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The Blacksmith’s Shop by Cornelius Krieghoff (Courtesy the Art Gallery of Ontario)

Dear Readers,

Once again I am a blogger. But planning one’s life is not always easy.

Belaud, my dearest cat, walked on the computer shortly after my article, written on 18 January, was posted. Belaud, my cat, uses the freedom I have always given him to rearrange the computer, which he is not allowed to do.

My post is in Word and will be retrieved. But it keeps returning to earlier drafts, primitive drafts.

I will do my best to reconstruct it and put its paragraphs in the correct order. You should know, however, that two weeks ago, I could not find my car after seeing a doctor at a very large hospital. The doctor who examined a little white spot told me there was nothing wrong with me. No biopsy was needed or performed.

It was snowing and very cold. My fingers started to freeze. I therefore returned to the main door of the hospital and told a gentleman helping patients that I could not retrieve my bright red Toyota Yaris. I knew the numbers and letters of my licence plate in the correct order and a few minutes later, my car was returned to me and I was escorted to it. The gentleman was so polite that I gave him a hug. He helped me get into the car.

Blogging again

Yes, I am blogging again but it could be with slightly diminished capacities, given yesterday’s events. My face does not tell my age, but I have aged. I was 65 when the pictures that appear on screen were taken. I may now be a little thinner, but the pictures are mostly accurate. However, I’m now letting my hair go white.

So, I will reorganize my post. It should be dated 18 January 2018. I posted it a few minutes too late.

Back to work.

Rudolf Schock sings “In mir klingt ein Lied”; Etude in E major [mi majeur]; Frédéric Chopin

Laurendeau and Dunton (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
19 January 2018










French Canadians as a Founding Nation


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The Blacksmith’s Shop, oil on canvas painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, 22 x 36 in, 1871, Art Gallery of Ontario


The above picture and the ones below are depictions of an older Quebec by Cornelius Krieghoof  (19 June 1815 – 8 April 1872), a Dutch artist who immigrated to Canada, but first served in the United States army. He married a French-Canadian, Émilie Gauthier, and died in the United States where he had retired. The paintings depict bon viveurs habitants or descendants of habitants, the former tenants of seigneurs. The Seigneurial System or the Compagnie des Cent-Associés was created in 1627, by Cardinal Richelieu. The hundred associates were “to capitalize on the North American fur trade.” The Seigneurial System was abolished in 1854. Tenants were called  habitants (literally, inhabitants).  In 1645, the Company “sublet its rights and obligations in Canada to the Communauté des Habitants.”  But, in 1663, the Société des Cent-Associés‘ grant was revoked, and, by the same token, so was the Communauté des Habitants. New France became a province of France. (See Compagnie des Cent-Associés, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

Current Activities

I cannot speak of serious current activities because I have not posted an article for two months, which has been my current activity for a few years. I could not write posts and turn this apartment into a home. However, I was not asleep. I waited for the first snowfall, a magical moment, kept an eye on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a fairy tale, and bought a Christmas cake, une bûche, a small one, at the Pâtisserie liégeoise and celebrated the twelve days of Christmas.

Books, but not just books…

There is no doubt that I wasn’t fit to move. However, I like my new apartment and, although there were too many books to unpack, a surprise awaited me. The books were not entirely mine. Many belonged to my father. In the 1990s, I starting housing his books and used them to write an article published in Francophonies d’Amérique, in 2002. When I moved to Sherbrooke, Québec, I was given more books and bought a bookcase where my father could find all of his books easily.

As I removed these books from their boxes, I started browsing and realized that they constituted a particularly rich source of information on French-Canadian nationalism. For instance, my father had in his possession some of the reports presented to the Royal Commission on  Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963-1970), established by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson PC OM CC  OBE (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972). The Royal Commission is also known as the Laurendeau-Dunton CommissionAndré Laurendeau was the editor-in-chief of Le Devoir, a fine Quebec newspaper, and Davidson Dunton was President of Carleton University, in Ottawa. The work of the Commission culminated in the Official Languages Act of 1969.

Browsing my father’s books helped me remember and understand that Canada did have two founding nations and that these two nations could live side by side, in harmony. Laurendeau and Dunton were a very compatible team. In other words, I understood, better than ever before, that as members of a founding nation, French-speaking Canadians had rights, such as the right to ask to be educated in French outside Quebec, if possible. The key words are founding nations, of which there are only two: the French and the British. Canada also has its first nations, its aboriginals.

The Quebec Act and the Constitutional Act

The Quebec Act, signed in 1774 under Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, put on an equal footing French-speaking and English-speaking British subjects and, as expected, aboriginals and French-speaking fought the British in the American Revolutionary War. The Constitutional Act (1791) divided Canada into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, located closer to the Atlantic.

As for Royal Proclamation of 1763, it protected aboriginals. The Canadian Encyclopedia indicates that the Royal proclamation of 1763 was the Amerindians magna carta. With respect to Amerindians, the Proclamation, established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the  Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Proclamation

established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the  Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

In the case of French-speaking subjects, the Treaty of Paris 1763, was negotiated so that his “Britannick” majesty would protect his new French-speaking subjects. They should be at liberty to use their language and practice their religion. However, until 1774, contrary to the Aboriginals, they had no constitutional framework.  In 1774, the Quebec Act, promoted by Guy Carleton, the 1st Baron Dorchester, put French-speaking Canadians on the same footing as English-speaking Canadians. They would be at liberty to use their language and practice their religion. They could also keep their “thirty acres” and their Seigneurial System.

In 1791, the Constitutional Act separated Upper Canada and Lower Canada. French-speaking subjects lived in Lower Canada, closer to the Atlantic Ocean, and viewed Lower Canada as their land, their patrie.

Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, was largely responsible for the Quebec Act, which helped to preserve French laws and customs (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-2833).

Religion and Education

In the province of Quebec, French-speaking citizens had the same status as English-speaking Canadian. However, East and West of the province of Quebec, they didn’t. For instance, in 1890, Manitoba abolished French-language schools. The Manitoba Schools Question is my best example, but I could also mention the New Brunswick Schools question.   With respect to the establishment of French-language schools outside Quebec, the traditional excuse was that Catholic schools had to be private schools. It was an unsavoury chapter in Canadian history and thinly veiled.

To be perfectly accurate, as I read my father’s books, it became increasingly clear to me that governments outside Quebec may well have used religion, perhaps unconsciously,[1] to deny French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec an education in French. Foi et patrie (faith and land or language) were inextricably entwined in the mind of French-speaking Canadians. More importantly, they were a founding nation. As Alexis de Tocqueville stated, the people of New France were not conquered, they were abandoned by France. (See Related Articles, no 1.), Tocqueville concluded that it was nevertheless best for French-speaking Canadians to believe they had been conquered rather than abandoned by France, their motherland. Tocqueville pointed a guilty finger at Louis XV. But the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763), did protect England’s newly-acquired territories and its French-speaking subjects, without creating an assembly for French-speaking Canadians.

The Quebec Act and the Constitutional Act

The Quebec Act, signed in 1774 under Guy Carleton put on an equal footing French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians and, as expected aboriginals and French-speaking fought the British in the American Revolutionary War. The Constitutional Act (1791) respected French Canadians. Guy Carleton, In fact, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 protected aboriginals. In the Canadian Encyclopedia the Royal proclamation of 1763 was the aboriginals’ magna carta. The same could not be said of the French-speaking citizens of Britain new colony. With respect to Amerindians, the Proclamation

established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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Royal Proclamation Map (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)

In short, France chose to cede New France under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, but that it did so conditionally. His “Britannick” majesty would not take away from France’s former subjects their language, their religion and their seigneurial system. Under the terms of Confederation, Quebec also kept its Civil Code, which is still in place. Moreover, under the Constitutional Act of 1791, Quebec included Labrador. (See Labrador, Canadian Encyclopedia.)

The Labrador Boundary Dispute was one of the most celebrated legal cases in British colonial history. Though Newfoundland’s claim to the watershed of all rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean is recognized in the Constitution Act, many Quebecers still consider Labrador part of “Nouveau-Québec.”

