MENUT, ALEXANDRE, innkeeper and politician; b. in France; m. some time before 1777 Marie Deland, and they had at least five children; d. between March 1804 and March 1806.
Alexandre Menut came to Canada after the conquest to work as a cook for Governor Murray*, and Guy Carleton subsequently hired him in the same capacity. On 4 Dec. 1766 he obtained a licence to sell alcoholic beverages. Two years later he opened an inn “at the Sign of the Crown,” on Rue du Parloir in Quebec, where the customers were assured of being “served with Exactness, in the best English or French Manner and in the newest Taste . . . at a reasonable Price.” Menut also went to serve “Dinners or Suppers” in private homes. He was granted a licence in 1769 to open a tavern and sell alcoholic beverages.
In 1775 Menut owned an inn near the Hôpital Général of Quebec. He was in the Canadian militia at the time of the American invasion [see Richard Montgomery*] but did not take part in the defence of the town. His inn became Benedict Arnold’s headquarters during the siege of Quebec in the winter of 1775–76. In December 1776 Menut put in a claim for compensation from the government for the losses he had suffered during the invasion, but there is no indication that he received any.
Subsequently Menut opened an inn at the corner of Rue Saint-Jean and Rue Saint-Stanislas. “Menut’s house” accommodated the House of Assembly balls and both English and French theatre companies during the period 1782–96. In the 1790s Menut took an interest in the problems of his adopted community. He was a member of the Quebec Fire Society in 1790, and that year he signed the petition in favour of a provincial university which both Catholics and Protestants could attend [see Jean-François Hubert *]. The following year he supported the recovery of the lods et ventes. In 1792 he subscribed to the Agriculture Society and was president of the Constitutional Club [see William Grant (1744–1805)].
Menut ran for the House of Assembly of Lower Canada in 1796; along with Pascal Duplessis-Sirois, he was elected for Cornwallis, this rural riding being entitled to two members. Menut attended the four sessions of the assembly regularly and supported the Canadian party; in particular he voted for Jean-Antoine Panet as speaker. In 1801 he was re-elected, along with Joseph Boucher, but he turned away from the Canadian party to support the English party. Indeed, during the third legislature the Canadian group disintegrated and the executive seemed to be on the point of breaking the Canadians’ resistance. Menut was only moving with the tide.
The Journals of the House of Assembly make no mention of Alexandre Menut’s presence after February 1803. In March 1804 he was living in Simpson Township. It would seem that he died some time between this date and March 1806, when in a notarized deed Marie Deland declared herself a widow.
ANQ-Q, CE1-61, 3 Nov. 1777, 21 Sept. 1779, 14 March 1782, 15 Aug. 1784, 25 Oct. 1786; CN1-262, 6 mars 1804. “Les dénombrements de Québec” (Plessis), ANQ Rapport, 1948–49. March to Quebec: journals of the members of Arnold’s expedition, ed. K. L. Roberts (New York, 1938), 147, 187, 272, 368, 695, 698. Quebec Gazette, 29 Dec. 1766, 7 July 1768, 24 Aug. 1769, 12 Dec. 1776, 28 Jan. 1790, 5 May 1791, 8 Nov. 1792, 11 April 1793, 26 Nov. 1795, 26 Jan. 1797, 13 Jan. 1825. F.-J. Audet, “Alexandre Menut,” BRH, 33 (1927): 408–11. Hare, “L’Assemblée législative du Bas-Canada,” RHAF, 27: 361–95. “Un cuisinier membre du parlement,” BRH, 54 (1948): 93–94.