Jacques Cartierdiscovered Canada in 1534. He arrived at Gaspé Bay, planted a cross, and claimed the territory he had found for France. Cartier was looking for Asia, but he fell a continent and an ocean short of his goal. He did not find diamonds, just faux.
When Cartier sailed back to France, he took with him Iroquois Chief Donnacona‘s two sons, Domagaya and Taignoagny. They were returned to their father in 1535, during Cartier’s second expedition to the “country of the Canadas.” In 1535, Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River. One of Donnacona’s son took him to his home at Stadacona. It would be Quebec City. In October, Cartier went to Hochelaga, the future Montreal. Cartier could not go beyong the Lachine Rapids. He did not create a settlement in New France.
The Winter of 1535-1536
Cartier explores the St Lawrence River
the third voyage
Cartier’s 150 men and three ships, la Grande Hermine, la Petite Hermine and l’Émérillon, spent the winter in Canada. When winter came, his men started to die of scurvy. St Lawrence Iroquoians supplied him with anneda/aneda, harvested from thuya occidentalis, cedar trees. It has been claimed that Cartier’s men were provided with abies balsamea, from the Balsam fir. Aneda or abies balsamea were rich sources of Vitamin C, the remedy for scurvy. Cartier’s men survived.
In 1536, Jacques Cartier captured Iroquoian Chief Donnacona, his sons, Domagaya and Taignoagny, and five Iroquoian Amérindiens. Amerindians had saved his crew, but Cartier was not in the least grateful. Besides, St Lawrence Iroquois had tried to impede Cartier’s exploration. Cartier sailed back to France, but his captives were never returned to their home. Cartier did not create a settlement.
In 1541-1542, Roberval and Cartier were expected to create a first settlement, but Cartier, who met Roberval as he sailed back to France, would not turn back and join Roberval. There would be no attempt to settle the Canadas until 1604.
The group spent a winter on Sainte-Croix island (Dochet Island). Dugua de Mons lost half of his men (39 or so). He returned to France, but he left Champlain, François Gravé du Pont, Champlain’s uncle, Matthieu Da Costa, a Black linguist, and persons introduced above. Matthieu da Costa did not speak Amerindian languages, but he learned languages in very little time and could create a lingua franca, a language of trade and travel, etc. Champlain and Matthieu Da Costa founded Quebec City in 1608. Four years earlier, in 1604, they and colleagues had settledPort-Royal, in the current Nova Scotia. Port-Royal was located in a warmer climate than the climate at Île Sainte-Croix. To prevent scurvy, Champlain suggested the creation of the Order of Good Cheer, l’Ordre de Bon Temps (1606). Merriment and good meals were essential to everyone’s health. French-speaking settlers, voyageurs in particular, inherited this approach.
In Chapter X/IX of Les Anciens Canadiens, monsieur d’Egmont speaks about an Iroquois who does not like a building located in New York. In the large building an Iroquois examines, “sauvages” who have not paid the white man are incarcerated and cannot therefore catch beaver pelts to repay their debt. Their hands are tied. However, I have not quoted the Good Gentleman’ full statement. The bon gentilhomme believes that civilization thwarts the human mind, in which the novel uses the myth of the Noble Savage :
Une chose m’a toujours frappé : c’est que la civilisation fausse le jugement des hommes, et qu’en fait de sens commun, de gros bon sens, que l’on doit s’attendre à rencontrer dans la cervelle de tout être civilisé (j’en excepte pourtant les animaux domestiques qui reçoivent leur éducation dans nos familles), le sauvage lui est bien supérieur. En voici un exemple assez amusant. Un Iroquois contemplait, il y a quelques années, à New-York, un vaste édifice d’assez sinistre apparence ; ses hauts murs, ses fenêtres grillées l’intriguaient beaucoup : c’était une prison. Arrive un magistrat. – Le visage pâle veut-il dire à son frère, fit l’Indien, à quoi sert ce grand wigwam? – C’est là qu’on renferme les peaux-rouges qui refusent de livrer les peaux de castor qu’ils doivent aux marchands.
