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Title: France and England in North America, Part IV: The Old Regime In Canada
Author: Parkman, Francis
Language: English
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[Illustration: 0003]

[Illustration: 0007]

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My dear Dr. Ellis:

When, in my youth, I proposed to write a series of books on the French
in America, you encouraged the attempt, and your helpful kindness has
followed it from that day to this. Pray accept the dedication of this
volume in token of the grateful regard of

Very faithfully yours,



“The physiognomy of a government,” says De Tocqueville, “can best
be judged in its colonies, for there its characteristic traits usually
appear larger and more distinct. When I wish to judge of the spirit and
the faults of the administration of Louis XIV., I must go to Canada. Its
deformity is there seen as through a microscope.”

The monarchical administration of France, at the height of its power
and at the moment of its supreme triumph, stretched an arm across the
Atlantic and grasped the North American continent. This volume attempts
to show by what methods it strove to make good its hold, why it achieved
a certain kind of success, and why it failed at last. The political
system which has fallen, and the antagonistic system which has
prevailed, seem, at first sight, to offer nothing but contrasts; yet out
of the tomb of Canadian absolutism come voices not without suggestion
even to us. Extremes meet, and Autocracy and Democracy often touch
hands, at least in their vices.

The means of knowing the Canada of the past are ample. The pen was
always busy in this outpost of the old monarchy. The king and the
minister demanded to know every thing; and officials of high and low
degree, soldiers and civilians, friends and foes, poured letters,
despatches, and memorials, on both sides of every question, into the
lap of government. These masses of paper have in the main survived the
perils of revolutions and the incendiary torch of the Commune. Add
to them the voluminous records of the Superior Council of Quebec, and
numerous other documents preserved in the civil and ecclesiastical
depositories of Canada.

The governments of New York and of Canada have caused a large part of
the papers in the French archives, relating to their early history, to
be copied and brought to America, and valuable contributions of material
from the same quarter have been made by the State of Massachusetts and
by private Canadian investigators. Nevertheless, a great deal has still
remained in France, uncopied and unexplored. In the course of several
visits to that country, I have availed myself of these supplementary
papers, as well as of those which had before been copied, sparing
neither time nor pains to explore every part of the field. With the help
of a system of classified notes, I have collated the evidence of the
various writers, and set down without reserve all the results of the
examination, whether favorable or unfavorable. Some of them are of a
character which I regret, since they cannot be agreeable to persons for
whom I have a very cordial regard. The conclusions drawn from the facts
may be matter of opinion, but it will be remembered that the facts
themselves can be overthrown only by overthrowing the evidence on which
they rest, or bringing forward counter evidence of equal or greater
strength; and neither task will be found an easy one. *

I have received most valuable aid in my inquiries from the great
knowledge and experience of M. Pierre Margry, Chief of the Archives of
the Marine and Colonies at Paris. I beg also warmly to acknowledge the
kind offices of Abbé Henri Raymond Casgrain and Grand Vicar Cazeau, of
Quebec, together with those of James LeMoine, Esq., M. Eugène
Taché, Hon. P. J. O. Chauveau, and other eminent Canadians, and Henry
Harrisse, Esq.

The few extracts from original documents, which are printed in the
appendix, may serve as samples of the material out of which the work has
been constructed. In some instances their testimony

     * Those who wish to see the subject from a point of view
     opposite to mine cannot do better than consult the work of
     the Jesuit Charlevoix, with the excellent annotation of Mr.
     Shea. (History and General Description of New France, by the
     Rev. P. F. X. de Charlevoix, S.J., translated with notes by
     John Gilmary Shea. 6 vols. New York: 1866-1872.)

might be multiplied twenty-fold. When the place of deposit of the
documents cited in the margin is not otherwise indicated, they will, in
nearly all cases, be found in the Archives of the Marine and Colonies.

In the present book we examine the political and social machine; in the
next volume of the series we shall see this machine in action.

Boston, July 1, 1874.



CHAPT I. 1653-1658.


The Iroquois War.--Father Poncet.--His Adventures.--Jesuit Boldness.--Le
Moyne’s Mission.--Chaumonot and Dablon.--Iroquois Ferocity.--The
Mohawk Kidnappers.--Critical Position.--The Colony of Onondaga.--Speech
of Chaumonot.--Omens of Destruction.--Device of the Jesuits.--The
Medicine Feast.--The Escape.

CHAPT II. 1642-1661.


Duversière.--Mance and Bourgeoys.--Miracle.--A Pious
Defaulter.--Jesuit and Sulpitian.--Montreal in 1659.--The Hospital
Nuns.--The Nuns and the Iroquois.--More Miracles--The Murdered
Priests.--Brigeac and Closse.--Soldiers of the Holy Family.

CHAPT III. 1660, 1661.


Suffering and Terror.--François Hertel.--The Captive Wolf.--The
threatened Invasion.--Daulac des Ormeaux.--The Adventurers at the Long
Saut.--The Attack.--A Desperate Defence.--A Final Assault.--The Fort

CHAPT IV. 1657-1668.


Domestic Strife.--Jesuit and Sulpitian.--Abbé Queylus.--François de
Laval.--The Zealots of Caen.--Gallican and Ultramontane.--The Rival
Claimants.--Storm at Quebec.--Laval Triumphant.

CHAPT V. 1659, 1660.


François de Laval.--His Position and Character.--Arrival of
Argenson.--The Quarrel.

CHAPT VI. 1658-1663.


Reception of Argenson.--His Difficulties.--His Recall.--Dubois
d’Avaugour.--The Brandy Quarrel.--Distress of Laval.--Portents.--The

CHAPT VII. 1661-1661.


Péronne Dumesnil.--The Old Council.--Alleged Murder.--The New
Council.--Bourdon and Villeray.--Strong Measures.--Escape of
Dumesnil.--Views of Colbert.

CHAPT VIII. 1657-1665.


The Bishop’s Choice.--A Military Zealot.--Hopeful Beginnings.--Signs
of Storm.--The Quarrel.--Distress of Mézy.--He Refuses to Yield.--His
Defeat and Death.

CHAPT IX. 1662-1680.


Laval’s Visit to Court.--The Seminary.--Zeal of the Bishop.--His
Eulogists.--Church and State.--Attitude of Laval.


CHAPT X. 1661-1665.


Fontainebleau.--Louis XIV.--Colbert.--The Company of the West.--Evil
Omens.--Action of the King.--Tracy, Courcelle, and Talon.--The Regiment
of Carignan-Salières.--Tracy at Quebec.--Miracles.--A Holy War.

CHAPT XI. 1666, 1667.


Courcelle’s March.--His Failure and Return.--Courcelle and the
Jesuits.--Mohawk Treachery.--Tracy’s Expedition.--Burning of
the Mohawk Towns.--French and English.--Dollier de Casson at St.
Anne.--Peace.--The Jesuits and the Iroquois.

CHAPT XII. 1665-1672.


Talon.--Restriction and Monopoly.--Views of Colbert.--Political
Galvanism.--A Father of the People.

CHAPT XIII. 1661-1673.


Shipment of Emigrants.--Soldier Settlers.--Importation of
Wives.--Wedlock.--Summary Methods.--The Mothers of Canada.--Bounties on
Marriage.--Celibacy Punished.--Bounties on Children.--Results.

CHAPT XIV. 1665-1672.


Military Frontier.--The Canadian Settler.--Seignior and
Vassal.--Example of Talon.--Plan of Settlement.--Aspect of
Canada.--Quebec.--The River Settlements.--Montreal.--The Pioneers.

CHAPT XV. 1663-1763.


Transplantation of Feudalism.--Precautions.--Faith and Homage.
--The Seignior.--The Censitaire.--Royal Intervention.--The
Gentilhomme.--Canadian Noblesse.

CHAPT XVI. 1663-1763.


Nature of the Government.--The Governor.--The Council.--Courts and
Judges.--The Intendant.--His Grievances.--Strong Government.--Sedition
and Blasphemy.--Royal Bounty.--Defects and Abuses.

CHAPT XVII. 1663-1763.


Trade in Fetters.--The Huguenot Merchants.--Royal Patronage.--The
Fisheries.--Cries for Help.--Agriculture.--Manufactures.--Arts of
Ornament.--Finance.--Card Money.--Repudiation.--Imposts.--The
Beaver Trade.--The Fair at Montreal.--Contraband Trade.--A Fatal
System.--Trouble and Change.--The Coureurs de Bois.-The Forest.--Letter
of Carheil.

CHAPT XVIII. 1663-1702.


The Jesuits and the Iroquois.--Mission
Villages.--Michillimackinac.--Father Carheil.--Temperance.--Brandy
and the Indians.--Strong Measures.--Disputes.--License and
Prohibition.--Views of the King.--Trade and the Jesuits.

CHAPT XIX. 1663-1763.


Church and State.--The Bishop and the King.--The King ana the
Cure's.--The New Bishop.--The Canadian Curé.--Ecclesiastical
Rule.--Saint-Vallier and Denonville.--Clerical Rigor.--Jesuit and
Sulpitian.--Courcelle and Châtelain.--The Recollets.--Heresy
and Witchcraft.--Canadian Nuns.--Jeanne Le Ber.--Education.--The
Seminary.--Saint Joachim.--Miracles of Saint Anne.--Canadian Schools.

CHAPT XX. 1640-1763.


Social Influence of the Troops.--A Petty Tyrant.--Brawls.--Violence
and Outlawry.--State of the Population.--Views of
Denonville.--Brandy.--Beggary.--The Past and the Present.--Inns.--State
of Quebec.--Fires.--The Country Parishes.--Slavery.--Views of La
Hontan.--Of Hocquart.--Of Bougainville--Of Kalm.--Of Charlevoix.

CHAPT XXI. 1663-1763.


Formation of Canadian Character.--The Rival Colonies.--England
and France.--New England.--Characteristics of Race.--Military
Qualities.--The Church.--The English Conquest.



_The Iroquois War.--Father Poncet.-->His Adventures.--Jesuit
Boldness.--Le Moyne’s Mission.--Chaumonot and Dablon.--Iroquois
Ferocity.--The Mohawk Kidnappers.--Critical Position.--The Colony of
Onondaga.--Speech op Chaumonot.--Omens of Destruction.--Device of the
Jesuits.--The Medicine Feast.--The Escape._

|In the summer of 1653, all Canada turned to fasting and penance,
processions, vows, and supplications. The saints and the Virgin were
beset with unceasing prayer. The wretched little colony was like some
puny garrison, starving and sick, compassed with inveterate foes,
supplies cut off, and succor hopeless.

At Montreal, the advance guard of the settlements, a sort of Castle
Dangerous, held by about fifty Frenchmen, and said by a pious writer of
the day to exist only by a continuous miracle, some two hundred Iroquois
fell upon twenty-six Frenchmen. The Christians were outmatched, eight to
one; but, says the chronicle, the Queen of Heaven was on their side,
and the Son of Mary refuses nothing to his holy mother. * Through her
intercession, the Iroquois shot so wildly that at their first fire every
bullet missed its mark, and they met with a bloody defeat. The palisaded
settlement of Three Rivers, though in a position less exposed than that
of Montreal, was in no less jeopardy. A noted war-chief of the Mohawk
Iroquois had been captured here the year before, and put to death; and
his tribe swarmed out, like a nest of angry hornets, to revenge him. Not
content with defeating and killing the commandant, Du Plessis Bochart,
they encamped during winter in the neighboring forest, watching for
an opportunity to surprise the place. Hunger drove them off, but they
returned in spring, infesting every field and pathway; till, at length,
some six hundred of their warriors landed in secret and lay hidden in
the depths of the woods, silently biding their time. Having failed,
however, in an artifice designed to lure the French out of their
defences, they showed themselves on all sides, plundering, burning, and
destroying, up to the palisades of the fort. **

Of the three settlements which, with their feeble dependencies, then
comprised the whole of Canada, Quebec was least exposed to Indian
attacks, being partially covered by Montreal and Three Rivers.
Nevertheless, there was no safety this year, even

     *  Le Mercier, Relation, 1653, 3.

     **  So bent were they on taking the place, that they brought
     their families, in order to make a permanent settlement.--
     Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre du 6 Sept., 1653.

under the cannon of Fort St. Louis. At Cap Rouge, a few miles above, the
Jesuit Poncet saw a poor woman who had a patch of corn beside her cabin,
but could find nobody to harvest it. The father went to seek aid, met
one Mathurin. Franchetot, whom he persuaded to undertake the charitable
task, and was returning with him, when they both fell into an ambuscade
of Iroquois, who seized them and dragged them off. Thirty-two men
embarked in canoes at Quebec to follow the retreating savages and rescue
the prisoners. Pushing rapidly up the St. Lawrence, they approached
Three Rivers, found it beset by the Mohawks, and bravely threw
themselves into it, to the great joy of its defenders and discouragement
of the assailants.

Meanwhile, the intercession of the Virgin wrought new marvels at
Montreal, and a bright ray of hope beamed forth from the darkness and
the storm to cheer the hearts of her votaries. It was on the 26th of
June that sixty of the Onondaga Iroquois appeared in sight of the fort,
shouting from a distance that they came on an errand of peace, and
asking safe-conduct for some of their number. Guns, scalping-knives,
tomahawks, were all laid aside; and, with a confidence truly
astonishing, a deputation of chiefs, naked and defenceless, came into
the midst of those whom they had betrayed so often. The French had a
mind to seize them, and pay them in kind for past treachery; but they
refrained, seeing in this wondrous change of heart the manifest hand
of Heaven. Nevertheless, it can be explained without a miracle. The
Iroquois, or, at least, the western nations of their league, had just
become involved in war with their neighbors the Eries, * and “one war
at a time” was the sage maxim of their policy.

All was smiles and blandishment in the fort at Montreal; presents were
exchanged, and the deputies departed, bearing home golden reports of
the French. An Oneida deputation soon followed; but the enraged Mohawks
still infested Montreal and beleaguered Three Rivers, till one of their
principal chiefs and four of their best warriors were captured by a
party of Christian Hurons. Then, seeing themselves abandoned by the
other nations of the league and left to wage the war alone, they, too,
made overtures of peace.

A grand council was held at Quebec. Speeches were made, and wampum-belts
exchanged. The Iroquois left some of their chief men as pledges of
sincerity, and two young soldiers offered themselves as reciprocal
pledges on the part of the French. The war was over; at least Canada had
found a moment to take breath for the next struggle. The fur trade was
restored again, with promise of plenty; for the beaver, profiting by the
quarrels of their human foes, had of late greatly multiplied. It was a
change from death to life; for Canada lived on the beaver, and, robbed
of this,

     * See Jesuits in North America, 438. The Iroquois, it will
     be remembered, consisted of five “nations,” or tribes,--the
     Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. For an
     account of them, see the work just cited, Introduction.

her only sustenance, had been dying slowly since the strife began. *

“Yesterday,” writes Father Le Mercier, “all was dejection and
gloom; to-day, all is smiles and gayety. On Wednesday, massacre,
burning, and pillage; on Thursday, gifts and visits, as among friends.
If the Iroquois have their hidden designs, so, too, has God.

“On the day of the Visitation of the Holy Virgin, the chief,
Aontarisati, ** so regretted by the Iroquois, was taken prisoner by our
Indians, instructed by our fathers, and baptized; and, on the same day,
being put to death, he ascended to heaven. I doubt not that he thanked
the Virgin for his misfortune and the blessing that followed, and that
he prayed to God for his countrymen.

“The people of Montreal made a solemn vow to celebrate publicly the
_fête_ of this mother of all blessings; whereupon the Iroquois came to
ask for peace.

“It was on the day of the Assumption of this Queen of angels and of
men that the Hurons took at Montreal that other famous Iroquois chief,
whose capture caused the Mohawks to seek our alliance.

“On the day when the Church honors the Nativity of the Holy Virgin,
the Iroquois granted Father

     * According to Le Mercier, beaver to the value of from
     200,000 to 300,000 livres was yearly brought down to the
     colony before the destruction of the Hurons (1649-50). Three
     years later, not one beaver skin was brought to Montreal
     during a twelvemonth, and Three Rivers and Quebec had barely
     enough to pay for keeping the fortifications in repair.

     ** The chief whose death had so enraged the Mohawks.

Poncet his life; and he, or rather the Holy Virgin and the holy angels,
labored so well in the work of peace, that on St. Michael’s Day it was
resolved in a council of the elders that the father should be conducted
to Quebec, and a lasting treaty made with the French.” *

Happy as was this consummation, Father Poncet’s path to it had been a
thorny one. He has left us his own rueful story, written in obedience
to the command of his superior. He and his companion in misery had been
hurried through the forests, from Cap Rouge on the St. Lawrence to the
Indian towns on the Mohawk. He tells us how he slept among dank weeds,
dropping with the cold dew; how frightful colics assailed him as he
waded waist-deep through a mountain stream; how one of his feet was
blistered and one of his legs benumbed; how an Indian snatched away his
reliquary and lost the precious contents. “I had,” he says, “a
picture of Saint Ignatius with our Lord bearing the cross, and another
of Our Lady of Pity surrounded by the five wounds of her Son. They were
my joy and my consolation; but I hid them in a bush, lest the Indians
should laugh at them.” He kept, however, a little image of the crown
of thorns, in which he found great comfort, as well as in communion with
his patron saints, Saint Raphael, Saint Martha, and Saint Joseph. On one
occasion he asked these celestial friends for something to soothe his
thirst, and for a bowl of broth to revive his strength. Scarcely had he
framed the petition when an Indian gave

     *  Relation, 1653, 18.

him some wild plums; and in the evening, as he lay fainting on the
ground, another brought him the coveted broth. Weary and forlorn, he
reached at last the lower Mohawk town, where, after being stripped,
and, with his companion, forced to run the gauntlet, he was placed on a
scaffold of bark, surrounded by a crowd of grinning and mocking savages.
As it began to rain, they took him into one of their lodges, and amused
themselves by making him dance, sing, and perform various fantastic
tricks for their amusement. He seems to have done his best to please
them; “but,” adds the chronicler, “I will say in passing, that as
he did not succeed to their liking in these buffooneries (_singeries_),
they would have put him to death, if a young Huron prisoner had not
offered himself to sing, dance, and make wry faces in place of the
father, who had never learned the trade.”

Having sufficiently amused themselves, they left him for a time in
peace; when an old one-eyed Indian approached, took his hands, examined
them, selected the left forefinger, and calling a child four or five
years old, gave him a knife, and told him to cut it off, which the imp
proceeded to do, his victim meanwhile singing the _Vexilla Regis_.
After this preliminary, they would have burned him, like Franchetot, his
unfortunate companion, had not a squaw happily adopted him in place, as
he says, of a deceased brother. He was installed at once in the lodge of
his new relatives, where, bereft of every rag of Christian clothing,
and attired in leggins, moccasins, and a greasy shirt, the astonished
father saw himself transformed into an Iroquois. But his deliverance was
at hand. A special agreement providing for it had formed a part of
the treaty concluded at Quebec; and he now learned that he was to
be restored to his countrymen. After a march of almost intolerable
hardship, he saw himself once more among Christians; Heaven, as he
modestly thinks, having found him unworthy of martyrdom.

“At last,” he writes, “we reached Montreal on the 21st of October,
the nine weeks of my captivity being accomplished, in honor of Saint
Michael and all the holy angels. On the 6th of November the Iroquois who
conducted me made their presents to confirm the peace; and thus, on a
Sunday evening, eighty-and-one days after my capture,--that is to say,
nine times nine days,--this great business of the peace was happily
concluded, the holy angels showing by this number nine, which is
specially dedicated to them, the part they bore in this holy work.”
* This incessant supernaturalism is the key to the early history of New

Peace was made; but would peace endure? There was little chance of
it, and this for several reasons. First, the native fickleness of
the Iroquois, who, astute and politic to a surprising degree, were in
certain respects, like all savages, mere grown-up children. Next, their
total want of control over their fierce and capricious young warriors,
any one of whom could break the peace with

     *  Poncet in Relation, 1653,17. On Poncet’s captivity see
     also Moral Pratique des Jésuites, vol. xxxiv. (4to) chap.

impunity whenever he saw fit; and, above all, the strong probability
that the Iroquois had made peace in order, under cover of it, to butcher
or kidnap the unhappy remnant of the Hurons who were living, under
French protection, on the island of Orleans, immediately below Quebec. I
have already told the story of the destruction of this people and of the
Jesuit missions established among them. * The conquerors were eager to
complete their bloody triumph by seizing upon the refugees of Orleans,
killing the elders, and strengthening their own tribes by the adoption
of the women, children, and youths. The Mohawks and the Onondagas were
competitors for the prize. Each coveted the Huron colony, and each was
jealous lest his rival should pounce upon it first.

When the Mohawks brought home Poncet, they covertly gave wampum-belts to
the Huron chiefs, and invited them to remove to their villages. It was
the wolf’s invitation to the lamb. The Hurons, aghast with terror,
went secretly to the Jesuits, and told them that demons had whispered
in their ears an invitation to destruction. So helpless were both
the Hurons and their French supporters, that they saw no recourse but
dissimulation. The Hurons promised to go, and only sought excuses to
gain time.

The Onondagas had a deeper plan. Their towns were already full of Huron
captives, former converts of the Jesuits, cherishing their memory and
constantly repeating their praises. Hence their

     *  Jesuits in North America.

tyrants conceived the idea that by planting at Onondaga a colony of
Frenchmen under the direction of these beloved fathers, the Hurons of
Orleans, disarmed of suspicion, might readily be led to join them.
Other motives, as we shall see, tended to the same end, and the Onondaga
deputies begged, or rather demanded, that a colony of Frenchmen should
be sent among them.

Here was a dilemma. Was not this, like the Mohawk invitation to the
Hurons, an invitation to butchery? On the other hand, to refuse would
probably kindle the war afresh. The Jesuits had long nursed a project
bold to temerity. Their great Huron mission was ruined; but might not
another be built up among the authors of this ruin, and the Iroquois
themselves, tamed by the power of the Faith, be annexed to the kingdoms
of Heaven and of France? Thus would peace be restored to Canada, a
barrier of fire opposed to the Dutch and English heretics, and the power
of the Jesuits vastly increased. Yet the time was hardly ripe for such
an attempt. Before thrusting a head into the tiger’s jaws, it would
be well to try the effect of thrusting in a hand. They resolved to
compromise with the danger, and before risking a colony at Onondaga
to send thither an envoy who could soothe the Indians, confirm them in
pacific designs, and pave the way for more decisive steps. The choice
fell on Father Simon Le Moyne.

The errand was mainly a political one; and this sagacious and able
priest, versed in Indian languages and customs, was well suited to do

“On the second day of the month of July, the festival of the
Visitation of the Most Holy Virgin, ever favorable to our enterprises,
Father Simon Le Moyne set out from Quebec for the country of the
Onondaga Iroquois.” In these words does Father Le Mercier chronicle
the departure of his brother Jesuit. Scarcely was he gone when a band
of Mohawks, under a redoubtable half-breed known as the Flemish Bastard,
arrived at Quebec; and, when they heard that the envoy was to go to the
Onondagas without visiting their tribe, they took the imagined slight
in high dudgeon, displaying such jealousy and ire that a letter was sent
after Le Moyne, directing him to proceed to the Mohawk towns before his
return. But he was already beyond reach, and the angry Mohawks were left
to digest their wrath.

At Montreal, Le Moyne took a canoe, a young Frenchman, and two or three
Indians, and began the tumultuous journey of the Upper St. Lawrence.
Nature, or habit, had taught him to love the wilderness life. He and
his companions had struggled all day against the surges of La Chine,
and were bivouacked at evening by the Lake of St. Louis, when a cloud
of mosquitoes fell upon them, followed by a shower of warm rain. The
father, stretched under a tree, seems clearly to have enjoyed himself.
“It is a pleasure,” he writes, “the sweetest and most innocent
imaginable, to have no other shelter than trees planted by Nature since
the creation of the world.” Sometimes, during their journey, this
primitive tent proved insufficient, and they would build a bark hut
or find a partial shelter under their inverted canoe. Now they glided
smoothly over the sunny bosom of the calm and smiling river, and
now strained every nerve to fight their slow way against the rapids,
dragging their canoe upward in the shallow water by the shore, as one
leads an unwilling horse by the bridle, or shouldering it and bearing
it through the forest to the smoother current above. Game abounded; and
they saw great herds of elk quietly defiling between the water and
the woods, with little heed of men, who in that perilous region found
employment enough in hunting one another.

At the entrance of Lake Ontario they met a party of Iroquois fishermen,
who proved friendly, and guided them on their way. Ascending the
Onondaga, they neared their destination; and now all misgivings as to
their reception at the Iroquois capital were dispelled. The inhabitants
came to meet them, bringing roasting ears of the young maize and bread
made of its pulp, than which they knew no luxury more exquisite. Their
faces beamed welcome. Le Moyne was astonished. “I never," he says,
“saw the like among Indians before.” They were flattered by his
visit, and, for the moment, were glad to see him. They hoped for great
advantages from the residence of Frenchmen among them; and, having the
Erie war on their hands, they wished for peace with Canada. “One would
call me brother,” writes Le Moyne; “another, uncle; another, cousin.
I never had so many relations.”

He was overjoyed to find that many of the Huron converts, who had long
been captives at Onondaga, had not forgotten the teachings of their
Jesuit instructors. Such influence as they had with their conquerors
was sure to be exerted in behalf of the French. Deputies of the Senecas,
Cayugas, and Oneidas at length arrived, and, on the 10th of August,
the criers passed through the town, summoning all to hear the words of
Onontio. The naked dignitaries, sitting, squatting, or lying at full
length, thronged the smoky hall of council The father knelt and prayed
in a loud voice, invoking the aid of Heaven, cursing the demons who are
spirits of discord, and calling on the tutelar angels of the country to
open the ears of his listeners. Then he opened his packet of presents
and began his speech. “I was full two hours," he says, “in making
it, speaking in the tone of a chief, and walking to and fro, after their
fashion, like an actor on a theatre.” Not only did he imitate the
prolonged accents of the Iroquois orators, but he adopted and improved
their figures of speech, and addressed them in turn by their respective
tribes, bands, and families, calling their men of note by name, as if he
had been born among them. They were delighted; and their ejaculations
of approval--_hoh-hoh-hoh_--came thick and fast at every pause of his
harangue. Especially were they pleased with the eighth, ninth, tenth,
and eleventh presents, whereby the reverend speaker gave to the four
upper nations of the league four hatchets to strike their new enemies,
the Eries; while by another present he metaphorically daubed their
faces with the war-paint. However it may have suited the character of
a Christian priest to hound on these savage hordes to a war of
extermination which they had themselves provoked, it is certain that, as
a politician, Le Moyne did wisely; since in the war with the Eries lay
the best hope of peace for the French.

The reply of the Indian orator was friendly to overflowing. He prayed
his French brethren to choose a spot on the lake of Onondaga, where they
might dwell in the country of the Iroquois, as they dwelt already in
their hearts. Le Moyne promised, and made two presents to confirm the
pledge. Then, his mission fulfilled, he set out on his return, attended
by a troop of Indians. As he approached the lake, his escort showed him
a large spring of water, possessed, as they told him, by a bad spirit.
Le Moyne tasted it, then boiled a little of it, and produced a quantity
of excellent salt. He had discovered the famous salt-springs of
Onondaga. Fishing and hunting, the party pursued their way till, at noon
of the 7th of September, Le Moyne reached Montreal. *

When he reached Quebec, his tidings cheered for a while the anxious
hearts of its tenants; but an unwonted incident soon told them how
hollow was the ground beneath their feet. Le Moyne, accompanied by two
Onondagas and several Hurons and Algonquins, was returning to Montreal,
when he and his companions were set upon by a war-party

     * Journal du Père Le Moine, Relation, 1654, chaps, vi. vii.

of Mohawks. The Hurons and Algonquins were killed. One of the Onondagas
shared their fate, and the other, with Le Moyne himself, was seized and
bound fast. The captive Onondaga, however, was so loud in his threats
and denunciations, that the Mohawks released both him and the Jesuit. *
Here was a foreshadowing of civil war, Mohawk against Onondaga, Iroquois
against Iroquois. The quarrel was patched up, but fresh provocations
were imminent.

The Mohawks took no part in the Erie war, and hence their hands were
free to fight the French and the tribes allied with them. Reckless of
their promises, they began a series of butcheries, fell upon the French
at Isle aux Oies, killed a lay brother of the Jesuits at Sillery, and
attacked Montreal. Here, being roughly handled, they came for a time
to their senses, and offered terms, promising to spare the French,
but declaring that they would still wage war against the Hurons and
Algonquins. These were allies whom the French were pledged to protect;
but so helpless was the colony, that the insolent and humiliating
proffer was accepted, and another peace ensued, as hollow as the last.
The indefatigable Le Moyne was sent to the Mohawk towns to confirm it,
“so far,” says the chronicle, “as it is possible to confirm a
peace made by infidels backed by heretics.” ** The Mohawks received
him with great rejoicing; yet his

     * Compare Relation, 1654, 33, and Lettre de Marie de
     l’Incarnation, 18 Octobre, 1654.

     **  Copie de Deux Lettres envoyées de la Nouvelle France au
     Père Procureur des Missions de la Compagnie de Jésus.

life was not safe for a moment. A warrior, feigning madness, raved
through the town with uplifted hatchet, howling for his blood; but the
saints watched over him and balked the machinations of hell. He came off
alive and returned to Montreal, spent with famine and fatigue.

Meanwhile a deputation of eighteen Onondaga chiefs arrived at Quebec.
There was a grand council. The Onondagas demanded a colony of Frenchmen
to dwell among them. Lauson, the governor, dared neither to consent nor
to refuse. A middle course was chosen, and two Jesuits, Chaumonot
and Dablon, were sent, like Le Moyne, partly to gain time, partly to
reconnoitre, and partly to confirm the Onondagas in such good intentions
as they might entertain. Chaumonot was a veteran of the Huron mission,
who, miraculously as he himself supposed, had acquired a great fluency
in the Huron tongue, which is closely allied to that of the Iroquois.
Dablon, a newcomer, spoke, as yet, no Indian.

Their voyage up the St. Lawrence was enlivened by an extraordinary
bear-hunt, and by the antics of one of their Indian attendants, who,
having dreamed that he had swallowed a frog, roused the whole camp by
the gymnastics with which he tried to rid himself of the intruder.
On approaching Onondaga, they were met by a chief who sang a song
of welcome, a part of which he seasoned with touches of humor,
apostrophizing the fish in the river Onondaga, naming each sort, great
or small, and calling on them in turn to come into the nets of the
Frenchmen and sacrifice life cheerfully for their behoof. Hereupon there
was much laughter among the Indian auditors. An unwonted cleanliness
reigned in the town; the streets had been cleared of refuse, and the
arched roofs of the long houses of bark were covered with red-skinned
children staring at the entry of the “black robes.” Crowds followed
behind, and all was jubilation. The dignitaries of the tribe met them on
the way, and greeted them with a speech of welcome. A feast of bear’s
meat awaited them; but, unhappily, it was Friday, and the fathers were
forced to abstain.

“On Monday, the 15th of November, at nine in the morning, after having
secretly sent to Paradise a dying infant by the waters of baptism, all
the elders and the people having assembled, we opened the council by
public prayer.” Thus writes Father Dablon. His colleague, Chaumonot,
a Frenchman bred in Italy, now rose, with a long belt of wampum in his
hand, and proceeded to make so effective a display of his rhetorical
gifts that the Indians were lost in admiration, and their orators put
to the blush by his improvements on their own metaphors. “If he had
spoken all day,” said the de lighted auditors, “we should not have
had enough of it.” “The Dutch,” added others, “have neither
brains nor tongues; they never tell us about Paradise and Hell; on the
contrary, they lead us into bad ways.”

On the next day the chiefs returned their answer. The council opened
with a song or chant, which was divided into six parts, and which,
according to Dablon, was exceedingly well sung. The burden of the fifth
part was as follows:--

“Farewell war; farewell tomahawk; we have been fools till now;
henceforth we will be brothers; yes, we will be brothers.”

Then came four presents, the third of which enraptured the fathers.
It was a belt of seven thousand beads of wampum. “But this,” says
Dablon, “was as nothing to the words that accompanied it.” “It is
the gift of the faith,” said the orator; “it is to tell you that
we are believers; it is to beg you not to tire of instructing us; have
patience, seeing that we are so dull in learning prayer; push it into
our heads and our hearts.” Then he led Chaumonot into the midst of the
assembly, clasped him in his arms, tied the belt about his waist, and
protested, with a suspicious redundancy of words, that as he clasped the
father, so would he clasp the faith.

What had wrought this sudden change of heart? The eagerness of the
Onondagas that the French should settle among them, had, no doubt, a
large share in it. For the rest, the two Jesuits saw abundant signs of
the fierce, uncertain nature of those with whom they were dealing. Erie
prisoners were brought in and tortured before their eyes, one of them
being a young stoic of about ten years, who endured his fate without
a single outcry. Huron women and children, taken in war and adopted by
their captors, were killed on the slightest provocation, and sometimes
from mere caprice.

For several days the whole town was in an uproar with the crazy follies
of the “dream feast,” * and one of the Fathers nearly lost his life
in this Indian Bedlam.

One point was clear; the French must make a settlement at Onondaga,
and that speedily, or, despite their professions of brotherhood, the
Onondagas would make war. Their attitude became menacing; from urgency
they passed to threats; and the two priests felt that the critical
posture of affairs must at once be reported at Quebec. But here a
difficulty arose. It was the beaver-hunting season; and, eager as were
the Indians for a French colony, not one of them would offer to conduct
the Jesuits to Quebec in order to fetch one. It was not until nine
masses had been said to Saint John the Baptist, that a number of Indians
consented to forego their hunting, and escort Father Dablon home. **
Chaumonot remained at Onondaga, to watch his dangerous hosts and soothe
their rising jealousies.

It was the 2d of March when Dablon began his journey. His constitution
must have been of iron, or he would have succumbed to the appalling
hardships of the way. It was neither winter nor spring. The lakes and
streams were not yet open, but the half-thawed ice gave way beneath the
foot. One of the Indians fell through and was drowned. Swamp and forest
were clogged with sodden snow,

     *  See Jesuits in North America, 67.

     ** De Quen, Relation, 1656, 35. Chaumonot, in his
     Autobiography, ascribes the miracle to the intercession of
     the deceased Brébeuf.

and ceaseless rains drenched them as they toiled on, knee-deep in slush.
Happily, the St. Lawrence was open. They found an old wooden canoe by
the shore, embarked, and reached Montreal after a journey of four weeks.

Dablon descended to Quebec. There was long and anxious counsel in the
chambers of Fort St. Louis. The Jesuits had information that, if the
demands of the Onondagas were rejected, they would join the Mohawks to
destroy Canada. But why were they so eager for a colony of Frenchmen?
Did they want them as hostages, that they might attack the Hurons and
Algonquins without risk of French interference; or would they massacre
them, and then, like tigers mad with the taste of blood, turn upon the
helpless settlements of the St. Lawrence? An abyss yawned on either
hand. Lauson, the governor, was in an agony of indecision, but at length
declared for the lesser and remoter peril, and gave his voice for the
colony. The Jesuits were of the same mind, though it was they, and not
he, who must bear the brunt of danger. “The blood of the martyrs is
the seed of the Church,” said one of them, “and, if we die by the
fires of the Iroquois, we shall have won eternal life by snatching souls
from the fires of Hell.”

Preparation was begun at once. The expense fell on the Jesuits, and the
outfit is said to have cost them seven thousand livres,--a heavy sum
for Canada at that day. A pious gentleman, Zachary Du Puys, major of
the fort of Quebec, joined the expedition with ten soldiers; and between
thirty and forty other Frenchmen also enrolled themselves, impelled by
devotion or destitution. Four Jesuits, Le Mercier, the superior, with
Dablon, Menard, and Frémin, besides two lay brothers of the order,
formed, as it were, the pivot of the enterprise. The governor made
them the grant of a hundred square leagues of land in the heart of the
Iroquois country,--a preposterous act, which, had the Iroquois known it,
would have rekindled the war; but Lauson had a mania for landgrants,
and was himself the proprietor of vast domains which he could have
occupied only at the cost of his scalp.

Embarked in two large boats and followed by twelve canoes filled with
Hurons, Onondagas, and a few Senecas lately arrived, they set out on
the 17th of May “to attack the demons,” as Le Mercier writes, “in
their very stronghold.” With shouts, tears, and benedictions, priests,
soldiers, and inhabitants waved farewell from the strand. They passed
the bare steeps of Cape Diamond and the mission-house nestled beneath
the heights of Sillery, and vanished from the anxious eyes that watched
the last gleam of their receding oars. *

Meanwhile three hundred Mohawk warriors had taken the warpath, bent
on killing or kidnapping the Hurons of Orleans. When they heard of the
departure of the colonists for Onondaga, their rage was unbounded; for
not only were they full of jealousy towards their Onondaga confederates,
but they had hitherto derived great profit from the

     *  Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettres, 1656. Le Mercier,
     Relation, 1657 chap. iv. Chaulmer, Nouveau Monde, II. 265,
     322, 319.

control which their local position gave them over the traffic between
this tribe and the Dutch of the Hudson, upon whom the Onondagas, in
common with all the upper Iroquois, had been dependent for their guns,
hatchets, scalping-knives, beads, blankets, and brandy. These supplies
would now be furnished by the French, and the Mohawk speculators saw
their occupation gone. Nevertheless, they had just made peace with the
French, and, for the moment, were not quite in the mood to break it. To
wreak their spite, they took a middle course, crouched in ambush among
the bushes at Point St. Croix, ten or twelve leagues above Quebec,
allowed the boats bearing the French to pass unmolested, and fired a
volley at the canoes in the rear, filled with Onondagas, Senecas, and
Hurons. Then they fell upon them with a yell, and, after wounding a lay
brother of the Jesuits who was among them, flogged and bound such of
the Indians as they could seize. The astonished Onondagas protested and
threatened; whereupon the Mohawks feigned great surprise, declared that
they had mistaken them for Hurons, called them brothers, and suffered
the whole party to escape without further injury. *

The three hundred maurauders now paddled their large canoes of elm-bark
stealthily down the current, passed Quebec undiscovered in the dark
night of the 19th of May, landed in early morning on the island of
Orleans, and ambushed

     *  Compare Marie de l'Incarnation, Lettre 14 Aout, 1656, Le
     Jeune. Relation, 1657, 9.

themselves to surprise the Hurons as they came to labor in their
cornfields. They were tolerably successful, killed six, and captured
more than eighty, the rest taking refuge in their fort, where the
Mohawks dared not attack them.

At noon, the French on the rock of Quebec saw forty canoes approaching
from the island of Orleans, and defiling, with insolent parade, in front
of the town, all crowded with the Mohawks and their prisoners, among
whom were a great number of Huron girls. Their captors, as they passed,
forced them to sing and dance. The Hurons were the allies, or rather the
wards of the French, who were in every way pledged to protect them. Yet
the cannon of Fort St. Louis were silent, and the crowd stood gaping in
bewilderment and fright. Had an attack been made, nothing but a complete
success and the capture of many prisoners to serve as hostages could
have prevented the enraged Mohawks from taking their revenge on the
Onondaga colonists. The emergency demanded a prompt and clear-sighted
soldier. The governor, Lauson, was a gray-haired civilian, who, however
enterprising as a speculator in wild lands, was in no way matched to the
desperate crisis of the hour. Some of the Mohawks landed above and below
the town, and plundered the houses from which the scared inhabitants had
fled. Not a soldier stirred and not a gun was fired. The French, bullied
by a horde of naked savages, became an object of contempt to their own

The Mohawks carried their prisoners home, burned six of them, and
adopted or rather enslaved the rest. *

Meanwhile the Onondaga colonists pursued their perilous way. At Montreal
they exchanged their heavy boats for canoes, and resumed their journey
with a flotilla of twenty of these sylvan vessels. A few days after, the
Indians of the party had the satisfaction of pillaging a small band of
Mohawk hunters, in vicarious reprisal for their own wrongs. On the 26th
of June, as they neared Lake Ontario, they heard a loud and lamentable
voice from the edge of the forest; whereupon, having beaten their drum
to show that they were Frenchmen, they beheld a spectral figure, lean
and covered with scars, which proved to be a pious Huron, one Joachim
Ondakout, captured by the Mohawks in their descent on the island of
Orleans, five or six weeks before. They had carried him to their village
and begun to torture him; after which they tied him fast and lay down
to sleep, thinking to resume their pleasure on the morrow. His cuts and
burns being only on the surface, he had the good fortune to free himself
from his bonds, and, naked as he was, to escape to the woods. He
held his course northwestward, through regions even now a wilderness,
gathered wild strawberries to sustain life, and, in fifteen days,
reached the St. Lawrence, nearly dead with exhaustion. The Frenchmen
gave him food and a canoe, and the living skeleton paddled with a light
heart for Quebec.

The colonists themselves soon began to suffer

     *  See Perrot Mœurs des Sauvages, 106.

from hunger. Their fishing failed on Lake Ontario and they were forced
to content themselves with cranberries of the last year, gathered in
the meadows. Of their Indians, all but five deserted them. The Father
Superior fell ill, and when they reached the mouth of the Oswego many of
the starving Frenchmen had completely lost heart. Weary and faint, they
dragged their canoes up the rapids, when suddenly they were cheered
by the sight of a stranger canoe swiftly descending the current. The
Onondagas, aware of their approach, had sent it to meet them, laden with
Indian corn and fresh salmon. Two more canoes followed, freighted like
the first; and now all was abundance till they reached their journey’s
end, the Lake of Onondaga. It lay before them in the July sun, a
glittering mirror, framed in forest verdure.

They knew that Çhaumonot with a crowd of Indians was awaiting them at
a spot on the margin of the water, which he and Dablon had chosen as
the site of their settlement. Landing on the strand, they fired, to give
notice of their approach, five small cannon which they had brought in
their canoes. Waves, woods, and hills resounded with the thunder of
their miniature artillery. Then reembarking, they advanced in order,
four canoes abreast, towards the destined spot. In front floated their
banner of white silk, embroidered in large letters with the name of
Jesus. Here were Du Puys and his soldiers, with the picturesque uniforms
and quaint weapons of their time; Le Mercier and his Jesuits in robes
of black; hunters and bush-rangers; Indians painted and feathered for
a festal day. As they neared the place where a spring bubbling from the
hillside is still known as the “Jesuits’ Well,” they saw the edge
of the forest dark with the muster of savages whose yells of welcome
answered the salvo of their guns. Happily for them, a flood of summer
rain saved them from the harangues of the Onondaga orators, and forced
white men and red alike to seek such shelter as they could find. Their
hosts, with hospitable intent, would fain have sung and danced all
night; but the Frenchmen pleaded fatigue, and the courteous savages,
squatting around their tents, chanted in monotonous tones to lull them
to sleep. In the morning they woke refreshed, sang _Te Deum_, reared an
altar, and, with a solemn mass, took possession of the country in the
name of Jesus. *

Three things, which they saw or heard of in their new home, excited
their astonishment. The first was the vast flight of wild pigeons which
in spring darkened the air around the Lake of Onondaga; the second was
the salt springs of Salina; the third was the rattlesnakes, which Le
Mercier describes with excellent precision, adding that, as he learns
from the Indians, their tails are good for toothache and their flesh for
fever. These reptiles, for reasons best known to themselves, haunted
the neighborhood of the salt-springs, but did not intrude their presence
into the abode of the French.

On the 17th of July, Le Mercier and Chamnonot,

     *  Le Mercier, Relation, 1657, 14.

escorted by a file of soldiers, set out for Onondaga, scarcely five
leagues distant. They followed the Indian trail, under the leafy arches
of the woods, by hill and hollow, still swamp and gurgling brook, till
through the opening foliage they saw the Iroquois capital, compassed
with cornfields and girt with its rugged palisade. As the Jesuits, like
black spectres, issued from the shadows of the forest, followed by the
plumed soldiers with shouldered arquebuses, the red-skinned population
swarmed out like bees, and they defiled to the town through gazing and
admiring throngs. All conspired to welcome them. Feast followed feast
throughout the afternoon, till, what with harangues and songs, bear’s
meat, beaver-tails, and venison, beans, corn, and grease, they were
wellnigh killed with kindness. “If, after this, they murder us,”
writes Le Mercier, “it will be from fickleness, not premeditated
treachery.” But the Jesuits, it seems, had not sounded the depths of
Iroquois dissimulation. *

There was one exception to the real or pretended joy. Some Mohawks were
in the town, and their orator was insolent and sarcastic; but the ready
tongue of Chaumonot turned the laugh against him and put him to shame.

Here burned the council fire of the Iroquois, and at this very time the
deputies of the five tribes were assembling. The session opened on the

     * The Jesuits were afterwards told by Hurons, captive among
     the Mohawks and the Onondagas, that, from the first, it was
     intended to massacre the French as soon as their presence
     had attracted the remnant of the Hurons of Orleans into the
     power of the Onondagas. Lettre du P Ragueneau au R. P.
     Provincial, 31 Août, 1658.

In the great council house, on the earthen floor and the broad platforms
beneath the smoke-begrimed concave of the bark roof, stood, sat, or
squatted, the wisdom and valor of the confederacy; Mohawks, Oneidas,
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas; sachems, counsellors, orators, warriors
fresh from Erie victories; tall, stalwart figures, limbed like Grecian

The pressing business of the council over, it was Chaumonot’s turn to
speak. But, first, all the Frenchmen, kneeling in a row, with clasped
hands sang the _Veni Creator_, amid the silent admiration of the
auditors. Then Chaumonot rose, with an immense wampum-belt in his hand.

“It is not trade that brings us here. Do you think that your beaver
skins can pay us for all our toils and dangers? Keep them, if you like;
or, if any fall into our hands, we shall use them only for your service.
We seek not the things that perish. It is for the Faith that we have
left our homes to live in your hovels of bark, and eat food which the
beasts of our country would scarcely touch. We are the messengers whom
God has sent to tell you that his Son became a man for the love of you;
that this man, the Son of God, is the prince and master of men; that he
has prepared in heaven eternal joys for those who obey him, and kindled
the fires of hell for those who will not receive his word. If you reject
it, whoever you are,--Onondaga, Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, or Oneida,--know
that Jesus Christ, who inspires my heart and my voice, will plunge
you one day into hell. Avert this ruin; be not the authors of your own
destruction; accept the truth; listen to the voice of the Omnipotent.”

Such, in brief, was the pith of the father’s exhortation. As he spoke
Indian like a native, and as his voice and gestures answered to his
words, we may believe what Le Mercier tells us, that his hearers
listened with mingled wonder, admiration, and terror. The work was well
begun. The Jesuits struck while the iron was hot, built a small chapel
for the mass, installed themselves in the town, and preached and
catechised from morning till night.

The Frenchmen at the lake were not idle. The chosen site of their
settlement was the crown of a hill commanding a broad view of waters and
forests. The axemen fell to their work, and a ghastly wound soon gaped
in the green bosom of the woodland. Here, among the stumps and prostrate
trees of the unsightly clearing, the blacksmith built his forge, saw and
hammer plied their trade; palisades were shaped and beams squared, in
spite of heat, mosquitoes, and fever. At one time twenty men were ill,
and lay gasping under a wretched shed of bark; but they all recovered,
and the work went on till at length a capacious house, large enough to
hold the whole colony, rose above the ruin of the forest. A palisade was
set around it, and the Mission of Saint Mary of Gannentaa * was begun.

France and the Faith were intrenched on the Lake of Onondaga. How long
would they remain

     *  Gannentaa or Ganuntaah is still the Iroquois name for
     Lake Onondaga. According to Morgan, it means “Material for
     Council Fire.”

there? The future alone could tell. The mission, it must not be
forgotten, had a double scope, half ecclesiastical, half political. The
Jesuits had essayed a fearful task,--to convert the Iroquois to God and
to the king, thwart the Dutch heretics of the Hudson, save souls from
hell, avert ruin from Canada, and thus raise their order to a place of
honor and influence both hard earned and well earned. The mission at
Lake Onondaga was but a base of operations. Long before they were lodged
and fortified here, Chaumonot and Ménard set out for the Cayugas,
whence the former proceeded to the Senecas, the most numerous, and
powerful of the five confederate nations; and in the following spring
another mission was begun among the Oneidas. Their reception was
not unfriendly; but such was the reticence and dissimulation of these
inscrutable savages, that it was impossible to foretell results. The
women proved, as might be expected, far more impressible than the men;
and in them the fathers placed great hope; since in this, the most
savage people of the continent, women held a degree of political
influence never perhaps equalled in any civilized nation. *

     *  Women, among the Iroquois, had a council of their own,
     which, according to Lafitau, who knew this people well, had
     the initiative in discussion, subjects presented by them
     being settled in the council of chiefs and elders. In this
     latter council the women had an orator, often of their own
     sex, to represent them. The matrons had a leading voice in
     determining the succession of chiefs. There were also female
     chiefs, one of whom, with her attendants, came to Quebec
     with an embassy in 1655 (Marie de l’Incarnation). In the
     torture of prisoners, great deference was paid to the
     judgment of the women, who, says Champlain, were thought
     more skilful and subtle than the men.

     The learned Lafitau, whose book appeared in 1724, dwells at
     length on the resemblance of the Iroquois to the ancient
     Lycians, among whom, according to Grecian writers, women
     were in the ascendant. “Gynecocracy, or the rule of women,”
     continues Lafitau, “which was the foundation of the Lycian
     government, was probably common in early times to nearly all
     the barbarous people of Greece” Mœurs des Sauvages, I. 460.

But while infants were baptized and squaws converted, the crosses of the
mission were many and great. The devil bestirred himself with more than
his ordinary activity; “for,” as one of the fathers writes, “when
in sundry nations of the earth men are rising up in strife against us
(the Jesuits), then how much more the demons, on whom we continually
wage war!” It was these infernal sprites, as the priests believed, who
engendered suspicions and calumnies in the dark and superstitious minds
of the Iroquois, and prompted them in dreams to destroy the apostles of
the faith. Whether the foe was of earth or hell, the Jesuits were like
those who tread the lava-crust that palpitates with the throes of
the coming eruption, while the molten death beneath their feet glares
white-hot through a thousand crevices. Yet, with a sublime enthusiasm
and a glorious constancy, they toiled and they hoped, though the skies
around were black with portent.

In the year in which the colony at Onondaga was begun, the Mohawks
murdered the Jesuit Garreau, on his way up the Ottawa. In the following
spring, a hundred Mohawk warriors came to Quebec, to carry more of the
Hurons into slavery, though the remnant of that unhappy people, since
the catastrophe of the last year, had sought safety in a palisaded camp
within the limits of the French town, and immediately under the ramparts
of Fort St. Louis. Here, one might think, they would have been safe;
but Charny, son and successor of Lauson, seems to have been even more
imbecile than his father, and listened meekly to the threats of the
insolent strangers who told him that unless he abandoned the Hurons to
their mercy, both they and the French should feel the weight of Mohawk
tomahawks. They demanded further, that the French should give them boats
to carry their prisoners; but, as there were none at hand, this last
humiliation was spared. The Mohawks were forced to make canoes, in which
they carried off as many as possible of their victims.

When the Onondagas learned this last exploit of their rivals, their
jealousy knew no bounds, and a troop of them descended to Quebec to
claim their share in the human plunder. Deserted by the French, the
despairing Hurons abandoned themselves to their fate, and about fifty of
those whom the Mohawks had left obeyed the behest of their tyrants
and embarked for Onondaga. They reached Montreal in July, and thence
proceeded towards their destination in company with the Onondaga
warriors. The Jesuit Ragueneau, bound also for Onondaga, joined them.
Five leagues above Montreal, the warriors left him behind; but he
found an old canoe on the bank, in which, after abandoning most of his
baggage, he contrived to follow with two or three Frenchmen who were
with him. There was a rumor that a hundred Mohawk warriors were lying in
wait among the Thousand Islands, to plunder the Onondagas of their Huron
prisoners. It proved a false report. A speedier catastrophe awaited
these unfortunates.

Towards evening on the 3d of August, after the party had landed to
encamp, an Onondaga chief made advances to a Christian Huron girl, as
he had already done at every encampment since leaving Montreal. Being
repulsed for the fourth time, he split her head with his tomahawk.
It was the beginning of a massacre. The Onondagas rose upon their
prisoners, killed seven men, all Christians, before the eyes of the
horrified Jesuit, and plundered the rest of all they had. When Ragueneau
protested, they told him with insolent mockery that they were acting by
direction of the governor and the superior of the Jesuits, The priest
himself was secretly warned that he was to be killed during the night;
and he was surprised in the morning to find himself alive. * On reaching
Onondaga, some of the Christian captives were burned, including several
women and their infant children. **

The confederacy was a hornet’s nest, buzzing with preparation, and
fast pouring out its wrathful swarms. The indomitable Le Moyne had gone
again to the Mohawks, whence he wrote that two hundred of them had taken
the war-path against the Algonquins of Canada; and, a little later, that
all were gone but women, children, and old men. A great

     * Lettre de Ragueneau au R. P. Provincial, 9 Août, 1657
     (Rel., 1657).

     ** Ibid., 21 Août, 1658 (Rel., 1658).

war-party of twelve hundred Iroquois from all the five cantons was to
advance into Canada in the direction of the Ottawa. The settlements on
the St. Lawrence were infested with prowling warriors, who killed the
Indian allies of the French, and plundered the French themselves, whom
they treated with an insufferable insolence; for they felt themselves
masters of the situation, and knew that the Onondaga colony was in their
power. Near Montreal they killed three Frenchmen. “They approach like
foxes,” writes a Jesuit, “attack like lions, and disappear like
birds.” Charny, fortunately, had resigned the government in despair,
in order to turn priest, and the brave soldier Aillebout had taken
his place. He caused twelve of the Iroquois to be seized and held as
hostages. This seemed to increase their fury. An embassy came to Quebec
and demanded the release of the hostages, but were met with a sharp
reproof and a flat refusal.

At the mission on Lake Onondaga the crisis was drawing near. The
unbridled young warriors, whose capricious lawlessness often set at
naught the monitions of their crafty elders, killed wantonly at various
times thirteen Christian Hurons, captives at Onondaga. Ominous reports
reached the ears of the colonists. They heard of a secret council at
which their death was decreed. Again, they heard that they were to be
surprised and captured, that the Iroquois in force were then to descend
upon Canada, lay waste the outlying settlements, and torture them, the
colonists, in sight of their countrymen, by which they hoped to extort
what terms they pleased. At length, a dying Onondaga, recently converted
and baptized, confirmed the rumors, and revealed the whole plot.

It was to take effect before the spring opened; but the hostages in
the hands of Aillebout embarrassed the conspirators and caused delay.
Messengers were sent in haste to call in the priests from the detached
missions, and all the colonists, fifty-three in number, were soon
gathered at their fortified house on the lake. Their situation was
frightful. Fate hung over them by a hair, and escape seemed hopeless. Of
Du Puys’s ten soldiers, nine wished to desert, but the attempt would
have been fatal. A throng of Onondaga warriors were day and night on the
watch, bivouacked around the house. Some of them had built their huts of
bark before the gate, and here, with calm, impassive faces, they lounged
and smoked their pipes; or, wrapped in their blankets, strolled about
the yards and outhouses, attentive to all that passed. Their behavior
was very friendly. The Jesuits, themselves adepts in dissimulation,
were amazed at the depth of their duplicity; for the conviction had been
forced upon them that some of the chiefs had nursed their treachery from
the first. In this extremity Du Puys and the Jesuits showed an admirable
coolness, and among them devised a plan of escape, critical and full of
doubt, but not devoid of hope.

First, they must provide means of transportation; next, they must
contrive to use them undis covered. They had eight canoes, all of which
combined would not hold half their company. Over the mission-house was a
large loft or garret, and here the carpenters were secretly set at work
to construct two large and light flat-boats, each capable of carrying
fifteen men. The task was soon finished. The most difficult part of
their plan remained.

There was a beastly superstition prevalent among the Hurons, the
Iroquois, and other tribes. It consisted of a “medicine” or mystic
feast, in which it was essential that the guests should devour every
thing set before them, however inordinate in quantity, unless absolved
from duty by the person in whose behalf the solemnity was ordained;
he, on his part, taking no share in the banquet. So grave was the
obligation, and so strenuously did the guests fulfil it, that even their
ostrich digestion was sometimes ruined past redemption by the excess
of this benevolent gluttony. These _festins à manger tout_ had been
frequently denounced as diabolical by the Jesuits, during their mission
among the Hurons; but now, with a pliancy of conscience as excusable in
this case as in any other, they resolved to set aside their scruples,
although, judged from their point of view, they were exceedingly well

Among the French was a young man who had been adopted by an Iroquois
chief, and who spoke the language fluently. He now told his Indian
father that it had been revealed to him in a dream that he would soon
die unless the spirits were appeased by one of these magic feasts.
Dreams were the oracles of the Iroquois, and woe to those who slighted
them. A day was named for the sacred festivity. The fathers killed their
hogs to meet, the occasion, and, that nothing might be wanting,
they ransacked their stores for all that might give piquancy to the
entertainment. It took place in the evening of the 20th of March,
apparently in a large enclosure outside the palisade surrounding the
mission-house. Here, while blazing fires or glaring pine-knots shed
their glow on the wild assemblage, Frenchmen and Iroquois joined in
the dance, or vied with each other in games of agility and skill. The
politic fathers offered prizes to the winners, and the Indians entered
with zest into the sport, the better, perhaps, to hide their treachery
and hoodwink their intended victims; for they little suspected that a
subtlety, deeper this time than their own, was at work to countermine
them. Here, too, were the French musicians; and drum, trumpet, and
cymbal lent their clangor to the din of shouts and laughter. Thus the
evening wore on, till at length the serious labors of the feast began.
The kettles were brought in, and their steaming contents ladled into
the wooden bowls which each provident guest had brought with him. Seated
gravely in a ring, they fell to their work. It was a point of high
conscience not to flinch from duty on these solemn occasions; and though
they might burn the young man to-morrow, they would gorge themselves
like vultures in his behoof to-day.

Meantime, while the musicians strained their lungs and their arms to
drown all other sounds, a band of anxious Frenchmen, in the darkness
of the cloudy night, with cautious tread and bated breath, carried the
boats from the rear of the mission-house down to the border of the lake.
It was near eleven o’clock. The miserable guests were choking with
repletion. They prayed the young Frenchman to dispense them from further
surfeit. “Will you suffer me to die?” he asked, in piteous tones.
They bent to their task again, but Nature soon reached her utmost
limit; and they sat helpless as a conventicle of gorged turkey-buzzards,
without the power possessed by those unseemly birds to rid themselves
of the burden. “That will do,” said the young man; “you have eaten
enough; my life is saved. Now you can sleep till we come in the morning
to waken you for prayers.” * And one of his companions played soft
airs on a violin to lull them to repose. Soon all were asleep, or in
a lethargy akin to sleep. The few remaining Frenchmen now silently
withdrew and cautiously descended to the shore, where their comrades,
already embarked, lay on their oars anxiously awaiting them. Snow was
falling fast as they pushed out upon the murky waters. The ice of the
winter had broken up, but recent frosts had glazed the surface with a
thin crust. The two boats led the way, and the canoes followed in their
wake, while men in the bows of the foremost boat broke the ice with
clubs as they advanced. They reached

     *  Lettre de Marie de l'Incarnation a son fils, 4 Octobre,

the outlet and rowed swiftly down the dark current of the Oswego.
When day broke, Lake Onondaga was far behind, and around them was the
leafless, lifeless forest.

When the Indians woke in the morning, dull and stupefied from their
nightmare slumbers, they were astonished at the silence that reigned
in the mission-house. They looked through the palisade. Nothing was
stirring but a bevy of hens clucking and scratching in the snow, and
one or two dogs imprisoned in the house and barking to be set free The
Indians waited for some time, then climbed the palisade, burst in the
doors, and found the house empty. Their amazement was unbounded. How,
without canoes, could the French have escaped by water? and how else
could they escape? The snow which had fallen during the night completely
hid their footsteps. A superstitious awe seized the Iroquois. They
thought that the “black-robes” and their flock had flown off through
the air.

Meanwhile the fugitives pushed their flight with the energy of terror,
passed in safety the rapids of the Oswego, crossed Lake Ontario, and
descended the St. Lawrence with the loss of three men drowned in the
rapids. On the 3d of April they reached Montreal, and on the 23d arrived
at Quebec. They had saved their lives; but the mission of Onondaga was a
miserable failure. *

     *  On the Onondaga mission, the authorities are Marie de

     Lettres Historiques, and Relations des Jésuites, 1657 and
     1658, where the story is told at length, accompanied with
     several interesting letters and journals. Chaumonok in his
     Autobiographie, speaks only of the

     Seneca mission, and refers to the Relations for the rest.
     Dollier de Casson, in his Histoire du Montréal, mentions
     the arrival of the fugitives at that place, the sight of
     which, he adds complacently, cured them of their fright. The
     Journal des Supérieurs des Jésuites chronicles with its
     usual brevity the ruin of the mission and the return of the
     party to Quebec.

     The Jesuits, in their account, say nothing of the
     superstitious character of the feast. It is Marie de
     l’Incarnation who lets out the secret. The Jesuit
     Charlevoix, much to his credit, repeats the story without

     The Sulpitian ’Allet, in a memoir printed in the Morale
     Pratique des Jésuites, says that the French placed effigies
     of soldiers, made of straw, in the fort, to deceive the
     Indians. He adds that the Jesuits found very little sympathy
     at Quebec.




_Dauversière.--Mance and Bourgeoys.--Miracle.--A Pious Defaulter.--
Jesuit and Sulpitian.--Montreal in 1659.--The Hospital Nuns.--The Nuns
and the Iroquois.--More Miracles.--The Murdered Priests.--Brigeac and
Closse.--Soldiers of the Holy Family._

|On the 2d of July, 1659, the ship “St. André” lay in the harbor of
Rochelle, crowded with passengers for Canada. She had served two years
as a hospital for marines, and was infected with a contagious fever.
Including the crew, some two hundred persons were on board, more
than half of whom were bound for Montreal. Most of these were sturdy
laborers, artisans, peasants, and soldiers, together with a troop of
young women, their present or future partners; a portion of the company
set down on the old record as “sixty virtuous men and thirty-two
pious girls.” There were two priests also, Vignal and Le Maître, both
destined to a speedy death at the hands of the Iroquois. But the most
conspicuous among these passengers for Montreal were two groups of women
in the habit of nuns, under the direction of Marguerite Bourgeoys and
Jeanne Mance. Marguerite Bourgeoys, whose kind, womanly face bespoke her
fitness for the task, was foundress of the school for female children at
Montreal; her companion, a tall, austere figure, worn with suffering and
care, was directress of the hospital. Both had returned to France for
aid, and were now on their way back, each with three recruits, three
being the mystic number, as a type of the Holy Family, to whose worship
they were especially devoted.

Amid the bustle of departure, the shouts of sailors, the rattling of
cordage, the flapping of sails, the tears and the embracings, an elderly
man, with heavy plebeian features, sallow with disease, and in a sober,
half-clerical dress, approached Mademoiselle Mance and her three
nuns, and, turning his eyes to heaven, spread his hands over them
in benediction. It was Le Boyer de la Dauversière, founder of the
sisterhood of St. Joseph, to which the three nuns belonged. “Now, O
Lord,” he exclaimed, with the look of one whose mission on earth is
fulfilled, “permit thou thy servant to depart in peace!”

Sister Maillet, who had charge of the meagre treasury of the community,
thought that something more than a blessing was due from him; and
asked where she should apply for payment of the interest of the twenty
thousand livres which Mademoiselle Mance had placed in his hands for
investment. Dauversière changed countenance, and replied, with a
troubled voice: “My daughter, God will provide for you. Place your
trust in

Him.” * He was bankrupt, and had used the money of the sisterhood to
pay a debt of his own, leaving the nuns penniless.

I have related in another place ** how an association of devotees,
inspired, as they supposed, from heaven, had undertaken to found a
religious colony at Montreal in honor of the Holy Family. The essentials
of the proposed establishment were to be a seminary of priests dedicated
to the Virgin, a hospital to Saint Joseph, and a school to the Infant
Jesus; while a settlement was to be formed around them simply for
their defence and maintenance. This pious purpose had in part been

It was seventeen years since Mademoiselle Mance had begun her labors in
honor of Saint Joseph. Marguerite Bourgeoys had entered upon hers more
recently; yet even then the attempt was premature, for she found no
white children to teach. In time, however, this want was supplied,
and she opened her school in a stable, which answered to the stable of
Bethlehem, lodging with her pupils in the loft, and instructing them in
Roman Catholic Christianity, with such rudiments of mundane knowledge as
she and her advisers thought fit to impart.

Mademoiselle Mance found no lack of hospital work, for blood and blows
were rife at Montreal, where the woods were full of Iroquois, and not a
moment was without its peril. Though years

     *  Faillon, Vie de M’lle Mance, I. 172. This volume is
     illustrated with a portrait of Dauversière.

     **  The Jesuits in North America.

began to tell upon her, she toiled patiently at her dreary task, till,
in the winter of 1657, she fell on the ice of the St. Lawrence, broke
her right arm, and dislocated the wrist. Bouchard, the surgeon of
Montreal, set the broken bones, but did not discover the dislocation.
The arm in consequence became totally useless, and her health wasted
away under incessant and violent pain. Maisonneuve, the civil and
military chief of the settlement, advised her to go to France for
assistance in the work to which she was no longer equal; and Marguerite
Bourgeoys, whose pupils, white and red, had greatly multiplied, resolved
to go with her for a similar object. They set out in September, 1658,
landed at Rochelle, and went thence to Paris. Here they repaired to the
seminary of St. Sulpice; for the priests of this community were joined
with them in the work at Montreal, of which they were afterwards to
become the feudal proprietors.

