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Count Frontenac
Chapter V Divided Power


IF the king read carefully, as he says he did, the cruel mass of correspondence which Frontenac forwarded to him in connection with the Perrot-Fénelon imbroglio, he could hardly have failed to come to the conclusion that something was amiss in the state of Canada. Frontenac had begged, somewhat piteously, that he might be " sustained," and sustained he was in a manner, as we have just seen ; but the king and the minister had their own opinion on the subject, which they only partly expressed in words, the rest they translated into action. Frontenac, from the date of his arrival in Canada, had been the only visible source of authority. Laval was in France, looking after the long delayed bull which was to raise him from the doubtful rank of a bishop in partibus to the full legal status of bishop of Quebec. Talon, too, had left the country a few weeks after the governor's arrival, and no one had been sent to replace him. The old warrior had, therefore, had things entirely his own way, and his own way had not proved to be the way of peace. To place matters on a better footing, the court decided on two measures: to reorganize the Sovereign Council, and to revive the office of intendant. The council, it will be remembered, consisted of four members and an attorney-general, nominated by the governor and the bishop jointly, and holding office during their good pleasure. Henceforth it was to consist of seven members, each holding office by direct commission from the king. The main object of the change was to enable it to act with more independence in the performance of its proper functions, which were essentially of a judicial character. A secondary effect, probably neither foreseen nor intended, was to augment the influence of the bishop, at the expense of that of the governor, through the operation of the natural law which inclines men to side rather with permanent than with transient forces. Frontenac was jealous from the first of the increased prestige of the council, and soon became disagreeably aware of the advantage it afforded to his ecclesiastical rival.

The council, as reconstituted, consisted of the four old members, Louis Rouer de Villeray, who received the designation of first councillor, Le Gardeur de Tilly, Mathieu Damours, and Nicolas Dupont, with three new ones, Rene Charlier de Lotbini&re, Jean Baptiste de Peyras, and Charles Denis de Vitre. The attorney-general, Denis Joseph Ruette d'Auteuil, a man described by Frontenac a couple of years later as " very ignorant, and having such imperfect sight that he can neither read nor write," was by name reappointed to his office, with one Gilles Rageot as clerk. All these, holding their appointments directly from the king, were secure from removal by any lesser authority. The utmost the governor could do would be to suspend one or more of them for grave misconduct, subject to confirmation of his action by the sovereign. Another change in the judiciary of the colony was made a couple of years later. The king had, in the year 1674, abolished a court called the Prévotd (Provost's Court) of Quebec, which had been established by the West India Company for the purpose of exercising a kind of police jurisdiction, and making preliminary inquiries in certain cases. The royal idea at the time had been that it would be simpler to intrust the whole administration of justice to one court, the Sovereign Council. The enlargement and strengthening of the council, however, and the appearance upon the scene of an intendant whose views did not always harmonize, to speak very moderately, with those of the governor, somewhat altered the situation. There was a balance of powers; but justice itself would sometimes hang in the balance longer than was desirable. In order, therefore, to get as many cases as possible disposed of without troubling that important tribunal, his Majesty, in the month of May 1677, determined to re-establish the Prévotd, with power to judge, as a court of first instance, all cases civil and criminal, subject to appeal to the Sovereign Council. The court was to consist of a lieutenant-general as judge, a public prosecutor and a clerk. To these was added, by an edict of the same month, a special officer having the title of prevot, with judicial functions in criminal cases only. It probably was not foreseen that the governor might play off the Prdv6t£ against the Sovereign Council. That, however, is what happened, and as the lower court had at its service six "archers" or constables, it was able, when acting in concert with the governor, to accomplish an occasional tour de force.

The new intendant, M. Jacques Duchesneau, arrived at Quebec in the month of September 1675 by the same vessel which bore back Laval, in all the glory and power of full episcopal authority, to a flock from which he had been absent three long years. His letter of instructions mentions the fact that he had filled a somewhat similar office at Tours in France, and had acquitted himself therein to the great satisfaction of his Majesty. Research has been made without success to find out what the office was; we have only, therefore, to take his Majesty's word for it. Whatever M. Duchesneau's previous history may have been, he seems to have come to Canada with the determination to keep a very watchful, and not too benevolent, eye on the proceedings of his official superior, the governor. There was the strongest possible contrast between the characters of the two men. Frontenac was haughty, headstrong, and aggressive; Duchesneau, cautious, crafty, and persistent. When two such men come into conflict, it is not the cool calculator who suffers most, however he may whine (as Duchesneau did) at the high-handed proceedings of the other. Under the best of circumstances a governor and an intendant were not likely to work very harmoniously together. Courcelles and Talon did not, though both were well-meaning men. M. Lorin hints that Colbert sent out Duchesneau to act as a spy upon Frontenac.1 The supposition seems to be a needless one. Duchesneau was sent out as Talon had been before him, to see that the intentions of the court in the government of the country were duly carried into effect, and in particular that the considerable sums of money which the king appropriated to the uses of the colony were rightly expended. It is possible that, had Frontenac acted with more judgment and moderation during the first two years of his administration, the appointment of an intendant would not have been considered necessary; but, in any case, the court in giving him a colleague, and thus relieving him of part of his responsibilities, was simply applying to Canada a system of administration long established in France, where, as a rule, every province had its intendant as well as its governor.

