Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac

Governor of New France

Born: 22 May 1622, Saint-Germain, France

Died: 28 November 1698, Quebec City, New France

Frontenac, a nobleman, joined the army at an early age. Crippled with debts as the result of his extravagant lifestyle and rejected by the army because of his arrogance, he became Governor of New France in 1672, which allowed him to escape his creditors.

Tyrannical, he found it hard to share power with the Ministry of the Colonies, the Intendant and the Sovereign Council. The result: he was recalled back to France in 1682.

In 1689, his skills as a military strategist brought him back to lead the war against New England and the Iroquois. It was during this conflict that he made his famous reply to an emissary: "I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouths of my cannons."

Charles Robin

Gaspé Peninsula Merchant

Born: 1743, Jersey Island (in the English Channel)

Died: 10 June 1824, Jersey

1770: Charles Robin established his cod fishing company in Paspébiac. He bought fish from local fishermen, then hired Acadians to work in Chaleur Bay and Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). Following the privateer attack of 1778, Robin returned to Jersey.

He returned to Paspébiac in 1783 to rebuild his stores and wharfs. His hard work and political connections ensured him a virtual monopoly. In his stores, Robin exchanged fish for equipment and provisions, in a credit system that obliged fishermen to work for him. He also controlled all the stages: purchasing fish locally, drying it on his own shingle beaches and transporting the product from his own works.

Robin retired to Jersey in 1802, leaving solid firms that dominated the Chaleur Bay economy for an entire century.

Jean-Baptiste de la Croix de Chevrières, Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier

Bishop of Quebec

Born: 14 November 1653, Grenoble, France

Died: 26 December 1727, Québec

Brought up in a castle among the Jesuits, Jean-Baptiste de la Croix became King Louis XIV's chaplain.

In 1685, Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier was appointed Bishop of Quebec. Demanding and authoritarian, he quarrelled with the seminary, governors, the army, the religious orders, and so on. To plead his case in all these conflicts, the bishop made numerous trips to France.

Stricken by illness, he returned to Quebec in 1713. Despite reconciling with his enemies, the bitterness remained and isolated him. Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier led an austere life administering to the poor and sick at the Hôpital Général. At the same time, he continued founding parishes, writing to guide the spiritual lives of his flock and overseeing all parts of the diocese.

Félix O'Hara

Judge, Surveyor and Merchant

Born: 1732, in Ireland

Died: 1805, in the Gaspé Peninsula

Felix O'Hara, an engineer in the English army, arrived New York soon after England conquered New France. He was among the first Englishmen to settle in the Gaspé Peninsula in 1765.

Teaming up with associates, he bought land and launched a timber business. He also owned a store and a farm. His wealth and position as a justice of the peace in charge of security in the Gulf, made him a target for American privateers.

As surveyor, O'Hara selected and divided land in the region to accommodate Loyalists after 1783. To this end, he had to negotiate with existing settlers and his diplomacy earned him the position of Gaspé District Court Judge in 1795.

Jean Léger de la Grange

Ship's Captain, Privateer and Merchant

Born: 19 June 1663, near Limoges, France

Died: 1736, France

A career sailor and surgeon, Jean Léger de la Grange captained a ship involved in d'Iberville's expedition against Newfoundland in 1696. He subsequently commanded several ships for the French colony, while operating as a merchant in Quebec.

In 1704, he and associates equipped two ships to attack Bonnavista in Newfoundland, where they captured Pembroke Galley. This expedition was a great success: they captured almost as many prisoners as there were crewmembers, destroyed three small vessels, and especially seized a large merchant ship loaded with cod. La Grange's feat earned him a captaincy in the King's navy.

Pierre Morpain

Privateer, Port Captain, Navy and Militia Officer

Born: 1686, near Bordeaux, France

Died: 20 August 1749, Rochefort, France

Pierre Morpain obtained his first privateer command in 1706, in the Caribbean. Only 20 years old, he had by then been sailing for three years.

A gifted strategist, he captured numerous prizes, using the booty to supply the colonies of Port-Royal, Plaisance and Louisbourg that were cut off from France during the conflicts.

In 1715, he served as port captain at Île Royale (and later at Louisbourg) responsible for security, ship armements and shipbuilding. He went on to enrol in the navy and taught navigation.

