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d. 24 June 1794 in Montreal (Que.)


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MARCHAND, ÉTIENNE, priest and vicar general; b. 26 Nov. 1707 at Quebec, son of Étienne Marchand, a carpenter, and Marie-Anne Durand; d. 11 Jan. 1774 in the Hôpital Général of Quebec.

Étienne Marchand was the eldest of seven children. His parents were ardent Christians who had joined the brotherhood of Sainte-Anne in 1715. According to Jacques Viger*, Marchand attended the College de Québec and then went to France to do his studies in theology. He remained there for three years. Returning to Quebec in 1731, he was ordained priest on 21 October by Bishop Dosquet in the chapel of the episcopal palace. The following year he succeeded Joseph Dufrost de La Gemerais as parish priest of Champlain. In October 1735 he became priest of the parish of Sainte-Famille-de-Boucherville. On 30 Sept. 1740, shortly after the death of Bishop François-Louis de Pourroy* de Lauberivière, the chapter of Quebec appointed him vicar general for the administrative district of Montreal after the Sulpician Maurice Courtois had refused the post. At the request of the seigneur and habitants of Boucherville, the chapter at the same time acknowledged him as the incumbent of the parish and sent him papers indicating this appointment was permanent. He remained vicar general until the death of Bishop Pontbriand [Dubreil*] in 1760.

After 1764 Abbé Marchand played a more prominent role in the church in Canada. On 9 September of that year, Étienne Montgolfier, superior of the Séminaire de Montréal, faced with Murray’s prejudices against him, resigned as vicar general of the District of Montreal and invited the chapter to replace him with someone “who is not even from the Saint-Sulpice community.” Two days later, the chapter chose Marchand. Murray prided himself on having instigated the appointment. He considered “This Marchand . . . a good honest hearty fellow . . . & wt proper Address may be brought to speak out and answer every purpose.” When Briand returned to Canada as bishop in the summer of 1766, Marchand was confirmed in his responsibilities. On 25 July the new bishop sent him his letters of appointment and at the same time announced that Montgolfier was being appointed as a second vicar general of Montreal, in order to ease Marchand’s burden. In addition to his other duties Montgolfier was given special responsibility for the pays d’ en haut and was made ecclesiastical superior of the female religious orders; Marchand had only to guide the parishes on the south side of the St Lawrence.

Marchand enjoyed both the confidence and the respect of his bishop. Briand entrusted him with many tasks requiring sensitive handling and at one point even considered proposing him as coadjutor. In July 1766 when Joseph-François Perrault, vicar general of the District of Quebec, suggested that the parish priests and communities should be called upon to provide for the bishop’s maintenance through an annual contribution, Marchand supported the proposal. The plan fell through only because Bishop Briand had reservations about it, being convinced “that nothing should be taken from the people or the parish priests for the bishop.”

In May 1773, weakened by illness, Marchand entered the Hôpital Général in Quebec; he died there on 11 Jan. 1774. According to Pierre-Georges Roy*, it was during his stay in hospital that the vicar general wrote a mock-heroic poem in two cantos entitled “Les troubles de l’Église en Canada en 1728.” The poem recounts the dispute between ecclesiastical and civil officials at the time of the burial of Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*] at the Hôpital Général [see Claude-Thomas Dupuy*]. This poetic endeavour, Roy states, “is not a masterpiece but contains poetry of unusual satirical vigour.”

Devoted and retiring, Marchand served the Canadian church with zeal and love. His sense of balance and prudence stood Bishop Briand in good stead when the church, with little freedom of action, was going through difficult times.

Gilles Chaussé

[Jacques Viger was probably the first to transcribe, from an unknown source, the poetic exercise attributed to Étienne Marchand. His manuscript is in ASQ, Fonds Viger-Verreau, Sér.O, 0181. François-Maximilien Bibaud* cited the poem as “La querelle de l’Église” in his Dictionnaire historique des hommes illustres du Canada et de lAmérique (Montreal, 1857), but in his Bibliothèque canadienne, ou annales bibliographiques (Montreal, [1858]), he entitled it “Les troubles de l’Église du Canada en 1728.” Pierre-Georges Roy published it in BRH, III (1897), 11421, 13238.  g.c.]

AAQ, 10 B, 119v, 123v, 124, 253v, 254v; 1 CB, V, 16f., 20, 22f., 2528. ACAM, 901.004. ANQ-Q, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Québec, 27 nov. 1707. ASQ, Fonds Viger-Verreau, Sér.O, 0181; 0227, pp.2224; Polygraphie, XXIX, 16, p.460. PAC, MG 23, GII, 1, ser.1, 2, 206; GIV, 8. Mandements des évêques de Québec (Têtu et Gagnon), II, 18082. Allaire, Dictionnaire, I, 362. Desrosiers, “Corr. de cinq vicaires généraux,” ANQ Rapport, 194748, 76, 1019. P.-G. Roy, Fits de Québec, I, 17173. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 409; V, 492; Répertoire, 108. P.-G. Roy, “Les troubles de l’Église du Canada,” BRH, II (1896), 14142,173.

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Cite This Article

Gilles Chaussé, “MARCHAND, ÉTIENNE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 24, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/marchand_etienne_4E.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/marchand_etienne_4E.html
Author of Article:   Gilles Chaussé
Title of Article:   MARCHAND, ÉTIENNE
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   June 24, 2024