largely to teaching. Then the Ursulines established a branch of their order at Three Rivers while the Sisters of the Congrégation established a school for teachers at Montreal. Like the St. Joachim institution it was a sort of pioneer Normal School. These institutions were all intended for Indian as well as French children, though there was great difficulty in getting the former to attend—their parents being filled with the natural suspicions engendered by the wild vagaries of a wild life. In those early days it is probable that the population of New France, as a whole, were the best educated in the world. There was no class sunk in brutal and absolute ignorance as there was in Europe or as there is today in the slums of great cities in either America or Europe; old parish registers in Montreal and Quebec indicate that nearly every one could write while the home education, backed as it was by the constant aid and efforts of cultured priests and religieuses, was much more efficient and effective than it is in modern days. Writers such as Charlevoix and Kalm, who studied the country in the last half century of the French régime, unite in eulogistic references to the culture and refinement of the upper classes, the purity of the spoken language amongst all classes, the absence of rusticity or boorishness amongst the habitants, the pleasing manners and good humor of the people, the presence of Church schools in all the villages.

During nearly a century, following the change of government and allegiance in New France, education cannot be said to have maintained its former general diffusion or excellence. War and politics, changes and then political conflicts, the dispersion of the Jesuits, and the natural desire of the British and Protestant rulers to promote a different system of instruction, together with a period of civil dissensions and actual strife, hampered the Church which had previously been the custodian of the entire system of instruction. The Roman Catholic authorities did what they could. The Ursulines at Quebec and Three Rivers, the boarding school of the General Hospital Nuns and the Petit Séminaire at Quebec, the Sulpicians and the Sisters of the Congrégation at Montreal maintained their activities and, in 1773, the Sulpicians also established St. Raphael’s College. According to the Hon. P. Boucher de la Bruère, Chief Superintendent of Education for many years, this latter institution and the Petit Séminaire at Quebec, educated and trained the generation of men who “under the constitution of 1791 were to carry on the struggle to obtain from England those constitutional liberties which she herself enjoyed.”*

It was found after much legislation, after many efforts to establish free or public schools in the Province, after varied instances of racial and religious friction which increased as both the French and English population grew in numbers—especially the former—that the Catholic and French people would not accept Protestant teachers or patronize a mixed instruction which was freed from the religious element. Primary instruction therefore continued in a parlous condition so far as definite organization was concerned, but with the continuous labors of priests and nuns and curés in parochial and Catholic circles. Lord Durham, in his famous Report of 1838, paid a remarkable tribute in this connection: “The Catholic priesthood of this province has to a very remarkable degree conciliated the good will of persons of all creeds and I know of no parochial clergy in the world whose practice of all the Christian virtues and zealous discharge of all their clerical duties is more universally admitted and has been productive of more beneficial consequences. . . . In the general absence of any permanent institutions of civil government, the Catholic Church has presented almost the only semblance of stability and organization and has furnished the only effectual support for civilization and order.”

The Church established at Nicolet in 1804 the first of what have since been popularly termed the Classical Colleges. Others followed at St. Hyacinthe, Ste. Thérèse, Ste. Anne de la Pocatière, L’Assomption, Three Rivers, Jolliet, St. Laurent, Sherbrooke, Rimouski, Chicoutimi, Rigaud, Ste. Marie de Monnoir and Valleyfield. As conditions improved in the Province it was found that these colleges were most useful centers of culture and education in the widest sense. Not only did they partially prepare young men for the priesthood, but they instructed others in the preliminaries of the liberal professions, trained them in taste and manners and morals, and gradually attained a very high rank in the cultivation of all that is meant in the word culture—something that is not always or necessarily involved in the wide curriculum, varied studies, and practical training of modern English-speaking colleges or universities on this continent.

On September 24, 1854, there was inaugurated at Quebec, under Royal Charter, an institution which has had immense influence upon the training and lives and public thought of French Canadians—the Laval University. Years afterwards, in 1876, a branch was established at Montreal, with, also, a normal school attached to the institution at Quebec. This university is intimately associated with the Quebec Séminaire whose Superior is de jure rector of the University and whose directors and certain professors constitute its council. The Apostolic Chancellor of the University and Visitor is the Archbishop of Quebec with large and definite powers, its Proctector at the Holy See is the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda. The Séminaire, itself, dates from 1663 and accommodates many priests and divinity students who live in the great buildings which include Le Petit Séminaire or Boys’ School (also affiliated with Laval). Its personnel in 1800 is stated to have been about one hundred persons and to total at the present time about eight hundred. In these ancient buildings which, with Laval and the Archbishop’s Palace and the Basilica and Seminary Chapel, all stand together on the crest of the Heights, are many souvenirs of the history of New France as well as of New Quebec, of the old régime and the new. The revenues of the Seminary are known to be very large and are derived from old-time grants of land and, no doubt, careful modern investments of capital.

The buildings are most interesting and old-fashioned. There are no elevators and the high, narrow, winding stone staircases have to be ascended on foot. The massive walls of the older structures are, in many cases, fourteen feet thick and in their two centuries and more of existence have passed unscathed through the fires of 1701 and 1705, the sieges of several occasions, and the shot and shell of 1759. Here Bishop de Laval used to live at times and here can be found, or at least felt, the footprints of this really great ecclesiastic. The Library of the Seminary and of Laval is a most important and imposing collection of volumes (about 200,000) kept in a fireproof building and regarded as probably the best of the kind in Canada. Many rare, interesting and extremely valuable books in every kind of print, or manuscript, or parchment form, are to be seen. Throughout these buildings or institutions politeness and courtesy are universal; it is seen at once that manners and the cultivated side of life are carefully looked after.

The institutions are all, of course, closely associated in government and work, but Laval has faculties in Law and Medicine and Arts as well as Theology; lectures are both public and private and oral examinations take place weekly in the subjects studied; there are degrees in Arts, Letters and Sciences as well as Law and Medicine. The University has, at one time or another, conferred honorary degrees upon His Majesty the King when Duke of Cornwall and York, upon King Edward VII when Prince of Wales, upon Lord Dufferin, the Marquis of Lorne, the Duke of Norfolk and other notables. A congress dealing with secondary education was held in its halls last year (1912) with eighteen affiliated colleges represented—a fact which affords some faint indication of the influence its teachings must have had upon the thought of the Province.

A most important and attractive feature of Laval’s life and work—because all association with the artistically beautiful must have a refining and elevating influence upon character—is its splendid gallery of paintings. Many of them were sent out to New France by l’Abbé Desjardins, Vicar-General of Paris, who lived in Quebec for a time during the French Revolution. He had collected them by purchase or gift, from closed and desecrated churches or monasteries. The gallery includes works by some of the greatest masters of the Italian, Flemish, Dutch, French and English schools—Albert Cuyp, Thomas Gainsborough, François Boucher, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Peter Paul Rubens, David Teniers (the younger), Carl Van Leo, Claude Vernet, Charles Le Brun, Salvator Rosa, Allegri da Correggio, Philippe de Champagne, Nicolas Poussin, Anthony Vandyke, Diego Velasquez, Teniers the elder. The collection is an education in itself along certain lines—naturally the great majority of the pictures deal with sacred subjects and matters of religious or Church import. But they are the products of brushes which, in many cases, made Europe beautiful with their frescoes and paintings and made the churches of that continent famous for all time. Out of Laval, from such surroundings and with such an obvious tone of religion, of culture, of the æsthetic, there has come, since the middle of the eighteenth century, a stream of professional men who have influenced and molded the whole tone and character of thought in modern Quebec. Very few French Canadians, who have risen to prominence in law or politics, who become judges or ministers of the Crown at Quebec or Ottawa, have not graduated from Laval.

Laval University, Montreal, is a branch of this institution and, since 1889, independent in its local government though still receiving its degrees through the parent establishment. It has faculties of Theology, Law, Medicine and Art, with several affiliated schools—the Polytechnic, the School of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science, the School of Dental Surgery, the Laval School of Higher Instruction for Girls, the Institute of Marist Brothers and the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Instruction. French is used in its courses and subordinate schools except in the Faculty of Theology where Latin is used and which is under the direction of the Seminary of St. Sulpice. The Archbishop of Montreal is Vice-Chancellor and ex-officio Chairman of the Administrative Board which holds the property and directs the finances of the University; the Vice-Rector is chosen by the Bishops of the Province of Montreal. The Chancellor and Rector are the ecclesiastics holding those positions at Quebec.

Turning to primary education, it may be said that a system gradually developed under which, in 1859, a Council of Public Instruction, composed of eleven Catholics and four Protestants, controlled the schools of the Province. In 1875 this was modified so that Catholic and Protestant Committees of this Council were established with independent and separate powers and control over the schools of their respective religions. With inevitable, and very rare exceptions, this system has proved satisfactory to the minority, while, it must be said here, the immense French and Catholic majority of French Canada has shown quite exceptional toleration and moderation in dealing with this difficult question. The division of funds has been generous, rather than just, and the question raised in English-speaking Canada as to the minority’s right to separate schools there is rarely discussed in French Canada. When M. Mercier gave his famous grant of $400,000 to the Jesuits he also handed over $60,000 to the Protestant Schools Committee for its use—the storm which followed in Ontario being due, in part, to popular prejudices regarding the Order of Jesus and, in part, to an apparent recognition in the preamble to the Jesuits Estates Act of the Pope’s intervention in, and approval of, Canadian Provincial legislation.

The Church control of the modern system of education in Quebec is now, after an historical interlude and of course with the exception of the Protestant separate schools, close and complete. The Catholic Committee includes all the Bishops and Archbishops of Quebec with a selected number of representative Catholic laymen; its methods of administration, its regulations, courses of study, examinations, business management, and construction of schools, etc., are almost identical with those of the Protestant Committee; the great distinction and difference being where religion enters into the situation. The Catholic schools are grafted on to the parish organizations—each of the latter being, as a rule, incorporated as a municipality and also as a school district. The curé, or priest administering a Catholic church, is given the exclusive right of selecting books dealing with religion and morals for the use of pupils. At the Catholic Normal Schools one of the leading subjects taught is religious instruction and, in the diplomas awarded, sacred history is included. The teaching orders of women are freely utilized in these schools and to the fact of their drawing little or no remuneration is due the very small average salaries paid to teachers in Quebec.

The education of girls is, in all countries, one of the most vital problems of today and it is claimed, with apparently excellent reasons, that their instruction at the hands of thousands of devout and devoted women in French Canada constitutes one of the best and most beneficial elements in the Catholic system. They instruct their pupils in not only the ordinary course of studies but in domestic economy, knitting, sewing and embroidery and, it is claimed, refine their manners while cultivating amongst them good morals and Christian knowledge. It is probable that at least one-half of the girls in the Catholic schools of Quebec receive a thorough training in these important subjects. The number of female religious teachers in 1911 was 3,194 in the model schools and academies, while the nuns teaching in elementary schools totaled 542. Under such conditions it goes without saying that the history, polity and character of the Church are also taught and taught well.

