DORION, JACQUES, doctor, mha, Patriote; b. 22 Nov. 1798 at Quebec, illegitimate son of Paul Dorion, merchant, and an unknown mother; d. 30 Dec. 1877 at Saint-Ours, Richelieu County, Que., and was buried 1 Jan. 1878 in the cemetery of the parish of L’Immaculée-Conception-de-Saint-Ours.
Jacques Dorion began his studies at the Petit Séminaire of Quebec in 1810 and abandoned them in 1816 after completing the fourth year of his classical course, as was common at the time. According to written tradition he studied medicine in Paris under Guillaume Dupuytren and Marie-François-Xavier Bichat, but his name appears neither in the registration book nor in the list of doctors of the faculty of the Université de Paris. No doubt he was one of the 15 Canadians who studied medicine in Paris between 1816 and 1822. On his return to Canada he took up residence in the parish of L’Immaculée-Conception-de-Saint-Ours, where he practised his profession competently and with dedication for more than 55 years. In 1835 he founded the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste of Saint-Ours.
As mha for Richelieu County from 26 Oct. 1830 to 27 March 1838, he was associated with the Patriotes; he took part in the great assembly of the six counties, signed the Ninety-two Resolutions, and played an active role in the 1837 rebellion. He was arrested on 12 December for high treason by the sheriff Édouard-Louis-Antoine-Charles Juchereau Duchesnay, and imprisoned at Montreal, during which time Charles Stephen Gore* had Dorion’s house ransacked. Dorion was accused of having given orders to fire on the boat Varennes between Saint-Denis and the parish of L’Immaculée-Conception-de-Saint-Ours; it may have been bringing supplies to Gore’s troops. Thanks to the influence of his friends, notably François-Roch de Saint-Ours, sheriff of Montreal and his wife’s cousin, he was set free on 3 March 1838 after paying bail of £1,000.
Jacques Dorion offers an example of the bright future to which illegitimate children could aspire. Raised by his aunt Marie-Anne Dorions, sister of Paul (Jacques’s father died on 20 Nov. 1811), he was able to get a classical education, and even to travel to France to learn medicine. Having gone to live in the prosperous Richelieu region, he married, on 30 June 1824 in the parish of L’Immaculée-Conception-de-Saint-Ours, Catherine-Louisa Lovell, niece of the seigneur Charles de Saint-Ours*, was elected a member of the assembly, and led his children to the top of the social and professional hierarchy. Edmond-Jacques was a doctor and journalist; Eugène-Philippe was head of the French translators in the House of Commons; Joseph-Adolphe, married to Henriette-Amélie de Saint-Ours, was a notary, coroner, justice of the peace, mha, and legislative councillor; Charles was a lawyer at Sorel and a district judge.
Archives de l’université de Paris, Faculté de médecine, Catalogue des docteurs en médecine, I; Faculté de médecine, Registre des inscriptions, 1816–1822. Archives paroissiales de Notre-Dame (Québec), Registres des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 1795–1796, 1797–1798, 1799–1800. ASQ, Fichier des anciens du séminaire; Séminaire CIII, 56, 61; Séminaire CIV, 3, 6. Desjardins, Guide parlementaire. [Azarie Couillard-Després], Histoire de la seigneurie de Saint-Ours (2v., Montréal, 1915–17), II, 285–94. Fauteux, Patriotes, 217–18. [L.-O. David], “Les hommes de 37–38, le Dr Jacques Dorion,” L’Opinion publique (Montréal), 7 févr. 1878.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CC301, S1, D11 001; CE301-S1, 22 nov. 1798, 23 nov. 1811; Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. du Vieux-Montréal, CE603-S6, 30 juin 1824, 1er janv. 1878. Édith Bédard, “Qui étaient les vrais parents de Jacques Dorion?”: edithbedard.ca/121-jacques-dorion-patriote-de-1837-3 (consulted 5 March 2018).