They make house calls…

Featured

Tags

, , ,

Flowers and Fruit, 1899 - Louis Valtat
Flowers and Fruit par Louis Valtat, 1899 (Wikiart.org)

I apologize for not posting more frequently. First, someone is reading my posts as I write them. He or she may have the best intentions. Still, I have always worked alone. Although I have read and continue to read books and articles on Molière and insert quotations in learned articles, I usually present a significantly personal analysis of Molière.

It seems, however, that I may henceforth publish shorter posts. Last Wednesday, I tried to do some online banking. However, the company has created a new and safer version of its online tools. I followed the instructions, and a message appeared confirming that all was well. However, I could not log in.

So I phoned the company and waited for a few minutes until someone was available, but I started to cry when a young man answered. Technologies are a genuine obstacle, and technical problems may trigger a vulnerability. At any rate, within a few minutes, two large policemen were inside my apartment. I put on my mask, and we spoke.

I mentioned that my cat had died on 29 November 2019 and that it would soon be a year since he died. Moreover, I had been inside my apartment since March, avoiding the coronavirus. As well, in the space of three years, I had failed to settle in my apartment. Finally, Sherbrooke is now a red zone. One cannot call a carpenter, until a degree of safety has been reached. Who would help during a pandemic?

One of the policemen suggested I adopt a cat, and one offered to remove a heavy box from the hallway. They were good persons. I thanked them because I felt much better. It had been an accident.

One returns to life as usual, a narrower life because of Covid-19, but life.

However, I reflected that in the days of the coronavirus, if a citizen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, feels distraught, his or her best help could be the police. They are available twenty-four hours a day and they make house calls.

Love to everyone 💕

Afficher l’image source
Anemones and Green Jug by Louis Valtat, ca. 1926 (courtesy Art Resource, NY)


© Micheline Walker
20 November 2020
WordPress

Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan

Featured

Tags

, , ,

Testing

I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.

RELATED ARTICLE


The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn

Jerome_Adams_2019

Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020
WordPress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molière’s “L’Avare:” Doublings

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

3c7052e39c663e9eae133aabdbf6a7a5

L’Avare by François Boucher (drawing) and Laurent Cars (engraving) (Photo credit: Pinterest)

Background

  • Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BCE)
  • commedia dell’arte
  • French 17th-century misers: sources
  • Hellenic (ancient Greek) sources
  • French medieval farces and fabliaux
  • translations into English

As indicated in a previous post, Molière‘s L’Avare, The Miser, was first performed on 9 September 1668 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It is a five-act play, in prose, inspired by Roman dramatist Plautus‘ (254 – 148 BCE) Aulularia, the Pot of Gold. As we have seen, it is also rooted in the commedia dell’arte as well as Italian comedies and tales, and in France’s own medieval farces and the largely scatological fabliaux.

However, Molière also drew his material from La Belle Plaideuse (1655), by François le Métel de Boisrobert, which features a father-as-usurer, and Jean Donneau de Visé‘s La Mère coquette (1665), where a father and son are in love with the same woman.[1]

L’Avare is one of Molière’s better-known comedies and it was translated into English by Thomas Shadwell (1772) and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. However, it was not a huge success in Molière’s own days. It has been speculated that Molière’s audience expected a play written in verse, the nobler alexandrine verse (12 feet or syllables), first used in the twelfth-century Roman d’Alexandre.

89860644

L’Avare (www.gettyimages.fr)

The dramatis personæ is:

Harpagon, father to Cléante, in love with Mariane.
Cléante, Harpagon’s son, lover to Marianne.
Valère, son to Anselme, lover to Élise, and “intendant” to Harpagon
Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father to Valère and Mariane, and 
Master Simon, broker.
Master Jacques, cook and coachman to Harpagon.
La Flèche, valet to Cléante.
Brindavoine, and La Merluche, lackeys to Harpagon.
A Magistrate and his Clerk.
Élise, daughter to Harpagon.
Mariane, daughter to Anselme.
Frosine, an intriguing woman.
Mistress Claude, servant to Harpagon.

The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.

Act One

We will be focusing on the manner in which the young couples featured in the Miser, L’Avare, manage to overcome the obstacle to their marriage. Short of a miracle, they are condemned to do as their father’s greed dictates. All the elements of L’Avare’s plot are introduced in the first act of the play, which reflects the Græco-Roman origins of comedy and tragedy. As a five-act play, Molière’s L’Avare is a ‘grande comédie,’ not a farce (Molière wrote both), and its plot is the archetypal struggle, also called the agôn, between, on the one hand, the alazṓn of Greek comedy, or the blocking character, and, on the other hand, the eirôn, the young couple and their supporters: valets, maids, zanni. In other words, it is a traditional blondin-berne-barbon plot. The young couples will succeed in marrying.

A Comedy of Manners and A Comedy of Intrigue

  • doublings: two young couples and two fathers
  • Harpagon is the father of Élise and Cléante
  • Anselme is Valère and Mariane’s father, which we do not know until the fifth act (V. v) of the comedy

L’Avare is both a comedy of manners, a form we inherited mostly from Greek dramatist Menander, and a comédie d’intrigue, a comedy where the plot prevails. As the portrayal of a miser, L’Avare is a comedy of manners (see the full text in Wikisource and eBook #6923). Harpagon’s greed constitutes the obstacle to the marriage of Cléante (Harpagon) and Mariane as well as the marriage of Valère and Élise (Harpagon).

Cléante gambles and wins, which allows him to buy elegant clothes and court Mariane, but he does not have sufficient money to marry and must therefore go to a moneylender. Ironically, the moneylender happens to be Harpagon himself who demands no less than the now metaphorical “pound of flesh” (Shylock) as repayment. The moneylender episode—act two, scene two (II. i) [II. 2]—shows to what extent Harpagon’s greed is an obstacle to the marriage of our young couples. The plot advances in that Cléante cannot obtain a loan that might enable his marriage. Another “trick” must be devised. However, plot and manners (greed) are inextricably woven.

Obstacles to Two Marriages

  • “genre” art
  • a family tyrant

The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre arta depiction of ordinary people engaged in ordinary activities. Will G Moore has remarked that Molière’s characters

“[a]re concerned with everyday life; the stuff of which it was made was by tradition the doings of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings.”[2]

L’Avare is a five-act comedy, but it is written in prose, not verse, and Harpagon, our blocking character, is an enriched bourgeois. Although he does not feed his horse properly, he owns a carriage and he has servants. As depicted by François Boucher, the interior of his house is rather elegant. However, he is extremely greedy and he behaves as though he owned his children. He is a domestic tyrant. In act one, Harpagon states that he has arranged for his children to marry, but has not consulted them. Cléante will marry a “certain widow,” our tyrant has just heard of, and Élise will be “given” to Mr. Anselme, a gentleman who will not request the customary dowry, or “sans dot

Quant à ton frère, je lui destine une certaine veuve dont ce matin on m’est venu parler; et, pour toi, je te donne au seigneur Anselme. (Harpagon to Élise, [I. iv])
[As to your brother, I have thought for him of a certain widow, of whom I heard this morning; and you I shall give to Mr. Anselme. [1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Élise does not know Mr Anselme and refuses to marry him, threatening to commit suicide. As for Harpagon, he plans to marry Mariane, who loves his son (Cléante). For Harpagon, Mr Anselme is a perfect choice because Élise will marry at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. iv FR) (I. 6 EN) 

Harpagon’s Rigidity

Valère will attempt to save Élise from a marriage to a person other than himself. Valère, Harpagon’s “intendant,” begs Harpagon to free Élise. However, the objections he presents are followed by Harpagon’s “sans dot” (without a dowry). Molière’s blocking characters are inflexible or rigid. This rigidity is the feature Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) attached to the comical or comedic in his Laughter. Valère’s objections having been rebuked by a litany of “sans dot,” he is literally speechless. He simply repeats what the Harpagon, the miser, has told him:

Lorsqu’on s’offre de prendre une fille sans dot, on ne doit point regarder plus avant. Tout est renfermé là-dedans, et sans dot tient lieu de beauté, de jeunesse, de naissance, d’honneur, de sagesse, et de probité. (Valère à Harpagon, I. v)
[When a man offers to marry a girl without a dowry, we ought to look no farther. Everything is comprised in that, and “without dowry” compensates for want of beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and probity.] (I. 10[eBook #6923]

But there is some hope. As the story goes, Valère’s father, Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, is believed to have drowned when he and his family (his wife, Valère and Mariane) were fleeing Naples. It appears, however, that Dom Thomas has survived and that he is a man of means. Valère was looking for him when he met Élise. At her request, he decided to stay near her and made himself Harpagon’s “intendant,” but someone else is looking for Valère’s father.

Mais enfin, si je puis, comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. J’en attends des nouvelles avec impatience, et j’en irai chercher moi-même, si elles tardent à venir. (I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us. I am expecting news of them with great impatience; but if none comes I will go in search of them myself.] [I.1]

The curtain will then fall on an anagnorisis  (V. v) [V. 5], a recognition scene. However, when Anselme enters Harpagon’s house and hears that there is opposition to the contract he has come to sign, he tells Harpagon that he will not coerce a woman into a mariage, which frees Élise. He also remarks that he will not “lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself,” thereby allowing Mariane, his daughter, to marry Cléante, Harpagon’s son, rather than Harpagon.

