This chapter has been published in the book Latin America & Canada to 1850. For ordering information please click here.
In the northeast by the 13th century the Five Nations that were later named the Iroquois by the French lived in longhouses; their territory extended from Lake Erie to the Hudson River and was divided into five north-south strips. To the west and north were the Hurons and Algonquins who also had strong tribal loyalties that sometimes resulted in wars for hunting territory, raiding property, revenge, or personal glory. According to the first part of Cadwallader Colden’s The History of the Five Indian Nations, written in 1727, “The Five Nations made planting of corn their whole business.”1 Deganawidah, translated “the thinker,” was a Huron holy man who aimed to stop the senseless violence of wars and devised 13 laws for the nations to live in peace. He had a vision of 5 nations meeting together under the branches of a tree of great peace. Deganawidah advised them to put aside self-interest, saying, “Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people, and have always in view not only the present, but also the coming generations.”2 Deganawidah taught three main principles. The first is the peace within individuals and between groups that comes from a healthy body and a sane mind. The second is the justice that comes from correct actions, thought, and speech. The third is spiritual power that comes from physical strength and civil authority.
In the 15th (or 16th) century the Mohawk (or Onondaga) sachem Hiawatha spread this message by traveling to the Iroquois tribes. The Onondaga war priest Thadodaho (Atotarho) resisted efforts to end the cycle of violence, but Hiawatha was credited with transforming Thadodaho from a demon into a human being by persuading him to champion the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy (Hodenosaunee). Hiawatha’s name means “the comber,” and it was said that he combed the evil thoughts out of Thadodaho’s mind as though he were combing serpents out of his hair. The great council met at the place of the Onondaga fire keepers. Wampum was exchanged to certify treaties, and the Onondagas were also the wampum keepers. Important issues were passed first to the older brothers, the Mohawks and Senecas, for discussion and then to the younger brothers, the Oneidas and Cayugas. The consensus decision then went to the Onondaga fire-keepers for final judgment. The Great Law advised them to carry out their duty with endless patience and to temper their firmness with tenderness toward the people, not letting anger nor fury lodge in their minds. Their words and actions were to be marked by calm deliberation.
Hiawatha received his vision from the spirit of Deganawidah so that blood revenge could be replaced by ritualized condolence and a council of fifty sachems from the five nations that met at least once every five years. By using consensus they resolved conflicts between their tribes and negotiated with their Huron and Algonquin neighbors over hunting territories. The Hurons were Iroquoian but remained outside the confederacy while the Algonquins spoke Algonquian. Cannibalism was abolished, although warriors still occasionally ate the hearts of their enemies to gain their courage. Blood feuds were prevented by replacing revenge with condolence rituals and the family of the murderer paying compensation to the family of the victim. Accord to legend Hiawatha carried his teachings to the Hurons, Eries, Neutrals, Shawnees, Delawares, Miamis, Sauk, and other tribes as far away as the Mississippi River.
In the Iroquois culture land and property were shared communally, and several families lived together in long houses. Their chiefs were often the poorest because they were obligated to help those most in need. Iroquois families were matrilineal, and women were influential in a society that promoted individual responsibility rather than authority. The women chose the male chiefs who spoke in the councils, listening to the advice of the women. The chiefs were older warriors who had renounced the warpath for the council fire. While men were out hunting, women governed their communities; they could veto a war by not providing the necessary supplies for the expedition. If a male kinsman was killed in a war, a woman could claim an enemy captive as compensation and could torture or kill him.
The Iroquois raised their children naturally with a long period of breast-feeding and no pressure to learn toilet training. The young were allowed to explore their sexuality as a natural process. Divorces were decided by the woman when she put the man’s belongings outside the longhouse. Discipline was achieved by shaming those who acted improperly until they learned how to change their behavior. They discussed their dreams as ways of understanding themselves.
The Micmacs spoke an Eastern Algonquian language and lived on the peninsula south of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. They believed that life is everywhere and is both visible and invisible. They considered their ancestors great hunters who were strong, dignified, and healthy. They believed they had supernatural powers that the Europeans did not have. They thought all people should be equal, and like the Greeks they found that moderation is better than excess. The shaman Membertou was the leader of the eastern Micmac about 1600.
By the time the French arrived, the Iroquois were using the power of their alliance to subjugate other tribes and in their struggle with the Hurons and Algonquins. Their policy was to save the children and youths of the people they conquered by adopting them into their own nation and educating them without distinction as their own children. In 1600 the Five Nations of the Iroquois League had about 22,000 people out of nearly 100,000 Iroquoians in the northeast. In the 17th century the Iroquois used the power of their confederation and the firearms 1610. Some Dutchmen accompanied the Mohawks across Mahican territory to raid the Susquehannocks in 1615. According to tradition they made a treaty with the Dutch and the Mahicans about 1618; but the Mohawks attacked the Mahicans in 1624, and the war lasted four years. The Mohawks wanted to have a native monopoly on the trade with the Dutch at Fort Orange (Albany).they got from the English and the Dutch to dominate most of the other tribes. Being on the eastern border of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Mohawks had the most contact with the Europeans. They lost a hundred warriors at the mouth of the Richelieu River in 1610. Some Dutchmen accompanied the Mohawks across Mahican territory to raid the Susquehannocks in 1615. According to tradition they made a treaty with the Dutch and the Mahicans about 1618; but the Mohawks attacked the Mahicans in 1624, and the war lasted four years. The Mohawks wanted to have a native monopoly on the trade with the Dutch at Fort Orange (Albany).
Ignoring the papal bull of 1493 that divided the new world between Spain and Portugal, both France and England were claiming North America. In 1524 King François (Francis) sent the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano to explore the coast; the year before he had captured treasure Cortes was shipping from Mexico. In 1525 Estevan Gomes abducted 58 natives from the coast that later became New England and took them to Spain, and the next year a Spanish colony near Cape Fear ended in failure.
Various Europeans had been fishing off Newfoundland for many years, and in 1534 Jacques Cartier with two ships and 61 men explored the St. Lawrence River, naming an island Montreal. The French built a fort on the St. Charles River, but 25 died of scurvy before a native showed them the leaves that provided a cure. Cartier found fifty Iroquois long houses and cultivated fields at Hochelaga in October, and they were received as gods. He took two natives back to France. He was looking for gold, but he reported only finding rich fisheries with many whales, seals, and walruses along with fertile lands and timber. In 1536 Cartier abducted Donnacona and other chiefs and took them back to France, where they were baptized and died within two years.
On 15 January 1541 King François signed the commission authorizing the French colonization of America, and he appointed Jean-François de la Roque de Roberval lieutenant-general. An expedition was organized to the St. Lawrence with ten ships, 400 sailors, 300 soldiers, artisans, women, and livestock. The King authorized the recruiting of prisoners facing execution or serving terms. Cartier left with five ships in May, but Roberval had to borrow money and did some privateering before arriving in Canada in 1542. They met at St. John’s, Newfoundland in June. Roberval spent the winter at Cap Rouge, and after some exploring he returned to France in 1543. The King had the shiny metal brought back by Cartier in 1542 tested and found it was not gold but iron pyrite, and what they hoped were diamonds turned out to be quartz crystals. Meanwhile a third of the colony died of disease, and the rest were recalled by the King.
The French kept coming to North America for fish, furs, and walrus tusks, but colonization was suspended. The Huguenots’ attempt to found a colony in the French Carolinas from 1562-65 was driven off by the Spaniards led by Menendez and has been discussed in the “Spanish Conquest” chapter. In 1577 King Henri III authorized Breton marquis Mesgouez de la Roche to found New France, and the next year he named him viceroy. La Roche opposed the Holy League that was formed in 1576 to promote Catholicism as the exclusive religion, and he was imprisoned by the Duc de Mercoeur from 1589 to 1596. After being released, La Roche organized an expedition to the new world, and in 1597 he got permission to recruit convicts. King Henri IV named La Roche lieutenant-general of Canada. He sailed in April 1598 with two hundred men and fifty women to Sable Island, and he returned to France in October to recruit more colonists. La Roche sent Thomas Chefdhostel with more settlers and supplies in 1599 and again in 1603; but the commander Querbonyer and others had been murdered, and only eleven colonists reported back to Henri IV. Meanwhile the Protestant Pierre Chauvin de Tonnetuit had obtained a trade monopoly in November 1599, and he sailed to Tadoussac. The winter of 1600-01 was so disastrous that this trading post was not occupied in succeeding winters.
The French formed the Canada Company in 1602, and the next year King Henri IV granted the Huguenot nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts a charter for Acadia with trading rights from the 40th latitude to the 46th parallel. He hired navigator Samuel de Champlain, who in the summer of 1603 explored the Maine coast and found little trace of Cartier’s colony; even the natives had fled the area. The next year De Monts founded a settlement on Dochet Island in the Sainte Croix River, but half the men died of scurvy. In 1605 they moved the colony to Nova Scotia to another place named Port Royal. Champlain and the poetic priest Marc Lescarbot led a cooperative community; but it had to be abandoned in 1607 when the monopoly of De Monts was rescinded. Baron de Poutrincourt gained the grant and went to Port Royal in 1610, converting the elderly Micmac chief Membertou before the arrival the next year of the Jesuits, who were sponsored by Madame de Guercheville. Young Louis XIII granted her all of North America from the St. Lawrence to Florida. Jesuit Pierre Biard quarreled with Poutrincourt.
In 1613 courtier La Saussaye with Jesuits Gilbert du Thet and Jacques Quentin tried to start a settlement near Monts Desert Island (Maine). They were soon captured by Samuel Argall, who had been sent by Virginia’s Thomas Dale, even though King James had not granted this region to them but to a separate Plymouth colony. Fifteen French were set adrift in a boat and made it back to France, and the other fourteen were taken prisoners to Jamestown. When Dale proposed hanging them, Argall admitted that he had secretly stolen the French commissions from their ship. Their lives were spared, but Argall was sent to demolish the colony at Port Royal and what was left at Sainte Croix. The English investigated Argall for his actions but acquitted him. Biard was considered a traitor by both sides but was eventually returned to France. Poutrincourt’s son Biencourt managed to rebuild Port Royal and helped fur traders.
Meanwhile Champlain founded a small settlement at Quebec in 1608, surviving the first winter with only seven others out of 24. He explored the rivers and lakes, including the one named after him. By helping the Algonquins, Hurons, and Montagnais fight those he called Iroquois, he established the alliance that would continue throughout the French-English conflict. Although he did some farming himself, New France would be primarily for soldiers, priests, and traders. In July 1609 Champlain and two Frenchman went with sixty warriors up the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, where arquebuses helped them defeat three times as many Mohawks. The next year they defeated the Mohawks again at the mouth of the Richelieu. Champlain persuaded the natives to adopt French youths, and Etienne Brulé lived with the Ottawa Algonquins and the Hurons. Champlain went back to France in 1611. Prince Henri de Condé was named viceroy, and Champlain became his lieutenant. Misled by the lies of Nicolas Vigneau in an attempt to reach Hudson Bay, Champlain returned again to France in 1613. He wanted to establish a farming settlement, and they managed to keep the Estates General from opening the fur trade to all. The beaver furs were especially valuable in Europe, where felt hats made from beaver pelts were popular.
Champlain went back to Quebec with four Récollets (strict Franciscans) in June 1615. By then he was so perturbed by the Dutch trading for the valuable beaver furs that he led a dozen Frenchmen and ten Hurons who guided him to their land where 12,000 people farmed corn, pumpkins, and sunflowers. Joined by an army of 500 Hurons, they sent twelve men with interpreter Brulé to recruit Andastes (Susquehannocks). They passed Lake Ontario, and in October they reached the fort of the Onondagas (near modern Syracuse). Champlain had a platform built so that four men with arquebuses could shoot down on the besieged Iroquois. Champlain was wounded twice in the legs by arrows, and after four days of skirmishing he retreated and had to be carried in a basket. His reputation was tarnished by this failure, and that winter he stayed with the Hurons, making a friendship treaty with the Petun nation. In February 1616 Champlain mediated a peace between the Hurons and the Algonquins before returning to Quebec.
King Louis XIII declared his support for Champlain and his plans in March 1618. After returning to France, Champlain sailed with his wife Helene in 1619. Admiral Henri de Montmorency et Damville became viceroy in 1620 and confirmed Champlain as his lieutenant, instructing him to build a fort at Quebec. Montmorency granted the De Caen Company exclusive trade in the St. Lawrence Valley from 1621 to 1635, but he forbade trading munitions to the Indians. Champlain did not allow the old Company’s property to be seized at Quebec, and in May 1621 the Council decided the two companies should cooperate for one year. Champlain established a court of justice, and in September he published the first ordinances. That month England’s King James negotiated with Newfoundland’s governor John Mason (1615-21) and New England’s treasurer Ferdinando Gorges in order to grant a charter for Nova Scotia to his Scottish friend William Alexander as a buffer between New France and New England. The Récollet Georges Le Baillif wrote an anonymous pamphlet accusing Guillaume de Caen and his associates of numerous crimes, and Le Baillif was physically attacked for using fabrications. In April 1622 the Council decided in favor of the De Caen Company but agreed that the old Company should hold five twelfths of their stock. Louis Hébert was given the first land concession in 1623, and he farmed with his family. That year the Récollet Joseph Le Caron was sent to prevent a commercial agreement between the Hurons and the Iroquois.
Champlain used threats in April 1624 to stop the Montagnais from going on the warpath, and that summer he made a general peace with the Iroquois before returning to Paris in October. The pious Henri de Levy Vantadour became viceroy in 1625, and in June the first three Jesuits arrived at Quebec with Champlain. Le Caron printed a pamphlet condemning the De Caen monopoly. In March 1626 Viceroy Vantadour granted the Jesuits a seigniory off the Beauport River. The natives liked the bread the French cooked, and in 1627 a Montagnais killed two Frenchmen to get bread. Some of the French found themselves getting addicted to smoking tobacco. New France had only 107 Europeans, and only thirteen natives had become Christians. The main activity was trading for beaver pelts, which averaged about 15,000 a year. In May 1627 Richelieu founded the Company of New France called the Hundred Associates which Louis XIII approved one year later. Madame de Guercheville renounced her claim, and Vantadour sold them his viceroyalty for 100,000 livres. Noble and clerical members of the Company were allowed to engage in commerce, and artisans who practiced their crafts for six years in New France became master craftsmen. Indians who were baptized could go to France and enjoy the privileges of citizens. All merchandise traded between France and the colonies was exempt from taxes.
