Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine

Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (or La Fontaine), 1st Baronet (October 4 1807February 26 1864 Montreal) was the first Canadian to become Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada and the first head of a responsible government in Canada. He was born in Boucherville, Lower Canada in 1807. A jurist and statesman, Lafontaine was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in 1830. He was a supporter of Papineau and member of the "Parti canadien" (later the "Parti patriote"). After the severe consequences of the Rebellions of 1837 against the British authorities, he advocated political reforms within the new Union regime of 1841.

Under this Union of the two Canadas he worked with Robert Baldwin and Francis Hincks in the formation of a party of Upper and Lower Canadian liberal reformers. He and Baldwin formed a government in 1842 but resigned in 1843. In 1848 he was asked by Lord Elgin to form the first administration under the new policy of responsible government. The Lafontaine-Baldwin government, formed on March 11, battled for the restoration of the official status of the French language, which was abolished with the Union Act, and the principles of responsible government and the double-majority in the voting of bills.

While Baldwin was reforming Canada West (Upper Canada), Lafontaine passed bills to abolish the "tenure seigneuriale" (seigneurial system) and grant amnesty to the leaders of the rebellions in Lower Canada who had been exiled. The bill passed, but it was not accepted by the loyalists of Canada East who protested violently and burned down the Parliament in Montreal.

Lafontaine retired to private life in 1851 but was appointed chief justice of Canada East in 1853. In 1854 he was created a baronet by Queen Victoria and a knight commander in the pontifical Order of St. Sylvester by Pope Pius IX in 1855.

Writings

Works

* "Les deux girouettes, ou l’hypocrisie démasquée", Montréal, 1834 ( [http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/125475.pdf online] )
* "Notes sur l'inamovibilité des curés dans le Bas-Canada", Montréal, 1837
* "Analyse de l'ordonnance du Conseil spécial sur les bureaux d’hypothèques [...] ", Montréal, 1842
* "De l'esclavage en Canada", Montréal, 1859 [With Jacques Viger] ( [http://books.google.ca/books?id=a-ANAAAAQAAJ&hl=fr online] )
* "De la famille des Lauson. Vice-rois et lieutenants généraux des rois de France en Amérique", 1859 ( [http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/337920.pdf online] )

Other

* "The Address to the Electors of Terrebonne", 1840 ( [http://www.goodreads.ca/terrebonne/fr.html online] )

Posthumous honours

In the Montreal region, both the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel and the Parc Lafontaine urban park are named in his honour. A statue of Lafontaine and Baldwin was erected on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

ee also

*Lower Canada Rebellion
*Timeline of Quebec history
*LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium
*Louis-Joseph Papineau

Notes

References

In English

* Monet, Jacques. " [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4541 La Fontaine, Louis-Hippolyte] ", in "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online", University of Toronto and Université Laval, 2000
* Abbott Nish, M. E. "Double majority: Concept, Practice and Negotiations, 1840–1848", Master Thesis, McGill University, Montréal, 1966
* Leacock, S. B. (1907). "Baldwin, Lafontaine, Hincks. Responsible Government", Toronto, 371 p.

In French

* Aubin, Georges (2002-05). "Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. Correspondance générale"
** Tome 1: "Les ficelles du pouvoir: correspondance entre Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine et Robert Baldwin, 1840-1854"
** Tome 2: "Au nom de la loi: lettres de Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine à divers correspondants, 1829-1847"
** Tome 3: "Mon cher Amable: lettres de Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine à divers correspondants, 1848-1864"
* Aubin, Georges (1999). "Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. Journal de voyage en Europe, 1837-1838", Sillery: Septentrion, 153 p. ISBN 2-89448-142-X
* Bertrand, Réal (1993). "Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine", Montréal: Lidec, 60 p. ISBN 2-7608-7046-4
* Auclair, Elie-Joseph (1933). "Figures canadiennes", Montréal, vol. 2, pp. 9-19 ( [http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/192700-2.pdf online] )
* DeCelles, Alfred Duclos (1907). "LaFontaine et son temps", Montréal: Librairie Beauchemin, 208 p.( [http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/181276.pdf online] )
* Laurent-Olivier David (1872). "Sir Ls.-H. Lafontaine", Montréal: Typographie Geo. E. Desbarats, 45 p.


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