Louis Joseph Papineau: Wikis


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Louis-Joseph Papineau

Portrait of Louis-Joseph Papineau by Théophile Hamel.
Born October 7, 1786(1786-10-07)
Montreal, Lower Canada
Died September 23, 1871 (aged 84)
Montebello, Quebec
Occupation Lawyer, Member of Provincial Parliament, Speaker of the House of Assembly
L. J. Papineau

Louis-Joseph Papineau (October 7, 1786 – September 23, 1871), born in Montreal, Quebec, was a politician, lawyer, and the landlord of the seigneurie de la Petite-Nation. He was the leader of the reformist Patriot movement before the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837–1838. His father was Joseph Papineau, also a famous politician in Quebec.


Childhood and education

As a child, Papineau was described as an excellent reader, a passionate student, and a well-cultured young man. His arrival at the Seminary of Quebec in 1802 was highly anticipated, and his reputation there preceded him. Upon graduation, he began an apprenticeship under his father with the goal of becoming a blacksmith, but this was quickly abandoned when the young Papineau turned to law, joining his cousin Denis-Benjamin Viger. He was elected member of parliament for Kent (now Chambly, Quebec) in 1808 before being admitted to the Bar of Lower Canada on 1810. Later, he served as a militia officer. He married Julie Bruneau, in Quebec City on April 29, 1818

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

Papineau was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada on January 21, 1815. The same year, he replaced Pierre-Stanislas Bédard as leader of the Parti canadien. Under his leadership, the party worked for the reform of Lower Canada's political institutions and strongly opposed the abuses of the appointed Legislative Council.

In 1820, he refused a position on the Legislative Council offered by governor Dalhousie.

In 1822, he was sent to London with John Neilson to present a petition of 60,000 signatures against the Union project. While in the United Kingdom, he was replaced by Joseph-Rémi Vallières as Speaker.

In 1826, he was chosen leader of The Patriotes, a reformed and more radical Parti Canadien. In 1831, he sponsored a law which granted full equivalent political rights to Jews, 27 years before anywhere else in the British Empire. The events that lead to Jews receiving full citizenship rights in Lower Canada in advance of other nations or territories in the British Dominion were due to the involvement of one Ezekiel Hart, a Jew who had proved his dedication to the burgeoning Canadian identity by having raised money to support troops in the Lower Canada to help in defence against US invasion from the south.

Louis-Joseph was part of the committee that wrote the Ninety-Two Resolutions passed by the Legislative Assembly on February 21, 1834. The resolutions called for an elected Legislative Council and an Executive Council responsible before the house of the people's representatives.

Louis-Joseph Papineau mural by George Juhacz and Jean Cartier found in the Papineau metro station of Montreal.

Leader of the Patriotes

After the arrival of the Russell Resolutions in Lower Canada on March 6, 1837, he led the movement of protest and participated in numerous popular assemblies. He led the committee that organized the boycott of essentially all British imports to Lower Canada. On November 15, he created the Conseil des patriotes with Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan. He and O'Callaghan fled Montreal for Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu on November 16, after governor Lord Gosford ordered their arrest and that of 25 other Patriot leaders. Papineau and O'Callaghan went to the home of Wolfred Nelson. He crossed the US border on November 25.

In exile

Arriving in the United States, he stayed at his friend judge Reuben Hyde Walworth's family house in Saratoga. He arranged for his wife and his children to join him there. For some time, he attempted to gain the support of American President Martin Van Buren using all the diplomatic influence that he and American supporters could provide. When the United States declared themselves neutral in the conflict between Britain and its Canadian colonies, he turned to Europe for support.

On February 8, 1839, he left New York City for Paris where he hoped to get France involved. In May, he published the Histoire de l'insurrection du Canada (History of the insurrection in Canada) in the magazine Progrès. Despite meeting with influential politicians such as Lamartine and Lamennais, the France of Louis-Philippe also remained neutral.

