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The Conquest of Canada, Vol. 2   By: (1816-1857)

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In the year 1750, commissioners met at Paris to adjust the various boundaries of the North American territories, M. de Galissonière and M. de Silhouette on the part of France, and Messrs. Shirley and Mildmay on the part of Great Britain. The English commissioners, however, soon perceived that there was little chance of arriving at a friendly arrangement. The more they advanced in their offers, the more the French demanded; futile objections were started, and unnecessary delays continued; at length Mr. Shirley[1] and his colleague broke up the conference, and returned to England. [1752.] It now became evident that a decisive struggle was at hand.

Under the rule of M. de la Jonquière, a great and growing evil cankered the spirit of Canada. The scanty salaries[2] allowed to the government officers afforded a great inducement to peculation, especially as the remoteness of the colony rendered retribution distant and uncertain. The Indian trade opened a field for enormous dishonesty: M. Bigot, the intendant, discontented with his inadequate stipend, ventured to farm out trade licenses for his own profit and that of his creatures, and speedily accumulated considerable wealth; he, the governor, and a few others, formed themselves into a company, and monopolized nearly all the commerce of the country, to the great indignation of the colonists. M. de la Jonquière and his secretary, St. Sauveur, also kept exclusively to themselves the nefarious privilege of supplying brandy to the Indians: by this they realized immense profits.

At length a storm of complaints arose against the unworthy governor, and even reached the dull ears of his patrons at the court of France. Aware that his case would not bear investigation, he demanded his recall; but, before a successor could be appointed, he died at Quebec on the 17th of May, 1752,[3] aged sixty seven years. Though not possessed of brilliant gifts, M. de la Jonquière was a man of considerable ability, and had displayed notable courage and conduct in many engagements; but a miserable avarice stained his character, and he died enormously wealthy, while denying himself the ordinary necessaries of his rank and situation.[4] Charles Le Moine, Baron de Longueuil, then governor of Montreal, being next in seniority, assumed the reins of power until the arrival of a successor.

The Marquis du Quesne de Menneville was appointed governor of Canada, Louisiana, Cape Breton, &c., on the recall of M. de la Jonquière in 1752. He was reputed a man of ability, but was of haughty and austere disposition. Galissonière, who had recommended the appointment, furnished him with every information respecting the colony and the territorial claims of France: thus instructed, he landed at Quebec in August, where he was received with the usual ceremonies.

The orders given to the new governor with regard to the disputed boundaries were such as to leave little doubt on his mind that the sword alone could enable him to secure their execution, and the character of his stubborn though unwarlike rivals promised a determined resistance to his views.[5] His first attention was therefore directed to the military resources of his command. He forthwith organized the militia[6] of Quebec and Montreal under efficient officers, and attached bodies of artillery to the garrison of each city; the militia of the country parishes next underwent a careful inspection, and nothing was neglected to strengthen the efficiency of his army.

In 1753, several French detachments were sent to the banks of the Ohio,[7] with orders to establish forts, and to secure the alliance of the Indians by liberal presents and splendid promises. The wily savages, however, quickly perceived that the rival efforts of the two great European powers would soon lead to a war of which their country must be the scene, and they endeavored, to the utmost of their ability, to rid themselves of both their dangerous visitors... Continue reading book >>

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