LENEUF DE LA VALLIÈRE DE BEAUBASSIN, MICHEL (the younger), captain, major, knight of the order of Saint-Louis, fourth son of Michel Leneuf de La Vallière de Beaubassin, governor of Acadia, and of Marie Denys; baptized 28 Oct. 1677 at Trois-Rivières; married Renée Bertrand, daughter of François Bertrand and Jeanne Giraudin; d. 11 Oct. 1740 at Louisbourg.
He distinguished himself particularly in Newfoundland and on Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). In 1701 Callière dispatched him with orders to Brouillan [Monbeton] in Acadia; the latter retained him in his service until 1704. In June 1703 the minister informed Brouillan that he could use La Vallière to command the militia. In the autumn of 1704 La Vallière went to Quebec, then to Placentia (Plaisance), on board the Wesp, with several other Canadians and some Abenakis. It was at Placentia that, under Auger de Subercase’s orders, he served with Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville and François Picoté de Belestre. The governor of Placentia judged him to be a good officer and an upright man; before long, therefore, he recommended him for the first vacant post of ensign.
Promoted to this rank in 1706, La Vallière was active in watching over the coasts of Newfoundland and privateering against the English. He took part in all the cruises against the enemy; the Indians who were with him had boundless confidence in him. Thanks to his courage and foresight, he kept the governor constantly informed of the movements and intentions of the English. Consequently Pastour de Costebelle did not hesitate to state that La Vallière had no equal as a privateer, and that he could not serve more usefully elsewhere than in that colony. The minister himself wrote to La Vallière on 30 June 1707, urging him to continue his good service and assuring him of his protection. During a reconnaissance trip which he had been instructed to carry out at St John’s that same autumn he was almost drowned. He escaped “only by one of those miraculous strokes of luck reserved for adventurers.” In 1708 Costebelle sent him to France to acquaint the minister with the state of the colony, but the latter, while expressing his satisfaction with La Vallière’s report, advised Costebelle not to entrust any further such missions to officers, for they weakened the garrison and entailed expenditures.
In 1712, after the fall of the French colony of Newfoundland, La Vallière was entrusted with important missions to the English commandant. During the useful and numerous services that he rendered in Newfoundland, his superiors continually sought promotion for him. At the beginning of 1713, the king counted him among the best of his soldiers and among those who were to take part in the founding of a new colony on Île Royale. On 5 March he was promoted lieutenant; in that capacity he was to serve in the company at Placentia, under Captain Louis Denys* de La Ronde, which was destined to be transferred soon to Île Royale. La Vallière was sent to Île Royale on board the Semslack, and his name appeared among those who signed the official taking-over of the site of the future Louisbourg, on 2 Sept. 1713.
He displayed considerable activity at Port-Toulouse (St Peters, N.S.). As early as 1715 he concerned himself with the handful of Acadian families who were trying to found a new settlement there. He was in the settlement at various times and in various capacities, even that of commandant until 1732. His presence gave rise to complaints on the part of certain settlers. In a petition addressed to the minister and dated 1 Oct. 1730, they accused him of seizing control of trade, to their detriment. If we can judge by the correspondence exchanged between Governor Saint-Ovide de Brouillan [Monbeton*] and the minister, such complaints were unfounded, and attributable, according to Saint-Ovide, particularly to the local missionary.
La Vallière was appointed adjutant in July 1720, and became a captain in March 1723. In 1728, during the absence of Jacques d’Espiet de Pensens, he was in command on Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island). Two years later the king conferred on him the cross of the order of Saint-Louis.
The minister took an interest in his family, for in 1732 La Vallière obtained from him the assurance that his two sons, Louis and Philippe, would receive promotion at the right moment; moreover, in the spring of 1736, the minister approved the action of Saint-Ovide de Brouillan in sending two of La Vallière’s children to spend the winter with Father Maillard* at Maligouèche (Malagawatch, N.S.), to learn the Indian language.
On 1 April 1737 La Vallière obtained a commission as major. From Louisbourg, where he was located, he wrote on 30 June 1738, to the minister in the absence of Major Le Coutre* de Bourville, the acting governor, to inform him of the deplorable state of the colony and of the necessity of sending fishermen to France, because there was a shortage of provisions. Two years later Bourville notified the minister of La Vallière’s death, which occurred on 11 Oct. 1740 after an illness of six weeks. He added that he was a good officer who right up to his death had amply demonstrated his ability and his zeal in the king’s service. In submitting a request for a pension for his widow, the governor and the financial commissary of Louisbourg paid tribute in their turn to his excellent conduct during his 40 years of service.
AJTR, Registres d’état civil de Trois-Rivières, 1636–99 (copy in PAC, MG 24, B 14, Papiers Lafontaine). AN, Col., B, 23, f.254; 27, ff.283, 308; 29, ff.159v–160, 438; 35, ff.16, 233; 42, f.477; 52, ff.593v–594; 54, f.503v; 57, f.756v; 61, f.612v; 64, f.479v; C11B, 1, f.11; 11, f.217; 12, f.26; 20, ff.81–82; 22, f.166; C11C, 4, ff.163, 167, 220–21; 5, ff.39–40, 87–88, 163; 6, f361; 7, ff.173, 184; D2C, 222/2, p.287 (copy in PAC); E, 277 (dossier de La Vallière), pièces 23, 25 bis; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 407/1, f.57; G3, carton 2054, no. provisoire 8/176, pièce 2. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 126–27. Robert Le Blant, Philippe de Pastour de Costebelle, 103f., 196. McLennan, Louisbourg, 11.