BUREAU, PIERRE, businessman and politician; b. 9 Oct. 1771 in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que., son of Jean-Baptiste Bureau and Angélique Allain; m. 12 July 1791 Geneviève Gilbert at Quebec; d. 6 June 1836 in Trois-Rivières, Lower Canada.
In December 1800 Pierre Bureau put an advertisement in the Quebec Gazette “to inform the Public, particularly Gentlemen travelling,” that at his house in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade (La Pérade) they could “be accommodated with good beds, the best wines and other liquors, and every thing convenient for their reception at reasonable charges,” as well as with stabling for their horses. Bureau kept this stage until 1808 and also acted as ferryman on the Rivière Sainte-Anne. In 1810 he was sued by the local seigneur, Charles-Louis Tarieu* de Lanaudière, but he won the case.
In December 1810 Bureau planned to petition the House of Assembly for the exclusive right to build a toll-bridge over the river. Apparently nothing came of, the idea, however, since he went to live at Trois-Rivières a short time later. As a resident of that town he requested the assembly’s permission in 1815 to build a bridge over the Rivière Champlain.
Although Bureau had set up as a merchant in Trois-Rivières, he also transacted business at Quebec and acted as attorney on certain occasions. In February 1809, for example, he sold 400 quintals of flour to a master baker in Upper Town. Seven years later the sale of a two-storey house on Rue Saint-Charles in Lower Town brought him £600. He also was involved in a few transactions with John Neilson, the printer and owner of the Quebec Gazette.
Bureau’s business throve, at least until 1820. In March of that year he was sued by Daniel Arnoldi and was obliged to part with four lots and four houses in Trois-Rivières. In 1821 Quebec merchants Jacques and Joseph Leblond took legal action against him. Consequently the court issued a writ of attachment on three properties at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, one with two houses and a number of farm buildings, on part of Île Saint-Ignace, and on Île Sainte-Marguerite.
Bureau had been elected to the House of Assembly for Saint-Maurice on 18 Feb. 1819, replacing Louis Gugy, who had been appointed to the Legislative Council. He took up his duties on 19 March, but his election was disputed on 2 April. Isaac Ogden read to the house a petition from Étienne Ranvoyzé* and other voters in the riding. Bureau’s opponents claimed that, although he had received the largest number of votes, he had been proclaimed elected illegally and had contravened provincial laws. He was accused of having bribed people either not to vote or to vote for him, as well as of having opened and maintained inns and taverns, serving voters at his own expense during the polling. The house then appointed three commissioners to conduct hearings, which were held in June at the presbyteries of the parishes of Champlain and Yamachiche. Bureau apparently retained his seat, and in the general election of March 1820 he was re-elected in his riding, with Louis Picotte* as running-mate. In the house the following December, Bureau opposed a motion to have the results of assembly votes published. Four years later he was involved in the debate on the Canada Trade Act. The group led by Louis Bourdages* succeeded in getting a special committee set up to study the possible repercussions of the act. A few days later Bureau aligned himself with Louis-Joseph Papineau*. He supported Papineau for speaker in 1825. In 1830 he backed a motion to compensate members for their travelling expenses and living costs at Quebec during parliamentary sessions. He also expressed himself in favour of the new militia legislation. The following year he voted for two resolutions directed against the Legislative Council, and he upheld the idea of making that body elective. In 1831 he supported a bill on the fabriques [see Louis Bourdages]. Bureau worked on 14 parliamentary committees and attended the house regularly. He was a member until his death.
ANQ-MBF, CE1-48, 8 juin 1836; CN1-32, 14 avril 1817 ;CN1-56, 24, 26 sept. 1823; 17 mars 1824; 1er mars 1827; 5 oct. 1829; CN1-91, 20 oct. 1801; 29 mars 1802; 18 mars 1803; 25 août, 26 oct., 9 nov. 1804; 25 janv. 1805; 4 juin, 9 août 1806; 22 févr., 21 sept., 10 déc. 1807; 24 oct. 1808; 25 févr. 1809; 25 mai, 29 juill., 22 nov. 1810; 17 sept. 1811; 22 févr., 26 avril 1812. ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 12 juill. 1791; CE1-2, 10 oct. 1771; CN1-16, 12 oct. 1808, 13 févr. 1809, 6 sept. 1816; CN1-230, 10 juill. 1791; P-192. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1819–20. Quebec Gazette, 25 Dec. 1800; 14 Nov. 1805; 9 June 1808; 30 Aug. 1810; 17, 24 Jan., 11 April 1811; 14 Jan. 1813; 8 June, 23 Nov. 1815; 8 Feb., 14, 21 March, 4 April, 27 June, 7 Nov. 1816; 11 Sept., 4, 11 Dec. 1817; 5 Oct. 1818; 25 Feb., 11 March, 5, 19 April, 17, 31 May 1819; 9, 13, 16 March, 13, 20, 24 April, 10 July, 21 Aug., 11 Dec. 1820; 31 May, 2 Aug., 13 Sept., 22 Nov., 10, 17, 27 Dec. 1821; 25 July, 5 Dec. 1822; 27 Nov. 1823; 4 March 1824; 10 June 1836. F.-J. Audet, Les députés de Saint-Maurice (1808–1838) et de Champlain (1830–1838) (Trois-Rivières, Qué., 1934). Christine Chartré et al., Répertoire des marchés de construction et des actes de société des Archives nationales du Québec à Trois-Rivières, de 1760 à 1825 ([Ottawa], 1980). Maurice Grenier, “La chambre d’Assemblée du Bas-Canada, 1815–1837” (thèse de