DESLONGRAIS (Delongrais, Des Longraye), NICOLAS, merchant trader, storekeeper; originally from Saint-Malo, France; fl. 1734–58.
The 1734 census of Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), reveals that Nicolas Deslongrais was unmarried and childless and had no servants or employees. He supplied certain manufactured goods to the administration there. In addition he maintained good relations with at least one high official of the Conseil Supérieur of Louisbourg, Francois-Marie de Goutin. After the restoration of Île Royale to France in 1749 Goutin was sent to Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) as keeper of the king’s warehouse. He hired Deslongrais as his book-keeper. Goutin, however, fell ill shortly afterwards and in fact Deslongrais carried out the duties of storekeeper from 1749 to 1752. When Goutin died in 1752, Deslongrais replaced him officially, and at that time Jacques Prévost* de La Croix, the financial commissary for Île Royale, recommended him to Rouillé, the minister of Marine, as “a sensible and diligent young man.” But according to the historian H.-R. Casgrain*, Prévost’s testimony is more compromising than flattering for Deslongrais, for Prévost was not in the least trustworthy and it is possible that Deslongrais was one of the individuals who served to cover up his exactions; he infers that Deslongrais was probably in part responsible for the poverty and famine from which the population of Île Saint-Jean suffered around 1750. Certain complaints from the missionaries against the storekeeper tend to confirm this supposition.
In 1754 Deslongrais witnessed a profession of faith; after that date the archives provide little information about him. We know, however, that he left Île Saint-Jean when the inhabitants were deported in the fall of 1758. He landed at La Rochelle, France, in 1759 and left for Paris.