A History of Canada - Vol. 2

By Gustave Lanctot; Margaret M. Cameron | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
REVIEW: CANADA'S ECONOMY
1663-1713

Progress and decline. Granting of seigniories. Seigniorial abuses. Progress of farmers: agriculture and stockraising. Shipbuilding. Export of wood. Fisheries. Hemp. Weaving. Tar. Tanneries. Mines. Building stone and limestone. Brickyards. Export of cereals. Difficulties in the fur trade. Lack of roads. Project of a canal at Lachine. Shortsightedness of Versailles. Lack of capital and settlers.

In the period between 1663 and 1713, the period of colonization and organization, the pressure of events accelerated the country's economic evolution. During the early years, Colbert's expansionist policy and generous royal subsidies combined with the unwearying energy of Talon to stimulate economic growth and to direct the colony towards the utilization of its natural resources. However, following Talon's departure, and with the discontinuance of subsidies, the rate of growth became progressively slower under Frontenac and Duchesneau during the period of the Iroquois wars. De Meulles continued to urge that France send out the workmen and establish the manufactures which would make it possible to utilize the resources of the country, but his suggestions fell on deaf ears. The colony itself, while rich in resources, was very poor in capital. The seigneurs had royal assurance that they might engage in business without loss of rank, but they were often almost penniless, and the urban notables, who scarcely had "sheets for their beds," were not much better off than the seigneurs. Moreover, even if there had been money in the country, labour was so scarce that a proposal was made to import negroes. 1

within the seigniorial framework, the land held pride of place in the country's economy. In 1672 Talon completed the distribution of forty-five concessions between Ile Perrot and Kamou

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