Grande Société

Grande Société, contemporary name for war profiteers charged with providing food for Canada and the French troops stationed there during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR.

Grande Société

Grande Société, contemporary name for war profiteers charged with providing food for Canada and the French troops stationed there during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR. The official supplier received only one-fifth of the société's profits, and silent partners almost certainly shared their three-fifths with Canada's last intendant and possibly with the governor. The other one-fifth was divided among those who looked after the Québec and Montréal operations. Intendant BIGOT wielded extensive power over Crown expenditures in the colony, so the société was in the enviable position of buying supplies from itself with the king's money. Since supplying the FUR-TRADE posts was most remunerative, the société shipped much-needed foodstuffs westward. Much of the money seems to have found its way back to France; some was even returned to the royal treasury in the late 1760s after conviction of those involved. Embezzlement, common under the Ancien Régime, was all the more tempting in Canada because of the enormous expenditures incurred by the Crown in order to save its colony from the British.