Ohio History Journal

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The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740-1750. By Norman

Ward Caldwell. Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences, Vol.

XXVI, No. 3. (Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1941.

113p. Map, bibliography.)

The author has used for this study the rich photostatic col-

lection of documents relating to French and Indian affairs in the

Illinois country made by the Illinois Historical Survey. Most no-

table, perhaps, is his use of the expense bills of the western posts,

from the colonial records in the French Archives Nationales, to

analyze the financial basis of the French empire and trade in the

Mississippi Valley during the decade of the 1740's. The colonial

governments in both Louisiana and Canada, he shows, ran constant

deficits. Although the income from the post was usually adequate to

meet ordinary administrative expenses, presents to the Indians,

subsidies to war parties, construction of fortifications, and the

extraordinary expenses of wars (King George's) had to be met

by drawing against French exchange, and customarily overran the

annual amounts allowed by the crown. The expenses of Louisiana

were strikingly large in comparison with those of Canada, but both

were small in relation to the need.

The author's discussion of the fur trade does not alter in any

substantial way the conclusions in Innis's work of some years ago,

although the use of French archival material adds some interesting

detail. A great deal of light, for instance, is thrown on the volume

and character of the trading and mining through the use of these

materials. One wishes, however, that the author's material had

made it possible for him to study more extensively the economic

basis of the Company of the West Indies in relation to official ac-

tivities and to the licensed traders, especially after the return of

Louisiana to the crown in 1731.

The most valuable part of the book appears to be the discus-