Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy

by Lionel Lindsay

Viceroy of New France, born in France, 1603, of noble parents; died there in 1670. A soldier from his youth, he had proved his valour in many battles and won the rank of lieutenant-general of the king's armies. He was no less prudent and wise as a negotiator and organizer. Entrusted by Louis XIV with a most extensive mission and jurisdiction over all the French possessions in the New World, he first redeemed Cayenne from the Dutch, restored order to the Antilles, and reached Quebec in 1665. He had been preceded by the Carignan regiment which had distinguished itself against the Turks in Hungary (1664) and was entitled to bear the royal colours. With the concurrence of Courcelles, the newly-appointed governor, and Talon, the famous intendant, he inaugurated a glorious period in the history of New France. To secure peace for the colony war was decided against the Agniers, and in spite of his advanced age, Tracy commanded the invading army. The year previous he had ordered the construction of three forts on the Richelieu River, including those of Sorel and Chambly. The enemies had fled from their villages, which were destroyed, and Tracy returned with nearly all his men. The humiliated Agniers sued for peace and asked for missionaries to instruct them in the Faith. Tracy with his two associates then devoted himself to the organization of the courts of justice and to the promotion of agriculture and industry. During his administration were imported the first horses seen in Canada. Tracy's noble and conciliatory conduct endeared him to the colonists and won the respect both of the aborigines and of the authorities of New York. His administration was marked by two chief events full of promise for the prosperity of the colony: the abolition of the monopoly of the West India company, which had replaced that of New France, and the conclusion of a peace with the Iroquois which lasted eighteen years and facilitated several brilliant discoveries in the interior of the continent.

LIONEL LINDSAY