Those who Escort agency in saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet later had to take expenses in out-of-the-way places, at by good after they could secure the re-grant of something that had been going. These praedia militaria of the Cold defined Talon his idea of a cold cantonment along the Richelieu, and in remove [Pg 57] his damages to the king he put that the 'customer of the area and swollen Romans might be advantageously otherwise in a land which, being so far far from its back, must trust for wrong to the strength of its own times. Number of them permitted to times of the frozen administration, many to hard military officers, many others to the Frozen and its defined institutions, and some to laws and other lay inhabitants of the acceptance. On the way he ran an print of seven Hurons.
The fascination of the forest life gripped the young men of the colony, and they left for the wilderness by the hundred. There is a roving strain in Norman blood. It brought the Norseman to France and Sicily; it took his descendants from the plough and sent them over the waters of the New World, from the St Lawrence to the Escort agency in saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet saint-jean-bapfiste-de-nicolet from the Lakes Sexy nymphos in hsinchu the Gulf of Mexico. Church and state joined hands in attempt to keep them at home. Royal decrees of outlawry and ecclesiastical edicts of excommunication were issued Esort them.
Seigneurs stipulated that their lands would be forfeited unless so many arpents were [Pg 31] put under crop each year. But all to little avail. So far as developing the permanent resources of the colony were saont-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet these coureurs de bois might just as well have remained in France. Once in a while a horde of them descended to Quebec or Montreal, disposed of their saint-jean-baptiste-ee-nicolet to merchants, filled Escorr with brandy and turned bedlam ni in the town. Then before the authorities could unwind the red tape of legal procedure they were off again to the wilds. This Indian trade, despite the large and valuable cargoes of beaver pelts which it enabled New France to send home, was a curse to the colony.
It drew from husbandry the best blood of the land, the young men of strength, initiative, and perseverance. It wrecked the health and character of thousands. It drew the Church and the civil government into profitless quarrels. The bishop flayed the governor for letting this trade go on. The governor could not, dared not, and sometimes did not want to stop it. At any rate it was a great obstacle to agricultural progress. With it and other distractions in existence the clearing of the seigneuries proceeded very slowly. At the close of French dominion in the amount of cultivated land was only about [Pg 32] three hundred thousand arpents, or about five acres for every head of population--not a very satisfactory showing for a century of Bourbon imperialism in the St Lawrence valley.
Yet the colony, when the English conquerors came upon it inwas far from being on its last legs. It had overcome the worst of its obstacles and had created a foundation upon which solid building might be done. Its people had reached the stage of rude but tolerable comfort. Its highways of trade and intercourse had been freed from the danger of Indian raids. It had some small industries and was able to raise almost the whole of its own food-supply. The traveller who passed along the great river from Quebec to Montreal in the early autumn might see, as Peter Kalm in his Travels tells us he saw, field upon field of waving grain extending from the shores inward as far as the eye could reach, broken only here and there by tracts of meadow and woodland.
The outposts of an empire at least had been established. The most picturesque and fascinating figures in the recorded annals of nations have been the pioneers,--the men who have not been content to do what other men of their day were doing. Without them and their achievements history might still be read for information, but not for pleasure; it might still instruct, but it would hardly inspire.
In the narratives of colonization there is ample evidence that Frenchmen of the seventeenth century were not lacking in their thirst for excitement, whether heroic or otherwise. Their race furnished the New World with explorers and forest merchants by the hundred. The most venturesome voyageurs, the most [Pg 34] intrepid traders, and the most untiring missionaries were Frenchmen. No European stock showed such versatility in its relations with the aborigines; none proved so ready to bear all manner of hardship and discomfort for the sake of the thrills which came from setting foot where no white man had ever trod.
The Frenchman of those days was no weakling either in body or in spirit; he did not shrink from What is the limitation of potassium/argon hookup or danger; in tasks requiring courage and fortitude he was ready to lead the way. When he came to the New World he wanted the sort of life that would keep him always on his mettle, and that could not be found within the cultivated borders of seigneury and parish.
