CHAPTER 1: The Conquest
The Treaty of Paris
France Abandons 'A Few Acres of Snow'
British assault on Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland, September 1762
(Click image to enlarge)
But military victories alone did not determine the fate of the territories. This prerogative also rested with the diplomats who eventually had to sort out the gains and losses of the generals, and the fate of New France was no exception. During these months British and French emissaries negotiated for the return of Canada to France and for the ceding of Guadeloupe to England!
Now, exchanging a small island for virtually half the North American continent was not necessarily a bargain: New France was expensive and brought nothing into the Royal Treasury, whereas Guadeloupe cost almost nothing and was very profitable. All indications were that the State coffers were empty. On both sides, business people and intellectuals of all stripes took a stand. To retake control of New France, France would have to make huge investments to contain the Anglo- American pressure on its borders; these same pressures were, moreover, what had lost them the war. Back in France, public opinion, tired of Canada, no longer wanted to fight for "a few acres of snow," to use the famous description by the philosopher Voltaire. In the end, the Duke of Choiseul decided that France would keep Guadeloupe and abandon Canada.