IRISH EMIGRATION DATABASE DOCUMENT OF THE MONTH
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Robert Peel Dawson, Quebec to his parents.
T 850/1: Obtained from Mrs Brackenbury, Moyola Park, Castledawson, Co. Londonderry.
The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Document added by JM 25:10:1993.
Quebec May 26th
My dearest dearest Parents,
Three weeks have elapsed since I wrote my last letter and though I still think Quebec the dirtiest and most disagreeable Town I was ever in, yet time has in some degree reconciled me to it. I am in perfect health & have escaped all the stomach attacks usually produced by the St. Lawrence Water. Many of our Officers have been ill with a species of Cholera. Though I dislike Quebec I am very happy. I delight in the society of my Brother Officers and think no thirty three People ever before drew so well together as we do. I must do justice to the River St. Lawrence. Nothing can be finer than the scenery it presents - those who have seen the Rhine think it exceeded in beauty by the St. Lawrence. Nature has done every thing for Quebec - Man very little. I am at this moment on Guard in the Cape Diamond Citadel. This impregnable Fortress stands upon the edge of the River, but many hundred feet above its level. It is completely removed from the Town which is situated on a slope between the Citadel and a broad basin which the St. Lawrence by wandering course makes and into which the St. Charles another River flows. I have therefore in front and on the right the St. Lawrence on the left St. Charles River. Below Quebec the St. Lawrence is four miles broad above it only one. Looking down the River you see the Isle of Orleans which is three miles distant. There the River branches off into two different Channels. On the right side, Point Levy and its Battery form fine objects, and on the left are the romantic and picturesque Falls of
Montmorenci [Montmorency?]. From the Citadel, the Town of Quebec with its tin covered houses and churches, looks well. So much for the exterior of our Guard Room views. The inside is gloomy enough. Bare walls drooping with damp, no furniture and the cold in this elevated spot so great that the month is May my Mamma's fur Cloak alone prevents me from being chilled to death. When not on Guard I walk to see the neighbouring Country and sometimes accomplish thirty miles. I had became too fat on board the Apollo to please my Mamma's eye, but this excercise has again reduced me to a reasonable size. There is a pretty Village about ten miles distant from Quebec, to which I often walk. It is called Lorette & is inhabited by Indians. The Falls in its neighbourhood are beautiful. I cannot say too much of Montmorenci [Montmorency?] and La Chaudiore - the former is 280 feet high. I was one of the Subalterns on a Guard of Honour the other day to receive Sir John Colbourne & he invited all the Officers comprising it to Dinner. He was particularly civil to me & gave me after Dinner a long & interesting account of the Rebellion. He resembles I think the Duke of Wellington & looks the distinguished Military Character he is. There is but little society in Quebec and I have seen no ladies but Lady Colborne & Mrs Gore. Every thing is very dear & there is no good shooting or fishing within obtainable distance. Our time is a good deal occupied with Reviews, Inspections, Guards & Field Days. Every morning I am obliged to put on my red coat. Our great day was the Queen's Birth-day the 24th.
Pray write to me all the London news and be assured that my happiest moments will be those employed in reading your letters. I hope my father will tell me everything relative to Castle Dawson. When shall I have the delight of seeing it again? Give my very best love to my dearest brothers. I
have written to them all separately by the Pique which conveys this.
Believe me ever
Your most attached Son,
Robert Peel Dawson.