La Galissonière, Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, Marquis de

Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, Marquis de La Galissonière, naval officer, commandant general of New France (b at Rochefort, France 10 Nov 1693; d at Montereau, France 26 Oct 1756). He was born into a powerful family and rose to lieutenant-general of the French naval forces. He was in NEW FRANCE from 19 September 1747 to 21 October 1749, during which time he strongly advocated building a line of garrisoned posts down the Ohio Valley to hold the English colonies along the coast. He enthusiastically promoted the colony's interests, seeing it as a viable economic asset in classic mercantilist terms, as well as a military distraction to the English.

La Galissonière had broad humanistic and scientific interests and had his officers collect botanical specimens from across the colony. His report on France's colonies, found in Mémoires des commissaires du roi (1755-57), contained a lucid account of colonial policies and of the potential riches of Canada. Despite his brief stay in Canada, La Galissonière's engaging personality, intelligence and fervent activity on the colony's behalf made him popular and left a lasting impression. In the year of his death, he commanded the French fleet at Minorca that defeated Admiral Byng.