History 3813 - Ziedenberg - Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine

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Bishop Ignace Bourget, Montreal, QC, copied 1862
William Notman (1826-1891)
1862, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8 x 5 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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kathrynziedenbergPublished by kathrynziedenberg on 30/11/2009 08:52:01
Lafontaine took this set back as motivation to re-invigorate his fight for responsible government and to garner more support for his campaign from the voters. Part of his strategy was the affiliation of his goals with the language issue. On this point he was relentless, as it was an emotionally charged matter for many French Canadiens, sure to amass dedicated support. Furthermore, in direct contrast to his politics in youth, Lafontaine sought a clerical alliance. It was favourable to electors, some of whom were discomfited with the alliance of the reformers with secularized Canada West. In turn, the Church was interested in a political alliance, in the climate of shifting political structures, which would benefit them. The Montreal Bishop Bourget had a demeanour quite similar to Lafontaine that made their collaboration all the more viable. Both were dignified, assured, and dutiful leaders. Lafontaine would later fight for the property rights of the Church and in turn the Church advocated responsible government. By 1848, the Reformers returned to government with a strong majority.


Jacques Monet, "LA FONTAINE, Sir LOUIS-HIPPOLYTE," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?Biold=38663.

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Keys to History

As a general rule, English-speaking and French-speaking Montrealers tended to lead separate lives, each community having its own institutions. Among French Montrealers, the Catholic Church played a major role in social organization. It enjoyed a veritable renaissance during the episcopate of Ignace Bourget. Thanks to the support of a larger, better-educated clergy, the bishop was able to provide better guidance to his congregation. After a long, drawn-out struggle with the Sulpicians, he succeeded, in 1865, in getting Rome to divide up the parish of Notre Dame, thus allowing him to increase the number of parishes within the same area.

  • What

    Ignace Bourget was bishop of Montreal, but his diocese extended over a much larger territory, the city of Montreal being only a small part of it. This territory gradually shrank as new dioceses were created, such as the diocese of St. Hyacinthe in 1852 and that of Valleyfield in 1893.

  • Where

    It was from Rome that Bourget found inspiration for strengthening discipline in the Church. He identified with the Ultramontanists. Even the new cathedral he had built was modelled after St. Peter's in Rome.

  • When

    Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal in 1840, on the death of his predecessor, Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue (1777-1840). He resigned in 1876 over conflicts that were dividing the Catholic Church in Quebec.

  • Who

    Ignace Bourget (1799-1885) was born into a farming family in Lauzon, near Quebec City. He studied at the seminary in Nicolet, becoming secretary to Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue in 1821. It was Lartigue who chose Bourget as his successor and had the Pope approve the choice.