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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)



The south wing of the barracks was the official residence of the garrison commander in Louisbourg. It housed three governors and one commandant, though two other commanders chose not to live there. The wing comprised four large attic rooms, four rooms on each of the two floors, and two usable cellar rooms. Though these quarters were for the commanders' use technically, two of the rooms had to be given over to the Superior Council, and another room, upstairs, was referred to as a "government hall" and doubled as a dining room. The governor had use of part of the courtyard for his animals, and shared a garden in the town with the ordonnateur. Their upkeep was in the hands of the governor, but the initial work in building the stables and preparing the garden was done at government expense.(1)

Block number 35 was given over to this garden, but only a small corner of it had originally been conceded to the Ordonnateur as his garden in 1723 while the governor had use of a similar plot in Block 16.(2) However, by 1730 the whole block was under cultivation and in 1732 Le Normant, the acting ordonnateur, reported that Saint Ovide was going to take it all over. Le Normant suggested that it was too large for the governor alone and that the two of them share it,(3) a proposal which was adopted resulting in the block becoming the King's Garden.(4) Various buildings appear in the plans of the garden, three on the east side during Saint Ovide's occupancy, which were replaced by a single building in the north-west corner afterwards. This building was referred to in the 1741 accounts as a "small house" costing just over 600 livres followed the next year by four 16 livre benches made for the garden.

A well or pool in the centre of the garden first appeared on the plans in 1732 and was shown clearly on the 1752 plan (Fig. 17 [1752-5; 1752-2A; 1752-2B, 1752-2C, 1752-5D: Presently Unavailable]). It measured 15 pieds inside, accounting for the ease with which the drunken soldier mentioned above was able to roll over and fall in. The plans also show a variety of patterns in the layout of the garden. In the thirties the block was shown divided into many plots. But in the forties eight divisions predominate with four most often shown during the English occupation and afterwards. (5)

Little is known of what was grown in the garden. The only indication comes from the Duquesnel inventory which recorded the food on hand at the time of his death. However, it is not possible to distinguish between what might have been imported and what was grown since most of the vegetables were salted to preserve them for the winter. Possible products from the King's Garden were; green beans, herbs, lentils, onions, peas, rhubarb and bran.(6)

Although the commander in Louisbourg earned considerably more than other officials, the salary was felt to be inadequate by most of the positions 'occupants. Commandant Duquesnel requested and was given a 5000 livre advance in order to prepare himself for his appointment, and he reported that in all he spent 8000 livres before leaving France. While in Louisbourg he was given a 3300 livre gratuity.(7) Another commandant, Desherbiers, requested 14000 livres in advance to maintain his "Dignity" in his new position. He then asked the government to write off this advance, which it did on condition that he agree to remain in Louisbourg an extra year.(8) Governor De Raymond wanted a 20,000 livres gratuity to off set his expenses in Louisbourg and was reported owing over 24,500 livres when he left. His salary was not enough. he said, and he sought recompense for lavish dinners he gave in honour of the Royal family as well as for expenses incurred in expeditions to outlying ports.(9) The last French governor, Drucour, was given a 10,000 livre advance and a 4,000 livre gratuity . (10 )

In order to supplement their salaries some of the officials had commercial involvements. Saint Ovide, it has already been mentioned, had an interest in a contracting firm, and was also conceded a plot of land to the north of the harbour. After he left Louisbourg he rented the land to his successor, De Forant, and eventually sold it to the governor De Raymond.(11) Although Saint Ovide did sell off his fishing interest when the government prohibited such involvements for officers, he continued his commercial ventures by merely registering them in his secretary's name.(12)

Another commander, Duquesnel, likewise had involvements which will be detailed later.

The domestic arrangements for the governors varied according to means. When Saint Ovide first arrived in Louisbourg he was still a King's Lieutenant and had only a valet and cook.(13) The eventual size of his household is not known, but by 1725 he owned a young negro slave of 10 or 11 years.(14) For most of the time he lived alone in the barracks, his wife having returned to France. Duquesnel, whose wife also remained in France, had a staff of at least five servants, a chief steward, cook, lackey, kitchen boy and one other male servant. Desherbiers, the first commander after the return of Louisbourg to the French, came out with a steward, valet, cook, two other servants and a housekeeper with her son,(15) all of whom belonged to one family, while his successor De Raymond had only two servants plus a secretary.(16) Only during the stay of the last governor, Drucour, was there a woman in charge of the residence. Of course the "office" involved a considerable amount of entertaining, for the commander was responsible for feeding certain officers as well as visiting dignitaries. There seem to have been no formal rules as to the governor's duties in this regard, but there is evidence that virtually all the commanders kept some sort of open table.


Governor Saint Ovide de Brouillant was the first resident of the south wing. The exact contents and layout of the wing during his occupancy are not known, but from the work accounts some of the rooms can be labeled and their furnishings identified. At first, Saint Ovide shared his quarters with Major De Pensens who, on one occasion supplied four servants from France for use in the lodgings.(1)

From the 1727 work account, it is clear that a number of built-in furnishings were supplied for some rooms. The kitchen was provided with a sink and drain, a potager (warming oven), a dresser for dishes made of two pouce pine planks, and a ceiling, to prevent odours from penetrating to the upper floor. To these kitchen furnishings an armoire was added in 1732 (2) In the 1730s a second kitchen was equipped(3) and the first kitchen became the "old" (ancienne) kitchen. The original kitchen had been in the north-east room of the wing, and part of that room was also given over to small cubicles used as servants' quarters (Fig. 12 [ND-21: Presently Unavailable]). With the raising of the governor's wing and the establishment of new rooms for servants in the attics, the kitchen was enlarged by the removal of all but one of the small cubicles (Fig.13 [ND-88: Presently Unavailable]). The small room which remained was probably that of the chief steward, who was responsible for the general supervision of the household. The attic rooms, as we have seen, were not a success and De Forant, by removing the stacks of the chimneys, made the rooms unusable. However, it is likely that they had not been in use during much of Saint Ovide's time, because of the dampness of the attic rooms the servants had to move back to their original quarters in the kitchen. The expanded kitchen could not easily be reduced so the adjoining room was probably expropriated for kitchen use, becoming the "new" kitchen. The officers who had lived there were sent to other quarters, probably in the town. The original move to the attics was made in 1731 and the first reference to the second kitchen was in 1736, so the move back to the original kitchen and establishment of the second would have been sometime between these dates.