In 1628 the English organized an invasion of New France. Gervase Kirke’s company sent out three ships commanded by his son David Kirke. They seized Cap Tourmente, killed most of the livestock, and burned the buildings. Claude Roquement de Brison commanded four ships for the Hundred Associates; but he lost all their goods when he surrendered to the Kirkes at Tadoussac. Champlain held out with meager supplies at Quebec for another year until July 1629. Later they learned that England and France had made peace before Quebec was taken. Charles de La Tour swore allegiance to the British and so managed to hold Fort St. Louis, and in 1631 he built Fort Ste. Marie at the mouth of the St. John River. Because of the British occupation, French trade was suspended until March 1632 when Charles returned Acadia and Canada to France in exchange for 400,000 crowns in the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye. Captain Andrew Forester captured Fort St. John for the English in September. Commander Isaac de Razilly fortified La Have on the east coast of the Acadian peninsula, and in December he made sure the Scottish colony evacuated Port Royal. The French had difficulty learning the native languages, and even fewer Indians learned French; but in 1632 the Récollet Gabriel Sagard managed to publish a Huron dictionary with 132 pages. In 1633 La Tour brought Capuchins to replace the three Récollets that left Fort St. Louis.
After publishing his revised Voyages and settling his estates with his wife who became a nun, Champlain returned to rebuild Quebec in 1633. He persuaded Algonquins to trade with them instead of the English, and he promised to send missionaries to teach them. He hoped that French sons would marry their daughters so that they would become one people. Champlain prohibited the French from giving the Indians brandy, and violators were punished. A December announcement forbade swearing, getting drunk, and failing to attend mass on Sundays. In June 1633 a band of 28 Iroquois killed two colonists and wounded four near Three Rivers. Champlain had Fort Richelieu built on an island upstream from Quebec. In July the Hurons brought 150 canoes of furs; but they refused to take any Jesuits back with them because the Algonquins told them they were useless. In 1634 Champlain had a habitation built at Three Rivers by the mouth of the St. Maurice River, and the Jesuits Jean de Brébeuf, Antoine Daniel, and Davost went to live with the Hurons, founding the St. Joseph mission on Penetanguishene Bay. The Hurons did not trade much in 1634 because of their war with the Iroquois, and in 1636 their passage was blocked by the Algonquins. Champlain died of a stroke on Christmas Day 1635.
In January 1636 the Company chose Charles Hualt de Montmagny as the first governor of Canada. Because his name means “great mountain,” the natives called him and future governors Onontio. He held discussions with the Indians to avoid war, promoted the fur trade, and welcomed missionaries. The Jesuits sent written reports that were published annually as Relations in France. Superior Paul le Jeune wrote the Relations from 1632 to 1640, and these accounts encouraged others to support or participate in their endeavors. The 1636 Relations suggested how people of moderate means could find success in Canada. The Marquis de Gamache donated 16,000 crowns for college classes in a monastery, though hardly any native children attended school. Three Ursuline nuns, led by Marie de l’Incarnation, and three hospital nuns arrived at Quebec in 1639, and by 1642 they had built a stone convent. In 1640 a mission was opened at Three Rivers for eighty Algonquin converts.
Charles Garnier and Isaac Jogues went to the Petuns in 1639 but had to flee, and Jerome Lalemant built Ste. Marie on the Georgian Bay. The next year Brébeuf and Joseph Marie Chaumonot tried to convert the Neutrals. Pierre Pijart and Charles Raymbault went to the Nipissings in 1641. They learned of Lake Superior and met the Potawatomis, who told them that in the northwest the Sioux battle the Crees in the north and the Illinois in the south. Paul de Chomedey Maisonneuve founded Ville Marie de Montreal in 1642. In seven years the missionaries had baptized 1,800 natives; but most of them were baptized while dying, and only fifty Hurons were Christians. The numbers gradually increased, but in 1643 a hundred Christians were massacred. Smallpox and measles epidemics ravaged the natives in the 1630s, and by the 1640s the Huron population had been reduced by half.
In 1635 Isaac de Razilly sent his cousin Charles de Menou d’Aulnay-Charnizé to occupy half of Acadia while Charles La Tour governed the rest. Razilly died that November and was succeeded by Menou d’Aulnay, who moved from La Have to more fertile Port Royal. The two leaders quarreled, and in 1640 La Tour imprisoned some of Menou d’Aulnay’s men. The French court summoned La Tour and ordered him to turn over Fort St. Louis; d’Aulnay took the fort but defied his instructions by burning it down. In 1642 La Tour sent envoys to Boston asking for help while his wife went to France. D’Aulnay sent three men to arrest La Tour, who had them imprisoned. In 1643 La Tour met with Governor Winthrop in Boston and transferred his ownership of St. John to Edward Gibbons and Thomas Hawkins. La Tour attacked Port Royal with thirty Huguenots and thirty Englishmen, killing three men. D’Aulnay convicted La Tour of rebellion and conspiring with the enemy, and the Crown ordered La Tour’s arrest in March 1644. D’Aulnay sent the Capuchin monk Marie to Boston, and in October he and Governor John Endecott signed a peace treaty guaranteeing freedom of trade. Madame La Tour chartered three ships in Boston and relieved St. John in January 1645. Menou d’Aulnay attacked St. John with two ships, took over Fort Ste. Marie, imprisoned Madame La Tour, and hanged seven Englishmen and some “plotters of rebellion” while pardoning the rest.
La Tour was in Boston, and a few months later he learned that his wife had died. He went to Newfoundland governor David Kirke and claimed allegiance to England. At Boston in 1646 La Tour and five French sailors captured Kirke’s flyboat and fled to Quebec. France’s regent Anne of Austria commended Menou d’Aulnay for keeping Acadia French and appointed him governor in 1647. D’Aulnay promoted immigration and increased the population to five hundred, draining marsh-lands and developing the technique of sunken-meadow farming. D’Aulnay spent more than 800,000 livres improving the colony, and he borrowed 260,000 from Emmanuel Le Borgne. After Menou d’Aulnay died of hypothermia in a canoe accident in 1650, La Tour claimed his rights and was absolved by Louis XIV and became governor of Acadia. However, the Royal Council ruled that La Tour had usurped the d’Aulnay heirs’ rights, and they ceded St. John to the Duc César de Vendome and d’Aulnay’s widow. Le Borgne forced her to pay 205,000 livres in debt, and so in 1653 she married La Tour. In December the Hundred Associates granted Nicolas Denys ownership in Gaspé and a trade monopoly, and the King named him governor there.
In 1654 Louis XIV accused d’Aulnay of having driven out Denys; but Vendome formed an alliance with Le Borgne, who tried to force out La Tour and Denys by attacking St. John. That year Robert Sedgwick in Boston commanded three English ships for Oliver Cromwell. When the war with the Dutch ended, Sedgwick forced Le Borgne to surrender Port Royal and besieged St. John. La Tour surrendered, claimed allegiance to William Alexander and Boston, and was taken to England while Major John Leverett was left behind to govern. The English burned the church and the monastery at Port Royal, and the Capuchins went back to France the next year. In 1656 La Tour gave Cromwell £5,000 and promised him furs, and Cromwell ceded Acadia to La Tour, Thomas Temple, and William Crowe, making Temple governor the following year. In response Louis XIV named Le Borgne governor for nine years. His son Le Borgne de Belle-Isle captured the rebuilt La Have in 1658. Temple took it back and sent Le Borgne de Belle-Isle to Boston as a prisoner. Acadia was restored to France by the Treaty of Breda in 1667, and the English surrendered it three years later.
The Iroquois had bartered furs to the Dutch at Fort Orange (Albany) for arquebuses for more than twenty years, and in 1642 they aggressively attacked the Hurons. Isaac Jogues, René Goupil, and Guillaume Couture were captured and tortured. Goupil was killed, but Jogues escaped and then was ransomed by the Dutch in 1643. That year the Mohawks made a treaty of alliance with the Dutch, and the next year the Dutch traded four hundred firearms and ammunition to the Mohawks for furs. Other tribes were denied arms and developed enmity toward the Mohawks. By the spring of 1644 the Iroquois were attacking colonists, who urged the Montreal governor Maisonneuve to fight back. After his sortie with thirty men resulted in three killed and two captured, they accepted his prudence. These wars reduced the fur trade to those brought from the north to Three Rivers. In July 1644 Governor Montmagny confirmed the French policy of not trading any firearms or ammunition to the natives. Queen Anne, acting as regent, sent sixty soldiers to add to the forty Richelieu had dispatched two years before. The Governor sent 22 men to escort trading Hurons, and they returned the following year. The Mohawks fought the French and the Algonquins and Hurons.
As the Company of the Hundred was losing money, Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny and Jean-Paul Godefroy went to France; in 1645 they ceded their fur monopoly to the Community of Habitants that took on the responsibility of providing for the public expenditures of the colony. They prohibited settlers from dealing in furs. When the Mohawks returned Couture after holding him two years, the Governor made a truce with them in September 1645; but the other four Iroquois nations remained at war. In August 1646 the Oneidas attacked the Hurons near Montreal. Jogues went back to the Mohawks as a missionary, and he reprimanded them for letting other Iroquois nations pass through their territory to war. His religious zeal frightened them, and they executed him and Jean Lalande for sorcery. News of this reached Quebec in June 1647, and the French went to war against the Five Nations. The spreading violence discouraged the Hurons from bringing their pelts.
Maisonneuve and Robert Giffard went to France and complained about the Community’s abuses. The Royal Council issued new regulations on 27 March 1647 establishing a governing Council of Quebec composed of Canada’s governor, the Jesuits’ superior, and Montreal’s governor. A year later they added the former governor general, the governor of Three Rivers, and two habitants to be elected by the Council every three years. The colonists were allowed to trade with the Indians as long as they sold the pelts to the Community warehouse at a price fixed by the Council of Quebec. The Iroquois attacked the Neutral tribe in the summer of 1647, and they launched a major offensive the following year, killing or capturing seven hundred Huron men, plus taking women and children. Dutch governor Stuyvesant sold the Mohawks four hundred guns in 1648 with the pretext they were for hunting.
In March 1649 seven hundred Mohawks and Senecas attacked St. Ignace, slaughtering or enslaving four hundred Hurons. Eighty Huron braves tried to defend St. Louis and killed thirty Iroquois, but the town was taken. Brébeuf and Charles Lalemant refused to flee and were tortured to death. Three hundred Hurons defended Ste. Marie from two hundred Iroquois, who got reinforcements that enabled them to kill a hundred Hurons and capture thirty. After the Hurons had lost about 1,500 men, the remaining 10,000 abandoned and burned their villages and went to live among the Neutral and Petun nations. Late in 1649 the Iroquois destroyed the Petuns and the Nipissings, scattering the Algonquins. Three hundred Hurons tried to hold out at St. Joseph’s Island, but they were driven to take refuge in Quebec in 1650. That fall the Iroquois invaded the Neutrals, destroyed two villages, and expelled them from the Niagara peninsula. Many of the Hurons were assimilated into the Five Nations of the Iroquois as captives replaced their population losses from European epidemics.
Jean de Lauzon became governor of Quebec in January 1651, and he was resented for abusing his dictatorial powers. The Council imposed a 50% tax on beaver pelts, and Lauzon cut defenses to raise his salary; but the Council reduced the duty to 25% in 1653. The next year Lauzon required those traveling to barter for furs to obtain his leave before going. Inflation was a problem, but Lauzon renewed his authority and tightened his monopoly in 1654. The Council granted habitants freedom to barter furs in 1656, and the hated Lauzon went back to France in September. In 1657 the Hundred Associates gained a seat on the new Conseil de la traite that was to regulate trade and taxes.
In 1651 Jean-Paul Godefroy and Gabriel Druillettes tried to negotiate an alliance and a commercial treaty with the English, but this effort failed. The Iroquois attacked the island of Montreal in 1651; but Charles le Moyne led the defense that killed thirty while Lambert Closse bravely protected the hospital. In 1652 the Mohawks were unable to conquer the Susquehannocks, though they overwhelmed the Atrakwaeronons and took five hundred captives. The war between the Iroquois and the Susquehannocks would go on for a quarter century. In 1652 the Iroquois killed Governor Du Plessis-Kerbodot of Three Rivers and fifteen of his men, and the Mohawks cut off Three Rivers the next year. In the Great Lakes region the Ottawas formed an alliance with the Algonquin nations, and in the fall of 1653 the Onondagas and the Mohawks initiated peace talks with the French that reached agreement in November. The Onondagas, Oneidas, and Senecas even invited the French to settle in their country, but some Mohawks continued to resist the peace in the late 1650s. The French began sending out their own agents to trade for furs. The fur trade revived, although the English and the Spanish each captured a ship sailing toward New France. The Governor of Three Rivers allowed the trading of weapons and ammunition for beaver skins and set amounts to prevent underpaying the natives.
In August 1654 Father Simon le Moyne gave the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, and the Oneidas four symbolic hatchets to be used in their war against the Cat Nation (Eries), and the Iroquois wiped out the Eries as a tribe. Le Moyne, who knew the native languages well enough to be an outstanding orator, went to the Mohawks in 1655. He and Closse captured seven invaders and traded them to the Mohawks for seven Frenchmen. After this exchange the Mohawks made peace that summer with Maisonneuve. The Mohawks were afraid of losing their trade and massacred Hurons at the Isle of Orleans in May 1656 while carefully avoiding hostility with the French. A quarrel between an Erie and a Seneca escalated when the Senecas murdered thirty Erie deputies. During the war the Eries captured an Onondaga chief who persuaded them to give him to the sister of one of the murdered deputies; but when she insisted on his being burned at the stake, he warned they were burning their nation. The Eries did not have firearms, but they used poisoned arrows. Seven hundred Mohawks attacked the Erie fort, using canoes as shields, and killed so many of the two thousand Eries that the tribe ceased to exist.
