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William Henry Atherton

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Title: Montreal 1535-1914 under the French Régime
       Vol. 1, 1535-1760

Author: William Henry Atherton

Release Date: December 29, 2014 [EBook #47809]

Language: English

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Front Cover


Title Page




Qui manet in patria et patriam cognoscere temnit
Is mihi non civis, sed peregrinus erit







[Pg vii] CHAPTER X
A RECORD FROM 1657 TO 1760
[Pg xviii] CHAPTER XLI

[Pg xxi]


The history now being prepared seems necessary; for we are at a period of great flux and change and progress. The city is being transformed, modernized and enlarged before our very eyes. Old landmarks are daily disappearing and there is a danger of numerous memories of the past passing with them.

We are growing so wonderfully in wealth through the importance of our commerce and in the size of our population by the accretion of newcomers of many national origins and creeds, to whom for the most part the history of the romantic story of Montreal is a sealed books, that a fuller presentation of our development and growth is called for, to supplement previous sketches and to meet the conditions of the hour.

It is hardly needful, therefore, to offer any apology for the present undertaking. For if the continuity of a city's growth and development is to be preserved in the memory of the citizens of each generation, this can only be done through the medium of an historical survey, issued at certain suitable intervals, such as the one now offered, connecting the present with the past, and presenting to the new generation, out of the intricate chain of events and varying vicissitudes that have woven themselves into the texture of the city's organic life, the story of those forces which have moulded its growth and have produced those resultant characteristic features which make it the individualized city of today and none other.

Montreal being a unique city, with a personality of its own, its history, beyond that of any city of the new world, is particularly interesting and fruitful for such a retrospect. Dealing with the fortunes of several peoples, the original inhabitants of Hochelaga visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535, the French colonists from 1642 and the Anglo-Saxons and Gaels from their influx in 1760, together with the steady addition of those of other national origins of later years, the story of Montreal, passing over the greater part of four centuries, is full of romance and colour and quickly moving incidents; of compelling interest to the ordinary student, but how much more so to those who have any way leagued their fortunes with it, and assisted in its progress and in its making!

Such cannot dip into the pages of the history of this ancient and modern city without finding fresh motives for renewed enthusiasm and for deeper pride.

For Montreal is still in the making, with its future before it.

The present work is especially dedicated to those who would realize the duties of good citizenship and it is the hope of the writer that it may serve to deepen the sense of civic pride now happily being cultivated here. To foster this civic pride is the justifying reason why he has been induced by his friends to launch on a long and laborious task, sweetened though it may be by the pleasure anticipated of communion with the scenes and thoughts and deeds of a romantic past and a wonderfully progressive present.

[Pg xxii]

All history is profitable. Perhaps, however, civic history has not been cultivated sufficiently. The present work is an attempt to repair this by interesting Montrealers in their citizenship so that by placing before them the deeds of the doers of the past, they may realize they are dwellers in no mean city. We would hope that something of the spirit of love for their cities, of the Romans, Athenians, or Florentines, might be reincarnated, here in Montreal. Good citizenship would then be thoroughly understood as the outcome of a passionate love of all that is upright, noble and uplifting in human conduct, applied to the life of a city by which it shall be made beautiful and lovable in the sight of God and man. For this purpose the life story of any city that has reached any eminence and has a worthy past should be known by good citizens so that they begin to love it with a personal love.

For like each nation, each city has its own individuality, its own characteristic entity, its own form of life which must be made the most of by art and thoughtful love.

This is not merely true of the physical being of a city from the city planner's point of view. There is also a specific character in the spiritual, artistic, moral and practical life of every city that has grown into virility and made an impress on the world.

Every such city is unique; it has its predominant virtues and failings. You may partially eliminate the latter and enlarge the former, but the city being human—the product of the sum total of the qualities and defects of its inhabitants—it takes on a character, a personality, a mentality all its own.

Civic history then leads us to delve down into the origins of things to find out the causes and sources of that ultimate city character which we see reflected today in such a city as Montreal.

The research is fascinating and satisfactory to the citizen who would know his surroundings, and live in them intelligently with consideration for the diverse view points of those of his fellow citizens who have different national origins and divergent mental outlooks from his own.

Yet while this city character is in a way fixed, still it is not so stable but that it will be susceptible to further development in the times that are to come with new problems and new situations to grapple with.

The peculiar pleasure of the reading of the history of Montreal will be to witness the development of its present character from the earliest date of the small pioneering, religious settlement of French colonists, living simple and uneventful days, but chequered by the constant fear of the forays of Indian marauders on to the "Castle Dangerous" of Ville Marie, through its more mature periods of city formation, then onward through the difficult days of the fusion of the French and English civilization starting in 1760, to the complex life of the great and prosperous cosmopolitan city of today, the port and commercial centre of Canada—the old and new régimes making one harmonious unity, but with its component parts easily discernible. The city's motto is aptly chosen, "Concordia Salus."

Much there will be learned in the history of Montreal of the past that will explain the present and the mentality of its people. Tout savoir, c'est tout pardonner.

[Pg xxiii]

A clue to the future will also be afforded beforehand. Certainly it will be seen that Montreal is great and will be greater still, because great thoughts, high ideals, strenuous purposes have been born and fostered within its walls.

The thinking student will witness the law of cause and effect, of action, and reaction, ever at work, and will read design where the undisciplined mind would only see chaos and blind forces at work.

Recognizing that the city is a living organism with a personality of its own, he will watch with ever increasing interest the life emerging from the seed and at work in all the varying stages of its growth and development. He will see the first rude beginning of the city, its struggles for existence, its organized life in its social and municipal aspects, its beginnings of art and learning, the building of its churches, the conscious struggles of its people to realize itself, the troubles of its household, the battle of virtue and vice, its relation to other cities, the story of its attacks from without, the conflicts with opposing ideas, the influx of new elements into the population, the adaptation of the organism to new habits of government and thought, to new methods of business, and the inauguration of untried and new industrial enterprises, the growth of its harbour, and its internal and external commerce, the conception of its own destiny as one of the great cities of the world—all these and more it is the purpose of a history of Montreal to unfold to the thoughtful citizen who would understand the life in which he is playing his part not as a blind factor but as an intelligent co-operator in the intricate and absorbing game of life.

But let it not be thought that while peering into the past we shall become blind to the present. In this "History of Montreal" we shall picture the busy world as we see it round us. Here are heroic and saintly deeds being done today in our midst. The foundations of new and mighty works even surpassing those of the past are being laid in the regions of religion, philanthropy, art, science, commerce, engineering, government and city planning this very hour, and their builders are unconsciously building unto fame.

Besides, therefore, portraying the past, we would wish to present a moving picture of the continued development of Montreal from the beginning, tracing it to the living present from the "mustard seed" so long ago spoken of by Père Vimont in reference to the handful of his fellow pioneers assembled at Mass on the day of the arrival on May 18, 1642, at the historic spot marked today by the monument in Place Royale, to the mighty tree of his prophecy that now has covered the whole Island of Montreal, and by the boldness, foresight and enterprise of Montreal's master builders, has stretched its conquering arms of streams and iron across the mighty continent discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535.

What Montreal was and is, we know. Its future we can only surmise. But it is bound to be a great one. Its position, with its mountain in the centre and its encircling waterways, with the glorious St. Lawrence at its feet, proclaims it as the ideal location for one of the greatest cities in the world. It is no cause for wonder that Jacques Cartier, visiting it in 1535, after naming the mountain "Mount Royal" in honour of his king, Francis I of France, should have commended it as favourable for a settlement in his description of his voyage to Hochelaga, and that Champlain in 1611 should have made it his trading post[Pg xxiv] and further endorsed it as a suitable place for a permanent settlement, and that Maisonneuve should have carried it into execution in 1642. They had the instinct of the city planner—that is all.

That they did not err, the history of Montreal will abundantly show.


[Pg xxv]



In placing before the public the first volume of the History of Montreal, under the title of "Under the French Régime," I would first dedicate it to a group of prominent lovers of the city, truly deserving the name of good citizens, who originally encouraged me to undertake the historical researches necessary for this work in the view that an orderly narration of the city's origins and gradual development would thereby foster the right spirit of civic pride in those who do not merely dwell in this ancient and new city, but have linked their fortunes with it at least for a while.

Secondly, it is dedicated to those who endorsed the above invitation by subscribing for copies, thus making publication possible.

Thirdly, it is dedicated to all good citizens of Montreal, whether by birth or adoption, who will welcome this attempt to interest them in their citizenship.

Further, it is offered to all students of the civic life and progress of our Canadian cities through the medium of the historical method. May it encourage a healthy Canadian civic consciousness begotten of the records of the doings of the early makers of our Canadian cities.

May it encourage the careful keeping of early historical documents, especially among those new municipalities now growing up in the new Canada of today.

I wish to take this opportunity of thanking those who have especially made my way easy in this first volume by affording me access to books or documents. Among these are: Mr. W. D. Lighthall, president of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal, who was also the first to encourage this present work, Dr. A. Doughty, Mr. C. H. Gould, of the McGill University Library, Mr. Crevecœur, of the Fraser Institute, and to other representatives of public and private libraries. To Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, the careful archivist of the district of Montreal, I am especially indebted for much courteous and valuable assistance of which the following pages will give many indications. In general, the sources consulted are sufficiently indicated in the text or foot notes. They will be seen to be the best available.

I beg to thank those who have helped me to illustrate the work and particularly Mr. Edgar Gariépy, who has keenly aided me.

September, 1914.


[Pg 1]






The story of Montreal, as far as authentic historical documents are concerned, begins with Saturday, October 2, 1535. On that day, the Indian natives of Hochelaga had been quickly apprised that two strange large vessels containing many palefaced wanderers, wonderfully attired and speaking an unknown tongue, had come up the river, and were now lying off its sloping margin. The people immediately prepare quickly to receive them with a hospitality of which we shall hear. The women busy themselves in preparing their presents while the men hurriedly run down the hill slope to the water's edge, to be soon also followed by the women and children. There they found a good gathering of swarthy and bronzed men of the sea, mariners from St. Malo, to the number of twenty-eight, simple men, but adored by the natives as superior beings. All hail to them! Would that of the seventy-four [1] names we have preserved to us, of those who sailed from St. Malo, we had those of them who were privileged to come up to Hochelaga, as we must yet call it.

Besides the sailors, there are, however, six whose dress and bearing mark them out as men of some distinction, as indeed they are; for one is Claude du [Pg 2] Pont Briand, cup bearer to My Lord the Dauphin; the second and third, gentlemen adventurers of some rank, Charles de la Pommeraye and Jehan Gouion; the fourth and fifth are the bronzed and rugged captains of the small fleet lying down the river at Lake St. Peter, Guillaume le Breton, captain of the Emerillon, and Marc Jalobert, captain of the Petite Hermine, brother-in-law of the sixth. This last, a firm set man of forty-five years, and of commanding appearance, is none other than Jacques Cartier, captain of the Grande Hermine, pilot and captain general of the fleet, and he has come with a royal commission [2] explore new seas and lands for his sovereign maste Francis I of France, whose flags proudly wave from the prows of either vessel now tossing in the Hochelagan waters.

Jacques Cartier claims notice, for he is at once the discoverer and the first historian of Montreal. He is a mariner, of a dignified profession, and was born in 1491, though De Costa and others say, in 1494, at the seaport of St. Malo in Brittany, the fertile cradle of many hardy daring corsairs and adventurers on the waters. Early the young son of Jamet Cartier and Geseline Jansart seems to have turned his thoughts to a seafaring life as he met the bronzed mariners arriving at the wharves of St. Malo, and telling strange stories of their perils and triumphs. On the 2d of May, 1519, being now a master pilot, he married Catherine des Granches, the daughter of the high constable of the city.

Jacques Cartier
(After a traditional drawing)
Manor House of Cartier
(Interior View)

We know only imperfectly of his wanderings on the sea after this. He seems to have gone to Brazil. But he probably joined the band of those Norman ships going to Newfoundland on their fishing expeditions, and became well acquainted with the waters thereabout, and able to pilot them to some good purpose.

How Cartier became interested in discovering the passage to the Northwest we do not know; though it was the dream of so many navigators at that time to find a way to China and the east ports of India. To the man who should find it there would be undying fame, and many there were who strove for it. Probably Cartier believed that he should find the long expected route to India through one of the openings in the coast in the vicinity of Newfoundland, then thought to be but a projection of the eastern coast of Asia! At any rate, in 1533, we find him being introduced to Francis I of France by the high admiral of France, Phillipe Chabot, Sieur de Brion, to endeavour to persuade the king to allow him the means to secure the western passage for his royal master and the flag of France. The permission was granted, the vice admiral, the Sieur de Meilleraye personally undertaking to supervise the equipment of the vessels, and Cartier now is to be ranked among those others whose names have come down to us as leaders of expeditions.

Wooden Medallion 20 Inches
This wooden medallion, 20 inches in diameter, bears on the back the deeply carved date 1704 and the initials J. C. It was found between outer and inner "skins" of an ancient house in the French fishing village of Cape des Roziers at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, November, 1908, and was the stern shield of some French vessel wrecked on that coast. The face is alleged to be that of Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of Canada, and is the oldest known portrait of him. The claim is made by Dr. John M. Clarke of Albany, state geologist of New York.

We next find him armed with the Royal Commission, preparing to fit his vessels, and seeking for St. Malo men to man them in the service of the king. He had his difficulties in meeting the obstructions and jealousies that stood in his way. But on the 20th of April, 1534, he sailed with pilots, masters and seamen to the number of sixty, who were solemnly sworn by the vice admiral, Sieur de Meilleraye. It is not the purpose of this book to describe the discovery of Canada which Cartier made on this first voyage although the task is a fascinating one, since we have his own recital to follow. On July 24th, having planted on the coast of Gaspé a cross of the length of thirty feet bearing a shield adorned[Pg 3] with the fleur-de-lys and inscribed "Vive le Roi de France," he made preparations for the return home, reaching St. Malo on September 5th.

But he had not, as yet, stumbled upon the discovery of the mouth of the St. Lawrence, up which the kingdom of the Hochelagans lay, on which we are to fix our gaze. The news of his discoveries were received with enthusiasm, and on the Friday in Pentecost week, May 19, 1535, we find Jacques Cartier and his men sailing away from St. Malo, after having confessed themselves and received the benedictions of the archbishop and the godspeeds of their friends. The names of those accompanying Cartier—"pilots, masters and seamen, and others"—are preserved in the archives of St. Malo, numbering seventy-four, of whom several were of some distinction and twelve at least were related to him by blood or marriage, some led thither perhaps by the hope of trade. Two of the names are those of Dom Guillaume le Breton and Dom Antoine. It has been claimed the title Dom indicates that they were probably secular priests, and acted as chaplains, according to the general custom when the expedition was a royal mission. But this is not likely; in this case Guillaume le Breton was the captain of the Emerillon. Among those not mentioned in the list of Carrier's men were two young Indians, Taignoagny and Agaya, whom Cartier had seized at Gaspé before leaving to return to France, after his first voyages, and whose appearance in France created unusual interest. These were now to be useful as interpreters to the tribes to be visited. Cartier had however to regret some of their dealings on his behalf. Charity begins at home and so it did with these French-veneered Indians on mingling with their own.

The Royal Commission signed by Phillipe de Chabot, admiral of France, and giving greeting "to the Captain and Master Pilot Jacques Cartier of St. Malo," dated October 31, 1534, may here be quoted in part.

"We have commissioned and deputed, commission and depute you by the will and command of the King to conduct, direct, and employ three ships, equipped and provisioned each for fifteen months for the accomplishment of the voyage to the lands by you already begun and discovered beyond the Newlands; * * * the said three ships you shall take, and hire the number of pilots, masters and seamen as shall seem to you to be fitting and necessary for the accomplishment of this voyage. * * * We charge and command all the said pilots, masters and seamen, and others who shall be on the same ships, to obey and follow you for the service of the King in this as above, as they would do to ourselves, without any contradiction or refusal, and this under pains customary in such cases to those who are found disobedient and acting contrary."

Jacques Cartier's Ships
List of Seamen

[Pg 4]

The three ships that had been assigned to him were the Grande Hermine, the Petite Hermine and the Emerillon, the first being a tall ship of 126 burthen and the others of sixty and forty respectively, and they were provisioned for fifteen months. How the expedition encountered storms and tempests, delaying its progress until they reached the Strait of St. Peter, where familiar objects began to meet the eyes of the captive Indians on board; how they eagerly pointed out to Cartier the way into Canada; how they told him of the gold to be found in the land of the Saguenay; how Cartier visited the lordly Donnacona, lord of Canada; how at last on his resolve to pursue the journey to the land of Hochelaga he found himself in the great river of Canada which he named St. Lawrence; how he passed up the river by mountain and lowland, headlands and harbours, meadows, brush and forests, scattering saints' names on his way to Stadaconé [3] whence he determined to push his way to Hochelaga before winter—can be read at length in the recital of the second voyage of Jacques Cartier.

Stadacone Conference

It is legitimate only for us to place before our readers that part concerning the approach to Hochelaga. Hitherto, on his journey, Cartier had received all help in his progress from the friendly natives; but effort was made to dissuade him from going up to Hochelaga. Cartier, however, always made reply that notwithstanding every difficulty he would go there if it were possible to him "because he had commandment from the king to go the farthest that he could." On the contrary the lordly savage Donnacona and the two captives, Dom Agaya and Taignoagny, used every device to turn the captain from his quest. An attempt will be made hereafter to prevent a visit to Montreal as we shall see when we speak of Maisonneuve and the settlement of Ville Marie.

Carrier's account has the following for September 18th: [4]


Manuscript of No. 5589

"The next day, the 18th of the said month, thinking always to hinder us from going to Hochelaga, they devised a grand scheme which they effected thus: They had three men attired in the style of three devils, that had horns as long as one's arms, and were clothed in skins of dogs, black and white, and had their faces painted as black as coal, and they caused them to be put into one of their boats unknown to us, and then came with their band near our ships as they had been accustomed, who kept themselves in the woods without appearing for two hours, waiting till the time and the tide should come for the arrival of the said boat, at which time they all came forth, and presented themselves before our said ships without approaching them as they were wont to do; and asked them if they wanted to have the boat, whereupon the said Taignoagny replied to them, not at that time, but that presently he would enter into the said ships. And suddenly came the said boat wherein were the three men appearing to be three devils, having put horns on their heads, and he in the midst made a marvelous [Pg 5] speech in coming, and they passed along our ships with their said boat, without in any wise turning their looks toward us, and went on striking and running on shore with their said boat; and, all at once, the said Lord Donnacona and his people seized the said boat and the said three men, the which were let fall to the bottom of it like dead men, and they carried the whole together into the woods, which were distant from the said ships a stone's throw; and not a single person remained before our said ships, but all withdrew themselves. And they, having retired, began a declamation and a discourse that we heard from our ships, which lasted half an hour. After which the said Taignoagny and Dom Agaya marched from the said woods toward us, having their hands joined, and their hats under their elbows, causing great admiration. And the said Taignoagny began to speak and cry out three times, 'Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!' raising his eyes toward heaven. Then Dom Agaya began to say, 'Jesus Maria! Jacques Cartier,' looking toward heaven like the other, the captain seeing their gestures and ceremonies, began to ask what was the matter, and what it was new that had happened, who responded that there were piteous news, saying 'Nenny, est il bon,' and the said captain demanded of them afresh what it was, and they replied that their God, named Cudouagny, had spoken at Hochelaga, and that the three men aforesaid had come from him to announce to them the tidings that there was so much ice and snow that they would all die. With which words we all fell to laughing and to tell that their God Cudouagny was but a fool, and that he knew not what he said, and that they should say it to his messengers and that Jesus would guard them well from the cold if they would believe in him. And then the said Taignoagny and his companion asked the said captain if he had spoken to Jesus and he replied that his priests [6] had spoken to him and that he would make fair weather; whereupon they thanked the said captain very much, and returned into the woods to tell the news to the others, who came out of the said woods immediately, feigning to be delighted with the said words thus spoken by the said captain. And to show that they were delighted with them, as soon as they were before the ships they began with a common voice to utter three shrieks and howls, which is their token of joy, and betook themselves to dancing and singing, as they had done from custom. But for conclusion, the said Taignoagny and Dom Agaya told our said captain that the said Donnacona would not that any of them should go with him to Hochelaga if he did not leave a hostage, who should abide ashore with the said Donnacona. To which he replied to them that if they had not decided to go there with good courage they might remain and that for him he would not leave off making efforts to go there."

We have seen the manifest disinclination of Donnacona's party to allow the discoverers to proceed to Hochelaga. Was it because the Hochelagans were a hostile people or was it from selfish reasons to keep the presents of the generous strangers for themselves? At any rate, Cartier sets out for Hochelaga and on Tuesday, September 26th, enters Lake St. Peter with a pinnace and two boats. This lake was not named by Cartier, but subsequently it was named Lac d'Angoulesme, either in honour of his birthplace or more probably that of [Pg 6]Francis I, who was Count of Angoulême. It was left for Champlain entering upon the lake, on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, June 29, 1603, to give it its present name. Cartier's pinnace could not cross Lake St. Peter owing to the shallowness of the water [7] which forced him to take the boats to Hochelaga, starting about six miles below St. Mary's current. The journey through Lake St. Peter and the arrival at Hochelaga must now be followed in the words of Jacques Cartier, the first historian of Montreal (Phinney Baxter, pp. 157-171).

"The said twenty-eighth day of September we came into a great lake and shoal of the said river, about five or six leagues broad and twelve long, and navigated that day up the said lake without finding shallowing or deepening, and coming to one of the ends of the said lake, not any passage or egress appeared to us; it seemed rather to be completely closed without any stream. And we found at the said end but a fathom and a half, wherefore it behooved us to lay to and heave out our anchor, and go to seek passage with our boats. And we found that there were four or five streams all flowing from the said river into this lake and coming from the said Hochelaga; but, by their flowing out so, there are bars and passages made by the course of the water, where there was then only a fathom in depth. And the said bars being passed, there are four or five fathoms, which was at the time of year of the lowest waters, as we saw by the flow of the said waters that they increased more than two fathoms by pike.

"All these streams flow by and surround five or six fair islands [8] which form the head of said lake; then they come together about fifteen leagues above all into one. That day we went to one of them, where we found five men, who were hunting wild beasts, the which came as familiarly to our boats as if they had seen us all their lives, without having fear or apprehension; and our said boats having come to land, one of these men took our captain in his arms and carried him ashore as lightly as he would have carried a child of five years, so large and strong was this man. We found they had a great pile of wild rats, [9] which live in the water, and are as large as rabbits, and wonderfully good to eat, of which they made a present to our captain, who gave them knives and paternosters for recompense. We asked them by sign if that was the way to Hochelaga; they answered us yes, and that it was still three days journey to go there.


"The next day our captain, seeing that it was not possible then to be able to pass the said pinnace, had the boats victualed and fitted out, and put in provisions for the longest time that he possibly could and that the said boats could [Pg 7] take in, and set out with them accompanied with a part of the gentlemen,—to wit, Claude du Pont Briand, grand cupbearer to my lord the Dauphin, Charles de la Pommeraye, Jehan Gouion, with twenty-eight mariners, including with them Marc Jalobert and Guillaume le Breton, having the charge under the said Cartier,—for to go up the said river the farthest that it might be possible for us. And we navigated with weather at will until the second day of October, when we arrived at the said Hochelaga, which is about forty-five leagues distant from the place where the said pinnace was left, during which time and on the way we found many folks of the country, the which brought fish and other victuals, dancing and showing great joy at our coming. And to attract and hold them in amity with us, the said captain gave them for recompense some knives, paternosters, and other trivial goods, with which they were much content. And we having arrived at the said Hochelaga, more than a thousand persons presented themselves before us, men, women and children alike, the which gave us a good reception as ever father did to child, showing marvelous joy; for the men in one band danced, the women on the other side and the children on the other, the which brought us store of fish and of their bread made of coarse millet, [10] which they cast into our said boats in the way that it seemed as if it tumbled from the air. Seeing this, our said captain landed with a number of his men, and as soon as he was landed they gathered all about him, and about all the others, giving them an unrestrained welcome. And the women brought their children in their arms to make them touch the said captain and others, making a rejoicing which lasted more than half an hour. And our captain, witnessing their liberality and good will, caused all the women to be seated and ranged in order, and gave them certain paternosters of tin and other trifling things, and to a part of the men knives. Then he retired on board the said boats to sup and pass the night, while these people remained on the shore of the said river nearest the said boats all night making fires and dancing, crying all the time 'Aguyaze,' which is their expression of mirth and joy.


"The next day, in the early morning, the captain attired himself and had his men put in order to go to see the town and habitation of the said people, and a mountain that is adjacent to their said town, whither the gentleman and twenty mariners went with the said captain, and left the rest for the guard of the boats, and took three men of the said Town of Hochelaga to bring and conduct them to the said place. And we, being on the road, found it as well beaten as it might be possible to behold, and the fairest and best land, all full of oaks as fine as there be in a forest of France under the which all the ground was covered with acorns. And we, having marched about a league and a half, found on the way one of the chief lords of the Town of Hochelaga, accompanied by a number of persons, the which made us a sign that we should rest at the said [Pg 8] place near a fire that they had made by the said road, which we did, and then the said lord began to make a discourse and oration, as heretofore is said to be their custom of showing joy and familiarity, this lord thereby showing welcome to the said captain and his company; the which captain gave him a couple of hatchets and a couple of knives, with a cross and memorial of the crucifixion, which he made him kiss, and hung it on his neck, for which he rendered thanks to the said captain. This done, we marched farther on, and about half a league from there we began to find the land cultivated, and fair, large fields full of grain of their country, which is like Brazil millet, as big or bigger than peas, on which they live just as we do on wheat; and in the midst of these fields is located and seated the Town of Hochelaga, near to and adjoining a mountain, which is cultivated round about it and highly fertile, from the summit of which one sees a very great distance. We named the said mountain Mont Royal. The said town is quite round and inclosed with timbers in three rows in the style of a pyramid, crossed at the top, having the middle row in the style of a perpendicular line; and ranged with timbers laid along, well joined and tied in their manner, and is in height about two pikes. There is in this town but one gate and entrance, which fastens with bars, upon which and in many places of the said inclosure there are kinds of galleries and ladders to mount to them, which are furnished with rocks and stones for the guard and defense of it.

Reception of Jacques Cartier at Hochelaga
(A section of the palisaded town is shown. D in the center is King Agohama's abode.)

"There are within this town about fifty long houses of about fifty paces or more each, and twelve or fifteen paces wide and all made of timbers covered and garnished with great pieces of bark and strips of the said timber, as broad as tables, well tied artificially according to their manner. And within these there are many lodgings and chambers, and in the middle of these houses there is a great room on the ground where they make their fire and live in common; after that the men retire with their wives and children to their said chambers. Likewise they have granaries at the top of their houses where they put their corn of which they make their bread, which they call 'carraconny,' [11] and they make it in the manner following: They have mortars of wood as for braying flax, and beat the said corn into powder with pestles of wood; then they mix it into paste and make round cakes of it, which they put on a broad stone which is hot; then they cover it with hot stones, and so bake their bread instead of in an oven. They make likewise many stews of the said corn, and beans and peas of which they have enough, and also of big cucumbers and other fruits. They have also in their houses great vessels like tons, where they put their fish, eels and others, the which they dry in the smoke during the summer and live upon it in the winter. And of this they make a great store, as we have seen by experience. All their living is without any taste of salt, and they lie on barks of trees stretched upon the earth, with wretched coverings of skins from which they make their clothing—namely, wolves, beavers, martens, foxes, wild cats, deer, stags, and other wild beasts; but the most part of them go almost entirely naked. The most precious thing that they have in their world is 'esnogny,' [12] the which is white as snow, and [Pg 9] they take it into the same river from the cornibotz [13] in the manner which follows: When a man heserved death, or when they have taken any enemies in war, they kill them, then cut them into the buttocks, thighs, and shoulders with great gashes; afterward in the places where the said esnogny is they sink the said body to the bottom of the water, and leave it ten or twelve hours, then draw it up and find within the said gashes and incisions the said cornibots, of which they make bead money and use it as we do gold and silver, and hold it the most precious thing in the world. It has the virtue of stanching blood from the nostrils, because we have tried it.

"All the said people give themselves only to tillage and fishing for a living; for the goods of this world they make no account, because they have no knowledge of them, and as they budge not from their country, and do not go about like those of Canada [14] and of the Saguenay. Notwithstanding the said Canadians are their subjects, with eight or nine other peoples who are upon the said river.


"When we had arrived near the town, a great number of the inhabitants of it presented themselves before us, who after their fashion of doing, gave us a good reception; and by our guides and conductors we were brought to the middle of the town, where there was a place between the houses the extent of a stone's throw or about in a square, who made us a sign that we should stop at the said place, which we did. And suddenly all the women and girls of the said town assembled together, a part of whom were burdened with children in their arms, and who came to us to stroke our faces, arms, and other places upon our bodies that they could touch; weeping with joy to see us; giving us the best welcome that was possible to them, and making signs to us that it might please us to touch their said children. After the which things the men made the women retire, and seated themselves on the ground about us, as if we might wish to play a mystery. And, suddenly, a number of men came again, who brought each a square mat in the fashion of a carpet, and spread them out upon the ground in the middle of the said place and made us rest upon them. After which things were thus done there was brought by nine or ten men the king and lord of the country, whom they all call in their language Agohanna, who was seated upon a great skin of a stag; and they came to set him down in the said place upon the said mats beside our captain, making us a sign that he was their lord and king. This Agohanna was about the age of fifty years and was not better appareled than the others, save that he had about his head a kind of red band for a crown, made of the quills of porcupines and this lord was wholly impotent and diseased in his limbs.

"After he had made his sign of salutation to the said captain and to his folks, making them evident signs that they should make them very welcome, he [Pg 10] showed his arms and legs to the said captain, praying that he would touch them, as though he would beg healing and health from him; and then the captain began to stroke his arms and legs with his hands; whereupon the said Agohanna took the band and crown that he had upon his head and gave it to our captain: and immediately there were brought to the said captain many sick ones, as blind, one-eyed, lame, impotent, and folks so very old that the lids of their eyes hung down even upon their cheeks, setting and laying them down nigh to our said captain for him to touch them, so that it seemed as if God had descended there in order to cure them.

"Our said captain, seeing the mystery and faith of this said people, recited the Gospel of St. John; to wit, the In principio, making the sign of the cross on the poor sick ones, praying God that he might give them knowledge of our holy faith and the passion of our Saviour, and the grace to receive Christianity and baptism. Then our said captain took a prayer book and read full loudly, word by word, the passion of our Lord, so that all the bystanders could hear it, while all these poor people kept a great silence and were marvelously good hearers, looking up to heaven and making the same ceremonies that they saw us make; after which the captain made all the men range themselves on one side, the women on another, and the children another, and gave to the chiefs hatchets, to the others knives, and to the women paternosters and other trifling articles; then he threw into the midst of the place among the little children some small rings and Agnus Dei of tin, at which they showed a marvelous joy. This done the said captain commanded the trumpets and other instruments of music to sound, with which the said people were greatly delighted; after which things we took leave of them and withdrew. Seeing this, the women put themselves before us for to stop us, and brought us of their victuals, which they had prepared for us, as fish, stews, beans and other things, thinking to make us eat and dine at the said place; and because their victuals were not to our taste and had no savor of salt, we thanked them, making them a sign that we did not need to eat.

"After we had issued from the said town many men and women came to conduct us upon the mountain aforesaid, which was by us named Mont Royal, distant from the said place some quarter of a league; and we, being upon this mountain, had sight and observance of more than thirty leagues round about it. Toward the north of which is a range of mountains which stretches east and west, and toward the south as well; between which mountains the land is the fairest that it may be possible to see, smooth, level, and tillable; and in the middle of the said lands we saw the said river, beyond the place where our boats were left, where there is a waterfall, [15] the most impetuous that it may be possible to see, and which it was impossible for us to pass. And we saw this river as far as we could discern, grand, broad and extensive, which flowed toward the southwest and passed near three fair, round mountains which we saw and estimated that they were about fifteen leagues from us. And we were told and shown by signs by our said three men of the country who had conducted us that there were three such falls of water on the said river like that where our said boats were, but we could not understand what the distance was between the one and the other.[Pg 11] Then they showed us by signs that, the said falls being passed, one could navigate more than three moons by the said river; and beyond they showed us that along the said mountains, being toward the north, there is a great stream, which descends from the west like the said river. [16] We reckoned that this is the stream which passed by the realm and province of Saguenay, and, without having made them any request or sign, they took the chain from the captain's whistle, which was of silver, and the haft of a poniard, the which was of copper, yellow like gold, which hung at the side of one of our mariners, and showed that it came from above the said river, and that there were Agojuda, which is to say evil folk, the which are armed even to the fingerhowing us the style of their armor, which is of cords and of wood laced and woven together, giving us to understand that the said Agojuda carried on continual war against one another; but by default of speech we could not learn how far it was to the said country. Our captain showed them some red copper, [17] which they call caignetdaze, pointing them toward the said place, and asking by signs if it came from there, and they began to shake their heads, saying no, and showing that it came from Saguenay, which is to the contrary of the preceding. After which things thus seen and understood, we withdrew to our boats, which was not without being conducted by a great number of the said people, of which part of them, when they saw our folk weary, loaded them upon themselves, as upon horsesd carried them. And we, having arrived at our said boats, made sail to return to our pinnace, for doubt that there might be some hindrance; which departure was not made without great regret of the said people, for as far as they could follow us down the said river they would follow us, and we accomplished so much that we arrived at our said pinnace Monday, the fourth day of October."

The reader must have been struck with the pride of the Hochelagans in conducting their visitors to the mountain as well as at the accurate and picturesque description given by Cartier of the scene that met his delighted gaze. Today the same beautiful sight may be seen by the visitor who makes his way to the "lookout" or the observatory. The landscape at his feet has been covered with a busy city and its suburbs, its manufactories, its public buildings and its homes and villas, but still it appears as if all these were peeping out of a garden. All around the green fields and pleasant meadows are there as of yore. From this height the disfigurements of the lower city are not visible. Montreal has been described as a beautiful lady handsomely gowned, but whose skirt fringes are sadly mud and dust stained.

The river has been spanned by gigantic bridges but the main grand lines of the landscape are those that Cartier gazed upon. There at the south is the great St. Lawrence with its islands on its bosom, now studded with ocean going steamers; beyond there is the great sweep of the St. Lawrence Valley, broken abruptly by the solitary mountain ridges of Montarville, St. Bruno, Belœil, Rougemont, Yamaska, and Mount Johnson—a volcanic sisterhood of which Mount Royal is itself a member—and hemmed in on the horizon by the cloudlike ridges of the Green and Adirondack mountains. Looking to the west are the Lachine Rapids [Pg 12] and beyond the Lake St. Louis, and to the north the Rivière des Prairies or the Back River is seen, at the head of which lies the bright surface of the Lake of the Two Mountains. Far away hemming in the horizon on that side runs the hoary Laurentian Range, the oldest hills known to geology. All this apart from the works of civilization Cartier saw from the mountain which has only of late years been planned to intensify its beauty and usefulness. We are now looking forward to the day when that same city around the mountain will also bear the mark of an intelligible plan to intensify the beauty of the city and make it by art, as it is by nature, one of the finest cities in the world, worthy of the jewel standing out—the pride of its city—Mount Royal. Cartier saw the island from the point of view of Greater Mount Royal. In this he resembles those who today see a Greater Montreal. Modern Hochelagans are as proud of their mountain as those of old. D'Arcy McGee imagines Jacques Cartier telling of it on his return to St. Malo:

He told them of the Algonquin braves—the hunters of the wild,
Of how the Indian mother in the forest rocks her child;
Of how, poor souls, they fancy in every living thing
A spirit good or evil, that claims their worshipping;
Of how they brought their sick and maim'd for him to breathe upon,
And of the wonders wrought for them through the Gospel of St. John.
He told them of the river whose mighty current gave
Its freshness for a hundred leagues to Ocean's briny wave;
He told them of the glorious scene presented to his sight,
What time he rear'd the cross and crown on Hochelaga's height,
And of the fortress cliff that keeps of Canada the key,
And they welcomed back Jacques Cartier from his perils o'er the sea.

On Tuesday, September 4th, Jacques Cartier regained his pinnace and on Wednesday, September 5th, he passed thence on his way to Stadaconé. At Stadaconé, on May 3d, the festival of the Holy Cross, he planted the cross and inscribed it with the royal name and title, "Franciscus Primus Dei Gratia." There he treacherously seized Donnacona and his friends Dom Agaya and Taignoagny and took them to France. On July 6th, 1636, he reached St. Malo "by the grace of the Creator, whom we pray, making an end of our navigation to grant us his grace and Paradise at the end. Amen."


When Cartier appeared before the King, Francis I, after his second voyage there is no doubt that he would have enthusiastically recommended the country of Hochelaga, especially that island, on which was the mountain to which he had given the title "Mont Royal" as the site of a settlement, for in Jacques Cartier's commission, dated October 17, 1540, in preparation for the third voyage, we read:

"And among others we have sent there our dear and well beloved Jacques Cartier, who has discovered the large countries of Canada and Hochelaga, making [Pg 13] an end of Asia, on the western side, which country he found, as he reported to us, furnished with many good commodities, and the people thereof well formed in body and limb, and well disposed in spirit and understanding, of whom he likewise brought us a certain number, whom we have for a long time supported and instructed in our holy faith [18] with our said subjects, in consideration of which and seeing their good intentions, we have considered and decided to send back the said Cartier to the said country of Canada and Hochelaga, and as far as the land of Saguenay, if we can reach there with a good number of ships of our said subjects of good intentions and of all conditions, arts and industries, in order to enter farther into the said countries to converse with the said peoples thereof, and if necessary, live with them in order to accomplish better our said intention and to do a thing agreeable to God our Creator and Redeemer and which may be for the promoting of his holy sacred name and of our mother the Holy Catholic church, of which we are called and named the first son."

Yet before he signed this commission five years had passed. For up to this Francis had troubles enough at home, with his kingdom invaded by Charles V of Spain and his throne threatened, to prevent his giving thought to Hochelaga in the West. But on June 15, 1538, the truce between France and Spain gave him more leisure for colonization schemes and the extension of the empire. Especially did he desire it to turn to the western hemisphere, for he looked with jealous eyes upon the activity of the King of Spain in that direction. "I should like to see the clause in our father Adam's will which bequeathed to him this fine heritage."

There is no doubt that Cartier's action in seizing Donnacona, Taignoagny and Dom Agaya and others, and taking them to France, from which they never returned, was the beginning of the cause of the hostility of the Indians. At first these had received Cartier kindly, but they could not be expected to forget this treachery in the loss of their friends. Mather, alluding to a similar piece of treachery by an English captain some time before the arrival of the Pilgrim Colony declares that "it laid the foundation of grievous annoyances to all the English endeavors of settlements, especially in the northern parts of the island, for several years ensuing. The Indians would never forget or forgive this injury."

We have no record of Hochelaga till September 7-11, 1540. For this we are again indebted to Cartier's account of his third voyage. Luckily this has been partially preserved in Hakluyt's translation, which is that of the "Bref Récit," [Pg 14] the only version known. On Wednesday (September 7, 1541) Cartier left the proposed French settlement, Charlesbourg Royal, about four leagues beyond the harbour of St. Croix, with two boats, to visit Hochelaga and the rapids above it. Following Hakluyt we learn:

"How after the departure of the two ships which were sent back to Brittany, and that the fort was begun to be builded, the captain prepared two boats to go up the great river to discover the passage of the three saults or falls of the river." While awaiting the arrival of Roberval in command of the first colonizing party Cartier went up to the sault from Charlesbourg Royal on September 7th, "and we sailed with so prosperous a wind that we arrived the 11th day of the month at the first sault of water, which is two leagues distant from the Town of Tutonaguy." [19]

There is no further description of Tutonaguy, which we take to be the site of Montreal. Cartier mentions that finding it impossible to get up against the course of the sault he came on shore to a beaten path going towards the first sault. "And on the way and soon after, we found an habitation of people which made us great cheer and entertained us very hospitably." Four young men conducted them to another hospitable people who lived over against the second sault. We may perhaps conclude that those of the first sault were islanders of Montreal and we are pleased that their hospitality was forthcoming as is always that of our modern city. But we regret that Jacques Cartier appears to have made no stay at Tutonaguy.

With this we take leave of Cartier. Canadians have one grudge against him, for there seems no doubt that his description of the severity of our climate delayed colonization here, but his account of Montreal is satisfactory to us. We are not writing his life, but Montreal can rejoice in having been discovered by a worthy man. We are glad that Francis I recognized his merits as we find him spoken of, in an act of the Chapter of St. Malo, September 29, 1549, as Sieur de Limoilou, and in another act, of February 5, 1550, as a "noble man." Unfortunately as he did not leave any child by his wife, Catherine Desgranges, he did not pass on his title of nobility to anyone. Jacques Cartier is worthy of recognition as among the great men of his time, and Montreal is proud of its discoverer and first historian.


The next French visit to Hochelaga can only be surmised. We have the record as follows, which gives us an indication of such a possible visit: It is found in Hakluyt's description of the


"By the nature of the climate the lands towards Hochelaga are better and better and more fruitful; and this land is fit for figs and pears; and I think that gold and silver will be found here according as the people of the country [Pg 15] say." It is likely that it received a visit from "John Francis de la Rocque, knight, Lord of Roberval," whose voyage from his fort in Canada is related by Hakluyt "to the countries of Canada, Saguenay and Hochelaga with three tall ships and 200 persons, both men and women, and children, begun in April, 1542, in which parts he remained the same summer and all the next winter." On the 6th of June about 6 o'clock in the morning, Monsieur Roberval, the king's lieutenant general in the countries of Canada, Saguenay and Hochelaga, "set sail for the country of the Saguenay and sailed against the stream in which voyage their whole furniture was of eight barks, as well great as small and to the number of three score and ten persons, with the aforesaid general." Unfortunately the rest of this voyage is wanting. We know that de Roberval's party contained many undesirables and not good matter for citizenship and we are glad, that if these did visit Montreal, they did not stay there.

Montreal would never have been proud of itself with such an origin.



Where did Jacques Cartier land on the island of Montreal in 1535? We should very much like to know this. All we know is the naming of the mountain. There is a portion of Montreal called Hochelaga, being to the southwest of the present city, but there is no contention that this is the original part of the island, on which Jacques Cartier landed. The "Bref Récit" of Cartier's voyage states that he landed two leagues from the Indian town, which was a quarter of a league from the mountain. Hakluyt makes the latter distance a league. The Abbé Faillon in "La Colonie Française" thinks that Cartier ascended the river to the Lachine Rapids. There is more reason to believe he stayed on his way opposite Nun's Island. A theory advanced in November 19, 1860, by Sir William Dawson, principal of McGill College, in a discourse before the Natural History Society of Montreal, locates the site of Hochelaga in the space between Metcalfe and Mansfield streets in one direction and Burnside Place and Sherbrooke Street in the other.

"Doctor Dawson founded his opinion after the examination of some Indian relics excavated by some workmen in November, 1860, near Mansfield Street, in the sandy ridge of a terrace immediately north of Sherbrooke Street. They exhumed two skeletons, and with them or near them were found jawbones of a beaver and of a dog, with a fragment of an earthen vessel and of a hollow cylinder of red clay. The skeletons were in a sitting or crouching posture, as was the mode of burial with certain early Indian tribes. Among other relics previously found and exhibited on this occasion was an instrument made of bone, found among the remains, which exactly fitted the marks on some of the pottery, the large end having been fashioned like a cup, and the small end artificially tapered to a point. There were also several knives and chisels of sharpened bone, in tolerable preservation and some singular counters which are supposed to have been used in play, the Indians being inveterate gamblers. The most interesting relics were tobacco pipes, handsomely fashioned in the shape of lotus flowers, with the hole through the stem perfectly preserved. I have thought [Pg 16] it well to enumerate these finds because they are now at the Natural History Museum of the city, and several gentlemen, antiquarians and archæologists have also private collections of their own. May not they serve the reader's imagination to conjure up and reconstruct for himself a picture of the village life of the earliest known inhabitants of Montreal in place of a labored description of the present writer." [20]

Describing Cartier's walk toward Hochelaga Mr. Stanley Bagg (Numa), in the "Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, July, 1873, Vol. II, p. 14, says: "Where the brook crosses McGill College ground, he was met by a deputation of the aborigines; afterwards he came into the presence of their king, was conducted through corn-fields to the town and subsequently ascended the mountain. Cartier's description of the locality, taken in connection with the statement of the missionaries, and the discovery of Indian antiquities, place the Town of Hochelaga on the space between Mansfield Street to a little west of Metcalfe Street in one direction and in the other from a little south of Burnside Place to within sixty yards of Sherbrooke Street. In this area, several skeletons, hundreds of old fireplaces, indications of huts, bones of wild animals, pottery and implements of stone and bone have been found."



In order to present a picture of these early settlers around Mount Royal the following description from Jacques Cartier's second voyage may be of avail:


"The said people have not any belief in God which may avail, for they believe in one whom they call Cudouagny, and they say that he speaks frequently to them and tells them what the weather should be. They say also that when he is angry with them he throws dirt in their eyes. They believe also that when they depart they go to the stars, then go declining to the horizon like the said stars, then pass into fair fields toward plains of beautiful trees, flowers and sumptuous fruits. After they had given us to understand these things we showed them their error and said that their Cudouagny is an evil spirit who abuses them, and said that there is only one God, who is in heaven, who gives us all things necessary, and is the Creator of all things, and that in Him only should we believe, and that it was necessary to be baptised or go to hell. Many other things of our faith were shown them which they readily believed, and called their Cudouagny, Agojuda, so that many times they prayed our captain to have them baptised. And the said Lord Taignoagny, Dom Agaya, and all the people of their town, came there for the purpose of being baptised; but because we knew not their intention and sincerity and that there was none that could show them the faith there, excuse was made to them, and it was told Taignoagny and Dom Agaya[Pg 17] that they should make them understand that we should return another voyage, and would bring priests and holy oil, giving them to understand for excuse that one could not be baptised without the said holy oil, which they believed because they saw several children baptised in Brittany, and of the promise that the captain made them to return they were very joyous and thanked him.

"The said people live in almost a community of goods, rather of the style of the Brazilians, and are wholly clothed with skin of wild beasts, and poorly enough. In winter they are shod with stockings and shoes, and in summer they go barefoot. They keep the order of marriage, save that they take two or three wives, and after the husband is dead the wives never remarry, but wear mourning for the said dead all their lives, and besmear their faces with coal-dust and with grease as thick as the thickness of a knife; and by that one knows that they are widows. They have another custom very bad for their girls; for after they are of age to marry they are all put into a common house, abandoned to everybody who desires them until they have found their match. And all this we have seen by experience, for we have seen the houses as full of the said girls as is a school of boys in France. And, moreover, gaming according to their manner is held in the said houses, where they stake all that they have, even to the covering of their nature. They do not any great work, and with little pieces of wood about the size of a half-sword cultivate their land whereon they raise their corn, which they call Zis, the which is as big as peas, of the same grain in growth as in Brazil. Likewise they have a great quantity of great melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins, peas and beans of all colours, not of the kind of ours. They have also an herb of which during the summer they make a great store for the winter, the which they greatly esteem, and the men only use it in the manner following: They have it dried in the sun and carry it about their necks in a little beast's skin in place of a bag, with a horn of stone or wood; then by and by they make powder of the said herb and put it in one of the ends of the said horn, then put a coal fire thereon and suck at the other end so long that they fill their bodies with smoke; insomuch that it comes out by the mouth and nostrils as by a chimney funnel; and they say that it keeps them healthy and warm, and they never go without having their said things. We have tried the said smoke, which, after being put into our mouths, seemed to be powder of pepper put therein, it was so hot. The women of the said country work beyond comparison more than the men, as well in fishing, of which they make a great business, as in tilling and other things; and men, women and children alike are more hardened to the cold than beasts, for with the greatest cold that we may have seen, the which was extreme and bitter, they came over the ice and snow every day to our ships, the most part of them almost entirely naked, which is an incredible thing to one who has not seen it. They take during the said ice and snow a great quantity of wild beasts, as deer, stags, and bears, of which they brought us but very little, because they were stingy of their victuals. They eat their flesh wholly raw, after having been dried by the smoke, and likewise their fish. By what we have seen and been able to learn of this said people it seems to me that they might be easy to tame in such fashion as one might desire. God by his divine compassion bestow upon them his regard. Amen."

[Pg 18]


Canada was limited by Cartier to the region between the Isle of Bacchus (Isle d'Orleans) and Hochelaga. There can be no doubt that the word Canada is derived from Cannata or Kannata, which in Iroquois signifies a collection of dwellings, in other words a settlement, and it is probable that when the Indians were asked by the French the name of their country, they replied pointing to their dwellings, "Cannata," which their interrogators applied in a broader sense than was intended.


The following geological study of Mount Royal prepared by Dean F. D. Adams of McGill University for the Geological Survey Department of the Federal Government cannot fail to be of interest to students of Montreal:

"In the Province of Quebec, between the enormous expanse of the Laurentian highlands to the northwest, constituting the 'Canadian Shield,' and the disturbed and folded tract of country which marks the Appalachian uplift, there is a great plain underlain by nearly horizontal rocks of lower Palæozoic age. This plain, while really showing slight differences of level from place to place, seems to the casual observer perfectly flat. Its surface is mantled with a fertile soil consisting of drift redistributed upon its surface by the sea, which covered it at the close of the Glacial times. The uniform expanse of this plain, however, is broken by several isolated hills composed of igneous rocks, which rise abruptly from it and which constitute very striking features of the landscape.

"From the top of Mount Royal the other hills referred to can all be seen rising from the plain to the east; while to the north the plain stretches away unbroken to the foot of the Laurentian plateau.

"The hills under consideration, while by no means 'mere hummocks,' being situated in such a country of low relief, seem to be higher than they really are and are always referred to locally as 'mountains.'

"These mountains, whose positions are shown on the accompanying map, are eight in number, their names and their height above sea level being as follows:

"Mount Royal 769.6 feet.
Montarville or St. Bruno 715      " (O'Neil)
Belœil 1,437   " (Leroy)
Rougemont 1,250   "
Yamaska 1,470   " (Young)
Shefford 1,725   "
Brome 1,755   "
Mount Johnson or Monnoir 875      "

"They have been called the Monteregian Hills from Mount Royal ('Mons Regius'), which is the best known member of the group and may be taken as their type.

"Brome Mountain is by far the largest member of the group, having an area of 30 square miles. Shefford comes next in size, having an area of rather less than [Pg 19] nine square miles; while Mount Johnson, which is very much smaller than any of the others, has an area of only .422 of one square mile.

"Of these eight, the first six, as Logan notes, 'stand pretty nearly in a straight line,' running approximately east and west, Mount Royal being the most westerly, and the others following in the order in which they are enumerated above, until Shefford Mountain, the most easterly member of the series, is reached. Mount Johnson and Brome Mountain lie on a line parallel to them, a short distance to the south, Rougemont being the nearest neighbour to Mount Johnson and Brome Mountain immediately south of Shefford. It is highly probable, in view of this distribution, that these ancient volcanic mountains are, as is usual in such occurrences, arranged along some line or lines of weakness or deep-seated fracture. The 'pretty nearly straight line' referred to by Logan, on which the first six mountains of the group are situated, must be considered either as a single line with a rather sharp curve in the middle or as made up of two shorter straight lines, each with three mountains, diverging from one another at an angle of about thirty degrees, with Montarville at the point of intersection. Mount Johnson and Brome Mountain might then be considered as situated on short subsidiary fractures.

"The distance from Brome Mountain, the most easterly member of the Monteregian Hills, to Mount Royal the most westerly, is 50 miles (80 km.). For a few miles to the east and west of these mountains respectively, however, evidences of the igneous activity of the system are manifested in the occurrence of occasional dykes or small stocks of the consanguineous rocks of the series, the extreme easterly representative of these being a little stock exposed about a mile and a half east of Eastman, on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the most westerly being a series of dykes and a small stock at La Trappe, on the Lake of Two Mountains. Similarly, the most northerly extension is represented by a sheet intercalated between strata of the Chazy limestone in the bed of the Little River, near St. Lin, 15 miles (24 km.) north of St. Lin Junction. It is difficult to say just how far to the south the last evidences of the Monteregian activity are found, but scattered dykes of bostonite, camptonite and monchiquite have been described by Kemp and Marsters from the shores of Lake Champlain (out of which flows the River Richelieu), to a distance of 90 miles (145 km.) or more south of Mount Johnson.

"The Monteregian Hills are a series of ancient plutonic intrusions. Some of them (e. g. Brome Mountain) are apparently denuded laccoliths, one of them (Mount Johnson) is a typical neck or pipe, and it is probable that some, if not all, of them, represent the substructures of volcanoes which at one time were in active eruption in this region.

"It is impossible to determine accurately the date of these intrusions. In the case of Mount Royal, however, inclusions of Lower Devonian limestone are found in the intruded rock, so that the intrusions forming the mountain are later than Lower Devonian time.

"Since Dresser by another line of evidence, has shown that the intrusion of Mount Shefford probably took place before late Carboniferous time, the Monteregian intrusions probably date back to the late Devonian or early Carboniferous period.

[Pg 20]

"It must be noted that while six of these mountains rise from the horizontal strata of the plain, the two most easterly members of the group, namely Shefford and Brome, while still to the west of the axis of that range, lie well within the folded belt of the Appalachians, although, owing to the extensive denudation from which the region has suffered, this folding has had but little influence on the local topography. About La Trappe, at the extreme westerly extension of the Monteregian area, the dykes of the series cut rocks of Laurentian age, which here form an outlier of the great Laurentian protaxis on the north.

"The Monteregian Hills form an exceptionally distinct and well marked petrographical province, being composed of consanguineous rocks of very interesting and rather unusual type. These are characterized by a high content of alkali and in the main intrusion of almost every mountain two distinct types are found associated with one another, representing the products of the differentiation of the original magma.

"These are—

"It may be mentioned that yamaskite is a very basic rock type characterized by a great predominance of pyroxene, basaltic hornblende and ilmenite, with about two per cent of anorthite. Rougemonite consists largely of anorthite with pyroxene as the only important ferro-magnesian constituent. Rouvillite is a highly feldspathic variety of theralite.


"Mount Royal consists of a body of intrusive plutonic rock penetrating the nearly horizontal limestone of the Trenton formation (Ordovician). It consists of two main intrusions composed of essexite and nepheline syenite respectively, of which the nepheline syenite is the later followed by a swarm of dykes and sheets of consanguineous rocks which cut not only the main intrusions, but also penetrate the surrounding limestones in all directions. The intrusive rock in some places tilts up the limestones while elsewhere about the mountain these maintain their horizontal attitude. The intrusion may be essentially laccolitic in character, or it may represent the plutonic basis of a volcano. The erosion has been so long continued that it has been impossible as yet to reach a definite conclusion on this point.

"The greater part of the plain through which the mountain rises, and which is underlaid by Ordovician strata, is mantled by drift which also covers the slopes of the mountain. This drift, and in some places the underlying rock, has been terraced by a series of well defined beaches, which mark the successive stages of the retreat of the sea at the close of the Glacial age.

"The City of Montreal is built upon these drift deposits, and lies upon the slopes of Mount Royal and upon the plain about its foot. The development of the city was largely influenced by the position of the main beaches above mentioned.

[Pg 21]

"At a number of places on the slopes of Mount Royal and in its vicinity there are remarkable developments of igneous breccia. This has as a matrix one or other of the dyke rocks of the series, while the included fragments consist in part of the Trenton limestone, often associated with fragments of the other underlying stratified rocks traversed by the dykes in their upward passage. These fragments are frequently so numerous that they constitute a large part of the whole mass. Perhaps the most remarkable of these breccias is that which occurs on St. Helen's Island in the harbor of Montreal, and which is unique among these occurrences in that it contains fragments of rocks which are more recent in age than any of the sedimentary strata now found in the district.

"At the present time a tunnel, about three and a half miles in length, is being driven through Mount Royal by the Canadian Northern Railway, in order to gain an entrance from the westward to their proposed terminals in the vicinity of the corner of Dorchester and Ste. Monique streets, in the City of Montreal. It has afforded an excellent opportunity of studying the distribution of dykes, sheets, etc., as well as fresher specimens of many of the rock types of the district. Already about two miles and a half of the sub-heading have been driven. More minute description, in detail, of the various explored strata of rock is to be found in the same work."


[1] The company is said to be 110.

[2] This commission was dated October 31, 1534.

[3] Stadaconé is the site of Quebec. Stadaconé is "wing" in Huron Iroquois, so called because of the formation of the point between the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles rivers.

[4] The translation of the second voyage of Jacques Cartier which we are using with his permission is that made by Mr. James Phinney Baxter and published in 1906 in his "Memoir of Jacques Cartier." We have not chosen Hakluyt's for the following reasons: In the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris there are three contemporary manuscripts, numbered 55 5644 and 5653, which vary very slightly. That numbered 5653 was probably the copy used for a publication of the second voyage issued at Paris in 1545 under the title of "Bref Récit" and appeared translated into English by Hakluyt in 1600. In comparing the other manuscript it has been found that numerous errors and omissions occurred in the version printed under the title of the Bref Récit including the omission of two entire chapters. Doctor Baxter has therefore translated the manuscript 5589 and it is a portion of this that we present to the readers.

[5] Hochelaga is Huron Iroquois for "at the Beavers Dam."

[6] This might indicate that there were chaplains with Cartier, if he had perhaps not deluded the savages, as likely he did.

[7] The history of the efforts of the Montreal merchants to deepen the channels dates from the same cause. The success of the navigation to Montreal has followed the varying increases in depth of this channel.

[8] The present Sorel Islands, the streams being the channels between them.

[9] The Algonquin word is Mooskouessou.

[10] Maize or Indian corn.

[11] Lescarbot has it caracona. The word is Huron Iroquois.

[12] "Esnogny," the wampum of the Abenaki.

[13] Shells.

[14] Cartier's Canada was limited to the region between the Isle Bacchus and Hochelaga.

[15] The Lachine Rapids.

[16] The Ottawa.

[17] Probably from the region of Lake Superior.

[18] Donnacona, Dom Agaya and Taignoagny were baptized, as it appears by the register of St. Malo. Donnacona, being the so-called King of the Savages, was doubtless named François for the king. The following is a translation in the entry in the registry: "This day, Notre Dame XXVth of March, the year one thousand five hundred and thirty-eight, were baptized three savage men from the party of Canada, taken in the said country by the honest man, Jacques Cartier, captain for the King, our Sire, for the discovery of the said lands. The first was named Charles, by the venerable and discreet master Charles de Champ Girault, dean and canon of the said places principal sponsor; and secondary sponsor, Monsieur the Lieutenant and Seigneur de la Verderye; and godmother Catherine Des Granges. And the second was named François, the name of the King, our Sire, by the honest man, Jacques Cartier, principal godfather; and secondary godfather Master Pierre le Gobien; godmother, Madame le Lieutenant Seigneur de la Verderye. The third was named —— by Master Servan May —— of the said place, and secondary godfather, Jehan Nouël; and godmother Guillemette Maingard."

[19] Montreal is known in Iroquois as "Tioktiaki" which the Abbé Faillon has identified as Tutonaguy.

[20] Sandham's "Ville Marie Past and Present."

[Pg 23]






As the origin of Montreal is bound up so closely with the history of the colonization of La Nouvelle France, it is well to place it in relation with this movement, otherwise Montreal will appear as detached from its mission in the growth and development of Canada.

The date usually assigned for the discovery of Canada is April 5, 1409, but the knowledge of Canada begins only with Jacques Cartier. Long, however, before him, the fishing grounds of Newfoundland had seen navigators from Dieppe, St. Malo, La Rochelle, Honfleur and other ports of France, besides [Pg 24] those of Cornwall, Devonshire and the Channel Islands. Brave mariners, Normands, Bretons and Basques, besides being familiar with Newfoundland, knew vaguely of the existence of Canada, although that name had not been yet attached to this country. Other nations also were represented in these fishing regions, but it was reserved to Cartier definitely to discover it, and to Francis I of France, to attempt to colonize and christianize it.

It must be conceded that the religious policy played a great part, as the commissions granted to Cartier, Champlain, and others, as well as the report of these and the relations of their discoveries, amply testify. Lescarbot, no good Catholic, acknowledges that: "Our kings in enterprising these movements for discovery, have had another end than that of our neighbours (the English and the Dutch). For I see by their commissions that these smack only of the advancement of the Christian religion without any present profit."

It is this lofty missionary spirit that we must read into the adventurous motives of the first discoverers and founders of Canada—La Nouvelle France—of Quebec and Montreal in particular, else nothing but a sordid desire for trade, mixed perhaps with adventure, is to be the story of the origin of our great country. Unless the religious character and close touch with the supernatural, possessed by the first inhabitants are appreciated, the romance of the accounts of the early historians will have no attraction for our readers nor will the key to the understanding of the history of Canada till the occupation by the British in 1760 be supplied.

We must look upon Jacques Cartier, when as the bearer of a Royal Commission, he left St. Malo, on April 20, 1534, to conquer new lands for Christianity, as dignified by this side of his duty—to promote the glory of God and that of France. Consequently his progress up the River St. Lawrence to Hochelaga is marked by such incidents as the distribution of rosaries and pious objects, emblems of the faith he believed in, and the planting at Gaspé of a cross thirty feet high, in the middle of which was a shield with three fleurs de lis, with the inscription, cut into the wood, "Vive Le Roi de France." His course and that of Champlain, up the St. Lawrence is strewn with a number of places named after the festivals of the church, all dignifying an otherwise prosaic catalogue of discoveries. The cross and the crown of France may therefore be considered the emblems of the French occupation.

It is not the purpose of this book to detail Cartier's voyages, three of which we have recounted by himself, those of 1534, 1535-36, and 1540. We have, however, chosen several extracts from the second voyage, as these relate especially to Montreal. We wish to gather the results of his work. He left no permanent settlement and established no trading posts but he claimed the land for France and his accounts to the king and the ministers and his published voyages of the country of Canada, Hochelaga and Saguenay, kept before his countrymen the existence of a great land in the West worth the colonizing.

Cartier's commission in the first voyage was that of "Captain and Master Pilot of the King;" in the second, "Captain General and Master Pilot." When he was sent on his third voyage, a new element entered into the view of Canada. At the head of the expedition was placed a gentleman of Picardy, Jean François de la Rocque Seigneur de Roberval, whom Francis I playfully styled the Petty King of Vimeux, and whom he appointed his lieutenant and governor in the [Pg 25] countries of Canada and Hochelaga, with Jacques Cartier as "the Captain General and leader of the ships." His commission is dated October 20, 1540. This was to be the first colonizing movement.

Jean François de la Rocque's letters patent were granted by Francis I, on January 15, 1540. It reads, having learnt of the discovery of countries, "the which have been found furnished with very good commodities, and the people thereof well formed in body and limb and well disposed in disposition and understanding, of which have also been brought us others having the appearance of good inclination. In consideration of which things we have considered and determined to send again into the same countries of Canada and Hochelaga and others circumjacent, as well as into all transmarine and maritime countries inhabited, not possessed nor granted, by any Christian princes, some goodly number of gentlemen, our subjects, as well men of war as common people of each sex, and other craftsmen and mechanics in order to enter further into the said countries; and as far as into the land of the Saguenay and all other countries aforesaid, for the purpose of discoursing with the said peoples therein, if it can be done, and to dwell in the said lands and countries, there to construct and build towns and forts, temples and churches in the communication of our Holy Catholic Faith and Christian doctrine, to constitute and establish laws in our name, together with officers of justice to make them live according to equity and order and in the fear and love of God, to the end that they may better conform to our purpose and do the things agreeable to God, our Creator, Saviour and Redeemer, which may be to the sanctification of His Holy Name and to the increase of our Holy Faith and the growth of our Mother of the Holy Catholic Church, of the which we are said to be and entitled the first son," etc.

The text of the letters patent following is a very long one, it enters most minutely, and in a most legal and formal manner, into the details of the powers of the governor which are to be very great and foresee a thoroughly organized kingdom with all the elements of feudalism with his fiefs and seigneuries—in fact a Nouvelle France!

On January 15th, Roberval's Royal Commission empowering him to take the means for the equipment, was signed at Fontainebleau. It gave to "our said lieutenant full authority, charge, commission and special mandate to provide and furnish of himself all things necessary to said army and to levy or cause to be levied in all parts, places and precincts of our realm as shall seem to him good, paying therefor reasonably, and as is meet, and to take men of war, or artisans and others of divers conditions in order to carry them with him on the said voyage, provided that this may be of their own good will and accord, and likewise also provisions, victuals, arms, artillery, arquebuses, powder, saltpeter, pikes and other offensive and defensive weapons, and generally all clothing, instruments and other things suitable for the equipment, despatch and efficiency of this army," etc. The supply of volunteers for this expedition does not seem to have been sufficiently encouraging, for, dated February 7th, we have an order by Francis I, for delivery of prisoners to Jehan François de la Rocque. This document after re-stating the terms of the commissions, already given, in view of the wish of the King that the expedition shall sail on the 15th of April, at the latest, states "and on account of the long distance from the said country and the fear of shipwreck and maritime risks, and others regretting to leave their goods, relatives [Pg 26] and friends, fearing to make the said voyage; and, peradventure as a number, who would willingly make the same journey, might object to remain in the same country after the return of our said lieutenant, by means of which, through want of having a competent number of men for service, and other volunteers to people the said countries, the undertaking of the said voyage could not be accomplished so soon, and as we desire, and as it is requisite for the weal of the human creatures dwelling in the said country without law and without knowledge of God and of his holy faith, which we wish to increase and augment by a great zeal, a thing if it were not accomplished, which would cause us very great regret, considering the great benefit and public weal which would proceed from the said enterprise, and as we have enjoined and verbally commanded our said lieutenant to diligently execute our said will and intention, to depart and commence the said voyage by the fifteenth of April next ensuing, at farthest if it can be accomplished," etc. * * * "We desire to employ clemency, in doing a good and meritorious work, towards some criminals and malefactors, that by this they may recognize the Creator by rendering him thanks and amending their lives, we have thought proper to have given and delivered to our said lieutenant, his clerks and deputies, to the full number that he shall advise of the said criminals and malefactors detained in the jails and state prisons of our parliament and of other jurisdictions, * * * such as they shall desire to choose and select, condemned and judged as has been said, always excepting the imprisoned criminals to whom we are not accustomed to give pardon * * * commuting the penalty of death into an honest and useful voyage, with the condition that when the said persons return home again from the said voyage without permission from us, they shall be executed in the place in which they may have been condemned, immediately and without hope of pardon."

An extract from the Parliament Registers at Rouen of March 9th, giving power to Roberval to have the prisoners transferred from its jails to him limits the choice somewhat by "excepting the prisoners who shall be held in cases and crimes of heresy and high treason in the first degree, of counterfeiting money and other too monstrous cases and crimes."

Roberval could not get his party together for April. Indeed it seemed that he needed Jacques Cartier's assistance, for on October 17, 1540, we find him receiving a commission similar to Roberval's to take over fifty prisoners. In this charge he is allowed and permitted "to take the little galleon, called L'Emerillon which he now has of us, the which is already old and rotten, in order to serve in repairing those of the ships which shall have need of it," without rendering any account of it. But it was not till May 23d of the year following, 1541, that Cartier set sail with five ships, well furnished and victualed for two years. He went without Roberval, because as the King had sent Cartier letters "whereby he did expressly charge him to depart and set sail immediately upon the sight and receipt thereof, on pain of incurring his displeasure, and as Roberval had not got his artillery, powder and ammunitions ready he told Cartier to go on ahead and he would prepare a ship or two at Honfleur whither he expected his things were to come. Having mustered and reviewed "the gentleman soldiers and mariners which were retained and chosen for the performance of the said voyage, he gave unto Captain Cartier full authority to depart and go before and to govern all things as if he had been there in person."

[Pg 27]

So Cartier sailed away, on May 23d. We will leave the misfortunes on the way to be read in Cartier's memoir of the third voyage. At last, however, Cartier arrived at the mouth of what is now Cape Rouge River and found a spot where a fort should be built on the high point now called Redclyffe. This fort he called Charlesbourg Royal, doubtless after Charles, Duke of Orléans, son of Francis I. He put three of the vessels in haven, and after the two others were emptied of all that was destined for the colony, Cartier sent them back and with them in command Marc Jalobert, his brother-in-law, and Etienne Noël, his nephew, to tell King Francis that they had begun to construct a fort, but that Monsieur de Roberval was not yet come and that he feared that by occasion of contrary winds and tempests he was driven back to France. They departed for St. Malo on September 2d.

Things were progressing at the fort; the land was tilled and the fort was begun to be built; but now a party consisting of Cartier, Martin de Painport, with other gentlemen, and the remnant of the mariners, departed with two boats "with victuals to go as far as Hochelaga of purpose to view and understand the fashion of the Saults of water." The Viscount de Beaupré stayed behind for the guarding and government of all things in the fort. Cartier's party reached the rapids passing Tutonaguy, which we identify as the site of Montreal, but we have no record of his staying there. Cartier's memoirs of the voyage break off here. However, as we are interested only in the colonizing movement, we get sufficient information from Roberval's account of his voyage of the fate of the Charlesbourg attempt. Roberval says that Cartier left for France at the end of September, 1541, and that he himself after having set sail from Honfleur, on the 16th of April, 1542, arrived at Newfoundland on the 7th of June following, where he found Cartier on his way home. Cartier explained that he had left the fort because he had not been able, with his little troupe, to resist the savages who roamed daily around the fort, and were very harassing. However, Cartier and his men praised the country highly, as being very rich and fertile, adding that they had taken away many diamonds, and a certain quantity of gold ore which Roberval examined and found good. Roberval had arrived with three great vessels fitted out at the expense of the King, with 200 souls, men and women and some gentlemen, among them being the Sieur de Lenneterre, his lieutenant, Lespinay, his ensign, the Captain Guinecourt, and the pilot, Jean Alphonse. He ordered Cartier to retrace his steps to Charlesbourg, believing that the new recruitment was able to resist the attacks of the enemy. But Cartier, and his following, departed secretly the following night. Whether or not this flight was disloyal, or born of fear, or of vainglory, since Roberval asserted, that Cartier had fled being desirous of getting first to France to acquaint the king of his discoveries, certain it is that it was wise. For this first royal colonizing party composed of so many men and women from the jails of France was fated to be a most lamentable failure. Famine and lawlessness marked its sojourn at Charlesbourg. It was well that New France should not be born of such material for citizenship. This voyage has an interest for Montrealers in that Roberval passed by it on a voyage to the Sault.

Cartier never seems to have been blamed by the king for his desertion of Roberval, but, it is said, he was sent back to recall him for more useful service in France. Of this fourth voyage of Jacques Cartier we have no record. We find him settled in France, ennobled and known as the Sieur de Limoilou, although [Pg 28] there is a tradition, not well founded, that he made a fifth voyage to Canada. He lived an honoured man in St. Malo to his death. In the margin of the old record of the Town of St. Malo under date of September 1, 1557, we find the following:

"This said Wednesday about five o'clock in the morning died Jacques Cartier."

Cartier's name is no longer to be associated with the further history of Canada, except in the memory of a grateful people, who will come to admire the memory of this brave sailor, daring adventurer, missionary and historian—the discoverer of Canada and Montreal. We shall see, however, how this spirit of enterprise for Canadian extension was carried on by his nephews.

We cannot help feeling sorry for Roberval. He was a young man of energy and had great ideas as a colonizer. He went out, according to Charlevoix, with the Royal Commission as "Lord of Norumberga, Viceroy and Lieutenant General of Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland, Belle-Isle, Carpunt, Labrador, the Great Bay and Baccalaos." He was recalled for more useful service!

After Cartier had ceased visiting the St. Lawrence, the care of the French government for the development and colonization of Canada seems to have been neglected from 1543 to 1603. Cartier's discoveries were not appreciated; it was reserved for Champlain three-quarters of a century later, to follow in his footsteps. As Champlain is the trader par excellence of Canada and of Montreal, we may now briefly trace the history of our trade.

Although discovery and colonization were so long abandoned still the banks of Newfoundland and the mouth of the St. Lawrence were frequented yearly by hardy Normans and Bretons as before, for the cod and whale fishery there. [21] Trading with the natives in peltry became insensibly mingled with the occupation of fisherman and Tadoussac grew to be a public market for this sort of commerce and exchange. There we would have found many good friends of Jacques Cartier, among them Capt. Marc Jalobert, his brother-in-law, who visited Hochelaga in 1535 and Etienne Noël, his nephew, also a sturdy captain under Cartier in his third voyage. There, too, would have been Jacques Noël, his great-nephew, who reports in a letter of 1557 that he had gone on his uncle's traces up the St. Lawrence as far as the Great Sault. This visit to Hochelaga makes us interested in him, the more so, as it was this Noël, associated with Sieur de la Jaunaye-Chaton and the nephew of Jacques Cartier, who in 1558 applied to Henry III for a charter similar to that granted by Francis I to their uncle, appealing for this favour on the ground that their uncle had spent, from his own pocket in the service of the king in the voyage of 1541, a sum in excess of that which he had received from the king, and had been allowed no recompense; nor had indeed his heirs. Warned by the failures and the expenses of the past the King demurred. Cartier's nephew then compromised. They offered to renew their uncle's design and to form a French colony in Canada to Christianize the savages, all at their own expense, provided that the king would grant them the sole privilege for twelve years of trading with the inhabitants, principally in peltry and that he [Pg 29] would forbid interference of rivals with them in this privilege and in the exploitation of a mine discovered by them. To this the King consented by a favour of January 14, 1588. This monopoly, the first of its kind, was soon revoked at the instance of jealous rival traders of St. Malo who obtained a revocation of the charter on the 5th of May following for they considered that the good things coming from Jacques Cartier's discoveries were to be shared in by all of St. Malo, since they belonged to all and not to his nephews alone.

This attempt to obtain a private monopoly having failed, we are surprised to find a monopoly being granted in 1589 by Henry IV to a gentleman of Brittany, the Sieur de la Roche, apparently in accordance with a promise given verbally or otherwise by Henry III at sometime before his assassination in August, 1659. This document was one similar to that granted by Francis I to Roberval and it made de la Roche the king's lieutenant governor in New France—with real vice-regal privileges. The commission differed in this from Roberval's that it gave power to the lieutenant general to choose merchants to accompany him and forbade all others to trade in the same regions without his consent under penalty of confiscation of merchandise and vessels. Again a miserable fiasco was to take place. The lieutenant governor had to draw upon the jails and galleys for his colonists. He arrived with sixty men under the direction of pilot Chedotel at Sable Island, twenty-five leagues to the south of the Island of Cape Breton. Arrived there he disembarked, according to Lescarbot, the greater part of those he had drawn from the prisons, left them provisions and merchandise, and promised to return for them as soon as he had found on the mainland, a suitable place for settlement. Taking a little bark, he went to the Acadian coast, but on returning was surprised by so violent a wind that he was driven back to France in less than twelve days. The fate of the abandoned colonists had better be told by Champlain. In the description of his voyages, dedicated to Cardinal Richelieu and published in 1632, Champlain's criticism of de la Roche's expedition was "that the fault of this attempt at colonizing was that this marquis did not have some one experienced in such matters explore and reconnoitre, before assuming so excessive an outlay." On the other hand we can be glad that Canada did not start her origin as a colony with such stuff as composed the greater part of Roberval's and de la Roche's consignments.

In 1598 the Edict of Nantes had been published in France and it was soon to affect Canada in this wise. In France it had restored civil and religious liberty to the Huguenots, Protestants or French Calvinists. The spirit of conciliation was in the air and Huguenots now began to take their place in the judicature and financial posts, and in the army. Next year we find a sailor merchant of St. Malo named Dupont Gravé soliciting a commission for Sieur Chauvin, of Normandy, a Huguenot, a man of great skill and experience in navigation, captain in the King's navy and of some influence at the court. As the King remembered the good services of M. Chauvin he granted a monopoly to him on the condition that no one should trade in Canada unless he had Chauvin's permission and should settle in the country and make a home there. Chauvin was to bear all the expenses, and he was to take 500 men to fortify the country and defend it, and to teach the Catholic faith to the Indians.

Tadoussac was chosen as the headquarters. Thither Chauvin and Dupont Gravé and a Huguenot, Pierre Dugas, Sieur de Monts, a prospector who came[Pg 30] out on "pleasure," went with an advance party. Tadoussac had been well enough for a summer trading post but, says Champlain, "if there is an ounce of cold forty leagues up the river there is a pound at Tadoussac." However, they fixed up a guardlike building of wood, 25 feet long by 18 wide, and 8 feet high. This was to harbour seventeen men and provisions. "Behold them there very warm for the winter," chuckles Champlain, who had no love for the Huguenots. The leaders went to France and during the winter the settlement at Tadoussac was "the Court of King Pétaud; each one wished to command. Laziness, idleness, and the diseases that attacked those remaining, reduced them to great want and obliged them to give themselves up to the savages, who kindly harboured them and they left their lodging. Some died miserably; others suffered a great deal while waiting for the return of the ships." In the next year a second voyage as fruitless as the first was made, by Chauvin. He assayed another but fell into an illness which sent him to another world. We have Champlain's comment in the account published in 1632 on this attempt at colonization. "The trouble with this undertaking was giving to a man of opposing religion a commission to establish a nursery for the Catholic Apostolic and Roman faith [22] of which the heretics have such a horror and abomination. These are the defects that must be mentioned in regard to the enterprise."

After the death of Chauvin, the same commission of lieutenant general was applied for, by Eymard de Chastes, Knight of Malta, Commander of Lormetan, Grand Master of the Order of St. Lazarus and Governor of Dieppe. Henry IV granted it and de Chaste should have made a good colonizer for he intimated that in making his application it was in the intention of betaking himself thither in person and of devoting the rest of his years to the service of God and that of his king, but he was not to live long. In order to meet the expenses of the expedition Commander de Chastes formed a company of several of the principal merchants of Rouen and elsewhere. He chose the explorer, Dupont Gravé, to direct the flotilla as before to Tadoussac, and he desired him to associate with himself in his further explorations for which he had received a commission from the king, a young captain of Saintonge, who had already given undoubted proof of his ability as a zealous, courageous and intelligent explorer.

This was none other than Samuel de Champlain, whose name is to be connected this very year of 1603 with Montreal and more lastingly in 1611. He is to become entitled to be called the founder of La Nouvelle France. De Champlain had been living at Dieppe after his return from a visit of two years to the West Indies and New Spain, for which he had started early in 1599 in command of a French ship chartered by the Spanish authorities and in which he had sailed under his uncle, a man of distinction, in the previous year. During this period he had the opportunity of observing and studying a European colony before trying to found one himself. His "Brief discours des choses plus remarquables que Samuel Champlain de Brouage a reconnues aux Indes Occidentales, au voyage qu' il y a fait," was the result of this experience.

[Pg 31]

Champlain was now thirty-six years of age, having been born about the year 1567 at Brouage, a small seaport town in the old province of Saintonge, southeast of Rochefort and opposite the island of Oléron. Champlain's father was a sailor, being a captain of the marine; his uncle's position we have seen. Hence we do not wonder, when he tells us of himself: "From my earliest years the art of navigation attracted me, made me love the sea and drove me to expose myself nearly all my life to the wild waves of the ocean. It has made me explore the coasts of a part of the lands of America, and principally those of 'La Nouvelle France,' where I have always had the desire to cause the lily to flourish with the only Catholic religion, Apostolic and Roman." But Champlain was also a soldier, for, having taken up the cause of Henry IV in the troublous times of the League, he had served in Brittany under Maréchals de Daumont de St. Luc and de Brissac and held during several years the rank of Maréchal de Logis in the royal army. He held this position till May 2, 1598, when peace between France and Spain was established by the treaty of Vervins. Then again he turned to the sea and went with his uncle to Spain, and afterward to Spanish America as we have said. On his return he seems to be in favour with, and in the service of, the King. He is in receipt of a pension, either for his services in the army, or, as it has been supposed, because the King, having been shown the notes and topographical sketches taken by Champlain in his late voyage, had given him the title of Royal Geographer; but when Commander de Chastes, who doubtless also had seen the manuscripts, offered him a post in his new expedition, Champlain told him he must obtain the king's permission for him to embark as indeed de Chastes did. Moreover, the king commissioned Champlain to report faithfully on his discoveries.

So Dupont Gravé and Champlain set out for Tadoussac and on the 18th of June, reaching it, made for the Grand Sault. They passed by Quebec, "which is a strait of the River of Canada, and anchored till Monday, June 28th, and thence proceeding examined and named Three Rivers and found it good for a future settlement." Finally on Wednesday, July 2, the feast of the Visitation, they reached the entrance of the Sault. We will reserve this visit to its proper chapter. After their exploration on July 4th they turned back to Tadoussac and thence to France, where they learned of the death of the worthy Commander de Chastes at Dieppe on Tuesday, May 13, 1603. To replace de Chastes, that same Sieur de Monts, who prospected Tadoussac with Chauvin, now took command of the reins of government as lieutenant general, having applied for a similar charter as the last. He was a Huguenot and was Governor of Paris for the Protestant party. He continued the same association, employing Dupont Gravé and Champlain. With them was the gentleman adventurer, the Sieur de Poutrincourt. They set sail from Havre on the 7th of March, 1604, this time for Acadia. A site, since called "Port Royal," was chosen by Poutrincourt and granted on condition he should return.

After having abandoned Acadia in 1607, de Monts now turned his attention to Canada. He did this the more readily because the king gave him for one year the exclusive right of the fur trade. Champlain, hitherto a man subordinate, was charged by the lieutenant general as his lieutenant. Champlain sailed from France on the 13th of April, arrived at Tadoussac on the 3d of June and ascending the St. Lawrence, named Cape Tourment and Montmorency Falls [Pg 32] and, reaching Stadaconé, he chose that place called Kébec by the natives and began to take possession of it in the name of M. de Monts, and to construct a fort. Champlain's instinct as a city planner was distinctly manifested in the choice of the bold promontory whose bases are washed by the Rivers St. Lawrence, Cap Rouge and St. Charles and whose outlook from the promontory above is one of the grandest in the world. There were twenty-eight men sent by de Monts for the expedition. A plot having arisen among these to kill Champlain, one of the conspirators was beheaded and three others were sent back to France. Soon, also, some twenty died of scurvy or of dysentery caused by the eating of eels to excess. The colony was now a cipher. Meanwhile, in France, de Monts' one year's monopoly was revoked owing to the jealousy of the merchants there. The question of the sale of the habitation of Quebec came up, as the post appeared to be unnecessary if there was to be no monopoly. Sieur de Monts remained governor general. Seeing the danger of de Monts' enterprise breaking up, through the trading with the savages being thrown open to other traders, Champlain began to look out for himself and to cast his eyes on the Great Sault as a trading post for himself. Thither he now went, as shall be related hereafter.

About this time, as the prohibition of trading had been removed from private individuals, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the river was a scene of rival barks of greedy, avaricious, envious people without harmony and without chief. On his return to France as de Monts wished to resign his command, Champlain went to court to get permission to form a company with exclusive rights and he was advised to invite Charles de Bourbon, Count of Soissons, to accept the governor generalship on the ground that his powerful protectorate would control order among the traders in Canadian waters. This was accepted, and after the necessary documents had been made out, but before being published, the count died. The Prince de Condé, Henri de Bourbon, then accepting the protectorate, received his commission, and named Samuel de Champlain his lieutenant. But the commission was not published, owing to representations being made to the Prince de Condé that such an association was prejudicial to trade. The delay was doubtless annoying to Champlain. However, as the old company was not yet dissolved, Champlain, not wishing to lose the fur trade for the current year, ran off again to Canada. On his return to France he went to Fontainebleau, where the King and the Prince of Condé were.

Champlain was now successful as a company promoter. He contrived to get his opposing merchants to come into the scheme themselves, and form a company, of which they made him the managing director in Canada, with a yearly salary of two hundred écus for looking after their interests. The Prince of Condé became the governor general and the commission gave a monopoly for eleven years. The usual powers were given as we have seen before of absolute power, the proviso of bringing the savages to the light of the Holy Roman and Catholic and Apostolic religion being included as usual. This seems strange considering that all the merchants of the new company were Huguenot Protestants.

On arriving in Canada Champlain soon made his first great mistake. He was about to commence the great work of colonization of La Nouvelle France, in which he was to succeed, but his first important step was a great blunder and one from which La Nouvelle France was to suffer for many years. The whole story [Pg 33] of the Iroquois attacks, which terrorized the French settlements and Montreal for so many years, is bound up in the policy now initiated by the colonial builder of Canada. It will be remembered that in the commissions granted to those sent out to Canada, side by side with the duty of taking every means to attract the natives to Christianity, was the privilege to contract alliances with the natives and if they did not keep their treaties to force them by open warfare, and to make peace or war—but all this, be it understood, in accordance with the dignity of a great power and following established methods of diplomacy. Champlain's fault lies in this, that having arrived in Canada in the spring of 1605 as the representative of the king of France, he was tempted, for the sake of the petty reason of securing traffic facilities, to jeopardize the future by taking sides with the Algonquins and Hurons, who were then in open warfare with the Iroquois. Instead of remembering that the future peace of the colony depended on his neutrality, he went with the few men of the colony against the Iroquois, and with his modern weapons caused deadly havoc among the bewildered Iroquois, who thenceforth became the irreconcilable enemy of the Frenchmen. They never forgot this needless intrusion of the Frenchmen into their quarrels; thus they were implacable in their attacks on their Algonquin allies, and were ready later to ally themselves with the English in their campaign against the colony. It certainly made the work of Christianizing and civilizing the people later very difficult. Champlain's blunder at the battle of Lake Champlain on July 29, 1609, has been avoided in subsequent colonization schemes of other nations as far as possible. This is one of the uses of history.