Now ensued a wonderful event, if we may trust the evidence of sundry
devout persons. Olier, the founder of St. Sulpice, had lately died, and
the two pilgrims would fain pay their homage to his heart, which the
priests of his community kept as a precious relic, enclosed in a leaden
box. The box was brought, when the thought inspired Mademoiselle Mance
to try its miraculous efficacy and invoke the intercession of the
departed founder. She did so, touching her disabled arm gently with the
leaden casket. Instantly a grateful warmth pervaded the shrivelled limb,
and from that hour its use was restored. It is true that the Jesuits
ventured to doubt the Sulpitian miracle, and even to ridicule it; but
the Sulpitians will show to this day the attestation of Mademoiselle
Mance herself, written with the fingers once paralyzed and powerless.
* Nevertheless, the cure was not so thorough as to permit her again to
take charge of her patients.

Her next care was to visit Madame de Bullion, a devout lady of great
wealth, who was usually designated at Montreal as “the unknown
benefactress,” because, though her charities were the mainstay of the
feeble colony, and though the source from which they proceeded was well
known, she affected, in the interest of humility, the greatest secrecy,
and required those who profited by her gifts to pretend ignorance whence
they came. Overflowing with zeal for the pious enterprise, she received
her visitor with enthusiasm, lent an open ear to her recital, responded
graciously to her appeal for aid, and paid over to her the sum,
munificent at that day, of twenty-two thousand francs. Thus far
successful, Mademoiselle Mance repaired to the town of La Flèche to
visit Le Royer de la Dauversière.

It was this wretched fanatic who, through visions and revelations,
had first conceived the plan of a hospital in honor of Saint Joseph at
Montreal. ** He had found in Mademoiselle Mance a zealous and efficient
pioneer; but the execution of his scheme required a community of
hospital nuns, and

     * For an account of this miracle, written in perfect good
     faith and supported by various attestations, see Faillon,
     Vie de M’lle Mance, chap. iv.

     **  See The Jesuits in North America.

therefore he had labored for the last eighteen years to form one at La
Flèche, meaning to despatch its members in due time to Canada. The time
at length was come. Three of the nuns were chosen, Sisters Brésoles,
Mace, and Maillet, and sent under the escort of certain pious
gentlemen to Rochelle, Their exit from La Flèche was not without
its difficulties. Dauversière was in ill odor, not only from the
multiplicity of his debts, but because, in his character of agent of the
association of Montreal, he had at various times sent thither those whom
his biographer describes as "the most virtuous girls to be found at La
Flèche,” intoxicating them with religious excitement, and shipping
them for the New World against the will of their parents. It was noised
through the town that he had kidnapped and sold them; and now the report
spread abroad that he was about to crown his iniquity by luring away
three young nuns. A mob gathered at the convent gate, and the escort
were forced to draw their swords to open a way for the terrified

Of the twenty-two thousand francs which she had received, Mademoiselle
Mance kept two thousand for immediate needs, and confided the rest to
the hands of Dauversière, who, hard pressed by his creditors, used it
to pay one of his debts; and then, to his horror, found himself unable
to replace it. Racked by the gout and tormented by remorse, he betook
himself to his bed in a state of body and mind truly pitiable. One
of the miracles, so frequent in the early annals of Montreal, was
vouchsafed in answer to his prayer, and he was enabled to journey to
Rochelle and bid farewell to his nuns. It was but a brief respite; he
returned home to become the prey of a host of maladies, and to die at
last a lingering and painful death.

While Mademoiselle Mance was gaining recruits in La Flèche, Marguerite
Bourgeoys was no less successful in her native town of Troyes, and she
rejoined her companions at Rochelle, accompanied by Sisters Châtel,
Crolo, and Raisin, her destined assistants in the school at Montreal.
Meanwhile, the Sulpitians and others interested in the pious enterprise,
had spared no effort to gather men to strengthen the colony, and young
women to serve as their wives; and all were now mustered at Rochelle,
waiting for embarkation. Their waiting was a long one. Laval, bishop
at Quebec, was allied to the Jesuits, and looked on the colonists of
Montreal with more than coldness. Sulpitian writers say that his agents
used every effort to discourage them, and that certain persons at
Rochelle told the master of the ship in which the emigrants were to sail
that they were not to be trusted to pay their passage-money. Hereupon
ensued a delay of more than two months before means could be found to
quiet the scruples of the prudent commander. At length the anchor was
weighed, and the dreary voyage begun.

The woe-begone company, crowded in the filthy and infected ship, were
tossed for two months more on the relentless sea, buffeted by repeated
storms, and wasted by a contagious fever, which attacked nearly all of
them and reduced Mademoiselle Mance to extremity. Eight or ten died and
were dropped overboard, after a prayer from the two priests. At length
land hove in sight; the piny odors of the forest regaled their languid
senses as they sailed up the broad estuary of the St. Lawrence and
anchored under the rock of Quebec.

High aloft, on the brink of the cliff, they saw the _fleur-de-lis_
waving above the fort of St. Louis, and, beyond, the cross on the tower
of the cathedral traced against the sky; the houses of the merchants
on the strand below, and boats and canoes drawn up along the bank. The
bishop and the Jesuits greeted them as coworkers in a holy cause, with
an unction not wholly sincere. Though a unit against heresy, the pious
founders of New France were far from unity among themselves. To the
thinking of the Jesuits, Montreal was a government within a government,
a wheel within a wheel. This rival Sulpitian settlement was, in their
eyes, an element of disorganization adverse to the disciplined harmony
of the Canadian Church, which they would fain have seen, with its focus
at Quebec, radiating light unrefracted to the uttermost parts of the
colony. That is to say, they wished to control it unchecked, through
their ally, the bishop.

The emigrants, then, were received with a studious courtesy, which
veiled but thinly a stiff and persistent opposition. The bishop and
the Jesuits were especially anxious to prevent the La Flèche nuns from
establishing themselves at Montreal, where they would form a separate
community, under Sulpitian influence; and, in place of the newly arrived
sisters, they wished to substitute nuns from the Hôtel Dieu of Quebec,
who would be under their own control. That which most strikes the
non-Catholic reader throughout this affair is the constant reticence and
dissimulation practised, not only between Jesuits and Montrealists, but
among the Montrealists themselves. Their self-devotion, great as it was,
was fairly matched by their disingenuousness. *

All difficulties being overcome, the Montrealists embarked in boats and
ascended the St. Lawrence, leaving Quebec infected with the contagion
they had brought. The journey now made in a single night cost them
fifteen days of hardship and danger. At length they reached their new
home. The little settlement lay before them, still gasping betwixt life
and death, in a puny, precarious infancy. Some forty small, compact
houses were ranged parallel to the river, chiefly along the fine of
what is now St. Paul’s Street. On the left there was a fort, and on a
rising ground at the right a massive windmill of stone, enclosed with
a wall or palisade pierced for musketry, and answering the purpose of
a redoubt or block-house. ** Fields, studded with charred and blackened

     *  See, for example, chapter iv. of Faillon’s Life of
     Mademoiselle Mance. The evidence is unanswerable, the writer
     being the partisan and admirer of most of those whose pieuse
     tromperie, to use the expression of Dollier de Casson, he
     describes in apparent unconsciousness that any body will see
     reason to cavil at it.

     **  Lettre du Vicomte d’Argenson, Gouverneur du Canada, 4
     Août, 1659, MS

between which crops were growing, stretched away to the edges of the
bordering forest; and the green, shaggy back of the mountain towered
over all.

There were at this time a hundred and sixty men at Montreal, about fifty
of whom had families, or at least wives. They greeted the newcomers
with a welcome which, this time, was as sincere as it was warm, and
bestirred themselves with alacrity to provide them with shelter for the
winter. As for the three nuns from La Flèche, a chamber was hastily
made for them over two low rooms which had served as Mademoiselle
Mance’s hospital. This chamber was twenty-five feet square, with four
cells for the nuns, and a closet for stores and clothing, which for the
present was empty, as they had landed in such destitution that they were
forced to sell all their scanty equipment to gain the bare necessaries
of existence. Little could be hoped from the colonists, who were
scarcely less destitute than they. Such was their poverty,--thanks to
Dauversiere’s breach of trust,--that when their clothes were worn out,
they were unable to replace them, and were forced to patch them with
such material as came to hand. Maisonneuve, the governor, and the pious
Madame d’Aillebout, being once on a visit to the hospital, amused
themselves with trying to guess of what stuff the habits of the nuns had
originally been made, and were unable to agree on the point in
question. *

     *  Annales des Hospitalières de Villemarie, par la Sœur
     Morin, a contemporary record, from which Faillon gives long

Their chamber, which they occupied for many years, being hastily built
of illseasoned planks, let in the piercing cold of the Canadian winter
through countless cracks and chinks; and the driving snow sifted through
in such quantities that they were sometimes obliged, the morning after
a storm, to remove it with shovels. Their food would freeze on the table
before them, and their coarse brown bread had to be thawed on the hearth
before they could cut it. These women had been nurtured in ease, if not
in luxury. One of them, Judith de Brésoles, had in her youth, by advice
of her confessor, run away from parents who were devoted to her, and
immured herself in a convent, leaving them in agonies of doubt as to her
fate. She now acted as superior of the little community. One of her nuns
records of her that she had a fervent devotion for the Infant Jesus;
and that, along with many more spiritual graces, he inspired her with so
transcendent a skill in cookery, that “with a small piece of lean pork
and a few herbs she could make soup of a marvellous relish.” * Sister
Macé was charged with the care of the pigs and hens, to whose wants she
attended in person, though she, too, had been delicately bred. In course
of time, the sisterhood was increased by additions from without; though
more than twenty girls who entered the hospital as novices recoiled from
the hardship, and took husbands in the colony. Among

     *  “C’était par son recours à l’Enfant Jésus qu’elle
     trouvait tous ces secrets et d’autres semblables,” writes in
     our own day the excellent annalist, Faillon.

a few who took the vows, Sister Jumeau should not pass unnoticed. Such
was her humility, that, though of a good family and unable to divest
herself of the marks of good breeding, she pretended to be the daughter
of a poor peasant, and persisted in repeating the pious falsehood till
the merchant Le Ber told her flatly that he did not believe her.

The sisters had great need of a man to do the heavy work of the house
and garden, but found no means of hiring one, when an incident, in which
they saw a special providence, excellently supplied the want. There was
a poor colonist named Jouaneaux to whom a piece of land had been given
at some distance from the settlement. Had he built a cabin upon it, his
scalp would soon have paid the forfeit; but, being bold and hardy,
he devised a plan by which he might hope to sleep in safety without
abandoning the farm which was his only possession. Among the stumps of
his clearing there was one hollow with age. Under this he dug a sort
of cave, the entrance of which was a small hole carefully hidden by
brushwood. The hollow stump was easily converted into a chimney; and by
creeping into his burrow at night, or when he saw signs of danger, he
escaped for some time the notice of the Iroquois. But, though he could
dispense with a house, he needed a barn for his hay and corn; and
while he was building one, he fell from the ridge of the roof and was
seriously hurt. He was carried to the Hôtel Dieu, where the nuns
showed him every attention, until, after a long confinement, he at last
recovered. Being of a grateful nature and enthusiastically devout, he
was so touched by the kindness of his benefactors, and so moved by the
spectacle of their piety, that he conceived the wish of devoting his
life to their service. To this end a contract was drawn up, by which he
pledged himself to work for them as long as strength remained; and they,
on their part, agreed to maintain him in sickness or old age.

This stout-hearted retainer proved invaluable; though, had a guard of
soldiers been added, it would have been no more than the case demanded.
Montreal was not palisaded, and at first the hospital was as much
exposed as the rest. The Iroquois would skulk at night among the houses,
like wolves in a camp of sleeping travellers on the prairies; though the
human foe was, of the two, incomparably the bolder, fiercer, and more
bloodthirsty. More than once one of these prowling savages was known to
have crouched all night in a rank growth of wild mustard in the garden
of the nuns, vainly hoping that one of them would come out within reach
of his tomahawk. During summer, a month rarely passed without a fight,
sometimes within sight of their windows. A burst of yells from the
ambushed marksmen, followed by a clatter of musketry, would announce the
opening of the fray, and promise the nuns an addition to their list of
patients. On these occasions they bore themselves according to their
several natures. Sister Morin, who had joined their number three years
after their arrival, relates that Sister Brésoles and she used to run
to the belfry and ring the tocsin to call the inhabitants together.
“From our high station,” she writes, “we could sometimes see the
combat, which terrified us extremely, so that we came down again as soon
as we could, trembling with fright, and thinking that our last hour was
come. When the tocsin sounded, my Sister Maillet would become faint with
excess of fear; and my Sister Macé, as long as the alarm continued,
would remain speechless, in a state pitiable to see. They would both get
into a corner of the rood-loft, before the Holy Sacrament, so as to be
prepared for death; or else go into their cells. As soon as I heard that
the Iroquois were gone, I went to tell them, which comforted them and
seemed to restore them to life. My Sister Brésoles was stronger and
more courageous; her terror, which she could not help, did not prevent
her from attending the sick and receiving the dead and wounded who were
brought in.”

The priests of St. Sulpice, who had assumed the entire spiritual charge
of the settlement, and who were soon to assume its entire temporal
charge also, had for some years no other lodging than a room at the
hospital, adjoining those of the patients. They caused the building
to be fortified with palisades, and the houses of some of the chief
inhabitants were placed near it, for mutual defence. They also built
two fortified houses, called Ste. Marie and St. Gabriel, at the two
extremities of the settlement, and lodged in them a considerable
number of armed men, whom they employed in clearing and cultivating the
surrounding lands, the property of their community. All other outlying
houses were also pierced with loopholes, and fortified as well as the
slender means of their owners would permit. The laborers always carried
their guns to the field, and often had need to use them. A few incidents
will show the state of Montreal and the character of its tenants.

In the autumn of 1657 there was a truce with the Iroquois, under cover
of which three or four of them came to the settlement. Nicolas Godé and
Jean Saint-Père were on the roof of their house, laying thatch; when
one of the visitors aimed his arquebuse at Saint-Père, and brought him
to the ground like a wild turkey from a tree. Now ensued a prodigy;
for the assassins, having cut off his head and carried it home to their
village, were amazed to hear it speak to them in good Iroquois, scold
them for their perfidy, and threaten them with the vengeance of Heaven;
and they continued to hear its voice of admonition even after scalping
it and throwing away the skull. * This story, circulated at Montreal on
the alleged authority of the Indians themselves, found believers among
the most intelligent men of the colony.

Another miracle, which occurred several years later, deserves to be
recorded. Le Maître, one of the two priests who had sailed from France
with Mademoiselle Mance and her nuns, being one day at the fortified
house of St. Gabriel, went out with the laborers, in order to watch
while they were at their work. In view of a possible enemy, he had
girded himself with an earthly sword; but seeing no sign of danger, he
presently took out his breviary, and, while reciting his office with
eyes bent on the page, walked into an ambuscade of Iroquois, who rose
before him with a yell.

He shouted to the laborers, and, drawing his sword, faced the whole
savage crew, in order, probably, to give the men time to snatch their
guns. Afraid to approach, the Iroquois fired and killed him; then rushed
upon the working party, who escaped into the house, after losing several
of their number. The victors cut off the head of the heroic priest, and
tied it in a white handkerchief which they took from a pocket of his
cassock. It is said that on reaching their villages they were astonished
to find the handkerchief without the slightest stain of blood, but
stamped indelibly with the features of its late owner, so plainly marked
that none who had known him could fail to recognize them. * This not
very original miracle, though it found eager credence at Montreal, was
received coolly, like other Montreal miracles, at Quebec; and Sulpitian
writers complain that the bishop, in a long letter which he wrote to the
Pope, made no mention of it whatever.

Le Maître, on the voyage to Canada, had been accompanied by another
priest, Guillaume de Vignal, who met a fate more deplorable than that of
his companion, though unattended by any

     *  This story is told by Sister Morin, Marguerite Bourgeoys,
     and Dollier de Casson, on the authority of one Lavigne, then
     a prisoner among the Iroquois, who declared that he had seen
     the handkerchief the hands of the returning warriors.

recorded miracle. Le Maître had been killed in August. In the October
following, Vignal went with thirteen men, in a flatboat and several
canoes, to Isle à la Pierre, nearly opposite Montreal, to get stone for
the seminary which the priests had recently begun to build. With him was
a pious and valiant gentleman named Claude de Brigeac, who, though but
thirty years of age, had come as a soldier to Montreal, in the hope of
dying in defence of the true church, and thus reaping the reward of a
martyr. Vignal and three or four men had scarcely landed when they were
set upon by a large band of Iroquois who lay among the bushes waiting to
receive them. The rest of the party, who were still in their boats, with
a cowardice rare at Montreal, thought only of saving themselves. Claude
de Brigeac alone leaped ashore and ran to aid his comrades. Vignal was
soon mortally wounded. Brigeac shot the chief dead with his arquebuse,
and then, pistol in hand, held the whole troop for an instant at bay;
but his arm was shattered by a gunshot, and he was seized, along with
Vignal, René Cuillérier, and Jacques Dufresne. Crossing to the main
shore, immediately opposite Montreal, the Iroquois made, after their
custom, a small fort of logs and branches, in which they ensconced
themselves, and then began to dress the wounds of their prisoners.
Seeing that Vignal was unable to make the journey to their villages,
they killed him, divided his flesh, and roasted it for food.

Brigeac and his fellows in misfortune spent a woful night in this den
of wolves; and in the morning their captors, having breakfasted on the
remains of Vignal, took up their homeward march, dragging the Frenchmen
with them. On reaching Oneida, Brigeac was tortured to death with the
customary atrocities. Cuillérier, who was present, declared that they
could wring from him no cry of pain, but that throughout he ceased not
to pray for their conversion. The witness himself expected the same
fate, but an old squaw happily adopted him, and thus saved his life. He
eventually escaped to Albany, and returned to Canada by the circuitous
but comparatively safe route of New York and Boston.

In the following winter, Montreal suffered an irreparable loss in the
death of the brave Major Closse, a man whose intrepid coolness was never
known to fail in the direst emergency. Going to the aid of a party of
laborers attacked by the Iroquois, he was met by a crowd of savages,
eager to kill or capture him. His servant ran off. He snapped a pistol
at the foremost assailant, but it missed fire. His remaining pistol
served him no better, and he was instantly shot down “He died,”
writes Dollier de Casson, “like a brave soldier of Christ and the
king.” Some of his friends once remonstrating with him on the temerity
with which he exposed his life, he replied, “Messieurs, I came here
only to die in the service of God; and if I thought I could not die
here, I would leave this country to fight the Turks, that I might not be
deprived of such a glory.” *

The fortified house of Ste. Marie, belonging to the priests of St.
Sulpice, was the scene of several hot and bloody fights. Here, too,
occurred the following nocturnal adventure. A man named Lavigne, who had
lately returned from captivity among the Iroquois, chancing to rise at
night and look out of the window, saw by the bright moon--fight a number
of naked warriors stealthily gliding round a corner and crouching near
the door, in order to kill the first Frenchman who should go out in
the morning. He silently woke his comrades; and, having the rest of the
night for consultation, they arranged their plan so well, that some of
them, sallying from the rear of the house, came cautiously round upon
the Iroquois, placed them between two fires, and captured them all.

The summer of 1661 was marked by a series of calamities scarcely
paralleled even in the annals of this disastrous epoch. Early in
February, thirteen colonists were surprised and captured; next came
a fight between a large band of laborers and two hundred and sixty
Iroquois; in the following month, ten more Frenchmen were killed or
taken; and thenceforth, till winter closed, the settlement had scarcely
a breathing space. “These hobgoblins,” writes the author of the
_Relation_ of this year, “sometimes appeared at the edge of the woods,
assailing us with abuse; sometimes they glided stealthily into the midst
of the fields, to surprise the men at work; sometimes they approached
the houses, harassing us without ceasing, and, like importunate harpies
or birds of prey, swooping down on us whenever they could take us

Speaking of the disasters of this year, the soldier-priest, Dollier de
Casson, writes: “God, who afflicts the body only for the good of the
soul, made a marvellous use of these calamities and terrors to hold the
people firm in their duty towards Heaven. Vice was then almost unknown
here, and in the midst of war religion flourished on all sides in a
manner very different from what we now see in time of peace.”

The war was, in fact, a war of religion. The small redoubts of logs,
scattered about the skirts of the settlement to serve as points of
defence in case of attack, bore the names of saints, to whose care
they were commended. There was one placed under a higher protection and
called the _Redoubt of the Infant Jesus_. Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the
pious and valiant governor of Montreal, to whom its successful defence
is largely due, resolved, in view of the increasing fury and persistency
of the Iroquois attacks, to form among the inhabitants a military
fraternity, to be called “Soldiers of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary,
and Joseph;” and to this end he issued a proclamation, of which the
following is the characteristic beginning:--

“We, Paul de Chomedey, governor of the island of Montreal and lands
thereon dependent, on information given us from divers quarters that the
Iroquois have formed the design of seizing upon this settlement by
surprise or force, have thought it our duty, seeing that this island is
the property of the Holy Virgin, * to invite and exhort those zealous
for her service to unite together by squads, each of seven persons; and
after choosing a corporal by a plurality of voices, to report themselves
to us for enrolment in our garrison, and, in this capacity, to obey our
orders, to the end that the country may be saved.”

Twenty squads, numbering in all one hundred and forty men, whose names,
appended to the proclamation, may still be seen on the ancient records
of Montreal, answered the appeal and enrolled themselves in the holy

The whole settlement was in a state of religious exaltation. As the
Iroquois were regarded as actual myrmidons of Satan in his malign
warfare against Mary and her divine Son, those who died in fighting them
were held to merit the reward of martyrs, assured of a seat in paradise.

And now it remains to record one of the most heroic feats of arms ever
achieved on this continent. That it may be rated as it merits, it will
be well to glance for a moment at the condition of Canada, under the
portentous cloud of war which constantly overshadowed it. **

     *  This is no figure of speech. The Associates of Montreal,
     after receiving a grant of the island from Jean de Lauson,
     placed it under the protection of the Virgin, and formally
     declared her to be the proprietor of it from that day forth
     for ever.

     **  In all that relates to Montreal, I cannot be
     sufficiently grateful to the Abbé Faillon, the
     indefatigable, patient, conscientious chronicler of its
     early history; an ardent and prejudiced Sulpitian, a priest
     who three centuries ago would have passed for credulous,
     and, withal, a kind-hearted and estimable man. His numerous
     books on his favorite theme, with the vast and heterogeneous
     mass of facts which they embody, are invaluable, provided
     their partisan character be well kept in mind. His recent
     death leaves his principal work unfinished. His Histoire de
     la Colonie Française en Canada--it might more fitly be
     called Histoire du Montréal--is unhappily little more than
     half complete.


_Suffering and Terror.--Francois Hertel.--The Captive Wolf--The
threatened Invasion.--Daulac des Ormeaux.--The Adventurers at the Long
Saut.--The Attack.--A Desperate Defence.--A Final Assault.--The Fort

|Canada had writhed for twenty years, with little respite, under the
scourge of Iroquois war. During a great part of this dark period the
entire French population was less than three thousand. What, then, saved
them from destruction? In the first place, the settlements were grouped
around three fortified posts, Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, which
in time of danger gave asylum to the fugitive inhabitants. Again, their
assailants were continually distracted by other wars, and never, except
at a few spasmodic intervals, were fully in earnest to destroy the
French colony. Canada was indispensable to them. The four upper nations
of the league soon became dependent on her for supplies; and all the
nations alike appear, at a very early period, to have conceived the
policy on which they afterwards distinctly acted, of balancing the rival
settlements of the Hudson and the St. Lawrence, the one against the
other. They would torture, but not kill. It was but rarely that, in fits
of fury, they struck their hatchets at the brain; and thus the bleeding
and gasping colony fingered on in torment.

The seneschal of New France, son of the governor Lauson, was surprised
and killed on the island of Orleans, along with seven companions. About
the same time, the same fate befell the son of Godefroy, one of the
chief inhabitants of Quebec. Outside the fortifications there was no
safety for a moment. A universal terror seized the people. A comet
appeared above Quebec, and they saw in it a herald of destruction.
Their excited imaginations turned natural phenomena into portents and
prodigies. A blazing canoe sailed across the sky; confused cries and
lamentations were heard in the air; and a voice of thunder sounded from
mid-heaven. * The Jesuits despaired for their scattered and persecuted
flocks. “Everywhere,” writes their superior, “we see infants to
be saved for heaven, sick and dying to be baptized, adults to be
instructed, but everywhere we see the Iroquois. They haunt us like
persecuting goblins. They kill our newmade Christians in our arms. If
they meet us on the river, they kill us. If they find us in the huts
of our Indians, they burn us and them together.” ** And he appeals
urgently for troops to destroy them, as a holy work inspired by God, and
needful for his service.

Canada was still a mission, and the influence of

     * Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre, Sept., 1661.

     ** Relation, 1660 (anonymous), 3.

the church was paramount and pervading. At Quebec, as at Montreal, the
war with the Iroquois was regarded as a war with the hosts of Satan.
Of the settlers’ cabins scattered along the shores above and below
Quebec, many were provided with small iron cannon, made probably by
blacksmiths in the colony; but they had also other protectors. In each
was an image of the Virgin or some patron saint, and every morning
the pious settler knelt before the shrine to beg the protection of a
celestial hand in his perilous labors of the forest or the farm.

When, in the summer of 1658, the young Vicomte d’Argenson came to
assume the thankless task of governing the colony, the Iroquois war was
at its height. On the day after his arrival, he was washing his hands
before seating himself at dinner in the hall of the Chateau St. Louis,
when cries of alarm were heard, and he was told that the Iroquois were
close at hand. In fact, they were so near that their war-whoops and
the screams of their victims could plainly be heard. Argenson left his
guests, and, with such a following as he could muster at the moment,
hastened to the rescue; but the assailants were too nimble for him. The
forests, which grew at that time around Quebec, favored them both in
attack and in retreat. After a year or two of experience, he wrote
urgently to the court for troops. He adds that, what with the demands of
the harvest, and the unmilitary character of many of the settlers,
the colony could not furnish more than a hundred men for offensive
operations. A vigorous aggressive war, he insists, is absolutely
necessary, and this not only to save the colony, but to save the only
true faith; “for,” to borrow his own words, “it is this colony
alone which has the honor to be in the communion of the Holy Church.
Everywhere else reigns the doctrine of England or Holland, to which I
can give no other name, because there are as many creeds as there are
subjects who embrace them. They do not care in the least whether the
Iroquois and the other savages of this country have or have not a
knowledge of the true God, or else they are so malicious as to inject
the venom of their errors into souls incapable of distinguishing the
truth of the gospel from the falsehoods of heresy; and hence it is plain
that religion has its sole support in the French colony, and that, if
this colony is in danger, religion is equally in danger.” *

Among the most interesting memorials of the time are two letters,
written by François Hertel, a youth of eighteen, captured at Three
Rivers, and carried to the Mohawk towns in the summer of 1661. He
belonged to one of the best families of Canada, and was the favorite
child of his mother, to whom the second of the two letters is addressed.
The first is to the Jesuit Le Moyne, who had gone to Onondaga, in July
of that year, to effect the release of French prisoners in accordance
with the terms of a truce. ** Both letters were written on birch bark:--

     *  Papiers d’Argenson; Mémoire sur le sujet de la guerre des
     Iroquois, 1659 (1660?). MS.

     **  Journal des Jésuites, 300.

My Reverend Father:--The very day when you left Three Rivers I was
captured, at about three in the afternoon, by four Iroquois of the
Mohawk tribe. I would not have been taken alive, if, to my sorrow, I had
not feared that I was not in a fit state to die. If you came here, my
Father, I could have the happiness of confessing to you; and I do not
think they would do you any harm; and I think that I could return home
with you. I pray you to pity my poor mother, who is in great trouble.
You know, my Father, how fond she is of me. I have heard from a
Frenchman, who was taken at Three Rivers on the 1st of August, that she
is well, and comforts herself with the hope that I shall see you. There
are three of us Frenchmen alive here. I commend myself to your good
prayers, and particularly to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I pray you,
my Father, to say a mass for me. I pray you give my dutiful love to my
poor mother, and console her, if it pleases you.

My Father, I beg your blessing on the hand that writes to you, which has
one of the fingers burned in the bowl of an Indian pipe, to satisfy the
Majesty of God which I have offended. The thumb of the other hand is cut
off; but do not tell my mother of it.

My Father, I pray you to honor me with a word from your hand in reply,
and tell me if you shall come here before winter.

Your most humble and most obedient servant,

François Hertel.

The following is the letter to his mother, sent probably, with the
other, to the charge of Le Moyne:--

My most dear and honored Mother:--I know very well that my capture must
have distressed you very much I ask you to forgive my disobedience.
It is my sins that have placed me where I am. I owe my life to your
prayers, and those of M. de Saint-Quentin, and of my sisters. I hope to
see you again before winter. I pray you to tell the good brethren of
Notre Dame to pray to God and the Holy Virgin for me, my dear mother,
and for you and all my sisters.

Your poor


This, no doubt, was the name by which she had called him familiarly when
a child. And who was this “Fanchon,” this devout and tender son of a
fond mother? New England can answer to her cost. When, twenty-nine years
later, a band of French and Indians issued from the forest and fell upon
the fort and settlement of Salmon Falls, it was François Hertel who
led the attack; and when the retiring victors were hard pressed by an
overwhelming force, it was he who, sword in hand, held the pursuers in
check at the bridge of Wooster River, and covered the retreat of his
men. He was ennobled for his services, and died at the age of eighty,
the founder of one of the most distinguished families of Canada. * To
the New England of old he was the abhorred chief of Popish malignants
and murdering savages. The New England of to-day will be more just to
the brave defender of his country and his faith.

In May, 1660, a party of French Algonquins captured a Wolf, or Mohegan,
Indian, naturalized among the Iroquois, brought him to Quebec, and
burned him there with their usual atrocity of torture. A modern Catholic
writer says that the Jesuits could not save him; but this is not so.
Their influence over the consciences of the colonists

     *  His letters of nobility, dated 1716, will be found in
     Daniel's Histoire des Grandes Familles Françaises du Canada,

was at that time unbounded, and their direct political power was very
great. A protest on their part, and that of the newly arrived bishop,
who was in their interest, could not have failed of effect. The truth
was, they did not care to prevent the torture of prisoners of war, not
solely out of that spirit of compliance with the savage humor of Indian
allies which stains so often the pages of French American history, but
also, and perhaps chiefly, from motives purely religious. Torture, in
their eyes, seems to have been a blessing in disguise. They thought it
good for the soul, and in case of obduracy the surest way of salvation.
“We have very rarely indeed,” writes one of them, “seen the
burning of an Iroquois without feeling sure that he was on the path
to Paradise; and we never knew one of them to be surely on the path to
Paradise without seeing him pass through this fiery punishment.” *
So they let the Wolf burn; but first, having instructed him after their
fashion, they baptized him, and his savage soul flew to heaven out of
the fire. "Is it not,” pursues the same writer, “a marvel to see
a wolf changed at one stroke into a lamb, and enter into the fold of
Christ, which he came to ravage?”

Before he died he requited their spiritual cares with a startling
secret. He told them that eight hundred Iroquois warriors were encamped
below Montreal; that four hundred more, who had wintered on the Ottawa,
were on the point of joining them; and that the united force would swoop

     *  Relation, 1660, 31.

Quebec, kill the governor, lay waste the town, and then attack Three
Rivers and Montreal. * This time, at least, the Iroquois were in deadly
earnest. Quebec was wild with terror. The Ursulines and the nuns of the
Hôtel Dieu took refuge in the strong and extensive building which the
Jesuits had just finished, opposite the Parish Church. Its walls and
palisades made it easy of defence; and in its yards and court were
lodged the terrified Hurons, as well as the fugitive inhabitants of the
neighboring settlements. Others found asylum in the fort, and others in
the convent of the Ursulines, which, in place of nuns, was occupied by
twenty-four soldiers, who fortified it with redoubts, and barricaded the
doors and windows. Similar measures of defence were taken at the Hôtel
Dieu, and the streets of the Lower Town were strongly barricaded.
Everybody was in arms, and the _Qui vive_ of the sentries and patrols
resounded all night. **

Several days passed, and no Iroquois appeared. The refugees took heart,
and began to return to their deserted farms and dwellings. Among
the rest was a family consisting of an old woman, her daughter, her
son-in-law, and four small children, living near St. Anne, some twenty
miles below Quebec. On reaching home the old woman and the man went to
their work in the fields, while the mother and children remained in the

     *  Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre, 26 Juin, 1660.

     ** On this alarm at Quebec compare Marie de l’Incarnation,
     25 Juin, 1660; Relation, 1660, 5; Juchereau, Histoire de
     l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, 126 and Journal des Jésuites 282.

Here they were pounced upon and captured by eight renegade Hurons,
Iroquois by adoption, who placed them in their large canoe, and paddled
up the river with their prize. It was Saturday, a day dedicated to the
Virgin; and the captive mother prayed to her for aid, “feeling,”
writes a Jesuit, “a full conviction that, in passing before Quebec
on a Saturday, she would be delivered by the power of this Queen of
Heaven.” In fact, as the marauders and their captives glided in the
darkness of night by Point Levi, under the shadow of the shore, they
were greeted with a volley of musketry from the bushes, and a band of
French and Algonquins dashed into the water to seize them. Five of the
eight were taken, and the rest shot or drowned. The governor had heard
of the descent at St. Anne, and despatched a party to lie in ambush
for the authors of it. The Jesuits, it is needless to say, saw a
miracle in the result. The Virgin had answered the prayer of her votary.
“Though it is true,” observes the father who records the marvel,
“that, in the volley, she received a mortal wound.” The same shot
struck the infant in her arms. The prisoners were taken to Quebec, where
four of them were tortured with even more ferocity than had been shown
in the case of the unfortunate Wolf. * Being questioned, they confirmed
his story,

     * The torturers were Christian Algonquins, converts of the
     Jesuits. Chaumonot, who was present to give spiritual aid to
     the sufferers, describes the scene with horrible minuteness.
     “I could not,” he says, “deliver them from their torments.”
     Perhaps not: but it is certain that the Jesuits as a body,
     with or without the bishop, could have prevented the
     atrocity, had they seen fit. They sometimes taught their
     converts to pray for their enemies. It would have been well
     had they taught them not to torture them. I can recall but
     one instance in which they did so. The prayers for enemies
     were always for a spiritual, not a temporal good. The
     fathers held the body in slight account and cared little
     what happened to it.

and expressed great surprise that the Iroquois had not come, adding that
they must have stopped to attack Montreal or Three Rivers. Again all
was terror, and again days passed and no enemy appeared. Had the dying
converts, so charitably despatched to heaven through fire, sought an
unhallowed consolation in scaring the abettors of their torture with a
lie? Not at all. Bating a slight exaggeration, they had told the truth.
Where, then, were the Iroquois? As one small point of steel disarms the
lightning of its terrors, so did the heroism of a few intrepid youths
divert this storm of war and save Canada from a possible ruin.

In the preceding April, before the designs of the Iroquois were known,
a young officer named Daulac, commandant of the garrison of Montreal,
asked leave of Maisonneuve, the governor, to lead a party of volunteers
against the enemy. His plan was bold to desperation. It was known that
Iroquois warriors in great numbers had wintered among the forests of the
Ottawa. Daulac proposed to waylay them on their descent of the river,
and fight them without regard to disparity of force. The settlers of
Montreal had hitherto acted solely on the defensive, for their numbers
had been too small for aggressive war. Of late their strength had
been somewhat increased, and Maisonneuve, judging that a display of
enterprise and boldness might act as a check on the audacity of the
enemy, at length gave his consent.

Adam Daulac, or Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux, was a young man of good
family, who had come to the colony three years before, at the age of
twenty-two. He had held some military command in France, though in what
rank does not appear. It was said that he had been involved in some
affair which made him anxious to wipe out the memory of the past by a
noteworthy exploit; and he had been busy for some time among the
young men of Montreal, inviting them to join him in the enterprise he
meditated. Sixteen of them caught his spirit, struck hands with him, and
pledged their word. They bound themselves by oath to accept no quarter;
and, having gained Maisonneuve’s consent, they made their wills,
confessed, and received the sacraments. As they knelt for the last time
before the altar in the chapel of the Hôtel Dieu, that sturdy little
population of pious Indian-fighters gazed on them with enthusiasm, not
unmixed with an envy which had in it nothing ignoble. Some of the chief
men of Montreal, with the brave Charles Le Moyne at their head, begged
them to wait till the spring sowing was over, that they might join them;
but Daulac refused. He was jealous of the glory and the danger, and
he wished to command, which he could not have done had Le Moyne been

The spirit of the enterprise was purely mediaeval. The enthusiasm of
honor, the enthusiasm of adventure, and the enthusiasm of faith, were
its motive forces. Danlac was a knight of the early crusades among the
forests and savages of the New World. Yet the incidents of this exotic
heroism are definite and clear as a tale of yesterday. The names, ages,
and occupations of the seventeen young men may still be read on the
ancient register of the parish of Montreal; and the notarial acts of
that year, preserved in the records of the city, contain minute accounts
of such property as each of them possessed. The three eldest were of
twenty-eight, thirty, and thirty-one years respectively. The age of
the rest varied from twenty-one to twenty-seven. They were of various
callings,--soldiers, armorers, locksmiths, lime-burners, or settlers
without trades. The greater number had come to the colony as part of the
reinforcement brought by Maisonneuve in 1653.

After a solemn farewell they embarked in several canoes well supplied
with arms and ammunition. They were very indifferent canoe-men; and it
is said that they lost a week in vain attempts to pass the swift current
of St. Anne, at the head of the island of Montreal. At length they were
more successful, and entering the mouth of the Ottawa, crossed the Lake
of Two Mountains, and slowly advanced against the current.

Meanwhile, forty warriors of that remnant of the Hurons who, in spite
of Iroquois persecutions, still lingered at Quebec, had set out on a
war-party, led by the brave and wily Etienne Annahotaha, their most
noted chief. They stopped by the way at Three Rivers, where they found a
band of Christian

Algonquins under a chief named Mituvemeg An'nahotaha challenged him to
a trial of courage, and it was agreed that they should meet at Montreal,
where they were likely to find a speedy opportunity of putting their
mettle to the test. Thither, accordingly, they repaired, the Algonquin
with three followers, and the Huron with thirty-nine.

It was not long before they learned the departure of Daulac and his
companions. “For,” observes the honest Dollier de Casson, “the
principal fault of our Frenchmen is to talk too much.” The wish seized
them to share the adventure, and to that end the Huron chief asked the
governor for a letter to Daulac, to serve as credentials. Maisonneuve
hesitated. His faith in Huron valor was not great, and he feared the
proposed alliance. Nevertheless, he at length yielded so far as to give
Annahotaha a letter in which Daulac was told to accept or reject the
proffered reinforcement as he should see fit. The Hurons and Algonquins
now embarked and paddled in pursuit of the seventeen Frenchmen.

They meanwhile had passed with difficulty the swift current at Carillon,
and about the first of May reached the foot of the more formidable rapid
called the Long Saut, where a tumult of waters, foaming among ledges
and boulders, barred the onward way. It was needless to go farther. The
Iroquois were sure to pass the Saut, and could be fought here as well as
elsewhere. Just below the rapid, where the forests sloped gently to
the shore, among the bushes and stumps of the rough clearing made
in constructing it, stood a palisade fort, the work of an Algonquin
war-party in the past autumn. It was a mere enclosure of trunks of small
trees planted in a circle, and was already ruinous. Such as it was,
the Frenchmen took possession of it. Their first care, one would think,
should have been to repair and strengthen it; but this they seem not to
have done: possibly, in the exaltation of their minds, they scorned
such precaution. They made their fires, and slung their kettles on the
neighboring shore; and here they were soon joined by the Hurons and
Algonquins. Daulac, it seems, made no objection to their company, and
they all bivouacked together. Morning and noon and night they prayed in
three different tongues; and when at sunset the long reach of forests on
the farther shore basked peacefully in the level rays, the rapids joined
their hoarse music to the notes of their evening hymn.

In a day or two their scouts came in with tidings that two Iroquois
canoes were coming down the Saut. Daulac had time to set his men in
ambush among the bushes at a point where he thought the strangers
likely to land. He judged aright. The canoes, bearing five Iroquois,
approached, and were met by a volley fired with such precipitation that
one or more of them escaped the shot, fled into the forest, and told
their mischance to their main body, two hundred in number, on the river
above. A fleet of canoes suddenly appeared, bounding down the rapids,
filled with warriors eager for revenge. The allies had barely time to
escape to their fort, leaving their kettles still slung over the
fires. The Iroquois made a hasty and desultory attack, and were quickly
repulsed. They next opened a parley, hoping, no doubt, to gain some
advantage by surprise. Failing in this, they set themselves, after their
custom on such occasions, to building a rude fort of their own in the
neighboring forest.

This gave the French a breathing-time, and they used it for
strengthening their defences. Being provided with tools, they planted a
row of stakes within their palisade, to form a double fence, and filled
the intervening space with earth and stones to the height of a man,
leaving some twenty loopholes, at each of which three marksmen were
stationed. Their work was still unfinished when the Iroquois were upon
them again. They had broken to pieces the birch canoes of the French
and their allies, and, kindling the bark, rushed up to pile it blazing
against the palisade; but so brisk and steady a fire met them that they
recoiled and at last gave way. They came on again, and again were
driven back, leaving many of their number on the ground, among them
the principal chief of the Senecas. Some of the French dashed out, and,
covered by the fire of their comrades, hacked off his head, and stuck it
on the palisade, while the Iroquois howled in a frenzy of helpless rage.
They tried another attack, and were beaten off a third time.

This dashed their spirits, and they sent a canoe to call to their aid
five hundred of their warriors who were mustered near the mouth of the
Richelieu. These were the allies whom, but for this untoward check,
they were on their way to join for a com bined attack on Quebec, Three
Rivers, and Montreal. It was maddening to see their grand project
thwarted by a few French and Indians ensconced in a paltry redoubt,
scarcely better than a cattlepen; but they were forced to digest the
affront as best they might.

Meanwhile, crouched behind trees and logs, they beset the fort,
harassing its defenders day and night with a spattering fire and a
constant menace of attack. Thus five days passed. Hunger, thirst, and
want of sleep wrought fatally on the strength of the French and their
allies, who, pent up together in their narrow prison, fought and prayed
by turns. Deprived as they were of water, they could not swallow the
crushed Indian corn, or “hominy,” which was their only food. Some of
them, under cover of a brisk fire, ran down to the river and filled
such small vessels as they had; but this pittance only tantalized their
thirst. They dug a hole in the fort, and were rewarded at last by a
little muddy water oozing through the clay.

Among the assailants were a number of Hurons, adopted by the Iroquois
and fighting on their side. These renegades now shouted to their
countrymen in the fort, telling them that a fresh army was close
at hand; that they would soon be attacked by seven or eight hundred
warriors; and that their only hope was in joining the Iroquois, who
would receive them as friends. Annahotaha’s followers, half dead with
thirst and famine, listened to their seducers, took the bait, and, one,
two, or three at a time, climbed the palisade and ran over to the enemy,
amid the hootings and execrations of those whom they deserted. Their
chief stood firm; and when he saw his nephew, La Mouche, join the other
fugitives, he fired his pistol at him in a rage. The four Algonquins,
who had no mercy to hope for, stood fast, with the courage of despair.

On the fifth day an uproar of unearthly yells from seven hundred
savage throats, mingled with a clattering salute of musketry, told the
Frenchmen that the expected reinforcement had come; and soon, in the
forest and on the clearing, a crowd of warriors mustered for the attack.
Knowing from the Huron deserters the weakness of their enemy, they had
no doubt of an easy victory. They advanced cautiously, as was usual with
the Iroquois before their blood was up, screeching, leaping from side
to side, and firing as they came on; but the French were at their posts,
and every loophole darted its tongue of fire. Besides muskets, they had
heavy musketoons of large calibre, which, scattering scraps of lead and
iron among the throng of savages, often maimed several of them at one
discharge. The Iroquois, astonished at the persistent vigor of the
defence, fell back discomfited. The fire of the French, who were
themselves completely under cover, had told upon them with deadly
effect. Three days more wore away in a series of futile attacks, made
with little concert or vigor; and during all this time Daulac and his
men, reeling with exhaustion, fought and prayed as before, sure of a
martyr’s reward.

The uncertain, vacillating temper common to all Indians now began
to declare itself. Some of the Iroquois were for going home. Others
revolted at the thought, and declared that it would be an eternal
disgrace to lose so many men at the hands of so paltry an enemy, and
yet fail to take revenge. It was resolved to make a general assault, and
volunteers were called for to lead the attack. After the custom on such
occasions, bundles of small sticks were thrown upon the ground, and
those picked them up who dared, thus accepting the gage of battle, and
enrolling themselves in the forlorn hope. No precaution was neglected.
Large and heavy shields four or five feet high were made by lashing
together three split logs with the aid of crossbars. Covering
themselves with these mantelets, the chosen band advanced, followed by
the motley throng of warriors. In spite of a brisk fire, they reached
the palisade, and, crouching below the range of shot, hewed furiously
with their hatchets to cut their way through. The rest followed close,
and swarmed like angry hornets around the little fort, hacking and
tearing to get in.

Daulac had crammed a large musketoon with powder, and plugged up the
muzzle. Lighting the fuse inserted in it, he tried to throw it over the
barrier, to burst like a grenade among the crowd of savages without; but
it struck the ragged top of one of the palisades, fell back among the
Frenchmen and exploded, killing and wounding several of them, and
nearly blinding others. In the confusion that followed, the Iroquois
got possession of the loopholes, and, thrusting in their guns, fired on
those within. In a moment more they had torn a breach in the palisade;
but, nerved with the energy of desperation, Daulac and his followers
sprang to defend it. Another breach was made, and then another. Daulac
was struck dead, but the survivors kept up the fight. With a sword or
a hatchet in one hand and a knife in the other, they threw themselves
against the throng of enemies, striking and stabbing with the fury of
madmen; till the Iroquois, despairing of taking them alive, fired volley
after volley and shot them down. All was over, and a burst of triumphant
yells proclaimed the dear-bought victory.

Searching the pile of corpses, the victors found four Frenchmen still
breathing. Three had scarcely a spark of life, and, as no time was to be
lost, they burned them on the spot. The fourth, less fortunate, seemed
likely to survive, and they reserved him for future torments. As for
the Huron deserters, their cowardice profited them little. The Iroquois,
regardless of their promises, fell upon them, burned some at once,
and carried the rest to their villages for a similar fate. Five of the
number had the good fortune to escape, and it was from them, aided by
admissions made long afterwards by the Iroquois themselves, that the
French of Canada derived all their knowledge of this glorious
disaster. *

     *  When the fugitive Hurons reached Montreal, they were
     unwilling to confess their desertion of the French, and
     declared that they and some others of their people, to the
     number of fourteen, had stood by them to the last. This was
     the story told by one of them to the Jesuit Chaumonot, and
     by him communicated in a letter to his friends at Quebec The
     substance of this letter is given by Marie de l’Incarnation,
     in her letter to her son of June 25, 1660. The Jesuit
     Relation of this year gives another long account of the
     affair, also derived from the Huron deserters, who this time
     only pretended that ten of their number remained with the
     French. They afterwards admitted that all had deserted but
     Annaliotaha, as appears from the account drawn up by Dollier
     de Casson, in his Histoire du Montréal. Another
     contemporary, Belmont, who heard the story from an Iroquois,
     makes the same statement. All these writers, though two of
     them were not friendly to Montreal, agree that Daulac and
     his followers saved Canada from a disastrous invasion. The
     governor, Argenson, in a letter written on the fourth of
     July following, and in his Mémoire sur le sujet de la guerre
     des Iroquois, expresses the same conviction. Before me is an
     extract, copied from the Petit Registre de la Cure de
     Montréal, giving the names and ages of Daulac’s men. The
     Abbé Faillon took extraordinary pains to collect all the
     evidence touching this affair. See his Histoire de la
     Colonie Française, II. chap. xv. Charlevoix, very little to
     his credit, passes it over in silence, not being partial to

To the colony it proved a salvation. The Iroquois had had fighting
enough. If seventeen Frenchmen, four Algonquins, and one Huron, behind
a picket fence, could hold seven hundred warriors at bay so long, what
might they expect from many such, fighting behind walls of stone? For
that year they thought no more of capturing Quebec and Montreal, but
went home dejected and amazed, to howl over their losses, and nurse
their dashed courage for a day of vengeance.


_Domestic Strife.--Jesuit and Sulpitian.--Abbé Queylus.--Francois de
Laval.--The Zealots of Caen.--Gallican and Ultramontane.--The Rival
Claimants.--Storm at Quebec--Laval Triumphant._

|Canada, gasping under the Iroquois tomahawk, might, one would suppose,
have thought her cup of tribulation full, and, sated with inevitable
woe, have sought consolation from the wrath without in a holy calm
within. Not so, however; for while the heathen raged at the door,
discord rioted at the hearthstone. Her domestic quarrels were wonderful
in number, diversity, and bitterness. There was the standing quarrel of
Montreal and Quebec, the quarrels of priests with each other, of priests
with the governor, and of the governor with the intendant, besides
ceaseless wranglings of rival traders and rival peculators.

Some of these disputes were local and of no special significance; while
others are very interesting, because, on a remote and obscure theatre,
they represent, sometimes in striking forms, the contending passions and
principles of a most important epoch of history. To begin with one which
even to this day has left a root of bitterness behind it.

The association of pious enthusiasts who had founded Montreal * was
reduced in 1657 to a remnant of five or six persons, whose ebbing zeal
and overtaxed purses were no longer equal to the devout but arduous
enterprise. They begged the priests of the Seminary of St. Sulpice
to take it off their hands. The priests consented; and, though the
conveyance of the island of Montreal to these its new proprietors did
not take effect till some years later, four of the Sulpitian fathers,
Queylus, Souart, Galinée, and Allet, came out to the colony and took
it in charge. Thus far Canada had had no bishop, and the Sulpitians now
aspired to give it one from their own brotherhood. Many years before,
when the Recollets had a foothold in the colony, they too, or at least
some of them, had cherished the hope of giving Canada a bishop of
their own. ** As for the Jesuits, who for nearly thirty years had of
themselves constituted the Canadian church, they had been content thus
far to dispense with a bishop; for, having no rivals in the field, they
had felt no need of episcopal support.

The Sulpitians put forward Queylus as their candidate for the new
bishopric. The assembly of French clergy approved, and Cardinal Mazarin

     *  See Jesuits in North America, chap. xv.

     ** Mémoire qui faiet pour l’affaire des P.P. Recollects de
     la province de St Denys ditte de Paris touchant le droigt
     qu’ils ont depuis l’an 1615, d’aller en Quanada soubs
     l’authorité de Sa Maiesté, etc. 1637.

himself seemed to sanction, the nomination. The Jesuits saw that their
time of action was come. It was they who had borne the heat and burden
of the day, the toils, privations, and martyrdoms, while as yet
the Sulpitians had done nothing and endured nothing. If any body
of ecclesiastics was to have the nomination of a bishop, it clearly
belonged to them, the Jesuits. Their might, too, matched their right.
They were strong at court; Mazarin withdrew his assent, and the Jesuits
were invited to name a bishop to their liking.

Meanwhile the Sulpitians, despairing of the bishopric, had sought their
solace elsewhere. Ships bound for Canada had usually sailed from ports
within the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Rouen, and the departing
missionaries had received their ecclesiastical powers from him, till he
had learned to regard Canada as an outlying section of his diocese. Not
unwilling to assert his claims, he now made Queylus his vicar-general
for all Canada, thus clothing him with episcopal powers, and placing him
over the heads of the Jesuits. Queylus, in effect, though not in name,
a bishop, left his companion Souart in the spiritual charge of Montreal,
came down to Quebec, announced his new dignity, and assumed the curacy
of the parish. The Jesuits received him at first with their usual
urbanity, an exercise of selfcontrol rendered more easy by their
knowledge that one more potent than Queylus would soon arrive to
supplant him. *

     *  A detailed account of the experiences of Queylus at
     Quebec, immediately after his arrival, as related by
     himself, will be found in a memoir by the Sulpitian Allet,
     in Morale Pratique des Jésuites, XXXIV. chap, xii. In
     chapter ten of the same volume the writer says that he
     visited Queylus at Mont St. Valérien, after his return from
     Canada. “II me prit à part; nous nous promenâmes assez
     longtemps dans le jardin et il m’ouvrit son cœur sur la
     conduite des Je'suites dans le Canada et partout ailleurs
     Messieurs de St. Sulpice savent bien ce qu’il m’en a pu
     dire, et je suis assuré qu’ils ne diront pas que je l’ai du
     prendre pour des mensonges."

The vicar of the Archbishop of Rouen was a man of many virtues, devoted
to good works, as he understood them; rich, for the Sulpitians were
under no vow of poverty; generous in almsgiving, busy, indefatigable,
overflowing with zeal, vivacious in temperament and excitable in temper,
impatient of opposition, and, as it seems, incapable, like his destined
rival, of seeing any way of doing good but his own. Though the Jesuits
were outwardly courteous, their partisans would not listen to the new
curé’s sermons, or listened only to find fault, and germs of discord
grew vigorously in the parish of Quebec. Prudence was not among the
virtues of Queylus. He launched two sermons against the Jesuits, in
which he likened himself to Christ and them to the Pharisees. “Who,”
he supposed them to say, “is this Jesus, so beloved of the people,
who comes to cast discredit on us, who for thirty or forty years
have governed church and state here, with none to dispute us?” * He
denounced such of his hearers as came to pick flaws in his discourse,
and told them it would be better for their souls if they lay in bed at
home, sick of a “good quartan fever.” His ire was greatly kindled
by a letter of the Jesuit Pijart, which fell into his hands through a
female adherent, the pious

     *  Journal des Jésuites, Oct., 1657.

Madame d’Aillebout, and in which that father declared that he,
Queylus, was waging war on him and his brethren more savagely than
the Iroquois. * “He was as crazy at sight of a Jesuit,” writes an
adverse biographer, “as a mad dog at sight of water.” ** He cooled,
however, on being shown certain papers which proved that his position
was neither so strong nor so secure as he had supposed; and the
governor, Argenson, at length persuaded him to retire to Montreal. ***

The queen mother, Anne of Austria, always inclined to the Jesuits, had
invited Father Le Jeune, who was then in France, to make choice of a
bishop for Canada. It was not an easy task. No Jesuit was eligible, for
the sage policy of Loyola had excluded members of the order from the
bishopric. The signs of the times portended trouble for the Canadian
church, and there was need of a bishop who would assert her claims and
fight her battles. Such a man could not be made an instrument of the
Jesuits; therefore there was double need that he should be one with
them in sympathy and purpose. They made a sagacious choice. Le
Jeune presented to the queen mother the name of François Xavier de
Laval-Montmorency, Abbé de Montigny.

Laval, for by this name he was thenceforth known, belonged to one of the
proudest families of Europe, and, churchman as he was, there is

     *  Journal des Jésuites, Oct., 1657.

     ** Viger, Notice Historique sur l’Abbé de Queylus.

     ***  Papiers d’Argenson.

much in his career to remind us that in his veins ran the blood of
the stern Constable of France, Anne de Montmorency. Nevertheless,
his thoughts from childhood had turned towards the church, or, as
his biographers will have it, all his aspirations were heavenward. He
received the tonsure at the age of nine. The Jesuit Bagot confirmed and
moulded his youthful predilections; and, at a later period, he was one
of a band of young zealots, formed under the auspices of Bernières de
Louvigni, royal treasurer at Caen, who, though a layman, was reputed
almost a saint. It was Bernières who had borne the chief part in the
pious fraud of the pretended marriage through which Madame de la Peltrie
escaped from her father’s roof to become foundress of the Ursulines
of Quebec. * He had since renounced the world, and dwelt at Caen, in a
house attached to an Ursuline convent, and known as the Hermitage. Here
he lived like a monk, in the midst of a community of young priests and
devotees, who looked to him as their spiritual director, and whom he
trained in the maxims and practices of the most extravagant, or, as his
admirers say, the most sublime ultramontane piety. **

The conflict between the Jesuits and the Jansenists was then at its
height. The Jansenist doctrines of election and salvation by grace,
which sapped the power of the priesthood and impugned the authority of
the Pope himself in his capacity of holder of the keys of heaven, were
to the Jesuits

     *  See Jesuits in North America, chap. xiv.

     **  La Tour, Vie de Laval, gives his maxims at length.

an abomination; while the rigid morals of the Jansenists stood in
stern contrast to the pliancy of Jesuit casuistry. Bernières and his
disciples were zealous, not to say fanatical, partisans of the Jesuits.
There is a long account of the “Hermitage" and its inmates from the
pen of the famous Jansenist, Nicole; an opponent, it is true, but one
whose qualities of mind and character give weight to his testimony. *

“In this famous Hermitage,” says Nicole, “the late Sieur de
Bernières brought up a number of young men, to whom he taught a sort of
sublime and transcendental devotion called _passive prayer_, because
in it the mind does not act at all, but merely receives the divine
operation; and this devotion is the source of all those visions and
revelations in which the Hermitage is so prolific.” In short, he and
his disciples were mystics of the most exalted type. Nicole pursues:
“After having thus subtilized their minds, and almost sublimed them
into vapor, he rendered them capable of detecting Jansenists under any
disguise, insomuch that some of his followers said that they knew
them by the scent, as dogs know their game; but the aforesaid Sieur de
Bernières denied that they had so subtile a sense of smell, and said
that the mark by which he detected Jansenists was their disapproval of
his teachings or their opposition to the Jesuits.”

The zealous band at the Hermitage was aided in

     *  Mémoire pour faire connoistre l'esprit et la conduite de
     la Compagnie établie en la ville de Caen, appéllée
     l'Hermitage (Bibliothèque Nationnale Imprimés Partie
     Réservée). Written in 1660.

its efforts to extirpate error by a sort of external association in the
city of Caen, consisting of merchants, priests, officers, petty nobles,
and others, all inspired and guided by Bernières. They met every week
at the Hermitage, or at the houses of each other. Similar associations
existed in other cities of France, besides a fraternity in the Rue St.
Dominique at Paris, which was formed by the Jesuit Bagot, and seems to
have been the parent, in a certain sense, of the others. They all acted
together when any important object was in view.

Bernières and his disciples felt that God had chosen them not only to
watch over doctrine and discipline in convents and in families, but
also to supply the prevalent deficiency of zeal in bishops and other
dignitaries of the church. They kept, too, a constant eye on the humbler
clergy, and whenever a new preacher appeared in Caen, two of their
number were deputed to hear his sermon and report upon it. If he chanced
to let fall a word concerning the grace of God, they denounced him for
Jansenistic heresy. Such commotion was once raised in Caen by charges
of sedition and Jansenism, brought by the Hermitage against priests and
laymen hitherto without attaint, that the Bishop of Bayeux thought it
necessary to interpose; but even he was forced to pause, daunted by
the insinuations of Bernières that he was in secret sympathy with the
obnoxious doctrines.

Thus the Hermitage and its affiliated societies constituted themselves a
sort of inquisition in the interest of the Jesuits; “for what,”
asks Nicole “might not be expected from persons of weak minds and
atrabilious dispositions, dried up by constant fasts, vigils, and other
austerities, besides meditations of three or four hours a day, and told
continually that the church is in imminent danger of ruin through the
machinations of the Jansenists, who are represented to them as persons
who wish to break up the foundations of the Christian faith and
subvert the mystery of the Incarnation; who believe neither in
transubstantiation, the invocation of saints, nor indulgences; who wish
to abolish the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrament of Penitence,
oppose the worship of the Holy Virgin, deny freewill and substitute
predestination in its place, and, in fine, conspire to overthrow the
authority of the Supreme Pontiff.”

Among other anecdotes, Nicole tells the following: One of the young
zealots of the Hermitage took it into his head that all Caen was full of
Jansenists, and that the curés of the place were in league with them.
He inoculated four others with this notion, and they resolved to warn
the people of their danger. They accordingly made the tour of the
streets, without hats or collars, and with coats unbuttoned, though it
was a cold winter day, stopping every moment to proclaim in a loud voice
that all the curés, excepting two, whom they named, were abettors of
the Jansenists. A mob was soon following at their heels, and there was
great excitement. The magistrates chanced to be in session, and, hearing
of the disturbance, they sent constables to arrest the authors of it.
Being brought to the bar of justice and questioned by the judge, they
answered that they were doing the work of God, and were ready to die
in the cause; that Caen was full of Jansenists, and that the curés had
declared in their favor, inasmuch as they denied any knowledge of their
existence. Four of the five were locked up for a few days, tried, and
sentenced to a fine of a hundred livres, with a promise of further
punishment should they again disturb the peace. *

The fifth, being pronounced out of his wits by the physicians, was sent
home to his mother, at a village near Argentan, where two or three of
his fellow zealots presently joined him. Among them, they persuaded his
mother, who had hitherto been, devoted to household cares, to exchange
them for a life of mystical devotion. “These three or four persons,”
says Nicole, “attracted others as imbecile as themselves.” Among
these recruits were a number of women, and several priests. After
various acts of fanaticism, “two or three days before last
Pentecost,” proceeds the narrator, “they all set out, men and women,
for Argentan. The priests had drawn the skirts of their cassocks over
their heads, and tied them about their necks with twisted straw. Some
of the women had their heads bare, and their hair streaming loose over
their shoulders. They picked up filth on the road, and rubbed their
faces with it, and the most zealous ate it, saying that it was necessary
to mortify the taste. Some

     * Nicole is not the only authority for this story. It is
     also told by a very different writer. See Notice Historique
     de l'Abbaye de Ste. Claire d’Arqentan, 124,

held stones in their hands, which they knocked together to draw the
attention of the passersby. They had a leader, whom they were bound to
obey; and when this leader saw any mudhole particularly deep and dirty,
he commanded some of the party to roll themselves in it, which they did
forthwith. *

“After this fashion, they entered the town of Argentan, and marched,
two by two, through all the streets, crying with a loud voice that the
Faith was perishing, and that whoever wished to save it must quit the
country and go with them to Canada, whither they were soon to repair.
It is said that they still hold this purpose, and that their leaders
declare it revealed to them that they will find a vessel ready at the
first port to which Providence directs them. The reason why they choose
Canada for an asylum is, that Monsieur de Montigny (Laval), Bishop of
Petræa, who lived at the Hermitage a long time, where he was instructed
in mystical theology by Monsieur de Bernières, exercises episcopal
functions there; and that the Jesuits, who are their oracles, reign in
that country.”

This adventure, like the other, ended in a collision with the police.
“The priests,” adds Nicole, “were arrested, and are now waiting
trial, and the rest were treated as mad, and sent back with shame and
confusion to the places whence they had come.”

     *  These proceedings were probably intended to produce the
     result which was the constant object of the mystics of the
     Hermitage; namely, the “annihilation of self,” with a view
     to a perfect union with God. To become despised of men was
     an important, if not an essential, step in this mystical

Though these pranks took place after Laval had left the Hermitage, they
serve to characterize the school in which he was formed; or, more justly
speaking, to show its most extravagant side. That others did not
share the views of the celebrated Jansenist, may be gathered from the
following passage of the funeral oration pronounced over the body of
Laval half a century later:--

“The humble abbé was next transported into the terrestrial paradise
of Monsieur de Bernières. It is thus that I call, as it is fitting to
call it, that famous Hermitage of Caen, where the seraphic author of
the ‘Christian Interior’ (_Bernières_) transformed into angels all
those who had the happiness to be the companions of his solitude and
of his spiritual exercises. It was there that, during four years, the
fervent abbé drank the living and abounding waters of grace which have
since flowed so benignly over this land of Canada. In this celestial
abode his ordinary occupations were prayer, mortification, instruction
of the poor, and spiritual readings or conferences; his recreations were
to labor in the hospitals, wait upon the sick and poor, make their beds,
dress their wounds, and aid them in their most repulsive needs.” *

In truth, Laval’s zeal was boundless, and the exploits of
self-humiliation recorded of him were unspeakably revolting. **
Bernières himself regarded

     *  Eloge funèbre de Messire François Xavier de Laval-
     Montmorency, par Messire de la Colombière, Vicaire Général.

     **  See La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. I. Some of them were
     closely akin to that of the fanatics mentioned above, who
     ate “immondices d’animaux” to mortify the taste.

him as a light by which to guide his own steps in ways of holiness. He
made journeys on foot about the country, disguised, penniless, begging
from door to door, and courting scorn and opprobrium, “in order,”
says his biographer, “that he might suffer for the love of God.”
Yet, though living at this time in a state of habitual religious
exaltation, he was by nature no mere dreamer; and in whatever heights
his spirit might wander, his feet were always planted on the solid
earth. His flaming zeal had for its servants a hard, practical nature,
perfectly fitted for the battle of life, a narrow intellect, a stiff
and persistent will, and, as his enemies thought, the love of domination
native to his blood.