[“It has always struck me that civilization warps men’s judgment, and makes them inferior to primitive races in mere common sense and simple equity. Let me give you an amusing instance. Some years ago, in New York, an Iroquois was gazing intently at a great, forbidding structure. Its lofty walls and iron-bound windows interested him profoundly. It was a prison. A magistrate came up. “‘Will the pale face tell his brother what this great wigwam is for?’ asked the Indian. The citizen swelled out his chest and answered with an air of importance: “ “‘It is there we shut up the red-skins who refuse to pay the furs which they owe our merchants.'”]
One can understand that Aubert de Gaspé (1786-1871) would look upon Amerindians with kindness. Le bon gentilhomme is a fictionalized Aubert de Gaspé. Aubert de Gaspé was too generous and did not realize at which point he started loaning money he did not have. Had monsieur d’Egmont not given his entire property, within ten years, one of the houses he owned would have repaid his debt in full. Authorities waited before incarcerating Aubert de Gaspé, but he was imprisoned and unable to help his two sick children. He was careless and wanted to repay authorities. However, in 1841, after nearly four years of detention, he was heard by authorities and released.
Aubert de Gaspé was not a seigneur during the years he spent in a prison. His mother was the seigneuresse de Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Quebec had its nobility and many feared being sent back to France. Several died when l’Auguste, a ship, sank as a storm raged. However, Aubert de Gaspé would be a seigneur after his mother’s death. He would be the last seigneur of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. The Seigneurial System was abolished in 1854, before Aubert de Gaspé published his book (1863).
Interestingly, Aubert de Gaspé fictionalized himself as le bon gentilhomme, the Good Gentleman, the man who was too severely punished, and, as Jules, an image of innocence. It is as though le bon gentilhomme, monsieur d’Egmont, had seen Jules loan money he did not have to a person who had kicked him. To help Dubuc, Jules borrows money from Madeleine who has a debt of gratitude, but gratitude is rare.
The novel is historical and autobiographical. But it is also a cautionary tale. Le bon gentilhomme wants to tell his story to Jules, so Jules’s generosity does not lead him astray (II: pp.22… )(I: 22-26). (Aubert de Gaspé experienced rulings that did not take into account his good character and extenuating circumstances. In 1841, Aubert de Gaspé was freed after nearly four years of detention. His conviction was not legally unjust, but it was “unfair” and disloyal. Therefore, Aubert de Gaspé uses the myth of the Noble Savage, a soul untainted by civilization. Moreover, the bon sauvage is at hand. Nouvelle-France was home to Amerindians.
Incarcerating a good man, monsieur d’Egmont, le bon gentilhomme, is discordant. Discordant is a term I have borrowed from Maurice Lemire, the editor of my copy of Les Anciens Canadiens.In Les Anciens Canadiens, the uncivilized are Europeans, not the natives of New France. One remembers the Jesuit Relations and Lahontan‘s Noble savage. Les Anciens Canadiens attacks civilized men. Montgomery who orders Arché to burn his friends’ manoir is inferior to the “Noble Savage.” Aubert de Gaspé’s fate, imprisonment, may be legal, but it is disloyal, and given his fault, detention is discordant. We can therefore situate Aubert de Gaspé’s novel among literary works pertaining to the myth of the Noble Savage. It is close to the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau viewed man in the state of nature as good, at times because of a Social Contract, but Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathanpictured man in the state of nature as a horrible zoomorphic serpent.
It should be noted, moreover that the wars Nouvelle France fought with or on behalf of Amerindians were exhausting. Our visitor to New York is an Iroquois, an Amerindian confederacy allied to the British. The French were allied mostly to the Hurons-Wendats. In chapter VII/VI, le capitaine d’Haberville is described as battled wearied:
Le seigneur d’Haberville avait à peine quarante-cinq ans, mais il accusait dix bonnes années de plus, tant les fatigues de la guerre avaient usé sa constitution d’ailleurs si forte et si robuste : ses devoirs de capitaine d’un détachement de la marine l’appelaient presque constamment sous les armes. Ces guerres continuelles dans les forêts, sans autre abri, suivant l’expression énergique des anciens Canadiens, que la rondeur du ciel, ou la calotte des cieux ; ces expéditions de découvertes, de surprises, contre les Anglais et les sauvages, pendant les saisons les plus rigoureuses, altéraient bien vite les plus forts tempéraments.
