Nelson logo
spacer
About Us Contact Us Order Information Site Map Find Your Rep Careers
spacer
Visions Community Site

Module 4

Seigneurial Tenure in Early Québec, 17th to the 19th century: What was the meaning of land ownership?

Colin Coates

For contemporaries, the differences between English freehold land tenure and French seigneurial tenure seemed striking. British settlers in Quebec after the British Conquest (1759-1760) claimed that seigneurial tenure restricted economic development. Seigneurial tenure seemed to imply particularly strong types of class distinctions, as tenants owed a number of symbolic and economic obligations to their seigneurs. Given the centrality of land-holding to the social structure of agricultural societies, what were the implications of seigneurial tenure for both seigneurs and their tenants? By looking at how people argued over the nature of seigneurial tenure, we can see some of the tensions in this land-holding system.

Primary sources:

  1. Text: Claude Thomas Dupuy, Intendant of New France ‘Ordinance of
  2. Text: ‘A Contemporary Account of the Disorders…’ (1775)
  3. Texts: Petition to Governor Lord Dorchester, from Charles de Lanaudière, 26 January 1788; Petition to Governor Lord Dorchester, from many seigneurs, including religious orders and individual seigneurs, 10 March 1791, Quebec Gazette / Gazette de Québec, (Thursday, March 24, 1791)
  4. Text: Charles de Lanaudière, ‘To Mr. Bedard, Director of the Seminary of Quebec’ Supplement to the Quebec Gazette (Thursday, April 28, 1791)
  5. Text: Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, ‘Seigneurs and Censitaires’ (1866)
  6. Map: Batiscan, 1720s
  7. Map (detail): Charlesbourg, by de Catalogne, 1709
  8. Photograph: Manor house, Louis-Joseph Papineau’s Montibello (present-day photograph, exact date unknown)

Secondary sources:

  1. Allan Greer. Peasant, Lord and Merchant: Rural Society in Three Quebec Parishes, 1740-1840 (1985)
  2. Colin Coates. The Metamorphoses of Landscape and Community in Early Quebec (2000)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50