Champlain's Fight with Iroquois

So far we have seen that the two chief conditions, on which the trading companies were granted their monopolies, were those of taking steps to colonize and to Christianize. Neither had been observed. The merchants were there for business and nothing else. Be it said, however, to Champlain's credit that he was more ready than any of the others to carry out both conditions. In 1615 he secured the four Recollect Fathers of whom we shall speak. Their memoirs reveal a pitiable state of irreligion, and apathy towards the policy of French colonization and Christianizing the natives. Thus in Quebec, in 1617, there were only fifty to sixty Frenchmen, in 1620 only sixty men, women and children and religious all told. There seems to have been only one family, that of the colonist, Louis Hébert, and he had a sorry time to make a living. Louis Hébert was an apothecary and thus he was useful to be tolerated, by the merchants. Some day Hébert will have a monument raised to Him to commemorate his efforts to commence agriculture in Canada.

Towards the end of the year Champlain's blunder begins to have its fruits, for the savages around Quebec determined to exterminate the French settlement. In the sequel, they satisfied their vengeance by killing only two secretly, but it was a sign of more to follow. Meanwhile what were the gentlemen with the high sounding titles of governor general and viceroy of the king doing to carry on the wonderful scheme outlined in their commissions? They were like modern titled directors of speculating companies, drawing their fees. Thus the Prince of Condé drew 1,000 écus, then while he was in prison his successor to the fees, the Maréchal de Thémines drew 5,000, to be followed by 11,000 drawn by the Duke de Montmorency, a young man of twenty-five years, [Pg 34] appointed governor general in 1618. This was a drain on the merchants. Still it was better than losing their privileges.

The new governor general, Montmorency, appointed Champlain his particular lieutenant. In fact, Champlain may be called the acting governor. This looked at last like a real attempt to make a true settlement. Champlain now brought Madame de Champlain out and others, and with them Madame Champlain brought her furniture. The Recollect Father, Denis Jamay, came back with two other Recollects. The day after arrival at Quebec, after mass and a sermon in the chapel exhorting all the colonists to obedience to the king, they all assembled and the commission of His Majesty to Montmorency was read, as well as that of Montmorency to Champlain as his lieutenant. The cannon spoke amid the cries of "Vive le Roi" and Champlain took possession of the Habitation in the name of the Duke of Montmorency. It became Government House. Obliged by his commission to carry on justice, Champlain now looked out for the most capable men in the country to act with him on the bench of justice. The king's procuratorship fell to Louis Hébert, while the office of lieutenant de prevost was taken by Gilbert Coursera, and a man named Nicholas became the clerk of the Court of Quebec. Champlain took the direction of the "police."

Building activities were now taking place. The Recollects commenced the foundations for a convent and a seminary, for the native children, under the name of Notre Dame des Anges, the stone being laid by Father Jean d'Olbeau on June 3d. Champlain began to build another habitation on the hill which he named the Fort St. Louis. He also began tilling the ground and making a garden, a work which he delighted in. He was seconded in such enterprises by the Recollects. He next prepared to receive cattle. But there were only forty-five people at the habitation and the company was not sending more. In order to better things Montmorency in 1621 formed another company opposed to that of which M. de Monts was still head and he placed in command two Huguenots, Guillaume de Caen and Emery de Caen, uncle and nephew. The new company was opposed to the old but a union was effected between them: still with no better results. In the beginning of 1625 Henri de Lévy, Duke de Vantadour, a pious nobleman who afterwards became a religious, succeeded his uncle, the Duke de Montmorency, as governor general. Negotiations pending the introduction of Jesuits, on the request of the Recollects, were now concluded. Accordingly he sent at his own expense Fathers Lalement, Brébeuf, Massé and two lay brothers, who arrived in the absence of Champlain and were coldly received by de Caen, who offered them no hospitality. The Recollects, however, entertained them at their convent, for two years and a half, until their own buildings were ready. In 1627, a year of great famine, the above company was supplanted by the famous Company of One Hundred Partners or Associates.


[21] For the purposes of trade the connection with Canada never ceased. In 1578 there were 100 French vessels at Newfoundland besides 200 Spanish, Portugese and English vessels. (Kingsford, Vol. I, Page 12.)

[22] In a note by Kingsford, Vol. I, Page 24, he wishes to substantiate his theory that Champlain was Huguenot by quoting his words: "C'est plus facile de planter la fois Chrestienne" as meaning Christianity distinguished from the Roman Catholic point of view. Taken in conjunction with these words above Kingsford's theory cannot be upheld.

[Pg 35]






The name of Samuel de Champlain is next to be more closely associated with Montreal. For, although the date connecting him with his first visit to this site is 1603, and that of Cartier's visit in 1535, Montreal had not been visited or dwelt upon by any distinguished European that we can attach a name to, with any certainty.

During all this time, according to tradition, sad things had occurred at Hochelaga.

"The fate of this Indian town," says Mr. Arthur Weir in "Montreal, the Metropolis of Canada," "is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. There is reason to believe that here was enacted a tragedy similar to that which resulted in the destruction of Troy. According to Mr. Peter Dooyentate Clarke, the historian of the Wyandots, himself a descendant of the tribe, the Senecas and Wyandots, or Hurons, lived side by side at Hochelaga, until in an evil moment a stern chief of the Senecas refused to permit his son to marry a Huron maiden. The damsel thereupon rejected all suitors and promised to marry only him who should kill the chief who had thus offended her.

"A youthful Huron, more amorous than wise, fulfilled the terms of the vow and won the girl. But the Senecas adopted the cause of their murdered chief, and made war upon the Hurons, whom they almost exterminated with the assistance of the other tribes of the Iroquois, driving their more peaceful and civilized neighbours to the very lake that now bears their name." However true or false this legend, it is certain that when Champlain visited the island in 1603 the Indian town was gone and desolation prevailed.

[Pg 36]

Another version of the same tradition is given by Mr. Bourinot, in "The Story of Canada," where he tells the popular tradition handed down by the Indians, "that the Hurons and Iroquois, branches of the same family, speaking dialects of one common language, were living at one time in villages, not far from each other,—the Hurons probably at Hochelaga and the Senecas on the other side of the mountain. It was against the law of the two communities for their men and women to intermarry, but the potent influence of true love, so rare in an Indian's bosom, soon broke this command. A Huron girl entered a cabin of an Iroquois chief as his wife. It was an unhappy marriage, the husband killed the wife in an angry moment. This was a serious matter, requiring a council meeting of the two tribes. Murder must be avenged or liberal compensation given to the friends of the dead. The council decided that the woman deserved death, but the verdict did not please all her relatives, one of whom went off secretly and killed an Iroquois warrior. Then, both tribes took up the hatchet, and went on the warpath against each other, with the result, that the Village of Hochelaga, with all the women and children, was destroyed, and the Hurons, who were probably beaten, left the St. Lawrence and eventually found a new home on Lake Huron."—See Horatio Hale's "Fall of Hochelaga" in Journal of American Folklore, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1894.

If Cartier was the discoverer of "Hochelaga," the Island of Montreal, it is to Champlain's honour that he was the first trader and the first designator of the site of the present City of Montreal. He was the first city planner in that he saw the possibilities of Montreal as a trading port, having all the attractions for a future settlement. It had a beautiful mountain with gentle slopes to the river at its base, and a natural harbour; it was the natural rendezvous of all the tribes bordering on the river beyond the saults, the last of which is that now known as the Lachine Rapids; it was the port for the fur trade of the hinterland beyond. Both Cartier and Champlain also noted the wonderful fertility of its soil and the beauty of its surroundings. As then, so today, Montreal's position, placed at the head of Atlantic navigation, the natural headquarters of the Gulf trade, that of the St. Lawrence and of the Great Lakes, centre of attraction and terminus of all the great railroads of the West and from the United States, secures it an undoubted future as a great commercial centre. It is to Champlain's credit that in his own day he realized the geographical value of Montreal as a trading centre, indicated by the natural laws for shipment and transportation, albeit he contemplated it only with the limited vision of a fur trader whose clients were the savages from the back country and their freight vessels, canoes laden with peltry. He looked ahead.

Champlain the First Trader
The first trader at Montreal

In July, 1603, Champlain reached the rapids of the sault above Montreal. Champlain says that it used to be called Hochelaga but now the Sault. When he reached it there was nothing of the old villages left. Luckily Champlain was a cartographer and historian, and we have the account of visits to Montreal which we now reproduce; but it must be remembered that he always speaks of the site as "the Sault," "the grand Sault," or "the Sault St. Louis."

The first quotations shall be from the account of his voyage in 1603. This was published in 1604 in Paris under the title, "Des Sauvages, ou Voyage de Sammuel Champlain de Brouage faict en la France Nouvelle, l'an mil six cens trois." This was made into English and published in "Purchas', His Pilgrimes," London, 1625.

[Pg 37]

"At length we came this very day to the entrance of the Sault or Fall of the Great River of Canada with favourable wind; and we met with an Ile, which is almost in the middest of the said entrance, which is a quarter of a league long, and passed on the South side of the said Ile, where there was not past three, four or five feet water, and sometimes a fathome or two, and straight on the sudden we found again not past three or foure foot. There are many Rockes and small islands, whereon there is no wood, and they are even with the water. From the beginning of the aforesaid Ile, which is in the middest of the entrance the water beginneth to run with a great force. Although we had the wind very good, yet we could not with all our might make any great way; neuerthelesse wee passed the said Ile which is at the entrance of the Sault or Fall. When wee perceived that we could go no further, we came to an anchor on the North Shoare ouer against a small Iland, which aboundeth for the most part with those kinds of fruits which I have spoken of before. Without all delay we made ready our Skiffe which wee had made of purpose to pass the said Sault: whereinto the said Monsieur du Pont and my selfe entered with certaine Sauages, which we had brought with vs to show vs the way. Departing from our Pinnace, we were scarce gone three hundred paces, but we were forced to come out, and caused certain mariners to free our Skiffe. The canoa of the Sauages passed easily. Wee met with an infinite number of small Rockes, which were euen with the water, on which we touched often times. There be two great Ilands one on the North Side which containeth some fifteene leagues in length, and almost as much in breadth, beginning some twelve leagues vp within the River of Canada, going towards the River of the Irocois and endeth beyond the Sault. The Iland which is on the South Side is some four leagues long and some halfe league broad. There is also another island which is neare to that on the North Side which may bee some halfe a league long, and some quarter broad; and another small iland which is between that on the North Side, and another nearer to the South Shoare, whereby we passed the entrance of the Sault. This entrance being passed, there is a kind of Lake, wherein all these Ilands are, some five leagues long and almost as broad, wherein are many small Ilands which are Rockes. There is a Mountaine neere the said Sault which discovereth farre into the Countrie and a Little River which falleth from the said Mountaine into the Lake. On the South Side there are some three or foure Mountaines which seem to be about fifteen or sixteen leagues within the Land. There are also two Rivers; one which goeth to the first Lake of the River of the Irocois by which sometimes the Algoumequins invade them: and another which is neer unto the Sault, which runneth not farre into the countrey."

On this voyage he describes the Sault. Since he is later, in 1611, to shoot it, we may record his impression of it in 1603. "At our coming neere to the said Sault with our Skiffe and Canoa, I assure you, I neuer saw any stream of water to fall down with such force as this doth; although it be not very high, being not in some places past one or two fathoms, and at the most three. It falleth as it were steppe by steppe: and in euery place where it hath some small height, it maketh a strong boyling with the force and strength of the running of the water. In the breadth of the said Sault, which may containe some league, there are many broad Rockes, and almost in the middest, there are very narrow and long Ilands, where there is a fall as well on the side of the said Iles which are toward the [Pg 38] South, as on the North Side: where it is so dangerous that it is not possible for any man to pass with any boat how small so-euer it be."

In his voyage in 1603 he makes mention of an island of a quarter of a league in length and of another on the north about fifteen leagues long which overlooked the lands for a long distance. He does not mention the name of either, but the former was St. Paul's island or Nuns' island and the latter Hochelaga. Up to Champlain no one has recorded or noticed that Montreal was an island.

As early as 1610 Lescarbot had remarked that of all the islands in the River St. Lawrence, the most suitable for commerce was without contradiction that of Montreal. ("La Conversion des Sauvages Baptisés en Canada.")

Champlain certainly looked upon the locality of the Sault as a suitable place for a permanent establishment, when he commenced operations at Place Royale. He continued in this belief.

"My Savage Arontal," he says in his "Voyages of 1615-1616," published in 1627, "being at Quebec that to attract his people to us we should make a habitation at the Sault, which would give them the surety of the passage of the river and would protect them against their enemies and that as soon as we should have built a house, they would come in numbers to live with us as brothers, a thing which I promised them and answered them I would do as soon as possible."

There is reason to believe that the spot he had in mind to do this is the island which he had noted in his voyage of 1603, but to which he later gave the name of St. Helen. [23] This is most probable in view of his late marriage five months before with Hélène Boullé, for it could not have been given, as other names in the river had been, owing to the coincidence of a church feast day with the day of discovery, for Champlain arrived at Place Royale on the 28th of May and the feast of St. Helen fell on the 18th of August following, when he was in France.

We know that Champlain had gone to the "Sault" in 1603, but he makes no mention of the site of Montreal in his account. However, with regard to the year of 1611, he gives us many interesting details.

From these excerpts from the account of 1603 we may, therefore, sum up the following conclusions: (1) that (according to Laverdière) the place where Champlain "came to an anchor on the North Shoare over against one small island," was the little island formerly existing opposite the Place Royale (which was not, however, named till 1611) and now joined to the main land by the present harbour piers; (2) that incidentally he thus indicates the site of the present harbour of Montreal; that Champlain was the first to note that Montreal, or Hochelaga, was an island, this being deduced from his description of the great island (not named by him) "on the north side which continueth some fifteen leagues in length and almost as much in breadth," etc; (3) that the "mountain neere the said Sault which discovereth farre into the country" is the same as that named by Jacques Cartier as Mount Royal while "the Little River which falleth from the said mountain into the lake" is the Rivière des Prairies; (4) that while he gives no names beyond that of Sault yet he has left us a very clear indication that he was familiar with the site of the present Island of Montreal. From the above quotations there is no explicit mention of the suitability of the Island of Montreal as a future trading post, yet there is little doubt but that Champlain had it in his mind as such when the occasion should serve.

Figurative Map
Sketch of Sault St. Louis (Kahnawake) and part of the south shore of the Island of Montreal made by Champlain in 1611
(See opposite page for explanation)


[Pg 39]

Their adventurers afterward went up to the Sault which became the goal of many of the "free" traders and prospectors who coursed the St. Lawrence during the period, already described, of the temporary removal of the prohibition against private traders. Certain it is that as early as 1610 Lescarbot had remarked that of all the islands in the river St. Lawrence the most suitable for commerce was without contradiction that of Montreal. (Cf. "La Conversion des Sauvages Baptisés En Canada.") But it was reserved for Champlain in 1611 to put this notion into effect and to become the pioneer trader and the first harbour builder of Montreal. His own narration of the events of 1611 may serve to prove these claims.


"In the year 1611, I took back my savage to those of his tribe, who were to come to Sault St. Louis, intending to get my servant whom they had as a hostage. I left Quebec, May 20 (21), and arrived at these great rapids [24] the 28th of the month. I immediately went in a canoe with the savage which I had taken to France and one of our men. After having looked on all sides, not only in the woods, but also along the river bank, to find a suitable place for the site of a settlement, and to prepare a place in which to build, I went eight leagues by land, along the rapids through the woods, which are rather open, and as far as the lake, [25] where our savages took me. There I contemplated the country very much in detail. But in all that I saw I did not find any place at all more suitable than a little spot which is just where the barks and shallops can come easily, either with a strong wind or by a winding course, because of the strength of the current. Above this place (which we named La Place Royale), a league from Mount Royal, there are a great many little rocks and shoals, which are dangerous."


"And near this Place Royale there is a little river running back a goodly way into the interior, all along which there are more than sixty acres of cleared land, like meadows, where one might sow grain and make gardens. Formerly savages tilled there. There were also a great number of other beautiful meadows, to support as many cattle as one wishes, and all kinds of trees that we have in our forests [Pg 40] at home, with a great many vines, walnuts, plum trees, cherries, strawberries and other kinds which are very good to eat. Among others there is one very excellent, which has a sweet taste resembling that of plantains (which is a fruit of the Indies), and is as white as snow, with a leaf like that of the nettle, and running on trees or the ground like ivy. Fishing is very good there, and there are all the kinds that we have in France, and a great many others that we do not have, which are very good; as is also game of all kinds; and hunting is good, stags, hinds, does, caribous, rabbits, lynxes, bears, beavers and other little animals which so abound that while we were at these rapids we never were without them."


"After having made a careful exploration, then, and found this place one of the most beautiful on this river, I at once had the woods cut down [26] and cleared from this Place Royale, to make it level and ready for building. Water can easily be made to flow around it, making a little island of it, and a settlement can be made there as one may wish.

"There is a little island [27] twenty fathoms from this Place Royale which is about one hundred paces long, whereon could be put up a good, well defended set of buildings. There are also a great many meadows containing good potter's clay, whether for bricks or to build with, which is a great convenience. I had some of it worked up, and made a wall of it four feet thick, and from three to four feet high and ten fathoms long, to see how it would last in the winter when then the floods came down, which in my opinion, would not rise to this wall although the land is about twelve feet above that river, which is quite high."


"In the middle of the river there is an island about three-quarters of a league in circumference, where a good and strong town could be built and I named it Ile de Ste. Hélène. [28] These rapids descend into a sort of lake where there are two or three islands and some beautiful meadows."

[Pg 41]


"While waiting for the savages I had two gardens made: one in the meadows and the other in the woods which I had cleared; and the second day of June I sowed some seeds in them, which came up in perfect condition and in a little while, which showed the goodness of the soil.

"I resolved to send Savignon, our savage, with another, to meet those of his country, in order to make them come quickly; and they hesitated to go in our canoe which they distrusted, for it was not good for much."


"On the seventh I went to explore a little river [29] by which sometimes the savages go to war, which leads to the rapids of the river of the Iroquois. [30] It is very pleasant, with meadows on it, more than three leagues in circumference, and a great deal of land which could be tilled. It is one league from the great rapids [31] and a league and a half from Place Royale.

"On the ninth our savage arrived. He had been a little way beyond the lake, [32] which is about ten leagues long, that I have seen before. He did not meet anything there, and could not go any further, because their canoe gave out and they were obliged to return."

This savage reported the loss of the life of a young man, Louis, who had lost his life in the rapids. There is a discussion as to whether Champlain called the rapids the Sault "St. Louis" in commemoration of this event or in honour of Louis XIII of France, who began reigning the year previously and from whom Champlain had received a commission to build storehouses for the fur trade near the rapids. The solution I leave to the choice of the reader. At this time "Heron" island at the St. Louis rapids received its name. There seems no doubt that if Champlain had as thoroughly investigated the possibilities and advantages of climate, soil and natural position as a trading centre of Montreal in 1603 as he did in 1611, he would have chosen Montreal, for the settlement in 1603, instead of Quebec, which was after all de Monts' choice. In the account of 1603 Champlain had said: "The air is softer and more temperate than at any other place that I have seen in this country."

In this same account of 1611 we get a picture of the first trading reported at Montreal which is worth recording.


"On the 13th of this month (June 13, 1611), 200 Huron savages with the chiefs, Ochateguin, Iroquet, and Tregourote, brothers of our savage, brought[Pg 42] back my lad. We were very glad to see them, and I went to meet them with a canoe and our savage. Meantime, they advanced quietly in order, our men preparing to give them a salvo with the arquebuses and some small pieces. As they were approaching, they began to shout all together, and one of their chiefs commanded their addresses to be made, in which they praised us highly, calling us truthful, in that I had kept my word to them, to come to find them at these rapids. After they had given three more shouts, a volley of musketry was fired twice, which astonished them so much that they asked me to tell them that there should not be any shooting, saying that the greater number of them never had seen Christians before, nor heard thunderings of that sort, and that they were afraid of its doing them harm.... After a good deal of discourse they made me a present of 100 beavers. I gave them in exchange some other kinds of merchandise."


These Indians camped about with Champlain for some days till they returned to their own part of the rapids, "some leagues into the woods." Champlain accompanied them. He now tells of his historic shooting the rapids which we may place as happening on the 17th of June, 1611.

"When I had finished with them I begged them to take me back in our despatch boat. To do this they prepared eight canoes to run the rapids, and stripped themselves naked, and made me take off everything but my shirt; for often it happens that some are lost in shooting the rapids; therefore they keep close to one another, to aid one another promptly if a canoe should happen to capsize. They said to me, 'If by chance yours should happen to turn over, as you do not know how to swim, on no account abandon it, but hold on to the little sticks that are in the middle, for we will save you easily.' I assure you that those who have not seen or passed this place in these little boats that they have, could not pass it without great fear, even the most self-possessed persons in the world. But these people are so skillful in shooting these rapids that it is easy for them. I did it with them—a thing that I never had done, nor had any Christian, except my youth—and we came to our barks where I lodged a large number of them."

The next day, the 18th of June, the party broke up; Champlain set out for Quebec, which he says he reached on the 19th, shortly to leave for France. He describes the parting at Montreal thus: "After they had traded the little that they had, they separated into three groups—one to go to war, one to go up the rapids—they set out on the 18th day of this month, and we also."

The quotations I have chosen cover nearly four weeks of Champlain's dwelling at his new post. I have let him speak himself. The picture he draws enables us to construct in our imagination the picturesque situation of our city at this time.


In 1613 Champlain tells us in his journal published in 1632, that having left Quebec on March 13th he arrived at the Sault on the 21st. He does not mention stopping at his trading post at Place Royale; he must have visited it [Pg 43] and done some trading and put his boats up; but he set out on May 27th in his canoes "from the Isle of St. Hélène" with four Frenchmen and a savage. His object was at present to discover the Mer du Nord, lately discovered by Hudson and of which a map had appeared in Paris in 1612. One of the four Frenchmen with him in his canoes was named Nicholas de Vignau. This man had been sent in preceding years to make discoveries for Champlain and in 1612, while in Paris, this man reported to Champlain that he had seen this same "Mer du Nord." Champlain consequently took him with him to lead the way, with the result that can be judged from his own description of de Vignau, as "the boldest liar that had been seen for a long time." It was on this fruitless exploration that on the Portage route by way of Muskrat and Mudlakes, Champlain lost his astrolabe, the instrument then used for astronomical observation. Near this place he ceases giving the correct latitudes as he had been doing. Two hundred and fifty-four years later, a farmer on an August day unearthed an old brass astrolabe of Paris make, dated 1603. We may safely conclude it was Champlain's.

On the voyage up the Ottawa he described the visit to Allumette Island, 45° 47'. "After having observed the poorness of the soil, I asked them how they enjoyed cultivating so poor a country, in view of the fact that there was some much better, than that they left deserted and abandoned at the Rapids of St. Louis. They answered me that they were obliged to do so to keep themselves secure and that the roughness of the place served them as a bulwark against their enemies. But they said that if I would make a settlement a Frenchman at the Rapids of St. Louis, as I had promised to do, they would leave their dwelling place to come and settle near us, being assured that their enemies would not do them harm while we were with them. I told them that this year we should make preparations with wood and stones to make a fort next year and cultivate the land. When they heard this they gave a great shout, as a sign of applause. After this the conference finished."

After having explored the Ottawa River they returned from the fruitless search for the Northern sea on June 17th and continued their course till "we reached the barks and were saluted by some discharges of canon, at which some of the savages were delighted and others very much astonished, never having heard such music. Having landed, Sieur de Maisonneuve [33] de Saint Malo came to me with the passport for three vessels from Monseigneur the Prince. As soon as I had seen it, I let him and his men enjoy the benefit of it, like ourselves, and had the savages told that they might trade the next day." The place of the barks would, undoubtedly, be the little harbour at Place Royale described in the account of 1611, and near his trading fort.

[Pg 44]

After having made de Vignau confess himself of his lie, "as the savages would not have him, no matter how much I begged them, we left him to the protection of God." Champlain then left for Tadoussac, at which he arrived on July 6th, whence he shortly sailed to France.

Modern Tadoussac

On this journey in France, Champlain set about to secure clergy and through the intervention of Sieur Hoüel, secretary of the king, he got the Recollect Fathers whom he said "would be the right ones there, both for residence at our settlement and for the conversion of the infidels. I agreed with this opinion, as they are without ambition and live altogether in conformity to the rule of St. Francis."

On April 24, 1615, Champlain left Honfleur with four Franciscan Recollects Denis Jamay, Jean d'Olbeau, Joseph le Caron and the lay brother, Pacifique du Plessis, reaching Tadoussac on May 25th. The Recollects he left at Quebec whence he hastened to the Sault, soon to be followed by Father Jean le Caron. The importance that Champlain gives to his trading post at the rapids to which he hurried will be seen from the following quotation. On arriving at Tadoussac, "we began to set men to work to fit up our barks, in order to go to Quebec, the place of our settlement, and to the great Rapids of St. Louis, the great gathering place of the savages who come there to trade. Immediately upon my arrival at the rapids I visited these people who were very anxious to see us and delighted at our return, from their hopes that we would give them some of our number to help them in their wars against their enemies. They explained that it would be hard for them to come to us if we did not assist them, because the Iroquois, their old enemies, were always along the trail and kept the passage closed to them. Besides I had always promised to aid them in their wars, as they gave us to understand through their interpreter. Whereupon I perceived that it was very necessary to assist them, not only to make them love us more, but also to pave the way for my undertakings and discoveries, which to all appearance could not be accomplished except by their help; and also because this would be to them a sort of first step and preparation to coming into Christianity; and to secure this I decided to go thither and explore their country and aid them in their wars, in order to oblige them to show me what they had so many times promised to.

"I had them all gather to tell them my intention, upon hearing which they promised to furnish us 2,500 men of war, who would do wonders, while I on my part, was to bring, for the same purpose as many men as I could; which I promised them, being very glad to see them come to so wise a decision. Then I began to explain to them the methods to follow in fighting in which they took a singular pleasure. When all the matters were decided upon, we separated with the intention of returning to carry out our undertaking."

This alliance which Champlain then made against the Iroquois will help to explain the prolonged animosity of these against the Hurons, and later their allies, the settlers of Ville Marie, under Maisonneuve. But, as yet Champlain's fort was only a summer trading post, and such it remained till 1642. He had it in his mind to make it a regular settlement, and it would seem likely to become so.

On the occasion of the above gathering mass was said by the Recollects for the first time in Canada, at least since the time of Cartier.

[Pg 45]

We may briefly narrate the events leading up to this. Owing to the trading monopolies being granted on condition that the conversion of the savages to the Catholic faith should be attempted and owing to the discontentment existing at the continued unfulfillment of this condition, de Monts and other merchants found that they would have to take means to comply with it or lose their monopoly.

The merchants were keener on the peltry trade than on the civilization of the country. They did not welcome colonists from France nor did they desire the Indians to settle down in their neighbourhood. They wanted them to get busy to bring in their furs. They were there for business solely, although their charter said otherwise.

So it was, with bad grace, they had to yield. Champlain must, however, be disassociated from this opposition. For he had willingly undertaken the negotiations to obtain the Recollect Fathers through the intermediary of the pious Sieur de Hoüel, the controller general of the salt mines of Brouage, one of the few members of the de Monts company that was not a Huguenot; accordingly after some negotiations during the winter of 1614 and 1615, the four Franciscan Recollects mentioned, three priests, Denis Jamay, superior, Jean d'Olbeau, Joseph le Caron, and Brother Pacifique du Plessis embarked with Champlain at Honfleur on April 24, 1615, on the St. Etienne, one of the company's ships commanded by Dupont Gravé. They arrived at Tadoussac in a month.

On their arrival in Quebec in the beginning of June three of them stayed to lay out their dwelling and build their chapel, but Father Joseph le Caron, a very eager and apostolic man, went straight off to the Indians at the Sault. Becoming quickly acquainted with the mode of life of the natives there and desirous of their conversion to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, he determined to spend the winter with them. "In Canada and its Provinces," Father Lewis Drummond says that on his journey down, le Caron met Champlain and Father Denis Jamay at Rivière des Prairies. They tried to persuade him not to winter with the Indians. But he hastened to Quebec, reaching it on June 20, and on his return to Rivière des Prairies met Champlain and Father Jamay there, and mass was celebrated. His object in hurrying back to Quebec was to obtain the necessary altar equipment and other missionary necessaries.

On arriving at the Isle of Montreal he met Champlain and his canoes at the entrance of the Rivière des Prairies. These no doubt were preparing for the exploration of the Ottawa.

There on June 24, 1615, the feast of St. Jean Baptiste, afterwards taken for the patronal feast of Canada, Fathers Denis and Joseph sang mass at their portable altar on the banks of the Rivière des Prairies. "With all devotion," Champlain chronicles, "before these peoples who were in admiration at the ceremonies and at the vestments which seemed to them so beautiful as being something they had never seen before; for these religious are the first who had celebrated the holy mass there." [34] (This solemn occasion was followed by the chanting of the Te Deum to the accompaniment of a fusillade of small artillery with all the pomp that circumstances permitted.) Father Denis Jamay [Pg 46] went back to Quebec to minister to the French Catholics and to form a sedentary mission for the natives; while there also he could excur to Threvers as a mission post. He was helped by Brother Pacifique du Plessis. Jean le Caron now joined a band of Hurons and passed the winter with them in one of their stockades called Carhagouaha defended by a triple palisade of wood to the height of thirty feet. Father Jean d'Olbeau departed for Quebec, on December 2d, to share the fortunes of the Montagnais below Tadoussac.

First Mass in Canada
(After George Delfosse)

While treating of the early history of the Recollects we may now anticipate by a few years a circumstance of tragic importance. In the year 1625 there occurred at the Sault-au-Récollet an event which has given it its name. This year, the Recollect father, Nicholas Viel, had gone two years before with Fathers Joseph le Caron and Gabriel Sagard, to the country of the Hurons. They were now invited by the Hurons to descend the river to trade with the settlement at Quebec. Father Viel had accepted the invitation because he wished to make his annual spiritual retreat at the Convent of Notre Dame des Anges and he took with him one of his Indian neophytes, whom he had instructed and baptized, a young boy named Ahuntsic. Among the convoy, in the same canoe, were some Indians who were secretly ill disposed to the missionary and when they found themselves separated from the other canoes by bad weather on the river, they fell upon Father Viel and Ahuntsic in the last sault near to Montreal and the swift flowing rapids soon submerged them in their deep waters. The spots of Ahuntsic and Sault-au-Récollet commemorate this event although the disaster occurred at the latter place as said.

Martyrdom of the Recollet Viel
(After George Delfosse)

Later in the summer of 1615 Champlain redeemed his pledge to explore the Indian country. On the 9th of July, 1615, Champlain left the fort with two men, one of whom was his servant, and another an interpreter, and ten savages to manage the two canoes on a voyage of exploration. Father le Caron had already gone ahead. Champlain's expedition with the allied tribes into the country of the Iroquois was one of the most important undertakings of his life—both on account of the length of the journey and the knowledge he obtained of the lake region. He lost prestige by this journey, however, both with the Indians and his French Canadians. It is not to our purpose to follow him on this voyage but we cannot refrain from mentioning the Huron village of Carhagouaha which lay between Nottawasaga Bay and Lake Simcoe. It was to this village that Father le Caron bent his steps, and where Champlain joined him on August 12th. The triple palisades, long houses, containing several households and other distinctive features of the village of Hochelaga discovered by Cartier, were there reproduced. He returned to the post at the end of June, 1616, and there he found Sieur du Pont. "We also saw," he says, "all the holy Fathers (Father Jamay and Brother du Plessis) who had remained at our settlement and they were very glad to see us and we to see them." Thus the Recollect fathers having left "our" settlement at Quebec had come up to Montreal as we may call the post at the Rapids. From their arrival dates the ecclesiastical life of our city and the introduction of Christianity. Champlain left the Sault on the 8th day of July, 1616, reaching Quebec on July 11. Shortly, on August 3d, he sailed to France.

Champlain was a good advertising agent, as the following shows: "During my sojourn at the settlement I had some of the common corn cut—that is, the French corn that had been planted there—which was very beautiful, in order[Pg 47] to carry some to France, to show that this soil is very good and fertile. There was also some very fine Indian corn and some grafts and trees that we had brought thither." This contrasts favourably with the gloomy report given to France by Jacques Cartier of the Canadian climate, which doubtless influenced the delay of organized colonization. It is evident that Champlain was still thinking of making Montreal a permanent settlement. From the memoirs of 1615-16 we learn that Champlain before leaving for France took with him to Quebec an Indian, Daronthal or Aronthal, whom he called his host. This man, after admiring the buildings and the civilization of the settlement of Quebec, and being desirous that his people should become better acquainted with the religion of the Christians "in order to learn to serve God and to understand our way of living," suggested that they should be attracted to live with the settlers.

"He suggested," says Champlain, "that for the advancement of this work, we should make another settlement at the St. Louis rapids, so as to give them a safe passage of the river, for fear of their enemies; and said that once they would come in great numbers to us to live there like brothers. I promised to do this as soon as I could." Daronthal was sent back with this promise to his companions at St. Louis rapids, but it was reserved for Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, twenty-six years later to carry it out.


[23] Through the intervention of and in the presence of Pierre du Gas, Sieur de Monts, as the matrimonial contract dated Paris, December 27, 1610, states, Champlain had contracted to marry after two years Hélène de Boullé, a young girl not yet in her twelfth year and not yet marriageable, the daughter of Nicolas Boullé, secretary of the King's Chamber, a Huguenot like his friend de Monts. In this contract Champlain made her heiress of all the property that he might be able to leave, and her parents consented to give him before the marriage 6,000 livres.

On the 29th of December, in the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, Champlain was handed over four thousand five hundred of the promised livres. On the next day the marriage took place. Hélène Boullé became a Catholic after two years. Shortly after the marriage Champlain left for New France, leaving his wife behind. We find him at the Grand Sault on May 28, 1611.

[24] The Lachine Rapids.

[25] Lake of Two Mountains.

[26] Dollier de Casson says in his "Historic de Montréal" that Champlain cut down many trees for firewood and also to guarantee himself against ambuscades.

[27] Ile Normandin.

[28] Registers of Notre Dame record that, on the 19th of August, 1664, two young men, Pierre Magnan and Jacques Dufresne, were slain here by Iroquois.

It was used sometimes by the French as a military station; for in June, 1687, the Chevalier de Vaudreuil posted both the regular troops and the militia there in readiness to march against the Iroquois. Thither it is alleged the Marquis de Lévis, commanding the last French army in 1760, withdrew, and here burnt his flags in the presence of his army the night previous to surrendering the colony to the English. Louis Honoré Frechette, the national French-Canadian poet, bases upon this his poem, entitled "All Lost but Honour."

In 1688 the island was acquired by Charles Le Moyne, Sieur de Longueuil, who gave the name of Ste. Hélène to one of his most distinguished sons. During the eighteenth century (from before 1723), his descendants, the Barons of Longueuil, whose territory lay just opposite, had a residence here, the ruins of which, once surrounded with gardens, are to be seen upon it on the east side. The Government acquired it from them by arrangement during the War of 1812, and later by purchase in 1818, for military purposes. It ceded the park portion to the city in 1874.

Almost adjoining it, at the lower extremity, is Ile Ronde, a small low island.

Both islands are interesting geologically from the occurrence there of a remarkable breccia containing inclusions of Devonian Limestone, and also from the existence of some rare types of dyke rock.

[29] The St. Lambert River.

[30] The Richelieu.

[31] Sault St. Louis Rapids, now known as the Lachine Rapids.

[32] The Lake of Two Mountains.

[33] Who is this Maisonneuve appearing as a privileged trader with the passport of the prince, doubtless the Prince de Condé, Henri de Bourbon, viceroy of Canada and head of Champlain's company? Evidently he was a person of some consequence from the ease with which Champlain granted him permission to trade at his settlement. Can it be, as Kingsford and others ingeniously try to prove, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who was later to found Montreal as a settlement in 1642, acting for "La Compagnie de Montreal?" (1) No. Chomedey was from Paris; the de Maisonneuve mentioned above is from St. Malo. (2) de Maisonneuve was a common enough name. There were even several of that name in Montreal in 1667.

[34] Mass was only said at Quebec for the first time on June 25, 1615, by which time they had built their chapel. The priority of the Island of Montreal in its claim to the first mass is substantiated by the "Mémoires des Recollects" of 1637 which distinctly say that "the first mass was celebrated at Rivière des Prairies and the second at Quebec."

[Pg 49]






On April 29, 1627, Richelieu, the Superintendent of Marine and Commerce, securing the resignation of the Duke de Vantadour and annulling the privileges of de Caen and his associates with suitable indemnities, formed a new association under the title of the "Hundred Associates of the Company of New France," among whom were many gentlemen of rank. It was resolved that in the following year of 1628 a colony of two to three hundred men of all trades, all professing the Catholic religion, would be sent over—to be increased in the following fifteen years to four thousand, of both sexes. At that time the sole population of New France was seventy-six souls.

It is well here to consider the conditions of the charter now given, for it is the ground plan of all subsequent French Canadian colonization schemes, and Montreal will be affected by it. We have seen the Huguenots were now to be excluded (not, however, from engaging in commerce in Canada, but only from settling there). From all points of view, political and religious and colonial, this was necessary. To show that there was to be no harshness in the execution of this we may only point out that Champlain was in charge and he knew Huguenots well and had worked harmoniously with them. We have seen that since the companies had been mainly Huguenots, colonization had not succeeded owing to mutual jealousies. If Canada was to be saved, it was by colonization, and this could never be carried out with a divided people. Even Huguenots realized this point. For at the time they were enjoying full privileges of citizenship as has been said. Hence it was only by imposing law and order and uniformity [Pg 50] of religious belief, that happy and contented communities could be expected to spread in Canada.

Richelieu at this time was eager to form a powerful navy and he thought the possession of thriving colonies would advance the scheme. Hence it was a wise policy that was now inaugurated. Unfortunately engrossing interests at home did not allow Richelieu to pursue his scheme for government promotion of colonization on the broad basis originally projected by him.

To carry out the conditions of receiving the number of colonists the King obliged the Company of One Hundred Associates to lodge, board and maintain for three years all the French they should transport to the colony. After which, they could be discharged from their obligation, if they had put the colonists in the way of making their own living, either by distributing them on cleared land and supplying them with grain for a first crop, or otherwise. To provide for the maintenance of the established church there should be three ecclesiastics in each of the settlements to be formed during fifteen years, maintained in food and lodging and in everything necessary for the exercise of their ministry. In compensation for their outlay in advance, the king handed over to the Associates the Seigneury of Quebec and of the whole of New France, with the reserve of fealty and homage and a crown of gold of the weight of eight marks, to be paid at each succeeding reign, and finally, of the institution of officers of Sovereign Justice to be nominated and presented by the Associates, when it should be deemed proper to have them appointed. Moreover, Louis XIII made a gift to the Associates of two war vessels of three hundred tons, ready equipped for sailing, and four culverins, with this clause, however, that if at the end of the first ten years they had not carried over fifteen hundred French of both sexes, they should pay the price of the aforesaid vessels. Among other privileges the king granted twelve patents of nobility signed, sealed and delivered, with a blank space left for the names of those of the Associates who shall be presented by the company and who shall enjoy with their heirs, born in lawful wedlock, these privileges for all time, thus starting the Seigneurial Land Tenure system which in 1854 yielded to that of freehold.

With regard to commerce, the company should have perpetual privileges in the peltry traffic of New France, and for fifteen years only, all other commerce by land and sea with the reservation of the cod and whale fishery which should be free to all French traders. The colonists not maintained at the expense of the Associates should be free to trade with the natives for peltry provided that they forthwith hand over the peltry to the company which shall be obliged to purchase at the rate of forty sols, Tours currency, for each beaver skin. In consequence, the privileges accorded previously to Guillaume de Caen and his associates were revoked by the same edict, and trade in Canada was interdicted to them and other subjects of the kingdom, under pain of confiscation of their vessels and merchandise to the benefit of the new company. Cardinal Richelieu, however, allowed Guillaume de Caen, the privilege of the peltry trade for one year in indemnification for the loss of his charter.

So started the Company of the One Hundred Associates under the happiest auspices, endowed with almost sovereign power and having a leader of the state as its patron, for at its head was Cardinal Richelieu, who, without the title of lieutenant general which he perhaps thought unnecessary, seeing that he [Pg 51] connected the work of colonization with his position as head of the navy, exercised the same authority. On the 27th of April, 1628, Louis XIII sent Champlain his commission as "commander in New France in the absence of our very dear and well beloved cousin, the Cardinal de Richelieu, grand master, chief and superintendent of the navigation and commerce of France." Champlain did not receive his commission on behalf of the company until he reached Dieppe in 1629, after the occupation of Quebec by the English.

The first attempt to carry out the charter was in 1628, when vessels were equipped and victualled under the orders of de Roquemont, one of the chief associates. Their first object was to succour Quebec, then in famine. A number of artisans and their families started and never reached their destination, for in the gulf their ships were seized by David Kerth, a master mariner of Dieppe in pay of the English government and in command of its fleet attacking the colonies. War had broken out between England and France and hostilities soon extended to America, and a fleet of ships was sent to invade the settlements of New France and in particular to capture Quebec.

It is not our duty to tell the story of Quebec or to recount the noble defence of Champlain till the fall of the city on July 29, 1629, when Louis Kerth, the brother of the admiral, installed himself as the governor general, representing the English. The state of the colony at the end of this siege interests us. Of the French, there only remained at Quebec the families of the widow of Hébert and of their son-in-law, Couillard, and these intended to leave after the harvest, but in the event they were constrained to stay. The rest passed over by way of Tadoussac into France and with them Champlain, who went to England to call upon the French ambassador, urging him to demand the restitution of Quebec on the ground that it had been captured two months after the expiration of the short war between the two nations. Canada as a province quoad civilia was under Normandy, and hence it became to be believed that it was also quoad sacra under Normandy.

The Taking of Quebec
(From Hennepin, Edition 1698.)

It is now 1632, the year of the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye when Acadia and Canada were again ceded to the French. For three years Louis Kerth kept Quebec in the name of England and on July 13, he formally handed over a heap of ruins to Emery de Caen, who conducted the first contingent of the returning French. "But for our habitation," says Champlain, "my people have found it utterly consumed along with good beaver skins valued at 40,000 livres."

Meanwhile, the Company of the Hundred Associates was again empowered to resume possession and Champlain was commissioned anew as acting governor of all the country along the St. Lawrence, and was appointed commander of the fleet of three vessels bearing new colonists. He arrived at Quebec with a good nucleus for the revived colony on May 23, 1633, and was received by a salute of cannon by Emery de Caen. Among the colonists brought by him there were persons of distinction who, wearied with religious dissensions in their own provinces, sought in New France that tranquility denied them in the old, and many rural labourers and artisans of different trades. As these were mostly from the diocese of Rouen, the clergy now arriving were the Jesuits, Fathers Massé and Brébeuf, sent under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Rouen. The Recollects were no longer allowed to return, on the ground that, theirs being an order which could not own property or revenues, they were unsuitable for a country where means were needed to gather[Pg 52] together the Indians in settlements in buildings in which they could band together to be instructed. The chapel of the Recollects destroyed by the English was rebuilt. The work of reconstruction of the settlement now began in earnest. What interests us now is to learn that on July 1st of this year Champlain, at the request of the Indian allies, sent many workmen to Three Rivers to construct a fort and a fur factory there. Although Three Rivers had been used as a trading post, it had only been so temporarily, in the same manner that Montreal, or the post of the Sault St. Louis, had been the meeting place for the natives and traders engaged in the fur traffic.

Fort Amsterdam on the Manhattan
This view of Fort Amsterdam on the Manhattan is copied from an ancient engraving executed in Holland. The fort was erected in 1623, but finished upon the above model by Governor Van Twiller in 1635.

At Quebec there was now great harmony. A lasting colony was established. Piety and religion flourished and the seeds of a good and noble population for Canada were sown. After many struggles success seemed now to be rewarding the efforts of Champlain. One shudders to think of what the future of Canada had been if the "convict" colonies of Roberval and la Roche had come to any permanency. We may note now two important movements helping to civilize the natives, which show the real desire of the new régime to fulfill its vocation. The first was the endeavour made by Champlain to nip in the bud the sale of intoxicating liquors to the natives in exchange for peltry already introduced by the preceding companies and by the English under Kerth. Champlain forbade anyone to trade wine or eau de vie with the natives under penalty of corporal punishment and the loss of their salaries as servants of the company. The second was the establishment by the Jesuits of a free boarding school for boys in the house of Notre Dame des Anges left them by the Recollects for the instruction of the Huron children. This method of civilization of the natives already employed by the Recollects was considered a most useful preliminary to the civilization of the natives by thus Gallicizing and Christianizing them, and attracted many.

Champlain's Fortified Residence at Quebec

That all these institutions were in line with Champlain's policy we see in Champlain's letter to Cardinal Richelieu, dated August 15, 1635. After saying that some of the Indians were sedentary and lived in villages and towns, while others were migratory hunters and fishers, all led by no other desire than to have a number of Frenchmen and religious teachers to instruct them in the faith, he adds, "We require but 120 men light armed for protection against the arrows. Possessing them, with two or three thousand more Indians, our allies, in a year we can render ourselves absolute masters of all these peoples by bringing among them the necessary good government and this policy would increase the worship of religion and an inconceivable commerce. The whole for the glory of God." In the last phrase we may see Champlain's whole policy unfolded.

But the days of Samuel de Champlain, Sieur de Brouage, were drawing to a close. To found this colony he had suffered many perils by land and sea, many fatigues, privations and opposition of friends and enemies. Paralysis now weakened his splendid physique and sturdy form, and after two months and a half of suffering he died on Christmas day, December 25, 1635. His death was most edifying, as the Jesuit chronicler relates. His obsequies were attended by the grief-stricken colony in a body, the settlers, the soldiers, the captains and the religious.

Father Lalemant officiated and Father Lejeune pronounced the funeral oration: Samuel de Champlain merits well of Canada. His death was apparently foreseen, [Pg 53] for after the above ceremony while the gathering was still present, letters which had been left in the hands of Father Lejeune by the Company, to be opened after the death of Champlain, were publicly read announcing the appointment by letters patent of the Messieurs de la Compagnie of M. Bras-de-Fer de Chateaufort, the commandant of the young fort at Three Rivers, as acting governor ad interim for Mgr. the Duke of Richelieu, while awaiting the successor of Champlain to be named by the king.

The arrival of the ships from France, the next year, were eagerly looked forward to, albeit with some anxiety, for France being at war with Spain many doubted whether they would arrive, but to their delight they came in greater number than could have been expected, and on the night preceding the eleventh day of June, the new governor nominated by the Company and approved by the king arrived. This was Charles Hualt de Montmagny, Knight of Malta. The reception he received next morning was most imposing. He was met officially at the harbour, and conducted to the chapel of Notre Dame de Recouvrance, and thence to the parish church where a Te Deum was sung with prayers for the king. Then he mounted to the fortress where M. de Chateaufort, the temporary governor, handed over the keys amid the roar of cannon and the salvos of musketry. With M. de Montmagny there arrived a convoy of forty-five colonists—a notable increase. Among these were some families of note such as those of M. de Repentigny and M. de la Potherie. Next year, there came others, with many persons of distinction. A certain element of official dignity now began to prevail. It was de Montmagny's chief work to organize and strengthen the defences of the colony in preparation against the attacks of the Iroquois. At Quebec the governor reinforced the redoubt built by Champlain on the river by a platform and added more cannon to the battery. This new military aspect of the colony is described by the chronicler in the "Relations of the Jesuits for 1636."

"The morning gun (or the beat of the drum at dawn in the garrison) awakens us every morning. We see the sentinels put on post; the guard house is always well manned; each squad has its days of duty. It is a pleasure to see our soldiers at military exercises in the sweet time of peace ... in a word, our fortress of Quebec is guarded in peace so as to be a place of importance, in the heat of war."

With the assistance of M. Chateaufort, reinstated as commandant of the growing fort at Three Rivers, the palisaded stockade there was reinforced with two main buildings, a storehouse and a platform for the cannons. These external signs of power were necessary to impress the natives, both their allies, the Hurons and Algonquins, should they prove treacherous, as well as the fierce Iroquois, the deadly enemies of both. The little garrisons had need to be well prepared for eventualities.

At this time several foundations in the colony were established, by private charity, to Christianize the natives and to encourage them to live a sedentary life and to till the ground. A mission village was built for them by the Jesuits in 1638 at Sillery, on the banks of the St. Lawrence, at a distance of four miles from Quebec, the funds being supplied by the charity of a member of the Hundred Associates, a distinguished commander of Malta, Noël Brulart de Sillery, a former Minister of State. At Three Rivers in 1641 similar action was taken. A third was desired by the missionaries at the Rivière des Prairies at the north of the[Pg 54] Island of Montreal, as a central position for missionary effort among the up-country tribes.

Tadoussac was visited by the missionaries from time to time, but was too desolate a spot to attract the natives to dwell there permanently. The Jesuits had thought of establishing themselves at Ile Jésus, for there is an act of August 16, 1638, giving it to them at Three Rivers and signed by Montmagny.

We have seen the establishment of a school for the Indian boys by the Jesuits. We are now to record a similar one for girls, but who should undertake inch a work for them? Two noble ladies of France were to answer this question. The year 1639 saw the arrival at Quebec, on August 1st, of a party of brave ladies whom we may know as the pioneers of all those numerous philanthropic organizations and good works controlled by the devoted women of Canada of today. These were the ladies sent from France by Madame la Duchesse d'Aiguillon, the niece of Cardinal Richelieu, and by Madame de la Peltrie, to assist the struggling colony there.

I will here introduce the reader to what are known as the "Relations." These are a series of letters or reports which were written by the Jesuit missionaries in Nouvelle France, starting from the arrival of Fathers Lalemant and Lejeune and continued long after. They have now been collected and published, and are the most valuable historical sources of this early period. They are written to the superiors of their order in France, sent by the Company's boats, and were the source of encouragement and inspiration to their religious brethren who eagerly read them and desired to follow in their writers' footsteps in the mission field of New France. Many others besides the Jesuits saw these letters. The news contained in them was eagerly looked for by many good ladies and gentlemen of France who were interested in the progress of this romantic settlement among the savages in a far-off land. The birth struggles of the new colony, the devotion and self sacrifices of the pioneers, attracted their imagination and stirred their sympathy and generosity. [35]

In 1634-35 Father Lejeune had written exposing the need of some establishment to take care of the girls abandoned by the Indians and of another for education similar to that, for boys, already constructed. This "Relation" was read by the niece of Cardinal Richelieu, Madame la Duchesse d'Aiguillon, and she wrote to the Jesuits: "God having given me the desire to aid in the salvation of these poor savages, after having read the report you have made of them, it seems to me that what you believe would be of most service to their conversion is the establishment of the Religeuses Hospitalières in New France; in consequence I have resolved to send there this year six labourers to clear the land and construct dwellings for these good ladies."

Paul Lejeune
The first writer in the Jesuit "Relations."

The foundation of a community of Ursuline nuns to undertake the education of the young Indian girls was also similarly inspired this year, by a good lady whose name is associated with the foundation of Montreal. This was Madeleine de Chauvigny, the widow of M. de la Peltrie, a gentleman of means who had died five and a half years previously. Madame de la Peltrie had long felt impelled to the religious life, but had been obliged by her father to marry. Being [Pg 55] now free she was anxious to devote her life to good works. But not having decided whether it should be in New France or elsewhere she fell dangerously ill, whereupon she made a vow that if she regained her health she would devote her life and her property to New France. She recovered quickly. It is related that the physician on visiting her, remarked in surprise: "Madame, your illness has fled to Canada." The coincidence of this remark with her own thoughts struck her imagination and her only thought was now to make the necessary preparations.

Madame de La Peltrie

There was at Tours an Ursuline nun named Mother Marie de l'Incarnation, who was very interested in New France. This was known to Madame de la Peltrie who now approached her so that shortly permission was granted by the Archbishop of Tours to Mother Marie to be joined by Mother Marie de Savonnine de St. Joseph of the same convent, and by Mother Cécile de Ste. Croix from the Ursuline convent of Dieppe. Thus it was that Madame de la Peltrie found herself at Quebec with these three and the three "Hospitalières" sent by Madame d'Aiguillon, viz.: Sisters Marie de St. Ignace, Superior, Anne de St. Bernard and Marie de St. Bonaventure.

Venerable Mere Marie de l'Incarnation

We must imagine the religious enthusiasm of the colonists at their arrival and the eagerness with which the two new institutions were begun, that of the hospital at Quebec and of the Ursuline convent at Sillery.

But soon gloom was cast upon the little colony. Money and workmen from the Company in France were needed and they came not. The explanation is that the small sum of 300,000 livres, the original capital subscribed by the One Hundred Associates, was dwindling, the expenses being necessarily great, and the company of ladies and gentlemen composing it, not being as practical as they were pious, so that although they placed the commercial side of their affairs in the hands of traders, these mainly looked after their own interests rather than those of the colony.

The development of the struggling institutions lately mentioned was hindered. To add to the general distress, on the 4th day of June, 1640, a fire quickly consumed the Church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance, the house of the Jesuits and the governor's chapel, which were all of resinous wood.

What a loss this must have been to the handful of colonists who numbered in all in the year 1641 only 200! The mention of this number reminds us of the charter given to the Company in 1627, and the reader is advised to turn back and see how its conditions of colonization have been filled. Outside the three religious communities and the persons engaged in their service, the rest was composed of the servants of the Company engaged in commerce. To add to their other troubles the Iroquois again began their hostilities, declaring war against the French and the Hurons. In the autumn of 1640 they captured two of the French belonging to the garrison of Three Rivers. These were eventually recaptured and the governor, M. de Montmagny, offered terms of peace if they would conclude a universal peace with the Huron allies. During the night, which the Iroquois had demanded to think over this proposition, they treacherously laid plans to fall upon the French next day, in which they were routed, escaping however at night in the shadows of the woods.

Meanwhile news had also arrived of the ill treatment of the Jesuit missionaries, Chaumont, Garnier, Poncet and Pijart, scattered away the Indian tribes. All Quebec was in alarm and consternation, and nowhere was there more fear than [Pg 56] at the Indian village under the charge of the Hospitalières sisters at Sillery, four miles from the garrison. Such was the depression in the colony that in 1641 Father Viniont, now superior of the Jesuits in Quebec, wrote home:

"It is going to be destroyed if it is not strongly and quickly succoured. The trade of the Company, the colony of the French and the religion which is now beginning to flourish among the savages, are at the lowest point, if they do not quell the Iroquois. Fifty Iroquois, since the Dutch have given them fire-arms, are capable of driving the 200 colonists out of the country."

It was in these desperate straits that news came of a reinforcement to be sent to the colony; but what must have been their disappointment and misgivings when they realized that the new Company had resolved upon Montreal, sixty leagues away up at the Sault St. Louis, as their rendezvous. And that the projected expedition was determined on definitely, was made clear when the supply of provisions for the new colony arrived at Quebec in 1840, very opportunely, however, for they served for the use of the famished garrison, since the Company of One Hundred Associates had neglected to provide their usual supply.


[35] The earliest relation was written in 1614; then follows one for 1626; and after a break of six years, they proceed in regular succession from 1632-1672.

[Pg 57]






The survey of the colonization of New France up to 1641 shows that it had been singularly unfruitful. The government of France had never been more than lukewarm after Cartier's voyages. He had given a poor account of the climate of the country, and the loss of a quarter of his crew from scurvy must have confirmed it. Roberval sent on a government expedition, lost fifty of his company and thereafter the private companies all had their disasters from famine and disease to record, beginning with that of Chauvin's, who, having left sixteen men at Tadoussac for the winter, found eleven there on his return.

Were it not for the insatiable desire for commercial gain, through fur monopolies, Canada would have been utterly deserted. There were no industries developed[Pg 58] to attract colonists. There had been no gold mines or other treasures exploited to create rushes into a new and harsh country, such as that of the Yukon of late years.

Agriculture, under difficult circumstances, and unsupported by government, or by the companies pledged to encourage it, had also failed. At the end of little more than one hundred years after Jacques Cartier's visit to the St. Lawrence there were only 200 Frenchmen near its waters. Of these about a hundred were fur traders, and their employees, at once furriers and soldiers; and the rest for the greater part were the religious, of three institutions, and their dependents.

As a further anti-colonizing influence, there was to be reckoned with, the love of the French for their own land. The traveler and historian, Lescarbot, himself a Frenchman and a good colonist, speaking of colonizing had said: "If we fail, we must attribute it partly to ourselves who are located in too goodly a land to wish to leave it, and need be in no fear of finding a subsistence therein."

The same sentiment had prevailed up to 1641. But there had been one element alone, which can justly claim to have had some lasting influence and success in the colonizing movement, and that had been the spirit of religious adventure fostered by Champlain, which made the small garrison of Quebec into a small, but not insignificant or undignified, centre of colonization.

We are to see this same desire to bear the light of Christianity and civilization, as the prime moving force of the new movement to settle in Canada, animating the founders of the new Company of Montreal, which is now to appear.

Hence it is necessary to read into the story of the foundation of Montreal that of the heroism of virtue and of high purpose, of spiritual and physical endurance.

We have followed the history of Montreal from its discovery by Jacques Cartier in 1535, to the coming of Champlain in 1603, and his choice in 1611 of La Place Royale as the site of a future settlement, ratified by him and others for a period of many years. Still the site of the port at the Grand Sault had never become more than an annual trading port towards which it was the aim of the traders to push, at the opening of navigation, to meet the natives at this most convenient spot at the end of the Ottawa Valley.

It was reserved for the new Company of Montreal, by the powers given it by their charter granted on December 17, 1640, to put this long cherished idea of a permanent settlement into realization.

The various steps leading to this must now be traced. We have seen that the Company of New France, that of the Hundred Associates or Partners, was in possession of the country from 1627. Among other powers the Associates had the privilege of making certain concessions, but it was not until the death of Champlain, anticipated as we have seen during the two months' illness and more before it occurred on Christmas day, 1635, that the privilege seems to have been used under the following circumstances.

Foundation of Montreal
(A bas relief from the Maisonneuve Monument by Philippe Hébert)

We have seen that Champlain had clearly meditated a settlement at Montreal and no doubt meant to make it his own headquarters. Circumstances had not allowed him to pursue his design. His important position at Quebec since had left him little leisure for that in the troublous times following. Still it is curious to note that his fortifications placed on Ile Ronde in 1611 seemed to have given him a lien on the site of Montreal, for we hear of no private person being granted[Pg 59] it till after his death in December, 1635. It is only on the 15th of January, following, that such a transaction is announced at the annual meeting of the Hundred Associates in Paris, held in the house of M. Jean de Lauson, the intendant of the Company.

In the edict of the establishment of this Company, in order to facilitate the exercise of his functions, the king had ordered, that as the whole of the members could not be expected to participate in the active administration of its affairs, a dozen of them could be elected directors with sole and full power under the presidency of the intendant to buy, sell and distribute the lands.

In order to limit the powers of this executive, the eleventh article of the edict declared that no concession of land exceeding two hundred arpents could be valid, without the signature of twenty of the Associates made in the presence of the intendant of the Company.

M. Lauson had been named intendant since 1627, being at that time Councillor of State and President of the Great Council. At the annual meeting of the Associates, on January 15, 1636, some most important concessions were granted which affect Montreal. M. Jacques Gérard, Chevalier, Sieur de la Chaussée, made application in due form for the Island of Montreal. Sieur Simon le Maitre made application for the seigneury, afterwards called de Lauson, and another, Jacques Castillon, for that part of the Isles of Orleans called hereafter the Seigneurie de Charny, after the name of one of de Lauson's sons. These concessions were granted and signed by de Lauson as the intendant. Shortly afterward when de Lauson relinquished the post of intendant, these three, who were his friends, and had lent their names for his purpose, transferred the properties to him. Indeed in the act of April 30, 1638, by which M. de Chaussée ceded the "Ile de Montréal" he expressly says that he had accepted it only to give de Lauson pleasure and to lend his name. At the same meeting several other concessions were put through in behalf of the eldest son of de Lauson, viz.: with the reserve of the islands of Montreal and Orleans, all the other islands formed by the River St. Lawrence, and the exclusive right of fishing and navigation of the whole extent of this river. Finally, as if these islands, without number, were not sufficient, the same eldest son received more than sixty leagues of land facing the River St. Lawrence, beginning from the River St. Francis, on Lake St. Pierre, and reaching up the river to above Sault St. Louis. This concession, known hereafter under the name of La Citière, comprised, according to the deed of possession July 29, 1636, a part of the territory now belonging to the United States—the whole little lot making what would have been a European kingdom. Certainly M. de Lauson was feathering his nest and that of his children before giving up the intendancy. There was the obligation, however, which the Company placed on the above persons that they should send men to the relief of the colony. This was evidently looked upon as a legal formality, of no serious moment. Similar clauses had been inserted in so many New France company charters already and this could be equally disregarded, as it was. However, this illegal omission of duty was made use of, later, as we shall see, when these concessions were annulled and revoked by the Company of One Hundred Associates by their ordinance of December 17, 1640.

The design of the settlement of the Island of Montreal, however, was soon to enter into the mind of a pious, enthusiastic, and some would say, visionary[Pg 60] person, M. Jérome le Royer Sieur de la Dauversière, a "receveur général des finances" at La Flèche in Anjou.

La Dauversiere
Founder of the La Flèche Hospitalières to serve the Hôtel Dieu at Montreal.

The Abbé Faillon relates the conception of this design as occurring to the devout M. de la Dauversière when present at mass with his wife and children on February 2, the feast of the Purification, 1635 or 1636, when, after having received holy communion, he became convinced that it was his duty to establish an order of lady Hospitalières, to take St. Joseph as their patron; to establish in Montreal a Hôtel-Dieu to be directed by these nuns; that the Holy Family should be particularly honoured in this island; that the effect of this inspiration was a revelation to him, as he had never conceived the project before, even remotely; and, moreover, his knowledge of Montreal had hitherto been as vague as that of Canada.

But Dollier de Casson, who was afterwards the parish priest of Montreal, an old-time soldier, a learned and pious, but practical man, although a great believer in Providence, gives a less mystical account in his history of Montreal written from 1672 to 1673.

There he relates the origin of the design of the establishment of Montreal as due to the reading of one of the "Jesuit Relations," which had fallen into de la Dauversière's hands. There the writer spoke strongly of the Island of Montreal as being the most suitable place in the country for the purpose of establishing a mission and receiving the savages. In reading this, M. de la Dauversière was at once much touched.

He became enthusiastic and already saw the vision of a French colony settled at Montreal christianizing the natives. Montreal seems to have so obsessed his mind that he was never tired of speaking of it, depicting its position, the geography of its location, its beauty, its fertility, its size, with such minuteness and vividness, that all who heard him felt that he had been directly inspired with this knowledge, for little was known of Montreal owing to the wars which had left so little opportunity for exploring it well, that it was with difficulty that even a rough idea of it could be furnished. De la Dauversière saw himself called to give himself up to the conversion of the savages; but still doubtful as to whether this idea was from God or not, he betook himself to his Jesuit friend and confessor, Father Chauveau, rector of the college at La Flèche.

"Have no doubt, Monsieur," was the reply. "Engage in it in good earnest."

There was then at La Flèche under the roof of M. de la Dauversière, a gentleman of ample means who had come to live with him "as in a school of piety so as to learn to serve our Lord better," This was M. Pierre Chevrier, Baron de Fancamp, who afterwards forsook the world and joined the new order of secular priests under the name of the "Seminary of St. Sulpice."

According to Dollier de Casson, M. Fancamp had also read with similar emotion the same account which had influenced his friend. On his return from the "Jesuits" M. de la Dauversière immediately related the reply he had received and forthwith M. le Baron offered to associate himself with him in his design and they both resolved to go to Paris together to form some charitable body which should be ready to contribute to the enterprise. A dramatic meeting took place there. [37] [Pg 61] "M. de la Dauversière," so says Dollier de Casson, "betook himself to a mansion whither our lord conducted M. Olier." This is the celebrated M. Olier who was afterwards the founder of the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris and, indirectly, that of Montreal.

Jean-Jacques Olier
Founder of Saint Sulpice in Paris and Montreal.

Dollier de Casson continues: "These two servants of Jesus Christ meeting in this mansion, were on a sudden enlightened by a heavenly and altogether extraordinary gleam. They forthwith saluted one another and embraced. They knew one another to the very depths of their souls, like St. Francis and St. Dominic, without speaking, without anyone having said a word to either of them, and without having previously seen one another. After these tender embraces M. Olier said to M. Dauversière:

"I know your design. I am going to recommend it to God at the holy altar."

This said, he left them and went to say holy mass, which M. Dauversière heard, with a devotion altogether difficult to express when the mind is not aglow with the same fire that consumed these great men. Thanksgiving over, M. Olier gave M. de la Dauversière one hundred pistoles, saying to him: "Take this then to commence the work of God!" Thus the first interview ended.

Dollier de Casson leaves his readers to imagine with what joy and eagerness this news is received by the "dear Baron le Fancamp." This M. Fancamp afterwards became a priest and joined Dollier de Casson at Montreal and no doubt he had told the first historian of Ville Marie his story himself per longum et latum. Three new associates, friends of M. Olier, were induced to finance the new venture, of whom the first was the Baron de Renty, a man of admirable qualities, pious and filled with apostolic zeal. These six, forming the nucleus of the Société de Notre Dame de Montréal, determined to fit out an expedition to embark in the spring of 1641.

But as yet they had no claim on the Island of Montreal. As we have learned, this had been ceded to M. de la Chaussée in 1636 and transferred to M. de Lauson in 1638, who had become the intendant of Dauphigny where he was now residing. With daring boldness M. de la Dauversière and M. de Fancamp, journeyed to Vienne in Dauphigny to arrange terms with him for the cession of the island to them. De Lauson had not colonized it, or carried out any of the conditions requiring its being tilled, but he was not easily disposed to relinquish what was a valuable possession for the advancement of his family, the more so as he learned that his interests were jeopardized by the new company. He therefore refused to discuss the question.

A second attempt and visit were made, this time with success, for M. de la Dauversière had secured in the meantime the powerful co-operation of Father Charles Lalemant, who had been the first Jesuit superior of the Canadian missions, having been sent out in 1621.

Lalemant knew Canada well and had great influence with the Company of the Hundred Associates. He had been superior of the church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance in Quebec, as well as Champlain's confessor, and had had naturally many official relations with M. de Lauson in his capacity as intendant of the company. As he was held in great esteem by M. de Lauson, Father Lalemant, [Pg 62] who since his return from Canada two years before was now the procurator of the missions of the society, was a powerful advocate for the cession.

Accordingly the cession was granted by deed dated Vienne, August 7, 1640, to Pierre Chevrier, écuyer, Sieur de Fancamp, and Jérome de Royer, Sieur de la Dauversière. This declares "that M. Jean de Lauson cedes, has given and transferred, purely and simply the Island of Montreal, situated on the River St. Lawrence, above Lake St. Peter, entirely as it was given by the gentlemen of the Company of New France to M. de la Chaussée for them and theirs to enjoy, having regard to the same duties and conditions expressed in the act of the fifteenth of January, 1636."

A second contract was signed, the same afternoon, by which "M. de Lauson as much in his own name as the legitimate administrator for Francis de Lauson, écuyer, Sieur de Lyrée, his son, yields to them the right of navigation and passage on all the extent of the River St. Lawrence as well as the right of fishing in this river, within ten leagues around the Island of Montreal and that in consideration of the great number of men which they are to cause to pass into this island to people the colony and to aid to till the lands adjoining those of the said Sieur de Lyrée, with the duty of giving him each year six pounds of fish, as a token of simple acknowledgment."

In December following the general assembly of the Company of the Hundred Associates or the "Société de Nouvelle France" was held in Paris in the house of M. Bordier, secretary of His Majesty's council and a former director of the Company.

The whole project of the establishment of the new company for Montreal was discussed and its conclusions drawn up in a deed of concession, to M. de Fancamp and M. de la Dauversière, dated December 17, 1640. It annulled and revoked all the concessions granted by the act of the Company dated January 15, 1636, to M. de Chaussée as well as the concessions and transferences made thereafter of the same "pretended rights," the whole being null and revoked through failure of the execution of the conditions imposed within the time ordered. In the perusal of this act we can see the relations of the two companies. That of the Associates of Montreal is clearly regarded as a purely religious body anxious to aid the parent body in its very great desire to establish a strong colony in New France to instruct the savage peoples of that place in the knowledge of God and to draw them to civilized life. Thus they are very ready to grant them lands to aid in this praiseworthy enterprise, to wit: etc., which are clearly defined. In granting this they restricted the concession originally made to M. de Chaussée of the whole island by reserving to themselves the head of the island by a line drawn from the Rivière des Prairies up to Lake St. Louis to the distance of about four leagues from the mountain. In compensation they granted what afterwards became known as la Seigneurie de St. Sulpice.

"Moreover, an extent of land two leagues wide along the River St. Lawrence by six leagues deep in the aforesaid lands, to be taken on the north side of the same bank where the Assumption River empties into the said St. Lawrence River, and to begin at a post which will be planted on that same bank at a distance of two leagues from the mouth of the same Assumption [Pg 63] River, the rest of the said two leagues of frontage to be taken in a direction running towards the said St. Lawrence River; whatever lies between the Rivière des Prairies and Assumption River and between Assumption River and the above mentioned fort, being reserved to the said company proposing to set up thereon later as forts and habitations."—Edits et Ord., Quebec, p. 21.

The object of the above restriction is clear. The Company of New France was primarily a trading concern and it wished to secure its rights to the north of Montreal as a trading centre for which it was so well adapted by nature, as it was the natural goal of all the Indian peltry from beyond the Sault. It reserved rights therefore to build forts and habitations there.

It next outlined the political and municipal position of the future colony in respect to the Company. The Sieurs Chevrier (de Fancamp), de la Dauversière and their successors were obliged, to show their faith and homage, to take to the fort St. Louis at Quebec in New France, or other place afterwards designated by the Company, at each change of possessor, as payment, a piece of gold of the weight of one ounce stamped with the seal of the Company of New France; to present besides other signs of acknowledgments of feudal tenure; even to furnish their aveux et dénombrement, [38] the whole in conformity with the custom of Paris,—a land tenure system which prevailed for so long afterward in Canada.

In the matter of Justice, dependence was to be placed on the Sovereign Court which was to be established at Quebec or otherwise, to which appeal could be made from the local judges appointed by the Montreal Company.

Montreal was, thus, crippled beforehand, in its trade extension. The fur trade with the Indians was only allowed as far as the need and use of private persons were concerned. All peltry, over and above this, was to be handed over to the agents of the Company of New France at a price fixed by it, on the pain of confiscation. Montreal's pretensions to future independence were guarded against, by it being forbidden to build any fortress or citadel, this privilege being reserved to the Company should it afterward desire land for these forts and for the settlement and housings of the officers and men around them. In case the Company desired a fort on the mountain, it required five arpents around it, etc. Nevertheless the seigneurs of Montreal might retrench or fortify themselves as much as necessary to protect themselves against the incursions of the savages.

Further limitations were placed on the sources of future population. No grants of land were to be given to those already settled in New France, at Quebec, Three Rivers or elsewhere, but only to those who came expressly to people the lands. In order to insure this, the Seigneurs Chevrier and le Royer were to send a number of men by the next shipment made by the Company.

Finally after the clause annulling the gift of de Lauson as stated above, the document gives order to M. de Montmagny, the governor, to put the said seigneurs in possession of the lands.

Throughout this document there is no mention of the "Company of Montreal." The deed is made out to the two named and to their successors, but it was evidently understood that these were acting for others with no other [Pg 64] pretension than belonging to a number of associates of the "Company of Montreal." [39]

Let us return to M. Olier. At the time we are speaking of, this young priest, a man of less than twenty-eight years of age, was a missionary for the country people. He had returned from these to Paris to take a decision on a most important subject, which was, whether or not he should accept the episcopal see of a pious prelate who had been urging its acceptance by him for over eighteen months.

On the feast of the Purification, February 2, 1636, with this need for decision on his mind, M. Olier having retired to the abbey church of St. Germaies-Prés to seek in prayer the solution to his perplexity, believed that he had received a supernatural light.

"Having prayed for some time," he relates in after years, "at morning prayer I heard these words, 'you need to consume yourself in me, so that I may work my whole will in you; and I wish that you may be a light to illumine the Gentiles; lumen ad revelationem Gentium.'"

This appeared to him a clear call to refuse the offer of the episcopate, which was not among the Gentiles.

At this same time his spiritual director, Père de Coudreu, the general of the Oratorians, and the holy St. Vincent de Paul, were also thinking out Olier's decision for him. On this same day, then, Père de Coudreu's decision that he ought to renounce the episcopacy coming to Olier, he believed that it was his mission to remain a simple priest, and go at once to Canada to be allied to the Gentiles there. With difficulty he is restrained by his director. He is all aglow with zeal, he prays God, as his autobiographical memoirs tell, "to send me to Montreal in Canada, where they should build the first chapel, under the title of the Ever-Blessed Virgin and a Christian town under the name of Ville Marie, which is a work of marvelous importance."

Olier retired towards the end of 1641, to the Village of Vaugiraud, where he surrounded himself with some young ecclesiastics who placed themselves under his direction. [40] Thus he founded the Seminary of St. Sulpice, the early fruits of which were directed towards Canada. Thus we shall see, that through his sons, he became the lumen ad revelationem of his prayers. M. Olier is therefore to be considered one of the founders of Canada as he is already one of the first three associates who are to form the new company of Notre Dame de Montréal.

M. Fancamp must shortly have been introduced to Olier, for we learn that conjointly with M. Olier he sent out to Quebec in 1640, twenty tons of provisions [Pg 65] and tools, begging the Jesuit superior of the mission to hold them in reserve for the reinforcement they proposed to send to Montreal the year following before commencing the projected establishment.

It can but be said that the concession of the Great Company was liberal and well meaning. Indeed the same day of the concession, December 17, 1640, it engaged itself to transport on its own vessels at its own expense, thirty men chosen by the Messieurs de Montréal as well as thirty tons of provisions destined for their sustenance; also to write to M. de Montmagny to give them two sites, one at the port of Quebec and the other at Three Rivers, where they might house their provisions in safety.

Great preparations were now the order of the day. Exhaustive plans were prepared for the gradual development of the Colony of Montreal, year by year ahead. Rarely has any settlement ever been thought out so completely. It had the experience of the Colony of Quebec to fall back upon. Quebec had its three organized institutions, its clergy residence, its hospital and its school for the young savages. Ville Marie should have its similar ones. In the place of the Jesuits it should have a community of resident secular priests. This was not to oust the Jesuits, who consented to this from the beginning, as they wished to follow their vocation to evangelize the country far and wide, the constitution of their order not designing them to be parish priests. In the meantime they undertook to look after the spiritual needs of the young settlement from their headquarters at Quebec. The plan for the personnel to take charge of the other institutions had not yet matured.

Documents, in the archives of the Seminary of St. Sulpice, at Paris, relating to this period, show the fervour of those now planning "by the goodness of God to see in a short time a new church arise which shall imitate the purity and the charity of the primitive church."

The Associates, being in the necessity of sending out their first consignment of men according to their agreement, it became necessary to choose a governor, dignified, brave and wise, and a good Christian, a man to command against the attacks of the fierce Iroquois and to build up the civil life of the community. How the choice fell upon Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, a gentleman of Champagne, must now be told. Here we follow Dollier de Casson and contemporary chroniclers. Paul de Chomedey, though still young, being commonly thought to be within his fortieth year, had followed the career of arms since his thirteenth year, and had given the first proofs of his courage in the war against the Dutch. Amid the dissipations of a soldier's life, Colonel de Maisonneuve had retained his probity and purity unsullied. He loved his profession, but he often desired to exercise it in some far-off country, where the gaieties and distractions in which he now found himself a solitary man should not be forced upon him, so that he might serve God more easily, and remain faithful to his high purposes. Thus he was in the world but not of it. De Chomedey had a sister to whom he was devoted, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame at Troyes, that ancient birthplace of warriors, poets and saints, on the Seine. This good woman, they say, desired to partake of the romantic and apostolic life of the Ursulines Hospitalières at Quebec, as related by the Jesuits in their letters then being printed and circulated in France. Doubtless by her whole-souled enthusiasm [Pg 66] she had already turned her brother's thoughts in the same direction of self-sacrifice.

In the dispositions, happening while visiting the house of a friend, to put his hand by chance upon a copy of these "Relations," in turning over the leaves he came across the name of Father Lalemant, the former superior of the Canadian missions, whom he knew to be now in Paris. The thought came to him that perhaps he might find congenial occupation in Canada. Thereupon visiting the good Jesuit, he opened his heart to him.

About this same time M. de la Dauversière called upon Father Lalemant and told him of the difficulty of the Associates in finding a suitable leader for their enterprise.

"I know," said Lalemant, "a gentleman of Champagne who perhaps will suit your purpose," and he advocated the qualities of his recent visitor. He told M. de la Dauversière of the address of Maisonneuve's hôtel. Desirous of becoming acquainted with Maisonneuve, M. Dauversière took up his abode there also, and sought an early opportunity of becoming casually acquainted with him at table. In order to sound him, he placed before the guests his embarrassment in the choice of a leader of his expedition. M. de Maisonneuve apparently did not manifest more interest than his fellow guests at table, but on rising he took M. de la Dauversière aside and invited him to his apartment. When alone, Maisonneuve told him frankly of his interest in the conversation at table. He explained in addition to his own experience in arms, that he had a yearly income of 2,000 livres. "I have no view of personal interest. I can live on my revenue, which is sufficient for me, and I would glad-heartedly employ my purse and my life in this new enterprise, with no other ambition but that of serving God and the King, in my profession." If his services were agreeable to the Company he would gladly command the expedition himself, and was ready to start at once.

It is needless to say that such a man was a God-send to the six associates who had only 25,000 écus, according to Dollier de Casson, but 50,000, according to Mother Jucherau in her history of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec. Preparations were made for departure. The King, in confirming the cession of Montreal, had given power to name its governors and to have artillery and other munitions of war. M. Maisonneuve was appointed governor and he was charged, together with M. de Fancamp, to prepare the equipment of provisions and implements, etc., and to find only unmarried men, strong and able, to till the ground, or to work at different trades, and to bear arms against the Iroquois. M. de Maisonneuve had some difficulty in persuading his father to give his consent to his departure. Paul was the only son, and the only hope of his noble and ancient family, and could he wreck his career? Paul assured him that on the contrary his reputation lay before him in the new country. At last the father gave his willing consent.

Paul de Chomedey

To Troyes Paul de Chomedey then journeyed to bid adieux to his sister, Madame de Chuly, and to Sœur Louise de Marie, his other sister, at the convent. There he had to refuse the offer of four of the nuns to accompany him, to emulate at Montreal the example of the Ursulines of Quebec. But judging the time not yet ripe for such an institution at Ville Marie, he gave a promise that when it should be more peopled he would employ them. His sister wrote [Pg 67] on a statue, which they gave him to take away as a pledge of their mutual engagement, this inscription in letters of gold

"Sainte mère de Dieu, pure vierge au cœur loyal,
Gardez-nous une place en votre Montréal."

The spring had come; the expedition was ready to depart from Rochelle, but the mother of the future colony was wanting. These hardy men needed the solicitude and refining influence of a woman in their midst.

The call of Jeanne Mance to fill this rôle is full of romance. This devoted lady was then about thirty-three years of age, having been born towards the year 1606 at Nogent-le-Roi, about four leagues from Langres, of one of the most honourable families of the district. She was a modest girl, of great virtue, who from an early age had taken a vow of perpetual chastity, but although she never entered the religious life, she always nevertheless remained an unmarried lay woman. Towards the middle of April of 1640 she had heard for the first time of the devotedness of Madame de la Peltrie, who had just taken the Ursulines to Quebec, and of the generosity of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon, who had founded the house for the "Hospitalières." Though of frail health, yet she had a daring spirit that dominated her soul so that a strong attraction for a like sacrifice came to her. She, too, would offer her services for Canada. Seeking advice she was told to seek Father Lalemant in Paris. Thither she went from Langres on May 30th. She saw Father Lalemant, but the future of the foundation of Montreal was then uncertain, and he was then going to Dauphigny with M. Dauversière to see M. de Lauson, as related. He could give no decided advice.

Jeanne Mance
Administratrix of the first hospital in Montreal.

Jeanne now consulted Father de St. Jure, the rector of the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Paris. He confirmed her in her vocation, and she now acquainted her reluctant relatives with her firm intention of going to the mission field of Canada. That winter, in Paris, she visited Père Rapin, provincial of the Recollects, who entering into her designs, introduced her to Madame de Bullion, a rich and charitable lady, the widow of Claude de Bullion, the superintendent of finance and keeper of the seals under Louis XIII. He was a rich man, very worldly, clever and courageous, but he had a good heart and had endowed a hospital for the Franciscan Cordeliers, and in which he had died on the night of December 22-23, 1640, leaving behind him four sons and one daughter.

When Jeanne Mance called upon the surviving widow, a few weeks later, there was laid the foundations of a life-long friendship. At Jeanne's fourth visit, Madame de Bullion asked her if she could undertake the charge of a hospital which she had herself resolved to found in New France, when opportunity occurred.

The remembrance of her frail health now made Jeanne recoil before such a responsibility. Still, though she feared that she could not be of much service in this regard, she left herself in the hands of God. Nothing more was then settled. Jeanne was still determined to reach the vessels soon about to start for New France, and on calling on Madame de Bullion to take leave before departing to embark this good lady gave her a purse of 1200 livres to help her in her good work, with a pledge of more to come, when Jeanne should have arrived at her destination and had written an account of the state of affairs, [Pg 68] as she found them, regarding the foundation of a hospital. For many years Madame de Bullion's name remained a secret to the colonists. Jeanne Mance was even instructed to write to her, under cover of the name of Père Rapin.

Neither Jeanne nor her benefactress then knew of the venture of Montreal. This she did not learn till visiting the Jesuit La Place at Rochelle, where she met the Baron de Fancamp who told her of its details. The following day, Jeanne Mance met M. de la Dauversière, whose enthusiasm made her resolve to accept his offer and that of the Associates, to join the Montreal expedition. While they were waiting to sail she begged M. de la Dauversière to put the plan of the new venture into writing and to give her copies so that she might send one with a letter in her own handwriting to Madame la Princesse de Condé, to Madame la Chancelière, and, above all, to Madame de Bullion. These parcels M. de la Dauversière took with him back to Paris, with fruitful result.

All was now ready, and one of the ships had set sail. The carpenter, upon whom they relied so much, had deserted, but on putting the vessel back, luckily another was found on shore willing to go.

Jeanne Mance was now on her vessel. [41] Her only anxiety was that she should be the only woman at the new settlement of Montreal, among a good-hearted but rough body of men. Shortly before this a circumstance occurred at Dieppe, whence the other ships of the expedition were embarking, which gave her great joy. Two of the workmen engaged were found to be married men, and on their refusing to go without their wives, their condition had been accepted. In addition a young and virtuous girl of Dieppe, seized with a sudden desire to join the expedition, had forced her way on to the ship, against all opposition. She too was accepted for Montreal, and Mademoiselle Mance not only would have companions but she would find in the young girl a faithful assistant to nurse the sick at Ville Marie.

The expedition was divided into three ships. On one was M. de Maisonneuve with about twenty-five, including a priest, M. Antoine Fauls, destined for the Ursulines at Quebec. On the second was Jeanne Mance and a dozen men for Montreal with the Jesuit, Father La Place. The third ship had sailed ahead from Dieppe with the three women spoken of and ten men. These were the first to arrive at Quebec and they set to work to build a store at the water's edge, at the spot directed by M. de Montmagny, the governor. The vessel bearing Jeanne Mance reached Quebec on August 8, 1641; that of M. de Maisonneuve did not arrive till August 20th. After having sailed for eight days together, the vessels were separated by the wind, for the rest of the voyage.

Great as was the joy at receiving Mademoiselle Mance at the garrison, the delay of M. de Maisonneuve, while causing his friends uneasiness and apprehension, gave many of the Great Company's agents at Quebec an opportunity of further criticising the "foolhardy enterprise" (la folle entreprise) of Les Messieurs de Montréal, so inauspiciously begun.