In July 1656 four Jesuits and fifty French began a missionary settlement by Lake Onondaga. In May 1657 the Hurons met with the Iroquois at Quebec along with the Governor and missionaries. The Bear tribe decided to go with the Mohawks; the Rock tribe went with the Onondagas; and the Cord tribe stayed in Quebec. On 21 October 1657 Governor Louis d’Ailleboust called an assembly at Quebec that resolved to defend the Hurons and Algonquins against the Iroquois, and in November he held nine Mohawks hostage. In February 1658 the Mohawks marched on Onondaga, and the missionary settlers fled.
While Maisonneuve and former governor Louis d’Ailleboust were in France, the Company of the Hundred urged the Royal Council to reform the Quebec Council. In March 1657 they decreed that future trade be handled at the public stores in Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal; selling alcohol to Indians was prohibited; and two councilors were to be elected by the colonists in Quebec, one in Three Rivers, and one in Montreal. This was a major breakthrough toward representational government in New France. Because Paul Ragueneau’s interference had been resented, the Jesuits’ superior was no longer on the Council. Pierre de Voyer d’Argenson began governing Quebec with the new Council in July 1658, and he believed they needed more workers to develop agriculture. That year the Grand Vicar Abbé de Queylus declared the sale of alcohol a mortal sin. In 1659 the Company persuaded the Royal Council to decree that all plaintiffs must first submit their petitions to the Company judges, and Governor d’Argenson protested this major diminution of his power. In June of that year Bishop Francois de Montmorency Laval arrived in Quebec.
In May 1660 word reached Quebec that the Iroquois had gathered nine hundred men for a major campaign. Not knowing this, Dollard des Ormeaux had recruited sixteen men, and they ambushed Iroquois canoes carrying furs on the Ottawa River. Then they were attacked by two hundred Onondagas, and the following week they were surrounded by five hundred Mohawks and fifty Oneidas. Thirty Hurons surrendered, and the French, the Algonquins, and the remaining Hurons were eventually killed; but many believed that their defense saved the colony from a devastating attack. The Five Nations had such losses that they were discouraged from making large assaults and limited themselves to guerrilla warfare. Maisonneuve captured twelve Cayugas near Montreal in June, and holding these hostages discouraged the Mohawks. That summer two hundred Ottawas were able to bring 200,000 pounds of beaver pelts to Montreal and Three Rivers, reviving their economies. The Quebec Council had already imposed a ten percent sales tax on merchandise from France.
In February 1661 a hundred Iroquois abducted thirteen farm workers near Montreal, and in April some Onondagas seized fourteen Frenchmen at Three Rivers. The Seneca chief Garakontié met with Maisonneuve in October; the Senecas and the Onondagas made peace and accepted missions while five hundred Mohawks remained at war. The French lost 68 men in these attacks in 1661. On 31 August 1662 Father Le Moyne arrived at Montreal with twenty Onondagas and the last nine French prisoners. That year only four Frenchmen were taken.
In April 1661 Bishop Laval excommunicated Lamothe for repeatedly selling alcohol to Indians. In October the Governor had two men shot for that offense, and a vendor was whipped in public. Charles Lalemant intervened for an accused woman, and in January 1662 Governor Dubois d’Avaugour authorized the sale of liquor to all; but later Laval reimposed excommunication. On 5 February 1663 a major earthquake lasted a half hour, and many people believed they were being punished for the liquor traffic.
In 1661 Governor D’Avaugour requested the Prince de Condé send 300 soldiers and 1,200 colonists. Although tax revenues declined from 55,000 livres in 1660 to 26,000 the next year, Governor D’Avaugour insisted on receiving his salary of 13,000 livres. In April 1662 D’Avaugour abolished the old Council and appointed ten new councilors. The business of the Community was not going well, and in 1660 the Parlement of Paris had sent Jean Peronne Dumesnil to investigate. The antagonism became so violent that in August 1661 his son was killed in a fight. Yet Dumesnil continued using severe methods, forcing entry in order to examine the Company’s papers in 1662. He left Canada in October 1663 and reported that the Governor, the Bishop, the Jesuits, and all those involved in the Community’s administration had misappropriated three million livres, though the royal commissioner Gaudais-Dupont during his visit to Quebec in 1663 found that this resulted more from incompetence than dishonesty. On 24 February 1663 the Company of the Hundred Associates turned over their seigneury to King Louis XIV. By then the population of the French colony in Canada and Acadia was still only 3,035. Although women were only 37% of the population, because of twelve widows they held 54% of the seigneurial land.
In 1663 the Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas besieged the Susquehannocks'
home fort. A hundred Delawares helped seven hundred Susquehannocks
fight off the attack. That year the Mohawks were attacked by Massachusetts
Puritans and their Christian Indians. When the Mohawks joined
with the Onondagas and the Oneidas to attack the Sokoki tribe
in the upper Connecticut Valley, they were defeated. Then a smallpox
epidemic was reported to have taken a thousand lives among the
When the English replaced the Dutch to form New York in 1664, the Mohawks immediately asked for a treaty so that their trade at Fort Orange, which was renamed Albany, could continue. Louis XIV sent troops to subdue the Iroquois, who signed a treaty at Quebec in December 1665 because they were fighting the Susquehannocks in the south. Two Jesuits invited each of the four western nations to send principal families to live in Montreal, Quebec, and Three Rivers. However, the Mohawks were not involved in that war and did not join the treaty. So Governor Courcelles of Canada led an expedition against the Mohawks, and the next year New France's viceroy Tracy with 1,200 French and 600 Indians captured a Mohawk village at the mouth of Schoharie Creek. The Mohawks then sent a delegation that made a similar treaty in May 1666; but Tracy suspected treachery, and in October his troops invaded the vacated Mohawk country, destroying villages and crops. Finally in 1667 the Mohawks along with the Iroquois League made peace with the French at Quebec. The Mohawks had to accept Jesuit missionaries in their villages, and starting in 1669 converts were taken to two missionary villages at Caughnawaga near Montreal. By 1670 the Iroquois had subjugated the territory of the Adirondacks from the Great Lakes of Huron, Erie, and Ontario to the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers.
The Iroquois population was estimated to have been about 80,000 in 1600, but by 1674 it had fallen to about 10,000, mostly because of diseases. The Europeans also introduced firearms and alcoholic drinks that had harmful effects on the natives. The Iroquois with crops were more settled than other tribes who could move more easily and use guerrilla warfare. They fought their enemies one at a time, and they were known for practicing cannibalism and torturing their prisoners in order to terrify their enemies into submission. Their warriors disciplined themselves to endure such pain without flinching, and they were admired for their nobility and stoic acceptance of their defeats in war. They usually fled if they did not have superior numbers.
The French were safe while the Iroquois were fighting the Mahicans in the east and the Andastes in the south; but in May 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led more than two hundred Virginia frontiersmen in an attack on the Andastes, causing them to make peace with the Five Nations and leave the Susquehanna Valley. New York governor Edmund Andros continued the commercial relationship with the Mohawks and gave them aid that helped them defeat their Mahican enemies. In 1677 the English met the Mohawks at Albany, and they agreed on a silver chain of friendship. By 1680 more than four hundred Iroquois were living in the missionary villages near Montreal; most of them were Mohawks.
Louis XIV took the advice of Bishop Laval and in May 1663 appointed Saffroy de Mésy governor of Canada after paying his personal debts. Laval and Mésy arrived at Quebec in September with Commissioner Louis Gaudais-Dupont, who was to investigate. On the same ship were 159 settlers and laborers, who were indentured for three years; sixty others had died at sea. Laval and Mésy appointed the Sovereign Council of New France, and on September 28 they strictly prohibited selling or giving liquor to Indians. Tithing for the new Seminary was set at a thirteenth part of one's labor; but most settlers refused to pay this until it was reduced to a 26th part of the wheat in 1667. Governor Mésy let Laval choose the councilors but dismissed three of them in February 1664 for illegal practices and insubordination. Mésy became so upset that he struck Jean Bourdon with his cane and sword. Bishop Laval reacted by refusing to give him absolution, and the Governor held back the clergy's semi-annual grant. Mésy died on May 5, 1665. The Sovereign Council had an attorney general and acted as a judicial system. The penalties were death, branding, corporal punishment, fines, galley slavery, or banishment, and a recalcitrant prisoner might be tortured.
Louis XIV appointed Alexander Prouville de Tracy with viceregal power in America, and after visiting the West Indies he arrived at Quebec on June 30, 1665, eleven days after the first Carignan regiment. The King chartered the Compagnie de l'Occident that was registered by the Sovereign Council in July. Their agent was on the Council, and they held a monopoly on commerce; but they allowed colonists to trade with the Indians as long as the pelts were delivered to the Company's stores. France was way behind the Dutch and the English in shipping, and the Crown had to provide most of the capital and pay dividends to try to attract investors. Louis XIV also appointed Jean Talon as intendant, and he arrived in September. Then Tracy installed the new Council that included the new governor, Daniel de Rémy de Courcelles; but Tracy did not call the Council again for a year as Intendant Talon administered the government. Talon paid no duties on his goods and in 1665 sold them for a profit of 10,000 livres. Troops kept arriving until the colony of three thousand people had more than 1,200 soldiers. Tracy had five forts built along the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain and named them Richelieu, St. Louis, Ste. Therese, Ste. Anne, and St. Jean.
When an Onondaga delegation led by Garakontié returned Le Moyne and negotiated peace in December 1665, Tracy released three prisoners. That winter Governor Courcelles led five hundred soldiers; but eleven were killed by a Mohawk ambush, and eventually more than sixty died of hunger and freezing weather on the foolish expedition. The Senecas made a treaty in May as did the Oneidas in July. After Tracy learned that the Mohawks had killed seven French, including his nephew, he ordered two hundred colonists and eighty Indians to punish them; but the Mohawks offered to pay compensation, and they came back together to Quebec in August. Tracy invited the Mohawk chief Agariata to dine with him. After the sachem bragged about having killed the nephew Chasy, Tracy had Agariata hanged. The next month Tracy ordered a thousand soldiers and four hundred habitants to invade Mohawk territory, and they were guided by a hundred Hurons and Algonquins. They burned the crops and five villages that the Mohawks had evacuated, devastating their food supply. In the spring of 1667 Tracy made more threats to the Oneidas, and in July the Oneidas and the Mohawks made a peace treaty with the French that would last eighteen years. In 1669 Louis XIV ordered Courcelles to establish militia companies to train all able-bodied men.
In 1667 the English in the Treaty of Breda gave Acadia back to France, but William Temple did not surrender the province until July 1670. British subjects could remain if they swore allegiance to the King of France. In May 1670 England's Charles II gave his cousin Prince Rupert a charter for the Hudson's Bay Company with a trade monopoly, and they sent out Charles Bayly as governor.
Jean Baptiste Colbert managed French colonial policy and annually sent Talon as many as five hundred men between the ages of sixteen and forty and healthy women of child-bearing age. In ten years to 1673 about 775 women had their passage paid by France so that they could find husbands and raise children to increase the population of Canada. When a ship arrived, the bachelors were forbidden to hunt, fish, or trade for furs until all the King's girls were married. The King granted 300 livres a year to fathers of ten children and 400 to fathers of twelve. Many soldiers decided to stay in Canada as settlers, 412 in 1668. The King offered Indian girls 150 livres to marry a Frenchman, but few natives were absorbed into French society. Marie de l'Incarnation noted that Frenchmen were more likely to go native. Cattle, sheep, horses, and goats were imported and multiplied.
In 1669 the habitants were allowed to trade freely with the Indians, and the Council permitted the sale of alcohol while still punishing drunkenness. That winter three French settlers killed six Oneidas and took their furs, and in the spring three soldiers killed a Seneca chief. The Iroquois complained, and the peace was threatened; but Governor Courcelles calmed the situation by executing the three soldiers. In 1671 Courcelles led 56 soldiers into Seneca country to show French power. Intendant Talon did not like the Jesuits interfering in secular affairs and urged King Louis to send Récollets to Quebec in 1669 and to support the Sulpicians in Montreal. That year Talon returned from France with François Marie Perrot, who had married his niece. Talon persuaded the Sulpician priests to choose Perrot as governor of Montreal, and Perrot made himself independent of them by getting a commission from the King.
In 1672 Louis XIV reduced by half the land grants made before 1662 so that new proprietors would clear the land. Any land unbroken after four years was forfeited. The Compagnie de l'Occident had title to all the land until 1674 when it reverted to Louis XIV. Concessions were granted to seigneurs with a narrow river frontage and a long strip inland. The seigneurs had to clear their land within six months and build a mill or pay to have one built. Censitaires paid a low rent and got their wheat ground for a fee of one-fortieth of the flour. The Crown spent about 200,000 livres annually on New France including 36,000 livres for administration, paying salaries of officials and clergy. Imports from France cost 65% more in Canada. Talon made money because he did not pay the duties; but he invested his capital in the colony. Beaver pelts that had been used by Indians made better felt and cost more. Fur exports went from 100,000 livres in 1666 to 550,000 livres the next year, but this surplus lowered the price a fifth. Colbert and Talon wanted the Canadian economy to diversify and become more self-sufficient, and they promoted fishing, farming, mining, and manufacturing. Clearing the land was dull work, and several hundred adventurers chose to become coureurs de bois to trade in the wilderness with the natives.
In September 1672 the Sovereign Council installed Louis de Buande Frontenac as governor of Canada, Acadia, and Newfoundland. On October 23 Frontenac spoke to a gathering of the three estates of clergy, nobles, and commons in Quebec, administering the oath. He also arranged for the public election of three aldermen in Quebec and a public meeting every six months for people to discuss the welfare of the colony. However, Colbert forbade these policies because he wanted only representatives of the King speaking for all. Louis XIV had suspended Frontenac's debts and did not appoint a successor to Intendant Talon, who left in November. So Frontenac had both civil and military power, but he caused conflicts by also trying to dominate the Council. Bishop Laval was in France arranging the Quebec diocese, and in 1674 Pope Clement X insisted on making Quebec an independent diocese instead of being under the Archbishop of Rouen. Laval became the first bishop of Quebec, returning in 1675.
