SALT-SMUGGLERS

 

The settlement of New France was possible because of the contribution of many groups. The volunteer settlers, the soldiers and the "filles du roi" ["daughters of the king"-- these were orphan girls of decent background who were given passage and a small dowry by the French government to go find husbands and a life in the New World] were among the best-known. However, the contribution of the "faux-sauniers", or salt-smugglers, deported to the colony in the 18th century, is little known?

THE GABELLE (14th-18th centuries)1


The word gabelle was at first a very general term applied to any kind of tax: there was a wine gabelle, a cloth gabelle, etc.; but soon it became customary to use the term only for the salt tax, which had a important and ever-growing role in French fiscal history during the entire pre-Revolutionary era.

In 1646 the Bail Datin (gabelles) was more than thirteen million; in 1687 (Bail Domergue) the gabelle was 23,700,000; about 1774 it was included as 47,500,000 in the Bail Laurent David, and lastly as 58,500,000 (of which 40,000,000 for the great gabelles) in the Bail Mager; the gabelle far exceeded the poll-tax (41,500,000), and slightly the Vingtième tax [Larousse dictionary: "indirect tax, imposed in 1749 and abolished in 1786, which taxed 5% of all declared revenue, and which was destined for the amortisation of the [national] debt."] and almost attained the level of the Taille [Larousse: "Direct tax on all commoners in France under the pre-Revolutionary regime."] and Accessoires [?](65,000,000 in 1768).

Philip the Sixth was not the creator of this tax, but it was he who made it general: by his decrees of 1331 and 1343 he restricted the sale of salt to the royal warehouses, where the king's share, already variable according to the province, was added to the market price.

François Ist try to substitute with this system that the payment of the king's right with extraction of salt marsh, then a uniform system of the warehouse and some price in all the kingdom, even in the Guyenne, the Aunis, the Saintonge, the Angoumois, country until there privilege, and there succeed not. The bloody insurrection of 1548 in Angoumois and Guyenne leads to the final repurchase of the tax by these provinces, which were the redeemed countries: elsewhere generally remained the mode of the sale's monopoly in the warehouse which from now on were leased, by bails for ten year old bails, with various contractors.

Then little by little the same contractor can take with lease several warehouse, and from l598 it be a same company (Josse) which himself return contracting of all the salt warehouse of the majority of Paris, Châlons, Amiens, Soissons, Rouen, Caen, Orleans, Turn, Bourges, Mill, Dijon, for five years. It any more but did not remain to link the lease of gabelles with that of assistance's, drafts, fields, etc, to constitute the existing system during the end of the old monarchy: it is what started to be done as of Colbert and more completely after him.

It is also under Colbert that the legislation of gabelles, a long time variable, were fixed in its essential features by the large ordinance of May 1680, which in its three parts and its twenty titles codifies all that relates to the gabelles ones: holding in shares (large gabelles) or provisioning (small gabelles), sale, distribution, conservation (i.e. repression of the abuses and frauds). There were moreover special edicts or declarations for Languedoc into 1685, for the Franche-Comté in 1703, Dauphiné in 1706.

The kingdom was divided from the point of view of gabelles into six divisions, with very different conditions:

François 1st try to substitute at this system the payment of the king's right for the extraction of salt marsh, then a system uniform of warehouse and some price in all the kingdom, even in the Guyenne, the Aunis, the Saintonge, the Angoumois, country until there privilege, and there succeed not. The bloody insurrection of 1548 in Angoumois and Guyenne leads to the final repurchase of the tax by these provinces, which were the redeemed countries: elsewhere generally remained the mode of the sale's monopoly in the warehouse which from now on were leased, by bails for ten year old bails, with various contractors.

