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MARIN DE LA MALGUE, JOSEPH (usually referred to as Marin fils), officer in the colonial regular troops and explorer; baptized 5 Feb. 1719 at Montreal (Que.), son of Paul Marin* de La Malgue and Marie-Joseph Guyon Desprez; d. 1774 at the Baie d’Antongil, Madagascar.

Born of a military family whose members distinguished themselves in the wars against the British, in Indian affairs, and in the fur trade, Joseph Marin de La Malgue entered the king’s service at an early age. In 1732, when barely 13, Marin was sent to explore the pays den haut under the orders of his father, and he was to spend most of the next 13 years in that region. He explored the area around Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) in 1737. Although ill, he performed well under Pierre-Joseph Céloron* de Blainville in the Chickasaw campaign of 1739–40. In 1740 he made peace and trade agreements with the Sioux west of Baie-des-Puants (Green Bay, Wis.). Marin spent most of his time during this period at the Baie-des-Puants post, and became thoroughly familiar with the complexities of the fur trade and fluent in Sioux and several Algonkian dialects.

In 1745 Marin and his father, like many other French in the pays den haut, were recalled to fight the British in Acadia and at Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). The first news of the fall of Louisbourg was brought to Montreal by Marin on 1 August. He then went to Quebec where on 20 September he married Charlotte, daughter of Joseph de Fleury* de La Gorgendière, thereby becoming related to François-Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil and to the future governor of New France, Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil. Late in the year, under his father’s command, he took part in the expedition which destroyed Saratoga (Schuylerville, N.Y.).

Marin was in Acadia again in 1746. He later claimed to have led a raid against a British provisioning party on Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island), although a contemporary journal records that Joseph-Michel Legardeur de Croisille et de Montesson was in command. In 1747 Marin was at Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, with Nicolas-Antoine Coulon* de Villiers and on the New York frontier with François-Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil. In the summer of 1748 he returned to Acadia and in September went on to Île Royale. Not knowing that hostilities had ended, he probed the area near Louisbourg with a small force, taking some prisoners. Marin was only partially convinced of the peace by the captives. He released some of them, who reported the incident to the British governor of Louisbourg, Peregrine Thomas Hopson*. When the matter had been clarified, Marin freed all but one who was accused of treason by the French. It was in that year that he received the rank of second ensign.

In 1749, at the request of Governor La Jonquière [Taffanel*], Marin was given command at Chagouamigon (near Ashland, Wis.) on western Lake Superior. This post placed him in the trade network of his father, the commander at Baiedes-Puants, and La Jonquière. The elder Marin, largely because of the understandings he had with the governor and Intendant Bigot, was more than a colonial officer serving at a frontier post: he was virtually in charge of the west. Joseph Marin was given the assignment of making peace with the Sioux and Ojibwas, who were fighting each other as well as the French, and he claimed to have succeeded. In 1750 he was promoted full ensign. His father and La Jonquière tried to have him appointed second in command of the Baiedes-Puants post, but gave up, apparently when the farmers of Chagouamigon requested that he be retained there. He spent most of 1751 in garrison at Quebec.

Marin returned to gaie-des-Puants in 1752 with an important commission: to relieve his father of command, to search for a route to the western sea via the Missouri, and to arrange treaties with the various Indian tribes. Jacques Legardeur* de Saint-Pierre, who in 1752 negotiated a truce between the Crees and the Sioux, reported that “M. Marin junior was not less occupied than I in arranging this peace.” A journal begun at Michilimackinac by Marin on 17 Aug. 1753 provides information on his activities in that year and the next. On 14 October he was at the mouth of the Wisconsin River, where he began construction of Fort Vaudreuil and where he stopped a potential quarrel between local Ojibwas and Sioux. During the winter of 1753–54 Marin and Louis-Joseph Gaultier* de La Vérendrye, who had succeeded him at Chagouamigon, disputed over trading territories near the present border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Marin accused La Vérendrye of interfering with his traders and with showing a partiality towards the Ojibwas that was certain to embitter the Sioux. The Marin mission was a failure in that no route to the Pacific was found; yet his diary is the most significant record of exploration in Minnesota during this era. He commented not only on military matters, trade, and Indian affairs, but also on La Vérendrye, Luc de La Corne, and other prominent personalities.