Ce n’est pas mon dessein de me faire épouser par force, et de rien prétendre à un cœur qui se serait donné ; mais pour vos intérêts, je suis prêt à les embrasser ainsi que les miens propres. (Anselme to Harpagon [V. v])
[It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my own.] (V. 5) [eBook #6923]

Anselme seems a fine gentleman whom the anagnorisis (V. v) [V. 5], the dénouement (see Dramatic Structure, Wikipedia), will identify as Valère and Mariane’s father. A greedy Harpagon has chosen Anselme as the perfect groom because Anselme would marry Élise without requesting the customary dowry, or at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. v) [I. 5]

7_l_avare_de_pauline_boutal_large

Qu’il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. (III. i)

A Comedy of Intrigue

  • a plot or intrigue
  • a chiasmus (a mirror image in a sentence)
  • a quiproquo (a misunderstanding)
  • the doubling of the father figure (mirror image)

Harpagon’s greed is enormous, so students are taught that Molière concentrates on manners rather than the plot. He does, but in L’Avare, although the plot is mainly episodic, manners and plot (intrigue) are inextricably linked. For instance, when Harpagon is having a meal prepared to celebrate the marriage(s) that are to take place that very day, Harpagon hears Valère say that il faut manger pour vivre and not vivre pour manger, that one should eat to live and not live to eat, Harpagon so loves Valère’s witty chiasmus, that he wants these words engraved in gold and placed above his fireplace. (III. i) [III. 1] It is unlikely that Harpagon would use gold to celebrate greed, but it is true to character and comical. A meal often ends comedies and may solemnize a wedding.

Moreover, it is a quiproquo, a comical misunderstanding which, in L’Avare, leads to the anagnorisis. When Harpagon realizes his cassette has disappeared and may have been stolen, he loses his composure and accuses Valère, at the instigation of Maître Jacques. Maître Jacques resents the trust Harpagon has placed in Valère. If he could, Harpagon would have Valère drawn and quartered. Valère has not stolen Harpagon’s cassette, but he and Élise have signed a promise to marry another. Valère has ‘robbed’ Harpagon, but it is Élise he has taken, not a cassette. (V. iii & iv) [V. 3 & 4] [eBook #6923]

Anselme first steps foot on the stage as the battle rages. Given Élise’s promise, he cannot and would not marry her. However, Valère stands accused of a theft and wants to tell his story. The anagnorisis has now begun. To give himself credibility, Valère says that he is the son of Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, which Anselme hesitates to believe because he is a friend of Dom Those and, to his knowledge, all members of Dom Thomas’ family drowned as they were trying to flee Naples, which is not the case.Valère says that he was rescued by Pedro, a servant, and later adopted by the captain of the ship he and Pedro were allowed to board. He can prove his identity. As he speaks, Mariane realizes that Valère is her brother.

For their part, Mariane and her mother were also saved, but their helpers were corsaires, pirates, who enslaved them. Following ten years of enslavement, they were released and they returned to Naples where they could not find Dom Thomas d’Alburcy. They therefore picked up a small inheritance in Genoa and moved to Paris. Mariane’s mother is Valère’s  mother and Dom Thomas d’Alburcy’s wife. As he watches this scene, Dom Thomas learns that no member of his family died leaving Naples. He has just found his children and his wife. He would not stand in the way of Valère and Mariane’s marriage who wish to marry Harpagon’s children. Le sieur Anselme knows le sieur Harpagon.

Le Ciel, mes enfants, ne me redonne point à vous, pour être contraire à vos vœux. Seigneur Harpagon, vous jugez bien que le choix d’une jeune personne tombera sur le fils plutôt que sur le père. Allons, ne vous faites point dire ce qu’il n’est point nécessaire d’entendre, et consentez ainsi que moi à ce double hyménée. (V. v)

[Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father. Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and consent, as I do, to this double marriage.] [V. 5] [eBook #6923]

Doublings

Molière’s L’Avare has an intrigue which resembles the intrigue of most comedies. A young couple wishes to marry, but a blocking character, or alazṓnprevents their marriage. However, Molière has doubled the young couple who are a brother and sister wishing to marry a brother and a sister, so Molière has therefore doubled the father figure which happens during the anagnorisis. As Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, Anselme is the eirôn who allows the young couples to marry.

The anagnorisis, the recognition scene, does not take place unannounced. As mentioned earlier, as he despairs,Valère tells Élise that he hopes to find his father who may still be alive. Act one (I. i) [I. 1] has prepared the reader or spectator:

Mais enfin, si je puis comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. (Valère à Élise, I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us.] [I. 1] [eBook #6923]

der_geizige-1810

Der Geizigue, Harpagon & La Flèche by August Wilhelm Iffland, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comments

In L’Avare, Molière does not use a deus ex machina. He simply introduces a second father figure who will allow the young couples to marry and will pay all costs. L’Avare‘s young couple are in fact very resourceful, but one cannot marry without money. Mariane (Dom Thomas) recoils at wishing Harpagon’s death, feelings that are reciprocated by Cléante (Harpagon).

Mon Dieu, Frosine, c’est une étrange affaire, lorsque pour être heureuse, il faut souhaiter ou attendre le trépas de quelqu’un, et la mort ne suit pas tous les projets que nous faisons. (Mariane à Frosine, III. iv)
[Oh, Frosine! What a strange state of things that, in order to be happy, we must look forward to the death of another. Yet death will not fall in with all the projects we make.] [III. 8] [eBook #6923]

Que veux-tu que j’y fasse ? Voilà où les jeunes gens sont réduits par la maudite avarice des pères ; et on s’étonne après cela que les fils souhaitent qu’ils meurent. (II. i)
[What would you have me do? It is to this that young men are reduced by the accursed avarice of their fathers; and people are astonished after that, that sons long for their death.] [II. 1] [eBook #6923]

When his father falls, accidentally, Cléante is worried:

Qu’est-ce, mon père, vous êtes-vous fait mal ? (III. ix)
[What’s the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?] [III. 14] [eBook #6923]

Critic Northrop Frye states that “[t]he tendency of comedy is to include as many people as possible in its final society: the blocking characters are more often reconciled or converted than simply repudiated.”[3]

As for Harpagon, although he may he has been tyrannical, when Dom Thomas and the young couples leave to bring good news to Dom Thomas’ wife, Harpagon is off to see his dear cassette. His cassette, a casket, his vital to Harpagon.

Et moi, voir ma chère cassette. (I. vi)
[And I to see my dear casket.][1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Conclusion

I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions.[4] Harpagon is a miser and will remain a miser ready to sacrifice his children. It is a sad reflection on humanity but perhaps less sad than the intervention of a deus ex machina. Dom Thomas d’Alburcy is a  major member of the play’s society, the intervention of a second father figure allows the happy ending the play demands. An anagnorisis may not be as dazzling a dénouement as the intervention of a deus ex machina, the prince in Tartuffe and a godlike figure in Dom Juan, but all’s well that ends well. 

Love to everyone

RELATED ARTICLES

Molière

Commedia dell’arte

Farce

Sources and Resources

The Miser is a Wikisource eBook (Charles Heron Wall, translator)
The Miser is an Internet Archive publication EN
The Miser is a Project Gutenberg publication [eBook #6923] EN
The Miser, Henri Fielding is an eText EN
L’Avare is a toutmoliere.net publication FR
Molière21 is a research group
Le Salon littéraire FR
The Miser is a LibriVox text publication (YouTube)
Laughter, Henri Bergson is an Internet Archive publication EN

____________________
[1] L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968.
[2] Will  G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 [1949], pp. 69-70.
[3] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1957]), p. 165.
[4] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope, ou la comédie éclatée, » in David Trott & Nicole Boursier, eds. L’Âge du théâtre en France (Edmonton, Alberta: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988 ), 53 – 63. (papers from a conference held in Toronto, May 14 – 16, 1987) ISBN 0-920980-30-9 — PQ527.A33 1988

The Miser

21313562_1_x

L’Avare by Jean Degrassi, 1955 (liveauctioneers.com)

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2016
WordPress

Jules d’Haberville & Cameron of Lochiel

Tags

, , , , ,

An incident in the rebellion of 1745David Morier (Photo credit)

—ooo—

In 2012, I wrote two posts about Aubert de Gaspé’s Les Anciens Canadiens. I mentioned Sir Charles G. D. Robert‘s first translation of Aubert de Gaspé’s novel, The Canadians of Old, published in 1890). In fact, I did not discover Sir Roberts’s second translation until I prepared my last post. As a university teacher of French, I taught Les Anciens Canadiens in French.

I have not read Sir Charles G. D. Roberts’s first translation, The Canadians of Old. It was published fifteen years before the publication of Cameron of Lochiel, in 1905. As Cameron of Lochiel, a mere title, Les Anciens Canadiens focuses on the fate of a conquered nation. The novel nevertheless provides a description of the life of a seigneur, of his seigneurie‘s habitants, of feasts celebrated on the shores of the St Lawrence River, as well as other relevant tableaux of Canadian society before 1759. Dinner at the seigneurie reminds me of Carl Larsson‘s Ett Hem, his Christmas dinner. Jules d’Haberville’s father serves copious meals, and all rejoice.

As a depiction of Nouvelle-France, Les Anciens Canadiens is a very rich novel, but Aubert de Gaspé idealizes days that will never return and, although the past is idealized, Sir Roberts’ title sheds light on Les Anciens Canadiens. In Cameron of Lochiel, an idealized past is legitimate.

In the eyes of Aubert de Gaspé, the fall of New France to England is as large a loss as the fall of Scotland to England. Emotionally, the loss of New France to Britain is as devastating as Scotland’s demise. The fall of Scotland is, objectively, the greater tragedy, but how else can Aubert de Gaspé express adequately the tragedy that has befallen his land than by evoking Scotland. France has gone and will not return. That is an emotional reality, but it is a reality.

