The name of the individual who forms the subject of this brief memoir, has for many years been before the public, and is now familiar with all men's tongues. It will not, therefore, be uninteresting to the American public, to learn a few particulars of one who, by his devotion to American principles, has made himself at once dreaded by the British government, and beloved by the great mass of the people of the Canadas, where he has been, for over a quarter of a century, the steady, unpurchased and unpurchasable champion of [[Wikipedia:Representative democracy|democracy]].
[[Wikipedia:Louis-Joseph Papineau|Louis Joseph Papineau]], [[Wikipedia:Speaker (politics)|speaker]] of the [[Wikipedia:House of Assembly of Lower Canada|house of assembly of Lower Canada]], was born in the city of [[Wikipedia:Montreal|Montreal]], in October 1789[''sic'']. The family had originally emigrated into [[Wikipedia:Canada, New France|Canada]], towards the end of the seventeenth century, from the village of [[Montigny]], near [[Bourdeaux]], in the south of France.
Mr. Papineau's father, [[Wikipedia:Joseph Papineau|Joseph Papineau]], was a [[Wikipedia:notary|notary]]. He is a gentleman of great respectability, and when in public life, was the most influential member of the house of assembly, in which body, he sat from the commencement of the [[Constitutional Act of 1791|Constitution]] in 1791 to 1810, or 1811. Though still in the full possession of all his faculties at the advanced age of 86, he has for many years retired into private life. This venerable patriarch is the father of the Canada constitution. To his exertions, during a series of years, previous to 1790, is that country indebted for the representative form of government, which the [[Wikipedia:British parliament|British parliament]] is now about to destroy. In his youth, he found his country abandoned to a military [[Wikipedia:despotism|despotism]]; his countrymen without any political existence in their native land, and their lives and property at the mercy of every stranger, whom chance or [[Wikipedia:patronage|patronage]] may have drifted on their shores. He exerted himself to procure for them that rank in the [[body politic]], which their numbers and wealth entitled them to. He procured for them some political power, by obtaining for them the right of choosing representatives in a colonial assembly. He has lived to see those rights destroyed, and his fellow citizens again driven back, to suffer under that despotism from which he had succeeded about half a century ago in rescuing them. In the words of [[Wikipedia:Henry Grattan|Grattan]], the celebrated Irish patriot, he may truly say, "I have watched by the cradle of my country, and now I follow her hearse!"
The subject of the present brief biographical sketch, was sent at an early age to [[Wikipedia:Quebec City|Quebec]] to be educated at the [[seminary]] under the superintendence of the [[Wikipedia:Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec|catholic clergy]] in that city. In the 17th century an extensive and highly respectable [[college]] was established in the city of Quebec, by the [[Wikipedia:Jesuits|Jesuits]], where the youth of the colony were educated. When [[Wikipedia:Great Britain|Great Britain]] got possession of Canada, one of its first steps "for the encouragement of learning," was to expel the Jesuits, and turn this college into a ''Barrack'' (to which .... purpose it still continues to be put.) The clergy were therefore obliged to raise a building for the education of the rising generation, and to this establishment Mr. Papineau was sent, to go through his studies. Here he remained until he was 17 years of age. His collegiate course being completed, he entered on the study of the law, and was called to the bar about the year 1811-12. He had however been previously elected in the year 1809, and whilst still a student at law, to represent the county of Kent, (now the [[Wikipedia:Chambly (electoral district)|county of Chambly]],) after a hard contest, in which he was opposed by all strength of the then government party. This county he represented during two parliaments, after which he went in for the west ward of Montreal, for which place he has been uninterruptedly elected for the last 20 years.