A second room, identified as a dining room, had a three-part buffet which was 7 pieds by 7 pieds, made of ordinary two pouce pine planks with a more elaborate facing. Six dining tables large and small were listed for government use,(4) and a one pied baseboard was specified for the two main upstairs rooms. Two other rooms which can be identified during this period were the rooms for the Superior council. The governor, according to the regulations, was to host the meeting of the Council. Before the move to the barracks, the meetings were held in whatever house he happened to be living in at the time. In 1727 there was a complaint that litigants before the Council had to wait outside until their turn arose and there were no suitable furnishings or rooms for the council. (5) Two years later the situation had not improved although two ground floor rooms had been set aside for the Council:

But since this location is neither furnished nor heated, the humidity makes it extremely cold and thus impracticable in spring and fall which are ordinarily the seasons of trials ,.. and if this location in question continues to be an obstacle we could use for this the room above which M. de Pensens formerly occupied next to the dining room where the litigants could stay during the hearings with one of the bailiffs to prevent anyone from escaping from his duty.

Proposed furnishings for the chambers included a tapestry, a crucifix, a full-length portrait of the King, a painting of "Justice", a rug with fleur de lis for the table, which would have been large enough for 10-12 people, and a small "cabinet"   for the Council papers, and to which the clerk would have the key.(6) In 1732 a table was made for the Council chamber and an iron stove put in the following year and repaired with a brick base in 1735.(7) Presumably a temporary table had been used up to that point, and the stove was designed to aid the fireplace in combating the dampness. Governor De Forant, who died in 1740 requested in his will that a number of his paintings be turned over to the government. Whether some of these found their way to the Council chamber is uncertain, but included in the collection was a full-length painting of the king, one of the items wanted when the furnishings were discussed in 1729. In 1737 a 250 livre pendulum clock was purchased for the Council and 14 velvet pile chairs were added in 1744. (8)

Until 1739 the Council seems to have met in the home of some of the councillors or in the home of the ordonnateur, especially when the governor was away.(9) Certainly meeting in the town would have been more convenient for the majority of the council members. After 1739 the meetings appear to have been regularly held in the barracks, though during the second French occupation, while the governor for a time lived in the town, the Council was held in the ordonnateur's house until ordered to be in the governors house. (10)

In 1736 an "office" was mentioned in this wing. (11) This was a serving room which contained dishes and equipment for keeping food warm. Food was brought here from the kitchen then transferred to the dining room on the appropriate plate when the diners were ready for it. In 1733 there were stoves in both the hall or dining room and the "office". (12) Another room in the wing was a cabinet near the balcony containing an armoire 6 pieds by 6 pieds. A bookshelf 11 pieds by 7 pieds 9 pouces and a 7 x 4 pieds armoire were in an unidentified room. Both had the finely finished fronts similar to that of the buffet in the dining room. There was at least one other armoire somewhere in the wing.(13)

During this period the English began to carry on a considerable trade with Louisbourg. In 1732, for example, 36 bureaus, 36 chairs, 9 tables and one armchair were among the effects unloaded. Some of these items turned up in the barracks (14)and will be mentioned in a later section. It seems likely that the dining room was also the room referred to as the government hall used for official functions. The deliberations of the military councils and courts martial in a body called the Conseil de Guerre were held in the governor's quarters and very likely in this room.(15) Certainly the room was well used in its function as a dining room, for the governors were required to provide meals for officers and other officials, and several complained about the expense involved. Costebelle, the first governor of the colony, said that during the evacuation from Plaisance he had had to keep an open table for the honour of the nation.(16) Saint Ovide in 1717 complained of having had to keep an almost continuous table for from 20 to 24 people.(17) After the first siege De Raymond also pleaded for financial assistance, saying that among his expenses was:

Keeping a regular table, giving meals to the various stations and to all foreigners of a certain level, assuaging officers who are in need.(18)

His successor, Governor Drucour, claimed to have fed a large number of officers. As his wife reported:

the officers took meals only at the home of the Chevalier de Drucour who made sure that they were available at all hours. (19)

There is little information on the dinners themselves. On one occasion, for the birth of the heir to the throne in 1730, the King's lieutenant and acting governor, De Bourville, gave a dinner and ball for 80 which must have been held in the dining or "government" hall of the governor's wing; it is difficult to think of any other place which could have accommodated these numbers. The majors and officers of the fortress then gave a dinner for a similar number, presumably in the same room. The ordonnateur had to give his party on successive nights because he could only accommodate 25 at one time in his home. It is interesting to note that the King's lieutenant asked to be compensated for the expense of the dinner he had to give.(20) The governor, whose salary was five times that of his second-in-command, normally would have been expected to give these dinners.

The one account of an official celebration given by a governor dates from the period when the governor was living in the engineer's house. It was to celebrate the birth of the Duc De Bourgogne and De Raymond, who seems to have been the most status-conscious of the Louisbourg governors, marked the event with considerable ceremony which was probably the high point of Louisbourg "society" during the French period:

M. le Conte de Raymond gave a dinner to the staff, the engineers, the officers of artillery, and to the other principal officers, to the Conseil Superieur, the Baillage, the Admiralty, and to the ladies of the place.

He had two tables with 50 covers, served in four courses, with as much lavishness as elegance. They drank in turn freely every kind of wine of the best brands, to the health of the King, Queen, the Dauphin, Mme. la Dauphine, M. le duc de Bourgogne, and to the Royal Princesses.

Many guns were fired, and the band increased the pleasure of the fete.

About 6 o'clock, after leaving the table, they repaired to the King's chapel to hear vespers. At the close of the service, the Te Deum was sung to the accompaniment of all the artillery of the town and of the ships.

They then went in a procession, as is the custom in the colonies, to the Esplanade of the Maurepas gate.

The governor there lit a bonfire which he had had prepared; the troops of the garrison, drawn up on the ramparts and the covered way, fired with the greatest exactness, three volleys of musketry, and the artillery did the same. After this ceremony the Governor distributed several barrels of his own wine to the troops and to the public.

