In 1795, François Alexandre Frédéric, duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, described York.
During our residence in Naryhall, Messrs. Dupetitthouars and Guillemard took the opportunity of the return of a gun-boat, and made an excursion to York. Indolence, politness to the Governor, and the conviction that I should meet with nothing remarkable in that place, united to dissuade me from this journey. My friends informed me on their return, that this town, which the Governor had fixed upon as the capital of Upper Canada, before he thought of building a capital on the Thames, has a fine extensive road, detached from the lake by a neck of land of unequal breadth, being in some places a mile, in others only six score yards broad; that the entrance of this road is about a mile in width; that in the middle of it is a shoal or sand-bank, the narrows on each side of which may be easily defended by works erected on the two points of land at the entrance, where two block-houses have already been constructed; that this is two miles and a half long, and a mile wide; and that the elevation of the shore greatly facilitates its defence by fortifications to be thrown up on the most convenient points.
Later, while discussing Lord Dorchester's plan to transfer the seat of government in Upper Canada to Kingston:
The friends of Kingston further allege... that York is an unhealthy place, and will long remain so, from the nature of the ground, which separates the bay from the lake.
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