Writing the Battle of Jumonville Glen was very difficult. I had conflicting sources. For instance, I could not determine whether Coulon de Jumonville was killed as the skirmish ended, or later, at Fort Duquesne.
Moreover, my text kept being revised (dialogs). So, I nearly destroyed the post. It seems that Coulon de Jumonville was killed by Tanacharison.
Our only certainties are that Jumonville was killed. Was it immediately after the skirmish or later, at Fort Duquesne. Moreover did Tanacharison kill Jumonville, and where.
I should have mentioned that George Washington (February 1723-December 1799) was only 22 at the Battle of Jumonville Glen. Tanacharison was 54. He died soon after Jumonville Glen, an ambush and skirmish. It is now called a skirmish.
My conclusion is that wars are absurd. The people of New France are still fighting to retain their identity. As well, France lost the Seven Years’ War. Yet, the starting-point was an ambush.
Moreover, my memory is deteriorating. I am perfectly lucid, but it may take me a few minutes to indicate the page or segment I am quoting and I may repeat a word or a sentence. I make spelling errors. So, I will be closing my weblog in the not-too-distant future or discuss fables, or write shorter posts. However, that an ambush should lead to wars, including a world war, is disorienting. So is an entry stating that Washington started the wars. As noted above, Washington was 22 or 23 years old, probably 22, in 1754.
I inserted a source, but I could not separate the source and videos it shows. It is a learned source and the gentleman we hear does not throw stones. The link is the Jumonville Skirmish, but I am now shown Error 404 and information given readers is in French. If one speaks French, the site is available. I’ll search again. The following link may take a reader to information. One mut pay.
Washington was ordered to remove the French from the Ohio Country, which may have given him latitude.
Aubert de Gaspé is not a Malraux. Nor is he a Camus. But Aubert de Gaspé is pointing out the absurdity of war. France lost New France and New France lost its motherland. These consequences are not glitches. The Battle of Quebec 1775 was an early battle during the American Revolutionary War.
Many seigneurs were sent back to France, but Aubert de Gaspé was not. He had descendants.
Through his novel Aubert de Gaspé suggests that one can adjust to changes. Jules did. Aubert de Gaspé also suggests that the enemy may be one’s adopted brother. Jules and Arché are reunited. It is as though, the seigneurs of New France had been in the military. Jules’s father looked old because he had fought battles.
We are at the very beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Future Americans looked upon George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Guy Carleton’s Quebec Act of 1774 as “intolerable acts.” Future Americans were defeated by a “motley” garrison (see Battle of Quebec, Wikipedia) under the command of Sir Guy Carleton. By virtue of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, future Americans could not settle west of the Thirteen Colonies. As well, because of the Quebec Act of 1774, Canada’s defeated French-speaking population, who lived in a very large Province of Quebec, were unlikely to join American revolutionary forces.
The Battle of Carillon/Battle of Ticonderoga was quite outstanding, from a military point of view. On the French side, Montcalm and Lévis had a force of 3,600 regulars, militia, & Indians. They were opposed, on the British side, by 6,000 regulars, 12,000 provincial troops, rangers, & Indians. The French built a barrier behind branches, foliage, and other obstacles, creating an impossible terrain, and fired at the advancing troops. The Battle of Beauport or Montmorency was fought on 31 July 1759, which bode quite well for the French. But, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, British forces consisted of 4,400 regulars and colonial rangers opposing a garrison of 3,400 men (1,900 regulars and 1,500 colonial militia and natives). Quebec fell. The battle lasted twenty minutes, and both commanders, thirty-two-year-old James Wolfe, and Louis de Montcalm, aged 47, were fatally wounded. (See Battle of Carillon, Wikipedia.)
Cameron of Lochiel, a Highlander, fought at Louisbourg (1758), at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (1759) and at the Battle of Sainte-Foy (1760). As for Jules d’Haberville, he fought at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and at the Battle of Sainte-Foy. The former brothers will be reunited despite Jules’s inimical first reaction.
The Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy
Aubert de Gaspé describes the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Sainte-Foy. Gaspé’s numbers may not be accurate. Moreover, Aubert de Gaspé believes that the French won the Battle of Saint-Foy. So do other sources. In chapter XIV/XIII, Jules d’Haberville and Cameron of Lochiel are reunited and Aubert de Gaspé’s description of the defeated is very eloquent. The defeated are forever defeated.
Vae victis ! dit la sagesse des nations ; malheur aux vaincus ! non seulement à cause des désastres, conséquences naturelles d’une défaite, mais aussi parce que les vaincus ont toujours tort.
At the Battle of Sainte-Foy, fought on 18 April 1760. The French had 5,000 regulars and militia and The British forces consisted of 3,800 men. On the British side, a total of 1,259 men were killed and 829, wounded. Three-quarters of British casualties were Fraser Highlanders. The French lost 146 men and 640 were wounded. Aubert de Gaspé views the Battle of Sainte-Foy as a French victory, but it did not tip the balance at the Treaty of Versailles 1763. France had abandoned its North American colony.
Aubert de Gaspé devotes one chapter to Les Plaines d’Abraham, it is Chapter XIV in the original French text and Chapter XIII (p. 198) in Cameron of Lochiel, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts’s translation. The Plains of Abraham therefore follows the Chapter entitled L’Incendie de la côte du sud which reveals Arché’s struggle as a soldier who is ordered to harm his Canadiens friends. However, continuity is not broken.
– Tu as vaincu, Montgomery ; mes malédictions retombent maintenant sur ma tête ; tu diras que j’ai déserté à l’ennemi ; tu publieras que je suis un traître que tu soupçonnais depuis longtemps. Tu as vaincu, car toutes les apparences sont contre moi. Ta joie sera bien grande, car j’ai tout perdu, même l’honneur. Et, comme Job, il s’écria : – Périsse le jour qui m’a vu naître !
[“You have conquered, Montgomery; my curses recoil upon my own head. You will proclaim that I have deserted to the enemy, that I am a traitor as you long suspected. You will rejoice indeed, for I have lost all, even honor.” And like Job, he cursed the day that he was born.]
As a soldier, Arché is rehabilitated in the Battle of Quebec.
De Locheill s’était vengé noblement des soupçons injurieux à sa loyauté, que son ennemi Montgomery avait essayé d’inspirer aux officiers supérieurs de l’armée britannique. Ses connaissances étendues, le temps qu’il consacrait à l’étude de sa nouvelle profession, son aptitude à tous les exercices militaires, sa vigilance aux postes qui lui étaient confiés, sa sobriété, lui valurent d’abord l’estime générale ; et son bouillant courage, tempéré néanmoins par la prudence dans l’attaque des lignes françaises à Montmorency, et sur le champ de bataille du 13 septembre 1759, fut remarqué par le général Murray, qui le combla publiquement de louanges.
[Lochiel had cleared himself nobly of the suspicions which his foe, Montgomery, had sought to fix upon203 him. His wide knowledge, his zeal in the study of his profession, his skill in all military exercises, his sobriety, his vigilance when in guard of a post, all these had put him high in esteem. His dashing courage tempered with prudence in the attack on the French lines at Montmorency and on the field of the first Battle of the Plains had been noticed by General Murray, who commended him publicly.]