Arché de Locheill n’était âgé que de douze ans, en l’année 1745, lorsque son père joignit les étendards de ce jeune et infortuné prince qui, en vrai héros de roman, vint se jeter entre les bras de ses compatriotes écossais pour revendiquer par les armes une couronne à laquelle il devait renoncer pour toujours après le désastre de Culloden. (II: p. 22)
[When Archie was but twelve years old, in the year 1745, his father joined the standard of that unhappy young prince who, after the old romantic fashion, threw himself into the arms of his Scottish countrymen, and called upon them to win him back a crown which the bloody field of Culloden forced him to renounce forever.] (II: 20)

Scotland is the larger loss and, although Jules d’Haberville is as fine looking as Cameron of Lochiel, Archie is taller and, stronger than d’Haberville:

Le second, plus âgé de deux à trois ans, est d’une taille beaucoup plus forte et plus élevée. Ses beaux yeux bleus, ses cheveux blond châtain, son teint blanc et un peu coloré, quelques rares taches de rousseur sur le visage et sur les mains, son menton tant soit peu prononcé, accusent une origine étrangère ; c’est, en effet, Archibald Cameron of Locheill, c’est, en effet, Archibald Cameron of Locheill, vulgairement Arché de Locheill, jeune montagnard écossais qui a fait
ses études au collège des Jésuites de Québec. Comment, lui, étranger, se trouve-t-il dans une colonie française ? C’est ce que la suite apprendra.
(I. 15)
[His companion, who is older by two or three years, is much taller and more robust of frame. His fine blue eyes, his chestnut hair, his blonde and ruddy complexion with a few scattered freckles on face and hands, his slightly aggressive chin—all these reveal a foreign origin. This is Archibald Cameron of Lochiel, commonly known as Archie of Lochiel, a young Scotch Highlander who has been studying at the Jesuits’ College in Quebec. How is it that he, a stranger, finds himself in this remote French colony? We will let the sequel show.] (Foreword: 4)

Moreover, in 1757, France had not been defeated, so Archie is more sensitive than Jules d’Haberville:

– Oh ! Français ! légers Français ! aveugles Français ! il n’est pas surprenant que les Anglais se jouent de vous par-dessous la jambe, en politique !
– Il me semble, interrompit Jules, que les Écossais doivent en savoir quelque chose de la politique anglaise ! Le visage d’Arché prit tout à coup une expression de tristesse ; une grande pâleur se répandit sur ses nobles traits : c’était une corde bien sensible que son ami avait touchée. Jules s’en aperçut aussitôt, et lui dit :

– Pardon, mon frère, si je t’ai fait de la peine : je sais que ce sujet évoque chez toi de douloureux souvenirs. J’ai parlé, comme je le fais toujours, sans réfléchir. On blesse souvent, sans le vouloir, ceux que l’on aime le plus, par une repartie que l’on croit spirituelle. Mais, allons, vive la joie ! continue à déraisonner ; ça sera plus gai pour nous deux. (IV: p. 45)
[“Oh, you French, you frivolous French, you deluded French, no wonder the English catch you on the hip in diplomacy!”
“It would seem to me,” interrupted Jules, “that the Scotch ought to know something by this time about English diplomacy!”
Archie’s face saddened and grew pale; his friend had touched a sore spot. Jules perceived this at once and said:
“Forgive me, dear fellow, if I have hurt you. I know the subject is one that calls up painful memories. I spoke, as usual, without thinking. One often thoughtlessly wounds those one best loves by a retort which one may think very witty. But come, let us drink to a merry life! Go on with your remarkable reasoning; that will be pleasanter for both of us.”] (III: 48-49)

La Corriveau

In Chapter IV/III (EN), Jules d’Haberville tells the legend of La Corriveau, a murderess. It was one of my 2012 posts. The second post is a more general description of Les Anciens Canadiens. La Corriveau: a legend (1 April 2012)

go to → La Corriveau: a legend

RELATED ARTICLES

Sources and Ressources
Les Anciens Canadiens (ebooksgratuits.com). FR
Cameron of Lochiel (Archive.org ), Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, translator. EN
Cameron of Lochiel is Gutenberg [EBook#53154], Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, translator. EN

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

La Corriveau
The skeleton of La Corriveau, in her iron cage, terrifying a traveller, 1926 by Charles Walter Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
12 June 2021
WordPress

Les Anciens Canadiens/Cameron of Lochiel

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Cameron of Locheil by H. C. Edwards (EBook#53154)
Manoir de Philippe Aubert de Gaspé à Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Patrimoine culturel du Québec)

Les Anciens Canadiens (ebooksgratuits.com). FR
Cameron of Lochiel (Archive.org ), Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, translator. EN
Cameron of Lochiel is Gutenberg [EBook#53154], Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, translator. EN

Last weekend, I worked on Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé‘s Anciens Canadiens. The novel can be read online. It was translated twice by Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, an excellent Canadian writer, but Mr Roberts’s second and finer translation, published in 1905, is entitled Cameron of Lochiel [EN]. I had never looked for a translation of Les Anciens Canadiens [1] and this English title intrigued me. Upon due reflexion, the title Sir Roberts gave Les Anciens Canadiens seemed altogether legitimate. As the events of the Anciens Canadiens unfold, Jules d’Haberville becomes Cameron of Lochiel. Scotland fell to England at the Battle of Culloden (1746), which is discussed in Les Anciens Canadiens. As for New France, it will also fall to England, but it will have a glorious past.

After our friends complete their studies, Jules joins the French army and Arché, the British army. Archie serves in North America during the Seven Years’ War, called the French and Indian War. Ironically and tragically, Arché, a soldier, is ordered to set ablaze his friends’ manoir. Nouvelle-France is conquered by the British. Therefore, the defeat of Nouvelle-France mirrors the defeat of Scotland, a more important country, and, by the same token, it puts Jules and Arché / Archie on an equal footing. They are the two sides of the same coin. So, metaphorically, Jules has become Cameron of Lochiel. His country has been defeated and, despite the role Arché / Archie plays during the war, the friends are reunited. In 1759, the French in Canada fell to England as did the Scots, in 1746.

After the “conquest,” Blanche d’Haberville will not marry Roberts’s Cameron of Lochiel, whom she loves, but Jules will marry an Englishwoman, thereby giving himself a second and redeeming identity, an instance of the collaborator’s ideology. He is the conquered and the conqueror. As for Aubert de Gaspé, the author and a Seigneur, he will use Arché’s guided tour of a Seigneurie to consign New France to a réel absolu, that of fiction, the life and customs of anciens Canadiens. Jules familiarizes Arché with the life of a Seigneur and that of the inhabitants of a seigneurie, not to mention the life of New France’s humbler subjects and its Amerindians.

Missing are New France’s voyageurs, river drivers (draveurs), and bûcherons. Their life and their songs are chronicled elsewhere. Les Anciens Canadiens nevertheless memorializes and mythologizes the presence of the French in North America. France will live forever on the shores of the St Lawrence River because it is remembered, an anamnesis.

La Patrie littéraire

When John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham wrote his Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838, he described the French in Canada as a people lacking a history and a literature: un peuple sans histoire ni littérature. The French set about proving him wrong. Two literary schools were instituted, one in Montreal and one in Quebec City. The people of New France quickly built a patrie littéraire,[2] a literary homeland.  

Our colleague Derrick J. Knight was correct in suggesting a link between the Scots and the French in Canada. Matters would change when Confederation occurred. However, the spirit of the Auld Alliance would persist. Our Scottish explorers worked at an early point after the Conquest of Canada, formalized by the Treaty of Paris,1763. The Battle of Culloden took place less than two decades before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, fought on 13 September 1759.

Canada’s bon Anglais is Scottish, he is both John Neilson and Cameron of Locheill. John Neilson stated that there could be a blend, un amalgame, of the two “races” in Canada, the French-speaking race, and the English-speaking race: the two sides of the same coin. There was an amalgame. Simon Fraser left Montreal accompanied by 19 voyageurs and 2 Amerindians. Explorers were guided by voyageurs and Amerindians whom they trusted.

Patriotism, devotion to the French-Canadian nationality, a just pride of race, and a loving memory for his people’s romantic and heroic past—these are the dominant chords which are struck throughout the story. Of special significance, therefore, are the words which are put in the mouth of the old seigneur as he bids his son a last farewell. The father has been almost ruined by the conquest. The son has left the French army and taken the oath of allegiance to the English crown. “Serve thy new sovereign,” says the dying soldier, “as faithfully as I have served the King of France; and may God bless thee, my dear son!”
Sir Charles G. D. Roberts’s Cameron of Lochiel (Preface)

An incident in the rebellion of 1745David Morier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Montcalm blessé à la bataille des plaines d’Abraham et ramené à Québec (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RELATED ARTILES

Sources and Resources

______________________________
[1] There are four: The Canadians of Old, Georgina Pennée (1864); Charles G. D. Roberts (1890), and Jane Brierley (1997). There are anonymous translations.
[2] Bourbeau-Walker, M. (2002). La patrie littéraire : errance et résistance.
Francophonies d’Amérique,(13), 47–65. https://doi.org/10.7202/1005247ar

Love to everyone 💕

Philippe Aubert de Gaspé (1786-1871)
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

© Micheline Walker
9 Juin 2021
WordPress

The Scots as Explorers

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Sir Alexander Mackenzie painted by Thomas Lawrence (c. 1800 – 1801), courtesy National Gallery of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

—ooo—

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820): first to cross North America north of Mexico on 22 July 1793.
Simon Fraser (1776-1862): first to go down the Fraser River, 1808. The Fraser River leads to the Pacific.
David Thompson (1770-1827): a cartographer (British).
Alexander MacKay (1770-1811): Alexander Mackenzie’s cousin. He died on 15 June 1811 (the Tonquin ).
Alexander Ross (1783-1856): Oregon Settlers. (Franchère’s voyageurs).
Gabriel Franchère (1786-1863): took voyageurs from New York to the mouth of the Columbia River (the Tonquin).
the Fraser River.
the Columbia River.
the Tonquin (1807-1811).

In my last post, I noted that voyageurs and Amerindians worked for explorers. When beavers were nearing extinction fur traders became explorers in the hope of finding precious pelts west of a formidable obstacle: the Rocky Mountains.

