I am a few minutes away from publishing a post on La Fontaine., but …
The events of the week kept away from you. A vein broke near my eyes. My eyes were filled with blood and one eye went from deep green to blue, but I’ve recovered. It didn’t hurt and I am recovering.
The Project: no Language Laws
I will first get in touch with Champlain-Lennoxville, the Advantage programme. Reforms are necessary, and French-speaking students have been enrolling in English-language Cégeps for several decades. It’s their English-language immersion finishing schools and there is no tuition fee. I must then talk to Justin Trudeau and François Legault. Attending a Cégep after grade eleven does not threaten a student’s knowledge of French.
The more difficult step is convincing French-speaking students to have anglophones as their classmates. A few changes are needed. As a university teacher of second-language acquisition, four years at McMaster University, and I wrote articles on the subject, I have the necessary background. I have also edited books on this subject.
Interestingly, people have realized that Internet Archives, Gutenberg, Wikisource have published a wealth of free books including audio texts. I have used these to write articles of every play Molière wrote. Henri van Laun is a scholar.
I am returning to the fables of La Fontaine, but I will be busy working on a better relationship between English-speaking and French-speaking Quebecers. There has to be trust that the French will not lose their language. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place a long time ago. We are now a free people, and our official languages are French and English.
The conversation begins. Cégeps are the starting point. French-speaking students themselves have used Cégeps. We keep this alive.
Wherever I phone, I hear: English will follow.
Here is an introduction to Lori Weber. She speaks four languages and is an author.
I wrote a long post on the background of Quebec’s “Language Laws.” The post is too long and language laws will not yield a positive result. If a new language law is passed, Anglophones are perturbed, and many leave Quebec, which hurts Quebec. Several Quebec Anglophones are the descendants of United Empire Loyalists. The Eastern Townships of the province of Quebec were given to them. It became their home.
In the 19th century, the British Empire was at its apex. So, Thomas Babington Macaulay recommended that the language of higher instruction in India be English. His policy, called Macaulayism, spread to other British colonies. Thomas Babington Macaulay was a fine man, but Britain’s success in accumulating colonies led to a belief that English was a superior language. One can understand Thomas Babington Macaulay’s belief, but it is not necessarily accurate. Macaulay was a product of his time.
I would recommend that language laws be abolished and that anglophones study French. However, if the teaching of French became compulsory, anglophones may think their rights and values are scorned. Quebec has bilingual areas. The Eastern Townships of Quebec are bilingual, and many Montrealers are anglophones. Bill 96 further restricts the use of the English language in these areas. Business must be carried out in French to a greater extent and more documents issued by the government of Quebec will not be available in French. Restrictions also include medical care, which is very personal.
As well, Bill 96 affects francophone students. French-speaking Québécois often enrol in an English-language Cégep to learn English. Cégeps offer a two-year programme following secondary school. Access to English-language Cégeps will be restricted.
The number of students in English-language CEGEPs, as a proportion of overall students, can’t be higher than it was the school year before and cannot surpass 17.5 per cent of the overall student population in Quebec.
When New France fell to Britain, at the Treaty of Paris, 1763, its governors were directed to assimilate the French, but it could be that they could not assimilate the French. The Act of Union (1840) was a purposeful attempt to assimilate the French, but Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine built a bilingual and bicultural Province of Canada. However, John A. Macdonald favoured schools where the language of instruction was English, “uniform” schools. French Canadians had to remain in Quebec to be educated in the French language. Therefore, immigrants and refugees who arrived in Canada, the prairies mostly, attended “uniform” schools or schools where the language of instruction was English. This created an imbalance that may not change, and which is reflected in Quebec’s controversial language legislation. The term “uniform” is not mine, but it was used in the literature I read.
So, John A Macdonald minoritised French Canadians. Quebec was the only province where French-speaking Canadians could be educated in French. Therefore, Quebec passes language laws that irritate its anglophone citizens, which summarises the “Quebec” question. The governments of other Canadian provinces do not pass language laws. The English language is not a threatened species and French can be learned at school. Finally, minority language rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
[t]he school is the single most important institution for the survival of the official language community, which is itself a true beneficiary under section 23 of the Charter (Arsenault-Cameron at paragraph 29; (CSF de la C-B 2016, at paragraph 367).
