Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

As in France, there was nothing resembling a democratic system of government in the colony. The senior official was the governor, appointed by the king. In the exercise of his almost absolute power he felt more responsible to the king in France than to the people he governed.

Another post of French officialdom was established in Canada in 1665 with the appointment of an intendant, whose chief duties concerned finance and the administration of justice. However, there was sufficient overlapping of authority between governor and intendant to breed more jealousy than cooperation between the two offices.

Jean Talon, who had come to New France as intendant in 1665, brought about a rapid expansion of the colony. He encouraged agriculture, business, crafts, and exploration and stimulated immigration. Under his direction, a census of New France was taken in 1666, which showed a population of 3,215. By that time the English controlled ten colonies on the Atlantic coast to the south, and they had greatly exceeded New France in population and self-sufficiency.

In 1672 Count Louis de Frontenac arrived in the colony as governor. He built a fort at Cataraqui, near present-day Kingston, and brought the Iroquois into an enforced peace. He directed a series of major exploratory voyages to the interior. Among the greatest explorations were those made by Louis Jolliet, Father Jacques Marquette, and Rene Cavelier, sieur de La Salle. By 1682, however, the troubles between Frontenac and the intendant, Jacques Duchesneau, had become so serious that the king recalled both governor and intendant.

Frontenac was sent out as governor again in 1689, just after a new war had broken out between France and England. He carried the fighting right into the English colonies, dispatching expeditions overland against the settlements to the south in the dead of winter. When Sir William Phips led a British fleet upstream to Quebec in 1690, the fiery old French governor haughtily refused the demand for surrender, saying to the emissary of the English commander, "I will answer your general by the mouths of my cannon!"

In 1674, with the elevation of the vicar apostolic, Francois Xavier de Laval-Montmorency, to the rank of bishop, a new and powerful office was created at the head of the clergy in New France. Laval organized the parish system in the colony, gave encouragement to the missionaries, and founded Quebec Seminary for the training of young men for the priesthood. He resigned his office in 1684 but spent the last 20 years of his life in the seminary he had established in Quebec.

Discovery of Canada

Rediscovery and Exploration

Cartier's Explorations

End of the First Colonizing Effort

The Founding of New France

The Father of New France

For the Glory of God

Seigneur and Habitant

Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

French and English Rivalry

The Final Struggle for the Continent

Early British Rule

The Quebec Act of 1774

The United Empire Loyalists

Upper and Lower Canada

Settlement and Exploration in the West

The Selkirk Settlement

The War of 1812

Struggle for Self-Government

Mackenzie and Papineau Rebel

The Durham Report

Canada West and Canada East

The Colonies Grow Up

Settlement on the Pacific Coast

The Confederation Idea

Dominion from Sea to Sea

New Dominion Is Launched

Macdonald's National Policy

The Age of Laurier

Canada and World War I

Canada Between the Wars

The British Commonwealth of Nations

Canada and World War II

Postwar Developments

Centennial of Canadian Confederation

Quebec Separatism