Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Charnisé, Aulnay de, Charles de Menou

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CHARNISÉ, Aulnay de, Charles de Menou, Seigneur d', French proprietor in Acadia, b. in Vannes, France, in 1605; drowned 24 May, 1650. In 1632 he accompanied Razilly, who had been selected by the government to restore to France her Acadian possessions. Razilly brought with him forty families and settled at Le Have, on the southern coast of the island, dispossessing a Scotchman who was too weak to resist. In 1635 Charnisé went as Razilly's lieutenant to Penobscot river and despoiled the fort held by the Plymouth people. He gave the men that had charge of the fort their liberty, but bade them tell their people at the English plantations that he would come the next year and displace them as far south as the 40th degree of north latitude. He then took full possession of the place, and strengthened the defences. The Plymouth people manned a vessel, and went to Penobscot to drive out the French, whom they found only eighteen in number, but strongly intrenched. Charnisé permitted them to expend all their ammunition, and then go home. In 1636 Razilly suddenly died, and, although his property and territorial rights passed to the possession of his brother Claude, Charnisé, being a relative, gained control. He went immediately to Port Royal, erected a new fort, removed the Le Have colonists, and sent to France for twenty additional families, making Port Royal the principal settlement in Acadia, which at that time embraced not only Nova Scotia, but a portion of New Brunswick, extending as far west as the Penobscot. At the mouth of the St. John was a fort commanded by Le Tour, who held a commission precisely similar to Charnisé's. Accusations and complaints were preferred, and Charnisé, by reason of superior advantages at court, obtained an order from the king, 13 Feb., 1641, for arresting Le Tour and sending him to France. But the military forces of the two rivals were almost equal. Charnisé could not dispossess Le Tour, and was obliged to send back the ship that brought the order, with Le Tour's refusal instead of his body. In the early winter of 1641 Charnisé returned to France to obtain additional power, and Le Tour sought the aid of his New England neighbors. As a result of negotiations with the New England governor, a body of Boston merchants made a visit to Fort La Tour for purposes of trade, and while at sea, on their return, met Charnisé himself, who informed them that Le Tour was a rebel, and showed them a confirmation of the order issued the year before for his arrest. With 500 men in armed ships, Charnisé laid siege to Fort La Tour; but aid came from New England, and he was driven away. At a later date, learning that Le Tour had taken a journey to Quebec, he again laid siege to the fort; but Madame La Tour, who had no more disposition to yield than her husband, inspired the garrison with her determined spirit, directed from the bastions the cannonade on the enemy's ships, and compelled Charnisé to retire. By the aid of a treacherous sentry, he was enabled, on his third attack, to enter the fort, but the resistance led by Madame La Tour was so fierce that he proposed terms of capitulation, pledging life and liberty to all in the garrison. His terms being accepted, he basely broke his faith, hanged every member of the garrison, and compelled Madame La Tour to witness the execution with a rope around her own neck. The atrocities broke her heart, and she died in a few days. Charnisé's booty was valued at £10,000. He now had the whole of Acadia to himself, and improvements were made, marshes were diked, mills erected, and ship-building begun. In 1645 he went to France, and received honors from the king. In 1647 a commission was issued making him governor and lieutenant-general in Acadia. Le Tour, immediately on his return from Quebec, discovering the devastation made in his absence, sailed for France, laid the facts before the court, and not only secured a restoration of his title and privileges, but was made Charnisé's successor. The widow of Charnisé, with her children, was still living in Acadia, and was alarmed at the turn affairs had taken, and preparations offensive and defensive were entered upon; but all hostilities suddenly ceased. The leaders of the opposing forces concluded to end their troubles by marriage, 24 Feb., 1653.