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Constitutional Act, 1791 (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Consequently, French-speaking Canadians’ magna carta was the Quebec Act of 1774 and the Constitutional Act of 1791.  But they and the British lived for the most part in Lower Canada where facing the “schools question” was easier to deal with. Each nation had its land.  Yet, the schools question, French-language schools that were also Catholic schools was a legitimate request on the part of French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. They were Catholics, but first and foremost they were one of the founding nations of an expanding Canada. The French, the voyageurs, in particular, with the help of Amerindians, opened the North-American continent, but the French and Métis were Catholics and Manitoba, a French-language province.

One could argue that French-speaking Canadians, living in provinces outside Quebec could have been educated in their mother tongue, had they not insisted their schools also be Catholic schools. Yet, one could also take the view that authorities outside Quebec had an easy, but questionable and somewhat transparent, justification to deprive members of a founding nation of their right to have their children educated in the French language, if possible.

Consequently, “the schools question,” the creation of language schools that were also Catholic schools was a legitimate request on the part of French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. They were Catholics, but more importantly they were one of the founding nations. The Manitoba Act of 1890, the abolition of French as a teaching language was

[a]n Act to Provide that the English Language shall be the Official Language of the Province of Manitoba.

What of the two founding nations? Was Quebec to be the only part of Canada where children could be educated in French?

The Official Languages Act of 1969

The work of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism resulted in the Official Languages Act, given royal assent on 9 September 1969. Most acts are amended, so there may have been a few amendments to the Official Languages Act. In theory, the dispute is over or should be. Canada is officially bilingual. In other words, its official documents appear in the two languages and the federal government’s services are available in both languages.

By 1969, public schools were secularized in Quebec. The separation of Church and state has long been accepted. Until the 1960s, the people of Quebec had a French Catholic school board and an English Protestant school board. Problems arose after the Second World War. (See Laïcité, Wikipedia, note 7.)[2] Laïcité would also have benefited Quebec during the years that followed the Second World War. French-speaking immigrants were not necessarily Catholics. Which school were parents and students to choose?


Motto of the French republic on the tympanum of a church in Aups, Var département, which was installed after the 1905 law on the Separation of the State and the Church. Such inscriptions on a church are very rare; this one was restored during the 1989 bicentennial of the French Revolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quebec and its Language Laws

The Official Languages Act of 1969, was a great victory for Canadians. (See also the Official Languages Act of 1988, Canadian Encyclopedia). French-speaking Canadians living on the West Coast could listen to Radio-Canada and watch its television programmes in French (Ici Radio-Canada). Radio-Canada is the French-language equivalent of the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

However, despite their rights, it could be said that, in practice, Quebec’s Official Language Act may have harmed the citizens of Quebec and French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. In 1974, Quebec declared itself a unilingual province, French, under Premier Robert Bourassa‘s, The Quebec government passed Bill 22. In 1976, Quebec elected its first separatist government under the leadership of René Lévesque,  who had founded the Parti québécois. Quebec’s government passed Bill 101, or the Charter of the French language, in 1977, language bills. The face of Quebec had to be French and its immigrants would have to enter French-language schools.

In the 1980 referendum. 60% of Quebecers voted not to give the Quebec government the mandate it needed to begin negotiations that could lead to Quebec’ sovereignty. It was a “no” vote. A second referendum was held, in 1995. In 1995, the ‘no’ vote was 50.58% and led to the Clarity Act (2000).

An État providence or Welfare State

The goal of the Parti Québécois was sovereignty, but the goal of the Révolution tranquille was an État providence, or Welfare State, which could not be attained if language laws caused its most affluent citizens to leave Quebec.

Moreover, as early as the 1960s, separatists or sovereigntists had a terrorist branch: the Front de Libération du Québec, or FLQ. FLQ militants placed bombs in mailboxes, injuring postal workers, and they kidnapped British diplomat James Cross as well as Quebec’s minister of labour, Pierre Laporte, who was strangled. It could be that James Cross would also have been killed had Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau not invoked the War Measures Act. To civil libertarians, the War Measures Act seemed excessive, but James Cross was freed and acts of terrorism ended. These events are referred to as the  October Crisis of 1970 and they would cause many to find Quebec an unsafe environment. That exodus was a loss for Quebec. Those who left were, by and large, affluent taxpayers. How could Quebec become an état providence, a welfare state, if taxes could not absorb the costs?

Bill 22, 1974 & Multiculturalism

With respect to Bill 22, it may have been passed to counter Pierre Elliott Trudeau multiculturalism, a notion that grew during the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, Royal Commission on  Bilingualism and Biculturalism. I remember clearly that during the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, many Canadians rejected Bilingualism and Biculturalism, from the point of view of demographics. There were more Germans, Hungarians, Italians, or Ukrainians in their community than French CanadiansThere were more Germans, Hungarians, Italians, or Ukrainians in their community than French Canadians. Their language should therefore be an official language, which would mean that Canada could now have more than 200 official languages. They also said that New France lost the battle of the Plains of Abraham (13 September 1759) and that the time had come for French-speaking Canadians to be told they lost the battle. Canada is increasingly multicultural and it will continue to welcome immigrants, but its founding nations remain France and Britain to this day. In Quebec, immigrants learn French because French Canadians no longer have very large families. In the rest of Canada, learning French is not necessary.

An Exodus from Quebec: the St-Lawrence Seaway or…

However, even if they were used to keep Quebec a French-language province, its Language Laws caused an exodus. Many argue that the opening of the St-Lawrence Seaway, which allows large ships to reach Toronto, provides a full explanation for this exodus. This explanation is not totally convincing. The  October Crisis of 1970 alone would be disturbing and could result in the more affluent taxpayers leaving Quebec, Montreal especially.

An État Providence, a Welfare State

This matter is problematical. One of the goals, of the Révolution tranquille, other than secularization, laïcité, was the establishment of an État Providence, or Welfare State. Welfare States levy taxes that fund social programmes. Although Quebecers pay income tax to both their provincial and federal governments, I doubt that Quebec can be an état providence. I have not heard Quebecers complain bitterly. Students pay low tuition fees and day care costs are also inexpensive, but Quebec is not a Welfare State.  In all likelihood, Language Laws have frightened citizens. It must be very difficult for Quebec to offer medical services that have become extremely expensive.

It must also be difficult for the government to pay high salaries. The harsh repression of asbestos miners, in 1949 (see Asbestos miners’ strike, Wikipedia), opened the way for the growth of strong labour unions. Employees would no longer be exploited by employers but a lot of Quebecers are syndicated, including part-time university teachers and university teachers.

According to sources outside Quebec, the province’s healthcare laws and practices “do not respect the principles set out in the Canada Health Act,” and amendments. Given that Quebec has not signed the Patriated Constitution of 1982, le repatriement de la Constitution, a Quebec healthcare card is refused by doctors outside Quebec. Hospital fees will be paid, which may not be enough. One could therefore state that Quebec’s healthcare laws and practices “do not respect the principles set out in the Canada Health Act” because it is not universal. Provincial healthcare cards should be valid everywhere in Canada and they should also buy you a bed in a four-bed hospital room and, if necessary, a two-bed hospital room.



The 1982 Patriated Constitution

René Lévesque and Pierre Elliott Trudeau were at loggerheads between 1980 and 1982, the year the Patriated Constitution was sugbed. In 1980, when the first sovereigntist referendum took place, 60% of Quebecers voted against given the René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois a mandate to renegotiate Quebec’s partnership with Ottawa, the federal government. Would that Quebecers did not have to pay the price! The Quebec government’s refusal to sign the Patriated Constitution did lead to what can be viewed as the erosion of the Canada Health Act.

Healthcare in Canada is universal but Quebecers’ Healthcare card is not valid outside Quebec, except in a hospital. I am a Canadian and so are other Quebecers. The Quebec health-care card is universal but only in Quebec. Quebec accepts the Healthcare cards of citizens living outside Quebec. Quebecers are therefore footing the bill. Yes, Quebec authorities should have signed the Patriated Constitution of 1982, because the people of Quebec are still Canadians. Are authorities outside Quebec treating Quebecers as though they were not Canadians. If so governments outside Quebec may be seen as complicit in the erosion of Healthcare in Quebec, a Canadian province.

