One of the first Quebecois entrepreneurs
Jean-Baptiste-François Deschamps de la Bouteillerie was born around 1646 in Cliponville, a small Norman village not far from Rouen. Jean-Baptiste was one of at least 11 children born into the noble family of Jean Deschamps de Boishébert and Elizabeth or Isabeau de Bin. His family, by some reports, could trace its line back at least to the third crusade. Jean-Baptiste’s father was Seigneur de Costecoste, de Montaubert, and des Landes and had been honored by Louis XIII in 1629 for the service that he and his family had rendered to the kings of France. In keeping with the practice and laws of the times, Adrien, the third Deschamps son, inherited the family’s title and the not inconsiderable land holdings since the first son died without having married and the second became a priest. Adrien went on to have a long lineage in France. He died December 17, 1703 in Cliponville, leaving two sons.
Although not the primary inheritor of his family’s estate, Jean-Baptiste did inherit the title La Bouteillerie from his grandmother, Suzanne Le Bouteiller.
With little chance of much inheritance other the title from his grandmother, Jean-Baptiste decided to test his abilities and find his own way. His future traditionally would have been limited to joining the military or the church. Instead, he chose a third way: adventure. He decided to explore possibilities in New France.
Apparently in return for the promise of a substantial land grant from the King, Deschamps agreed to invest his own money and to use the grant to help colonize French Canada. He gathered those eight men (including Robert Lévesque from nearby Hautot-Saint-Sulpice and Damien Bérubé from Roquefort) and contracted with them for three years of service to help clear the land and build him a home on his land. In exchange, he promised them passage to New France, room and board for those three years, and land grants of their own upon completion of their contracts.
In late June, 1671 they left the port of Dieppe for Canada. Deschamps’ arrival two months later did not go unnoticed by the King’s Intendant Jean Talon. After a meeting with Deschamps and some his colleagues, Talon wrote to the King’s Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert in November, 1671, commenting, in a passage paraphrased by me, “If men of this quality come to Canada, we will have no problems colonizing New France.”
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