A History of Canada: - Vol. 1

By Gustave Lanctot; Josephine Hambleton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
THE POSITION OF ACADIA AND THE TREATY OF ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE

Biencourt at Port Royal. The Acadian fur trade. The English settle in Massachusetts and the Dutch at Manhattan. Acadia is granted to Sir William Alexander. Claude de La Tour. Ochiltree is expelled from Cape Breton by Daniel. Agreement between Alexander and the two La Tours. France demands the return of Quebec. The understanding between the One Hundred Associates and La Tour. The signing of the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye.

While Canada pursued her inglorious existence as a fur-trade post, Acadia just barely managed to survive the vicissitudes peculiar to those times. After Argall destroyed Port Royal in 1613, Poutrincourt and his son Biencourt returned to France the year following. While his father withdrew to his seigniory of St. Just, Biencourt retained the services of their agent David Loméron and the help of the merchants Macain and Georges, all from La Rochelle, and in the summer of 1615, returned to settle at Port Royal. Heading a party of about twenty men who had remained behind, he made the best possible use of the ruins of the place, seeded land previously cleared since the earth was "good for tillage, the game abundant and fish most plentiful," and kept his establishment going through fur-trading and coastal fishing. Each year, a ship came from La Rochelle to bring him the merchandise he could not do without and to load fish and furs, of which the total sent back to France came to around six thousand pelts a year. Meanwhile the son of Pont-Gravé was handling a no less advantageous commerce with the Indians from his post six miles up the St. John River.1

The profits of the Acadian fur trade--the record reached was 25,000 skins in 1616--had attracted other ships from the North Atlantic ports. Some even came from Bordeaux, where two small

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