I hope Quebec will sign the sign the Patriated Constitution of 1982 as quickly as possible and that it and other Canadians will not use unfortunate historical events to perpetuate quarrels and, unconsciously, participate and be in fact complicit in the estrangement of Quebec. It may be injudicious on the part of Ottawa not to ensure the welfare of Quebecers. Many Québécois wish to separate. Quebecers are Canadians. I realize that Education and Health are provincial responsibilities, but must a Quebecer who faces a health catastrophe outside Quebec, his province in Canada, pay the cost?

I would so like to know why Quebec’s refusal to sign the Patriated Constitution of 1982 has led to the erosion of universal heathcare in Canada.  Quebec is a province of Canada. If he knew the consequences of his actions, René Lévesque, the then Premier of Quebec, may well have failed voters by not signing the new Constitution. Or was Pierre Elliott Trudeau forgetting the people, ordinary people?


Opening boxes of books was a challenge, but it became informative. However, discarding book had become more complex. My father’s books will be adopted by Sherbrooke’s Historical Society and the University of Sherbrooke. But these libraries need lists and will not pick up the books. That will be my duty. My father’s writings have been collated. He wrote editorials for Le Franc-Contact, a periodical published by the now extinct Conseil de la vie française en Amérique FR. University research centres have replaced le Conseil de la vie française en Amérique.

Again, a belated Happy New Year to all of you and apologies for not posting for two months. Combining posting and settling in a new apartment was not possible.


  1. Colonization and the Revenge of the Cradles (11 January 2014)
  2. Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada (31 December 2013)
  3. Regionalism in Quebec’s Literature: Thirty Acres (12 January 2014)
  4. Regionalism in  Quebec Fiction: Ringuet’s Trente Arpents, Part One (27 July 2012)
  5. Regionalism in Quebec Fiction: Ringuet’s Trente Arpents, Part Two (29 July 2012)

Sources and Ressources


Love to everyone
[1] Unconsciously, perhaps, the Quebec Act embodied a new principle in colonial government – the freedom of non-English people to be themselves within the British Empire. It also began what was to become a tradition in Canadian constitutional history – the recognition of certain distinct rights, or protections for Quebec – in language, religion and civil law. (Canada, a Country by Consent.)

[2] “France”Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Retrieved December 15, 2011. See drop-down essay on “The Third Republic and the 1905 Law of Laïcité“. (See Laïcité, Wikipedia.)

Marie-Nicole Lemieux sings from La Pietra del paragone (The Touchstone) by Giacomo Rossini

Sleigh Race at Quebec on the St. Lawrence by C. Krieghoff, 1852 (Courtesy Gallerie Klinkoff.ca)

© Micheline Walker
18 January 2018







Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada


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  The First Snow  Canadian Homestead, c. 1856 (la Galerie Walter Klinkhoff)

The First Snow | Canadian  Homestead by Cornelius Krieghoff, c. 1856
(La Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal)

Scene in the Laurentian, by Cornelius Krieghoff

Winter Scene in the Laurentians by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1867 (La Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal)

I published this article on 21st December 2013. My next post would be difficult to understand without the information provided in my earlier post and another earlier post.

Alexis de Tocqueville on Bas-Canada (Lower* Canada)

We are still in Lower Canada or Bas-Canada. * “Lower” means down the St. Lawrence river, closer to the Atlantic Ocean.  Our images are by Cornelius Krieghoff (19 June 1815 – 8 April 1872) who arrived in New York in 1836, immediately after completing his studies. Although Krieghoff had a brother in Toronto, Canada, but he settled in the province of Quebec. 

However, we are also reading excerpts from French political thinker and historian  Alexis de Tocqueville (29 July 1805 – 16 April 1859), whose two-volume Democracy in America, published in 1835 and 1840, depicts America as it was and, to a large extent, as it has remained: materialistic and much too individualistic.

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont (6 February 1802 – 30 March 1866), a magistrate and prison reformer, had travelled to North America in order to write a report on prisons in America, which they did.

However, Tocqueville’s curiosity led him to the former New France and induced him to discuss slavery in America.  In fact, it is now somewhat difficult to remember that Tocqueville and Beaumont’s mission was to examine the prison system in the New World.  Tocqueville and Beaumont were in Bas-Canada from August 23rd until September 2nd.  It was a short visit, but Tocqueville’s portrayal of Bas-Canada and the dangers confronting it are exceptionally insightful.[i] 

The Toll Gate, by Cornelius Krieghoff

Winter Landscape by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1849 (National Gallery of Canada)

The Ice Bridge at Longueil, by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1847-1848 National Gallery of Canada

The Ice Bridge at Longue-Pointe by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1847-1848 (National Gallery of Canada)

Lower Canada or Bas-Canada

« Le Canada pique vivement notre curiosité.  La nation française s’y est conservée intacte : on y a les mœurs et on y parle la langue du siècle de Louis XIV. » (Tocqueville)

“The French nation has been preserved there.  As a result, one can observe the customs and the language spoken during Louis XIV’s reign.” (Note 2)[ii] (Corbo’s translation)

« [I]l n’y a pas six mois, je croyais, comme tout le monde, que le Canada était devenu complètement anglais. » (Tocqueville)

In a letter to his mother, dated 7 September 1831, Tocqueville writes that: “not even six months ago, [he] believed, like everyone else, that Canada had become thoroughly English.” (Corbo’s translation)

« Nous nous sentions comme chez nous, et partout on nous recevait comme des compatriotes, enfants de la vieille France, comme ils l’appellent. À mon avis, l’épithète est mal choisie : la vieille France est au Canada ; la nouvelle est chez nous. » (Note 3)[iii] (Tocqueville)

“We felt like we were at home and everywhere people greeted us as one of their own, as descendants of ‘Old France’ as they called it.  But to me, it seems more like Old France lives on in Canada and that it is our country [France] which is the new one.”  Thus, Tocqueville was surprised by realities he discovered in Canada. Compared to his visits to other foreign countries, the visit to Lower Canada was a brief one. (Note 4) (Tocqueville & Corbo.)

The seigneurial system and Religion

He notes that the seigneurial system is, for the most part, a “formality,” and that Religion is central to the community.

“The seigneurial system, which would last until 1854, is more of a formality than anything else, even though it is a source of irritation for some.  But this does not keep the lands from being properly farmed or from prospering.  Religion is central to the community; the clergy holds an important place and proves to be unquestionably loyal to the British authority.” (Corbo)

The Wealth is under English Control

Even though the peasants are prosperous, the real wealth is in the hands of the country’s Englishmen.  The Mondelet brothers, who [sic] Tocqueville met in Montreal on August 24th, as well as the anonymous English merchant he met on August  26th, reveal to Tocqueville that, “almost all the wealth and commerce is under English control.”  On September 1st, Tocqueville confirms in his notes that “the English have control of all foreign trade and run domestic trade without any opposition.” (Note 7)[iv] (Corbo & Corbo’s translations)

Si les paysans sont prospères, la grande richesse, elle, appartient aux Anglais du pays. Tant les frères Mondelet, rencontrés à Montréal le 24 août, que le marchand anglais anonyme de Québec, le 26 août, indiquent à Tocqueville que « presque toute la richesse et le commerce est dans les mains des Anglais. » (Corbo & others)

Predominance of the English Language & Anglicisms

In both cities, “all the signs [enseignes] are in English and there are only two English theatres.” During his visit to the courthouse in Quebec City, Tocqueville observes the predominance of the English language and the mediocrity of the language of French-speaking lawyers, which is riddled with Anglicisms. (Note 8)[v] (Corbo.)

Tant à Montréal qu’à Québec, la langue anglaise domine dans la vie et sur la place publique:  « La plupart des journaux, les affiches et jusqu’aux enseignes des marchands français sont en anglais. » (Corbo & Tocqueville)

So, on 26 August, having visited the courthouse, Tocqueville comes to the conclusion that the French who live in the former New France are a conquered people and that it is an “irreversible tragedy.”