[The Seigneur D’Haberville was scarcely forty-five years old, but the toils of war had so told on his constitution that he looked a good ten years older. His duties as captain in the Colonial Marine kept him constantly under arms. The ceaseless forest warfare, with no shelter,104 according to the stern Canadian custom, except the vault of heaven, the expeditions of reconnoissance or surprise against the Iroquois or against the English settlements, carried on during the severest weather, produced their speedy effect on the strongest frames.]
We meet our first Amerindian, a Huron, at Trois-Saumons River. When he arrives at monsieur d’Egmont’s cottage, he is ill. Monsieur d’Egmont and André Francœur look after him for several weeks. Four years later, when he has nearly been forgotten, he visits Monsieur d’Egmont carrying a fortune in pelts, moccassins, and other valuable products the French cherished.
Ce n’était pas le même homme que j’avais vu dans un si piteux état : il était vêtu splendidement, et tout annonçait chez lui le grand guerrier et le grand chasseur, qualités inséparables chez les naturels de l’Amérique du Nord. Lui et son compagnon déposèrent, dans un coin de ma chambre, deux paquets de marchandises de grande valeur : car ils contenaient les pelleteries les plus riches, les plus brillants mocassins brodés en porc-épic, les ouvrages les plus précieux en écorce, et d’autres objets dont les sauvages font commerce avec nous. Je le félicitai alors sur la tournure heureuse qu’avaient prise ses affaires.
[“I had entirely forgotten my Indian, when about four years later he arrived at my door, accompanied by another savage. I could scarcely recognize him. He was spendidly clad, and everything about him bespoke the great hunter and the mighty warrior. In one corner of my room he and his companion laid down two bundles of merchandise of great value—the richest furs, moccasins splendidly embroidered with porcupine quills, and exquisite pieces of work in birch bark, such as the Indians alone know how to make. I congratulated him upon the happy turn his affairs had taken.]
– Écoute, mon frère, me dit-il, et fais attention à mes paroles. Je te dois beaucoup, et je suis venu payer mes dettes. Tu m’as sauvé la vie, car tu connais bonne médecine. Tu as fait plus, car tu connais aussi les paroles qui entrent dans le cœur: d’un chien d’ivrogne que j’étais, je suis redevenu l’homme que le Grand Esprit a créé. Tu étais riche, quand tu vivais de l’autre côté du grand lac. Ce wigwam est trop étroit pour toi : construis-en un qui puisse contenir ton grand cœur. Toutes ces marchandises t’appartiennent.
[“‘Listen to me, my brother,’ said he. ‘I owe you much, and I am come to pay my debt. You saved my life, for you know good medicine. You have done more, for you know the words which reach the heart; dog of a drunkard as I was, I am become once more a man as I was created by the Great Spirit. You were rich when you lived beyond the great water. This wigwam is too small for you; build one large enough to hold your great heart. All these goods belong to you,’]
Le bon gentilhomme is moved to tears. Gratitude is a quality lacking in the individuals to whom he loaned money. Our Noble Savage, returns to the Trois-Saumons River carrying precious gifts: pelts, moccasins, and other goods. Monsieur d’Egmont could build a much better wigwam by selling the pelts and other riches the Noble Savage has brought. But he chooses otherwise. A priest will distribute among the needy the riches the grateful Amerindian has brought to thank the God Gentleman.
Ironically, le bon gentilhomme’s cottage will be home to the d’Habervilles after their manoir is destroyed by fire and Quebec City house, destroyed. Arché’s superior, Montgomery, orders Arché to set fire to every house.
– Mais, dit le jeune officier, qui était Écossais, faut-il incendier aussi les demeures de ceux qui n’opposent aucune résistance ? On dit qu’il ne reste que des femmes, des vieillards et des enfants dans ces habitations.
[“But,” said the young officer, who was a Scotchman, “must I burn the dwellings of those who offer no resistance? They say there is no one left in these houses except old men, women, and children.”]
