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ANGEAC (Dangeac, Danjaique, Don Jacque), FRANÇOIS-GABRIEL D’, officer in the colonial regular troops and colonial administrator; b. 1708 at Plaisance (Placentia, Nfld), son of Gabriel d’Angeac and Marguerite Bertrand; d. 9 March 1782 at Soubise (dept of Charente-Maritime), France.

François-Gabriel d’Angeac entered the military at an early age, as had his father. He mounted his first guard at Port-Dauphin (Englishtown, N.S.) when he was only eight years old, but he had to wait until 1723 for a second ensigncy in his father’s company at Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). His promotions followed the usual slow pattern of the colonial regulars, but from 1738 to 1741 and 1743 to 1745 he was stationed at Port-Dauphin as lieutenant and he sometimes served as commandant there.

Recalled to Louisbourg to help defend the fortress in 1745, d’Angeac went to France after the defeat. In 1746 he recruited troops in France for colonial companies. Promoted captain in 1747, he went with part of Île Royale’s garrison to Quebec and then returned to Louisbourg when it was reoccupied by France in 1749. As commandant of Port-Dauphin from 1751 to 1758, he supervised the reconstruction of that outpost and headed the detail that cleared Governor Jean-Louis de Raymond’s road from Port-Toulouse (St Peters, N.S.) to Louisbourg. D’Angeac was awarded the cross of Saint-Louis while on leave in France in 1754. In 1758 he was wounded in the chest during the second siege of Louisbourg.

Back in France in 1760, d’Angeac was chosen to command the troops sent to Canada as reinforcements because of his bravery, experience, and familiarity with the region. To avoid the British, the commander of the French fleet, François Chenard de La Giraudais, sought refuge in the mouth of the Restigouche River (N.B.) with three armed vessels. With only 200 men, d’Angeac constructed a battery and picquet at Pointe-à-la-Garde (Que.), as well as two batteries upstream, and on 8 July they inflicted some damage on British ships commanded by John Byron. D’Angeac remained with the frigate Machault until it was abandoned, and then led the French retreat into the woods.

During the succeeding months d’Angeac and his officers organized some 2,000 Acadians and Indians, bolstered French defences, and built ovens for the relief of the near-starving local populace. In August some of the sailors among his men took to privateering. After the capitulation of Montreal Major Robert Elliot* was sent to Restigouche to present Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil’s order to surrender. D’Angeac defiantly detained the officer for two days before agreeing to terms. On 30 Oct. 1760 the troops surrendered. Upon his return to France later in the year he was awarded a gratuity of 900 livres for his valour.

In further recognition of his military service and familiarity with the North Atlantic region, in 1763 d’Angeac was appointed governor of the new French colony of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon at a salary of 8,000 livres. These tiny, barren islands off the southern coast of Newfoundland had finally been secured by France in the treaty of Paris to replace Louisbourg as a base for the French sedentary fishery and as a refuge for the deep-sea fishing fleet. By the treaty France was permitted to construct buildings on the islands for the fishery only and to station no more than 50 soldiers there as a police force.

D’Angeac raised the men for his garrison at Rochefort and arrived at Saint-Pierre on 15 June 1763; however, Captain Charles Douglas delayed the transfer of territory until 4 July when James Cook had completed his survey of the islands. A few Canadians migrated to the new colony, but most prominent in its early commercial and administrative life were former residents of Île Royale, such as Antoine Morin, Alexandre-Réne Beaudéduit, Michel de Couagne, Philippe Leneuf de Beaubassin, Jean-Baptiste Dupleix Silvain, and Antoine Rodrigue. Some were key figures in establishing the sedentary fishery, and d’Angeac favoured them by granting fishing space although he thus incurred criticism from French ship captains. The number of French ships visiting Saint-Pierre and Miquelon to engage in the deep-sea fishery grew steadily, as did the catch exported to France and the West Indies.

