A Blupete Biography Page


Drucour
(1703-1762).

Chevalier de Drucour (Augustin) was the younger son of a noble Norman family. Joining the military service in 1719 he became a midshipman in the Gardes de la Marine and was stationed at the big naval base at Brest. He had a steady rise up the military ladder because of his own "good wisdom and good conduct." By 1751 he was a naval captain.

Before dealing with Drucour's appointment to Louisbourg, let me first deal with a few of the earlier events in Drucour's life. In October 1746, while aboard the Mars, a French naval vessel which was bringing supplies to Acadia, he was taken prisoner by the British. Where he was kept as such, is not clear; a year was to pass before Drucour was to be released and returned to France. In 1749, he was made "a knight of the order of Saint Louis." He was eventually given an important administrative post at Brest. Now, Brest was a major centre in France, one of the chief if not the chief naval port, a place full of people possessing major military and political influence, a place where powerful persons entertained themselves. It was after being in this position for a number of years that Drucour was offered the governorship of Ile Royale; his appointment coming on February 1st, 1754. "Drucour declined the offer because of his lack of wealth, but he was persuaded to change his mind." Drucour, his wife (Marie-Anne Aubert de Courserac) and "eight domestics" sailed from Brest in June of 1754 and arrived at Louisbourg on August the 15th.

Drucour was proud and took his position in the royal military very seriously, so much so, that, in the business of keeping up with the trappings of his position, he suffered financially, -- as so many high ranking officers, both French and English, did in those days. "In discharging the social duties of his position by entertaining the young noblemen under his charge, he exhausted not only his salary and income, but seriously cut into his patrimony, which he completely exhausted in the expenses incident to taking up the Governorship of Louisbourg. He further involved his affairs by obtaining advances from his brother, the Baron de Drucour, and the expenses of his administration left him penniless. It is obvious from this conduct of his affairs that Drucour was one of those nobles who preferred to maintain the dignity of any position to which his sovereign had called him, rather than exercise a reasonable regard for his private interests."1

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In dealing with Drucour's career, it is necessary to give a few words about Madame Drucour, -- though likely she deserves a book. Madame Drucour was not only a tower of strength to her husband; but, to most all of those at Louisbourg; she fired the cannon during the siege and she assisted "all the unfortunate people who had recourse to her mediation."

"Madame Drucour, a daughter of the Courserac family which had given many officers to the French navy, did her part in making his règime popular. She was a woman of intelligence, gracious towards every one, and succeeded in making Government House extremely attractive."2 The Drucours had been at Louisbourg during its final years. They had come from a far different life as they had led at Brest just prior to their arrival at Louisbourg in 1754. It must be kept in mind that while Louisbourg was chosen as an ideal place militarily, it is a cold, damp and dismal place for most of the year through. Drucour was no longer young, 51 years old when he arrived, and he suffered from "sciatica." And while he was described as being "a capable administrator and a kindly figure to the guards," and as "a man of great penetration and strength of mind,"3 Drucour had little experience in dealing with the peculiar problems of a place such as Louisbourg, surrounded by barren woods and a limitless sea and the attending problems of maintaining supplies and keeping up the spirits of its occupants, many of them low-bred. Cut off from home and as inexperienced as he was to the conditions presented, Drucour did his best.

McLennan concluded:

"... a man strong enough to be patient under the depression of fighting without hope, and yet not of the uncommon force which can impose his purpose on the unwilling and the backward."
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FOOTNOTES:


[1] McLennan, p. 233.

[2] McLennan, p. 233.

[3] Von Ruville's biography on Pitt (London: Heinemann, 1907) vol. 2, p. 202.

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Peter Landry
(1997)