View of Quebec 1813


William Strickland.  “A View of Quebec from Point Levy.” From The Port Folio.  Philadelphia, April 1813.   4 1/4 x 7 1/8.  Engraving by W. Kneass. Stauffer: 1664.

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An early American engraving of Quebec from The Port Folio.  This was a new type of American magazine, “Devoted to Useful Science, the Liberal Arts, Legitimate Criticism, and Polite Literature.”   It was a product of the new century, appearing first in January 1801.  It began as a weekly issue until 1809, when it became monthly until its demise at the end of 1827.  As with the many magazines that followed it, The Port Folio contained numerous illustrations, including this interesting view of the Quebec from Point Levy across the St. Lawrence River.  The fine views from The Port Folio are some of the most unusual and early American-made views of the country, and they form an important series of documents from the first three decades of the nineteenth century.  This image is of particular interest because it shows the British citadel of Quebec during the War of 1812, at a time when this city was an object of American desires.  The imposing fortifications and the several armed British war ships in the river illustrate the difficulty of capturing this prize from the British.