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´╗┐Title: The Great Intendant : A Chronicle of Jean Talon in Canada, 1665-1672
Author: Chapais, Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Great Intendant : A Chronicle of Jean Talon in Canada, 1665-1672" ***

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Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 6

A Chronicle of Jean Talon in Canada 1665-1672





When the year 1665 began, the French colony on the shores
of the St Lawrence, founded by the valour and devotion
of Champlain, had been in existence for more than half
a century. Yet it was still in a pitiable state of weakness
and destitution. The care and maintenance of the settlement
had devolved upon trading companies, and their narrow-minded
mercantile selfishness had stifled its progress. From
other causes, also, there had been but little growth.
Cardinal Richelieu, the great French minister, had tried
at one time to infuse new life into the colony; [Footnote:
For the earlier history of New France the reader is
referred to three other volumes in this Series--The
Founder of New France, The Seigneurs of Old Canada, and
The Jesuit Missions.] but his first attempts had been
unlucky, and later on his powerful mind was diverted to
other plans and achievements and he became absorbed in
the wider field of European politics. To the shackles of
commercial greed, to forgetfulness on the part of the
mother country, had been added the curse of Indian wars.
During twenty-five years the daring and ferocious Iroquois
had been the constant scourge of the handful of settlers,
traders, and missionaries. Champlain's successors in the
office of governor, Montmagny, Ailleboust, Lauzon,
Argenson, Avaugour, had no military force adequate to
the task of meeting and crushing these formidable foes.
Year after year the wretched colony maintained its struggle
for existence amidst deadly perils, receiving almost no
help from France, and to all appearance doomed to
destruction. To make things worse, internal strife
exercised its disintegrating influence; there was contention
among the leaders in New France over the vexed question
of the liquor traffic. In the face of so many adverse
circumstances--complete lack of means, cessation of
immigration from the mother country, the perpetual menace
of the bloody Iroquois incursions, a dying trade, and a
stillborn agriculture--how could the colony be kept alive
at all? Spiritual and civil authorities, the governor
and the bishop, the Jesuits and the traders, all united
in petitioning for assistance. But the motherland was
far away, and European wars and rivalries were engrossing
all her attention.

Fortunately a change was at hand. The prolonged struggle
of the Thirty Years' War and of the war against Spain
had been ended by the treaty of Munster and Osnabruck in
1648 and by that of the Pyrenees in 1659. The civil
dissensions of the Fronde were over, thanks to the skilful
policy of Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu's successor. After
the death of Mazarin in 1661, Louis XIV had taken into
his own hands the reins of administration. He was young,
painstaking, and ambitious; and he wanted to be not only
king but the real ruler of his kingdom. In Jean Baptiste
Colbert, the man who had been Mazarin's right hand, he
had the good fortune to find one of the best administrators
in all French history. Colbert soon won the king's
confidence. He was instrumental in detecting the
maladministration of Fouquet as superintendent of Finance,
and became a member of the council appointed to investigate
and report on all financial questions. Of this body he
was the leading spirit from the beginning. Although at
first without the title of minister, he was promptly
invested with a wide authority over the finances, trade,
agriculture, industry, and marine affairs. Within two
years he had shown his worth and had justified the king's
choice. Great and beneficial reforms had been accomplished
in almost every branch of the administration. The exhausted
treasury had been replenished, trade and industry were
encouraged, agriculture was protected, and a navy created.
Under a progressive government France seemed to awake to
new life.

The hour was auspicious for the entreaties of New France.
Petitions and statements were addressed to the king by
Mgr de Laval, the head of ecclesiastical affairs in the
colony, by the governor Avaugour, and by the Jesuit
fathers; and Pierre Boucher, governor of the district of
Three Rivers, was sent to France as a delegate to present
them. Louis and his minister studied the conditions of
the colony on the St Lawrence and decided in 1663 to give
it a new constitution. The charter of the One Hundred
Associates was cancelled and the old Council of
Quebec--formed in 1647--was reorganized under the name
of the Sovereign Council. This new governing body was to
be composed of the governor, the bishop, the intendant,
an attorney-general, a secretary, and five councillors.
It was invested with a general jurisdiction for the
administration of justice in civil and criminal matters.
It had also to deal with the questions of police, roads,
finance, and trade.

To establish a new and improved system of administration
was a good thing, but this alone would hardly avail if
powerful help were not forthcoming to rescue New France
from ruin, despondency, and actual extermination. The
colony was dying for lack of soldiers, settlers, and
labourers, as well as stores of food and munitions of
war for defence and maintenance. Louis XIV made up his
mind that help should be given. In 1664 three hundred
labourers were conveyed to Quebec at the king's expense,
and in the following year the colonists received the
welcome information that the king was also about to send
them a regiment of trained soldiers, a viceroy, a new
governor, a new intendant, settlers and labourers, and
all kinds of supplies. This royal pledge was adequately
fulfilled. On June 19, 1665, the Marquis de Tracy,
lieutenant-general of all the French dominions in America,
arrived from the West Indies, where he had successfully
discharged the first part of the mission entrusted to
him by his royal master. With him came four companies of
soldiers. During the whole summer ships were disembarking
their passengers and unloading their cargoes of ammunition
and provisions at Quebec in quick succession. It is easy
to imagine the rapture of the colonists at such a sight,
and the enthusiastic shouts that welcomed the first
detachment of the splendid regiment of Carignan-Salieres.
At length, on September 12, the cup of public joy was
filled to overflowing by the arrival of the ship Saint
Sebastien with two high officials on board, David de
Remy, Sieur de Courcelle, the governor appointed to
succeed the governor Mezy, who had died earlier in the
year, and Jean Talon, the intendant of justice, police,
and finance. The latter had been selected to replace the
Sieur Robert, who had been made intendant in 1663, but,
for some unknown reason, had never come to Canada to
perform the duties of his office. The triumvirate on whom
was imposed the noble task of saving and reviving New
France was thus complete. The Marquis de Tracy was an
able and clear-sighted commander, the Sieur de Courcelle
a fearless, straightforward official. But the part of
Jean Talon in the common task, though apparently less
brilliant, was to be in many respects the most important,
and his influence the most far-reaching in the destinies
of the colony.

Talon was born at Chalons-sur-Marne, in the province of
Champagne, about the year 1625. His family were kinsfolk
of the Parisian Talons, Omer and Denis, the celebrated
jurists and lawyers, who held in succession the high
office of attorney-general of France. Several of Jean
Talon's brothers were serving in the administration or
the army, and, after a course of study at the Jesuits'
College of Clermont, Jean was employed under one of them
in the commissariat. The young man's abilities soon became
apparent and attracted Mazarin's attention. In 1654 he
was appointed military commissary at Le Quesnoy in
connection with the operations of the army commanded by
the great Turenne. A year later, at the age of thirty,
he was promoted to be intendant for the province of
Hainault. For ten years he filled that office and won
the reputation of an administrator of the first rank.
Thus it came about that, when an intendant was needed to
infuse new blood into the veins of the feeble colony on
the St Lawrence, Colbert, always a good judge of men,
thought immediately of Jean Talon and recommended to the
king his appointment as intendant of New France. Talon's
commission is dated March 23, 1665.

The minister drafted for the intendant's guidance a long
letter of instructions. It dealt with the mutual relations
of Church and State, and set forth the Gallican principles
of the day; it discussed the question of assistance to
the recently created West India Company; the contemplated
war against the Iroquois and how it might successfully
be carried on; the Sovereign Council and the administration
of justice; the settlement of the colony and the
advisability of concentrating the population; the
importance of fostering trade and industry; the question
of tithes for the maintenance of the Church; the
establishment of shipbuilding yards and the encouragement
of agriculture. This document was signed by Louis XIV
at Paris on March 27, 1665.

On receiving his commission and his instructions, Talon
took leave of the king and the minister, and proceeded
to make preparations for his arduous mission and for the
long journey which it involved. By April 22 he was at La
Rochelle, to arrange for the embarkation of settlers,
working men, and supplies. He attended the review of the
troops that were bound for New France, and reported to
Colbert that the companies were at their full strength,
well equipped and in the best of spirits. During this
time he spared no pains to acquire information about the
new country where he was to work and live. Finally, by
May 24, everything was in readiness, and he wrote to

   Since apparently I shall not have the honour of writing
   you another letter from this place, for our ship awaits
   only a favourable wind to sail, allow me to assure
   you that I am leaving full of gratitude for all the
   kindness and favours bestowed on me by the king and
   yourself. Knowing that the best way to show my gratitude
   is to do good service to His Majesty, and that the
   best title to future benevolence lies in strenuous
   effort for the successful execution of his wishes, I
   shall do my utmost to attain that end in the charge
   I am going to fill. I pray for your protection and
   help, which will surely be needed, and if my endeavours
   should not be crowned with success, at least it will
   not be for want of zeal and fidelity.

A few hours after having written these farewell lines,
Talon, in company with M. de Courcelle, set sail on the
Saint Sebastien for Canada, where he was to make for
himself an imperishable name.



Let us take a glance over the colony at the time when
Courcelle and Talon landed at Quebec after an ocean
journey--there were no fast lines then--of one hundred
and seventeen days.

In 1665 Canada had only three settled districts: Quebec,
Three Rivers, and Ville-Marie or Montreal. Quebec, the
chief town, bore the proud title of the capital of New
France. Yet it contained barely seventy houses with about
five hundred and fifty inhabitants. Then, as now, it
consisted of a lower and an upper town. In the lower town
were to be found the king's stores and the merchants'
shops and residences. The public officials and the clergy
and members of the religious orders lived in the upper
town, where stood the principal buildings of the
capital--the Chateau Saint-Louis, the Bishop's Palace,
the Cathedral, the Jesuits' College and Chapel, and the
monasteries of the Ursulines and of the Hotel-Dieu sisters.

Francois de Laval de Montmorency, bishop of Petraea and
vicar apostolic for Canada, was the spiritual head of
the colony. He had arrived from France six years earlier,
in 1659, and was destined to spend the remainder of his
life, nearly half a century, in the service of the Church
in Canada. Because of his noble character and many virtues,
his strong intellect, and his devotion to the public
weal, he will ever rank as one of the greatest figures
in Canadian history. His vicar-general was Henri de
Bernieres, who was also parish priest of Quebec and
superior of the seminary founded by the bishop in 1663.
The superior of the Jesuits was Father Le Mercier. The
saintly Marie de l'Incarnation was mother superior of
the Ursulines, and Mother Saint Bonaventure of the

It may be interesting to recall the names of some of the
notable citizens of Quebec at that time, other than the
high officials. There were Michel Filion and Pierre
Duquet, notaries; Jean Madry, surgeon to the king's
majesty; Jean Le Mire, the future syndic des habitants;
Madame d'Ailleboust, widow of a former governor; Madame
Couillard, widow of Guillaume Couillard and daughter of
Louis Hebert, the first tiller of the soil; Madame de
Repentigny, widow of 'Admiral' de Repentigny, to use the
grandiloquent expression of old chroniclers; Nicolas
Marsollet, Louis Couillard de l'Espinay, Charles Roger
de Colombiers, Francois Bissot, Charles Amiot, Le Gardeur
de Repentigny, Dupont de Neuville, Pierre Denis de la
Ronde, all men of high standing. The chief merchants were
Charles Basire, Jacques Loyer de Latour, Claude Charron,
Jean Maheut, Eustache Lambert, Bertrand Chesnay de la
Garenne, Guillaume Feniou. Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye,
the stalwart Quebec trader of the day, was then in France.

In the neighbourhood of Quebec were a few settlements.
According to the census of the following year there were
452 persons on the Island of Orleans, 533 at the Cote
Beaupre, 185 at Beauport, 140 at Sillery, and 112 at
Charlesbourg and Notre-Dame-des-Anges on the St Charles

Three Rivers was a small port with a population of 455,
including that of the adjoining settlements. The governor
in charge of the local administration was Pierre Boucher,
already mentioned as a delegate to France in 1661. The
Jesuits had a residence there and a chapel which was the
only place of public worship, for the colonists had not
as yet the means to erect a parish church. In the vicinity
there were the beginnings of settlement at Cap-de-la-
Magdeleine, Batiscan, and Champlain. Among the important
families of Three Rivers were those of Godefroy, Hertel,
Le Neuf, Crevier, Boucher, Poulin, Volant, Lemaitre,
Rivard, and Ameau. Michel Le Neuf du Herisson was juge
royal, and Severin Ameau was notary and registrar of the

Montreal or Ville-Marie was scarcely more important than
Three Rivers. The population of the whole district numbered
only 625. A fort built by Maisonneuve and Ailleboust at
Pointe-a-Callieres; the house of the Sulpicians at the
foot of the present Saint-Sulpice Street; the Hotel-Dieu
on the other side of that street; the convent of the
Congregation sisters facing the Hotel-Dieu; a few houses
scattered along the road called 'de la Commune,' now
Saint-Paul Street; and on the rising ground towards the
Place d'Armes of later years a few more dwellings--these
constituted the Montreal of primitive days. On the top
of the hill called 'Coteau Saint-Louis' was erected an
intrenched mill--'Moulin du Coteau'--which could be used
as a redoubt to protect the inhabitants. The Sulpicians'
house, the Hotel-Dieu, the convent of the Congregation,
and the houses of the Place d'Armes and of 'la Commune'
were connected with the fort by footpaths. Before 1672
there were no streets laid out. The only place of public
worship was the Hotel-Dieu chapel, fifty feet in length
by thirty in width. The superior of the Sulpicians was
Abbe Souart. Mother Mace was superioress of the Hotel-Dieu,
but the mainstay of the institution was the well-known
Mademoiselle Mance, who, by the aid of Madame de Bullion's
benefactions, had founded it in 1643. The illustrious
Sister Marguerite Bourgeoys was at the head of the
Congregation, which owed its existence to her pious zeal
and devotion to the education of the young. Among the
'Montrealistes' of note the following should be specially
mentioned: Zacharie Dupuy, major of the island; Charles
d'Ailleboust, seigneurial judge; J. B. Migeon de Bransac,
fiscal attorney; Louis Artus Sailly, who had been for
some time juge royal; Benigne Basset, at once registrar
of the seigneurial court, notary, and surveyor; Charles
Le Moyne, king's treasurer, interpreter, soldier, settler,
who was later to be ennobled and receive the title of
Baron de Longueuil; Etienne Bouchard, surgeon; Pierre
Picote de Belestre, a valiant militia officer; Claude de
Robutel, Sieur de Saint-Andre; Jacques Leber, a merchant
who controlled almost the whole trade of Ville-Marie.

Altogether the white population of Canada, including the
settlers and labourers arriving during the summer of
1665, numbered only 3215. Yet the colony had been in
existence for fifty-seven years! It was certainly time
for a new effort on the part of the mother country to
infuse life into her feeble offspring. This was a task
calling for the earnest care and the most energetic
activity of Tracy, Courcelle, and Talon.