[Pg 69]

At last Maisonneuve's vessel arrived, sadly leaking and battered by the winds which had made him thrice put back to France, causing him to lose on the occasions three or four of his men, one of them, a most needed man for the settlement, his surgeon. Arriving, however, at Tadoussac, the undaunted Maisonneuve met M. de Courpon, the admiral of the fleet of the Company of New France, one of his intimate friends. M. de Courpon offered his own surgeon and this man straightway gaily accepting, put his belongings on board. Against all expectation Maisonneuve's vessel sailed into Quebec on August 20th. [42]

On arriving at Quebec, Maisonneuve must have found himself the centre of anxious thoughts and criticisms. Jeanne Mance would have told him of this. He would soon gauge public opinion on his official visits.

It would have been the governor of Quebec that Maisonneuve visited first. To Governor Montmagny, the position of Maisonneuve was, at least, strange. Quebec was designed to be the seat of government as the act of December 17, 1640, had clearly marked out. Montreal was to derive her power from it. Yet Maisonneuve came with the governor's commission for Montreal and power from the King himself, to have artillery, munitions of war and soldiers, and a right to appoint officers of the future colony on a basis of home rule. Both men must have scented a future clash at Montreal. Yet hostility must not be read too quickly into Montmagny's action. He was a gentleman and a broadminded man although he was one of those who thought the expedition "a foolish enterprise." Dollier de Casson has recorded the result of this interview. Montmagny's words were:

"You know that the war with the Iroquois has recommenced, and that they declared it last month at Lake St. Peter, in a fashion that makes them appear more active than ever against us. You cannot then, reasonably, think of settling in a place so far removed from Quebec as Montreal. You must change your resolution; if you wish it, you will be given the Island of Orleans, instead. Besides, the season would be too advanced for you to be able to settle at Montreal before the winter, even had you thought of so doing."

M. Maisonneuve's reply was dignified and calm.

"What you say sir, would be good, if they had sent me to Canada to deliberate on the choice of a suitable post, but the Company which sends me, having determined that I shall go to Montreal, my honour is at stake, and you will not take it ill that I proceed thither to start a colony. But owing to the season being so far advanced, you will take it kindly if I am satisfied to go with the more active young men, to reconnoitre this post before winter, so as to see in what place I can encamp next spring with all my party."

Maisonneuve's next visit would have been to the clergy represented by Father Vimont, superior of the Jesuits. Strong in influence with the Company, his views are worth recording. For this we must fall back on the "Relations." The Jesuits in France had promoted the new settlement of Montreal. In the past the writers of the "Relations" had foreseen the need of utilizing the position at the Sault for a permanent centre for religious activities, and this meant a settled [Pg 70] garrison to withstand the inroads of the fury and impetuosity of the Iroquois. Yet of late, the perilous position of the tottering garrison of Quebec had been so patent that they felt that concentration was the policy of the hour. As a result of the interview Father Vimont wrote this year to France: "We have received pleasure at the sight of the gentlemen of Montreal because their design, if it is successful, is entirely to the Glory of our God. M. de Maisonneuve, who commands these men, has arrived so late that he will have wisdom enough, not to ascend higher than Quebec for this year; but God grant that the Iroquois close not the way, when there is question of advancing further.... Some one will say," he continues, "this enterprise is full of expense and difficulties; these gentlemen will find mountains where they expect to find valleys. I will not say to these gentlemen that they will find the roads strewn with roses; the cross, suffering, and great outlays are the foundation stones of the house of God.... But patience will put the last touch to this great work."

We may imagine de Maisonneuve's conversation with this serious sympathizer would have been on these lines and his courage would not have been diminished.

In spite of de Maisonneuve's firm resolution, Montmagny still hoped to win him over. He called a meeting of the principal inhabitants to consider the position. It was a question of concentration or disintegration—the Island of Orleans under the shadow of Quebec; or Montreal, 180 miles away in advance of civilization, at the mercy of the hostile Iroquois? It was a serious question for "la colonie française."

When the meeting assembled, and before anything had been decided, de Maisonneuve spoke like a man of courage and one accustomed to the profession of a soldier. He explained that he had not come to settle in the Island of Orleans, but to lay the foundation of a town on the Island of Montreal, and that even should this project be more perilous than they had told him it was, he would carry it on, should it cost him his life. "I am not come to deliberate," he concluded, "but to act. Were all the trees on the Island of Montreal to be changed into so many Iroquois it is a point of duty and honour for me to go there and establish a colony."

The meeting broke up without any further deliberation. The clear and courageous expression of the governor of Montreal had won the day.

Dollier de Casson tells us that Montmagny was gained over by this straight-forward speech. He was a Chevalier of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, a soldier and a gentleman. He put no further opposition, but was anxious to put the governor of Montreal in possession of his post according to the instructions from his Company.

On October 10th, he, himself, with Father Vimont and others, left Quebec, and arrived with de Maisonneuve at Montreal, on October 14th. The customary formalities of taking possession were concluded on October 15th. The site chosen was that we know as La Place Royale.

On his way down to Quebec, de Maisonneuve stayed a day with a venerable old man, M. Pierre de Puiseaux, Sieur de Montrenault, who had built a house at a post called Ste. Foy. This house, as well as that of St. Michel, at which Madame de la Peltrie was living, he generously offered to Maisonneuve, together with all his farm stock and furniture, for the use of the expedition. This unexpected [Pg 71] gift Maisonneuve accepted only conditionally on its acceptance being ratified by the Company of Montreal. The offer of St. Michel, [43] which was then considered the bijou house of Canada, was most opportune for M. de Maisonneuve, besides having quarters for the winter time for Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, Madame de la Peltrie, who had associated herself with the Montreal project, and himself, might with M. de Puiseaux superintend the necessary preparations for the voyage, while at Ste. Foy, at which he had left the surgeon and the carpenters, the oaks were being cut down, and barks were being constructed large enough to carry the party and all their effects to Montreal.

Meanwhile, the care of the stores for all the Montreal party, during this winter of 1641-2, was under the skillful management of Jeanne Mance, who endeared herself to all. Moreover the colonists learned to know one another and their future governor, who went among them day by day, encouraged them. It seemed already Montreal. Soon de Maisonneuve's feast day, the Conversion of St. Paul, coming round on January 25th, Paul de Chomedey gave his men a little feast in honour of the occasion. The men fired salutes from the artillery they had brought.

Nearby, in Quebec, the noise of the cannon was heard. Its governor, touchy for his official prerogatives, interpreted this as an infringement of his dignity, and he caused Jean Gorry, who had fired the cannon, to be seized and imprisoned. On the first day of February Jean Gorry being now released, Maisonneuve gave a feast and paid particular honour to the unfortunate Jean. The governor of Montreal knew that Montmagny had exceeded his power, but it was not then the time to provoke an open quarrel.

Montmagny heard of this second exploit and summoned several of Maisonneuve's men, who had been present at the feast, to testify on oath what had happened. The affair blew over, and the governors resumed pleasant relations, probably because Montmagny found that he was in the wrong and had read a petty challenge in the harmless salute which was quite permissible under the commission, given by the king to the governor of Montreal, for his men to bear arms. Still this incident is significant and worth recording, in view of the friction and jealousy to arise between the future governors of the rival cities of Quebec and Montreal.


[36] Ville Marie is the name of the town appearing in all the official documents till 1705, when for the first time that of Montreal appears. Montreal, in the form of the "Island of Montreal," had, however, been used long before. The document containing the transition from Ville Marie to Montreal has been recently brought to public attention by Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, city archivist.

[37] It was in one of the galleries of the "Château de Meudon" where the two unexpectedly met. Dauversière, it is thought, had gone there to the keeper of the seals who was then at the palace. The second conference after Thanksgiving was in the park grounds of the château and lasted three hours. (Cf. Faillon.)

[38] Consisted in an avowal of the grant of the seigneury from the Crown and the census of the seigneury with the names of the concessionaires, the amount of the lands granted them and under cultivation, together with the number of heads of cattle, etc.

[39] In fact both of these swore to this explicitly before the notaries of the King, Pourcelle and Chaussiere, on March 25, 1644. (Edits et Ord., Quebec I, pp. 26-27.) On March 21, 1650, there was also signed an act by the Associates which gave to the last survivor, excluding all heirs, the forts, habitations, etc., conceded to the members of the Company of Montreal. (Edits et Ord., p. 27.)

[40] "La Compagnie de Prêtres de St. Sulpice" was founded at Vaugirard, near Paris, in January, 1642, by M. Jean Jacques Olier de Verneuil, who was born in Paris on September 20, 1608, and died April 2, 1657. The establishment of the seminary at St. Sulpice, in Paris, was commenced on August 15, 1642. It was erected into a community on October 23, 1645, and was confirmed by letters patent by Cardinal Chighi, legate a latere for France.

[41] For Jeanne Mance's future assistants de la Dauversière had established, in 1639, a young community of "Filles Hospitalières" at La Flèche, although it had been in existence elsewhere since 1636, who were to prepare themselves for the Hôtel-Dieu of Ville Marie. The order at La Flèche was erected on October 25, 1643, by Mgr. Claude de Rueil, bishop of Angers, and approved by Pope Alexander VII by a brief of January 19, 1666. The Sisters for Montreal did not arrive till 1659.

[42] Dollier de Casson, de Belmont and de la Tour put the date for August 20th, Sister Morin for October, Montgolfier for September. The "Relations" say that the season was "very advanced."

[43] St. Michel is the site of the present "Spencer Wood."

[Pg 73]






During the months of February, March and April, the boat construction went busily on at Ste. Foy. At length when the ice-bound river broke up and the last floes had swept past to the gulf beyond, M. de Maisonneuve's flotilla, loaded with provisions, furniture and tools, besides little pieces of artillery and ammunition, set sail to Montreal on May 8th. It consisted of a pinnace, a little vessel with three masts, a gabarre or flat-bottomed transport barge with sails, and two barques or chaloupes. On one of these latter M. de Montmagny, the governor of Quebec, fittingly led the way with M. de Maisonneuve; with the expedition were several black-robed Jesuits, including Father Barthélemy Vimont, the superior of the Canadian mission, and Father Poncet, the first missionary for Ville Marie. There were also M. de Puiseaux, Madame de la Peltrie, and her maid, Charlotte Barré, Jeanne Mance, and the rest of the twenty-one colonists, six of whom belonged to the household of Nicholas Godé, the joiner.

On the 17th, as evening fell, they came in sight of Montreal and cantiques rent the air. On this day M. Montmagny again [44] put M. de Maisonneuve formally in possession of the island. Setting sail early next morning, before daybreak, the rising sun delighted their eyes with the beautiful meadows smiling with a profusion of flowers of variegated colours. At last they reached [Pg 74] the islet at the mouth of the stream, which, so long ago, Champlain spoke of as a safe haven, until they reached hard by the spot named by him, La Place Royale. Within this watered mead, de Maisonneuve had decided to build his settlement and fort. As he put foot to the soil, inspired by the solemnity of the moment, lie fell on his knees in thanksgiving to God, and was quickly followed by all his party. They broke forth into heartfelt psalms or hymns of joyful gratitude. In the meadow, a spot was chosen for the mass of thanksgiving. Quickly the altar was arranged under the direction of Mademoiselle Mance and Madame de la Peltrie. When all were gathered round it in this open air temple,—the silence only broken by the twittering of the numerous birds, the flapping of wings of the wild fowl and their shrill cries as they winged their flight above the river to the south, the sighing of the trees; the swish of the meadow plants swaying in the morning breeze and the murmuring of the little haven-stream on which the chaloupes were tossing; the subdued, sonorous rush of the water on the mighty St. Lawrence at its mouth, where the pinnace and gabare were riding at anchor,—the superior of the missions of Canada, Father Vimont, intoned the grand old solemn chant of Christian ritual, the Veni Creator Spiritus, and the voices of all joined in with heartfelt unison. Then followed the Grand Mass, the first that had ever been celebrated at Villa Marie, [45] and all the while the growing sun shone full upon the slopes of Mount Royal, ever mounting upward and onward to its wooded peak.

Colonists' Memorial

The scene is one of life and colour. The rich hues of the vestments of the priests, the shining white linen of the altar, the gleaming sacred ornaments, the picturesque costumes of Montmagny and de Maisonneuve, the ladies and gentlemen around them, the varied dresses of the artisans and the arquebusiers, whose weapons glint in the sun, fill in a picture worthy of the mountain background, such as should inspire any artist's brush.

And now the action of the Sacrifice was suspended and Father Vimont broke the sice and earnestly spoke to the worshippers. His words have become famous, pregnant as they were with prophetic meaning. We thank Dollier de Casson for having preserved them.

"That which you see, gentlemen, is only a grain of mustard seed, but it is cast by hands so pious and so animated with faith and religion, that it must be that God has great designs for it, since He makes use of such instruments for His work. I doubt not, but that this little grain may produce a great tree, that it will make wonderful progress some day, that it will multiply itself, and stretch out on every side."

Vimont's Prophesy

Never was prophecy more true, when we realize the present greatness of Montreal and remember the distinguished sons and daughters it has sent over the world. For Montreal has been the home of great discoverers, religious founders, [Pg 75] missionaries and pioneers of civilization, and captains of industry. It is the mother of the cities of the northwest and its future is still before it.

The mass ended, the Sacred Host is left exposed throughout the day, as though the island were a cathedral shrine. For a sanctuary lamp the women, not having any oil, placed with pious zeal a number of "fireflies" in a phial, which, as evening stole on, shone like little clusters of tapers in the vesper gloom.

Next morning the actuaries of an encampment occupied all. Around the temporary altar, the camp tents were pitched, a chapel of bark was constructed, [46] and trees were cut down to surround the colony with an intrenchment of stakes and a ditch, the governor, Montmagny, felling the first tree, after which he proceeded to Quebec. But Madame de la Peltrie and M. de Puiseaux remained. On August 15th the first reinforcement of thirteen men arrived, sent under M. de Repentigny, as admiral of the Company's vessels by the Associates at Paris, through the funds collected, as mentioned, on February 2d. With them there came a most useful man to the colony, the pious and brave carpenter, Gilbert Barbier, surnamed "Minimus" for his short stature. Altar, furniture and other valuables arrived, and Gilbert Barbier immediately set about constructing a worthy chapel of wood, while wings were added to make the mission settlement house.

Meanwhile, during the summer, the vessels plied between Yule Marie and St. Michel to bring up the rest of the stores and ammunition left behind. These reduced the guard to but a score of men, but as yet, the Iroquois had not got scent of the new settlement. On August 15 the new chapel was completed and used for service—a framework building of about ten feet square which did service as a conventual and quasi parochial chapel till the beginning of 1659. [47]

So passed the happy days unmolested by any foe. A friendly band of Algonquins visited the camp and after witnessing a religious procession on Assumption day, 1642, journeyed with the governor to the summit of Mount Royal. While there, it is related that two of their body, aged men, told the bystanders that they belonged to the race formerly inhabiting this island. Stretching out their arms to the slopes on the west and the south sides of the mountain they exclaimed: "Behold the places where once there were villages flourishing in numbers, whence our ancestors were driven by our enemies. Thus it is that this island became deserted and uninhabited." "My grandfather," said one old man, "tilled the earth at this place. The Indian corn grew well then." And taking up the soil [Pg 76] in his hands: "See the richness of it," he cried, "how good it is!" Charmed with this discourse they were pressed to stay and live happily with their friends, the white men, but the wandering habits of these forest children finally prevailed.

In the month of December, the safety of the colony was threatened by the floods of the St. Lawrence which advanced over the low lying lands towards the fort. With simple faith, M. Maisonneuve planted a cross over against the invading waters, and the "Relations" of this year, tell how the floods receded on Christmas day.

In pious gratitude M. Maisonneuve would erect a permanent cross on the mountain. A trail was blazed and cut, and on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1643, a procession formed, M. Maisonneuve leading, carrying the cross on his shoulders and followed by others bearing the wood for its pedestal. On reaching the summit, Père Duperon had an altar erected, and celebrated mass after the cross had been blessed and erected. At this time, there seemed to have been two priests attached to the mission. This was the origin of the annual pilgrimage, since discontinued. On the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1643, the main building, or the Habitation, containing the chapel of Notre Dame, the stores, and dwelling rooms for sixty persons, was completed. In front they placed the small pieces of artillery and then celebrated the occasion with a cannonade.

The life within resembled that of a religious community. For the most part they lived in common, offering a picture of the fervour and simplicity of the primitive church. Closed up for nearly eleven years for mutual safety within the fort, they learned to live a life of charity and holiness. The days were as yet uneventful, and the round of work and prayer and recreation bound them together in peace and comfort. Not only the governor and the leaders of the settlement, but all the rough soldiers and workmen led a fervent and exemplary life. The hand of obedience pressed lightly on them, and a willing service was granted by all. The "Relations" of the annals of this period are full of praise of the sanctity and peace of these early days. "One saw," says Sister Morin in the Annales of the Hôtel-Dieu, "no public sins, nor enmities, nor bitternesses; they were united in charity, ever full of esteem and affection one for another, and ready to serve one another on all occasions."

The ideal of the pious Associates of the Company of Notre Dame de Montreal at Paris was being fulfilled.

The governor, in his apostolic zeal, established confraternities among the men and women, for the conversion of the savages, for this was the motive that had inspired the foundation of this far off outpost of civilization.

The singleness of purpose of the settlers at Montreal was not lost upon the Hurons, who spoke of it to their different tribes, so that many now began to arrive. In February of 1643 a band of Algonquin braves came by, leaving their wives and children in camp while they went forth on the warpath against their enemies, the Iroquois. A few days later they were visited by Algonquin hunters, for there was much sport around. The chief of this band stayed behind with his wife, desirous to live a civilized life, and the parish register records their baptism and their Christian marriage, on March 7th, of that year, the first to be recorded in the marriage book. Soon, this was followed by the baptism of the wife and children of his uncle, a famous orator among the Algonquins,[Pg 77] who was known as "Borgne de l'Ile." The registers finally record his baptism and his Christian marriage.

Montreal was soon to experience the effects of the alliance of the Hurons with the French, as well as some of the disasters prophesied by Montmagny to Maisonneuve at Quebec, from the war which had been declared a month before Maisonneuve's arrival. Other parts of the country had already been suffering. In 1642 Father Vimont in the "Relations" had written that the Iroquois had sworn a cruel war against the French. They blocked up all the passage of our great river, hindering commerce and menacing the whole country with ruin.

On the 2d of August, 1643, at Three Rivers, an attack was made by them on the fort and they killed or took prisoners a party of twenty-three to twenty-eight Huron allies, and with them the heroic and saintly Jesuit, Isaac Jogues, and two young Frenchmen. The saintly Jogues was subjected to much in treatment. After having cut off the thumb of his right hand and bitten off one of his fingers, they tore his nails out with their teeth, and put fire under the extremities of his mutilated fingers. Having done this they tore off his cassock and clothed him in the garb of a savage. Though he escaped, he was reserved for a martyr's death, on October 18, 1646, among the Onondagas. The year previously he had ministered to the infant church at Montreal.

At the new fort on the Iroquois River, designed by Montmagny, on August 13, 1643, the Iroquois swept down after seven days, and captured some prisoners whom they told that 700 of them were banding together and would fall upon the French colony in the beginning of next spring.

Great fear for Montreal, the solitary and most advanced port, was entertained in the spring at Quebec. Still this concerted attack was not yet to be realized. Yet the immunity of Montreal was not to last long.

There was a method in the madness of the Iroquois. They hated the French because of their alliance with the Christian Hurons and they did their best to cut off the peltry trade of the Northwest from them and divert it to Albany and New Amsterdam. This naturally suited the Dutch. To carry this plan out, the Iroquois, small in numbers but expert military tacticians, had established an uninterrupted line of lookout posts from Three Rivers to the portage of the Chaudières (Ottawa). Starting from this as their working point, they divided their fighting men into ten sections, two of which remained at this exposed post. The third section was stationed at the foot of the Long Sault, the fourth above Montreal, the fifth on the island, the sixth on the Rivière des Prairies, the seventh on Lac St. Pierre, the eighth not far from Fort Richelieu on the Sorel, the ninth near Three Rivers, while the tenth formed a flying squadron to carry devastation when the opportunity presented itself. Few could break past them in safety. Even Jogues had not been successful.

Soon the number of baptisms registered for this year reached the number of seventy or eighty. These were busy days for the few ladies of Montreal. [48]

[Pg 78]

The frequent visitations of the savages were a drain on the stores of the community, and we learn from Dollier de Casson that in the spring of 1644 more serious efforts were made under d'Ailleboust to raise wheat. To the delight of all, this was abundantly successful. Up to 1643 only vegetables had been cultivated.

Thus passed the peaceful days along, for though there was much hardship incidental to a pioneering life in a new country so far removed from communication with civilization, still, all were happy, since so far the dreaded Iroquois had not appeared. But in July of that year, 1643, a friendly troupe of Algonquins passed by. There was great joy in the camp, for it was the occasion of the baptism of the four-year-old child of one of the chiefs. M. Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance were happy to be its godparents. The Indians were invited to return with their families next spring, and live with them. They promised to do so. No doubt they told others of their trip, for the colony was again shortly visited. [49]

The Hurons came to be regarded by the Iroquois as the allies of the hated white men. The establishment of the fort of Montreal was an additional reason for exterminating the Hurons. In consequence the register of baptism, for the year of 1644, only records one ceremony. This is significant, for it marked the presence in the neighbourhood at last of the dreaded Iroquois, who kept the Hurons from visiting this year. The circumstance of the presence of the Iroquois in the neighbourhood became known to this fort one day in 1643, when a party of ten Algonquins ran terror-stricken into camp, trembling and afraid of their shadows. Outside the fort were the baffled pursuers too [Pg 79] small in numbers to attack it. One of their tribe had been slain by the fugitive Algonquins, who had directed their steps to friendly shelter without being overtaken. From that time forward, there was dread of Iroquois surprises in the camp. It was now at last discovered; stealthily and noiselessly the balked enemy reconnoitered the camp and retired to the woods to spread the news to the tribe and to prepare for an attack. For, unknown to the fort, the country was infested with them—sworn to make war upon the French. In June, a party of them were at Lachine, being joined by a party of unarmed Hurons whom they had surprised with their canoes laden with peltry. The treacherous Hurons, who had been in the past kindly received at the fort, to conciliate their captors, now pointed it out to them for an attack.

Unsuspecting any attack, six men from the fort, cutting wood about two hundred feet distant, were surprised by forty Iroquois on the 9th of June. They fought bravely; but three were killed and the rest taken prisoners. The body of Guillaume Boissier dit Güilling was found that day and buried but the bodies of Bernard Berté from Lyons and Pierre Laforest dit L'Auvergnat were not found till later, and were buried three days after by Father Davost.

The archæologist will be pleased that the place of the first cemetery is recorded by the chroniclers. At the corner of the angle of the meadow, where the River St. Pierre joined the St. Lawrence, a little cemetery was made and fenced around with piles [50] to save the dead from molestation.

On the day after, some of the treacherous Hurons fled into the camp and told the awful tale of slaughter committed by the Iroquois during the night. The Hurons had spent the night insulting the French prisoners until sleep had closed their eyes, when the Iroquois fell upon them and slashed to pieces those who could not escape. Then taking the thirteen Huron canoes they loaded them with peltry; they descended the river with the three French prisoners in the sight of the onlookers of the fort, who were too few to pursue them.

What happened to the prisoners was graphically told later when one of them arrived at the camp.

He told how the design of his captors had been to descend to a point whence they could land and cut their way through the woods, to the place now known as Chambly. But having too heavy a load of beaver skins to carry, on landing they destroyed their canoes with their axes, as their custom was to render them useless.

[Pg 80]

When they were in the woods, some four or five leagues from the place whence they left the river, their care of their prisoners became less guarded. He had been set to boil a kettle, and taking the opportunity of being sent to gather wood for the fire, he had eluded his captors and had come to the spot where he had landed. Finding one of the canoes less damaged than the others, he plugged up the dents made by the Iroquois hatchets, and loading it with a few skins, had then paddled up to Ville Marie. The soldiers of the fort went for the rest of the peltries and M. de Maisonneuve distributed them, but kept none fur himself. [51] The fate of the other two prisoners was told later by a Huron who escaped from the Iroquois. We are not told their names by the "Relations" of 1643, but one whose Christian name was Henri, having seen his companion, as well as two Hurons, burnt at a slow fire, had escaped, only to be recaptured for the same terrible fate.

For the rest of that year, apprehension of ambuscades kept the colony within the walls of the fort as far as possible. Even to leave the threshold of their homes was to risk danger.

"Tant il est vrai," adds M. Dollier de Casson, "que dans ces temps on était plus en assurance de ce qu'on avait franchi le seuil de sa porte." From this time begins the history of "Castle Dangerous," as we may term this period of the nascent city, now commencing, when there began a constant struggle with the daily risks of life. It was during this early anxiety that good news came to allay some of the alarm, and this was brought by the governor of Quebec.

For, meanwhile in France, during the winter, the eyes of many were turned onto the infant colony. Praise and criticism alike were freely distributed. The great Company, stung by reflections on their own inactivity, repented of having given their charter to a company which they feared might prove a rival, and would have revoked it, but for the ratification it had received from the King. There were many, however, who in high places strongly approved of the aims and objects of the Company of Montreal. [52] A letter is extant, from Louis XIII himself, written at St. Germain-en-Laye, on February 21st, which was written to M. Montmagny, the agent of the Great Company at Quebec, bidding him "assist and favour in every way in his power, the Seigneur de Maisonneuve in such manner that there shall be no trouble or hindrance." This was one of the last acts of this noble prince, who died on May 24th following, but his kindness to Montreal will always be remembered. It was he who gave the Company of Montreal besides presents of artillery the vessel of 250 tons, which, under the name of Notre Dame de Montréal, was now crossing the ocean bringing new colonists and their effects.

In the month of July, 1643, the colony was delighted with the presence of M. Montmagny, who announced the approaching convoy sent by the Associates, under the guidance of one who was destined to be an able lieutenant to M. Maisonneuve. This was M. Louis d'Ailleboust, Seigneur de Coulonges, a [Pg 81] man of an illustrious family that had given distinguished sons to the church and state. The vessels, bringing him and his party of colonists for Montreal, arrived at Quebec on Assumption day, 1643, and soon they reached the fort. Among them, to the great delight of Jeanne Mance, was his noble lady, Barbe de Boulogne. Jean de Saint-Père, the first notary, was also with them. For Jeanne Mance, M. d'Ailleboust brought a message, of which we shall hear later. M. d'Ailleboust was a skillful engineer, and under his guidance the wooden stockade was reinforced with two bastions, which the fear of attacks from the Iroquois had rendered most desirable. This enclosure now began to be called the "Fort" or the "Château."

The religious care of the colony at this time was that exercised by the Jesuit Fathers, [53] whose headquarters were at Quebec. As we have seen, they willingly consented to serve this mission until M. Olier had prepared for the Associates a succession of secular priests formed by his hand for the special purpose of Montreal. The time was now come for M. Olier's company to leave Vaugirard, to which he had gone in 1641, and to follow him to Paris to the parish of St. Sulpice, where he was now training in his Seminary of St. Sulpice, a goodly number of young priests suitable for the Canadian mission of Ville Marie. These were ready to go, but as yet a technical difficulty of ecclesiastical canon law stood in the way.

Since the re-occupation of Quebec by the French in 1632, after the departure of the English under Kerth, the Jesuits had been sent under the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Rouen, and this see had continued to claim the Catholics of New France as its diocesans.

To M. Olier it appeared that Canada, being a foreign mission, the privilege of sending clergy belonged directly to Rome; accordingly the Associates of Montreal addressed a letter to Pope Urbain VIII, asking him to authorize the papal nuncio then in Paris to give the ordinary powers of missioners, to those whom they would send to Ville Marie.

This document, preserved in the archives of Versailles, contains, in addition to the above request, others asking for certain routine grants and privileges. The answer from Rome, while granting the latter, ignored the main request. There seemed to be no desire at present, at Rome, to conflict with the privileges of Rouen, or with the prescriptive rights of the Jesuits. Then too there was opposition then being threatened by the Great Company. Matters, therefore, stood where they were.

Indeed any other course taken at this time would have been very unwise. Especially as the state of feeling of unrest reflected in France this year by the "véritables motifs" was doubtless known at the Vatican through the papal nuncio, who was at this period in Paris, as we have seen.

Before passing from the events of 1643, notice must be taken of a remarkable document which appeared in Paris this year. This was "Les Véritables Motifs," one of the historical documental sources of this early period.

[Pg 82]

It was published in a volume of 127 pages in quarto, very likely having been printed in Paris, but bearing no names of place, printer or author. M. l'abbé Faillon, the author of "La Colonie Française," thinks it was written by a former judge, M. Laisné de la Marguerie, who had left the world to associate himself with M. Olier. On the contrary, however, the abbé Verreau thinks that it is the production of M. Olier himself, for reasons which we prefer to follow.

The full title of the book, "Véritables Motifs de Messieurs et Dames de la Société de Notre Dame de Montréal, pour la Conversion des Sauvages," is an indication at once, of an apologia for the erection of the Montreal mission for the conversion of the infidels. It seems strange in these days that such self-defence should be necessary. But the document reveals that there was strong opposition to, and misunderstanding of, the "raison d'être" of a purely religious colony. We may suspect that the objections formulated must have been from the Company of New France in a spirit of jealousy.

The chief objections were (1) That it was contrary to the established custom of the Catholic church to have lay people, and especially ladies, enterprising a mission for the conversion of infidels.

(2) That this work was not needed for the salvation of the heathen, as they argued in the case of infidel peoples in the absence of revelation, they were invincibly ignorant, and that the light of reason alone sufficed for their salvation.

(3) That the work of the Associates was a piece of ostentatious piety; that in the past it had sufficed for pious people to give their alms secretly to be administered by others for the good of religion. There was no need to establish a company for the purpose.

(4) That this Company injured the interests of others, viz: the Company of the Hundred Associates, the Jesuits, who had been given the charge of the Canadian missions, and finally the poor of France, for charity begins at home.

(5) That the Association of Montreal, not having any other foundation but that of Christian charity, it is bound to be a financial failure, and that the enterprise would fall through, owing to lack of enthusiasm and consequent shortage of funds.

(6) Finally, that the enterprise was ill considered, badly planned and rash; that South America would have been a better place for such a settlement; that Montreal was unfitted for French people to live in on account of the cruel cold and the excessive length of the winter; that they would be more exposed than ever to the butcheries of the Iroquois, who would infallibly cut them into pieces; that a work of such consequence could only be carried on by the King's government on account of the enormous expenses entailed, and it was folly for private persons to dare to tempt God openly.

The answer to these objections is continued in the 127 pages of quarto alluded to. We will leave them to the imagination. Without giving the reply we need only refer the reader to the year 1643 and the practical solution now going on at Montreal in the year of 1914. [54]

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On the 2d of February, another scene in the romantic story of Montreal was enacted in Paris in the Church of Notre Dame. There at six o'clock in the morning Olier said mass at the altar of the Holy Virgin, surrounded by the members of the Association of Montreal, who now had reached as many as thirty-five. The lay members, many of distinguished rank, (for Jeanne Mance's letter on her departure to M. Dauversière had helped in this), communicated, while the priests celebrated at neighbouring altars in the vast cathedral.

They consecrated the Island of Montreal to the Holy Family and placed it particularly under the protection of Mary, whose name they gave to the city of "Ville Marie," and from that day the seal of the Associates bore the Virgin's statue with the legend "Notre Dame de Montréal." On this day the Associates gave a sum of 40,000 livres, to be devoted to defray the expenses of a new expedition.

The Holy Family




The Hurons were the Wendots or Wyandots, and were divided into various clans or families, such as the Bears, the Rocks, the Cords, etc. They were the parent stock of the five Iroquois Nations and were related to the Petuns and Neutrals, their neighbours on Lake Huron, or Attegouestan, as they called it. They were also connected by blood with the Undastes or Susquehannas of Pennsylvania. The derivation of the name of Hurons, as the Wyandots were called by the French, is fanciful but apparently authentic. When Champlain, in 1609, was visited at Quebec by a tribe of these Wyandots to sell peltry from the far-off Northwest regions, the irregular tufts of hair on their half-shaven heads seemed to the Frenchman to represent bristles (la hure) on the back of an angry boar. "Quelle hure!" they exclaimed, and those possessing the stock of bristles they called "Hurons."

Their country was eight hundred or nine hundred miles away from Quebec, around Lake Huron. "Roughly speaking," says the Rev. T. J. Campbell in his "Pioneer Priests of North America," "the territory of the Hurons was at the head of Georgian Bay, with Lake Simcoe on the east, the Severn River and Matchedash Bay on the north, Nottawasaga Bay on the west, and was separated from the Neutrals on the south by what would now be a line drawn from the present town of Collingwood over to Hawkstone on Lake Simcoe. The train for Toronto, north of Midland and Penetanguishena, runs through the old habitat of the Hurons."

Many of the clergy who served Montreal had laboured among them. In the beginning the Hurons would not listen to any allusion to Christianity. Success only began in 1639, and lasted but for ten years, for before the end of 1650 as a distinct people they had vanished, being exterminated by their implacable foe, the Iroquois.


The Algonquins are said to derive their name from the word Algonquin, "the place where they spear the fish," i. e., the front of the canoe.

They were once a great race. Indeed today they number 95,000 of which 35,000 are in the United States and the rest in Canada. Their hereditary enemy, the Iroquois, were not so numerous, and thus we find Champlain allying himself with the Algonquins against the scanty sixteen or seventeen thousand Iroquois who lived in the New York territory. But herein lay Champlain's mistake. The Algonquins were wanderers and not warriors. They were a simple, stupid people, who neither cultivated the ground nor learned any textile arts and had no settled habitations. They were all worshipers of the Manitou, shameless[Pg 84] in their immoralities and just as cruel to their captives, as were the Iroquois. They were, owing to their nomadic life, a prey to the latter and a difficulty to the few missionaries to Christianize them adequately, for every group would have necessitated a priest to follow them in the hunt for game or fish, as they wandered from place to place.

Yet, portions of them, being less fierce than other tribes of their race, welcomed the missionaries, who sympathized with them in their poverty and wretchedness. Thus at Montreal, as at Three Rivers and Quebec, these were the basis of the Indian converts.

"When the Algonquins were a great nation they claimed," says the author of the "Pioneer Priests of North America," "as their own, almost all the upper regions of the North American continent, and even out in the Atlantic there was no one to dispute Newfoundland with them, except an inconsiderable and now forgotten people, known as the Beothuken. Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, and all the country from Labrador to Alaska was theirs, except where the Esquimaux lived in the East, the Kitunabaus in the far Northwest, and the Hurons, Petuns and Neutrals in the region near Georgian Bay. In what is now the United States, New England was counted as their country, and though their deadly enemy, the Iroquois, had somehow or other seized the greater portion of New York, yet the strip along the Hudson belonged to the Algonquins, as also New Jersey, a part of Virginia, and North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois and Wisconsin."

Algonquin is the generic name, but its many subdivisions and tribes have their specific names such as those set down in ethnological tables as the Abenaakis, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Crees, Delawares, Foxes, Illinois, Kickapoos, Mohicans, Massachusetts, Menominees, Montagnais, Mohawks, Narragansetts, Nepinues, Ojibways, Ottawas, Powhattans, Sacs, Shawnees, Wampanoags, Wappingers, etc.


The Iroquois were descendants of the Indians whom Jacques Cartier had met on the banks of the St. Lawrence, in 1634. But at this time they had drifted mysteriously to what is now New York territory, their central seat, that of their confederacy or league of five nations, being at Onondaga.

They were never numerous but they were very warlike. Although they lost many in war, by disease and drunkenness, for they were filthy and immoral in their habits, they recruited their strength by adopting captives seized in their raids.

They lived in palisaded towns and were more intelligent than the other races. Their houses, unsanitary and overrun with vermin, were arched constructions, sometimes of 120 feet in length and were covered with bark. In the centre of the lodge were the fires of the separate families, who were divided into stalls. The smoke escaped as best it could. They did not cultivate the land because they were so often on the warpath, neither did they devote much energy in cultivating the textile arts; hence they wore the skins of animals.

They had very vague notions of a Supreme Being, their chief object of worship being Agreskoué, the God of War, who had to be propitiated with gifts and even by human sacrifices. Theirs has been described by General Clark as literally "devil worship." They had no priesthood as such, but each brave had his oki or manitou, adopted after a protracted period of seclusion and fasting. They had their medicine men, who seemed to the missionaries to use diabolical arts in their incantations, spells and dances. Many of their sorcerers, however, were childish charlatans. They were immoral, thieves, liars, gamblers; they allowed their children to run wild, their women to grow up depraved and corrupt from girlhood. They were cruel and cannibals. The orgies of the dream feasts were unspeakably atrocious, especially after the introduction of "fire water."

They were called by the French collectively "Iroquois," by the English the "Five Nations," whereas they styled themselves the Hodenosaunee, a People of the Long House, because of the shape of their lodges. They were joined by the Tuscaroras about 1721 and from then on they were called by the English the "Six Nations."

As to their name the Bureau of American Ethnology derives it from an Algonquin word, "Iriakhoué," meaning "real adders." Charlevoix gives a descriptive derivation from hero, or hiro, meaning "I have spoken," with which they terminated their discourses with the suffix que, or some equivalent gutteral sound which expressed pain or pleasures, according to the intonation. Thus the French called them "Iroquois."

[Pg 85]

The five nations were named as follows:

(English) (French) (Iroquois)
The Five Nations Iroquois Hodenosaunee (People of the Long House)
Mohawks, Agniers, Ganeagono (People of the Flint),
Oneidas, Onneyutus, Oneyotekiano (Granite People),
Onondagas, Onontagués, Onundagono (Hill People),
Cayuga, Gogogouins, Gwengwhehons (Muckland People),
Senecas. Tsonnontouans. Mundawono (Great Hill People).

"The Six Nations, Indians in Canada," by J. B. Mackenzie, gives some modern characteristics of the Iroquois, observed on the Grand River, after a length of experience and intimate knowledge of the appearance and manners and racial customs, which may be quoted to illustrate the life of their ancestors of the period we are now treating. The reserve, the writer notices, comprises the Township of Tuscarora (about twelve miles square) with an insignificant strip of territory in the Township of Onondaga—both of these lying within the County of Brant and a small portion of the Township of Oneida, in the adjoining County of Haldimand.

The following present-day characteristics are noted: The Indian maintains a better average as to height than his white brother, say at about 5 ft. 8½ in. He is straight and is rarely "bowlegged." The Indian would appear to be built more for fleetness than for strength; litheness and agility are with him, marked characteristics. The dignity of chief among the Indians is attained upon the principle of heredity succession. In case of the death of a chief, this did not necessarily devolve upon the next of kin. The naming of his successor with the privilege of determining whether or not he fulfills, in point of character and capacity, the qualifications requisite to maintain worthily the position, is confided to the women of the dead chief's family, whose tribe has been deprived of one of its heads. They are given a wide latitude in choosing; so long as they recognize through their appointment the governing, basic theory of kinship to the deceased ruler, their nomination will be unreservedly approved.

The chiefs are looked upon as the fathers of the tribe. In the earlier days when the demon of war was about, wisdom and bravery were the chief requisites.

Oratory is still of supreme importance with the modern Indian. In this he is well equipped with a deep, powerful voice of rare volume and resonance. He has great facility of gesture and marvelous control of facial expression, which becomes the index of his emotions—a perfect mirror of his imaginative soul. It is no wonder then that, we hear of chiefs and orators of old haranguing for hours, for, even today, the undivided, keen attention bestowed on an orator, the unflagging interest evinced, the genuine and sympathetic appreciation his more ambitious flights evoke, the liberal applause exhorted by periods, when denunciation, scorn, or other strong mood that may possess the speaker is expressed—periods at which he has been aroused to withering, or flaming invective—all make us vividly realize the powerful oratory of their predecessors. The contemplative and esthetic bent of the Indian, living amidst nature's simplicities and deeply impressed by them, overflowed in the similes and metaphors of his speech. There is no doubt of his rightful claim to eloquence. The present-day Christian Indian "believes vaguely in the existence of a Supreme Being, though his idea of that Being's benignity and consideration relates solely to an earthly oversight of him, a parental concern for his daily wants. His conception of future happiness is wholly sensual—bound up, in many cases, with the theories of an unrestrained indulgence of animal appetite, and a whole-souled abandonment to riotous diversion. That estimate of an hereafter, which has gained his unreserved, his heartfelt approbation—one, in the more complete idealizing of which these coarser fancies constitute familiar adjuvants—adopts for cardinal, for constant factor, his thoroughgoing addiction, in some renovated state of being, to pastimes found congenial and appeasing [Pg 86] in life—their undisturbed enthroning, as it were. Joyously, anticipation clings to a haunt delectable—happily and charmingly contrived to embosom spacious parks immure seductive coverts; refreshed soothingly his spirits by dreams of illimitable, virgin preserves, which should be stocked with unnumbered game, and where—equipped to perfection for the chase—he should plunge with satiety into its vehement pursuit."

"It has been said that the Indian, agog for some ample scheme of ethics, is much more prone to follow the evil than the moral practices of the whites.... There can be no doubt, I fancy, that were the Indian to be thrown continuously with a corrupt community amongst the whites—should he consort freely with a class with whom a lower order of morality obtains—his acquisition of higher knowledge, instead of giving him better and finer tastes, must inevitably make him more skilled in planning works of iniquity."

The writer draws attention to the sardonic delight the humorous Indian takes in perpetrating some dire practical joke on his victim. The same trait was shown in this early period, when the brave would calmly smoke his pipe and grimly watch the Christian missionary's finger forcibly placed in it, gradually frizzle away.

The modern Iroquois is a supremely indolent creature—fasting stoically when food does not come easily, but ever ready for unbounded feasting.

The effect of spirituous liquors on him is the same as of old, and justifies the attempts of the Montreal clergy to suppress its traffic to the natives. "Intoxicants," says the writer quoted, "when freely used by the Indian, cloud, often wholly dethrone his reason, annul his self-control; madly slaying all the gentler, enkindle and set ablaze all the baser, emotions of his nature, impelling him to acts vile, inhuman, bestial; with direful transforming power, make the man a fiend, leave him, in short, the mere sport of demoniac passion. It may be thought that this is an overdrawn sketch, and that, even if it were true—which I aver it to be—full exposure of its fearsome aspect, its sombre outlines, might well have been withheld."


[44] Dollier de Casson says that Montreal was all handed over on October 15, 1641. Vimont, who was an eye witness, gives the date as May 17, 1642. See "Relations for 1642." We combine both accounts.

[45] The scene was the angular tongue of low-lying land, known by Dollier de Casson who came in 1666, on September 7, as "the Common," its memory being preserved by Common Street, watered on the south by the lapping waters of the great St. Lawrence and on the east by the narrow river St. Peter, long since dried up, which, meandering from the northwest, skirted the meadow on the north and emptied itself into the main stream. At this point and up this harbour the flotilla came to anchor. On the third side of this triangle was a marshy land which was dried up by Dollier de Casson and became the "domaine des Seigneurs."

[46] Later this chapel gave place to another 25 feet long by 26 broad, the former room now becoming a "parloir." The new meeting place in the fort is sometimes spoken of as the chapel or the church. The abbé, Louis Bertrand de la Tour, says there was a church in 1645. We may thus put it earlier.—"Annales des Hospitalières par la Sœur Morin."

[47] "The house of the fort," says Sister Morin in her Annals, "existed till 1682 or 1683, when they finished demolishing it, although it was only of wood, where is at present the house of M. de Callières, our governor today." On July 2nd, 1688, de Callières obtained a concession of the land occupied by the fort. The land book (livre terrier) of the Seminary has the description: "Quinze perches et demie de front sur le fleuve, à continuer à pareille larguer jusqu'au bord de la petite rivière; en superficie 1882 ½ touses, avec droit de passage, sur la pointe en avant, appartenant aux Seigneurs." This point was the original cemetery till 1654. From Callières' building the Place Royale began to be spoken of as the Pointe à Callières. Jacques Viger, one of the fathers of historical researches in Montreal, said that in his early days he had seen the ruins of de Callières' house.

[48] The parish register has frequent records of their names as sponsors for the baptized Indian children. They were proud of the honour. Among the names frequently occurring in the following few years are Madame d'Ailleboust, Jeanne Mance, Philipine de Boulogne, Charlotte Barré, Catherine Lezeau and Madame de la Peltrie. Next year, 1644, there is only one baptism recorded; the Iroquois were on the warpath and had driven the Hurons away. The godmother on this occasion was Madame de la Peltrie. The date, January 21, 1644, in the parish register fixing this, shows that she had spent the winter of 1643-4 in Montreal. She left, when the river opened in the spring, to return to the Ursulines of Quebec, whose establishment she had founded and with whom she resided till her death. Her stay in Montreal had been prolonged by her interest in the new foundation, and by her desire to help it in its early struggles. Her departure was deeply regretted by the colony, and by none more than by Jeanne Mance, for there were all too few ladies to help in the devoted work. M. de Puiseaux left at the same time. Madame de la Peltrie's character has been frequently discussed. Kingsford in his "History of Canada" devotes two pages to her. As Montreal only had her presence for less than two years we have given this note as the impression left of her by all the Montreal chroniclers. Kingsford says, Vol. I, p. 165: "Much romance has been thrown over a somewhat commonplace character. Her portraits remain. A more coquettish, heartless form of beauty is seldom to be found, either under the adornment of fashion or the hood and veil of the devotee." Madame de la Peltrie never became a nun. It is to be feared that Kingsford theorized on matters of Catholic custom through lack of adequate knowledge, or appreciation.

[49] In the parish church of Notre Dame there is still preserved the first register of the births, marriages and deaths. It is a manuscript volume in quarto composed of five note-books. The earliest entries are in Latin and are ratified by either Père Poncet or Père Duperon, who served the mission. The first registers were probably written on fly sheets in 1646 and afterwards copied, for until June 24th the handwriting appears to be that of a copyist. There are certain blanks as if the names had been forgotten. The baptismal book appears to start with an error. The first baptism, that of an Indian child, is put down for April 28, 1642 (this is probably the date of Father Poncet's appointment), whereas Père Vimont in his "Relations" for 1642, says it was on July 1st. The second baptism took place on October 9th. Several other baptisms are marked down for the month of March, 1643, but the copyist, better informed, has written "August" between the lines. In those days handwriting and spelling were not "de rigueur."

[50] This spot, named Pointe à Callières, "ad confluxium magni et parvi fluminis," was at the junction of the River St. Peter and the St. Lawrence opposite Ile Normandin, and took its name from the house of the governor, then Chevalier Hector de Callières, built there in 1668. It is now occupied by the custom house (1914). The plans of the Château Callières are preserved in the plans of Montreal, 1723, by M. de Catalogne, and in those of 1761 by M. P. Labrosse. This remained a cemetery till 1654, when, owing to the inundations, the burials were transferred to a plot occupied in part today by that Place d'Armes, which, being in the neighbourhood of the hospital, was called in the act of burial of 1654 the "new hospital cemetery." The bodies were not removed, out of respect, till 1793, when the land had been ceded by the seigneurs to Louis Guy, notary, by an act passed before Joseph Papineau, November 22, 1749. The Hôtel-Dieu ground was used as the cemetery for twenty-five years.

[51] Dollier de Casson tells this story, which he had from eye-witnesses; de Maisonneuve was a very generous and unselfish man.

[52] The more so, as the publication of the "véritables motifs," issued by the Associates of the Company of Montreal in defense of the settlement in clearly stating its aims and justifying the singlemindedness of its promoters, had gained it many friends, among whom were many in high places.

[53] The Jesuits had charge of the mission from April 28, 1643, and continued it up to August 12, 1657. The Sulpicians then took it over, their first act recorded in the first registers of births, marriages and sepultures being on August 28, 1657.

[54] One value of the "Motifs" for modern day readers is that it gives the foundation of Montreal the note of inspiration which is a mark not claimed by many other cities.

[Pg 87]





Louis XIII, who died on May 14, 1643, was succeeded by his young son, Louis XIV, then a child of five years of age. The policy of his father in regard to Montreal was continued by him, through the Queen Regent under the advice of the Duke of Orléans, uncle of the king, and of Prince Henri de Condé, former viceroy of Canada, who gave the "Company of Montreal" by new letters patent, dated February 13, 1644, in the name of the king, the most powerful and honourable recognition, ratifying all previous powers given. In particular, it gave it power to make and receive pious legacies and foundations for the savages and for other Christian movements. The position of the governor of Montreal is again made clear, "and to allow the inhabitants of Montreal to live in peace, police and concord, we permit the Associates to commission a captain or local governor whom they shall desire to name themselves for us."—(Edits et Ordonnances, I, 24-25.)

The king ordered M. de Montmagny to promulgate these letters. To make M. de Maisonneuve's position clearer, the Associates, in accord with the above royal permit, confirmed him anew by a commission, dated March 26, 1644, as local governor (gouverneur particulier de ce pays).

This year de Maisonneuve's initiative had brought about that the town was erected into a municipal corporation and that the civil interests should be[Pg 88] watched by a syndic or tribune of the people. This officer was elected to represent the colonists, to look after the general good of the island, to see after the taxes for the upkeep of the garrison and to bring to justice those who damaged others' property. It was, however, an honorary position and was subject to election, no one being allowed to continue for more than three successive years. The election was usually held in the "hangar" or the dépôt of "the Company of Montreal," whither the inhabitants for the most part usually resorted for all necessary clothing, utensils, and even provisions. Later on, the elections took place in the hall of the seminary or that of the fort.

This first step of popular representation was then an advanced movement. Montreal was thus ahead of Quebec, which did not have a syndic till 1663. In 1672, as we shall see, even this slight concession to self government was deplored, and Frontenac, who started with broad views of interesting the people in their affairs, by continuing them in their separate classes, was told from France by the Minister Colbert to desist and even gradually to suppress the syndic's office.

When d'Ailleboust arrived in August, 1643, he had brought an important communication for Jeanne Mance from her friend the "unknown benefactress," whom we know as Madame de Bullion. This good lady was resolved to establish a hospital. She had set aside an annual income of 2,000 livres for this purpose and now in addition sent 12,000 livres to build and furnish it, besides 200 livres to be employed according to the discretion of Jeanne Mance.

But sickness had been singularly absent up to this. A few rooms reserved in the mission house had so far sufficed for hospital purposes. Indeed, Jeanne Mance had recommended that the money should be devoted to the upkeep of the Jesuit missions among the Hurons, a proposition which did not please Madame de Bullion, who insisted in carrying on her pious design.

Thus on January 14th of this year (1664) she had placed a fund, 42,000 livres, to endow the hospital, 6,000 of which were to be employed at once on building operations. So, confident that the work was now completed, she sent a convoy of furniture and a present of 2,000 livres for Jeanne Mance for current expenses. This persistency forced de Maisonneuve to postpone other activities and he now diverted the work of his carpenters to the new foundation. In choosing the site for it, mindful of the danger of floods, he chose an elevated spot a short distance outside the fort across the streamlet St. Pierre, [55] and built the first Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, a building 60 feet long by 24 broad, containing a room for Jeanne Mance, one for the attendants and two for the sick. A little stone chapel was annexed, about nine to ten feet square, which was furnished with requirements for the altar next year by the Company. On October 8th, the hospital, dedicated according to the pious wish of its founder "au nom et en honneur de St. Joseph," was ready to receive the sick. It was also furnished by the Associates with all the appliances necessary. [56] Jeanne Mance must have felt at last happy on entering on her life-long vocation.

[Pg 89]

The hospital had its modest farm of four arpents, with its two bulls, three cows and twenty sheep. M. de Maisonneuve's carpenters surrounded it with a strong palisade as a protection, should the Iroquois venture to attack it by night.

Hardly had the hospital been completed than the anxiety of Jeanne Mance as to its utility was dispersed, for it was immediately needed for the sick and wounded who filled it on account of the daily attacks of the Iroquois. Indeed they were soon obliged to add another hall, the two rooms mentioned not being sufficient.

We now resume the military history of Montreal.

After the loss of five of his men in June, 1643, de Maisonneuve issued orders to safeguard his handful of men and women. When the men went out of the fort to their work, the sound of the bell gathered them so that they should go forth together, armed, and at dinner time it again recalled them in the same fashion. This precaution was necessary to guard them against the surprises of the Iroquois who sometimes remained for days together hidden in the adjoining woods or brush, watching, cat-like, on the ground or in the trees for an opportunity to sally forth and cut off any straggler. Then they would retreat with extreme agility back to their accustomed lairs.

Crouching Iroquois
(By Philippe Hébert)

The more impatient of his men were all for attacking the enemy in the woods, but the governor restrained them, urging the extreme imprudence of so slight a force attempting to cope with an unknown number, in a mode of warfare in which the enemy were so experienced. Nor could he run the risk of losing one of his brave defenders.

A valuable assistance was provided by the watch dogs of the fort brought from France. We are responsible to Dollier de Casson, and Father Lalemant in the "Relations" of 1647, for the story of a bitch named Pilot who every morning made the tour of the fort's environs, accompanied by her pups, to discover the hiding places of the Iroquois. Should they scent the Iroquois they would turn quickly on their course, and barking and yelping furiously in the direction of the enemy, would convey the news to the fort. Thus many a lurking snare was avoided by the settlers.

The mother was indefatigable in her duty. If one of the pups became lazy or stubborn she would bite it to make it go on. Should, however, one of them turn back and escape, in the midst of the round, a beating assuredly awaited it when Pilot returned into camp. [57]

On an occasion when the barking and yelping were more insistent than usual, proclaiming the nearness of the foe, the impetuous ones of the camp would again approach the governor, asking if they were never to oust the Iroquois by an attack. The governor's policy of delay was still maintained. "My brave boys," he said, "it is most unwise."

But now rendered impatient, murmurs arose in camp and doubt was cast upon the governor's courage. This coming to his ears, and fearing, lest his prudence, being taken for pusillanimity should thus lower his prestige and power of command, he determined for once to change his tactics.

The chance offered shortly, for on May 30th of this year (1644), the persistent barking of the dogs brought the malcontents to him with their querulous [Pg 90] cry again: "Monsieur, shall we never go against the foe?" To their surprise the calm, brusque reply of the soldier met them: "Yes, you shall meet the foe; prepare at once for attack; but let each one be as brave as his word. I myself will lead you!"

There was hurry in the camp, each one of the men sought his gun, his ammunition, and his racquettes, or Indian snowshoes, for the snow was deep. But there was an insufficiency of the latter. At last the scanty force of forty men was mustered. The governor put the fort into the hands of M. d'Ailleboust, and giving him directions to follow out should he himself never return from the fray, he led his men towards the foe.

When the Iroquois had noticed this, dividing their force of two hundred into several bands, they put themselves in ambuscades and awaited the approach of the men from the fort. As these entered into the woods, they were met with shots from the Iroquois' muskets on all sides.

Seeing his men thus attacked by so large a force, M. de Maisonneuve ordered them to get behind the trees, as the Iroquois were, and then ensued a brisk exchange of shots on either side, so long and furious that their ammunition giving out and several of his men being already killed or wounded, de Maisonneuve ordered a retreat. This was no easy matter, for they were badly equipped with the snowshoes, and those who had none sank deep into the snow and were hindered in their retreat while the Iroquois were all well shod and skillful in their use, so that, as Dollier de Casson relates:

"Qu'à peine étions-nous de l'infanterie, au rapport de cavalerie."

At this period of unrest and danger the hospital was being built outside the tort, a quadrilateral building, 320 feet in length and an enclosure flanked by four stone bastions which were connected by a wooden curtain twelve feet high. In carrying the wood for construction a beaten path had been made to it, so that the snow was hard and firm, and progress was easy here without the need of snowshoes. Thither, under Maisonneuve's directions, the Frenchmen hurried as best they could, turning to face the enemy, from time to time, to return their shots. When they reached the footpath, they ran headlong to the fort at the top of their speed, terrified by the number of Iroquois pursuing them, and leaving their commander to fall behind, alone and unprotected.

Meanwhile those left behind in the fort, hearing the uproar, and seeing their approach, and mistaking them for the enemy, one of them imprudently fired the cannon which stood already directed towards that road to guard it during the building operations. Providentially the fuse failed. [58]

The abandoned leader was now face to face with the Iroquois with a pistol in either hand, fearful each moment of being seized by them. Thus he kept them at bay. Meanwhile the Iroquois, recognizing him as the governor, wished to capture him alive to make a show of him to their tribes and to reserve him for greater cruelties, and so they delayed a little till their captain came up, to leave to him the honour of the capture. The chief now leaped forward towards de Maisonneuve and was almost on his shoulders, when the governor fired one of his pistols. The pistol did not act and the savage leaped upon him in fury [Pg 91] and seized him by the neck, but raising his other pistol above his shoulders the governor laid the chief stiff and dead upon the ground, to the indignation of the surrounding Iroquois watching this single combat. They hurried at once to secure the dead body of the chief. In their anxiety lest there should be any force returning from the fort to seize their chieftain's body, and bear it away as a trophy of victory against the Iroquois, their attention was diverted from the governor who, on the fall of his opponent, had fled and been allowed to escape to the fort.

Maisonneuve's Exploit
(A bas relief from the Maisonneuve Monument by Philippe Hébert)

This act of courage silenced all suspicion of personal cowardice on the part of the governor. His former policy was now commended, and the men protested they would never expose themselves rashly, again.

The parish records of Ville Marie this year reveal the absence of Indian baptisms. This is due to the fear of the Hurons in approaching the beleaguered fort. In addition the approaches were cut off. For in the spring of this year the Iroquois were divided into ten bands, scattered here and there on the St. Lawrence, breathing fury against the French, the Hurons and the Algonquins. The Island of Montreal itself had been visited by one of these bands at the Rivière des Prairies, and by another, with whom the recent fight described, took place.

Thus the whole country was in alarm, when, in the summer of 1644, a reinforcement from France arrived, sent by the queen regent and the Company of One Hundred Associates, of sixty men to be divided among the various posts. With them came another force for Montreal sent at the expense of the Company of Montreal. At this time Fort Richelieu was in great danger and the new addition was much valued.

The new expedition was under the command of the Sieur Labarre, who then came on to settle at Montreal in the summer with a number of new colonists. The early historians speak very slightingly of this man. He appears to have had the reputation of being very religious. At Rochelle he carried a large string of rosary beads in his girdle, and he also had a crucifix which he had almost incessantly before his eyes, so as to be considered an apostolic man. Hence his appointment. But this great "hypocrite" was found out in the intimate village life of Montreal and he was asked very shortly to retire to France as we shall see.

This year marks the beginning of agriculture in Montreal. Wheat had been sown principally through the initiative of Louis d'Ailleboust, who had come in the previous year.

But the difficulty of tilling and sowing the ground, when the workers had to carry their arms with them amid the danger of such surprises as we have described, rendered agriculture precarious, and in consequence the grain produced this year was not sufficient to support even the small colony. Its provisions had still to be sent from France.

The year 1645 started with an important change in the attitude of the Company of New France. Public opinion in the motherland had been drawn to Canadian affairs. The Montreal venture and the publication of the "Véritables Motifs" had thrown discredit on the Company as a colonizing force. This body at first no doubt blustered somewhat, but finally, from fear of being looked upon as mere private speculators, it was ready to listen to reason. There had been representation [Pg 92] from Quebec from the colonists there that the monopoly of the fur trade by the Company menaced commerce and prevented Frenchmen coming to Canada. A modification or suppression of this monopoly as the only means of increasing and firmly "establishing the colony" was demanded.

Accordingly, after having considered these matters at its annual meeting in December, we find the Company at a subsequent one, on January 7th, making, at the demand of the queen regent and the solicitation of the Jesuits, a treaty with the colonists of New France, by which they handed over to them the trade in peltry excluding that of Acadia, Miscou and Cape Breton. This treaty was concluded between the Company and the representatives of the colonists, MM. de Repentigny and Godefroi, on January 14, 1644, and ratified by the king on July 13, 1645.—(Edits et Ordonnances.)

The history, therefore, of free trade for Montreal starts from this period, for we have seen how it had been crippled in its original charter. Still the troublous times it had been undergoing had not allowed them at Montreal to feel their restrictions, just as the times still ahead were not suitable for availing themselves of their new privileges, for war paralyzed commerce. If truth be told, the deputation from Canada had obtained a beautiful scheme on paper; the Company came out the winner.

The document is worthy of consideration.

After conceding to the "habitans du dit pays," present and to come, the right and license of the trade in skins and peltry in New France ... it orders that the said "habitans" shall for the future keep up the colony of New France, and shall discharge for the Company the ordinary expenses hitherto paid by it for the maintenance and appointments of ecclesiastics, governor, lieutenants, captains, soldiers and garrisons in the forts and habitations, and that in consideration of the expenses already incurred by the Company.

The Company, however, was to retain the name, titles, authority, rights and powers accorded in its original edict of establishment and to remain in full ownership, possession, judiciary, seigneurial tenure of all the country and extent of the lands of New France.

Thus it placed all responsibility on the inhabitants themselves. Montreal would not suffer very much, because, being a private corporation, it had already offered to maintain itself at its own cost.

The year 1645 opened again with Iroquois attacks, "but," says Dollier de Casson, "God has been favourable to us."

The men of the fort even killed some of their assailants, and owing to the wise soldiership of the governor, not one of his own were killed, all this year.

Montreal Vue A Vol d'Oiseau
A. The fort built in 1645. E. First cemetery in Montreal. B. Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 1642. C. Residence of M. de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. D. Windmill built in 1648.
Maisonneuve Residence

Meanwhile, the Indian allies still kept away. But on September 7th the fort welcomed a body of sixty of them who came under the escort of a band of the soldiers sent out from France the previous year. These latter had been ordered on arriving to winter with the Hurons and protect them from the Iroquois, and they were now on their way back to the governor of Quebec with a load of skins to the value of thirty to forty thousand livres.

It will be remembered that the disposition of the peltry was now in the hands of the colonists themselves on condition that they should maintain the upkeep of the departments of church and state. On arriving in Quebec there was a disagreement [Pg 93] as to the disposal of the profits of the sale. Finally the colonists devoted part of their proceeds to the construction of the Jesuit house there.

This year also de Montmagny and the inhabitants applied the product of 1,250 beaver skins to their new church being constructed at Quebec and dedicated to Our Lady of Peace in view of the conclusion of peace, now heartily desired.

The possibilities of trade must have appealed to the Montrealers from the arrival of the above party, the more so as their restrictions had been removed.

This month, the negotiations for peace were concluded at a representative gathering of Iroquois and the French allies with the French party under de Montmagny and thus the first Iroquois war was over.

Peace now gave M. de Maisonneuve an opportunity to go to France to arrange the affairs of his father; so putting his own in order, he left the government of Ville Marie in the good hands of his lieutenant, Louis d'Ailleboust. He departed, to the great grief of all the fort gathered at the harbour mouth, but with the promise of a speedy return. M. de Maisonneuve left Quebec on October 20th, on one of the Company's ships bearing their season's fur skins to France. He "deported," as we would say, with him the "undesirable" Sieur de Labarre, whose hypocrisy had been unmasked in Montreal, "when it became known," as Dollier de Casson quaintly relates, "he was frequently taking promenades in the wood with an Indian woman whom he had defiled (qu'il engrossa). There was no more of the saint about this man than his chapelet and his deceitful look, for under the guise of virtue he hid a very wicked life which has made him since finish his days behind a 'bar' which was heavier than his name of Barre."

This year the Jesuit missioners in charge of Ville Marie were Fathers Buteaux and Isaac Jogues. Both of these men were zealous pioneers. Each bore on his body the marks of Iroquois' ill treatment. Yet they did not ask to be recalled to France and rest on their laurels. Father Jogues had, however, been recalled after his mutilation, but his missionary zeal prompted him to return. He profited by the peace, which brought many of the Iroquois out of curiosity to the fort, to make friends with them as he wished to work among their tribes shortly.

After Maisonneuve had concluded the arrangement of his father's affairs he was free for many conferences with members of the Company of Montreal. Ever since they had written to the pope in 1643 it was their great desire, and that of Maisonneuve especially, it being thought that peace was concluded, to establish a bishopric in Canada. As they had agreed to support the expense of maintaining such a post, preferably at Montreal, they arranged that one of their number, a M. Legauffre, a secular priest who had a private fortune of his own, should be nominated to fill the episcopal see.

His unexpected death now came, but he left a legacy of 30,000 livres towards the founding of a see.

In the meeting of the bishops at the general assembly of the clergy on May 25, 1646, Mgr. Godeau, bishop of Grasse, promoted the movement for the establishment of the see, and in July, at the meeting of July 11th, Cardinal Mazarin promised to employ his services with his majesty towards that end, while he also promised 1,200 écus. But as at Quebec and Three Rivers there was no desire for a bishop, especially in view of the uncertain nature of the peace, the negotiations were eventually discontinued, as it became evident that the state of the country was too unsettled. Still the progressive Montrealers had by their enterprise and[Pg 94] initiative suggested the establishment of a see, which was erected later on the coming of Laval.

A notable personage now enters into the story of Montreal, Charles le Moyne. He was then a young man of twenty years of age, but he had been already in the colony since 1641 and had traveled in the service of the Jesuits on their Huron missions. Thus he had acquired the knowledge of their language and that of the Iroquois, and it was with the purpose of being useful to the fort at Montreal, as an interpreter with the Iroquois, that he had been sent by de Montmagny to supply a need which the fort had experienced in dealing with the Indians.

Charles Le Moyne
(By Philippe Hébert)

M. de Maisonneuve returned at Quebec on September 20th, but hardly had he arrived there than he received a letter from M. Dauversière that his brother-in-law had been assassinated and that his mother was contemplating a second marriage; the latter, seeming to be looked upon as a ruinous event for the family, he had to cross back immediately to France to stay its execution. He sailed for that country on October 31st, but while waiting for the boat to go he transacted some business in Quebec and returned to M. Puiseaux his original donation to the Company of Montreal, of the fiefs of St. Michel and St. Foy and the other gifts which he had given in his early enthusiasm, but which he afterwards reclaimed.

In recompense the Company of Montreal was reimbursed for the improvements made on the land at St. Michel. This action of M. Puiseaux is attributed to his failing faculties. However, by his will made at Rochelle next year, June 21st, he gave the land of Ste. Foy for the maintenance of the future bishop.

During the calm, which was soon to be perturbed, Charles d'Ailleboust completed his fortifications with four regular bastions, so well constructed that the fort exterior was the pride of Canada. The fault was the delay in not having chosen another site, for even now the floods and the ice-pushes from the St. Lawrence threatened many times to upheave the fortifications, and by 1672 the fort was in ruins. Yet for the present they were of avail and inspired fear in the Iroquois and pride in the colonists. Agriculture was largely advanced by d'Ailleboust by cultivating lands for himself and having the same done for the settlement.

But war was again looming ahead. Signs were not wanting by the gradual dispersal of the Indian allies from the fort during the late autumn. On November 17th, three Hurons who were at Ville Marie, having gone to the hunt, returned, with the loss of one of their companions. A few days after, having gone in search of him, they were captured by a band of Iroquois. On November 30, 1646, two Frenchmen were taken at a distance from the camp. Thus it became evident that the peace had never been thoroughly intended, for news came in on all sides of disasters from the Iroquois. The year 1647 passed in troublous vexations. To the great joy of the settlement M. de Maisonneuve returned in the spring of 1648 and found that life was indeed a warfare.

The wars of the Iroquois were fiercer than ever. Fear filled the hearts of all the Montrealers. The fort was the centre of surprises. Yet this year the first windmill was constructed by de Maisonneuve, at what is still known as Windmill Point. It was built with loopholes for musketry, so that the mill was intended not only to grind the wheat but to be an advanced redoubt and a challenge to the Iroquois to show them that the French were not ready to abandon their field of [Pg 95] glory. On October 21st Charles d'Ailleboust went to France whence he would return as the governor general.

A word should now be said of the government of the country. By a decree of the king in 1647 it had been arranged that the government of the country should be left in the matter of police, commerce and war in the hands of three, viz., the governor general, the superior of the Jesuits and the governor of Montreal.

The governor of Quebec was given a salary of 25,000 livres, with the privilege of having sent to him each year, without expense, seventy tons of freight by the vessels of the fleet on the condition that he should provide the fort with arms and ammunitions. He was to have, besides, his own private lieutenant, another at Three Rivers, and finally sixty-six garrison men who should be maintained at the expense of the stores. It was further settled that the governor general should journey into the country as he should judge fit.

As to the local governor of Montreal his salary should be 10,000 livres, with thirty tons of freight, and he was to support a garrison of thirty men. Finally 5,000 livres were granted annually to the superior of the Jesuits for their missions.

These privileges of the royal decision did not give pleasure to many in the colony. M. de Maisonneuve seems to have opposed them in France. It was alleged that M. de Montmagny, in the frequent absence from Quebec, of the superior of the Jesuits on missions, and that of the governor of Montreal, was practically sole ruler; that he was drawing too large a salary and was not fulfilling the conditions imposed upon him in safeguarding the other outposts of the colony. Thus there was dissatisfaction among the colonists, and M. Charles d'Ailleboust with M. des Chastelets went to France to procure amendments.

M. de Montmagny was about to be recalled. His rule was considered inefficient. A mémoire by M. de la Chesnaye says that there was a secret cabal intriguing against the governor, composed of a few of the chief families, who went to France to enrich themselves, and got one of their own named as governor general. This alludes to de Maisonneuve, des Chastelets and d'Ailleboust. The former is known to have refused a nomination to the post and des Chastelets and d'Ailleboust, among other things, asked for a reduction of the salary of the governor general from 25,000 livres to 10,000.

On the 5th of March, 1648, these amendments passed. In addition the governing council of Canada was now to be composed of the governor general, the superior of the Jesuits, and MM. de Chavigny, Godefroy of Quebec, and Giffard, to which body the local governors of Three Rivers and Montreal should be added when they should happen to be in Quebec.

First Deed of Confession
The last page of the first deed of concession made by M. de Maisonneuve to Pierre Gadoys. The deed itself is completely written in the handwriting of the governor himself. Under the signature of Paul de Chomedey is the acceptance of the concession by Pierre Gadoys before the notary, Jean de St. Pierre. This is at once the first deed of concession and the first notarial act registered in Montreal, January 4, 1648.

Finally the king ordered that it would be necessary for two at least of the councillors to deliberate with the governor. The salary of the governor general was reduced to 10,000 livres, the sixty tons of freight to twelve, and his garrison to twelve men, and it was ruled that the local governors of Montreal and Three Rivers should each receive 3,000 livres, six tons of freight and six soldiers.

The 19,000 livres over should be partially employed in raising a "camp volant," or flying squadron drawn from men of existing garrisons if there should be sufficient so disposable, or if not, it should be raised as soon as possible. In the summer this flying squadron should guard all the passages by land and water under the command of some capable officer to be appointed by the governor, and in [Pg 96] the winter it should be distributed in the garrisons to sally forth thence to beat the bush and to rove around.

The rest of the 19,000 livres should be employed in purchasing arms and ammunition. Besides this flying squadron the king allowed a company formed by the settlers at their own expense to act as the necessary escort to the Hurons or the missionaries. For the support of this, trading was allowed on these journeys on the condition of bringing the skins to the government stores at Quebec and sold at the price fixed by the Quebec council.

These changes were not received with favour by the old party and d'Ailleboust was made to realize this on his way back. However, he came to Quebec as governor general on August 20th and was received with "generous magnanimity" by Montmagny, who left on September 23d. Madame d'Ailleboust and her sister, Phillipine de Boulogne, joined the governor at Quebec. There was grief at Montreal in losing them, but this was tempered by its pride in furnishing the governor general from its midst.

A few words are needed in further explanation of the "camp volant" above alluded to.

"In 1642," according to Benjamin Suite, Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, 1879, "there were no less than seventy soldiers at Three Rivers whose duty it was, not only to defend that place against the Iroquois, but to patrol Lake St. Peter also. The same year only fifteen soldiers were quartered at Quebec—a much less exposed position than Three Rivers. In the year 1644 some troops were sent to Canada by Anne d'Autriche. Twenty-three of these soldiers accompanied the Hurons, the missionaries and a few Frenchmen, who went to the Georgian Bay that summer. M. Ferland says that the garrison of Montreal numbered thirty men in 1647; but he evidently means the thirty men placed under the orders of Jean Bourdon for reconnaissance purposes on Lake St. Peter." These were "soldiers" from 1642; from 1649 there were volunteers, and from 1651, if not before, a sedentary militia was established.

About 1647 Montmagny had considered a project for forming an active militia to be on the lookout against the Iroquois, but his resources were too slender. In the spring of 1649 the "camp volant" was organized under the command of Charles J. d'Ailleboust de Musseaux, nephew of the new governor general, M. d'Ailleboust. It numbered forty men and its duty consisted in patrolling on the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Three Rivers.

After the slaughter of Sieur Duplessis Kerbodot, nephew of M. Lauson, now governing and the successor of de Musseaux, on August 19th, together with fifteen Frenchmen, the "camp volant" became disorganized for the winter, but it was apparently reformed in the summer of 1653. After that it seems to have been neglected during the government of D'Argenson and D'Avaugour. In fact a body of regular troops was required to check the Iroquois, and not mere militia, whose men could not attend to their farm and other business and at the same time keep beating the country nearly all the year round. Hence the request for troops, of Father Lejeune in 1660, and Pierre Boucher in 1661. In 1663 a body of militia was organized at Montreal.

The next spring, 1640, the "camp volant" of forty men was sent to Montreal under the command of the nephew of the new governor, Charles d'Ailleboust des [Pg 97] Musseaux, to help to repulse the Iroquois. About the same time the new governor went to pay his first official visit to Ville Marie.

He communicated the king's order as above, and among other instructions he communicated directions from the Company of Montreal. One, touching the administration of the Hôtel-Dieu, regulated that the surgeon of this house should attend the sick of the island gratuitously, both French and Indians, and that the administration accounts of the hospital should be rendered annually to the governor of Montreal, the ecclesiastical superior and to the syndics of the inhabitants, who should sign an act to be sent to Paris.

During this stay the governor, on May 3rd, put the Jesuits [59] formally in possession of the Seigneurie de Madeleine on the south side of the St. Lawrence, comprising land two leagues in length by four in depth, stretching from St. Helen's island towards the Sault St. Louis. This had been granted by François de Lauson on April 1, 1647.

Sad news had been brought to Jeanne Mance by the governor that many of the Associates were losing their interest in Montreal and were diverting their charities to the missions in the Levant. Anxious to get further news she went to Quebec in the summer and there she found that Père Rapin, the Recollect, her intermediary with Madame de Bullion, was dead; that the Company of Montreal was almost dissolved; that M. de la Dauversière was dangerously ill; that his affairs had become entangled, and he was now a bankrupt. As he had money in trust for Madame de Bullion, this was a blow for the colony.

The outlook for Montreal was now financially gloomy. Ville Marie was also surrounded by war. Jeanne Mance therefore set sail from Quebec on September 8th to interest her friends in the struggling settlement. In this she was very successful. Madame de Bullion received her with kindness and gave her a sum of money to engage workmen to till lands to support the hospital. The Associates renewed their interest, and in order to guarantee the continuance of their Seigneurie a new act was drawn up to supplement that of March 25, 1644, in which M. de Fancamp and M. de la Dauversière had sworn that they were occupiers of Montreal in the name of a company, so that these nine remaining members were now publicly named and signed their names, making at the same time a mutual donation, reciprocal and irrevocable, by which they handed over to the last surviving of them the forts, habitations and outhouses, etc., belonging to the said Company. This was signed before the Notaries Pourcelle and Chaussiere on March 21, 1650. [60]

The Company gave the hospital also 200 arpents of land. Jeanne Mance saw many of the associates privately and stimulated their interest, as well as that, of others. In the month of September, 1650, she arrived at Quebec with some [Pg 98] labourers and some virtuous marriageable girls, leaving it on September 25th for Montreal and arriving there three days before the feast of All Saints (November 1st). [61]

The year 1650 may be chronicled as that of the first general movement towards agriculture. The constant fear of Iroquois' attacks had kept the settlers pent up within the walls of the fort, although there had been since 1643 individual attempts by Charles d'Ailleboust and others outside. [62] The activity started by Jeanne Mance in putting into cultivation the 200 arpents lately conceded by the Associates of the Company of Montreal to the Hôtel-Dieu encouraged others to take to the land and to build their dwellings on the concessions which they now demanded from M. Maisonneuve, since it was now thought there was a likelihood of peace.

These early grants were only of thirty arpents and to ensure as great protection as possible against Iroquois attacks, they were clustered around the fort and the brewery. In granting these lands, however, the seigneurs stipulated that they could be exchanged later for others at a remote distance, for the location at present used was reserved for the future city, for the building of the market place, the port and other public purposes.

What may be called the history of mutual building societies now starts, for as the number of workmen were limited, the inhabitants, led by the motives of fraternal charity and public spirit, formed associations to help one another in the clearing of their lots and in the construction of their homes. Thus a contract dated November 15, 1650, between Jean des Carris and Jean Le Duc, binds them to assist each other to build at common expense a ho, for each, on a clearing, of ten acres each, made by them, and that if one of them fell sick the work should be continued by the other without remuneration.

In the present case after the clearing had been made and the house built on Jean des Carris' concession, the war intervening would not allow similar work to be done on that of Jean Le Duc, and in consequence Jean Le Duc received from his partner 580 livres in recompense for his services.

The harvest of this year was very successful; "particularly at Montreal where the lands are very excellent," is the account in the "Relations."

It is not difficult now to present a picture of Montreal or Ville Marie of this period. On the northeast portion of the triangular piece of land watered on the east and north by the little River St. Peter and on the south by the St. Lawrence, there was the fort and the new concessions with their wooden buildings being erected thereon; on the southern portion there was a long sweep of ground, an arpent in depth and forty in length, along the banks of the river westward, on which the cattle of the soldiers and others who were now becoming farmers were allowed to stray. This was known as "the Common" [63] and was granted to Jean de Saint Père as the syndic for the people in October, 1651, on [Pg 99] the understanding that it should revert to the seigneurs when they should need it for city expansion. In this common, which was protected by the fort and the houses above, the animals, under the care of a watchman, were safe from immediate attack, since all approaching this pasturage must necessarily venture from afar and be visible. At the west end of the common was the windmill near the river. [64] Across the little river there were the houses of M. Maisonneuve and that of the Hôtel-Dieu. This comprised the situation.

In spite of the pictures of progress and contentment we have presented as existing towards the end of 1649 and the earlier part of 1650, we must remember that Montreal was frequently the rendezvous of bands of Hurons and their Jesuit missionaries, who told of their flight from the cruelty of the Iroquois; of forts destroyed, pillaged, of burnings and massacres. Montreal itself, they were told, was soon be the object of attack. Hence the bands did not delay. After the horrible scenes that had occurred at St. Louis [65] in July of 1650 the missionaries brought down three or four hundred Lake Hurons, the relics of three to four thousand, to Ville Marie, where they stayed only two days. The "Relation" of this year says: "This is an advantageous situation for the settlement of the savages, but as it is the frontier of the Iroquois, whom our Hurons flee from, more than death itself, they could not determine to start their colony then."

Dollier de Casson gives us this insight into the fear caused at Ville Marie by these visits and their recitals of disaster. The evident reflection then was, "If we who are only a handful of Europeans, do not offer a firmer and more vigorous resistance than 30,000 Hurons have done, then we must reconcile ourselves to be burnt alive at a slow fire with all the refinements of unheard of cruelty."

But this year Montreal was able to breathe in comparative peace. A picture of Montreal of this year is presented by Père P. Ragueneau, the Jesuit superior of the missions, writing from Quebec on October 8th to Father Picolomini, the general of the order at Rouen: At Montreal there are barely sixty Frenchmen, twenty Hurons, a few Algonquins and two of our fathers. They cannot leave this fort, which is always very much exposed."

In the spring of 1651, a perilous period began. Speaking of this year the Jesuit "Relations" say in general: "It is a marvel that the French of Ville Marie were not exterminated by the frequent surprises of Iroquois bands." Other contemporaneous chroniclers repeat the same. Sister Morin, in the "Annals of the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal," writes: "Often ten men of Ville Marie, or less, have been seen holding their own against fifty or eighty Iroquois, who have acquired for themselves a great reputation in all Canada and in France, and the Iroquois have several times avowed that three men of Montreal have inspired them with more fear than six from elsewhere."

The attacks now were very frequent and sudden. Although the garrison fought well and bravely, its losses were severe compared with those of the Iroquois, who though losing more men, yet were able to replace them.

[Pg 100]

Some of these encounters have been preserved to us. The following occurred on May 6, 1651: On this day, Jean Boudard had left his house with a man named Jean Chicot when suddenly they found themselves surprised by eight or ten Iroquois. Chicot ran for safety to a tree recently cut down and hid himself there, but Boudard, making headlong for his home, met his wife, Catherine Mercier, not far from it. Asking her whether the dwelling was open she replied: "No, I have locked it!" "Ah!" cried he, "then it is death for both of us! Let us fly at once." In their flight, the wife could not keep pace with him and, being left behind, was seized by the Indians. Hearing her cries the husband returned and attacked them with fisticuffs, so violently that, not being able to master him otherwise, they massacred him on the spot. The cries and confusion aroused three of the settlers, Charles Le Moyne, Archambault and another, who, running to render assistance, were seen falling into an ambuscade of forty Indians behind the hospital. Discovering their mistake they made a retreat to the front door of the hospital which luckily was open, having escaped a brisk fusillade, as Le Moyne well knew by the hole in his hat. With the captive woman, the Indians who had surprised Boudard then sought the hiding place of Chicot. He defended himself with his feet and hands so vigorously that fearing, lest he should be assisted by the Frenchmen they now saw approaching, they took his scalp, taking a piece of his skull with it. This they carried with them as a trophy, as well as the head of Boudard, who was commonly known as "Grand Jean." Jean Chicot did not die, however, till nearly fourteen years later, but Catherine Mercier was brutally burned after having been inhumanly disfigured, [66] during the summer of the same year in the Iroquois camp.

Four days later another alarm aroused the fort. About two hours after midnight, a band of forty Iroquois attacked the brewery and some of the houses. Two of these, belonging to Urbain Tessier dit Lavigne and Michel Chauvin, they burned, and the brewery would have been reduced to ashes if the guard of four men within, had not repulsed their attack with vigour and put them to flight.

On the 18th of June, on a Sunday morning, a party of four, probably returning to their newly constructed houses from the church in the fort, was surprised between the fort and Point St. Charles by a large body of Iroquois. These four ran to a hut used as a kind of watch house or redoubt, overlooking a quantity of felled timber, where they were quickly joined by Urbain Tessier and, resolving to sell their lives dearly, they kept up a lively fusillade on the enemy.

The noise attracted de Maisonneuve in camp and he sent a relief party under Charles Le Moyne with such success that the Iroquois were put to flight, leaving behind them twenty-five to thirty men dead on the field, independently of those who were taken prisoners. On the French side only four were wounded, although one of them, Léonard Lucault dit Barbot, died two days afterwards, being buried in the cemetery. Belmont, in his "Histoire du Canada," mentions another among the dead, but the parish register only mentions one.

[Pg 101]

Thus, amid such daily hostilities, was life insecurely led by the settlers, since it was not safe to venture even a few yards from their houses without pistol, musket or sword.

Jeanne Mance, in a memoir to be found among the archives of the seminary at Quebec, tells how the governor now obliged all the colonists to leave their newly constructed houses and retire with their families to the safety of the fort. She herself was forced to leave the hospital. Maisonneuve turned this into a military outpost to guard the isolated redoubts scattered here and there in the field and to protect the workmen, by placing in it a squad of soldiers. He had two pieces of cannon taken there and swivel guns for the windows of the granaries, and he had loopholes cut into the walls of the building all around, even in the chapel which served as an artillery armoury.

In this way the hospital became a fortress for four years and a half. On July 26th the wisdom of Maisonneuve's arrangement was evident. Marguerite Bourgeoys is responsible for the story. On this day 200 Iroquois had concealed themselves in a trench originally built as a defence for the hospital, and which, descending from a height nearby, close to the place where St. Jean Baptiste street is today, crossed the site of St. Paul street.

All of a sudden the concealed foes disclosed their presence by attempting to take possession of the building and to set it on fire. Meanwhile the garrison within, consisting of Lambert Closse, [67] the town major, and sixteen of his men made a vigorous and valorous defence against the 200 from 6 o'clock in the morning to 6 at night, and losing only one man, Denis Archambault, who met his death by a splinter from the cast iron cannon which had exploded, killing him on the spot, but without dealing death to the enemy outside. The cannon was fired by himself. Finally the enemy were forced to retreat, burning a neighbouring house in revenge for their loss of men.

Other engagements of a like nature took place but the details have not been recorded. Three Rivers and Quebec were in similar straits. Disaster, loss, and want of reinforcement for two years had reduced Montreal to but about fifty defenders, so that there was now open talk of abandoning it and leaving Canada.

One hope remained, suggested to the governor by Jeanne Mance; it was that the 22,000 livres put aside as the revenue for the hospital might be diverted to the expense of sending out a reinforcement to save Montreal, and she thought that she might interpret her "unknown benefactress'" goodwill as agreeable to this, seeing the extremity in which Montreal now stood.

But de Maisonneuve accepted the offer only on the condition that in exchange Mademoiselle Mance should receive for the hospital 100 arpents of the domain of the seigneurs. Meanwhile he could go to France and call on the unknown benefactress herself whose name was now divulged to him. Mademoiselle Mance tells how "M. de Maisonneuve determined on departing for France, told me that if he could not obtain at least 100 men, he would return no more to Ville Marie; and in this case he would order me to return to France with all our party." Thus the abandonment of the settlement was now threatened.

