France made no further attempt to recover her lost colony. In October, 1761, an Acadian settlement on the Bay of Chaleur, the rendezvous for a fleet of privateers, was surprised by a company of Highlanders under Captain Roderick McKenzie, who carried off a great number of the inhabitants to Halifax. In June, 1762, a French fleet captured St. John's, Newfoundland, but in September the place was retaken by the British. These events, however, did not disturb the peaceful progress of the St. Lawrence valley, where the rule of the British officers was mild and conciliatory.
A Policy of Conciliation.—By the summer of 1761 the official class who had formerly ruled New France had all departed, the harpies who had preyed upon her in her extremity had vanished, and the Canadians, seigneur and censitaire alike, were left to work out their own destiny under British rule. The military officers in Canada were instructed, not only to administer the old French laws, but also, as far as possible, to leave their enforcement in the hands of the Canadians themselves. The soldiers were particularly forbidden to comment unfavorably upon the habits and customs of the Canadians, or, worst of all, to cast reflections upon the religion they professed. "Remember," wrote Amherst to Gage, "they are as much His Majesty's subjects as any of us." Crime was of course punished by martial law, but for the trial of civil causes regular courts were established in a way well calculated to secure the confidence of the Canadians. The old militia parish-captains (capitaines;de paroisses) were commissioned anew, and in each district they formed a court to which the habitants might resort for the enforcement of their civil rights. There was little call for legislation. Such few regulations as were from time to time required were announced by proclamation in the French language, much after the fashion of the intendant's ordinances under the old regime.
The Canadians Contented.—That the Canadians felt at ease under their new rulers is shown by their address to Gage on the occasion of his proclamation that by the death of George II. George III. had become king. They punned on the governor's name, saying that the had been placed over them as a pledge (gage) for their kindly treatment. A few years later (1773), when a small English-speaking minority was striving to deprive them of all share in government and of the laws to which they were