FUR TRADE AND AGRICULTURE
LA SALLE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Assembly to consider sale of liquor to the Indians. Royal amnesty for illicit traders. Number of licences fixed at twenty-five. Frontenac-Duchesneau quarrel on chairmanship of Council. Hostilities among Indian tribes. Seigniories granted. Seigneurs' difficulties. Success of farmers. Economic stagnation. Recall of Frontenac and Duchesneau. La Salle explores the Mississippi. Attempt to reach the Mississippi by sea. Failure and death of the explorer.
The severe decrees had resulted in a lull in the illicit fur traffic, but it was of short duration. Even as he issued prohibitions, Frontenac made his need for maintaining contact with the western tribes a pretext for issuing trade permits, and in Montreal Perrot violated the law by giving licences to his own henchmen. The result was a renewed rush of engagé s and coureurs de bois into the interior. When these abuses were reported to him in April 1676, the King addressed a special order forbidding governors-general and local governors (in this instance Frontenac and Perrot) to deliver any trading permits. Colbert specifically instructed Frontenac to abstain from participation in the trade either in his own name, or through his servants or other persons. Expert at shuffling royal orders, Frontenac issued no trading licences, but he continued to grant hunting permits until this, too, was expressly forbidden in 1678. 1
One constant ingredient in the unrest caused by contraband trading was the liquor question, and it flared up once more at this time. During the absence of Mgr. de Laval, the Jesuits had maintained his order of excommunication against vendors of alcohol. However, when the habitants protested that the sale had been