It long remained a mystery why Charles I king of England consented to a stipulation which pledged him to resign so important a conquest. So France Gets Canada Back.
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His [Michel, Rear Admiral – jl] fevered mind, acting on his diseased body, often excited him to transports of fury, in which he cursed indiscriminately the people of St. Malo, against whom he had a grudge, and the Jesuits, whom he detested. On one occasion, Kirke was conversing with some of the latter.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “your business in Canada was to enjoy what belonged to M. de Caen, whom you dispossessed.”
“Pardon me, sir,” answered Brebeuf, “we came purely for the glory of God, and exposed ourselves to every kind of danger to convert the Indians.”
Here Michel broke in: “Ay, ay, convert the Indians! You mean, convert the beaver!”
“That is false!” retorted Brebeuf.
Michel raised his fist, exclaiming, “But for the respect I owe the General, I would strike you for giving me the lie.”
Brebeuf, a man of powerful frame and vehement passions, nevertheless regained his practiced self-command, and replied: “You must excuse me. I did not mean to give you the lie. I should be very sorry to do so. The words I used are those we use in the schools when a doubtful question is advanced, and they mean no offence. Therefore I ask you to pardon me.”
Despite the apology, Michel’s frenzied brain harped the presumed insult, and he raved about it without ceasing.
“Bon Dieu!” said Champlain, “you swear well for a Reformer!”
“I know it,” returned Michel; “I should be content if I had but struck that Jesuit who gave me the lie before my General.”
At length, one of his transports of rage ended in a lethargy from which he never awoke. His funeral was conducted with a pomp suited to his rank; and, amid discharges of cannon whose dreary roar was echoed from the yawning gulf of the Saguenay, his body was borne to its rest under the rocks of Tadoussac. Good Catholics and good Frenchmen saw in his fate the immediate finger of Providence. “I do not doubt that his soul is in perdition,” remarks Champlain, who, however, had endeavored to befriend the unfortunate man during the access of his frenzy.
Having finished their carousing, which were profuse, and their trade with the Indians, which was not lucrative, the English steered down the St. Lawrence. Kirke feared greatly a meeting with Razilly, a naval officer of distinction, who was to have sailed from France with a strong force to succor Quebec; but, peace having been proclaimed, the expedition had been limited to two ships under Captain Daniel. Thus Kirke, willfully ignoring the treaty of peace, was left to pursue his depredations unmolested. Daniel, however, though too weak to cope with him, achieved a signal exploit. On the island of Cape Breton, near the site of Louisburg, he found an English fort, built two months before, under the auspices, doubtless, of Sir William Alexander. Daniel, regarding it as a bold encroachment on French territory, stormed it at the head of his pike-men, entered sword in hand, and took it with all its defenders.
Meanwhile, Kirke with his prisoners was crossing the Atlantic. His squadron at length reached Plymouth, whence Champlain set out for London. Here he had an interview with the French ambassador, who, at his instance, gained from the King a promise, that, in pursuance of the terms of the treaty concluded in the previous April, New France should be restored to the French Crown.
It long remained a mystery why Charles consented to a stipulation which pledged him to resign so important a conquest. The mystery is explained by the recent discovery of a letter from the King to Sir Isaac Wake, his ambassador at Paris. The promised dowry of Queen Henrietta Maria, amounting to eight hundred thousand crowns, had been but half paid by the French government, and Charles, then at issue with his Parliament, and in desperate need of money, instructs his ambassador, that, when he receives the balance due, and not before, he is to give up to the French both Quebec and Port Royal, which had also been captured by Kirke. The letter was accompanied by “solemn instruments under our hand and seal” to make good the transfer on fulfillment of the condition. It was for a sum equal to about two hundred and forty thousand dollars that Charles entailed on Great Britain and her colonies a century of bloody wars. The Kirkes and their associates, who had made the conquest at their own cost, under the royal authority, were never reimbursed, though David Kirke received the honor of knighthood, which cost the King nothing.
1632-1635 France Gets Canada Back; Death of Champlain
On Monday, the fifth of July, 1632, Emery de Caen anchored before Quebec. He was commissioned by the French Crown to reclaim the place from the English; to hold for one year a monopoly of the fur-trade, as an indemnity for his losses in the war; and, when this time had expired, to give place to the Hundred Associates of New France.
By the convention of Suza, New France was to be restored to the French Crown; yet it had been matter of debate whether a fulfillment of this engagement was worth the demanding. That wilderness of woods and savages had been ruinous to nearly all connected with it. The Caens, successful at first, had suffered heavily in the end. The Associates were on the verge of bankruptcy. These deserts were useless unless peopled; and to people them would depopulate France. Thus argued the inexperienced reasoners of the time, judging from the wretched precedents of Spanish and Portuguese colonization. The world had not as yet the example of an island kingdom, which, vitalized by a stable and regulated liberty, has peopled a continent and spread colonies over all the earth, gaining constantly new vigor with the matchless growth of its offspring.
On the other hand, honor, it was urged, demanded that France should be reinstated in the land which she had discovered and explored. Should she, the centre of civilization, remain cooped up within her own narrow limits, while rivals and enemies were sharing the vast regions of the West? The commerce and fisheries of New France would in time become a school for French sailors. Mines even now might be discovered; arid the fur-trade, well conducted, could not but be a source of wealth. Disbanded soldiers and women from the streets might be shipped to Canada. Thus New France would be peopled and old France purified. A power more potent than reason reinforced such arguments. Richelieu seems to have regarded it as an act of personal encroachment that the subjects of a foreign crown should seize on the domain of a company of which he was the head; and it could not be supposed, that, with power to eject them, the arrogant minister would suffer them to remain in undisturbed possession.
