The Indians were kept at bay at least temporarily, and the colonists were for the first time allowed to breathe. A period followed of the most fruitful activity. Under the inspiration of Colbert , then minister of Louis XIV , France had at last decided to inaugurate a real policy of colonization, and the economic direction of the country had been fortunately entrusted to Jean Talon , a man of superior ability known in Canadian history as "the Great Intendant". Settlers, began to pour in in greater numbers, marriageable girls were sent to insure the creation of families, commerce was regulated, thought was even given to manufacturing industry, but perhaps the most important move of the new intendant was the distribution of the territory into vast seigniories which were destined to expand colonization, and on which a good proportion of the Carignan soldiers effectively settled.
Thanks to the powerful impetus thus given, the population increased more than five times in the twenty years which followed. In the meantime, it is true, too many of the young men, attracted by the advantages of fur-trading, or simply by the lure of the wild, deserted the fields and chose to roam through the forest with the Indians, but the evils of that plague were largely redeemed by services of another kind.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, New France was at last internally at peace, the Indians having been sufficiently overpowered or having become friendly as a whole, and the colony could have grown much more rapidly had the home government shown the same interest in its welfare as at the time of Colbert. Progress was considerably hampered by continuous petty quarrels between governors and intendants, whose powers were not well defined; and, as a result of a narrow policy, only a slight encouragement was given to local industry.
Besides, the influx of settlers had practically ceased, and the population was left to its natural increase, which was, it is true, wonderfully rapid. Meanwhile the British settlements were thriving in New England and Virginia, and, as was inevitable, there was soon created between them and New France a certain rivalry which periodically broke out into warring conflicts.
As time went on, however, what were only at the beginning frictions occasioned by rivalry in trade gradually developed into a graver conflict, an open contest for territorial supremacy.
While English possessions were still confined to the Atlantic seaboard, France, by a continuous advance, had taken hold of the whole centre of the continent from the regions adjoining Hudson Bay to the gulf of Mexico, and New France herself had extended her domain proper to the very heart of what are now the United States. Time had come to decide which of the two rivals would become the ultimate master of a country the immense possibilities of which were more than ever apparent.
The tension finally came to a break in , and a war was waged which lasted five long years. After various successes which at first elated their hopes, the French gradually lost ground until at the end of they were cornered in the St. Lawrence valley. Insufficiently aided by the mother country and disheartened by the brazen thefts of Bigot and company, which brought upon the people untold miseries, their courage had to yield finally before the proverbial British tenacity. The real turning-point of the contest, however, was the battle of the Plains, in which, on September 13, , Wolfe , the victor, and Montcalm , the vanquished, fell clothed in the same shroud of glory.
A French victory soon followed, that of Ste. Foy, but it was only a last glowing spark, and could not change the course of events, the colony being already doomed by the capture of Quebec. The capitulation of Montreal in September, , put an end to the contest, but it was only three years later, by the Treaty of Paris in , that New France ceased to exist as such, and was officially transferred, under the name of Canada, from the French to the British crown.
The transition of a population, of 60, to a new allegiance was naturally fraught with difficulties. On the one hand, the French, or "new subjects" as, they were called , complained, though not too highly at the beginning, that their ancient laws and religious privileges had been done away with; and, on the other hand, the English merchants or "old subjects", though still few in number, claimed more and more of the upper hand and insisted noisily on their growing demands.
After years of wrangle, the British House of Commons, moved by a spirit of conciliation, but perhaps stimulated at the end by the troubles which were then bubbling in the American colonies, voted a new constitution called the Quebec Act of , which, among other provisions, restored the ancient civil laws of the majority and conceded a greater liberty for the exercise of their religion. The invasion of the country in the following year by the American rebels put to a victorious test the fidelity of the French Canadians.
Resisting a tendency quite natural and all kinds of other inducements, they followed the guidance of their clergy and remained loyal to the Crown, with the exception of small dissenting groups. After the repelling of the invader, political dissensions were not long in flaming anew between the two rival sections of the community, and in it was found necessary to frame a second constitution , which like the former one was diversely appreciated.
By the new Act the colony was divided into two distinct provinces, namely Lower Canada or otherwise Quebec , and Upper Canada later called Ontario. Each of the two provinces was at the same time endowed with a legislature consisting of two branches, a Legislative Council and a Legislative Assembly.
In Lower Canada particularly, the legislature provided a new field in which were emphasized the differences already existing. The elected representatives of the majority could not go hand in hand with the appointed Council, and each in turn took up the cudgels.
