Abstract

Although they were a minority among seigneurs in the St. Lawrence Valley, resident seigneurs maintained a much more "intimate" relationship to their community than those who were absent from their fiefs. This article, which examines ten resident seigneurial families from their beginnings in the seventeenth century to the abolition of the Canadian seigneurial regime in the nineteenth, discovers harmonious social relations between the two central actors of the preindustrial rural world: the seigneur and the habitant. While the historiography of the last several decades insisted on the "feudal" and binding character of the Canadian seigneurial system, the study of resident seigneurs suggests a different understanding of seigneurial relationships. Seigneurial godfathers and godmothers, shared family or collective festivities, and beneficent actions of seigneurs are evidence for a kinder, gentler Canadian seigneurie in which the time of arrival of the seigneurial family and the social origin of the seigneur (noble or commoner) were important factors. Resident seigneurs thus call into question the oppressive character of the regime, despite the existence of various conflicts.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-7787
Print ISSN
1539-3402
Pages
pp. 21-43
Launched on MUSE
2006-07-06
Open Access
No
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