A spirit far purer and more generous was active in the same behalf. The character of Champlain belonged rather to the Middle Age than to the seventeenth century. Long toil and endurance had calmed the adventurous enthusiasm of his youth into a steadfast earnestness of purpose; and he gave himself with a loyal zeal and devotedness to the profoundly mistaken principles which he had espoused. In his mind, patriotism and religion were inseparably linked. France was the champion of Christianity, and her honor, her greatness, were involved in her fidelity to this high function. Should she abandon to perdition the darkened nations among whom she had cast the first faint rays of hope? Among the members of the Company were those who shared his zeal; and though its capital was exhausted, and many of the merchants were withdrawing in despair, these enthusiasts formed a subordinate association, raised a new fund, and embarked on the venture afresh.
England, then, resigned her prize, and Caen was dispatched to reclaim Quebec from the reluctant hands of Thomas Kirke. The latter, obedient to an order from the King of England, struck his flag, embarked his followers, and abandoned the scene of his conquest. Caen landed with the Jesuits, Paul le Jeune and Anne de la Noue. They climbed the steep stairway which led up the rock, and, as they reached the top, the dilapidated fort lay on their left, while farther on was the stone cottage of the Heberts, surrounded with its vegetable gardens, — the only thrifty spot amid a scene of neglect. But few Indians could be seen. True to their native instincts, they had, at first, left the defeated French and welcomed the conquerors. Their English partialities were, however, but short-lived. Their intrusion into houses and store-rooms, the stench of their tobacco, and their importunate begging, though before borne patiently, were rewarded by the newcomers with oaths and sometimes with blows. The Indians soon shunned Quebec, seldom approaching it except when drawn by necessity or a craving for brandy. This was now the case; and several Algonquin families, maddened with drink, were howling, screeching, and fighting within their bark lodges. The women were frenzied like the men, it was dangerous to approach the place unarmed.
In the following spring, 1633, on the twenty-third of May, Champlain, commissioned anew by Richelieu, resumed command at Quebec in behalf of the Company. Father le Jeune, Superior of the mission, was wakened from his morning sleep by the boom of the saluting cannon. Before he could sally forth, the convent door was darkened by the stately form of his brother Jesuit, Brebeuf, newly arrived; and the Indians who stood by uttered ejaculations of astonishment at the raptures of their greeting. The father hastened to the fort, and arrived in time to see a file of musketeers and pikemen mounting the pathway of the cliff below, and the heretic Caen resigning the keys of the citadel into the Catholic hands of Champlain. Le Jeune’s delight exudes in praises of one not always a theme of Jesuit eulogy, but on whom, in the hope of a continuance of his favors, no praise could now be ill bestowed. “I sometimes think that this great man [Richelieu], who by his admirable wisdom and matchless conduct of affairs is so renowned on earth, is preparing for himself a dazzling crown of glory in heaven by the care he evinces for the conversion of so many lost infidel souls in this savage land. I pray affectionately for him every day,” etc.
For Champlain, too, he has praises which, if more measured, are at least as sincere. Indeed, the Father Superior had the best reason to be pleased with the temporal head of the colony. In his youth, Champlain had fought on the side of that; more liberal and national form of Romanism of which the Jesuits were the most emphatic antagonists. Now, as Le Jeune tells us, with evident contentment, he chose him, the Jesuit, as director of his conscience. In truth, there were none but Jesuits to confess and absolve him; for the Recollets, prevented, to their deep chagrin, from returning to the missions they had founded, were seen no more in Canada, and the followers of Loyola were sole masters of the field. The manly heart of the commandant, earnest, zealous, and direct, was seldom chary of its confidence, or apt to stand too warily on its guard in presence of a profound art mingled with a no less profound sincerity.
A stranger visiting the fort of Quebec would have been astonished at its air of conventual decorum. Black Jesuits and scarfed officers mingled at Champlain’s table. There was little conversation, but, in its place, histories and the lives of saints were read aloud, as in a monastic refectory. Prayers, masses, and confessions followed one another with an edifying regularity, and the bell of the adjacent chapel, built by Champlain, rang morning, noon, and night. Godless soldiers caught the infection, and whipped themselves in penance for their sins. Debauched artisans outdid each other in the fury of their contrition. Quebec was become a mission. Indians gathered thither as of old, not from the baneful lure of brandy, for the traffic in it was no longer tolerated, but from the less pernicious attractions of gifts, kind words, and politic blandishments.
– Pioneers of France in the New World Part II, Chapter 17 by Francis Parkman
So in the end, France gets Canada back.
The below is from Francis Parkman’s Introduction.
If, at times, it may seem that range has been allowed to fancy, it is so in appearance only; since the minutest details of narrative or description rest on authentic documents or on personal observation.
Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them, he must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.
With respect to that special research which, if inadequate, is still in the most emphatic sense indispensable, it has been the writer’s aim to exhaust the existing material of every subject treated. While it would be folly to claim success in such an attempt, he has reason to hope that, so far at least as relates to the present volume, nothing of much importance has escaped him. With respect to the general preparation just alluded to, he has long been too fond of his theme to neglect any means within his reach of making his conception of it distinct and true.