One of the first matters to receive their attention was
the reorganization of the Canadian administration. We
have seen that in 1663 the Sovereign Council had been
created, to consist of the high officials of the colony
and five councillors. At this time, September 1665, the
five councillors were Mathieu Damours, Le Gardeur de
Tilly, and three others who had been irregularly appointed
by Mezy, the preceding governor, to take the places of
three councillors whom he had arbitrarily dismissed--Rouer
de Villeray, Juchereau de la Ferte, and Ruette d'Auteuil.
The same governor had also dismissed Jean Bourdon, the
attorney-general, and had replaced him by Chartier de
Lotbiniere. These summary dismissals and appointments
had arisen out of a quarrel between the governor and the
bishop, in which the former appears to have been influenced
by petty motives. At any rate Mezy had been recalled by
the king; and Tracy, Courcelle, and Talon had been
instructed to try him for improper conduct in office.
But before their arrival at Quebec, Mezy had obeyed the
summons of another King than the king of France. He had
been taken ill in the spring of the year and had died on
May 6. Mezy being dead, it was wisely thought unnecessary
to recall unhappy memories of his errors and misdeeds.
Sufficient would be done if the grievances due to his
rashness were redressed. Accordingly the dismissed
officials were reinstated, and on September 23, 1665, a
solemn sitting of the Sovereign Council was held, at
which Tracy, Courcelle, Laval, and Talon were present,
together with the Sieur Le Barroys, general agent of the
West India Company, and the Sieurs de Villeray, de la
Ferte, d'Auteuil, de Tilly, Damours--all the councillors
in office before Mezy's dismissals--Jean Bourdon, the
attorney-general, and J. B. Peuvret, secretary of the
council. The letters patent of Courcelle and Talon as
well as the commission and credentials of the Sieur Le
Barroys were duly read and registered; the letters patent
of the Marquis de Tracy had been registered previously.
With these formalities the new administration of Canada
was inaugurated.

The next proceeding of the rulers of New France was to
prepare for a decisive blow against the daring Iroquois.
Tracy and the soldiers, as we have seen, had arrived in
June and three forts were in course of building on the
Richelieu river, or 'riviere des Iroquois,' so called
because for a long period it had been the most direct
highway leading from the villages of these bloody warriors
to the heart of the colony. During the summer and autumn
of 1665 the Carignan soldiers were kept busy with the
construction of these necessary defensive works. The
first fort was erected at the mouth of the river, under
the direction of Captain de Sorel; the second fifty miles
higher, under Captain de Chambly; and the third about
nine miles farther up, under Colonel de Salieres. The
first two retained the names of the officers in charge
of their construction, and the third received the name
of Sainte-Therese because it was finished on the day
dedicated to that saint. During the following year two
other forts were built--St John, a few miles distant from
Sainte-Therese, and Sainte-Anne, on an island at the head
of Lake Champlain. Both Tracy and Courcelle went to
inspect the work personally and encourage the garrisons.

In the meantime Talon was in no way idle. He had to
organize the means of conveying provisions, ammunition,
tools, and supplies of every description for the maintenance
of the troops and the furtherance of the work. Under his
supervision a flotilla of over fifty boats plied between
Quebec and the river Richelieu. It was also his business
to take care of the incoming soldiers and labourers and
to see that those who had contracted disease during their
journey across the ocean received proper nursing and
medical attendance.

From the moment of his arrival he had lost no opportunity
of acquiring information on the situation in the colony.
There is a curious anecdote that illustrates the manner
in which he sometimes contrived to gain knowledge by
concealing his identity. On the very day of his landing
he went alone to the Hotel-Dieu, and asking for the
superioress, introduced himself as the valet de chambre
of the intendant, pretending to be sent by his master to
assure the good ladies of the hospital of M. Talon's
kindly disposition and desire to bestow on them every
favour in his gift. One of the sisters present at the
interview--Mere de la Nativite, a very bright and clever
woman--was struck by the extreme distinction of manner
and speech of the so-called valet, and, with a meaning
glance at the superioress, told the visitor that unless
she was mistaken he was more than he pretended to be. On
his asking what could convey to her that impression, she
replied that by his bearing and language she could not
but feel that the intendant himself was honouring the
Hotel-Dieu with a visit. Talon could do no less than
confess that she was right, showing at the same time that
he appreciated the delicate compliment thus paid to him.
From that day he was a devoted and most generous friend
to the Hotel-Dieu of Quebec.

One of the first problems with which the intendant had
to deal in discharging the duties of his office was the
dualism of administrative authority. It has been mentioned
that Colbert had founded a new trading company, known as
the West India Company. This corporation had been granted
wide privileges over all the French possessions in America,
including feudal ownership and authority to administer
justice and levy war. The company was thus invested with
the right of appointing judicial officers, magistrates,
and sovereign councils, and of naming, subject to the
king's sanction governors and other functionaries; it
had full power to sell the land or make grants in feudal
tenure, to receive all seigneurial dues, to build forts,
raise troops, and equip war-ships. The company's charter
had been granted in 1664, and of course Canada, as well
as the other French colonies in the New World, was included
in its jurisdiction. The situation of this colony was
therefore very peculiar. In 1663 the king had cancelled
the charter of the One Hundred Associates and had taken
back the fief of Canada; but a year later he had granted
it again to a new company. At the same time he showed
clearly that he intended to keep the administration in
his own hands. Thus Canada seemed to have two masters.
In accordance with its charter, the company held the
ownership and government of the country de jure. But in
point of fact the king wielded the government, thus taking
back with one hand what he had given with the other. By
right the company controlled the administration of justice;
it could, and actually did, establish courts. But, in
fact, the king appointed the intendant supreme judge in
civil cases, and made the Sovereign Council a tribunal
of superior jurisdiction. By right, to the company belonged
the power of granting land and seigneuries. In fact, the
governor or the intendant, the king's officers, made the
grants at their pleasure. This strange situation, which
lasted ten years--until the West India Company's charter
was revoked in 1674--is often confusing to the student
of the period.

Talon saw at a glance the anomaly of the situation; but,
being a practical man, he was less displeased with the
falsity of the principle than apprehensive of the evil
that was likely to result. In a letter to Colbert, dated
October 4, 1665, he discussed the subject at length,
putting it in plain terms. If, when the grant was made,
it was the king's intention to benefit only the company--to
increase its profits and develop its trade--with no
ulterior consideration for the development of the colony,
then it would be well to leave to the company the sole
ownership of the country. But if His Majesty had thought
of making Canada one of the prosperous parts of his
kingdom, it was very doubtful whether he could attain
that end without keeping in his own hands the control of
lands and trade. The real aim of the West India Company,
as he had learned, was to enforce its commercial monopoly
to the utmost; and become the only trading medium between
the colony and the mother country. Such a policy could
have but one result; it would put an end to private
enterprise and discourage immigration.

In spite of the company's apparent overlordship, Talon
thought that, as the king's agent, he was bound to exercise
the powers appertaining to his office for the good of
the colony. By the end of the year 1665 he had planned
a new settlement in the vicinity of Quebec on lands
included in the limits of the seigneury of Notre-Dame-
des-Anges at Charlesbourg, which he had withdrawn from
the grant to the Jesuits, under the king's authority.
This was the occasion of some friction between the Jesuits
and the intendant. Talon gave the necessary orders for
the erection of about forty dwellings which should be
ready to receive new settlers during the following year.
These were to be grouped in three adjacent villages named
Bourg-Royal, Bourg-la-Reine, and Bourg-Talon. We shall
learn more of them in a following chapter.

Another enterprise of the intendant was numbering the
people. Under his personal supervision, during the winter
of 1666-67, a general census of the colony was taken--the
first Canadian census of which we have any record. The
count showed, as we have already said, a total population
of 3215 in Canada at that time--2034 males and 1181
females. The married people numbered 1109, and there were
528 families. Elderly people were but few in number, 95
only being from fifty-one to sixty years old, 43 from
sixty-one to seventy, 10 from seventy-one to eighty, and
4 from eighty-one to ninety. In regard to professions
and occupations, there were then in New France 3 notaries,
5 surgeons, 18 merchants, 4 bailiffs, 3 schoolmasters,
36 carpenters, 27 joiners, 30 tailors, 8 coopers, 5
bakers, 9 millers, 3 locksmiths. The census did not
include the king's troops, which formed a body of 1200
men. The clergy consisted of the bishop, 18 Priests and
aspirants to the priesthood, and 35 Jesuit fathers. There
were also 19 Ursulines, 23 Hospitalieres, and 4 Sisters
of the Congregation. The original record of this, the
first Canadian census, has been preserved and is without
question a most important historical document. It is
likewise full of living interest, for in it are recorded
the names of many families whose descendants are now to
be found all over Canada.



It was the special task of Tracy and Courcelle to rid
the colony of the Iroquois scourge. The Five Nations
[Footnote: The Iroquois league consisted of five tribes
or nations--the Mohawks, the Cayugas, the Senecas, the
Onondagas, and the Oneidas.] had heard with some disquietude
of the body of trained soldiers sent by the French king
to check their incursions and crush their confederacy.
At the beginning of December 1665, the Marquis de Tracy
received an embassy from the Onondagas. They desired to
enter into a peace negotiation, and one of the most noted
chiefs, Garakonthie, delivered on that occasion a long
and eloquent address to the viceroy. A treaty was signed
by them on behalf of their own and two of the other
tribes, the Senecas and the Oneidas. But meanwhile the
Oneidas did not cease from hostilities, and the Mohawks
also continued their bloody raids against the French
settlements. Courcelle therefore decided to march at once
against their villages beyond Lake Champlain, in what is
now New York state and to teach them a lesson. But he
did not know the nature of a winter expedition in this
northern climate. Leaving Quebec on January 9, he reached
Three Rivers on the 16th, and proceeded to Fort Saint-Louis
on the Richelieu, where he had fixed the rendezvous of
the troops. The cold was very severe, and many soldiers
were frozen at the outset. On January 29 the little band,
five or six hundred French and Canadians, left Fort
Saint-Louis, unfortunately without waiting for a party
of Algonquins who should have acted as scouts. It was a
distressing march. The soldiers had to walk through deep
snow, and the unfamiliar use of snowshoes was a great
trial to the Europeans. At night, no shelter! They had
to sleep in the open air, under the canopy of the sky
and the cold light of the glimmering stars. Having no
guides, Courcelle and his men lost their way in that
unknown country. After seventeen days of extreme toil
they found that, instead of reaching the Mohawk district,
they were near Corlaer in the New Netherlands, sixty
miles distant. The vanguard had a brush with two hundred
Iroquois, who slipped away after killing six French
soldiers and leaving four of their own number dead. The
governor could go no farther with his exhausted troops
and was forced to retrace his steps. The retreat was
worse than the forward march. The supply of provisions
failed, and to the suffering from cold was soon added
hunger. Many soldiers died of exposure and starvation.
In reading the account of the ill-fated expedition, one
is reminded of the disastrous retreat of Napoleon's army
in 1812 through the icy solitudes of Russia. By this sad
experience the military commanders of New France found
that they had something to learn of the art of making
war in North America, and must respect the peculiarities
of the climate and country. Nevertheless Courcelle's
winter expedition had made an impression on the minds of
the Iroquois and had even surprised the Dutch and the
English. The author of a narrative entitled Relation of
the March of the Governor of Canada into New York wrote:
'Surely so bold and hardy an attempt hath not happened
in any age.'

Apparently the Five Nations were somewhat uneasy, for in
March the Senecas sent ambassadors to the Marquis de
Tracy to ratify the treaty signed in December. In July
delegates came from the Oneida tribe; they presented a
letter written by the English authorities at Orange which
assured the viceroy that the Mohawks were well disposed
and wished for peace. A new treaty of ratification was
accordingly signed. But the lieutenant-general wanted
something more complete and decisive. He demanded of the
delegates a general treaty to include the whole of the
Five Nations, and stated that he would allow forty days
for all the Iroquois tribes to send their ambassadors to
Quebec. Moreover, he instructed Father Beschefer to go
to Orange with some of the Oneida delegates for the
purpose of meeting the ambassadors and escorting them to
Quebec. Unfortunately, a few days after the priest's
departure, news came that four Frenchmen on a hunting
expedition had been killed near Fort Sainte-Anne by a
party of Mohawks, and that three others had been taken
prisoners. One of the slain was a cousin of Tracy, and
one of the captives his nephew. Father Beschefer was at
once recalled and Captain de Sorel was ordered to march
with some two hundred Frenchmen and ninety Indians to
strike a blow at the raiders. Sorel lost no time and had
nearly reached the enemy's villages when he met Tracy's
nephew and the other prisoners under escort of an Iroquois
chief and three warriors, who were bound for Quebec to
make amends for the treacherous murder recently perpetrated
and to sue for peace. Under these circumstances Captain
de Sorel did not think it necessary to proceed farther,
and marched his men home again with the Iroquois and the
rescued prisoners. On August 31 a great meeting was held
at Quebec in the Jesuits' garden. The delegates of the
Five Nations were present, and speeches were made enlarging
on the desirability of peace. But it soon became apparent
that no peace could be lasting except after a successful
expedition against the Mohawks. Tracy, Courcelle, and
Talon held a consultation, and the intendant submitted
a well-prepared document in which he reviewed the reasons
for and against a continuance of the war. In Talon's mind
the arguments in favour of it had undoubtedly the greater
weight. Tracy and Courcelle concurred in this opinion.
Thirteen hundred men were drafted for an expedition--six
hundred regular soldiers, six hundred Canadians, and a
hundred Indians. All was soon ready, and on September
14, the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, Tracy and
Courcelle left Quebec, at the head of their troops. It
was a spectacle that did not fail to impress the Iroquois
chiefs detained in Quebec. One of them, deeply moved,
said to the viceroy: 'I see that we are lost, but you
will pay dearly for your victory; my nation will be
exterminated, but I tell you that many of your young men
will not return, for our young warriors will fight
desperately. I beg of you to save my wife and children.'
Many who witnessed that martial exit of Tracy and Courcelle
from the Chateau Saint-Louis, surrounded by a staff of
noble officers, must have realized that this was a
memorable day in the history of New France. At last a
crushing blow was to be struck at the ferocious foe who
for twenty-five years had been the curse and terror of
the wretched colony. What mighty cheers were shouted on
that day by the eager and enthusiastic spectators who
lined the streets of Quebec!

On September 28, the troops taking part in the expedition
were assembled at Fort Sainte-Anne. [Footnote: On isle
La Mothe at the northern end of Lake Champlain.] Charles
Le Moyne commanded the Montreal contingent, one hundred
and ten strong; the Quebec contingent marched under Le
Gardeur de Repentigny. Father Albanel and Father Raffeix,
Jesuit priests, the Abbe Dollier de Casson, a Sulpician,
and the Abbe Dubois, chaplain of the Carignan regiment,
accompanied the army. Three hundred light boats had been
launched for the crossing of Lakes Champlain and
Saint-Sacrement. Courcelle, always impetuous, was the
first to leave the fort; he led a vanguard of four hundred
men which included those from Montreal. The main body of
the army under Tracy set out on October 3. Captains
Chambly and Berthier were to follow four days later with
the rear-guard.

The journey by water was uneventful; but the portage
between the two lakes was hard and trying. Yet it was
nothing compared with the difficulties of the march beyond
Lake Saint-Sacrement. One hundred miles of forest,
mountains, rivers, and swamps lay between the troops and
the Iroquois villages. No roads existed, only narrow
footpaths interrupted by quagmires, bristling with stumps,
obstructed by the entanglement of fallen trees, or abruptly
cut by the foaming waters of swollen streams. Heavily
laden, with arms, provisions, and ammunition strapped on
their backs, French and Canadians slowly proceeded through
the great woods, whose autumnal glories were vanishing
fast under the influence of the chill winds of October.
Slipping over moist logs, sinking into unsuspected swamps,
climbing painfully over steep rocks, they went forward
with undaunted determination. At night they had to sleep
in the open on a bed of damp leaves. The crossing of
rivers was sometimes dangerous. Tracy, who unfortunately
had been seized with an attack of gout, was nearly drowned
in one rapid stream. A Swiss soldier had undertaken to
carry him across on his shoulders, but his strength
failed, and if a rock had not stood near, the viceroy's
career might have ended there. A Huron came to the rescue
and carried the helpless viceroy to the other side. The
sufferings of the army were increased by a scarcity of
food. The troops were famishing. Luckily they came upon
some chestnut-trees and stayed their hunger with the nuts.