[Pg 102]

Before leaving M. de Maisonneuve named the nephew of Louis d'Ailleboust, M. Charles d'Ailleboust, Sieur des Musseaux, to be the governor of Montreal in his stead.

In the meantime the new governor general, M. de Lauson, of whom we have spoken already, had arrived on October 13th to succeed M. Louis d'Ailleboust at Quebec. This was no good tidings for Montreal, for as Dollier de Casson remarks, the new governor made known "his good feelings towards the Messieurs de Montréal" and the good treatment they ought to hope from him by retrenching 1,000 from the 4,000 livres granted by the general Company for the upkeep of the governor and his garrison. [68]

"I do not wish," says he, "to say anything touching the conduct of this gentleman towards this island, more especially as I wish to believe that he has always had the very best of intentions, although he was always wise to his own interest since if he had more frequently strengthened the embankment here, the Iroquois inundations would not have so easily taken their course towards Quebec and they would not have done the mischief they did, for they have not always respected even his own family."

De Maisonneuve before leaving for France persuaded the governor of Quebec to send ten men as a reinforcement to Ville Marie. Dollier de Casson, the quondam soldier now priest, treating this quaintly as follows, says facetiously that de Lauson kept his promise, "sending their arms in advance," meaning that he sent none at all. This is confirmed by M. de Belmont, who says that "M. de Lauson sent, in spite of his own wish, ten soldiers without arms and provisions." "But he sent them so late," says Dollier, probably on the testimony of eye-witnesses, "and put them on a chaloupe so poorly clad that they almost froze to death, and they were taken for living spectres coming, as mere skeletons, to confront the hardships of the winter. It was a rather surprising thing to see them arrive in this turnout at this season, considering that it was the 10th of December; so much so that it seemed doubtful whether they were men or not, this only being cleared up when they were seen close at hand; moreover in constitution these men were most sickly, two of them being mere boys, though in truth they have become since very good settlers, of whom one is called Saint Ange and the other, Lachapelle. These poor soldiers were no sooner here than their hosts proceeded to warm them up as well as they could, by giving them good cheer and good clothing, and then they came to be of service in repelling the Iroquois whom we had to deal with at close quarters every day."

Surely Montreal must have been looked upon as a forlorn hope!



The site of this is claimed by the Abbé Rousseau in his "Maisonneuve," page 77, as the space in front of the fort known as the Place d'Armes, afterwards the [Pg 103] market place and now known as Custom House Square, and the road abutting the new buildings of the Hôtel-Dieu arising at the corner of St. Joseph Street (St. Sulpice) and the corner of St. Paul Street.

The Abbé Faillon, Vol. II, page 25, "Histoire de la Colonie Française," argues for the present Place d'Armes in front of Notre Dame Parish Church. M. L. A. Huguet Latour, the first editor of the Annuaire de Ville Marie, holds the same view.

There was a blazed trail, running up the slope of St. Sulpice Street, which probably went up to the mountain where de Maisonneuve placed his cross. In a map of 1680 such a road ran by the northwest corner of the present Place d'Armes.

Faillon claims it was here that the exploit took place; the argument of time and distance for the action as related by de Casson being more congruous for this position than at the lower position just outside the fort in the sight of the defenders within. But it must be remembered that the present Place d'Armes did not get its name from this exploit. This name does not appear till 1717, when Chassegros de Léry, engineer of New France, forwarded to France a lengthy report as to the advantage of Montreal for the purposes of fortifications. In this report he said:

"I have marked a place d'armes, in front of the parish church where might afterwards be moved a number of barracks, the houses which are in that place being of small value."

During the year the work was commenced, but from lack of funds it was discontinued. Up to 1721 no further progress was made but in that year it was fairly entered upon and de Léry superintended it. (Vide "Canadiana," Vol. I, pp. 47, 63, 77; notes of John Talon Lespérance, Henry Platt, Wm. McLennan.)

Let us compromise and say that most of the action took place on St. Sulpice Street, between the present and the old Place d'Armes, the latter incidents of the story taking place near the old Place d'Armes.


[55] The position now can be located as at the east corner of St. Sulpice (originally St. Joseph) Street and St. Paul Street.

[56] There are still preserved in the present Hôtel-Dieu some jars and other articles of the original dispensary, as well as Mademoiselle Bullion's gifts of furniture.

[57] The dog Pilot has been immortalized in Hébert's de Maisonneuve monument in Place d'Armes, Montreal.

[58] The parish register of March 30, 1644, records that the French lost in this encounter J. Matenac and P. Bizot, besides Guillaume Lebeau, mortally wounded.

[59] At this time in the Huron country and its neighbourhood there were eighteen Jesuit priests, four lay brothers, twenty-three men serving without pay, seven hired men and eight soldiers.

[60] Names of Associates signing: Jean Jacques Olier, priest, curé of the Church of St. Sulpice; Alexandre de Rageois de Bretonvilliers; Nicholas Barreau, priest; Roger Duplessis, Seigneur de Liancourt; Henri Louis Hubert, Seigneur de Montmart, king's councillor and master of requests; Bertrand Drouart, Esquire; and Louis Séguier, Seigneur de St. Germain, who all occupied the Isle of Montreal as well for themselves as for MM. d'Ailleboust and Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve.

[61] The first concession and notarial act known, signed by Jean St. Père, dates from this year, as also does the first of the acts of the government of M. de Maisonneuve. (See Hist. Soc. Records.)

[62] Among others Pierre Gadbois, Lucien Richomme, Blaise Juillet, Léonard Lucault dit Barbier, François Godé and Godefroy de Normanville. From 1650 to 1672 ninety-four houses were built.

[63] The name of "Common" Street records the locality of this "common."

[64] At the present Windmill Point.

[65] The Jesuits, Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant, nephew of Father Charles Lalemant, S. J., were killed by the Iroquois at St. Louis on the 16th and 17th of March, 1649.

[66] "Relations," 1651.

[67] Lambert Closse came in 1648. He was second in command of the garrison. He was of noble family. Contemporary writers call him indifferently sergeant-major of the garrison, major of the garrison, major of this place, or "of the fort" or "of the town" or "of Montreal." He also acted as notary.

[68] Montreal fared ill, whereas the salary of the governor of Quebec was raised 2,000 livres and that of Three Rivers reached 5,200 and 50 horses, the 3,000 livres granted to the governor of Montreal had been increased to 4,000. This news had been brought to Montreal by Louis d'Ailleboust. It was now reduced again to 3,000.

[Pg 105]






M. de Maisonneuve was absent for nearly three years and during that time Montreal was in a critical position. The inhabitants were cooped up within the fortress or in the Hôtel-Dieu for fear of the Iroquois. The danger of going out of these limits was only too clearly seen when the cattle guardian, Antoine Roos, was slain at his work on the common in front, on May 26th.

Anxiety was felt as to M. de Maisonneuve's success in Paris. News was accordingly eagerly awaited. Thus it was that in June Jeanne Mance went to Three Rivers under the escort of Major Closse and proceeded on the way to Quebec under that of M. Duplessis Kerbodot, the governor of Three Rivers. On arriving there she had almost dared to hope to hear that M. de Maisonneuve had already arrived, but instead a long letter awaited her. In this, the governor related his visit to Madame de Bullion, telling how he had approached Madame adroitly, without discovering to her his knowledge of her benefactions as the founder of the Hôtel-Dieu. Not only did this lady not take any steps to show her disapproval of Mademoiselle Mance's action in making the exchange of the hospital revenue, but she gave in addition 20,000 livres more as an anonymous gift, placing it in the hands of the president of the Company of Montreal, M. de Lamoignon, for the purpose of raising a convoy for Montreal under M. de Maisonneuve. Thus, in all, this good lady had contributed 42,000 towards the 75,000 livres for the new expedition of 115 men provided by the Company. The letter then informed Mademoiselle Mance that he would return the next year; meanwhile the preparations would be hastened.

With this good news Jeanne Mance returned as soon as possible to Montreal. New hope was thus infused into the settlement. On July 29th, however, the state of hostilities is again revealed to us by the record of the brave exploit of Martine Messier, the wife of Antoine Primot.

[Pg 106]

Three Iroquois, who had hidden themselves in the wheat at a distance of two musket shots from the fort, fell upon her unexpectedly. She defended herself like a lioness, fighting with her hands and feet. To quell her loud cries for help they gave her three or four stunning blows with their axes. Thinking her dead, as she sank to the ground, one of them threw himself over the prostrate body to take her scalp as his trophy, when suddenly our Amazon, coming to herself, raised herself, more furious than ever, seized him with such violence "par un endroit que la pudeur nous défend de nommer," that he could not free himself, although he did not cease striking her with the head of the axe. But she held on tightly, until at last she fell to the ground exhausted, thus affording her assailant what he most wanted at that moment, an opportunity to escape from the relief party now running from all parts of the fort to her rescue.

On reaching the spot where the poor woman lay bathed in her blood, one of the men assisting her to rise, moved by a natural sentiment of friendship and compassion, embraced her. But this seems to have made her confused, for she administered a sound slap in the face of this affectionate sympathizer, to the great surprise of the bystanders, who exclaimed: "What are you doing? This man was only showing his sympathy to you, without any thought of ill. Why do you strike him?"

"Par menda!" she exclaimed in her patois. "I thought he wanted to kiss me!"

Madame Primot did not die, but she was long afterwards known as "Parmenda," whose valour and modesty were lovingly held in tradition, as typical of the noble women of these early pioneering days, in which virtue and courage flourished side by side.

(By Philippe Hébert.)

The severe treatment received at Montreal turned the Iroquois to Three Rivers, and in a skirmish on August 19th they killed the governor, M. Duplessis Kerbodot.

In October, however, Montreal was the scene of fresh fighting. Dollier de Casson has rescued the story of this from oblivion, from so many others not recorded.

On the 19th of this month, the barking of the dogs indicated the direction of an Iroquois ambuscade. The brave town major, Lambert Closse, ever ready to fly to the post of peril, started out at once with twenty-four armed men to reconnoitre the situation. But though brave, he was prudent; he therefore sent three of his soldiers ahead. La Lochetière, [69] Baston (or Bastoin) and another, ordering them to proceed within gunshot no further than a certain position marked out by him. La Lochetière, however, in his eagerness pushed a little ahead of his companions, and the more easily to discover the whereabouts of the enemy, he climbed a tree, intending to discover from this lookout if the enemy were hiding in a thicket.

But, without him knowing it, there was an ambush of them at the foot of the tree, and as soon as he had climbed it they raised their usual war cry, and were about to fire on him. No less alert than brave, La Lochetière seized his musket, fired straight at one of them, who was aiming at himself, killing his man, but [Pg 107] paying the penalty of death at the same instant from his victim's gun. The other two scouts also received a volley, from which they were lucky to escape.

Major Chase quickly put his men in order, but, finding his party surrounded, he directed them to make a rush to a wretched shack near at hand, belonging to an old settler, M. Prud'homme, who had eagerly invited them to enter as quickly as possible, for the enemy were surrounding it. This done, the party made loopholes in the walls for their guns and prepared to open a brisk fire on the besiegers—all except one coward, who, falling flat on the ground, could not be induced by threats or blows to rise. But the Iroquois were now firing at close quarters all around the house and their balls riddled the scanty walls so that one of them struck Laviolette, one of the fighters of the fort, completely disabling him. The loopholes now being ready, the French party answered the Iroquois with such effect that after the first rounds the ground was strewn with the dusky bodies of the slain. The hurly-burly went on, the Iroquois fighting while they attempted to carry away their wounded and dead, until, fearing a dearth of ammunition, Major Closse was only too glad to accept the offer of Baston, whose prowess as a runner was well known, to make a dash to the fort and bring back a reinforcement of men.

Accordingly, under cover of the fire of the defenders of the house, the door was opened and Baston, speeding forth, escaped while the Iroquois were recovering from this last fusillade.

Soon he returned with eight or ten men, all that could be spared, and two pieces of cannon charged with canister shot. Between the scene of battle and the fort there was a screen of trees under cover of which the reinforcement made its way and thus escaped the attention of the savages till it suddenly appeared in view on this side of the screen and commenced firing on the Iroquois. Major Closse's party now went into the open to join fire also and a brisk and hot interchange took place. But the enemy were being overmastered and made their best to retreat, carrying with them their dead as far as possible, according to their custom. Dollier de Casson does not give the number of the enemy slain. "Usually," he says, "they decimated their losses, but, speaking of this occasion, they owned that 'we all died there.'"

M. de Belmont in his history states that more than fifty of the Iroquois were wounded and twenty killed. On the French side the only one killed was La Lochetière, and one wounded, Laviolette.

This was only one of the brave actions which surrounded the fame of the warlike Lambert Closse as revealed in the early chronicles.

Lambert Closse
(By Philippe Hébert)

Thus the fort of Montreal was the scene of many such conflicts, unassisted by the "camp volant," which de Lauson had suppressed in 1652. Père Mercier, in his "Relations of the Year 1653," writes: "There has passed no month of the year in which the Iroquois have not stealthily visited Ville Marie, attempting to surprise it. But they have had no great success. The settlers have assisted one another with so much determination and courage that as soon as a gunshot is heard in any direction, they run thither quickly, without any dread of the dangers besetting them."

At Quebec, it was announced that Montreal had been blotted out. In the spring of 1653 the governor of Quebec, anxious for news of this advanced post, had sent a barque thither, giving the commander instructions that he should not [Pg 108] approach the fort, unless he had proof certain that the French were there, adding that if he did not see any, he was to come back to Quebec, for fear that the Iroquois, having captured Ville Marie, might be lying in ambush to capture them also. The barque advanced near the fort in a dense fog, and anchored. But seeing no one and hearing no signal, they obeyed their instructions literally enough, and went back to Quebec with the dire tale of the destruction of the French colonists. The wiseacres no doubt said that the inevitable had occurred at last.

Meanwhile in the fort, the keen-eyed had seen the vague outline of a vessel, but others said it was a phantom of the imagination, and when later the mist rolled away and they saw no ship, these were satisfied with their diagnosis until news came later from Quebec that it was a veritable vessel after all.

In this abandoned state, we are told by the chroniclers how the Montrealers, under the direction of the Jesuits of the fort, earnestly prayed for peace.

As if in answer to their petition, on June 26, 1653, an embassy of sixty Iroquois of the nation of the Onondagas (Onontaquis) appeared at the fort with a proposal of peace. As they came unarmed, they were treated kindly, presents were exchanged, and the day was one of public rejoicing. On returning to their country, passing by the village of the Oneidas (Onneyuts), they exhibited their presents and spoke in high praise of the French of Montreal. "They are devils when attacked," they said, "but most courteous and affable when treated as friends." And they protested that they were about to enter into a firm and solid alliance with them. Touched by these discourses, the Oneida Iroquois (Onneyuts) would also enter into an alliance with Montreal, and they sent an embassy with a great porcelain necklace, asking for peace, which was concluded. But there were three others of the Five Nations who had not made peace, for though they were allied amongst themselves they reserved their independence. These were the Mohawks (Agniers), the Senecas (the Tsonnoutouans), and the Cayugas (Gogogouins).

Three weeks after this, 600 Mohawks marched on Montreal. We have no records of this attack, but they retired to Three Rivers to seize the port there. Quebec now also trembled for itself, and it was at this time that de Lauson reestablished the "camp volant." In September of this year peace was again concluded, for a time, between the French and the Iroquois. As Montreal had a large share in bringing this about we must relate the following circumstances leading to it.

At the time of the descent, of the Iroquois above mentioned, on Montreal, there was present in the fort a band of Hurons, and among them one, the bravest of all, named Anontaha. On one occasion these Hurons had discovered the tracks of a party of lurking Iroquois meditating mischief for Montreal. They combined with the French and on August 25th they surrounded the Iroquois, and after a sharp struggle beat them off, leading four or five Iroquois chiefs, or men of importance, to the fort. These captives told of the projected raids of extermination on Three Rivers and Quebec. The acting governor, knowing of the importance of these Iroquois in the camp, called a meeting of his counsellors, and it was determined that Charles Le Moyne, the interpreter, should persuade Anontaha to go to Three Rivers and parley for peace with the Iroquois, offering to hand them over their chiefs in captivity in Montreal. This was done on August 24th and peace was concluded later. Dollier de Casson says of this: "Finally [Pg 109] there was made a sudden patched-up peace in which our enemies acquiesced, solely to regain their own people and to have an opportunity of surprising us later. We well knew their rascally motives, but, as they were stronger than we, we accepted their conditions, 'et en passions par là où ils voulaient.'"

Thus ended the second Iroquois war.


[69] The parish register gives Etienne Thibault. The Abbé Faillon reads Etienne Thibault dit La Lochetière. (Massicotte gives the date as October 14.)

[Pg 111]






The arrival of M. de Maisonneuve's expedition was eagerly awaited by the whole French colony of Canada. For the addition of newcomers, men able to bear arms, meant more resources against the common enemy, and consequently surer stability for the whole French population.

The picture presented at this period of war is distressing. Montreal was a besieged fortress; Three Rivers similarly, and the Town of Quebec was described, on the arrival of de Maisonneuve, as only holding five or six houses in Upper Town, while in the Lower there were only the storehouses of the Jesuits and that of Montreal. The "Relation" of 1653 says "that the store of Montreal has not bought a single beaver skin for a year. At Three Rivers, the little sold has gone to strengthen the fortifications. At Quebec, there is only poverty." Thus there was extreme discontent through inability to pay private debts or those due to the government for the upkeep of the colony, which by the cession of the trading rights to the people now devolved upon them and not on the great Company. Thus they looked for a continuation of the peace just declared and a return to trade. It was hoped that Maisonneuve's contingent would make for both. Consequently it was with great joy and a solemn Te Deum in the church [Pg 112] that its arrival at Quebec was hailed on September 22nd. The governor of Montreal and his new colonists were the saviours of the country!

We may now briefly relate the history of the organization of this relief force. When de Maisonneuve had made sure of the necessary funds, he proceeded with M. de la Dauversière, the procurator of the Company of Montreal, to gather the right men. They must be young, brave, have a trade, be of irreproachable morals, and able to bear arms; in other words, be ready to help to found and organize a settlement, and put up with the variety of trying difficulties incidental to such a dangerous pioneering outpost. These men were hired for the work, and they guaranteed their services to the Company for five years at Montreal, on the condition of being fed and lodged, in addition to wages paid them, besides being provided with tools, etc., for the exercise of their callings. After the five years expired, they might return to France at the expense of the Company. These were recruited from Picardy, Champagne, Normandy, L'Ile de France, Touraine, Burgundy, but principally from Maine and Anjou, and especially from the neighbourhood of La Flèche, the home of M. de la Dauversière.

We are able to locate the origin and point out the profession of nearly each one of those coming with Maisonneuve's force, since we have the old original acts of Notary Lafousse, of La Flèche, giving the contracts between 118 of the men and the agents of the Company of Montreal, signed during the course of March, April and May of 1653. There were 38 others who signed in other places, making the total, according to Faillon, of 154, all able to bear arms. Of these, some deserted, some died on the passage out, and, according to M. de Belmont, only 105 reached Montreal. [70] But these were all picked men and chosen with care; there were three surgeons, three millers, two bakers, a brewer, a cooper, a coppersmith, a pastry cook, four weavers, a tailor, a hatter, three shoemakers, a maker of sabots, a cutler, two armourers, three masons, a stonecutter, four tilers, nine carpenters, two joiners, an edgetool maker, a nail maker, a saw maker, a paviour, two gardeners, a farrier, sixty tillers or labourers for cultivating the soil, of whom several were sawyers, etc.

[Pg 113]

The absence of womankind is noticeable in this list, but a few ladies were provided for the settlement in this way. Before the day for the departure, fixed for June 20, 1653, de Maisonneuve visited his sisters, Madame de Chuly and la Sœur Louise de Ste. Marie, who both lived at Troyes, the latter being a nun of the Congregation of Notre-Dame there, to bid them adieu. It will be remembered that the good nuns of Troyes were very anxious to emulate the example of the Ursulines of Quebec by sending representatives of their order to Montreal to found an establishment there. De Maisonneuve had promised to make use of their offer of services, when the time should be ready, but no one who has followed the story of the chequered days of the city so far, will blame the governor of Montreal for still refusing to receive as yet a cloistered nunnery in his beleaguered fort. But there happened to be a young woman of thirty-three years of age then living with Madame de Chuly at Troyes, a lay woman belonging to a pious association under the direction of the Sisters of the Congregation, who had long heard of the thrilling story of the doings at Ville Marie from Madame de Chuly and the ladies of the convent. She had, indeed, communicated her idea to de Maisonneuve's sister, of devoting herself to the work in Montreal, so that Marguerite Bourgeoys, as was her name, had been promised to be received into their institute when they should realize their project of going to Canada.

It was then, in the convent parloir, that the good nuns introduced this young person to de Maisonneuve, who doubtless asked her kindly, gravely and courteously, if she dared brave the ocean and live in a little settlement among rough soldiers and teach school to little Indian children of the forests, and make Christians of them, and thus do good work for God. Needless to say his offer was accepted. All necessary permissions were granted, [71] but Marguerite momentarily hesitated to give herself to the conduct of a strange gentleman whom she had only met on this occasion.

"Fear not, my child," was the reply of her spiritual adviser, who knew the integrity of the upright governor. "Put yourself in his hands as into those of one of the first knights of the Queen of Angels. Go to Ville Marie with all confidence."

Thus she arrived at St. Nazaire, the port of departure, near Nantes; but to her great surprise and pleasure she found a small group of her own sex to accompany her on the voyage—several young girls, and one or two married women accompanying their husbands. The expedition started on June 20th in the Saint Nicholas de Nantes, and barely had it made 150 leagues on its way than it was found necessary to put back to St. Nazaire, for the ship's timbers were rotten and she made water fast. At first it was thought, with so many hands on board, that by working at the pumps they could proceed, there being then over one hundred men of the Montreal party. But "having turned back at last, when they were nearing land they would have perished," says Marguerite Bourgeoys, "without[Pg 114] the succour which, by the grace of God, the people of this place (St. Nazaire) gave us."

In the Annals of the Hôtel-Dieu, an instance is related as occurring on this voyage which illustrates the character of simplicity of M. de Maisonneuve, with whom Marguerite Bourgeoys was now to become acquainted. Madame de Chuly had taken care to provide her brother with a wardrobe of very fine linen and such lace work as gentlemen of position then wore. It happened that a few days after the ship had set sail, the package which Marguerite Bourgeoys had made of these was swept into the sea and, despite all her efforts, she was unable to recover it.

Not knowing M. de Maisonneuve's character, and fearing that this loss, which could not be repaired in Canada, might grieve a gentleman of fashion such as she considered M. de Maisonneuve might be, she told him of the misfortune with great apprehension, but to her relief the governor of Montreal made light of it, laughingly remarking that "both he and she were well rid of the care of such vanities." Later Marguerite Bourgeoys was to learn of his extreme simplicity in all that surrounded his private life.

Marguerite tells how M. de Maisonneuve on putting back to St. Nazaire placed all his soldiers on a small island nearby to prevent them from deserting, for they now feared the journey, having become excited and alarmed and believing "they were being led to perdition." Some of them threw themselves into the waves to escape. Another ship was chartered, and set sail on July 20th, taking up the men from the island. But soon fresh disaster—"ship" fever—broke out and many were laid low. In these days of commodious sailing in a well appointed and sanitary steamer that takes less than a week to come from Europe to Canada we do not realize sufficiently the hardships of the early immigrant days. This voyage took two months; the ship, maybe, a crazy tub of a sailing vessel—the overcrowded accommodation of the most primitive order; the provisions of the coarsest kind, and water scarce. Can we wonder that before the journey ended we learn that out of the 113 men hired by the Company of Montreal, eight had died? We may well imagine the great grief of de Maisonneuve, for every man to him was a cherished possession.

This period brought out the sterling character of Marguerite Bourgeoys, who undertook the care of the nursing. Throughout the sickness she was indefatigable, taking the men their meals, assisting the surgeons, preparing the men for death, and nursing the others into convalescence. Night and day she was lavish of her charity. It is related that she would not accept a place with de Maisonneuve's party at table, but would take her food and whatever delicacies there might be given by them to distribute among the sufferers, while she herself was satisfied with the common rations, and scarce portions at that.

Her zeal knew no relaxation, for, whether in sickness or in health, the soldiers welcomed her as their nurse, their friend, their instructress, their leader at the morning and night prayers, and singing and spiritual reading. Thus she laid the foundations of that lasting respect which the men of Montreal ever had for her.

At last the hoped-for recruitment reached the enfeebled garrison of Quebec on September 22nd. There was Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance awaiting the vessel to receive M. de Maisonneuve, to tell him of the perilous fate of Montreal and [Pg 115] to hear from him all the news of the good things in store for it, for she was keen to hurry back to carry the glad tidings thither.

We can imagine the courtly Maisonneuve now introducing to the lady of the Hôtel-Dieu the new assistant that she was to have in the care and training of the young of Montreal, Marguerite Bourgeoys of Troyes, whom she would find of good sense and kindly heart, a virtuous and excellent companion, and a powerful aid for the good work in the settlement. Thus began an enduring friendship between these noble women.

It will be noticed that at this second foundation of Montreal, which is now about to begin, history repeats itself. M. de Lauson, seeing Quebec in its own dire necessity of defenders, would now prevent M. de Maisonneuve from taking his convoy up country. But the governor of Montreal firmly insisted on carrying out the project and he would not leave behind him a single man of those who had cost the Company of Montreal so much.

Moreover, Maisonneuve had a lettre de cachet which the King, Louis XIV, had granted the Company of Montreal on April 8, 1653, in which he approved of the renewed appointment of Maisonneuve as governor, giving him all power to continue the establishment of the settlement at Montreal.

Thus silenced, the governor of Quebec could only resist by refusing to provide transportation facilities by river. Thus it was that the necessity of obtaining boats delayed Maisonneuve at Quebec for a month. Meanwhile Marguerite nursed those still sick from the voyage and presided over the distribution of the stores and the provisions as Jeanne Mance had done in 1641.

It was during this time that the Ursulines of Quebec made overtures to her to join their party; thus they thought that they might have a branch establishment in Montreal. [72] But the future schoolmistress of Montreal already saw her own vocation clearly before her. At length the boats were ready and Maisonneuve sailed, last of all, with the satisfaction of seeing that he did not leave one of his men behind him. Ville Marie was reached on November 16, 1653.

On reaching Montreal, de Maisonneuve set about the work of consolidating his colony. The elements he had chosen in his contingent of 105 men, who, together with those already on the ground, formed the nucleus of his future city, had in them the potentialities of a well-constituted and progressive civic society. They were of different trades, so that mutual help of a diversified nature could be given, albeit they were all soldiers in that they each bore arms, ready to build up the City of God, even as the builders of the temple of old had gone about their work with trowel in one hand and sword in the other. He found his men, whom the hardships of the journey may have daunted, now enthusiastic for the ideal Christian life opening up to them and disposed to make a permanent home with him. Consequently, in the course of December they were ready to listen at the Sunday services, in the fort chapel, to his overtures, made in the public announcements before the sermon, stating the terms on which those that were willing to forego their contract of remaining only for five years and then being taken back to France, might be encouraged to build their permanent homes and take up land.

[Pg 116]

The governor's intention was to induce them to abandon the advances of money made in France, and later, on their arrival in Canada, on condition of building their houses on an arpent of land granted on the site chosen for the town and cultivating thirty acres on the slopes of St. Louis or St. Joseph, in the vicinity, with the additional consideration of a certain sum of money to provide the means to settle, the latter sum being forfeited if they should ever quit the Island of Montreal.

On the first day of January, 1654, André Demers thus received 400 livres and two days afterwards Jean des Carris and Jean Le Duc received 900 on the above promise, soon to be followed in the same month and that of February by many others on similar terms. These sums may seem modest, but it was an age of simplicity and they were adequate.

The wooden homes the settlers built on their one arpent were of the simplest, and on the arrival of the last immigration there was much activity in felling and carpentering. They assisted one another in building their little houses of thirty feet, and the bachelors lived in common till they had built their own homes or "shacks," as the contracts prove.

The number of houses outside the fort began to grow. M. de Maisonneuve increased the buildings of the hospital, and Jeanne Mance went back to live there, protected from the Iroquois attacks by two redoubts he had constructed hard by, in which were placed two pieces of cannon and other artillery. The houses of the habitants were built detached from one another, but clustered, facing one another for mutual protection. In the walls they had loopholes made so that each home was a fortress with armed men inside. By 1659 there were about forty of these. The fort began to be abandoned. Repairs were neglected on the bastions, already battered by the ice shoves. Soon it sheltered the governor, the d'Ailleboust family, the town major and his ordinary garrison, and some others, among whom was Marguerite Bourgeoys.

The lands cultivated were mostly on the St. Louis slopes, and to protect them Maisonneuve built a redoubt of twenty feet square and sixteen in height, with a chimney. In 1654 he built another in this section and gave the workers an indemnity of 300 livres.

All were very busy at their trades, for everything now had to be made "in Canada." No one disdained manual labor, following the example of the governor and d'Ailleboust and others, such as the town major, Lambert Closse; Charles Le Moyne, interpreter and storekeeper for the Company; the Notary Saint Père. Gilbert Barbier, the carpenter, who was now dignified as fiscal procurator and justice of the peace, had a busy time superintending and lending a hand to the rapidly arising homesteads.

On their side, the women were not less engaged, baking the bread and preparing the meals, combing the wool, spinning and weaving and making the simple garments. Thirteen years later, when Marguerite Bourgeoys formed her first community of two helpers, Marie Barbier, daughter of Gilbert, the first Canadian girl to be received into the Congregation of Notre-Dame of Montreal, could be seen in her religious habit going to and from the pasturage grounds of the common, leading the cattle and often bearing on her shoulders the flour which she had previously taken as wheat to be ground at the mill. In similar attire could have been seen Sister Crolo, tending the farm. And when not [Pg 117] thus occupied, Marguerite Bourgeoys and her companions were busy sewing and cutting, to clothe the women and natives.

But in 1654 Marguerite Bourgeoys, the future schoolmistress, had not gathered her community together, and she was not overburdened in this office, for there was only one French girl, Jeanne Loisel, who, born in Montreal on July 21, 1649, was now about 4½ years of age. This girl, who remained with Marguerite Bourgeoys till she was married, was the first child to live to any age. For hitherto all that had been born had died in their tender years. One child, the adopted daughter of Parmenda, who had been born a year before coming to Montreal, had, however, prospered, and she was shortly to be married, as we shall see.

The contracts of marriage, preserved in the city archives of this period, gave an insight in the life of the time. The contract of marriage of Louis Prud'homme with Roberte Gadois reveals that her father gave his daughter, besides the sum of 500 livres, a complete bed, fifty ells of silk, a cow and its calf, six dishes, six plates and a pewter pot—luxuries in these primitive times. [73]

In a contract of the year 1650, we find that the bridegroom, of well-to-do means, as a gift to his bride, gave, in his marriage settlement, the sum of fifty to sixty livres and his residence in his principal house; and on her part she would bring her dowry of 500 livres.

Up to 1654 there had been only ten marriages between the French settlers, the first having taken place in 1647, after the return of Maisonneuve on his first visit to France, when he brought with him for this purpose "some virtuous young women." Marriages flourished again in 1650, when Jeanne Mance also returned with some eligible partners. We find in November of this year that Louis Prud'homme, of whom we have spoken, married Roberte Gadois; and Gilbert Barbier, Catherine de Lavaux. In 1651 the notary, Jean Saint Père, married Maturine Godé, the daughter of Nicholas Godé, whose family came over with Maisonneuve at the first foundation of Montreal. On the occasion of his marriage, in recompense "for his good and faithful service rendered during eight years," Maisonneuve, in addition to the gift of forty arpents, promised him six arpents of land, to be cultivated by him, meanwhile granting him the enjoyment of six others already tilled near to the fort.

In 1654 there were naturally more marriages, and thirteen are therefore registered. Of these early marriages, especially of this year, there are many descendants still living.

Thus for some time Marguerite Bourgeoys, with the exception of Jeanne Loisel, would have to exercise her care with Jeanne Mance in assisting the newly-born children, visiting the sick, consoling the afflicted, washing the linen or mending the clothing of the poor and the soldiers, burying the dead and following the call of self-sacrifice everywhere. Otherwise she dwelt within the fort with M. de Maisonneuve, looking after his domestic arrangements, in a position of friendship [Pg 118] and trust but not of domestic service. Indeed, with Jeanne Mance she became his wise adviser, for both seemed to have been largely consulted in the affairs of the settlement.

It will be remembered that Marguerite Bourgeoys, who had taken a vow of perpetual chastity in France, had been heard to place herself in the hands of M. de Maisonneuve as in those of "one of the first Chevaliers of the Angels."

Scrutiny into the life of de Maisonneuve, a "chevalier sans reproche," reveals us a singularly pure character. About this time the governor had doubts whether he should take a wife, but, not feeling himself called to the married state, he took, according to custom of the time, a vow of virginity, so that his biographers speak of him as being a religious without the habit. He was a man of prayer and devoted to duty, sincere, unaffected and unostentatious, seeking neither praise nor flattery, and undepressed by slights and contradictions. His life ideals were high and saintly, and his whole conduct was that of a Christian knight, a model to all under him. His household was simply furnished; his table was frugal; he had only one servant, and this man was the cook and general servant. In his dress ordinarily he followed the habits of the people, wearing the tuque, or capot, and grey tunic which have come down to us in some of the costumes of the snowshoe clubs of Montreal of today. Yet, not unmindful of his dignity as governor, on important occasions he would be habited as fitting his rank as a soldier and a gentleman.

He never strove to make his post serve to increase his fortune, although, like his lieutenants, he could have legitimately traded in peltry, then beginning to be very profitable. He seems rather to have embraced the "Lady Poverty" and to have been singularly unselfish and altruistic. Dollier de Casson tells us, as an example of his magnanimity and generosity, how, ever ready to recompense the good actions of his soldiers, he would deprive himself of his provisions, even those on his own table, to give them away. "On one occasion," says this historian, "when the savages came to trade at this place, noticing that one of his soldiers who had often given proofs of courage against the enemy was in extreme depression, and having found out on enquiry that it was caused by having nothing to trade with the Indians who were then here, he thereupon led him into his own room, and, since the man was a tailor, gave him all the cloth stuffs he could find, even to the curtains of his bed, to make into wearing apparel which he might sell to the Indians." Thus he sent the young soldier away happy. Such generosity endeared him to his men.

The military organization of Montreal may be said to have become solidified this year. For hitherto, beyond readiness to respond to the call to arms, the soldier's sense of duty and esprit de corps had not been cultivated.

The governor took this work of formation into his own hands and chose sixty-three of his most devoted men and erected a military confraternity with the title of the "Soldiers of the Blessed Virgin." He was proud to command these himself. These met in religious meetings and the knightly de Maisonneuve would address them with glowing words of encouragement to acquit themselves like good Christians and soldiers. These were the governor's guard of honour, which came into prominence whenever there was a great religious ceremony or civil function, such as the reception of a distinguished visitor to the island.

[Pg 119]

During the week, each of these in turn had the duty of sentinel, parading the fields, on the lookout for traces of the dreaded Iroquois. To be selected one of this military order was a high favour. One of the privileges of this guard of honour was to escort Mademoiselle Bourgeoys, shortly after her arrival, to the mountain to visit the cross placed there by de Maisonneuve in 1642, but now found to have been destroyed by the Iroquois in the recent war. It was immediately replanted, under her direction, by Gilbert Barbier and four other men, who placed a palisading around it. This monument was the Mecca of pilgrimages until the occupation by the British in 1760.

The necessity of providing themselves with the needful and indispensable objects of life stimulated the industry and inventiveness of all, so that each man fulfilled many rôles. In addition, the spirit of enterprise and initiative was encouraged by the cancellation of their contracts made with the Company in France for mostly all now were independent workers, anxious to make good for their own interests. Still the Company had the onus of providing the public works, and the contracts of this period show that it paid just salaries for services rendered.

We have an insight into the medical history of the city in a contract made by the first surgeon, Etienne Bouchard, on March 30, 1655, with twenty-six families to treat them regularly for a certain sum. To these were shortly added others to the number, in all, of forty-six. This shows that the cancellation of the original contract, by which the surgeon was appointed to give free medical treatment to all the inhabitants, was a consequence of the new order of things.

The government of the settlement was very simple. Besides the governor, there was a fiscal procurator or treasurer, a public notary, a keeper of the storehouse of the Company, and a syndic.

The last named office was first filled in 1644, when Louis XIV gave the Company of Montreal the right to erect a corporation. The syndic was elected by a plurality of votes from the inhabitants themselves to represent their interest and thus became a tribune of the people. He had the privilege with those of Quebec and Three Rivers of assisting at the election of the two councillors (or three in the absence of the governor), who were chosen to compose the General Council of Nouvelle France, with the governor general and the ecclesiastical superior, for the time being, in Canada. They were even privileged to represent the interests of their corporation at the council meetings and to have a "voix délibérative" in these same matters.

By a royal act of 1647 the syndics could only be appointed for three years, and by another of 1648 they could not negotiate any loan for their corporations without the express sanction of the council at Quebec, under pain of nullity, damages and interests incurred by the syndics themselves.

The election of a syndic was a simple matter at Montreal. The inhabitants had first to get the leave of the governor to call a meeting. The public notary employed by the Company called this and presided. Placing before the electors the names of likely persons for the office, he called upon them to subscribe their names or their marks to the candidate of their choice. On the votes being counted, the person elected might refuse the honour, but the spirit of civic duty always prompted him to respond to the call. He then promised to discharge his duties faithfully, and the retiring syndic would hand over to his successor the care of [Pg 120] the documents of the corporation, the contracts of property, etc., and other titles such as that already granted to the syndic for the people in 1651, when forty arpents were given over to them for a "common."

In the year 1654 it would have been the syndic who received the grant made to the corporation by the governor on behalf of the Seigneurs of Montreal, of land for the new cemetery, given on the condition that if this changed its place, it should revert to the Seigneurs.

The little cemetery, in which for twelve years the first brave defenders of the Castle Dangerous of Montreal had been buried, had this year to be abandoned and the bodies removed to higher ground, for the constant floods of the St. Lawrence had sadly ill used the little palisaded God's acre at "the Point," or the corner of the junction of the rivulet St. Pierre and the main stream.

The "new cemetery," as it was called in the burial register on the date December 11, 1654, was placed on a portion of the ground belonging to the Hôtel-Dieu, bun above the latter, at a point today occupied by the southern portion of the Place d'Armes and the piazza steps of Notre Dame Church. It was at the head of what was the second street or tract called St. Joseph Street, and nowadays St. Sulpice, while at the bottom, at the southwest corner bounded by St. Paul Street, was the Hôtel-Dieu. This cemetery was used for the next twenty-four years. [74]

The expense of these changes was borne by the parishioners and not by the Company—another sign of the times. We know this, for the salaries paid are still to be seen in the original document in which it is recorded that Gilbert Barbier, the carpenter who erected the cross, gave the half of his salary as a contribution, to the church.

The church towards which Gilbert Barbier gave his donation was probably not the mission chapel which had been so long the centre of parish life and piety in the fort itself, but towards a new one that already, on June 29th of this year, had been determined on to be started as soon as possible owing to the increase of population from the reinforcement of 1653.

On this day, the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, the syndic had called a meeting of the habitants in the presence of the governor, when Jean Saint Père was elected by a majority of votes to act as the "receiver of alms," or treasurer for funds for a new church. He was to keep account of all sums given to him, with the names of the donors and should furnish a financial statement every three months to the governor. In addition it was ruled that all donations in grain, or in kind, subject to deterioration, should be sold by the treasurer to the highest bidder, provided that the auction should be publicly announced by a notice affixed to the fort gate three days in advance of the sale. Finally, the treasurer should hand over the sums received by him, when required, to the director of the church building to be erected by the citizens in the presence of the governor when there shall be need for such an appointment. Besides the private donations M. de Maisonneuve, as the administrator of justice, applied the court fines to the church fund.

[Pg 121]

But it was not till August 28, 1656, that the foundations of the new church were laid. In the meantime the people still worshiped in the fort chapel, now become too small for its increased population through the recent influx of the troops of soldiers and the women. It had many dear memories symbolized by the baptisms, marriages and deaths, and the feasts and festivals of the year. At its services the Jesuit missionaries, such as Isaac Jogues, Poncet, Buteaux and others, had officiated with mutilated limbs, a living instance of the ever brooding presence of the revengeful Iroquois. [75] In this little mission chapel many a prayer had gone forth for the relief which tardily came.

But it was too small and must give place to another—a real parish church, large, dignified and commodious, to meet the needs of the expanding corporation. The cherished decorations and the altar furniture and plate, which were gifts from rich friends in France, would still be a link between the old and the new, and thus its memory would be kept forever green.

The old chapel church still continued its work. It witnessed, on May 28th of the year following, 1654, the marriage of Charles Le Moyne with the adopted daughter of Antoine Primot and Martine Mercier, his wife, whom we know as the valiant and chaste Parmenda. This girl, Catherine Thierry, probably a niece of Madame Primot, had been brought as a child of one year to Montreal in 1642, and she was commonly known as Catherine Primot and was now fourteen years of age. This union begot the famous Le Moyne family. Their first home was on the arpent town lot near the hospital. On February 3rd the fort chapel witnessed the marriage of Jean Gervaise and Anne Archambault, who also reared one of the most numerous and honourable families of Montreal. This was the fourth marriage of the thirteen occurring this year.

The history of Anne Archambault gives us an insight into one of the few scandals of the time. This was Anne's second marriage, having been married before the church in Quebec in July, 1647, to a Michel Chauvin, dit Ste Suzanne who had been sent out by de la Dauversière to Montreal in the service of the Company in 1644.

In 1650 Louis Prud'homme, of whom we have made mention already, had on a voyage to France discovered that Chauvin had deserted his wife, and on returning to Montreal he had notified the authorities, so that on October 8, 1650, Chauvin acknowledged freely before Jean Saint Père, the official notary of justice, that some seven years before leaving France for Canada he had married Louise de Liles. He then hurriedly departed for Quebec and took the first boat back to France. Anne Archambault had one child by this scoundrel, born on April 5th following. To sympathize with her Jeanne Mance and M. Charles d'Ailleboust des Musseaux were the godparents.

To the great joy of the colony, Anne Archambault was honourably remarried on February 3, 1654, to Jean Gervaise, one of the recruits brought over by de Maisonneuve in the previous autumn. The esteem of the public was manifested to offset the unaccustomed scandal that had arisen in their midst. One child, Charlotte Chauvin, was reared by these two and for this purpose the governor [Pg 122] gave special assistance on behalf of the Company. At this time there were also several orphans, children of soldiers that had died in battle with the Iroquois, and for these de Maisonneuve also provided.

Thus the spirit of fervour, charity and uprightness of morals was exercised in the life of this primitive church of the settlement. Sister Morin, in the Annals of the Hôtel-Dieu, writes of these early times: "Nothing was put under key in these days, neither the houses, chests, or cellars; everything was left open without anyone repenting of their trustfulness. Those who were in easy circumstances hastened to lend their assistance to others less fortunate, and gave it spontaneously without waiting to be called upon, making it a pleasure to forestall all needs and to give their marks of affection and esteem to one another."

The words of Longfellow, written so long after, of Grandpré, the home of Evangeline, might be well applied to Ville Marie at this date:

"Neither locks had they to their doors, nor bars to their windows; But their dwellings were open as day, and the hearts of the owners. There the richest were poor, and the poorest lived in abundance."


[70] How many of those hired sailed for Montreal? An unedited list containing 102 names has lately been found in the archives of the Seminary of St. Sulpice at Montreal by Mr. C. O. Bertrand, and has been reproduced with notes by Mr. E. Z. Massicotte in the Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal for October, 1913 (Third Series, Vol. X). The original number of engagés, according to Faillon, taken from the notarial contracts before Maître Lafousse at La Flèche, was 154. But examination shows that, owing to several duplications, this must be reduced to 150. Before sailing at St. Nazaire only 103, according to Faillon, answered the call. But on the examination of Faillon's list, it is seen that the number was 102, which corresponds with the newly found list.

Marguerite Bourgeoys says that there were about 120 passengers, of whom 108 were "soldiers," as she calls the engagés. The Abbé de Belmont gives 105 soldiers. Mr. Massicotte, from a study of the contracts of marriages shortly after the arrival of the recruits of 1653 and other sources, supplies the eighteen missing members thus: A married woman, two single women, four men, M. de Maisonneuve, Marguerite Bourgeoys, and nine others who are mentioned by the latter as "quelques filles," who were brought for marriageable purposes.

Marguerite Bourgeoys mentions that eight were buried at sea. Of the 102 in the list mentioned above, Mr. Massicotte finds eleven names that never occur in any of the documents of the period at Montreal. Hence he concludes that their owners never reached Montreal and that therefore eight at least of them correspond to those that were buried in the ocean.

[71] For she was now thirty-three years of age, having been born on April 17, 1620, in the town of Troyes in Champagne. Her mother had died when Marguerite was still young, and early she developed that motherly thoughtfulness and mature judgment which fitted her later in the settlement for her matronly solicitude for soldiers and children of the fort at Montreal, as since her mother's death she had had the care of her father's children. He, too, had lately died and she was now free to follow a life of sacrifice.

[72] It was with the view of seeing the possibility of establishing such a branch that Madame de la Peltrie had delayed in Montreal till the spring of 1644.

[73] The simplicity of life in a pioneering settlement in New France less than a century later can be more readily understood if we but glance at the simple and severe customs prevailing in England previously to this. It is related of Queen Elizabeth that in the third year of her reign she received a present of knitted black silk stockings, an unheard of thing hitherto; in 1588 she appeared, in public, mounted on the crupper of her horse, behind her chamberlain, for it was after this date that carriages came into vogue.

[74] The act of November 28th by Père Pijart mentions only "cemeterio," that is the old cemetery at Pointe à Callières. The act of December 11th, however, has clear mention of the change to the new cemetery. "In novo hospitalis Domus cemeterio Franciscus Lachot sepultus a me Claudio Pijart, Societatis Jesu Sacerdote"—In the new cemetery of the hospital Francis Lachot was buried by me Claude Pijart, priest of the Society of Jesus.

[75] Most of the earliest Jesuits had served them at least in passing through, on their adventurous work of Christianizing the redskins of Canada; of such Bancroft, the historian, has said: "Not a cape was turned, not a river entered, but a Jesuit led the way."

[Pg 123]






The fictitious and temporary peace which had intervened when de Maisonneuve arrived in the autumn of 1653, and had allowed the settlers to resume the work of building their homes outside the fort, was shortly to be broken.

Indeed, during the year just described there were not wanting indications, early in the spring of 1654, of the renewal of hostilities, when a young surgeon engaged in setting his beaver traps was carried off in a canoe by the lurking Onondaga Indians. In the beginning of May a band of the same Iroquois, who had not heard of this act of perfidy, were well received when coming for trade and they sent a canoe back for the stolen man. In the meantime, about seven hundred Hurons descended to Montreal with thirteen Iroquois captives made on the journey down. These were given to the Iroquois captain, who remained as a hostage till the canoe returned, in the hope of making peace. Soon the surgeon was brought back with a delegation, bearing twenty necklaces of wampum as signs of peace from the Iroquois nation.

Sans Merci
(By Hébert)

One of the significant gifts was to recognize and consolidate the position of Ville Marie as the headquarters of peace treaties, which had been lately so constituted by the governor of Quebec, who had transferred to Montreal the treaty pole which had been erected at Quebec in the autumn of 1653 as a sign of peace. Its position at Montreal signified the recognized place for parley councils for peace overtures. This was an adroit move on the part of de Lauson. It recognized that Montreal was the frontier post and the most accessible, and also it was a standing eulogium of the diplomatic ability of de Maisonneuve to deal with the natives, and it might keep the enemy higher up the river away from Quebec.

[Pg 124]

Unfortunately, as we have said, these Iroquois were divided into five nations, who often acted without concert, so that protestations of peace by wampum belts had always to be taken for what they were worth. Montreal was soon to be in daily dread of assault. Thus in the autumn, when in fancied security, owing to the recent renewal of peace, the ordinary precautions were being neglected at Montreal in the busy building and farming operations, a band of Iroquois were in ambuscade around. The sentinel was standing on a tree stump, leisurely surveying the country around, when an Iroquois who had stealthily approached, hiding at intervals behind other stumps, suddenly pounced upon him and seizing him by the legs, threw him over his shoulders and set off in flight with the bewildered soldier shrieking for his life and fighting as best he could. His cries aroused the men in the field and they pursued them until they came up to the Iroquois band with their chief at their head. They would have fared badly had not Lambert Closse come up with his men. Recognizing the chief, who was known by the French as "La Barrique," or "The Hogshead," because of his barrel-like corpulency, he ordered one of his best shots cautiously to get within fighting distance, and pick him off.

Meanwhile Hogshead, unaware of impending disaster, was standing on a stump haranguing his men and urging them to the attack, when he received a charge of heavy lead full in his body and he fell to the ground bathed in blood. Thinking him dead, his followers fled incontinently.

But he did not die, for under the skillful care of the doctors and Jeanne Mance, he was tended at the hospital and recovered, though he was seriously crippled for the rest of his days. Their charity changed his fierce disposition. When he left he promised never to go on the warpath against them again but that he would return later to conclude a peace, as indeed he did, though not so easily as he could have wished.

For a time the Iroquois left Montreal severely alone. "Let us not go thither," they would say. "They are devils there." They turned to attack the settlement of the Ile des Oies below Quebec instead. But later, on May 31, 1655, they attacked the colony and killed one Dabigeon.

Then they passed over to the other side of the St. Lawrence and pretended to be another tribe, and sent delegates to parley with the fort. Charles Le Moyne, who had just come from Quebec, recognized them as the assailants at the Ile des Oies and, suspecting treachery, they were told to come the next day. Finally, an engagement took place and five Iroquois were taken prisoners to the camp, among them Chief La Plume (or "The Feather"). Another parley now took place, and a peace was agreed upon on the proposition of Chief La Grande Armée, on condition that all the captives on both sides should be exchanged, and that peace with the Hurons and Algonquins should be observed as long as they should not advance above Three Rivers. Among the French restored were the captives taken at Ile des Oies, one of whom, Elizabeth Moyen, then a child, married Lambert Closse in 1657, and her sister Marie who remained with Jeanne Mance twenty years.

Peace concluded, the work of agriculture was pushed on although, taught by sad experience, the men went to the fields armed as usual. In order to pursue this in greater safety, de Maisonneuve, by a permission given on August 25, 1655, in the name of the Company allowed the colonists to cultivate and enjoy the fruits [Pg 125] of the lands on the "domain of the Seigneurs," which were nearer to the fort than their own concessions. When the time came for them to be able to till the latter, the lands on the domain should be handed back. These negotiations were put into the hands of Lambert Closse, for de Maisonneuve had chosen him to hold the reins of government while he himself made a third journey to France this autumn, as the next chapter will relate.

These peace arrangements at Montreal always meant the interchange of presents which were a burden on the community instead of on the governor of Quebec, whom the early historians, with M. de Belmont, accuse of "persecuting Montreal."

In addition to what we know, de Lauson wanted to levy a tax on all imports to Montreal. He took it ill that Montreal had its storehouse at Quebec, wishing it to purchase its necessities from Quebec. He also wanted the Company of Montreal to send out more men than they found convenient. All this brought him a letter of Louis XIV in favour of Montreal.

Misfortunes clouded the last days of de Lauson. He left for France in the summer of 1656 and died in Paris on February 16, 1666, at the age of eighty-two years. His sons, for whom he had planned great possessions in Canada, did not live long after their father's departure from Canada, and he saw nearly all his family extinct before his death and all their properties reverting to the king on account of their conditions of grant not being fulfilled. His ineffectual tenure of office was due to his inefficiency, aggravated by the cruel abandonment of the French colony by the great Company.

M. de Lauson was succeeded in the post of governor general by his son, Charles de Lauson-Charny. But his administration was no more successful than that of his father. Indeed the office was not to his taste and he prevailed upon M. d'Ailleboust, who had arrived from France on September 12, 1657, to take his place, and six days after he sailed back home, disgusted with the vanities of the world, so that he entered the ecclesiastical state, returning later to work in the sacred ministry in Canada.

Meanwhile the new parish church, begun two years ago, was being completed, the funds, owing to the poverty of the colonists, being largely supplied by the Seigneurs. It was adjoined to the Hôtel-Dieu on St. Paul Street, so that it might suffice for the citizens and the sick. It was dedicated to St. Joseph, the patron of the hospital, and was opened in 1656. In the foundation and under the doorway of entrance there was placed, within the first stone, the following inscription, engraven as a leaden plate: "Cette première pierre a été posée en l'honneur de St. Joseph, l'an 1656, le 28 Août.

Jesus! Maria! Joseph!"

This building, which served up to 1689 as the parish church of the colony, was adjoined to the hospital situated on the street which was formed a little afterwards by the first houses constructed at Ville Marie and called St. Paul, and was placed at the corner of another street which was called from the name of the church, St. Joseph, today known as St. Sulpice. The body of the building was of wood, about eighty feet long, thirty broad, and twenty feet high; the church being at one end, covering about fifty feet, and surmounted by a bell tower with two bells. The good folk of Ville Marie were proud to see their new temple.

[Pg 126]

Affairs were now in a bad state; the Iroquois were uncurbed and unsettled through the weak administration of de Lauson, and thus prepared for the bitter war again to be proclaimed at the end of 1657.

But at present, in the summer of 1657, there was nothing but anticipation of the arrival of the governor and the four Sulpicians who were to be the parish clergy, with a permanent abode and a settled ecclesiastical status.

The Jesuits who had so long served the mission were to be free to go to the up-country Indians—their long connection with the settlement was to be severed.


(From 1642 to August 12, 1657, when the Sulpicians succeeded them.)

The first mayor of Montreal, Commander Jacques Viger, has collected in a little manuscript book preserved in the Archives of St. Marie's College at Montreal the list of Jesuits serving Montreal from 1642-1657 as follows:

Joseph Poncet, 1642-4; Joseph Imbert Duperon, 1642-3; Ambroise Daoust, 1643; Gabriel Druillettes, 1643-5; Isaac Jogues, 1645; Jacques Buteaux, 1645; Paul Le Jeune, 1645-6; Adrien Daran, 1646; Georges d'Eudemare, 1647-8; Jean de Quen, 1648-50; Pierre Bailloquet, 1648; Charles Albanel, 1650; André Richard, 1650; Siméon Le Moyne, 1650; Claude Pijart, 1650 to August 12, 1657.

Fifteen Jesuits resident in fifteen years. This does not account for names of other distinguished missionaries visiting, whose names appear on the registers as having officiated at Ville Marie baptisms, marriages, deaths and other documents during this early period. Mr. E. Z. Massicotte in his "Les Colons de Montreal de 1642-1667," gives some of these as follows:

Of the Montreal Jesuits, there are some who merit special mention here.


Joseph Antoine Poncet de la Rivière, of aristocratic birth, was born in Paris and entered the Society of Jesus in his nineteenth year as a novice. His studies finished, he came to New France in 1639. He shortly went to the Huron mission. We next find him, 1642-4, the first priest in charge of the mission chapel at the fort of Montreal. After this he ministered at Quebec. On his return from a visit to the Iroquois, he went down the St. Lawrence and was the first white man to glide through the Thousand Islands. He was giving the alarm to the colonists [Pg 127] at Cape Rouge in the summer of 1653, when he was himself seized by the savages. He bore a remembrance of the ill treatment of his captivity in the form of a lost finger, which a little child had been ordered to cut off. He was afterwards released to the Dutch at Fort Orange and returned to Quebec on November 5th, "just nine times nine days after my capture," he says. We next know him as the storm centre of ecclesiastical differences between Montreal and Quebec. As a result of this Poncet was sent back to Europe. He was installed as French penitentiary at Loretto, and later was sent to Martinique, where he died on June 18, 1675.


Isaac Jogues was born at Orléans, France, January 10, 1607. His first schooling was at Rouen and he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Paris in his seventeenth year. Having finished his studies and period of teaching we find him in his twenty-ninth year reaching Canada in 1636 in the same vessel as Champlain's successor, Montmagny. Two or three weeks later, that same October, Jogues began his missionary work, joining a flotilla of Huron canoes and sailing 900 miles over dangerous rivers and lakes, skirting rapids and precipices and making many toilsome "portages" through dense forests, pools and marshes, to the great Lake Huron which was known as "Fresh Water Sea."


Such was Jogues' first experience of missionary life. Living on Indian corn and water, sleeping on rocks and in the woods, battling day after day against a rapid current, dragging heavy burdens over the long portages, a part of the time with a sick boy on his shoulder—till he staggered through the triple stockade of the Indian town of Ihonitiria and fell into the arms of de Brébeuf and his Jesuit companions. In this new mission field one of the first works entrusted to his practical sagacity, which stood his fellow missionaries in good stead, was the construction of Fort Ste. Marie, whose ruins, discovered in 1859, testify to the solidity of the outworks. His first apostolic work away from Fort Ste. Marie was among the Petuns, or Tobacco Indians. In September, 1641, he went with the Jesuit Raimbault to found a mission among the Ojibways or Chippewas on the upper reaches of Lake Huron at a place called by the missionaries Sault Ste. Marie, today a great centre of commerce. They were the first white men to stand on the shores of Lake Superior.

We next find him back at Georgian Bay. Supplies were being exhausted and Jogues offered to go to Quebec, a thousand miles off, for them. This done, on the way back in the first week of August, 1642, his party was surprised by the hostile Mohawks and captured. While being taken up country he was most brutally tortured, beaten by sticks, clubs and knives, and his wounds torn open by the long nails of the Indians. The joints of his fingers were gnawed off or burned off at intervals. On the arrival of the party at Ossernenon, on the north bank of the Mohawk, a captive Christian woman was compelled, under threat of death, to saw off with a jagged shell the thumb of the priest. But he was not killed, as so many of his party were.

On the 29th of September, 1642, René Goupil, his faithful companion, was tomahawked in the skull for making the sign of the cross on the head of a child. The place is identified as Auriesville.

[Pg 128]

When Goupil was dead, Jogues was alone and began his awful captivity of more than a year, each moment of which was a martyrdom. In the "Relation," which his superior commanded him to write, he has left us a partial account of the horrors he endured. Employed in the filthiest and most degrading of occupations he was regarded with greater contempt than the most degraded squaw of the village. Heavy burdens were heaped on his crippled and mangled shoulders, and he was made to tramp fifty, sixty and sometimes a hundred miles after his savage masters, who delighted to exhibit him wherever they went. His naked feet left bloody tracks upon the ice or flints of the road; his flesh was rotting with disease, and his wounds were gangrened; he was often beaten to the earth by the fists or clubs of crazy and drunken Indians, and more than once he saw the tomahawk above his head and heard his death sentence pronounced. The wretched deerskin they persuaded him to wear was swarming with vermin; he was often in a condition of semi-starvation as he crouched in a corner of the filthy wigwam and saw the savages gorging themselves with meat, which had been first offered to the demons, and which he therefore refused to eat, though his savage masters raged against the implied contempt to their gods. For thirteen months he thus remained a captive. Yet he baptized more than seventy persons, most of them Huron captives, at the point of death. Often Jogues would rush into the flames up to the stake for this purpose. During this time, on June 30, 1643, he secured a scrap of paper on which he wrote to Montmagny that the Mohawks were about to make a raid on Fort Richelieu. This message, carried for him by a Huron, warned the garrison in time and the Indians were repulsed. This defeat was traced to Jogues and his death was expected. But in the meantime an order came from Governor Kieft of Manhattan to the commandant at Fort Orange to secure his release at all costs. This required the co-operation of Jogues. In spite of his harsh treatment the prisoner was unwilling at first to enter into the plot, feeling it to be his duty to remain at his post. At last he consented. He was conveyed to the Dutch settlement of Fort Orange (Albany), which the angry Mohawks threatened to burn, but fearful of risking a war with the Dutch while they were fighting with the French, after a parley they consented to relinquish their claim on the black robe for 300 livres. A six-day journey brought him to Manhattan which he described as "seven leagues in circuit and on it is a fort to serve as a commencement of a town to be built there, and to be called New Amsterdam." At this town, as at the place of his escape, he was kindly treated by the famous Dominic Johannes Megapolensis, Jr., the first person who went to New York at the invitation of Killaen van Rensselaer to look after the spiritual affairs of the colony. After a month's sojourn at Manhattan, Father Jogues left on November 5, 1643, in a wretched little vessel which, after a severe tossing on the Atlantic, reached Falmouth, in Cornwall, at the end of December, hotly pursued by some of Cromwell's ships, for the rebellion against Charles I was then in progress.

New York

In Falmouth he was robbed, at the point of the pistol, of all his belongings, by some marauders lurking round the port. At last, having secured a free passage in a dirty collier, he was flung on Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany, but after eight days he reached the Jesuit College at Rennes—and at last the emaciated, haggard tramp was recognized as the lost Isaac Jogues, of whose capture the "Relations" had warned them.

[Pg 129]

Honour was now meted out to this humble Jesuit much to his discomfiture. Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV, called him to court and compelled him to throw back his cloak and tell of the hideous manner in which his fingers had been eaten or burned. The queen, descending from the throne, took his hand in hers and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, devoutly kissed the mutilated members and exclaimed: "People write romances for us—but was ever a romance like this? And it is all true."

This form of public exhibition was displeasing to Jogues but the permission granted by Pope Urbain VIII, at the request of some of his admirers, to have the canonical impediment raised against his faculty to say mass because of his mutilated fingers, was a source of gratification. The answer of Urbain to the request was "Indignum esset martyrum Christi, Christi non bibere sanguinem"—"it would be wrong to prevent the martyr of Christ from drinking the blood of Christ."

Isaac Jogues did not loiter to be lionized in Paris, but in June was in Quebec, and was now appointed to serve the sick and hearten the defenders of the stockade of Montreal. In July he was present at a parley with the Indians at a conference held at Three Rivers, where he met Father Bressani, who had also had a similar experience of the tortures of the Iroquois and whose fingers were also wanting. After a treaty had been made Jogues returned to Montreal. One result of this treaty was that an ambassador was to be sent to the Mohawks and Father Jogues, as he spoke the Iroquois tongue, was appointed to revisit those who had so ill used him. But it was two years later before the actual embassy started from Three Rivers, on May 16, 1646. Father Jogues reached Lake Andiatarocté on the eve of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Blessed Sacrament, and called it the "Lake of the Blessed Sacrament." A century later this was renamed by Sir William Johnson "Lake George" in honour of the English king. On June 5th Jogues reached Ossernenon, and in his character as ambassador was well received. At the council held on June 10th or June 16th the party returned, reaching Quebec on July 3rd. Jogues petitioned to be sent back to the Mohawks as a missionary. On September 27th he left Quebec for the Iroquois country. He wrote to a friend: "Ibo sed non redibo—I go but I shall not return," as though his fate were revealed to him.

Lake of the Blessed Sacrament

Before he reached Ossernenon he learned that the hatchet had been dug up to meet him. As an ambassador he had been respected, but as a Christian missionary a hostile reception awaited him. An innocent box of vestments left behind him on his previous visit was the cause. A pestilence had broken out and the crops were withered. Therefore these misfortunes were due to the Manitou in the box. Jogues could have avoided Ossernenon and returned to Quebec, but he faced his enemies, who met him with the sorcerer, Ondersonk. Jogues wore his clerical garb. His garments were stripped off him; he was slashed with knives and led, mangled and bleeding, to the scene of his recent triumph as an ambassador. A council was held at Tionnontoguen to see what was to be done with him. The Wolf-Tortoise family were against killing him, as were most of the Bears, and he was spared.

But the Bears, bent on vengeance, invited the wounded Jogues to a feast on October 18th. He left his cabin and followed to the festive wigwam, and as he entered a Mohawk, waiting behind the door brought down his axe with a crash [Pg 130] on to his skull. His head was hacked off and fixed on a stake of the palisade, and his body was flung into the Mohawk River hard by.

There is no reasonable doubt but that the place of his martyrdom occurred at Auriesville on the south shore of the Mohawk just above the Schoharie. "So died," says Ingram Kip, the Protestant bishop of California, "one of that glorious band that had shown greater devotion in the cause of Christianity than has ever been seen since the time of the Apostles; men whose lives and sufferings reveal a story more touching and pathetic than anything in the records of our country, and whose names should ever be kept in grateful remembrance; stern, high-wrought men who might have stood high in court or camp, and who could contrast their desolate state in the lowly wigwam with the refinement and affluence that waited on them in their earlier years, but who had given up home and love of kindred and the golden ties of relationship for God and man."

Another famous missionary who served Montreal and who often passed through it on his journeys to and fro, was Siméon Le Moyne, who was born about 1601. He entered the society at the age of nineteen and in 1638 he was at work in the Canadian mission field, chiefly among the Hurons, among whom he was known as "Wane," or phonetically in English "Won," the "w" taking the place of the missing "m" in their language, the result being an attempt to reproduce the French pronunciation of "Moyne." His early experiences at Lake Huron brought him in touch with those other heroes, Brébeuf, Daniel, Lalemant, Jogues, and others, many of whom were to be killed. He saw the annihilation of the Hurons and wandered with the remnants over hill and dell and stream, ministering to them. In 1654 he accepted the dangerous mission to the Iroquois at Onondaga, leaving his life in the hands of the Almighty. His object was to pacify the Iroquois as an ambassador, to give comfort to the Huron captives and to prepare the way for a permanent mission. On his return to Quebec he recommended this, and the Jesuits Dablon and Chauminot were appointed. He held several councils and distributed presents. [76] Le Moyne was endowed with a sense of humour. "Le Moyne," says the Rev. T. J. Campbell, "tells us that on this occasion he strutted around like an actor, gesticulating extravagantly, imitating the manners of their great orators, each time winning great grunts of applause from the attendant chiefs and keeping up his eloquence for two hours." The amusing part is that it was told in Huron, of which the Iroquois had only a general knowledge: it was the parent stock. The impressive manner he assumed—he was a past master in mimicry—no doubt overwhelmed them and possibly whimpered interpretations were being given at the same time to let them know what he was saying.

On his return, before reaching Montreal, we are told by Charlevoix that Le Moyne was in a canoe with two Onondagas, the Hurons and Algonquins following. As they approached Montreal they were surprised to find themselves surrounded by several canoes full of Mohawks, who poured a volley upon them from their muskets. The Hurons and Algonquins were all killed, as well as one of the Onondagas. Le Moyne was taken and bound as a prisoner of war, and the Onondaga was told to return home, but he protested that he could not abandon the missionary, who had been confided to him by the sachems of his canton and [Pg 131] he menaced the Mohawks with all the wrath of the Upper Iroquois. At first they laughed at his threats, but when they saw that he would not flinch they unbound their prisoner and put him in the hands of his faithful conductor, who led him to Montreal. The chief, who was at the head of these Mohawks, was known as the Flemish Bastard.

The Upper Iroquois, the Agnieronnons, those among whom Isaac Jogues had been killed in 1646, jealous of the distinction paid to their kinsman, the Onondagas, desired an envoy to be sent to them. Accordingly the "Relation" of 1656 tells how Father Le Moyne left Montreal on August 17th with twelve Iroquois and a Frenchman. He arrived at the Village of Agniée (Auriesville) on September 17th. He then visited Ossernenon and later went on to Manhattan to visit the Dutch, after which he returned to Ossernenon, leaving for Montreal in November, lucky to escape with his life, having however promised the Mohawks to give them missionaries. In the meantime the Onondagas had been already favoured by missionaries, and a body of fifty Frenchmen, the nucleus of a trading post. Again the jealousy of the Mohawks of Ossernenon caused a second and a third visit from the diplomatic Le Moyne.

The trading post at Onondaga collapsed through the Frenchmen, hearing of a plot to massacre them, decamping by night and making their way to Montreal.

The perfidious Iroquois of Onondaga, angry at their discovered treachery, were now joined by the Mohawks and for two years the St. Lawrence witnessed bloody fights. Christian Huron settlements were burned and pillaged, and white and red men massacred. Montreal was the storm centre of war.

"One day in July (1661), when the storm was at its height, a number of Iroquois canoes were seen coming down the river towards Montreal. The garrison rushed to the stockade and watched them as they approached the shore. In front was a flag of truce. The savage warriors, in paint and feathers, stepped out as if assured of a friendly reception. The gate was thrown open and, followed by four French captives, the Iroquois advanced into the town. The spokesman was the redoubtable Cayuga chief, named Saonchiowaga. Solemnly he broke the bonds of the French prisoners and promised the liberation of others still in the Onondaga country. Then he began his address, offering his presents meanwhile. Coming to the fifth present he said: 'This is to bring the Frenchman back to us. We still keep his mat; his house is still standing in Ganentoa. His fire is still lighted, and his fields have been tilled and await his return for his hand to gather the harvest.' Then, altering his tone and raising aloft the last belt, he exclaimed: A black gown must come to us; otherwise there will be no peace. On his coming depends the lives of twenty Frenchmen at Onondaga.' And he placed in the governor's hand a leaf of a book, on the margin of which the twenty unfortunate captives had written their names." Campbell, Vol. I, p. 102.

Although many thought this a trick to lure others to death Father Le Moyne offered to go to test its sincerity, and on July 21, 1661, he left Montreal for Onondaga. There he was successful in concluding peace with the help of Garagontié, "The Sun that Advances," who shortly went down to Montreal to negotiate peace. But his withdrawal was a sorry turn for Le Moyne, whom the Iroquois lads would have burned alive on the scaffold at the stake. He escaped on one occasion with some frightful scalds which took six months to heal. At another time he was nearly tomahawked. The return of Garagontié alone [Pg 132] made his work of charity among the Onondagas possible. He had plenty to do to look after the French captives and to secure their ransom. In this he was largely successful and returned to Montreal in the summer of 1662. The "Relations" record this as follows: "On the last day of August, 1662, the father made his appearance in a canoe below the Falls of St. Louis, having around him all the happy rescued ones and a score of Onondagas, who from being enemies, had become their boatmen. They landed amid the cheers and embraces of all the French of Montreal, and following Father Le Moyne proceeded to the church to thank God."

Wars prevented him going back to Onondaga, but he applied for the post in 1664. His shattered health, however, stood in the way, and he died in 1665, sick of a fever at Cape Madeleine, opposite Three Rivers. He may be called the Apostle of the Onondagas.


James Buteaux was born at Abbeville, in France, on April 11, 1600, and joined the Canadian mission shortly after it was handed over to the French. He served the Algonquin missions and while at Montreal not only did he accompany the Christian Indians in their fights, but he heartened the little garrison at home, as also the good Maisonneuve, who was then realizing what his declaration had meant when he had told Montmagny that he would stay in Montreal if every tree were an Iroquois. He was a most devoted missionary, although he was a frail man. "I have often seen him," says Father de Quen, "tramping in the dark through three or four feet of snow, groping along by the light of a lantern which the howling wind would often tear from his hand or extinguish, while he himself would perhaps be flung by the violence of the storm down some icy trail into the snowdrifts below. This would be surprising news," continues the writer, "for those who remember him in France, frail to the last degree and almost always a valetudinarian." This happened at Sillery and his devotedness, no doubt, was similar at Montreal.

His whole life was led midst the alarms of war. On the 10th of May, 1652, when, with a Huron and a Frenchman, on a journey from his beloved Three Rivers on a mission to the White Fish tribe, he was fallen upon by Iroquois. The Huron was seized and the priest and Frenchman fell riddled with bullets. The savages then rushed upon them with their knives and tomahawks, stripped them naked and flung them into the river.


Gabriel Druillettes, it is said, was born in 1593, but it is certain he came to Canada on August 15, 1643, in the same ship with the Jesuits Garreau and Chabanel, both subsequently being slain by the Indians. He served Montreal for a short time, but his after-career as the "Apostle of Maine" entitles him to considerable fame in early American history. In 1670 he went to the West. In 1671 the white-haired missionary was at the solemn "prise de possession" at Sault Ste. Marie, ordered by Talon. He remained at the Sault till 1679, whence he journeyed [Pg 133] to Quebec to rest after his long missionary wanderings, dying two years later, full of years and good works.


Charles Albanel was born in 1613 and came to America on August 23, 1649, and in the following year was at Montreal. His after-career was one of adventure. He may be called the missionary of the Hudson Bay. In his second visit there in 1674 he went expressly as Frontenac's secret agent to induce Radisson to abandon the service of the Hudson's Bay Company; in fact he handed Radisson a letter from Colbert offering him a position in the French navy, the payment of all his debts and a gratuity of 400 pounds sterling if he would return to his allegiance. The adventurer eventually accepted the proposition. Charles Albanel was taken prisoner to England because he did endeavour to convert "ye Indians and persuade them not to trade with ye English."

He is described as a "little ould man born of English parentage." He was set free, and was in France in 1675, on July 22d set sail for America. Coming back from Canada his superiors kept him away from the Hudson Bay territory and sent him west, and the "little ould man" of 1674 died twenty-two years later, as a missionary at Sault Ste. Marie on January 11, 1696.


Paul Le Jeune, whom the distinguished historian of New York, Dr. O'Callaghan, calls the Father of the Canadian missions, one among many reasons for this title being, that, when Canada was restored to the French, he was elected as superior of the missions, was born at Châlons-sur-Marne in July, 1591, and arrived in Canada in 1632. [77] He was the friend of Champlain, whose funeral oration he pronounced in 1635. He was highly esteemed by Montmagny. As superior of the missions he ruled from Miscou to Lake Huron, but he was glad enough to serve humbly in the ranks when Father Vimont became provincial. Thus it is that we find him serving the mission of Montreal. In 1649 he returned to France as procurator of the French missions in Canada. Later on when there was a question of naming a bishop of Quebec, Father Le Jeune was the choice of the queen regent. Charles Lalemant and Ragueneau were also mentioned, but the general of the Jesuits forbade the consideration of any Jesuit for that post. Laval, as we know, was eventually appointed. In 1661, it was Le Jeune who made the touching and fearless appeal to Louis XIV himself for the perishing colony. This helped to open the eyes of the monarch and was the herald of better times which, however, did not occur till 1666, two years after the death of Le Jeune, when de Tracy's and de Courcelles' handful of men brought the peace which lasted for fifteen years.

It would be tedious to the reader to give further autobiographical notes. Yet the importance of these Montreal missionaries for the colonization of New France and the civilization of the Indians justifies the space we have allotted.

[Pg 134]

Parkman in his "Jesuits," pages 318-320, sums up the success of their missions thus:

"When we look for the results of those missions we soon become aware that the influence of the French and the Jesuits extended far beyond the circle of converts. It eventually modified and softened the manners of many unconverted tribes.

"In the wars of the next century we do not find those examples of diabolical atrocity with which the earlier annals are crowded. The savage burned his enemies alive, it is true, but he rarely ate them; neither did he torment them with the same deliberation and persistency. He was a savage still, but not so often a devil. * * * In this softening of manner, such as it was, and in the obedient Catholicity of a few hundred tamed savages gathered at stationary missions in Canada, we find after a century had elapsed all the results of the heroic toil of the Jesuits. The missions had failed because the Indians had ceased to exist. Of the great tribes on whom rested the hopes of the early Canadian fathers, nearly all were virtually extinct. The missionaries built laboriously and well, but they were doomed to build on a falling foundation. The Indians melted away, not because civilization destroyed them, but because their own ferocity and untractable indolence made it impossible that they should exist in its presence. Either the plastic energies of a higher race, or the servile pliancy of a lower one, would each in its way have preserved them; as it was, their extinction was a foregone conclusion. As for the religion which the Jesuits taught them, however Protestants may carp at it, it was the only form of Christianity likely to take root in their crude and barbarous nature."

The following appreciation of the early Jesuits, taken from "The Dominion of Canada—The Brave Days of Old," by a Protestant writer, Professor Grant, of Kingston, may be of interest as coming from a later day pen:

"Eyes and heart alternately glow and fill as we read the endless 'Relations' of their faith and failures, their heaped-up measure of miseries, their boundless wisdom, their heroic martyrdoms. We forget our traditional antipathy to the name of Jesuit. The satire of Pascal, the memories of the Inquisition and the political history of the order, is all forgotten. We dislike to have our sympathies checked by reminders, that in Canada as elsewhere, they were the consistent, formidable foes of liberty; that their love of power not only embroiled them continually with the civil authorities, but made them jealous of the Recollects and Sulpicians, unwilling that any save their own order—or, as we say, sect—should share in the dangers and glory of converting the infidels of New France. How can we, sitting at home in ease, we who have entered into their labours, criticize men before whose spiritual white heat every mountain melted away; who carried the cross in advance of the most adventurous 'coureurs de bois,' or guides, who taught agriculture to the Indian on the Georgian Bay before a dozen farms had been cleared on the St. Lawrence—drove or carried cattle through unbroken forest around the countless rapids and cataracts of the Ottawa and French rivers that they might wean the Hurons from nomadic habits and make of them a nation; who shrank from no hardship and no indignity if by any means they might save some of the miserable savages who heaped indignities upon themselves; who instituted hospitals and convents wherever they went, always (in the spirit of their masters) caring most for the weak, the decrepit, [Pg 135] the aged; and submitted themselves, without thinking of escape, to inutterable tortures rather than lose an opportunity of administering the last sacraments to those who had fallen under the hatchets of the Iroquois! Few Protestants have any idea of the extraordinary missionary activity of the Church of Rome in the seventeenth century. Few Englishmen know to what extent French society was inspired then by religious fervour. Few Canadians have any knowledge of the spiritual inheritance of which they are the heirs. It would be well for all of us to read Parkman's 'Jesuits in North America,' if we cannot get hold of the original 'Relations;' for the story, looked at even from a Protestant and republican standpoint, is one to do us all good, revealing as it does the spiritual bonds that link into oneness of faith Protestant and Roman Catholic, and teaching that beneath the long black robe of the dreaded Jesuit is to be found, not so much that disingenuousness and those schemes of worldly ambition usually associated with the name, but a passionate devotion to the Saviour, love for the souls of men and the fixed steadfastness of the martyr's spirit that remains unshaken when heart and flesh faint and fail.

"The prophetic words of the father superior of the Jesuits in 1647 stir the heart of the Christian—by whatsoever name known among men—like the blasts of a trumpet: 'We shall die; we shall be captured, burned, butchered. Be it so. Those who die in their beds do not always die the best death. I see none of our Company cast down.' And truly, in spite of failures, these men did a great work. Seeds of divine truth they sowed broadcast over the wilderness. Gradually they tempered the ferocity of the Indian character, and mitigated the horrors of Indian war. They induced the remnants of many tribes to settle under the shadow of their missions protected by forts. Portions even of the terrible Iroquois settled in Canada and the church has, on the whole, no children more obedient, and Queen Victoria certainly no subjects more loyal."—(Scribner's Magazine, quoted in Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, 1879.)


[76] He discovered the salt springs at Onondaga (Syracuse).

[77] Paul le Jeune in 1632 wrote the first letter of the Relations of the Jesuits.

[Pg 137]






In the autumn of 1655, profiting by the peace concluded, and seeing the progress of the town well under way, the governor left Montreal under the charge of Lambert Closse, and sailed for France. His object was threefold (1) to promote the erection of an episcopal seat in Canada; (2) to secure, as originally arranged, permanent parish priests for Montreal from M. Olier's Seminary of St. Sulpice, since the Jesuits, being missionaries, desired their men to be ready to visit the far-off tribes; and (3) to bring back the sisters of the Institute of Hospitalières, erected lately by M. de la Dauversière, in view of the service of the Hôtel-Dieu.

On arriving in France, an agreement was entered into by which three or four of the Hospitalières of La Flèche should come to Montreal when all was ready. M. Olier, who had wished to finish his days in Canada, chose for Maisonneuve three of his priests, Gabriel de Queylus, whom he named superior; Gabriel Souart, Dominic Galinier, and a deacon, M. d'Allet.

In the choice of M. Gabriel de Thubières de Lévy Queylus as superior, the Associates saw their likely nominee as the bishop whom they wished to have in[Pg 138] the see of New France. They had him in view in promoting the creation of the episcopal see before the assembly of the bishops on August 9, 1656, through the good services of Mgr. Godeau, Bishop of Vence. This was again brought up before the assembly on January 10, 1657, and Cardinal Mazarin, then present, undertook to interest the king in the formation of the episcopal see as desired. On this occasion the name of the Abbé de Queylus was mentioned to Cardinal Mazarin by the bishop of Vence as a man of approved "probity, capacity and zeal, who possesses an abbacy of considerable value. He is willing to sacrifice himself in this new episcopate, in a barbarous country, so far from all consolation; and his person is agreeable to the Jesuit fathers." (Procès Verbal of the General Assembly, January 10, 1657.)

M. de Queylus had many and great qualifications. He was a doctor of theology. His capacity and zeal had been shown as the superior of the community of the parish of St. Sulpice at Paris, when he was Olier's right hand man. He had laboured in the ecclesiastical reform of several dioceses in Languedoc and had established the diocesan Seminary of Viviers, which he sustained by his liberality. He enjoyed the abbacy of Loc Dieu. He had a private income—a valuable thing for a bishop in a poor diocese; and his choice, it was alleged, was likely to please the Jesuits.

This latter was an important argument, for this Order had been on the ground so long, that they were the most fitted to understand the needs of a missionary country, and of the natives whose languages they spoke. They were zealous, able men, who had become necessary, and their blood had been freely spent in the work of colonization and Christianity. It would have been most appropriate to have chosen a bishop from among them, except that the democratic spirit of the order is against the acceptance of dignities, unless forced upon them. Seeing this, it was etiquette and the wisdom of the Church not to impose an ecclesiastical superior above them, without consulting their wishes.

But there is no proof of the above assertion that the Jesuits approved of de Queylus; indeed, on the contrary, as soon as they learned of his nomination in the same month of January, they proposed the Abbé François de Laval de Montmorency, to the king, as their candidate for the projected see of New France. This opposition shelved the immediate question of the appointment of a bishop, which was delayed till the consecration of Laval on December 8, 1658.

Meanwhile M. Olier thought that there should be no delay in the Sulpicians taking up the pastoral work of Montreal. Accordingly we find M. de Queylus and his three companions at Nantes waiting to embark, when the sad news came that M. Olier had died at Paris on Easter Monday, April 2, 1657.

This was a great blow, since M. Olier was looked upon as the soul of the Montreal mission. The departure was postponed till the middle of May. In the meantime the missionaries had recourse to the Archbishop of Rouen with whom, by prescription, the jurisdiction of New France lay, seeing that it had not been revoked by the Holy See in 1643. From him they received by letters dated April 22, 1657, all the accustomed powers granted on such occasions to Canadian missionaries. But the Abbé de Queylus received, in addition a "proprio motu" from the archbishop, appointing him his "grand vicar for all New France." This was a false step on the part of the Archbishop of Rouen and M. de Queylus, for it put, even the superior of the Jesuit missionaries under the local superior of[Pg 139] Montreal, a most unwise proceeding. Secondly, the archbishop forgot that already the Jesuit superior had been granted similar powers and he had not revoked them. He should certainly have foreseen inevitable friction. To Rouen is to be attributed the long drawn out battle now to commence between Quebec and Montreal.

On May 17, 1657, the four missionaries set sail with M. de Maisonneuve, M. and Mme. d'Ailleboust and other passengers.

On reaching the Isle of Orleans, two leagues from Quebec, Maisonneuve and the Montreal party disembarked, desirous to proceed immediately by another vessel to Montreal. But M. d'Ailleboust, arriving at Quebec on July 29th, announced the coming of the Sulpicians, so that kind-hearted Père de Quen, formerly in charge of Montreal and now superior of the Jesuit missions, immediately set forth for the Ile d'Orleans to call upon them. He congratulated Queylus on his letters of vicar general, and induced him to come to Quebec. It is strange that de Queylus, with the letters he bore, did not call directly upon the Jesuit superior whom he was to supplant. There is no doubt that the position of the Abbé Queylus was not understood by the Jesuits. Faillon, in his history of "La Colonie Française," says quite wrongly that there was an express clause, in the authorization of the new grand vicar, now disclosed to Father de Quen, especially mentioning the immediate cession of those powers already granted to the Jesuit superior of the missionaries. M. de Queylus, no doubt in good faith read this into his letters but he weakly explained that he would confine the exercise of his powers to Montreal. The letter of the archbishop certainly did not specifically revoke previous powers given to the Jesuits. Father de Quen as a canonist pointed out that it was more consistent that the Abbé de Queylus, in doubt as to the revocation of the Jesuits' powers, should follow out the full powers of universal jurisdiction claimed by him. On this the grand vicar, who did not need much pressure, made with the assent of Père de Quen an official visit of the parish church which was under the charge of Father Poncet, the first Jesuit missionary at Montreal in 1642. Father de Quen's action was weak, but wise, as he thought, at this time. M. de Queylus confirmed the friendly Father Poncet in the government of the parish of Quebec and handed to him the bull of indulgence of Pope Alexander VII on the occasion of his exaltation to the pontificate.

Father de Quen explained his temporizing acquiescence in a manuscript letter, in Latin to the general of the society, of September 3, 1658. "It is true that I did not wish to exercise any act [of jurisdiction, as a vicar general] from that day on which M. l'Abbé Queylus laid his letters patent of authority before me lest any evil should thence arrive; however, I could not, nor would not, yield my jurisdiction (potestatus et res) until I became certain that it had been revoked by his Eminence the Archbishop of Rouen, who had granted it to me." Thus the Jesuit acted constitutionally and wisely. Rouen would now be approached by him.

