A History of Canada: Volume One: From its Origins to the Royal Regime, 1663 - Vol. 1

By Gustave Lanctot; Josephine Hambleton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
THE COMMUNITY OF HABITANTS AND THE RUIN OF THE HURON NATION

Creation of the Community of Habitants enjoying fur- trade monopoly. The organization. The understanding with Ville-Marie. Proposed bishopric. Conclusion of the Iroquois peace. Prosperous fur trade. Slaughter of Fathers Jogues and Lalande. Creation of fur-trade council. Budget of the colony. D'Ailleboust is Governor. Changes in the Quebec Council. The coureurs de bois. Progress of the colony. The Iroquois invade Huronia. Destruction of the villages and scattering of the inhabitants. Fathers Daniel, Brébeuf and Lalemant are killed. Dispersal of the Neutral nation.

During the year 1644, a situation was developing in New France which was destined to affect its future economic and political climate profoundly. Ever since 1641, when the Iroquois first raised the hatchet against the French, the Jesuits had been insistent in their pleas for help for the colony because they estimated that the repeated Iroquois raids would eventually force the settlers to evacuate the country. They expressed openly their fear that the "settlement would have to be abandoned." The situation became critical. Once Richelieu had vanished from the political scene, the missionaries lost the support of the Duchesse d'Aiguillon at Court. With the One Hundred Associates facing bankruptcy and France engaged in the German wars, they were reduced to begging charitable support to continue the war against the Iroquois. Though this brought in 90,000 livres, still they wondered where in the future they would obtain the funds needed to consolidate the colony and the Church mission to the natives.1

At this juncture, two outstanding men in Quebec, Pierre Le Gardeur de Repentigny and Noël Juchereau des Châtelets, thought of a very bold and ingenious plan. They wanted to es-

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