At last, on October 15, the scouts reported that the
Mohawk settlements were near at hand. It was late in the
day, darkness was setting in, and a storm of wind and
rain was raging. But Tracy decided to push on. They
marched all night, and in the morning, emerging from the
woods, saw before them the first of the Mohawk towns or
villages. Without allowing a moment's pause, the viceroy
ordered an advance. The roll of the drums seemed to give
the troops new strength and ardour; French, Canadians,
and Indians ran forward to the assault. The Mohawks,
apprised of the coming attack, had determined beforehand
to make a stand and had sent their women and children to
another village. But, at the sight of the advancing army,
whose numbers appeared to them three times as great as
they really were, and at the sound of the drums, like
the voice of demons, they fled panic-stricken. The first
village was taken without striking a blow. The viceroy
immediately ordered a march against the second, which
was also found abandoned. Evidently the Iroquois were
terrified, for a third village was taken in the same way,
without a show of defence. It was thought that the
invaders' task was finished, when an Algonquin squaw,
once a captive of the Iroquois, informed Courcelle that
there were two other villages. The soldiers pushed forward,
and the fourth settlement of the ever-vanishing enemy
fell undefended into the hands of the French. The sun
was setting; the exertions of the day and of the night
before had been arduous, and it seemed impossible to go
farther. But the squaw, seizing a pistol and grasping
Courcelle's hand, said, 'Come on, I will show you the
straight path.' And she led the way to the town and fort
of Andaraque, the most important stronghold of the Mohawks.
It was surrounded with a triple palisade twenty feet high
and flanked by four bastions. Vessels of bark full of
water were distributed on the platforms behind the palisade
ready for use against fire. The Iroquois might have made
a desperate stand there, and such had been their intention.
But their courage failed them at the fearful beating of
the drums and the appearance of that mighty army, and
they sought safety in flight.

The victory was now complete, and the army could go to
rest after nearly twenty-four hours of continuous exertion.
Next morning the French were astonished at the sight of
Andaraque in the light of the rising sun. instead of a
collection of miserable wigwams, they saw a fine Indian
town, with wooden houses, some of them a hundred and
twenty feet long and with lodging for eight or nine
families. These houses were well supplied with provisions,
tools, and utensils. An immense quantity of Indian corn
and other necessaries was stored in Andaraque-'food enough
to feed Canada for ten years'--and in the surrounding
fields a plentiful crop was ready for harvest. All this
was to be destroyed; but first an impressive ceremony
had to be performed. The army was drawn up in battle
array. A French officer, Jean-Baptiste Dubois, commander
of the artillery, advanced, sword in hand, to the front,
and in the presence of Tracy and Courcelle, declared that
he was directed by M. Jean Talon, king's counsellor and
intendant of justice, police, and finance for New France,
to take possession of Andaraque, and of all the country
of the Mohawks, in the name of the king. A cross was
solemnly planted alongside a post bearing the king's coat
of arms. Mass was celebrated and the Te Deum sung. Then
the work of destruction began. The palisades, the dwellings,
the bastions, the stores of grain and provisions, except
what was needed by the invaders, the standing crops-all
were set on fire; and when night fell the glaring
illumination of that tremendous blaze told the savages
that at last New France had asserted her power, and that
the soldiers of the great king had come far enough through
forest and over mountain and stream to chastise in their
own country the bloodthirsty tribes who for a quarter of
a century had been the terror of the growing settlements
on the St Lawrence.

On their return march the troops suffered great hardships.
A storm on Lake Champlain upset two boats and eight men
were drowned. Tracy reached Quebec on November 5. The
expedition had lasted seven weeks, during which time he
had covered nine hundred miles. The news of his success
had been received with joy. Since the first days of
October the whole colony had been praying for victory.
As soon as the destruction of the Iroquois towns was
known, prayers were changed to thanksgiving. The Te Deum
was solemnly chanted, and on November 14 a mass was said
in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Quebec, followed by a
procession in gratiarum actionem. New France might well
rejoice. A great result had been attained. True it was
that the Mohawks, panic-stricken, had not been met and
crushed. in a set encounter. None the less they had had
their lesson. They had learned that distance and natural
impediments were no protection against the French. Their
towns were a heap of ashes, their fields were despoiled,
their country was ruined. The fruit of that expedition
was to be eighteen years of peace for New France. Eighteen
years of peace after twenty-five years of murderous
incursions! Was not that worth a Te Deum?

After his return Tracy ordered one of the Iroquois detained
at Quebec to be hanged as a penalty for his share in the
murder of the French hunters. He then directed three
other prisoners, the Flemish Batard [Footnote: A half-breed
Mohawk leader.] and two Oneida chiefs, to go and inform
their respective tribes that he would give them four
months to send hostages and make peace; otherwise he
would lead against them another expedition more calamitous
for their country than the first one. At length, in the
month of July of the following year, ambassadors of the
Iroquois nations arrived at Quebec with a number of
Iroquois families who were to remain as hostages in the
colony. The chiefs asked that missionaries be sent to
reside among their tribes. This petition was granted.
New France could now breathe freely. The hatchet was



Tracy had led a successful expedition against the Iroquois
and coerced them into a lasting peace. He had seen order
and harmony restored in the government of the colony.
His mission was over and he left Canada on August 28,
1667, Courcelle remaining as governor and Talon as
intendant. From that moment the latter, though second in
rank, became really the first official of New France, if
we consider his work in its relation to the future welfare
of the colony.

We have already seen something of his views for the
administration of New France. He would have it emancipated
from the jurisdiction of the West India Company; he tried
also to impress on the king and his minister the
advisability of augmenting the population in order to
develop the resources of the colony--in a word, he sought
to lay the foundations of a flourishing state. Undoubtedly
Colbert wished to help and strengthen New France, but he
seemed to think that Talon's aim was too ambitious. In
one of his letters the intendant had gone the length of
submitting a plan f or the acquisition of New Netherlands,
which had been conquered by the English in 1664. He
suggested that, in the negotiations for peace between
France, England, and Holland, Louis XIV might stipulate
for the restoration to Holland of its colony, and in the
meantime come to an understanding with the States-General
for its cession to France. Annexation to Canada would
follow. But Colbert thought that Talon was too bold. The
intendant had spoken of New France as likely to become
a great kingdom. In answer, the minister said that the
king saw many obstacles to the fulfilment of these
expectations. To create on the shores of the St Lawrence
an important state would require much emigration from
France, and it would not be wise to draw so many people
from the kingdom--to 'unpeople France for the purpose of
peopling Canada.' Moreover if too many colonists came to
Canada in one season, the area already under cultivation
would not produce enough to feed the increased population,
and great hardship would follow. Evidently Colbert did
not here display his usual insight. Talon never had in
mind the unpeopling of France. He meant simply that if
the home government would undertake to send out a few
hundred settlers every year, the result would be the
creation of a strong and prosperous nation on the shores
of the St Lawrence. The addition of five hundred immigrants
annually during the whole period of Louis XIV's reign
would have given Canada in 1700 a population of five
hundred thousand. It was thought that the mother country
could not spare so many; and yet the cost in men to France
of a single battle, the bloody victory of Senef in 1674,
was eight thousand French soldiers. The wars of Louis
XIV killed ten times more men than the systematic
colonization of Canada would have taken from the mother
country. The second objection raised by Colbert was no
better founded than the first. Talon did not ask for the
immigration of more colonists than the country could
feed. But he rightly thought that with peace assured the
colony could produce food enough for a very numerous
population, and that increase in production would speedily
follow increase in numbers.

It must not be supposed that Colbert was indifferent to
the development of New France. No other minister of the
French king did more for Canada. It was under his
administration that the strength which enabled the colony
so long to survive its subsequent trials was acquired.
But Colbert was entangled in the intricacies of European
politics. Obliged to co-operate in ventures which in his
heart he condemned, and which disturbed him in his work
of financial and administrative reform, he yielded
sometimes to the fear of weakening the trunk of the old
tree by encouraging the growth of the young shoots.

Talon had to give in. But he did so in such a way as to
gain his point in part. He wrote that he would speak no
more of the great establishment he had thought possible,
since the minister was of opinion that France had no
excess of population which could be used for the peopling
of Canada. At the same time he insisted on the necessity
of helping the colony, and assured Colbert that, could
he himself see Canada, he would be disposed to do his
utmost for it, knowing that a new country cannot make
its own way without being helped effectively at the
outset. Talon's tact and firmness of purpose had their
reward, for the next year Colbert gave ample proof that
he understood Canada's situation and requirements.

On the question of the West India Company also there was
some divergence of view between the minister and the
intendant. As we have seen in a preceding chapter, Talon
had expressed his apprehension of the evils likely to
spring from the wide privileges exercised by the company.
But this trading association was Colbert's creation. He
had contended that the failure of the One Hundred Associates
was due to inherent weakness. The new one was stronger
and could do better. Perhaps difficulties might arise in
the beginning on account of the inexperience and greed
of some of the company's agents, but with time the
situation would improve. It was not surprising that
Colbert should defend the company he had organized.
Nevertheless, on that point as on the other, Colbert
contrived to meet Talon half-way. The Indian trade, he
said, would be opened to the colonists, and for one year
the company would grant freedom of trade generally to
all the people of New France.

In connection with the rights of this company another
question, affecting the finances, was soon to arise. By
its charter the company was entitled to collect the
revenues of the colony; that is to say, the taxes levied
on the sale of beaver and moose skins. The tax on beaver
skins was twenty-five per cent, called le droit du quart;
the tax on moose skins was two sous per pound, le droit
du dixieme. There was also the revenue obtained from the
sale or farming out of the trading privileges at Tadoussac,
la traite de Tadoussac. All these formed what was called
le fonds du pays, the public fund, out of which were paid
the emoluments of the governor and the public officers,
the costs of the garrisons at Quebec, Montreal, and Three
Rivers, the grants to religious communities, and other
permanent yearly disbursements. The company had the right
to collect the taxes, but was obliged to pay the public

Writing to Colbert, Talon said he would have been greatly
pleased if, in addition to these rights, the king had
retained the fiscal powers of the crown. He declared that
the taxes were productive, yet the company's agent seemed
very reluctant to pay the public charges. Colbert, of
course, decided that the company, in accordance with its
charter, was entitled to enjoy the fiscal rights upon
condition of defraying annually the ordinary public
expenditure of the country, as the company which preceded
it had done. Immediately another point was raised. What
should be the amount of the public expenditure, or rather,
to what figure should the company be allowed to reduce
it? Talon maintained that the public charges defrayed by
the former company amounted to 48,950 livres. [Footnote:
The livre was equivalent to the later franc, about twenty
cents of modern Canadian currency.] The company's agent
contended that they amounted only to 29,200 livres and
that the sum of 48,950 livres was exorbitant, as it
exceeded by 4000 livres the highest sum ever received
from farming out the revenue. [Footnote: It was the
custom in New France to sell or farm out the revenues.
Instead of collecting direct the fur taxes and the proceeds
of the Tadoussac trade, the government granted the rights
to a corporation or a private individual in return for
a fixed sum annually.] To this the intendant replied by
submitting evidence that the rights were farmed out for
50,000 livres in 1660 and in 1663; moreover, the rights
were more valuable now, for with the conclusion of peace
trade would prosper. In the end Colbert decided that the
sum payable by the company should be 36,000 livres
annually. The ordinary revenue of New France was thus
fixed, and remained at that sum for many years.

It must not be supposed that this revenue was sufficient
to meet all the expenses connected with the defence and
development of the colony. There was an extraordinary
fund provided by the king's treasury and devoted to the
movement and maintenance of the troops, the payment of
certain special emoluments, the transport of new settlers,
horses, and sheep, the construction of forts, the purchase
and shipment of supplies. In 1665 this extraordinary
budget amounted to 358,000 livres.

Talon's energetic action on the question of the revenue
was inspired by his knowledge of the public needs. He
knew that many things requiring money had to be done. A
new country like Canada could not be opened up for
settlement without expense, and he thought that the
traders who reaped the benefit of their monopoly should
pay their due share of the outlay.

We have already seen that Talon had begun the establishment
of three villages in the vicinity of Quebec. Let us
briefly enumerate the principles which guided him in
erecting these settlements. First of all, in deference
to the king's instructions relative to concentration, he
contrived to plant the new villages as near as possible
to the capital, and evolved a plan which would group the
settlers about a central point and thus provide for their
mutual help and defence. In pursuance of this plan he
made all his Charlesbourg land grants triangular, narrow
at the head, wide at the base, so that the houses erected
at the head were near each other and formed a square in
the centre of the settlement. In this arrangement there
was originality and good sense. After more than two
centuries, Talon's idea remains stamped on the soil; and
the plans of the Charlesbourg villages as surveyed in
our own days show distinctly the form of settlement
adopted by the intendant.

Proper dwellings were made ready to receive the new-comers.
Then Talon proceeded with the establishment of settlers.
To his great joy some soldiers applied for grants. He
made point of having skilled workmen, some, if possible,
in each village--carpenters, shoemakers, masons, or other
artisans, whose services would be useful to all. He tried
also to induce habitants of earlier date to join the new
settlements, where their experience would be a guide and
their methods an object-lesson to beginners.

The grants were made on very generous terms, The soldiers
and habitants, on taking possession of their land, received
a substantial supply of food and the tools necessary for
their work. They were to be paid for clearing and tilling
the first two acres. In return each was bound by his deed
to clear and prepare for cultivation during the three or
four following years another two acres, which could
afterwards be allotted to an incoming settler. Talon
proposed also that they should be bound to military
service. For each new-comer the king assumed the total
expense of clearing two acres, erecting a house, preparing
and sowing the ground, and providing flour until a crop
was reaped--all on condition that the occupant should
clear and cultivate two additional acres within three or
four years, presumably for allotment to the next new-comer.

Such were the broad lines of Talon's colonization policy.
But to his mind it was not enough that he should make
regulations and issue orders; he would set up a model
farm himself and thus be an example in his own person.
He bought land in the neighbourhood of the St Charles
river and had the ground cleared at his own expense. He
erected thereon a large house, a barn, and other buildings;
and, in course of time, his fine property, comprising
cultivated fields, meadows, and gardens, and well stocked
with domestic animals, became a source of pride to him.

Under Talon's wise direction and encouragement, the
settlement of the country progressed rapidly. Now that
they could work in safety, the colonists set themselves
to the task of clearing new farms. In his Relation of
1668 Father Le Mercier wrote: 'It is fine to see new
settlements on each side of the St Lawrence for a distance
of eighty leagues... The fear of aggression no longer
prevents our farmers from encroaching on the forest and
harvesting all kinds of grain, which the soil here grows
as well as in France.' In the district of Montreal there
was great activity. It was during this period that the
lands of Longue-Pointe, of Pointe-aux-Trembles, and of
Lachine were first cultivated. At the same time, along
the river Richelieu, in the vicinity of Forts Chambly
and Sorel, officers and soldiers of the Carignan-Salieres
regiment were beginning to settle. 'These worthy gentlemen,'
wrote Mother Marie de l'Incarnation, 'are at work, with
the king's permission, establishing new French colonies.
They live on their farm produce, for they have oxen,
cows, and poultry.' A census taken in 1668 gave very
satisfactory figures. A year before there had been 11,448
acres under cultivation. That year there were 15,649,
and wheat production amounted to 130,979 bushels. Such
results were encouraging. What a change in three years!