Then little by little the same contractor can take with lease several warehouse, and from l598 it be a same company (Josse) which himself return contracting of all the salt warehouse of the majority of Paris, Châlons, Amiens, Soissons, Rouen, Caen, Orleans, Turn, Bourges, Mill, Dijon, for five years. It any more but did not remain to link the lease of gabelles with that of assistance's, drafts, fields, etc, to constitute the existing system during the end of the old monarchy: it is what started to be done as of Colbert and more completely after him. It is also under Colbert that the legislation of gabelles, a long time variable, were fixed in its essential features by the large ordinance of May 1680, which in its three parts and its twenty titles codifies all that relates to the gabelles ones: holding in shares (large gabelles) or provisioning (small gabelles), sale, distribution, conservation (i.e. repression of the abuses and frauds). There were moreover special edicts or declarations for Languedoc into 1685, for the Franche-Comté in 1703, Dauphiné in 1706.

The kingdom was divided from the point of view of gabelles into six divisions, with very different conditions:

 

THE COUNTRIES OF "GRANDE GABELLE"

 The most important by far were the countries of "grande gabelle", "the grand party" (because they were the largest leasehold at the time). The twelve provinces, which constituted the "grand party", were the areas of Ile-de-France, Orleans, Berry, Bourbon, Nevers, Bourgogne, Champagne, Picardie, Normandie, Maine, Anjou, and Touraine.

Not only highly taxed was salt, but in addition the consummation of a certain minimum quantity of salt was mandatory. Within the zone formed by these provinces were the so-called "voluntary selling" warehouses, where, notwithstanding they were under strict obligations to take at least one "minot" of salt (12 litre, supposed weighing 100 pounds) for every fourteen persons under eighteen years of age; and that was only for the pot and the salt cellar, the salt used for the salting being quite different and having to be levied in addition; that selling was said to be voluntary because one could buy whenever they wanted, and because the poor (a bill of the 20th of August 1724 called thus those who were taxed on the toll up to 30 pennies at the best or at 30 pennies per capita in the toll free towns) were allowed to supply themselves on the retail market, and might even take the sole quantity of salt they wanted.

In the periphery of this region, so as to prevent the consequences of the penetration in the country of "grande gabelle" of the salt from other privileged countries, were the tax warehouses, where the gabelle, having become a real tax, consisted in the obligation to buy such a quantity of salt, shared out between the parishes, and within the parishes shared by elected or officially nominated collectors, having the same duties and worries of the toll collector's, having to levy the money for the warehouses four times a year and to pay it, half in the first six weeks, half at the end of the semester, and responsible to pay this tax whiter they collected it or not. The farmer kept the right to force to a supplement of salt to the non taxed family heads of at least 7 pounds of salt per capita for each person more than eight years old.

Conversely, in the exempt or redeemed countries, in a zone of 3 or 5 leagues along the frontier of the large salt tax countries consumption was strictly measured in order to make it more difficult to transport in this country: a person could not take more than what he could consume in six months, at the rate of at least seven persons There, unlike the those who were instead in the salt tax country, the populace complained of not being able to buy enough salt: the people of Chatellerault attacked in their quarter in 1789 "the law so cruel which unreasonably excluded the consumption of children under eight years old; this law which is an appeasement for the taxed provinces where people are charged salt like a tax, applied to the country of deposit that was becoming a vexation". At the beginning of the warehouses "granaries of salt", where officers were charged with selling and executing the gabelle (tax) beyond a certain jurisdiction, and of the "rooms of salt", having been sold without jurisdiction. After 1694, the rooms, except in Bourgogne, were converted into warehouses.

The warehouses judged in the end, up to a find of the amount of 10 pounds: beyond that with appeal at the (cour des aides) (a special court), since an edict from 1691 had completely separated the jurisdiction of gabelle and that of local concerns

The number of salt warehouses in the "grand party" was of 229 in 1661 and 253 in 1785. There were a lot of complaints on the way warehouses had been located: people had to go through long and difficult trips, since they had to purchase at specific warehouse that they were assigned to. Those who were supposed to pay this tax (not everyone was), were accounted for in registers called (sextés), most often kept with untidiness and carelessness. There were also complaints about the bad will of gabelle officers, especially that they were slow in their work, letting the poor tax payers waiting in the open air whatever the weather might be. Often, they had to come back the next day, and, at last, they complained of the treasonable trick which was being used, of letting the salt fall very lightly in the measure-container, so that it did not cram, so that there were empty spaces, so that in the end, a "minot" got to be 65 or 66 litres instead of 72 litres as it should have been. This trick was called "les bons de masse".

