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Ministers In France Take Dim View Of La Tour Attack


When he attacked Port Royal with the help of the mercenaries from Massachusetts, Charles de La Tour won a battle but almost lost the war.


As viewed from official France, he had allied himself with Protestants in an attack on his flag and his countrymen. La Tour's nemesis in Acadia, the Sieur d'Aulnay, sailed to France to complain that La Tour had gone too far, taking with him the deposition of the Capuchins charging La Tour with consorting with enemies of the faith and of the flag.


D'Aulnay was given a 16-gun warship, reinforcements for his fort and his own little fleet, and another order for La Tour's arrest.


La Tour sent his wife, the formidable Francoise Marie Jacqueline, to plead his case in France, but this time she could do little good. Charles Mahaffie reports, "The cause of La Tour was in such disfavor that to make her way home, she first had to sneak across the English Channel to London, where a captain named John Bayley agreed to take her to Fort La Tour. Bayley, however, had other matters and other ports of call....Nearly six months passed before he finally delivered her...to Boston, not to Fort La Tour. Arriving on September 27, 1644, she learned that her husband, who had been (in Boston) since July trying to pull off another Puritan intervention, had sailed only eight days earlier. She was stuck. Low on funds, with no way home, she had not much left but grit and wile.

"They would do," Mahaffie writes. "She sued Bayley and the ship's owner for breach of contract...(and) won her case (which) allowed (her) to seize and sell Bayley's cargo. With the proceeds, she bought supplies for Fort La Tour and hired the ships that finally, at the end of a year, took her home."

 D'Aulnay, meanwhile, had sent his own emissaries to Boston, where Governor John Winthrop had second thoughts about entangling himself in affairs in Acadia. D'Aulnay's negotiators were able to get Winthrop to sign a document recognizing Acadia as a province of France, recognizing d'Aulnay as its governor, and accepting the French declaration that La Tour was an outlaw.

D'Aulnay's prime emissary was a priest known as "Mousieur Marie." He signed the document with Winthrop. The agreement said, in part, "The governor and magistrates do promise to Monsieur Marie aforesaid, that they and all the English within the jurisdiction of...Massachusetts in New England, shall observe and keep firm peace with Monsieur De Aulnay (sic)...and all the French under his government in Accady (sic); and also Monsieur Marie promises for Monsieur de Aulney that he and all his people shall keep firm peace also with the Governor and Magistrates aforesaid, and all the inhabitants of the said jurisdiction of...Massachusetts; that it shall be lawful for all their people (French and English) to trade with each other, so as if any occasion of offense should happen neither of them shall attempt anything against the other in a hostile way, except complaint and manifestation of the injury be first made, and satisfaction according to equity be not given. Provided always that the Governor and Magistrates aforesaid be not bound to restrain their merchants from trading with their ships and with what people soever, whether French or others, in what place soever inhabiting."

It was an alliance of trade as well as of politics but La Tour was not through. He still thought that he could get Puritan help if he proclaimed himself Protestant and his fort to be a Protestant island amid the papists of Acadia.

La Tour left his wife in charge of the fort at Jemseg and went to Massachusetts to plead once again with his friends there. D'Aulnay attacked the fort with 200 men while La Tour was away, capturing it after a three-day fight.

He forced Madame de La Tour, with a cord around her own neck, to watch while the men who defended her fort were hanged. She died in prison three weeks later. According to d'Aulnay's report, the cause of her death was "spite and rage."

La Tour, with no wife, no fort, and no men to return to, roved for a time as a privateer in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, then took refuge in Quebec.