One of the commodities most needed in the colony was
hemp, for making coarse cloth. Talon accordingly caused
several acres to be sown with hemp. The seed was gathered
and distributed among a number of farmers, on the
understanding that they would bring back an equal quantity
of seed next year. Then he took a very energetic step.
He seized all the thread in the shops and gave notice
that nobody could procure thread except in exchange for
hemp. In a word, he created a monopoly of thread to
promote the production of hemp; and the policy was
successful. In many other ways the intendant's activity
and zeal for the public good manifested themselves. He
favoured the development of the St Lawrence fisheries
and encouraged some of the colonists to devote their
labour to them. Cod-fishing was attempted with good
results. Shipbuilding was another industry of his
introduction. In 1666, always desirous of setting an
example, he built a small craft of one hundred and twenty
tons. Later, he had the gratification of informing Colbert
that a Canadian merchant was building a vessel for the
purpose of fishing in the lower St Lawrence. During the
following year six or seven ships were built at Quebec.
The Relation of 1667 states that Talon 'took pains to
find wood fit for shipbuilding, which has been begun by
the construction of a barge found very useful and of a
big ship ready to float.'

In building and causing ships to be built the intendant
had in view the extension of the colony's trade. One of
his schemes was to establish regular commercial intercourse
between Canada, the West Indies, and France. The ships
of La Rochelle, Dieppe, and Havre, after unloading at
Quebec, would carry Canadian products to the French West
Indies, where they would load cargoes of sugar for France.
The intendant, always ready to show the way, entered into
partnership with a merchant and shipped to the West Indies
salmon, eels, salt and dried cod, peas, staves, fish-oil,
planks, and small masts much needed in the islands. The
establishment of commercial relations between Canada and
the West Indies was an event of no small moment. During
the following years this trade proved important. In 1670
three ships built at Quebec were sent to the islands with
cargoes of fish, oil, peas, planks, barley, and flour.
In 1672 two ships made the same voyage; and in 1681
Talon's successor, the intendant Duchesneau, wrote to
the minister that every year since his arrival two vessels
at least (in one year four) had left Quebec for the West
Indies with Canadian products.

The intendant was a busy man. The scope of his activity
included the discovery and development of mines. There
had been reports of finding lead at Gaspe, and the West
India Company had made an unsuccessful search there. At
Baie Saint-Paul below Quebec iron ore was discovered,
and it was thought that copper and silver also would be
found at the same place. In 1667 Father Allouez returned
from the upper Ottawa, bringing fragments of copper which
he had detached from stones on the shores of Lake Huron.
Engineers sent by the intendant reported favourably of
the coal-mines in Cape Breton; the specimens tested were
deemed to be of very good quality. In this connection
may be mentioned a mysterious allusion in Talon's
correspondence to the existence of coal where none is
now to be found. In 1667 he wrote to Colbert that a
coal-mine had been discovered at the foot of the Quebec
rock. 'This coal,' he said, 'is good enough for the forge.
If the test is satisfactory, I shall see that our vessels
take loads of it to serve as ballast. It would be a great
help in our naval construction; we could then do without
the English coal.' Next year the intendant wrote again:
'The coal-mine opened at Quebec, which originated in the
cellar of a lower-town resident and is continued through
the cape under the Chateau Saint-Louis, could not be
worked, I fear, without imperilling the stability of the
chateau. However, I shall try to follow another direction;
for, notwithstanding the excellent mine at Cape Breton,
it would be a capital thing for the ships landing at
Quebec to find coal here.' Is there actually a coal-mine
at Quebec hidden in the depth of the rock which bears
now on its summit Dufferin Terrace and the Chateau
Frontenac? We have before us Talon's official report. He
asserts positively that coal was found there--coal which
was tested, which burned well in the forge. What has
become of the mine, and where is that coal? Nobody at
the present day has ever heard of a coal-mine at Quebec,
and the story seems incredible. But Talon's letter is
explicit. No satisfactory explanation has yet been
suggested, and we confess inability to offer one here.

While reviewing the great intendant's activities, we must
not fail to mention the brewing industry in which he took
the lead. In 1668 he erected a brewery near the river St
Charles, on the spot at the foot of the hill where stood
in later years the intendant's palace. He meant in this
way to help the grain-growers by taking part of their
surplus product, and also to do something to check the
increasing importation of spirits which caused so much
trouble and disorder. However questionable the efficacy
of beer in promoting temperance, Talon's object is worthy
of applause. Three years later the intendant wrote that
his brewery was capable of turning out two thousand
hogsheads of beer for exportation to the West Indies and
two thousand more for home consumption. To do this it
would require over twelve thousand bushels of grain
annually, and would be a great support to the farmers.
In the mean-time he had planted hops on his farm and was
raising good crops.

Talon's buoyant reports and his incessant entreaties for
a strong and active colonial policy could not fail to
enlist the sympathy of two such statesmen as Louis XIV
and Colbert. This is perhaps the only period in earlier
Canadian history during which the home government steadily
followed a wise and energetic policy of developing and
strengthening the colony. We have seen that Colbert
hesitated at first to encourage emigration, but he had
yielded somewhat before Talon's urgent representations,
and from 1665 to 1671 there was an uninterrupted influx
of Canadian settlers. It is recorded in a document written
by Talon himself that in 1665 the West India Company
brought to Canada for the king's account 429 men and 100
young women, and 184 men and 92 women in 1667. During
these seven years there were in all 1828 state-aided
immigrants to Canada. The young women were carefully
selected, and it was the king's wish that they should
marry promptly, in order that the greatest possible number
of new families should be founded. As a matter of fact,
the event was in accordance with the king's wish. In 1665
Mother Marie de l'Incarnation wrote that the hundred
girls arrived that year were nearly all provided with
husbands. In 1667 she wrote again: 'This pear ninety-two
girls came from France and they are already married to
soldiers and labourers.' In 1670 one hundred and fifty
girls arrived, and Talon wrote on November 10: 'All the
girls who came this year are married, except fifteen whom
I have placed in well-known families to await the time
when the soldiers who sought them for their wives are
established and able to maintain them.' It was indeed a
matrimonial period, and it is not surprising that marriage
was the order of the day. Every incentive to that end
was brought to bear. The intendant gave fifty livres in
household supplies and some provisions to each young
woman who contracted marriage. According to the king's
decree, each youth who married at or before the age of
twenty was entitled to a gift of twenty livres, called
'the king's gift.' The same decree imposed a penalty upon
all fathers who had not married their sons at twenty and
their daughters at sixteen. In the same spirit, it enacted
also that all Canadians having ten children living should
be entitled to a pension of three hundred livres annually;
four hundred livres was the reward for twelve. 'Marry
early' was the royal mandate. Colbert, writing to Talon
in 1668, says: 'I pray you to commend it to the
consideration of the whole people, that their prosperity,
their subsistence, and all that is dear to them, depend
on a general resolution, never to be departed from, to
marry youths at eighteen or nineteen years and girls at
fourteen or fifteen; since abundance can never come to
them except through the abundance of men.' And this was
not enough; Colbert went on: 'Those who may seem to have
absolutely renounced marriage should be made to bear
additional burdens, and be excluded from all honours; it
would be well even to add some mark of infamy.' The
unfortunate bachelor seems to have been treated somewhat
as a public malefactor. Talon issued an order forbidding
unmarried volontaires to hunt with the Indians or go into
the woods, if they did not marry fifteen days after the
arrival of the ships from France. And a case is recorded
of one Francois Lenoir, of Montreal, who was brought
before the judge because, being unmarried, he had gone
to trade with the Indians. He pleaded guilty, and pledged
himself to marry next year after the arrival of the ships,
or failing that, to give one hundred and fifty livres to
the church of Montreal and a like sum to the hospital.
He kept his money and married within the term.

The matrimonial zeal of Colbert and Talon did not slight
the noblemen and officers. Captain de la Mothe, marrying
and taking up his abode in the country, received sixteen
hundred livres. During the years 1665-68 six thousand
livres were expended to aid the marriage of young
gentlewomen without means, and six thousand to enable
four captains, three lieutenants, five ensigns, and a
few minor officers to settle and marry in the colony.

A word must be said as to the character of the young
women. Some writers have cast unfair aspersions upon the
girls sent out from France to marry in Canada. After a
serious study of the question, we are in a position to
state that these girls were most carefully selected. Some
of them were orphans reared in charitable institutions
under the king's protection; they were called les filles
du roi. The rest belonged to honest families, and their
parents, overburdened with children, were willing to send
them to a new country where they would be well provided
for. In 1670 Colbert wrote to the archbishop of Rouen:
'As in the parishes about Rouen fifty or sixty girls
might be found who would be very glad to go to Canada to
be married, I beg you to employ your credit and authority
with the cures of thirty or forty of these parishes, to
try to find in each of them one or two girls disposed to
go voluntarily for the sake of settlement in life.' Such
was the quality of the female emigration to Canada. The
girls were drawn from reputable institutions, or from
good peasant families, under the auspices of the cures.
During their journey to Canada they were under the care
and direction of persons highly respected for their
virtues and piety, such as Madame Bourdon, widow of the
late attorney-general of New France, or Mademoiselle
Etienne, who was appointed governess of the girls leaving
for Canada by the directors of the general hospital of
Paris. When young women arrived in Canada, they were
either immediately married or placed for a time in good

The paternal policy of the minister and the intendant
was favoured by the disbanding of the Carignan companies.
In 1668 the regiment was recalled to France; four companies
only were left in Canada to garrison the forts. The
officers and soldiers of the companies withdrawn were
entreated to remain as settlers, and about four hundred
decided to make their home in Canada. They were generously
subsidized. Each soldier electing to settle in the colony
received one hundred livres, or fifty livres with provisions
for one year, at his choice. Each sergeant received one
hundred and fifty livres, or one hundred livres with one
year's provisions. The officers also were given liberal
endowments. Among them were: Captains de Contrecoeur, de
Saint-Ours, de Sorel, Dugue de Boisbriant, Lieutenants
Gaultier de Varennes and Margane de la Valtrie; Ensigns
Paul Dupuis, Becard de Grandville, Pierre Monet de Moras,
Francois Jarret de Vercheres.

The strenuous efforts of Colbert and Talon could not but
give a great impulse to population. The increase was
noticeable. In November 1671 Talon wrote:

   His Majesty will see by the extracts of the registers
   of baptisms that the number of children this year is
   six or seven hundred; and in the coming years we may
   hope for a substantial increase. There is some reason
   to believe that, without any further female immigration,
   the country will see more than one hundred marriages
   next year. I consider it unnecessary to send girls
   next year; the better to give the habitants a chance
   to marry their own girls to soldiers desirous of
   settling. Neither will it be necessary to send young
   ladies, as we received last year fifteen, instead of
   the four who were needed for wives of officers and

In a former chapter the population of Canada in 1665 was
given as 3215 souls, and the number of families 533. In
1668 the number of families was 1139 and the population
6282. In three years the population had nearly doubled
and the number of families had more than doubled.

Other statistics may fittingly be given here. During the
period under consideration, the West India Company sent
to Canada for the king's account many horses and sheep.
These were badly needed in the colony. Since its first
settlement there had been seen in New France only a single
horse, one which had been presented by the Company of
One Hundred Associates to M. de Montmagny, the governor
who succeeded Champlain. But from 1665 to 1668 forty-one
mares and stallions and eighty sheep were brought from
France. Domestic animals continued to be introduced until
1672. Fourteen horses and fifty sheep were sent in 1669,
thirteen horses in 1670, the same number of horses and
a few asses in 1671. So that during these seven years
Canada received from France about eighty horses. Twenty
years afterwards, in 1692, there were four hundred horses
in the colony. In 1698 there were six hundred and
eighty-four; and in 1709 the number had so increased that
the intendant Raudot issued an ordinance to restrain the
multiplication of these animals.

From what has been said it will be seen that this period
of Canadian history was one of great progress. What
Colbert was to France Talon was to New France. While the
great minister, in the full light of European publicity,
was gaining fame as a financial reformer and the reviver
of trade and industry, the sagacious and painstaking
intendant in his remote corner of the globe was laying
the foundations of an economic and political system, and
opening to the young country the road of commercial,
industrial, and maritime progress. Talon was a colonial
Colbert. What the latter did in a wide sphere and with
ample means, the former was trying to do on a small scale
and with limited resources. Both have deserved a place
of honour in Canadian annals.



In the preceding chapter a sketch has been given of
Talon's endeavours to promote colonization, agriculture,
shipbuilding, and commerce, to increase the population,
and to foster generally the prosperity of New France.
Let us now see how he provided for the good administration
and internal order of the colony.

In 1666 he had prepared and submitted to Tracy and
Courcelle a series of rules and enactments relating to
various important matters, one of which was the
administration of justice. Talon wished to simplify the
procedure; to make justice speedy, accessible to all,
and inexpensive. In each parish he proposed to establish
judges having the power to hear and decide in the first
instance all civil cases involving not more than ten
livres. In addition, there would be four judges at Quebec,
and appeals might be taken before three of them from all
decisions given by the local judges--'unless,' Talon
added, 'it be thought more advisable to maintain the
Sieur Chartier in his charge of lieutenant-general, to
which he has been appointed by the West India Company.'
It was decided that M. Chartier (de Lotbiniere) should
be so maintained, and he was duly confirmed as lieutenant
civil et criminel on January 10, 1667. He had jurisdiction
in the first instance over all cases civil and criminal
in the Quebec district and in appeal from the judgments
of the local or seigneurial judges. The Sovereign Council
acted as a court of appeal in the last resort, except in
cases where the parties made a supreme appeal to the
King's Council of State in France. In 1669 Talon wrote
a memorandum in which we find these words: 'Justice is
administered in the first instance by judges in the
seigneuries; then by a lieutenant civil and criminal
appointed by the company in each of the jurisdictions of
Quebec and Three Rivers; and above all by the Sovereign
Council, which in the last instance decides all cases
where an appeal lies.' At Montreal there was a lieutenant
civil and criminal appointed by the Sulpicians, seigneurs
of the island. In 1667 there were seigneurial judges in
the seigneuries of Beaupre, Beauport, Notre-Dame-des-Anges,

It is interesting to find that Talon attempted to establish
a method of settlement out of court, the principle of
which was accepted by the legislature of the province of
Quebec more than two centuries later. What was called
the amiable composition of the French intendant may be
regarded as a first edition of the law passed at Quebec
in 1899, which provides for conciliation or arbitration
proceedings before a lawsuit is begun. [Footnote: 62
Vict. cap. 54, p. 271.] Talon also introduced an equitable
system of land registration.

