History Browser

Search Results

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Discipline, Justice and Punishment

Date > 1600 > 1670-1679

'Cat of nine tails' whip

Type: Image

The ‘cat of nine tails’ was a whip used to flog soldiers. This one was used in the British 83rd Regiment of Foot. The length of the wooden stick was 43cm (1' 5"), its tails 53cm (1' 9"), and it weighed 141,75 g. (5 ounces). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

The "Marechaussee"

Type: Document

The first police force in Canada was set up in New France, using the same model used in France itself. An institution dating back to the Middle Ages, the Marechaussee was made up of 'archers' (so-called because of the weapons carried by the originals) led by a 'provost'.

Site: National Defence

Navy Archers

Type: Document

Not to be confused with the archers of the Marechaussee, Navy archers were escorts, bodyguards and armed agents of the Intendant, the chief financial administrator of a French province or colony. They arrived in New France when the first Intendant was appointed in 1665.

Site: National Defence

Galley Troops

Type: Document

France would sentence convicted criminals to be rowers on a fleet of oar-propelled warships called galleys. These ships had troops assigned to them both to serve as marines, and also to guard the prisoners in these floating prisons.

Site: National Defence

Placentia, Newfoundland

Type: Document

Both Great Britain (in 1651 at St. John's) and France (in 1660 at Placentia) established naval bases in Newfoundland to support their fishing fleets on the Grand Banks. The French garrison mutinied, and the base was virtually ungarrisoned until 1687.

Site: National Defence

Officers' Duties

Type: Document

Officers were responsible for supervising and leading their men. Their lives were very different from the common soldiers', but relations between the ranks were usually good, in part because of the nature of warfare in New France.

Site: National Defence

Punishment For Desertion

Type: Document

The penalty for desertion was either death or being sentenced to the galleys. Official policy varied from one to the other several times between 1635 and 1760. In some cases, however, clemency was shown, and the culprits returned to their units.

Site: National Defence