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Michigan Chapter Six

Cadillac as Feudal Lord

Cadillac was obliged to send for his family to return to France to protect them from the insults and the outrages to which they were subjected at Detroit after his departure. This narrative of the indignities which he suffered in respect to his family and his property betrays a petty meanness and lack of all sense of justice and honor on the part of those in local authority, backed by the governor, Vaudreuil, which seems almost incredible. It is a shameful chapter of greed on the one-hand and personal animosity on the other on the part of persons of high rank and authority, which detracts from any other creditable reputation which they may have enjoyed. Even the king did not come to his rescue with anything like the alacrity which might have been expected. The moneys and expenses which he advanced were never made good to him, nor was he recompensed for his cattle, goods and merchandise. He was left the unpromising alternative of personally suing Sabrevois, Du Buisson, de Tonty and others who had seized upon his property. But this was a very doubtful expedient, for a judgment against them would have been of no value. An order was issued, as stated, that the grants made to him should be restored upon their boundaries being described by him. Practically this was not, in all probability, feasible. He was many thousand miles away, without any maps or charts upon which to lay out such boundaries. At any rate, the conditions were not complied with, and in a few years after the decree Cadillac died.
In 1733 his widow and his two sons asked permission to return to Detroit in order to settle it, with the same rights of trading originally granted to Cadillac. The petition of the older son represents that his father having received an order to establish a post at Detroit accomplished it with so much success that he settled one hundred and fifty inhabitants there, took cattle, horses, had houses, a fort, a mill, a brewery, etc., erected, all at an expense exceeding one hundred and fifty thousand livres which he incurred on the promise to grant him the post as a seigniory, a brevet of which was sent him carrying the privilege of all seignioral rights.

Michigan


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