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Count Frontenac
Chapter VII Governorship of M. De La Barre, 1682 to 1685


THE successors of Frontenac and Duchesneau received their appointments in the month of May 1682, and arrived at Quebec towards the end of the following September. They were, respectively, a military officer named Lefebvre de la Barre who had served with some distinction in the West Indies; and a man of whose previous career little or nothing is known, one M. Jacques de Meulles. If the fault of Frontenac had been the assumption of too much state and dignity, and the exercise of too much self-will, the fault of La Barre was that he possessed too little dignity and extremely little firmness of character. The recall of Frontenac had practically been one more triumph for the ecclesiastical authorities, who caused it to be understood that, if Duchesneau had also been recalled, it was simply to save Frontenac from too open humiliation. La Barre prudently determined, therefore, from the first not to come into collision with the clergy, whatever else he might do. On the other hand the Abbé Dudouyt writing from Paris, enjoins prudence on the bishop, lest "it should seem as if he could not keep on good terms with anybody/' With such dispositions on both sides, it is not surprising that, during the whole of La Barre's administration his relations with the church were extremely harmonious. The Abbd Gosselin says that he and Meulles " revived the happy times of the highly Christian administration of M. de Tracy." The king, however, did not view the situation with equal approval; the despatches of the period show that he thought that deference to the views of the clergy was being carried too far.

We have seen that, towards the close of Frontenac's administration, the Indian situation was again becoming critical. The arrangement patched up by him in the month of August was far from being of a very solid character; and when La Barre assumed the reins of government he found a widespread feeling of insecurity as to the continuance of peace. He thought it prudent, therefore, to summon, as Frontenac had done previously, a conference of persons specially competent to advise on the Indian question. The meeting took place on the 10th of October at Quebec, before Frontenac had left the country. He might, therefore, have attended it, had he chosen; and we cannot help feeling surprised that he did not. The general opinion expressed by those who took part in the deliberations was that the Iroquois were planning hostilities, and that the king should be asked to send out more troops. La Barre wrote home to this effect; but the same vessel that bore his despatch carried the returning ex-governor, who, on arriving in France, seems to have made it his business to throw cold water on the appeal for help. It was doubtless to Frontenac's interest to represent that he had left the country in a peaceful and secure condition; but his conduct would appear in a better light had he gone before the conference at Quebec, and there explained, in the presence of those possessing local information, why he considered that there was no danger. La Barre could then in writing to the government have given his reasons and those of his advisers for dissenting from the ex-governor's views, and the latter could honourably have made his own representations to the court. As it was, the man who had ceased to be responsible was allowed to thwart the policy of the actual administrator on whom the whole responsibility for the safety of the country rested. La Barre is not a man who attracts our admiration or sympathy, but, in this matter at least, it is difficult to feel that he received fair treatment.

Remembering all the trouble there had been between the former governor and the intendant, La Barre hastens to inform the court that he and Meulles are on the very best of terms. As they had scarcely been two months in the country when this despatch was written, the announcement seems a little hasty. Meulles on his part does not make any such statement, and his letters of the following and subsequent years show that he had not formed a very high opinion of his superior officer. He complains that the meetings of the Sovereign Council are held in the governor's own antechamber, amid the noise of servants going and coming and the clatter of the guards in an adjoining room. The minister takes no notice of this; and a year later Meulles returns to the charge, stating that the governor held the meetings "in his own chimney corner where his wife, his children and his servants were always in the way." The intendant was a man of business, and liked to see things done in a business-like way. If he did not admire the disorderly methods of the governor, neither did he approve of the dilatory methods of the council. When matters were brought before him for adjudication he dealt with them promptly ; and, in his desire to save delays, he disposed of some cases which the council considered as falling within its sole jurisdiction. Frontenac, it will be remembered, had packed off young d'Auteuil, who had been nominated by Duchesneau as attorney-general, to France to justify, if he could, the conduct he had been pursuing. The youth had come back a full-fledged attorney-general, and at once fell foul of the intendant, accusing him of exceeding his powers. Meulles was a prudent man and contrived to make his peace with the council. M. Lorin says there was probably as much real dissension as in Frontenac's time, but that it was hushed up. There is no evidence of this. Some dissension there may have been; but La Barre was not as fiery as Frontenac, nor was Meulles as intriguing as Duchesneau. The same elements of discord were, therefore, not present.

We have seen that the court did not seem to take any serious notice of the charges of trading reciprocally brought by Frontenac and Duches-ncau against one another; and in this matter La Barre appears to have assumed from the first that for him there was an " open door." At a very early period of his residence in the country, he formed intimate relations with certain prominent traders; it soon became evident, indeed, that he had placed himself and his policy largely in their hands. They were in the main the same men with whom Frontenac had accused Duchesneau of having underhand dealings, La Chesnaye, Lebert and one or two others. According to Meulles, the governor not only carried on trade on his own account contrary to the king's regulations, but trade in its most illegal form, that is to say with the English. His Majesty's representative found out without much trouble what the Indians were well aware of, that the English paid a much better price for furs than could be got in Canada from the king's farmers who controlled the fur trade of the country. He talks freely indeed of the English in a despatch dated in May 1683, and says that they both sell goods cheap to the Indians and give them full price for their furs. It is a saying among the English, he adds, that the French do not trade with the Indians but rob them. It is no wonder he was anxious to send his own wares to so good a market. If the intendant may be trusted, indeed the governor was continually receiving at the chateau at (Quebec Englishmen and Dutchmen who were simply his agents at New York. La Hontan avers that he saw two canoe loads of his stuff at Chambly on their way to that emporium.

A man so devoted to money-making as La Barre could hardly be expected to take a very deep interest in the wider schemes of exploration and territorial expansion which appealed to the imagination of a La Salle. Possibly he thought he could curry favour with the court by disparaging the achievements of the latter. In a despatch of the 30th May 1683 we find him saying that he did not think much of the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi, and that in any case there was a great deal of falsehood mixed up with the tales that were told of it. If the remark was meant to please, it seems to have been successful, for the king in his reply, under date 5th August following, says : " I am persuaded with you that Sieur de la Salle's discovery is very useless, and such enterprises must be prevented hereafter, as they tend only to debauch the inhabitants by the hope of gain and to diminish the revenue from the beaver." Could the power of official narrowness and banality go further ? A man, taking his life in his hand, penetrates forest and jungle, commits himself to unknown waters, braves the encounter of hostile peoples, takes the risk of treachery among his own followers, faces every form of privation and all extremities of fatigue, travels a thousand leagues, and adds a continent to the possessions of 176 his sovereign, only to have the verdict pronounced by that sovereign that his discoveries are very useless, and that similar expeditions must be prevented for the future lest the beaver trade of Canada suffer!

• La Salle's great discovery was made in the month of April 1682. Returning northwards in the autumn, with the intention of proceeding to France, and making a full report of his proceedings to the king, he heard, on reaching Michili-mackinac, that the Iroquois were preparing a hostile movement against the Illinois. He determined at once to go back with a picked body of men to protect his threatened allies. The news of his discovery was therefore carried to France by the R^collet, Father Z^nobe, who reached Quebec just as the ships were leaving, and may possibly have sailed in the same vessel as Frontenac. He does not seem to have given any information, in passing, to La Barre. The latter was expecting La Salle's return, and chose to put an unfavourable construction on his failure to appear. In writing to the minister he says that Fort Frontenac has been abandoned. The truth was that La Salle had left it in charge of one La Forest, and that subsequently a cousin of the explorer's, named Plet, had come from France to look after the trade of the fort in the interest of the parties in France who had advanced money for its construction and equipment. It is doubtful whether the place was ever left even temporarily unoccupied; but certainly La Salle had no intention of abandoning it. On the contrary, not knowing of Frontenac's recall, he had. written to him in October 1682 asking him to maintain La Forest in command and to let him have a sufficient number of men for purposes of defence. What is singular is that he does not appear to have given Frontenac any more information regarding his discovery than Father Z4nobe gave to La Barre. Possibly he had some hope, as the latter hints, of organizing a separate government in the new territory he had discovered. In no case, however, can LaBarre's proceedings towards him be justified. On the pretext that Fort Frontenac had been abandoned, he took possession of it, and turned it, if we are to credit Meulles, into a trading-post for himself and his friends. He had a barque built there, professedly for the king's service on the lake, but used it mainly, the intendant says, for his own trade.

La Salle spent the winter in the Illinois country. In the spring of 1683 he wrote to La Barre from his fort of St. Louis, announcing his discovery, and expressing the hope that the kindly treatment which he had always received from the previous governor would continue to be extended to him. His financial affairs had for some time been in a very unsatisfactory state, but he expected, he said, to be able in the course of the then current year to place them on a sound footing, and prove that he had not undertaken more than it was in his power to .accomplish. He had meantime sent men to Montreal for supplies, but these did not return, nor did he get any reply from La Barre either to this letter or to a later one written in June. Instead of replying, La Barre sent an officer named Baugy to take possession of Fort St. Louis. La Salle, who had started for Quebec, met Baugy on the way, and sent back word to his men at the fort not to resist the seizure. Du Lhut, under instructions from the governor, followed shortly after, confiscated the merchandise stored in the fort, and brought it to Montreal. La Salle on arriving at Quebec saw La Barre, and obtained from him restitution of Fort Frontenac, but could not get any compensation for the loss he had sustained through the interruption of his trading operations at that point. He consequently proceeded to France in the fall of the year, and in the course of the winter presented a full statement of the case to the minister, M. de Seignelay. Only a few months before, the king had expressed the opinion above quoted as to the uselessness, or worse than uselessness, of such explorations as La Salle had been engaged in ; but when the explorer himself appeared upon the scene, a change came over the views of the court. The king writes to the intendant that, not only is the fort which the governor had wrongfully seized to be handed over to La Salle, but that full reparation is to be made for all the loss which he has sustained, and that the intendant is to see that this is done. Writing to La Barre himself, the king informs him that he takes La Salle under his particular protection, and cautions the governor not to do anything against his interest. La Salle's agent, La Forest, is to be placed in charge of Fort St. Louis.

Settling down to business, as he did, almost immediately on his arrival in the country, La Barre was naturally anxious that the persons to whom he issued hunting and trading permits under the regulations established in Frontenac's time should, as far as possible, be screened from competition, and he therefore most ill-advisedly gave the Iroquois tribes to understand that they might treat as they pleased any persons found trading who were unprovided with permits signed by him. The Iroquois, greatly pleased to have a pretext for such operations, proceeded to plunder some canoes belonging to the governor's own friends, who were still in the woods on the authority of permits issued by Frontenac. This alarmed the governor not a little, and caused him, in the spring of 1683, to send a special vessel to France with an earnest request for military reinforcements. Worse news came to hand very shortly after. La Salle's fort of St. Louis having been seized, the governor wished to stock it with goods, and had despatched thither seven canoe loads to the value of fifteen or sixteen thousand francs. As these canoes were passing through the Illinois country, where the Iroquois were on the war-path, the latter, who were not in a humour for fine discrimination, seized them, explaining afterwards that they supposed them to belong to La Salle, whose property they claimed to have the governor's permission to plunder. La Barre writes to the king, under date 5th June, in still stronger terms, and says that, with or.without reinforcements, he will move against the Senecas about the middle of August. This was mere bluster, as no preparations had at that time been made for a campaign. The king sent out one hundred and fifty men in August; but these did not arrive till the 10th October. It was then decided that war should be waged the following year. The intendant appears to have agreed entirely with the governor that war was inevitable; his chief fear seems to have been that the governor, in whose stability of character he had very little confidence, would change his mind on the subject, and fall back on some weak and futile scheme of conciliation.

