Le Loutre, Jean-Louis

Jean-Louis Le Loutre, priest, missionary (b at Morlaix, France 26 Sept 1709; d at Nantes, France 30 Sept 1772). Some historians regard Le Loutre as a political agent for France, others as the consummate missionary, using every means to keep the French Catholic ACADIANS from British Protestant domination. After studies in Paris at the Séminaire du St-Esprit and ordination at the Séminaire des missions étrangères, Le Loutre travelled to LOUISBOURG in 1737. Appointed to the parish of Annapolis Royal - in British territory - he worked among the MICMACS at the Shubenacadie mission near Truro, NS.

In 1744, after war was declared between England and France, he helped François DuPont Duvivier in his siege of Annapolis Royal. When the British took Louisbourg in 1745, Le Loutre went to Québec City to consult the governor of NEW FRANCE, who delegated him to meet the duc d'Anville's fleet, which was to arrive to recapture Acadia. Le Loutre thus became the link between the French authorities and the colonists. After the failure of d'Anville's fleet, Le Loutre arrived in France on La Sirène.

In 1749, after 2 attempts that ended in English prisons, Le Loutre returned to Acadia. From his new mission at FORT BEAUSÉJOUR (near Sackville, NB), Le Loutre encouraged the Micmacs to harass the British and urged the Acadians to abandon their lands and take refuge in areas claimed by France. He returned to France in 1752 but came back the following year still determined to oppose the British. After the fall of Beauséjour in 1755, Le Loutre, who knew a price had been put on his head some years earlier, escaped to Québec City. Captured by the British on his way to France, he was imprisoned until 1763. After his release, he worked for the deported Acadians who wished to live in France.