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There were also innumerable occasions of quarrel between the governors and the representatives of the people. When the Assembly, after having uselessly claimed during many sessions the absolute control of public expenditure, finally refused in and later to vote the subsidies required by the administration, the situation became acute.
A Brief History Of Québécois (a.k.a. Canadian French)
After the adoption of the Ninety-Two Resolutions [see this text in French], especially, in , feelings rose still higher. Papineau and the other reformist leaders went on the stump and aired the grievances of the people throughout the province. This agitation finally culminated in the two rebellions of and , which were, however, rapidly quashed, like the two coincident ones in Upper Canada. One of the first steps of the imperial parliament, after the rebellion, was to sanction the legislative union of Upper and Lower Canada , as advised by Lord Durham in his famous Report.
The new measure conceded an equal representation to two provinces of unequal population and burdened one province with a large part of the other's debts, but it had at least one good point, that of establishing at last the long-expected responsible government. With the exception of a few flurries like the burning of Parliament House in Montreal in , there was no longer any sign of internal trouble.
Lower Canada was one of the first [four] provinces to enter the pact of Confederation in It became thereby autonomous once more as to its essential rights, and regained at the same time the ancient official title of " province of Quebec". Traditional village scene of Quebec with the Church spire dominating. From a painting by J. Johnstone reproduced.
Fourteen-fifteenths of the province form part of the vast Precambrian or Canadian Shield , which is considered the most ancient geological formation in the universe. The mountains may be classified in three groups, the Laurentians which skirt the St. Lawrence from Labrador to a point not far from the city of Quebec and then recede, leaving a widening lowland between them and the river as far as the Ottawa river; the Appalachians, a continuation of the chain of the same name in the United States, which run in Canada from the frontier in the neighbourhood of lake Champlain to the city of Quebec, and thence to the gulf, down the St.
Lawrence lowlands. In the Laurentians, along the gulf and the river St. Lawrence, the elevations vary from less than 1, to over 3, feet. The Monteregians are considerably lower, their highest elevation slightly exceeding 1, feet.
The province is abundantly watered. Its liquid area, not including tidal waters, comprises 71, square miles, compared with 49, in Ontario , the nearest rival. The main artery is the river St.
Lawrence, which brings transatlantic vessels to the harbour of Montreal, nearly 1, miles from the ocean, during seven and a half months of the year. Among the most important tributaries of the St. Lawrence must be mentioned the Ottawa, the St. Maurice, the Richelieu, and the Saguenay. With the exception of the Richelieu, the importance of which is only local, these rivers are navigable only in part, but they have been long used for the floating of timber.
There are besides in the province of Quebec numerous lakes of all dimensions, the largest being Mistassini lake, with an area of square miles. In the upper regions, winters are very long and extremely severe, but in the settled part the seasons do not offer very striking contrasts. While the winters are still cold, the summers are warm and sunny. In general, the climate is considered healthy and favourable to most kinds of culture. The province of Quebec holds the second rank in the Confederation as to population.
Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec - Wikisource, the free online library
According to the latest official census, the total number of its inhabitants was 3,, in , compared to 3,, in Ontario, but a recent estimate of the Bureau of Statistics advances the figure for Quebec to 3,, in [For current population statistics, see this table ]. An immense majority are of French origin, though Canadian-born, the total being 2,,, against , of all other origins, British or foreign.
And all of these, while speaking the two official languages of the country, English and French, with the exception of a negligible minority, claim French as their mother tongue. In many of the rural districts, the population might nearly be said exclusively French-Canadian.
The habitant is constantly gaining ground even in the Eastern Townships, which were expressly set apart for the settlement of the United Empire Loyalists more than a hundred years ago. There remains in that region only one riding in which the two elements are about equally balanced. In all the others, which were overwhelmingly English-speaking not many years ago, the French have attained to-day a supremacy of number which is unquestionable.
Though it has shown a certain tendency to decrease in the last decade, the birth-rate of Quebec is still the highest in the Confederation, The main language spoken in Quebec is French. Check out our brief photo tour of Quebec if you'd like to see more of the scenery of the province or if you need photos for a school project.
You can find out a lot of interesting information about the province at www. The Quebec provincial flag was adopted on January 21, The flag depicts a white cross and 4 'fleurs-de-lis' on a blue background. The fleurs-de-lis had been used as the royal seal on the banners of French kings since the 's. The blue flag iris is the flower native to Quebec that most closely resembles the fleur-de-lis.