PROMOTED AN ENSIGN IN ORDER TO ACCOMPANY PEHR KALM
ON HIS TRAVELS IN NORTH AMERICA
LOUIS XV, 1710-1774, King of France, 1715-1774. D.s., Loüis, at Versailles, 15 février 1748. 1 p. folio and conjugate leaf, complete with paper wafer seal and countersigned by Phelypeau.
De par le Roy. Sa Majesté ayant fait choix du Sr de Lotbiniere pour remplir l’Enseigne en pié de Compagnie d’Infanterie vacante en Canada par l’avancement du Sr La Ronde Denis fait Lieutenant, Elle mande au Gouverneur son Lieutenant general ou Commandant general de la Nouvelle France de le recevoir et de le faire reconnoître en laditte qualité d’Enseigne en pié de tous ceux et ainsy qu’il apartiendra. Fait à Versailles le quinze fevrier 1748.
[paper wafer seal]
[countersigned:] Phelypeaux [with flourish]
[verso:] Enregistré au Bureau du Controlle de la marine a Quebec le neuf Juin mil sept cent quarante neuf.
[signed:] JSTerre [Santerre?, we have been unable to identify this signature]
[docket, on conjugate leaf:] Commission D’Enseigne En pied pr Le Sr de Lotbiniere Le 15 fevrier 1748. [in another hand:] Cotté D.
Bu the King. His Majesty having selected Sieur de Lotbinière to fill the position of Ensign on foot of an Infantry Company, left vacant in Canada on account of the advancement of Sieur La Ronde Denis made Lieutenant, He orders the Governor his Lieutenant general or Commander general of New France to receive him and to have him recognized in said qualidy of Ensign on foot by all those to whom it will pertain. Drawn up at Versailles the fifteenth February 1748.
[paper wafer seal]
[verso:] Registered in the Office of Oversight of the colonial regular troops at Quebec ninth June seventeen hundred and forty nine.
[signed:] JSanterre [?]
CHARTIER DE LOTBINIÈRE, Michel, Marquis de LOTBINIÈRE, officer in the colonial regular troops, military engineer, and seigneur; b. 23 April 1723 at Quebec, son of Eustache Chartier de Lotbinière and Marie-Françoise Renaud d’Avène de Desmeloizes; m. 20 Nov. 1747 at Quebec Louise-Madeleine, daughter of Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry, the king’s engineer; they had eight children, of whom a son and daughter reached adulthood; d. 14 Oct. 1798 in New York.
Michel Chartier de Lotbinière’s mother died at his birth, and he was also deprived of the presence of his father, who entered a religious order three years after his wife’s death. As a boy Michel attended the Jesuit college in Quebec, and then in adolescence joined the colonial regulars as a cadet, thus breaking with the family tradition of winning fame on the bench. Commissioned second ensign in 1744, he served in the Acadian campaign of 1746-47 under Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay, and during this baptism of fire earned a reputation as a capable and courageous officer. In 1749 the commandant general of New France, Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, appointed him ensign and entrusted him with a reconnaissance mission in the west to gather information of strategic and scientific interest in the region between Montreal and Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.). (DCB)
In fact, his “reconnaissance mission” was to accompany Peter Kalm in his travels through North America in 1749. Lotbinière’s manuscript Journal De mon voïage De michilimakinac fait En 1749 par ordre de M. Le Mis De Lagalissonière for 1749 makes this quite clear: (July 21:) “we learned that Mr. Kalm the Swedish academic arrived from St. Frederic at St. Jean. He has come to America to survey the trees and plants that do not grow in Europe. He landed in New York and has travelled in these regions for nearly a year. He has received a passport from France to travel in the same way in Canada. … (July 24:) Mr. Kalm, mentioned above, arrived in Montreal at 10 past eight in the morning. I dined with him at the Baron of Longueuil. After dinner he went to see the garden of the Seminary of the Recollect brothers. … (July 28:) we went today, Mr. Kalm and myself, with the Baron of Longueuil, to his Island of St. Helen’s, the western point of which is distanced from the side angle of the bastion of Montreal. Its furthest east is 539 ‘toises’ (measure of roughly 5½ feet). This measure was taken by an operation of trigonometry. That island if separated from that of Montreal by part of the river that for the length of St. Helen’s Island has a strong current and is called the St. Mary’s current, one of the strongest of the river. St. Helen’s Island is about a mile long by half a mile wide, of uneven terrain on many places. Sandy near the water and filled with gravel higher up, where one sees an orchard in the eastern part, and on the top a newly, rather well built house and very well located, in front of which is a nice lane which leads to the western point of the island where I noticed lots of stones in squares of 4 and 5 feet by 2 and 2½, the grain of which is very delicate and imitating (word illegible, possibly quartz), it was nicely shaped; to the left of the house there is a cider-press et several buildings for the farm and the barnyard; to the north-east of the island there is a flour-mill that draws its water from the river by means of a wheel that draws in water; the wood that leads there is cleared by several pleasant lanes; everywhere one sees lots of extraordinary wood, which the curiosity of the owner has identified, and plants of different species and in quantities that are natural there. Mr. Kalm who went back and forth several times will certainly have made observations more worthwhile than those I made. We dined there and returned to Montreal around 6 o’clock in the evening. …”
Photocopies of Chartier de Lotbinière’s journal are joined for further study by the purchaser.