In 1663, when Louis XIV took New France under his wing, the surviving members of the original Society of Our Lady of Montreal made over the island to the Sulpicians, who assumed the liabilities of the Society, and took up the task of looking after the education of the inhabitants and the care of the sick. Four years later the Seminary of St Sulpice was given judicial rights in the mission of Ville Marie. In 1668 five more Sulpicians came to the colony, among them Rene de Galinee and Dollier de Casson, who were to win distinction as missionaries and explorers. Many Sulpician missions pushed out from Ville Marie, along the upper St Lawrence and the north shore of Lake Ontario.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century the complexion of Ville Marie, then generally called Montreal, had somewhat changed. The Jesuits, the Recollets, who had returned to New France in 1670, and the Sulpicians all laboured there. Moreover, from a mere mission station it had become an important trading centre; and as such it was to continue. In position it was well adapted for the fur trade, and after the British took possession in 1760 it became the emporium of a great traffic in the fur-fields of the north and west. But its glorious days are those of its infancy, the days of Maisonneuve and Daulac, of Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys, of Rene de Galinee and Dollier de Casson.
THE MISSIONARY EXPLORERS
The establishment of royal government in 1663 gave new life to the missions of Canada, and the missionaries pressed forward with unflagging zeal. They penetrated to the remotest known tribes and blazed fresh trails for traders and settlers in the western and northern wildernesses. We have not space here to tell the story of these pathfinders, but a few examples may be given. In 1665 Father Claude Allouez went to Lake Superior to begin a sojourn of twenty-five years among the Indians in the region which now forms part of the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1666 Father Gabriel Druillettes, ‘the patriarch’ of the Abnaki mission, who had already borne the Cross to the Crees of the north, began his labours among the Algonquins of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior. In 1669 and 1670 the Sulpicians Dollier de Casson and Rene de Galinee explored and charted Lake Erie and the waters between it and Lake Huron. In 1670 Father Claude Dablon, superior of the western missions, joined Father Allouez at the mission of St Francois-Xavier on Green Bay; and, among the Winnebagoes of this region and the Mascoutens and Miamis between the rivers Fox and Wisconsin, he learned of ’the famous river called the Mississippi.’ In 1672 Father Charles Albanel toiled from the Saguenay to Hudson Bay, partly as missionary, but chiefly to lay claim to the country for New France, and to watch the operations of the newly founded Hudson’s Bay Company.