The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 233 pages of information about The Makers of Canada.

On their arrival the Recollet Fathers lodged not far from the Ursuline Convent, till the moment when, their former monastery on the St. Charles River being repaired, they were able to install themselves there.  Some years later they built a simple refuge on land granted them in the Upper Town.  Finally, having become almoners of the Chateau St. Louis, where the governor resided, they built their monastery opposite the castle, back to back with the magnificent church which bore the name of St. Anthony of Padua.  They reconquered the popularity which they had enjoyed in the early days of the colony, and the bishop entrusted to their devotion numerous parishes and four missions.  Unfortunately, they allowed themselves to be so influenced by M. de Frontenac, in spite of repeated warnings from Mgr. de Laval, that they espoused the cause of the governor in the disputes between the latter and the intendant, Duchesneau.  Their gratitude towards M. de Frontenac, who always protected them, is easily explained, but it is no less true that they should have respected above all the authority of the prelate who alone had to answer before God for the religious administration of his diocese.


[4] Racine’s Athalie.

[5] A sort of porridge of water and pounded maize.



This year, 1668, would have brought only consolations to Mgr. de Laval, if, unhappily, M. de Talon had not inflicted a painful blow upon the heart of the prelate:  the commissioner obtained from the Sovereign Council a decree permitting the unrestricted sale of intoxicating drinks both to the savages and to the French, and only those who became intoxicated might be sentenced to a slight penalty.  This was opening the way for the greatest abuses, and no later than the following year Mother Mary of the Incarnation wrote:  “What does the most harm here is the traffic in wine and brandy.  We preach against those who give these liquors to the savages; and yet many reconcile their consciences to the permission of this thing.  They go into the woods and carry drinks to the savages in order to get their furs for nothing when they are drunk.  Immorality, theft and murder ensue....  We had not yet seen the French commit such crimes, and we can attribute the cause of them only to the pernicious traffic in brandy.”

Commissioner Talon was, however, the cleverest administrator that the colony had possessed, and the title of the “Canadian Colbert” which Bibaud confers upon him is well deserved.  Mother Incarnation summed up his merits well in the following terms:  “M.  Talon is leaving us,” said she, “and returning to France, to the great regret of everybody and to the loss of all Canada, for since he has been here in the capacity of commissioner the country has progressed and its business prospered more

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The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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