Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GIROUARD, John Joseph, Canadian patriot, born in Quebec, Canada, 11 November, 1795; died in Canada, 18 September, 1855. He was left an orphan at an early age, and entirely destitute, but was educated by the Abby Gatien. He followed his benefactor to St. Eustache, and after the latter's death began to study law at St. Genevieve in 1812. He was admitted to practice at the former place in 1816, and established himself at St. Benoit, where he married. He took an energetic part in the discussions between the Canadian governor and the chamber of assembly, and in 1830 was elected to represent the County of Deux-Montagnes. He devoted himself principally to municipal and educational questions, but voted with the patriots in favor of the ninety-two resolutions, the refusal of subsidies, and all the laws that aimed at enforcing the rights of the chamber. When the English government authorized Lord Gosford to take what money he needed from the public treasury, Girouard addressed meetings in several counties of the province of Quebec in opposition to this violation of the prerogatives of the legislature, but still deprecated a resort to physical force. When the insurrection began he took command of the insurgents who were encamped at St. Benoit, but, seeing that resistance was impossible after the fight at St. Eustache, 14 November, 1837, he advised his companions to disperse. He then set out for the United States, but afterward surrendered himself, and was taken to Montreal, where he remained in prison for six months. In 1838 Lord Durham, the new governor-general, offered to allow the leaders of the insurrection to go into exile and to pardon the rest on condition that the former would sign a paper acknowledging their participation in the revolt. Girouard refused to sign the paper and made strenuous efforts to dissuade his companions. The result proved his wisdom, as the other leaders were exiled to the Bermudas, while he was released after the proclamation of amnesty without conditions. He then returned to St. Benoit, where he devoted himself successfully to his profession. He was offered a portfolio in the Baldwin-Lafontaine ministry of 1842, but declined this and other public offices. The rest of his life was spent in the duties of his profession and in succoring families that suffered in the troubles of 1837. He also founded the hospital of Youville in St. Benoit.
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