POLITICAL PROBLEMS AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
Denonville's mission: to subdue the Iroquois. Weakness of the country's defences. The essential danger: the English. Treaty between Versailles and London promises neutrality in America. Anglo-Iroquois intrigues. Fortification of the colony. Policing of the fur trade. Expedition of the Chevalier de Troyes to Hudson Bay. Canadian exploits. Seignelay's programme. Economic innovations of Intendant de Meulles. Efforts to assimilate the natives. Card money. Recall of de Meulles.
The new Governor, Jacques René de Brisay, Marquis de Denonville, was commissioned on January 1, 1685, and he disembarked in Quebec with his wife on August 1. As colonel of a regiment of dragoons, he had displayed the qualities of a brave soldier and an organizer who, though effective, was more methodical than farsighted. In spite of a certain lack of imagination, he certainly does not deserve the epithet "imbecile" which the acid pen of Saint-Simon attached to his name, and the disinterested integrity which he displayed during his period of administration was in sharp contrast with the mercenary preoccupations of Frontenac and La Barre. His wife, on the other hand, was said to have kept "in the Château St. Louis a room, one might almost say a shop, filled with merchandise." It was also said that she held raffles in order to get rid of her left-over stock. She was at the same time very pious and proper. 1
Denonville's first mission was to repair the mistakes of La Barre, and to ensure a solid peace by humiliating the pride of the Iroquois and protecting the Illinois and other friendly tribes. He had also to oppose any claims which the English might make on native or French lands. The tour of inspection which the Governor made as a first step in this difficult task revealed a deplorable