After the British capture of Louisbourg in 1745, Bigot was sent back to Canada in 1748, against his personal wishes, to assume chief responsibility for the civil government of New France. Soon merchants began to complain that only Bigot's friends were receiving contracts to supply the government. Recalled to France in 1754 to answer these charges, his explanations apparently were satisfactory, since he was reassigned to Canada in 1755.
Government spending on Canada during the Seven Years' War rose from just over 6 million livres in 1755 to over 30 million in 1759. The French government believed Bigot and his associates (see GRANDE SOCIÉTÉ) stole much of the money. Following a show trial in Paris, referred to as the "Affaire du Canada," Bigot was sentenced to "restore" 1.5 million livres to the French Crown in 1763.
Ever since, historians have debated the degree to which Bigot's dealings were criminal. The recent consensus is that his behaviour was typical of the period and that skyrocketing expenditures resulted from the war and the British blockade. In fact, Bigot was an extremely able administrator. He, however, also presided over magnificent banquets and balls that scandalized the clergy in Canada, and his gambling bouts were notorious.
Author HUGH A. PORTEOUS