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24   HISTORY OF CANADA.

with the company. These were not colonists. They were a mere floating population gathered at the trading posts during the summer months. All of then really lived in France. They came to Canada to make money, and most of them returned to France to spend it.

The Jesuits.—The second class consisted of the Jesuits and those connected with their work in Canada. At Quebec a seminary for the training of priests, a hospital (Hotel Dieu), and a convent of Ursuline nuns were established, and life there was marked by much religious zeal. At the other trading posts, too, the priests of the order looked after the spiritual wants of the little community. To them was entrusted also the task of converting the savage tribes to Christianity, and they at once entered again upon that mission work which the capture of Quebec by Kirke had interrupted. In their prosecution of it no obstacle was too great to be overcome. With a zeal beyond all praise, these heroic priests were ever ready to face a lonely life in remote and filthy Indian villages or to meet death in shape of direst torture, all—in the words of their order—" to God's greater glory."

The Coureurs de Bois. The third class were the picturesque cooreurs de Bois (bushrangers). The company's monopoly of the fur trade and the strict religious life of the settlements drove these adventurous spirits to seek freedom of life and trade among the Indians of the west. They adapted themselves to the Indian mode of life, and soon became as skilled in woodcraft as their dusky friends. Many of them married Indian maidens, and to this day their half-breed descendants are to be found in northern Ontario, Manitoba and the North-West. Their hooded blanket-coats, girt with a red sash, and their snow-shoes, are familiar to us through many a tale of Indian adventure.

The Habitants.—The fourth class were the real colonists—for many years few in number—who settled on the land of New France. The name given to them, habitants (inhabitants), indicates that they were looked upon as permanent residents. The Hundred Associates failed to provide any military force as a protection against the inroads of the Iroquois, so that, for many years, the settlers lived in much dread of their prowling bands. Apart from this, the habitants found little difficulty in making a comfort-able living from the rich soil of the St. Lawrence valley.


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