BOULDUC, LOUIS, soldier, settler, bourgeois, king’s attorney; b. c. 1648 or 1649, son of Pierre Boulduc, master apothecary-herbalist of the Rue Saint-Jacques, in the parish of Saint-Benoît in Paris, and of Gilette Pijart; d. sometime between 1699 and 1701 in France.
Boulduc landed 17 Aug. 1665 at Quebec with Andigné* de Grandfontaine’s company in the Carignan regiment. On 20 Aug. 1668 he married there Élisabeth Hubert, daughter of an attorney in the parlement of Paris. The couple settled at Charlesbourg, on a piece of land of 40 acres acquired from Jacques Bédard on 7 Oct. 1669 at a cost of 800 livres. But Boulduc, city dweller that he was, had only a short-lived interest in agricultural work. On 18 Nov. 1672 he rented a house at Quebec, and on 29 Oct. 1674 he was mentioned as a bourgeois of that town; meanwhile, on 26 Aug. 1674, he had sold his land for the sum of 850 livres. Apparently on the recommendation of Frontenac [Buade*], he was given the appointment, by royal letters dated 15 April 1676, of king’s attorney for the provost court of Quebec, at a salary of 300 livres. On 31 August following, after taking the customary oath, he was installed in office.
During the period of Frontenac’s first governorship, which was marked by incessant quarrels among rival factions, one could not with impunity side with the irascible governor. If he did not already know it, Boulduc was going to learn it to his cost, particularly because Frontenac proposed to use him and the provost court to check the Conseil Souverain. But the choice of Boulduc was hardly a fortunate one, if we are to believe Duchesneau*, who was personally involved in the intrigues, and Denonville [Brisay], who in 1685 had time to conduct his own inquiry. Boulduc, wrote Duchesneau, “is accused of extortion, theft in all the houses where he is tolerated, continual debauchery and profligacy”; for his part, Denonville considered an out-and-out scoundrel who should never be tolerated in such an office.”
The councillors never ceased harrying this over vulnerable official, in an attempt to discredit him and thereby to compromise the provost court. The struggle began in earnest after Louis XIV, in May 1677, had restored the provost court of Quebec to its original authority, and confirmed the attorney Boulduc in his post. Frontenac’s protégé could expect some serious opposition. On 13 Nov. 1680 Duchesneau struck the first blow in a letter to the minister, and in January 1681 Boulduc, accused of embezzlement, was brought before the Conseil Souverain. Following a complaint lodged against him by a Bayonne merchant who perhaps wanted to take revenge, Boulduc was soon to see the councillors extend their indiscreet inquiries to his whole life, public and private. By virtue of a decree of 28 April he was suspended, and replaced temporarily by Pierre Duquet*. This was the signal for a rare outburst of fury: the factions tore at each other unremittingly in a fight to the finish, for which Boulduc was in reality scarcely anything more than the occasion and the pretext. Finally, after 14 months of outright brawling, the council found Boulduc guilty of embezzlement – this was on 20 March 1682 and declared that he had forfeited his office.
It may be surmised that Frontenac, when back in France, did not forsake his protégé, for by a decree dated 10 March 1685 Louis XIV granted Boulduc’s family one third of his salary, and asked the intendant to restore Boulduc to his post if he were deemed to have been sufficiently punished. Denonville vigorously opposed the former attorney’s return, with the result that on 4 June 1686 the king dismissed the wretched Boulduc for good.
Madame Boulduc had gone back to France in 1685, provided with a pass by Denonville, who declared himself happy to “rid the country of a rather poor piece of goods.” Boulduc followed her, perhaps the year after. They left behind “children who are dependent upon the charity of honest folk.” The Boulducs had indeed three sons and two (or three) daughters whose ages ranged from 9 to 17 years. The youngest girl, Louise, who may or may not have been still alive, was Frontenac’s god-daughter. They all remained in the colony and took the name of Bolduc. As for the parents, they died in France, apparently without seeing their children again.
Who would venture to pass final judgement on Boulduc? Whatever may have been his faults, he was perhaps above all the victim of a troubled age. Intendant de Meulles seems to have thought so: “Much passion having been stirred up in this affair, the King would be wise to reinstate this magistrate,” he wrote on 12 Nov. 1686.
[On 8 Feb. 1700, in his son René’s marriage contract, Louis Boulduc – then in France – is described as living (Greffe Jacob); on 7 Nov. 1701, in the contract of his son Jacques he is described as deceased (Greffe Jacob). We can then conclude that he died in France between the summer of 1699 and that of 1701. a.v.]
AJQ, Greffe de Romain Becquet, 18 nov. 1672, 26 août 1674; Greffe de Pierre Duquet, 7 oct. 1669; Greffe de Leconte, 8 août 1668; Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 26 août 1674, 8 nov. 1675. AQ, NF, Ins. de la Prév. de Québec, I, 299, 543. “Correspondance de Frontenac (1672–82),” APQ Rapport, 1926–27, 140. Jug. et délib., I, II. “Lettres et mémoires de F.-M.-F. Ruette d’Auteuil,” 5f., 23. Recensement du Canada, 1681 (Sulte). P.-G. Roy, Inv. Ins. Cons. souv., 67f. Gareau, “La prévôté de Québec,” 104f. Godbout, “Nos ancêtres,” APQ Rapport, 1957–59, 429f. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, I, 200f. P.-G. Roy “Louis Boulduc ou Bolduc,” BRH, XXII (1916), 65–70. Régis Roy, “Boulduc,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 13.