Antoine Sabatier

( ? -1747)

Sabatier, Antoine, principal scrivener, controller, attorney general of the Conseil Supérieur of Île Royale; born probably in Toulon, France, son of Joseph Sabatier and Madeleine Arnauld; died 22 September 1747 at Rochefort, France.

          Issuing from a bourgeois family of Toulon, Antoine Sabatier entered the Marine service there as scrivener in 1703.  He requested a transfer to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) in 1717 where he became clerk of the fortifications, responsible for stores and work records.  As Pierre-Jérôme Boucher came to assume more clerical duties, the director of fortifications, Jean-François de Verville, found he no longer had need of Sabatier, and the financial commissary, Jacques-Ange Le Normant de Mézy, recommended him as scrivener in 1721.  To this position was added that of controller in 1723 when Governor Saint-Ovide [Monbeton] complained to the ministry about the performance of Louis Levasseur.  Sabatier was inadequately prepared to assume this function and, although he wrote officials at Rochefort for instructions, it was not until a number of years later that he fully understood what the job entailed.

          Sabatier had found himself in a similar situation in 1719 when he was appointed attorney general of the Conseil Supérieur at Louisbourg upon the recommendation of Pierre-Auguste de Soubras.  In addition to the difficulties naturally encountered in launching a new judicial body, Sabatier had to contend with quarrels between the governor and the financial commissary as well as attempts by Mézy to usurp legal functions properly within the jurisdiction of the Conseil Supérieur.  Lacking legal training, he sought the advice of his counterpart in Quebec, Mathieu-Benoît Collet, who informed him at length about practices and procedures in that city.  Throughout his years of service Sabatier was a steadying and humane influence on the administration of justice at Île Royale.

          Sabatier was a hard-working second rank civil servant, a man who attempted to do his best but who never stepped on the toes of his superiors if he could avoid it.  Saint-Ovide perhaps best characterized him in 1723 as "an honest man, agreeable to the officers and residents, and [one] who knows how to work." For helping Mézy bring the colony's accounts into order he was made principal scrivener in 1730.  In 1734-35 and 1738-39 he replaced Sébastien-François-Ange Le Normant de Mézy as financial commissary when the latter was in France, but he was passed over in favour of François Bigot when the position fell vacant in 1739.  Like his predecessors, Bigot found him a trustworthy subordinate and in 1743 at last secured for him his commission as controller as well as an annual bonus of 300 livres.

          Sabatier saw to the advancement of his brother, François de Paule Sabatier, within the Louisbourg civil administration after 1725.  Although he was married it appears that neither his wife nor his daughter ever left France; they received a pension of 500 livres after his death.

— Terence Allan Crowley, Assistant professor of history
      University of Guelph, Ontario

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Antoine Sabatier ( (the original article)
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