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Program 9: Rolling Back the Frontier

Fur Trade : Alaric Faulkner Interview

Excerpts from Interview with Alaric Faulkner

"These early Acadians were largely engaged in the fur trade and managing the natural resources of the coast of Maine and exploiting them. That of course refers to fur, fish and timber. Among these the most important being fur to the folks here around the coast of Maine."

"What settlers? There really were no settlers at this point. The important thing to understand about early Acadia is that unlike Massachusetts, which had settlements like the Massachusetts Bay settlements and Plymouth colony settlements, which were agrarian settlements, these were simply businesses run by absentee very often individuals or in the case of the French, usually noble entrepreneurs who wished to make a business of the fur trade, of the fisheries and similar kingly pursuits. This was something, excuse me, this was something Governor Bradford understood very well when he said something to the effect that were as the English lie open and unfortified living on husbandry. The French lie hold up in their forts in good security living upon the fur trade."

"And of course fur, very important and for that they required access to the Native Americans. Matter of fact for a long time Europeans thought that the beaver came from some mysterious lake way in the interior that only Native Americans knew how to get to. And basically they would pay them to hunt for them and beaver pelts of course were important for hats and for other use. But also were moose hides very much in 17th century demand. And so in fact Fort Pentagoet made more money off the fur trade and the fur trade business then any of attempts to control the fisheries."

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