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Title: The 'Patriotes' of '37 - A Chronicle of the Lower Canada Rebellion
Author: DeCelles, Alfred D. (Alfred Duclos), 1843-1925
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Frontispiece: Advance of the British troops on the village of St.
Denis, 1837.  From a colour drawing by C. W. Jefferys.]



  A Chronicle of the Lower
  Canadian Rebellion






  _Copyright in all Countries subscribing to
  the Berne Convention_



The manuscript for this little book, written by me in French, was
handed over for translation to Mr Stewart Wallace. The result as here
presented is therefore a joint product.  Mr Wallace, himself a writer
of ability and a student of Canadian history, naturally made a very
free translation of my work and introduced some ideas of his own. He
insists, however, that the work is mine; and, with this acknowledgment
of his part in it, I can do no less than acquiesce, at the same time
expressing my pleasure at having had as collaborator a young writer of
such good insight. And it is surely appropriate that an English
Canadian and a French Canadian should join in a narrative of the
political war between the two races which forms the subject of this


OTTAWA, 1915.




    I. CANADIANS, OLD AND NEW  . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
   II. THE RIGHTS OF THE DEFEATED  . . . . . . . . . .    7
  III. 'THE REIGN OF TERROR' . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13
   IV. THE RISE OF PAPINEAU  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   21
    V. THE NINETY-TWO RESOLUTIONS  . . . . . . . . . .   33
   VI. THE ROYAL COMMISSION  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   44
  VII. THE RUSSELL RESOLUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . .   57
 VIII. THE DOGS OF WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   69
   IX. _FORCE MAJEURE_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   82
    X. THE LORD HIGH COMMISSIONER  . . . . . . . . . .  104
   XI. THE SECOND REBELLION  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  117
  XII. A POSTSCRIPT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  128
       BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
       INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  136



    THE VILLAGE OF ST DENIS, 1837  . . . . . . . . .    _Frontispiece_
  From a colour drawing by C. W. Jefferys.

SIR JAMES CRAIG  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  _Facing page_ 16
  From a portrait in the Dominion Archives.

LOUIS JOSEPH PAPINEAU  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     "     "    22
  After a lithograph by Maurin, Paris.

WOLFRED NELSON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     "     "    60
  From a print in the Château de Ramezay.

SOUTH-WESTERN LOWER CANADA, 1837 . . . . . . . . . .     "     "    69
  Map by Bartholomew.

DENIS BENJAMIN VIGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     "     "   128
  From a print in M'Gill University Library.




The conquest of Canada by British arms in the Seven Years' War gave
rise to a situation in the colony which was fraught with tragic
possibilities.  It placed the French inhabitants under the sway of an
alien race--a race of another language, of another religion, of other
laws, and which differed from them profoundly in temperament and
political outlook.  Elsewhere--in Ireland, in Poland, and in the
Balkans--such conquests have been followed by centuries of bitter
racial warfare.  In Canada, however, for a hundred and fifty years
French Canadians and English Canadians have, on the whole, dwelt
together in peace and amity.  Only on the one occasion, of which the
story is to be told in these pages, has there been anything resembling
civil war between the two races; and this unhappy outbreak was neither
widespread nor prolonged.  The record {2} is one which Canadians,
whether they be English or French, have reason to view with

It does not appear that the Canadians of 1760 felt any profound regret
at the change from French to British rule.  So corrupt and oppressive
had been the administration of Bigot, in the last days of the Old
Regime, that the rough-and-ready rule of the British army officers
doubtless seemed benignant in comparison.  Comparatively few Canadians
left the country, although they were afforded facilities for so doing.
One evidence of good feeling between the victors and the vanquished is
found in the marriages which were celebrated between Canadian women and
some of the disbanded Highland soldiers.  Traces of these unions are
found at the present day, in the province of Quebec, in a few Scottish
names of habitants who cannot speak English.

When the American colonies broke out in revolution in 1775, the
Continental Congress thought to induce the French Canadians to join
hands with them.  But the conciliatory policy of the successive
governors Murray and Carleton, and the concessions granted by the
Quebec Act of the year before, had borne {3} fruit; and when the
American leaders Arnold and Montgomery invaded Canada, the great
majority of the habitants remained at least passively loyal.  A few
hundred of them may have joined the invaders, but a much larger number
enlisted under Carleton.  The clergy, the seigneurs, and the
professional classes--lawyers and physicians and notaries--remained
firm in their allegiance to Great Britain; while the mass of the people
resisted the eloquent appeals of Congress, represented by its
emissaries Franklin, Chase, and Carroll, and even those of the
distinguished Frenchmen, Lafayette and Count d'Estaing, who strongly
urged them to join the rebels.  Nor should it be forgotten that at the
siege of Quebec by Arnold the Canadian officers Colonel Dupré and
Captains Dambourgès, Dumas, and Marcoux, with many others, were among
Carleton's most trusted and efficient aides in driving back the
invading Americans.  True, in 1781, Sir Frederick Haldimand, then
governor of Canada, wrote that although the clergy had been firmly
loyal in 1775 and had exerted their powerful influence in favour of
Great Britain, they had since then changed their opinions and were no
longer to be relied upon.  But it must be {4} borne in mind that
Haldimand ruled the province in the manner of a soldier.  His
high-handed orders caused dissatisfaction, which he probably mistook
for a want of loyalty among the clergy.  No more devoted subject of
Great Britain lived at the time in Lower Canada than Mgr Briand, the
bishop of Quebec; and the priests shaped their conduct after that of
their superior.  At any rate, the danger which Haldimand feared did not
take form; and the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 made it
more unlikely than ever.

The French Revolution profoundly affected the attitude of the French
Canadians toward France.  Canada was the child of the _ancien régime_.
Within her borders the ideas of Voltaire and Rousseau had found no
shelter.  Canada had nothing in common with the anti-clerical and
republican tendencies of the Revolution.  That movement created a gap
between France and Canada which has not been bridged to this day.  In
the Napoleonic wars the sympathies of Canada were almost wholly with
Great Britain.  When news arrived of the defeat of the French fleet at
Trafalgar, a _Te Deum_ was sung in the Catholic cathedral at Quebec;
and, in a sermon {5} preached on that occasion, a future bishop of the
French-Canadian Church enunciated the principle that 'all events which
tend to broaden the gap separating us from France should be welcome.'

It was during the War of 1812-14, however, that the most striking
manifestation of French-Canadian loyalty to the British crown appeared.
In that war, in which Canada was repeatedly invaded by American armies,
French-Canadian militiamen under French-Canadian officers fought
shoulder to shoulder with their English-speaking fellow-countrymen on
several stricken fields of battle; and in one engagement, fought at
Châteauguay in the French province of Lower Canada, the day was won for
British arms by the heroic prowess of Major de Salaberry and his
French-Canadian soldiers.  The history of the war with the United
States provides indelible testimony to the loyalty of French Canada.

A quarter of a century passed.  Once again the crack of muskets was
heard on Canadian soil.  This time, however, there was no foreign
invader to repel.  The two races which had fought side by side in 1812
were now arrayed against each other.  French-Canadian veterans of
Châteauguay were on {6} one side, and English-Canadian veterans of
Chrystler's Farm on the other.  Some real fighting took place.  Before
peace was restored, the fowling-pieces of the French-Canadian rebels
had repulsed a force of British regulars at the village of St Denis,
and brisk skirmishes had taken place at the villages of St Charles and
St Eustache.  How this unhappy interlude came to pass, in a century and
a half of British rule in Canada, it is the object of this book to




The British did not treat the French inhabitants of Canada as a
conquered people; not as other countries won by conquest have been
treated by their victorious invaders.  The terms of the Capitulation of
Montreal in 1760 assured the Canadians of their property and civil
rights, and guaranteed to them 'the free exercise of their religion.'
The Quebec Act of 1774 granted them the whole of the French civil law,
to the almost complete exclusion of the English common law, and
virtually established in Canada the Church of the vanquished through
legal enforcement of the obligation resting upon Catholics to pay
tithes.  And when it became necessary in 1791 to divide Canada into two
provinces, Upper Canada and Lower Canada, one predominantly English and
the other predominantly French, the two provinces were granted
precisely equal political rights.  Out of this {8} arose an odd
situation.  All French Canadians were Roman Catholics, and Roman
Catholics were at this time debarred from sitting in the House of
Commons at Westminster.  Yet they were given the right of sitting as
members in the Canadian representative Assemblies created by the Act of
1791.  The Catholics of Canada thus received privileges denied to their
co-religionists in Great Britain.

There can be no doubt that it was the conciliatory policy of the
British government which kept the clergy, the seigneurs, and the great
body of French Canadians loyal to the British crown during the war in
1775 and in 1812.  It is certain, too, that these generous measures
strengthened the position of the French race in Canada, made Canadians
more jealous of their national identity, and led them to press for
still wider liberties.  It is an axiom of human nature that the more
one gets, the more one wants.  And so the concessions granted merely
whetted the Canadian appetite for more.

This disposition became immediately apparent with the calling of the
first parliament of Lower Canada in 1792.  Before this there had been
no specific definition of the exact status of the French language in
{9} Canada, and the question arose as to its use in the Assembly as a
medium of debate.  As the Quebec Act of 1774 had restored the French
laws, it was inferred that the use of the French language had been
authorized, since otherwise these laws would have no natural medium of
interpretation.  That this was the inference to be drawn from the
constitution became evident, for the British government had made no
objection to the use of French in the law-courts.  It should be borne
in mind that at this period the English in Canada were few in number,
and that all of them lived in the cities.  The French members in the
Assembly, representing, as they did, nearly the whole population, did
not hesitate to press for the official recognition of their language on
a parity with English.

The question first came up in connection with the election of a
speaker.  The French-Canadian members, being in a majority of
thirty-four to sixteen, proposed Jean Antoine Panet.  This motion was
opposed by the English members, together with a few of the French
members, who nominated an Englishman.  They pointed out that the
transactions between the speaker and the king's {10} representative in
the colony should be 'in the language of the empire to which we have
the happiness to belong.'  'I think it is but decent,' said Louis
Panet, brother of Jean Antoine, 'that the speaker on whom we fix our
choice, be one who can express himself in English when he addresses
himself to the representative of our sovereign.'  Yet the majority of
the French members stuck to their motion and elected their speaker.
When he was sworn into office, he declared to the governor that 'he
could only express himself in the primitive language of his native
country.'  Nevertheless, he understood English well enough to conduct
the business of the House.  And it should not be forgotten that all the
sixteen English members, out of the fifty composing the Assembly, owed
their election to French-Canadian voters.

Almost immediately the question came up again in the debate on the use
of the French language in the publication of official documents.  The
English members pointed out that English was the language of the
sovereign, and they contended that the exclusive official use of the
English language would more quickly assimilate the French
Canadians--would render them more loyal.  To these {11} arguments the
French Canadians replied with ringing eloquence.

'Remember,' said Chartier de Lotbinière, 'the year 1775.  Those
Canadians, who spoke nothing but French, showed their attachment to
their sovereign in a manner not at all equivocal.  They helped to
defend this province.  This city, these walls, this chamber in which I
have the honour to speak, were saved partly through their zeal and
their courage.  You saw them join with faithful subjects of His Majesty
and repulse attacks which people who spoke very good English made on
this city.  It is not, you see, uniformity of language which makes
peoples more faithful or more united.'

'Is it not ridiculous,' exclaimed Pierre Bédard, whose name will appear
later in these pages, 'to wish to make a people's loyalty consist in
its tongue?'

The outcome of the debate, as might have been expected, was to place
the French language on a level with the English language in the records
and publications of the Assembly, and French became, to all intents and
purposes, the language of debate.  The number of English-speaking
members steadily decreased.  In the year 1800 Sir Robert Milnes {12}
wrote home that there were 'but one or two English members in the House
of Assembly who venture to speak in the language of the mother country,
from the certainty of not being understood by a great majority of the

It must not be imagined, however, that in these early debates there was
any of that rancour and animosity which later characterized the
proceedings of the Assembly of Lower Canada.  'The remains of the old
French politeness, and a laudable deference to their fellow subjects,
kept up decorum in the proceedings of the majority,' testified a
political annalist of that time.  Even as late as 1807, it appears that
'party spirit had not yet extended its effects to destroy social
intercourse and good neighbourhood.'  It was not until the régime of
Sir James Craig that racial bitterness really began.




During the session of 1805 the Assembly was confronted with the
apparently innocent problem of building prisons.  Yet out of the debate
on this subject sprang the most serious racial conflict which had yet
occurred in the province.  There were two ways proposed for raising the
necessary money.  One, advocated by the English members, was to levy a
direct tax on land; the other, proposed by the French members, was to
impose extra customs duties.  The English proposal was opposed by the
French, for the simple reason that the interests of the French were in
the main agrarian; and the French proposal was opposed by the English,
because the interests of the English were on the whole commercial.  The
English pointed out that, as merchants, they had borne the brunt of
such taxation as had already been imposed, and that it was the turn of
the French farmers to bear their {14} share.  The French, on the other
hand, pointed out, with some justice, that indirect taxation was borne,
not only by the importer, but also partly by the consumer, and that
indirect taxation was therefore more equitable than a tax on the
land-owners alone.  There was, moreover, another consideration.  'The
_Habitants_,' writes the political annalist already quoted, 'consider
themselves sufficiently taxed by the French law of the land, in being
obliged to pay rents and other feudal burthens to the Seigneur, and
tythes to the Priest; and if you were to ask any of them to contribute
two bushels of Wheat, or two Dollars, for the support of Government, he
would give you the equivocal French sign of inability or unwillingness,
by shrugging up his shoulders.'

As usual, the French-Canadian majority carried their point.  Thereupon,
the indignation of the English minority flared forth in a very emphatic
manner.  They accused the French Canadians of foisting upon them the
whole burden of taxation, and they declared that an end must be put to
French-Canadian domination over English Canadians.  'This province,'
asserted the Quebec _Mercury_, 'is already too French for a British
colony....  Whether we be in peace or at war, it is essential {15} that
we should make every effort, by every means available, to oppose the
growth of the French and their influence.'

The answer of the French Canadians to this language was the
establishment in 1806 of a newspaper, _Le Canadien_, in which the point
of view of the majority in the House might be presented.  The official
editor of the paper was Jean Antoine Bouthillier, but the conspicuous
figure on the staff was Pierre Bédard, one of the members of the House
of Assembly.  The tone of the paper was generally moderate, though
militant.  Its policy was essentially to defend the French against the
ceaseless aspersions of the _Mercury_ and other enemies.  It never
attacked the British government, but only the provincial authorities.
Its motto, '_Notre langue, nos institutions et nos lois_,' went far to
explain its views and objects.

No serious trouble resulted, however, from the policy of _Le Canadien_
until after the arrival of Sir James Craig in Canada, and the
inauguration of what some historians have named 'the Reign of Terror.'
Sir James Craig, who became governor of Canada in 1807, was a
distinguished soldier.  He had seen service in the American
Revolutionary {16} War, in South Africa, and in India.  He was,
however, inexperienced in civil government and apt to carry his ideas
of military discipline into the conduct of civil affairs.  Moreover, he
was prejudiced against the inhabitants and had doubts of their loyalty.
In Canada he surrounded himself with such men as Herman W. Ryland, the
governor's secretary, and John Sewell, the attorney-general, men who
were actually in favour of repressing the French Canadians and of
crushing the power of their Church.  'I have long since laid it down as
a principle (which in my judgment no Governor of this Province ought to
lose sight of for a moment),' wrote Ryland in 1804, 'by every possible
means which prudence can suggest, gradually to undermine the authority
and influence of the Roman Catholic Priest.'  'The Province must be
converted into an English Colony,' declared Sewell, 'or it will
ultimately be lost to England.'  The opinion these men held of the
French Canadians was most uncomplimentary.  'In the ministerial
dictionary,' complained _Le Canadien_, 'a bad fellow,
anti-ministerialist, democrat, _sans culotte_, and damned Canadian,
mean the same thing.'

[Illustration: Sir James Craig.  From a portrait in the Dominion

Surrounded by such advisers, it is not {17} surprising that Sir James
Craig soon took umbrage at the language and policy of _Le Canadien_.
At first he made his displeasure felt in a somewhat roundabout way.  In
the summer of 1808 he dismissed from the militia five officers who were
reputed to have a connection with that newspaper, on the ground that
they were helping a 'seditious and defamatory journal.'  One of these
officers was Colonel Panet, who had fought in the defence of Quebec in
1775 and had been speaker of the House of Assembly since 1792; another
was Pierre Bédard.  This action did not, however, curb the temper of
the paper; and a year or more later Craig went further.  In May 1810 he
took the extreme step of suppressing _Le Canadien_, and arresting the
printer and three of the proprietors, Taschereau, Blanchet, and Bédard.
The ostensible pretext for this measure was the publication in the
paper of some notes of a somewhat academic character with regard to the
conflict which had arisen between the governor and the House of
Assembly in Jamaica; the real reason, of course, went deeper.