In 1754 Marin returned to Quebec but was sent west again the next year by Governor Duquesne. On 11 July 1756, having been recalled to participate in the campaigns against the British, he arrived in Montreal with a large contingent of Menominee warriors from Baie-des-Puants. During the next two years Marin, now a lieutenant, took part in a number of engagements on the New York frontier. He saw action in 1756 near Oswego (Chouaguen), where he and his Menominees were successful against larger British detachments. That August, near Fort George (also called Fort William Henry, now Lake George, N.Y.), he and a party of 100 defeated a force of some 65 men, killing or capturing all but their leader, whom he believed to have been Robert Rogers. In December he led a force of 500 French and Indians to attack the settlements along the Connecticut River. When his Huron and Iroquois guides objected, Marin shifted towards Albany. Again the Indians protested, and the force proceeded against Saratoga instead.

In July 1757 Marin undertook a reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Fort Lydius (also called Fort Edward, now Fort Edward, N.Y.). Despite some desertions Marin made his way close to the British fort, where he wiped out first a ten-man patrol and then a 50-man guard. His little detachment next had to face a substantial force which it-held off for more than an hour before retiring in good order. Marin had lost only three men. The financial commissary of wars André Doreil* called it a “most daring expedition.” At the beginning of August 1758 Marin encountered a detachment commanded by Robert Rogers in the woods near Lake Champlain. Marin gradually withdrew from the combat, blaming the lack of a complete victory on the Canadian militia, most of whom deserted. In the report of the battle, Doreil referred to Marin as “a Colonial officer of great reputation.”

Joseph Marin was made captain in January 1759. He spent the first part of the year in the vicinity of Fort Machault (Franklin, Pa) and the British Fort Cumberland (Cumberland, Md), where he harassed the frontier settlements. In the summer he joined the relief force that François-Marie Le Marchand* de Lignery led to Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) to raise the British siege. The force was ambushed by the British as it neared the fort, and Marin was taken prisoner. This was the end of glory for him. He later wrote that “they announced my capture as a great triumph in their newspaper.” The imprisonment was a “horror.” In the final battle for New France, the Marin home in Quebec was plundered and burned by the British. He estimated his loss at more than 60,000 livres and reported that all the family’s personal and business papers had been destroyed.

Marin, with other important prisoners, was sent to England and eventually released to France, the mother country he had never seen. In 1762 he was among the reinforcements who embarked for St John’s, Newfoundland, following its capture by Charles-Henri-Louis d’Arsac de Ternay, but he became a prisoner once again on 22 September, when the François-Louis was taken by the British. He was again repatriated to France.

His years in France were not happy: his fortune lost, he lived on a meagre pension from the crown. He tried to have the court acknowledge his status as a noble, claiming to be descended from the Marini family of Toulon, Toulouse, and Marseilles. There is some possibility that the Marins may have been of the minor nobility of southern France. Paul and Joseph had considered themselves nobles and were certainly considered as such in the colony. In 1767 Lieutenant Governor Guy Carleton* included Joseph Marin’s name in a report on the Canadian nobility. Although the French court acknowledged Marin as “a man of war, courageous by nature, thirsting for glory and eager for the dangers through which it is gained,” it did not deem these qualities sufficient to grant him his request. He did receive the cross of Saint-Louis in 1761, when the king tried to compensate the officers from New France for their service in a lost cause.

Probably in 1773, Marin was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the troops which were to take part in the Count de Benyovszky’s attempt to establish a French settlement at the Baie d’Antongil, Madagascar. Shortly after their arrival on the island in 1774, both Marin and the son who had accompanied him died of fever.

