網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

duties, and now, in the way of business, knows and mingles with the merchants and leading men of the city. He pointed out to me the Chairman of the Richlieu Co., a wealthy corporation that own the magnificent riversteamers which ply on the St. Lawrence between Quebec and Montreal. Thus men of integrity and industry rise rapidly in America, so true is the old saying,—"the tools come to the hands of those that can use them."

This Pertho-Canadian says,—" at the sound of the bagpipes, (if Scotland should be invaded,) I and thousands of my fellow-countrymen would go home to defend Her Majesty the Queen, if needs be with the sacrifice of our lives.” More than this he could not say. These words called to my mind a memorial of loyalty, seen in an ancient church among the dales of Northern England. Above the chancel hung a screen, emblazoned with a coat of arms, and by its side a silken banner bearing the motto

AYMEZ LAUOYTÉ.

Written in Norman-French, (a proof of their antiquity) these words had for generations reminded the Baron of the day, of his traditional allegiance. Feudalism has passed away. Royalty no longer leans upon the Peers as the mainstay of the Throne. Queen Victoria grasps a stronger staff; she is beloved by her people at home, and also, (as we have been so touchingly reminded,) by those who have cast their fortunes in a far-off land.

Looking out from the windows of the railway car, I saw in the distance a long bank of earth. As we approach nearer it assumes more defined proportions. It takes the shape of a huge mound, such as an army would throw up on the plain to resist an enemy. But this is not the work of engineer or sapper. It is a natural plateau, round which clusters Ottawa city. Upon the highest bluff, (which is as it were, a “Quiraing," cast in the colossal mould of America,) are reared the Parliament Halls, and the Departmental Buildings of the Dominion. The central structure is the “Palace Beautiful" which I have journeyed so far to visit. After running outside the earthwork barrier for a mile a two, an entrance is found; the river is crossed by a suspension bridge, and the train passes into the Backwoods' stronghold.

Fifty years ago Ottawa City was not born. Upon the river-banks stood log-huts used by the Royal Engineers, who, with labourers and artificers were engaged in constructing the Rideau canal. This channel was intended by the Government of England to be a highway between the lower St. Lawrence and the Lakes, through which gun-boats could pass, in case communications on the frontier should be interrupted. The workmen's shanties became the nucleus for a settlement,—the settlement the germ of a city.

It was originally called Bytown, in honor of Colonel By, of the Royal Engineers, under whose command it was laid out in 1823. It was ridiculed and nicknamed “the hole in the woods”; but in the face of derision it has grown up into a prosperous city, which counts its inhabitants by tens of thousands. It has won the distinction of accommodating the Dominion Legislature. Quebec, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto, each entered the lists of competition for this mark of honor, but they were overruled—Queen Victoria deciding upon Ottawa.

The thermometer was marking an East Indian temperature as I ascended the hill. Plain and forest seemed to quiver in the intense heat. Since 1828 such a summer has not been known on the bluffs of River Grand. We had seen the glisten of the tin-tipped spires of Palace Beautiful on the train, some distance from Ottawa, and

now that we are close to it, the Tuillery-like roof of slate glows in the sunshine, and the wind-vanes flash like molten silver. At length I stood before those magnificent Houses of Parliament, the possession of which, alone, would make Canada famous. I was amazed at the grandeur and extent of the pile. It felt as if I was dreaming a dream, or beholding a vision of our own Westminster amid forest solitudes. But the real

presence was indisputable.

I remember visiting a church which Lord and Lady Herbert of Lea erected at Wilton-the ancient seat of the Pembrokes. It was a magnificent temple; yet even more remarkable than magnificence was the infinite variety noticeable in architecture and material. It had evidently been the design of its builders to rear a cosmopolitan shrine. They had travelled in every country of Europe, gathering here an idea, there a fragment of material. In architecture their church was modelled after the Russo-Greek and the Turkish Mosque, with a gallery and campanile added.

You enter by a Gothic gateway, and the panorama of variety opens. From Italy came material for the tesselated pavement. The pulpit was a gem of Caen stone, resting upon inlaid twining pillars of black marble, fashioned and started with mosaics by Roman artificers of seven centuries ago. Tuscan ilex formed the communion rail, and black walnut from New Brunswick the reading-desk. The chancel sides were embossed with Spanish marble and the doors with oak-pannels carved by skillful Flemings. Glass windows were supplied by Munich and balls by Palestine ; the organ was brought from Wilton House. The gallery front was garnished with arabesques in the style of the Lion's Court at the Alhambra, and an old iron chest from Venice

contained the records. Wiltshire found representation in the stone work of the outer walls, otherwise the temple was foreign in block and in detail.

Palace Beautiful is just the reverse. It is native in detail and in block. Granite, found within 10 or 15 miles of the bluff, forms the pièce de resistance of the pile. In color it is creamy white, varied with red tinted stone for tbe arches. The architecture seems composite ItalioGothic. The halls themselves rival those of the Imperial Parliament. Polished marble for interior columns is the product of Canadian quarries; the painted windows also are the work of Ottawa craftsmen. Each pillar is surmounted by a capital of free-stone, rich with carvings. No two are the same in design. Beaver and maple are inwreathed together as the emblems of Canada, while Nova Scotia retains its own sign of bonnie may-flower. On other columns are traced harvest tokens of maize, and the fernery of the swamps; water-lilies of the rivers, and deer of the forest; bison of the plains and wild game of the prairie ; garden-grape and peach, with nest and egg of woodland birds. No characteristic of the country is forgotten. Not only will man, the law giver and lord of all, be represented here ; but also each minor thing of bird, beast and flower. Everything is of Canada, Canadian.

I passed into the noble Chamber of the Upper House, and sat for a minute upon the throne of the Dominion. It is furnished en suite with crimson carpets and hangings, and in this respect differs from the House of Representatives which assumes a garniture of green. In both Houses, members are accommodated with desks,handsome pieces of furniture of black walnut, lined with blue cloth. Like the Sardinian farmer who craved to resume his old craft of mason, and wall up the grave of

a

Count Cavour, I asked to occupy for a moment the desk of D'Arcy McGee, from which he made his last speech in the House, an hour before falling under the bullet of an assassin. 76 senators and 272 members throng the Houses during Session. In a passage or lobby entered from the main corridor, is provided a closet for each member, where with Fre exactness he may deposit and lock up hat, coat or papers. The original estimate for the Buildings was 900,000 dollars; but already 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 dollars have been expended, and the Library is yet unfinished. It will be a noble room when completecapable of holding 300,000 volumes. The shape will resemble the chapter-house of Salisbury Cathedral. Old country faces turned up wherever I went, and Ottawa was no exception. The keepers of the Halls were respectively men from Ireland and Devon.

From the edge of the bluff the view was magnificent. As far as the eye could reach it fell upon forests of Ottawa valley. Below, lay the bustling town; guarded on one side by foaming Chaudière, on the other by silvery Rideau ; like lions keeping watch before Palace Beautiful of the allegory. Quebec excepted, I know no more romantic or remarkable city in America than this one in the backwoods. The eye wanders to the saw-mills; it rests upon the twin spires of the Catholic Cathedral. It glances from Queen's printing-house to a lumber-laden river. Then it returns to dwell upon never-ending forest; you look upon a similar scene from Richmond Hill, save that here furrowed woodlands anticipate Berkshire's fertile vales, and no towers of Windsor gleam on the far away horizon.

Being intimately acquainted with the gifted author of Post Office Savings' Banks in England, I felt deeply interested to gauge the success of the scheme in Canada.

« 上一頁繼續 »