Charles Grant, vicomte de Vaux, was the descendant of a family of nobles who had emigrated from Scotland to France in the 14th century. Vaux was born in 1749 on the island of Mauritius, where his father, Louis-Charles Grant, the Baron de Vaux, served as governor. As a youth, Vaux sailed to France to be educated and settled at Vaux-sur-Seulle in Normandy, and eventually became an army officer. During the American Revolution, he sided with the colonists and earned money selling supplies to the colonies and investing in ships to engage in privateering. The majority of the ships were lost, and after the war Vaux petitioned the United States Congress for compensation.
Though Vaux considered emigrating to North America, he remained in France until forced by the revolution in France to flee to Great Britain in 1790. During his time as a refugee, Vaux became interested in the prospect of starting a settlement in Canada, and much of his energy during the next decade was focused on gaining permissions and raising money for the expedition. In the mid-1790s Vaux attempted to support himself as an army officer after being granted the position of colonel and permission to recruit a regiment, which he formed with other French émigrés; it was stationed temporarily in Holland. This pursuit failed, however, and the regiment was dispersed after France invaded Holland during the French Revolutionary wars. Vaux then turned to writing to support himself, publishing numerous books which included History of Mauritius and Introduction to Four New Maps of the Four Quarters, all the while still attempting to plan a Canadian settlement. Despite his constant petitioning, planning, and pleas for aid, Vaux was never able to realize his dream of moving to Canada. Little is known of the last two decades of his life, but he is thought to have died in France around 1818.