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Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 7

A Chronicle of Frontenac




The Canada to which Frontenac came in 1672 was no longer
the infant colony it had been when Richelieu founded the
Company of One Hundred Associates. Through the efforts
of Louis XIV and Colbert it had assumed the form of an
organized province. [Footnote: See The Great Intendant
in this Series.] Though its inhabitants numbered less
than seven thousand, the institutions under which they
lived could not have been more elaborate or precise. In
short, the divine right of the king to rule over his
people was proclaimed as loudly in the colony as in the

It was inevitable that this should be so, for the whole
course of French history since the thirteenth century
had led up to the absolutism of Louis XIV. During the
early ages of feudalism France had been distracted by
the wars of her kings against rebellious nobles. The
virtues and firmness of Louis IX (1226-70) had turned
the scale in favour of the crown. There were still to be
many rebellions--the strife of Burgundians and Armagnacs
in the fifteenth century, the Wars of the League in the
sixteenth century, the cabal of the Fronde in the
seventeenth century--but the great issue had been settled
in the days of the good St Louis. When Raymond VII of
Toulouse accepted the Peace of Lorris (1243) the government
of Canada by Louis XIV already existed in the germ. That
is to say, behind the policy of France in the New World
may be seen an ancient process which had ended in
untrammelled autocracy at Paris.

This process as it affected Canada was not confined to
the spirit of government. It is equally visible in the
forms of colonial administration. During the Middle Ages
the dukes and counts of France had been great territorial
lords--levying their own armies, coining their own money,
holding power of life and death over their vassals. In
that period Normandy, Brittany, Maine, Anjou, Toulouse,
and many other districts, were subject to the king in
name only. But, with the growth of royal power, the dukes
and counts steadily lost their territorial independence
and fell at last to the condition of courtiers.
Simultaneously the duchies or counties were changed into
provinces, each with a noble for its governor--but a
noble who was a courtier, holding his commission from
the king and dependent upon the favour of the king. Side
by side with the governor stood the intendant, even more
a king's man than the governor himself. So jealously did
the Bourbons guard their despotism that the crown
would not place wide authority in the hands of any one
representative. The governor, as a noble and a soldier,
knew little or nothing of civil business. To watch over
the finances and the prosperity of the province, an
intendant was appointed. This official was always
chosen from the middle class and owed his position, his
advancement, his whole future, to the king. The governor
might possess wealth, or family connections. The intendant
had little save what came to him from his sovereign's
favour. Gratitude and interest alike tended to make him
a faithful servant.

But, though the crown had destroyed the political power
of the nobles, it left intact their social pre-eminence.
The king was as supreme as a Christian ruler could be.
Yet by its very nature the monarchy could not exist
without the nobles, from whose ranks the sovereign drew
his attendants, friends, and lieutenants. Versailles
without its courtiers would have been a desert. Even the
Church was a stronghold of the aristocracy, for few became
bishops or abbots who were not of gentle birth.

The great aim of government, whether at home or in the
colonies, was to maintain the supremacy of the crown.
Hence all public action flowed from a royal command. The
Bourbon theory required that kings should speak and that
subjects should obey. One direct consequence of a system
so uncompromisingly despotic was the loss of all local
initiative. Nothing in the faintest degree resembling
the New England town-meeting ever existed in New France.
Louis XIV objected to public gatherings of his people,
even for the most innocent purposes. The sole limitation
to the power of the king was the line of cleavage between
Church and State. Religion required that the king should
refrain from invading the sphere of the clergy, though
controversy often waxed fierce as to where the secular
ended and the spiritual began.

When it became necessary to provide institutions for
Canada, the organization of the province in France at
once suggested itself as a fit pattern. Canada, like
Normandy, had the governor and the intendant for her
chief officials, the seigneury for the groundwork of her
society, and mediaeval coutumes for her laws.

The governor represented the king's dignity and the force
of his arms. He was a noble, titled or untitled. It was
the business of the governor to wage war and of the
intendant to levy taxes. But as an expedition could not
be equipped without money, the governor looked to the
intendant for funds, and the intendant might object that
the plans of the governor were unduly extravagant. Worse
still, the commissions under which both held office were
often contradictory. More than three thousand miles
separated Quebec from Versailles, and for many months
governor and intendant quarrelled over issues which could
only be settled by an appeal to the king. Meanwhile each
was a spy as well as a check upon the other. In Canada
this arrangement worked even more harmfully than in
France, where the king could make himself felt without
great loss of time.

Yet an able intendant could do much good. There are few
finer episodes in the history of local government than
the work of Turgot as intendant of the Limousin.
[Footnote: Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-81), a
statesman, thinker, and philanthropist of the first order.
It was as intendant of Limoges that Turgot disclosed his
great powers. He held his post for thirteen years (1761-
74), and effected improvements which led Louis XVI to
appoint him comptroller-general of the Kingdom.] Canada
also had her Talon, whose efforts had transformed the
colony during the seven years which preceded Frontenac's
arrival. The fatal weakness was scanty population. This
Talon saw with perfect clearness, and he clamoured for
immigrants till Colbert declared that he would not
depopulate France to people Canada. Talon and Frontenac
came into personal contact only during a few weeks, but
the colony over which Frontenac ruled as governor had
been created largely by the intelligence and toil of
Talon as intendant. [Footnote: See The Great Intendant.]

While the provincial system of France gave Canada two
chief personages, a third came from the Church. In the
annals of New France there is no more prominent figure
than the bishop. Francois de Laval de Montmorency had
been in the colony since 1659. His place in history is
due in large part to his strong, intense personality,
but this must not be permitted to obscure the importance
of his office. His duties were to create educational
institutions, to shape ecclesiastical policy, and to
represent the Church in all its dealings with the

Many of the problems which confronted Laval had their
origin in special and rather singular circumstances. Few,
if any, priests had as yet been established in fixed
parishes--each with its church and presbytere. Under
ordinary conditions parishes would have been established
at once, but in Canada the conditions were far from
ordinary. The Canadian Church sprang from a mission. Its
first ministers were members of religious orders who had
taken the conversion of the heathen for their chosen
task. They had headquarters at Quebec or Montreal, but
their true field of action was the wilderness. Having
the red man rather than the settler as their charge, they
became immersed, and perhaps preoccupied, in their heroic
work. Thus the erection of parishes was delayed. More
than one historian has upbraided Laval for thinking so
much of the mission that he neglected the spiritual needs
of the colonists. However this may be, the colony owed
much to the missionaries--particularly to the Jesuits.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Society of Jesus
had been among the strongest forces which stood between
New France and destruction. Other supports failed. The
fur trade had been the corner-stone upon which Champlain
built up Quebec, but the profits proved disappointing.
At the best it was a very uncertain business. Sometimes
the prices in Paris dwindled to nothing because the market
was glutted. At other times the Indians brought no furs
at all to the trading-posts. With its export trade
dependent upon the caprice of the savages, the colony
often seemed not worth the keeping. In these years of
worst discouragement the existence of the mission was a
great prop.

On his arrival in 1672 Frontenac found the Jesuits, the
Sulpicians, and the Recollets all actively engaged in
converting the heathen. He desired that more attention
should be paid to the creation of parishes for the benefit
of the colonists. Over this issue there arose, as we
shall see by and by, acute differences between the bishop
and the governor.

Owing to the large part which religion had in the life
of New France the bishop took his place beside the governor
and the intendant. This was the triumvirate of dignitaries.
Primarily each represented a different interest--war,
business, religion. But they were brought into official
contact through membership in the Conseil Souverain,
which controlled all details of governmental action.

The Sovereign Council underwent changes of name and
composition, but its functions were at all times plainly
defined. In 1672 the members numbered seven. Of these
the governor, the bishop, and the intendant formed the
nucleus, the other four being appointed by them. In 1675
the king raised the number of councillors to ten, thus
diluting the authority which each possessed, and thenceforth
made the appointments himself. Thus during the greater
part of Frontenac's regime the governor, the bishop, and
the intendant had seven associates at the council-board.
Still, as time went on, the king felt that his control
over this body was not quite perfect. So in 1703 he
changed the name from Sovereign Council to Superior
Council, and increased its members to a total of fifteen.

The Council met at the Chateau St Louis on Monday morning
of each week, at a round table where the governor had
the bishop on his right hand and the intendant on his
left. Nevertheless the intendant presided, for the matters
under discussion fell chiefly in his domain. Of the other
councillors the attorney-general was the most conspicuous.
To him fell the task of sifting the petitions and
determining which should be presented. Although there
were local judges at Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal,
the Council had jurisdiction over all important cases,
whether criminal or civil. In the sphere of commerce its
powers were equally complete and minute. It told merchants
what profits they could take on their goods, and how
their goods should be classified with respect to the
percentage of profit allowed. Nothing was too petty for
its attention. Its records depict with photographic
accuracy the nature of French government in Canada. From
this source we can see how the principle of paternalism
was carried out to the last detail.

But Canada was a long way from France and the St Lawrence
was larger than the Seine. It is hard to fight against
nature, and in Canada there were natural obstacles which
withstood to some extent the forces of despotism. It is
easy to see how distance from the court gave both governor
and intendant a range of action which would have been
impossible in France. With the coming of winter Quebec
was isolated for more than six months. During this long
interval the two officials could do a great many things
of which the king might not have approved, but which he
was powerless to prevent. His theoretical supremacy was
thus limited by the unyielding facts of geography. And
a better illustration is found in the operation of the
seigneurial system upon which Canadian society was based.
In France a belated feudalism still held the common man
in its grip, and in Canada the forms of feudalism were
at least partially established. Yet the Canadian habitant
lived in a very different atmosphere from that breathed
by the Norman peasant. The Canadian seigneur had an
abundance of acreage and little cash. His grant was in
the form of uncleared land, which he could only make
valuable through the labours of his tenants or censitaires.
The difficulty of finding good colonists made it important
to give them favourable terms. The habitant had a hard
life, but his obligations towards his seigneur were not
onerous. The man who lived in a log-hut among the stumps
and could hunt at will through the forest was not a serf.
Though the conditions of life kept him close to his home,
Canada meant for him a new freedom.

Freest of all were the coureurs de bois, those dare-devils
of the wilderness who fill such a large place in the
history of the fur trade and of exploration. The Frenchman
in all ages has proved abundantly his love of danger and
adventure. Along the St Lawrence from Tadoussac to the
Sault St Louis seigneuries fringed the great river, as
they fringed the banks of its tributary, the Richelieu.
This was the zone of cultivation, in which log-houses
yielded, after a time, to white-washed cottages. But
above the Sault St Louis all was wilderness, whether one
ascended the St Lawrence or turned at Ile Perrot into
the Lake of Two Mountains and the Ottawa. For young and
daring souls the forest meant the excitement of discovery,
the licence of life among the Indians, and the hope of
making more than could be gained by the habitant from
his farm. Large profits meant large risks, and the coureur
de bois took his life in his hand. Even if he escaped
the rapid and the tomahawk, there was an even chance that
he would become a reprobate.

But if his character were of tough fibre, there was also
a chance that he might render service to his king. At
times of danger the government was glad to call on him
for aid. When Tracy or Denonville or Frontenac led an
expedition against the Iroquois, it was fortunate that
Canada could muster a cohort of men who knew woodcraft
as well as the Indians. In days of peace the coureur de
bois was looked on with less favour. The king liked to
know where his subjects were at every hour of the day
and night. A Frenchman at Michilimackinac, [Footnote:
The most important of the French posts in the western
portion of the Great Lakes, situated on the strait which
unites Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. It was here that
Saint-Lusson and Perrot took possession of the West in
the name of France (June 1671). See The Great Intendant,
pp. 115-16.] unless he were a missionary or a government
agent, incurred severe displeasure, and many were the
edicts which sought to prevent the colonists from taking
to the woods. But, whatever the laws might say, the
coureur de bois could not be put down. From time to time
he was placed under restraint, but only for a moment.
The intendant might threaten and the priest might plead.
It recked not to the coureur de bois when once his knees
felt the bottom of the canoe.

But of the seven thousand French who peopled Canada in
1672 it is probable that not more than four hundred were
scattered through the forest. The greater part of the
inhabitants occupied the seigneuries along the St Lawrence
and the Richelieu. Tadoussac was hardly more than a
trading-post. Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal were
but villages. In the main the life of the people was the
life of the seigneuries--an existence well calculated to
bring out in relief the ancestral heroism of the French
race. The grant of seigneurial rights did not imply that
the recipient had been a noble in France. The earliest
seigneur, Louis Hebert, was a Parisian apothecary, and
many of the Canadian gentry were sprung from the middle
class. There was nothing to induce the dukes, the counts,
or even the barons of France to settle on the soil of
Canada. The governor was a noble, but he lived at the
Chateau St Louis. The seigneur who desired to achieve
success must reside on the land he had received and see
that his tenants cleared it of the virgin forest. He
could afford little luxury, for in almost all cases his
private means were small. But a seigneur who fulfilled
the conditions of his grant could look forward to occupying
a relatively greater position in Canada than he could
have occupied in France, and to making better provision
for his children.

Both the seigneur and his tenant, the habitant, had a
stake in Canada and helped to maintain the colony in the
face of grievous hardships. The courage and tenacity of
the French Canadian are attested by what he endured
throughout the years when he was fighting for his foothold.
And if he suffered, his wife suffered still more. The
mother who brought up a large family in the midst of
stumps, bears, and Iroquois knew what it was to be

Obviously the Canada of 1672 lacked many things--among
them the stern resolve which animated the Puritans of
New England that their sons should have the rudiments of
an education. [Footnote: For example, Harvard College
was founded in 1636, and there was a printing-press at
Cambraidge, Mass., in 1638.] At this point the contrast
between New France and New England discloses conflicting
ideals of faith and duty. In later years the problem of
knowledge assumed larger proportions, but during the
period of Frontenac the chief need of Canada was heroism.
Possessing this virtue abundantly, Canadians lost no time
in lamentations over the lack of books or the lack of
wealth. The duty of the hour was such as to exclude all
remoter vistas. When called on to defend his hearth and
to battle for his race, the Canadian was ready.



Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau, was
born in 1620. He was the son of Henri de Buade, a noble
at the court of Louis XIII. His mother, Anne de Phelippeaux,
came from a stock which in the early Bourbon period
furnished France with many officials of high rank, notably
Louis de Phelippeaux, Comte de Pontchartrain. His father
belonged to a family of southern France whose estates
lay originally in Guienne. It was a fortunate incident
in the annals of this family that when Antoine de Bourbon
became governor of Guienne (1555) Geoffroy de Buade
entered his service. Thenceforth the Buades were attached
by close ties to the kings of Navarre. Frontenac's
grandfather, Antoine de Buade, figures frequently in the
Memoirs of Agrippa d'Aubigne as aide-de-camp to Henry
IV; Henri de Buade, Frontenac's father, was a playmate
and close friend of Louis XIII; [Footnote: As an
illustration of their intimacy, there is a story that
one day when Henry IV was indisposed he had these two
boys on his bed, and amused himself by making them fight
with each other.] and Frontenac himself was a godson and
a namesake of the king.

While fortune thus smiled upon the cradle of Louis de
Buade, some important favours were denied. Though nobly
born, Frontenac did not spring from a line which had been
of national importance for centuries, like that of
Montmorency or Chatillon. Nor did he inherit large estates.
The chief advantage which the Buades possessed came from
their personal relations with the royal family. Their
property in Guienne was not great, and neither Geoffroy,
Antoine, nor Henri had possessed commanding abilities.
Nor was Frontenac the boyhood friend of his king as his
father had been, for Louis XIV was not born till 1638.
Frontenac's rank was good enough to give him a chance at
the French court. For the rest, his worldly prosperity
would depend on his own efforts.

Inevitably he became a soldier. He entered the army at
fifteen. It was one of the greatest moments in French
history. Richelieu was prime minister, and the long strife
between France and the House of Hapsburg had just begun
to turn definitely in favour of France. Against the
Hapsburgs, with their two thrones of Spain and Austria,
[Footnote: Charles V held all his Spanish, Burgundian,
and Austrian inheritance in his own hand from 1519 to
1521. In 1521 he granted the Austrian possessions to his
brother Ferdinand. Thenceforth Spain and Austria were
never reunited, but their association in politics continued
to be intimate until the close of the seventeenth century.]
stood the Great Cardinal, ready to use the crisis of the
Thirty Years' War for the benefit of his nation--even
though this meant a league with heretics. At the moment
when Frontenac first drew the sword France (in nominal
support of her German allies) was striving to conquer
Alsace. The victory which brought the French to the Rhine
was won through the capture of Breisach, at the close of
1638. Then in swift succession followed those astounding
victories of Conde and Turenne which destroyed the military
pre-eminence of Spain, took the French to the gates of
Munich, and wrung from the emperor the Peace of Westphalia

During the thirteen years which followed Frontenac's
first glimpse of war it was a glorious thing to be a
French soldier. The events of such an era could not fail
to leave their mark upon a high-spirited and valorous
youth. Frontenac was predestined by family tradition to
a career of arms; but it was his own impetuosity that
drove him into war before the normal age. He first served
under Prince Frederick Henry of Orange, who was then at
the height of his reputation. After several campaigns in
the Low Countries his regiment was transferred to the
confines of Spain and France. There, in the year of
Richelieu's death (1642), he fought at the siege of
Perpignan. That he distinguished himself may be seen from
his promotion, at twenty-three, to the rank of colonel.
In the same year (1643) Louis XIV came to the throne;
and Conde, by smiting the Spaniards at Rocroi, won for
France the fame of having the best troops in Europe.

It was not the good fortune of Frontenac to serve under
either Conde or Turenne during those campaigns, so
triumphant for France, which marked the close of the
Thirty Years' War. From Perpignan he was ordered to
northern Italy, where in the course of three years he
performed the exploits which made him a brigadier-general
at twenty-six. Though repeatedly wounded, he survived
twelve years of constant fighting with no more serious
casualty than a broken arm which he carried away from
the siege of Orbitello. By the time peace was signed at
Munster he had become a soldier well proved in the most
desperate war which had been fought since Europe accepted

To the great action of the Thirty Years' War there soon
succeeded the domestic commotion of the Fronde. Richelieu,
despite his high qualities as a statesman, had been a
poor financier; and Cardinal Mazarin, his successor, was
forced to cope with a discontent which sprang in part
from the misery of the masses and in part from the ambition
of the nobles. As Louis XIV was still an infant when his
father died, the burden of government fell in name upon
the queen-mother, Anne of Austria, but in reality upon
Mazarin. Not even the most disaffected dared to rebel
against the young king in the sense of disputing his
right to reign. But in 1648 the extreme youth of Louis
XIV made it easy for discontented nobles, supported by
the Parlement of Paris, to rebel against an unpopular

The year 1648, which witnessed the Peace of Westphalia
and the outbreak of the Fronde, was rendered memorable
to Frontenac by his marriage. It was a runaway match,
which began an extraordinary alliance between two very
extraordinary people. The bride, Anne de la Grange-Trianon,
was a daughter of the Sieur de Neuville, a gentleman
whose house in Paris was not far from that of Frontenac's
parents. At the time of the elopement she was only sixteen,
while Frontenac had reached the ripe age of twenty-eight.
Both were high-spirited and impetuous. We know also that
Frontenac was hot-tempered. For a short time they lived
together and there was a son. But before the wars of the
Fronde had closed they drifted apart, from motives which
were personal rather than political.