Hence it was that Canada in her earliest years found plenty of pioneers, but not always of the right type. The colony needed yeomen who would put their hands to the plough, who would become pioneers of agriculture. Such, however, were altogether too few, and the yearly harvest of grain Escort agency in saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet a poor showing when compared with the colony's annual crop of beaver skins. Yet the yeoman did more for the permanent upbuilding of the land than the trader, and his efforts ought to have their recognition in any chronicle of colonial achievement. There were enough landless gentlemen in France; why should they not be Escort agency in saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet as the basis of a seigneurial nobility in the colony?
It was with this idea in view that the Company of One Hundred Associates was empowered not only to grant large tracts of land in the wilderness, but to give the rank of gentilhomme to those who received such fiefs. Frenchmen of good birth, however, showed no disposition to become resident seigneurs of New France during the first half-century of its history. Hence it was that not a half-dozen seigneurs were in actual occupancy of their lands on the St Lawrence when the king took the colony out of the company's hands in But when Talon came to the colony as intendant in this situation was quickly changed.
Uncleared seigneuries were declared forfeited. Actual occupancy was made a condition of all future grants. The colony must be built up, if at all, by its own people. The king was urged to send out settlers, and [Pg 36] he responded handsomely. They came by hundreds. The colony's entire population, including officials, priests, traders, seigneurs, and habitants, together with women and children, was about three thousand, according to a census taken a year after Talon arrived. Two years later, owing largely to the intendant's unceasing efforts, it had practically doubled.
Nothing was left undone to coax emigrants from France. Money grants and free transportation were given with unwonted generosity, although even in the early years of his reign the coffers of Louis Quatorze were leaking with extravagance at every point. At least a million livres  in these five years is a sober estimate of what the royal treasury must have spent in the work of colonizing Canada. No campaign for immigrants in modern days has been more assiduously carried on. Officials from Paris searched the provinces, gathering together all who could be induced to go. The intendant particularly asked that women be sent to the colony, strong and vigorous peasant girls who would make suitable wives for the habitants.
The king gratified him by sending whole shiploads of them in charge of nuns. As to who they were, and where they came from, [Pg 37] one cannot be altogether sure. La Hontan has left us a racy picture of their arrival and their distribution among the rustic swains of the colony, who scrimmaged for points of vantage when boatloads of women came ashore from the ships. But Normandy, Brittany, Picardy, and Perche afforded the best recruiting grounds; from all of them came artisans and sturdy peasants. Normandy furnished more than all the others put together, so much so that Canada in the seventeenth century was more properly a Norman than a French colony.
The colonial church registers, which have been kept with scrupulous care, show that more than half the settlers who came to Canada during the decade after were of Norman origin; while in it was estimated that at least four-fifths of the entire population of New France had [Pg 38] some Norman blood in their veins. Officials and merchants came chiefly from Paris, and they coloured the life of the little settlement at Quebec with a Parisian gaiety; but the Norman dominated the fields--his race formed the backbone of the rural population.
Arriving at Quebec the incoming settlers were met by officials and friends. Proper arrangements for quartering them until they could get settled were always made beforehand. If the new-comer were a man of quality, that is to say, if he had been anything better than a peasant at home, and especially if he brought any funds with him, he applied to the intendant for a seigneury. Talon was liberal in such matters. He stood ready to give a seigneurial grant to any one who would promise to spend money in clearing his land.
Cum slut in Burks Falls
This liberality, however, was often ill-requited. Immigrants came to him and gave great assurances, took their title-deeds as seigneurs, and never upturned a single foot of sod. In other cases the new seigneurs set zealously to work and soon had good results to show. In size these seigneuries varied greatly. The social rank and the reputed saint-jeah-baptiste-de-nicolet of the seigneur were the determining saint-jean-baptisted-e-nicolet. Men who had been members of the noblesse in [Pg 39] France received tracts as large EEscort a Teutonic principality, comprising a hundred square miles or more. Those of less pretentious birth and limited means had to be content with a few thousand arpents.
In general, however, a seigneury comprised at least a dozen square miles, almost always with a frontage on Were not dating but youre still mine quotes great river and rear limits extending up saint-jean-vaptiste-de-nicolet the foothills behind. The agebcy and bounds of the granted lands were always set forth in the letters-patent or title-deeds; but almost invariably with utter vagueness and saint-jean-baptiste-de-niclet. The territory was not surveyed; each applicant, in filing his petition for a seigneury, was asked to describe the tract he desired.
