HICHÉ, HENRY, merchant, seigneur, royal notary, king’s attorney, subdelegate of the intendant, councillor of the Conseil Supérieur of Quebec; b. c. 1672 in Paris, France, son of Bernard Hiché, a bourgeois, and Marie-Catherine Masson; d. 14 July 1758 at Quebec.
The circumstances of Henry Hiché’s arrival in Canada around 1700 are unknown. In 1704 he was clerk in the king’s warehouse in Quebec. In 1707 he went to Acadia as secretary to the new governor of that colony, Daniel d’Auger* de Subercase. After the surrender of Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.) to the English in 1710, Hiché returned to Quebec. As a trader he had business relations not only with Canadian merchants but also with merchants in Martinique. It appears that his commercial activities brought him large profits, since at the time of the signing of his marriage contract on 20 July 1713 at Quebec, he declared to notary Louis Chambalon* that he owned personal property and real estate to a value of 60,000 livres. In this amount was included the seigneury of Kamouraska, “valued and estimated” at 15,000 livres, which Louis Aubert Duforillon and Barbe Leneuf de La Vallière had just given him that same day on condition that he marry their niece Marguerite, daughter of Jean-Paul Legardeur* de Saint-Pierre. The wedding took place on 24 July 1713 in the church of Notre-Dame de Québec. Hiché kept this seigneury until 15 Sept. 1723, when he sold it to Louis-Joseph Morel de La Durantaye for the sum of 15,000 livres.
On 28 Sept. 1726 the newly arrived intendant, Claude-Thomas Dupuy*, appointed Hiché deputy for Jean-Baptiste-Julien Hamare* de La Borde, king’s attorney of the provost and admiralty courts of Quebec, who was leaving to go to France. On the intendant’s orders Hiché had to give up temporarily his duties as royal notary, which he had been exercising since 25 June 1725, to devote himself entirely to his new offices; he held them until 20 April 1728. At that time the king appointed Nicolas-Gaspard Boucault the attorney, Hamare having decided not to return to New France. Hiché resumed his practice as notary. Competent, experienced, and well acquainted with legal customs in Canada, he was often called upon to represent private persons before the civil courts of Quebec. For instance, in 1730 he served as attorney for the former intendant Dupuy, recalled to France two years earlier.
In the spring of 1736 Intendant Hocquart* proposed Hiché to the minister of Marine, Maurepas, for the offices of king’s attorney of the provost and admiralty courts of Quebec in place of Boucault, who had been called to other duties. Hocquart was satisfied with the work carried out by Hiché; he had continued fulfilling unofficially the duties of deputy for the king’s attorney in certain lawsuits judged by the intendant. Hiché was appointed to the provost court on 27 March 1736, and to the admiralty court on 3 April of the same year. He then gave up his practice as a notary.
On 4 April 1739 Intendant Hocquart, who, it seems, had complete confidence in Hiché, made him his subdelegate for the town and government of Quebec. In this capacity he was required “to take cognizance of all personal and summary proceedings between the inhabitants of the town and government of Quebec.” Like his predecessor, Intendant François Bigot* had confidence in Henry Hiché, since on 1 Sept. 1748, shortly after his arrival in the colony, he granted him, as well as the lieutenant general of the provost court of Quebec, François Daine, a warrant as subdelegate for the town and government of Quebec. Hiché, already 76 years of age, seems to have carried out these duties more or less assiduously. On 23 Nov. 1753 he put forward his great age (81) to obtain from Bigot permission for his son-in-law, Jean-Baptiste-Ignace Perthuis, to be deputy for the king’s attorney of the provost court of Quebec. Finally, on 15 May 1754, Louis XV appointed him, at 82 years of age, councillor of the Conseil Supérieur of Quebec. This appointment crowned a career of nearly 30 years in the service of the king. His son-in-law succeeded him in the offices of king’s attorney of the provost and admiralty courts of Quebec. Henry Hiché sat on the Conseil Supérieur of Quebec until his death at Quebec on 14 July 1758. A member of the élite of Quebec, he received the outstanding privilege of being buried, the next day, in the church of Notre-Dame de Québec.
His long career in the king’s service did not prevent him from attending to his personal affairs. Intendant Hocquart was able to write to Maurepas on 12 Oct. 1735 that Hiché had an income which could “support him honourably.” By a decision of the provost court of Quebec adjudicating the property of Louis Aubert Duforillon, deceased, his wife’s uncle, Henry Hiché became the owner of the “Maison Blanche,” located on Rue Saint-Vallier, as well as of all the pieces of land belonging to it, and was able to speculate with these properties. He made grants of several of them, and the region adjoining the “Maison Blanche” finally was called the Faubourg Saint-Henry or Faubourg Hiché. As a rich landowner he was able to give his daughter Marie-Josephte-Madeleine a large dowry when she married Perthuis in 1742. She received the stone house and ground next to her father’s home, which were valued at 3,000 livres. In addition he gave her an annual income of 502 livres. He also bestowed respectable dowries on three of his daughters who became nuns in the Hôpital Général of Quebec. For each of them he had to pay a dowry varying from 2,500 to 3,000 livres.
Well off, a member of the administrative and commercial élite of Canadian society, at his death Henry Hiché was worth 3,219 livres 15 sols 6 deniers in personal property, 696 livres 11 sols 6 deniers of it in ready money, 609 livres 2 sols 6 deniers in silver plate, 496 livres in clothing, and 791 livres 10 sols in furniture for his bedroom and study. These two rooms contained some articles of luxury, including a clock, a mirror five feet high and two feet wide, and two pictures representing the king and queen.
Ten children were born of his marriage with Marguerite Legardeur, three of whom survived him: Mme Perthuis, Marguerite-Françoise de Saint-Henri, and François-Gaspard. François-Gaspard was wounded at the battle of Sainte-Foy on 28 April 1760 and shortly afterwards went to France, where he died; his widow, Charlotte Soupiran, married Joseph Arnoux in Quebec on 10 Dec. 1764.
AN, Col., B, 29, ff.2, 4v; 45, ff.799, 948; C11A, 120, ff.230, 254v–55, 283v; D2C, 222/1, p.305; E, 43, ff.7, 8; 221 (dossier Henry Hiché) (copies at PAC). ANQ, Greffe de R.-C. Barolet, 18 juill. 1758; Greffe de Nicolas Boisseau, 16 sept. 1742; Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 20 juill. 1713 (donation et contrat de mariage); Greffe de François Genaple de Bellefonds, 4 nov. 1704; Greffe d’Henry Hiché, 1725–1736; Greffe de J.-C. Louet, 23 août 1727; NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 755v, 861, 948, 1675, 2052v, 2079, 2140, 2409, 3954. “Recensement de Québec, 1744” (APQ Rapport), 52. Gareau, “La Prévôté de Québec,” APQ Rapport, 1943–44, 109ff. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ins. Cons. souv., 185, 216, 267; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, II, 95, 96; III, 148, 149; VI, 175; VII, 2–3; Inv. ord. int., I, II, III. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. D’Allaire, L’Hôpital Général de Québec, 114–15. “La famille Hiché,” BRH, XLI (1935), 577–606. P.-G. Roy, “Henry Hiché, conseiller au Conseil supérieur,” BRH, XXXIII (1927), 193ff.