I will publish my long post, but the above suffices. In my opinion, language laws deepen the rift between francophones and anglophones. The alternative to language laws is bilingual education. Anglophones could encourage their children to learn French. Learning a second language benefits a child. However, anglophones cannot be compelled to have their children educated in a language other than English. It will not work. Ideally, one should wish to know French.
French is one of Canada’s two official languages, which does not mean that every Canadian should know the two languages. But Quebec anglophones cannot ignore Canada’s officially bilingual and bicultural status. I no longer want to hear someone boast that his or her nephew or niece studied at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, or a Montreal university and managed not to learn a word of French. One does not boast about such a relative. Failure to learn French while living in Quebec is not an achievement. I took courses in musicology at Bishop’s University. It’s a fine school.
Harvard University will now offer a course on francophonie. This, I believe, is a step in the right direction. A similar approach could be offered in Quebec’s English-language universities. It may lead to an understanding of Canada’s Official Languages Acts.
Yes, anglophones in Quebec have a right to live in English. I suppose that during the decades I lived outside Quebec, I also had the “right” to speak French, but English was my everyday language. In Antigonish, Nova Scotia one speaks English. Fortunately, I was a university teacher of French, which allowed me to express myself in my mother tongue.
Let me quote Lord Durham (John Lambton, 1st Earl of). John Lambton was asked to investigate the Rebellions of 1837-1838 and to present a report and recommendations. He wrote the following:
I entertain no doubts as to the national character which must be given to Lower Canada; it must be that of the British Empire; that of the majority of the population of British America; that of the great race which must, in the lapse of no long period of time, be predominant over the whole North American Continent. Without effecting the change so rapidly or so roughly as to shock the feelings and trample on the welfare of the existing generation, it must henceforth be the first and steady purpose of the British Government to establish an English population, with English laws and language, in this Province, and to trust its government to none but a decidedly English legislature.
Although Bill 96 was passed in May and came into effect in June 2022, it has already led to the creation of a new political party in Quebec. The new party’s name is Le Parti canadien du Québec. It is the name, or nearly so, Pierre-Stanislas Bédard gave to his nationalist party in the early 1800s. Bédard was elected to the Assembly of Lower Canada in 1792, a year after the Constitutional Act was passed, and he created his Parti canadien, the very first Canadian party, at the turn of the 19th century. In 1806, Bédard also started a newspaper, Le Canadien.
The motivation to secede was informed by the “Rights of Englishmen,” but it also justified leaving the independent United States, no longer ruled by Britain. After the fall of Nouvelle-France, citizens of the Thirteen Colonies could move north to Britain’s new colony, the former New France. These individuals did not differ substantially from secessionists. Canadiens were not equal to Englishmen. They spoke French, the language of Britain’s main rival, France, and France had lost the Seven Years’ War. Moreover, the French in North America were Catholics.
The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the vast Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. Upper Canada would be home to English-speaking Canadians, but United Empire Loyalists settled the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where I was born. The Eastern Townships is a bilingual area of Quebec, within limits. Bill 96 further narrows the limits determined by Bill 101, passed in 1977. Bill 96 also restricts access to English-language Cégeps. Many Québécois attend English-language Cégeps, a two-year pre-University programme, to learn English. English is the currentlingua franca, the language of success.
In Fréchette’s poem, we sense a solid will to remember the Rebellions of 1837-1838. (Les Rébellions de 37). The Rebellions took place in both Canadas, where patriots sought responsible government. They attacked the state: Britain. The rebellion was more intense in Lower Canada than in Upper Canada, and repression was more severe. Most convicted patriots were hanged or exiled to Australia, and some, to Bermuda.
After Canadiens read Lord Durham’s Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838, they founded two literary schools, one in Quebec City and, the other, in Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette (1839-1908) was a prominent member of l’École littéraire de Montréal. I have found an ebook edition of Jean Charbonneau‘s L’École littéraire de Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette was in favour of annexation with the United States.
The Atlantic Revolutions
I have already mentioned the Atlantic Revolutions. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 are currently considered one of several attempts to create republics. A Patriot War was waged within the Rebellions of 1837-1838. It took place between December 1837 and December 1838. The Patriot War was an ideological war mostly. It promoted republicanism. William Lyon Mackenzie proclaimed the Republic of Canada on December 5, 1837, but the Patriot War started in Vermont, and the Patriots were defeated.