Two weeks after his arrival, Governor Frontenac prohibited hunting and trading without a license, and outfitting coureurs de bois was made illegal. Most of the furs were brought to Montreal by the Hurons and Ottawas from the Sioux, Folles-Avoines, Miamis, and Illinois around Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Frontenac adopted two Indian boys and supported two others and four girls given to the Ursulines. Louis Jolliet was born near Quebec and was educated by Jesuits. The missionary Jacques Marquette learned six native languages, and he accompanied Jolliet on an expedition Governor Frontenac commissioned to explore the Mississippi River. In June 1673 they traveled down the Mississippi to the land of the Arkansas and learned that the great river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi means "great river" in Algonquian.
Robert Cavelier, who became known as La Salle, was born at Rouen in Normandy on 22 November 1643. He was educated at a Jesuit college, and he was given a grant of land in Montreal in 1666. He traded for furs with the Indians and learned their languages. He was so obsessed with finding a path to the Orient that he named his farm Lachine Rapids after China. In 1669 he sold his land and explored the Ohio River. He became friends with Governor Frontenac because both wanted to extend French power to the west. In the summer of 1673 Frontenac conscripted four hundred men from Montreal to build a trading post at Cataraqui on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Frontenac spoke to the Iroquois with the help of interpreter Charles le Moyne, offering them low prices on merchandise. La Salle invited the Iroquois to come to Fort Frontenac, and he controlled much of the fur trade.
People in Montreal resented Frontenac's interference, and their governor Perrot arrested the men who had been granted licenses by Frontenac, charging them with trading furs illegally. Frontenac ordered the judge at Montreal to seize all the coureurs de bois. When the judge tried to arrest two of Perrot's ruffians, Perrot threatened the judge with imprisonment. Governor Frontenac also wanted to reduce his competition, and in the autumn he sent Lt. Bizard to arrest Sieur de Carion for letting the two coureurs de bois escape. Governor Perrot complained he was only notified afterward and released him. Frontenac summoned Perrot to Quebec, and the Abbé François Fénelon accompanied him. Perrot was brought before the Council and detained. Frontenac had one of the coureur de bois hanged in view of Perrot's prison cell. In 1674 twelve coureurs de bois were arrested and brought to Montreal. Governor Frontenac had another banished for two years, and the punishments induced thirty others to cooperate. Fénelon went back to Montreal and preached a sermon criticizing Frontenac for exacting forced labor for his private gain, for oppressing those who resisted his extorting profits, for prosecuting officials who defended these people, and for surrounding himself with sycophants. La Salle indicated his loyalty to Frontenac with gestures and walked out. Fénelon was summoned before the Council, but he denied their right to judge clergy. Frontenac had Perrot and Fénelon sent to France. After a few days in prison Perrot was sent back to his position as governor of Montreal, but Fénelon was reprimanded by his religious superior Bretonvilliers for interfering in worldly matters and was forbidden to return to Canada.
In 1675 Colbert warned Frontenac that the Council held the judicial and legislative powers. The Council was expanded from five to seven, but all appointments were to be made by the King, removing Frontenac's intimidation over them. Colbert chose Jacques Duchesneau as the new intendant and to preside over the Council. Louis XIV was involved in European wars and had stopped funding Canada in 1672. By 1674 the Compagnie de l'Occident had a debt of three million livres, and the King revoked their charter. In May 1675 he leased their rights to Jean Oudiette for seven years at 350,000 livres per year. Three days later the financier Aubert de la Chesnaye bought the lease for 119,000 livres and twelve beaver hats per year. Frontenac gained sympathy from Colbert by opposing the Jesuits, but in April 1675 the King reprimanded Frontenac for opening letters to Jesuits. That month Frontenac issued an edict that to trade furs one had to own a farm with a dwelling, and he held the power of granting the valuable licenses.
In May 1675 La Salle was granted nobility, ownership of Fort Frontenac, and the right to make grants himself. By 1677 La Salle had 48 soldiers, artisans, farmers, and two Récollet priests. He went to France, and in May 1678 he was given the concession for five years to explore the Mississippi River and build forts. La Salle had to finance his own expeditions; but he was granted a monopoly on buffalo hides, and he borrowed money. He returned to Canada with the Sicilian soldier Henri Tonty.
The Montreal traders established a permanent base at Michilimackinac in Ottawa country. Duchesneau criticized Frontenac. When Ottawas arrived at the fairs in Montreal, Frontenac required them to give him presents to pay for guards assigned to them. After Frontenac's followers and French merchants traded with them, the habitants complained that little was left for them. In 1678 a royal edict forbade trading and hunting more than one league beyond cleared land. The next year Frontenac sent troops to make sure that Duchesneau did not imprison La Taupine for trading furs. Frontenac accused Duchesneau of being in partnership with La Chesnaye, who at least invested his profits in fishing and lumber businesses.
In 1678 the Senecas invaded the Illinois country without success while the eastern Iroquois suffered from smallpox after making a treaty at Albany. La Salle and Henri Tonty built a fort at the mouth of the St. Joseph River southeast of Lake Michigan in November. Fort Crevecoeur was built on the Illinois River, giving La Salle control of trade with the Illinois and Miamis, who had been trading with the Ottawas. Issuing the permits helped La Salle pay his debts. Frontenac and La Salle confiscated the trading goods of any coureurs de bois in the Great Lakes region who did not have their permission. In 1679 La Salle built a trading post in the Iroquois hunting ground at Niagara. Above the falls he had the first sailing ship built in the Great Lakes, and in August the Griffon sailed from Lake Erie to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. However, the Griffon was wrecked and sank. In 1680 twenty mutineers abandoned Fort Crevecoeur and plundered Fort Saint Joseph and the storehouse at Niagara. La Salle with nine men managed to arrest most of them, but two of the rebels were killed.
Bishop Laval wanted liquor prohibited, and in May 1679 Louis XIV banned brandy from Indian territory, greatly alleviating the problem while allowing legal sales in the settlements. Intendant Duchesneau complained that even members of the Council were trading furs illegally, and some were taking them to Albany, where prices were double. Frontenac still tried to impose his authority in the Council, and in July 1679 he banished Attorney General Denis-Joseph Ruette d'Auteuil and the councilors Charles Tilly and Louis Rouer Villeray. When the ill d'Auteuil died twelve days after Tilly and Villeray were deported, the Council appointed his well qualified but young son to replace him. Colbert and Louis XIV upheld the Council and reprimanded Frontenac. Yet Intendant Duchesneau still had to obey Governor Frontenac as the representative of the King.
The Sovereign Council in Quebec received instructions from
Louis XIV in October 1680 and began investigating illicit fur
trading in Montreal. In August 1681 the King and his minister
Colbert granted amnesty for past illicit trading but made flogging
and branding the penalty for the first offense with life in the
galleys for a second conviction. Licenses were to be granted annually
by the Governor and the Intendant for 25 canoes of three men each.
These permits (congés) were given to religious foundations,
retired officers, widows, and public servants, who could sell
them for a thousand livres or more. Still perhaps two or three
hundred coureurs de bois risked the illegal but lucrative
fur trade. The King had stopped subsidizing emigration to Canada
in 1672, but the population increased because of the high birth
rate. Governor Frontenac offered officers and nobles gifts of
land. Rumors of the coming amnesty stimulated beaver sales to
increase from 69,000 livres in 1680 to 82,900 livres in 1681.
Intendant Duchesneau was concerned that the English trading posts
of the Hudson's Bay Company in the north were hurting the French
fur trade, and he charged that four of Frontenac's associates
had sent 60,000 livres in furs to Albany and New York. Perrot
had guards imprisoned for interfering with the illicit selling
of brandy by his men, and he was protected by Frontenac. Perrot
was believed to have made 40,000 livres in 1680 and much more
on beaver in 1683.
In September 1680 more than six hundred Iroquois invaded Illinois territory. The Illinois chiefs asked Henri Tonty to negotiate for them with the Iroquois, and an Onondaga warrior stabbed him in the chest. They negotiated for several days, and during an armistice Tonty and his companions went north to Michilimackinac. The Iroquois destroyed an Illinois village and took several hundred captives, mostly women and children; they also attacked the Miamis. In September 1681 a Kiskakon warrior killed the Seneca chief Ammenhat in Illinois country. The Kiskakons were the largest of the four Ottawa nations. In August 1682 delegations from the Kiskakons, Miamis, and Hurons came to Montreal and asked Frontenac to intercede for them with the Iroquois. The Governor warned them not to attack the Iroquois but to act only in self-defense. That month a fire burned 55 houses in Quebec, more than half the French assets in Canada.
Governor Frontenac quarreled with Duchesneau's son and had him imprisoned. Bishop Laval attempted to mediate, and the Council sent the records of the case to France. Frontenac then imprisoned the Councilor Damours for six weeks. The arrogant Governor had disobeyed the King too many times, and not even his wife and her influential friends at court could excuse this. So in May 1682 the King ordered Frontenac and Intendant Duchesneau recalled to France. Frontenac has been criticized by some historians for letting the Iroquois gain the initiative, for not strengthening the French alliance, and for not maintaining the colony's defenses.
Daniel Greysolon du Lhut (Duluth) explored the Lake Superior region looking for copper. He tried to make peace between the Sioux and the Ottawas, but in 1680 his scouts learned that the Sioux had captured some of La Salle's men and made them slaves. Du Lhut traveled down the Mississippi and freed the captives from the Sioux, only to have La Salle accuse him of illicit trading. In 1681 Du Lhut went to France but failed to gain recognition for the lands he claimed.
In the spring of 1681 La Salle used his oratory to persuade the Illinois that he would protect them from their enemies, the Iroquois. The Miamis were convinced after he spoke to three Iroquois who fled in terror. Some Indian refugees from the wars in New England and Virginia supported La Salle. In order to get the Illinois and Miamis to form an alliance with each other he spoke of his spiritual power as embodying the spirit of their hero, Ouabicolcata. La Salle learned survival skills from the natives and walked back from the Illinois territory to Montreal three years in a row. He arranged more loans, and in September 1681 he left Montreal with thirty men and planned to meet up with a hundred Shawnee and New England Indians who knew how to use guns. La Salle was accompanied by his trusted Indian Nika, Tonty, and the Récollet friar Zénobe Membre. Five accounts by participants described their journey across the ice of the Illinois River and by canoes down the Mississippi River. About halfway between the Ohio and the Arkansas rivers Pierre Prud'homme got lost and was left to recover at a fort named after him. They separated into three groups to follow the three tributaries at the delta, and after joining again in the Gulf of Mexico on April 9, 1682 La Salle claimed the country of Louisiana for Louis XIV. On the return La Salle suffered a fever for forty days. He rebuilt Crevecoeur and renamed it Fort St. Louis. La Salle established a colony there with several thousand Indians; but Frontenac was no longer governor, and La Barre ordered La Salle to abandon Fort St. Louis.
In 1682 the new Governor Le Febvre de la Barre complained that the colony was not prepared for a war with the Iroquois, and the next year Louis XIV began sending arms. La Barre seized Fort Frontenac. When La Salle could not get his goods restored, he went to France. King Louis extended his special protection to La Salle and instructed La Barre to restore his property in April 1684. La Salle was given four ships and 320 people to found a colony in Louisiana. He was joined by his brother Jean Cavelier, who was a Sulpician priest, his nephew Moranger, and his friend Henri Joutel. They sailed to Santo Domingo, but one ship with supplies was captured by the Spaniards. La Salle left there with a hundred soldiers and 76 others, including eight women and seven children. They made landfall just west of the Mississippi delta, but not knowing where they were, they went west and landed in Texas four hundred miles from the Mississippi. Another ship was wrecked, and they lost valuable tools. In March 1685 Captain Beaujeu took those who wanted to go back.
Those staying with La Salle built a fort in a few days, but some died from drinking standing water. A drunk pilot wrecked their last ship, and La Salle decided to go northeast with 28 men. They followed the paths of buffalo, ate their meat, and made boats from the hides for crossing rivers. La Salle could endure great hardships and expected others to do so as well. Duhaut and the surgeon Liotot resented the reprimands of La Salle's nephew Moranger, and in revenge they murdered Moranger, his servant, Nika, and La Salle on March 19, 1687. A few weeks later La Salle's servant Hiems killed Duhaut. Ruter, who had been living with the Natchez and joined them, shot Liotot. Jean Cavelier and Henri Joutel were two of the five who made it back to Quebec; but for safety they kept La Salle's death a secret because the Indians respected him so much.
Colbert's son, the Marquis de Seignelay, took over Canadian
affairs in 1681. Two years later Colbert died, and Seignelay succeeded
him as Minister of Marine. He told the new governor La Barre and
the new intendant Jacques de Meulles to restore order and not
quarrel with each other, and they arrived at Quebec in October
1682. They met with twenty leaders and learned that war with the
Iroquois was threatening. While La Barre was writing to the King
for troops and war supplies, three hundred Nipissings of the Ottawas
came to Montreal for refuge. The Governor sent a message asking
the Iroquois to meet him at Montreal in June. At this time the
Iroquois confederacy of Five Nations had about 2,500 warriors
armed with English muskets. La Barre asked the King to send six
hundred troops, a thousand muskets, and as many swords.
Governor La Barre was forbidden to engage in business transactions, but he formed a partnership with the merchants La Chesnaye and Jacques de Senneville Le Ber and ceded them Fort Frontenac so that they could send their furs to the English. In the spring of 1683 La Barre sent Chevalier de Baugy with thirty canoes of trading goods to take command of Fort St. Louis, and thirty men led by Morel de la Durantaye helped Du Lhut and his men deter a Cayuga attack on the Ottawas at Michilimackinac. In 1683 La Barre issued 120 trading permits instead of 25.