Madame de Frontenac then became a maid of honour to the
Duchesse de Montpensier, daughter of Gaston d'Orleans
[Footnote: Gaston d'Orleans was the younger brother of
Louis XIII, and heir-presumptive until the birth of Louis
XIV in 1638. His vanity and his complicity in plots to
overthrow Richelieu are equally famous.] and first cousin
to Louis XIV. This princess, known as La Grande
Mademoiselle, plunged into the politics of the Fronde
with a vigour which involved her whole household--Madame
de Frontenac included--and wrote Memoirs in which her
adventures are recorded at full length, to the pungent
criticism of her foes and the enthusiastic glorification
of herself. Madame de Frontenac was in attendance upon
La Grande Mademoiselle during the period of her most
spectacular exploits and shared all the excitement which
culminated with the famous entry of Orleans in 1652.

Madame de Frontenac was beautiful, and to beauty she
added the charm of wit. With these endowments she made
her way despite her slender means--and to be well-born
but poor was a severe hardship in the reign of Louis XIV.
Her portrait at Versailles reflects the striking personality
and the intelligence which won for her the title La
Divine. Throughout an active life she never lacked powerful
friends, and Saint-Simon bears witness to the place she
held in the highest and most exclusive circle of court

Frontenac and his wife lived together only during the
short period 1648-52. But intercourse was not wholly
severed by the fact of domestic separation. It is clear
from the Memoirs of the Duchesse de Montpensier that
Frontenac visited his wife at Saint-Fargeau, the country
seat to which the duchess had been exiled for her part
in the wars of the Fronde. Such evidence as there is
seems to show that Madame de Frontenac considered herself
deeply wronged by her husband and was unwilling to accept
his overtures. From Mademoiselle de Montpensier we hear
little after 1657, the year of her quarrel with Madame
de Frontenac. The maid of honour was accused of disloyalty,
tears flowed, the duchess remained obdurate, and, in
short, Madame de Frontenac was dismissed.

The most sprightly stories of the Frontenacs occur in
these Memoirs of La Grande Mademoiselle. Unfortunately
the Duchesse de Montpensier was so self-centred that her
witness is not dispassionate. She disliked Frontenac,
without concealment. As seen by her, he was vain and
boastful, even in matters which concerned his kitchen
and his plate. His delight in new clothes was childish.
He compelled guests to speak admiringly of his horses,
in contradiction of their manifest appearance. Worst of
all, he tried to stir up trouble between the duchess and
her own people.

Though Frontenac and his wife were unable to live together,
they did not become completely estranged. It may be that
the death of their son--who seems to have been killed in
battle--drew them together once more, at least in spirit.
It may be that with the Atlantic between them they
appreciated each other's virtues more justly. It may have
been loyalty to the family tradition. Whatever the cause,
they maintained an active correspondence during Frontenac's
years in Canada, and at court Madame de Frontenac was
her husband's chief defence against numerous enemies.
When he died it was found that he had left her his
property. But she never set foot in Canada.

Frontenac was forty-one when Louis XIV dismissed Fouquet
and took Colbert for his chief adviser. At Versailles
everything depended on royal favour, and forty-one is an
important age. What would the young king do for Frontenac?
What were his gifts and qualifications?

It is plain that Frontenac's career, so vigorously begun
during the Thirty Years' War, had not developed in a like
degree during the period (1648-61) from the outbreak of
the Fronde to the death of Mazarin. There was no doubt
as to his capacity. Saint-Simon calls him 'a man of
excellent parts, living much in society.' And again, when
speaking of Madame de Frontenac, he says: 'Like her
husband she had little property and abundant wit.' The
bane of Frontenac's life at this time was his extravagance.
He lived like a millionaire till his money was gone. Not
far from Blois he had the estate of Isle Savary--a,
property quite suited to his station had he been prudent.
But his plans for developing it, with gardens, fountains,
and ponds, were wholly beyond his resources. At Versailles,
also, he sought to keep pace with men whose ancestral
wealth enabled them to do the things which he longed to
do, but which fortune had placed beyond his reach. Hence,
notwithstanding his buoyancy and talent, Frontenac had
gained a reputation for wastefulness which did not
recommend him, in 1661, to the prudent Colbert. Nor was
he fitted by character or training for administrative
duty. His qualifications were such as are of use at a
post of danger.

His time came in 1669. At the beginning of that year he
was singled out by Turenne for a feat of daring which
placed him before the eyes of all Europe. A contest was
about to close which for twenty-five years had been waged
with a stubbornness rarely equalled. This was the struggle
of the Venetians with the Turks for the possession of
Crete. [Footnote: This was not the first time that
Frontenac had fought against the Turks. Under La Feuillade
and Coligny he had taken part in Montecuculli's campaign
in 1664 against the Turks in Hungary, and was present at
the great victory of St Gothard on the Raab. The regiment
of Carignan-Salieres was also engaged on this occasion.
In the next year it came to Canada, and Lorin thinks that
the association of Frontenac with the Carignan regiment
in this campaign may have been among the causes of his
nomination to the post of governor.] To Venice defeat
meant the end of her glory as an imperial power. The
Republic had lavished treasure upon this war as never
before--a sum equivalent in modern money to fifteen
hundred million dollars. Even when compelled to borrow
at seven per cent, Venice kept up the fight and opened
the ranks of her nobility to all who would pay sixty
thousand ducats. Nor was the valour of the Venetians who
defended Crete less noble than the determination of their
government. Every man who loved the city of St Mark felt
that her fate was at stake before the walls of Candia.

Year by year the resources of the Venetians had grown
less and their plight more desperate. In 1668 they had
received some assistance from French volunteers under
the Duc de la Feuillade. This was followed by an application
to Turenne for a general who would command their own
troops in conjunction with Morosini. It was a forlorn
hope if ever there was one; and Turenne selected Frontenac.
Co-operating with him were six thousand French troops
under the Duc de Navailles, who nominally served the
Pope, for Louis XIV wished to avoid direct war against
the Sultan. All that can be said of Frontenac's part in
the adventure is that he valiantly attempted the impossible.
Crete was doomed long before he saw its shores. The best
that the Venetians and the French could do was to fight
for favourable terms of surrender. These they gained. In
September 1669 the Venetians evacuated the city of Candia,
taking with them their cannon, all their munitions of
war, and all their movable property.

The Cretan expedition not only confirmed but enhanced
the standing which Frontenac had won in his youth. And
within three years from the date of his return he received
the king's command to succeed the governor Courcelles at

Gossip busied itself a good deal over the immediate causes
of Frontenac's appointment to the government of Canada.
The post was hardly a proconsular prize. At first sight
one would not think that a small colony destitute of
social gaiety could have possessed attractions to a man
of Frontenac's rank and training. The salary amounted to
but eight thousand livres a year. The climate was rigorous,
and little glory could come from fighting the Iroquois.
The question arose, did Frontenac desire the appointment
or was he sent into polite exile?

There was a story that he had once been a lover of Madame
de Montespan, who in 1672 found his presence near the
court an inconvenience. Others said that Madame de
Frontenac had eagerly sought for him the appointment on
the other side of the world. A third theory was that,
owing to his financial straits, the government gave him
something to keep body and soul together in a land where
there were no great temptations to spend money.

Motives are often mixed; and behind the nomination there
may have been various reasons. But whatever weight we
allow to gossip, it is not necessary to fall back on any
of these hypotheses to account for Frontenac's appointment
or for his willingness to accept. While there was no
immediate likelihood of a war involving France and England,
[Footnote: By the Treaty of Dover (May 20, 1670) Charles
II received a pension from France and promised to aid
Louis XIV in war with Holland.] and consequent trouble
from the English colonies in America, New France required
protection from the Iroquois. And, as a soldier, Frontenac
had acquitted himself with honour. Nor was the post
thought to be insignificant. Madame de Sevigne's son-in-law,
the Comte de Grignan, was an unsuccessful candidate for
it in competition with Frontenac. For some years both
the king and Colbert had been giving real attention to
the affairs of Canada. The Far West was opening up; and
since 1665 the population of the colony had more than
doubled. To Frontenac the governorship of Canada meant
promotion. It was an office of trust and responsibility,
with the opportunity to extend the king's power throughout
the region beyond the Great Lakes. And if the salary was
small, the governor could enlarge it by private trading.
Whatever his motives, or the motives of those who sent
him, it was a good day for Frontenac when he was sent to
Canada. In France the future held out the prospect of
little but a humiliating scramble for sinecures. In Canada
he could do constructive work for his king and country.

Those who cross the sea change their skies but not their
character. Frontenac bore with him to Quebec the sentiments
and the habits which befitted a French noble of the sword.
[Footnote: Frontenac's enemies never wearied of dwelling
upon his uncontrollable rage. A most interesting discussion
of this subject will be found in Frontenac et Ses Amis
by M. Ernest Myrand (p. 172). For the bellicose qualities
of the French aristocracy see also La Noblesse Francaise
sous Richelieu by the Vicomte G. d'Avenel.] The more we
know about the life of his class in France, the better
we shall understand his actions as governor of Canada.
His irascibility, for example, seems almost mild when
compared with the outbreaks of many who shared with him
the traditions and breeding of a privileged order.
Frontenac had grown to manhood in the age of Richelieu,
a period when fierceness was a special badge of the
aristocracy. Thus duelling became so great a menace to
the public welfare that it was made punishable with death;
despite which it flourished to such an extent that one
nobleman, the Chevalier d'Andrieux, enjoyed the reputation
of having slain seventy-two antagonists.

Where duelling is a habitual and honourable exercise,
men do not take the trouble to restrain primitive passions.
Even in dealings with ladies of their own rank, French
nobles often stepped over the line where rudeness ends
and insult begins. When Malherbe boxed the ears of a
viscountess he did nothing which he was unwilling to talk
about. Ladies not less than lords treated their servants
like dirt, and justified such conduct by the statement
that the base-born deserve no consideration. There was,
indeed, no class--not even the clergy--which was exempt
from assault by wrathful nobles. In the course of an
altercation the Duc d'Epernon, after striking the Archbishop
of Bordeaux in the stomach several times with his fists
and his baton, exclaimed: 'If it were not for the respect
I bear your office, I would stretch you out on the

In such an atmosphere was Frontenac reared. He had the
manners and the instincts of a belligerent. But he also
possessed a soul which could rise above pettiness. And
the foes he loved best to smite were the enemies of the



Frontenac received his commission on April 6, 1672, and
reached Quebec at the beginning of September. The king,
sympathetic towards his needs, had authorized two special
grants of money: six thousand livres for equipment, and
nine thousand to provide a bodyguard of twenty horsemen.
Gratified by these marks of royal favour and conscious
that he had been assigned to an important post, Frontenac
was in hopeful mood when he first saw the banks of the
St Lawrence. His letters show that he found the country
much less barbarous than he had expected; and he threw
himself into his new duties with the courage which is
born of optimism. A natural fortress like Quebec could
not fail to awaken the enthusiasm of a soldier. The
settlement itself was small, but Frontenac reported that
its situation could not be more favourable, even if this
spot were to become the capital of a great empire. It
was, indeed, a scene to kindle the imagination. Sloping
down to the river-bank, the farms of Beauport and Beaupre
filled the foreground. Behind them swept the forest, then
in its full autumnal glory.

Awaiting Frontenac at Quebec were Courcelles, the late
governor, and Talon the intendant. Both were to return
to France by the last ships of that year; but in the
meantime Frontenac was enabled to confer with them on
the state of the colony and to acquaint himself with
their views on many important subjects. Courcelles had
proved a stalwart warrior against the Iroquois, while
Talon possessed an unrivalled knowledge of Canada's wants
and possibilities. Laval, the bishop, was in France, not
to return to the colony till 1675.

The new governor's first acts went to show that with the
king's dignity he associated his own. The governor and
lieutenant-general of a vast oversea dominion could not
degrade his office by living like a shopkeeper. The
Chateau St Louis was far below his idea of what a viceregal
residence ought to be. One of his early resolves was to
enlarge and improve it. Meanwhile, his entertainments
surpassed in splendour anything Canada had yet seen. Pomp
on a large scale was impossible; but the governor made
the best use of his means to display the grace and majesty
of his office.

On the 17th of September Frontenac presided for the first
time at a meeting of the Sovereign Council; [Footnote:
In the minutes of this first meeting of the Sovereign
Council at which Frontenac presided the high-sounding
words 'haut et puissant' stand prefixed to his name and
titles.] and the formal inauguration of his regime was
staged for the 23rd of October. It was to be an impressive
ceremony, a pageant at which all eyes should be turned
upon him, the great noble who embodied the authority of
a puissant monarch. For this ceremony the governor summoned
an assembly that was designed to represent the Three
Estates of Canada.

The Three Estates of clergy, nobles, and commons had
existed in France from time immemorial. But in taking
this step and in expecting the king to approve it Frontenac
displayed his ignorance of French history; for the ancient
meetings of the Three Estates in France had left a memory
not dear to the crown. [Footnote: The power of the
States-General reached its height after the disastrous
battle of Poitiers (1356). For a short period, under the
leadership of Etienne Marcel, it virtually supplanted
the power of the crown.] They had, in truth, given the
kings moments of grave concern; and their representatives
had not been summoned since 1614. Moreover, Louis XIV
was not a ruler to tolerate such rival pretensions as
the States-General had once put forth.

Parkman thinks that, 'like many of his station, Frontenac
was not in full sympathy with the centralizing movement
of his time, which tended to level ancient rights,
privileges and prescriptions under the ponderous roller
of the monarchical administration.' This, it may be
submitted, is only a conjecture. The family history of
the Buades shows that they were 'king's men,' who would
be the last to imperil royal power. The gathering of the
Three Estates at Quebec was meant to be the fitting
background of a ceremony. If Frontenac had any thought
beyond this, it was a desire to unite all classes in an
expression of loyalty to their sovereign.

At Quebec it was not difficult to secure representatives
of clergy and commons. But, as nobles seldom emigrated
to Canada, some talent was needed to discover gentlemen
of sufficient standing to represent the aristocracy. The
situation was met by drawing upon the officers and the
seigneurs. The Estates thus duly convened, Frontenac
addressed them on the glory of the king and the duty of
all classes to serve him with zeal. To the clergy he
hinted that their task was not finished when they had
baptized the Indians. After that came the duty of
converting them into good citizens.

Frontenac's next step was to reorganize the municipal
government of Quebec by permitting the inhabitants to
choose two aldermen and a mayor. Since these officials
could not serve until they had been approved by the
governor, the change does not appear to have been wildly
radical. But change of any kind was distasteful to the
Bourbon monarchy, especially if it seemed to point toward
freedom. So when in due course Frontenac's report of
these activities arrived at Versailles, it was decided
that such innovations must be stopped at once. The king
wished to discourage all memory of the Three Estates,
and Frontenac was told that no part of the Canadian people
should be given a corporate or collective status. The
reprimand, however, did not reach Canada till the summer
of 1673, so that for some months Frontenac was permitted
to view his work with satisfaction.

His next move likewise involved a new departure. Hitherto
the king had discouraged the establishment of forts or
trading-posts at points remote from the zone of settlement.
This policy was based on the belief that the colonists
ought to live close together for mutual defence against
the Iroquois. But Frontenac resolved to build a fort at
the outlet of Lake Ontario. His enemies stated that this
arose out of his desire to make personal profit from the
fur trade; but on public grounds also there were valid
reasons for the fort. A thrust is often the best parry;
and it could well be argued that the French had much to
gain from a stronghold lying within striking distance of
the Iroquois villages.

At any rate, Frontenac decided to act first and make
explanations afterwards. On June 3, 1673, he left Quebec
for Montreal and beyond. He accommodated himself with
cheerfulness to the bark canoe--which he described in
one of his early letters as a rather undignified conveyance
for the king's lieutenant--and, indeed, to all the
hardships which the discharge of his duties entailed.
His plan for the summer comprised a thorough inspection
of the waterway from Quebec to Lake Ontario and official
visits to the settlements lying along the route. Three
Rivers did not detain him long, for he was already familiar
with the place, having visited it in the previous autumn.
On the 15th of the month his canoe came to shore beneath
Mount Royal.

Montreal was the colony's farthest outpost towards the
Iroquois. Though it had been founded as a mission and
nothing else, its situation was such that its inhabitants
could not avoid being drawn into the fur trade. To a
large extent it still retained its religious character,
but beneath the surface could be detected a cleavage of
interest between the missionary zeal of the Sulpicians
and the commercial activity of the local governor, Francois
Perrot. And since this Perrot is soon to find place in
the present narrative as a bitter enemy of Frontenac, a
word concerning him may fitly be written here. He was an
officer of the king's army who had come to Canada with
Talon. The fact that his wife was Talon's niece had put
him in the pathway of promotion. The order of St Sulpice,
holding in fief the whole island of Montreal, had power
to name the local governor. In June 1669 the Sulpicians
had nominated Perrot, and two years later his appointment
had been confirmed by the king. Later, as we shall see,
arose the thorny question of how far the governor of
Canada enjoyed superiority over the governor of Montreal.

The governor of Montreal, attended by his troops and the
leading citizens, stood at the landing-place to offer
full military honours to the governor of Canada. Frontenac's
arrival was then signalized by a civic reception and a
Te Deum. The round of civilities ended, the governor lost
no time in unfolding the real purpose of his visit, which
was less to confer with the priests of St Sulpice than
to recruit forces for his expedition, in order that he
might make a profound impression on the Iroquois. The
proposal to hold a conference with the Iroquois at
Cataraqui (where Kingston now stands) met with some
opposition; but Frontenac's energy and determination were
not to be denied, and by the close of June four hundred
French and Indians were mustered at Lachine in readiness
to launch their canoes and barges upon Lake St Louis.

If Montreal was the outpost of the colony, Lachine was
the outpost of Montreal. Between these two points lay
the great rapid, the Sault St Louis, which from the days
of Jacques Cartier had blocked the ascent of the St
Lawrence to seafaring boats. At Lachine La Salle had
formed his seigneury in 1667, the year after his arrival
in Canada; and it had been the starting-point for the
expedition which resulted in the discovery of the Ohio
in 1671. La Salle, however, was not with Frontenac's
party, for the governor had sent him to the Iroquois
early in May, to tell them that Onontio would meet his
children and to make arrangements for the great assembly
at Cataraqui.

The Five Nations, remembering the chastisement they had
received from Tracy in 1666, [Footnote: See The Great
Intendant, chap. iii.] accepted the invitation, but in
dread and distrust. Their envoys accordingly proceeded
to the mouth of the Cataraqui; and on the 12th of July
the vessels of the French were seen approaching on the
smooth surface of Lake Ontario. Frontenac had omitted
from his equipage nothing which could awe or interest
the savage. He had furnished his troops with the best
possible equipment and had with him all who could be
spared safely from the colony. He had even managed to
drag up the rapids and launch on Lake Ontario two large
barges armed with small cannon and brilliantly painted.
The whole flotilla, including a multitude of canoes
arranged by squadron, was now put in battle array. First
came four squadrons of canoes; then the two barges; next
Frontenac himself, surrounded by his personal attendants
and the regulars; after that the Canadian militia, with
a squadron from Three Rivers on the left flank, and on
the right a great gathering of Hurons and Algonquins.
The rearguard was composed of two more squadrons. Never
before had such a display been seen on the Great Lakes.

