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MASCLE DE SAINT-JULHIEN, JEAN (the name usually appears as St. Julien, but he signed St. Julhien; his baptismal certificate gives the surname as Masclé), officer in the French regular troops; b. 7 July 1693 in Lunel, France, son of Jean Mascle, attorney, and Suzanne Courtade; d. 1759.

Jean Mascle de Saint-Julhien came to Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island) in 1755, as senior officer in command of the second battalions of the Artois and Bourgogne regiments, two units of the French regular army sent to assist the colonial regular troops in the defence of Île Royale during the Seven Years’ War. He was a veteran of long experience in the Artois. Beginning as a sub-lieutenant in 1709 he had fought in a dozen sieges and numerous battles. During the War of the Austrian Succession he was severely wounded at Dettingen (Federal Republic of Germany) in 1743 and four years later at Assiette (Italy), where he commanded the regiment. He had received the cross of Saint-Louis in 1737 and on 19 Feb. 1755 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel. In his service record he is cited as a “good officer,” a “man of war,” and a firm disciplinarian who had the bearing and talents to be an effective lieutenant-colonel.

During his stay at Louisbourg, however, Saint Julhien proved to be a difficult and troublesome figure. He quarrelled repeatedly, especially with the financial commissary, Jacques Prévost* de La Croix, over the prerogatives of his command and the administration of his troops. The administrative responsibilities which Prévost, as financial commissary, exercised over the colonial regular troops had been extended, by virtue of his appointment as commissary of wars in April 1755, to the French regulars. Saint-Julhien nevertheless insisted upon the independence and the special privileges of the French regulars. Besides creating difficulties with Prévost, his attitude and that of his fellow officers antagonized the colonial officer corps. The engineer François-Claude-Victor Grillot de Poilly described Saint-Julhien as “the most dangerous person I know, full of jealousy and presumption” and said that he was “incapable of desiring any good which does not originate with him.” At the request of the governor, Boschenry de Drucour, Saint-Julhien had been appointed on 1 Sept. 1755 to act as commander of the colony in the governor’s absence. But his relationship with Drucour deteriorated and he was eventually replaced as potential commandant by the chief engineer, Louis Franquet. His position as senior officer commanding the French regular troops was altered with the arrival of other battalions from France in 1757 and 1758. In 1758 Mathieu-Henri Marchant de La Houlière assumed command of all the land forces at Louisbourg and Saint-Julhien was left in command only of the Artois.

Saint-Julhien’s battalion, reinforced by the grenadier company of the Bourgogne regiment and some colonial regulars, Acadians, and Indians, was stationed at the Anse de la Cormorandière (Kennington Cove) on 8 June 1758 when the British landed to begin the second siege of Louisbourg. The assault began about 4:00 a.m. and under cover of a naval bombardment three divisions of boats rowed for shore. The left division, led by James Wolfe, was being repulsed when three of its boats drifted to the right and their crews found a landing place which had been left unguarded. Saint-Julhien finally sent his two grenadier companies to check the British move, but he had hesitated too long. After a sharp skirmish the French line was flanked; Saint-Julhien’s soldiers abandoned their position and the other divisions of the landing force followed Wolfe ashore. Saint-Julhien seems not to have been censured for his failure to post lookouts at the landing spot.

Saint-Julhien was in command of his battalion throughout the siege and participated in the councils of war held on 9 June and 26 July. Otherwise his role was undistinguished. After the surrender he was sent with his battalion to England and was exchanged at Calais in December. He died in 1759.

John Fortier

AN, Col., B, 99–113; C11B, 34–38; C11C, 10, 15; D2C, 1–4; F3, 50–51; Section Outre-Mer, Dépôt des fortifications des colonies, Am. sept., no.236. Archives municipales, Lunel (France), GG (Actes paroissiaux, culte Catholique), 4, f.492v. CTG, Archives, art.15, pièces 4, 5, 7, 8; Bibliothèque, mss in 4°, 66. SHA, A1, 3417, 3457, 3499; Xb, 61; Ya, 97; 470, ff.25–26, 183–84; Yb, 122, f.198; Travail du roi, art.91. Jeffery Amherst, “Journal of the siege of Louisbourg,” Gentleman’s Magazine, XXVIII (1758), 384–89. [James Johnstone], Memoirs of the Chevalier de Johnstone, trans. Charles Winchester (3v., Aberdeen, 1870–71). Knox, Historical journal (Doughty). Derniers jours de l’Acadie (Du Boscq de Beaumont). Pichon, Lettres et mémoires. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, II, 591–92. McLennan, Louisbourg. Stanley, New France. J. M. Hitsman with C. C. J. Bond, “The assault landing at Louisbourg, 1758,” CHR, XXXV (1954), 314–30.

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John Fortier, “MASCLE DE SAINT-JULHIEN, JEAN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 15, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mascle_de_saint_julhien_jean_3E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mascle_de_saint_julhien_jean_3E.html
Author of Article:   John Fortier
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1974
Year of revision:   1974
Access Date:   June 15, 2024