Cartier, Sir Georges Étienne

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Cartier, Sir Georges Étienne

Sir Georges Étienne Cartier (zhôrzh ātyĕn´ kärtyā´), 1814–73, Canadian statesman, b. Quebec prov. He was called to the bar of Lower Canada (Quebec) in 1835. He took part in the rebellion of 1837 inspired by Louis Joseph Papineau and was forced to flee to the United States, but he returned to Canada in 1838. In 1848 he was elected to the legislative assembly of Canada, where he became a leader of the French Canadians. With Sir John A. Macdonald, his ally in Upper Canada, he formed the Macdonald-Cartier ministry (1857–62). He was the leading French Canadian advocate of confederation of British North America, played a prominent role in the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences of 1864, and was mainly influential in persuading his compatriots to accept the federation proposals. On the other hand, in order to protect the French Canadians, he insisted on a federal system rather than a more centralized form of government. As one of Macdonald's most trusted colleagues, Cartier became minister of militia in the first dominion government. In 1868 he went to England with William McDougall to arrange for the purchase of the Hudson's Bay Company territory. He also had an important part in the projection of the Grand Trunk and Canadian Pacific railroads.

See biographies by J. Boyd (1914, repr. 1971) and A. D. DeCelles (1926).

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