A Blupete Biography Page


Meneval
(d.1703).

Louis-Alexandre Desfriches, Chevalier, Sieur De Meneval is another of the numerous characters which course through our Acadian history, another historical moment when one's attention is taken briefly away, such as might be when a dim comet is spotted in the far quarter. Meneval's only claim is that he was the French governor at Port Royal when Phips took the place from the French for the English, in 1690.

Not much is known about Meneval before the time of his appointment: the 1st of March, 1687. He was an army officer, but yet only a lieutenant. His broad orders were to "encourage colonization and agriculture and prevent the English from trading and fishing in Acadia."1 On arrival at Port Royal, in the fall of 1687, Meneval was immediately faced with the results and effects of the previous regime's corruptions: his predecessor was Francois-Marie Perrot, who apparently carried on in the colony as a rich trader, like so many retired politicians even of today, as if nothing happened.

Meneval's governorship was to last only two years and eight months, from his arrival in October of 1687 to the early part of the month June, 1690, when he and his entire administerial and military entourage were ignominiously escorted out of Port Royal and down to Boston as the prisoners of Sir William Phips.

Though history might well conclude that Meneval is "perhaps more to be pitied than blamed"2 for his lost of Acadia; it would be hard to figure out just what else more Meneval could have done to assist Acadia to escape her inevitable destruction at the hands of Phips in 1690, the details of which we delved into when we come to the telling of our larger Acadian story.

I will conclude this short piece, by saying, that Meneval was variously treated in Boston. At first he was put under house arrest and likely not too badly treated at all. However, in time he was to lay charges before the council at Boston against Phips for the treatment that he and his fellow French officers had received during the taking of Port Royal. Phips upon hearing these charges promptly saw to it that Meneval was slapped into prison. In 1691, Meneval was sent to London and from there he was released to France. He was not to return to the new world; but was more than content, I am sure, to spend the rest of his days in France. Meneval died somewhere between 1703 and 1709.3

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] DCB.

[2] DCB.

[3] Webster, Letters Journals and Memoirs of Villebon ..., p. 184.

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Peter Landry
(1998)