Craig afterwards asserted that the arrest of Bédard and his associates
was 'a measure of precaution, not of punishment.'  There is no {18}
doubt that he actually feared a rising of the French Canadians.  To his
mind a rebellion was imminent.  The event showed that his suspicions
were ill-founded; but in justice to him it must be remembered that he
was governor of Canada at a dangerous time, when Napoleon was at the
zenith of his power and when agents of this arch-enemy of England were
supposed to be active in Canada.  Moreover, the blame for Craig's
action during this period must be partly borne by the 'Bureaucrats' who
surrounded him.  There is no absolute proof, but there is at least a
presumption, that some of these men actually wished to precipitate a
disturbance, in order that the constitution of Lower Canada might be
suspended and a new order of things inaugurated.

Soon after Bédard's arrest his friends applied for a writ of habeas
corpus; but, owing to the opposition of Craig, this was refused.  In
July two of Bédard's companions were released, on the ground of ill
health.  They both, however, expressed regret at the tone which _Le
Canadien_ had adopted.  In August the printer was discharged.  Bédard
himself declined to accept his release until he had been brought to
trial and acquitted {19} of the charge preferred against him.  Craig,
however, did not dare to bring him to trial, for no jury would have
convicted him.  Ultimately, since Bédard refused to leave the prison,
he was ejected at the point of the bayonet.  The situation was full of
humour.  Bédard was an excellent mathematician, and was in the habit of
whiling away the hours of his imprisonment by solving mathematical
problems.  When the guard came to turn him out, he was in the midst of
a geometrical problem.  'At least,' he begged, 'let me finish my
problem.'  The request was granted; an hour later the problem was
solved, and Bédard was thrust forth from the jail.

Sir James Craig was a man of good heart and of the best intentions; but
his course throughout this episode was most unfortunate.  Not only did
he fail to suppress the opposition to his government, but he did much
to embitter the relations between the two races.  Craig himself seems
to have realized, even before he left Canada, that his policy had been
a mistake; for he is reported on good authority to have said 'that he
had been basely deceived, and that if it had been given to him to begin
his administration over again, he would have acted differently.'  It is
{20} significant, too, that Craig's successor, Sir George Prevost,
completely reversed his policy.  He laid himself out to conciliate the
French Canadians in every way possible; and he made amends to Bédard
for the injustice which he had suffered by restoring him to his rank in
the militia and by making him a judge.  As a result, the bitterness of
racial feeling abated; and when the War of 1812 broke out, there proved
to be less disloyalty in Lower Canada than in Upper Canada.  But, as
the events of Craig's administration had clearly shown, a good deal of
combustible and dangerous material lay about.




In the year 1812 a young man took his seat in the House of Assembly for
Lower Canada who was destined to play a conspicuous part in the history
of the province during the next quarter of a century.  His name was
Louis Joseph Papineau.  He was at that time only twenty-six years of
age, but already his tall, well-built form, his fine features and
commanding presence, marked him out as a born leader of men.  He
possessed an eloquence which, commonplace as it now appears on the
printed page, apparently exerted a profound influence upon his
contemporaries.  'Never within the memory of teacher or student,' wrote
his college friend Aubert de Gaspé, 'had a voice so eloquent filled the
halls of the seminary of Quebec.'  In the Assembly his rise to
prominence was meteoric; only three years after his entrance he was
elected speaker on the resignation of the veteran {22} J. A. Panet, who
had held the office at different times since 1792.  Papineau retained
the speakership, with but one brief period of intermission, until the
outbreak of rebellion twenty-two years later; and it was from the
speaker's chair that he guided throughout this period the counsels of
the _Patriote_ party.

[Illustration: Louis Joseph Papineau.  After a lithograph by Maurin,

When Papineau entered public life the political situation in Lower
Canada was beginning to be complicated.  The French-Canadian members of
the Assembly, having taken great pains to acquaint themselves with the
law and custom of the British constitution, had awakened to the fact
that they were not enjoying the position or the power which the members
of the House of Commons in England were enjoying.  In the first place,
the measures which they passed were being continually thrown out by the
upper chamber, the Legislative Council, and they were powerless to
prevent it; and in the second place, they had no control of the
government, for the governor and his Executive Council were appointed
by and responsible to the Colonial Office alone.  The members of the
two councils were in the main of English birth, and they constituted a
local oligarchy--known as the 'Bureaucrats' or the 'Château
Clique'--which {23} held the reins of government.  They were as a rule
able to snap their fingers at the majority in the Assembly.

In England the remedy for a similar state of affairs had been found to
lie in the control of the purse exercised by the House of Commons.  In
order to bring the Executive to its will, it was only necessary for
that House to threaten the withholding of supplies.  In Lower Canada,
however, such a remedy was at first impossible, for the simple reason
that the House of Assembly did not vote all the supplies necessary for
carrying on the government.  In other words, the expenditure far
exceeded the revenue; and the deficiency had to be met out of the
Imperial exchequer.  Under these circumstances it was impossible for
the Lower Canada Assembly to attempt to exercise the full power of the
purse.  In 1810, it is true, the Assembly had passed a resolution
avowing its ability and willingness to vote 'the necessary sums for
defraying the Civil Expenses of the Government of the Province.'  But
Sir James Craig had declined on a technicality to forward the
resolution to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, realizing fully
that if the offer were accepted, the Assembly would be able to exert
complete {24} power over the Executive.  'The new Trojan horse' was not
to gain admission to the walls through him.

Later, however, in 1818, during the administration of Sir John Coape
Sherbrooke, the offer of the Assembly was accepted by the Imperial
government.  Sherbrooke was an apostle of conciliation.  It was he who
gave the Catholic bishop of Quebec a seat in the Executive Council; and
he also recommended that the speaker of the House of Assembly should be
included in the Council--a recommendation which was a preliminary move
in the direction of responsible government.  Through Sherbrooke's
instrumentality the British government now decided to allow the
Lower-Canadian legislature to vote the entire revenue of the province,
apart from the casual and territorial dues of the Crown and certain
duties levied by Act of the Imperial parliament.  Sherbrooke's
intention was that the legislature should vote out of this revenue a
permanent civil list to be continued during the lifetime of the
sovereign.  Unfortunately, however, the Assembly did not fall in with
this view.  It insisted, instead, on treating the civil list as an
annual affair, and voting the salaries of the officials, from the
governor {25} downwards, for only one year.  Since this would have made
every government officer completely dependent upon the pleasure of the
House of Assembly, the Legislative Council promptly threw out the
budget.  Thus commenced a struggle which was destined to last for many
years.  The Assembly refused to see that its action was really an
encroachment upon the sphere of the Executive; and the Executive
refused to place itself at the mercy of the Assembly.  The result was
deadlock.  During session after session the supplies were not voted.
The Executive, with its control of the royal revenue, was able by one
means or another to carry on the government; but the relations between
the 'Bureaucrats' and the _Patriotes_ became rapidly more bitter.

Papineau's attitude toward the government during this period was in
harmony with that of his compatriots.  It was indeed one of his
characteristics, as the historian Christie has pointed out, that he
seemed always 'to move with the masses rather than to lead them.'  In
1812 he fought side by side with the British.  As late as 1820 he
publicly expressed his great admiration for the constitution of 1791
and the blessings of British rule.  But in the struggles over the
budget he took up ground {26} strongly opposed to the government; and,
when the question became acute, he threw restraint to the winds, and
played the part of a dangerous agitator.

What seems to have first roused Papineau to anger was a proposal to
unite Upper and Lower Canada in 1822.  Financial difficulties had
arisen between the two provinces; and advantage was taken of this fact
to introduce a Union Bill into the House of Commons at Westminster,
couched in terms very unfavourable to the French Canadians.  There is
little doubt that the real objects of the bill was the extinction of
the Lower-Canadian Assembly and the subordination of the French to the
English element in the colony.  At any rate, the French Canadians saw
in the bill a menace to their national existence.  Two agents were
promptly appointed to go over to London to oppose it.  One of them was
Papineau; the other was John Neilson, the capable Scottish editor of
the Quebec _Gazette_.  The two men made a very favourable impression;
they enlisted on their side the leaders of the Whig party in the
Commons; and they succeeded in having the bill well and duly shelved.
Their mission resulted not only in the defeat of the bill; it also
showed {27} them clearly that a deep-laid plot had menaced the rights
and liberties of the French-Canadian people; and their anger was roused
against what Neilson described as 'the handful of _intrigants_' who had
planned that _coup d'état_.

On returning to Canada Papineau gave vent to his discontent in an
extraordinary attack upon Lord Dalhousie, who had become governor of
Canada in 1819.  Dalhousie was an English nobleman of the best type.
His tastes were liberal.  He was instrumental in founding the Literary
and Historical Society of Quebec; and he showed his desire for pleasant
relations between the two races in Canada by the erection of the joint
monument to Wolfe and Montcalm in the city of Quebec, in the governor's
garden.  His administration, however, had been marred by one or two
financial irregularities.  Owing to the refusal of the Assembly to vote
a permanent civil list, Dalhousie had been forced to expend public
moneys without authority from the legislature; and his
receiver-general, Caldwell, had been guilty of defalcations to the
amount of £100,000.  Papineau attacked Dalhousie as if he had been
personally responsible for these defalcations.  The speech, we are told
by the chronicler Bibaud, recalled in its violence the {28} philippics
of Demosthenes and the orations against Catiline of Cicero.

The upshot of this attack was that all relations between Dalhousie and
Papineau were broken off.  Apart altogether from the political
controversy, Dalhousie felt that he could have no intercourse with a
man who had publicly insulted him.  Consequently, when Papineau was
elected to the speakership of the Assembly in 1827, Dalhousie refused
to recognize him as speaker; and when the Assembly refused to
reconsider his election, Dalhousie promptly dissolved it.

It would be tedious to describe in detail the political events of these
years; and it is enough to say that by 1827 affairs in the province had
come to such an impasse, partly owing to the financial quarrel, and
partly owing to the personal war between Papineau and Dalhousie, that
it was decided by the _Patriotes_ to send another deputation to England
to ask for the redress of grievances and for the removal of Dalhousie.
The members of the deputation were John Neilson and two French
Canadians, Augustin Cuvillier and Denis B. Viger.  Papineau was an
interested party and did not go.  The deputation proved no less
successful than {29} that which had crossed the Atlantic in 1822.  The
delegates succeeded in obtaining Lord Dalhousie's recall, and they were
enabled to place their case before a special committee of the House of
Commons.  The committee made a report very favourable to the _Patriote_
cause; recommended that 'the French-Canadians should not in any way be
disturbed in the exercise and enjoyment of their religion, their laws,
or their privileges'; and expressed the opinion that 'the true
interests of the provinces would be best promoted by placing the
collection and expenditure of all public revenues under the control of
the House of Assembly.'  The report was not actually adopted by the
House of Commons, but it lent a very welcome support to the contentions
of Papineau and his friends.

At last, in 1830, the British government made a serious and well-meant
attempt to settle, once and for all, the financial difficulty.  Lord
Goderich, who was at that time at the Colonial Office, instructed Lord
Aylmer, who had become governor of Canada in 1830, to resign to the
Assembly the control of the entire revenue of the province, with the
single exception of the casual and territorial revenue of the Crown, if
the Assembly would grant {30} in exchange a civil list of £19,000,
voted for the lifetime of the king.  This offer was a compromise which
should have proved acceptable to both sides.  But Papineau and his
friends determined not to yield an inch of ground; and in the session
of 1831 they succeeded in defeating the motion for the adoption of Lord
Goderich's proposal.  That this was a mistake even the historian
Garneau, who cannot be accused of hostility toward the _Patriotes_, has

Throughout this period Papineau's course was often unreasonable.  He
complained that the French Canadians had no voice in the executive
government, and that all the government offices were given to the
English; yet when he was offered a seat in the Executive Council in
1822 he declined it; and when Dominique Mondelet, one of the members of
the Assembly, accepted a seat in the Executive Council in 1832, he was
hounded from the Assembly by Papineau and his friends as a traitor.  As
Sir George Cartier pointed out many years later, Mondelet's inclusion
in the Executive Council was really a step in the direction of
responsible government.  It is difficult, also, to approve Papineau's
attitude toward such governors as Dalhousie and {31} Aylmer, both of
whom were disposed to be friendly.  Papineau's attitude threw them into
the arms of the 'Château Clique.'  The truth is that Papineau was too
unbending, too _intransigeant_, to make a good political leader.  As
was seen clearly in his attitude toward the financial proposals of Lord
Goderich in 1830, he possessed none of that spirit of compromise which
lies at the heart of English constitutional development.

On the other hand, it must be remembered that Papineau and his friends
received much provocation.  The attitude of the governing class toward
them was overbearing and sometimes insolent.  They were regarded as
members of an inferior race.  And they would have been hardly human if
they had not bitterly resented the conspiracy against their liberties
embodied in the abortive Union Bill of 1822.  There were real abuses to
be remedied.  Grave financial irregularities had been detected in the
executive government; sinecurists, living in England, drew pay for
services which they did not perform; gross favouritism existed in
appointments to office under the Crown; and so many office-holders held
seats in the Legislative Council that the Council was actually under
the thumb of {32} the executive government.  Yet when the Assembly
strove to remedy these grievances, its efforts were repeatedly blocked
by the Legislative Council; and even when appeal was made to the
Colonial Office, removal of the abuses was slow in coming.  Last, but
not least, the Assembly felt that it did not possess an adequate
control over the expenditure of the moneys for the voting of which it
was primarily responsible.




After 1830 signs began to multiply that the racial feud in Lower Canada
was growing in intensity.  In 1832 a by-election in the west ward of
Montreal culminated in a riot.  Troops were called out to preserve
order.  After showing some forbearance under a fusillade of stones,
they fired into the rioters, killing three and wounding two men, all of
them French Canadians.  Immediately the _Patriote_ press became
furious.  The newspaper _La Minerve_ asserted that a 'general massacre'
had been planned: the murderers, it said, had approached the corpses
with laughter, and had seen with joy Canadian blood running down the
street; they had shaken each other by the hand, and had regretted that
there were not more dead.  The blame for the 'massacre' was laid at the
door of Lord Aylmer.  Later, on the floor of the Assembly, Papineau
remarked that 'Craig merely imprisoned his {34} victims, but Aylmer
slaughters them.'  The _Patriotes_ adopted the same bitter attitude
toward the government when the Asiatic cholera swept the province in
1833.  They actually accused Lord Aylmer of having 'enticed the sick
immigrants into the country, in order to decimate the ranks of the
French Canadians.'

In the House Papineau became more and more violent and domineering.  He
did not scruple to use his majority either to expel from the House or
to imprison those who incurred his wrath.  Robert Christie, the member
for Gaspé, was four times expelled for having obtained the dismissal of
some partisan justices of the peace.  The expulsion of Dominique
Mondelet has already been mentioned.  Ralph Taylor, one of the members
for the Eastern Townships, was imprisoned in the common jail for using,
in the Quebec _Mercury_, language about Papineau no more offensive than
Papineau had used about many others.  But perhaps the most striking
evidence of Papineau's desire to dominate the Assembly was seen in his
attitude toward a bill to secure the independence of judges introduced
by F. A. Quesnel, one of the more moderate members {35} of the
_Patriote_ party.  Quesnel had accepted some amendments suggested by
the colonial secretary.  This awoke the wrath of Papineau, who assailed
the bill in his usual vehement style, and concluded by threatening
Quesnel with the loss of his seat.  The threat proved not to be idle.
Papineau possessed at this time a great ascendancy over the minds of
his fellow-countrymen, and in the next elections he secured Quesnel's

By 1832 Papineau's political views had taken a more revolutionary turn.
From being an admirer of the constitution of 1791, he had come to
regard it as 'bad; very, very bad.'  'Our constitution,' he said, 'has
been manufactured by a Tory influenced by the terrors of the French
Revolution.'  He had lost faith in the justice of the British
government and in its willingness to redress grievances; and his eyes
had begun to turn toward the United States.  Perhaps he was not yet for
annexation to that country; but he had conceived a great admiration for
the American constitution.  The wide application of the principle of
election especially attracted him; and, although he did not relinquish
his hope of subordinating the Executive to the Assembly by means of the
control of the finances, he {36} began to throw his main weight into an
agitation to make the Legislative Council elective.  Henceforth the
plan for an elective Legislative Council became the chief feature of
the policy of the _Patriote_ party.  The existing nominated and
reactionary Legislative Council had served the purpose of a buffer
between the governor's Executive Council and the Assembly.  This
buffer, thought Papineau and his friends, should be removed, so as to
expose the governor to the full hurricane of the Assembly's wrath.

It was not long before Papineau's domineering behaviour and the
revolutionary trend of his views alienated some of his followers.  On
John Neilson, who had gone to England with him in 1822 and with
Cuvillier and Viger in 1828, and who had supported him heartily during
the Dalhousie régime, Papineau could no longer count.  Under Aylmer a
coolness sprang up between the two men.  Neilson objected to the
expulsion of Mondelet from the House; he opposed the resolutions of
Louis Bourdages, Papineau's chief lieutenant, for the abolition of the
Legislative Council; and in the debate on Quesnel's bill for the
independence of judges, he administered a severe rebuke to Papineau for
language he {37} had used.  Augustin Cuvillier followed the lead of his
friend Neilson, and so also did Andrew Stuart, one of the ablest
lawyers in the province, and Quesnel.  All these men were politicians
of weight and respectability.

