In New France, all public assemblies required prior authorization, and the right to elect an individual who would speak on behalf of everyone had to be duly approved by the government. The colony's merchants received permission from the King to gather for the purpose of doing business and discussing questions of trade in a place that in France was called la place, l'échange or la bourse. They were also given the right to appoint a spokesman who, in an effort to promote their common interests, would represent them in dealings with the civil authorities.

The Merchant Assemblies
Ruling permitting merchants of the towns of Québec and Montréal to gather daily, in a suitable location, for the purpose of doing business, May 11, 1717
CA ANQ-Q TP1 S35/2 Fonds Conseil souverain Série Arrêts du Conseil d'État du roi Registre F (vol. 6) fol. 63-64