Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
The St. Lawrence Valley

Montreal, next to Quebec, is the oldest-looking and most aristocratic city in all North America. Lofty houses, with narrow streets, prove antiquity. After Quebec and Montreal, New Orleans is said to take the next rank, all three of them having been built by the French. It is pleasant to look upon any structure in this new hemisphere which bears the mark of time upon it. The ruins of Fort Putnam are one of the curiosities of America.1

Montreal is all alive--mustering here, drilling there, galloping everywhere; and moreover, Montreal is knee-deep in snow, and the thermometer below zero. Every hour brings fresh intelligence of the movements of the rebels, or patriots2--the last term is doubtful, yet it may be correct.

____________________
1
Fort Putnam was built at West Point in 1778 by Rufus Putnam ( 1738- 1824), American soldier and surveyor. In the Revolution Putnam's engineering skill was put to use and he was made a brigadier general; after the war he settled in Ohio. In 1837, when Marryat visited it, Fort Putnam was no longer in use.
2
The rebellion in Canada in 1837 was, in a lesser way, a second American Revolution. The main difference was that in Canada the rebels did not succeed in their aim of gaining independence. In the long run, all of the other dissatisfactions were resolved and Canada gained home rule. The two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada had many grievances; the radicals in both colonies had been thwarted by the actions of the conservatives in the Legislative Councils. Louis Joseph Papineau in Lower

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