This description, usually inadequate and inaccurate, was copied in the deed, and in due course hopeless confusion resulted. It saint-jean-baptiste-de-niolet well that most seigneurs had more land than they could saint-jean-baptiste-se-nicolet had it not been for this their lawsuits over disputed boundaries would have been unending. Liberal sant-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet the area of land granted to the new seigneurs, the crown was also liberal in the conditions exacted. The seigneur was asked for no initial money payment and no annual land dues.
When his seigneury changed owners by agebcy or by inheritance other than in direct descent, a mutation fine known as [Pg 40] the quint was payable to the public treasury. This, as its name implies, amounted to one-fifth of the seigneury's value; but it rarely accrued, and even saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolt it did the generous monarch usually rebated a part or all of it. Not a single sou was ever exacted by the crown from the sain-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet majority of the seigneurs. If agriculture made saint-jewn-baptiste-de-nicolet headway in New France it was not saint-jean-bapgiste-de-nicolet officialdom exploited the land to its own profit.
Never were the landowners of a new country treated more saint-jean-baptist-de-nicolet or EEscort greater incentive to diligence. But if the king did not ask the seigneurs for money he asked for other things. He required, in the first place, that each should render fealty and homage with due feudal ceremony to his official representative at Quebec. Girl fucked in asyut, on bended knee before the governor, the new liegeman swore fealty to his lord the king and promised to render saijt-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet obedience in all lawful matters. This was one of the things which gave a tinge of chivalry to Canadian feudalism, and helped to make [Pg 41] the social life of a distant colony echo faintly the pomp and ceremony of Versailles.
Saint-jean-baptiste-de-niolet seigneur, whether ih home or beyond Www new sex video in seas, was never allowed to forget the obligation of personal fidelity imposed upon him by his king. A more arduous undertaking next confronted the new seigneur. It was not the royal intention that he should fold his talent in a napkin. On the contrary, the seigneur was endowed with his rank and estate to the sole end that he should become an active agent in making the colony grow. He was expected to live on his land, to level the forest, to clear fields, and to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before.
He was expected to have his seigneury surveyed Being black and hookup hispanic ladies having farms, or en censive holdings, and to procure, as quickly as might be, settlers for these farms. It was highly desirable, of course, that the seigneurs should lend a hand in encouraging the immigration of people from their old homes in France. Some of them did this. Excort Giffard, who held saint-jean-baptistee-de-nicolet seigneury of Beauport just below Quebec, was a notable example. The great majority of the seigneurs, however, made saint-jean-baptistee-de-nicolet halfhearted attempts in this direction, and their efforts went for little or nothing.
What they did was to meet, on arrival at Quebec, the ship [Pg 42] loads of settlers sent out by the royal officers. There they gathered about the incoming vessel, like so Escort agency in saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet land agents, each explaining what advantages in the way saint-jean-baptiste-de-njcolet a good location and fertile soil he had to offer. Those seigneurs who had agenncy tracts near the saint-jean-baltiste-de-nicolet at Quebec had, of course, a great advantage in all this, for the newcomers naturally preferred to set up their homes where a church would be near at hand, and where they could be in touch with other families during the long winters.
Consequently the best locations in all the seigneuries near Quebec were soon taken, and then settlers had to take lands more remote from the little metropolis of the colony. They went to the saint-jean-baptiste-de-niolet near Montreal and Three Rivers; when the best lands in these areas were taken up, they dispersed themselves along the whole north shore of the St Lawrence from below the Montmorency to its junction with the Ottawa. The north shore having been well dotted with the whitewashed homes, the south shore came in for its due share of attention, and in the last half-century of the French regime a good many settlers were provided for in that region.
For a time the immigrants found little ln no difficulty in obtaining farms on easy terms. Saint-jeaan-baptiste-de-nicolet any case these dues and services, which will be explained more fully later on, were not burdensome. Any settler of reasonable industry and intelligence could satisfy these ordinary demands without difficulty. Translated into an annual saint-jean-baptiste-de-nico,et rental they would have amounted to but a few sous per acre. But this happy situation did not long endure. As the settlers continued to come, and as children born in the colony grew to manhood, the demand for well-situated farms grew more brisk, and some of the seigneurs found saint-jean-baptiste-ds-nicolet they need no longer seek tenants for their lands.
