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than usual, from the reception of his final epistolary remembrancer; I was informed of his peaceful departure from earth; and of the testamentary bequest by which he had manifested his regard for his distant acquaintance.
The packet was immediately unfolded; and the contents appeared so interesting and instructive, that it was decided, others should peruse the delineations it comprised. A note was inclosed which thus explained the Writer's views and designs.
“You will perceive, my beloved friend, that these sheets have been written at very distant intervals. They contain notices of persons and things characteristic of Canadian society. The names of all the parties are changed. Although the actors have disappeared and the curtain has dropped upon their part of the tragic drama, yet as the narrator would surely be known, I have imposed the seal of secrecy, until it will be of no importance to me what se is made of these documents. I consign the manuscripts to you now, in preference to leaving them among my papers ; as in that case, they might never have been seen by you ; for it is most probable, that those persons who must necessarily act under my last will, would destroy memorials which record facts, that no man in Canada would dare to publish. When you peruse hese biographical narratives, you will be reminded of Lorette ; and of your
Faithful and affectionate
DIGANU.” Cape Diamond, 20th September, 1826.
The manuscripts thus confided to my perusal were manifestly written when the occurrences were vividly impressed upon the memory. Many remarks and circumstances have been omitted. They betrayed a little of the old gentle. man's garrulity, and were sometimes irrelevant, or too caustic and severe.
With the exception of the commencement, the documents have been transposed, so as to adapt them for a continuous history.
No stranger can visit Canada without an awakened and deep interest - and an acute American observer of life and manners naturally inquires into the causes of those varied novelties which attract his notice. The peculiar characteristics of society there elude a slight regard ; and to comprehend the state of religious principles, the tone of domestic morals, the mental vassalage, and the profound debasement of the habitans of that Province, numerous difficulties and obstructions must be surmounted. Patience, with perseverance, is necessary to delve into the secrets of their social and political condition.
A solicitude to understand and analyze the elements of Canadian character and habits, influenced me to use all the means to obtain accurate and diversified information upon these melancholy topics. My acquaintance with Diganu aided my design.
The circumstances of his life had increased his tact for surveying those around him; and his whole course had rendered it necessary for him to watch with all keenness, the wayward doings of bis associates and fellow-citizens. His
natural aptitude of discrimination had received an additional impulse by the intelligence which he had imbibed, and as he expressed it—" After my eyes were once opened, I maintained a sleepless watch upon the proceedings of every per: son with whom I was obliged to become acquainted. To that most uncomfortable suspiciousness of all mankind, in which for some years 1 lived, I am indebted for the temporal comfort which I enjoy; and I passed through one-half of my earthly course, before I fully comprehended the meaning of a solitary exercise combined with the charities of domestic life ; except in connection with the affair of Lorette and Chretien! When eating my solitary meal, or roaming alone around the city; often have I vented my dreary feelings and morbid disquietude in this homely couplet
Father, mother, sister, brother, friend-
Diganu however had survived all his forced and unnatural misanthropy. He displayed tenderness and affection of the highest order, commingled with a charming sincerity, that rendered communion with him increasingly delightful. The arcana of Canadian society be unfolded in its minutest fea. tures; and however perplexing some of his statements appeared; he affirmed them to be all true, and vanquished incredulity by evidence which no scepticism could deny.
In the following narrative, some of the contents of my own port-folio are conjoined with Diganu's details. To specify the distinctions is superfluous. All the circumstances are part of those annals which represent man as he is, not as fiction describes him.
A flattering portrayer of Canada delineates the habitano upon the banks of the river Lawrence, as a gallant, high principled, enlightened, and dignified race of mortals, of superior mental elevation and moral worth. To assume this standard of any nation, en masse, is over-stepping the boundaries of veracity, and that it is totally inapplicable to the Gallic population of Lower Canada, is known to every dividual who has not continued in a dead sleep, while making the grand northern tour.
The ensuing pages depict Canadian personages, not in the imaginative embellishments of romance, but in the unadorned drapery of truth. Who of Diganu's actors strutted on the theatre of life, anterior to the capture of Quebec by Wolfe’s army, and who are of a subsequent period, there is no clue to discover. His descriptions of the natural scenery are very correct: and some of his individual portraits and narratives of events, I have frequently heard attested as matters of common notoriety.
This explanation contains all that is necessary as an intro-. ductory notice to Lorette. You, my friend, I trust, will unite in judgment with the opinion of several clergymer who examined the manuscript, before it was sent to press : that the perusal of this narrative will enhance the love of freedom, intelligence, purity and truth ; and also render that triple unholy alliance, ignorance, error and corruption, mure odious and repugnant.
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