DU LAURENT, CHRISTOPHE-HILARION, registry clerk of the Conseil Supérieur of Quebec, royal notary; b. c. 1695 in France; d. 13 April 1760 in Quebec.
The year of Christophe-Hilarion Du Laurent’s arrival in the colony is unknown. He was a resident in 1722, when his name appears on the list of court clerks in the royal jurisdiction of Montreal. Until 1728 he held on occasion the office of acting clerk of court. During that year he may have left Montreal for Quebec to join Louis-Guillaume Verrier, the new attorney general of the Conseil Supérieur, who arrived from France in September. Verrier was to be Du Laurent’s patron throughout his career.
On 25 March 1730 the minister of Marine, Maurepas, requested Attorney General Verrier to examine the minute-books of the notaries of the provost court of Quebec. Verrier chose Du Laurent as his recording clerk, and Du Laurent was to receive 50 livres a month. This work kept him busy for two years. His subsequent activities are unknown until 11 Aug. 1734, when he was commissioned royal notary for the government of Quebec. He held this position until 1760.
At the end of 1732 Attorney General Verrier had been commissioned to compile a register of landed property in the colony. Three years later, on 10 Jan. 1736, Intendant Hocquart*, in keeping with the king’s desire to speed up the compilation of this register, commissioned Du Laurent to gather declarations from the seigneurs of the colony about their title-deeds and all other information “favourable to the rendering of the aforementioned oaths of fealty and homage, recognitions of sovereignty and census.” In 1740 Verrier delivered the final volume of the register of landed property to the intendant. In the meanwhile Du Laurent became, on 6 Dec. 1736, registry clerk of the Conseil Supérieur, acting as the deputy of the chief clerk of court, François Daine. On behalf of the council he was “to serve as secretary, draw up decrees, and even sign copies of them . . . [and] generally carry out as registry clerk what we [Daine] as chief clerk of court might do.”
On 28 Jan. 1745 the governor, Charles de Beauharnois, and Intendant Gilles Hocquart entrusted Du Laurent with another mission for which his work on the register of landed property had prepared him. The colonial authorities granted him a commission to compile “the separate census for each parish or seigneury” in the three governments of the colony. Ten years later he was entrusted with the census of the Domaine du Roi, but, confined to bed by illness, he could not undertake it.
Du Laurent died, a bachelor, at Quebec on 13 April 1760; the census of 1744 informs us that he boarded with a shoemaker on Rue Saint-Jean. He seems to have been a conscientious man, as the missions with which the colonial authorities entrusted him bear out. On 13 Feb. 1752 he had the signal honour of drawing up Governor Taffanel de La Jonquière’s will.
ANQ, Greffe de C.-H. Du Laurent, 1734–1760. Édits ord., II, 390, 537. “Recensement de Québec, 1744” (APQ Rapport). P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. de pièces jud. et not.; Inv. ins. Cons. sup., 216–17; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760; Inv. ord. int., II, III. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Vachon, “Inv. critique des notaires royaux,” RHAF, IX (1955–56), 547. J.-E. Roy, Histoire du notariat, I, 305, 356–57.