THE HISTORY OF CANADA
The feudal system of landholding, which had long been established in France, was adopted in the colony. The nobles, in this case the seigneurs, were granted lands and titles by the king in return for their oath of loyalty and promise to support him in time of war. The seigneur in turn granted rights to work farm plots on his land to his vassals, or habitants. In exchange, the habitants were required to pay certain feudal dues each year, to work for the seigneur for a given number of days annually, and to have their grain ground in the seigneurial mill.
In underpopulated New France the habitants welcomed the fact that the seigneur was obligated to build a mill. They had no military duties to perform except their common defense against the Indians. There was little money and not much use for it; and so the taxes took the form of payments in chickens, geese, or other farm products. These obligations were hardly burdensome. The seigneurs were anxious that their habitants should wish to stay farmers, and there was as much land as anyone could till.
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