LA POIPPE, governor of Plaisance (Placentia, Newfoundland), naval lieutenant, native of Lyons; d. 1684.
La Poippe was appointed commandant at Plaisance 20 Feb. 1670, to replace La Palme. The intendant of Rochefort, Colbert de Terron, and the minister, Colbert, gave him instructions to protect the fishermen and strengthen the settlement. As soon as he arrived, La Poippe took a census. The settled population numbered as yet only 73 persons. To provide for their subsistence and meet the needs of government, the mother country granted 10,000 livres. As the commandants received only a meagre stipend, some of them had taken to speculating on the king’s provisions and supplies by demanding from the fishermen a third of their haul. La Poippe had been clearly warned to put an end to this abuse, and does not appear to have indulged in it himself. Two years later, Colbert de Terron described him as “a very good fellow and an upright gentleman.”
The settlement experienced a difficult period at the time of the war with the Dutch, because of enemy privateers. The king, in 1675, forbade the ships to leave port. But the following year he reinstituted fishing, and sent two escort vessels to protect the Newfoundlanders’ return. Commissioner Benne, who accompanied the expedition, has left a long memoir in which he describes the Plaisance habitation as a collection of wretched shacks, covered with bark and protected only by a palisade of stakes. The port, however, was magnificent, surrounded by fine gravel beaches, and serving as a meeting-place for the Saint-Malo, Basque, and Breton fishermen, who came there to get supplies and sell their fish. This port, during the fishing season, thus became a very active centre of trade, and the commandant had a good deal of trouble in maintaining peace among this motley and transient population, as well as in defending the rights of his subjects against the fishermen of other nationalities established in the neighbouring ports.
It seems likely that La Poippe traded on his own account, like all the other commandants, but he managed to avoid clashes, to refrain from corrupt practices, and to give satisfaction, for he was appointed to Plaisance for 3 years and remained there for 15. It was during his administration that the naval ordinance of 1681 was passed, regulating French fishing off Newfoundland. He died in 1684, probably at Plaisance, and was replaced by Parat.
AN, Col., B, 2, f.64; 3, f.44; C11C, 1, f.36; F1A, 1, ff.107–10, 114; G1, 467; Marine, B2, 11, f.196v.; C1, 161, f.460. BN, MS, NAF 22253, f.11bis; MS, Mélanges Colbert, 163, f.251; 176, f.127v. La Morandière, Hist. de la pêche française de la morue, I, 421–28; II, 1009–10, reproduces several original documents.