In the meantime, after having been recognized as "grand vicaire" M. de Queylus with the Sulpicians proceeded to Ville Marie. On August 12th Père Claude Pijart, the missionary, gave over the exercise of his ministry to M. Gabriel Souart who now became the curé or parish priest. Father Pijart remained in Montreal for some time, but, on September 3rd, he was in Quebec, where he was appointed to take the place of Père Poncet, in the charge of the [Pg 140] parish church. Père Poncet, though a zealous and enterprising man, had shown himself a difficult subject, and his obedience and his spirit of independence had been already called in question in a letter to Rome. As this may be accounted the beginning of the ecclesiastical trouble between Montreal and Quebec we will follow Père Pijart.

On arriving at Quebec, Père Pijart found that the injudicious Père Poncet had been deposed from his office by his superior, Père de Quen, as a consequence of his promulgation of the bull left behind by the grand vicar, announcing the opening of the jubilee for August 12th. Père de Quen, now no longer acting as grand vicar, but still the superior of the Jesuit missions of Canada, had apparently been ignorant of the arrival of this bull, and he considered that as his religious superior and that of most of the clergy in the country he should have had notification of it and he deposed the parish priest, Père Poncet,—a power which he had arranged with M. de Queylus to retain as a religious superior according to acknowledged ecclesiastical etiquette. The position was a new one. Time only could straighten out the inevitable difficulties arising in a double régime now commencing. Père Poncet meanwhile, appointed to the Indian mission of Onondaga started the year previously, left Quebec on August 28th and, passing by Montreal, informed the "grand vicaire" of the loss of his parish. The latter impetuously prevailed on him to suspend his journey, forgetful that in his inexperience he was committing a new breach of church etiquette in interfering with the orders of the Jesuit superior to his own subject, and together they arrived, with M. d'Ailleboust and the deacon, M. d'Allet, acting as Queylus' secretary, at Quebec on September 12th.

On September 18th, Father Poncet was sent by de Quen back to France, a sad return for an heroic man but obedience for the Jesuit is the formal test of heroism.

M. d'Ailleboust was now called upon to act as governor general, replacing M. de Lauson-Charny ad interim, till another was formally appointed. On arriving M. Queylus, superseding Father Pijart, unwisely and ambitiously took up the functions of parish priest himself in the hitherto Jesuit church and remained there for a year. This was open hostility. He was assisted on occasions by the chaplain of the Ursulines, M. Guillaume Vignal, and that of the Hôtel-Dieu, M. Jean Lebey, both secular priests. M. Queylus lived at the château with the governor general while the Jesuits inhabited the official presbytery. The position was electrical and there was open hostility. There were two factions. Occasional interchange of courtesies and ministry were, however, carried on and a semblance of diplomatic peace at last arrived at, so that d'Argenson, the new governor general, writing on September 5, 1658, a year later, says: "I was surprised, after having heard in France of the little differences between the reverend Jesuits and M. l'Abbé de Queylus, to see the union between them and the church entirely at peace." He recommended, however, the appointment of a bishop as a solution of the difficulty. D'Argenson had arrived unexpectedly at Quebec on July 11th. He brought over powers to settle the ecclesiastical "impasse." During the year the Jesuits had communicated with the archbishop of Rouen, Mgr. de Harlay, and a brief of March 30, 1656, written in French, arranged that there should be two "grands vicaires," one for the Quebec district in the person of the superior of the Jesuits, and M. de Queylus, who should exercise his jurisdiction in that of Montreal [Pg 141] only. This was not communicated to M. de Queylus till August 8th. He was at first inclined to dispute the situation, but d'Argenson, assuring him of the cognizance of the Company of Montreal of this matter, he "peacefully" acquiesced, departing from Quebec on August 21st with M. and Mme. d'Ailleboust, whose presence was no longer required there. During his stay in Quebec M. Queylus founded the church of Ste. Anne de Beaupré, since, the great Canadian shrine, the scene of many pilgrimages, and in many ways showed himself a progressive administrator. He was certainly an active man, with the defects of his qualities.

The explanation of the letter brought by d'Argenson is as follows: Shortly after the surprise received by the appearance of the Sulpician vicar general the superior of the Jesuits, Père de Quen wrote to Father Brisacier, the Jesuit rector of the college at Rouen, to ask him to enquire of his Grace the Archbishop of Rouen if he had withdrawn his faculties as vicar general or not.

He also wrote at the same time to the general of the order, Goswin Nickel, acquainting him of the new situation in Canada. On December 17, 1657, the general himself also wrote to Father Brisacier in Latin as follows: "Father J. de Quen, superior of the Canadian missions, has written to me on September 20th of this year, that he and his subjects are being harassed by the Abbé de Queylus, sent out there last summer by his Eminence the Archbishop of Rouen, to act as his vicar general, asserting that the marriages celebrated by fathers acting as parish priests are null; that they are abusing the power and jurisdiction of the vicar general which they had obtained; that he could dispose of our men 'ad libitum,' and other things which have no little disturbed the nascent church. The evil might increase from day to day unless his Grace the Archbishop, through his zeal and piety, will early look into the matter. Your Reverence will see whether you can obtain from him either that the power of this abbé may be revoked or that he shall so treat with ours that he shall have come to New France not for its destruction but for its upbuilding." (Arch. Gen., 89.)

The final response to the difficulty came to Quebec on July 11, 1658, when the letter of Mgr. de Harlay, the archbishop of Rouen, arrived.

"To put an end to the differences," he says, "which have intervened between the Sieur Abbé de Queylus and the venerable superior of the Jesuits of the house of Quebec, both our grands vicaires in the part of our diocese called La Nouvelle France, until it may be more amply provided for by your authority, we have ordered that Sieur Abbé de Queylus shall exercise hereafter and from the day of the present ordinance, the vicariate which we have given him, according to the powers we have given him, in the extent of the Island of Montreal; as also the superior of the Jesuits of the house of Quebec shall exercise the same powers that we have accorded him, without either one or the other of the two grands vicaires being able to undertake anything in their different territories without the consent of the one and the other." This act was made and signed at Paris on March 30, 1658.

It would certainly appear then that Father de Quen's powers had never been revoked, that Abbé de Queylus had forced the sense of his letters patent accorded April 22, 1657, since in giving him an extended jurisdiction he did not revoke previous powers given. There were to be two independent parallel vicariates under Rouen. In a later letter of September 3, 1658, of Father de Quen to the general [Pg 142] of his order, he interprets the above as a confirmation of his previous powers, and not a new concession.

"The Most Eminent Archbishop of Rouen has sent me letters in which he confirms the power conceded by him to us now since many years, of vicar general of Quebec and in other adjacent places. He has written also to the Abbé de Queylus a letter which has constituted him vicar general in the Island of Montreal only." (Arch. Gen., S. J.)

In spite of the storm clouds gathered over them, the arrival of the Sulpicians at Montreal was welcomed. They represented to the colonists, the Company of Notre-Dame de Montreal that had brought them out. M. de Queylus was wealthy and a member of the Company of Montreal, and the others were self supporting members of a body, to whom it had already been proposed by the Company to hand over the seigneury of the whole island, as indeed happened in 1663. This meant material advancement for the church and progress for the settlement. Although the Jesuits were very much loved by the people, their number was small, they had no settled income and frequently they were called to absent themselves from Montreal. The permanent presence of four Sulpicians, with the prospects of an assured continuity, was indeed gratifying also from a spiritual point of view. The honour of receiving them fell to Jeanne Mance, and they were allotted the large room in the hospital, which was at once the refectory, recreation, study, and bedroom, all in one. There they remained till the stone house named the Seminary was built for them. M. Souart being a doctor could also be on hand for assistance to the hospital sick.

Meanwhile, the peaceful situation at Ville Marie, during the above negotiations, claims our attention.

The advent of the Sulpicians marks the growth of organized progress in the development of the religious and civic life of Montreal. It was due to them that the church began to take on parish proportions, one of their first acts being the foundation of the "Oeuvre de Fabrique" soon to be chronicled. It was the mission of the Jesuits to be the hardy pioneers to succour the spiritual needs during their early days of the handful of struggling settlers; that of the Sulpicians to develop the sense of civic administration and to guide it for many generations. A modern historian [78] writing in 1887, pays the following tribute to the Sulpicians:

"Thus not only the city but the entire Island of Montreal today possesses an ecclestiastico-civil status, that is now denied even to Rome. This circumstance must never be overlooked, for it has been far-reaching in its influence. Montreal's first lessons in Christian civilization were taken under the auspices I have just described—among the best, it may safely be said, that the France of the period could furnish—and every Protestant church, as well as every other institution in the city, has felt the powerful sway of the gentlemen of the Seminary."

The position of the Catholic Church in the city with its many beautiful churches and educational establishments stands largely as a monument to the important seeds sown in this coming in 1657.

M. de Queylus did not stay long in Ville Marie, for on September 3rd he started for Quebec, as said, to assume the control of the parish church.

[Pg 143]

On October 25, 1857, the Sulpicians were to experience their first taste of war, for they had three burials in one day in the same sepulchre. On this day, Nicholas Godé was building his house at Point St. Charles, assisted by his son-in-law, Jean Saint Père, the notary, and Jacques Noël, their hired assistant, when several of a band of Indians who had been in the neighbourhood, approached the house and were hospitably treated. After a meal the three had gone unarmed on the roof, which they were covering, when their guests treacherously fired at them, and their hosts came toppling off the roof like wounded sparrows. Nicholas Godé and Jacques Noël they scalped, but cutting the head off Jean Saint Père, they fled with it, to exhibit his handsome headpiece to their braves.

Dollier de Casson, who arrived in Montreal later, says that he heard the following story from the lips of trustworthy persons, among them a man, whom Marguerite Bourgeoys in her memoirs names a M. Cuillérier, who having been a prisoner among the Iroquois spoke their language, and had heard the story from the savages themselves, that the head of Jean Saint Père proved a trouble to them, for he reproached them in very good Iroquois in such words as these: "You kill us, and you do many cruel things to us; you wish to wipe out the French in this country. You will not come to your wish. You will have to take care, for one day we shall be your masters and you will obey us." And this, although the deceased knew no word of Iroquois; wherever they were, day and night, they heard the voice; in their vexation they scalped the head and threw the troublesome skull away, but they still heard the accusing voice. Dollier de Casson believed the story and thought he must not pass it over in obscurity. A modern historian would explain that the frightened Indians only heard subjectively the voice of their accusing conscience.

Not ignoring this sign of the approaching outbreak of hostilities, d'Ailleboust, at Quebec, gave instructions, on November 1st, that all Iroquois approaching the forts should be seized, looking upon the late act as a declaration of war.

Two Iroquois had been seized by de Maisonneuve, one of them an Onondagan, but not wishing by these arrests to compromise the Jesuits at the mission at Onondaga he sent this Indian with three letters addressed to them, asking them to explain the massacre at Point St. Charles and telling them that the prisoners were being retained in honourable custody, until it was learned whether the late attack had been made by their people or not.

Amid such anxious times the new church, begun in 1656, was rapidly nearing completion, assisted by the funds provided by the Sulpicians. It was a modest building of wood and stood on the corner of St. Joseph (St. Sulpice Street of today) and St. Paul. There it stood till 1678, the first "parish" church, till it was given over entirely to the hospital for the sick.

The church at Montreal now took on parochial airs and pretentions although it was not canonically erected as a parish till 1678, and it must have its marguilliers, or church wardens. Accordingly at an election held November 21, 1657, Louis Prud'homme, Jean Gervaise and Gilbert Barbier were appointed. This day must be taken as the birthday of the foundation of the parish of Montreal. The parish or at least the establishment of the "Fabrique" or corporation for the management of the temporals of the church school was next to be set up. A stable in stone, 36 by 18 feet, situated near the hospital, with a plot of playing ground of [Pg 144] forty-eight perches, was donated by the Company through Maisonneuve by act of January 22, 1658. "The present concession made to be of service for the instruction of the girls of Montreal as well as for the dwelling for the said Marguerite Bourgeoys, and after her decease, to perpetuity," this latter being inserted because it was understood that Marguerite would found a body to continue the work after her. She was then thirty-eight years of age. The donation was accepted and witnessed by the chief officers of the community: M. Souart, curé; M. Galinier, vicaire; the then church wardens; Marin Jannot, syndic; Lambert Closse, "major of the island," Mademoiselle Mance, administratrice of the hospital, and Charles Le Moyne, storekeeper of the Company.

Montreal of today is perhaps the greatest educational centre on this continent. It receives its students from all parts. Let us then glance at the description given by Marguerite Bourgeoys, in her memoirs, of the humble beginnings of the first home of education in Montreal: "Four years after my arrival M. de Maisonneuve was good enough to give me a stone stable to make a school of it and to lodge there persons to conduct it. This stable has served as a dovecot and a home for cattle. It had a granary loft above to sleep in, to which it was necessary to ascend by an outside staircase. I had it cleaned and a chimney put in, and all that was necessary for schoolkeeping." School was opened on April 30. She was assisted by Marguerite Picard who on November 5 married Nicholas Godé and afterwards became Madame Lamontagne, Sieur de la Montague, son of Nicholas, the joiner, who came in 1642. The girls too old to go to school Marguerite formed, on July 2, 1658, into a pious girls' club, or sodality, on the lines of the Congregation of Externes at Troyes, of which she herself had been a member. Thus the house became known as the "Congregation."

The next date of interest this year (1658) is that of April 3rd, "when," says Dollier de Casson, "fifty Frenchmen reached here under the command of M. Dupuis, with the Jesuit fathers who had been forced to leave the mission of Onondaga for fear of being burned alive by the Iroquois. Several of their people, less disposed than they to death by being burned alive, as well as to any other kind which Providence might please to send, had such a fright that they were only cured when they came in sight of Montreal, a like miracle occurring here several times."

This is the sequel of the letters sent by Maisonneuve, and its story must be told. The letters were not delivered, but instead the treacherous Indian messenger told the Onondagas that the French had just allied themselves with the Algonquins to make war against them. This angering the Onondagans, they concerted with the Mohawks and a delegation went to Quebec, arriving on January 3, 1658, to demand the return of their twelve prisoners detained as hostages. But M. d'Ailleboust gave them little satisfaction and they departed in February.

In the same month a secret gathering was held, at Agnié of a few of the most influential heads of all the Iroquois nations, and there was sworn a war of extermination of the whites if their captives were not returned, and they would commence with the settlement of the black robes at Onondaga, which had been settled with them at their own invitation in 1656. A Christian Iroquois revealed this plot to the missionaries at Onondaga and these communicated it to Quebec. But how to escape from their own impending slaughter, the like of which had been witnessed on August 3, 1657, when seven Christians had been slain, by these [Pg 145] same Onondagas before the horrified eyes of Father Ragueneau, then on his way, to be similarly repeated when, on reaching Onondaga, some of the Christian captives were burned, including several women and their infant children.

As Father Ragueneau was among the fugitives that came to Montreal with Zacharie Dupuis, we may take his story as substantially that which the terrified party told to the horror-stricken Montrealers but with more harrowing details. But first a note on the relater. Paul Ragueneau, born in Paris in 1605, came to Canada when he was thirty-one years of age. In 1646 he was superior of the Huron missions. He was an ideal superior and was very much valued by de Lauson and d'Avaugour on the supreme council. He left Canada in 1662 and acted as the procurator for the Canadian missions in Paris. He died in 1680, on September 3. A year after Father Dablon had sailed with his fifty Frenchmen over Lake Onondaga he was followed by Paul Ragueneau in August, 1657, with a band of thirteen or sixteen Senecas, thirty Onondagas and about fifty Christian Hurons. On the way there was a general butchery of the Hurons by the rest of the party which Ragueneau was forced to witness. When he reached Onondaga his practiced eye took in the unsettled situation. The lives of the French colonists were treacherously foresworn to Indian butchery. This plot became clearer as the autumn passed. In the early months of 1658, Ragueneau, who was superior, called in gradually the missionaries from the outstations and it was arranged with Dupuis, the French commandant, to make a secret flight on the night of March 21, 1658.

Ragueneau's official account of this, to be found in the "Relations" of this year, is as follows: "The resolution was taken to quit the country forthwith, even though the difficulties seemed unsurmountable. To supply the want of canoes we built, in secret, two boats of a novel structure to pass the rapids. They were flat-bottomed and could carry considerable freight, with fourteen or fifteen men on each. We had, besides, four Algonquin and four Iroquois canoes. The difficulty was to build and launch them without being detected, for without secrecy we could only expect a general massacre.

"After succeeding in finishing the boats we invited the savages in our neighbourhood to a solemn banquet, and spared neither the noise of drums nor instruments of music, to deceive them as to our purpose. At the feast, every one vied with each other in uttering the most piercing shrieks, now of revelry, now of war. The savages sang and danced in French fashion, and the French after the manner of the Indians. Presents were given and the greatest tumult was kept up to cover the noise of forty of our people outside, who were launching the boats. The feast was concluded, the guests retired and were soon overpowered by sleep, and we slipped out by the back way to the boats.

"The little lake on which we sailed in the darkness of the night froze as we advanced. God, however, delivered us and, after having advanced all night and all the following day, we arrived in the evening at Lake Ontario. The first day was the most dangerous. Ten or twelve Iroquois could have intercepted us, for the river was narrow, and ten leagues down the stream it leaped over a frightful precipice. It took us four hours to carry our boats around it, through a dense and unknown forest. The perils in which we walked made us shudder after we escaped them. We had no bed at night but the snow, after having passed entire days in icy water.

[Pg 146]

"Ten days after our departure we reached the St. Lawrence, but it was frozen and we had to cut a channel through the ice. Two days after our little fleet nearly foundered in the rapids. We were in the Long Sault without knowing it. We found ourselves in the midst of breakers, with rocks on all sides, against which the mountains of water flung us at every stroke of our paddles. The cries of our people, mingling with the roar of the waters, added to the horror of the scene. One of our canoes was engulfed in the breakers and barred the passage through which we all had to pass. Three Frenchmen were drowned there; a fourth fortunately saved himself by clinging to the canoe. He was picked up at the foot of the Sault just as his strength was giving out and he was letting go his hold. On the 3rd of April we landed at Montreal at the beginning of the night."

At Montreal, the fugitives were received with tender solicitude and the graphic details recounted at length. Thus the first attempt to plant Christianity in New York territory, after two years had come to a disastrous end.

Radisson, the half-civilized Frenchman, who had spent his early manhood as an adopted Iroquois, had accompanied Ragueneau from Montreal to Onondaga and back, tells the story in his "Travels." He dwells mostly on the occurrences of the feast, when the Indians gorged themselves so, that it was suggested to the priest by a Frenchman, probably by Radisson himself, that the fugitives should massacre them in their helpless drunken stupor and sleep—a suggestion which Ragueneau repudiated.

The surprise of the Onondagas next day was afterwards learned. "When night had given place to day," wrote Ragueneau, "darkness to light, the barbarians awoke from sleep and, leaving their cabins, roved around our well-locked house. They were astonished at the profound silence that reigned there. They saw no one going in or out. They heard no voice. They thought at first that we were at prayer or in council but, the day advancing, and the prayers not coming to an end, they knocked at the door. The dogs, which we had designedly left behind, answered by barking." Radisson's account adds that the idea of a religious ceremony going on within was stimulated by a pig who had a bell rope attached to his leg, so that whenever he moved the bell pealed.

"The cock crows which they heard in the morning," says Ragueneau, "and the noise of the dogs, made them think that the masters were not far off, and they recovered their patience, which they had lost. But at length the sun began to go down, and no person answering either to the voice of men or the cries of the dogs, they scaled the house to see what might be the condition of our men in this terrible silence. Astonishment now gave place to fright. They opened the door; the chiefs enter, descend to the cellar and mount to the garret. Not a Frenchman made his appearance, dead or alive. They thought they had to deal with devils."

This was further borne in upon them, because they had seen no boats. A search in the woods not revealing the fugitives, they came to the conclusion that the Frenchmen had vanished, and might as mysteriously reappear, to fall upon their village.

The news of this disaster and the fear of a terrible uprisal at the hands of the frustrated Iroquois caused the governor to issue the ordinance of March 18, 1658, which was promulgated by Bénigne Basset, the successor to Notary Saint Père. In this the habitants were again ordered as formerly to provide themselves with [Pg 147] arms and to fortify their houses; not to endanger their lives, but to work as far as possible in groups; to retire to their homes at the sound of the bell at night and not to leave until next morning without absolute necessity. They were not to go far for their hunting expeditions without special permission, and they were not to use any of the canots or chaloupes that were not their own without the express consent of the proprietors, unless it was a case of saving life.

Such precautions as these manifested the prudence of the governor and was the reason why there had been only one Frenchman killed between the date of the Point St. Charles massacre, October, 1657, to April, 1660. This solitary death was that of Sylvester Vacher dit Saint Julien, who was slain in 1659 near the Lac des Loutres close to the town. We may mention here several of the means adopted this year and the following to secure public safety. On the east, a new mill was built on a rising mound, afterwards called Citadel Hill, which was later the site of Dalhousie Square and is now the site of the Viger station. This was fortified as a redoubt and, together with the old fort mill at Windmill Point on the west, guarded the river front.

In addition the Sulpicians built two fortified farmhouses as redoubts or citadels in the extreme ends of the settlement to guard the labourers there—that of Ste. Marie on the east and that of St. Gabriel, named after M. Gabriel de Queylus, on the west. M. de Queylus interested himself in city planning also and he mapped out the lines on which the city should extend. An important protection was also secured by the construction of a well of one hundred feet in diameter, built by Jacques Archambault at the order of the governor, "in the middle of the court," or of the "place d'armes" of the fort, as it read in the contract of October 8, 1658. So far the water used had been supplied by the river, but fear of invasion and siege, and possible burning of the fort by the Iroquois, rendered this precaution very wise. In the next year, 1659, a similar well was placed in the hospital garden by order of M. de Queylus, and in the following year, 1660, a third contract was signed by Jacques Archambault for Charles Le Moyne, Jacques Leber and Jacques Tessard, for the mutual assistance of their houses near the hospital; and during this year also a storehouse of 60 by 30 feet was built by Francis Bailly dit Lafleur in the interior of the fort to guard the grain of the hospital.

St. Gabriel's Farm House
Chapel, St. Gabriel's Farm House
Community Hall, St. Gabriel's Farm House

The war was now in full swing.

After the visit of the refugees from Onondaga, the Montrealers in 1658 were in daily fear, for while Three Rivers was being attacked about June 13th by the Iroquois, a similar onslaught was valiantly repulsed at Ville Marie. At Quebec the new governor general, Pierre de Voyer, vicomte d'Argenson, who had arrived on July 11th, experienced his first acquaintance with his hazardous position, when he was aroused at his meal on the next day by the cry of "aux armes."

Such excitements added to his anxieties in settling the dispute as to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, occupied him constantly. These being solved satisfactorily for a time, to the great delight of the Montrealers, the "grand vicaire" of the district of Montreal, M. de Queylus, arrived about the end of August, 1658.

"On August 21st, he had left Quebec 'aegre' (with chagrin)," wrote Father Vimont in a later letter to the general: "but to the great joy of the Jesuits, who had a stormy time with M. de Queylus during his conflict there." On the 26th of August Father Pijart, now at Quebec, writes to his superior in Rome, "Vivimus hic quieti, ex quo Dominus Abbas de Queylus mandato Domini archiepiscopi [Pg 148] Rhotomagensis alio abiit—We are living here in peace since the Abbé de Queylus has gone elsewhere by order of the archbishop of Rouen." (Arch. Gen. S. J.)

The Sulpician, Dollier de Casson's, account runs thus: "He went to console Montreal by his presence and to dwell there to the great happiness of all, especially to the lively satisfaction of MM. Souart and Galinier, who did not fear to advance well in front in the wood without any apprehension of the Iroquois, to get ahead of his bark coming up the river to testify to the joy that they had at his return." He was followed by six persons from Quebec who filled three chaloupes. In this dangerous time such protection was necessary. M. Faillon, in his history, says that it seems that the greater part of this company "joined to do him honour."

Certainly his advent would have given no one at Montreal more satisfaction than Marguerite Bourgeoys and Mademoiselle Mance, who were waiting for him.

In the spring of 1657 Marguerite Bourgeoys became interested in building a chapel in wood on land granted for the purpose by Maisonneuve, at some distance from her home. The ecclesiastical superior was then Père Pijart, who gave her permission and named it in advance "Notre-Dame de Bon Secours." "Our Lady of Good Help," as a standing prayer against the Iroquois. Père Siméon Le Moyne laid the first stone in the spring of 1657, and Lambert Closse, acting governor during the absence of M. de Maisonneuve, placed the necessary inscriptions on a copper plate. Marguerite and her sisters laboured themselves and were helped by the settlers; some carted sand, others wood, and others acted as masons. Everyone was personally approached by her for some service, however small. In the spring of 1658 she applied to obtain the permission of M. de Queylus, then still in Quebec, but he ordered her to suspend her work till his return, which was not until the last week of August, for he did not wish any other enterprise to conflict with the establishment of the parish church. Thus the operations came to a standstill till 1659, when it was finished. [79] The arrival, therefore, of M. de Queylus was awaited with anxiety by Marguerite Bourgeoys and Jeanne Mance. The latter, having fallen on the ice on January 28th, 1657, had been suffering with a dislocated right wrist and had lost the use of her hand in spite of the efforts of the local surgeons. She had found herself useless for her hospital work. Thus she was desirous of the help of the Hospitalières of St. Joseph, promised but not sent, since the buildings to accommodate them had not yet been constructed. Besides, there were not enough funds to maintain them, so that now Jeanne Mance approached M. Queylus with her idea of visiting Madame de Bullion for the additional funds and then to bring back the Hospitalières. In addition she could consult the best physicians in France on the cure of her wrist. The grand vicaire approved of her journey.

At the same time Marguerite Bourgeoys, seeing herself without workers for[Pg 149] the future development of her teaching institution, asked permission to accompany Mademoiselle Mance, who needed assistance in her crippled condition, and to seek teachers among her old friends of the Congregation of Troyes.

But although M. de Queylus had consented to the plan of Jeanne Mance, he nevertheless was desirous of seeing the hospital work undertaken by a branch of the Quebec Hospitalières, whose acquaintance he had made. Consequently under the pretext of change of air, he had two of them sent on to Montreal, and these arrived two days before the departure of Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Jeanne Mance, however, had no intention of giving the control of the hospital to any but the La Flèche Hospitalières, and being, by the act of foundation, the administratrix of the Hôtel-Dieu, she appointed a pious widow known as "Mademoiselle" de la Bardillère, to replace her, and the continuance of the Quebec nuns in Montreal was only justified by the acceptance of the invitation of Marguerite Bourgeoys to teach school during her absence. The two foundresses left Ville Marie on September 20, 1658, and embarked at Quebec on a merchant vessel on October 14th. They proceeded to La Flèche to see M. de la Dauversière and thence to Paris. At the touch of the casket containing the heart of M. Olier, her biographers tell of the complete cure of Jeanne Mance's helpless wrist and hand, the news of which spread among the pious ladies and supporters of the Company of Montreal, and created a great sensation in Paris.


[78] "A History of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, St. Gabriel Street, Montreal," by the Rev. Robert Campbell, M. A., the last pastor, 1887.

[79] M. Huguet Latour in his note on L'église de Notre Dame de Bonsecours in the Annuaire de Montreal, 1874, says that it was finished in 1659. The second chapel, which was of stone, was also built by Marguerite Bourgeoys and by her given to the Marguilliers of the parish in June, 1678. The benediction of the first stone was given on June 30, 1673, by M. Gabriel Souart, Curé, and the church was blessed and the first mass said there on August 15, 1675. This was the first stone church in the whole of the island of Montreal. It was reduced to ashes in 1754, but was rebuilt in 1771 and altered since several times.

[Pg 151]






Before we narrate the outcome of the visit to France of Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, who returned on September 7th to Quebec, and also the events leading up to the coming of Laval on June 16th, we shall still keep the setting of Montreal as the background of our story.

So far we have considered Maisonneuve as a military governor. He was also a judge. This was a special privilege superadded to his commission as a "gouverneur particulier," which office, per se, did not include the administration of justice. Several of his judgments being extant, a study of them reveals a picture of the social life of Montreal hitherto unconsidered.

The journal of the Jesuits relates that towards September, 1648, a drummer had been condemned to death at Montreal for a detestable crime not specified, but as the clergy were secretly opposed to the execution of the sentence, it was arranged that he should be sent to Quebec to use his right of appeal. There the sentence was commuted to service in the galleys or, in exchange for his liberty, he should exercise the duty of public executioner, which latter condition was accepted. Heretofore there is no record of any condemnation to death.

Sometimes the cases coming before Maisonneuve were of a purely domestic nature. On July 3, 1658, two women having quarrelled, each laid a complaint against the other of bad language. The wrong appearing to be on both sides, [Pg 152] Maisonneuve gave each twenty-four hours, for their anger to evaporate, and to declare before Basset, the greffier, and two witnesses, that they had spoken in pure anger. If either of them refused she should pay fifty livres to the parish church and besides be forcibly constrained to acknowledge her fault. Both wisely took the cheaper course, as the acts of Basset prove. [80]

De Maisonneuve's skill had been shown in a judgment of July 13, 1656. A brave soldier, Saint Jacques, one Sunday morning when coming out of church after mass, had been attacked with a stick at the hands of an irate woman. He gallantly did not retaliate but contented himself with taking the case before the governor. The good lady was present, confident in the justice of her cause, for she accused the soldier of having got his deserts by her trouncing for having uttered a calumny against her honour. On cross-examination it appears that she heard the calumny, through another soldier, who related it to her as coming from the lips of Saint Jacques. This witness being called, he now owned that he had told the calumny to the woman but he had invented the story himself out of frivolousness, and that Saint Jacques was guiltless. This malicious meddler was ordered by Maisonneuve to pay a fine of twenty livres to the church, as his offence had been against God, and fifty to the woman for her wounded honour. She, in turn, for having struck an innocent man was condemned to pay twenty livres to the church for the offence against God, and to pay back to the wounded victim of her misplaced energy, the fifty livres received from the meddler.

In the case of grave public scandals de Maisonneuve had recourse to the sentence of banishment. A soldier of the garrison, having been appointed to be on guard at Point St. Charles, was accused of daily absenting himself from the guardhouse of the redoubt, and being found annoying an honest woman with his unseemly and scandalous discourse. In his sentence of November 4, 1658, Maisonneuve says: "We have cast him out of the garrison and condemned him to pay a penalty of 200 livres, applicable to some poor girls, to help them to get married at Ville Marie." In 1660 Maisonneuve, who was no respecter of persons, ordered perpetual banishment to one of the principal men of Montreal [81] for an offence with a woman; and her he permitted the husband either to send back to her father and mother, or to keep her shut up for the rest of her days.

We have referred to an ordinance issued in 1658 to insure public safety. He had now to issue proclamations to safeguard public morals. Accordingly, as his short notice of July 9th forbidding, under pain of confiscation, liquor to be smuggled from the boats arriving in the harbour, and requiring his permission, had not apparently been sufficiently observed, on the 18th day of January, 1659, he drew up a long proclamation, that was posted up by Basset, the official clerk of justice, at the parish church next day at the end of vespers, so that no one might be ignorant of it.

Maisonneuve, forced by circumstances revealed in the proclamation, was determined to put down the passion for games of chance, strong drink and blasphemy, as soon as they should show themselves. It is not difficult to imagine excesses [Pg 153] creeping in during the long winter evenings in a small enclosed garrison town, where there was no outlet for higher forms of amusement, especially as fear of invasion kept the inhabitants closely confined. Three of his garrison, Sébastien Dupuis, Nicholas Duval and Pierre Papin, having, through drink and gambling, found themselves unable to pay their debts, had deserted the garrison and fled the neighbourhood. They were arrested at a distance of only four leagues from Ville Marie, brought back and confined in irons in the fort on January 8, 1659.

After stating the causes leading to his proclamation of January 18th the governor continued: "In consequence we forbid (1) Any person whatsoever, of whatever rank or condition, an inhabitant of this place or elsewhere, to sell, wholesale or retail, under any pretext whatsoever, without an order from us, expressed in writing, any intoxicating liquor, under penalty of an arbitrary fine, the payment of which will be rigidity and forcibly exacted (à lesquelles on sera contraint par corps).

"(2) Moreover, we interdict all games of chance.

"(3) We rescind and annul any promise, written or verbal, direct or indirect, made or to be made, as well for the aforesaid game or for any other sort of game, with a prohibition to tavern keepers to sue in a court of justice for the recovery of this kind of debts under a penalty of twenty livres' fine, and of the confiscation of the sums demanded.

"(4) As for those who shall be convicted of having taken to excess wine, eau de vie, or other intoxicating liquors, or having sworn by or blasphemed the holy name of God, they shall be chastised, either by an arbitrary fine or by corporal punishment, according to the exigency of the case.

"(5) To obviate the above mentioned desertions we declare, by the present observance, that all the fugitives shall be by the same convicted of the crime of desertion; and, moreover, that all who shall abet them in their flight, whether by concealment or assistance of any kind, shall be considered to be guilty of the same crime."

This vigilance and firmness had its results, for we do not find any record of any contravention of any section of the above till February 22, 1663, when a man was severely punished for drunkenness and blasphemy.

When spring was approaching this same year of 1659, by a decree of April 5th, knowing the restlessness of the men to go fishing and hunting, and thus risk their own individual lives besides hindering the establishment of a lasting peace by provoking the enemy, he forbade them, under pain of punishment, to go to any place for hunting or fishing where they might be in danger of falling into the enemy's hands.

Later on in the year, on Pentecost Sunday, Maisonneuve published a decree of His Majesty, already given in council March 9, 1657, forbidding the sale of wine or eau de vie to the Indians under pain of corporal punishment.

A picture of Montreal of this year is preserved for us in the state papers under date of March 4, 1659, by the new governor-general, the young Vicomte d'Argenson, who had arrived less than a year ago in Canada and who now came in the spring of 1659 to visit Montreal.

Pierre de Voyer d'Argenson

He was a man of upright conduct, virtuous life and full of devotion for the development of the colony. He came with great ideas of his prerogatives as [Pg 154] governor-general in relation to the subordinate position of a local governor such as obtained in other provinces of the kingdom of France. But he had to be made aware of the special privileges granted to Maisonneuve as the representative of the Company of Montreal.

Arriving at Montreal, he expected honours paid to him such as a governor-general would receive in France, when on entering a fortress he would have the keys given to him with other like signs of submission.

The governor of Montreal received him with politeness, but without absolutely refusing the keys, put difficulties in the way lest he should seem to acknowledge his inferior position to the representative of the Company of One Hundred Associates. The case required diplomacy and adroitness, and Maisonneuve acted tactfully. As for receiving the "mot d'ordre" he only accepted this on the third day and then he sent his major for it.

D'Argenson realized the situation which the independent Maisonneuve had created, and doubtless it is in consequence of these painful impressions that he penned the following pessimistic description of the settlement.

After complaining of his reception he adds: "I must talk with you about Montreal, a place which makes a deal of noise and is of little consequence. I speak from knowledge; I have been there this spring, and I can assure you that if I were a painter I should soon finish my picture of it.

"Montreal is an island, difficult enough to land at, even in a chaloupe, by reason of the great currents of the St. Lawrence river. These meet each other at its landing place, and particularly at a half league below. There is a fort where the chaloupes lay by, and which is falling into ruins. A redoubt has been commenced and a mill has been erected on a little eminence very advantageously situated for the defence of the settlement. There are about forty houses, nearly all facing one another, and in this they are well placed, since they in part defend one another. There are fifty heads of families and one hundred and sixty men in all. Finally, there are only two hundred arpents of land tilled, belonging to the Gentlemen of the Company, of which a half is appropriated to the hospital, so that no more than a hundred remains to them; and the enjoyment of these is not entirely theirs, these arpents having been cultivated by private individuals, to whom have been given the fruits of their labour until these Gentlemen of the Company of Montreal shall have furnished the equivalent of their work on the concessions belonging to the habitants."

Governor d'Argenson's short stay in Montreal makes his account slightly inaccurate for, besides the portion of the hundred acres already cultivated, which were only lent temporarily, the habitants were allowed, at a convenient time, to break land on the rest of the Domain of the Seigneurs, in quantity they required according to their concessions, whether it was land on which timber was still standing or where it was simply felled and not cut.

If d'Argenson had arrived later, when the reinforcement of 109 men sent out by the Sulpicians in the fall had built the fortified houses of St. Gabriel and Ste. Marie, his picture would have taken longer to paint; but he arrived at a time when the labourers had to abandon their fields for fear of Iroquois ambuscades. Still the long stretch of land, dotted with charred and blackened stumps, between which the few tilled arpents could be seen sparse and thin in the early spring, would have looked a barren and a gloomy sight to a jaundiced critic had he been able[Pg 155] to be unimpressed by the beauty of Mount Royal dignifying the landscape. Moreover, the little progress made after seventeen years must have surprised him. We must not, therefore, be too hard on the young governor-general, then thirty-three years old. For his government was one of the best of those yet sent to represent France, and his bravery and good judgment did much to restrain the Iroquois; but he was abandoned by the company he represented as well as by the French government. He could not depend on the help of Montreal to share his expenses, nor upon the poverty-stricken habitants of Quebec. The main support of the colony, trade in peltry, was bad at Quebec. Living was very expensive and no laughing matter. His own salary of 2,000 écus and the grant of 2,000 others for the upkeep of the garrison were not enough to sustain the situation. It is no wonder that we find him writing, in August, that he did not see the advantage of continuing in his office, especially as he urged the plea of bad health. Still he was not recalled from his arduous and unremunerative position, but continued to give fresh proof of his zeal for the good of the colony.

Meanwhile in France, steps were being taken which would bring M. de Laval to the ecclesiastical rule of Canada, thus unifying the ecclesiastical system, at present endangered by the presence of two vicar generals of the diocese of Rouen.

We have related the early events of the Montreal Company to secure a bishop for Canada as far back as 1645. But the contention of the Jesuits that the time was not ripe in the then unprogressive state of the colony, together with the unsettled times, with war nearly always impending, had delayed such an appointment. We have seen the agitation renewed by the Company on de Maisonneuve's late visit when their candidate was M. de Queylus; while that of the Jesuits, who were now more ready to admit the advisability of a bishop, was one of their former students at the Collège Royal of La Flèche and now a secular priest, François de Laval de Montmorency. They had not desired one of themselves to be appointed, since it was not in accordance with their constitution to seek dignities, and consequently in 1650 the names of the Canadian Jesuits, Charles Lalemant, Ragueneau and Le Jeune, submitted by the Company of the Hundred Associates, were withdrawn as candidates by Goswin Nickel, the vicar general of the order.

We have seen sufficient of the ecclesiastical troubles between Père de Quen, the ecclesiastical superior of Quebec, and M. de Queylus, that of Montreal, both "grands vicaires" of the archbishop of Rouen, to see that a bishop was necessary to restore the unity of government. The experience that the Jesuits had had of M. de Queylus made them more anxious than ever to push their candidate.

François de Laval was born on April 30, 1622, in the Château de Montigny-sur-Aure in the diocese of Chartres, of the illustrious house of Montmorency. At the age of nine years he was sent to the Royal College of La Flèche, taught by the Jesuits, to commence his literary studies. He finished his philosophy course in 1641, and during that time he had made the acquaintance of many Jesuit priests who afterwards joined the Canadian mission. The next four years he studied theology at Paris, till 1645. It was thought that he would take priest's orders, but on the death of his two brothers in 1644 and 1645 he was persuaded by his cousin, the bishop of Evreux, to renounce his canonship in the cathedral of Evreux and take his brother's place in the family in caring for his mother, Madame de Montigny. The bishop died on July 22, 1646, not before repenting of his advice to François, whom he exhorted to go back to the priesthood, and he named him [Pg 156] archdeacon of the church of Evreux. Laval now renounced his right of primogeniture and his title to the Seigneury of Montigny in favor of his brother, Jean Louis de Laval, and taking his degree in canon law, received priesthood orders on September 22, 1647.


Fur three years he remained in Paris and associated with the congregation of pious laymen and others, mostly graduates from Jesuit colleges. In 1650 he joined a small group of five of these earnest men who lived in common in a kind of religious life under the direction of the Jesuit, Père Bagot, and a society was formed under the title of the "Society of Good Friends," with the purpose of charitable and social work. These five men were increased to twelve, of whom some were priests.

In 1652 the Jesuit, Père de Rhodes, one of the most remarkable men of the Cochin-China missions, came to Paris in search of recruits to form an ecclesiastical hierarchy, and it fell to the lot of three of the priests of the Society of Good Friends to be chosen to have their names sent to Rome as suitable bishops for the purpose, François Paillu, canon of St. Martin de Tours; Bernard Picquet (or Piques), doctor of the Sorbonne, and François de Laval, archdeacon of Evreux. The long negotiations did not end till 1658, when Paillu was named vicar apostolic of Tonkin, and two others of the above society vicars apostolic of Cochin-China and China.

In the meantime in 1657, on the nomination of Queylus for the bishopric of New France, the Jesuits made their overtures to Laval to adopt him as their candidate for the same post, and he accepted. The curia at Rome moved slowly and it was not till fifteen months later that the bull naming the Abbé François de Laval de Montigny, bishop of Petrea in Arabia and vicar apostolic of Canada was promulgated. On December 8th, the papal nuncio consecrated him in the church of the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés.

When the archbishop of Rouen, Mgr. de Harlay, who had looked upon New France as a part of his diocese, heard of this, he resented it and obtained a decree of the parliament of Rouen ordering word to all the officers of the kingdoms and the subjects of the king, to refuse to accept the new vicar apostolic.

Louis XIV on March 27, 1659, retorted by letters patent bidding acceptance of Laval, but on the other side he wished "that these episcopal functions should be exercised without prejudice to the rights of the jurisdiction of the Ordinary, that is to say the archbishop of Rouen; and that, while awaiting the erection of a bishopric, of which the titulary occupant shall be the suffragan of the archbishop."

Rome objected to the concession granted in the clause "without prejudice to the rights of the jurisdiction of the Ordinary" because it could not admit the pretensions of the archbishop of Rouen. However, M. de Harlay, supported by Mazarin, maintained his position and Laval left La Flèche on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1659, for Canada, accompanied by the new superior of the Jesuit missions, Father Jérome Lalemant, who had formerly worked in the missions and now came, sent by the general of the Jesuits, Goswin Nickel, at the special request of Laval.

He arrived unannounced at Quebec, on June 16th, as a simple vicar apostolic, a bishop indeed, but with his see in far-off Arabia, and shorn of the dignity of canons and a chapter, and the external emblems of a bishop in his own see. The colony could not support, with its scanty revenues, such a position. Still he was [Pg 157] the first ecclesiastical superior, and thus he brought unity to the church government, then split between the superior of the Jesuits at Quebec and the Abbé de Queylus, at Montreal.

On arriving Laval found the colony in two divisions: on the one side, the majority, composed of the missionaries, the communities of religious women, and those colonists most sincerely devoted to the church; on the other the governor, the partisans of the Abbé de Queylus and a group of traders who scented trouble on the appearance of a man whose unflinching character would not allow him to truckle his duty or his conscience.

The situation was greatly cleared when, seven weeks after the arrival of Laval, de Queylus went down from Montreal, reaching Quebec on September 7th, and gave his submission and ceased to be grand vicaire. At first he was uncertain whether his own powers as independent head of the church in Montreal still held good, but the letters patent of the king, dated March 27, 1659, received by d'Argenson, left no doubt on the point.

Thus submission was made all the easier because de Queylus did not know of the determination of the archbishop of Rouen to maintain him in his function in Montreal. Indeed new letters patent, with a letter from the king, dated May 11, 1659, were now on the way, confirming him in his position without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the vicar apostolic.

On May 14, 1659, the king, repenting of his letter to Mgr. de Harlay, sent two lettres de cachet, one to Laval and the other to Governor d'Argenson, derogating the appointment of May 11th.

The king's letter to d'Argenson contained this: "The letter that I have accorded to the archbishop of Rouen, it is my intention that neither he nor the grands vicaires shall avail themselves of, until by the authority of the church it has been declared if this archbishop is in the right in his pretension that new France is in his diocese."

All these letters arrived by the St. André on September 8th, with the reinforcement brought back by Marguerite Bourgeoys and Jeanne Mance.

After the conflicting nature of their contents were mastered the position of de Queylus remained as after his submission.

Queylus returned to Montreal and later came back to Quebec, from which he departed on October 2d on the St. André on its return voyage.

The causes of his departure are shrouded in silence, and in guarded words d'Argenson writes: "I do not send you the reasons in writing for fear lest the letter shall fall into other hands."

Dollier de Casson says: "After the arrival of the reinforcement and of the Hospitalières at Ville Marie we witnessed the return of M. de Queylus to France, which afflicted this place very much," adding as a commentary: "Thus in this life are its sweets mixed with bitterness." Laval in his letter to the Propaganda laconically says: "In Galliam ipse transfretavit" (he sailed over to France).

This would look as if the voyage was of a voluntary nature. It was otherwise. Laval feared the opposition of de Queylus; he looked upon him as a rival, a disturber of the peace by his continued presence in the country, and had written to France shortly after his arrival, asking a lettre de cachet for his removal. M. de Queylus was a powerful personality and had the support of an active minority. Already on his return to Montreal in the previous year the two other secular [Pg 158] priests, chaplains of the convent, at Quebec, had left Canada on this account, and sixty persons had accompanied him on his journey back to Montreal on that occasion.

After his recent visit to Laval and while he was welcoming new recruits at Montreal, the lettre de cachet arrived for his departure.

Speaking of the position of Laval after the receipt of the letter of May 11th, the journal of the Jesuits on September 7th says that "he disposed all things sovereignly at Quebec and Montreal." Laval's critics would translate it "imperiously" or "high-handedly," for, according to the history of Canada by M. Belmont, Laval, in acquainting de Queylus of his recall persuaded the governor to assist the departure of his friend from Montreal with a squad of soldiers; or rather, as M. d'Allet, his secretary, reports in his Mémoire, "with a considerable number of our men as for some military expedition." But may not this escort have been one of honour and protection in war time rather than one of ignominy? The governor general himself carried out this order and this escort may therefore have been appropriate on such an occasion, both for the governor and his friend. Two others were removed with the late grand vicaire, M. d'Allet and another Sulpician, though d'Allet got no further than Quebec, at which place sickness detained him during the winter.

We can imagine the grief of the Montrealers watching their departure at the little harbour at the mouth of the St. Peter River near the fort. But though silenced at present, Queylus is not finally suppressed, for we shall find him back again at Montreal before the end of two years. In the meantime he was determined to clinch the matter of the disputed jurisdiction. Before leaving, however, he had the satisfaction of having received on September 7th at Quebec, and having accompanied to Montreal, the new recruits led by Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, whose experiences, since leaving Ville Marie in the previous year, must now be chronicled.

After the cure of her hand and wrist on February 2, 1659, Jeanne Mance visited Madame de Bullion, who gave her 22,000 livres, of which 20,000 were to be set aside for the annual income to support four Hospitalières at Montreal, from M. de la Dauversière's foundation at La Flèche. In addition, this lady paid Jeanne's passage and gave her presents for the church as well as money to assist struggling families in Montreal. In all, Madame de Bullion had given 60,000 écus or 1,000,000 francs to the Montreal work.

At Troyes, Marguerite Bourgeoys had been equally successful, having received the co-operation of three workers, Edmée Chastel (Aimée Chatel), Catherine Crolo, and Marguerite Raisin. Mademoiselle Catherine Gauchet de Belleville also joined the party. She was the cousin of M. Souart and came from the parish of St. Sulpice in Paris. She was then sixteen years old. In 1665 she married Migeon de Brausaat. At La Flèche three Hospitalière Sisters of St. Joseph were chosen: Judith Moreau de Brésoles, Catherine Massé and Marie Maillé, with Marie Polo, their servant, and the departure of the party from La Flèche was fixed for May 25th.

Departure of the Three Hospitalieres

But they did not leave peaceably, for there was a party at La Flèche, which had resented the previous consignments of "pious young girls" that had been previously taken to Montreal through the instrumentality of M. de la Dauversière, it being alleged that this enthusiast, as he was thought, had done it against the [Pg 159] wishes of their parents. Open persecution broke out against him. Dollier de Casson tells us that there was a popular resentment; each one murmured, "M. de la Dauversière is leading these girls away by force; we must stop it." In their anxiety many could not sleep that night; but next morning, May 26th, M. Robert Saint André, an admirer of M. de la Dauversière, who, with his wife, was returning to Montreal, forced, with the assistance of other gentlemen, a way on to the ship for the girls, at the point of the sword. On reaching Rochelle M. Dauversière's party was met by agents from Mgr. Laval, who wished to restrain their departure on the ground that they were not wanted in Canada, as one institute of Hospitalières was sufficient. We have seen that even M. de Queylus was of this opinion. But M. de la Dauversière's resolution was unshaken. "If they do not go this year they will never go." The La Flèche institute had been founded for Montreal; the departure of the Hospitalières had been delayed several years. He now carried his point.

New embarrassments arose. The owner of the ship, doubtless influenced by the agents, refused to weigh anchor without the passage money being paid in advance; he appears even to have profited by this circumstance to raise the price. But Jeanne Mance, never to be taken by surprise, immediately obtained the money from a merchant in consequence of a contract which she made with a group of colonists who were coming "en famille." These latter obliged themselves, on June 5th, before Notary Demontreau, as a body to reimburse their debts to her in two years. In addition they were indebted to Jeanne Mance for 199 livres 8 sols, which she turned over for hotel expenses to Daniel Guerry, mine host of the Grâce-de-Dieu. [82]

The above money was not to be paid, however, till ten years after, when Mademoiselle Mance gave them a deed of acquittance in 1669, made out by Maître Basset, the town clerk.

At last the recruit force for Montreal was ready and it embarked on the St. André (Captain Poulet) on June 29th. Besides the ladies with the two foundresses, there were two Sulpicians, MM. de Vignal and Le Maître, and a body of sixty-two men, and forty-seven women, or marriageable girls honest families, most of whom were from Marans in Saintonge and more or less interrelated, who were sent out at the expense of the company and of the Hôtel-Dieu, the third of the trilogy of religious institutions to minister at Montreal in this early period. There were other settlers who paid their own expenses. In addition there were sixteen or seventeen young women for Quebec.

The St. André, containing about two hundred souls, set sail for Rochelle on July 2d. It was a veritable pesthouse of infection, having been used as a hospital troop-ship two years ago, and it had never been quarantined, so that hardly were they on their way when the contagion declared itself. The food of the emigrants was the poorest; the accommodations of the barest and most primitive description; the supply of fresh water very limited. For two months sickness [Pg 160] and furious tempests and contrary winds afflicted the wretched vessel. Eight or ten died, but most were sick, among them Marguerite Bourgeoys but principally Jeanne Mance, who was reduced to the last extremity. The ship became a hospital and among the devoted nurses none were more so than the women for the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal.

At last Quebec harbour was reached on September 7th but disembarkation took place next day. Here the sick were landed, a work in which Mgr. de Laval gave his personal service, "tending the sick and making their beds," as the Annales of the Hôtel-Dieu relate. The hospital was filled with the convalescents but the rest of the Montreal party put up at the storehouse sheds of the "Magasin de Montréal."

Marguerite Bourgeoys was the first to be able to lead her party from Quebec and she arrived at Montreal just a year after her departure, on September 29th, carrying the little Thibaudeau baby (the three other Thibaudeau children had died on the ocean) that she had tended on the voyage and which she had allowed the father to nurse at Quebec, but he, unlucky wight, having let it get burned, she had again taken care of the poor sufferer on the journey up the river.

Mademoiselle Mance remained behind, still too sick to travel. Moreover, the opposition of the vicar apostolic Monseigneur de Laval, to the Hospitalières for Montreal, had to be met. He examined their constitution, drawn up by a married man, M. de la Dauversière, and found it different from other congregations. They wore secular clothing. Though erected canonically in October, 1643, they only took simple vows and they had not yet received the approbation of Rome. He thought it would be better for them to go back to France or seek admission to the Hospitalières of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, a constituted regular institution, which could form a branch to serve Montreal. But their superior, Judith de Moreau de Brésoles, and her companions, did not acquiesce with either suggestion.

Moreover, a practical difficulty of money matters prevented this, for the Associates of Montreal had declared they would withdraw their alms altogether, if any others went to the Hôtel-Dieu but those already chosen, and in addition if the Quebec Sisterhood should take up the Hôtel-Dieu at Montreal, that part of the foundation given by Madame d'Aiguillon for Quebec should be diverted to Montreal. This solved the difficulty for, as Mère Jucherau, in the Annales of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, says: "Monseigneur liked to keep up our community with its revenue rather than to share our funds between two houses, neither of which could support the other."

On October 2d the Hôtel-Dieu Sisters of Montreal left with full authorization to exercise their work until ordered otherwise. On October 20th they received from Maisonneuve the act of the "prise de possession" of the Hôtel-Dieu, dated from the governor's house, which was still in the fort. On October 26th the St. André returned to France, bearing the Abbé de Queylus, as before related. Jeanne Mance started a week later for Montreal but she was here on November 3d and had the satisfaction of being present at the marriage of the widow, "Miss" Bardillières, whom she had left in charge of the hospital and who now wedded Jacques [Pg 161] Testard, Sieur de la Forest. It was a notable wedding, the witnesses' names including, besides Jeanne Mance, those of Maisonneuve and the governor of Three Rivers and many notables. Hospital work has since conduced to match-making in Montreal as heretofore. [83]


[80] Records of punishment for injurious words are also to be found on May 20, 1660; September 20, 1662; August, 1663; June, 1665. Women figure largely in these cases.

[81] This man was afterwards allowed to return, perhaps on appeal. It is certain he reformed and gave a perpetual foundation to the church.

[82] The original copies of these documents lately transcribed by Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, city archivist, can be seen at the archives' office or printed in the Numismatic and Antiquarian Journal, published at the Château Ramezay, Third Series, No. 2, Vol. X.

[83] On the reinforcement of 1659 Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, city archivist of Montreal, has recently published in the "Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Society Journal, Third Series, No. 2, Vol X," a copy of the statement of men, women and girls who crossed to Montreal in 1659, found lately in the city archives of the courthouse. The contingent, including those from Quebec and those who died from the ship fever, consisted of about two hundred souls. Of those who arrived at Montreal the list contains 102 names. The list made of those of Jeanne Mance's party before sailing enumerates 109 persons. Two of these did not embark and a note in the margin mentions that they were "hidden"; of the remaining 107, there were 60 men and youths, 39 women—married and single—and 8 children of tender age. Of the men there were two priests—M. Jacques Le Maistre, slain by the Iroquois on the 29th of August, 1661, and M. Guillaume, also slain by the Iroquois on the 25th of October, 1661; 6 "soldiers for the fort," of whom one was Pierre Picoté de Bélestre; 7 masons, 3 sawyers, 1 carpenter, 9 tillers, 2 woodcutters and tillers, 1 baker and tiller, 2 joiners, and 26 whose occupations are unknown. Of the unmarried women the mother superior, Judith Moreau de Brésoles, and Sisters Catherine Macé and Marie Maillet came to found the "Hospitalières de St. Joseph," the religious order to carry on the Hôtel-Dieu. These, with the addition of their servant, Marie Polo, came with Jeanne Mance. With Marguerite Bourgeoys there came the future sisters for the foundation of the "Congregation of Notre Dame," Mademoiselles Catherine Croleau (or Crolo), Marie Raisin and Anne Hiou (or Iou).

[Pg 163]






Ever since the flight to Montreal of the French from Onondaga under Dupuis on April 3, 1658, there had been constant fear of a concerted attempt by the Five Nations to exterminate, by fire and slaughter, the whole French population. In 1659 a Huron refugee to Quebec brought the news of the preparation of a great allied army for this fell purpose. This was confirmed at Quebec in the spring of 1660 by an Iroquois captive ally; that 800 Iroquois had assembled at Roche Fondue, near Montreal, to be joined by 400 more who were even then pouring down upon Quebec by way of Montreal and Three Rivers. Believing that Montreal and Three Rivers were besieged, Quebec was in the throes of alarm. The outlying houses were abandoned. Most of the settlers were either concentrated in the fort or in the Jesuit house, while the Ursulines and Hospitalières and others were in Upper Town; the rest barricaded themselves with many guards in the Lower Town. The monasteries, denuded of their occupants, were also guarded, and the cries of "qui vive?" of the patrol, each night warned the Iroquois lurking around that all were on the alert, and restrained any attempt to set fire to the houses.

That the enemy never came, is due to the heroic venturesomeness of a band of young Montrealers who had meanwhile bearded the lion in his den, and diverted the attack from the French, thus saving New France.

[Pg 164]

The garrison of Montreal had thought long of how to meet the threatened invasion, till at last the daring plan of a young officer of twenty-five years of age, Adam Dollard, was accepted. In the spring of 1660 the officers were now, besides the governor, Major Raphael Lambert Closse, M. Zacharie Dupuis, Pierre Picoté de Bélestre and the young Adam Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux. Major Lambert Closse had been married on July 24, 1657, and he was now no longer living in the fort, for he had been given by the Associates, in recognition of his bravery and his merits, his own lands, the first fief granted in Montreal, a hundred arpents, "à simple hommage et sans justice." He had now received letters of nobility, for whereas before he has simply been styled sergeant major of the garrison, in his marriage contract he is named "écuyer" (esquire), on December 9th after the arrival of Maisonneuve and that of the Sulpicians, he is called "noble homme, écuyer." We have already mentioned that he was the commandant of the Island of Montreal. On leaving the fort Lambert Closse still retained his office of major, but he was replaced at the fort by M. Zacharie du Puis, the same who had been received coldly at Quebec after the retreat under him from Onondaga, but whose services were welcomed and esteemed at Montreal by the governor, de Maisonneuve, who named him assistant major; and he is also spoken of as "commandant of the Island of Montreal," a title found ascribed also to Lambert Closse. Then we may class Charles Le Moyne, the official interpreter and storekeeper, as in some way an officer. Among the late arrivals two others had been at least adjoined to the military staff. One of these was Picoté de Bélestre, a doctor as well as a fighting man, and he proved of valuable assistance to the settlement. Dollier de Casson says of him that "he adorned this place, as well in war as in peace, on account of the advantageous qualities he possessed for one and the other." He is spoken of sometimes as a "commandant," sometimes as an officer of the garrison.

The other is Adam Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux, a young man of twenty-five years of age. There is little known of his antecedents. The actual date of his arrival is not certain but, according to the latest researches made by Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, city archivist of Montreal (April, 1912), the first document, in which his name appears as witnessing a land transfer, is dated September 10, 1658.

As he figures frequently in acts after this, it is not likely that he came much before that date, for he was not present on December 29, 1657, at the marriage of Jeanne Le Moyne with Jacques Leber, a young man of his own age, nor at that of Michel Messier and of Anne Le Moyne, February 18, 1658; while after the above date, on September 15, 1658, he was present at that of Jacques Mousseaux and of Marguerite Soviot, and on October 3, 1658, he was godfather to Elizabeth Moyen, daughter of Lambert Closse and Elizabeth Moyen, married the year previously, and thenceforward he appeared frequently at public ceremonies.

In this act, Dollard is styled "volontaire," a volunteer, which may signify that he was only as yet attached to the garrison or that he had taken service freely and not on wages. The Notary Basset gives him, sometimes, the title of "commandant"; at others that of "officer of the garrison."

Mr. Massicotte proves, from the inventory of Dollard's effects after his death, that he had intended to settle, having formed a building society, explained before as then customary, with Picoté de Bélestre, to break land and to cultivate it in view of a future homestead. We have the record of de Bélestre's concession and [Pg 165] of a debt to be paid to the succession of "the late Adam Dollard" the sum of 79 livres, 10 sols, for fifty-three days' work, by men employed by the deceased to work on the same concession.

It is therefore probable that Dullard was contemplating his own homestead and that, in his turn, de Bélestre would assist, according to the contracts before noticed.

Dollard was by no means wealthy; indeed the number of his personal effects at his death was less than those shown in the inventories of the greater part of the settlers dying before him, even of the bachelors. The sum total of these possessions has been estimated at eighty-five livres, or 1,700 sous! But we must remember that a sou would at that time buy five to ten times more than now.

The quality, however, of his varied but slight wardrobe and of the articles of toilette not mentioned in other inventories gives ground for the tradition that he was of a superior caste to the ordinary colonist. The ordinary tradition is, following Dollier de Casson, that this young man of good family had already had some command in the army in France, but had done some foolish act, and that he had joined Maisonneuve with the desire of doing some notable deed of valour or self-sacrifice to rehabilitate himself in his own eyes, and those of his friends.

The spelling of his name has been a subject of controversy. Mr. Massicotte has established that there is no doubt, since we have his signature at the city hall archives, that he signed himself "Dollard." "Daulat" and "Daulac," the variant readings, are the mistakes of copyists writing phonetically rather than orthographically, since the three are pronounced practically the same. There is a scarcely imperceptible nuance of sound differing. [84]

We have given these minute facts, since the exploit we are about to relate is one of the most stirring and notable in Canadian history, and the story of Montreal can well expatiate on one of its own heroes.

Adam Dollard it was who, by his boldness, persuaded de Maisonneuve from his Fabian policy of defence which had, as we have seen, made him, so far, content to drive the Iroquois away from the fort to their ambuscades around. In April, 1660, he obtained permission from the governor to take a band of volunteers up country and there do battle. The fear of the Iroquois must have been indeed desperate for one so young to have secured such a permission from Maisonneuve.

Dollard's enthusiasm, which had led the sixteen young men, two of whom were thirty and thirty-one years of age and the rest between twenty-one and twenty-seven, and most of whom had arrived in 1653, to strike hands with him to follow him if the governor gave consent, now spurred them on to make all the needful preparations. In order to purchase the necessary arms, food and boats to man the expedition, we find records extant of loans being sought as, for example, the following, signed by Dollard with his own private paraphe, or flourish, after his name, according to the custom of the time:

[Pg 166]

"I, the undersigned, acknowledge my indebtedness to Jean Haubichon of the sum of forty livres plus three livres which I promise to pay to him on my return. Done at Ville Marie, the fifteenth of April, sixteen hundred and sixty.
Dollard (with paraphe)."

Major Closse, Picoté de Bélestre and Charles Le Moyne would gladly have thrown in their lot with him, but prudence suggested to them that they should finish the spring seeding, and then to lead forth a body of forty men. The impetuous Dollard could not brook delay. Besides he wanted the command, and this was his opportunity in life. Moreover, his young men were eager to start. Before leaving on their perilous path to glory, they swore a sacred oath of fidelity among themselves not to ask for quarter, and the better to keep their plighted word and to face death without fear, they resolved each to make his will and to clear his consciences by a confession of his sins, and to approach in a body the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the symbol of unity and fellowship.

Each point was faithfully carried out. The sight of these young men at this last solemn event in the parish church must have been thrilling to their friends and families, fearful, yet proud of the warriors who were setting out, perchance to die for their king and their faith. [85]

At last, on April 19th the flotilla of canoes started up the stream, but when nearby to an adjacent island (probably St. Paul) they heard a cry of alarm. Thinking that, near at hand, was the quarry they were going, so far, to seek, Dollard bore down upon the Iroquois, repulsing them with such vigour that had they not taken to the woods, leaving behind their canoes and spoils to save their lives, they would assuredly all have been captured.

But this victory was attended by the loss of three of his men—Nicholas Duval, a servant at the fort, killed by the Indians, and two others who, unaccustomed to the management of their canoe, had been drowned in the engagement. Dollard seized the spoils, left behind by the Iroquois, and, moreover, a canoe which served him in good stead later in the expedition. Meanwhile the party made their way back sadly to Ville Marie with the dead body, without doubt to assist at the burial of Nicholas Duval on April 20th, for the parish registers give this date. The other bodies had not as yet been discovered.

They were joined by one of the young men who had failed in his oath and penitently sought to redeem himself. Thus the seventeen was now complete.

As men, who might never see their friends again, they bade a general adieu to Ville Marie, and again embarked on the fateful journey whence no one returned to tell the tale. Though bold of heart, many of them were not expert at handling their canoes, so that they were delayed eight days at a rapid (Ste. Anne's) at the end of the Island of Montreal. But their indomitable courage surpassed their inexperience, and they reached, on May 1st, the end of the tumultuous rapids of the Long Leap, or the "Long Sault," at the foot of the Chaudières Fall, on the Ottawa River, at a distance of about eight or ten leagues above Montreal.

[Pg 167]

There Dollard found a dilapidated war camp abandoned by the Iroquois, the previous autumn. It was not flanked, but defended only by a wretched palisading. It was dangerously overlooked too by a neighbouring wooden slope. Within this feeble fortress, for want of better protection, he cantoned his men and there awaited the canoes of the enemy who must come down the Sault in single file on their return from the chase.

Soon, to their surprise, a body of forty Hurons and four Algonquins came with credentials from the governor of Montreal, requesting Dollard to admit them to a share in their glorious enterprise. These were led by the chief, Anontaha, the Huron, and Mitiwemeg, the Algonquin. Anontaha had descended from Quebec with his Hurons, the relics of a once powerful nation, to waylay Iroquois returning from hunting, and at Three Rivers he had met Mitiwemeg with his Algonquins on a like quest. Having challenged each other's valour, they determined to push to Montreal, where likely there would be an opportunity with the Iroquois to test each other's courage in the fight. Arrived at Montreal the French, "whose fault, it is," says Dollier de Casson, "to talk too much," told them of the whereabouts of Dollard's expedition. Amazed at the daring of so slight a force, and jealous of having been forestalled in the work of falling upon the Iroquois, they sought permission to join them; there the vaunting chiefs could show their valour. Accordingly they arrived with de Maisonneuve's letter which warned Dollard not to put his trust in their bravery, but to act as if he had his Frenchmen alone to help him.

Dollard received their parties to his future sorrow. Thus reinforced the anxious warriors bivouacked around the redoubt, near the hoarse-sounding waters of the leaping rapids. At last, those on scout duty reported the coming of the advance guard of 300 Iroquois down the stream. These were on their way to join the 400 more at the Richelieu Islands to attack Three Rivers, Quebec and then Montreal.

Down to the place where they would likely land, Dollard led his men and ensconced them in ambush, till two canoes filled with Iroquois arrived, and no sooner had these put foot on land than the land force fired into their midst, but so precipitously that some escaped, and running across the woods to meet their party on the shore above, cried out: "We have been defeated at the little fort, which is quite near here. There is a party of French and Indians there."

Their approach found the party in prayer from which they arose hurriedly, seeking the shelter of the palisading and leaving in the confusion their kettles slung over the camp fires preparing for their meal.

The Iroquois quickly advanced towards the redoubt, thinking to reduce it easily, but they were frequently repulsed, with much loss and confusion. Driven back, and refused a parley, by which they sought to entice the Frenchmen from the fort, the enemy began to construct a retrenchment facing the redoubt, determined to begin the siege. Meanwhile, during this delay, the brave defenders strengthened their outworks (it would seem an obvious duty too long delayed) by building a second palisading within and filling in the space between, with stones and earth to a man's height, in such way, however, that they were loopholes large enough to put three gunmen at each. When the enemy began next to approach, they poured their scrap iron and lead into them with deadly effect. To add to their rage and humiliation the Iroquois saw the heads of their comrades placed on [Pg 168] the tops of the stockade palisades. They now broke up the French and Huron canoes, and putting them into a blaze sought to fire the stockade with them. But finding themselves unable, even with their numbers, to capture the fort, they sent a canoe to warn the 500 at the Richelieu Islands to come to their assistance. While delaying for their reinforcement they blockaded the fort, thinking at least to force it to capitulate, through thirst. For a week the enemy's fire could not be of avail. Thirst, consequent on the dearth of water in the interior of the fort, might yet effect their surrender. Water was so scarce that the defenders could hardly swallow their hominy (rough Indian corn). Their efforts at digging were rewarded only by a little trickling stream of muddy water, altogether insufficient to quench their thirst. Thus they were forced to make sudden sallies to the river, 200 feet away, under shelter of the guns from the fort, to fill their small pots of water, since they had already lost their kettles and tin pans.

The Iroquois now called upon the parched Hurons cooped up within the wretched hole to give themselves up and receive good quarter. Else they would surely die, since a reinforcement of 500 men was coming.

These perfidious weaklings, listening to the voice of the tempters, yielded, and they were to be seen deserting stealthily by the gate or scrambling over the palisadings. This heartbreaking sight was too much for the brave chief Anontaha, who aimed his pistol at his fleeing nephew, "The Fly," but missed his aim in his bitter rage.

There were now only twenty-three to guard the fort, Dollard and his dauntless sixteen, Anontaha, and Mitiwemeg and his four faithful followers.

On the fifth day the 500 allies arrived. On they came to the fort with their frightful war cries but quickly they retired, leaving their dead around the fort and many others escaping, having lead within them that made them ill content. Thus for three days the fight was hourly renewed by the Iroquois, sometimes attacking in a body, sometimes in bands; sometimes they battered the fortress with trunks of trees; still the defenders would not yield, resolved to die to a man first. This obstinate and unexpected resistance made the enemy think that the fugitive Hurons had given a false tale of the numbers within the fort. So the time passed for the hungering and thirsting men within, weary and sleepless, but full of resolution, which they renewed with prayer, till called to fight again for dear life's sake.

On the eighth day, many Iroquois would fain have given up, but the eyes of others blazed with rage at the immortal disgrace they foresaw if they should be set to naught by a handful of whites. They determined to carry the fort by main force or perish in the attempt.

But this was a hardy and dangerous deed courting death. On such an occasion it was the custom when volunteers for the first ranks were needed, that sticks were thrown on to the ground and those that dared pick them up were considered the bravest, and took the foremost place of danger; so now the self-elected braves led the way for a bloody encounter, carrying each an impromptu shield or fence made of united logs each four or five feet in height lashed together, under shelter of which they moved with bowed heads and crouched forms. They crept nearer and nearer the palisade under the shower of shot from arquebus and musketoon that rained fire and shot upon them from the loopholes of the fort. At the gates, and on the palisade wall, the good axe and sabre of [Pg 169] the Frenchmen dealt out death upon the stormers. At length, they had reached the palisade and strove to break their way in with axe and battering ram. As a last despairing act, Dollard, having loaded a heavy musketoon to the muzzle, and having lit the fuse, attempted to throw it over the palisading so that it would explode in the midst of the foe clambering up the posts or pulling them down. By ill luck it caught an obstacle on the inside of the palisading and it rebounded back, exploding in the fort, blinding many with its charge and killing several of the gallant whites. This gave great courage to the besiegers and the piles were wrenched away, and the gates forced. Breaches were made on all sides in the fortification and a fierce hand to hand fight of axe and sword and pistol ensued, and in the mêlée the brave Dollard fell at last. Their leader fallen, each survivor fought like a lion brought to bay, dealing death around until his own turn came. With sword or hatchet in one hand and a knife in the other, maddened with hunger, thirst and exposure, and ablaze with religious and martial enthusiasm, they turned each upon their enemies, like madmen. But, unable to take them alive with their overpowering numbers, the Iroquois shot them down mercilessly, to fall upon the camp enclosure already heaped up high with their own dead.

Dollard's Exploits
(By Henri Julien)

At last not one of the defenders was standing and quickly the revengeful Iroquois searched among the bodies to see if any Christian lived and could be reserved for torture later. Three others were found on the point of death. These they shortly consigned to the flames but a fourth they took prisoner and reserved for cruel refinements later. Among those fallen were Anontaha, the Huron, and Mitiwemeg, the Algonquin, with his three faithful companions. As to the treacherous Hurons, they did not keep their word to them as they promised, but sent them to their Iroquois villages to be afterwards burned alive to satisfy their baulked revenge at their rough handling by the heroic seventeen.

Some five, however, escaped and it was through one of them Louis, "a good Christian but a poor soldier"—that the first news was brought at last to Montreal, on June 3d, that so many of the enemy had been killed within and without the fort that the bodies served to make a path to ascend the palisades and pass over into the fort. Gradually the news was confirmed by others arriving, and the truth was sifted from the conflicting accounts of these cowards, whose stories strove to shield their shameful desertion of their friends.

Shortly after the disaster the fur trader, Radisson, passed down the Long Sault after a brush with the Iroquois. He visited the palisaded fort and saw the gaping wounds in the stockade burnt by the assailants and saw the scalps of the Indians still flaunting from the pickets. In the neighbourhood there was not a tree, he remarks, that was not shot with bullets. "It was terrible," he says, "for we came there eight days after the defeat." Not until he reached Montreal did he learn of the full significance of what he had seen.

The dearly bought victory made the Iroquois shy for a time of engaging with the French, for if, they said, but seventeen could hold out so long in a paltry palisaded picket against such odds, and with such great loss to their assailants, it would be better to leave them alone in their own houses and settlements. Thus the tide of war was checked. The threatened extermination of the whites was averted. Quebec and Three Rivers breathed again. It was the voluntary [Pg 170] sacrifice of the picked flowers of the Montreal youth, that found its Thermopylae at the Long Sault, and thus saved Canada!

"This was the common belief at the time," says Dollier de Casson, who arrived in Montreal in the sixth year after this event and whose relation is the basis of all modern accounts of this magnificent disaster, "for otherwise the country would have been swept away and lost, which leads men to say that even if the establishment of Montreal had only had the advantage of having saved the country in this adventure, and of having served as a public victim in the persons of seventeen of its sons who then lost their lives, it ought, for all posterity, if ever Canada comes to anything, to be accounted as of some considerable importance since it has saved it on this occasion, without mentioning others." [86]

"What though beside the foaming flood entombed their ashes lie,
All earth becomes the monument of men who nobly die."

We must now descend from the poetic to the commonplace of prose. In doing so, we shall have an insight into the customs of the time.

The inventory of the belongings of Adam Dullard, then in the possession of his partner, Picoté de Bélestre, is preserved in the city archives dated October 6, 1660, as well as the record of the sale by auction which took place November 9, 1661, before the door of the house of Jean Gervaise. Every item is recorded, belonging to the deceased down to his night cap. Such things as a sword with a broken handle; a baldric, of English cow leather, with iron buckles; a poor jerkin of gray with a poor lining in the same colour; a little packet of poor linen; a poor black hat; a bad pair of Indian racquettes, and so on. The most valuable article was a jerkin with breeches and white hose, the whole of superior material, estimated at eighteen livres. But this apparel, according to the note adjoined, was returned by order of the governor to Sieur de Brigeac, to whom they belonged.

Inventory of Dollard's Effects
Dollard's Promissory Note

In the inventory is added the following unpaid bill:

"Declared by Jacques Beauchamp, fourteenth September, 1660. Seven days' work in the winter at 30 sols a day, 10 livres 10 sols; plus 2 days and a half at 40 sols, 5 livres; plus for his washing during six months, 7 livres 10 sols; plus for the making of 4 shirts and other smaller linens 4 livres; plus the sale of a black hat 4 livres."

The names of Dollard's companions are to be found in the parish register for June 3, 1660, as follows: 1. Adam Dollard (Sieur des Ormeaux), commander, aged 25 years; 2. Jacques Brassier, aged 25 years; 3. Jean Tavernier dit la Lochetière, armourer, aged 25 years; 4. Nicholas Tillemont, sawyer, aged 25 years; 5. Laurent Hébert dit La Rivière, aged 27 years; 6. Alonié des Lestres, lime burner, aged 31 years; 7. Nicolas Josselin, aged 25 years; 8. Robert Jurié, aged 24 years; 9. Jacques Boisseau dit Cognac, aged 23 years; 10. Louis Martin, [Pg 171] aged 21 years; 11. Christophe Augier dit des Jardins, aged 26 years; 12. Etienne Robin dit des Forges, aged 27 years; 13. Jean Valets, aged 27 years; 14. René Doussin (Sieur de Ste. Cécile), soldier of the garrison, aged 30 years; 15. Jean Lecomte, aged 26 years; 16. Simon Grenet; 17. François Crusson dit Pilote, aged 24 years.

Holograph Will of Jean Tavernier
The holograph will of Jean Tavernier, armurier (gunsmith), another companion of Dollard, made on the 17th of April, 1660, two days before the departure of the ill-fated expedition. It is also the first holograph will in the archives of Montreal and the only holograph found of any of Dollard's companions. (Cf. "Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal," 1913, No. 1, "Les Compagnons de Dollard.")
Will Made by Bassit
The will made by Bassit for Jean Valets, companion of Dollard. This is the only notarial will found of the members of the expedition. The translation of the deed is to found in the "Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal" of 1913, No. 1, accompanying the article "Les Compagnons de Dollard," by E. Z. Massicotte.

The date of the heroic adventure of the Long Sault is put by Dollier de Casson to May 26th or 27th, following the notice by M. Souart in the parish register for June 3rd, which says, on the testimony of the Huron Louis, that the exploit took place eight days before. But M. de Belmont places it on May 21st. This is more likely to be correct, since we have the records of the inventory of the goods of Jacques Boisseau, made on May 25th, and of Jean Valets, on May 26th.

Similar sales were made of the goods of the other heroes. It is to be noticed that nearly all left racquettes, or snowshoes, behind them, it then being spring.

Though Montreal was for the moment the Saviour of New France, de Maisonneuve had learned enough from the fugitives from the Long Sault to make him fear the downpour of the revengeful Iroquois either that autumn or the next spring. Consequently he put the town in a state of defence—by fortifying the fort, the Hôtel-Dieu, the mill on the hill, the lonely redoubts, St. Gabriel and Ste. Marie, recently constructed by de Queylus and the Sulpicians, and then hastened to give the news of the exploit of Dollard to Three Rivers and Quebec. The joyful tidings gave Quebec pause to breathe again in peace. For five months public prayers had been daily held in the churches for God's protection of the country and for the five weeks preceding the news, there had been no repose by day or by night.

Yet d'Argenson, the governor, also feared a descent upon Quebec before the harvest, and there would then be utter famine. On July 4th he wrote to France to have provisions sent back immediately, for "we are more in war than ever and in still greater famine.... We have little or no wheat, and there are three months to await for the harvest, which we are in great danger of not gathering, if the Iroquois carry out their resolution to ravage our lands."

Luckily there was no such disaster. Instead great joy was brought to the colony, for on August 19th [87] sixty canoes, led by 300 friendly Ottawan Indians, came to Ville Marie, laden with 200,000 livres' worth of beaver peltry. A quarter of this was left at Montreal and the rest taken to Three Rivers. This resumption of trade, so necessary for the colony, gave courage, for many were thinking of [Pg 172] leaving the country on account of the continued warfare which crippled commerce. The merchants were in great part recouped for their losses and the people were enabled to buy from France the many necessities of life, which the money from the sale of beaver skins could alone provide.

But trade and peace and the progress of Christianity could only be secured by reinforcement from France, and this year we find d'Argenson writing to France to show the necessity of sending troops. The Jesuit "Relation" of this year urges the same. "Let France only say 'I wish it,' and with this word it opens heaven to an infinity of heathens; it gives life to this colony; it preserves for itself its New France and acquires a glory worthy of a most Christian kingdom.

"Saint Louis formerly planted the fleur-de-lys in the soil of the crescent. Today it would be a no less glorious conquest to make a country of infidels into a holy land than to wrest the Holy Land from the hands of the infidel. Once more, let France's will destroy the Iroquois and it is done. Two regiments of brave soldiers would overthrow them."

Hope entered into the hearts of the colonists now, since France was at peace, having concluded a treaty with Spain, and it was thought that now was the acceptable hour, the time of salvation, and for this purpose Father Le Jeune, then the procurator of the Jesuit missions in Paris, before the end of the year 1660 was asked to present a petition to Louis XIV and to plead for New France across the sea.

The king heard the "sighs and sobs of the poor afflicted colony," and promised troops; but again New France was forgotten, except by the Company of One Hundred Associates, inasmuch as they claimed the annual rental of a thousand beaver skins.

The call was not to be heard for some years yet.


[84] To explain the "c" in Daulac it must be remembered that in French manuscripts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the final "t" and final "c" were interchangeable, or rather written in the same character which stood for a "t" or a "c." (Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, Third Series, No. 2, Vol. IX, April, 1912.)

[85] Parkman, speaking of this event in "The Old Régime in Canada," says: "The spirit of the enterprise was purely mediæval. The enthusiasm of honour, the enthusiasm of adventure and the enthusiasm of faith were its motive forces. Daulac (sic) was a knight of the early Crusades among the forests and savages of the New World."

[86] It appears that thirty years after the famous defence of the Long Sault, a band of a hundred Iroquois were fired upon as they passed Bout de l'Isle to help Phipps in his attack on Quebec. Four of the Indians were shot, and the remainder turned upon the attacking band of twenty-five habitants recruited from the district about Pointe-aux-Trembles and led by a certain Sieur Colombain. Sixteen of the Frenchmen were killed, but the Indians abandoned their intended voyage to Quebec. (Cf. The recent discovery by Mr. E. Z. Massicotte, recorded in the Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal of August, 1914.)

[87] Cf. Faillon, "Histoire de Colonie Française." An act by Bénigne Basset of July 22, 1660, is recorded of a "Société" or partnership made by Médard Chod de Groseilliers with Charles Le Moyne. Cf. E. Z. Massicotte in "Les Colons de Montréal de 1642-1667" and "Bulletin des Reserches Historiques" (1904). The circumstances are as follows: In 1658 Chouard de Groseilliers and Pierre d'Esprit de Radisson started from Three Rivers for an expedition for the west. They stopped at Montreal and were joined by some Frenchmen. They were the first Europeans to go as far as the south of Lake Superior, making Chouamigon their headquarters, and thence brought down to Montreal the largest convoy of furs hitherto known. They arrived shortly after Dollard's disaster in the month of July. To make the convoy as profitable as possible Chouard de Groseilliers made the act of "Société" with Charles Le Moyne to divide the profits of the sales of the peltry brought down by his Indians, at Montreal, Three Rivers and Quebec. This is doubtless one and the same party as that of August 19th, mentioned above, who may have reached Montreal later with de Groseilliers.

[Pg 173]





The year 1661 saw the renewal of hostilities of the Iroquois from Montreal to Cape Tourment, "but," says Marie de l'Incarnation writing in September of this year, "Montreal has been the principal theatre of their carnage."

On February 25th a party of Montrealers were going to work in the fields unarmed, not fearing any ill, since there was usually no fear of Iroquois attacks at this early season, when suddenly they found themselves surrounded by sixty of their foes. There was only one weapon among them and that a small pistol borne by Charles Le Moyne, and, unable to defend themselves with their tools, they sought safety in flight to the town, but not without thirteen being captured.

On March 24th 200 Iroquois fell upon a body of Montrealers and captured ten. Had they not been now armed the numbers would have been more. The "Relation" of this year, speaking of these losses says: "After the capture of the thirteen in the month of February, ten others fell into the same captivity. Then later more, and still more, in such sort that, during the whole summer this island was constantly harassed by these goblin imps who sometimes appeared on the outskirts of the woods, contenting themselves with hurling insults at us; sometimes they glided stealthily into the midst of the field, to fall upon the workmen by surprise; sometimes they drew near our houses, ceaselessly annoying us, and like unfortunate harpies or evil birds of prey, would swoop down on us unawares."

Of the ten captured in March four were butchered in the neighbouring woods; their bodies, brutally dismembered, hacked and burned, were discovered by the dogs of the town, who came back each day glutted with blood. This led to their being followed to their foul feasting place. "Such disasters made the people turn their thoughts to eternity," says the pious Dollier de Casson. "Vice was then [Pg 174] almost unknown at Ville Marie, and in the time of war, religion flourished there on all sides in quite a different manner than it does today, in that of peace."

Three Rivers and Quebec suffered similarly. Near Quebec the sénéchal of New France, M. Jean de Lauson, son of the former governor, fell a victim on June 22nd. On this same day a picturesque scene occurred at Montreal, when two canoes of Iroquois arrived under the protection of a white flag of peace, and bringing with them four French prisoners. It was an embassy of the two nations Onondaga and Oi8guere, who professed to be neutral. They parleyed offering the release of the four prisoners and twenty others at Onondaga; requesting that hospital sisters such as those at Quebec should be sent them, and insisting as the main condition of the release that a black robe be sent. M. Maisonneuve sent this proposal on to Quebec with the result that Father Le Moyne, the Jesuit, was deputed to accompany the ambassadors to Onondaga. On the arrival of Father Le Moyne at Montreal the four Frenchmen were exchanged for the eight Iroquois prisoners held, for a year past, in Montreal.