The first European to cross the continent

Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820) was the first European to cross the North American continent north of Mexico. In 1788, the North West Company sent him to Lake Athabasca, in Northern Saskatchewan, where he was a founder of Fort Chipewyan. In 1789, he navigated the Mackenzie River, named after him, and reached the Arctic Ocean. Such was not his goal. He then turned around and travelled the Mackenzie River south, but he did not go as far as the Pacific Ocean. The Mackenzie River is extremely long. In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie again sought a passage to the Pacific. He was advised not to travel down the Fraser River, but to use instead the Bella Coola River, which took him to the Pacific Ocean. Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific on 22 July 1793. He did so 13 years before the Lewis and Clark expedition (see Alexander Mackenzie, Wikipedia). Alexander Mackenzie is the first person to cross the continent north of Mexico, but he was not alone. Alexander Mackenzie was

[a]ccompanied by two native guides (one named Cancre), his cousin, Alexander MacKay, six Canadian voyageurs (Joseph Landry, Charles Ducette, François Beaulieu, Baptiste Bisson, François Courtois, Jacques Beauchamp) and a dog simply referred to as “our dog”, Mackenzie left Fort Chipewyan, in Northern Saskatchewan, on 10 October 1792, and traveled via the Pine River to the Peace River. From there he traveled to a fork on the Peace River arriving 1 November where he and his cohorts built a fortification that they resided in over the winter. This later became known as Fort Fork.

See Alexander Mackenzie, Wikipedia

Had so shrewd an investor as John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) not suspected that there were pelts to harvest on the West Coast of the current United States, he would not have established the Pacific Fur Company (1810-1813), a subsidiary of the American Fur Company (1808). Nor would he have asked Gabriel Franchère (1786-1863) to recruit voyageurs in Quebec and to take them aboard the Tonquin around Cape Horn and past the Columbia Bar, called the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Eight men died. The Tonquin left New York on 8 September 1810. It arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River on 22 March 1811. Aboard were Alexander MacKay and Alexander Ross. However, Fort Astoria would not survive because the United States was losing the War of 1812. John Jacob Astor sold the Pacific Fur Company to the North West Company and Fort Astoria was renamed Fort George. I have told the story of the Tonquin in earlier posts (see RELATED ARTICLES). Moreover, we have a page containing a list of posts on the voyageurs.

One may therefore suggest that it was in the best interest of the North West Company to ask Alexander Mackenzie to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. However, Alexander MacKay had accompanied his cousin on his expedition west of the Rocky Mountains. After the demise of Fort Astoria, MacKay sailed north on the Tonquin and died (15 June 1811) when the ship was attacked by chief Wickaninnish and then blown apart by James Lewis, a clerk who was seriously wounded and could not escape.

Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to cross the continent north of Mexico, but, as we have seen, he was not alone. Moreover, in 1808, Simon Fraser would also reach the Pacific Ocean, or nearly so. Simon Fraser’s task, however, was to settle forts past the Rocky Mountains. He was a settler. Both Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser were Nor’Westers. The Hudson’s Bay Company played a lesser role in promoting the fur trade west of the Rockies.

Alexander Ross, who travelled on the Tonquin, can also be considered a settler. He helped Gabriel Franchère‘s stranded voyageurs settle in the Oregon Country. Many married Amerindian women. So did Alexander Ross. He married the daughter of an Okanagan Chief. Alexander Ross left precious accounts of his travels. Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813, written in 1849, chronicles life on the Tonquin and the settling of voyageurs in the Oregon Country. Alexander Ross was associated with the Pacific Fur Company, the North West Company, and the Hudson’s Bay Company, in that order.

The Oregon Country, however, was a disputed area. The British felt entitled to the territory down to the 42nd parallel. As for the United States, it claimed all territory extending north to the 54th parallel. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 settled matters. In other words, in New Caledonia, the future British Columbia, the border was defined several years after the War of 1812.

The Oregon Country: British and American Claims
Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser & David Thomson (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Pre-1825 portrait of Simon Fraser (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Fraser: twenty-four men in four canoes

Rivers (fleuves) flow into the sea. So, west coast rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean. However, the Fraser River, is unnavigable. Simon Fraser and his crew canoed through turbulent and, all too often, narrow passages between mountain ranges. Portages were necessaries, but explorers and their crew had to walk down the side of mostly perpendicular cliffs. Simon Fraser knew about the rapids and also knew about the cliffs of the Fraser River. As well, hostile Amerindians lived along the Fraser River. Yet, on 28 May 1808, twenty-four men in four canoes left Fort George, settled by Simon Fraser. Simon Fraser lost one canoe and would have lost a man, had it not been for an agile native, Métis, or voyageur.

Alexander Mackenzie was the first to reach the Pacific Ocean by land. However, Simon Fraser (1764-1862), who canoed down the turbulent Fraser River in 1808, is not the lesser hero. On the contrary, he was the first to “establish permanent settlements in the area” (see Simon Fraser, Wikipedia). He secured Britain/Canada’s claim to territory north of the 49th parallel. Moreover, he provided proof that fur could be harvested west of the Rocky Mountains. Fraser sent a winter’s harvest of fur to Dunvegan (Alberta).

Just before leaving Rocky Mountain Portage, Fraser sent the winter’s harvest of furs to Dunvegan (Alta). It included 14 packs from Trout Lake – the first furs traded west of the mountains. Fraser was delighted with their quality. “The furs are really fine,” he noted in his journal. ” They were chiefly killed in the proper season and many of them are superior to any I have seen in Athabasca…

See Simon Fraser, The Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Conclusion

Scots were everywhere in the fur trade. But explorers did not acquire wealth. However, what is most significant is the blend of individuals who worked peacefully finding a passage by land to the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, they worked in teams and teams included Amerindians, Métis, and voyageurs. François Beaulieu II, a Métis and a Yellowknife chief. He was a guide to Alexander Mackenzie and, as we have seen, Alexander Mackenzie was accompanied by his cousin Alexander MacKay when he crossed the North American continent. When John Neilson had a conversation with Alexis de Tocqueville, he was mostly right. A blend of the two “races,” French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians, was possible. We have a bad Anglais in Jonathan Thorn, the Tonquin’s captain. He mistreated aboriginals who then killed nearly all the men aboard the Tonquin.

The Scots who came to Canada had fallen to England at the Battle of Culloden, in 1746. So had the French, in 1763, a mere 17 years later. Travel accounts, including L. R. Masson’s Bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest (Volume II), an Internet Archive publication, name partners who are Scots, but have French and Amerindian friends, or interact with the French and the Amerindians. These are good years, if not a mythical past. Quebec’s music has Celtic roots and its literature features un bon Anglais who is a Scot. He is Les Anciens Canadiens‘s Archibald Cameron of Locheill, a Scot. Jules d’Haberville, a seigneur‘s son, befriends Arché, a Scot and a Catholic.

Next, we read Philippe Aubert de Gaspé‘s Les Anciens Canadiens (see Sources and Resources)

RELATED ARTICLES

Sources and Resources

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

The Descent of the Fraser River, 1808, by C. W. Jefferys

© Micheline Walker
4 June 2021
WordPress

Scots in Canada, cont’d

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Ravenscrag, built for Sir Hugh Allan in 1863 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Saga continues…

Although France and Scotland had joined forces under the Auld Alliance, the relationship between the French in Canada and Canadians of Scottish descent could not be as cordial as the bonds uniting France and Scotland. The French in Canada were a conquered nation. They had lost the battle. But let us look at the Scots.

The Fur Trade

  • Scots as Fur Traders
  • the North West Company
  • Montreal as centre of the fur trade in Canada

It is as fur traders that the Scots in Canada gained prominence.

The North West Company, founded in 1779, was a Montreal-based Company that competed with the Hudson’s Bay Company, chartered in 1670. Most partners, or shareholders, were Scots. They had mansions built in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile. Sir Hugh Allan, a shipping magnate, whose mansion is shown at the top of this post, was not associated with the North West Company. He brought immigrants to Canada and lived at Ravenscrag, located in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile. Ravenscrag was donated to McGill University in 1940. In fact, James McGill endowed McGill University in his will. Nor’Westers later moved to Westmount, in Montreal. They socialized at the Beaver Club, a Gentleman’s Club, founded in 1785. French-Canadians who had remained in the fur trade after New France fell to England were senior members at the Beaver Club (see Beaver Club, Wikipedia).

The most prosperous shareholders of the North West Company were not French-speaking Canadians. In the first half of the 19th century, very few, if any, French-speaking Canadians lived in the Golden Square Mile or Westmount, except the French-Canadian wives of fur traders. James McGill (1744-1813) married Charlotte Trottier Desrivières, née Guillimin, a widow, and Simon McTavish (1750-1804) married Marguerite Chaboillez, but these marriages did not reflect a political choice. Partners were Englishmen and English Canadians. Benjamin Frobisher (1742-1787) was English and Joseph Frobisher (1748-1810) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was an English Canadian. The main shareholders of the North West Company (la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest), were Scots.

The Château Clique

  • James McGill & the Quebec Act
  • Guy Carleton’s Quebec Act revisited
  • the assimilation of the French through Union Acts
  • the abolition of Seigneuries, achieved in 1854
  • responsible government
  • idéologie de la collaboration

Several North West Company shareholders or partners were members of Lower Canada’s Château Clique. La Clique du Château was un Parti bureaucrate, a bureaucracy, also known as the British Party or the Tory Party. The Château Clique had its counterpart in Upper Canada, called the Family Compact. A few Seigneurs and French-speaking Canadians were members of the Château Clique. Denis Monière refers to an idéologie de la collaboration. The French who were not returning to France were cutting their personal losses. So was the Clergy.

Il faut dire aussi que les rapports entre ces deux groupes sont facilités par une origine de classe identique.

Denis Monière [1]

[One must also say that the relationship between these two groups is made easier because they originate from identical classes.]

