GERMAIN, CÉSAIRE, notary and school inspector; b. in 1808 at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (Laval), L.C., son of Jean-Baptiste Germain and Marie Dusablé; d. 16 April 1874 in the same municipality.
Césaire Germain received his legal training from Jean-Baptiste Constantin, and was admitted to the profession of notary on 6 April 1830; an active scrivener, he practised at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and signed his last act on 17 March 1874. His registry is deposited in the Palais de Justice at Montreal.
On 2 March 1852, when the first school inspectors were appointed, Césaire Germain was named inspector for the counties of Laval, Terrebonne, Deux-Montagnes, and for part of Argenteuil, at a salary of $600 per year; in 1855 this salary was raised to $875. At that time his area contained 110 schools divided among 38 municipalities. On 1 April 1858, at a meeting held in his house at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Césaire Germain established a society of the schoolteachers of his district. He gave a talk on the progress made in public instruction in the country and the advantages of teachers’ associations [see Kérouac].
It was not long before the inspectors’ influence and their pedagogical action had results. Inspector Germain, in a report that reveals his learning, estimated the progress made: “The number of children who have attended school,” he wrote, “is far superior to that of preceding years. The commissioners are showing more zeal in their efforts to secure the services of better qualified teachers, both male and female. The secret of the perfect teacher lies in creating a love of school and in making lessons interesting, thus putting in an attractive light what is by nature arid.” In the Journal de l’instruction publique for the year 1870–71, Inspector Germain gave as his opinion that the salaries of women teachers, which varied between $72 and $80, were inadequate, and he voiced his astonishment that so much devotion, self-denial, and toil should be offered so cheaply. On 19 Aug. 1873 Césaire Germain took part in the first congress of school inspectors held at the École Normale Laval, at Quebec, under the chairmanship of the minister of public instruction, the Honourable Gédéon Ouimet*.
Césaire Germain, postmaster, notary, and school inspector, was a citizen of amazing activity. He seems to have succeeded in reconciling his profession as a notary with the regular visiting of 110 schools. In 1830, at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, he had married Zoé Pépin; he had several sons: one, Césaire-Ernest, became a notary in 1862 and practised at Montreal, signing nearly 12,000 acts. It is possible that Édouard-Pépin Germain, a notary at Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville, and Joseph-Gérasime, an Ottawa doctor, were also Césaire Germain’s sons.
AJM, Registre d’état civil (notes biographiques fournies par J.-J. Lefebvre). Canada, Province of, Legislative Assembly, Journals, 1852–53, app. J.J., “Education, Lower Canada: report of the superintendent of education. . . .” JIP, avril 1858, 66; juill. 1858, 124; févr. 1861, 35; mai 1863, 76; oct. et nov. 1872, 149. André Vachon, Histoire du notariat canadien, 1621–1960 (Québec, 1962).