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Report by Vaudreuil and Begon to the minister, 14 October 1716


The fact that there are few inhabitants in Canada causes all businesses to fail since workers and day labourers are difficult to find and come at a high price.

The colony could grow and prosper in business if negroes were brought over. All of New England was able


to establish itself in no time only because it did so. Most of the English and Flemish in the government of Manhatte adjacent to that of Montréal have nothing to do with the cultivation of the land; this work is done by their negroes, and this government on its own supplies all of the flour required for the subsistence of the British islands in the south.

The same work could be done in Canada if there were negroes. There are also iron mines from which the king could make large profits if there were workers to extract the iron from them.

The objection could be made that payment will be difficult; but the letters of exchange that must be drawn for the extinction of playing-card money, the unrestricted beaver trade, and the king’s fund for covering the expenses of the colony, will provide the real means to pay the price for the negroes, and there is no doubt that all those who can afford to purchase them will do so.

NOTA BENE– It is noted that Monsieur Begon, whom Monsieur de Vaudreuil had called upon to write this letter due to his illness, proposed negroes for the reasons he has noted; but Monsieur de Vaudreuil believes that it would not be practical to have them come over, as the climate is too cold and it would be too costly for the inhabitants to clothe them during the winter and he believes that it would be better to bring over salt traffickers.[...]

Source: Rigaud de Vaudreuil, Philippe, et Michel Bégon, Memorandum of 14 October 1716 to the Minister of Marine, in Collection of Manuscripts Containing Letters, Memorandums, and other Historical Documents Relative to New France Gathered at the Archives of the Province of Québec, or Copied Abroad, Organised and Edited under the Auspices of the Québec Legislature with a table, etc., (Québec: Imprimerie A. Coté et Cie, 1884), vol. III, p. 21-22.

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