James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) online

. (page 29 of 83)
Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) → online text (page 29 of 83)
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A large part of the Huron tribe was con-
verted ; and the Jesuits set up over the
villages of the neophytes a sort of pater-
nal rule. But the Jesuit missions, as well
. as the Huron tribe itself, were

-?J? K! mtS destined to disappear before
and the . , - ,

Iroquois the devouring onslaught of the

relentless Iroquois. The Iro-
quois, having obtained firearms from the
Dutch, determined to exact a fearful re-
venge for the attacks to which they had
been subjected by the French and the

Winter after winter they surrounded
the infant settlement of Montreal, cutting
off stragglers, and even joining battle
with Maisonneuve and his hardy band of
crusaders. On one or two occasions the
settlement was saved only by the vigi-
lance of Maisonneuve's faithful watch-
dog, Pilot, who, if we are to believe the


tales about him, developed a craft in
woodland warfare which exceeded that
of the Iroquois themselves. The Hurons
too began to feel the brunt of the Iro-
quois attack. Possibly the process of
Christianising them had softened them ;
at any rate they proved unable to resist
the repeated onslaughts of their fierce
foes. In 1649 the Huron settlements
south of the Georgian Bay, together with
the Jesuit mission stations, were utterly
destroyed ; thousands of the Hurons
were massacred ; and several of the mis-
sionaries, notably Fathers Brebeuf and
Lalemant, were tortured and killed, dis-
playing a disregard for pain which was
hardly human.

In the valley of the little River Wye,
where most of the mission stations were
situated, archaeologists in our own day
have discovered relics of that
entile tragic massacre tomahawks
Massacre which had slipped from the
hands of dying warriors, can-
dlesticks which had adorned the altars of
the Jesuit chapels, coins which had been
worn as tokens by the Huron converts.
The missionaries that survived sadly
made their way back to Quebec, accom-
panied by some fragments of the Huron
tribe, who settled at Lorette, on the St.
Lawrence, where their descendants may
be seen to-day. The rest of the Huron
survivors fled westward, and settled near
Detroit, where they came to be known as

The extinction of the Huron settle-
ments merely whetted the appetite of the
Iroquois for more blood. Sweeping on,
they wiped out the Algonquins of Lake
Nipissing and the Upper Ottawa. In
1 650-5 1, they destroyed that branch of the
Hurons which was known as the Tobacco
nation, and a kindred tribe known as the
Neutrals, who dwelt in the Niagara
peninsula. In the winter of 1651-52 a
band of Iroquois braves penetrated to
the sources of the St. Maurice River, a
journey of twenty days northward from
the St. Lawrence, and exterminated an
Algonquin tribe which dwelt there. In
T ^4 ^ey turned upon the
quois and ^ries, who dwelt to the south
the Eries f the lake of that name, and
in one day the Erie nation was
destroyed. The Iroquois still tell the
grim tale of the evening of the battle,

when the forest gleamed with a thousand
watch-fires, in the midst of each of which
an Erie brave writhed out his life. In
1656 the Iroquois bands came boldly
down past Quebec, and on their return
plundered the houses of the lower town,
without a hand being raised in resistance.
The truth was that the Iroquois raids
were threatening the very life of the col-
ony; and it is possible that even Mon-
treal and Quebec might have been wiped
out, had it not been for one of the bravest
exploits of the French race.

In the spring of 1660 word reached
the French that the Iroquois were plan-
ning a general attack on the colony, ,with
the object of wiping it off the map. A
band of Iroquois had wintered up the
Ottawa, and were known to be about to
attack Montreal. Fearing that the prim-
itive defences of Montreal would not
keep out the Iroquois, Adam Daulac,
Sieur des Ormeaux, a young man of
good family, obtained permission from
Maisonneuve to recruit a small
of erc tt band of volunteers to go out and
Daulac attempt to hold the enemy up in
the Ottawa valley. He was
joined by sixteen young men, whose
names and circumstances are all known
to us to-day from the parish register of
Montreal ; and the heroic little band,
having made their wills, and received the
sacrament, set off up the Ottawa. At the
Long Sault they took up their position
in a half-ruined palisade, made by some
hunters the previous year, and with a
party of forty Hurons and four Algon-
quins, who had joined them, they
awaited the foe.