“To brighten the atmosphere and foster the esprit de corps amongst the sieur de Poutrincourt, lord of Port-Royal’s staff members, Samuel de Champlain had the idea to create “the order of Good-Cheer” during the winter 1606-1607. In turn, the members of the small elite of Port-Royal were to prepare a gastronomical meal for their fellow-members, with the fruit of their hunting and fishing in the rich Acadian natural environment plentiful with game and fish of various kinds. From time to time, the sagamo Membertou and its close relations were also invited to share the feast during which the person in charge of the eve entered ceremoniously in the main room of the Habitation wearing around his neck the collar of the Order that he would tend to the future host of the next evening. In the current rebuilt Habitation, today a national historical place of Canada, one can easily imagine the atmosphere of these evenings. The government of the province of Nova Scotia reestablished the order of the Good Cheer and it is possible to become join it.” (H. P. Biggar in The Works of Samuel de Champlain) (See Order of Good Cheer, Wikipedia)
The Order of Good Cheer
The Order of Good Cheer was founded by Champlain in 1606. Champlain thought that scurvy was caused by idleness. L’Ordre de Bon Temps was chartered by Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just and Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. In its earliest days, Huguenots came to Acadie and then Quebec City, but mostly to Acadie. They were fishing and had been fishing for a long time off the coast of the current Maritime Provinces of Canada. Acadie was founded in 1604 by Dugua de Mons, four years before Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec city. L’Ordre de bon temps could not cure scurvy, but a happy social life lessens stress. But it may have created the “race” John Neilson (1776-1848), an acquaintance of Aubert de Gaspé (1786-1871), describes to Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859). John Neilson depicts The French in Canada as “remarquablement sociables,” which they had to be, among themselves, and, also, in their relationship with the British. They were a conquered nation.
In an earlier post, I compared a seigneur’s dining table to Carl Larsson‘s depiction of a Christmas dinner at his house. To be more accurate, the Order of Good Cheer is the ancestor to merriment in New France, both in Seigneuries and in the humbler homes of the habitants. In fact, it characterizes the behaviour of voyageurs. Voyageurs had to have a strong upper body and a good voice. They sang as they paddled their canoe. Dissatisfied with his American canoemen, John Jacob Astor asked that an exemption be made to the Embargo Act of 1807 so he could recruit Canadiens as canoemen for the American Fur Company and its subsidiary, the Pacific Fur Company. (See the Voyageurs Posts)
A Supper at the House of a French-Canadian Seigneur
After Dumais is rescued and a doctor has been sent for, everyone thanks providence and eight persons repair to the seigneur d’Haberville’s dining-room to eat supper. Traditionally, meals in Canada were le déjeuner (breakfast), le dîner (dinner) and le souper (supper). In Cameron of Lochiel (1905), Sir Charles G. D. Roberts uses the word supper to translate le souper. In earlier days, the people of Britain used the word supper, but in provinces outside Quebec, French-speaking Canadians may say dîner-souper because people could be confused.
Aubert de Gaspé describes une armoire, a large cabinet, containing blue dishes from Marseille. So, there is a degree of opulence on the shores of the St Lawrence.
Le couvert était mis dans une chambre basse, mais spacieuse, dont les meubles, sans annoncer le luxe, ne laissaient rien à désirer de ce que les Anglais appellent confort.(VI: p.110) [The table was spread in a low but spacious room, whose furniture, though not luxurious, lacked nothing of what an Englishman calls comfort.](V: 76-77)
By comparing the chambre basse to English comfort, one senses that Philippe Aubert de Gaspé is seeking validation. The novel is historical and, to a large extent, biographical. Historically, New France was defeated in 1759, but Aubert de Gaspé’s novel is part of a collective effort to rebuild New France, albeit in books. The French lived comfortably. In fact, Aubert de Gaspé is a descendant of Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye (1632-1702), reportedly the richest man in New France. Aubert de la Chesnaye owned several seigneuries and he was also a fur trader. Fur traders, called bourgeois, were mostly individuals who could afford to hire voyageurs.
Louis XIV did found the Compagnie des Indes occidentales in 1664. He wanted to take the fur trade away from bourgeois, many of whom were not French. The Company closed in 1674. It had lasted a mere ten years. (See Compagnie des Indes occidentales, Canadian Encyclopedia.) The Hudson’s Bay Company, a British company, was chartered in 1670. Fur trading is no longer its main mission, but it has yet to close. Fur trading was extremely lucrative, but the North West Company, headquartered in Montreal, was not established until 1779, after the conquest, by Scottish immigrants. It closed in 1821 when it was merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company. One would presume that Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye was a bourgeois fur trader.