Duchesneau's instructions were certainly very clear as to the attitude he was to maintain towards the governor. He was enjoined "to be careful to live with Comte de Frontenac in relations of great deference, not only on account of the honour he had of representing the king's person, but also on account of his personal merit, and not to do anything in the whole range of his duties without his consent and participation." To secure concordant conduct on the governor's part, he was instructed in a despatch of even date to allow the intendant to act "with entire liberty in everything relating to justice, police, and finance, without meddling at all in these matters, except when they are discussed in the Sovereign Council." It is significant that in this same letter a hint is dropped about trading: not only was Frontenac not to trade himself, or allow trading on his behalf, but he was not to permit any one belonging to his household to trade. It thus appears that, before Duchesneau had even arrived in the country, the court had had its suspicions aroused as to the course the king's personal representative might be tempted to pursue in this matter. We may be certain that anything Perrot and Fénelon knew on the subject would be poured into the minister's ear, nor were they the only ones whose representations regarding the governor would not be of a friendly character. Villeray, the senior member of the Sovereign Council and the Abbd d'Urfe, a relative of Fdnelon's, were in France at the same time. The former had been denounced by Frontenac in one of his earliest despatches as a busybody and a close ally of the Jesuit order; while the latter had been very haughtily treated by him in connection with the Fénelon matter, and had left Canada in high indignation by the same vessel which bore Fénelon and Perrot. It happened that, just about this time, Urfd's cousin, a Mademoiselle d'Allegre, was being contracted in marriage to Colbert's son and destined successor in office, the Marquis de Seignelay, so that altogether the influences which were operating against Frontenac at this juncture were of a somewhat formidable character. That his position should have been so little affected speaks well for his claim to personal consideration. It speaks well also for the spirit of equity which actuated the king in his relations with his officers.

A meeting of the reorganized Sovereign Council was held at Quebec on the 16th September 1675. It is this meeting which fixes for us as nearly as it can be done the date of the arrival of the bishop and intendant, for the minutes show that the former was present, and that part of .the business transacted was the registration of the commission of the latter. M. de Laval lost no time in making his influence felt. The Abbé Fdnelon, when arraigned before the Sovereign Council the year before, had demanded to be tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal, and reply had been made that there was no such tribunal in Canada. The bishop's first act was to supply this lack by establishing a court consisting of his two grand-vicars, Bernieres and Dudouyt, and a clerk or registrar. The new court soon found work to do. A man was cited before it, upon information of the curd of Montreal, for having failed to perform his Easter duties. He appealed to the Sovereign Council, which at first showed a disposition to assume jurisdiction in the case, but in the end left it in the hands of the ecclesiastics. The bishop wished it to be understood that Canada was not France. Some encroachments of the civil on the spiritual power had, he said, taken place in that country, but "these were things to be guarded against in a country in which a Church is in course of establishment." Manifestly Laval understood the word " Church " in a very absolute sense, and meant to enforce his understanding of it if possible.

During his absence from the country the clergy had got into the way, either of their own accord, or at Frontenac's suggestion, of paying the governor certain honours in church which the bishop considered—correctly it appears—unsanctioned by precedent or usage. He ordered that they should be discontinued. A wrangle with the governor ensued, and the matter had to be referred to the king, who must sometimes have wondered whether the colonial game was worth the candles consumed in reading the colonial despatches; for his Majesty, no less than his minister, had often to prolong the work far into the night. The patient monarch replied that the governor had been claiming more than was his due, and more than was accorded to men of his rank in the provinces of the kingdom; he must, therefore, make up his little difference with the bishop of Quebec, by gracefully moderating his pretensions. Three years later there were still some differences of the same nature pending, for we find the king sending directions to the bishop to pay the same honours to the governor of Canada as were paid to the governor of Picardy in the cathedral of Amiens. Frontenac, on his part, was not to claim more.

