Aubert de Gaspé, Philippe-Ignace-François

Philippe-Ignace-François Aubert de Gaspé, journalist (b at Québec City 8 Apr 1814; d at Halifax 7 Mar 1841). He wrote the first French Canadian novel. After attending the Séminaire de Nicolet, Aubert de Gaspé became a stenographer and journalist. In November 1835 he was imprisoned for a month following an altercation with a member of the Assembly, and he avenged himself by planting a stinkpot in the vestibule of the Québec House of Assembly.

Obliged to take refuge at St-Jean-Port-Joli, he amused himself by composing a novel, L'Influence d'un livre (1837). One chapter at least (chap 5) appears to have been contributed by his father, Philippe-Joseph AUBERT DE GASPÉ, who later wrote Les Anciens Canadiens (1863). Young Aubert de Gaspé defended his novel against charges of sensationalism and lack of realism, but when the book was republished posthumously in 1864 as Le Chercheur de trésors, Abbé Henri-Raymond CASGRAIN toned down many passages and deleted others.