LANDRIAUX (Landrio, dit Lalancette; Landriaux, dit Dusourdy), LOUIS-NICOLAS, surgeon; b. c. 1723 at Luçon, France, son of Louis Landriaux and Marie-Louise Bourond; d. 24 Aug. 1788 in Montreal (Que.).
Louis-Nicolas Landriaux’s presence in Canada was first noted on 10 April 1748, when he appeared as a witness in a lawsuit in Montreal. He was then a soldier serving under Louis de La Corne* and was practising surgery at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, probably as an assistant to Charles-Elemy-Joseph-Alexandre-Ferdinand Feltz, who was also a surgeon at the Hôpital Général. On 7 May 1748, when Landriaux was about to leave Montreal to take up the position of surgeon at Fort Saint-Frédéric (near Crown Point, N.Y.), he named Feltz as his proxy and entrusted him with receiving the 480 livres tournois granted annually by the king for his new position. He returned to Montreal some months before July 1759 when the fort was abandoned.
Good surgeons were rare in Montreal in the mid 18th century, and Landriaux, who had acquired experience treating the sick and wounded in the Lake Champlain region, probably built up a practice quite quickly. In September 1766, after Feltz left for France, he became surgeon-in-chief at the Hôpital Général and served there until August 1782, when Dr George Selby* replaced him. He received 300 livres tournois per year for his services at first, and in 1780 the nuns raised this salary to 400 livres. Mother d’Youville [Dufrost], expressing her satisfaction with Landriaux, noted: “He is acquiring a large practice through his good sense and prudence.”
Louis-Nicolas Landriaux was apparently an important resident of Montreal. In 1762 he was living in a house he owned on Rue Saint-Pierre, near the Recollets’ house; 20 years later he was still there. The statement by several historians that Landriaux lived in Quebec is erroneous, to be explained by a misreading of a text in the Quebec Gazette, 7 and 21 March 1782. Landriaux had some servants, and even a slave; in addition he owned “many good houses in town.” In 1773 he was one of a number of prominent people who signed a petition to King George III asking him to grant the “Canadians” their former laws.
Having been trained by Feltz, an excellent surgeon who had initiated him into the secrets of his art – for example he had passed on to him a method for curing ulcers – Landriaux knew how to win the confidence and liking of his patients. Between 1770 and 1773 three inmates of the Hôpital Général left him part of the properties they said they owned in France; however, it was up to the surgeon to undertake proceedings at his own expense to acquire possession of these hypothetical legacies. To further his education Landriaux acquired a medical library that was outstanding for the time; Ambroise Paré’s works and the Aphorisms of Hippocrates stood alongside treatises on pregnancy, venereal diseases, anatomy, and medicaments.
Though Landriaux seems to have lived a comfortable and affluent life, he died heavily in debt. In 1788 he owed various creditors more than 30,000 livres. His wife renounced the inheritance, and his possessions were sold at auction.
His marriage with Marie-Anne Prud’homme had taken place on 8 June 1756 in the chapel of Fort Saint-Frédéric and they had had 22 children; the first, baptized at the fort, died a few months later, and all the others were born in Montreal. Descendants live today in Quebec and Ontario.
ANQ-M, Doc. jud., Registres des audiences pour la juridiction de Montréal, 10 avril 1748; État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 21 juill. 1758, 16 mars 1784, 26 août 1788; Greffe de L.-L. Aumasson de Courville, 3 août 1770, 25 janv. 1772, 4 août 1773; Greffe de Louis Chaboillez, 9 sept. 1788 (marriage contract of Louis-Nicolas Landriaux and Marie-Anne Prud’homme drawn up at Fort Saint-Frédéric on 7 June 1756), 15, 16 sept., ler oct. 1788; Greffe de L.-C. Danré de Blanzy, 29 janv. 1760; Greffe de François Simonnet, 7 mai 1748. ASGM, Corr. générale, no.6; Maison mère; Historique, Médecins, 3; Registre des baptêmes et sépultures de l’Hôpital Général de Montréal, II, f.29; Registre des recettes et dépenses, II. PAC, MG 8, G 10. Docs. relating to constitutional history, 1759–91 (Shortt and Doughty; 1907), 354–55. Quebec Gazette, 23 July 1767, 7, 21 March 1782. M.-J. et G. Ahern, Notes pour l’hist. de la médecine. [É.-M. Faillon], Vie de Mme d’Youville, fondatrice des Sœurs de la Charité de Villemarie dans l’île de Montréal, en Canada (Villemarie [Montréal], 1852). Albertine Ferland-Angers, Mère d’Youville, vénérable Marie-Marguerite Du Frost de Lajemmerais, veuve d’Youville, 1701–1771; fondatrice des Sœurs de la Charité de l’Hôpital-général de Montréal, dites sœurs grises (Montréal, 1945), 245, 256. P. J. Robinson, Toronto during the French régime . . . (2nd ed., Toronto, 1965). P.-G. Roy, Hommes et choses du fort Saint-Frédéric (Montréal, 1946). M. Trudel, L’esclavage au Canada français. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Le chirurgien Landriaux,” BRH, XLVI (1940), 148–49; “Les chirurgiens, médecins, etc., de Montréal, sous le Régime français,” ANQ Rapport, 1922–23, 143; “Les médecins, chirurgiens et apothicaires de Montréal, de 1701 à 1760,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 79. P.-G. Roy, “La famille du chirurgien Landriaux,” BRH, XLIII (1937), 46–48.