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MACAULAY, ZACHARY, sailor, merchant, seigneur, manager of the Saint-Maurice ironworks, jp, and militia officer; b. c. 1739; m. Genevieve Burrow, and they had three sons and three daughters; d. 18 April 1821 in Montreal.

Zachary Macaulay took part in the siege of Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), in 1758 and in that of Quebec the following year as a midshipman on the Princess of Orange. Settled at Quebec by 1764, he bought a two-storey stone house on Rue du Sault-au-Matelot in Lower Town in 1765, where he opened a general store. Although James Cuthbert*, the seigneur of Berthier, had granted him an island in his seigneury, Macaulay continued to live at Quebec. In 1773 he joined a committee of local merchants chaired by William Grant* which sought constitutional reform. That year he went to London with Thomas Walker to press for a house of assembly. In 1774 he fought against the passage of the Quebec Act, which was unfavourable to the merchants’ interests, and he subsequently agitated for its repeal [see Guy Carleton*].

In 1776 and 1780 Macaulay considered leaving the province but did not carry out his plans. However, in 1782 he decided to dispose of his property and put a notice in the Quebec Gazette offering for sale his house on Rue du Sault-au-Matelot, another on Rue Saint-Henri in Upper Town, and two pieces of land at Cap-Rouge, one bought in 1779 that had a house, barn, sawmill, and other buildings on it. The following year merchants James Dunlop* and John Wilson took legal action against him, and the Court of Common Pleas ordered the seizure of his property, which at that time included his two houses and the seigneuries of Rivière-de-la-Madeleine and Grande-Vallée-des-Monts. He retained possession of 120 arpents in the seigneury of Autray and another property of similar size in Berthier seigneury. But since Macaulay failed to pay the cens et rentes and clear his Berthier lands, Cuthbert threatened to reincorporate them into the domain.

In 1785 Macaulay went to England, and on his return he settled in Yamachiche, a heavily wooded region from which he hoped to make money. Probably through his commercial activity, he came into contact with Mathew Bell*, who along with David Monro and George Davison* was leasing the Saint-Maurice ironworks. Macaulay became manager of these works around 1794, the year that Bell sold him a piece of land in Trois-Rivières. From then on Macaulay seemed to be the guiding force behind the undertaking, and as superintendent or foreman he signed the contracts for hiring workmen and numerous notarized deeds connected with the running of the ironworks.

In 1797 Macaulay received a commission as justice of the peace in the district of Trois-Rivières, and it was periodically renewed until 1815. In 1798 he was a captain in the Saint-Maurice ironworks battalion of militia, and in July 1816 he was promoted major in the Trois-Rivières battalion. Little is known of his private life. On 2 Aug. 1796 he had signed a notarized declaration freeing his black slave Jenny, aged about 35. Three years later he was present as a witness and friend at Bell’s wedding. He had, then, won the esteem of the man whom he had first known as his employer.

On 13 June 1821, two months after Macaulay’s death, an inventory of his belongings was made. It reveals that he had been living in the main house at the ironworks and owned a few clothes, a watch, pencil, and chain, all of gold, two dozen silver spoons, and 21 books. The firm of Monro and Bell had owed him £2,645 1s. 2d. since 17 Jan. 1810 and his salary as manager of the ironworks since 31 Dec. 1817. That Macaulay had accepted this situation shows his loyalty and attachment to the enterprise in which he had worked for 25 years. Since only a few things were found in his father’s house, Henry Macaulay came directly into possession of them without having to evaluate and sell them.

Marie-France Fortier

ANQ-MBF, CN1-4, 2 août 1796, 17 sept. 1799; CN1-6, 13 juin 1821. ANQ-Q, CN1-205, 6 mai 1769, 28 déc. 1770, 6 déc. 1776, 21 déc. 1779, 26 janv. 1780, 24 avril 1780. PAC, RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. Quebec Gazette, 9 April, 12 Sept. 1776; 21 Sept. 1780; 8 Aug. 1782; 9 Jan. 1783; 4 May 1786; 11 July 1816. “Papiers d’État,” PAC Rapport, 1890: 50, 56. Quebec almanac, 1798–1821. Benjamin Sulte, Mélanges historiques . . . , Gérard Malchelosse, édit. (21v., Montréal, 1918–34), 21: 42–46. Douglas Brymner, “Zachary Macaulay,” BRH, 2 (1896): 172–73. Benjamin Sulte, “Zachary Macaulay,” Le Bien public (Trois-Rivières, Qué.), 21 nov. 1918: 7. “Zachary Macaulay, père de lord Macaulay?” BRH, 52 (1946): 220–21.

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Marie-France Fortier, “MACAULAY, ZACHARY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed December 5, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/macaulay_zachary_6E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/macaulay_zachary_6E.html
Author of Article:   Marie-France Fortier
Title of Article:   MACAULAY, ZACHARY
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1987
Year of revision:   1987
Access Date:   December 5, 2023