QUEBEC, after Montreal the most populous city in the Dominion of Canada, capital of the province of Quebec, is situated on the left bank of the River St. Lawrence, which here receives the St. Charles, 400 milts from the mouth of the River St. Lawrence at Point des Monts, 180 miles N.E. of Montreal, and 328 miles N.N.W. of Portland, Me. Lat. (of N.E. bastion) 46° 40' 6' N., lon. 71° 13' 45" W. Mean temperature in winter l1°, in summer 68° Fahrenheit. Mean of the year 39.
The city has a remarkably picturesque situation between, the two rivers at the N.E. extremity of a narrow but elevated table land, which, for about 8 miles, forms the left bank of the St. Lawrence. Cape Diamond, the extremity of the table land, is 333 feet above the level of the river, to which it presents a nearly precipitous face; the descent to the St Charles is more gradual. The distance from one river to the other across the ridge is rather more than a mile. Opposite Cape Diamond the St. Lawrence is contracted to a breadth of only 1,314 yards; but immediately below, at the confluence of the St. Charles, it spreads out into a broad and beautiful basin more than 2,500 yards wide, forming a capacious and excellent harbor. The spring tides rise and fall 18 feet.
Quebec is divided into two parts, called Upper and Lower Towns. The Upper Town occupies the highest part of the promontory; it is surrounded with walls, and otherwise fortified The ancient citadel, which crowns the summit of Cape Diamond, covers, with its numerous works, an area of 40 acres and from its position is probably the strongest fortress in America.
The chief ascents to the Upper Town are by a steep and narrow winding street and by a flight of steps.
The Lower Town, which is the seat of commerce, is built around the base of Cape Diamond, where, in many places, the rock has been cut away to make room for the houses On the side of the St. Charles the water at flood tide formerly washed the very foot of the rock, but from time to time wharf after wharf has been projected towards low water mark, and foundations made sufficiently solid on which to build whole streets, where boats and even vessels of considerable burthen once rode at anchor. The banks of both rivers are now lined with warehouses and wharves, the latter jutting about 200 feet into the stream; and along which the water is of sufficient depth to admit vessels of the largest size. The streets are generally irregular and narrow, in few instances are they well paved and lighted The houses are principally of stone and brick, 2 or 3 stories high, the older ones with steep and quaint looking roofs.
The city has several times suffered from disastrous fires, but the result has been the erection of more attractive buildings, and a consequent great improvement in the general appearance of the city.
During the year 1854, a plentiful supply of water was introduced from Lake St. Charles.
In the Upper Town are several squares and public walks commanding views unrivalled for their varied and picturesque beauty. In one stands a substantial monument, erected to the joint memory of Generals Wolfe and Montcalm, the English and French commander.who fell at the taking of Quebec in 1759. It consists of an obelisk resting on a granite pedestal, the whole 65 feet high. A monument 40 feet in height marks the spot where General Wolfe fell on the Plains of Abraham; while on the St. Foy road stands an iron pillar surmounted by a bronze statue, presented by Prince Napoleon Bonaparte in 1855, intended to commemorate a fierce struggle which look place here in 1700 between the British and French troops.
Among the public buildings of Quebec may be mentioned the Parliament Buildings, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, an irregular budding, capable of containing 4,000 persons, and covering, with the university attached, an area of 8 acres; the English Cathedral, surmounted by a lofty spire; and St. Johns Free Scotch Church, also adorned with a spire, occupying elevated positions in the Upper Town.
There are in all 19 churches in Quebec, and 1 Synagogue. Of the churches 7 are Roman Catholic; 7 Church of England; 1 Church of Scotland; 1 Presbyterian; 1 Baptist; 1 Congregational, and 1 Wesleyan Methodist.
The educational institutions comprise 3 Roman Catholic Colleges, viz: Laval University, with faculties of law, medicine and arts; the Grand S minary, and the Minor Seminary; the Ursuline convent, an extensive establishment founded in 1641; several nunneries; Morrin College, with 10 professors; Laval Normal and Model School; the Quebec High School; and a number of academies and private and public schools There are in addition the Canadian and Mechanics Institute, provided with libraries and reading rooms; the Literary and Historical Society, the oldest chartered institution of the kind in Canada, having been founded in 1824, and possessing valuable "Records of the Realm," in 80 or 90 fohos, and a large collection of Historical manuscripts, but nearly the whole of its museum, and a great part of its library, were destroyed by fire with the Parliament buildings in 1854; the Entomological Society, St. Patrick's Literary Institute, Advocates Library, Board of Trade, and Merchant's Exchange.
Six daily a newspapers are published in Quebec, 3 of which are in the French language.
The principal benevolent institutions are the Marine Hospital, the Hotel Dieu, the General Hospital, and the Lunatic Asylum at Beauport.
Quebec has the head offices of 3 bank, viz; Quebec Bank, Banque Nationale, and Union Bank of Lower Canada, besides which there are 2 savings banks, and agencies of the Bank of Montreal and Bank of British North America
Shipbuilding is the chief manufacturing industry of Quebec. There are also manufactories of iron castings, machinery, cutlery, nails, leather, musical instruments, boots and shoes, paper, India rubber goods, rope, tobacco, steel, etc.
Quebec is an important port of Canada, and the most ancient. The great staple of export is timber, Montreal being the port where the agricultural exports are chiefly exchanged for supplies of foreign goods. The timber is furnished principally by the Ottawa and St Maurice rivers As the rafts come down the river, they are collected into what are called Cones and secured by booms moored along the banks, the timber being partly afloat, partly aground, according to the rise or fall of the tides These coves extend almost continuously along the left bank of the St. Lawrence, for a distance of six miles above the town, throughout the whole of which, at certain seasons, may be seen a mass of logs with a breadth varying from 150 to 200 yards. There are also extensive timber and deal sawing establishments near the city, on the right bank of the St. Lawrence.
The number of arrivals at Quebec from sea in 1872 was 1,002 (tons 783,316), and the clearances 989 (tons 767,784). Total value of imports $7,532,221; exports $11,931,077. New ships built at Quebec in 1872, 13 (tons 7,911); value $332,262.
Quebec returns three members to the House of Commons, and three to the Provincial Legislature. It is the seat of the See of two Bishops, the Lord Bishop of Quebec (Church of England), and the Archbishop of Quebec (Church of Rome). Pop. in 1832, 27,562; in 1844, 34,500; in 1852, 42,052; in 1861,51,100; and in 1871, 59,699,— 52,337 of whom were Roman Catholics, chiefly French Canadians.
Quebec was first visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535. It then consisted of an Indian village called Stadacona. In July, 1608, Champlain founded the city giving it its present name. The progress of its aggrandizement was slow, in consequence of the hostilities of the powerful Iroquois. In 1629 it fell into the hands of the English; but, with the whole of Canada, was restored to the French in 1632. From this, period some attention was paid to the increase of the city; and in 1663, when the colony was made a royal government, it became the capital. In 1690 the English attempted to reconquer it, but met with a disastrous defeat; but in 1759 it was captured by the brave General Wolfe, and has since been under the British Crown. An unsuccessful attempt was made by the Americans to carry the city by assault on the night of December 31, 1775, when General Montgomery was slain.
Lovell's gazetteer of British North America; J. Lovell; Montreal, 1873
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