FISET, LOUIS, lawyer, judge, protonotary; b. 20 Aug. 1797 at Quebec, son of Pierre Fiset and Ursine Maufet; m. 8 May 1821 at Quebec Mary Powers; d. 4 Jan. 1867 in the same town.
Louis Fiset studied under the protonotaries Joseph-François Perrault* and John Ross, and was called to the bar on 4 Jan. 1822. He then practised law at Quebec until 1844. Fiset was never a member of the assembly, but he soon became the friend and counsellor of many politicians of the day: Elzéar Bédard*, Augustin-Norbert Morin, René-Édouard Caron*, Jean-François-Joseph Duval, Étienne Parent*, and John Neilson*. He was therefore involved in all the political developments from 1822 to 1838. He took part in the elections of the time and supported the Parti Canadien, which became the Patriote party in 1826. In the 1834 elections, for example, he organized the campaign of Amable Berthelot* and René-Édouard Carom candidates in Quebec’s Upper Town. According to Le Canadien, he was the éminence grise behind the Patriotes of the Quebec region during this period.
On 25 April 1834, following the presentation in the house of the Ninety-Two Resolutions, La Gazette de Québec published a short play entitled “La première comédie du Statu Quo,” written by Louis-David Roy*, a lawyer, and Georges-Barthélemi Faribault, clerk of the House of Assembly. The principal characters in this comedy were the moderate Patriotes of the Quebec region, Étienne Parent, Elzéar Bédard, Hector-Simon Huot, Louis Fiset, and François-Xavier Garneau. They were satirized as brawling republicans who delighted in quarrelling among themselves.
When the disturbances of 1837–38 occurred, Louis Fiset, although struggling against the tory party, feared the consequences of the rebellion, and joined the majority of his Quebec friends in rejecting it in favour of continuing their opposition by constitutional means. Thus he was one of the principal organizers of the great assembly that took place on the Quebec Esplanade on 31 July 1837. At this assembly of more than 8,000 people, according to La Gazette de Québec, Louis Fiset, together with Duval and Neilson, castigated those who were sabotaging the parliamentary régime, advocating smuggling, and fomenting revolution. Proclaiming his loyalty to democratic institutions, Fiset proposed sending a petition to the queen, to assure her of the loyalty of her Canadian subjects and ask her to end the abuses and dissensions from which Canadians were suffering. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 1838, when a warrant was issued for Augustin-Norbert Morin’s arrest, Fiset, although he did not share all Morin’s ideas, hastened to assist him to escape and to hide papers that might have compromised him. Furthermore, after the arrest on 26 Dec. 1838 of Étienne Parent and Jean-Baptiste Fréchette, respectively the editor and printer of Le Canadien, Louis Fiset was one of those who supported the paper during this difficult period.
Louis Fiset was appointed judge of the district of Gaspé on 23 April 1844, but could not adapt to the climate of the region and to the arduous journeys necessitated by the administration of justice in this remote area. His health was deteriorating daily, and he resigned his position after two years. On 27 June 1846 he accepted from the government of William Henry Draper* and Denis-Benjamin Viger the office of protonotary of the district of Quebec, left vacant by Hector-Simon Huot’s death. Fiset gave up this office on 10 Oct. 1861 in favour of his son, Louis-Joseph-Cyprien*, a lawyer and poet. He died at his home in Rue Mont-Carmel at Quebec, on 4 Jan. 1867, at the age of 69.
ANQ-Q, AP-G-79; AP-P-184; QBC 25, Événements de 1837–1838, no.3249. PAC, MG 30, D62, 12, pp.801–5. Le Canadien, 28 juill., 2, 4 août 1837, 7 janv. 1867. La Minerve, 8 janv. 1867. Le Pays, 10 janv. 1867. Beaulieu et Hamelin, Journaux du Québec, 179–80. P.-V. Charland, “Notre-Dame de Québec: le nécrologe de la crypte ou les inhumations dans cette église depuis 1652,” BRH, XX (1914), 310, 338. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 163; Fils de Québec, III, 84–86; Les juges de la prov. de Québec, 205. N.-E. Dionne, Les trois comédies du “Statu Quo” 1834 (Québec, 1909). “Protonotaires du district de Québec,” BRH, X (1904), 117. Antoine Roy, “Les Patriotes de la région de Québec pendant la rébellion de 1837–1838,” Cahiers des Dix, 24 (1959), 250.