MANGEANT (Maugean), dit Saint-Germain, FRANÇOIS (Louis-François), merchant, ship owner, rent gatherer; b. 1686 or 1687 in the parish of Saint-Paul, Paris, France, son of Louis Mangeant and Anne Deschamps; d. after September 1744.
François Mangeant’s presence in the new world is first recorded on 24 April 1713 (N.S.), when he married Marguerite Caissy (Keissis), daughter of Jean Caissy, dit Roger, and Anne Bourgeois, at Beaubassin (near Amherst, N.S.). He appears to have left Nova Scotia shortly thereafter for Quebec, where he was evidently a ship owner and probably a trader; in a 1716 census he is called a “scribe.” By 1726 his vessels were valued at 2,000 livres. That year, in a heated quarrel with Joseph-Alphonse Lestage, of Quebec, who “Did most Basely and Heinously Insult, Affront and provock” him, Mangeant attacked and wounded Lestage so seriously that he died two days later. This, at least, was the story which Mangeant told in Nova Scotia, where he fled after the murder. According to evidence submitted to the admiralty court at Quebec, the quarrel took place in the Gaspé region, on board a ship owned by Mangeant and commanded by Lestage. Mangeant was pardoned by the king of France in 1732.
Mangeant presented himself to the council at Annapolis Royal in September 1726 and requested permission to settle, with his family, in the Chignecto region. He was even willing to swear allegiance to the British crown, a step few Acadians would take. Mangeant soon found a firm supporter and friend in the lieutenant governor, Lawrence Armstrong*, and was often employed by the government in its dealings with the Acadians [see René-Charles de Breslay*]. Unfortunately for Mangeant, by accepting Armstrong’s patronage he incurred the hatred of his enemies as well. In June 1729, while reading a government proclamation to the Acadians at Annapolis Royal, Mangeant came close to blows with Major Alexander Cosby, one of Armstrong’s more outspoken critics. The cause of the conflict is not clear, as we have only Armstrong’s account, but Armstrong considered it serious enough to call an assembly of officers to examine the incident.
Governor Richard Philipps returned to Nova Scotia in 1729, and in 1730 Armstrong and Mangeant sailed for England to seek redress for grievances against the governor. Writing to the Duke of Newcastle, Philipps said of Mangeant that his “character is very bad, but is allowed to have a Genius, and would make an excellent Minister to an arbitrary Prince.” He reported that the Acadians disliked Mangeant intensely because of the advice he gave Armstrong about governing the colony. Philipps, however, probably disliked Mangeant mainly because of his friendship with Armstrong.
In mid-July 1731 Armstrong returned to Annapolis Royal, triumphant, with orders for Philipps to return to England. Mangeant likely returned with Armstrong; in the next few years he lived at Minas (Grand Pré region) and was employed to supervise land transactions, examine new settlers, and oversee the implementation of wills. He was frequently entrusted with official government missions. In November 1736, for example, he was instructed to organize a search in the Minas region for two men wanted for a recent robbery. He was asked in December to investigate the delinquency in payment of quitrents by Acadians at Grand Pré, which had plagued the government for years. By December 1737 Alexandre Bourg had been removed from his position of rent gatherer at Minas and Mangeant was appointed in his place. Mangeant’s job, and possibly his temperament, seem to have made him unpopular with the Acadians among whom he lived. Armstrong felt it necessary on one occasion to caution him “to Guard Agst all violent and Disagreeable Proceedings and treat . . . all others [with] whom you may have any Dealings with Decency and Mildness.” The sudden death of Armstrong in December 1739 removed Mangeant’s chief support in the government. With his position greatly undermined, he resigned his official post early in 1740, ending his public role in Nova Scotia.
In the spring of 1742 Mangeant and the two deputies of Minas, Alexandre Bourg and Amand Bujeau, were instrumental in recovering a trading vessel seized near Grand Pré by Indians. Paul Mascarene, the new head of government, promised to do all in his power to advance Mangeant’s position in the colony for his part in the affair. Shortly thereafter Mangeant moved to Canso, where he had “found a way to employ himself in a more advantageous way than he would at Menis,” as Mascarene phrased it. It would appear that he was taken prisoner during the French seizure of Canso on 24 May 1744 [see Patrick Heron]. In July he helped convey some of the prisoners from Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), to Boston and in September was still acting as a liaison between the governments at Louisbourg and Boston. No other mention of François Mangeant is to be found in the records of Nova Scotia, and the dispersal of the Acadians a decade later may have been a factor in his disappearance from sight. He had three daughters and one son who survived infancy.
AN, Col., B, 57, ff.677v, 730 (calendared in PAC Report, 1904); Marine, C7, 205. Mass. Hist. Soc., Mascarene family papers, Mascarene to Dr Douglass, 28 April 1742. PAC, MG 6, A2, E, État civil de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Beaubassin (mfm copy at PANS); MG 11, Nova Scotia B, 2, pp.233–34; 3, pp.16–19. PANS, RG 1, 12, nos.24, 34; 14, pp. 101, 103, 169–70, 177–78, 180–82, 187–88, 207, 210–12, 258; 17, nos. 18, 19; 18, no.39; 21, ff.3–4. N.S. Archives, II; III; IV. PAC Report, 1905, II,