LE POUPET DE LA BOULARDERIE, ANTOINE, officer in the French regular and colonial regular troops, colonizer, and colonial official; b. 23 Aug. 1705 at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.), son of Louis-Simon Le Poupet* de La Boularderie and Madeleine Melançon; m. Éléonore-Jeanne de Beaugny (Beaunier), and they had six sons; d. at Paris on or about 16 Sept. 1771, the day on which his pension was stopped.
Good family connections are implied by Antoine Le Poupet de La Boularderie’s early position as a page to the Duc d’Orléans and his entry on 1 Jan. 1724 into the Régiment de Richelieu, in which he attained the rank of captain. La Boularderie appears to have sold his company for financial reasons prior to his father’s death in 1738. At that time he inherited a non-seigneurial but noble concession (en franc alleu noble) at he de Verderonne (Boularderie Island, N.S.) and a fishery at Niganiche (Ingonish); by royal brevets of 1 March 1739 he also succeeded to his father’s local military command of Port d’Orléans (North Bay Ingonish), Île de Verderonne, and the east shore of La Petite Brador (Little Bras d’Or) passage. It was characteristic of the ancien régime that a costly function such as the commandant’s would be undertaken by a private party in return for an economic advantage such as the concession. The command involved maintaining law and order, and his authority, although not extending to colonial officers, caused concern at Louisbourg.
La Boularderie went to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), a young man with both military and courtier experience and highly placed protectors, notably the Duc de Richelieu. According to La Boularderie’s own account, he “conveyed farmers from Normandy, workers, and all the necessary tools for farming. I had twenty-five people in my service for eight years . . . .” He was improving his father’s estate when the War of the Austrian Succession diverted his attention from private affairs. In 1744 he served in the capture of Canso [see François Du Pont Duvivier] and in 1745 in the defence of Louisbourg [see Pierre Morpain* and Louis Du Pont Duchambon]. Taken prisoner, he was sent to Boston for three months. For the remainder of the war, he served as a half-pay captain in Canada. In 1749, holding the same rank, La Boularderie was a member of the force that repossessed Louisbourg, where he served until the end of August 1750. His estate had been completely destroyed by “French freebooters and Indians” while Île Royale was in English hands and he now proceeded to rebuild it on a modest scale.
Official correspondence of this period includes many references to the poverty of the La Boularderies. They were the recipients of some gratuities from the ministry of Marine, and local officials apparently built them a house, either at Louisbourg or La Petite Brador. The capture of Île Royale by British forces in 1758 completed La Boularderie’s ruin. A visit to England in 1758 failed to secure indemnification for his lost estates, and in 1759 he returned to France for good.
Testimonials in La Boularderie’s Marine department dossier from every stage of his intermittent military career indicate he was a capable and courageous officer, and his conduct at the time of his capture in 1745 even earned him the esteem of the enemy. When he left Boston the authorities gave him a certificate stating that he “conducted himself very well and as a gentleman with the approval of the government and was also of great service to the French prisoners.” Yet in spite of Richelieu’s intervention and a good service record, La Boularderie did not receive a promotion. On 12 Aug. 1760 Louis XV conferred upon him the cross of Saint-Louis, although he seems to have been motivated as much by La Boularderie’s sufferings as by his military record.
The ancien régime saw La Boularderie as a gentleman. That he could not handle his money and in 1764 became hopelessly indebted to the inns of Versailles was regarded as – indeed was – a natural consequence of his class. A paternal government simply paid his bills and exiled him to the provinces, where he could live on his pension. But La Boularderie got no farther than Paris, where he was fortunate in finding a protector, the Princesse de Courtenay, Marquise de Bauffremont (Beauffremont), who fed and housed him. After her death in 1768, he lived from hand to mouth, dying like a pauper in the Paris hospital of the Frères de Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. From his many supplications to the minister of Marine, couched in the whimpering style then regarded proper in addressing a superior with favours to grant, there emerges a pathetic picture of him in his last years: “covered with wounds, deeply attacked by the stone which torments me cruelly, an ulcer on my leg resulting a long time ago from a cannonball explosion . . . my eyesight is suffering, my linen was stolen during my illness, for three years I have had the same black suit on my body.”
Antoine’s wife, who also found her Marine pension inadequate, lived all the while in a convent at Niort. There is evidence of their estrangement as early as 175 l, when he turned over to her the fishery at Niganiche, she promising to demand nothing more from him “for any reason.” After his death, she moved to Tours, complaining of her poverty in a series of letters to Marine officials, the last of which is dated 1784.
AN, Col., B, 68, f.27; 70, ff.7, 32; 71, f.7; 72, ff.20–21; 78, f.15; 80, f.44; 89, ff.30, 63; 90, f.66; 94, f.4; 110, ff.208, 279 1/2; 112, f.93 1/2; 118, f.197; 130, f.88; 149, f.432; C11B, 20, ff.60, 118, 137; 21, f.307; 22, ff.31, 49, 274; 23, ff.21, 37, 225; 28, ff.38, 73; 33, f.97; E, 240 (dossier Antoine Le Poupet de La Boularderie [three documents pertaining to Antoine’s son, “Le chevalier,” have inadvertently been included in the dossier: pièces 22, 36, and 37]); Section Outre-mer, G3, 2047/1, 8 oct. 1751. PAC, MG 9, B8, 24 (registres de Saint-Jean-Baptiste du Port-Royal), pp.50–51 (originals for 1702–28 are at the PANS, RG 1, 26). Les derniers jours de l’Acadie (Du Boscq de Beaumont), 287–92. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, II, 7–8. Clark, Acadia, 283–84. La Morandière, Hist. de la pêche française de la morue, II, 671–72. Régis Roy, “Mr. Le Poupet de La Boularderie,” Le Pays laurentien (Montréal), II (1917), 91–94.