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Title: Stewart, Frances to Browne, Catherine, 1822
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginUpper Canada
RecipientBrowne, Catherine
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1861
Genredescription of the land, family life
Transcript1822: July 1056
To Catherine Browne (Kate), Ireland

Began Wednesday July 10th [1822]

My dear dear Kate

I suppose you have long [before] this received a horrid scrawl which I
sent by a vessel to Ireland some weeks ago....
The day after our exploit of Red Island we were obliged to stop till
the tide changed & we amused ourselves in the intermediate time by taking
a row to the coast of Nova Scotia where it first begins to be inhabited
& where we saw two or three Indian Huts and a few houses here and
there. Our eyes were gratified by seeing a nice bed of white clover just
growing on the edge of the sandy shore along side of the clover & near
a little inlet of the sea water was a brilliant patch of the pretty blue Irises which we used to have in our Irish flower gardens. These grew in patches all through the trees and looked very gay and pretty. We saw numbers of our dear old Irish weeds, Docks, wild sorrel, yarrow and many others, but along with these are mixed many beautiful kinds which are new to me. On Sunday morning we all got up at 4 oclock to see the waterfall of
Montmorenci which is a very grand thing but we were too far from it to
see it as well as I wanted. The water falls 245 feet, quite perpendicular
& is a great body of water. The foam rises far above the tops of the surrounding houses. We were thinking of going there before we leave this
but I am afraid we shall not be able as we have many things to do & we
are to go on to Montreal tomorrow (Thursday 24th) — but I must go on
with my journal. We arrived here about 8 oclock on Sunday morning and
breakfasted on fresh bread & fresh milk which I think was enjoyed more
than anything I ever tasted in my life. The milk is excellent... seems perfectly pure, 3d a quart, the bread very nice, 8d for good ... loaves. After breakfast we dressed ourselves and proceeded to walk about the streets which are very ugly indeed, narrow and crooked and full of rubbish and chips and shavings. The houses are in general very good and very clean
as far as I have seen yet. We went to Church which is a very neat plain
one, pretty large and very full of respectable genteel looking people. We
had a very good sermon from Mr. Mountain, the Bishops son, but ...
such a monotonous melancholy service... made me very sleepy. There is
a very good organ and a very sweet choir, some delightful young voices.
After Church we walked a little more and enjoyed the lovely views which
surround us on every side. The sun was so hot that we could not walk
long. The next morning Tom had some enquiries and arrangements to
make. About 12 oclock we set out to visit Mrs. Mountain to whom Miss
Wren had given us an introduction ... whilst I was enquiring if she was
at home she walked to the Hall door, so I presented Miss Wren's note
& told her who we were. She then shook hands in the kindest way and
said they had almost given up all expectation of us. The Bishop was not
at home nor the young ladies but Mrs. Mountain invited us to breakfast
there today. She is a very respectable looking old lady but nearly as deaf
as Mrs. Montray. There is something about her face that reminded both
Tom and me of our dear Aunt Bess. She was as kind as possible and really seemed quite tender. How very much we are indebted to Miss Wren for
have introduced us to such agreeable friends. She asked us in the most
earnest manner to tell her if there was anything we wished to have done
or anything she or her family could do for us. She procured us a Ticket
of admission to see the Citadel. This is a curious place & wonderfully
strong. I am sure I hope its strength may never be tried during our term
here. It certainly has been a happy undertaking in one way, as it gives
employment to some hundreds of poor Irishmen. There is a very fine
view from the Signal post where there are Telescopes. It was dreadfully
hot walking up to Cape Diamond, the height on which the Citadel is
built. For it is an ascent all the way and not the least shade from the
burning sun and you may guess how hot the sun must have been when
the thermometer was up to 80 in the shade, but this is nothing like the
heat we shall have as we go further up the river. We were so fagged after
crawling to the Cape and back that we were glad to stay in the cool shade
on deck till after dinner. Then we took [a] boat and went to the opposite
side of the river. There is a very pretty road along the shore close to the
water and on the other side is a steep rocky and woody bank which rises
above a hundred feet perpendicularly. We saw a great many Indian huts.
The poor Indians were employed in different ways, some making little
