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the level surface of this island. The ParliamentHouse, the seat of government, the military headquarters, and the public offices of Canada, are in this city; the trade is very considerable; within the last few years it has rapidly increased, and is increasing still. The export of corn to England opens a mine of wealth, while in return the wharves are crowded with our manufactures and the luxuries of other countries. The people are fully employed, and live in plenty; but there are occasionally disturbances among them, occasioned by the collisions of the English, Irish, and French races. The elections are carried on with much excitement and bitterness of feeling, but usually end in the success of the conservative principle. Society also is much divided; there is but little of that generally social feeling which characterizes Quebec. The entertainments have more display, but are far less agreeable than those of the sister city, and among the different coteries of the inhabitants there is not apparently much cordiality.
In England, Montreal would be considered a very handsome town, and in bustle and activity far surpasses any one of its size there; the wharves, hotels, shops, baths, are also much finer; it possesses quite a metropolitan appearance, and no doubt it will, ere long, be the capital of a great country. Few towns in the world have progressed so rapidly in size, beauty, convenience, and population, within the last few years, and at this present time its commerce is in a most prosperous condition. You see in it all the energy and enterprize of an American city, with the solidity of an English one. The removal hither of the seat of government from Quebec and Kingston, has, of course, given it a considerable impulse of prosperity at their expense; but it is still more indebted to its excellent commercial position, and the energy of its inhabitants.
Now, from the bustle, prosperity, and contentions of Montreal, let us bear back our thoughts for a moment over the bridge of history to the time—but yesterday in the world's chronology— when the kings of the ancient people welcomed the Pale-faces to the shores of Hochelaga. That day was their Hastings. They were smitten with deadlier weapons than Norman bow or lance— the plague of the white man's crimes; their innocence was barer than the Saxon soldier's breast, their wounds far deeper, more hopeless of a cure. They were not subjugated nor driven
out, but they withered up before the strangers. Beneath the grounds where they hunted, their bones lie; their land is their wide cemetery; scarcely a mound, or stone, or a trace even of tradition, now points out the spot where any of their millions sleep.
Gentle, feeble, simple,—they were yet too proud to mingle with a race whose superiority they felt; they refused its civilization, but alas! copied its vices; in these, at least, they felt themselves its equal. As the snow in spring, they melted away —stained, tainted, trampled down.
My fancy is busy with the past. I have swept away those crowded wharves and lofty spires; on their sites the rich corn-fields wave again; the shady forest spreads over the distant slopes, the birch bark roofs of the wigwams peep through the tall trees upon the mountain side, the light canoe skims over the broad river; the wise Sachems of the tribes meet us on the shore with generous welcome; the graceful Indian maiden bends beneath her fragrant burthen of fruits and flowers, to be laid at our feet.
A cabman seizes me by each arm, "Tetu's or Rasco's, Sir? take you up, luggage and all, for a shilling." In a moment my graceful Indian maiden was changed into an Irish porter, and the burthen of fruits and flowers to my well-worn portmanteaus, which were presently laid at my feet in the barroom at Rasco's Hotel.
On this occasion my visit to Montreal was a very short one, but I have several times been there, both in winter and summer. There is but little in the neighbouring country to tempt you to explore; the ride round the mountain, indeed, gives some views of much beauty; particularly where you see the Ottawa pouring through its many channels into the northern branch of the St. Lawrence. Generally the country is flat, and has but little character; there are several islands about; that of St. Helen's is the most picturesque in the group, but unsightly barracks and rough field-works deform its gentle slopes.
A clumsy stage-coach carried me to Lachine, nine miles from Montreal: there it was put on board a steamer, borne through Lake St. Louis,