The passage of this resolution, which, like the [[Wikipedia:Stamp Act 1765|stamp act]] and [[Wikipedia:Tea Act|tea tax]], violated all principles of freedom, caused great indignation throughout the Province. Lord Gosford himself, who originally recommended the step, was "constrained to admit, that the feeling against the Imperial Parliament, authorizing the taking of the money out of the chest, is very strong." In such a crisis, all eyes were turned on Mr. Papineau. He came forward in consequence, and recommended the people to abstain every where from the use of taxed articles; to encourage domestic manufactures, and ''free'' trade with these states; to withdraw all confidence from the government, and those who held office under it, and finally to ''elect'' their own [[Wikipedia:Justice of the Peace|justices of the peace]], and militia officers. Mr. Papineau, warm with the love of country, went in person from county to county, from one extremity of the Province to the other, preaching a crusade against the liberticide measures of the British ministry, and rousing the dormant energies of the people, into a constitutional opposition. The government affected at first to sneer at the proceedings of the people. Lord Gosford writing in May 1837, described these [[List of the public meetings held in Lower Canada between May and November 1837|public meetings]] as "complete failures." In July he wrote that Mr. Papineau "was losing ground." A few months afterwards, however, he was forced to open his eyes to his error. The non consumption and non intercourse war was waged with such rigid perseverance, that a serious falling off soon became perceptible in the public revenue, and those who held commissions under the Crown resigned ''by counties''. The man who but a short while before was said to be "losing ground," was now denounced by the very governor who before affected to despise his influence. He was accused in despatches to the British minister, as wishing to effect "a separation of the Province from England, and the establishment of a republican form of government," and Lord Gosford, in despair, wrote as follows to the [[Wikipedia:Secretary of State for the Colonies|Colonial Secretary]] in September: "We can now make no terms with Mr. Papineau. You must either put him down, or submit to let him put you down. There is no halting between two opinions." To crown the perfidy with which this nobleman had always acted towards the Canadian people, he recommended in the following month, (six weeks before any collision occurred) the annihilation of the Canadian constitution! Writing on the 12th October, this [[Wikipedia:Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh|Castlereagh]] of Canada says: "The only practical course now open for conducting the affairs of the province, with any benefit to the inhabitants generally, is ''at once to suspend the present constitution.''"
Shortly after having recommended this aggression on the rights of a whole people, Lord Gosford prepared to wreak vengeance on the man who had presumed to sound the tocsin of alarm, and to awaken his countrymen to the deep and damning degradation, which was preparing for them and their posterity by the British authorities. The slavery of Canada having been decreed, it was deemed proper, that the ablest, the most eloquent, and the most consistent of her advocates should share the common ruin of his country. In the first week of November, a warrant for [[Wikipedia:High treason in the United Kingdom|high treason]] was made out, for the arrest of Louis Joseph Papineau, and a "royal" proclamation issued a few days afterwards offering the sum of ''four thousand dollards'' for his capture. That Providence in whose keeping are the liberties of the human race, has preserved this champion of [[Wikipedia:human rights
||human rights]] from harm as yet; notwithstanding warrants and proclamations, which are a disgrace to civilization, Mr. Papineau still remains uncaptured.
Those who have the happiness to be citizens of these free states, and who are strangers, fortunately for themselves, to the miseries which colonists are obliged to endure, may perhaps be anxious to learn, in what consisted the ''high treason'' of which Mr. Papineau is accused, which should consign him and his family to ruin, and blot his country from the map. The treason consisted of assisting at public meetings - in openly addressing those who attended thereat; and calling on them to study economy, to put away all luxury and to make use of those powers which the constitution gave them for their own protection, by abstaining from the use of those articles, the consumption of which contributed to that revenue, which England (wanted)? to dispose of, without the consent of the people of the colony. When Lord Gosford called on the British ministry to "put down" Mr. Papineau, he admitted in the same breath, that the proceedings in Canada, "had not yet reached such a point, as to make it wise, or judicious for the executive to institute legal proceedings against any of the parties concerned" therein, and Lord [[Wikipedia:Charles Grant, 1st Baron Glenelg|Glenelg]], the secretary of state for the colonies, (expressing)?, last December, "the gradual but rapid advance of the enemies of peace and order" - as he is pleased to term those who were opposing his constitutional measures - is obliged to acknowledge that "the complaints were urged under the very forms of the constitution."