Much the same comment as above may be made upon the male religious orders and their instruction to boys. The Christian Brothers, and others, have been placed in charge of important commercial colleges as well as schools with excellent results. There are 1,825 male religious teachers in the model schools and academies and colleges and 112 priests teaching in the elementary schools—a total of over 5,600 male and female religious teachers out of 14,500 teachers who instruct 344,000 Catholic pupils. To the cost of all the schools the municipalities contribute $5,750,000 and the Provincial Government a little over $1,000,000—the great bulk of this money coming, of course, from Catholic parishes and going into Catholic schools. There are difficulties in the evolution of the system and some faults which are obvious. School commissioners who cannot read or write are occasionally found, though in any case they are usually good managers in financial matters; on the other hand, lack of education can be found on school boards in many a rural municipality outside of Quebec. Some of the time devoted to religious exercises and instruction in the primary schools must necessarily be taken from secular subjects; on the other hand convents and religious schools afford an excellent education for many children at infinitely smaller cost than it could be obtained for in any other province or state of America.

The great trouble is, of course, economic—the large majority of children, especially boys, leaving school at too early an age. What they have learned they are apt to forget—though this is a condition not confined to French Canadians. The atmosphere around the French habitant or workman is not conducive to thought or literary effort. He is too comfortable, too contented, too happy, if you like, to worry over newspapers and books and the life of other people and societies and nations in which he can never live or share. Even a girl brought up in the convent seems to be glad, after a few years of domestic life, to hand over pen and ink and literary communings to a daughter who is perhaps going through the same routine of education that she has left forever. A keen observer estimates that in one French parish, which he knew minutely, there averaged in recent years a daily paper to eleven families and a weekly to about every fifteen families. Books are still more rare and are very limited in scope and character—especially in the rural parts of Quebec.

Timber Coves at Quebec

Such are the general conditions of education in French Canada. In summarized form it may be said that the overwhelming French and Catholic population and the limited English and Protestant people have the same general system and forms of instruction, with complete self-control in respect to text-books and religious teaching. While, however, the Protestant element devotes itself with restricted means and success—outside of McGill University—to a secular education of the type known in the ordinary public schools of Ontario, the Catholics devote all the resources and energies and skilled practice of a great Church organization to the thorough grounding of the children, the youth, and the young men or women of French Canada, in religion as understood from a Roman Catholic standpoint. With that point of view and general policy there is necessarily bound up the racial situation and the preservation of the French language.

There will apparently be no compromise in this respect—the Church and the language must stand together. It does not, of course, follow that the Church or its leaders believe either would necessarily fall if they stood apart; it simply means that many elements of strength lie in their unity and certain obvious elements of danger in their severance. At the French Language Congress of 1912 the Church and the Race combined to uphold this principle and policy. There were present representatives of three million French Canadians who were also Catholics, while Archbishops and Bishops were honorary presidents, and much applauded speakers, with Monseigneur Roy as chairman. Language was described, in mottoes, as the soul of a people and as a sacred privilege, while Archbishop Langevin of Winnipeg declared that: “If we have remained French it is because we have remained Catholic. It is by guarding our religion that we guard our race.” M. Étienne Lamy, the distinguished French author and visitor, described Canada as “the land of constancy that has strengthened the wisdom of its laws and its customs on the Catholic faith;” Abbé Groulx, of Valleyfield College, urged Canadians “to keep their distinctive spirit, with the virtues of their faith and the value of their tongue.” Sir Joseph Dubuc declared that “the French language is, with the Catholic religion and the love of our country, the most sacred heritage that we have received.”

The problem is an obvious one. So long as the Church and the State are one in faith and language, just so long will they be apart from the temptations of a wide liberty which often degenerates, throughout this continent, into unrestrained license; and apart also from the looseness of modern literature, of the Higher Criticism and of the infinite variations in modern religious thought outside of their Church. The literature of the religious life of the French Canadian is in French, his teachers and preachers use French, his laws in civil and religious matters are from the French code of two centuries ago, his habits and customs are French of an old-time period, his traditions, songs, history, and patriotism are all wrapped up in the language of his fathers—which his children are still learning to lisp at their mother’s knee. It all serves to differentiate him from the vast, overwhelming Anglo-Saxon life of the continent, to keep him in closer touch with his Church, to make him more submissive to its teachings and, in this age of a democracy which is almost uncontrollable in even matters of religion and social relations, to keep him more easily amenable to the moral code and moral precepts.

Is this situation a desirable one or is it not? Can a writer or observer deal with such a problem outside of and apart from religious feelings or racial prejudices? There is one thing which seems clear and that is that the question of this French-speaking people imbedded in the heart of an English-speaking continent cannot be considered apart from religion or from the Church which holds an entire people at its altars. The first thought that occurs to one is the vital and basic problem of whether some particular religious faith, accepted by a whole people and followed with such measure of devotion as human frailty will permit, is not better than a condition in which the same people after having that particular religion undermined, or shaken at its roots, turns in part to other churches or denominations, in part to practical infidelity, in still larger part, perhaps, to general indifference regarding all religion. Back of this thought is, of course, the fundamental conception of religion to which all Christendom adheres in theory—that religion is the most important thing in life and should control or influence all its interests. The Roman Catholic Church claims to carry out this theory in practice; all the varied divisions of Protestantism differ in their application of the theory, though most of them exclude government and education from its purview.

French Canada is still Catholic in its almost universal acceptance of the Church—even the Irish part of the small English minority adheres largely to that faith. The obvious and natural intention of Catholicism is to retain that allegiance, to strengthen the weak links in the chain of loyalty, to put religious backbone into those who might otherwise be feeble in their faith, by keeping a strong hand upon both education and the press and in making the former the key-note to the religion of the people. At a French Congress in Three Rivers during this present year (1913) George H. Baril, of Laval University, Montreal, defined the leading principles of the Congress as follows: “First and foremost is absolute and unquestioning submission to the Church and to its right of control in moral and religious education; then there is the assertion of the parents’ duty to watch over the child, and lastly there is the exclusion of Governments from the sphere of education.” “The Church,” he added, “has the sacred right to direct the education of its youth and to see that none of the books of instruction are allowed to contain anything in the least injurious to the doctrines of the Catholic Church; it is the business of the State to give protection and financial assistance but not to take charge of National education.”

Such a view is of course in absolute antagonism to the average Protestant view of English-speaking people in Canada as a whole, or in the United States. Yet it really appears to be the logical and natural one, from the Roman Catholic Church’s standpoint, if it desires to hold its people in French Canada, or elsewhere, as a unit in faith and as a great force within one organization. Of course this carries with it a high responsibility in the practical exclusion from French Canada of all knowledge as to the high principles, and lofty thoughts, and splendid ideals, which have distinguished so many branches of the Protestant faith in so many countries and centuries of the world’s history.

Meanwhile, the difficulties of modern life grow apace and even if the child of French Canada is not quite as much alive and alert in certain lines of education as his Ontario compatriot and his American competitor, it is, after all, a question of comparative values. Ability to hold his own with others in the material development and labors of after life is the excellent aim placed before the public school child in English Canada with, however, manners, morals and religion as conditions which must be left to the home and the churches. The obvious weakness of this system is that in the present age prayer and religion are being more and more eliminated from the home by stress of life and work while the churches and Sunday-schools are in touch with only a portion of the people or their children. On the other hand ability to meet what are believed to be the requirements and essentials of life in this world and the next—obedience to the Church, religious observance and duties, morals and manners—are the first condition of the Roman Catholic schools of French Canada, with business affairs, and capacity, and material interests, holding a secondary place.

The two systems are fundamentally antagonistic and the results divergent. The Catholic believes that a man should be made a complete Christian along his lines of faith and that he will then be the best citizen; the Protestant, as a rule, is willing to construct the citizen first and develop the Christian afterwards or else to try and evolve the two lines of thought together. Which of these systems is the best will and must be a matter of opinion dependent largely upon whether religion or practical utility is regarded as the first essential. The pity of it, to an outside observer in the case of Quebec, would seem to lie in the apparent difficulty of combining the two. Yet even in this question of practical utility there are two considerations. The life and surroundings of the rural French Canadian are so totally different from those of other Canadians, or of Americans, as to at once bring up the question of whether a change is desirable. There is usually but one answer to that question, and it an affirmative, from those who are not French Canadians; from those who are of that race, taken as a whole, the answer is diametrically opposite. Is the final test of life, happiness and contentment, or is it ambition, restless change, and money? Here again is a fundamental divergence and the French Canadian may be taken, with inevitable exceptions, to embody the one view while the American people, with also many and important exceptions, and a large class of Canadians, may be taken to represent the other view.

It must not be understood, however, that opinion in Quebec is or ever has been unanimous on these points. The majority is very large in favor of present educational conditions, but there is also a small and aggressive minority. Of late years it has been led by Godefroi Langlois, M.L.A., of Montreal, and his paper Le Pays. He wants a Department of Public Instruction similar to that of Ontario and other provinces which shall, presumably—though he does not quite say so—take the control of education from the hierarchy and give it to the politicians; he demands free and compulsory education and uniformity in school books. Under such a system it is obvious that the parish curé could not dictate the books on religion and morals to his school; nor could special time be taken from secular studies to prepare a child for its first Communion; nor would the Church and its great educational institutions hold the same predominating place in the system.

How far in such a case the change of masters, the transfer of the schools from the Church to the Legislature, would equalize conditions as between the Quebec and the Ontario boy, for instance, would then become a matter of race and here, again, the divergence, in this case of type, is, between the two, very great. As to present criticisms and comparisons, Sir Lomer Gouin has expressed his point of view in the Legislature very concisely. He has stated that in 1911 Quebec had 385,000 children inscribed in the schools, or 19 per cent of the population; and Ontario 459,000, or 18 per cent; and that the average school attendance in Quebec was 77 per cent; Ontario, 69 per cent; New Brunswick, 69 per cent; and Nova Scotia, 64 per cent. The obvious inference was that M. Langlois’ proposals would not better matters, as the provinces which had long ago adopted the system suggested now had a smaller average attendance at school than Quebec itself. The Church’s reply to M. Langlois, in the present year, was to interdict his paper.

Here the subject may well be left. It is strewn with difficulties and marked by high as well as merely material conditions. Its settlement in any event lies with the French Canadians, and if they believe their own ideals of education, principles of life, methods of work and view of what constitutes progress to be right, who shall say them nay in this age of self-government and almost exaggerated respect for the popular will? The situation has its picturesque side and if a hundred years from now a few millions of this contented and cheerful people of another race should still occupy, as is almost certain, their portion of a continent holding, perhaps, two hundred million of Anglo-Saxons within its shores, it is questionable how far anyone could be the worse for it and it is certainly possible that some things, not seen on the surface, may be the better.