They were first attacked by a band of
two hundred Iroquois. These they held
at bay for five days. Then, with a shout,
a reinforcement of five hundred Iroquois
arrived. The Hurons, overcome with
fear, all deserted to the enemy, with the
exception of their chief. Nevertheless,
Daulac and his sixteen Frenchmen and
five remaining Indians fought on. For
three days more they repulsed the Iro-
quois attacks. On the ninth day, how-
ever, the defence collapsed. Daulac, in
attempting to throw a musketoon
crammed with bullets and powder among
the advancing foe, failed, through weak-
ness, to clear the palisade. The mus-
ketoon fell back, wrought terrible havoc



among the defenders, and blew a breach
in the palisade which gave admittance to
the foe. Fighting to the last, the defend-
ers were one by one shot down ; and
the story of their dauntless exploit only
reached the ears of their countrymen
through some of the Huron deserters
who escaped.

The Long Sault of the Ottawa was the

Thermopylae of New France. Daulac

and his companions had died with their

faces to the foe; but their

T uois are death was the salvation of tne
Checked colony. The Iroquois had had
enough. If a handful of
Frenchmen behind a ruined palisade
could hold hundreds of their best war-
riors at bay for a week, what could not
the whole population of Montreal do be-
hind formidable defences? The pro-
jected attack on Montreal, therefore, did
not take place, and the Iroquois returned
home. They did not immediately give
up their attacks on the colony ; but
never again did a crisis so acute arise' to
threaten the colony's existence. If ever
any men died to save their country, and
in dying saved it, those men were the
seventeen heroes of the Long Sault.

The story of the Iroquois ferocity,
spread by the Jesuits in their Relations,
or missionary reports, naturally did not
encourage emigration to Canada. In-
deed, neither the Company of New
France nor the Jesuits encouraged settle-
ment in the colony. The Company did
not wish settlers who drove the fur-
bearing animals farther and farther
back; and the Jesuits discouraged the
immigration of all who were not relig-
ious enthusiasts, or at least pious sons
and daughters of the Church. It was
small wonder that the col-

IKr on y did not . p. ros P er - Fur -

Not Grow traders, missionaries, and
nuns it contained in plenty;
but in real colonists it was poor. A
brighter day, however, was soon to dawn.
In 1663, Louis XIV, disgusted by the
failure of the Company of New France,
revoked the Company's charter, and act-
ing on the advice of his great minister,
Colbert, took over the administration of
the colony himself. With this change the
Company system, came to an end, and
New France entered on a period of
greater efficiency and prosperity.



The system of government which was
set up by Louis XIV in New France in
1663, and which lasted until the fall of
New France nearly a century later, is
commonly known as that of royal gov-


Was finance minister under Louis XIV from 1661 to
1683, and greatly increased the national income.
During all this period he kept a watchful eye on
Canada. Every detail was decided in France.

ernment. According to it, the colony
came under the King's direct administra-
tion just as if it were one of the prov-
inces of France ; and the machinery of
government was made to conform closely
to the machinery of government in one
of the French provinces at that time.
There was set up in New France, just

as in Brittany or Normandy, a
Under Governor, who represented the
the King King on official or ceremonial

occasions, an Intendant, who
was in a sense the business agent of the
King, and a Sovereign Council, which
corresponded roughly to the provincial
parlements of old France. Later on, a
Bishop of Quebec was set up, corre-
sponding with the bishops who were usu-
ally found in the French provincial cap-

The parallel was, of course, not com-
plete. In old France, the power of the


Governor had shrunk greatly, and he
was little more than a figurehead ;
whereas the Intendant held in his hands
all the reins of power. In New France,
the Intendant exercised great influence ;
he presided at the meetings of the Sover-
eign Council, and he had full control of
the departments of finance, justice, and
police; but very few Intendants were
able to set at naught the authority of the
Governor, especially if the latter were a
man of vigour and resolution. The
Sovereign Council, moreover, possessed
executive and legislative powers which
the parlcnients of old France had not;
and it was totally different in composi-
tion. Instead of being a body of heredi-
tary lawyers, as the parlements were, it
was composed of the Governor and the
Intendant, the Bishop of Quebec, and
first five, then seven, and finally twelve
other members, chosen by the King on
the recommendation of the colonial offi-

