From Francis I to Henry IV, the feudal system of delegation allowed the King to save money by assigning to a private individual the responsibility—at his own expense—of governing, organizing and defending the conquered territories. This person, initially appointed as Lieutenant-General to the King, was after 1578 given the title of "viceroy", following the Spanish and Portuguese example. In exchange for trade privileges, private companies subsequently undertook to populate the colony and, in collaboration with the King's representatives, to administer it and enforce justice. In 1663, Louis XIV took back control of France's activities in North America by making New France a province in its own right, modelled on those of the home country, complete with a Governor, Intendant and Sovereign Council. The Governor and Intendant, who essentially controlled the colony, administered but did not govern: they received regular and detailed instructions from Versailles. There were two particular governors in Montréal and Trois-Rivières, and three law courts, which had the seigneurial courts under their jurisdiction, as well as a chief road officer. In principle, the Governor of Acadia was subordinate to the Governor of Québec; in fact, he was independent and answered directly to the home country. Over the years, various administrative offices and positions came into being: admiralty courts, a comptroller's office answerable to the Secretary of State for the Marine, an office of agents for the treasurers-general under the general control of finance, an administrator of the royal domain, a director of shipbuilding, an inspector of fortifications, and a captain of the port of Québec. Attached to these various offices were all the necessary support staff, including writers, registrars, clerks and quartermasters.

Portrait of Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, Marquis de Vaudreuil, last Governor of New France,
CA ANC C-14536
Organizational Chart
Trading Companies
The Regulation of 1647
The Declaration of the King
The Governor General
The Intendant
The Sovereign Council
The Administration of Justice
Crimes and Criminals
The Chief Road Officer
The Captain of the Militia
Petitions to the Secretary of
State for the Marine
Canada’s Expenditures
The Capitation Plan