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HARMON, DANIEL WILLIAMS – Volume VII (1836-1850)

d. 23 April 1843 in Sault-au-Récollet (Montreal North), Lower Canada


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CAREY, DANIEL, lawyer, journalist, and author; b. 19 Nov. 1829 at Quebec City; m. about 1855, probably to Mary Murphy of Quebec, and one son was born of the marriage; d. 5 Jan. 1890 in Winnipeg, Man.

Little is known about Daniel Carey’s early career. According to an obituary in the Manitoba Daily Free Press in 1890, Carey studied law in Montreal before he took up journalism, working first as an employee with the Montreal Transcript and then as editor of the Quebec Argus. However, the Montreal directory lists him as an assistant accountant (1850–53) and editor (1853–54) of the short-lived Monitor (also published in French as the Moniteur). In 1855, according to the Quebec directory, he lived in Quebec City and owned a bookshop on Rue Saint-Jean. On 9 Dec. 1857 Carey started the Vindicator, a literary paper of Reform bent that sought to defend the interests of the Irish of the city; it ceased publication in 1865. He was very active in Irish circles at Quebec, and in 1860 had been one of the incorporators of the St Bridget’s Asylum Association of Quebec, an organization established to assist orphans and poor immigrants.

Carey gave up journalism about 1864 and entered the Department of Crown Lands at Quebec as a clerk in the office of the superintendent of cullers at an annual salary of $800. In 1870 he became a junior clerk in the federal Department of Public Works. Two years later, moved by a sense of adventure, he set out for Winnipeg, leaving his wife behind; he was called to the Manitoba bar that year and started a practice. Appointed protonotary of the Court of Queen’s Bench in 1873, he combined the duties of librarian and interpreter to the court, his years in Quebec City having enabled him to master French. In addition the lieutenant governor of Manitoba, Alexander Morris, regularly consulted him on important criminal cases.

In 1874 Carey was the interpreter in the celebrated trial of the lieutenant of Louis Riel, Ambroise-Dydime Upine*, who had been charged with the murder of Thomas Scott*. He was relieved of his post as protonotary in 1878 because, according to the attorney general, Joseph Royal*, he had hindered the crown and unduly favoured the defence during the assizes of October 1877. It seems indeed that this dismissal stemmed from a divergence of views about the nature of a protonotary’s office, for in addition to performing the duties of clerk of court and interpreter during proceedings Carey was also on occasion required to deliver certain judgements, and his legal knowledge could be called upon. Carey probably believed that he was to serve both the defence and the crown, his sole responsibility being to ensure respect for the law. On the other hand, the attorney general felt the protonotary was a law officer answerable to the crown rather than to the court. The latter opinion prevailed and Carey was obliged to give up his post.

He then returned to private law practice, with a brief venture into politics. In the 1883 provincial elections in Manitoba he stood as Liberal candidate in St Francis Xavier riding but was defeated by Conservative Edward Francis Gigot (72 to 36). The St Boniface paper Le Manitoba came out against him during the campaign, as the following passage published just before the election indicates: “Mr. Carey is not one of us, by either sentiment or sympathy: he is our most deadly enemy and his election would be a disaster.” Carey was a partner in the legal firm of Carey and O’Reilly in 1883 but seems to have gone into partnership with his son, John Francis Xavier, the following year, for Henderson’s directory of the city of Winnipeg includes the firm of Carey and Carey. From 1885 to 1890 the elder Carey apparently practised on his own, and at one point held the post of secretary-treasurer to the Catholic section of the Winnipeg School Board. In a letter of 3 Aug. 1885 which he sent from Regina to Archbishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché*, Carey mentioned a discussion with the crown officers of the pending cases of Métis involved in the rebellion of 1885; he expressed his pessimism as to the fate of the accused who refused to plead guilty to the charge of treason-felony.

A journalist and lawyer, Daniel Carey also gained recognition as a writer and poet. He published a collection of legal judgements which constitutes the first printed volume of law reports in the Canadian west. According to Henry James Morgan* he also composed three epic poems, “The battle of St. Foye,” “Confederation,” and “Pioneers of Canada,” the first of which would have appeared in the New Era (Montreal) published by Thomas D’Arcy McGee*. Morgan also wrote in 1867 that Carey was preparing a popular history of Canada; it does not seem to have been published.

Jocelyn Saint-Pierre

[As well as having been editor of the Monitor (Montreal), 1853–54, Daniel Carey founded on 9 Dec. 1857 the Vindicator, an organ of the Irish community of Quebec City; he continued to work on this paper, which later became the Quebec Vindicator, until 1864. Regrettably, it is impossible to track down a complete collection of this paper but a few issues are held at ANQ-Q. In addition, Carey compiled and wrote the introduction to Judgments in the Queen’s Bench, Manitoba (Winnipeg, 1875; repr. Calgary and New York, 1918). This work, better known as “Carey’s Manitoba reports, 1875,” constitutes the first volume of Manitoba law reports.  j.st-p.]

AASB, T 19982–85, 30966, 31877–78, 32556. PAC, RG 2, 1, P.C.216, 5 Oct. 1870; P.C.1255, 25 July 1871; P.C.684, 20 June 1872; RG 11, B1(b), 753–54. PAM, MG 12, B1, Corr., nos.557, 879, 1304; LB/J, nos.300, 305. Le Manitoba (Saint-Boniface), 15, 19, 22 déc. 1882; 4, 8, 19, 25 janv. 1883; 8 janv. 1890. Manitoba Daily Free Press, 6 Jan. 1890. Morning Chronicle (Quebec), 5 Dec. 1857. Quebec Vindicator, 29 Sept. 1863. Beaulieu et J. Hamelin, La presse québécoise, I. CPC, 1883: 312–13. Dominion annual register, 1882: 428. Henderson’s directory of the city of Winnipeg . . . (Winnipeg), 1881–90. Manitoba Library Assoc., Pioneers and early citizens of Manitoba; a dictionary of Manitoba biography from earliest times to 1920, [comp. Marjorie Morley et al.] (Winnipeg, [1971]), 44. Montreal directory, 1842–64. Morgan, Bibliotheca Canadensis, 62. Quebec directory, 1844–64. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 73. George Gale, Quebec twixt old and new (Quebec, 1915). [R.] D. and Lee Gibson, Substantial justice: law and lawyers in Manitoba, 1670–1970 (Winnipeg, 1972). B. B. Cooke, “Famous Canadian trials; V: Ambroise Lépine, Riel’s lieutenant,” Canadian Magazine, 45 (May–October 1915): 57–61.

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Cite This Article

Jocelyn Saint-Pierre, “CAREY, DANIEL,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 11, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 23, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/carey_daniel_11E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/carey_daniel_11E.html
Author of Article:   Jocelyn Saint-Pierre
Title of Article:   CAREY, DANIEL
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 11
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1982
Year of revision:   1982
Access Date:   April 23, 2024