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Taschereau, Elzéar Alexandre (DNB00)


TASCHEREAU, ELZÉAR ALEXANDRE (1820–1898), Canadian cardinal, was born at the manor-house, Sainte-Marie de la Beauce, in the province of Quebec, on 17 Feb. 1820. He came of an old Tourangeau family. Thomas Jacques Taschereau, the son of Christophe Taschereau, emigrated to Canada from Touraine about 1715. His grandson, Judge Jean Thomas Taschereau (d. 1832), married Marie (d. 1866), daughter of Jean Antoine Panet, first president of the legislative assembly, and their son was the future cardinal.

Elzéar entered the Quebec seminary on 1 Oct. 1828. Thence in 1836 he visited Rome, where he received the tonsure on 20 May 1837. In 1847 he volunteered his aid in ministering to the unfortunate Irish emigrants who were stricken with typhus fever upon Grosse Island; he contracted the fever and narrowly escaped death. On 17 July 1856 the degree of doctor of canon law was conferred upon him at Rome. In 1860 he was appointed superior of the Quebec seminary, which he had served in various capacities since 1842. The appointment carried with it the rectorship of Laval University, of which Taschereau had been one of the founders. He attended the œcumenical council at Rome in 1870, and on 19 March 1871 he was consecrated by Monsignor Lynch archbishop of Quebec, in succession to Baillargeon. Fifteen years later Taschereau became the first Canadian cardinal. The announcement of his elevation was formally received at Quebec on 8 May 1886. During June the legislative assembly presented an address of congratulation, and the dignitaries of the Anglican church took a prominent part in the demonstration that was called forth by the popularity of the promotion. The installation was performed at the Basilica on 21 July 1886, the day being observed as a general holiday in Quebec, whither twenty-five thousand strangers gathered from all parts of the Dominion (Dom. Ann. Reg. 1886, pp. 106–8). At public ceremonies Cardinal Taschereau was accorded a place next to the lieutenant-governor. He died at Quebec on 12 April 1898. His funeral was attended by Cardinal Gibbons, who was elevated by Leo XIII along with Taschereau. In addition to some charges as archbishop of Quebec, Taschereau published ‘Remarques sur le Mémoire de l'évêque des Trois Rivières sur les difficultés religieuses en Canada’ (Rome, 1882; Quebec, 1882, 8vo, rare).

[Hamel's Le Premier Cardinal Canadien, Quebec, 1886; Tanguay's Répertoire Général du Clergé Canadien, 1893, pp. 10, 240, and Dict. Généalogique des fameux Canadiens, 1871–90; Gagnon's Bibliogr. Canadienne, 1895, pp. 484, 647; Rose's Cyclop. of Canadian Biography, 1886, pp. 625–7; Bibaud's Panthéon Canadien, 1891, p. 280; Montreal Gazette, 19 March 1886; Times, 14 April, 1898; Tablet, 16 April 1898.]

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