The document which throws most light on Frontenac's attitude towards the dominant ecclesiastical powers—the bishop and the Jesuits—and on his estimate of their work and general policy, is a letter which he wrote to Colbert in 1677, and which must have been of a confidential nature." Nearly all the disorders existing in New France," he therein declares, " have their origin in the ambition of the ecclesiastics, who wish to add to their spiritual authority an absolute power over temporal matters." Their aim from the first, he goes on to say, was to amass wealth as a means of influence ; and in this they have been extraordinarily successful. They have had subsidies from the king and charitable donations from individuals in France; they have obtained concessions of large tracts of the best and most valuable lands in the country; finally, in spite of the king's prohibitions, they have been driving an active and most profitable trade. In support of the latter statement he cites the names of a number of persons who have given him positive and detailed evidence on the point He estimates the bishop's revenue from all sources at not less than forty thousand livres; and refers to the fact that he is erecting vast and superb buildings at Quebec at a cost of four hundred thousand livres, although he and his ecclesiastics are already lodged much better than the governor-general. He complains of the espionage they exercise through the country and in his own household; and says there would be no end to the story if he were to attempt to tell all that they have done to augment their influence through the confessional and by threats of excommunication. Instances are given of what the writer claims to have been their undue severity towards persons who had incurred their censure. If the bishop chose, he could do what he has always hitherto refused to do: provide the country with a reasonable number of parish priests having fixed positions. He has ample means for the purpose if he would employ them in a less ambitious manner; his main objection to doing so is that the erection of parishes served by priests not removable at pleasure would diminish his power and throw patronage into the hands of the king. So far the governor. It is probable that his impeachment of his ecclesiastical rivals did not fall on altogether unsympathetic ears; but Colbert, as a statesman, recognized power wherever it existed; and his only advice to the civil administrators was to hold their own as well as they could. In a despatch, written some years before, he had told Courcelles that he looked forward to the time when, with an increase of population, things would get into better shape, and the secular power assume its just preponderance.

Duchesneau himself, shortly after his arrival in the country, had a passing difficulty with the bishop, arising out of an idea he entertained, that, as intendant, he ought to rank next to the governor; and this wretched matter had also to be referred to the court, which promptly decided in the bishop's favour. From that time forward there was perfect harmony between the two, so much so that, on more than one occasion, the intendant drew down upon himself the censure of the court for what was regarded as his undue subservience to the bishop's views. One of the first matters regarding which he and the bishop joined forces was the policy of the governor in connection with the issue of hunting and trading licences. The law under which Frontenac had previously taken severe measures against the coureurs de bois was still in force; but the governor had felt himself justified in issuing a limited number of permits to responsible persons, authorizing them to carry goods to the Indians and trade in the Indian settlements. These persons became, in a certain sense, coureurs de bois; but as they went out by authority, and could be held to the terms of their licences, and as, moreover, they could be used for the purpose of obtaining information as to the movements and disposition of the native tribes, the governor thought, or professed to think, that he was acting for the best in relaxing to this extent the strict letter of the law. The bishop, on the other hand, objected to the system; in the first place, because the persons licensed carried liquor as part of their stock-in-trade, and, in the second, because it threw impediments in the way of the effective ecclesiastical control of the population. It was agreed that he and the intendant should both write to the minister, the one dwelling on the evils of the liquor traffic with the Indians, and the other on the infringement of the law. Duchesneau, we have seen, had been warned in his instructions to keep in close touch with the governor in all that he did ; but he had not been three months in the country before, in a matter of the first importance, and one affecting the governor's own actions, he sent home recommendations of which his superior officer knew nothing.

The answer came back the following year. It was dated 15th April 1676, but seems only to have reached Quebec in September. The governor, by royal edict, was forbidden to issue permits under any pretext whatsoever. The punishment of contumacious coureurs de bois was placed in the hands of the intendant exclusively, as it was he alone—such was the reason given—who had official knowledge of the conditions under which the fur trade was being farmed out. Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers were at the same time indicated as the only places where the trade with the Indians might lawfully be carried on.

