1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Frontenac et Palluau, Louis de Buade, Comte de
FRONTENAC ET PALLUAU, LOUIS DE BUADE, Comte de (1620–1698), French-Canadian statesman, governor and lieutenant-general for the French king in La Nouvelle France (Canada), son of Henri de Buade, colonel in the regiment of Navarre, was born in the year 1620. The details of his early life are meagre, as no trace of the Frontenac papers has been discovered. The de Buades, however, were a family of distinction in the principality of Béarn. Antoine de Buade, seigneur de Frontenac, grandfather of the future governor of Canada, attained eminence as a councillor of state under Henri IV.; and his children were brought up with the dauphin, afterwards Louis XIII. Louis de Buade entered the army at an early age. In the year 1635 he served under the prince of Orange in Holland, and fought with credit and received many wounds during engagements in the Low Countries and in Italy. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in the regiment of Normandy in 1643, and three years later, after distinguishing himself at the siege of Orbitello, where he had an arm broken, he was made maréchal de camp. His service seems to have been continuous until the conclusion of the peace of Westphalia in 1648, when he returned to his father’s house in Paris and married, without the consent of her parents, Anne de la Grange-Trianon, a girl of great beauty, who later became the friend and confidante of Madame de Montpensier. The marriage was not a happy one, and after the birth of a son incompatibility of temper led to a separation, the count retiring to his estate on the Indre, where by an extravagant course of living he became hopelessly involved in debt. Little is known of his career for the next fifteen years beyond the fact that he held a high position at court; but in the year 1669, when France sent a contingent to assist the Venetians in the defence of Crete against the Turks, Frontenac was placed in command of the troops on the recommendation of Turenne. In this expedition he won military glory; but his fortune was not improved thereby.
At this period the affairs of New France claimed the attention of the French court. From the year 1665 the colony had been successfully administered by three remarkable men—Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle, the governor, Jèan Talon, the intendant, and the marquis de Tracy, who had been appointed lieutenant-general for the French king in America; but a difference of opinion had arisen between the governor and the intendant, and each had demanded the other’s recall in the public interest. At this crisis in the administration of New France, Frontenac was appointed to succeed de Courcelle. The new governor arrived in Quebec on the 12th of September 1672. From the commencement it was evident that he was prepared to give effect to a policy of colonial expansion, and to exercise an independence of action that did not coincide with the views of the monarch or of his minister Colbert. One of the first acts of the governor, by which he sought to establish in Canada the three estates—nobles, clergy and people—met with the disapproval of the French court, and measures were adopted to curb his ambition by increasing the power of the sovereign council and by reviving the office of intendant. Frontenac, however, was a man of dominant spirit, jealous of authority, prepared to exact obedience from all and to yield to none. In the course of events he soon became involved in quarrels with the intendant touching questions of precedence, and with the ecclesiastics, one or two of whom ventured to criticize his proceedings. The church in Canada had been administered for many years by the religious orders; for the see of Quebec, so long contemplated, had not yet been erected. But three years after the arrival of Frontenac a former vicar apostolic, François Xavier de Laval de Montmorenci, returned to Quebec as bishop, with a jurisdiction over the whole of Canada. In this redoubtable churchman the governor found a vigorous opponent who was determined to render the state subordinate to the church. Frontenac, following in this respect in the footsteps of his predecessors, had issued trading licences which permitted the sale of intoxicants. The bishop, supported by the intendant, endeavoured to suppress this trade and sent an ambassador to France to obtain remedial action. The views of the bishop were upheld and henceforth authority was divided. Troubles ensued between the governor and the sovereign council, most of the members of which sided with the one permanent power in the colony—the bishop; while the suspicions and intrigues of the intendant, Duchesneau, were a constant source of vexation and strife. As the king and his minister had to listen to and adjudicate upon the appeals from the contending parties their patience was at last worn out, and both governor and intendant were recalled to France in the year 1682. During Frontenac’s first administration many improvements had been made in the country. The defences had been strengthened, a fort was built at Cataraqui (now Kingston), Ontario, bearing the governor’s name, and conditions of peace had been fairly maintained between the Iroquois on the one hand and the French and their allies, the Ottawas and the Hurons, on the other. The progress of events during the next few years proved that the recall of the governor had been ill-timed. The Iroquois were assuming a threatening attitude towards the inhabitants, and Frontenac’s successor, La Barre, was quite incapable of leading an army against such cunning foes. At the end of a year La Barre was replaced by the marquis de Denonville, a man of ability and courage, who, though he showed some vigour in marching against the western Iroquois tribes, angered rather than intimidated them, and the massacre of Lachine (5th of August 1689) must be regarded as one of the unhappy results of his administration.
The affairs of the colony were now in a critical condition; a man of experience and decision was needed to cope with the difficulties, and Louis XIV., who was not wanting in sagacity, wisely made choice of the choleric count to represent and uphold the power of France. When, therefore, on the 15th of October 1689, Frontenac arrived in Quebec as governor for the second time, he received an enthusiastic welcome, and confidence was at once restored in the public mind. Quebec was not long to enjoy the blessing of peace. On the 16th of October 1690 several New England ships under the command of Sir William Phipps appeared off the Island of Orleans, and an officer was sent ashore to demand the surrender of the fort. Frontenac, bold and fearless, sent a defiant answer to the hostile admiral, and handled so vigorously the forces he had collected as completely to repulse the enemy, who in their hasty retreat left behind a few pieces of artillery on the Beauport shore. The prestige of the governor was greatly increased by this event, and he was prepared to follow up his advantage by an attack on Boston from the sea, but his resources were inadequate for the undertaking. New France now rejoiced in a brief respite from her enemies, and during the interval Frontenac encouraged the revival of the drama at the Château St-Louis and paid some attention to the social life of the colony. The Indians, however, were not yet subdued, and for two years a petty warfare was maintained. In 1696 Frontenac decided to take the field against the Iroquois, although at this time he was seventy-six years of age. On the 6th of July he left Lachine at the head of a considerable force for the village of the Onondagas, where he arrived a month later. In the meantime the Iroquois had abandoned their villages, and as pursuit was impracticable the army commenced its return march on the 10th of August. The old warrior endured the fatigue of the march as well as the youngest soldier, and for his courage and prowess he received the cross of St Louis. Frontenac died on the 28th of November 1698 at the Château St-Louis after a brief illness, deeply mourned by the Canadian people. The faults of the governor were those of temperament, which had been fostered by early environment. His nature was turbulent, and from his youth he had been used to command; but underlying a rough exterior there was evidence of a kindly heart. He was fearless, resourceful and decisive, and triumphed as few men could have done over the difficulties and dangers of a most critical position.
See Count Frontenac, by W. D. Le Sueur (Toronto, 1906); Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV, by Francis Parkman (Boston, 1878); Le Comte de Frontenac, by Henri Lorin (Paris, 1895); Frontenac et ses amis, by Ernest Myrand (Quebec, 1902). (A. G. D.)