A Blupete Biography Page

Jean de Biencourt, Seigneur de Poutrincourt "STUCK IN A FRAME"
(1557-1615): -- CLICK HERE --

Poutrincourt involved himself, early in life in the religious wars of France; he became a soldier in the Catholic cause. This internal religious strife that infected the nation was brought to an end when the French king, Henry IV converted from Protestantism to Catholicism in 1593, and, when he, at the same time, signed the edict at Nantes which gave basic protection to the Protestant minority; the move effectively won the country over to the royal cause. Poutrincourt, in 1593, came over to the king's side, like so many others, and was thereafter favoured by the royal court. However, while Poutrincourt gained many honours as a result of the wars, he lost much of his wealth and was obliged to turn to business in order to support himself and his family.

As it happened he was befriended by de Monts who had received exclusive rights from the royal court to the fur trade in Acadia. Poutrincourt, recognizing an opportunity for adventure and profit, joined forces with de Monts. "It was Poutrincourt who obtained the necessary arms and soldiers for the defence of the settlement de Monts planned to establish in America." (DCB.)

As we can see from our larger narrative of the events at Port Royal during the years 1604-1607, Poutrincourt was to play a significant role in its establishment and maintenance. He did not spend the first winter at St. Croix but rather was sent back that autumn by de Monts in order to arrange for further supplies to be brought out the following spring. Poutrincourt did arrive at Acadia with supplies and with a fresh set of colonizers, including Lescarbot (his lawyer) and his son Charles, Biencourt. Indeed, during the second two years of the colony's three year life, Poutrincourt -- since de Monts had to stay behind to manage the company's affairs back in France -- was to be in full charge at Port Royal, as its governor, and, eventually, as its seignior.

In the fall of 1607 Port Royal was to be deserted, and Poutrincourt and his followers sailed back to France on the Jonas.

Poutrincourt, being so attracted by the beauties of the area and having received at his request exclusive rights to the Port Royal region, returned with his family in 1610. Due to the religious politics of the time Poutrincourt was eventually obliged to bring Jesuits to Port Royal. His son, Biencourt was left in charge for most of the time during this renewal period, 1610-1614, while the father, Poutrincourt attended to affairs back in France. At the end of March, 1614, however, Poutrincourt did arrive at Port Royal, after almost a three year absence, only to find, due to the English raid (Argall) which had been carried out in November of 1613, "the fort in ruins and the inhabitants starving" (DCB, vol. 1, p. 98). Poutrincourt did not figure he could recover from this setback and shortly thereafter returned to France with most all of the colonists. His son, Biencourt, however, choose to stay behind to live with the Indians and to continue as the Lord of Acadia.

Thus ended Poutrincourt's career in Acadia. His adventures, however, were not brought to an end, for soon he got himself involved with further intrigues back in France. In December of 1615, during a military/political maneuver at Méry-sur-Seine, Champagne, the 58 year old Poutrincourt was killed, his body "pierced with many bullets."(See Lescarbot's Nova Francia, p. xii; and DCB, vol. 1, p. 99.)


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)