Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

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


Denis Benjamin Papineau


Papineau, Denis Benjamin (1789-1854), commissioner of crown lands for Canada (1844-7), was born in Montreal on November 13, 1789, the son of Joseph Papineau and Marie-Rosalie Cherrier; and the younger brother of Louis Joseph Papineau. He did not share his brother's political views, and he took no part in the rebellions of 1837-8. In 1842 he was elected to represent Ottawa county in the Legislative Assembly of Canada; and in 1844, at the invitation of Sir Charles Metcalfe, he entered the executive council as commissioner of crown lands. It was he who introduced the bill authorizing the official use of the French language in the Assembly; though the bill did not become law until 1848, under the Baldwin-Lafontaine administration. He failed, however, to win over the support of any considerable number of French Canadians, and his partial deafness hindered his effectiveness both in the assembly and in the cabinet. In 1847, therefore, he was persuaded to retire from office; and later in the same year he withdrew from the Assembly. Until his brother, Louis Joseph, returned from exile in 1846, he devoted his energies to the development of his father's seigniory .of La Petite-Nation, to which he had gone as a settler in 1809, and he was its directing spirit. In 1853 he founded Papineauville. He died at Plaisance, Canada East, on January 20, 1854. In 1813 he married Louise Angelique, daughter of Michel Cornud, a merchant of Quebec ; and he had by her five sons and four daughters. The best-known of his sons were Denis Emery Papineau (1819-1898), a notary public who represented Ottawa county in the Legislative Assembly of Canada from 1858 to 1861, and the Hon. Augustin Cyrille Papineau (1829-1913), who was a judge of the superior court for the district of Montreal.

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. V, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 401p., pp. 83-84.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College