Canada: An Encyclopædia of the Country (six volumes), edited by J. Castell Hopkins.

Picturesque Personalities of French Canada

There is something picturesque, unusual, attractive, about French Canadian leaders to the people of the rest of Canada. They are, of course, much better known than in the old days with which this volume chiefly deals, but well-known personally, or not, the type and characteristics are now pretty well defined in the public mind. The knowledge of two languages, a mental association with two great literatures, the inherited and instructed courtesy of manner, a certain measure of culture derived from the classical colleges of their province and from Laval through which nearly all of them pass, a certain accent in speech which is pleasant rather than otherwise, and a fluency of utterance which is a constant amazement to men of one language—these and other racial divergencies or conditions are easily appreciated if not exactly understood. The earlier figures in French Canada’s history have been summarized and dealt with in these pages—Cartier, Champlain, De Laval, De Frontenac, Montcalm, Papineau—but it may be interesting in concluding this discursive study of a most interesting people to glance at some of their leaders in modern times, to note their outstanding characteristics, to define the pivotal points in their careers.

Colonel C. M. de Salaberry was one of the most conspicuous figures in the early British portion of French Canadian history. A gentleman and Seigneur by birth, in an age and province where position meant something; a soldier by instinct, profession and love of arms; an officer of the British Army, with eleven years’ service in the West Indies at a time when those islands were still a center for the struggles and storms of war; an aide-de-camp to General de Rottenburg in the Walcheren expedition and organizer in Lower Canada of the Quebec Voltigeurs; he came into the War of 1812 with every capacity for success and came out of it with a reputation which will grow with the centuries and with the Canadian patriotism which is based upon such incidents as De Salaberry at the Battle of Chateauguay or Brock at Queenston Heights.

It was during the Campaign of 1813 when, in September of that year, the United States General Wilkinson with 8,000 troops, a proclamation of promised protection to all French Canadians who would remain quietly at home, left Sackett’s Harbor to descend the St. Lawrence, to capture Montreal and overrun Quebec, while General Hampton, from Lake Champlain, had entered the province with 7,000 men by that old-time military route, in order to join forces with Wilkinson, and had advanced as far as the forests surrounding the mouth of the Chateauguay. Here he was met (October 25th) by Colonel de Salaberry in command of 300 French Canadian Fencibles and Voltigeurs and a few Indians with, also, the unexpected reinforcement of 600 more French Canadians under Colonel McDonell, of Ogdensburg fame.

The French Canadians formed in the woods in two lines, De Salaberry leading the first, upon which Hampton advanced with his large force. The first line was gradually driven back in the darkness of the night with its leader, however, remaining stubbornly in the face of the enemy and beside him a bugler boy sounding the advance even in retreat. As these troops fell back upon the second line the American force heard a perfect pandemonium of sound; many buglers placed at great distances from each other sounded the advance; Indians numbering about fifty and also scattered through the woods at regular intervals, made the night hideous with war-whoops and yells. The American columns broke and fled and the honors of this extraordinary victory remained with the 900 French Canadians who had driven back 7,000 invaders and prevented their junction with Wilkinson, who, himself, was defeated at Chrystler’s Farm on November 11th and the American invasion of French Canada terminated. De Salaberry received a Companionship of the Bath, a gold medal awarded by the King in honor of the victory and the thanks of the Provincial Legislature. He passed away in 1829, unusually respected and with a reputation which had grown with the years. An English Canadian, John Boyd of the Montreal Gazette, has paid him this tribute:

And where’er the fight waxed fiercest on that unforgotten day,

There De Salaberry led his forces in the thickest of the fray.

Bravest of the brave in battle, with his proud and piercing glance,

Did he show the fiery valor that bespoke the blood of France.

From the years of struggle which followed this period in French Canada there came the figure of a man whom all parties and schools of thought in Canada now consider worthy of esteem—Sir Louis Hypolite Lafontaine. The soul of honor in personal life and policy, unusually reserved for a French Canadian and dignified in bearing, with massive Napoleonic face and imperturbable manner, he passed through the political storms of 1830-50 without a stain upon his reputation, lived simply and without ostentation, and died comparatively poor in 1864 as Chief Justice of Lower Canada and a Baronet of the United Kingdom. His outstanding achievement was leadership of the moderate Liberals of Lower Canada or Quebec in union with Robert Baldwin and the moderate Liberals of Upper Canada or Ontario. He had been an original associate of Papineau and supported the Ninety-two Resolutions, he had left the country for a while after the Rebellion, he was opposed to the union of the Provinces in 1841 as endangering the French Canadian interests.

With the changes that came after that event, however, and influenced, no doubt, by his association with Baldwin and others of that character, M. Lafontaine gradually changed his views, grew away from the violent section of his own party, opposed the views of L’Institut Canadien and L’Avenir, estranged much support of that brilliant kind from his leadership while he acquired the solid confidence of substantial men. The Lafontaine-Baldwin Administration of the Canadas in 1848-51 did much to broaden French Canadian ideas, to cement and promote friendly feeling between the races, to pave the way for a future and greater union. Its legislation included a thorough reform of the municipal system of the provinces and of the election, education and assessment laws, the establishment of provincial credit abroad, assumption of control over the post office and establishment of cheap and uniform rates of postage, reform and remodelling of the courts, the granting of a general amnesty for the events of 1837-38, the abolition of primogeniture in Upper Canada and the inauguration of railway legislation—a three years’ record which the most successful and famous of Canadian governments in the next sixty years did not excel. M. Lafontaine was not conciliatory in manner, he was not a tribune of the people, he was apt to be dogmatic and inflexible, but he could concentrate his arguments and think and reason concisely, he could construct in policy and he had unbounded courage to do what he thought was wise or necessary. He left a high reputation and a great name, yet in the latter and greater part of his career he was in almost everything—personally and politically—the antithesis of Papineau whom he for a time had followed and then succeeded in the leadership of his race.

Sir Étienne Pascal Taché was as different in his point of view from Lafontaine as two men of the same race and religion could possibly be. By profession he was a physician, by taste a soldier, by the call of the public a politician and administrator, by conviction a sincere believer in monarchy and British connection for French Canada, by instinct a Conservative. He served in the militia, fought at Chateauguay and wore its medal with great pride, was for a time Deputy-Adjutant-General of Militia in Lower Canada and long afterwards aide-de-camp to Her Majesty the Queen and Honorary Colonel in the British Army. A member of the Legislative Assembly of United Canada and afterwards of the Legislative Council, he joined the Lafontaine-Baldwin Government and then drifted into alliance with Sir Allan MacNab, chief of the Upper Canada Conservatives and a Tory of the Tories. In 1855-57, as head of the Taché-Macdonald Administration, he was Premier of the Canadas. Knighted in 1858, he accompanied the Prince of Wales in his tour of Canada two years later.

It was Sir E. P. Taché who declared in the Legislature that “the last gun that will be fired for British supremacy in North America will be fired by a French Canadian,” and this was said in days when his compatriots were not yet quite clear of the feelings and passions of the Rebellion; it was he who assumed the burden of much labor, after a practical retirement from politics, when the Trent affair occurred and the Commission appointed to inquire into and report on the state and organization of the militia was created; it was he who in 1864 gave up the political retirement of years and again, with John A. Macdonald, assumed the Premiership of the United Provinces at a time when deadlock, deficits, racial and religious difficulties and unpleasant relations with the United States rendered the position serious and the times most critical. He was Chairman of the Quebec Conference which laid broadly and well the foundations of a great confederation and planted deep the fruitful roots of a future nation. At a time when party feeling ran high—almost to the breaking point—he had the respect of all parties and sections and passed away in 1865 amidst genuine regret. He did not live to see the Confederation for which, latterly, he labored, but his works live after him and he fills a lofty and lasting niche in the pantheon of French Canada.

To have been a youthful leader in the movement which centered around L’Avenir was a natural step to politics, if not Parliament, in the days of Lafontaine, Taché and the union of the Canadas; but to the young man who was destined to die as Sir Antoine Aimé Dorion, Chief Justice of Lower Canada, it provided many difficulties for his after public career and produced tendencies of mind which remained with him to the end. He was a Radical in early days and the leader of a restless, reckless yet brilliant school of thought which sought change as the great essential; in 1849 he signed a manifesto in favor of Annexation to the United States; he did not like the Legislative union of the Canadas in 1841 and feared many and varied evils to his race from that historic combination; he opposed Confederation for specific reasons—because it created an appointive Upper House or Senate, because it unnecessarily pledged Canadian resources to the construction of an Intercolonial Railway, because he preferred a federated union of the two Canadas alone, because it was foolish to assume military or defence organization in face of the Northern United States which had in five years called into the field 2,300,000 men, because the wisest policy was for Canada to “keep quiet and give no cause for war!”

M. Dorion had succeeded Lafontaine as leader of the Rouges, or French Canadian Liberals, and his opinions, even then, were “advanced” in many ways; he bitterly opposed the selection of Ottawa as the seat of government and would not accept the Queen’s official and invited selection; he represented Lower Canada in the Macdonald-Dorion Administration of 1864. A man of thorough and cultured education, of courtly and polished bearing, of spotless moral reputation, and of scholarly eloquence, he was intimate with and fluent in speaking both the languages of his country. It was once said of him that, “If he speaks in English you will think him an Englishman with a foreign face; if he speaks in French you will think him a Frenchman who has spent much of his life in England. His manner is the manner of the people whose language for the time being he thinks fit to use.” With Confederation Mr. Dorion remained leader of the Liberal party of Quebec in the greater Parliament which had been created, became Minister of Justice in the Mackenzie Government of 1873 and in the next year was appointed Chief Justice of Quebec. He lived for another seventeen years in which marvelous changes came to the Canada and the French race of his intense and stirring youth; in which the one-time theorist and supporter of annexation was knighted by his Queen for great services to the state; in which the Dominion of his early fears had become an important national entity and the hope of millions of people in his maturer days.

Sir George Étienne Cartier was the exact opposite of Dorion, of Papineau, of Lafontaine, in personal qualities and characteristics. His early enthusiasms and perhaps the burning influence of Papineau’s eloquence led him into the troubles of 1837; he joined the Sons of Liberty, fought at St. Denis against the British troops, fled to the United States and, with sixteen others, passed under sentence of death if he should return without official sanction. Eventually he did come back and the rebel of 1837, under more favorable circumstances and greater liberties, became a Premier of the United Provinces, a Minister of the Crown in a greater Dominion, and was created a Baronet by the Sovereign whose allegiance he had once repudiated. It was a great career, yet Cartier was in no ordinary sense an orator, he lacked the splendid or imposing bearing of his rival leaders, he was quick and nervous in manner and speech and without the special qualities that please a French audience or hold an English one. He did, however, possess tremendous energy, marked force and aggressiveness, great capacity for organization and some outstanding qualities which commended him to that prince of politicians, Sir John Macdonald.

