John Amice Le Boulanger, (1829-1889)


We have to record with deep regret the death of Mr. J. A, le Boulanger, which took place at his residence in Richmond-road, Cardiff, on Tuesday. For several years the deceased gentleman had suffered from an affection of the heart, which at times naturally interfered with his very active life, and which, eighteen months ago, prostrated him for several mouths. Under the careful treatment of Dr. Buist, the Medical attendant of the family, however, he sufficiently recovered to perform the public duties of his life, but had retired from the immediate management of Wayne's Merthyr Colliery. A fortnight ago he suffered a relapse, and Dr. Buist was at once summoned, but at the time nothing very serious was apprehended. Mr. Boulanger, however, growing worse, Dr. Buist had a consultation with Dr. Edwards, and on Monday morning there were only faint hopes that the deceased gentleman would recover. Unfavourable symptoms, however, set in during the evening, and at twelve o'clock the same night he was reported to be rapidly sinking, and at two o'clock on the following morning he quietly passed away.


Mr. John Amice le Boulanger was born on the 4th of May, 1829, at St. Helier, Jersey, where his family ranked amongst the oldest and most respectable. Adopting commercial pursuits as his future profession, he paid a visit to South Wales in his twentieth year, and very soon afterwards joined in business at Swansea, as coal shipper and broker, the late Mr. Charles Moore, who was at the time agent for Parson's Graigola Collieries. After some year of successful trading Mr. Moore was compelled through ill-health to retire, and Mr. Boulanger thereupon became identified with the firm of Messrs. Wayne and Co., who in 1863 offered him their Cardiff agency, which was then under the management of the late Alderman C. W. David and Mr. Toms. He accepted the position, and retained his active connection with the firm till about eighteen months ago, when he retired through failing health. It will thus be seen that for over a quarter of it century he has been closely identified with the trade of the port, and had established an important position in business life. His experience in public affairs was exceptionally large. While resident at Swansea he was an active member of the board of guardians at that place, and was the only Roman Catholic member of the body. The first public office he held at Cardiff was that of member of the infirmary committee, and at the time of his death lie was a life governor of that institution. Up to the time of his election, in 1873, the Roman Catholic patients of the infirmary had no provision whatever for their Spiritual needs, and one of his first act, was to remove that anomaly by obtaining all order that whenever such patients were admitted the Roman Catholic clergy should be notified of the fact. In 1875 he was elected a member of the free library committee, and had taken an active part in the management of that institution down to the time of his death. For over seventeen years he had been one of the most Zealous managers of the Roman Catholic schools of the town, and, there can be no doubt, did more to secure their success than any other layman. On the formation of the Cardiff School Board he was selected by his party as a fitting candidate for a seat, and, after some pressure, consented to stand with Father Hayde in the Roman Catholic interest, and was returned by a large majority. After having sat on three successive boards, lie resigned in 1884 in favour of the Rev. W, Williams, the Catholic vicar-general of the diocese. On the 21st of April, 1887, he was elected a member of the Cardiff Board of Guardians, and, as was the case in Swansea, he was the first Roman Catholic ever elected a guardian in the Cardiff Union. It is needless to add that the services which he rendered were of great value to the board, because he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the poorer classes of the Catholic portion of the district. He continued a member of the board down to the time of his death. In 1883 he was elected a member of the Cardiff Town Council, and amongst the other public offices he held were those of governor of the Cardiff University College, a borough magistrate, and commissioner of the Cardiff Pilotage Board. As a town councillor, his calm, unbiased judgment carried considerable weight in the deliberations of that body, and he was held in the very highest respect by both shades of politics represented there. With the view of increasing the voting power of the Catholic party, he some years ago organised the Catholic Registration Association, and became its first president, it position he held till the year 1884, when he resigned. In March, 1878, he received from Madrid his nomination on E Consenj Supremo de los Caballeros Hospitalorios Espanoles, and in the following June he received the distinguished honour of Chevalier of the Royal Order of Isabella In Catolica, with the autograph signature of the King of Spain and the Star of the Order. In politics Mr. Boulanger was a staunch Conservative, and as such took an active part in the contests of 1874 and 1880. In 1853 he married Alexandrine, daughter of Mr. D. Martin, banker, niece of Mr. G Auber, Juge President of the Tribunal of Commerce, Rouen, and granddaughter of Count and Countess Lasarre de Tourville, by whom he had four children, the youngest only surviving.


The ordinary monthly meeting of the Cardiff Pilotage Board, of which Mr. Boulanger was the chairman, had been convened for Tuesday. There were present Captain Pengelly (who was appointed to preside), Captain Pomeroy, Mr. W. H. Neate, Mr. T. Morel, Mr. J. H. Wilson, Mr. V. Trayes, Mr. W. J. Trounce, Mr. E. Morse, and Mr. W. Richards. It was unanimously resolved that the business of the meeting be adjourned for a we k out of respect to the esteemed chairman of the board, and great grief was felt at the loss of so valuable a supporter of the pilotage interest of the port. Mr. J. H. Wilson proposed, and Mr. Morel seconded, a vote of condolence with Mrs. Boulanger and her son at their sad bereavement, and all present decided to attend the funeral of the deceased. The pilots' representatives said the pilots generally desired also to express their deep sympathy with the chairmen's family knowing, as they did. that they had lost in Mr. Boulanger one of their best friends.

The Western Mail 4th September 1889