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FRENCH MORE HOME-LOVING.
to Montreal to devote a day to an excursion to St Hilaire, and a climb to the top of Belcil. They will be able to procure agreeable accommodation at an hotel which the seigneur was building at the time of my visit, in a beautiful situation, for the accommodation of railway tourists.
In the afternoon I visited, in company with some agricultural friends, the brickmaker in whose hands the tilemachine of Major Campbell had been placed. He had this season made 40,000 tiles, all of which he expected to sell at the price of six to eight dollars a thousand,
according to the size. It was chiefly a few British · farmers in the neighbourhood of Montreal who had hitherto tried them, but so far with much advantage. I am satisfied that, in all the St Lawrence flats, they are to be a means of much agricultural improvement. As they become more in demand, their price at the tile-work will diminish, and the cost of executing thorough-drainage be in consequence lessened.
The plea will not be so generally urged here as it is in the New England States, and in that of New York, against the expenditure of money in improvement, " that the land, when drained, will not sell for an equivalently increased price in the market.” For, though it may be equally true here as in the States, yet the French Canadians are a more fixed, home-loving race of people, not so given to change, and would therefore, if they had the money, be more willing to expend it in improving and embellishing the houses of themselves and their children. But the vast number of mortgages with which the farmers in Lower Canada are oppressed may prove an obstacle, which only a board of “ Commissioners for the Sale of Encumbered Estates" will be able to overcome.
I had only time left to take a hasty drive up and around the hill of Montreal-an excursion to which I
COUNTRY OF THE OTTOWA.
would gladly have devoted an entire day. The rocky surface of the island consists, for the most part, of the same Trenton limestone on which Kingston stands; but it is interstratified with greenstone trap, of which an outburst forms the Mont Royal. Independent of the drift, which deeply covers the hollows and slopes of the island, and modifies its natural surface, there are in the mingled debris of these two rocks materials enough to account for the fertility which in ancient times made it the central residence of the Indian tribes, and has since secured it the frequent eulogies of French and other writers.
At half-past six P.M., I went on board the steamboat for Quebec. The weather was thick, dark, and rainy, and as I knew no one on board, I retired to my stateroom at seven. After a rainy night-voyage of a hundred and sixty miles, during which nothing of the country on either side of the river was to be seen, I found myself in twelve hours in a quiet pleasant room in the St George's Hotel at Quebec.
In leaving Montreal, it was a matter of much regret to me that I had been obliged to forego the pleasure of making a tour up the Ottowa—a river which is inferior in size only to the St Lawrence, which runs through a country interesting in very many respects, and is the natural outlet for the drainage of an area of eighty thousand square miles. The vast region to which this river and its branches afford the means of internal navigation, and of communication with external markets, is already extensively settled. It has also a rapidly increasing commercial capital of 12,000 inhabitants at Bytown, where the Rideau Canal—150 miles in length—leaves the Ottowa for Kingston, on Lake Ontario. When the first period of settlement has passed over, during which the lumber-trade occupies the sole attention of nearly all the settlers, and the population shall have become
MIXTURE OF RACES AND
every year Canadian bhe a pe
mainly agricultural, this district will assume a permanent importance, in reference to Canadian strength and resources, which will every year rise in public estimation.
I have alluded but very slightly to the political differences and excitement of which Montreal was still, to some degree, the scene at the period of my visit. I had as yet enjoyed too few opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of existing local and provincial circumstances, feelings, and prejudices, and of their antecedents, to enable me to form a satisfactory opinion as to the right and the wrong of all that had been done.
In judging of public events that fall out in a place like Montreal, however, much allowance ought to be made for the peculiarly heterogeneous character of the population, and the frequent opposition of their interests. Thus the population of 50,000, which the city is said to contain, consists approximately of
50,000 Out of these different nationalities arise, as separate and opposing parties
1. Those of British, or Arglo-Saxon, against those of French blood.
2. The Canadians, born of British blood-.the United Empire Loyalists, &c.—against the home-born, or native British. The seat of these parties is properly in Upper Canada; but Montreal contains a large section belonging to each.
3. Among the French-the party of Papineau, opposed to British connection, against that of Lafontaine, which at present is in favour of such connection.
PARTIES IN MONTREAL.
4. Then partly interfering and partly coinciding with these are the Radical and Conservative political parties.
5. The religious parties—the Protestant against the Roman Catholic.
6. Also in Montreal, as a seat of commerce, there are the agricultural and commercial parties; among whom the free-trade movement, as with us, but especially in its relations to timber, and to reciprocity with the States, has been a great bone of contention. It is the latter of these parties which has mainly supported the Annexation movement.
7. And, lastly, city and municipal affairs have formed parties purely local, whose feelings on these matters complicate the other differences.
In these numerous parties, among a small population of 50,000, just large enough to furnish materials for giving a certain degree of importance and consistency to each, without affording a marked preponderance to any, there are surely abundant materials for easy disorder and sudden excitement. And if it be farther the case, as I was generally informed—correctly, as I should judge from my own limited experience—that in Montreal all these parties are very bitter against each other on occasions of excitement, and, even in ordinary times, co-operate little with each other, the wonder will be rather that the city should have remained so long quiet, than that a single boiling over should have satisfied a perpetually simmering population.
It must be a very angelic Government, indeed, that could please so divided a people, a very talented one that could persuade, and a very powerful one that could restrain or control them. Military men, like other leeches, are naturally partial to their own mode of cure, and blame the Government for want of energy and decision in not employing the strong arm to repress them during the late disturbances. But people at home will 320
POLITICAL CONDUCT OF THE BRITISH-BORN.
scarcely condemn a governor for preferring to attain his ends by peaceful means, rather than by force of bloodshed. So far as I have had the materials for forming a judgment, it appears to me to have been not less wise and prudent than humane to quit the city altogether, and to leave it to make up its own intra-mural differences. A punishment which must affect their pockets will be far more felt than one which might have robbed the city of a few of its most worthless lives, and will sooner work its way to the understandings of its inhabitants.
There was one point, however, in regard to the Canadian differences, which, from my previous ignorance of the province, was incomprehensible to me, and upon which I anxiously sought to be enlightened. When the rebellion broke out among the French Canadians, the Upper Canadians, and generally those of British blood, took part against them. But in the division in the House of Assembly upon the Lower Canada Rebellion Losses Bill—the cause of all the disturbance-a majority of the Upper Canadian members, of British blood, and many of them British-born, voted with the French members of Lower Canada in favour of the measure. It was not, therefore, a war of races, as it had been represented at home. But how came those who were unanimous in opposing the rebellion to be found voting with those who had favoured, or actually supported and participated in it? I put this question to a friend of mine, one of the Upper Canada members, himself British-born, who had voted for the obnoxious measure, and his explanation was to the following effect :
“For a long series of years, Upper Canada was under the dominating rule of what was called the Family Compact. Home-born Canadians, and a certain number of high officials, divided all offices and patronage among themselves, and did everything in their power to keep the British-born from participating in the exercise of