The sale price has changed in time, and also depending on warehouses, transportation fees were changing, so was the part of the tax allocated to gabelle officers (droits manuels). The purchasing price at salt marshes had been varying for a long time, but it had been fixed in 1711, to the immutable amount of 410 pounds a muid. Therefore, only average prices are being mentioned here.

Before 1668, where Colbert diminished a little, the prices, which had become excessive, the minot "old measure = 39 liters" (48th part of the hogshead and heavy at around 100 pounds or a 100 kilograms) occasionally amounted to just 49 pounds, 6 sols, 6 deniers: under Louis XVI the average price in countries of the large tax was 60 to 62 per 100 kilograms, amounting to 12 or 13 sous per pound: the state sold 2880 of which he bought 40; concerning that, the manual of rights carried 41 sous to 51 sous 9 deniers per minot. The average consumption in Necker was estimated at 9 pounds one sixth per head: 6 to 7 in countries exposed to contraband, 10 to 12 one half in those where it was less.

Some localities of the countries of large gabelle were privileged: Paris, Versailles, where null quantity was not imposed to the purchasers: Dieppe, Fécamp, Le Havre, Honfleur, where salt cost only 3 pounds l0 sols the quintal: some parishes of the general information of Soissons, of Bourgogne, the election of Rethel, towns of Rocroy and Charteville. Conversely there were sometimes local rising: Bourgogne, which rejected readily on salt started from its free gift, paid salt as from 1721 to 9 pounds 10 sols by minot moreover than the other provinces

The privilege of frankly-salted was a very envied privilege, which exempted for example obligatorily to receive salt of the collectors, and which made it possible to make it take with the attics at a very lowered price, 10 pounds the minot in country of large gabelle, 7 pounds as Lyonese, etc. It franc-had salted attribution there, with officers such as secretaries of the king, payers and controllers of revenues, noble, ecclesiastical, members of the consulting, officers of the courses sovereign, the chancelleries, etc; franc-salted privilege or of concession, i.e. of pure grace; franc-salted gratification or alms, thus at religious communities, hospitals, etc.

 

2°) "PETITE GABELLE" REGIONS

Regions in which the tax on salt (Gabelle) was of small amount: These regions were: the "Lyonnais" (around the city of Lyon), the "Beaujolais" and "Maconnais" regions (situated north from Lyon), the "Bresse" region (not far from Geneva), the Languedoc and Provence regions (the south east), the Roussillon (South), the Velay, Forez, elections of Rodez and Millau in the generality of Montauban and partly in that of Riom (provinces in central France). Salt was sold there at prices of about 40 to 42 pounds per quintal (about 100 lbs., that is, 50 Kg) in the Lyonnais region, 24 to 27 pounds per quintal in the Provence region, that is about 6 to 8 sols a pound.

The consumption per person was a lot higher in regions of small Gabelle tax than in other areas. It amounted to 11-3/4 pounds /person/year in Necker's days (Necker was Minister of Finances in Lewis XVI Th.'s time). A few cities had a no tax privilege, such as Gex (near Geneva), the diocese of Rieux, the cities of Cette, Aigues-Mortes, Arles, etc.