At the same time, New France ac-
quired an efficient system of local gov-
ernment through the spread of seignior-
ialism. The establishment of
Seigniories a se ig n i or i a i tenure had been,

Established of course, contemplated from
the first in New France.
Practically all the charters to the early
trading companies had carried with them
the right of establishing seigniories. But
the companies had been slow to take ad-
vantage of the right. By 1627 there had
been only three seigniorial grants made
in Canada, one to Louis Hebert at Que-
bec, another to the Caen brothers, which
was revoked in 1627, and a third to the
Jesuits, the first of a long series of
grants to the Jesuit order, which left
them, at the end of the French period,
quite the largest landholders in the col-
ony. It was not until after the establish-
ment of royal government that the sei-
gniorial system really took root in the
colony and flourished.

Seigniories were carved out all along
the banks of the St. Lawrence and the
Richelieu Rivers, and the seigniors sub-
divided their holdings among
Seignior ^ ^ tenants receiving rent
and ,, ,,

Habitant usually payable in produce, a

fine when the farm changed
hands, and military service. Owing to
the fact that these rivers were the high-

ways of the colony, and frontage on them
was not only desirable but necessary,
the subdivisions of the seigniories came
in time to resemble narrow ribbons of
land, only a few hundred yards wide, but
sometimes several miles in depth. The
houses of the habitants and of the sei-
gniors, which, as a rule, did not greatly
differ from those of the habitants, faced
the water, with the result that the colony
came to bear the appearance of a long
straggling village along the banks of the
St. Lawrence.

Seigniorialism had become in France in
the seventeenth century an unmixed
curse. The seigniors had ceased to per-
form their obligations, and retained only
their privileges. In New France, how-
ever, there was a return to the healthier
conditions amid which feudalism had first
arisen. There was none of that absentee
landlordism which was the bane of the
mother country. The seignior of New
France dwelt upon his domain among his
own people their patron in peace and
their leader in war. The oppressive in-
cidents of feudalism in the Old World
found no counterpart in the New World.
The payments of the seignior to the
Crown, and of the habitant to the sei-
gnior, were comparatively light; and it
was only when land became, under the
British regime, a commercial commodity,
that the fines on the alienation of land
became vexatious.

The only banal right which existed in
New France, that of the seignior's grist-
mill, which the habitants were compelled
to use, was a real boon to the

settle . rs of the colon y- In
the System fact, it was not at all a calam-
ity for New France that it
was organised on the seigniorial system.
That system may not have developed
among the Canadians the spirit of self-
reliance and initiative engendered by the
township system which was established
in New England ; but it gave New
France a nucleus for its military organi-
sation, which enabled it to develop a mili-
tary strength out of all proportion to its
population ; it gave the colony a form of
local government ; and through the obli-
gation imposed on the seigniors to sub-
grant their lands on penalty of losing
their concessions, it gave a very effective
aid to colonisation.



Francois de Montmorency-Laval was the spiritual
father of New France. His power was great enough
to overcome Comte de Frontenac, the royal governor.
Laval University is named in his honour.

This was the period also of the estab-
lishment of the ecclesiastical system of
New France. The French government
had for some time previous to 1663 bee a
bringing pressure to bear on the Papacy
to get it to appoint a Bishop of New
France ; and in 1659 it succeeded in hav-
ing Monseigneur de Montmorency-Laval
sent out to take charge of the Canadian
church. Laval, however, was not made
Bishop of New France ; he was merely
appointed apostolic vicar, with the title of
Bishop of Petrsea in partibus infidelium.
Evidently the Pope did not consider New
France worthy of being erected into a
bishopric. It was not until 1670 that
Laval was created Bishop of Quebec,
and New France was made an episcopal

Even then the Papacy exacted an im-
portant concession : it was stipulated that
the Bishop of Quebec was not to be
under the jurisdiction of
any of the French Arch-
bishops, but was to be in
immediate subjection to the
From this circumstance has
arisen the strongly ultramontane charac-
ter of the French-Canadian church.
Laval promptly set to work to give the
church a definite organisation. It was


Laval, the
First Bishop
of Quebec

Holy See.

he who introduced the parochial system
of Old France, with its annual payment
of tithes. He himself would have pre-
ferred a sort of peripatetic system, so
that he might be able to send his priests
to any strategic point ; but the parochial
system was forced on him, and he com-
promised by making the cures removable
by the bishop, so that they did not have
the freehold in their office which they
had in the mother country. Laval's in-
cursions into political affairs may not
always have been fortunate ; but certainly
he had a genius for organisation.

