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Index of first names

Francois-Prosper Douglas, Chevalier de Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francois Prosper DouglasFrancois-Prosper Douglas, Chevalier de Douglas, (21 Feb. 1725 - 26 April 1781) was an officer in the French regular troops. He was born at Montréal, in Bugey (dept of Ain), France, the son of Charles Douglas, Comte de Douglas, syndic of the nobility of Bugey and officer, and Marie-Anne de Lilia.

In keeping with family tradition, François-Prosper Douglas took up a military career. In 1743 he was a second lieutenant in the Régiment du Languedoc, the next year he was promoted lieutenant, and he subsequently took part in several European campaigns. In 1746 he was made captain of a company in the second battalion of his regiment, and he still held this command when he arrived in Canada in 1755 with the French troops under Dieskau*.

Douglas’s military record seems undistinguished, although he participated in several actions during the Seven Years’ War. He was at Lac Saint-Sacrement (Lake George) in 1755, at the capture of Oswego (Chouaguen) in 1756, and at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga, N.Y.) in 1758. According to the casualty list he was wounded “very lightly” in the last battle. In his letters to his family he did not mention the injury, complaining only of the hardships he had endured since coming to Canada, where soldiers had to be ready for action whenever the weather permitted. The wound may nevertheless have been the reason for his being made a knight of the order of Saint-Louis on 20 Oct. 1758.

During the siege of Quebec the next year, Douglas was second in command of a party led by Jean-Daniel Dumas which attempted to dislodge the British from Pointe-Lévy (Lauzon) on the night of 12–13 July. The force consisted of Indians, regulars, militia, townspeople, and some seminarians whom a wag christened “the Royal Syntax.” It became separated in the dark; its members mistook one another for the British, fired, and retreated precipitately without having attacked the enemy. It is not known whether Douglas was at all at fault in this fiasco. He appears to have been in charge of the Samos battery, which fired on the British fleet during the landing at Anse au Foulon on 13 September but which was abandoned after being attacked by Wolfe’s men. A ministerial note in the muster-roll of captains says that he “served well. A good captain, without other talent.” His record in Canada would seem to bear out that judgement.

Douglas was more remarkable for having been one of the fewer than 20 regular officers to marry Canadian women. Montcalm, who generally disapproved on the grounds that the officers were marrying below their social class and thereby jeopardizing their careers, approved of Douglas’s match. Charlotte de La Corne, whom Douglas married on 13 April 1757, was of noble descent through her father Louis, known as La Corne l’ainé, and her mother Élisabeth de Ramezay. Montcalm described her as “a woman of quality, with very good family connections in the colony and a suitable fortune.” As a nobleman Douglas would in turn have been considered a highly desirable match in Canada.

He returned to France after the conquest, taking his wife and family with him. Two sons had been born in Canada, Louis-Archambaud, later made a knight of the order of Saint-Louis and imprisoned in 1794 during the Terror, and Charles-Luc (1). Another child was born in Touraine (2), where Douglas stayed some time after his arrival in France. In 1763 he embarked for Corsica; he remained there for six years, during which he took part in several military operations. He then retired and returned to France in 1769. Subsequently he wished to come back to Canada to settle on the seigneury of Terrebonne, which he had inherited from his father-in-law, but he was unable to carry out the scheme before his death.

He died on 26 April 1781, at Nantua, France.

 

Translation:
Charles Joseph and Joseph-Marie Chevalier said Douglas belong to an ancient family of Scottish descent, came from Picardy and installed in the Bugey since the seventeenth century. Son of Charles Douglas, trustee of the nobility of Bugey and Marie Lilia, they were born in Montreal near Nantua, as is their brother François-Prosper Douglas. The three brothers served in the regiment of Languedoc. Joseph-Marie enters in 1739 as a cadet before moving to the bodyguards of Villeroy. The elder Charles Joseph enters as a cadet in 1740, became a second lieutenant in 1742 and lieutenant in 1744. François-Prosper is a second lieutenant in 1743, lieutenant in 1744 and in 1746 became captain of a company in the 2nd battalion. Charles Joseph and Marie Joseph pursue their career in the Royal Scots, one as second captain in 1744 and the other as a lieutenant. Both were captured in 1746 after the Battle of Culloden. Charles-Joseph becomes captain of a company in 1748 when his brother became first mate the previous year. In 1751 Charles Joseph abandons his company to his brother who becomes captain, and was appointed Governor of Saint-Claude in 1751

 

Notes:

1.  Charles-Luc may have become a priest and may, during the massacres of September 1792, have been suspected of loyalty to the King, and slain in Paris with several thousand prisoners.
2.  One source says the third son was born in Corsica.

 

 

See also:

  • Montreal Chateau
  • The Douglas family in France
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    Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017