3°) THE SALINES REGIONS

So called because they had salt resources, not from the sea as it was the case in areas of heavy taxes such as around Nantes and around the salt marshes in Brouage, and in areas of light taxes such as around Mediterrannee, but from mines such as in Franche Comté and Lorraine: Chaux, Salins, Montmorot, Dieuze, Château-Salins, Rozières, etc. There, salt was being sold between 15 pounds a quintal (Franche Comté) and 26 pounds a quintal (Lorraine), or 10 to 12 in Alsace. The average price for a pound of salt was in the range of 2 to 6 sols, and the consumption reached 14 pounds per person/year.

4°) EXEMPT REGIONS

Exempt regions (Poitou, Aunis Saintonge, Guyenne, Angoumois, Limousin, Marche, part of Auvergne were those where salt cost from only 6 to 12 pounds per hundredweight, that is to say, on average, less than 2 sous per pound and where consumption reached 18 pounds.  

5°) A QUARTER OF STOCK

This concerns the regions of Avranches, Coutances, Bayeux, Pont l'Evêque etc. This name came from the fact that salt works in these regions, where sand soaked in sea water was boiled, had to give one quarter of their produce to the king's storehouses for free. Salt was sold at 13 pounds per hundredweight.

6°) EXEMPT REGIONS

This includes Artois, Flandre, Hainault, Béarn, Navarre, a small part of Aunis and Saintonge and, above all, Bretagne, where the trade in salt was free, and where the price fell to 1-11/2 liards per pound in Bretagne and to 1-11/2 sous in Artois.

GENERAL COMMENTS

Besides a too high price for such an essential foodstuff, the main problem of the salt tax was precisely the diversity in trading terms between provinces, such as, for example, a difference in price from half a sou in Bretagne to 12 or 13 sous in Maine, giving an irresistible pull towards fraud. This was just as easily carried out, and supported in castles, little cottages and even monasteries (where salt tax collectors' visits had to be predicted and regulated; a council ruling ordered that the diocesan bishop give permission for entry to nunneries, requiring the presence of an elected official or one from the salt storehouse, or, in emergencies, the aid of a magistrate or regular priest). Every one, included even the soldiers (besides often recruited among men convicted to the galleys for illegal salting), even sometimes included the clerks of the farms, was illegal salting maker by actual fact or by inclination. The illegal salting was indeed in every countries situated near the free toll countries and near the countries of "grande gabelle", especially the Maine, Anjou, Picardie, Auvergne, and the borders of Dauphine and Savoie, the wide national industry. There were isolated men carrying upon their backs a load of salt weighing 50 to 80 pounds: they were the "portacols" (porters); some were women, children, even dogs; there were full convoys; there were strongly organised gangs, strongly led, fearing not to fight with the "gapians" or "gabelous" (custom house officer), where they often had the advantage. "An army of smugglers" says the record of the "Tiers de Nemours" (record of the burgers of Nemours), led by their salvage mores and by the habit of breaking a state law much alike to a gangster one, use incessantly the trick or the force to cross the barriers. An army of clerks, whose mores are nearly the same (as those men) (and they could not find some others to make that job) resist with a lesser interest, compensated by the greater number, but resist imperfectly to the efforts of those active and fearless men. There is not a day when they fight... The whole crimes committed in the kingdom don't give so much galley-slaves" 

Punishments were terrible: smuggling on foot, without any weapon: 200 pounds for a fine. In case of repetition: 6 years of rowing on galleys. If using horses: 300 pounds for a fine, nine years of galleys if caught another time. In case of crowd gathering or if wearing weapons: 9 years of galleys; death penalty if caught a second time. If the culprit was a woman: fines, whipping and body marks, permanent banishing. For soldiers or army officers practising salt smuggling activities or for those helping salt smugglers, as well as for farm employees: death penalty. Same death penalty for judges selling smuggled salt. Unpaid fines were usually converted to whipping, or into unlimited custody in horrible jails. "There are five prisoners of this kind in the Thouars jail", the intendant Basville wrote on January 14th 1685. "They have been here for five years, overwhelmed with diseases and misery... they will remain here all their lives if nothing is done".

