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LeVESCONTE, ISAAC, merchant and legislator; son of Peter LeVesconte and Jane Malzard, b. at St Aubin’s, Jersey, 12 Aug. 1822; educated at the Parsonage House Academy, St Helier, Jersey; m. Caroline Susan Jean, and had a daughter, Caroline; d. at Arichat, N.S., 26 Oct. 1879.
For many years the North Atlantic fishery had attracted the attention of the commercial and fishing interests of the Channel Islands. When he was 12, Isaac LeVesconte emigrated from Jersey to Arichat, Isle Madame, on the Strait of Canso, a centre for this trade, to work for the family firm of DeCarteret and LeVesconte. This firm shipped fishery supplies, salt, clothing, and manufactured goods from Europe for the use of the fishermen and families, exported dry fish to Brazil and the West Indies in the firm’s own vessels, brought return cargoes of wines from Brazil to England, and carried molasses, sugar, and rum from the West Indies to Nova Scotia. When he was 17, LeVesconte captained one of the firm’s ships to Puerto Rico. About 1855, when Peter DeCarteret returned to Jersey, Isaac LeVesconte was placed in charge of the business at Arichat.
Because of his business acumen and his knowledge of the Bible and the law, LeVesconte was often consulted by the fishermen of Arichat. He was elected as a Conservative to the Legislative Assembly in 1863 representing Richmond County. For a brief period (June 1863–December 1864) he held office as financial secretary in the James W. Johnston–Charles Tupper* administration. LeVesconte, who was a Protestant representing a county with a majority of Roman Catholic voters, played a prominent part in the legislative debate on free schools in 1864, and in 1865 moved an unsuccessful amendment calling for the establishment of separate schools.
On 7 Dec. 1865 LeVesconte and his successor as financial secretary, James MacDonald*, were appointed to represent Nova Scotia on a commission sent by the British North American colonies to open trade relations with the West Indies, Mexico, and Brazil. The report of the commission called for increased trade and improvement in communications with these areas; however, little was accomplished until after confederation. Elected to the House of Commons as member for Richmond in a by-election in April 1869, LeVesconte continued to represent this constituency until his retirement prior to the general election of 1874. He left no great mark in the annals of commons debates, but did prompt Joseph Howe to comment that “he was a queer fish who drank too much.” Later his grandson, Isaac Duncan MacDougall, served for ten years as federal member of parliament for Inverness.
PAC, MG 24, B29 (Howe papers), 4, pp.787–89; 40, pp.21–22 (Joseph Howe to A. Campbell, 29 Jan. 1870). Canada, Province of, Sessional papers, XXVI (1866), pt.4, no.43, pp.1–180. Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and proceedings, 1864–65, 163–65; Journals and proceedings, 1866, app.9. Saunders, Three premiers of N.S. Sister Francis Xavier, “Educational legislation in Nova Scotia and the Catholics,” CCHA Report, 1957, 63–74.