The Acadians who had flocked to the new colony caused d’Angeac great anxiety. Settled primarily on Miquelon, in 1767 they formed over two-thirds of the resident population of approximately 1,250 on the two islands. D’Angeac was empowered to distribute rations to new settlers, but the Acadians strained the limited resources of the colony. Wishing to restrict settlement to that associated with the fishery, in 1767 France ordered colonial officials to evacuate the Acadians. Although he thought the policy unjust, d’Angeac complied, and he deported 763 Acadians to France in that year. For reasons that remain obscure, in 1768 they mistakenly accused d’Angeac of being the source of their misfortune. Some remained in France supported by the government; others migrated back to Acadia, Cape Breton, Îles de la Madeleine, and even Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

D’Angeac was also required to deal with the British authorities in Newfoundland. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon lacked wood for heating and construction, and the French sought it in the British colony. In 1765 Governor Hugh Palliser, reflecting Britain’s narrow interpretation of the treaty of Paris, formally protested this incursion into British territory, as well as the presence of French warships in the area, even for the purpose of provisioning the islands and protecting French fishermen. He further objected to the French fishing in the channel that separated the islands from Newfoundland. Referred to home authorities, these matters were disputed by the two governments for years. Palliser also increased naval patrols to try to reduce the trade in contraband, especially fish and spirits, with the islands. D’Angeac, however, closed his eyes to the smuggling, and the trade continued.

Discouraged by his relations with Palliser, d’Angeac requested permission to retire in 1765 but was denied it. His health was deteriorating in the damp, foggy climate and he again requested a recall in 1769. Promoted brigadier of the line infantry in 1770, he left Saint-Pierre for France in 1772 and was succeeded on his own recommendation by his nephew, Charles-Gabriel-Sébastien de L’Espérance. D’Angeac was granted a pension of 6,000 livres and retired to Soubise.

D’Angeac was a good officer in battle and a capable governor. Although he insisted at the time of his retirement that he had not profited from his years in service, he had owned a commercial vessel called the Dauphine at Île Royale in the 1750s. Moreover, his long posting at Port-Dauphin, the centre of much of the family trading activity of Louis Du Pont Duchambon, Louis Du Pont Duchambon de Vergor, and François Du Pont Duvivier, permits the conclusion that he engaged in trade. He had married Geneviève, sister of François Lefebvre de Bellefeuille, at Louisbourg on 31 Dec. 1735, and they had seven children. Two sons entered the military and one of them served under him at Saint-Pierre. Two of his daughters received a pension of 500 livres each after his death.

T. A. Crowley

AN, Col., B, 76, f.488; C11A, 105, ff.179–84, 356–60, 567–75; C11B, 31, f.19; 32, f.125; E, 5 (dossier d’Angeac). ASQ, Polygraphie, LVIII, 39. Knox, Hist. journal (Doughty), III, 368, 370, 386, 394–95, 418. Æ. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 120, 156. La Morandière, Hist. de la pêche française de la morue, II, 755–80, 796, 800, 808. Z. E. Rashed, The peace of Paris, 1763 (Liverpool, Eng., 1951). J.-Y. Ribault, Les îles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon des origines à 1814 (Saint-Pierre, 1962), 12–18, 41–42. Stanley, New France, 260. Henri Bourde de La Rogerie, “Saint-Pierre et Miquelon: des origines à 1778,” Le Pays de Granville; bull. trimestriel de la Soc. détudes historiques et économiques (Mortain, France), 2e sér., nos.38–40 (1937). Ægidius Fauteux, “Les Du Pont de l’Acadie, “BRH, XLVI (1940), 258. J. -Y. Ribault, “La population des îles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon de 1763 à 1793,” Revue française dhist. doutre-mer (Paris), LIII (1966), 50–58.

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T. A. Crowley, “ANGEAC, FRANÇOIS-GABRIEL D’,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 16, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/angeac_francois_gabriel_d_4E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/angeac_francois_gabriel_d_4E.html
Author of Article:   T. A. Crowley
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   April 16, 2024