MARTIN DE LINO, JEAN-FRANÇOIS (sometimes called Jean-François-Mathieu), Quebec merchant, king’s attorney of the provost court (1716–21) and the admiralty court (1717–21); b. 13 April 1686 at Quebec, son of Mathieu-François Martin de Lino and Catherine Nolan; m. 3 Nov. 1712 Angélique Chartier de Lotbinière; four children; buried 5 Jan. 1721 in the crypt of the church of Notre-Dame de Québec.
Jean-François Martin de Lino was the eldest son of a member of the governing class of New France, and he was trained to be an administrator and merchant like his father. He was educated at the Petit Séminaire in Quebec and at the Jesuit college, and he undoubtedly received informal lessons in book-keeping and law. At the age of 24 he joined the mercantile partnership of Pierre de Lestage* and Antoine Pascaud. De Lino severed his connections with the other merchants three years later.
De Lino’s father and another member of the Conseil Supérieur, Nicolas Dupont de Neuville, decided that Jean-François ought to marry Dupont’s grand-daughter, Marie-Jeanne Renaud d’Avène Desmeloizes. Jean-François was willing but the young lady, who was a former Ursuline novice, was reluctant. The matchmakers appeared before a notary on 4 May 1711 to declare that “for private reasons known to themselves” the marriage would be postponed but that if it did not take place by the end of the following September, the recalcitrant party would forfeit 10,000 livres.
Marie-Jeanne still would not budge and, by an agreement made on 8 May 1711, her exasperated grandfather gave young de Lino a house on Rue Saint-Pierre which he valued at 10,000 livres. Jean-François, for his part, promised Dupont a life annuity of 500 livres. Legal action was taken by Eustache Chartier* de Lotbinière, the brother-in-law of Mademoiselle Desmeloizes, to invalidate the agreement. It was argued that Dupont had acted out of “feelings of vengeance against her” and had, in effect, disinherited her. The matter was settled out of court in 1716 and de Lino retained the house. Mademoiselle Desmeloizes never did marry nor did she return to the cloister but by a curious turn of fate her brother Nicolas-Marie* married Jean-François de Lino’s widow in 1722.
Young de Lino’s parents arranged an equally advantageous marriage for their son in 1712. The bride was Eustache Chartier’s sister, Angélique, the daughter of yet another member of the Conseil Supérieur, René-Louis Chartier de Lotbinière. At the formal signing of the wedding contract and in the presence of the highest officials of New France, Jean-François listed as his assets the house on Rue Saint-Pierre, 20,000 livres from his partnership with de Lestage and Pascaud, and an advance of 5000 livres from his parents’ estate.
De Lino took his first step in the cursus honorum at the age of 30. He was appointed king’s attorney of the Quebec provost court by royal letters dated 27 April 1716. Though his commission spoke of de Lino’s capability, legal experience, and devotion to the king, some credit for the appointment is probably due to his family connections. As king’s attorney, he prepared briefs for the instruction of the lieutenants who passed judgement. In addition to presenting cases to the court, he had a general mandate to uphold the legal interests of the king and, when an admiralty court was established at Quebec in 1717, it was natural that de Lino became its king’s attorney. Maritime cases were formerly heard in the provost court and at first the new court was merely the old court sitting in special sessions.
Jean-François seems to have been a conscientious and, perhaps, a compassionate man. When New France was threatened with a famine in 1717 he tried to execute his orders to oversee the grain trade and to prevent the export of flour. The intendant, Michel Bégon*, stood in his way, and, according to de Lino, told him “that it was dangerous to anticipate things” as the merchants might complain to the court at Versailles. Nevertheless, although he himself was a merchant, de Lino appealed to France for an order to stop the further exportation of food-stuffs from New France.
De Lino made a notable contribution to the welfare system in Canada. Because the urban Bureaux des Pauvres (office for the needy) boards had lapsed, the unfortunate were again dependent on church institutions and private charity. The problem of illegitimate births was of special concern to the authorities for such births were often concealed and an unwed mother might kill or abandon her child.
De Lino’s interest in the fate of bastards was aroused when a woman tried to reclaim an illegitimate child that she had given to the Indians at Lorette. De Lino deplored the practice of giving illegitimate children to Indians because it reversed the policy of Frenchifying the native peoples, allowed the mother to return to an immoral life, increased the number of potential enemies, and would probably produce poor Catholics. He begged the council of Marine “to consider this evil practice and order that foundlings and abandoned bastards be raised under his care or that of the other king’s attorneys . . . so that, when their age permits, they might be apprenticed or indentured to honest settlers.” In France royal officers had been made responsible for the care of foundlings by the edict of November 1706 and it was a matter of applying this law to the colony.
De Lino’s proposal seems to have been adopted in a modified form. In Montreal during the 1730s, for example, the king’s attorney and his deputy placed illegitimate children in private homes. In return for a gratuity, the foster parents promised “to feed and maintain the child, whether in sickness or in health, to instruct and raise the child in the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion . . . and to teach the child to earn a living . . . until the said child attains the age of eighteen years.”
It is likely that, had de Lino not died at the age of 34, he would have risen in the administration. Governor Vaudreuil [Rigaud] recommended him for a seat on the Conseil Supérieur in 1717 but, perhaps because his father was already on the council or because others had precedence, he did not receive the appointment. The male line of the de Lino family survived through Jean-François and his son, Ignace-François-Pierre, the last chief road officer in New France.
AJQ, Greffe de Jacques Barbel, 8 mai 1711, 18 avril 1722; Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 4 mai 1711, 14 nov. 1713, 18 août 1714, 4 mai 1716; Greffe de J.-É. Dubreuil, 24 janv. 1722; Greffe de Florent de La Cetière, 30 oct. 1712; Greffe de J.-C. Louet, 13 août 1722; Greffe de Pierre Rivet, 8 mai 1711, 16 janv. 1714, 4 sept. 1716, 10 sept. 1717, 28 oct. 1718. AN, Col., C11A, 38, pp.207–12 (copy in PAC). AQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 551
s. Jug. et délib., VI, 1198, 1202–3. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ins. Cons. souv., 131, 147, 148, 164; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, I, 32, 33, 71, 72; Inv. Ord. int., I, 216. Charland, “Notre-Dame de Québec: le nécrologe de la crypte,” 177. Gareau, “La prévôté de Québec,” 107–9. P.-G. Roy, La famille Martin de Lino (Lévis, 1935); La ville de Québec, I, 418; II, 86, 238, 299, 435; “La famille Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes,” BRH, XIII (1907), 166–67. “La famille Martin de Lino,” BRH, XLI (1935), 257–80. Juliette Lalonde-Remillard, “Angélique Lalonde-Remillard,” RHAF, XIX (1965–66), 520.