DUMAS SAINT-MARTIN, JEAN, merchant-trader and justice of the peace; b. February 1725 at Montauban, France, son of Pierre Dumas and Marie Calquieres; d. 18 June 1794 in Montreal (Que.).
Jean Dumas Saint-Martin probably arrived in Quebec a few years before the conquest with Alexandre Dumas*, a merchant-trader to whom he was related. On 30 Oct. 1756, in the presence of notary Jean-Claude Panet, the two signed a document which saved the merchant-trader Pierre Révol* from ruin: with Jean Dumas Saint-Martin going surety for him, Alexandre Dumas agreed to pay Révol’s numerous creditors a part of their claims. Subsequently Dumas Saint-Martin settled in Montreal as a merchant-trader, the occupation given on his marriage contract with Madeleine Gimbal, née Morisseau, signed on 7 Jan. 1764 in Montreal.
Of Huguenot origin, Dumas Saint-Martin was chosen by Governor Murray in January 1765 to be a justice of the peace for the District of Montreal. In 1767 he was a partner of Christophe Pélissier and others, who in June that year obtained a lease of the Saint-Maurice ironworks for 16 years. Dumas was to sell its products in Montreal; around 1770 he was replaced in this function by Jacob Jordan. Among those with whom the partnership involved Dumas were Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Dunn* and Benjamin Price*, both members of the Council of Quebec, and Brook Watson*, an important British merchant. Dumas thus gained entry to an influential circle, but how much use he made of it in his business is unknown. His commercial affairs are not mentioned in available documents, not even in his will, which was drawn up in 1791. There Dumas stated that he did not know “what condition [his] estate will be in.”
Like other merchants in the colony, Dumas Saint-Martin took an interest in its political life, calling for the creation of a house of assembly and the preservation of French laws except in commercial dealings. In 1789 he signed the address of the Montreal Protestants welcoming the Church of England bishop Charles Inglis*. Close to the English speaking community through his religion and his business interests, Dumas Saint-Martin was linked by language and culture to the Canadians. In his will “poor Canadians” and “poor Protestants” were treated with equal generosity.
No children were born of Dumas’s marriage to Madeleine Morisseau; however, the couple became fond of their nephew Michel, the son of Antoine-Libéral Dumas, whom they had “as it were brought up” and whom they designated as their sole legatee. Dumas Saint-Martin died on 18 June 1794 and was buried the next day in the Church of England cemetery in Montreal; his wife received a Catholic burial upon her death six years later.
ANQ-M, État civil, Anglicans, Christ Church (Montréal), 19 June 1794; Greffe de Louis Chaboillez, 21 déc. 1791, 28 janv. 1794, 24 nov. 1804; Greffe de P.-F. Mézière, 7 janv. 1764. ANQ-Q, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Québec, 7 oct. 1766; Greffe de J.-C. Panet, 30 oct. 1756. Doc. relatifs à l’hist. constitutionnelle, 1759–91 (Shortt et Doughty; 1921), II, 786–88. Quebec Gazette, 4 Oct. 1764, 15 Oct. 1767, 18 May, 16, 23 June, 3 Nov. 1785, 18 Dec. 1788, 16 July 1789, 19 July 1792. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), VI, 144. Tousignant, “La genèse et l’avènement de la constitution de 1791,” 309. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Jean Dumas Saint-Martin, négociant et magistrat,” BRH, XXVIII (1922), 86–89; “Les tribunaux de police de Montréal,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 181–82. P.-G. Roy, “Lafamille Dumas,” BRH, XLV (1939), 161–64; “Le faux-saunier Pierre Revol,” BRH, L (1944), 227, 234.