French on account of their supposed double-dealings and the late destructive French incursion upon the Senecas, resumed hostilities. In addition, the troubles of the unfortunate colonists were grievously increased by small-pox, dysentery, scurvy, and fever, which caused the death of about 1,400 persons during a single year.
While carrying on his campaign against the Senecas, Denonville had taken rigorous measures to invade the Hudson Bay country, where the presence of the English was most detrimental to the fur trade of New France. The most friendly relationship had always existed between the Indians and officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, who freely advanced supplies to the Indians, while the latter seldom failed to pay their debts. The first trading post or fort was established by the Company in 1668, two years before it received its charter. It was at the southern extremity of James Bay, and was named Fort Charles, in honour of the British sovereign of the time. By 1686 there were five other posts—at Albany River, Hayes Island, Fort Nelson, New Severn, and Moo9e River. These posts were all protected by light stockades, and were provided with guns of small calibre. But they were more trading posts than forts, and were generally in charge of civilian clerks.
With a view of competing effectively with the English company in Hudson Bay, the French formed, in 1682, a new trading company called the Company of the North, which in 1685 despatched to the bay two ships from Quebec laden with merchandise suitable for the fur trade. Towards the end of the season these vessels, having had very poor success, were returning practically without any furs, when they encountered a Hudson's Bay Company's boat, the Per petuana, bound from England for Fort Nelson deeply laden with merchandise. Although England and France were at peace, the Perpetuana was taken as a prize to Quebec, and her crew thrown into prison.
The same year Denonville despatched the Chevalier Pierre de Troyes, one of the best officers of the Colony