PLAMONDON, LOUIS, author, lawyer, militia officer, and office holder; b. 29 April 1785 in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que., son of Joseph Plamondon, a farmer and miller, and Louise Robitaille; m. 30 Sept. 1811 Rosalie Amiot, daughter of Jean-Nicolas Amiot, a silversmith, at Quebec, and they had one daughter; d. 1 Jan. 1828 in Saint-Ambroise (Loretteville), Lower Canada, where he was buried four days later.
When he was six, Louis Plamondon was taken in charge by Charles-Joseph Brassard Deschenaux, parish priest of Notre-Dame-de-l’Annonciation in L’Ancienne-Lorette. He spent his childhood at the presbytery, where he came in contact with priests, members of the colony’s administration, and important people of the Quebec region whom the parish priest regularly entertained. He learned to read and write, and was allowed to browse at leisure in his benefactor’s imposing library, which contained about 2,200 volumes.
Plamondon studied at the Petit Séminaire de Québec from 1797 to 1804. He chose the priesthood as his vocation, perhaps under Brassard Deschenaux’s influence; on 16 Jan. 1803 he received the tonsure, but in the end he went into law. Beginning in 1805, he was articled first to lawyer James Kerr*, then to James Shepherd, and lastly to Andrew Stuart*. During his legal studies he published a 64-page booklet entitled Almanach des dames pour l’année 1807, par un jeune Canadien; this work in verse and prose was dedicated to Rosalie Amiot. He also was one of the founders of the Literary Society of Quebec and served as its secretary under the presidency of François Romain. In this capacity he was called upon to award a silver medal to John Fleming, the winner of a literary competition organized by the society in 1809. For the occasion Plamondon delivered a laudatory speech on King George III’s reign, making frequent allusions to the political situation in Lower Canada which was marked at the time by great tension between Governor Sir James Henry Craig* and the Canadian party.
Plamondon was licensed as an advocate, barrister, attorney, and solicitor on 1 Aug. 1811, and he devoted his time primarily to the practice of his profession. His clients were drawn in large part from the farmers and artisans of the Quebec region, although he sometimes served as attorney for people residing in the District of Montreal. Since there is no list of the briefs he took, it is difficult to make an exact estimate of his income; presumably he made at least £500 a year.
In addition to arguing in court Plamondon trained young men in the law. Among others, Joseph Bouchette*’s son Samuel-Louis and John Hale*’s son Bernard, as well as Thomas Cushing Aylwin*, articled in his office. In 1826 he undertook to give free weekly lectures in law. According to the Quebec Gazette of 6 November, the first lecture, which dealt with the definition of law and the history of procedure, “exhibited great judgment and research, and it was delivered with the ease that gentle[man] so much possesses.” That year Plamondon succeeded the late Joseph-Bernard Planté as inspector general of the royal domain and clerk of the land roll for Lower Canada, and to a degree abandoned legal work.
In addition to his professional concerns Plamondon was actively involved in his community. He served in the militia during the War of 1812. At first a captain in the Quebec Volunteers, he became a lieutenant in the town’s 2nd Militia Battalion, and ended the war in the 6th Select Embodied Militia Battalion of Lower Canada. In September 1818 he was put in charge of collecting donations for the establishment of a dispensary at Quebec. He also served as a director of the Quebec Assembly, a social organization that arranged dinners and parties, and he was one of the few French-speaking members of the Quebec Library. In 1821 he helped found the Quebec Education Society, which began its work amidst the endeavours of the government, clergy, and the most influential members of the rising local bourgeoisie to set up a school system in Lower Canada [see Joseph-François Perrault*].
Louis Plamondon died on 1 Jan. 1828 reputedly from the effects of his excesses as a bon vivant. His colleagues Andrew Stuart, George Vanfelson*, Louis Lagueux, Joseph-Rémi Vallières* de Saint-Réal, André-Rémi Hamel*, and Georges-Barthélemi Faribault* were present at his interment in the parish of Saint-Ambroise. His wife renounced the joint estate, which was “more burdensome than profitable,” and had to surrender more than £2,600 in bonds to cover the mortgage for their house on Rue Saint-Louis. His daughter, Rosalie-Louise-Geneviève, who married Montreal merchant John Anthony Donegani* in 1830, also renounced her father’s estate, contenting herself with her mother’s jointure. Plamondon was remembered personally as intelligent, witty, and given to incisive, mordant repartee.
Louis Plamondon is the author of Almanach des dames pour l’année 1807, par un jeune Canadien (Québec, ) and of a discourse which appeared in Séance de la Société littéraire de Québec, tenue samedi, le 3e juin, 1809 (Québec, 1809).
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 30 sept. 1811; CE1-2, 29 avril 1785; CE1-28, 5 janv. 1828; CN1-178, 2 avril 1827, 20 juin 1828; CN1-208, 12 févr., 20 juill., 18 déc. 1820; 14 avril 1821; 31 janv., 11 sept. 1822; 22 janv., 29 avril, 20, 28 mai 1823; P1000-81–1672. ASQ, Fichier des anciens. Quebec Gazette, 13 April 1809; 14 Sept., 10 Dec. 1818; 15 June 1820; 10 May 1821; 6 Nov. 1826; 3 Jan. 1828. Caron, “Inv. de la corr. de Mgr Denaut,” ANQ Rapport, 1931–32: 201. Hare et Wallot, Les imprimés dans le Bas-Canada. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving). P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec. Aubert de Gaspé, Mémoires (1866). Antonio Drolet, Les bibliothèques canadiennes, 1604–1960 (Ottawa, 1965). Galarneau, La France devant l’opinion canadienne (1760–1815). Jolois, J.-F. Perrault. J.-E. Roy, Hist. du notariat, 2: 366–67, 369. Alfred Duclos De Celles, “Louis Plamondon,” BRH, 8 (1902): 242–44. J.-J. Lefebvre, “La vie sociale du grand Papineau,” RHAF, 11 (1957–58): 474.