To inaugurate the new order of things
in the colony, the Marquis de Tracy was
appointed Lieutenant-general of the King
in North and South America an of-
fice created for the occasion to give him
precedence over the new Governor,
Daniel de Remy, Sieur de Courcelles,
and the Intendant, Jean Talon. The
Marquis de Tracy did not arrive in Can-
ada until the summer of 1665, for he had
visited first the French West Indies ; but
he lost no time in putting the colony on
its feet. The first task that demanded
his attention was the removal of the Iro-
quois menace. He had brought with
him the Carignan-Salieres regiment,
veterans of the Turkish wars. With


Was one of the best of the French royal officials
ever in Canada. Much of the success of the colony
of New France was due to his wisdom and tact.



their aid he built, in 1665, a number of
forts in the Richelieu val-
^;, and in .666 he led an
expedition down into the
heart of the Iroquois coun-
try, where he carried fire and steel
through the Iroquois settlements to such
good effect that even the fierce Mo-
hawks were cowed, and New France
had peace for twenty years.

When peace was signed, the Carignan-
Salieres regiment was disbanded, and
seigniories along the Richelieu were
given to many of the officers of the regi-
ment, who induced their men to settle on
the seigniories, thus giving New France
a number of military colonies as a guard
to the frontier. The names of these of-
ficers are still perpetuated in such towns
as Sorel, Chambly, and Vercheres ; and
the blood of the soldiers of the Carignan-
Salieres flows to-day in the veins of a
large proportion of the French-Canadian

In 1667, having reduced the Iroquois
to subjection, Tracy returned to France,
leaving the reorganised administration in
the hands of Courcelles and
theGreat Talon. Courcelles was a
Administrator gd soldier and an able
administrator, but he was
quite overshadowed by Talon, who was
not only a man of splendid ability, but
was a relative of the great Colbert, and
had the private ear of the minister.
Colbert had a great belief in the value
of colonies, both as sources of supply
for the manufactures of the mother
country, and as markets for the mother
country's manufactured goods. Coinci-
dent with the reorganisation of the gov-
ernment of the colony, he planned a de-
velopment of the colony's resources.

In this policy he found in Talon a
willing and able coadjutor. The great
need of the colony was immigrants. In
1663 there were barely 2,500 people
throughout the country. Shiploads of
settlers were therefore sent out from
France, and, what was even more im-
portant, cargoes of girls of a marriage-
able age. Penalties were imposed on all
bachelors : dowries were given to mar-
ried couples ; and special bounties were
awarded to all families containing twelve
or more children. By these means the
population increased by leaps and

bounds; and in less than ten years the
population of the colony had risen to
nearly 10,000 persons.

Of course, not all the new settlers
were desirable immigrants. Even
Mother Marie de ITncarnation, the gen-
tle Superior of the Ursu-

Selectfon of lines at Q uebec > described
the Immigrants some shiploads as con-
taining " a good deal of
trash." But such bad characters as did
not mend their ways were promptly
shipped back to France ; and there is no
truth in the charge sometimes made that
the sources of the population of the
province of Quebec were contaminated.
Together with the influx of population
into the colony, there went on a rapid
growth of industry and trade. Talon did
all in his power to develop the raw mate-
rials of the country, and to promote com-
mercial relations with France and the
French West Indies. In defiance of the
ideas of that day, which reserved colo-
nial trade as a monopoly for the mother
country, he endeavoured to stimulate
trade even between Canada and New

Farm implements were brought out to
Canada by the government, and agricul-
ture was in all ways possible encour-
aged ; horses, sheep, and cattle were im-
ported to improve the breeds ; bounties
were given on such commodities as soap,
potash, and tar. Surveyors were sent out
in search of minerals ; and the iron mines
of Radnor Forges and the copper mines
of Lake Huron were discovered by
Talon's engineers. Ship-building was
begun at the royal expense; and assist-
ance was given to the cod-fisheries and
seal-fisheries of the Gulf of St. Law-
rence. In short, a vivid industrial life
sprang up with astonishing rapidity in
New France during Talon's regime.