With his entry into the Legislature in 1848 there had come a complete change in Mr. Cartier’s point of view. Unlike his great opponent (Dorion), he did not in succeeding years cling to early ideals through all the thickening clouds of political difficulty or the lightning-like flashes of public fancy which marked the period. His ten years of patient study, careful legal work, cumulative experience in his Montreal practice, appear to have turned the restless revolutionary into a consistent and energetic Conservative. When he entered Parliament it was as a believer in monarchy, in government framed after and based on that of England, in a system of racial co-operation and mutual confidence. In 1855 he joined the MacNab-Taché Government and, with two brief intervals, remained in office until Confederation—being in 1858-62 Prime Minister of the Canadas. During this period he was earnest in promoting better militia conditions, devoted to the idea of an advanced railway policy, industrious in improving the school and education laws, urgently favorable to the abolition of the Seigneurial tenure, busy in a systematic, continuous effort to better various laws, consistent in his support to the Confederation movement, able in his efforts at the various conferences held in Canada and in London to create the Dominion of today.

With Confederation came a baronetcy granted for his services in that connection, appointment as Minister of Defence in the first Federal Cabinet, leadership of the French Conservatives in the Commons. With it also came that extraordinary contest in Montreal East during the 1872 general elections about which a book might be written, the mortifications, the humiliations, of the Pacific Railway scandal and his death in England (1873) before the complications and disasters of that event were fully developed. A public funeral followed in Montreal and the stormy incidents of the moment were forgotten, as they have been by posterity, in a knowledge of Sir George Cartier’s general services to French Canada, to the Dominion, and to the Empire. Cartier appears to have surpassed the other French leaders of the fifties and sixties in activity and energy, in parliamentary strategy, in freshness and vigor of intellect, in ardor and ability of political combat. He was impetuous, dominating, confident of character; he was rough in speech, harsh and sometimes unduly caustic and bitter in style, without eloquence, or softness, or persuasiveness, yet at times making his words seem like the blows of a hammer on the anvil; he often described himself as “an Englishman speaking French” and he certainly wielded unequalled power for long years in his own province; he was the friend and confidant of Sir John Macdonald, which meant much in the politics of that period.

A picturesque figure of modern French Canada, remarkable as a journalist and a politician, keen of tongue, brilliant of language, oratory, style, yet never a successful or weighty leader, Joseph Edouard Cauchon was something of a phenomenon, certainly a most interesting personality. As editor-in-chief of Le Canadien, in 1841, when twenty-four years of age, he showed unbounded energy and almost boundless indiscretion; brought about the suppression of his paper which he re-issued as the Journal de Québec; wrote himself, within two years, into the Legislature and there represented Montmorency—in the old Legislature and the new Dominion Parliament—for twenty-eight years. His first signal effort in the House was in response to an attack by M. Papineau when the young member electrified his colleagues in a reply which showed most brilliant debating qualities. This was a season in French Canada of inevitable storm when echoes of the great economic changes in England, of the social and political movements in France, of the wars and revolutionary outbreaks in the rest of Europe, stirred up some old memories of local strife, created new forms of friction, and helped to form the bases of new party affiliations.

During these adjustments Cauchon supported Lafontaine until the latter’s retirement from public life in 1851, but after that drifted into support of the Conservative party, became a member of the MacNab-Taché Government in 1855, but resigned two years later, joined the Government again in 1861-62, was Mayor of Quebec in 1865. He favored Confederation as preliminary to an inevitable Independence—as he said in the Legislature during the 1865 debate: “Shall we forever remain colonists? Does the history of the world afford examples of eternal subjection? Everything tells us that the day of national emancipation or of annexation to the United States is approaching.” There was in those days no discussion of the third or modern alternative of closer union with the Empire. Cauchon’s support to the Government on this question of confederation was very effective and valuable—all the more so, perhaps, because he had disapproved the idea a dozen years before. He was a curious anomaly in public life. Influential through an aggressive, sarcastic eloquence, a power of vituperation and flow of words which carried everything before them, he yet made enemies with such ease and certainty as to minimize the influence of his arguments. Disliked by his more powerful opponents, he was feared, and hated also, by those who were weak. In the end his unpopularity hampered his activities and position in the Dominion Parliament while a certain scandal relating to ownership of the Beauport Asylum which was supported by Quebec Government funds, while its owner sat in Parliament, seriously hurt him for a time.

He was for some years Speaker of the Senate, became a member of the Mackenzie Government in 1875, and proved himself an able administrator deserving of the confidence of his Premier while astonishing his own numerous enemies. He passed out of public life after a term in the governorship of Manitoba, and died in 1885. M. Cauchon was a clear, cultivated, clever public writer, a man of tremendous industry and perseverance, but with a sort of unrestrained despotism of thought and speech; he was at times a powerful ally, at times a dangerous and too candid friend, always an unpleasant opponent. He had been a Liberal and a Conservative and a Liberal again; he was opposed to Confederation and then one of its most powerful supporters, he represented his constituency as long as he chose to do so and nothing could shake its constancy. He missed being a great man, but he was always a picturesque and interesting personality with a viewpoint rather well defined in those old-time verses:

Tender-hearted stroke a nettle,

  And it stings you for your pains;

Grasp it as a man of mettle,

  And it soft as silk remains.


’Tis the same with common natures,

  Use them kindly they rebel;

But be rough as nutmeg graters,

  And the rogues obey your will.

What may be said here of Honoré Mercier? He had every political experience, in shadow and in sunshine, in failure and in success, that a French Canadian could hope for, or regret, within the confines of his own province and the hearts of his own people. He had a personality which was essentially attractive, almost lovable, an oratorical power that in his time was only equalled by Chapleau and Laurier, a political career in which he won the overwhelming support of his people, lost it again through political misadventure, or as his opponents claimed, misconduct; won back in defeat and death what he had lost and lives today enshrined in the political heart of Quebec Liberalism and embodied in a handsome monument erected by the Provincial Government.

Toboggan Slide near Montreal

Like so many eminent French Canadians he showed his ability very young. Napoleon Legendre, himself distinguished as a writer, tells the story of a public debate by students of St. Mary’s College, Montreal, in 1861. Four young men, who all afterwards attained positions of prominence, took part and young Mercier, as chairman, summed up the discussion. It seems to have been a revelation of oratorical force. He commenced, gravely, slowly, audibly and clearly. “Gradually more warmth crept into his voice and his sonorous words, metallically clear in their tone, flew like arrows straight to their mark in every corner of that large hall. Everyone listened with surprise mingled with pleasure. When Mercier concluded he had achieved a great and well-earned success.” At twenty-two he was editing a paper which he had to give up because of his determined opposition to the confederation of the provinces movement; for some years he practiced his profession of the law; in 1871 he tried to form a Nationalist party outside of, or with, both the chief parties which should take in hand such questions as the preservation of the Separate Schools in New Brunswick which had just come up, and in the next year found himself in the Dominion Parliament at the age of thirty-two. There he continued his campaign as to New Brunswick school affairs.

After being out of politics for some years he entered the Provincial Legislature in 1879 and joined the Joly Government; in 1883 he was Liberal leader of his province. Two years before he had made a speech on Education which illustrated the many-sided nature of the man: “Ignorance is poverty, education is wealth; ignorance means slavery, education means liberty. It is the mother’s duty to nurse the child which she has brought into the world; it is the father’s duty to provide it with daily bread; the duty of society is to educate it. And what is this populace which it is our duty to instruct? What but the people, the real people of our land? Those who work, the laborers and the artisans, the foster-fathers of the human race, those who construct, those who sow, but who, alas! do not always reap. To these let us open, and open wide, the doors of the temple which spreads its beneficial light over the world and let us make sure that that light shall penetrate into even the humblest of humble homes.”

Then came the Northwest Rebellion, its suppression and the capture, trial, condemnation and final execution of the rebel leader—Louis Riel. Into the public arena leaped M. Mercier, clad from top to toe in the armor of racial indignation at the treatment thus meted out to a French Canadian who was said to be only guilty of a political offence—one no worse than that of Papineau and Cartier, one that was condoned by an alleged but disproved insanity. The Orangemen of Ontario were responsible for this “crime against humanity,” the Government of Sir John Macdonald must be swept out of existence. The people rose to meet his eloquent and burning words; it was a new Papineau seeking justice and punishment for a Government of wrong-doers who had insulted the pride of a great race. First, the walls of the provincial temple must fall, and in the campaign of 1886 Mercier is said to have made ninety-three speeches—vehement, imploring, argumentative, forcible, appealing, eloquent. He emerged with a majority, became Prime Minister and in 1887 turned his now doubly-shotted guns against the Dominion Government in a campaign where he joined forces with M. Laurier. Against this combination was the eloquence of Chapleau, the organizing force of Langevin, the personal popularity and prestige of Sir John Macdonald. Mercier failed, in the main, but he reduced the Government’s support in Quebec.

His succeeding four years’ administration is one of the most curious periods in Quebec history. There was great lavishness of expenditure and there was, no doubt, some of the corruption in provincial politics which the Conservatives charged. Yet up to nearly the close of the period Mercier presented a brilliant, conspicuous and attractive figure and a personality which bore down criticism and dominated the situation. He had won the approval of the Church by his Jesuits Estates Act and other legislation, he received honors from Rome which included the title of Count and the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, he was decorated by France with the Legion of Honor and received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from Laval. In brilliant robes and uniform he appeared upon the public platform and with his fine presence, his sonorous, powerful voice, his flashing black eyes, his attractive personality, seemed to hold a position which nothing short of an earthquake could disturb. He had also initiated useful legislation—evening schools, the grant of one hundred acres of land to the parents of twelve living children, the giving of prizes for agricultural merit; he had an active policy as to railways and manufactories and helped to settle the Laval University problem as it affected the Montreal institution. Then came the bolt from the blue when in December, 1891, it was announced that the Lieutenant-Governor, Hon. A. R. Angers (a Conservative before accepting office), had dismissed his ministers for what he considered proven corruption. M. de Boucherville (Conservative), who had once been dismissed by a Liberal Governor, accepted the Premiership and in the succeeding elections was sustained.

It would be futile here to apportion the responsibility for such a remarkable change in public sentiment or to define the measure of M. Mercier’s innocence or guilt. It is still a political matter and though the picturesque personality of this particular leader never again filled the Premier’s chair, he retained much of his personal popularity, and time cleared his skirts of much that was charged against him. History is already dealing gently with him though the Conservative leaders in Quebec, a short time since, would not attend the unveiling of his statue. He possessed some of the faults and failings of his race; he accentuated many of its greatest merits and elements of brilliance, charm and enthusiasm. He supported an ideal of Independence for Canada and looked upon it as the inevitable future of the Dominion; he stood by his Church and his race along lines which he believed to be beneficial with a vigor and capacity which can not but be admired. As to the rest, only the impartial judgment of a distant posterity can decide—though even then anything like agreement would seem to be unlikely.

