תמונות בעמוד

« guenay country; that the river Saguenay is twenty “ leagues from its mouth to Chicoutimy, as far as which “ place the tide extends ; the general breadth of the “ river is three-quarters of a league ; that it is ex“ tremely deep until within three leagues of Chicou“ timy.”

On being asked what streams flowed into the Saguenay, or into Lake St. John, their length, breadth, depth, and course respectively; how far navigable, and what kind of fish were found in the Saguenay, or in Lake St. John, or in the streams which empty themselves into either, his answer was :

“ There are many: the river St. Marguerite, navigable “ for canoes through an extent of forty leagues, empties “ itself into the Saguenay, seven leagues from its mouth “ on the north side; the river L'Ance St. Jean, navigable “ for canoes fifteen leagues, empties itself into the Sague“ nay, on the south side, two leagues above the river St. “ Marguerite. L'Ance de la Trinité, the Baic des Ha “ Ha, the river à Valin, all navigable to canoes, from “ twelve to fifteen leagues, fall into the Saguenay, and “ many streams in which there is excellent salmon - fishery.

“ The river Chicoutimy, where the port is situated, “ flows from the south, is eight arpents wide, and navi6 gable for thirty leagues in canoes. Above the fort of “ Chicoutimy, the distance, as far as Lake St. John, “ is thirty leagues, by the Saguenay, which forms the “ outlet of that lake. The river Chicoutimy is formed “ by the Lake Tsinogomi (Long Lake), seven leagues “ long; four rivers, navigable for canoes, empty them“ selves into this Jake, and another into the Saguenay. “ At the distance of three-quarters of a league another “ lake is reached, joined by a smaller one, and other “ rivers. Lake St. John is fourteen leagues long, and “ fourteen wide; two leagues from a small river which “ empties itself into that lake, is a considerable river, “ navigable for canoes, thirty leagues, and is seven arpents " wide; it is called Metabitshouan, where there is a "port.

“On the north side of Lake St. John, is the river Péribonea (the curious river); this name is given to “ that river because its water is clear, and game and fish “ abound there. It is navigable for canoes, and is situ“ated twelve leagues from the outlet of Lake St. John. “ Two leagues higher up is the river Mistassini (the large “ rock), navigable for forty leagues, at least; by this “ river, at least forty small lakes and carrying-places are " passed to reach Lake Mistassini, which empties itself “ into Hudson's Bay; this lake is, at least, ninety leagues “ long, by sixty in breadth, and full of islands; some of " these islands are large. Another lake called Temis“ kaming (very deep lake), leads towards the ports in the “ rear of Montreal, but where he had never travelled: “ In all the lakes and rivers fish abound ; that is to say, “ pike, white fish (three feet long), salmon trout; he had “ taken some weighing forty-two pounds; another kind of trout, only found in lakes where the water is clear, “ the Indians called it Maingouche (which means the “ long fish), it is extremely fat, of excellent flavour, some“ times two or three feet long, and eight inches thick ; “there is a great deal of poisson doré, perchandes, carp “ of two kinds, white and red; he had seen red carp two " feet and a half long, &c. &c.

“ He had only been seventy leagues from Mistassini ; “ the most common timber along the outlet is red spruce; 6 there is also poplar, birch, and a great deal of swamp “ spruce. • "He had gone round twice to Three Rivers, by the 6. Saguenay.”

The description of his travelling would not be interesting to the generality of my readers, and therefore I will proceed at once to matters of more general importance. I must observe, however, that the number of lakes and rivers, apparently communicating or at a very small distance from each other, mentioned by this witness and many others, is perfectly astonishing, and shews the necessity of exploring and settling as soon as possible, a country where there seem to be so many natural and local advantages.