I believe the survival of the French language in Canada is threatened. Confederation led to the creation of “uniform” schools in every province of Canada, except Quebec. When immigrants arrived, they attended “uniform” schools. This policy originated in Macaulayism. Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was a fine gentleman, but the sun never set on the British Empire which could lead people astray. The English Education system would be used in Britain’s colonies. Moreover, English would be the language of instruction in higher education in India and in post-Confederation Canada. The French could not be educated in French outside. They had to stay in Quebec. Immigrants who arrived in Canada were educated in “uniform” schools. It created an imbalance, that cannot be redressed easily and it should not demand that every Canadian learn French and English. That would be unrealistic. However, it should be possible to learn a second language in schools. Following the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, French immersion schools were established.
Ottawa has a Commissioner of Official Languages, and Pomquet is not the only Acadian village to boast une école acadienne. I taught Second Language Didactics at McMaster University and served as President of l’Apfucc, l’Association des Professeurs de Français des Universités et Collègues canadiens or Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French. I also served on the board of directors and the executive of the Fédération canadienne des Études humaines, now renamed Fédération canadienne des Sciences humaines. These were my better days. I have investigated second-language teaching/learning.
I will close by saying that language policies protecting the French language in Canada should not lead to chicaneries and threaten Canadian unity. (to be continued)
Michel Ducharme’s Closing the Last Chapter of the Atlantic Revolution: The 1837-38 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada is also an internet publication, but I may not use it without the author’s permission. It can be found under the Rebellions of 1837-1838.
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.]
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
Although it is quite long and somewhat repetitive, I am publishing this post. In Confédération, Le Vent du Nord ensemble tells that French-speaking Canada was created three times. 1) New France was defeated. 2) Patriots were exiled after the Rebellions of 1837-1838. 3) Confederation isolated Quebec. However, it is difficult to say to what extent being confined to a single province harmed French-speaking Canadians. What I know for certain is that English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians are two compatible populations.
On 1st July 1867, four provinces of Canada federated: Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. These provinces were suffering attacks by the Fenians, an Irish brotherhood whose mission was to free Ireland. Fenians lived in the United States, but some lived in Canada. Moreover, the United States purchased Alaska on 30 March 1867, three months before Confederation. Canadians feared annexation which led to the purchase of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company and a motivation to bring British Columbia into Confederation. On 20 July 1871, after being promised a transcontinental railroad, British Columbia entered Confederation. Canada would stretch from sea to sea. (See Maps of Canada.)
Lord Durham expected that, in a Province of Canada, English-speaking Canadians would soon outnumber and absorb the French-speaking minority. The Act of Union was passed in Britain in July 1840 and in Canada on 10th February 1841, but it was followed by the “Great Ministry” In 1848, Canada obtained the responsible government it sought in 1837-1838.
Lord Durham also recommended that the language of the Assembly be English. The languages of the Assembly would remain French and English. When Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, the first Prime Minister of the Province of Canada, addressed the Assembly, he spoke French shortly and then switched to English. He set a precedent.
The Terms of Confederation
Confederation marginalized Quebec. Under the terms of Confederation, the British North America Act, 1867, the children of French-speaking families could not be educated in French outside Quebec. In public schools, the language of instruction was English. The assimilation of French-speaking Canadians had been Lord Durham’s intent when he proposed a united Canada, the Province of Canada. So, as immigrants arrived in Canada, their children attended English-language schools. John A Macdonald (10 or 11 January 1815 – 6 June 1891) was an Orangeman and the Orange Order was anti-French and anti-Catholic. (See Orange Order, The Canadian Encylopedia.)
By 1864, the ‘great ministry’ seemed a memory. It was replaced by the great coalition of Canada, the government that would usher in Confederation. George-Étienne Cartier, the premier of Canada East, had good reasons to lead Quebec into Confederation. Confederation offered a secure environment, but Quebec would not be an equal partner. Outside Quebec, the children of French-speaking Canadians would be educated in English, unless they attended private schools, which was another problematic. So, bilingualism and biculturalism played itself out as la question des écoles, the school question, i. e. publicly funded French-language schools outside Quebec. Therefore, John A Macdonald was Prime Minister of Canada after Canadian Confederation, a Confederation that was not bilingual and bicultural, except in Quebec.
