DAINE, FRANÇOIS, lieutenant general for civil and criminal affairs of the provost court of Quebec, subdelegate of the intendant, controller of the Compagnie des Indes in New France, director of the Domaine du Roi; baptized 10 June 1695 in the parish of Saint-Rémi de Charlesville (Charleville-Mézières), France, son of Jacques Daine and Antoinette Pelletier; d. 1765 at Blois, France.
François Daine, who never made use in Canada of his birth, belonged to a family of administrators. His father was an inspector at the royal tobacco factory in Charlesville, then controller general of supplies in Champagne. His maternal grandfather was secretary to the commandants and presiding judge of the Duc de Mantoue, the sovereign of Charlesville, whilst his paternal grandfather, Nicolas, was inspector of the navy and of trade in Dunkerque. His paternal uncle, Marius-Basile, was financial commissary for the army of Flanders and was in charge of the negotiations which led to the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. In addition, his brother Jacques, who became an officer of the parlement and maître des Requêtes, was interested in Canadian affairs.
François Daine was married three times, to Canadians. On 5 Oct. 1721, in Quebec, he married Angélique Pagé, who died in August 1723 giving birth to their first child. The following year, on 20 August in Montreal, he married Louise-Jeanne, the daughter of François-Marie Bouat*; their marriage lasted 16 years. On 8 March 1742, at Boucherville, he was married again, his third wife being Louise, the daughter of François-Antoine Pécaudy de Contrecœur, who bore him four children, of whom only two daughters reached adulthood.
The exact date of Daine’s arrival in Canada is not known. In 1715 he was clerk (king’s writer) in the registry of the royal jurisdiction of Trois-Rivières. In 1719 he was in Quebec, as a witness at the marriage of Jean-Eustache Lanoullier de Boisclerc. Daine himself married there on 5 Oct. 1721 and shortly thereafter went to France, probably to request a new position in the king’s service. On 10 Feb. 1722, after energetic soliciting and thanks to his patrons, he was appointed chief clerk of the Conseil Supérieur of Quebec. On 20 May he obtained passage for Canada and on 12 October he registered his letters of appointment there.
Daine first lived in his friend Lanoullier’s home, and in a short time he was able to make other friends and be admitted into the Canadian élite. There were only two witnesses at his first marriage in 1721, but 37 were at the second two years later, among them Governor Philippe de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil, Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil, Intendant Bégon, and François-Étienne Cugnet. Moreover, quite soon Daine was financially able to improve his living conditions. In 1726 he bought a house on Rue Saint-Pierre for 7,000 livres. In 1744 he occupied a house next door to Intendant Hocquart*’s, on Rue Saint-Nicolas, and in 1763 he was living on Rue Saint-Louis.
Daine devoted himself completely to his administrative duties, acquiring several offices at the same time to increase his revenues. His family milieu and his education – his library is evidence – had prepared him for such a career, but he served a stiff apprenticeship as he climbed the rungs one by one. From being king’s writer at the beginning of his career, he became in 1722 chief clerk of the Conseil Supérieur. He even added to this title that of councillor and secretary. Several Canadian officials, seeking prestige, took on this honorary title which was reserved for a few high dignitaries and possession of which over 20 years permitted a person to be ennobled. In 1724 Daine also obtained the office of controller of the Compagnie des Indes in New France, and in 1728 he tried, without success, to obtain that of attorney general of the Conseil Supérieur. In 1736 Daine, as chief clerk, granted Christophe-Hilarion Du Laurent a commission as clerk of the registry. In addition to assisting the chief clerk, Du Laurent was to replace him during absences necessitated by his other duties. Daine did not accede to a higher office until 1744. On 25 March the king signed his letters of appointment to the office of lieutenant general for civil and criminal affairs of the provost court of Quebec, to succeed Pierre André de Leigne. He entered upon his duties on 12 October, without giving up his post as controller of the Compagnie des Indes. Daine had served unofficially as subdelegate of the intendant in the government of Montreal from 1739 on and in the government of Quebec from 1745 on, and he was granted on 10 Jan. 1748 an official commission as subdelegate, confirmed by Bigot* on 1 September of that year. When he was appointed director of the Domaine du Roi in 1752, he relinquished only his office of controller. In 1759, along with Guillaume Estèbe*, he received the rare honour of being appointed honorary councillor of the Conseil Supérieur, with the right of attending, speaking, and voting, and with all the honours pertaining to the rank, but without a stipend.
