A Blupete Biography Page


Comte de Frontenac "STUCK IN A FRAME"
(1620-98): -- CLICK HERE --

His full name was Buade de Frontenac et de Palluau, Louis de. We write of Frontenac, not because he played a direct role in the history of Acadia, but because he was such a giant figure in early North American history and had such an impact on the course of events. He is described in the DCB as "one of the most turbulent and influential figures in the history of Canada, chiefly noted as the architect of French expansion in North America and defender of New France against attacks by the Iroquois confederacy and the English colonies ..."

He was born into a noble family of France, in the Périgord. He was to receive a "very good education" and while yet a teenager joined the French army. At the age of 24, in a battle on the European continent, Frontenac was to suffer a serious wound to his right arm which left him crippled for life.

Frontenac, like so many young noblemen of the age, lived beyond his means; French creditors pursued him most all of his life. When not on campaign, Frontenac lived at the royal court, along with many other hangers-on. In 1648, he secretly married Anne de La Grange.

"Frontenac's father-in-law had placed every obstacle in the way of the marriage, even incarcerating his daughter in a convent to prevent it. When he learned that the marriage had nevertheless taken place clandestinely, he disinherited his daughter and eventually, by means of legal chicanery, prevented her from obtaining the inheritance due to her from her mother's estate."2
As for his character, Frontenac was given to extravagance and he had "expensive tastes" and a "colossal vanity." He was fond of praising everything that he owned and was constantly telling those he met of the excellence of his staff, from his kitchen on up. Discussions, apparently, easily broke out into quarrels, whether with those who were junior or senior to him.

It would seem from a reading of Frontenac's early life that he took an appointment as the governor-general of New France, not so much because of choice; but because of the persistence of his French creditors. As Governor-General of New France, Frontenac would be practically untouchable as far as his creditors were concerned, and he could give full vent to his patrician ways.

Frontenac sailed for Quebec from La Rochelle on June the 28th, 1672. His wife did not come with him. We read that his salary was paid directly to her in France and that "throughout his career in Canada she used her not inconsiderable influence at the court on his behalf."3

Frontenac's career at Quebec, interesting, turbulent and noteworthy as it was, cannot form part of my story. Enough, and I conclude, by writing that Frontenac was, due to the complaints of those that worked with him, recalled to France in 1682. Continuing difficulties, however, with the Iroquois and war with England breaking out (once again), obliged Louis the XIV to re-appoint the only man he had which could deal with the challenges as were presented in New France. Frontenac returned to Quebec in April 1689 as governor, once again. Nine years later, on November 28, 1698, at Quebec, Frontenac died.4

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] According to the DCB, there is no portrait of Frontenac known to exist.

[2] DCB, vol. I, p. 134.

[3] DCB.

[4] The most extensive work on Frontenac is probably that which was done by the American history writer, Francis Parkman, Frontenac & New France Under Louis XIV.

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Peter Landry
(1998-2014)