THE GRAND STRATEGY OF EMPIRE
In 1697, when the bewigged plenipotentiaries of Europe ended the War of the League of Augsburg by the Peace of Ryswick, New France reached and passed a point of crucial importance in its history. For over thirty years, ever since royal government had been established and Tracy had arrived at Quebec with the stout companies of the Carignan-Salières regiment, the colony had steadily increased in strength. True, it had not developed exactly as the officialdom of Versailles had desired. It was painfully obvious now that the New France which Colbert and the mercantilist bureaucrats had planned--the New France of the diversified economy, flourishing agriculture, and thriving ocean trade--showed little sign of becoming a reality. These paper doctrinaire projects had certainly been frustrated. The colony had not grown as perhaps it ought to have grown. But, at the same time, it had undeniably waxed in size and strength. It had become, in fact, an enormous oceanic and continental empire which stretched westward from Newfoundland and Acadia to beyond Lake Superior, and southward from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.
It had reached--though nobody knew it at the time--the pinnacle of its success. It stood--though this was only realized later--at the ultimate height of its power. The settlement which followed the War of the League of Augsburg was, in