Having disclosed his strength to the Iroquois chiefs,
Frontenac proceeded to hold solemn and stately conference
with them. But he did not do this on the day of the great
naval procession. He wished to let this spectacle take
effect before he approached the business which had brought
him there. It was not until next day that the meeting
opened. At seven o'clock the French troops, accoutred at
their best, were all on parade, drawn up in files before
the governor's tent, where the conference was to take
place. Outside the tent itself large canopies of canvas
had been erected to shelter the Iroquois from the sun,
while Frontenac, in his most brilliant military costume,
assumed all the state he could. In treating with Indians
haste was impossible, nor did Frontenac desire that the
speech-making should begin at once. His fort was hardly
more than begun, and he wished the Iroquois to see how
swiftly and how well the French could build defences.

When the proceedings opened there were the usual long
harangues, followed by daily negotiations between the
governor and the chiefs. It was a leading feature of
Frontenac's diplomacy to reward the friendly, and to win
over malcontents by presents or personal attention. Each
day some of the chiefs dined with the governor, who gave
them the food they liked, adapted his style of speech to
their ornate and metaphorical language, played with their
children, and regretted, through the interpreter Le Moyne,
that he was as yet unable to speak their tongue. Never
had such pleasant flattery been applied to the vanity of
an Indian. At the same time Frontenac did not fail to
insist upon his power; indeed, upon his supremacy. As a
matter of fact it had involved a great effort to make
all this display at Cataraqui. In his discourses, however,
he laid stress upon the ease with which he had mounted
the rapids and launched barges upon Lake Ontario. The
sum and substance of all his harangues was this: 'I am
your good, kind father, loving peace and shrinking from
war. But you can see my power and I give you fair warning.
If you choose war, you are guilty of self-destruction;
your fate is in your own hands.'

Apart from his immediate success in building under the
eyes of the Iroquois a fort at the outlet of Lake Ontario,
Frontenac profited greatly by entering the heart of the
Indian world in person. He was able, for a time at least,
to check those tribal wars which had hampered trade and
threatened to involve the colony. He gained much information
at first hand about the pays d'en haut. And throughout
he proved himself to have just the qualities which were
needed in dealing with a North American Indian--firmness,
good-humour, and dramatic talent.

On returning from Lake Ontario to Quebec Frontenac had
good reason to be pleased with his summer's work. It
still remained to convince Colbert that the construction
of the fort at Cataraqui was not an undue expense and
waste of energy. But as the initial outlay had already
been made, he had ground for hope that he would not
receive a positive order to undo what had been accomplished.
At Quebec he received Colbert's disparaging comments upon
the assembly of the Three Estates and the substitution
of aldermen for the syndic who had formerly represented
the inhabitants. These comments, however, were not so
couched as to make the governor feel that he had lost
the minister's confidence. On the whole, the first year
of office had gone very well.

A stormier season was now to follow. The battle-royal
between Frontenac and Perrot, the governor of Montreal,
began in the autumn of 1673 and was waged actively
throughout the greater part of 1674.

Enough has been said of Frontenac's tastes to show that
he was a spendthrift; and there can be no doubt that as
governor of Canada he hoped to supplement his salary by
private trading. Soon after his arrival at Quebec in the
preceding year he had formed an alliance with La Salle.
The decision to erect a fort at Cataraqui was made for
the double reason that while safeguarding the colony
Frontenac and La Salle could both draw profit from the
trade at this point in the interior.

La Salle was not alone in knowing that those who first
met the Indians in the spring secured the best furs at
the best bargains. This information was shared by many,
including Francois Perrot. Just above the island of
Montreal is another island, which lies between Lake St
Louis and the Lake of Two Mountains. Perrot, appreciating
the advantage of a strategic position, had fixed there
his own trading-post, and to this day the island bears
his name. Now, with Frontenac as a sleeping partner of
La Salle there were all the elements of trouble, for
Perrot and Frontenac were rival traders. Both were wrathful
men and each had a selfish interest to fight for, quite
apart from any dispute as to the jurisdiction of Quebec
over Montreal.

Under such circumstances the one thing lacking was a
ground of action. This Frontenac found in the existing
edict against the coureurs de bois-those wild spirits
who roamed the woods in the hope of making great profits
through the fur trade, from which by law they were
excluded, and provoked the special disfavour of the
missionary by the scandals of their lives, which gave
the Indians a low idea of French morality. Thus in the
eyes of both Church and State the coureur de bois was a
mauvais sujet, and the offence of taking to the forest
without a licence became punishable by death or the

Though Frontenac was not the author of this severe measure,
duty required him to enforce it. Perrot was a friend and
defender of the coureurs de bois, whom he used as employees
in the collection of peltries. Under his regime Montreal
formed their headquarters. The edict gave them no concern,
since they knew that between them and trouble stood their
patron and confederate.

Thus Frontenac found an excellent occasion to put Perrot
in the wrong and to hit him through his henchmen. The
only difficulty was that Frontenac did not possess adequate
means to enforce the law. Obviously it was undesirable
that he should invade Perrot's bailiwick in person. He
therefore instructed the judge at Montreal to arrest all
the coureurs de bois who were there. A loyal attempt was
made to execute this command, with the result that Perrot
at once intervened and threatened to imprison the judge
if he repeated his effort.

Frontenac's counterblast was the dispatch of a lieutenant
and three soldiers to arrest a retainer of Perrot named
Carion, who had shown contempt of court by assisting the
accused woodsmen to escape. Perrot then proclaimed that
this constituted an unlawful attack on his rights as
governor of Montreal, to defend which he promptly imprisoned
Bizard, the lieutenant sent by Frontenac, together with
Jacques Le Ber, the leading merchant of the settlement.
Though Perrot released them shortly afterwards, his tone
toward Frontenac remained impudent and the issue was
squarely joined.

But a hundred and eighty miles of wilderness separated
the governor of Canada from the governor of Montreal. In
short, before Perrot could be disciplined he must be
seized, and this was a task which if attempted by frontal
attack might provoke bloodshed in the colony, with heavy
censure from the king. Frontenac therefore entered upon
a correspondence, not only with Perrot, but with one of
the leading Sulpicians in Montreal, the Abbe Fenelon.
This procedure yielded quicker results than could have
been expected. Frontenac's letter which summoned Perrot
to Quebec for an explanation was free from threats and
moderate in tone. It found Perrot somewhat alarmed at
what he had done and ready to settle the matter without
further trouble. At the same time Fenelon, acting on
Frontenac's suggestion, urged Perrot to make peace. The
consequence was that in January 1674 Perrot acceded and
set out for Quebec with Fenelon as his companion.

Whatever Perrot's hopes or expectations of leniency, they
were quickly dispelled. The very first conference between
him and Frontenac became a violent altercation (January
29, 1674). Perrot was forthwith committed to prison,
where he remained ten months. Not content with this
success, Frontenac proceeded vigorously against the
coureurs de bois, one of whom as an example was hanged
in front of Perrot's prison.

The trouble did not stop here, nor with the imprisonment
of Brucy, who was Perrot's chief agent and the custodian
of the store-house at Ile Perrot. Fenelon, whose temper
was ardent and emotional, felt that he had been made the
innocent victim of a detestable plot to lure Perrot from
Montreal. Having upbraided Frontenac to his face, he
returned to Montreal and preached a sermon against him,
using language which the Sulpicians hastened to repudiate.
But Fenelon, undaunted, continued to espouse Perrot's
cause without concealment and brought down upon himself
a charge of sedition.

In its final stage this cause celebre runs into still
further intricacies, involving the rights of the clergy
when accused by the civil power. The contest begun by
Perrot and taken up by Fenelon ran an active course
throughout the greater part of a year (1674), and finally
the king himself was called in as judge. This involved
the sending of Perrot and Fenelon to France, along with
a voluminous written statement from Frontenac and a great
number of documents. At court Talon took the side of
Perrot, as did the Abbe d'Urfe, whose cousin, the Marquise
d'Allegre, was about to marry Colbert's son. Nevertheless
the king declined to uphold Frontenac's enemies. Perrot
was given three weeks in the Bastille, not so much for
personal chastisement as to show that the governor's
authority must be respected. On the whole, Frontenac
issued from the affair without suffering loss of prestige
in the eyes of the colony. The king declined to reprimand
him, though in a personal letter from his sovereign
Frontenac was told that henceforth he must avoid invading
a local government without giving the governor preliminary
notice. The hint was also conveyed that he should not
harry the clergy. Frontenac's position, of course, was
that he only interfered with the clergy when they were
encroaching upon the rights of the crown.

Upon this basis, then, the quarrel with Perrot was settled.
But at that very moment a larger and more serious contest
was about to begin.



At the beginning of September 1675 Frontenac was confronted
with an event which could have given him little pleasure.
This was the arrival, by the same ship, of the bishop
Laval, who had been absent from Canada four years, and
Jacques Duchesneau, who after a long interval had been
appointed to succeed Talon as intendant. Laval returned
in triumph. He was now bishop of Quebec, directly dependent
upon the Holy See [Footnote: Laval had wished strongly
that the see of Quebec should be directly dependent on
the Papacy, and his insistence on this point delayed the
formal creation of the diocese.] and not upon the king
of France. Duchesneau came to Canada with the reputation
of having proved a capable official at Tours.

By temper and training Frontenac was ill-disposed to
share authority with any one. In the absence of bishop
and intendant he had filled the centre of the stage. Now
he must become reconciled to the presence at Quebec of
others who held high rank and had claims to be considered
in the conduct of public affairs. Even at the moment of
formal welcome he must have felt that trouble was in
store. For sixteen years Laval had been a great person
in Canada, and Duchesneau had come to occupy the post
which Talon had made almost more important than that of

Partly through a clash of dignities and partly through
a clash of ideas, there soon arose at Quebec a conflict
which rendered personal friendship among the leaders
impossible, and caused itself to be felt in every part
of the administration. Since this antagonism lasted for
seven years and had large consequences, it becomes
important to examine its deeper causes as well as the
forms which under varying circumstances it came to assume.

In the triangular relations of Frontenac, Laval, and
Duchesneau the bishop and the intendant were ranged
against the governor. The simplest form of stating the
case is to say that Frontenac clashed with Laval over
one set of interests and with Duchesneau over another;
over ecclesiastical issues with the bishop and over civil
interests with the intendant. In the Sovereign Council
these three dignitaries sat together, and so close was
the connection of Church with State that not a month
could pass without bringing to light some fresh matter
which concerned them all. Broadly speaking, the differences
between Frontenac and Laval were of more lasting moment
than those between Frontenac and Duchesneau. In the end
governor and intendant quarrelled over everything simply
because they had come to be irreconcilable enemies. At
the outset, however, their theoretical grounds of opposition
were much less grave than the matters in debate between
Frontenac and Laval. To appreciate these duly we must
consider certain things which were none the less important
because they lay in the background.

When Frontenac came to Canada he found that the
ecclesiastical field was largely occupied by the Jesuits,
the Sulpicians, and the Recollets. Laval had, indeed,
begun his task of organizing a diocese at Quebec and
preparing to educate a local priesthood. Four years after
his arrival in Canada he had founded the Quebec Seminary
(1663) and had added (1668) a preparatory school, called
the Little Seminary. But the three missionary orders were
still the mainstay of the Canadian Church. It is evident
that Colbert not only considered the Jesuits the most
powerful, but also thought them powerful enough to need
a check. Hence, when Frontenac received his commission,
he received also written instructions to balance the
Jesuit power by supporting the Sulpicians and the Recollets.

Through his dispute with Perrot, Frontenac had strained
the good relations which Colbert wished him to maintain
with the Sulpicians. But the friction thus caused was in
no way due to Frontenac's dislike of the Sulpicians as
an order. Towards the Jesuits, on the other hand, he
cherished a distinct antagonism which led him to carry
out with vigour the command that he should keep their
power within bounds. This can be seen from the earliest
dispatches which he sent to France. Before he had been
in Quebec three months he reported to Colbert that it
was the practice of the Jesuits to stir up strife in
families, to resort to espionage, to abuse the confessional,
to make the Seminary priests their puppets, and to deny
the king's right to license the brandy trade. What seemed
to the Jesuits an unforgivable affront was Frontenac's
charge that they cared more for beaver skins than for
the conversion of the savages. This they interpreted as
an insult to the memory of their martyrs, and their
resentment must have been the greater because the accusation
was not made publicly in Canada, but formed part of a
letter to Colbert in France. The information that such
an attack had been made reached them through Laval, who
was then in France and found means to acquaint himself
with the nature of Frontenac's correspondence.

Having displeased the Sulpicians and attacked the Jesuits,
Frontenac made amends to the Church by cultivating the
most friendly relations with the Recollets. No one ever
accused him of being a bad Catholic. He was exact in the
performance of his religious duties, and such trouble as
he had with the ecclesiastical authorities proceeded from
political aims rather than from heresy or irreligion.

Like so much else in the life of Canada, the strife
between Frontenac and Laval may be traced back to France.
During the early years of Louis XIV the French Church
was distracted by the disputes of Gallican and Ultramontane.
The Gallicans were faithful Catholics who nevertheless
held that the king and the national clergy had rights
which the Pope must respect. The Ultramontanes defined
papal power more widely and sought to minimize, disregard,
or deny the privileges of the national Church.

Between these parties no point of doctrine was involved,
[Footnote: The well-known relation of the Jansenist
movement to Gallican liberties was not such that the
Gallican party accepted Jansenist theology. The Jesuits
upheld papal infallibility and, in general, the Ultramontane
position. The Jansenists were opposed to the Jesuits,
but Gallicanism was one thing and Jansenist theology
another.] but in the sphere of government there exists
a frontier between Church and State along which many wars
of argument can be waged--at times with some display of
force. The Mass, Purgatory, the Saints, Confession, and
the celibacy of the priest, all meant as much to the
Gallican as to the Ultramontane. Nor did the Pope's
headship prove a stumbling-block in so far as it was
limited to things spiritual. The Gallican did, indeed,
assert the subjection of the Pope to a General Council,
quoting in his support the decrees of Constance and Basel.
But in the seventeenth century this was a theoretical
contention. What Louis XIV and Bossuet strove for was
the limitation of papal power in matters affecting property
and political rights. The real questions upon which
Gallican and Ultramontane differed were the appointment
of bishops and abbots, the contribution of the Church to
the needs of the State, and the priest's standing as a
subject of the king.

Frontenac was no theorist, and probably would have written
a poor treatise on the relations of Church and State. At
the same time, he knew that the king claimed certain
rights over the Church, and he was the king's lieutenant.
Herein lies the deeper cause of his troubles with the
Jesuits and Laval. The Jesuits had been in the colony
for fifty years and felt that they knew the spiritual
requirements of both French and Indians. Their missions
had been illuminated by the supreme heroism of Brebeuf,
Jogues, Lalemant, and many more. Their house at Quebec
stood half-way between Versailles and the wilderness.
They were in close alliance with Laval and supported the
ideal and divine rights of the Church. They had found
strong friends in Champlain and Montmagny. Frontenac,
however, was a layman of another type. However orthodox
his religious ideas may have been, his heart was not
lowly and his temper was not devout. Intensely autocratic
by disposition, he found it easy to identify his own will
to power with a defence of royal prerogative against the
encroachments of the Church. It was an attitude that
could not fail to beget trouble, for the Ultramontanes
had weapons of defence which they well knew how to use.

Having in view these ulterior motives, the acrimony of
Frontenac's quarrel with Laval is not surprising. Rightly
or wrongly, the governor held that the bishop was
subservient to the Jesuits, while Colbert's plain
instructions required the governor to keep the Jesuits
in check. From such a starting point the further
developments were almost automatic. Laval found on his
return that Frontenac had exacted from the clergy unusual
and excessive honours during church services. This
furnished a subject of heated debate and an appeal by
both parties to the king. After full consideration
Frontenac received orders to rest content with the same
honours which were by custom accorded the governor of
Picardy in the cathedral of Amiens.

More important by far than this argument over precedence
was the dispute concerning the organization of parishes.
Here the issue hinged on questions of fact rather than
of theory. Beyond question the habitants were entitled
to have priests living permanently in their midst, as
soon as conditions should warrant it. But had the time
come when a parish system could be created? Laval's
opinion may be inferred from the fact that in 1675,
sixteen years after his arrival in Canada, only one priest
lived throughout the year among his own people. This was
the Abbe de Bernieres, cure of Notre Dame at Quebec. In
1678 two more parishes received permanent incumbents--Port
Royal and La Durantaye. Even so, it was a small number
for the whole colony.

Frontenac maintained that Laval was unwilling to create
a normal system of parishes because thereby his personal
power would be reduced. As long as the cures were not
permanently stationed they remained in complete dependence
on the bishop. All the funds provided for the secular
clergy passed through his hands. If he wished to keep
for the Seminary money which ought to go to the parishes,
the habitants were helpless. It was ridiculous to pamper
the Seminary at the expense of the colonists. It was
worse than ridiculous that the French themselves should
go without religious care because the Jesuits chose to
give prior attention to the souls of the savage.

Laval's argument in reply was that the time had not yet
come for the creation of parishes on a large scale.
Doubtless it would prove possible in the future to have
churches and a parochial system of the normal type.
Meanwhile, in view of the general poverty it was desirable
that all the resources of the Church should be conserved.
To this end the habitants were being cared for by itinerant
priests at much less expense than would be entailed by
fixing on each parish the support of its cure.

Here, as in all these contests, a mixture of motives is
evident. There is no reason to doubt Frontenac's sincerity
in stating that the missions and the Seminary absorbed
funds of the Church which would be better employed in
ministration to the settlers. At the same time, it was
for him a not unpleasant exercise to support a policy
which would have the incidental effect of narrowing the
bishop's power. After some three years of controversy
the king, as usual, stepped in to settle the matter. By
an edict of May 1679 he ordained that the priests should
live in their parishes and have the free disposition of
the tithes which had been established under an order of
1667. Thus on the subject of the cures Frontenac's views
were officially accepted; but his victory was rendered
more nominal than real by the unwillingness or inability
of the habitants to supply sufficient funds for the
support of a resident priesthood.