 Je n’ai jamais été plus convaincu qu’en sortant [de ce tribunal] que le plus grand et le plus irrémédiable malheur pour un peuple c’est d’être conquis.

“I have never been more convinced than after I left the courthouse that the greatest and most irreversible tragedy for a people is to be conquered.” (Note 10)[vi] (Corbo’s translation) 

Indians at Snowy Landscape, by Cornelius Krieghoff, c. 1847-1848 (The National Gallery of Canada)

Indians at Snowy Landscape by Cornelius Krieghoff, c. 1847-1848 (The National Gallery of Canada)


Having expressed pleasure in finding that New France had become Old France, Tocqueville then fears for the future of the French nation he has visited.  He was right.  The French-Canadian habitant was still prosperous, but there did come a point when the thirty acres could no longer be divided.  In fiction as in history, regionalism died.  In his 1938 Trente Arpents, or Thirty Acres, Ringuet, the pseudonym used by Philippe Panneton, chronicled its passing away in a poignant manner.  The habitant had nowhere to go.  Nearly a million French-Canadians and Acadians left for the United States.


“Pour l’amour du bon Dieu ” by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1858 (la Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal)

Sources and Resources

Tocqueville, Alexis de, Œuvres complètes : œuvres, papiers et correspondances, édition définitive publiée sous la direction de J. P. Mayer, Paris, Gallimard, 1951-2002, 18 tomes en 30 volumes.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Correspondance familiale, Œuvres complètes, t. XIV, Paris, Gallimard, 1998) in Œuvres complètes.

Habitant, by Cornelius Krieghoff (note the ceinture fléchée) (la Galerie Walter Klinkhoff)

“Va au Diable” by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1858 (note the ceinture fléchée), (la Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal) 

Our habitant says “For the love of God,” knocking at his lawyer’s door, and “Go to the Devil,” as he leaves.  He is wearing a hat called une tuque and his ceinture fléchée.

Love to everyone and a Happy New Year ♥

[i] Claude Corbo, in the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America As indicated, Corbo is at times the narrator and, at times, a translator. 

[ii] Alexis de Tocqueville, Correspondance familiale, Œuvres complètes, t. XIV, Paris, Gallimard, 1998, p. 105. (Note 2)  

[iii] Alexis de Tocqueville, Correspondance familiale, Œuvres complètes, t. XIV, Paris, Gallimard, 1998, p.129. (Note 3)

[iv] Alexis de Tocqueville, Œuvres 1, p. 210. (Note 7)

[v] Œuvres 1, p. 210. (Note 8)

[vi] Alexis de Tocqueville, Œuvres I, p. 205. (Note 10)

The video has been removed.

The Valley of the Cariboo, by Cornelius Krieghoff,

The Valley of the Cariboo by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1856 (la Galerie Walter Klinkhoof)

© Micheline Walker
31 December 2013

Baron Viktor Gutmann: Final Comments


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Landscape by Gustav Klimt (Pinterest)

The above landscape is a favourite. The composition is masterful and so is the choice of colours and a remembrance of pointillism.

Today must be devoted to domestic affairs. Besides, I’m still sorting out files, throwing many documents away. They have lost their relevance. I wish to thank all of you for allowing me to visit your magnificent posts at a slower pace and to publish much less frequently.

100 The Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze 1909

The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, 1909 (Google images)

The Vancouver Bloch-Bauer Family

This post contains more information on my friends and the Vancouver branch of the Bloch-Bauer family. I have edited my post to show that the Mr. Bloch-Bauer I met was Karl (Charles) David Bloch-Bauer. The gentleman I knew as Mr. Bloch-Bauer died of leukemia in 1968. In 1968, I was a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. The last time I saw Mr. Bloch-Bauer, my husband and I were entering a movie-house with two friends. Mr. Bloch-Bauer looked extremely ill and died in 1968. Members of the Vancouver Bloch-Bauer family were and are in the forest industry (Canfor), but Francis was a scientist, married to the exquisite Hélène, and Nelly is Dr. Nelly Auersperg.

I looked at my wedding book and found a card signed by the Gutmanns, wishing us the best. From the photographs I can identify no more than a handful of friends. After our honeymoon, at Wikaninnish Inn – the highway had not been built, David and I settled on Point Grey Road. The Ocean was at our feet and we had a marvellous view of English Bay. Those days are gone.

My story is accurate, but it is of a different flavor than versions told by the press. Adele Bloch-Bauer was my friends’ great-aunt, but the Gutmanns did not try to retrieve Gustav Klimt’s portraits and other paintings and sketches the family owned. What I remember is that the Nazis pillaged their Vienna home; that their father was executed by the Red Army; that Francis and his sister were / are scientists, that Baron Viktor Gutmann asked his wife to marry Josep Beppo Gattin and to erase all traces of their Jewish ancestry and that John Auersperg, a Prince, taught me the Viennese Waltz.

I am of course delighted that, after six decades, paintings and sketches that belonged to the Bloch-Bauer family were returned to their owners. Francis and Hélène’s children will live more comfortably. However, I cannot edit my memories fully. I can’t help thinking that it must have been horrible for Baron Viktor Gutmann to face an unjust death not knowing what would happen to his family. He was first and foremost a husband and a father.

To my knowledge, Francis and Nelly had been sent to Palestine, but in 1946, they were in today’s Croatia and Nelly was entering medical school. The Bloch-Bauers were in Vancouver before the World War II, but Baron Viktor Gutmann had returned to his homeland, Croatia. They immigrated in c. 1950.

I was told that Baroness Gutmann barely escaped internment and probable death in a concentration camp. A Nazi officer pulled her away from other detainees. If this is true, which I believe it is, was the officer punished? The German people suffered under the Nazi régime, and, when the war ended, Germany was split and a wall was built to divide Berlin. The Cold War had begun.

Actor Adrien Brody is still haunted by memories of the 2002 film The Pianist. Mr. Brody played the role of Polish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman whose life was saved by Nazi officer Wilm Hosenfeld. Wilm Hosenfeld was imprisoned by the Red Army and died in captivity in 1952.


Art endures, but can it redeem man’s inhumanity to man?

C’était un temps déraisonnable,
On avait mis les morts à table.

http://www.parolesmania.com/paroles_louis_aragon_82603/paroles_est-ce_ainsi_que_les_hommes_vivent_1368599.html FR
http://lyricstranslate.com/en/est-ce-ainsi-que-les-hommes-vivent-how-men-live.html EN

My love to everyone

Yves Montand chante « Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent ? » (Louis Aragon)

Wilm Hosenfeld (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
18/19 November 2017





Luise Bloch-Bauer & Viktor Gutmann


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Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt, 1907 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allow me to return to an earlier post: Fauré & Ravel: Nostalgia, so I can finish telling the story of my long-lost friends, Francis and Hélène Gutmann.  As you know, they had a great-aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose name was perpetuated by Gustav Klimt. Adele Bloch-Bauer was Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer‘s wife. Ferdinand commissioned a portrait of his wife from Gustav Klimt, a founding member of the fin de siècle Vienna Secession, an art movement linked to Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Jugendstil: japonisme and modernisme. Gustav Klimt completed the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, in 1907. But there would be a second portrait of Adele: Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912.


Adele Bloch Bauer II by Gustav Klimt, 1912 (Google Images)

When I lived on the West coast, the Bloch-Bauer family had not retrieved the art masterpieces that had been confiscated from the Bloch-Bauer family by the Nazis, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria: the Anschluss (12 March 1938).

I had never heard of Maria Altmann, née Bloch-Bauer, my friends’ aunt who lived in California. Her search for pieces of Klimt’s legacy that belonged to the Bloch-Bauer family had not begun. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer’s heirs owned five paintings executed by Gustav Klimt, one of which was the famous Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907, which Klimt created using gold leaf and silver.