As for the Seigneur d’Haberville (Aubert de Gaspé himself), the jewel of his manoir‘s dining-room is its armoire. The French in Nouvelle-France had armoires as did their European ancestors. In Les Anciens Canadiens, the D’Haberville’s armoire is also called a “sideboard” or buffet, a more common piece of furniture in the dining-room of other nations.
Un immense buffet, touchant presque au plafond, étalait, sur chacune des barres transversales dont il était amplement muni, un service en vaisselle bleue de Marseille semblant, par son épaisseur, jeter un défi à la maladresse des domestiques qui en auraient laissé tomber quelques pièces.(VI: pp. 110-111) [A great sideboard, reaching almost to the ceiling, displayed on its many shelves a service of blue Marseilles china, of a thickness to defy the awkwardness of the servants.] (V: 76-77)
On a lower part of this side board, one finds a box (une cassette) filled with silverware.
Au-dessus de la partie inférieure de ce buffet, qui servait d’armoire, et que l’on pourrait appeler le rez-de-chaussée de ce solide édifice, projetait une tablette d’au moins un pied et demi de largeur, sur laquelle était une espèce de cassette, beaucoup plus haute que large, dont les petits compartiments, bordés de drap vert, étaient garnis de couteaux et de fourchettes à manches d’argent, à l’usage du dessert.(VI: p. 111) [Over the lower part of this sideboard, which served the purpose of a cupboard and which might be called the ground floor of the structure, projected a shelf a foot and a half wide, on which stood a sort of tall narrow cabinet, whose drawers, lined with green cloth, held the silver spoons and forks.](V: 76-77)
Later, Aubert de Gaspé mentions silver goblets.
Eight persons were at table, which is a small number. The French faced a major difficulty: finding supplies. As for the food, Brillat-Savarin would envy the pâté :
Ce pâté, qu’aurait envié Brillat-Savarin, était composé d’une dinde, de deux poulets, de deux perdrix, de deux pigeons, du râble et des cuisses de deux lièvres : le tout recouvert de bardes de lard gras.(VI: p. 113) [This pasty, which would have aroused the envy of Brillat-Savarin, consisted of one turkey, two chickens, two partridges, two pigeons, the backs and thighs of two rabbits, all larded with slices of fat pork.](V: 78-79)
Aubert de Gaspé was well informed. He had read the best authors. Each chapter of Les Anciens Canadiens begins with a learned quotation, Latin is used frequently and the Seigneur d’Haberville knows about Brillat-Savarin, the author of The Physiology of Taste (Physiologie du Goût). (See Brillat-Savarin, Wikipedia.) Every chapter of his book begins with a learned quotation from writers who are not necessarily French or French Canadians. Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) is quoted in chapter VI/V. Tennyson lived in the 19th century, which reveals that Les Anciens Canadienswas written in 1863.
A seigneur, le Seigneur deBeaumont will propose a toast to Arché.
– Remplissez vos gobelets ; feu partout, s’écria M. de Beaumont : je vais porter une santé qui, j’en suis sûr, sera bien accueillie.(VI: p. 118) [“Fill your glasses! Attention, everybody,” cried the Seigneur de Beaumont. “I am going to propose a health which will, I am very sure, be received with acclamation.”](V: 80-81) (Beaumont)
Monsieur de Beaumont praises Archie:
“Votre conduite est au-dessus de tout éloge.” (VI: p. 118) [“What you have done is beyong all praise.”] (V: 81-82) (Beaumont)
Of special interest to us, Scots in Canada, is a reference to the Scotch reel. (p. 126) In footnote 9, we learn that the Scots brought reels to Canada shortly after the conquest. This footnote refers to the past, but events in Les Anciens Canadiens occur from 1757 until the conquest.