So, how could these threatened classes oppose strongly and visibly a group promoting the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians (union acts) and frowned upon a responsible government. One suspects that many saw clear and present danger, and went into hiding. In fact, James McGill (1744-1813) opposed the Quebec Act of 1774. (See James McGill, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.) The Quebec Act can be viewed as a wish to protect the British in Canada from an alliance between the defeated French and the rebellious colonies to the south. But it may also have earned Guy Carleton and the British in Canada decades of peaceful coexistence in the country Guy Carleton had governed. The Quebec Act was conciliatory. French-speaking Canadians were allowed to keep their language, their religion, their Seigneuries and their Code civil. Although the dreaded Act of Union was passed in 1840, it failed to assimilate French Canadians. There was compatibility between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians.

The North West Company consisted of a few privileged Englishmen and several privileged Scots. Benjamin Frobisher, Joseph Frobisher, James McGill, Simon McTavish, Robert GrantNicholas MontourPatrick SmallWilliam Holmes, George McBeath. Alexander Ross, would join North West Company and so would David Thompson, who was not a Scot and would not be a fur trader. David Thomson is one of the finest cartographers in history.

Other Scots, the landless crofters, found homes in Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk‘s Red River Settlement. Crofters also settled in Nova Scotia and elsewhere in Canada. The Red River Settlement is inextricably linked to the fur trade. The competition between the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company led to the Seven Oaks Massacre (1816) and to the merger of the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company (1821).

Unknown Artist, Indien et Habitant avec Traîneau [Indian and Inhabitant with a Tobogan] (Quebec City) around 1840. (The Exodus: railroads, land, and factories, Related Articles, below)

Conclusion

  • successful Scots
  • Montreal as fur-trade capital in Canada
  • a conquered people
  • the Seigneurial system is abolished

In short, after the Conquest, Montreal became the centre of the fur trade in Canada. Scots were the main shareholders of the North West Company, but the fur trade declined for lack of beavers. Canada’s voyageurs and Amerindians would then become the explorers’ guides. These were mostly Scots. and all wanted to find a passage to the Pacific, by land.

The story of the fur trade chronicles an early chapter in Canadian history, the years following the defeat of France. Nouvelle-France was ceded to Britain in 1763. English-speaking immigrants were brought to Canada and United Empire Loyalists were given land in the Eastern Townships. Yet, in 1854, when the Seigneurial System was abolished, habitants who could not afford their thirty acres had to pay rente perpetually. The French had been conquered.

On 26 August 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville visited a tribunal and said afterwards:

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.

See Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada (1 January 2014 )

“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.” (See Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada, 1 January 2014)

RELATED ARTICLES

______________________________
[1] Denis Monière, Le Développement des idéologies au Québec (Montréal: Québec / Amérique, 1977), p. 91.

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Celtic Music from Brittany by Arany Zoltán
Alexis de Tocqueville, Portrait by Théodore Chassériau (1850), at the Palace of Versailles

© Micheline Walker
29 May 2021
WordPress

Scots in Canada

Tags

, , , , ,

Ravenscrag, built for Sir Hugh Allan in 1863, the Golden Square Mile (Wikipedia)

—ooo—

I have continued to research Scots in Canada. They were fur traders and became were wealthy. When beavers nearly disappeared, they became explorers. As fur traders, they founded the North West Company (1779) which competed with the Hudson’s Bay Company (established in 1670). They lived in the Montreal’s Golden Square Mile (mille carré doré) and socialized at the Beaver Club, a gentleman’s dining club, founded in 1785. Later, they moved to Westmount, Montreal. A few senior members married French-Canadian women. The French who had remained in the fur trade after the Conquest were senior members at the Beaver Club. New France had its bourgeoisie and bourgeois remained. Some were Seigneurs. Affluent French-speaking Canadian may have lived in Outremont, a lovely area of Montreal. Until recently, bourgeois French Canadians did not live in Westmount. They lived in lovely homes located in Outremont. I visited relatives in that arrondissement. Their homes were lovely, but their dining-room could not accommodate a hundred guests.

Charles Chaboillez was a wealthy fur trader, but he lost his money. His daughter married James McGill who, in his will, paid his father-in-law’s debts and provided him with an annuity.

Montreal is a gem, but the money was in the hands of Anglophones, as Mr Neilson told Alexis de Tocqueville and as Tocqueville himself knew.

The Château Clique is associated with some members of the North West Company, but seigneurs and French bourgeois also belonged to the Château Clique. Fur trading had its classes, and the wealthy are its upper class. The French had been voyageurs and Amerindians were their guides. However, one could be wealthy in New France and Canada without exploiting others. I would not make that generalization.

RELATED ARTICLES

The Auld Alliance and Scots Guard: Scots in Canada (20 May 2021)
Alexis de Tocqueville and John Neilson: a Conversation, 27 August 1831
(13 May 2021)
Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada (17 Janvier 2018)
Canadiana.1 (page)

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Les Indes galantes de Jean-Philippe Rameau, sous la direction de William Christie
Charles Chaboillez, a French Fur Trader (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
26 May 2021
WordPress

The Auld Alliance and the Scots Guard: Scots in Canada

Tags

, , ,

Jehanne d’Arc et sa Garde écossaise. Painting by John Duncan Scottish symbolist painter (Commons Wikimedia)

—ooo—

The Auld Alliance and the Scots Guard

A colleague suggested that John Neilson, who was born in Scotland, may have been influenced by the long friendship that has united Scotland and France. The Auld Alliance dates back to 1295. That year, Scotland and France joined forces in an effort to curb England’s numerous invasions. Moreover, in 1418, Valois Charles VII of France appointed a Scots Guard who would be bodygards to the King of France. “They were assimilated in the Maison du Roi,” the King’s immediate entourage (See Garde écossaise, Wikipedia). In fact, several members of the Scots Guard settled in France permanently. The Auld Alliance was replaced by an Anglo-French alliance under the terms of the Treaty of Edinburgh, 1560.

Joan of Arc at the Siege of Orléans by Jules Eugène Lenepveu, painted 1886–1890 (Wikipedia)

The Garde écossaise is remembered for its role in the Hundred Years’ War. It was appointed by Charles VII, who may not have been crowned had Jeanne d’Arc not heard voices and followed their call. The Siege of Orléans had lasted six months and the English and their French allies appeared to be defeating France. The siege collapsed nine days after Joan’s arrival. The image inserted at the top of this post, a painting by John Duncan, shows Jeanne d’Arc and her garde écossaise. She has the support of angelic Scottish guards which suggests a somewhat supernatural victory.

The Auld Alliance may have exerted a very real influence on the mind-set of Scots who explored Canada guided by Amerindians and voyageurs. Scots also engaged in the fur trade. As for Mr Neilson, a Scot, he promoted an amicable blend of the French and English “races” in Canada: nation building. When Mr Neilson met Alexis de Tocqueville, he spoke French. He had said to his mother that by marrying Marie-Ursule he wanted to help eradicate the “baneful prejudices” that separated the French and the British. As early as 1822, a Union Bill was proposed in the hope that the French in Canada would be assimilated. (See John Neilson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)

Louis-Joseph Papineau and Mr Neilson were sent to England as delegates. They presented a petition against a proposed Union Bill (see John Neilson). The Union Bill was introduced in 1822 in the hope that Union would lead to the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians. The French, in Canada wanted to retain their cultural identity. They were, as John Neilson and Robert Baldwin saw them: a nation.

However, he could see “baneful prejudices.” One shares John A Macdonald‘s vision of a country that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, but he was not as kind un Anglais as John Neilson. We will meet un bon Anglais in Philippe Aubert de Gaspé’s Les Anciens Canadiens, an historical novel (1863). Scottish Archibald Cameron of Locheill, called Arché, is a bon Anglais. As the main architect of Canadian Confederation, John A Macdonald, a Scot, furthered colonisation in his relationship with both Amerindians and French-speaking Canadians. As we know, Quebec would be the only province where the languages of instruction would be French or English.

The two Canadas were united following Lord Durham‘s Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838. However, assimilation did not occur. Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine‘s effort led to a bilingual and bicultural Canada which was granted a responsible government in 1848. Theirs was the Great Ministry. In fact, it is somewhat difficult for me to understand that, as the main architect of Canadian Confederation, John A Macdonald furthered colonisation in his relationship with both Amerindians and French-speaking Canadians. It was a throwback. As John Neilson told his mother, there were “baneful prejudices” (des préjugés funestes).

La Princesse de Clèves remembered

Ironically, the Auld Alliance and the Scots Guards take us back to Madame de La Fayette’s Princesse de Clèves. Henri II, King of France, was accidentally but fatally wounded by one of his Scottish guards, Gabriel 1er de Montgommery. They were jousting. Henri II forgave Gabriel de Montgommery, or Gabriel de Lorges. However, Catherine de’ Medici would not be so kind. He was captured as a protestant leader, and Catherine watched from a window as he was tortured and decapitated.

After Henri II’s death, François II, who had married Marie Stuart, was King of France and, as Marie Stuart’s husband, he was also King consort of Scotland. An emissary signed the Treaty of Edinburgh (1560), an Anglo-French alliance. However, Francis II died of an ear infection in December 1560. He had reigned for a mere fifteen months. Marie Stuart returned to Scotland, but she was a Catholic in a country where citizens were converting to Protestantism. As Mary, Queen of Scots, Marie Stuart was beheaded.

As for Canada, Quebec folklore has Celtic roots and many French-speaking Canadians have Celtic ancestry. However, New France was conquered. We are, therefore, looking at different dynamics. John Neilson was an exceptional Canadian.

—ooo—

“In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship.”
Charles de Gaulle, 1942 in Auld Alliance

RELATED ARTICLES

Alexis de Tocqueville and John Neilson: a Conversation, 27 August 1831
(13 May 2021)
Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada (17 Janvier 2018)
Canadiana.1 (page)

Sources and Resources

John Neilson (Dictionary of Canadian Biography)
Document2 (ameriquefrancaise.org)
http://www.ameriquefrancaise.org/media-1557/Tocqueville_Mr._Neilson.pdf
Upper Canada – Library and Archives Canada (bac-lac.gc.ca)
Denis Monière, Le Développement des idéologies au Québec (Éditions Québec/Amérique, 1977), Chapître III.
The Union Bill of 1822
House of Stuart, Wikipedia

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

I apologize for a long absence.