Sir Joseph Adolphe Chapleau was a man who took the usual strenuous interest of the educated young French Canadian in politics but, unlike the majority of them, he seems to have always been Conservative in thought and speech and policy. Handsome, even striking in appearance, eloquent, with softly-modulated voice, ringing out at times like a silver bell, with flowing and rounded periods of speech and easy yet impressive gestures, with a habit of throwing back his head and passing a hand through his splendid mass of hair, he compelled public attention and attracted political popularity even in days when Cartier, Cauchon and Laurier were coming to, or were already in, the front. His career did not run along unusual lines except perhaps in the degree of its success. He graduated from the Classical Colleges with a high reputation and early became a conspicuous legal figure in Montreal; defended Lepine at Winnipeg in 1874 against the charge of murdering Scott in the first Riel insurrection with a forensic force and skill which attracted attention; entered the Legislature in 1867 and the Provincial Government in 1873; resigned a year later and was in the De Boucherville Ministry of 1876-78; became the leader of the Conservatives, or Bleu opposition, Prime Minister in 1879-82, member of the Dominion Cabinet in the latter year and for a succeeding decade.

Probably the most picturesque, certainly the most interesting, event in M. Chapleau’s career was when he stood face to face, as the French Canadian leader in the Macdonald Government, with Mercier’s tremendous agitation over the Riel question in Quebec. The latter had apparently persuaded the people that the execution of Riel was a public crime, that Chapleau, Langevin and Caron, the French members of the Government, must be held responsible, that it was a matter of the French race versus the Orange and other elements of the English population which were supposedly hostile to French Canada’s position, power and privileges. The Parti-Nationale was organized and promised to sweep Mercier into power at Quebec and his opponents at Ottawa into extinction. At this juncture Mercier offered to lay his crown of popularity and policy at the feet of Chapleau, to hand over to him the leadership and honors of the movement if he would resign his place in the Government and take command. In an address to his Terrebonne constituents M. Chapleau (Gazette, Montreal, December 2, 1885) reviewed the situation, admitted the proffer and gave his reasons for refusal: “I have been pressed and solicited by my devoted friends and political enemies to take the lead in this popular movement. These offers were very flattering to me. The prospects they opened before me were very attractive. I saw myself accepted as the recognized defender of my race, honored and applauded by all my compatriots, interpreter of their sentiments and of their aspirations.” There was, however, another and compelling influence summed up in the idea of duty to Canada and his people. “I saw as a logical consequence of this movement isolation, antagonism of race, reprisals, losses and disasters. I felt that there was more courage in braving the current than in following it.” An elaborate study of the issue followed, with the reasons for the Government’s action.

The public, whether French or English, likes courage and M. Chapleau was returned by his own constituents while the Dominion Government was sustained in its ensuing appeal to the people in 1887. From 1892 to 1897, when he died, Sir Adolphe Chapleau was Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, a position he filled with dignity. It is an open secret that, pending the elections of 1896, when the Tupper Government and Conservative power at Ottawa were trembling in the balance; when M. Laurier was drawing the French Canadians to him by a tact and cleverness rarely displayed in Canadian politics; when the Manitoba Separate School issue was supreme in the public view and all kinds of collateral issues of importance were at stake; every effort was made and pressure exercised to persuade Chapleau to re-enter politics and support his old party friends at the polls. Had he done so and the eloquence which he still possessed been pitted once more against that of Laurier it is hard to say what might have happened—many Conservatives are convinced the result would have been different.

The writer remembers hearing Chapleau speak in the elections of 1887 at London, Ontario. Of other speakers—Sir John Macdonald, Hon. J. S. D. Thompson and one or two more—little memory remains, but the personality, gesture, silvery voice and wonderful eloquence of Chapleau are still living memories. His peroration evoked such a tumult of applause as one rarely witnesses or hears. “The policy of the Liberal-Conservative party is summed up in the words faith, hope and charity. Faith in our great country, in its rich and vast resources, in its national unity and its future greatness; hope in our great leader, Sir John Macdonald, hope in his patriotic efforts, his wonderful personal popularity, his splendid statesmanship, his love for Canada, his power to lead us to renewed and greater victories; charity, ladies and gentlemen, charity towards our poor, deluded opponents!” These words can give only a faint idea of the eloquence and force with which the thoughts and words were driven home. Yet Chapleau never reached the highest points of success either in his party or nation. There was something lacking—in later years ill-health dogged his footsteps and perhaps it had an earlier influence than is known.

Amid all this din and turmoil of political record it is almost a privilege to turn to the calm, dignified, able Prince of his Church in Canada, Elzéar Alexandre Taschereau, Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec. Born of a Seigneurial family, trained in the academic shades of the Quebec Seminary, traveling in Europe at sixteen and a visitor and student in Rome at seventeen, he was ordained a priest four years later in the Seminary of his home city. For nearly thirty years Mgr. Taschereau remained devoted to his work at the Seminary—teaching rhetoric, philosophy, dogmas, ethics, or canon law. Every position of honor and responsibility came to him that this great institution could give; he helped to found Laval University with a view to extending the scope and character of the Seminary’s work; he lived in it and for it with such rare exceptions as in 1847 when he went to Grosse Isle to minister to the stricken Irish immigrants. It was a testing time for character. The malignant fever which had developed at this point of detention made the island ere long a mass of loathsome, perilous pestilence. Father Taschereau volunteered to assist the local priest in charge and to minister to the wants of the sick who were, in the main, Roman Catholics. His quiet heroism and unostentatious labors at this point of danger endeared him to the people. In 1854 he paid a visit to Rome as the representative of the Second Provincial Council of his Church in Quebec and spent two years there in study, receiving eventually the degree of Doctor of Canon Law from the Roman Seminary.

His great efforts, however, were for his own institution. During thirty years he was its most conspicuous figure—Director of the Grand Séminaire or of the Petit Séminaire, Superior of the Seminary or Rector of Laval and always inspiring in his labors, devoted in every thought and deed, to its interests. Transatlantic journeys, immense correspondence, compilation of memoirs, polemical papers, pastoral letters and mandements; everything that one man could do to advance or guard its welfare Mgr. Taschereau did until 1871, when, after being for a time Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Quebec, he became its Archbishop. He did not desire the responsibility but he did not shirk the duties. To his pupils of the Petit Séminaire who came to offer their congratulations he said: “Formerly I owned a beautiful garden which I lovingly cultivated in common with trusty friends; no thoughts of elsewhere could drag me from the cherished spot; I loved to promenade its peaceful walks; to watch the opening of the nascent roses that each scholastic season caused to expand, that the warm rays of study, alternating with the grateful dews of piety, little by little, made to ripen into salutary fruit.” Fifteen years of incessant labor, visitations within his Province and visits to Rome, treatment of complicated questions in church government, ecclesiastical rule, educational progress, even political issues, and then the highest honor in the gift of the Church, to one away from the central seat of its power, came to him in elevation to the Cardinalate.

One of the most picturesque and brilliant scenes in the life of modern Quebec was the welcome accorded His Eminence, the first Canadian Cardinal, when he returned from his installation at Rome as one of the Princes of his Church. Imposing ceremonies, a great gathering of gorgeously-robed ecclesiastics from all over the continent, crowded and decorated streets with flags and banners everywhere, brilliant illuminations at night, processions of great ceremonial pomp and splendor, tributes of music, poetry and oratory, a grand banquet in conclusion. Here the new Cardinal described a dream in which St. Jean Baptiste, the patron Saint of Quebec, appears to Mgr. de Laval on shipboard and tells the first Bishop of Quebec as to the mighty future of the land he is about to enter: “Behold! behold those rocks crested by our impregnable citadel; then behold the city which shall receive your ashes two centuries hence. Contemplate its many abodes of virtue and science. Do you see those massive buildings? They are your Seminary and the University which shall proudly bear your name. Listen to the accents of universal rejoicing that echo throughout the length and breadth of Canada on the accession of your fifteenth successor to the Cardinalate! This country, today so insignificant, inhabited only by a handful of Canadians, shall then extend from ocean to ocean, its boundless territories belted by rails of steel reverberating to the thunder of palatial vehicles swept along at lightning speed by fire and steam. Without enjoying complete independence Canada shall possess all its privileges; and the immortal Pontiff who shall occupy St. Peter’s Chair shall encircle it in rays of celestial light, emanating from the brow of one of its favored children whom he shall select for the honor and responsibility of watching with him over the welfare of the Universal Church.”

The remaining sixteen years of the Cardinal’s life was a period of steady, continuous labor, quiet and dignified administration of a great office—with the development of occasional controversies which showed that the silent, reserved dignitary possessed also a vigorous power of expression and severe methods of denunciation. Dealing at times with the relations of Church and State and continuously with the problems of infidelity, incredulity and extreme liberty of thought; attacking the evils of intemperance, immorality, dissipation, or unseemly strife and disputes within the Church; treating of public issues such as too free an emigration to the United States or the evolution of secret societies, free-masonry and other organizations of which the Church disapproved; advising politicians as to Dominion or Provincial laws and their relation to Church interests; denouncing Court decisions which he believed to endanger the rights of liberty or the privileges of religion; denouncing journalists who attacked the Church, indecent theatrical performances which menaced morals, or influences of any kind which he considered to threaten his particular domain; everywhere and constantly he endeavored to guard the vital interests of the people as he and his Church saw them. It was a great career and behind it a fine personality; the power wielded was permanent in much of its effect and vital in many lines of import to the life of the modern French people in Canada.

The most picturesque living personality in the Dominion is that of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. He possesses so many of the finest characteristics of his race, he is so deeply and yet affectionately regarded by his party, he has so few personal enemies and yet is so closely and intimately associated with every partisan issue in the history of Canada for twenty-five years past, that it is almost impossible to present a description of the man, or the leader, which could be generally acceptable—without its being either eulogistic and vapid or dishonest and worthless. Yet an attempt may be made to at least classify his characteristics and his achievements. Louis Fréchette, who was one of the Liberal leader’s many devoted friends amongst the brilliant literary men and journalists of several decades in Quebec, once told a story of having in 1865 paid a visit to the editorial office of Union Nationale in Montreal to see Médéric Lanctôt, one of the fiery, clever, enthusiastic opponents of Confederation who was then practicing law, publishing a journal of rhetorical and heated politics, and making his office a center for many similar and kindred spirits.

