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      The monarchical administration of France, at the height of its power and at the moment of its supreme triumph, stretched an arm across the Atlantic and grasped the North American continent. This volume attempts to show by what methods it strove to make good its hold, why it achieved a certain kind of success, and why it failed at last. The political system which has fallen, and the antagonistic system which has prevailed, seem, at first sight, to offer nothing but contrasts; yet out of the tomb of Canadian absolutism come voices not without suggestion even to us. Extremes meet, and Autocracy and Democracy often touch hands, at least in their vices.

      The Site of the Great Illinois Town.This has not till now been determined, though there have been various conjectures concerning it. From a study of the contemporary documents and maps, I became satisfied, first, that the branch of the river Illinois, called the "Big Vermilion," was the Aramoni of the French explorers; and, secondly, that the cliff called "Starved Rock" was that known to the French as Le Rocher, or the Rock of St. Louis. If I was right in this conclusion, then the position of the Great Village was established; for there is abundant proof that it was on the north side of the river, above the Aramoni, and below Le Rocher. I accordingly went to the village of Utica, which, as I judged by the map, was very near the point in question, and mounted to the top of one of the hills immediately behind it, whence I could see the valley of the Illinois for miles, bounded on the farther side by a range of hills, in some parts rocky and precipitous, and in others covered with forests. Far on the right was a gap in these hills, through which the Big Vermilion flowed to join the Illinois; and somewhat towards the left, at the distance of a mile and a half, was a huge cliff, rising perpendicularly from the opposite margin of the river. This I assumed to be Le Rocher of the French, though from where I stood I was unable to discern the distinctive features which I was prepared to find in it. In every other respect, the scene before me was precisely what I had expected to see. There was a meadow on the hither side of the river, on which stood a farmhouse; and this, as it seemed to me, by its relations with surrounding objects, might be supposed to stand in the midst of the space once occupied by the Illinois town.And here we bid farewell to Father Hennepin. "Providence," he writes, "preserved my life that I might make known my great discoveries to the world." He soon after went to Europe, where the [Pg 281] story of his travels found a host of readers, but where he died at last in a deserved obscurity.[223]

      The governor next dwells on the necessity of finding occupation for children and youths, a matter which he regards as of the last importance. "It is sad to see the ignorance of the population at a distance from the abodes of the curs, who are put to the greatest trouble to remedy the evil by travelling from place to place through the parishes in their charge. *

      * A lire, crire, les prires, les m?urs chrtiennes, et

      The dispute still went on. The autumn ships from Quebec brought back the usual complaints, and the long-suffering king at length made good his threat. Both Frontenac and Duchesneau received their recall, and they both deserved it. [32]

      The priests of St. Sulpice, who had assumed the entire spiritual charge of the settlement, and who were soon to assume its entire temporal charge also, had for some years no other lodging than a room at the hospital, adjoining those of the patients. They caused the building to be fortified with palisades, and the houses of some of the chief inhabitants were placed near it, for mutual defence. They also built two fortified houses, called Ste. Marie and St. Gabriel, at the two extremities of the settlement, and lodged in them a considerable number of armed men, whom they employed in clearing and cultivating the surrounding lands, the property of their community. All other outlying houses were also pierced with loopholes, and fortified as well as the slender means of their owners would permit. The laborers always carried their guns to the field, and often had need to use them. A few incidents will show the state of Montreal and the character of its tenants.Cornwallis now announced to the Royalists of[275] North Carolina that he would soon send a force for their defence, and advanced to Charlotte. He next took measures for punishing those who had pretended to re-accept the allegiance of England only to relapse into a double treachery. He declared that all such being captured should be treated as traitors, and hanged. These severe measures were carried into execution on some of the prisoners taken at Camden and Augusta, and others were shipped off to St. Augustine. This system was as impolitic as it was cruel, for the Americans were certain to adopt it in retaliation, as they did, with a frightful ferocity, when the Royalists were overthrown in South Carolina, and avowedly on this ground. Lord Rawdon, adopting the example, wrote to his officers that he would give ten guineas for the head of any deserter from the volunteers of Ireland, and five only if brought in alive.


      They arrived at Tadoussac on the fifteenth of July; and the nuns ascended to Quebec in a small craft deeply laden with salted codfish, on which, uncooked, they subsisted until the first of August, when they reached their destination. Cannon roared welcome from the fort and batteries; all labor ceased; the storehouses were closed; and the zealous Montmagny, with a train of priests and soldiers, met the new-comers at the landing. All the nuns fell prostrate, and kissed the sacred soil of Canada. [17] They heard mass at the church, dined at the fort, and presently set forth to visit the new settlement of Sillery, four miles above Quebec.All Canada, thinking itself sure of its price, rushed into the beaver trade, and the accumulation of unsalable furs became more and more suffocating. The farmers of the revenue could not meet their engagements. Their bills of exchange were unpaid, and Canada was filled with distress and consternation. In 1700, a change of system was ordered. The monopoly of exporting beaver


      They soon reached the Assonis, a tribe near the Sabine, who received them well, and gave them guides to the nations dwelling towards Red River. [Pg 452] On the twenty-third, they approached a village, the inhabitants of which, regarding them as curiosities of the first order, came out in a body to see them; and, eager to do them honor, they required them to mount on their backs, and thus make their entrance in procession. Joutel, being large and heavy, weighed down his bearer, insomuch that two of his countrymen were forced to sustain him, one on each side. On arriving, an old chief washed their faces with warm water from an earthen pan, and then invited them to mount on a scaffold of canes, where they sat in the hot sun listening to four successive speeches of welcome, of which they understood not a word.[337]Thus the Illinois, with the few Frenchmen who had tried to defend them, were left to perish; and, in return, a brief and doubtful respite was gained for the tribes of the lakes. La Barre and his confederates took heart again. Merchandise, in abundance, was sent to Michillimackinac, and thence to the remoter tribes of the north and west. The governor and his partner, La Chesnaye, sent up a fleet of thirty canoes; [20] and, a 85 little later, they are reported to have sent more than a hundred. This forest trade robbed the colonists, by forestalling the annual market of Montreal; while a considerable part of the furs acquired by it were secretly sent to the English and Dutch of New York. Thus the heavy duties of the custom-house at Quebec were evaded; and silver coin was received in payment, instead of questionable bills of exchange. [21] Frontenac had not been faithful to his trust; but, compared to his successor, he was a model of official virtue.


      [10] Vimont, Relation, 1645, 22, 23. He adds, that, "if these people are barbarous in deed, they have thoughts worthy of Greeks and Romans."Those princes that did bring men into the field, such as the Hessians, Brunswickers, etc.the Menschen-Ver?ufer, or man-sellers, as they were styled by their own peoplewere rapacious beyond example. During the American war we had employed these Hessians, Brunswickers, and the like, at a cost that excited general indignation. Besides paying seven pounds ten shillings and a penny for every man, the Duke of Brunswick, who furnished only four thousand and eighty-four men, had had an annual subsidy of fifteen thousand five hundred and nineteen pounds. The Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who furnished twelve thousand men, had ten thousand two hundred and eighty-one pounds a year.