Two great parties divided the Catholics of France,--the Gallican or
national party, and the ultramontane or papal party. The first, resting
on the Scriptural injunction to give tribute to Cæsar, held that to the
king, the Lord’s anointed, belonged the temporal, and to the church
the spiritual power. It held also that the laws and customs of the
church of France could not be broken at the bidding of the Pope. *
The ultramontane party, on the other hand, maintained that the Pope,
Christ’s vicegerent on earth, was supreme over earthly rulers, and
should of right hold jurisdiction over the clergy of all Christendom,
with powers of appointment and removal. Hence they claimed for him the
right of nominating bishops in

     *  See the famous Quatre Articles of 1682, in which the
     liberties of the Gallican Church are asserted.

France. This had anciently been exercised by assemblies of the French
clergy, but in the reign of Francis I. the king and the Pope had
combined to wrest it from them by the Concordat of Bologna. Under this
compact, which was still in force, the Pope appointed French bishops on
the nomination of the king, a plan which displeased the Gallicans, and
did not satisfy the ultramontanes.

The Jesuits, then as now, were the most forcible exponents of
ultramontane principles. The church to rule the world; the Pope to rule
the church; the Jesuits to rule the Pope: such was and is the simple
programme of the Order of Jesus, and to it they have held fast, except
on a few rare occasions of misunderstanding with the Vicegerent of
Christ. * In the question of papal supremacy, as in most things else,
Laval was of one mind with them.

Those versed in such histories will not be surprised to learn that,
when he received the royal nomination, humility would not permit him
to accept it; nor that, being urged, he at length bowed in resignation,
still protesting his unworthiness. Nevertheless, the royal nomination
did not take effect. The ultramontanes outflanked both the king and
the Gallicans, and by adroit strategy made the new prelate completely a
creature of the papacy. Instead of appointing him Bishop of Quebec,
in accordance with the royal initiative, the Pope made him his vicar
apostolic for Canada,

     *  For example, not long after this time, the Jesuits,
     having a dispute with Innocent XI., threw themselves into
     the party of opposition.

thus evading the king’s nomination, and affirming that Canada, a
country of infidel savages, was excluded from the concordat, and under
his (the Pope’s) jurisdiction pure and simple. The Gallicans were
enraged. The Archbishop of Rouen vainly opposed, and the parliaments
of Rouen and of Paris vainly protested. The papal party prevailed.
The king, or rather Mazarin, gave his consent, subject to certain
conditions, the chief of which was an oath of allegiance; and Laval,
grand vicar apostolic, decorated with the title of Bishop of Petræa,
sailed for his wilderness diocese in the spring of 1659. * He was but
thirty-six years of age, but even when a boy he could scarcely have
seemed young.

Queylus, for a time, seemed to accept the situation, and tacitly admit
the claim of Laval as his ecclesiastical superior; but, stimulated by
a letter from the Archbishop of Rouen, he soon threw himself into an
attitude of opposition, ** in which the popularity which his generosity
to the poor had won for him gave him an advantage very annoying to his
adversary. The quarrel, it will be seen, was three-sided,--Gallican
against ultramontane, Sulpitian against Jesuit, Montreal against
Quebec. To Montreal the recalcitrant abbé, after a brief visit to
Quebec, had again retired; but even here, girt with his Sulpitian
brethren and compassed with

     *  Compare La Tour, Vie de Laval, with the long statement in
     Faillon, Colonie Française, II. 315-335. Faillon gives
     various documents in full, including the royal letter of
     nomination and those in which the King gives a reluctant
     consent to the appointment of the vicar apostolic.

     **  Journal des Jésuites, Sept., 1657.

partisans, the arm of the vicar apostolic was long enough to reach him.

By temperament and conviction Laval hated a divided authority, and the
very shadow of a schism was an abomination in his sight. The young
king, who, though abundantly jealous of his royal power, was forced
to conciliate the papal party, had sent instructions to Argenson,
the governor, to support Laval, and prevent divisions in the Canadian
church. * These instructions served as the pretext of a procedure
sufficiently summary. A squad of soldiers, commanded, it is said, by the
governor himself, went up to Montreal, brought the indignant Queylus
to Quebec, and shipped him thence for France. ** By these means, writes
Father Lalemant, order reigned for a season in the church.

It was but for a season. Queylus was not a man to bide his defeat
in tranquillity, nor were his brother Sulpitians disposed to silent
acquiescence. Laval, on his part, was not a man of half measures. He had
an agent in France, and partisans strong at court. Fearing, to borrow
the words of a Catholic writer, that the return of Queylus to Canada
would prove “injurious to the glory of God,” he bestirred himself
to prevent it. The young king, then at Aix, on his famous journey to
the frontiers of Spain to marry the Infanta, was induced to write
to Queylus, ordering him to remain in France. *** Queylus, however,
repaired to Rome; but even

     *  Lettre du Roi à d’Argenson, 14 Mai, 1659.

     **  Belmont, Histoire du Canada, a.d. 1659. Memoir by Abbé
     d’Allet, in Morale Pratique des Jésuites, XXXIV. 725.

     ***  Lettre du Roi a Queylus, 27 Feb., 1660.

against this movement provision had been made: accusations of Jansenism
had gone before him, and he met a cold welcome. Nevertheless, as he had
powerful friends near the Pope, he succeeded in removing these adverse
impressions, and even in obtaining certain bulls relating to the
establishment, of the parish of Montreal, and favorable to the

Provided with these, he set at nought the king’s letter, embarked
under an assumed name, and sailed to Quebec, where he made his
appearance on the 3d of August, 1661, * to the extreme wrath of Laval.

A ferment ensued. Laval’s partisans charged the Sulpitians with
Jansenism and opposition to the will of the Pope. A preacher more
zealous than the rest denounced them as priests of Antichrist; and as to
the bulls in their favor, it was affirmed that Queylus had obtained them
by fraud from the Holy Father. Laval at once issued a mandate forbidding
him to proceed to Montreal till ships should arrive with instructions
from the King. ** At the same time he demanded of the governor that he
should interpose the civil power to prevent Queylus from leaving Quebec.
*** As Argenson, who wished to act as peacemaker between the belligerent
fathers, did not at once take the sharp measures required of him, Laval
renewed his demand on the next day, calling on him, in the name of God
and the king, to compel Queylus to yield the obedience

     *  Journal des Jésuites, Août, 1661.

     **  Lettre de Laval à Queylus, 4 Août, 1661.

     ***Lettre de Laval a d’Argenson, Ibid.

due to him, the vicar apostolic. * At the same time he sent another to
the offending abbé, threatening to suspend him from priestly functions
if he persisted in his rebellion. **

The incorrigible Queylus, who seems to have lived for some months in a
simmer of continual indignation, set at nought the vicar apostolic as he
had set at nought the king, took a boat that very night, and set out
for Montreal under cover of darkness. Great was the ire of Laval when
he heard the news in the morning. He despatched a letter after him,
declaring him suspended _ipso facto_, if he did not instantly return
and make his submission. *** This letter, like the rest, failed of the
desired effect; but the governor, who had received a second mandate from
the king to support Laval and prevent a schism, **** now reluctantly
interposed the secular arm, and Queylus was again compelled to return to
France. (v)

His expulsion was a Sulpitian defeat. Laval, always zealous for unity
and centralization, had some time before taken steps to repress what
he regarded as a tendency to independence at Montreal. In the preceding
year he had written to the Pope: “There are some secular priests
(_Sulpitians_) at Montreal, whom the Abbé de Queylus brought out with
him in 1657, and I have named for the

     *   Lettre de Laval a d’Argenson, 5 Août, 1661.

     **  Lettre de Laval a Queylus, Ibid.

     **** Ibid, 6 Août, 1661.

     **** Lettre du Roi à d’Argenson, 13 Mai, 1660.

     (v)  For the governor’s attitude in this affair, consult the
     Papiers d'Argentan, containing his despatches.

functions of curé the one among them whom I thought the least
disobedient.” The bulls which Queylus had obtained from Rome related
to this very curacy, and greatly disturbed the mind of the vicar
apostolic. He accordingly wrote again to the Pope: “I pray your
Holiness to let me know your will concerning the jurisdiction of the
Archbishop of Rouen. M. l’Abbé de Queylus, who has come out this year
as vicar of this archbishop, has tried to deceive us by surreptitious
letters, and has obeyed neither our prayers nor our repeated commands to
desist. But he has received orders from the king to return immediately
to France, to render an account of his disobedience, and he has been
compelled by the governor to conform to the will of his Majesty. What I
now fear is that, on his return to France, by using every kind of means,
employing new artifices, and falsely representing our affairs, he may
obtain from the court of Rome powers which may disturb the peace of our
church; for the priests whom he brought with him from France, and who
five at Montreal, are animated with the same spirit of disobedience
and division; and I fear, with good reason, that all belonging to the
seminary of St. Sulpice, who may come hereafter to join them, will be
of the same disposition. If what is said is true, that by means of
fraudulent letters the right of patronage of the pretended parish of
Montreal has been granted to the superior of this seminary, and the
right of appointment to the Archbishop of Rouen, then is altar reared
against altar in our church of Canada; for the clergy of Montreal
will always stand in opposition to me, the vicar apostolic, and to my
successors.” *

These dismal forebodings were never realized The Holy See annulled
the obnoxious bulls; the Archbishop of Rouen renounced his claims, and
Queylus found his position untenable. Seven years later, when Laval was
on a visit to France, a reconciliation was brought about between them.
The former vicar of the Archbishop of Rouen made his submission to the
vicar of the Pope, and returned to Canada as a missionary. Laval’s
triumph was complete, to the joy of the Jesuits, silent, if not idle,
spectators of the tedious and complex quarrel.

     *  Lettre de Laval au Pape, 22 Oct., 1661. Printed by
     Faillon, from the original in the archives of the


_François de Laval.--His Position and Character.--Arrival of
Argenson.--The Quarrel._

|We are touching delicate ground. To many excellent Catholics of our own
day Laval is an object of veneration. The Catholic university of Quebec
glories in bearing his name, and certain modern ecclesiastical
writers rarely mention him in terms less reverent than “the
virtuous prelate,” or “the holy prelate.” Nor are some of his
contemporaries less emphatic in eulogy. Mother Juchereau de Saint-Denis,
Superior of the Hôtel Dieu, wrote immediately after his death: “He
began in his tenderest years the study of perfection, and we have reason
to think that he reached it, since every virtue which Saint Paul demands
in a bishop was seen and admired in him;” and on his first arrival
in Canada, Mother Marie de l’Incarnation, Superior of the Ursulines,
wrote to her son that the choice of such a prelate was not of man, but
of God. “will not,” she adds, “say that he is a saint, but I
may say with truth that he lives like a saint and an apostle.” And
she describes his austerity of life; how he had but two servants, a
gardener--whom he lent on occasion to his needy neighbors--and a valet;
how he lived in a small hired house, saying that he would not have one
of his own if he could build it for only five sous; and how, in his
table, furniture, and bed, he showed the spirit of poverty, even, as she
thinks, to excess. His servant, a lay brother named Houssart, testified,
after his death, that he slept on a hard bed, and would not suffer it to
be changed even when it became full of fleas; and, what is more to the
purpose, that he gave fifteen hundred or two thousand francs to the
poor every year. * Houssart also gives the following specimen of his
austerities: “I have seen him keep cooked meat five, six, seven, or
eight days in the heat of summer, and when it was all mouldy and wormy
he washed it in warm water and ate it, and told me that it was very
good.” The old servant was so impressed by these and other proofs of
his master’s sanctity, that “I determined,” he says, “to keep
every thing I could that had belonged to his holy person, and after his
death to soak bits of linen in his blood when his body was opened, and
take a few bones and cartilages from his breast, cut off his hair, and
keep his clothes, and such things, to serve as most precious relics.”
These pious cares were not in vain, for the relics proved greatly in

     *  Lettre du Frère Houssart, ancien serviteur de Mg'r de
     Laval a M. Tremblay, 1 Sept., 1708. This letter is printed,
     though with one or two important omissions, in the Abeille,
     Vol. I. (Quebec, 1848.)

Several portraits of Laval are extant. A drooping nose of portentous
size; a well-formed forehead; a brow strongly arched; a bright, clear
eye; scanty hair, half hidden by a black skullcap; thin lips, compressed
and rigid, betraying a spirit not easy to move or convince; features of
that indescribable cast which marks the priestly type: such is Laval, as
he looks grimly down on us from the dingy canvas of two centuries ago.

He is one of those concerning whom Protestants and Catholics, at least
ultramontane Catholics, will never agree in judgment. The task of
eulogizing him may safely be left to those of his own way of thinking.
It is for us to regard him from the standpoint of secular history. And,
first, let us credit him with sincerity. He believed firmly that the
princes and rulers of this world ought to be subject to guidance and
control at the hands of the Pope, the vicar of Christ on earth. But
he himself was the Pope’s vicar, and, so far as the bounds of Canada
extended, the Holy Father had clothed him with his own authority. The
glory of God demanded that this authority should suffer no abatement,
and he, Laval, would be guilty before Heaven if he did not uphold the
supremacy of the church over the powers both of earth and of hell.

Of the faults which he owed to nature, the principal seems to have been
an arbitrary and domineering temper. He was one of those who by nature
lean always to the side of authority; and in the English Revolution
he would inevitably have stood for the Stuarts; or, in the American
Revolution, for the Crown. But being above all things a Catholic and a
priest, he was drawn by a constitutional necessity to the ultramontane
party, or the party of centralization. He fought lustily, in his way,
against the natural man; and humility was the virtue to the culture
of which he gave his chief attention, but soil and climate were not
favorable. His life was one long assertion of the authority of the
church, and this authority was lodged in himself. In his stubborn fight
for ecclesiastical ascendancy, he was aided by the impulses of a nature
that loved to rule, and could not endure to yield. His principles
and his instinct of domination were acting in perfect unison, and
his conscience was the handmaid of his fault. Austerities and
mortifications, playing at beggar, sleeping in beds full of fleas, or
performing prodigies of gratuitous dirtiness in hospitals, however
fatal to self-respect, could avail little against influences working
so powerfully and so insidiously to stimulate the most subtle of human
vices. The history of the Roman church is full of Lavals.

The Jesuits, adepts in human nature, had made a sagacious choice when
they put forward this conscientious, zealous, dogged, and pugnacious
priest to fight their battles. Nor were they ill pleased that, for the
present, he was not Bishop of Canada, but only vicar apostolic; for,
such being the case, they could have him recalled if, on trial, they did
not like him, while an unacceptable bishop would be an evil past remedy.

Canada was entering; a state of transition. Hitherto ecclesiastical
influence had been all in all. The Jesuits, by far the most educated and
able body of men in the colony, had controlled it, not alone in things
spiritual, but virtually in things temporal also; and the governor
may be said to have been little else than a chief of police, under
the direction of the missionaries. The early governors were themselves
deeply imbued with the missionary spirit. Champlain was earnest above
all things for converting the Indians; Montmagny was half-monk, for he
was a Knight of Malta; Aillebout was so insanely pious, that he lived
with his wife like monk and nun. A change was at hand. From a mission
and a trading station, Canada was soon to become, in the true sense, a
colony; and civil government had begun to assert itself on the banks
of the St. Lawrence. The epoch of the martyrs and apostles was passing
away, and the man of the sword and the man of the gown--the soldier and
the legist--were threatening to supplant the paternal sway of priests;
or, as Laval might have said, the hosts of this world were beleaguering
the sanctuary, and he was called of Heaven to defend it. His true
antagonist, though three thousand miles away, was the great minister
Colbert, as purely a statesman as the vicar apostolic was purely a
priest. Laval, no doubt, could see behind the statesman’s back another
adversary, the devil.

Argenson was governor when the crozier and the sword began to clash,
which is merely another way of saying that he was governor when Laval
arrived. He seems to have been a man of education, moderation, and
sense, and lie was also an earnest Catholic; but if Laval had his duties
to God, so had Argenson his duties to the king, of whose authority
he was the representative and guardian. If the first collisions seem
trivial, they were no less the symptoms of a grave antagonism. Argenson
could have purchased peace only by becoming an agent of the church.

The vicar apostolic, or, as he was usually styled, the bishop, being, it
may be remembered, titular Bishop of Petræa in Arabia, presently fell
into a quarrel with the governor touching the relative position of their
seats in church,--a point which, by the way, was a subject of contention
for many years, and under several successive governors. This time
the case was referred to the ex-governor, Aillebout, and a temporary
settlement took place. * A few weeks after, on the fête of Saint
Francis Xavier, when the Jesuits were accustomed to ask the dignitaries
of the colony to dine in their refectory after mass, a fresh difficulty
arose,--Should the governor or the bishop have the higher seat at table?
The question defied solution; so the fathers invited neither of them. **

Again, on Christmas, at the midnight mass, the deacon offered incense
to the bishop, and then, in obedience to an order from him, sent a
subordinate to offer it to the governor, instead of offering it himself.
Laval further insisted that the priests of the choir should receive
incense before the governor

     *  Lalemant, in Journal des Jesuites, Sept., 1659.

     **   Ibid., Dec., 1659.

received it. Argenson resisted, and a bitter quarrel ensued. *

The late governor, Aillebout, had been churchwarden _ex officio_; ** and
in this pious community the office was esteemed as an addition to his
honors. Argenson had thus far held the same position; but Laval declared
that he should hold it no longer. Argenson, to whom the bishop had not
spoken on the subject, came soon after to a meeting of the wardens,
and, being challenged, denied Laval’s right to dismiss him. A dispute
ensued, in which the bishop, according to his Jesuit friends, used
language not very respectful to the representative of royalty. ***

On occasion of the “solemn catechism,” the bishop insisted that
the children should salute him before saluting the governor. Argenson
hearing of this, declined to come. A compromise was contrived. It was
agreed that when the rival dignitaries entered, the children should
be busied in some manual exercise which should prevent their saluting
either. Nevertheless, two boys, “enticed and set on by their
parents,” saluted the governor first, to the great indignation of
Laval. They were whipped on the next day for breach of orders. ****

Next there was a sharp quarrel about a sentence pronounced by Laval
against a heretic, to which the governor, good Catholic as he was, took

     *  Lalemant, in Journal des Jésuites, Dec., 1659; Lettre
     d’Argenson MM. de la Compagnie de St. Sulpice.

     **  Livre des Délibérations de la Fabrique de Québec.

     ***  Journal des Jésuites, Nov., 1660

     **** Ibid., Feb., 1661.

exception. * Palm Sunday came, and there could be no procession and no
distribution of branches, because the governor and the bishop could not
agree on points of precedence. ** On the day of the Fête Dieu, however,
there was a grand procession, which stopped from time to time at
temporary altars, or _reposoirs_, placed at intervals along its course.
One of these was in the fort, where the soldiers were drawn, up, waiting
the arrival of the procession. Laval demanded that they should take off
their hats. Argenson assented, and the soldiers stood uncovered. Laval
now insisted that they should kneel. The governor replied that it was
their duty as soldiers to stand; whereupon the bishop refused to stop at
the altar, and ordered the procession to move on. ***

The above incidents are set down in the private journal of the superior
of the Jesuits, which was not meant for the public eye. The bishop,
it will be seen, was, by the showing of his friends, in most cases the
aggressor. The disputes in question, though of a nature to provoke a
smile on irreverent lips, were by no means so puerile as they appear. It
is difficult in a modern democratic society to conceive the substantial
importance of the signs and symbols of dignity and authority, at a time
and among a people where they were adjusted with the most scrupulous
precision, and accepted by all classes as exponents of relative degrees
in the social and political scale. Whether

     * Journal des Jésuites, Feb., 1661.

     ** Ibid., Avril, 1661.

     ***  Ibid., Juin, 1661.

the bishop or the governor should sit in the higher seat at table thus
became a political question, for it defined to the popular understanding
the position of church and state in their relations to government

Hence it is not surprising to find a memorial, drawn up apparently by
Argenson, and addressed to the council of state, asking for instructions
when and how a governor--lieutenant-general for the king--ought to
receive incense, holy water, and consecrated bread; whether the said
bread should be offered him with sound of drum and fife; what should
be the position of his seat at church; and what place he should hold in
various religious ceremonies; whether in feasts, assemblies, ceremonies,
and councils of _a purely civil character_, he or the bishop was to hold
the first place; and, finally, if the bishop could excommunicate the
inhabitants or others for acts of a civil and political character, when
the said acts were pronounced lawful by the governor.

The reply to the memorial denies to the bishop the power of
excommunication in civil matters, assigns to him the second place in
meetings and ceremonies of a civil character, and is very reticent as to
the rest. *

Argenson had a brother, a counsellor of state, and a fast friend of the
Jesuits. Laval was in correspondence with him, and, apparently sure of
sympathy, wrote to him touching his relations with the governor. “Your
brother,” he begins,

     *  Advis et Résolutions demandés sur la Nouvelle France.

“received me on my arrival with extraordinary kindness;” but he
proceeds to say that, perceiving with sorrow that he entertained a
groundless distrust of those good servants of God, the Jesuit fathers,
he, the bishop, thought it his duty to give him in private a candid
warning which ought to have done good, but which, to his surprise, the
governor had taken amiss, and had conceived, in consequence, a prejudice
against his monitor. *

Argenson, on his part, writes to the same brother, at about the same
time. “The Bishop of Petræa is so stiff in opinion, and so often
transported by his zeal beyond the rights of his position, that he makes
no difficulty in encroaching on the functions of others; and this with
so much heat that he will listen to nobody. A few days ago he carried
off a servant girl of one of the inhabitants here, and placed her by
his own authority in the Ursuline convent, on the sole pretext that
he wanted to have her instructed, thus depriving her master of her
services, though he had been at great expense in bringing her from
France. This inhabitant is M. Denis, who, not knowing who had carried
her off, came to me with a petition to get her out of the convent. I
kept the petition three days without answering it, to prevent the affair
from being noised abroad. The Reverend Father Lalemant, with whom
I communicated on the subject, and who greatly blamed the Bishop of
Petræa, did all in his power to have the girl given up quietly, but

     *   Lettre de Laval à M. d’Argenson, frère du Gouverneur, 20
     Oct, 1659.

without the least success, so that I was forced to answer the petition,
and permit M. Denis to take his servant wherever he should find her;
and, if I had not used means to bring about an accommodation, and if M.
Denis, on the refusal which was made him to give her up, had brought the
matter into court, I should have been compelled to take measures which
would have caused great scandal, and all from the self-will of the
Bishop of Petræa, who says that _a bishop can do what he likes_, and
threatens nothing but excommunication.” *

In another letter he speaks in the same strain of this redundancy of
zeal on the part of the bishop, which often, he says, takes the shape of
obstinacy and encroachment on the rights of others. “It is greatly to
be wished,” he observes, “that the Bishop of Petræa would give
his confidence to the Reverend Father Lalemant instead of Father
Ragueneau;” ** and he praises Lalemant as a person of excellent sense.
“It would be well,” he adds, “if the rest of their community were
of the same mind; for in that case they would not mix themselves up with
various matters in the way they do, and would leave the government to
those to whom God has given it in charge.”***

One of Laval’s modern admirers, the worthy Abbé Ferland, after
confessing that his zeal may now and then have savored of excess, adds
in his defence, that a vigorous hand was needed to

     *   “--Qui dict quun Evesque peult ce qu’il veult et ne
     menace que dexcommunication.” Lettre d’Argenson a son
     Frère, 1659.

     **  Lettre d’Argenson à son Frère, 21 Oct., 1659.

     *** Ibid., 7 July, 1660.

compel the infant colony to enter “the good path;” meaning, of
course, the straitest path of Roman Catholic orthodoxy. We may hereafter
see more of this stringent system of colonial education, its success,
and the results that followed.


_Reception of Argenson.--His Difficulties.--His Recall.--Dubois
d’Avaugour.--The Brandt Quarrel.--Distress of Laval.--Portents.--The

|When Argenson arrived to assume the government, a curious greeting had
awaited him. The Jesuits asked him to dine; vespers followed the
repast; and then they conducted him into a hall, where the boys of their
school--disguised, one as the Genius of New France, one as the Genius of
the Forest, and others as Indians of various friendly tribes--made him
speeches by turn, in prose and verse. First, Pierre du Quet, who played
the Genius of New France, presented his Indian retinue to the governor,
in a complimentary harangue. Then four other boys, personating French
colonists, made him four flattering addresses, in French verse. Charles
Denis, dressed as a Huron, followed, bewailing the ruin of his people,
and appealing to Argenson for aid. Jean François Bourdon, in the
character of an Algonquin, next advanced on the platform, boasted his
courage, and declared that he was ashamed to cry like the Huron. The
Genius of the Forest now appeared, with a retinue of wild Indians from
the interior, who, being unable to speak French, addressed the governor
in their native tongues, which the Genius proceeded to interpret.
Two other boys, in the character of prisoners just escaped from the
Iroquois, then came forward, imploring aid in piteous accents; and, in
conclusion, the whole troop of Indians, from far and near, laid their
bows and arrows at the feet of Argenson, and hailed him as their
chief. *

Besides these mock Indians, a crowd of genuine savages had gathered
at Quebec to greet the new “Ononthio.” On the next day--at his own
cost, as he writes to a friend--he gave them a feast, consisting of
“seven large kettles full of Indian corn, peas, prunes, sturgeons,
eels, and fat, which they devoured, having first sung me a song, after
their fashion.” **

These festivities over, he entered on the serious business of his
government, and soon learned that his path was a thorny one. He could
find, he says, but a hundred men to resist the twenty-four hundred
warriors of the Iroquois; *** and he begs the proprietary company which
he represented to send him a hundred more, who could serve as soldiers
or laborers, according to the occasion.

     *  La Reception de Monseigneur le Vicomte d’Argenson par
     toutes les nations du pais de Canada a son entrée au
     gouvernement de la Nouvelle France; a Quebecq au College de
     la Compagnie de Jésus, le 28 de Juillet de l’année 1658. The
     speeches, in French and Indian, are here given verbatim,
     with the names of all the boys who took part in the

     **  Papiers d’Argenson. Kebec, 5 Sept., 1658.

     *** Mémoire sur le subject (sic) de la Guerre des Iroquois,

The company turned a deal ear to his appeals. They had lost money in
Canada, and were grievously out of humor with it. In their view, the
first duty of a governor was to collect their debts, which, for more
reasons than one, was no easy task. While they did nothing to aid
the colony in its distress, they beset Argenson with demands for the
thousand pounds of beaver-skins, which the inhabitants had agreed to
send them every year, in return for the privilege of the fur trade, a
privilege which the Iroquois war made for the present worthless.
The perplexed governor vents his feelings in sarcasm. “They (_the
company_) take no pains to learn the truth; and, when they hear of
settlers carried off and burned by the Iroquois, they will think it
a punishment for not settling old debts, and paying over the
beaver-skins.” * “I wish,” he adds, “they would send somebody to
look after their affairs here. I would gladly give him the same lodging
and entertainment as my own.”

Another matter gave him great annoyance. This was the virtual
independence of Montreal; and here, if nowhere else, he and the bishop
were of the same mind. On one occasion he made a visit to the place in
question, where he expected to be received as governor-general; but the
local governor, Maisonneuve, declined, or at least postponed, to take
his orders and give him the keys of the fort. Argenson accordingly
speaks of Montreal as “a place which makes so much noise, but which is

     *   Papiers d’Argenson, 21 Oct., 1659.

of such small account.” * He adds that, besides wanting to be
independent, the Montrealists want to monopolize the fur trade, which
would cause civil war; and that the king ought to interpose to correct
their obstinacy.

In another letter he complains of Aillebout, who had preceded him in the
government, though himself a Montrealist. Argenson says that, on going
out to fight the Iroquois, he left Aillebout at Quebec, to act as his
lieutenant; that, instead of doing so, he had assumed to govern in
his own right; that he had taken possession of his absent superior’s
furniture, drawn his pay, and in other respects behaved as if he
never expected to see him again. “When I returned,” continues the
governor, “I made him director in the council, without pay, as there
was none to give him. It was this, I think, that made him remove to
Montreal, for which I do not care, provided the glory of our Master
suffer no prejudice thereby.” **

These extracts may, perhaps, give an unjust impression of Argenson, who,
from the general tenor of his letters, appears to have been a temperate
and reasonable person. His patience and his nervous system seem,
however, to have been taxed to the utmost. His pay could not support
him. “The costs of living here are horrible,” he writes. “I have
only two thousand crowns a year for all my expenses, and I have already
been forced to

     *  Papiers d’Argenson, 4 Août, 1659.

     **  Ibid. Double de la lettre escripte par le Vaisseau du
     Gaigneur, parti la 6 Septembre (1658).

run into debt to the company to an equal amount.” * Part of his scanty
income was derived from a fishery of eels, on which sundry persons had
encroached, to his great detriment. ** “I see no reason,” he adds,
“for staying here any longer. When I came to this country, I hoped to
enjoy a little repose, but I am doubly deprived of it; on one hand by
enemies without, and incessant petty disputes within; and, on the other,
by the difficulty I find in subsisting. The profits of the fur trade
have been so reduced that all the inhabitants are in the greatest
poverty. They are all insolvent, and cannot pay the merchants their

His disgust at length reached a crisis. “I am resolved to stay here
no longer, but to go home next year. My horror of dissension, and the
manifest certainty of becoming involved in disputes with certain persons
with whom I am unwilling to quarrel, oblige me to anticipate these
troubles, and seek some way of living in peace. These excessive
fatigues are far too much for my strength. I am writing to Monsieur the
President, and to the gentlemen of the Company of New France, to choose
some other man for this government.” *** And again, “if you take
any interest in this country, see that the person chosen to command here
has, besides the true piety necessary to a Christian in every condition
of life, great firmness of character and strong bodily health. I assure
you that without these

     *  Ibid. Lettre a M de Morangi, 5 Sept., 1658.

     **  Délibérations de la Compagnie de la Nouvelle France.

     *** Papiers d'Arqenson. Lettre à son Frère, 1659.

qualities he cannot succeed. Besides, it is absolutely necessary that
he should be a man of property and of some rank, so that he will not
be despised for humble birth, or suspected of coming here to make his
fortune; for in that case he can do no good whatever.” *

His constant friction with the head of the church distressed the
pious governor, and made his recall doubly a relief. According to a
contemporary writer, Laval was the means of delivering him from the
burden of government, having written to the President Lamoignon to urge
his removal. ** Be this as it may, it is certain that the bishop was not
sorry to be rid of him.

The Baron Dubois d’Avaugour arrived to take his place. He was an old
soldier of forty years service, *** blunt, imperative, and sometimes
obstinate to perverseness; but full of energy, and of a probity which
even his enemies confessed. “He served a long time in Germany while
you were there,” writes the minister Colbert to the Marquis de Tracy,
“and you must have known his talents, as well as his _bizarre_
and somewhat impracticable temper.” On landing, he would have no
reception, being, as Father Lalemant observes, “an enemy of all
ceremony.” He went, however, to see the Jesuits, and “took a morsel
of food in our refectory.” **** Laval was prepared to receive

     *  Ibid. Lettre (à son Frère?), 4 Nov., 1660. The originals
     of Argenson’s letters were destroyed in the burning of the
     library of the Louvre by the Commune.

     **  Lachenaye, Mémoire sur le Canada.

     *** Avaugour, Mémoire, 4 Août, 1663.

     ****  Lalemant, Journal des Jésuites, Sept., 1661.

him with all solemnity at the church; but the governor would not go.
He soon set out on a tour of observation as far as Montreal, whence he
returned delighted with the country, and immediately wrote to Colbert
in high praise of it, observing that the St. Lawrence was the most
beautiful river he had ever seen. *

It was clear from the first that, while he had a prepossession against
the bishop, he wished to be on good terms with the Jesuits. He began by
placing some of them on the council; but they and Laval were too closely
united; and if Avaugour thought to separate them, he signally failed. A
few months only had elapsed when we find it noted in Father Lalemant’s
private journal that the governor had dissolved the council and
appointed a new one, and that other “changes and troubles” had
befallen The inevitable quarrel had broken out; it was a complex one,
but the chief occasion of dispute was fortunate for the ecclesiastics,
since it placed them, to a certain degree, morally in the right.

The question at issue was not new. It had agitated the colony for years,
and had been the spring of some of Argenson’s many troubles. Nor
did it cease with Avaugour, for we shall trace its course hereafter,
tumultuous as a tornado. It was simply the temperance question; not
as regards the colonists, though here, too, there was great room for
reform, but as regards the Indians.

Their inordinate passion for brandy had long been the source of
excessive disorders. They drank

     *  Lettre d’Avaugour au Ministre, 1661.

expressly to get drunk, and when drunk they were like wild beasts.
Crime and violence of all sorts ensued; the priests saw their teachings
despised and their flocks ruined. On the other hand, the sale of
brandy was a chief source of profit, direct or indirect, to all those
interested in the fur trade, including the principal persons of the
colony. In Argenson’s time, Laval launched an excommunication against
those engaged in the abhorred traffic; for nothing less than total
prohibition would content the clerical party, and besides the spiritual
penalty, they demanded the punishment of death against the contumacious
offender. Death, in fact, was decreed. Such was the posture of affairs
when Avaugour arrived; and, willing as he was to conciliate the Jesuits,
he permitted the decree to take effect, although, it seems, with great
repugnance. A few weeks after his arrival, two men were shot and one
whipped, for selling brandy to Indians. * An extreme though partially
suppressed excitement shook the entire settlement, for most of the
colonists were, in one degree or another, implicated in the offence thus
punished. An explosion soon followed; and the occasion of it was the
humanity or good-nature of the Jesuit Lalemant.

A woman had been condemned to imprisonment for the same cause, and
Lalemant, moved by compassion, came to the governor to intercede for
her. Avaugour could no longer contain himself, and answered the reverend
petitioner with characteristic

     *  Journal des Jésuites, Oct., 1661.

bluntness. “You and your brethren were the first to cry out against
the trade, and now you want to save the traders from punishment. I will
no longer be the sport of your contradictions. Since it is not a crime
for this woman, it shall not be a crime for anybody.” * And in this
posture he stood fast, with an inflexible stubbornness.

Henceforth there was full license to liquor dealers. A violent reaction
ensued against the past restriction, and brandy flowed freely among
French and Indians alike. The ungodly drank to spite the priests and
revenge themselves for the “constraint of consciences,” of
which they loudly complained. The utmost confusion followed, and the
principles on which the pious colony was built seemed upheaved from
the foundation. Laval was distracted with grief and anger. He outpoured
himself from the pulpit in threats of divine wrath, and launched fresh
excommunications against the offenders; but such was the popular fury,
that he was forced to yield and revoke them. **

Disorder grew from bad to worse. “Men gave no heed to bishop,
preacher, or confessor,” writes Father Charlevoix. “The French have
despised the remonstrances of our prelate, because they are supported by
the civil power,’ says the superior of the Ursulines. “He is almost
dead with grief, and pines away before our eyes.”

Laval could bear it no longer, but sailed for

     *  La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. V.

     **  Journal des Jésuites, Feb., 1662. The sentence of
     excommunication is printed in the Appendix to the Esquisse
     de la Vie de Laval. It bears date February 24. It was on
     this very day that he was forced to revoke it.

France, to lay his complaints before the court, and urge the removal of
Avaugour. He had, besides, two other important objects, as will appear
hereafter. His absence brought no improvement. Summer and autumn passed,
and the commotion did not abate. Winter was drawing to a close, when,
at length, outraged Heaven interposed an awful warning to the guilty

Scarcely had the bishop left his flock when the skies grew portentous
with signs of the chastisement to come. “We beheld,” gravely writes
Father Lalemant, “blazing serpents which flew through the air, borne
on wings of fire. We beheld above Quebec a great globe of flame, which
lighted up the night, and threw out sparks on all sides. This same
meteor appeared above Montreal, where it seemed to issue from the
bosom of the moon, with a noise as loud as cannon or thunder, and after
sailing three leagues through the air it disappeared behind the mountain
whereof this island bears the name.” *

Still greater marvels followed. First, a Christian Algonquin squaw,
described as “innocent, simple, and sincere,” being seated erect in
bed, wide awake, by the side of her husband, in the night between
the fourth and fifth of February, distinctly heard a voice saying,
“Strange things will happen to-day; the earth will quake!” In great
alarm she whispered the prodigy to her husband, who told her that she
lied. This silenced her for a time; but when, the next morning, she went
into the forest

     *  Lalemant. Relation, 1663, 2.

with her hatchet to cut a faggot of wood, the same dread voice resounded
through the solitude, and sent her back in terror to her hut. *

These things were as nothing compared with the marvel that befell a nun
of the hospital, Mother Catherine de Saint-Augustin, who died five years
later, in the odor of sanctity. On the night of the fourth of February,
1663, she beheld in the spirit four furious demons at the four corners
of Quebec, shaking it with a violence which plainly showed their purpose
of reducing it to ruins; “and this they would have done,” says
the story, “if a personage of admirable beauty and ravishing majesty
[_Christ_], whom she saw in the midst of them, and who, from time to
time, gave rein to their fury, had not restrained them when they were
on the point of accomplishing their wicked design.” She also heard the
conversation of these demons, to the effect that people were now well
frightened, and many would be converted; but this would not last
long, and they, the demons, would have them in time, “Let us keep on
shaking,” they cried, encouraging each other, “and do our best to
upset every thing.” **

Now, to pass from visions to facts: “At half-past five o’clock on
the morning of the fifth,” writes Father Lalemant, “a great roaring
sound was heard at the same time through the whole extent

     *  Lalemant, Relation, 1663, 6.

     **  Ragueneau, Vie de Catherine de St. Augustin, Liv. IV.
     chap. i. The same story is told by Juchereau, Lalemant, and
     Marie de l'Incarnation, to whom Charlevoix erroneously
     ascribes the vision, as does also the Abbe La Tour.

of Canada. This sound, which produced an effect as if the houses were
on fire, brought everybody out of doors; but instead of seeing smoke and
flame, they were amazed to behold the walls shaking, and all the stones
moving as if they would drop from their places. The houses seemed
to bend first to one side and then to the other. Bells sounded of
themselves; beams, joists, and planks cracked; the ground heaved, making
the pickets of the palisades dance in a way that would have seemed
incredible had we not seen it in divers places.

“Everybody was in the streets; animals ran wildly about; children
cried; men and women, seized with fright, knew not where to take refuge,
expecting every moment to be buried under the ruins of the houses, or
swallowed up in some abyss opening under their feet. Some, on their
knees in the snow, cried for mercy, and others passed the night in
prayer; for the earthquake continued without ceasing, with a motion much
like that of a ship at sea, insomuch that sundry persons felt the same
qualms of stomach which they would feel on the water. In the forests the
commotion was far greater. The trees struck one against the other as if
there were a battle between them; and you would have said that not only
their branches, but even their trunks started out of their places and
leaped on each other with such noise and confusion that the Indians
said that the whole forest was drunk.” Mary of the Incarnation gives
a similar account, as does also Frances Juchereau de Saint-Ignace; and
these contemporary records are sustained to some extent by the evidence
of geology. * A remarkable effect was produced on the St. Lawrence,
which was so charged with mud and clay that for many weeks the water was
unfit to drink. Considerable hills and large tracts of forest slid from
their places, some into the river, and some into adjacent valleys. A
number of men in a boat near Tadoussac stared aghast at a large hill
covered with trees, which sank into the water before their eyes; streams
were turned from their courses; waterfalls were levelled; springs
were dried up in some places, while in others new springs appeared.
Nevertheless, the accounts that have come down to us seem a little
exaggerated, and sometimes ludicrously so; as when, for example, Mother
Mary of the Incarnation tells us of a man who ran all night to escape
from a fissure in the earth which opened behind him and chased him as he

It is perhaps needless to say that “spectres and phantoms of fire,
bearing torches in their hands,” took part in the convulsion. “The
fiery figure of a man vomiting flames” also appeared in the air, with
many other apparitions too numerous to mention. It is recorded that
three young men were on their way through the forest to sell brandy to
the Indians, when one of them, a little in advance of the rest, was met
by a hideous spectre which nearly

     *  Professor Sterry Hunt, whose intimate knowledge of
     Canadian geology is well known, tells me that the shores of
     the St. Lawrence are to a great extent formed of beds of
     gravel and clay resting on inclined strata of rock, so that
     earth-slides would be the necessary result of any convulsion
     like that of 1663. He adds that the evidence that such
     slides have taken place on a great scale is very distinct at
     various points along the river, especially at Les
     Eboulemcns. Professor Sterry Hunt, whose intimate knowledge of
     Canadian geology is well known, tells me that the shores of
     the St. Lawrence are to a great extent formed of beds of
     gravel and clay resting on inclined strata of rock, so that
     earth-slides would be the necessary result of any convulsion
     like that of 1663. He adds that the evidence that such
     slides have taken place on a great scale is very distinct at
     various points along the river, especially at Les
     Eboulemcns on the north shore.

killed him with fright. He had scarcely strength enough to rejoin his
companions, who, seeing his terror, began to laugh at him. One of them,
however, presently came to his senses, and said: “This is no
laughing matter; we are going to sell liquor to the Indians against
the prohibitions of the church, and perhaps God means to punish our
disobedience.” On this they all turned back. That night they had
scarcely lain down to sleep when the earthquake roused them, and they
ran out of their hut just in time to escape being swallowed up along
with it. *

With every allowance, it is clear that the convulsion must have been a
severe one, and it is remarkable that in all Canada not a life was lost.
The writers of the day see in this a proof that God meant to reclaim the
guilty and not destroy them. At Quebec there was for the time an intense
revival of religion. The end of the world was thought to be at hand,
and everybody made ready for the last judgment. Repentant throngs beset
confessionals and altars; enemies were reconciled; fasts, prayers, and
penances filled the whole season of Lent. Yet, as we shall see, the
devil could still find wherewith to console himself.

It was midsummer before the shocks wholly ceased and the earth resumed
her wonted calm. An extreme drought was followed by floods of rain, and
then Nature began her sure work of

     *  Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre du 20 Aout, 1663. It
     appears from Morton, Josselyn, and other writers, that the
     earthquake extended to New England and New Netherlands,
     producing similar effects on the imagination of the people.

reparation. It was about this time that the thorn which had plagued the
church was at length plucked out. Avaugour was summoned home.

He took his recall with magnanimity, and on his way wrote at Gaspé a
memorial to Colbert, in which he commends New France to the attention
of the king. “The St. Lawrence,” he says, “is the entrance to
what may be made the greatest state in the world;” and, in his purely
military way, he recounts the means of realizing this grand possibility.
Three thousand soldiers should be sent to the colony, to be discharged
and turned into settlers after three years of service. During these
three years they may make Quebec an impregnable fortress, subdue the
Iroquois, build a strong fort on the river where the Dutch have a
miserable wooden redoubt, called Fort Orange [_Albany_], and finally
open a way by that river to the sea. Thus the heretics will be driven
out, and the king will be master of America, at a total cost of about
four hundred thousand francs yearly for ten years. He closes his
memorial by a short allusion to the charges against him, and to his
forty years of faithful service; and concludes, speaking of the authors
of his recall, Laval and the Jesuits:

“By reason of the respect I owe their cloth, I will rest content,
monseigneur, with assuring you that I have not only served the king
with fidelity, but also, by the grace of God, with very good success,
considering the means at my disposal.” * He had, in truth, borne
himself as a brave and experienced

      *  Avaugour, Mémoire, Gaspé 4 Août 1663.

soldier; and he soon after died a soldier’s death, while defending the
fortress of Zrin, in Croatia, against the Turks. *

     *   Lettre de Colbert au Marquis de Tracy, 1664. Mémoire du
     Boy, pout servir d’instruction au Sieur Talon


_Péronne Dumesnil.--The Old Council.--Alleged Murder.--The New
Council.--Bourdon And Villeray.--Strong Measures.--Escape Of
Duhesnil.--Views Of Colbert._

|Though the proposals of Avaugour’s memorial were not adopted, it
seems to have produced a strong impression at court. For this impression
the minds of the king and his minister had already been prepared. Two
years before, the inhabitants of Canada had sent one of their number,
Pierre Boucher, to represent their many grievances and ask for aid.
* Boucher had had an audience of the young king, who listened with
interest to his statements; and when in the following year he returned
to Quebec, he was accompanied by an officer named Dumont, who had under
his command a hundred soldiers for the colony, and was commissioned to
report its condition and resources. The movement

     *  To promote the objects of his mission, Boucher wrote a
     little book, Histoire Véritable et Naturelle des Mœurs et
     Productions du Pays de la Nouvelle France. He dedicates it
     to Colbert.

     **  A long journal of Dumont is printed anonymously in the
     Relation of 1663.

seemed to betoken that the government was wakening at last from its long

Meanwhile the Company of New France, feudal lord of Canada, had also
shown signs of returning life. Its whole history had been one of mishap,
followed by discouragement and apathy; and it is difficult to say
whether its ownership of Canada had been more hurtful to itself or to
the colony. At the eleventh hour it sent out an agent invested with
powers of controller-general, intendant, and supreme judge, to inquire
into the state of its affairs. This agent, Péronne Dumesnil, arrived
early in the autumn of 1660, and set himself with great vigor to
his work. He was an advocate of the Parliament of Paris, an active,
aggressive, and tenacious person, of a temper well fitted to rip up an
old abuse or probe a delinquency to the bottom. His proceedings quickly
raised a storm at Quebec.

It may be remembered that, many years before, the company had ceded
its monopoly of the fur trade to the inhabitants of the colony, in
consideration of that annual payment in beaver-skins which had been so
tardily and so rarely made. The direction of the trade had at that time
been placed in the hands of a council composed of the governor, the
superior of the Jesuits, and several other members. Various changes had
since taken place, and the trade was now controlled by another council,
established without the consent of the company, * and composed of the
principal persons in the colony. The members of this council, with

     *  Registres du Conseil du Roy; Réponse a la requeste
     présentée au Roy.

prominent merchants in league with them, engrossed all the trade, so
that the inhabitants at large profited nothing by the right which the
company had ceded; * and as the councillors controlled not only the
trade but all the financial affairs of Canada, while the remoteness of
their scene of operations made it difficult to supervise them, they were
able, with little risk, to pursue their own profit, to the detriment
both of the company and the colony. They and their allies formed a petty
trading oligarchy, as pernicious to the prosperity of Canada as the
Iroquois war itself.

The company, always anxious for its beaver-skins, made several attempts
to control the proceedings of the councillors and call them to account,
but with little success, till the vigorous Dumesnil undertook the task,
when, to their wrath and consternation, they and their friends found
themselves attacked by wholesale accusations of fraud and embezzlement.
That these charges were exaggerated there can be little doubt; that they
were unfounded is incredible, in view of the effect they produced.

The councillors refused to acknowledge Dumesnil’s powers as
controller, intendant, and judge, and declared his proceedings null. He
retorted by charging them with usurpation. The excitement increased, and
Dumesnil’s life was threatened.

He had two sons in the colony. One of them, Péronne de Mazé, was
secretary to Avaugour, then on his way up the St. Lawrence to assume the

     *  Arrêt du Conseil d’Etat, 7 Mars, 1657. Also Papiers
     d’Argenson, and Extrait des Registres du Conseil d’Etat, 15
     Mars, 1656.

government. The other, Péronne des Touches, was with his father at
Quebec. Towards the end of August this young man was attacked in the
street in broad daylight, and received a kick which proved fatal. He
was carried to his father’s house, where he died on the twenty-ninth.
Dumesnil charges four persons, all of whom were among those into whose
affairs he had been prying, with having taken part in the outrage; but
it is very uncertain who was the immediate cause of Des Touches’s
death. Dumesnil, himself the supreme judicial officer of the colony,
made complaint to the judge in ordinary of the company; but he says
that justice was refused, the complaint suppressed by authority, his
allegations torn in pieces, and the whole affair hushed. *

At the time of the murder, Dumesnil was confined to his house by
illness. An attempt was made to rouse the mob against him, by reports
that he had come to the colony for the purpose of laying taxes; but he
sent for some of the excited inhabitants, and succeeded in convincing
them that he was their champion rather than their enemy. Some Indians in
the neighborhood were also instigated to kill him, and he was forced to
conciliate them by presents.

     *  Dumesnil, Mémoire. Under date August 31 the Journal des
     Jésuite makes this brief and guarded mention of the affair:
     “Le fils de Mons. du Mesnil... fut enterré le mesme jour,
     tué d’un coup de pié par N.” Who is meant by N. it is
     difficult to say. The register of the parish church records
     the burial as follows:--

     L’an 1661. Le 30 Aoust a esté enterré au Cemetiere de
     Quebec Michel peronne dit Sr. des Touches fils de Mr. du
     Mesnil décédé le Jour precedent a sa Maison.

He soon renewed his attacks, and in his quality of intendant called on
the councillors and their allies to render their accounts, and settle
the long arrears of debt due to the company. They set his demands at
naught. The war continued month after month. It is more than likely
that when in the spring of 1662 Avaugour dissolved and reconstructed
the council, his action had reference to these disputes; and it is clear
that when in the following August Laval sailed for France, one of his
objects was to restore the tranquillity which Dumesnil’s proceedings
had disturbed. There was great need; for, what with these proceedings
and the quarrel about brandy, Quebec was a little hell of discord, the
earthquake not having as yet frightened it into propriety.

The bishop’s success at court was triumphant. Not only did he procure
the removal of Avaugour, but he was invited to choose a new governor
to replace him. * This was not all; for he succeeded in effecting a
complete change in the government of the colony. The Company of New
France was called upon to resign its claims; ** and, by a royal edict of
April, 1663, all power, legislative, judicial, and executive, was vested
in a council composed of the governor whom Laval had chosen, of Laval
himself, and of five councillors, an attorney-general, and a secretary,
to be chosen by Laval and the governor jointly. *** Bearing with them

     * La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. V.

     **  See the deliberations and acts to this end in Edits et
     Ordonnances concernant le Canada, 1. 30-32.

     ***  Edit de Création du Conseil Supérieur de Quebec.

commissions to be filled with the names of the new functionaries, Laval
and his governor sailed for Quebec, where they landed on the fifteenth
of September. With them came one Gaudais-Dupont, a royal commissioner
instructed to inquire into the state of the colony.

No sooner had they arrived than Laval and Mézy, the new governor,
proceeded to construct the new council. Mézy knew nobody in the
colony, and was, at this time, completely under Laval’s influence.
The nominations, therefore, were virtually made by the bishop alone, in
whose hands, and not in those of the governor, the blank commissions
had been placed. * Thus for the moment he had complete control of the
government; that is to say, the church was mistress of the civil power.

Laval formed his council as follows: Jean Bourdon for attorney-general;
Rouer de Villeray, Juchereau de la Berté, Ruette d’Auteuil, Le
Gardeur de Tilly, and Matthieu Damours for councillors; and Peuvret
de Mesnu for secretary. The royal commissioner, Gaudais, also took a
prominent place at the board. ** This functionary was on the point of
marrying his niece to a son of Robert Giffard,

     *  Commission actroyée au Sieur Gaudais. Mémoire pour servir
     d’instruction au Sieur Gaudais. A sequel to these
     instructions, marked secret, shows that, notwithstanding
     Laval’s extraordinary success in attaining his objects, he
     and the Jesuits were somewhat distrusted. Gaudais is
     directed to make, with great discretion and caution, careful
     inquiry into the bishop’s conduct, and with equal secrecy to
     ascertain why the Jesuits had asked for Avaugour’s recall.

     **  As substitute for the intendant, an officer who had been
     appointed but who had not arrived.

who had a strong interest in suppressing Dumesnil’s accusations. *
Dumesnil had laid his statements before the commissioner, who quickly
rejected them, and took part with the accused.

Of those appointed to the new council, their enemy Dumesnil says
that they were "incapable persons,” and their associate Gaudais,
in defending them against worse charges, declares that they were
“unlettered, of little experience, and nearly all unable to deal with
affairs of importance.” This was, perhaps, unavoidable; for, except
among the ecclesiastics, education was then scarcely known in Canada.
But if Laval may be excused for putting incompetent men in office,
nothing can excuse him for making men charged with gross public offences
the prosecutors and judges in their own cause; and his course in doing
so gives color to the assertion of Dumesnil, that he made up the council
expressly to shield the accused and smother the accusation. **

The two persons under the heaviest charges received the two most
important appointments: Bourdon, attorney-general, and Villeray, keeper

     *  Dumesnil here makes one of the few mistakes I have been
     able to detect in his long memorials. He says that the name
     of the niece of Gaudais was Marie Nau. It was, in fact,
     Michelle-Therese Nau, who married Joseph, son of Robert
     Giffard, on the 22d of October, 1663. Dumesnil had forgotten
     the bride’s first name. The elder Giffard was surety for
     Repentigny, whom Dumesnil charged with liabilities to the
     company, amounting to 644,700 livres. Giffard was also
     father-in-law of Juchereau de la Ferte, one of the accused.

     **  Dumesnil goes further than this, for he plainly
     intimates that the removing from power of the company, to
     whom the accused were responsible, and the placing in power
     of a council formed of the accused themselves, was a device
     contrived from the first by Laval and the Jesuits, to get
     their friends out of trouble.

the seals. La Ferté was also one of the accused. * Of Villeray, the
governor Argenson had written in 1059: “Some of his qualities are
good enough, but confidence cannot be placed in him, on account of his
instability.” ** In the same year, he had been ordered to France,
“to purge himself of sundry crimes wherewith he stands charged.”
*** He was not yet free of suspicion, having returned to Canada under
an order to make up and render his accounts, which he had not yet done.
Dumesnil says that he first came to the colony in 1651, as valet of the
governor Lauson, who had taken him from the jail at Rochelle, where he
was imprisoned for a debt of seventy-one francs, “as appears by the
record of the jail of date July eleventh in that year.” From this
modest beginning he became in time the richest man in Canada. **** He
was strong in orthodoxy, and an ardent supporter of the bishop and the
Jesuits. He is alternately praised and blamed, according to the partisan
leanings of the writer.

     *  Bourdon is charged with not having accounted for an
     immense quantity of beaver-skins which had passed through
     his hands during twelve years or more, and which are valued
     at more than 300,000 livres. Other charges are made against
     him in connection with large sums borrowed in Lauson’s time
     on account of the colony. In a memorial addressed to the
     king in council, Dumesnil says that, in 1662, Bourdon,
     according to his own accounts, had in his hands 37,516
     livres belonging to the company, which he still retained.
     Villeray’s liabilities arose out of the unsettled accounts
     of his father-in-law, Charles Sevestre, and are set down at
     more than 600,000 livres. La Ferté’s are of a smaller
     amount. Others of the council were indirectly involved in
     the charges.

     **  Lettre d’Argenson, 20 Nov., 1659.

     ***   Edit du Roy, 13 Mai, 1659.

     **** Lettre de Colbert a Frontenac, 17 Mai, 1674.

Bourdon, though of humble origin, was, perhaps, the most intelligent
man in the council. He was chiefly known as an engineer, but he had also
been a baker, a painter, a syndic of the inhabitants, chief gunner at
the fort, and collector of customs for the company. Whether guilty of
embezzlement or not, he was a zealous devotee, and would probably have
died for his creed. Like Villeray, he was one of Laval’s stanchest
supporters, while the rest of the council were also sound in doctrine
and sure in allegiance.

In virtue of their new dignity, the accused now claimed exemption from
accountability; but this was not all. The abandonment of Canada by
the company, in leaving Dumesnil without support, and depriving him
of official character, had made his charges far less dangerous.
Nevertheless, it was thought best to suppress them altogether, and the
first act of the new government was to this end.

On the twentieth of September, the second day after the establishment
of the council, Bourdon, in his character of attorney-general, rose and
demanded that the papers of Jean Péronne Dumesnil should be seized
and sequestered. The council consented, and, to Complete the scandal,
Villeray was commissioned to make the seizure in the presence of
Bourdon. To color the proceeding, it was alleged that Dumesnil had
obtained certain papers unlawfully from the _greffe_ or record office.
“As he was thought,” says Gaudais, “to be a violent man."

Bourdon and Villeray took with them ten soldiers, well armed, together
with a locksmith and the secretary of the council. Thus prepared for
every contingency, they set out on their errand, and appeared suddenly
at Dumesnil's house between seven and eight o’clock in the evening.
“The aforesaid Sieur Dumesnil,” further says Gaudais, “did not
refute the opinion entertained of his violence; for he made a great
noise, shouted _robbers!_ and tried to rouse the neighborhood,
outrageously abusing the aforesaid Sieur de Villeray and the
attorney-general, in great contempt of the authority of the council,
which he even refused to recognize.”

They tried to silence him by threats, but without effect; upon which
they seized him and held him fast in a chair; “me,” writes the
wrathful Dumesnil, “who had lately been their judge.” The soldiers
stood over him and stopped his mouth while the others broke open and
ransacked his cabinet, drawers, and chest, from which they took all his
papers, refusing to give him an inventory, or to permit any witness to
enter the house. Some of these papers were private; among the rest were,
he says, the charges and specifications, nearly finished, for the
trial of Bourdon and Villeray, together with the proofs of their
“peculations, extortions, and malversations.” The papers were
enclosed under seal, and deposited in a neighboring house, whence they
were afterwards removed to the council-chamber, and Dumesnil never saw
them again. It may well be believed that this, the inaugural act of the
new council, was not allowed to appear on its records. *

On the twenty-first, Villeray made a formal report of the seizure to
his colleagues; upon which, “by reason of the insults, violences, and
irreverences therein set forth against the aforesaid Sieur de Villeray,
commissioner, as also against the authority of the council,” it was
ordered that the offending Dumesnil should be put under arrest; but
Gaudais, as he declares, prevented the order from being carried into

Dumesnil, who says that during the scene at his house he had expected to
be murdered like his son, now, though unsupported and alone, returned to
the attack, demanded his papers, and was so loud in threats of complaint
to the king that the council were seriously alarmed. They again decreed
his arrest and imprisonment; but resolved to keep the decree secret till
the morning of the day when the last of the returning ships was to
sail for France. In this ship Dumesnil had taken his passage, and they
proposed to arrest him unexpectedly on the point of embarkation, that he
might have no time to prepare and despatch a memorial to the court. Thus
a full year must elapse before his complaints could reach the minister,
and seven or eight months more before a reply could be returned to
Canada. During this long delay the affair would have time to cool.
Dumesnil received a secret warning of

     *   The above is drawn from the two memorials of Gaudais and
     of Dimesnil. They do not contradict each other as, to the
     essential facts.

this plan, and accordingly went on board another vessel, which was to
sail immediately. The council caused the six cannon of the battery in
the Lower Town to be pointed at her, and threatened to sink her if she
left the harbor; but she disregarded them, and proceeded on her way.

On reaching France, Dumesnil contrived to draw the attention of the
minister Colbert to his accusations, and to the treatment they had
brought upon him. On this Colbert demanded of Gaudais, who had also
returned in one of the autumn ships, why he had not reported these
matters to him. Gaudais made a lame attempt to explain his silence, gave
his statement of the seizure of the papers, answered in vague terms some
of Dumesnil’s charges against the Canadian financiers, and said that
he had nothing to do with the rest. In the following spring Colbert
wrote as follows to his relative Terron, intendant of marine:--

“I do not know what report M. Gaudais has made to you, but family
interests and the connections which he has at Quebec should cause him
to be a little distrusted. On his arrival in that country, having
constituted himself chief of the council, he despoiled an agent of
the Company of Canada of all his papers, in a manner very violent and
extraordinary, and this proceeding leaves no doubt whatever that these
papers contained matters the knowledge of which it was wished absolutely
to suppress. I think it will be very proper that you should be informed
of the statements made by this agent, in order that, through him, an
exact knowledge may be acquired of every thing that has taken place in
the management of affairs.” *

Whether Terron pursued the inquiry does not appear. Meanwhile new
quarrels had arisen at Quebec, and the questions of the past were
obscured in the dust of fresh commotions. Nothing is more noticeable in
the whole history of Canada, after it came under the direct control of
the Crown, than the helpless manner in which this absolute government
was forced to overlook and ignore the disobedience and rascality of its
functionaries in this distant transatlantic dependency.

As regards Dumesnil’s charges, the truth seems to be, that the
financial managers of the colony, being ignorant and unpractised, had
kept imperfect and confused accounts, which they themselves could not
always unravel; and that some, if not all of them, had made illicit
profits under cover of this confusion. That their stealings approached
the enormous sum at which Dinesnil places them is not to be believed.
But, even on the grossly improbable assumption of their entire
innocence, there can be no apology for the means, subversive of
all justice, by which Laval enabled his partisans and supporters to
extricate themselves from embarrassment.----

     *  Lettre de Colbert a Terron, Rochelle, 8 Fev., 1664. “Il a
     spolié un agent de la Compagnie de Canada de tous ses
     papiers d’une manière fort violente et extraordinaire, et ce
     procédé ne laisse point à douter que dans ces papiers il n’y
     eût des choses dont on a voulu absolument supprimer la
     connaissance.” Colbert seems to have received an exaggerated
     impression of the part borne by Gaudais in the seizure of
     the papers.

NOTE.--Dumesnil’s principal memorial, preserved in the archives of
the Marine and Colonies, is entitled Mémoire concernant les Affaires du
Canada, qui montre et fait voir que sous prétexte de la Gloire de Dieu,
d’Instruction des Sauvages, de servir le Roy et de faire la nouvelle
Colonie, il a été pris et diverti trois millions de livres ou environ.
It forms in the copy before me thirty-eight pages of manuscript, and
bears no address; but seems meant for Colbert, or the council of state.
There is a second memorial, which is little else than an abridgment of
the first. A third, bearing the address Au Roy et a nos Seigneurs du
Conseil (d’Etat), and signed Peronne Dumesnil, is a petition for the
payment of 10,132 livres due to him by the company for his services in
Canada, “ou il a perdu son fils assassiné par les comptables du dit
pays, qui n’ont voulu rendre compte au dit suppliant, Intendant, et
ont pillé sa maison, ses meubles et papiers le 20 du mois de Septembre
dernier, dont il y a acte.”

Gaudais, in compliance with the demands of Colbert, gives his statement
in a long memorial, Le Sieur Gaudais Dupont à Monseigneur de Colbert,

Dumesnil, in his principal memorial, gives a list of the alleged
defaulters, with the special charges against each, and the amounts for
which he reckons them liable. The accusations cover a period of ten or
twelve years, and sometimes more. Some of them are curiously suggestive
of more recent “rings.” Thus Jean Gloria makes a charge of
thirty-one hundred livres (francs) for fireworks to celebrate the
king’s marriage, when the actual cost is said to have been about forty
livres. Others are alleged to have embezzled the funds of the company,
under cover of pretended payments to imaginary creditors; and Argenson
himself is said to have eked out his miserable salary by drawing on the
company for the pay of soldiers who did not exist.

The records of the Council preserve a guarded silence about this affair.
I find, however, under date 20 Sept., 1663, “Pouvoir â M. de Villeray
de faire recherche dans la maison d’un nommé du Mesnil des papiers
appartenants au Conseil concernant Sa Majesté;” and under date 18
March, 1664, “Ordre pour l’ouverture du coffre contenant les papiers
de Dumesnil,” and also an “Ordre pour mettre l’Inventaire des
biens du Sr. Dumesnil entre les mains du Sr. Fillion.”


_The Bishop’s Choice.--A Military Zealot.--Hopeful Beginnings.--Signs
of Storm.--The Quarrel.--Distress of Mézy.--He Refuses to Yield.--His
Defeat and Death._

|We have seen that Laval, when at court, had been invited to choose a
governor to his liking. He soon made his selection. There was a pious
officer, Saffray de Mézy, major of the town and citadel of Caen, whom
he had well known during his long stay with Bernières at the Hermitage.
Mézy was the principal member of the company of devotees formed at Caen
under the influence of Bernières and his disciples. In his youth he had
been headstrong and dissolute. Worse still, he had been, it is said,
a Huguenot; but both in life and doctrine his conversion had been
complete, and the fervid mysticism of Bernières acting on his vehement
nature had transformed him into a red-hot zealot. Towards the hermits
and their chief he showed a docility in strange contrast with his past
history, and followed their inspirations with an ardor which sometimes
overleaped its mark.

Thus a Jacobin monk, a doctor of divinity, once came to preach at the
church of St. Paul at Caen; on which, according to their custom, the
brotherhood of the Hermitage sent two persons to make report concerning
his orthodoxy. Mézy and another military zealot, “who,” says the
narrator, “hardly know how to read, and assuredly do not know their
catechism,” were deputed to hear his first sermon; wherein this
Jacobin, having spoken of the necessity of the grace of Jesus Christ in
order to the doing of good deeds, these two wiseacres thought that he
was preaching Jansenism; and thereupon, after the sermon, the Sieur
de Mézy went to the proctor of the ecclesiastical court and denounced
him. *

His zeal, though but moderately tempered with knowledge, sometimes
proved more useful than on this occasion. The Jacobin convent at Caen
was divided against itself. Some of the monks had embraced the doctrines
taught by Bernières, while the rest held dogmas which he declared to be
contrary to those of the Jesuits, and therefore heterodox. A prior was
to be elected, and, with the help of Bernières, his partisans gained
the victory, choosing one Father Louis, through whom the Hermitage
gained a complete control in the convent. But the adverse party
presently resisted, and complained to the provincial of their order, who
came to Caen to close the dispute by deposing Father Louis. Hearing of
his approach, Bernières asked

     *  Nicole, Mémoire pour faire connoistre l’espnt et la
     conduite de la Compagnie appellée l'Hermitage.

aid from his military disciple, and De Mézy sent him a squad of
soldiers, who guarded the convent doors and barred out the provincial. *

Among the merits of Mézy, his humility and charity were especially
admired; and the people of Caen had more than once seen the town major
staggering across the street with a beggar mounted on his back, whom he
was bearing dryshod through the mud in the exercise of those virtues.
** In this he imitated his master Bernières, of whom similar acts are
recorded. *** However dramatic in manifestation, his devotion was not
only sincere but intense. Laval imagined that he knew him well. Above
all others, Mézy was the man of his choice; and so eagerly did he plead
for him, that the king himself paid certain debts which the pious major
had contracted, and thus left him free to sail for Canada.

