Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Denaut, Peter

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DENAUT, Peter (duh-no'), Canadian R. C. bishop, b. in Montreal, 20 July, 1743; d. in Longueil, 17 Jan., 1806. He was parish priest of Longueil, and vicar-general of the diocese of Quebec. During the invasion of Canada by Arnold and Montgomery, in 1775, he was zealous in preventing the Canadians from joining them. As he occupied the post of danger on the route from the United States to Canada, the British authorities suggested his presentation as coadjutor bishop of Quebec, but, feeling that his presence at Longueil would be useful to them in case of another invasion from the United States, they persuaded him to reside there. He was consecrated at Montreal in 1794, and in 1797 Bishop Hubert resigned the see of Quebec in his favor. Bishop Denaut was accused of subserviency to those in power; but on a noteworthy occasion he showed firmness of character. As soon as he succeeded to the bishopric he found the aid of a coadjutor necessary. Both the people and the clergy wished the cure of Quebec, Joseph Octavius Plessis, to be appointed. The Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, was then holding court in Quebec, and at the same time carrying on an intrigue with a married woman in the neighboring village of Beauport. The parish priest of this town secretly favored the liaison, and, to reward his complaisance, the young prince used every effort to have him appointed coadjutor bishop. Bishop Denaut insisted on the choice of Plessis, who had been elected by the clergy, and declared that they neither should nor would hold another election. In presence of this unexpected resistance, the Canadian government withdrew their candidate, and Bishop Denaut then retired to Longueil, where he spent the remainder of his life.