Frontenac was not at Quebec when this document arrived; he was at Fort Frontenac (Cataraqui), which was now in the hands of his friend La Salle under a concession from the king. Doubtless he was enjoying, not only his temporary freedom from the worries and vexations of office, but also the congenial society of a man, who, though much his junior, had, in common with himself, a large knowledge of the world, a keen and aspiring spirit, and a strong love of adventure. At Quebec the councillors were somewhat at a loss what to do in the matter of the despatch. Some were indisposed to register, in the absence of the governor, an edict which so directly condemned the policy he was pursuing. Duchesneau, however, did not approve of delay, and on the 5th of October the document was registered, and thus became the law of the land. When Frontenac returned to Quebec and found what had been done —that one of the first acts of the intendant had been to hand him over to the censure of the court, and that its censure had practically been pronounced—he was indignant beyond measure. He saw at a glance that, if the situation were not in some way retrieved, his authority and prestige in the colony he had been sent out to govern would be gravely compromised. The fall vessels were to leave in a week or two, so he sat down and wrote a despatch to Colbert which gave that able minister something to think about The bishop, dreading lest the governor's reasons—he probably knew that Frontenac wielded a vigorous pen— might lead to a countermanding of the instructions, thought it well to send an envoy of his own to France in the person of the Abbé Dudouyt. Frontenac meantime so far complied with the edict as to publish an order requiring all coureurs de bois, licensed and unlicensed, to return at once to the settlements ; though, according to Duchesneau, he nullified this to a great extent by issuing a number of hunting permits which were only trading permits in disguise.

So far as the sale of liquor to the Indians was in question, it is impossible not to approve, theoretically at least, the stand taken by the bishop. He would have suppressed it absolutely, if he had had the power. The thing, however, was practically impossible. We see the effect probably of Frontenac's representations on the subject in a despatch which the intendant received dated in the spring of 1677. He is told that he had yielded too easily to the extreme views of the bishop in regard to this matter. The bishop had Spoken of the fearful effects caused by drink amongst the Indians, who maimed and murdered one another, and committed all kinds of abominations, when under its influence. Colbert is not content with such a general statement; he wants particulars; and instructs Duchesneau to find out how many such crimes can be proved to have been committed since he (the intendant) had arrived in Canada. Here was a very suitable piece of work cut out for M. Jacques Duchesneau, who was nothing if not a man of facts and figures; but there is nothing to show that he ever prepared the desired statement. The minister goes on to say: " The general policy of the state is necessarily opposed to the views of a bishop who, in order to prevent the abuse made by a few individuals of a thing good in itself, is prepared to abolish entirely the trade in an article of consumption which serves greatly to promote commerce, and to bring the savages into contact with orthodox Christians like the French. We should run the risk, if we yielded to his opinion, not only of losing this commerce, but of forcing the savages to do business with the English and Dutch, who are heretics; and it would thus become impossible for us to keep them favourably disposed towards the one pure and true religion." Colbert, it will be seen, had that judicious blending of the missionary with the commercial spirit which has been so efficacious in our own day in promoting great colonial enterprises. One or two other allusions to the bishop may be quoted: "It is easy to see that, though the bishop is a very good man, and most faithful in the performance of his duty, he nevertheless is aiming at a degree of power which goes far beyond what is exercised by bishops in any other part of Christendom, and particularly in France." Then, with reference to his attendance at meetings of the Sovereign Council: " You ought to try and put him out of love with going there; but in doing so you must act with the greatest prudence and secrecy, and take care that no person whatsoever knows what I am writing to you on this point."

The minister, it is evident, had hard work to keep his representatives in Canada to their respective spheres of duty. He opens his despatch to Duchesneau by begging him to mind his own business, and not in future recommend any military appointments, as he had done in a late communication. He wrote to Frontenac a few days later, cautioning him to keep aloof from questions of justice, police, and finance, observing that men in military command " are too apt to let flatterers persuade them that they ought to take cognizance of everything and look after everything." Touching on the drink question, he said that " if the disorders complained of are limited in number, and if the Indians are only a little more subject to getting intoxicated than the Germans for example, or, among the French, the Bretons," there was no need for drastic prohibitive measures; the irregularities happening from time to time could be dealt with by the courts. He was not to take ground openly against the bishop; but he was to see that the latter did not go beyond his proper prerogative " in a matter that was purely one of police." The Abbé Dudouyt had evidently not succeeded in winning over the minister to the bishop's extreme views. He must, however, have had more success with the king, for on the 12th May 1678 a royal edict was issued, dealing in a very uncompromising fashion with the coureur de bois question as well as with that of the liquor traffic. As regards the former, the previous prohibition, which, it was complained, had been rendered nugatory by the system of special permits, was renewed in all its force. The liquor traffic was equally condemned : no liquor was to be sold to the Indians under any circumstances. Colbert thereupon presented a memoir to his Majesty setting forth his reasons for considering a prohibition of the liquor traffic inexpedient, these being much the same as he had embodied in his despatch to Duchesneau of the preceding year. The result was that the king, without recalling his edict, ordered that the whole matter should be fully discussed in a meeting of the principal inhabitants of Canada, including the administrators and magistrates, and that a report of the proceedings should be sent to him for his information and further consideration.