His deportment on the voyage was edifying, and the first days of his
accession were passed in harmony. He permitted Laval to form the new
council, and supplied the soldiers for the seizure of Dumesnil’s
papers. A question arose concerning Montreal, a subject on which
the governors and the bishop rarely differed in opinion. The present
instance was no exception to the rule. Mézy removed Maisonneuve, the
local governor, and immediately replaced him; the effect being, that

     *  ibid.

     **  Juchereau, Histoire de l'Hôtel-Dieu, 149.

     ***  See the laudatory notice of Bernières de Louvigny in
     the Nouvelle Biographie Universelle.

he had before derived his authority from the seigniors of the island,
he now derived it from the governor-general. It was a movement in the
interest, of centralized power, and as such was cordially approved by

The first indication to the bishop and the Jesuits that the new governor
was not likely to prove in their hands as clay in the hands of the
potter, is said to have been given on occasion of an interview with an
embassy of Iroquois chiefs, to whom Mézy, aware of their duplicity,
spoke with a decision and haughtiness that awed the savages and
astonished the ecclesiastics.

He seems to have been one of those natures that run with an engrossing
vehemence along any channel into which they may have been turned. At the
Hermitage he was all devotee; but climate and conditions had changed,
and he or his symptoms changed with them. He found himself raised
suddenly to a post of command, or one which was meant to be such. The
town major of Caen was set to rule over a region far larger than France.
The royal authority was trusted to his keeping, and his honor and duty
forbade him to break the trust. But when he found that those who had
procured for him his new dignities had done so that he might be an
instrument of their will, his ancient pride started again into life, and
his headstrong temper broke out like a long-smothered fire. Laval stood
aghast at the transformation. His lamb had turned wolf.

What especially stirred the governor’s dudgeon was the conduct of
Bourdon, Villeray, and Auteuil, those faithful allies whom Laval had
placed on the council, and who, as Mézy soon found, were wholly in
the bishop’s interest. On the 13th of February he sent his friend
Angoville, major of the fort, to Laval, with a written declaration
to the effect that he had ordered them to absent themselves from the
council, because, having been appointed “on the persuasion of the
aforesaid Bishop of Petræa, who knew them to be wholly his creatures,
they wish to make themselves masters in the aforesaid council, and have
acted in divers ways against the interests of the king and the public
for the promotion of personal and private ends, and have formed and
fomented cabals, contrary to their duty and their oath of fidelity to
his aforesaid Majesty.” * He further declares that advantage had
been taken of the facility of his disposition and his ignorance of the
country to surprise him into assenting to their nomination; and he asks
the bishop to acquiesce in their expulsion, and join him in calling an
assembly of the people to choose others in their place. Laval refused;
on which Mézy caused his declaration to be placarded about Quebec and
proclaimed by sound of drum.

The proposal of a public election, contrary as it was to the spirit
of the government, opposed to the edict establishing the council, and
utterly odious to the young autocrat who ruled over France, gave

     *  Ordre de M. de Mézy de faire sommation a l’Evêque de
     Petrée, 13 Fev., 1664. Notification du dit Ordre, mène date.
     (Registre du Conseil Supérieur.)

Laval a great advantage. “I reply,” he wrote, “to the request
which Monsieur the Governor makes me to consent to the interdiction of
the persons named in his declaration, and proceed to the choice of other
councillors or officers by an assembly of the people, that neither my
conscience nor my honor, nor the respect and obedience which I owe to
the will and commands of the king, nor my fidelity and affection to his
service, will by any means permit me to do so.” *

Mézy was dealing with an adversary armed with redoubtable weapons.
It was intimated to him that the sacraments would be refused, and the
churches closed against him. This threw him into an agony of doubt and
perturbation; for the emotional religion which had become a part of his
nature, though overborne by gusts of passionate irritation, was still
full of life within him. Tossing between the old feeling and the new,
he took a course which reveals the trouble and confusion of his mind.
He threw himself for counsel and comfort on the Jesuits, though he
knew them to be one with Laval against him, and though, under cover of
denouncing sin in general, they had lashed him sharply in their sermons.
There is something pathetic in the appeal he makes them. For the glory
of God and the service of the king, he had come, he says, on Laval’s
solicitation, to seek salvation in Canada; and being under obligation to
the bishop, who had recommended him to the king, he felt bound to show
proofs of his gratitude on every occasion.

     *   Réponse de l'Evêque de Petrée, 16 Fev., 1664.

Yet neither gratitude to a benefactor nor the respect due to his
character and person should be permitted to interfere with duty to the
king, “since neither conscience nor honor permit us to neglect the
requirements of our office and betray the interests of his Majesty,
after receiving orders from his lips, and making oath of fidelity
between his hands.” He proceeds to say that, having discovered
practices of which he felt obliged to prevent the continuance, he had
made a declaration expelling the offenders from office; that the bishop
and all the ecclesiastics had taken this declaration as an offence;
that, regardless of the king’s service, they had denounced him as
a calumniator, an unjust judge, without gratitude, and perverted in
conscience; and that one of the chief among them had come to warn him
that the sacraments would be refused and the churches closed against
him. “This,” writes the unhappy governor, “has agitated our soul
with scruples; and we have none from whom to seek light save those who
are our declared opponents, pronouncing judgment on us without knowledge
of cause. Yet as our salvation and the duty we owe the king are
the things most important to us on earth, and as we hold them to be
inseparable the one from the other: and as nothing is so certain as
death, and nothing so uncertain as the hour thereof; and as there is
no time to inform his Majesty of what is passing and to receive his
commands; and as our soul, though conscious of innocence, is always in
fear,--we feel obliged, despite their opposition, to have recourse
to the reverend father casuists of the House of Jesus, to tell us in
conscience what we can do for the fulfilment of our duty at once to God
and to the king.” *

The Jesuits gave him little comfort. Lalemant, their superior, replied
by advising him to follow the directions of his confessor, a Jesuit, so
far as the question concerned spiritual matters, adding that in temporal
matters he had no advice to give. ** The distinction was illusory. The
quarrel turned wholly on temporal matters, but it was a quarrel with
a bishop. To separate in such a case the spiritual obligation from the
temporal was beyond the skill of Mézy, nor would the confessor have
helped him.

Perplexed and troubled as he was, he would not reinstate Bourdon and
the two councillors. The people began to clamor at the interruption of
justice, for which they blamed Laval, whom a recent imposition of tithes
had made unpopular. Mézy thereupon issued a proclamation, in which,
after mentioning his opponents as the most subtle and artful persons
in Canada, he declares that, in consequence of petitions sent him from
Quebec and the neighboring settlements, he had called the people to the
council chamber, and by their advice had appointed the Sieur de Chartier
as attorney-general in place of Bourdon.***

Bourdon replied by a violent appeal from the

     *  Mézy aux PP. Jésuites, Fait au Château de Quebec ce
     dernier jour de Février, 1664.

     **  Lettre du P. H. Lalemant a Mr. le Gouverneur.

     ***  Declaration du Sieur de Mézy, 10 Mars, 1664.

governor to the remaining members of the council, * on which Mézy
declared him excluded from all public functions whatever, till the
king’s pleasure should be known. ** Thus church and state still
frowned on each other, and new disputes soon arose to widen the breach
between them. On the first establishment of the council, an order had
been passed for the election of a mayor and two aldermen (_échevins_)
for Quebec, which it was proposed to erect into a city, though it had
only seventy houses and less than a thousand inhabitants. Repentigny
was chosen mayor, and Madry and Charron aldermen; but the choice was not
agreeable to the bishop, and the three functionaries declined to act,
influence having probably been brought to bear on them to that end.
The council now resolved that a mayor was needless, and the people were
permitted to choose a syndic in his stead. These municipal elections
were always so controlled by the authorities that the element of liberty
which they seemed to represent was little but a mockery. On the present
occasion, after an unaccountable delay of ten months, twenty-two persons
cast their votes in presence of the council, and the choice fell on
Charron. The real question was whether the new syndic should belong to
the governor or to the bishop. Charron leaned to the governor’s party.
The ecclesiastics insisted that the people were dissatisfied, and a new
election was ordered, but the voters did not come. The governor now

     *   Bourdon au Conseil, 13 Mars, 1664.

     **  Ordre du Gouverneur, 13 Mars, 1664.

sent messages to such of the inhabitants as he knew to be in his
interest, who gathered in the council chamber, voted under his eye,
and again chose a syndic agreeable to him. Laval’s party protested in
vain. *

The councillors held office for a year, and the year had now expired.
The governor and the bishop, it will be remembered, had a joint power
of appointment; but agreement between them was impossible. Laval was
for replacing his partisans, Bourdon, Villeray, Auteuil, and La Ferté.
Mézy refused; and on the eighteenth of September he reconstructed the
council by his sole authority, retaining of the old councillors only
Amours and Tilly, and replacing the rest by Denis, La Tesserie, and
Péronne de Maze, the surviving son of Dumesnil.

Again Laval protested; but Mézy proclaimed his choice by sound of drum,
and caused placards to be posted, full, according to Father Lalemant,
of abuse against the bishop. On this he was excluded from confession
and absolution. He complained loudly; “but our reply was,” says the
father, “that God knew every thing.” **

This unanswerable but somewhat irrelevant response failed to satisfy
him, and it was possibly on this occasion that an incident occurred
which is recounted by the bishop’s eulogist, La Tour. He says that
Mézy, with some unknown design, appeared before the church at the head
of a band of soldiers, while Laval was saying mass. The service over,
the bishop presented himself at the door, on which, to

     *  Registre du Conseil Supérieur.

     **  Journal des Jésuites, Oct., 1664.

the governor's confusion, all the soldiers respectfully saluted
him. * The story may have some foundation, but it is not supported by
contemporary evidence.

On the Sunday after Mézy’s _coup d’etat_, the pulpits resounded
with denunciations. The people listened, doubtless, with becoming
respect; but their sympathies were with the governor; and he, on his
part, had made appeals to them at more than one crisis of the quarrel.
He now fell into another indiscretion. He banished Bourdon and Villeray,
and ordered them home to France.

They carried with them the instruments of their revenge, the accusations
of Laval and the Jesuits against the author of their woes. Of these
accusations one alone would have sufficed. Mézy had appealed to the
people. It is true that he did so from no love of popular liberty, but
simply do make head against an opponent; yet the act alone was enough,
and he received a peremptory recall. Again Laval had triumphed. He had
made one governor and unmade two, if not three. The modest Levite, as
one of his biographers calls him in his earlier days, had become the
foremost power in Canada.

Laval had a threefold strength at court; his high birth, his reputed
sanctity, and the support of the Jesuits. This was not all, for the
permanency of his position in the colony gave him another advantage. The
governors were named for three

     * La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. VII. It is charitable to
     ascribe this writer’s many errors to carelessness.

years, and could be recalled at any time; but the vicar apostolic owed
his appointment to the Pope, and the Pope alone could revoke it. Thus he
was beyond reach of the royal authority, and the court was in a certain
sense obliged to conciliate him. As for Mézy, a man of no rank or
influence, he could expect no mercy. Yet, though irritable and violent,
he seems to have tried conscientiously to reconcile conflicting
duties, or what he regarded as such. The governors and intendants, his
successors, received, during many years, secret instructions from the
court to watch Laval, and cautiously prevent him from assuming powers
which did not belong to him. It is likely that similar instructions had
been given to Mézy, * and that the attempt to fulfil them had aided to
embroil him with one who was probably the last man on earth with whom he
would willingly have quarrelled.

An inquiry was ordered into his conduct; but a voice more potent than
the voice of the king had called him to another tribunal. A disease, the
result perhaps of mental agitation, seized upon him and soon brought him
to extremity. As he lay gasping between life and death, fear and horror
took possession of his soul. Hell yawned before his fevered vision,
peopled with phantoms which long and lonely meditations, after the
discipline of Loyola, made real and palpable to his thought. He smelt
the fumes of infernal brimstone, and

     *  The royal commissioner, Gaudais, who came to Canada with
     Mézy, had, as before mentioned, orders to inquire with great
     secrecy into th« conduct of Laval. The intendant, Talon, who
     followed immediately after, had similar instructions.

heard the bowlings of the damned. He saw the frown of the angry Judge,
and the fiery swords of avenging angels, hurling wretches like himself,
writhing in anguish and despair, into the gulf of unutterable woe. He
listened to the ghostly counsellors who besieged his bed, bowed his head
in penitence, made his peace with the church, asked pardon of Laval,
confessed to him, and received absolution at his hands; and his late
adversaries, now benign and bland, soothed him with promises of pardon,
and hopes of eternal bliss.

Before he died, he wrote to the Marquis de Tracy, newly appointed
viceroy, a letter which indicates that even in his penitence he could
not feel himself wholly in the wrong. * He also left a will in which the
pathetic and the quaint are curiously mingled. After praying his patron,
Saint Augustine, with Saint John, Saint Peter, and all the other saints,
to intercede for the pardon of his sins, he directs that his body shall
be buried in the cemetery of the poor at the hospital, as being unworthy
of more honored sepulture. He then makes various legacies of piety and
charity. Other bequests follow, one of which is to his friend Major
Angoville, to whom he leaves two hundred francs, his coat of English
cloth, his camlet mantle, a pair of new shoes, eight shirts with
sleeve buttons, his sword and belt, and a new blanket for the major’s
servant. Felix Aubert is to have fifty francs, with a gray jacket, a
small coat of gray serge, “which,” says the testator, “has been
worn for a while,” and a

     *  Lettre de Mézy au Marquis de Tracy, 26 Avril 1665.

pair of long white stockings. And in a codicil he farther leaves to
Angoville his best black coat, in order that he may wear mourning for
him. *

His earthly troubles closed on the night of the sixth of May. He went to
his rest among the paupers; and the priests, serenely triumphant, sang
requiems over his grave.

NOTE:--Mézy sent home charges against the bishop and the Jesuits which
seem to have existed in Charlevoix’s time, but for which, as well as
for those made by Laval, I have sought in vain.

The substance of these mutual accusations is given thus by the minister
Colbert, in a memorial addressed to the Marquis de Tracy, in 1665:
“Les Jésuites l’accusent d’avarice et de violences; et lui
qu’ils voulaient entreprendre sur l’autorité qui lui a été
commise par le Roy, en sorte que n’ayant que de leurs créatures dans
le Conseil Souverain, toutes les résolutions s’y prenaient selon
leurs sentiments.”

The papers cited are drawn partly from the Registres du Conseil
Supérieur, still preserved at Quebec, and partly from the Archives of
the Marine and Colonies. Laval’s admirer, the abbé La Tour, in his
eagerness to justify the bishop, says that the quarrel arose from a
dispute about precedence between Mézy and the intendant, and from the
ill-humor of the governor because the intendant shared the profits of
his office. The truth is, that there was no intendant in Canada during
the term of Mezy’s government. One Robert had been appointed to
the office, but he never came to the colony. The commissioner Gaudais,
during the two or three months of his stay at Quebec, took the
intendant’s place at the council-board; but harmony between Laval and
Mézy was unbroken till after his departure. Other writers say that the
dispute arose from the old question about brandy. Towards the end of
the quarrel there was some disorder from this source, but even then the
brandy question was subordinate to other subjects of strife.

     *  Testament du Sieur de Mézy. This will, as well as the
     letter, is engrossed in the registers of the council.


_LaVal’s Visit to Court.--The Seminary.--Zeal oF the Bishop.--His
Eulogists.--Church and State.--Attitude of Laval._

|That memorable journey of Laval to court, which caused the dissolution
of the Company of New France, the establishment of the Supreme Council,
the recall of Avaugour, and the appointment of Mézy, had yet other
objects and other results. Laval, vicar apostolic and titular bishop of
Petræa, wished to become in title, as in fact, bishop of Quebec. Thus
he would gain an increase of dignity and authority, necessary, as he
thought, in his conflicts with the civil power; “for,” he wrote to
the cardinals of the Propaganda, “I have learned from long experience
how little security my character of vicar apostolic gives me against
those charged with political affairs: I mean the officers of the Crown,
perpetual rivals and contemners of the authority of the church.” *

     *  For a long extract from this letter, copied from the
     original in the archives of the Propaganda at Rome, see
     Faillon, Colonie Française, III. 432

This reason was for the Pope and the cardinals. It may well be believed
that he held a different language to the king. To him he urged that the
bishopric was needed to enforce order, suppress sin, and crush
heresy. Both Louis XIV. and the queen mother favored his wishes; * but
difficulties arose and interminable disputes ensued on the question,
whether the proposed bishopric should depend immediately on the Pope
or on the Archbishop of Rouen. It was a revival of the old quarrel of
Gallican and ultramontane. Laval, weary of hope deferred, at length
declared that he would leave the colony if he could not be its bishop in
title; and in 1674, after eleven years of delay, the king yielded to the
Pope’s demands, and the vicar apostolic became first bishop of Quebec.

If Laval had to wait for his mitre, he found no delay and no difficulty
in attaining another object no less dear to him. He wished to provide
priests for Canada, drawn from the Canadian population, fed with sound
and wholesome doctrine, reared under his eye, and moulded by his hand.
To this end he proposed to establish a seminary at Quebec. The plan
found favor with the pious king, and a decree signed by his hand
sanctioned and confirmed it. The new seminary was to be a corporation
of priests under a superior chosen by the bishop; and, besides its
functions of instruction, it was vested with distinct and extraordinary
powers. Laval,

     *  Anne d'Autriche a Laval, 23 Avril, 1662; Louis XIV. au
     Pape, 28 Jan., 1664; Louis XIV. au Duc de Créquy,
     Ambassadeur à Rome, 28 June, 1664.

an organizer and a disciplinarian by nature and training, would fain
subject the priests of his diocese to a control as complete as that of
monks in a convent. In France, the curé or parish priest was, with rare
exceptions, a fixture in his parish, whence he could be removed only for
grave reasons, and through prescribed forms of procedure. Hence he was
to a certain degree independent of the bishop. Laval, on the contrary,
demanded that the Canadian curé should be removable at his will, and
thus placed in the position of a missionary, to come and go at the order
of his superior. In fact, the Canadian parishes were for a long time so
widely scattered, so feeble in population, and so miserably poor, that,
besides the disciplinary advantages of this plan, its adoption was at
first almost a matter of necessity. It added greatly to the power of
the church; and, as the colony increased, the king and the minister
conceived an increasing distrust of it. Instructions for the
“fixation” of the curés were repeatedly sent to the colony, and
the bishop, while professing to obey, repeatedly evaded them. Various
fluctuations and changes took place; but Laval had built on strong
foundations, and at this day the system of removable curés prevails in
most of the Canadian parishes. *

Thus he formed his clergy into a family with

     *  On the establishment of the seminary. Mandement de
     l’Evêque de Petrée, pour l’Etablissement du Séminaire de
     Québec; Approbation du Roy (Edits et Ordonnances, I. 33,
     35); La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. VI.; Esquisse de la Vie de
     Laval, Appendix. Various papers bearing on the subject are
     printed in the Canadian Abeille, from originals in the
     archives of the seminary.

himself at its head. His seminary, the mother who had reared them, was
further charged to maintain them, nurse them in sickness, and support
them in old age. Under her maternal roof the tired priest found repose
among his brethren; and thither every year he repaired from the charge
of his flock in the wilderness, to freshen his devotion and animate his
zeal by a season of meditation and prayer.

The difficult task remained to provide the necessary funds. Laval
imposed a tithe of one-thirteenth on all products of the soil, or,
as afterwards settled, on grains alone. This tithe was paid to the
seminary, and by the seminary to the priests. The people, unused to such
a burden, clamored and resisted; and Mézy, in his disputes with the
bishop, had taken advantage of their discontent. It became necessary
to reduce the tithe to a twenty-sixth, which, as there was little or
no money among the inhabitants, was paid in kind. Nevertheless, the
scattered and impoverished settlers grudged even this contribution to
the support of a priest whom many of them rarely saw; and the collection
of it became a matter of the greatest difficulty and uncertainty. How
the king came to the rescue, we shall hereafter see.

Besides the great seminary where young men were trained for the
priesthood, there was the lesser seminary where boys were educated in
the hope that they would one day take orders. This school began in 1668,
with eight French and six Indian pupils, in the old house of Madame

Couillard; but so far as the Indians were concerned it was a failure.
Sooner or later they all ran wild in the woods, carrying with them as
fruits of their studies a sufficiency of prayers, offices, and chants
learned by rote, along with a feeble smattering of Latin and rhetoric,
which they soon dropped by the way. There was also a sort of farm-school
attached to the seminary, for the training of a humbler class of pupils.
It was established at the parish of St. Joachim, below Quebec, where
the children of artisans and peasants were taught farming and various
mechanical arts, and thoroughly grounded in the doctrine and discipline
of the church. * The Great and Lesser Seminary still subsist, and form
one of the most important Roman Catholic institutions on this continent.
To them has recently been added the Laval University, resting on the
same foundation, and supported by the same funds.

Whence were these funds derived? Laval, in order to imitate the poverty
of the apostles, had divested himself of his property before he came to
Canada; otherwise there is little doubt that in the fulness of his
zeal he would have devoted it to his favorite object. But if he had no
property he had influence, and his family had both influence and wealth.
He acquired vast grants of land in the best parts of Canada. Some of
these he sold or exchanged; others he retained till the year

     *Annales du Petit Séminaire de Quebec, see Abeille, Vol. I.;
     Notice Historique sur le Petit Séminaire de Quebec, Ibid.,
     Vol. II.; Notice Historique sur la Paroisse de St. Joachim,
     Ibid., Vol. I. The Abeille is a journal published by the

1680, when he gave them, with nearly all else that he then possessed, to
his seminary at Quebec. The lands with which he thus endowed it included
the seigniories of the Petite Nation, the island of Jesus, and Beaupré.
The last is of great extent, and at the present day of immense value.
Beginning a few miles below Quebec, it borders the St. Lawrence for a
distance of sixteen leagues, and is six leagues in depth, measured
from the river. From these sources the seminary still draws an abundant
revenue, though its seigniorial rights were commuted on the recent
extinction of the feudal tenure in Canada.

Well did Laval deserve that his name should live in that of the
university which a century and a half after his death owed its existence
to his bounty. This father of the Canadian church, who has left so deep
an impress on one of the communities which form the vast population of
North America, belonged to a type of character to which an even justice
is rarely done. With the exception of the Canadian Garneau, a liberal
Catholic, those who have treated of him, have seen him through a medium
intensely Romanist, coloring, hiding, and exaggerating by turns both his
actions and the traits of his character. Tried by the Romanist standard,
his merits were great; though the extraordinary influence which he
exercised in the affairs of the colony were, as already observed, by
no means due to his spiritual graces alone. To a saint sprung from
the _haute noblesse_, Earth and Heaven were alike propitious. When the
vicar general Colombière pronounced his funeral eulogy in the sounding
periods of Bossuet, he did not fail to exhibit him on the ancestral
pedestal where his virtues would shine with redoubled lustre. “The
exploits of the heroes of the House of Montmorency,” exclaims the
reverend orator, “form one of the fairest chapters in the annals of
Old France; the heroic acts of charity, humility, and faith, achieved by
a Montmorency, form one of the fairest in the annals of New France. The
combats, victories, and conquests of the Montmorency in Europe
would fill whole volumes; and so, too, would the triumphs won by a
Montmorency, in America, over sin, passion, and the devil.” Then he
crowns the high-born prelate with a halo of fourfold saintship. “It
was with good reason that Providence permitted him to be called Francis:
for the virtues of all the saints of that name were combined in him; the
zeal of Saint Francis Xavier, the charity of Saint Francis of Sales,
the poverty of Saint Francis of Assissi, the self-mortification of Saint
Francis Borgia; but poverty was the mistress of his heart, and he loved
her with incontrollable transports.”

The stories which Colombière proceeds to tell of Laval’s asceticism
are confirmed by other evidence, and are, no doubt, true. Nor is there
any reasonable doubt that, had the bishop stood in the place of Brebeuf
or Charles Lalemant, he would have suffered torture and death like them.
But it was his lot to strive, not against infidel savages, but against
countrymen and Catholics, who had no disposition to burn him, and would
rather have done him reverence than wrong.

To comprehend his actions and motives, it is necessary to know his ideas
in regard to the relations of church and state. They were those of the
extreme ultramontanes, which a recent Jesuit preacher has expressed with
tolerable distinctness. In a sermon uttered in the Church of Notre Dame,
at Montreal, on the first of November, 1872, he thus announced them.
“The supremacy and infallibility of the Pope; the independence and
liberty of the church; _the subordination and submission of the state to
the church_; in case of conflict between them, the church to decide, the
state to submit: for whoever follows and defends these principles,
life and a blessing; for whoever rejects and combats them, death and a
curse.” *

These were the principles which Laval and the Jesuits strove to make
good. Christ was to rule in Canada through his deputy the bishop, and
God’s law was to triumph over the laws of man. As in the halcyon days
of Champlain and Montmagny, the governor was to be the right hand of the
church, to wield the earthly sword at her bidding, and the council was
to be the agent of her high behests.

France was drifting toward the triumph of the _parti dévot_, the
sinister reign of petticoat and cassock, the era of Maintenon and
Tellier, and the

     *  This sermon was preached by Father Braun, S. J., on
     occasion of the “Golden Wedding,” or fiftieth anniversary,
     of Bishop Bourget of Montreal. A large body of the Canadian
     clergy were present, some of whom thought his expressions
     too emphatic. A translation by another Jesuit is published
     in the “Montreal Weekly Herald” of Nov. 2, 1872; and the
     above extract is copied _verbatim_.

fatal atrocities of the dragonnades. Yet the advancing tide of priestly
domination did not flow smoothly. The unparalleled prestige which
surrounded the throne of the young king, joined to his quarrels with the
Pope and divisions in the church itself, disturbed, though they could
not check its progress. In Canada it was otherwise. The colony had been
ruled by priests from the beginning, and it only remained to continue in
her future the law of her past. She was the fold of Christ; the wolf
of civil government was among the flock, and Laval and the Jesuits,
watchful shepherds, were doing their best to chain and muzzle him.

According to Argenson, Laval had said, “A bishop can do what he
likes;” and his action answered reasonably well to his words. He
thought himself above human law. In vindicating the assumed rights of
the church, he invaded the rights of others, and used means from which
a healthy conscience would have shrunk. All his thoughts and sympathies
had run from childhood in ecclesiastical channels, and he cared for
nothing outside the church. Prayer, meditation, and asceticism had
leavened and moulded him. During four years he had been steeped in the
mysticism of the Hermitage, which had for its aim the annihilation of
self, and through self-annihilation the absorption into God. * He
had passed from a life of visions to a life of action. Earnest to
fanaticism, he saw but one great object, the glory of God on earth. He
was penetrated by the poisonous casuistry of the Jesuits,

     *  See the maxims of Bernieres published by La Tour.

based on the assumption that all means are permitted when the end is the
service of God; and as Laval, in his own opinion, was always doing the
service of God, while his opponents were always doing that of the devil,
he enjoyed, in the use of means, a latitude of which we have seen him
avail himself.



_Fontainebleau.--Louis XIV.--Colbert.--The Company of the West.--Evil
Omens.--Action op the King.--Tracy, Coürcelle, And Talon.--The Regiment
Of Carignan-Sallères.--Tracy at Quebec.--Miracles.--A Holy War._

|Leave Canada behind; cross the sea, and stand, on an evening in June,
by the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau. Beyond the broad gardens,
above the long ranges of moonlit trees, rise the walls and pinnacles of
the vast chateau; a shrine of history, the gorgeous monument of lines of
vanished kings, haunted with memories of Capet, Valois, and Bourbon.

There was little thought of the past at Fontainebleau in June, 1661. The
present was too dazzling and too intoxicating; the future, too radiant
with hope and promise. It was the morning of a new reign; the sun of
Louis XIV. was rising in splendor, and the rank and beauty of France
were gathered to pay it homage. A youthful court, a youthful king;
a pomp and magnificence such as Europe had never seen; a delirium
of ambition, pleasure, and love,--wrought in many a young heart an
enchantment destined to be cruelly broken. Even old courtiers felt the
fascination of the scene, and tell us of the music at evening by the
borders of the lake; of the gay groups that strolled under the shadowing
trees, floated in gilded barges on the still water, or moved slowly
in open carriages around its borders. Here was Anne of Austria, the
king’s mother, and Marie Thérèse, his tender and jealous queen; his
brother, the Duke of Orleans, with his bride of sixteen, Henriette of
England; and his favorite, that vicious butterfly of the court, the
Count de Guiche. Here, too, were the humbled chiefs of the civil war,
Beaufort and Condé, obsequious before their triumphant master. Louis
XIV., the centre of all eyes, in the flush of health and vigor, and the
pride of new-fledged royalty, stood, as he still stands on the canvas
of Philippe de Champagne, attired in a splendor which would have been
effeminate but for the stately port of the youth who wore it. *

Fortune had been strangely bountiful to him. The nations of Europe,
exhausted by wars and dissensions, looked upon him with respect and
fear. Among weak and weary neighbors, he alone was strong. The death
of Mazarin had released him from tutelage; feudalism in the person of

     *  On the visit of the court at Fontainebleau in the summer
     of 1661, see Mémoires de Madame de Motteville, Mémoires de
     Madame de La Fayette, Mémoires de l’Abbé de Choisy, and
     Walckenaer, Mémoires sur Madame de Sevigné.

was abject before him; he had reduced his parliaments to submission;
and, in the arrest of the ambitious prodigal Fouquet, he was preparing a
crashing blow to the financial corruption which had devoured France.

Nature had formed him to act the part of king. Even his critics and
enemies praise the grace and majesty of his presence, and he impressed
his courtiers with an admiration which seems to have been to an
astonishing degree genuine. He carried airs of royalty even into his
pleasures; and, while his example corrupted all France, he proceeded to
the apartments of Montespan or Fontanges with the majestic gravity of
Olympian Jove. He was a devout observer of the forms of religion; and,
as the buoyancy of youth passed away, his zeal was stimulated by a
profound fear of the devil. Mazarin had reared him in ignorance; but his
faculties were excellent in their way, and, in a private station,
would have made him an efficient man of business. The vivacity of
his passions, and his inordinate love of pleasure, were joined to a
persistent will and a rare power of labor. The vigorous mediocrity of
his understanding delighted in grappling with details. His astonished
courtiers saw him take on himself the burden of administration, and work
at it without relenting for more than half a century. Great as was his
energy, his pride was far greater. As king by divine right, he felt
himself raised immeasurably above the highest of his subjects; but,
while vindicating with unparalleled haughtiness his claims to supreme
authority, he was, at the outset, filled with a sense of the duties of
his high place, and fired by an ambition to make his reign beneficent to
France as well as glorious to himself.

Above all rulers of modern times, he was the embodiment of the
monarchical idea. The famous words ascribed to him, “I am the
state,” were probably never uttered; but they perfectly express his
spirit. “It is God’s will,” he wrote in 1666, “that whoever is
born a subject should not reason, but obey;” * and those around him
were of his mind. “The state is in the king,” said Bossuet, the
great mouthpiece of monarchy; “the will of the people is merged in
his will. Oh kings, put forth your power boldly, for it is divine and
salutary to human kind.” **

For a few brief years, his reign was indeed salutary to France. His
judgment of men, when not obscured by his pride and his passion for
flattery, was good; and he had at his service the generals and statesmen
formed in the freer and bolder epoch that had ended with his accession.
Among them was Jean Baptiste Colbert, formerly the intendant of
Mazarin’s household, a man whose energies matched his talents, and who
had preserved his rectitude in the midst of corruption. It was a hard
task that Colbert imposed on his proud and violent nature to serve the
imperious king, morbidly jealous of his authority, and resolved to

     *  Œuvres de Louis XIV., II. 283.

     **  Bossuet, Politique tirée de l’Ecriture sainte, 70.

accept no initiative but his own. He must counsel while seeming to
receive counsel, and lead while seeming to follow. The new minister bent
himself to the task, and the nation reaped the profit. A vast system
of reform was set in action amid the outcries of nobles, financiers,
churchmen, and all who profited by abuses. The methods of this reform
were trenchant and sometimes violent, and its principles were not always
in accord with those of modern economic science; but the good that
resulted was incalculable. The burdens of the laboring classes were
lightened, the public revenues increased, and the wholesale plunder of
the public money arrested with a strong hand. Laws were reformed and
codified; feudal tyranny, which still subsisted in many quarters,
was repressed; agriculture and productive industry of all kinds were
encouraged, roads and canals opened; trade stimulated, a commercial
marine created, and a powerful navy formed as if by magic. *

It is in his commercial, industrial, and colonial policy that the
profound defects of the great minister’s system are most apparent.
It was a system of authority, monopoly, and exclusion, in which the
government, and not the individual, acted always the foremost part.
Upright, incorruptible, ardent for the public good, inflexible,
arrogant, and domineering, he sought to drive France into paths of
prosperity, and create colonies by the

     *  On Colbert, see Clement, Histoire de Colbert. Clément,
     Lettres et Mémoires de Colbert; Chéruel, Administration
     monarchique en France, II chap, vi Henri Martin, Histoire de
     France, XIII., etc.

energy of an imperial will. He feared, and with reason, that the want of
enterprise and capital among the merchants would prevent the broad and
immediate results at which he aimed; and, to secure these results,
he established a series of great trading corporations, in which the
principles of privilege and exclusion were pushed to their utmost
limits. Prominent among them was the Company of the West. The king
signed the edict creating it on the 24th of May, 1664. Any person in
the kingdom or out of it might become a partner by subscribing, within
a certain time, not less than three thousand francs. France was a mere
patch on the map, compared to the vast domains of the new association.
Western Africa from Cape Verd to the Cape of Good Hope, South America
between the Amazon and the Orinoco, Cayenne, the Antilles, and all New
France, from Hudson’s Bay to Virginia and Florida were bestowed on it
for ever, to be held of the Crown on the simple condition of faith
and homage. As, according to the edict, the glory of God was the chief
object in view, the company was required to supply its possessions with
a sufficient number of priests, and diligently to exclude all teachers
of false doctrine. It was empowered to build forts and warships, cast
cannon, wage war, make peace, establish courts, appoint judges, and
otherwise to act as sovereign within its own domains. A monopoly of
trade was granted it for forty years. * Sugar from the Antilles, and
furs from Canada, were the chief source of expected profit; and Africa
was to supply the slaves to raise the sugar. Scarcely was the grand
machine set in motion, when its directors betrayed a narrowness and
blindness of policy which boded the enterprise no good. Canada was a
chief sufferer. Once more, bound hand and foot, she was handed over to
a selfish league of merchants; monopoly in trade, monopoly in religion,
monopoly in government. Nobody but the company had a right to bring
her the necessaries of life; and nobody but the company had a right to
exercise the traffic which alone could give her the means of paying
for these necessaries. Moreover, the supplies which it brought were
insufficient, and the prices which it demanded were exorbitant. It was
throttling its wretched victim. The Canadian merchants remonstrated.
** It was clear that, if the colony was to live, the system must be
changed; and a change was accordingly ordered. The company gave up its
monopoly of the fur trade, but reserved the right to levy a duty of
one-fourth of the beaver-skins, and one-tenth of the moose-skins: and it
also reserved the entire trade of Tadoussac; that is to say, the trade
of all the tribes between the lower St. Lawrence and Hudson’s Bay.
It retained besides the exclusive right of transporting furs in its own
ships, thus controlling the commerce of Canada, and discouraging, or
rather extinguishing, the enterprise of Canadian merchants. On its part,
it was required to pay governors, judges, and all the colonial officials
out of the duties which it levied. ****

Yet the king had the prosperity of Canada at heart; and he proceeded to
show his interest in her after a manner hardly consistent with his late
action in handing her over to a mercenary guardian. In fact, he acted as
if she had still remained under his paternal care. He had just conferred
the right of naming a governor and intendant upon the new company; but
he now assumed it himself, the company, with a just sense of its own
unfitness, readily consenting to this suspension of one of its most
important privileges. Daniel de Rémy, Sieur de Courcelle, was
appointed governor, and Jean Baptiste Talon intendant. (v) The nature of
this duplicate government will appear hereafter. But, before appointing
rulers for Canada, the king had appointed a representative of the Crown
for all his American domains. The Maréchal d’Estrades had for some
time held the title of viceroy for America; and, as he could not fulfil
the duties of that office, being at the time ambassador in Holland,
the Marquis de Tracy was sent in his place, with the title of

     *  Arrêt du Conseil du Roy qui accorde a la Compagnie le
     quart des castors, le dixième des orignaux et la traite de
     Tadoussac: Instruction a Monseigneur de Tracy et a Messieurs
     le Gouverneur et L'Intendant.

     This company prospered as little as the rest of Colbert’s
     trading companies. Within ten years it lost 3,523,000
     livres, besides blighting the colonies placed under its
     control. Recherches sur les Finances, cited by Clement,
     Histoire de Colbert.

     **  Commission de Lieutenant Général en Canada, etc., pour
     M. de Courcelle, 23 Mais, 1665; Commission d’intendant de la
     Justice, Police, et Finances en Canada, etc., pour M. Talon,
     23 Mars, 1665.

     *** Commission de Lieutenant Général de l’Amérique
     Méridionale et Septentrionale pour M. Prou Conseil du Roy
     qui accorde a la Compagnie le quart des castors, le dixième
     des orignaux et la traite de Tadoussac: Instruction a
     Monseigneur de Tracy et a Messieurs le Gouverneur et

     This company prospered as little as the rest of Colbert’s
     trading companies. Within ten years it lost 3,523,000
     livres, besides blighting the colonies placed under its
     control. Recherches sur les Finances, cited by Clement,
     Histoire de Colbert.

     ****  Commission de Lieutenant Général en Canada, etc., pour
     M. de Courcelle, 23 Mais, 1665; Commission d’intendant de la
     Justice, Police, et Finances en Canada, etc., pour M. Talon,
     23 Mars, 1665.

     (v) Commission de Lieutenant Général de l’Amérique
     Méridionale et Septentrionale pour M. Prouville de Tracy, 19
     Nov., 1663.

Canada at this time was an object of very considerable attention at
court, and especially in what was known as the _parti dévot_. The
_Relations_ of the Jesuits, appealing equally to the spirit of religion
and the spirit of romantic adventure, had, for more than a quarter of a
century, been the favorite reading of the devout, and the visit of
Laval at court had greatly stimulated the interest they had kindled.
The letters of Argenson, and especially of Avaugour, had shown the
vast political possibilities of the young colony, and opened a vista of
future glories alike for church and for king.

So, when Tracy set sail he found no lack of followers. A throng of young
nobles embarked with him, eager to explore the marvels and mysteries
of the western world. The king gave him two hundred soldiers of the
regiment of Carignan-Salières, and promised that a thousand more should
follow. After spending more than a year in the West Indies, where, as
Mother Mary of the Incarnation expresses it, “he performed marvels
and reduced everybody to obedience,” he at length sailed up the St.
Lawrence, and, on the thirtieth of June, 1665, anchored in the basin
of Quebec. The broad, white standard, blazoned with the arms of France,
proclaimed the representative of royalty; and Point Levi and Cape
Diamond and the distant Cape Tourmente roared back the sound of the
saluting cannon. All Quebec was on the ramparts or at the landing-place,
and all eyes were strained at the two vessels as they slowly emptied
their crowded decks into the boats alongside. The boats at length drew
near, and the lieutenant-general and his suite landed on the quay with a
pomp such as Quebec had never seen before.

Tracy was a veteran of sixty-two, portly and tall, “one of the largest
men I ever saw,” writes Mother Mary; but he was sallow with disease,
for fever had seized him, and it had fared ill with him on the long
voyage. The Chevalier de Chaumont walked at his side, and young nobles
surrounded him, gorgeous in lace and ribbons and majestic in leonine
wigs. Twenty-four guards in the king’s livery led the way, followed by
four pages and six valets; * and thus, while the Frenchmen shouted and
the Indians stared, the august procession threaded the streets of the
Lower Town, and climbed the steep pathway that scaled the cliffs above.
Breathing hard, they reached the top, passed on the left the dilapidated
walls of the fort and the shed of mingled wood and masonry which then
bore the name of the Castle of St. Louis; passed on the right the old
house of Couillard and the site of Laval’s new seminary, and soon
reached the square betwixt the Jesuit college and the cathedral. The
bells were ringing in a phrensy of welcome. Laval in pontificals,
surrounded by priests and Jesuits, stood waiting to receive the deputy
of the king; and, as he greeted Tracy and offered him the holy water,
he looked with anxious curiosity to see what manner of man he was. The
signs were auspicious. The deportment of the lieutenant-general

     *  Juchereau says that this was his constant attendance when
     he went abroad.

left nothing to desire. A _prie-dieu_ had been placed for him. He
declined it. They offered him a cushion, but he would not have it; and,
fevered as he was, he knelt on the bare pavement with a devotion that
edified every beholder. _Te Deum_ was sung, and a day of rejoicing

There was good cause. Canada, it was plain, was not to be wholly
abandoned to a trading company. Louis XIV. was resolved that a new
France should be added to the old. Soldiers, settlers, horses, sheep,
cattle, young women for wives, were all sent out in abundance by his
paternal benignity. Before the season was over, about two thousand
persons had landed at Quebec at the royal charge. “At length,”
writes Mother Juchereau, “our joy was completed by the arrival of two
vessels with Monsieur de Courcelle, our governor; Monsieur Talon, our
intendant, and the last companies of the regiment of Carignan.”
More state and splendor more young nobles, more guards and valets: for
Courcelle, too, says the same chronicler, “had a superb train; and
Monsieur Talon, who naturally loves glory, forgot nothing which could do
honor to the king.” Thus a sunbeam from the court fell for a moment on
the rock of Quebec. Yet all was not sunshine; for the voyage had been
a tedious one, and disease had broken out in the ships. That which bore
Talon had been a hundred and seventeen days at sea, * and others were
hardly more fortunate. The hospital was crowded with the sick; so, too,
were the church and the neighboring houses;

     * Talon au ministre, 4 Oct., 1665.

and the nuns were so spent with their labors that seven of them were
brought to the point of death. The priests were busied in converting
the Huguenots, a number of whom were detected among the soldiers and
emigrants. One of them proved refractory, declaring with oaths that he
would never renounce his faith. Falling dangerously ill, he was carried
to the hospital, where Mother Catherine de Saint-Augustin bethought her
of a plan of conversion. She ground to powder a small piece of a bone
of Father Brebeuf, the Jesuit martyr, and secretly mixed the sacred dust
with the patient’s gruel; whereupon, says Mother Juchereau, “this
intractable man forthwith became gentle as an angel, begged to be
instructed, embraced the faith, and abjured his errors publicly with an
admirable fervor.” *

Two or three years before, the church of Quebec had received as a gift
from the Pope, the bodies or bones of two saints; Saint Flavian
and Saint Félicité. They were enclosed in four large coffers or
reliquaries, and a grand procession was now ordered in their honor.
Tracy, Courcelle, Talon, and the agent of the company, bore the canopy
of the Host. Then came the four coffers on four decorated litters,
carried by the principal ecclesiastics. Laval followed in pontificals.
Forty-seven priests, and a long file of officers, nobles, soldiers, and
inhabitants, followed the precious relics amid the sound of music and
the roar of cannon. **

     *  Le Mercier tells the same story in the Relation of 1665.

     ** Compare Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre, 16 Oct., 1660,
     with La Tour Vie de Laval, chap. x.

“It is a ravishing thing,” says Mother Mary, “to see how marvellously
exact is Monsieur de Tracy, at all these holy ceremonies, where he is
always the first to come, for he would not lose a single moment of them.
He has been seen in church for six hours together, without once going
out.” But while the lieutenant-general thus edified the colony,
he betrayed no lack of qualities equally needful in his position. In
Canada, as in the West Indies, he showed both vigor and conduct. First
of all, he had been ordered to subdue or destroy the Iroquois, and the
regiment of Carignan-Salières was the weapon placed in his hands for
this end, Four companies of this corps had arrived early in the season,
four more came with Tracy, more yet with Salières, their colonel, and
now the number was complete. As with slouched hat and plume, bandoleer,
and shouldered firelock, these bronzed veterans of the Turkish wars
marched at the tap of drum through the narrow street, or mounted the
rugged way that led up to the fort, the inhabitants gazed with a sense
of profound relief. Tame Indians from the neighboring missions, wild
Indians from the woods, stared in silent wonder at their new defenders.
Their numbers, their discipline, their uniform, and their martial
bearing, filled the savage beholders with admiration.

Carignan-Salières was the first regiment of regular troops ever sent to
America by the French government. It was raised in Savoy by the Prince
of Carignan in 1644, but was soon employed in the service of France;
where, in 1652, it took a conspicuous part, on the side of the king, in
the battle with Condé and the Fronde at the Porte St. Antoine. After
the peace of the Pyrenees, the Prince of Carignan, unable to support
the regiment, gave it to the king, and it was, for the first time,
incorporated into the French armies. In 1664, it distinguished itself,
as part of the allied force of France, in the Austrian war against
the Turks. In the next year it was ordered to America, along with the
fragment of a regiment formed of Germans, the whole being placed under
the command of Colonel de Salières. Hence its double name. *

Fifteen heretics were discovered in its ranks, and quickly converted.
** Then the new crusade was preached; the crusade against the Iroquois,
enemies of God and tools of the devil. The soldiers and the people were
filled with a zeal half warlike and half religious. “They are made to
understand,” writes Mother Mary, “that this is a holy war, all
for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The fathers are doing
wonders in inspiring them with true sentiments of piety and

     *  For a long notice of the regiment of Carignan-Salières
     (Lorraine), see Susane, Ancienne Infanterie Française V 236.
     The portion of it which returned to France from Canada
     formed a nucleus for the reconstruction of the regiment,
     which, under the name of the regiment of Lorraine, did not
     cease to exist as a separate organization till 1794. When it
     came to Canada it consisted, says Susane, of about a
     thousand men, besides about two hundred of the other
     regiment incorporated with it. Compare Mémoire du Roy pour
     servir d’instruction au Sieur Talon, which corresponds very
     nearly with Susane’s statement.

     **  Besides these, there was Berthier, a captain, “Voilà”
     writes Talon to the king, “le 16me converti; ainsi votre
     Majesté moissonne déjà à pleines mains de la gloire pour
     Dieu, et pour elle bien de la renommée dans toute l’étendue
     de la Chrétienté” Lettre au 7 Oct., 1665.

devotion. Fully five hundred soldiers have taken the scapulary of the
Holy Virgin. It is we (_the Ursulines_), who make them; it is a real
pleasure to do such work;” and she proceeds to relate a “_beau
miracle_” by which God made known his satisfaction at the fervor of
his military servants.

The secular motives for the war were in themselves strong enough; for
the growth of the colony absolutely demanded the cessation of Iroquois
raids, and the French had begun to learn the lesson that, in the case
of hostile Indians, no good can come of attempts to conciliate, unless
respect is first imposed by a sufficient castigation. It is true that
the writers of the time paint Iroquois hostilities in their worst
colors. In the innumerable letters which Mother Mary of the Incarnation
sent home every autumn, by the returning ships, she spared no means to
gain the sympathy and aid of the devout; and, with similar motives, the
Jesuits in their printed _Relations_, took care to extenuate nothing of
the miseries which the pious colony endured. Avaugour, too, in urging
the sending out of a strong force to fortify and hold the country, had
advised that, in order to furnish a pretext and disarm the jealousy of
the English and Dutch, exaggerated accounts should be given of danger
from the side of the savage confederates. Yet, with every allowance,
these dangers and sufferings were sufficiently great.

The three upper nations of the Iroquois were comparatively pacific;
but the two lower nations, the Mohawks and Oneidas, were persistently
hostile; making inroads into the colony by way of Lake Champlain and
the Richelieu, murdering and scalping, and then vanishing like ghosts.
Tracy’s first step was to send a strong detachment to the Richelieu to
build a picket fort below the rapids of Chambly, which take their
name from that of the officer in command. An officer named Sorel soon
afterwards built a second fort on the site of the abandoned palisade
work built by Montmagny, at the mouth of the river, where the town of
Sorel now stands; and Salières, colonel of the regiment, added a third
fort, two or three leagues above Chambly. * These forts could not wholly
bar the passage against the nimble and wily warriors who might pass them
in the night, shouldering their canoes through the woods. A blow, direct
and hard, was needed, and Tracy prepared to strike it.

Late in the season an embassy from the three upper nations--the
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas--arrived at Quebec, led by Garacontié,
a famous chief whom the Jesuits had won over, and who proved ever after
a staunch friend of the French. They brought back the brave Charles Le
Moyne of Montreal, whom they had captured some three months before,
and now restored as a peace-offering, taking credit to themselves that
“not even one of his nails had been torn out, nor any part of his body
burnt.” ** Garacontié made a

     *  See the map in the Relation of 1665. The accompanying
     text of the Relation is incorrect.

     **  Explanation of the eleven Presents of the Iroquois
     Ambassadors. N. Y Colonial Docs.. IX. 37

peace speech, which, as rendered by the Jesuits, was an admirable
specimen of Iroquois eloquence; but, while joining hands with him and
his companions, the French still urged on their preparations to chastise
the contumacious Mohawks.


_Courcelle’s March.--His Failure and Return.--Courcelle and the
Jesuits.--Mohawk Treachery.--Tracy’s Expedition.--Burning of
the Mohawk Towns.--French and English.--Dollier de Casson at St.
Anne.--Peace.--The Jesuits and the Iroquois._

|The governor, Courcelle, says Father Le Meircier, “breathed nothing
but war,” and was bent on immediate action. He was for the present
subordinate to Tracy, who, however, forebore to cool his ardor, and
allowed him to proceed. The result was an enterprise bold to rashness.
Courcelle, with about five hundred men, prepared to march in the depth
of a Canadian winter to the Mohawk towns, a distance estimated at three
hundred leagues. Those who knew the country, vainly urged the risks and
difficulties of the attempt. The adventurous governor held fast to his
purpose, and only waited till the St. Lawrence should be well frozen.
Early in January, it was a solid floor; and on the ninth the march
began. Officers and men stopped at Sillery, and knelt in the little
mission chapel before the shrine of Saint Michael, to ask the protection
and aid of the warlike archangel; then they resumed their course, and,
with their snowshoes tied at their backs, walked with difficulty and
toil over the bare and slippery ice. A keen wind swept the river, and
the fierce cold gnawed them to the bone. Ears, noses, fingers, hands,
and knees were frozen; some fell in torpor, and were dragged on by their
comrades to the shivering bivouac. When, after a march of ninety miles,
they reached Three Rivers, a considerable number were disabled, and had
to be left behind; but others joined them from the garrison, and they
set out again. Ascending the Richelieu, and passing the new forts at
Sorel and Chambly, they reached at the end of the month the third fort,
called Ste. Thérèse. On the thirtieth they left it, and continued
their march up the frozen stream. About two hundred of them were
Canadians, and of these seventy were old Indian-fighters from Montreal,
versed in woodcraft, seasoned to the climate, and trained among dangers
and alarms. Courcelle quickly learned their value, and his “Blue
Coats,” as he called them, were always placed in the van. * Here,
wrapped in their coarse blue capotes, with blankets and provisions
strapped at their backs, they strode along on snowshoes, which recent
storms had made indispensable. The regulars followed as they could.
They were not yet the tough and experienced woodsmen that they and their
descendants afterwards became; and their snow

     *  Doll du Montréal, a.d. 1665, 1666.

shoes embarrassed them, burdened as they were with the heavy loads which
all carried alike, from Courcelle to the lowest private.

Lake Champlain lay glaring in the winter sun, a sheet of spotless snow;
and the wavy ridges of the Adirondack? bordered the dazzling landscape
with the cold gray of their denuded forests. The long procession of
weary men crept slowly on under the lee of the shore; and when night
came they bivouacked by squads among the trees, dug away the snow with
their snowshoes, piled it in a bank around them, built their fire in
the middle, and crouched about it on beds of spruce or hemlock; * while,
as they lay close packed for mutual warmth, the winter sky arched them
like a vault of burnished steel, sparkling with the cold diamond lustre
of its myriads of stars. This arctic serenity of the elements was
varied at times by heavy snow-storms; and, before they reached their
journey’s end, the earth and the ice were buried to the unusual depth
of four feet. From Lake Champlain they passed to Lake George, ** and
the frigid glories of its snow-wrapped mountains; thence crossed to the
Hudson, and groped their way through the woods in search of the Mohawk
towns. They soon went astray; for thirty Algonquins, whom they had taken
as guides, had found

     *  One of the men, telling the story of their sufferings to
     Daniel Gookin, of Massachusetts, indicated this as their
     mode of encamping. See Mass. Hist. Coll., first series, I.

     **  Carte des grands lacs, Ontario et autres... et des pays
     traversez par MM. de Tracy et Courcelle our aller attaquer
     les agniés (Mohawks), 1666.

the means of a grand debauch at Fort Ste. Thérèse, drunk themselves
into helplessness, and lingered behind. Thus Courcelle and his men
mistook the path, and, marching by way of Saratoga Lake and Long Lake,
* found themselves, on Saturday the twentieth of February, close to the
little Dutch hamlet of Corlaer or Schenectady. Here the chief man in
authority told them that most of the Mohawks and Oneidas had gone to war
with another tribe. They, however, caught a few stragglers, and had a
smart skirmish with a party of warriors, losing an officer and several
men. Half frozen and half starved, they encamped in the neighboring
woods, where, on Sunday, three envoys appeared from Albany, to demand
why they had invaded the territories of his Royal Highness the Duke
of York. It was now that they learned for the first time that the New
Netherlands had passed into English hands, a change which boded no good
to Canada. The envoys seemed to take their explanations in good part,
made them a present of wine and provisions, and allowed them to buy
further supplies from the Dutch of Schenectady. They even invited them
to enter the village, but Courcelle declined, partly because the place
could not hold them all, and partly because he feared that his men, once
seated in a chimney-corner, could never be induced to leave it.

Their position was cheerless enough; for the vast beds of snow around
them were soaking slowly under a sullen rain, and there was danger

     *  Carte... des pays traversez par MM. de Tracy et
     Courcelle, etc.

that the lakes might thaw and cut off their retreat. “Ye Mohaukes,”
says the old English report of the affair, “were all gone to their
Castles with resolution to fight it out against the french, who, being
refresht and supplyed with the aforesaid provisions, made a shew of
marching towards the Mohaukes Castles, but with faces about, and great
sylence and dilligence, return’d towards Cannada.” “Surely,”
observes the narrator, “so bould and hardy an attempt hath not hapned
in any age.” * The end hardly answered to the beginning. The retreat,
which began on Sunday night, was rather precipitate. The Mohawks hovered
about their rear, and took a few prisoners; but famine and cold proved
more deadly foes, and sixty men perished before they reached the shelter
of Fort Ste. Thérèse. On the eighth of March, Courcelle came to the
neighboring fort of St. Louis or Chambly. Here he found the Jesuit
Albanel acting as chaplain; and, being in great ill humor, he charged
him with causing the failure of the expedition by detaining the
Algonquin guides. This singular notion took such possession of him,
that, when a few days after he met the Jesuit Frémin at Three Rivers,
he embraced him ironically, saying, at the same time, “My father, I am
the unluckiest gentleman in the world; and you, and the rest of you, are
the cause of it.” ** The pious Tracy, and the prudent

     *  A Relation of the Governr. of Cannada, his March with 600
     Volunteire into if Territoryes of His Roy all Highnesse the
     Duke of Yorke in America. See Doc. Hist. N. Y. I. 71.

     **  Journal des Jésuites, Mars, 1666. .

Talon, tried to disarm his suspicions, and with such success that
he gave up an intention he had entertained of discarding his Jesuit
confessor, and forgot or forgave the imagined wrong.

Unfortunate as this expedition was, it produced a strong effect on the
Iroquois by convincing them that their forest homes were no safe asylum
from French attacks. In May, the Senecas sent an embassy of peace; and
the other nations, including the Mohawks, soon followed. Tracy, on his
part, sent the Jesuit Bêchefer to learn on the spot the real temper of
the savages, and ascertain whether peace could safely be made with them.
The Jesuit was scarcely gone when news came that a party of officers
hunting near the outlet of Lake Champlain had been set upon by the
Mohawks, and that seven of them had been captured or killed. Among the
captured was Leroles, a cousin of Tracy, and among the killed was a
young gentleman named Chasy, his nephew.

On this the Jesuit envoy was recalled; twenty-four Iroquois deputies
were seized and imprisoned; and Sorel, captain in the regiment of
Carignan, was sent with three hundred men to chastise the perfidious
Mohawks. If, as it seems, he was expected to attack their fortified
towns or “castles,” as the English call them, his force was too
small. This time, however, there was no fighting. At two days from his
journey’s end, Sorel met the famous chief called the Flemish Bastard,
bringing back Leroles and his fellow-captives, and charged, as he
alleged, to offer full satisfaction for the murder of Chasy.

Sorel believed him, retraced his course, and with the Bastard in his
train returned to Quebec.

Quebec was full of Iroquois deputies, all bent on peace or pretending
to be so. On the last day of August, there was a grand council in
the garden of the Jesuits. Some days later, Tracy invited the Flemish
Bastard and a Mohawk chief named Agariata to his table, when allusion
was made to the murder of Chasy. On this the Mohawk, stretching out his
arm, exclaimed in a braggart tone, “This is the hand that split
the head of that young man.” The indignation of the company may
be imagined. Tracy told his insolent guest that he should never kill
anybody else; and he was led out and hanged in presence of the Bastard.
* There was no more talk of peace. Tracy prepared to march in person
against the Mohawks with all the force of Canada.

On the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, “for whose glory,” says
the chronicler, “this expedition is undertaken,” Tracy and Courcelle
left Quebec with thirteen hundred men. They crossed Lake Champlain,
and launched their boats again on the waters of St. Sacrament, now Lake
George. It was the first of the warlike pageants that have made that
fair scene historic. October had begun, and the romantic wilds breathed
the buoyant life of the most inspiring of American seasons, when

     *  This story rests chiefly on the authority of Nicolas
     Perrot, Mœurs des Saurages, 113. La Potherie also tells it,
     with the addition of the chief’s name. Colden follows him.
     The Journal des Jésuites mentions that the chief who led the
     murderers of Chasy arrived at Quebec on the sixth of
     September. Marie de l’Incarnation mentions the hanging of an
     Iroquois at Quebec, late in the autumn, for violating the

the blue-jay screams from the woods; the wild duck splashes along the
lake; and the echoes of distant mountains prolong the quavering cry of
the loon; when weather-stained rocks are plumed with the fiery crimson
of the sumac, the claret hues of young oaks, the amber and scarlet of
the maple, and the sober purple of the ash; or when gleams of sunlight,
shot aslant through the rents of cool autumnal clouds, chase fitfully
along the glowing sides of painted mountains. Amid this gorgeous
euthanasia of the dying season, the three hundred boats and canoes
trailed in long procession up the lake, threaded the labyrinth of the
Narrows, that sylvan fairyland of tufted islets and quiet waters, and
landed at length where Fort William Henry was afterwards built. *

About a hundred miles of forests, swamps, rivers, and mountains, still
lay between them and the Mohawk towns. There seems to have been an
Indian path; for this was the ordinary route of the Mohawk and Oneida
war-parties: but the path was narrow, broken, full of gullies and
pitfalls, crossed by streams, and in one place interrupted by a lake
which they passed on rafts. A hundred and ten “Blue Coats,” of
Montreal, led the way, under Charles Le Moyne. Repentigny commanded the
levies from Quebec. In all there were six hundred Canadians; six hundred
regulars; and a hundred Indians from the missions, who ranged the woods
in front, flank, and rear, like hounds on the scent. Red or white,
Canadians or regulars, all were full

     * Carte... des pays traversez par MM. de Tracy et Courcelle,

of zeal. “It seems to them," writes Mother Mary, “that they are
going to lay siege to Paradise, and win it and enter in, because they
are fighting for religion and the faith.” * Their ardor was rudely
tried. Officers as well as men carried loads at their backs, whence
ensued a large blister on the shoulders of the Chevalier de Chaumont,
in no way used to such burdens. Tracy, old, heavy, and infirm, was
inopportunely seized with the gout. A Swiss soldier tried to carry him
on his shoulders across a rapid stream; but midway his strength failed,
and he was barely able to deposit his ponderous load on a rock. A Huron
came to his aid, and bore Tracy safely to the farther bank. Courcelle
was attacked with cramps, and had to be carried for a time like his
commander. Provisions gave out, and men and officers grew faint with
hunger. The Montreal soldiers had for chaplain a sturdy priest, Doilier
de Casson, as large as Tracy and far stronger; for the incredible story
is told of him that, when in good condition, he could hold two men
seated on his extended hands. ** Now, however, he was equal to no such
exploit, being not only deprived of food, but also of sleep, by the
necessity of listening at night to the confessions of his pious flock;
and his shoes, too, had failed him, nothing remaining but the upper
leather, which gave him little comfort among the sharp stones. He bore
up manfully, being by nature brave and

     *  Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre du 16 Oct., 1666.

     ** Grandet, Notice manuscrite sur Dollier de Casson, extract
     given by J. Vigor in appendix to Histoire du Montréal
     (Montreal, 1868).

light-hearted; and, when a servant of the Jesuits fell into the water,
he threw off his cassock and leaped after him. His strength gave
out, and the man was drowned; but a grateful Jesuit led him aside and
requited his efforts with a morsel of bread. * A wood of chestnut-trees
full of nuts at length stayed the hunger of the famished troops.

It was Saint Theresa’s day when they approached the lower Mohawk town.
A storm of wind and rain set in; but, anxious to surprise the enemy,
they pushed on all night amid the moan and roar of the forest; over
slippery logs, tangled roots, and oozy mosses; under dripping boughs and
through saturated bushes. This time there was no want of good guides;
and when in the morning they issued from the forest, they saw, amid its
cornfields, the palisades of the Indian stronghold. They had two small
pieces of cannon brought from the lake by relays of men, but they did
not stop to use them. Their twenty drums beat the charge, and they
advanced to seize the place by _coup-de-main_. Lucidly for them, a panic
had seized the Indians. Not that they were taken by surprise, for they
had discovered the approaching French, and, two days before, had sent
away their women and children in preparation for a desperate fight; but
the din of the drums, which they took for so many devils in the French
service; and the armed men advancing from the rocks and thickets in
files that seemed interminable,--so wrought on the scared imagination of
the warriors that they fled in terror to their next

     *  Dollier de Casson, Histoire du Montréal, a.d 1665, 1666.

town, a short distance above. Tracy lost no time, but hastened in
pursuit. A few Mohawks were seen on the hills, yelling and firing
too far for effect. Repentigny, at the risk of his scalp, climbed a
neighboring height, and looked down on the little army, which seemed so
numerous as it passed beneath, “that,” writes the superior of the
Ursulines, “he told me that he thought the good angels must have
joined with it; whereat he stood amazed.”

The second town or fort was taken as easily as the first; so, too, were
the third and the fourth. The Indians yelled, and fled without killing
a man; and still the troops pursued, following the broad trail which
led from town to town along the valley of the Mohawk. It was late in the
afternoon when the fourth town was entered, * and Tracy thought that his
work was done; but an Algonquin squaw who had followed her husband to
the war, and who had once been a prisoner among the Mohawks, told him
that there was still another above. The sun was near its setting, and
the men were tired with their pitiless marching; but again the order was
given to advance. The eager squaw showed the way, holding a pistol in
one hand and leading Courcelle with the other; and they soon came in
sight of Andaraqué, the largest and strongest of the Mohawk forts. The
drums beat with fury, and the troops prepared to attack, but there were
none to oppose them. The scouts sent forward, reported

     *  Marie de l'Incarnation says that there were four towns in
     all I follow the Acte de prise de possession, made on the
     spot. Five are here mentioned.

that the warriors had fled. The last of the savage strongholds was in
the hands of the French.

“God has done for us,” says Mother Mary, “what he did in ancient
days for his chosen people, striking terror into our enemies, insomuch
that we were victors without a blow. Certain it is that there is miracle
in all this; for, if the Iroquois had stood fast, they would have given
us a great deal of trouble and caused our army great loss, seeing how
they were fortified and armed, and how haughty and bold they are.”

The French were astonished as they looked about them. These Iroquois
forts were very different from those that Jogues had seen here twenty
years before, or from that which in earlier times set Champlain and his
Hurons at defiance. The Mohawks had had counsel and aid from their Dutch
friends, and adapted their savage defences to the rules of European art.
Andaraqué was a quadrangle formed of a triple palisade, twenty feet
high, and flanked by four bastions. Large vessels of bark filled with
water were placed on the platform of the palisade for defence against
fire. The dwellings which these fortifications enclosed were in many
cases built of wood, though the form and arrangement of the primitive
bark lodge of the Iroquois seems to have been preserved. Some of the
wooden houses were a hundred and twenty feet long, with fires for
eight or nine families. Here and in subterranean _caches_ was stored
a prodigious quantity of Indian-corn and other provisions; and all the
dwellings were supplied with carpenters’ tools, domestic utensils, and
many other appliances of comfort.

The only living things in Andaraqué, when the French entered, were two
old women, a small boy, and a decrepit old man, who, being frightened by
the noise of the drums, had hidden himself under a canoe. From them the
victors learned that the Mohawks, retreating from the other towns, had
gathered here, resolved to fight to the last; but at sight of the troops
their courage failed, and the chief was first to run, crying out, “Let
us save ourselves, brothers; the whole world is coming against us.”

