Name: Charles Paul DENYS De St Simon
Given Name: Charles Paul
Suffix: De St Simon
Birth: 31 Jan 1688 in Quebec City, Quebec
Death: 7 Sep 1748 in Quebec City, Quebec
DENYS DE SAINT-SIMON, CHARLES-PAUL, provost marshal; b. 31 Jan. 1688 at Quebec, son of Paul D enys* de Saint-Simon, provost of the marshalsea, and Marie-Madeleine de Peiras; d. 7 Sept. 17 48 at Quebec.
Change Date: 3 Dec 2007 at 08:24:25
On 3 Sept. 1714 Charles-Paul Denys de Saint-Simon officially succeeded his father as provos t of the marshalsea; his father had resigned in his favour upon the king?s promise that he wo uld receive the first empty seat in the Conseil Supérieur.
Charles-Paul?s letters of appointment conferred upon him the power ?to conduct investigation s of all prisoners accused of crime, to issue warrants against and to judge the same withou t appeal,? as well as competency to judge ?all thefts, premeditated murders, homicide committ ed by persons without fixed domicile, and in general all crimes which the provosts of our sai d cousins the marshals of France deal with.? In reality the provost of the marshalsea in Cana da never exercised these judicial functions, restricting himself to searching for criminals a nd deserters from the army with the help of his four archers or sometimes soldiers, seeing th at the king?s carpenter built the instruments of torture necessary for executions, and accomp anying criminals to their place of execution. Under these conditions the office of provost o f the marshalsea was on the whole a sinecure in the 17th century. But in the 18th century, wi th the increase in population, the sending to Canada of soldiers, habitual offenders, and ne? er-do-well sons of good families, crime increased. The provost, who might formerly have bee n considered a ?sort of pensioner,? saw his office grow in importance. As provost marshal h e had to hunt criminals in all seasons, over a country covered with forests and intersected b y several rivers. It was not easy to lay his hand on the guilty in this immense territory, es pecially since the habitants preferred to hide them rather than hand them over to the law.
The office of provost thus took up all the Sieur de Saint-Simon?s time and excluded him fro m other remunerative occupations, from which several members of the Conseil Supérieur, for ex ample, profited. Nevertheless, in 1742, ?being in a state of extreme poverty? and needing hel p ?to subsist with his family,? Denys de Saint-Simon sought a seat on the Conseil Supérieur . Maurepas, the minister of Marine, refused him one, alleging that Intendant Gilles Hocquart* ?s candidate, Jean-François Gaultier, king?s physician, was more cultivated and intelligent a nd that the office of provost marshal could not go with that of councillor. The colonial auth orities might consider him a devoted man who carried out his functions well, but it seems, ac cording to Hocquart, that Charles-Paul Denys de Saint-Simon was not sufficiently acquainted w ith ?customary law and procedure? to be able to perform other judicial duties. He was therefo re obliged to go on making do with the 500 livres that went with his office and with an annua l sum of 200 livres for his ?travelling expenses.? But these revenues were not sufficient ?t o maintain the honour and condition of his office.? In 1744 Maurepas granted him an exception al royal gratuity of 400 livres.
Towards the end of his life Denys de Saint-Simon had gone through all the wealth he had acqui red and was considered by the authorities of the colony as a man ?of limited means.? On 17 Oc t. 1713 he had married at Quebec Marie-Joseph Prat, daughter of the port captain Louis Prat* , and he was the father of a numerous family ? 16 children, four of whom were still dependen t upon him in 1744. At his death in Quebec on 7 Sept. 1748 he left little behind him. To be a ble to subsist, his widow had to ask Maurepas for help.
Father: Paul DENYS de St Simon b: 13 Jun 1649
Mother: Madeleine Marie de PIERAS
Josephe Marie PRAT