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Control and order in French colonial Louisbourg, 1713-1758

A. J. B. Johnston

Publication Year: 2001

Control and Order in French Colonial Louisbourg, 1713-1758 is the culmination of nearly a quarter century of research and writing on 18th-century Louisbourg by A. J. B. Johnston. The author uses a multitude of primary archival sources-official correspondence, court records, parish registries, military records, and hundreds of maps and plans-to put together a detailed analysis of a distinctive colonial society. Located on Cape Breton Island (then known as Île Royale), the seaport and stronghold of Louisbourg emerged as one of the most populous and important settlements in all of New France. Its economy was based on fishing and trade, and the society that developed there had little or nothing to do with the fur trade, or the seigneurial regime that characterized the Canadian interior. Johnston traces the evolution of a broad range of controlling measures that were introduced and adapted to achieve an ordered civil and military society at Louisbourg. Town planning, public celebrations, diversity in the population, use of punishments, excessive alcohol consumption, the criminal justice system, and sexual abuse are some of the windows that reveal attempts to control and regulate society. A. J. B. Johnston's Control and Order in French Colonial Louisbourg offers both a broad overview of the colony's evolution across its half-century of existence, and insightful analyses of the ways in which control was integrated into the mechanisms of everyday life.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix


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pp. xi


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pp. xiii

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pp. xv-xvi

I would never have undertaken this study, nor have completed it without the encouragement and support of my wife, Mary Topshee. That is the simple truth. In recognition of how much l owe to her, and not just for these pages, I dedicate the completed study to Mary. In terms of the content and academic merit of the work, my greatest debt is ...

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pp. xvii-xxxvi

The broad subject of this study is Ile Royale, the French colony that existed on Cape Breton Island during four and a half decades in the middle of the eighteenth century (1713-1758). Louisbourg was the largest and best-known settlement on the island. After a somewhat tentative beginning Louisbourg emerged as the administrative, economic, and military center for French activities in much ...

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Chapter 1. Creating and Organizing a New Colony

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pp. 1-61

As a colony under French control, Ile Royale had a history spanning roughly four decades. The overall era was one of considerable achievement. The stronghold and administrative center of Louisbourg emerged as a relatively large, ordered, and prosperous settlement. To grasp the significance that the venture on ...

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Chapter 2. The Evolution of a Planned, Fortified Town

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pp. 63-120

Despite its relatively large civilian population and its characteristics as a planned town, Louisbourg has attracted little attention in the context of urban history. Instead, the administrative center and fortified stronghold of He Royale has typically been regarded as simply one of many forts (like Chambly, Chartres, or ...

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Chapter 3. Pursuing Harmony in Civil Society

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pp. 121-171

The officials responsible for the administrations of Ile Royale were under no illusion that the colony would be a land without disputes, contention and crime. The days were long past when Europeans held out hope that North America might be a new world in anything other than a geographic sense. Faded was the missionary ...

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Chapter 4. "Tenir la main" in Military Society

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pp. 173-222

Military units, all military units, require measures of order and control. Obedience and subordination are essential in the eyes of those giving the orders. Without the domination of one level over another, the power relationship that lies at the heart of every military organization, the chain of command would ...

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Chapter 5. Values and Behavior

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pp. 223-301

It is easy to ascribe meanings to human actions; it is more difficult to be right. The comprehension of others is at best a foggy realm. The mist thins sometimes, yet never entirely disappears. Relief arrives when one is able to discern a shape or pattern that looks familiar. Yet there is always an edge of uncertainty, which ...

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pp. 303-310

The initial finding is that both the administrators and a large number of the colonists on Ile Royale wanted to see their colony organized so that it reflected an ideal of an ordered society. The urge toward order was strongest and most evident at Louisbourg, the major center on the island. A multitude of controlling measures were introduced in the capital of lIe Royale, with an eye to create a planned ...


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pp. 311-329


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pp. 331-346

E-ISBN-13: 9780870139284
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870135705

Page Count: 490
Publication Year: 2001