The "Vive le Roi" was so frequently repeated, that no one could doubt that the hearts of the townspeople, the troops, and the country folk, which this festival had attracted, were truly French.

He had given such good orders in establishing continual patrols in command of officers, that no disorder was committed.

About 9 in the evening, the governor and all his guests went to see set off the fireworks and a great number of rockets, which he had prepared, and were very well done.

On his return home, the ball was opened, and lasted till dawn; all kinds of refreshments, and in abundance, were handed round....

The government house being too small to accommodate all the distinguished members of the colony, M. le Comte Raymond gave a big dinner the next day to the clergy and the Sunday following to several ladies, officers, and others who had not attended the first fête.(21)

From the one journal of the French period which gives any detail on daily life, that of the engineer Poilly beginning in January 1758, two of the nine balls he mentions were given by Governor Drucour. This was during the "Carnaval" the period between the Epiphany and Lent, and the balls were usually accompanied by an "ambigu", a rather elaborate buffet often served after midnight.(22) 


The new governor appointed in 1739, Isaac Louis de Forant, had entered the service in 1703, and as a ship's captain had many times visited Louisbourg, and Quebec.(1) One of his first actions on arrival in September was to offer to give up his wing to any new soldiers who arrived thus sparing the expense of a new barracks. He said he would move into the engineer's house since the latter was going to spend the winter in France. As an afterthought he also used the argument that De Mesy had used in his successful bid to avoid living in the building - "I would be nearer that which concerns the town and the port and it would be better for me than shut up in the barracks" (2), though in truth there could hardly be a better place for the military commander of a garrison than in the barracks.

While waiting for an answer to his request, De Forant set about changing the wing to suit his needs. Rain and dampness were still a problem in the wing and De Forant's solution was to remove the extra chimneys which served the attic fireplaces thus rendering this area permanently uninhabitable and suitable only as storage rooms. He also requested changes in the lower rooms.(3) Doors, panels and partitions in unspecified locations were affected, but his death from pneumonia after a thirteen day illness put an end to the alterations.

According to Bigot, who wrote a long eulogy, De Forant was well liked in the colony and possessed those qualities which are necessary for a good governor:

he was universally mourned, especially by me, Monseigneur, who knows more than anyone all his good qualities which the colony has lost forever, he knew all the different types of the garrison but did not let this influence him; by his example of gentleness and his feelings of honour he brought back those who would stray from righteousness; he was not self seeking and was solely occupied with the good of the service... you could not find, Monseigneur, a governor more suitable than he for this colony which was overrun by cabals and alliances seeking their own ends...(4)

Bigot did not think it suitable to bury the governor in the parish cemetery even though De Forant had mentioned this in his will. Instead De Forant was buried in the chapel in a lead coffin. The pathologist who examined his remains after recent excavations found he had arthritis of the right hip and knee.(5)

De Forant's will was made on his death bed, and, as was the custom, he made his profession of faith and set aside 300 livres for prayers for the repose of his soul after his death, He also made a bequest to the Sisters of the Congregation so that eight places in their schools could be made available to eight officers' daughters who were in need. (8) The Governor of the colony was to make the selection, with the restriction that only those daughters of officers from long ennobled families (d'épée) were eligible. If there were not enough qualified candidates, the money could not be used for daughters of the lesser nobility (de plume), but was to be applied to repairs to the convent.(7) Various paintings and tapestries were left to the government. The remainder of the effects were left to De Forant's sister with the exception of an 11-volume quasi-religious dictionary by Moreri which was left to Bigot the executor of the estate. Bigot was also instructed to settle the accounts of the servants, taking into consideration their needs and the quality of their service. De Forant's sister protested the bequest to the school, but eventually agreed to a fund of 32,000 livres the income from which was 1,600 livres.(8)

A fragment has survived of the inventory which was taken of De Forant's effects after his death. Three rooms were mentioned, but it is not possible to say where these rooms were in the wing. According to the inventory the entrance room contained three large tapestries, two of which represented Cleopatra, sixteen black leather chairs with gold nails, a pendulum clock, two paintings, one representing the Tower of Cordouan and the other a carp, and a small table and jar. Since there seems to be little personal furniture in the room this must have been the government "hall" which doubled as a dining room and thus contained government furnishings.

The next room was obviously a sitting room with six chairs and fire screens, a sofa and four arm chairs, plus a commode. There were six paintings with gold frames, a full length Louis XV, a Louis XIV, the late Dauphin, the Battle of Leintz, and two unspecified marine scenes. Three white Indian-cotton curtains, six grey damask tapestries with a large red border, two chandeliers and six carafes completed the inventory of this room.

The third room mentioned in the document was De Forant's bedroom with an elaborate bed, six chairs and six yellow damask arm chairs, two mirrors, two family portraits, two quadrille tables, a seven piece tapestry, a commode, and a painting of Magdelaine.(9) The impression of the furnishings in these rooms is one of luxury. The considerable number of tapestries would have been effective against dampness in the wing. From the wording of the will it seems that the paintings and tapestries in the second room were those given over to government and probably found their way to the council chamber and the government hall.


Jean Baptiste Louis le Prevost chevalier seigneur Duquesnel was De Forant's replacement. He was a veteran of 45 years in the Marine but his appointment to Louisbourg was only as a Commandant, a position with all the rights of governor but without the title (1) In 1704 at the battle of Malaga in southern Spain he lost his left leg and three toes of the right one. Since 1708 he had commanded seven different small ships and had, like De Forant, been to Canada and the West Indies, but he had only one command as a ship's captain (capitaine de vaisseau). His wife was from Martinique but did not accompany her husband to Louisbourg, preferring to remain in France with her children (two girls and a boy). (2)

If we are to believe the author of the anonymous Lettre d'un Habitant Duquesnel was subject to many excesses,(3) but this author was seeking to assign the blame for the fall of Louisbourg and likely overstated his case. Certainly the amount of wine and spirits which Duquesnel had in his cellar plus the number of card games he possessed, show that he did lean towards drinking and gambling, but he also had to provide for the needs of his officers. The same report said he was at odds with all the officers and had a volatile temper, the latter partly accounted for by his poor physical condition. The pathological examination of his skeleton uncovered in excavations in 1964, showed that he was suffering from wide spread arthritis, that his teeth were greatly worn down with caries, that he had a dental abscess which had drained into the nasal cavity, and that his one remaining foot was distorted from infection.(4)

