French Canadian physician and educator, b. at St. Laurent, P. Q., May 9, 1796; d. Dec. 7, 1878
Meilleur, JEAN-BAPTISTE, a French Canadian physician and educator, b. at St. Laurent, P. Q., May 9, 1796; d. December 7, 1878. He studied the classics at the Sulpician college of Montreal, philosophy at Middlebury, N. H., and medicine at Castletown, Vt. He was one of the founders of the flourishing college of L'Assomption, P. Q. In 1834 he edited "L'Echo du pays" and was returned the same year to the Lower Canadian Parliament. He was the first superintendent of education for that province, an office which he held from 1842 to 1855. He assumed the arduous task of enforcing the educational law framed by the Act of Union of the two Canadas (1841), a law which, owing to prejudice and to undue political influence, was highly unpopular. Meilleur thoroughly organized the Department of Education, and witnessed, before retiring from office, the remarkable progress achieved by education, both primary and classical, thanks, in a great measure, to the generous and devoted cooperation of the clergy. Besides contributing to different periodicals, articles on education, agriculture, botany, and geology, and on medicine to the "Journal de medecine", he wrote textbooks on French and English grammar and correspondence, and on chemistry. His chief work is "Memorial de l'Education" (1860), a history of education in Canada. He died the very day on which he was publicly to receive the insignia of Officer of Public Instruction of France.