Parent, Étienne (DNB00)


PARENT, ÉTIENNE (1801–1874), Canadian journalist, was born of French Canadian parents at Beauport, near Quebec, 2 May 1801. After being educated at the seminary of Quebec and the college of Nicolet, he went home, intending to engage in agriculture on his father's farm; but he had already acquired some reputation as a scholar and essayist, and in 1822 he accepted the editorship of the ‘Canadien,’ the chief organ of the French Canadian party. He resigned the editorship in 1825 to study for the bar, to which he was called three years later. He very soon left the bar to assume the united posts of French translator and librarian to the legislative assembly of Lower Canada. In 1831 he resumed the editorship of the ‘Canadien,’ which he now retained till 1842. For the violent attacks made by his paper on the executive government, then mainly in the hands of an oligarchy of English settlers, Parent was imprisoned in 1837. He, however, continued to press for an extension of political liberty, and after the union of the two provinces of Canada in 1841 Parent was elected to the lower house of the Canadian legislature for the county of Saguenay. He resigned his seat in 1842, on being appointed clerk to the executive council. He held this office till 1847, when he was promoted to the assistant-secretaryship for Lower Canada. Parent frequently contributed papers to the press, and delivered occasional public lectures on political economy and social science. Of the latter the best known are ‘De l'importance et des devoirs du commerce,’ ‘De l'intelligence dans ses rapports avec la société,’ and ‘Considérations sur le sort des classes ouvrières.’ These lectures were published in the ‘Foyer Canadien.’ Parent died at Ottawa on 23 Dec. 1874.

[Morgan's Sketches of Celebrated Canadians; Canadian Parliamentary Debates.]

G. P. M-y.