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Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière

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Title: Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière  
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Subject: Honoré Mercier, Quebec general election, 1867, Thomas Robert McInnes, 4th Quebec Legislature, James Dunsmuir
Collection: 1829 Births, 1908 Deaths, Canadian Anglicans, Canadian Knights, Canadian People of Huguenot Descent, Franco-Columbian People, Knights Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, Liberal Party of Canada Mps, Lieutenant Governors of British Columbia, Members of the House of Commons of Canada from Quebec, Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, People from Épernay, Premiers of Quebec, Quebec Liberal Party Mnas, Quebec Political Party Leaders
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Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière

Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
4th Premier of Quebec
In office
March 8, 1878 – October 31, 1879
Monarch Victoria
Lieutenant Governor Luc Letellier de St.-Just
Théodore Robitaille
Preceded by Charles Boucher de Boucherville
Succeeded by Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau
7th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
June 21, 1900 – May 11, 1906
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Governor General The Earl of Minto
The Earl Grey
Premier James Dunsmuir
Edward Gawler Prior
Richard McBride
Preceded by Thomas Robert McInnes
Succeeded by James Dunsmuir
Personal details
Born (1829-12-05)December 5, 1829
Épernay, France
Died November 16, 1908(1908-11-16) (aged 78)
Quebec City, Canada
Political party Quebec Liberal Party

Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, KCMG (December 5, 1829 – November 16, 1908) served as the fourth Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, a federal Cabinet minister, and the seventh Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Provincial political career 1.2
    • Careers in federal politics and in forestry 1.3
  • Elections as party leader 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


Early years

Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, PC was born as Henry-Gustave Joly in Épernay, France. His father's family was one of the traditional Huguenot families from Switzerland and his mother's family was Roman Catholic. Initially a Huguenot himself, Henri-Gustave converted to Anglicanism before he married in 1856.

His father, Gaspard-Pierre-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, was a pioneer of early photography (the first man to photograph the Acropolis, in 1839) who made a series of daguerreotypes while on a Grand Tour through Greece, Egypt and the Holy Land. Henri-Gustave's mother was Julie-Christine, the youngest daughter of Michel-Eustache-Gaspard-Alain Chartier de Lotbinière, who inherited the seigneury of Lotbinière, in 1828.[2] His parents' marriage was not a happy one, which is perhaps not surprising as his father had first proposed to Julie-Christine's eldest sister, Louise-Josephe, the Seigneuresse de Vaudreuil, who instead chose to marry Robert Unwin Harwood. Henri-Gustave Joly studied in Paris and inherited the title of seigneur of Lotbinière in 1860.[3]

He married Margaretta-Josepha Gowen, daughter of Hammond Gowen of Quebec, and was the father of eleven children. Their daughter married Brigadier-General Herbert Colborne Nanton (1863-1935), brother of Augustus Meredith Nanton. He was the grandfather of Seymour de Lotbiniere.

Provincial political career

Joly was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada for Lotbinière in 1861 as a Bleu, a moderate liberal, but was a member of the more radical Parti rouge when re-elected in 1863.

Henri-Gustave Joly became Leader of the Quebec Liberals at the time of Confederation in 1867, and was the member for the federal riding of Lotbinière. He was re-elected in Lotbinière in the Canadian Election of 1872.

In 1878, Conservative premier Charles-Eugène Boucher de Boucherville resigned on March 2 since he was about to be deposed by Lieutenant Governor Luc Letellier de Saint-Just. They had a conflict over railroad legislation which de Saint-Just deemed unconstitutional. As a result, Joly became Premier on March 8, 1878, and the first Liberal to become Premier of Quebec. To this day, he remains the only foreigner and protestant to be the Leader of the Province of Quebec.

