Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LARTIGUE, James, Canadian R. C. bishop, born in Montreal, Canada, 20 June, 1777; died there, 19 April, 1840. After studying and practising law for a few years, he entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Montreal, and when his theological studies were finished was ordained by Bishop Denaut, who appointed him his secretary. Although a simple priest, he had much to do with the government of the Canadian church while holding this office. After the death of Bishop Denaut he retired among the community of St. Sulpice in 1807 and was appointed director of the seminary. During the invasion of Canada by the forces of the United States, by request of the governor-general, Sir George Prevost. he restored order among the Canadian militia, who were threatening to disband. In 1819 secret agents were employed by the British government to discover some means of wresting from the Seminary of St. Sulpice its large possessions. Lartigue, from his knowledge of the laws and his loyalty as a British subject, was judged by the Sulpitians peculiarly fitted to argue the question with the English ministry. On his voyage across the Atlantic he interested Archbishop Plessis, who was going to Rome, in the affair, and by their united efforts the English government took no further steps in the matter. In 1820, while still in London, he was named titular bishop of Telmessa and suffragan bishop of the district of Montreal, auxiliary to Quebec. He immediately sailed for Canada, and arrived in Montreal, 20 July, but his consecration was delayed till 1 January, 1821. Quarrels arose between him and Sulpitians. The new bishop insisted on residing among them, and, as his presence would interfere with the authority of their superior, they objected, and during his absence on a pastoral visitation they removed his furniture. They now offered to build him an episcopal residence; but he declined, and the result was a war of pamphlets that continued till 1836. The citizens of Montreal afterward supplied him with the funds necessary to erect a residence, and the cathedral of St. James, which was finished in 1825. Bishop Lartigue had also some difficulties with his clergy, who at first refused to recognize his authority. These disputes were finally settled by the erection of Montreal into a titular bishopric, 13 May, 1836. hi the insurrection of 1837 he excited the anger of the French Canadians by excommunicating all who should be taken with arms in their hands. The exasperation of his flock found vent in a riot, and he was obliged to fly from Montreal, but when the insurrection was subdued he returned. Although he seemed to care nothing for the insults that were offered to him, his spirit was broken, and his health declined rapidly after his return.
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