The Marins were among the several families who dominated exploration, trade, and military affairs in the pays d’en haut prior to 1760. The continuing control of the best trading posts by the same families was often criticized, and the Marine did not escape censure. The wealth of the trade is difficult to assess, but it is certain that the Marins’ association with La Jonquière, Bigot, and Legardeur was profitable. Joseph Mari n was no doubt aided in his activities in the west by his relationship to the Vaudreuil family. One might conclude, as Louise Phelps Kellogg does, that La Jonquière and the Marine began the trading system which “by favoritism, corruption, and undue profits hastened the downfall of New France.” But such a generalization ignores the effective frontier work of the Marins. They maintained peace in the west, explored new territory, and by their diplomatic skills tied the tribes so closely to the French that great numbers of Indians from the pays d’en haut fought in campaigns against the British. Marin claimed that he brought at least 20 tribes to the side of the French.

Marin was one of the ablest French military leaders, at various times successfully commanding regular, militia, and Indian detachments. He was, of course, a colonial officer, a type despised by regulars. Yet Montcalm*, who consistently preferred his regulars and who detested Marin’s relative, Governor Vaudreuil, was nevertheless forced to give Marin credit for some victories, although he described him as “brave but stupid.” André Doreil, who shared Montcalm’s contempt for colonials, always praised Marin as an aggressive, effective officer.

Donald Chaput

[Joseph Marin de La Malgue], “Journal de Marin, fils, 1753–1754,” Antoine Champagne, édit., ANQ Rapport, 1960–61, 235–308. BN, mss, NAF, 9286 (Margry), ff.273–79. Bougainville, “Journal” (A.-E. Gosselin), ANQ Rapport, 1923–24, 207–10, 288. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., III, 217–19, 410–12, 418; IV, 110–11, 188–89. Coll. des manuscrits de Lévis (Casgrain), VI, 35. Découvertes et établissements des Français dans louest et dans le sud de lAmérique septentrionale . . . mémoires et documents inédits [1614–1754], Pierre Margry, édit. (6v., Paris, 1879–88), VI, 648–49, 653–54. “The French regime in Wisconsin – II” and “. . . III,” ed. R. G. Thwaites, Wis., State Hist. Soc., Coll., XVII (1906), 315, 430, 439–40, and XVIII (1908), 63–64, 133–36, 158, 192–93, 196. [D.-H.-M. Liénard de] Beaujeu, “Journal de la campagne du détachement de Canada à l’Acadie et aux Mines, en 1746–47,” Coll. doc. inédits Canada et Amérique, II, 16–75. “La mission de M. de Bougainville en France en 1758–1759,” ANQ Rapport, 1923–24, 37, 54. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow). PAC Rapport, 1886, clvii–clxiii; 1888, note C, 35; 1905, I, vie partie, 334–35. Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers . . . (London, 1765; repr. Ann Arbor, Mich., [1966]). Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 9, 23 Aug. 1759.

Æ. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 56–57, 183–84. L.-P. et A.-M. d’Hozier, Armorial. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire. Massicotte, “Répertoire des engagements pour l’Ouest,” ANQ Rapport, 1929–30, 426, 444; 1931–32, 303. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. L. P. Kellogg, The French régime in Wisconsin and the northwest (Madison, Wis., 1925; repr. New York, 1968). P. L. Scanlan, Prairie Du Chien: French, British, American (n.p., 1937), 29–46. Claude Bonnault de Méry, “Les Canadiens en France et aux colonies après la cession (1760–1815),” Revue de lhist. des colonies françaises (Paris), XVII (1924), 529. E. W. H. Fyers, “The loss and recapture of St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1762,” Soc. for Army Hist. Research, Journal (London), XI (1932), 179–215. G. L. Nute, “Marin versus La Vérendrye,” Minnesota History (St Paul), 32 (1951), 226–38. Régis Roy, “Les capitaines de Marin, sieurs de la Malgue, chevaliers de Saint-Louis, officiers canadiens, etc., en la Nouvelle-France, de 1680 à 1762,” RSC Trans., 2nd ser., X (1904), sect.i, 25–34.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Donald Chaput, “MARIN DE LA MALGUE, JOSEPH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 6, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/marin_de_la_malgue_joseph_4E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/marin_de_la_malgue_joseph_4E.html
Author of Article:   Donald Chaput
Title of Article:   MARIN DE LA MALGUE, JOSEPH
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   June 6, 2023