Les scotch reels, que les habitants appellent cosreels, étaient, à ma connaissance, dansés dans les campagnes, il y a soixante et dix ans. Les montagnards écossais, passionnés pour la danse comme nos Canadiens, les avaient sans doute introduits peu de temps après la conquête. (VI: p. 146) [Scottish reels, which habitants call cosreels, were, to my knowledge, danced in the countryside, seventy years ago. Scottish Highlanders, who were as fond of dancing as our Canadiens, had introduced the reels shortly after the conquest.]
Chapter V/VI features a stranger who does not seem altogether human.
Une longue chevelure blonde lui flottait sur les épaules ; ses beaux yeux bleus avaient une douceur angélique, et toute sa figure, sans être positivement triste, était d’une mélancolie empreinte de compassion. Il portait une longue robe bleue nouée avec une ceinture. Larouche disait n’avoir jamais rien vu de si beau que cet étranger ; que la plus belle créature était laide en comparaison.(VI: p. 133) [“This stranger was a tall, handsome man of about thirty. Long fair hair fell about his shoulders, his blue eyes were as sweet as an angel’s, and his countenance wore a sort of tender sadness. His dress was a long blue robe tied at the waist. Larouche said he had never seen any one so beautiful as this stranger, and that the loveliest woman was ugly in comparison.”] (V: 90-94)
David Larouche meets the stranger when he is taking his tithe to his parish priest. David, also called Davi, has so much to give that he needs a sled to carry his tithe. The stranger congratulates him, but David says there could have been more. If the weather had been better, his tithe would be larger.
The following year, he is carrying his thite because the bundle is so small. But the weather was as he wished, but too much so, as in the proverb.
– Jamais souhait ne vint plus à propos, répondit Larouche, car je crois que le diable est entré dans ma maison, où il tient son sabbat jour et nuit ; ma femme me dévore depuis le matin jusqu’au soir, mes enfants me boudent, quand ils ne font pas pis ; et tous mes voisins sont déchaînés contre moi.(VI: p. 136) [“‘Never was wish more appropriate,’ answered Larouche, ‘for I believe the devil himself has got into my house, and is kicking up his pranks there day and night. My wife scolds me to death from morn till eve, my children sulk when they are not doing worse, and all my neighbors are set against me.'”](V: 93-94) (David Larouche)
The French in North America had to trust in Providence. Hostile Iroquois could kidnap children, but they could also listen to Dumais and release Arché. Moreover, colonies were at the mercy of victories and defeats between colonial powers.
This character, the stranger, is a bit of an archetype. He may be the stranger who comes to the door and whom one believes is Jesus. (Notre Seigneur en pauvre). Novelist Germaine Guèvremont introduces a stranger in her 1945 Le Survenant (The Outlander). (See RELATED ARTILES) This novel, a trilogy, was made into a very popular television serial and is the subject of two films. Aubert de Gaspé, however, depicts a stranger who can predict the future and, in 1757, the future is ominous. We are two years away from the conquest. Montcalm will lose the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759.
Les Anciens Canadiens also has it sorceress, other than la Corriveau. When the sorceress sees Archie, she knows that he will harm the family.
Va-t’en ! va-t’en ! c’est toi qui amènes l’Anglais pour dévorer le Français !(IX: p. 208) [“Avaunt! Avaunt!” continued the witch with the same gestures, “you that are bringing the English to eat up the French.”](VIII: 134) (Marie, the sorceress)
Between Christmas and Lent
On the shores of the St Lawrence, there are very few stores. Preparing a meal is difficult. As well, habitants are scattered over a large territory. Consequently, there are good months and bad months. But winter comes bringing “lavish abundance.” Between Christmas time and Lent, there are gatherings and one feasts.