In Frontenac's dispute with the clergy over the brandy
question no new arguments were brought forward, since
all the main points had been covered already. It was an
old quarrel, and there was nothing further to do than to
set forth again the opposing aspects of a very difficult
subject. Religion clashed with business, but that was
not all. Upon the prosecution of business hung the hope
of building up for France a vast empire. The Jesuits
urged that the Indians were killing themselves with
brandy, which destroyed their souls and reduced them to
the level of beasts. The traders retorted that the savages
would not go without drink. If they were denied it by
the French they would take their furs to Albany, and
there imbibe not only bad rum but soul destroying heresy.
Why be visionary and suffer one's rivals to secure an
advantage which would open up to them the heart of the

Laval, on the other hand, had chosen his side in this
controversy long before Frontenac came to Canada, and he
was not one to change his convictions lightly. As he saw
it, the sale of brandy to the Indians was a sin, punishable
by excommunication; and so determined was he that the
penalty should be enforced that he would allow the right
of absolution to no one but himself. In the end the king
decided it otherwise. He declared the regulation of the
brandy trade to fall within the domain of the civil power.
He warned Frontenac to avoid an open denial of the bishop's
authority in this matter, but directed him to prevent
the Church from interfering in a case belonging to the
sphere of public order. This decision was not reached
without deep thought. In favour of prohibition stood
Laval, the Jesuits, the Sorbonne, the Archbishop of Paris,
and the king's confessor, Pere La Chaise. Against it were
Frontenac, the chief laymen of Canada, [Footnote: On
October 26, 1678, a meeting of the leading inhabitants
of Canada was held by royal order at Quebec to consider
the rights and wrongs of the brandy question. A large
majority of those present were opposed to prohibition.]
the University of Toulouse, and Colbert. In extricating
himself from this labyrinth of conflicting opinion Louis
XIV was guided by reasons of general policy. He had never
seen the Mohawks raving drunk, and, like Frontenac, he
felt that without brandy the work of France in the
wilderness could not go on.

Such were the issues over which Frontenac and Laval faced
each other in mutual antagonism.

Between Frontenac and his other opponent, the intendant
Duchesneau, the strife revolved about a different set of
questions without losing any of its bitterness. Frontenac
and Laval disputed over ecclesiastical affairs. Frontenac
and Duchesneau disputed over civil affairs. But as Laval
and Duchesneau were both at war with Frontenac they
naturally drew together. The alliance was rendered more
easy by Duchesneau's devoutness. Even had he wished to
hold aloof from the quarrel of governor and bishop, it
would have been difficult to do so. But as an active
friend of Laval and the Jesuits he had no desire to be
a neutral spectator of the feud which ran parallel with
his own. The two feuds soon became intermingled, and
Frontenac, instead of confronting separate adversaries,
found himself engaged with allied forces which were ready
to attack or defend at every point. It could not have
been otherwise. Quebec was a small place, and the three
belligerents were brought into the closest official
contact by their duties as members of the Sovereign

It is worthy of remark that each of the contestants,
Frontenac, Laval, and Duchesneau, has his partisans among
the historians of the present day. All modern writers
agree that Canada suffered grievously from these disputes,
but a difference of opinion at once arises when an attempt
is made to distribute the blame. The fact is that characters
separately strong and useful often make an unfortunate
combination. Compared with Laval and Frontenac, Duchesneau
was not a strong character, but he possessed qualifications
which might have enabled him in less stormy times to fill
the office of intendant with tolerable credit. It was
his misfortune that circumstances forced him into the
thankless position of being a henchman to the bishop and
a drag upon the governor.

Everything which Duchesneau did gave Frontenac annoyance--
the more so as the intendant came armed with very
considerable powers. During the first three years of
Frontenac's administration the governor, in the absence
of an intendant, had lorded it over the colony with a
larger freedom from restraint than was normal under the
French colonial system. Apparently Colbert was not
satisfied with the result. It may be that he feared the
vigour which Frontenac displayed in taking the initiative;
or the quarrel with Perrot may have created a bad impression
at Versailles; or it may have been considered that the
less Frontenac had to do with the routine of business,
the more the colony would thrive. Possibly Colbert only
sought to define anew the relations which ought to exist
between governor and intendant. Whatever the motive,
Duchesneau's instructions gave him a degree of authority
which proved galling to the governor.

Within three weeks from the date of Duchesneau's arrival
the fight had begun (September 23, 1675). In its earliest
phase it concerned the right to preside at meetings of
the Sovereign Council. For three years Frontenac, 'high
and puissant seigneur,' had conducted proceedings as a
matter of course. Duchesneau now asked him to retire from
this position, producing as warrant his commission which
stated that he should preside over the Council, 'in the
absence of the said Sieur de Frontenac.' Why this last
clause should have been inserted one finds it hard to
understand, for Colbert's subsequent letters place his
intention beyond doubt. He meant that Duchesneau should
preside, though without detracting from Frontenac's
superior dignity. The order of precedence at the Council
is fixed with perfect clearness. First comes the governor,
then the bishop, and then the intendant. Yet the intendant
is given the chair. Colbert may have thought that Duchesneau
as a man of business possessed a better training for this
special work. Clearly the step was not taken with a view
to placing an affront upon Frontenac. When he complained,
Colbert replied that there was no other man in France
who, being already a governor and lieutenant-general,
would consider it an increase of honour to preside over
the Council. In Colbert's eyes this was a clerk's work,
not a soldier's.

Frontenac saw the matter differently and was unwilling
to be deposed. Royal letters, which he produced, had
styled him 'President of the Council,' and on the face
of it Duchesneau's commission only indicated that he
should preside in Frontenac's absence. With these arguments
the governor stood his ground. Then followed the
representations of both parties to the king, each taxing
the other with misdemeanours both political and personal.
During the long period which must elapse before a reply
could be received, the Sovereign Council was turned into
an academy of invective. Besides governor, bishop, and
intendant, there were seven members who were called upon
to take sides in the contest. No one could remain neutral
even if he had the desire. In voting power Laval and
Duchesneau had rather the best of it, but Frontenac when
pressed could fall back on physical force; as he once
did by banishing three of the councillors--Villeray,
Tilly, and Auteuil--from Quebec (July 4, 1679).

Incredible as it may seem, this issue regarding the right
to preside was not settled until the work of the Council
had been disturbed by it for five years. What is still
more incredible, it was settled by compromise. The king's
final ruling was that the minutes of each meeting should
register the presence of governor and intendant without
saying which had presided. Throughout the controversy
Colbert remonstrated with both Frontenac and Duchesneau
for their turbulence and unwillingness to work together.
Duchesneau is told that he must not presume to think
himself the equal of the governor. Frontenac is told that
the intendant has very important functions and must not
be prevented from discharging them. The whole episode
shows how completely the French colonial system broke
down in its attempt to act through two officials, each
of whom was designed to be a check upon the other.

Wholly alienated by this dispute, Frontenac and Duchesneau
soon found that they could quarrel over anything and
everything. Thus Duchesneau became a consistent supporter
of Laval and the Jesuits, while Frontenac retaliated by
calling him their tool. The brandy question, which was
partly ecclesiastical and partly civil, proved an excellent
battle-ground for the three great men of Canada; and, as
finance was concerned, the intendant had something to
say about the establishment of parishes. But of the
manifold contests between Frontenac and Duchesneau the
most distinctive is that relating to the fur trade. At
first sight this matter would appear to lie in the province
of the intendant, whose functions embraced the supervision
of commerce. But it was the governor's duty to defend
the colony from attack, and the fur trade was a large
factor in all relations with the Indians. A personal
element was also added, for in almost every letter to
the minister Frontenac and Duchesneau accused each other
of taking an illicit profit from beaver skins.

In support of these accusations the most minute details
are given. Duchesneau even charged Frontenac with spreading
a report among the Indians of the Great Lakes that a
pestilence had broken out in Montreal. Thereby the
governor's agents were enabled to buy up beaver skins
cheaply, afterwards selling them on his account to the
English. Frontenac rejoined by accusing the intendant of
having his own warehouses at Montreal and along the lower
St Lawrence, of being truculent, a slave to the bishop,
and incompetent. Behind Duchesneau, Frontenac keeps
saying, are the Jesuits and the bishop, from whom the
spirit of faction really springs. Among many of these
tirades the most elaborate is the long memorial sent to
Colbert in 1677 on the general state of Canada. Here are
some of the items. The Jesuits keep spies in Frontenac's
own house. The bishop declares that he has the power to
excommunicate the governor if necessary. The Jesuit
missionaries tell the Iroquois that they are equal to
Onontio. Other charges are that the Jesuits meddle in
all civil affairs, that their revenues are enormous in
proportion to the poverty of the country, and that they
are bound to domineer at whatever cost.

When we consider how Canada from end to end was affected
by these disputes, we may well feel surprise that Colbert
and the king should have suffered them to rage so long.
By 1682 the state of things had become unbearable.
Partisans of Frontenac and Duchesneau attacked each other
in the streets. Duchesneau accused Frontenac of having
struck the young Duchesneau, aged sixteen, and torn the
sleeve of his jacket. He also declared that it was
necessary to barricade his house. Frontenac retorted by
saying that these were gross libels. A year earlier
Colbert had placed his son, Seignelay, in charge of the
Colonial Office. With matters at such a pass Seignelay
rightly thought the time had come to take decisive action.
Three courses were open to him. The bishop and the Jesuits
he could not recall. But both the governor and the
intendant came within his power. One alternative was to
dismiss Frontenac; another, to dismiss Duchesneau.
Seignelay chose the third course and dismissed them both.



As was said long ago, every one has the defects ef his
qualities. Yet, in justice to a man of strong character
and patriotic aim, the chronicler should take care that
constructive work is given its due place, for only those
who do nothing make no mistakes.

During his first term of office Frontenac had many enemies
in the higher circles of society. His quarrel with Laval
was a cause of scandal to the devout. His deadlock with
Duchesneau dislocated the routine of government. There
was no one who did not feel the force of his will. Yet
to friends and foes alike his recall at sixty-two must
have seemed the definite, humiliating close of a career.
It was not the moment to view in due perspective what he
had accomplished. His shortcomings were on the lips of
every one. His strength had been revealed, but was for
the time forgotten. When he left Quebec in 1682 he must
have thought that he would never see it again. Yet when
need came he was remembered. This fact is a useful comment
on his first term, extenuating much that had seemed ground
for censure in less troubled days.

Let us now regard Frontenac's policy from his own point
of view, and attempt to estimate what he had accomplished
down to the date of his recall.

However closely Laval and Duchesneau might seek to narrow
Frontenac's sphere of action, there was one power they
could not deny him. As commander of the king's troops in
Canada he controlled all matters relating to colonial
defence. If his domestic administration was full of
trouble, it must also be remembered that during his first
term of office there was no war. This happy result was
due less to accident than to his own gifts and character.
It is true that the friendship of Louis XIV and Charles
II assured peace between New France and New England. But
Canada could thank Frontenac for keeping the Iroquois at
arm's length.

We have seen how he built the stronghold at Cataraqui,
which was named Fort Frontenac. The vigour and the tact
that he displayed on this occasion give the keynote to
all his relations with the Indians. Towards them he
displayed the three qualities which a governor of Canada
most needed--firmness, sympathy, and fair dealing. His
arrogance, so conspicuous in his intercourse with equals
or with refractory subordinates, disappears wholly when
he comes into contact with the savages. Theatrical he
may be, but in the forest he is never intolerant or
narrow-minded. And behind his pageants there is always

Thus Frontenac should receive personal credit for the
great success of his Indian policy. He kept the peace by
moral ascendancy, and to see that this was no light task
one need only compare the events of his regime with those
which marked the period of his successors, La Barre and
Denonville. This we shall do in the next chapter. For
the present it is enough to say that throughout the full
ten years 1672-82 Canada was free from fear of the
Iroquois. Just at the close of Frontenac's first term
(1680-82) the Senecas were showing signs of restlessness
by attacking tribes allied to the French, but there is
abundant reason to suppose that had Frontenac remained
in office he could have kept these inter-tribal wars
under control.

Bound up with the success of Frontenac's Indian policy
is the exploration of the West--an achievement which adds
to this period its chief lustre. Here La Salle is the
outstanding figure and the laurels are chiefly his. None
the less, Frontenac deserves the credit of having encouraged
all endeavours to solve the problem of the Mississippi.
Like La Salle he had large ideas and was not afraid. They
co-operated in perfect harmony, sharing profits, perhaps,
but sincerely bent on gaining for France a new, vast
realm. The whole history of colonial enterprise shows
how fortunate the French have been in the co-operation
of their explorers with their provincial governors. The
relations of La Salle with La Barre form a striking
exception, but the statement holds true in the main, and
with reference to Algiers as well as to Canada.

La Salle was a frank partisan of Frontenac throughout
the quarrel with Perrot and Fenelon. On one occasion he
made a scene in church at Montreal. It was during the
Easter service of 1674. When Fenelon decried magistrates
who show no respect to the clergy and who use their
deputed power for their own advantage, La Salle stood up
and called the attention of the leading citizens to these
words. Frontenac, who was always a loyal ally, showed
that he appreciated La Salle's efforts on his behalf by
giving him a letter of recommendation to the court in
which La Salle is styled 'a man of intelligence and
ability, more capable than any one else I know here to
accomplish every kind of enterprise and discovery which
may be entrusted to him.'

The result of La Salle's visit to Versailles (1674) was
that he gained privileges which made him one of the most
important men in Canada, and a degree of power which
brought down on him many enemies. He received the seigneury
of Fort Frontenac, he was made local governor at that
post, and, in recognition of services already performed,
he gained a grant of nobility. It is clear that La Salle's
forceful personality made a strong impression at court,
and the favours which he received enabled him, in turn,
to secure financial aid from his wealthy relatives at

What followed was the most brilliant, the most exciting,
and the most tragic chapter in the French exploration of
America. La Salle fulfilled all the conditions upon which
he had received the seigneury at Fort Frontenac, and
found financial profit in maintaining the post. The
original wooden structure was replaced by stone, good
barracks were built for the troops, there were bastions
upon which nine cannon announced a warning to the Iroquois,
a settlement with well-tilled land sprang up around the
fort, schooners were built with a draught of forty tons.
But for La Salle this was not enough. He was a pathfinder,
not a trader. Returning to France after two years of
labour and success at Fort Frontenac, he secured a royal
patent authorizing him to explore the whole continent
from the Great Lakes to Mexico, with the right to build
forts therein and to enjoy a monopoly of the trade in
buffalo skins. The expenses of the undertaking were, of
course, to be borne by La Salle and his associates, for
the king never invested money in these enterprises.
However, the persuasiveness which enabled La Salle to
secure his patent enabled him to borrow the necessary
funds. At the close of 1678 he was once more at Fort
Frontenac and ready for the great adventure.

How La Salle explored the country of the Illinois in
company with his valiant friend, Henri de Tonty 'of the
iron hand,' and how these two heroic leaders traversed
the continent to the very mouth of the Mississippi, is
not to be told here. But with its risks, its hardships,
its tragedies, and its triumphs, this episode, which
belongs to the period of Frontenac's administration, will
always remain a classic in the records of discovery. The
Jesuits, who did not love La Salle, were no less brave
than he, and the lustre of his achievements must not be
made to dim theirs. Yet they had all the force of a mighty
organization at their back, while La Salle, standing
alone, braved ruin, obloquy, and death in order to win
an empire for France. Sometimes he may have thought of
fame, but he possessed that driving power which goes
straight for the object, even if it means sacrifice of
self. His haughtiness, his daring, his self-centred
determination, well fitted him to be the friend and
trusted agent of Frontenac.

Another leading figure of the period in western discovery
was Daniel Greysolon du Lhut. Duchesneau calls him the
leader of the coureurs de bois. There can be no doubt
that he had reached this eminence among the French of
the forest. He was a gentleman by birth and a soldier by
early training. In many ways he resembled La Salle, for
both stood high above the common coureurs de bois in
station, as in talent. Du Lhut has to his credit no single
exploit which equals La Salle's descent of the Mississippi,
but in native sagacity he was the superior. With a
temperament less intense and experiences less tragic, he
will never hold the place which La Salle securely occupies
in the annals of adventure. But few Frenchmen equalled
him in knowledge of the wilderness, and none displayed
greater force of character in dealing with the Indians.

What the mouth of the Mississippi was to La Salle the
country of the Sioux became to Du Lhut--a goal to be
reached at all hazards. Not only did he reach it, but
the story of how he rescued Father Hennepin from the
Sioux (1680) is among the liveliest tales to be found in
the literature of the wilderness. The only regrettable
circumstance is that the story should have been told by
Hennepin instead of by Du Lhut--or rather, that we should
not have also Du Lhut's detailed version instead of the
brief account which he has left. Above all, Du Lhut made
himself the guardian of French interests at Michilimackinac,
the chief French post of the Far West--the rendezvous of
more tribes than came together at any other point. The
finest tale of his courage and good judgment belongs to
the period of La Barre's government--when, in 1684, at
the head of forty-two French, he executed sentence of
death on an Indian convicted of murder. Four hundred
savages, who had assembled in mutinous mood, witnessed
this act of summary justice. But they respected Du Lhut
for the manner in which he had conducted the trial, and
admired the firmness with which he executed a fair

Du Lhut's exploits and character make him the outstanding
figure of the war which Duchesneau waged against the
coureurs de bois. The intendant certainly had the letter
of the law on his side in seeking to clear the woods of
those rovers who at the risk of their own lives and
without expense to the government were gaining for France
an unequalled knowledge of the interior. Not only had
the king decreed that no one should be permitted to enter
the forest without express permission, but an edict of
1676 denied even the governor the right to issue a trading
pass at his unrestrained discretion. Frontenac, who
believed that the colony would draw great profit from
exploration, softened the effect of this measure by
issuing licences to hunt. It was also within his power
to dispatch messengers to the tribes of the Great Lakes.
Duchesneau reported that Frontenac evaded the edict in
order to favour his own partners or agents among the
coureurs de bois, and that when he went to Montreal on
the pretext of negotiating with the Iroquois, his real
purpose was to take up merchandise and bring back furs.
These charges Frontenac denied with his usual vigour,
but without silencing Duchesneau. In 1679 the altercation
on this point was brought to an issue by the arrest, at
the intendant's instance, of La Toupine, a retainer of
Du Lhut. An accusation of disobeying the edict was no
trifle, for the penalty might mean a sentence to the
galleys. After a bitter contest over La Toupine the matter
was settled on a basis not unfavourable to Frontenac. In
1681 a fresh edict declared that all coureurs de bois
who came back to the colony should receive the benefit
of an amnesty. At the same time the governor was empowered
to grant twenty-five trading licences in each year, the
period to be limited to one year.

The splendid services of Du Lhut, covering a period of
thirty years, are the best vindication of Frontenac's
policy towards him and his associates. Had Duchesneau
succeeded in his efforts, Du Lhut would have been severely
punished, and probably excluded from the West for the
remainder of his life. Thanks to Frontenac's support, he
became the mainstay of French interests from Lake Ontario
to the Mississippi. Setting out as an adventurer with a
strong taste f or exploration, he ended as commandant of
the most important posts--Lachine, Cataraqui, and
Michilimackinac. He served the colony nobly in the war
against the Iroquois. He has left reports of his discoveries
which disclose marked literary talent. From the early
years of Frontenac's regime he made himself useful, not
only to Frontenac but to each succeeding governor, until,
crippled by gout and age, he died, still in harness. The
letter in which the governor Vaudreuil announces Du Lhut's
death (1710) to the Colonial Office at Paris is a useful
comment upon the accusations of Duchesneau. 'He was,'
says Vaudreuil, 'a very honest man.' In these words will
be found an indirect commendation of Frontenac, who
discovered Du Lhut, supported him through bitter opposition,
and placed him where his talents and energy could be used
for the good of his country.