In the proceedings of the Sovereign Council, of which
Talon at this time was the inspiring mind, we may see
reflected the condition and internal life of the colony.
Decrees for the regulation of trade were frequent.
Commercial freedom was unknown. Under the administration
of the governor Avaugour (1661-63) a tariff of prices
had been published, which the merchants were compelled
to observe. Again, in 1664 the council had decided that
the merchants might charge fifty-five per cent above cost
price on dry goods, one hundred per cent on the more
expensive wines and spirits, and one hundred and twenty
per cent on the cheaper, the cost price in France being
determined by the invoice-bills. In 1666 a new tariff
was enacted by the council, in which the price of one
hogshead of Bordeaux wine was fixed at eighty livres,
and that of Brazil tobacco at forty sous a pound. In 1667
again changes took place: on dry goods the merchants were
allowed seventy per cent above cost; on spirits and wines,
one hundred or one hundred and twenty per cent as in
1664. The merchants did not accept these rulings without
protest. In 1664 the most important Quebec trader, Charles
Aubert de la Chesnaye, was prosecuted for contravention,
and made this bold declaration in favour of commercial
freedom: 'I have always deemed that I had a right to the
free disposal of my own, especially when I consider that
I spend in the colony what I earn therein.' Prosecutions
for violating the law were frequent. During the month of
June 1667, at a sitting of the Sovereign Council, Tracy,
Courcelle, Talon, and Laval being present, the attorney-
general Bourdon made out a case against Jacques de la
Mothe, a merchant, for having sold wines and tobacco at
higher prices than those of the tariff. The defendant
acknowledged that he had sold his wine at one hundred
livres and his tobacco at sixty sous, but alleged that
his wine was the best Bordeaux, that his hogsheads had
a capacity of fully one hundred and twenty pots, that
care, risk, and leakage should be taken into consideration,
that two hogsheads had been spoiled, and that the price
of those remaining should be higher to compensate him
for their loss. As to the tobacco, it was of the Maragnan
quality, and he had always deemed it impossible to sell
it for less than sixty sous. After hearing the case, the
council decided that two of its members, Messieurs Damours
and de la Tesserie, should make an inspection at La
Mothe's store, in order to taste his wine and tobacco
and gauge his hogsheads. Away they went; and afterwards
they made their report. Finally La Mothe was condemned
to a fine of twenty-two livres, payable to the Hotel-Dieu.
It may be remarked here that very often the fines had a
similar destination; in that way justice helped charity.

The magistrates were vigilant, but the merchants were
cunning and often succeeded in evading the tariff. In
July 1667, the habitants' syndic appeared before the
council to complain of the various devices resorted to
by merchants to extort higher prices from the settlers
than were allowed by law. So the council made a ruling
that all merchandise should be stamped, in the presence
of the syndic, according to the prices of each kind and
quality, and ordered samples duly stamped in this way to
be delivered to commissioners specially appointed for
the purpose. It will be seen that these regulations were
minute and severe. Trade was thus submitted to stern
restrictions which would seem strange and unbearable in
these days of freedom. What an outcry there would be if
parliament should attempt now to dictate to our merchants
the selling price of their merchandise! But in the
seventeenth century such a thing was common enough. It
was a time of extreme official interference in private
affairs and transactions.

We have mentioned the syndic of the inhabitants--syndic
des habitants. A word about this officer will be in place
here. He was the spokesman of the community when complaints
had to be made or petitions presented to the governor or
the Sovereign Council. At that time in Canada there was
no municipal government. True, an unlucky experiment had
been made in 1663, under the governor Mezy, when a mayor
and two aldermen were elected at Quebec. But their
enjoyment of office was of brief duration; in a few weeks
the election was declared void, It was then determined
to nominate a syndic to represent the inhabitants, and
on August 3 Claude Charron, a merchant, was elected to
the office; but, as the habitants often had difficulties
to settle with members of the commercial class, objection
was taken to him on the ground that he was a tradesman,
and he retired. On September 17 a new election took place,
and Jean Le Mire, a carpenter, was elected. Later on,
during the troubles of the Mezy regime, the office seems
to have been practically abolished; but when the government
was reorganized, it was thought advisable to revive it.
The council decreed another election, and on March 20,
1667, Jean Le Mire was again chosen as syndic. Le Mire
continued to hold the office for many years.

To the colony of that day the Sovereign Council was,
broadly speaking, what the legislatures, the executives,
the courts of justice, and the various commissions--all
combined--are to modern Canada. But, as we have seen, it
had arbitrary powers that these modern bodies are not
permitted to exercise. Its long arm reached into every
concern of the inhabitants. In 1667, for example, the
habitants asked for a regulation to fix the millers'
fee--the amount of the toll to which they would be entitled
for grinding the grain. The owners of the flour-mills
represented that the construction, repair, and maintenance
of their mills were two or three times more costly in
Canada than in France, and that they should have a
proportionate fee; still, they would be willing to accept
the bare remuneration usually allowed in the kingdom.
The toll was fixed at one-fourteenth of the grain. Highways
were also under the care of the council. When the residents
of a locality presented a petition for opening a road,
the council named two of its members to make an inspection
and report. On receipt of the report, an order would be
issued for opening a road along certain lines and of a
specified width (it was often eighteen feet), and for
pulling stumps and filling up hollows. There was an
official called the grand-voyer, or general overseer of
roads. The office had been established in 1657, when Rene
Robineau de Becancourt was appointed grand-voyer by the
Company of One Hundred Associates. But in the wretched
state of the colony at that time M. de Becancourt had
not much work to do. In later years, however, the usefulness
of a grand-voyer had become more apparent, and Becancourt
asked for a confirmation of his appointment. On the
suggestion of Talon, the council reinstated him and
ordered that his commission be registered. During the
whole French regime there were but five general overseers
of roads or grands-voyers: Rene Robineau de Becancourt
(1657-99); Pierre Robineau de Becancourt (1699-1729); E.
Lanoullier de Boisclerc (1731-51); M. de la Gorgendiere
(1751-59); M. de Lino (1759-60).

Guardianship of public morality and the maintenance of
public order were the chief cares of the council. It was
ever intent on the suppression of vice. On August 20,
1667, in the presence of Tracy, Courcelle, Talon, and
Laval, the attorney-general submitted information of
scandalous conduct on the part of some women and girls,
and represented that a severe punishment would be a
wholesome warning to all evil-doers; he also suggested
that the wife of Sebastien Langelier, being one of the
most disorderly, should be singled out for an exemplary
penalty. A councillor was immediately appointed to
investigate the case. What was done in this particular
instance is not recorded, but there is evidence to show
that licentious conduct was often severely dealt with.
Crimes and misdemeanours were ruthlessly pursued. For a
theft committed at night in the Hotel-Dieu garden, the
intendant condemned a man to be marked with the
fleur-de-lis, to be exposed for four hours in the pillory,
and to serve three years in the galleys. Another culprit
convicted of larceny was sentenced to be publicly whipped
and to serve three years in the galleys. Both these
prisoners escaped and returned to their former practices.
They were recaptured and sentenced, the first to be
hanged, the second to be whipped, marked with the
fleur-de-lis, and kept in irons until further order. Rape
in the colony was unhappily frequent. A man convicted of
this crime was condemned to death and executed two days
later. Another was whipped till the blood flowed and
condemned to serve nine years in the galleys.

Let us now turn to activities of another order. One of
the most important ordinances enacted by the Sovereign
Council under Talon's direction was that which concerned
the importation of spirits and the establishment in the
colony of the brewing industry. It was stated in this
decree that the great quantity of brandies and wines
imported from France was a cause of debauchery. Many were
diverted from productive work, their health was ruined,
they were induced to squander their money, and prevented
from buying necessaries and supplies useful for the
development of the colony. Talon, as we have read in
another chapter, thought that one of the best means of
combating the immoderate use of spirits was the setting
up of breweries; at the same time he intended that this
industry should help agriculture. The Sovereign Council
entered into these views and enacted that as soon as
breweries should be in operation in Canada all importation
of wines and spirits should be prohibited, except by
special permission and subject to a tax of five hundred
livres, payable one-third to the seigneurs of the country,
one-third to the Hotel-Dieu, and one-third to the person
who had set up the first brewery after the date of the
enactment. Under no circumstances should the yearly
importation exceed eight hundred hogsheads of wine and
four hundred of brandy. When this amount had been reached,
no further licences to import would be issued. The council
begged Talon to take the necessary steps for the
construction and equipment of one or more breweries. The
owners of these were to have, during ten years, the
exclusive privilege of brewing for trading purposes. The
price of beer was fixed beforehand at twenty livres per
hogshead and six sous per pot so long as barley was priced
at three livres per bushel or less; if the price of barley
went higher, the price of beer should be raised

In 1667 the Sovereign Council--inspired by Talon--had to
discuss a very important question. This was the formation
of a company of Canadians to secure the exclusive privilege
of trading. By its charter, the West India Company had
been granted the commercial monopoly. Under pressure from
Talon it had somewhat abated its pretensions and had
allowed freedom of trade for a time. But again it was
urging its rights. The council asked the intendant to
support with his influence at court the plan for a Canadian
company, which he did. Colbert did not say no; neither
did he seem in a hurry to grant the request. In 1668 the
council sent the minister a letter praying for freedom
of trade. This year the company had enforced its monopoly
and the people had suffered from the lack of necessaries,
which could not be found in the company's stores; moreover,
prices were exceedingly high. Such a state of things was
detrimental to the colony. The council begged that, if
Colbert were not disposed to grant freedom of trade, he
would favourably consider the scheme for a trading company
composed of Canadians, which had been submitted to him
the year before. We shall see, later on, what came of
this agitation against the West India Company.

The good understanding between the intendant and the
Sovereign Council was absolute. The council had shown
unequivocal confidence in Talon's ability and respect
for his person and authority. A few days before the
Marquis de Tracy had left the colony the council had
ordered that all petitions to enter lawsuits should be
presented to the intendant, who should assign them to
the council or to the lieutenant civil and criminal, or
try them himself, at his discretion. This was treating
Talon as the supreme magistrate and acknowledging him as
the dispenser of justice. M. de Courcelle, who was
beginning to feel some uneasiness at Talon's great
authority and prestige, refused to sign the proceedings
of that day, inscribing these lines in the council's
register: 'This decree being against the governor's
authority and the public good, I did not wish to sign
it.' At the beginning of the following year Talon, whose
attention perhaps had not been called to Courcelle's
written protest, requested the adoption of a similar
decree; and the council did not hesitate to confirm its
previous decision, notwithstanding the governor's former
opposition, which he reiterated in the same terms.
Courcelle was certainly mistaken in supposing that the
council's decision was an encroachment on his authority.
The superior jurisdiction in judicial matters belonged
to the intendant. Under his commission he had the right
to 'judge alone and with full jurisdiction in civil
matters,' to 'hear all cases of crimes and misdemeanours,
abuse and malversation, by whomsoever committed,' to
'proceed against all persons guilty of any crime, whatever
might be their quality or condition, to pursue the
proceedings until final completion, judgment and execution
thereof.' Nevertheless, in practice and with due regard
to the good administration of justice, the council's
decree went perhaps too far. The question remained in
abeyance and was not settled until four years afterwards,
at the end of Talon's second term in Canada. He had
written to Colbert on the subject stating that he would
be glad to be discharged of the judicial responsibility,
and to see the question of initiating lawsuits referred
to the Sovereign Council.

   As a matter of fact [he said], receiving the petitions
   for entering lawsuits does not mean retaining them
   before myself. I have not judged twenty cases, civil
   or criminal, since I came here, having always tried
   as much as I could to conciliate the opposing parties.
   The reason why I speak now of this matter is that very
   often, for twenty or thirty livres of principal, a
   plaintiff goes before the judge of first instance--which
   diverts the parties from the proper cultivation of
   their farms--and later on, by way of an appeal, before
   the Sovereign Council which likes to hear and judge

Colbert did not deem the decision of the council advisable.

   It is contrary [he wrote] to the order of justice, in
   virtue of which, leaving in their own sphere the
   superior judges, the judges of first instance are
   empowered to hear all cases within their jurisdiction,
   and their judgments can be appealed from to the
   Sovereign Council. Moreover it would be a burden for
   the king's subjects living far from Quebec to go there
   unnecessarily in order to ascertain before what tribunal
   they should be heard.

We must now speak of a most important matter--the brandy
traffic. The sale of intoxicating liquor to the Indians
had always been prohibited in the colony. In 1657 a decree
of the King's State Council had ratified and renewed this
prohibition under pain of corporal punishment. Yet,
notwithstanding the decree, greedy traders broke the law
and, for the purpose of getting furs at a low price,
supplied the Indians with eau-de-feu, or firewater, which
made them like wild beasts. The most frightful disorders
were prevalent, the most heinous crimes committed, and
scandalous demoralization followed. In 1660 the evil was
so great that Mgr de Laval, exercising his pastoral
functions, decreed excommunication against all those
pursuing the brandy traffic in defiance of ordinances.
This might have stopped the progress of the evil had not
the governor Avaugour opened the door to renewed disorder
two years later by a most unfortunate policy. Thereupon
Laval crossed the ocean to France, obtained the governor's
recall, and succeeded, though with some difficulty, in
maintaining the former prohibition. In 1663 the Sovereign
Council enacted an ordinance strictly forbidding the
selling or giving of brandy to Indians directly or
indirectly, for any reason or pretence whatsoever. The
penalty for the offence was a fine of three hundred
livres, payable one-third to the informers, one-third to
the Hotel-Dieu, and one-third to the public treasury.
And for a second offence the punishment was whipping or
banishment. In 1667, after the Sovereign Council had been
finally reorganized, the prohibition was renewed, on a
motion of attorney-general Bourdon, under the same
penalties as before, and it devolved many times upon the
council to condemn transgressors of this ordinance to
fines, imprisonment, or corporal punishment. Talon was
present and concurred in these condemnations. But gradually
his mind changed. He was becoming daily more impressed
with the material benefits of the brandy traffic and less
convinced of its moral danger. He was besides displeased
with the bishop's excommunication. In his view it was an
encroachment of the spiritual upon the civil power. Under
the influence of these feelings he came to consider
prohibition of the liquor traffic as a mistake, damaging
to the trade and progress of the colony and to French
influence over the Indian tribes. These were the arguments
put forward by the supporters of the traffic. According
to them, to refuse brandy to the Indians was to let the
English monopolize the profitable fur trade, and therefore
to check the development of New France. The fur trade
provided an abundance of beaver skins, which formed a
most convenient medium of exchange. The possession of
these gave an impetus to trade, and brought to Canada a
number of merchants and others who were consumers of
natural products and money spenders. Moreover, in Canada
furs were the main article of exportation. Their abundance
swelled the public revenue and increased the number of
ships employed in the Canadian trade. And last, to use
an argument of a higher order, the brandy traffic, in
fostering trade with the Indian tribes, kept them in the
bonds of an alliance and strengthened the political
situation of France in North America.

The above fairly, we think, represents the substance of
the plea made by the supporters of the liquor traffic.
Such indeed were the arguments used by the traders,
finally accepted by Talon, developed in after years by
Frontenac, approved by Colbert on many occasions; such
was the political and commercial wisdom of those who
thought mainly of the material progress of New France.
To those arguments Laval, the clergy, and many enlightened
persons interested in the public welfare had a double
answer. First, there was at stake a question of principle
important enough to be the sole ground of a decision.
Was it right, for the sake of a material benefit, to
outrage natural and Christian morality? Was it morally
lawful, for the purpose of loading with furs the Quebec
stores and the Rochelle ships, to instil into the Indian
veins the accursed poison which inflamed them to theft,
rape, incest, murder, suicide--all the frightful frenzy
of bestial passion. As it was practised, the liquor
traffic could have no other result. A powerful consensus
of evidence established this truth above all discussion.
For the Indians brandy was then, as it is now, a murderous
poison. It is for this reason that at the present day
the government of Canada prohibits absolutely the sale
of intoxicating liquor in the territories where the
wretched remnants of the aborigines are gathered. The
strictness of the modern laws is a striking vindication
of Laval and those who stood by him.

Moreover the prohibition of the brandy traffic was not
as detrimental to the material development of the colony
as was contended. It was possible to trade with the
Outaouais, the Algonquins, the Iroquois, without the
allurement of brandy. The Indians themselves acknowledged
that strong liquor ruined them. The Abbe Dollier de
Casson, superior of the Montreal Sulpicians, was perfectly
right when he made the following statement:

   We should have had all the Iroquois, if they had not
   seen that there is as much disorder here as in their
   country, and that we are even worse than the heretics.
   The Indian drunkard does not resist the drinking craze
   when brandy is at hand. But afterwards, when he sees
   himself naked and disarmed, his nose gnawed, his body
   maimed and bruised, he becomes mad with rage against
   those who caused him to fall into such a state.