Capitaine des Gardes du Corps du Roi, (1820) (Wikimedia Commons)

© Micheline Walker
20 May 2021
WordPress

Alexis de Tocqueville and John Neilson: a Conversation, 27 August 1831

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Alexis de Tocqueville, portrait by Théodore Chassériau (1850), at the Palace of Versailles

—ooo—

Britannica describes Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) as a political scientist, historian, and politician. Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont, a magistrate and prison reformer, travelled to the United States ostensibly to observe the prison system. Tocqueville, however, wanted to study nationhood against the background of American democracy. During the Enlightenment, philosophes had observed Britain’s Constitutional Monarchy. Tocqueville had reservations concerning democracy in America. For instance, individualism stood in the way of democracy. Moreover, in 1831, slavery had not been abolished. Yet, Tocqueville endorsed a morally sound democracy.

Alexis de Tocqueville was an aristocrat. His great grandfather, Chrétien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes | French lawyer | Britannica, his daughter and his grandchildren had been guillotined during the Terror (1793-1794).

—ooo—

France had lost New France, so Tocqueville wondered what had happened to the citizens of France’s former colony. Before returning to France, he and Beaumont visited Lower Canada. French Canadians who met Tocqueville and Beaumont were delighted to see “old France.” However, in Tocqueville’s eyes, Canadien “habitants” were old France. The French Revolution had changed France and it included a regicide. Louis XVI was guillotined, and so were Tocqueville’s great grandfather and other members of his family. Tocqueville opposed the July Monarchy (1830) which restored the Orléans kings.

After the Conquest, King George III protected Amerindians, but between the Treaty of Paris (1763) and the Quebec Act of 1774, the French in Canada did not know what would happen to them. Those who lived in Quebec City, recently renamed la Capitale nationale, were not disturbed by Quebec City’s Anglophones, but Lower Canada was governed by the Château Clique, rich merchants, mostly. However, by virtue of the Quebec Act of 1774, Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester granted French Canadians “rights,” in the very large Province of Quebec. Guy Carleton knew about the turbulence that led to the birth of the United States and needed the loyalty of the French and, by the same token, the loyalty of Amerindians. But Guy Carleton set a precedent. The relationship between the British and the French augured well.

However, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the large Province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada. United Empire Loyaltists had been given land in the Eastern Townships and there had been a landrush. Consequently, Le Parti Canadien (1805) was formed and, a year later, Pierre-Stanislas Bédard founded Canada’s first newspaper: Le Canadien (1806-1893). Le Canadien was under the direction of Étienne Parent the year Tocqueville and Beaumont visited. John Neilson was also a publisher.

COMMENTS

Mr Neilson praises French-speaking Canadians. They were sociables and solidaires and there may have been several instances of Canadiens rebuilding a neighbour’s barn at no cost. I doubt however that they purchased the wood. I suspect they helped themselves to the trees of a neighbouring forest.

French-Canadian priests are also idealized. I do not think Canadiens were this good, but they may have been in 1831. Lower Canada was then governed to a large extent, by the Château Clique – Wikipedia. They were Lower Canada’s equivalent of Upper Canada’s Family Compact. It is unlikely that priests born in Canada spoke French flawlessly (avec pureté). But some did. After the French Revolution, the Archbishop of Quebec welcomed émigré priests who had fled to England. Among émigré priests, many accepted to leave Britain for French-speaking Canada. These priests spoke French avec pureté and they served generously in the current Quebec, Acadie and, later, in the prairie provinces. They also opened teaching institutions. L’abbé Sigogne, Jean-Mandé Sigogne (1763-1844), was a gift to Acadians who were reëstablishing themselves in Nova Scotia and in other Maritime Provinces.

What we need to remember about this conversation, an excerpt, is that John Neilson (1763-1848), a Scot, belonged to a special group of Canadians, people such as Louis-Joseph Papineau, Robert Baldwin, Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, Lester B. Pearson, and other figures who wanted to build a bicultural and bilingual Canada. There have been very good Canadians, English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians. It is best to follow in their footsteps and to be tolerant, to a reasonable extent. It will not be perfect, but almost …

John Neilson was born in Scotland and died in Cap-Rouge, near Quebec City, he had married Marie-Ursule Hubert, a French-speaking Canadian.

When Neilson announced this decision [to marry Ursule] to his mother in August, he explained that he appreciated his wife’s great merits, but, further, he had wished to symbolize his permanent establishment in Canada and to help lessen the baneful prejudices with which Canadians and British immigrants regarded each other.

John Neilson

The link below leads to the conversation itself., my translation. It is or will be a separate post. One may also read the conversation a few lines down.

Alexis de Tocqueville & John Neilson | Micheline’s Blog (michelinewalker.com)

—ooo—

Alexis de Tocqueville, Tocqueville au Bas-Canada. Écrits datant de 1831 à 1859.
Datant du voyage en Amérique et après son retour en Europe, Montréal, Les Éditions du Jour, 1973, 185 pages. Collection : “Bibliothèque québécoise”. Présentation de Jacques Vallée. Extrait des pages 65-66.
27 août 1831.

T. – Pensez-vous que la race française parvienne jamais à se débarrasser de la race anglaise ? (Cette question fut faite avec précaution, attendu la naissance de l’interlocuteur).

[Do you think the French race will ever succeed in ridding itself of the English race? (This question was asked cautiously, given Mr Neilson’s origin).]

N. – Non. Je crois que les deux races vivront et se mêleront sur le même sol et que l’anglais restera la langue officielle des affaires. L’Amérique du Nord sera anglaise, la fortune a prononcé. Mais la race française du Canada ne disparaîtra pas. L’amalgame n’est pas aussi difficile à faire que vous le pensez. Ce qui maintient surtout votre langue ici, c’est le clergé. Le clergé forme la seule classe éclairée et intellectuelle qui ait besoin de parler français et qui le parle avec pureté.

[No. I think the two races will live and blend on the same soil and that English will remain the official language of business. North America will be English, destiny has spoken. But the French race will not disappear. Blending the two is not as difficult as you may think. The Clergy keeps your language alive. The Clergy constitutes the only enlightened and intellectual class that needs to speak French and speaks it flawlessly.]

T. – Quel est le caractère du paysan canadien?

[What is the temperament of the Canadian peasant?]

N. C’est à mon avis une race admirable. Le paysan canadien est simple dans ses goûts, très tendre dans ses affections de famille, très pur dans ses mœurs, remarquablement sociable, poli dans ses manières; avec cela très propre à résister à l’oppression, indépendant et guerrier, nourri dans l’esprit d’égalité. L’opinion publique a ici une force incroyable. Il n’y a pas d’autorité dans les villages, cependant l’ordre public s’y maintient mieux que dans aucun autre pays du monde. Un homme commet-il une faute, on s’éloigne de lui, il faut qu’il quitte le village. Un vol est-il commis, on ne dénonce pas le coupable, mais il est déshonoré et obligé de fuir.

[They are, in my opinion, an admirable race. The Canadien peasant has simple tastes, he is very gentle in caring for his family, morally very pure, remarkably sociable, polite in his behaviour, but also quite capable of resisting oppression, independent and feisty, and raised to believe in equality. Here, public opinion is unbelievably strong. There are no leaders in villages, yet public order is maintained better than in any other country in the world. If a man makes a mistake, he is kept at a distance and he must leave the village. If a theft is committed, the guilty party is not given in, but he has dishonoured himself and is forced to flee.]

N. […] p. 77 : Le Canadien est tendrement attaché au sol qui l’a vu naître, à son clocher, à sa famille. C’est ce qui fait qu’il est si difficile de l’engager à aller chercher fortune ailleurs. De plus, comme je le disais, il est éminemment social; les réunions amicales, l’office divin en commun, l’assemblée à la porte de l’église, voilà ses seuls plaisirs. Le Canadien est profondément religieux, il paie la dîme sans répugnance. Chacun pourrait s’en dispenser en se déclarant protestant, on n’a point encore d’exemple d’un pareil fait. Le clergé ne forme ici qu’un corps compact avec le peuple. Il partage ses idées, il entre dans ses intérêts politiques, il lutte avec lui contre le pouvoir. Sorti de lui, il n’existe que pour lui. On l’accuse ici d’être démagogue. Je n’ai pas entendu dire qu’on fît le même reproche aux prêtres catholiques en Europe. Le fait est qu’il est libéral, éclairé et cependant profondément croyant, ses mœurs sont exemplaires. Je suis une preuve de sa tolérance: protestant, j’ai été nommé dix fois par des catholiques à notre Chambre des Communes et jamais je n’ai entendu dire que le moindre préjugé de religion ait été mis en avant contre moi par qui que ce soit. Les prêtres français qui nous arrivent d’Europe, semblables aux nôtres pour leurs mœurs, leur sont absolument différents pour la tendance politique.

N. [Canadiens are very fond of their native land, their church, and their family. So, it is difficult to persuade a Canadien to seek fortune elsewhere. Moreover, as I was saying, he [le Canadien] is very sociable. His only pleasures are friendly gatherings, attending Mass, and chatting on the porch of his church. Canadiens are profoundly religious and pay their thite without reluctance. All could escape by stating that they are Protestants, but until now there has been no instance of this. Here the Clergy and the people are as one. The Clergy shares the people’s ideas and political interests and it joins them in fighting against power. The Clergy is born to them and lives for them. Here, priests are accused of being demagogues. I have not heard of Europeans thus criticizing Catholic priests. The fact is that he [the priest] is liberal, enlightened, and that he is nevertheless a convinced believer. I am a living proof of their tolerance. As a protestant, I have been nominated to the House of Commons ten times, by Catholics, and I have never heard that the slightest religion-based prejudice was brought forward against me by anyone whomsoever. The mores of our priests and French priests who arrive here from Europe are the same. But they are totally different in their political orientation.]