The winter of 1683-4 was not marked by any notable event. In the following spring, pursuant to the plan which he had communicated to the French government, the governor sent instructions to the post commanders in the West, La Durantaye, Du Lhut, and Nicolas Perrot, to rendezvous at Niagara with as many men of the different Ottawa tribes as they could persuade to follow them. At that point they would find awaiting them provisions, arms, and ammunition, with means of transportation to the scene of action.

Home levies of militia and of mission Indians were at the same time being raised and equipped. At this stage of the proceedings it occurred to La Barre that it would be a good thing to inform the governor of New York, Colonel Dongan, of his intention to make war upon the Senecas. The communication happened to be particularly ill-timed. The English of Maryland and Virginia had been having their own troubles with the Iroquois, who had made many destructive raids into their territory.; and in the early summer of 1684 Lord Howard of Effingham, governor of Virginia, had gone to New York to consult with the governor there as to the measures to be adopted, and thence had gone on to Albany, Colonel Dongan accompanying him, to hold a conference with the offending tribes—in this case the Oneidas, Onondagas, and Cayugas. Delegates from the Mohawks, who had not broken the peace, were also present; and one of them, Cadianne by name, made ample acknowledgment of the wrongs done by his brethren of the other tribes, to whom he took the opportunity of addressing some very severe and wholesome remarks. Shortly afterwards delegates from the Senecas also arrived, when a general treaty of peace and good-will was made betweenthe Five Nations on the one hand, and the English and their Indians on the other. It was in the midst of these proceedings that Dongan received La Barre's letter. He replied by saying that the King of England exercised sovereignty over the whole Iroquois confederacy, and that if the Senecas had committed the depredations complained of he would see that they made reparation ; he hoped that La Barre, in the interest of peace, would refrain from invading British territory. He then took occasion of the conference to inform the tribes of the French designs, his object being to draw from them an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the English king in return for a promise of protection against the French. The tribes, who had some time before requested that the arms of the Duke of York (now James II) should be raised over their fortresses, consented to this, but with the not altogether consistent proviso that they should still be considered a free people. The subject was further debated at the chief town of the Onondagas, the central nation of the confederacy, a few weeks later. Dongan was represented by Arnold Viele, a Dutchman. It happened that Charles Le Moyne of Montreal was also there, having been sent by La Barre to invite the Onondagas to a conference, as well as the Jesuit, Father Lamberville. Very little progress was made with the diplomatic question; but the Seneca deputies expressed very savage sentiments in regard to the French, promising themselves a feast of French flesh as the result of the coming war.