When war resumed in 1744, Morpain went back to privateering in New England. In 1745, he saved Louisbourg by replacing its weak governor and taking charge of the town's defence. After the fortress fell, he returned to France.

Sir Frederick Haldimand

Army Officer and Colonial Administrator

Born: 11 August 1718, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Died: 5 June 1791, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland

After serving as a mercenary in several European armies, Frederick Haldimand joined the British army in 1756 as an officer with an American unit for the defence of the colonies.

Appointed Governor at Trois-Rivières in 1762, Haldimand expanded the Saint Maurice ironworks and organized courts. He was subsequently appointed commander-in-chief for the Floridas, and then for North America.

His dedication and knowledge earned him the governorship of Quebec in 1777. As Governor, he had to deal with the revolt of the Thirteen Colonies and was kept constantly busy overseeing improvements to the defence system, supply, access control, canalizations to facilitate communications, alliances with Aboriginals and the settling of Loyalists.

In 1785, Haldimand was granted a knighthood in the Order of the Bath for his 30 years of service to the British Crown. Carleton succeeded him in 1786.

Captain John Augustus Hervey, Lord Hervey

Nobleman, Army Officer and Sailor

Born: 1757, Bristol County, England

Died: 1796

John Hervey was a British army captain who made a contribution to the defence of the colony against the American threat.

Hervey bore the title of Lord by virtue of the order of succession-as the eldest, he succeeded his father as the Earl of Bristol. It was perhaps because of this title that he was loath to submit to Governor Haldimand's orders.

In 1779, the year of his run-ins with the Governor, he married Elizabeth Drummond.

Unfortunately, he died before his brother, Frederick, who then became the Earl, and later Marquess, of Bristol.

Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye


Born: 1632, Amiens, France

Died: 1702, Quebec City, New France

Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye arrived Quebec in 1655 as a representative of a group of merchants. He invested in several endeavours: real estate, fur and general goods trade, finances, farming, and fishing.

He also earned a tidy income from his seigneuries near Quebec City and in Percé, Repentigny, Rivière-du-Loup and Kamouraska.

Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye was ennobled by King Louis XIV in 1693 in recognition of his contribution to the economic vitality of New France. He was also appointed to the Sovereign Council in 1695.

He had 18 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood. Writer Philippe Aubert de Gaspé is one of his descendants.

Michel de Salaberry

Naval Officer

Born: 4 July 1704, Ciboure, France

Died: 27 November 1768, near La Rochelle, France

Michel de Salaberry, a French naval officer, accompanied his father to New France in 1733. He set up residence in Quebec City and became a merchant ship captain. This enabled him to travel to all corners of the French American empire.

On 20 May 1748, towards the end of the War of Austrian Succession, Salaberry was appointed officer in the war navy in recognition of his services as a privateer during the conflict.

He pursued his career during the Seven Years' War before retiring in France. In 1766, two years before he died, he was made Knight of the Order of Saint-Louis.

John Paul Jones

Naval Officer

Born: 6 July 1747, Kirkbean, Scotland

Died: 18 July 1792, Paris, France

At age 12, John Paul crossed the Atlantic aboard a merchant ship and settled in Virginia, where his brother lived.

In December 1775, during the American Revolution, he became First Lieutenant in the new American navy. He captured a number of merchant vessels and warships and destroyed several fishing posts. He commanded the Ranger, the first American flagship, as well as the Drake, the first American ship to win a battle over an English vessel.

In a memorable clash with the English warship Serapis, Jones led his men in a drawn-out and unequal battle that he ended up winning. When the commander of the Serapis called out to Jones asking if he surrendered, Jones reportedly replied: "I have not yet begun to fight!"

Jones is regarded by Americans today as the father of their navy and a true hero.

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville et d'Ardillières

Soldier, Captain, Explorer, Adventurer, Privateer and Trafficker

Born: July 1661, Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France

Died: 9 July 1706, Havana, Cuba

Right from childhood, d'Iberville started sailing with his father. In 1686, he joined the King's service during an expedition towards Hudson Bay. He demonstrated his bravery in several successful attacks he launched against English posts.