Duquesnel himself had felt that he was suited for his new post. He assured the King, "you could hardly have found someone else who could fill this position with more zeal more application and more dignity than I. "(5) He spent 8,000 livres preparing to live in Louisbourg in a "proper fashion";(6) and arrived on 2 November 1740. As with all the officials who were sent to Louisbourg, the commander was awarded a certain amount of free cargo on the King's ships. The practice seems to have been to take 30 tonneaux in the early years, but was reduced to 10 in the 1740's, though such limits were difficult to enforce. From the amount of goods which Duquesnel left behind it seems he had used as much space as he could for his supplies. Servants of the governor were allowed free passage, and in 1741 his wife sent him two servants and in 1743 a cook. (7)

Alterations and additions to his residence were requested by Duquesnel and reported by Verrier: a stable for wintering animals, a pigeon roost, panelling in a "cabinet" and another room and an oven in the kitchen.(8) Maurepas was not pleased with the cost of the repairs from that year (Bigot also made substantial changes to his house) and was also annoyed that the changes were made without his permission, In a letter the following spring he forbade any more changes, except for simple maintenance, without prior approval.(9) In these repairs the second kitchen was again mentioned, and the old kitchen was mentioned in conjunction with the council chamber.

On October 9, 1744, Duquesnel died "without having regained consciousness". He was given only a token eulogy in letters to Maurepas, a sharp contrast to that given to De Forant. Duchambon, who became acting commander, added that his effects were being inventoried and sold to pay off his debts, the remainder would be sent to his widow "supposing there was some after these debts are paid", (10) for Duquesnel had many debts.

The inventory was a vital part of the death ritual of the day. Immediately upon notification of death an official, usually the Attorney General, went to the deceased's lodging, often with the deceased in the bed in which he died, to seal off all the rooms which would not be absolutely necessary and make a quick inventory of those rooms which had to remain open. When it was convenient the officials returned to make a complete list of the possessions of the estate, often in eluding a description of the items. Personal papers were also inventoried. The items were then sold at public auction and the money used to pay debts with, the remainder sent to the heirs. In making the lists of furnishings and applying the wax and paper which constituted the seals, the function of the rooms was often given. Thus it is possible to reconstruct to a substantial degree the interior of the south wing of the barracks as it was when Duquesnel lived there, and from the list of household accounts it is Possible to examine some of the mechanics of eighteenth century housekeeping.

Figures 18 and 19 [Presently Unavailable] give the distribution of the wing as revealed in the application of seals and the inventory. The entrance from the courtyard of the bastion was into the vestibule, which contained a large staircase and a passage to the kitchen area. On the other side of the staircase was a small cubicle for a servant, possibly the lackey, part of whose duties would be to answer the door.

By the time Duquesnel occupied these quarters the "new" kitchen had been incorporated into the wing and most of the cooking was done here. It contained one servant's room, probably that of the kitchen boy. The "old" kitchen housed two other servants including the chief steward who was in charge of the household. The remaining portion of the room was given over to the "garde manger" devoted to food storage and washing. The large staircase led to a passage which went by the "office" (serving room) into the dining/reception room. The "office" also housed a linen closet which doubled as cook's room. Next to the dining room was the bedroom which also contained the private cabinet, a door out to the balcony, and exits to the stairway, the dressing room and the wardrobe room. The latter also served as a toilet.

Inasmuch as the inventory was taken in October it reflects the effects of the occupants at their fullest stock in readiness for the isolation of winter. The full inventory in its original form is given in Appendix IV. What follows is a room-by-room summary of the contents with comments on their function.


The attic rooms were essentially storage areas which served briefly as servants' quarters. Curing Duquesnel's time three of the four rooms were used mostly for the storage of food and clothing. One of the objects was a sedan chair in which Duquesnel would have been carried around to ease the difficulties caused by his wooden leg. However, its location in the attic and its designation as "old" indicates it may not have been in use at the time of the inventory. The other items in the rooms:


52 large barrels of wheat

7 large barrels plus 4 quarts of oats

3 large barrels of corn

14 quarts of flour

1 quart of bran

2 quarts of peas

26 ropes of onions

Metal Goods:

Andirons, shovels, tongs, large copper boiler

4 irons for ironing

36 livres of "old" pewter

2 earthen copper pots (terre brune)


75 shirts

52 collars

37 handkerchiefs

46 night caps

142 serviettes, 21 of which were fancy

14 tablecloths, 5 of which were fancy, and 4 for the kitchen

18 sheets, 13 fancy and 5 big

67 dusters

36 aprons

6 morning coats, 3 flannelette and 3 thin cotton


A harness

Small hamper full of white table glasses

2 faience chamber pots

Old bed with its attachments



The main bedroom contained an impressive Duchess bed. This was a style of bed which had a canopy projecting from supports at the need as opposed to vaulted beds which had supports at the four corners for the canopy. A curtain at the edge of the canopy could be pulled around to completely enclose the bed. This particular bed had two woollen mattresses and a straw one along with a feather bolster. Two white woollen blankets plus a figured bedspread covered it. The canopy was made of white taffeta quilting and the fringe was in fire-red serge with a white ribbon ornamentation. The bed-curtains, tailor's wrapper, the bed-valance and fringe were in the same serge. Finally there was a quilt in white taffeta. The whole ensemble sold at auction for 380 livres. The rest of the room contained:

Sofa covered in velvet pile

8 English wood chairs with red leather seats

Mirror with a gold painted wooden frame which sold for 137 livres.

Four drawer bureau

7 window curtains of printed cloth

2 andirons for a fireplace

Three-drawer commode


This room was rather puzzling in its contents, and, because it adjoins the bedroom and contained the governor's personal clothing it has been called the dressing-room. It also housed a small vaulted single bed valued at 273 livres. There were three mattresses and two woollen blankets as well as feather bedding and a pillow. This may well have served as a guest bed. The rest of the room contained an odd assortment and seemed to be a storage room for items which the governor would have had brought into the bedroom or the hall for use. Some of the clothing and other items were probably found in the bedroom but were moved to this room during the sealing of doors on the day of the death, since the bedroom remained opened and was not sealed.

