You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.


Log in through your institution.

In Its Corporate Capacity

In Its Corporate Capacity: The Seminary of Montreal as a Business Institution, 1816-1876

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 304
Stable URL:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    In Its Corporate Capacity
    Book Description:

    The end of the Lower Canada rebellions of 1837-8 assured the survival of the Seminary. Assuming a reinforced social and ideological role in industrializing Montreal, the Seminary benefited from new corporate powers, rights of recruitment, and income, while its expanding social role ensured its protection by an appreciate bourgeoisie.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6109-0
    Subjects: Religion
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Figures (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Appendixes (pp. x-x)
  5. Introduction (pp. xi-2)

    Nineteenth-century Canadian historiography over-emphasizes the staple, politics, ethnicity, nation-building, “last spikes,” and progress. Canadian business history, strongly influenced by Alfred Chandler and theBusiness History Review,often concentrates on the innovative and the entrepreneurial.¹ In the broad brush strokes of cod, the St Lawrence River, railway builders, and upwardly mobile immigrants with which we have drawn our economic and business history, essential indicators of social relations such as debt, law, institutions, and the power of the landed proprietor have become secondary or, worse, have been delegated to what one historian calls “the stuff of romantic melodrama.”²

    To understand how the...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Holy Housekeeping: The Company and Business Management (pp. 3-37)

    The Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice in Paris, mother house of the seminary of Montreal, was one manifestation of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent had called for renewed emphasis on the sacraments, increased piety among the laity, and a revitalization of religious orders and the European priesthood. In response to the council’s appeal for rigorous theological colleges, Jean-Jacques Olier established the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice. Son of the intendant for Lyons, tonsured at age eleven, and trained by the Jesuits and François de Sales, Olier was a priest of status and wealth. In 1641 he founded the seminary in the left-bank...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Political Relations of the Seminary in the Transition (pp. 38-60)

    The seminary of Montreal was, by the end of the French period, the colony’s largest male religious community, and, with 250,191 acres, the third largest landholder among religious institutions. With their instinct for privacy, separateness, independence, and conservative management, the Sulpicians developed structures attuned to pre-industrial Quebec society. Their institutional and economic power brought a certain political power; parish, mission, and seigneury represented significantancien régimeinfrastructures and, in a colonial community without a single printing press, the seminary was a strong Gallican and conservative ideological force. The French crown recognized the seminary’s legal status, subsidized it, and reinforced its...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Seigneurialism on Seminary Lands (pp. 61-87)

    We have seen that the first four decades of the nineteenth century represented an extended period of crisis for the seminary. Its legal status remained uncertain while its ecclesiastical relations were characterized by the resentment of a strengthening Canadian-born clergy and a new Montreal episcopate. By the 1820s with their seigneurial base buffeted by popular, nationalist and capitalist forces, the Sulpicians came close to renouncing their seigneurial lands and privileges in return for an indemnity and recognition as an ecclesiastical corporation. The rebellions of 1837–8 stilled most of the seminary’s opponents allowing it to negotiate a settlement with Special...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Freedom of Property: The Commutation of Property Privilege from Seigneurial to Freehold Tenure (pp. 88-107)

    From its installation in Canada in the seventeenth century, the seminary’s property relations had been determined within a seigneurial framework. During the first half of the nineteenth century much of the political and business history of the seminary turned on pressures for the transformation of these seigneurial property relations in the Montreal region. By 1816 the seminary perceived that its coexistence in pre-industrial society with international merchants no longer assured its protection. To avoid conflict with new social groups like the emerging industrial producers, the seminary accepted over the next decades the alienation of traditional seigneurial privileges like its mills...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE From Seigneur to Capitalist: The Balance Sheet (pp. 108-130)

    The seminary’s roots as a seigneurial institution and the process by which its seigneurial lands could be commuted into freehold tenure have been recurrent themes in previous chapters. The role of the state in this changing property regime has also been emphasized. The acts of 1840 and 1859 provided the ideological and procedural framework for the seminary’s evolving property privileges and gave it the legal force to impose its prerogatives. In addition to this legal and physical support, the state after 1859 intervened directly, assuming the major part of the capitalization of rural seigneurial dues.