Papineau still had, however, a large and powerful following, especially
among the younger members.  Nothing is more remarkable at this time
than the sway which he exercised over the minds of men who in later
life became distinguished for the conservative and moderate character
of their opinions.  Among his followers in the House were Louis
Hippolyte LaFontaine, destined to become, ten years later, the
colleague of Robert Baldwin in the LaFontaine-Baldwin administration,
and Augustin Norbert Morin, the colleague of Francis Hincks in the
Hincks-Morin administration of 1851.  Outside the House he counted
among his most faithful followers two more future prime ministers of
Canada, George É. Cartier and Étienne P. Taché.  Nor were his
supporters all French Canadians.  Some English-speaking members acted
with him, among them Wolfred Nelson; and in the country he had the
undivided allegiance of men like Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, editor of
the Montreal _Vindicator_, {38} and Thomas Storrow Brown, afterwards
one of the 'generals' of the rebellion.  Although the political
struggle in Lower Canada before 1837 was largely racial, it was not
exclusively so, for there were some English in the Patriots party and
some French who declined to support it.

In 1832 and 1833 Papineau suffered rebuffs in the House that could not
have been pleasant to him.  In 1833, for instance, his proposal to
refuse supply was defeated by a large majority.  But the triumphant
passage of the famous Ninety-Two Resolutions in 1834 showed that, for
most purposes, he still had a majority behind him.

The Ninety-Two Resolutions were introduced by Elzéar Bédard, the son of
Pierre Bédard, and are reputed to have been drawn up by A. N. Morin.
But there is no doubt that they were inspired by Papineau.  The voice
was the voice of Jacob, but the hand was the hand of Esau.  The
Resolutions constituted the political platform of the extreme wing of
the _Patriote_ party: they were a sort of Declaration of Right.  A more
extraordinary political document has seldom seen the light.  A writer
in the Quebec _Mercury_, said by Lord Aylmer to be John Neilson, {39}
undertook an analysis of the ninety-two articles: eleven, said this
writer, stood true; six contained both truth and falsehood; sixteen
stood wholly false; seventeen seemed doubtful and twelve ridiculous;
seven were repetitions; fourteen consisted only of abuse; four were
both false and seditious; and the remainder were indifferent.

It is not possible here to analyse the Resolutions in detail.  They
called the attention of the home government to some real abuses.  The
subservience of the Legislative Council to the Executive Council; the
partisanship of some of the judges; the maladministration of the wild
lands; grave irregularities in the receiver-general's office; the
concentration of a variety of public offices in the same persons; the
failure of the governor to issue a writ for the election of a
representative for the county of Montreal; and the expenditure of
public moneys without the consent of the Assembly--all these, and many
others, were enlarged upon.  If the framers of the Resolutions had only
cared to make out a very strong case they might have done so.  But the
language which they employed to present their case was almost certainly
calculated to injure it seriously in the eyes of the home government.
{40} 'We are in no wise disposed,' they told the king, 'to admit the
excellence of the present constitution of Canada, although the present
colonial secretary unseasonably and erroneously asserts that the said
constitution has conferred on the two Canadas the institutions of Great
Britain.'  With an extraordinary lack of tact they assured the king
that Toryism was in America 'without any weight or influence except
what it derives from its European supporters'; whereas Republicanism
'overspreads all America.'  Nor did they stop there.  'This House,'
they announced, 'would esteem itself wanting in candour to Your Majesty
if it hesitated to call Your Majesty's attention to the fact, that in
less than twenty years the population of the United States of America
will be greater than that of Great Britain, and that of British America
will be greater than that of the former English colonies, when the
latter deemed that the time was come to decide that the inappreciable
advantage of being self-governed ought to engage them to repudiate a
system of colonial government which was, generally speaking, much
better than that of British America now is.'  This unfortunate
reference to the American Revolution, with its {41} hardly veiled
threat of rebellion, was scarcely calculated to commend the Ninety-Two
Resolutions to the favourable consideration of the British government.
And when the Resolutions went on to demand, not merely the removal, but
the impeachment of the governor, Lord Aylmer, it must have seemed to
unprejudiced bystanders as if the framers of the Resolutions had taken
leave of their senses.

The Ninety-Two Resolutions do not rank high as a constructive document.
The chief change in the constitution which they proposed was the
application of the elective principle to the Legislative Council.  Of
anything which might be construed into advocacy of a statesmanlike
project of responsible government there was not a word, save a vague
allusion to 'the vicious composition and irresponsibility of the
Executive Council.'  Papineau and his friends had evidently no
conception of the solution ultimately found for the constitutional
problem in Canada--a provincial cabinet chosen from the legislature,
sitting in the legislature, and responsible to the legislature, whose
advice the governor is bound to accept in regard to provincial affairs.
Papineau undoubtedly did much to hasten the day of responsible
government in Canada; {42} but in this process he was in reality an
unwitting agent.

The Ninety-Two Resolutions secured a majority of fifty-six to
twenty-four.  But in the minority voted John Neilson, Augustin
Cuvillier, F. A. Quesnel, and Andrew Stuart, who now definitely broke
away from Papineau's party.  There are signs, too, that the
considerable number of Catholic clergy who had openly supported
Papineau now began to withdraw from the camp of a leader advocating
such republican and revolutionary ideas.  There is ground also for
believing that not a little unrest disturbed those who voted with
Papineau in 1834.  In the next year Elzéar Bédard, who had moved the
Ninety-Two Resolutions, broke with Papineau.  Another seceder was
Étienne Parent, the editor of the revived _Canadien_, and one of the
great figures in French-Canadian literature.  Both Bédard and Parent
were citizens of Quebec, and they carried with them the great body of
public opinion in the provincial capital.  It will be observed later
that during the disturbances of 1837 Quebec remained quiet.

None of the seceders abandoned the demand for the redress of
grievances.  They merely {43} refused to follow Papineau in his extreme
course.  For this they were assailed with some of the rhetoric which
had hitherto been reserved for the 'Bureaucrats.'  To them was applied
the opprobrious epithet of _Chouayens_[1]--a name which had been used
by Étienne Parent himself in 1828 to describe those French Canadians
who took sides with the government party.

[1] The name _Chouayen_ or _Chouaguen_ appears to have been first used
as a term of reproach at the siege of Oswego in 1756.  It is said that
after the fall of the forts there to Montcalm's armies a number of
Canadian soldiers arrived too late to take part in the fighting.  By
the soldiers who had borne the brunt of the battle the late-comers were
dubbed _Chouaguens_, this being the way the rank and file of the French
soldiers pronounced the Indian name of Oswego.  Thus the term came to
mean one who refuses to follow, or who lets others do the fighting and
keeps out of it himself.  Perhaps the nearest English, or rather
American, equivalent is the name Mugwump.




A general election followed soon after the passing of the Ninety-Two
Resolutions and revealed the strength of Papineau's position in the
country.  All those members of the _Patriote_ party who had opposed the
Resolutions--Neilson, Cuvillier, Quesnel, Stuart, and two or three
others--suffered defeat at the polls.  The first division-list in the
new Assembly showed seventy members voting for Papineau as speaker, and
only six voting against him.

The Resolutions were forwarded to Westminster, both through the
Assembly's agent in London and through Lord Aylmer, who received the
address embodying the Resolutions, despite the fact that they demanded
his own impeachment.  The British House of Commons appointed a special
committee to inquire into the grievances of which the Resolutions
complained; but there followed {45} no immediate action by the
government.  The years 1834 and 1835 saw much disturbance in British
politics: there were no less than four successive ministers at the
Colonial Office.  It was natural that there should be some delay in
dealing with the troubles of Lower Canada.  In the spring of 1835,
however, the government made up its mind about the course to pursue.
It decided to send to Canada a royal commission for the purpose of
investigating, and if possible settling, the questions in dispute.  It
was thought advisable to combine in one person the office of chief
royal commissioner and that of governor of Canada.  To clear the way
for this arrangement Lord Aylmer was recalled.  But he was expressly
relieved from all censure: it was merely recognized by the authorities
that his unfortunate relations with the Assembly made it unlikely that
he would be able to offer any assistance in a solution of the problem.

The unenviable position of governor and chief royal commissioner was
offered in turn to several English statesmen and declined by all of
them.  It was eventually accepted by Lord Gosford, an Irish peer
without experience in public life.  With him were associated as
commissioners Sir Charles Grey, afterwards {46} governor of Jamaica,
and Sir George Gipps, afterwards governor of New South Wales.  These
two men were evidently intended to offset each other: Grey was commonly
rated as a Tory, while Gipps was a Liberal.  Lord Gosford's appointment
caused much surprise.  He was a stranger in politics and in civil
government.  There is no doubt that his appointment was a last
resource.  But his Irish geniality and his facility in being all things
to all men were no small recommendations for a governor who was to
attempt to set things right in Canada.

The policy of Lord Glenelg, the colonial secretary during Gosford's
period of office, was to do everything in his power to conciliate the
Canadian _Patriotes_, short of making any real constitutional
concessions.  By means of a conciliatory attitude he hoped to induce
them to abate some of their demands.  There is, indeed, evidence that
he was personally willing to go further: he seems to have proposed to
William IV that the French Canadians should be granted, as they
desired, an elective Legislative Council; but the staunch old Tory king
would not hear of the change.  'The king objects on principle,' the
ministers were told, 'and upon what he {47} considers sound
constitutional principle, to the adoption of the elective principle in
the constitution of the legislative councils in the colonies.'  In 1836
the king had not yet become a negligible factor in determining the
policy of the government; and the idea was dropped.

Lord Gosford arrived in Canada at the end of the summer of 1835 to find
himself confronted with a discouraging state of affairs.  A short
session of the Assembly in the earlier part of the year had been marked
by unprecedented violence.  Papineau had attacked Lord Aylmer in
language breathing passion; and had caused Lord Aylmer's reply to the
address of the Assembly containing the Ninety-Two Resolutions to be
expunged from the journals of the House as 'an insult cast at the whole
nation.'  Papineau had professed himself hopeless of any amendment of
grievances by Great Britain.  'When Reform ministries, who called
themselves our friends,' he said, 'have been deaf to our complaints,
can we hope that a Tory ministry, the enemy of Reform, will give us a
better hearing?  We have nothing to expect from the Tories unless we
can inspire them with fear or worry them by ceaseless importunity.'  It
{48} should be observed, however, that in 1835 Papineau explicitly
disclaimed any intention of stirring up civil war.  When Gugy, one of
the English members of the Assembly,[1] accused him of such an
intention, Papineau replied:

Mr Gugy has talked to us again about an outbreak and civil war--a
ridiculous bugbear which is regularly revived every time the House
protests against these abuses, as it was under Craig, under Dalhousie,
and still more persistently under the present governor.  Doubtless the
honourable gentleman, having studied military tactics as a lieutenant
in the militia--I do not say as a major, for he has been a major only
for the purposes of the parade-ground and the ball-room--is quite
competent to judge of the results of a civil war and of the forces of
the country, but he need not fancy that he can frighten us by hinting
to us that he will fight in the ranks of the enemy.  All his threats
are futile, and his fears but the creatures of imagination.

Papineau did not yet contemplate an appeal {49} to arms; and of course
he could not foresee that only two years later Conrad Gugy would be one
of the first to enter the village of St Eustache after the defeat of
the _Patriote_ forces.

In spite of the inflamed state of public feeling, Lord Gosford tried to
put into effect his policy of conciliation.  He sought to win the
confidence of the French Canadians by presiding at their
entertainments, by attending the distribution of prizes at their
seminaries, and by giving balls on their feast days.  He entertained
lavishly, and his manners toward his guests were decidedly convivial.
'_Milord_,' exclaimed one of them on one occasion, tapping him on the
back at a certain stage of the after-dinner conversation, '_milord,
vous êtes bien aimable_.'  'Pardonnez,' replied Gosford; '_c'est le
vin_.'  Even Papineau was induced to accept the governor's hospitality,
though there were not wanting those who warned Gosford that Papineau
was irreconcilable.  'By a wrong-headed and melancholy alchemy,' wrote
an English officer in Quebec to Gosford, 'he will transmute every
public concession into a demand for more, in a ratio equal to its
extent; and his disordered moral palate, beneath the blandest smile and
the {50} softest language, will turn your Burgundy into vinegar.'

The speech with which Lord Gosford opened the session of the
legislature in the autumn of 1835 was in line with the rest of his
policy.  He announced his determination to effect the redress of every
grievance.  In some cases the action of the executive government would
be sufficient to supply the remedy.  In others the assistance of the
legislature would be necessary.  A third class of cases would call for
the sanction of the British parliament.  He promised that no
discrimination against French Canadians should be made in appointments
to office.  He expressed the opinion that executive councillors should
not sit in the legislature.  He announced that the French would be
guaranteed the use of their native tongue.  He made an earnest plea for
the settlement of the financial difficulty, and offered some
concessions.  The legislature should be given control of the hereditary
revenues of the Crown, if provision were made for the support of the
executive and the judiciary.  Finally, he made a plea for the
reconciliation of the French and English races in the country, whom he
described as 'the offspring of the two foremost nations {51} of
mankind.'  Not even the most extreme of the _Patriotes_ could fail to
see that Lord Gosford was holding out to them an olive branch.

Great dissatisfaction, of course, arose among the English in the colony
at Lord Gosford's policy.  'Constitutional associations,' which had
been formed in Quebec and Montreal for the defence of the constitution
and the rights and privileges of the English-speaking inhabitants of
Canada, expressed gloomy forebodings as to the probable result of the
policy.  The British in Montreal organized among themselves a volunteer
rifle corps, eight hundred strong, 'to protect their persons and
property, and to assist in maintaining the rights and principles
granted them by the constitution'; and there was much indignation when
the rifle corps was forced to disband by order of the governor, who
declared that the constitution was in no danger, and that, even if it
were, the government would be competent to deal with the situation.

Nor did Gosford find it plain sailing with all the French Canadians.
Papineau's followers in the House took up at first a distinctly
independent attitude.  Gosford was informed {52} that the appointment
of the royal commission was an insult to the Assembly; it threw doubt
on the assertions which Papineau and his followers had made in
petitions and resolutions.  If the report of the commissioners turned
out to be in accord with the views of the House, well and good; but if
not, that would not influence the attitude of the House.  They would
not alter their demands.

In spite, however, of the uneasiness of the English official element,
and the obduracy of the extreme _Patriotes_, it is barely possible that
Gosford, with his _bonhomie_ and his Burgundy, might have effected a
modus vivendi, had there not occurred, about six months after Gosford's
arrival in Canada, one of those unfortunate and unforeseen events which
upset the best-laid schemes of mice and men.  This was the indiscreet
action of Sir Francis Bond Head, the newly appointed
lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, in communicating to the
legislature of Upper Canada the _ipsissima verba_ of his instructions
from the Colonial Office.  It was immediately seen that a discrepancy
existed between the tenor of Sir Francis Bond Head's instructions and
the tenor of Lord Gosford's speech at the opening of the legislature of
Lower Canada in 1835.  {53} Sir Francis Bond Head's instructions showed
beyond peradventure that the British government did not contemplate any
real constitutional changes in the Canadas; above all, it did not
propose to yield to the demand for an elective Legislative Council.
This fact was called to the attention of Papineau and his friends by
Marshall Spring Bidwell, the speaker of the Assembly of Upper Canada;
and immediately the fat was in the fire.  Papineau was confirmed in his
belief that justice could not be hoped for; those who had been won over
by Gosford's blandishments experienced a revulsion of feeling; and
Gosford saw the fruit of his efforts vanishing into thin air.

A climax came over the question of supply.  Lord Gosford had asked the
Assembly to vote a permanent civil list, in view of the fact that the
government offered to hand over to the control of the legislature the
casual and territorial revenues of the Crown.  But the publication of
Sir Francis Bond Head's instructions effectually destroyed any hope of
this compromise being accepted.  In the session of the House which was
held in the early part of 1836, Papineau and his friends not only
refused to vote a permanent civil {54} list; they declined to grant
more than six months' supply in any case; and with this they made the
threat that if the demands of the _Patriotes_ were not met at the end
of the six months, no more supplies would be voted.  This action was
deemed so unsatisfactory that the Legislative Council threw out the
bill of supply.  The result was widespread distress among the public
officials of the colony.  This was the fourth year in which no
provision had been made for the upkeep of government.  In 1833 the bill
of supply had been so cumbered with conditions that it had been
rejected by the Legislative Council.  In 1834, owing to disputes
between the Executive and the Assembly, the legislature had separated
without a vote on the estimates.  In 1835 the Assembly had declined to
make any vote of supply.  In earlier years the Executive had been able,
owing to its control of certain royal and imperial revenues, to carry
on the government after a fashion under such circumstances; but since
it had transferred a large part of these revenues to the control of the
legislature, it was no longer able to meet the situation.  Papineau and
his friends doubtless recognized that they now had the 'Bureaucrats' at
their mercy; and {55} they seem to have made up their minds to achieve
the full measure of their demands, or make government impossible by
withholding the supplies, no matter what suffering this course might
inflict on the families of the public servants.