In the May 1, 1878 election, the Liberals won one fewer seat than the Conservatives (there were also two independent Conservatives). However, Joly remained in power in a minority government for about a year and half. His government was brought down by a motion of censure involving the defection of five Liberals (including future premier Edmund James Flynn) to the Conservatives. The Leader of the Opposition Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau was called to form a government on October 31, 1879.[4]

Joly remained Liberal Party leader until 1883. In all, he spent about 17 years as Liberal leader, but served only briefly as Premier.

In 1883, Joly resigned as Liberal leader to make way for Honoré Mercier. He resigned as member of the Legislative Assembly in November 1885.

He added "de Lotbinière" (part of his mother's maiden name) to his name in 1888.

Careers in federal politics and in forestry

Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, c. 1890

Joly de Lotbinière was once again elected to the federal House of Commons in the 1896 federal election, this time as the member from Portneuf. He served as a federal Cabinet minister from 1897 until he retired in 1900.[5]

In March 1900 Sir Henri was invited along with J. R. Booth, William Little, Thomas Southworth and Dr. William Saunders by Elihu Stewart, Canada's chief inspector of timber and forestry, to create the Assiniboia, Athabaska, Keewatin and Yukon.

Under the chairmanship of Sir Henri, delegates approved bylaws and a constitution of the Canadian Forestry Association, Canada's oldest conservation organization. These early conservationists recognized that the whole field of renewable resources, the forests, waters, wildlife, soils and recreational values, were closely interrelated. The CFA's mission continues to be to promote the protection and wise use of Canada's forest, water and wildlife resources. His participation as the first president of the Canadian Forestry Association was not altered by his ongoing political activity. He continued to put forward new ideas for forestry. In 1906 the CFA convened Canada's first national forestry convention, chaired by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, honorary CFA President. Sir Henri presented a paper in that called for the forest sector to consider conversion to the metric measurement system, a change that would not come to fruition in Canada until the 1980s.[6]

At the 1905 annual meeting of the Canadian Forestry Association in Québec City, condolences were expressed to Sir Henri on the passing the previous year of his wife. To quote the proceedings: "Then we must all regret the affliction that has come to our honoured president, Sir Henri Joly de Lotbinière and his family in the death of Lady Joly. We all love Sir Henri, and we believe that his name will be remembered for the good work he has done as long as trees grow in this country. He has our sincere sympathy in the affliction that has befallen him."

Prime Minister Laurier appointed him Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia in 1900; he served until 1906. He died in Quebec City in 1908. He and his wife, Margaretta Josepha Gowen (July 25, 1837 – August 14, 1904), had 11 children of whom 7 reached adulthood. Seymour de Lotbiniere, who grew up in England and was an influential director of outside broadcasting at the BBC, was their grandson.

Elections as party leader

He won the 1878 election (the Liberals won one fewer seat than the Conservatives but he remained premier with the support of a few Conservatives). He lost the 1881 election.

See also

External links

  • Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière – Parliament of Canada biography
  • His summer estate now a garden-park open to visitors (French)


  1. ^ Little, 2013
  2. ^ Morgan, Henry James Types of Canadian women and of women who are or have been connected with Canada : (Toronto, 1903) [2]
  3. ^ Little, 2013
  4. ^ Little, 2013
  5. ^ Little, 2013
  6. ^ Little, 2013

Further reading

  • J.I. Little. Patrician Liberal: The Public and Private Life of Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 1829–1908 (2013)
Political offices
Preceded by
Lewis Thomas Drummond (Parti rouge)
MLA, District of Lotbinière
Succeeded by
New constitution enacted in 1867
Preceded by
Charles-Eugène Boucher de Boucherville (Conservative)
Premier of Quebec
8 March 1878 – 31 October 1879
Succeeded by
Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau (Conservative)
National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Provincial district created in 1867
MLA, District of Lotbinière
Succeeded by
Édouard-Hippolyte Laliberté (Liberal)
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Member of Parliament from Lotbinière
Succeeded by
Henry Bernier
Preceded by
Arthur Delisle
Member of Parliament from Portneuf
Succeeded by
Michel-Siméon Delisle
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