Reorganization And The Iroquois Wars
A centralist system established.—As complaints arose regarding the last governmental arrangements, the king changed the form of control, creating a council to consist of the governor, any ex-governor who might be in the country, and the superior of the Jesuits, who was later to give way to a bishop when one was appointed; these were to select for membership two inhabitants, or three if no ex-governor was in the colony. Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers were each to select a syndic, who could hold office for three years and could deliberate with but could not vote in the council. The centralist system, which Mazarin was perfecting in France, was thus established in Canada.
Laval.—New France had been attached to the archbishopric of Rouen, and De Queylus, a Sulpician priest at Montreal, had acted as vicar-general for the whole colony. His followers hoped that he would be created bishop, but instead, in 1659 a Jesuit, the Abbé Laval, was appointed vicar-apostolic and Bishop of Petraea in partibus. After a spirited contest with De Queylus, Laval was successful in establishing his supremacy, the power of the Jesuits thus being assured.
War with the Iroquois.—The following year witnessed a serious Iroquois outbreak. News arrived that twelve hundred warriors had gathered to wipe out the settlements. A young nobleman, popularly known as Dollard, conceived the quixotic scheme of intercepting a large force of Iroquois who had wintered on the Ottawa. With sixteen enlisted men and a few Hurons and Algonquins he proceeded to a palisade at the great rapids of the Ottawa, and there met the Indians. Dollard and his followers were slain to a man, but so stubborn had been their resistance that the Iroquois retired to the forests and New France was saved. A regiment was sent out to protect the colony, forts were established along the Richelieu, and two expeditions were sent into the Iroquois country, the result being that a peace was made with the Indians which lasted for several years. Later an expedition was sent to the outlet of Lake Ontario to impress the savages with the power of France.
The West India Company.—In 1663 the company of New France surrendered its rights to the king, who created a council to consist of the governor, bishop, and five councillors chosen by them jointly. The following year, at the suggestion of Colbert, he chartered a new corporation known as the West India Company, to which was given a monopoly of all the trade of New France and the west coast of Africa, with the privilege of nominating the governor of Canada. The office of intendant was also created to act as a check upon the governor. This official was to act as a legal and financial officer who was to report directly to the crown. The first intendant was Talon, who was a prominent figure for several years. The governor who was the military, political, and administrative agent of the king, the intendant, and the bishop were the real rulers of New France. Their divided authority and jealousies later led to frequent disputes, which greatly retarded the development of the colonies.
Talon.—It was Talon who first realized the possibilities of New France. To promote commerce he built a vessel which he despatched to the West Indies with a cargo of fish, staves, and lumber. He planned an overland road to Acadia and urged the occupation of the Hudson River Valley, projects, however, which were not realized. At Quebec he erected a brewery and tannery. Young women were brought from France as wives for the colonists and soldiers, and bounties were offered for the birth of children. In 1666 the total population was 3418; five years later it had increased to 6000.
Seignorial grants.—To aid in colonization and protection Talon established a type of feudalism. Along the Richelieu River as high up as Chambly and along the St. Lawrence from the neighborhood of Montreal to a point several miles below Quebec, most of the lands were portioned out. The majority of these seignorial grants were made to officers of the regiment of Carrigan, which had been stationed in Canada. Discharged soldiers were settled on the grants as tenant farmers. The seignorial holdings varied in size from half a league to six leagues on the river and extended back from half a league to two leagues. The buildings of the seigniory were the "mansion," which was usually a log house, a fort, chapel, and mill. The poverty of the proprietor, however, frequently prevented the erection of some of the buildings, the mill sometimes being lacking or serving the double duty of fort and mill; on other grants chapel, mill, and fort were never built. In the more exposed localities the houses of the tenants were built together in palisaded villages. On other grants the dwellings lined the shore, forming what were called cotes. Near Quebec Talon laid out a model seigniory and three model villages, each village being provided with a carpenter, mason, blacksmith, and shoemaker. But the settlers did not profit by the example and continued to build near the rivers. 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. One of the most famous seigniories in Canada was that of the Le Moyne family.
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