PRAT, LOUIS, innkeeper, baker, ship-owner, and port captain of Quebec; b. 1662 at Notre-Dame de Ninière (province of Languedoc); d. 22 Feb. 1726 at Quebec.
In 1695 Prat was in business as an innkeeper in Quebec, and from 1703 on as a baker. In 1704 he joined the group organized by the seafarer Jean Léger de La Grange “for fitting out ships for privateering against the enemies of the state.” To this purpose Prat had the Joybert built. The undertaking was crowned with success; some months after it was launched the ship returned to Quebec in triumph, bringing with it the frigate Pembroke Galley, which had been taken from the English. This episode is recalled in a painting dated 1706 which was given as an ex voto to the sanctuary of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré.
When the Joybert was lost at sea in 1709, the Sieur Prat acquired the Normand. Later on he had other privateers built, with the result that he finally attracted the attention of Pontchartrain, who in 1711 appointed him port captain of Quebec, an office which consisted in enforcing observance of the regulations concerning ships entering and leaving the port. This did not prevent Prat from continuing his commerce.
It is worthy of notice that Louis Prat seems to have been one of the first ship-owners in the colony, after the period of Talon*’s administration, to undertake building ships in Canada on his own account. On 15 Nov. 1716 he wrote to the council of Marine, reminding it that it was “because of him that ship-building had been taken up here, as a result of the example that he set.”
Louis Prat died at Quebec on 22 Feb. 1726 and was buried in the cathedral. He had married, on 30 July 1691, Jeanne-Angélique Gobeil. Three daughters were born of this marriage.
AJQ, Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 11 mai 1692, 29 mai 1693, 22 janv. 1695, 3 sept. 1701; Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 21 juillet 1691. AQ, Manuscrits relatifs à l’histoire de la N.-F., 2e sér., VI. “Engagement de Charles Prieur, chirurgien, au sieur Louis Prat, pour s’embarquer sur le bateau normand (Rivet, 21 avril 1716),” BRH, XXV (1919), 238. Jug. et délib., I, II, III. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I; Inv. contrats de mariages, V, 156; Inventaire de pièces sur la côte de Labrador conservées aux Archives de la Province de Québec (2v., Québec, 1940–42), I, 281. J.-P. Asselin, “Louis Prat, associé du corsaire Jean de la Grange, offre un ex-voto à sainte Anne,” Annales de Sainte-Anne de Beaupré (avril, 1958), 105–8. P.-G. Roy, “Les capitaines de port à Québec,” BRH, XXXII (1926), 3–12, 65–78; “Un corsaire canadien: Jean Léger de La Grange,” BRH, XXIV (1918), 33–48.