On being asked what was the nature of the soil, and when spring and winter began in the various parts through which he had travelled, his answer was :

“ That the soil about Tadoussac was mere sand, and “ only fit for the culture of potatoes. On ascending the !! Saguenay, all the bays, and the interior on both sides, “ consisted of good soil, fit for cultivation; there was little “ difference between the climate of that place and that of “ Quebec; all sorts of pulse, and melons, and cucumbers, “ ripened there. Towards Chicoutimy the gentlemen of “ that part had gardens which produced cucumbers, “ melons, onions, and, in a word, every thing that was “ produced in Quebec. Towards Lake St. John, and all “ around it, the lands were excellent: the Jesuits formerly “ had a convent and a farm there. Some plum, apple, “ and cherry-trees, and some vines planted by them, still “ exist; and the furrows made by the plough were to be “ discerned. The settlement is at the entrance of the “ river Metabitshouan; he had gone fifteen leagues up " that river, and found the soil fine, and very fit for cul“ tivation, and the climate favourable. For twenty-five “ leagues, in ascending the rivers Mistassini and Assuap“ mousoin, which flow into Lake St. John, the soil and “ climate were equally good, &c. &c. It was to be “ remarked that, although very often the margin of the “ rivers of a certain magnitude did not admit of cultiva“ tion, upon removing a little from the shore, or upon " passing the mountains which skirt those rivers, there “ was always found a level country, where the soil was fertile to a very great distance ; and the soil along “ the smaller rivers, which empty themselves into the “ larger ones, was invariably good and fertile for a very great distance. . “ From Tadoussac to the foot of the rapids Pemonka, “ for a tract of seventy-five leagues, there was a great “ quantity of lofty trees, consisting of white pine, red “ pine, ash, spruce of every kind, elm, black birch, and “ maple, besides several other kinds of timber, as white “ birch, poplar, aspen, gray and red spruce,” &c. &c.

On being asked if these various timbers could be brought, by the several streams he had mentioned, to some place where they might be shipped for exportation by the river St. Lawrence, his answer was :

“ That timber might be felled on the borders of several “ rivers which flow into Lake St. John and Lake Tsinogomi, and which, if drifted along the shore of each of “ those rivers, would of themselves float to Chicoutimy, “ where vessels may come, and they might be shipped “ there." . According to this testimony, as well as that of many other persons, which testimony need not now be adduced, but can be found upon a reference to the report, my readers will perceive, that the House of Assembly has omitted no pains to obtain every information possible respecting this part of the country, which, a short time after the discovery of Canada, seriously occupied the attention of the French government, and upon which the Jesuits formed establishments, the remains whereof are yet to be perceived. It is to be regretted, that for the trifling sum of 10001. or 12001. per annum, all the north side of the river St. Lawrence, to the seigneurie Mount Murray, the property of Mr. Fraser, many leagues above the river Saguenay, has, under the title of King's posts, together with a large part of the territory called Saguenay territory, been left for so long a period to some Scotch merchants, known under the name of the North-West Company; and it is also a matter of surprise, as well as of blame, that the government, until Lord Dalhousie's visit to this section of the country, have voluntarily neglected to make inquiries as to this interesting district. Without wishing to enter into the causes of the dispute between Lord Selkirk and the North-West Company, we believe it right to say, that his lordship’s extraordinary enterprise to the Red River has had the effect of bringing to light circumstances, and destroying prejudices and interest, which have retarded the settlement of lands, the most eligible in the country for the reception of the surplus population of the mother country, and of awakening the attention of the British Government upon a matter of the highest importance. That his plans were at first represented, by certain interested persons, as chimerical, need surprise no one. In spite of all opposition, however, he surmounted every obstacle, and, by his plan of colonisation, destroyed the monopoly of the North-West Company,* which monopoly exercised a pernicious influence over the welfare of the country, tending both to retard its advancement, and demoralise, if we believe the statement of his lordship, its population. Lord Selkirk, by this hazardous enterprise, united his own and the public interest, and identified himself so much with the welfare of the Canadians, that his death was to them a subject of unfeigned regret. We have thought it requisite to mention this circumstance (en passant) in order to make the English public acquainted with the most distant causes which have retarded the settlement of the waste lands of the crown; to give them, also, a more correct idea of the

* Since that period, the North-West Company have been obliged to come to terms with the rival company of the Hudson's Bay, and finally to unite with them.

« הקודםהמשך »