– Il me semble, monsieur, reprit le major 265 Montgomery, que mes ordres sont bien clairs et précis ; vous mettrez le feu à toutes les habitations de ces chiens de Français que vous rencontrerez sur votre passage. Mais j’oubliais votre prédilection pour nos ennemis !
[“I think, sir,” replied Major Montgomery, “that my orders are quite clear. You will set fire to every house belonging to these dogs of Frenchmen. I had forgotten your weakness for our enemies.” “Every house you come across belonging to these dogs of Frenchmen, set fire to it. I will follow you a little later.”]
– Voilà donc, s’écria-t-il [Arché] avec amertume, les fruits de ce que nous appelons code d’honneur chez les nations civilisées ! Sont-ce là aussi les fruits des préceptes qu’enseigne l’Évangile à tous ceux qui professent la religion chrétienne, cette religion toute d’amour et de pitié, même pour des ennemis. Si j’eusse fait partie d’une expédition commandée par un chef de ces aborigènes que nous traitons de barbares sur cet hémisphère, et que je lui eusse dit : « Épargne cette maison, car elle appartient à mes amis ; j’étais errant et fugitif, et ils m’ont accueilli dans leur famille, où j’ai trouvé un père et des frères », le chef indien m’aurait répondu : « C’est bien, épargne tes amis ; il n’y a que le serpent qui mord ceux qui l’ont réchauffé près de leur feu. »
[“Behold,” said he, “the fruits of what we call the code of honor of civilized nations! Are these the fruits of Christianity, that religion of compassion which teaches us to love even our enemies? If my commander were one of these savage chiefs, whom we treat as barbarians, and I had said to him: ‘Spare this house, for it belongs to my friends. I was a wanderer and a fugitive, and they took me in and gave me a father and a brother,’ the Indian chief would have answered: ‘It is well; spare your friends; it is only the viper that stings the bosom that has warmed it.’]
Jules and Arché (Cameron of Lochiel)’s friendship will survive the War. However, Aubert de Gaspé needed the bon sauvage. New France’s Amerindians were friends of the French, but there is no entity called the Noble Savage. It is an image and a wish. However, Amerindians have a great deal of common sense. I quite agree with the Jesuits who saw Amerindians as good persons who did not need to be converted. Yet, they continued their work as missionary and a few fell victims to the Iroquois who, as noted above, were friends of the British. La Grande-Loutre is an Iroquois. The Iroquois confederacy were allies of the British and protected by the British. The French were allies of the Hurons-Wendats and protected the Hurons-Wendats.
Aubert de Gaspé went further in the rehabilitation of the defeated French. Not only did he feature the Noble Savage, but he created Cameron of Lochiel, a Scot, whose father fought at Culloden. Arché will move to Canada and have a house built, half of wish will be Dumais’s home. He saved Dumais ‘s life who saved Archie from torture and death when the Iroquois captured him. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 will be the Amerindians’s “precedent,” and is included in the 1982 Constitution Act, Canada.
As for the Quebec Act of 1774, it constitutes a “precedent” to a bilingual Canada. The French in America did not attempt to assimilate Amerindians. Monsieur d’Egmont and André Francœur have in fact left France, Europe being too civilized, to live among natives. Jules and Cameron of Lochiel will remain friends. Some of Aubert de Gaspé’s children would marry the Scots, or the English. It is not treason, but a legitimate and realistic wish to take part in the political life of Canada. Finally, persons whose origins are not the same may fall in love. The French in Quebec were happy to have escaped the French Revolution. This reaction, however, was often dictated by the clergy and the seigneurs. At any rate, Canadians must clean up a mess: Residential Schools, the remnants of Imperialism.
I will write briefly about the Battles, but I have already done so in Canadiana.1. I must include Les Anciens Canadiens‘s Plains of Abraham.
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.
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.]
Paris vaut bien une messe. (Paris is well worth a Mass.) Henri IV
Pierre Dugua de Mons, Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit and Samuel de Champlain did not travel to North America until 1599, and we have discovered that these men were Huguenots. Despite the Edict of Nantes, L’Édit de Nantes, an edict of toleration granted by Henri IV of France in 1598, Huguenots, French Protestants, could not escape persecution. Let us explain. Henri IV of France had been a Huguenot as King of Navarre. He converted to Catholicism to be crowned King of France. He is reported to have said that “Paris vaut bien une messe” (Paris is well worth a Mass). He was assassinated in 1610, and Huguenots were no longer safe in France.
