VUIL, DANIEL, executed at Quebec on 7 Oct. 1661 for carrying on an illegal traffic in spirits with the Indians.
Trafficking in spirits had always been prohibited in New France. But after the arrival of Bishop Laval*, church and state had combined their efforts to put an end to this profitable enterprise. While the civil power, in the person of Governor Voyer* d’Argenson, was punishing the traffickers severely, Bishop Laval announced on 6 May 1660 the ipso facto excommunication of any person giving intoxicating liquor to the Indians. For a time, this measure put a stop to irregular practices, but gradually the traffic was resumed.
Was it for trafficking in spirits that Daniel Vuil was imprisoned at Quebec in February 1661? Perhaps. At any rate, the prisoner “a relapsed heretic, a blasphemer and profaner of the Sacraments” was the cause of a dispute between the civil and religious authorities on the occasion of a sentence pronounced upon him by Bishop Laval. Was Vuil released shortly after, or did he remain in prison until the day of his execution? We do not know. But it was unquestionably “for trafficking in spirits with the Indians” that he was executed by arquebus on 7 Oct. 1661. This exemplary punishment was meted out on the eleventh of the same month to another trafficker named La Violette.
In all probability the state was obliged to have recourse to these extreme measures because of the incorrigibility of these adventurers; Pierre Aigron dit Lamothe, excommunicated in person in April 1661 for the same crime but having subsequently reformed, does not appear to have incurred the wrath of the civil power.