A cross was planted, and at its side the royal arms. The troops were
drawn up in battle array, when Jean Baptiste du Bois, an officer deputed
by Tracy, advancing sword in hand to the front, proclaimed in a loud
voice that he took possession in the name of the king of all the country
of the Mohawks; and the troops shouted three times, _Vive le Roi_. *

That night a mighty bonfire illumined the Mohawk forests; and the scared
savages from their hiding-places among the rocks saw their palisades,
their dwellings, their stores of food, and all their possessions, turned
to cinders and ashes. The two old squaws captured in the town, threw
themselves in despair into the flames of their blazing homes. When
morning came, there was nothing left of Andaraqué but smouldering
embers, rolling their pale smoke against the painted background of the

     * Acte de priss de possession, 17 Oct., 1666.

October woods. _Te Deum_ was sung and mass said; and then the victors
began their backward march, burning, as they went, all the remaining
forts, with all their hoarded stores of corn, except such as they needed
for themselves. If they had failed to destroy their enemies in battle,
they hoped that winter and famine would do the work of shot and steel.

While there was distress among the Mohawks, there was trouble among
their English neighbors, who claimed as their own the country which
Tracy had invaded. The English authorities were the more disquieted,
because they feared that the lately conquered Dutch might join hands
with the French against them. When Nicolls, governor of New York, heard
of Tracy’s advance, he wrote to the governors of the New England
colonies, begging them to join him against the French invaders, and
urging that, if Tracy’s force were destroyed or captured, the conquest
of Canada would be an easy task. There was war at the time between the
two crowns; and the British court had already entertained this project
of conquest, and sent orders to its colonies to that effect. But the New
England governors, ill prepared for war, and fearing that their Indian
neighbors, who were enemies of the Mohawks, might take part with the
French, hesitated to act, and the affair ended in a correspondence,
civil if not sincere, between Nicolls and Tracy. * The treaty of Breda,
in the following year, secured peace for a time between the rival

     *  See the correspondence in N. Y. Col. Docs. III. 118-156.
     Compare Hutchinson Collection, 407, and Mass. Hist. Coll.
     XVIII. 102.

The return of Tracy was less fortunate than his advance. The rivers,
swollen by autumn rains, were difficult to pass; and in crossing
Lake Champlain two canoes were overset in a storm, and eight men were
drowned. From St. Anne, a new fort built early in the summer on Isle La
Motte, near the northern end of the lake, he sent news of his success to
Quebec, where there was great rejoicing and a solemn thanksgiving. Signs
and prodigies had not been wanting to attest the interest of the upper
and nether powers in the crusade against the myrmidons of hell. At one
of the forts on the Richelieu, “the soldiers,” says Mother Mary,
“were near dying of fright. They saw a great fiery cavern in the
sky, and from this cavern came plaintive voices mixed with frightful
howlings. Perhaps it was the demons, enraged because we had depopulated
a country where they had been masters so long, and had said mass and
sung the praises of God in a place where there had never before been any
thing but foulness and abomination.”

Tracy had at first meant to abandon Fort St. Anne; but he changed his
mind after returning to Quebec. Meanwhile the season had grown so late
that there was no time to send proper supplies to the garrison. Winter
closed, and the place was not only ill provisioned, but was left without
a priest. Tracy wrote to the superior of the Sulpitians at Montreal
to send one without delay; but the request was more easily made than
fulfilled, for he forgot to order an escort, and the way was long and
dangerous. The stout-hearted Dollier de Casson was told, however,
to hold himself ready to go at the first opportunity. His recent
campaigning had left him in no condition for braving fresh hardships,
for he was nearly disabled by a swelling on one of his knees. By way of
cure he resolved to try a severe bleeding, and the Sangrado of Montreal
did his work so thoroughly that his patient fainted under his hands.
As he returned to consciousness, he became aware that two soldiers had
entered the room. They told him that they were going in the morning to
Chambly, which was on the way to St. Anne; and they invited him to go
with them. “Wait till the day after to-morrow,” replied the priest,
“and I will try.” The delay was obtained; and, on the day fixed, the
party set out by the forest path to Chambly, a distance of about four
leagues. When they reached it, Dollier de Casson was nearly spent,
but he concealed his plight from the commanding officer, and begged an
escort to St. Anne, some twenty leagues farther. As the officer would
not give him one, he threatened to go alone, on which ten men and an
ensign were at last ordered to conduct him. Thus attended, he resumed
his journey after a day’s rest. One of the soldiers fell through the
ice, and none of his comrades dared help him. Dollier de Casson, making
the sign of the cross, went to his aid, and, more successful than on the
former occasion, caught him and pulled him out. The snow was deep; and
the priest, having arrived in the preceding summer, had never before
worn snowshoes, while a sack of clothing, and his portable chapel which
he carried at his back, joined to the pain of his knee and the effects
of his late bleeding, made the march a purgatory.

He was sorely needed at Fort St. Anne. There was pestilence in the
garrison. Two men had just died without absolution, while more were at
the point of death, and praying for a priest. Thus it happened that when
the sentinel descried far off, on the ice of Lake Champlain, a squad of
soldiers approaching, and among them a black cassock, every officer
and man not sick, or on duty, came out with one accord to meet the
new-comer. They overwhelmed him with welcome and with thanks. One took
his sack, another his portable chapel, and they led him in triumph to
the fort. First he made a short prayer, then went his rounds among the
sick, and then came to refresh himself with the officers. Here was La
Motte de la Lucière, the commandant; La Durantaye, a name destined
to be famous in Canadian annals; and a number of young subalterns.
The scene was no strange one to Dollier de Casson, for he had been
an officer of cavalry in his time, and fought under Turenne; * a good
soldier, without doubt, at the mess table or in the field, and none the
worse a priest that he had once followed the wars. He was of a lively
humor, given to jests and mirth; as pleasant a father as ever said
_Benedicite_. The soldier and

     *  Grandet, Notice manuscrite sur Dollier de Casson,
     extracts from copy in possession of the late Jacques Viger.

the gentleman still lived under the cassock of the priest. He was
greatly respected and beloved; and his influence as a peace-maker, which
he often had occasion to exercise, is said to have been remarkable. When
the time demanded it, he could use arguments more cogent than those of
moral suasion. Once, in a camp of Algonquins, when, as he was kneeling
in prayer, an insolent savage came to interrupt him, the father, without
rising, knocked the intruder flat by a blow of his fist, and the other
Indians, far from being displeased, were filled with admiration at the
exploit. *

His cheery temper now stood him in good stead; for there was dreary work
before him, and he was not the man to flinch from it. The garrison of
St. Anne had nothing to live on but salt pork and half-spoiled flour.
Their hogshead of vinegar had sprung a leak, and the contents had all
oozed out. They had rejoiced in the supposed possession of a reasonable
stock of brandy; but they soon discovered that the sailors, on the
voyage from France, had emptied the casks and filled them again with
saltwater. The scurvy broke out with fury. In a short time, forty out
of the sixty men became victims of the loathsome malady. Day or night,
Doilier de Casson and Forestier, the equally devoted young surgeon, had
no rest. The surgeon’s strength failed, and the priest was himself
slightly attacked with the disease. Eleven men

     *  Grandet, Notice manuscrite sur Dollier de Casson, cited
     by Faillon, Colonie Française, III. 395, 396

died; and others languished for want of help, for their comrades shrank
from entering the infected dens where they lay. In their extremity
some of them devised an ingenious expedient. Though they had nothing to
bequeath, they made wills in which they left imaginary sums of money
to those who had befriended them, and thenceforth they found no lack of

In the intervals of his labors, Dollier de Casson would run to and fro
for warmth and exercise on a certain track of beaten snow, between two
of the bastions, reciting his breviary as he went, so that those who saw
him might have thought him out of his wits. One day La Motte called out
to him as he was thus engaged, “Eh, Monsieur le curé, if the Iroquois
should come, you must defend that bastion. My men are all deserting me,
and going over to you and the doctor.” To which the father replied,
“Get me some litters with wheels, and I will bring them out to man my
bastion. They are brave enough now; no fear of their running away.”
With banter like this, they sought to beguile their miseries; and thus
the winter wore on at Fort St. Anne. *

Early in spring they saw a troop of Iroquois approaching, and prepared
as well as they could to make fight; but the strangers proved to be

     *  The above curious incidents are told by Dollier de
     Casson, in his Histoire du Montréal, preserved in manuscript
     in the Mazarin Library at Paris. He gives no hint that the
     person in question was himself, but speaks of him as un
     ecclésiastique. His identity is, however, made certain by
     internal evidence, by a passage in the Notice of Grandet,
     and by other contemporary allusions.

ambassadors of peace. The destruction of the Mohawk towns had produced
a deep effect, not on that nation alone, but also on the other four
members of the league. They were disposed to confirm the promises of
peace which they had already made; and Tracy had spurred their good
intentions by sending them a message that, unless they quickly presented
themselves at Quebec, he would hang all the chiefs whom he had kept
prisoners after discovering their treachery in the preceding summer. The
threat had its effect: deputies of the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and
Senecas presently arrived in a temper of befitting humility. The Mohawks
were at first afraid to come: but in April they sent the Flemish Bastard
with overtures of peace; and in July, a large deputation of their chiefs
appeared at Quebec. They and the rest left some of their families
as hostages, and promised that, if any of their people should kill a
Frenchman, they would give them up to be hanged. *

They begged, too, for blacksmiths, surgeons, and Jesuits to live among
them. The presence of the Jesuits in their towns was in many ways
an advantage to them; while to the colony it was of the greatest
importance. Not only was conversion to the church justly regarded as the
best means of attaching the Indians to the French, and alienating them
from the English; but the Jesuits living in the midst of them could
influence even those whom they could not convert, soothe rising

     *  Lettre du Père Jean Pierron, de la Compagnie de Jésus,
     escripte de la Motte (Fort Ste. Anne) sur le lac Champlain,
     le 12me d’aoust. 1667

counteract English intrigues, and keep the rulers of the colony informed
of all that was passing in the Iroquois towns. Thus, half Christian
missionaries, half political agents, the Jesuits prepared to resume the
hazardous mission of the Iroquois. Frémin and Pierron were ordered to
the Mohawks, Bruyas to the Oneidas, and three others were named for the
remaining three nations of the league. The troops had made the peace;
the Jesuits were the rivets to hold it fast; and peace endured without
absolute rupture for nearly twenty years. Of all the French expeditions
against the Iroquois, that of Tracy was the most productive of good.


_Talon.--Restriction and Monopoly.--Views of Colbert.--Political
Galvanism.--A Father of the People._

|Tracy’s work was done, and he left Canada with the glittering
_noblesse_ in his train. Courcelle and Talon remained to rule alone; and
now the great experiment was begun. Paternal royalty would try its hand
at building up a colony, and Talon was its chosen agent. His appearance
did him no justice. The regular contour of his oval face, about which
fell to his shoulders a cataract of curls, natural or supposititious;
the smooth lines of his well-formed features, brows delicately arched,
and a mouth more suggestive of feminine sensibility than of masculine
force,--would certainly have misled the disciple of Lavater. * Yet there
was no want of manhood in him. He was most happily chosen for the task
placed in his hands, and from first to last approved himself a vigorous
executive officer. He was a true disciple of Colbert, formed in his
school and animated by his spirit.

     *  His portrait is at the Hôtel Dieu of Quebec. An engraving
     from it will be found in the third volume of Shea’s

Being on the spot, he was better able than his master to judge the
working of the new order of things. With regard to the company, he
writes that it will profit by impoverishing the colony; that its
monopolies dishearten the people and paralyze enterprise; that it is
thwarting the intentions of the king, who wishes trade to be encouraged;
and that, if its exclusive privileges are maintained, Canada in ten
years will be less populous than now. * But Colbert clung to his plan,
though he wrote in reply that to satisfy the colonists he had persuaded
the company to forego the monopolies for a year. ** As this proved
insufficient, the company was at length forced to give up permanently
its right of exclusive trade, still exacting its share of beaver and
moose skins. This was its chief source of profit; it begrudged every sou
deducted from it for charges of government, and the king was constantly
obliged to do at his own cost that which the company should have done.
In one point it showed a ceaseless activity; and this was the levying of
duties, in which it was never known to fail.

Trade, even after its exercise was permitted, was continually vexed by
the hand of authority. One of Tracy’s first measures had been to issue
a decree reducing the price of wheat one half. The council took up the
work of regulation, and fixed the price of all imported goods in three
several tariffs,--one for Quebec, one for Three Rivers, and

     *  Talon a Colbert, 4 Oct., 1665.

     ** Colbert a Talon, 5 Avril, 1666.

one for Montreal. * It may well be believed that there was in Canada
little capital and little enterprise. Industrially and commercially, the
colony was almost dead. Talon set himself to galvanize it; and, if
one man could have supplied the intelligence and energy of a whole
community, the results would have been triumphant.

He had received elaborate instructions, and they indicate an ardent wish
for the prosperity of Canada. Colbert had written to him that the
true means to strengthen the colony was to “cause justice to reign,
establish a good police, protect the inhabitants, discipline them
against enemies, and procure for them peace, repose, and plenty.”
** “And as,” the minister further says, “the king regards his
Canadian subjects, from the highest to the lowest, almost as his own
children, and wishes them to enjoy equally with the people of France
the mildness and happiness of his reign, the Sieur Talon will study to
solace them in all things and encourage them to trade and industry. And,
seeing that nothing can better promote this end than entering into the
details of their households and of all their little affairs, it will
not be amiss that he visit all their settlements one after the other
in order to learn their true condition, provide as much as possible for
their wants, and, performing the duty of a good head of a family, put
them in the way of making some profit.” The intendant was also told to
encourage fathers to inspire their children with

     *  Tariff of Prices, in N. Y. Colonial Docs. IX. 36

     **  Colbert a Talon, 6 Avril, 1666.

piety, together with “profound love and respect for the royal person
of his Majesty.” *

Talon entered on his work with admirable zeal. Sometimes he used
authority, sometimes persuasion, sometimes promises of reward.
Sometimes, again, he tried the force of example. Thus he built a ship to
show the people how to do it, and rouse them to imitation. ** Three or
four years later, the experiment was repeated. This time it was at the
cost of the king, who applied the sum of forty thousand livres *** to
the double purpose of promoting the art of ship-building, and saving
the colonists from vagrant habits by giving them employment. Talon wrote
that three hundred and fifty men had been supplied that summer with work
at the charge of government. ****

He despatched two engineers to search for coal, lead, iron, copper,
and other minerals. Important discoveries of iron were made; but three
generations were destined to pass before the mines were successfully
worked. (v) The copper of Lake Superior raised the intendants hopes for
a time, but he was soon forced to the conclusion that it was too remote
to be of practical value. He labored vigorously to develop arts and
manufactures; made a barrel of tar, and sent it to the king as a
specimen; caused some of the colonists to make cloth

     *  Instruction au Sieur Talon, 27 Mars, 1665.

     **  Talon a Colbert, Oct., 1667; Colbert a Talon, 20 Fev.,

     ***  Dépêche de Colbert, 11 Fev., 1671.

     ****  Talon a Colbert, 2 Nov., 1671.

     (v)  Charlevoix speaks of these mines as having been
     forgotten for seventy years, and rediscovered in his time.
     After passing. through various hands, they were finally
     worked on the king’s account.

of the wool of the sheep which the king had sent out; encouraged others
to establish a tannery, and also a factory of hats and of shoes. The
Sieur Follin was induced by the grant of a monopoly to begin the making
of soap and potash. * The people were ordered to grow hemp, ** and urged
to gather the nettles of the country as material for cordage; and the
Ursulines were supplied with flax and wool, in order that they might
teach girls to weave and spin.

Talon was especially anxious to establish trade between Canada and the
West Indies; and, to make a beginning, he freighted the vessel he
had built with salted cod, salmon, eels, pease, fish-oil, staves, and
planks, and sent her thither to exchange her cargo for sugar, which
she was in turn to exchange in France for goods suited for the Canadian
market. *** Another favorite object with him was the fishery of seals
and white porpoises for the sake of their oil; and some of the chief
merchants were urged to undertake it, as well as the establishment of
stationary cod-fisheries along the Lower St. Lawrence. But, with every
encouragement, many years passed before this valuable industry was
placed on a firm basis.

Talon saw with concern the huge consumption of wine and brandy among
the settlers, costing them, as he wrote to Colbert, a hundred thousand
livres a year; and, to keep this money in the

     *   Registre du Conseil Souverain.

     **  Marie de l’Incarnation, Choix des Lettres de 871.

     *** Le Mercier, Rel. 1667, 3; Dépêches de Talon

colony, he declared his intention of building a brewery. The minister
approved the plan, not only on economic grounds, but because “the vice
of drunkenness would thereafter cause no more scandal by reason of the
cold nature of beer, the vapors whereof rarely deprive men of the use
of judgment.” * The brewery was accordingly built, to the great
satisfaction of the poorer colonists.

Nor did the active intendant fail to acquit himself of the duty of
domiciliary visits, enjoined upon him by the royal instructions; a
point on which he was of one mind with his superiors, for he writes that
“those charged in this country with his Majesty’s affairs are
under a strict obligation to enter into the detail of families.” **
Accordingly we learn from Mother Juchereau, that "he studied with the
affection of a father how to succor the poor and cause the colony to
grow; entered into the minutest particulars; visited the houses of the
inhabitants, and caused them to visit him; learned what crops each one
was raising; taught those who had wheat to sell it at a profit, helped
those who had none, and encouraged everybody.” And Dollier de Casson
represents him as visiting in turn every house at Montreal, and giving
aid from the king to such as needed it. *** Horses, cattle, sheep,
and other domestic animals, were sent out at the royal charge in
considerable numbers, and

     *  Colbert à Talon, 20 Fev., 1668.

     **  Mémoire de 1667.

     *** Histoire du Montréal, a.d. 1666, 1667.

distributed gratuitously, with an order that none of the young should
be killed till the country was sufficiently stocked. Large quantities
of goods were also sent from the same high quarter. Some of these were
distributed as gifts, and the rest bartered for corn to supply the
troops. As the intendant perceived that the farmers lost much time in
coming from their distant clearings to buy necessaries at Quebec, he
caused his agents to furnish them with the king’s goods at their
own houses, to the great annoyance of the merchants of Quebec, who
complained that their accustomed trade was thus forestalled. *

These were not the only cares which occupied the mind of Talon. He tried
to open a road across the country to Acadia, an almost impossible task,
in which he and his successors completely failed. Under his auspices,
Albanel penetrated to Hudson’s Bay, and Saint Lusson took possession
in the king’s name of the country of the Upper Lakes. It was Talon,
in short, who prepared the way for the remarkable series of explorations
described in another work. ** Again and again he urged upon Colbert
and the king a measure from which, had it taken effect, momentous
consequences must have sprung. This was the purchase or seizure of New
York, involving the isolation of New England, the subjection of the
Iroquois, and the undisputed control of half the continent.

     *  Talon a Colbert, 10 Nov., 1670.

     **  Discovery of the Great West

Great as were his opportunities of abusing his trust, it does not appear
that he took advantage of them. He held lands and houses in Canada,
* owned the brewery which he had established, and embarked in various
enterprises of productive industry; but, so far as I can discover, he is
nowhere accused of making illicit gains, and there is reason to believe
that he acquitted himself of his charge with entire fidelity. ** His
health failed in 1668, and for this and other causes he asked for his
recall. Colbert granted it with strong expressions of regret; and when,
two years later, he resumed the intendancy, the colony seems to have
welcomed his return.

     *  In 1682, the Intendant Meules, in a despatch to the
     minister, makes a statement of Talon’s property in Quebec.
     The chief items are the brewery and a house of some value on
     the descent of Mountain Street. He owned, also, the valuable
     seigniory, afterwards barony, Des Islets, in the immediate

     **  Some imputations against him, not of much weight, are,
     however, made in a memorial of Aubert de la Chesnaye, a
     merchant of Quebec


_Shipment of Emigrants.--Soldier Settlers.--Importation of
Wives.--Wedlock.--Summary Methods.--The Mothers of Canada.--Bounties on
Marriage.--Celibacy Punished.--Bounties on Children.--Results._

|The peopling of Canada was due in the main to the king. Before the
accession of Louis XIV. the entire population, priests, nuns, traders,
and settlers, did not exceed twenty-five hundred; * but scarcely had
he reached his majority when the shipment of men to the colony was
systematically begun. Even in Argenson’s time, loads of emigrants sent
out by the Crown were landed every year at Quebec. The Sulpitians of
Montreal also brought over colonists to people their seigniorial estate;
the same was true on a small scale of one or two other proprietors, and
once at least the company sent a considerable number: yet the government
was the chief agent of emigration. Colbert did the work, and the king
paid for it.

In 1661, Laval wrote to the cardinals of the Propaganda, that during the
past two years the

    *  Le Clerc, Etablissement de la Foy, II 4

king had spent two hundred thousand livres on the colony; that, since
1659, he had sent out three hundred men a year; and that he had promised
to send an equal number every summer during ten years. * These men were
sent by squads in merchant-ships, each one of which was required to
carry a certain number. In many instances, emigrants were bound on their
arrival to enter into the service of colonists already established. In
this case the employer paid them wages, and after a term of three years
they became settlers themselves. **

The destined emigrants were collected by agents in the provinces,
conducted to Dieppe or Rochelle, and thence embarked. At first men were
sent from Rochelle itself, and its neighborhood; but Laval remonstrated,
declaring that he wanted none from that ancient stronghold of heresy.
*** The people of Rochelle, indeed, found no favor in Canada. Another
writer describes them as “persons of little conscience, and almost no
religion,” adding that the Normans, Percherons, Picards, and peasants
of the neighborhood of Paris, are docile, industrious, and far more
pious. “It is important,” he concludes, “in beginning a new
colony, to sow good seed.” **** It was, accordingly, from the
north-western provinces that most of the emigrants

     *  Lettre de Laval envoyée à Rome. 21 Oct., 1661 (extract in
     Faillon from Archives of the Propaganda).

     **  Marie de l’Incarnation, 18 Août, 1664. These engagés
     were some times also brought over by private persons.

     ***  Colbert a Laval, 18 Mars, 1664.

     ****  Mémoire de 1664 (anonymous)

were drawn. * They seem in the main to have been a decent peasantry,
though writers who, from their position, should have been well informed,
have denounced them in unmeasured terms. ** Some of them could read and
write, and some brought with them a little money.

Talon was constantly begging for more men, till Louis XIV. at length
took alarm. Colbert replied to the over-zealous intendant, that the
king did not think it expedient to depopulate France, in order to people
Canada; that he wanted men for his armies; and that the colony must rely
chiefly on increase from within. Still the shipments did not cease; and,
even while tempering the ardor of his agent, the king gave another

     *  See a paper by Garneau in Le National of Quebec, 28
     October, 1856, embodying the results of research among the
     papers of the early notaries of Quebec. The chief emigration
     was from Paris, Normandy, Poitou, Pays d’Aunis, Brittany,
     and Picardy. Nearly all those from Paris were sent by the
     king from houses of charity.

     **  “Une foule d'aventuriers, ramasses au hazard en France,
     presque tous de la lie du peuple, la plupart obérés de
     dettes ou chargés de crimes.” etc. La Tour, Vie de Laval,
     Liv. IV. “Le vice a obligé la plupart de chercher ce pays
     comme un asile pour se mettre à couvert de leurs crimes,”
     Meules, Dépêché de 1682. Meules was intendant in that year.
     Marie de l’Incarnation, after speaking of the emigrants as
     of a very mixed character, says that it would have been far
     better to send a few who were good Christians, rather than
     so many who give so much trouble. Lettre du--Oct., 1669.

     Le Clerc, on the other hand, is emphatic in praise, calling
     the early colonists, “très honnêtes gens, avant de la
     probité, de la droiture, et de la religion.... L’on a
     examiné et choisi les habitants, et renvoyé en France les
     personnes vicieuses.” If, he adds, any such were left “ils
     effacaient glorieusement par leur pénitence les taches de
     leur première condition.” Charlevoix is almost as strong in
     praise as La Tour in censure. Both of them wrote in the next
     century. We shall have means hereafter of judging between
     these conflicting statements.

proof how much he had the growth of Canada at heart. *

The regiment of Carignan-Salières had been ordered home, with the
exception of four companies kept in garrison, ** and a considerable
number discharged in order to become settlers. Of those who returned,
six companies were, a year or two later, sent back, discharged in
their turn, and converted into colonists. Neither men nor officers were
positively constrained to remain in Canada; but the officers were told
that if they wished to please his Majesty this was the way to do so; and
both they and the men were stimulated by promises and rewards. Fifteen
hundred livres were given to La Motte, because he had married in the
country and meant to remain there. Six thousand livres were assigned to
other officers, because they had followed, or were about to follow, La
Motte’s example; and twelve thousand were set apart to be distributed
to the soldiers under similar conditions. *** Each soldier who consented
to remain and settle was promised a grant of land and a hundred livres
in money; or, if he preferred it, fifty livres with provisions for a
year. This military colonization had a strong and lasting influence on
the character of the Canadian people.

     *  The king had sent out more emigrants than he had
     promised, to judge from the census reports during the years
     1666, 1667, and 1668. The total population for those years
     is 3418, 4312, and 5870, respectively. A small part of this
     growth may be set down to emigration not under government
     auspices, and a large part to natural increase, which was
     enormous at this time, from causes which will soon appear.

     **  Colbert a Talon, 20 Fev., 1668.

     ***  Ibid.

But if the colony was to grow from within, the new settlers must have
wives. For some years past, the Sulpitians had sent out young women for
the supply of Montreal; and the king, on a larger scale, continued the
benevolent work. Girls for the colony were taken from the hospitals of
Paris and of Lyons, which were not so much hospitals for the sick as
houses of refuge for the poor. Mother Mary writes in 1665 that a hundred
had come that summer, and were nearly all provided with husbands, and
that two hundred more were to come next year. The case was urgent, for
the demand was great. Complaints, however, were soon heard that women
from cities made indifferent partners; and peasant girls, healthy,
strong, and accustomed to field work, were demanded in their place.
Peasant girls were therefore sent, but this was not all. Officers as
well as men wanted wives; and Talon asked for a consignment of young
ladies. His request was promptly answered. In 1667, he writes: “They
send us eighty-four girls from Dieppe and twenty-five from Rochelle;
among them are fifteen or twenty of pretty good birth; several of
them are really _demoiselles_, and tolerably well brought up.” They
complained of neglect and hardship during the voyage. “I shall do what
I can to soothe their discontent,” adds the intendant; “for if they
write to their correspondents at home how ill they have been treated it
would be an obstacle to your plan of sending us next year a number of
select young ladies.” *

     *  “Des demoiselles bien choisies.” Talon a Colbert, 27 Oct.

Three years later we find him asking for three or four more in behalf of
certain bachelor officers. The response surpassed his utmost wishes;
and he wrote again: “It is not expedient to send more _demoiselles_. I
have had this year fifteen of them, instead of the four I asked
for.” *

As regards peasant girls, the supply rarely equalled the demand. Count
Frontenac, Courcelle’s successor, complained of the scarcity: “If
a hundred and fifty girls and as many servants,” he says, “had
been sent out this year, they would all have found husbands and masters
within a month.” **

The character of these candidates for matrimony has not escaped the
pen of slander. The caustic La Hontan, writing fifteen or twenty years
after, draws the following sketch of the mothers of Canada: “After the
regiment of Carignan was disbanded, ships were sent out freighted with
girls of indifferent virtue, under the direction of a few pious old
duennas, who divided them into three classes. These vestals were, so
to speak, piled one on the other in three different halls, where the
bridegrooms chose their brides as a butcher chooses his sheep out of the
midst of the

     *  Talon 'a Colbert, 2 Nov., 1671.

     **  Frontenac a Colbert, 2 Nov., 1672. This year only eleven
     girls had been sent. The scarcity was due to the
     indiscretion of Talon, who had written to the minister that,
     as many of the old settlers had daughters just becoming
     marriageable, it would be well, in order that they might
     find husbands, to send no more girls from France at present.

     The next year, 1673, the king writes that, though he is
     involved in a great war, which needs all his resources, he
     has nevertheless sent sixty more girls.

flock. There was wherewith to content the most fantastical in these
three harems; for here were to be seen the tall and the short, the blond
and the brown, the plump and the lean; everybody, in short, found a shoe
to fit him. At the end of a fortnight not one was left. I am told that
the plumpest were taken first, because it was thought that, being less
active, they were more likely to keep at home, and that they could
resist the winter cold better. Those who wanted a wife applied to the
directresses, to whom they were obliged to make known their possessions
and means of livelihood before taking from one of the three classes the
girl whom they found most to their liking. The marriage was concluded
forthwith, with the help of a priest and a notary, and the next day the
governor-general caused the couple to be presented with an ox, a cow, a
pair of swine, a pair of fowls, two barrels of salted meat, and eleven
crowns in money.” *

As regards the character of the girls, there can be no doubt that this
amusing sketch is, in the main, maliciously untrue. Since the colony
began, it had been the practice to send back to France women of the
class alluded to by La Hontan, as soon as they became notorious. **
Those who were

     *  La Hontan, Nouveaux Voyages, I. 11 (1709). In some of the
     other editions, the same account is given in different
     words, equally lively and scandalous.

     **  This is the statement of Boucher, a good authority. A
     case of the sort in 1658 is mentioned in the correspondence
     of Argenson. Boucher says further, that an assurance of good
     character was required from the relations or friends of the
     girl who wished to embark. This refers to a period anterior
     to 1663, when Boucher wrote his book. Colbert evidently
     cared for no qualification except the capacity of maternity.

not taken from institutions of charity usually belonged to the families
of peasants overburdened with children, and glad to find the chance
of establishing them. * How some of them were obtained appears from a
letter of Colbert to Harlay, Archbishop of Rouen. “As, in the parishes
about Rouen,” he writes, “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 curés 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 a settlement in life.” **

Mistakes nevertheless occurred. “Along with the honest people,”
complains Mother Mary, “comes a great deal of _canaille_ of both
sexes, who cause a great deal of scandal.” *** After some of the young
women had been married at Quebec, it was found that they had husbands at
home. The priests

     *  Témoignage de la Mère du Plessis de Sainte-Helène
     (extract in Faillon).

     **  Colbert a l’Archevêque de Rouen, 27 Fev., 1670.

     That they were not always destitute may be gathered from a
     passage in one of Talon’s letters. “Entre les filles qu’on
     fait passer ici il y en a qui ont de légitimes et
     considérables prétentions aux successions de leurs parents,
     même entre celles qui sont tirées de l’Hôpital Général.” The
     General Hospital of Paris had recently been established
     (1656) as a house of refuge for the “Bohemians,” or vagrants
     of Paris. The royal edict creating it says that “les pauvres
     mendiants et invalides des deux sexes y seraient enfermés
     pour estre employés aux manufactures et aultres travaux
     selon leur pouvoir.” They were gathered by force in the
     streets by a body of special police, called “Archers de
     l’Hôpital.” They resisted at first, and serious riots
     ensued. In 1662, the General Hospital of Paris contained
     6262 paupers. See Clement, Histoire de Colbert, 113. Mother
     de Sainte-Helène says that the girls sent from this asylum
     had been there from childhood in charge of nuns.

     ***  “Beaucoup de canaille de l’un et l’autre sexe qui
     causent beaucoup de scandale.” Lettre du--Oct., 1669.

became cautious in tying the matrimonial knot, and Colbert thereupon
ordered that each girl should provide herself with a certificate from
the cure or magistrate of her parish to the effect that she was free to
marry. Nor was the practical intendant unmindful of other precautions
to smooth the path to the desired goal. “The girls destined for this
country,” he writes, “besides being strong and healthy, ought to
be entirely free from any natural blemish or any thing personally
repulsive.” *

Thus qualified canonically and physically, the annual consignment of
young women was shipped to Quebec, in charge of a matron employed and
paid by the king. Her task was not an easy one, for the troop under
her care was apt to consist of what Mother Mary in a moment of unwonted
levity calls “mixed goods.” ** On one occasion the office was
undertaken by the pious widow of Jean Bourdon. Her flock of a hundred
and fifty girls, says Mother Mary, “gave her no little trouble on the
voyage; for they are of all sorts, and some of them are very rude and
hard to manage.” Madame Bourdon was not daunted. She not only saw her
charge distributed and married, but she continued to receive and care
for the subsequent ship-loads as they arrived summer after summer. She

     *  Talon a Colbert, 10 Nov., 1670.

     **  “Une marchandise mêlée.” Lettre du--1668. In that year,
     1668, the king spent 40,000 livres in the shipment of men
     and girls. In 1669, a hundred and fifty girls were sent; in
     1670, a hundred and sixty-five; and Talon asks for a hundred
     and fifty or two hundred more to supply the soldiers who had
     got ready their houses and clearings, and were now prepared
     to marry. The total number of girls sent from 1665 to 1673,
     inclusive, was about a thousand.

indeed chief among the pious duennas of whom La Hontan irreverently
speaks. Marguerite Bourgeoys did the same good offices for the young
women sent to Montreal. Here the “king’s girls," as they were
called, were all lodged together in a house to which the suitors
repaired to make their selection. “I was obliged to live there
myself,” writes the excellent nun, “because families were to be
formed;” * that is to say, because it was she who superintended these
extemporized unions. Meanwhile she taught the girls their catechism,
and, more fortunate than Madame Bourdon, inspired them with a confidence
and affection which they retained long after.

At Quebec, where the matrimonial market was on a larger scale, a
more ample bazaar was needed. That the girls were assorted into three
classes, each penned up for selection in a separate hall, is a statement
probable enough in itself, but resting on no better authority than that
of La Hontan. Be this as it may, they were submitted together to the
inspection of the suitor; and the awkward young peasant or the rugged
soldier of Carignan was required to choose a bride without delay from
among the anxious candidates. They, on their part, were permitted to
reject any applicant who displeased them, and the first question, we are
told, which most of them asked was whether the suitor had a house and a

Great as was the call for wives, it was thought prudent to stimulate it.
The new settler was at once

     *  Extract in Faillon, Colonie Française, III. 214.

enticed and driven into wedlock. Bounties were offered on early
marriages. Twenty livres were given to each youth who married before the
age of twenty, and to each girl who married before the age of sixteen.
* This, which was called the “king’s gift,” was exclusive of the
dowry given by him to every girl brought over by his orders. The dowry
varied greatly in form and value; but, according to Mother Mary, it was
sometimes a house with provisions for eight months. More often it was
fifty livres in household supplies, besides a barrel or two of salted
meat. The royal solicitude extended also to the children of colonists
already established. “I pray you,” writes Colbert to Talon,
“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.”
** This counsel was followed by appropriate action. Any father of a
family who, without showing good cause, neglected to marry his children
when they had reached the ages of twenty and sixteen was fined; *** and
each father thus delinquent was required to present himself every six
months to the local authorities to declare what

     *  Arrêt du Conseil d’Etat du Roy (see Edits et Ordonnances,
     I. 67).

     **  Colbert a Talon, 20 Fev., 1668.

     ***  Arrêts du Conseil d’Etat, 1669 (cited by Faillon);
     Arrêt du Conseil d Etat, 1670 (see Edits et Ordonnances, I.
     67); Ordonnance du Roy, 5 Avril, 1669. See Clément,
     Instructions, etc., de Colbert, III. 2me Partie, 657.

reason, if any, he had for such delay. * Orders were issued, a little
before the arrival of the yearly ships from France, that all single men
should marry within a fortnight after the landing of the prospective
brides. No mercy was shown to the obdurate bachelor. Talon issued an
order forbidding unmarried men to hunt, fish, trade with the Indians, or
go into the woods under any pretence whatsoever. ** In short, they were
made as miserable as possible. Colbert goes further. He writes to the
intendant, “those who may seem to have absolutely renounced marriage
should be made to bear additional burdens, and be excluded from all
honors: it would be well even to add some marks of infamy.” *** The
success of these measures was complete. “No sooner,” says Mother
Mary, “have the vessels arrived than the young men go to get wives;
and, by reason of the great number they are married by thirties at a
time.” Throughout the length and breadth of Canada, Hymen,

     *  Registre du Conseil Souverain.

     **  Talon au Ministre, 10 Oct., 1670. Colbert highly
     approves this order. Faillon found a case of its enforcement
     among the ancient records of Montreal. In December, 1670,
     François Le Noir, an inhabitant of La Chine, was summoned
     before the judge, because, though a single man, he had
     traded with Indians at his own house. He confessed the fact,
     but protested that he would marry within three weeks after
     the arrival of the vessels from France, or, failing to do
     so, that he would give a hundred and fifty livres to the
     church of Montreal, and an equal sum to the hospital.

     On this condition he was allowed to trade, but was still
     forbidden to go into the woods. The next year he kept his
     word, and married Marie Magdeleine Charbonnier, late of

     The prohibition to go into the woods was probably intended
     to prevent the bachelor from finding a temporary Indian
     substitute for a French wife.

     ***  “Il serait à propos de leur augmenter les charges, de
     les priver de tous honneurs, même d’y ajouter quelque marque
     d’infamie.” Lettre du 20 Fev., 1668.

if not Cupid, was whipped into a frenzy of activity. Dollier de Casson
tells us of a widow who was married afresh before her late husband was
buried. *

Nor was the fatherly care of the king confined to the humbler classes
of his colonists. He wished to form a Canadian _noblesse_, to which end
early marriages were thought needful among officers and others of the
better sort. The progress of such marriages was carefully watched and
reported by the intendant. We have seen the reward bestowed upon La
Motte for taking to himself a wife, and the money set apart for the
brother officers who imitated him. In his despatch of October, 1667, the
intendant announces that two captains are already married to two
damsels of the country; that a lieutenant has espoused a daughter of the
governor of Three Rivers; and that “four ensigns are in treaty with
their mistresses, and are already half engaged.” ** The paternal care
of government, one would think, could scarcely go further.

It did, however, go further. Bounties were offered on children. The
king, in council, passed a decree “that in future all inhabitants of
the said country of Canada who shall have living children to the number
of ten, born in lawful wedlock, not

     *  Histoire du Montréal, A.B. 1671, 1672.

     **  “Quatre enseignes sont en pourparler avec leurs
     maîtresses et sent déjà à demi engagés.” Dépêche du 27 Oct.,
     1667. The lieutenant was René Gaultier de Varennes, who on
     the 26th September, 1667, married Marie Boucher, daughter of
     the governor of Three Rivers, aged twelve years. One of the
     children of this marriage was Varennes de la Vérendrye,
     discoverer of the Rocky Mountains.

being priests, monks, or nuns, shall each be paid out of the moneys sent
by his Majesty to the said country a pension of three hundred livres
a year, and those who shall have twelve children, a pension of four
hundred livres; and that, to this effect, they shall be required to
declare the number of their children every year in the months of June
or July to the intendant of justice, police, and finance, established in
the said country, who, having verified the same, shall order the payment
of said pensions, one-half in cash, and the other half at the end of
each year.” * This was applicable to all. Colbert had before offered
a reward, intended specially for the better class, of twelve hundred
livres to those who had fifteen children, and eight hundred to those who
had ten.

These wise encouragements, as the worthy Faillon calls them, were
crowned with the desired result. A despatch of Talon in 1670 informs the
minister that most of the young women sent out last summer are pregnant
already, and in 1671 he announces that from six hundred to seven hundred
children have been born in the colony during the year; a prodigious
number in view of the small population. The climate was supposed to be
particularly favorable to the health of women, which

     *  Edits et Ordonnances, I. 67. It was thought at this time
     that the Indians, mingled with the French, might become a
     valuable part of the population. The reproductive qualities
     of Indian women, therefore, became an object of Talon’s
     attention, and he reports that they impair their fertility
     by nursing their children longer than is necessary; “but,”
     he adds, “this obstacle to the speedy building up of the
     colony can be overcome by a police regulation.” Mémoire sur
     l’Etat Présent du Canada, 1667,

is somewhat surprising in view of recent American experience. “The
first reflection I have to make,” says Dollier de Casson, “is on
the advantage that women have in this place (_Montreal_) over men, for
though the cold is very wholesome to both sexes, it is incomparably more
so to the female, who is almost immortal here.” Her fecundity matched
her longevity, and was the admiration of Talon and his successors,
accustomed as they were to the scanty families of France.

Why with this great natural increase joined to an immigration which,
though greatly diminishing, did not entirely cease, was there not a
corresponding increase in the population of the colony? Why, more than
half a century after the king took Canada in charge, did the census show
a total of less than twenty-five thousand souls? The reasons will appear

It is a peculiarity of Canadian immigration, at this its most
flourishing epoch, that it was mainly an immigration of single men
and single women. The cases in which entire families came over were
comparatively few. * The new settler was found

     *  The principal emigration of families seems to have been
     in 1669 when, at the urgency of Talon, then in France, a
     considerable number were sent out. In the earlier period the
     emigration of families was, relatively, much greater. Thus,
     in 1634, the physician Giffard brought over seven to people
     his seigniory of Beauport. Before 1663, when the king took
     the colony in hand, the emigrants were for the most part
     apprenticed laborers.

     The zeal with which the king entered into the work of
     stocking his colony is shown by numberless passages in his
     letters, and those of his minister. “The end and the rule of
     all your conduct,” says Colbert to the intendant Bouteroue,
     “should be the increase of the colony; and on this point you
     should never be satisfied, but labor without ceasing to find
     every imaginable expedient for preserving the inhabitants,
     attracting new ones, and multiplying them by marriage.”
     Instruction pour M. Bouteroue, 1668.

by the king; sent over by the king; and supplied by the king with a
wife, a farm, and sometimes with a house. Well did Louis XIV. earn the
title of Father of New France. But the royal zeal was spasmodic. The
king was diverted to other cares, and soon after the outbreak of the
Dutch war in 1672 the regular despatch of emigrants to Canada wellnigh
ceased; though the practice of disbanding soldiers in the colony,
giving them lands, and turning them into settlers, was continued in some
degree, even to the last.


_Military Frontier.--The Canadian Settler.--Seignior and
Vassal.--Example of Talon.--Plan of Settlement.--Aspect of
Canada.--Quebec.--The River Settlements.--Montreal.--The Pioneers._

|We have seen the settler landed and married; let us follow him to
his new home. At the end of Talon’s administration, the head of the
colony, that is to say the island of Montreal and the borders of the
Richelieu, was the seat of a peculiar colonization, the chief object of
which was to protect the rest of Canada against Iroquois incursions. The
lands along the Richelieu, from its mouth to a point above Chambly,
were divided in large seigniorial grants among several officers of the
regiment of Carignan, who in their turn granted out the land to the
soldiers, reserving a sufficient portion as their own. The officer thus
became a kind of feudal chief, and the whole settlement a permanent
military cantonment admirably suited to the object in view. The
disbanded soldier was practically a soldier still, but he was also a
farmer and a landholder.

Talon had recommended this plan as being in accordance with the example
of the Romans. “The practice of that politic and martial people,” he
wrote, “may, in my opinion, be wisely adopted in a country a thousand
leagues distant from its monarch. And as the peace and harmony of
peoples depend above all things on their fidelity to their sovereign,
our first kings, better statesmen than is commonly supposed, introduced
into newly conquered countries men of war, of approved trust, in order
at once to hold the inhabitants to their duty within, and repel the
enemy from without.” *

The troops were accordingly discharged, and settled not alone on the
Richelieu, but also along the St. Lawrence, between Lake St. Peter and
Montreal, as well as at some other points. The Sulpitians, feudal owners
of Montreal, adopted a similar policy, and surrounded their island with
a border of fiefs large and small, granted partly to officers and partly
to humbler settlers, bold, hardy, and practised in bush-fighting. Thus
a line of sentinels was posted around their entire shore, ready to give
the alarm whenever an enemy appeared. About Quebec the settlements,
covered as they were by those above, were for the most part of a more
pacific character.

To return to the Richelieu. The towns and villages which have since
grown upon its banks and along the adjacent shores of the St. Lawrence
owe their names to these officers of Carignan, ancient lords of the
soil: Sorel, Chambly, Saint Ours,

     *  Projets de Réglemens, 1667 (see Edits et Ordonnances, II.

Contrecœur, Yarennes, Verchères. Yet let it not be supposed that
villages sprang up at once. The military seignior, valiant and poor
as Walter the Penniless, was in no condition to work such magic. His
personal possessions usually consisted of little but his sword and the
money which the king had paid him for marrying a wife. A domain varying
from half a league to six leagues in front on the river, and from half
a league to two leagues in depth, had been freely given him. When he
had distributed a part of it in allotments to the soldiers, a variety
of tasks awaited him: to clear and cultivate his land; to build his
seigniorial mansion, often a log hut; to build a fort; to build a
chapel; and to build a mill. To do all this at once was impossible.
Chambly, the chief proprietor on the Richelieu, was better able than the
others to meet the exigency. He built himself a good house, where, with
cattle and sheep furnished by the king, he lived in reasonable comfort.
* The king’s fort, close at hand, spared him and his tenants the
necessity of building one for themselves, and furnished, no doubt, a
mill, a chapel, and a chaplain. His brother officers, Sorel excepted,
were less fortunate. They and their tenants were forced to provide
defence as well as shelter. Their houses were all built together, and
surrounded by a palisade, so as to form a little fortified village. The
ever-active benevolence of the king had aided them in the task, for the
soldiers were still maintained by him

     *  Frontenac au Ministre, 2 Nov., 1672. Marie de
     l’Incarnation speaks of these officers on the Richelieu as
     très honnêtes gens.

while clearing the lands and building the houses destined to be their
own; nor was it till this work was done that the provident government
despatched them to Quebec with orders to bring back wives. The settler,
thus lodged and wedded, was required on his part to aid in clearing
lands for those who should come after him. *

It was chiefly in the more exposed parts of the colony, that the houses
were gathered together in palisaded villages, thus forcing the settler
to walk or paddle some distance to his farm. He naturally preferred to
build when he could on the front of his farm itself, near the river,
which supplied the place of a road. As the grants of land were very
narrow, his house was not far from that of his next neighbor, and thus
a line of dwellings was ranged along the shore, forming what in local
language was called a _côte_, a use of the word peculiar to Canada,
where it still prevails.

The impoverished seignior rarely built a chapel. Most of the early
Canadian churches were built with funds furnished by the seminaries of
Quebec or of Montreal, aided by contributions of material and labor
from the parishioners. ** Meanwhile mass was said in some house of the
neighborhood by

     * “Sa Majesté semble prétendre faire la dépense entière pour
     former le commencement des habitations par l’abattis du
     bois, la culture et semence de deux arpens de terre,
     l’avance de quelques farines aux familles venantes,” etc.,
     etc. Projets de Réglemens, 1667. This applied to civil and
     military settlers alike. The established settler was allowed
     four years to clear two arpents of land for a newcomer. The
     soldiers were maintained by the king during a year, while
     preparing their farms and houses. Talon asks that two years
     more be given them. Talon au Roy. 10 Nov., 1670

     **  La Tour, Vie de Laval, chap. x.

a missionary priest, paddling his canoe from village to village, or from
_côte_ to _côte_.

The mill was an object of the last importance. It was built of stone and
pierced with loopholes, to serve as a blockhouse in case of attack. The
great mill at Montreal was one of the chief defences of the place.
It was at once the duty and the right of the seignior to supply his
tenants, or rather vassals, with this essential requisite, and they on
their part were required to grind their grain at his mill, leaving the
fourteenth part in payment. But for many years there was not a seigniory
in Canada, where this fraction would pay the wages of a miller and,
except the ecclesiastical corporations, there were few seigniors who
could pay the cost of building. The first settlers were usually forced
to grind for themselves after the tedious fashion of the Indians.

Talon, in his capacity of counsellor, friend, and father to all Canada,
arranged the new settlements near Quebec in the manner which he judged
best, and which he meant to serve as an example to the rest of the
colony. It was his aim to concentrate population around this point,
so that, should an enemy appear, the sound of a cannon-shot from the
Chateau St. Louis might summon a numerous body of defenders to this the
common point of rendezvous. * He bought a tract of land near Quebec,
laid it out, and settled it as a model seigniory, hoping, as he says,
to kindle a spirit of emulation among the new-made seigniors to whom he

     *   Projets de Réglemens, 1667.

had granted lands from the king. He also laid out at the royal cost
three villages in the immediate neighborhood, planning them with great
care, and peopling them partly with families newly arrived, partly with
soldiers, and partly with old settlers, in order that the newcomers
might take lessons from the experience of these veterans. That each
village might be complete in itself, he furnished it as well as he could
with the needful carpenter, mason, blacksmith, and shoemaker. These
inland villages, called respectively Bourg Royal, Bourg la Reine, and
Bourg Talon, did not prove very thrifty. * Wherever the settlers were
allowed to choose for themselves, they ranged their dwellings along the
watercourses. With the exception of Talon’s villages, one could
have seen nearly every house in Canada, by paddling a canoe up the St.
Lawrence and the Richelieu. The settlements formed long thin lines
on the edges of the rivers; a convenient arrangement, but one very
unfavorable to defence, to ecclesiastical control, and to strong
government. The king soon discovered this; and repeated orders were sent
to concentrate the inhabitants and form Canada into villages, instead
of _côtes_. To do so would have involved a general revocation of grants
and abandonment of houses and clearings, a measure too arbitrary and too
wasteful, even for Louis XIV., and one extremely difficult to enforce.
Canada persisted in attenuating herself, and the royal will was foiled.

     *  In 1672, the king, as a mark of honor, attached these
     villages to Talon’s seigniory. Documents on Seigniorial

As you ascended the St. Lawrence, the first harboring place of
civilization was Tadoussao, at the mouth of the Saguenay, where the
company had its trading station, where its agents ruled supreme, and
where, in early summer, all was alive with canoes and wigwams, and
troops of Montagnais savages, bringing their furs to market. Leave
Tadoussac behind, and, embarked in a sailboat or a canoe, follow the
northern coast. Far on the left, twenty miles away, the southern shore
lies pale and dim, and mountain ranges wave their faint outline along
the sky. You pass the beetling rocks of Mai Bay, a solitude but for the
bark hut of some wandering Indian beneath the cliff; the Eboulements
with their wild romantic gorge, and foaming waterfalls; and the Bay of
St. Paul with its broad valley and its woody mountains, rich with hidden
stores of iron. Vast piles of savage verdure border the mighty stream,
till at length the mountain of Cape Tourmente upheaves its huge bulk
from the bosom of the water, shadowed by lowering clouds, and dark with
forests. Just beyond, begin the settlements of Laval’s vast seigniory
of Beaupré, which had not been forgotten in the distribution of
emigrants, and which, in 1667, contained more inhabitants than Quebec
itself. * The ribbon of rich meadow land that borders that beautiful
shore, was yellow with wheat

     *  The census of 1667 gives to Quebec only 448 souls; Côte
     de Beaupré, 656; Beauport, 123; Island of Orleans, 529;
     other settlements included under the government of Quebec,
     1,011; Côte de Lauzon (south shore), 113; Trois Rivières and
     its dependencies, 666; Montreal, 766. Both Beaupré and Isle
     d’Orleans belonged at this time to the bishop.

in harvest time, and on the woody slopes behind, the frequent clearings
and the solid little dwellings of logs continued for a long distance
to relieve the sameness of the forest. After passing the cataract af
Montmorenci, there was another settlement, much smaller, at Beauport,
the seigniory of the exphysician Giffard, one of the earliest
proprietors in Canada. The neighboring shores of the island of Orleans
were also edged with houses and clearings. The promontory of Quebec now
towered full in sight, crowned with church, fort, chateau, convents, and
seminary. There was little else on the rock. Priests, nuns, government
officials, and soldiers, were the denizens of the Upper Town; while
commerce and the trades were cabined along the strand beneath. * From
the gallery of the chateau, you might toss a pebble far down on their
shingled roofs. In the midst of them was the magazine of the company,
with its two round towers and two projecting wings. It was here that all
the beaver-skins of the colony were collected, assorted, and shipped
for France. The so-called chateau St. Louis was an indifferent wooden
structure planted on a site truly superb; above the Lower Town, above
the river, above the ships, gazing abroad on a majestic panorama of
waters, forests, and mountains. ** Behind it was the area of the fort,
of which it formed one side. The

     *  According to Juchereau, there were seventy houses at
     Quebec about the time of Tracy’s arrival.

     **  In 1660, an exact inventory was taken of the contents of
     the fort and chateau; a beggarly account of rubbish. The
     chateau was then a long low building roofed with shingles.

governor lived in the chateau, and soldiers were on guard night and day
in the fort. At some little distance was the convent of the Ursulines,
ugly but substantial, * where Mother Mary of the Incarnation ruled her
pupils and her nuns; and a little further on, towards the right, was
the Hôtel Dieu. Between them were the massive buildings of the Jesuits,
then as now facing the principal square. At one side was their church,
newly finished; and opposite, across the square, stood and still
stands the great church of Notre Dame. Behind the church was
Laval’s seminary, with the extensive enclosures belonging to it. The
_sénéchaussée_ or court-house, the tavern of one Jacques Boisdon on
the square near the church, and a few houses along the line of what is
now St. Louis Street, comprised nearly all the civil part of the Upper
Town. The ecclesiastical buildings were of stone, and the church of
Notre Dame and the Jesuit College were marvels of size and solidity in
view of the poverty and weakness of the colony. **

Proceeding upward along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, one found
a cluster of houses at Cap Rouge, and, further on, the frequent rude
beginnings of a seigniory. The settlements thickened on

     *  There is an engraving of it in Abbé Casgrain’s
     interesting Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation. It was burned in

     **  The first stone of Notre Dame de Quebec was laid in
     September, 1647, and the first mass was said in it on the
     24th of December, 1650. The side walls still remain as part
     of the present structure. The Jesuit college was also begun
     in 1647. The walls and roof were finished in 1649. The
     church connected with it, since destroyed, was begun in
     1666. Journal des Jésuites.

approaching Three Rivers, a fur-trading hamlet enclosed with a square
palisade. Above this place, a line of incipient seigniories bordered the
river, most of them granted to officers: Laubia, a captain; Labadie, a
sergeant; Moras, an ensign; Berthier, a captain; Raudin, an ensign; La
Valterie, a lieutenant. * Under their auspices, settlers, military and
civilian, were ranging themselves along the shore, and ugly gaps in
the forest thickly set with stumps bore witness to their toils. These
settlements rapidly extended, till in a few years a chain of houses and
clearings reached with little interruption from Quebec to Montreal.
Such was the fruit of Tracy’s chastisement of the Mohawks, and the
influx of immigrants that followed.

As you approached Montreal, the fortified mill built by the Sulpitians
at Point aux Trembles towered above the woods; and soon after the newly
built chapel of the Infant Jesus. More settlements followed, till at
length the great fortified mill of Montreal rose in sight; then the long
row of compact wooden houses, the Hôtel Dieu, and the rough masonry of
the seminary of St. Sulpice. Beyond the town, the clearings continued
at intervals till you reached Lake St. Louis, where young Cavelier de la
Salle had laid out his seigniory of La Chine, and abandoned it to begin
his hard career of western exploration. Above the island of Montreal,

     *  Documents on the Seigniorial Tenure; Abstracts of Titles.
     Most of these grants, like those on the Richelieu, were made
     by Talon in 1672; but the land had, in many cases, been
     occupied and cleared in anticipation of the title.

the wilderness was broken only by a solitary trading station on the
neighboring Isle Perot.

Now cross Lake St. Louis, shoot the rapids of La Chine, and follow
the southern shore downward. Here the seigniories of Longueuil,
Boucherville, Yarennes, Verchères, and Contrecoeur were already begun.
From the fort of Sorel one could visit the military seigniories along
the Richelieu or descend towards Quebec, passing on the way those of
Lussaudière, Becancour, Lobinière, and others still in a shapeless
infancy. Even far below Quebec, at St. Anne de la Pocatière, River
Ouelle, and other points, cabins and clearings greeted the eye of the
passing canoeman.

For a year or two, the settler’s initiation was a rough one; but when
he had a few acres under tillage he could support himself and his family
on the produce, aided by hunting, if he knew how to use a gun, and by
the bountiful profusion of eels which the St. Lawrence never failed to
yield in their season, and which, smoked or salted, supplied his larder
for months. In winter he hewed timber, sawed planks, or split shingles
for the market of Quebec, obtaining in return such necessaries as he
required. With thrift and hard work he was sure of comfort at last; but
the former habits of the military settlers and of many of the others
were not favorable to a routine of dogged industry. The sameness and
solitude of their new life often became insufferable; nor, married
as they had been, was the domestic hearth likely to supply much
consolation. Yet, thrifty or not, they multiplied apace.

“A poor man,” says Mother Mary, “will have eight children and
more, who run about in winter with bare heads and bare feet, and a
little jacket on their backs, live on nothing but bread and eels, and
on that grow fat and stout.” With such treatment the weaker sort died;
but the strong survived, and out of this rugged nursing sprang the hardy
Canadian race of bush-rangers and bush-fighters.


_Transplantation Of Feudalism.--Precautions.--Faith And Hope
--Age.--The Seignior.--The Censitaire.--Royal Intervention.--The
Gentilhomme.--Canadian Noblesse._

|Canadian society was beginning to form itself, and at its base was the
feudal tenure. European feudalism was the indigenous and natural growth
of political and social conditions which preceded it. Canadian feudalism
was an offshoot of the feudalism of France, modified by the lapse of
centuries, and further modified by the royal will.

In France, as in the rest of Europe, the system had lost its vitality.
The warrior-nobles who placed Hugh Capet on the throne, and began the
feudal monarchy, formed an aristocratic republic, and the king was one
of their number, whom they chose to be their chief. But, through the
struggles and vicissitudes of many succeeding reigns, royalty had waxed
and oligarchy had waned. The fact had changed and the theory had changed
with it. The king, once powerless among a host of turbulent nobles, was
now a king indeed. Once a chief, because his equals had made him so, he
was now the anointed of the Lord. This triumph of royalty had culminated
in Louis XIV. The stormy energies and bold individualism of the old
feudal nobles had ceased to exist. They who had held his predecessors in
awe had become his obsequious servants. He no longer feared his nobles;
he prized them as gorgeous decorations of his court, and satellites of
his royal person.

It was Richelieu who first planted feudalism in Canada. * The king would
preserve it there, because with its teeth drawn he was fond of it, and
because, as the feudal tenure prevailed in Old France, it was natural
that it should prevail also in the New. But he continued as Richelieu
had begun, and moulded it to the form that pleased him. Nothing was
left which could threaten his absolute and undivided authority over the
colony. In France, a multitude of privileges and prescriptions still
clung, despite its fall, about the ancient ruling class. Few of these
were allowed to cross the Atlantic, while the old, lingering abuses,
which had made the system odious, were at the same time lopped away.
Thus retrenched, Canadian feudalism was made to serve a double end;
to produce a faint and harmless reflection of French aristocracy, and
simply and practically to supply agencies for distributing land among
the settlers.

The nature of the precautions which it was held to require appear in the
plan of administration which Talon and Tracy laid before the minister.

     *  By the charter of the Company of the Hundred Associates,

They urge that, in view of the distance from France, special care
ought to be taken to prevent changes and revolutions, aristocratic or
otherwise, in the colony, whereby in time sovereign jurisdictions might
grow up, as formerly occurred in various parts of France. * And, in
respect to grants already made, an inquiry was ordered, to ascertain
“if seigniors in distributing lands to their vassals have exacted any
conditions injurious to the rights of the Crown and the subjection due
solely to the king.” In the same view the seignior was denied any
voice whatever in the direction of government; and it is scarcely
necessary to say that the essential feature of feudalism in the day of
its vitality, the requirement of military service by the lord from the
vassal, was utterly unknown in Canada. The royal governor called out the
militia whenever he saw fit, and set over it what officers he pleased.

The seignior was usually the immediate vassal of the Crown, from which
he had received his land gratuitously. In a few cases, he made grants
to other seigniors inferior in the feudal scale, and they, his vassals,
granted in turn to their vassals, the _habitants_ or cultivators of the
soil. ** Sometimes

     *  Projet de Réglement fait par MM. de Tracy et Talon pour
     la justice et la distribution des terres du Canada, Jan. 24,

     **  Most of the seigniories of Canada were simple fiefs; but
     there were some exceptions. In 1671, the king, as a mark of
     honor to Talon, erected his seigniory Des Islets into a
     barony; and it was soon afterwards made an earldom, comté.
     In 1676, the seigniory of St. Laurent, on the island of
     Orleans, once the property of Laval, and then belonging to
     François Berthelot, councillor of the king, was erected into
     an earldom. In 1681, the seigniory of Portneuf, belonging to
     Réné Robineau, chevalier, was made a barony. In 1700, three
     seigniories on the south side of the St. Lawrence were
     united into the barony of Lcngueuil. See Papers on the
     Feudal Tenure in Canada, Abstract of Titles.

the _habitant_ held directly of the Crown, in which case there was no
step between the highest and lowest degrees of the feudal scale. The
seignior held by the tenure of faith and homage, the _habitant_ by the
inferior tenure _en censive_. Faith and homage were rendered to the
Crown or other feudal superior whenever the seigniory changed hands,
or, in the case of seigniories held by corporations, after long stated
intervals. The following is an example, drawn from the early days of the
colony, of the performance of this ceremony by the owner of a fief to
the seignior who had granted it to him. It is that of Jean Guion, vassal
of Giffard, seignior of Beauport. The act recounts how, in presence of a
notary, Guion presented himself at the principal door of the manor-house
of Beauport; how, having knocked, one Boullé, farmer of Giffard,
opened the door, and in reply to Guion’s question if the seignior was
at home, replied that he was not, but that he, Boullé, was empowered
to receive acknowledgments of faith and homage from the vassals in his
name. “After the which reply,” proceeds the act, the said Guion,
being at the principal door, placed himself on his knees on the ground,
with head bare, and without sword or spurs, and said three times these
words: “Monsieur de Beauport, Monsieur de Beauport, Monsieur de
Beauport, I bring you the faith and homage which I am bound to bring you
on account of my fief Du Buisson, which I hold as a man of faith of your
seigniory of Beauport, declaring that I offer to pay my seigniorial and
feudal dues in their season, and demanding of you to accept me in faith
and homage as aforesaid.” *

The following instance is the more common one of a seignior holding
directly of the Crown. It is widely separated from the first in point
of time, having occurred a year after the army of Wolfe entered Quebec.
Philippe Noël had lately died, and Jean Noël, his son, inherited his
seigniory of Tilly and Bonsecours. To make the title good, faith and
homage must be renewed. Jean Noël was under the bitter necessity of
rendering this duty to General Murray, governor for the king of Great
Britain. The form is the same as in the case of Guion, more than a
century before. Noël repairs to the Government House at Quebec, and
knocks at the door. A servant opens it. Noël asks if the governor
is there. The servant replies that he is. Murray, informed of the
visitor’s object, comes to the door, and Noël then and there,
“without sword or spurs, with bare head, and one knee on the
ground,” repeats the acknowledgment of faith and homage for his
seigniory. He was compelled, however, to add a detested innovation, the
oath of fidelity to his Britannic Majesty, coupled with a pledge to keep
his vassals in obedience to the new sovereign. **

The seignior was a proprietor holding that relation to the feudal
superior which, in its pristine

     *  Ferland, Notes sur les Registres de Notre Dame de Québec,
     65. This was a fief en roture, as distinguished from a fief
     noble, to which judicial powers and other privileges were

     **  See the act in Observations de Sir L. H. Lafontaine,
     Bart., sur la Tenure Seignetiriale, 217, note.

character, has been truly described as servile in form, proud and
bold in spirit. But in Canada this bold spirit was very far from
being strengthened by the changes which the policy of the Crown had
introduced into the system. The reservation of mines and minerals, oaks
for the royal navy, roadways, and a site, if needed, for royal forts and
magazines, had in it nothing extraordinary. The great difference between
the position of the Canadian seignior and that of the vassal proprietor
of the Middle Ages lay in the extent and nature of the control which the
Crown and its officers held over him. A decree of the king, an edict
of the council, or an ordinance of the intendant, might at any moment
change old conditions, impose new ones, interfere between the lord of
the manor and his grantees, and modify or annul his bargains, past or
present. He was never sure whether or not the government would let him
alone; and against its most arbitrary intervention he had no remedy.