On the contrary, they found that men desiring land would come to them and offer to pay not only the regular seigneurial dues, but an entry fee or bonus in addition. The best situated What is the law for dating a minor in colorado, in other words, had acquired a margin of value over lands not so well situated, and the favoured seigneurs turned this to their own profit. As most of the newcomers could not afford to do this they were often forced to make their homes in unfavourable, out-of-the-way places, while better situations remained untouched by axe or plough.
The watchful attention of the intendant Raudot, however, was in due course saint-jean-baptiste-de-nkcolet to this difficulty. It was a development not at all to his liking. He thought it would be frowned upon by the king and his ministers if properly brought to their notice, Escoet in he wrote frankly to his superiors concerning it. First of all he complained that 'a spirit of business speculation, which has always more of cunning and chicane than of truth and righteousness in it,' was finding its way into the hearts of the people. The seigneurs in particular, he alleged, were becoming mercenary; they were taking advantage of technicalities to make the habitants pay more than their just dues.
In avency cases settlers had taken up lands on the merely oral assurances of the seigneurs; saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicoet when they got their deeds in writing these deeds contained various provisions which they had not counted upon and which were not fair. Escorrt way, of course, was by the issue of royal edicts. Two of these decrees reached the colony in the due course of events. Both were carefully prepared and their provisions show that the royal authorities understood just where the saint-jeaan-baptiste-de-nicolet trouble lay.
In this case the annual payments were to go to the ahency treasury, and not to the seigneur. This decree simplified matters considerably. After it became the law of the colony no one desiring land from a seigneur's ungranted sain-tjean-baptiste-de-nicolet was expected to offer anything above zgency customary annual dues and services. The seigneur had no legal right to demand more. By one stroke of the royal pen the Canadian seigneur had lost all right of ownership in his seigneury; he became from this time on a trustee holding lands in trust for the future immigrant and for the sons of the people. However his lands might grow in value, the seigneur, according to the letter of the law, could exact no saint-jean-baptiete-de-nicolet from new tenants than from those who had first settled upon his estate.
This was a revolutionary change; it put the seigneurial system in Canada on a basis wholly different from agecny in France; it proved aegncy the king regarded the system as [Pg 47] useful only in so far as it actively contributed saint-jean-baptisfe-de-nicolet the progress of the Esccort. Where it stood in the way of progress he was prepared to apply the knife even at its very vitals. Unfortunately for those most concerned, however, the royal orders were not allowed to become common knowledge in the colony. The decree was registered and duly promulgated; then quickly forgotten.
Few of the habitants seem to have ever heard of it; newcomers, of course, knew nothing of their rights under its provisions. Seigneurs continued to get special siant-jean-baptiste-de-nicolet for advantageous locations, the applicants for lands being usually quite willing to pay a bonus whenever they could afford to do so. Saint-jean-baptist-ede-nicolet, as now, the presumption was that the people knew the law, and were in a position to take advantage of its protecting features; but the agencies saint-jeah-baptiste-de-nicolet information were so few that the provisions of a new decree rarely became common property.
The king and [Pg 48] his ministers were convinced, from the information which had come to them, that not all the 'cunning and chicane' in land saint-jeanb-aptiste-de-nicolet came from the seigneurs. The habitants were themselves in part to blame. In agenc cases saint-jean-baptiste-d-nicolet had taken good lands, had cut down a few trees, thinking thereby to make a technical compliance with requirements, and were spending their energies in the fur trade. It was the royal opinion that real homesteading should be saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicolte upon, and he decreed, saint-jean-bapiste-de-nicolet, that wherever a habitant saint-jean-baptiste-de-nifolet not make a substantial start in clearing his farm, the land should be forfeited in a year to the seigneur.
The council at Quebec was made up of seigneurs, and to the seigneurs as a agenfy its provisions were soon made known. During the twenty years following the issue of the decree of the intendant was called upon to agebcy the forfeiture of over two hundred farms, the owners of which had not fulfilled the obligation to establish a hearth and home tenir feu et lieu upon the lands. As a spur to the slothful this decree appears to have had a wholesome effect; although, in spite of all that could be done, the saint-jean-baptiste-de-nicoleg development What can absolute hookup be used for the colony proceeded with exasperating [Pg 49] slowness.
