Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
LAGUEUX, LOUIS, lawyer and politician; b. 20 Nov. 1793 at Quebec, son of Louis Lagueux and Louise Bégin; m. first there 9 July 1816 Rose-Louise Bergevin, dit Langevin, and they had a daughter who died soon after birth; m. secondly 3 Aug. 1820 at Chambly, Lower Canada, Josephte-Aurélie Mignault, who died three years later; d. 15 June 1832 at Quebec.
Louis Lagueux, who came from a wealthy family involved in business, did brilliantly in his studies at the Petit Séminaire de Québec from 1806 to 1814. He then went into law under the guidance of Joseph-Rémi Vallières* de Saint-Réal and was authorized to practise as a lawyer on 15 Dec. 1817. That year he went into business with William Grant, a shipwright; intending to trade with the British colonies in the West Indies, they jointly bought the Adeona, a 140-ton vessel. Unfortunately the two partners had to borrow £1,000 from Louis’s father to repair and fit her out; when they were unable to repay the sum, Lagueux and Grant found themselves obliged on 28 Feb. 1818 to sell her to their creditor. After this experience Lagueux seems to have given up the idea of engaging in business. A few months later he headed a committee to help settlers in Dorchester County who had suffered damages from an unexpected flooding of the Rivière Beaurivage on 16 July 1818. He went to the scene of the disaster and on his return launched a public fund in aid of the victims.
In 1820 the voters of Dorchester, in a display of gratitude, elected Lagueux to the House of Assembly rather than Jean-Thomas Taschereau. He represented his riding faithfully, retaining his seat until his death in 1832. In his early years as a member he took no major part in debates except to declare himself in favour of an 1821 bill incorporating the Bank of Quebec. He did, however, serve on the assembly’s education committee, and in 1824 was chairman of a committee dealing with the Jesuit estates. On 17 Nov. 1823 he had also been appointed secretary of the Quebec Education Society [see Joseph-François Perrault*]. Early in 1825 he was named chairman of a committee to study a request from shipyard owners for a decrease in duties on materials imported for shipbuilding. After discussing the proposal the committee decided not to alter the tariffs. In 1827 Lagueux vigorously supported the bill to set up registry offices in Lower Canada.
That year, inspired by democratic principles and patriotism, he denounced the abuses of the régime in Lower Canada. As the head of a committee formed by voters of Quebec town, he objected to the composition of the Legislative Council and its dependence on the executive power; he also protested against the unduly high salaries paid through the civil list, the poor use of the monies voted by the assembly to promote progress in education, industry, and inland communications, the maladministration of public lands, the attempts by the imperial parliament to change the constitution without the knowledge of the province, and the laws affecting land tenure.
In 1830 Lagueux brought in a bill to secure municipal incorporation for Quebec. He spoke in the house for the last time in December 1831, during the stormy debates over the bill presented by Louis Bourdages giving all property owners the right to attend meetings of the fabriques and to take part in the discussions and voting. In accordance with the position taken by Louis-Joseph Papineau*, he supported the bill, stating that “those who are able to choose their [assembly] members are also capable of choosing churchwardens. “But the Roman Catholic Church was against the proposed practice and the Legislative Council set the bill aside. The bishops did not change their stance until 1843.
The stand Lagueux took in the assembly might have caused him difficulties in the coming elections, but fate decided otherwise. He was one of the first victims of the cholera epidemic that broke out on 11 June 1832. He organized a meeting of Bourdages’s supporters at his home on Rue Saint-Joseph (Rue Garneau) that day to discuss the question of meetings of the fabriques, but shortly afterwards he was stricken. He died on 15 June, a few hours after his former opponent, Jean-Thomas Taschereau. That day Le Canadien announced the death of Lagueux, “the second distinguished victim struck down by cholera,” and paid tribute to him: “This gentleman had stood out at all times in the country’s councils as a zealous and enlightened patriot, and his death is a loss for the general public.”
Louis Lagueux is the author of a one-page tract entitled Electors of Quebec submitting the present state of the province, and the abuses and grievances which prevail therein, and praying for relief and justice (Quebec, 1827).
ANQ-M, CE1-39, 3 août 1820. ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 20 nov. 1793, 8 juill. 1816, 15 juin 1832; CN1-49, 1er mai 1832; CN1-116, 4, 28 févr., 9 oct. 1818; CN1-212, 6 juin 1823, 27 mars 1830; CN1-230, 8 juill. 1816; CN1-262, 7 juill. 1817. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1820–32. Le Canadien, 15 juin, 6 juill. 1832. Quebec Gazette, 16, 27 July 1818; 15 March, 26 July 1821; 25 Nov. 1822; 13 Feb., 17, 24 Nov., 25 Dec. 1823; 22 July 1824. F.-J. Audet, “Les législateurs du Bas-Canada.” P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec; Fils de Québec, 3: 54–55. Thomas Chapais, Cours d’histoire du Canada (8v., Québec et Montréal, 1919–34; réimpr. Trois-Rivières, Qué., 1972), 3: 188–89. J.-E. Roy, Hist. de Lauzon, 5: 261. “La famille Lagueux,” BRH, 38 (1932): 577–79.