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Crusaders of New France A Chronicle of the Fleur-de-Lis in the Wilderness Chronicles of America, Volume 4   By: (1875-1957)

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First Page:

CRUSADERS OF NEW FRANCE

THE CHRONICLES OF AMERICA SERIES

ALLEN JOHNSON EDITOR

GERHARD R. LOMER CHARLES W. JEFFERYS ASSISTANT EDITORS

CRUSADERS OF NEW FRANCE

A CHRONICLE OF THE FLEUR DE LIS IN THE WILDERNESS

BY WILLIAM BENNETT MUNRO

1918

To my good friend FATHER HENRI BEAUDÉ ( Henri d'Arles ) this tribute to the men of his race and faith is affectionately inscribed.

CONTENTS

I. FRANCE OF THE BOURBONS II. A VOYAGEUR OF BRITTANY III. THE FOUNDING OF NEW FRANCE IV. THE AGE OF LOUIS QUATORZE V. THE IRON GOVERNOR VI. LA SALLE AND THE VOYAGEURS VII. THE CHURCH IN NEW FRANCE VIII. SEIGNEURS OF OLD CANADA IX. THE COUREURS DE BOIS X. AGRICULTURE, INDUSTRY, AND TRADE XI. HOW THE PEOPLE LIVED BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE INDEX

CRUSADERS OF NEW FRANCE

CHAPTER I

FRANCE OF THE BOURBONS

France, when she undertook the creation of a Bourbon empire beyond the seas, was the first nation of Europe. Her population was larger than that of Spain, and three times that of England. Her army in the days of Louis Quatorze, numbering nearly a half million in all ranks, was larger than that of Rome at the height of the imperial power. No nation since the fall of Roman supremacy had possessed such resources for conquering and colonizing new lands. By the middle of the seventeenth century Spain had ceased to be a dangerous rival; Germany and Italy were at the time little more than geographical expressions, while England was in the throes of the Puritan Revolution.

Nor was it only in the arts of war that the hegemony of the Bourbon kingdom stood unquestioned. In art and education, in manners and fashions, France also dominated the ideas of the old continent, the dictator of social tastes as well as the grim warrior among the nations. In the second half of the seventeenth century France might justly claim to be both the heart and the head of Europe. Small wonder it was that the leaders of such a nation should demand to see the "clause in Adam's will" which bequeathed the New World to Spain and Portugal. Small wonder, indeed, that the first nation of Europe should insist upon a place in the sun to which her people might go to trade, to make land yield its increase, and to widen the Bourbon sway. If ever there was a land able and ready to take up the white man's burden, it was the France of Louis XIV.

The power and prestige of France at this time may be traced, in the main, to three sources. First there were the physical features, the compactness of the kingdom, a fertile soil, a propitious climate, and a frontage upon two great seas. In an age when so much of a nation's wealth came from agriculture these were factors of great importance. Only in commerce did the French people at this time find themselves outstripped by their neighbors. Although both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean bathed the shores of France, her people were being outdistanced on the seas by the English and the Dutch, whose commercial companies were exploiting the wealth of the new continents both east and west. Yet in France there was food enough for all and to spare; it was only because the means of distributing it were so poor that some got more and others less than they required. France was supporting at this time a population half as large as that of today.

Then there were qualities of race which helped to make the nation great. At all periods in their history the French have shown an almost inexhaustible stamina, an ability to bear disasters, and to rise from them quickly, a courage and persistence that no obstacles seem able to thwart. How often in the course of the centuries has France been torn apart by internecine strife or thrown prostrate by her enemies only to astonish the world by a superb display of recuperative powers! It was France that first among the kingdoms of Europe rose from feudal chaos to orderly nationalism; it was France that first among continental countries after the Middle Ages established the reign of law throughout a powerful realm... Continue reading book >>




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