Some years later the governor Denonville answered those
who enlarged on the danger of throwing the Indians on
the friendship of the Dutch and English if they were
refused brandy. 'Those who maintain,' he said, 'that if
we refuse liquor to the Indians they will go to the
English, are not trustworthy, for the Indians are not
anxious to drink when they do not see the liquor; and
the most sensible of them wish that brandy had never
existed, because they ruin themselves in giving away
their furs and even their clothes for drink: Denonville's
opinion was the more justified in that at one time the
New England authorities proposed to the French a joint
prohibition of the sale of brandy to Indians, and actually
passed an ordinance to that effect.

There were many other articles besides brandy that were
needed by the Indians, and for which they were obliged
to exchange their furs. But even had the prohibition
caused a decrease in the fur trade, would the evil have
been so great? Fewer colonists would have been diverted
from agriculture. As it was, the exodus from the settlements
of bushrangers in search of furs was a source of weakness,
and the flower of Canadian youth disappeared every year
in the wilderness. Had this drain of national vitality
been avoided, the settlement of Canada would have been
more rapid. Even from the material point of view it can
be maintained that the opponents of the brandy traffic
understood better than its supporters the true interests
of New France.

For a long while this important question divided and
agitated the Canadian people. The religious authorities,
knowing the evil and crimes that resulted from the sale
of intoxicating liquor to the Indians, made strenuous
efforts to secure the most severe restriction if not the
prohibition of the deadly traffic. They spoke in the name
of public morality and national honour, of humanity and
divine love. The civil authorities, more interested in
the financial and political advantages than in the question
of principle, favoured toleration and even authorization
of the trade. Hence the conflicts and misunderstandings
which have enlivened, or rather saddened, the pages of
Canadian history.

It is to be regretted that the intendant Talon sided with
the supporters of free traffic in brandy. We have said
that at first he wavered. The rulings of the Sovereign
Council in 1667 seem to show it. But his earnest desire
for the prosperity of the colony--the development of her
trade, the increase of her population, the improvement
of her finances--his ambition for the economic progress
of New France, misled him and perverted his judgment.
This is the only excuse that can be offered for the
greatest error of his life. For he must be held responsible
for the ordinance passed by the Sovereign Council on
November 10, 1668. This ordinance, after setting forth
that in order to protect the Indians against the curse
of drunkenness it was better to have recourse to freedom
than to leave them a prey to the wily devices of
unscrupulous men, enacted that thereafter, with the king's
permission, all the residents of New France might sell
and deliver intoxicating liquor to the Indians willing
to trade with them. The gate was opened. It was in vain
that the ordinance went on to forbid the Indians to get
drunk under a penalty of two beavers and exposure in the
pillory. A fearful punishment indeed!

Talon's good faith was undeniable. On this occasion he
doubtless thought that he was still serving the cause of
public welfare. But, without questioning his intentions,
we cannot but admit that his life's record contains pages
more admirable than this one.



In the instructions which Talon had received from Louis
XIV on his departure from France in 1665 it was stated
that Mgr de Laval and the Jesuits exercised too strong
an authority and that the superiority of the civil power
should be cautiously asserted. The intendant was quite
ready to follow these directions. He had been reared in
the principles of the old parliamentarian school and was
thoroughly imbued with Gallican ideas. But at the same
time he was a sincere believer and faithful in the
performance of his religious duties. It is not surprising,
therefore, that he should be found ever earnest in his
endeavours to promote the extension of Christianity and
ready to protect the missionaries, as well as the charitable
and educational institutions, in their work. Neither is
it surprising that he should sometimes seem jealous of
ecclesiastical influence in matters where Church and
State were both concerned.

The following incident will show to what lengths he was
prepared to go when he thought that there was an
encroachment of the spiritual on the civil power. The
winter of 1667 was very gay at Quebec. Peace had been
secured, confidence in the future of the colony was
restored, and there manifested itself a general disposition
to indulge in social festivities. Indeed the first ball
ever given in Canada took place in February of this year
at M. Chartier de Lotbiniere's house, as is recorded in
the Journal des Jesuites. Now there was at this time in
Quebec a religious association for women called the
Association of the Holy Family. Laval himself had framed
their rules, one of which directed the members to abstain
from frivolous entertainments and to lead a pious and
edifying life amidst the distractions and dissipations
of the world. Seeing that many members of the association
had departed from the rules by taking part in these
pleasures, Laval threatened to suspend their meetings.
Naturally a strong impression was made on the public
mind. Talon resented what he deemed an undue interference.
He laid a complaint against the bishop's action before
the Sovereign Council and asked that two of their number
be directed to report on the social entertainments held
during the last carnival, in order to show that nothing
improper had taken place. When the report was made, it
declared that nothing deserving of condemnation had
occurred in these festivities, and that there was no
occasion to censure them. Evidently, if there was
encroachment upon this occasion, it was encroachment of
the civil on the spiritual power. The special rules of
a pious association in no way affected the safety of the
state or public order. If a number of ladies wished to
join its ranks and accept its discipline in order to
follow the path of Christian perfection and lead a more
exemplary life in the world, they should be free to do
so, and their directors should be free to remonstrate
with them if they were not faithful to their pledge. In
this incident the intendant was not at his best. He seems
to have sought an occasion of checking the bishop's
authority, and the occasion was not well chosen. It is
likely that M. de Tracy, still in the colony at the time,
intervened in the interests of peace, for the entry in
regard to Talon's complaint was erased from the register
of the Sovereign Council.

In a state paper by Talon for Colbert's information, in
1669, the intendant's Gallican views reveal themselves
fully. He complains of the excessive zeal of the bishop
and clergy which led them to interfere in matters of
police, thus trespassing upon the province of the civil
magistrate. He went on to say that too strict a moral
discipline of confessors and spiritual directors put a
constraint on consciences, and that, in order to
counterbalance the excessive claims to obedience of the
clergy then in charge, other priests should be sent to
Canada with full powers for administration of the
sacraments. It is more than probable that in writing
these lines Talon was thinking of the vexed question of
the liquor traffic, always a source of strife between
the civil and the spiritual authorities.

Talon and his colleagues, Tracy and Courcelle, had to
deal with the question of tithes. In 1663 tithes had been
fixed by royal edict at one-thirteenth of all that is
produced from the soil either naturally or by man's
labour. This edict was prompted by the erection of the
Quebec Seminary by Laval, and established in Canada the
tithes system for the benefit of the new clerical
institution, to which was entrusted the spiritual care
of the colonists. The latter, who previously had paid
nothing for the maintenance of the clergy, protested
against the charge, notwithstanding that it was in
conformity with the common practice of Christian nations.
Laval, taking into consideration the poverty of the colony
at the time, freely granted delays and exemptions, so
that in 1667 the question was still practically in
abeyance. In that year the bishop presented to Tracy a
petition for the publication of a decree in respect to
the tithes. The lieutenant-general, the governor, and
the intendant gave the matter their attention, and after
discussion an ordinance was passed for payment of tithes,
consisting of the twenty-sixth part of all that the soil
grows, naturally or by man's labour, for the benefit of
the priests who ministered to the spiritual wants of the
people. There was a proviso stating that the words 'by
man's labour' did not include manufactures or fisheries,
but only the products of the soil when cultivated and
fertilized by human industry. The assessment of
one-twenty-sixth was to be levied for a term of twenty
years only, after which the tithes were to be fixed
according to the needs of the time and the state of the
country. Later on, in 1679, a royal edict made perpetual
the rate of one-twenty-sixth. For years the practice
prevailed of levying tithes only on grain. But in 1705
two parish priests maintained that they should be levied
also on hemp, flax, tobacco, pumpkins, hay--on all that
is grown on cultivated land. A heated discussion in the
Sovereign Council took place, led by the attorney-general
Auteuil. The two priests contended that the ordinance of
Tracy, Courcelle, and Talon did not limit the tithes to
grain; it stated that they should be levied on all that
the soil grows naturally or by man's labour. Unfortunately
they had only a copy of the ordinance of 1667 to file in
support of their contention. The attorney-general maintained
that the original ordinance of 1663 limited the tithes
to grain, and that the constant practice was a confirmation
and an evidence of the rule. But, strange to say, he
could not put the original ordinance on record. It had
been lost. However, the practice was held to decide the
case, and the priests' contention was not sustained. From
that time the question was settled, definitely and for
ever; the tithes were levied only on grain, as they are
still levied in the province of Quebec, on all lands
owned by Catholics. But it is interesting to know as a
matter of history that the two litigant priests were
right. Had the original ordinance been before the council,
it would have been found to enact the levying of tithes
not on grain alone but on 'all that the soil grows
naturally or by man's labour.' An authentic copy of this
ordinance was discovered in our day, nearly two centuries
after the lawsuit of 1705, and it bears out the plea of
the two priests.

Another feature of Talon's relations with the clergy and
religious communities--and a pleasant one this time--was
his strong interest in the francisation (Frenchification)
of the Indians. It was Colbert's wish that efforts be
made to bring the Algonquins, Hurons, and other Indians
more closely within the fold of European civilization--to
make them alter their manners, learn the French tongue,
and become less Indian and more European in their way of
life. Talon was of the same mind and lost no opportunity
of impressing the idea on those who could best do the
work. Laval had already been active in the same direction,
and had founded the Quebec Seminary partly with this end
in view. The great bishop thought that one of the best
means of civilizing the Indians would be to bring up
Indian and French children together. So he withdrew from
the Jesuits' College a number of pupils whom he had
previously placed there and established them, with a few
young Indians, in a house bought for the purpose. Such
were the beginnings of the Quebec Seminary, opened on
October 9, 1663. The first class consisted of eight French
and six Indian children. The seminary trained them in
the practice of piety and morality. For ordinary instruction
they went to the Jesuits. The Jesuits' College had been
founded in 1635 and was of great service to the colony.
It was pronounced by Laval in 1661 almost equal in
educational advantages and standing to the Jesuits'
establishments in France; and according to a trustworthy
author it 'was a reproduction on a small scale of the
French colleges: classes in letters and arts, literary
and theatrical entertainments, were found there.' Some
of the public performances given at the Jesuits' College
were memorable, such as the reception to the Vicomte
d'Argenson when he entered upon the government of New
France, and the philosophical debate of July 2, 1666,
which was graced with the presence of Tracy, Courcelle,
and Talon. Two promising youths, Louis Jolliet and Pierre
de Francheville, won universal praise on that occasion;
and Talon himself, who had been accustomed in France to
such scholastic exercises, took part in it very pertinently,
to the great delight of all present.

To return to the francisation of Indians: the Ursulines
were also enlisted in the cause. Since their arrival in
Canada in 1639 it had been for them a labour of love. In
the convent and school founded by Mother Marie de
l'Incarnation and Madame de la Peltrie, both French and
Indian girls received instruction in various subjects.
Seven nuns attended daily to the classes. The Indian
girls had special classes and teachers, but they were
lodged and boarded along with the French children. Some
of these Indian pupils of the Ursulines afterwards married
Frenchmen and became excellent wives and mothers. Special
mention. is made of one of the girls as being able to
read and write both French and Huron remarkably well.
From her speech it was hard to believe that she was born
an Indian. Talon was so delighted with this instance of
successful francisation that he asked her to write
something in Huron and French that he might send it to
France. This, however, was but an exceptional case. Mother
Mary declared in one of her letters that it was very
difficult, if not impossible, to civilize the Indian

During this period the Ursulines had on an average from
twenty to thirty resident pupils. The French girls were
supposed to pay one hundred and twenty livres. Indian
girls paid nothing. The Ursuline sisters and Mother Mary,
their head, did a noble work for Canada; the same must
be said of the venerable Mother Marguerite Bourgeoys and
the ladies of the Congregation of Notre-Dame founded in
1659 at Montreal. At first this school was open to both
boys and girls. But in 1668 M. Souart, a Sulpician, took
the boys under his care, and thenceforth the education
of the male portion of the youth of Ville-Marie was in
the hands of the priests of Saint-Sulpice. At this time
the Sulpicians of Montreal were receiving welcome accessions
to their number; the Abbes Trouve and de Fenelon arrived
in 1667, and the Abbes Queylus, d'Allet, de Galinee, and
d'Urfe in 1668. In the latter year Fenelon and Trouve
were authorized by Laval to establish a new missionary
station. for a tribe of Cayugas as far west as the bay
of Quinte on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The progress
of mission work was now most encouraging. Peace prevailed
and the Iroquois country was open to the heralds of the
Gospel. Fathers Fremin and Pierron were living among the
Mohawks; Father Bruyas with the Oneidas. In 1668 Father
Fremin was sent to the Senecas, Father Milet to the
Onondagas, and Father de Carheil to the Cayugas. The
bloody Iroquois, who had tortured and slain so many
missionaries, were now asking for preachers of the
Christian faith, and receiving them with due honour. It
is true that the hard task of conversion remained, and
that Indian vices and superstitions were not easily
overcome. But at least the savages were ready to listen
to Christian teaching. Some of them had courage enough
to reform their lives. Children and women were baptized.
Many received when dying the sacraments of the Church.
Moreover, the sublime courage and self-devotion of the
missionaries inspired the Indian mind with a profound
respect for Christianity and added very greatly to the
influence and prestige of the French name among the

On the whole the situation in Canada at the end of 1668,
three years after Talon's arrival, was most satisfactory.
Peace and security were restored; hope had replaced
despondency; colonization, agriculture, and trade were
making progress; population was increasing yearly. In
this short space of time New France had been saved from
destruction and was now full of new vigour. Every one in
the colony knew that the great intendant had been the
soul of the revival, the leader in all this progress. It
may therefore be easily imagined what was the state of
popular feeling when the news came that Talon was to
leave Canada. He had twice asked for his recall. The
climate was severe, his health was not good, and family
matters called for his presence in France; moreover, he
was worried by his difficulties with the governor and
the spiritual authorities. Louis XIV gave him leave to
return to France and appointed Claude de Bouteroue in
his stead.

Talon left Quebec in November 1668. Expressions of deep
regret were heard on all sides. Mother Marie de
l'Incarnation wrote: 'M. Talon is leaving us and goes
back to France. It is a great loss to Canada and a great
sorrow for all. For, during his term here as intendant,
this country has developed more and progressed more than
it had done before from the time of the first settlement
by the French.' The annalist of the Hotel-Dieu was not
less sympathetic, but there was hope in her utterance:
'M. Talon,' she said, 'left for France this year. He
comforted us in our grief by leading us to expect his
return.' Perhaps these last words show that Talon even
then intended to come back to Canada if such should be
the wish of the king and his minister.



Talon returned to France in an auspicious hour. It was
perhaps the happiest and brightest period of the reign
of Louis XIV. France had emerged victorious from two
campaigns, and the king had just signed a treaty which
added to his realm a part of the province of Flanders.
The kingdom enjoyed peace, and its prosperity had never
been so great. Thanks to Colbert, the exchequer was full.
In all departments the French government was displaying
intelligent activity. Trade and commerce, agriculture
and manufacture, were encouraged and protected. With
ample means at their disposal and perfect freedom of
action, Louis XIV and Colbert could not but be in a
favourable mood to receive Talon's reports and proposals.
Talon acted as if he were still the intendant of New
France; and though for the time being he was not, he was
surely the most powerful agent or advocate that the colony
could have. The king and his minister readily acquiesced
in his schemes for strengthening the Canadian colony. It
was decided to dispatch six companies of soldiers to
reinforce the four already there, and ultimately, upon
being disbanded, to aid in settling the country. Many
hundred labourers and unmarried women and a new stock of
domestic animals were also to be sent. Colbert had never
been so much in earnest concerning New France. He attended
personally to details, gave orders for the levy of troops
and for the shipping of the men and supplies, and urged
on the officials in charge so that everything should be
ready early in the spring. To M. de Courcelle he wrote
these welcome tidings:

   His Majesty has appropriated over 200,000 livres to
   do what he deems necessary for the colony. One hundred
   and fifty girls are going thither to be married; six
   companies complete with fifty good men in each and
   thirty officers or noblemen, who wish to settle there,
   and more than two hundred other persons are also going.
   Such an effort shows how greatly interested in Canada
   His Majesty feels, and to what extent he will appreciate
   all that may be done to help its progress.