When Iroquois delegates visited him in August, Governor La Barre provided them with generous gifts and urged them to make peace with the Algonquins, Ottawas, and Hurons. La Barre may have had Le Moyne tell the Iroquois they could rob French canoes that did not have official licenses, but this may have been Frontenac's policy also. In November a royal frigate brought only 120 fit troops, and most of the thousand muskets and swords were broken and useless. In March 1684 some Senecas robbed eight tons of articles going to Fort St. Louis even though the French showed their licenses. Three weeks later two hundred Seneca warriors attacked Fort St. Louis; but under the command of Tonty and Baugy they withstood the siege for six days until a band of Illinois drove the Senecas away. Seneca chief Teganisorens came to Quebec in June to negotiate and said the Illinois deserved to die for having shed their blood; but the Iroquois delegates agreed to take to their council La Barre's request that the Ottawas and Hurons be left in peace. When the Governor learned of the siege, he had the Seneca chief imprisoned.
The Jesuits pleaded against a war that would ruin their missionary efforts, but Intendant Meulles and many others urged La Barre to go to war against the Iroquois. An army of seven hundred French and three hundred Indian allies left Montreal in late July 1684. A message from the Jesuit Jacques de Lamberville at Onondaga indicated that the Senecas would give satisfaction and warned that a war would involve all Five Nations. During negotiations rations ran short, and many men got the tertian ague (influenza). Le Moyne and La Barre became ill also, and in September at Camp Famine the Governor agreed to abandon his Illinois allies in exchange for compensation from the Senecas for the goods they had plundered. When the troops returned to Montreal, the disease spread through the colony. La Barre sent word to Niagara that the 150 coureurs de bois and six hundred Indian allies they had gathered under Durantaye were to be dismissed. While France was powerful in Europe, Louis XIV found La Barre's treaty abandoning the Illinois a reason for recalling him.
In 1682 La Chesnaye had been granted a charter to trade in Hudson's Bay. He got a permit for Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers to go there, and they captured a trading post and the governor John Bridgar and his men, whom they brought back to Quebec. Governor La Barre ordered them released with compensation for damages, but later Seignelay rebuked him for this. Michel le Neuf de la Valliere had been appointed governor of Acadia by Frontenac in 1678, but he sold licenses to New England fishermen and treated French fishermen as interlopers. The Huguenot merchant Clerbaud Bergier was granted fishing and trading rights in early 1682. He asked the French navy to drive the English from Acadian waters; but Seignelay did nothing until March 1684, when a royal edict warned that foreign vessels fishing or trading furs would be seized. Bergier captured eight New England ships and took their captains to the Admiralty Court at La Rochelle. Two had licenses from Valliere and had their cargoes restored, but the other six had theirs confiscated. In reprisal New Englanders seized four French ships. Valliere was removed and replaced by Montreal's governor, François-Marie Perrot, though he was not much better and was dismissed in 1687. Perrot remained in Acadia, and in May 1690 two English pirate ships sacked and burned Port Royal, killing settlers and taking Perrot prisoner.
La Barre was still ill when he departed in the summer of 1685. Lacking currency, Intendant Meulles made money out of playing cards with his signature and a stamp, and they proved to be successful and were used from time to time for several years. Jacques René de Brisay de Denonville was appointed governor and arrived with his wife at Quebec on August 1, 1685. Denonville was a military man, and he had the forts strengthened and ordered Durantaye to build a fort at Michilimackinac. Denonville did not engage in private business, and he granted the 25 permits to poor families. He reported that the Intendant was selling arms and ammunition for his own profit. Meulles was recalled the next year and was replaced by Jean Bochart de Champigny. Governor Dongan of New York met with Iroquois at Albany in the spring of 1686 and gave them arms to plunder French traders. Denonville sent Du Lhut to build a stockade at Detroit by the outlet of Lake Huron. Denonville explained in a June letter another reason why the natives were turning against the French.
In spite of the king's edicts, the coureurs de bois have carried
a hundred barrels of brandy to Michilimackinac in a single year;
and their libertinism and debauchery have gone to such an extremity
that it is a wonder the Indians have not massacred them all
to save themselves from their violence
and recover their wives and daughters from them.”3
The Compagnie du Nord had moved into the Hudson's Bay region
in 1682, and in May 1685 it was granted a monopoly for twenty
years. Radisson, working for the English, had seized eight men
and 20,000 beaver pelts from the French Company at Fort Bourbon
in 1684. In the spring of 1686 Denonville sent a force up the
Ottawa under Chevalier de Troyes while Pierre le Moyne Iberville
and two of his brothers (sons of Charles le Moyne) led sixty Canadians
by land from Montreal to James Bay. During the summer they captured
Fort Monsipi, Fort Rupert, and Fort Albany, which they renamed
Fort Ste. Anne, while taking 50,000 beaver pelts. In the summer
of 1686 Lamberville persuaded the Senecas not to attack and invited
them to meet the Governor at Fort Frontenac the following spring.
Louis XIV made an agreement with England's James II in November
1686 that the American colonies should remain neutral. That month
thirty English traders sent to Michilimackinac were plundered
by Durantaye and two hundred men, and six months later Tonty and
the Illinois seized goods from an English group led by Major Patrick
The Acadia Company was financed by the Marquis de Chevry in February 1682 and was directed by the Huguenot Clerbaud Bergier. In 1684 François-Marie Perrot was relieved of his position as governor of Montreal and was transferred to Acadia. In 1687 Louis XIV dismissed Perrot and appointed Alexandre des Friches de Menneval as governor, but he had only ninety men to defend the territory from Cape Breton to the Kennebec River.
Ignoring the efforts by Lamberville and the Onondagas to make peace, in June 1687 Denonville led an expedition with 832 French troops and 930 militia by secretly capturing Cayugas at Quinte. The Intendant Champigny ordered 95 Onondagas meeting at Fort Frontenac chained to stakes, and in the fall three dozen Iroquois were sent to France for the galleys. Only the Abbé de Belmont protested this outrage. Denonville's forces crossed Lake Ontario and joined with 180 coureurs de bois and 400 Indian allies. They ran into 800 Iroquois and killed about a hundred while capturing 25; the French and their allies had eleven killed. For nine days the army destroyed villages and food supplies while most of their Indian allies deserted. In July, Denonville proclaimed sovereignty over the Seneca country and the territory explored by La Salle. They built a log fort at Niagara and left a garrison of a hundred men under Troyes before returning to Montreal in August. That month some colonists going to Fort Frontenac were killed, and 150 Mohawks took prisoners and burned houses along the Richelieu River. Montreal was threatened, and even the Onondagas captured three soldiers and Mlle. d'Allone at Cataraqui. The garrisons in outlying forts were cut off and suffered scurvy; only sixty men out of 240 survived. The French brought an epidemic of smallpox and measles that wiped out 1,400 of the eleven thousand colonists and troops. Poverty became a serious problem, and the Sovereign Council established a Bureau of the Poor in Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal.
Lamberville persuaded nine hundred Onondagas, Cayugas, and Oneidas with their envoys to meet with Governor Denonville at Montreal in June 1688. The Iroquois spokesman Hotreouati asserted that they were their own masters and had never been defeated in war by the English nor by the French. The Onondaga orator Big Mouth demanded the release of all Iroquois captives; but Denonville would not agree unless the Senecas and Mohawks were included in the treaty. The Iroquois promised to do this. So the Governor ordered the Iroquois from the galleys returned to their villages, and he had Niagara evacuated and burned in October. Denonville had requested eight hundred more soldiers, but because of an imminent war in Europe only three hundred were sent. Thus without enough troops he decided to make peace. The Huron chief Kondiaronk, called the Rat, wanted the French to destroy the Five Nations, and he hoped to kill the peace; his band of a hundred warriors campaigned against the Iroquois in 1688, even attacking their envoys at La Famine (Oswego). During the Seneca war no furs were brought from the Ottawa country for three years, ruining the Canadian economy.
On 7 May 1689 William III and the League of Augsburg declared
war on France, and that month Louis XIV recalled Denonville. Delegates
from the Five Nations met at Albany in June, and on August 5 fifteen
hundred Iroquois attacked Lachine and killed 66 persons, many
by cruel torture. A counter-attack by fifty French and thirty
Indians led by La Roberge from Fort Rémy had half killed
with twenty including La Roberge burned at the stake. Denonville
ordered Fort Frontenac evacuated and destroyed in September. New
England governor Edmund Andros persuaded the Iroquois chiefs to
meet with him at Albany instead of with the French at Montreal.
Canadians brought in 800,000 livres of furs from the northwest.
Du Lhut led 28 Canadians that attacked and killed eighteen Iroquois
on the Lake of Two Mountains. Three captives were taken back to
Montreal and were burned at the stake by Mission Indians.
In October 1689 the ships arrived with Frontenac and word that he was replacing Denonville. Frontenac tried to stop the evacuation of Fort Frontenac, but it was too late. A series of border raids occurred as 150 Iroquois killed twenty and captured as many at La Chesnaye on November 13. In February 1690 Nicolas d'Ailleboust de Manthet and two Le Moynes, Sainte-Hélene and Iberville, led 114 French and 80 Indians in an attack on Corlaer (Schenectady), killing sixty settlers and burning all eighty houses except that of Mrs. Alexander Glen, who had helped French prisoners. Thirty Mohawk prisoners were released because Frontenac was not making war on the Iroquois. However, these Mohawks raised a war party and captured nineteen retreating stragglers. François Hertel led 24 French and 25 Indians from Three Rivers, and they killed 34 at Salmon Falls north of Boston, took twenty prisoners, and burned the buildings. This group joined Portneuf and went north to capture and burn the fort at Casco on May 29.
Meanwhile Frontenac tried to use diplomacy to make peace with the Iroquois. He sent Louis de la Porte de Louvigny in May with 173 men to prevent a hostile Iroquois and Ottawa alliance, native drunkenness, and French intercourse with squaws. Nicolas Perrot extended that tour during the summer, and he persuaded five hundred Hurons, Nipissings, Cristinaux, and Ottawas to bring 110 canoes full of furs worth 100,000 livres to Montreal. A Nipissing chief complained about the failed leniency toward the Mohawks, and the Huron chief Le Baron urged the French to fight the Iroquois. On August 24 Frontenac promised that he would make war on the Five Nations so that they would ask for peace. On September 4 some Albany militia and Iroquois killed fifty habitants south of Montreal.
William Phips led an invasion from New England with 2,300 men and 34 ships that easily captured Port Royal in May. Their goal was Quebec, and Major Thomas Savage was allowed in blind-folded to give the French one hour to surrender; but Frontenac said he would reply with cannons and muskets. On October 18 Major Walley landed 1,300 men at Beauport flats by the St. Charles River under heavy rifle fire. Quebec was well defended with more than two thousand men, and the next week Phips agreed to exchange prisoners. He returned to Boston in November, having lost six hundred men from the fighting and smallpox. Phips admitted to only thirty being killed, and only seven of the French died. Seignelay died in France and was replaced as Marine Minister by Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain, who was busy with a war in Ireland and would not approve an attack on Albany.
In March 1691 Mohawk delegates told Montreal governor Callieres that they wanted to end hostilities. During that winter the Canadians lacked food and ammunition and melted down gutters to make bullets. Nine hundred Iroquois invaded the country in May and burned houses. Quebec was relieved when thirteen French ships arrived in July. Peter Schuyler led four hundred English militia and Indians to attack Fort La Prairie, and on August 10 they were met by eight hundred men under Valrennes. In the battle about a hundred English soldiers were killed and 45 French with many wounded. The Iroquois continued to join the English in sporadic battles, but an assault by four hundred warriors on Fort St. Louis in October 1692 was beaten back. That year the Ottawas and Hurons brought 42 scalps to Montreal to collect the bounty of thirty livres for each. The war in New France was costing 200,000 livres a year, and in 1693 the Minister ordered the bounties reduced to six livres for male prisoners, three for female prisoners, and three for scalps.
Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, Baron de La Hontan (1666-1715) joined the French marines and in 1683 went to Canada, where he traveled and learned native languages. He commanded at Fort Joseph (Port Huron) in 1687 and explored the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. In 1692 Governor Frontenac sent him to France with a proposal to build three forts on the Great Lakes, and on the way he helped defend colonists at Placentia in New Foundland. La Hontan was appointed lieutenant governor, but Governor Jacques-François Monbeton de Brouillan accused him of insubordination in 1693. La Hontan fled to Holland, and in 1703 he published his New Voyages to North-America. In this work he claimed to have discovered the Long River that flows from great mountains to the Mississippi and another river nearby that goes to the Pacific Ocean. He included a dialog between himself and a Huron named Adario, who criticized Christians and became a model for the "noble savage" of Rousseau. Adario claimed the Hurons led innocent lives with love for their brothers and peace of mind. However, scholars have pointed out that the Hurons could be cruel and had hereditary privileges and private property. La Hontan's books were very popular and were published in French, Dutch, German, and English editions.
In the winter of 1693 Manthet led 625 men in an invasion of Mohawk country, killing thirty, capturing three hundred including women and children, and defeating an English-led force of six hundred. However, in the winter weather they released most of their captives and suffered desperate hunger. Quebec was reinforced with 426 soldiers from France in July. They were used mostly for garrison duty because the Canadian militias were much more skilled at guerrilla warfare. The next month Louvigny with seven hundred men brought a million pounds of furs from Michilimackinac to Montreal. Tonty kept the peace at Fort St. Louis on the Illinois River, and Nicolas Perrot was stationed at Chouagen (Chicago) on Lake Michigan.
The Baron de Saint-Castin lived among the Abenakis, and his warriors captured Fort Pemaquid in August 1689. Joseph Robineau de Villebon became governor of Acadia in 1691, but he was criticized for using supplies sent for the Abenakis. Jesuits converted most of the Abenakis to the Catholic faith. In the next three years French privateers captured many English ships on the Acadian coast. In January 1692 Madokawando led 150 warriors in an attack on the village of York, killing fifty settlers and taking about a hundred prisoners, but the Canadians led by Portneuf and the Abenakis led by Saint-Castin were defeated at Cocheco. In August 1693 the Abenakis signed a treaty with Massachusetts at Fort Pemaquid; but the French won them back, and 215 Abenakis led by Sébastian de Vilieu in July 1694 killed two hundred settlers within forty miles of Boston. Saint-Castin led 240 Abenakis, and they helped Le Moyne d'Iberville take Penobscot in August 1696.