A Royal order dated February 17th, 1685, concerning the Languedoc province, called for making any buyer of smuggled salt financially responsible for money penalties that were inflicted to salt smugglers. It also called for obliging them to assist to death penalties inflicted to smugglers, and for their own condemnation to three years of galley rowing. (Article N°19).

No even such terrible penalties have been able to change anything. Necker has reported that salt smuggling did result into the arrest of 2300 men, 1800 women and 6600 children each year. It also brought about to the confiscation of 1100 horses and 50 horse carriages, as well as 300 condemnations to galleys.

But this severity was often more a threat than a reality, and Mollien noted that
there was a large gap between the law and law enforcement. In Maine, for example, the act of whipping women had fallen into disuse, and illegal trade in salt was a lucrative job for them, bringing with it no other inconvenience than a spell in prison, where free food and profit from work were another guaranteed source of income. Shocked by the moral disorder into which the people had sunk in a constant battle against the law, M de Chateaubrun, a steward who arrived in around 1780, took to heart, in their very interest, to carry out the law to the letter and banish some of the evil.
No other tax was as despised as the salt tax, and in 1789 journals, as well as
those notable from 1787, demanded its abolition with cries of anger: "Let us
bury the infamous salt tax for ever"
, said La Jubaudière (seneschal of Angers),
"and we will speak no more of it, lest we fear that we have never said enough
to make its injustices, thefts, murders and crimes public." "Humanity would
quake",
said Forbonnais, "if it could see the list of tortures carried out on
this occasion."

Author: Jean-Claude TOUREILLE


 

NOUVELLE-FRANCE2

 

The deportation of the salt-smugglers towards the colonies is proposed in 1665 by JANOT, French sales representative in Holland. Since 1715, the Canadian administrators ask for the sending of salt-smugglers. However, it is only in 1730, after several refusals, that Canada receives, well after Louisiana or Saint-Domingue his first quota.

Although it counts hardly 15 men, this first experiment proves to be positive. Noting that this group succeeds perfectly in the country, the intendant and the governor ask that the sending be continued year by year. Thus with the passing of years, between 1730 and 1743, 585 salt-smugglers unload in the colony. Their number largely varies however from one year to another. If 93 arrive to Quebec in 1733, none is sent in 1738, the food shortage of 1737 having encouraged the authorities to temporarily suspend the sending of salt-smugglers.

1730-15

1737- 23

1731- 60

1738- 0

1732- 60

1739- 60

1733- 93

1740- 25

1734- 49

1741- 31

1735- 54

1742- 31

1736- 42

1743- 17

LIST FALSE SALT SMUGGLERS SENT TO CANADA

If one excludes 9 people deport in 1749 by lettre de cachets, the sending of salt-smugglers finish in 1743. In the facts the war of succession of Austria put an end at the deportation of the salt-smugglers in Canada. Other reasons explain also this abandonment

During the first years of this experiment, the Canadian authorities overflow of enthusiasm. In 1730, intendant HOCQUART returns testimony to 15 salt-smugglers that succeed perfectly in the country. Therefore in 1731, the colonial administrators insist that each year the greatest possible number be dispatched of it. They would not be painful to place them, even 400 people were sent. In 1732, they received from them eighty-five and all were of good service. The Church itself recognises their utility. The coadjutor claims 6 salt-smugglers to emphasise his grounds. It should be said, and that explains the satisfaction of Canadian that the Minister of the Navy gave all his care to the recruitment of the convoys and that it is praised to have drawn from the royal prisons only of good men.

This opinion deserves however to be moderate. If it is true that the metropolis selects the prisoners whom it intends for the colony its choices are not always happy. The intendant and the governor complain on several occasions about the sending about too old, crippled people. Being out of condition to earn their living, they must be dealt with of the state or be turned over to France. Thus in 1736 BEAUHARNOIS and HOCQUART observe that in the number of salt-smugglers who come every year to be useful in the colony, it is of it a part, especially that year, which by their infirmities, nullities and wounds, are out of state to be able to earn their living, not having the force to work in a country as hard as Canada. They conclude by announcing that such is the case of named the Etienne Lepage, Antoine Coeffier, Barthelémy Constant, Gilles Rouilliere, Jean Chape and several others which they are obliged to nourish them at the expenses of the king, when they come out of the hospital, where they are very often, without that they would die of hunger and misery.

