BOUTEROUE D’AUBIGNY, CLAUDE DE, chevalier, intendant of New France 1668–70; b. 1620 in Paris, son of Claude Bouteroue, a lawyer of the Cour du Parlement, and of Claude Rolland; d. 1680.
His family were members of the noblesse de robe who had served the Crown for some few generations. On 25 June 1644 in Paris he signed a contract of marriage with Marie Lescot (or Lescault), with whom he had a daughter. In 1654 he held the post of councillor in the Cour des monnaies, a special court located in Paris to deal with offences committed by employees of the 30 royal mints. In 1666 he published an important study of ancient French coins, Recherches curieuses des monnayes de France depuis le commencement de la monarchie (Paris, 1666).
Early in 1668 he was chosen by Colbert to replace Jean Talon, who had asked to be allowed to return to France on grounds of ill health. Bouteroue arrived at Quebec in September, accompanied by his daughter. He was described by a nursing sister at the Hôtel-Dieu, Quebec, as being a tall, handsome man, very knowledgeable and courteous, “who knew how to make himself both feared and liked.” He was fortunate in that Talon’s secretary and deputy, Jean-Baptiste Patoulet, had remained in the colony and was of great assistance, advising him on Canadian affairs and drafting the annual dispatches to the minister. Bouteroue was, however, reputed to be assiduous in his duties and was instrumental in having an edict passed by the Conseil Souverain to curb the sale of brandy to the Indians, who committed the most heinous crimes when inebriated. Unfortunately, he did not get on well with Rémy de Courcelle, the governor-general of the colony – few men did – and Courcelle complained to Colbert that Bouteroue was too much under the influence of Bishop Laval*. Colbert defended Bouteroue, informing Courcelle that the intendant was held in high regard in France and had always fulfilled his duties in a proper manner.
In 1670 Jean Talon, who had been reappointed intendant, reached Quebec and Bouteroue returned to France that autumn. Talon, in a letter to Colbert, declared, rather condescendingly, that although Bouteroue lacked some of the qualities needed for the post of intendant in New France, he had done his best and had earned the esteem of the leading citizens in the colony. In France, Bouteroue took up residence in Paris and was occasionally consulted by Colbert on Canadian affairs before his death in 1680.
The letters and dispatches of Bouteroue have not survived. The édits and ordonnances enacted by the Conseil Souverain during his term of office may be found in Jug. et délib., I. AN, Col., C11G, 12; repr. in PAC Rapport, 1899, Supp. 237f., 240f. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1939–40, 207ff., Résumé des instructions du roi au sieur Bouteroue s’en allant au Canada comme intendant, 5 avril 1668. Ord. comm. (P.-G. Roy), I, 85–95. “Armes de Bouteroue,” BRH, VIII (1902), 343. “Commission de l’intendant Bouteroue pour la récepte du 10% (20 juillet 1670),” BRH, XXXIII (1927), 125f. “Inventaire des ordonnances, 1669,” BRH, VIII (1902), 341–43.
Revisions based on:
Arch. Nationales (Paris, Fontainebleau et Pierrefitte-sur-Seine), Minutier central, LXVI, n°99, 25 juin 1644.