NOT LONG AFTER THE YOUNG KING LOUIS XIV came of age, New France was given the institutions of a province of France ( 1663)--governor, intendant and Sovereign Council, with deputy governors and intendants at Montreal and Trois Rivières. The current legal code of the metropolitan capital, the Custom of Paris, hitherto informally used, now became the official code, and as such began its evolution into 'the law of Canada.'
The new turn brought not only institutions but a new vigour embodied in new and able men, conspicuously the Intendant Jean Talon. Talon may have been only a subordinate of the great administrator Colbert, but the energy with which he went at getting the settlements on their feet was his own. His measures are well known--the valiant attempts to set up industries such as shipbuilding and brewing, the new villages he founded back inland from Quebec, his gallant efforts to find wives for men who otherwise would have had indefinitely to face the rigours of celibacy. Under this tide of initiative, the old bad days of 'free enterprise' were left behind and the settlements, thanks to public initiative, began to fuse into something like a community. The worst of the pioneering stage was over and men could now think of themselves not merely as Frenchmen overseas, but as colonials; that is, as people who, remaining just as French as ever, were probably in the new world to stay. During the generation after the establishment of the royal province of New France, all the big things that mark a people's life got some kind of permanent form given to them: government, law, landholding, the kind and amount of education deemed necessary, the relations between Church and State-- all such big matters took on the shape they were to maintain until the English Conquest.
What is to be said of the big things can also be said of the little, for in little things as in big, every new group of people strives for a norm of behaviour. When this is achieved, a way