It will be remembered that Frontenac received orders from
Colbert (April 7, 1672) to prevent the Jesuits from
becoming too powerful. In carrying out these instructions
he soon found himself embroiled at Quebec, and the same
discord made itself felt throughout the wilderness.

Frontenac favoured the establishment of trading-posts
and government forts along the great waterways, from
Cataraqui to Crevecoeur. [Footnote: Fort Crevecoeur was
La Salle's post in the heart of the Illinois country.]
He sincerely believed that these were the best guarantees
of the king's power on the Great Lakes and in the valley
of the Mississippi. The Jesuits saw in each post a centre
of debauchery and feared that their religious work would
be undone by the scandalous example of the coureurs de
bois. What for Frontenac was a question of political
expediency loomed large to the Jesuits as a vital issue
of morals. It was a delicate question at best, though
probably a peaceable solution could have been arranged,
but for the mutual agreement of Frontenac and the Jesuits
that they must be antagonists. War having once been
declared, Frontenac proved a poor controversialist. He
could have defended his forest policy without alleging
that the Jesuits maintained their missions as a source
of profit, which was a slander upon heroes and upon
martyrs. Moreover, he exposed himself to a flank attack,
for it could be pointed out with much force that he had
private motives in advocating the erection of forts.
Frontenac was intelligent and would have recommended the
establishment of posts whether he expected profit from
them or not, but he weakened his case by attacking the
Jesuits on wrong grounds.

During Frontenac's first term the settled part of Canada
was limited to the shores of the St Lawrence from Lachine
downward, with a cluster of seigneuries along the lower
Richelieu. In this region the governor was hampered by
the rights of the intendant and the influence of the
bishop. Westward of Lachine stretched the wilderness,
against whose dusky denizens the governor must guard the
colony. The problems of the forest embraced both trade
and war; and where trade was concerned the intendant held
sway. But the safety of the flock came first, and as
Frontenac had the power of the sword he could execute
his plans most freely in the region which lay beyond the
fringe of settlement. It was here that he achieved his
greatest success and by his acts won a strong place in
the confidence of the settlers. This was much, and to
this extent his first term of office was not a failure.

As Canada was then so sparsely settled, the growth of
population filled a large place in the shaping of public
policy. With this matter, however, Duchesneau had more
to do than Frontenac, for it was the intendant's duty to
create prosperity. During the decade 1673-83 the population
of Canada increased from 6705 to 10,251. In percentage
the advance shows to better advantage than in totals,
but the king had hardened his heart to the demand for
colonists. Thenceforth the population of Canada was to
be recruited almost altogether from births.

On the whole, the growth of the population during this
period compares favourably with the growth of trade. In
1664 a general monopoly of Canadian trade had been conceded
to the West India Company, on terms which gave every
promise of success. But the trading companies of France
proved a series of melancholy failures, and at this point
Colbert fared no better than Richelieu. When Frontenac
reached Canada the West India Company was hopelessly
bankrupt, and in 1674 the king acquired its rights. This
change produced little or no improvement. Like France,
Canada suffered greatly through the war with Holland,
and not till after the Peace of Nimwegen (1678) did the
commercial horizon begin to clear. Even then it was
impossible to note any real progress in Canadian trade,
except in a slight enlargement of relations with the West
Indies. During his last year at Quebec Duchesneau gives
a very gloomy report on commercial conditions.

For this want of prosperity Frontenac was in no way
responsible, unless his troubles with Laval and Duchesneau
may be thought to have damped the colonizing ardour of
Louis XIV. It is much more probable that the king withheld
his bounty from Canada because his attention was
concentrated on the costly war against Holland. Campaigns
at home meant economy in Canada, and the colony was far
from having reached the stage where it could flourish
without constant financial support from the motherland.

In general, Frontenac's policy was as vigorous as he
could make it. Over commerce, taxes, and religion he had
no control. By training and temper he was a war governor,
who during his first administration fell upon a time of
peace. So long as peace prevailed he lacked the powers
and the opportunity to enable him to reveal his true
strength; and his energy, without sufficient vent, broke
forth in quarrels at the council board.

With wider authority, Frontenac might have proved a
successful governor even in time of peace, for he was
very intelligent and had at heart the welfare of the
colony. As it was, his restrictions chafed and goaded
him until wrathfulness took the place of reason. But we
shall err if we conclude that when he left Canada in
discomfiture he had not earned her thanks. Through pride
and faults of temper he had impaired his usefulness and
marred his record. Even so there was that which rescued
his work from the stigma of failure. He had guarded his
people from the tomahawk and the scalping-knife. With
prescient eye he had foreseen the imperial greatness of
the West. Whatever his shortcomings, they had not been
those of meanness or timidity.



We have seen that during Frontenac's first term of office
no urgent danger menaced the colony on the frontier. The
missionary and the explorer were steadily pressing forward
to the head of the Great Lakes and into the valley of
the Mississippi, enlarging the sphere of French influence
and rendering the interior tributary to the commerce of
Quebec. But this peaceful and silent expansion had not
passed unnoticed by those in whose minds it aroused both
rivalry and dread. Untroubled from without as New France
had been under Frontenac, there were always two lurking
perils--the Iroquois and the English.

The Five Nations owed their leadership among the Indian
tribes not only to superior discipline and method but
also to their geographical situation. The valley of the
St Lawrence lay within easy reach, either through Lake
Champlain or Lake Ontario. On the east at their very door
lay the valley of the Mohawk and the Hudson. From the
western fringe of their territory they could advance
quickly to Lake Erie, or descend the Ohio into the valley
of the Mississippi. It was doubtless due to their prowess
rather than to accident that they originally came into
possession of this central and favoured position; however,
they could now make their force felt throughout the whole
north-eastern portion of the continent.

Over seventy years had now passed since Champlain's attack
upon the Iroquois in 1609; but lapse of time had not
altered the nature of the savage, nor were the causes of
mutual hostility less real than at first. A ferocious
lust for war remained the deepest passion of the Iroquois,
to be satisfied at convenient intervals. It was unfortunate,
in their view, that they could not always be at war; but
they recognized that there must be breathing times and
that it was important to choose the right moment for
massacre and pillage. Daring but sagacious, they followed
an opportunist policy. At times their warriors delighted
to lurk in the outskirts of Montreal with tomahawk and
scalping-knife and to organize great war-parties, such
as that which was arrested by Dollard and his heroic
companions at the Long Sault in 1660. At other times they
held fair speech with the governor and permitted the
Jesuits to live in their villages, for the French had
weapons and means of fighting which inspired respect.

The appearance of the Dutch on the Hudson in 1614 was an
event of great importance to the Five Nations. The Dutch
were quite as ready as the French to trade in furs, and
it was thus that the Iroquois first procured the firearms
which they used in their raids on the French settlements.
That the Iroquois rejoiced at having a European colony
on the Hudson may be doubted, but as they were unable to
prevent it, they drew what profit they could by putting
the French and Dutch in competition, both for their
alliance and their neutrality.

But, though the Dutch were heretics and rivals, it was
a bad day for New France when the English seized New
Amsterdam (1669) and began to establish themselves from
Manhattan to Albany. The inevitable conflict was first
foreshadowed in the activities of Sir Edmund Andros,
which followed his appointment as governor of New York
in 1674. He visited the Mohawks in their own villages,
organized a board of Indian commissioners at Albany, and
sought to cement an alliance with the whole confederacy
of the Five Nations. In opposition to this France made
the formal claim (1677) that by actual residence in the
Iroquois country the Jesuits had brought the Iroquois
under French sovereignty.

Iroquois, French, and English thus formed the points of
a political triangle. Home politics, however--the friendship
of Stuart and Bourbon--tended to postpone the day of
reckoning between the English and French in America.
England and France were not only at peace but in alliance.
The Treaty of Dover had been signed in 1670, and two
years later, just as Frontenac had set out for Quebec,
Charles II had sent a force of six thousand English to
aid Louis XIV against the Dutch. It was in this war that
John Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, won his
spurs--fighting on the French side!

None the less, there were premonitions of trouble in
America, especially after Thomas Dongan became governor
of New York in 1683. Andros had shown good judgment in
his dealings with the Iroquois, and his successor,
inheriting a sound policy, went even further on the same
course. Dongan, an Irishman of high birth and a Catholic,
strenuously opposed the pretensions of the French to
sovereignty over the Iroquois. When it was urged that
religion required the presence of the Jesuits among them,
he denied the allegation, stating that he would provide
English priests to take their place. A New England
Calvinist could not have shown more firmness in upholding
the English position. Indeed, no governor of Puritan New
England had ever equalled Dongan in hostility to Catholic
New France.

Frontenac's successor, Lefebvre de la Barre, who had
served with distinction in the West Indies, arrived at
Quebec in September 1682. By the same ship came the new
intendant, Meulles. They found the Lower Town of Quebec
in ruins, for a devastating fire had just swept through
it. Hardly anything remained standing save the buildings
on the cliff.

La Barre and Meulles were soon at loggerheads. It appears
that, instead of striving to repair the effects of the
fire, the new governor busied himself to accumulate
fortune. He had indeed promised the king that, unlike
his predecessors, he would seek no profit from private
trading, and had on this ground requested an increase of
salary. Meulles presently reported that, far from keeping
this promise, La Barre and his agents had shared ten or
twelve thousand crowns of profit, and that unless checked
the governor's revenues would soon exceed those of the
king. Meulles also accuses La Barre of sending home
deceitful reports regarding the success of his Indian
policy. We need not dwell longer on these reports. They
disclose with great clearness the opinion of the intendant
as to the governor's fitness for his office.

La Barre stands condemned not by the innuendoes of Meulles,
but by his own failure to cope with the Iroquois.

The presence of the Dutch and English had stimulated the
Five Nations to enlarge their operations in the fur trade
and multiply their profits. The French, from being earliest
in the field, had established friendly relations with
all the tribes to the north of the Great Lakes, including
those who dwelt in the valley of the Ottawa; and La Salle
and Tonty had recently penetrated to the Mississippi and
extended French trade to the country of the Illinois
Indians. The furs from this region were being carried up
the Mississippi and forwarded to Quebec by the Lakes and
the St Lawrence. This brought the Illinois within the
circle of tribes commercially dependent on Quebec. At
the same time the Iroquois, through the English on the
Hudson, now possessed facilities greater than ever for
disposing of all the furs they could acquire; and they
wanted this trade for themselves.

The wholesome respect which the Iroquois entertained for
Frontenac kept them from attacking the tribes under the
protection of the French on the Great Lakes; but the
remote Illinois were thought to be a safe prey. During
the autumn of 1680 a war-party of more than six hundred
Iroquois invaded the country of the Illinois. La Salle
was then in Montreal, but Tonty met the invaders and did
all he could to save the Illinois from their clutches.
His efforts were in vain. The Illinois suffered all that
had befallen the Hurons in 1649. [Footnote: See The
Jesuit Missions in this Series, chap. vi.] The Iroquois,
however, were careful not to harm the French, and to
demand from Tonty a letter to show Frontenac as proof
that he and his companions had been respected.

Obviously this raid was a symptom of danger, and in 1681
Frontenac asked the king to send him five or six hundred
troops. A further disturbing incident occurred at the
Jesuit mission of Sault Ste Marie, where an Illinois
Indian murdered a Seneca chieftain. That Frontenac intended
to act with firmness towards the Iroquois, while giving
them satisfaction for the murder of their chief, is clear
from his acts in 1681 no less than from his general
record. But his forces were small and he had received
particular instructions to reduce expenditure. And, with
Duchesneau at hand to place a sinister interpretation
upon his every act, the conditions were not favourable
for immediate action. Then in 1682 he was recalled.

Such, in general, were the conditions which confronted
La Barre, and in fairness it must be admitted that they
were the most serious thus far in the history of Canada.
From the first the Iroquois had been a pest and a menace,
but now, with the English to flatter and encourage them,
they became a grave peril. The total population of the
colony was now about ten thousand, of whom many were
women and children. The regular troops were very few;
and, though the disbanded Carignan soldiers furnished
the groundwork of a valiant militia, the habitants and
their seigneurs alone could not be expected to defend
such a territory against such a foe.

Above all else the situation demanded strong leadership;
and this was precisely what La Barre failed to supply.
He was preoccupied with the profits of the fur trade,
ignorant of Indian character, and past his physical prime;
and his policy towards the Iroquois was a continuous
series of blunders. Through the great personal influence
of Charles Le Moyne the Five Nations were induced, in
1683, to send representatives to Montreal, where La Barre
met them and gave them lavish presents. The Iroquois,
always good judges of character, did not take long to
discover in the new governor a very different Onontio
from the imposing personage who had held conference with
them at Fort Frontenac ten years earlier.

The feebleness of La Barre's effort to maintain French
sovereignty over the Iroquois is reflected in his request
that they should ask his permission before attacking
tribes friendly to the French. When he asked them why
they had attacked the Illinois, they gave this ominous
answer: 'Because they deserved to die.' La Barre could
effect nothing by a display of authority, and even with
the help of gifts he could only postpone war against the
tribes of the Great Lakes. The Iroquois intimated that
for the present they would be content to finish the
destruction of the Illinois--a work which would involve
the destruction of the French posts in the valley of the
Mississippi. La Barre's chief purpose was to protect his
own interests as a trader, and, so far from wishing to
strengthen La Salle's position on the Mississippi, he
looked upon that illustrious explorer as a competitor
whom it was legitimate to destroy by craft. By an act of
poetic justice the Iroquois a few months later plundered
a convoy of canoes which La Barre himself had sent out
to the Mississippi for trading purposes.

The season of 1684 proved even less prosperous for the
French. Not only Dongan was doing his best to make the
Iroquois allies of the English; Lord Howard of Effingham,
the governor of Virginia, was busy to the same end. For
some time past certain tribes of the Five Nations, though
not the confederacy as a whole, had been making forays
upon the English settlers in Maryland and even in Virginia.
To adjust this matter Lord Howard came to Albany in
person, held a council which was attended by representatives
of all the tribes, and succeeded in effecting a peace.
Amid the customary ceremonies the Five Nations buried
the hatchet with the English, and stood ready to concentrate
their war-parties upon the French.

It must not be inferred that by an act of reconciliation
these subtle savages threw themselves into the arms of
the English, exchanging a new suzerainty for an old. They
always did the best they could for their own hand, seeking
to play one white man against the other for their own
advantage. It was a situation where, on the part of French
and English, individual skill and knowledge of Indian
character counted for much. On the one hand, Dongan showed
great intelligence and activity in making the most of
the fact that Albany was nearer to the land of the Five
Nations than Quebec, or even Montreal. On the other, the
French had envoys who stood high in the esteem of the
Iroquois--notably Charles Le Moyne, of Longueuil, and
Lamberville, the Jesuit missionary.

But for the moment the French were heavily burdened by
the venality of La Barre, who subordinated public policy
to his own gains. We have now to record his most egregious
blunder--an attempt to overawe the Iroquois with an
insufficient force--an attempt which Meulles declared
was a mere piece of acting--not designed for real war on
behalf of the colony, but to assist the governor's private
interests as a trader. From whatever side the incident
is viewed it illustrates a complete incapacity.

On July 10, 1684, La Barre left Quebec with a body of
two hundred troops. In ascending the river they were
reinforced by recruits from the Canadian militia and
several hundred Indian allies. After much hardship in
the rapids the little army reached Fort Frontenac. Here
the sanitary conditions proved bad and many died from
malarial fever. All thought of attack soon vanished, and
La Barre altered his plans and decided to invite the
Iroquois to a council. The degree of his weakness may be
seen from the fact that he began with a concession
regarding the place of meeting. An embassy from the
Onondagas finally condescended to meet him, but not at
Fort Frontenac. La Barre, with a force such as he could
muster, crossed to the south side of Lake Ontario and
met the delegates from the Iroquois at La Famine, at the
mouth of the Salmon River, not far from the point where
Champlain and the Hurons had left their canoes when they
had invaded the Onondaga country in 1615.

The council which ensued was a ghastly joke. La Barre
began his speech by enumerating the wrongs which the
French and their dependent tribes had recently suffered
from the Iroquois. Among these he included the raid upon
the Illinois, the machinations with the English, and the
spoliation of French traders. For offences so heinous
satisfaction must be given. Otherwise Onontio would
declare a war in which the English would join him. These
were brave words, but unfortunately the Iroquois had
excellent reason to believe that the statement regarding
the English was untrue, and could see for themselves the
weakness of La Barre's forces.

This conference has been picturesquely described by Baron
La Hontan, who was present and records the speeches. The
chief orator of the Onondagas was a remarkable person,
who either for his eloquence or aspect is called by La
Hontan, Grangula, or Big Mouth. Having listened to La
Barre's bellicose words and their interpretation, 'he
rose, took five or six turns in the ring that the French
and the savages formed, and returned to his place. Then
standing upright he spoke after the following manner to
the General La Barre, who sat in his chair of state:

'Onontio, I honour you, and all the warriors that accompany
me do the same. Your interpreter has made an end of his
discourse, and now I come to begin mine. My voice glides
to your ear. Pray listen to my words.

'Onontio, in setting out from Quebec, you must have fancied
that the scorching beams of the sun had burnt down the
forests which render our country inaccessible to the
French; or else that the inundations of the lake had
surrounded our cottages and confined us as prisoners.
This certainly was your thought; and it could be nothing
else but the curiosity of seeing a burnt or drowned
country that moved you to undertake a journey hither.
But now you have an opportunity of being undeceived, for
I and my warriors come to assure you that the Senecas,
Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks are not yet
destroyed. I return you thanks in their name for bringing
into their country the calumet of peace, which your
predecessor received from their hands. At the same time
I congratulate you on having left under ground the tomahawk
which has so often been dyed with the blood of the French.
I must tell you, Onontio, that I am not asleep. My eyes
are open, and the sun which vouchsafes the light gives
me a clear view of a great captain at the head of a troop
of soldiers, who speaks as if he were asleep. He pretends
that he does not approach this lake with any other view
than to smoke the calumet with the Onondagas. But Grangula
knows better. He sees plainly that Onontio meant to knock
them on the head if the French arms had not been so much

'You must know, Onontio, that we have robbed no Frenchman,
save those who supplied the Illinois and the Miamis (our
enemies) with muskets, powder, and ball... We have
conducted the English to our lakes in order to trade with
the Ottawas and the Hurons; just as the Algonquins.
conducted the French to our five cantons, in order to
carry on a commerce that the English lay claim to as
their right. We are born freemen and have no dependence
either upon the Onontio or the Corlaer [the English
governor]. We have power to go where we please, to conduct
whom we will to the places we resort to, and to buy and
sell where we think fit... We fell upon the Illinois and
the Miamis because they cut down the trees of peace that
served for boundaries and came to hunt beavers upon our
lands. ...We have done less than the English and French,
who without any right have usurped the lands they are
now possessed of.

'I give you to know, Onontio, that my voice is the voice
of the five Iroquois cantons. This is their answer. Pray
incline your ear and listen to what they represent.