The Siège de La Rochelle, which took place in 1627-1628, is abundant proof that Huguenots were endangered. According to Wikipedia, 22,000 citizens died of starvation at La Rochelle. La Rochelle had a population of 25,000. However, some escaped. Two or three of my Bourbeau ancestors hid in the Channel Islands, Jersey and Guernsey, waiting to sail to New France. In 1627, the Catholic Company of One Hundred Associates would rule New France, but it did not persecute New France’s Huguenot population. Huguenots left New France or converted to Catholicism when the Edict of Nantes was revoked on 22 October 1685. They fled to the United States.
We have discovered that our men were Huguenots and that they could be persecuted in France, despite the Edict of Nantes. As noted above, L’Édit de Nantes was an edict of toleration signed by Henri IV. Yet, Henri IV, a beloved King, was assassinated by a victim of religious fanaticism.
It was thought that Jacques Cartier, who took possession of Canada in the name of the King of france and named it Canada, did not found a settlement. But he did. He founded Cap-Rouge near Quebec City. It was a failure, but the remains of the settlement have been rediscovered. It seems that Francis 1st did not know about this brief settlement.
In 1541, King Francis 1st commissioned Jean-François de La Rocque, sieur de Roberval, a nobleman, to establish a settlement in the land Cartier had discovered. Cartier would merely accompany Roberval to North-America. However, Cartier left in 1541 and arrived in North America on 23 August 1541, a year earlier than Roberval. He met Roberval, on 8 June 142, but did not accompany him as the King had requested.
The King had given Roberval two missions. He was to found a settlement and was also asked to convert Amerindians to Catholicism. Roberval could convert Amerindians into Catholics because he was a Protestant or had converted to Protestantism. The settlement he founded did not survive. So, Roberval returned to France. He was not chastised by the King, but he and other Huguenots were murdered leaving a meeting of Protestants.
So, France’s bitter Wars of Religion all but prevented settling Acadie and Canada, New France’s two provinces. A few years ago, I contacted Britannica to say that Dugua de Mons was a Protestant and that he, not Champlain, was the father of Acadie. Could its scholars investigate? Britannica modified its entry and scholars went on to determine that Quebec City was founded by Champlain, but that he was Dugua’s employee.
Acadie fell to Britain in 1713, by virtue of the Treaty of Utrecht, but Acadians had not left. In 1755, a large number of Acadians, sources vary from 1,200 to 11,500, were forced into ships that went in different directions. Family members were separated and so were young couples who were engaged to be married.
Longfellow told that story in Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, an epic poem published in 1847. Acadians have transformed Longfellow’s Évangéline into Acadia’ heroine. Évangéline is alive. According to one’s sources, the name Acadie is derived from an Amerindian word, or from Arcadia.
This is the image I set at the top of my post on the Underground Railroad. It has not been possible for me to publish the entire post. The Block Editor caused severe difficulties.
The abolition of slavery in British Colonies would not be enacted until 1833, but for some forty to sixty years Black slaves were freed the moment they arrived in Canada because of the Act Against Slavery. William Grisely had told John Graves Simcoe, the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, that he had seen Adam Vrooman force Chloe Cooley into a boat that would cross the Niagara River to the United States and sell her. Chloe so resisted Vrooman that he had to call for help to tie her to the ship. John Graves Simcoe also received a petition. On 9 July 1793, Colonel Simcoe’s legislative assembly passed the Act Against Slavery. The abolition of slavery in the British empire took place in 1833, and Abraham Lincoln did not sign the Emancipation Proclamation until 22 September 1862, but after passage of the Act Against Slavery, the Blacks were free the moment they stepped on Canadian soil, Upper Canada.
The War of 1812
This story is manifold. It tells how much Richard Pierpoint contributed to the War of 1812 and how little he was given in compensation. The Act Against Slavery did not abolish racism. Richard Pierpoint created the Coloured Corps. However, White veterans got twice the land he received. Pierpoint had asked to be allowed to return to Africa. They wouldn’t help. This post also tells about the Amerindians’ contribution. They were free until Canadian Confederation, which is a very long time: from 1534 to 1867.
