The Monarchical Atmosphere of French
Colonial Louisbourg, 1713–1758
A. J. B. JOHNSTON
It is tempting to begin with the observation that a state is a state is a state. The various ways in which officials of the French monarchy used form and function in eighteenth-century Louisbourg to promote the interests of the royal state have many echoes in the contemporary world. Those similarities are not due to any necessary connection with the monarchical form of government (absolute then and limited or constitutional now). Rather, they proceed from what appears to be the natural tendency of all states to maintain and to reinforce the conditions that advance their interests. Before we veer off into the speculative and choppy waters of sociology or political science, it is best to present the evidence from French colonial Louisbourg. The state, for the people of Louisbourg, was the king, the absolutistic monarch of eighteenth-century France and its overseas colonies.
Looking strictly at what is now Atlantic Canada, by the terms of the 1713 treaty that ended the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis XIV signed over to the monarch of Great Britain sovereignty over Acadie (mainland Nova Scotia), the French-settled portion of Newfoundland (principally the colony at Plaisance or Placentia), and the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The French king was left with jurisdiction over only two islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One was Isle Saint-Jean