Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
March 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Pierre de Rigaud,

Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal


Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de (1704-1778), last governor of New France (1755-60), was born at Montreal in 1704, the son of Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil and Louise Elisabeth Joybert de Soulanges. He became a captain in the troupes de la marine, and in 1733 was appointed governor of Three Rivers. From 1742 to 1755 he was governor of Louisiana. In 1755 he was appointed governor of New France, and he arrived at Quebec on June 23 of that year. He found Canada on the brink of war with Great Britain. He opened hostilities by sending, in March, 1756, a force to capture the forts on the road to Oswego, and in March of the following year, he sent a force against Fort William Henry, on Lake George. He became the tool of Bigot in his plundering of the colony; and throughout the war with Great Britain, he continually thwarted Montcalm and greatly hampered the conduct of the war by his vacillating policy. He was in command at Quebec during the battle of the Plains of Abraham, and on receiving the news of Montcalm's defeat, deserted the lines below the city, made a hurried retreat towards Jacques Cartier, and authorized the surrender of the city. Later in 1760, when the British were before Montreal, he himself surrendered all Canada. After the conquest, he went to France, and, with Bigot, he was tried for maladministration, but was acquitted. He died in Paris on August 4, 1778. He married Charlotte Fleury de la Gorgendière, widow of François Le Verrier de Rousson, and had no children. His letters to the Chevalier de Lévis have been published by the Abbé H. R. Casgrain in his Collection des manuscrits du Maréchal de Lévis, vol. viii (Quebec, 1895).

Consult the article on Vaudreuil at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.]

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Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. VI, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 398p., pp. 231-232.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College