Fred Pellerin is Nicolas Pellerin‘s brother (see below). Fred is a conteur, but he is also a singer and a musician.
In this song, Fred Pellerin is a truck driver, un camionneur, who talks to his wife who wants to remodel the kitchen of their home. She doesn’t like her kitchen’s melamine counter. I suppose she wants something real, which could be wood. Beautiful wood counters are available in Quebec.
We suspect that our camionneur, truck driver, does not have the means to refurbish his house. He sleeps in his truck. This could be an older Quebec, but truck drivers are everywhere.
Everything changed after 1960. Maurice Duplessis died and Jean Lesage, a Liberal, became premier of Quebec. When I returned to Quebec in 2002, the province was no longer the same. Most changes reflected a wish to be maîtres chez soi (masters in our own house). Quebec did not sign the Constitution of 1982.
More and more Canadians are being vaccinated, but those who would not wear a mask do not want to be vaccinated. Some have been infected and variants have appeared. The police is protecting locations where the government is vaccinating people. The police is well trained. Persons living in my building wear a mask. Several are medical doctors.
I am still alone and I feel somewhat fragile. For instance, I cannot handle discussing the Royals. I have therefore edited my comments. One cannot tell what is going on. It’s too complicated. All I can say is that Prince Harry loved the military. He has suffered a loss.
The post I published on 16 February 2021 was shortened. Therefore, the title of the song Les Voix du Nord performedwas not explained. Moreover, we were not in a studio listening to the recording of a song. We could not hear the words clearly, which was unfortunate.
The song is entitled October 1837. It does not tell a story, but it refers to historical events. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 are its main event. In 1837-1838, the citizens of Upper Canada and Lower Canada rebelled against the Crown. Their leaders were William Lyon Mackenzie, in Upper Canada, and Louis-Joseph Papineau, a Seigneur, in Lower Canada. I suspect that French-speaking Canadians being a conquered people, the dynamics of the Rebellions were not the same in both Canadas. The Rebellion was more serious in the largely Francophone Lower Canada than in Anglophone Upper Canada. More patriotes than patriots were hanged or deported to penal colonies. Both leaders fled their respective Canada. The song that expresses the profound grief of exiled patriotes is Antoine Gérin-Lajoie‘s Un Canadien errant.
With the help of American volunteers, a second rebellion was launched in November 1838, but it too was poorly organized and quickly put down, followed by further looting and devastation in the countryside. The two uprisings [in Lower Canada] left 325 people dead, all of them rebels except for 27 British soldiers. Nearly 100 rebels were also captured. After the second uprising failed, Papineau departed the US for exile in Paris.
However, both Canadas wanted a more responsible government, or more self-rule, which was achieved in 1848. No sooner were the two Canadas united by virtue of the Act of Union, proclaimed on 10 February 1841, than its Prime Ministers, Robert Baldwyn and Sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, designed a government that could accommodate English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians. In 1848, a United Canada was granted a responsible government and, contrary to Lord Durham‘s recommendations, French continued to be spoken in the Assembly and in Canada. Lord Durham investigated the Rebellions.
Le Grand Dérangement
But one can also hear the words, le grand dérangement, the great upheaval. The great upheaval is usually associated with the deportation of Acadians beginning in 1755. Families were not exiled together, except accidentally. Members of the same family were separated and put aboard ships that sailed in various directions, including England. In 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published Évangéline, a Tale of Acadie, commemorating the deportation of Acadians. There may not have been an Évangéline, except Longfellow’s character, but there were Évangélines, betrothed women who were separated from their future husband, or vice versa. For Acadians, Évangéline is real, un réel absolu.
October 1838 also refers to the October Crisis of 1970 when members of the Front de libération du Québec, the FLQ, kidnapped British diplomat James Cross, on 5 October 1970, and Pierre Laporte on 10 October 1970. Pierre Laporte was Deputy Premier of Quebec. Then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau declared the War Measures Act, on 15 October. The deployment of the Armed Forces was criticized by civil libertarians. Civil liberties had been suspended. On 17 October, Pierre Laporte was executed,but James Cross was not harmed. He was detained for 59 days by the Front de libération du Québec (the FLQ). The FLQ ceased to be active after the October Crisis.
Sadly, James Cross died of Covid-19 on 6 January 2021. He was 99. My condolences to his family and friends.