Adele Bloch-Bauer died of meningitis, in 1925, and she and her husband, Ferdinand, never had children. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer fled to Switzerland, but he lost everything and died in Zürich, in 1945. However, in his Will, he bequeathed his wife’s portrait and other pieces, a total of five, by Gustav Klimt, to at least three of the children born to his brother, Dr. (jur.) Gustav Bloch-Bauer (Bloch) whose wife was Therese Bloch-Bauer (Bauer). The names were joined. Gustav Bloch-Bauer (Bloch) died on 2 July 1938, the year Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. He and Therese’s children were:

  1. Karl (Charles) David Bloch-Bauer;
  2. Leopold Bloch-Bauer / Bentley;
  3. Robert Bloch-Bauer / Bentley;
  4. Mrs. Maria Altmann;
  5. Baroness Luise Gutmann, wife of Croatian Baron Viktor Gutmann von Gelse und Belišće.

The first persons, whose name comes to mind in this saga are Gustav Bloch and Therese Bauer. The two names, Bloch and Bauer, were joined. Another person is Mrs. Altmann (née Bloch-Bauer) who married Fritz Altmann, in 1937. Her husband was arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp in the hope this would force his brother Bernhard Altmann, who had fled to Britain, to transfer his wealth to the Nazis. Fredrik (Fritz) Altmann was released and he and Maria Altmann found a refuge in the United States. Bernhard sent Mrs. Altmann a cashmere sweater, which is how cashmere was brought to the United States. The Altmann family first lived in Massachusetts, but moved to California.

Mrs. Altmann is the heroine, played by actrice Helen Mirren, of the film Woman in Gold (2015). Maria Altmann hired composer Arnold Shoenberg’s grand-son, E. Randol Schoenberg, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in Woman in Gold, in her successful quest to retrieve the paintings by Gustav Klimt that belonged to the Bloch-Bauer family, but were confiscated by the Nazis.


The Bloch-Bauer Family in Vancouver

The remaining members of the Bloch-Bauer family settled in Vancouver, including Therese Bloch-Bauer (Bauer), Gustav’s widow and Ferdinand’s sister-in-law. They are Karl, Leopold, Robert, and Luise Bloch-Bauer, my friends’ mother and mother-in-law.

Members of the Vancouver branch of the Bloch-Bauer family changed their name to Bentley. Leopold Bloch-Bauer had married Antoinette Pick, so the name Pick was replaced by the name Prentice. I did meet a Mr. Bloch-Bauer. I believe the person I met was either Leopold Bloch-Bauer, Peter Bentley‘s father, or Karl (Charles) David Bloch-Bauer. The gentleman I met suffered from leukemia. So, I met Karl (Charles) David Bloch-Bauer.


Dr. Nelly Auersperg, b. Gutmann, enrolled in medical school at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, in 1946, where she studied for three years till 1949.


Dr. Nelly Auersperg, b. Gutmann in Belišće, Croatia, 2003. 
On the right to her is Mr. Francis Gutmann (PhD), her brother.


Croatia & the Principality of Auersperg

My friends surname  is Gutmann. Luise Bloch-Bauer married Croatian Baron Viktor Gutmann von Gelse und Belišće. Baron Viktor Gutmann fled to his homeland, the current Croatia, where he believed he would escape the Holocaust. He did and he didn’t.

Baron Viktor Gutmann and his wife, Luise (Bloch-Bauer), were arrested by Ustaše, in 1943, and imprisoned. Baron Viktor Gutmann’s brother, Ernö, died at the Jasenovac Concentration Camp. Ironically, Viktor Gutmann, a survivor of the Nazi régime, was executed on 17 February 1946, in Zagreb, Croatia, by the Red army. He was an aristocrat and a capitalist, not a criminal and Nazi collaborator. (See Viktor Gutmann, Wikipedia.)

I was told that, fearing for the life of his family, Baron Viktor Gutmann had instructed his wife to marry their Italian and Catholic friend. This Italian friend could be Josep Beppo Gattin. To be certain that what I am writing is correct, I would have to speak with Dr. Nelly Auersberg or Hélène, whom I cannot find. However, I wish to point out that having remarried, Baroness Luise Gutmann was no longer known as a Bloch-Bauer. She was the wife of Josep Beppo Gattin. Francis Gutmann, her son, did not change his name.

I met Baroness Luise Gutmann. Hélène and I stopped by her house, a humble house, and she showed me a document signed by a member of the Strauss dynasty. I therefore associated the now deceased Baroness Gutmann with the Strauss family and the Viennese Waltz. She had entertained guests in her Vienna home to the music of the Strauss. Her son, Francis, married Hélène, and Nelly, Dr. Nelly Auersperg, married John Auersperg. Mr. Auersperg would be the prince and perfect gentleman who taught me the Viennese Waltz. Nelly is a renowned scientist in her field: ovarian cancer research. (See Principality of Auersperg, Wikipedia.) Mr. Auersperg died on 17 September 2017.


Hélène probably lives in Montreal. She knows that I married David Walker. They may have attended our wedding. I must look at the pictures… I believe they did. I found the card Hélène gave us, wishing us the best. We visited them at their home in the early 1970s. I also spent a few days with them after they bought their bungalow. They had also purchased a Blouin piano they and I loved. Francis was teaching at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, where I live. They moved to Montreal.

I would love to see Hélène. We share the same family name. If she visited, she could give me suggestions regarding the decoration of my apartment. Her little house on the campus of the University of British Columbia was a jewel.

Love to everyone 


Landscape by Gustav Klimt (Pinterest)



The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, 1907/1908 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Frauenkopf by Gustav Klimt, 1917/1918 (Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz)

Erik Satie – Gymnopédie No.1


Dr. Nelly Auersperg, b. Gutmann

© Micheline Walker
16/17 November 2017





Kasyan Yaroslavovitch Golejzovsky’s Harlequin


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KASYAN YAROSLAVOVITCH GOLEJZOVSKY 1892 Moscow – 1970  Moscow (Photo credit: Invaluable)

This mixed-media depiction of Harlequin, by Russian artist Kasyan Yaroslavovitch Golejzovsky, was sold at an auction, in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 9 November 2017. I congratulate its owners. I love it, but I haven’t the money to bet and buy at auctions. However, I visit not to forget styles and to see beautiful objects.

Harlequin is a zanno (zanni), a comic servant, who was introduced into the Commedia dell’arte by 17th – century actor – manager Zan Ganassa (c. 1540 – c. 1584): Zan (=zanni) Ganassa. Commedia dell’ arte actors were professionals. They were provided with an outline of the comedy (called a canevas in French), where they played a role, always the same role, which they improvised. The Italians travelled to other countries. Ganassa was in Spain from 1574 to 1584. Paris had its Comédie-Italienne, and Harlequin was in 18th – century London.

In the commedia erudita, however, actors used a script written by a playwright. Ben JohnsonShakespeare, Molière and dramatists preceding them often drew their material from Plautus (254 BCE [Sarsinia, Umbria, Italy] – BCE 154)[1] and Terence (195 BCE [Carthage, current Tunisia] – 159 BCE [Greece or at sea]).[2] Roman dramatists Plautus and Terence wrote in Latin, but the vernacular, early forms of Italian, was also used by actors. However, Plautus and Terence, found their inspiration in Greek New Comedy (320 BCE to the mid 3rd century BCE), from which they also borrowed. Molière‘s Miser (1668) is rooted in Plautus’ Aulularia.

Harlequin is perhaps the best-known of the commedia dell’arte’s zanni and one of its most celebrated characters. Harlequin always wears a costume. It is part of the mask, but behind the mask there is a man, or a woman. Until the creation of Pierrot, drawn from both pantomimes and the commedia dell’arte, the stock characters of the commedia dell’arte seemed what they appeared.

However, Pierrot, created in late 17th – century France, by the Parisian Comédie-Italienne, is a sad clown, a mask wearing a mask. He entertains an audience, but he loves Columbina who loves Harlequin. This is love’s triangle, an impossible love that may feed on jealousy. As the 17th century drew to a close in France, Madame de la Fayette[3] published La Princesse de Clèves, in which her heroine will not marry Monsieur de Nemours for fear he will stop loving her once his love is reciprocated. Jean Racine‘s Phèdre fails to save Hippolyte, whom she has falsely accused of trying to seduce her, when she learns Hippolyte claims to love Aricie. La Princesse de Clèves was published in 1678, the year after Phèdre was first performed.


