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BEAUDRY (Baudry), JOSEPH-UBALDE, jurist, codifier of laws, and author; b. 15 May 1816 at Montreal, son of Louis Beaudry (Baudry) and Félicité Dubreuil; d. 11 Jan. 1876 at Montreal.
Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry received his classical education at the college of Montreal, where he excelled in languages and the exact sciences. He even defended a thesis on the theories of Euclid. As a clerk – it was before the institution of the faculties of law – in the office of Côme-Séraphin Cherrier*, one of the great figures of the bar at that time, he received his lawyer’s commission in March 1838. He practised for some time at Montreal, but it was not long before he entered judicial administration.
First a clerk of the Court of Requests at Saint-Hyacinthe, Beaudry then returned to Montreal, where he served on the city council for three years as a councillor, from 1847 to 1849, and as an alderman, in 1850. During this period of serious epidemics he advocated various measures for improving sanitation. In 1850 he became clerk of the Court of Appeal, and five years later added to this office that of clerk of the Seigneurial Court, presided over by Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine*. This court concerned itself with changing the system of land tenure in Lower Canada. In 1859 Beaudry was appointed joint clerk of the commission for the codification of laws, which had been created in 1857. This measure, made necessary by the diversity of sources from which laws were derived, ‘had been championed by George-Étienne Cartier. Three commissioners and two secretaries were to classify and coordinate the laws in force, then to submit their work to the judges and the government [see René-Édouard Carom]. After being a secretary for more than six years, Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry succeeded Judge Augustin-Norbert Morin*, who died in 1865, as a commissioner. His part was a notable one, and he is considered one of the principal drafters of the first edition of the Code de procédure civile du Bas-Canada. . . . He was an assistant judge in the Superior Court in December 1868, and was promoted titular judge, with jurisdiction over the district of Montreal, 12 months later. He dispensed justice there for eight years.
Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry was one of the founders, in 1869, of the Revue légale, and one of the compilers of the Lower Canada Reports/Décisions des tribunaux du Bas-Canada. His major work is probably his Code des curés, marguilliers et paroissiens, published in 1870 and considered to be the first real treatise on parish law in Quebec. A founding member in 1859 of the Société Historique de Montréal, which did so much at that time to unearth and make public documents, still scattered, relating to the past of Canadian institutions, Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry was vice-president at the time of his death. He was also on the Catholic school commission of Montreal, and gave strong guidance to the Académie Commerciale Catholique of Montreal, better known later as the École du Plateau. Finally, he had been one of the founders, in 1852, of the Institut National, later reconstituted as the Institut Canadien-Français. This society began as a split from the Institut Canadien of some 135 members who were opposed to political discussions within the walls of the institute; it was chiefly literary [see Cassidy]. Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry drew up its constitution.
Judge Beaudry was carried off by pneumonia after a few days illness. He died on 11 Jan. 1876; nearly 2,000 persons assembled at the parish church of Notre-Dame de Montréal for the impressive funeral. His colleagues of the court, including the chief justice of the province, Sir Antoine-Aimé Dorion*, the judges Charles-Elzéar Mondelet, Joseph-Amable Berthelot*, Samuel Cornwallis Monk*, Vincislas-Paul-Wilfrid Dorion, and Robert Mackay*, accompanied him to his last resting place on the Côte-des-Neiges.
In 1841, at Montreal, Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry had married Caroline Beaudry. He left two sons, one, Pierre-Janvier, who was a lawyer, a protonotary of Beauharnois, and deputy clerk of the privy council of Canada, and another, his namesake, who was a civil engineer.
AJM, Registre d’état civil. PAC, MG 30, D62 (Audet papers), 3, pp.611–12. La Minerve (Montréal), 12 janv. 1876. P.-G. Roy, Les juges de la province de Québec, 37. Lareau, Hist. de la littérature canadienne, 411–17.