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Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye
1632 to 1702

It seems Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye was a leading businessman in the trade of furs, real estate, banking, and commerce. My research of this man indicates he controlled a lot of property where my family lived and worked. Although he is not a part of my family line, he seems to have had a great impact on my family's livelihood. 


December 23, 1673 the West Indies Co. grants Riviere-du-Loup's land to their agent Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye who becomes the first lord and later receives Kamouraska's land in 1680 and Témiscouata-Madawaska's land in 1683. 


In 1681, Pierre-Esprit Radisson sailed to France where he met with his friend, Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, whom he had met 2 years earlier. Excited by Radisson's desires to claim the fur trade around Hudson Bay for France, de la Chesnaye formed the Compagnie Française de la Baie d'Hudson (a.k.a Compagnie du Nord, or the Company of the North).


In 1676 Des Groseilliers and Radisson returned to Canada, after spending a year in France. They had gone to that country after Father Albanel had seduced them back to a French allegiance while the priest was held in England by the Hudson’s Bay Company, following his 1674 journey to Hudson Bay, where he had been captured by the English. By the early 1680’s the two Frenchmen were having another adventure in Hudson Bay, this time in the employ of a Canadian company, the Compagnie du Nord, under the direction of Aubert de La Chesnaye.

This man was a Canadian who combined knowledge, wealth, influence, and determination to an unusual degree. His conviction was that the salvation of Canadian trade lay in a maritime approach and increases in the quantities of coat beaver, obtainable chiefly from the west coast of Hudson Bay and beyond. In Paris in 1681 he got in touch with Radisson and laid plans for future action by means of a Canadian fur-trading company. Colbert was interested and sub rosa granted a charter in 1682 under the name of “La Compagnie de la Baie d’Hudson” (Compagnie du Nord). However, there was no official sanction of the scheme and that fact produced confusion and misunderstandings in Canada, where Frontenac refused a permit to Aubert de La Chesnaye, when he and Radisson returned to that country in 1682. Finally a permit to fish on the coast of Anticosti was secured from the governor. He was soon recalled to France and Le Febvre de La Barre served in his place.

La Chesnaye’s plan actually was to get into the coat beaver country at the spot at the mouths of the Nelson and Hayes rivers where Radisson had attempted to found a colony in 1670. Unfortunately for the Canadians, the Hudson’s Bay Company in that same year, 1682, reverted to its original plan; and Berjamin Gillam, of Boston, the son of Captain Zachariah Gillam, planned an interloping venture to the same spot. Therefore, in September 1682 three separate groups appeared there and it became a question of which one arrived first or could outwit the others. Later each group claimed prior occupancy and it is now impossible to judge from the many accounts of practically guerrilla warfare in the Bay which claim is correct. The experience and knowledge of wilderness ways possessed by the two Canadians soon determined the issue in their favour and they came out apparent victors, taking most of the others captive, including John Bridgar, the newly appointed governor of the new English colony, securing its furs, and burning its forts. However, the Canadian company, in endeavouring to evade payment of the quart on the furs to the farmer-general in Quebec, brought about a governmental decree, which sent most of the Canadian participants, including Des Groseilliers and Radisson, to France for adjudication of the case.

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