Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Joly de Lotbinière, Henry Gustave

1530093Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement, Volume 2 — Joly de Lotbinière, Henry Gustave1912Gabriel Stanley Woods

JOLY DE LOTBINIÈRE, Sir HENRY GUSTAVE (1829–1908), Canadian politician, born on 5 Dec. 1829 at Épernay, France, was son of Gaspard Joly, the owner of famous vineyards at Épernay, who became seigneur of Lotbinière, Canada, on his marriage with Julie Christine, daughter of Chartier de Lotbinière, speaker of the Quebec Assembly (1794–7). His mother's grandfather, Gaspard Michel Chartier de Lotbinière, marquis de Lotbinière, served as one of Montcalm's engineers at Quebec. In 1888 Henry assumed his mother's surname of de Lotbinière with the sanction of the Quebec legislature. He received his education at the Sorbonne in Paris, and joining his father at Lotbinière, was called to the bar of Lower Canada in 1855.

In Canada Joly early espoused the liberal cause in politics, and represented Lotbinière in the Canadian House of Assembly in 1861. In 1864 he effectively attacked the Taché-Macdonald government for remitting the canal dues, and subsequently supported Sir Antoine Aimé Dorion [q. v. Suppl. I] in his opposition to the federation movement. On the passing of the British North America Act he sat for his old constituency both in the first federal House of Commons at Ottawa and in the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1867 to 1874. In the latter year a law was passed enacting that no one should hold a seat in both legislatures. Joly accordingly resigned his seat in the federal house and devoted his energies to the leadership of the liberal opposition in the Quebec Assembly. In 1872 he obtained the appointment of a parliamentary committee to inquire into corrupt practices. In 1874 and again in 1877 he declined the offer of a seat in the senate. In 1878 on the dismissal of the Boucherville ministry Luc Letellier St. Just, lieut.-governor of Quebec, called on Joly to form an administration. His government had only a bare majority, and his proposal to abolish the upper house led to its defeat after eighteen months of office. During that brief period he adopted a policy of retrenchment, and strove hard to purify the administration. Meanwhile he continued his legal duties at the bar, and was made Q.C. in 1878. In 1883 he was elected vice-chairman of the Liberal Dominion Federation. In the same year he retired from the leadership of the liberal opposition in Quebec, and in 1885 on his refusal to countenance the nationalist agitation led by Honoré Mercier [q. v. Suppl. I] against the execution of Louis Riel [q. v.] for high treason, he withdrew altogether from public life.

In 1895, when he was made K.C.M.G., he was induced to emerge from his retirement and to take an active part in the party campaign. On the return of the liberals to power in the following year Joly, who re-entered the federal House of Commons as member for Portneuf, was appointed controller of inland revenue. In 1897 he accepted the portfolio of minister of inland revenue in Sir Wilfrid Laurier's dominion cabinet, and was nominated a privy councillor. From 1900 to 1906 he held the post of lieut.-governor of British Columbia, and in that capacity he entertained at Victoria, the capital, the Prince and Princess of Wales (afterwards King George V and Queen Mary) when they visited Canada in 1901. Through life Joly actively promoted the interests of agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. At Quebec he brought about important reforms in the administration of timber lands and he warmly advocated the systematic preservation of the Canadian forests. He was vice-president of the American Forestry Congress in 1885, and helped to found the Canadian Forestry Association. Joly's disinterestedness was fully recognised among Canadian politicians. The last of the grand seigneurs, an aristocrat and yet a liberal, Joly sympathised intensely with the ideals of self-government held by the Rouge party. He died at Quebec on 16 Nov. 1908. He married on 6 May 1856 Margaretta Josepha (d. 1904), daughter of Hammond Gowen of Quebec, by whom he had issue three sons and three daughters. His two younger sons, Alain Chartier, C.I.E., and Gustave Henri, D.S.O., are both majors in the royal engineers.

[The Times, and Toronto Globe, 17 Nov. 1908; Castell Hopkins, Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1909; J. C. Dent, Canada since the Union of 1841, 2 vols. 1881; L. P. Turcotte, Canada sous l'Union, 1871; M. Bibaud, Le Panthéon Canadien, 1891; E. Collins, Life of Sir J. A. Macdonald, 1883; J. Pope, The Royal Tour in Canada, 1901.]

G. S. W.