LEBLANC DE MARCONNAY, HYACINTHE-POIRIER, writer and journalist; b. 20 Jan. 1794 in Paris, France; d. 17 Feb. 1868 in the same city.
Leblanc de Marconnay’s family, which was elevated to the nobility in the early 16th century, was of Poitou extraction. Hyacinthe-Poirier seems to have been the son of a former page of the Orléans family. He was accepted as an apprentice in the masonic lodge of Clémente Amitié in Paris in 1820 and became a master mason nine months later. In 1828 he reached the 32nd degree. Brother Leblanc changed his masonic allegiance, moving from the Grand Orient (1820–27) to the Scottish rite (1827–34), and returning to the Grand Orient (1834–68). Nine of his publications reveal his activity in the lodges.
Leblanc de Marconnay probably arrived in Canada in 1834, and he began his career in this country by publishing an account of the election that autumn in the county of Deux-Montagnes, which had been marred by irregularities. Jean-Joseph Girouard* and William Henry Scott*, representatives of the Patriote party, had been elected, but Frédéric-Eugène Globensky and his brother-in-law, James Brown, had withdrawn because they had little chance of winning. The latter two had prevented the partisans of Girouard and Scott from voting at Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, but at Saint-Eustache they and the men they had brought along had had to retreat. Leblanc de Marconnay praised the courage and tenacity of the Canadians who supported the Patriote party. This account was published in part on 17 Nov. 1834 in La Minerve, of which he had been an editor since 5 September; it later appeared under the title of Relation historique des événements de l’élection du comté du lac des Deux Montagnes en 1834. . . . He wrote for Le Populaire during the difficult years of 1837–38, and for L’Ami du peuple, de l’ordre et des lois from August 1839. In February 1840, even before publication of L’Ami du peuple ceased, Leblanc de Marconnay was an editor of L’Aurore des Canadas. He left the country during that year.
Leblanc de Marconnay at first supported the Patriotes and Louis-Joseph Papineau*, siding with the “Franco-canadiens” in the interests of their having fair representation in the House of Assembly; he continued his support until the day when, as he wrote to Sir Charles Bagot* on his return to Paris, fools incited them to rebellion. But though he asserted that his aim was to show that French Canadians had the right to keep their autonomous institutions, one cannot help but see in Leblanc de Marconnay a turncoat and a social climber. Not only had he gone from La Minerve to Le Populaire with Léon Gosselin and shamelessly castigated the Patriotes, but as early as 1836 he had published a violent diatribe against Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan*, and Louis Perrault in La petite clique dévoilée . . . , labelling them hypocrites, rabid democrats, a clique of carping critics, and even accusing them of wanting to overthrow Papineau. In February 1840 he told John Neilson* in confidence that at Montreal the petitions against the union of Upper and Lower Canada were contrived by La Fontaine, Côme-Séraphin Cherrier*, Charles-Elzéar Mondelet*, and the group of hot-headed Patriotes who were seeking to take up the work of Papineau. He stated that he was not invited to participate in these petitions, although the paper he edited, L’Aurore des Canadas, had declared itself against union. According to him, it had no doubt been presumed that he would oppose the operations in which this group wanted to engage. What seems to have been his last publication at Montreal was a refutation of the Histoire de l’insurrection du Canada written by the Patriote leader in exile; this refutation appeared in 1839, and was generally attributed to Clément-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury. It is not surprising that once back in Paris Leblanc de Marconnay should write to Bagot, on 23 Oct. 1841, that he had been in the confidence of all parties, and would willingly return to Canada if he were offered a suitable position. He announced at the same time that he was preparing a work, “Véritable situation des Canadas,” which, however, does not seem to have been published.
Leblanc de Marconnay appears to have taken part in masonic activities during his stay in Canada. Long after his return from America, he wrote a letter to the Albion Lodge at Quebec, in his capacity as secretary of the Clémente Amitié Lodge in Paris, in which he stated that he had attended a number of meetings at Montreal lodges. Leblanc de Marconnay also took an interest in the theatre. He wrote a comic opera which he had performed in Paris in 1831, as well as an interlude in two parts, performed in 1835 and 1836 at the Théâtre Royal in Montreal, and a comedy in one act, Valentine, ou la Nina canadienne.
[H.-P. Leblanc de Marconnay], La petite clique dévoilée, ou quelques explications sur les manœuvres dirigées contre la minorité patriote qui prit part au vote sur les subsides, dans la session de 1835 à 1836, et plus particulièrement contre C. C. Sabrevois de Bleury, écuyer, avocat du Barreau de Montréal, membre de la chambre d’Assemblée du Bas-Canada (Rome, N.Y., 1836); Relation historique des événements de l’élection du comté du lac des Deux Montagnes en 1834; épisode propre à faire connaître l’esprit public dans le Bas-Canada (Montréal, 1835); Le soldat, intermède en 2 parties, mêlé de chants, exécuté sur le théâtre Royal de Montréal (Bas-Canada) en 1835 et 1836, arrangé par M. Leblanc de Marconnay (Montréal, 1836); Valentine, ou la Nina canadienne, comédie en un acte (Montréal, 1836). Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), Fonds français, no. 29971, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises, no. 1074. PAC, MG 24, A13, 5, pp.30–32; B1, 10, pp.17–18, 66–69. L’Ami du peuple, de l’ordre et des lois (Montréal), 1839. L’Auroré des Canadas, 1840. La Minerve, 17 nov. 1834. Le Populaire (Montréal), 1837–38. [C.-C.] Sabrevois de Bleury, Réfutation de l’écrit de Louis Joseph Papineau, ex-orateur de la chambre d’Assemblée du Bas-Canada, intitulé “Histoire de l’insurrection du Canada . . .” (Montréal, 1839). Monet, Last cannon shot. P.-G. Roy, Toutes petites choses du régime anglais (2 sér., Québec, 1946), 2e sér., 5–6. Caubet, “Le F. Leblanc de Marconnay,” Le Monde maçonnique; revue de la franc-maçonnerie française et étrangère (Paris), 10 (1867–68), 700. J.-N. Fauteux, “Débuts du journalisme au Canada français,” Le Journaliste canadien français (Montréal), I (1955), 27. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Leblanc de Marconnay,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 177–79. Benjamin Sulte, “Leblanc de Marconnay,” BRH, XVIII (1912), 353–54.