HISTORICAL EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE ON THIS DAY IN CANADA
Del La Roche Abandons Convicts on Sable Island
In the development of a nation there is often conflict about whether certain work should be done by the government or by private enterprise. The theory is that private enterprise will work more quickly and economically because it wants to make money. Modern examples are the C.P.R. and Trans-Canada Pipeline. On the other hand, the development of air travel was entrusted to government-sponsored Trans-Canada Airlines, or Air Canada as it is now called.
This conflict has existed since the earliest days of Canada. King Henry IV of France would not spend money on colonial development, but gave men like de Monts and La Roche rights to the fur trade if they would finance their own enterprises. It was de Monts who made Champlain's explorations possible.
After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the development of Canada was left to private enterprise in the form of the Hudson's Bay Company, or "The Merchant Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay" as it was called. This company made money, but some earlier capitalists lost their shirts. One of them was the Marquis de La Roche, who was given a fur trading monopoly on January 12, 1598. He outfitted an expedition to Nova Scotia. His colonists consisted of forty convicts whom he landed on Sable Island, often called "the graveyard of the Atlantic" because so many ships have been wrecked there.
After La Roche put his men on shore, he sailed away to explore the coast of Nova Scotia, but his ship was damaged in a bad storm and he had to run before the wind to France. There his creditors put him in prison, and he died a pauper.
It was five years before another ship got to Sable Island, and only eleven of the forty convicts were still alive. They looked like Robinson Crusoes, dressed in shaggy skins, with beards to their waists. They were pardoned and allowed to go into the fur trade themselves, many of them doing quite well in their new careers.
OTHER NOTABLE EVENTS ON THIS DAY IN CANADIAN HISTORY
-1700 The death of Marguerite Bourgeoys was announced. She was one of the women pioneers of Montreal who founded a school for girls there.
-1819 St. Boniface College was founded at Red River.
-1842 The first issue of Prince Edward Island's The Islander was published under the editorship of John Inge.
-1885 A Supreme Court decision vested liquor licensing in the federal government.
-1916 An Order-in-Council increased the number of troops fighting in World War I to 500,000.
-1961 A federal-provincial conference agreed to changes in the B.N.A. Act.