A bird’s eye view of a seigneury
Note: Would you have like being a censitaire [tenant] in New France? Why?
“The parishes are almost all located along the banks of the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers as well as a few other small rivers that flow into these two. […]
They (the censitaires) clear the land for a distance of about 10 to 12 arpents (about 600 metres), and leave the rest as standing timber.
They (the censitaires) build a barn, about one or two arpents (about 60 to 100 metres) from their home, where they keep animals on one side, and sheaves of grain on the other.1
The houses are mostly made of wood […] with roofs made of thatch (straw) or boards; the chimneys are stone or earth.
The best houses are made of stone, but there are few of these. Each habitant has a small earth oven. In general, the houses are small; many have only one room. The best houses have two, with a small storeroom in the back. In the winter, the habitants sleep right next to the woodstove.”
1 Sheaves: bundles of wheat, with the heads are arranged at one end.
Author: Pehr Kalm, Swedish naturalist. Kalm’s voyage to America (1749).
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