No More Than 2 Horses

Pillory (Photo credit: Travis S.)
Louis XIV in 1685, the year he revoked the Edi...
Louis XIV in 1685 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the habitants of early Canada were said to be better than they would have been had they remained as peasants in France, their lives were nevertheless very restricted.

Louis XIV liked to have a good time but he did not extend that privilege any further than the nobility of France. Louis was a very heavy eater, beginning dinner with at least three different soups, then several kinds of fish, meat dishes, poultry, and usually finishing with pastries and fruits. When dinner was over, he would become melancholy, and is said that this is when he would concoct further plans to order the lives of his people in Canada.

Clearing the new land was one of the biggest problems; so Louis ordered habitants to stay in the country and not move into towns. A farmer was not allowed to own more than two horses because he might neglect to raise cattle and sheep.

Bakers were ordered to make brown bread although few people enjoyed eating it. Louis, who did not eat brown bread himself, said it was more nutritious.

People were not allowed to sit on benches in front of their homes after nine o’clock at night.

Merchants could not hold meetings to discuss business matters.

Women had to be home by nine o’clock. Unmarried girls were allowed to dance only with other girls, in their own homes, with their mothers present.

Men were not allowed to use profanity. There were fines for the first four offences. If they were caught swearing five times, they were sent to the pillory (a wooden framework with holes for the head and hands in which an offender was exposed to public abuse). Their lips were branded for a sixth offence, and their tongues were cut out if they were caught eight times.

On December 16, 1663, a law passed to reduce profiteering on goods imported from France. Merchants were permitted to mark up goods 65 per cent after paying 10 per cent duty. When ships arrived at Quebec, members of the Sovereign Council would go on board, inspect the goods for quality, and set the prices at which they must be sold.

As in the case of the King’s Girls, the people of Quebec had a big advantage over those in Trois Rivieres and Montreal because they had the first choice of imported products.


      • I loved school for the most part. I wrote for the school newspaper throughout jr and senior hs. I stopped after going to college and becoming an RN. Life got too busy. I am retired now and have come back to my first love which is writing. I hope others will enjoy my writing and that I can find followers willing to engage with me in the issues I bring forth. By the way, I love history. I started out this blog pretty much like a genealogy blog and now it is morphing into many different themes. Thank you , Alesia


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