In the autumn of 1836 the royal commissioners brought their labours to
a close.  Lord Gosford, it is true, remained in the colony as governor
until the beginning of 1838, and Sir George Gipps remained until the
beginning of 1837, but Sir Charles Grey left for England in November
1836 with the last of the commissioners' reports.  These reports, which
were six in number, exercised little direct influence upon the course
of events in Canada.  The commissioners pronounced against the
introduction of responsible government, in the modern sense of the
term, on the ground that it would be incompatible with the status of a
colony.  They advised against the project of an elective Legislative
Council.  In the event of a crisis arising, they submitted the question
whether the total suspension of the constitution would not be less
objectionable than any partial interference with the particular
clauses.  It is evident from the reports that the commissioners had
{56} bravely survived their earlier view that the discontented
Canadians might be won over by unctuous blandishments alone.  They
could not avoid the conclusion that this policy had failed.

[1] He was really of Swiss extraction.




When the legislature of Lower Canada met in the autumn of 1836, Lord
Gosford earnestly called its attention to the estimates of the current
year and the accounts showing the arrears unpaid.  Six months, however,
had passed by, and there was no sign of the redress of grievances.  The
royal commission, indeed, had not completed its investigations.  The
Assembly, therefore, refused once more to vote the necessary supplies.
'In reference to the demand for a supply,' they told the governor,
'relying on the salutary maxim, that the correction of abuses and the
redress of grievances ought to precede the grant thereof, we have been
of opinion that there is nothing to authorize us to alter our
resolution of the last session.'

This answer marked the final and indubitable breakdown of the policy of
conciliation without concession.  This was recognized by {58} Gosford,
who soon afterwards wrote home asking to be allowed to resign, and
recommending the appointment of a governor whose hands were 'not
pledged as mine are to a mild and conciliatory line of policy.'

Two alternatives were now open to the British ministers--either to make
a complete capitulation to the demands of the _Patriotes_, or to deal
with the situation in a high-handed way.  They chose the latter course,
though with some hesitation and perhaps with regret.  On March 6, 1837,
Lord John Russell, chancellor of the Exchequer in the Melbourne
administration and one of the most liberal-minded statesmen in England,
introduced into the House of Commons ten resolutions dealing with the
affairs of Canada.  These resolutions recited that since 1832 no
provision had been made by the Assembly of Lower Canada for defraying
the charges for the administration of justice or for the support of the
civil government; that the attention of the Assembly had been called to
the arrears due; and that the Assembly had declined to vote a supply
until its demands for radical political changes were satisfied.  The
resolutions declared that though both the bodies in question might be
improved in respect of their composition, it {59} was inadvisable to
grant the demand to make the Legislative Council elective, or to
subject the Executive Council to the responsibility demanded by the
House of Assembly.  In regard to the financial question, the
resolutions repeated the offer made by Lord Aylmer and Lord
Gosford--namely, to hand over to the Assembly the control of the
hereditary, territorial, and casual revenues of the Crown, on condition
that the Assembly would grant a permanent civil list.  But the main
feature of the resolutions was the clause empowering the governor to
pay out of the public revenues, without authorization of the Assembly,
the moneys necessary for defraying the cost of government in the
province up to April 10, 1837.  This, though not exactly a suspension
of the constitution of Lower Canada and a measure quite legally within
the competency of the House of Commons, was a flat negative to the
claim of the Lower-Canadian Assembly to control over the executive
government, through the power of the purse or otherwise.

A long and important debate in Parliament followed on these
resolutions.  Some of the chief political leaders of the day took part
in the discussion.  Daniel O'Connell, the great {60} tribune of the
Irish people, took up the cudgels for the French Canadians.  Doubtless
it seemed to him that the French Canadians, like the Irish, were
victims of Anglo-Saxon tyranny and bigotry.  Sir George Grey, the
colleague of Gosford, Lord Stanley, a former colonial secretary, and
William Ewart Gladstone, then a vigorous young Tory, spoke in support
of the resolutions.  The chief opposition came from the Radical wing of
the Whig party, headed by Hume and Roebuck; but these members were
comparatively few in number, and the resolutions were passed by
overwhelming majorities.

[Illustration: Wolfred Nelson.  From a print in the Château de Ramezay.]

As soon as the passage of the resolutions became known in Canada,
Papineau and his friends began to set the heather on fire.  On May 7,
1837, the _Patriotes_ held a huge open-air meeting at St Ours, eleven
miles above Sorel on the river Richelieu.  The chief organizer of the
meeting was Dr Wolfred Nelson, a member of the Assembly living in the
neighbouring village of St Denis, who was destined to be one of the
leaders of the revolt at the end of the year.  Papineau himself was
present at the meeting and he spoke in his usual violent strain.  He
submitted a resolution declaring that 'we cannot but {61} consider a
government which has recourse to injustice, to force, and to a
violation of the social contract, anything else than an oppressive
government, a government by force, for which the measure of our
submission should henceforth be simply the measure of our numerical
strength, in combination with the sympathy we may find elsewhere.'  At
St Laurent a week later he used language no less dangerous.  'The
Russell resolutions,' he cried, 'are a foul stain; the people should
not, and will not, submit to them; the people must transmit their just
rights to their posterity, even though it cost them their property and
their lives to do so.'

These meetings were prototypes of many that followed.  All over the
province the _Patriotes_ met together to protest against what they
called 'coercion.'  As a rule the meetings were held in the country
parishes after church on Sunday, when the habitants were gathered
together.  Most inflammatory language was used, and flags and placards
were displayed bearing such devices as '_Papineau et le système
électif_,' '_Papineau et l'indépendence_,' and '_A bas le despotisme_.'
Alarmed by such language, Lord Gosford issued on June 15 a proclamation
calling on all loyal {62} subjects to discountenance writings of a
seditious tendency, and to avoid meetings of a turbulent or political
character.  But the proclamation produced no abatement in the
agitation; it merely offered one more subject for denunciation.

During this period Papineau and his friends continually drew their
inspiration from the procedure of the Whigs in the American colonies
before 1776.  The resolutions of the _Patriotes_ recalled the language
of the Declaration of Independence.  One of the first measures of the
Americans had been to boycott English goods; one of the first measures
of the _Patriotes_ was a resolution passed at St Ours binding them to
forswear the use of imported English goods and to use only the products
of Canadian industry.  At the short and abortive session of the
legislature which took place at the end of the summer of 1837, nearly
all the members of the Assembly appeared in clothes made of Canadian
frieze.  The shifts of some of the members to avoid wearing English
imported articles were rather amusing.  'Mr Rodier's dress,' said the
Quebec _Mercury_, 'excited the greatest attention, being unique with
the exception of a pair of Berlin gloves, viz.: frock coat of {63}
granite colored _étoffe du pays_; inexpressibles and vest of the same
material, striped blue and white; straw hat, and beef shoes, with a
pair of home-made socks, completed the _outré_ attire.  Mr Rodier, it
was remarked, had no shirt on, having doubtless been unable to smuggle
or manufacture one.'  But Louis LaFontaine and 'Beau' Viger limited
their patriotism, it appears, to the wearing of Canadian-made
waistcoats.  The imitation of the American revolutionists did not end
here.  If the New England colonies had their 'Sons of Liberty,' Lower
Canada had its '_Fils de la Liberté_'--an association formed in
Montreal in the autumn of 1837.  And the Lower Canada Patriotes
outstripped the New England patriots in the republican character of
their utterances.  'Our only hope,' announced _La Minerve_, 'is to
elect our governor ourselves, or, in other words, to cease to belong to
the British Empire.'  A manifesto of some of the younger spirits of the
_Patriote_ party, issued on October 1, 1837, spoke of 'proud designs,
which in our day must emancipate our beloved country from all human
authority except that of the bold democracy residing within its bosom.'
To add point to these opinions, there sprang up all over the country
{64} volunteer companies of armed _Patriotes_, led and organized by
militia officers who had been dismissed for seditious utterances.

Naturally, this situation caused much concern among the loyal people of
the country.  Loyalist meetings were held in Quebec and Montreal, to
offset the _Patriote_ meetings; and an attempt was made to form a
loyalist rifle corps in Montreal.  The attempt failed owing to the
opposition of the governor, who was afraid that such a step would
merely aggravate the situation.  Not even Gosford, however, was blind
to the seriousness of the situation.  He wrote to the colonial
secretary on September 2, 1837, that all hope of conciliation had
passed.  Papineau's aims were now the separation of Canada from England
and the establishment of a republican form of government.  'I am
disposed to think,' he concluded, 'that you may be under the necessity
of suspending the constitution.'

It was at this time that the Church first threw its weight openly
against the revolutionary movement.  The British government had
accorded to Catholics in Canada a measure of liberty at once just and
generous; and the bishops and clergy were not slow to see that under a
republican form of government, {65} whether as a state in the American
Union or as an independent _nation canadienne_, they might be much
worse off, and would not be any better off, than under the dominion of
Great Britain.  In the summer of 1837 Mgr Lartigue, the bishop of
Montreal, addressed a communication to the clergy of his diocese asking
them to keep the people within the path of duty.  In October he
followed this up by a Pastoral Letter, to be read in all the churches,
warning the people against the sin of rebellion.  He held over those
who contemplated rebellion the penalties of the Church: 'The present
question amounts to nothing less than this--whether you will choose to
maintain, or whether you will choose to abandon, the laws of your

The ecclesiastical authorities were roused to action by a great meeting
held on October 23, at St Charles on the Richelieu, the largest and
most imposing of all the meetings thus far.  Five or six thousand
people attended it, representing all the counties about the Richelieu.
The proceedings were admirably staged.  Dr Wolfred Nelson was in the
chair, but Papineau was the central figure.  A company of armed men,
headed by two militia officers who had been dismissed for disloyalty,
and {66} drawn up as a guard, saluted every resolution of the meeting
with a volley.  A wooden pillar, with a cap of liberty on top, was
erected, and dedicated to Papineau.  At the end of the proceedings
Papineau was led up to the column to receive an address.  After this
all present marched past singing popular airs; and each man placed his
hand on the column, swearing to be faithful to the cause of his
country, and to conquer or die for her.  All this, of course, was
comparatively innocent.  The resolutions, too, were not more violent
than many others which had been passed elsewhere.  Nor did Papineau use
language more extreme than usual.  Many of the _Patriotes_, indeed,
considered his speech too moderate.  He deprecated any recourse to arms
and advised his hearers merely to boycott English goods, in order to
bring the government to righteousness.  But some of his lieutenants
used language which seemed dangerous.  Roused by the eloquence of their
leader, they went further than he would venture, and advocated an
appeal to the arbitrament of war.  'The time has come,' cried Wolfred
Nelson, 'to melt our spoons into bullets.'

The exact attitude of Papineau during {67} these months of agitation is
difficult to determine.  He does not seem to have been quite clear as
to what course he should pursue.  He had completely lost faith in
British justice.  He earnestly desired the emancipation of Canada from
British rule and the establishment of a republican system of
government.  But he could not make up his mind to commit himself to
armed rebellion.  'I must say, however,' he had announced at St
Laurent, 'and it is neither fear nor scruple that makes me do so, that
the day has not yet come for us to respond to that appeal.'  The same
attitude is apparent, in spite of the haughty and defiant language, in
the letter which he addressed to the governor's secretary in answer to
an inquiry as to what he had said at St Laurent:

SIR,--The pretension of the governor to interrogate me respecting my
conduct at St Laurent on the 15th of May last is an impertinence which
I repel with contempt and silence.

I, however, take the pen merely to tell the governor that it is false
that any of the resolutions adopted at the meeting of the county of
Montreal, held at St Laurent {68} on the 15th May last, recommend a
violation of the laws, as in his ignorance he may believe, or as he at
least asserts.--Your obedient servant,


At St Charles Papineau was even more precise in repudiating revolution;
and there is no evidence that, when rebellion was decided upon,
Papineau played any important part in laying the plans.  In later years
he was always emphatic in denying that the rebellion of 1837 had been
primarily his handiwork.  'I was,' he said in 1847, 'neither more nor
less guilty, nor more nor less deserving, than a great number of my
colleagues.'  The truth seems to be that Papineau always balked a
little at the idea of armed rebellion, and that he was carried off his
feet at the end of 1837 by his younger associates, whose enthusiasm he
himself had inspired.  He had raised the wind, but he could not ride
the whirlwind.

[Illustration: South-Western Lower Canada, 1837.]




As the autumn of 1837 wore on, the situation in Lower Canada began to
assume an aspect more and more threatening.  In spite of a proclamation
from the governor forbidding such meetings, the _Patriotes_ continued
to gather for military drill and musketry exercises.  Armed bands went
about the countryside, in many places intimidating the loyalists and
forcing loyal magistrates and militia officers to send in their
resignations to the governor.  As early as July some of the Scottish
settlers at Côte St Joseph, near St Eustache, had fled from their
homes, leaving their property to its fate.  Several houses at Côte St
Mary had been fired upon or broken into.  A letter of Sir John
Colborne, the commander of the forces in British North America, written
on October 6, shows what the state of affairs was at that time:

In my correspondence with Col. Eden I have had occasion to refer to the
facts {70} and reports that establish the decided character which the
agitators have lately assumed.  The people have elected the dismissed
officers of the militia to command them.  At St Ours a pole has been
erected in favour of a dismissed captain with this inscription on it,
'Elu par le peuple.'  At St Hyacinthe the tri-coloured flag was
displayed for several days.  Two families have quitted the town in
consequence of the annoyance they received from the patriots.  Wolfred
Nelson warned the patriots at a public meeting to be ready to arm.  The
tri-coloured flag is to be seen at two taverns between St Denis and St
Charles.  Many of the tavern-keepers have discontinued their signs and
substituted for them an eagle.  The bank notes or promissory notes
issued at Yamaska have also the same emblem marked on them.  Mr
Papineau was escorted from Yamaska to St Denis by a numerous retinue,
and it is said that 200 or 300 carriages accompanied him on his route.
He has attended five public meetings lately; and at one of them La
Valtrie, a priest, was insulted in his presence.  The occurrence at St
Denis was certainly {71} a political affair, a family at St Antoine
opposed to the proceedings of W. Nelson, having been annoyed by the
same mob that destroyed the house of Madame St Jacques a few hours
before the shot was fired from her window.

Special animosity was shown toward the Chouayens, those French
Canadians who had refused to follow Papineau's lead.  P. D. Debartzch,
a legislative councillor and a former supporter of Papineau, who had
withdrawn his support after the passing of the Ninety-Two Resolutions,
was obliged to flee from his home at St Charles; and Dr Quesnel, one of
the magistrates of L'Acadie, had his house broken into by a mob that
demanded his resignation as magistrate.

On November 6 rioting broke out in Montreal.  The Doric Club, an
organization of the young men of English blood in the city, came into
conflict with the French-Canadian _Fils de la Liberté_.  Which side
provoked the hostilities, it is now difficult to say.  Certainly, both
sides were to blame for their behaviour during the day.  The sons of
liberty broke the windows of prominent loyalists; and the members of
the Doric Club completely wrecked {72} the office of the _Vindicator_
newspaper.  It was only when the Riot Act was read, and the troops were
called out, that the rioting ceased.

Up to this point the _Patriotes_ had not indulged in any overt acts of
armed rebellion.  Some of their leaders, it is true, had been laying
plans for a revolt.  So much is known from the correspondence which
passed between the leading _Patriotes_ in Lower Canada and William Lyon
Mackenzie, the leader of the rebellion in Upper Canada.  Thomas Storrow
Brown, one of Papineau's lieutenants, wrote to Mackenzie asking him to
start the ball rolling in Upper Canada first, in order to draw off some
of the troops which Sir John Colborne had massed in Lower Canada.  But
all calculations were now upset by events which rapidly precipitated
the crisis in the lower province.

Soon after the fracas in the streets of Montreal between the Doric Club
and the _Fils de la Liberté_, a priest named Quibilier waited on
Papineau, and advised him, since his presence in Montreal had become a
source of disturbance, to leave the city.  Whether he came as an
emissary from the ecclesiastical authorities or merely as a friend is
not clear.  At any rate, Papineau accepted his advice, {73} and
immediately set out for St Hyacinthe.  The result was most unfortunate.
The government, thinking that Papineau had left the city for the
purpose of stirring up trouble in the Richelieu district, promptly
issued warrants for the arrest of Papineau and some of his chief
lieutenants, Dr Wolfred Nelson, Thomas Storrow Brown, Edmund Bailey
O'Callaghan, and several others.

Meanwhile, on the day that these warrants for arrest were being issued
(November 16), a skirmish took place between a small party of British
troopers and a band of _Patriotes_ on the road between Chambly and
Longueuil--a skirmish which may be described as the Lexington of the
Lower Canada rebellion.  The troopers, under Lieutenant Ermatinger, had
been sent to St Johns to arrest two French Canadians, named Demaray and
Davignon, who had been intimidating the magistrates.  The arrest had
been effected, and the party were on their way back to Montreal, when
they were confronted by an armed company of _Patriotes_, under the
command of Bonaventure Viger, who demanded the release of the
prisoners.  A brisk skirmish ensued, in which several on both sides
were wounded.  The troopers, outnumbered by at least five {74} to one,
and having nothing but pistols with which to reply to the fire of
muskets and fowling-pieces, were easily routed; and the two prisoners
were liberated.

