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verbal languages are bridged by visual communication. As Dennis
Reid puts it, the canvas 'represents simply and directly the noblest in-
tentions of the first Europeans in settling the St Lawrence valley, and as
directly proclaims the central role that French culture, and particularly
painting, would play in the realization of those intentions' ( A Concise
History , 4). As the analyses of Gagnon, Lacroix, and Monteyne reveal,
however (note 13), the message of the painting is far from simple and di-
rect since, if the natives receive the gifts of culture and religion from the
Europeans, the latter, in turn, receive not only moral satisfaction, but also
political allegiance and even economic gain, as suggested by the ship to
the right, bearing the coat of arms of Guillaume de Bruc, one of the found-
ers of the Compagnie de Morbihan, which began trading operations in
Huron territory in 1629 . 14 At any rate, by its juxtaposition of nature, in-
cluding river, forest, and mountains in the far ground, with a culturally
significant place in the foreground, and by highlighting the role of art it-
self through the painting within the painting, this work might well be
considered the 'ur-painting' of the entire Quebec landscape tradition.
As for his own 'civilizing mission,' Champlain is not only the first
European to settle the Saint Lawrence valley, he is also the first to de-
scribe four types of place that come to constitute central motifs in
Quebec literature and painting: the garden, the habitat, the secret spot,
and the memorial, all of which bear witness to the domination of nature
by the creation of cultural sites. This rational, utilitarian, 'utopian' con-
ception of the landscape embodied in Champlain's writings, modelled
on those of Cartier, culminated in the seventeenth century, according to
Bureau, where it is epitomized in France by the Versailles gardens of Le
Nôtre (Bureau, 39) and in New France by the orthogonal land demarca-
tion of the seigneurial system (Bureau, 117). 15 For Bureau, the utopian
concept continued well into the eighteenth century, when it was com-
plemented by an Edenic vision based on untamed nature, which was
embodied in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (59) and which be-
gan to take hold in Canada in the decades following the British Conquest
in 1759 (155-6), to which we now jump in time. 16
Garneau: A French-Canadian Perspective
In his Histoire du Canada (1845), François-Xavier Garneau, Canada's first
great historian and among its first great literary figures, writing nearly
a century after the Conquest, avidly promotes a French-Canadian iden-
tity threatened by the British reprisals following the failed patriots'
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