MONTS, Sieur de, thus called by Marie de l’Incarnation [see Guyart], but also designated under the names Dumons and de Mons; royal commissioner in New France; fl. 1662.
In 1662 Pierre Boucher* had met Louis XIV and had discussed with him the problems and needs of New France. The king had promised him substantial assistance for the following year; but meanwhile he sent some 100 soldiers to Canada, under the orders of a gentleman named de Monts.
The task of the Sieur de Monts was to study the situation and the needs of the colony and to make a report to the king, But numerous delays held up the departure of the ships until the end of June, which to some extent adversely affected the royal commissioner’s assignment. The crossing was rough. It lasted four months, during which the Sieur de Monts, according to Marie de l’Incarnation, was “most sorely treated by the captain of the King’s vessels, not to mention that he had provisions for only two months, and was four on the way.”
On the journey de Monts called at Plaisance (Placentia), of which he officially took possession in the name of the king, leaving there 30 soldiers, a priest, and food for the winter.
The ships finally reached Tadoussac on 27 October. The soldiers and settlers – the latter numbering 200 – made their way to Quebec in row-boats. De Monts himself, who had to return to France before the end of the sailing season, made haste to inspect the colony, noting “the lands, the mountains, the rivers, the shores and their approaches.” He paid particular attention to the town of Quebec, then proceeded to Trois-Rivières, where in the name of the king he installed the new governor, Pierre Boucher. De Monts does not appear to have visited Montreal. Indeed he spent only seven days in the colony. He landed at Tadoussac on 27 October, and reached Quebec the same day; he probably spent the 28th there, leaving for Trois-Rivières only on the 29th. Marie de l’Incarnation affirms that he took two days to get to the latter town (say the evening of the 30th). But on 3 November de Monts sailed again for France. He therefore did not have time to go to Montreal. Even if he had looked over no more than a very small part of New France – and that very rapidly – the Sieur de Monts nevertheless departed “very pleased,” promising to return “in eight months’ time to further his Majesty’s intentions,” but already convinced “that a kingdom can be set up in this country larger and finer than that of France.”
De Monts did not return to New France. In 1663 another royal commissioner, the Sieur Gaudais-Dupont, was appointed in his place.
[Parkman, in The old régime (25th ed.) 131, attributes to “Dumont” the account of a voyage which was published anonymously in the Relation for the year 1663. De Monts was here only seven days, but the author of this account affirms that he was in the colony for a year: the attribution cannot be supported. Marie Guyart de l’Incarnation, Lettres (Richaudeau), II, 223–25, Marie de l’Incarnation à son fils, Québec, 6 nov. 1662. JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain), 313f. Lanctot, Histoire du Canada, I, 329. A.V.]