This was in the month of August, and La Barre, at the head of an expedition consisting of seven hundred Canadian militia, one hundred and thirty regular troops, and two hundred Indians, had left Montreal on the 27th July, expecting to be joined by about one thousand Indian auxiliaries from the north and west. It took about two weeks to reach Fort Frontenac, where a delay of two or three weeks occurred, during which time the army began to sicken. The heat was intense, and the camp had been established on low malarial ground. La Barre himself became dangerously ill. Finally a move was made to the southern side of Lake Ontario, the army encamping at the mouth of what is now known as the Salmon River, a little east of Oswego. The place at that time was known by the ill-omened name of La Famine. In point of unwholesomeness the place was quite as bad as Fort Frontenac; and a large part of the army fell into a most deplorable condition of debility. Moreover, provisions ran short, and those whom malaria and other diseases had spared were face to face with hunger. Discontent was rife in the camp. All chance of taking the offensive against the Senecas was at an end. La Barre's one hope was that Charles Le Moyne's mission to the Onondagas had been successful, and that, through the good offices of that tribe, he might be able to make peace with some little show of honour. Most opportunely Le Moyne arrived on the 3rd September, bringing with him a celebrated Onondaga orator and politician named Ourouehati, otherwise known as Grande Gueule, or, as Colden, historian of the Five Indian Nations, has it, Garangula, together with twelve other deputies, eight of his own people, two Oneidas, and two Cayugas. To conceal as far as possible his real situation, La Barre had sent away his sick, and pretended to have come with a mere escort, the body of his army being at Fort Frontenac. Nevertheless, in his speech, while professing a desire for peace, he threatened war unless complete satisfaction were rendered by the Senecas and others for the mischief they had done, and pledges given for their future good conduct. Perfectly informed as to the real weakness of the French governor's position, Grande Gueule(BigMouth) did not mince matters in replying to him. He thanked Onontio for bringing back the calumet of peace, and congratulated him that he had not dug up the hatchet that had so often been red with the blood of his countrymen. Onontio, he said, pretended to have come to smoke the calumet of peace, but the pretence was false : he had come to make war, and would have done so but for the sickness of his men. If the Iroquois had pillaged Frenchmen, it was because the latter were carrying arms to the Illinois. (This of course was not true as regards the seven canoes which the governor and his friends had sent forward ; but Big Mouth was a diplomatist) As regards conducting certain English traders to the lakes, which was one of the points complained of by La Barre, they were acting perfectly within their rights. They were free to go where they pleased, and to take with them whom they pleased. They were also quite justified in making war on the Illinois, who had hunted on their lands, and would give no pledge to refrain from attacking them in future. In this respect they had done less than the English and French, who had dispossessed many tribes and made settlements in their country.

This was a forenoon's work. In the afternoon another session was held, and the day concluded with the settlement of the terms of peace. La Barre was not to attack the Senecas, and Big Mouth undertook that reparation should be made for the acts of plunder committed. He refused entirely to pledge his people to desist from war on the Illinois; they would fight them to the death ; and La Barre, notwithstanding what he had said about the king's determination to protect his western children, was obliged to give way. Next morning he broke up camp and set out on the return journey. Sickness continued to plague his force, and eighty men died on the way to Montreal.

But this was not all. The commanders in the West had acted on their orders to raise as many men as they could amongst the Indian allies in the region of the Great Lakes, and to lead them to Niagara. Du Lhut and La Durantaye had great difficulty in executing their task. Only the Hurons seemed in the least disposed to move. Nicolas Perrot, however, possessed more influence; and, mainly through his persuasions, a force was gathered of about five hundred men, drawn from the Hurons, Ottawas, and other neighbouring tribes. Accompanying these were about one hundred Frenchmen of the coureur de bois class, who in manners and customs were at times hardly distinguishable from their native companions. Having got the force together, the next thing to do was to start them and keep them on the march. The commanders had a hard time of it: certain accidents happened on the way which to the Indians were of evil omen; and it was difficult to prevent whole bands from deserting. Finally, however, the expedition reached Niagara just about the time that La Barre was making terms with Big Mouth. They found there neither provisions, nor arms, nor instructions. In a short time a sail appeared. It. was a boat sent by La Barre to tell them that he had made peace with the Iroquois, and that they might go home. The indignation and disgust of the warriors, the disappointment and mortification of the French leaders, may be imagined. The Indian allies said they had been betrayed, and expressed their opinion of the French in no measured terms. Some of the more hot-headed ones urged that, as they had started on the war-path, they should go on and attack the Senecas by themselves. Wiser counsels prevailed. The chief men had not been eager for the war from the first; and, calming the spirits of their followers, they induced them to turn their faces homewards. Some of them had come a thousand miles, and now that long journey had to be retraced with nothing accomplished. It was a desperate blow to French influence in all the region of the Great Lakes.