baskets of shavings ... various colours. Others were preparing Bark of
Birch trees [ ] canoes. They seem inoffensive people and very lazy.
Wednesday 25th, no 24th I believe. Yesterday morning at half past
seven we, that is, Tom and I, set out to go to the Bishops, 8 o'clock being
their breakfast hour. We found the old lady ready to receive us in the
dining room. She ushered us into [ ] a bookroom or study where his
Lordship was sitting. He is a fine white headed old man of 70, quite patriarchal in his appearance. He came forward and shook hands like a kind
old friend. He seem quite interested [inquiring] in the most kind manner
every particular respecting our plans and intentions. After talking
for a short time we went back to the dining parlour where we found the
two Miss Mountains seated.... At one o'clock, Tom, AM and I set out
so thought it better to meet them at their house than to bring the carriage
here for the streets are so very bad for driving. We found the two
young ladies bonneted and ready to accompany us. They seem to be all enthusiastically fond of children & Mrs. M. took AM away to shew her to
the Bishop & he was so delighted with her that he brought her back in his
arms and kissed her over and over. When the Barouche came round we
went off and took a pretty drive to a sweet place about three miles off on
the bank of the river. It belongs to a Mr. Percival who came out here with
his wife & family some years ago. He struggled against difficulties like all other Emigrants at first. He is now collector here & very rich & possesses one of the prettiest places in Canada. It is laid out with great taste — the woods so judiciously cleared that his lawn has the appearance of a fine Park. Mrs. Percival is a most Charming woman who is accomplished and cultivated enough for a count, but she lives here quite happily and educates all her children herself. She has eight children & lies in every year regularly. You will be surprised amongst all our visits that Tom has not waited on Lord Dalhousie. But the most provoking thing in the world
has happened. Tom has put up all his Quebec letters of introduction so
carefully that he cannot find one of them now. Where they are we cannot
find out but it is of less consequence than it might have been as Lord
Dalhousie is in the country about a hundred miles off & we could not
see him. Besides we know that his Lordship would only refer us to Sir
Peregrine Maitland & we have numbers of letters to him....
Montreal, July 28th. I intended to have finished this letter at Quebec,
but every time I was writing the latter part of this letter, my poor sweet
Bessy grew very ill with a vomiting. I think she was ill teething ... the
extreme heat affected her. She continued very ill indeed ever since. Today
she is a little better. Her eyes have rather a more lively look & her food has remained on her stomach. She is terribly changed. She bore her voyage as well as possible and was fat and lively a few hours before she grew ill, but the weather at Quebec that one day & the night before was so hot & our
cabin so close & hot that I could scarcely breath. She is a sweet dear child but God keep me from repining at his will for she & all other blessings are but loans & he may take but I trust this trial may not be given me now, but if it is His will to take her or prolong her sufferings, Oh may I submit with full security that all is right that He sends or wills, and if her present amendment continues may I not be unmindful of this mercy. You will say
I am in a very preaching mood but dear Kate my mind has taken a [bent] from having suffered a good deal & I always try to view all with reference
to the Giver of All. I hope I don't appear Methodistical for indeed I dislike canting or talking much or unnecessarily on religious subjects.
We are very comfortably settled here in a most excellent house, nice
clean airy rooms and quite enough of them, a sitting room, a kitchen and 5
bedrooms, but no furniture, all for fifteen shillings a week!! As we arrived on Saturday we could not procure any meat, it was so late in the day, but we have most excellent bread and delightful milk, good butter, fresh eggs 8t some hams of our own, so we are in no great danger of starving.
This town is very clean as far as I can see. The surrounding country
is very beautiful, but we have not been able to walk about much yet as it
rained all night & all the morning & we had awful thunder & lightening.
It is now fair but the streets are too wet for walking. Dinner is just coming on the table so I must stop at present. I will despatch another letter from York. So do believe me my dear dear sister, here or elsewhere, ever your truly affect' sister

F. Stewart

Tom joins in long kind love to all your dear dear party. Tell [ ] Sutton
that Tom thinks it will be most convenient to send the Somerville money &
[ ] [ ] interest altogether as it is troublesome to send the small [ ] separately.