The Canadian authorities must also face the problems of the people married in France. Although they repeat on several occasions that the young single people agree better than those married do, the metropolis nevertheless sends certain numbers of them. Wishing to find their family some try to bring back these from France. Thus, inter alia, Pierre Odio, Etienne Gochereau, Pierre Martin, Louis Dorison says Larose and Pierre Dubois ask the government to pay the passage of their children and their wife. That the same way for Jean Chassé. Others, on the other hand seek, no matter what, to turn back to France.

Two means are offered to have. The exile in Canada was theoretically valid for the remainder of their days; they can seek to obtain the revocation of the letters condemning them to the deportation. This favour is seldom granted and relates to especially those, which cannot earn their living in Canada. The other choice consists in leaving the country illegally.

Pierre Revol, as, employs more spectacular means to him. This former smuggler made in 1739 becomes initially soldier, grows rich then by the trade, contracts an interesting marriage ends up inspiring such a confidence with the governor Galissonnière that this one requires of the minister that it be allowed Revol to pass to France for his business. However, impatient to cross, it does not await the answer and embarks on its ship in 1749.
Joined at Iles-aux-Coudres, he threatens the detachment, which continues it by directing the guns of its ship on their launch. He goes without saying that its prosecutors turn back. However, its escape is only temporary. Stopped in Martinique, it is brought back to Canada and is condemned to 6 months of prison and has 500 pounds of fine.

The number of escapes seems significant. Quantity of salt-smugglers disappears without leaving a trace. Moreover the authorities, conscious of the problem, set up a severe legislation thus the inhabitants who help them are liable 6 months of prison and 400 pounds fine.
With these problems and the fall of the enthusiasm of the Canadians for this labour, the colonial administrators decrease their requests gradually. It becomes increasingly difficult to place them as of their arrival. Thus, if in the first years they request the maximum of prisoners, they would be satisfied, thereafter, of a hundred individuals per year, bringing back little by little this number to 60 then to about thirty in 1739 and finally to 10 in 1743.

The salt-smugglers deport in Canada form a very mixed group. They came from everywhere in France. Obviously, the most quotas came from the areas where smuggling is stronger: Anjou, Maine, Poitou, Auvergne, Normandy, Picardie, and Franche-Comté.

Generally unmarried they are an average of 28 years old at their arrival. However, the age generally varies from 15 to 50 years. Half have between 20 and 30 years.
The exile towards Canada is not done without pain. Selected initially according to their description, from their matrimonial situation or their aptitude for being useful in the colony, they are transferred thereafter, under good guard, in small groups, towards the ports where must take place the loading, it is generally at La Rochelle. The files abound in details relating to the bureaucracy, which regulates all the methods of the deportation of these salt-smugglers.

Generally embarked on the vessel of the king, they must face the crossing under often-painful conditions.

Father's Nau left us the account of the voyage, in 1732, of the vessel of king Rubis. Left from La Rochelle, it reaches Quebec on August 16, after 80 days of navigation. The life on board is more precarious. The monk thus describes the situation of the salt-smugglers:

  • All the times that we leave the steerage, we are covered of lice, and I found some until in my sock; other source of lice and infection: they were eighty salt-smugglers, who had languished during one year in the prisons. These poor wretches would have made the pities at the cruellest Turks. They was half-naked, cover of ulcers and some even worm-eaten. We subscribed ourselves and made a search in the vessel to buy shirts of sailors to them who had some in excess; our care did not prevent them from putting in the ship, a species of plague of which everyone was attacked and who made die twenty of our men. The officers and the passengers who went well were obliged to make the manoeuvre in the place of the sailors

  • Sign difficulties of the crossing, at least the quarter of the 585 salt-smugglers come to Nouvelle-France remain with Hotel-Dieu " hospital's name" of Quebec little after their arrival. In 1735 and 1739, it is more of the 2/3 of the prisoners who are hospitalised. Under these conditions several die during the crossing or little after their arrival.

