BERMEN, LAURENT, notary at Quebec from 1647 to 1649.
Since the time of Nicolas (first clerk to have signed an act in New France, 1621), it had been customary to allow clerks of court to receive acts and agreements. But Laurent Bermen was the first, in the acts which he drew up, to style himself royal notary. He had no reason to assume this title, since from 1627 to 1663 the Compagnie des Cent-Associés held the right of haute, moyenne et basse justice in New France, and alone could appoint officials and officers of justice. Bermen could have been only a sort of seigneurial notary in the service of the Company, which itself held seigneury over New France, for only the king, or one of his representatives specifically designated, could appoint royal notaries. Claude Lecoustre (1647–1648), Guillaume Audouart (1649–1663), Jean Durand (1653–1654) and Louis Rouer de Villeray (1653–1657) had no more right than Bermen to the title of royal notary, and for the same reasons. From 11 Aug. 1647 to 27 Oct. 1649, Bermen received 39 notarial acts. Nothing more is known about him.
AJQ, Greffe de Laurent Bermen, 1647–49. “Les notaires au Canada,” APQ Rapport 1921–22, 11f. André Vachon, Histoire du notariat canadien, 1621–1960 (Québec, 1962); “Inventaire critique des notaires royaux des gouvernements de Québec, Montréal et Trois-Rivières (1663–1764), RHAF, X (1956–57), 97f.