LA RALDE (La Rade), RAYMOND DE, lieutenant of Guillaume and Émery de Caën, founder of the post at Miscou; known in Canada between 1621 and 1632.
The de Caën family held the monopoly of the fur trade c. 1620–7; from 1628 to 1632 this monopoly was shared with the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, and in 1632 was again granted for the year to the de Caëns. Raymond de La Ralde’s principal task seems to have been to keep a watch on the Basque, Flemish, Spanish, and French ships that were trading in furs clandestinely in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, thus infringing the monopoly granted by the king to the Compagnie de Caën. As lieutenant of the de Caëns, La Ralde possessed extensive powers in that region; furthermore, the exercise of these powers kept him very busy, which explains why he was to be found at one time at Gaspé or at Percé, at another in the Baie des Chaleurs, and especially on the Île de Miscou, where he had decided to build a habitation (or storehouse), and where he maintained a store for the company’s benefit. La Ralde appears to have come to New France regularly each year.
In 1626 a ruling of the king’s Conseil d’État called upon the Compagnie de Caën to give command of its fleet to a Catholic, at the same time forbidding the Protestant Guillaume to show himself in the colony. In conformity with this order, Guillaume de Caën entrusted the fleet that was proceeding to Canada to Raymond de La Ralde, a Catholic and an associate of the de Caëns, since he had married a sister or a daughter of Guillaume de Caën senior. La Ralde, who had gone back to France in the autumn, must have returned to Canada the following spring. Sagard in fact records his presence at Quebec at the end of August 1627. He gives him at that time the title of “vice-admiral of the fleet sent by sieur Guillaume de Caën, for the trade in pelts.” In two letters dated 25 Aug. 1628 and addressed to Charles I of England and to the Duke of Buckingham, George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, complained of a certain “Mons. De la Rade” of Dieppe, in connection with the vexatious interference by the French in the English fisheries off Newfoundland. Very probably the reference was to Raymond de La Ralde. The last mention of La Ralde is made in the Relations in August 1632, when it seems that he was at Quebec.
According to Sagard, Raymond de La Ralde was not on good terms with the Jesuits, who accused him of “discourtesy,” and attributed to him a “determination to bring about the downfall of the Church,” but the same author adds that he later heard that La Ralde “had returned to the bosom of the Church.”
Champlain, Œeuvres (Laverdière). “Documents inédits,” éd. Joseph Le Ber, RHAF, III (1949–50), 592. JR (Thwaites). PRO, CSP, Col., 1574–1660, nos. 56, 57. Sagard, Histoire du Canada (Tross), 812f. Dionne, Champlain; “Miscou, hommes de mer et hommes de Dieu,” CF, II (1889), 445–47.