Century of Conflict: The Struggle Between the French and British in Colonial America

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE DEDICATED MAN

Frontenac and his vision of an empire. A conflict of ideologies, the prelude to an early cold war. The founding of Fort Frontenac. The intendant's office re-established. The challenge of the coureurs. Their various characters. The brandy controversy leads to the Brandy Parliament.

Autumn came early at Quebec that year of 1672. The tilled acres running down to the ancient highway, the great St. Lawrence, had already turned from green to gold. A hint of frost was in the air, too, and the warehouses beyond the fields were closed against it. There was an unaccustomed stir in the narrow streets this day, and more people there than gathered even on feast days or when the young blades from Upper Town came of an evening to strut about the cafés and inns where a bottle of wine was to be had for six French sous, and forty sous was the price of a pound plug from the stores that dealt in tobacco. Even the road that climbed up the cliff among the twenty-odd houses that clung there with precarious dignity had its group of people who seemed to be in no hurry to be about any business.

At the top of this street and to the right was the Bishop's Palace, rather empty now, for the bishop was in Paris and would be for some time to come. Next to it was the seminary, the finest and largest dwelling in the country. To the left, on the brow of the cliff, was the Château of St. Louis, grown a little shabby with the years, opposite it the Hospice of the Récollets. This was Upper Town. It was not the crowded and huddled place that was the town near the water. There were only fifty lots here and the only street that seemed of importance, so Father le Tac tells us, "is where the legal gentlemen live." The hospital was on the slope looking down to

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