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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)


1735 - 1739

On March 31, 1735, 15 years after construction had begun, a small ceremony was held to bless the bells for Louisbourg, one of which, called St. Louis, was destined for the bell tower of the barracks chapel(1) marking the completion of the building.

There was still work to be done however, and it was not until the fall of 1736 that the north wing was reported ready, the delay being blamed on the shortage of roofers.(2) The rotting floors were still a worry, and Sabatier maintained that even some of the floors in the upper rooms would have to be redone.(3) Maurepas believed that filling in the basements was the best solution since they were not used and proved injurious to health.(4) But this was not practical since the basement walls were not strong enough to withstand the pressure without counterwalls.

Brick and plaster needed attention during this period. The outside walls of the barracks were re-plastered,(5) and it was reported that this repair would have to be done every three years.(6) Verrier reported that the brick from Port Toulouse, an outpost to the west, which had been used by De Verville in cordons and angles of buildings as well as in window jambs, was rapidly deteriorating. In the past, he recalled, chimney stacks and several doors and windows had been redone in flatstone, He recommended repairing the angles with well baked bricks from New England because using stone would necessitate too many alterations. Only the outer facing of bricks to a thickness of four pouces had to be replaced.(7) It was also recommended that all wood exposed to the air be painted to help preserve it; as with other recommendations, it was five years before this was done.(8) Finally Verrier, who had expended so much energy in getting the governor's wing ready, expressed the opinion that: "M. de Brouillan (Saint Ovide) must be happy as regards the quarters he occupies, there should be no reason for him to say that his lodgings are neglected".(9) Presumably this referred to unspecified repairs which were made to the wing at that time.

Two changes in 1736 affected construction in Louisbourg. Arrigrand had not been idle since his departure from Louisbourg. In 1734 he secured a concession on Isle Royale for which he hired , as manager, an architect from Dijon, Bernard Murion. When Ganet's contract came up for renewal in 1736, Arrigrand allowed Muiron to submit bids for it. In the first presentation of prices Muiron's bids were consistently higher than Ganet's(10) but, as Arrigrand later told it he authorized Muiron "to make a big reduction having solely in mind the removal of Sr. Ganet from the said fortifications and forcing him to come to Paris so he would be near and thus have to settle his account'' (11) This time Arrigrand was successful in removing Ganet.(12) However, the new contract did not include regular maintenance work. For this a series of contracts was passed with various Louisbourg tradesmen for repairs in their various skills. Thus Jean Bernard was given the contract to maintain the roofs and chimneys, Jean Durand was responsible for timber work, Louis Logier was to maintain carpentry and windows, and Jean Claparede the locks and iron work.(13) The repairs carried out under these contracts were considerable and showed just how much care the building required. Locks were repaired or replaced in 30 rooms; carpentry work was done in 13 rooms, and 355 window panes were replaced.(14)


1. Régistres paroisialles, 31 March 1735, AN. Section Outre-mer, G1, vol. 406, f. 56.

2. Saint Ovide to Minister, 30 October 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 44v.

3. Sabatier to Minister, 6 November 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 292.

4. Minister to Saint Ovide and De Mesy (extract), 29 April 1738, AN. Col., F3, vol. 50, f. 223.

5. Verrier to Minister, 10 November 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 276.

6. Memoire pour les ouvrages fait et à faire [1739], AN. Col., C11B, vol. 21, ff. 277-78.

7. Verrier to Minister, 30 October 1737, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 19, ff. 236-36v.

8. Sabatier to Minister, 12 November 1739, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 21, f. 179v.

9. Verrier to Minister, 2 January 1738, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 20, f. 222v.

10. Etat de comparison des prix, 14 November 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 103.

11. Dossier Arrigrand letter to Minister, without date, AN. Col., E, vol. 9, f. 11(17).

12. Marché Muiron, 10 May 1737, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 19, f.176.

13. Marchés sur la signature de Verrier et Sabatier, 25 October 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, ff. 365-79v.

14. Etat de la serrurerie, 2 November 1736, AN. Col., vol. 18, ff. 129-30. Etat de la menuiserie, 2 November 1736, AN. Col., vol. 18, ff. 224-25.

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