With The Lax
Habits And Easy Familiarity Of His Race, He Had A Little World Of
Self-Indulgence And Misrule Around Him.
He had his clerks, canoe
men, and retainers of all kinds, who lived with him on terms of
Sociability, always calling him by his Christian name; he
had his harem of Indian beauties, and his troop of halfbreed
children; nor was there ever wanting a louting train of Indians,
hanging about the establishment, eating and drinking at his
expense in the intervals of their hunting expeditions.
The Canadian traders, for a long time, had troublesome
competitors in the British merchants of New York, who inveigled
the Indian hunters and the coureurs des bois to their posts, and
traded with them on more favorable terms. A still more formidable
opposition was organized in the Hudson's Bay Company, chartered
by Charles II., in 1670, with the exclusive privilege of
establishing trading houses on the shores of that bay and its
tributary rivers; a privilege which they have maintained to the
present day. Between this British company and the French
merchants of Canada, feuds and contests arose about alleged
infringements of territorial limits, and acts of violence and
bloodshed occurred between their agents.
In 1762, the French lost possession of Canada, and the trade fell
principally into the hands of British subjects. For a time,
however, it shrunk within narrow limits. The old coureurs des
bois were broken up and dispersed, or, where they could be met
with, were slow to accustom themselves to the habits and manners
of their British employers.
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