That the minister was not actuated merely by a passing
mood, but by a set purpose, may be seen from a passage
of a letter to Terron, the intendant at Rochefort: 'I am
very glad,' Colbert wrote, 'that you have not gone beyond
the funds appropriated for the passage of the men and
girls to Canada. You know how important it is to keep
within the limits, especially in an outlay which will
have to be repeated every year.'

In the meantime Talon was pleading the cause of Canada
in another direction. Always intent on freeing New France
from the commercial monopoly of the West India Company,
he renewed his assault against that corporation, and at
last he was successful. This signal victory showed plainly
his great influence with the minister. Colbert conveyed
the gratifying information to Courcelle:

   His Majesty has granted freedom of trade to Canada,
   so that the colony may hereafter receive more easily
   the provisions and supplies needed. It will now be
   necessary to inform the colonists that they must
   provide cargoes agreeable to the French, who will
   supply them with necessities, and so make a profitable
   exchange of goods. For there is now a great supply
   of furs in this kingdom, and if there were no other
   goods available as a return cargo perhaps the French
   ships would not go there.

The spring of 1669 was memorable for Canada. Nearly all
that Talon asked for New France was granted. But one
thing which he did not ask was desired by Louis and
Colbert. It is probable that Talon intended to go back
to Canada, but he did not expect or wish to return
immediately. Yet this was what the king and the minister
deemed advisable and even essential. It was very well to
send troops, labourers, women, settlers, and supplies;
but, in order that all should yield their maximum of
efficiency, it was necessary that the business affairs
of the colony should again be placed in the hands of the
intendant, who had already worked wonders by his sagacity
and skilful management. There was no man who knew so well
the weak and strong points, the requirements and
possibilities of Canada. True, only a few months had
elapsed since the king had given him permission to leave
Canada, and had appointed in his stead another intendant
who, naturally enough, would expect to be in charge for
at least two years. But, on the other hand, the king's
service and the public good demanded his reappointment.
Talon had to acquiesce. He had reached Paris at the end
of December. Three months later he was again intendant
of New France, and on April Louis XIV wrote to the
intendant Bouteroue at Quebec informing him of Talon's
reinstatement. To leave France so soon must have been
for Talon a great sacrifice, but it was a high compliment
that Louis and Colbert were paying to his talents and
administrative abilities. On May 10, 1669, the king signed
his new commission, and on the 17th he received his
instructions, a document much shorter than the one framed
for his direction in 1665. No minute advice was needed
this time, for Talon was himself the best authority on
all matters relating to Canada.

Talon sailed from La Rochelle on July 15. He was accompanied
by Captain Francois Marie Perrot, one of the six commanders
of the companies sent to Canada; by Fathers Romuald
Papillion, Hilarion Guesnin, Cesaire Herveau, and Brother
Cosme Graveran. Perrot was married to the niece of the
intendant. The friars belonged to the Franciscan order
and to the particular branch of it known under the name
of Recollets. It had been thought good to reintroduce
into Canada the religious society whose priests had been
the first to preach the Gospel there. The intendant's
former voyage from France to Canada had lasted one hundred
and seventeen days, so that, allowing for all probable
delays, he might expect to reach Quebec by the end of
October at the latest. But it was decreed that he was
not to see New France this year. His ship was assailed
by a series of storms and hurricanes and driven far from
her right course. After three months of exertion and
suffering the captain was obliged to make for the port
of Lisbon. There the ship was revictualled; but, having
sailed again, she struck upon a rocky shoal at a distance
of three leagues from Lisbon and was totally wrecked.
Talon and his companions were fortunately saved, and
found themselves back in France at the beginning of the
year 1670.

In the meantime what was going on in Canada? Talon's
successor, M. de Bouteroue, was upright and intelligent,
but without Talon's masterly gifts and activity. He
attended principally to the administration of justice.
At the judicial sittings of the Sovereign Council he was
almost always present; he himself heard many cases, and
often acted as judge-advocate. On his advice the council
gave out an ordinance fixing the price of wheat. There
had been complaints that sometimes creditors refused to
accept wheat in payment, or accepted it only at a price
unreasonably low. So it was enacted that for three months
after the promulgation of the decree debtors should be
at liberty to pay their creditors in wheat of good quality
at the price of four livres per bushel.

The evil consequences of the previous action of the
council in freeing the brandy traffic were already
manifest. The scourge of the coureurs de bois, later to
prove so damaging to the colony, was beginning to be
felt. A new ordinance now prohibited the practice of
going into the woods with liquor to meet the Indians and
trade with them. This ordinance also enjoined sobriety
upon the Indians and held them responsible for the
drunkenness of their squaws, while the French were
forbidden to drink with them. Hunting in the forest was
only allowed by leave of the commandant of the district
or the nearest judge, to whose inspection all luggage
and goods for trade must be submitted. Brandy might be
taken on these expeditions, but no more than one pot per
man for eight days. The penalty for violating any of
these provisions of the law was confiscation, with a fine
of fifty livres for a first offence and corporal punishment
for a second. Thus, but in vain, did the leaders of New
France attempt to stay the progress of Indian debauchery.

During the summer of 1669 a renewal of the war between
the French and the Iroquois was threatened. Three French
soldiers had killed six Oneidas, after making them drunk
for the purpose of stealing their furs; three other
soldiers had treacherously murdered a Seneca chief for
the same purpose. The Outaouais also, who were in alliance
with the French, attacked a party of Iroquois, killing
and capturing many. Incensed at these acts of hostility,
the Iroquois threatened to unbury the tomahawk. Courcelle
at once set himself to the task of averting the danger.
He went to Montreal, where many hundred Indians had
gathered for the annual fair, to which they always came
in great numbers for the purpose of exchanging their furs
for goods. He convened a large meeting and made an address
of great vigour and cleverness, his speech being accompanied
by appropriate gifts. He then proceeded to carry out the
sentence of the law upon the murderers of the Seneca
chief, who were shot on the spot in the presence of the
assembly. The Iroquois were placated; three men killed
for the death of one convinced them that French justice
was neither slow nor faltering. In the meantime the
Outaouais had brought back three of their prisoners and
pledged themselves for the surrender of twelve others.
in this way war was averted and peace maintained.

The first ships coming from France that summer brought
letters from Colbert to Courcelle and Bouteroue intimating
that Talon was returning to resume his charge. Bouteroue
was probably surprised to learn that he was to be superseded
so soon, and the governor may have been disappointed to
hear of the early arrival of a man whose authority and
prestige made him somewhat uneasy. But in the colony the
rejoicing was general. Mother Marie de l'Incarnation
wrote: 'We expect daily M. Talon whom the king sends back
to settle everything according to His Majesty's views.
He brings with him five hundred men. ...If God favours
his journey and brings him happily to port he will find
new means of increasing the country's wealth.' Several
weeks elapsed, and Talon's ship did not appear. Some
anxiety was felt. Mother Marie wrote again: 'M. Talon
has not arrived; in his ship alone there were five hundred
men. We are greatly concerned at the delay. They may have
landed again in France, or have been lost in the storms
which have proved to be so dreadful.' The autumn of 1669
had been a stormy season. Fearful hurricanes swept over
Quebec. The lower town was flooded to an incredible
height, many buildings were destroyed, and the havoc
amounted to 100,000 livres. All this was painfully
disquieting. To quote Mother Marie again: 'If M. Talon
has been wrecked, it will be an irretrievable loss to
the colony, for, the king having given him a free hand,
he could undertake great things without minding the
outlay.' In the meantime M. Patoulet, Talon's secretary,
who had left France on another ship and had reached Quebec
safely, wrote to Colbert: 'If he is dead, His Majesty
will have lost a good subject, yourself, Monseigneur, a
faithful servant, Canada an affectionate father, and
myself a good master.'

Fortunately, as we have already seen, Talon was not lost.
At the very time when these letters were written he was
on his way back to France, where he spent the winter hard
at work with Colbert--preparing for the dispatch of
settlers and soldiers in the spring. The minister displayed
the same zeal as the year before. He appropriated ample
funds, gave urgent orders, and seemed to make the Canadian
reinforcements his personal affair. Talon sailed from La
Rochelle about the middle of May 1670. He was accompanied
by Perrot again, and also by six Recollets, four fathers
and two brothers. After three months at sea he was nearly
shipwrecked once more, this time near Tadoussac, almost
at the end of his journey. On August 18, after an absence
from Canada of one year and nine months, he landed once
more at Quebec.



When Talon arrived at Quebec, New France had again just
escaped an Indian war. A party of Iroquois hunting near
the country of the Outaouais met two men of their nation
who had been prisoners of the Outaouais and had succeeded
in escaping. These informed their fellow-tribesmen that
the Outaouais village was undefended, almost every warrior
being absent. The Iroquois then attacked the village,
destroyed it, and brought with them as prisoners about
one hundred women and children. The Outaouais warriors,
when apprised of the raid, started in pursuit, but did
not succeed in overtaking the raiders. However, receiving
a reinforcement of another party of allied Indians, they
invaded the Senecas' territory. These hostilities aroused
the temper of the Iroquois, and a general Indian war
threatened, into which the French would unavoidably be
drawn. At that moment Garakonthie, the Iroquois chief
who had always been friendly to the French, advised the
Five Nations to send an embassy to the governor of Canada
asking him to compose these differences. The Five Nations
agreed, and Iroquois and Outaouais delegates, many hundreds
in number, came to Quebec. A great council was held
lasting three days, and Courcelle succeeded in bringing
about an understanding between the rival tribes. After
the meetings Garakonthie asked to be baptized, and Laval
himself performed the ceremony.

It was but a few days after these events that Talon
arrived, and, notwithstanding the improvement in the
situation, he does not seem to have deemed peace perfectly
secure, for he wrote to the king that it would be advisable
to send two hundred more soldiers. He added that the
Iroquois caused great injury to the trade of the colony
by hunting the beaver in the territories of the tribes
allied with the French, and selling the skins to Dutch
and English traders. In another letter Talon set forth
that these traders drew from the Iroquois 1,000,000
livres' worth of the best beaver, and he suggested the
construction of a small ship of the galley type to cruise
on Lake Ontario, and that two posts manned by one hundred
picked soldiers should be established, one on the north,
the other on the south shore of that lake. These measures
would ensure safe communication between the colony and
the Outaouais country, keep the Iroquois aloof, and favour
the opening of new roads to the south. It was a broad
and bold scheme. But could it be executed over the head
of M. de Courcelle? Talon had foreseen this objection
and had begged that the governor should be instructed to
give support and assistance. But once more the intendant
was going beyond his authority. Such an undertaking was
clearly within the governor's province. Talon was told
that he should lay his scheme before M. de Courcelle, so
that the governor might attend to its execution.

This incident sheds light upon the relations that existed
between Courcelle and Talon. The former was valiant,
energetic, and intelligent; but he felt that he was
outshone by the latter's promptness, celerity in design,
superior activity, wider and keener penetration, and he
could not conceal his displeasure.

After the great councils held at Quebec, the Senecas
again assumed a somewhat disquieting attitude. The
governor, they said, had been too hard on them. He had
threatened to chastise them in their own country if they
did not bring back their prisoners. Perhaps his arm was
not long enough to strike so far. Evidently they had
forgotten the expedition against the Mohawks five years
ago. They were convinced that distance and natural
impediments, such as rapids and torrents, protected them
from invasion in their remote country south of Lake
Ontario. Courcelle resolved to shake their confidence.
Early in the spring he went to Montreal and ordered the
construction of a flat-boat. In this he set out from
Lachine (June 3, 1671) with Perrot, governor of Montreal,
Captain de Laubia, Varennes, Le Moyne, La Valliere,
Normanville, Abbe Dollier de Casson, and about fifty good
men. Thirteen canoes accompanied the flat-boat. After
considerable exertion, the governor and his party passed
the rapids and continued up the St Lawrence; nine days
later they entered Lake Ontario, to the amazement of a
party of Iroquois whom they met there. The governor gave
these Indians a message for the Senecas and the other
nations, stating that he wished to keep the peace, but
that, if necessary, he could come and devastate their
country. The demonstration had the desired effect and
there was no further talk of war.

It will be inferred from Talon's proposals and schemes
already mentioned that his thoughts were now occupied
with the external affairs of the colony. This indeed was
to be the characteristic feature of his second
administration. When in Canada before he had concentrated
his attention chiefly upon judicial and political
organization, and had directed his efforts to promote
colonization, agriculture, industry, and trade--in a
word, the internal economy of New France. But now, without
neglecting any part of his duty, he seemed desirous of
widening his sphere of action by the extension of French
influence to the north, south, and west. On October 10,
1670, he wrote to the king: 'Since my arrival, I have
sent resolute men to explore farther than has ever been
done in Canada, some to the west and north-west, others
to the south-west and south. They will all on their return
write accounts of their expeditions and frame their
reports according to the instructions I have given them.
Everywhere they will take possession of the country,
erect posts bearing the king's arms, and draw up memoranda
of these proceedings to serve as title-deeds.'

Of these explorers one of the most noted was Cavelier de
la Salle. He had been born in 1643. After pursuing his
studies in a Jesuit college he came to Canada in 1666
and obtained from the Sulpicians a grant of land near
Montreal, named by him Saint-Sulpice, but ultimately
known under the name of Lachine. In 1669 Courcelle gave
him letters patent for an exploring journey towards the
Ohio and the Meschacebe, or Mississippi. By way of these
rivers he hoped to reach the Vermilion Sea, or Gulf of
California, and thus open a new road to China via the
Pacific ocean. At the same time the Abbes Dollier and de
Galinee, Sulpicians, had prepared for a remote mission
to the Outaouais. It was thought advisable to combine
the two expeditions. Thus it happened that La Salle and
the Sulpicians left Montreal in 1669 and journeyed together
as far as the western end of Lake Ontario. There they
parted. The Sulpicians wintered on the shores of Lake
Erie, and next spring passed the strait between Lakes
Erie and Huron, reached the Sault Sainte-Marie, and then
returned to Montreal by French river, Lake Nipissing,
and the Ottawa river. Their journey lasted from July 4,
1669, to June 18, 1670. In the meantime La Salle had
reached the Ohio and had followed it to the falls at
Louisville. He also returned in the summer of 1670. The
itinerary of his next expedition, undertaken in the same
year, is not very well known. According to an account of
doubtful authority, he went through Lakes Erie and Huron,
entered Lake Michigan, reached the Illinois river, and
even the Mississippi. But a careful study of contemporaneous
documents and evidence leads to the conclusion that the
Mississippi must be omitted from this itinerary. In our
opinion La Salle did not reach that river in 1671, as
has been asserted; he probably went as far as the Illinois

Another of Talon's resolute explorers was Simon Francois
Daumont de Saint-Lusson. Accompanied by Nicolas Perrot,
the well-known interpreter, he left Quebec in September
1670, and wintered with an Outaouais tribe near Lake
Superior. Perrot sent word to the neighbouring nations
that they should meet next spring at Sault Sainte-Marie
a delegate of the great French Ononthio. [Footnote: This
was the name given by the Indians to the king of France;
the governor was called by them Ononthio, which means
'great mountain,' because that was the translation of
Montmagny--mons magnus in Latin--the name of Champlain's
first successor. From M. de Montmagny the name had passed
to the other governors, and the king had become the 'great
Ononthio.'] On June 14 representatives of fourteen nations
were gathered at the Sault. The Jesuit fathers Dablon,
Dreuillettes, Allouez, and Andre were present. A great
council was held on a height. Saint-Lusson had a cross
erected with a post bearing the king's arms. The Vexilla
Regis and the Exaudiat were sung. The intendant's delegates
took possession of the country in the name of their
monarch. There was firing of guns and shouts of 'Vive le
roi!' Then Father Allouez and Saint-Lusson made speeches
suitable to the occasion and the audience. At night the
blaze of an immense bonfire illuminated with its fitful
light the dark trees and foaming rapids. The singing of
the Te Deum crowned that memorable day.