Harlequin by George Barbier (Photo credit: Tumbler)


The Duel after the Masquerade by Jean-Léon Gérôme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this respect, he is perhaps the most enigmatic character of the commedia dell’arte, and the most human. Jealous love finds its best expression in a novel by Madame de La Fayette, La Princesse de Clèves (1678). But Molière’s Arnolphe, the blocking-character in The School for Wives, L’École des femmes, is jealous. The Gelosi (jealous) were also a commedia dell’ arte troupe, but jealous love is not associated with the Gelosi. In Britannica, we read that:

“The name was derived from the troupe’s motto, Virtù, fama ed honor ne fèr gelosi. (“We are jealous of attaining virtue, fame and honour”).[4]


Commedia dell’arte troupe, probably depicting Isabella Andreini and the Compagnia dei Gelosi, oil … CFL—Giraudon/Art Resource, New York (Photo credit: Britannica)


I will close by reminding my readers of the British John Rich’s harlequinades: tom-foolery and pandemonium. Unlike the clever, nimble and clownish British zanno  Harlequin, Pierrot is mime‘s sad clown performed by Jean-Gaspard Deburau (Battiste), Jean-Louis Barrault (Baptiste), and less-acclaimed mimes.  Jean-Louis Barrault is the star of director Michel Carné‘s 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis (The Children of Paradise), one of cinema’s classics, written by Jacques Prévert. But is Picasso‘s family Harlequin “funny?” (See Arlecchino, Arlequin, Harlequin and Leo Rauth’s “fin de siècle” Pierrot in RELATED ARTICLES).

Stock characters must not deviate from their role, nor can actors. But masks tend to invite a response not intended in the manner a role is played.

Love to everyone 


Sources and Resources

Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien (c. 1773-1777), published in 1830. (Google) FR
Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien, Wikipedia FR


[1] Plautus, Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Plautus)
[2] W. Geoffrey Arnott, Terrence, Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Terence)
[3] In 1655, at the age of 21, already a salonnière, she married 38-year-old François Motier, comte de La Fayette, an ancestor to Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette. She bore him two sons.
[4] Gelosi, Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Compagnia-dei-Gelosi

Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune, for Piano (Suite Bergamasque No. 3), L. 75/3

Pierrot et Harlequin Mardi Gras by Cézanne

© Micheline Walker
10 November 2017

Fauré & Ravel : Nostalgia


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6abriel Fauré, Élégie in C Minor for Cello & Piano Op. 24 (1880 – 1883)

Peter Schlosser - Dívka s pávem

Girl with Peacock by Peter Schlosser, 1896 (Photo credit: fleurdulys)

Peter Schlosser was an Austrian artist, in the days of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and the Wiener Secession (the Vienna Secession). I found a post about him, but no entry. This above painting is dated 1896.

Gustav Klimt and other artists founded the Wiener Secession in April 1897. Klimt’s  Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is dear to me because I was a friend of relatives, members in fact, of the Bloch-Bauer family. My friends were Hélène and Francis Gutmann. Francis, whose mother was a Bloch-Bauer, finished a PhD in physics, at the University of British Columbia, where I also completed a PhD. However, we had met in Victoria. I also met Mr. Bloch-Bauer, an uncle (I believe). He was an older gentleman at the time, the very late 60s. If my memory serves me well, he spoke French. Francis met his wife, my friend Hélène, in Montreal. He enjoyed playing the piano. The Nazis pillaged the family home. His brother-in-law, a prince, taught me the Viennese Waltz. Francis was born in Vienna and died in Montreal, in 2014.


Love to everyone 

Gabriel Fauré, Élégie in C Minor for Cello & Piano Op. 24

Paul Tortelier, violoncelle
Jean Hubeau, piano

Peter Schlosser - Dívka s pávem

Maurice RavelPavane pour une infante défunte (1899)
Orchestre national de France

Lake George by John Frederick Kensett, Hudson River School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 by Gustav Klimt, 1907

© Micheline Walker
5 November 2017

DACA: from the beginning…


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President Obama Meets Beneficiaries Of The Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Policy

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama meets with a group of ‘DREAMers’ who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the Oval Office of the White House February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. ‘DREAMers’ are children who were brought into the U.S. illegally and were then granted temporary relief under Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The above photograph features DREAMers or beneficiaries of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.


President Trump plans to deport immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a policy of the Obama administration  adopted in June 2012 and rescinded by the Trump administration in September 2017 (See Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Wikipedia.) DACA beneficiaries received a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and were eligible for a work permit.

DACA is rooted in the DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act)


“The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, S. 1291 by United States Senators Dick Durbin (D– Illinois) and Orrin Hatch (R– Utah), and has since been reintroduced several times (see Legislative history) but has failed to pass.” (See DREAM Act, Wikipedia.)

John Ward Dunsmore‘s depiction of Lafayette (right) and Washington at Valley Forge, a battle fought in 1777-1778 (Wikipedia)
George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1797 (Wikipedia)
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1798 (Wikipedia)
Dred Scott  (Photo credit: PBS)
Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette by Joseph-Désiré Court, 1791 (Wikipedia)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

If one reads the Declaration of Independence, quoted above, without taking its historical context into consideration, one cannot reconcile the phrase “all men are created equal,” with enslavement. Matters are all the more puzzling since, as Minister to France (1784 -1789), Thomas Jefferson helped the Marquis de Lafayette draft the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), a monument to social justice drawing from the American Declaration of Independence. La Fayette had fought in the American Revolutionary War. Could it be that the Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, were hypocrites? I have pondered this question and it would be my opinion that, in their eyes, black slaves were not fully developed men. The Founding Fathers: George Washington, John Adams, Alexander HamiltonJohn Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison wished to create a union of white men. George Washington, the 1st President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, was a Mason and a slave owner, but did he know that blacks were human beings to the same extent as whites?

Thomas Jefferson is unlikely ever to have whipped his slaves, but I doubt that his attitude towards the blacks was substantially different from the view expressed, a century later, by Confederate General-in-Chief, Robert E. Lee’s (19 January 1807 – 12 October 1870)

“most noted comment, quoted by most Lee’s biographers, occurred in a [sic] 1856 letter to his wife, describing slavery as an evil institution, but one that had more adverse effects on whites than blacks. However, he viewed slavery as a “painful discipline” which elevated blacks from barbarism to civilization while introducing them to Christianity. He felt that the institution would come to an end in God’s good time, but that might not be soon.” (See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia.)

The White Man’s Burden

In the White Man’s Burden, a poem published as the 19th century drew to an end, in 1899), Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) expressed views that portrayed the inhabitants of colonies as “primitive:”

“The implication, of course, was that the Empire existed not for the benefit — economic or strategic or otherwise — of Britain, itself, but in order that primitive peoples, incapable of self-government, could, with British guidance, eventually become civilized (and Christianized).” (See The White Man’s Burden, Wikipedia.)


The British John Bull and the American Uncle Sam bear The White Man’s Burden (Apologies to Rudyard Kipling), taking the coloured peoples of the world to civilisation. (Victor Gillam, Judge magazine, 1 April 1899) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rudyard Kipling is the author of the Jungle Book (1894) and the Just-so stories (1902), classics of children’s literature. As for Lafayette, although he was an abolitionist and a Mason, he fought in the American Revolutionary War and probably realized that George Washington and other Founding Fathers of the United States could not be brought to view their black slaves as altogether human or “men,” but that they were good human beings.  The United States Declaration of Independence was worded in the language of John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) and also reflected Freemasonry. Equality would be the subject matter of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778)  Discourse on Inequality (1754) and a main theme in Rousseau’s Social Contract (1762). These documents are “cornerstones in modern political and social thought.”


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John Locke by Godfrey Kneller, 1697 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


J.-J. Rousseau by  Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798

  • Three Acts
  • Dred Scott

The case of Dred Scott is most revealing. In 1857, Dred Scott, a slave taken to free states by his owners, sued for his freedom and lost. Dred Scott vs Sandford  60 U.S  393 is considered one of the worst mistakes of the Supreme Court of the United States. Its decision was made shortly before the American Civil War (1861-1865) and it proved to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War.” (See Dred Scott vs Sandford 60 U.S.393.)