Frontenac and Intendant Champigny quarreled over trade. The Governor promoted furs while the Intendant wanted other commerce and agriculture developed. The Abbé Jean-Baptiste Chevrieres de Saint-Vallier had succeeded Laval as bishop in 1688. In January 1694 he objected to the presentation of Moliere's Tartuffe, a satire of religious hypocrisy. The Bishop paid Frontenac 1,000 livres to ban the play, and the Governor gave the money to the poor in Quebec. In April 1694 Governor Frontenac promised a general peace to a delegation led by Teganisorens. Le Moyne d'Iberville and his brother Sérigny recruited 110 Canadians. They were offered half the profits by the Compagnie du Nord, and in September they captured the York factory and 53 men, renaming it Fort Bourbon; but the British navy led by Captain William Allen recaptured it ten months later.
In early 1695 the Iroquois plundered French settlements. In July the Governor sent seven hundred men to rebuild Fort Frontenac. In the summer of 1696 Frontenac at the age of 74 led two thousand men up the Oswego and attacked Onondaga, devastating the Onondagas and the Oneidas. In 1695 Quebec received 600,000 pounds of furs, and the Company of the Farm had 3,500,000 livres worth of surplus beaver. The next year King Louis XIV cancelled all permits and warned that violators would be punished by the galleys, and he ordered all the forts in the west destroyed except Fort St. Louis, which was not to trade for furs. Frontenac got the edict modified and kept open Michilimackinac, St. Joseph-des-Miamis, St. Louis-des-Illinois, and Fort Frontenac; but Intendant Champigny complained that the trading continued as the beaver surplus mounted. Four years later Tonty abandoned Fort St. Louis. This confirmed Pontchartrain's belief that "these posts were established to satisfy the greed of some of the officers rather than for the preservation of the colony."4 European hat-makers were using rabbit fur, lamb's wool, and llama hair from Peru, and beaver pelts from the Ohio and Mississippi valleys were inferior. By 1697 the surplus of furs had reached 850,000 pounds, and the King bought them for 3,762,000 livres. In June 1698 Champigny ordered all voyageurs to come back to the settlements. The Ottawas were not only losing business as the middlemen, but also their enemies, the Sioux, were getting French muskets from Pierre Charles Le Sueur at Chagouamigon, west of Lake Superior.
In 1697 Louis XIV gave Le Moyne d'Iberville five ships to recapture Hudson Bay and granted him a fur monopoly in the Bay until 1699. In September his ship, the Pelican, took on three English ships, sinking the Hampshire, and Fort York (Bourbon) capitulated again. France and England signed a treaty at Ryswick in September 1697, and territory in North America was to revert to the pre-war situation; most of the prisoners were exchanged. In the winter of 1698 Iberville and his men seized 27 posts, killed two hundred men, and captured 1,800 prisoners and much codfish. That same winter the French and western Indians killed a hundred Iroquois. During the war the number of Mohawk warriors had fallen from 2,800 to 1,320, and they wanted to negotiate peace. Frontenac insisted on his terms, but he died of a sudden illness in November.
In 1699 Louis XIV sent Iberville to establish a colony in the Mississippi delta, and in April he founded Biloxi. The King promoted Governor Louis-Hector de Callieres of Montreal to succeed Frontenac, and Philippe Rigaud de Vaudreuil became governor of Montreal. Callieres put Louvigny on trial in September for continuing to purchase furs at Michilimackinac, but Tonty and 84 voyageurs sold their furs in Louisiana for more trading goods and brandy. In October 1700, Canadians formed their own company to handle the fur monopoly and sold stock to buy the surplus beaver for 700,000 livres, plus 240,000 livres a year to the Crown. The western Indians asked Callieres to stop the Iroquois raids. In 1700 they negotiated at Montreal, and the French met the Iroquois at Onondaga. In September a long period of wars ended as the French made a preliminary peace treaty with the Huron-Petuns, Ottawas, Abenakis, and the Five Nations at Montreal.
In mid-July 1701 Lt. Governor John Nanfan of New York met with 23 sachems from the Five Nations at Albany, but the "Deed from the Five Nations to the King of their Beaver Hunting Ground" has been questioned by historians as spurious. In late July a great congress of native nations met at Montreal with 1,300 Indians while liquor was banned. The Huron-Petun chief Kondiaronk died of a violent fever on August 2 and was given a funeral. Governor Callieres proclaimed a general peace; they smoked the peace-pipe, and 38 chiefs representing Amikwas, Crees, Foxes (Outagamies), Huron-Petuns, Illinois, Kickapoos, Mascoutens, Menominees, Miamis, Mississaugas, Nipissings, Ojibwas, Ottawas, Potawatomis, Sauks, Timiskamings, and Winnebagos signed the treaty with their totem marks on August 6. The Mohawks had been delayed by the English, but a few days later they agreed to the treaty and even asked for Jesuit missions in their villages. The French had wanted to include the Dakota Sioux, but other tribes had objected. The treaty authorized the governor of Canada to punish any aggressor who had signed.
Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac had been commandant from 1694-97 at Michilimackinac, where he gained a fortune by trading illegal brandy and exacting fees from traders. On 24 July 1701 with a hundred soldiers and settlers he established a new trading post he named Fort-Pontchartrain du Détroit at the straits (détroit) between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. He was intent on making money and bartered alcohol for beaver at seven times the Montreal price. The next year this post and Fort Frontenac were given to the Colony Company, and Cadillac was paid a higher salary. When his clerk was imprisoned in 1704, Cadillac went to Quebec, where he was arrested. However, the next year he was made the proprietor of Detroit. He led a military expedition against the Miamis at St. Joseph River and took hostages and furs. His corrupt ways were tolerated because he had influential friends at court. In 1710 Cadillac was promoted to be governor of Louisiana. Although the King authorized the death penalty for selling furs illegally in 1702, the trade went on, especially through Louisiana. The new colony in the Mississippi Valley gave Louis XIV the imperial ambition to keep the English colonies east of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1703 the Iroquois began letting the Huron pass through the territory of the Five Nations in order to trade with the English at Albany, and for the next ten years the Hurons, Ottawas, and Miamis traded directly at Albany.
On 31 May 1701 Louis XIV sent a message to Canadian officials that New France and Louisiana were to block the British from the interior of North America. In May 1702 France and England went to war against each other over the Spanish succession. Callieres refused to attack the northern English colonies from fear the Iroquois would turn against them, but he did encourage the western Indians to raid English settlers in Ohio, Virginia, and Carolina. Callieres died in May 1703 and was succeeded by Philippe Rigaud de Vaudreuil. He was careful not to alienate Iroquois and did not attack Albany; but he was intent on keeping the Abenakis as allies against the English. Vaudreuil sent an expedition against New England led by Leneuf de Beaubassin with five hundred Indians that included Abenakis, and they captured about 130 people in Wells, Maine.
The Boston militia retaliated, and Hertel de Rouville and his four brothers led a force of fifty French and two hundred Abenakis and Caughnawaga Mohawks for 300 miles on snowshoes. On the night of February 29 1704 they surprised Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing about fifty and taking 111 prisoners from the area. Only two or three French soldiers were killed, but about twenty were wounded, including Rouville. The number of Indians killed was not recorded. The French and Indians marched their prisoners more than two hundred miles to Canada, killing with hatchets those who could not keep up so that they would not die of cold or starvation. Accounts by captives indicate that the Indians did not molest sexually the female prisoners. Rewards were offered to convert the prisoners to the Catholic faith, and some chose to remain in Canada. Others were eventually exchanged. Esther Wheelwright, who had been captured at Wells, became mother superior of the Ursulines at Quebec in 1760.
English ships captured the Seine in July 1704 with cargo worth 1,300,000 livres, and they took Bishop Saint-Vallier to England until 1709, when he was exchanged. Louis XIV kept him in France until 1713 while the aged Laval handled the diocese in Canada. In November 1704 some people in Montreal protested the high price of salt, and Vaudreuil banned such gatherings. The Intendant Beauharnois engaged in private business and was reprimanded for loaning money to the bankrupt Company and for issuing card money. After three years in the office, Pontchartrain replaced him with Jacques Raudot and his son Antoine Denis Raudot.
By 1705 the Canadian Company's debt was 1,812,940 livres, and the next year they ceded their monopoly in Europe for the next eleven years to Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye of Quebec and the Parisian financiers Jean-Baptiste Néret and Jean-Baptiste Gayot. Spies operated during a truce for negotiations in 1706, and 57 French prisoners were traded for 43 English. Governor-General Vaudreuil ended the practice of paying bounties for English scalps, though he still offered ten Spanish crowns for each enemy captured. On 29 August 1708 a hundred French and sixty Indians attacked Haverhill on the Merrimac, killing 48 and taking 35 prisoners while eight French were killed. Sieur de Saint-Ovide led 164 French and captured Fort William in St. John, New Foundland in January 1709, but they abandoned it in the summer. That year slavery was legalized, but very few Africans were brought to Canada. Vaudreuil was reprimanded for investing a thousand crowns in an assault on Fort Albany to seize furs in which Manthet and thirteen of his men were killed. In October the French at Port Royal surrendered to an English force. Louis XIV banned the sale of beaver to the English in 1709, but contraband trading continued. However, the Récollet Michel had twenty bales of furs seized from his presbytery, and Judge Bouat of Montreal was sentenced to a year in prison.
The British and New England launched a major attack. In July 1711 Brigadier John Hill and Admiral Walker organized a fleet of fifteen warships and 69 transports with 5,000 men while Francis Nicholson led 2,000 soldiers and 600 Iroquois at Lake Champlain. Vaudreuil gathered 2,300 men and 700 Indians at Montreal. However, Walker's fleet was devastated in a storm that took 740 lives, and Nicholson withdrew to Albany. The next spring the Iroquois went back to the French and reconfirmed their treaty of neutrality. The Outagamie (Fox) nation west of Lake Michigan was still allied with the English, and on 13 May 1712 a French band led by Sieur Dubuisson attacked them, killing and capturing hundreds. About a hundred Outagamies escaped, including their war-chief Pemoussa.
In the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht the French ceded Newfoundland, Acadia, and Hudson Bay to England. France retained fishing rights off the Grand Banks of New Foundland and sovereignty over the Isle Royale (Cape Breton), where they founded Louisbourg on the southeastern point of the island. The French government encouraged colonists to move there from Acadia by offering free provisions for a year. The Treaty of Utrecht allowed them to leave Acadia within a year. If those staying in Acadia (Nova Scotia) swore allegiance to the British king, they were to be guaranteed freedom of religion. The French had to recognize British sovereignty over the Iroquois, and trade with the western Indians was opened to all nations.
War expenses had exceeded the colonial budget by more than
a 100,000 livres a year, and in 1714 the Canadian population of
19,315 had 1,600,000 livres of paper money circulating. As population
multiplied to 43,382 by 1739, wheat production greatly increased.
In January 1714 Intendant Michel Bégon decreed that all
wheat must be sold to him for a fixed price. When he resold the
wheat at twice that price, a riot broke out in Quebec. He used
the royal bakery to sell expensive bread, and after prohibiting
the export of grain he built three ships to transport flour to
the West Indies. He received only a warning for his exploitation
and continued his greedy policies. Governor-General Vaudreuil
allowed the sale of brandy to Indians in order to keep them from
selling more beaver furs to the English. About two-thirds of the
cargo space of imports to Canada was taken up by wine and brandy.
Only about ten ships came to Quebec each summer compared to six
hundred a year to the Antilles islands. The French Crown subsidized
the fur trade with the Indians at Fort Frontenac, Fort Niagara,
and Detroit to keep them as allies. The price of beaver recovered
by 1714, and the beaver trade became worth more than a half million
livres a year, which was about equal to the colonial budget. As
furs became more scarce the French traders went farther west.
In 1714 some Outagamies attacked the Illinois tribe and captured 77 of them. Michilimackinac was fortified with a garrison, and trade was restored in the Michigan-Illinois region. After Outagamie (Fox) warriors captured five French soldiers at Green Bay, Vaudreuil ordered a punitive expedition. On 20 September 1715 some Indians from Sault St. Louis and Hurons from Detroit overcame a band of Fox allies, the Kickapoos and Mascoutins. Eleven days later about four hundred Outagamies were defeated. In May 1716 Louvigny left Montreal with two hundred French troops, and in Detroit and Michilimackinac he gathered 225 more and about 275 Indian allies. They besieged the Outagamie stronghold of five hundred warriors and three thousand squaws until they capitulated by turning over six chiefs and paying for the expedition. Louvigny returned to Quebec in October with the hostages, and he went back to Michilimackinac in 1717 to execute the treaty.
After losing a war against the Carolina colonies in 1715, the Tuscaroras migrated north and became the sixth nation in the Iroquois league. The Canadians still had difficulty applying French justice to the Indians, and so they tried to hold responsible those who gave them alcohol. The natives did have a tradition of paying wergild or compensation to relatives for manslaughter. In 1717 Vaudreuil sent Robert de Lanoue to establish a trading post at Kaministiquia on the western side of Lake Superior; but he did not go farther west because the Sioux were fighting the Cristinaux. In 1720 Louis XV commissioned Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix to explore the west, and he left an account of his travels.
Governor Vaudreuil often postponed his permission for soldiers to marry, and Bishop de Saint-Vallier complained about the illegitimate births. The Bishop wanted to raise the limit on nuns, because Canada had more unmarried women than bachelors. Those becoming nuns had to contribute a dowry of 3,000 livres, and so most were from noble or wealthy families. The Crown financed about 40% of the expenses of the Catholic church. Canada had 163 priests that included 30 Sulpicians, 25 Jesuits, and 24 Récollets. Half of the priests were from France, and they had better education and more influence. Saint-Valliers founded three hospitals and contributed nearly a million livres of his own wealth to help the sick and the poor. Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers also had schools for boys and convents for girls. Some considered French-Indian marriages dishonorable, and the children tended to live as Indians. A few hundred Indian slaves were called Panis because most of them were Pawnees. Canada had only a few dozen African slaves. The governor and intendant held the political power in Canada as the Council was only used for consultation and appeals. Petitions and appeals did sometimes lead to changed policies. New France had no newspapers and not even one printing press. Quebec quarantined ships to try to prevent epidemics.
