A Blupete Biography Page

Francois Ganet

There were three principal contractors responsible for the building of Louisbourg. In turn, they were: Michel-Philippe Isabeau (1717-1724), Francois Ganet (1725-1735) and David-Bernard Muiron (1736-1745). I here intend to briefly deal with the second of them, Ganet.

Though there was serious competition for the job, Ganet, with the help of certain powerful friends1, was to win the contract to build the Royal Battery and the Island battery at Louisbourg.2 Up to 1724, the principal work carried out at Louisbourg was carried out under contracts with Isabeau. In 1724, Isabeau died leaving work undone. Ganet made a deal with the Isabeau family and took over the outstanding contracts on the basis that he should thereafter bear the expense of completing the work and take the future draws; and, the money owned by the crown to Isabeau at the time of his death should be paid to the estate without reduction. Ganet was to regret this arrangement; for, having come to Louisbourg to pick up the pieces, in June of 1725, he found that Isabeau's work, in his view, was defective and that it was going to be necessary, at great expense to him, to tear down certain of the existing structures so that the work might be properly completed. Or, more generally, as the DCB put it, "Isabeau had realized large profits in the coarse work of the earlier stages, and that his [Ganet's] own responsibility comprised the slow, fine, expensive work of finishing.

As to Ganet's accomplishments at Louisbourg during the time he was there, 1725-1735, I quote once again from the DCB:

"During his stay at Louisbourg from 1725 to 1737 Ganet built, in addition to the two batteries, the dauphin demi-bastion, the main storehouse, the careening wharf, the hospital, and the light-house; he helped to finish the garrison quarters of the king's bastion; and he carried out a number of repairs."
In a footnote, I give detail of Ganet's partnership with one, Arrigrand, and how that resulted in litigation. To this time consuming and demanding enterprise, must also be added the tortuous accountings that were required to be made to both the crown and to the Isabeau estate. All of this must have made, during the last of his years, for a miserable existence for Ganet. In 1737, his work at Louisbourg came to an end. as he lost out on further work to another French contractor by the name of Muiron; who, incidently, was backed by Arrigrand. The taking of accounts, the preparation of reports; and, more generally, the onerous tasks of proving and reproving claims must have taken their toll. It all eventually shook out, and, generally, in Ganet's favour. His accounts with the Isabeau estate were finally sorted out in 1744; and, his litigation with his partner, Arrigrand, to which he devoted his full time once back in France in 1737, came to an end in 1745: two years after that, Ganet was dead.


[1] Among Ganet's friends was one by the name of Gratien d'Arrigrand (1684-1754), a nephew of Subercase's. Arrigrand, indeed was to become a secret partner of Ganet's. Arrigrand was to come to Louisbourg for the first two years of the contract work (1724-6) but after that remained in France to arrange for the purchase and delivery of materials. A falling out between the two occurred when Arrigrand accused Ganet of not making a full disclosure of the profits earned; Ganet retorted that Arrigrand had not kept up his end in failing to delivered the promised materials. Off to court the two went and the litigation ground on for years.

[2] The contract was signed on the 24th of February, 1725.


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)