The news of this affair spread rapidly through the parishes, and
greatly encouraged the _Patriotes_ to resist the arrest of Papineau and
his lieutenants.  Papineau, Nelson, Brown, and O'Callaghan had all
evaded the sheriff's officer, and had taken refuge in the country about
the Richelieu, the heart of the revolutionary district.  In a day or
two word came to Montreal that considerable numbers of armed habitants
had gathered at the villages of St Denis and St Charles, evidently with
the intention of preventing the arrest of their leaders.  The force at
St Denis was under the command of Wolfred Nelson, and that at St
Charles was under the command of Thomas Storrow Brown.  How these
self-styled 'generals' came to be appointed is somewhat of a mystery.
Brown, at any rate, seems to have been chosen for the position on the
spur of the moment.  'A mere accident took me to St Charles,' he wrote
afterwards, 'and put me at the head of a revolting force.'

Sir John Colborne, who was in command of the British military forces,
immediately {75} determined to disperse these gatherings by force and
to arrest their leaders.  His plan of campaign was as follows.  A force
consisting of one regiment of infantry, a troop of the Montreal
Volunteer Cavalry, and two light field-guns, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall, had already been dispatched to Chambly by
way of the road on which the rescue of Demaray and Davignon had taken
place.  This force would advance on St Charles.  Another force,
consisting of five companies of the 24th regiment, with a
twelve-pounder, under Colonel Charles Gore, a Waterloo veteran, would
proceed by boat to Sorel.  There it was to be joined by one company of
the 66th regiment, then in garrison at Sorel, and the combined force
would march on St Denis.  After having dispersed the rebels at St
Denis, which was thought not to be strongly held, the little army was
to proceed to St Charles, where it would be joined by the force under

At eight o'clock on the evening of November 22, Colonel Gore set out
with his men from the barrack-square at Sorel for St Denis.  The
journey was one of eighteen miles; and in order to avoid St Ours, which
was held by the _Patriotes_, Gore turned away from the main {76} road
along the Richelieu to make a detour.  This led his troops over very
bad roads.  The night was dark and rain poured down in torrents.  'I
got a lantern,' wrote one of Gore's aides-de-camp afterwards, 'fastened
it to the top of a pole, and had it carried in front of the column; but
what with horses and men sinking in the mud, harness breaking, wading
through water and winding through woods, the little force soon got
separated, those in the rear lost sight of the light, and great delays
and difficulties were experienced.  Towards morning the rain changed to
snow, it became very cold, and daybreak found the unfortunate column
still floundering in the half-frozen mud four miles from St Denis.'

Meanwhile word had reached the rebels of the coming of the soldiers.
At daybreak Dr Wolfred Nelson had ridden out to reconnoitre, and had
succeeded in destroying several bridges.  As the soldiers approached St
Denis they heard the church bells ringing the alarm; and it was not
long before they found that the village was strongly defended.  After
capturing some of the houses on the outskirts of the village, they were
halted by a stockade built across the road covered by a large brick
house, well fortified on all sides.  The commander of {77} the troops
brought reinforcements up to the firing line, and the twelve-pounder
came into action.  But the assailants made very little impression on
the defence.  Although the engagement lasted for more than five hours,
the troops succeeded in capturing nothing more than one of the flanking
houses.  The ammunition of the British was running low, and the numbers
of the insurgents seemed to be increasing.  Colonel Gore therefore
deemed it advisable to retire.  By some strange oversight the British
were without any ambulance or transport of any kind; and they were
compelled to leave their dead and wounded behind them.  Their
casualties were six killed and eighteen wounded.  The wounded, it is a
pleasure to be able to say, were well looked after by the victorious

The British effected their retreat with great steadiness, despite the
fact that the men had had no food since the previous day and had been
marching all night.  They were compelled to abandon their
twelve-pounder in the mud; but they reached St Ours that night without
further loss.  The next day they were back at Sorel.

The number of the insurgents at St Denis has never been accurately
ascertained; {78} probably they were considerably in excess of the
troops.  Their position was one of great strength, and good judgment
had been shown in fortifying it.  On the other hand, with the exception
of a few veterans of Major de Salaberry's Voltigeurs, they were
untrained in war; and their muskets and fowling-pieces were much
inferior to the rifles of the regulars.  Their victory, it must be
said, reflected great credit upon them; although their losses had been
twice as great as those of the soldiers,[1] these peasants in homespun
had stood their ground with a courage and steadiness which would have
honoured old campaigners.  The same, unfortunately, cannot be said
about some of their leaders.  Papineau and O'Callaghan were present in
St Denis when the attack began; but before the morning was well
advanced, they had departed for St Hyacinthe, whence they later fled to
the United States.  Papineau always declared that he had taken this
action at the {79} solicitation of Wolfred Nelson, who had said to him:
'Do not expose yourself uselessly: you will be of more service to us
after the fight than here.'  In later days, however, when political
differences had arisen between the two men, Nelson denied having given
Papineau any such advice.  It is very difficult to know the truth.  But
even if Nelson did advise Papineau to leave, it cannot be said that
Papineau consulted his own reputation in accepting the advice.  He was
not a person without military experience: he had been a major in the
militia, and was probably superior in rank to any one in the village.
His place was with the brave farmers who had taken up arms on his

An episode in connection with the attack on St Denis left a dark stain
on the _Patriote_ escutcheon and embittered greatly the relations
between the two races in Canada.  This was the murder, on the morning
of the fight, of Lieutenant Weir, a subaltern in the 32nd regiment, who
had been sent with dispatches to Sorel by land.  He had reached Sorel
half an hour after Colonel Gore and his men had departed for St Denis.
In attempting to catch up with Gore's column he had taken the direct
road to St Denis and had arrived there {80} in advance of the British
troops.  On approaching the village he was arrested, and by Wolfred
Nelson's orders placed in detention.  As the British attack developed,
it was thought better by those who had him in charge to remove him to
St Charles.  They bound him tightly and placed him in a wagon.  Hardly
had they started when he made an attempt to escape.  In this emergency
his warders seem to have lost their heads.  In spite of the fact that
Weir was tightly bound and could do no harm, they fell upon him with
swords and pistols, and in a short time dispatched him.  Then, appalled
at what they had done, they attempted to hide the body.  When the
British troops entered St Denis a week later, they found the body
lying, weighted down with stones, in the Richelieu river under about
two feet of water.  The autopsy disclosed the brutality with which Weir
had been murdered; and the sight of the body so infuriated the soldiers
that they gave the greater part of the village of St Denis to the
flames.  In the later phases of the rebellion the slogan of the British
soldiers was, 'Remember Jack Weir.'

Another atrocious murder even more unpardonable than that of Weir was
perpetrated {81} a few days later.  On November 28 some _Patriotes_
near St Johns captured a man by the name of Chartrand, who was enlisted
in a loyal volunteer corps of the district.  After a mock trial
Chartrand was tied to a tree and shot by his own countrymen.

[1] According to a report twelve _Patriotes_ lost their lives during
the engagement.  Among them was Charles Ovide Perrault, member of the
Assembly for Vaudreuil, a young barrister of considerable promise.  He
seems to have been Papineau's closest follower and confidant During the
last sessions of the Lower Canada legislature Perrault contributed many
letters to _La Minerve_.




The check administered to Colonel Gore's column at St Denis, in the
first engagement of the rebellion, was the only victory which fell to
the rebel forces.  In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall, with
several companies of infantry, a troop of volunteer cavalry, and two
field-guns, was marching on St Charles.  On the evening of November 22
Major Gugy, the leader of the English party in the Assembly, had
brought to Wetherall at Chambly instructions to advance down the
Richelieu and attack the rebel position at St Charles in the morning.
He set out accordingly at about the hour when Gore headed his forces up
the river from Sorel.  But, while Gore carried out his orders to the
letter and reached St Denis on the morning of the 23rd, Wetherall
allowed himself some latitude in interpreting his instructions.  This
was largely due to the advice of Gugy, if we are to believe {83} the
account which Gugy has left us.  'In the first place,' it runs, 'not
one of the force knew anything of the roads or people, nor do I believe
that more than one spoke French....  The storm raged so fearfully, the
rain poured in such torrents, and the frost set in afterwards so
intensely, that ... men and horses were equally fatigued ... all so
exhausted as to be unable to cope, on broken or woody ground,
successfully with any resolute enemy....  I learned that we had marched
without a dollar, without a loaf of bread, without a commissary, and
without a spare cartridge--a pretty predicament in an enemy's country,
surrounded by thousands of armed men.'  It was apparent to Gugy that
Sir John Colborne, in issuing his orders, had greatly underestimated
the difficulty of the task he was setting for the troops.  After
crossing the river above the Chambly Basin, Gugy therefore induced
Wetherall to halt until daylight; and, turning himself into a
commissary, he billeted the men and horses in the neighbouring houses
and stables.

The next day about noon the column reached St Hilaire, some seven miles
from St Charles.  Here Wetherall obtained information which led him to
fear that Gore {84} had met with some kind of check; and he was
persuaded to send back to Chambly for a reinforcement of one company
which had been left in garrison there.  His messenger reached Chambly
at four o'clock on the morning of the 24th.  Major Warde, the
commandant at Chambly, at once embarked his company on a scow and
dropped down the river to St Hilaire; but he arrived too late to allow
of any further action that day, and it was not until the morning of the
25th that the column moved on St Charles.

Meanwhile, the rebels had been making preparations for defence.  They
had fortified the manor-house of Debartzch, who had fled to Montreal,
and built round it a rampart of earth and tree-trunks--a rampart which,
for some mysterious reason, was never completed.  They appointed as
commander Thomas Storrow Brown, a Montreal iron-merchant, for whose
arrest a warrant had been issued and who had fled to St Charles with
two or three other _Patriote_ politicians.  But Brown had no military
experience, and was still suffering so severely from injuries received
in the rioting in Montreal that his proper place was a home for
convalescents rather than a field of battle.  His appointment can only
be {85} explained by the non-appearance of the local _Patriote_
leaders.  'The chief men,' Brown testified afterwards, 'were, with two
or three exceptions, absent or hiding.'  It is evident that the British
authorities expected to meet with the strongest opposition at St
Charles, since that place had been the scene of the great demonstration
earlier in the year.  But, as a matter of fact, the rebel forces at St
Charles were much less formidable than those at St Denis.  Not only
were they lacking in proper military leadership; they were also fewer
in number and were, moreover, very inadequately armed.  If Brown's
statements are to be relied upon, there were not in the rebel camp two
hundred men.  'Of ammunition,' wrote Brown, 'we had some half dozen
kegs of gunpowder and a little lead, which was cast into bullets; but
as the fire-arms were of every calibre, the cartridges made were too
large for many, which were consequently useless.  We had two small
rusty field-pieces, but with neither carriages nor appointments they
were as useless as two logs.  There was one old musket, but not a
bayonet.  The fire-arms were common flintlocks, in all conditions of
dilapidation, some tied together with string, and very many with {86}
lock-springs so worn out that they could not be discharged.'

On the 24th Brown made a reconnaissance in the direction of St Hilaire.
He destroyed a bridge over a ravine some distance to the south of St
Charles, and placed above it an outpost with orders to prevent a
reconstruction of the bridge.  But when the British troops appeared on
the morning of the 25th, this and other outlying pickets fell back
without making any resistance.  They probably saw that they were so
outnumbered that resistance would be hopeless.  On the approach of the
troops Brown at first assumed an attitude of confidence.  A messenger
came from Wetherall, 'a respectable old habitant,' to tell the rebels
that if they dispersed quietly, they would not be molested.  Brown
treated the message as a confession of weakness.  'I at once supposed,'
he said, 'that, followed in the rear by our friends from above, they
were seeking a free passage to Sorel, and determined to send a message,
that _if they would lay down their arms, they should pass unmolested_.'
This message does not seem to have reached its destination.  And hardly
had the engagement opened when Brown quickly changed his tune.  'To go
forward {87} was useless, as I could order nothing but a
retreat--without it the people commenced retiring.  I tried to rally
the little squads, my only hope being in keeping together the
fowling-pieces we had collected, but finding, after a long trial, my
strength and authority insufficient, I considered my command gone,
turned my horse, and rode to ... St Denis (seven or eight miles), where
... I arrived about nightfall.'

The engagement lasted less than an hour.  The rebels, or at any rate
those of them who were armed, seem to have been outnumbered by the
soldiers, of whom there were between three and four hundred.  But the
fighting was apparently brisk while it lasted.  The British lost three
killed and eighteen wounded.  The _Patriote_ losses are not known.  The
local tradition is that forty-two were killed and many more wounded.
We know that thirty were taken prisoners on the field.

The defeat of the rebels at St Charles really terminated the rebellion
in the country about the Richelieu.  When news of the defeat spread
over the countryside, the _Patriote_ forces immediately disbanded, and
their leaders sought safety in flight.  Papineau and O'Callaghan, who
had been at St Hyacinthe, {88} succeeded in getting across the Vermont
border; but Wolfred Nelson was not so fortunate.  After suffering great
privations he was captured by some loyalist militia not far from the
frontier, taken to Montreal, and there lodged in prison.

For some reason which it is difficult to discern, Wetherall did not
march on from St Charles to effect a pacification of St Denis.  On
December 1, however, Colonel Gore once more set out from Sorel, and
entered St Denis the same day.  He found everything quiet.  He
recovered the howitzer and five of the wounded men he had left behind.
In spite of the absence of opposition, his men took advantage of the
occasion to wreak an unfair and un-British vengeance on the helpless
victors of yesterday.  Goaded to fury by the sight of young Weir's
mangled body, they set fire to a large part of the village.  Colonel
Gore afterwards repudiated the charge that he had ordered the burning
of the houses of the insurgents; but that defence does not absolve him
from blame.  It is obvious, at any rate, that he did not take adequate
measures to prevent such excesses; nor was any punishment ever
administered to those who applied the torch.


But the end of rebellion was not yet in sight.  Two more encounters
remain to be described.  The first of these occurred at a place known
as Moore's Corners, near the Vermont border.  After the collapse at St
Charles a number of _Patriote_ refugees had gathered at the small town
of Swanton, a few miles south of Missisquoi Bay, on the American side
of the boundary-line.  Among them were Dr Cyrile Côté and Edouard
Rodier, both members of the Lower Canada Assembly; Ludger Duvernay, a
member of the Assembly and editor of _La Minerve_; Dr Kimber, one of
the ringleaders in the rescue of Demaray and Davignon; and Robert Shore
Milnes Bouchette, the descendant of a French-Canadian family long
conspicuous for its loyalty and its services to the state.  Bouchette's
grandfather had been instrumental in effecting the escape of Sir Guy
Carleton from Montreal in 1775, when that place was threatened by the
forces of Montgomery.  The grandson's social tastes and affiliations
might have led one to expect that he would have been found in the ranks
of the loyalists; but the arbitrary policy of the Russell Resolutions
had driven him into the arms of the extreme _Patriotes_.  Arrested for
disloyalty at the outbreak of {90} the rebellion, he had been admitted
to bail and had escaped.  These men, under the belief that the
habitants would rise and join them, determined upon an armed invasion
of Canada.  Possibly they believed also that Wolfred Nelson was still
holding out.  Papineau, it was said, had reported that 'the victor of
St Denis' was entrenched with a considerable force at St Césaire on the
Yamaska.  They therefore collected arms and ammunition, sent emissaries
through the parishes to the north to rouse the _Patriotes_, and on
December 6, flying some colours which had been worked for them by the
enthusiastic ladies of Swanton, they crossed the Canadian border, about
two hundred strong.  They had two field-pieces and a supply of muskets
and ammunition for those whom they expected to join the party on
Canadian soil.

Hardly had the invaders crossed the border when they encountered at
Moore's Corners a body of the Missisquoi Volunteers, under the command
of Captain Kemp, who were acting as escort to a convoy of arms and
ammunition.  Having received warning of the coming of the insurgents,
Kemp had sent out messengers through the countryside to rouse the
loyalist {91} population.  To these as they arrived he served out the
muskets in his wagons.  And when the rebels appeared, about eight
o'clock at night, he had a force at his disposal of at least three
hundred men, all well armed.

There is reason for believing that Kemp might have succeeded in
ambushing the advancing force, had not some of his men, untrained
volunteers with muskets in their hands for the first time, opened fire
prematurely.  The rebels returned the fire, and a fusillade continued
for ten or fifteen minutes.  But the rebels, on perceiving that they
had met a superior force, retired in great haste, leaving behind them
one dead and two wounded.  One of the wounded was Bouchette, who had
been in command of the advance-guard.  The rebels abandoned also their
two field-pieces, about forty stand of arms, five kegs of gunpowder,
and six boxes of ball-cartridge, as well as two standards.  Among the
loyalists there were no casualties whatever.  Only three of the rebels
were taken prisoner besides the two wounded, a fact which Kemp
explained by several factors--the undisciplined state of the loyalists,
the darkness of the night, the vicinity of woods, and the proximity of
the boundary-line, {92} beyond which he did not allow the pursuit to
go.  The 'battle' of Moore's Corners was in truth an excellent farce;
but there is no doubt that it prevented what might have been a more
serious encounter had the rebel column reached the neighbourhood of St
Johns, where many of the _Patriotes_ were in readiness to join them.

