Church in Canada at this time was Laval, afterwards its first bishop.
The Conseil Superieur.—These three, together with a body of councillors—at first five, afterwards seven, and finally twelve—formed the Sovereign Council (Conseil Sourerain). This name afterwards seemed to the French king too suggestive of supreme power, and it was therefore changed to Superior Council (Conseil Superieur). This council was at once a legislative body and a court of justice, but in whatever capacity it acted it was subject to the will of the king, whose edicts it was bound to enforce. Subordinate to it were royal judges at Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal. The•Canadian seigneurs were also entitled to administer justice upon their domains, but in nearly every seigneurie this power was carefully limited to the settlement of petty disputes and the punishment of trivial offences.
The Intendant's Wide Powers.—The intendant had power, as the chief administrative officer of the colony, to pass, without consulting the council, ordinances dealing with all such matters of civil government as in his opinion required regulation. He was also authorized to withdraw cases from the ordinary courts and decide them himself, if he should think it in the king's interest to do so. As might be expected, disputes many and bitter arose between the intendant, the governor and the council as to their respective rights and duties. The king, three thousand miles across the Atlantic, was the only one who could decide between them with authority, and in the then state of ocean navigation many months of strife would pass before his will could be made known to his quarrelling officers.
De Mezy.—De Mezy was the first governor under the new system. Councillors were, at first, to be appointed by the governor and Laval jointly. As the two could not agree in filling the council, de Mezy proposed that there should he a popular election. This proposal gave Laval a strong weapon to use against him at the French court, where everything that savored of popular government was frowned down. De Mezy was accordingly recalled (1665), and de Courcelle was sent out to succeed him.
The Intendant Talon.—The first intendant was Talon, a man to whom New France owed much for such progress as was made during this period of French rule. The great Colbert was