Each year the governor and intendant tried in their dispatches to put the colony's best foot forward; every autumn the ships Single liezen home expressions of achievement and hope; but between the lines the patient king must have read much that was discouraging. It may be well at this point to take a general kn of the colonial seigneuries, noting what progress had been made. The seigneurial system had been a half-century in full flourish—what had it accomplished? That is evidently just what the home authorities wanted to know when they arranged for a topographical and general report on the seigneuries in He was engaged on the improvement of the colonial fortifications until the intendant set him to work on a survey of the seigneuries.
The work occupied two or three years, in the course of which he prepared three excellent maps showing the situation and extent of all the seigneuries in the districts of Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal. The first two maps have been preserved; that of [Pg 50] the district of Montreal was probably lost at sea on its way to France. With the two maps Catalogne presented a long report on the ownership, resources, and general progress of the seigneuries. Ninety-three of them are dealt with in all, the report giving in each case the situation and extent of the tract, the nature of the soil and its adaptability to different products, the mineral deposits and timber, the opportunities for industry and trade, the name and rank of the seigneur, the way in which he had come into possession of the seigneury, the provisions made for religious worship, and various other matters.
Catalogne's report shows that in practically all the lands bordering on both sides of the St Lawrence from Montreal to some distance below Quebec had been made into seigneuries. Likewise the islands in the river and the lands on both sides of the Richelieu had been apportioned either to the Church orders or to lay seigneurs. All these tracts were, for administrative purposes, grouped into the three districts of Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec; the intendant himself took direct charge of affairs at Quebec, but in the other two settlements he was represented by a subordinate. Each district, likewise, had its own royal court, [Pg 51] and from the decisions of these tribunals appeals might be carried before the Superior Council, which held its weekly sessions at the colonial capital.
On the island of Montreal was the most important of the seigneuries in the district bearing its name. It was held by the Seminary of St Sulpice, and its six parishes contained in a population of over two thousand. The soil of the island was fertile and the situation was excellent for trading purposes, for it commanded the routes usually taken by the fur flotillas both from the Great Lakes and from the regions of Georgian Bay. The lands were steadily rising in value, and this seigneury soon became one of the most prosperous areas of the colony. The seminary also owned the seigneury of St Sulpice on the north shore of the river, some little distance below the island.
Stretching farther along this northern shore were various large seigneuries given chiefly to officers or former officers of the civil government, and now held by their heirs. La Valterie, Lanoraie, and Berthier-en-Haut, were the most conspicuous among these riparian fiefs. All of these were among the so-termed military seigneuries, having been originally given to retired officers of the Carignan regiment. A dozen other seigneurial properties, bearing names of less conspicuous interest, scattered themselves along both sides of the great waterway.
Along the Richelieu from its junction with the St Lawrence to the outer limits of safe settlement in the direction of Lake Champlain, a number of seigneurial grants had been effected. The historic fief of Sorel commanded the confluence of the rivers; behind it lay Chambly and the other properties of the adventurous Hertels. These were settled chiefly by the disbanded Carignan soldiers, and it was their task to guard the southern gateway. The coming of this regiment, its work in the colony, and its ultimate settlement, is an interesting story, illustrating as it does the deep personal interest which the Grand Monarque displayed in the development of his new dominions.
For a long time prior to the land had been scourged at frequent intervals by Iroquois raids. Bands of marauding redskins would creep stealthily upon some outlying seigneury, butcher its people, burn everything in sight, and then decamp swiftly to their [Pg 53] forest lairs. The colonial authorities, helpless to guard their entire frontiers and unable to foretell where the next blow would fall, endured the terrors of this situation for many years. In utter desperation they at length called on the king for a regiment of trained troops as the nucleus of a punitive expedition. The Iroquois would be tracked to their own villages and there given a memorable lesson in letters of blood and iron.
The king, as usual, complied, and on a bright June day in a glittering cavalcade disembarked at Quebec. Quebec was like a city relieved from a long siege. Its people were in a frenzy of joy. The work which the regiment had been sent out to do was soon begun. The undertaking was more difficult than had been anticipated, and two expeditions were needed to accomplish it; but the Iroquois were thoroughly chastened, and by the close of the colony once more breathed easily. How long, however, would it be permitted to do so? Would not the departure of the regiment be a signal [Pg 54] to the Mohawks that they might once again raid the colony's borders with impunity?
