ANGIBAULT, dit Champdoré, PIERRE, ship’s captain, member of the settlement in Acadia from 1604 to 1607 and in 1608.
In his poem Marc Lescarbot called him a “naval captain” (“capitaine de marine”) which seems like an exaggeration; in his Histoire he introduced him as the chief of navigation (“conducteur ès navigations”), entrusted with the command of the voyages (“la conduite des voyages”). In reality Champdoré’s role would seem to have been limited to that of a simple ship’s captain: Samuel de Champlain for his part placed him on the same footing as Cramolet, “ship’s master” (“maistre de barque”). Champlain, who lived in the same dwelling as Champdoré on the Île Sainte-Croix, blamed him on three occasions for being guilty of bad seamanship which imperilled the explorers’ lives; a good carpenter for building ships, wrote Champlain, but in no way fitted for sailing them, he was obstinate and “little versed in the art of navigation.” After an accident in April 1606 François Gravé Du Pont had Champdoré put in manacles until he could have him tried in France. However, as another boat had to be built, Champdoré was released for a time; as soon as the job was finished, he was put in manacles again. Another accident occurred; Champdoré saved the situation, and at his comrades’ entreaties Gravé pardoned him. Lescarbot, who held him in high esteem, praised him in a sonnet and insisted upon his skill as a captain:
Quand ta dextérité empêche d’abîmer
La nef qui va sous toi du Ponant à l’Aurore ...
[When your skill saves from shipwreck the vessel
which under your command sails from the west to the east ...]
Champdoré took part in all the voyages of exploration: in 1604 in St. Mary’s Bay (Nova Scotia) where he found the priest Nicolas Aubry who had been lost, and in Champlain’s voyage to the Kennebec River; in 1605 and 1606 down the New England coast; 1607 in the Bay of Fundy. Champdoré sailed back to France along with the whole settlement 30 July 1607. He returned to Acadia 1608: he sailed up the Saint John River for a distance of 50 leagues, went to Chouacouët (Saco Bay, Maine), reconciled the Armouchiquois and the Micmacs who had been at war the previous summer, and had them formally conclude peace. He returned to France in the autumn and reported upon “the wondrous beauty of the wheat” that Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt had sown the previous year.