Vaudreuil was authorized to build a wall around Montreal and ordered nearby farmers to contribute their labor. Most cooperated, but the people of Longueuil refused to participate in the corvée and were treated as mutineers. When ten ringleaders were imprisoned for three months, the others agreed to work. A petition from merchants led to exchanges being established in Quebec and Montreal in 1717, the year the card money was called in at half its face value. Also that year the Scottish financier John Law formed the Occident Company, which took over the beaver monopoly from Néret and Gayot in December 1718 and five months later became known as the Indies Company. The Crown authorized searching houses and even ecclesiastical residences for contraband. Early in 1720 Law became Controller General and merged his bank with the Company. Its stock went up as a speculative bubble, but 26 monetary manipulations in November 1721 destroyed confidence in the bank notes that lost their value. Law fled to Brussels in December, and the Regent declared the bank a failure. This period of easy money with interest rates as low as two percent allowed many to pay off their private debts, but the national debt stayed the same.
That year Intendant Michel Bégon argued that African slaves could be more reliable servants and would free parents from depending on ungrateful children. In 1721 an order from Louis XV restricted the wearing of a sword in public to military officers, ship captains, and gentlemen. In 1722 the Indies Company sent 20,000 livres in copper money; but the Canadians found it too heavy to handle, and it was sent back to France. By 1726 the number of beaver skins delivered to Quebec had more than doubled.
In 1717 pirates plundered 42 French fishing vessels off the Grand Banks, and this pillaging continued until the French sent two strong warships in 1724 and 1725. Governor-General Vaudreuil sent Chabert de Joncaire to Niagara in Seneca territory. Joncaire had been captured by the Senecas and lived with them in the 1690s, and in 1720 he was allowed to establish a trading post below the falls with soldiers from Fort Frontenac. Governor Burnet of New York sent Major Abraham Schuyler to Lake Ontario in 1721, and the next year the English had a trading post on the Oswego River. In 1724 the Iroquois allowed men from New York to fortify the trading post at Oswego, and in 1725 the French replaced their Niagara stockade with a stone fort.
Early in 1721 two hundred Spaniards on horses from New Mexico and Comanche warriors invaded as far as the Illinois River, but they were defeated by the Missouri tribes. The next year the Company of the Indies sent the educated Bourgmont to develop trade along the Missouri River, and his men built Fort Orleans just above the mouth of the Grand River. He sent some French soldiers with 109 Missouris and 68 Osages to meet with the Kansas tribe. Bourgmont persuaded some of the Kansas to go with him to meet the Comanches. At a meeting north of the Arkansas River he urged the Comanches to live in peace with their usual enemies, the Missouris, Osages, Kansas, Otoes, Omahas, and Pawnees, and he offered them trade with the French and free passage through their territory to trade with the Spaniards too. The Comanche chief accepted their gifts that included a French flag.
While the English were governing the French Acadians on Nova Scotia, the Ile Royale (Cape Breton) was developing its fishing industry and the fort at Louisbourg. Most Acadians would not move there. Vaudreuil suggested secretly arming the Abenakis in 1715, but this was not authorized until March 1719. In 1726 Governor Lawrence Armstrong of Nova Scotia demanded the Acadians take an oath of allegiance to the British crown. He allowed them an exemption from bearing arms, but this was written as an amendment in the margins and was not included in the official copy sent to England. Four years later Governor Richard Philipps made an oral promise that the inhabitants would not be drafted for military service. By 1740 the fisheries were worth more than three million livres.
Sebastien Rale came to America as a Jesuit missionary in 1689. He learned to speak Abenaki and other Algonquian languages. He encouraged the Norridgewocks to hold their land in trust for their children. In 1721 the Norridgewock chief Toxus died, and his successor Ouikouiroumenit advocated peace and sent four hostages to Boston. Rale wrote to Governor Vaudreuil, who sent the priest de la Chasse with Canadian Abenakis to reinforce Norridgewock. Vaudreuil ignored the treaties made by the tribe as unauthorized. In August the two priests went to the English settlement at Georgetown with two hundred Indians and demanded that the hostages be freed. Massachusetts governor Shute sent back one hostage, strengthened the garrison, and in a letter he asked Rale and other priests to withdraw from British territory. He accused Rale of urging the Abenakis to raid the English settlers, and in January 1722 Col. Westbrook captured Rale's papers that proved the case. In May the Abenakis retaliated for Westbrook's invasion by burning the village of Brunswick and taking 65 captives; they released all but five, whom they wanted to exchange for the hostages. The Abenakis appealed to their tribe at Bécancour and Saint Francis and to Hurons in Quebec; these tribes sent 160 warriors to Norridgewock. Governor Shute and his Council declared war on the Eastern Indians in July, but the legislature refused to support him. In September more than four hundred Indians attacked Arrowsick, but they had been warned and lost only one man and fifty cattle. By 1724 the Assembly was behind Governor Dummer and sent 208 men against Rale and Norridgewock. The priest Rale was loading a gun when Benjamin Jacques shot him in the head; 26 Indians were also killed and scalped, and 150 fled to Canada.
Vaudreuil governed Canada for 21 years and died on 10 October 1725. Governor Charles le Moyne de Longueuil of Montreal administered the government temporarily, but he was excluded by the policy that no Canadian could be appointed governor-general. Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois, was instructed to use the Abenakis to attack New England, and he arrived in August 1726 with the new intendant Charles Thomas Dupuy. However, that summer Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury became the chief minister for Louis XV. Fleury set a peaceful foreign policy for France until he was weakened by old age in the early 1740s. His policy was matched by that of Robert Walpole, who was the primary influence on British policy from 1721 to 1742, making this a rare era of peace between the two rival powers. The French wanted the Kennebec River as the border, but the English put the line at the Saint Croix.
Intendant Dupuy was arrogant and was reprimanded for issuing vexatious regulations and for demanding a personal bodyguard. After a controversy over the funeral of Bishop de Saint-Vallier, he was recalled by Minister Maurepas in 1728. Gilles Hocquart was appointed intendant in 1729 and sailed from France with Monsignor Dosquet. In September 1730 the Maurepas-Hocquart administration began circulating 400,000 livres in card money of which 250,000 was annually redeemed by drafts on the Marine Treasury. Total circulation reached 600,000 in 1733 and 720,000 in 1742. Dosquet became bishop of Quebec in 1733. Dosquet declared selling alcohol a sin and tried to prohibit the sale of brandy to Indians. He went to France in 1735 and resigned four years later. Marguerite Dufrost founded the Sisters of Charity to serve the poor and run the Hopital-General. Intendant Hocquart served Canada for seventeen years; he was unusual in that he did not use his position as intendant for personal profit. In 1743 he noted that Canadian traders received less profit from commerce than the French merchants. Fourteen French companies controlled three-quarters of Canadian business.
In his first year the new governor-general Beauharnois (1726-46) sent Boucher de Montbrun to establish Fort Beauharnois by the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Pepin. Beauharnois protested the fort that Burnet had built at Oswego, and he launched a campaign to exterminate the Outagamie (Fox) nation. He sent the Sieur de Ligneris in August 1728 with a force that burned their abandoned villages in Wisconsin.. The Outagamies fled east to the Illinois country and appealed to the Mascoutins and Kickapoos. They captured sixteen Frenchmen and negotiated a peace. In the autumn of 1730 Coulon de Villiers led 400 French and 1,200 Indian allies; they killed three hundred Outagamie men, women, and children and captured four hundred while two hundred escaped. By 1731 the Kickapoos and Mascoutins were no longer allies of the Outagamies, and they helped the French and their Iroquois, Huron, and Ottawa allies invade the Outagamie villages. The campaigns against the Outagamies went on until they were nearly exterminated in 1734. The remaining Outagamies joined the Sakis, and de Villiers violated their tradition of hospitality. He led sixty French soldiers and two hundred Indian allies, demanding that the Sakis surrender the Outagamies, whom he wanted to send to Montreal. The aggressive de Villiers was killed along with eight other Frenchmen. His son pursued the Sakis, who were rejected by the Sioux and retreated west to the Des Moines River. The Sakis gave up their alliance with the Outagamies, who finally found refuge with the Sioux.
John Hendricks Lijdius (1699-1791) was the son of a Calvinist minister at Schenectady. He came to Montreal in 1725 and claimed he was a Catholic convert. In 1727 he married a Canadian woman, and he obtained an exemption from the prohibition against naturalized subjects engaging in foreign commerce. In 1730 he was convicted of smuggling from Albany, bribing Indians, and apostasy, for which he was exiled. Also known as John Henry Lydius, he went to Connecticut, for whom he made questionable land deals with Indians. Lydius also worked for the famous Indian agent William Johnson.
France issued 400,000 livres in new money in 1729 and 200,000 more in 1733. De la Fresniere led a small force that constructed a fort in 1731 at Point a la Chevalure (Crown Point) even though this territory was claimed by New York. Earl Waldegrave was the English ambassador in Paris, and in June 1732 he protested that this violated article 15 of the Treaty of Utrecht. The French refused to raze the fort and rebuilt it in stone as Fort St. Frédéric in 1737. Smallpox killed three hundred people in Montreal in 1733 and even more in Quebec. Intendant Gilles Hocquart tried to have huge ships built in the 1730s, but the program was a failure. In 1736 France followed British mercantile policy by closing down colonial hat shops. By 1733 Canadians were making iron as good as Sweden's, but the company went bankrupt in 1741 and was taken over by the French Crown two years later.
In 1728 Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de La Vérendrye, was made commander at Kaministiquia. Two years later he was given permission to establish a post by Lake Winnipeg at his own expense for a year's trading rights. His nephew La Jemmeraye built Fort St. Pierre by Rainy Lake. In 1728 La Vérendrye erected Fort St. Charles by the Lake of the Woods, and two years later Fort Maurepas was built where the Red River flows into Lake Winnipeg. Because no support came from France, in 1735 Beauharnois let him lease trading rights for three years. La Vérendrye sent Pawnee and Sioux slaves to Montreal so that they could trade with the mission Indians for their English prisoners.
In 1736 the Monsonis came into conflict with the Sioux but blamed the French. In June a band of Sioux massacred a party of 24 men led by his son Jean-Baptiste de La Vérendrye and Father Aulneau. La Vérendrye declined to attack the Sioux with the Crees and Assiniboines but instead went back to Montreal in 1737 for instructions. Equipped with new supplies he reached the fork of the Red River and the Assiniboine in the fall of 1738 and began Fort La Reine. He led 26 French and some Indians to the upper Missouri in the country of the Mandans and then returned to Fort La Reine. In April 1739 his son Louis-Joseph La Vérendrye went up the Saskatchewan River. The next year the elder La Vérendrye returned to Montreal because creditors had seized his property. The court at Versailles accused him of making money when in fact his debt was 40,000 livres. His sons Pierre and Louis-Joseph returned to the Mandan country in 1741, and they explored the Black Hills of Dakota. La Vérendrye and his four sons had tried to find a route to the Pacific Ocean, but they were blocked by the Rocky Mountains.
The budget of the government reached a million livres in 1744. Tax revenues came mostly from import and export duties, and in 1740 they were only 120,000 livres. The royal deficit that year was 100,000 livres. On 27 June 1743 France and England came into conflict at Dettingen. The French complained about violations of the Hanover Treaty, English pirates, and the blockade of Toulon. Cardinal Fleury died in January 1744 at the age of ninety, and France declared war on March 15; the British did so on April 11.
In 1694 Henri de Tonty wrote to Cabart de Villermont that the
French should seize Louisiana for three reasons-as a base to attack
Mexico, as a trading depot for furs and lead ore, and to prevent
the English from controlling the west. Sieur de Rémonville,
a friend of the late La Salle, tried to organize a company to
settle Louisiana in 1697, but his proposal gave way to a colony
sponsored by King Louis XIV that sent Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville
to build a fort before the English could get there. Iberville
sailed with two frigates, and in January 1699 they were blocked
by two Spanish ships from entering the harbor at Pensacola. The
Spaniards had landed three hundred men and built a fort. Iberville
sailed west along the coast and stopped at Dauphin Island by Mobile
Bay. In March he found the fresh water of the Mississippi and
sailed upstream for eleven days. The chief of the Bayagoulas wore
a blue capote that Tonty had given him in 1686. Iberville's younger
brother Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville gave the chief
a letter from Tonty that he had bought for a hatchet. Iberville
sailed back down the Mississippi River and left eighty men by
the Biloxi harbor, where they built a fort. Bienville took gifts
to the Colapissas on the northern bank of Lake Pontchartrain,
and he made peace with them and other tribes. Bienville visited
the Bayagoulas again in October and promised to reconcile them
with their enemies, the Houmas. Four hundred Huguenot refugees
in the Carolinas petitioned Louis XIV to settle in Louisiana,
but the King's minister Pontchartrain informed them that France
would not support such a republican project.
Iberville reported that in the 1690s the Chickasaws had killed 1,800 Choctaws and captured 500 while suffering 800 casualties. He returned to France but was quickly sent back to Louisiana to look for pearl fisheries and mines. He started Fort Maurepas by the Mississippi River in January 1700 to forestall the English. Tonty arrived from the Illinois territory with twenty trappers because the leader Sauvolle had promised to hire them. Iberville and Bayagoula chiefs met with the Houmas and persuaded them to release the Bayagoula prisoners. Iberville visited the Natchez, who had been reduced by war to 1,200 warriors. The Canadian missionary Saint-Cosme lived with them. When a temple was set on fire by lightning, its keeper persuaded squaws to throw four infants into the fire to appease the god; but the French got the women to stop that. On his third voyage Iberville learned that Sauvolle had died, and he moved the settlers from the unhealthy site by the Mississippi east to Mobile Bay. Iberville put his brother Joseph Le Moyne, Sieur de Sérigny in charge of a third colony on Dauphin Island. Tonty made peace between Choctaw and Chickasaw chiefs, and it was recognized at Mobile by the Mobiles, Thomés, and Alabamas. In the War of the Spanish Succession the French were allied with the Spaniards against the English. Iberville commanded the West Indies fleet and captured thirty ships and 1,750 prisoners (mostly African slaves) from the British on the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts in 1706, but he died at Santo Domingo in a yellow fever epidemic.