'The Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks
declare that they buried the tomahawk in the presence of
your predecessor, in the very centre of the fort, and
planted the Tree of Peace in the same place. It was then
stipulated that the fort should be used as a place of
retreat for merchants and not a refuge for soldiers. Be
it known to you, Onontio, that so great a number of
soldiers, being shut up in so small a fort, do not stifle
and choke the Tree of Peace. Since it took root so easily
it would be evil to stop its growth and hinder it from
shading both your country and ours with its leaves. I
assure you, in the name of the five nations, that our
warriors will dance the calumet dance under its branches
and will never dig up the axe to cut it down--till such
time as the Onontio and the Corlaer do separately or
together invade the country which the Great Spirit gave
to our ancestors.'

[Footnote: Grangula's speech is an example in part of
Indian eloquence, and in part of the eloquence of Baron
La Hontan, who contributes many striking passages to our
knowledge of Frontenac's period.]

When Le Moyne and the Jesuits had interpreted this speech
La Barre 'retired to his tent and stormed and blustered.'
But Grangula favoured the spectators with an Iroquois
dance, after which he entertained several of the Frenchmen
at a banquet. 'Two days later,' writes La Hontan, 'he
and his warriors returned to their own country, and our
army set out for Montreal. As soon as the General was on
board, together with the few healthy men that remained,
the canoes were dispersed, for the militia straggled here
and there, and every one made the best of his way home.'

With this ignominious adventure the career of La Barre
ends. The reports which Meulles sent to France produced
a speedy effect in securing his dismissal from office.
'I have been informed,' politely writes the king, 'that
your years do not permit you to support the fatigues
inseparable from your office of governor and lieutenant-
general in Canada.'

La Barre's successor, the Marquis de Denonville, arrived
at Quebec in August 1685. Like La Barre, he was a soldier;
like Frontenac, he was an aristocrat as well. From both
these predecessors, however, he differed in being free
from the reproach of using his office to secure personal
profits through the fur trade. No governor in all the
annals of New France was on better terms with the bishop
and the Jesuits. He possessed great bravery. There is
much to show that he was energetic. None the less he
failed, and his failure was more glaring than that of La
Barre. He could not hold his ground against the Iroquois
and the English.

It has been pointed out already that when La Barre assumed
office the problems arising from these two sources were
more difficult than at any previous date; but the situation
which was serious in 1682 and had become critical by 1685
grew desperate in the four years of Denonville's sway.
The one overshadowing question of this period was the
Iroquois peril, rendered more and more acute by the policy
of the English.

The greatest mistake which Denonville made in his dealings
with the Iroquois was to act deceitfully. The savages
could be perfidious themselves, but they were not without
a conception of honour and felt genuine respect for a
white man whose word they could trust. Denonville, who
in his private life displayed many virtues, seemed to
consider that he was justified in acting towards the
savages as the exigency of the moment prompted. Apart
from all considerations of morality this was bad judgment.

In his dealings with the English Denonville had little
more success than in his dealings with the Indians. Dongan
was a thorn in his side from the first, although their
correspondence opened, on both sides, with the language
of compliment. A few months later its tone changed,
particularly after Dongan heard that Denonville intended
to build a fort at Niagara. Against a project so unfriendly
Dongan protested with emphasis. In reply Denonville
disclaimed the intention, at the same time alleging that
Dongan was giving shelter at Albany to French deserters.
A little later they reach the point of sarcasm. Denonville
taxes Dongan with selling rum to the Indians. Dongan
retorts that at least English rum is less unwholesome
than French brandy. Beneath these epistolary compliments
there lies the broad fact that Dongan stood firm by his
principle that the extension of French rule to the south
of Lake Ontario should not be tolerated: He ridicules
the basis of French pretensions, saying that Denonville
might as well claim China because there are Jesuits at
the Chinese court. The French, he adds, have no more
right to the country because its streams flow into Lake
Ontario than they have to the lands of those who drink
claret or brandy. It is clear that Dongan fretted under
the restrictions which were imposed upon him by the
friendship between England and France. He would have
welcomed an order to support his arguments by force.
Denonville, on his side, with like feelings, could not
give up the claim to suzerainty over the land of the

The domain of the Five Nations was not the only part of
America where French and English clashed. The presence
of the English in Hudson Bay excited deep resentment at
Quebec and Montreal. Here Denonville ventured to break
the peace as Dongan had not dared to do. With Denonville's
consent and approval, a band of Canadians left Montreal
in the spring of 1686, fell upon three of the English
posts--Fort Hayes, Fort Rupert, Fort Albany--and with
some bloodshed dispossessed their garrisons. Well satisfied
with this exploit, Denonville in 1687 turned his attention
to the chastisement of the Iroquois.

The forces which he brought together for this task were
greatly superior to any that had been mustered in Canada
before. Not only were they adequate in numbers, but they
comprised an important band of coureurs de bois, headed
by La Durantaye, Tonty, Du Lhut, and Nicolas Perrot--men
who equalled the Indians in woodcraft and surpassed them
in character. The epitaph of Denonville as a governor is
written in the failure of this great expedition to
accomplish its purpose.

The first blunder occurred at Fort Frontenac before
mobilization had been completed. There were on the north
shore of Lake Ontario two Iroquois villages, whose
inhabitants had been in part baptized by the Sulpicians
and were on excellent terms with the garrison of the
fort. In a moment of insane stupidity Denonville decided
that the men of these settlements should be captured and
sent to France as galley slaves. Through the ruse of a
banquet they were brought together and easily seized. By
dint of a little further effort two hundred Iroquois of
all ages and both sexes were collected at Fort Frontenac
as prisoners--and some at least perished by torture. But,
when executing this dastardly plot, Denonville did not
succeed in catching all the friendly Iroquois who lived
in the neighbourhood of his fort. Enough escaped to carry
the authentic tale to the Five Nations, and after that
there could be no peace till there had been revenge.
Worst of all, the French stood convicted of treachery
and falseness.

Having thus blighted his cause at the outset, Denonville
proceeded with his more serious task of smiting the
Iroquois in their own country. Considering the extent
and expense of his preparations, he should have planned
a complete destruction of their power. Instead of this
he attempted no more than an attack upon the Senecas,
whose operations against the Illinois and in other quarters
had made them especially objectionable. The composite
army of French and Indians assembled at Irondequoit Bay
on July 12--a force brought together at infinite pains
and under circumstances which might never occur again.
Marching southwards they fought a trivial battle with
the Senecas, in which half a dozen on the French side
were killed, while the Senecas are said to have lost
about a hundred in killed and wounded. The rest of the
tribe took to the woods. As a result of this easy victory
the triumphant allies destroyed an Iroquois village and
all the corn which it contained, but the political results
of the expedition were worse than nothing. Denonville
made no attempt to destroy the other nations of the
confederacy. Returning to Lake Ontario he built a fort
at Niagara, which he had promised Dongan he would not
do, and then returned to Montreal. The net results of
this portentous effort were a broken promise to the
English, an act of perfidy towards the Iroquois, and an
insignificant success in battle.

In 1688 Denonville's decision to abandon Fort Niagara
slightly changed the situation. The garrison had suffered
severe losses through illness and the post proved too
remote for successful defence. So this matter settled
itself. The same season saw the recall of Dongan through
the consolidation of New England, New York, and New Jersey
under Sir Edmund Andros. But in essentials there was no
change. Andros continued Dongan's policy, of which, in
fact, he himself had been the author. And, even though
no longer threatened by the French from Niagara, the
savages had reason enough to hate and distrust Denonville.

Yet despite these untoward circumstances all hope of
peace between the French and the Five Nations had not
been destroyed. The Iroquois loved their revenge and were
willing to wait for it, but caution warned them that it
would not be advantageous to destroy the French for the
benefit of the English. Moreover, in the long course o
their relations with the French they had, as already
mentioned, formed a high opinion of men like Le Moyne
and Lamberville, while they viewed with respect the
exploits of Tonty, La Durantaye, and Du Lhut.

Moved by these considerations and a love of presents,
Grangula, of the Onondagas, was in the midst of negotiations
for peace with the French, which might have ended happily
but for the stratagem of the Huron chief Kondiaronk,
called 'The Rat.' The remnant of Hurons and the other
tribes centring at Michilimackinac did not desire a peace
of the French and Iroquois which would not include
themselves, for this would mean their own certain
destruction. The Iroquois, freed of the French, would
surely fall on the Hurons. All the Indians distrusted
Denonville, and Kondiaronk suspected, with good reason,
that the Hurons were about to be sacrificed. Denonville,
however, had assured Kondiaronk that there was to be war
to the death against the Iroquois, and on this understanding
he went with a band of warriors to Fort Frontenac. There
he learned that peace would be concluded between Onontio
and the Onondagas--in other words, that the Iroquois
would soon be free to attack the Hurons and their allies.
To avert this threatened destruction of his own people,
he set out with his warriors and lay in ambush for a
party of Onondaga chiefs who were on their way to Montreal.
Having killed one and captured almost all the rest, he
announced to his Iroquois prisoners that he had received
orders from Denonville to destroy them. When they explained
that they were ambassadors, he feigned surprise and said
he could no longer be an accomplice to the wickedness of
the French. Then he released them all save one, in order
that they might carry home this tale of Denonville's
second treachery. The one Iroquois Kondiaronk retained
on the plea that he wished to adopt him. Arrived at
Michilimackinac, he handed over the captive to the French
there, who, having heard nothing of the peace, promptly
shot him. An Iroquois prisoner, whom Kondiaronk secretly
released for the purpose, conveyed to the Five Nations
word of this further atrocity.

The Iroquois prepared to deliver a hard blow. On August
5, 1689, they fell in overwhelming force upon the French
settlement at Lachine. Those who died by the tomahawk
were the most fortunate. Charlevoix gives the number of
victims at two hundred killed and one hundred and twenty
taken prisoner. Girouard's examination of parish registers
results in a lower estimate--namely, twenty-four killed
at Lachine and forty-two at La Chesnaye, a short time
afterwards. Whatever the number, it was the most dreadful
catastrophe which the colony had yet suffered.

Such were the events which, in seven years, had brought
New France to the brink of ruin. But she was not to perish
from the Iroquois. In October 1689 Frontenac returned to
take Denonville's place.



During the period which separates his two terms of office
Frontenac's life is almost a blank. His relations with
his wife seem to have been amicable, but they did not
live together. His great friend was the Marechal de
Bellefonds, from whom he received many favours of
hospitality. In 1685 the king gave him a pension of
thirty-five hundred livres, though without assigning him
any post of dignity. Already a veteran, his record could
hardly be called successful. His merits were known to
the people of Canada; they believed him to be a tower of
strength against the Iroquois. At Versailles the fact
stood out most plainly that through infirmities of temper
he had lost his post. His pension might save him from
penury. It was far too small to give him real independence.

Had either La Barre or Denonville proved equal to the
government of Canada, it is almost certain that Frontenac
would have ended his days ingloriously at Versailles,
ascending the stairs of others with all the grief which
is the portion of disappointed old age. Their failure
was his opportunity, and from the dreary antechambers of
a court he mounts to sudden glory as the saviour of New

There is some doubt, as we have seen, concerning the
causes which gave Frontenac his appointment in 1672. At
that time court favour may have operated on his behalf,
or it may have seemed desirable that he should reside
for a season out of France. But in 1689 graver
considerations came into play. At the moment when the
Iroquois were preparing to ravage Canada, the expulsion
of James II from his throne had broken the peace between
France and England. The government of New France was now
no post for a court favourite. Louis XIV had expended
much money and effort on the colony. Through the
mismanagement of La Barre and Denonville everything
appeared to be on the verge of ruin. It is inconceivable
that Frontenac, then in his seventieth year, should have
been renominated for any other cause than merit. Times
and conditions had changed. The task now was not to work
peaceably with bishop and intendant, but to destroy the
foe. Father Goyer, the Recollet who delivered Frontenac's
funeral oration, states that the king said when renewing
his commission: 'I send you back to Canada, where I expect
you will serve me as well as you did before; I ask for
nothing more.' This is a bit of too gorgeous rhetoric,
which none the less conveys the truth. The king was not
reappointing Frontenac because he was, on the whole,
satisfied with what he had done before; he was reappointing
him because during his former term of office and throughout
his career he had displayed the qualities which were
called for at the present crisis.

Thus Frontenac returned to Quebec in the autumn of 1689,
just after the Iroquois massacred the people of Lachine
and just before they descended upon those of La Chesnaye.
The universal mood was one of terror and despair. If ever
Canada needed a Moses this was the hour.

It will be seen from the dates that Denonville's recall
was not due to the Lachine massacre and the other raids
of the Iroquois in 1689, for these only occurred after
Frontenac had been appointed. Denonville's dismissal was
justified by the general results of his administration
down to the close of 1688. Before Frontenac left France
a plan of campaign had been agreed upon which it was now
his duty to execute. The outlines of this plan were
suggested by Callieres, the governor of Montreal,
[Footnote: Louis Hector de Callieres-Bonnevue was a
captain of the French army who became governor of Montreal
in 1684, and succeeded Frontenac as governor of Canada
in 1698. He received the Cross of St Louis for distinguished
service against the Iroquois. Frontenac could not have
had a better lieutenant.] who had been sent home by
Denonville to expound the needs of the colony in person
and to ask for fresh aid. The idea was to wage vigorous
offensive warfare against the English from Albany to New
York. Success would depend upon swiftness and audacity,
both of which Frontenac possessed in full measure, despite
his years. Two French warships were to be sent direct to
New York in the autumn of 1689, while a raiding party
from Canada should set out for the Hudson as soon as
Frontenac could organize it.

In its original form this plan of campaign was never
carried out, for on account of head winds Frontenac
reached Quebec too late in the autumn. However, the
central idea remained in full view and suggested the
three war-parties which were sent out during the winter
of 1690 to attack the English colonies.

Louis XIV had given Denonville important reinforcements,
and with war clouds gathering in Europe he was unwilling
or unable to detach more troops for the defence of Canada.
Hence, in warring against the Iroquois and the English
Frontenac had no greater resources than those at the
disposal of Denonville when he attacked the Senecas. In
fact, since 1687 there had been some wastage in the number
of the regulars from disease. The result was that Frontenac
could not hope for any solid success unless he received
support from the Canadian militia.

In this crisis the habitants and their seigneurs accepted
with courage the duties laid upon them. In the narrower
sense they were fighting for their homes, but the spirit
which they displayed under Frontenac's leadership is not
merely that which one associates with a war of defence.
The French soldier, in all ages, loved to strike the
quick, sharp blow, and it was now necessary for the
salvation of Canada that it should be struck. The Iroquois
had come to believe that Onontio was losing his power.
The English colonies were far more populous than New
France. In short, the only hope lay in a swift, spectacular
campaign which would disorganize the English and regain
the respect of the Iroquois.

The issue depended on the courage and capacity of the
Canadians. It is to their honour and to the credit of
Frontenac that they rose to the demand of the hour. The
Canadians were a robust, prolific race, trained from
infancy to woodcraft and all the hardships of the
wilderness. Many families contained from eight to fourteen
sons who had used the musket and paddle from early boyhood,
and could endure the long tramps of winter like the
Indians themselves. The frontiersman is, and must be, a
fighter, but nowhere in the past can one find a braver
breed of warriors than mustered to the call of Frontenac.
Francois Hertel and Hertel de Rouville, Le Moyne d'Iberville
with his brothers Bienville and Sainte-Helene, D'Aillebout
de Mantet and Repentigny de Montesson, are but a few
representatives of the militiamen who sped forth at the
call of Frontenac to destroy the settlements of the

What followed was war in its worst form, including the
massacre of women and children. The three bands organized
by Frontenac at the beginning of 1690 set out on snowshoes
from Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec. The largest
party contained a hundred and fourteen French and ninety-
six Indians. It marched from Montreal against Schenectady,
commanded by D'Aillebout de Mantet and Le Moyne de
Sainte-Helene. The second party, proceeding from Three
Rivers and numbering twenty-six French and twenty-nine
Indians under the command of Francois Hertel, aimed at
Dover, Pemaquid, and other settlements of Maine and New
Hampshire. The Quebec party, under Portneuf, comprised
fifty French and sixty Indians. Its objective was the
English colony on Casco Bay, where the city of Portland
now stands. All three were successful in accomplishing
what they aimed at, namely the destruction of English
settlements amid fire and carnage. All three employed
Indians, who were suffered, either willingly or unwillingly,
to commit barbarities.

It is much more the business of history to explain than
to condemn or to extenuate. How could a man like Francois
Hertel lead one of these raids without sinking to the
moral level of his Indian followers? Some such question
may, not unnaturally, rise to the lips of a modern reader
who for the first time comes upon the story of Dover and
Salmon Falls. But fuller knowledge breeds respect for
Francois Hertel. When eighteen years old he was captured
by the Mohawks and put to the torture. One of his fingers
they burned off in the bowl of a pipe. The thumb of the
other hand they cut off. In the letter which he wrote on
birch-bark to his mother after this dreadful experience
there is not a word of his sufferings. He simply sends
her his love and asks for her prayers, signing himself
by his childish nickname, 'Your poor Fanchon.' As he grew
up he won from an admiring community the name of 'The
Hero.' He was not only brave but religious. In his view
it was all legitimate warfare. If he slew others, he ran
a thousand risks and endured terrible privations for his
king and the home he was defending. His stand at the
bridge over the Wooster river, sword in hand, when pressed
on his retreat by an overwhelming force of English,
holding the pass till all his men are over, is worthy of
an epic. He was forty-seven years old at the time. The
three eldest of his nine sons were with him in that little
band of twenty-six Frenchmen, and two of his nephews.
'To the New England of old,' says Parkman 'Francois Hertel
was the abhorred chief of Popish malignants and murdering
savages. The New England of to-day will be more just to
the brave defender of his country and his faith.'

The atrocities committed by the French and Indians are
enough to make one shudder even at this distance of time.
As Frontenac adopted the plan and sent forth the
war-parties, the moral responsibility in large part rests
with him. There are, however, some facts to consider
before judgment is passed as to the degree of his
culpability. The modern distinction between combatants
and non-combatants had little meaning in the wilds of
America at this period. When France and England were at
open war, every settler was a soldier, and as such each
man's duty was to keep on his guard. If caught napping
he must take the consequences. Thus, to fall upon an
unsuspecting hamlet and slay its men-folk with the
tomahawk, while brutal, was hardly more brutal than under
such circumstances we could fairly expect war to be.

The massacre of women and children is another matter,
not to be excused on any grounds, even though Schenectady
and Salmon Falls are paralleled by recent acts of the
Germans in Belgium. Still, we should not forget that
European warfare in the age of Frontenac abounded with
just such atrocities as were committed at Schenectady,
Dover, Pemaquid, Salmon Falls, and Casco Bay. The sack
of Magdeburg, the wasting of the Palatinate, and, perhaps,
the storming of Drogheda will match whatever was done by
the Indian allies of Frontenac. These were unspeakable,
but the savage was little worse than his European
contemporary. Those killed were in almost all cases killed
outright, and the slaughter was not indiscriminate. At
Schenectady John Sander Glen, with his whole family and
all his relations, were spared because he and his wife
had shown kindness to French prisoners taken by the
Mohawks. Altogether sixty people were killed at Schenectady
(February 9, 1690), thirty-eight men, ten women, and
twelve children. Nearly ninety were carried captive to
Canada. Sixty old men, women, and children were left
unharmed. It is not worth while to take up the details
of the other raids. They were of much the same sort--no
better and no worse. Where a garrison surrendered under
promise that it would be spared, the promise was observed
so far as the Indians could be controlled; but English
and French alike when they used Indian allies knew well
that their excesses could not be prevented, though they
might be moderated. The captives as a rule were treated
with kindness and clemency when once the northward march
was at an end.