In the far-end corner of the room M. Fréchette, as he entered, saw a young man seated at his desk with his back to visitors, turning over files of papers and covering the long pages of some legal document with rapid writing and in a calm, concentrated, serious way which naturally attracted attention. Fréchette was about to inquire who it was when the young man rose and came forward in order to leave the room. Lanctôt said, “Let me introduce M. Laurier, my partner in this struggling firm of lawyers. A future minister!” After a word or two the young lawyer—he was then twenty-four years of age—left the room and Lanctôt turned to his visitor with characteristic French verve: “There is a head for you! Did you notice it? Why, sir, he is a poet, an orator, a philosopher, a jurist—I cannot enumerate all his talents; but mark my words, he is a coming man. Don’t forget that face!”

It is safe to say that not only was the advice followed but the words often remembered as the young man forged his way into the Legislature in 1871, into the Commons in 1874, into the Dominion Government in 1877, into the leadership of the Liberal party of Canada in 1887, into the Premiership of Canada in 1896, into the Privy Council of Great Britain in 1897. At this point it may be said that the young and rising lawyer described by M. Fréchette was rather fortunate in leaving Montreal in 1867 and starting the practice of law in a little village of the Eastern Townships afterwards known as Arthabaskaville. He thus avoided complications which might easily have environed him in connection with the excitable politics and conditions of that period in Montreal; it certainly provided him with his seat in the Legislature where, on November 10, 1871, he made a speech which was so fluent, cultivated, charming, polished in language and elevated in character as to attract immediate attention. He declared the trouble of the day, the cause of the existing depression, to be that production was not equal to consumption, urged his people to learn English as well as French, advocated an industrial immigration into the province of master mechanics and small capitalists, demanded reform of the electoral and educational laws. In the House of Commons—April 15, 1874—his first speech dealing with the Fort Garry Rebellion of Louis Riel also made a pronounced impression and a friendly critic who heard it has left a description of “his sonorous and vibrating voice, the wealth and variety of intonation, the chaste simplicity of gesture, the natural ease and grace of attitude.”

In a famous speech on Political Liberalism, Mr. Laurier, in 1877, enunciated certain ideals which practically created a new Liberalism in French Canada, paved the way for the removal of Church hostility which had been aroused by various events in the previous twenty years, and made a splendid basis for racial conciliation and friendship—however the precepts might be lived up to in practice. The policy of the party was defined as the protection of those free and liberal institutions which had come to his people, their defence and propagation, the development of the country’s latent resources through and under those institutions. Then he concluded by referring to the death of Montcalm and his followers on the Plains of Abraham, and to the picture of persecution, humiliation and despair which they might well have drawn for the future. “If Heaven had lifted the veil from their dying eyes and enabled them for a moment, before they were closed forever, to pierce what was hidden from their sight; if they could have seen their children free and happy marching proudly in all spheres of society; if they could have seen, in the old Cathedral, the seat of honor of French governors occupied by a French governor; if they could have seen the church steeples rising in every valley from the shores of Gaspé to the prairies of the Red River; if they could have seen this old flag (the tri-color), which recalls their victories, carried triumphantly in all our public ceremonies; in fine, if they could have seen our free institutions, is it not permissible to think that their last breath would have been exhaled in a murmur of gratitude to Heaven, and that they would have died consoled.”

The succeeding career of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was filled with scenes of picturesque character and of complicated public and party nature, of strenuous controversial issue, of imperial splendor or national importance. Picture him on the Champs de Mars, Montreal (November 20, 1885), standing beside M. Mercier and before a sea of faces alight with the passionate feeling of his race, declaring that the Government of Sir John Macdonald in allowing Riel to be hung had “committed an act of inhumanity and cruelty unworthy of a civilized nation.” Picture him in Tory Toronto facing a great audience during the elections of 1887 and proclaiming similar sentiments with eloquent tongue and with a courage which deserved and received its mead of public admiration. Picture him in the bitterness of disappointment over the elections of 1891, and in profound pessimism of spirit as to the future of a country he believed to be guided by a loyalty to Britain which was only the covering for party corruption, telling a Boston audience that “the time will come in the very nature of things when separation (from Great Britain) will take place.” Picture him years afterwards, in 1897, as Prime Minister of Canada, fresh from a great victory, with buoyant spirits and characteristic French cheerfulness, loaded with British honors to supplement those of his own country, telling audiences in Great Britain that the time was coming when she could call Canada to her Councils. Picture the same leader burdened with cares of office and multiplying responsibilities of a racial, party and national character, controlling and guiding the action of great Imperial Conferences and modifying conclusions along the lines of caution. Picture him fighting for Reciprocity with the United States in 1890 and 1891, and again in 1911, with vigor and determination—ever standing like a rock in favor of close friendship and intimate relations with the great Republic—and going down to defeat upon a trade issue which was expected to be a political triumph. Picture him, finally, leading a hesitating Quebec and uncertain Ontario along lines of naval defence which another party was to shortly change in character and fundamental conditions.

These were great issues, many of them questions of highly debatable character, some of them not yet settled. Through them all Sir Wilfrid Laurier has serenely taken his course and whether he be considered right or wrong in the issue, wise or unwise in the policy, patriotic or unpatriotic in his thought and word, he has borne his burden with dignity, he has won the personal respect of all, he has stood for the best characteristics of the great race he represented. As a Frenchman thinking, speaking, and acting for an English majority in Canada during many years and holding, for a part of that time, his own province in the hollow of his hand, he had great opportunities for achievement which were further enhanced by his own personality. Together these conditions involved great power and great responsibility in the decisions to which he came or upon which his party acted. His speeches have taken a wider range than those of any other Canadian public man. In dealing with academic or fighting Liberalism, racial unity and harmony or Riel and the Jesuit’s Estates question, Nationalism or Imperialism, an eulogy of Mr. Gladstone or Queen Victoria, British policy in the Transvaal or Home Rule for Ireland, literature or patriotism, he has always been equally cultured and interesting with an expression of high ideals tinged with no uncertain love of liberty. As to the rest, he has described French Canada, in words which he would probably like history to apply to himself, as being “Faithful to the nation that gave us life, faithful to the nation that gave us liberty.”

There is one other French Canadian who should be dealt with here. His name is not a household word in Canada, though well known; it is not that of a great politician, orator or statesman, but of a simple, duty-loving, earnest soldier—Sir E. P. C. Girouard. In himself he typifies a situation which is important and imperial in its very essence. A French Canadian to the finger-tips, a son of a judge noted for his ability and French patriotism, he entered the British Army (Royal Engineers) in 1888 at the age of twenty-one and rose in another twenty-one years to the rank of Colonel. He has served in England on work in which all rising officers have to become masters; he has been Director of Railways in the far-off Soudan and President of the Egyptian Railway Board; he served through the South African war as Director of Railways—a post whose importance can hardly be exaggerated or its difficulties adequately treated here; he was for two years afterwards Commissioner of Railways in the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies; he has since then held high command in England, served as High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria and then as Governor of the Protectorate; for some years he has been Governor and Commander-in-chief of the East African Protectorate. Today he is member of a great English firm of contractors for dry-docks, etc., and is helping to develop Canada along lines of practical support to British naval construction.

It is safe to say that no more picturesque Imperial figure exists than Sir Percy Girouard. Entering the Army without the adventitious aids of great wealth or brilliant social connections in England and with little but his capacity, energy and hard work to aid him, he rose through the ranks to high position, to Governorships in the outside Empire, to a K. C. M. G. and D. S. O. He has written a History of the Railways during the South African war, has served under Lord Kitchener in the Soudan and received various medals, has been described as a great civil servant succeeding in every position he has filled and was reported by Lord Kitchener himself as an officer of brilliant ability. It is fitting that sketches beginning with De Salaberry should end with Girouard—if only for the contrast between the two. The former fought as a French Canadian for Canada alone; the latter fought as a Canadian for the Empire. The former was limited to his small sphere in a young country, though he filled it bravely and well; the latter could work and fight all over the Continent of Africa after graduating from a Canadian Military College, help to subdue the Transvaal for Britain and then, in brighter times, win for his wife the daughter of the Agent General for the British Transvaal in London. The former saw the beginnings of the new life of French Canada under British rule; the latter, a century afterwards, sees and embodies in himself, the evolution of a wide Dominion drawn from the unity of two great races.

Much more might be written of the picturesque figures who have abounded in French Canada’s public life during the past half-century. One can see the modest, moderate, honorable, unselfish personality of A. N. Morin as he moved over the stormy waters which rose up out of the Rebellion era and D. B. Viger, the bosom friend of Papineau, the leader in responsible government advocacy and afterwards member of a Government under Lord Metcalfe which did not carry out the ideas involved in that movement. There were Sir Narcisse Fortunat Belleau, one-time Mayor of Quebec, Speaker of the Legislative Council of the Canadas upon whom knighthood fell like manna from the heavens for the official presentation of an Address to the Prince of Wales in 1860 and who was Prime Minister of the United Provinces when federation changed the union into a Dominion of Canada—because both Brown and Macdonald could work under him; C. E. B. de Boucherville, descendant of a Seigneur of New France, Conservative by birth and inclination and policy, Premier of his Province and a man of many political experiences; Telesphore Fournier, brilliant journalist and Radical, clever lawyer and politician, Minister of Justice for Canada and Judge in his native Province; Sir Henri Joly de Lotbinière, type of the old-time courteous gentleman, Seigneur and politician, Minister of the Crown and Lieutenant-Governor in far-away British Columbia; T. A. R. Laflamme, President of the celebrated L’Institut Canadien, advanced thinker and Radical, impetuous and ardent in temperament, eventually a Liberal Member of Parliament and Minister of Justice; J. Israil Tarte, founder and editor of La Patrie, politician and member of Parliament, Minister of Public Works for years under Sir W. Laurier—a restless, eager, ambitious, capable politician who drove Sir H. L. Langevin out of public life and verged towards Conservatism in his own later days.

There were, also, Sir Hector L. Langevin, Conservative by instinct and conviction, journalist, lawyer and then Mayor of Quebec, Member of the Canadian Legislature and Dominion Parliament, a father of Confederation, a member of the Macdonald Government from 1878 to 1891, a victim in 1892 of charges made by Liberals and met by his retirement from the Abbott Government; R. E. Caron, Sir Adolphe P. Caron, Ulric J. Tessier, Luc Letellier de St. Just, and many another. These references may conclude with a few personalities of the present day, such as Rodolphe Lemieux, a Liberal of much eloquence and force of character and high attainments as a party leader and one who has not been afraid to eulogize British institutions and the benefits of British connection as warmly in Quebec as he has in Ontario; Louis P. Pelletier, a brilliant Conservative who has fought many losing battles in Quebec, who has made warm friends and bitter enemies, but whose ability no one disputes and who wields much influence as the present enthusiastic Postmaster-General of Canada; Henri Bourassa, the man of many opinions but of unquestioned independence, of bitter attack and counter-attack, of clever, caustic eloquence in public and charming, cultivated manners in private—the most criticized and most discussed personality in Canadian politics outside of the greater leaders, the vigorous opponent of all things involving closer British relations. He is picturesque in everything, in his strong and yet veiled views, in his sudden appearances and retirements, in his political speeches and mannerisms, in his support of one party or the other:

Let fortune frown and foes increase,

And life’s long battle know no peace,

Give me to wear upon my breast

The object of my early quest

Undimmed, unbroken and unchang’d

The talisman I sought and gain’d

  The jewel, Independence!