One condition was imposed on him which may be said to form the
distinctive feature of Canadian feudalism; that of clearing his land
within a limited time on pain of forfeiting it. The object was the
excellent one of preventing the lands of the colony from lying waste.
As the seignior was often the penniless owner of a domain three or four
leagues wide and proportionably deep, he could not clear it all himself,
and was therefore under the necessity of placing the greater part in the
hands of those who could. But he was forbidden to sell any part of it
which he had not cleared. He must grant it without price, on condition
of a small perpetual rent; and this brings us to the cultivator of the
soil, the _censitaire_, the broad base of the feudal pyramid. *

The tenure _en censive_ by which the _censitaire_ held of the seignior
consisted in the obligation to make annual payments in money, produce,
or both. In Canada these payments, known as _cens et rente_, were
strangely diverse in amount and kind; but, in all the early period
of the colony, they were almost ludicrously small. A common charge at
Montreal was half a sou and half a pint of wheat for each arpent. The
rate usually fluctuated in the early times between half a sou and two
sous, so that a farm of a hundred and sixty arpents would pay from four
to sixteen francs, of which a part would be in money and the rest
in live capons, wheat, eggs, or all three together, in pursuance of
contracts as amusing in their precision as they are bewildering in their
variety. Live capons,

     *  The greater part of the grants made by the old Company of
     New France were resumed by the Crown for neglect to occupy
     and improve the land, which was granted out anew under the
     administration of Talon. The most remarkable of these
     forfeited grants is that of the vast domain of La Citière,
     large enough for a kingdom. Lauson, afterwards governor, had
     obtained it from the company, but had failed to improve it.
     Two or three sub-grants which he had made from it were held
     valid; the rest was reunited to the royal domain. On
     repeated occasions at later dates, negligent seigniors were
     threatened with the loss of half or the whole of their land,
     and various cases are recorded in which the threat took
     effect. In 1741, an ordinance of the governor and intendant
     reunited to the royal domain seventeen seigniories at one
     stroke; but the former owners were told that if within a
     year they cleared and settled a reasonable part of the
     forfeited estates, the titles should be restored to them.
     Edits et Ordonnances, II. 555. In the case of the habitant
     or censitaire forfeitures for neglect to improve the land
     and live on it are very numerous.

estimated at twenty sous each, though sometimes not worth ten, form
a conspicuous feature in these agreements, so that on payday the
seignior’s barnyard presented an animated scene. Later in the history
of the colony grants were at somewhat higher rates. Payment was commonly
made on St. Martin’s day, when there was a general muster of tenants
at the seigniorial mansion, with a prodigious consumption of tobacco and
a corresponding retail of neighborhood gossip, joined to the outcries
of the captive fowls bundled together for delivery, with legs tied, but
throats at full liberty.

A more considerable but a very uncertain source of income to the
seignior were the _lods et ventes_, or mutation fines. The land of the
_censitaire_ passed freely to his heirs; but if he sold it, a twelfth
part of the purchase-money must be paid to the seignior. The seignior,
on his part, was equally liable to pay a mutation fine to his feudal
superior if he sold his seigniory; and for him the amount was larger,
being a _quint_, or a fifth of the price received, of which, however,
the greater part was deducted for immediate payment. This heavy charge,
constituting, as it did, a tax on all improvements, was a principal
cause of the abolition of the feudal tenure in 1854.

The obligation of clearing his land and living on it was laid on
seignior and _censitaire_ alike; but the latter was under a variety of
other obligations to the former, partly imposed by custom and partly
established by agreement when the grant was made. To grind his grain at
the seignior’s mill, bake his bread in the seignior’s oven, work for
him one or more days in the year, and give him one fish in every eleven,
for the privilege of fishing in the river before his farm; these were
the most annoying of the conditions to which the _censitaire_ was
liable. Few of them were enforced with much regularity. That of
baking in the seignior’s oven was rarely carried into effect, though
occasionally used for purposes of extortion. It is here that the
royal government appears in its true character, so far as concerns its
relations with Canada, that of a well-meaning despotism. It continually
intervened between _censitaire_ and seignior, on the principle
that “as his Majesty gives the land for nothing, he can make what
conditions he pleases, and change them when he pleases.” * These
interventions were usually favorable to the _censitaire_. On one
occasion an intendant reported to the minister, that in his opinion all
rents ought to be reduced to one sou and one live capon for every arpent
of front, equal in most cases to forty superficial arpents. ** Every
thing, he remarks, ought to be brought down to the level of the first
grants “made in days of innocence,” a happy period which he does not
attempt to define. The minister replies that the diversity of the
rent is, in fact, vexatious, and that, for his part, he is disposed
to abolish it altogether. *** Neither he nor the intendant gives the
slightest hint of any compensation

     *  This doctrine is laid down in a letter of the Marquis de
     Beauharnois, governor, to the minister, 1734.

     **  Lettre de Raudot, père, au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1707.

     ***  Lettre de Ponchartrain à Raudot, père, 13 Juin, 1708.

to the seignior. Though these radical measures were not executed, many
changes were decreed from time to time in the relations between seignior
and _censitaire_, sometimes as a simple act of sovereign power, and
sometimes on the ground that the grants had been made with conditions
not recognized by the _Coutume de Paris_. This was the code of law
assigned to Canada; but most of the contracts between seignior and
_censitaire_ had been agreed upon in good faith by men who knew as much
of the _Coutume de Paris_ as of the Capitularies of Charlemagne, and
their conditions had remained in force unchallenged for generations.
These interventions of government sometimes contradicted each other,
and often proved a dead letter. They are more or less active through the
whole period of the French rule.

The seignior had judicial powers, which, however, were carefully curbed
and controlled. His jurisdiction, when exercised at all, extended in
most cases only to trivial causes. He very rarely had a prison, and
seems never to have abused it. The dignity of a seigniorial gallows with
_high justice_ or jurisdiction over heinous offences was granted only in
three or four instances. *

Four arpents in front by forty in depth were the ordinary dimensions of
a grant _en censive_. These ribbons of land, nearly a mile and a half
long, with one end on the river and the other on

     *  Baronies and comtés were empowered to set up gallows and
     pillories, to which the arms of the owner were affixed. See,
     for example, the edict creating the Barony des Islets.

the uplands behind, usually combined the advantages of meadows for
cultivation, and forests for timber and firewood. So long as the
_censitaire_ brought in on St. Martin’s day his yearly capons and his
yearly handful of copper, his title against the seignior was perfect.
There are farms in Canada which have passed from father to son for two
hundred years. The condition of the cultivator was incomparably better
than that of the French peasant, crushed by taxes, and oppressed by
feudal burdens far heavier than those of Canada. In fact, the Canadian
settler scorned the name of peasant, and then, as now, was always called
the _habitant_. The government held him in wardship, watched over him,
interfered with him, but did not oppress him or allow others to oppress
him. Canada was not governed to the profit of a class, and if the king
wished to create a Canadian _noblesse_ he took care that it should not
bear hard on the country. *

Under a genuine feudalism, the ownership of land conferred nobility; but
all this was changed. The king and not the soil was now the parent
of honor. France swarmed with landless nobles, while _roturier_
land-holders grew daily more numerous. In Canada half the seigniories
were in _roturier_ or plebeian hands, and in course of time some of them

     *  On the seigniorial tenure, I have examined the whole of
     the mass of papers printed at the time when the question of
     its abolition was under discussion. A great deal of legal
     research and learning was then devoted to the subject. The
     argument of Mr. Dunkin in behalf of the seigniors, and the
     observations of Judge Lafontaine, are especially
     instructive, as is also the collected correspondence of the
     governors and intendants with the central government on
     matters relating to the seigniorial system.

came into possession of persons on very humble degrees of the social
scale. A seigniory could be bought and sold, and a trader or a thrifty
_habitant_ might, and often did become the buyer. * If the Canadian
noble was always a seignior, it is far from being true that the Canadian
seignior was always a noble.

In France, it will be remembered, nobility did not in itself imply a
title. Besides its titled leaders, it had its rank and file, numerous
enough to form a considerable army. Under the later Bourbons, the
penniless young nobles were, in fact, enrolled into regiments,
turbulent, difficult to control, obeying officers of high rank, but
scorning all others, and conspicuous by a fiery and impetuous valor
which on more than one occasion turned the tide of victory. The
_gentilhomme_, or untitled noble, had a distinctive character of his
own, gallant, punctilious, vain; skilled in social and sometimes in
literary and artistic accomplishments, but usually ignorant of most
things except the handling of his rapier. Yet there were striking
exceptions; and to say of him, as has been said, that “he knew nothing
but how to get himself killed,” is hardly just to a body which has
produced some of the best writers and thinkers of France.

Sometimes the origin of his nobility was lost in

     *  In 1712, the engineer Catalogne made a very long and
     elaborate report on the condition of Canada, with a full
     account of all the seigniorial estates. Of ninety-one
     seigniories, fiefs, and baronies, described by him, ten
     belonged to merchants, twelve to husbandmen, and two to
     masters of small river craft. The rest belonged to religious
     corporations, members of the council, judges, officials of
     the Crown, widows, and discharged officers or their sons.

the mists of time; sometimes he owed it to a patent from the king. In
either case, the line of demarcation between him and the classes below
him was perfectly distinct; and in this lies an essential difference
between the French _noblesse_ and the English gentry, a class not
separated from others by a definite barrier. The French _noblesse_,
unlike the English gentry, constituted a caste.

The _gentilhomme_ had no vocation for emigrating. He liked the army and
he liked the court. If he could not be of it, it was something to live
in its shadow. The life of a backwoods settler had no charm for him.
He was not used to labor; and he could not trade, at least in retail,
without becoming liable to forfeit his nobility. When Talon came to
Canada, there were but four noble families in the colony. * Young nobles
in abundance came out with Tracy; but they went home with him. Where,
then, should be found the material of a Canadian _noblesse?_ First,
in the regiment of Carignan, of which most of the officers were
_gentilshommes_; secondly, in the issue of patents of nobility to a
few of the more prominent colonists. Tracy asked for four such patents;
Talon asked for five more; ** and such requests were repeated at
intervals by succeeding governors and intendants, in behalf of those who
had gained their favor by merit or otherwise. Money smoothed the path.

     * Talon, Mémoire sur l'Etat présent du Canada, 1667. The
     families of Repentigny, Tilly, Poterie, and Aillebout appear
     to be meant.

     **  Tracy’s request was in behalf of Bourdon, Boucher,
     Auteuil, and Juchereau. Talon’s was in behalf of Godefroy,
     Le Moyne, Denis, Amiot, and Couillard to advancement, so far
     had _noblesse_ already fallen from its old estate.

Thus Jacques Le Ber, the merchant, who had long kept a shop at Montreal,
got himself made a gentleman for six thousand livres. *

All Canada soon became infatuated with _noblesse_; and country and
town, merchant and seignior, vied with each other for the quality of
_gentilhomme_. If they could not get it, they often pretended to have
it, and aped its ways with the zeal of Monsieur Jourdain himself.
“Everybody here,” writes the intendant Meules, “calls himself
_Esquire_, and ends with thinking himself a gentleman.” Successive
intendants repeat this complaint. The case was worst with _roturiers_
who had acquired seigniories. Thus Noel Langlois was a good carpenter
till he became owner of a seigniory, on which he grew lazy and affected
to play the gentleman. The real _gentilshommes_, as well as the
spurious, had their full share of official stricture. The governor
Denonville speaks of them thus: “Several of them have come out this
year with their wives, who are very much cast down; but they play the
fine lady, nevertheless. I had much rather see good peasants; it would
be a pleasure to me to give aid to such, knowing, as I should, that
within two years their families would have the means of living at ease;
for it is certain that a peasant who can and will work is well off in
this country, while our nobles with nothing to do can never be any thing
but beggars. Still they ought not to be

     *  Faillon, Vie de Mademoiselle Le Ber, 325.

driven off or abandoned. The question is how to maintain them.” *

The intendant Duchesneau writes to the same effect: “Many of our
_gentilshommes_, officers, and other owners of seigniories, lead what
in France is called the life of a country gentleman, and spend most of
their time in hunting and fishing. As their requirements in food and
clothing are greater than those of the simple _habitants_, and as they
do not devote themselves to improving their land, they mix themselves
up in trade, run in debt on all hands, incite their young _habitants_ to
range the woods, and send their own children there to trade for furs
in the Indian villages and in the depths of the forest, in spite of the
prohibition of his Majesty. Yet, with all this, they are in miserable
poverty.” ** Their condition, indeed, was often deplorable. “It is
pitiful,” says the intendant Champigny, “to see their children, of
which they have great numbers, passing all summer with nothing on them
but a shirt, and their wives and daughters working in the fields.”
*** In another letter he asks aid from the king for Repentigny with his
thirteen children, and for Tilly with his fifteen. “We must give them
some corn at once,” he says, “or they will starve.” **** These
were two of the original four noble families of Canada. The family
of Aillebout, another of the four, is described as equally destitute.
“Pride and sloth,” says the same intendant,

     *  Lettre de Denonville au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1686.

     **  Lettre de Duchesneau au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1679.

     ***  Lettre de Champigny au Ministre, 26 Août, 1687.

     ****  Ibid., 6 Nov., 1687.

“are the great faults of the people of Canada, and especially of
the nobles and those who pretend to be such. I pray you grant no more
letters of nobility, unless you want to multiply beggars.” * The
governor Denonville is still more emphatic: “Above all things,
monseigneur, permit me to say that the nobles of this new country are
every thing that is most beggarly, and that to increase their number
is to increase the number of do-nothings. A new country requires
hard workers, who will handle the axe and mattock. The sons of our
councillors are no more industrious than the nobles; and their only
resource is to take to the woods, trade a little with the Indians, and,
for the most part, fall into the disorders of which I have had the honor
to inform you. I shall use all possible means to induce them to engage
in regular commerce; but as our nobles and councillors are all very poor
and weighed down with debt, they could not get credit for a single
crown piece.” ** “Two days ago,” he writes in another letter,
“Monsieur de Saint-Ours, a gentleman of Dauphiny, came to me to ask
leave to go back to France in search of bread. He says that he will put
his ten children into the charge of any who will give them a living,
and that he himself will go into the army again. His wife and he are
in despair; and yet they do what they can. I have seen two of his girls
reaping grain and holding the plough. Other families are

     *  Mémoire instructif sur le Canada, joint a la lettre de M.
     de Champigny du 10 May, 1691.

     **  Lettre de Denonville au Ministre, 13 Nov., 1685.

in the same condition. They come to me with tears in their eyes. All our
married officers are beggars; and I entreat you to send them aid. There
is need that the king should provide support for their children, or else
they will be tempted to go over to the English.” * Again he writes
that the sons of the councillor D’Amours have been arrested as
_coureurs de bois_, or outlaws in the bush; and that if the minister
does not do something to help them, there is danger that all the sons of
the _noblesse_, real or pretended, will turn bandits, since they have no
other means of living.

The king, dispenser of charity for all Canada, came promptly to the
rescue. He granted an alms of a hundred crowns to each family, coupled
with a warning to the recipients of his bounty that “their misery
proceeds from their ambition to live as persons of quality and without
labor.” ** At the same time, the minister announced that no more
letters of nobility would be granted in Canada; adding, “to relieve
the country of some of the children of those who are really noble, I
send you (_the governor_) six commissions of _Gardes de la Marine_, and
recommend you to take care not to give them to any who are not actually
_gentilshommes_." The _Garde de la Marine_ answered to the midshipman
of the English or American service. As the six commissions could bring
little relief to the crowd of needy youths, it was further ordained

     *  Lettre de Denonville au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1686.
     (Condensed in the translation.)

     **  Abstract of Denonville’s Letters, and of the Minister’s
     Answers, in N. Y. Colonial Docs., IX. 317, 318.

that sons of nobles or persons living as such should be enrolled
into companies at eight sous a day for those who should best conduct
themselves, and six sous a day for the others. Nobles in Canada were
also permitted to trade, even at retail, without derogating from their
rank. *

They had already assumed this right, without waiting for the royal
license; but thus far it had profited them little. The _gentilhomme_ was
not a good shopkeeper, nor, as a rule, was the shop-keeper’s vocation
very lucrative in Canada. The domestic trade of the colony was small;
and all trade was exposed to such vicissitudes from the intervention
of intendants, ministers, and councils, that at one time it was almost
banished. At best, it was carried on under conditions auspicious to a
favored few and withering to the rest. Even when most willing to work,
the position of the _gentilhomme_ was a painful one. Unless he could
gain a post under the Crown, which was rarely the case, he was as
complete a political cipher as the meanest _habitant_. His rents were
practically nothing, and he had no capital to improve his seigniorial
estate. By a peasant’s work he could gain a peasant’s living, and
this was all. The prospect was not inspiring. His long initiation of
misery was the natural result of his position and surroundings; and
it is no matter of wonder that he threw himself into the only field of
action which in time of peace was open to him. It was trade, but trade
seasoned by adventure and

     *  Lettre de Meules au Ministre, 1685.

ennobled by danger; defiant of edict and ordinance, outlawed, conducted
in arms among forests and savages,--in short, it was the Western
fur trade. The tyro was likely to fail in it at first, but time and
experience formed him to the work. On the Great Lakes, in the wastes
of the Northwest, on the Mississippi and the plains beyond, we find
the roving _gentilhomme_, chief of a gang of bushrangers, often his own
_habitants_; sometimes proscribed by the government, sometimes leagued
in contraband traffic with its highest officials, a hardy vidette
of civilization, tracing unknown streams, piercing unknown forests,
trading, fighting, negotiating, and building forts. Again we find him on
the shores of Acadia or Maine, surrounded by Indian retainers, a menace
and a terror to the neighboring English colonist. Saint-Castin, Du Lhut,
La Durantaye, La Salle, La Motte-Cadillac, Iberville, Bienville, La
Vérendrye, are names that stand conspicuous on the page of half-savage
romance that refreshes the hard and practical annals of American
colonization. But a more substantial debt is due to their memory. It
was they, and such as they, who discovered the Ohio, explored the
Mississippi to its mouth, discovered the Rocky Mountains, and founded
Detroit, St. Louis, and New Orleans.

Even in his earliest day, the _gentilhomme_ was not always in the evil
plight where we have found him. There were a few exceptions to the
general misery, and the chief among them is that of the Le Moynes of
Montreal. Charles Le Moyne, son of an innkeeper of Dieppe and founder
of a family the most truly eminent in Canada, was a man of sterling
qualities who had been long enough in the colony to learn how to
live there. * Others learned the same lesson at a later day, adapted
themselves to soil and situation, took root, grew, and became more
Canadian than French. As population increased, their seigniories began
to yield appreciable returns, and their reserved domains became worth
cultivating. A future dawned upon them; they saw in hope their names,
their seigniorial estates, their manor-houses, their tenantry, passing
to their children and their children’s children. The beggared noble
of the early time became a sturdy country gentleman; poor, but not
wretched; ignorant of books, except possibly a few scraps of rusty Latin
picked up in a Jesuit school; hardy as the hardiest woodsman, yet never
forgetting his quality of _gentilhomme_; scrupulously wearing its badge,
the sword, and copying as well as he could the fashions of the court,
which glowed on his vision across the sea in all the effulgence of
Versailles, and beamed with reflected ray from the chateau of Quebec. He
was at home among his tenants, at home among the Indians, and never more
at home than when, a gun in his hand and a crucifix on his breast, he
took the war-path with a

     * Berthelot, proprietor of the comté of St. Laurent, and
     Robineau, of the barony of Portneuf, may also be mentioned
     as exceptionally prosperous. Of the younger Charles Le
     Moyne, afterwards Baron de Longueuil,

     Frontenac the governor says, “son fort et sa maison nous
     donnent une idée des chateaux de France fortifiez.” His fort
     was of Stone and flanked with four towers. It was nearly
     opposite Montreal, on the south shore.

crew of painted savages and Frenchmen almost as wild, and pounced like
a lynx from the forest on some lonely farm or outlying hamlet of New
England. How New England hated him, let her records tell. The reddest
blood streaks on her old annals mark the track of the Canadian


_Nature Of The Government.--The Governor.--The Council, Courts and
Judges.--The Intendant.--His Grievances.--Strong Government.--Sedition
and Blasphemy.--Royal Bounty.--Defects and Abuses._

|The government of Canada was formed in its chief features after the
government of a French province. Throughout France the past and the
present stood side by side. The kingdom had a double administration; or
rather, the shadow of the old administration and the substance of the
new. The government of provinces had long been held by the high nobles,
often kindred to the Crown; and hence, in former times, great perils had
arisen, amounting during the civil wars to the danger of dismemberment.
The high nobles were still governors of provinces; but here, as
elsewhere, they had ceased to be dangerous. Titles, honors, and
ceremonial they had in abundance; but they were deprived of real power.
Close beside them was the royal intendant, an obscure figure, lost
amid the vainglories of the feudal sunset, but in the name of the king
holding the reins of government; a check and a spy on his gorgeous
colleague. He was the king’s agent: of modest birth, springing from
the legal class; owing his present to the king, and dependent on him for
his future; learned in the law and trained to administration. It was
by such instruments that the powerful centralization of the monarchy
enforced itself throughout the kingdom, and, penetrating beneath the
crust of old prescriptions, supplanted without seeming to supplant them.
The courtier noble looked down in the pride of rank on the busy man in
black at his side; but this man in black, with the troop of officials
at his beck, controlled finance, the royal courts, public works, and all
the administrative business of the province.

The governor-general and the intendant of Canada answered to those of a
French province. The governor, excepting in the earliest period of
the colony, was a military noble; in most cases bearing a title and
sometimes of high rank. The intendant, as in France, was usually drawn
from the _gens de robe_, or legal class. * The mutual relations of the
two officers were modified by the circumstances about them. The
governor was superior in rank to the intendant; he commanded the troops,
conducted relations with foreign colonies and Indian tribes, and took
precedence on all occasions of ceremony. Unlike a provincial

     * The governor was styled in his commission, Gouverneur et
     Lieutenant-Général en Canada, Acadie, Isle de Terreneuve, et
     autres pays de la France Septentrionale; and the intendant,
     Intendant de la Justice, Police, et Finances in Canada,
     Acadie, Terreneuve, et autres pays de la France

governor in France, he had great and substantial power, The king and
the minister, his sole masters, were a thousand leagues distant, and he
controlled the whole military force. If he abused his position, there
was no remedy but in appeal to the court, which alone could hold him
in check. There were local governors at Montreal and Three Rivers; but
their power was carefully curbed, and they were forbidden to fine or
imprison any person without authority from Quebec. *

The intendant was virtually a spy on the governor-general, of whose
proceedings and of every thing else that took place he was required to
make report. Every year he wrote to the minister of state, one, two,
three, or four letters, often forty or fifty pages long, filled with
the secrets of the colony, political and personal, great and small, set
forth with a minuteness often interesting, often instructive, and often
excessively tedious. ** The governor, too, wrote letters of pitiless
length; and each of the colleagues was jealous of the letters of the
other. In truth, their relations to each other were so critical, and
perfect harmony so rare, that they might almost be described as natural
enemies. The court, it is certain, did not desire their perfect accord;
nor, on the other hand, did it wish them to quarrel: it aimed to keep
them on such terms

     *  The Sulpitian seigniors of Montreal claimed the right of
     appointing their own local governor. This was denied by the
     court, and the excellent Sulpitian governor, Maisonneuve,
     was removed by De Tracy, to die in patient obscurity at
     Paris. Some concessions were afterwards made in favor of the
     Sulpitian claims.

     **  I have carefully read about two thousand pages of these

that, without deranging the machinery of administration, each should be
a check on the other. *

The governor, the intendant, and the supreme council or court, were
absolute masters of Canada under the pleasure of the king. Legislative,
judicial, and executive power, all centred in them. We have seen already
the very unpromising beginnings of the supreme council. It had consisted
at first of the governor, the bishop, and five councillors chosen by
them. The intendant was soon added to form the ruling triumvirate; but
the appointment of the councillors, the occasion of so many quarrels,
was afterwards exercised by the king himself. ** Even the name of the
council underwent a change in the interest of his autocracy, and he
commanded that it should no longer be called the _Supreme_, but only
the _Superior_ Council. The same change had just been imposed on all the
high tribunals of France. *** Under the shadow of the _fleur-de-lis_,
the king alone was to be supreme.

In 1675, the number of councillors was increased to seven, and in 1703
it was again increased to twelve; but the character of the council or

     *  The governor and intendant made frequent appeals to the
     court to settle questions arising between them. Several of
     these appeals are preserved. The king wrote replies on the
     margin of the paper, but they were usually too curt and
     general to satisfy either party.

     **  Déclaration du Roi du 16me Juin, 1703. Appointments were
     made by the king many years earlier. As they were always
     made on the recommendation of the governor and intendant,
     the practical effect of the change was merely to exclude the
     bishop from a share in them. The West India Company made the
     nominations during the ten years of its ascendancy.

     ***  Cheruel, Administration Monarchique en France, II. 100.

remained the same. It issued decrees for the civil, commercial, and
financial government of the colony, and gave judgment in civil and
criminal causes according to the royal ordinances and the _Coutume de
Paris_. It exercised also the function of registration borrowed from the
parliament of Paris. That body, it will be remembered, had no analogy
whatever with the English parliament. Its ordinary functions were not
legislative, but judicial; and it was composed of judges hereditary
under certain conditions. Nevertheless, it had long acted as a check on
the royal power through its right of registration. No royal edict had
the force of law till entered upon its books, and this custom had so
deep a root in the monarchical constitution of France, that even Louis
XIV., in the flush of his power, did not attempt to abolish it. He
did better; he ordered his decrees to be registered, and the humbled
parliament submissively obeyed. In like manner all edicts, ordinances,
or declarations relating to Canada were entered on the registers of
the superior council at Quebec. The order of registration was commonly
affixed to the edict or other mandate, and nobody dreamed of disobeying
it. *

The council or court had its attorney-general, who heard complaints and
brought them before the tribunal if he thought necessary; its secretary,
who kept its registers, and its _huissiers_ or attendant officers. It
sat once a week; and, though

     *  Many general edicts relating to the whole kingdom are
     also registered on the books of the council, but the
     practice in this respect was by no means uniform.

it was the highest court of appeal, it exercised at first original
jurisdiction in very trivial cases. * It was empowered to establish
subordinate courts or judges throughout the colony. Besides these there
was a judge appointed by the king for each of the three districts into
which Canada was divided, those of Quebec, Three Rivers, and
Montreal. To each of the three royal judges were joined a clerk and
an attorney-general under the supervision and control of the
attorney-general of the superior court, to which tribunal appeal
lay from all the subordinate jurisdictions. The jurisdiction of the
seigniors within their own limits has already been mentioned. They
were entitled by the terms of their grants to the exercise of “high,
middle, and low justice;” but most of them were practically restricted
to the last of the three, that is, to petty disputes between the
_habitans_, involving not more than sixty sous, or offences for which
the fine did not exceed ten sous. ** Thus limited, their judgments were
often useful in saving time, trouble, and money to the disputants. The
corporate seigniors of Montreal long continued to hold a feudal court in
form, with attorney-general, clerk, and _huissier_; but very few other
seigniors were in a condition to imitate them. Added to all these
tribunals was the bishop’s court at Quebec to try causes held to be
within the province of the church.

     *  See the Registres du Conseil Supérieur, preserved at
     Quebec. Between 1663 and 1673 are a multitude of judgments
     on matters great and small; from murder, rape, and
     infanticide, down to petty nuisances, misbehavior of
     servants, and disputes about the price of a sow.

     **  Doutre et Lareau, Histoire du Droit Canadien, 135.

The office of judge in Canada was no sinecure. The people were of a
litigious disposition, partly from their Norman blood, partly perhaps
from the idleness of the long and tedious winter, which gave full
leisure for gossip and quarrel, and partly from the very imperfect
manner in which titles had been drawn and the boundaries of grants
marked out, whence ensued disputes without end between neighbor and

“I will not say,” writes the satirical La Hontan, "that Justice is
more chaste and disinterested here than in France; but, at least, if
she is sold, she is sold cheaper. We do not pass through the clutches
of advocates, the talons of attorneys, and the claws of clerks. These
vermin do not infest Canada yet. Everybody pleads his own cause.
Our Themis is prompt, and she does not bristle with fees, costs, and
charges. The judges have only four hundred francs a year, a great
temptation to look for law in the bottom of the suitor’s purse. Four
hundred francs! Not enough to buy a cap and gown, so these gentry never
wear them.” *

Thus far La Hontan. Now let us hear the king; himself. “The greatest
disorder which has hitherto existed in Canada,” writes Louis XIV. to
the intendant Meules, “has come from the small degree of liberty which
the officers of justice have had in the discharge of their duties, by
reason of the violence to which they have been subjected, and the part
they have been obliged to take in the

     *  La Hontan, I. 21 (ed. 1705). In some editions, the above
     is expressed in different language.

continual quarrels between the governor and the intendant; insomuch that
justice having been administered by cabal and animosity, the inhabitants
have hitherto been far from the tranquillity and repose which cannot
be found in a place where everybody is compelled to take side with one
party or another.” *

Nevertheless, on ordinary local questions between the habitants, justice
seems to have been administered on the whole fairly; and judges of all
grades often interposed in their personal capacity to bring parties to
an agreement without a trial. From head to foot, the government kept its
attitude of paternity.

Beyond and above all the regular tribunals, beyond and above the council
itself, was the independent jurisdiction lodged in the person of the
king’s man, the intendant. His commission empowered him, if he saw
fit, to call any cause whatever before himself for judgment; and
he judged exclusively the cases which concerned the king, and those
involving the relations of seignior and vassal. ** He appointed
subordinate judges, from whom there was appeal to him; but from his
decisions, as well as from those of the superior council, there was no
appeal but to the king in his council of state.

On any Monday morning one would have found the superior council in
session in the antechamber

     *   Instruction du Roy pour le Sieur de Meules, 1682.

     **  See the commissions of various intendants, in Edits et

of the governor’s apartment, at the Chateau St. Louis. The members sat
at a round table. At the head was the governor, with the bishop on his
right, and the intendant on his left. The councillors sat in the order
of their appointment, and the attorney-general also had his place at the
board. As La Hontan says, they were not in judicial robes, but in their
ordinary dress, and all but the bishop wore swords.1 The want of the
cap and gown greatly disturbed the intendant Meules, and he begs the
minister to consider how important it is that the councillors, in order
to inspire respect, should appear in public in long black robes, which
on occasions of ceremony they should exchange for robes of red. He
thinks that the principal persons of the colony would thus be induced
to train up their children to so enviable a dignity; “and,” he
concludes, “as none of the councillors can afford to buy red robes,
I hope that the king will vouchsafe to send out nine such. As for the
black robes, they can furnish those themselves.” ** The king did not
respond, and the nine robes never arrived.

The official dignity of the council was sometimes exposed to trials
against which even red gowns might have proved an insufficient
protection. The same intendant urges that the tribunal ought to be
provided immediately with a house of its own.

"It is not decent,” he says, “that it should sit in the governor’s
antechamber any longer. His guards and valets make such a noise, that we

     *  Compare La Poterie, I. 260, and La Tour, Vie de Laval,
     Liv. VII.

     **  Meules au Ministre, 28 Sept. 1685.

cannot hear each other speak. I have continually to tell them to keep
quiet, which causes them to make a thousand jokes at the councillors as
they pass in and out.” * As the governor and the council were often on
ill terms, the official head of the colony could not always be trusted
to keep his attendants on their good behavior. The minister listened to
the complaint of Meules, and adopted his suggestion that the government
should buy the old brewery of Talon, a large structure of mingled timber
and masonry on the banks of the St. Charles. It was at an easy distance
from the chateau; passing the Hôtel Dieu and descending the rock, one
reached it by a walk of a few minutes. It was accordingly repaired,
partly rebuilt, and fitted up to serve the double purpose of a lodging
for the intendant and a court-house. Henceforth the transformed brewery
was known as the Palace of the Intendant, or the Palace of Justice;
and here the council and inferior courts long continued to hold their

Some of these inferior courts appear to have needed a lodging quite as
much as the council. The watchful Meules informs the minister that the
royal judge for the district of Quebec was accustomed in winter, with
a view to saving fuel, to hear causes and pronounce judgment by his own
fireside, in the midst of his children, whose gambols disturbed the even
distribution of justice. **

The superior council was not a very harmonious

     *  Meules au Ministre, 12 Nov., 1681.

     **  Ibid.

body. As its three chiefs, the man of the sword, the man of the church,
and the man of the law, were often at variance, the councillors attached
themselves to one party or the other, and hot disputes sometimes ensued.
The intendant, though but third in rank, presided at the sessions, took
votes, pronounced judgment, signed papers, and called special meetings.
This matter of the presidency was for some time a source of contention
between him and the governor, till the question was set at rest by a
decree of the king.

The intendants in their reports to the minister do not paint the council
in flattering colors. One of them complains that the councillors, being
busy with their farms, neglect their official duties. Another says
that they are all more or less in trade. A third calls them uneducated
persons of slight account, allied to the chief families and chief
merchants in Canada, in whose interest they make laws; and he adds that,
as a year and a half or even two years usually elapse before the answer
to a complaint is received from France, they take advantage of this
long interval to the injury of the king’s service. * These and other
similar charges betray the continual friction between the several
branches of the government.

The councillors were rarely changed, and they usually held office for
life. In a few cases the king granted to the son of a councillor yet
living the right of succeeding his father when the charge

     *  Meules au Ministre 12 Nov, 1684.

should become vacant. * It was a post of honor and not of profit, at
least of direct profit. The salaries were very small, and coupled with a
prohibition to receive fees.

Judging solely by the terms of his commission, the intendant was the
ruling power in the colony. He controlled all expenditure of public
money, and not only presided at the council but was clothed in his own
person with independent legislative as well as judicial power. He was
authorized to issue ordinances having the force of law whenever he
thought necessary, and, in the words of his commission, “to order
every thing as he shall see just and proper.” ** He was directed to be
present at councils of war, though war was the special province of
his colleague, and to protect soldiers and all others from official
extortion and abuse; that is, to protect them from the governor. Yet
there were practical difficulties in the way of his apparent power. The
king, his master, was far away; but official jealousy was busy around
him, and his patience was sometimes put to the proof. Thus the royal
judge of Quebec had fallen into irregularities. “I can do nothing
with him,” writes the intendant; “he keeps on good terms with the
governor and council and sets me at naught.” The governor had, as he
thought, treated him amiss. “You have told me,” he writes to the

     *  A son of Amours was named in his father’s lifetime to
     succeed him, as was also a son of the attorney-general
     Auteuil. There are several other cases. A son of Tilly, to
     whom the right of succeeding his father had been granted,
     asks leave to sell it to the merchant La Chesnaye.

     **  Commissions of Bouteroue, Duchesneau, Meules, etc.

minister, “to bear every thing from him and report to you;” and he
proceeds to recount his grievances Again, "the attorney-general is bold
to insolence, and needs to be repressed. The king’s interposition is
necessary.” He modestly adds that the intendant is the only man in
Canada whom his Majesty can trust, and that he ought to have more
power. *

These were far from being his only troubles. The enormous powers
with which his commission clothed him were sometimes retrenched by
contradictory instructions from the king; ** for this government, not of
laws but of arbitrary will, is marked by frequent inconsistencies. When
he quarrelled with the governor, and the governor chanced to have strong
friends at court, his position became truly pitiable. He was berated as
an imperious master berates an offending servant. “Your last letter
is full of nothing but complaints.” “You have exceeded your
authority.” “Study to know yourself and to understand clearly the
difference there is between a governor and an intendant.” “Since
you fail to comprehend the difference between you and the officer
who represents the king’s person, you are in danger of being often
condemned, or rather of being recalled, for his Majesty cannot endure so
many petty complaints, founded on nothing but a certain _quasi_ equality
between the governor and you, which you assume, but which

     *  Meules au Ministre, 12 Nov., 1684.

     **  Thus, Meules is flatly forbidden to compel litigants to
     bring causes before him (Instruction pour le Sieur de
     Meules, 1682), and this prohibition is nearly of the same
     date with the commission in which the power to do so is
     expressly given him.

does not exist.” “Meddle with nothing beyond your functions.”
“Take good care to tell me nothing but the truth.” “You ask too
many favors for your adherents.” “You must not spend more than you
have authority to spend, or it will be taken out of your pay.” In
short, there are several letters from the minister Colbert to his
colonial man-of-all-work, which, from beginning to end, are one
continued scold. *

The luckless intendant was liable to be held to account for the action
of natural laws. “If the population does not increase in proportion
to the pains I take,” writes the king to Duchesneau, “you are to lay
the blame on yourself for not having executed my principal order (_to
promote marriages_) and for having failed in the principal object for
which I sent you to Canada.” **

A great number of ordinances of intendants are preserved. They were
usually read to the people at the doors of churches after mass, or
sometimes by the curé from his pulpit. They relate to a great variety
of subjects,--regulation of inns and markets, poaching, preservation
of game, sale of brandy, rent of pews, stray hogs, mad dogs, tithes,
matrimonial quarrels, fast driving, wards and guardians, weights and
measures, nuisances, value of coinage, trespass on lands, building
churches, observance of Sunday, preservation of timber, seignior and
vassal, settlement of boundaries, and many

     *  The above examples are all taken from the letters of
     Colbert to the intendant Duchesneau. It is an extreme case,
     but other intendants are occasionally treated with scarcely
     more ceremony.

     **  Le Roi à Duchesneau, 11 Juin, 1680.

other matters. If a curé with some of his parishioners reported that
his church or his house needed repair or rebuilding, the intendant
issued an ordinance requiring all the inhabitants of the parish,
“both those who have consented and those who have not consented,” to
contribute materials and labor, on pain of fine or other penalty. * The
militia captain of the _cote_ was to direct the work and see that each
parishioner did his due part, which was determined by the extent of
his farm; so, too, if the _grand voyer_, an officer charged with the
superintendence of highways, reported that a new road was wanted or that
an old one needed mending, an ordinance of the intendant set the whole
neighborhood at work upon it, directed, as in the other case, by the
captain of militia. If children were left fatherless, the intendant
ordered the curé of the parish to assemble their relations or friends
for the choice of a guardian. If a _censitaire_ did not clear his land
and live on it, the intendant took it from him and gave it back to the
seignior. **

Chimney-sweeping having been neglected at Quebec, the intendant commands
all householders promptly to do their duty in this respect, and at the
same time fixes the pay of the sweep at six sous a chimney. Another
order forbids quarrelling in church. Another assigns pews in due order
of precedence to the seignior, the captain of militia, and the wardens.
The intendant Raudot, who seems

     *  See, among many examples, the ordinance of 24th December,
     1716. Edits et Ordonnances, II. 443.

     **  Compare the numerous ordinances printed in the second
     and third volumes of Edits et Ordonnances.

to have been inspired even more than the others with the spirit of
paternal intervention, issued a mandate to the effect that, whereas
the people of Montreal raise too many horses, which prevents them
from raising cattle and sheep, “being therein ignorant of their true
interest.... Now, therefore, we command that each inhabitant of the
_côtes_ of this government shall hereafter own no more than two horses
or mares and one foal; the same to take effect after the sowing-season
of the ensuing year, 1710, giving them time to rid themselves of their
horses in excess of said number, after which they will be required to
kill any of such excess that may remain in their possession.” * Many
other ordinances, if not equally preposterous, are equally stringent;
such, for example, as that of the intendant Bigot, in which, with a view
of promoting agriculture, and protecting the morals of the farmers by
saving them from the temptations of cities, he proclaims to them: “We
prohibit and forbid you to remove to this town (_Quebec_) under any
pretext whatever, without our permission in writing, on pain of
being expelled and sent back to your farms, your furniture and goods
confiscated, and a fine of fifty livres laid on you for the benefit of
the hospitals. And, furthermore, we forbid all inhabitants of the city
to let houses or rooms to persons coming from the country, on pain of
a fine of a hundred livres, also applicable to the hospitals.” **
At about the same time a royal edict, designed to prevent the undue
subdivision of farms, forbade the country

     *  Edits et Ordonnances, II. 273.

     **  Ibid., II. 399.

people, except such as were authorized to live in villages, to build a
house or barn on any piece of land less than one and a half arpents wide
and thirty arpents long; * while a subsequent ordinance of the
intendant commands the immediate demolition of certain houses built in
contravention of the edict. **

The spirit of absolutism is everywhere apparent. “It is of very great
consequence,” writes the intendant Meules, “that the people should
not be left at liberty to speak their minds.” ***

Hence public meetings were jealously restricted. Even those held by
parishioners under the eye of the curé to estimate the cost of a new
church seem to have required a special license from the intendant.
During a number of years a meeting of the principal inhabitants of
Quebec was called in spring and autumn by the council to discuss the
price and quality of bread, the supply of firewood, and other similar
matters. The council commissioned two of its members to preside at these
meetings, and on hearing their report took what action it thought best.
Thus, after the meeting held in February, 1686, it issued a decree, in
which, after a long and formal preamble, it solemnly ordained, “that
besides white-bread and light brown-bread, all bakers shall hereafter
make dark brown-bread whenever the same shall be required.” **** Such
assemblies, so controlled, could scarcely, one would think, wound

     *   Edits et Ordonnances, I. 585.

     **   Ibid., II. 400.

     ***  “Il ne laisse pas d’être de très grande conséquence de
     ne pas laisser la liberté au peuple de dire son sentiment.”
    --Meules au Ministre, 1685.

     ****  Edits et Ordonnances, II. 112.

the tenderest susceptibilities of authority; yet there was evident
distrust of them, and after a few years this modest shred of
self-government is seen no more. The syndic, too, that functionary whom
the people of the towns were at first allowed to choose, under the eye
of the authorities, was conjured out of existence by a word from the
king. Seignior, _censitaire_, and citizen were prostrate alike in flat
subjection to the royal will. They were not free even to go home to
France. No inhabitant of Canada, man or woman, could do so without
leave; and several intendants express their belief that without this
precaution there would soon be a falling off in the population.

In 1671 the council issued a curious decree. One Paul Dupuy had been
heard to say that there is nothing like righting one’s self, and that
when the English cut off the head of Charles I. they did a good thing,
with other discourse to the like effect The council declared him guilty
of speaking ill of royalty in the person of the king of England, and
uttering words tending to sedition. He was condemned to be dragged from
prison by the public executioner, and led in his shirt, with a rope
about his neck, and a torch in his hand, to the gate of the Chateau St.
Louis, there to beg pardon of the king; thence to the pillory of the
Lower Town to be branded with a fleur-de-lis on the cheek, and set in
the stocks for half an hour; then to be led back to prison, and put in
irons “till the information against him shall be completed.” *

     *  Jugements et Délibérations du Conseil Supérieur.

If irreverence to royalty was thus rigorously chastised, irreverence
to God was threatened with still sharper penalties. Louis XIV., ever
haunted with the fear of the devil, sought protection against him by
his famous edict against swearing, duly registered on the books of the
council at Quebec. “It is our will and pleasure,” says this
pious mandate, “that all persons convicted of profane swearing or
blaspheming the name of God, the most Holy Virgin, his mother, or the
saints, be condemned for the first offence to a pecuniary fine according
to their possessions and the greatness and enormity of the oath and
blasphemy; and if those thus punished repeat the said oaths, then for
the second, third, and fourth time they shall be condemned to a double,
triple, and quadruple fine; and for the fifth time, they shall be set in
the pillory on Sunday or other festival days, there to remain from
eight in the morning till one in the afternoon, exposed to all sorts of
opprobrium and abuse, and be condemned besides to a heavy fine; and for
the sixth time, they shall be led to the pillory, and there have the
upper lip cut with a hot iron; and for the seventh time, they shall
be led to the pillory and have the lower lip cut; and if, by reason
of obstinacy and inveterate bad habit, they continue after all these
punishments to utter the said oaths and blasphemies, it is our will and
command that they have the tongue completely cut out, so that thereafter
they cannot utter them again.” * All those who should hear anybody

     *  Edit du Roy contre les Jureurs et Blasphémateurs, du 30me
     Juillet, 1666 See Edits et Ordonnances, I. 62.

swear were further required to report the fact to the nearest judge
within twenty-four hours, on pain of fine.

This is far from being the only instance in which the temporal power
lends aid to the spiritual. Among other cases, the following is worth
mentioning: Louis Gaboury, an inhabitant of the island of Orleans,
charged with eating meat in Lent without asking leave of the priest,
was condemned by the local judge to be tied three hours to a stake in
public, and then led to the door of the chapel, there on his knees,
with head bare and hands clasped, to ask pardon of God and the king. The
culprit appealed to the council, which revoked the sentence and imposed
only a fine. *

The due subordination of households had its share of attention. Servants
who deserted their masters were to be set in the pillory for the first
offence, and whipped and branded for the second; while any person
harboring them was to pay a fine of twenty francs. ** On the other hand,
nobody was allowed to employ a servant without a license. ***

In case of heinous charges, torture of the accused was permitted under
the French law; and it was sometimes practised in Canada. Condemned
murderers and felons were occasionally tortured before being strangled;
and the dead body, enclosed in a kind of iron cage, was left hanging for
months at the top of Cape Diamond, a terror to children and a warning to
evil-doers. Yet, on the whole,

     *  Doutre et Lareau, Histoire du Droit Canadien, 163.

     **  Réglement de Police, 1676.

     ***  Edits et Ordonnances, II. 53.

Canadian justice, tried by the standard of the time, was neither
vindictive nor cruel.

In reading the voluminous correspondence of governors and intendants,
the minister and the king, nothing is more apparent than the interest
with which, in the early part of his reign, Louis XIV. regarded his
colony. One of the faults of his rule is the excess of his benevolence;
for not only did he give money to support parish priests, build
churches, and aid the seminary, the Ursulines, the missions, and the
hospitals; but he established a fund destined, among other objects, to
relieve indigent persons, subsidized nearly every branch of trade and
industry, and in other instances _did for the colonists what they would
far better have learned to do for themselves_.

Meanwhile the officers of government were far from suffering from an
excess of royal beneficence. La Hontan says that the local governor of
Three Rivers would die of hunger if, besides his pay, he did not gain
something by trade with the Indians; and that Perrot, local governor
of Montreal, with one thousand crowns of salary, traded to such purpose
that in a few years he made fifty thousand crowns. This trade, it may
be observed, was in violation of the royal edicts. The pay of the
governor-general varied from time to time. When La Poterie wrote it was
twelve thousand francs a year, besides three thousand which he received
in his capacity of local governor of Quebec. * This would hardly

     *  In 1674, the governor-general received 20,718 francs, out
     of which he was to pay 8,718 to his guard of twenty men and
     officers. Ordonnance du Roy, 1675. Yet in 1677, in the Etat
     de la Dépense que le Roy veut et ordonne estre faite, etc.,
     the total pay of the governor-general is set down at 3,000
     francs, and so also in 1681, 1682, and 1687. The local
     governor of Montreal was to have 1,800 francs, and the
     governor of Three Rivers 1,200. It is clear, however, that
     this Etat de dépense is not complete, as there is no
     provision for the intendant. The first councillor received
     500 francs, and the rest 300 francs each, equal in Canadian
     money to 400. An ordinance of 1676 gives the intendant
     12,000 francs. It is tolerably clear that the provision of
     3,000 francs for the governor-general was meant only to
     apply to his capacity of local governor of Quebec.

tempt a Frenchman of rank to expatriate himself; and yet some, at least,
of the governors came out to the colony for the express purpose of
mending their fortunes; indeed, the higher nobility could scarcely, in
time of peace, have other motives for going there. The court and the
army were their element, and to be elsewhere was banishment. We shall
see hereafter by what means they sought compensation for their exile
in Canadian forests. Loud complaints sometimes found their way to
Versailles. A memorial addressed to the regent duke of Orleans,
immediately after the king’s death, declares that the ministers of
state, who have been the real managers of the colony, have made their
creatures and relations governors and intendants, and set them free from
all responsibility. High colonial officers, pursues the writer, come
home rich, while the colony languishes almost to perishing. * As for
lesser offices, they were multiplied to satisfy needy retainers, till
lean and starving Canada was covered with official leeches, sucking, in
famished desperation, at her bloodless veins.

The whole system of administration centred in

     *  Mémoire addressé au Régent 1716

the king, who, to borrow the formula of his edicts, “in the fulness of
our power and our certain knowledge,” was supposed to direct the whole
machine, from its highest functions to its pettiest intervention
in private affairs. That this theory, like all extreme theories of
government, was an illusion, is no fault of Louis XIV. Hard-working
monarch as he was, he spared no pains to guide his distant colony in the
paths of prosperity. The prolix letters of governors and intendants were
carefully studied; and many of the replies, signed by the royal hand,
enter into details of surprising minuteness. That the king himself
wrote these letters is incredible; but in the early part of his reign
he certainly directed and controlled them. At a later time, when more
absorbing interests engrossed him, he could no longer study in person
the long-winded despatches of his Canadian officers. They were usually
addressed to the minister of state, who caused abstracts to be made from
them, for the king’s use, and perhaps for his own. * The minister or
the minister’s secretary could suppress or color as he or those who
influenced him saw fit.

In the latter half of his too long reign, when cares, calamities, and
humiliations were thickening around the king, another influence was
added to make the theoretical supremacy of his royal will more than ever
a mockery. That prince of annalists, Saint-Simon, has painted Louis XIV.
ruling his realm from the bedchamber of Madame de

     *  Many of these abstracts are still preserved in the
     Archives of the Marine and Colonies.

Maintenons seated with his minister at a small table beside the fire,
the king in an armchair, the minister on a stool with his bag of papers
on a second stool near him. In another armchair, at another table,
on the other side of the fire, sat the sedate favorite, busy to all
appearance with a book or a piece of tapestry, but listening to every
thing that passed. “She rarely spoke,” says Saint-Simon, “except
when the king asked her opinion, which he often did; and then she
answered with great deliberation and gravity. She never or very rarely
showed a partiality for any measure, still less for any person; but she
had an understanding with the minister, who never dared do otherwise
than she wished. Whenever any favor or appointment was in question,
the business was settled between them beforehand. She would send to the
minister that she wanted to speak to him, and he did not dare bring the
matter on the carpet till he had received her orders.” Saint-Simon
next recounts the subtle methods by which Maintenon and the minister,
her tool, beguiled the king to do their will, while never doubting that
he was doing his own. “He thought,” concludes the annalist, “that
it was he alone who disposed of all appointments; while in reality he
disposed of very few indeed, except on the rare occasions when he had
taken a fancy to somebody, or when somebody whom he wanted to favor had
spoken to him in behalf of somebody else.” *

     *  Mémoires du Duc de Saint-Simon, XIII. 38, 39 (Cheruel,
     1857). Saint-Simon, notwithstanding the independence of his
     character, held a high position at court; and his acute and
     careful observation, joined to his familiar acquaintance
     with ministers and other functionaries, both in and out of
     office, gives a rare value to his matchless portraitures.

Add to all this the rarity of communication with the distant colony. The
ships from France arrived at Quebec in July, August, or September, and
returned in November. The machine of Canadian government, wound up once
a year, was expected to run unaided at least a twelvemonth. Indeed, it
was often left to itself for two years, such was sometimes the tardiness
of the overburdened government in answering the despatches of its
colonial agents. It is no matter of surprise that a writer well versed
in its affairs calls Canada the “country of abuses.” *

     *  Etat présent du Canada, 1768.


_Trade in Fetters.--The Hüguenot Merchants.--Royal Patronage.--The
Fisheries.--Cries for Help.--Agriculture.--Manufactures.--Arts of
Ornament.--Finance.--Card Money.--Repudiation.--Imposts.--The
Beaver Trade.--The Fair at Montreal.--Contraband Trade.--A
Fatal System.--Trouble and Change.--The Coureurs de Bois.--The
Forest.--Letter of Carheil._

|We have seen the head of the colony, its guiding intellect and will:
it remains to observe its organs of nutrition. Whatever they might have
been under a different treatment, they were perverted and enfeebled by
the regimen to which they were subjected.

The spirit of restriction and monopoly had ruled from the beginning. The
old governor Lauson, seignior for a while of a great part of the colony,
held that Montreal had no right to trade directly with France, but must
draw all her supplies from Quebec; * and this preposterous claim was
revived in the time of Mézy. The successive companies to whose hands
the colony was consigned had a baneful effect on individual enterprise.
In 1674,

     *  Faillon, Colonie Française, II. 244.

the charter of the West India Company was revoked, and trade was
declared open to all subjects of the king; yet commerce was still
condemned to wear the ball and chain. New restrictions were imposed,
meant for good, but resulting in evil. Merchants not resident in the
colony were forbidden all trade, direct or indirect, with the Indians.
* They were also forbidden to sell any goods at retail except in August,
September, and October; ** to trade anywhere in Canada above Quebec; and
to sell clothing or domestic articles ready made. This last restriction
was designed to develop colonial industry. No person, resident or not,
could trade with the English colonies, or go thither without a special
passport, and rigid examination by the military authorities. *** Foreign
trade of any kind was stiffly prohibited. In 1719, after a new company
had engrossed the beaver trade, its agents were empowered to enter all
houses in Canada, whether ecclesiastical or secular, and search them for
foreign goods, which when found were publicly burned. **** In the next
year, the royal council ordered that vessels engaged in foreign trade
should be captured by force of arms, like pirates, and confiscated
along with their cargoes; (v) while anybody having an article of foreign
manufacture in his possession was subjected to a heavy fine. (v*)

Attempts were made to fix the exact amount of profit which merchants
from France should be

     *  Réglement de Police, 1676, Art. xl.

     **  Edits et Ord., II. 100.

     ***  Ibid., I. 489.

     **** Ibid.. I. 402.

     (v)  Ibid., I. 425.

     (v*)  Ibid., I. 505.

allowed to make in the colony. One of the first acts of the superior
council was to order them to bring their invoices immediately before
that body, which thereupon affixed prices to each article. The merchant
who sold and the purchaser who bought above this tariff were alike
condemned to heavy penalties; and so, too, was the merchant who chose to
keep his goods rather than sell them at the price ordained. * Resident
merchants, on the other hand, were favored to the utmost. They could
sell at what price they saw fit; and, according to La Hontan, they made
great profit by the sale of laces, ribbons, watches, jewels, and similar
superfluities to the poor but extravagant colonists.

A considerable number of the non-resident merchants were Huguenots, for
most of the importations were from the old Huguenot city of Rochelle.
No favor was shown them; they were held under rigid restraint, and
forbidden to exercise their religion, or to remain in the colony during
winter without special license. ** This sometimes bore very hard upon
them. The governor Denonville, an ardent Catholic, states the case of
one Bernon, who had done great service to the colony, and whom La Hontan
mentions as the principal French merchant in the Canadian trade. “It
is a pity,” says Denonville, “that he cannot be converted. As he is
a Huguenot, the bishop wants me to order him home this autumn, which I
have done, though he

     *  Edits et Ord., II. 17, 19.

     **   Réglement de Police, 1676. Art. xxxvii.

carries on a large business, and a great deal of money remains due to
him here.” *

For a long time the ships from France went home empty, except a favored
few which carried furs, or occasionally a load of dried pease or of
timber. Payment was made in money when there was any in Canada, or in
bills of exchange. The colony, drawing every thing from France, and
returning little besides beaver skins, remained under a load of
debt. French merchants were discouraged, and shipments from France
languished. As for the trade with the West Indies, which Talon had tried
by precept and example to build up, the intendant reports in 1680 that
it had nearly ceased; though six years later it grew again to the modest
proportions of three vessels loaded with wheat. **

_The besetting evil of trade and industry in Canada was the habit they
contracted, and were encouraged to contract, of depending on the direct
aid of government._ Not a new enterprise was set on foot without a
petition to the king to lend a helping hand. Sometimes the petition was
sent through the governor, sometimes through the intendant; and it was
rarely refused. Denonville writes that the merchants of Quebec, by a
combined effort, had sent a vessel of sixty tons to France with colonial
produce; and he asks that the royal commissaries at Rochefort be
instructed to buy the whole cargo, in order to encourage so

     *  Denonville au Ministre, 1685.

     **  Ibid., 1686. The year before, about 18,000 minots of
     grain were sent hither. In 1736, the shipments reached
     80,000 minots.

deserving an enterprise. One Hazeur set up a sawmill, at Mai Bay.
Finding a large stock of planks and timber on his hands, he begs
the king to send two vessels to carry them to France; and the king
accordingly did so. A similar request was made in behalf of another
sawmill at St. Paul’s Bay. Denonville announces that one Riverin
wishes to embark in the whale and cod fishery, and that though strong
in zeal he is weak in resources. The minister replies, that he is to be
encouraged, and that his Majesty will favorably consider his enterprise.
* Various gifts were soon after made him. He now took to himself a
partner, the Sieur Chalons; whereupon the governor writes to ask
the minister’s protection for them. “The Basques,” he says,
“formerly carried on this fishery, but some monopoly or other put a
stop to it.” The remedy he proposes is homoeopathic. He asks another
monopoly for the two partners. Louis Joliet, the discoverer of the
Mississippi, made a fishing station on the island of Anticosti; and he
begs help from the king, on the ground that his fishery will furnish a
good and useful employment to young men. The Sieur Vitry wished to begin
a fishery of white porpoises, and he begs the king

     *  The interest felt by the king in these matters is shown
     in a letter signed by his hand in which he enters with
     considerable detail into the plans of Riverin. Le Roy à
     Denonville et Champigny, 1 Mai, 1689. He afterwards ordered
     boats, harpooners, and cordage to be sent him, for which he
     was to pay at his convenience. Four years later, he
     complains that, though Riverin had been often helped, his
     fisheries were of slight account. “Let him take care,”
     pursues the king, “that he does not use his enterprises as a
     pretext to obtain favors.”. Mémoire du Roy a Frontenac et
     Champigny, 1693

to give him two thousand pounds of cod-line and two thousand pounds of
one and two inch rope. His request was granted, on which he asked for
five hundred livres. The money was given him, and the next year he asked
to have the gift renewed. *

The king was very anxious to develop the fisheries of the colony. “His
Majesty,” writes the minister, “wishes you to induce the inhabitants
to unite with the merchants for this object, and to incite them by all
sorts of means to overcome their natural laziness, since there is no
other way of saving them from the misery in which they now are.” **
“I wish,” says the zealous Denonville, “that fisheries could be
well established to give employment to our young men, and prevent them
from running wild in the woods;” and he adds mournfully, “they (_the
fisheries_) are enriching Boston at our expense.” “They are our true
mines,” urges the intendant Meules; “but the English of Boston have
got possession of those of Acadia, which belong to us; and we ought to
prevent it.” It was not prevented; and the Canadian

     *  All the above examples are drawn from the correspondence
     of the governor and intendant with the minister, between
     1680 and 1699, together with a memorial of Hazeur and
     another of Riverin, addressed to the minister.

     Vitry’s porpoise-fishing appears to have ended in failure.
     In 1707 the intendant Raudot granted the porpoise fishery of
     the seigniory of Riviere Ouelle to six of the _habitans_.
     This fishery is carried on here successfully at the present
     day. A very interesting account of it was published in the
     Opinion Publique, 1873, by my friend Abbé Casgrain, whose
     family residence is the seigniorial mansion of Riviere

     **  Mémoire pour Denonville et Champigny, 8 Mars, 1688.

fisheries, like other branches of Canadian industry, remained in a state
of almost hopeless languor. *

The government applied various stimulants. One of these, proposed by the
intendant Duchesneau, is characteristic. He advises the formation of
a company which should have the exclusive right of exporting fish; but
which on its part should be required to take, at a fixed price, all that
the inhabitants should bring them. This notable plan did not find favor
with the king. ** It was practised, however, in the case of beaver
skins, and also in that of woodashes. The farmers of the revenue were
required to take this last commodity at a fixed price, on their own
risk, and in any quantity offered. They remonstrated, saying that it was
unsalable; adding that, if the inhabitants would but take the trouble to
turn it into potash, it might be possible to find a market for it. The
king released them entirely, coupling his order to that effect with a
eulogy of free trade. ***

In all departments of industry, the appeals for help are endless.
Governors and intendants are so many sturdy beggars for the languishing

     *  The Canadian fisheries must not be confounded with the
     French fisheries of Newfoundland, which were prosperous, but
     were carried on wholly from French ports.

     In a memorial addressed by the partners Chalons and Riverin
     to the minister Seignelay, they say: “Baston (Boston) et
     toute sa colonie nous donne un exemple qui fait honte à
     nostre nation, puisqu’elle s’augmente tous les jours par
     cette pesche (de la morue) qu’elle fait la plus grande
     partie sur nos costes pendant que les François ne s’occupent
     à rien.” Meules urges that the king should undertake the
     fishing business himself since his subjects cannot or will

     **  Ministre a Duchesneau, 15 Mai, 1678

     ***  Le Roy a Duchesneau, 11 Juin, 1680.

“Send us money to build storehouses, to which the _habitants_
can bring their produce and receive goods from the government in
exchange.” “Send us a teacher to make sailors of our young men:
it is a pity the colony should remain in such a state for want of
instruction for youth.” * “We want a surgeon: there is none in
Canada who can set a bone.” ** “Send us some tilers, brick-makers,
and potters.” *** “Send us iron-workers to work our mines.”
**** “It is to be wished that his Majesty would send us all sorts of
artisans, especially potters and glass-workers.” (v) “Our Canadians
need aid and instruction in their fisheries; they need pilots.” (v*)

In 1688, the intendant reported that Canada was entirely without either
pilots or sailors; and, as late as 1712, the engineer Catalogne informed
the government that, though the St. Lawrence was dangerous, a pilot was
rarely to be had. “There ought to be trade with the West Indies and
other places,” urges another writer. “Everybody says it is best,
but nobody will undertake it. Our merchants are too poor, or else are
engrossed by the fur trade.” (v**)

The languor of commerce made agriculture languish. “It is of no use
now,” writes Meules,

     *  Mémoire a Monseigneur le Marquis de Seignday, présenté
     par les Sieurs Chalons et Riverin, 1686.

     **  Champigny au Ministre, 1688.

     ***  Ibid.

     ****  Denonville au Ministre, 1686.

     (v)  Mémoire de Catalogue, 1712.

     (v*)  Denonville au Ministre, 1686.

     (v**)  Mémoire de Chalons et Riverin présenté au Marquis de

in 1682, “to raise any crops except what each family wants for
itself.” In vain the government sent out seeds for distribution. In
vain intendants lectured the farmers, and lavished well-meant advice.
Tillage remained careless and slovenly. “If,” says the all-observing
Catalogne, “the soil were not better cultivated in Europe than here,
three-fourths of the people would starve.” He complains that the
festivals of the church are so numerous that not ninety working days are
left during the whole working season. The people, he says, ought to be
compelled to build granaries to store their crops, instead of selling
them in autumn for almost nothing, and every habitant should be required
to keep two or three sheep. The intendant Champigny calls for seed of
hemp and flax, and promises to visit the farms, and show the people the
lands best suited for their culture. He thinks that favors should be
granted to those who raise hemp and flax as well as to those who marry.
Denonville is of opinion that each _habitant_ should be compelled to
raise a little hemp every year, and that the king should then buy it
of him at a high price. * It will be well, he says, to make use of
severity, while, at the same time, holding out a hope of gain; and he
begs that weavers be sent out to teach the women and girls, who spend
the winter in idleness, how to weave and spin. Weaving and spinning,
however, as well as the culture of hemp and flax, were neglected till
1705, when the loss of a ship laden with goods for the colony

     *  Denonville au Ministre, 13 Nov.. 1685

gave the spur to home industry; and Madame de Repentigny set the example
of making a kind of coarse blanket of nettle and linden bark. *

The jealousy of colonial manufactures shown by England appears but
rarely in the relations of France with Canada. According to its light,
the French government usually did its best to stimulate Canadian
industry, with what results we have just seen. There was afterwards some
improvement. In 1714, the intendant Bégon reported that coarse fabrics
of wool and linen were made; that the sisters of the congregation wore
cloth for their own habits as good as the same stuffs in France; that
black cloth was made for priests, and blue cloth for the pupils of
the colleges. The inhabitants, he says, have been taught these arts by
necessity. They were naturally adroit at handiwork of all kinds; and
during the last half century of the French rule, when the population
had settled into comparative stability, many of the mechanic arts were
practised with success, notwithstanding the assertion of the Abbé La
Tour that every thing but bread and meat had still to be brought from
France. This change may be said to date from the peace of Utrecht, or a
few years before it. At that time, one Duplessis had a new vessel on
the stocks. Catalogne, who states the fact, calls it the beginning
of ship-building in Canada, evidently ignorant that Talon had made a
fruitless beginning more than forty years before.

Of the arts of ornament not much could have

     *  Beauharnois et Raudot au Ministre, 1705.

been expected; but, strangely enough, they were in somewhat better
condition than the useful arts. The nuns of the Hôtel-Dieu made
artificial flowers for altars and shrines, under the direction of
Mother-Juchereau; * and the boys of the seminary were taught to make
carvings in wood for the decoration of churches. ** Pierre, son of the
merchant Le Ber, had a turn for painting, and made religious pictures,
described as very indifferent. *** His sister Jeanne, an enthusiastic
devotee, made embroideries for vestments and altars, and her work was
much admired.

The colonial finances were not prosperous. In the absence of coin,
beaver-skins long served as currency. In 1669, the council declared
wheat a legal tender, at four francs the _minot_ or three French
bushels; **** and, five years later, all creditors were ordered to
receive moose-skins in payment at the market rate. (v) Coin would not
remain in the colony. If the company or the king sent any thither, it
went back in the returning ships. The government devised a remedy. A
coinage was ordered for Canada one-fourth less in value than that of
France. Thus the Canadian livre or franc was worth, in reality, fifteen
sous instead of twenty. (v*) This shallow expedient produced only a
nominal rise of prices, and coin fled the colony as before.

     *  Juchereau, Hist, de l'Hôtel-Dieu, 244.

     **  Abeille, II., 13.

     ***  Faillon, Vie de Mlle. Le Ber, 331.

     ****  Edits et Ord., II. 47.

     (v)   Ibid., II. 55.

     (v*)  This device was of very early date. See Boucher, Hist.
     Véritable chap, xiv

Trade was carried on for a time by means of negotiable notes, payable
in furs, goods, or farm produce. In 1685, the intendant Meules issued
a card currency. He had no money to pay the soldiers, “and not
knowing,” he informs the minister, “to what saint to make my vows,
the idea occurred to me of putting in circulation notes made of cards,
each cut into four pieces; and I have issued an ordinance commanding
the inhabitants to receive them in payment.” * The cards were common
playing cards, and each piece was stamped with a _fleur-de-lis_ and a
crown, and signed by the governor, the intendant, and the clerk of the
treasury at Quebec. ** The example of Meules found ready imitation.
Governors and intendants made card money whenever they saw fit; and,
being worthless everywhere but in Canada, it showed no disposition to
escape the colony. It was declared convertible not into coin, but into
bills of exchange; and this conversion could only take place at brief
specified periods. “The currency used in Canada,” says a writer in
the last years of the French rule, “has no value as a representative
of money. It is the sign of a sign.” *** It was card representing
paper, and this paper was very often dishonored. In 1714, the amount of
card rubbish had risen to two million livres. Confidence was lost, and
trade was half dead. The minister Ponchartrain came to the rescue, and
promised to

     *  Meules au Ministre, 24 Sept., 1685.

