SAILLANT (Saillant de Collégien), JEAN-ANTOINE (Antoine-Jean), royal notary, attorney to the Conseil Supérieur, and lawyer; b. 1720 in Paris, France, son of Jacques Saillant, a notary, and Anne Laurent; d. 9 Oct. 1776 at Quebec.
Jean-Antoine Saillant came from a prominent French family – his father was a lawyer, king’s councillor, and controller of annuities for the city of Paris. He also had influential relatives in Canada, where, for reasons unknown, he arrived around 1745. On 27 Dec. 1749 he received a commission as royal notary to practise throughout the Government of Quebec. His clientele included such important people as Intendant Bigot and the Péan, Duchesnay, and Duchambon families. An accomplished notary, he practised from 1750 to 1776, drawing up 2, 817 deeds.
In Montreal on 12 Jan. 1750, in the presence of Governor La Jonquière [Taffanel*] and Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil, Saillant married Véronique, the daughter of Pierre Pépin, dit Laforce, royal surveyor and former king’s storekeeper at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.); he thus allied himself with a prominent family in the colony. Shortly after, probably through his relatives – he was a nephew of Nicolas Boisseau, chief clerk of the Conseil Supérieur, and a cousin of Nicolas-Gaspard Boisseau*, the chief clerk of the provost court of Quebec, and of Jacques Perrault, known as Perrault l’aîné, an important Quebec merchant-trader – he was appointed attorney to the Conseil Supérieur, where his services were highly esteemed.
Under the British régime Saillant continued to practise as a notary and attorney. On 29 Dec. 1760 Governor Murray granted him a commission as royal notary for the whole of the Government of Quebec. As attorney Saillant was the impassioned defence counsel for the Séminaire de Québec (1762), and for La Corriveau [Marie-Josephte Corriveau*] in her two trials in 1763 (both of his addresses to the court have been preserved in full). In 1765 Murray commissioned him to compile the list of recognitions of sovereignty and census of the fiefs and lands in his seigneury of Lauson. Saillant demanded such a high fee that the governor refused to pay him. After arbitration his work was deemed worth 3,600 livres, and he was given three months to deliver copies of the title-deeds to the habitants. On this occasion Saillant had the notarial acts drawn up on printed forms, making the first such use of printing in Canada. His good reputation was demonstrated when he became the fourth Canadian to be commissioned as a lawyer by the British authorities, on 9 July 1766, although he had already been authorized to act in this capacity before the Court of Common Pleas in 1765.
Notary, attorney, and lawyer, Saillant was never wealthy, although he inherited nearly 6,000 livres from his parents. When he died in Quebec on 9 Oct. 1776, his estate was so heavily burdened with debts that his second wife, Louise-Catherine Roussel, whom he had married in Quebec in 1757, refused to act as the administrator.
Jean-Antoine Saillant’s notarial register, 1750–76, is held at ANQ-Q. ANQ-Q, NF 25, 56, no.2126; 58, no.2467. PRO, WO 71/49, pp.213–14; 71/137, p.60. Quebec Gazette, 21 March, 27 June, 15 Aug. 1765, 23 March 1775. “Cahier des témoignages de liberté au mariage commancé le 15 avril 1757,” ANQ Rapport, 1951–53, 52. Labrèque, “Inv. de pièces détachées,” ANQ Rapport, 1971, 6, 324, 360, 369, 393. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 395–96; Inv. ord. int., III, 137; “Les notaires au Canada sous le Régime français,” ANQ Rapport, 1921–22, 52. J.-E. Roy, Histoire de la seigneurie de Lauzon (5v., Lévis, Qué., 1897–1904), III, 12–15; Hist. du notariat, I, 361; II, 17, 26, 29. F.-J. Audet, “Les députés du Barreau de la province de Québec,” Cahiers des Dix, 2 (1937), 213. Lue Lacourcière, “Le triple destin de Marie-Josephte Corriveau (1733–1763),” Cahiers des Dix, 33 (1968), 213–42. Jacques Mathieu, “Un négociant de Québec à l’époque de la Conquête: Jacques Perrault l’aine,” ANQ Rapport, 1970, 31, 58, 66.