N. Je vous ai dit que parmi les paysans canadiens il existait un grand esprit de sociabilité. Cet esprit les porte à s’entraider les uns les autres dans toutes les circonstances critiques. Un malheur arrive-t-il au champ de l’un d’eux, la commune tout entière se met ordinairement en mouvement pour le réparer. Dernièrement la grange de XX vint à être frappée du tonnerre: cinq jours après elle était rebâtie par les voisins sans frais.

[I have told you that among Canadien peasants, there existed a spirit of solidarity, which leads them to help one another in all critical circumstances. Should a misfortune befall one of them, the entire community usually rises to repair the damage. Not long ago, someone’s barn was hit by thunder: five days later it had been rebuilt by neighbours at no cost.]

RELATED ARTICLES

Alexis de Tocqueville & John Neilson (13 May 2021)
Alexis de Tocqueville on Lower Canada (17 Janvier 2018)
Canadiana.1 (page)

Sources and Resources

Document2 (ameriquefrancaise.org)
Upper Canada – Library and Archives Canada (bac-lac.gc.ca)
Lower Canada
Translation: Micheline Walker

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Ô Canada! mon pays, mes amours
John A Macdonald, a Conservative election poster, not a caricature, from 1891

© Micheline Walker
13 May 2021
WordPress

Alexis de Tocqueville & John Neilson

Tags

, , , , , ,

Alexis de Tocqueville. Portrait by Théodore Chassériau (1850), at the Palace of Versailles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ooo

Allow me to forward my translation of an excerpt from a conversation between Alexis de Tocqueville and Mr Neilson, before an introduction and comments. John Neilson, born in Scotland, was a very fine Canadian, one who thought that the French and the English in Canada were compatible and cultivated this compatibility. However, Alexis de Tocqueville visited Canada in 1831, 6 years before the Rebellions of 1837-1838 and 36 years before Canadian Confederation (1867).

In the eyes of a modern reader the first question is surprising. It seems an instance of paradox literature. We know that the French “race” did not get rid of the English “race.” Tocqueville visited Lower Canada nearly 200 years ago. In 1831, no one knew that after Confederation French Canadians could not be educated in French in provinces other than Quebec, which was potentially detrimental to the French “race.” I do not wish to use the word detrimental in an unqualified manner because homogeneity is a factor in the growth of nationhood. John A Mcdonald’s reputation has suffered considerably but, first and foremost, Canadians oppose the way in which he “colonized” Amerindians.

I have translated the word race literally. It means breed, people, nation, etc. Mr Neilson idealizes French-speaking Canadians and their priests. I believe he needed to. A link takes readers back to an introduction to Tocqueville’s conversation with Mr Neilson and to a few comments.

—ooo—

Alexis de Tocqueville, Tocqueville au Bas-Canada. Écrits datant de 1831 à 1859.
Datant du voyage en Amérique et après son retour en Europe, Montréal, Les Éditions du Jour, 1973, 185 pages. Collection : “Bibliothèque québécoise”. Présentation de Jacques Vallée. Extrait des pages 65-66.
27 août 1831.

T. – Pensez-vous que la race française parvienne jamais à se débarrasser de la race anglaise ? (Cette question fut faite avec précaution, attendu la naissance de l’interlocuteur).

[Do you think the French race will ever succeed in ridding itself of the English race? (This question was asked cautiously, given Mr Neilson’s origin).]

N. – Non. Je crois que les deux races vivront et se mêleront sur le même sol et que l’anglais restera la langue officielle des affaires. L’Amérique du Nord sera anglaise, la fortune a prononcé. Mais la race française du Canada ne disparaîtra pas. L’amalgame n’est pas aussi difficile à faire que vous le pensez. Ce qui maintient surtout votre langue ici, c’est le clergé. Le clergé forme la seule classe éclairée et intellectuelle qui ait besoin de parler français et qui le parle avec pureté.

[No. I think the two races will live and blend on the same soil and that English will remain the official language of business. North America will be English, destiny has spoken. But the French race will not disappear. Blending the two is not as difficult as you may think. The Clergy keeps your language alive. The Clergy constitutes the only enlightened and intellectual class that needs to speak French and speaks it flawlessly.]

T. – Quel est le caractère du paysan canadien?

[What is the temperament of the Canadian peasant?]

N. C’est à mon avis une race admirable. Le paysan canadien est simple dans ses goûts, très tendre dans ses affections de famille, très pur dans ses mœurs, remarquablement sociable, poli dans ses manières; avec cela très propre à résister à l’oppression, indépendant et guerrier, nourri dans l’esprit d’égalité. L’opinion publique a ici une force incroyable. Il n’y a pas d’autorité dans les villages, cependant l’ordre public s’y maintient mieux que dans aucun autre pays du monde. Un homme commet-il une faute, on s’éloigne de lui, il faut qu’il quitte le village. Un vol est-il commis, on ne dénonce pas le coupable, mais il est déshonoré et obligé de fuir.

[They are, in my opinion, an admirable race. The Canadien peasant has simple tastes, he is very gentle in caring for his family, morally very pure, remarkably sociable, polite in his behaviour, but also quite capable of resisting oppression, independent and feisty, and raised to believe in equality. Here, public opinion is unbelievably strong. There are no leaders in villages, yet public order is maintained better than in any other country in the world. If a man makes a mistake, he is kept at a distance and he must leave the village. If a theft is committed, the guilty party is not given in, but he has dishonoured himself and is forced to flee.]

N. […] p. 77 : Le Canadien est tendrement attaché au sol qui l’a vu naître, à son clocher, à sa famille. C’est ce qui fait qu’il est si difficile de l’engager à aller chercher fortune ailleurs. De plus, comme je le disais, il est éminemment social; les réunions amicales, l’office divin en commun, l’assemblée à la porte de l’église, voilà ses seuls plaisirs. Le Canadien est profondément religieux, il paie la dîme sans répugnance. Chacun pourrait s’en dispenser en se déclarant protestant, on n’a point encore d’exemple d’un pareil fait. Le clergé ne forme ici qu’un corps compact avec le peuple. Il partage ses idées, il entre dans ses intérêts politiques, il lutte avec lui contre le pouvoir. Sorti de lui, il n’existe que pour lui. On l’accuse ici d’être démagogue. Je n’ai pas entendu dire qu’on fît le même reproche aux prêtres catholiques en Europe. Le fait est qu’il est libéral, éclairé et cependant profondément croyant, ses mœurs sont exemplaires. Je suis une preuve de sa tolérance: protestant, j’ai été nommé dix fois par des catholiques à notre Chambre des Communes et jamais je n’ai entendu dire que le moindre préjugé de religion ait été mis en avant contre moi par qui que ce soit. Les prêtres français qui nous arrivent d’Europe, semblables aux nôtres pour leurs mœurs, leur sont absolument différents pour la tendance politique.

N. [Canadiens are very fond of their native land, their church, and their family. So, it is difficult to persuade a Canadien to seek fortune elsewhere. Moreover, as I was saying, he is very sociable. His only pleasures are friendly gatherings, attending Mass, and chatting on the porch of his church. Canadiens are profoundly religious and pay their thite without reluctance. All could escape by stating that they are Protestants, but until now there has been no instance of this. Here the clergy and the people are as one. The Clergy shares the people’s ideas and political interests and it joins them in fighting against power. The Clergy is born to them and lives for them. Here, priests are accused of being demagogues. I have not heard of Europeans thus criticizing Catholic priests. The fact is that he [the priest] is liberal, enlightened, and that he is nevertheless a convinced believer. I am a living proof of their tolerance. As a protestant, I have been nominated to the House of Commons ten times, by Catholics, and I have never heard that the slightest religion-based prejudice was brought forward against me by anyone whomsoever. Although the mores of our priests and those of the French priests who arrive here from Europe are the same, they [European priests] are absolutely different in their political orientation.]

N. Je vous ai dit que parmi les paysans canadiens il existait un grand esprit de sociabilité. Cet esprit les porte à s’entraider les uns les autres dans toutes les circonstances critiques. Un malheur arrive-t-il au champ de l’un d’eux, la commune tout entière se met ordinairement en mouvement pour le réparer. Dernièrement la grange de XX vint à être frappée du tonnerre: cinq jours après elle était rebâtie par les voisins sans frais.

[I have told you that among Canadian peasants, there existed a spirit of solidarity, which leads them to help one another in all critical circumstances. Should a misfortune befall one of them, the entire community usually rises to repair the damage. Not long ago, someone’s barn was hit by thunder: five days later it had been rebuilt by neighbours at no cost.]

Alexis de Tocqueville and John Neilson: a Conversation, 27 August 1831 | Micheline’s Blog (michelinewalker.com)

RELATED ARTICLES

Alexis de Tocqueville & John Neilson (13 May 2021)
Canadiana.1 (page)

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

Document2 (ameriquefrancaise.org)
On Upper Canada
Lower Canada
translation: Micheline Bourbeau-Walker

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

George-Étienne Cartier‘s Ô Canada! mon pays, mes amours
Le Patriote par Henri Julien, 1904

© Micheline Walker
13 May 2021
WordPress

L’Exode told: Trente arpents …

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

La Rivière Magog par Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, 1913 (Ontario Art Collection)

—ooo—

Trente Arpents (Thirty Acres)

I am forwarding links leading to a discussion of a novel entitled Trente arpents (Thirty Acres). Ringuet’s Trente arpents was published in 1938, at the very end of the period of French-Canadian literary history labelled “régionaliste.” (See Philippe Panneton, Wikipedia). Unlike earlier régionaliste literature, Trente arpents is characterized by its realism. A farmer, prosperous in his youth, “gives himself” (his land) to one of his sons. Everything goes wrong. This novel reflects the difficulties habitants faced when they had to divide the ancestral thirty acres among sons. It is also an excellent depiction of an habitant’s family

One presumes Euchariste Moisan, an habitant, owns his thirty acres. When the Seigneurial system was abolished, in 1854, “habitants” who could purchase the thirty acres they had farmed since the beginning of the 17th century. Those who couldn’t buy had to pay a rente for the rest of their life, as though they still had a seigneur. As noted in an earlier post, the rente was a form of debt bondage which ended in 1935, when Alexandre Taschereau was Premier of Quebec. Whenever the priest arrived at their door, these “habitants” no longer wanted to pay thite (la dîme). Trente arpents was published in 1938. At that time, the United States and the world were nearing the end of the Great Depression and migration was less frequent. It should be noted that the exodus started at the time of the Rebellions of 1837-1838. It endured. Trente arpents was discussed in two parts.

