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

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
MEASURE OF A MAN

Frontenac renews his bickering with the intendant. Tacitly he refuses to obey the orders to recall his lieutenants and destroy his forts and trading posts. The Treaty of Ryswick leaves many problems unsolved. Rejoicing over peace ends with a typical challenge. Frontenac's illness and death.

The old governor returned from the wars not as a man of peace but belligerent as ever. He was quickly at odds again with the intendant, the Iroquois, and the English.

His conflict with Intendant Champigny was renewed with hardly a pause. Few would question that the governor was right in the basic issue about which the conflict centered. Being so, he emphasized how possible it was to be right in the wrong way. An iota of diplomacy might have made it possible to convince authority of the soundness of his views or, at worst, to come to a workable compromise. That was never Frontenac's way. It probably was the basic fault that withheld from him the stature of true greatness. Often as he protested his need and hope for official co-operation, the facts seemed to suggest that a hearty conflict with authority was, for him, a stimulant rather than a deterrent.

The intendant, the bishop and the Jesuits, and a considerable following of merchants and traders were for setting bounds to the colony. The intendant was probably moved by the economics this tighter organization would permit and the greater assurance that all the business of the colony would pay a substantial tribute to the King's treasury. The bishop and clergy, concerned more with the souls than the bodies of men, resented the way less devoted persons were encroaching on their established parishes. They argued, with more than a little reason in many cases, that the debaucheries of the for-

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