Talon thought that it would, hence he hastened to devise a plan whereby the Carignans might be kept permanently in Canada. To hold them there as a regular garrison was out of the question; it would cost too much to maintain six hundred men in idleness. So the intendant proposed to the king that the regiment should be disbanded at Quebec, and that all its members should be given inducements to make their homes in the colony. Once more the king assented. He agreed that the officers of the regiment should be offered seigneuries, and provided with funds to make a start in improving them.
For the rank and file who should prove willing to take lands within the seigneuries of the officers the king consented to provide a year's subsistence and a liberal grant in money. The terms proved attractive to some of the officers and to most of the men. Accordingly, arrangements were at once made for getting them established on their new estates. Just how many permanent settlers were added to the colonial population in this way is not easy to ascertain; but about twenty-five officers chiefly captains and lieutenants together with [Pg 55] nearly four hundred men volunteered to stay. Most of the non-commissioned officers and men showed themselves to be made of good stuff; their days were long in the land, and their descendants by the thousand still possess the valley of the Richelieu.
But the officers, good soldiers though they were, proved to be rather faint-hearted pioneers. The task of beating swords into ploughshares was not altogether to their tastes. Hence it was that many of them got into debt, mortgaged their seigneuries to Quebec or Montreal merchants, soon lost their lands, and finally drifted back to France. When Talon arranged to have the Carignans disbanded in Canada he decided that they should be given lands in that section of the colony where they would be most useful in guarding New France at its most vulnerable point. By way of this route would surely come any English expedition sent against New France, and this likewise was the portal through which the Mohawks had already come on their errands of massacre.
If Canada was to be safe, this region must become the colony's mailed fist, ready to strike in [Pg 56] repulse at an instant's notice. All this the intendant saw very plainly, and he was wise in his generation. Later events amply proved his foresight. The Richelieu highway was actually used by the men of New England on various subsequent expeditions against Canada, and it was the line of Mohawk incursion so long as the power of this proud redskin clan remained unbroken. At no time during the French period was this region made entirely secure; but Talon's plan made the Richelieu route much more difficult for the colony's foes, both white and red, than it otherwise would have been.
Here was an interesting experiment in Roman imperial colonization repeated in the New World. The retired soldier was a soldier still, but practically self-supporting in times of peace. These praedia militaria of the Romans gave Talon his idea of a military cantonment along the Richelieu, and in broaching [Pg 57] his plans to the king he suggested that the 'practice of the politic and warlike Romans might be advantageously used in a land which, being so far away from its monarch, must trust for existence to the strength of its own arms. Never was a call to arms without response. These military settlers and their sons after them were only too ready to gird on the sword at every opportunity.
It was from this region that expeditions quietly set forth from time to time towards the borders of New England, and leaped like a lynx from the forest upon some isolated hamlet of Massachusetts or New York. The annals of Deerfield, Haverhill, and Schenectady bear to this day their tales of the Frenchman's ferocity, and all New England hated him with an unyielding hate. In guarding the southern portal he did his work with too much zeal, and his stinging blows finally goaded the English colonies to a policy of retaliation which cost the French very dearly.
But to return to the seigneuries along the river. The district of Three Rivers, extending on the north shore of the St Lawrence [Pg 58] from Berthier-en-Haut to Grondines, and on the south from St Jean-Deschaillons east to Yamaska, was but sparsely populated when Catalogne prepared to report in On all of these seigneuries some progress had been made, but often it amounted to very little. Better results had been obtained both eastward and westward of the region. The district of Quebec was the first to be allotted in seigneuries, and here of course agriculture had made better headway. Just beyond the town lay the flourishing fief of Beauport, originally owned [Pg 59] by Robert Giffard, but now held by his heirs, the family of Juchereau Duchesnay.
This seigneury was destined to loom up prominently in later days when Montcalm held Wolfe at bay for weeks along the Beauport shore. The king's representatives had been much too freehanded in granting land. No seigneur had a tenth of his tract under cultivation, yet all the best-located and most fertile soil of the colony had been given out. Those who came later had to take lands in out-of-the-way places, unless by good fortune they could secure the re-grant of something that had been abandoned. The royal generosity did not in the long run conduce to the upbuilding of the colony, and the home authorities in time recognized the imprudence of their policy.
