24 February

Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)

Company of 100 Associates Loses Charter

One of the biggest development companies was formed by Cardinal Richelieu in 1627. It was called The Company of One Hundred Associates and its shareholders were some of the leading citizens of France. The company had exclusive control of the fur trade from Florida to the far north and from the Atlantic to the western end of the St. Lawrence River. In return, the company was supposed to settle 4,000 people in Canada within 15 years.

Almost from the start the Company was unlucky. Its first act was to send out a fleet of twenty ships carrying men, women, and children to Canada. There were 150 guns to protect the new settlements. The convoy was guarded by four warships under Admiral de Roquemont.

Unfortunately, the Kirke brothers who worked for the rival English organization, the Merchant Adventurers, were in the vicinity. They caught Admiral Roquemont's fleet in Gaspé Bay, sheltering from a storm and unprepared for action. The French fleet was destroyed and surrendered quietly. The Kirkes took the transports to Newfoundland, and the prominent prisoners to England. Champlain was left without supplies for the winter.

By 1659 the affairs of the Company were in such bad shape that a French lawyer, Dumesnil was sent to Quebec to see what was going on. He soon learned that there were swindlers operating there. They tried to scare Dumesnil from continuing his investigations murdering his son and raiding his office. They gagged him while they went through his papers, and carried off the evidence he had collected.

Eventually Dumesnil got back to France, where Louis XIV was now king with Colbert as his minister. They cancelled the charter of the One Hundred Associates on February 24, 1663, and the Crown took over the development of Canada.


24 February

-1653    Charles La Tour married Madame Charnisay (see April 13).

-1662    Bishop Laval excommunicated people selling liquor to the Indians.

-1865    A telegraph line to Russia was begun at New Westminster, British Columbia, but never was completed.

-1887    Vancouver lost its city charter over rioting against Chinese labour.

-1915    Canadian troops went into action at Armentières.

-1925    Canada signed an agreement with the United States, setting up control of the Lake-of-the-Woods waterways.