The intendant was pleased with the result of Saint-Lusson's
expedition. He wrote to the king: 'There is every reason
to believe that from the point reached by this explorer
to the Vermilion Sea is a distance of not more than three
hundred leagues. The Western Sea [the Pacific ocean] does
not seem more distant. According to calculation based on
the Indians' reports and on the charts, there should not
be more than fifteen hundred leagues of navigation to
reach Tartary, China, and Japan.'

Talon showed his high appreciation of Saint-Lusson's
services by immediately giving him another mission--this
time to Acadia, for the purpose of finding and reporting
as to the best road to that colony. In 1670 Grandfontaine
had taken possession of Acadia, which had been restored
to France by the treaty of Breda. He had received from
Sir Richard Walker the keys of Fort Pentagouet, at the
mouth of the Penobscot river, and had sent Joybert de
Soulanges to hoist the French flag over Jemsek and Port
Royal. It was therefore incumbent on the intendant to
see to the opening of a road between Quebec and Pentagouet.
His letters and those of Colbert written in 1671 are full
of this project. A fund of thirty thousand livres was
appropriated for the purpose. The intendant's plan was
to erect about twenty houses well provided with stores
along the proposed route at intervals of sixty leagues.
He also had in mind the establishment of settlements
along the rivers Penobscot and Kennebec, to form a barrier
between New France and New England. With the object of
establishing trade relations between Canada and Acadia,
he sent to the French Bay (Bay of Fundy) a barge loaded
with clothes and supplies, and was extremely pleased to
receive in return a cargo of six thousand pounds of salt
meat. In 1671, for Colbert's information, he drew up a
census of Acadia. [Footnote: The figures were--Port
Royal, 359; Poboncoup, 11; Cap Negre, 3; Pentagouet, 6
and 25 soldiers; Mouskadabouet, 13; Saint-Pierre, 7.
Total 399, or, including the soldiers, 424. There were
429 cultivated acres, 866 head of cattle, 407 sheep and
36 goats.] But, as we shall see, the great intendant was
not to remain in Canada long enough to bring his Acadian
undertaking to full fruition.

Let us follow him in another direction. He had tried to
extend the sphere of French influence towards the west
and south, and was doing his best to strengthen Canada
on the New England border by promoting the development
of Acadia. His next attempt was to bring the northern
tribes into the French alliance and to open to the colony
the trade of the wide area extending from Lake St John
to Lake Mistassini and thence to Hudson Bay. For an
expedition to Hudson Bay he chose Father Albanel, a
Jesuit, and M. de Saint-Simon. They left Quebec for
Tadoussac in August 1671, and ascended the Saguenay to
Lake St John where they wintered. In June 1672 they
continued their journey, reaching Lake Mistassini on the
18th of the same month and James Bay on the 28th. After
formally taking possession of the country in the name of
France, they returned by the same route to Quebec, where
on July 23 they laid their report before the intendant.

One of the last but not the least of the explorations
made under Talon's auspices was that which he entrusted
to Louis Jolliet, and which resulted in the discovery of
the upper Mississippi. Jolliet left Montreal in the autumn
of 1672 and wintered at Michilimackinac, where he joined
Father Marquette. Next spring they set out together, and
by way of Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Fox river, and the
Wisconsin they reached the giant river, the mighty
Mississippi, which they followed down as far as latitude
33 degrees. Thus was discovered the highway through the
interior of the continent to the Gulf of Mexico. One
result of the discovery was the birth of Louisiana a few
years later.

Talon's patriotic enthusiasm was justified when he wrote
to Louis XIV: 'I am no courtier and it is not to please
the king or without reason that I say this portion of
the French monarchy is going to become something great.
What I see now enables me to make such a prediction. The
foreign colonies established on the adjoining shores of
the ocean are already uneasy at what His Majesty has done
here during the last seven years.' This confidence was
probably not shared by the king and his minister, for,
in a letter to Frontenac some time later, Colbert
remonstrated against long journeys to the upper St Lawrence
and outlying settlements, and expressed his disapproval
of discoveries far away in the interior of the continent
where the French could never settle or remain. Undoubtedly
it was wise to advise concentration, and Talon himself
would not have differed on that score from the minister.
He was too sagacious not to see that Canada with a small
population should abstain from remote establishments.
His policy of exploration and discovery did not aim at
the immediate foundation of new colonies, but was only
directed towards increasing the prestige of the French
name, developing trade, and thus preparing the way for
the future greatness of Canada. It was a far-sighted
policy, not seeking impossible achievements for to-day,
but gaining a foot-hold for those of to-morrow. That the
political fabric of France in America was doomed to fall
in no way dims the fame of the great intendant. Under
his powerful direction New France, through her missionaries,
explorers, and traders, stamped her mark over three-quarters
of the territory then known as North America. Her moral,
political, and commercial influence was felt beyond her
boundaries--west, north, and south. She had hoisted the
cross and the fleurs-de-lis from the sunny banks of the
Arkansas to the icy shores of Hudson Bay, and from the
surges of the Atlantic to the remotest limits of the
Great Lakes. Her unceasing activity and daring enterprise,
supplementing inferior numbers and wealth, gave her an
undisputed superiority over the industrious English
colonies confined to their narrow strip between the
Alleghanies and the sea; and her name inspired awe and
respect in a hundred Indian tribes.

What was Courcelle's attitude towards the extraordinary
activity displayed by Talon? Evidently the intendant
often acted the part of the governor; and the real
governor, out-shone, could not conceal his ill-humour,
and tried to assert his authority. There were several
clashes between the two high officials. The governor
frequently lost his temper, while Talon complained of
Courcelle's jealousy and harshness. It must be admitted
that the great intendant, in his fervid zeal for the
public good and his passion for action, was not always
careful or tactful in his behaviour to the governor.



In the survey of Talon's first term of office mention
was made of the many enterprises he set on foot for the
internal progress of the colony. One of these was
shipbuilding. During his second term a stronger impulse
was given to this industry. One of the intendant's first
official acts after his arrival in 1670 was to issue a
decree for the conservation of the forests suitable for
shipbuilding purposes--to prohibit the felling of oak,
elm, beech, and cherry trees until the skilled carpenters
sent by the king should have inspected them and made
their choice. It is interesting, too, to find that in
all grants of land Talon inserted a clause reserving
these trees. Shipbuilding in Canada was to be encouraged
and promoted. Had not Colbert given forty thousand livres
for the purpose? A shipyard was set up on the banks of
the St Charles river. Many ships were built there; at
first only small ones, but the industry gradually developed.
In 1672 a ship of over four hundred tons was launched,
and preparations had been made for another of eight
hundred tons. Seven years earlier only nineteen out of
2378 vessels in the French mercantile marine had exceeded
four hundred tons. The infant shipyard at Quebec was
doing well.

Agriculture and industry were flourishing in New France.
Hemp was being grown successfully, and a larger quantity
of wool was made available by increasing flocks of sheep.
The intendant insisted that women and girls should be
taught to spin. He distributed looms to encourage the
practice of weaving, and after a time the colony had
home-made carpets and table-covers of drugget, and serges
and buntings. The great number of cattle ensured an
abundance of raw hides. Accordingly the intendant
established a tannery, and this in turn led to the
preparation of leather and the making of shoes; so that
in 1671 Talon could write to the king: 'I am now clothed
from foot to head with home-made articles.' Tobacco was
grown to some extent, but Colbert did not wish to encourage
its cultivation by the Canadian farmers. The minister
was better pleased when the intendant wrote concerning
potash and tar. A Sieur Nicolas Follin undertook to make
potash out of wood ashes, and was granted a privilege
with a bounty of ten sous per ton and free entry into
France for his product. The potash proved excellent. In
the meantime an expert on tar named Arnould Alix came
from France and found that the Canadian trees were
eminently fit for the production of that article, so
necessary in shipbuilding; indeed at this time Colbert
was doing his best to manufacture it in France so that
the shipyards of the kingdom might use French tar instead
of the foreign product. The news that it could be made
in Canada was very welcome to the minister.

The intendant continued his search for mines, but without
substantial results. There had been much talk of iron
ore at Baie Saint-Paul and also in the region of Three
Rivers. The Sieur de la Potardiere was sent to examine
these ores; but, although his report was favourable and
Colbert seemed highly interested and began to speak of
casting cannon on the shores of the Saint-Maurice, for
some reason nothing was done, and sixty years were to
elapse before the establishment of the Saint-Maurice

In another chapter we saw that Talon was always ready to
help the religious institutions and that he was very
friendly towards the Hotel-Dieu at Quebec. This hospital
had become too small for the requirements of the growing
population. At his own expense the intendant had a
substantial wing erected, superintending the work himself
and at the same time securing for the institution an
abundant supply of water. The Ursulines also received
ample evidence of his goodwill and friendship. He was
greatly pleased with their Seminaire Sauvage (Indian
seminary), where they displayed an unceasing zeal for
the instruction and civilization of the little red-skinned
girls. The Jesuit Relation of 1671 mentions the baptism
of an Indian girl with her mother. Talon wished to be
godfather and asked Madame d'Ailleboust to act as godmother.
Laval officiated. In 1671 the Ursulines had fifty Indian
girls in their Seminaire Sauvage, and in Montreal the
Sulpicians and the Sisters of the Congregation, as already
narrated, were devoting themselves to the Indian children.
In this good work the intendant was greatly interested.
He rejoiced in educational progress, as is shown by the
following from one of his letters to the king:

   The Canadian youth are improving their knowledge. They
   take to schools for sciences, arts, handicrafts, and
   especially navigation; and if the movement is sustained
   there is every reason to hope that this country will
   produce mariners, fishermen, seamen, and skilled
   workmen; for the youth here are naturally inclined to
   these pursuits. The Sieur de Saint-Martin (a lay
   brother at the Jesuits), who knows enough mathematics,
   is going to give lessons at my request.

New France at this time was prosperous and happy. 'Peace
reigns within as well as without the colony,' wrote Talon
at the end of the year 1671. There was work and activity
on all sides. New settlements were opened, new families
were founded, new industries were born. No wonder that
Talon, when he reflected on what had been achieved in
seven years, should have written: 'This portion of the
French monarchy is going to become something great.'

Unfortunately his activities and service in Canada were
nearing their end. His health was breaking down. Louis
XIV had promised that he should be relieved from his
arduous task in two years. Talon reminded his royal master
of this promise, and on May 17, 1672, the king was pleased
to give him permission to come home. Courcelle had asked
for his own recall; his request was also granted and the
Comte de Frontenac was named in his stead. No intendant
was appointed to fill Talon's place. At the beginning of
September 1672, while Talon had still two months to serve,
Frontenac arrived in Quebec to take up his duties as the
sole executive head of the colony. [Footnote: Another
volume of this Series, The Fighting Governor, tells of
what happened in New France in Frontenac's time.]

One of Talon's last official acts was the allotment,
under authority of a decree of the King's Council of
State, of a large number of seigneuries--a matter of the
highest importance for the development of the colony. He
set himself to the task with his usual activity and
earnestness. From October 10 to November 8 he authorized
about sixty seigneurial concessions to officers and others
desirous of forming settlements. In one day alone (November
3) he made thirty-one grants. The autumn of 1672, during
which all these seigneuries were created, should be
remembered in the history of New France. Before Talon,
it is true, seigneurial grants had been made in Canada,
but only intermittently and without any preconceived plan
or well-defined object. Now it was quite different. The
grants made by Talon, and the way in which they were
made, show clearly the execution of a well thought-out
scheme. If Talon was not the founder he was the organizer
of the seigneurial institution in Canada. The object was
twofold--to protect and to colonize the country. By his
concessions to Sorel, Chambly, Varennes, Saint-Ours,
Contrecoeur--all officers of the Carignan regiment--he
created so many little military colonies whose population
would be composed chiefly of disbanded soldiers. These,
being warriors as well as farmers, would be a strong
barrier against possible Iroquois incursions. His second
object, to stimulate colonization in general, was
anticipated by a provision--inserted in each grant--that
the seigneurs should live on their domains, and that
their tenants should do the same; this would mean the
planting of many new settlements on both shores of the
St Lawrence. It was a sound policy. For over a century
the seigneurial system was to Canada a source of strength
and progress. [Footnote: This view is fully sustained
by Prof. W. B. Munro of Harvard University, who has made
an exhaustive study of the subject. The reader is referred
to the narrative of The Seigneurs of Old Canada in the
present Series, written by him.] Its organization was
the crowning work of the intendant Talon in New France.

Talon's task was over. He had happily fulfilled his
mission. He had set government and justice upon a foundation
which was to last until the fall of the old regime. He
had given a mighty impulse to agriculture, colonization,
trade, industry, naval construction. He had encouraged
educational and charitable institutions, created new
centres of population, strengthened the frontiers of
Canada, and, with admirable forethought, had prepared
the way for the future extension and growth of the colony.
He has had his critics. The word paternalism has been
used to describe the system carried out by him and by
Colbert. He has been accused of having too willingly
substituted governmental action for individual activity.
But, taking into consideration the time and circumstances,
such criticism is not justified. When Talon came to
Canada, the colony was dying. A policy of ensuring
protection, of liberal and continuous subvention, of
intelligent state initiative, was a necessity of the
hour. Everywhere ground had to be broken, and the government
alone could do it. The policy of Colbert and Talon saved
the colony.

The great intendant left Canada in November 1672. It was
a mournful day for New France. In recognition of his
services the king had made a barony of his estate, 'des
Islets,' and had created him Baron des Islets. Later on
he became Comte d'Orsainville. He had previously been
appointed Captain of the Mariemont Castle.

Talon never came back to Canada. Louis XIV and Colbert
received him with expressions of the greatest satisfaction.
After a time he became premier valet de la garde-robe du
roi (first valet of the king's wardrobe), and finally he
attained the coveted office of secretary of the king's
cabinet. He died on November 24, 1694, at the age of
about sixty-nine years, twenty-two years after his
departure from Canada.

Jean Talon is one of the great names in Canadian
history--the name of one of the makers of Canada.


The author's larger work, 'Jean Talon, Intendant de la
Nouvelle France', is the principal source of information
for the foregoing narrative. Consult also Parkman, 'The
Old Regime in Canada'; Colby, 'Canadian Types of the Old
Regime'; Kingsford, 'The History of Canada', vol. i.;
the chapters, 'The Colony in its Political Relations'
and 'The Colony in its Economic Relations,' by Adam Shortt
and Thomas Chapais, in 'Canada and its Provinces', vol. ii.


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