I came to the village today because I needed a few things. Not all the habitants in New France farm for a living. Some have a workshop where they ply their trade. If there’s something I need that I cannot make myself, I can buy it from these artisans. Most of the things I need can be found at the general store, but sometimes they have to be purchased directly from the artisan.
As it happens, my horse lost a shoe on the way here this morning, so now I have to go to the blacksmith to shoe it. His young apprentice is a very good worker. He is living with the blacksmith’s family while he learns the trade. After a year or two, he will be able to open his own workshop or find paid employment with a blacksmith.
I also have to go see the carpenter because I ordered a handsome wooden chest from him. I know that he and his day labourer do good work. The carpenter in my village has the largest workshop in the region, which is why he has an employee. Most artisans in New France do not have any employees and must even work on their land to make ends meet.
And I can’t forget to stop by the tailor. His slave has finished sewing the buttons on my jacket. This good jacket will be saved for big parties, because my wife makes my everyday clothes.
There are many trades in the region. Even still, the seigneur had to go to all the way to Montréal to buy a clock. Clockmakers and jewellers do not come to the countryside very often because only rich people like the seigneur can afford to buy these luxury items.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
Video narration available in French at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/7/agriculture-commerce-et-industrie/163
See also – Traces of the past: