FAUVEL, WILLIAM LE BOUTILLIER, merchant, politician, and office holder; b. 5 Jan. 1850 in Percé, Lower Canada, son of John Fauvel and Henriette-Marie Le Boutillier; m. 11 April 1881 Emma Du Heaume; d. 8 Feb. 1897 in Paspébiac, Que.
William Le Boutillier Fauvel came from a family of merchants engaged in the cod trade. His father had been manager of Charles Robin and Company [see Charles Robin*] in Percé from 1833 to 1850, before settling in Pointe-Saint-Pierre, where in 1854 he started his own firm, John Fauvel and Company. It is unclear whether William’s mother was the sister of John Le Boutillier*, but in any case the two mercantile families developed close economic ties as a result of the marriage in 1855 between one of Le Boutilier sons and a daughter of John Fauvel’s.
Raised in an environment conducive both to learning about trade and to developing an interest in politics, Fauvel was working for his father by the time he was in his teens. During this period he had no important responsibilities in John Fauvel and Company, which his father managed. It was a fairly modest operation, with two small fishing installations at Pointe-Saint-Pierre and Saint-Georges-de-la-Malbaie (Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie), and a third, set up around 1865, at Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan on the north shore.
John Fauvel retired to Saint-Hélier on his native Jersey in 1879. He sold the assets of his firm in three joint shares to his sons John Bertram, George Philip, and William. The two elder brothers managed the company from Pointe-Saint-Pierre and William resided at Paspébiac. In 1885, after buying out John’s share, William and George became co-owners of the company.
The following year, however, William was appointed proxy for the creditors of Le Boutillier Brothers [see David Le Boutillier*], a firm being liquidated as a result of its connection with the Jersey Banking Company of Saint-Hélier, which had gone bankrupt. Put in the position of managing the firm in the period of transition before new owners took over, Fauvel soon found out how extensive and well established it was. He inspected its facilities and fishing stations along the coasts of Labrador and the Baie des Chaleurs in the summer of 1888, and decided to go into partnership with a group of Quebec capitalists to buy the firm out. Since he lived in Paspébiac, the headquarters of Le Boutillier Brothers Limited, Fauvel became its first general manager. In 1889, having lost all interest in John Fauvel and Company, he relinquished his share to his brother George.
He was in fact becoming increasingly involved in public life. He had already been elected mayor of New Carlisle, and had spent several periods of time in Europe, notably in Norway, as a fisheries expert. He had also been appointed vice-consul of Portugal in Paspébiac. In 1891 he was elected to the House of Commons as the Liberal member for Bonaventure, defeating Louis-Joseph Riopel, head of the Baie des Chaleurs Railway Company [see Honoré Mercier; Théodore Robitaille], who had represented the riding since 1882. Fauvel had the support of the premier of Quebec, Mercier, who was the mla for Bonaventure. During the provincial elections the following year, Mercier urged Fauvel to try to thwart the plans of his Conservative opponents in the region and to restore confidence in the integrity of his government. Mercier was re-elected, but the government was defeated. As well as being a trusted ally of Mercier’s, Fauvel was campaign manager for François-Xavier Lemieux* in his bid to win the 1894 by-election in Bonaventure after the death of Mercier, and apparently it was largely through his efforts that the Liberals won. In 1896 Fauvel was in turn re-elected for the Liberals in his riding.
From 1895 Fauvel’s health began to give cause for concern. He considered going abroad for an extended rest-cure, but his many duties claimed him. When he died on 8 Feb. 1897 at Paspébiac, he was still a member of the House of Commons. He was buried two days later by the Anglican minister of New Carlisle and Paspébiac. The following summer a monument was erected in his memory at New Carlisle.
AC, Bonaventure (New Carlisle), État civil, Anglicans, New Carlisle, 8 févr. 1897. ANQ-Q, P1000-37-701. BE, Gaspé (Percé), reg. B, 11, no.123: 110; 13, no.301: 264; 14, no.4: 4; 15, no.126: 106; 19, no.884: 850. NA, MG 27, I, E3. J.-P. Le Garignon, “La famille Le Bouthillier (quelques documents généalogiques),” Gaspésie (Gaspé, Qué.), 17 (1979): 163–73. Canadian directory of parl. (Johnson). J. Desjardins, Guide parl. P.-G. Roy, “Les monuments commémoratifs de la province de Québec,” BRH, 30 (1924): 36. Jules Bélanger et al., Histoire de la Gaspésie (Montréal, 1981). Pierre Rastoul et Chantal Soucy, “Le site de Pointe-Saint-Pierre, municipalité de Percé, comté de Gaspé-Est . . .” (copie dactylographiée, Gaspé, 1981), 75–85. Rumilly, Mercier et son temps, vol.2.