The only man who gave La Barre any comfort in these depressing circumstances was P&re Lamber-ville, missionary among the Onondagas. This amiable and kindly priest, who had written to Frontenac some valued words of commendation when he was leaving the country, wrote to La Barre to tell him that he had acted most wisely in making peace. So doubtless he had, in comparison with making war just at that time ; but none the less the peace was one which made the colonists hang their heads with shame. Meulles in his despatch to the minister did not help to put the matter in a more favourable light. Speaking of the governor he said : " He signed the peace just as he decided on the war, without consulting any one but a few merchants; and he has uselessly expended forty-five thousand francs, of which he alone will owe an account to the king." So much severity on the intendant's part was hardly necessary; the facts spoke for themselves ; and the king, when they were brought to his knowledge, wrote to the discomfited governor, under date the 10th March 1685, the following gently worded letter:—

"Monsieur de la Barre,—Having been informed that your years make it impossible for you to support the fatigues inseparable from your office of governor and lieutenant-general in Canada, send you this letter to acquaint you that I have selected M. de Denonville to serve in your place ; and my intention is that, on his arrival, after resigning to him the command, with all instructions concerning it, you embark for your return to France."

Thus ended an administration that cannot be regarded as a happy or a creditable one. In no respect was M. de la Barre on a level with the office he held. He had no clear policy of his own, and was, therefore, more or less, at the mercy of incompetent or interested advisers. As is not uncommonly the case with such men, he was sometimes foolishly impulsive. In a letter, dated 10th April 1684, the king expresses the greatest surprise that the governor should have actually proposed to hang, of his own authority, a colonist who was preparing to remove to the English settlements. He reminds him that, except in military matters, he possesses no judicial power whatever, and adds the sage observation that the exercise of such constraint would certainly increase the desire of the French inhabitants to go where they would enjoy more liberty. In the matter of ecclesiastical policy, La Barre failed to carry out the views of the king. His instructions were to afford all the help in his power to the clergy in their efforts for the good of the country, but to see that they did not extend their authority beyond its proper bounds. In his first despatch he indulges in a little criticism of the bishop for his delay in establishing permanent cures, as desired by the king; but this is his sole exhibition of anything like independence of the ecclesiastical power. There was a question pending at the time as to the emoluments to be secured to the country cures', and La Barre and Meulles are both blamed by the court for having allowed the bishop to appropriate a larger amount out of the royal grant for church purposes than the king had authorized or intended.

In the matter just referred to, however, the bishop may well have been substantially in the right. He knew the country, its needs, and its possibilities better than the king; and he had the interests both of his clergy and of his people sincerely at heart. It seems a little surprising that, just at this time, when his relations with the secular power were so satisfactory, he should have formed the intention of resigning the office which he had been so eager to obtain only a few years before, and of confining himself to the oversight of the Seminary. The explanation is to be found partly in the state of his health, and partly in the expectation he entertained of being able to find a man to replace him as bishop who would adopt and carry out all his views with the utmost fidelity and exactness, and thus give him even greater influence than he had had in the. past. If a bishop alone could make headway against all the opposition of the civil power, what might not be expected of a bishop of sound opinions supported by such an ex-bishop as Laval himself? With these views he sailed for France in the fall of 1684 to tender his resignation to the king; and, with these views also, he not long afterwards recommended as his successor a pious ecclesiastic of noble family, M. Jean Baptiste de la Croix Chevrieres de Saint Vallier, who, though only thirty-two years of age, had already refused two bishoprics. Once before Laval had chosen a man for his piety, M. de M£zy, and- it had not turned out well. The Reverend M. Gosselin, in his life of Saint Vallier, says that the day of his nomination was a regular "day of dupes." The appointment did not take place till the year 1688 ; but meantime M. de Saint Vallier consented to go out to Canada in the capacity of vicar-general, and make acquaintance with the diocese. Thus it happened that he and the Marquis de Denonville, La Barre's successor, came out together in the same ship, arriving at Quebec on the 1st August 1685. The vessel which brought the new governor was accompanied by two others carrying troops to the number of three hundred. Fever broke out on the way, as was so often the case in those days, and there were many deaths. Amongst those who succumbed were two priests, who, in their attendance on the sick, had caught the malady. Their fate inspired Saint Vallier with intense regret that he had not taken passage on the same vessel, so that he might have shared so glorious a death. The sentiment seems strange on the part of a man at his time of life, just entering on a career in which he might reasonably hope for long years of the most exalted usefulness. He did not in fact die till the year 1727.

