ROY, LOUIS-DAVID, lawyer, man of letters, and judge; b. 9 June 1807 at Quebec, son of Joseph Roy and Marie Brunet; d. 31 July 1880 at Quebec.
Louis-David Roy studied at the Petit Séminaire of Quebec from 1818 to 1827, and was called to the bar of Lower Canada in 1832. While carrying on his profession, he used his spare time to publish, with François-Xavier Garneau*, a literary and scientific journal, L’Institut ou Journal des étudiants; it had no more than a fleeting existence, since publication, which began on 7 March 1841, had to be suspended on 22 May of the same year. The purpose of this undertaking was to ensure a wider reading public for reports on the literary and scientific societies of Canada and abroad, and to publish bibliographical articles on education, industry, and the arts. It was an ambitious project, and as Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau*, one of Roy’s friends, wrote, a “noble effort to provide the country with a useful and serious publication, and to direct the ambition of our youth along a new path.”
After this excursion into the realm of letters, Louis-David Roy devoted his time and energies to his profession. In 1842 he was appointed assistant to the chief justice, with jurisdiction in the lower district of Kamouraska. On 24 Dec. 1849 he became judge of the Circuit Court at Chicoutimi; he took the oath of office on 2 Jan. 1850 and had his first hearing on 24 May. He took up residence in what was then called “the village of Chicoutimi,” and lived there from 1850 to 1858. As the first law courts were not built until 1862, the hearings of the court were held first in private houses, then in the town hall. One of the first cases to come before Judge Roy was that of a Métis Peter McLeod*, the associate of William Price*, against a certain Thiboutot, over a “scuffle.” On 25 Nov. 1857, Louis-David Roy was appointed judge of the Superior Court for the new districts of Saguenay and Chicoutimi, with residence at La Malbaie; his house was situated at Pointe-au-Pic, near the present church. The government decided to hold three sessions of the Superior Court and the Circuit Court at Chicoutimi, and Judge Roy was instructed to preside over them. He dispensed justice for 14 years to the satisfaction of all. Furthermore, he took an interest in the natural sciences, and wrote 13 letters to Abbé Léon Provancher* concerning them. The two correspondents exchanged several plants, and Abbé Provancher, in his preface to Flore canadienne . . . , made a point of stressing the collaboration of Judge Roy, who had provided him with a list of plants at Chicoutimi and La Malbaie and in the surrounding area.
On 7 Jan. 1871 Judge Roy retired; he returned to Quebec to live, and died there on 31 July 1880. He was buried in the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu. On 11 Sept. 1832, at Quebec, he had married his first wife Adeline Masse, by whom he had at least one daughter, Adeline, who married Montreal lawyer Alexandre de Lusignan. Widowed, on 19 Aug. 1839 he married again, his second wife being Hélène Parent, who gave him six boys and one girl.
Archives du séminaire de Chicoutimi, Fonds Victor-Alphonse Huard, Scrap-book, I, f.234; Fonds Léon Provancher, Correspondance, lettres de Louis-David Roy, 1860–1873. ASQ, Fichier des anciens du séminaire. PAC, MG 30, D62 (Audet papers), 26, pp.701–4. Le Canadien (Québec), 3 avril, 8 avril, 15 avril 1844; 1er mars, 13 mai 1850. Dom ann. reg., 1880–81, 428. Frère Éloi-Gérard, Recueil de généalogies des comtés de Charlevoix et Saguenay depuis l’origine jusqu’à 1939 (Publ. de la SHS, 5, La Malbaie, Qué., 1941), 448. Inventaire des contrats de mariages au greffe de Charlevoix accompagné de documents précieux se rapportant à l’histoire de Charlevoix et du Saguenay, Frère Éloi-Gérard, édit. (Publ. de la SHS, 8, La Malbaie, Qué. 1943), 257–61; P.-G. Roy, Les juges de la province de Québec, 481. Léon Provancher, Flore canadienne ou description de toutes les plantes des forêts, champs, jardins et eaux du Canada donnant le nom botanique de chacune, ses noms vulgaires français et anglais, indiquant son parcours géographique, les propriétés qui la distinguent, le mode de culture qui lui convient . . . (2v., Québec, 1862), I, iv. Percy Martin, “Le premier juge à Chicoutimi,” Saguenayensia (Chicoutimi, Qué.), I (1959) 81–82.