LE BOUTILLIER (Le Bouthillier), DAVID, businessman and politician; b. 14 Oct. 1811 in St John, Jersey, son of Josué Le Boutillier and Anne Amy; d. unmarried probably in 1854 in Paspébiac, Lower Canada.
David Le Boutillier came to Paspébiac in 1827. On his arrival, he began working as an apprentice clerk with Charles Robin and Company. William Fruing, the head clerk, taught him bookkeeping and current practices in the dried cod trade. In March 1838 Le Boutillier left the position of clerk and went into the trade for himself. In partnership with his brothers Amy and Edward, he created the firm Le Boutillier Brothers at Paspébiac. Appointed manager of the new venture, David immediately began building workshops, stores, and warehouses on the shore at Paspébiac, near his ex-employer’s large establishment, and purchased a number of ships for transporting the cod.
During the 1840s the firm expanded rapidly under Le Boutillier’s management, buying or setting up fishing stations on Île au Bois in the Strait of Belle-Isle, the Baie des Chaleurs, and Île Bonaventure in Lower Canada, on Miscou Island in New Brunswick, and at Forteau in Labrador. It hired on salary fishermen and others to work in its fishing rooms. They were generally recruited at Paspébiac and farther west in the Baie des Chaleurs area at Maria, Carleton, and Bonaventure. The catch was brought back to Paspébiac at the end of the season for a final drying, and exported from there to Mediterranean and West Indian markets.
In December 1851 Le Boutillier was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada for Bonaventure in a narrow victory over two other candidates, one of them being Clarence Hamilton, who had been backed by Charles Robin and Company. Le Boutillier played a rather inconspicuous part in the assembly, but he was a member of two of its select committees, one to inquire into the expediency of encouraging shipbuilding in the province, and another to inquire into the state of fishing in the Gulf of St Lawrence and on the Labrador coast, and he seized the opportunity to turn his ability to good account. In the second committee he stressed the disparity between government subsidies given to French Canadian fishermen and entrepreneurs working on the eastern shores of Lower Canada and the support that their foreign competitors from Jersey enjoyed. He decided not to run again at the end of his term in 1854.
David Le Boutillier died probably at Paspébiac in 1854, at the age of 42. After his death his brother-in-law, Daniel Carcaud, took over Le Boutillier Brothers; under his management the company continued to expand, and at the end of the 1850s opened two new fishing stations, at Magpie and Rivière-au-Tonnerre on the north shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Next to Charles Robin and Company, it was the largest fishing business established on the Gaspé peninsula, and around 1870 it was exporting annually some 20,000 quintals of dried cod, about one-third of its chief competitor’s shipments abroad.
BE, Bonaventure (New-Carlisle), Reg. B, 6, nos.505, 592; B-B, 1, nos.4, 6; Gaspé (Percé), Reg. B, 2, no.982. PAC, MG 28, III18; MG 30, D1, 18: 129; RG 31, A1, 1861, Bonaventure. Soc. jersiaise (Saint-Hélier, Jersey), St John, reg. des baptêmes, 14 oct. 1811. Canada, Prov. of, Legislative Assembly, App. to the journals, 1843, app.6; 1853, app.JJJJ. Desjardins, Guide parl. Jules Bélanger et al., Histoire de la Gaspésie (Montréal, 1981), 211, 285, 378. H. A. Innis, The cod fisheries; the history of an international economy (rev. ed., Toronto, 1978). André Lepage, Le banc de Paspébiac, site commercial et industriel (Québec, 1980), 76–88. Thomas Pye, Canadian scenery: district of Gaspé (Montreal, 1866); Images de la Gaspésie au dix-neuvième siècle, Jean Laliberté et André Lepage, trad. (Québec, 1980), 37, 60. Madeleine Bisson, “L’île Bonaventure à l’époque de la Cie LeBouthillier,” Gaspésie (Gaspé, Qué.), 19 (1981), no.3: 16–23.