A few days later, in a part of the province some distance removed from
the Richelieu river and the Vermont border, there occurred another
collision, perhaps the most formidable of the whole rebellion.  This
was at the village of St Eustache, in the county of Two Mountains,
about eighteen miles north-west of Montreal.  The county of Two
Mountains had long been known as a stronghold of the extreme
_Patriotes_.  The local member, W. H. Scott, was a supporter of
Papineau, and had a large and enthusiastic following.  He was not,
however, a leader in the troubles that ensued.  The chief organizer of
revolt in St Eustache and the surrounding country was a mysterious
adventurer named Amury Girod, who arrived in St Eustache toward the end
of November with credentials, it would seem from Papineau, assigning to
him the task of superintending the _Patriote_ cause {93} in the north.
About Girod very little is known.  He is variously described as having
been a Swiss, an Alsatian, and a native of Louisiana.  According to his
own statement, he had been at one time a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry
in Mexico.  He was well educated, could speak fluently several
languages, had a bold and plausible manner, and succeeded in imposing,
not only upon the _Patriote_ leaders, but upon the people of St
Eustache.  He found a capable and dauntless supporter in Dr J. O.
Chénier, the young physician of the village.  Chénier was one of the
few leaders of the revolt whose courage challenges admiration; and it
is fitting that to-day a monument, bearing the simple inscription
CHÉNIER, should stand in the Place Viger in Montreal, among the people
for whom, though misguidedly and recklessly, he laid down his life.

To St Eustache, on Sunday, November 26, came the news of Wolfred
Nelson's victory at St Denis.  On Monday and Tuesday bands of
_Patriotes_ went about the countryside, terrorizing and disarming the
loyalists and compelling the faint-hearted to join in the rising.  On
Wednesday night the rebels gathered to the number of about four hundred
{94} in St Eustache, and got noisily drunk (_s'y enivrèrent
bruyamment_).  They then proceeded, under the command of Girod and
Chénier, to the Indian mission settlement at the Lake of Two Mountains.
Here they broke into the government stores and possessed themselves of
some guns and ammunition.  They next made themselves unwelcome to the
superior of the mission, the Abbé Dufresne, and, in spite of his
protestations, carried off from the mission-house a three-pounder gun.
On their return to St Eustache they forcibly entered the convent which
had been lately completed, though it was not yet occupied, and camped

The loyalists who were forced to flee from the village carried the news
of these proceedings to Montreal; but Sir John Colborne was unwilling
to take any steps to subdue the _Patriotes_ of St Eustache until the
insurrection on the Richelieu had been thoroughly crushed.  All he did
was to send a detachment of volunteers to guard the Bord à Plouffe
bridge at the northern end of the island of Montreal.

On Sunday, December 3, word reached St Eustache of the defeat of the
insurgents at St Charles.  This had a moderating influence on many of
the _Patriotes_.  All week the Abbé {95} Paquin, parish priest of St
Eustache, had been urging the insurgents to go back quietly to their
homes.  He now renewed his exhortations.  He begged Chénier to cease
his revolutionary conduct.  Chénier, however, was immovable.  He
refused to believe that the rebels at St Charles had been dispersed,
and announced his determination to die with arms in his hands rather
than surrender.  'You might as well try to seize the moon with your
teeth,' he exclaimed, 'as to try to shake my resolve.'

The events of the days that followed cannot be chronicled in detail.
When the Abbé Paquin and his vicar Desèves sought to leave the parish,
Girod and Chénier virtually placed them under arrest.  The abbé did not
mince matters with Chénier.  'I accuse you before God and man,' he
said, 'of being the author of these misfortunes.'  When some of the
habitants came to him complaining that they had been forced against
their will to join the rebels, he reminded them of the English proverb:
'You may lead a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink.'
Unfortunately, the Abbé Paquin's good influence was counteracted by
that of the Abbé Chartier, the curé of the neighbouring village of St
{96} Benoit, a rare case of an ecclesiastic lending his support to the
rebel movement, in direct contravention of the orders of his superiors.
On several occasions the Abbé Chartier came over to St Eustache and
delivered inflammatory addresses to the rebel levies.

The vicar Desèves has left us a vivid picture of the life which the
rebels led.  No attempt was made to drill them or to exercise
discipline.  Time hung heavy on their hands.  He continually saw them,
he says, passing through the village in knots of five or six, carrying
rusty guns out of order, smoking short black pipes, and wearing blue
_tuques_ which hung half-way down their backs, clothes of _étoffe du
pays_, and leather mittens.  They helped themselves to all the strong
drink they could lay their hands on, and their gait showed the
influence of their potations.  Their chief aim in life seemed to be to
steal, to drink, to eat, to dance, and to quarrel.  With regard to the
morrow, they lived in a fool's paradise.  They seem to have believed
that the troops would not dare to come out to meet them, and that when
their leaders should give the word they would advance on Montreal and
take it without difficulty.  Their numbers during this period showed a
good deal of {97} fluctuation.  Ultimately Girod succeeded in gathering
about him nearly a thousand men.  Not all these, however, were armed;
according to Desèves a great many of them had no weapons but sticks and

By December 13 Sir John Colborne was ready to move.  He had provided
himself with a force strong enough to crush an enemy several times more
numerous than the insurgents led by Girod and Chénier.  His column was
composed of the 1st Royals, the 32nd regiment, the 83rd regiment, the
Montreal Volunteer Rifles, Globensky and Leclerc's Volunteers, a strong
force of cavalry--in all, over two thousand men, supported by eight
pieces of field artillery and well supplied with provision and
ammunition transport.

The troops bivouacked for the night at St Martin, and advanced on the
morning of the 14th.  The main body crossed the Mille Isles river on
the ice about four miles to the east of St Eustache, and then moved
westward along the St Rose road.  A detachment of Globensky's
Volunteers, however, followed the direct road to St Eustache, and came
out on the south side of the river opposite the village, in full view
of the rebels.  Chénier, at the head of a hundred and fifty men,
crossed the {98} ice, and was on the point of coming to close quarters
with the volunteers when the main body of the loyalists appeared to the
east.  Thereupon Chénier and his men beat a hasty retreat, and made
hurried preparations for defending the village.  The church, the
convent, the presbytery, and the house of the member of the Assembly,
Scott, were all occupied and barricaded.  It was about the church that
the fiercest fighting took place.  The artillery was brought to bear on
the building; but the stout masonry resisted the battering of the
cannon balls, and is still standing, dinted and scarred.  Some of the
Royals then got into the presbytery and set fire to it.  Under cover of
the smoke the rest of the regiment then doubled up the street to the
church door.  Gaining access through the sacristy, they lit a fire
behind the altar.  'The firing from the church windows then ceased,'
wrote one of the officers afterwards, 'and the rebels began running out
from some low windows, apparently of a crypt or cellar.  Our men formed
up on one side of the church, and the 32nd and 83rd on the other.  Some
of the rebels ran out and fired at the troops, then threw down their
arms and begged for quarter.  Our officers tried to save the {99}
Canadians, but the men shouted "Remember Jack Weir," and numbers of
these poor deluded fellows were shot down.'

One of those shot down was Chénier.  He had jumped from a window of the
Blessed Virgin's chapel and was making for the cemetery.  How many fell
with him it is difficult to say.  It was said that seventy rebels were
killed, and a number of charred bodies were found afterwards in the
ruins of the church.  The casualties among the troops were slight, one
killed and nine wounded.  One of the wounded was Major Gugy, who here
distinguished himself by his bravery and kind-heartedness, as he had
done in the St Charles expedition.  Many of the rebels escaped.  A good
many, indeed, had fled from the village on the first appearance of the
troops.  Among these were some who had played a conspicuous part in
fomenting trouble.  The Abbé Chartier of St Benoit, instead of waiting
to administer the last rites to the dying, beat a feverish retreat and
eventually escaped to the United States.  The Church placed on him its
interdict, and he never again set foot on Canadian soil.  The behaviour
of the adventurer Girod, the 'general' of the rebel force, was
especially {100} reprehensible.  When he had posted his men in the
church and the surrounding buildings, he mounted a horse and fled
toward St Benoit.  At a tavern where he stopped to get a stiff draught
of spirits he announced that the rebels had been victorious and that he
was seeking reinforcements with which to crush the troops completely.
For four days he evaded capture.  Then, finding that the cordon was
tightening around him, he blew out his brains with a revolver.  Thus
ended a life which was not without its share of romance and mystery.

On the night of the 14th the troops encamped near the desolate village
of St Eustache, a large part of which had unfortunately been given over
to the flames during the engagement.  In the morning the column set out
for St Benoit.  Sir John Colborne had threatened that if a single shot
were fired from St Benoit the village would be given over to fire and
pillage.  But when the troops arrived there they found awaiting them
about two hundred and fifty men bearing white flags.  All the villagers
laid down their arms and made an unqualified submission.  And it is a
matter for profound regret that, notwithstanding this, the greater part
of the village {101} was burned to the ground.  Sir John Colborne has
been severely censured for this occurrence, and not without reason.
Nothing is more certain, of course, than that he did not order it.  It
seems to have been the work of the loyalist volunteers, who had without
doubt suffered much at the hands of the rebels.  'The irregular troops
employed,' wrote one of the British officers, 'were not to be
controlled, and were in every case, I believe, the instrument of the
infliction.'  Far too much burning and pillaging went on, indeed, in
the wake of the rebellion.  'You know,' wrote an inhabitant of St
Benoit to a friend in Montreal, 'where the younger Arnoldi got his
supply of butter, or where another got the guitar he carried back with
him from the expedition about the neck.'  And it is probable that the
British officers, and perhaps Sir John Colborne himself, winked at some
things which they could not officially recognize.  At any rate, it is
impossible to acquit Colborne of all responsibility for the unsoldierly
conduct of the men under his command.

It is usual to regard the rebellion of 1837 in Lower Canada as no less
a fiasco than its counterpart in Upper Canada.  There is no doubt that
it was hopeless from the outset.  {102} It was an impromptu movement,
based upon a sudden resolution rather than on a well-reasoned plan of
action.  Most of the leaders--Wolfred Nelson, Thomas Storrow Brown,
Robert Bouchette, and Amury Girod--were strangers to the men under
their command; and none of them, save Chénier, seemed disposed to fight
to the last ditch.  The movement at its inception fell under the
official ban of the Church; and only two priests, the curés of St
Charles and St Benoit, showed it any encouragement.  The actual
rebellion was confined to the county of Two Mountains and the valley of
the Richelieu.  The districts of Quebec and Three Rivers were quiet as
the grave--with the exception, perhaps, of an occasional village like
Montmagny, where Étienne P. Taché, afterwards a colleague of Sir John
Macdonald and prime minister of Canada, was the centre of a local
agitation.  Yet it is easy to see that the rebellion might have been
much more serious.  But for the loyal attitude of the ecclesiastical
authorities, and the efforts of many clear-headed parish priests like
the Abbé Paquin of St Eustache, the revolutionary leaders might have
been able to consummate their plans, and Sir John Colborne, with the
small number of troops at {103} his disposal, might have found it
difficult to keep the flag flying.  The rebellion was easily snuffed
out because the majority of the French-Canadian people, in obedience to
the voice of their Church, set their faces against it.




The rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada profoundly affected public
opinion in the mother country.  That the first year of the reign of the
young Queen Victoria should have been marred by an armed revolt in an
important British colony shocked the sensibilities of Englishmen and
forced the country and the government to realize that the grievances of
the Canadian Reformers were more serious than they had imagined.  It
was clear that the old system of alternating concession and repression
had broken down and that the situation demanded radical action.  The
Melbourne government suspended the constitution of Lower Canada for
three years, and appointed the Earl of Durham as Lord High
Commissioner, with very full powers, to go out to Canada to investigate
the grievances and to report on a remedy.

John George Lambton, the first Earl of {105} Durham, was a wealthy and
powerful Whig nobleman, of decided Liberal, if not Radical, leanings.
He had taken no small part in the framing of the Reform Bill of 1832,
and at one time he had been hailed by the English Radicals or Chartists
as their coming leader.  It was therefore expected that he would be
decently sympathetic with the Reform movements in the Canadas.  At the
same time, Melbourne and his ministers were only too glad to ship him
out of the country.  There was no question of his great ability and
statesmanlike outlook.  But his advanced Radical views were distasteful
to many of his former colleagues; and his arrogant manners, his lack of
tact, and his love of pomp and circumstance made him unpopular even in
his own party.  The truth is that he was an excellent leader to work
under, but a bad colleague to work with.  The Melbourne government had
first got rid of him by sending him to St Petersburg as ambassador
extraordinary; and then, on his return from St Petersburg, they got him
out of the way by sending him to Canada.  He was at first loath to go,
mainly on the ground of ill health; but at the personal intercession of
the young queen he accepted the commission offered him.  It was {106}
an evil day for himself, but a good day for Canada, when he did so.

Durham arrived in Quebec, with an almost regal retinue, on May 28,
1838.  Gosford, who had remained in Canada throughout the rebellion,
had gone home at the end of February; and the administration had been
taken over by Sir John Colborne, the commander-in-chief of the forces.
As soon as the news of the suspension of the constitution reached Lower
Canada, Sir John Colborne appointed a provisional special council of
twenty-two members, half of them French and half of them English, to
administer the affairs of the province until Lord Durham should arrive.
The first official act of Lord Durham in the colony swept this council
out of existence.  'His Excellency believes,' the members of the
council were told, 'that it is as much the interest of you all, as for
the advantage of his own mission, that his administrative conduct
should be free from all suspicions of political influence or party
feeling; that it should rest on his own undivided responsibility, and
that when he quits the Province, he should leave none of its permanent
residents in any way committed by the acts which his Government may
have {107} found it necessary to perform, during the temporary
suspension of the Constitution.'  In its place he appointed a small
council of five members, all but one from his own staff.  The one
Canadian called to this council was Dominick Daly, the provincial
secretary, whom Colborne recommended as being unidentified with any
political party.

The first great problem with which Lord Durham and his council had to
deal was the question of the political prisoners, numbers of whom were
still lying in the prisons of Montreal.  Sir John Colborne had not
attempted to decide what should be done with them, preferring to shift
this responsibility upon Lord Durham.  It would probably have been much
better to have settled the matter before Lord Durham set foot in the
colony, so that his mission might not have been handicapped at the
outset with so thorny a problem; but it is easy to follow Colborne's
reasoning.  In the first place, he did not bring the prisoners to trial
because no Lower-Canadian jury at that time could have been induced to
convict them, a reasonable inference from the fact that the murder of
Weir had gone unavenged, even as the murderers of Chartrand were to be
acquitted {108} by a jury a few months later.  In the second place,
Colborne had not the power to deal with the prisoners summarily.
Moreover, most of the rebel leaders had not been captured.  The only
three prisoners of much importance were Wolfred Nelson, Robert
Bouchette, and Bonaventure Viger.  The rest of the _Patriote_ leaders
were scattered far and wide.  Chénier and Girod lay beneath the
springing sod; Papineau, O'Callaghan, Storrow Brown, Robert Nelson,
Côté, and Rodier were across the American border; Morin had just come
out of his hiding-place in the Canadian backwoods; and LaFontaine,
after vainly endeavouring, on the outbreak of rebellion, to get Gosford
to call together the legislature of Lower Canada, had gone abroad.  The
future course of the rebels who had fled to the United States was still
doubtful; there was a strong probability that they might create further
disturbances.  And, while the situation was still unsettled, Colborne
thought it better to leave the fate of the prisoners to be decided by

Durham's instructions were to temper justice with mercy.  His own
instincts were apparently in favour of a complete amnesty; but he
supposed it necessary to make an {109} example of some of the leaders.
After earnest deliberation and consultation with his council, and
especially with his chief secretary, Charles Buller, the friend and
pupil of Thomas Carlyle, Durham determined to grant to the rebels a
general amnesty, with only twenty-four exceptions.  Eight of the men
excepted were political prisoners who had been prominent in the revolt
and who had confessed their guilt and had thrown themselves on the
mercy of the Lord High Commissioner; the remaining sixteen were rebel
leaders who had fled from the country.  Durham gave orders that the
eight prisoners should be transported to the Bermudas during the
queen's pleasure.  The sixteen refugees were forbidden to return to
Canada under penalty of death without benefit of clergy.