Meanwhile, Frontenac had little time to reflect upon the
probable attitude of posterity towards his political
morals. The three war-parties had accomplished their
purpose and in the spring of 1690 the colony was aglow
with fresh hope. But the English were not slow to retaliate.
That summer New York and Massachusetts decided on an
invasion of Canada. It was planned that a fleet from
Boston under Sir William Phips should attack Quebec,
while a force of militia from New York in command of John
Schuyler should advance through Lake Champlain against
Montreal. Thus by sea and land Canada soon found herself
on the defensive.

Of Schuyler's raid nothing need be said except that he
reached Laprairie, opposite Montreal, where he killed a
few men and destroyed the crops (August 23, 1690). It
was a small achievement and produced no result save the
disappointment of New York that an undertaking upon which
much money and effort had been expended should terminate
so ingloriously. But the siege of Quebec by Phips, though
it likewise ended in failure, is a much more famous event,
and deserves to be described in some detail.

The colony of Massachusetts mustered its forces for a
great and unusual exploit. Earlier in the same year a
raid upon the coasts of Acadia had yielded gratifying
results. The surrender of Port Royal without resistance
(May 11, 1690) kindled the Puritan hope that a single
summer might see the pestiferous Romanists of New France
driven from all their strongholds. Thus encouraged, Boston
put forth its best energies and did not shrink from
incurring a debt of 50,000 pounds, which in the
circumstances of Massachusetts was an enormous sum. Help
was expected from England, but none came, and the fleet
sailed without it, in full confidence that Quebec would
fall before the assault of the colonists alone.

The fleet, which sailed in August, numbered thirty-four
ships, carrying twenty-three hundred men and a considerable
equipment. Sir William Phips, the leader of the expedition,
was not an Englishman by birth, but a New Englander of
very humble origin who owed his advancement to a robust
physique and unlimited assurance. He was unfitted for
his command, both because he lacked experience in fighting
such foes as he was about to encounter, and because he
was completely ignorant of the technical difficulties
involved in conducting a large, miscellaneous fleet
through the tortuous channels of the lower St Lawrence.
This ignorance resulted in such loss of time that he
arrived before Quebec amid the tokens of approaching
winter. It was the 16th of October when he rounded the
island of Orleans and brought his ships to anchor under
the citadel. Victory could only be secured by sudden
success. The state of the season forbade siege operations
which contemplated starvation of the garrison.

Hopeful that the mere sight of his armada would compel
surrender, Phips first sent an envoy to Frontenac under
protection of the white flag. This messenger after being
blindfolded was led to the Chateau and brought before
the governor, who had staged for his reception one of
the impressive spectacles he loved to prepare. Surrounding
Frontenac, as Louis XIV might have been surrounded by
the grandees of France, were grouped the aristocracy of
New France--the officers of the French regulars and the
Canadian militia. Nothing had been omitted which could
create an impression of dignity and strength. Costume,
demeanour, and display were all employed to overwhelm
the envoy with the insulted majesty of the king of France.
Led into this high presence the messenger delivered his
letter, which, when duly interpreted, was found to convey
a summary ultimatum. Phips began by stating that the war
between France and England would have amply warranted
this expedition even 'without the destruction made by
the French and Indians, under your command and
encouragement, upon the persons and estates of their
Majesties' subjects of New England, without provocation
on their part.' Indeed, 'the cruelties and barbarities
used against them by the French and Indians might, upon
the present opportunity, prompt unto a severe revenge.'
But seeking to avoid all inhumane and unchristian-like
actions, Phips announces that he will be content with 'a
present surrender of your forts and castles, undemolished,
and the King's and other stores, unimbezzled, with a
seasonable delivery of all captives; together with a
surrender of all your persons and estates to my dispose;
upon the doing whereof, you may expect mercy from me, as
a Christian, according to what shall be found for their
Majesties' service and the subjects' security. Which, if
you refuse forthwith to do, I am come provided and am
resolved, by the help of God in whom I trust, by force
of arms to revenge all wrongs and injuries offered, and
bring you under subjection to the Crown of England, and,
when too late, make you wish you had accepted of the
favour tendered. Your answer positive in an hour, returned
by your own trumpet, with the return of mine, is required
upon the peril that will ensue.'

To this challenge Frontenac at once returned the answer
which comported with his character. When Phips's envoy
took out his watch to register the hour permitted by the
ultimatum, Frontenac rejoined that he required no time
for deliberation, but would return his answer by the
mouth of the cannon. The ground which he assigned for
the invasion of New England was that its people had
rebelled against their lawful prince, the ally of France.
Other more personal observations were directed towards
the manner in which Phips had behaved at Port Royal. No
word in writing would Frontenac send. The envoy (who was
only a subaltern) received his conge, was blindfolded
and led back to his boat.

Compliments having been thus exchanged, it remained for
Phips to make good his challenge. If we compare the four
English and American sieges of Quebec, the attack by
Phips will be seen to have little in common with those
of Kirke and Montgomery, but to resemble rather strikingly
the attack by Wolfe. Without fighting, Kirke swooped down
upon a garrison which was exhausted by starvation. Arnold
and Montgomery operated without a fleet. But while Phips's
attempt is unlike Wolfe's in that it ended in failure,
the presence of the fleet and the attempt to effect a
landing below the mouth of the St Charles present features
of real similarity. It is clear that Phips received
intelligence from prisoners of a possible landing above
the town, at the spot where Wolfe carried out his daring
and desperate coup de main. But, anticipating Wolfe in
another quarter, he chose to make his first attack on
the flats rather than on the heights.

The troops ordinarily stationed at Quebec were increased
just after Phips's arrival by a force of seven hundred
regulars and militiamen under Callieres, who had come
down from Montreal with all possible haste. So agile were
the French and so proficient in irregular warfare that
Phips found it difficult to land any considerable detachment
in good order. Thirteen hundred of the English did succeed
in forming on the Beauport Flats, after wading through
a long stretch of mud. There followed a preliminary
skirmish in which three hundred French were driven back
with no great loss, after inflicting considerable damage
on the invaders. But though the English reached the east
bank of the St Charles they could do no more. Phips wasted
his ammunition on a fruitless and ill-timed bombardment,
which was answered with much spirit from the cliffs.
Meanwhile the musketeers on the bank of the St Charles
were unable to advance alone and received no proper supply
of stores from the ships. Harassed by the Canadians, wet,
cold, and starving, they took to the boats, leaving behind
them five cannon. After this nothing happened, save
deliberations on the part of Phips and his officers as
to whether there remained anything that could be done
other than to sail for home, beaten and humiliated, with
a heavy burden of debt to hang round the neck of a too
ambitious Massachusetts. Thus ended the second siege of
Quebec (October 23, 1690).

Frontenac had lost two of his best soldiers--Sainte-Helene,
of the fighting Le Moynes, and the Chevalier de Clermont;
but, this notwithstanding, the victory was felt to be
complete. The most precious trophy was the flag of
Phips's ship, which a shot from the ramparts had knocked
into the river, whence it was rescued and brought ashore
in triumph. Best of all, the siege had been too short to
bring famine in its train. The loss of life was
inconsiderable, and in prestige the soldiery of New France
now stood on a pinnacle which they had never before
attained. When we consider the paucity of the forces
engaged, this repulse of the English from Quebec may not
seem an imposing military achievement. But Canada had
put forth her whole strength and had succeeded where
failure would have been fatal. In the shouts of rejoicing
which followed Phips's withdrawal we hear the cry of a
people reborn.

The siege of Quebec and Schuyler's raid on Laprairie open
up a subject of large and vital moment--the historical
antagonism of New France and New England. Whoever wishes
to understand the deeper problems of Canada in the age
of Frontenac should read John Fiske's volumes on the
English colonies. In the rise of Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts
one sees the certain doom which was impending over New
France. It may be too much to say that Richelieu by
conquering Alsace threw away America. Even had the
population of Canada been increased to the extent called
for by the obligations of Richelieu's company in 1627,
the English might have nevertheless prevailed. But the
preoccupation of France with the war against Austria
prevented her from giving due attention to the colonial
question at the critical moment when colonists should
have been sent out in large numbers. And it is certain
that by nothing short of a great emigration could France
have saved Canada. As it was, the English were bound to
prevail by weight of population. When the conflict reached
its climax in the days of Montcalm and Wolfe, two and a
half million English Americans confronted sixty-five
thousand French Canadians. On such terms the result of
the contest could not be doubtful. Even in Frontenac's
time the French were protected chiefly by the intervening
wilderness and the need of the English colonists to
develop their own immediate resources. The English were
not yet ready for a serious offensive war. In fact they,
too, had their own Indian question.

It is a matter of some interest to observe how the conquest
of Canada was postponed by the lack of cohesion among
the English colonies. Selfishness and mutual jealousy
prevented them from combining against the common foe.
Save for this disunion and fancied conflict of interest,
New France must have succumbed long before the time of
Montcalm. But the vital significance of the conflict
between New England and New France lies in the contrast
of their spirit and institutions. The English race has
extended itself through the world because it possessed
the genius of emigration. The French colonist did his
work magnificently in the new home. But the conditions
in the old home were unfavourable to emigration. The
Huguenots, the one class of the population with a strong
motive for emigrating, were excluded from Canada in the
interest of orthodoxy. The dangers of the Atlantic and
the hardships of life in a wintry wilderness might well
deter the ordinary French peasant; moreover, it by no
means rested with him to say whether he would go or stay.
But, whatever their nature, the French race lost a
wonderful opportunity through the causes which prevented
a healthy, steady exodus to America.

England profited by having classes of people sufficiently
well educated to form independent opinions and strong
enough to carry out the programme dictated by these
opinions. While each of the English colonies sprang from
a different motive, all had in common the purpose to form
an effective settlement. The fur trade did France more
harm than good. It deflected her attention from the middle
to the northern latitudes and lured her colonists from
the land in search of quick profits. It was the enemy to
the home. On the other hand, the English came to America
primarily in search of a home. Profits they sought, like
other people, but they sought them chiefly from the soil.

Thus English ideas took root in America, gained new
vitality, and assumed an importance they had not possessed
in England for many centuries. And, while for the moment
the organization of the English colonies was not well
suited to offensive war, as we may judge from the abortive
efforts of Phips and Schuyler, this defect could be
corrected. Arising, as it did arise, from a lack of unity
among the colonies, it was even indicative of latent
strength. From one angle, localism seems selfishness and
weakness; from another, it shows the vigorous life of
separate communities, each self-centred and jealous of
its authority because the local instinct is so vitally
active. It only needed time to broaden the outlook and
give the English colonies a sense of their common interest.
Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts, by striking their
roots each year more deeply into the soil of America,
became more and more self-supporting states in everything
save name and political allegiance; while New France,
which with its austere climate would have developed more
slowly in any case, remained dependent on the king's

Thus Frontenac's task was quite hopeless, if we define
it as the effort to overthrow English power in America.
But neither he nor any one of that age defined his duties
so widely. In 1689 Canada was in extremes, with the
Iroquois at Lachine and Dongan threatening an attack from
New York. Frontenac's policy was defensive. If he struck
first, it was because he considered audacity to be his
best safeguard. No one knew better than Frontenac that
a successful raid does not mean conquest.



Though the English might withdraw from Quebec, New France
always had the Iroquois with her. We must now pursue the
thread of Frontenac's dealings with the savages from the
moment when he replaced Denonville.

It requires no flight of the imagination to appreciate
the rage Frontenac must have felt when, on returning to
Canada, he saw before his eyes the effects of La Barre's
rapacity and Denonville's perfidy, of which the massacres
of Lachine and La Chesnaye furnished the most ghastly
proofs. But in these two cases the element of tragedy
was so strong as to efface the mood of exasperation.
There remained a third incident which must have provoked
pure rage. This was the destruction of Fort Frontenac,
blown up, at Denonville's order, by the French themselves
(October 1689). The erection and maintenance of this post
had been a cardinal point in Frontenac's Indian policy;
and, more particularly to aggravate the offence, there
was the humiliating fact that Denonville had ordered it
demolished to comply with a demand from the Iroquois.
This shameful concession had been made shortly before
Frontenac reached Canada. It was Denonville's last
important act in the colony. On the chance that something
might have occurred to delay execution of the order,
Frontenac at once countermanded it and sent forward an
expedition of three hundred men. But they were too late.
His beloved fortress was gone. The only comfort which
Frontenac could derive from the incident was that the
work of destruction had been carried out imperfectly.
There remained a portion of the works which could still
be used.

Thus with regard to the Iroquois the situation was far
worse in 1689 than it had been when Frontenac came to
Canada in 1672. Everything which he had done to conciliate
the Five Nations had been undone; and Dongan's intelligent
activities, coinciding with this long series of French
mistakes, had helped to make matters worse. Nor was it
now merely a question of the Iroquois. The whole Indian
world had been convulsed by the renewal of strife between
Onontio and the Five Nations. Tribes long friendly to
the French and in constant trade with them were being
alienated. The Indian problem as Frontenac saw it in 1690
resolved itself to this: either peace with the Iroquois
on terms which would prove impressive to the Hurons, the
Ottawas, and even to the savages of the Mississippi; or
else uncompromising war. For under no circumstances could
the French afford to lose their hold upon the tribes from
whom they derived their furs.

Obviously an honourable peace would be preferable to the
horrors of a forest war, and Frontenac did his best to
secure it. To undo, as far as possible, Denonville's
treachery at Fort Frontenac and elsewhere, he had brought
back with him to Quebec the Iroquois who had been sent
to France--or such of them as were still alive. First
among these was a Cayuga chief of great influence named
Ourehaoue, whose friendship Frontenac assiduously cultivated
and completely won. Towards the close of January 1690 an
embassy of three released Iroquois carried to Onondaga
a message from Ourehaoue that the real Onontio had returned
and peace must be made with him if the Five Nations wished
to live. A great council was then held at which the
English, by invitation, were represented, while the French
interest found its spokesman in a Christian Iroquois
named Cut Nose. Any chance of success was destroyed by
the implacable enmity of the Senecas, who remembered the
attempt of the French to check their raids upon the
Illinois and the invasion of their own country by
Denonville. Cannehoot, a Seneca chieftain, rose and stated
that the tribes of Michilimackinac were ready to join
the English and the Iroquois for the destruction of New
France; and the assembly decided to enter this triple
alliance. Frontenac's envoys returned to Quebec alive,
but with nothing to show for their pains. A later effort
by Frontenac was even less successful. The Iroquois, it
was clear, could not be brought back to friendship by
fair words.

War to the knife being inevitable, Frontenac promptly
took steps to confirm his position with the hitherto
friendly savages of the Ottawa and the Great Lakes. When
Cannehoot had said that the tribes of Michilimackinac
were ready to turn against the French, he was not drawing
wholly upon his imagination. This statement was confirmed
by the report of Nicolas Perrot, who knew the Indians of
the West as no one else knew them--save perhaps Du Lhut
and Carheil. [Footnote: Etienne de Carheil was the most
active of the Jesuit missionaries in Canada during the
period of Frontenac. After fifteen years among the Iroquois
at Cayuga (1668-83) he returned for three years to Quebec.
He was then sent to Michilimackinac, Where he remained
another fifteen years. Shortly after the founding of
Detroit (1701) he gave up life in the forest. Despite
the great hardships which he endured, he lived to be
ninety-three. None of the missionaries was more strongly
opposed to the brandy trade.]

The French were now playing a desperate game in the vast
region beyond Lake Erie, which they had been the first
of Europeans to explore. The Ottawas and the Hurons,
while alike the hereditary foes of the Iroquois, were
filled with mutual jealousy which must be composed. The
successes of the Iroquois in their raids on the French
settlements must be explained and minimized. 'The Rat'
Kondiaronk, the cleverest of the western chieftains, must
be conciliated. And to compass all these ends, Perrot
found his reliance in the word that Frontenac had returned
and would lead his children against the common foe.
Meanwhile, the Iroquois had their own advocates among
the more timid and suspicious members of these western
tribes. During the winter of 1689-90 the French and the
Iroquois had about an even chance of winning the Indians
who centred at Michilimackinac. But the odds were against
the French to this extent--they were working against a
time limit. Unless Frontenac could quickly show evidence
of strength, the tribes of the West would range with the

In the spring of 1690 Frontenac dispatched a force of a
hundred and fifty men to reinforce the garrison at
Michilimackinac. On their way westward these troops
encountered a band of Iroquois and fortunately killed a
number of them. The scalps were an ocular proof of success;
and Perrot, who was of the party, knew how to turn the
victory to its best use by encouraging the Ottawas to
torture an Iroquois prisoner. The breach thus made between
the Ottawas and the Five Nations distinctly widened as
soon as word came that the French had destroyed Schenectady.
Thus this dreadful raid against the English did not fail
of its psychological effect, as may be gathered from one
of the immediate consequences. Early in August there
appeared on Lake St Louis a vast flotilla of canoes,
which at first caused the afflicted habitants to fear
that the Iroquois were upon them again. Instead of this
it was a great band of friendly savages from the West,
drawn from all the trading tribes and bringing a cargo
of furs of far more than the usual value. Frontenac
himself chanced to be in Montreal at this fortunate
moment. The market was held and concluded to mutual
satisfaction, but the crowning event of the meeting was
a council, at which, after an exchange of harangues,
Frontenac entered into the festivities of the savages as
though he were one of themselves (August 1690). The
governor's example was followed by his leading officers.
Amid the chanting of the war-song and the swinging of
the tomahawk the French renewed their alliance with the
Indians of the West. All were to fight until the Iroquois
were destroyed. Even the Ottawas, who had been coquetting
with the Senecas, now came out squarely and said that
they would stand by Onontio.

Here, at last, was a real answer to the Lachine massacre.
The challenge had been fairly given, and now it was not
a Denonville who made the reply. There followed three
years of incessant warfare between the Iroquois and the
French, which furnished a fair test of the strength that
each side could muster when fighting at its best. The
Five Nations had made up their minds. The cares of
diplomacy they threw to the winds. They were on the
war-path, united and determined. The French, on their
side, had Frontenac for leader and many outrages to
avenge. It was war of the wilderness in its most unrelenting
form, with no mercy expected or asked. The general result
can be quickly stated. The Iroquois got their fill of
war, and Frontenac destroyed their power as a central,
dominating, terrorizing confederacy.

