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      ** Denonville au Ministre, 13 Nov., 1686.


      [8] An account of him will be found in Palfrey, Hist. of New England, II. 225, note.


      Whilst the Opposition was in the dejection of disappointed hopes, suddenly there arose an explosion of popular opinion against the Catholics, stimulated and led on by an insane fanatic, which threatened the most direful consequences, and produced sufficiently frightful onesthe so-called Gordon Riots.Aside from the fur trade of the Company, the whole life of the colony was in missions, convents, religious schools, and hospitals. Here on the rock of Quebec were the appendages, useful and otherwise, of an old-established civilization. While as yet there were no inhabitants, and no immediate hope of any, there were institutions for the care of children, the sick, and the decrepit. All these were supported by a charity in most cases precarious. The Jesuits relied chiefly on the Company, who, by the terms of their patent, were obliged to maintain religious worship. [16] Of the origin of the 158 convent, hospital, and seminary I shall soon have occasion to speak.

      VILLEMARIE DE MONTREAL.


      On the 15th the British squadron brought in the Emigrant troops from the Elbe, under the young and gallant Count de Sombreuil; but they amounted only to eleven thousand men. Puisaye now ordered the Count de Vauban to advance against Hoche with twelve thousand Chouans, and, whilst they attacked on the right, he himself attacked his lines in front. After some desperate fighting they were driven back, and lost most of their cannon in the deep sand of the isthmus. Their misfortunes were completed, on the 20th, by the garrison of the fort of Penthivre going over to the enemy, surrendering the fort to them, and helping to massacre such of their officers and comrades as refused to follow their example. The English admiral exerted himself to receive the remainder of the troops who remained true on board his ships; but the storminess of the weather and the impatience of the fugitives rendered this a most difficult task. About fourteen thousand regulars and two thousand four hundred Chouans were got on board; but Sombreuil, exposed to the murderous fire from the enemy whilst waiting on the beach, surrendered on promise of life. No sooner, however, were they in the hands of the Republicans than all the officers and gentlemen were led out and shot; and the common men enrolled in Hoche's regiments.

      The governor, the intendant, and the supreme council or court, were absolute masters of Canada under the pleasure of the king. Legislative, judicial, and executive power, all centred in them. We have seen already the very unpromising beginnings of the supreme council. It had consisted at first of the governor, the bishop, and five councillors chosen by them. The intendant was soon added to form the ruling triumvirate; but the appointment of the councillors, the occasion of so many quarrels, was afterwards exercised by the king himself. ** Even the name of the council underwent a change in the interest of his autocracy, and he commanded that it should no longer be called the Supreme, but only the Superior Council. The same change had just been imposed on all the high tribunals of France. *** Under the shadow of the fleur-de-lis, the king alone was to be supreme.

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      Father Hennepin Celebrating Mass.

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      [16] Vimont, Relation, 1645, 29.

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      Such, in brief, was the substance of this singular proposition. And, first, it is to be observed that it is based on a geographical blunder, the nature of which is explained by the map of La Salle's discoveries made in this very year. Here the river Seignelay, or Red River, is represented as running parallel to the northern border of Mexico, and at no great distance from it,the region now called Texas being almost entirely suppressed. According to the map, New Biscay might be reached from this river in a few days; and, after crossing the intervening forests, the coveted mines of Ste. Barbe, or Santa Barbara, would be within striking distance.[267] That La Salle believed in the possibility of invading the Spanish province of New Biscay from Red River there can be no doubt; neither can it reasonably be doubted that he hoped at some future day to make the attempt; and yet it is incredible that a man in his sober senses could have proposed this scheme with the intention of attempting to execute it at the time and in the manner which he indicates.[268] This memorial bears [Pg 349] some indications of being drawn up in order to produce a certain effect on the minds of the King and his minister. La Salle's immediate necessity was to obtain from them the means for establishing a fort and a colony within the mouth of the Mississippi. This was essential to his own plans; nor did he in the least exaggerate the value of such an establishment to the French nation, and the importance of anticipating other powers in the possession of it. But he thought that he needed a more glittering lure to attract the eyes of Louis and Seignelay; and thus, it may be, he held before them, in a definite and tangible form, the project of Spanish conquest which had haunted his imagination from youth,trusting that the speedy conclusion of peace, which actually took place, would absolve him from the immediate execution of the scheme, and give him time, with the means placed at his disposal, to mature his plans and prepare for eventual action. Such a procedure may be charged with indirectness; but there is a different explanation, which we shall suggest hereafter, and which implies no such reproach.[269]


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