GAUDRON DE CHEVREMONT, CHARLES-RENÉ, clerk in the office of the Marine, royal notary, judge; b. 5 July 1702 at Linas (dept. of Essonne), France, son of Nicolas Gaudron, postmaster, and Marie Gohel; m. 7 Jan. 1730 Marie-Bénigne Derome who bore him ten children; d. in France sometime before April 1745.
Charles-René Gaudron de Chevremont came to Canada in 1726 as one of Governor Charles de Beauharnois’s secretaries. He pursued a career in the civil service, enjoying the governor’s protection in all his endeavours. When Gilles Hocquart* arrived in the colony in 1729 he employed Gaudron as writer in the office of the Marine. Three years later, on 27 July 1732, Hocquart gave him a commission as royal notary in Montreal and on the same day added to the office of writer that of clerk. Although these appointments were necessary, Beauharnois was probably responsible for Gaudron’s being chosen. Settled in Montreal, Gaudron was appointed judge of the newly created seigneurial court of Île Jésus on 16 April 1734 by the directors of the seminary of Quebec; he apparently held this position for two years.
Soon after arriving in Canada Gaudron began to run up debts in France and Canada. He appears to have dabbled in commerce of one form or another. His financial situation is not documented but his marriage contract of 1729 suggests modest means. In 1733 he turned down the opportunity to become special lieutenant of the royal jurisdiction of Montreal, preferring his emoluments as notary to the poorly paid job of judge.
A fire in Montreal in 1734 [see Marie-Joseph-Angélique*] destroyed the house he was renting from the widow of François Poulin* de Francheville, but he managed to save his official papers. His moving appeal for compensation for a loss of 6,000 livres and a request for a brevet of writer got a flattering recommendation from Beauharnois and Hocquart, but the minister of Marine, Maurepas, firmly refused this request and similar later ones. Maurepas did not want to increase the number of offices in Canada, or to compensate individuals for losses in the fire for fear of establishing an expensive precedent.
As royal notary in Montreal Gaudron de Chevremont counted among his clientele the most respectable families of the town. Many indentures for the west are in Gaudron’s register. As clerk in the office of the Marine Gaudron’s tasks included keeping a register of receipts and expenditures at the king’s store, overseeing receipt, delivery, preservation and quality of the king’s munitions and supplies, and recording precisely shipments made to the king’s posts. More frustrating, perhaps, was his obligation to pursue individuals for their debts to the crown.
In the spring of 1738 Hocquart sent Gaudron to audit the accounts of the king’s storekeepers at the forts of Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) and Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.). The king reserved their trade for his own account, and the profits had declined so rapidly that the minister suspected abuses by Pierre Pépin, dit Laforce, storekeeper at Niagara. Gaudron analysed the accounts for the preceding ten years and made an inventory of merchandise. Hocquart concluded from this report that Pépin was a man of probity, guilty only of negligence, and attributed decline in profits to increased competition by the English based at Chouaguen (Oswego) who offered unlimited quantities of rum to the Indians. To compete, Pépin was compelled to sell his trade goods at a loss. Gaudron’s investigation underscored the shortage of educated, experienced men for the civil service in Canada, and may also have been a major factor in the decision taken in 1742 to abandon royal exploitation of the trade at forts Niagara and Frontenac and to farm it out to the highest bidder.
A year after this assignment, in 1739, Gaudron de Chevremont returned to France apparently hoping to remain there. Just before he came back in 1740, he visited Pierre Hazeur* de L’Orme, canon and Parisian agent of the cathedral chapter of Quebec, who found him an amiable and intelligent fellow with differing opinions of Beauharnois and of Hocquart. The intendant may have had some dissatisfaction with Gaudron’s report on the Niagara trade; in any case in his report on civil employees in the colony in 1740 he charged that Gaudron performed his functions as clerk in the office of the Marine only superficially and busied himself with other affairs unrelated to his various official duties. He intended to dismiss him as soon as he could find a more useful subject, and did so in 1741, but in the meantime employed him as inspector of commerce.
Gaudron de Chevremont, protesting to Maurepas, requested a half-pay pension to support his numerous family. Despite Beauharnois’s support, Maurepas accepted Hocquart’s decision, refusing Gaudron the pension on the grounds that these were given only to employees forced to retire owing to age or infirmities. Fortunately for Gaudron the governor proved himself a protector in deed as well as in word: in 1742 Beauharnois employed him as his attorney, sending him to France to look after private affairs. His wife and two of his children joined him in France in 1744.
In a letter to Beauharnois of April 1745 Maurepas comments that he thought Charles-René Gaudron de Chevremont had died some time before.
AD, Yvelines (Versailles), État civil, Linas, 11 déc. 1695, 5 juill. 1702. AN, Col., B, 63, ff.474v–75v; 64, ff.420vf.; 72, ff.364f.; 74, ff.434f.; 76, ff.421f.; 81, ff.280f.; C11A, 53, pp.206, 213 (PAC transcripts); 60, f.38v; 61, ff.250–51, 252–53; 73, ff.300, 306–9v; 75, f.167v; 77, ff.106v, 117f.; 79, f.138v; 81, ff.134–35v, 178–79v; 82, f.275; D2D, 1; E, 81. ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Barbel, 21 oct. 1733; Greffe de J.-É. Dubreuil, 20 nov. 1739; NF, Documents de la juridiction de Montréal, X, 7–8. ANQ-M, Greffe de C.-R. Gaudron de Chevremont, 1732–1739 (see A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., XII, 5–55). ASQ, Séminaire, XXV, 14. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ord. int., II, 87, 127–28, 218–19, 220, 244–45. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. P.-G. Roy, “Les secrétaires des gouverneurs et intendants de la Nouvelle-France,” BRH, XLI (1935), 87–88.