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turning your attention altogether from the Fall of Montmorency, you direct it up the river, the scenery is not to be surpassed any where. I have been several miles up the river, and must say I never saw scenery more picturesque.
After viewing the fall, if you turn your attention towards the St. Lawrence and the Island of Orleans, and, following the course of the river, direct your view towards the lower end of the island, by Chateau ricM, till you reach the mountain called Cap Tourment, it must be allowed that it is difficult to imagine an assemblage of objects more interesting, or better calculated to inflame the fancy of the poet, or give life to the canvas of the painter.
Both the Montmorency and the Chaudiere may be viewed either from the top or bottom of the fall. The latter, it is generally thought, is seen to greatest advantage from below. You are pleased and astonished with the
** Sweeping theatre of hanging woods,
"Th' incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods."
The Montmorency, too, viewedfrom below, is truly sublime.
And full he dashes on the rocky mounds,
Where thro' a shapeless breach his stream resounds;
As high in air the bursting torrents flow,
As deep recoiling surges foam below.
Prone down the rock, the whitening sheet descends,
And viewless Echo's ear, astonish'd, rends;
Dim seen thro' rising mists, and ceaseless show'rs,
The hoary cavern, wide surrounding low'rs;
Still thro' the gap the struggling river toils,
And still below the horrid cauldron boils.
Who could imagine that this fine description was not made at the Montmorency? Words cannot describe it more happily. A volume of the works of the immortal Scotch bard happened to be on my table while I was writing you, and had nearly finished my letter. I accidentally took it up, and the first thing almost that presented itself to my view was the above poetical effusion. It harmonised so well with the train of my ideas, that I transcribed it immediately, quite happy in the reflection that my letter would now contain something worth reading, something to repay you for the trouble of getting through it. Lest I should be mistaken, however, I will not increase the evil, but for the present bid you adieu.
Quebec, March, 1807.
There is a great deal of misapprehension in Britain relative to this country. It is naturally concluded that, in a British colony such as Canada, a conquered country, those who govern and who give law to it, would be Englishmen. This, however, is by no means the case; for though the governor and some of the council are English, the French Canadians are the majority in the house of assembly; and no law can pass, if they choose to prevent it. The English (supposing the governor to exert all the influence he possesses) cannot carry one single question; and the Canadianshave been in the habit of shewing, in the most undisguised manner, the power of a majority, and a determination that no bill should pass contrary to their wishes. They carry things with a high hand; they seem to forget that the constitution under which they domineer over the English, was a free gift from Britain; and that what an act of parliament gave, an act of parliament can take away.
You will naturally imagine also, that in a British colony,the English language would be used in the house of assembly, public offices, and courts of justice. No such thing; the French language is universally used, and the record is kept in French and in English. The Canadians will not speak English; and Englishmen are weak enough to indulge them so far as to speak French too, which is much to their disadvantage; for though they may speak French well enough to explain themselves in the ordinary affairs of life, they cannot, in debate, deliver themselves with that ease, and with the same effect as in their native language.
The Canadians find that they have got the whiphand of the English, and they seem resolved to keep it, without being at all delicate as to the means. I can give an instance.—Near the end of the session, many of the Canadians have obtained leave of absence, in order to return to their families and occupations; so that it has happened that just so many were left as would make a quorum, of whom about half were English and half French. When the latter found that the English were likely to carry a question, a Canadian has been known to step outside the bar, and there stand while another told the house that they must adjourn for want of a quorum. The speaker did not think he had power to compel the member outside the bar to resume his place; and thus questions were put off till a decided majority of Canadians could attend.
A French newspaper, called Le Carta* dien, has lately been edited here: the evident intention of which is to raise the Canadian character, and detract from that of the English. It is natural enough for the Canadians to wish to appear in the most respectable light possible; but they should not attempt to do so by the means they are now following.
I had heard much of Le Canadien, and I took it up with a curiosity much excited; but instead of finding something new, I found the translation of a letter written by General Murray to the British government