Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A French Canadian statesman, b. 15 October, 1840, at Ibervile, Quebec, of a family of farmers; d. 30 October, 1894. He received his classical education at the Jesuit college, Montreal, and prepared for the Bar in the employ of a prominent legal firm of St-Hyacinthe, acting meanwhile (1862), when only 22, as editor of "Le Courrier de St-Hyacinthe". His view were then opposed to the confederation of the provinces, which he considered as the death-blow to French Canadian influence. In his later years he inclined towards annexation to the United States. In 1873 Rouville county elected him for the Federal Parliament; and, in 1881, St-Hyacinthe returned him to the local House of Assembly, Quebec. The general indignation caused among the Canadians of French origin by the execution of the half-breed leader, louis Riel, at Regina, an act rightly attributed to Orange fanaticism and vindictiveness, provided Mercier with the opportunity of founding the National party (1885) which comprised elements from the ranks of both Liberals and Conservatives. It was during his premiership (1887 to 1892), that was passed the famous Jesuit Estate Bill, partly indemnifying the Society for the properties confiscated by the British Crown after the cession of Canada. It was Mercier's honour and merit to have brought to a successful conclusion the negotiations to that effect pursued under his predecessors in office -- an event almost unparalelled in modern legislation, and to which the Ottawa Federal Parliament, with its conservative majority, lent its concurrence. His devotedness in behalf of the interests of his former teachers proved is fidelity and attachment to his Alma Mater. In recognition of this act of justice, he was knighted by Leo XIII. A vigorous and redoubtable debater rather than an eloquent orator, Mercier spoke with great clearness and force. He possessed a remarkable talent of exposition and argumentation, which gave him a prominent rank in the Canadian Bar. Certain utterances in some of his published speeches unfortunately betray the influence of a reprehensible school of thought and too great intimacy with the literature of its representative minds. The Legislature of Quebec has voted (1910) a monument to his memory.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More