Such, in these passing chapters, are the outstanding places, incidents of development, personal characteristics, picturesque conditions, underlying sentiments, of the people of French Canada as they struggled in the seventeenth century from their vantage point upon the Rock, and then the ramparts, of Quebec to acquire possession of a rich and marvelous wilderness and to bring its wandering savages into the fold of their faith; as they fought through the eighteenth century against civilized enemies and savage foes to hold what they had won or to expand, north and south and east and west, in the effort to build up a still greater empire; as they settled down in the nineteenth century to the development of new lines of liberty, a new and strange system of government, a new and difficult relationship of racial, religious and political character. The result of it all is a French Canada which is wider than Quebec and may be found, in all its essentials, scattered through settlements in various provinces of the Dominion and States of the Republic, growing in numbers and influence, but always based upon the Rock of Quebec and the institutions, privileges, language and religion there guaranteed to its people by British liberty and held for them by British power. The future of such a race is as interesting a speculation as its past is attractive. Fertility in its increase of population, fidelity in its religious faith, devotion to its beautiful language, are factors which must always be considered in Canada and in the Empire to which it belongs. It will be well if they are regarded in our great Dominion as elements of strength and not as national problems.


Abercromby, General, 180.

Acadia (Nova Scotia), 14, 68, 170, 174, 184-207.

Act of 1791, 40.

Albanel, Father, 84.

Alexander, Sir William, 189.

Algonquins, 22, 70, 89.

Allen, Ethan, 76.

Allouez, Father, 74, 77.

Allumette Island, 70.

Amherst, Jeffrey, Lord, 120, 163, 179.

André, Father, 74.

Annapolis Royal, 198.

Annexation to U. S., 358.

Anticosti, Isle of, 16, 59.

Arkansas River, 75.

Arnold, Benedict, 20, 103, 138, 345.

Assiniboine River, 81.


Baby, 46.

Baie des Chaleurs, 59.

Bailloquet, Father, 85.

Balsam Lake, 70.

Barre, de la, 168.

Basilica (see Notre Dame de la Paix).

Baton Rouge, 83.

Baye, Saint Laurens, 59.

Beauharnois, Charles, Marquis de, 98, 211.

Beaujeu, Daniel de, 129.

Beaupré, Viscount de, 63.

Beaver Club, 356.

Belœil, Heights of, 24.

Bic, 26.

Bienville, Céleron de, 100.

Bigot, François, 39, 100, 109, 111, 114, 128, 141, 219, 285.

Biloxi, 83.

Blanc Sablon, 59.

Boucher, 46.

Boucherville, 24.

Bougainville, Comte de, 102, 113, 115, 116, 176.

Bourgeoys, Marguerite, 36, 260.

Bourlamaque, General de, 102, 176.

Bradstreet, General, 182.

Brébeuf, Father Jean de, 35, 74, 147, 152, 301.

Bressani, Father Joseph, 155.

Brest Harbor, 59.

Brion Island, 59.

British Cession, 33, 128, 226.

Brock, 54.

Brulé, Etienne, 70, 73.

Buade, La Rivière, 75.

Buteaux, Father, 35, 84.


Cacouna, 18.

Cadillac, La Motte, 77.

Caen, de, 36.

Callières, de, 171.

Cap Rouge, 62, 88, 103, 113, 163.

Cap Tourmente, 19.

Cape Chatte, Naval Battle of, 18.

Cape Diamond, 19, 61, 62, 63, 107.

Cape Eternity, 66.

Cape Trinity, 66.

Carignan-Sallières Regiment, 24, 94, 95, 175, 212, 285.

Carleton, General Sir Guy, 113-116, 140, 179, 345.

Caron, Father Le, 73.

Cartier, Jacques, 11, 16, 17, 19, 30, 37, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 88, 122, 163.

Cartier, Sir George Étienne, 394.

Cascade Rapids, 21.

Casgrain, Abbé H. R., 46, 314.

Casson, Dollier de, 82, 130.

Catalogne, Gédéon de, 128.

Cauchon, Joseph Edouard, 397.

Cayugas, 32.

Cedars, 21.

Censitaires, 208.

Chabanel, Father, 35, 153.

Chambly, Captain Jacques de, 175.

Champlain, Samuel de, 11, 17, 19, 30, 32, 38, 56, 58, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 88, 89, 90, 91, 99, 122, 167, 325.

— Street, 106.

Chapleau, Sir Joseph Adolphe, 405.

Charlevoix, Père, 138.

Charnisay, D’Aunay, 191-196.

Chateau Frontenac, 19, 105, 348.

Chateauguay, Battle of, 21, 387.

Chateau St. Louis, 220.

Chaudière, river, 20.

— falls, 22, 70.

Chaumonot, Father Joseph Marie, 74, 155, 157, 300.

Chauvin, Pierre, 19, 65.

Chesapeake Bay, 73.

Chicago River, 75.

Chicoutimi, 26, 66.

Chouart, Médard, 79


Church, Roman Catholic, 36, 37, 41, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 145, 234, 254, 256-276, 277-298, 299-303, 340, 366.

Chrysler’s Farm, 21, 388.

Classical Colleges, 368.

Closse, Raphael Lambert, 130, 132.

Coaticook River, 26.

Colbert, 38.

Company of the Hundred Associates, 34, 90, 164, 209.

Contrecœur, 24.

Confederation of 1867, 54, 56.

Cooper, Fenimore, 30.

Coulonge, D’Ailleboust de, 125.

Courcelles, de, 75, 93.

Crémazie, Octave, 329.


Dablon, Father, 74.

D’Aillon, Father, 73.

Daniel, Father, 35.

Davion, Father, 83.

Denonville, de, 82, 98, 135, 168.

Denys, Nicholas, 17, 191, 196.

Des Ormeaux, Adam Dollard, 132, 268.

D’Estaing, 41.

Detroit, 77, 164.

— river, 15.

Donnacona, 30.

Dorion, Sir Antoine Aimé, 393.

Druillettes, Father, 74, 85.

Du L’hut, Daniel de Greysolon, Sieur, 77, 129, 178.


Eastern Townships, 24.

Etchemins, 85.


Flèche, Father la, 187.

Fond du Lac, 78.

Fort Carillon, 180, 181.

Fort Chambly, 24, 174, 345.

Fort Duquesne, 83, 164.

Fort Frontenac, 164, 182.

Fortifications of French Canada, 163-184.

Fort La Bœuf, 83.

Fort Presque Isle, 83.

Fort Rouge, 81.

Fort St. Louis, 83, 91, 164.

Fort Ticonderoga, 179.

Fort Venango, 83, 164.

Fort William Henry, 174, 179.

Fox River, 75, 79.

Franciscans, 157 (see Récollets).

Franklin, Benjamin, 138, 140, 355.

Fréchette, Louis Honoré, 333.

French Canada, Boundaries of, 14.

French River, 70, 71.

Frontenac, Comte de, 14, 38, 56, 75, 98, 170, 171, 179.


Gage, Thomas, 138.

Galinée, Father Brehant de, 82, 130.

Gallissonnière, Comte de la, 99.

Galoups, 21.

Garneux, François Xavier, 329, 330.

Garnier, Father, 35, 150, 153.

Garreux, Father, 35.

Gaspé, 15, 17, 67.

—, Bay, 16.

—, Cape, 18.

—, P. A. de, 331, 332.

Gatineau River, 23, 70.

Girouard, Sir E. P. C., 419.

Grand Trunk Railway, 359.

Great Lakes, 13.

Green Bay, 79.

Gravier, Father, 83.

Guast, Pierre du, Comte de Monts, 67.

Gulf of Mexico, 12, 14, 76.

Georgian Bay, 70, 76.


Haldimand Castle, 348.

Halifax, 165, 203.

Hennepin, Father, 74, 77.

Hochelaga, 60, 61, 62, 122, 259.

Holy Trinity, Cathedral of the, 353.

Hotel Dieu, of Quebec, 265.

— — de Ville Marie, 266.

Howe, Richard, Earl, 180.

Hudson’s Bay, 14, 34, 35, 75, 84, 174.

— Company, 46, 84.

Huguenots, 36.

Hull, 22.

—, General, 163.

Hurons, 31, 89, 143.


Ignatius of Loyola, 144.

Illinois River, 75.

Iroquois, 22, 31, 32, 169.

Isle aux Coudres, 18, 61, 315.

Isle aux Noix, 175, 176.

Isle aux Oies, 131.

Isle de Bacchus, 61.

Isle de Bouays, 59.

Isles de Margaulx, 59.

Isle d’Orléans, 19, 26, 61, 112.


Jemmeraie, Sieur de la, 80.

Jésuites, Journal des, 159.

Jesuits, 34, 36, 72, 73, 143-161, 211, 260, 278, 282-284, 373.

Jesus, Order of (see Jesuits).

Jogues, Father Isaac, 150, 154.

Johnson, Sir John, 128, 139.

Jolliet, Louis, 74, 77.

Jonquière, Marquis de la, 98, 99, 100.


Kaministiquia River, 78, 81.

Kamouraska, 26.

Kennebec River, 85.

Kent, H. R. H. Duke of, 347.

Kinonge River, 23.

Kirke, Admiral Sir William, 17, 35, 90, 190.


Lachine, Massacre of, 134, 169.

Lafayette, Marquis de, 41, 52.

Lafontaine, Sir Louis Hypolite, 389.

Lairet River, 61.

Lake Brome, 24.

Lake Champlain, 13, 69.

Lake Chatauqua, 83.

Lake Comandeau, 23.

Lake Erie, 15, 34, 74, 76.

Lake Huron, 15, 71.

Lake Kenogami, 26.

Lake Massawippi, 24.

Lake Megantic, 24.

Lake Memphramagog, 24.

Lake Michigan, 75, 76, 78, 80.

Lake Nipissing, 70.

Lake of the Woods, 81.

Lake Ontario, 15, 22, 70, 71.

Lake Pepin, 83.

Lake St. Francis, 21.

Lake St. John, 13, 25, 27, 85.

Lake St. Louis, 22.

Lake St. Peter, 20, 67.

Lake Simcoe, 70, 76.

Lake Superior, 12, 13, 15, 73, 79.

Lake Temiscouta, 85.

Lake Timiskaming, 13.

