Real Estate

Amassing Power: J. B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927 by David Massell

By David Massell

The damming of the Saguenay introduced industrialisation on a grand scale to rural Quebec within the kind of newsprint and aluminum manufacture. Tapping into wealthy and numerous assets in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, Massell offers an interdisciplinary, cross-border examine of yank capital and Canadian assets. He exhibits us how ever-larger quantities of capital yielded more and more gigantic and complex purposes of hydroelectric know-how. Grand commercial plans, in flip, encroached upon provincial water rights and farmers' lands, which drew the eye of the country. He examines the protracted strength fight among private and non-private pursuits - among American capitalists and the nascent forms of the province of Quebec - and describes the origins and evolution of the occasions that resulted in country keep an eye on over hydraulic assets within the province. In doing so he presents brilliant images of Duke and of Quebec politicians of the interval and offers a dramatic account of the protracted conflict of wits among Duke's leader engineer, William States Lee, and Quebec's leader of Hydraulic carrier, Arthur Amos. gathering energy speaks to the mixing of North American economies, vividly illustrating the method during which American capital drew Canada's resource-rich North into the commercial orbit of the United States.

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Extra info for Amassing Power: J. B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927

Sample text

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.

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