DUHAMEL, JOSEPH, lawyer and politician; b. 22 Jan. 1834 in Montreal, son of Joseph Duhamel, a grocer, and Domitille (Domethilda) Mousseau (Mousset); m. there 20 June 1859 Alphonsine Masson; d. there 23 Oct. 1894.
Joseph Duhamel attended the Petit Séminaire de Sainte-Thérèse and then the Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, which he entered in 1850. After completing his classical studies at the Collège Sainte-Marie in Montreal, he became an articled clerk with Badgley and Abbott, one of the most prestigious law firms in the city [see Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott]. Called to the bar on 6 April 1857, he went into partnership with Cyrille Archambault, who died in an accident in 1865.
Duhamel began practising with Gustave-Adolphe Drolet in 1867 and in 1871 went into partnership with Henri-Félix Rainville. The firm of Duhamel et Rainville was in a constant state of flux. In 1875 it became Duhamel, Rainville, Rinfret et Rainville. After the arrival of Siméon Pagnuelo* two years later, it went under the name of Duhamel, Pagnuelo et Rainville until 1882. During the periods 1884 to 1889, 1890 to 1892, and from 1892 until his death, Duhamel was a member respectively of the firms Duhamel, Rainville et Marceau; Duhamel, Marceau et Merrill; and Duhamel et Merrill. His major clients included railway companies, in particular the Grand Trunk, and many well-established businesses.
Duhamel entered the Montreal political scene at 25 as alderman for Sainte-Marie ward, an office he held from 1859 to 1861. In 1875 he was re-elected for Montreal East, which he represented on the municipal council for three years. Being too occupied with his profession and eager to go into provincial politics, he turned down pleas that he run again for alderman or even mayor.
Duhamel ran in the provincial election of July 1875 as a Liberal in the riding of Montreal East. He was defeated by Conservative Louis-Olivier Taillon* by 357 votes. As an active member of the Club National, a Liberal association formed in 1875, he took part in other election campaigns but did not run as a candidate. In 1881 he was a member of an electoral committee for the Montreal region, recently formed by Honoré Mercier, and the next year he became president of the Association de Réforme du Parti National at Montreal. Joseph Duhamel died in Montreal on 23 Oct. 1894.
ANQ-M, CE1-51, 22 janv. 1834, 20 juin 1859, 26 oct. 1894. CPC, 1876. Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose and Charlesworth), 1: 283. Montreal directory, 1857–94. Caya, “La formation du parti libéral au Québec.” C.-P. Choquette, Histoire du séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe depuis sa fondation jusqu’à nos jours (2v., Montréal, 1911–12), 2. J.-C. Lamothe, Histoire de la corporation de la cité de Montréal depuis son origine jusqu’à nos jours . . . (Montréal, 1903). Rumilly, Hist. de la prov. de Québec, 1: 321; 3: 118.