Louis-Joseph Papineau Louis-Joseph Papineau
© National Archives of Canada / C-5414
The Formative Years (1786-1809)
October 7, 1786

Birth of Louis-Joseph Papineau in Montréal.


Louis-Joseph Papineau commences schooling at the Collège de Montréal and, from 1802, continues at the Séminaire de Québec.

): Louis-Joseph Papineau at about ten years of age, circa 1796 Louis-Joseph Papineau at about ten years of age, circa 1796
© National Archives of Canada / Pastel sur papier attribué à Louis Dulongpré, / négatif C-96269, 1796

Law clerkship at the firm of his cousin Denis-Benjamin Viger.

The Initiation into Political Life (1808-1815)

Elected Member of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada for the county of Kent (Chambly).


Called to the bar of Lower Canada.


Captain of a battalion of the Select Embodied Militia, during the War of 1812.


Louis-Joseph Papineau becomes the owner of his father's home, located on Bonsecours Street in Montréal.


Elected Member of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada for the riding of Montréal West (city).

The Rise to Political Prominence (1815-1827)
Louis-Joseph Papineau, speaker at the House of Assembly Louis-Joseph Papineau, speaker at the House of Assembly
© National Archives of Canada / Gravure sur bois, anonyme (s.d.) / négatif C-9223

Elected Speaker of the House, for which he receives an annual salary of 1000 pounds beginning in 1817.


Louis-Joseph Papineau purchases the seigneury of La Petite-Nation from his father.


Louis-Joseph Papineau marries Julie Bruneau, the daughter of Pierre Bruneau, a merchant and member of the House for Québec.


Papineau is nominated to the Executive Council, but declines this offer.


Travels to England accompanied by John Neilson to lodge a protest against the projected union of Upper and Lower Canada.


Re-elected Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Leader of the Parti patriote (1827-1837)
The Honourable Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1832 The Honourable Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1832
©National Archives of Canada / Lithographie dessinée par Robert A. Sproule, 1832 / négatif C-5462

Papineau emerges victorious from a long-time rivalry which, since 1815, has pitted politicians from Québec and Montréal against one another for leadership of the Parti canadien, which became the Parti patriote around 1826.


Member of the House of Assembly for the county of Surrey (Verchères).


Louis-Joseph Papineau represents the riding of Montréal West (city) at the House of Assembly.


Drawing up and tabling of 92 Resolutions, which air all the grievances of the Parti patriote against the colonial government.


Elected member of the House of Assembly for the riding of Montréal.

March and April 1837

Discussion and adoption of the Ten Resolutions by Lord Russell in London, which reject the grievances and reforms put forward by the Parti patriote.

April 10, 1837

News of the Russell Resolutions arrives in Canada.

May 15, 1837

Speech by Louis-Joseph Papineau during a meeting in Saint-Laurent at which he advocates boycotting imports from Great Britain and engaging in contraband.

July 17, 1837

Along with Cyrille-Hector-Octave Côté, Louis-Joseph Papineau chairs a popular meeting at Napierville.

October 23 and 24, 1837

Meeting of delegates from six counties (Assemblée des Six-Comtés: Richelieu, Saint-Hyacinthe, Rouville, Chambly, Verchères and L'Acadie) in Saint-Charles.

November 6, 1837

Members of the Doric Club ("the constitutionals") and Les Fils de la liberté ("the sons of liberty")–two opposing paramilitary groups–clash in Montréal. Members of the first group sack the home of Papineau.

November 23, 1837

Battle at Saint-Denis: the Patriotes defeat the British troops. Louis-Joseph Papineau and Dr. Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan flee to Saint-Hyacinthe.

Exile (1837-1845)
December 1, 1837

Louis-Joseph Papineau and Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan arrive in the United States. Proclamation by Governor Gosford in French and English promising an award of 1000 pounds in provincial currency (4000 piastres) to anyone who manages to apprehend and hand over Louis-Joseph Papineau to the forces of law and order.

January 2, 1838

Meeting in Middlebury, Vermont (U.S.A.), which ends in a scission between a radical wing (Nelson) and a moderate wing (Papineau).


In late May or early June, Louis-Joseph Papineau is reunited with his wife and several of their children in Saratoga, New York (U.S.A.).

November 4, 1838

Rebellion breaks out again in Lower Canada.

February 8, 1839

After having failed to win over several American political figures to his cause, Louis-Joseph Papineau sets sail from New York for France aboard the Sylvie-de-Grasse.

May 1839

Publication by the Paris journal Revue du progrès of the first part of L' Histoire de l'insurrection du Canada (History of the rebellion in Canada), by Louis-Joseph Papineau.


During his exile in France, Louis-Joseph Papineau consults the works of various libraries, copies or has copied documents concerning Canada from the Archives de la Marine (the French colonial secretariat) and the Jesuit archives, with the objective of continuing his history of the Canadian colony.


After being granted amnesty, Papineau returns to Canada via Boston.

Political Epilogue (1848-1854)
Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1843 Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1843
©: Patrick Altman / Musée du Québec / Lithographie de Gérome Fassio, d'après un dessin d'Antoine Maurin, 1843 / 55.111

Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Union of the Canadas for the county of Saint-Maurice. This second period in the political career of Louis-Joseph Papineau, which will extend to 1854, gradually contributes to the politician's celebrity. Papineau is replaced as leader of the French Canadian reformers by Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, and was taxed with being politically unrealistic. As a mere member of the Assembly, Papineau quickly loses interest in his duties.


Advocates annexation of the Union of the Canadas by the neighbouring republic. Louis-Joseph Papineau's conduct at the outset of the battle of Saint-Denis in November 1837 alienates Wolfred Nelson, one of the politician's main supporters.


Represents the county of Deux-Montagnes at the Legislative Assembly of the Union of the Canadas.

The Seigneur Retires to Private Life (1854-1871)
Louis-Joseph Papineau, between 1850 and 1860 Louis-Joseph Papineau, between 1850 and 1860
© Parcs Canada / Fonds Jacqueline Papineau Desbaillets / Archambault / 206/ic-1G/PR-6/S-93 no 3, 1843

Papineau retires to the huge manor house he has just built at Montebello, and devotes himself to his family and books and to the duties associated with administering his lands in the La Petite-Nation seigneury.


Louis-Joseph Papineau is on hand as each of several family members dies. He thus decides to build a funeral chapel near the manor house, where he and his family are to be interred.

September 23, 1871

Death of Louis-Joseph Papineau at Montebello, at the age of 85. Five days later, his remains are laid to rest beside those of his family previously buried in the funeral chapel.

For further information on the man and his era, visit the Web site Les Patriotes de 1837