African-Americans had been taken to the Americas forcibly, yet they were not recognized as citizens of the United States until the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1868, three years after the South surrendered to the Union. As for American Indians, they were not  citizens until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

“This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free white persons of good character. It thus excluded American Indiansindentured servants, slaves, free blacks and later Asians although free blacks were allowed citizenship at the state level in certain states.” (See Naturalization Act of 1790, Wikipedia.)

John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts

The Naturalization Act of 1798, is one of four acts, the Alien and Sedition Acts, signed into law by John Adams, the 2nd American President of the United States and its 1st Vice President. The four laws under John Adam’s Alien and Sedition Acts are the following:

(See Alien and Sedition Acts, Wikipedia)

The Naturalization Act of 1798 was repealed by Thomas Jefferson and replaced by the Naturalization Law of 1802, which reduced the residence requirement of immigrants from 14 years to 5 years, as it had been under the terms of the Naturalization Act of 1795.  However, the Alien Enemies Act, was used after Pearl Harbor was attacked, on 7 December 1941. The Alien Enemies Act of 1798 would allow President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “to imprison JapaneseGerman, and Italian aliens during World War II.” Canadians followed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and also interned Japanese Canadians. (See Internment of Japanese Canadians.) The Alien Enemies Act was also used by President Harry S. Truman “to continue to imprison, then deport, aliens of the formerly hostile nations.” It has been revised but remains in effect. The Alien Friends’ Act and the Sedition Act went into dormancy. A modified Alien Enemy Act is still in force.

“The Sedition Act resulted in the prosecution and conviction of many Jeffersonian newspaper owners who disagreed with the government.” (See Alien and Sedition Acts, Wikipedia.)

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 6 May 1882 is particularly sad, and the United States was not the only country in which the Chinese were viewed as a peril, the Yellow Peril. It was the first American federal law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese laborers. Chinese had first emigrated to the United States during the California gold rush (1848-1855). Later, in the 1860s, they were employed to build the First Transcontinental Railroad from Nebraska to the Pacific Ocean. The Burlingame Treaty, signed in Washington (1868) and ratified in Beijing (1868), granted the Chinese equality with Americans. Yet, on 24 October 1871, 500 rioters entered Los Angeles’ Chinatown “to attack, rob and murder Chinese residents of the city.” Rioters “tortured and then hanged” 17 to 20 Chinese. The Massacre was “racially motivated,” and “it took place on Calle de los Negros (Street of the Negros), also referred to as ‘Nigger Alley.’ “It was the largest mass lynching in American history.” (See Chinese Massacre of 1871, Wikipedia.)


YellowTerror (1)

The Yellow Terror in all His Glory (1899) is a rebellious Qing Dynasty Chinese man, armed to the teeth, who stands astride a fallen white woman representing Western European colonialism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

French aristocrat Arthur de Gobineau, the author of the Essai sur l’inégalité des races (The Essay on the Inequality of  Human Races, c. 1848), feared the Yellow Peril above all. As we have seen, he developed the theory of the Aryan master race, but he was not an anti-Semite.


As biology, botany, ethnology, and related disciplines developed, the matter of racial superiority or inferiority among races started to lose its grip. The findings of English naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) were a revolution. According to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, two years after the Dred Scott vs Sandford, humans had evolved “through a process of natural selection.” (See Charles Darwin, Wikipedia.) Darwin’s views were controversial. Wasn’t man created by God? There is such a thing as Scientific Racism (see Wikipedia), but Darwin was not a racist.

Lafayette and Washington

Gilbert Motier de Lafayette was a very good friend of George Washington. He named one his sons after the 1st President of the United States. (See Georges Washington de La Fayette, Wikipedia.) Georges Washington de La Fayette, Lafayette’s son went to the United States during the French Revolution. He studied at Harvard and lived at the home of George Washington, and Americans did all they could to save the life of the Lafayette’s during the French Revolution. As for Thomas Jefferson, during his stay in France, just prior to the French Revolution, he was a distinguished guest at Lafayette’s home. Lafayette was an abolitionist and a Mason. He was a member of la Société des amis des Noirs  (The Society of Friends of the Blacks). In a letter to George Washington, written in 1783, “he urged the emancipation of slaves and their establishment as tenant farmers.” (See Gilbert Motier de Lafayette, Wikipedia.) He bought land in the French colony of Cayenne to “experiment.” However, there was little he could to do to change the embedded mindset of his American friends. Slavery had long been looked upon as morally acceptable, the slaves were blacks, an inferior race, and one did not have to pay slaves.


Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette by Joseph-Désiré Court, 1791 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By rescinding DACA, President Trump would show that he has little respect for immigrants, especially, but not necessarily, coloured immigrants. DACA beneficiaries arrived in the United States as minors and, at times, alone. The only home they know is the United States. If President Trump deports immigrants who arrived to the United States as minors, and, at times, unaccompanied, America will not be “great again;” it will be cruel and it will be walking back to an age when immigration to the United States was restricted to “free white persons of good character.” Immigration to the United States is currently taking a turn for the worse. DACA beneficiaries featured in the photograph inserted at the top of this post are dark-skinned.

I prefer to think that ethnicity is not a factor in the Trump administration’s decision to deport DACA beneficiaries. But what about immigrants from the Near to Middle East. They may have pale skin, but ethnicity might deprive them of a home.

In a letter to his wife Adrienne, Lafayette wrote:

“The welfare of America is bound closely to the welfare of all humanity. She [America] is to become the honored and safe asylum of liberty! Adieu! Darkness does not suffer me to continue longer. But if my fingers were to follow my heart, I should need no daylight to tell you how I suffer far away from you, and how I love you.” (See Adrienne de La Fayette, Wikipedia.)

When Lafayette was in United States, it was a country in the making, a project. And it is still a project. It took a long time to accept African-Americans as citizens of America. As for DACA, Mr Trump might change his mind and not deport them. President Trump wants to reverse every decision made by the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act is his main target.

In all likelihood the Founding Fathers believed that “all men were created equal,” but they lived in an age when humans looked upon the blacks and American Indians as inferior to white men. Matters have changed. The United States is now or should be “the honored and safe asylum of liberty!”


Sources and Resources

Love to everyone 


John Adams by John Trumbull, 1793 (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
30 October 2017








News, at last!


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Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live near this splendid Benedictine Abbey, in Quebec. During the fall, the colours are extraordinary.

Please accept my apologies for not posting frequently. I have moved to a new apartment, but my floors are covered with boxes containing books. This situation will end soon. I have hired an ébéniste who will build bookcases on each side of a fireplace and above my desk. He will also provide more adequate storage. I have difficulty working in the middle of this “mess.”

Moving turned out to be more exhausting than I anticipated.

I am currently finishing a post on immigration in the United States. Originally, only free white persons could be given citizenship. Yet, the United States became the world’s foremost refuge, which may not last if deportations continue and DACA is rescinded.

I thank you for your understanding.

Love to everyone 




© Micheline Walker
19 October 2017







American Tragedies


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Robert E. Lee (Photo credit: Today.com)

Ironically, as a Presidential hopeful, Donald J. Trump was endorsed by the National Rifle Association of America. He was also endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group who participated in the Charlottesville events. By accepting such endorsements, President Trump may have emboldened the killers. Stephen Paddock (9 April 1953 – 1st October 2017) was shooting from the 32nd floor of a hotel, which allowed him to kill or wound many people and complicated the work of the police. Fifty-eight (58) concertgoers are dead and some five hundred were wounded. Mr. Paddock had booked a room at the Mandalay Bay. So far, authorities are at a loss in determining a motive. Stephen Paddock is “unknowable.”

I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of the victims of both tragedies. The Last Vegas shooting was by far the bloodier, but although the Charlottesville events did not lead to numerous deaths, they were the more meaningful tragedy.


Charlottesville and the American Civil War


The Charlottesville tragedy is particularly significant because it is rooted in the American Civil War, the worst of American tragedies. Less than a hundred years after Americans fought the American Revolution, secession was unthinkable. Robert E. Lee attended West Point and served in the United States army.

