François Baby, businessman, militia officer, politician (b at Montréal 4 Oct 1733; d at Québec City 6 Oct 1820). A fur trader from Montréal during the 1750s, Baby was taken prisoner to England in 1760. He returned from France in 1763 to set up as a merchant at Québec. In 1773-74 he travelled to London as an influential defender of the constitutional proposals of Governor CARLETON (Dorchester), eventually adopted as the QUEBEC ACT. His resistance to the American invasion of 1775-76 and his political conduct thereafter earned him appointment to the legislative council in 1778, and he lived the rest of his life on revenues from landed property, life annuities and government salaries.
Baby backed Governor HALDIMAND's opposition to the colonial merchants' demands for an elective assembly, and later opposed attempts by the PARTI CANADIEN to extend the assembly's authority over colonial finances. A bright light in Québec's worldly high society, Baby was nevertheless a devout Roman Catholic whose conduct secured him the admiration of the censorious Bishop PLESSIS.