Gérin-Lajoie, Antoine

Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, journalist, lawyer (1848), public servant, writer (b at Yamachiche, LC 4 Aug 1824; d at Ottawa 4 Aug 1882). As a student at Nicolet College, he wrote the poem "Un Canadien errant" (1842) and Le Jeune Latour (1844), the first Canadian tragedy. He was a founding member and president of the Institut canadien and one of its highly respected lecturers, a journalist for La Minerve (1845-47), the author of a very useful Catéchisme politique (1851) and a public servant.

After being translator to the Assembly of the Province of Canada, he was assistant librarian at the Library of Parliament 1856-80 and chief compiler of its Catalogue (2 vols, 1857-58). He helped found Les Soirées canadiennes and Le Foyer canadien, of which he was the leading figure (1862-65). His most famous work is a 2-part novel: Jean Rivard, le défricheur (1862) and Jean Rivard, économiste (1864), which extols the virtue of clearing uncultivated land in Québec as a means of ensuring survival of the French Canadian nation. Part of his Mémoires (1885) and an historical work, Dix ans au Canada, de 1840 à 1850 (1888-91), were published posthumously.