During the final days of French rule in Quebec, Daine was very active. With Jean Taché he headed a citizens’ delegation which was the instigation of an expedition on 12 July 1759 against an English battery installed at Pointe-Lévy (Lauzon). On 19 July as lieutenant of the provost court he received from Intendant Bigot a special commission permitting him to execute thieves after summary trial. Shortly after 13 September, the day of the French defeat, Daine became the spokesman for the inhabitants, who asked the authorities to surrender the town in order to avoid the horrors of an assault; on this occasion he called himself “mayor” of the town. Immediately after the defeat, at his compatriots’ request, he remained in the town to judge by French law “the disputes which might arise among them.” He wrote: “I assured myself of the English generals’ assent, until next year when I shall go to France.” Daine left Canada on 20 Sept. 1764. There is no proof, however, that he really exercised any judicial function from the time of the surrender of Quebec until his departure for France.
Daine did not liquidate his assets in the colony until 1763, after the signature of the treaty of Paris. He sold his seigneury of Grand-Île on 22 September, and on 23 July 1764 he sold the fief of Saint-Joseph (Lespinay), which came from Pécaudy de Contrecœur’s heritage. After his return to France in the autumn of 1764, Daine seems to have retired to Blois, where he died sometime in 1765. On 19 March of that year he had obtained from the king in recognition of his office as lieutenant general a pension of 2,000 livres, 1,000 of which could revert to his wife. The pension, double the amount asked for by Daine, was payable from 1 Jan. 1761.
Despite his supervision of trade and his family connections with a famous member of Bigot’s clique, Michel-Jean-Hugues Péan*, his nephew, Daine did not dabble in any commercial activities, unless ownership of interests in the seigneuries can be so described. Besides, one of his seigneuries, Bois-Francs, granted in 1733, had been reunited with the royal domain in 1741. All his offices, however, brought him attractive annual revenues. One estimate of his annual income at 800 livres is far from the mark. By holding all the offices together – chief clerk of court and controller, lieutenant general and director of the domain, and subdelegate of the intendant – Daine was able to earn from 1724 on more than 2,500 livres a year; from 1752 on, his annual income exceeded 4,000 livres. The annual salary for the clerk of court was 800 livres, for the controller 800, the lieutenant general of the provost court 500, the director of the domain 3,000, and the subdelegate of the intendant 300. In addition the fees received for copies of deeds and for legal investigations, as well as the charges and costs from the Conseil Supérieur and the provost court, constituted an annual revenue of 1,500 to 3,000 livres. Thus the 60,000 livres in assets which he left behind at his death were the product of his 45 years in the administration and, according to Daine, of the dowries from his three marriages.
Daine’s work was appreciated, and the testimonials from Governor Charles de Beauharnois and Governor Pierre de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil, as well as from the intendants, Bégon, Hocquart, and Bigot, bear that out. He was an honest official whose integrity was recognized during the affaire du Canada.
AD, Ardennes (Charleville-Mézières), État civil, Saint-Rémi de Charlesville, 10 juin 1695. AN, Col., E, 104 (dossier Daine). ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Barbel; Greffe de Nicolas Boisseau; Greffe de C.-H. Du Laurent; Greffe de Florent de La Cetière; Greffe de J.-C. Panet; Greffe de J.-A. Saillant; NF, Documents de la juridiction des Trois-Rivières; NF, Ins. Cons. sup.; NF, Ord. int.; NF, Registres du Cons. sup., 1722–1760; NF, Taxes de dépens du Cons. sup. ANQ-M, Greffe de Pierre Raimbault, 20 août 1724. ASQ, Polygraphie, X, 37; XV, 27; XXIV, 29; Séminaire, I, 72; II, 6; XXIX, 71, 72. Quebec Gazette/La Gazette de Québec, 27 Sept. 1764. Mémoire du sieur de Ramezay, 27. Gareau, “La Prévôté de Québec,” APQ Rapport, 1943–44, 78–83. La Chesnaye-Desbois et Badier, Dictionnaire de la noblesse (3e éd.), VI, 697–98. “Liste des officiers de justice de la Nouvelle-France,” BRH, XXXVI (1930), 151–57. “Liste des sujets qui composent le Conseil souverain et les juridictions royales de la colonie (1758),” BRH, XXXVI (1930), 464. Régis Roy, “M. Daine,” BRH, XV (1909), 352.