The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about The Makers of Canada.

FOOTNOTES: 

[7] Allusion to a verse of the poet Boileau.

[8] History of the United States, Vol.  II., page 821.

CHAPTER XI

A TROUBLED ADMINISTRATION

A thorough study of history and the analysis of the causes and effects of great historical events prove to us that frequently men endowed with the noblest qualities have rendered only slight services to their country, because, blinded by the consciousness of their own worth, and the certainty which they have of desiring to work only for the good of their country, they have disdained too much the advice of wise counsillors.  With eyes fixed upon their established purpose, they trample under foot every obstacle; and every man who differs from their opinion is but a traitor or an imbecile:  hence their lack of moderation, tact and prudence, and their excess of obstinacy and violence.  To select one example among a thousand, what marvellous results would have been attained by an entente cordiale between two men like Dupleix and La Bourdonnais.

Count de Frontenac was certainly a great man:  he made Canada prosperous in peace, glorious in war, but he made also the great mistake of aiming at absolutism, and of allowing himself to be guided throughout his administration by unjustified prejudices against the Jesuits and the religious orders.  Only the Sovereign Council, the bishop and the royal commissioner could have opposed his omnipotence.  Now the office of commissioner remained vacant for three years, the bishop stayed in France till 1675, and his grand vicar, who was to represent him in the highest assembly of the colony, was never invited to take his seat there.  As to the council, the governor took care to constitute it of men who were entirely devoted to him, and he thus made himself the arbiter of justice.  The council, of which Peuvret de Mesnu was secretary, was at this time composed of MM.  Le Gardeur de Tilly, Damours, de la Tesserie, Dupont, de Mouchy, and a substitute for the attorney-general.

The first difficulty which Frontenac met was brought about by a cause rather insignificant in itself, but rendered so dangerous by the obstinacy of those who were concerned in it that it caused a deep commotion throughout the whole country.  Thus a foreign body, sometimes a wretched little splinter buried in the flesh, may, if we allow the wound to be poisoned, produce the greatest disorders in the human system.  We cannot read without admiration of the acts of bravery and daring frequently accomplished by the coureurs de bois.  We experience a sentiment of pride when we glance through the accounts which depict for us the endurance and physical vigour with which these athletes became endowed by dint of continual struggles with man and beast and with the very elements in a climate that was as glacial in winter as it was torrid

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