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By 1855, Canada ranked amons the world's ereat ship-ownine and shipbuilding nations. A vast dispersed flotilla of 7196 Canadian-constructed wooden ships sailed the oceans of both hemispheres. Quebec was the business centre of it all, one of the world's most important trading ports, and it was here that twenty-seven-year-old Henry Fry settled about a century after British soldiers ended France's failed North American empire. At the time of two decisive battles that took place on the Plains of Abraham. Quebec was overwhelmingly French-speaking, and it would become so again. But for a few years in the middle of the nineteenth century, two of every five residents of the port city used the everyday language of English, and even more did so in business Shipbuilding and owning, and timber commerce — largely conducted by men like Henry through their British contacts — dominated the economic life of Lower Canada, while the city served off and on as its capital. At the time, shipping agents and brokers were not generally admired for their business ethics. Many were known for charging usurious fees in advancing money to shipbuilders. They overloaded unseaworthy ships with timber to enlarge their profits, endangering the lives of seamen. Henry Fry was a notable exception. Scrupulous, honest, and generous, he foueht asainst human riehts abuses, such as excessive deck loading and crimping. "He was an outstanding figure in the maritime history of Canada", wrote Basil Greenhill, former director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England...