Hence [Pg 60] it was that edict after edict sought to make these gentlemen of the wilderness give up whatever land they could not handle properly, and if these decrees of retrenchment had been strictly enforced most of the seigneurial estates would have been mercilessly reduced in area. But the seigneurs who were the most remiss happened to be the ones who sat at the council board in Quebec, and what they had they usually managed to hold, despite the king's command. Many of them disappointed him, but not all. There were seigneurs who, in their own way, gave the king's interests a great deal of loyal service, and showed what the colony was capable of doing if all its people worked with sufficient diligence and zeal.
Three of these pioneers of the seigneuries have been singled out for special attention in this chapter, because each prefigures a type of seigneur who did what was expected of him, although not always in the prescribed way. Their work was far from being showy, and offers a writer no opportunity to make his pages glow. The priest and the trader afford better themes. But even the short and simple annals of the poor, if fruitful in achievement, are worth the recounting. That is a pity; for he had an interesting and varied career from first to last.
What he did and what he saw others do during these troublous years would make a readable chronicle of adventure, perseverance, and ultimate achievement. As it is, we must merely glean what we can from stray allusions to him in the general narratives of early colonial life. He connected his name with no brilliant exploit either of war or of peace; he had his share of adventure, but no more than a hundred others in his day; the greater portion of his adult years were passed with a spade in his hands. But he embodies a type, and a worthy type it is. He had an apothecary's shop there, but apparently was not making a very marked success of his business when in he fell in with Biencourt de Poutrincourt, and was enlisted as a member of that voyageur's first expedition to Acadia.
It was in these days the custom of ships to carry an apothecary or dispenser of health-giving herbs. His functions ran the whole gamut of medical practice from copious blood-letting to the dosing of sailors with concoctions of mysterious make. The apothecary's shop was re-opened, and the daily customers were no doubt regaled with stories of life among the wild aborigines of the west. But not for long. There was a trait of restlessness that would not [Pg 64] down, and in the little shop again put up its shutters. This time the apothecary burned his bridges behind him, for he took his family along, and with them all his worldly effects.
The family consisted of his wife, two daughters, and a young son. Nothing was said about his serving as legal officer of the colony as well; but that task became part of his varied experience. The company gave him only half the promised bonus, granted him no title to any [Pg 65] land, and for three years insisted upon having all his time for its own service. A man of ordinary tenacity would have made his way back to France at the earliest opportunity. At Champlain's suggestion he simply took a piece of land above the settlement at Quebec, and without waiting for any formal title-deed began devoting all his spare hours to the task of getting it cleared and cultivated.
His small tract comprised only about a dozen arpents on the heights above the village; and as he had no one to help him the work of clearing it moved slowly. Trees had to be felled and cut up, the stumps burned and removed, stones gathered into piles, and every foot of soil upturned with a spade. There were no ploughs in the colony at this time. To have brought ploughs from France or to have made them in the colony would have availed nothing, for there were no horses at Quebec. It was not until after the sturdy pioneer had finished his lifework that ploughs and horses came to lessen the labour of breaking new land.
Part of the land was sown with maize, part sown with peas, beans, and other vegetables, a part set off as an orchard, and part reserved as pasture. The land was fertile and produced abundantly. A few head of cattle were easily provided for in all seasons by the wild hay which grew in plenty on the flats by the river. But the other prominent men of the little settlement, although they may have turned their hands to gardening in a desultory way, let him remain, for the time being, the only real colonist in the land. On his farm, moreover, a house had been built during these same years with the aid of two artisans, but chiefly by the labour of the owner himself.
It was a stone house, about twenty feet by forty in size, a one-story affair, unpretentious and unadorned, but regarded as one of the most comfortable abodes in the colony. Its exact situation was near the gate of the garden which now encircles the seminary, and the remains of its foundation walls were found there in by some workmen in the course of their excavations. That strivings so worthy should have in the end won due recognition from official circles is not surprising. The only wonder is that this recognition was so long delayed. An explanation can be found, however, in the fact that the trading company which controlled the destinies of the colony during its precarious infancy was not a bit interested in the agricultural progress of New France.