Thus was the question referred back to Canada, and an appeal actually made, after a fashion, to public opinion. The meeting ordered by the king was held at Quebec on the 26th October. The persons composing it were chosen by Frontenac and Duchesneau jointly, and were beyond doubt as influential men as could be found in the country—nineteen in all, exclusive of those who attended in an official capacity. The sense of the meeting was overwhelmingly against the suppression of the traffic, and against the stand taken by the bishop in making a " reserved case of the selling of liquor to the Indians, or, in other words, excluding from the sacraments all who were guilty of that act. Two of the delegates, the seigneurs of Berthier and Sorel, said that the prohibition which was then nominally, and to a considerable degree practically, in force worked injury, not only to trade, but to the Indians themselves. They could get all the liquor they wanted from the Dutch of Orange (Albany); and the Dutch rum was not nearly so good as the French brandy. The last time the Indians came to trade at Cataraqui, they had forty barrels of Dutch spirits with them, having laid in a supply owing to their apprehension that they might not be able to obtain any from the French. But of course they would cease coming to Cataraqui or trading with the French at all, if they could not get liquor. They denied that the drinking of brandy prevented the Indians from becoming Christians. Did not the Christian Indians in the missions near Montreal drink brandy? Yet they remained docile to their teachers, and were not often seen drunk—a statement which certainly might have been challenged. Others urged the argument with which we are already familiar that, if the Indians had to get their liquor from the Dutch and English, they would either imbibe heresy at the same time, or be left in their heathenism. Others again said that the disorders caused by drink amongst the savages had been greatly exaggerated, and moreover things of the same nature occurred among Indians who made no use of spirituous liquors. The " reserved case " was doing no good; on the contrary it was troubling consciences, and had possibly already caused the damnation of some inhabitants. Drunkenness, another delegate remarked, was not confined to the Indians. In the most civilized countries, where all were Christians, it was a common vice; yet no one thought of making a "reserved case" for the liquor sellers. One speaker went so far as to say that the Indians would never become Christians unless they were allowed the same liberties as the French, and that the clandestine sale of liquor promoted immoderate drinking. Robert Cavelier de la Salle was strongly in favour of the trade being left open. It was for laymen, he said, to decide what was good or bad in relation to commerce, and not for ecclesiastics. There had been but little disorder, upon the whole, amongst the savages as the result of drink. He thought they were less given to intoxication than the French, and much less than the English of New York. Two delegates were entirely opposed to the trade as being hurtful to religion, and the source of moral disorders. Two others thought it should be restricted to the settlements, and that no liquor should be sold in the woods.

How far the opinions of those who favoured the traffic were disinterested may be open to question. Traders are apt to consider exclusively the immediate interests of trade; and the love of gain is often sufficient to stifle the instincts of humanity. The church looked upon the Indians as its wards; but the majority of the settlers, it is to be feared, thought only of exploiting, if not of actually plundering, them. It is difficult to read the little treatise composed about twenty-five years after these events, under the title of the History oj Brandy in Canada, without feeling persuaded that there was more ground for the position taken by the clergy than the seigneurs and others who assembled at Quebec were willing to admit. From what the anonymous writer, evidently a missionary in close touch with the facts, says, it is clear that brandy was often made an instrument for the robbery of the unhappy Indian. We are told of one man at Three Rivers who, having made an Indian drunk, insisted next day that the score for the brandy the poor savage had taken amounted to thirty moose skins. The author of the treatise is convinced that the horrible massacre at Lachine, of which we shall have to speak in a later chapter, was a direct manifestation of the anger of God at the drink traffic, of which that place in particular was the headquarters. If so, the warning unfortunately was not taken to heart, for the writer himself tells us that the traffic was resumed and prosecuted as vigorously as ever as soon as the village was rebuilt.