No one can fail to see that this course was dictated by the humanest
considerations.  A criminal rebellion had terminated without the
shedding judicially of a drop of blood.  Lord Durham even took care
that the eight prisoners should not be sent to a convict colony.  The
only criticism directed against his course in Canada was on the ground
of its excessive lenity.  Wolfred Nelson and Robert Bouchette had
certainly suffered a milder fate {110} than that of Samuel Lount and
Peter Matthews, who had been hanged in Upper Canada for rebellion.  Yet
when the news of Durham's action reached England, it was immediately
attacked as arbitrary and unconstitutional.  The assault was opened by
Lord Brougham, a bitter personal enemy of Lord Durham.  In the House of
Lords Brougham contended that Durham had had no right to pass sentence
on the rebel prisoners and refugees when they had not been brought to
trial; and that he had no right to order them to be transported to, and
held in, Bermuda, where his authority did not run.  In this attitude he
was supported by the Duke of Wellington, the leader of the Tory party.
Wellington's name is one which is usually remembered with honour in the
history of the British Empire; but on this occasion he did not think it
beneath him to play fast and loose with the interests of Canada for the
sake of a paltry party advantage.  It would have been easy for him to
recognize the humanity of Durham's policy, and to join with the
government in legislating away any technical illegalities that may have
existed in Durham's ordinance; but Wellington could not resist the
temptation to embarrass the Whig {111} administration, regardless of
the injury which he might be doing to the sorely tried people of Canada.

The Melbourne administration, which had sent Durham to Canada, might
have been expected to stand behind him when he was attacked.  Lord John
Russell, indeed, rose in the House of Commons and made a thoroughgoing
defence of Durham's policy as 'wise and statesmanlike.'  But he alone
of the ministers gave Durham loyal support.  In the House of Lords
Melbourne contented himself with a feeble defence of Durham and then
capitulated to the Opposition.  Nothing would have been easier for him
than to introduce a bill making valid whatever may have been irregular
in Durham's ordinance; but instead of that he disallowed the ordinance,
and passed an Act of Indemnity for all those who had had a part in
carrying it out.  Without waiting to hear Durham's defence, or to
consult with him as to the course which should be followed, the Cabinet
weakly surrendered to an attack of his personal enemies.  Durham was
betrayed in the house of his friends.

The news of the disallowance of the ordinance first reached Durham
through the columns of an American newspaper.  {112} Immediately his
mind was made up.  Without waiting for any official notification, he
sent in his resignation to the colonial secretary.  He was quite
satisfied himself that he had not exceeded his powers.  'Until I
learn,' he wrote, 'from some one better versed in the English language
that despotism means anything but such an aggregation of the supreme
executive and legislative authority in a single head, as was
deliberately made by Parliament in the Act which constituted my powers,
I shall not blush to hear that I have exercised a despotism; I shall
feel anxious only to know how well and wisely I have used, or rather
exhibited an intention of using, my great powers.'  But he felt that if
he could expect no firm support from the Melbourne government, his
usefulness was gone, and resignation was the only course open to him.
He wrote, however, that he intended to remain in Canada until he had
completed the inquiries he had instituted.  In view of the 'lamentable
want of information' with regard to Canada which existed in the
Imperial parliament, he confessed that he 'would take shame to himself
if he left his inquiry incomplete.'

A few days before Durham left Canada he took the unusual and, under
ordinary {113} circumstances, unconstitutional course of issuing a
proclamation, in which he explained the reasons for his resignation,
and in effect appealed from the action of the home government to
Canadian public opinion.  It was this proclamation which drew down on
him from _The Times_ the nickname of 'Lord High Seditioner.'  The
wisdom of the proclamation was afterwards, however, vigorously defended
by Charles Duller.  The general unpopularity of the British government,
Duller explained, was such in Canada that a little more or less could
not affect it; whereas it was a matter of vital importance that the
angry and suspicious colonists should find one British statesman with
whom they could agree.  The real justification of the proclamation lay
in the magical effect which it had upon the public temper.  The news
that the ordinance had been disallowed, and that the whole question of
the political prisoners had been once more thrown into the melting-pot,
had greatly excited the public mind; and the proclamation fell like oil
upon the troubled waters.  'No disorder, no increase of disaffection
ensued; on the contrary, all parties in the Province expressed a
revival of confidence.'

Lord Durham left Quebec on November 1, {114} 1838.  'It was a sad day
and a sad departure,' wrote Buller.  'The streets were crowded.  The
spectators filled every window and every house-top, and, though every
hat was raised as we passed, a deep silence marked the general grief
for Lord Durham's departure.'  Durham had been in Canada only five
short months.  Yet in that time he had gained a knowledge of, and an
insight into, the Canadian situation such as no other governor of
Canada had possessed.  The permanent monument of that insight is, of
course, his famous _Report on the Affairs of British North America_,
issued by the Colonial Office in 1839.  This is no place to write at
length about that greatest of all documents ever published with regard
to colonial affairs.  This much, however, may be said.  In the _Report_
Lord Durham rightly diagnosed the evils of the body politic in Canada.
He traced the rebellion to two causes, in the main: first, racial
feeling; and, secondly, that 'union of representative and irresponsible
government' of which he said that it was difficult to understand how
any English statesman ever imagined that such a system would work.  And
yet one of the two chief remedies which he recommended seemed like a
death sentence passed on the French in Canada.  {115} This was the
proposal for the legislative union of Upper and Lower Canada with the
avowed object of anglicizing by absorption the French population.  This
suggestion certainly did not promote racial peace.  The other proposal,
that of granting to the Canadian people responsible government in all
matters not infringing 'strictly imperial interests,' blazed the trail
leading out of the swamps of pre-rebellion politics.

In one respect only is Lord Durham's _Report_ seriously faulty: it is
not fair to French Canadians.  'They cling,' wrote Durham, 'to ancient
prejudices, ancient customs, and ancient laws, not from any strong
sense of their beneficial effects, but with the unreasoning tenacity of
an uneducated and unprogressive people.'  To their racial and
nationalist ambitions he was far from favourable.  'The error,' he
contended, 'to which the present contest is to be attributed is the
vain endeavour to preserve a French-Canadian nationality in the midst
of Anglo-American colonies and states'; and he quoted with seeming
approval the statement of one of the Lower Canada 'Bureaucrats' that
'Lower Canada must be _English_, at the expense, if necessary, of not
being _British_.'  His primary {116} object in recommending the union
of the two Canadas, to place the French in a minority in the united
province, was surely a mistaken policy.  Fortunately, it did not become
operative.  Lord Elgin, a far wiser statesman, who completed Durham's
work by introducing the substance of responsible government which the
_Report_ recommended, decidedly opposed anything in the nature of a
gradual crusade against French-Canadian nationalism.  'I for one,' he
wrote, 'am deeply convinced of the impolicy of all such attempts to
denationalize the French.  Generally speaking, they produce the
opposite effect, causing the flame of national prejudice and animosity
to burn more fiercely.  But suppose them to be successful, what would
be the result?  You may perhaps _Americanize_, but, depend upon it, by
methods of this description you will never _Anglicize_ the French
inhabitants of the province.  Let them feel, on the other hand, that
their religion, their habits, their prepossessions, their prejudices if
you will, are more considered and respected here than in other portions
of this vast continent, and who will venture to say that the last hand
which waves the British flag on American ground may not be that of a
French Canadian?'




The frigate _Inconstant_, with Lord Durham on board, was not two days
out from Quebec when rebellion broke out anew in Lower Canada.  This
second rebellion, however, was not caused by Lord Durham's departure,
but was the result of a long course of agitation which had been carried
on along the American border throughout the months of Lord Durham's

As early as February 1838 numbers of Canadian refugees had gathered in
the towns on the American side of the boundary-line in the
neighbourhood of Lake Champlain.  They were shown much sympathy and
encouragement by the Americans, and seem to have laboured under the
delusion that the American government would come to their assistance.
A proclamation signed by Robert Nelson, a brother of Wolfred Nelson,
declared the independence of Canada under a {118} 'provisional
government' of which Robert Nelson was president and Dr Côté a member.
The identity of the other members is a mystery.  Papineau seems to have
had some dealings with Nelson and Côté, and to have dallied with the
idea of throwing in his lot with them; but he soon broke off
negotiations.  'Papineau,' wrote Robert Nelson, 'has abandoned us, and
this through selfish and family motives regarding the seigniories, and
inveterate love of the old French bad laws.'  There is reason to
believe, however, that Papineau had been in communication with the
authorities at Washington, and that his desertion of Robert Nelson and
Côté was in reality due to his discovery that President Van Buren was
not ready to depart from his attitude of neutrality.

On February 28, 1838, Robert Nelson and Côté had crossed the border
with an armed force of French-Canadian refugees and three small
field-pieces.  Their plan had contemplated the capture of Montreal and
a junction with another invading force at Three Rivers.  But on finding
their way barred by the Missisquoi militia, they had beat a hasty
retreat to the border, without fighting; and had there been disarmed by
the American {119} troops under General Wool, a brave and able officer
who had fought with conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Queenston
Heights in 1812.

During the summer months, however, the refugees had continued to lay
plans for an insurrection in Lower Canada.  Emissaries had been
constantly moving among the parishes north of the New York and Vermont
frontiers, promising the _Patriotes_ arms and supplies and men from the
United States.  The rising was carefully planned.  And when November
came large bodies of disaffected habitants gathered at St Ours, St
Charles, St Michel, L'Acadie, Châteauguay, and Beauharnois.  They had
apparently been led to expect that they would be met at some of these
places by American sympathizers with arms and supplies.  No such aid
being found at the rendezvous, many returned to their homes.  But some
persevered in the movement, and made their way with packs on their
backs to Napierville, a town fifteen miles north of the boundary-line,
which had been designated as the rebel headquarters.

Meanwhile, Robert Nelson had moved northward to Napierville from the
American side of the border with a small band of refugees.  {120} Among
these were two French officers, named Hindenlang and Touvrey, who had
been inveigled into joining the expedition.  Hindenlang, who afterwards
paid for his folly with his life, has left an interesting account of
what happened.  He and Touvrey joined Nelson at St Albans, on the west
side of Lake Champlain.  With two hundred and fifty muskets, which had
been placed in a boat by an American sympathizer, they dropped down the
river to the Canadian border.  There were five in the party--Nelson and
the two French officers, the guide, and the boatman.  Nelson had given
Hindenlang to understand that the habitants had risen and that he would
be greeted at the Canadian border by a large force of enthusiastic
recruits.  In this, however, he was disappointed.  'There was not a
single man to receive the famous President of the _Provisional
Government_; and it was only after a full hour's search, and much
trouble, [that] the guide returned with five or six men to land the
arms.'  On the morning of November 4 the party arrived at Napierville.
Here Hindenlang found Dr Côté already at the head of two or three
hundred men.  A crowd speedily gathered, and Robert Nelson was
proclaimed 'President of the Republic of {121} Lower Canada.'
Hindenlang and Touvrey were presented to the crowd; and to his great
astonishment Hindenlang was informed that his rank in the rebel force
was that of brigadier-general.

The first two or three days were spent in hastening the arrival of
reinforcements and in gathering arms.  By the 7th Nelson had collected
a force of about twenty-five hundred men, whom Hindenlang told off in
companies and divisions.  Most of the rebels were armed with pitchforks
and pikes.  An attempt had been made two days earlier, on a Sunday, to
obtain arms, ammunition, and stores from the houses of the Indians of
Caughnawaga while they were at church; but a squaw in search of her cow
had discovered the raiders and had given the alarm, with the result
that the Indians, seizing muskets and tomahawks, had repelled the
attack and taken seventy prisoners.

On November 5 Nelson sent Côté with a force of four or five hundred men
south to Rouse's Point, on the boundary-line, to secure more arms and
ammunition from the American sympathizers.  On his way south Côté
encountered a picket of a company of loyalist volunteers stationed at
Lacolle, and drove it {122} in.  On his return journey, however, he met
with greater opposition.  The company at Lacolle had been reinforced in
the meantime by several companies of loyalist militia from Hemmingford.
As the rebels appeared the loyalist militia attacked them; and after a
brisk skirmish, which lasted from twenty to twenty-five minutes, drove
them from the field.  Without further ado the rebels fled across the
border, leaving behind them eleven dead and a number of prisoners, as
well as a six-pounder gun, a large number of muskets of the type used
in the United States army, a keg of powder, a quantity of
ball-cartridge, and a great many pikes.  Of the provincial troops two
were killed and one was severely wounded.

The defeat of Côté and his men at Lacolle meant that Nelson's line of
communications with his base on the American frontier was cut.  At the
same time he received word that Sir John Colborne was advancing on
Napierville from Laprairie with a strong force of regulars and
volunteers.  Under these circumstances he determined to fall back on
Odelltown, just north of the border.  He had with him about a thousand
men, eight hundred of whom were armed with muskets.  {123} He arrived
at Odelltown on the morning of November 9, to find it occupied by about
two hundred loyal militia, under the command of the inspecting
field-officer of the district, Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor.  He had no
difficulty in driving in the loyalist outposts; but the village itself
proved a harder nut to crack.  Taylor had concentrated his little force
at the Methodist church, and he controlled the road leading to it by
means of the six-pounder which had been taken from the rebels three
days before at Lacolle.  The insurgents extended through the fields to
the right and left, and opened a vigorous fire on the church from
behind some barns; but many of the men seem to have kept out of range.
'The greater part of the Canadians kept out of shot,' wrote Hindenlang;
'threw themselves on their knees, with their faces buried in the snow,
praying to God, and remaining as motionless as if they were so many
saints, hewn in stone.  Many remained in that posture as long as the
fighting lasted.'  The truth appears to be that many of Nelson's men
had been intimidated into joining the rebel force.  The engagement
lasted in all about two hours and a half.  The defenders of the church
made several successful sallies; and just when the {124} rebels were
beginning to lose heart, a company of loyalists from across the
Richelieu fell on their flank and completed their discomfiture.  The
rebels then retreated to Napierville, under the command of Hindenlang.
Robert Nelson, seeing that the day was lost, left his men in the lurch
and rode for the American border.  The losses of the rebels were
serious; they left fifty dead on the field and carried off as many
wounded.  Of the loyalists, one officer and five men were killed and
one officer and eight men wounded.

Later in the same day Sir John Colborne, at the head of a formidable
force, entered Napierville.  On his approach those rebels who were
still in the village dispersed and fled to their homes.  Detachments of
troops were immediately sent out to disperse bands of rebels reported
to be still under arms.  The only encounter took place at Beauharnois,
where a large body of insurgents had assembled.  After a slight
resistance they were driven out by two battalions of Glengarry
volunteers, supported by two companies of the 71st and a detachment of
Royal Engineers.

In these expeditions the British soldiers, especially the volunteers,
did a good deal of burning and harrying.  After the victory at {125}
Beauharnois they gave to the flames a large part of the village,
including the houses of some loyal citizens.  In view of the
intimidation and depredations to which the loyalists had been subjected
by the rebels in the disaffected districts, the conduct of the men, in
these regrettable acts, may be understood and partially excused.  But
no excuse can be offered for the attitude of the British authorities.
There are well-authenticated cases of houses of 'notorious rebels'
burned down by the orders of Sir James Macdonell, Colborne's
second-in-command.  Colborne himself acquired the nickname of 'the old
Firebrand'; and, while he cannot be charged with such a mania for
incendiarism as some writers have imputed to him, it does not appear
that he took any effective measures to stop the arson or to punish the

The rebellion of 1838 lasted scarcely a week.  It was a venture
criminally hopeless.  Failing important aid from the United States, the
rebels had an even slighter chance of success than they had had a year
before, for since that time the British regular troops in Canada had
been considerably increased in number.  The chief responsibility for
the rebellion must be placed at the door of Robert Nelson, who at {126}
the critical moment fled over the border, leaving his dupes to
extricate themselves as best they could from the situation into which
he had led them.  As was the case in 1837, most of the leaders of the
rebellion escaped from justice, leaving only the smaller fry in the
hands of the authorities.  Of the lesser ringleaders nearly one hundred
were brought to trial.  Two of the French-Canadian judges, one of them
being Elzéar Bédard, attempted to force the government to try the
prisoners in the civil courts, where they would have the benefit of
trial by jury; but Sir John Colborne suspended these judges from their
functions, and brought the prisoners before a court-martial, specially
convened for the purpose.  Twelve of them, including the French officer
Hindenlang, were condemned to death and duly executed.  Most of the
others were transported to the convict settlements of Australia.  It is
worthy of remark that none of those executed or deported had been
persons of note in the political arena before 1837.  On the whole, it
must be confessed that these sentences showed a commendable moderation.
It was thought necessary that a few examples should be made, as Lord
Durham's amnesty of the previous year had evidently encouraged some
{127} habitants to believe that rebellion was a venial offence.  And
the execution of twelve men, out of the thousands who had taken part in
the revolt, cannot be said to have shown a bloodthirsty disposition on
the part of the government.




