Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Louis-Honoré Fréchette

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 6
Louis-Honoré Fréchette

by Narcisse Eutrope Dionne


Born at Notre-Dame de Lévis, P.Q., Canada, 16 November, 1839; died 30 May, 1908. He attended the schools of his native town, and completed his studies at the Seminary of Nicolet, after which he chose the profession of law, and in 1864 was admitted to the Bar at Quebec. As clients did not come as quickly as he desired he decided to go to Chicago, where for seven years he worked as a journalist, and became corresponding secretary of the land department of the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1871 Fréchette returned to Canada, and in 1874 was elected a deputy in the House of Commons by the Liberal party. Defeated in the general elections of 1878 and 1882, he abandoned public life and returned to journalism, the products of his pen appearing in the "Journal de Québec", the "Journal de Lévis", the "Patrie" of Montreal, the "Opinion Publique", "The Forum", "Harper's Monthly", and "The Arena". Meanwhile his poetry won him fame abroad and admiration at home. The list of his poetical works is somewhat lengthy. The following are given in their chronological order: "Mes Loisirs", 1863: "La Voix d'un Exilé", 1866 - first part published at Chicago. Another complete edition appeared at Montreal in 1874. "Pêle-Mêle; Fantaisies et souvenirs poétiques", 1877; "Les Fleurs Boréales, and Les Oiseaux de Neige, Poésies Canadiennes", a work crowned by the French Academy, 1879; "La Légende d'un Peuple - Poésies Canadiennes", 1887-1890; "Les Feuilles Volantes", 1891. Fréchette wrote also much in prose, notably: "Félix Poutré" (an historical drama), 1871; "Lettres à Basile à propos des causeries du Dimanche", 1872; "Le retour de l'Exilé" (a drama in five acts and eight tableaux), 1880; "Le drapeau fantôme" (historical episode), 1884; "Episode de l'insurrection Canadienne de 1837", 1885; "Originaux et Détraqués", 1892; "Lettres à l'abbé Baillargé sur l'éducation", 1893; "Christmas in French Canada" (in English), 1900. He translated into French, Howell's "Chance Acquaintance" and George W. Cable's "Old Creole Days". Fréchette became a member of the Royal Society of Canada at its foundation in 1882; he was named Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1897, on the occasion of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The University of Laval, McGill University, and Queen's University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Letters. From 1889 Fréchette occupied the position of clerk of the Council in the legislature of Quebec. In 1876 he married Emma Beaudry, second daughter of J.-B. Beaudry, a banker of Montreal, by whom he had two children. He has been called the "Lamartine of Canada". He certainly elevated the poetry of Canada, and his work will rank with that of Crémazie.

N. E. Dionne.