By David Massell
Read or Download Amassing Power: J. B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927 PDF
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Extra info for Amassing Power: J. B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927
1 A full quarter of a century before Premier Taschereau’s announcement at the Château Frontenac and commencement of the Saguenay’s development at Isle Maligne, the river’s industrial development had begun – or, at the very least, it was being contemplated. Before the century turned, the bed and powers of the river’s length would be sold outright, in sections, by the Government of Quebec to Canadian gentlemen and their financial backers who sought to develop the most obvious waterpowers. Just how this occurred, how the river passed from the Crown domain into private hands, bears at least brief telling at the outset of a story about the lake itself as it promises to introduce three components of the larger narrative.
Haste had been a hallmark for this government when confronted with capital’s demands. Yet over two months passed before Parent would fix a price for the bed and powers of the lower Saguenay and a plan be drawn up as annex to the deed, then an additional two months for the deed to be executed. As to what or who intervened to hold up the sale, the available record is only suggestive. A mysterious reference by Thomas Willson’s daughter to a “bitter struggle” between her father and the “power interests of Quebec Province” might have provided a clue.
Charles Edouard Gauvin, formally entitled provincial lands surveyor, civil engineer, and superintendent of surveys for the Province of Quebec, informally the department’s “engineer of water-powers,” was the closest thing to an authority on hydraulics available to the Quebec state before 1910. Paid an annual allowance by the government, he was also paid on a per-job basis for the province’s waterpower inspections, a clear majority of which Gauvin handled personally from 1897 to his retirement, following a directive from the minister.