Girouard, Désiré (DNB12)
GIROUARD, DÉSIRÉ (1836–1911), Canadian judge, born at St. Timothy, co. Beauhamois, Province of Quebec, on 7 July 1836, was son of Jérémie Girouard by his wife Hippolite Piccard. He was descended on the father's side from Antoine Girouard, private secretary to De Ramezay, governor of Montreal in 1720. After attending the Montreal College he took the law course at McGill university, obtaining the first prize three years consecutively, and graduating B.C.L. in 1860, D.C.L. in 1874; he was also LL.D. of Ottawa University. He was called to the bar of Lower Canada in October 1860, and was appointed Q.C. in October 1880. He attained great distinction at the bar, especially in commercial cases, and was a well-known writer on legal and international questions. In 1860, before he was called, he published a useful treatise in French on bills of exchange. He also wrote on the civil laws of marriage and on the Insolvent Act. He was one of the chief collaborators in 'La Revue Critique,' which in 1873-4 gave expression to the dissatisfaction of the Montreal bar with the then existing Quebec court of appeals and led to the reconstitution of that court in 1874. He first stood for the Canadian Parliament in 1872, but was not successful till 1878, when he became conservative member for the constituency of Jacques Cartier, and held the seat for seventeen years, until the close of his political career. In Parliament, where he proved a good debater, he carried in 1882 a bill legalising marriage with a deceased wife's sister. Later, in 1885, with some other conservative French-Canadian members, he opposed the government on the subject of the execution of Louis Riel [q. v.]. He was chairman of the standing committee on privileges and elections, presiding in one well-known case—the Langevin-McGreevy case—over 104 sittings. He was offered a seat in the dominion cabinet, but preferred a judgeship, and was appointed in September 1895 to the bench of the supreme court of Canada. He was senior puisne judge when he died at Ottawa from a carriage accident on 22 March 1911.
Girouard was not only eminent as a lawyer and judge, but he was also an authority on the early history of the settlement of Montreal. In recognition of his historical researches he was presented by the governor-general with the Confederation medal in 1895. He began publishing the results of his studies in 1889, and in 1893 his papers, translated by his son, D. H. Girouard, were collected at Montreal under the title 'Lake St. Louis, Old and New, and Cavalier de la Salle.'
He was three times married: (1) in 1862 to Marie Mathilde, daughter of John Pratt of Montreal; she died in 1863; (2) in 1865 to Essie, daughter of Dr. Joseph Cranwill of Ballynamona, Ireland; she died in 1879; (3) on 6 Oct. 1881 to Edith Bertha, youngest daughter of Dr. John Beatty of Cobourg, Ontario. He left four daughters and six sons, one of his sons by his second wife being Sir Percy Girouard, at one time governor of the East Africa Protectorate.
[The Times, 23 March 1911; Montreal Daily Star, 22 March 1911; Canadian Parliamentary Guide; Canadian Who's Who, 1910; Morgan's Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1898.]