When Laval, who had just laid the corner-stone of his seminary at Quebec, saw the way things were going, he decided to start for France himself, to see what he could effect for the cause he had so deeply at heart by personal representations. The decision of the court, however, was what might have been expected under the circumstances. Two edicts were issued in the following year, one dated the 25th April 1679, confirming the regulations previously laid down respecting the coureurs de bois, but allowing the governor to grant hunting permits good from the 15th January to the 15th April of each year; and the other, dated 24th May, expressly prohibiting the holders of such permits from carrying liquor to the Indians, under pain of a fine of one hundred francs for the first offence, three hundred for the second, and corporal punishment for the third. The French of the settlements on the other hand were left free to sell liquor to the Indians resorting thither. The bishop was at the same time requested to make the " reserved case " apply only to those selling under illegal conditions, which, with no little reluctance, he consented to do.

It is to be noted that the .second edict contains a clause expressly entrusting its enforcement to " Sieur, Comte de Frontenac, governor and lieutenant-general for his Majesty in the said country," and not as previously to the intendant. Frontenac thus had it in his power, M. Lorin observes, "to free himself in practice from the time limits imposed, or even tacitly to authorize the hunters to carry a few goods to the Indians." This writer, who is an ardent admirer of Frontenac, seems to regard it as a thing quite to be expected that the king's representative should seize the opportunity to violate the king's regulations. The motive, however, which he assigns for such probable disobedience is a very high one: the governor was anxious to keep in touch, through the traders, with the outlying Indian tribes, in order that he might watch the course of their trade, study their dispositions, and thus be enabled to take timely measures to maintain them in right relations with the French colony. Were there ground for assurance that this was his only, or even his greatly predominant, motive, we might well join with M. Lorin in considering such far-sighted devotion to the king's interests as more than a set-off to a technical irregularity. But can we ? The question is one in regard to which the documents before us, consisting mainly of the correspondence of Frontenac and Duchesneau with the court, render it difficult to arrive at a positive conclusion. The matter will be discussed in the following chapter; meanwhile let us briefly note the further development of the coureur de bois question to the end of Frontenac's first administration.

It does not appear that the ordinance of April 1679 improved the situation in the least. The law continued to be violated, as Duchesneau affirms, with the connivance of the governor, and, as Frontenac says, with the active assistance (in favour of his special friends) of the intendant. In the month of November 1680 Duchesneau writes to the minister, observing that the only thing to do is to try and find the best means to induce these men to return " without prejudice to the absolute submission they owe to the king's will." He proceeds to hint at something like a conditional amnesty, lenient treatment to be promised to all those who, returning home promptly on the publication of the king's proclamation, should "make a sincere and frank declaration in court of the time they have been absent, for what persons they were trading in the Indian country, who furnished them with goods, how many skins they procured, and how they disposed of them." Evidently M. Jacques Duchesneau was in pursuit of information; and there can be little doubt with what intent. What Frontenac wrote on the subject is not on record. It seems probable that he too suggested an amnesty; but we may doubt whether he recommended the condition proposed by his friend the intendant. The court in the month of May following granted an amnesty, the sole condition of which was that the persons concerned should return to their homes immediately on being notified to do so. This was not to imply any indulgence for the offence in future, as another edict was passed in the course of the same month, providing severer punishments than had previously been prescribed—flogging and branding on a first conviction, and perpetual servitude in the galleys on a second. When these edicts reached Quebec it was noticed that to the council was given the duty, not only of registering, but of publishing and executing them. The governor, however, intervened, and, upon his promising to take the whole responsibility upon himself, the council agreed to leave the publication and execution in his hands. " Under this pretext," says M. Lorin, " Frontenac could send officers to all the posts of the upper country; and if he was anxious to do so, it was less to participate, despite the king's orders, in the fur trade, than to control the proceedings of the merchants and missionaries." The word "less" can hardly be said to imply unambiguous praise. Moreover who can say what motive was predominant?

Under the edict of 1679 the governor had the power of issuing an unlimited number of permits for hunting exclusively. The privilege had clearly been abused ; and orders were now issued that in future twenty-five permits only should be granted each year, the holder of a permit to be entitled to take or send one canoe only with three men. In this way the amount of trade which could be done under a permit was limited. In all only twenty-five canoe loads of merchandise could be sent out annually. Moreover the intention in granting these permits was less to promote trade at a distance—an object the court never had at heart —than to reward certain supposedly meritorious individuals. It was a species of patronage which was placed in the governor's hands, and which he was expected to distribute in a judicious manner. If the holder of a permit did not wish to use it himself, he could sell it to some one else; and it not infrequently happened that a single trader would buy a number of permits, and send quite a little fleet of canoes up the river. The era of " trusts " was not as yet, but even here we can see the trust in germ.


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