Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2007

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Christopher Dunkin


Dunkin, Christopher (1812-1881), politician and judge, was born in London, England, on September 25, 1812. He was educated at the University of London, at Glasgow University, and at Harvard University. At Harvard he was, for a short time, a tutor in Greek. He came to Canada in 1837, and from May, 1837, to June, 1838, he edited the Montreal Morning Courier. He then became secretary to the commission appointed by Lord Durham to inquire into education, and as such had a 'share in the preparation of Lord Durham's Report (London, 1839). From 1839 to 1847 he occupied an official position in the Post Office; but in 1847, having been called to the bar in 1846, he resigned to devote himself to the practice of law. From 1858 to 1861 he represented Drummond and Arthabaska in the Canadian Assembly, and from 1862 to 1871 he was the member for Brome, first in the Assembly of Old Canada, and then in both the Canadian House of Commons and the Quebec legislature. Though nominally a Conservative, he opposed Confederation, and he was its ablest and most cogent critic in the debates in the Canadian Assembly. He accepted Confederation, however, when completed, and played a part in setting the machinery of -the new Dominion to work, first as provincial treasurer of Quebec (1867-9), and then as minister of agriculture in the Dominion government (1869-71). On October 25, 1871, he was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec, and this position he occupied until his death, at Knowlton, Quebec, on January 6, 1881. He married Mary, daughter of Dr. Jonathan Barber of Montreal. He was the author of the Canada Temperance Act of 1864, commonly known as the "Dunkin Act".

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., pp. 248-249.


© 2007 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College