He later returned to James Bay, where he again captured English forts and ships, returning with loot, prisoners and fur.

D'Iberville subsequently participated in Frontenac's strategies against the English, before leaving again for Hudson Bay. In the 1690s, he tried, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to expel the English from the region. He went on to launch attacks against English fishing posts along the shores of Newfoundland, then established colonies in Mississippi.

D'Iberville was the first Canadian-born Knight of the Order of Saint Louis, an honour granted in 1699.

His successful campaign in the West Indies was halted in Havana in 1706, when he died while trying to clandestinely sell a shipment of iron.

Several cases of fraud were later discovered in d'Iberville's affairs, and his widow had to deal with several lawsuits.

John Outlaw (also known as Jean Outlan or Outlas)

Sailor and Shipwright

Born: Limehouse, England

Died: 1696 or 1697, possibly in Acadia

An English officer dispatched in 1682 to establish a trading post on the Nelson River, Outlaw was made prisoner by Frenchman Radisson, who seized the trading post the following year.

In 1684, Outlaw returned to the Nelson River, this time on behalf of Hudson's Bay Company. Ironically, his travel companion was Radisson, who had defected to the English.

Taken prisoner again in 1685 on Hudson Bay, Outlaw was denied his pay for reasons of negligence. Unhappy, he attempted a solo expedition but his vessel was destroyed by ice.

Taken French prisoner for a third time, by a team led by d'Iberville in 1686, Outlaw decided to join the French service. He commanded a royal frigate that sailed from Quebec in 1696. It is possible that he was granted land in Acadia in 1697.

Philippe de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil

Soldier and Governor

Born: Around 1643, Languedoc, France

Died: 1725, Montreal, New France

A musketeer for King Louis XIV, Vaudreuil sailed to New France in 1687 as navy troop commander. In the 1690s, he led several attacks against the Iroquois. His services earned him the Cross of Saint-Louis in 1698.

Appointed Governor of Montreal in 1699, Vaudreuil took part in the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal.

He took over from Callières as the Governor General of New France in 1703, during the War of the Spanish Succession. During the ten years of war, he negotiated the exchange of prisoners, including the return of privateer Baptiste.

After the war, Vaudreuil renewed relations with Aboriginals and the fur trade. He remained Governor until his death in 1725.

Philippe Pastour de Costebelle

Governor of Plaisance, and later Île Royale (Cape Breton Island)

Born: 1661, near Port-Saint-Esprit, France

Died: October 1717, Louisbourg, New France

A French navy lieutenant, Costebelle joined his brother in Plaisance (Newfoundland) in 1692. His courage and dedication shone through in several attacks against the Island's English settlers.

In 1695, Costebelle was named King's Lieutenant responsible for settlers' conditions of living, the economy and fisheries. He later replaced the Governor on several occasions and defended the colony with little money. He continued participating in military expeditions.

In 1706, he became Governor of Plaisance and had to consolidate defences in the face of the persistent English threat. In 1713, France ceded Newfoundland to England and Costebelle oversaw the evacuation of the French to Île Royale. There, he established a new colony, overseeing everything from transportation, fortifications, housing and the fisheries to exploration and security. He dedicated himself to his service, to the detriment of his health.

Louis Prat

Innkeeper, Merchant and Shipowner

Born: 1662

Died: 1726

Innkeeper and later a baker, Louis Prat joined navigator Jean Léger de La Grange's group in 1704 "for fitting out ships for privateering against the enemies of the state." To this end, he financed the construction of the Joybert and the Phélipeaux.

After a few successes, the Joybert was lost at sea in 1709. Prat then acquired the Normand and commissioned other ships that sailed as far as Martinique.

In 1711, his interest for shipbuilding earned him an appointment as port captain of Quebec. All the while, he continued his commerce.

Louis Prat would become the first shipowner in New France to undertake building ships in the country on his own account.

Jacques-François Morin dit Bonsecours

Fisherman, Navigator and Shipowner

Born: ?

Died: ?

A fisherman in Mont-Louis, he later joined his brothers in merchant and privateer expeditions. In 1713, he acquired his own privateer vessel, Le Trompeur, with which he captured many English ships. He also owned land in the present-day region of Cloridorme in the Gaspé Peninsula.

