HUOT, HECTOR-SIMON, lawyer, politician, and office holder; b. 16 Jan. 1803 at Quebec, son of François Huot*, a merchant and politician, and Françoise Villers; d. there 25 June 1846.
After studying at the Petit Séminaire de Québec, Hector-Simon Huot articled with his brother-in-law, Louis Lagueux*, and was called to the bar on 2 May 1825. He then practised at Quebec, where he quickly made a name for himself as a lawyer. From 26 Oct. 1830 till 27 March 1838, along with François-Xavier Larue*, he represented Portneuf in the Lower Canadian House of Assembly. Huot came from the merchant class and was familiar with the thinking of the French philosophes (his library had some 70 works by Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire), and he soon joined the ranks of the moderate young Patriotes from the Quebec region. In 1830 Huot, along with Étienne Parent*, René-Édouard Caron*, Elzéar Bédard, and Jean-Baptiste Fréchette, raised the funds to relaunch Le Canadien in order to have a vehicle for the group’s ideas. From 1831 to 1842 the editor was Parent, whose moderating influence encouraged the young assemblymen from the region to advocate non-violent action in the cause of constitutional reform. This attitude inevitably ran counter to the views of the radical wing from the Montreal district led by Louis-Joseph Papineau*. Like most of the members from Quebec, Huot signed the 92 Resolutions in 1834 [see Elzéar Bédard]. The rivalry between the two groups grew steadily, however. In 1835, therefore, when the possibility of sending an agent to England to defend the assembly’s views was under consideration, the Quebec Patriotes hastily proposed Papineau so that they could take advantage of his absence. But on 9 April he wrote Huot a long letter declining this honour and display of confidence being shown him and pointing out the inexpediency of sending a delegation to London. From then on the split between the two camps seemed final. After the rebellion of 1837–38 Huot left politics but none the less continued to take an interest in public affairs. In 1840 he was active in the campaign against the planned union of Upper and Lower Canada.
Huot left his mark primarily in the field of education. In January 1831 the assembly set up a permanent committee of 11, Huot among them, to study the whole question. Huot was named its chairman in 1835, and on 25 Jan. 1836 he had the privilege of introducing the first bill to set up normal schools in Lower Canada. It was anticipated that five would be opened, three at Quebec, Montreal, and Trois-Rivières to be run by religious communities and the other two at Quebec and Montreal to be administered by laity. Huot was appointed secretary of the committee to establish the school run by laity at Quebec. It encountered a scarcity of resources and competent teachers as well as strong Protestant reaction against a predominance of Catholics in the administration, and the Quebec normal school apparently never opened. Huot also worked alongside Joseph-François Perrault as secretary of the Education Society of the District of Quebec. He was its president for a number of years, according to an obituary in the Quebec Gazette of 26 June 1846.
In June 1840 Huot also became secretary of the library of the Quebec bar. On 15 August he was elected to the municipal council of Quebec but upon being appointed registrar of Berthier County on 7 Jan. 1842 he resigned. On 14 Feb. 1843 he was hired by the office of the provincial secretary as clerk. He left this post in April of the following year to assume the duties of protonotary of the district of Quebec.
On 16 Feb. 1830, at Quebec, Hector-Simon Huot had married Josephte Clouet, daughter of a Beauport farmer. She was a cousin of Étienne Parent and a niece of Michel Clouet. The Huots had one daughter. Mme Huot died at Quebec on 10 March 1846, just three months before her husband. Their remains lie in the crypt of Notre-Dame cathedral in Quebec.
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 16 janv. 1803, 16 févr. 1830, 30 juin 1846; CN1-147, 15 févr. 1830; CN1-197, 1er mai 1820; CN1-255, 4 juill. 1846; P1000-51-1006. ASQ, Fichier des anciens. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1831–36, 1844–46. L.-J. Papineau, “Lettre de L.-J. Papineau à Hector-S. Huot,” BRH, 38 (1932): 282–93. Quebec Gazette, 4 Nov. 1830; 11 March, 26 June 1846. F.-J. Audet, “Commissions d’avocats,” BRH, 39: 583. Beaulieu et Hamelin, La presse québécoise, vol.1. Desjardins, Guide parl., 129, 151. “Protonotaires du district de Québec,” BRH, 10 (1904): 117. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 224. L.-P. Audet, Le système scolaire, vols.5–6. Buchanan, Bench and bar of L.C., 102, 114. J.-C. Falardeau, Étienne Parent, 1802–1874 (Montréal, 1975). J.-J. Jolois, Joseph-François Perreault (1753–1844) et les origines de l’enseignement laïque au Bas-Canada (Montréal, 1969). Labarrère-Paulé, Les instituteurs laïques. P.-G. Roy, Toutes petites choses du Régime anglais (2 sér., Québec, 1946). Benjamin Sulte, Mélanges historiques . . . , Gérard Malchelosse, édit. (21v., Montréal, 1918–34), 14. F.-J. Audet, “François Huot,” BRH, 37 (1931): 695–702. Fernand Ouellet, “Papineau et la rivalité Québec–Montréal (1820–1840),” RHAF, 13 (1959–60): 311–27.