BRÉHAUT DELISLE, ACHILLE (Antoine-Louis?) DE, Knight of Malta, lieutenant of Governor Huault de Montmagny, commandant of Trois-Rivières on two occasions, judge at Quebec in 1638.
He arrived at Quebec 11 June 1636 at the same time as Governor de Montmagny to whom he acted as lieutenant. “He is a very worthy gentleman,” wrote the author of the Relation of 1636. He was a professional soldier, and, like the governor, was a Knight of Malta. Upon his arrival, Montmagny sent him to Trois-Rivières to reassure the settlers who had been without a leader since the departure of Laviolette on 17 April previous. He was in command there, without however having any official title, until 28 August, at which time the post was entrusted to Marc-Antoine Bras-de-Fer de Chateaufort, who had acted as governor at Quebec during the interregnum between the death of Champlain and the arrival of Montmagny. Bréhaut Delisle went back to Trois-Rivières in 1637 to organize a defence against the crafty attacks of the Iroquois. He showed himself to be a skilful diplomat in the negotiations, particularly when the Hurons sought to abandon the French, whom they accused of being the cause of the epidemics that were decimating the tribe. Like the governor, Bréhaut Delisle enjoyed splendour and always appeared at the Indian councils in full battle attire. He was very much esteemed by the Jesuits, who often referred in the Relations to his piety, his uprightness, and his presence at religious ceremonies. In 1638 he held an appointment as judge at Quebec, and the 1642 Relation mentions him as being still in that town. Then we lose sight of him.
We are not certain of the real first name of this personage. Was he called Achille or Antoine-Louis? Benjamin Sulte stated, without giving the sources of his information, that Bréhaut Delisle was of Breton stock, that he had been made a Knight of Malta in 1631, and that his name was Antoine-Louis. On the other hand, in at least two documents preserved at the seminary of Quebec, he himself used the names “Achilles de Lisle” and “Achilles Delisle,” Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Moreover, the Relations des Jésuites mention that he was godfather to an Indian and that he named him Achille. The available documents provide us with no further enlightenment on this subject.
ASQ, Documents Faribault, 5, 8, 9, 13, 17, 19, 27; Paroisse de Québec, 27. JR (Thwaites), XX, 204; XXIV, 52, et passim. Desrosiers, Iroquoisie. Godbout, Les pionniers de la région trifluvienne, 23. P.-G. Roy, La ville de Québec, I, 143, 146. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), XIV, 63f.