The rebellion of 1837 now belongs to the dead past.  The _Patriotes_
and the 'Bureaucrats' of those days have passed away; and the present
generation has forgotten, or should have forgotten, the passions which
inspired them.  The time has come when Canadians should take an
impartial view of the events of that time, and should be willing to
recognize the good and the bad on either side.  It is absurd to pretend
that many of the English in Lower Canada were not arrogant and brutal
in their attitude toward the French Canadians, and lawless in their
methods of crushing the rebellion; or that many of the _Patriote_
leaders were not hopelessly irreconcilable before the rebellion, and
during it criminally careless of the interests of the poor habitants
they had misled.  On the other hand, no true Canadian can fail to be
proud of the spirit of loyalty which in 1837 {129} actuated not only
persons of British birth, but many faithful sons and daughters of the
French-Canadian Church.  Nor can one fail to admire the devotion to
liberty, to 'the rights of the people,' which characterized rebels like
Robert Bouchette.  'When I speak of the rights of the people,' wrote
Bouchette, 'I do not mean those abstract or extravagant rights for
which some contend, but which are not generally compatible with an
organized state of society, but I mean those cardinal rights which are
inherent to British subjects, and which, as such, ought not to be
denied to the inhabitants of any section of the empire, however
remote.'  The people of Canada to-day are able to combine loyalty and
liberty as the men of that day were not; and they should never forget
that in some measure they owe to the one party the continuance of
Canada in the Empire, and to the other party the freedom wherewith they
have been made free.

[Illustration: Denis Benjamin Viger.  From a print in M'Gill University

The later history of the _Patriotes_ falls outside the scope of this
little book, but a few lines may be added to trace their varying
fortunes.  Some of them never returned to Canada.  Robert Nelson took
up his abode in New York, and there practised surgery until {130} his
death in 1873.  E. B. O'Callaghan went to Albany, and was there
employed by the legislature of New York in preparing two series of
volumes entitled _A Documentary History of New York_ and _Documents
relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York_, volumes
which are edited in so scholarly a manner, and throw such light on
Canadian history, that the Canadian historian would fain forgive him
for his part in the unhappy rebellion of '37.

Most of the _Patriote_ leaders took advantage, however, of the virtual
amnesty offered them in 1842 by the first LaFontaine-Baldwin
administration, and returned to Canada.  Many of these, as well as many
of the _Patriote_ leaders who had not been implicated in the rebellion
and who had not fled the country, rose to positions of trust and
prominence in the public service of Canada.  Louis Hippolyte
LaFontaine, after having gone abroad during the winter of 1837-38, and
after having been arrested on suspicion in November 1838, entered the
parliament of Canada, formed, with Robert Baldwin as his colleague, the
administration which ushered in full responsible government, and was
knighted by Queen Victoria.  Augustin Morin, the reputed author {131}
of the Ninety-Two Resolutions, who had spent the winter of 1837-38 in
hiding, became the colleague of Francis Hincks in the Hincks-Morin
administration.  George Étienne Cartier, who had shouldered a musket at
St Denis, became the lifelong colleague of Sir John Macdonald and was
made a baronet by his sovereign.  Dr Wolfred Nelson returned to his
practice in Montreal in 1842.  In 1844 he was elected member of
parliament for the county of Richelieu.  In 1851 he was appointed an
inspector of prisons.  Thomas Storrow Brown, on his return to Montreal,
took up again his business in hardware, and is remembered to-day by
Canadian numismatists as having been one of the first to issue a
halfpenny token, which bore his name and is still sought by collectors.
Robert Bouchette recovered from the serious wound he had sustained at
Moore's Corners, and later became Her Majesty's commissioner of customs
at Ottawa.

Papineau returned to Canada in 1845.  The greater part of his period of
exile he spent in Paris, where he came in touch with the 'red
republicans' who later supported the revolution of 1848.  He entered
the Canadian parliament in 1847 and sat in it until 1854.  {132} But he
proved to be completely out of harmony with the new order of things
under responsible government.  Even with his old lieutenant LaFontaine,
who had made possible his return to Canada, he had an open breach.  The
truth is that Papineau was born to live in opposition.  That he himself
realized this is clear from a laughing remark which he made when
explaining his late arrival at a meeting: 'I waited to take an
opposition boat.'  His real importance after his return to Canada lay
not in the parliamentary sphere, but in the encouragement which he gave
to those radical and anti-clerical ideas that found expression in the
foundation of the _Institut Canadien_ and the formation of the _Parti
Rouge_.  In many respects the _Parti Rouge_ was the continuation of the
_Patriote_ party of 1837.  Papineau's later days were quiet and
dignified.  He retired to his seigneury of La Petite Nation at
Montebello and devoted himself to his books.  With many of his old
antagonists he effected a pleasant reconciliation.  Only on rare
occasions did he break his silence; but on one of these, when he came
to Montreal, an old silver-haired man of eighty-one years, to deliver
an address before the _Institut Canadien_, he uttered a sentence which
may be taken as {133} the _apologia pro vita sua_: 'You will believe
me, I trust, when I say to you, I love my country....  Opinions outside
may differ; but looking into my heart and my mind in all sincerity, I
feel I can say that I have loved her as she should be loved.'  And
charity covereth a multitude of sins.



The story of the Lower Canada rebellion is told in detail in some of
the general histories of Canada.  William Kingsford, _History of
Canada_ (1887-94), is somewhat inaccurate and shows a strong bias
against the _Patriotes_, but his narrative of the rebellion is full and
interesting.  F. X. Garneau, _Histoire du Canada_ (1845-52), presents
the history of the period, from the French-Canadian point of view, with
sympathy and power.  A work which holds the scales very evenly is
Robert Christie, _A History of the Late Province of Lower Canada_
(1848-55).  Christie played a not inconspicuous part in the
pre-rebellion politics, and his volumes contain a great deal of
original material of first-rate importance.

Of special studies of the rebellion there are a number worthy of
mention.  L. O. David, _Les Patriotes de 1837-38_, is valuable for its
complete biographies of the leaders in the movement.  L. N. Carrier,
_Les Événements de 1837-38_ (1877), is a sketch of the rebellion
written by the son of one of the _Patriotes_.  Globensky, _La Rébellion
de 1837 à Saint-Eustache_ (1883), written by the son of an officer in
the loyalist militia, contains some original materials of value.  Lord
Charles Beauclerk, _Lithographic Views of Military Operations in Canada
under Sir John Colborne, O.C.B., {135} etc._ (1840), apart from the
value of the illustrations, is interesting on account of the
introduction, in which the author, a British army officer who served in
Canada throughout the rebellion, describes the course of the military
operations.  The political aspect of the rebellion, from the Tory point
of view, is dealt with in T. C. Haliburton, _The Bubbles of Canada_
(1839).  For a penetrating analysis of the situation which led to the
rebellion see Lord Durham's _Report on the Affairs of British North

A few biographies may be consulted with advantage.  N. E. Dionne,
_Pierre Bédard et ses fils_ (1909), throws light on the earlier period;
as does also Ernest Cruikshank, _The Administration of Sir James Craig_
(_Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada_, 3rd series, vol. ii).
See also A. D. DeCelles, _Papineau_ (1904), in the 'Makers of Canada'
series; and Stuart J. Reid, _Life and Letters of the First Earl of
Durham_ (1906).

The parish histories, in which the province of Quebec abounds, will be
found to yield much information of a local nature with regard to the
rebellion; and the same may be said of the publications of local
historical societies, such as that of Missisquoi county.

An original document of primary importance is the _Report of the state
trials before a general court-martial held at Montreal in 1838-39;
exhibiting a complete history of the late rebellion in Lower Canada_



Assembly, the language question in the, 8-12; racial conflict over form
of taxation, 13-14; the struggle with Executive for full control of
revenue leads to deadlock, 22-5, 27, 29-30, 53-4, 57; seeks redress in
Imperial parliament, 28-32; the Ninety-Two Resolutions, 38-42; the
grievance commission, 45-6, 52, 55-6; the Russell Resolutions, 57-61.
See Lower Canada.

Aylmer, Lord, governor of Canada, 29, 33-4, 44, 45.

Beauharnois, Patriotes defeated at, 124-5.

Bédard, Elzéar, introduces the Ninety-Two Resolutions, 38, 42;
suspended as a judge, 126.

Bédard, Pierre, and French-Canadian nationalism, 11, 15, 16; his arrest
and release, 17-19, 20.

Bidwell, M. S., speaker of Upper Canada Assembly, 53.

Bouchette, Robert Shore Milnes, 129; wounded at Moore's Corners, 89-90,
91, 102, 108, 131.

Bourdages, Louis, Papineau's chief lieutenant, 36.

Brougham, Lord, criticizes Durham's policy, 110.

Brown, Thomas Storrow, 38, 72, 73, 131; in command of Patriotes at St
Charles, 74, 84-6, 102, 108.

Buller, Charles, secretary to Durham, 109, 113.

Bureaucrats, the, 18.  See 'Château Clique.'

Canada.  See Lower Canada.

Cartier, Sir George, 30; a follower of Papineau, 37, 131.

Catholic Church in Canada, the, 7; opposes revolutionary movement,
64-5, 102, 103.

Chartier, Abbé, encourages the rebels at St Eustache, 95-6; escapes to
the United States, 99.

Chartier de Lotbinière, on French-Canadian loyalty, 11.

'Château Clique,' the, 22; and the Patriotes, 25, 31.

Chénier, Dr J. O., killed at St Eustache, 93, 94, 95, 97-9, 102, 108.

Christie, Robert, expelled from the Assembly, 34, 134.

Colborne, Sir John, his letter on the situation previous to the
Rebellion, 69-71; his 1837 campaign, 74-5, 83, 94, 97-101, 102;
administrator of the province, 106-8; his 1838 campaign, 122, 124, 125,

Côté, Dr Cyrile, 89, 108, 118, 120; defeated at Lacolle, 121-2.

Craig, Sir James, his 'Reign of Terror,' 15-20, 23.

Cuvillier, Augustin, 28-9; breaks with Papineau, 37, 42, 44.

Dalhousie, Lord, his quarrel with Papineau, 27-9.

Daly, Dominick, provincial secretary, 107.

Debartzch, D. P., breaks with Papineau, 71, 84.

Desèves, Father, 93; his picture of the rebels at St Eustache, 96-7.

Doric Club, the, 71.

Durham, Earl of, governor and Lord High Commissioner, 104-6; his humane
policy fails to find support in Britain, 107-12; his appeal to Canadian
public opinion, 112-13; his Report, 114-16.

Duvernay, Ludger, at Moore's Corners, 89.

Elgin, Lord, and French-Canadian nationalism, 116.

English Canadians, their conflicts with the Patriotes, 51, 64, 128.

Ermatinger, Lieutenant, defeated by Patriotes, 73-4.

Executive Council, 22, 25, 59.  See 'Château Clique.'

French Canadians, their attitude toward the British in 1760, 2; their
loyalty, 2-5, 128-9; their generous treatment, 7-8; their fight for
official recognition of their language, 8-12, 50; their struggle with
the 'Château Clique,' 22-5, 29; their fight for national identity,
26-7, 29, 115-16.  See Patriotes.

French Revolution, the, and the French Canadians, 4-5.

Gipps, Sir George, on the grievance commission, 46, 55.

Girod, Amury, commands the rebels at St Eustache, 92-3, 94, 95, 103;
commits suicide, 99-100, 108.

Gladstone, W. E., supports the Russell Resolutions, 60.

Glenelg, Lord, colonial secretary, 46.

Goderich, Lord, colonial secretary, 29, 30.

Gore, Colonel Charles, commands the British at St Denis, 75-7, 88.

Gosford, Lord, governor of Canada, 45-7, 49-53, 55, 57-8, 61, 64, 106.

Great Britain, and French-Canadian loyalty, 2-5; her conciliatory
policy in Lower Canada, 7-8, 9, 44-6, 57-60; and the Rebellion, 104,

Grey, Sir Charles, on the grievance commission, 45-6, 55.

Gugy, Major Conrad, 48; at St Charles, 82-3; wounded at St Eustache, 99.

Haldimand, Sir Frederick, governor of Canada, 3-4.

Head, Sir F. B., his indiscreet action, 52-3.

Hindenlang, leads Patriotes in second rebellion, 120, 121, 123, 124;
executed, 126.

Kemp, Captain, defeats the Patriotes at Moore's Corners, 90-2.

Kimber, Dr, in the affair at Moore's Corners, 89.

Lacolle, rebels defeated at, 121-2.

LaFontaine, L. H., a follower of Papineau, 37, 63, 108, 130, 132.

Lartigue, Mgr, his warning to the revolutionists, 65.

Legislative Council, the, 22, 25, 31, 36, 41, 46, 53, 54, 55, 59.

Lower Canada, the conflict between French and English Canadians in,
13-15, 33, 114; the Rebellion of 1837, 69-103; the constitution
suspended, 104, 106; treatment of the rebels, 108-13; Durham's
investigation and Report, 114-116; the Rebellion of 1838, 117-27.  See

Macdonell, Sir James, Colborne's second-in-command, 125.

Mackenzie, W. L., and the Patriotes, 72.

Melbourne, Lord, and Durham's policy, 111.

Mondelet, Dominique, 30; expelled from the Assembly, 36.

Montreal, rioting in, 71-2.

Moore's Corners, rebels defeated at, 89-92.

Morin, A. N., a follower of Papineau, 37, 108, 130-1.

Neilson, John, supports the Patriote cause, 26-7, 28; breaks with
Papineau, 36-7, 38, 42, 44.

Nelson, Robert, 108; leader of the second rebellion, 117-26, 129-30.

Nelson, Dr Wolfred, a follower of Papineau, 37, 60, 65, 66, 70, 73, 74;
in command at St Denis, 74, 76, 79, 80, 88, 102, 108, 109, 131.

Ninety-Two Resolutions, the, 38-42, 44.

O'Callaghan, E. B., a follower of Papineau, 37, 73, 74, 78, 87-8, 108,

O'Connell, Daniel, champions the cause of the Patriotes, 59-60.

Panet, Jean Antoine, his election as speaker of the Assembly, 9-10, 22;
imprisoned, 17.

Panet, Louis, on the language question, 10.

Papineau, Louis Joseph, 21; elected speaker of the Assembly, 22, 28;
opposes Union Bill in London, 26-7; his attack on Dalhousie, 27-29;
defeats Goderich's financial proposal, and declines seat on Executive
Council, 30; attacks Aylmer, 33-4, 47.  becomes more violent and
domineering in the Assembly, 34-5; his political views become
revolutionary, 35-6, 42-43; his powerful following, 37-8, 44, the
Ninety-Two Resolutions, 38-42; hopeless of obtaining justice from
Britain, but disclaims intention of stirring up civil war, 47-8, 53; on
the Russell Resolutions, 60-1; his attitude previous to the outbreak,
66-68, 70; warrant issued for his arrest, 72-3, 74; escapes to the
United States, 78-9, 87-8, 90, 92, 108; holds aloof from second
rebellion, 118; his return to Canada, 131-3; his personality, 21, 25-6,
30-1, 49-50, 68, 79, 132-3.

Paquin, Abbé, opposes the rebels at St Eustache, 95, 102.

Parent, Étienne, breaks with Papineau, 42, 43.

Patriotes, the, 22, 25; their struggle with the 'Château Clique,' 31-2,
54-5; the racial feud becomes more bitter, 33-34, 128; the Ninety-Two
Resolutions, 38-42, 44-5, 52; the passing of the Russell Resolutions
causes great agitation, 60-2; declare a boycott on English goods, 62-3;
'Fils de la Liberté' formed, 63, 71-2; begin to arm, 63-4, 69-71; the
Montreal riot, 71-2; the first rebellion, 73-103; Lord Durham's
amnesty, 108-110, 113; the second rebellion, 117-27; and afterwards,
128-33.  See French Canadians.

Perrault, Charles Ovide, killed at St Denis, 78 n.

Prevost, Sir George, and the French Canadians, 20.

Quebec Act of 1774, the, 7, 9.

Quesnel, F. A., and Papineau, 34-5, 37, 42, 44, 71.

Rodier, Edouard, 62-3; at Moore's Corners, 89, 108.

Russell, Lord John, his resolutions affecting Canada, 58-59; defends
Durham's policy, 111.

Ryland, Herman W., and the French Canadians, 16.

St Benoit, the burning of, 100-101.

St Charles, the Patriote meeting at, 65-6; the fight at, 74, 82-7.

St Denis, the fight at, 74-81; destroyed, 88.

St Eustache, the Patriotes defeated at, 92-100.

St Ours, the Patriote meeting at, 60-1, 70, 75.

Salaberry, Major de, his victory at Châteauguay, 5.

Sewell, John, and the French Canadians, 16.

Sherbrooke, Sir John, his policy of conciliation, 24.

Stanley, Lord, supports the Russell Resolutions, 60.

Stuart, Andrew, and Papineau, 37, 42, 44.

Taché, E. P., a follower of Papineau, 37, 102.

Taylor, Lieut.-Colonel, defends Odelltown against the rebels, 123-4.

United States, and the French Canadians, 2-3, 117-19.

Viger, Bonaventure, a Patriote leader, 73, 108.

Viger, Denis B., a follower of Papineau, 28-9, 63.

War of 1812, French-Canadian loyalty in the, 5.

Weir, Lieut., his murder at St Denis, 79-80, 88, 99.

Wellington, Duke of, and Durham's policy in Canada, 110-111.

Wetherall, Lieut.-Colonel, defeats rebels at St Charles, 75, 82, 83,
86, 88.

Wool, General, disarms force of Patriotes on the United States border,

  Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty
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