DUVAL, JEAN, locksmith; hanged at Quebec 1608.
Duval had been a member of the colony at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.) in 1606–7. He had participated with Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt and Samuel de Champlain in the voyage southwards in the hope of finding a better location for the settlement. At Port Fortuné (Stage Harbour, Cape Cod) in October 1606, along with some sailors who refused to return to the ship for the night, he was attacked by Indians. He was one of the rare survivors and returned wounded by an arrow: “It would have been better if he had died there,” wrote Marc Lescarbot.
The Habitation was being started at Quebec in July 1608 when Duval formed the scheme of killing Champlain in order to hand Quebec over to the Basques or the Spaniards, and to make his fortune in doing so. Duval found four accomplices, one of whom was the locksmith Antoine Natel, and they undertook to suborn all their comrades, including Champlain’s lackey. Shortly before the time set for the crime, Natel was seized by remorse and went to warn Captain Testu who was on his way from Tadoussac; he revealed all the details of the scheme and obtained pardon through Testu’s intervention.
The same evening Champlain had the four accomplices lured on board a boat under the pretext of offering them something to drink, and took them prisoner. Others who had been implicated in the affair informed against their leaders. Champlain formed a council composed of François Gravé Du Pont, Testu, the surgeon Bonnerme who at one moment had been under suspicion, and the officers in charge of navigation. The accomplices were tried and condemned to be hanged. Duval was executed immediately as an example, and his head was stuck on a pike at the highest point of the fort; the other three were sent to Pierre Du Gua de Monts in France, “in order that more ample justice should be done to them.” Natel did not long survive the man he had informed against; he died of dysentery the following November. Bonnerme’s death, probably from scurvy, followed in the spring of 1609.
Champlain, Works (Biggar), I, 376, 449; II, 25–34, 53, 59. Lescarbot, Histoire (Tross), II, 520, 546; III, 596f. Biggar, Documents relating to Cartier and Roberval, 55. Bréard, Documents relatifs à la marine normande, 86.