No More Than 2 Horses

17 Dec

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.


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7 responses to “No More Than 2 Horses

  1. WM

    December 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Very interesting article: I am deeply impressed! I have never heard about Louis XIV in this context.

    • tkmorin

      December 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I know, eh? I enjoy reading old journal entries and letters and such … That’s where you read the “real meat” about people.

  2. alesiablogs

    December 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I am following yours now. I love history! Alesia

    • tkmorin

      December 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Did you enjoy it at school too? I didn’t, but now that I can choose whatever topic I want, it somehow seems like more fun! 🙂

      • alesiablogs

        December 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        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

        • tkmorin

          December 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

          Don’t you just love the way Life makes you move in different directions than what your plans are?

          • alesiablogs

            December 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

            YES! It is all good and has purpose! Thank you so much for dropping by my blog..You made my day! Alesia


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