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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




JULY, 1971

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H A 13)


1732 - 1734

These years witnessed a change in administration. De Mesy had gone to France in 1731 and his son, Le Normant, carried on in his stead.(1) The father retired in 1733 and Le Normant was confirmed in the position of commissaire (but not ordonnateur) by Maurepas who observed that the son seemed willing to get along with Saint Ovide, a condition which was absolutely necessary for the good of the service.(2)

Maurepas also had another reason to be pleased with the situation at Louisbourg. To Saint Ovide he wrote:

I am very glad to see that you are at present conveniently and comfortably [housed].

Changes similar to those made on the governor's wing were contemplated for the other wing, which had originally been designated as the residence of the Commissaire-Ordonnateur, but Verrier was ordered to suspend them pending an examination of cost.(3) This wing was to come under considerable scrutiny during the next few years as Le Normant sought to avoid living there. In the end only a few partitions were changed as well as a stair and a fireplace, and 4 subalterns lived there along with the soldiers.(4)

The small quarrels which accompany any large undertaking were certainly still present at Louisbourg, but it was a relief that the rancour and bitterness of the Isabeau-De Verville days were gone. Le Normant and St. Ovide had their differences concerning administrative procedures, and both complained that Verrier did not turn over all his work accounts and that he was taking the contractor's part in wage disputes.(5) Le Normant, however, assured Maurepas of his intention to live in harmony with Saint Ovide(6) and Maurepas, on his part, took a firm hand with Verrier telling him not to interfere in wage disputes but to let the workers and contractor come to their own agreement.(7)

English goods continued to come into the colony, and in 1732 a list was made of all the ships arriving that year. A considerable amount of planks, bricks and shingles as well as finished goods were unloaded from the thirty-nine ships that came, (8) and some of this material undoubtedly found its way into the barracks.

Also at this time many of the small details in the building were coming to completion. The armory was finally dry and could contain 1000 guns, (9) but it was moved to a new location above the new bakery in 1733. This second armory held 3000 guns and Verrier said that the old one had been much too narrow and could not be used.(10) The fire backs which had been requested in 1731 were forgotten in the 1732 shipment (11) but were finally in place by October, 1733.(12) Slating of the officers' barracks and the north wing was set for the same year.(13) In 1732 Verrier submitted a drawing for a bell-tower (Fig.14 [1733-5: Presently Unavailable]) which was built in 1733,(14) but it was not until the following year that a three-foot bell along with a clock and ringer arrived from France.(15) More deterioration was reported by Sabatier: the barracks floors were almost all rotten because of the humidity from the basements, which required vents; the stairs in the soldiers' barracks were also in a poor state.(16)


1. Minister to Le Normant, 1 May 1729, AN. Col., B. vol. 53, f . 583v.

2. Minister to Saint Ovide, 2 June 1733, AN. Col., B. vol. 59(2) , ff. 532v-33.

3. Minister to Saint Ovide, 19 June 1732, AN. Col., B. vol. 57 (2), f. 748.

4. Verrier to Minister, 6 November 1734, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 16, f. 185v; And to Saint Ovide and Le Normant, 25 April 1735, AN. Col., B. vol. 63, f. 537v.

5. Saint Ovide and Le Normant to Minister, 15 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 20, ff. 24-30v.

6. Le Normant to De Mesy, 3 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 13, ff. 64-66v.

7. Minister to Verrier, 2 June 1733, AN. Col., B. vol. 59 (2), f. 588.

8. Liste des Batiments Anglais, Desmarest, 15 November 1732, AN. Col., C'11B, vol. 13, ff. 247-55v.

9. Saint Ovide to Minister, 15 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 12, f. 265v.

10. Verrier to Minister, 23 October 1733, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 14, ff. 300-01v.

11. Verrier to Minister, 16 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 13, f. 200v.

12. Saint Ovide to Minister, 28 January 1734, AN. Col. C11B, vol. 15, ff. 117-18.

13. Verrier to Minister, 16 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 13, f. 200v.

14. Saint Ovide to Minister, 28 January 1734, AN. Col., C11B, vol 15, ff. 117-18.

15. Le Normant to Minister, 19 October 1733, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 14, f. 220v.

16. Sabatier to Minister, 28 December 1734, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 16, f. 10.

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