     **  Mémoire addressé au Régent, 1715.

     ***  Considérations sur l’Etat du Canada, 1758.

redeem it at half its nominal value. The holders preferred to lose half
rather than the whole, and accepted the terms. A few of the cards were
redeemed at the rate named; then the government broke faith, and payment
ceased. “This afflicting news,” says a writer of the time, “was
brought out by the vessel which sailed from France last July.”

In 1717, the government made another proposal, and the cards were
converted into bills of exchange. At the same time a new issue was made,
which it was declared should be the last. * This issue was promptly
redeemed, but twelve years later another followed it. In the interval,
a certain quantity of coin circulated in the colony; but it underwent
fluctuations through the intervention of government; and, within eight
years, at least four edicts were issued affecting its value. ** Then
came more promises to pay, till, in the last bitter years of its
existence, the colony floundered in drifts of worthless paper.

One characteristic grievance was added to the countless woes of Canadian
commerce. The government was so jealous of popular meetings of all
kinds, that for a long time it forbade merchants to meet together
for discussing their affairs; and, it was not till 1717 that the
establishment of a _bourse_ or exchange was permitted at Quebec and
Montreal. ***

In respect of taxation, Canada, as compared with

     *  Edits et Ord., I. 370.

     **  Ibid., 400, 432, 436, 484.

     ***  Doutre et Lareau, Hist, du Droit Canadien, 254.

France, had no reason to complain. If the king permitted governors and
intendants to make card money, he permitted nobody to impose taxes
but himself. The Canadians paid no direct civil tax, except in a few
instances where temporary and local assessments were ordered for special
objects. It was the fur trade on which the chief burden fell. One-fourth
of the beaver-skins, and one-tenth of the moose-hides, belonged to the
king; and wine, brandy, and tobacco contributed a duty of ten per cent.
During a long course of years, these were the only imposts. The king,
also, retained the exclusive right of the fur trade at Tadoussac. A vast
tract of wilderness extending from St. Paul’s Bay to a point eighty
leagues down the St. Lawrence, and stretching indefinitely northward
towards Hudson’s Bay, formed a sort of royal preserve, whence every
settler was rigidly excluded. The farmers of the revenue had their
trading-houses at Tadoussac, whither the northern tribes, until war,
pestilence, and brandy consumed them, brought every summer a large
quantity of furs.

When, in 1674, the West India Company, to whom these imposts had been
granted, was extinguished, the king resumed possession of them. The
various duties, along with the trade of Tadoussac, were now farmed out
to one Oudiette and his associates, who paid the Crown three hundred and
fifty thousand livres for their privilege. *

     *  The annual return to the king from the ferme du Canada
     was, for some years, 119,000 francs (livres). Out of this
     were paid from 35,000 to 40,000 francs a year for “ordinary
     charges.” The governor, intendant, and all troops except the
     small garrisons of Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers, were
     paid from other sources. There was a time when the balance
     must have been in the king’s favor; but profit soon changed
     to loss, owing partly to wars, partly to the confusion into
     which the beaver trade soon fell. “His Majesty,” writes the
     minister to the governor in 1698, “may soon grow tired of a
     colony which, far from yielding him any profit, costs him
     immense sums every year.”

We come now to a trade far more important than all the rest together,
one which absorbed the enterprise of the colony, drained the life-sap
from other branches of commerce, and, even more than a vicious system
of government, kept them in a state of chronic debility,--the hardy,
adventurous, lawless, fascinating fur trade. In the eighteenth century,
Canada exported a moderate quantity of timber, wheat, the herb called
ginseng, and a few other commodities; but from first to last she lived
chiefly on beaver-skins. The government tried without ceasing to control
and regulate this traffic; but it never succeeded. It aimed, above all
things, to bring the trade home to the colonists, to prevent them from
going to the Indians, and induce the Indians to come to them. To
this end a great annual fair was established by order of the king at
Montreal. Thither every summer a host of savages came down from the
lakes in their bark canoes. A place was assigned them at a little
distance from the town. They landed, drew up their canoes in a line on
the bank, took out their packs of beaver-skins, set up their wigwams,
slung their kettles, and encamped for the night. On the next day, there
was a grand council on the common, between St. Paul Street and the
river. Speeches of compliment were made amid a solemn smoking of pipes.
The governor-general was usually present, seated in an armchair, while
the visitors formed a ring about him, ranged in the order of their
tribes. On the next day the trade began in the same place. Merchants
of high and low degree brought up their goods from Quebec, and every
inhabitant of Montreal, of any substance, sought a share in the profit.
Their booths were set along the palisades, of the town, and each had an
interpreter, to whom he usually promised a certain portion of his gains.
The scene abounded in those contrasts--not always edifying, but always
picturesque--which mark the whole course of French Canadian history.
Here was a throng of Indians armed with bows and arrows, warclubs, or
the cheap guns of the trade; some of them completely naked except
for the feathers on their heads and the paint on their faces; French
bush-rangers tricked out with savage finery; merchants and _habitants_
in their coarse and plain attire, and the grave priests of St. Sulpice
robed in black. Order and sobriety were their watchwords, but the wild
gathering was beyond their control. The prohibition to sell brandy could
rarely be enforced; and the fair ended at times in a pandemonium of
drunken frenzy. The rapacity of trade, and the license of savages and
_coureurs de bois_, had completely transformed the pious settlement.

A similar fair was established at Three Rivers, for the Algonquin tribes
north of that place. These yearly markets did not fully answer the
desired object. There was a constant tendency among the inhabitants of
Canada to form settlements above Montreal, in order to intercept the
Indians on their way down, drench them with brandy, and get their furs
from them at low rates in advance of the fair. Such settlements were
forbidden, but not prevented. The audacious “squatter” defied
edict and ordinance and the fury of drunken savages, and boldly planted
himself in the path of the descending trade.-Nor is this a matter of
surprise; for he was usually the secret agent of some high colonial
officer, an intendant, the local governor, or the governor-general, who
often used his power to enforce the law against others, and to violate
it himself.

This was not all; for the more youthful and vigorous part of the male
population soon began to escape into the woods, and trade with the
Indians far beyond the limits of the remotest settlements. Here, too,
many of them were in league with the authorities, who denounced the
abuse while secretly favoring the portion of it in which they themselves
were interested. The home government, unable to prevent the evil, tried
to regulate it. Licenses were issued for the forest trade. * Their
number was limited to twenty-five, and the privileges which they
conferred varied at different periods. In La Hontan’s time, each
license authorized the departure of two canoes loaded with goods. One
canoe only was afterwards allowed, bearing three men with about four
hundred pounds of freight. The licenses were sometimes sold for the
profit of government, but many were given to widows of

     *  Ordres du Roy au sujet de la Traite du Canada, 1681.

officers and other needy persons, to the hospitals, or to favorites and
retainers of the governor. Those who could not themselves use them sold
them to merchants or _voyageurs_, at a price varying from a thousand to
eighteen hundred francs. They were valid for a year and a half; and each
canoeman had a share in the profits, which, if no accident happened,
were very large. The license system was several times suppressed and
renewed again; but, like the fair at Montreal, it failed completely to
answer its purpose, and restrain the young men of Canada from a general
exodus into the wilderness. *

The most characteristic features of the Canadian fur trade still remain
to be seen. Oudiette and his associates were not only charged with
collecting the revenue, but were also vested with an exclusive right of
transporting all the beaver-skins of the colony to France. On their
part they were compelled to receive all beaver-skins brought to their
magazines; and, after deducting the fourth belonging to the king, to pay
for the rest at a fixed price. This price was graduated to the different
qualities of the fur; but the average cost to the collectors was a
little more than three francs a pound. The inhabitants could barter
their furs with merchants; but the merchants must bring them all to the
magazines of Oudiette, who paid in receipts convertible into bills of
exchange. He soon found himself burdened with such a mass

     *  Before me is one of these licenses, signed by the
     governor Denonville. A condition of carrying no brandy is
     appended to it.

of beaver-skins, that the market was completely glutted. The French
hatters refused to take them all; and for the part which they consented
to take, they paid chiefly in hats, which Oudiette was not allowed to
sell in France, but only in the French West Indies, where few people
wanted them. An unlucky fashion of small hats diminished the consumption
of fur and increased his embarrassments, as did also a practice common
among the hatters of mixing rabbit fur with the beaver. In his extremity
he bethought him of setting up a hat factory for himself under the name
of a certain licensed hatter, thinking thereby to alarm his customers
into buying his stock. * The other hatters rose in wrath and petitioned
the minister. The new factory was suppressed, and Oudiette soon became
bankrupt. Another company of farmers of the revenue took his place
with similar results. The action of the law of supply and demand was
completely arrested by the peremptory edict which, with a view to
the prosperity of the colony and the profit of the king, required the
company to take every beaver-skin offered.

All Canada, thinking itself sure of its price, rushed into the beaver
trade, and the accumulation of unsalable furs became more and
more suffocating. The farmers of the revenue could not meet their
engagements. Their bills of exchange were unpaid, and Canada was
filled with distress and consternation. In 1700, a change of system was
ordered. The monopoly of exporting beaver

     *  Mémoire touchant le Commerce du Canada, 1687.

was placed in the hands of a company formed of the chief inhabitants of
Canada. Some of them hesitated to take the risk; but the government was
not to be trifled with, and the minister, Ponchartrain, wrote in terms
so peremptory, and so menacing to the recusants, that, in the words of
a writer of the time, he “shut everybody’s mouth.” About a hundred
and fifty merchants accordingly subscribed to the stock of the new
company, and immediately petitioned the king for a ship and a loan of
seven hundred thousand francs. They were required to take off the hands
of the farmers of the revenue an accumulation of more than six hundred
thousand pounds of beaver, for which, however, they were to pay but half
its usual price. The market of France absolutely refused it, and
the directors of the new company saw no better course than to burn
three-fourths of the troublesome and perishable commodity; nor was this
the first resort to this strange expedient. One cannot repress a feeling
of indignation at the fate of the interesting and unfortunate animals
uselessly sacrificed to a false economic system. In order to rid
themselves of what remained, the directors begged the king to issue a
decree, requiring all hatters to put at least three ounces of genuine
beaver-fur into each hat.

All was in vain. The affairs of the company fell into a confusion which
was aggravated by the bad faith of some of its chief members. In 1707,
it was succeeded by another company, to whose magazines every _habitant_
or merchant was ordered to bring every beaver-skin in his possession
within forty-eight hours; and the company, like its predecessors, was
required to receive it, and pay for it in written promises. Again the
market was overwhelmed with a surfeit of beaver. Again the bills of
exchange were unpaid, and all was confusion and distress. Among the
memorials and petitions to which this state of things gave birth, there
is one conspicuous by the presence of good sense and the absence
of self-interest. The writer proposes that there should be no more
monopoly, but that everybody should be free to buy beaver-skins and send
them to France, subject only to a moderate duty of entry. The proposal
was not accepted. In 1721, the monopoly of exporting beaver-skins was
given to the new West India Company; but this time it was provided
that the government should direct from time to time, according to the
capacities of the market, the quantity of furs which the company should
be forced to receive. *

Out of the beaver trade rose a huge evil, baneful to the growth and the
morals of Canada. All that was most active and vigorous in the colony
took to the woods, and escaped from the control of intendants, councils,
and priests, to the savage freedom

     *  On the fur trade the documents consulted are very
     numerous. The following are the most important: Mémoire sur
     ce qui concerne le Commerce du Castor et ses dépendances,
     1715; Mémoire concernant le Commerce le Traite entre les
     François et les Sauvages, 1691; Mémoire sur le Canada
     addressé au Régent, 1715; Mémoire sur les Affaires de Canada
     dans leur Estât présent, 1696; Mémoire des Négotiants de la
     Rochelle qui font Commerce en Canada sur la Proposition de
     ne plus recevoir les Castors et d'engager les Habitants a la
     Culture des Terres et Pesche de la Molue, 1696; Mémoire du
     Sr. Riverin sur la Traite et la Ferme du Castor, 1696;
     Mémoire touchant le Commerce du Canada, 1687, etc.

of the wilderness. Not only were the possible profits great; but, in
the pursuit of them, there was a fascinating element of adventure and
danger. The bush-rangers or _coureurs de bois_ were to the king an
object of horror. They defeated his plans for the increase of the
population, and shocked his native instinct of discipline and order.
Edict after edict was directed against them; and more than once the
colony presented the extraordinary spectacle of the greater part of its
young men turned into forest outlaws. But severity was dangerous. The
offenders might be driven over to the English, or converted into a
lawless banditti, renegades of civilization and the faith. Therefore,
clemency alternated with rigor, and declarations of amnesty with edicts
of proscription. Neither threats nor blandishments were of much avail.
We hear of seigniories abandoned; farms turning again into forests;
wives and children left in destitution. The exodus of the _coureurs de
bois_ would take, at times, the character of an organized movement. The
famous Du Lhut is said to have made a general combination of the young
men of Canada to follow him into the woods. Their plan was to be absent
four years, in order that the edicts against them might have time to
relent. The intendant Duchesneau reported that eight hundred men out of
a population of less than ten thousand souls had vanished from sight in
the immensity of a boundless wilderness. Whereupon the king ordered that
any person going into the woods without a license should be whipped and
branded for the first offence, and sent lor life to the galleys for the
second. * The order was more easily given than enforced. “I must not
conceal from you, monseigneur,” again writes Duchesneau, “that the
disobedience of the _coureurs de bois_ has reached such a point that
everybody boldly contravenes the king’s interdictions; that there
is no longer any concealment; and that parties are collected with
astonishing insolence to go and trade in the Indian country. I have done
all in my power to prevent this evil, which may cause the ruin of
the colony. I have enacted ordinances against the _coureurs de bois_;
against the merchants who furnish them with goods; against the gentlemen
and others who harbor them, and even against those who have any
knowledge of them, and will not inform the local judges. All has been in
vain; inasmuch as some of the most considerable families are interested
with them, and the governor lets them go on and even shares their
profits.” ** “You are aware, monseigneur,” writes Denonville, some
years later, “that the _coureurs de bois_ are a great evil, but you
are not aware how great this evil is. It deprives the country of
its effective men; makes them indocile, debauched, and incapable of
discipline, and turns them into pretended nobles, wearing the sword and
decked out with lace, both they and their relations, who all affect to
be gentlemen and ladies. As for cultivating the soil, they will not hear
of it.

     *  Le Roy a Frontenac, 30 Avril, 1681. On another occasion,
     it was ordered that any person thus offending should suffer

     **  N. Y. Colonial Docs., IX. 131.

This, along with the scattered condition of the settlements, causes
their children to be as unruly as Indians, being brought up in the same
manner. Not that there are not some very good people here, but they are
in a minority.” * In another despatch he enlarges on their vagabond
and lawless ways, their indifference to marriage, and the mischief
caused by their example; describes how, on their return from the woods,
they swagger like lords, spend all their gains in dress and drunken
revelry, and despise the peasants, whose daughters they will not deign
to marry, though they are peasants themselves.

It was a curious scene when a party of _coureurs de bois_ returned from
their rovings. Montreal was their harboring place, and they conducted
themselves much like the crew of a man-of-war paid off after a long
voyage. As long as their beaver-skins lasted, they set no bounds to
their riot. Every house in the place, we are told, was turned into a
drinking shop. The newcomers were bedizened with a strange mixture
of French and Indian finery; while some of them, with instincts more
thoroughly savage, stalked about the streets as naked as a Pottawattamie
or a Sioux. The clamor of tongues was prodigious, and gambling and
drinking filled the day and the night. When at last they were sober
again, they sought absolution for their sins; nor could the priests
venture to bear too hard on their unruly penitents,

     *  Denonville, Mémoire sur l’Estât des Affaires de le
     Nouvelle France.

lest they should break wholly with the church and dispense thenceforth
with her sacraments.

Under such leaders as Du Lhut, the _coureurs de bois_ built forts of
palisades at various points throughout the West and Northwest. They
had a post of this sort at Detroit some time before its permanent
settlement, as well as others on Lake Superior and in the valley of the
Mississippi. They occupied them as long as it suited their purposes, and
then abandoned them to the next comer. Michillimackinac was, however,
their chief resort; and thence they would set out, two or three
together, to roam for hundreds of miles through the endless meshwork of
interlocking lakes and rivers which seams the northern wilderness.

No wonder that a year or two of bush-ranging spoiled them for
civilization. Though not a very valuable member of society, and though
a thorn in the side of princes and rulers, the _coureur de bois_ had his
uses, at least from an artistic point of view; and his strange figure,
sometimes brutally savage, but oftener marked with the lines of a
dare-devil courage, and a reckless, thoughtless gayety, will always be
joined to the memories of that grand world of woods which the
nineteenth century is fast civilizing out of existence. At least, he is
picturesque, and with his red-skin companion serves to animate forest
scenery. Perhaps he could sometimes feel, without knowing that he felt
them, the charms of the savage nature that had adopted him. Rude as he
was, her voice may not always have been meaningless for one who knew her
haunts so well; deep recesses where, veiled in foliage, some wild shy
rivulet steals with timid music through breathless caves of verdure;
gulfs where feathered crags rise like castle walls, where the noonday
sun pierces with keen rays athwart the torrent, and the mossed arms
of fallen pines cast wavering shadows on the illumined foam; pools of
liquid crystal turned emerald in the reflected green of impending
woods; rocks on whose rugged front the gleam of sunlit waters dances in
quivering light; ancient trees hurled headlong by the storm to dam the
raging stream with their forlorn and savage ruin; or the stern depths
of immemorial forests, dim and silent as a cavern, columned with
innumerable trunks, each like an Atlas upholding its world of leaves,
and sweating perpetual moisture down its dark and channelled rind; some
strong in youth, some grisly with decrepit age, nightmares of strange
distortion, gnarled and knotted with wens and goitres; roots intertwined
beneath like serpents petrified in an agony of contorted strife; green
and glistening mosses carpeting the rough ground, mantling the rocks,
turning pulpy stumps to mounds of verdure, and swathing fallen trunks
as bent in the impotence of rottenness, they lie outstretched over
knoll and hollow, like mouldering reptiles of the primeval world, while
around, and on and through them, springs the young growth that battens
on their decay,--the forest devouring its own dead. Or, to turn from its
funereal shade to the light and life of the open woodland, the sheen of
sparkling lakes, and mountains basking in the glory of the summer noon,
flecked by the shadows of passing clouds that sail on snowy wings across
the transparent azure.

Yet it would be false coloring to paint the half-savage _coureur de
bois_ as a romantic lover of nature. He liked the woods because they
emancipated him from restraint. He liked the lounging ease of the
campfire, and the license of Indian villages. His life has a dark and
ugly side, which is nowhere drawn more strongly than in a letter written
by the Jesuit Carheil to the intendant Champigny. It was at a time
when some of the outlying forest posts, originally either missions
or transient stations of _coureurs de bois_, had received regular
garrisons. Carheil writes from Michillimackinac, and describes the
state of things around him like one whom long familiarity with them had
stripped of every illusion.

But here, for the present, we pause; for the father touches on other
matters than the _coureurs de bois_, and we reserve him and his letter
for the next chapter.


_The Jesuits and the Iroquois.--Mission Villages.--Michillimackinac.
--Father Carheil.--Temperance.--Brandy and the Indians.--Strong
Measures.--Disputes.--License and Prohibition.--Views of the
King.--Trade and the Jesuits._

|For a year or two after De Tracy had chastised the Mohawks, and humbled
the other Iroquois nations, all was rose color on the side of that
dreaded confederacy. The Jesuits, defiant as usual of hardship and
death, had begun their ruined missions anew. Bruyas took the Mission
of the Martyrs among the Mohawks; Milet, that of Saint Francis Xavier,
among the Oneidas; Lamberville, that of Saint John the Baptist among the
Onondagas; Carheil, that of Saint Joseph among the Cayugas; and Raffeix
and Julien Gamier shared between them the three missions of the Senecas.
The Iroquois, after their punishment, were in a frame of mind so
hopeful, that the fathers imagined for a moment that they were all on
the point of accepting the faith. This was a consummation earnestly to
be wished, not only from a religious, but also from a political point of
view. The complete conversion of the Iroquois meant their estrangement
from the heretic English and Dutch, and their firm alliance with the
French. It meant safety for Canada, and it ensured for her the fur trade
of the interior freed from English rivalry. Hence the importance of
these missions, and hence their double character. While the Jesuit
toiled to convert his savage hosts, he watched them at the same time
with the eye of a shrewd political agent; reported at Quebec the result
of his observations, and by every means in his power sought to alienate
them from England, and attach them to France.

Their simple conversion, by placing them wholly under his influence,
would have outweighed in political value all other agencies combined;
but the flattering hopes of the earlier years soon vanished. Some petty
successes against other tribes so elated the Iroquois, that they ceased
to care for French alliance or French priests. Then a few petty reverses
would dash their spirits, and dispose them again to listen to Jesuit
counsels. Every success of a war-party was a loss to the faith, and
every reverse was a gain. Meanwhile a more repulsive or a more critical
existence than that of a Jesuit father in an Iroquois town is scarcely
conceivable. The torture of prisoners turned into a horrible festivity
for the whole tribe; foul and crazy orgies in which, as the priest
thought, the powers of darkness took a special delight; drunken riots,
the work of Dutch brandy, when he was forced to seek refuge from death
in his chapel, a sanctuary which superstitious fear withheld the Indians
from violating; these, and a thousand disgusts and miseries, filled the
record of his days, and he bore them all in patience. Not only were the
early Canadian Jesuits men of an intense religious zeal, but they were
also men who lived not for themselves but for their order. Their faults
were many and great, but the grandeur of their self-devotion towers
conspicuous over all.

At Caughnawaga, near Montreal, may still be seen the remnants of a
mission of converted Iroquois, whom the Jesuits induced to leave the
temptations of their native towns and settle here, under the wing of the
church. They served as a bulwark against the English, and sometimes
did good service in time of war. At Sillery, near Quebec, a band of
Abenaquis, escaping from the neighborhood of the English towards the
close of Philip’s War, formed another mission of similar character.
The Sulpitians had a third at the foot of the mountain of Montreal,
where two massive stone towers of the fortified Indian town are standing
to this day. All these converted savages, as well as those of Lorette
and other missions far and near, were used as allies in war, and
launched in scalping parties against the border settlements of New

Not only the Sulpitians, but also the seminary priests of Quebec, the
Recollets, and even the Capuchins, had missions more or less important,
and more or less permanent; but the Jesuits stood always in the van of
religious and political propagandism; and all the forest tribes
felt their influence, from Acadia and Maine to the plains beyond the
Mississippi. Next in importance to their Iroquois missions were those
among the Algonquins of the northern lakes. Here was the grand domain of
the beaver trade; and the chief woes of the missionary sprang not from
the Indians, but from his own countrymen. Beaver-skins had produced an
effect akin to that of gold in our own day, and the deepest recesses of
the wilderness were invaded by eager seekers after gain. The focus of
the evil was at Father Marquette’s old mission of Michillimackinac.

First, year after year came a riotous invasion of _coureurs de bois_,
and then a garrison followed to crown the mischief. Discipline was very
weak at these advanced posts, and, to eke out their pay, the soldiers
were allowed to trade; brandy, whether permitted or interdicted, being
the chief article of barter. Father Etienne Carheil was driven almost
to despair; and he wrote to the intendant, his fast friend and former
pupil, the long letter already mentioned. “Our missions,” he says,
“are reduced to such extremity that we can no longer maintain them
against the infinity of disorder, brutality, violence, injustice,
impiety, impurity, insolence, scorn, and insult, which the deplorable
and infamous traffic in brandy has spread universally among the Indians
of these parts.... In the despair in which we are plunged, nothing
remains for us but to abandon them to the brandy sellers as a domain of
drunkenness and debauchery.”

He complains bitterly of the officers in command of the fort, who, he
says, far from repressing disorders, encourage them by their example,
and are even worse than their subordinates, “insomuch that all our
Indian villages are so many taverns for drunkenness and Sodoms for
iniquity, which we shall be forced to leave to the just wrath and
vengeance of God.” He insists that the garrisons are entirely useless,
as they have only four occupations: first, to keep open liquor shops
for crowds of drunken Indians; secondly, to roam from place to place,
carrying goods and brandy under the orders of the commandant, who shares
their profits; thirdly, to gamble day and night; fourthly, to “turn
the fort into a place which I am ashamed to call by its right name;”
and he describes, with a curious amplitude of detail, the swarms
of Indian girls who are hired to make it their resort. “Such,
monseigneur, are the only employments of the soldiers maintained here so
many years. If this can be called doing the king service, I admit that
such service is done for him here now, and has always been done for him
here; but I never saw any other done in my life.” He further declares
that the commandants oppose and malign the missionaries, while of the
presents which the king sends up the country for distribution to the
Indians, they, the Indians, get nothing but a little tobacco, and the
officer keeps the rest for himself. *

     *  Of the officers in command at Michillimackinac while
     Carheil was there, he partially excepts La Durantaye from
     his strictures, but bears very hard on La Motte-Cadillac,
     who hated the Jesuits and was hated by them in turn. La
     Motte, on his part, writes that “the missionaries wish to be
     masters wherever they are, and cannot tolerate anybody above
     themselves.” N. Y. Colonial Docs., IX. 587. For much more
     emphatic expressions of his views concerning them, see two
     letters from him, translated in Sheldon’s Early History of

From the misconduct of officers and soldiers, he passes to that of the
_coureurs de bois_ and licensed traders; and here he is equally severe.
He dilates on the evils which result from permitting the colonists to
go to the Indians instead of requiring the Indians to come to the
settlements. “It serves only to rob the country of all its young
men, weaken families, deprive wives of their husbands, sisters of
their brothers, and parents of their children; expose the voyagers to
a hundred dangers of body and soul; involve them in a multitude of
expenses, some necessary, some useless, and some criminal; accustom them
to do no work, and at last disgust them with it for ever; make them live
in constant idleness, unlit them completely for any trade, and render
them useless to themselves, their families, and the public. But it is
less as regards the body than as regards the soul, that this traffic of
the French among the savages is infinitely hurtful. It carries them far
away from churches, separates them from priests and nuns, and severs
them from all instruction, all exercise of religion, and all spiritual
aid. It sends them into places wild and almost inaccessible, through
a thousand perils by land and water, to carry on by base, abject,
and shameful means a trade which would much better be carried on at

But in the complete transfer of the trade to Montreal, he sees
insuperable difficulties, and he proceeds to suggest, as the last
and best resort, that garrisons and officers should be withdrawn, and
licenses abolished; that discreet and virtuous persons should be chosen
to take charge of all the trade of the upper country; that these persons
should be in perfect sympathy and correspondence with the Jesuits; and
that the trade should be carried on at the missions of the Jesuits and
in their presence. *

This letter brings us again face to face with the brandy question, of
which we have seen something already in the quarrel between Avaugour
and the bishop. In the summer of 1648, there was held at the mission
of Sillery a temperance meeting; the first in all probability on this
continent. The drum beat after mass, and the Indians gathered at the
summons. Then an Algonquin chief, a zealous convert of the Jesuits,
proclaimed to the crowd a late edict of the governor imposing penalties
for drunkenness, and, in his own name and that of the other chiefs,
exhorted them to abstinence, declaring that all drunkards should be
handed over to the French for punishment. Father Jerome Lalemant
looked on delighted. “It was,” he says, “the finest public act
of jurisdiction exercised among the Indians since I have been in
this country. From the beginning of the world they have all thought
themselves as great lords, the one as the other, and never before
submitted to their chiefs any further than they chose to do so.” *

     *  Lettre du Pere Etienne Carheil de la Compagnie de Jésus à
     l'Intendant Champigny, Michillimackinac, 30 Août, 1702
     (Archives Nationales) Lalemant, Rel, 1648, p. 43.

There was great need of reform; for a demon of drunkenness seemed to
possess these unhappy tribes. Nevertheless, with all their rage for
brandy, they sometimes showed in regard to it a self-control quite
admirable in its way. When at a fair, a council, or a friendly visit,
their entertainers regaled them with rations of the coveted liquor, so
prudently measured out that they could not be the worse for it, they
would unite their several portions in a common stock, which they would
then divide among a few of their number, thus enabling them to attain
that complete intoxication which, in their view, was the true end of
all drinking. The objects of this singular benevolence were expected to
requite it in kind on some future occasion.

A drunken Indian with weapons within reach, was very dangerous, and
all prudent persons kept out of his way. This greatly pleased him; for,
seeing everybody run before him, he fancied himself a great chief,
and howled and swung his tomahawk with redoubled fury. If, as often
happened, he maimed or murdered some wretch not nimble enough to escape,
his countrymen absolved him from all guilt, and blamed only the brandy.
Hence, if an Indian wished to take a safe revenge on some personal
enemy, he would pretend to be drunk; and, not only murders but other
crimes were often committed by false claimants to the bacchanalian

In the eyes of the missionaries, brandy was a fiend with all crimes
and miseries in his train; and, in fact, nothing earthly could better
deserve the epithet infernal than an Indian town in the height of a
drunken debauch. The orgies never ceased till the bottom of the
barrel was reached. Then came repentance, despair, wailing, and bitter
invective against the white men, the cause of all the woe. In the name
of the public good, of humanity, and above all of religion, the bishop
and the Jesuits denounced the fatal traffic.

Their case was a strong one; but so was the case of their opponents.
There was real and imminent danger that the thirsty savages, if refused
brandy by the French, would seek it from the Dutch and English of New
York. It was the most potent lure and the most killing bait. Wherever it
was found, thither the Indians and their beaver-skins were sure to go,
and the interests of the fur trade, vital to the colony, were bound
up with it. Nor was this all, for the merchants and the civil powers
insisted that religion and the saving of souls were bound up with it no
less; since, to repel the Indians from the Catholic French, and attract
them to the heretic English, was to turn them from ways of grace to
ways of perdition. * The argument, no doubt, was dashed largely with
hypocrisy in those who used it; but it was one which the priests were
greatly perplexed to answer.

In former days, when Canada was not yet transformed from a mission to a
colony, the Jesuits entered with a high hand on the work of reform.

     *  “Ce commerce est absolument nécessaire pour attirer les
     sauvages dans les colonies françoises, et par ce moyen leur
     donner les premières teintures de la foy.” Mémoire de
     Colbert, joint à sa lettre à Duchesneau du 24 Mai, 1678.

It fared hard with the culprit caught in the act of selling brandy to
Indians. They led him, after the sermon, to the door of the church;
where, kneeling on the pavement, partially stript and bearing in his
hand the penitential torch, he underwent a vigorous flagellation, laid
on by Father Le Mercier himself, after the fashion formerly practised in
the case of refractory school-boys. * Bishop Laval not only discharged
against the offenders volleys of wholesale excommunication, but he made
of the offence a “reserved case;” that is, a case in which the power
of granting absolution was reserved to himself alone. This produced
great commotion, and a violent conflict between religious scruples and
a passion for gain. The bishop and the Jesuits stood inflexible; while
their opponents added bitterness to the quarrel by charging them with
permitting certain favored persons to sell brandy, unpunished, and even
covertly selling it themselves. **

     *  Mémoire de Dumesnil, 1671.

     **  Lettre de Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, 24 Oct., 1693.
     After speaking of the excessive rigor of the bishop, he
     adds: “L’on dit, et il est vrai, que dans ces temps si
     fâcheux, sous prétexte de pauvreté dans les familles,
     certaines gens avoient permission d’en traiter, je crois
     toujours avec la réserve de ne pas enivrer.” Dumesnil,
     Mémoire de 1671, says that Laval excommunicated all brandy-
     sellers, “à l’exception, néanmoins, de quelques particuliers
     qu’il voulait favoriser.” He says further that the bishop
     and the Jesuit Ragueneau had a clerk whom they employed at
     500 francs a year to trade with the Indians, paying them in
     liquors for their furs; and that for a time the
     ecclesiastics had this trade to themselves, their severities
     having deterred most others from venturing into it. La
     Salle, Mémoire de 1678, declares that, “Ils (les Jésuites)
     refusent l’absolution a ceux qui ne veulent pas promettre de
     n’en plus vendre, et s’ils meurent en cet état, ils les
     privent de la sépulture ecclésiastique: au contraire, ils so
     permettent à eux mesmes sans aucune difficulté ce mesme
     trafic, quoyque toute sorte de trafic soit interdite à tous
     les ecclésiastiques par les ordonnances du Roy et par une
     bulle expresse du Pape.” I give these assertions as I find
     them, and for what they are worth.

Appeal was made to the king, who, with his Jesuit confessor, guardian
of his conscience on one side, and Colbert, guardian of his worldly
interests on the other, stood in some perplexity. The case was referred
to the fathers of the Sorbonne, and they, after solemn discussion,
pronounced the selling of brandy to Indians a mortal sin. * It was
next referred to an assembly of the chief merchants and inhabitants of
Canada, held under the eye of the governor, intendant, and council, in
the Chateau St. Louis. Each was directed to state his views in writing.
The great majority were for unrestricted trade in brandy; a few were for
a limited and guarded trade; and two or three declared for prohibition.
** Decrees of prohibition were passed from time to time, but they were
unavailing. They were revoked, renewed, and revoked again. They were, in
fact, worse than useless; for their chief effect was to turn traders
and _coureurs de bois_ into troops of audacious contrabandists. Attempts
were made to limit the brandy trade to the settlements, and exclude it
from the forest country, where its regulation was impossible; but these
attempts, like the others, were of little avail. It is worthy of notice
that, when brandy was forbidden everywhere else, it was permitted in the
trade of Tadoussac, carried on for the profit of government. ***

     *  Délibération de la Sorbonne sur la Traite des Boissons, 8
     Mars, 1676.

     **  Procès-verbal de l’Assemblée tenue au Château de St.
     Louis de Québec, le 26 Oct., 1676, et jours suivants.

     ***  Lettre de Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, 24 Oct., 1693.
     In the course of the quarrel a severe law passed by the
     General Court of Massachusetts against the sale of liquors
     to Indians was several times urged as an example to be
     imitated. A copy of it was sent to the minister, and is
     still preserved in the Archives of the Marine and Colonies.

In spite of the Sorbonne, in spite of Père La Chaise, and of the
Archbishop of Paris, whom he also consulted, the king was never at heart
a prohibitionist. * His Canadian revenue was drawn from the fur
trade; and the singular argument of the partisans of brandy, that its
attractions were needed to keep the Indians from contact with heresy,
served admirably to salve his conscience. Bigot as he was, he distrusted
the Bishop of Quebec, the great champion of the anti-liquor movement.
His own letters, as well as those of his minister, prove that he saw or
thought that he saw motives for the crusade very different from those
inscribed on its banners. He wrote to Saint-Vallier, Laval’s successor
in the bishopric, that the brandy trade was very useful to the kingdom
of France; that it should be regulated, but not prevented; that the
consciences of his subjects must not be disturbed by denunciations of
it as a sin; and that “it is well that you (_the bishop_) should
take care that the zeal of the ecclesiastics is not excited by personal
interests and passions.” ** Perhaps he alludes to the spirit of
encroachment and domination which he and his minister in secret
instructions to their officers often impute to the bishop and the
clergy, or perhaps he may have in mind other accusations which had
reached him

     *  See, among other evidence, Mémoire sur la Traite des
     Boissons, 1678.

     **  Le Roy à Saint-Vallier, 7 Avril, 1691

from time to time during many years, and of which the following from the
pen of the most noted of Canadian governors will serve as an example.
Count Frontenac declares that the Jesuits greatly exaggerate the
disorders caused by brandy, and that they easily convince persons
“who do not know the interested motives which have led them to harp
continually on this string for more than forty years.... They have long
wished to have the fur trade entirely to themselves, and to keep out
of sight the trade which they have always carried on in the woods, and
which they are carrying on there now.” *

_Trade of the Jesuits._--As I have observed in a former volume, the
charge against the Jesuits of trading in beaver-skins dates from
the beginning of the colony. In the private journal of Father Jerome
Lalemant, their superior, occurs the following curious passage, under
date of November, 1645: “Pour la traite des castors. Le 15 de Nov.
le bruit estant qu’on s’en alloit icy publier la defense qui auoit
esté publiée aux Trois Riuieres que pas vu n’eut à traiter avec les
sauvages, le P. Vimont demanda à Mons. des Chastelets commis general
si nous serions de pire condition soubs eux que soubs Messieurs de la
Compagnie. La conclusion fut que non et que cela iroit pour nous à
U ordinaire, mais que nous le fissions doucement.” Journal des
Jésuites. Two years after, on the request of Lalemant, the governor
Montmagny, and his destined successor Aillebout, gave the Jesuits a
certificate to the effect that “les pères de la compagnie de Jésus
sont innocents de la calomnie qui leur a été imputée, et ce qu’ils
en ont fiait a été pour le bien de la communauté et pour un bon
sujet.” This leaves it to be inferred that they actually
traded, though with good intentions. In 1664, in reply to similar
“calumnies,” the Jesuits made by proxy a declaration before the
council, stating, “que les dits Révérends Pères Jésuites
n’ont fait jamais aucune profession de vendre et n’ont jamais
rien vendu, mais seulement que les marchandises qu’ils donnent aux
particuliers ne sont que pour avoir leurs

     *  Frontenac au Ministre, 29 Oct., 1676.

nécessités.” This is an admission in a thin disguise. The word
nécessités is of very elastic interpretation. In a memoir of Talon,
1667, he mentions, “la traite de pelleteries qu’on assure qu’ils
(les Jésuites) font aux Outaouacks et au Cap de la Madeleine; ce que je
ne sais pas de science certaine.”

That which Talon did not know with certainty is made reasonably clear
for us by a line in the private journal of Father Le Mercier, who writes
under date of 17 August, 1665, “Le Père Frémin remonte supérieur
au Cap de la Magdeleine, ou le temporel est en bon estât. Comme il
est delivre de tout soin d'aucune traite, il doit s’appliquer à
l’instruction tant des Montagnets que des Algonquins.” Father
Charles Albanel was charged, under Frémin, with the affairs of the
mission, including doubtless the temporal interests, to the prosperity
of which Father Le Merciei alludes, and the cares of trade from which
Father Frémin was delivered. Cavelier de la Salle declared in 1678,
“Le père Arbanelle (Albanel) jésuite a traité au Cap (de la
Madeleine) pour 700 pistoles de peaux d’orignaux et de castors; luy
mesme me l’a dit en 1667. Il vend le pain, le vin, le bled, le lard,
et il tient magazin au Cap aussi bien que le frère Joseph à Québec.
Ce frère gagne 500 pour 100 sur tous les peuples. Ils (les Jésuites)
ont bâti leur collège en partie de leur traite et en partie de
l’emprunt.” La Salle further says that Frémin, being reported to
have made enormous profits, “ce père répondit au gouverneur (qui
lui en avait fait des plaintes) par un billet que luy a conservé, que
c’estoit une calomnie que ce grand gain prétendu; puisque tout ce qui
se passoit par ses mains ne pouvoit produire par an que quatre mille
de revenant bon, tous frais faits, sans comprendre les gages des
domestiques.” La Salle gives also many other particulars, especially
relating to Michillimackinac, where, as he says, the Jesuits had a large
stock of beaver-skins. According to Peronne Dumesnil, Mémoire de 1671,
the Jesuits had at that time more than 20,000 francs a year, partly
from trade and partly from charitable contributions of their friends in

The king repeatedly forbade the Jesuits and other ecclesiastics in
Canada to carry on trade. On one occasion he threatened strong measures
should they continue to disobey him. Le Roi à Frontenac, 28 Avril,
1677. In the same year the minister wrote to the intendant Duchesneau:
“Vous ne sauriez apporter trop de precautions pour abolir entièrement
la coustume que les Ecclesiastiques séculiers et réguliers avaient
pris de traitter ou de faire traitter leurs valets,” 18 Avril, 1677.

The Jesuits entered also into other branches of trade and industry with
a vigor and address which the inhabitants of Canada might have emulated
with advantage. They were successful fishers of eels. In 1646, their
eel-pots at Sillery are said to have yielded no less than forty thousand
eels, some of which they sold at the modest price of thirty sous a
hundred. Ferland, Notes sur les Registres de N. D. de Québec, 82. The
members of the order were exempted from payment of duties, and in 1674
they were specially empowered to construct mills, including sugar-mills,
and beep slaves, apprentices, and hired servants. Droit Canadien, 180.


_Church and State.--The Bishop and the King.--The King and the
Cures.--The New Bishop.--The Canadian Cure.--Ecclesiastical
Rule.--Saint-Vallier and Denonville.--Clerical Rigor.--Jesuit and
Sulpitian.--Courcelle and Châtelain.--The Recollets.--Heresy
and Witchcraft.--Canadian Nuns.--Jeanne Le Ber.--Education.--The
Seminary.--Saint Joachim.--Miracles op Saint Anne.--Canadian Schools._

|When Laval and the Jesuits procured the recall of Mézy, they achieved
a seeming triumph; yet it was but a defeat in disguise. While ordering
home the obnoxious governor, the king and Colbert made a practical
assertion of their power too strong to be resisted. A vice-regal
officer, a governor, an intendant, and a regiment of soldiers, were
silent but convincing proofs that the mission days of Canada were over,
and the dream of a theocracy dispelled for ever. The ecclesiastics read
the signs of the times, and for a while seemed to accept the situation.

The king on his part, in vindicating the civil power, had shown a
studious regard to the sensibilities of the bishop and his allies. The
lieutenant-general Tracy, a zealous devotee, and the intendant Talon,
who at least professed to be one, were not men to offend the clerical
party needlessly. In the choice of Courcelle, the governor, a little
less caution had been shown. His chief business was to fight the
Iroquois, for which he was well fitted, but he presently showed signs of
a willingness to fight the Jesuits also. The colonists liked him for his
lively and impulsive speech; but the priests were of a different mind,
and so, too, was his colleague Talon, a prudent person who studied
the amenities of life and knew how to pursue his ends with temper
and moderation. On the subject of the clergy he and the governor
substantially agreed, but the ebullitions of the one and the smooth
discretion of the other were mutually repugnant to both. Talon
complained of his colleague’s impetuosity; and Colbert directed him
to use his best efforts to keep Courcelle within bounds and prevent him
from publicly finding fault with the bishop and the Jesuits.* Next we
find the minister writing to Courcelle himself to soothe his ruffled
temper, and enjoining him to act discreetly, “because,” said
Colbert, “as the colony grows the king’s authority will grow with
it, and the authority of the priests will be brought back in time within
lawful bounds.” **

Meanwhile, Talon had been ordered to observe carefully the conduct
of the bishop and the Jesuits, “who,” says the minister, “have
hitherto nominated governors for the king, and used every

     *  Colbert a Talon, 20 Fev., 1668.

     **  Colbert a Courcelle, 19 Mai, 1669

means to procure the recall of those chosen without their participation;
* filled offices with their adherents, and tolerated no secular priests
except those of one mind with them.” ** Talon, therefore, under the
veil of a reverent courtesy, sharply watched them. They paid courtesy
with courtesy, and the intendant wrote home to his master that he saw
nothing amiss in them. He quickly changed his mind. “I should have had
less trouble and more praise,” he writes in the next year, “if I had
been willing to leave the power of the church ¦where I found it.” ***
“It is easy,” he says again,

“to incur the ill-will of the Jesuits if one does not accept all their
opinions and abandon one’s self to their direction even in temporal
matters; for their encroachments extend to affairs of police, which
concern only the civil magistrate;” and he recommends that one or two
of them be sent home as disturbers of the peace. **** They, on their
part, changed attitude towards both him and the governor. One of them,
Father Bardy, less discreet than the rest, is said to have preached a
sermon against them at Quebec, in which he likened them to a pair of
toadstools springing up in a night, adding that a good remedy would soon
be found, and that Courcelle would have to run home like other governors
before him. (v)

Tracy escaped clerical attacks. He was

     *  Instruction au Sieur Talon.

     **  Mémoire pour M. de Tracy.

     ***  Talon au Ministre, 13 Nov., 1666.

     ****  Talon, Mémoire de 1667.

     (v)  La Salle, Mémoire de 1678 This sermon was preached on
     the 12th of March, 1667.

extremely careful not to provoke them; and one of his first acts was
to restore to the council the bishop’s adherents, whom Mézy had
expelled. * And if, on the one hand, he was too pious to quarrel with
the bishop, so, on the other, the bishop was too prudent to invite
collision with a man of his rank and influence.

After all, the dispute between the civil and ecclesiastical powers was
not fundamental. Each had need of the other. Both rested on authority,
and they differed only as to the boundary lines of their respective
shares in it. Yet the dispute of boundaries was a serious one, and it
remained a source of bitterness for many years. The king, though rigidly
Catholic, was not yet sunk in the slough of bigotry into which Maintenon
and the Jesuits succeeded at last in plunging him. He had conceived a
distrust of Laval, and his jealousy of his royal authority disposed him
to listen to the anti-clerical counsels of his minister. How needful
they both thought it to prune the exuberant growth of clerical power,
and how cautiously they set themselves to do so, their letters attest
again and again. “The bishop,” writes Colbert, “assumes a
domination far beyond that of other bishops throughout the Christian
world, and particularly in the kingdom of France.” ** “It is the
will of his Majesty that you confine him and the Jesuits within just
bounds, and let none of them

     *  A curious account of his relations with Laval is given in
     a letter of La Motte-Cadillac, 28 September, 1694.

     **  Colbert a Duchesneau, 1 Mai, 1677.

overstep these bounds in any manner whatsoever. Consider this as a
matter of the greatest importance, and one to which you cannot give too
much attention.” * “But,” the prudent minister elsewhere writes,
“it is of the greatest consequence that the bishop and the Jesuits do
not perceive that the intendant blames their conduct.” **

It was to the same intendant that Colbert wrote, “it is necessary to
diminish as much as possible the excessive number of priests, monks,
and nuns, in Canada.” Yet in the very next year, and on the advice of
Talon, he himself sent four more to the colony. His motive was plain. He
meant that they should serve as a counterpoise to the Jesuits. *** They
were mendicant friars, belonging to the branch of the Franciscans known
as the Recollets; and they were supposed to be free from the ambition
for the aggrandizement of their order which was imputed, and with
reason, to the Jesuits. Whether the Recollets were free from it or not,
no danger was to be feared from them; for Laval and the Jesuits were
sure to oppose them, and they would need the support of the government
too much to set themselves in opposition to it. “The more Recollets we
have,” says Talon, “the better will the too firmly rooted authority
of the others be balanced.” ****

While Louis XIV. tried to confine the priests to

     *  Colbert a Duchesneau, 28 Avril, 1677.

     **  Instruction pour M. Bouteroue, 1668.

     ***  Mémoire succinct des principaux points des intentions
     du Roy sur le pays de Canada, 18 Mai, 1669.

     ****  Talon au Ministre, 10 Oct., 1670.

their ecclesiastical functions, he was at the same time, whether from
religion, policy, or both combined, very liberal to the Canadian church,
of which, indeed, he was the mainstay. In the yearly estimate of
“ordinary charges” of the colony, the church holds the most
prominent place; and the appropriations for religious purposes often
exceed all the rest together. Thus, in 1667, out of a total of 36,360
francs, 28,000 are assigned to church uses. * The amount fluctuated, but
was always relatively large. The Canadian curés were paid in great
part by the king, who for many years gave eight thousand francs annually
towards their support. Such was the poverty of the country that, though
in 1685 there were only twenty-five curés, ** each costing about five
hundred francs a year, the tithes utterly failed to meet the expense.
As late as 1700, the intendant declared that Canada without the king’s
help could not maintain more than eight or nine curés. Louis XIV.
winced under these steady demands, and reminded the bishop that more
than four thousand curés in France lived on less than two hundred
francs a year. *** “You say,” he wrote to the intendant, “that it
is impossible for a Canadian curé to live on five hundred francs. Then

     *  Of this, 6,000 francs were given to the Jesuits, 6,000 to
     the Ursulines, 9,000 to the cathedral, 4,000 to the
     seminary, and 3,000 to the Hôtel-Dieu. Etat de dépense,
     etc., 1677. The rest went to pay civil officers and
     garrisons. In 1682, the amount for church uses was only
     12,000 francs. In 1687 it was 13,500. In 1689, it rose to
     34,000, including Acadia.

     **  Increased soon after to thirty-six by Saint-Vallier,
     Laval’s successor.

     ***  Mémoire a Duchesneau, 15 Mai, 1678; Le Roy a
     Duchesneau, 11 Juin, 1680.

must do the impossible to accomplish my intentions, which are always
that the curés should live on the tithes alone.” * Yet the head of
the church still begged for money, and the king still paid it. “We
are in the midst of a costly war,” wrote the minister to the bishop,
“yet in consequence of your urgency the gifts to ecclesiastics will
be continued as before.” ** And they did continue. More than half a
century later, the king was still making them, and during the last
years of the colony he gave twenty thousand francs annually to support
Canadian curés. ***

The maintenance of curés was but a part of his bounty. He endowed the
bishopric with the revenues of two French abbeys, to which he afterwards
added a third. The vast tracts of land which Laval had acquired were
freed from feudal burdens, and emigrants were sent to them by the
government in such numbers that, in 1667, the bishop’s seigniory
of Beaupré and Orleans contained more than a fourth of the entire
population of Canada. **** He had emerged from his condition of
apostolic poverty to find himself the richest landowner in the colony.

If by favors like these the king expected to lead the ecclesiastics into
compliance with his

     *  Le Roy a Duchesneau, 30 Avril, 1681.

     **  Le Ministre a l’Evêque, 8 Mai, 1694.

     ***   Bougainville, Mémoire, 1757.

     ****  Entire population, 4,312; Beaupré and Orleans, 1,185.
     Recensement de 1667. Laval, it will be remembered,
     afterwards gave his lands to the seminary of Quebec. He
     previously exchanged the island of Orleans with the Sieur
     Berthelot for the island of Jesus. Berthelot gave him a
     large sum of money in addition.

wishes, he was doomed to disappointment. The system of movable curés,
by which the bishop like a military chief could compel each member of
his clerical army to come and go at his bidding, was from the first
repugnant to Louis XIV. On the other hand, the bishop clung to it with
his usual tenacity. Colbert denounced it as contrary to the laws of the
kingdom. * “His Majesty has reason to believe,” he writes, “that
the chief source of the difficulty which the bishop makes on this point
is his wish to preserve a greater authority over the curés.” **
The inflexible prelate, whose heart was bound up in the system he had
established, opposed evasion and delay to each expression of the royal
will; and even a royal edict failed to produce the desired effect. In
the height of the dispute, Laval went to court, and, on the ground of
failing health, asked for a successor in the bishopric. The king readily
granted his prayer. The successor was appointed; but when Laval prepared
to embark again for Canada, he was given to understand that he was to
remain in France. In vain he promised to make no trouble; *** and it was
not till after an absence of four years that he was permitted to return,
no longer as its chief, to his beloved Canadian church. ****

     *  Le Ministre a Duchesneau, 15 Mai, 1678.

     **  Instruction a M. de Meules, 1682.

     ***  Laval au Père la Chaise, 1687. This forms part of a
     curious correspondence printed in the Foyer Canadien for
     1866, from originals in the Archevêché of Quebec.

     ****  From a mémoire of 18 Feb., 1685 (Archives de
     Versailles) it is plain that the court, in giving a
     successor to Laval, thought that it had ended the vexed
     question of movable curés.

Meanwhile Saint-Vallier, the new bishop, had raised a new tempest. He
attacked that organization of the seminary of Quebec by which Laval had
endeavored to unite the secular priests of Canada into an attached and
obedient family, with the bishop as its head and the seminary as its
home, a plan of which the system of movable curés was an essential
part. The Canadian priests, devoted to Laval, met the innovations
of Saint-Vallier with an opposition which seemed only to confirm his
purpose. Laval, old and worn with toil and asceticism, was driven almost
to despair. The seminary of Quebec was the cherished work of his life,
and, to his thinking, the citadel of the Canadian church; and now he
beheld it battered and breached before his eyes. His successor, in fact,
was trying to place the church of Canada on the footing of the church
of France. The conflict lasted for years, with the rancor that marks the
quarrels of non-combatants of both sexes. “He” (_Saint-Vallier_),
says one of his opponents, “has made himself contemptible to almost
everybody, and particularly odious to the priests born in Canada;
for there is between them and him a mutual antipathy difficult to
overcome.” * He is described by the same writer as a person “without
reflection and judgment, extreme in all things, secret and artful,
passionate when opposed, and a flatterer when he wishes to gain his
point.” This amiable critic adds that Saint-Vallier believes a

     *  The above is from an anonymous paper, written apparently
     in 1695 and entitled Mémoire pour le Canada.

bishop to be inspired, in virtue of his office, with a wisdom that needs
no human aid, and that whatever thought comes to him in prayer is a
divine inspiration to be carried into effect at all costs and in spite
of all opposition.

The new bishop, notwithstanding the tempest he had raised, did not fully
accomplish that establishment of the curés in their respective parishes
which the king and the minister so much desired. The Canadian curé was
more a missionary than a parish priest; and nature as well as Bishop
Laval threw difficulties in the way of settling him quietly over his

On the Lower St. Lawrence, where it widens to an estuary, six leagues
across, a ship from France, the last of the season, holds her way for
Quebec, laden with stores and clothing, household utensils, goods for
Indian trade, the newest court fashions, wine, brandy, tobacco, and the
king’s orders from Versailles. Swelling her patched and dingy sails,
she glides through the wildness and the solitude where there is nothing
but her to remind you of the great troubled world behind and the little
troubled world before. On the far verge of the ocean-like river, clouds
and mountains mingle in dim confusion; fresh gusts from the north dash
waves against the ledges, sweep through the quivering spires of stiff
and stunted fir-trees, and ruffle the feathers of the crow, perched on
the dead bough after his feast of mussels among the seaweed. You are
not so solitary as you think. A small birch canoe rounds the point of
rocks, and it bears two men; one in an old black cassock, and the
other in a buckskin coat; both working hard at the paddle to keep their
slender craft off the shingle and the breakers. The man in the cassock
is Father Morel, aged forty-eight, the oldest country curé in Canada,
most of his brethren being in the vigor of youth as they had need to be.
His parochial charge embraces. a string of incipient parishes extending
along the south shore from Riviere du Loup to Rivière du Sud, a
distance reckoned at twenty-seven leagues, and his parishioners number
in all three hundred and twenty-eight souls. He has administered
spiritual consolation to the one inhabitant of Kamouraska; visited the
eight families of La Bouteillerie and the five families of La Combe; and
now he is on his way to the seigniory of St. Denis with its two houses
and eleven souls. *

The father lands where a shattered eel-pot high and dry on the pebbles
betrays the neighborhood of man. His servant shoulders his portable
chapel, and follows him through the belt of firs, and the taller woods
beyond, till the sunlight of a desolate clearing shines upon them.
Charred trunks and limbs encumber the ground; dead trees, branchless,
barkless, pierced by the woodpeckers, in part black with fire, in part
bleached by sun and frost, tower ghastly and weird above the labyrinth
of forest ruins, through which the priest and his

     *  These particulars are from the Plan général de l’estât
     présent des missions du Canada, fait en l’année, 1683. It is
     a list and description of the parishes with the names and
     ages of the cures, and other details. See Abeille, I. This
     paper was drawn up by order of Laval.

follower wind their way, the cat-bird mewing, and the blue-jay screaming
as they pass. Now the goldenrod and the aster, harbingers of autumn,
fringe with purple and yellow the edge of the older clearing, where
wheat and maize, the settler’s meagre harvest, are growing among the

Wild-looking women, with sunburnt faces and neglected hair, run from
their work to meet the curé; a man or two follow with soberer steps and
less exuberant zeal; while half-savage children, the _coureurs de bois_
of the future, bareheaded, barefooted, and half-clad, come to wonder and
stare. To set up his altar in a room of the rugged log cabin, say mass,
hear confessions, impose penance, grant absolution, repeat the office
of the dead over a grave made weeks before, baptize, perhaps, the last
infant; marry, possibly, some pair who may or may not have waited for
his coming; catechize as well as time and circumstance would allow the
shy but turbulent brood of some former wedlock: such was the work of the
parish priest in the remoter districts. It was seldom that his charge
was quite so scattered, and so far extended as that of Father Morel; but
there were fifteen or twenty others whose labors were like in kind, and
in some cases no less arduous. All summer they paddled their canoes from
settlement to settlement; and in winter they toiled on snowshoes over
the drifts; while the servant carried the portable chapel on his back,
or dragged it on a sledge. Once, at least, in the year, the curé paid
his visit to Quebec, where, under the maternal roof of the seminary
he made his retreat of meditation and prayer, and then returned to
his work. He rarely had a house of his own, but boarded in that of the
seignior or one of the _habitants_. Many parishes or aggregations of
parishes had no other church than a room fitted up for the purpose in
the house of some pious settler. In the larger settlements, there were
churches and chapels of wood, thatched with straw, often ruinous, poor
to the last degree, without ornaments, and sometimes without the sacred
vessels necessary for the service. * In 1683, there were but seven stone
churches in all the colony. The population was so thin and scattered
that many of the settlers heard mass only three or four times a
year, and some of them not so often. The sick frequently died without
absolution, and infants without baptism.

The splendid self-devotion of the early Jesuit missions has its record;
so, too, have the unseemly bickerings of bishops and governors: but the
patient toils of the missionary curé rest in the obscurity where the
best of human virtues are buried from age to age. What we find set down
concerning him is, that Louis XIV. was unable to see why he should not
live on two hundred francs a year as well as a village curé by the
banks of the Garonne. The king did not know that his cassock and all his
clothing cost him twice as much and lasted half as long; that he must
have a canoe and a man to paddle it; and that when on his

     *  Saint-Vallier, Estat présent de l’Eglise et de la Colonie
     Française, 22ed. 18nt-Vallier, Estat présent de l’Eglise
     et de la Colonie Française, 22 (ed. 1856).

annual visit the seminary paid him five or six hundred francs, partly
in clothes, partly in stores, and partly in money, the end of the year
found him as poor as before except only in his conscience.

The Canadian priests held the manners of the colony under a rule as
rigid as that of the Puritan churches of New England, but with the
difference that in Canada a large part of the population was restive
under their control, while some of the civil authorities, often with the
governor at their head, supported the opposition. This was due, partly
to an excess of clerical severity, and partly to the continued friction
between the secular and ecclesiastical powers. It sometimes happened,
however, that a new governor arrived, so pious that the clerical party
felt that they could rely on him. Of these rare instances the principal
is that of Denonville, who, with a wife as pious as himself, and a young
daughter, landed at Quebec, in 1685. On this, Bishop Saint-Vallier,
anxious to turn his good dispositions to the best account, addressed to
him a series of suggestions or rather directions for the guidance of his
conduct, with a view to the spiritual profit of those over whom he was
appointed to rule. The document was put on file, and the following
are some of the points in it. It is divided into five different heads:
“Touching feasts,” “touching balls and dances,” “touching
comedies and other declamations,” “touching dress,” “touching
irreverence in church.” The governor and madame his wife are desired
to accept no invitations to suppers, that is to say late dinners, as
tending to nocturnal hours and dangerous pastimes; and they are further
enjoined to express dissatisfaction, and refuse to come again, should
any entertainment offered them be too sumptuous. “Although,”
continues the bishop under the second head of his address, “balls
and dances are not sinful in their nature, nevertheless they are so
dangerous by reason of the circumstances that attend them, and the evil
results that almost inevitably follow, that, in the opinion of Saint
Francis of Sales, it should be said of them as physicians say of
mushrooms, that at best they are good for nothing;” and, after
enlarging on their perils, he declares it to be of great importance to
the glory of God and the sanctification of the colony, that the governor
and his wife neither give such entertainments nor countenance them by
their presence. “Nevertheless,” adds the mentor, “since the youth
and vivacity of mademoiselle their daughter requires some diversion, it
is permitted to relent somewhat, and indulge her in a little moderate
and proper dancing, provided that it be solely with persons of her own
sex, and in the presence of madame her mother; but by no means in the
presence of men or youths, since it is this mingling of sexes which
causes the disorders that spring from balls and dances.” Private
theatricals in any form are next interdicted to the young lady. The
bishop then passes to the subject of her dress, and exposes the abuses
against which she is to be guarded. “The luxury of dress,” he says,
“appears in the rich and dazzling fabrics wherein the women and girls
of Canada attire themselves, and which are far beyond their condition
and their means; in the excess of ornaments which they put on; in
the extraordinary head-dresses which they affect, their heads being
uncovered and full of strange trinkets; and in the immodest curls so
expressly forbidden in the epistles of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, as
well as by all the fathers and doctors of the church, and which God has
often severely punished, as may be seen by the example of the unhappy
Pretextata, a lady of high quality, who, as we learn from Saint Jerome,
who knew her, had her hands withered, and died suddenly five months
after, and was precipitated into hell, as God had threatened her by an
angel; because, by order of her husband, she had curled the hair of her
niece, and attired her after a worldly fashion.” *

Whether the Marquis and Marchioness Denonville profited by so apt and
terrible a warning, or whether their patience and good-nature survived
the episcopal onslaught, does not appear on record. The subject of
feminine apparel received great attention, both from Saint-Vallier and

     *  “Témoin entr’autres l’exemple de la malheureuse
     Prétextate, dame de grande condition, laquelle au rapport de
     S. Jérôme, dont elle étoit connue, eut les mains desséchées
     et cinq mois après mourut subitement et fut précipitée en
     enfer, ainsi que Dieu l’en avoit menacée par un Ange pour
     avoir par le commandement de son mari frisé et habillé
     mondainement sa nièce.” Divers points a représenter a Mr. le
     Gouverneur et à Madame la Gouvernante, signé Jean, évesque
     de Québec. (Registre de l’Evêché de Québec.) The bishop on
     another occasion holds up the sad fate of Pretextata as a
     warning to Canadian mothers; but in the present case he
     slightly changes the incidents to make the story more
     applicable to the governor and his wife.

predecessor, each of whom issued a number of pastoral mandates
concerning it. Their severest denunciations were aimed at low-necked
dresses, which they regarded as favorite devices of the enemy for the
snaring of souls; and they also used strong language against certain
knots of ribbons called _fontanges,_ with which the belles of Quebec
adorned them heads. Laval launches strenuous invectives against “the
luxury and vanity of women and girls, who, forgetting the promises of
their baptism, decorate themselves with the pomp of Satan, whom they
have so solemnly renounced; and, in their wish to please the eyes of
men, make themselves the instruments and the captives of the fiend.” *

In the journal of the superior of the Jesuits we find, under date of
February 4, 1667, a record of the first ball in Canada, along with
the pious wish, “God grant that nothing further come of it.”
Nevertheless more balls were not long in following; and, worse yet,
sundry comedies were enacted under no less distinguished patronage than
that of Frontenac, the governor. Laval denounced them vigorously, the
Jesuit Dablon attacked them in a violent sermon; and such excitement
followed that the affair was brought before the royal council, which
declined to interfere. ** This flurry,

     *  Mandement contre le luxe et la vanité des femmes et des
     filles, 1682. (Registres de l'Evêché de Québec.) A still
     more vigorous denunciation is contained in Ordonnance contre
     les vices de luxe et d’impureté, 1690. This was followed in
     the next year by a stringent list of rules called Réglement
     pour la conduite des fidèles de ce diocèse.

     **  Arrêts du 24 et 28 juin par lesquels cette affaire (des
     comédies) est renvoyésn& Sa Majesté, 1681. (?) (Registre du
     Conseil Souverain.)

however, was nothing to the storm raised ten or twelve years later
by other dramatic aggressions, an account of which will appear in the
sequel of this volume.