After their departure other Iroquois onslaughts resulted in the death of Jean Valets, at Point St. Charles, on August 14th, of the Sulpician M. Lemaître, and that of Gabriel de Rée with him on August 29th, near St. Gabriel's fortified farmhouse. M. Lemaître was saying his breviary in the fields and acting as a lookout, somewhat apart from the fourteen or fifteen workmen, when he suddenly came across an ambush of sixty Iroquois. Seizing a cutlass and facing the savage crew, he called out to the workers to hurry with their arms. He was now shot by the Iroquois and running towards his friends he dropped down dead. These managed to make their way to the farmhouse but left one man, Gabriel de Rée, dead on the field. The Iroquois cut off the heads of each, and one of them, a Christian renegade, put on the dead priest's soutane, and wearing a shirt over it for a surplice, went stalking around the body in mockery of the Christian burial service. The early memoirs of this event further tell that the head of the murdered priest had spoken after being severed from the body, and that when it had been carried away in a white handkerchief, probably taken from the pockets of his soutane, the features of the dead man became perfectly imprinted upon it. This handkerchief had been seen in the camp by a French prisoner, Lavigne, who tried in vain to obtain possession of it for, recognizing the features of the dead priest, he had learned of his massacre. This story he told to Dollier de Casson, who records it in his "Histoire de Montréal."

Meanwhile the party that had taken Father Le Moyne to Onondaga with the promise of leading back the twenty French prisoners in forty days had not returned, and great fear was entertained at Montreal for their safety. On October 5th, however, nine were brought back by the intercession of the friendly chief named Garacontié, the rest having been kept behind with Father Le Moyne during the coming winter.

On October 25th another disaster occurred in the little island à la Pierre, above St. Helen's Island, [88] whither a party had gone the day before to quarry stone for the new seminary, for up to this the Sulpicians still dwelt in the Hôtel-Dieu. Along with the party, joining them on the second day, was M. Lemaître's successor [Pg 175] as "economus;" another Sulpician priest, M. Vignal, who went to supervise the work. Hardly had the party in the first boat, in which was M. Vignal, put foot to land, when they fell into an ambuscade, and M. Vignal was pierced with a sword, along with Sieur de Brigeac, a young soldier of thirty years of age; M. Maisonneuve's private secretary, René Cuillérier, and Jacques Dufresne. M. Vignal was thrown in the enemy's canoes and taken to La Prairie de la Madeleine, facing Montreal. The rest of the French escaped, except Jean Baptiste Moyen, who was left mortally wounded.

After two days they put the priest to death, roasted his body on a funeral pyre and ate it. His bones were never found. This death gave great grief at Montreal as well as Quebec, for M. Vignal it will be remembered had been the chaplain of the Hospitalières there.

After this cruel and horrible repast the party broke up; the Mohawks took Jacques Dufresne with them, while the Oneidas led away the Sieur de Brigeac and René Cuillérier. Both of these were condemned to be burned and de Brigeac, after being horribly mutilated and slowly burned, succumbed after twenty-four hours' torture, "praying," as the Historian de Casson relates, "for the conversion of his tormentors without uttering a cry of complaint."

The same fate awaited Cuillérier, but he had an intercessor in the person of the sister of the chief, who wished to adopt him as her brother. Eventually he escaped to the Dutch at Fort Orange, and he finally made his way back to Montreal in the following year.

During the summer the Vicar Apostolic, Mgr. Laval, made his first visit to Montreal. He was received with honour on the evening of August 21st. On this occasion he showed great solicitude for the Hospitalières of the Hôtel-Dieu, who, by the failure of M. Dauversière, now become a bankrupt, had lost the funds entrusted to him, and had nothing to live on, unless the one thousand livres' income, granted to the Company of Montreal by Madame de Bullion for the support of a hospital, was transferred to them. They were now thinking of going back to France, but Mgr. Laval arranged, on the request of the inhabitants of Montreal, that the income of the hospital could support them.

At the same time Montreal was visited again by the Abbé de Queylus. He arrived at Quebec, incognito, on the third day of August. Since his absence he had not been idle in pushing the ecclesiastical position of Montreal, for on calling on the vicar apostolic, he astonished him by communicating to him the results of his visit to Rome, viz., the apostolic Bull of the Dateria, creating Montreal into an independent parish, and a mandate from the archbishop of Rouen charging the bishop of Petrea to preside at the installation of M. de Queylus as the canonical "parochus." Finally the vicar general reminded M. de Queylus of the lettre de cachet of February 27, 1660, forbidding his return. Queylus retorted by quoting a contradictory "lettre de cachet" annulling it. The vicar general refused to accept the Bull of the Dateria on the ground that it was obtained surreptitiously, and he cancelled the jurisdiction of Rouen as incompatible with his own as vicar apostolic. On August 4th he forbade Queylus to go to Montreal under penalty of disobedience. This he communicated to d'Argenson, but the night of the 5th or 6th of August saw de Queylus making for Montreal furtively by canoe, with no obstacle placed in his way by the sympathetic governor. M. de Queylus had large landed property interests in[Pg 176] Montreal, in fact he was one of the largest proprietors and one of its chief mainstays. It was therefore argued that he could not, as a private individual, be stayed from attending to his business there. On the 6th, Laval issued the ecclesiastical suspension of de Queylus unless he returned to Quebec. Meanwhile the abbé remained at Montreal and no doubt received Laval on his official visit of August 21st, already mentioned. On August 29th he grieved with his brethren over the massacre of his fellow Sulpician, M. Lemaître, and he performed several important business transactions as "Superior of Ecclesiastics Associated for the Conversion of the Savages."

In the meantime Laval had written to Rome exposing his case. He looked upon the peculiar pretensions for ecclesiastical monopoly of Montreal and the presence of Queylus, as injurious to the interests of the church in Canada, as menacing its unity and fostering schism. Accordingly prevailing in this view, his protests brought letters demanding the return to France of M. de Queylus, which took place October 22d, from Quebec, the new Governor d'Avaugour being intrusted with its execution.

It is well to avoid reading into these ecclesiastical disputes personal hostility or the clash of rancour among high placed churchmen. Each would have fought, lawyer-like, on principle, for a case of canonical jurisdiction not yet settled in the ecclesiastical courts, owing to the doubt remaining as to the validity of the overlordship of Rouen and the acquiescence of Rome in its pretensions. Law at that time seems also to have been unsatisfactorily managed, and the facility with which "lettres de cachet" were sent to and fro, countermanding one another, did not tend to simplify matters, as we have seen.

Add to these the difficulties inherent in the foundation of a young French colony and the inevitable struggles for precedence and "locus standi," especially among representatives of a nation that adored etiquette and the preceding quarrel will be looked upon as an interesting episode in a difficult period of history rather than as an ecclesiastical scandal needlessly resuscitated by the historian, for the purpose of opening old sores. Later on it will be seen that when the archbishop of Rouen had relinquished his pretension, de Queylus returned in 1668 as Laval's appointed vicar general at Montreal, and the Sulpicians had no greater friend than the fighting bishop.

The same remarks could apply to the struggles that had been going on in Quebec between Laval and d'Argenson in the matter of social precedence. The relations of the church to the state had not been clearly defined in a new country, primarily established for the promotion of Christianity, and it would still take some time to straighten them out.

On September 11th of this year d'Argenson was formally succeeded in the reins of office by the Baron du Bois d'Avaugour, arrived on August 31st, but it must not be understood that his quarrels with Laval were the cause of this. The Vicomte's term of office, as we know, had already been renewed for a second term, and he had sent in his resignation more than once, urging ill health as an explanation. His loss was, however, felt at Montreal by the Sulpicians, on whose side he had ranged himself in the above disputes with Laval. His administration would have been more successful if he could have been more impersonal in such encounters.

[Pg 177]

M. d'Argenson was shortly followed to France by the founder of Boucherville, Pierre Boucher, ex-governor of Three Rivers. He left on October 31st on a mission as special agent to promote the recognition of the need of national help from France, if Canada was to remain a white man's land. He was sustained by the new governor, d'Avaugour, and by d'Argenson, now in France; with what success we shall hear.

Seal of the Bourcherville Family


The parish register of Montreal has the following sad entry: "1662-February 6. Le Sieur Lambert Closse, sergeant-major de la garnison; Simon Le Roy, Jean Lecompte et Louis Brisson,[89] tué par les Iroquois."

On this date, February 6th, the brave Lambert Closse met his death at the hands of those he had so often withstood. The place of the combat was somewhere near the corner of Craig Street and St. Lambert Hill. A tablet placed by the Antiquarian Society erected on the south corner of St. Lambert Hill and St. James Street, near the site of his house, reads: "Near to this place Raphael Lambert Closse, first town major of Ville Marie, fell bravely defending some colonists attacked by Iroquois, 6th February, 1662. In his honour St. Lambert's Hill received its name."

His biographer, Dollier de Casson, says he died "as a good soldier of Christ and the king." He was one of those chivalrous knights who looked upon the Montreal venture as a holy crusade against the infidels, and death to him was victory. "Gentlemen," he once explained, "I am not come here, except to die for God in the service of arms. If I did not believe I should die so, I should leave this land and go to fight against the Turk so as not to be deprived of this glory." He left behind his young widow of nineteen years, Elizabeth Moyen, and a child, Jeanne Cécile Closse, now two years old. Some colonists, being fallen upon in the fields by the Iroquois, Lambert ran, as was his wont, to their assistance. He would have saved them had he not been basely deserted by a cowardly Fleming, his serving man. The historian of the "Relations" for 1662 says, "He has justly merited the praise of having saved Montreal by his arms and his reputation."

On May 6, 1662, Picoté de Bélestre signalized that Montreal had still brave men to follow in his footsteps by the brilliant defense of the Fort Ste. Marie. This redoubt on the east, with the corresponding outlying one, on the west, of [Pg 178] St. Gabriel, was a most valuable fortress, without which, as a writer has remarked, Montreal "would have been snuffed like a penny dip."

The Fort Ste. Marie was opposite the little rapid, down the harbour, still known as Ste. Marie's Current, and was placed among some fifty acres which had been cleared and cultivated in prehistoric days by the Indians. The site of the above event is recorded by a tablet on the corner of Campeau and Lagauchetière streets: "Here Trudeau, Roulier and Langevin-Lacroix resisted fifty Iroquois." The three men were returning to the habitation after their day's work in the fields, when suddenly one of them cried: "To arms! The enemy is upon us!" At the same moment a large party of Iroquois, who had been lurking here all day, rose and fired. Each Frenchman seized his musket and fled to a hole nearby, called "the redoubt." This they held stoutly till rescued by Bélestre, the commandant of Ste. Marie. After a brisk fight the enemy finally retired to the woods.

Apart from these alarms from the Iroquois, a new danger to life had arisen from the drunken fits of the Indian allies. On the night of June 23-24 Michel Louvard dit Desjardins had been slain before his door in Montreal by a savage, "Wolf." This produced the following ordinance from de Maisonneuve on June 24th:

"In consequence of the murder committed last night on the person of one named Desjardins by drunken savages, caused by the sale of intoxicating liquors, notwithstanding previous prohibitions given both by the Baron du Bois d'Avaugour, lieutenant general of His Majesty, and Mgr. the Bishop of Petrea, vicar apostolic; after having considered, in consequence of the sales of these drinks, the dangers of a general massacre of the inhabitants by the savages, for which there are weighty presumptions, having regard to the ordinary insolences of these latter, and considering, besides, the ordinary crimes committed on this subject by the French, of which we shall shortly inform the Baron d'Avaugour and the Bishop of Petrea, so that there shall be established good order on the subject of the sale of liquors, as well as for the good of the inhabitants and for the savages; we, while awaiting this order by virtue of the power we have received from His Majesty, have prohibited and do now prohibit all kinds of persons, of whatsoever quality and condition, from selling, giving or trading intoxicating drinks to the savages, under such pains and punishments as we shall judge proper to inflict, to procure the service of God and the good of this habitation."

This looks but just and wise; but it was also bold, seeing that the prohibition of the sale of liquor was at that moment a burning question at Quebec. It was especially bold, seeing that Maisonneuve adroitly challenged the governor general to stand by his own previous legislation, which he was now tacitly neglecting to enforce. It will be seen that de Maisonneuve made reference to powers "we have received from the king." Shortly after the publication of this ordinance the Baron d'Avaugour visited Montreal and he flatly doubted the right to introduce these words, especially as he had lately taken the stand of permitting liquor traffic with the Indians. As the governor of Montreal had been used slightingly and jealously of late by the governor general, he did not show him his documentary authority, although the reader will remember that the royal edict of March 7, 1657, warranted the words.

Signatures to Marriage Contract of Lambert Closse


Paul de Chomedey L. Closse
  Issabelle Moyen
Paul Ragueneau Jeanne Mance
Claude Pijart Marie Moyen
François le Mercier  
François Duperon  
Marin Jannot Jacques Vautié
P. Gadoys N. G. (Nicolas Gadois)
R. Le Cavelier Jehan Gervaise
Nicolas hubert Marguerite
Gilbert barbier Landreau
Jacques picot Catherine primoit
Maturine Godé Caterine de la vaux
Janne Lemoine Chartier

This marriage contract between Lambert Closse and Elizabeth Moyen must have been signed by Jean de St. Père, the first notary of Montreal, but his signature appears to have faded. The flourishes or paraphes at the end of the names were customary at the period to insure against imitation.

[Pg 179]

This is now the place to introduce the famous quarrels about the liquor trade, which were of passionate interest in New France in the seventeenth century.

It is claimed by the French that the English were the first to introduce the liquor curse to the natives, in payment for furs. When the French returned to Quebec the traders followed suit in spite of the prohibitions of Champlain, Montmagny, d'Ailleboust, de Maisonneuve, de Queylus and Laval.

The letters of the Jesuit missionaries and the contemporary memorialists reveal a shameful story of vice, mingled with that of the establishment of a Christian civilization. Drink made the savages and the Christian neophytes yield to the most deplorable depths of immorality and barbarous brutality. The delights of conviviality gave way to disgusting debaucheries, quarrels and bloody fights. Fathers slaughtered their children; husbands, their wives; and the women became veritable furies. Children, boys and girls, were all demoralized. After a night's carouse the cabins of the Indians were a gruesome sight, heartbreaking to those responsible for the morality of the country. The good nuns were shocked at naked men and women running amuck in the streets of Quebec, clearing all before them at the point of the sword. Notwithstanding prohibitions and ordinances, the scenes of carouses and of carnage continued, because the minority, the traders, maintained the right as necessary for trade alliances with the natives, asserting that they were not responsible for the abuse. On his arrival Laval fought the custom fiercely and finally found himself forced, on May 6, 1660, to fulminate the terrors of the church's excommunication "ipso facto" against the traffickers, and in this he was supported by the Jesuit missionaries. This had a decided effect, backed up by the severe sanctions, even those of death, promulgated by the secular arm of the state, represented by the Baron d'Avaugour.

An unfortunate incident, trivial in itself, destroyed this harmony. It came from the characteristic inflexibility of the soldier governor. He had all the qualities of a soldier who, having made up his mind, is immovable, but he had the defects of these same qualities. What in a good cause would have been constancy in maintaining a point of honour became pigheadedness and impracticability in another. A woman of Quebec had been taken, selling a bottle of wine to the Indians. Her friends and relatives interceded for her to the priest, Father Lalemant, who in turn approached the governor. The governor must have been in a bad humour and not very philosophical, for he did not distinguish between clemency and justice, between a general command and an extenuating circumstance, or legitimate exemption. It was the priest's part to urge clemency, the governor's to exercise justice. Father Lalemant was answered brusquely: "Since the selling of eau de vie is not punishable for this woman, it shall not be so for anyone"—the answer of the man of the sword and not of the lawyer or statesman. Soon the word went around that the governor tolerated the liquor traffic. The obstinate and headstrong soldier would not retract his hasty words and disorders began again. The governor was inactive and shut his eyes, but Laval levelled his threats again at the traders, who now openly revolted, saying they would not be dictated to by bishop, priest, preacher or confessor, since the viceroy was on their side.

It was under these circumstances that de Maisonneuve issued his ordinance forbidding at Montreal what was known to be permitted at Quebec. Hence the[Pg 180] passage of arms between the two governors as described. Maisonneuve was supported by the clergy of Montreal. Affairs went from bad to worse at Quebec and on August 12, 1662, the vicar apostolic went to France to place the liquor situation before the king. Thither also went the secretary of the Baron d'Avaugour, Péronne de Mazé, to justify his master and the traders.

Charge and countercharge, and recriminations, exercised the French court. The bishop and the Jesuits were accused of too much severity and clericalism, the governor and traders of too much laxity and avarice. The problem of the relations of church and state had still to be worked out in New France. In the meantime the bishop won; the Sorbonne in 1662 had justified his action; the liquor traffic was forbidden and d'Avaugour was to be recalled. When Laval returned next year, the new governor, de Mésy, accompanied him, the man of his own choice—an unfortunate one as we shall see.

The month following, September, 1662, de Maisonneuve wished to go to France, his object being to secure troops and to arrange for the transfer of the seigneurship of the island from the nearly moribund Company of Montreal to the Seminary of St. Sulpice. Before leaving he appointed the town major, Zacharie Dupuis to take his place and an ordinance to that effect was put up at the door of the parish church dated September 10, 1662. On September 16th he started with Jeanne Mance and the Abbé Souart, conducted by M. Jacques Leber. When at Quebec d'Avaugour forbade Maisonneuve to depart on the ground that he was needed in Montreal to quell the sedition that had arisen there in July in reference to the establishment of a storehouse by the Company of One Hundred Associates. This was but a pretext. Maisonneuve, however, consented to return. Mademoiselle Mance set sail alone on September 20th.

On his return to Montreal Maisonneuve busied himself in promoting agriculture. There were four classes now living at Montreal: The "habitants," or settlers, who took up the lands and were self-supporting, these alone having the rights of trading in peltry; the soldiers of the garrison; hired workers by contract for a definite time; and day labourers.

By an ordinance of November 4, 1662, Maisonneuve gave permission to soldiers and hired workers to cultivate four arpents on the seigneurs' domain, till four others equally cultivated were given them elsewhere. As a further inducement, those taking up land would be granted peltry privileges like the habitants. Sixty-three responded to this before the end of the year.


[88] Moffatt's island, five-eighths of a mile from the south shore, now the wharf terminus of the Champlain branch of the Grand Trunk Railway.

[89] Two of these were "travailleurs ou volontaires," or day labourers. In his ordinance of November 4, 1662, Maisonneuve showed no favour to these who, for the most part, were rather a charge on the young colony than a benefit. At Three Rivers they early became a considerable nuisance. In 1653, on January 14, Pierre Boucher, the local governor, ordered them to become habitants, or servants of habitants, and on March 2, 1668, he made a new ordinance conceived in these terms: "On the advice which has been given us that there are still labourers who are neither habitants, nor servants of habitants, and who live under the name of 'volontaires' (free workers), we forbid them to take more than twenty sous a day and fifteen livres a month with their food, under penalty of prison and of the cat-o'-nine tails (fouet) at the hands of the hangman, and it is forbidden them to trade any peltry with the savages." At Montreal at this date the labourers were not so troublesome, but out of them later developed many of the restless "coureurs de bois."

[Pg 181]






Meanwhile the war was still in progress and news had come that the Iroquois had determined to seize Montreal, by surprise or force, as their own post, after putting the inhabitants to fire and sword. To meet this threat, de Maisonneuve issued an ordinance, January 27, 1663, inviting the colonists to form into militia squads of seven persons of which one should be elected corporal, for the purpose of supplementing the regular garrison soldiers. On February 4th "to the end that the country may be saved," he established a camp volant, or flying squadron, composed of twenty such squads, to be known under the title of the Militia of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, "since this island is the property of the Holy Virgin." It will be remembered that already de Maisonneuve had established his Military Confraternity, or guard of sixty-two. In all things the religious character of the foundation of Montreal is seen.

At Quebec the liquor traffic with the Indians went on more boldly, owing to the absence of Mgr. Laval, and disorders were multiplied, such as the burning of one of the houses on the night of January 23d.

An event, which is reported from many sources and was regarded as a supernatural visitation was, however, more effective in putting the fear of the Lord into the liquor traffickers than all the previous thunderings of the clergy.

On February 5th, the eve of Carnival Monday, or "lundi gras," the first hoarse rumblings of an earthquake which were noted all over Canada, were[Pg 182] heard at Ville Marie while M. Souart, the curé, was holding prayers in the church, and after five or six minutes the earth began to swell and move. The terror-stricken people left the church lest they should perish in the ruins. At the Hôtel-Dieu, many of the sick ran out and spent the night on the rolling snow-covered ground. The gayeties of carnival were abandoned and fear fell upon the people. The tremblings lasted for seven or eight minutes.

One direct effect of the earthquake was to make the ladies form, under the suggestion of Père Chaumonot, the Jesuit, then on a visit to Montreal, and with the co-operation of M. Souart, a pious association under the name of the "Confraternity of the Holy Family." Its formation, on July 31st, was greatly promoted by Madame d'Ailleboust, widow of Louis d'Ailleboust, the former governor general, who, since his death in 1660, had taken up her abode at the Hôtel-Dieu. It was approved in March 1665, by Mgr. Laval. Subsequent associations spread all over Canada for two centuries.

The pictures given of the earthquake are most graphically painted by writers of the period, such as those in the "Relations." In the forest the trees were apparently at war, being uprooted and cast against one another, so that the Indians said the forest was intoxicated. The hills and mountains were in the same confusion. Mountains were laid low and the valleys were filled up. The ice beds of the rivers broke up and the water, mingled with mud, poured up in jets on high. The streams quitted their beds or changed the colours of their waters, some yellow, others red; the great St. Lawrence was whitish for eight days. To the affrighted people it seemed that the spirits of darkness and the powers of the air were permitted to league themselves. But there was little loss of life "and the harvest," says Sister Marie de l'Incarnation, "was never more fruitful. There were no sicknesses. You see by this that God only wounds to bless and that his inflictions which we have experienced, are only the chastisement of a good Father." The effects of this earthquake still are visible. From Cape Tourment to Tadoussac there were changes in the contour of the land and of the banks of the St. Lawrence. The picturesque name, Les Eboulements, in the Bay of St. Paul, records the fall of a hill nearby into the river, thus forming the present island. The earthquake spread to New England and the New Netherlands, and similar terrors affected the minds of the people as in Canada.

While these warlike physical changes were terrifying Canada, in France the constitution of the bodies governing its temporal law and order were also being overhauled in a more peaceful manner. On February 24th the few remaining rich members of the Company of One Hundred Associates, which had the monopoly of New France since 1626, were constrained, seeing impending dissolution by force, to offer the resignation of their charters, by a renunciation pure and simple.

In the March following this was accepted by the king. The colony came at last directly under the crown and happier times were in store for it. Splendid colonizing ideas were being prepared by Louis XIV and Jean Baptiste Colbert, the successor of Mazarin, which if carried out would have prevented the necessity of the cession of 1760. The words of the edict will not surprise our readers.


"Since it has pleased God," says this prince, "to give peace to our kingdom, we have nothing more strongly to heart than the re-establishment of commerce, as being the source and the principle of the abundance which we take upon [Pg 183] ourselves to procure for our people. This has led us to inform ourselves of the state of New France which our king, our very honoured lord and father, had given over by a treaty of 1626 to a company of one hundred persons. But in place of learning that this country had been populated as it should be, considering the long time of its possession, we have recognized with regret that not only the number of its inhabitants is very small, but that they are every day in danger of being driven out by the Iroquois. Recognizing, besides, that this company of one hundred men is nearly extinct owing to the voluntary retirement of a great number, and that the few remaining are not powerful enough to maintain this country, by sending forces and men necessary to swell and defend it, we have resolved to take it from the hands of this company, which has resigned it to our good purposes. For which reasons we declare that all the rights of property, justice and seigneurie granted by our most honoured lord and father, by the charter of April 29, 1626, shall be and do remain reunited to our crown, to be henceforth exercised in our name by the officers whom we shall name to this effect."

Thus the future Canadian society was being thought out on the basis of an over-parental feudalism, probably the best form for the times, though it sadly crippled the initiative of the French-Canadian population, with results seen to this day. Yet the population was no more than twenty-five hundred souls, of which eight hundred were at Quebec.

At the same time the negotiations for the transfer of the seigneury of the island of Montreal were completed. During the visit of Mademoiselle Mance several meetings of the Company of Montreal had been held, the members of which, with the exception of some directors of the Seminary of Paris, and M. de Maisonneuve, were reduced to five. On March 9th the act of transfer, to be found in the Edicts and Ordinances of the Province of Quebec, states that:

"Considering the great blessings, which God has poured upon the Island of Montreal for the conversion of the savages and the edification of the French, by the help of MM. Olier, de Renty and others, for twenty years; and now, in later years the gentlemen of the Seminary of St. Sulpice have laboured by their care and zeal to uphold this good work, having exposed their persons and having made contributions for the good of the colony and increase of the glory of God; the Associates desiring moreover to contribute on their part by seconding the pious designs of the Gentlemen of the Seminary, and in honour of the memory of the founder and one of the promoters and benefactors of the work of Montreal, they have, after several conferences on the subject, and in furtherance of the greater glory of God, given to these gentlemen all the proprietorial rights which they have in the Island of Montreal, as also the seigneurial manor house, called the Fort, the farm, the tilled lands and all the rights that they have in their island." [90]

In this donation special reference was made to the services of M. de Maisonneuve. He was to continue, during his life, governor and captain of the island and of the seigneurial manor house under, however, the pleasure of the Gentlemen of the Seminary. He was to have, in place of remuneration, half of the farm lands and the revenues of the mill.

[Pg 184]

He was to have his apartments in the seigneurial manor house, in which the Gentlemen of the Seminary, as Seigneurs, shall henceforth have the right to live.

After some hesitation, in view of the expense of the undertaking, the Seminary of St. Sulpice at Paris, on March 31st, finally undertook the work for which their founder had always intended them, and Montreal was saved from the abandonment which at one time during the negotiations looked imminent. There was a desire to have M. de Queylus sent back, but Laval, then in Paris, was adamant in his firmness.

On his part, he was very well received at court. The king would have Laval made "Bishop of Quebec" and he gave him the abbey revenues of Maubec in the diocese of Bourges to sustain the position when the see of Quebec should be erected, which was not to be for many years. The most important preparation for the better government of New France, and one in favor of Laval, was the edict, published in March by the king, of the appointment of a Sovereign Council to sit at Quebec, unless judged more convenient elsewhere. This was to consist of the governor general, the bishop, or in default the highest ecclesiastic on the spot, the intendant when appointed, five councillors and a procureur du roi.

The nomination of these councillors was to be made conjointly by the governor general and the bishop, and they could dismiss them or continue them at pleasure. This gave Laval greater power than before, for hitherto under d'Avaugour, he had only a right to be called to the council with a "voix délibératrice," as a simple councillor among creatures chosen by the governor general. The Baron d'Avaugour was recalled, [91] and Laval was constrained to name his successor, his choice falling unfortunately on M. Saffray de Mézy, then town major of Caen, whom he had formerly met at the Hermitage of Caen, where M. Bernières gathered his pious friends whom he thought he could rely on to extend the glory of God. De Mézy's letters were signed on May 1st, before d'Avaugour's second year of the usual term of three years was completed. On March 26th Laval, in preparation for rearing a colonial clergy, erected a seminary and united it with that of the Foreign Missionaries of Paris, from whom he wished to draw some volunteers.

In the April following he obtained an edict from the king regulating the "dime" for church support and the poor rate, to be fixed at the thirteenth part of the income of each colonist. It was arranged also that the curés should be removable at the will of the bishop and his successors.

The bishop of Petrea reached Quebec on September 15th with the new governor general, de Mézy, and M. Louis Gaudais, Sieur du Pont. The latter had been sent by the king as an envoy to enquire into the government of d'Avaugour, and in addition to report on the most convenient means for the colonization and cultivation of the country. The troops which the king had desired to send to subdue the Iroquois were not as yet at liberty to come, but in their place, 100 families containing 500 persons, with expenses defrayed for a year, were dispatched this year.

[Pg 185]

By September 28th the new councillors, Rouer de Villeray, keeper of the seals; Jucherau de la Ferté, M. Ruette d'Auteuil, Legardeur de Tilly, d'Amours; and the new king's procurator, M. Bourdoin, with Gaudais, the royal commissioner acting as intendant ad interim, had collaborated with de Mézy and Laval and had issued a severe edict forbidding the liquor traffic with the Indians.

There was now great stir under the new form of Royal Government. Mézy and Laval were announced as Chiefs of the Council. The inhabitants made offer of their "foi et hommage" for their land tenures. Officers for the administration of justice, according to civil law, were appointed. Regulations for commerce and social progress were promulgated. New France was declared a province or a kingdom and Quebec a "town." A mayor, Legardeur de Repentigny, and two aldermen, Jean Maudry and Claude Charron, were elected, and municipal life seemed promised. These officers met on October 6th, but by November 14th their election was revoked by the council and the office of syndic again restored. This abortive municipal life was apparently too great a stride in the autocratic government then in vogue. Yet Canada was beginning to emerge from its petty parish condition and its struggling state. The privilege granted Laval of exacting one-thirteenth part of the fruits of the earth and of a man's labour on the earth for church establishment was not satisfactory, and finally it was reduced to one-twentieth for the rest of monseigneur's life; later it was reduced by Laval to a twenty-sixth.

The taking over of the colony as a royal possession began to affect other places than Quebec. At Montreal, the assumption of the seigneurial duties and privileges was not without difficulty. On August 18th, the commission which had been privately given by M. de Bretonvilliers to M. Souart was publicly ratified. But hardly had the Sovereign Council been installed than it took away the right of the Seigneurs to administer justice in civil and criminal cases, and on September 28th appointed M. Arthur de Sailly as judge, Charles Le Moyne, king's procurator, Bénigne Basset as chief clerk and notary of the sénéchal's court, all of whom took the oath on October 19th.

Similar inferior courts of justice were also established at Three Rivers; appeal could be made on trivial causes to the supreme council. The customary law of Paris, or "coutume de Paris," based on the civil law of Rome, was the fundamental law of Canada, and still governs the civil rights of the people.

Hitherto Maisonneuve had acted as administrator of justice, but now the seigneurs named Charles d'Ailleboust des Musseaux as judge and retained Bénigne Basset as clerk of the Seigneurs.

The new appointments, made over their heads in defiance of their rights, caused M. Souart, on behalf of the seigneurs, to go to Quebec with M. de Maisonneuve, to protest. But while there, de Mézy dealt a further blow by presenting Maisonneuve with his commission of governor of Montreal, thereby intimating that the seigneurs had no right of appointment. M. Souart, relying on the decree of 1644 giving this power to the seigneurs, then the Company of Montreal, protested, and he was ordered to produce the letters patent for proof; meanwhile de Maisonneuve was to act as governor of Montreal, by the power just granted by the governor general, till the king should order otherwise.

In the meantime de Maisonneuve acted on his new commission but always without prejudice to the rights of the seigneurs. This loyalty was also shared[Pg 186] by Bénigne Basset for, in a contract of marriage for November 16, 1663, he signs himself as clerk in the royal sénéchal's court, notary royal, and clerk for the seigneurs. It may be for this reason that he was supplanted later in his office in the sénéchal's court by Sieur de Mouchy, who had been appointed by the Sovereign Council "for good reasons." Maisonneuve's position at Montreal was also getting insecure. There was now an effort on foot to bring Montreal under control of Quebec as the seat of the royal government and the veteran, de Maisonneuve, as an adherent of the old ways, was jealously viewed by de Mézy and perhaps by Laval. Certainly Montreal was now being dominated by the newly-imported royal policy.

But the new colonial policy was to bring good results from the new blood infused. If wisely handled, the new régime would have worked permanent good.

The resignation of the Company of New France, on February 24, 1663, was accepted by the king in March of the same year, and the edict on the creation of the Supreme Council followed in the April following.

From the date of the establishment of the Supreme Council, September 18, 1663, Civil Government may be said to have begun. Hitherto no deliberative board had sat to discuss the affairs of the colony. There had been a vague and indefinite system of government by the chartered companies, but there had been no constituted hierarchy, either in the political or in the judicial order.

The council was modeled on that of the parliament of Paris. The terms of the "ordonnance" of its creation indicated that the king wished to create here, in Canada, an authority to supply what the parliament of Paris, seeing its great distance away, could not provide for. Yet the Sovereign Council was never a real parliament, although it contained in germ, if not actually, all the power of one. The dignity of the new body was so great later that when Frontenac came as a governor he considerably astonished the simple burgesses of the little fortress of Quebec with all the pomp at his command. He would be in truth a "Viceroy," and Gascon that he was, he would play the part. Others also in their sphere would reproduce the usages of the Paris mother parliament; hence the troubles about "préséance," among the counsellors, which seem so trivial to us, but not so to them, punctilious in their observance of their high positions. With Paris for an example, it is not surprising that Frontenac dismissed his counsellors, when it suited him, for did not Louis le Soleil do the same himself?

The "ordonnance" of the creation of the council, after indicating the composition of its members and outlining its general powers, then continues: "Moreover we give power to the said council to commission, at Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers and in all other places, as many, and in the manner as it shall deem necessary, persons as shall judge in the first instance without chicanery and delay, the procedures of different proceedings which may arise between private persons, and shall name clerks, notaries and scriveners, surgeons and other officers of justice whom they shall judge proper, our desire being to drive all chicanery as far as possible out of the said country of New France, with the end that prompt and speedy justice may be rendered."

The Sovereign Council was held at Quebec but it ruled over Montreal, not in broad lines of general policy only, but in what we would call village politics. It went into very small details indeed and the parish church portals were frequently [Pg 187] posted with proclamations from Quebec. There does not seem to have been much home rule for Montreal in those days.

A picture of this period is presented in the "Histoire Véritable et Naturelle de la Nouvelle France," dedicated to Colbert, the minister, by a letter written from Three Rivers on October 8, 1663, by Pierre Boucher, who had been sent to France by the inhabitants of La Nouvelle France for help, in 1662, when he had conversed with Colbert personally.

His object was to explain the physical and natural history of the country to encourage colonization. He expresses surprise that the country still remained inadequately populated, but he warns Colbert against any policy of sending criminals to this country. Tramps were not wanted in Canada. If any insinuated themselves they knew, how to hang them, as elsewhere. Doubtful women were not tolerated either. Those women that came were vouched for by responsible persons or relatives.

Speaking of the climate he says: "From the beginning of May, the heat is extremely great, though we are only coming out of the depth of winter. This is the reason why everything goes ahead and in less than no time the earth is covered with verdure. It is remarkable that the wheat sown at the end of April or as late as May 21st is harvested in September. The winter is very cold, but it is a bright frost, and for the most part the days are beautiful and serene.

"Mont Royal, the last of our settlements, is situated on a beautiful and great island. The lands are very good and produce grain in abundance; everything is going on well there; fishing and hunting are also very good."

Montreal is described as having a rich soil, but requiring horses[92] to till it. As these are expensive he hopes the "bon roi" would assist, especially by exterminating the Iroquois, who killed the cattle. Most of its trees were oak. There was no hemp, but the soil was suitable for its cultivation.

Speaking of the caribous he says that the males have forked feet, which in running, open so widely that they never sink in the winter snows no matter how deep these may be. He speaks of the skill of the beavers in constructing their dams, which the waters cannot break through, saying that they thus arrest the courses of little streams, inundating a great part of the country and forming pools for them in which to play and to have their dwellings. The savages had the greatest difficulty on their hunting expeditions in destroying these dams.

Describing social life, he says that the country produced strong boys and girls, but they were led to study with difficulty. Wine was drunk in the best houses, beer in others, and a favourite drink in common use was "bouillon." Some houses were built of stone covered with pine boards, some were built with upright posts filled in with masonry; others were framework buildings of wood. There were no women servants in Canada. Most of the men started as servants and in a few years were at their ease working for themselves. He advised all who came to Canada to be ready to put their hands to anything, building or land clearing. They should bring provisions for two years, especially flour. He gives many other details showing the value of money and the price of things. The great difficulty beyond the mosquitoes and the length of the winter was the fear of the [Pg 188] stealthy Iroquois who were here, there and everywhere, never attacking but when they were in strong force. When discovered they take to flight, and as they are so agile in their movements, it is difficult to pursue them. He trusted the "bon roi" would assist in destroying them. "And," says Boucher, "it would not be a difficult thing to get rid of them, for they consist but of eight to nine hundred men capable of bearing arms. It required only prudence and sufficient force to destroy them."

Boucher was accompanied from France by Dumont, an officer in charge of 100 soldiers. In Dumont's account of his visit, written in 1663 in the "Relations," he says of Montreal that the inhabitants were the most soldierly in the country—a remark made also by Boucher. Boucher's mission to France helped to persuade the king to take over the colony as a royal possession. When the king's forces came to exterminate the Iroquois the Montreal fighting men did justice to their reputation, as we shall see.

At this period the mode of living was very simple. The house was one long room lighted by three windows, in which all the family ate, slept and worked. At the bottom of the apartment was the bed of the parents, against the wall; in a corner a contrivance which served as a bench by day and a bed by night for the children. On the right, as you entered, you would have seen the open chimney rising a little above the room, and slung from a chain was the family cooking pot. Near the fireside was a small staircase or ladder leading to the grain loft above lighted by one or two small windows. A table and a few chairs or benches or a collapsible chair and table in one, completed the primitive furniture in the living room.

But we must not forget the old gun hanging over the bed, ready at hand during the night should the Iroquois suddenly attack. This served also as the family forager for meat, and game, both feathered and "red skins." There was good shooting in the neighbourhood of Montreal, with plenty of ducks and partridges. It is recounted that in 1663 a hunter in Quebec brought down thirty-two grey turtle doves with one shot. On the rivers they were so numerous that the rowers could hit the troublesome birds with their paddles. The settlers, when they had collected all they needed and salted there for the winter, had abundance left over to give to the dogs and the pigs.

There was not much hunting in the woods by Montrealers, but the Indians brought into the market near the fort, the original "place d'armes," a goodly amount of bear, elk, venison, wild cow, moose, beaver and muskrats, and other meats.

On "fish days" the good Montrealer had no excuse for not keeping church abstinence, for eels sold at an écu a hundred, and sturgeons, shad, dory, pike, carp, groundlings, brill and maskinongé abounded. From Quebec they received the salmon and the herring, trout from Malbaie and white fish from Three Rivers.

Provisions, clothing and property originally were exchanged by barter, e. g., a small lot of land went for two cows and a pair of stockings; a larger piece would go for two bulls, a cow and a little money.

Money became less rare when the troops arrived. Meanwhile the war with the Iroquois was carried on with the usual incidents, as already described.

At Montreal there seems to have been more fear of the exactions of Quebec than of the incursions of Iroquois. Quebec had endeavoured to restrain all trade [Pg 189] to itself, and in consequence of this monopoly prices were very high in Montreal, and many households were in want. At the same time there were complaints as to the adequacy of the police arrangement, so that there seemed to be ground for fearing some sedition.

Accordingly on February 15, 1664, Paul de Chomedey published an ordinance ordering the habitants to assemble on the Sunday following, February 24th, to the place called the "hangar," to elect five of the principal inhabitants to regulate the matters of police for the town.

This day, the weather being bad, saw very few at the voting place, and we find the syndic, Urbain Bauderau, asking for a reannouncement of the same ordinance for next Sunday, March 2d. This was done, and at least 226 were present, to judge by the votes recorded. The following were elected police judges: Louis Prud'homme, 23 votes; Jacques Le Moyne, 23; Gabriel le Sel, Sieur du Clos, 19; Jacques Picot, Sieur de la Brie, 24; Jean Leduc, 19.

Votes Recorded

Dated March 6th, another document of de Maisonneuve is preserved, in which it is recorded that the above five had been ordered to appear before the governor to take the oath, and had done so, but Le Sel and Leduc, having said and declared that they did not know how to write or sign, the three others signed the commission of appointment. Meanwhile the position of de Maisonneuve as governor of Montreal was becoming insecure and in June of this year he was called to Quebec by M. de Mézy who named Captain Etienne Pézard, Sieur de la Touche, to succeed him in his position. What the reason was, beyond the jealousy of the governor general, or a possible secret instruction from the government, we do not know. Yet this latter appointment never took place, for we find de Maisonneuve still governor till his final removal by Tracy at the end of 1665, and even then M. Dupuis, the town major, was only appointed as commandant till Perrot was officially appointed in 1669. [93]

At Quebec the early months of 1664 were signalized by the outburst in flame of the smouldering dissatisfactions and the growing discord marring the harmony hitherto existing between Laval and de Mézy, the joint chiefs of the Sovereign Council. The dual rule was found impossible, especially as the council was [Pg 190] considered by de Mézy to be a packed one in favour of Laval. It came to a head on February 3d, when the governor sent his major, the Sieur d'Angouville, to announce to the bishop that he had forbidden three of the council, de Villeray, d'Auteuil and Bourdon, the king's procurator, to appear at the council until they had been justified by the king for the cabals he alleged had been fomented against himself by them. He prayed the bishop to confirm this interdiction of those "who had been named in his favour" and to proceed in the nomination of three others. He did more: he proclaimed the same interdiction at the sound of the drum by a proclamation signed also by the three other councillors. Further, on February 13th, he published another declaration forbidding several practices which he said he felt bound to stop, so as not to betray the interests of the king.

This rupture was inevitably the result of the impossible dual government. In France the vesting of temporal power in a bishop was not so likely to prove unsuccessful as in a new country needing a military governor. But to place the spiritual and civil authorities "ex aequo" in civil government was not the wise move for the good of the church it had been intended to be.

M. de Mézy no doubt felt the weakness of his position. The moral strength of government would be dominated by the bishop and in a conflict the councillors and others would side with the bishop as vicar apostolic, who was irremovable, except by the pope, until death, while the governor general could be recalled even before his three years were completed. Hence his patience was tried and his dignity hurt; thus he lost his head and went beyond his powers. On the other hand, the bishop would honestly not have been prepared for this outburst. With pain and astonishment Laval replied, on February 16th, that he could not in honour or in conscience ratify the suspension of the councillors until they should be convicted of their alleged crimes against the governor.

The suspension of Bourdon, the king's procurator, held up the administration of justice. This Mézy endeavoured to correct by appointing, on March 10th, against the will of Laval, another, in the person of the Sieur Chartier. He went further and arbitrarily dissolved the council on September 18th, and on the 24th established another without the consent and participation of the bishop.

On September 23d M. Bourdon sailed to France at the command of de Mézy to render an account of his service to the king. In October de Mézy published again, at the beat of the drum, another proclamation, which incensed the ecclesiastical party.

The dissentions in Quebec could not but have a disquieting effect on Montreal, now politically more dependent on Quebec than ever.


[90] The seigneury of St. Sulpice, already granted, is included in this as part of the whole.

[91] D'Avaugour received the news as a magnanimous soldier. On his way home he wrote from Gaspé a memorial to Colbert in which he commends New France to the king. "The St. Lawrence," he says, "is the entrance to what may be made the greatest state in the world." In his purely military way he recounts the means of making this grand possibility by a military colonization.

[92] One horse only had reached Canada previously. It arrived June 20, 1647, and was presented to the governor, Montmagny.

[93] Etienne Pézard de la Touche never acted as governor of Montreal owing to the rigorous protestations raised by the Seigneurs of the island. M. de la Touche seems to have arrived in Canada in 1661 and by the 10th of October of that year he is to be found acting as lieutenant of the garrison of Three Rivers, in which locality he remained till 1664, when he became a captain. On June 20th he married Madeleine Mulois de la Borde and M. de Maisonneuve as governor assisted at the ceremony. On the same day or the next by a curious irony of fate there is found the nomination of the newly married captain, dated from Quebec, as Maisonneuve's successor. When the news became known at Montreal it was looked upon by the governor general de Mésy as an arrogation of the powers of the Seigneurs of Montreal, and an attempt on the part of the recently created Sovereign Council to test its jurisdiction over Montreal. The triumph of the seigneurs was evident, for on July 23d following, de Maisonneuve was accorded by the sovereign council his emoluments for the upkeep of the garrison for the current year, and on July 28th is found as governor granting a new concession of land, a practice he continued till May, 1665. On the other hand, on July 23d, de la Touche is recorded as in charge of the accounts of the garrison of Three Rivers. On August 8th M. de Mésy apparently by way of a consolation accorded him the seigneury of Batiscan and of Cap de la Madeleine, and the new seigneur busied himself in his new position. Meanwhile de Maisonneuve's days were numbered. (Cf. Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, 1914, No. 2, article by E. Z. Massicotte.)

[Pg 191]





The strained relations at Quebec and Montreal were soon to be relieved for a time by the death of de Mézy, who died on the night of May 5-6, 1665, thus being saved the painful investigations into his government which were ordered by Louis XIV, and were to be conducted by the new governor, M. de Courcelles, and the intendant, Jean Baptiste Talon. They, having received their letters of appointment on March 23d, were now on their way with a secret commission to look into the administration of the spiritual and temporal power of New France. M. de Courcelles was given power over all the local governors of Canada, and the Sovereign Council, to settle differences between its members, and to have command over all His Majesty's subjects, ecclesiastics, nobles, soldiers and others of whatever dignity or condition, but this under the supervision of M. Alexandre de Pourville, Sieur de Tracy, who was shortly expected to be in Canada. This latter had been appointed on November 19, 1663, the lieutenant general of the king for l'Amérique Méridionale et Septentrionale, and was to proceed to Canada as soon as possible.

As for Talon, the Colbert of New France, and the first intendant in Canada, he was given unlimited authority in police, civil, judiciary and financial matters, independently of M. de Courcelles.

The Intendant Talon

This distribution of power was bound, in the beginning, to create trouble. Perfect harmony could not be expected while the intendant, though not of equal dignity with the governor, was treated with great consideration and was looked upon to act as a check and spy on the governor. This dual reign was as likely to cause friction as had that of the governor and the bishop hitherto. Still it was a most valuable and useful office in the progress of the country, and Talon used it well.

Before the arrival of de Courcelles and Talon, on April 25th, an attack had been made on the Hôtel-Dieu at Montreal, when four of their men were fallen[Pg 192] upon by the Indians; one was killed, another mortally wounded and two others were taken prisoners. This made Montreal look more eagerly for the arrival of the troops promised to exterminate the Iroquois.

On June 17th and 19th, four companies of the Carignan-Sallières regiment, which had sailed from Rochelle, arrived at Quebec, while de Tracy himself, with the four others which had served with him in the French Islands, reached Quebec on June 30th. In the train of the tall and portly veteran of sixty-two, was a gay and glittering throng of finely dressed young noblemen, and gentlemen adventurers, eager to witness the wonders of New France. Never was such splendour seen in Canada as that, when Laval received de Tracy and his bronzed veterans recently come from Hungary, where they had fought the Turks, and who now, with their picturesque soldiery accoutrements and trained movements marched stately to the fort to the beat of the drums. Assuredly at last the Iroquois would be exterminated by such disciplined forces.

This infantry regiment, which at the conclusion of the war was to leave many of its soldiers to settle down near Montreal and become the founders of many of the best Canadian families, had originally been raised in 1644 by Thomas François de Savoie, Prince of Carignan, the head of the house of Carignan, who fought for France in Italy. His son, after him, also commanded this regiment, which took henceforth the name of Carignan. In 1659, after having joined the regiment of Colonel Balthasar, he incorporated this with his own and it was handed over to the French king, who placed M. Henri de Chapelais, Sieur de Sallières, the colonel of another regiment incorporated with it, to command it in the absence of the prince, under his orders. Hence the combination became known as the Carignan-Sallières regiment and consisted of about 1,000 men from the Carignan-Balthasar regiment and 200 of the Sallières. The portion of the troop which returned to France became the nucleus of a reconstructed regiment which under the name of Lorraine existed till 1794.

The regiment had, however, not yet all arrived. That portion led by Colonel de Sallières himself did not come till August 18th or 19th, while the last companies reached New France with de Courcelles and Talon, on September 12th. These latter added to the splendour of Quebec "for," says Mother Jucherau, "M. de Courcelles, our governor, had a superb train and M. Talon, who naturally loves glory, forgot nothing which could do honour to the king." At last the numbers were complete, but many were put into the hospitals, sick from disease, and from the long voyage, which had taken M. Talon's party 117 days at sea. This sickness was one of the reasons which delayed the war against the Iroquois till next year.

Meanwhile at Montreal news had arrived of the capture on the Ile Ste. Thérèse, of Charles Le Moyne who, in July, had been given leave by de Maisonneuve to join the friendly "wolves" in a hunting expedition. He, however, escaped death, for he threatened them with dire revenge. "There will come a great number of French soldiers," he said, "who will burn your villages; they are even now arriving at Quebec. Of that I have certain information."

In preparation for the coming war, de Tracy, soon after his arrival, determined to build forts at the entrances to the routes leading to and from the Iroquois country. These were to be garrisoned by the soldiers of the Carignan regiments so far arrived. The first fort was placed at the mouth of the Richelieu River, to [Pg 193] replace that originally built by de Montmagny, and quickly ruined in 1642. It was built under the direction of one of the officers, M. Sorel, whose name was afterwards given to this place, A second was constructed at the foot of a rapid of the Richelieu River and it received the name of Chambly, from another Carignan officer. M. de Sallières constructed the third at another rapid of the same river and it gained its name of Fort Ste. Thérèse from the saint's day occurring on October 15th, the day of its completion. A fourth, St. John, was built at the foot on another rapid of the Richelieu. The fifth was built by another officer, M. Lamothe, on an island of Lake Champlain, at a distance of four leagues from its mouth and was named Ste. Anne.

After their completion, the soldiers were distributed for winter to Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal. Colonel de Sallières was in command at the latter. As provisions were scarce in the storehouses of the company, Talon wrote to Colbert on October 4, 1665:

"I have sent merchandise to Montreal and on the advice of M. de Tracy I have added some ammunition from the king's stores to be distributed to the inhabitants. But in return I expect to receive from them wheat and vegetables, as well as elk skins, to make stronger canoes than those covered with birch bark."

Hearing of the preparation for war, an embassy from the three upper nations under Garacontié, the chief friendly to the French, met de Tracy at Quebec, bringing back with them Charles Le Moyne unscathed, and parleying for peace. But the two insolent lower tribes against whose marauderings the forts had been built, were still contumacious and to be punished presently.

By November, the forts were completed and the peace from Iroquois attacks was so secure that the body of Father Duperon, the old Jesuit missioner at Montreal, who had died at Chambly, was taken to Quebec to be buried. This same month, on November 24th, another Jesuit well known at Montreal, Simon Le Moyne, died at Cap de la Madeleine. He was a man of remarkable courage, tact and ability, and his name will ever be remembered in Canadian history as the first European recorded to have ascended the St. Lawrence River.

Le Moyne Memorial

A greater sorrow than the imprisonment of Le Moyne was to afflict Montreal in the enforced departure of "its father, and very dear governor," who had served the colony for nearly twenty-four years, and was now to be a sacrifice to the centralizing policy of the new government, which had long looked with envy on the power of the seigneurs of Montreal to name their governor. The policy pursued by de Mézy, and temporarily checked, was now adopted by the Marquis de Tracy, with no uncertain significance.

The joy at the arrival of the troops, now turned to bitterness. The nature of de Maisonneuve's dismissal was conveyed in the appointment, on October 23d, of his successor. "Having permitted," ran de Tracy's letter, "M. de Maisonneuve, governor of Montreal, to make a journey to France for his own private affairs, we have judged that we can make no better choice for a commander in his absence than the person of Sieur Dupuis, and this as long as we shall judge convenient." Under the glove of velvet, can be seen the hand of iron.

This stroke of diplomacy, delicate enough in its way, cut deep enough to wound de Maisonneuve's friends. The charge of inefficiency was read into the veiled dismissal by Marguerite Bourgeoys, his faithful adviser. "He was ordered to return to France," says Sister Morin, "as being incapable of the place and rank [Pg 194] of governor he held here; which I could scarcely have believed, had not Sister Bourgeoys assured me of it. He took the order as that of the will of God and crossed over to France, not to make complaint of the bad treatment he had received but to live simply and humbly, an unrecognized man."

De Maisonneuve was left a poor man; he had made no fortune in Canada, as others had done. He had contented himself with being the father of his people. His devotion and attachment to Montreal had stood in the way of his acceptance of the governor generalship. He left under a cloud, but his memory has been vindicated in the noble monument to him in the Place d'Armes of Montreal. There is hardly to be found a higher ideal of Christian knighthood in the whole history of our Canadian heroes.

Statue de Maisonneuve
(By Philippe Hébert)

On his return to France, he led a simple Christian life. His heart was in Montreal, and in his modest home at the Fossé St. Victor, his greatest delight was sometimes to receive a Canadian visitor, for whom he felt a fatherly affection.

His retreat was visited in 1670 by Marguerite Bourgeoys, who thus describes it in the account of her journey to obtain the letters patent for her new institution: "The morning of my arrival I went to the Seminary of St. Sulpice to learn where I could find M. de Maisonneuve. He was lodged at the Fossé St. Victor, near the church of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, and I arrived at his house rather late. Only a few days before he had constructed a cabin and furnished a little room after the Canadian manner so as to entertain any persons who should come from Canada. I knocked at the door and he himself came down to open it, for he lived on the second floor with his servant, Louis Frins, and he opened the door for me with very great joy." Many other kindnesses did this simple gentleman do for her and for other Canadians, for whom he acted as the kindly agent while they were in Paris.

A true Canadian! May his memory remain forever green at Montreal! He died on September 9, 1676, and his funeral obsequies were carried out in the church hard by his home, above mentioned. Dollier de Casson, in his history of the city, treats the painful incident of the governor's departure thus:

"Speaking of the arrival of the ships and of the 'grand monde' which came to Montreal this year, and of the extreme joy because of the king's goodness in making his victorious arms glare and glitter, all the same these joys were diluted for the more intelligent with much bitterness when they saw M. Maisonneuve, their father and very dear governor, depart this time for good, leaving them in the hands of others, from whom they could not expect the same freedom, the same love, and the same fidelity in putting down the vices, which have since taken effect with those other disgraces and miseries, which had never up to then appeared to the point at which they have since been seen."

It is commonly thought that Maisonneuve arrived at Montreal in his fortieth year. He lived there twenty-three years. After that he spent eleven in France, thus dying at the age of seventy-four years.

[Pg 195]






So eager was de Courcelles to carry on the war, for which the troops had come, that they started from Quebec on January 9th, in the depth of winter, a rash venture as de Maisonneuve could have told the Europeans. Yet they marched out, each soldier with his unaccustomed snowshoes and with twenty to thirty pounds of biscuits and provisions strapped on his back, crossing the frozen streams and waterfalls, to the number of 300 of the Carignan regiment, and 100 French Canadians. They were joined by others on the route, among them a party of 106 good Montrealers under Charles Le Moyne. These latter were de Courcelles' most valued men, being seasoned woodmen used to wars' alarms. He called them his "blue coats," and found they served and obeyed him, better than the rest. The expedition was an utter failure, for not counting the frozen fingers, noses and limbs, they lost many men, sixty dying from want of provisions, so that de Courcelles returned to Quebec disconsolate.

A second expedition, under Sorel, started in July. This time there were only "thirty good Montrealers." When within twenty leagues of the Iroquois camps, they were met by the famous chief, called the "Flemish Bastard," with some European captives. He asked for peace, and Sorel, believing him, marched back to Quebec with the Bastard.

De Tracy led the next expedition with de Courcelles on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14th. Never had so large an army started out—600 Carignans, 100 friendly Indian allies from the missions and 600 French [Pg 196] Canadians, of which 110 were the "blue coats" from Montreal under Le Moyne and Picoté de Bélestre, who led the van to meet the brunt of all disasters as they were chosen to be at the rear in retreat. The canoes and flat-bottomed boats started from Quebec crossed Lake Champlain; then, they landed and portaged their boats on their backs till they launched them again on Lake St. George (then called Lake St. Sacrament), and proceeded up the narrows to where Fort William Henry was afterwards built. There were 100 miles of marching now to be endured, through forests, streams and marshes gleaming in the Indian summer sun. Marie de l'Incarnation tells some adventures of this journey. As each one, even the officers, had to carry his knapsack of provisions, the fair Chevalier de Chaumont got a humour on his shoulders. Others suffered likewise. General de Tracy was placed in a dangerous predicament when crossing a ford. "He was one of the biggest men I have ever seen," says the good sister, "and a Swiss soldier was trying to carry him. When in the middle, de Tracy found himself overthrown, but luckily clung to a rock and saved himself. From this undignified position he was rescued by a hardy Huron, who conveyed him safely to the other side."

But the character of this journey was the genial chaplain of the Montreal forces, none other than Dollier de Casson, whom we have quoted so often. Dollier had arrived in Canada on September 7th. His venturesome spirit was enlisted at once in this expedition, in which he was quite at home being, besides a "man of God," a "man of war," having but ten years ago served and fought, as a cavalry officer under Marshal de Turenne. He was a very large man, as tall as de Tracy, and stronger. Grandet, who left a manuscript note on Dollier, says that he had such extraordinary strength, that he could hold two men seated in his hands. He was cheerful, courtly, courteous and genial. He had a merry and quick jest to cheer up the "blue coats" and others, in many a tight corner. He was doubtless the most popular man in camp. [94]

If he had lived in these days, the newspapers would have called him the "fighting parson." Grandet, in his manuscript note on Dollier, tells how on one occasion, being at prayer on his knees in an Algonquin camp, an insolent savage came to interrupt him. Without rising from his knees, the big burly missioner sent the astonished Indian sprawling on the ground by a blow from his fist—a proceeding which gained him admiration from the Algonquins, who exclaimed with pride in his physical prowess: "This is indeed a man!" Probably this strength helped him to become the great peacemaker he afterwards became at Montreal. Dollier says little of himself in his account of the march, speaking modestly and impersonally of himself. The big man seems to have suffered hunger very much on the small rations dealt out to him, for he says that "this priest made a good noviceship under a certain captain who could be called the Grand Master of Fasting; at least this officer could have served as novice master in this point to the Fathers of the Desert." This "ecclesiastic of St. Sulpice," he says, "was strongly built, but what enfeebled him was hearing the confessions of the men by night while the others were asleep. He felt the marching [Pg 197] pretty badly, for his wretched pair of shoes gave way, so that having nothing left but the uppers the sharp stones of the water beds and banks played havoc with his bare feet. So weak and weary did he become that he could not save a man drowning in the water into which he had plunged to the rescue. This man happened to belong to the train of the Jesuits and Dollier explained that it was hunger that had so enfeebled him, whereat the good Jesuit took the good Sulpician aside and gave him a piece of bread, made palatable with two different sucres, one of Madeira and the other of appétit."

We cannot pursue the story of the war, as it takes us too far from Montreal. Suffice it to say that there was a complete victory, the greatest that had ever been won against the Iroquois. After the capture of the last stronghold of the Mohawk Iroquois, the warrior priest chanted a Te Deum and said mass. After that, the cross was planted with the arms of France and possession was taken of the country in the name of Louis XIV. "Vive le roi!"

At Quebec, when the news arrived, on November 2d, there were great rejoicings, and when de Tracy returned on the 5th the Te Deum boomed out anew. But the army was sorely depleted; many had died from cold, hunger and the chances of war, as also by accidents on the road, whereas the Iroquois had lost little else than their birch bark cabins.

After the termination of the expedition, some of the soldiers were picketed in the new forts. A chaplain was needed for Fort Ste. Anne, and Dollier de Casson, now returned to Montreal, volunteered, although he suffered from a swelling on the knee, to cure which he underwent a severe bleeding at the hands of one of the local medicos of Montreal, who did it so effectually that the big man fainted. However, he started out in two days, accompanied by Jacques Leber, Charles Le Moyne and Migeon de Branssat. At Ste. Anne's, he had busy work, with young Forestier, a surgeon from Montreal, in attending the sick men who suffered from famine and scurvy, while eleven died. Though himself sick the cheery chaplain did good, self-sacrificing service, none the less excellent, because it was seasoned with a plenteous fund of raillery and bantering. Among the officers there was La Durantaye, famous hereafter in Canadian annals. So the winter wore away at Ste. Anne's, relieved by provisions sent by the good folks of Montreal.

That winter the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal was filled to overflowing with the sick and wounded, which it had received from the army under de Courcelles after the terrible war of the early winter. During the next year it continued its good work, for which Dollier de Casson says it deserved unspeakable praise, receiving the sick from the forts of Ste. Anne, St. Louis and St. Jean.

Before closing the narration of the events of this year we must not forget the joy at Montreal caused by the news spread in September that the king had settled all doubts of the rights of the Seigneurs of Montreal by confirming the letters patent of 1644. This confirmation M. Talon put into practice on September 17th when he received the fealty and homage of the Seminary for the Seigneurs of Montreal "with high, low and middle justice," and two days afterwards, in virtue of the extraordinary powers granted him by the king, ordered the seigneurs to be maintained in the possession of the administration of justice, thus supplanting the royal court of the sénéchal already established, as before mentioned.

[Pg 198]

The Seminary had right to name its own governor also, but no one was appointed to the vacant post of Maisonneuve till 1669.

Thus the year closed in a peace to last for twenty years. The king's arms had battered Iroquois insolence.

But the heroic age was at an end. [95]

After the successful war, de Tracy engaged himself before departing in May for Montreal, in consolidating the paternal government lately introduced and in conciliating the habitants on behalf of his royal master. He came to Montreal to take cognizance of it as a place which was most commonly resorted to by the savage as the most advanced point on the river.

He left Quebec on May 4th, and two days later Talon, as intendant, set out to pay his official visit to Montreal. He acquitted himself to the satisfaction of the settlers on all the côtes "for," says Dollier de Casson, "he went to the great edification of the public from house to house, even to the poorest, asking if all were being treated according to equity and justice, and when pecuniary assistance was needed, it was forthcoming."

We shall speak later of many of the progressive movements initiated through M. Talon at this time.

This year the Seigneurs of Montreal were given back the possession of the storehouse at Quebec, about which there had been much contention.

The question of the "dime" had agitated Montreal as elsewhere. Originally fixed by Laval at one-thirteenth it had been reduced to one-twentieth and then to one-twenty-sixth. Even then in view of the difficulties of a young country it was not payable for five years, to allow the settler to cultivate his lands more easily. But at the same time, it was arranged that in the future, better times might allow it to be increased. This was regulated by an act of the clerk's office at Montreal of August 23, 1667; but a further act of an assembly, held on August 12, 1668, shows appreciation on the part of the syndic and inhabitants of a desire to meet the seigneurs in the upkeep of the church by fixing the dime at one-twenty-first part for wheat and one-twenty-sixth for other grains.

The arrangements for the payment of the dime had been made jointly by de Tracy, de Courcelles and Talon. De Tracy left Quebec on September 28th, to the great regret of Laval and the clergy.

Plan of Montreal, 1650-1672
Illustration: PLAN OF MONTREAL, 1650-1672

[Pg 199]

The census of Montreal for this year (1667) is given as 766 souls; Three Rivers and its dependencies, 666; Côte de Beaupré, 656; Isle of Orleans, 529; Quebec, 448; other settlements under the government of Quebec, 1,011; Beauport, 123; Côte de Lauson (south shore), 113. In this year there were 11,448 arpents under cultivation in New France. There were 3,107 heads of cattle, besides 85 sheep. These latter began to be imported in 1665, at the same time as the horses. In the following year 15,649 arpents were cultivated and the production of wheat amounted to 130,978 minots.

But more clergy was needed, so this year M. Souart, the curé of Montreal, went over to France to seek new missioners for the work of the Sulpicians. He left behind him M. Giles Pérot as curé and MM. Galinier, Barthélemy and Trouvé. At the Hôtel-Dieu the venerable superioress, Mother Macé, had five nuns under her direction, and at the house of the "Congregation" Marguerite Bourgeoys, with three helpers, continued her good work.

M. Souart brought back a most enthusiastic worker who was none other than the redoubtable Abbé de Queylus. There was at last no opposition on the part of Laval. The elements leading to this change of front are twofold: firstly, the archbishop of Rouen had some time ago renounced all pretension to jurisdiction in New France, and thus was removed Laval's contentious attitude against de Queylus, for it was not a question of persons with him, but of prerogatives. He had looked upon de Queylus as the representative of a rival authority which might tend to raise "altar against altar," and lead to schism and so destroy his policy of church centralization. Secondly, de Queylus had received an invitation from the king, who had been apprised of his good qualities through the papal nuncio, Picolomini, now become a cardinal, and the king's word went with Laval.

Accordingly, when de Queylus arrived in the spring with three Sulpicians, M. René de Brébant de Galinée, M. François Saturnin Lascares d'Urfé, [96] and his former secretary, M. Antoine d'Allet, Laval received them most cordially and gave de Queylus letters patent as his vicar general, a post held by him in Montreal during all his further stay.

Laval has described this reception himself in a letter to his friend, M. Poitevin, the curé of St. Fossé at Paris. Speaking of the consolation in receiving M. de Queylus and the new workers he says: "We have embraced them all in the name of Jesus Christ. What gives us most sensible joy is that we see our clergy disposed, with one heart and one soul, to procure the glory of God and the salvation of souls, both French and Indian. The fatherly tenderness which the king has made apparent to New France and the notable contributions he has made to make it more numerous and flourishing, furnishes an ample harvest field for all to employ their zeal and spend their lives for the love of Jesus Christ, who has given them the first inspirations to consecrate themselves to Him and His church."

This was not a diplomatic change of attitude with Laval. He was incapable of dissimulation or subterfuge. He saw the glory of God in the new situation and thenceforward the Sulpicians had a true friend and admirer.

[Pg 200]

On their part the Jesuits were no less cordial in their welcome. The "Relation" for 1668 speaks of the same powerful reinforcement of the clergy for Montreal and hoped for much good from "these great missionaries."

There were now about fifteen Sulpicians in Montreal when, in the month of June, 1668, an embassy of Iroquois came from the Bay of Kenté, on the banks of Lake Ontario, asking for a black robe to instruct their people in the religion of the white man. Two young priests, M. Fénelon and M. Trouvé, having offered themselves, on September 15th, Mgr. Laval gave them letters to establish their mission, and they embarked at Lachine on October 2d, and arrived at the Bay of Kenté (Quinté) on October 28th. This was the first mission of the Sulpicians. Their good work, begun at Montreal, was to stretch far and wide. If we do not follow them in detail it is because we are sketching only the original and cradle events of great movements in these annals. In the winter M. de Queylus sent M. Dollier de Casson and M. Barthélemy to Lake Nipissing.

The peace with the Iroquois left further opportunity for self-sacrificing missioners to work among them, so that in 1669 the clergy were glad to welcome the return of the Recollects. Not only did Laval welcome them, but the Jesuits, who succeeded them on the renewal of the French possession, after the occupation by the English under Kirke, though they are represented by mischief-making historians as having "supplanted" them, wrote as follows of their joy at their coming, in the "Relations" of 1670:

"The Reverend Recollect Fathers, who have come from France to be a new succour to the missionaries in the growth of this church, have given us an excess of joy and consolation. We have received them as the first apostles of this country, and in recognition of the obligation due to them by the French colony, the inhabitants of Quebec have been delighted to receive these good religious, now established on the same ground where they dwelt forty years before the French were driven from Canada by the English."

In fact, arrangements were made by those who had been put into possession of the Recollects' former estates, held prior to 1629, to cede them, and the friars now had an estate of ten by ten arpents, for which the governor general gave them new titles by an act of October 23, 1670.

We have now to record the appointment of a new governor for Montreal, left officially vacant since de Maisonneuve's departure, three and a half years ago, although several commandants had represented the Seigneurs. The choice fell upon M. Marie François Perrot, a gentilhomme by birth, and captain of an Auvergne regiment, who was then on the point of crossing over with his regiment to establish himself with his wife in Canada and doubtless make his fortune.

M. Perrot had married Talon's niece, Madeleine de Laguide, and it was the former intendant, then about to revisit Canada for a second time, who solicited the vacant post from M. de Bretonvilliers, the superior of the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris who granted it by a letter addressed to M. Perrot on June 13, 1669, being "duly informed of your good life and character, talents, capacity and good qualities, we have made choice of your person to fill and exercise the office of governor ... without you at the same time being able to make pretensions to any salary or remuneration other than the country has been accustomed to give."

[Pg 201]

On the voyage, Perrot, his wife and Talon were shipwrecked, and they saved their lives on a broken mast by having promised a large sum of money to the sailors for having assisted them to it. Five hundred emigrants came with this expedition.

But on Perrot's arrival in Montreal, where he and his wife were well received, in pity for their shipwreck and out of interest in the lady governor—for Maisonneuve had been a sorry bachelor—he sought to have his commission made more certain by letters patent from the king. Accordingly, this was finally effected through Talon and Colbert, by letters dated March 14, 1671, and with the consent of M. Bretonvilliers, whose rights seemed not to be infringed, since it had been the custom for the governor generals named by the seigneur companies, also to receive a royal commission.


[94] M. Jacques Viger, the antiquarian and mayor of Montreal, by comparing Grandet's notice of Dollier de Casson with the "ecclesiastic" spoken of in the "Histoire de Montreal," established in 1888 the identity of Dollier with the "ecclesiastic," the writer and Sulpician who came in 1666. Hence the "Histoire de Montreal" is now attributed to Dollier de Casson.

[95] Abridged Family Roll of the Colony of New France—1666:

Quebec 555
Beaupré 678
Beauport 172
Island of Orleans 471
St. Jean, St. François and St. Michel 156
Sillery 217
Notre-Dame des Anges and Rivière St. Charles 118
Côte de Lauson 6
Montreal 584
Trois Rivières 461
Number of males between the ages of 16 and 50 years of age, capable of bearing arms 1344

There are doubtless some omissions in the above roll, which will be supplied in the coming winter, this year.

(Signed) Talon.

[96] The "Baie d'Urfé," in the north of the island, is named after this missionary, who had an Indian settlement there later.

[Pg 203]






So far we have kept our attention on the little straggling Village of Montreal, the home of de Maisonneuve and the seigneurs of the island. We have left it occasionally for Quebec, to consider it, as affected in its governmental relations with the headquarters of the governor general, but as we have in view also the greater Montreal of today, we must ask the reader's patience to allow us to record some vital elements in the suburban growth of the latter, the seeds of which are now being sown, and to watch the origins of the Canadian "noblesse" now being manufactured by letters patent in the neighbourhood of Montreal.

For years the fear of the Iroquois had huddled the Montrealers within narrow limits, and in the neighbourhood of the fort. There were few outlying stations, save that of the fortified house of Lambert Closse, who had been given on February 5, 1658, the first "noble fief" at Montreal, and the two redoubts or strongholds established by M. de Queylus for the seigneurs of the seminary. On the arrival of the troops the curé, M. Souart, had created a second "noble fief" for his nephew M. Hautmesnil between the River St. Lawrence and the Rivière des Prairies, and a third followed on the return of M. Queylus, given to La Salle.

Peace enabled the colonists to go further afield, and in 1671 the seigneurs determined to establish seigneurial manors for further protection against Iroquois incursions and to place on them, for the most part, the officers of the regiments left behind. A debt of gratitude was first paid to Sieur Picoté de Bélestre by a concession of land at Pointe aux Trembles, taking in Bout de l'Isle and extending to the Rivière des Prairies.

The northern part of the island facing the Rivière des Prairies and Ile Jésus—a dangerous spot—was chosen for two contiguous "noble fiefs" by Dollier de[Pg 204] Casson on December 1, 1671 and given to Phillipe de Carion de Fresnoy, lieutenant in Lamothe's company, and Paul de Morel, ensign in the same company.

To strengthen the position of these seigneurs, Carion and de Morel, smaller concessions were granted nearby in the early months of 1672. On December 26th M. Zacharie Dupuis, the commandant of the town, received the letters patent of his seigneury of Verdun.

The southwest of the island, facing the Lake of the Two Mountains, had yet to be guarded, and on January 19th Dollier de Casson gave a fief to M. Sidrac de Gué, now Sieur de Boisbriant, and added "the neighbouring island and shallows" at a given denomination, which afterwards caused a lawsuit.

M. de Gué shortly sold his fief to Charles Le Moyne, Sieur de Longueuil, and Jacques Leber, his brother-in-law. It passed later to the son of the latter and became the fief of the Sieur de Senneville, as it was then named. In April [97] following, a seigneury was given to Charles d'Ailleboust des Musseaux, the judge. On July 30th the fief adjoining called "Belleville" was given to the brothers Louis de Bertet de Chailly and Gabriel de Bertet de la Joubardière. Finally a fourth, adjoining the latter, was assigned to M. Claude Robutel de Saint André.

The vulnerable points on the Island of Montreal thus being provided for, Talon determined to revert, as he says, "to the ancient custom of the Romans of distributing proedia militaria to the soldiers of a subjugated country," and the large distribution of "noble fiefs" and patents of nobility of officers and others likely to guard a country, dates mostly from the months of October and November of the year 1672. In order to further strengthen Montreal and the entrance of the Richelieu River,—both principal positions for Iroquois descents,—fiefs were given to Sieurs de Laubia, de Labadie, de Moras, de Normanville, de Berthier, de Comporte, de Randin, de la Valterie, M. Jean Baptiste Legardeur de Repentigny, the son of Captain de Saint Ours, and the Sieur de Berthelot, to whom was given Ile Jésus, originally conceded to the Jesuits but not having been cultivated, was yielded up by them on November 7, 1672.

All the above concessions were made on the left bank of the St. Lawrence, from Lake St. Peter to the head of the island, ascending to the Rivière des Prairies. From the mouth of the Richelieu and ascending up stream on the other side of the river many other concessions were made by Talon to de Sorel, du Pas, de Chambly, Chevalier Pierre de Saint Ours (captain of the Carignan-Sallières regiment), Antoine Pécaudy de Contrecœur, de Vitré, de Verchères, de Varenne, de Grandmaison, Michel Messier, of Montreal, to whom was given the seigneury of St. Michel, and Jacques Le Moyne, also of Montreal, that of Cap de la Trinité; to Sidzac du Gué de Boisbriant, was given the Ile Thérèse facing Bout de l'Isle; to M. Boucher, the Seigneur de Boucherville, to Charles Le Moyne, two fiefs, one of which he called Longueuil, from his place of origin at Dieppe, in Normandy, and the other Chateauguay. To Zacharie Dupuis was given Heron Island; to M. Perrot the island below the southwest corner of the island, afterwards named Ile Perrot, after him, as well as Ile á la Paix, Iles aux Pins, Ste. Geneviève and St. Gilles.

[Pg 205]

This list of names has been given, since it is synonymous with that of many of the parishes hereafter erected in these districts, for not many of the seigneurs were as yet wealthy, and they could not fulfill the double condition of providing a village mill and a village church. Though noble in name, many were as poor as church mice. Having been granted their lands, for a nominal sum, in return for "fealty and homage," the new noble had to work hard to clear his land within a limited time, else he would forfeit it, for few had capital to work it. To make his claim permanent he had to subdivide his domain to cultivators en censive, or censitaires who tilled the land and paid his "cens et rente" on St. Martin's day to the seigneur, as was common at Montreal, in the shape of half a sou and a pint of wheat for each arpent. There were, however, restrictions such as having to grind his corn at the seigneur's mill, when there was one, for such was an expensive luxury. This was practically the only one of the "banalités," as they were called, of the French feudal system introduced into Canada, and it was not very much of a hardship. The "corvée" still existed, by which the seigneur could demand personal labor. In Canada this was about six days a year and was frequently remitted, as the seigneur found that the expense of food for the workers, etc., made it not worth his while to use their labour.

Not all the seigneurs were as diligent and as fortunate as Charles Le Moyne, of Montreal, who, from being the son of an innkeeper at Dieppe, founded the noble house of Longueuil and whose son Charles, Baron Longueuil, built a fort and a home which Frontenac said, gave an idea of the fortified châteaux of France.

Still many of these struggling nobles, with the revenue of a peasant, but who did sell their seigneuries, became fairly wealthy in time, and were the nucleus of the Canadian "noblesse" and "gentilhommes" for many a long day, though it must not be understood that all seigneurs were also ennobled, as in France.

Some of the lazier sort, who perchance looked to the "get rich quick" method of peltry trading, rather than the laborious toil of tilling the earth, were soon the victims of their own circumstances; for a few years later, in 1679, Duchesneau, the intendant, writing to the minister in France, says: "Many of our gentilhommes, officers and other holders of seigneuries, lead what in France is called the life of a country gentleman and spend most of their time in hunting and fishing. As their requirements in food and clothing are greater than those of the simple 'habitants' and as they do not devote themselves to improving their land, they mix themselves up in trade, run into debt on all hands, incite their young 'habitants' to range the woods and send their own children there to trade for furs in the Indian villages and in the depths of the forest, in spite of the prohibition of His Majesty. Yet, with all this, they are miserably poor." [98]

"It is pitiable," says another intendant, Champigny, in 1687, "to see their children, of which they have great numbers, passing all summer with nothing on them but a shirt, and their wives and daughters working in the fields."

Later, an intendant wrote to France not to create any more gentilhommes, for it meant making "beggars."

[Pg 206]

But it must be remembered that later letters of patent of nobility were not so easily granted as at this early tentative period, when noble, habitant, and peasant had a hard struggle with the soil to make all ends meet.

To form an idea of the establishment of a parish, it must be remembered that each seigneur was required to build a mill and a chapel to be served by a priest. The mill meant a heavy expense; the machinery had all to come from France, and the miller's wages had to be paid; the farmers, bringing grain, small in number. Beyond the three mills belonging to the seigneurs of the island at this period there was the one erected at Pointe aux Trembles and that erected by Jean Milot, a toolmaker, at a cost of 1,000 écus, after purchasing on November 9, 1670, La Salle's lands at Lachine, and that was finally taken over by the seminary also, on November 2, 1673. La Salle had been required to construct a mill, since his concession was larger than the military fiefs of 200 arpents granted to the other petty seigneurs. To these latter, the necessity of erecting their own mills was foregone on the stipulation that their grain and that of their censitaires, should be ground in the seminary mill.

The building of a parish church and providing a priest, both difficult tasks in this poverty-stricken time, were delayed for some time. The seminary meanwhile sent out its missioners to conduct services at Lachine and Pointe aux Trembles and the surrounding district. A temporary chapel was made in the rooms of farmers' houses as is done in country districts in the Northwest today. It was not till November 18, 1674, that the people of Pointe aux Trembles took definite steps for church erection, which resulted in the church of L'Enfant Jésus, blessed by the superior of the seminary on March 13, 1678, with the assistance of the curé of the new church and M. Jean Cavelier, brother of La Salle and a priest of the seminary.

The feudal system, prefigured by Richelieu long ago in his commission to the Marquis de la Roche and "following the custom of Paris," based on the tenure of land, was established as soon as peace was obtained, as the best method of building up the colony and of looking after private interests. It was a most suitable method for the time. The feudal absolutism then created, both of church and state, were necessary for the French at a period when they had not learned the first elements of self-government. The pity was that this system of leading strings was too prolonged and overdone, especially as later the French government did not do its duty by the people, thus preventing its progress by ruining its initiative. Had not the bolder spirits broken through it, we should not have had the redeeming point in the history of these times—the brilliant geographical discoveries. But in those early wild times the military civilization now forming and the paternal influence of the clergy at Montreal, seigneurs and parish priests, did much for that distinctively Canadian love of discipline and order, which is the foundation of the great and mighty people Canada is destined to be.

Talon, writing to Colbert on November 13, 1666, says: "I have already commenced the enfiefments by Montreal, the principal fief of this country, in receiving its 'foi et hommage' as also its 'aveux et dénombrements.'" A papier terrier, or land roll, was ordered to be made and a list of all the lands, houses and other properties accurately defined and registered. Uncertain titles were made clear and others made out that had been neglected.

[Pg 207]

The condition of land tenure was not onerous; the "cens and rentes" paid annually were not an equivalent for value received but a simple recognition of the legal primitive right of the seigneurs, on property given. Thus at Montreal, land sites on the portion reserved for the future town, had been given on the annual payment of five sous an arpent, while on those in the town itself all the annual revenue demanded was a liard for each fathom.

In all the Island of Montreal the tax for each arpent of land was two liards and a half pint of wheat. Thus the receiver of 100 arpents only paid fifty sous and fifty pints of wheat. In the first years, as the soil was not thought to be at its full value, he was relieved of all taxation. Sometimes, even the above slight tax was, for sufficient reason, modified. When any farm or small holding was sold or it passed by inheritance to collaterals, the seigneurs were entitled to "lods et ventes," a tax of one-twelfth of the estimated value of the land. This was usually paid within forty days of the transfer and a rebate was generally given of one-third, but not necessarily. If the farm was sold at a price lower than the seigneur thought proper, he had the right to purchase it back at the estimated value on which the tax of one-twelfth had been demanded. This system was by no means unjust. The seigneur gained very little, for during two centuries there were many lands which passed from father to son, or were passed on by donation without anything accruing to the seigneur who, it must be remembered, had practically granted the lands free to the "censitaires." It was only in later years when the lands became of substantial value that the "lods et rentes" gave a real source of income to them.

The feudal system worked well. Being based on land tenure, it centralized the people and made them powerful against attack, out of proportion to their numbers, as New England found later. It was as wise a system for New France as the introduction into Massachusetts "of free and common soccage."

It was wisely handled, on a more democratic basis than that of France, and there were no real grievances. The habitants and seigneurs moved side by side; indeed they frequently exchanged places. The class distinctions were never thus very arbitrarily defined as in France.

Whatever we may think of the military seigneuries, that of the Sulpicians of Montreal was very beneficial. Their rule was progressive and zealous. Speaking of such religious seigneurs William Bennett Munroe, Ph. D., professor of government, Harvard University, in his chapter in Volume II of "Canada and Its Provinces, 1912," entitled "The Seigniorial System and the Colony," says: "The priests seem to have had faith in the colony—which was more than could be said of all the Carignan officers who took lands from the king. This faith and optimism the priests often communicated to the people around them, and the results were seen in the neighbouring farms. The church in New France never lost, as at home, its grip on the confidence of those from whom it drew its chief strength—the rural classes. While it may seem that the crown was lavish to a fault in satisfying its claim to landed property, yet the church really gave the colony far more than it took away; for, if ever there abode on this earth labours worthy of their hire, these were the pioneer priests whose loyalty and devotion to France appear on every page of early Canadian history. The church owed much to the seigniorial system, but it made ample repayment." (P. 566.)

[Pg 208]

The parish life of Montreal, as that also of subsequent parishes, was that of an organized community or civil corporation. The head was the seigneur. One section, composed of those able to bear arms, formed the militia with its officers.

The seigneur could appoint its judge, and if unable to provide one, he could turn the cases arising to a neighbouring court, such as at Montreal. In addition, there would be the greffier, or clerk of the court, sergeants and the gaoler.

Municipal affairs were, at this time, managed at the "hangar," on the common of Montreal, through the syndic who had been appointed by a plurality of votes of the inhabitants in council, summoned thither by church bell. At these elections the judge was present as presiding officer, replacing the greffier, as mentioned in a previous chapter, and he was accompanied by the procureur fiscal and the greffier. Sometimes this election, for greater formality, was made in the hall of the seigneurs or at the château of the fort, as in the case of the election of syndic, Louis Chevalier, on May 15, 1672.

The syndic controlled the general law and order, and when necessary, called in the judge to his assistance, as on April 8, 1674, when the judge fined some delinquents, on the complaint of Louis Chevalier, then syndic, for damage done by straying cattle.

In order to surround the officers of the community with some dignity, various ranks were assigned, so that there should be an order of procedure in church or elsewhere, and notably in processions. In the latter the order was as follows: the governor general, the local governor, the officers of justice, the churchwardens. In the processions and in other religious ceremonies the military could claim no rank.

The marguilliers, or churchwardens, for their election needed an official document drawn up by the public notary, since they were an important body, being empowered to make contracts in the name of the Fabrique, and to make acquisitions and alienations. Zacharie Dupuis, major of the island, in 1666 is mentioned in such an act as honorary churchwarden. Up to 1676 these officers were elected by a general gathering, but at this date Laval ordered that the system, obtaining at Quebec since 1660, of election by secret votes, certified by past and present churchwardens, should be adopted in other parishes. In some localities, besides the marguilliers there was appointed a treasurer, or receiver of gifts or of fines made applicable to the Fabrique by the judge and other magistrates. According to custom, the parish church of each place was maintained by the inhabitants, as well as the establishment of the cemetery, and the preservation of its enclosure from damage. On one occasion we find at Montreal that cattle had broken into the enclosure, and the palisading had to be repaired.

No general taxation was made but it was ordered, in a general assembly, that M. Frémont, one of the priests of the cemetery, should go accompanied by one of the parishioners to canvass all the sections of the parish for a subscription for the purpose. Nevertheless we find that if the parishioners neglected their Easter duty of providing "blessed bread" for the church or chapel, an ordinance of Quebec of January 13, 1670, condemned them to an arbitrary fine.

As to the soldiers remaining after Tracy's departure, they had other duties beside the peopling of the colony. According to the feudal system incorporated by Talon, they were to take up land and incidentally be thus, by their presence, a safeguard for others against Iroquois attack. Montreal district, being[Pg 209] the head and front of Iroquois invasion, consequently welcomed these colonists, and from Lake St. Peter to Lachine, on both sides of the St. Lawrence, fiefs were granted large and small to officers and men. Chambly, Sorel, Saint Ours, Contrecœur, de Berthier, de la Valterie, Varenne, Verchères, soldiers' names, mark military seigneuries established about this time. Thus strong sentinel posts were, by Talon's masterly statesmanship, gradually linked together by this band of soldiers now turned husbandmen after the fashion prevailing since the Roman invasions of Gaul and Britain. The holdings were near one another and were called "côtes." We have named several of them as already existing in the vicinity of Montreal.

