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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
BLOCK 2, LOT G,
PROPERTY OF THE COMMISSAIRE
(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H D 14 R)
Lot G was situated on the northeast
corner of Block 2, bounded to the north by the Quay, to the east by the Rue St. Louis, to
the south by an unconceded property (lot F), and to the west by the property (lot H) of
Jean Rodrigue later inherited by his widow
After his appointment as Commissaire Ordonnateur, Jacques Ange LeNormant de Mesy acquired lot G and built a house and double storehouse. These buildings were his personal possessions until 1733, when the King purchased lot G. From this point, deMesy's structures became King's buildings, occupied by the Commissaire Ordonnateur as an official residence,
The Ordonnateur gradually encroached into his neighbours' properties. In 1736, lot F was taken for the construction of the Ordonnateur's stable. Lot H was expropriated in 1741, and became the site of a west addition built in 1754. Discussion of these two properties in this report has been limited to their connection with lot G. The histories of lot F and lot H prior to their acquisition by the Crown will be included in the forthcoming report on Block 2. The three properties were excavated in the summer of 1968 by Mr. Richard Cox.
The properties referred to in this report have been labelled from plan 734-5, the standard key used to define the Louisbourg town properties.
The term "Commissaire Ordonnateur" rather than "Intendant" has been usedto describe the occupants of lot G. The Commissaire Ordonnateur was directly under the Intendant of New France. There was, therefore, no Intendant" in Louisbourg,
Compared to other dwellings in Louisbourg, the house of the Commissaire Ordonnateur was a rather elaborate structure, described by the English as a "Stately Dwelling House". From its completion in 1725, it was occupied by a succession of four Ordonnateurs: Jacques Ange LeNormant deMesy, 1725-1734, Sebastien François Ange LeNormant, 1734-1739, François Bigot, 1739-17145, and Jacques Prevost, 1749-1758. During the Occupation (1745-1749), it served as the residence of the English Governors.
In addition to housing the head of civil government in Louisbourg, the Cormnissaire Ordonnateur, the house accommodated offices of civil administration - the Bureau des Trouppes, the Bureau du Tresorier, and the Bureau des décharges. The Superior Council also met in the house at various times throughout its history,
This report concentrates principally on the buildings in lot G. with an orientation towards their actual reconstruction. No attempt has been made to study the lives of its occupants or the functions of its various offices. The latter is slated for discussion in a forthcoming report on Administration.
The Ordonnateur's house falls structurally into three distinct phases. The first-phase house originally built by deMesy was expanded into the second phase with extensions on its west and south walls, while the third-phase house saw a large addition erected on the former Rodrigue property. In the second and third phases, the magasins served as an integral part of the house.
I recommend that the house and magasins be reconstructed to the second phase. Plans 739-5 and 739-5a, which coincide closely with the As-Found drawings of Archaeology, present the floor plans and facade of the buildings in 1739. These plans also give the only details of the stable found in lot F. I also recommend that a picket fence, as seen on plan 745-1, be built across the Quay-front north boundary of lot H. which was vacant during the second phase. As there is a minimum of structural details for the Ordonnateur's buildings, it is essential that the study on Louisbourg Domestic Architecture, presently underway, be closely consulted for reconstruction purposes.
Jacques Ange LeNormant deMesy,
newly-appointed Commissaire Ordonnateur, arrived in Louisbourg at the end of 1719. [6a]
The need for a magasin d'entrepost near the Quay became immediately apparent to him.
DeVerville, the Chief Engineer, was reluctant to use government funds for such an
undertaking. As a result, in May of 1720, deMesy purchased a property on the northeast
corner of Block 2 for the construction of a large masonry storehouse--"as an example
to the inhabitants of solid construction and for the good of the King". [6,7a.]
M. deMesy's accommodations proved equally unsatisfactory to him. He was expected to lodge in the Ordonnateur's quarters provided in the Chateau . These were uncomfortable and had no accommodation for servants and livestock. M. deMesy established, therefore, on the north side of the harbour, and began construction of a two-storey masonry residence on the Quay front of his Block 2 property on the south side. [2,6b] The house and storehouses were intended to be solidly constructed,--"a good example for the Colony, serving to decorate the town". [3b] M. deMesy's house, the house of the Commissaire Ordonnateur, therefore, came to be established in lot G of Block 2.