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in America, for it has a much more extensive communication with the interior of America than the new city of Washington or any other city of America. Neither the Patowmac, Chesapeake, Delaware, nor Hudson's river, are at all to be compared to the St. Lawrence, either in magnitude or extent of back country.
Quebec is already considerably extended beyond the walls: there may in time be as much difficulty in finding out the old walls and old city of Quebec, as there is in finding the bounds of the old city of London. I fancy I hear people proposing to take a walk to the west end of the town, or to Wolfe's Square, in the centre of which may be placed his statue, where Wolfe's stone now lies. The river St. Charles, which at present covers unnecessarily a great deal of ground, may be confined to a narrow channel, and will be a fine situation for extending the Lower Town as far as Beauport. Wharfs and quays will of course arise: the situation is excellent for dry and wet docks; and warehouses without number may be eligibly situated. I believe the French had this in contemplation, and even went so far as to make a plan of it. Long before these things take place, Canada may possibly be no longer a British colony: to this subject I shall direct your attention in my next letter.
Quebec, 4ugutt, 1808.
Allow me to make a few observations on the treatment the Canadians have experienced since the conquest.
The length of time Canada may continue under the dominion of Britain, will depend very much on the manner in which the country is governed, and the kind of policy observed towards the inhabitants. It is a subject which is even now discussed every day, and I find that there is a great difference of opinion about it.
We lost the United States by an impolitic course of treatment, and it behoves us to look well to the Cahadas. Some people pretend to say that we are better without America, and very ingenious arguments have been brought forward to prove it. One thing we may be assured of is, that the arguments will be favourably received: we are very glad to find palliatives for evils we cannot remedy. I suppose no one will pretend to say that the loss of our North American colonies, and consequently of our Newfoundland trade, would not be a very serious evil to Great Britain. Although self-interest and the power of custom might induce the people to continue their trade with us, and our Customhouse books might shew higher exports than while they were under our dominion, stiil if we depended on them for any articles of the first necessity:—party spirit, caprice. or foreign influence, might produce a non-importation act, or an embargo, nay they might even refuse bread and water to our men of war;—injuries to which we never would be'liable, were we masters of the country. It appears to me to be decidedly the interest of Great Britain to retain the dominion of her North American colonies, even though her doing so should retard their progress in population, in aits, and in commerce. Their individual interests ought to yield to those of the mother country, the head of the empire.
Canada, and Canadians, differ very materially from the ci-devant British colonies in America and their inhabitants. These were Englishmen,—descended from men who had the highest notions of civil and religious liberty, and they inherited the temper and sentiments of their ancestors;—' they were impatient under what they conceived to be the tyranny of government, and they brought about the revolution. The Canadians are legitimate Frenchmen,— the descendants of the worshippers of Louis the Fourteenth and of Cardinal Richelieu, —the descendants of men who never once formed an idea, themselves, of the nature of civil and religious liberty, and who, of course, would not be likely to impress it on the minds of their children. The authoritative mandates of the French king have never sounded in their ears in vain;—they were issued with all the arrogance of despotism, and received with implicit and passive obedience. Even now, to reason with the great bulk of the Canadians on the measures of government, is what they never look for; they have no idea of questioning their propriety;—command them au nom du Roi, and you will be obeyed.