CAZES, CHARLES DE, politician; b. in 1808 in Brittany; d. 4 Oct. 1867 at Montreal.
The notary Charles de Cazes landed at Quebec in 1854 with his wife, Constance Arnaud, and his children. He immediately settled in the Eastern Townships. By a contract drawn up on 11 Oct. 1854, de Cazes purchased a piece of land of about 100 acres, at a cost of £100, in the sixth concession of Shipton Township (near Danville). Charles de Cazes’s coming to Canada cannot be placed within any general movement, although the 1850s showed a slight increase in French immigration to Lower Canada. But his settling in the Eastern Townships is explained by the nationalist policy of the civil and religious authorities of French Canada, which aimed at increasing the numbers of French and Catholic inhabitants in a region where the newcomers were almost entirely Anglo-Saxon.
De Cazes quickly established himself in Lower Canada and soon shared with the leaders of his adopted country the ideal of making the Eastern Townships a French community. In the elections of 9 July 1861, he was elected mla for Richmond-Wolfe and thus became the first person of French origin and the first Francophone representative of the Eastern Townships to sit in the Legislative Assembly of United Canada. Although he began as a declared independent in parliament, he soon supported the Liberal-Conservatives of George-Étienne Cartier* and gave his attention particularly to immigration, settlement, and agriculture. In the majority of his speeches, as in the occasional article he published in newspapers, he showed concern for the future of French Canada. A lecture on “The organization of agriculture,” delivered at the Institut Canadien of Quebec and printed in Le Courrier du Canada of 6 May 1863, is of great interest for historians of the period. In it de Cazes describes the disastrous state of agriculture in Lower Canada in the 1860s; he deplores the lack of an agricultural policy, which he considers the cause of the woefully inadequate immigration; finally, he sets forth his hope that an organizational framework for agriculture would naturally bring about the creation of that industry and then other industries according to need.
The parliamentary career of Charles de Cazes was short. In the 1863 election he lost the mandate of Richmond-Wolfe to William Hoste Webb*. Thus removed from politics, he was appointed inspector of schools for the constituencies of Saint-Hyacinthe, Bagot, and Rouville. While carrying out his duties he was stricken by a disease of the liver to which he succumbed on 4 Oct. 1867 at Montreal, where he was undergoing treatment. He was buried at Wotton, near his wife who had died a few years earlier. He was survived by two married daughters in France, and by two sons in Canada: Charles, who became a papal Zouave, and Paul-Marie. The latter was called to the bar in 1869, practised law at Saint-Hyacinthe, and contributed to several newspapers. He entered the Department of Public Instruction in 1886, later becoming its secretary, and published several historical works.
JIP, octobre 1867, 134. Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, 8, 10 oct. 1867. Le Courrier du Canada, 12 juill. 1861; 21, 31 mars, 2, 11, 28, 30 avril, 2, 7, 21, 26 mai, 16 juin 1862; 13 févr., 4, 6, 26 mars, 8 mai, 22, 26 juin 1863; 30 sept., 2 oct. 1865; 8, 9, 10 oct. 1867. Le Pionnier de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Qué.), 11, 18 oct. 1867. Richmond Guardian (Richmond, Que.), Oct. 1867. The Canadian men and women of the time: a hand-book of Canadian biography of living characters, ed. H. J. Morgan (2nd ed., Toronto, 1912). Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose, 1888), 378. Desjardins, Guide parlementaire. The encyclopedia of Canada, ed. W. S. Wallace (6v., Toronto, 1935–37), II, 17. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, I, 480. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 84. L. S. Channell, History of Compton County and sketches of the Eastern Townships, district of St. Francis, and Sherbrooke County (Cookshire, Que., 1896). Maurice O’Bready, Histoire de Wotton, comté de Wolfe, P.Q. (Sherbrooke, Qué., 1949), 126–27. “Charles de Cazes,” BRH, XLII (1936), 87. “Les disparus,” BRH, XXXIII (1927), 95.