Of particular interest are the sweets, games and two items of clothing, one a suit and jacket of fire-red cloth laced ill gold and lined in white plush, valued at 333 livres; the second a grey frock coat with a black velvet collar/cape valued at 101 livres.

Other items:

9 chairs; 4 straw arm chairs, Green serge arm chair, 4 English leather chairs

4 game sets; a chess board and men, backgammon board (tric-trac) and pieces, green quadrille table and 2 boxes used in the game, green piques table and bag of ivory tokens with a small wicker basket


2 livres of ginseng (an oriental medicinal herb)

Almost 30 livres of chocolate, 10 of it from Manilla

44 livres of prepared chocolate, and fifteen from the "isles" not yet prepared

7 different boxes of tea

3 "quarter pounds" of rhubarb


18 "common" silk handkerchiefs

11 pairs of knitted yarn light shoes

3 pairs of cotton stockings

82 ells of cloth, 22 from Rosen and 6 of striped muslin

2 jackets, one in lemon lined in silk and laced in silver; one (old) in poppy-coloured smooth velveteen lined in white plush and laced in gold

3 pairs of pants; one in cinnamon cloth, two velvet.

Jerkin (close fitting body garment) and pants of drugget (coarse woollen cloth) of brown silk with gold buttons lined in lemon taffeta.

Old jerkin of brown cloth with gold buttons lined in red silk

Dressing gown in striped cotton lined in cotton cloth

Box with three wigs

Also in the room was a pair of bellows, an English bureau with Duquesnel's personal papers, a watch in a silver case valued at 96 livres, and an old spyglass with a missing lens as well as the usual curtains, two green serge rugs (probably for the gaming tables), a fire screen and a mirror with a gold painted wooden frame, which sold for 132 livres.


The governor's tiny private cabinet contained only two pieces of furniture and was obviously the room where his valuables were kept and the contents of this room alone was valued at more than 4,400 livres. There was a desk, though no mention of a chair, and a red calf-skin trunk. The other materials in the room were valuables. In hard cash, there was 2,777 livres, 4 sols and 6 deniers, most of it in ecus which were coins in denominations of 6 and 3 livres. There also were 3 "American dollars" as well as some English and Spanish money. Other valuables in the room were:

Cane with a golden handle in the shape of an apple valued at 83 livres

Silver seal with the Duquesnel arms and its case

24 silver spoons and forks with arms worth 940 livres

6 silver stew spoons

2 average sized silver plates

2 silver salt boxes

2 cases each with 6 silver coffee spoons

2 snuff-boxes, one varnished cardboard, the other plain shell

Small purse containing a pair of gold shoe buckles with an iron frame, a pair of gold cufflinks, a silver collar button


Among the personal rooms in the wing was the wardrobe which contained two large armoires, one with toiletries, medicines and spirits, the other with clothing. There was also a toilet with three pots and over 100 livres of "table candles."


Porcelain shaving basin

10 bottles of Hendaye brandy

Small pot with 3 onces of rhubarb extract (commonly used as a laxative)

Box with 4 flasks of Gannus elixir, [a concoction made of aloe, myrrh, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg mixed with spirits of wine and water which when distilled and mixed with maidenhair (fern) syrup and orange blossom water and allowed to stand, produced the elixir which could be poured off - Diderot's Encyclopedia].

12 bottles of liqueur from the "Isles"

2 bottles and a smaller one of syrup

2 small bottles of castor oil, one of which had been opened


Pair of woollen gaiters

3 pairs of silk stockings, 2 new and 1 old valued at 42 livres

5 pairs of sheets, 4 "fine" and 1 "common"

7 new nightshirts

50 trimmed shirts

105 handkerchiefs

3 jackets for use at the basin

1 morning jacket for the same purpose

3 flannelette morning jackets

15 ells of cloth painted (or printed) and in two pieces

27 cap linings

6 caps, two of which were embroidered

10 pairs of light shoes of knitted yarn

11 pairs of stockings

15 muslin collars

3 hats, one beaver embroidered in gold, one plain beaver, one embroidered in gold valued at 48, 25 and 242 livres respectively

1 box with 4 pairs of shoes

On top of one of the armoires was a "saw for traverses" (usage unknown) and a table candle.

"Office" (Serving-room):

The "office" was the room from which the dining room was served. The food prepared in the kitchen was brought here and other food, such as salads and coffee, were prepared here with smaller articles being fried on one of the four frying pans. All of the food was then arranged on plates and taken into the adjoining room when called for. The number of dishes indicated a potential for serving a considerable gathering at one time. There were 144 plates of faience and 132 of blue porcelain with 64 platters of various sorts. Downstairs there were 132 more blue porcelain dishes and 72 gold porcelain, the latter obviously the "good" set and valued at almost twice the blue set, whereas the faience plates were the "common set", worth only half the blue.

This room also contained 28 chairs and stored here was some food, mostly imperishable, half of which was stored in an armoire. There is no mention of tables in the room or fireplace equipment. These items were probably provided as part of the initial furnishings of the wing and would not have been counted as personal property. Among the items of interest are two gelatine molds in which fruit syrups were poured and then placed in a bucket of ice. The syrup was stirred from time to time until it set and then, according to one manual, served in goblets. The variety and quantity of articles in the room is impressive:

24 chairs, 6 English red leather, 6 English black leather, 8 rush armchairs and 4 common straw chairs

2 tea tables

31 cups and saucers

4 sugar bowls

4 tea pots, one with a saucer

21 bowls, 6 "small" 4 "large" and 9 "salad"

276 plates

65 platters of various sorts, one with a saucer

2 mustard dishes

12 earthen dishes

12 compote-dishes (fruit stand)

5 buckets of faience and glass

4 sauce-boats

23 salt pots

2 basins

16 tin moulds, 2 for gelatine, 2 for cheese, 12 for biscuits

1 sprinkler

5 pairs of candle holders

2 extinguishers for candles

1 cistern and spoon

6 cooking pots, all sizes

11 casseroles, 9 with tails (queue)

1 braising pan and cover

1 strainer

1 cake tin (for special cakes called "poupelins")

