RONDEAU, JACQUES-PHILIPPE-URBAIN, scrivener, agent of the treasurer general of the Marine, notary; b. 1695 or 1699 at Trois-Rivières, son of Jacques Rondeau and Françoise Baudry; m. in 1733 Marie-Josephe, daughter of Alexandre Le Borgne de Belle-Isle and Marie-Josephe d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin; d. c. 1749.
Jacques-Philippe-Urbain Rondeau came to Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), in the early 1720s. He lived there with the financial commissary, Jacques-Ange Le Normant de Mézy, served as his secretary, and was appointed scrivener in the Marine. It was his connection with Mézy and with the financial commissary’s son and successor, Sébastien-François-Ange*, that allowed Rondeau to rise within the civil administration of the island. On their recommendation the treasurer general of the Marine, Pierre-Nicolas Gaudion, named Rondeau to replace François-Marie de Goutin as his agent in Île Royale in 1730. He was thus made responsible for all money dispensed directly in the colony. But to ensure that there would be no further irregularities like those with Goutin, three separate locks were placed on the treasury strongbox and Rondeau was given but one key; the other two were held by the financial commissary, who initiated and authorized expenditures, and the controller, who inspected the management of funds on behalf of the ministry of Marine and the controller general.
In the 1730s Sébastien-François-Ange Le Normant de Mézy assigned Rondeau responsibility for the upkeep of the newly constructed Louisbourg lighthouse. He was also entrusted with the functions of Invalides treasurer; in conjunction with the governor, king’s lieutenant, financial commissary, and controller he collected the required six deniers per livre from all Marine salaries and administered the half-pay accorded wounded soldiers. In addition he was made responsible for clerical duties related to maritime conscription (les classes). It was thus with some justification that in 1733 Governor Saint-Ovide [Monbeton] complained that Rondeau occupied enough positions to keep three men busy. But in 1736 Le Normant appointed Rondeau notary as well.
Rondeau was an excellent example of a colonial placeman. It was particularly easy in the colonies to give one man close to the highest officials a number of responsibilities which, in the larger French ports, would normally have been separated into distinct offices. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that Rondeau abused his position. His commercial activities were circumscribed and the inventory of his effects taken on 30 Oct. 1750 shows that his assets only slightly outweighed his debts.
Rondeau had presumably gone to France after the fall of Louisbourg in 1745 but it is not known whether he died there or whether he returned to Louisbourg, as his wife did, after the restoration of Île Royale to France in 1749. He had died by the time the 1749 census of the island was compiled. Jean La Borde* succeeded him as agent of the treasurer general of the Marine. Rondeau’s widow later married Joseph Du Pont Duvivier.
[The registers of the parish of Trois-Rivières indicate that Jacques Rondeau and Françoise Baudry had, among other children, a son Jacques (baptized 31 May 1695) and a son Urbain (baptized 28 June 1699). It is impossible to tell which of these was Jacques-Philippe-Urbain. t.a.c.]
AN, Col., B, 54, ff.509, 514; 61, f.602v; C11B, 14, ff.126, 156; 17, f.87; 18, f.157; 20, f.124; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 407; G3, 2038/1 (25 nov. 1731), 2038/2 (16 avril 1733), 2039/2 (17 déc. 1736), 2042 (21 juin 1754), 2047/1 (30 oct. 1750). R.-J. Valin, Nouveau commentaire sur l’ordonnance de la Marine du mois d’août 1681 . . . (2v., La Rochelle, France, 1766), I, 692–702. Eugene Asher, The resistance to the maritime classes: the survival of feudalism in the France of Colbert (University of California pubs. in history, 66, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1960). Henri Legohérel, Les trésoriers généraux de la Marine, 1517–1788 (Paris, 1965).