Denonville, Jacques-René de Brisay, Marquis de

Jacques-René de Brisay Denonville, Marquis de, governor general of New France, 1685-89 (b at Denonville, France 10 Dec 1637; d there 22 Sept 1710). He arrived at Québec 1 August 1685 at a dangerous point in the colony's conflict with the IROQUOIS and English. Taking the initiative, he sent de TROYES overland to attack English posts on James Bay (1686), thereby removing the threat on the colony's northern flank. In 1687 he led a punitive campaign against the Seneca, systematically destroying their villages.

Denonville did his best to strengthen the colony's defences, but it remained vulnerable. In August 1689 the Five Nations struck at Lachine with 1500 warriors, cutting off Fort Frontenac, which Denonville abandoned and destroyed. Although criticized for his caution and his compliance with orders to send Iroquois prisoners to France for service in galleys, Denonville was the first governor to show concern for social and health conditions in New France. He attempted to curb abuses in the fur trade and established a navigation school at Québec to train pilots. He was recalled to military service in Europe and sailed from Québec in November 1689.