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Pierre Bedard

Pierre Bédard

French-Canadian lawyer and member of the Assembly of Lower Canada, b. at Charlesbourg near Quebec, 13 November, 1762; d. at Three Rivers, 26 April 1829. He was the son of Pierre-Stanislas Bédard and Marie-Josephine Thibault. After he had completed the course of studies at the seminary of Quebec, where he proved himself an excellent pupil, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1792 Bédard was elected member of the Assembly for Northumberland and continued a member of the Assembly until 1812. During these years he represented successively Northumberland, the lower town of Quebec, and Surrey and gave proof of his sterling qualities. He devoted himself, however, chiefly to the study of constitutional questions of which many of the government officials seemed to have but an imperfect conception. When the newspaper, "Le Canadien" was founded in 1806, he became a regular contributor and expressed his views concerning the constitutional government of the province of Quebec with such warmth that the governor Sir James Craig, in the spring of 1810 suppressed "Le Canadien" and threw Bédard into prison. Here Bédard remained some twelve months, although the governor offered him his freedom several times, so that he could take the seat in the Assembly to which he had been elected during his imprisonment. Bédard, however, demanded a regular trial, which the authorities were not willing to grant. Finally for the sake of peace Bédard left the prison. After Craig had resigned his position and gone to England, the new governor, Sir George Prevost, appointed Bédard a judge of the superior court at Three Rivers as compensation for what he endured. Bédard filled this position from 11 December, 1813, until March, 1827 when illness obliged him to absent himself from his duties for some months. After this his health failed steadily until his death. He was buried in the parish church at Three Rivers. Bédard had four children one of whom, Elzevir, became a distinguished judge.


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