TESTARD DE LA FOREST, GABRIEL, officer, commandant of Fort Bourbon, Hudson Bay; b. 1661 at Montreal, son of Jacques Testard de La Forest and Marie Pournin; d. 1697 in London.
In 1694, under Pierre Le Moyne* d’Iberville, he took part in the capture of Fort Bourbon (York Factory). Iberville left the fort at the beginning of September 1695, leaving La Forest there in command of a garrison of about 70 men. The following year the fort was besieged by five English ships, two of which were warships. Two French boats, which were bringing help, too late, returned to France. After a three-day bombardment Testard de La Forest surrendered, 1 Sept. 1696. The commander of the English forces, Capt. William Allen, had granted very honourable terms: the honours of war, the right to keep the year’s furs, and the transportation of the whole garrison to Plaisance (Placentia, Newfoundland). However, violating the terms of surrender, Allen confiscated the furs and carried off the French to England as prisoners.
La Forest, when he reached Plymouth in October, referred his complaint to the Lord Commissioners of the Board of Trade, and a report was made to the Privy Council. But the affair dragged on. Testard died 27 Aug. 1697 in London. His claims were communicated to the French plenipotentiaries negotiating the Treaty of Ryswick who obtained a favourable decision thanks to its article on North America.
Documents relating to Hudson Bay (Tyrrell). HBRS, XX (Rich and Johnson); XXI (Rich), 330f., 337–41, passim. [Nicolas Jérémie], “Relation du Détroit et de la Baie d’Hudson par Monsieur Jérémie,” Soc. historique de Saint-Boniface Bulletin, II (1912), 3–23; Twenty years of York Factory, 1694–1714: Jérémie’s account of Hudson Strait and Bay, tr. from the French ed. of 1720 with notes and intro. by R. Douglas and J. N. Wallace (Ottawa, 1926).
BRH, IX (1903), 188. Faillon, Histoire de la colonie française, II, 360f. “M. de la Forest à la Baie d’Hudson,” BRH, XII (1906), 220–3.