The Evolution of French Canada

By Jean Charlemagne Bracq | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XIII
AGRICULTURAL EXPANSION

NOTHING has contributed more perhaps to prejudice Americans against the attractiveness of French Canada than the appearance of the flat country through which they travel to reach the city of Montreal. This territory is relatively cheerless, depressing even though the farms have a rich soil which long seemed inexhaustible. On both banks of the St. Lawrence there are most attractive, fertile fields, where the early French settled and made their homes. The farms are contiguous, the houses and outbuildings near each other, and here and there is found a village whose central point of interest is the church, surrounded by the priest's residence, convents, schools, and dwellings some of which are spacious and elegant. Viewed from the river, they are extremely beautiful and picturesque. Many of the early travellers, doubtless seeing all this from boats, have spoken of them as if they had been in the presence of a continuous village, from Montreal to Quebec.1

The descent on the St. Lawrence is most attractive. The Laurentian Mountains are so beautiful that they baffle description, and no writer will successfully attempt it after reading Buies' fascinating narratives.2 The plain below Quebec, seen from Ste. Anne-de-la-Pocatière, with its regularly divided farms, all well cultivated, and distant relief of the heights, is a striking spectacle. One can scarcely

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1
Rev. I. Fidler, p. 145; Talbot, Vol. I, p. 152; Francis Hall, p. 77; Weld, Vol. I, p. 336; Silliman, p. 113.
2
Le Saguenay et le Bassin du Lac Saint-Jean, p. 293; Récits de voyages, p. 135.

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