Travel Reference
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broad scope and aesthetic appeal, not the geometric and economic ref-
erence points that Cartier sought to anchor his vision and limit the
space deployed before him.
Even the Saguenay valley, denigrated by Champlain for its barren-
ness, is praised by Garneau for its natural beauty - 'la grande et pit-
toresque contrée du Saguenay' (192; the large and picturesque land of
the Saguenay) - ascribed specifically to its grandeur ('grandiose'), rug-
gedness ('sauvage'), and irregularity ('tourmentées'), which, to Garneau,
more than compensate for its lack of fertility: 'Rien n'est à la fois plus
grandiose et plus sauvage que ces rives hardies et tourmentées; mais
elles n'acquièrent ce caractère qu'aux dépens de leur vertu fertilisante.'
(193; Nothing is at once more grandiose and more wild than these hardy,
tormented shores, but they acquire their character only at the expense of
their fertility.)
Clearly tastes have changed radically since the early descriptions of
Cartier and Champlain; the uniform, even geometric, French vision of a
focused place is supplanted by a broader vision of vast, irregular space,
and Garneau's writings point to several sources that may have come to
modify the initial French visual heritage, including Chateaubriand's
writings (more than those of Charlevoix), 21 but also the sublime British
vision represented in McGregor's description of Quebec, which is further
evident in several early landscape paintings by British military person-
nel. British officers typically received training in topographical drawing,
useful for military purposes, and some of the most accomplished ones,
like Thomas Davies, naturally gravitated towards watercolour views of
the breathtaking North American landscape; as Reid explains: 'The topo-
graphical views of military officers were in fact simply one manifestation
of the romantic inclination of English gentlemen of the later eighteenth
century to delight in the splendours of the natural scenery or in anything
they found in their travels that was charmingly primitive, rough, quaint,
or exotic - in a word, picturesque' ( A Concise History , 19). In another
word: Edenic; or in yet another, especially in vogue in late eighteenth-
century England: sublime, 22 as in Davies's 1791 watercolour, A View of the
Montmorency Falls near Quebec (plate 2). Here the majestic stature of na-
ture is captured by the height of the falls, the surge of its waters, the scope
of the basin below, and the ruggedness of the terrain, all features dis-
dained by Cartier and Champlain. 'Composed in solid masses of lumin-
ous colour,' with 'linear patterns in which one layer of rock repeats
another in an attractive pattern,' the grandeur of the setting is enhanced
by the precariously perched cabin on the top of the cliff, 23 the minute
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