    Little time after their arrival, the salt-smugglers can choose one of the two following choices: to voluntarily engage in the troops or to agree to work for the inhabitants. The military life attracts relatively few people. In fact, the six years when the number of engagements in the army is known for us, hardly 5% of the salt-smugglers choose this solution. The very great majority prefers to begin near the inhabitants who requested them to the governor or from the intendant. At the beginning, the inhabitant and the newcomer are free to negotiate the terms of reference. However, certain salt-smugglers abstain from wanting to be appropriate of time and their wages. They thus hope to find conditions more advantageous and to enjoy their freedom more perfectly. The authorities, vis-à-vis this situation, ask for to the minister the permission of regulate in advance the terms of reference.

    In 1735, the authorities fix the pledges at 100 pounds per year. This amount corresponds to the general practice. Thus on the 20 individuals of which we found the contract of service, 17 comprise variable wages between 100 and 120 pounds per year. Engagement generally lasts between one and three years, generally three years. Among the engages announced by the notarial acts, appear almost exclusively of the middle-class men and the craftsmen of the town of Quebec and Montreal. Religious institutions like the seminar of Quebec or the Hotel Dieu of the same place also monopolise a certain number of salt-smugglers. Work reserved for the latter also varies from one individual to another. Some agree to work as farm labourers or experts; others become apprentices or servants.

    However, it seems well that the majority to work for inhabitants without contracts of service being drawn up by notary.

    Their contract of service finished, the salt-smugglers can think of being established. From the French files, notarial acts and registers of the patients of the Hotel Dieu of Quebec, a list of name including/ understanding 728 names was drawn up. It includes/understands a certain number of salt-smugglers who, although intended for Canada, never went there. However, it gathers more than 90% of the 585 smugglers unloaded in Quebec between 1730 and 1743. A comparison with the genealogical dictionary of Monsignor Tanguay makes it possible to have a good idea of the number of salt-smugglers who melt a family and of their distribution in space. In fact, hardly a hundred of them seem to have been in this case.

    Although half of the salt-smugglers who are established make it downtown, one finds some nevertheless at the four corners of the colony. No concentration appears in the rural world, except perhaps in Beauce. About fifteen individuals remain there at one time or another. This exceptional situation seems to be explained by active role of the principal lord of the place, Joseph Fleury de La Gorgendière, which engages some several and encourages some a certain number to come to be established on its stronghold.

    However little is established there with residence. In the unit, the contribution of the salt-smugglers to the development of Nouvelle-France remains rather mean. To be established seems difficult. Certain salt-smugglers commit crimes. Thus Jacques Grenier alias Jean-Baptiste Flaquette alias Jean Baptiste Charon wanders here and there and is at one time convinced of flights. Jean Chassé and Jean-Claude Carlos, who however seem established well, are shown in 1747 to have acted as counterfeiters. These examples dismount although the adaptation to the country is not done easily. The failures are more numerous than the successes. It is possible that the population has prejudices in their connection. It is necessary to see the insistence which one has in front of the courts or in certain cases in front of the notary to be announced in the preamble to the act or the beginning of the interrogation the origin of the individual and the circumstances surrounding his arrival with Canada like salt-smugglers.

     

    1Source

    2 R. Lessard, "Les faux sauniers et le peuplement de la Nouvelle-France", L'Ancêtre,.14, 3 nov.1987, p.83

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    Copyright (c) 1997 [Michel Chassé]. Tous droits réservés.
    Révision:20 août, 2000