5 pie plates, one not usable

2 dripping pans

1 fish kettle

3 skimming ladles, 2 for preserves

1 spoon for pots

4 copper sheets

1 boiler

4 frying pans one of which was iron and one of copper (both listed as "old")

4 iron tripods

1 iron grill

3 trimmed crystals (glasses with a plate)

a balance with 22 livres of lead and 3 weights

1 waffle iron

1 pot

36 glasses, 22 large 14 small

6 table carafes

1 chafing-dish

12 dirty table knives with wooden handles

1 butter dish-and cover


14 hams

27 sugar loafs

4 1/2 livres of pepper

1 packet of truffles - 1 livre

2 livre of "mousserons," small edible mushrooms

Dried oranges


Dry preserves

In the armoire in the "office" were:

53 livres of coffee in a bag

20 livres of almonds shelled in a bag and 8 in a paper bag

6 livres of rice in a box

19 pots of current jelly preserve

A big heap of sugar from the Isles

14 livres of dry preserves from the Isles in a small case

Cook's Room and Linen "ArmoireCook's Room and Linen "Armoire"

In the vicinity of the "office" was a room with an "armoire" for linen and a bed for the cook. Again there was an impressive quantity of items, especially serviettes, of which there were 84 fancy ones, 468 plain and 72 "used"; and table cloths, 6 fancy, 49 plain, 13 for kitchen use and 60 "used". In addition it will be recalled that in the attics there were 121 plain and 21 fancy serviettes and 14 table cloths, Other items in the room:

10 pairs of sheets, 3 for servants' beds, 7 almost new

1 small sack full of down weighing 3 livres

8 dozen kitchen aprons

1 bed covering for "tombeau" in cinnamon coloured serge

3 small curtains of printed calico

1 sawyers' trestle (baudet) covered in cloth with 3 small mattresses, 2 ticks, 2 bolsters, 3 white woollen covers, a dog's hair blanket

3 common straw chairs


The kitchen, where "heavy" cooking was done, contained some items also found in the "office". It housed the coal used in many of the fireplaces at this time and also bedding used by a servant, probably the kitchen boy. In none of the servants' rooms are beds themselves mentioned; it is likely that these were built in and were part of the government furnishings of the wing . No food stuffs were inventoried in the room:

28 large barrels of coal

1 water jug

2 casseroles

2 candlesticks

1 old silk sifter

1 old coffee pot

1 old big kettle

1 boiler

2 mortars of lignum vitae and pestles, one of which was small

5 spits

1 grill of iron

1 iron frying pan

1 cooking pot

1 iron shovel

tongs and pincers

1 spoon for pots and another for degreasing

1 skimming ladle

2 butchers knives

pepper mill

2 plates

2 pastry cutters

34 pastry moulds

1 wooden chair with straw seat

Chief Steward's Room:

The inventory of the chief steward's room recorded the following possessions:

Woollen mattress


2 sheets White woollen blanket

In the preliminary inventory two other servant's rooms were mentioned with similar bedding, but for some unknown reason they were not present in this inventory.

"Garde Manger" (Pantry):

The "garde manger" contained perishables such as lard, butter and vegetables as well as dishes. Here were stored the glasses, 66 crystal, and 192 plain, various sizes of candles and corks.

Other items:

2 "quarts" of lard

3 small barrels and 3 firkins (tinette) of butter

1 small barrel and 2 small firkins of lard 1 small barrel of salted beans 1 small barrel of salted herbs 1 small barrel of salted mushrooms 228 glass bottles 12 glass pints Jar for water 1 butcher's chopper 2 candlesticks - one small 18 dozen plates (216) 2 butter dishes with tops and plates

2 tea services with 12 cups each and each a sugar bowl tea pot and bowl 2 mustard pots 1200 corks

25 quarts of oats

1 quart of almonds in shells

1 quart of bran

1 small sack of lintels

25 livres of candles in a case

433 larger candles

30 livres of soap in 8 cakes


The two basement rooms were further storage areas, mainly for a considerable amount of wine and spirits. The wine was from France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and South Africa and totaled 783 bottles, 25 large barrels, 3 small barrels and 2 "quarterons" valued in the auction at over 4600 livres or more than half the commandant's basic salary. Brandy was listed as coming from "Cognac", "Geniève", and "France" and comprised 53 bottles, 6 "pots" and 4 "ancres". In liquors there were the flavours of strawberry, orange and an unidentified one from "Barbade" (Barbadoes?) totalling 42 bottles. Syrups were also present, one labelled "capillaire", made from a Canadian fern and renowned for its relief of chest illnesses and often mixed in tea, and another "orgeat" (barley syrup). Finally there were 81 bottles of English beer. In foods there were:

Oils of different sorts, all labeled "fine", contained in 78 bottles, 23 flagons and one small barrel

2 "quarts" of salted beef 3 small barrels of lemons

1 large water jar

2 small flagons of lemons pickled (preserved)

16 flagons (bottles) of anchovies

11 flagons of capers

1 cheese from Gruyère and a piece from Parmesan


In the courtyard was the coach house sheltering a four-wheeled coach with harness. In the yard itself there was a considerable menagerie:

66 chicks and chickens

9 turkeys

5 geese

2 bustards

1 sow

16 sheep

1 dapple-gray horse

3 cows

In the attic of the stables were 60 quintals of hay and 25 cords of wood as well as a cask of rice and 100 bottles of English beer, plus a wicker basket holding 100 empty bottles. The pigeon roost had 12 pairs of pigeons. Finally Duquesnel owned a boat which was kept at a dock near the sentinel who guarded the stores building, and was presumably detailed to keep watch over the boat as well.

The total figures for items in the inventory are quite impressive. There were 45 chairs of various kinds, 48 sheets, 125 shirts, 132 aprons, 144 tablecloths, 160 handkerchiefs, 294 glasses, and 560 plates. The wine, in all, amounted to more than 5000 bottles. In December a number of items arrived from Quebec for Duquesnel and were sold at a small auction in the square on the quay. Among the articles were butter, sheets, apples and a trap and harness, the last item valued at 80 livres.