Yet, on “18 April, he [Lee] was offered by presidential advisor Francis P. Blair, a role as major general to command the defense of Washington.  He replied:

Mr. Blair, I look upon secession as anarchy. If I owned the four millions of slaves in the South I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state? 

(See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia.)

The Civil War (1861-1865) opposed the Union, the North, and the Confederates, or the South. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to the Presidency of the United States, in November 1860, slave states, the South, stood to lose “their way of life, based on slavery.”

Times had changed.


First, the slave trade was abolished in 1807 by an act of the British Parliament (see The Slave Trade Act of 1807, Wikipedia). Second, in 1833, slavery itself was abolished (see The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Wikipedia). What had been considered morally acceptable when the slave trade began in the 16th century had become unacceptable. For centuries, captured Africans were packed like sardines in slave ships, the penultimate of which was the Wanderer. It sailed to Jekyll Island, Georgia delivering some 400 slaves.

USS_Wanderer_(1857) (1)

Wanderer in U.S. Navy service during the American Civil War (1861–1865), after her days in the slave trade were over. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Besides, the economy of the South was an agricultural economy. The South was rich, but unlike the Union, its economy demanded the cheap labour that had long been provided by slaves. As for the North, the Union, its economy was developing into an industrial economy. Furthermore, the 1840 a World Anti-Slavery Convention was held in Exeter Hall, a Masonic Hall. Exeter Hall is a synonym for the Anti-Slavery Society. Freemasons played a significant role in the abolition of slavery.  (See World Anti-Slavery Convention, Wikipedia.) To sum up, the South was doomed, but didn’t act.


The 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, London, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, to some extent, the South was a victim of history. Slavery had not been looked upon as a wrong when the Atlantic Slave Trade began, in the 16th century. Slaves were brought to the Americas, packed like sardines aboard slave ships. They were then purchased by plantation owners who probably believed the blacks were not human beings, at least not altogether. The impact of the Age of Enlightenment on the morally acceptable was enormous and it put slavery where it belonged, in the wrong. However, vested interests and an ingrained state of mind, not altogether American, stood in the way of abolition. Abraham Lincoln himself feared for the South’s economy.

For instance, Lincoln asked Giuseppe Garibaldi to lead an army, but Lincoln knew about an agricultural crisis.

“Garibaldi was ready to accept Lincoln’s 1862 offer but on one condition, said Mr Petacco: that the war’s objective be declared as the abolition of slavery. But at that stage Lincoln was unwilling to make such a statement lest he worsen an agricultural crisis.” (The Guardian, UK)



It remains that a right, slavery, had become a wrong and that it could not be made a right again. It violated the United States’ very own Declaration of Independence, whose main author was Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But a black could not be transformed into a white. Once they were freed, former slaves were targeted by white supremacists. They became the victims of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan. After the Union won the war, Robert E. Lee himself could not see the blacks as equals. He thought the blacks should not be given the right to vote, which remained the case until the 1960s.

Slavery and Racism: the colour black

At this point, the necessity arises to distinguish between slavery and racism. One can assume that slavery is as old as the world and that slaves have not always been members of the black race. Arabs have enslaved white women. However, the blacks have long been held in contempt. In two former posts, I noted that Senator John C. Calhoun (18 March 1782 – 31 March 1850) did not favour the annexation of Texas by the “Union” because some Mexicans were métis (see Manifest Destiny, Wikipedia).

“We have never dreamt [sic] of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race.”

North-African philosopher Ibn Khaldūn (27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) did not consider the black race as equal to the white race. He saw them as “dumb animals” and, therefore, candidates for slavery.

“Therefore, the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated.” (See Racism, Wikipedia.)

Historically, the blacks have been considered the inferior race, “dumb animals,” and “submissive to slavery.” Had the whites and the blacks been put on an equal footing, there would not have been an Atlantic Slave Trade and plantation owners would not have grown very wealthy by making slaves do the work. French Count Arthur de Gobineau (14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882), a friend of Alexis de Tocqueville, also considered the black race as inferior to the white race. Gobineau is the author of An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Racespublished in 1853. (See Related Articles #2)

The Abolition of Slavery

The Union won the war and slavery was abolished. By 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln had already emancipated 3 million slaves. On the 1st of January 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order. On the 1st of January 1863. (See Emancipation Proclamation, Wikipedia.) However, slavery was not ended officially until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Senate, on 8 April 1864, and by the House of Representatives, on 31 January 1865. A total of four million slaves were freed and Abraham Lincoln paid the ultimate price. He was assassinated on 15 April 1865, six days after Robert E. Lee “surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.” (See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia)

But it had been a very bloody war:

Four years of intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in all other wars combined.



A print showing Union Army General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant accepting Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee‘s surrender on April 9th, 1865. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Civil War left profound traces. It ended slavery, but racism grew and it intensified the discussion about the nature of the American federalism. After the Civil War, “power shifted away from the states and towards the national government.” (See Federalism in the United States, Wikipedia.) Several Americans fear their government.

Labour unions remembered Lincoln, which is also significant.


Flyer distributed in Lawrence, Massachusetts, September 1912. The Lawrence textile strike was a strike of immigrant workers.

The Permit


President Trump was criticized for stating that there was violence on “both sides:” a hate group, who protested “legally,” and counter protesters. There was indeed a mêlée, but a permit to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (19 January 1807 – 12 October 1870) cannot justify the killing of Heather D. Heyer. Besides, there is violence and there is violence.

In other words, a hate crime was perpetrated in Charlottesville. Although the neo-Nazi group had a permit, twenty-year-old James Alex Fields drove a motor vehicle into a group of counter protesters killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer, a paralegal from Charlottesville, and wounding 19 other counter protesters. James Alex Fields killed, which is a crime.

May you rest in peace, Heather Heyer.


No permit can justify murder. The President of the United States therefore blundered by suggesting that a permit lessened James Alex Fields’ guilt. Words such as “permit” and “legally” were uttered by white nationalists to excuse their crime. One wonders whether a hate group should be provided with a permit to protest. In Charlottesville, a permit could and did invite disorder including murder. Freedom is not a free-for-all. Freedom and a free-for-all are poles apart.

It may be judicious for the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) to reëxamine its position regarding the Charlottesville events. Everything has its limits including liberty. Liberty cannot be put into the service of criminal conduct. The Charlottesville events border on Thomas Hobbes‘ view of man “in a state of nature:”

“in a state of nature each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world. This, Hobbes argues, would lead to a ‘war of all against all’ (bellum omnium contra omnes).” (See Related Articles #9)

As for the Las Vegas shooting, there is a sense in which Stephen Paddock also acted “legally.” In the United States, civilians are permitted to carry firearms. What could Stephen Paddock do with his collection of firearms? I suspect that when a President such as Donald J. Trump is in office, a person who has a collection of firearms may shoot and kill. It would be in the best interest of a Presidential hopeful to refuse an endorsement from the National Rifle Association and the Ku Klux Klan a fortiori. Deaths by gun are far too numerous and too many victims are blacks. The right to bear arms makes it difficult for a police officer to know whether he or she is addressing a person bearing arms. Not that police brutality is acceptable, but that in the United States police officers are caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s “a war of all against all.”


  1. Walter Crane: from Slavery to Wage-Slavery (21 December 2015)
  2. Comments on Racism (2 February 2015)
  3. Freemasonry & Abolitionism  (31 January 2014)
  4. Ignatius Sancho & Laurence Sterne: a Letter (14 December 2013)
  5. The Abolition of Slavery (15 November 2013)
  6. From Manifest Destiny to Exceptionalism (10 November 2013)
  7. “Sorry Chancellor Merkel” (30 October 2013)
  8. The Noble Savage: Lahontan’s Adario (21 October 2012)
  9. The Social Contract: Hobbes, Locke & Rousseau (13 October 2012)←

Love to everyone 

Amazing Grace

Heather D. Heyer (Photo credit: CNN)

Micheline Walker
8 October 2017