His role in the 1837 rebellion against British rule forced him into exile until he was pardoned by Queen Victoria in 1845.[1] He only returned to Montreal after he had been granted amnesty by the colonial government as well.

Return to politics

In 1848, he was elected member of the new united Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in the riding of Saint-Maurice. In severe disagreement with the emerging French Canadian Liberal Party, he became an independent MP. A convinced republican after a long exile in the United States and France, Papineau supported the Montreal Annexation Manifesto that called for Canada to join the United States of America. This reflected the common misunderstanding among the Patriote Party that life would be ideal if the French Canadians of Lower Canada could live like their counterparts in Louisiana. What they did not realize was that the Louisiana Acadians had been substantially assimilated into the American melting pot.

Louis-Joseph Papineau, along with John Molson Jr., the son of John Molson, and Horatio Gates, served as the first Vice-Presidents of the Montreal Mechanics' Institute. He participated in the creation of the Parti rouge. He was defeated in 1851, but elected in a by-election in 1852. He did not present himself again in the elections of 1854. He retired from public life and reappeared only once to hold a conference at the Institut canadien de Montréal in December 1867. He died at his Manoir of Château Montebello on September 23, 1871.


See also


  1. ^ Lewis, Paul. "Log Cabin Luxury," New York Times. September 23, 1990.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
François Viger
MPP, District of Kent
Succeeded by
Noël Breux
Preceded by
Étienne Nivard Saint-Dizier
MPP, District of Montreal West
Succeeded by
Preceded by
François Lesieur Desaulniers, Moderate Reformer
MLA, District of Saint-Maurice
Succeeded by
Joseph-Édouard Turcotte, Moderate Reformer

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOUIS JOSEPH PAPINEAU (1786-1871), Canadian rebel and politician, son of Joseph Papineau, royal notary and member of the house of Assembly of Lower Canada, was born at Montreal on the 7th of October 1786. He was educated at the seminary of Quebec, where he developed the gift of declamatory and persuasive oratory. He was called to the bar of Lower Canada on the 19th of May 1810. On the 18th of June 1808 he was elected a member of the House of Assembly of the province of Lower Canada, for the county of Kent. In 1815 he became speaker of the house, being already recognized as the leader of the French Canadian party. At this time there were many grievances in the country which demanded redress; but each faction was more inclined to insist upon the exercise of its special rights than to fulfil its common responsibilities. In December 1820 Lord Dalhousie, governor of Lower Canada, appointed Papineau a member of the executive council; but Papineau, finding himself without real influence on the council, resigned in January 1823. In that year he went to England to protest on behalf of the French Canadians against the projected union of Upper and Lower Canada, a mission in which he was successful. Nevertheless his opposition to the government became more and more pronounced, till in 1827 Lord Dalhousie refused to confirm his appointment to the speakership, and resigned his governorship when the house persisted in its choice. The aim of the French Canadian opposition at this time was to obtain financial and also constitutional reforms. Matters came to a head when the legislative assembly of Lower Canada refused supplies and Papineau arranged for concerted action with William Lyon Mackenzie, the leader of the reform party in Upper Canada. In 1835 Lord Gosford, the new governor of Lower Canada, was instructed by the cabinet in London to inquire into the alleged grievances of the French Canadians. But the attitude of the opposition remained no less hostile than before, and in March 1837 the governor was authorized to reject the demand for constitutional reform and to apply public funds in his control to the purposes of government. In June a warning proclamation by the governor was answered by a series of violent speeches by Papineau, who in August was deprived of his commission in the militia.