The next step in the liquidation of the estate was the selling of these goods at public auction, which, including the December sale, realized the impressive sum of 22,610 livres 4 sols. However, Duquesnel's debts were equally impressive and, conveniently, give some insight into the running of the household. Among the papers were two account books, one for servants' wages and a second for daily receipts and expenditures. With these the officials were able to verify the claims presented against the estate. Duquesnel owed money to five servants. A sixth servant is mentioned in another connection but he was not owed anything at the time of the commander's death. Whether he had just been paid or was no longer working for the governor cannot be determined. He was recently a member of the household because he had had a servant's costume made and his son was being taught to read at the commander's expense. The chief servant for the household was the valet or chief steward. His name was Lamothe and he handled most of the household transactions, signing for goods received and doing a large part of the ordering. He even paid those accounts which demanded cash, and paid the wages of the kitchen boy. His own pay was 300 livres per year plus an allowance of 3 pints of wine per day. It appears it was Duquesnel's habit to withhold the wine and give money instead. In all Lamothe was owed for arrears in salary of 3 years 7 months plus his own out-of-pocket expenses and wine allowance for a total of 1243 livres 9 sols and 6 deniers, an enormous sum for a servant to be owed in those times. He also received 40 livres for guarding the seals in the period between the two inventories.

The cook, Duval, who had been sent out from France the previous year, was the highest paid servant at 400 livres per year. He had also received his wine allowance for the last year in money. Having only been paid 96 livres since his arrival, he was owed 454 livres. Two other servants, Dambrun (also called Saint Jean) and Saillant each received 120 livres per year. The latter also had received his wine allowance for the last year in money and this, plus salary arrears for 3 years 2 months, meant he was owed 538 livres. The former servant had no wine allowance listed in money so presumably he received the wine itself. He was owed the relatively modest sum of 170 livres. The kitchen boy, Pierre Dorin, from the claim put in by La Mothe, had received 30 livres in the first year, 40 in the second and 50 in the third.

Money was not the only recompense the servants received. Duquesnel provided them with a bed, mattress and sheets. Their washing was done by a laundress at his expense, and their clothes were made by his tailor. Presumably their food came from his table. Moreover these servants did not have to care for everything in the house. Laundry, gardening, bread making and considerable maintenance were all done outside the household. Duquesnel even hired a soldier to teach the son of one of the servants, Sugere, to read at a cost of 3 livres per month for 6 months. In all, these servants seem to have been better off than the average soldiers and the lower public officials.

About 35 bills for various services and purchases were presented for payment to the estate, and they reveal considerable detail about Duquesnel's daily household. The washerwoman's bill, for example, discloses that she lived outside the town in the barrachois. Another bill indicates that a man was paid to haul clothes out to her and back. The washerwoman was owed 278 livres, 68 of which she had received in flour at 18 livres per hundredweight. In the settlement of the estate she took another 11 livres worth of soap and the rest in cash. In a year her washing for the commandant had included 90 livres worth of servants' clothing, over 2000 serviettes, 232 tablecloths and sheets and nearly 300 shirts.

Duquesnel's bread was baked by a widow who lived in the town. A number of Duquesnel's possessions are accounted for by the purchases recorded from captured English ships whose goods were sold by the Amirauté. He still owed for wine from the Canaries and Florence; olive oil, silk handkerchiefs, anchovies, raisins, beer, lard, butter, and 11 pairs of women's gloves. Other bills were for the services of a gardener, ironmonger/blacksmith, carpenter, tailor and metal worker who repaired pots and pans. Among the carpenter's work was the making of a new wooden leg for Duquesnel, and the repair of the foot of an old one. Other purchases, which had been used up by the time the inventory was made and consequently were not mentioned, included a large quantity of tongues, veal, horseshoes, shallots, tobacco, cod and liver.

The funeral service was a considerable expense. One hundred candles were lit and a mausoleum was provided as well as the usual hangings totaling 300 livres. Fifty masses at 1 livre each were also prescribed, while the grave diggers cost another 14 livres. Then there were extensive legal fees for the sealing, inventories and auction sale. These plus the taxes and other expenses came to 1,278 livres. Finally the treasurer of the Marine claimed 2,256 livres as the overpayment of Duquesnel's yearly salary which had, apparently, already been paid to him.

Final settlement of the estate took years and when, in 1745, Duquesnel's widow sought an advance from the estate, which was still in Louisbourg, she was refused because the town had fallen and it was not certain that any of the estate would survive.(11) The sale of goods had brought 22,610 livres, and there were other benefits from Duquesnel's commercial ventures such as a ten percent share in the brigantine Tempête which brought a profit of 808 livres. Other unspecified assets inflated the total, so that despite debts of almost 14,000 livres, by January of 1746 there remained a balance of 13,957 livres, a sum quite out of keeping with Duchambon's comment that there might not be enough left from the estate to send to his wife. This sum was not the final figure in the estate, and as late as 1757 Madame Duquesnel was represented in a lawsuit in Louisbourg by her son concerning some of her husband's business interests on which she was making a claim.(12) In 1745 she had received a pension of 1,500 livres for herself and her two daughters.

Finally, among the papers found in the wing were two family documents, one of which gave nobility to the house of Duquesnel and a second which, in 1667, made Robert le Provost a "nobles ecuyer" (noble squire).

After Duquesnel's death Duchambon, the King's lieutenant, acted as commander. A new governor, Antoine Le Moyne de Chateauguay, brother of Iberville, was appointed, but Louisbourg fell before he could take office. He died in 1747 without having had a chance to assume his command. (13)



1. Bigot to Minister, 20 October 1741, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 23, ff. 109-10v.

2. John Fortier, King's Bastion Report VIII. A Survey of the Citadel Area Prepared for the Purposes of Archaeological Excavation,(1965), unpublished manuscript in Louisbourg Archives. p.49.

3. Le Normant to Minister, 23 December 1732, AN. Col.,C11B, vol. 13, ff. 92-93.

4. Etat des terrains, 24 October 1734, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 15, f. 45. 5. Maps in Louisbourg collection.

6. See Appendix IV.

7. Minister to De La Tuillerie, 8 September 1740, AN. Col., B. vol. 71, f. 137. Duquesnel to Minister, 7 November 1740, AN. Col., C11B,vol. 22, ff. 91-92. Minister to Duquesnel, 21 April 1744, AN. Col., B. vol. 78, ff. 396-960.