Lake Winnebago, 79.

La Lièvre River, 23.

Lallemant, Father Charles, 35, 123, 146, 261.

—, Jérôme, 148.

—, Gabriel, 148.

La Place, Father, 123.

La Rochelle, 123.

La Roche Percé, 16, 67.

—, Battle of, 17.

La Salle, Abbé Jean de, 75, 76, 77.

—, Robert Cavelier de, 128, 134, 178, 213.

La Tuque, Falls of, 24.

Laurentian Mountains, 15, 22, 27.

Laurentides, 19, 61, 239.

Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 38, 405, 407, 408, 413-419.

Laval, University of, 37, 105, 369.

Laval-Montmorency, Mgr. de, 93, 95, 270, 365, 370.

Le Moyne, Charles, 46, 99, 127, 131, 215.

— de Bienville, 83, 128, 216.

— de Chateauguay, 216.

— d’Iberville, 83, 128, 135, 174, 198, 215.

— de Longueuil, 225.

— de Maricourt, 129, 216.

— de Ste. Hélène, 136, 215.

— de Sevigny, 216.

—, Simon, 148.

Lennoxville, 26.

L’Escarbot, 186.

Les Éboulements, 18.

Le Sueur, Father, 83.

Lévis, Pointe, 113.

—, Marquis de, 102, 109, 117, 119, 129, 176, 180.

L’Incarnation, Marie de, 36, 97, 262.

Longfellow, Henry W., 201.

Long Sault, 21, 23.

Longueuil, Baron de, 99, 211.

—, Chateau de, 215.

L’Orignal, 23.

Lotbinière, Chartier de, 46, 129, 176, 179, 213, 217.

Louisbourg, 109, 164, 179, 182, 200.

Louisiana, 14, 49, 174.


Madawaska River, 85.

Maisonneuve, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de, 123, 127, 131, 134, 137.

Mance, Mlle. Jeanne, 36, 123, 132, 266, 302.

Manicouagan River, 85.

Manitoba, 81.

Mannoir, 24.

Marquette, Father, 74, 77.

Martin, Abraham, 110.

Matane River, 18.

—, town of, 26.

Mattawa River, 70, 71.

Mennenville, Marquis de Duquesne de, 98.

Menominee River, 79.

Mercier, Honoré, 400.

Messaiger, Father, 81.

Mésy, de, 99.

Miami, 83.

Michilimackinac, 76, 165.

—, Strait of, 78.

Minnesota, 80.

Miramichi, 85.

Mississagi River, 13.

Mississippi, Valley, 14, 35, 49.

— River, 34, 74, 76, 79.

Missouri, valley, 49.

—, river, 75.

Mobile, 83.

Mohawks, 32.

Monckton, General, 116.

Montagnais, 73, 148.

Montcalm, Marquis de, 39, 56, 99, 101, 108-120, 129, 179.

Montgomery, Major-General Robert, 102, 106, 138, 140, 176, 344, 355.

Montmagny, M. de, 20, 178, 218.

Montebello, Chateau of, 23.

Montigny, Father, 83.

—, Testard de, 135.

Montmagny, M. de, 92, 123, 261.

Montmorenci, Falls of, 19, 20, 67, 112, 113.

—, Admiral de, 67.

Montreal, 12, 20, 24, 27, 37, 43, 62, 70, 71, 93, 121-142, 163, 169, 176, 252, 345, 355.

Monts, de, 186.

Moore, Thomas, 23.

Moose River, 80.

Morrisburg, 21.

Mount Royal, 21, 27, 62, 121, 259.

Mount Ste. Anne, 17.

Murray, General, 109, 113, 119, 120.

— Bay, 18, 19.


Nelson, Horatio, 346.

Nepigon River, 13.

New Brunswick, Province of, 14, 71.

Newfoundland, 15, 174.

Niagara River, 15, 73.

— Falls, 34, 73, 74.

Nicholas, Father, 85.

Nicollet, Father Jean, 78, 325.

Nipisiquit, 85.

Northwest Fur Company, 139.

Northwest Rebellion, 402.

Notre Dame, Church of, 257.

Notre Dame de la Paix, Church of, 261.

Notre Dame de Montreal, Company of, 125.

Notre Dame des Anges, 91, 211.

Notre Dame des Bonsécours, Church of, 260.

Notre Dame des Victoires, Church of, 69, 89, 95, 106, 264.

Nouvel, Father, 85.

Nova Scotia, 68, 71.


Ohio River, 75, 76.

— Valley, 14, 49.

d’Olbeau, Father, 73.

Oka, 23.

Oneidas, 32.

Onondagas, 32.

Ontario, Province of, 14, 22.

Orillia, 71.

Ottawa, river, 13, 20, 22, 23, 70, 71.

—, city of, 22.

—, province of, 70.

Otonabee River, 70.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Church of, 261.

Outanon, 83.


Papinactoix River, 85.

Papineau, 41, 44, 402.

Parkman, 30, 262, 302.

Peace of 1763, 39, 52.

Peltrie, Madame de la, 36, 124, 262.

Pennsylvania, 73.

Percé (see La Roche Percé).

Perrot, Nicholas, 82, 83.

Phips, Sir William, 95, 102, 136, 170, 198.

Pigeon River, 13.

Pijart, Father, 150.

Pioneers, French, 14.

Plains of Abraham, Battle of the, 14, 38, 54, 90, 102, 108-120.

Pointe à Callières, 70.

Point aux Trembles, 20, 113


Pont-Gravé, Francis, Sieur du, 19, 65, 67, 185.

Pontiac, 32.

Port Royal, 68, 163, 170, 185.

Poutrincourt, Biencourt de, 67, 163, 185, 188.

Prairie du Chien, 75.

Protestantism, 36.

Protestant Church, 256.


Quebec Act, 40.

Quebec, city, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 25, 33, 45, 47, 48, 71, 87-107, 108, 113, 118, 163, 170, 257, 292, 348, 363.

—, province of, 14, 17, 29, 231-255.

— citadel, 342.

Quen, Father du, 85.

Quinte, Bay of, 70.


Radisson, Pierre Esprit, 77, 79, 80.

Ramézay, Claude de, 99, 138, 211.

—, Chateau de, 138, 221, 355.

Récollets, 72, 91, 264, 278.

Red River, 81.

Restigouche, 85.

Rice Lake, 70.

Richelieu, Cardinal, 14, 34, 36, 38, 208.

— River, 13, 20, 24, 69, 84.

Richibuckto, 85.

Riel, Louis, 402, 406.

Rigaud, 23.

Rimouski, 26.

River St. John, 85.

Rivière de Gennes, 69.

Rivière des Iroquois, 69.

Rivière du Loup, 18, 69.

Rivière du Pont, 69.

Robert René Cavelier de la Salle, 75.

Roberval, La Roque, Sieur de, 11, 19, 62, 63, 88, 163.

Roche, Marquis de la, 64.


Sagard, Father, 73.

Saguenay, 61, 63.

— River, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 66, 71, 80.

St. Anthony, Falls of, 74.

Saint Castin, Baron de, 197.

St. Charles River, 61, 112.

St. Clair River, 15, 76.

St. Cosmé, Father, 83.

Ste. Anne de Beaupré, 20, 25, 235, 265, 270-276, 317.

Ste. Croix Island, 68.

Ste. Genevieve Island, 59.

Ste. Hélène, Island of, 123.

Ste. Suzanne River, 69.

St. Francis, river, 13, 24, 69.

—, town of, 27.

St. Ignace, 77.

St. Mary’s River, 15.

St. Lawrence, Gulf of, 14, 27, 59.

St. Lawrence River, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 59, 60.

St. Louis River, 15.

St. Lusson, Daumont de, 82.

St. Maurice River, 13, 15, 20, 24, 71, 84.

St. Sulpice, Seminary of, 126, 130, 137, 258, 268, 285, 364.

—, Gentlemen of, 127, 225.

Salaberry, Colonel C. M. de, 21, 46, 54, 217, 387.

Saskatchewan River, 81.

Sault au Récollet, 73.

Sault Ste. Marie, 73, 79, 82.

Saunders, Admiral, 114, 118.

Seigneurs, 45, 127, 208-230.

Senecas, 32.

Shawinigan Falls, 25, 84.

Sherbrooke, 26.

Society of the Holy Family, 157.

Sorel, 20, 178, 318, 345.

—, Pierre de, 178.

Source, Father Thaumer de la, 83.

Souris River, 81.

Stadacona, 62, 67.

Sulpicians, 126, 130, 157, 211.

Susquehanna River, 73.


Taché, Sir Etienne Pascal, 391.

Tadousac, 18, 64, 65, 66, 69, 85, 267, 315.

Talon, Jean Baptiste, 95, 218, 325.

Taschereau, 37, 46, 409.

Tecumseh, 32.

Thayendenagea, 32.

Thousand Islands, 22.

Three Rivers, 20, 79, 84, 178, 345.

Tonty, Henri de, 76, 83.

Toronto, 73, 76, 164.

Tour, Claude de la, 190.

—, Charles de la, 190, 192.

—, Madame Charles de la, 190-195.

Townshend, General, 116, 119.

Tracy, Marquis de, 95.

Trappists, 23.

Trent River, 70.

Trenton, 70.

Tuscaroras, 32.

“Twenty-Three,” The, 141.

Two Mountains, Lake of, 23.


Ungava, 14.

Upper Canada, 14, 54.

Ursuline Nuns, 212.

Ursulines, Convent and Church of the, 262, 364.


Varennes, 24.

Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, Marquis de, 98.

Vaudreuil, Philippe, Marquis de, 92, 98, 99, 111, 113, 114, 117, 118, 120, 129, 211.

Verchères, Seigneur de, 24, 172.

—, Marie de, 172.

Verendrye, Gaultier de la, 80, 81, 325.

—, François de la, 81.

—, Louis de la, 81.

—, Pierre de la, 81, 128.

Verrazanno, 58.

Victoria Bridge, 21, 121, 359.

Viel, Father Nicholas, 73.

Ville Marie de Montreal, 24, 123, 126, 135.

Vimont, Father, 124.

Vincennes, 83.


War of 1776, 41, 55.

War of 1812, 41, 53, 55, 176, 289.

Winnipeg, river, 78, 81.

—, city of, 81.

Wisconsin River, 74, 75, 83.

Wolfe, General James, 38, 39, 48, 54, 90, 108-120, 345.

— Cove, 114, 345.

— Monument, 110.

— Redoubt, 119.

Wolf-Montcalm Memorial, 109.


Yamaska River, 24, 69.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

Inconsistency in hyphenation has been retained.

Inconsistency in accents has been retained.

Illustrations have been relocated due to using a non-page layout.

Some photographs have been enhanced to be more legible.

[The end of French Canada and the St. Lawrence by J. Castell Hopkins]