DCB/DBC Mobile beta


New Biographies

Minor Corrections

Biography of the Day

CALVIN, DILENO DEXTER – Volume XI (1881-1890)

d. 18 May 1884 at Garden Island, Ont.


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

MARTIGNY (Le Moyne de Martigny), ADELSTAN DE, physician, author, and freemason; b. 5 Feb. 1867 in Saint-Romuald, Lower Canada, son of Adelstan de Martigny, a physician, and Louise de Martigny; d. unmarried 15 Nov. 1917 in Montreal.

Adelstan de Martigny did his classical studies at the Collège de Lévis in 1881–85 and at the Collège Sainte-Marie in Montreal in 1885–86. He then entered the faculty of medicine at the Montreal branch of the Université Laval, from which he received his bachelor’s degree in 1888 and his md, summa cum laude, in 1890. Subsequently he enrolled in the medical faculty at the Université de Paris, where he took courses given by pathologist Pierre-Carl-Édouard Potain and cardiologist Michel Peter. He also worked as an assistant to Louis Pasteur, Émile Roux, and Alexander Marmorek. Awarded a doctorate by the university in 1894, he was accepted as a member of the Société de Médecine de Paris and the city’s Société de Thérapeutique. On his return to Montreal, Martigny was invited to join the medical staff at the Hôtel-Dieu; there he concentrated on combating epidemic diseases and tuberculosis. Since he was eager to keep up with medical advances, he visited France in 1896, 1901, and 1904, and again in 1909 when he went with Dr Alfred Marcil to observe the operation of public health units, the Gouttes de Lait [see Séverin Lachapelle], holiday camps, and anti-tuberculosis clinics.

Martigny did not restrict himself to practising his profession, but also shared his learning with his colleagues. In a pamphlet brought out at Montreal about 1905, he described the treatment of tuberculosis by a method known as diversion of the complement (part of the blood serum), which had been developed by Dr Marmorek. He published articles in La Clinique, a monthly launched in 1894 at Montreal by his brother François-Xavier*, which he himself edited for a time. In Martigny’s view, the practice of medicine was both a scientific pursuit and a vocation, and his knowledge and dedication earned him the respect of his colleagues and the friendship of Dr Alexis Carrel, who would come from New York a few days before Martigny’s death in the hope of being able to help him.

Early in his life Martigny was attracted to freemasonry and in particular to L’Émancipation lodge, founded at Montreal in July 1896 and affiliated with the Grand Orient in France. He shared the agnosticism of most of its members, as well as their political and social concerns. They tried in various ways to establish fundamental liberties in Quebec and to support literacy for the most underprivileged. Initiated as an entered apprentice on 25 Aug. 1896, Martigny attained the rank of fellow craft on 22 Sept. 1896 and that of master mason on 3 June 1897. An active member, he was given the office of senior warden in 1899 and that of venerable grand master in 1901 and 1902. In the latter year, he and a number of other masons, including Godfroy Langlois*, set up the Ligue de l’Enseignement, which advocated free and compulsory education. He was a delegate in 1904 to the masonic general assembly held in Paris. To a greater degree than other masons in Montreal, Martigny had the ear of the high authorities of the obedience (jurisdiction), and in 1909 he was inducted into the 30th degree of freemasonry, that of knight Kadosh.

L’Émancipation lodge had to suspend its activities on 13 June 1910, following attacks by the clergy, some newspapers, and members of the Association Catholique de la Jeunesse Canadienne-Française, accusing it of plotting to sully the reputation of priests. Martigny then joined Force et Courage, a lodge that had received its symbolic constitution from the Grand Orient in France on 19 January. There he met up with his friend Dr Marcil, who would hold the office of venerable grand master for a number of years. Martigny found Force et Courage more to his liking than L’Émancipation. It pursued the same objectives and was more concerned with the working class, which was especially receptive to new ideas because of its circumstances. He encouraged the masons of his lodge who, like Édouard Henry and Gustave Francq*, would be involved in organizing trade unions and trade union federations.

Adelstan de Martigny died on 15 Nov. 1917, at the age of 50, in the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal. Although he had made no secret of his religious convictions, his funeral was held two days later in the church of Saint-Jacques. A controversy arose between his Catholic acquaintances, who maintained that he had returned to the faith of his childhood, and the masons. The latter insisted that he had received the last rites while he was in a comatose state and following the intervention of his brother François-Xavier, who had recently renounced freemasonry. According to family members, Archbishop Paul Bruchési* of Montreal had visited Martigny briefly a short time before his death and had announced on leaving him that the dying man gave permission for a Catholic funeral.

Roger Le Moine

[The author wishes to thank Mme Marthe Faribault-Beauregard of Montreal for providing genealogical notes on Adelstan de Martigny and his family, and Gaspard Massue of Westmount, Que., for details concerning the death of his great-uncle.  r.lem.]

ANQ-Q, CE1-54, 7 févr. 1867. Arch, du Collège de Lévis, Qué., Fichier des anciens. Arch. du Grand Orient de France (Paris), Fonds L’Émancipation; Fonds Force et courage. “Lettre de Paris” and “Le docteur de Martigny, banqueté,” Le Canada (Montréal), 16 sept. and 28 oct. 1909, respectively. La Presse, 14–15, 19 nov. 1917. Roger Le Moine, Deux loges montréalaises du Grand Orient de France (Ottawa, 1991). Univ. Laval, Annuaire, 1887–90.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Roger Le Moine, “MARTIGNY, ADELSTAN DE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 18, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/martigny_adelstan_de_14E.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/martigny_adelstan_de_14E.html
Author of Article:   Roger Le Moine
Title of Article:   MARTIGNY, ADELSTAN DE
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1998
Year of revision:   1998
Access Date:   May 18, 2024