We have two accounts of the condition of Canada at this time; one from the pen of the bishop designate, the other from that of the new governor after a residence of a little over three months in the country. Strange to say, the two do not in the very least agree. Saint Vallier sees everything couleur de rose, and detects the odour of sanctity everywhere. Denonville, on the contrary, sees license, insubordination, idleness, luxury, debauchery, running riot throughout the land. " The Canadian people," says Saint Vallier, "is, generally speaking, as devout as the clergy is holy. One remarks among them something resembling the disposition which we recognize and admire in the Christians of the early centuries." Even in the distant settlements where a priest is rarely seen, the people are constant in the practice of virtue, the fathers making up for the lack of priests, so far as the training of their children is concerned, "by their wise counsels and firm discipline."1Denonville, just about the same time, undertakes to give the minister an account of the disorders prevailing not only in the woods, but, as he states, in the settlements as well. " These arise," he says, " from the idleness of young persons, and the great liberty which fathers, mothers, and guardians have for a long time given them of going into the forest under pretence of hunting or trading. One great evil," he continues, "is the infinite number of drink-ing-shops. . . . All the rascals and idlers of the country are attracted into this business of tavern-keeping. They never dream of tilling the soil; on the contrary, they deter other inhabitants, and end by ruining them." Of the two pictures, it is probable that the governor's was nearer the truth ; though probably his ascetic turn of mind led him to exaggerate the evils that existed. Saint Vallier, when he came to the country as bishop in 1688, was not long in discovering how greatly he had overrated the virtue and piety of the inhabitants. He took an early opportunity of repairing his error as far as possible by preaching a sermon on the sins which he found prevailing. "We thought," he said, "before we knew our flock, that the Iroquois and the English were the only wolves we had to fear; but, God having opened our eyes, we are forced to confess that our most dangerous foes are drunkenness, luxury, impurity, and slander." We cannot think very highly of the judgment of a man who has to repudiate his own statements so completely in regard to facts fully open to observation.

It is allowable, fortunately, to take a more favourable view of the Canadian people than either the governor, or the bishop in his revised opinion, expresses. They were careless and ease-loving, more fond of adventure than of steady toil; they were vain and given to luxury ; but these qualities were in a large measure the result of the circumstances in which they were placed and the general influences of the time. How could they fail to be fond of adventure when incitements to it presented themselves on every hand, and the rewards that it promised were so much more tempting than those to be derived from the tillage of the soil? It was human nature in those days to prefer the gun to the spade, and the paddle to the scythe. If they were vain and fond of luxury and show, it proceeded in part from innate taste, and in part from the example of those above them, who, in turn, reflected the manners, the habits, and the tone of the most luxurious court in Europe. It soon began to be observed that a given class in Canada represented a higher degree of refinement and culture than a similar class in European France. The reason was that, in the vast spaces and free air of a new continent, human nature had more scope for expansion; ambition was stirred; thought and imagination were quickened. The old seed was germinating with new power in a virgin soil. The people were gay, chivalrous, courteous, and brave, with an underlying tenacity of purpose and power of industry ready to be revealed in due season under more settled conditions of life. That intemperance was a serious evil there can be no doubt; but that, too, was more or less incidental to the times. The physique of the people was good ; and, if their moral habits were not all that 194 their spiritual guides could have wished, they were at least free from serious corruption. In a word, the Canadians of that period lived, on the whole, healthy lives, and were planting a hardy and enduring race on the soil they had made their own.


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