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.

The quarrels thus generated between the governor and the commissioner on the question of the title of president grew so embittered that discord did not cease to prevail between the two men on even the most insignificant questions.  Forcibly involved in these dissensions, the Sovereign Council itself was divided into two hostile camps, and letters of complaint and denunciation rained upon the desk of the minister in France:  on the one hand the governor was accused of receiving presents from the savages before permitting them to trade at Montreal, and was reproached for sending beavers to New England; on the other hand, it was hinted that the commissioner was interested in the business of the principal merchants of the colony.  Scrupulously honest, but of a somewhat stern temperament, Duchesneau could not bend to the imperious character of Frontenac, who in his exasperation readily allowed himself to be impelled to arbitrary acts; thus he kept the councillor Damours in prison for two months for a slight cause, and banished from Quebec three other councillors, MM. de Villeray, de Tilly and d’Auteuil.  The climax was reached, and in spite of the services rendered to the country by these two administrators, the king decided to recall them both in 1682.  Count de Frontenac was replaced as governor by M. Lefebvre de la Barre, and M. Duchesneau by M. de Meulles.



Disembarking in the year 1675 on that soil where as apostolic vicar he had already accomplished so much good, giving his episcopal benediction to that Christian throng who came to sing the Te Deum to thank God for the happy return of their first pastor, casting his eyes upon that manly and imposing figure of one of the most illustrious lieutenants of the great king, the Count de Frontenac, what could be the thoughts of Mgr. de Laval?  He could not deceive himself:  the letters received from Canada proved to him too clearly that the friction between the civil powers and religious authorities would be continued under a governor of uncompromising and imperious character.  With what fervour must he have asked of Heaven the tact, the prudence and the patience so necessary in such delicate circumstances!

Two questions, especially, divided the governor and the bishop:  that of the permanence of livings, and the everlasting matter of the sale of brandy to the savages, a question which, like the phoenix, was continually reborn from its ashes.  “The prelate,” says the Abbe Gosselin, “desired to establish parishes wherever they were necessary, and procure for them good and zealous missionaries, and, as far as possible, priests residing in each district, but removable and attached to the seminary, which received the tithes and furnished them with all they had need of.  But Frontenac found that this system left the priests too dependent on the bishop, and that the clergy thus closely connected with the bishop and the seminary, was too formidable and too powerful a body.  It was with the purpose of weakening it and of rendering it, by the aid which it would require, more dependent on the civil authority, that he undertook that campaign for permanent livings which ended in the overthrow of Mgr. de Laval’s system.”

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