8. Desherbier to Minister, 5 April 1749, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 28, f. 67. Minister to Desherbier, 7 February 1750, AN. Col., B. vol. 91, f. 318.

9. De Raymond to Minister, 12 June 1751, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 31, f. 15. La Borde, Etat des Payments, 9 October 1753, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 33, f. 236 Mouret to Minister, 20 August 1751, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 32, f. 173. De Raymond to Minister, 13 April 1755, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 35, ff. 306-060.

10. Minister to De Boullogne, 24 March 1755, AN. Col., B. vol. 100, f. 71v.

11. De Raymond to Minister, 15 June 1753, SHA, A, vol.3393, f. 73.

12. Prévost to Minister, 20 November 1752, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 32, f. 17.

13. Recensement... , 14 January 1715, AN. Section Outre-mer, G1, vol. 466, f. 51.

14. Régistre Paroissiales, 5 April 1729, AN, Section Outre mer, G1, vol. 406: registre IV, fol, 104.

15. Dénombrement general des families, 1749-1750, AN. Section Outre-mer, G1, vol. 466, no. 76.

16. Liste de personnel, 4 June 1751, AN. Col., B. vol. 94, f. 269.


1 Memoire de Sr. Sabatier, 20 May 1729, AN. Section Outre mer, G2, vol. 180, ff. 78-79 Minister to De Penses, 24 June 1733, AN. Col., B. vol. 59(2), ff. 550-50v.

2. Toisé des ouvrages, 4 May 1727, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 9, ff. 214v-15, 2220, 2250. Etat de la depense, 11 May 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol 18, ff. 185-86.

3. Etat de la Serrurerie a faire en reparation, 2 November 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 130.

4. Verrier to Minister, 1 November 1727, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 9, ff. 180-225v.

5. Memoire au sujet du conseil superieur de Louisbourg,[December] 1727, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 9, ff. 260-60v.

6. Memoire de Sr. Sabatier, 20 May 1729, AN. Section Outremer, G2, vol. 180, ff. 78-79.

7 Etat de la depense, 11 May 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, ff. 186-90.

8. Bordereau, 25 August 1744, AN. Col., C11C, vol. 12, f. 107v. Bordereau, 31 October 1737, AN. Col., C11C, vol. 11, f. 1190.

9. Memoire de Sr. Sabatier, 20 May 1729, AN. Section Outre mer, G2, vol. 180, ff. 78v-79 Registre II, Audience du 20 August 1739, AN. Section Outre mer, G2, vol. 191

10. De Raymond to Minister, 18 June 1752, SHA, A1, vol. 3393, f. 45

11. Etat de la Serrurerie a faire en reparation, 2 November 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, f. 130.

12. Etat de la depense, 11 May 1736, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 18, ff. 185-86.

13. Toisé des ouvrages, 4 May 1727, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 9, ff. 222-225v.

14. Liste des Batiment Anglais, 15 November 1732, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 13, ff. 247v-54.

15. De par le Roy, 1755 SHA, A1, vol. 3404, f.57(5).

16. Dossier Costebelle, 1717, AN. Col., E, vol. 93, ff. 23-23v.

17. Minister to Council, 9 November 1717, Al]. Col., C11B, vol. 2, f. 230.

18. De Raymond to Minister, 11 June 1753, SHA, A1, vol. 3393, f. 69.

19. Dossier Drucour; Memoire de Madame Drucour, September 1769, AN, Marine, C7, vol. 89, f,30.

20. De Bourville and De Mesy to Minister, 3 December 1730, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 11, ff. 21-22. De Bourville to Minister, 30 November 1730, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 11, f.26.

21. Anonymous Memoire which McLennan ascribes to De Raymond himself, [16 June 1752] SHA, A1, vol. 3393, No. 44.

22. Memoire des evenemens..., 1758, CTG, Mss. Relies, Registre 66.


1. Dictionary of Canadian Biography II; 224-6.

2. De Forant to Minister, 14 November 1739, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 21, f. 63.

3. De Forant to Minister, 23 November 1739, AN. Col., C11B,  vol. 21, f. 90.

4. Bigot to Minister, 29 May 1740, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 22,  ff. 149-50v.

5. J E Anderson, The Human Skeletons in the King's Chapel, p. 19.

6. De Forant's will, 10 May 1740, AN, Section Outre-Mer,  G3, Carton 2046.

7. Duquesnel to Minister, 15 November 1743,AN. Col. C11B, vol. 25, ff. 80-80v. The officers' daughters in 1743 were de Couagne, de l'Espérance, Benoit, Thierry, Loppinot, and Le Fresilliere (2 vacancies). Duquesnel to Minister, 27 October 1743, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 25, ff. 58-58v.

8. G. Grégault, Francois Bigot , p. 109-110. Memoire De Raymond, January 1752, SHA, A1, vol. 3393, 38 suite.

9. Inventory fragment, AN. Section Outre-mer, G2, vol. 185, ff. 119-119v.


1. Minister to Bigot, 2 September 1740, AN. Col., B. vol. 70, ff. 418-18v.

2. Duquesnel to Minister, 7 November 1743, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 25, ff. 76-77. Dossier Duquesnel, AN, Marine, C7, vol. 181, f. 10

3. Lettre d'un Habitant p.15-16.

4. J. E. Anderson, Human Skeletons in the King's Chapel, p. 4.

5. Dossier Duquesnel, 28 September 1740, AN, Marine, C7, vol. 181, f. 8

6. Duquesnel to Minister, 7 November 1740, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 22, ff. 91-92.

7. Minister to Rochefort, 26 May 1741, AN. Col., 1E, vol. 133, f. 391. Minister to Rochefort, 16 July 1743, AN. Col., 1E, vol. 137, f. 455.

8. Verrier to Minister, 26 October 1741, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 23, ff. 195-95v.

9. Minister to Duquesnel and Bigot, 6 June 1742, AN. Col., B. vol. 77, f. 558v.

10. Duchambon to Minister, 10 November 1744, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 26, f. 77.

11. Minister to Madame Duquesnel, 22 July 1745, AN. Col., B. vol. 82(1), f. 171.

12. Plumitif d'Audience, 17 October 1757, AN, Section Outre-mer, G2, vol. 206, No. 469, fl. 250.

13. G. Frégault, François Bigot, p. 113.

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