Papineau had formerly professed a deep reverence for British institutions, and he had acquired a theoretical knowledge of the constitution, but he did not possess the qualities of a statesman, and consequently in his determination to apply the strict letter of the constitution he overlooked those elements and compensating forces and powers which through custom and usage had been incorporated in British institutions, and had given them permanence. In his earlier career he had voiced the aspirations of a section of the people at a time when it appeared to them that their national existence was threatened. In the course of time party strife became more bitter; real issues were lost sight of; and Papineau, falling in with the views of one O'Callaghan, who distrusted everything British, became an annexationist. Realizing that his cause was not advanced by persuasive eloquence, he adopted a threatening attitude which caused men of sober judgment to waver in their allegiance. These men he denounced as traitors; but a band of youthful enthusiasts encouraged their leader in his revolutionary course. The bishop of Montreal and of Quebec, and a large number of the citizens, protested, but nothing less than bloodshed would satisfy the misguided patriots. On the 23rd of October 1837 a meeting of delegates from the six counties of Lower Canada was held at St Charles, at which resistance to the government by force of arms was decided upon, and in which Papineau took part. In November preparations were made for a general stampede at Montreal, and on the 7th of the month Papineau's house was sacked and a fight took place between the "constitutionals" and the "sons of liberty." Towards the middle of November Colonel Gore was commanded to effect the arrest of Papineau and his principal adherents on a charge of high treason. A few hundred armed men had assembled at Saint Denis to resist the troops, and early on the morning of the 22nd of November hostilities commenced, which were maintained for several hours and resulted in many casualties. On the eve of the fray Papineau sought safety in flight, followed by the leading spirits of the movement. On the 1st of December 1837 a proclamation was issued, declaring Papineau a rebel, and placing a price upon his head. He had found shelter in the United States, where he remained in safety throughout the whole period of the fighting. The rebellion broke out afresh in the autumn of 1838, but it was soon repressed. Those taken in open rebellion were deported by Lord Durham to save them from the scaffold; and although 90 were condemned to death only 12 were executed.

Attempts have been made to transfer the responsibility for the act of violence to O'Callaghan and other prominent leaders in the revolt; but Papineau's own words, "The patriots of this city would have avenged the massacre but they were so poor and so badly organized that they were not fit to meet the regular troops," prove that he did not discountenance recourse to arms. Writing of the events of 1837 in the year 1848 he said: "The smallest success at Montreal or Toronto would have induced the American government, in spite of its president, to support the movement." It would thus seem that he was intriguing to bring about intervention by the United States with a view to annexation; and as the independence of the French Canadian race, which he professed to desire, could not have been achieved under the constitution of the American republic, it is inconsistent to regard his services to his fellow-countrymen as those of a true patriot. Papineau, in pursuing towards the end a policy of blind passion, overlooked real grievances, and prevented remedial action. After the rebellion relief was accorded because the obstacle was removed, and it is evident that a broad-minded statesman, or a skilful diplomat, would have accomplished more for French Canada than the fiery eloquence and dubious methods of a leader who plunged his followers into the throes of war, and deserted them at the supreme moment. From 1839 till 1847 Papineau lived in Paris. In the latter year an amnesty was granted to those who had participated in the rebellion in Canada; and, although in June 1838 Lord Durham had issued a proclamation threatening Papineau with death if he returned to Canada, he was now admitted to the benefit of the amnesty. On his return to Canada, when the two provinces were now united, he became a member of the lower house and continued to take part in public life, demanding "the independence of Canada, for the Canadians need never expect justice from England, and to submit to her would be an eternal disgrace." He unsuccessfully agitated for the re-division of upper and lower Canada, and in 1854 retired into private life. He died at Montebello, in the province of Quebec, on the 24th of September 1871.

See L. O. David, Les Deux Papineau; Fennings Taylor, Louis Joseph Papineau (Montreal, 1865); Alfred De Celles, PapineauCartier (Toronto, 1906); H. J. 'Morgan, Sketches of Celebrated Canadians (Quebec, 1862); Rose's Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography Annual Register, 1836-1837; Sir Spencer Walpole, History of England (5 vols., London, 1878-1886), vol. iii. (A. G. D.)

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