In 1704 Louis XIV had sent twenty girls who quickly found husbands, and the next year 23 young women were accompanied by 75 soldiers, two priests, and three nuns. The official Nicolas de La Salle complained that Iberville's brothers Bienville and Antoine Le Moyne, Chevalier de Chateaugué were involved in peculation and other offenses. Nicolas Daneaux de Muy was sent to replace Bienville, but he died on the way at Havana in January 1708. The new intendant Diron d'Artaguette told Bienville that he had orders not to tell him what the charges were, and he investigated. By 1711 Bienville, Artaguette, and the soldiers had gone several years without pay.
In 1712 Louis XIV granted the wealthy Antoine Crozat a monopoly on trade in Louisiana, but the King was to receive a quarter of the gold and silver, a tenth of other ores, and a fifth of pearls and gems. To protect the Canadian trade, Crozat was forbidden from purchasing beaver skins. Crozat was obligated to send two ships each year to the Mississippi with at least 25 tons of goods and munitions. The King paid the Governor and officers as well as the soldiers for the first nine years. Bienville remained in authority until La Mothe Cadillac arrived in May 1713. The colony was lacking corn and wheat flour, and the garrison took to hunting in the woods. No ship reached the colony in 1714. Colonial officers had been trading with Vera Cruz, Havana, and Pensacola; but now the settlers were severely restricted by Crozat's agents, and Cadillac called their petitioning seditious. Bienville blamed Cadillac's animosity toward him on his refusal to marry Cadillac's daughter. Bienville had formed an alliance with Choctaws and had won back the Alabamas in 1712; in 1715 other tribes turned against the British in South Carolina in the Yamasee War.
Sieur de Lépinay succeeded Cadillac in March 1716 with Marc-Antoine Hubert as intendant. Governor Lépinay was to receive a salary of 2,000 livres, and both were promised two percent of the products exported. Cadillac went back to France and spent five months imprisoned in the Bastille for having denigrated Louisiana and the Company. Bienville was sent back to replace Lépinay. The French had established a trading post among the Natchez in 1713. Two years later some warriors killed four Frenchmen in revenge for ill treatment, and in August 1716 Bienville saw the completion of Fort Rosalie in the Natchez territory. With fifty men he founded a capital at New Orleans, which was named after the regent governing for the boy Louis XV. The Alabamas helped the French build Fort Toulouse in 1717 in Creek country where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers join. Crozat lost more than 600,000 livres trying to find mines and had tried to make up for it by charging double or triple or more for imported goods. In August 1717 Crozat relinquished his monopoly.
The Mississippi company was registered in the Parliament of Paris in 1717. The banker John Law set up the financing and gave grants to various people. He changed the name to the Occident Company and made it a joint-stock trading company,. Because Law's bank was so successful, speculators eagerly invested in the stock. The Company was given a commercial monopoly in Louisiana for 25 years with the exclusive right to purchase beaver skins from the Canadians. In that period they promised to transport six thousand settlers and three thousand Africans. Two of their ships brought the first 450 African slaves to Louisiana in 1719. In the next decade the Company imported six thousand Africans. Law founded forty villages with purchased Swiss, German, and Italian immigrants. In January 1719 he negotiated with the regent, and his bank became the Bank of France. Absorbing the East Indies and China companies, the Occident Company became the Company of the Indies in May 1719. Amid rumors that Louisiana had gold and diamonds, the shares that had been bought for 500 livres in 1719 were resold the next year for 15,000 livres in Paris.
Sieur de Serigny came to Louisiana in February 1719 with an order to take Pensacola during a brief war with Spain. The French captured the fort on May 14 as his brother Chateauguay arrived overland with Indian allies. However, fifty French soldiers deserted, and others refused to fight. So on June 29 Chateauguay surrendered Pensacola to the Spaniards. Serigny's forces were able to withstand Spanish invasions of Dauphin Island and Mobile, and the Spaniards abandoned Pensacola before September. The French arrested 140 renegades, hanged twelve, and sentenced 35 to lifetime servitude with the Company of the Indies. After all this a treaty in 1721 gave Pensacola back again as Spain and France agreed to respect each other's colonial possessions.
Two hundred German settlers survived the voyage to Biloxi, and five hundred slaves were brought from the African coast. The annual shipments of a hundred young women were coming from the Parisian hospitals and prisons, but many of them did not attract husbands. Most of the settlers were Canadians who tended to prefer Indian squaws. A royal edict in 1720 stopped the sending of male vagabonds and criminals to Louisiana, but women still arrived annually from the Salpetriere House of Corrections. Louisiana had a reputation as a penal colony, and most people did not want to go there. Five hundred of the new arrivals died in Biloxi in 1721. That year the garrison at Fort Toulouse mutinied, and 26 soldiers fled east toward Carolina. The French offered the Creeks rewards, and they killed eighteen and brought back the rest. The leading deserter was court-martialed and executed. Bienville began paying the Choctaws 80 livres for every Chickasaw captive and a gun with ammunition for each Chickasaw scalp. By 1723 the Choctaws had brought in four hundred scalps and one hundred captive Chickasaws.
The Indies Company stock went up to sixty times its original price; but in December 1721 the bubble burst when Law's opponents tried to exchange their notes for specie. The Regent proclaimed Law's bank a failure, and the next day its notes became worthless. This financial disaster came soon after the British South Sea Bubble. John Law, who had authorized the credit, fled from France. In January 1723 money in Louisiana was devalued from four livres for the Spanish silver dollar to seven and a half, but then it was gradually revalued in the next ten months. Two years of the regency ruling the Company ended. The Company of the Indies was reorganized, and new directors were appointed by a commission. Also in 1723 the regency of the Duke of Orleans ended as Louis XV began to rule for himself. The Crown, Crozat, and the Company of the Indies had spent eight million livres on Louisiana.
In 1723 Commissioners Jacques de La Chaise and Jean-François Choplet Du Sauvoy were sent to organize a new government in New Orleans. La Chaise took inventory, and they ordered the attorney general François Fleuriau to investigate. In March 1724 Louisiana excluded Jews and Protestants, and habitants were not allowed to leave the colony without permission. The Code Noir regulated slavery. Prices were fixed, and foreign vessels were banned. Bienville was recalled to France, and his brother Chateaugué also left New Orleans with Fleuriau in October 1724. In January 1726 the Company debt was still more than 2,600,000 livres. In 1726 almost half of the 450 Africans imported were children, and many of those transported from Africa in the next two years died of disease on the passage or after arriving.
The new commandant general Etienne Périer arrived in March 1727, and he promoted the missionary work of the Jesuits, Capuchins, and Ursulines. The nuns started a hospital and a school for girls in New Orleans, and they tried to teach the Africans and Indians. Treasury notes were used, and in 1728 France forbade the use of copper money. A French fleet brought 582 people including women from a Paris hospital, and five hundred more slaves were imported from Africa. Bernard Duvergés wanted to settle the Bay of St. Bernard west of the Mississippi, but this effort failed. In 1729 General Périer sent African slaves to slaughter Chaouachas in order to keep the little nations intimidated. Many of these Africans did not want to go back to slave labor after the army's departure. Some of the leaders were arrested and executed. The population of the tribes the French called the Petites Nations (Acolapissa, Atakapa, Bayagoula, Biloxi, Capina, Chaouacha, Chitimacha, Colapissa, Houma, Mobile, Moctobi, Mongoulacha, Ouacha, Opelousa, Pascagoula, and Tohome) was reduced by disease, violence, and alcohol from about 24,000 in 1685 to only 4,000 by 1730. The first prison in New Orleans was begun in August 1729 and was completed the next year.
The Natchez were descendants of the Mound Builders and were more advanced in agriculture than most native tribes in North America. Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz lived among the Natchez from 1720 to 1728, and he published his Histoire de la Louisane in 1758. He reported what Natchez chief Tattooed Serpent said about the influence of the French.
We did not go to seek them; they asked for land of us,
because their country was too little for all the men that were in it.
We told them they might take land where they pleased;
there was enough for them and for us;
that it was good that the same sun should shine upon us both,
and that we would walk as friends in the same path;
and that we would give them of our provisions,
assist them to build, and to labor in their fields.
We have done so; is this not true?
What occasion then had we for Frenchmen?
Before they came did we not live better than we do,
seeing we deprive ourselves of a part of our corn,
our game, and fish, to give to them?
Was it for their guns?
The bows and arrows which we used,
were sufficient to make us live well.
Was it for their white, blue, and red blankets?
We can do well enough with buffalo skins, which are warmer.
In fine, before the arrival of the French,
we lived like men who can be satisfied with what they have;
whereas now we are like slaves?5
In 1723 Bienville burned three of the Natchez villages and
demanded that Tattooed Serpent turn over a sachem for execution
even though their laws banned the death penalty for chiefs. Le
Page considered Bienville's attack unprovoked. Tattooed Serpent
died in 1725, followed soon after by his elder brother Great Sun.
Le Page believed that only these two chiefs kept the Natchez from
taking retribution against the French, and so he left the region
Commandant Detchéparre at Natchez provoked the natives with his tyrannical ways, especially his taking land from the chief at La Pomme. The Chickasaws organized a large conspiracy of tribes to drive out the French, and they even won over some of the Choctaws. On 28 November 1729 in a surprise attack Natchez warriors massacred the French (145 men, 36 women, and 56 children) in Natchez while capturing 92 women and 55 children. They spared a carpenter and a tailor and did not injure the 150 Africans, who became their allies. The entire colony of Louisiana had only 390 French soldiers. General Périer sent out Henry de Louboey from New Orleans with 90 soldiers and 110 volunteers. On 28 January 1730 about eight hundred Choctaws on their own killed seventy Natchez and rescued 51 women and children and 106 Africans along with the carpenter and tailor. Charles Le Sueur took command of the Choctaws, and his army grew to 1,200. Many Africans fought with the Natchez, and the Natchez were able to retreat. Louboey arrived in February, making a combined force of 1,400. After besieging the Natchez for seven days they negotiated an agreement and released all the prisoners; 450 Natchez women and children surrendered, but only about forty men. Some of the Natchez took refuge with the Chickasaws. For two years the French and Choctaws pursued the Natchez, killing hundreds and enslaving about five hundred to sell in the West Indies.
By 1730 the Company of the Indies had transported 5,400 colonists and 6,000 African slaves to Louisiana; about 1,300 of the settlers were German Catholics. The mortality rate in Louisiana was high, and in 1731 only two thousand Europeans and four thousand Africans were still alive. Louisiana began maintaining 650 French troops and 200 Swiss. Baron de Cresnay took command of Fort Rosalie in May 1731, and the next month three hundred Natchez attacked the main village of the Tunicas. In October they attacked the Natchitoches fort. Périer sent Louboey with forty men to relieve the garrison; but he brought them back when he heard that Saint-Denis had defeated the Natchez. Saint-Denis estimated that less than 250 Natchez warriors remained. Louis XV announced that starting in July 1731 commerce in Louisiana would be open to all his subjects. The Crown purchased the remaining property of the Company for 263,000 livres. In 1731 Abbé Prévost's novel Manon Lescaut about a courtesan scandalized France and portrayed New Orleans as a refuge for outcasts.
Périer's army increased to a thousand men, but he had little confidence in them and tried to make the Indians fight each other. The Choctaws defeated and killed about four hundred Chickasaws in a single battle. Périer was recalled in 1732, and once again Bienville became governor. He arrived the next year with D'Artaguette as intendant. In 1735 Louis XV authorized the issuing of 200,000 livres in card money, and two years later he granted Louisiana freedom for ten years to import and export from and to the islands of the West Indies. Poverty reduced the French population, and the Africans massacred them along the Mississippi. D'Artaguette, who had fought bravely against the Natchez, brought about fifty troops and a thousand Indians from Illinois, and Bienville organized campaigns to wipe out the Chickasaws with 1,200 French troops and twice that number of Indians and Africans. In May 1736 they invaded the Chickasaws, who had been well-armed by the English. D'Artaguette was wounded and captured along with the Jesuit Senat and François-Marie-Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes; these three were burned at the stake. Another campaign led by Bienville against the Chickasaws in 1739 also failed and cost 800,000 livres. The Choctaw chief Red Shoes tried to negotiate a peace agreement as many men died from disease and famine. Bienville made a peace treaty with the Chickasaws in March 1740 that gave up the fort at Memphis. The French had lost control of a large area between Kaskaskia in Illinois and Baton Rouge in Louisiana. Bienville offered his resignation, and it was accepted.
In 1741 Pierre, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, was appointed governor of Louisiana; his father had been governor of Canada. Louisiana cultivated indigo, rice, and tobacco, and they also exported timber, tar, and pitch. The exemption on commercial duties granted Louisiana in 1731 was renewed for another ten years in 1741 and again in 1751. That year the Jesuits began experimenting with Malabar sugar cane from Santo Domingo, and in 1758 Claude-Joseph Dubreuil de Villars built the first mill to manufacture sugar in Louisiana. In 1746 Chief Red Shoes led a Choctaw rebellion that killed three French men and traded with Carolinians. The French offered the loyal Choctaws generous gifts and bounties, and they brought in 233 rebel scalps and three from English traders. The surviving Choctaw rebels surrendered in November 1750.
1. Denonville a Seignelay, 12 Juin, 1686 tr. Francis
Parkman in France and England in North America, Vol. 2,
2. Quoted in Canada Under Louis XIV 1663-1701 by W. J. Eccles, p. 203.
3. Histoire, 1: 203-205 by Le Page du Pratz in The Colonial Legacy, Volume 3: Historians of Nature and Man's Nature ed. Lawrence H. Leder, p. 90.
This chapter has been published in the book Latin America & Canada to 1850. For ordering information please click here.