BAZIL, LOUIS, merchant, militia officer; b. 1695 in La Rochelle, France, son of Louis Bazil and Marie-Madeleine Moreau; m. 13 Jan. 1721, at Quebec, Charlotte Duroy; buried 20 Feb. 1752 in Quebec.
At the time of his marriage Louis Bazil was engaged in the trade with La Rochelle. There is evidence from the later 1720s that he traded to Martinique and Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) and that he may have built and owned a small trading vessel.
In 1736, perhaps because of good connections, Bazil was granted the concession of a Labrador sealing station at Chateau Bay on the Strait of Belle Isle. Lacking the capital necessary to develop the post, he formed a partnership with three other merchants, François Havy, Jean Lefebvre, and Louis Fornel, who agreed, in exchange for a two-thirds interest in the post, to contribute all the needed investment, including Bazil’s one-third share, which would eventually be repaid them from his portion of the profits. Because of high costs and the marginal success of the seal hunt, the company showed a deficit by 1744, and Bazil was unable to pay his share. The sympathetic governor and intendant, Charles de Beauharnois and Hocquart*, attempted to help Bazil salvage something from his affairs by working out a compromise between him and his partners. But Maurepas, minister of Marine, disdained this coddling, and in 1745 the concession was allowed to expire.
Other incidents suggest that in the 1740s Bazil’s financial position was becoming increasingly precarious. In 1742 a creditor thought it wise to secure on the more solid basis of a mortgage a loan given Bazil the previous year for a promissory note. A small interest in a sealing station at Saint-Modet on the Labrador coast, which Bazil had already farmed out for ready cash, was ceded to the holder of another promissory note dating from 1729. In 1743 Bazil and his wife sold two pieces of land. Indeed, the much-beset merchant complained to the local authorities of his economic distress, which he described as “only too well known.” His name often appears in judicial records, which would seem to bear out Louis Fornel’s assertion that he was one who “besides being insolvent was prone to be litigious.”
In 1749 or earlier, Louis Bazil was saved from indigence by the gift of a writership in the Quebec offices of the Domaine d’Occident. A widower since 1745, in 1751 he rented out part of his house in Rue de Meulles to a tavern-keeper; the following year, in February, he died in the apartment he had kept for himself. The house, which was the only item of value in his estate, was sold to pay his creditors. Through the career of this unsuccessful businessman we glimpse both the humanity and the encumbering favouritism inherent in the Étatisme of the old régime.
AN, Col., B, 81, f.271; C11A, 81, ff.77, 82, 85; 83, f.261; 85; f.21; E, 21 (dossier Louis Bazil); Section Outre-Mer, G1, 462 (mémoire pour la baye des Chateaux, 17 oct. 1742). ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Barbel, 5 janv. 1721; Greffe de C.-H. Du Laurent, 6 mars 1742, 18 sept. 1743, 12 oct. 1748, 26 avril 1749, 29 févr., 21 avril 1752, 3 avril 1753; Greffe de J.-C. Louet, 4 mai 1727, 25 nov. 1729; Greffe de J.-N. Pinguet de Vaucour, 15 sept. 1738, 8 nov. 1741; Greffe de François Rageot, 9 oct. 1742; NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 1713. Inv. de pièces du Labrador (P.-G. Roy), I, 50, 51, 56, 60, 90, 151, 293; II, 201, 229. P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760; Inv. ord. int. Tanguay, Dictionnaire.