The work of opening up the land was the great hope of the king. About this time horses began to be employed, for up to July 16, 1665, they were unknown to the Indians, and great was their astonishment to see the twelve French "elks" that arrived that day, and the docility with which they obeyed their masters. It was a great honour indeed to possess one of these. Of the consignment of one stallion and twelve mares in 1670, the following distribution was made: the stallion and a mare to M. Chambly, two to M. Lachenaye, and one each to MM. Talon the intendant, Saint Ours, Sorel, Contrecœur, Varenne, Latouche, Repentigny, La Chesnaye, and Leber. They were given with a view to their multiplication and, indeed, of all the other animals sent, the horses were the most prolific and successful. The conditions to be observed were: they should be kept in condition for three years; if any died during that time through the fault of the "donné," he should pay the king's receiver the sum of 200 livres. After the expiration of three years he might sell it and the foals, one of which he was to keep for the king's receiver, as well as the sum of 100 livres. It was further ordered that when these foals, given to the king's receiver, had reached the third year, they were to be given to private individuals as before on the same terms. Thus the stock breeding was merrily continued.

Cattle were sent to New France at this period, thus: 1665, 12 mares, 2 stallions, 7 sheep; 1667, 12 mares, 2 stallions, 29 sheep; 1668, 15 horses, 44 sheep; 1669, 14 horses, 50 sheep; 1670, 13 horses; 1671, horses and asses.

The asses sent in 1671 were distributed as follows: Sieur Marsollet, a male ass; Sieur Neveau, a female ass; the Jesuit Fathers, one male and one female ass; M. Dudouyt, a female; M. Damours, a female; M. de Villieu, a female; Sieur de Longchamps, a female; Bourg Royal, a female; Sieur Morin, a female. These did not suit the climate so readily. [99]

The cost of these horses and sheep was great. Each mare cost 120 livres, each stallion, 200, the sheep, about 6 livres apiece. In 1665 the transportation and feed of the consignment cost 11,200 livres. By November, 1671, Talon wrote that there were enough horses. Cows and pigs had already become as familiar as in France. It will be remembered that in 1647 a horse was sent for M. Montmagny, the governor general. In these early days the birch bark canoe was more useful than the horse, for the rivers were then the only highways.

Later on Montrealers became so interested in horse rearing that, "ignorant of their true interests," they had to be forbidden by Intendant Raudot in 1709 [Pg 210] to possess more than two horses or mares, and one foal, for fear of neglecting the rearing of horned cattle.

But it must not be supposed that these seigneuries and small holdings grew up like mushrooms. The farmer's initiation for the first two or three years was a rough one. It was only by very patient labour, and, little by little, that the lands were cleared, tilled, and the modest house put up, and an assured means of easy livelihood secured. The cultivators had to follow the same strenuous methods that those, opening their concessions in the Northwest, employ today.

At Montreal, while there was still fear of the Iroquois, we have seen how difficult it was to work the fields, and how, for mutual protection, they had temporarily to till small portions of the seigneur's domain till they could safely go farther afield. But in 1664, when it was known that the king's troops were coming, many obtained new concessions on Côte St. Louis, some towards the mountain, some at the foot of the current near the fortified farm of Ste. Marie. In 1665 many resolved to go below the foot of the current and beyond the River St. Peter, for the lands on this side of the river, and especially those at Point St. Charles, had already been conceded, and although abandoned during the wars, were still claimed. East and west, the colonists now went afield to Côte St. Martin, Côte St. François (later called Longue Pointe), Côte St. Anne, Côte St. Jean (later called Pointe aux Trembles). At the latter place in 1669, land was given to Jean Oury with the intention of a village church and mill, being erected thereon.

These côtes were restricted to their river neighbourhood to guard the settlements from Iroquois descents by the stream.

This same plan was adopted along the whole length of the St. Lawrence. "It is pleasant to see at present," says the "Relation" of 1668, "nearly all the banks of our River St. Lawrence peopled with new colonies, with new villages rising, which facilitate navigation and render the journey, more agreeable by the sight of the houses, and more convenient by the frequent resting places offered."

All were not as diligent as could be desired in putting up within the year stipulated hearth and home (feu et lieu), or in clearing their concessions. Consequently when Talon was in Montreal in May, 1670, in consequence of just complaints he ordered that in future no copyholder should be granted land unless, in addition to building his homestead, he should put two arpents under cultivation yearly under penalty of forfeiting his grant, unless he could prove illness or other strong cause restraining him. Moreover, in the new contract, it was to be stipulated that no one could claim title to his land until he had put up his buildings and had placed two arpents in cultivation, with a pickaxe, for up to this, as seen by the concessions preserved in the archives up to 1657, a man had been thought to have tilled his ground if he had felled the trees and had uprooted all the roots which were a foot in diameter or upwards, and had used the others in such a way that a cart could pass along without obstacle.

Yet there were still difficulties, for on January 12, 1675, the Seigneurs put up the following public notice at the parish church, the fort, and the different mills:

"We have learned from many complaints, that several of our tenants take no trouble, not only to establish their homes on their lands and to put them to use, but even neglect to fell the timber, or to keep in order the little space they have cleared on taking possession. This negligence retards the advancement of the [Pg 211] colony and prevents many strangers coming to take up land in this island and to dwell here. It causes a dearth of wheat and grain from which the people have suffered during the past two years. Finally it entirely ruins the adjoining lands already tilled, both because of the continued shadows which the standing woods cast on them, and because the squirrels and other small animals left on these uncultivated lands leave them to eat and destroy the greater part of the grain to the ruin of other lands."

To remedy this the seigneurs gave their tenants four months to put their lands in order and to cut down all standing timber on pain of forfeiture to the seigneurial domain.

Even in cutting down the timber there were abuses at Montreal. To provide against the carelessness of riverside cultivators, as all were at this time, in dumping their lumber into the river, Talon issued the following order in October, 1670: "Whereas it has been pointed out to us that the inhabitants of Montreal between Ste. Marie and La Petite Chine (Lachine) have cut their timber so that, having fallen into the river, it prevents navigation and blocks communication, we order them to cut their wood into logs and to place them on the stream in such a way that they may be carried away with the ice when it melts this year."

These logs could then be sold at Quebec in return for the necessities of life.

The history of the first public roads and bridges at Montreal now begins as the outcome of all this clearing and passing of carts to and fro. In the procès verbal of the road from Pointe aux Trembles to the stream, Jean des Roches gives us an insight into the formalities usually pursued. When the habitants had asked for a road, the Seigneurs or their representatives would meet them at the place indicated, when the projected road was traced and landmarks placed at intervals stamped with the lead seal of the Seigneurs. After the new road was clearly defined, a statement was drawn up, and then each proprietor set to work to clear the road space running through his property; if a bridge was necessary, one of logs was constructed; if a stream had to be crossed, being common property, all contributed to the construction of this as a public work. Thus the first bridge was thrown over the St. Pierre by order of M. Talon, dated October 24, 1670.

Several roads had already been partially made, e. g., from the redoubt of L'Enfant Jésus to Petit Lac (or the marsh which is now occupied by Place Viger and a part of St. Denis and Craig Streets); from the Coteau St. Louis to that of Ste. Marie; and provisional roads were made through the woods on either side of the River St. Pierre, and the marshy roads made practicable by log foundations or log bridges.

All these roads were eighteen feet broad, with the exception of the road bordering the River St. Lawrence, which Talon fixed at twenty feet; but the Seigneurs raised it to thirty-six feet seeing that it was used as a towing path for the horses drawing the bateaux between the currents and the rapids, and as it was the principal means of communication and circulation between the lower and higher parts of the island, they ordered the riverside owners to keep it in order. To indemnify them for the loss of this extra space, other land was added to the other extremity of their concessions. As most of these improvements took place under Intendant Talon, Abbé de Queylus and Dollier de Casson, city planners may know to whom honour is due.

[Pg 212]

Erroneously Called Old La Salle Homestead
(La Salle never built in stone)
Leber's Mill
King's Fort and Powder House
Old Windmill
Windmill Point



(According to H. Beaugrand and P. L. Morin "Le Vieux Montréal.")

Ste. Marie (Barriere), fort in wood, 1658; St. Gabriel, fort in wood, 1659; Verdun, fort in wood, 1662; Rolland, fort in wood, 1670; Rémy, redoubt in wood, 1671; Lachine, redoubt in wood, 1672; Cuillérier, redoubt in wood, 1672; Gentilly (afterwards La Présentation), redoubt in wood, 1674; Pointe aux Trembles, fort in wood, 1675; The Mountain, fort in stone, 1677; Ste. Anne (Bellevue), redoubt in wood, 1683; Rivière des Prairies, redoubt in wood, 1688; Mission de Lorette, redoubt in wood, 1689; Senneville, fort in stone, 1692; Pointe St. Charles, redoubt in wood, 1695; Bout de l'isle, redoubt in wood, 1697; Longue Pointe, redoubt in wood, 1724; Sault-au-Récollet, redoubt in wood, 1736.


St. Lambert, redoubt in wood, 1665; Boucherville, redoubt in wood, 1668; La Prairie, fort in wood, 1670; Varennes, redoubt in wood, 1693; Ste. Thérèse (Island), redoubt in wood, 1699; Brucy (Ile Perrot), redoubt in wood, 1708; Longueuil, fort in stone, 1715; Le Tremblay, redoubt in wood, 1716; St. Laurent, redoubt in wood, 1720; Lake of Two Mountains, fort in stone, 1721; St. Louis, redoubt in wood, 1735; Chateaugay, redoubt in wood, 1736; Beauharnois, redoubt in wood, 1737; Ste. Geneviève, redoubt in wood, 1758.


Carion, Morel, Verdun, Boisbriant, St. André, d'Ailleboust, Bellevue, St. Augustine, Lachine, Lagauchetière, St. Joseph, Nazareth, Hôtel-Dieu.

Island of Montreal
Historical map of the Island of Montreal showing the position of forts, redoubts and missionary chapels with the dates of their construction. Carion, Morel, Verdun, Boisbriant, St. André, d'Ailleboust, Bellevue, St. Augustin, Closse, Lachine, Lagauchetière, St. Joseph, Nazareth, Hôtel-Dieu.


[97] These dates mark the actual conferring of the patents of the noble fief. In many instances, concessions had been granted and worked, in anticipation of the honour.

[98] Quoted by Parkman, Old Régime, page 257.

[99] Etat de la distribution des anesses et anons envoyés de France en Canada en l'année 1671.

[Pg 213]






Farming is the backbone of a nation's prosperity. Hence Louis XIV, through Colbert and Talon, made this as we have seen their first solicitude. Commerce comes next, and in May, 1664, the king gave letters patent to the Company of the Western Indies, which should equip vessels to trade with the French colonies, giving it the exclusive right of trading with America. He gave it extensive backing, but in spite of his sacrifices he had to suppress it in 1674, ten years after its formation. It was accused of abuses of power, like the preceding monopolies.

Talon turned his attention to the exploitation of mines, which might give many an occupation. In the month of October, 1669, Mère de l'Incarnation writes: "They have discovered a fine lead or tin mine forty leagues beyond Montreal, with a slate quarry and a coal mine. Copper mines were also discovered near Lake Superior."

In 1672 the first ship built in Canadian waters was launched. Its capacity was four to five hundred tons. Previously Canadian wood had been sent to France for the royal dockyards. Perhaps some of the Montreal oaks that had been sent floating down stream to Quebec found a destination in the wooden walls of France.

General industries were favoured by the king, and Talon was told to spare no effort in opening out its various branches. Soon the enterprising intendant was accredited by Marie l'Incarnation and the historians of the "Relations" with initiating hemp, cloth, serge, soap, woolen, tanning, shoe, pots and brewing industries. The latter was especially encouraged as an offset against the dangerous evil dimensions of the strong liquor traffic in Canada.

The records of the city archives for June 23, 1672, give the details of a general assembly of the principal representatives of Montreal to build a large brewery to supplant that already in existence, and now found by experience, after the advent of the soldiers to be too small for the needs of the growing community. The money for this apparently municipal venture was borrowed from the Gentlemen of the Seminary, the only bankers of the time. Two water mills now began to be [Pg 214] constructed, since with the advent of the soldiers, the old windmill at the fort and that of the "Côteau" no longer sufficed.

The manufacture of homespun materials was encouraged by Talon, but as yet it did not make much headway. Still Talon, writing in 1671 to Colbert, could report that he had caused drugget, coarse camlet, étamine, serge, woolen cloth and leather to be manufactured in Canada, adding: "I have, of Canadian make, the wherewithal to clothe myself from head to foot."

The first market place was opened in 1676 opposite the seigneurial manor house, which was established on St. Paul Street, and its site was the land now occupied today by the Inland Revenue and that running down to the river. Up to its opening, all sales had been conducted in private houses. The market was held every Tuesday and Friday from 8 o'clock A. M. in summer and 9 A. M. in winter to 11 o'clock A. M., and as there was no public clock then in the city the hour of commencing and closing were sounded by the parish church bell.

Some market prices of the period may be cited. M. Boucher, in his "Natural History of New France," written about 1663, says that a minot of wheat (French measure, 39 litres) cost 20 sous and sometimes 6 francs. After the arrival of the troops it sold for no more than 3 livres. In 1669, creditors were bound to receive the wheat of their debtors at 4 livres the minot. Under M. d'Argenson a barrel of 500 eels was sold for 25 to 30 francs. A hundred planks, 10 feet long, 10 inches broad and 1 inch thick, were worth 50 livres. Butter was sold at 12 to 16 sous a pound. An ox of seven to eight years, good for slaughter, went for 200 livres; an ordinary sow, 30 livres; a pig, good for killing, from 45 to 50 livres.

The day's work of a mason, a carpenter and a joiner was paid at the rate of 40 sous; that of a good manual labourer, 30 sous. Hired servants, after their time of service was completed, obtained 30 to 45 écus yearly, although their board cost their masters 200 livres, and in bad times 300. In 1663, day labourers, when boarded, were paid in winter at the rate of 2 sous and 30 in the summer. But after the arrival of the soldiers and the increase of population, prices were raised accordingly. By a judgment of the court of Montreal in 1667 the daily wage of manual labourers was valued at 40 sous and of artisans at 3 livres.

The master and apprentice system was not in vogue in Canada in these days, and everyone could set up for himself. Let us hope it was not so with the doctors, of whom there were from July 8, 1669, to the end of the following year, at least five, practicing in Montreal: Etienne Bouchard and Forestier, partners; René Sauvageau de Maisonneuve and Jean Rouxelle de la Rousillière, partners; and Jean Martinet de Fontblanche. The latter, later, had an "apprentice," for in the act of January 15, 1674, by Notary Basset, we find him promising to teach his brother-in-law, Paul Prud'homme, in the three years and a half with him, his art of surgeon and everything connected with that profession. In these days the first health officers of Canada were surgeons, pharmacists, doctors, dentists, apothecaries, all in one. They were officially mentioned as "surgeons" probably because the art of surgery in the time of hostility with the Iroquois was more in demand than that of any other department of medicine.

Montreal was a small enough place to support five medical men, especially as the treatment at the Hôtel-Dieu was gratuitous. In 1669, in the month of August, the letters patent confirming this body as a permanent and authorized corporation were granted.

[Pg 215]





One of the outstanding failures in New France so far had been that of inadequate attempts to increase the number of colonists. This the king was now anxious to remedy. To this end, when the war was over, through the efforts of Colbert and Talon and before Tracy had left with his glittering train, he offered inducements to the Carignan soldiers to remain as colonists and to take up land. To each such concessions of land were granted with a bonus of 100 livres, or fifty livres and provisions for one year. The sergeants would receive a year's provisions and one hundred to one hundred and fifty livres. Thus 400 of the Carignan regiment remained to swell the population.

To increase this number six infantry companies of fifty-three men each were sent back in 1669. To each of the six captains he gave a bonus of 1,000 livres, with another 6,000 to be divided among the lieutenants and ensigns. This military colonization largely influenced the future of Canada.

To encourage permanent settlement efforts were now redoubled to provide wives for the men. In 1665, 100 girls were sent over. In 1666, twice as many; in 1667, and 1668, still more; in 1669, 150 and the same in 1670. An ordinance published in Montreal November 30, 1670, shows the efforts of the government to promote match-making—all volontaires and others not married being forbidden the privilege of hunting, fishing and trading with the savages [100] and even of entering the bush under any pretext whatever, the latter prohibition probably being intended to prevent a bachelor finding a temporary Indian substitute for a French wife. Bachelors had a hard time. Colbert, writing to Talon on February 20, 1668, says: "It will be appropriate that those, who seem to have renounced wedlock, shall have to bear additional charges and to be deprived of all honours and even to have some marks of infamy added to them."

To press the execution of these commands, all those soldiers and unattached workers not having taken up land, were ordered to marry within fifteen days of [Pg 216] the arrival of the ships bearing the girls. Thus, Marie de l'Incarnation tells us, in 1669, that no sooner are the vessels arrived than the young men go wife hunting, and marriages are celebrated thirty at a time.

Among the children of those already settled, early marriages were encouraged. "I pray you," wrote Colbert to Talon on February 20, 1668, "to command it to the consideration of the whole people that their property, their subsistence, and all that is dear to them, depend on a general resolution, never to be departed from, to marry youths at eighteen or nineteen years, and girls at fourteen or fifteen; since abundance can never come to them except through the abundance of men." And for this purpose the "king's present" of twenty livres to each of the contracting parties was given. Fathers of families, according to the decrees of the state council of this period, who did not marry their boys and girls when they had reached the ages of twenty-one and sixteen were fined, and following this up, they had to appear every six months after before the clerk of the court to give reason for further delays under penalty of fines to be made applicable to the hospitals.

We have already given indication of the extreme care that had been exercised at Montreal in the reception of such prospective mothers of the colony; how Marguerite Bourgeoys had herself brought over on her different voyages girls of noted virtue, whom she trained to become good housewives, and for many she found eligible partners in life.

At Quebec a similar work was carried on, by a Madame Bourdon, with motherly skill and devotion. If she was not as successful as Marguerite Bourgeoys this was not surprising, since the latter was singularly endowed by nature for such a task.

These girls were chaperoned, across the ocean, by the nuns or pious persons, or by Madame Bourdon herself, and then placed under her charge until marriage. We find an item of expense for 1671 paid by the king to a Demoiselle Etienne for the care she had taken in taking girls from the general hospital to Canada and in looking after them till they were married. These were received by Madame Bourdon.

Human nature, being very much the same then as now, we can imagine that some of these girls, drawn from the orphanages of Paris and Lyons, and carefully trained by the nuns, were rude and difficult to handle, but on the whole the venture was a great success. There was, of course, as Marie de l'Incarnation says, in 1668, "mixed goods," and in 1689, "along with honest people a great deal of 'canaille,' of both sexes who cause a great deal of scandal."

But such care was taken from the very beginning of colonization, since New France was viewed in the nature of a mission field, only to send persons of good repute and to deport undesirables, that French Canadians have no need to blush at their parentage. The families descending from the Carignan soldiers may point with pride to their origins. A caustic writer, La Hontan, writing twenty years after, by his amusing, witty, and scurrilous descriptions of the matrimonial market of this period, has done much to slander these early marriages, but he is discredited, and his version is regarded as a caricature and maliciously untrue, as Parkman points out.

These girls were called "les filles du roi," since they were maintained at the charge of the king's bounty in the philanthropic orphanages of France. At[Pg 217] Montreal, under Marguerite Bourgeoys, they were lodged with her in a house bought by Saint Ange, since the old stable was too small. There, they were carefully instructed in religion and practical affairs to become good mothers of families, and they did not leave her till the day of their marriages. At this time, a pious congregation of lay women was formed by Marguerite Bourgeoys; these met on Sundays for the practice of virtue and many of the newly arrived girls were kept in touch with the gentle and motherly Marguerite, long after their marriages. It was from this date that her home began to be affectionately spoken of as "The Congregation."

In addition to girls of a humble class, demoiselles of a more superior station were also encouraged to come to provide wives for the officers and others, of whom Colbert wished to form the nucleus of a Canadian noblesse. Several others, who first thought of passing through the noviceship at the Hôtel-Dieu and joining the Hospitalières Sisters, found their vocation otherwise, like Perrine de Bélestre, sister of Picoté, who married Michel Godefroy, Sieur de Linlot, at Three Rivers.

When the king's daughters married, they were given the king's dowry, varying in form and value. Sometimes it was a house with provisions for eight months, more often, fifty livres in household supplies, besides a barrel or two of salted meat. [101] And when they were married they were encouraged to rear up a fruitful progeny, for in the "Edits et Ordonnances" of the Province of Quebec, p. 67, a decree is found that "in future all inhabitants of the said country of Canada, who shall have living children to the number of ten, born in lawful wedlock, not being priests, monks or nuns, shall each be paid out of the moneys sent by His Majesty to the said country a pension of 300 livres a year, and those who shall have twelve children a pension of 400 livres; and that to this effect they shall be required to declare the number of their children every year, in the months of June or July, to the intendant of justice, police and finance, established in the same country, who having verified the same, shall order the payment of the said pensions, one-half in cash, and the other half at the end of eight years." Furthermore, he ordered that fathers of large families should have preference over others unless there was strong contrary reason. The decreasing birth rate in France at that period prompted such regulations in New France. The king's activity through Colbert in peopling his colony is seen in numerous letters to his officials. In an instruction to the Intendant Bouteroue in 1668 Colbert writes: "The end and rule of all your conduct should be the increase of the colony; and on this point I should never be satisfied, but labour without ceasing to find every imaginable expedient for preserving the inhabitants, attracting new ones and multiplying marriages."

These encouragements bore fruit. Laval, writing in 1668, says: "The families of our French people in this country are very numerous; for the most part [Pg 218] they consist of eight, ten, twelve, and sometimes as many as fifteen or sixteen children. The savages, on the contrary, have only two or three and rarely do they go beyond four."

The Abbé de Queylus, now superior of the seminary at Montreal, wrote to Colbert on May 15, 1669, that owing to the efforts of the king "the number of the inhabitants of New France has increased two-thirds."

The population propaganda at Montreal was left largely to the seigneurs of the seminary. In 1666, there were 582 persons; in 1667, there were 766; in 1672, the population was doubled to 1,500 or 1,600 souls, as Dollier de Casson relates in his account of this year, which is the concluding chapter of his "History of Montreal."

We may fitly conclude this chapter by giving two of the worthy Dollier's reflections:

"First reflection, on the advantage that the women have in this place (Montreal) over men, which is, that although the cold climate is very healthy for the one and the other sex, it is incomparably to the advantage of the feminine, which finds itself here almost immortal—this is what everyone says since the birth of this settlement and what I myself have remarked for six years, for although there are fourteen to fifteen thousand souls here, there has only been the death of one woman for the last six years."

"The second reflection will be on the facility which people of this sex have of marrying here, a fact which is apparently clear to all the world since it is practiced every year, but which is admirably shown by an example I am going to tell you of one qui sera assez rare. It is of a woman who, having this year lost her husband, has had one of the bans published, and being dispensed of the two others had her marriage performed and consummated before her first husband was buried. These two reflections in my opinion will be sufficiently strong to thin out the Hôpital de la Pitié and to secure a good party of girls from all the Paris orphanages if only they are desirous, to live long, or to cultivate a devotion to the seventh of our sacraments."



The Compagnie des Indes Occidentales, which had been granted the domain of New France from May 16, 1664, one year after the forced retirement of the Hundred Associates, brought over on the king's account, in 1665,[3] 429 men and 100 women and girls; in 1667,[3] 184 men and 92 women and girls; and in 1668, [102] 244 of both sexes.

In addition, during the above period 422 officers and soldiers of Carignan regiment were established in the colony. In 1666 the company sent out on its own account 35 hired men (engagés); in 1669,[4] 200 men and 150 women; in 1670,[4] 100 men and 100 women; in 1671,[103] 100 men and 150 women; in 1672, the war in Holland stopped the movement.

[Pg 219]

In 1670 there came five companies of fifty men each, making with their officers an effective force of 266. Thus for the first period we have sent at the king's account about one thousand four hundred persons, and for the second 1,116 about two thousand five hundred and sixteen in all. But there was a certain number of others who came to find a position, or were brought over by the owners of fiefs or by the seigneurs of Montreal.

Talon encouraged marriages so that with the establishments of the officers and the soldiers, joined to the activity of the emigration movement from 1665 to 1668, the families had more than doubled their numbers, and the population was also almost doubled during this period.

In 1665 the first census under Talon shows, at the commencement of 1666, 3,215 souls and 533 families; at the commencement of 1668, 6,282 souls and 1,132 families.

Yet the official report of Frontenac in 1673 after the departure of Talon gave only a population of 6,705. This seems incredible and Colbert expressed surprise. From 1669 to 1672 the king had sent over 820 persons without counting the soldiers arriving in 1670. Add to this the material increase, the six to seven hundred births of 1671 and those of 1672, estimated in advance by Laval at 1,100, and it is difficult to admit that the population had only increased by 423 souls from 1668 to 1673. The census of 1675 gives 7,833. This is more reasonable and leads to the conclusion that the returns of 1673 were too small.

The population of Montreal, according to Morin "Le Vieux Montreal," was as follows: 1642, 72; 1650, 196; 1660, 472; 1665, 525; 1667, 760; 1662, 830; 1680, 1,400; 1690, 1,567; 1700, 2,100; 1710, 3,492; 1720, 5,314; 1730, 6,351; 1740, 7,710; 1750, 8,224; 1760, 8,321.


[100] François Le Noir was summoned before the judge at Montreal in December, 1670, for breaking this ordinance.

[101] In the manuscript notes by Jacques Viger kept in St. Mary's College, Montreal, the writer mentions one extract from the deliberations of the "Conseil Souverain," held at Quebec on October 27, 1663, showing how these marriageable girls were disposed of, and the dowry given by His Most Christian Majesty. "Des filles arrivées cette année par les vaisseaux du roy il en sera envoyé dix à Montréal et quatre aux Trois Rivières, et leur sera donné à chacune une barrique de farine, une paire de souliers, une paire de bas, une couverte, un just'a corps, cinquante livres de lard, dix pots d'eau de vie pour aider à marier, comme on a fait à celles qui ont été envoyées icy à Québec.

(Signé) PEUVRET."

[102] See letters of Marie l'Incarnation, Vol. II.

[103] See letters of Colbert.

[Pg 221]






One of the feudal villages rising at this period was that now known as Lachine. Its original name was St. Sulpice. It was granted provisionally in 1667 as a fief to René Robert Cavelier de La Salle, a brother of M. Jean Cavelier, a young doctor in theology and a Sulpician who had joined the seminary at Montreal on September 7, 1666.

Cavelier de La Salle

La Salle, as the former is known to us, became afterwards the celebrated discoverer of the Mississippi down to the sea and as a Montrealer deserves special notice here.

He was born at Rouen, November 21, 1643, and was educated at the Jesuit College there. In his fifteenth year he entered the Jesuit noviceship, on October 5, 1658. During the two years of noviceship, the père maître, or novice master, had a difficult task to train the impetuous, vigorous, impressionable, headstrong, exuberant, healthy youth of fifteen, to the calm regularity of obedience, and the soldierly, intellectual routine demanded by the Jesuit traditions; but it is just this type of strong character, so powerful for good, if brought under wise subjection, that the Jesuits love to mould; and so the young man was allowed to take the simple vows of Evangelical Poverty, Chastity and Obedience on October 10, 1660. The next two years he spent as a Jesuit scholastic at the Royal College of La Flèche studying philosophy and the physical sciences, showing ability in the latter courses. Instead of finishing the third year, the restless young man went out to teach as a Jesuit professor at Alençon for a year. He then resumed his delayed third year. From October, 1664, to October, 1665, he taught at Tours, and from 1665 to 1668 at Blois. In the September of 1666 he returned to La[Pg 222] Flèche to study theology. He was then only twenty-three years of age, and had been promoted to the theology course seven or eight years ahead of the usual Jesuit course, because his inability to stay long in any one place and his want of success in a humdrum professorship for which he had no taste, and which was irritating to him and his students, forced his superiors to allow him to hurry through his studies, thinking doubtless that this ardent spirit might find congenial work in the distant mission fields with every facility for exercising his fiery zeal, with less restraint, and under less conventional circumstances than in France.

This resolution was brought about by Cavelier's own insistency in demanding immediately the foreign missions, in a letter of April 5th, written from Blois, to the general of the Jesuits, Jean Paul Oliva. The general on May 4, 1666, answered temporizingly to the young man, advising him to continue his studies and prepare himself usefully for the sacred ministry, and in the meantime maintain that most "perfect indifference," which is one of the most striking characteristics of the Jesuit philosophical training and has been subjected to so much criticism of praise or blame. To this Cavelier replied that he had still the same desire, but the general wrote that he could give no different reply. To understand Cavelier's nature he is described in the Jesuit informations of the time as "inquietus" and "scrupulosus," which words are very nearly English. Hardly had the theological studies at La Flèche commenced than he wrote to the general, on December 1, 1666, asking to be sent to Portugal for his studies. No doubt the restless Cavelier was undergoing a nervous strain of scrupulosity and doubt as to his fitness for religious and priestly life, and he thought that he could find peace of mind again in a change of scene. The general replied kindly, bidding him remain quietly in his own "Province," to conclude his studies, and after the third year of probational novitiate, which all Jesuits undergo after being ordained and before taking their final "solemn" vows, his zealous desire for the foreign missions would be satisfied.

This answer brought to a head Cavelier's doubts as to his fitness for the calmer repose of a studious life. On the one hand there were holding him his three simple vows, not lightly to be laid down, and to which he had been doubtless substantially faithful; on the other, he felt that his natural character was impelling him to a freer life than that of restrained self-sacrifice he had honourably tried to follow up. So that making use of the privilege of a Jesuit scholastic, not irrevocably bound to the Society till the taking of the last vows, and after laying his conscience open to his superior and not "hiding his moral infirmities," and probably exaggerating them, he applied, canonically, for his letters of release. By January 28th, in the year following, the final application was sent to Rome by the Jesuit rector of La Flèche, and on March 1st, the general, Jean Paul Oliva, wrote to the Jesuit provincial of France: "After a serious examination of the informations which you have sent us, we authorize you to accept the resignation of Robert Ignatius Cavelier, approved scholastic." Ignatius was a name taken by Cavelier on taking his simple vows in 1660 in admiration of Ignatius Loyola, the soldier saint and founder of the Society of Jesus.

Robert Ignatius Cavelier left the College of La Flèche on March 28, 1667, an ex-Jesuit. Before his final letters of freedom were given him he received a kind letter from the general, in which he was told that the French provincial had been instructed by him "to absolve you from your vows and set you free." He [Pg 223] added in Latin, "But do you, dearest brother, wheresoever and in whatever state you shall find yourself, be ever mindful of the state from which you have gone forth, and attend to the rock from which you have been hewed, and although you may be separated from us in time and place, strive always to be in heart with us and to live in Christ with us. May His grace be always with you!" (Archives General S. J.) Cf. Rochemonteix "Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle France."

Circumstances in later life separated him largely from intercourse with the Jesuits, as his career took him across the Sulpicians and the Recollects.

Cavelier de La Salle is free! Where will he turn his steps? He has no position and very little of a fortune, for on becoming a Jesuit he had yielded up his inheritance to others of his family. Canada calls him, for his brother François, the priest, had gone there in the September of 1666. Canada, therefore, had doubtless been luring him during his late mental struggles at La Flèche, and the summer of 1667 found the ex-Jesuit with his brother, the Sulpician, at Montreal.

The Abbé de Queylus received the young man of twenty-four years kindly, and doubtless for his brother's sake gave him a "fief noble" of great extent opposite the Sault St. Louis. To encourage him to make good, the title was not given in writing to him till January 9, 1669, when he paid a medal of fine gold, which was to be repaid to the Seminary at every subsequent change of seigneur.

The adventurous Sieur de La Salle set whole-heartedly to work in his new vocation. He gratefully called the seigneury "St. Sulpice" and, commencing the clearing of the land, he mapped out the borders of his future village and subdivided his land as grants to his feudal tenants in lots of sixty arpents, with half an arpent in the village itself. He relieved them of any seigneurial dues till the year 1671, provided they had built their homes by the feast of St. John, 1669. He gave them the right of hunting on their lands and of fishing in front. He took off 200 arpents of land from his fief towards Lake St. Peter for a "common," whereon each could feed his beasts at a feudal fine of five sous a year, while he reserved 400 arpents for his seigneurial manor. This, however, he sold in 1670, when the passion for travel and discovery seized him, as shall be later described.

We have ventured to give the romantic details of the history of one of the early seigneurs because they illustrate the adventuresome period and also because many of these facts surrounding the life of La Salle were not generally known, even by many of the leading historians of Canada. They will help as a key to explain the temperament and character of the celebrated discoverer, in his Canadian life, his enterprises and his misfortunes, his extreme need of movement, his uncertainty, his passion for travel, his reputation for learning, and also his active and ardent faith deepened by his Jesuit training.

His robust health and his commanding figure were of powerful avail to him in his adventurous tasks. The generous blood of Normandy flowed freely in his veins and, like his countrymen, he was active, intelligent, industrious, resourceful and self-regarding. He made a better pioneer than a patient, plodding land owner, as we shall see, and the defects of an untractable youth made the success of the man as an explorer.

We left the young La Salle organizing his seigneury, but before long he is to be found, gun on his shoulder and knapsack on his back, traversing the woods[Pg 224] and in his canoe exploring all the rivers and lakes around the neighbourhood. Trading his merchandise for beaver skins with the Indians and coming in contact with the coureurs de bois, he learns the directions of the rivers and the products of the countries through which they pass, and soon there seizes him the great desire to discover the long-sought-for northwest passage to China and Japan and thus to open out a fruitful field for commerce for France, and glory and fortune for himself.

During the autumn of 1668 some Seneca (Tsonnontouan) Indians stopped at St. Sulpice and from them he learned that the river he called the Ohio entered into the Mississippi, which emptied its waters into the "River of the Sault," which he thought to be the Pacific. [104] With the aid of these he started to master the Iroquois language.

Meanwhile, a similar idea of exploring and evangelizing the Shawnee district had presented itself to Dollier de Casson who was now at Quebec, making arrangements with M. de Queylus for his departure.

Dollier had spent the winter of 1668 in the woods with the Indians at Lake Nipissing, learning an Algonquin dialect from a Nipissing chief named Nitaukyk. This latter had a Shawnee slave who, on a visit to Montreal, so enthused Queylus, that he sent a letter back by the slave, telling M. de Casson of his desire to convert the Shawnee people who seemed to provide special aptitude for Christianity, and offering this mission to the zealous Dollier, who hastened to his superior at once and thence to Quebec.

To raise the money for La Salle's expedition the seigneurs bought back a great part of his land for 1,000 livres, payable in merchandise to arrive by the vessels at Quebec. But he still wished to retain his seigneurial domain of 400 arpents. Indeed on January 11th he received the written titles of these from the seminary.

But on February 9th, following, La Salle, still in need of funds, sold his seigneurial domain for 2,800 livres to Jean Milot—a very good bargain considering that he had been granted it for very little, and that the documents of the transaction reveal that he had only cleared nine or ten arpents; and that, on the other part, the wood had only been felled, and not logged, and buildings had only been commenced. [105] Then he set out to Quebec to interest M. de Courcelles, the governor, in his project and to obtain all the necessary passports and authorizations to range the woods and lakes.

De Courcelles warmly approved of his enthusiasm, seeing glory for his own administration at no cost to himself, and he even allowed soldiers to quit their companies and join La Salle. He also persuaded Dollier de Casson, then in Quebec, consulting de Queylus on the Shawnee mission, to combine with La Salle's expedition, thus giving it a certain governmental éclat and public importance. Dollier de Casson received his letters from Laval on May 15, 1669. On returning to Montreal, preparations were made for departure. La Salle engaged [Pg 225] four canoes and fourteen men, among whom was the Sieur Thoulonnier and the surgeon, La Roussillière. To meet additional expenses he had to sell another piece of land above St. Sulpice to Jacques Leber, for 600 livres tournois, on July 6, 1669, the day of departure.

De Casson had three canoes and seven men, and with them M. de Galinée, a Sulpician deacon, an astronomer and mathematician, who joined only three days before the departure. They took a Hollander to interpret the Iroquois language.

Before leaving Montreal the party witnessed the execution of three French soldiers of the Carignan Regiment, who were put to death for the assassination, near Point Claire on Lake St. Louis, of an Iroquois chief of the Senecas (Tsonnontouans). On the eve of this date it was found out, by a confession to La Salle, that three other Frenchmen had committed, near Montreal, on the River Mascouche, a more atrocious assassination of six Oneida Iroquois (Onneiouts), three of whom were a woman and two children. Yet the bodies were never found, so this remains a mystery. Rewards were offered for the capture of the prisoners, but they were never taken. Both of these horrible slaughters had been caused by a desire of seizing the peltry belonging to the Indians. Such treachery was likely to rekindle war with the natives. On this occasion, therefore, M. de Courcelles came up to conciliate the assembled Indians and to assure them, by presents, of the governmental displeasure at these acts. Under these critical and dangerous circumstances, the expedition of seven canoes containing twenty-two Frenchmen and guided by two other canoes of those Tsonnontouans who had lived with La Salle, left Montreal.

They made their way to the great village of Tsonnontouan and stayed there a month, trembling in fear of their lives, for the chief, lately murdered at Montreal, came from this place. Added to this one of those drunken bouts, the results of the liquor traffic, seized the inhabitants and threatened the Europeans' safety. While here Dollier de Casson, worn out by the unaccustomed hardships of the journey, fell into a great fever and was near his end, but happily recovering, the explorers left and arrived at a river whose cataracts marked the descent of the waters of Lake Erie into those of Lake Ontario.

Five days' journey brought them to the other side of Lake Ontario. While here a fever also fell upon La Salle which in a few days imperilled his life. On September 22d, they journeyed again and on the 24th reached a village named Tenaoutoua, where they met the explorer, Joliet, arrived there the evening before. He had previously set out from Montreal with canoes and merchandise, under instructions from M. de Courcelles, to seek the whereabouts of a copper mine said to be situated on Lake Superior. Finding the winter coming on, he had relinquished this project and was about to return to Montreal. He gave a description of the places he had visited and Galinée, the Sulpician geographer, entered them on his map.

La Salle now determined that he also would return to Montreal, urging for excuse the state of his health and the inexperience of his men to stand a winter in the woods, where they were likely to perish of hunger. But the missionary party was firm in its resolution to proceed to the Mississippi Indians. Thus it was that some of La Salle's party arrived the autumn of 1669 in Montreal alone. Whether La Salle returned with them is doubted, for his traces for two years are hard to follow. The failure of his expedition to discover La Chine was [Pg 226] commemorated in derision by the wags of Montreal who henceforth dubbed his seigneury of St. Sulpice, as that of "La Chine." Such it soon began to be named, even in the official documents, as for example one of June 10, 1670, "this place La Chine, so called." So La Chine it has remained to this day.

Meanwhile the Montreal missionaries, after leaving Tenaoutoua on October 1, 1669, arrived, the 13th or 14th, on the banks of Lake Erie, which seemed to them like a great sea lashed and tossed by the tempestuous winds. At the mouth of a pleasant river, after three days they built their cabin and there they remained for fifteen days, till the fierce lake winds drove them to a more sheltered place in the woods, about a quarter of a league away, on a bank of a stream. There they reconstructed their cabin, but more strongly, and wintered for five months and eleven days.

When spring came, they determined to push on to the Mississippi Indians, but before doing so, an event is to be chronicled in the history of discovery, from Montreal. On March 23d, on Passion Sunday, descending to the banks of Lake Erie, the explorers took possession of the country in the name of Louis XIV.

The following procès verbal, then drawn up and preserved in the marine archives of France, fully explains the picturesque ceremony:

"We, the undersigned, certify having affixed the arms of the king of France, on the lands of the lake named Erie, with this inscription:

"In the year of salvation 1669, Clement IX being seated on the chair of St. Peter, Louis XIV reigning in France, M. de Courcelles being governor of New France and M. Talon intendant there for the king, two missionaries of the Seminary of Montreal, arrived at this spot accompanied by seven other Frenchmen, who are the first Europeans to have wintered on this lake, the lands of which being unoccupied, they take possession of in the name of their king, by placing up his arms which they have affixed to this cross.

"In testimony of which we have signed the present certification.

François Dollier,
"Priest of the Diocese of Nantes, in Brittany;

"De Galinée,
"Deacon of the Diocese of Rennes, in Brittany."

On the 26th of March they proceeded further on their journey, but in Easter week, having halted by the side of Lake Erie, and drawn some of their canoes onto the land, leaving others on the sandy shore near the water's edge, wearied out with fatigue after a day's journey of twenty leagues, the party fell asleep. A great wind arose and heaped up the waters so that the awakened sleepers had difficulty in rescuing their canoes. One they utterly lost, as well as apparel and chapel accoutrements. A barrel of gunpowder floating on the waves was saved but the ammunition was lost. This disaster made them resolve to turn back to Montreal.

They chose for their return voyage the route passing by the mission of Sault Ste. Marie. On their way, after 100 leagues' navigation, they destroyed a rude Indian idol, and after entering Lake Huron arrived on May 25th at Sault Ste. Marie Fort, where they were joyously received by the Jesuits, Dablon and Marquette, with the little colony of twenty to twenty-five Frenchmen.

[Pg 227]

Thence they started on May 28th, with a guide from the fort, and after a strenuous journey of twenty-two days reached Montreal on June 18, 1670.

Old Map of Montreal

M. de Galinée on his return made a corrected copy of his map, which he sent to M. Talon, with a copy of the "prise de possession," already described, and these were of great use later, to the French government, which sent them to London in 1687 as evidences of the pretensions which the French claimed over Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the neighbouring countries.

Galinee's Map

Dollier de Casson wrote a history of this voyage but no copy has been found. Though the journey was unsuccessful in the conversion of the Indians, yet it paved the way to succeeding explorations which were quickly sent by Talon, and to the eventual evangelization of these parts.

Of La Salle's experience, after leaving the Sulpicians, we have little to record, as he was lost to civilization; but we see him coming back at intervals to Montreal as his base to obtain supplies for his explorations. On the 6th of August, 1671, he received on credit "in his great need and necessity" from the hands of Migeon de Branssat, procureur fiscal of Ville Marie, merchandise to the sum of 454 livres tournois. Again on December 18, 1672, being in Montreal, there is an "obligation" recorded at the city greffe of a promise to pay, on the August following, the same sum in peltry or money, either at the house of Jacques Leber, where he lived, or at Rouen at the house of his relative, M. Nicholas Crevêt, king's councillor and master of accounts.

Montreal, being at the head of navigation, became the starting point of many subsequent expeditions. We may add here the expedition of Governor General de Courcelles to Lake Ontario, which left Montreal on June 2, 1671. The object of the voyage was to conciliate the Indians who had made peace but who were in danger of breaking it, irritated as they had been by such breaches of faith as that related to have recently occurred at Montreal, by the brutal assassinations, and to show them by a dignified appearance among them not, in canoe, but "en bateau" that their waters were not inaccessible, and that the French knew how to punish and keep them in check. Another motive was to explore the lands bordering on Lake Ontario with the view of establishing a fort and colony and of diverting the peltry trade into French instead of English hands, and of claiming those lands for the French.

Accordingly de Courcelles arrived at Montreal with a specially constructed bateau of two or three tons under the management of Sergeant Champagne and eight other soldiers. The governor's daring expedition was joined at Montreal by M. Perrot, the local governor of Montreal; M. de Varennes, that of Three Rivers; Charles Le Moyne, M. de Laubia, M. de La Vallière, M. de Normanville and several others, as a mark of esteem for the governor; finally the genial Dollier de Casson as chaplain. It is from him that we have the history of the expedition.

The party of fifty-two went by road to La Chine and embarked above St. Louis Rapids on the governor's barque and thirteen birch bark canoes. On June 12th it reached the mouth of Lake Ontario. On the way a party of Iroquois had been met and impressed with fear and respect. These were now sent with letters to the missionaries to publish around news of the mission of the governor general. The Iroquois were overwhelmed by the dignity of the governor and his party, and for a time they kept dumb with their hands and their mouths, in [Pg 228] astonishment. Of the French they said that they were demons and brought to a conclusion everything they wanted. The governor, they thought an incomparable man. He made capital of his success and menaced destruction to those who should revolt, whose settlements he would take and destroy at will.

The party returned on June 14th and soon arrived in Montreal, the whole expedition having taken only fifteen days. It was most successful with the Indians and restrained their trade with the Dutch and English, and even the latter, according to Marie l'Incarnation (letter No. 89) feared lest they should be driven from their trading posts.


[104] La Salle wondered where the Ohio emptied itself. His mind wavered between the Gulf of Mexico or the Vermillion River (the Gulf of California). He seems to have favoured the latter hypothesis.

[105] The Abbé Véreault says La Salle hired a small house in Montreal in November, 1668. At the southeast corner of St. Peter and St. Paul Streets a tablet commemorates such a house. On January 9th he was again in Montreal. Probably he found Lachine lonely and naturally sought the town.

[Pg 229]





Another effort of Louis XIV, through his minister Colbert, was the furtherance of education in the colony. It was naturally of a very rudimentary character in these early days of scarce population. To help, Colbert sent from the king, 6,000 livres on April 5, 1667. The work of education was in the hands of the clergy and religious with the exception of that done at Montreal by Marguerite Bourgeoys, who had not yet established her order. At Quebec, the Jesuits had since 1635 commenced a college for boys at which later young Joliet, who afterward with Père Marquette, was the discoverer of Illinois, was taught to defend philosophical theses. The Ursulines had a pensionnat of thirty girls, of whom Marie l'Incarnation, writing in 1668, says: "They gave more trouble than sixty in France. The externes give us some more trouble." Still she says that there is a great desire to educate the French girls and "they learn to read and write, to say their prayers, learn Christian morals and all that a girl ought to know." Among the pensionnaires was Jeanne Leber, the daughter of Jacques Leber, the Montreal merchant, and she was pious, and clever at elocution and lace work.

Jacques Marquette

At Montreal, as the population began to grow, Marguerite Bourgeoys now handed over the boys, who were beginning to be educated with the girls in the little primary school in the stable, to M. Souart, who, since the return of M. de Queylus, had been supplanted as curate by M. Gilles Pérot, and we find him styled in the documents of the time "former curé—schoolmaster." In this occupation he was assisted by M. Rémy, a deacon, who was afterwards entrusted for some time with the primary education of the town. The education was given gratuitously, but to maintain the schoolmaster, the syndic, accompanied by the clerk of the court, canvassed subscriptions from private individuals. In the fall, the Seminary made up the deficit. Marguerite Bourgeoys, and her four companions, still taught during the day for nothing, without any assistance as before, but during the night they worked at manual labour for their support. "Thus," says Dollier de Casson writing of 1652, "what I admire most about these [Pg 230] young women, is that being without goods and willing to teach gratuitously, they have nevertheless acquired by the grace of God and without being a charge to anyone, houses and lands in the island of Montreal." In fact on August 29, 1668, Marguerite Bourgeoys bought a house thirty-six feet square adjoining the "Congregation" from the widow of Claude Fézeret. On September 21, 1668, she acquired from François Leber a grant of land, with a house on it, at Pointe St. Charles. The site of this house, with its buildings, can be seen to this day.

In 1669, she acquired, from Maturin Roulier, another piece of land with a granary and a meadow, situated in the direction of Sault St. Louis. All this, added to the original donation from M. de Maisonneuve, and sixty arpents and more granted through the Seigneurs, out of which she had put thirty-two under cultivation and on which she had placed a granary, went in great part to support her community of pious lay associates. In addition, on July 6, 1672, she bought an arpent of land adjoining the "Congregation" and built on it a larger establishment, as the number of her pupils surpassed the limited space of her stable school.

On October 9, 1668, Laval at Quebec started his "petit séminaire," out of the boys of which he hoped to draw the nucleus of a Canadian clergy. He started with six Hurons, to whom were added eight French boys. In 1669 there were three Montrealers being educated there, probably on a bourse from the king's bounty, viz., Charles Le Moyne, de Longueuil; Jacques Leber, brother of Jeanne, and Louis Prud'homme. The French boys, supported by the king's bounty, boarded, however, at the Jesuit College. Soon others joined, but as it was found that many of them did not care for study, they were sent to Cap au Tourment, where they learned mechanical trades and arts suitable to young colonists.

In 1670, there were only five teachers for the many calls on the education of the girls, so Marguerite Bourgeoys went to France for assistance, and after six months she saw Colbert, who promised to assist her so that her congregation in May, 1671, received the approval of the "Roi Soleil," Louis XIV, who was then with his brilliant court at Dunkerque. She returned to Quebec in 1672, on August 14th, bringing back a miraculous oaken statue of the Blessed Virgin, of some eight inches in height for the church of Bonsecours, already projected in 1651 and to be built shortly. With her came several novices to join her order, some of noble families, Elizabeth de la Bertache, Madeleine de Constantin, Thérèse Soumillard, Pierrette Laurent, Geneviève Durosoy, Marguerite Soumillard, and Marguerite Sénécal, who was the bursar of the very slender funds of the party.

In addition to the externes the congregation was beginning to have boarders and was reaching such a point of utility, when she might extend her work throughout the colony, that she had been persuaded to ask for the above royal letters patent of incorporation. Her eventual aim was to establish a regular congregation, with religious vows of its own. For the present, Laval did not favour such a plan; he rather wished to avoid a multiplicity of religious congregations in a poor country, and he would have preferred her companions to join the Ursulines at Quebec, becoming if necessary a branch establishment.

To this the independent Marguerite Bourgeoys was opposed. The Ursulines was an enclosed order and the Montreal congréganistes wished indeed to live in community, but to circulate freely among the people—a new idea then among[Pg 231] religious congregations of women, very untried and to which consequently the conservative bishop of Petrea was not favourable. Yet, in 1689, on a visit of Laval to Montreal, the foundress was authorized to spread her fellow workers over his diocese, and it was about this time that they began to adopt a form of dress based on an Acadian model.

The education of Indian children was greatly promoted under the new policy of Louis XIV, and Laval, in the intention of "Gallicizing" the natives in language, religion and customs, and eventually of allying them in marriage with the colonists from France. This had been one of Laval's objects in founding the "petit séminaire" of Quebec. He persuaded the Jesuits and the Ursulines to start Indian schools for Algonquin boys and Huron and Algonquin girls at Quebec. On September 27, 1670, Marie de l'Incarnation announced the marriage of some of her girls to Frenchmen, with domestic success.

Laval also induced the Sulpicians at Montreal to undertake the work for the children of those Algonquin and Huron parents who had been captured by the Iroquois. The city archives contain the contracts of July 16, 1669, by which Jacques Akimega, thirteen years of age, and Louise Resikouki, an Algonquin girl of twelve years, bind themselves to be lodged and educated like French people till eighteen years of age, at the seminary on a gift of 500 livres, provided by Dollier de Casson on the stipulation that if the contract was broken the money shall go for the education of other savage children.

Other Indian girls being forthcoming, Marguerite Bourgeoys undertook their training at the congregation, and on November 14, 1672, we have the contract of marriage between one of them, Marie Magdalene Catherine Nachital, and Pierre Hogue, born at Belle-Fontaine, near Amiens.

One of the pupils of the congregation, called Gannensagouas and baptized Marie Thérèse, after the queen of France, later in 1681 made her religious profession as a nun in the congregation order, by that time erected.

But the work of Gallicizing and civilizing these wayward, liberty-loving, capricious children of the woods was an ungrateful task. Most of those who entered the cloister of the Ursulines were like birds of passage and they flew over the cloister walls to escape the melancholy of their restrained lives, even when their parents did not take them away. Nor did the Jesuits succeed any better. The Sulpicians made a bold attempt by taking their Indian school into the country. M. de Fénelon, one of their number, was charged to form an establishment under the name of La Présentation at Gentilly, situated on the bank of the St. Lawrence above Lachine, and in addition he secured a concession on January 9, 1673, of the three islands opposite between Lachine and Cap St. Gilles, which had been granted originally to Picoté de Bélestre and were now exchanged for land on the island. These islands were then named the Iles de Courcelles, after the governor general, and on one of them at a place called the Baie d'Urfé, after the name of one of the Sulpician missionaries, an Indian mission was established. We may here mention the Jesuit missions, on the south shore facing Montreal of the seigneuries of Madeleine la Prairie and St. Lambert, which commenced with a few savages in 1669, the progenitor of the fifth site, the Caughnawaga reservation, as known today.

[Pg 232]


Caughnawaga, or Sault St. Louis, an Iroquois reservation, situated on the south bank of the St. Lawrence, about ten miles above Montreal. Area, 12,327 acres. Population in 1905, 2,100, all Catholics except five or six families. The language is the Mohawk dialect. The sault (or rapids) was an old seigniory, or concession, granted to the Jesuits in 1680. To Père Ruffeix, S. J., is due the idea of thus grouping the Iroquois neophytes on the banks of the St. Lawrence to guard them from the persecution and temptation to which they were subject amid the pagan influences of their own villages. In 1667 the missionary prevailed upon seven communities to take up their residence at La Prairie, opposite Montreal. Other Christian Iroquois from different localities soon came to join the settlement, and in 1670 there were twenty families. As the proximity of the whites was prejudicial to the Indians, the mission was transferred, in 1676, several miles higher up the river. This second site is memorable as the scene of the saintly life and death of Catherine Tekakwitha (died 1680). In 1890 a granite monument was erected on the site, in memory of the humble Iroquois virgin. In 1689, to escape the threatened attacks of their pagan tribesmen, the Christian Iroquois sought refuge in Montreal, where they remained eight or nine months. When the danger had passed they founded another settlement a mile or two above the last. In 1696 another migration took place to a fourth site. Here it was that Père Lafitau, S. J., discovered the famous "ginseng" plant, so valuable in the eyes of the Chinese. The discovery created a great sensation, and was for a time the source of lucrative commerce. The fourth site still proving unsatisfactory, the settlement was moved to the present site of Caughnawaga in 1716. From 1667 to 1783 the mission was conducted by the Jesuits; from 1783 to 1903 by secular priests and oblates. In 1903 it was again confided to the Jesuits. Among the more noted missionaries were Fathers Bruyas, S. J.; Chauchetière, S. J.; Lafitau, S. J.; Burtin, O. M. I.; Marcoux, who composed an Iroquois dictionary and grammar; and Forbes, who drew up complete genealogical tables of the settlement. The Indians are intelligent and industrious. Some are engaged in farming, others take rafts down the Lachine rapids. The industries are principally bead work and the making of lacrosse rackets and snowshoes. Besides the presbytery, dating from 1716, and the church built in 1719 and restored in 1845, there are in the village the ruins of a French fort of 1754, two schools and a hospital. The government by chiefs was, in 1889, replaced by that of a mayor and council. Note by Joseph Gras, S. J.

N. B.—Joseph Gras, S. J., the writer of this monograph, is assistant missionary at Caughnawaga.

La Tortue. Old Flour Mill
The old flour mill about 1676. Walls of solid stone
La Tortue. Stream Running Underneath
Another view of the same house showing stream running underneath
South Shore Indian Settlement Site

[Pg 233]





The history of garrison towns, sad to relate, seems always to be besmirched with scandals having their origin among the soldiers. So it was with Montreal after the settlement of the officers and men of the Carignan and other regiments, in marked contrast with the times of de Maisonneuve and his brave "milice," who had been especially trained under religious influences and had not been reared in the atmosphere of camp or barrack life.

Among the officers sent to Montreal, after the war of 1666, to command the garrison, was the Sieur de la Fredière, a nephew of M. de Sallières and a major in the Sallières-Carignan Regiment. This man, disfigured by the loss of an eye, has left a name as one who was repulsive alike in mind, in conscience, and in honour. He was banished to France after the visit of Talon in 1667, who heard from the inhabitants such a catalogue of acts of tyranny, injustice, and immorality against this officer of the king that, having referred the charges to de Tracy, the latter ordered the expulsion of the offender.

On de Sallières' remonstrance at the severity of the sentence, Talon ordered on September 1, 1667, a judicial investigation into the charges so that they might be presented in legal form.

Accordingly the copies of records of the judicial archives of Montreal of September 17-19, preserved in the greffe of the city, containing these informations against la Fredière before M. d'Ailleboust, remain as standing evidence produced by Jean Beaudoin, Mathurin Marsta, André Demers, Claude Jaudoin, Anne Thomasse, his wife, and Marie Anne Hardye, wife of Pierre Malet, of the justice of the above charges. Those who wish to read the scandalous details can do so at will.

One of the charges against la Fredière had been that of selling liquor to the savages, and of fraudulently diluting it, at that. He was not without imitators among the officers who, not content with selling them liquor in their settlements, followed them to their hunting fields, so that through their continual drunken [Pg 234] orgies, the savages brought back but few skins, and thus the habitants of Montreal, who had gone to great expense in advancing them on credit, arms, powder and provisions, were reduced to great want. Dollier de Casson, contrasting the singlemindedness of M. de Maisonneuve with the new régime of avaricious officers, says that if things went on so, the country would be ruined.

"It is impossible that it can hold together," he says in his account of the year 1667, "if individuals have not the wherewith to buy utensils, linen, clothes, in a country where wheat has no value. Owing to the cupidity of the officers, the inhabitants, not having any peltry for exchange, are forced to sell their arms to provide the wherewith to cover themselves, and having only their feet and arms to defend themselves, they will become the prey of the Iroquois, should they wish to begin to war again."

Speaking of this period Marie l'Incarnation (letter of October, 1669) says "that it would have been better to have less inhabitants and better Christians," and Dollier de Casson in his history of the year 1664, bewailing the departure of M. de Maisonneuve, says that "since Montreal had fallen into other hands, vices unknown before had crept in."

The common soldiers followed the licenses of their betters and were within an ace of endangering the safety of the colony by rekindling the smouldering embers of Iroquois hatred. In their greed the soldiers of the Montreal garrison had killed a Seneca chief for his peltry, having plied him with brandy and killed him. His body they loaded with weights to sink it, but it was found floating by some Iroquois who brought it to Montreal, and thus the murder was out. As we have related they were put to death, on the day of the departure of La Salle for the West. About the same time, in the winter of 1668-69, three other scamps who had left the Carignan Regiment and settled at Montreal cruelly massacred six Oneidas (Onneiouts) on the banks of the River Mascouche, first intoxicating them in their cabin, and then during the night falling on them, not even sparing the woman and her young children. And this for a load of fifty elk and beaver skins! One of the assassins confessed the brutal deed to La Salle, as we have said, before departing.

The first armed attack on life at Montreal among Frenchmen was also committed by a soldier, viz., by Carion, a lieutenant of La Motte's regiment, on the person of M. de Lormeau, an ensign of M. de Gué's company, in payment of a grudge. The case was brought up before M. d'Ailleboust in May, 1671, and the records of the greffe giving the depositions of the witnesses, tell an exciting story, of how, on Pentecost evening, after vespers and just before the first sound of the "salut" pealed, the Sieur de Lormeau was walking with his wife towards the common and had passed the seminary enclosure, apparently on the way to his dwelling, when nearing the house of Charles Le Moyne, of Longueuil, who was at table entertaining Picoté de Bélestre and a merchant of Rochelle named Baston, they saw M. de Carion coming to meet them. They advanced towards him and they were near Migeon de Branssat's house when Carion, seeking a pretext for provocation, called out, "Coward! Why have you struck this child? Why don't you attack me?" "Coward yourself!" was the reply. "Go away!" On the instant Carignan's sword is out and de Lormeau follows suit. Three or four blows are struck and they clinch one another. In the struggle Carion, taking his sword by the blade, tries to plunge its point into de Lormeau's [Pg 235] stomach. De Lormeau's péruque now falling to the ground, Carion takes the opportunity of seizing his sword by the hilt and deals blows with its pommel on de Lormeau's unprotected head till the blood began to flow. Whereupon de Lormeau's lady, Marie Roger Lepage, terror-stricken and beside herself, runs back to Charles Le Moyne's house and disturbs the supper party by crying, "Murder! Murder! M. de Bélestre, come out!" The three, leaving the table, rushed to separate the struggling officers but in vain. Picoté de Bélestre then exclaimed in indignation: "Since you won't separate, then kill yourselves if you want to." And now, one called Gilles, a former servant of M. Carion, comes on the scene with drawn sword, brandishing it in defence of his master, but doing no damage. M. Morel, an ensign in the same company as Carion and a partner in the same quarrel against de Lormeau, also comes on with naked sword and makes a thrust at de Lormeau, much to Charles Le Moyne's disgust strongly expressed, at seeing an unarmed man so struck.

By this time de Lormeau had received three wounds, when two priests from the seminary ran out to separate them, M. de Frémont and M. Dollier de Casson, the strapping soldier priest, whose presence soon acted as a peacemaker. But de Lormeau took the affair to the court, as we have seen.

The military introduced a love of gayety, good cheer and dissipation into the colony. In Quebec in 1667, on February 4th, the first ball was held and the Jesuit journal of the period adds this reflection: "May God grant that there are no sad consequences."

At Montreal, larcenies, breaches of respect for authority, blasphemies and Sabbath breaking are now recorded.

In 1670 an attempt was made for the first time, in Montreal to make a corner in wheat to the detriment of the poor. By an act of January 26, 1671, Talon fixed the price at three livres and two sous the bushel, and punished a refractory miller, de la Touche-Champlain who, profiting by the dearth of wheat, sold it at twenty sous, and even then it was mixed with Indian corn.

The "volontaires," or day labourers, began to be a trouble, as they were more numerous at Montreal than elsewhere. Many of these were lazy and wanderers, and would not hire themselves out or take up land, and doubtless many of the petty larcenies now commencing, were due to these gentlemen living on their wits. The woods appealed to them and the "coureurs de bois" would soon be recruited from them. The simplicity of primitive manners was going. An ordinance of the "procureur fiscal" in the records of the city for March 9, 1670, shows that precautions had to be now taken to prevent sacks of wheat and flour from being willfully changed at the mill, and their amounts from being falsified.

Theft was severely punished, according to the "greffe" of April 15, 1667. A man who had stolen thirteen bushels of wheat was condemned to be marked with the royal "fleur de lys" and to be sent to the Canadian galleys for three years. On December 20, 1668, another was sentenced to stand outside the parish church for a quarter of an hour, as the people were leaving after mass on Sunday. The town clerk read his sentence out to the people and an officer of justice affixed to the culprit's breast a notice in large characters so that all might read the legend, "voleur de blé" (wheat thief).

Again, on March 8, 1670, a man convicted of stealing from a store by night was condemned by M. d'Ailleboust, under the good pleasure of the sovereign[Pg 236] council, to be hanged on a market day, so that by "this dire example, the evil disposed might be intimidated and prevented from committing greater larcenies and other crimes." The condemned man, however, appealed to the sovereign council, and the execution does not appear to have taken place.

Tavern frequentation was also a source of dissipation and trouble. The cabarets became the rendezvous of Montrealers, although they were only licensed for strangers and marketers. In 1669, the intendant came to town and on this occasion at the request of the Seigneurs brought about a special ordinance dated April 2, 1669, which ran as follows:

"Desirous of doing all in our power to stop these dissipations and debaucheries, which serve only for the corruption of morals and the destruction of families and of the colony, we, in execution of this ordinance of the king, very expressly forbid all those who shall keep cabarets or taverns, in the town as well as in the bourgs, villages or other places, to open them to receive any person on Sundays and holy days and during divine service, under a penalty of a fine for the first offence, and of prison for the second. We forbid, under the same penalties, all those domiciled in towns, bourgs and villages where there are cabarets or taverns, even those who are married and have families or households, to go to eat or to drink in these places, and those who keep these cabarets or taverns to give them food or drink, or gaming, under any pretext whatever. They can only sell them wine by the pot, which they shall take home to drink.

"We forbid them also, under the same penalties, to receive in these places any dissolute or lewd men or women, or to give them food or 'aliment' of any kind, or likewise to give to any engagé (hired man) or 'volontaire' food or drink.

"They shall, however, be allowed to give drink in moderation to travelers and to give board and lodging to those who shall be obliged to reside in this town to manage their affairs. Finally we forbid all innkeepers to give credit for their dues or to exact any promise or obligation of payment under the penalty of loss of their stock, for which they shall not take any action of recovery, conformably to Article 128 of the 'Custom of Paris.'"

This ordinance appears to have been strictly enforced for some time, for we find the syndic himself on August 19, 1670, appearing before M. d'Ailleboust to answer a charge of eating and drinking at an inn on a Sunday or a feast day during divine service. The syndic owned up to having contravened the law on a week day, but brought witnesses to prove that he had not broken the ordinance of the Sunday and feast day observance. The innkeeper was condemned to pay the law expenses of the case and to pay a fine to the church.

Even those who broke the ecclesiastical abstinence in these cabarets seem to have been in danger of the secular arm.

A watch was kept by the Seigneurs on the weights and measures and they had them stamped with their seal. In order to see that innkeepers did not substitute others, the procureur fiscal, or his substitute, accompanied by the clerk of the justices and two sergeants, went on a tour of inspection from time to time. (Greffe de Ville Marie, June 11, 1673.)

In 1676, on a surprise visit after vespers one Sunday,—"on information received" doubtless,—these officers found four men being entertained at one of the cabarets, now beginning to open up without authorization and apparently[Pg 237] contravening all the above-quoted ordinance. One June 11th the four men and the innkeeper were fined. On September 27th the judge of the seigneurs, forced to cut down the growing abuses, ordered all inns to be closed under penalty of a 100 livres, provided that the autumn then ending and the forthcoming winter did not bring any strangers to Montreal. He declared at the same time that in the spring there would be established one or two "cabaretiers hôteliers," which we may translate as "hostelry innkeepers," to board and lodge traveling merchants coming to Montreal. Shall we consider this the first indication of the hotel life of Montreal, the commercial metropolis of Canada?

The crime of blasphemy was severely punished. On Ascension Day, 1668, the new royal edict, supplementing a former one of 1651, was placarded at the door of the parish church at Montreal. [106] Various fines and imprisonments are meted out to those who shall sin. At the sixth offence it is ordered that the blasphemer's upper lip shall be cut with a hot iron, the lower lip on the seventh, and if after this he still continues his blasphemy, his tongue is to be cut out.

A man near Lachine, having attempted outrage on two young girls of eleven and seven years, was fined and banished, on June 2, 1672, from the Isle of Montreal, for seven years.

Evil livers were punished even after death. A former corporal, who had been killed by accident by an Ottawan at the "Little" River, was, in July, 1674, refused burial in holy ground but was allowed to be buried on the commons by one who offered to do that service on the condition that the clothing covering the deceased man should be left him. [107]

We may sum up the history of the transition of morals from the pristine fervour of the early days of Maisonneuve to the early years of royal colonization, in the words of Sister Morin in her annals: "But this happy time is past. The war with the Iroquois having obliged our good king to send us troops at several times, the officers and soldiers have ruined the Lord's vineyards, and vice and sin are almost as common in Canada as in Old France. This it is that makes good people grieve, especially the missioners who wear themselves out in preaching and exhortation almost without fruit, regretting with tears and sobs those happy bygone years, when virtue flourished, as it were, without any labour on their part."


[106] Edits et Ordonnances, page 62-63.

[107] The "Greffe" of Montreal, dated July, 1674.

[Pg 239]





In the autumn of 1671 the Abbé Queylus left Montreal with M. d'Allet and M. de Galinée, the cartographer. It was his hope to further the interests of his beloved Ville Marie, but his failing health kept him in France, where he died on March 20, 1677.

Towards the end of 1671 de Courcelles was recalled, to be followed by Talon in the following year. This was the result of the growing estrangement between the governor and the intendant. Both had wisely written asking for their recalls and each had urged the plea of ill health. Both received characteristic letters from the king accepting their resignations, and Colbert wrote to Talon: "As you are both returning to France, the little difficulties that have arisen between M. de Courcelles and yourself will have no consequences."

All's well that ends well! The administration of both had been excellent and their influence on Montreal was productive of great good. On April 6, 1672, Louis Buade, Comte de Frontenac, was appointed governor general.

On his arrival Talon and de Courcelles left together, towards the end of 1672. We cannot do better than repeat the skillful appreciation of the "Relation" for that year which gracefully ignored in silence the blamable acts of their administrations and remembered the good, so that, commenting on the chagrin felt at the sight of the vessels in the harbour bearing M. de Courcelles and Talon away, it said: "'Eternellement,' we shall remember the first, who has so well reduced the Iroquois to their duty, and 'éternellement' we shall desire the return of the latter to put the finishing touches to the projects he has begun so profitably for the good of the country."

This same year Mgr. de Laval went to France to settle the long deferred question of the establishment of a bishopric of Quebec and was absent for three years, as we shall relate.

But although the king created Talon Comte d'Orsainville in 1675, having already made him Baron des Islets in 1671, he never returned, and Canada was without an intendant for three consecutive years, when on June 5, 1675, M. Duchesneau was appointed to succeed him.

[Pg 240]

Various griefs fell upon the colony at this time. On November 18, 1671, Madame de la Peltrie, one of the earliest pioneers of Montreal, died at the Ursuline Convent at Quebec, where she had dwelt in humble seclusion for eighteen years, in charge of the linen of the community.

Six months later another, Marie de l'Incarnation, whose valuable letters of this early period, from 1639-72, we have frequently quoted, also went to her reward.

But a greater grief fell upon Montreal on June 18, 1673, when the beloved and venerable Jeanne Mance, now aged sixty-six to sixty-seven years [108] passed away at 6 o'clock in the evening in the quiet of the Hôtel-Dieu which she had so lovingly founded and administered. According to her wish, made verbally to M. Souart, the executor of her last will and testament, her body was buried in the church of the Hôtel-Dieu and her heart was encased in a double vase of metal and placed "en dépôt" under the lamp of the tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament until the new parochial church, then being built, should be ready to receive it. Unfortunately it never reached its destination, for during the delay of the church erection a fire, breaking out in the Hôtel-Dieu, consumed the venerable relic.

Monument to Jeanne Mance


[108] Her friend, Marguerite Bourgeoys, did not die until June 12, 1700, in her eightieth year and the forty-seventh since her arrival in Montreal.

[Pg 241]






In 1672, peace prospects being bright, town planning received its first conscious impetus. Hitherto "Low Town," the neighbourhood of the fort and principally the portion near the Hôtel-Dieu and Maisonneuve's house, now the manor of the Seigneurs of the Seminary, with the small collection of houses around the fortified redoubts at Ste. Marie and St. Gabriel, had housed the slender population, fearful of attack. The advent of the troops enabled them to think of opening up higher land, and of forming a future "Upper Town," on which some had already taken concessions. There it was intended to build a parish church; for at present the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu served the purpose.

Accordingly, following the procès verbal, of March 12, 1672, we find Dollier de Casson, representing the Seigneurs, accompanied among others by Bénigne Basset, at once town clerk and town surveyor, tracing the first streets, [109] starting from the site of the land reserved for the projected parish church of Notre-Dame, and making out the limits of the concessions granted. Notre-Dame Street was first marked out, starting from a well opened by a former syndic, Gabriel le Sel dit Duclos, and extending eastward to the mill redoubt on the elevated portion of ground called afterwards "Citadel hill." [110] Notre-Dame Street, then the greatest street of the city, was thirty feet broad. Bénigne Basset placed a post at intervals on either side of this road, affixing the leaden stamp of the seminary to each. St. Joseph Street, now known as St. Sulpice, having been already named and used as a trail and in some sort a street, had a breadth [Pg 242] of eighteen feet assigned it, and the property lines marked out. A similar breadth was given to St. Peter Street, in honour of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the patron saint of M. Pierre Chevrier, Baron de Fanchamp, one of the first founders of the Company of Montreal.

Plan of First Streets

St. Peter Street ran down to the common and the street skirting this common was named St. Paul Street, after the patron saint of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. This was now formally traced, because the line of houses already built on the north side of this common had been constructed along it.

A fourth street was named St. James, the patron saint of M. Jacques Olier. This was north beyond Notre-Dame, beginning with Calvary Street and terminating with St. Charles Street, of which we shall speak later. A fifth street, eighteen feet broad, was that of St. Francis Xavier, parallel to St. Peter. It was called by Dollier de Casson St. Francis, after his own name, Francis, in honour of St. Francis d'Assissi. Later on, Xavier was added in deference to St. Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Indies. Calvary Street, at the extremity of St. James Street, was given a breadth of twenty-four feet; it went north towards the mountain. Another street of twenty-four feet, going in the same direction from Notre-Dame Street, was called St. Lambert, in honour of the brave Lambert Closse. These streets were broader than the rest, for they were meant for carriage service. [111]

A ninth street, eighteen feet broad, parallel to that of St. Joseph, and abutting on St. James Street, de Casson called St. Gabriel, after the patron saint of Gabriel de Queylus and Gabriel Souart.

Finally the tenth street, parallel to the latter and also abutting St. James Street, was named St. Charles, after Charles Le Moyne, Sieur de Longueuil. The city plan being made, it was necessary to carry it out. Some of the streets afterwards formally laid out, had already been marked out by pathways that had grown up. Thus, that running from the fort to the Hôtel-Dieu, became St. Paul Street; that to St. Jean-Baptiste Street, opened in 1684, was started as early as 1655. St. Dizier Street, opened in 1691, was traced as a path in 1664. Another pathway was traced from the fort to Bon Secours Chapel in 1657. The original Place d'Armes, opposite the fort, was opened in 1650. [112]

[Pg 243]

Those who had taken land adjoining these streets were, by their contract, obliged to build houses, this same year. But some of the proprietors of lands crossed by these traced roads seemed to have neglected the landmarks placed by Dollier de Casson and went on cultivating and sowing as before. This was resented by those anxious to build, as it blocked the way to the hauling of their building materials. Accordingly in March and June of 1673 there are records of an assembly of inhabitants, including Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance and M. d'Ailleboust, addressing a request to M. Dollier de Casson that as he had himself mapped out the boundaries of the streets, apportioning to each its line, length, breadth, angles, and its name for the building and decoration of the town, he should take means to prevent individuals tilling and sowing any of these streets. To this just demand, Dollier acceded, and he forbade any further cultivation of the roadways, leaving each one free to enclose his lot with stakes or quick-thorn hedges. The offending parties submitted, especially so as they saw that the roads crossing their properties increased their value—an elementary principle of city planning. [113]

By 1675, some had neglected to enclose their ground, and in consequence of the complaint of those that had done so, the seigneurs put up a notice, dated January 12, 1675, warning the tardy ones that if they did not bring the necessary building materials immediately after the following spring seeding, "to rear their buildings, destined for the ornamentation and decoration of their town and to facilitate trade both with the inhabitants and the strangers, the seigneurs would reclaim these concessions, redistribute them, on demand, to others presenting themselves."

One of the delays leading to the erection of houses on the streets, of the upper town section, traced in 1671 was the interruption of the building of the new parish church determined on, on the occasion of a pastoral visit of Mgr. Laval, when at an assembly of the inhabitants, held on May 12, 1669, it was settled that operations should begin on June 8th under the direction of Bénigne Basset at a monthly honorarium of thirty livres. But though stones were brought to commence the work at once, two years elapsed before the site could be agreed upon. That which had been chosen, once the property of Jean Saint-Père, was considered as being too low down. Two years later, the naming of Notre-Dame Street indicated the resolution arrived at by the seminary to build the church of Notre-Dame higher up, at the head of St. Joseph Street and facing Notre-Dame Street. At a meeting held on June 6, 1672, the proposition to build on such land bought by the seminary from Nicholas Godé and the wife of Jacques Le Moyne, was accepted.

Besides, a promise of the grant of the land, the sum of a 1,000 livres tournois for three years was offered in the name of M. de Bretonvilliers, the superior of the Sulpicians in Paris. On June 19th, at a new assembly, it was agreed upon to engage François Bailli, a master mason, to take charge of the construction and to receive one écu for every day's work and thirty livres a [Pg 244] month while the operations lasted. If there had hitherto been delay, the next steps were very swift.

Next day, on June 20th, the land transfer was made, the contour of the new church traced, and on June 21st the foundations were laid. On June 29th, the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, after vespers, a procession formed from the Hôtel-Dieu Chapel at the foot of St. Joseph Street, to the head of the street, and Dollier de Casson, as superior of the seminary, planted the cross, with a great gathering of people witnessing the ceremony.

Next day, June 30th, after high mass the same gathering repaired thither again in procession. The first five stones were placed, each bearing the following inscription on a leaden plate:

"D. O. M.
Beatae Mariae Virginis sub titulo Purificationis." [114]

These five stones were each accompanied by the arms of the persons placing them. The first was placed in the middle of the rondpoint by the governor general of Canada, Daniel Rémy, Seigneur de Courcelles, being one of his last public acts before being succeeded by Comte Frontenac in the September following. The second bore the arms of Jean Talon, intendant, inscribed in advance, for being unable to be present he was represented in the ceremony by Phillipe de Carion, lieutenant of M. de La Motte—Saint Paul's regiment. The third was placed by the governor of Montreal, Chevalier François Marie Perrot, Seigneur of St. Geneviève. [115]

The fourth was placed by Dollier de Casson in the name of M. Bretonvilliers, superior general of the congregation of St. Sulpice in Paris. The last was fittingly placed by Jeanne Mance, the administratrix of the Hôtel-Dieu, who had seen Montreal grow from its earliest infancy and had been so long the mother of the colony. [116]

Foundation Stone Placques

There was great desire to have the church soon completed. Divers persons imposed voluntary assessments on themselves, some in money, others in materials and labour.

The priests of the seminary resolved to demolish the ancient fort, now being allowed to fall into ruins, so as to employ the wood of the buildings and the stone bastions of the enclosure, in the church construction. Indeed in their eagerness they started the demolition before waiting to receive M. de Bretonvilliers' consent from France. Eventually he disapproved, fearing that it was premature, for if the Iroquois renewed their attacks they would repent their action. The officers of the king also forbade them to proceed further, and thus the final demolition of the battered old fort of de Maisonneuve and his harassed and beleaguered veterans, did not take place till ten years later, in 1682 or 1683.

[Pg 245]

In 1676 a meeting was held, on January 26th, to raise funds for the completion of the church, and it was determined to hold a canvass in the island, which resulted in a collection of 2,070 livres; and finally, although M. Souart had engaged himself to furnish the necessary wood, all this assistance was insufficient, and the church building, dragging on for two years, was not finished till 1678. The church was in the form of a Latin cross, with "bas côtés," terminated by a circular apse; its front entrance at the south end, built of cut stone, was composed of two orders, Indian and Doric, the last being surmounted by a triangular pediment. The beautiful entrance, erected after the plans of the king's engineer, Chaussegros de Léry, in 1722, was flanked on the right by a square tower with a square belfry tower, surmounted by a fleur-de-lys cross twenty-four feet high. The church was built directly in the middle of Notre-Dame Street and projected into Place d'Armes Square, measuring 140 feet long, 96 broad, while the tower was 144 feet high. This first church of Notre-Dame was of rough stone pointed with mortar. [117]

The erection of the parish church now being on its way permitted funds for the long deferred church of Bon Secours, also to be gathered. The miraculous statute brought from France was meanwhile housed in the little wooden chapel raised in 1657 by Marguerite Bourgeoys before leaving for France and there it remained till the new stone building was commenced. It was not, however, till June 29th, the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, in the year 1675, that M. Souart placed the first stone in the name of M. de Fanchamp, bearing a medal of the Blessed Virgin and a leaden tablet bearing the inscription:

D. O. M.
Beatae Mariae Virginis
et sub titulo Assumptionis [118]

The bell was cast from the metal of a broken cannon used against the Iroquois and given some time previously by M. de Maisonneuve. It weighed a little less than 100 livres and the casting was paid for by M. Souart. [119]

The site chosen was still thought to be far from the town, but near enough for easy pilgrimages. In order to secure its perpetuity the sisters requested the bishop to make it an inseparable annex to the parish church, to be served by the parish clergy. To this the bishop of Quebec [120] acceded in the mandement of November 6, 1678. In addition he imposed upon the curé the duty of having mass celebrated there each Feast of the Visitation, the principal feast of the new order, and of going thither in procession every Assumption Day. These conditions still obtain. A Sulpician of Notre Dame Church today is known as the Chaplain of Notre Dame de Bon Secours, the first being M. Frémont.

The Church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours
The Church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours dates from three different periods. The first chapel was erected in 1657. It was built of oak and the foundations were in stone and it measured only forty feet in length by thirty feet in width. In the basement of this chapel a school was kept (the first in Montreal, in 1659) for the education of little children. This small chapel was replaced in 1676 by a stone building which measured seventy-five feet in length by forty feet in width. The latter was destroyed by fire with a part of the town in 1754. The present Church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours dates from 1772. It measures one hundred and twenty feet in length by forty-six feet in width. It was reconstructed in 1888.

[Pg 246]

As the chapel was at some distance from the chief buildings, its garret was used for the storage of powder for the safety of Ville Marie, there being no other magazine. M. de Denonville, governor general, writing on November 13, 1685, to the minister said: "At Montreal I have found the powder in the top of a chapel towards which the people have great devotion. The bishop has strongly urged me to take it away, but this I have not been able to do since I have found no other place where to put it without danger of fire." The church was burned down in 1754. [121]

To give the reader a comprehensive view of the outlook for Montreal at this period (1674-76) we may quote from Parkman's "Old Régime," where he imagines a journey up the river to inspect the lines of communication by the formation of settlements and villages resting under the newly established feudal system:

"As you approached Montreal, the fortified mill built by the Sulpicians at Pointe aux Trembles towered above the woods; and soon after the newly built chapel of the Infant Jesus more settlements followed, till at length the great fortified mill of Montreal rose in sight, then the long row of compact wooden houses, the Hôtel-Dieu and the rough masonry of the Seminary of St. Sulpice. Beyond the town the clearings continued at intervals till you reached Lake St. Louis, where young Cavelier de La Salle had laid out his seigniory of Lachine and abandoned it to begin his hard career of western exploration. Above the Island of Montreal the wilderness was broken only by a solitary trading station on the neighbouring Ile Pérot."—Parkman, "Old Régime," p. 241.


[109] A description of the first thoroughfares has already been given.

[110] This hill has been removed since to add to the extension of the Champ de Mars, and the site, once Dalhousie Square, is now covered by the southeastern portion of the Canadian Pacific Railway yardage at Place Viger Station.

[111] The widow of Lambert Closse, Elizabeth Moyen, was, on June 27th of this year (1672) given a new seigneurial fief.

[112] The early streets of Montreal, according to H. Beaugrand and P. L. Morin "Le Vieux Montreal":

The first pathway, 1645, was replaced by St. Paul Street in 1674; second pathway, 1655, was replaced by Jean Baptiste Street in 1684; third pathway, 1660, was replaced by St. Claude Street in 1690; fourth pathway, 1664, was replaced by Capitol Street in 1666; fifth pathway, 1668, was replaced by St. Vincent Street in 1689; first Place d'Armes was opened in 1650.

Notre Dame Street was opened in 1672; St. Joseph (St. Sulpice) in 1673; St. Peter Street in 1673; St. Paul Street in 1674; St. Charles Street in 1677; St. James Street in 1678; St. François Xavier Street in 1678; Dollard Street in 1679; St. Lambert Street in 1679; St. Gabriel Street in 1680; St. Victor Street in 1681; St. Jean Baptiste Street in 1684; St. Vincent Street in 1689; St. Thérèse Street in 1689; St. Eloi Street in 1690; St. Giles Street (Barracks) in 1691; St. Francis Street in 1691; Frippone Street in 1691; Hospital Street in 1702; St. John Street in 1711; St. Alexis Street in 1711; St. Denis Street (Vaudreuil) in 1711; St. Sacrement Street in 1711; St. Augustine Street (McGill) in 1722; St. Nicholas Street in 1739; St. Anne Street (Bonsecours) in 1758; Callières Street in 1758; Port Street in 1758. St. Helen, Récollets, Le Moine, St. William, Common, Commissioners and Gosford Streets were opened shortly after 1760. Some of the earliest lanes were: St. Dizier, Donnacona, Chonamigon and Capitale.

[113] About this time a road was constructed from Montreal along the river to Pointe aux Trembles, and another from Sorel to Chambly, a distance of six miles. (Kingsford History of Canada I, page 364).

[114] "To the Almighty and Good God, and to the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Purification."

[115] The old church, of which the first stone was placed in honour of St. Joseph on the 28th of August, 1656, now became exclusively destined to the service of the Sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu and their sick.

[116] These plaques were found in September, 1830, during the work of demolition.

[117] It stood till 1830, when it was demolished at the completion of the present Notre-Dame Church begun in 1824 and opened on July 15, 1829. The belfry tower, however, remained standing till 1843.

[118] "To the Almighty and All Good God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Assumption."

[119] Cf. Autobiographical Notes by Sister Bourgeoys.

[120] In 1674 Quebec was erected into a bishopric and the erstwhile Bishop of Petrea became the titular of the see on October 1st.

[121] The Bon Secours Church was rebuilt between 1771 and 1773. It has been several times restored, but it still stands a venerable link connecting the old and the new Montreal.

