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Miquelon, Dale.

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1987. 345pp, cloth, $39.95, ISBN 0-7710-1533-X. (The Canadian Centenary Series, vol. 4). CIP

Reviewed by John H. Harkness

Volume 15 Number 6
1987 November

The "Canadian Centenary Series" is a comprehensive history of (he people and lands that form the nation of Canada. Nineteen volumes, complete in themselves, yet designed as a unified whole, make up the series and this volume is the eighteenth to be published.

In this latest addition, Dale Miquelon deals with the general history of New France-Acadia, Canada, and the West -through the three European history periods usually designated as "The War of the Spanish Succession" (1701-13), the "Thirty Years Peace" (1713-43), and "The War of Austrian Succession" (1744-).

The author maintains that New France was used as an instrument of French policy during these European epochs and a new style of imperialism emerged, though il "did not eclipse the older mercantilist imperialism with its economic preoccupations." This new policy aimed to use New France in the context of competition with Great Britain for European and North American domination. New France thus became "a supplement to Europe," a phrase used by a famous French geographer, Guillaume Delisle in 1702, to describe the relationship between the mother country and its colony.

The first chapters of this well-researched history deal with these political themes and Professor Miquelon manages to fit the history of economic policy into this narrative. In the second half of the book, he addresses "history of a different order." "This history has its protagonists and its important events but it is even more the history of Canadians comprehended in the mass." In these chapters we read of the seigneurial system of land tenure and its results for agriculture in New France, of the slow growth in the colony's population, of the social system in New France and how it mirrored the hierarchical arrangements in the mother country, and of other social and economic topics.

In addition to the text, the book contains some interesting contemporary illustrations: one set of important government and religious figures and a series of water colour paintings by Henri Beau, showing the appearance and costume of typical men and women of New France. Included also are seven useful maps and sixty-five pages of bibliographical information along with detailed end-noises on each chapter.

This book is a valuable addition to the Canadian history scene which should quickly find a place in all high school and university libraries and history departments.

John H. Harkness, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.
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