The measure of this achievement is to be sought in the
difficulties which were overcome. Despite the eighty
years of its existence the colony was still so poor that
regularity in the arrival of supplies from France was a
matter of vital importance. From the moment war began
English cruisers hovered about the mouth of the St
Lawrence, ready to pounce upon the supply-ships as they
came up the river. Sometimes the French boats escaped;
sometimes they were captured; but from this interruption
of peaceful oversea traffic Canada suffered grievously.
Another source of weakness was the interruption of
agriculture which followed in the train of war. As a rule
the Iroquois spent the winter in hunting deer, but just
as the ground was ready for its crop they began to show
themselves in the parishes near Montreal, picking off
the habitants in their farms on the edge of the forest,
or driving them to the shelter of the stockade. These
forays made it difficult and dangerous to till the soil,
with a corresponding shrinkage in the volume of the crop.
Almost every winter famine was imminent in some part of
the colony, and though spring was welcome for its own
sake, it invariably brought the Iroquois. A third calamity
was the interruption of the fur trade. Ordinarily the
great cargoes descended the Ottawa in fleets of from one
hundred to two hundred canoes. But the savages of the
West well knew that when they embarked with their precious
bales upon a route which was infested by the Iroquois,
they gave hostages to fortune. In case of a battle the
cargo was a handicap, since they must protect it as well
as themselves. In case they were forced to flee for their
lives, they lost the goods which it had cost so much
effort to collect. In these circumstances the tribes of
Michilimackinac would not bring down their furs unless
they felt certain that the whole course of the Ottawa
was free from danger. In seasons when they failed to
come, the colony had nothing to export and penury became
extreme. At best the returns from the fur trade were
precarious. In 1690 and 1693 there were good markets; in
1691 and 1692 there were none at all.

From time to time Frontenac received from France both
money and troops, but neither in sufficient quantity to
place him where he could deal the Iroquois one final
blow. Thus one year after another saw a war of skirmishes
and minor raids, sufficiently harassing and weakening to
both sides, but with results which were disappointing
because inconclusive. The hero of this border warfare is
the Canadian habitant, whose farm becomes a fort and
whose gun is never out of reach. Nor did the men of the
colony display more courage than their wives and daughters.
The heroine of New France is the woman who rears from
twelve to twenty children, works in the fields and cooks
by day, and makes garments and teaches the catechism in
the evening. It was a community which approved of early
marriage--a community where boys and girls assumed their
responsibilities very young. Youths of sixteen shouldered
the musket. Madeleine de Vercheres was only fourteen when
she defended her father's fort against the Iroquois with
a garrison of five, which included two boys and a man of
eighty (October 1692).

A detailed chronicle of these raids and counter-raids
would be both long and complicated, but in addition to
the incidents which have been mentioned there remain
three which deserve separate comment--Peter Schuyler's
invasion of Canada in 1691, the activities of the Abnakis
against New England, and Frontenac's invasion of the
Onondaga country in 1696.

We have already seen that in 1690 an attempt was made by
John Schuyler to avenge the massacre at Schenectady. The
results of this effort were insignificant, but its purpose
was not forgotten; and in 1691 the Anglo-Dutch of the
Hudson attempted once more to make their strength felt
on the banks of the St Lawrence. This time the leader
was Peter Schuyler, whose force included a hundred and
twenty English and Dutch, as against the forty who had
attacked Canada in the previous summer. The number of
Indian allies was also larger than on the former occasion,
including both Mohawks and Mohegans. Apart from its
superior numbers and much harder fighting, the second
expedition of the English was similar to the first. Both
followed Lake Champlain and the Richelieu; both reached
Laprairie, opposite Montreal; both were forced to retreat
without doing any great damage to their enemies. There
is this notable difference, however, that the French were
in a much better state of preparation than they had been
during the previous summer. The garrison at Laprairie
now numbered above seven hundred, while a flying squadron
of more than three hundred stood ready to attack the
English on their retreat to the Richelieu. On the whole,
Schuyler was fortunate to escape as lightly as he did.
Forty of his party were killed in a hot battle, but he
made his retreat in good order after inflicting some
losses on the French (August 1, 1691). Although Schuyler's
retreat was skilfully conducted, his original object had
been far more ambitious than to save his men from
extermination. The French missed a chance to injure their
foe more seriously than they had done at Schenectady. At
the same time, this second English invasion was so far
from successful that the New France of Frontenac suffered
no further attack from the side of Albany.

While Callieres and Valrennes were repulsing Peter Schuyler
from Laprairie, the French in another part of Frontenac's
jurisdiction were preparing for the offensive. The centre
of this activity was the western part of Acadia--that
is, the large and rugged region which is watered by the
Penobscot and the Kennebec. Here dwelt the Abnakis, a
tribe of Algonquin origin, among whom the Jesuits had
established a mission and made many converts. Throughout
Acadia the French had established friendly relations with
the Indians, and as the English settlements began to
creep from New Hampshire to the mouth of the Kennebec,
the interval between the rival zones of occupation became
so narrow as to admit of raiding. Phips's capture of Port
Royal had alarmed some of the Abnakis, but most of them
held fast to the French connection and were amenable to
presents. It soon proved that all they needed was
leadership, which was amply furnished by the Baron de
Saint-Castin and Father Thury.

Saint-Castin was a very energetic French trader, of noble
birth, who had established himself at Pentegoet on
Penobscot Bay--a point which, after him, is now called
Castine. Father Thury was the chief of the mission priests
in the western part of Acadia, but though an ecclesiastic
he seems to have exalted patriotism above religion. That
he did his best to incite his converts against the English
is beyond question. Urged on by him and Saint-Castin,
the savages of the Penobscot and the Kennebec proceeded
with enthusiasm to destroy the English settlements which
lay within their reach. In the course of successive raids
which extended from 1692 to 1694 they descended upon
York, Wells, and Oyster Bay, always with the stealth and
swiftness which marked joint operations of the French
and Indians. The settlements of the English were sacked,
the inhabitants were either massacred or carried into
captivity, and all those scenes were re-enacted which
had marked the success of Frontenac's three war-parties
in 1690. Thus New England was exposed to attack from the
side of Acadia no less than from that of Canada.
Incidentally Canada and Acadia were drawn into closer
connection by the vigour which Frontenac communicated to
the war throughout all parts of his government.

But the most vivid event of Frontenac's life after the
defence of Quebec against Phips was the great expedition
which he led in person against the Onondagas. It was an
exploit which resembles Denonville's attack upon the
Senecas, with the added interest that Frontenac was in
his seventy-seventh year when he thus carried the war
into the heart of the enemy's country. As a physical tour
de force this campaign was splendid, and it enables us,
better than any other event, to appreciate the magnificent
energy which Frontenac threw into the fulfilment of his
task. With over two thousand men, and an equipment that
included cannon and mortars, he advanced from the south
shore of Lake Ontario against the chief stronghold of
the Iroquois. At the portage the Indians would not permit
their aged, indomitable Onontio to walk, but insisted
that he should remain seated in his canoe, while they
carried it from the pool below the fall to the dead water
above. All the French saw of the stronghold they had come
to attack was the flame which consumed it. Following the
example of the Senecas, the Onondagas, when they saw that
the invader was at hand, set fire to their palisade and
wigwams, gathered up what property was portable, and took
to the woods. Pursuit was impossible. All that could be
done was to destroy the corn and proceed against the
settlement of the Oneidas. After this, with its maize,
had been consumed, Frontenac considered whether he should
attack the Cayugas, but he decided against this extension
of the campaign. Unlike Denonville, he was at war with
the English as well as with the Iroquois, and may have
thought it imprudent to risk surprise at a point so far
from his base. While it was disappointing that the
Onondagas did not wait to be destroyed by the cannon
which with so much effort had been brought against them,
this expedition was a useful proof of strength and produced
a good moral effect throughout the colony as well as
among the western tribes.

The events of 'William and Mary's War,' as it was known
in New England, show how wide the French zone in North
America had come to be. Frontenac's province extended
from Newfoundland to the Mississippi, from Onondaga to
Hudson Bay. The rarest quality of a ruler is the power
to select good subordinates and fill them with his own
high spirit. Judged by this standard Frontenac deserves
great praise, for he never lacked capable and loyal
lieutenants. With Callieres at Montreal, Tonty on the
Mississippi, Perrot and Du Lhut at Michilimackinac,
Villebon and Saint-Castin in Acadia, Sainte-Helene at
the siege of Quebec, and Iberville at Hudson Bay, he was
well supported by his staff. At this critical moment the
shortcomings of the French in America were certainly not
due to lack of purpose or driving power. The system under
which they worked was faulty, and in their extremity they
resorted to harsh expedients. But there were heroes in
New France, if courage and self-sacrifice are the essence
of heroism.

The Peace of Ryswick, which was signed in the year after
Frontenac's campaign against the Onondagas, came as a
happy release to Canada (1697). For nine years the colony
had been hard pressed, and a breathing space was needed.
The Iroquois still remained a peril, but proportionately
their losses since 1689 had been far heavier than those
of the French and English. Left to carry on the war by
themselves, they soon saw the hopelessness of their
project to drive the French from the St Lawrence. The
English were ready to give them defensive assistance,
even after word came from Europe that peace had been
signed. In 1698 the Earl of Bellomont, then governor of
New York, wrote Frontenac that he would arm every man in
his province to aid the Iroquois if the French made good
their threat to invade once more the land of the Five
Nations. Frontenac, then almost on his death-bed, sent
back the characteristic reply that this kind of language
would only encourage him to attack the Iroquois with the
more vigour. The sequel shows that the English at Albany
overplayed their part. The reward of their protection
was to be suzerainty, and at this price protection proved
unacceptable to the Iroquois, whose safety lay in the
equipoise of power between the rival whites. Three years
later the Five Nations renewed peace with Onontio; and,
though Frontenac did not live to see the day, he it was
who had brought it to pass. His daring and energy had
broken the spirit of the red man. In 1701 Callieres, then
governor of New France, held a great council at Montreal,
which was attended by representatives from all the Indian
tribes of the West as well as from the Iroquois. There,
amid all the ceremonies of the wilderness, the calumet
was smoked and the hatchet was interred.

But the old warrior was then no more. On returning to
Quebec from his war against the Onondagas he had thrown
himself into an active quarrel with Champigny, the
intendant, as to the establishment and maintenance of
French posts throughout the West. To the last Frontenac
remained an advocate of the policy which sought to place
France in control of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi.
Champigny complained of the expense and the Jesuits
lamented the immorality which life in the forest encouraged
among young men. It was an old quarrel renewed under
conditions which Made the issue more important than ever,
for with open war between French and English it became
of vital moment to control points which were, or might
be, strategic.

This dispute with Champigny was the last incident in
Frontenac's stormy life. It remains to the credit of both
governor and intendant that their differences on matters
of policy did not make them irreconcilable enemies. On
the 28th of November 1698 Frontenac died at the Chateau
St Louis after an illness of less than a month. He had
long been a hero of the people, and his friendship with
the Recollets shows that he had some true allies among
the clergy. No one in Canada could deny the value of his
services at the time of crisis--which was not a matter
of months but of years. Father Goyer, of the Recollets,
delivered a eulogy which in fervour recalls Bossuet's
funeral orations over members of the royal family. But
the most touching valedictory was that from Champigny,
who after many differences had become Frontenac's friend.
In communicating to the Colonial Office tidings of the
governor's death, Champigny says: 'On the 28th of last
month Monsieur le Comte de Frontenac died, with the
sentiments of a true Christian. After all our disputes,
you will hardly believe, Monseigneur, how truly and deeply
I am touched by his death. He treated me during his
illness in a manner so obliging that I should be utterly
devoid of gratitude if I did not feel thankful to him.'

There is a well-known portrait of Madame de Frontenac,
which may still be seen at Versailles. Of Frontenac
himself no portrait whatever exists. Failing his likeness
from brush or pencil, we must image to ourselves as best
we may the choleric old warrior who rescued New France
in her hour of need. In seeking to portray his character
the historian has abundant materials for the period of
his life in Canada, though we must regret the dearth of
information for the years which separate his two terms
of office. There is also a bad gap in our sources for
the period which precedes his first appointment as
governor. What we have from Madame de Montpensier and
Saint-Simon is useful, but their statements are far from
complete and provoke many questions which must remain
unanswered. His letters and reports as governor of Canada
exist in considerable numbers, but it must remain a source
of lasting regret that his private correspondence has

Some one has said that talent should be judged at its
best and character at its worst; but this is a phrase
which does not help us to form a true estimate of Frontenac.
He touched no heights of genius and he sank to no depths
of crime. In essential respects his qualities lie upon
the surface, depicted by his acts and illustrated by his
own words or those of men who knew him well. Were we
seeking to set his good traits against his bad, we should
style him, in one column, brave, steadfast, daring,
ambitious of greatness, far-sighted in policy; and in
the other, prodigal, boastful, haughty, unfair in argument,
ruthless in war. This method of portraiture, however, is
not very helpful. We can form a much better idea of
Frontenac's nature by discussing his acts than by throwing
adjectives at him.

As an administrator he appears to least advantage during
his first term of office, when, in the absence of war,
his energies were directed against adversaries within
the colony. Had he not been sent to Canada a second
time, his feud with Laval, Duchesneau, and the Jesuits
would fill a much larger space in the canvas than it
occupies at present. For in the absence of great deeds
to his credit obstinacy and truculence might have been
thought the essentials rather than the accidents of his
character. M. Lorin, who writes in great detail, finds
much to say on behalf of Frontenac's motives, if not of
his conduct, in these controversies. But viewing his
career broadly it must be held that, at best, he lost a
chance for useful co-operation by hugging prejudices and
prepossessions which sprang in part from his own love of
power and in part from antipathy towards the Jesuits in
France. He might not like the Jesuits, but they were a
great force in Canada and had done things which should
have provoked his admiration. In any case, it was his
duty to work with them on some basis and not dislocate
the whole administration by brawling. As to Duchesneau,
Frontenac was the broader man of the two, and may be
excused some of the petulance which the intendant's
pin-pricks called forth.

Frontenac's enemies were fond of saying that he used his
position to make illicit profits from the fur trade.
Beyond question he traded to some extent, but it would
be harsh to accuse him of venality or peculation on the
strength of such evidence as exists. There is a strong
probability that the king appointed him in the expectation
that he would augment his income from sources which lay
outside his salary. Public opinion varies from age to
age regarding the latitude which may be allowed a public
servant in such matters. Under a democratic regime the
standard is very different from that which has existed,
for the most part, under autocracies in past ages.
Frontenac was a man of distinction who accepted an
important post at a small salary. We may infer that the
king was willing to allow him something from perquisites.
If so, his profits from the fur trade become a matter of
degree. So long as he kept within the bounds of reason
and decency, the government raised no objection. Frontenac
certainly was not a governor who pillaged the colony to
feather his own nest. If he took profits, they were not
thought excessive by any one except Duchesneau. The king
recalled him not because he was venal, but because he
was quarrelsome.

Assuming the standards of his own age, a reasonable plea
can also be made on Frontenac's behalf respecting the
conduct of his wars. 'Man's inhumanity to man makes
countless thousands mourn' in our own day no less than
in the seventeenth century; while certain facts of recent
memory are quite lurid enough to be placed in comparison
with the border raids which, under Frontenac, were made
by the French and their Indian allies. It is dreadful to
know that captured Iroquois were burned alive by the
French, but after the Lachine massacre and the tortures
which French captives endured, this was an almost inevitable
retaliation. The concluding scenes of King Philip's War
prove, at any rate, that the men of New England exercised
little more clemency towards their Indian foes than was
displayed by the French. The Puritans justified their
acts of carnage by citations from the Old Testament
regarding the Canaanites and the Philistines. The most
bitter chronicler of King Philip's War is William Hubbard,
a Calvinist pastor of Ipswich. On December 19, 1675, the
English of Massachusetts and Connecticut stormed the
great stronghold of the Narragansetts. To quote John
Fiske: 'In the slaughter which filled the rest of that
Sunday afternoon till the sun went down behind a dull
gray cloud, the grim and wrathful Puritan, as he swung
his heavy cutlass, thought of Saul and Agag, and spared
not. The Lord had delivered up to him the heathen as
stubble to his sword. As usual the number of the slain
is variously estimated. Of the Indians probably not less
than a thousand perished.'

For the slaughter of English women and children by French
raiders there was no precedent or just provocation. Here
Frontenac must be deemed more culpable than the Puritans.
The only extenuating circumstance is that those who
survived the first moments of attack were in almost all
cases spared, taken to Canada, and there treated with

Writers of the lighter drama have long found a subject
in the old man whose irascibility is but a cloak for
goodness of heart. It would be an exaggeration to describe
Frontenac as a character of this type, for his wrath
could be vehement, and benevolence was not the essential
strain in his disposition. At the same time, he had many
warm impulses to his credit. His loyalty to friends stands
above reproach, and there are little incidents which show
his sense of humour. For instance, he once fined a woman
for lampooning him, but caused the money to be given to
her children. Though often unfair in argument, he was by
nature neither mean nor petty. In ordinary circumstances
he remembered noblesse oblige, and though boastfulness
may have been among his failings, he had a love of
greatness which preserved him from sordid misdemeanours.
Even if we agree with Parkman that greatness must be
denied him, it yet remains to be pointed out that absolute
greatness is a high standard attained by few. Frontenac
was a greater man than most by virtue of robustness,
fire, and a sincere aspiration to discharge his duty as
a lieutenant of the king.

He doubtless thought himself ill-used in that he lacked
the wealth which was needed to accomplish his ambitions
at court. But if fortune frowned upon him at Versailles,
she made full compensation by granting him the opportunity
to govern Canada a second time. As he advanced in years
his higher qualities became more conspicuous. His vision
cleared. His vanities fell away. There remained traces
of the old petulance; but with graver duties his stature
increased and the strong fibre of his nature was disclosed.
For his foibles he had suffered much throughout his whole
life. But beneath the foibles lay courage and resolve.
It was his reward that in the hour of trial, when upon
his shoulders rested the fate of France in America, he
was not found wanting.


Of the literature on Frontenac and his period the greater
part is in French. The books in English to which attention
may be specially called are:

   Parkman, Francis: 'Count Frontenac and New France
   under Louis XIV.'

   Le Sueur, William Dawson: 'Count Frontenac' in the
   'Makers of Canada' series.

   Winsor, Justin: 'Cartier to Frontenac.'

   Stewart, George: 'Frontenac and his Times' in the
   'Narrative and Critical History of America,' edited
   by Justin Winsor, vol. iv.

In French the most important works are:

   Lorin, Henri: 'Le Comte de Frontenac.'

   Myrand, Ernest: 'Frontenac et ses Amis; Phips devant

   Rochemonteix, Le Pere Camille de: 'Les Jesuites et la
   Nouvelle France,' vol. iii.

   Gosselin, L'Abbe: 'La Vie de Mgr Laval.'

   Sulte, B.: 'Histoire des Canadiens-Francais.'

   Ferland, L'Abbe: 'Cours d'Histoire du Canada.'

   Faillon, L'Abbe: 'Histoire de la Colonie Francaise en
   Canada,' vol. iii.

   Gagnon, Ernest: 'Le Fort et le Chateau Saint-Louis.'

   Garneau, F.-X.: 'Histoire du Canada,' edited by Hector

Among the original sources for this period the following
are likely to be found in any large library:

   'Jugements et Deliberations du Conseil Souverain.'

   'Edits et Ordonnances.'

   'Relations des Jesuites.' Ed. Thwaites.

   'Memoires et Documents pour servir a l'histoire des
   origines francaises des pays d'outre-mer,'
   ed. P. Margry.

   'Les Lettres de La Hontan.'

   'Histoire de l'Hotel-Dieu de Quebec, par la mere
   Juchereau de Saint-Denis.'

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