– Nos habitants, dispersés à distance les uns des autres sur toute l’étendue de la Nouvelle-France, et partant privés de marchés, ne vivent, pendant le printemps, l’été et l’automne que de salaisons, pain et laitage (…) Il se fait, en revanche, pendant l’hiver, une grande consommation de viandes fraîches de toutes espèces ; c’est bombance générale : l’hospitalité est poussée jusqu’à ses dernières limites, depuis Noël jusqu’au carême. C’est un va-et-vient de visites continuelles pendant ce temps. Quatre ou cinq carrioles contenant une douzaine de personnes arrivent ; on dételle aussitôt les voitures, après avoir prié les amis de se dégrayer (dégréer); la table se dresse, et, à l’expiration d’une heure tout au plus, cette même table est chargée de viandes fumantes. (VII: p.169) [“Our habitants, scattered wide apart over all New France, and consequently deprived of markets during spring, summer, and autumn, live then on nothing but salt meat, bread, and milk, and, except in the infrequent case of a wedding, they rarely give a feast at either of those seasons. In winter, on the other hand, there is a lavish abundance of fresh meats of all kinds; there is a universal feasting, and hospitality is carried to an extreme from Christmas time to Lent; there is a perpetual interchange of visits. Four or five carrioles, containing a dozen people, drive up; the horses are unhitched, the visitors take off their wraps, the table is set, and in an hour or so it is loaded down with smoking dishes.”](VI: 113-114)
Jules and Archie are about to leave for Europe. Archie will return as a British soldier and will set ablaze his friend’s manoir. But the Order of Good Cheer still inhabits the mind of a people who have otherwise lost everything. One rebuilds. Blanche will not marry Archie, but he will live nearby and never marry. A humbler manoir has been rebuilt and Aubert de Gaspé remembers the dinners of old. It seems a duty to share meals, not so lavish as before, but generous. The Order of Good Cheer, myrth, is a constant in the literature of the conquered Canadiens.
As Philippe Aubert de Gaspé chronicles the past, building a literary homeland, he also creates Cameron of Lochiel, an intriguing figure, bridging a past and a future.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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, ValoisCharles 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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.]
Prince Harry is Prince Charles’ son and Prince William’s brother. He is sixth in the line of succession to the throne of England, which is an accident of birth and privilege. Prince William was the firstborn, primogeniture. Prince Harry served in the British Military and founded the Invictus Games. He was ‘spotted’ by terrorists and he is a target.
The crisis in Britain’s royal family saddens me. However, it may not be another frères ennemis scenario.
They are not brothers, but both Alphonse de Bourbon and Jean de France claim they are heirs to the throne of France. Rivalry… However, Jean de France is a descendant of the last roi des Francais, the above-mentioned Louis-Philippe Ier, of the Maison d’Orléans.
I am pleased that my excellent mother could and did treat her children as equals. I then became a loving husband’s “princesse.”
Above is Louis-Claude Daquin’s “Le Coucou” (The Cuckoo). Les Grands Hurleurs’ “Coucou” is an arrangement of Louis-Claude Daquin‘s “Coucou.” Daquin’s “Coucou” is not folklore, but it borders on traditional music and music we call “classical.” Daquin composed several Noëls, Christmas Carols. Christmas Carols are not looked upon as “folklore,” but they are traditional music. Christians sing Carols on Christmas Day and during the Christmas period. For Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but it is also on or near the Winter solstice, the day of the longest night. Today is Candlemas(La Chandeleur), a festival oflightsand currently Groundhog Day (le Jour de la Marmotte).
Feasts are celebrated according to a natural calendar. This begins with the degree of light and darkness: two solstices, and in the middle of the two solstices (Christmas and la Saint-Jean) are the Vernal equinox of Spring and the Autumnal equinox (Michaelmas). And to return to traditional music, it is associated with feasts that are celebrated according to the above-mentioned natural calendar. Noëls are performed during the Christmas season.
