Saturday, January 3, 2009

French Ladies In Demand...



http://www.miville.net/Filles_du_Roi1667.jpg

I’m presently doing some research on ‘The King’s Daughters- Les filles du roi’. This was an important period for Quebec and most of North America. Being a Quebecker, I’m particularly fascinated by this piece of history.

Between 1663 and 1673, Louis XIV sent between 700-800 women from France to help populate ‘la nouvelle France’; Quebec. Most of these women came from good families. Though, these were not city girls, they were simple, healthy young women ready to work alongside their future husbands. These ladies came mainly from the countryside and were already presumably accustomed to working the land and tending to manual type work.

It was important at this time to cultivate, as well as, populate the new land. Louis XIV paid for the ladies’ recruitment, clothing and travel. He also sent them off with50 livres for their all-around necessities (accessories, needles, scissors, shoelaces…). The ladies were presented to mainly fur traders, officers and farmers to be chosen and then wed if met with consent by the former; the ladies had the choice to refuse the suitor.

Once the couple agreed to be married, the ceremony took place a month later. The king then started the new couple off with some livestock and an additional pay. The king also gave the couple with 10 children a yearly pension as an incentive and additional stipend for those with 12 children or more. These young women from France were instrumental in populating New France. They are part of the ancestry of most of today’s French North Americans.

More on this at a later date.




12 comments:

The Book Chook said...

Louis XIV sounds like a very enlightened King! He was the Sun King, was he not? He certainly knew how to provide sensible incentives.

We had a kind of modern equivalent here in Australia. Our last treasurer introduced a sizeable baby bonus. Suddenly, women were keen to become pregnant - some were even trying to delay the baby's birth so they could be within the date the bonus started.

Not my idea of a reason to become a parent!

Ms. Lucy said...

Hey Book Chook- Yes, he certainly was the Sun King, with incentives that were quite fruitful.

As in Australia, we have them here too in Canada (baby bonuses).

But in the case of the King's daughters (girls), they really did their part...enough to tip the scales of a gigantic baby boom!

Arleigh said...

Sounds like a good subject for a novel!

Ms. Lucy said...

Well, Arleigh, I'm researching quite a bit...you never know (maybe I should just stick to reviews though;-)

hummingbird said...

This is very interesting. A very good initiative, in my opinion, to help Quebec get going.

Ms. Lucy said...

Yes Hummingbird, and most of North America as well. I'll be writing another post on this soon...

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Thanks for letting me know about this post. To answer your question, I don't have any French ancestors that I'm aware of. They were all English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, German and Native American (Cherokee). I've always been fascinated by the French and took four years of the language, but I don't get a chance to practice much of the language here in the Carolinas.

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi Jennifer! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you (Blogger is sometimes so picky and nevr notifies me either). The French language really is beautiful, it's too bad that you can't practice where you are. Your background is fascinating- filled with rich history. Thank you so much for visiting:)

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sallymandy said...

This is fascinating! I love true stories about groups of people like this, and especially when women are part of the story.

I wonder if this plan of Louis' was in any way designed to keep the bloodlines "pure" as many of the French men might have been taking native Canadian wives? There was a certain amount of French fur trapping settlement where I live, too, and many of these guys had Native American wives.

Thanks, Lucy. Great post.

Viola said...

Hi Ms.Lucy,
I read some of the books of the 'Angelique' series when I was young. They were a bit too much, I thought, but Angelique was one of these girls if I remember correctly.

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