All this, of course, was due to the ex-
treme paternalism by which the govern-
ment of New France was distinguished,
and of which it afforded a
Paternal* shining example. There

Government was hardly a department of
the colony's life over which
the government did not exercise a minute
and thorough supervision. All prices
were regulated by royal edict. No one
was allowed to enter the colony without
the King's permission, and about all who



came into the colony the government
kept a record. The descriptive notes ap-
pended to the list of names in the gov-
ernment dossier were sometimes very

One man is described as " inferior in
every respect, rich ; " another is struck
off in four words, " precise, clever, few
friends ; " a third is dis-
missed with one word,
" dissolute." An officer is
" bright witted, loved by the
troops ; has given ground
for talk as to his morals ;
in command at Pointe a la
Chevelure." Another is
" fond of wine, but a good
officer." Over the morals of
the colony, the authorities
exercised a vigilant eye. If
there was any scandal, it
was immediately reported to,
the King's minister. The
case of Dame Peuvret, the
widow of the Recorder of


cL S n?da tbe '

that when, nearly twenty years later, the
Iroquois once again threatened the col-
ony, the French government could think
of nothing better than to send out Fron-
tenac again to deal with the situation.

In the internal administration of the
colony, however, Frontenac was born to
trouble as the sparks fly upward. One
of his first actions in the
fjj^ colony brought him a sharp
rebuke from Colbert. This
was- the calling of the Es-
tates-General of Canada in
the autumn of 1672, on the
model of the Estates-General
of France, a body which
represented the people some-
what as Parliament did in
England. Counting nobles,
clergy, and commons, more
than one thousand persons in
all met together at Quebec,
and took the oath of fealty
to the King.

The assemblage must have

the Sovereign Court, was nac, though a brave soldier, was made a very salutary impres-

i i 11 arrogant and unyielding. He ,1 T 1- i

typical : she was led astray W as very successful in dealing sion upon the Indians who
by a worthless fellow; her with the Indiai
case was reported to Paris; the King
ordered that she should be placed in a


were present ; but when news
of Frontenac's innovation
reached France, Colbert wrote

convent; and to a convent this merry by Colbert to mm tna t "as our kings

widow of the seventeenth century went.
In 1672 Courcelles and Talon both re-
turned to France ; and there came out to
Canada as Governor the ablest man who
occupied that office during the French
regime, Louis de 'Buade, Comte de Fron-
tenac. Frontenac was a nobleman who
had ruined a promising career at court
by his overbearing and intractable tem-
per. Though he came to Canada with
no higher motive than

t C en*c% d h e e Fr0n ~ that of ^storing his
Great Governor broken fortunes, his
courage, his skill, and his
sagacity soon made him the dominant
figure in the colony. He was especially
successful in dealing with the Indians,
to whom he was known as " the Great
Onontio." He treated them like the
children they were, lavishing compliments
and presents upon them when good, and
rebuking them haughtily when disobedi-
ent. It almost seemed as if there was
something in his proud and violent dis-
position which was akin to that of the
savages; and it was a significant fact


have long deemed it for the
good of their service, not to assemble the
Estates-General of the kingdom, so as
perhaps to annihilate insensibly this
ancient institution, you ought therefore
to grant but rarely, or to be accurate,
never to grant, this institution to the
body of the inhabitants of the colony
... it being well that each one should
speak for himself and no one should
speak for all." Thus Frontenac's exper-
iment in representative government, if
such a term can appropriately be applied
to it, came to an abrupt and untimely

He had trouble, too, with the Intendant
Duchesneau and Bishop Laval. The line
between the jurisdictions of the Gov-
ernor and the Intend-
Frontenac Quarrels , 11 f h
with Laval

and the Priests fully defined ; and it
was not to be expected
that a man of Frontenac's force of char-
acter would play second fiddle to Du-
chesneau, as Courcelles had done to
Talon. Nor was it to be expected that

; r <S r >




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Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) → online text (page 29 of 83)