FENOUILLET, ÉMILE DE (at birth named Hypolite-Joseph Mille), journalist and teacher; b. 9 March 1807 in Hyères, France, son of Hypolite Mille, a mason, and Claire-Sophie Bonnet; d. 25 June 1859 at Quebec.
Hypolite-Joseph Mille did his legal studies in France and defended a thesis on 8 Aug. 1828. Afterwards, he made his home in Montpellier and subsequently in Paris. The fall of Louis-Philippe and the 1848 revolution apparently ruined him. In September 1851 Mille was living in Cologne (Federal Republic of Germany), but later that year he settled in Bonn. From there he sent to L’Univers, the ultramontane daily in Paris edited by Louis Veuillot, a series of articles on art and on religious questions which he signed E. de Fenouillet.
Fenouillet went to Lower Canada in 1854, reaching Quebec at the end of October. He was immediately taken on staff at the Journal de Québec by the owner, Joseph-Édouard Cauchon*. The following year Fenouillet became editor in place of Cauchon, who had recently been appointed commissioner of crown lands for Lower Canada. He handled the literary section and wrote numerous articles dealing primarily with art, literature, and religion. In January 1856 he was attacked by a journalist of the Montreal paper Le Pays, who claimed that “this man [who is] so profoundly religious and moral lost no opportunity to spend his Sundays on public platforms or even in taverns, where he no doubt collects his thoughts for his lessons on religious morality [presented] for others to use.” Fenouillet retorted that this was “a scurrilous fabrication . . . a veritable lampoon full of lies and slander.” Nevertheless, upset by this acrimony, he left the Journal de Québec soon afterwards.
In May 1857, through the patronage of Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau*, superintendent of the Board of Education, Fenouillet was appointed a teacher of literature, French grammar, history, and philosophy (including logic and ethics) at the École Normale Laval, which had recently been founded at Quebec. He was a competent, talented, enthusiastic, and devoted teacher, who commanded the admiration of his pupils, inspiring their respect and affection.
That year Fenouillet contributed to the Journal de l’Instruction publique, a periodical newly launched by Chauveau. He wrote articles on a variety of subjects: two paintings of Christ, one in the chapel at the Séminaire de Québec and the other in Notre-Dame cathedral at Quebec; Christ as traditionally portrayed in the fine arts; the authorship of the Imitation de Jésus-Christ; the university in Bonn; and the Swiss historian Johannes von Müller. In addition he gave a number of lectures at the Institut Canadien of Quebec dealing with Blaise Pascal and Les Provinciales, Port-Royal by Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Mme de Sévigné, and Hugues-Félicité-Robert de La Mennais.
Seriously ill at the start of the school year 1858–59, Fenouillet asked for an assistant, and Napoléon Lacasse was appointed to help him in his teaching duties. Fenouillet found it so difficult to teach that in 1859 he gave only one course. He died on 25 June of that year, leaving two daughters and a son. Cauchon, François Évanturel*, and Jacques* and Octave* Crémazie attended his burial in the Saint-Charles cemetery. The Journal de l’Instruction publique, announcing the death of this “good and courageous teacher,” noted that he had been one of “the most able contributors” to the paper. The Journal de Québec also devoted a short article to this “scholarly, honourable, and good man.” For his part, Octave Crémazie paid homage to him in a long and stirring poem entitled À la mémoire de M. de Fenouillet.
AD, Var (Draguignan), État civil, Hyères, 10 mars 1807. ANQ-Q, CE1-22, 28 juin 1859. Journal de l’Instruction publique (Québec et Montréal), 1 (1857)–3 (1859). Le Journal de Québec, 1856. Le National (Montréal), 18 janv. 1856. La Patrie, 22 févr. 1856. Le Pays, 22 janv. 1856. Beaulieu et Hamelin, La presse québécoise, 1: 123. Octave Crémazie, Œuvres, Odette Condemine, édit. (2v., Ottawa, 1972); Œuvres complètes de Octave Crémazie publiées sous le patronage de l’Institut canadien de Québec, H.-R. Casgrain et H.-J.-J.-B. Chouinard, édit. (Montréal, ). Labarrère-Paulé, Les instituteurs laïques. Les noces d’or de l’école normale Laval, 1857–1907 (Québec, 1908). P.-G. Roy, À propos de Crémazie (Québec, 1945), 214–15. C.-J. Magnan, “Éducateurs d’autrefois: anciens professeurs de l’école normale Laval,” BRH, 47 (1941): 357–62.