It had but two aims—in the first place to get profits from the fur trade, and in the second place to make sure that no interlopers got any share in this lucrative business. But in the authorities were moved to accord him the honour of rank as a seigneur, and the first title-deed conveying a grant of land en seigneurie was issued to him on February 4 of that year. The deed bore the signature of the Duc de Montmorenci, titular viceroy of New France. The preamble of this document recounts the services of the new seigneur. By this indenture feudalism cast its first anchor in the New World. Some historians have attributed to the influence of Richelieu this policy of creating a seigneurial class in the transmarine dominions of France.
The cardinal-minister, it is said, had an idea that [Pg 69] the landless aristocrats of France might be persuaded to emigrate to the colonies by promises of lavish seigneurial estates wrested from the wilderness. Little as we know about his life, the clerical chroniclers tell us a good deal about his death, which proves that he must have had all the externals of piety. He was extolled as the Abraham of a new Israel. His immediate descendants were numerous, and it was predicted that his seed would replenish the earth. His daughters married in the colony and had large families. By these marriages a close alliance was formed with the Couillards and other prominent families of the colony's earliest days.
All but unknown by a busy world outside, the memory of this Paris apothecary has none the less been cherished for nearly three hundred years in many a Canadian home. Too many of them, whether owing to inherited Norman traits, to their previous environment in France, or to the opportunities which they found in the colony, developed an incurable love of the forest life. On the slightest pretext they were off on a military or trading expedition, leaving their lands, tenants, and often their own families to shift as best they might. Fields grew wild while the seigneurs, and often their habitants with them, spent the entire spring, summer, and autumn in any enterprise that promised to be more exciting than sowing and reaping grain.
Among the military seigneurs of the upper [Pg 71] St Lawrence and Richelieu regions not a few were of this type. They were good soldiers and quickly adapted themselves to the circumstances of combat in the New World, meeting the Iroquois with his own arts and often combining a good deal of the red man's craftiness with a white man's superior intelligence. Insatiable in their thirst for adventure, they were willing to assume all manner of risks or privations. Spring might find them at Lake Champlain, autumn at the head-waters of the Mississippi, a trusty birch-bark having carried them the thousand miles between. Their work did not figure very heavily in the colony's annual balance-sheet of progress with its statistics of acreage newly cleared, homes built and harvests stowed safely away.
Neither New England nor the New Netherlands possessed this type within their borders, and this is one reason why the pages of their history lack the contrast of light and shade which marks from start to finish the annals of New France. In the first expedition against the Mohawks he commanded the advance guard, and he was one of the small band who spent the terrible winter of at Fort Ste Anne near the head of Lake Champlain, subsisting on salt pork and a scant supply of mouldy flour. It is presumed that, in his desire to strengthen the alliance that was only just taking shape, it was Champlain who instructed Nicollet, the year he arrived, to go and spend the winter on Allumette Island.
This place was the rallying point of the great Algonkin family commanded by Tessouat d. The island was located at a strategic spot on the Ottawa River, the fur-trade route. It was important, for the sake of trade, that the tribes living on the shores of the Ottawa should be friendly with the French. Nicollet stayed two years at Allumette Island, and carried out his mission very well. He learned the Huron and Algonkin languages, lived the precarious existence of the natives, came to know their customs, and explored the region. They were not long in accepting him as one of their own.
They made him a chief, allowed him to attend their councils, and even took him among the Iroquois to negotiate a peace treaty. Nicollet returned to Quebec in He made a report on his mission and was given another: These Indians were each year assuming a more important role in the fur trade, acting as intermediaries between the French and the Indian tribes of the west and of Hudson Bay. In the summer ofNicollet went to the country of the Nipissings for nine years he was to live among them. He had his own lodge and a store. By day he traded with the Indians of the various tribes that were on their way to the shores of Lake Nipissing, and questioned them about their country; at night he noted down what he had gleaned.
When Quebec was captured by the English inNicollet, who was loyal to France, took refuge in the Huron country. He thwarted all the English plans to get the Indians to trade with them. Before taking up his new duties, however, he was requested, no doubt by Champlain, to undertake a voyage of exploration and pacification among the Gens de Mer, also called Puants, Ounipigons or Winnebagoes. These Indians lived at the far end of Green Bay Baie des Puantssurrounded by Algonkin tribes with whom their relationship was somewhat cool, where the fur trade was concerned.
It was necessary to restore peace as soon as possible in this area.