The King Must Amuse Himself

Portrait of Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudr...
Portrait of Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil (1698-1778) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Treaty of Paris, signed on February 10, 1763, ended the war between Britain and France, so that Britain obtained Canada.

The Peace of Paris in 1783 ended the war between Britain and the United States.

George III had a hand in both.  He was only a young man when he insisted in 1763 that the “bloody and expensive” war with France must end. Twelve years later he blundered  into the war that cost Britain the United States.

France did not seem to care much about losing its possessions in North America after more than 150 years of colonization.  Voltaire said that France had simply got rid of “acres of snow.”  On another occasion he said, “the King must amuse himself, and this ruinous colony is one of his playthings.”  Before signing the Treaty of Paris, France gave Louisiana to Spain so that Britain would not acquire it, and thereby gave up all her possessions in North America except the islands of St. Pierre-Miquelon, off Newfoundland.  They were retained as bases for French fishermen which they still are today.

Wolfe took Quebec in 1759, and Montreal took Amherst in 1760.  The war for North America was really over then although General Levis staged an amazing campaign until the end.  He wanted to set up a post on St. Helene’s Island off Montreal, now the site of Expo ’67, and go on fighting.

However, the Marquis de Vaudreuil signed the surrender of Canada in 1760.  French citizens were allowed to keep their property and their slaves; Roman Catholics were given full religious liberty which they did not have in Britain.  Later, the British Parliament arranged for Canada to have French civil law.  The Treaty of Paris did not guarantee that French would be an official language in Canada, but this was assumed and eventually became official.



  1. Hmm acres of snow? As for the French slaves, were they Canadian slaves? TK, do you have a history written about Princess Alice of Battenberg and documentary on BBC?


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