We know the immediate historical background of the Princesse de Clèves, and I have suggested intertextuality. Marguerite de Navarre’s L’Heptaméron features intrigues and disloyalty at court. But the discourse on love takes us back to the ancient Roman poet Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, and it may have antecedents such as extremely distant fairytales. These will be refined in seventeenth-century French salons. Charles Perrault’s Tales of Mother Goose are “re-told” tales.
LE COUP DE FOUDRE
However, let us return to our narrative. The Princess of Cleves and the Duc de Nemours have fallen in love. It is the coup defoudre, or love at first sight, à première vue. In Jansenist France, this is l’amour fatal, as fatal as Tristan’s love for Iseult and Iseult’s love for Tristan, but without recourse to a magical potion. They have seen one another and fallen in love. But the Princess of Clèves has married and she has been taught loyalty to one’s husband. A liaison with the Duc de Nemours would be illicit. Therefore, she must suppress and hide her feelings, which is not possible.
The Mareschal de St. André’s Second Ball
The mareschal de St. André’s will host a second ball which the Princess is expected to attend. However, after hearing that the Duc de Nemours would not want his mistress to attend a ball he is not hosting, she feigns illness not to attend the ball. She has betrayed herself.
Vous voilà si belle, lui dit madame la dauphine, que je ne saurais croire que vous ayez été malade. Je pense que monsieur le prince de Condé, en vous contant l’avis de Nemours sur le bal, vous a persuadée que vous feriez une faveur au maréchal de Saint-André d’aller chez lui que vous feriez une faveur au maréchal de Saint-André d’aller chez lui, et que c’est ce qui vous a empêchée d’y venir. Madame de Clèves rougit de ce que madame la dauphine devinait si juste, et de ce qu’elle disait devant monsieur de Nemours ce qu’elle avait deviné. (ebooks, p. 19) [You look so pretty, says the Queen-Dauphin to her, that I can’t believe you have been ill; I think the Prince of Conde when he told us the duke de Nemours’s opinion of the ball, persuaded you, that to go there would be doing a favour to the mareschal de St. André, and that that’s the reason which hindered you from going, Madam de Cleves blushed, both because the [Q]ueen-[D]auphin (Marie Stuart), had conjectured right, and because she spoke her conjecture in the presence of the Duke de Nemours.] (Wikisource )
Madame de Chartres has accompanied her daughter and vows that the Princess was genuinely ill, but le Duc de Nemours is not convinced. Madame de Clèves has behaved the way he wants his mistress to behave. Besides, Madame de Clèves blushes in the presence of the Duc. As she is dying, Madame de Chartres tells the Princess of Clèves that she is “sur le bord du précipice” (ebooks, p. 21), “on the brink of a precipice.” (Wikisource [35-36])
Mademoiselle de Chartres is so beautiful that when she arrives at court she appears as in the word “apparition.”
Il parut alors une beauté à la cour, qui attira les yeux de tout le monde, et l’on doit croire que c’était un beauté parfaite, puisqu’elle donna de l’admiration dans un lieu où l’on était si accoutumé à voir de belles personnes. Elle était de la même maison que le vidame de Chartres, et une des plus grandes héritières de France. (ebooksgratuits, p. 7) [There appeared at this time a lady at Court, who drew the eyes of the whole world; and one may imagine she was a perfect beauty, to gain admiration in a place where there were so many fine women; she was of the same family with the Viscount of Chartres, and one of the greatest heiresses of France, (…)] (Wikisource )
As for the Duc de Nemours, he is described as “perfection” itself. Therefore, a worried Madame de Chartres tells her daughter that he Duke of Nemours is incapable of falling in love.
