GUGY, LOUIS (Jean-Georges-Barthélemy-Guillaume-Louis), seigneur, militia officer, office holder, jp, and politician; b. January 1770 in Paris, son of Barthélemy Gugy and Jeanne-Élisabeth Teissier; m. 27 Feb. 1795 Juliana O’Connor in London, and they had nine children, including Bartholomew Conrad Augustus*; d. 17 July 1840 in Montreal.
Louis Gugy’s family came from Switzerland and had a tradition of military service. It is not surprising, then, to find him serving in France in 1791 as a lieutenant of a regiment of Swiss Guards under his father’s command. For political reasons Gugy had to leave France the following year. He chose to go to Switzerland, where he lived for two years. Subsequently he set off from London for Quebec, disembarking on 26 June 1794. His purpose in coming was to take possession, in his father’s name, of the estate of his uncle Conrad Gugy*. Although he stayed only a couple of months, he became convinced that he should return to settle permanently. After their marriage in London, Gugy and his wife, accompanied by Barthélemy Gugy and his family, sailed on the brig Betsey on 30 May 1795. They reached Quebec on 8 July.
Barthélemy Gugy had inherited from his brother Conrad the seigneuries of Grandpré and Dumontier, as well as half, less seven arpents, of the seigneury of Grosbois. He and his family moved into the manor-house at Yamachiche. At his death on 19 April 1797, Louis became the owner of the property. He continued to live at Yamachiche until at least 1799, but then chose to settle in Trois-Rivières.
Louis’s rapid rise to prominence began with his appointment as sheriff of Trois-Rivières on 13 Aug. 1805. He had been a justice of the peace for the district since 1803, and his commission was renewed in 1805. Three years later he was made a commissioner for the relief of the insane and foundlings for the district of Trois-Rivières. He was commissioned in 1808 to administer the oath to those seeking land grants.
From 1803 Gugy was also active in the militia. He served first as lieutenant and adjutant, and then as captain in the 1st battalion of Trois-Rivières militia. On 19 May 1812 he was promoted major. Transferred on 18 March 1813 to the Berthier battalion of militia, he became its lieutenant-colonel on 25 September.
Along with all these activities Gugy was involved in politics. From 23 Nov. 1809 to 1 March 1810 he represented Saint-Maurice in the House of Assembly. Associated in many people’s minds with the English party, he was accused of siding with Governor Sir James Henry Craig* to the detriment of the assembly On 25 April 1816 Gugy was re-elected in Saint-Maurice. He held his seat until he was appointed to the Legislative Council on 10 April 1818.
One of the élite in Trois-Rivières, Gugy was appointed commissioner for the improvement of internal communications in the district of Trois-Rivières in 1815 and commissioner to erect a courthouse there in 1817. The following year he was named to the board examining applicants for the various posts of inspector of flour and meal. Five years later he became commissioner to carry out repairs on the Anglican church in Trois-Rivières, and in 1826 commissioner responsible for improving the road between Saint-Grégoire (Bécancour) and Longue Pointe in Kingsey Township.
On 3 March 1827 Gugy was appointed sheriff of Montreal and gave up the similar office in Trois-Rivières. The years leading up to the rebellion of 1837–38 were scarcely happy ones for him. During an election in Montreal West there were incidents on 21 May 1832 in which three Canadians were killed by the military [see Daniel Tracey*], and the leaders of the Canadian party accused Gugy of partiality in carrying out his duties. The sheriff’s problems, however, were only beginning.
On 2 March 1836 a committee of the house examined the initial report of a special committee investigating the fees and revenues collected by sheriffs, protonotaries, and court ushers of the courts of Appeal and of King’s Bench by virtue of their respective offices. It also studied a section of the report dealing with the death of John Collins in the Montreal jail in December 1835. The debate centred on Gugy. He was accused of fraud in his financial reports, of perjury during his examination by the special committee, and of negligence, both in supervising subordinate officers and in maintaining the prison. The assembly carried out the committee’s recommendation that an address be sent to Governor Lord Gosford [Acheson] asking him to dismiss Gugy from his office as sheriff and to deny him any position of honour or profit in the future. On 6 March 1836 the governor promised to take the appropriate measures, subject first to hearing Gugy’s defence. Then the case was submitted to London, which in the spring of 1837 issued instructions that Gugy was to be dismissed as sheriff. In April Roch de Saint-Ours assumed the office. Three years later Gugy died in Montreal.
Louis Gugy’s loyalty to the crown had been the outstanding feature of his career, and from this attachment came both his successes and his reverses.
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