PERTHUIS, CHARLES, merchant, commercial fisherman, churchwarden, and a director of the Compagnie de la Colonie; b. 1664, son of Charles Perthuis and Anne Minet, of the parish of Saint-Saturnin in Tours; d. at Quebec in 1722.
The exact date of Perthuis’s arrival in the colony is unknown. He first appears in 1694; a year later, while still a bachelor, he rented a house on Rue Notre-Dame (sous le Fort), from Paul Denys de Saint-Simon, and was thus a neighbour of a man whose partner he would be on many occasions, Nicolas Pinaud. At the age of 32, on 26 June 1697, Perthuis signed a marriage contract, witnessed by the political and social elite of the colony, in which he is referred to as a merchant, and on 8 July he married Marie-Madeleine Roberge, the daughter of Denis Roberge and Geneviève Auber. Perthuis had 11 or 12 children, the best known being Joseph*, his penultimate child, baptized on 30 Aug. 1714. In 1732, his widow resided at the same address, and a later census, that of 1744, indicates that his son Joseph was the owner of the house.
Perthuis’s business career resembles that of many other merchants and bourgeois of the colony. His commercial activities ranged from selling groceries and supplies and being a partner in the Compagnie de la Colonie, to outfitting privateers during the War of the Spanish Succession. “Merchant capitalism” or “venturing” best describe his many activities. He (and not his son, as J.-N. Fauteux writes), was engaged in the leather business. In partnership with Nicolas Pinaud, in 1695, he signed a contract to supply flour and biscuits, and many years later, in 1715, they were engaged in the same trade. In 1716 they had a one-half interest in the Sainte-Anne. When the Compagnie de la Colonie was formed, Perthuis acquired 2,000 livres worth of shares. He soon became a director of the company, and, with Nicolas Pinaud and René-Louis Chartier de Lotbinière, was appointed to settle the debts of the company in 1708.
Perthuis also established commercial relations with merchants from La Rochelle such as Robert Butler and Charles-Joseph Amiot de Vincelotte, the latter a ship’s captain as well as “venturer,” whose activities had brought him to Canada. In 1716, Perthuis acquired an interest in the sous-ferme of Tadoussac from the estate of Joseph Riverin. In the same year he entered into a partnership with Robert Drouard, a Quebec merchant, for the exploitation of this concession.
Perthuis was a churchwarden of the church of Notre-Dame in Quebec, and he acted on several occasions as the guardian of minors. This role, and the many requests he received to arbitrate disputes before the Conseil Souverain, indicate how much his judgement was respected.
Perthuis died in Quebec at the age of 58, and was buried there on 5 March 1722. No papers from his estate appear to have been preserved.
AJQ, Greffe de Louis Chambalon; Greffe de François Genaple. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1938–39. Documents relating to Canadian currency during the French period (Shortt), I, 3. Jug. et délib. Charland, “Notre-Dame de Québec: le nécrologe de la crypte,” 178. “Liste générale des intéressés en la compagnie de la colonie du Canada, et des actions qu’ils y ont prises,” BRH, XL (1934), 498–512. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Congés et permis déposés ou enregistrés à Montréal sous le régime français,” APQ Rapport, 1921–22, 189–225. Fauteux, Essai sur l’industrie sous le régime français, I.