Forthcoming: John Neilson on Canadiens, and the potatoe famine

Alexis de Tocqueville’s inverviewed John Neilson, a bilingual polititian in Lower Canada. I have translated this interview. In 1831, John Neilson, Scottish, praised Canadiens and looked upon French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians as compatible. The interview took place six years before the Rebellions of 1837-1838. The French had friends. Among them were the Irish who had fled their country because of the potatoe famine. When they arrived in Quebec, they were very sick, which caused a cholera epidemic. Canadiens had survived various blows and survived again. In fact, Canadiens bonded with the Irish, many of whom went to work in factories but were never promoted. So, we know why the music of Ireland and Scotland exerted a great deal of influence on Québécois music. We also know why my grandfather, on my father’s side, had an Irish mother.

Confederation

To a very large extent, Quebec entered Confederation because Confederation pleased Quebec’s bourgeoisie, French and English, as well as the Clergy. The Clergy feared dissention. My source is Denis Monière‘s Développement des idéologies au Québec[1] and the sources he quotes. For a very long time, the bourgeoisie, including Quebec’s bourgeoisie and the Château Clique, attempted to minoritize and assimilate French-speaking Canadians. The Clergy sided with the British. The Clergy was in favour of confederation. Moreover, several Englishmen and United Empire Loyalists, who were given the Eastern Townships, les Cantons de l’Est, now l’Estrie, wished to absorb French-speaking Canadiens. The Townships were home to Abenaki Amerindians. I have Amerindian ancestry.

French-Canadian literature is a subject I taught for several years. In 2001, I gave a lecture on La Patrie littéraire at the University of Stuttgart. As you know, I had huge workloads, so many subject-matters. A mission impossible is the only accurate description of the tasks expected of me when I taught at McMaster University. Yet I was elected to the presidency of the Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French, l’Apfucc and to the Fédération des Études humaines, and to its Executive. But let us call these years an epiphany.

The image above shows la Rivière Magog. It crosses la rivière Saint-François in Sherbrooke.

The Magog River and the Saint-François River

We may have seen the video I have embedded. It tells a story.

RELATED ARTICLES

_________________________
[1] (Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1977)

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Music video of “A la claire fontaine” (By the clear fountain/spring) performed by Vancouver choir musica intima, arrangement by Stephen Smith. My own urban re-interpretation of the traditional French folk song.

Director/producer: Nigel Hunt. DOP: Terry Zazulak, Editor: Brian Nemett. Actors: Jerry Prager, Sigrid Johnson. Funding: Bravo!FACT. Video copyright: Garrison Creek Productons, 2000.
Allégorie de l’automne par Suzor-Coté (paperblog.fr)

© Micheline Walker
10 May 2021
WordPress)

The Exodus: “railroads, land, and factories”

Tags

, , , , ,

Le Marché de la Haute-Ville, la Basilique et le Séminaire en hiver [The Upper Town Market, the Basilica and the Seminary in Winter] (Quebec City). BAC. (Claude Corbo)

—ooo—

L’Émigré

  • Canadiens (French-speaking Canadians) did not own businesses…
  • options: colonisation & émigration

As depicted in Louis Hémon‘s Maria Chapdelaine, a novel written in the winter of 1912-1913, landless or unemployed French Canadians, called Canadiens, could be “colonisateurs” or emigrate. Colonisation, making land, was the patriotic choice but tens of thousands, nearly a million by 1890, chose to work in the United States. It is unlikely that Maria Chapdelaine’s Lorenzo Surprenant, one of her three suitors, is affluent but he is employed. Matters would change after 1929, during the Great Depression. My grandfather left Quebec’s Eastern Townships (les Cantons de l’Est) in approximately 1926, and found work. When my mother located him, in the mid-to-late 1940s, he owned a large farm in Massachusetts and lived in a well-built Colonial house. I do not know how he escaped the Great Depression of 1929.

As an émigré to the United States, my grandfather was a loss to Canada. He had to leave because he could not earn a living in his country. If I use the 1900 American statistics,[1] most Canadians lived in Massachusetts and Michigan. The people who left Ontario settled in Michigan. My research has led me to unsuspected destinations: English-speaking Canadians were also leaving Canada. This matter I will not discuss, except to say that many worked part of the year in the United States and then returned to Ontario, where they spent their money. These were not “good” émigrés (MacLean) because they were not naturalised Americans.[2] My grandfather was a naturalised American. He may have missed his family, four children, but when we met him, he had bought land and he lived simply but comfortably with Nanny, the woman who became our finest grandmother. They had seven cats, a Border Collie, hens, a cow, four vegetable gardens, and a beautiful flower garden, the fifth garden. However, he still went to work at a factory.

Les P’tits Canadas

  • French communities in the United States
  • Alexis de Tocqueville visits Lower Canada (1831)

Other émigrés to Massachusetts were not as happy as my grandfather who was an Anglophone French Canadian. His mother was Irish. Others, however, were Francophone émigrés. They missed Canada and created P’tits Canadas, communities where they had a church, a school, and a newspaper. I remember that during our visits to Massachusetts, we attended Mass and the priest spoke French. As a member of le Conseil de la Vie française en Amérique, my father was in touch with several émigrés groups in New England and elsewhere in the United States. Many voyageurs retired in Minnesota. They had first lived in Canada, but when the border between Canada and the United States was traced, after the War of 1812, formerly Canadian fur-trading posts were situated in Minnesota and were not moved north.

Laurent-Olivier David[3] quotes an émigré, a priest, who writes in L’Étendard national (Worcester, Mass, le 21 mars 1872, p. 1), that émigration was due to a lack of railroads, land, and factories in Quebec.

Ce n’est ni le drapeau rouge ni le drapeau bleu qu’il nous faut, c’est du progrès, des chemins de fer, des terres et des manufactures.

Laurent-Olivier David in Textes de l’exode.

[We need neither the red flag nor the blue flag, we need progress: railroads, land, and factories.]

Alexis-Charles-Henri Cléral de Tocqueville by Théodore Chassériau,1850 (Claude Corbo)

Alexis de Tocqueville

In 1831, when Alexis de Tocqueville visited Lower Canada, he noticed that French-speaking Canadians lived in relative prosperity, but that money, la grande richesse, was in the hands of English or American merchants. Canadiens were farmers, called “habitants,” not businessmen. Moreover, the only professions were law, medicine or the priesthood. Families expected one son to become a priest and one daughter to enter a convent. Sons who went to work in factories were never promoted and their priests looked upon their meagre salary as a good sign. They were on the road to salvation. The citizens of New France and their descendants were Jansenists. Moreover, their well-educated priests, many of whom had fled the French Revolution, sided with the boss.

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. » ( Claude Corbo & others)

Alexis de Tocqueville[4]

[Even though the peasants are prosperous, the real wealth is in the hands of the country’s Englishmen. The Mondelet brothers, whom 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.”]

Claude Corbo : Articles | Encyclopédie du patrimoine culturel de l’Amérique française – histoire, culture, religion, héritage (ameriquefrancaise.org)

In other words, the French-speaking Canadians Tocqueville met had not entered and could not enter “modern times.” They were “nés pour un p’tit pain” (born for a tiny loaf).

Édouard Montpetit

  • l’École des Hautes Études commerciales
  • la Révolution tranquille

Quebec’s businesses and factories were owned by the United States and England. Moreover, Quebec had not acquired a business class. Montreal’s École des Hautes Études commerciales was founded in 1907. Édouard Montpetit was perhaps the first French-Canadian economist. He studied law and then attended Paris’ l’École libre des sciences politiques and the Collège des sciences sociales. In 1910, he started teaching at Montreal’s l’École des Hautes Études commerciales, a trilingual institution: French, English, Spanish.

However, it was not until la Révolution tranquille (the Quiet Revolution), in the 1960s, that French-speaking Canadians started owning their province. The 1960s (1963-1969) are also the years when the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism conducted its enquiry.

RELATED ARTICLES

Sources and Resources

Document2 (ameriquefrancaise.org) (Tocqueville interviews Mr Neilson) FR (on the “habitants”)
Wikipedia (most links)
Britannica (link to “modern times,” Charlie Chaplin)

______________________________
[1] Annie Marion MacLean, “Significance of the Canadian Migration,” American Journal of Sociology (X, 6, mai 1905, pp. 814-823), in Maurice Poteet, responsable, Textes de l’Exode (Montréal : Guérin Littérature, collection Francophonie, 1987), pp. 62-73.
[2] Loc. cit.
[3] Laurent-Olivier David, « L’Émigration », in Maurice Poteet, responsable, Textes de l’Exode (Montréal : Guérin Littérature, collection Francophonie, 1987), pp. 39-41.
[4] Claude Corbo, Articles | Encyclopédie du patrimoine culturel de l’Amérique française – histoire, culture, religion, héritage (ameriquefrancaise.org) FR & EN

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Fred Pellerin chante “Amène-toi chez nous” (Come home), composition de Jacques Michel
Unknown Artist, Indien et Habitant avec Traîneau [Indian and Inhabitant with a Tobogan] (Quebec City) around 1840. BAC (Claude Corbo)

© Micheline Walker
6 May 2021
WordPress