[Pg 247]











We have now to consider the fortunes of Montreal under the reign of Frontenac, as governor general, and M. Perrot, as local governor. Louis de Buade, Count de Pallua et de Frontenac, arrived in Canada in September of 1672, whereas M. Perrot had been in Montreal since 1670 as governor, by the goodwill of the seigneurs, and by the letters patent of March 14, 1671, he held the rank also by royal commission. He considered himself in a strong position, [Pg 248] but Frontenac was also a strong man, and when the clash came in the autumn of next year, the old opposition of Quebec and Montreal was renewed. Both antagonists had powerful protectors at court. Unfortunately Perrot's character was haughty and violent, and his unworthy attempts to enrich himself by engaging in the nefarious liquor trade, leaves us unable to sympathize with his case, as we did with that of the gentle and single-minded de Maisonneuve. To illustrate this, Perrot, as governor of Montreal, could not openly engage in the trade, yet he chose a situation on an island given to him by Talon as his seigneury and named after him, "Ile Perrot," lying at the toe of Montreal, between the seigneuries of Bellevue and Vaudreuil and at the western end of Lake St. Louis, an excellent spot for a receiving station for peltry from the Indians, descending from above. There, he placed a former lieutenant of his company, Antoine de Fresnay, Sieur de Brucy, who acted as his agent and gave protection to the deserting volontaires now illegally becoming coureurs de bois, who were growing numerous around Montreal and were being more or less openly encouraged by the local government. These were given liquor and merchandise in exchange for the products of their hunting expeditions. The consequence was that frequent disorders occurred through their irregularities.

A delegation consisting of the foremost citizens called on M. Perrot, respectfully remonstrating on this situation. Among them were Migeon de Branssat, Charles Le Moyne, Picoté de Bélestre, Jacques Leber, and Vincent de Hautmesnil. The haughty governor received them with insult and he imprisoned their spokesman, Migeon de Branssat, who as procureur fiscal was acting as judge in place of M. d'Ailleboust, then absent. "I am not like M. de Maisonneuve," said he, "I know how to keep you in your proper places." Next day, Dollier de Casson as a representative of the seigneurs expostulated at such imprisonment, especially as the course of justice was being held up; but to no avail at the moment. Perrot was governor by royal commission, and he meant to show it. Eventually, however, the procureur fiscal was freed and the court sittings continued.

It will be remembered that Marie François Perrot had espoused Madeleine de La Guide, niece of Talon, and under the régimes of Courcelles and his uncle, Talon, the illicit commerce had either passed unperceived or authority had closed its eyes. But he was to meet his match under the new government.

Let us now turn to Frontenac, who was soon to cross swords with Perrot of Montreal. The new governor general, now a man of fifty, having been born in 1622, was a very complex character with high qualities and serious defects. He was every inch a Gascon, a boastful talker, an exaggerator, fond of posing and a little of a bully. Yet he could be gay, was a lover of a good table, a man of the world, brilliant, communicative, and generous with his friends, as he was haughty and distant with those he disliked.

Statue of Frontenac
(By Philippe Hébert)

From the age of fifteen he followed camp life, serving at first under Maurice, Prince of Orange, and his reputation for bravery was sound. He was placed at the head of a Norman regiment and distinguished himself in Flanders, Germany and Italy; at the battle of Orvietto he broke his arm. In 1664, while at St. Gothard, Turenne sent him to fight against the Turks, to the Island of Candia, whence he returned to Paris, covered with glory. He rose to the rank of a maréchal de camp or brigadier general. His married life was not too domestic. Himself, the godchild of Louis XIII, his father being the chief majordomo and[Pg 249] captain of the Château de St. Germain-en-Laye, he married the daughter of one of his neighbours in Paris, Lagrange Trianon, a master of accounts. Madame de Frontenac was handsome, gallant, witty, fond of high society, imperious, and very independent. In these qualities, she resembled monsieur and after a time Frontenac found warring more to his taste than the fireside, and madame lived with Mademoiselle Montpensier, and together these two "divines" held a kind of court of their own in their "apartment," in which they set the tone for the best society of Paris. It was, therefore, no doubt through her influence, combined with his services as a distinguished soldier to the king, that the office of governor general of Canada was secured for him, to help him in his poverty.

As a governor he had high gifts of administration; according to Charlevoix, "his work and his capacity were equal; ... his views for the development of the country were great and just." He knew how to maintain his position, and even to gain the affection of those he ruled, especially the Indians. But he was absolute, dominating, despotic, violent, headstrong, ambitious, jealous, choleric and impatient of opposition. He also came full of prejudice against the clergy and especially the Jesuits.

On arriving at Quebec, this "High and Puissant Seigneur," as he prefixed to his title of "Governor, Lieutenant-General for the King in France," introduced a gayety and high style of living, somewhat surprising and unaccustomed to the Canadian bourgeoisie. In official, governmental life he assumed the reins with a high hand. He was, as he thought himself, a "vice-roi" and he would model the colony on the lines of France. Thus his preliminary act was to call a representative convocation of the people in three several orders or estates, the clergy, the noblesse, and the third estate, to receive the oath of fealty from them, a proceeding which Colbert evidently disapproved of as too democratic, and opposed to the centralizing policy, then in favour in France, a policy which eventually ruined the initiative and delayed the progress of the colony. The minister wrote on June 13, 1673: "It is good for you to know that in the government of Canada you always ought to follow the forms practiced in France, where the kings have for some time considered it better for their service, not to assemble the 'Etats Généraux.' Also, you ought but rarely, or better say, never, give this form to the body of habitants of your country; it will even be necessary, in a little time, and when the colony is stronger than it is now, gradually to suppress the office of the syndic, who presents the requests in the name of all the inhabitants; it being good that each speaks for himself and not one for all." What is everybody's business is no one's, was evidently Colbert's view. Thus the people never learned the art of self-government.

The new governor very soon showed his desire to be sole master of the situation. Of his own responsibility he had made several police regulations and had established aldermen at Quebec and, contrary to the rights of the Company of the West Indies, then still existing, he had attributed to them the power of administering police regulations. This brought a letter from Colbert, dated May 17, 1674: "His Majesty orders me to tell you, that you have therein passed the limits of the power given by him. Besides, the police regulations ought to be made by the Sovereign Council, and not by you alone. The power which you have been given by the king gives you entire authority in the command of the army, but with regard to what concerns the administration of justice, your authority[Pg 250] consists in presiding at the Sovereign Council. The intention of His Majesty is that you take the advice of the councillors and that it is for the council, to pronounce on all matters which belong to its jurisdiction."

On his arrival he quickly turned his gaze on Lake Ontario, lately visited by M. de Courcelles, and already the construction of a fort was in his mind, to divert the fur trade towards Montreal, and on to Quebec in place of it descending to Albany. Writing to Colbert, on November 2, 1672, two months after his arrival, he says: "You will have heard from M. de Courcelles of a post which he has projected on Lake Ontario and which he believes to be of the utmost necessity, in order to prevent the Iroquois taking peltry to the Dutch and to force them to trade with us, as it is but just, seeing that they hunt on our lands.

"The establishment of such a post will strengthen the mission at Kenté, already settled there by the Messieurs de Montréal. I beg you to believe that I will spare no trouble or pains or even my life to attempt to do something to please you."

It is alleged by the Duke de St. Simon in his mémoires (Paris 1829, Vol. II), that Frontenac came to France a "ruined man," that he was given the governorship for his means of living, and that he would sooner go to Quebec than die of hunger in Paris. His disinterestedness in setting up a trading post for the good of the colony is therefore somewhat discounted.

Frontenac determined to construct this fort before the return of the vessels from France. In order to obtain the necessary men, boats and canoes, he relied on the precedent of M. de Courcelles' official visit as governor general to Lake Ontario. To impress the Indians with the dignity of the French conquerors, he called a corvée from Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers and other places to supply the above at their own expense. In the meantime he had built two bateaux to face the rapids and currents and mounted on them two pieces of cannon. These he had painted, which was considered a novelty.

At Montreal there was no little murmuring at his novel and burdensome corvées, for to avoid the Rapids of St. Louis, he made the inhabitants repair the road leading to Lachine. He requisitioned about 200 canoes and 400 men and kept them at work until he finished his fort there.

La Salle was then in Montreal, and Frontenac, seeing an ally in this already experienced traveler, wrote to him to proceed to Onondaga, the ordinary rendezvous of the Iroquois nation, and there to explain, that the projected expedition was a visit of courtesy to the Mission of Kenté and to the neighbouring tribes. La Salle, nothing loath, set out ahead, leaving Montreal in the beginning of May, 1673. Frontenac left Quebec on June 3d and arrived at Montreal on June 15th, having delayed his journey, being received in the other towns on his way. Arriving at 5 o'clock that evening, the governor general was met at the wharf by Perrot, the governor of Montreal—no doubt with some jealousy and some resentment at the corvées demanded by his superior—and the principal citizens, with their military companies. After the volleys of musketry and cannon, there came the addresses of the officers of justice and that by Sieur Chevalier, the syndic of the people. Then they made their way to the temporary parish church attached to the Hôtel-Dieu and there the clergy held their reception and also harangued him. After which the Te Deum was sung in thanksgiving for his happy voyage and the governor retired to the hospitality of Fort Maisonneuve, not as yet demolished as we know.

[Pg 251]

For thirteen days, there was a great bustle at Montreal, fixing up canoes and loading them, and arranging the men in companies,—all requisitioned in the name of the king. The last preparations for the important journey were broken, however, by the celebration of feast of St. Jean Baptiste; on this occasion M. de Salignac Fénelon, the brother of the famous archbishop of Cambrai, returned from Kenté with M. Durfé, and about to return together, with the expedition, pronounced an elegant eulogium on the governor-general. At last all to join the vice-regal party had left the town and gone by road to Lachine, whence on June 28th, all being reunited, the expedition started—two flat bateaux, nearly one hundred and twenty canoes and about four hundred men, among them being Charles Le Moyne, who was a skilled interpreter.

We cannot follow its progress. For us, it is interesting to record it in connection with Montreal as resulting in the establishment of Fort Frontenac, or Cataracqui, the modern Kingston, the construction and management of which was now entrusted to a Montrealer, Sieur de la Salle to whom, on May 13, 1675, on the occasion of his visit to France, letters of nobility were given with the property and government of the new fort and some adjacent leagues of land. La Salle had gone to France in 1674, well recommended by Frontenac. His family, seeing a fortune in the new trading station, procured the necessary funds for him to pursue his career, and presented a memorial of La Salle's discoveries and his good actions, which secured the above privilege. La Salle named his seigneury Fort Frontenac in honour of his patron. His enemies say that he became Frontenac's agent, as de Brucy was that of Perrot.

On returning from Lake Ontario, Frontenac and Perrot soon began their duel. Towards the end of autumn, 1673, Frontenac, receiving Perrot at Quebec, reprimanded him severely for the continued disturbances already mentioned at Montreal. Perrot respectfully promised better care, in regard to the observances of the king, for the future, and returned to Montreal. But hardly had he been back eight days, when trouble began. Two coureurs de bois had returned and gone to lodge with M. Carion, the officer of whom we have spoken. Charles D'Ailleboust, the judge, sent Sergeant Bailly to arrest him, whereupon Carion obstructed and ill treated the sergeant. Instead of punishing Carion, Perrot sent for D'Ailleboust and reprimanded him for having sent the sergeant to the house of an officer, without warning him, and threatened him with prison himself, if he repeated his conduct, notwithstanding any orders from the governor-general.

The astonished D'Ailleboust acquainted Frontenac with this incident, and he, scenting rebellion, immediately dispatched three of his guards with their lieutenant, Sieur Bizard, to arrest Carion. Bizard did this faithfully, leaving a guard over him. But he had made a grave error in etiquette in so doing. Before leaving Quebec he had received from Frontenac a letter for Perrot, acquainting him of the intended arrest in his jurisdiction, but fearful of the wrath of the local governor, Bizard sought the house of Jacques LeBer, to leave the letter there, so that it might be delivered to Perrot after the departure of the guard from the town. Meanwhile Madame Carion had quickly acquainted Perrot of her husband's arrest and immediately the indignant governor, with a sergeant and a guard from the garrison, angrily confronted Bizard at LeBer's house and threw Frontenac's letter, presented him, back in Bizard's face.

[Pg 252]

"Take it back," he said, "to your master and warn him to teach you your official duties, better, a second time." He then put him into prison but released him the next day with a letter to M. Frontenac. Bizard, however, had a statement of his arrest made out which was signed by Jacques LeBer, La Salle and a domestic, the witnesses of it. Four or five days later, Perrot, coming to hear of this, sent LeBer to prison without any form of justice; but La Salle he left alone, keeping him under watch during the day. But by night the nimble explorer, with Norman adroitness, leaped the enclosure of the house and hurried secretly to Quebec to tell his patron Frontenac of his flouted authority. Thither also journeyed later the friends of M. LeBer to make their protestation.

If Frontenac's officer had erred in trespassing on the prerogatives of the governor of Montreal, the latter, by imprisoning Bizard, had similarly encroached on those of the governor-general. They could have cried quits, but it is alleged that Frontenac was eager to deprive Montreal of its autonomy, and herein was his excuse. It was Frontenac's policy to appear to smoothen out the situation. He wrote to Perrot inviting him to set LeBer at liberty and to come himself to Quebec to render an account of his conduct, and to M. de Salignac Fénelon, the Sulpician, who had eulogized him in the parish church of Montreal before departing to Fort Frontenac, he wrote another, saying that he wished to terminate amicably the differences between himself and M. Perrot. Both fell into the trap. M. Fénelon, determined to accompany M. Perrot, started with him on the ice of the river in the heart of winter, and they arrived at nightfall in Quebec on the 28th of January, 1674.

The next morning M. Perrot made his call on the governor and hardly had he set his foot across his threshold than he was arrested by Lieutenant Bizard, his sword being taken from him and then led to prison in solitary confinement in the Château St. Louis without any formal process, and there he remained till the following November. The simplicity of M. Fénelon was rudely shocked by this "volte face." He sought the governor to intercede for his friend and when he strove to obtain a pass to see the prisoner he only angered Frontenac, who accused him of wishing to corrupt his guards.

Back went Fénelon on the St. Lawrence on his snowshoes. Hardly had he reached Montreal when Dollier de Casson received several letters from the governor-general, complaining of the conduct of M. Fénelon "as unworthy of a man of his character and birth." There is reason from after-events to believe that Fénelon's zeal was not sufficiently tempered with discretion. Montreal having now need of a governor, Frontenac speedily appointed on the 4th of February, as commandant in his absence, one of his devoted friends, M. de la Nouguère, [122] an ensign in a cavalry regiment. In the act, making this appointment, he explains his superseding of the town major, Sieur Dupuis, as due to the advanced stage of his age, but he bids him to have de la Nouguère recognized by the officers of the garrison. (Vide this document in the City Hall Archives, dated February 10, 1674.) He then ordered the new commandant to arrest Sieur de Brucy and two of his servants, and to send M. Gilles de Boisvinet, the judge of Three Rivers, to conduct the trial and to inform against all coureurs de bois in Montreal—an [Pg 253] insult to M. Charles D'Ailleboust, whose faith and sympathy he distrusted. Certainly Frontenac had made himself master of Montreal.

These actions, derogatory to the privileges of the Seigneurs granted in 1644, were borne with wise moderation, though under protest, to avoid undue friction in a difficult position. A document of Dollier de Casson, dated March 22, 1674, on the occasion of a protest against Boisvinet, who had gone beyond the limits of his commission, following a former juridical protestation against the infringement of their right to appointment of a governor, dated March 10, 1674, shows this clearly and explains the neutral policy now adopted.

Meanwhile in his prison at Quebec, the deposed governor of Montreal refused to be judged by Frontenac and the Sovereign Council, and asked to have his case tried by the king. In justification of his firm action at Montreal, Frontenac wrote to Colbert some months later, that he had hanged one of the coureurs de bois, the same that had lodged with Carion, and that the others, to the number of thirty, had been thus intimidated and had submitted to fines and had taken up lands as habitants. "I can assure you," he says, "with certainty, that there are now not more than five coureurs de bois in Canada, of whom three belong to M. Perrot's garrison, whom he allowed to desert; the fourth is a farmer on the island bearing his name. You will gather from this whether I have reason or not, in retaining him as a prisoner."

That there were only five coureurs de bois in Canada seems an exaggeration unless we take it that they were dispersed over the North American continent. For from Montreal there wandered many an expedition which left its mark there. Accompanying these were the "voyageurs," "coureurs de bois" and "bois brulés," as they were variously named. These often allied themselves with women of the Indian tribes and united the vices of both races. Restlessly they pursued their vagabond life, and it would be impossible to find a northern Indian tribe unaffected by these wanderers. In 1678 David Greysolon Duluth or the Sieur Du Luth built the first trading post at the western end of Lake Superior. The only post of Minnesota bears his name. He was by no means a saint—he was a worthy gentleman of the wild woods—a knight of the fur trade—a great leader of the coureurs de bois, and he enhanced his fortunes with illicit trading in spirits. But he was a power among the Indians in the land of the Dakotas (Minnesota), which was the name of one of the principal tribes formed into a league, or Dakota, and given to the general body. They were called the Ojibways north of Lake Superior and Nadowaysioux, the last syllable of which, "Sioux," being used as a nickname for them by the French. Other historical sites as that of Chicago were first visited by those who started from Montreal, such as Marquette, the Jesuit, and Joliet, who arrived at the site of modern Chicago in August, 1673.

Voyageurs Running the Rapids

Meanwhile Frontenac was exercising a control and overlordship over Montreal as the following document will indicate:

"Count Frontenac, king's councillor, governor and lieutenant general for His Majesty in Canada, Acadia, Newfoundland and other countries in Western France.

"Being necessary to create and establish a captain of militia in the Town and Island of Montreal, under the authority of its local governor, to exercise and manœuvre with army, and to put it in a better state of defence, in the event of an attack from enemies. We have appointed and do establish, the Sieur Le Moyne [Pg 254] in the said position of captain, under the authority of its local governor, commandant of the militia of the said town and island. To whom we ordain, that he must be careful that he drills the said inhabitants of the said place as often as he can, and at least once or twice a month; to take care that they keep their arms in good condition; to prevent as much as in his power, that they trade or do away with their arms, and to execute all orders that we may give to him, being assured of his fidelity to the service of the king, of which he has given many proofs in numerous engagements, as well as of his bravery and experience in drill. This warrant is given to Sieur de la Nougère, present commandant in the said Town and Island of Montreal, that he may make the appointment known to the inhabitants of the said island, to whom we commend that they must obey in all duties appertaining to his functions, on penalty of disobedience, and we give him full power and authority to command the same, in virtue of powers confided to us by His Majesty. On proof of which we have signed these presents and have appended the seal of our arms and have further signed by one of our secretaries.

"Given at Quebec, the 24th day of April, 1674.

"By His Lordship's orders,
B. Chasseur."

The Sieur de la Nougère, above mentioned, is M. Th. X. Tarieu de Lanaudière. The spelling of the period was not as hidebound as today. Frontenac's secretary spelled phonetically like so many of his contemporaries—a source of embarrassment to historians.

Plan de Montreal de 1673 a 1687
1673 A 1687


The difficult equipoise of neutrality, aimed at by the Seigneurs in the Frontenac-Perrot dispute, was rudely jolted on Easter Day, little more than a month later, in a most dramatic manner. The scene was the crowded Hôtel-Dieu chapel, then being used as a parish church, while the new parish church higher up the street was being slowly raised, and all the notables of Montreal were present at the High Mass. The celebrant was M. Perrot, the curé, in the absence of the superior of the seminary, Dollier de Casson, who was confined to his bed in the hospital from the effects of fever, after an accident on the St. Lawrence, when the ice having broken he had almost lost his life through cold from the long immersion in the water, before rescue came. The deacon was M. de Cavelier, La Salle's brother, and the subdeacon M. Rémy, the lawyer Sulpician. After the gospel, M. de Fénelon, the same who had preached the eulogium of Frontenac the year previously, mounted the pulpit. The preacher announced that he would speak on the Christian's double necessity, of dying with Christ, and of rising with him. Following the scholastic divisions of St. Thomas Acquinas he divided the life of man into the vegetative, sensitive and rational states. The sinful vices, destroying the vitality of this threefold life, must die in Christ and the new man must arise with Christ, purified and reestablished in his threefold life. In pursuing this second point the preacher entered into the details of the various dispositions that risen Christians of different conditions should manifest as a sign of the new Easter life in them. Turning to those vested with temporal authority, he said, [Pg 255] "that the magistrate, animated with the spirit of the risen Christ, should have as much diligence in punishing those faults committed against the person of the prince, as he had of readiness in pardoning those against his own person...."

La Salle, who had been sitting towards the back of the chapel, near the door, and had listened with approbation to the familiar doctrine of St. Thomas, which as a Jesuit he had studied in his philosophical course, began now to show unusual interest in the preacher's application. In order to get a better view of the speaker, he rose from his seat. He saw that M. de Fénelon, a man who was known to have been in sympathy with Perrot and to have had trouble with his own patron, Frontenac, was treading on delicate ground and might commit himself. La Salle had, what journalists call, the reportorial instinct for "news." Besides, since the famous expedition of 1669, his relations with the Sulpicians were cold. As the preacher proceeded, La Salle's face flushed with anger, and casting his eyes around, he drew the special attention of several to what the preacher was saying. Among these was Jean Baptiste Montgaudon de Bellefontaine, the brigadier of de Frontenac's guard. Soon La Salle's gestures attracted the attention of the celebrant, seated in the sanctuary, to what was being said; but he shrugged his shoulders in return, as though to convey that no personal allusions were being made. The preacher had also noticed La Salle, "and changed colour," said Bellefontaine later in giving his procès verbal. The preacher went on: "The Christian magistrate should be full of respect for the ministers of the altar, and should not maltreat them, when in the exercise of their duty, they strove to reconcile enemies and to establish peace everywhere; that he should not make creatures to praise him, nor oppress under specious pretexts persons also vested with authority and who, serving the same prince, were opposed to his enterprises; that he should make use of his power to maintain the authority of the monarch and not to further his own interests; that looking upon his subjects as his own children and treating them as a father, he should be content with the rewards which he received from the prince, without troubling the commerce of the country and without ill using those who did not share their profits with him; and, that in fine, he should not harass the people with extraordinary and unjust corvées for his own interests, under cover of the king's name, who was unaware of their extent and that they bore so heavily on them."

These phrases were shortly afterwards attested to, in the official declarations of MM. de la Salle, Jean Baptiste Montgaudon de Bellefontaine, Jacques LeBer, de la Nouguère, commandant of Montreal, Rémy, and Jean Baptiste Migeon de Branssat, procurator fiscal of the seigneury of Montreal and others, before Commissioners Legardeur de Tilly and Dupont, sent from Quebec as the court of investigation which opened on May 2d and lasted for a fortnight.

To La Salle, every phrase appeared leveled at the conduct of the governor general, especially as the preacher was M. de Fénelon. Jacques LeBer testified that the curé, who came to visit him the same day, declared that the words of the preacher appeared to him so imprudent and out of place that he was very near intoning the Credo to cut the sermon short. Others saw in them only generalities within the legitimate sphere of a preacher. The Sulpicians took immediate steps to disclaim to M. de la Nouguère all responsibility for the utterance of one of its members. It was in no way authorized or foreseen, and Dollier de Casson left his sick bed to confirm this and to assure the commandant that M. de Fénelon should [Pg 256] never preach again. They also wrote immediately to Frontenac a similar disclaimer. That afternoon M. de Fénelon, before his fellow clergy, gave his word of honour as a man and a priest, that he had meant no conscious personal allusion, but had spoken in general terms of all bearing authority. There is no doubt, however, that M. de Fénelon, though a virtuous and zealous missionary, had been "blazingly indiscreet." In his want of prudence, he had also but recently personally canvassed the householders of the Island of Montreal for signatures to a petition to be sent to court, on behalf of Madame Perrot, in which the subscribers stated that they had no complaint to make against her husband. The memorial was signed by many prominent men, such as Louis Chevalier, the syndic, Zacharie Dupuis, Sieur de Verdun and Mayor of the Isle of Montreal, Philippe de Hautmesnil, Picoté de Bélestre and others. Madame Perrot had previously approached d'Ailleboust to make the canvass, but the judge, already in hot water, was too wary. M. de Fénelon fell an easier victim, and his action was not calculated to prejudice M. de Frontenac in favour of his pretentious of absence of malice prepense, in his Easter sermon. La Salle communicated the details of the latter to Frontenac. On April 23d, in his anger, the governor wrote, ordering the Sulpicians to expel the offending preacher from their community. This they could not do, without a formal conviction of rebellion, as required by canon and civil law. M. de Fénelon, however, resigned from the "congregation," using his right to do so, as the Sulpicians was not a "religious order," and thus saved the situation. In this way, there was no acquiescence to any claim of jurisdiction of the governor general over ecclesiastics. M. de Fénelon retired to Lachine as a secular priest, and is reckoned one of the first curés of this place.

With the above letter M. de Frontenac sent out a set of questions to be answered by each of the Sulpicians. This was equivalent to giving evidence against M. de Fénelon in a civil court, whereas they claimed the right of trying such a case in a prior ecclesiastical court, according to precedent. They, therefore, refused, but later consented when assured that their information would not be used juridically. Commissioners Legardeur de Tilly and Dupont accordingly arrived at Montreal, and opened a court of investigation, beginning on May 2d.

On August 21st M. de Fénelon appeared by command before the Sovereign Council at Quebec. He came determined to protest against the competency of the civil court to try him, relying on the privileges granted by the kings of France. "Clericus, si cogatur ad forum laici, debet protestari," was an axiom of many jurisconsults of the period, such as Aufrerius, president of the parliament of Rouen. [123]

Among other privileges, a cleric summoned before the lay court, unless sent there for misdemeanour by his bishop, could reply seated and uncovered. On entering the hall of justice, M. de Fénelon, uncovered, made for a seat. The governor reproved him, and Fénelon quoted his canonical privilege. The heated head of the council then told him, he might walk out if he would not [Pg 257] take the attitude ordered. M. de Fénelon demanded rather that M. de Frontenac should leave the council, as he was acting not as his judge and the head of the council, but as his opponent. The council, however, sustained the governor and M. de Fénelon was taken as prisoner to the brewery under the conduct of an usher.

On August 23d M. de Fénelon again appeared, presenting his protest in writing, and refusing to be tried till sent by his bishop, when he would give his reasons for alleging that the governor was his opposing party and was not acting as the president of the council. Again the recalcitrant de Fénelon went back to his prison. The council, however, began to doubt their power to try the case, and it sent to the king the judgment on M. de Fénelon, with the statement that there remained only three judges whom he did not refuse. Similar action was taken in M. Perrot's case. The unfortunate governor of Montreal had been kept a close prisoner since January 26th and had not ceased sending to the council protest upon protest, [124] refusing to accept his judges, and demanding, without avail, to have his case concluded and sent to be tried before the king in France.

In the month of September some of the council wavered and M. de Villeray refused to act against either, alleging that there was such a natural connection between the affairs of M. de Fénelon and M. Perrot that having refused to act in the case of M. Perrot, fearing to displease the late Intendant Talon, the uncle of Madame Perrot, who had given him his own nomination to the council, he could do not less for M. de Fénelon, and his reasons were accepted by the council. (Archives de la Marine, October 22, 1674.) Thus it was that Frontenac had to allow M. Perrot and M. de Fénelon to go for a time to France by the last vessels sailing in November. With them went Dollier de Casson, now broken in health and suffering from the loss of sight in one of his eyes since his fall on the ice, and M. l'Abbé d'Urfé, on important business to the country. The latter intended to complain at court of the vexatious conduct of M. de Frontenac in regard to the missionaries, whose letters to France he opened and to whom he handed, among those arriving for them, only such as he pleased. Perhaps it was knowledge of his intention, added to his displeasure at M. d'Urfé's friendship for Fénelon, that made the governor refuse to allow M. d'Urfé's servant to accompany him on the voyage. Thus the Montreal party sailed, hoping for redress in France.

At the same time M. de Frontenac, scenting recrimination, wrote, on November 14, 1674, to Colbert: "I am sending M. Perrot to France and with him M. l'Abbé Fénelon, so that you may judge of their conduct. On my part, I submit mine to everything that it shall please His Majesty to impose on me; if I have been found wanting, I am ready to accept the correction pleasing to him. A governor would be very much to be pitied, if he was not sustained, having no one in whom he can trust, and being ever obliged to distrust everybody; and when he should commit any fault, it should assuredly be very pardonable, since there are not wanting snares stretched for him, so that having to avoid a hundred of them, it would be difficult not to fall into one. The distance, too, from the court and the impossibility of receiving new orders, except after a long interval, make his faults necessarily no short ones. Thus, Monseigneur, if it shall have happened [Pg 258] that I have made any false step, which may displease His Majesty, he will have the goodness to pass it over and to believe that it has occurred rather by an excess of zeal to do my duty and to carry out His intentions, than from any other motive."

But Colbert was likely to be sympathetic to the Montrealers. When M. d'Urfé arrived he was warmly welcomed by the minister, for on the 8th of February following, his son, the Marquis de Seignelay contracted a marriage with M. d'Urfé's cousin-germain, the rich and youthful heiress, the Marquise Marie-Marguerite d'Allègre, only daughter of Claude-Ives d'Allègre. The chosen intermediary in the marriage was also M. de Bretonvilliers, the superior general of the Sulpicians at Paris. Hence M. d'Urfé's mémoire on the conduct of M. de Frontenac, received by Colbert and communicated to the king, on April 22, 1675, brought from the latter the following series of counsels to guide the governor in his future conduct: "I have noted with attention," wrote the king, "all that is contained in your dispatches of February 16th and November 14th last, and to explain to you my designs and all they contain, I will tell you that in a feeble colony, such as yours, your principal and almost sole employment ought to be, to maintain and conserve all the inhabitants there and to induce others to come thither. You ought then to use the power I give you, only with the greatest moderation and gentleness, more particularly with regard to the ecclesiastics whom it is your duty to uphold in their functions, in peace and concord, without giving them any trouble: being assured, as I am, that they will never be wanting in the obedience due me, nor in their readiness to inspire my people with the same sentiments. [125] Although I do not attach importance to all that has been told me of many petty annoyances, given by you to the ecclesiastics, I deem it necessary all the same for the good of my government, to warn you of them, so that you correct what is amiss, if they are true. But my present order is, that you make known to no one, that I have written to you about them; and that even when the bishop or the ecclesiastics speak of them, you will not cherish any resentment against them.... They say, then here, that you are not willing to allow the ecclesiastics power to attend to their missions and their other functions, or to leave their stations without passports, even to go from Montreal to Quebec; that you cause them to journey to you often for very slight reasons; that you intercept their letters and do not allow the liberty of writing; that you have not been willing to allow M. d'Urfé's valet to cross over to France with his master; nor permitted the grand vicar of the bishop of Petrea to take his place at the Sovereign Council, in accordance with the regulation of the month of April, 1673. If any part of the things is true, or even the whole, you must make amends."

In a similar delicate strain Colbert wrote on May 13, 1675, adding that he wished Frontenac to pay some mark of consideration to M. d'Urfé, now that he had become allied to him as his daughter-in-law's first cousin.

The conduct of M. de Fénelon at Montreal, both for his sermon and his support of M. Perrot, was blamed, and caused a letter dated May 7, 1675, to be written by M. de Bretonvilliers to the Sulpicians at Montreal: "I exhort you all to profit by the example of M. de Fénelon. For being too much mixed up with the world, and with affairs which did not concern him, he has mismanaged his [Pg 259] own affairs, and has done wrong to those of his friends, while wishing to serve them. In these kinds of affairs, which have regard only to personal quarrels, neutrality is to always be approved...."

The upshot was that M. de Fénelon was not allowed to return to Canada by the king, on recommendation of M. de Bretonvilliers. The criminal procedure instituted by de Frontenac was not allowed to proceed. A letter from the king to Frontenac, dated April 22, 1675, explains this: "I have blamed the action of M. de Fénelon and I have ordered him not to return to Canada. But I must tell you that it was difficult to institute criminal procedure against this cleric and also to oblige the priests of the Seminary of Montreal to testify against him; at least, he should have been left in the hands of the bishop or the grand vicar. Besides, the differences between you and the priests of the Seminary of Montreal are entirely settled and can have no consequences. As, moreover, the superior of the Seminary of St. Sulpice (M. de Bretonvilliers) has assured me that all the priests of his community, who are at Montreal, live in the respect and obedience due to me, and to your dignity, I desire that you forget all that has passed. Strive then, assiduously to reunite to yourself all minds, that these differences may have divided."

On the 14th of May a characteristic letter of Colbert followed this up: "It is to the good estate and good government of the king and the colony, that you show particular consideration for the community of the Seminary of St. Sulpice at Montreal, of which M. de Bretonvilliers, the superior, is one of my best friends."

M. Perrot did not escape as easily as did M. de Fénelon, at the hands of the king, being sent to the Bastille Prison for three weeks. On the same April 22d as above, the king writing to Frontenac said: "I have seen, and examined with care, all that you have sent me concerning the Sieur Perrot; and after having also seen the memoirs, which he has put in for his defense, I have condemned his action in having imprisoned the officer of the guards sent to Montreal. To punish him, I have put him for some time in the bastille, in order that this punishment may not only render him more circumspect in the future regarding his duty but will serve moreover as an example to restrain others. But having given this satisfaction to my authority, which has been violated in your person, I must tell you, to direct you in my views, that you ought not, without absolute necessity, carry out an order in the territory of a local governor, without having apprised him of it, and also that the punishment of ten months, accorded him, has appeared to me too great in proportion to the fault committed. This is why I have made him undergo the punishment in the bastille only long enough to repair publicly the violation of my authority. Another time, I direct that in a like fault, you must be content with the satisfaction offered you, or with some months in prison, or to transfer the case for decision to me, sending over to France the defaulting officer; imprisonment for ten months being a little too rigorous."

But thanks doubtlessly to M. Talon's interest in his relative, M. Perrot was confirmed by the king in the government of Montreal, as the above letter continues: "After having left M. Perrot some days in the bastille I will send him back to his government and I will order him to call on you and to offer you his apologies for all that has passed. After which I desire that you will not retain [Pg 260] any resentment against him, but that you will treat him in accordance with the power I have given him. Finally you ought to punish the habitants only for capital faults, avoiding lengthy punishments, because minds are thus divided, and embittered and are diverted from their principal work, which is to provide for the surety and subsistence of the family."

Colbert's letter of May 13th begged Frontenac to live in good harmony with M. Perrot, urging his family alliance "with persons for whom I have great consideration," of whom, no doubt, Talon was one.


One of the gravest charges alleged against Frontenac, by the Montrealers now in France, was that he had usurped the powers of the council and that he had rendered himself absolute and all powerful. This brought about that, at Colbert's instigation, the king himself named the councillors and fixed the rank they should hold in the Sovereign Council. In consequence, on April 25th of this year, Louis XIV named M. Denis-Joseph Ruette d'Auteuil as his procureur général; on May 10th following, the seven councillors in order of rank: Louis Rouer de Villeray, first councillor, Charles Legardeur de Tilly, Mathieu d'Amours, Nicholas Dupont, René-Louis Chartier de Lothbinière, Jean Baptiste de Peyras and Charles Denys. To render them the more independent of the governor, the king named on June 5th M. Jacques Duchesneau, then treasurer of France at Tours, as the intendant, making him the real president of the council and reserving for the governor general only a simple presidency of honour. He arrived on September 25th. He further endowed the new intendant [126] with full powers concerning the administration of justice, police and finance, with the order, to see to it that all the inferior judges and other officers of justice should be upheld in the exercise of their functions without any interference—a privilege often demanded by the Montrealers. He arranged that the intendant should judge conjointly with the Sovereign Council all civic and criminal cases, in conformity with the coutume de Paris and that the council should make all police regulations; with this clause, however, that the intendant could, if he deemed it opportune, act alone as supreme judge in civil matters, and could make all police regulations and ordinances. [127]

At this time the remuneration of the governor general was 3,000 livres, of the local governors of Montreal and Three Rivers 1,200, and the members of the Sovereign Council 300 each. This was small, but there were not many inhabitants as yet. A letter of the minister to Duchesneau, dated April 15, 1675, showing surprise that there are only 7,832 persons in Canada, 1,120 guns and 5,117 horned cattle helps us to understand the situation. The smallness of salaries would certainly tempt the governors to engage in commerce.

Finally the king, on June 5th, by a new declaration confirmed the establishment of the Sovereign Council, reserving the right to name the councillors after a place fell vacant. The council was to be composed as before, of the governor general, the bishop of Quebec or in case of his absence in France, of his representative, [Pg 261] the grand vicar, the intendant and seven councillors. To take away from the governor general every pretext of mixing himself in the transactions of the council, the king ordered that in conformity with the custom of the sovereign or supreme courts of the kingdom of France, the intendant, although only holding the third place of honour, should, however, as president of the council, consult the opinions of the councillors, count their votes, pronounce their resolutions and enjoy the same advantages as the first presidents of the courts of the kingdom. (Edits et Ordonnances, Quebec, 1854, pp. 83, 84.)

Still, four years later, bitter animosities continued in the council for some months to the exclusion of all other business, as to the exact position of the governor and the intendant. In spite of the ordinance of 1675, Frontenac claimed to be entered in the minutes as the chief and president of the council, in that the intendant was only the acting president. Thus was the governor general "cribbed, cabined and confined." His wings were cut and his powers more closely defined and limited than ever. Moreover, a rival was placed by his side, to be a thorn in it for many a long day. He was no longer absolute in the council chamber. Thence began the long series of vexatious complaints of Frontenac and Duchesneau of encroachment on one another's authority,—this intolerable bickering eventually ending in the recall of both, by the instructions of the king on May 10, 1682. The new form of legislation, however, was a marked improvement, and since it was the outcome of Montreal agitation for clearly defined and responsible government, hence, the length of treatment that has been accorded to its constitutional history of this picturesque period may be not out of place.

Letters went to and fro; one from the minister to Duchesneau on April 25th severely blames him, that in relying on the great power given him and by his title of president, he was wrong in thinking himself nearly equal to the governor, and that the latter can do nothing without consulting him. The reverse should be the position. When the governor interdicts any affair at the council, he had only to submit. The council can only make representations and if the governor does not listen to them, let the matter be submitted to the king. Even then the governor should be shown the complaints, so that he may be in a position to make his reply. This would seem to show that Frontenac's position was upheld. Still the trouble went on and finally produced on May 20, 1679, a decision of the Council of State, that in the minutes of the Sovereign Council M. de Frontenac shall be solely intitled, the governor and lieutenant general of His Majesty in New France and M. Duchesneau as the intendant of justice, police and finance, but that he should also exercise the functions of the first president of the council—a re-affirmation of the declaration of His Majesty of June 5, 1675,—a victory for the Intendant Duchesneau.

In a letter from the king to Frontenac this latter had been styled, "Chief and President of the Council," and relying on this, Frontenac wished to force the recording clerk to inscribe this intitulation. On the other side it was argued, that a private letter giving incidentally this title to the governor, could not prevail against the formal ordinance of June 5, 1675, not revoked. The quarrel became so envenomed that all the business of the council was paralyzed during many months. For as surely as the time came for the minutes to be read and the titles of those present to be enumerated, the pother began anew. The clerk[Pg 262] received contrary orders, and nothing was done. Finally he was sent to prison by M. de Frontenac. Some of the councillors, opposing this, came also under his condemnation, and M. de Villeray, M. de Tilly and M. d'Auteuil were sent to "rusticate" with their friends while awaiting the order to go to France to answer for their conduct. Rival factions were also created in the colony, and Montreal was divided.

Even with this new restatement of the position, the spheres of authority of the governor and of the intendant were still ill-defined. There were apparently two independent heads, yet overlapping; still one was supposedly subordinate to the other. Consequently harmony was impossible and the history of the French régime up to the final fall is one continual attempt to harmonize contradictions. Had the French government been less paternal, less desirous of centralization and less jealous of delegating its powers; had it given a measure of home rule or representative government, the rulers in Canada would have found a way to solve their difficulties, even those of church and state, without having to recur, like children in every trivial dispute, to the jealously guarded center of authority at headquarters, thousands of miles away. "L'état c'est moi," said Louis XIV, Le Soleil, in his brilliant court at Versailles, while Canada was a big growing boy confined to petticoats. If the French Government had even given the governor and intendant some real initiative power, instead of expecting them to be the mere executive arm of a not too well informed directing mind, far away, the sense of responsibility would have kept things in order, with less friction and with more progress. If only it had trusted its own appointed official advisers, instead of encouraging every subordinate Jack-in-office to write to His Majesty criticizing, misrepresenting, and offering suggestions on the administration of colonial affairs, there might have been some unity. The policy of espionage of the departments, on one another, encouraged by the mother country, only provoked tale bearing, tittle-tattle, suspicion, jealousy, cabals, intrigues, discord and infringement on one another's privileges, and was one of the chief causes leading to the slow development of colonization, the paralyzation of the trade and the delay of the progress of New France.

It must not be imagined that M. Perrot was entirely free from further trade arrangements and scandals at Montreal. A document, believed to have been written by Duchesneau in 1681 to the king, speaks of the ill-treatment meted out by him or his employés to many persons. He is accused of ruining the country, of trading publicly, of having a store on the "Common" and holding open market there, of trading himself and through his representatives and soldiers, in the camp of the Indians, and of monopolizing the market by having a guard at the end of the bridge leading to it which allowed only his friends to pass. Thus the habitants had only the fringes of the trade with the Indians. He still encouraged the coureurs de bois and had fitted out a great number of them. His avidity is thus described: "He has been seen filling barrels of brandy with his own hands and mixing it with water to sell to the Indians. He bartered with one of them his hat, sword, coat, ribbons, shoes and stockings and boasted that he had made thirty pistoles by the bargain, while the Indian walked about town equipped as 'governor.'" It is further stated that last year his commerce was valued at 40,000 livres. In his reply in March, 1682, to the above mémoire, he states that [Pg 263] he has made little trade since, the result of his business transactions reaching only 13,325 livres. The money of the country being the beaver, trading in peltry was one of the necessities of life. He continued to have troubles with the seminary and in August, 1682, he was removed during the first year of M. de La Barre's governorship and given the government of Acadia!


[122] The real name was Thomas Tarieu de la Naudière. His son, Pierre Thomas de la Naudière, married the heroine Madeleine de Verchères.

[123] A subplot in this drama is the refusal of M. Trancheville and M. Rémy, Montreal Sulpicians, to appear against de Fénelon before secular judges. M. Rémy, who was fined several times for not appearing, claimed exemption on the same ground that as a son is not obliged to witness against a father, a brother against a brother, similarly an ecclesiastic is not obliged to face a situation which would make him fall into sin and ecclesiastical irregularity. They pleaded the privilege of canon law, recognized in France.

[124] August 17, 27. September 6, 22. October 15, 22.

[125] Archives de la Marine, Registre des Dépêches, 1674-5, Vol. QQ, 12.

[126] Duchesneau arrived on September 25th.

[127] Complément des Ordinances, Quebec, 1856, pp. 42, 43.

[Pg 265]





Trade at Montreal was prospering. In 1674 the West India Company, which had fulfilled none of its obligations, was suppressed, being succeeded by that of Oudiette and others, till 1707. Speaking of this period, Garneau (I, 262) in his "Histoire du Canada" says: "The new impulses which had been given to Canada by Colbert and Talon began to bear fruits. Commerce revived, immigration increased and the natives, dominated by the genius of civilization, feared and respected everywhere the power of France."

Montreal was to share in this prosperity. It was the centre of the fur trade and the starting place and base of expeditions such as the one of Joliet and Marquette, who had set out in 1673 to discover the Mississippi. La Salle frequently made Montreal his home at this period, as well as Duluth. At the east corner of the present Royal Insurance Building on the Place d'Armes, a tablet placed by the Antiquarian Society records the dwelling of another explorer: "Here lived in 1675 Daniel de Greysolon, Sieur Duluth, one of the explorers of the Upper Mississippi, after whom the city of Duluth was named."

Meanwhile, on May 18th, Father Marquette died on the west shores of Michigan. In 1776 the "Place du Marché" was granted by the seigneurs of the seminary to the people. It was situated where now stands the Place Royale and faced the historic landing place of the first pioneers arriving with de Maisonneuve. The growing trade needed a regular market and on this site subsequently were held the annual fairs in June, the first recorded being held in 1680. The picturesque description of Francis Parkman in his "Old Régime in Canada," dealing with this period, may be here introduced:

"To induce the Indians to come to the colonists, in order that the fur trade might be controlled by the government, a great annual fair was established, by order of the king, at Montreal. Thither every summer a host of savages came down from the lakes in their bark canoes. A place was assigned them a little [Pg 266] distance from the town. They landed, and drew up their canoes in a line up the bank, took out their packs of beaver skins, set up their wigwams, slung their kettles and encamped for the night.

"On the next day there was a grand council on the common, between St. Paul street and the river. Speeches were made amid a solemn smoking of pipes. The governor was usually present, seated in an armchair, while the visitors formed a ring about him, ranged in the order of their tribe. On the next day the trade began in the same place. Merchants of high and low degree brought up their goods from Quebec, and every inhabitant of Montreal of any substance, sought a share in the profits. Their booths were set up along the palisades of the town and each had an interpreter to whom he usually promised a certain portion of his gains. The scene abounded in those contrasts, which mark the whole course of French Canadian history. Here was a throng of Indians, armed with bows and arrows, war clubs, and the cheap guns of the trade, some of them, completely naked, except for the feathers on their heads and the paint on their faces; French bush rangers, tricked out with savage finery; merchants and habitants in their coarse and plain attire, and the grave priests of St. Sulpice robed in black."

In June, 1676, Monseigneur Laval, on his return from France as bishop of Quebec, visited Montreal to receive postulants into the new religious communicants of the "Congregation," which approved by him in 1669 and later confirmed by royal letters, was now confirmed by him in an authentic act, shortly after his arrival at Quebec—but whose rules were still to be examined and approved, which did not occur until January 24, 1698. Historians date from the above epoch the adoption of the religious habit, worn by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame to this day. In order to prepare her rules wisely Marguerite Bourgeoys determined to go to France for advice and experience, having been previously elected as the first superior. The opportunity was offered her in November as a companion to the wife of the governor, Madame Perrot, who had been advised to go to France for the good of her health. On her return she was followed to Montreal by Louis Frins, the servant of M. de Maisonneuve, who had died in Paris on September 9, 1676, as well as by several young girls, who were sent out to the colony at the expense of the seminary.

In 1676 the Mountain Mission was commenced. [128] To encourage the Indians to settle with the Europeans, various attempts had already been made. This nomadic people could not be civilized as long as the trail, by the lakes and rivers and through the forest, called them to the pursuit of the chase or the lust of battle. Thus we have seen the Jesuits had already formed their Christian Indian settlements at Madeleine la Prairie on the south shore across the St. Lawrence. But now the Sulpicians would do the same on the island, on the slope of Mount Royal, and today the site of Montreal College, on Sherbrooke Street, with its[Pg 267] old-time Martello towers, marks the scene of the Mountain Mission. Quarrels had arisen among the chiefs at La Prairie and thus the dissentients joined the Christian band at the mountain, while the La Prairie Mission was transferred to the Sault St. Louis, known as the Caughnawaga Reservation. By 1681, it was determined to conduct schools for the children of redskins, and M. François Vachon de Belmont, who came as a deacon to Canada in this year, was named director of the boys' school. That for the girls was to be under the care of the Sisters of the Congregation. Marguerite Bourgeoys says that the Mountain Mission was the first place on the island where the Indians came for instruction. On arriving, M. de Belmont began to build a little chapel, dedicated to Notre Dame des Neiges, and a straggling village of a few irregularly built bark huts clustered round it. In these lived the missionaries and the sisters, and round them were the wigwams of their neophytes, Huron and Iroquois. Fearing attack from the non-Christian tribes, M. de Belmont, a priest since September 14, 1681, had built by 1685 a palisade surrounding his settlement which boasted of four bastions. These fortifications were gradually strengthened. The schools were soon in operation. "In the Mountain Mission and that of the Sault de la Prairie de la Madeleine (Sault St. Louis); in those of Sillery and Lorette, the only Indian villages we have, boys are now being taught to read and write. In the Mountain Mission of Montreal the Congregation nuns apply themselves to the instruction of the little girls and make them do needle work," is the description of M. Duchesneau in a letter to the minister of finance, dated November 13, 1681. Later on these children were taught to knit, spin and do lace work, the government providing grants of money for women to instruct them. In 1685 Monseigneur de St. Vallier, Laval's successor, visited the Mountain Mission and gave this account of its success: "The daughters of the Congregation, now spread over the different parts of Canada, have in the Mountain Mission a school of about forty Indian girls, whom they clothe and bring up 'à la Française.' They are also taught the mysteries of faith, manual labour, the hymns and prayers of the church, not only in their own tongue, but also in ours, that they may be brought little by little to our manners and customs."

Plan of the Fort of the Lake of Two Mountains
A. Church.
B. Missionaries' dwelling.
C. The "Congregation Sisters."
D. Farm workers.
E. Entrance to fort.
F. Towers.
Part of the Lake of Two Mountains.
Plan of the Mountain Fort Erected in 1677
A. Residence of the missionaries. B. Chapel. C. Village of Catholic Indians. D. Vegetable garden. E. Towers and walls in stone. F. Bastions and palisades in woods. G. Redoubts and palisades in woods.
The Priest's Fort

Two old watch towers built in 1694 by M. de Belmont, a Sulpician Missionary at the "Mountain Fort." In the western tower Marguerite Bourgeoys taught the Indian children. In the eastern tower, which was used afterward as a chapel, an Indian brave and his grandchild are buried. These towers still stand on Sherbrooke Street, West, in the grounds of the Grand Seminary.]

Two of the Indian maidens of the Mountain Mission stand out, Marie Barbe Attontinon and Marie Thérèse Gannensagouas. Both were received into the congregation community. The latter was one of the first pupils of the mission, receiving baptism on the 28th of June, 1681, at the age of fourteen, and was a teacher in the mission until her saintly death at the age of twenty-seven.

The chapel at Caughnawaga preserves the bones of the holy Mohawk maiden, Catherine Tekakwitha, born in 1656 of an Iroquois father, a pagan, and an Algonquin mother, a Christian, who both died in her infancy. On Holy Wednesday, 1678, she died, leaving behind her the reputation of sanctity. The anniversary of "La bonne Catherine" is kept each year with great devotion by the Caughnawaga Indians. Charlevoix, the historian, speaking of the appearance of the face of this holy maiden, says: "Nothing could be more beautiful, but with that beauty, which the love of virtue inspires. The people were never weary of gazing at her." The latter's grandfather, the warrior, François Thoronhiongo, who had been baptized by the Martyr Jesuit, Père de Brébeuf, lived at the Mountain Mission. In 1824 the east Martello tower, now standing on Sherbrooke Street, wherein the Sisters of the Congregation had lived while teaching, was transferred [Pg 268] into a chapel and the bodies of the grandfather and grandchild, which had rested there since 1796, were allowed to remain. The tower on the west was a school for the Indian girls. These towers, still remaining, are all that is left to mark the site of the Priests' Fort and Jacques Viger's manuscripts tell us that this fort was so called to distinguish it from the enclosure next to it and which, being surrounded by a palisade, was known as "The Indian's Fort." Both structures formed part of the same outwork and are mentioned under the common title of "The Mountain Fort." The Priests' Fort was built in 1694 by the Sulpician, François Vachon de Belmont, at his own expense. It was, first a square enclosed by a stone wall with portholes and flanked by a tower at each angle; secondly, the fort proper or manor, in the middle of the enclosure where the missionaries lived; thirdly, the chapel which was opposite the manor and between the two towers. In 1844 the erection of the vast edifice now used as a college and as a seminary was begun on this very site. The two towers still standing and the wall connecting them are over two hundred years old and are after the Seminary of St. Sulpice on Notre Dame Street the oldest building in Montreal. Long may the towers stand as sentinels guarding the traditions of the past!... The Sulpicians accompanied the Indians when the mission was transplanted to Sault-au-Récollet and thence later to the Lake of the Two Mountains.

Leaving the Mountain Mission whose commencement we have placed in 1676 and traversing the streets down town, we notice the unpaved state of the streets. In this year, 1676, an ordinance stipulated that proprietors should pave to the middle of the roadway every street passing in front of their dwellings. But it seems that up to the cession, these regulations had fallen into desuetude.

The year of 1678 saw great preparations at Montreal for new ventures on the part of La Salle and Duluth, in which the governor general was reported by Intendant Duchesneau to be commercially interested. In July, 1678, La Salle left France armed with a royal patent allowing him "to build forts through which it would seem that a passage to Mexico can be found." He had made good friends in France since his previous visit in 1674 and found financial supporters, "bringing with him about thirty artisans and labourers, with much of the gearing and equipment necessary for rigging a vessel, including anchors, with the usual assortment of the articles required for his intercourse with the Indians." With him was Henri de Tonti, an Italian officer, who was to prove a most devoted and loyal lieutenant to La Salle. At the siege of Gaëta, de Tonti had had a hand blown off and it was now replaced with a metal substitute, which, though covered with a glove, could deal a heavy blow, as the surprised Indians afterwards learned. A third was with them, the Sieur de la Motte. Arriving at Quebec on September 15th, La Salle was shortly afterwards joined by the Recollect Father, Hennepin, eager to explore the Mississippi.

While at Quebec, La Salle was named one of the twenty commissioners, then sitting to investigate the murders and other crimes reported to have arisen during the past six years from the use of liquors. In consequence, the old dispute was arising again as to the propriety of preventing liquors being taken to the Indians, to encourage traffic with the French instead of the Dutch. It was urged that the fur trade would leave Montreal for Albany, as beaver skins, if they got there, would fetch a higher price. For prohibition, were Laval and the Intendant Duchesneau, whilst against it was Frontenac backed up by Colbert, who supported [Pg 269] Talon, one of whose last actions in Canada had been to permit the use of spirits as an article of commerce. The report of the commission to France was in favour of the traffic in spirits as necessary for the support of the fur trade, which was the one source of wealth for the country. M. Laval started for France with a counter memorial. Finally a compromise was arranged to the effect that strong liquors might not be taken to the woods openly, and if clandestinely, punishment was to follow. But as liquor was permitted in the houses of the French and those houses could be built anywhere, the law was easily evaded, so that in reality liquor became to be recognized currency in the trade for fur.

Shortly after the above event La Salle left Montreal, doubtless with a good supply of "eau de vie," for his fief, Mount Cataracqui, and in the second week of November he started thence to make his way to the Mississippi, returning at intervals to Montreal for supplies. At last after thrilling and hazardous adventures La Salle and his men reached the mouth of the Mississippi, where he declared the basin of the river to be the territory of Louis the Great and named it Louisiana. All honour to Montreal, the fruitful home of discoverers!

David Greysolon du Luth left Montreal on the 1st of September, 1678, with seven Frenchmen on a similar adventure. It was he who built the fort at the entrance of the Kaministiquia, Lake Superior, known under Hudson Bay rule as Fort William, and who strove persistently to foil the rival English traders of this company. He was a man equally at home in camp, in society, or in the Indian wigwams—a type of the many roving adventurers, fighters, traders and explorers, whom Canada was then alluring and who were little removed from the coureurs de bois, at whom so many ordinances were leveled, but whose number was steadily increasing. [129]

Meanwhile relations had become more and more strained between Frontenac and Duchesneau. As early as 1676 the troubles began with the questions of precedence and of the degrees of courtesy that should be paid to the governor and the intendant. On May 1, 1677, Colbert wrote to the intendant warning him not to take sides against the governor and on May 18th he wrote to the governor exhorting him to live amicably with the intendant. On April 30, 1681, the king wrote to Frontenac complaining of his arbitrary conduct and threatening to recall him unless he mended his ways. He was accused of being too lenient with the coureurs de bois and in consequence the king ordered that whoever went to the woods without a license should be branded and whipped for the first offence, and sent to the galleys for life, for the second.

Every ship to France carried complaints from Duchesneau and Frontenac against one another. The rivalry was intense. The last official act of Frontenac in the Registre du Conseil Supérieur is a formal declaration that his rank in that body is superior to the intendant's. Finally the untenable position was relieved by the king, who recalled them by an act of May 1st. Before leaving and early in the August of this year Frontenac was at Montreal to meet the Ottawas and the Hurons on their yearly descent from the lakes and there he met the famous [Pg 270] Huron Iroquois chief, the Rat, and at a solemn council succeeded in averting, for the time, the war then brewing about Michillimackinac, when the Illinois and some of the tribes of the lakes were in likely danger of speedy and complete destruction at the hands of the Iroquois. This would have been fatal to the trade of Canada.

Shortly afterwards, Frontenac sailed for France, leaving Canada when he was most needed. When he sailed, "it was a day of rejoicing to more than half of the merchants of Canada" (who were not in his ring), says Parkman ("Frontenac," p. 71), "and excepting the Recollects, to all the priests; but he left behind him an impression, very general among the people, that if danger threatened the colony, Count Frontenac was the man for the hour."

Montreal was no little concerned with this division between the disputants, for whereas the merchants, traders and habitants over the country took sides with either party, those of Montreal, such as Le Moyne and his sons, Jacques LeBer, and left many more of the leading men sided with Duchesneau, while Perrot, the local governor, seems to have come to a mutual understanding with Frontenac and carried on illicit trade as before. "Frontenac had," as the intendant wrote to the minister on November 16, 1679, "gradually made himself master of the trade of Montreal; as soon as the Indians arrived, he sets guard in his camp, which would be very well, if these soldiers did their duty and protected the savages from being annoyed and plundered by the French, instead of being employed to discover how many furs they have brought with a view to future operations. Monsieur, the governor, then compels the Indians to pay his guards for protecting them; and he has never allowed them to trade with the inhabitants till they have first given him a certain number of packs of beaver skins, which he calls his presents. His guards trade with them openly at the fair, with their bandoliers on their shoulders." Moreover, Duchesneau in the same communication accused Frontenac of sending up goods to Montreal to be traded in his behalf, so that with the presents exacted and his trading, only little ever reached the people of the colony of what the Indians brought to market. It is only fair to add that Frontenac made similar charges against the intendant for engaging in trade. Meanwhile partisan spirit ran high and the streets of Quebec and Montreal witnessed brawls such as those between the Capulets and Montagues of Romeo and Juliet. "A plague on both your houses!" The Count de Frontenac and the Intendant Duchesneau were respectively replaced on May 1, 1680, by M. de La Barre and M. de Meulles, although they did not enter upon their functions until Friday, October 9th, of the same year.


A writer who visited Quebec in 1683 in his "Memoirs of North America" tells us that the merchant who had carried on the greatest trade in Canada was the Sieur Samuel Bernon of Rochel, who had great warehouses at Quebec, from which the inhabitants of the other towns were supplied with such commodities as they wanted.

"There is no difference," he says, "between the pirates that scour the seas and the Canada merchants, unless it be this, that the former sometimes enrich themselves all of a sudden by a good prize; and the latter cannot make their fortune [Pg 271] without trading for five or six years, and that, without running the hazard of their lives. I have known twenty little peddlers that had not above a thousand crowns stock when I arrived at Quebec in the year 1683, and when I left that place, had got to the tune of 12,000 crowns. It is an unquestioned truth that they get 50 per cent upon all goods they deal in, whether they buy them up, upon the arrival of the ships at Quebec, or have them from France by way of commissions: but over and above that, there are some gaudy trinkets, such as ribbands, laces, embroideries, tobacco-boxes, watches, and an infinity of other baubles of iron ware, upon which they get 150 per cent, all costs clear.

"As soon as the French ships arrive at Quebec the merchants of that city, who have their factors in other towns, load their barks with goods in order to transport them to these other towns. Such merchants as act for themselves at Trois Rivières, or Montreal, come down in person to Quebec to market for themselves, and then put their effects on board of barks to be conveyed home. If they pay for their goods in skins, they buy cheaper than if they made their payments in money or letters of exchange; by reason that the seller gets considerably by the skins, when he returns to France. Now you must take notice, that all these skins are bought up from the inhabitants, or from the savages, upon which the merchants are considerable gainers. To give you an instance of this matter, a person that lives in the neighbourhood of Quebec, carries a dozen of marten skins, five or six fox skins, and as many skins of wild cats, to a merchant's house, in order to sell them for woolen cloth, linen, arms, ammunition, etc. In the trade of those skins, the merchant draws a double profit, one upon the score of his paying no more for these skins than one-half of what he afterwards sells them for, in the lump, to the factors, for the Rochel ships; and the other, by the exorbitant rate he puts upon the goods which the poor planter takes in exchange for his skins. If this be duly weighed, we will not think it strange that these merchants have a more beneficial trade than a great many tradesmen in the world."—Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, 1872, p. 130.


[128] Some authors have supposed that the Mountain Mission began as early as 1657, but this appears impossible, when we recollect that for twenty-seven years or more settlers scarcely dared to leave the town for fear of the Iroquois, who tracked them to their very doorsteps! Moreover, the first registrations of the Mountain Mission date from 1688, and, note, that all previous baptisms had been set down in the Ville Marie registre. The latter before 1677 makes no mention of the aforesaid mission. (Cf. Note by Mary Drummond in the "Life and Times of Marguerite Bourgeoys.")

[129] In 1680 Duchesneau reported on November 13th the population of Canada at 9,400; of this number there were five or six hundred coureurs de bois. "There is not a family," wrote the Intendant, "of any condition or quality soever, who have not children, brothers, uncles and nephews among them."

[Pg 273]






The recall of Frontenac had great influence on La Salle's career, for the new governor, de La Barre, an aged man wanting in firmness and decision, intended to enrich himself [130] and had accordingly connected himself with a clique of merchants in the colony, intent on the monopoly of the western fur trade. He believed in their representations that by acting with them, he would be enabled to obtain large profits. The principals in this arrangement were Aubert de la Chesnaye, Jacques Leber and Charles Le Moyne, the latter two of Montreal.

Accordingly, when on April 3, 1683, after hearing that his protector, Frontenac, had sailed for France, La Salle wrote the new governor, telling of his success in the expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi, and dwelling on the necessity of establishing colonists along the route which he had opened, and asked that such of his men as were sent to Montreal for supplies should not be arrested, he little knew how poorly his exploration was valued by the governor. In a second letter he speaks of the threatened rising of the Iroquois in the Michillimackinac district, and of the danger he was in, at his Fort St. Louis, on the River Illinois, on the top of "Starved Rock" (as it was afterwards called after Pontiac's war in 1764), with but twenty men, and only 100 pounds of powder. He asks that his men should not be detained, as he was in need of reinforcements; likewise, that no [Pg 274] seizure of his property in Montreal should be permitted as he was in want of munitions and supplies.

No supplies were sent him and his men were made prisoners in Montreal as transgressors of the law. Moreover, on pretense that the conditions, on which his fort at Frontenac had been granted, had not been carried out, the governor sent Leber and de la Chesnaye to seize it in the royal name. La Salle determined to appeal in person to the minister in France and coming down the lakes he met the Chevalier de Baugis, who had been sent by de La Barre to seize his Fort St. Louis. In the next year, 1684, the king wrote to the governor and the intendant, de Moules, commanding them to make restitution to La Salle for the injury done him at Fort Frontenac and Fort St. Louis.

Hardly had La Barre arrived in Canada than he learned of the declaration of war by the Iroquois against the Illinois, the allies of the French. A deliberation of the highest in the land resulted in a request to the king for help to restrain the Iroquois, which brought the promise of a convoy of 200 soldiers to be sent without delay from France! Wishing, however, to compromise with the Iroquois and to make peace rather than war which would damage his personal trade relations at Cataracqui, the governor sent Charles Le Moyne as envoy to Onondaga to invite a deputation of their chiefs to visit Montreal. This was fixed for June, but it was not till August that a meagre delegation from but five cantons arrived, and the grand council was held in the newly built church of Montreal.

Parkman tells the story thus: "Presents were given to the deputies (forty-three Iroquois chiefs) to the value of more than two thousand crowns. Soothing speeches were made them and they were urged not to attack the tribes of the lakes, nor to plunder French traders, without permission. They assented and La Barre then asked, timidly, why they made war on the Illinois. 'Because they deserve to die,' haughtily returned the Iroquois orator. La Barre dared not answer. They complained that La Salle had given guns, powder and lead to the Illinois; or in other words, that he had helped the allies of the colony to defend themselves. La Barre, who hated La Salle and his monopolies, assured them that he should be punished. It is affirmed on good authority that he said more than this, and told them that they were welcome to plunder and kill him. The rapacious old man was playing with a two-edged sword." ("Frontenac," p. 84).

Montreal that summer witnessed the preparations of La Barre and his 200 men, who left Quebec on July 10th ostensibly to fight the Iroquois around Fort Frontenac; among them was de la Chesnaye. The new intendant, Jacques de Meulles, Sieur de la Source, grieving no doubt that he had to finance this new war, has the lowest opinion of this enterprise and writes to the minister (July 8-11): "In a word, Monseigneur, this war has been decided upon in the cabinet of monsieur, the general (La Barre) along with six of the chief merchants of the country," and in a postscript he added, "I will finish this letter, Monseigneur, by telling you that he set out yesterday, July 10th, with a detachment of 200 men. All Quebec was filled with grief to see him embark on an expedition of war, tête à tête with the man La Chesnaye. Everybody says that the war is a sham, that these two will arrange everything between them and in a word do whatever will help their trade. The whole country is in despair to see how matters are managed." (Quoted by Parkman, "Frontenac," p. 103.)

[Pg 275]

After a long stay at Montreal the little army of 130 regular soldiers, 700 Canadians and 200 savages, principally Iroquois from Caughnawaga and Hurons from Lorette near Quebec, embarked at Lachine. The party from Montreal landed under the palisades of Fort Frontenac or Cataracqui, on a low, damp plain and became the victims of a malarial fever of which the men sickened. On the 3d of September Le Moyne was sent to La Famine at the mouth of the Salmon River, bringing with him the wily and astute orator of the Iroquois, Big Mouth, Latinized by La Hontan, who was present, as "Grangula." At the council which followed at La Famine, whither La Barre with such of his men who were well enough to move, had crossed to meet the Iroquois in their own territory, Big Mouth had all the honours and the ending was humiliating for the French. He declared the Iroquois could fight the Illinois to the death, and La Barre dared not utter a word in behalf of his allies. "He promised to decamp," says Parkman, "and set out for home on the following morning, being satisfied with the promise that the Iroquois would repair the damage done the French traders in the war against the Illinois—a promise never realized. La Barre embarked and hastened home in advance of his men. His camp was again full of the sick. Their comrades placed them, shivering with ague fits, on board the flatboats and canoes; and the whole force, scattered and disordered, floated down the current to Montreal. Nothing had been gained but a thin and flimsy peace, with new troubles and dangers plainly visible behind it." ("Frontenac," p. 111).

At Montreal, as a consequence of this disease-stricken expedition, the Hôtel-Dieu was filled with the sick, as was that of Quebec. The end was humiliating to La Barre; the honour was with the Iroquois and the Illinois allies had been shamefully abandoned. The treaty of La Famine was received by the colony with contumely and shortly afterwards the inefficient governor received his recall, polite, but unmistakable in its import.

On November 14th, Monseigneur de Laval left for France, sixty-one years of age, but broken down by his austere duties and unremitting labours. He attended the Sovereign Council on August 28th, and fought against the making of the secular clergy into "irremovable curés"—a policy which has been continued to this day. On November 2d, he established the Chapter of Quebec Cathedral, consisting of twelve canons and four chaplains. He came back to Quebec again on August 15, 1688, and took up his quarters at his beloved seminary founded by him, not any longer with the burdens and honours of the Episcopate, but as a simple retired prelate, the father-in-God of his seminarists—till nearly his death on May 6, 1708. He was a man who was a sign for contradiction to many, yet always firm, zealous, unbending and of upright principles, which even his enemies recognized, though they might have quailed before him and have withstood him.

De Meulles still continued as intendant, not being recalled till 1686. He was endowed with much initiative and executive ability, which La Barre wanted, so that he nearly brought the country to ruin. After the disgraceful treaty with the Iroquois, on September 4th, de Meulles found that the drain on the exchequer was so great that he was at his wits' end to pay the soldiers who belonged to "le détachement in French de la marine"—in spite of the name, purely a land body, supported by the department "of the marine," there being no colonial office to France. This detachment was organized in France about the year 1682, from among the [Pg 276] disbanded soldiers who had taken part in the Dutch or other wars, to protect the inhabitants of New France from the relentless raids of ever-roving bands of ruthless Iroquois, which had become so persistent as almost to paralyze the agricultural pursuits as well as the trade and commerce of the country.

How was the intendant, de Meulles, to pay these soldiers? There was little or no coin currency. Beaver skins and wheat were legal tender, but very bulky and very inconvenient for small accounts. The dearth of currency may be explained as follows: In New France currency difficulties had always prevailed because any few doles of coin that came from the home government were returned as remittances by the importers as the balance of trade was always against the colony and therefore exchange was necessarily high. In 1670 a special coinage of 15 and 5 sol pieces of silver and doubles in copper were struck at Paris and sent out with a proviso that they should not be circulated in the mother country. But notwithstanding this interdiction these also were sent as remittances. Thus there was little or no coin currency in the country with which to trade. The ready witted intendant therefore invented the pioneer paper money, which originally circulated in the form of a note, on the back of an ordinary playing card signed by de Meulles, in 1685. It was the beginning of the paper money which is now so largely used all over the world. De Meulles hit upon the plan of using whole, or cutting up, ordinary playing cards into halves or quarters, with the word "bon" inserted on each, for a certain sum, signed and sealed in wax with his own hand and countersigned by the clerk of the treasury as they were issued. This emergency card money is claimed by Mr. R. W. McLachlan as the first regular paper money issued in any Caucasian nation. He claims that the Massachusetts paper money, issued first five years after that of Canada, for the similar purpose of paying soldiers, was an imitation.

Card Money

A new supply of these cards was issued in October, 1711. The old issue disappeared and there is not one left even for antiquarian collections. Further issues were made in 1714 and 1717, but in this latter year the total withdrawal of the old cards was ordered. By 1720 these cards had all been redeemed by the government.

In 1721 a copper currency was struck for the colony at the mint of La Rochelle and Rouen of nine denier pieces. Though issued with a proclamation throughout New France they were never acceptable to the Canadians and were at last withdrawn. There was then after the issue of the cards of 1717 a lull of about ten years, when in 1729 recourse was again had to the convenient paper money, but the playing card was superseded by a plain white card with clipped edges and with various other changes in stamps and signatures. This system was continued until Intendant Bigot's time and the fall of New France. The inventory of Jacques LeBer of Montreal, dated June 7, 1735, showing coins to the value of 84 livres 8 sols 3 deniers, and card money to the value of 2833.3.0, indicates the early predominance of card money. About 1750 Bigot introduced, as a new currency, an unauthorized note called an "ordonnance," which, unlike the card issue, did not seek the governor's approval by seal or signature. They were more than twice as large, on forms printed in France on ordinary writing paper, with blank spaces for filling in the amount, the date, and number in writing. These "ordonnances" were orders on the treasury of Quebec or, in the case of the fall of the capital, of Montreal, which could pass as cash and were redeemable [Pg 277] in bulk, either in card money, or by drafts on the treasurer of the marine in France. This method afforded ample scope for peculation both from the government and the people. At first Bigot's issue of "ordonnances" was slight but by the end of the French régime, it exceeded 80,000,000 livres or nearly $14,000,000. This was a large sum for an impoverished country to refund. It was years after it was redeemed and some never so by the French Government, after the fall of the French régime in Canada. The cards and "ordonnances" were a drug on the market for many years pending redemption, so that the original holders gained very little. The introduction of specie did much to reconcile the French to the British régime. [131]


La Barre's successor was the Marquis of Denonville, a pious colonel of dragoons, who had seen much active service, and who could act when occasion required with firmness and vigour. In the same boat with him and his wife there arrived at Quebec in the beginning of August, 1685, Laval's successor, the bishop-elect, the young, impetuous, zealous and rigid Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier—and a lasting friendship was then cemented. Denonville's instructions ordered him to uphold the allies of France, to humiliate the Iroquois and to establish peace on a solid basis. He was to spare no effort to maintain a good understanding with the English but should they and the Iroquois be allied in their battles, they were to be treated as enemies. On the 6th of August he presided at the Sovereign Council. After staying a short time at Quebec he went to Montreal and there set up the Chevalier de Callières, a former captain of the Navarre Regiment, as the governor in place of M. Perrot, who had been sent to Acadia (being appointed in 1684), where as governor he pursued the same tactics as at Montreal and was replaced in 1687. Denonville's reign with the English and the Iroquois was stormy, but he was singularly peaceful in his relations with the bishop, the intendant and the governor of Montreal.

La Croix Chevrieres de Saint-Vallier
Brisay Denonville

A gloomy picture of Canadian life, which applies equally to Montreal, was sent by Denonville to France in his letters of August 20, September 3 and November 12, 1685. "The youths," he says, "are so badly trained that the moment they are able to shoulder a gun their fathers dare not speak reprovingly to them. They do not take kindly to labour, having no occupation but hunting; they prefer the life of the coureur de bois, where there is no curé or father to restrain them, and in which they adopt the life of the Indian even to going about naked. The life has great attractions for them, for on carnival days and other days of feasting and debauchery they imitate the Indian in all things, their company being frequently lawless and unruly. The noblesse of Canada is in a condition of extreme poverty. To increase their number is to multiply a class of lounging idlers. The sons of the councillors are not more industrious than the other youths. The men are tall, well made, well set up, robust, active, accustomed to live on little. They are wayward, lightminded and inclined to debauchery but have intelligence and veracity; the women and girls, pretty, but idle from want of occupation in the minor work of the sex.

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"Nothing," says Denonville, "can be finer or better conceived than the regulations formed for the government of this country; but nothing, I assure you, is so ill-observed as regards both the fur trade and the general discipline of the colony. One great evil is the infinite number of drinking shops, which makes it almost impossible to remedy the disorders resulting from them. All the rascals and idlers of the country are attracted to this business of tavern keeping. They never dream of tilling the soil, but on the contrary they deter the other inhabitants from it, and end with ruining them. I know seignories where there are but twenty houses, and more than half of them dram shops. At Three Rivers there are twenty-five houses and liquor may be had at eighteen or twenty of them. Ville Marie (Montreal) and Quebec are on the same footing. The villages governed by the Jesuits and Sulpicians are models. Drunkenness there is not seen. But it is sad to see the ignorance of the population at a distance from the abodes of the curés, who are put to the greatest trouble to remedy the evils, traveling from place to place through the parishes in their charges." (Denonville au ministre, Parkman, "Old Régime," pp. 375-6-7; vide, résumé of Kingsford, I, 65.)

The clergy, however, did their work manfully and unflinchingly and it was their devotion to their work of upbuilding the morality and character of the French Canadians that assured them the prestige which is enjoyed by them to this day. Bishop St. Vallier confirms Denonville, La Barre, Duchesneau and other contemporary writers when he says that, "the Canadian youths are for the most part demoralized," and although previously, in 1688, he had written very favourably on the religious state of Canada, in a pastoral mandate of October 31, 1690, he says: "Before we first knew our flock we thought that the English and the Iroquois were the only wolves we had to fear; but God having opened our eyes to the disorders of this diocese and made us feel more and more the weight of our charge, we are forced to confess that our most dangerous foes are drunkenness, impurity, and slander." The Canadian drank hard and many a man was old at forty. "But," says Parkman ("Old Régime," p. 378), "nevertheless the race did not die out. The prevalence of early marriages and the birth of numerous offspring before the vigour of the father had been wasted ensured the strength and hardihood which characterized the Canadians." Bishop St. Vallier soon visited Montreal and his description of the mountain settlement we have already given.

Here we may add a scathing picture which occurs in the ordinance of Monseigneur Jean Baptiste de Saint-Vallier, dated October 22, 1686, touching modesty and the want of veneration in the churches. It may justly apply to the Montreal ladies of the period, since it complains, "of the luxury and the vanity reigning, throughout the whole country among the girls and grown-up women, with more licence and scandal than ever. They are not content to have on them habits, the price and style of which are much above the means or the condition of life of those wearing them, but they affect moreover immodest head-dresses within and without their homes, and often even in the churches, leaving heads uncovered or only decked with a transparent veil and with an assemblage of ribbons, lace work, curls and other vanities. But what is still more to be deplored, and what pierces our soul with sorrow, is that they have no difficulty in rendering themselves the instruments of the demon and in cooperating with the loss of souls, bought by [Pg 279] the blood of Jesus Christ, by uncovering the nudités of their neck and shoulders, the sight of which makes an infinite number of persons to fall." The good bishop might be similarly shocked if he visited Montreal today. [132]

In the spring of 1685, M. de Callières, the governor of Montreal, employed 600 men under the direction of M. du Luth, royal engineer, to erect a palisade around the town. [133] It was made of wood stakes furnished by the citizens and had to be constantly repaired. This palisade, with curtains and bastions, was 13 feet in height and there were five gates, those of Lachine, the Recollects, the Port, St. Martin and St. Lawrence; and five posterns, de Maricourt, the barracks, the General Hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu and de Callières.

About this time there was apparently laxity in the retention of arms. For one cause or another many households were very scantily accommodated, through sale or truck, or on account of seizure for debt. Accordingly a notice of the supreme council was affixed to the door of the parish church of Montreal by the sergeant, Quesneville, on February 18, 1686. After emphasizing the importance of the obligation which the Marquis de Denonville had laid upon every house-holder in the colony of being well armed, the council forbade all persons of whatever quality or condition to deprive themselves of their arms by sale or otherwise, unless they had weapons beyond what was necessary, to arm each father of the family, and his children and domestics, who shall have attained to the age of fourteen years; it forbade all "huissiers and sergeants of justice to seize these arms, all tavern keepers and others to buy them, or truck them, under penalties named."

With Denonville's advent as the representative of Louis XIV, the struggle for supremacy between Canada and the English, under Thomas Dongan, the Irish Catholic governor of New York representing James II, of England, began to assume warlike proportions. The English of New York were laying claim to the whole country south of the Great Lakes and were anxious to control the great western fur trade. The northern fur trade was being bid for by the Hudson's Bay Company, and the fisheries of New Acadia were being seized upon by the New Englanders. In the regions of Michillimackinac the English were striving to alienate the Hurons, Ottawas and other like tribes; they had already on their side, the Iroquois, whose arrogance to the French, especially that of the Senecas, was so galling that it seemed necessary for French prestige to humble them. Such were de Denonville's instructions. This was one of the reasons why he wished to build his fort at Niagara as early as May, 1685—a project highly displeasing to Dongan—to counteract the English desire for the same purpose, namely to obtain supremacy over the tribes in that direction and to be masters of the trade, for that was what most mattered. [134]

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This was de Denonville's motive also for his projected forts at Toronto, or Lake Erie, and that at Détroit, for which latter enterprise he commissioned du Luth of Montreal. The intense rivalry showed itself in 1686 in the organized attempt of the French to dispute the supremacy claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company, then in its infancy, on the western shore of that dreary inland sea. As so many Montrealers joined in this effort, it may be recorded more fully than could otherwise be permitted.

Let us, then, turn to the rivalry existing between the English and French in Hudson's Bay, represented by the great company of that name and the Canadian rival body, "La Compagnie du Nord." The English firm had discovered the bay under Hudson and, with the help of the two renegade Frenchmen, Médard Chouart des Groseilliers and Pierre Esprit de Radisson, [135] both well known at Montreal, as bold and unscrupulous coureurs de bois and fur traders, had formed a company with English capital from London and had established Fort Nelson near the mouth of the Nelson River, and then other forts, Albany, Rupert and Monsipi or Monsoni (Fort Hayes) on the southern end of the bay. But the French had a grant of the fur industry from Louis XIV and had done some trading there before the advent of the English. It had been taken possession of, in 1672, in the name of Louis XIV by the Jesuit Albanel (one of the early Montreal missionaries) and M. de St. Simon, and the French had built Fort Thérèse, which, on being taken from them by the English, was named Fort Nelson.

The French merchants desiring to oust their competitors appealed to Denonville and he commissioned the Chevalier de Troyes, a captain of infantry, to chase the English from the bay and retake their own. With him went the young d'Iberville (then twenty-four years of age) and his brothers Maricourt and St. Hélène, seventy Canadians and thirty soldiers, "all," says Ferland, "accustomed to long marches, able to manage canoes, to withstand the most piercing colds and well versed in 'la petite guerre.'" Their chaplain was the Jesuit Silvy. The party left Montreal in the month of March, 1686, when the rivers were still frozen and the snow was on the ground. They mounted the rivers and lakes on their snowshoes, dragging their provisions, arms and materials for canoe construction on their sleds, reaching the River Monsipi, near Fort Hayes, the first English fort, in June or so, which shortly afterwards fell with Forts Rupert and Albany, largely on account of the brilliant exploits of d'Iberville, whose reputation was established on this occasion. The whole expedition lasted only two months.

This brave buccaneering angered the English. A treaty of neutrality intervening between the two powers of France and England left them helpless for the moment, but in 1693 the Hudson's Bay Company were again in possession. [Pg 281] In 1697, as we shall see, d'Iberville will again be in their waters and attacking these forts.

The year 1687 marks the tragic death of La Salle. In 1684 his last expedition had sailed from La Rochelle directly for the Mississippi, carrying three priests at least, his brother, the Sulpician, Jean Cavelier, and the Recollects, Zendbre Membre and Anastase Douay; twelve gentlemen of France and also soldiers, artisans and labourers, in all to the number of 144 persons, with a full supply of provisions and implements. There were four vessels, Le Joly, a frigate of thirty-six cannons; La Belle, six cannons; St. François, a transport; and l'Aimable, a fluke of 300 tons. M. de Beaujean, sailing in Le Joly, was commander of the squadron and La Salle led the land forces.

Disaster after disaster befell the expedition. M. de Beaujean passed the mouth of the Mississippi without noticing it, it being reserved for Le Moyne d'Iberville in 1699 to be the first white man to descend it by the sea. One vessel ran aground, another was captured by the Spaniards, with those that carried the greater part of the ammunition, implements and provisions. Beaujean in consequence of serious disagreements with La Salle returned to France with Le Joly and the luckless explorer found himself reduced, by these losses and by sickness, to the number of thirty-six despairing colonists. In this plight La Salle conceived the plan of reaching Canada on foot. Sixteen of his party consented to follow him, among them his brother Jean, his nephew Moranget, the faithful Joutel, du Hault and his servant Larchevêque, Hiens of Wurtembourg a buccaneer, Ruter Liotot or Lanquetot, the surgeon of the expedition, Sager and Nika, and the faithful Recollect, Père Douay, who accompanied La Salle to his last hour.

On March 17, 1687, two months after the departure from the Bay of Matagorda, on the coast of Texas, which the expedition had reached at the end of January, the surgeon, Liotot, slew with his axe Moranget, Sager and Nika. He was but the cowardly executor of the order of a band of assassins of the rest of the party, consisting of Hiens, Larchevêque and their leader du Hault. Fearing the vengeance of La Salle, two days later, the mutineers determined to make away with him, and on March 19th, between the rivers, San Jacinto and La Trinité, Robert René de Cavelier, at the age of forty-three years and four months, fell a victim to the musket of the treacherous du Hault. [136]

Joutel, who accompanied the expedition and whom Charlevoix met in Rouen in 1713 and described as a very honest man and one of the few of his troop that La Salle could count on, says of his friend in the "Journal historique du dernier voyage que feu M. de la Salle fit dans le Golfe du Mexique, Paris, 1713," written on the notes taken from 1684-1687: "Thus unhappily ended the life of M. de la Salle, at the time when he had all to hope for from his great labours. He had the intelligence and talent to crown his enterprise with success—firmness, courage, a great knowledge of sciences and arts, which rendered him capable of anything, and an indefatigable perseverance which made him surmount every obstacle. These fine qualities were balanced by too haughty manners, which made him sometimes unsupportable, and by a harshness towards those who were [Pg 282] under him, which drew upon him their implacable hatred and was the cause of his death." Ferland (Cours d'Histoire t. II, p. 172) has a similar judgment. We have different writings on the death of La Salle: first, the story of Father Douay, the eye witness of the assassination; he gave the details to Joutel, who was not present at the moment of the crime; second, "La Relation of the death of Sieur de la Salle, following the report of one named Couture." This Couture of Rouen, who had remained with Tonti, had learned the circumstances of the assassination of La Salle from a Frenchman. This description shows animosity to La Salle; third, the "Mémoire" of Henry Tonti. The "Relation" of Abbé Cavelier stops before the death of his brother.

All the assassins perished miserably. Liotot and du Hault died at the hands of Ruter, a Breton sailor. Hiens and Ruter were also slain by one of their accomplices. (Parkman, Great West, p. 461.) Larchevêque was discovered in Texas by the Spaniards and was sent to Mexico to work in the mines as a galley slave. Père Douay, l'Abbé Cavelier, Joutel and others finished by arriving at Arkansas and from there they went to Fort St. Louis on the Illinois.

Thus ended the career of one of the most remarkable men of this continent. The lights and shades of this man's story are fascinating but we cannot pursue them. For Montrealers he is interesting in that he, one of their predecessors, it was who discovered by land the Ohio and the mouth of the Mississippi, and the vast district of Louisiana, of which he had taken solemn possession on April 9, 1682, in the name of Louis XIV. It remained for another Montrealer, Le Moyne d'Iberville, to build a stockade fort at Biloxi in 1699 to hold the country for the king, thus laying the first foundations of Louisiana in Mississippi, which soon saw also the forts of Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island. The first governors of Louisiana the brothers d'Iberville and de Bienville, are also proudly remembered as of M