The morals of families were watched with unrelenting vigilance.
Frontenac writes in a mood unusually temperate, “they (_the priests_)
are full of virtue and piety, and if their zeal were less vehement and
more moderate they would perhaps succeed better in their efforts for the
conversion of souls; but they often use means so extraordinary, and in
France so unusual, that they repel most people instead of persuading
them. I sometimes tell them my views frankly and as gently as I can,
as I know the murmurs that their conduct excites, and often receive
complaints of the constraint under which they place consciences. This is
above all the case with the ecclesiastics at Montreal, where there is a
curé from Franche Comté who wants to establish a sort of inquisition
worse than that of Spain, and all out of an excess of zeal.” *

It was this curé, no doubt, of whom La Hontan complains. That
unsanctified young officer was quartered at Montreal, in the house of
one of the inhabitants. “During a part of the winter I was hunting
with the Algonquins; the rest of it I spent here very disagreeably. One
can neither go on a pleasure party, nor play a game of cards, nor visit
the ladies, without the curé knowing it and preaching about it publicly
from his pulpit. The priests excommunicate

     *  Frontenac au Ministre, 20 Oct., 1691.

masqueraders, and even go in search of them to pull off their masks and
overwhelm them with abuse. They watch more closely over the women and
girls than their husbands and fathers. They prohibit and burn all books
but books of devotion. I cannot think of this tyranny without cursing
the indiscreet zeal of the curé of this town. He came to the house
where I lived, and, finding some books on my table, presently pounced
on the romance of Petronius, which I valued more than my life because it
was not mutilated. He tore out almost all the leaves, so that if my
host had not restrained me when I came in and saw the miserable wreck,
I should have run after this rampant shepherd and torn out every hair of
his beard.” *

La Motte-Cadillac, the founder of Detroit, seems to have had equal
difficulty in keeping his temper. “Neither men of honor nor men of
parts are endured in Canada; nobody can live here but simpletons and
slaves of the ecclesiastical domination. The count (_Frontenac_)
would not have so many troublesome affairs on his hands if he had not
abolished a Jericho in the shape of a house built by messieurs of
the seminary of Montreal, to shut up, as they said, girls who caused
scandal; if he had allowed them to take officers and soldiers to go into
houses at midnight and carry off women from their husbands and whip them
till the blood flowed because they had been at a ball or worn a mask; if
he had said nothing against the curés

     *  La Hontan, I. 60 (ed. 1709). Other editions contain the
     same story to different words.

who went the rounds with the soldiers and compelled women and girls to
shut themselves up in their houses at nine o’clock of summer evenings;
if he had forbidden the wearing of lace, and made no objection to
the refusal of the communion to women of quality because they wore a
_fontange_; if he had not opposed excommunications flung about without
sense or reason; if, I say, the count had been of this way of thinking
he would have stood as a nonpareil, and have been put very soon on the
list of saints, for saint-making is cheap in this country.” *

While the Sulpitians were thus rigorous at Montreal, the bishop and his
Jesuit allies were scarcely less so at Quebec. There was little goodwill
between them and the Sulpitians, and some of the sharpest charges
against the followers of Loyola are brought by their brother priests
at Montreal. The Sulpitian Allet writes: “The Jesuits hold such
domination over the people of this country that they go into the houses
and see every thing that passes there. They then tell what they have
learned to each other at their meetings, and on this information they
govern their policy. The Jesuit, Father Ragueneau, used to go every day
down to the Lower Town, where the merchants live, to find out all that
was going on in their families; and he often made people get up from
table to confess to him.” Allet goes on to say that Father Châtelain
also went continually to the Lower Town with the same object, and that

     *  La Motte-Cadillac à-, 28 Sept., 1694.

of the inhabitants complained of him to Courcelle, the governor. One
day Courcelle saw the Jesuit, who was old and somewhat infirm, slowly
walking by the Château, cane in hand, on his usual errand, on which he
sent a sergeant after him to request that he would not go so often
to the Lower Town, as the people were annoyed by the frequency of
his visits. The father replied in wrath, “Go and tell Monsieur de
Courcelle that I have been there ever since he was governor, and that I
shall go there after he has ceased to be governor;” and he kept on
his way as before. Courcelle reported his answer to the superior, Le
Mercier, and demanded to have him sent home as a punishment; but the
superior effected a compromise. On the following Thursday, after mass
in the cathedral, he invited Courcelle into the sacristy, where Father
Châtelain was awaiting them; and here, at Le Mercier’s order, the old
priest begged pardon of the offended governor on his knees. *

The Jesuits derived great power from the confessional; and, if their
accusers are to be believed, they employed unusual means to make it
effective. Cavelier de la Salle says: “They will confess nobody till
he tells his name, and no servant till he tells the name of his master.
When a crime is confessed, they insist on knowing the name of the
accomplice, as well as all the circumstances, with

     *  Mémoire d’Allet. The author was at one time secretary to
     Abbé Quélus. The paper is printed in the Morale pratique des
     Jésuites. The above is one of many curious statements which
     it contains.

the greatest particularity. Father Châtelain especially never fails to
do this. They enter as it were by force into the secrets of families,
and thus make themselves formidable; for what cannot be done by a clever
man devoted to his work, who knows all the secrets of every family;
above all when he permits himself to tell them when it is for his
interest to do so?” *

The association of women and girls known as the Congregation of the
Holy Family, which was formed under Jesuit auspices, and which met every
Thursday with closed doors in the cathedral, is said to have been very
useful to the fathers in their social investigations. ** The members are
affirmed to have been under a vow to tell each other every good or evil
deed they knew of every person of their acquaintance; so that this pious
gossip became a copious source of information to those in a position
to draw upon it. In Talon’s time the Congregation of the Holy Family
caused such commotion in Quebec that he asked the council to appoint a
commission to inquire into its proceedings. He was touching dangerous
ground. The affair was presently hushed, and the application cancelled
on the register of the council. ***

The Jesuits had long exercised solely the function of confessors in the
colony, and a number of

     *  La Salle, Mémoire, 1678.

     **  See Discovery of the Great West, 105.

     ***  Représentation faite au conseil au sujet de certaines
     assemblées de femmes ou filles sous le nom de la Sainte
     Famille, 1667. (Registre du Conseil Souverain.) The paper is
     cancelled by lines drawn over it; and the following minute,
     duly attested, is appended to it: “Rayé du consentement de
     M. Talon”

curious anecdotes are on record showing the reluctance with which they
admitted the secular priests, and above all the Recollets, to share in
it. The Recollets, of whom a considerable number had arrived from time
to time, were on excellent terms with the civil powers, and were popular
with the colonists; but with the bishop and the Jesuits they were not
in favor, and one or two sharp collisions took place. The bishop was
naturally annoyed when, while he was trying to persuade the king that a
curé needed at least six hundred francs a year, these mendicant friars
came forward with an offer to serve the parishes for nothing; nor was
he, it is likely, better pleased when, having asked the hospital nuns
eight hundred francs annually for two masses a day in their chapel, the
Recollets underbid him, and offered to say the masses for three hundred.
* They, on their part, complain bitterly of the bishop, who, they say,
would gladly have ordered them out of the colony, but being unable to
do this, tried to shut them up in their convent, and prevent them
from officiating as priests among the people. “We have as little
liberty,” says the Recollet writer, “as if we were in a country
of heretics.” He adds that the inhabitants ask earnestly for the
ministrations of the friars, but that the bishop replies with invectives
and calumnies against the order, and that

     *  “Mon dit sieur l’evesque leur fait payer (aux
     hospitalières) 800L. par an pour deux messes qu’il leur fait
     dire par ses Séminaristes que lei Récollets leurs voisins
     leur offrent pour 300L.” La Barre au Ministre, 1682.

when the Recollets absolve a penitent he often annuls the absolution. *

In one respect this Canadian church militant achieved a complete
success. Heresy was scoured out of the colony. When Maintenon and her
ghostly prompters overcame the better nature of the king, and wrought
on his bigotry and his vanity to launch him into the dragonnades; when
violence and lust bore the crucifix into thousands of Huguenot homes,
and the land reeked with nameless infamies; when churches rang with _Te
Deums_, and the heart of France withered in anguish; when, in short,
this hideous triumph of the faith was won, the royal tool of priestly
ferocity sent orders that heresy should be treated in Canada as it
had been treated in France. ** The orders were needless. The pious
Denonville replies, “Praised be God, there is not a heretic here.”
He adds that a few abjured last year, and that he should be very glad
if the king would make them a present. The Jesuits, he further says,
go every day on board the ships in the harbor to look after the
new converts from France. *** Now and then at a later day a real or
suspected Jansenist found his way to Canada, and sometimes an _esprit
fort_, like

     *  Mémoire instructif contenant la conduite des PP.
     Récollets de Paris en leurs missions de Canada, 1684. This
     paper, of which only a fragment is preserved, was written in
     connection with a dispute of the Recolléts with the bishop
     who opposed their attempt to establish a church in Quebec.

     **  Mémoire du Roy a Denonville, 31 Mai, 1686. The king here
     orders the imprisonment of heretics who refuse to abjure, or
     the quartering of soldiers on them. What this meant the
     history of the dragonnades will show.

*** Denonville au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1686.

La Hontan, came over with the troops; but on the whole a community
more free from positive heterodoxy perhaps never existed on earth.
This exemption cost no bloodshed. What it did cost we may better judge

If Canada escaped the dragonnades, so also she escaped another
infliction from which a neighboring colony suffered deplorably. Her
peace was never much troubled by witches. They were held to exist, it is
true; but they wrought no panic. Mother Mary of the Incarnation reports
on one occasion the discovery of a magician in the person of a converted
Huguenot miller who, being refused in marriage by a girl of Quebec,
bewitched her, and filled the house where she lived with demons, which
the bishop tried in vain to exorcise. The miller was thrown into prison,
and the girl sent to the Hôtel-Dieu, where not a demon dared enter. The
infernal crew took their revenge by creating a severe influenza among
the citizens. *

If there are no Canadian names on the calendar of saints, it is not
because in byways and obscure places Canada had not virtues worthy
of canonization. Not alone her male martyrs and female devotees, whose
merits have found a chronicle and a recognition; not the fantastic
devotion of Madame d’Aillebout, who, lest she should not suffer
enough, took to herself a vicious and refractory servant girl, as an
exercise of patience; and not certainly the mediaeval pietism of Jeanne
Le Ber, the

     *  Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettre de--Sept., 1661.

venerated recluse of Montreal. There are others quite as worthy of
honor, whose names have died from memory. It is difficult to conceive a
self-abnegation more complete than that of the hospital nuns of Quebec
and Montreal. In the almost total absence of trained and skilled
physicians, the burden of the sick and wounded fell upon them. Of the
two communities, that of Montreal was the more wretchedly destitute,
while that of Quebec was exposed, perhaps, to greater dangers. Nearly
every ship from France brought some form of infection, and all infection
found its way to the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec. The nuns died, but they
never complained. Removed from the arena of ecclesiastical strife, too
busy for the morbidness of the cloister, too much absorbed in practical
benevolence to become the prey of illusions, they and their sister
community were models of that benign and tender charity of which the
Roman Catholic Church is so rich in examples. Nor should the Ursulines
and the nuns of the Congregation be forgotten among those who, in
another field of labor, have toiled patiently according to their light.

Mademoiselle Jeanne Le Ber belonged to none of these sisterhoods. She
was the favorite daughter of the chief merchant of Montreal, the same
who, with the help of his money, got himself ennobled. She seems to have
been a girl of a fine and sensitive nature; ardent, affectionate, and
extremely susceptible to religious impressions. Religion at last gained
absolute sway over her. Nothing could appease her longings or content
the demands of her excited conscience but an entire consecration of
herself to heaven. Constituted as she was, the resolution must have cost
her an agony of mental conflict. Her story is a strange, and, as many
will think, a very sad one. She renounced her suitors, and wished to
renounce her inheritance; but her spiritual directors, too farsighted
to permit such a sacrifice, persuaded her to hold fast to her claims,
and content herself with what they called “poverty of heart.” Her
mother died, and her father, left with a family of young children,
greatly needed her help; but she refused to leave her chamber where she
had immured herself. Here she remained ten years, seeing nobody but her
confessor and the girl who brought her food. Once only she emerged, and
this was when her brother lay dead in the adjacent room, killed in a
fight with the English. She suddenly appeared before her astonished
sisters, stood for a moment in silent prayer by the body, and
then vanished without uttering a word. “Such,” says her modern
biographer, “was the sublimity of her virtue and the grandeur of her
soul.” Not content with this domestic seclusion, she caused a cell to
be made behind the altar in the newly built church of the Congregation,
and here we will permit ourselves to cast a stolen glance at her through
the narrow opening through which food was passed in to her. Her bed, a
pile of straw which she never moved, lest it should become too soft, was
so placed that her head could touch the partition, that alone separated
it from the Host on the altar. Here she lay wrapped in a garment of
coarse gray serge, worn, tattered, and unwashed. An old blanket, a
stool, a spinning-wheel, a belt and shirt of haircloth, a scourge, and
a pair of shoes made by herself of the husks of Indian-corn, appear to
have formed the sum of her furniture and her wardrobe. Her employments
were spinning and working embroidery for churches. She remained in this
voluntary prison about twenty years; and the nun who brought her food
testifies that she never omitted a mortification or a prayer, though
commonly in a state of profound depression, and what her biographer
calls “complete spiritual aridity.”

When her mother died, she had refused to see, her; and, long after,
no prayer of her dying father could draw her from her cell. “In the
person of this modest virgin,” writes her reverend eulogist, “we
see, with astonishment, the love of God triumphant over earthly
affection for parents, and a complete victory of faith over reason and
of grace over nature.”

In 1711, Canada was threatened with an attack by the English; and she
gave the nuns of the Congregation an image of the Virgin on which she
had written a prayer to protect their granary from the invaders. Other
persons, anxious for a similar protection,, sent her images to write
upon; but she declined the request. One of the disappointed applicants
then stole the inscribed image from the granary of the Congregation,
intending to place it on his own when the danger drew near. The English,
however, did not come, their fleet having suffered a ruinous shipwreck
ascribed to the prayers of Jeanne Le Ber. “It was,” writes the
Sulpitian Belmont, “the greatest miracle that ever happened since the
days of Moses.” Nor was this the only miracle of which she was
the occasion. She herself declared that once when she had broken
her spinning-wheel, an angel came and mended it for her. Angels also
assisted in her embroidery, “no doubt,” says Mother Juchereau,
“taking great pleasure in the society of this angelic creature.”
In the church where she had secluded herself, an image of the Virgin
continued after her death to heal the lame and cure the sick. *

Though she rarely permitted herself to speak, yet some oracular
utterance of the sainted recluse would now and then escape to the outer
world. One of these was to the effect that teaching poor girls to read,
unless they wanted to be nuns, was robbing them of their time. Nor
was she far wrong, for in Canada there was very little to read except
formulas of devotion and lives of saints. The dangerous innovation of
a printing-press had not invaded the colony, ** and the first Canadian
newspaper dates from the British conquest.

All education was controlled by priests or nuns. The ablest teachers in
Canada were the Jesuits. Their college of Quebec was three years older

     *  Faillon, L’Héroine chrétienne du Canada, ou Vie de Mlle.
     Le Ber. This is a most elaborate and eulogistic life of the
     recluse. A shorter account of her will be found in
     Juchereau, Hôtel-Dieu. She died in 1714, at the age of

     **  A printing-press was afterwards brought to Canada, but
     was soon sent back again.

Harvard. We hear at an early date of public disputations by the pupils,
after the pattern of those tournaments of barren logic which preceded
the reign of inductive reason in Europe, and of which the archetype
is to be found in the scholastic duels of the Sorbonne. The boys
were sometimes permitted to act certain approved dramatic pieces of a
religious character, like the _Sage Visionnaire_. On one occasion they
were allowed to play the Cid of Corneille, which, though remarkable as
a literary work, contained nothing threatening to orthodoxy. They
were taught a little Latin, a little rhetoric, and a little logic; but
against all that might rouse the faculties to independent action, the
Canadian schools prudently closed their doors. There was then no rival
population, of a different origin and a different faith, to compel
competition in the race of intelligence and knowledge. The church stood
sole mistress of the field. Under the old régime the real object of
education in Canada was a religious and, in far less degree, a political
one. The true purpose of the schools was: first, to make priests; and,
secondly, to make obedient servants of the church and the king. All the
rest was extraneous and of slight account. In regard to this matter,
the king and the bishop were of one mind. “As I have been informed,”
Louis XIV writes to Laval, “of your continued care to hold the people
in their duty towards God and towards me by the good education you give
or cause to be given to the young, I write this letter to express my
satisfaction with conduct so salutary, and to exhort you to persevere in
it.” *

The bishop did not fail to persevere. The school for boys attached
to his seminary became the most important educational institution
in Canada. It was regulated by thirty-four rules, “in honor of the
thirty-four years which Jesus lived on earth.” The qualities commended
to the boys as those which they should labor diligently to acquire were,
“humility, obedience, purity, meekness, modesty, simplicity, chastity,
charity, and an ardent love of Jesus and his Holy Mother.” ** Here is
a goodly roll of Christian virtues. What is chiefly noticeable in it is,
that truth is allowed no place. That manly but unaccommodating virtue
was not, it seems, thought important in forming the mind of youth.
Humility and obedience lead the list, for in unquestioning submission to
the spiritual director lay the guaranty of all other merits.

We have seen already that, besides this seminary for boys, Laval
established another for educating the humbler colonists. It was a sort
of farm-school, though besides farming various mechanical trades were
also taught in it. It was well adapted to the wants of a great majority
of Canadians, whose tendencies were any thing but bookish; but here,
as elsewhere, the real object was religious. It enabled the church to
extend her influence over classes which the ordinary schools could not
reach. Besides manual training, the pupils were taught to

     *  Le Roy a Laval, 9 Avril, 1667 (extract in Faillon).

     **  Ancien règlement du Petit Séminaire de Québec, see
     Abeille VIII., no. 32.

read and write; and for a time a certain number of them received some
instruction in Latin. When, in 1686, Saint-Vallier visited the school,
he found in all thirty-one boys under the charge of two priests; but the
number was afterwards greatly reduced, and the place served, as it still
serves, chiefly as a retreat during vacations for the priests and pupils
of the seminary of Quebec. A spot better suited for such a purpose
cannot be conceived.

From the vast meadows of the parish of St. Joachim, that here border the
St. Lawrence, there rises like an island a low flat hill, hedged round
with forests like the tonsured head of a monk. It was here that Laval
planted his school. Across the meadows, a mile or more distant, towers
the mountain promontory of Cape Tourmente. You may climb its woody
steeps, and from the top, waist-deep in blueberry-bushes, survey, from
Kamouraska to Quebec, the grand Canadian world outstretched below; or
mount the neighboring heights of St. Anne, where, athwart the gaunt arms
of ancient pines, the river lies shimmering in summer haze, the cottages
of the _habitants_ are strung like beads of a rosary along the meadows
of Beaupré, the shores of Orleans bask in warm light, and far on the
horizon the rock of Quebec rests like a faint gray cloud; or traverse
the forest till the roar of the torrent guides you to the rocky solitude
where it holds its savage revels. High on the cliffs above, young
birch-trees stand smiling in the morning sun; while in the abyss beneath
the snowy waters plunge from depth to depth, and, half way down, the
slender hare-bell hangs from its mossy nook, quivering in the steady
thunder of the cataract. Game on the river; trout in lakes, brooks, and
pools; wild fruits and flowers on meadows and mountains,--a thousand
resources of honest and wholesome recreation here wait the student
emancipated from books, but not parted for a moment from the pious
influence that hangs about the old walls embosomed in the woods of St.
Joachim. Around on plains and hills stand the dwellings of a
peaceful peasantry, as different from the restless population of the
neighboring states as the denizens of some Norman or Breton village.

Above all, do not fail to make your pilgrimage to the shrine of St.
Anne. You may see her chapel four or five miles away, nestled under the
heights of the Petit Cap. Here, when Aillebout was governor, he began
with his own hands the pious work, and a habitant of Beaupré, Louis
Guimont, sorely afflicted with rheumatism, came grinning with pain to
lay three stones in the foundation, in honor probably of Saint Anne,
Saint Joachim, and their daughter, the Virgin. Instantly he was cured.
It was but the beginning of a long course of miracles continued more
than two centuries, and continuing still. Their fame spread far and
wide. The devotion to Saint Anne became a distinguishing feature of
Canadian Catholicity, till at the present day at least thirteen parishes
bear her name. But of all her shrines none can match the fame of St.
Anne du Petit Cap. Crowds flocked thither on the week of her festival,
and marvellous cures were wrought unceasingly, as the sticks and
crutches hanging on the walls and columns still attest. Sometimes the
whole shore was covered with the wigwams of Indian converts who had
paddled their birch canoes from the farthest wilds of Canada. The more
fervent among them would crawl on their knees from the shore to the
altar. And, in our own day, every summer a far greater concourse of
pilgrims, not in paint and feathers, but in cloth and millinery, and not
in canoes, but in steamboats, bring their offerings and their vows to
the “Bonne Sainte Anne.” *

To return to Laval’s industrial school. Judging from repeated
complaints of governors and intendants of the dearth of skilled
workmen, the priests in charge of it were more successful in making
good Catholics than in making good masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and
weavers; and the number of pupils, even if well trained, was at no time
sufficient to meet the wants of the colony; ** for, though the Canadians
showed an aptitude for

     *  For an interesting account of the shrine at the Petit
     Cap, see Casgrain, Le Pélérinage de la Bonne Sainte Anne, a
     little manual of devotion printed at Quebec. I chanced to
     visit the old chapel in 1871, during a meeting of the parish
     to consider the question of reconstructing it, as it was in
     a ruinous state. Passing that way again two years after, I
     found the old chapel still standing, and a new one, much
     larger, half finished

     **  Most of them were moreover retained, after leaving the
     school, by the seminary, as servants, farmers, or vassals.
     La Tour, Vie de Laval, Liv. VI

mechanical trades, they preferred above all things the savage liberty of
the backwoods.

The education of girls was in the hands of the Ursulines and the nuns
of the Congregation, of whom the former, besides careful instruction
in religious duties, taught their pupils “all that a girl ought to
know.” * This meant exceedingly little besides the manual arts suited
to their sex; and, in the case of the nuns of the Congregation, who
taught girls of the poorer class, it meant still less. It was on nuns
as well as on priests that the charge fell, not only of spiritual and
mental, but also of industrial, training. Thus we find the king giving
to a sisterhood of Montreal a thousand francs to buy wool, and a
thousand more for teaching girls to knit. ** The king also maintained
a teacher of navigation and surveying at Quebec on the modest salary of
four hundred francs.

During the eighteenth century, some improvement is perceptible in the
mental status of the population. As it became more numerous and more
stable, it also became less ignorant; and the Canadian _habitant_,
towards the end of the French rule, was probably better taught, so far
as concerned religion, than the mass of French peasants. Yet secular
instruction was still extremely meagre, even in the _noblesse_. “In
spite of this defective education,” says the famous navigator,
Bougainville, who knew the colony well in its last years, “the

     *  A lire, à écrire, les prières, les mœurs chrétiennes, et
     tout ce qu'une fille doit savoir. Marie de l'Incarnation,
     Lettre du 9 Août, 1668.

     **  Denonville au Ministre, 13 Nov., 1686.

Canadians are naturally intelligent. They do not know how to write, but
they speak with ease and with an accent as good as the Parisian.” * He
means, of course, the better class. “Even the children of officers
and gentlemen,” says another writer, “scarcely know how to read
and write; they are ignorant of the first elements of geography and
history.” ** And evidence like this might be extended.

When France was heaving with the throes that prepared the Revolution;
when new hopes, new dreams, new thoughts,--good and evil, false and
true,--tossed the troubled waters of French society, Canada caught
something of its social corruption, but not the faintest impulsion of
its roused mental life. The torrent surged on its way; while, in the
deep nook beside it, the sticks and dry leaves floated their usual
round, and the unruffled pool slept in the placidity of intellectual
torpor. ***

     *   Bougainville, Mémoire de 1757 (see Margry, Relations

     **  Mémoire de 1736; Detail de toute la Colonie (published
     by Hist. Soc. of Quebec).

     ***  Several Frenchmen of a certain intellectual eminence
     made their abode in Canada from time to time. The chief
     among them are the Jesuit Lafitau, author of Mœurs des
     Sauvages Américains; the Jesuit Charlevoix, traveller and
     historian; the physician Sarrazin; and the Marquis de la
     Galisonnière, the most enlightened of the French governors
     of Canada. Sarrazin, a naturalist as well as a physician,
     has left his name to the botanical genus Sarracenia, of
     which the curious American species, S. purpurea, the
     “pitcher-plant,” was described by him. His position in the
     colony was singular and characteristic. He got little or no
     pay from his patients; and, though at one time the only
     genuine physician in Canada (Callieres et Beauharnois au
     Ministre, 3 Nov., 1702), he was dependent on the king for
     support. In 1699, we find him thanking his Majesty for 300
     francs a year, and asking at the same time for more, as he
     has nothing else to live on. ( Callères et Champigny au
     Ministre, 20 Oct., 1699.) Two years later the governor
     writes that, as he serves almost everybody without fees, he
     ought to have another 300 francs. (Ibid., 5 Oct., 1701.) The
     additional 300 francs was given him; but, finding it
     insufficient, he wanted to leave the colony. “He is too
     useful,” writes the governor again: “we cannot let him go.”
     His yearly pittance of 600 francs, French money, was at one
     time reenforced by his salary as member of the Superior
     Council. He died at Quebec in 1734.


_Social Influence of the Troops.--A Petty Tyrant.--Brawls.--Violence
and Outlawry.--State of the Population.--Views of
Denonville.--Brandy.--Beggary.--The Past and the Present.--Inns.--State
of Quebec.--Fires.--The Country Parishes.--Slavery.--Views of La
Hontan.--Of Hocquart.--Of Bougainville.--Of Kalm.--Of Charlevoix._

|The mission period of Canada, or the period anterior to the year 1663,
when the king took the colony in charge, has a character of its own.
The whole population did not exceed that of a large French village. Its
extreme poverty, the constant danger that surrounded it, and, above all,
the contagious zeal of the missionaries, saved it from many vices, and
inspired it with an extraordinary religious fervor. Without doubt an
ideal picture has been drawn of this early epoch. Trade as well as
propagandism was the business of the colony, and the colonists were
far from being all in a state of grace; yet it is certain that zeal was
higher, devotion more constant, and popular morals more pure, than at
any later period of the French rule.

The intervention of the king wrought a change. The annual shipments of
emigrants made by him were, in the most favorable view, of a very mixed
character, and the portion which Mother Mary calls _canaille_ was but
too conspicuous. Along with them came a regiment of soldiers fresh from
the license of camps and the excitements of Turkish wars, accustomed to
obey their officers and to obey nothing else, and more ready to wear the
scapulary of the Virgin in campaigns against the Mohawks than to square
their lives by the rules of Christian ethics. “Our good king,”
writes Sister Morin, of Montreal, “has sent troops to defend us from
the Iroquois, and the soldiers and officers have ruined the Lord’s
vineyard, and planted wickedness and sin and crime in our soil of
Canada.” * Few, indeed, among the officers followed the example of one
of their number, Paul Dupuy, who, in his settlement of Isle aux Oies,
below Quebec, lived, it is said, like a saint, and on Sundays and fête
days exhorted his servants and _habitans_ with such unction that their
eyes filled with tears. ** Nor, let us hope, were there many imitators
of Major La Fredière, who, with a company of the regiment, was sent to
garrison Montreal, where he ruled with absolute sway over settlers and
soldiers alike. His countenance naturally repulsive was made more so by
the loss of an eye; yet he was irrepressible in gallantry, and women and
girls fled in terror from the military Polyphemus. The men, too, feared
and hated him, not without reason. One morning a settler named Demers
was hoeing his field, when

     *  Annales de l'Hôtel-Dieu St Joseph, cited by Faillon.

     **  Juchereau, Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, 511

he saw a sportsman gun in hand striding through his half-grown wheat.
“Steady there, steady," he shouted in a tone of remonstrance; but the
sportsman gave no heed. “Why do you spoil a poor man’s wheat?”
cried the outraged cultivator. “If I knew who you were, I would go
and complain of you.” “Whom would you complain to?” demanded the
sportsman, who then proceeded to walk back into the middle of the wheat,
and called out to Demers, “You are a rascal, and I’ll thrash you.”
“Look at home for rascals,” retorted Demers, “and keep your
thrashing for your dogs.” The sportsman came towards him in a rage to
execute his threat. Demers picked up his gun, which, after the custom of
the time, he had brought to the field with him, and, advancing to meet
his adversary, recognized La Fredière, the commandant. On this he ran
off. La Fredière sent soldiers to arrest him, threw him into prison,
put him in irons, and the next day mounted him on the wooden horse, with
a weight of sixty pounds tied to each foot. He repeated the torture a
day or two after, and then let his victim go, saying, “If I could have
caught you when I was in your wheat, I would have beaten you well.”

The commandant next turned his quarters into a dram-shop for Indians,
to whom he sold brandy in large quantities, but so diluted that his
customers, finding themselves partially defrauded of their right of
intoxication, complained grievously. About this time the intendant
Talon made one of his domiciliary visits to Montreal, and when, in
his character of father of the people, he inquired if they had any
complaints to make, every tongue was loud in accusation against La
Fredière. Talon caused full depositions to be made out from the
statements of Demers and other witnesses. Copies were deposited in the
hands of the notary, and it is from these that the above story is drawn.
The tyrant was removed, and ordered home to France. *

Many other officers embarked in the profitable trade of selling brandy
to Indians, and several garrison posts became centres of disorder.
Others, of the regiment became notorious brawlers. A lieutenant of the
garrison of Montreal named Carion, and an ensign named Morel, had for
some reason conceived a violent grudge against another ensign named
Lormeau. On Pentecost day, just after vespers, Lormeau was walking by
the river with his wife. They had passed the common and the seminary
wall, and were in front of the house of the younger Charles Le Moyne,
when they saw Carion coming towards them. He stopped before Lormeau,
looked him full in the face, and exclaimed, “Coward.” “Coward
yourself,” returned Lormeau; “take yourself off.” Carion drew his
sword, and Lormeau followed his example. They exchanged a few passes;
then closed, and fell to the ground grappled together. Lormeau’s wig
fell off; and Carion, getting the uppermost, hammered his bare head with
the hilt of his sword. Lormeau’s

     *  Information contre La Fredière. See Faillon, Colonie
     Française, III. 886. The dialogue, as here given from the
     depositions, is translated as closely as possible.See
     Faillon, Colonie Française, III.

wife, in a frenzy of terror, screamed _murder_. One of the neighbors,
Monsieur Belêtre, was at table with Charles Le Moyne and a Rochelle
merchant named Baston. He ran out with his two guests, and they tried to
separate the combatants, who still lay on the ground foaming like a pair
of enraged bull-dogs. All their efforts were useless. “Very well,”
said Le Moyne in disgust, “if you won’t let go, then kill each other
if you like.” A former military servant of Carion now ran up, and
began to brandish his sword in behalf of his late master. Carion’s
comrade, Morel, also arrived, and, regardless of the angry protest of
Le Moyne, stabbed repeatedly at Lormeau as he lay. Lormeau had received
two or three wounds in the hand and arm with which he parried the
thrusts, and was besides severely mauled by the sword-hilt of Carion,
when two Sulpitian priests, drawn by the noise, appeared on the scene.
One was Fremont, the curé; the other was Dollier de Casson. That
herculean father, whose past soldier life had made him at home in a
fray, and who cared nothing for drawn swords, set himself at once to
restore peace, upon which, whether from the strength of his arm, or the
mere effect of his presence, the two champions released their gripe
on each other’s throats, rose, sheathed their weapons, and left the
field. *

Montreal, a frontier town at the head of the

     *  Requête de Lormeau a M. d'Aillebout. Dépositions de MM.
     de Longueuïl (Le Moyne), de Baston, de Belêtre, et autres.
     Cited by Faillon, Colonie Française, III. 393.

colony, was the natural resort of desperadoes, offering, as we have
seen, a singular contrast between the rigor of its clerical seigniors
and the riotous license of the lawless crew which infested it. Dollier
de Casson tells the story of an outlaw who broke prison ten or twelve
times, and whom no walls, locks, or fetters could hold. “A few months
ago,” he says, “he was caught again, and put into the keeping of six
or seven men, each with a good gun. They stacked their arms to play a
game of cards, which their prisoner saw fit to interrupt to play a game
of his own. He made a jump at the guns, took them under his arm like so
many feathers, aimed at these fellows with one of them, swearing that
he would kill the first who came near him, and so, falling back step by
step, at last bade them good-by, and carried off all their guns. Since
then he has not been caught, and is roaming the woods. Very likely he
will become chief of our banditti, and make great trouble in the country
when it pleases him to come back from the Dutch settlements, whither
they say he is gone along with another rascal, and a French woman so
depraved that she is said to have given or sold two of her children to
the Indians.” *

When the governor, La Barre, visited Montreal, he found there some two
hundred reprobates gambling, drinking, and stealing. If hard pressed by
justice, they had only to cross the river and place themselves beyond
the seigniorial jurisdiction. The military settlements of the Richelieu

    *  Dollier de Casson, Histoire de Montréal, 1671, 72

were in a condition somewhat similar, and La Barre complains of a
prevailing spirit of disobedience and lawlessness. * The most orderly
and thrifty part of Canada appears to have been at this time the _cote_
of Beaupré, belonging to the seminary of Quebec. Here the settlers had
religious instruction from their curés, and industrial instruction
also if they wanted it. Domestic spinning and weaving were practised at
Beaupré sooner than in any other part of the colony.

When it is remembered that a population which in La Barre’s time did
not exceed ten thousand, and which forty years later did not much exceed
twice that number, was scattered along both sides of a great river for
three hundred miles or more; that a large part of this population was in
isolated groups of two, three, five, ten, or twenty houses at the edge
of a savage wilderness; that between them there was little communication
except by canoes; that the settlers were disbanded soldiers, or
others whose fives had been equally adverse to habits of reflection
or self-control; that they rarely saw a priest, and that a government
omnipotent in name had not arms long enough to reach them,--we may
listen without surprise to the lamentations of order-loving officials
over the unruly condition of a great part of the colony. One accuses
the seigniors, who, he says, being often of low extraction, cannot keep
their vassals in order. ** Another dwells sorrowfully on the “terrible
dispersion” of

     *  La Barre au Ministre, 4 Nov., 1683.

     **  Catalogne, Mémoire addressé au Ministre, 1712

the settlements where the inhabitants "live in a savage independence.”
But it is better that each should speak for himself, and among the rest
let us hear the pious Denonville.

“This, monseigneur, seems to me the place for rendering you an account
of the disorders which prevail not only in the woods, but also in the
settlements. They arise from the idleness of young persons, and the
great liberty which fathers, mothers, and guardians have for a long time
given them, or allowed them to assume, of going into the forest under
pretence of hunting or trading. This has come to such a pass, that, from
the moment a boy can carry a gun, the father cannot restrain him and
dares not offend him. You can judge the mischief that follows.
These disorders are always greatest in the families of those who are
_gentilshommes_, or who through laziness or vanity pass themselves off
as such. Having no resource but hunting, they must spend their lives in
the woods, where they have no curés to trouble them, and no fathers
or guardians to constrain them. I think, monseigneur, that martial law
would suit their case better than any judicial sentence.

“Monsieur de la Barre suppressed a certain order of knighthood which
had sprung up here, but he did not abolish the usages belonging to
it. It was thought a fine thing and a good joke to go about naked and
tricked out like Indians, not only on carnival days, but on all other
days of feasting and debauchery. These practices tend to encourage
the disposition of our young men to live like sav ages, frequent their
company, and be for ever unruly and lawless like them. I; cannot tell
you, monseigneur, how attractive this Indian life is to all our youth.
It consists in doing nothing, caring for nothing, following every
inclination, and getting out of the way of all correction.” He goes on
to say that the mission villages governed by the Jesuits and Sulpitians
are models of good order, and that drunkards are never seen there except
when they come from the neighboring French settlements; but that
the other Indians who roam at large about the colony, do prodigious
mischief, because the children of the seigniors not only copy their way
of life, but also run off with their women into the woods. *

“Nothing,” he continues, “can be finer or better conceived than
the regulations framed for the government of this country; but nothing,
I assure you, is so ill observed as regards both the fur trade and the
general discipline of the colony. One great evil is the infinite number
of drinking-shops, which makes it almost impossible to remedy the
disorders resulting from them. All the rascals and idlers of the country
are attracted into this business of tavern-keeping. They never dream of
tilling the soil; but, on the contrary, they deter the other inhabitants
from it, and end with ruining

     *  Raudot, who was intendant early in the eighteenth
     century, is a little less gloomy in his coloring, but says
     that Canadian children were without discipline or education,
     had no respect for parents or cure's, and owned no
     superiors. This, he thinks, is owing to “la folle tendresse
     des parents qui les empêche de les corriger et de leur
     former le caractère qu’ils ont dur et féroce.”

them. I know seigniories where there are but twenty houses, and moire
than half of them dram shops. At Three Rivers there are twenty-five
houses, and liquor may be had at eighteen or twenty of them. Villemarie
(_Montreal_) and Quebec are on the same footing.”

The governor next dwells on the necessity of finding occupation
for children and youths, a matter which he regards as of the last
importance. "It is sad to see the ignorance of the population at a
distance from the abodes of the curés, who are put to the greatest
trouble to remedy the evil by travelling from place to place through the
parishes in their charge.” *

La Barre, Champigny, and Duchesneau write in a similar strain. Bishop
Saint-Vallier, in an epistolary journal which he printed of a tour
through the colony made on his first arrival, gives a favorable account
of the disposition of the people, especially as regards religion. He
afterwards changed his views. An abstract made from his letters for the
use of the king states that he "represents, like M. Denonville, that the
Canadian youth are for the most part wholly demoralized.” **

"The bishop was very sorry,” says a correspondent of the minister at
Quebec, "to have so much exaggerated in the letter he printed at Paris
the morality of the people here.” *** He preached a sermon on the
sins of the inhabitants and issued a pastoral mandate, in which he says,
"Before we

     *  Denonville au Ministre, 13 Nov. 1685.

     **  N. Y. Colonial Documents, IX. 278.

     ***  Ibid., IX. 388.

knew our flock we thought that the English and the Iroquois were the
only wolves we had to fear; but God having opened our eyes to the
disorders of this diocese, and made us feel more than ever the weight
of our charge, we are forced to confess that our most dangerous foes are
drunkenness, luxury, impurity, and slander.” *

Drunkenness was at this time the most destructive vice in the colony.
One writer declares that most of the Canadians drink so much brandy in
the morning, that they are unfit for work all day. ** Another says that
a canoe-man when he is tired will lift a keg of brandy to his lips and
drink the raw liquor from the bung-hole, after which, having spoiled
his appetite, he goes to bed supperless; and that, what with drink
and hardship, he is an old man at forty. Nevertheless the race did
not deteriorate. The prevalence of early marriages, and the birth of
numerous offspring before the vigor of the father had been wasted,
ensured the strength and hardihood which characterized the Canadians.
As Denonville describes them so they long remained. “The Canadians
are tall, well-made, and well set on their legs (_bienplantés sur leurs
jambes_), robust, vigorous, and accustomed in time of need to live
on little. They have intelligence and vivacity, but are wayward,
light-minded, and inclined to debauchery.”

As the population increased, as the rage for

     *  Ordonnance contre les vices de l’ivrognerie, luxe, et
     impureté, 31 Oct., 1690.

     **  N Y. Colonial Documents. IX. 398.

bush-ranging began to abate, and, above all, as the curés multiplied,
a change took place for the better. More churches were built, the charge
of each priest was reduced within reasonable bounds, and a greater
proportion of the inhabitants remained on their farms. They were better
watched, controlled, and taught, by the church. The ecclesiastical
power, wherever it had a hold, was exercised, as we have seen, with
an undue rigor, yet it was the chief guardian of good morals; and the
colony grew more orderly and more temperate as the church gathered more
and more of its wild and wandering flock fairly within its fold. In
this, however, its success was but relative. It is true that in 1715 a
well-informed writer says that the people were “perfectly instructed
in religion;” * but at that time the statement was only partially

During the seventeenth century, and some time after its close, Canada
swarmed with beggars, a singular feature in a new country where a good
farm could be had for the asking. In countries intensely Roman Catholic
begging is not regarded as an unmixed evil, being supposed to promote
two cardinal virtues,--charity in the giver and humility in the
receiver. The Canadian officials nevertheless tried to restrain it.
Vagabonds of both sexes were ordered to leave Quebec, and nobody was
allowed to beg without a certificate of poverty from the curé or the
local judge. ** These orders were not

     *  Mémoire addressé au Regent.

     **  Réglement de Police, 1676.

always observed. Bishop Saint-Vallier writes that he is overwhelmed
by beggars, * and the intendant echoes his complaint. Almshouses
were established at Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec; ** and when
Saint-Vallier founded the General Hospital, its chief purpose was to
serve, not as a hospital in the ordinary sense of the word, but as a
house of refuge, after the plan of the General Hospital of Paris. ***
Appeal, as usual, was made to the king. Denonville asks his aid for two
destitute families, and says that many others need it. Louis XIV. did
not fail to respond, and from time to time he sent considerable sums for
the relief of the Canadian poor. ****

Denonville says, “The principal reason of the poverty of this country
is the idleness and bad conduct of most of the people. The greater part
of the women, including all the _demoiselles_, are very lazy.” (v)
Meules proposes as a remedy that the king should establish a general
workshop in the colony, and pay the workmen himself during the first
five or six years. (v*) “The persons here,” he says, “who have
wished to make a figure are nearly all so overwhelmed with debt that
they may be

     *  N. Y. Colonial Documents, IX. 279.

     **  Edits et Ordonnances, II. 119.

     *** On the General Hospital of Quebec, see Juchereau, 355.
     In 1692, the minister writes to Frontenac and Champigny that
     they should consider well whether this house of refuge will
     not “augmenter la fainéantise parmi les habitans,” by giving
     them a sure support in poverty.

     ****  As late as 1701, six thousand livres were granted
     Callieres au Ministre, 4 Nov., 1701.

     (v)  Denonville et Champigny au Ministre, 6 Nov,, 1687.

     (v*)  Meules au Ministre, 12 Nov., 1682.

considered as in the last necessity.” * He adds that many of
the people go half-naked even in winter. “The merchants of this
country,” says the intendant Duchesneau, “are all plunged in
poverty, except five or six at the most; it is the same with the
artisans, except a small number, because the vanity of the women and
the debauchery of the men consume all their gains. As for such of the
laboring class as apply themselves steadily to cultivating the soil,
they not only live very well, but are incomparably better off than the
better sort of peasants in France.” **

All the writers lament the extravagant habits of the people; and even
La Hontan joins hands with the priests in wishing that the supply of
ribbons, laces, brocades, jewelry, and the like, might be cut off: by
act of law. Mother Juchereau tells us that, when the English invasion
was impending, the belles of Canada were scared for a while into modesty
in order to gain the favor of heaven; but, as may be imagined, the
effect was short, and Father La Tour declares that in his time all the
fashions except _rouge_ came over regularly in the annual ships.

The manners of the mission period, on the other hand, were extremely
simple. The old governor, Lauzon, lived on pease and bacon like a
laborer, and kept no man-servant. He was regarded, it is true, as a
miser, and held in slight account. *** Magdeleine Boucher, sister of the
governor of Three Rivers,

     *  Meules, Mémoire touchant le Canada et l’Acadie, 1684.

     **  Duchesneau au Ministre, 10 Nov., 1679.

     ***  Mémoire d’Aubert de la Chesnaye, 1676

brought her husband two hundred francs in money, four sheets, two
table-cloths, six napkins of linen and hemp, a mattress, a blanket, two
dishes, six spoons and six tin plates, a pot and a kettle, a table and
two benches, a kneading-trough, a chest with lock and key, a cow, and a
pair of hogs. * But the Bouchers were a family of distinction, and the
bride’s dowry answered to her station. By another marriage contract,
at about the same time, the parents of the bride, being of humble
degree, bind themselves to present the bridegroom with a barrel of
bacon, deliverable on the arrival of the ships from France. **

Some curious traits of this early day appear in the license of Jean
Boisdon as innkeeper. He is required to establish himself on the great
square of Quebec, close to the church, so that the parishioners may
conveniently warm and refresh themselves between the services; but he is
forbidden to entertain anybody during high mass, sermon, catechism, or
vespers. *** Matters soon changed; Jean Boisdon lost his monopoly, and
inns sprang up on all hands. They did not want for patrons, and we find
some of their proprietors mentioned as among the few thriving men in
Canada. Talon tried to regulate them, and, among other rules, ordained
that no innkeeper should furnish food or drink to any hired laborer
whatever, or to any

     *  Contrat de marriage, cited by Ferland, Notes, 73.

     **  Contrat de marriage, cited by Benjamin Suite in Revue
     Canadienne, IX. 111.

     *** Acte officielle, 1648, cited by Ferland. Cours
     d’Histoire du Canada, I. 865.

person residing in the place where his inn was situated. An innkeeper of
Montreal was fined for allowing the syndic of the town to dine under his
roof. *

One gets glimpses of the pristine state of Quebec through the early
police regulations. Each inhabitant was required to make a gutter along
the middle of the street before his house, and also to remove refuse and
throw it into the river. All dogs, without exception, were ordered home
at nine o’clock. On Tuesdays and Fridays there was a market in the
public square, whither the neighboring _habitants_, male and female,
brought their produce for sale, as they still continue to do. Smoking
in the street was forbidden, as a precaution against fire; householders
were required to provide themselves with ladders, and when the fire
alarm was rung all able-bodied persons were obliged to run to the scene
of danger with buckets or kettles full of water. ** This did not prevent
the Lower Town from burning to the ground in 1682. It was soon rebuilt,
but a repetition of the catastrophe seemed very likely. “This
place,” says Denonville, “is in a fearful state as regards fire;
for the houses are crowded together out of all reason, and so surrounded
with piles of cord-wood that it is pitiful to see.” *** Add to this
the stores of hay for the cows kept by many of the inhabitants for the
benefit of their swarming progeny.

     *  Faillon, Colonie Française, III. 405.

     **  Réglement de Police, 1672. Ibid., 1676.

     ***  Denonville au Ministre, 20 Août, 1686

The houses were at this time low, compact buildings, with gables of
masonry, as required by law; but many had wooden fronts, and all had
roofs covered with cedar shingles. The anxious governor begs that, as
the town has not a _sou_ of revenue, his Majesty will be pleased to make
it the gift of two hundred crowns’ worth of leather fire-buckets.
* Six or seven years after, certain citizens were authorized by the
council to import from France, at their own cost, “a pump after the
Dutch fashion, for throwing water on houses in case of fire.” ** How
a fire was managed at Quebec appears from a letter of the engineer,
Yasseur, describing the burning of Laval’s seminary in 1701. Vasseur
was then at Quebec, directing the new fortifications. On a Monday in
November, all the pupils of the seminary and most of the priests went,
according to their weekly custom, to recreate themselves at a house and
garden at St. Michel, a short distance from town. The few priests who
remained went after dinner to say vespers at the church. Only one,
Father Petit, was left in the seminary, and he presently repaired to the
great hall to rekindle the fire in the stove and warm the place
against the return of his brethren. His success surpassed his wishes. A
firebrand snapped out in his absence and set the pine floor in a blaze.
Father Boucher, curé of Point Levi, chanced to come in, and was half
choked by the smoke. He cried _fire!_ the servants

     *  Denonville au Ministre, 20 Août, 1685.

     **  Réglement de 1691, extract in Ferland.

ran for water; but the flames soon mastered them; they screamed
the alarm, and the bells began to ring. Vasseur was dining with the
intendant at his palace by the St. Charles, when he heard a frightened
voice crying out, “Monsieur, you are wanted; you are wanted.” He
sprang from table, saw the smoke rolling in volumes from the top of
the rock, ran up the steep ascent, reached the seminary, and found an
excited crowd making a prodigious outcry. He shouted for carpenters.
Four men came to him, and he set them at work with such tools as they
had to tear away planks and beams, and prevent the fire from spreading
to the adjacent parts of the building; but, when he went to find others
to help them, they ran off. He set new men in their place, and these
too ran off the moment his back was turned. A cry was raised that the
building was to be blown up, on which the crowd scattered for their
lives. Vasseur now gave up the seminary for lost, and thought only of
cutting off the fire from the rear of the church, which was not far
distant. In this he succeeded, by tearing down an intervening wing or
gallery. The walls of the burning building were of massive stone, and by
seven o’clock the fire had spent itself. We hear nothing of the Dutch
pump, nor does it appear that the soldiers of the garrison made any
effort to keep order. Under cover of the confusion, property was stolen
from the seminary to the amount of about two thousand livres, which is
remarkable, considering the religious character of the building, and
the supposed piety of the people. “There were more than three hundred
persons at the fire," says Yasseur; “but thirty picked men would have
been worth more than the whole of them.” *

August, September, and October were the busy months at Quebec. Then the
ships from France discharged their lading, the shops and warehouses of
the Lower Town were filled with goods, and the _habitants_ came to town
to make their purchases. When the frosts began, the vessels sailed away,
the harbor was deserted, the streets were silent again, and like ants or
squirrels the people set at work to lay in their winter stores. Fathers
of families packed their cellars with beets, carrots, potatoes, and
cabbages; and, at the end of autumn, with meat, fowls, game, fish, and
eels, all frozen to stony hardness. Most of the shops closed, and the
long season of leisure and amusement began. New Year’s day brought
visits and mutual gifts. Thence till Lent dinner parties were frequent,
sometimes familiar and sometimes ceremonious. The governor’s little
court at the chateau was a standing example to all the aspiring spirits
of Quebec, and forms and orders of precedence were in some houses
punctiliously observed. There were dinners to the military and civic
dignitaries and their wives, and others, quite distinct, to prominent
citizens. The wives and daughters of the burghers of Quebec are said to
have been superior in manners to women of the corresponding

     *  Vasseur au Ministre, 2-4 Nov., 1701. Like Denonville
     before him, he urges the need of fire-buckets.

class in France. “They have wit,” says La Potherie, “delicacy,
good voices, and a great fondness for dancing. They are discreet, and
not much given to flirting; but when they undertake to catch a lover it
is not easy for him to escape the bands of Hymen.” *

So much for the town. In the country parishes, there was the same
autumnal stowing away of frozen vegetables, meat, fish, and eels, and
unfortunately the same surfeit of leisure through five months of the
year. During the seventeenth century, many of the people were so
poor that women were forced to keep at home from sheer want of winter
clothing. Nothing, however, could prevent their running from house to
house to exchange gossip with the neighbors, who all knew each other,
and, having nothing else to do, discussed each other’s affairs with
an industry which often bred bitter quarrels. At a later period, a more
general introduction of family weaving and spinning served at once to
furnish clothing and to promote domestic peace.

The most important persons in a parish were the curé, the seignior, and
the militia captain. The seignior had his bench of honor in the church.
Immediately behind it was the bench of the militia captain, whose
duty it was to drill the able-bodied men of the neighborhood, direct
road-making and other public works, and serve as deputy to the
intendant, whose ordinances he was required to enforce. Next in honor
came the local judge any there was, and the church-wardens.

     *  La Potherie. I. 279.

The existence of slavery in Canada dates from the end of the seventeenth
century. In 1688, the attorney-general made a visit to Paris, and urged
upon the king the expediency of importing negroes from the West Indies
as a remedy for the scarcity and dearness of labor. The king consented,
but advised caution, on the ground that the rigor of the climate would
make the venture a critical one. * A number of slaves were brought
into the colony; but the system never flourished, the climate and other
circumstances being hostile to it. Many of the colonists, especially at
Detroit and other outlying posts, owned slaves of a remote Indian tribe,
the Pawnees. The fact is remarkable, since it would be difficult to find
another of the wild tribes of the continent capable of subjection to
domestic servitude. The Pawnee slaves were captives taken in war
and sold at low prices to the Canadians. Their market value was much
impaired by their propensity to run off.

It is curious to observe the views of the Canadians taken at different
times by different writers. La Hontan says, “They are vigorous,
enterprising, and indefatigable, and need nothing but education. They
are presumptuous and full of self-conceit, regard themselves as
above all the nations of the earth, and, unfortunately, have not the
veneration for their parents that they ought to have. The women are
generally pretty; few of them are

     *  Instruction au Sr. de Frontenac, 1689. On Canadian
     slavery, see a long paper, l'Esclavage en Canada, published
     by the Historical Society of Montreal.

brunettes; many of them are discreet, and a good number are lazy. They
are fond to the last degree of dress and show, and each tries to outdo
the rest in the art of catching a husband.” *

Fifty years later, the intendant Hocquart writes, “The Canadians are
fond of distinctions and attentions, plume themselves on their courage,
and are extremely sensitive to slights or the smallest corrections. They
are self-interested, vindictive, prone to drunkenness, use a great deal
of brandy, and pass for not being at all truthful. This portrait is true
of many of them, particularly the country people: those of the towns are
less vicious. They are all attached to religion, and criminals are rare.
They are volatile, and think too well of themselves, which prevents
their succeeding as they might in farming and trade. They have not the
rude and rustic air of our French peasants. If they are put on their
honor and governed with justice, they are tractable enough; but their
natural disposition is indocile.” *

The navigator Bougainville, in the last years of the French rule,
describes the Canadian _habitant_ as essentially superior to the French
peasant, and adds, “He is loud, boastful, mendacious, obliging, civil,
and honest; indefatigable in hunting, travelling, and bush-ranging, but
lazy in tilling the soil.” ***

The Swedish botanist, Kalm, an excellent observer, was in Canada a few
years before Bougainville,

     *  La Hontan, II. 81 (ed. 1709).

     **  Mémoire de 1736.

     ***  Mémoire de 1757, printed in Margry, Relations Inédites.

and sketches from life the following traits of Canadian manners. The
language is chat of the old English translation. “The men here (_at
Montreal_) are extremely civil, and take their hats off to every person
indifferently whom they meet in the streets. The women in general are
handsome; they are well bred and virtuous, with an innocent and becoming
freedom. They dress out very fine on Sundays, and though on the other
days they do not take much pains with the other parts of their dress,
yet they are very fond of adorning their heads, the hair of which is
always curled and powdered and ornamented with glittering bodkins and
aigrettes. They are not averse to taking part in all the business of
housekeeping, and I have with pleasure seen the daughters of the better
sort of people, and of the governor (_of Montreal_) himself, not too
finely dressed, and going into kitchens and cellars to look that every
thing be done as it ought. What I have mentioned above of their dressing
their heads too assiduously is the case with all the ladies throughout
Canada. Their hair is always curled even when they are at home in a
dirty jacket, and short coarse petticoat that does not reach to the
middle of their legs. On those days when they pay or receive visits they
dress so gayly that one is almost induced to think their parents possess
the greatest honors in the state. They are no less attentive to have the
newest fashions, and they laugh at each other when they are not dressed
to each other’s fancy. One of the first questions they propose to a
stranger is, whether he is married; the next, how he likes the ladies of
the country, and whether he thinks them handsomer than those of his
own country; and the third, whether he will take one home with him. The
behavior of the ladies seemed to me somewhat too free at Quebec, and
of a more becoming modesty at Montreal. Those of Quebec are not very
industrious. The young ladies, especially those of a higher rank, get
up at seven and dress till nine, drinking their coffee at the same time.
When they are dressed, they place themselves near a window that opens
into the street, take up some needlework and sew a stitch now and then,
but turn their eyes into the street most of the time. When a young
fellow comes in, whether they are acquainted with him or not, they
immediately lay aside their work, sit down by him, and begin to chat,
laugh, joke, and invent _double-entendres_, and this is reckoned being
very witty. In this manner they frequently pass the whole day, leaving
their mothers to do the business of the house. They are likewise
cheerful and content, and nobody can say that they want either wit or
charms. Their fault is that they think too well of themselves. However,
the daughters of people of all ranks without exception go to market and
carry home what they have bought. The girls at Montreal are very much
displeased that those at Quebec get husbands sooner than they. The
reason of this is that many young gentlemen who come over from France
with the ships are captivated by the ladies at Quebec and marry them;
but, as these gentlemen seldom go up to Montreal, the girls there are
not often so happy as those of the former place." *

Long before Kalm’s visit, the Jesuit Charlevoix, a traveller and a
man of the world, wrote thus of Quebec in a letter to the Duchesse de
Lesdiguières: “There is a select little society here which wants
nothing to make it agreeable. In the _salons_ of the wives of the
governor and of the intendant, one finds circles as brilliant as in
other countries.” These circles were formed partly of the principal
inhabitants, but chiefly of military officers and government officials,
with their families. Charlevoix continues, “Everybody does his part
to make the time pass pleasantly, with games and parties of pleasure;
drives and canoe excursions in summer, sleighing and skating in winter.
There is a great deal of hunting and shooting, for many Canadian
gentlemen are almost destitute of any other means of living at their
ease. The news of the day amounts to very little indeed, as the country
furnishes scarcely any, while that from Europe comes all at once.
Science and the fine arts have their turn, and conversation does not
fail. The Canadians breathe from their birth an air of liberty, which
makes them very pleasant in the intercourse of life, and our language is
nowhere more purely spoken. One finds here no rich persons whatever, and
this is a great pity; for the Canadians like to get the credit of their
money, and scarcely anybody

     *  Kalm, Travels into North America, translated into English
     by John Reinold Forster (London, 1771), 56, 282, etc.

amuses himself with hoarding it. They say it is very different with our
neighbors the English, and one who knew the two colonies only by the way
of living, acting, and speaking of the colonists would not hesitate to
judge ours the more flourishing. In New England and the other British
colonies, there reigns an opulence by which the people seem not to know
how to profit; while in New France poverty is hidden under an air of
ease which appears entirely natural. The English colonist keeps as much
and spends as little as possible: the French colonist enjoys what he has
got, and often makes a display of what he has not got. The one labors
for his heirs: the other leaves them to get on as they can, like
himself. I could push the comparison farther; but I must close here:
the king’s ship is about to sail, and the merchant vessels are getting
ready to follow. In three days perhaps, not one will be left in the
harbor.” * And now we, too, will leave Canada. Winter draws near, and
the first patch of snow lies gleaming on the distant mountain of Cape
Tourmente. The sun has set in chill autumnal beauty, and the sharp
spires of fir-trees on the heights of Sillery stand stiff and black
against the pure cold amber of the fading west. The ship sails in the
morning; and, before the old towers of Rochelle rise in sight, there
will be time to smoke many a pipe, and ponder what we have seen on the
banks of the St Lawrence.

     *  Charlevoix. Journal Historique 80 (ed. 1744).


_Formation op Canadian Character.--The Rival Colonies.--England
and France.--New England.--Characteristics op Race.--Military
Qualities.--The Church.--The English Conquest._

|Not institutions alone, but geographical position, climate, and many
other conditions unite to form the educational influences that, acting
through successive generations, shape the character of nations and

It is easy to see the nature of the education, past and present, which
wrought on the Canadians and made them what they were. An ignorant
population, sprung from a brave and active race, but trained to
subjection and dependence through centuries of feudal and monarchical
despotism, was planted in the wilderness by the hand of authority,
and told to grow and flourish. Artificial stimulants were applied, but
freedom was withheld. Perpetual intervention of government, regulations,
restrictions, encouragements sometimes more mischievous than
restrictions, a constant uncertainty what the authorities would do
next, the fate of each man resting less with himself than with another,
volition enfeebled, self-reliance paralyzed,--the condition, in
short, of a child held always under the rule of a father, in the main
well-meaning and kind, sometimes generous, sometimes neglectful, often
capricious, and rarely very wise,--such were the influences under which
Canada grew up. If she had prospered, it would have been sheer miracle.
A man, to be a man, must feel that he holds his fate, in some good
measure, in his own hands.

But this was not all. Against absolute authority there was a counter
influence, rudely and wildly antagonistic. Canada was at the very portal
of the great interior wilderness. The St. Lawrence and the Lakes
were the highway to that domain of savage freedom; and thither the
disfranchised, half-starved seignior, and the discouraged _habitant_
who could find no market for his produce, naturally enough betook
themselves. Their lesson of savagery was well learned, and for many a
year a boundless license and a stiff-handed authority battled for
the control of Canada. Nor, to the last, were church and state fairly
masters of the field. The French rule was drawing towards its close when
the intendant complained that though twenty-eight companies of regular
troops were quartered in the colony, there were not soldiers enough
to keep the people in order. * One cannot but remember that in a
neighboring colony, far more populous, perfect order prevailed, with no

     *  Mémoire de 1736 (printed by the Historical Society of

guardians than a few constables chosen by the people themselves.

Whence arose this difference, and other differences equally striking,
between the rival colonies? It is easy to ascribe them to a difference
of political and religious institutions; but the explanation does
not cover the ground. The institutions of New England were utterly
inapplicable to the population of New France, and the attempt to apply
them would have wrought nothing but mischief. There are no political
panaceas, except in the imagination of political quacks. To each
degree and each variety of public development there are corresponding
institutions, best answering the public needs; and what is meat to one
is poison to another. Freedom is for those who are fit for it. The rest
will lose it, or turn it to corruption. Church and state were right
in exercising authority over a people which had not learned the first
rudiments of self-government. Their fault was not that they exercised
authority, but that they exercised too much of it, and, instead of
weaning the child to go alone, kept him in perpetual leading-strings,
making him, if possible, more and more dependent, and less and less fit
for freedom.

In the building up of colonies, England succeeded and France failed.
The cause lies chiefly in the vast advantage drawn by England from the
historical training of her people in habits of reflection, forecast,
industry, and self-reliance,--a training which enabled them to adopt and
maintain an invigorating system of self-rule, totally inapplicable to
their rivals.

The New England colonists were far less fugitives from oppression than
voluntary exiles seeking the realization of an idea. They were neither
peasants nor soldiers, but a substantial Puritan yeomanry, led by
Puritan gentlemen and divines in thorough sympathy with them. They were
neither sent out by the king, governed by him, nor helped by him. They
grew up in utter neglect, and continued neglect was the only boon they
asked. Till their increasing strength roused the jealousy of the
Crown, they were virtually independent; a republic, but by no means a
democracy. They chose their governor and all their rulers from among
themselves, made their own government and paid for it, supported their
own clergy, defended themselves, and educated themselves. Under the hard
and repellent surface of New England society lay the true foundations of
a stable freedom,--conscience, reflection, faith, patience, and public
spirit. The cement of common interests, hopes, and duties compacted the
whole people like a rock of conglomerate; while the people of New France
remained in a state of political segregation, like a basket of pebbles
held together by the enclosure that surrounds them.

It may be that the difference of historical antecedents would alone
explain the difference of character between the rival colonies; but
there are deeper causes, the influence of which went far to determine
the antecedents themselves. The Germanic race, and especially the
Anglo-Saxon branch of it, is peculiarly masculine, and, therefore,
peculiarly fitted for self-government. It submits its action habitually
to the guidance of reason, and has the judicial faculty of seeing both
sides of a question. The French Celt is cast in a different mould.
He sees the end distinctly, and reasons about it with an admirable
clearness; but his own impulses and passions continually turn him away
from it. Opposition excites him; he is impatient of delay, is impelled
always to extremes, and does not readily sacrifice a present inclination
to an ultimate good. He delights in abstractions and generalizations,
cuts loose from unpleasing facts, and roams through an ocean of desires
and theories.

While New England prospered and Canada did not prosper, the French
system had at least one great advantage. It favored military efficiency.
The Canadian population sprang in great part from soldiers, and was
to the last systematically reinforced by disbanded soldiers. Its chief
occupation was a continual training for forest war; it had little or
nothing to lose, and little to do but fight and range the woods. This
was not all. The Canadian government was essentially military. At its
head was a soldier nobleman, often an old and able commander, and those
beneath him caught his spirit and emulated his example. In spite of its
political nothingness, in spite of poverty and hardship, and in spite
even of trade, the upper stratum of Canadian society was animated by
the pride and fire of that gallant _noblesse_ which held war as its only
worthy calling, and prized honor more than life. As for the _habitant_,
the forest, lake, and river were his true school; and here, at least, he
was an apt scholar. A skilful woodsman, a bold and adroit canoe-man,
a willing fighter in time of need, often serving without pay, and
receiving from government only his provisions and his canoe, he was
more than ready at any time for any hardy enterprise; and in the
forest warfare of skirmish and surprise there were few to match him. An
absolute government used him at will, and experienced leaders guided his
rugged valor to the best account.

The New England man was precisely the same material with that of which
Cromwell formed his invincible “Ironsides;” but he had very little
forest experience. His geographical position cut him off completely from
the great wilderness of the interior. The sea was his field of action.
Without the aid of government, and in spite of its restrictions,
he built up a prosperous commerce, and enriched himself by distant
fisheries, neglected by the rivals before whose doors they lay. He knew
every ocean from Greenland to Cape Horn, and the whales of the north
and of the south had no more dangerous foe. But he was too busy to fight
without good cause, and when he turned his hand to soldiering it was
only to meet some pressing need of the hour. The New England troops in
the early wars were bands of raw fishermen and farmers, led by civilians
decorated with military titles, and subject to the slow and uncertain
action of legislative bodies. The officers had not learned to command,
nor the men to obey. The remarkable exploit of the capture of Louisburg,
the strongest fortress in America, was the result of mere audacity and
hardihood, backed by the rarest good luck.

One great fact stands out conspicuous in Canadian history,--the Church
of Rome. More even than the royal power she shaped the character and the
destinies of the colony. She was its nurse and almost its mother; and,
wayward and headstrong as it was, it never broke the ties of faith that
held it to her. It was these ties which, in the absence of political
franchises, formed under the old regime the only vital coherence in
the population. The royal government was transient; the church was
permanent. The English conquest shattered the whole apparatus of
civil administration at a blow, but it left her untouched. Governors,
intendants, councils, and commandants, all were gone; the principal
seigniors fled the colony; and a people who had never learned to control
themselves or help themselves were suddenly left to their own devices.
Confusion, if not anarchy, would have followed but for the parish
priests, who in a character of double paternity, half spiritual and
half temporal, became more than ever the guardians of order throughout

This English conquest was the grand crisis of Canadian history. It was
the beginning of a new life. With England came Protestantism, and the
Canadian church grew purer and better in the presence of an adverse
faith. Material growth, an increased mental activity, an education real
though fenced and guarded, a warm and genuine patriotism, all date from
the peace of 1763. England imposed by the sword on reluctant Canada the
boon of rational and ordered liberty. Through centuries of striving she
had advanced from stage to stage of progress, deliberate and calm, never
breaking with her past, but making each fresh gain the base of a new
success, enlarging popular liberties while bating nothing of that height
and force of individual development which is the brain and heart of
civilization; and now, through a hard-earned victory, she taught the
conquered colony to share the blessings she had won. A happier calamity
never befell a people than the conquest of Canada by the British arms.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "France and England in North America, Part IV: The Old Regime In Canada" ***

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