Daniel d'Auger de Subercase
Governor of Plaisance, 1702-1706
Daniel d'Auger de Subercase was born in the early 1660s at Orthez, in Béarn, and was baptised a
Protestant. He served about 10 years in the land forces and acted as captain in the regiment of
Brittany in 1684. He joined the navy and sailed for Québec in 1687. While there, he was named
lieutenant-commander, garrison adjutant and adjutant general. This experience would help mark
Subercase's regime at Plaisance (Placentia) as arguably the most dynamic and progressive the
colony had ever seen, and this despite the short duration of his stay.
Subercase succeeded Monic as governor of Plaisance on April 1, 1702, although he did not arrive
until the summer of 1703. The fort had deteriorated during Monic's regime and the soldiers were
in desperate need of arms and suitable housing. Exploitation of the resident fishermen was
common as well.
To improve conditions, Subercase rigourously monitored the colony's social and religious life
while developing its economy and agriculture. He also decided that the colony's defence problems
needed to be addressed. He led a raid on Ferryland in 1703 and took prisoners from whom he
learned of an imminent attack on Plaisance. Discovering from a St. Malo boat that Subercase was
prepared for the assault, the English abandoned their plans. Spared the attack, Subercase and the
settlers spent the winter fortifying the colony and building a dike.
Subercase assembled a group of raiders composed of Mi'Kmaq and Canadians from Québec to
help in the campaigns against British settlements. They captured Bay Bulls and Petty Harbour in
January 1705 and then marched on St. John's. They captured and burned the town, but were
unable to capture the fort. After attacking for over a month Subercase ran out of ammunition and
was forced to return to Plaisance. Other parties sent out by Subercase succeeded in destroying
settlements in Conception Bay and Trinity Bay and in capturing many English settlers.
As governor, Subercase was able to restore the morale of the garrison and inhabitants, and to
diversify the economy by growing cereals and vegetables and raising livestock. Following the
death of Brouillan, Subercase became the governor of Acadia in April 1706.
Subercase surrendered Port-Royal to the British in 1710, and little is known about his subsequent
life, other than that he returned to France and died in November 1732.
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