HERVIEUX, LOUIS-FRANÇOIS, merchant; b. 15 May 1711 in Montreal, son of Léonard-Jean-Baptiste Hervieux, a merchant, and Catherine Magnan; d. 5 June 1748 at his birthplace.
During the first half of the 18th century kinship ties in a community as small as that of the “town” of Montreal were one of the main bases of social interaction. Thanks to his family ties Louis-François Hervieux occupied a rather important position within the group of Montreal businessmen. Through his mother, brothers, and sisters, he was linked with several families of merchants: the Magnans, the Marins de La Malgue, the Pothiers, the Le Contes Dupré, and the La Cornes. On 8 Jan. 1742 Hervieux married Louise Quesnel, daughter of another Montreal merchant. Of this marriage was born a daughter who was to marry the son of Pierre Guy in 1764. On 21 Nov. 1747 Hervieux was remarried, this time to Angélique Gamelin, also the daughter of a merchant. The large number of witnesses who signed the marriage contracts suggests that these ceremonies were important social gatherings.
Louis-François Hervieux carried on a large part of his business, it seems, with his brother Jacques and his fathers-in-law, Jacques Quesnel and Joseph-Jacques Gamelin. His business activity reflects that of most Montreal merchants during the French régime. An examination of the book-keeping documents that remain shows the great variety and the small volume of most of Hervieux’s operations. The merchant bought dry goods and sold them to the craftsmen or habitants of Montreal and the surrounding area. In partnership with his brother he fitted out voyageurs and shipped furs (except beaver) to France to the brothers Antoine and Joseph-Marie Pascaud in La Rochelle who acted as his correspondents and suppliers. Payments between merchants and correspondents were usually in bills of exchange and sometimes in récipissés de castor, whose value was more certain. The absence of metallic currency does not seem to have hindered retail trade, which in Hervieux’s book-keeping was much like barter and had to be estimated in money of account for the requirements of the account books. From this point of view the merchants’ economic activity may seem rather rudimentary, but there was actually a rather remarkable complexity in the circulation of bills of exchange within the system which linked the merchants of the colony and extended to their correspondents in the mother country.
It is difficult to give precise details about Louis-François Hervieux’s fortune. The debts recovered for his succession by his wife and brother in the period from his death in June 1748 to February 1751 amounted to nearly 40,000 livres. His brother carried on his business.
AN, Col., C11A, 84, f.202; 114, ff.36–59. ANQ-M, Greffe de J.-B. Adhémar, 28 déc. 1741; Greffe de L.-C. Danré de Blanzy, 20 nov. 1747; Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 15 mai 1711, 8 janv. 1742, 21 nov. 1747, 7 juin 1748. PAC, MG 8, C3, 5, ff.52–53; 38, 15 juin 1748; MG 23, GIII, 25 (Brouillard de Louis-François Hervieux, 1746–1751); MG 24, L3, 12, pp.1018–19, 1022, 1136–38. Tanguay, Dictionnaire.