    The Ordinance of 1840 assured...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Land Developers: Subdivision on Two Seigneurial Domains (pp. 131-149)

    We have seen that although most of its land on the island of Montreal was ceded in fiefs or concession lots, the seminary had retained three large domains for food, storage, wood, recreation, and its Indian mission. The 800-acre domain at Sault-au-Récollet on the north side of the island produced primarily firewood; peripheral to urban expansion it was still leased to a tenant farmer in 1880. This chapter treats the effects of industrialization and urbanization on the two domains closer to Montreal. The 300-acre Saint-Gabriel domain was located just west of the city on the flats between the St Lawrence...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Class Legitimation (pp. 150-167)

    Class struggle was an inherent part of the transition to the industrial stage of capitalism. Although feudal society was far from harmonious, nineteenth-century Montreal was marked by intense social division. Observers with as diverse political interpretations as H. Clare Pentland, Bryan Palmer, Margaret Heap, Peter DeLottinville, Gérard Filteau, George Rudé, Elinor Senior, Jack Little, and Thomas Chapais have presented a litany of labour struggle, peasant protest, cholera, religious, ethnic, and election riots, taxpayer revolts, church, school, convent, and mill desecrations, charivaris, and other individual or group political “crimes.”³

    On the work site, labour’s resistance was shaped by changes in the...

  13. Conclusion (pp. 168-174)

    Nineteenth-century Quebec is crucial turf for the historian of both institutions and business. For the former it represents a period of institutionalization when schools, law, government, social services, and the professions developed structures in an industrializing society that would last into our lifetimes. For the business historian it is an immensely significant time when Lower-Canadian owners and their managers had to contend with changing forms of capital and property, with new markets and products, with the formation of the modern business institution and with a labour force that had to be utilized and disciplined in revolutionary ways – and all...

  14. APPENDIX 1 Individuals Attacking the Seminary’s Seigneurial Privileges, 1816–40 (pp. 177-181)
  15. APPENDIX 2 Debt-Recognition Contract (Reconnaissance de dette), 1842 (pp. 182-183)
  16. APPENDIX 3 Notarial Acts Completed by Seminary Notaries and Deposited in anqm, 1835–80 (pp. 184-185)
  17. APPENDIX 4 Excerpt of Transfer of Seigneurial Debts due to Seminary, 1862 (pp. 186-187)
  18. APPENDIX 5 Summary of the Ordinance of 8 June 1840 (pp. 188-189)
  19. APPENDIX 6 Commutations of Seminary of Montreal, 1840–80 (pp. 190-191)
  20. APPENDIX 7 Commutation: Example under Ordinance of 1840 (pp. 192-193)
  21. APPENDIX 8 Commutators of Property Evaluated at over £5,000, 1840–59 (pp. 194-203)
  22. APPENDIX 9 Laws Affecting Seigneurial Tenure and Disposal of Revenues, 1840–73 (pp. 204-208)
  23. APPENDIX 10 Seminary Income, 1795–1839 (livres tournois) (pp. 209-209)
  24. APPENDIX 11 Seminary Income, 1841–1915 (dollars) (pp. 210-211)
  25. APPENDIX 12 Bonds, Debentures, and Shares Held by the Seminary, 1882–1909 (pp. 212-213)
  26. APPENDIX 13 Procurator’s Ordinary and Capital Expenditures, 1805–39 (livres tournois) (pp. 214-215)
  27. APPENDIX 14 Procurator’s Ordinary and Capital Expenditures, 1840–1915 (dollars) (pp. 216-219)
  28. APPENDIX 15 Auction Sales on the Saint-Gabriel Domain, 1853–9 (pp. 220-223)
  29. APPENDIX 16 Conditions of Sale of Building Lots on Mountain Domain, 1860–80 (pp. 224-224)
  30. APPENDIX 17 Major Capital Expenses of Seminary for Social Purposes, 1848–78 (pp. 225-228)
  31. Notes (pp. 229-262)
  32. Bibliography (pp. 263-286)
  33. Index (pp. 287-295)