Elle se mit un jour à parler de lui ; elle lui en dit du bien, et y mêla beaucoup de louanges empoisonnées sur la sagesse qu’il avait d’être incapable de devenir amoureux, et sur ce qu’il ne se faisait qu’un plaisir, et non pas un attachement sérieux du commerce des femmes. (ebooksgratuits, p. 20) [One day she set herself to talk about him, and a great deal of good she said of him, but mixed with it abundance of sham praises, as the prudence he showed in never falling in love, and how wise he was to make the affair of women and love an amusement instead of a serious business.] (Wikisource )
The Death of Madame de Chartres
After her mother dies, the princess of Clèves leaves court. Given that she is mourning her mother, her absence is motivated. The Prince of Clèves returns to “faire sa cour,” but should his wife delay her return to Paris, suspicion would arise. Many of the denizens of Henri II’s court may discover why the Duc de Nemours no longer behaves as he did. The Duke is expected to marry Elizabeth Ist of England, and the time has come for him to meet Elizabeth in person or face her scorn. The Court speculates that he is in love, but no one can tell whom he so loves that he would lose interest in marriage to Elizabeth. Marie Stuart, the Queen-Dauphin, cannot wait to tell her friend, the princesse de Clèves.
No, the Queen-Dauphin cannot wait:
Dès le même soir qu’elle fut arrivée, madame la dauphine la vint voir, et après lui avoir témoigné la part qu’elle avait prise à son affliction, elle lui dit que, pour la détourner de ces tristes pensées, elle voulait l’instruire de tout ce qui s’était passé à la cour en son absence ; elle lui conta ensuite plusieurs choses particulières. — Mais ce que j’ai le plus d’envie de vous apprendre, ajouta−t−elle, c’est qu’il est certain que monsieur de Nemours est passionnément amoureux, et que ses amis les plus intimes, non seulement ne sont point dans sa confidence, mais qu’ils ne peuvent deviner qui est la personne qu’il aime. Cependant cet amour est assez fort pour lui faire négliger ou abandonner, pour mieux dire, les espérances d’une couronne. (ebooks, p. 29) [The evening of her arrival the queen-dauphin made her a visit, and after having condoled with her, told her that in order to divert her from melancholy thoughts, she would let her know all that had passed at court in her absence; upon which she related to her a great many extraordinary things; but what I have the greatest desire to inform you of, added she, is that it is certain the duke de Nemours is passionately in love; and that his most intimate friends are not only not entrusted in it, but can’t so much as guess who the person is he is in love with; nevertheless this passion of his is so strong as to make him neglect, or to speak more properly, abandon the hopes of a crown.] (Wikisource )
L’Amour fatal: Two Moral Compasses
Madame de Clèves is perturbed. Who is this woman who would make the Duke de Nemours abandon his marriage with Elizabeth 1st of England? If she, the Princess of Cleves, is the cause of such changes in the Duc de Nemours, he is “in love,” l’amour fatal. But although she is powerless, she feels guilty. She has been raised by a virtuous mother, but at court liaisons are acceptable. Princes and princesses marry to perpetuate a lineage. Therefore, they may have liaisons. However, Madame de Clèves has been taught virtue. When she hears that the Duc de Nemours is no longer interested in marrying Elizabeth 1st of England, which is a huge sacrifice, the Princess feels extremely distressed. The Duc de Nemours has fallen in love and it is l’amour fatal, Tendre-sur-Inclination. The seventeenth century in France was largely Jansenist. One cannot choose; one is chosen: predestination. The Princess and the Prince are powerless.
My computer crashed, so I had to put it together again from scratch. It was a matter of passwords. Microsoft’s employees would not help me retrieve my password.
We are returning to Molière, but not immediately. First, we will read one more post on Confederation. It is almost ready to publish. We will read two short plays by Molière, his La Critique de l’École des femmes (1st June 1663), and L’Impromptu de Versailles (the Fall of 1663). These are often considered Molière’s “theoretical” plays, but they are performed and constitute essential reading. After reading these two plays, we will have read all plays written by Molière, but some are not presented with an English translation.
For the last few months, I have been updating my page listing Fables by La Fontaine. France has a new “site officiel” dedicated to La Fontaine, which means that links no longer take a reader to the fable under discussion.