Sir William Phips

Sailor, Adventurer and Colonial Governor

Born: 2 February 1650/1651, Kennebec (Maine), United States

Died: 18 February 1694/1695, London, England

Phips, a Boston shipwright, became interested in discovering shipwrecked Spanish galleons. After several failures, he happened on an important treasure trove in 1687, a discovery that earned him nobility.

In 1690, Phips was appointed Major-General in the American army and commanded an expedition against Acadia. His success earned him a promotion as commander of the next expedition to Quebec. This second expedition came late in the year with too little ammunition to take on Frontenac's dug-in troops, a bad experience that Phips would never forget for the rest of his life.

Appointed Governor of Massachusetts in 1691, Phips put an end to his witch-hunt, but nevertheless became embroiled in conflict with neighbouring colonies and navy officers. Recalled to London to explain himself, Phips died before the end of the inquiry.

Pierre-Esprit Radisson

Explorer and Coureur de bois

Born: Around 1640, possibly in Avignon, France

Died: 1710, near London, England

Radisson explored the North American continent with Des Groseilliers, his half sister's husband.

Taken prisoner by the Iroquois in 1651, Radisson was adopted by an Aboriginal family who taught him their language and customs. This knowledge would later prove very useful for communication and negotiations.

Radisson and Des Groseilliers travelled to the far end of Lake Superior, subsequently explored the interior of the surrounding territory, and probably became the first white men encountered by the Sioux.

Radisson's plentiful beaver catch convinced the English to found Hudson's Bay company, for which he explored the North.

He briefly joined forces with Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye and France to establish a settlement on the Nelson River, but political intrigue deprived him of his income and he returned to serve England and Hudson's Bay Company. He withdrew to London in 1687.

Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers


Born: July 1618, France

Died: 1696(?), probably in Sorel

A Jesuit mission soldier in Huronia (Ontario) in 1646, Des Groseilliers later sought financial aid to explore Hudson Bay.

In 1654, he travelled from Trois-Rivières with the Huron and Odahwah in order to learn about the west and south of Hudson Bay. He later returned there with is brother-in-law, Pierre-Esprit Radisson.

But Des Groseilliers was then imprisoned by the Governor, who accused him of going on a trade expedition without permission. Furious, Radisson and Des Groseilliers defected to England and, working with Hudson's Bay Company, explored the region and established a trading post.

They would later team up with Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, but political intrigue deprived them of their income. Unlike Radisson, Des Groseilliers refused to work again for Hudson's Bay Company and returned to New France.

Guillaume Gaillard

Businessman, Seigneur and Member of the Sovereign Council

Born: Around 1669, France

Died: 12 November 1729, Quebec City, New France

Arriving New France as a servant at age 16, Gaillard was later to study law at the prompting of the Intendant, who observed in 1709 that Gaillard had a fine understanding of legal matters.

In 1707, Gaillard teamed up with Beaubassin and Riverin to fit out a privateer vessel that sailed towards Newfoundland and Cape Breton. The enterprise failed, however.

In 1710, his knowledge and status earned him an appointment to the Sovereign Council of the Colony.

In 1712, Gaillard acquired the seigneury of the island and courtship of Saint-Laurent (Île d'Orléans), where he would end his days in 1729 after having been involved in a major imbroglio between the Sovereign Council and the clergy surrounding the funeral of the Bishop of Saint-Vallier-a conflict during which Gaillard was even threatened with exile.

Louis Chambalon

Merchant and Royal Notary

Born: Around 1663, near Poitiers, France

Died: 15 June 1716, Quebec City, New France

Louis Chambalon arrived Quebec in 1688 and worked as a merchant's clerk. In 1690 and 1691, he accompanied Nicolas Perrot to the Ottawa country on a trade expedition. He subsequently became a merchant, importing products from France to supply the voyageurs engaged in the fur trade.

In 1698, Chambalon acquired a fief in the seigneury of Restigouche (Chaleur Bay).

Louis Chambalon was named royal notary by Louis XIV in 1692. His clients included the Quebec elite, governors and intendants.

In 1706, suffering from gout, he had to abandon his business activities and hired an assistant for his notary work. Childless himself, he took on responsibility for his first wife's child, a cousin and a young orphan.