AUBERT DE LA CHESNAYE, FRANÇOIS, seigneur of Maur and of Mille-Vaches, member of the Conseil Supérieur, director general of the Compagnie de l’Île Saint-Jean; b. 8 Jan. 1669 at Quebec and baptized there the next day; d. during the night of 27–28 Aug. 1725 at sea off Île Royale (Cape Breton Island).
François Aubert was the first child of Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye and his second wife Marie-Louise Juchereau de La Ferté. On 12 April 1695, at Quebec, he married Anne-Ursule Denys de La Ronde, daughter of Pierre Denys de La Ronde. He had six children by this marriage. After his wife died on 30 Jan. 1709, he married Marie-Thérèse de La Lande Gayon on 12 Oct. 1711 at Beauport, and they had eight children. She died on 1 May 1738 at Quebec.
As early as 1670 he had become seigneur of Mille-Vaches by a deed of gift. Like his father, he devoted himself to trade. In 1697 he had difficulties with Louis Buade* de Frontenac over an English ship which he had captured on his way back from France. On 29 Oct. 1703 he became a member of the transformed and enlarged Conseil Supérieur. He inherited the seigneury of Maur from his uncle, Paul-Augustin Juchereau, in the autumn of 1714.
In 1722 he was director general of the Compagnie de l’Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island), formed by the Comte de Saint-Pierre to develop the island. The aim of this undertaking was not purely commercial, for also in question was the creation of a French colony to replace Acadia, which had fallen into the hands of the English. It was hoped that the Acadians would emigrate to it more readily than to Île Royale, for which they showed little liking. A subdelegate of the intendant, Robert Potier* Dubuisson, had been appointed to the settlement in 1722, with the object of giving it greater autonomy in relation to Île Royale, whose fishermen were taking away business. The Comte de Saint-Pierre, a courtier greedy for profit rather than a colonizer, let the company decline, and it found itself in stiff competition with fishermen from both Cape Breton and those from Saint-Malo. François Aubert, the financial director, was soon beset by the creditors. Bankruptcy had to be declared in the autumn of 1724, and Aubert went to France on the Héros to be present at the liquidation.
It was while returning to New France the following year on the Chameau that he lost his life. The ship went down with all hands off Île Royale. Aubert left his family an inheritance burdened with debt. The Maur seigneury was confiscated and finally adjudged in 1734 to the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec for 19,000 livres; 10,000 were in payment of a debt to the nuns, and the rest went to the heirs of the first seigneur, Jean Juchereau* de Maur. The Hospitallers named it Seigneury of the Poor, since its revenues were used to sustain the needy.
AJQ, Greffe de Romain Becquet, 2 juillet 1670. AN, Col., C11B, 7. Jug. et délib. A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., XVIII, XIX. Eccles, Frontenac, 303–13. Harvey, French régime in P.E.I., 40–55. Lorin, Le comte de Frontenac, 471. P.-G. Roy, La famille Juchereau Duchesnay.
Bibliography for the revised version:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 9 janv. 1669, 12 avril 1695, 30 janv. 1709, 2 mai 1738; CE301-S5, 12 oct. 1711.