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BUOTE, FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH, teacher, printer, and newspaperman; b. 1 Nov. 1861 in Tignish, P.E.I., only child of Gilbert Buote* and Madeleine Gallant; m. 6 Jan. 1886 Marie A. Goguen in Cap-Pele, N.B., and they had one son, who died in infancy, and one daughter; d. 20 Oct. 1922 in Tignish.
François-Joseph Buote received his elementary education in the Tignish area, where his father was a teacher, and in St Marys Bay, N.S., where Gilbert taught from 1873 to 1877. After a year at St Dunstan’s College in Charlottetown, he spent three years at the Collège Saint-Louis in Saint-Louis de Kent, N.B., founded by Marcel-François Richard*. This experience gave him a much better academic background than that acquired by most young Acadians of his time. When the Buote family moved to Maine in 1882, François-Joseph learned the trade of a printer there. Following his return to New Brunswick with his parents in 1885, he taught school in the district of Cap-Pele and studied at the Normal School in Fredericton in the summers [see Alphée Belliveau]. At some point in the late 1880s he worked as a printer for the Courrier des provinces Maritimes in Bathurst. In 1891 he started in Cap-Pele his first periodical, Buote’s Monthly and Commercial Advertiser. No copy of this magazine is extant, however, nor is there any information as to its contents.
In 1893 François-Joseph returned to Tignish, one of the principal Acadian centres in the Maritime provinces; his parents had already been there for two years. Gilbert had become principal of the local school, and François-Joseph set up as a jobbing printer. Together in 1893 they founded the province’s first French-language newspaper, L’Impartial, Gilbert being the editor and his son the first printer and publisher. This weekly, which began with four pages, mainly covered issues of interest to Island Acadians. It promoted the French language and pride in Acadian heritage while stressing friendly cooperation with anglophones. Gilbert contributed long articles on local history and genealogy, which remain a valuable source of information, and often the only one. In addition, the paper advocated such projects as an association for Acadian teachers, cooperative cheese factories, and mutual insurance societies. L’Impartial also printed some world news and covered political matters, more or less living up to its name. For the centennial celebration at Tignish in 1899, which the Buotes organized, a special illustrated number of the paper was issued; it, too, is a primary source for local history and genealogy.
The newspaper never seems to have been a money-maker; it suspended publication at least once during its 22-year history, apparently for several years. After Gilbert’s death in 1904, François-Joseph’s wife, a former teacher, assisted with its production. The paper’s demise in 1915 may have been due as much to financial difficulties as to the shortage of newsprint occasioned by World War I. Buote, however, had apparently never been at a loss for ways to augment his income. He sold books and stationery, acted as an agent for a bicycle company and an insurance company, and continued his job printing. In August 1918 he began publishing an English-language monthly, Buote’s Magazine. Only two or three numbers of this magazine exist, and it seems probable that these were the only ones printed. Buote apparently considered the journal a continuation of L’Impartial, since the title page says it was a “new series” of a publication “established in 1893.”
Buote was considered to be “a speaker of the first order” in both French and English. He was invited to address Acadian groups living as far away as Lawrence, Mass. In 1908 he was named president of the Société Nationale de l’Assomption. Five years later he organized the Convention Nationale des Acadiens held in Tignish and at that time relinquished the office of president to Pascal Poirier*. He was severely criticized in some quarters for his delay in holding this meeting, originally scheduled to take place in 1911, and for his failure to make sufficient preparations for it. The conference was largely unproductive, derided by J. O. Gallant, editor of L’Évangéline (Moncton, N. B.), as “some sort of picnic” rather than “a working assembly.”
Locally, Buote was involved in many organizations, usually as secretary. He not only promoted the mutual benefit societies that proliferated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but helped introduce no fewer than three of them to the district, including a branch of the Société l’Assomption [see Rémi Benoît*], of which he was president for a time. Among other projects in which he participated were the local Farmers’ Institute, the cooperative cheese factory, and the committee for the beautification of Tignish. Provincially, he sat on the Commission on Education, appointed in 1908.
In 1900 Buote had run unsuccessfully in the provincial election as a Conservative candidate in Prince County, 1st District. Later, however, he and his father shifted their allegiance to the Liberals. By 1914 the front page of L’Impartial bore the inscription “Organ, in the French language, of the Liberal party of the Maritime provinces.” In 1919 François-Joseph successfully proposed William Lyon Mackenzie King* as the Liberal candidate in a federal by-election in Prince that year (he was elected by acclamation), and a friendship developed between the two men.
Sometime after the demise of his newspaper, Buote who had long been interested in fox ranching, then at the height of its development [see Robert Trenholm Oulton*], moved with his family to Trois-Rivières, Que., to manage a ranch there. However, a historian who knew the Buotes claims that he was on the point of reviving L’Impartial, and had even bought new printing equipment, when he died suddenly in 1922.
François-Joseph Buote seems to have had an intense desire to be involved in everything that was going on. His promotion of many causes was partly an expression of this trait. Like his father, he was “sometimes impatient, demanding, and seldom conciliatory,” characteristics that made him difficult to work with and an implacable enemy. Nevertheless, he contributed much to Acadian life on Prince Edward Island and is one of the most important figures of its “renaissance” in the latter part of the 19th century.
The fullest run available for L’Impartial (Tignish, Î.-P.-É.), 22 juin 1893-11 juill. 1915, is in the Centre d’Études Acadiennes, Moncton, N.-B.; a less complete file is available on microfilm. The best copy of L’Impartial illustré, the souvenir issue produced for the Tignish centennial in 1899, is in the possession of Mr J.-Henri Gaudet of Tignish; two incomplete copies are held by Mr Reg Porter of Charlottetown, who also holds the surviving issues of Buote’s Magazine (Tignish).
A scrapbook of material relating to the family assembled around 1921 by Alma Buote is also in the possession of Mr Gaudet. Le Moniteur acadien (Shédiac, N.-B.), 1886, 1891, 1898. Georges Arsenault, Les Acadiens de l’Île, 1720-1980 (Moncton, 1987). D. B. Baker, “La Convention nationale des Acadiens - Tignish, Île-du-Prince-Édouard, août, 1913,” Soc. Hist. Acadienne, Cahiers (Moncton), 15 (1984): 21-31. J.-H. Blanchard, Acadiens de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard ([Charlottetown], 1956). Yvon Léger, “Les Buote de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard,” Soc. Hist. Acadienne, Cahiers, 24 (1993): 151-82. Souvenir program of the centennial celebration of the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude, Tignish, Prince Edward Island, comp. Alma Buote (Sackville, N.B., 1960).