Amerindians & the Blacks
As you have noticed, in North America slaves were the Indigenous people and the Blacks brought to the North American continent during the Atlantic Slave Trade. Next we meet Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists.
Boat Encampment, Sketch Paul Kane, circa 1846, watercolour. Sketch made by Kane on the Columbia River, BC (courtesy Stark Foundation, Orange, Texas). (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
North-West Rebellion: Events
Much took place during the North-West Rebellion. There were skirmishes, battles, and a massacre. For a complete list of events, one should read the University of Saskatchewan‘s North-West Resistance: Chronology of Events. Missing from this list is a battle between Amerindians. It is Gabriel Dumont’s first experience as a “warrior” and, therefore, marginal information.
In 1851, at the young age of 13, Dumont was introduced to plains warfare when he fought at the Battle of Grand Coteau, defending a Métis encampment against a large Dakota war party.
Frog Lake Massacre 2 April 1885 –Cree success
Members of Mistahimaskwa’s (Big Bear) Cree Nation led by Ayimisis (Little Bear) and Kapapamahchakwew (Wandering Spirit) kill Indian Agent Quinn and eight other whites.
Battle of Fort Pitt17 April 1885 –Cree victory
Fort Pitt is taken by warriors of Mistahimaskwa‘s (Big Bear) band. Mistahimaskwa negotiates the evacuation of the fort by the North-West Mounted Police.
Gabriel Dumont ambushes Middleton‘s column at Fish Creek.
Pitikwahanapiwiyin Cree Chief (Poundmaker) (COURTESY GLENBOW ARCHIVES) (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Everything that is bad has been laid against me this summer, there is nothing of it true… Had I wanted war, I would not be here now. I should be on the prairie. You did not catch me. I gave myself up. You have got me because I wanted justice. Pîtikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker)
Amerindians (North-American “Indians”) participated in the North-West Rebellion. Pîtikwahanapiwiyin is Poundmaker and Mistahimaskwa, Big Bear (Gros Ours). Pîtikwahanapiwiyn surrendered to General Middleton at Fort Battleford. Mistahimaskwa surrendered at Fort Pitt. Kapapamahchakwew is Wandering Spirit (Esprit Errant).
Sources disagree on whether the Amerindians I have mentioned served a prison sentence or were hanged. I have read that many were hanged.
Moreover, although Amerindians had been conquered, they had been free to roam their land since Jacques Cartier claimed Canada for France, in 1534, until 1763, when Nouvelle France was ceded to England. French settlers had married Amerindian women when the number of European women in Nouvelle-France was much lower than the number of European men. (See King’s Daughters, Wikipedia.) The King’s Daughters, 800 women, arrived between 1663 and 1670. Sixty years are a long time.
The Iroquois often attacked the French settlers. They also tortured and killed missionaries (see Canadian Martyrs, Wikipedia), but other tribes, the Algonquian tribes, the Abenakis especially, were friendly tribes. Many Quebecers have Amerindian ancestry. However, it is difficult for Québécois-es to be recognized as Métis. Métis are the descendants of persons involved in the fur trade.
To a certain extent, Confederation was a mixed blessing. It created a Canada that would stretch from coast to coast, which all Canadians enjoy, but Confederation happened at a cost, as did colonialism in general.
Amerindians would be sent to Indian Reserves and their children were forced to enter Residential Schools,
Métis who had no title to their lots, lost their land and they had no status,
the execution of Louis Riel alienated the French-speaking citizens of Québec. Quebec was one of the four provinces that joined Confederation in 1867. They believed they would be able to live and maintain their culture in Quebec and outside Quebec. However, William McDougall and Orangemen were anti-Catholic, anti-French, and racist.
I will not discuss what I would call the “Amerindian question.” It is an extremely complex issue.
I reset my computer successfully. As for my diagnostic, it cannot be established with certainty. Mild cognitive impairment is a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), which has bedevilled me for decades. In other words, all is well.