Note: Pehr Kalm (1716-1779) was a Swedish explorer and botanist who spent all of 1749 in New France. Based on the excerpt below, were the French right to be so confident of their fortifications?


“The city is surrounded on almost all sides by a high wall, especially on the land side. It was not yet finished during my trip, but it was actively being worked on… Nature seems to have wanted to spare the town the trouble of having to erect fortified walls on the water’s side for protection, by placing a boulder there that is impossible to climb.

All heights are covered by batteries (canons), and no enemy ship can approach without running an imminent risk of being sunk. From the land side, the city is guarded by high mountains, in such a manner that nature and art work together to protect it…

The swiftness of the current makes navigation up the St. Lawrence from the sea very dangerous, and shifting sandbanks often form in places where they had never appeared before. The English, in their undertakings against Canada, have once or twice experienced the kind of danger caused by the movement of these flats.

Also the French seem to be correct in regarding the river as a barrier against any new incursions.”

Author: Pehr Kalm