The picture above is not related to Les Anciens Canadiens, except indirectly. Aubert de Gaspé refers to noble savages in his chapter entitled The Good Gentleman.
I published this photograph in a post about Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont‘s visit to Lower Canada (1831). We may be looking at an Amerindian selling fur to an habitant. Amerindians loved blankets and, as we can see, haut-de-forme (high) hats. These were made of beaver skin. In Nouvelle-France, Amerindians often wanted alcohol in exchange for their pelts, which quickly led to addiction. Amerindians could not tolerate alcohol. François de Laval (1623-1807), the Bishop of Quebec, threatened to excommunicate persons giving alcohol in return for pelts. This picture is entitled Habitantand Winter Sleigh, which suggests art produced after the “conquest.” Is our habitant holding a bottle?
Residential Schools for Amerindians
A few weeks ago, the remains of 215 Amerindian children were found outside a residential school (un pensionnat) in Kamloops, British Columbia. At Marieval Residential School, in Saskatchewan, 751 bodies have now been found in unmarked graves. These children cannot be identified. Canadians will continue to dig and investigate. Both the Kamloops and Marieval residential schools were operated by Catholic orders.
This happened at a time in history when Amerindians were not considered “civilized.” A Gradual Civilization Act was passed in 1857, but it was not active until the passage of the Indian Act in 1876. Would that we could say that viewing Amerindians as uncivilized has ended.
The native depicted in the image at the top of this post does not look powerless. As for Benjamin West’s native, he is a “Noble Savage.” Did Canada need the Indian Act? We are nearing Canada Day, a celebration of Confederation. But Confederation led to the creation of Indian Reserves and Residential Schools. Moreover, Quebec became the only Canadian province where the language of instruction could be French or English. The British Empire was at its zenith.
The image above can be found in Arnaud Bessière’s entry on Slavery, in the Virtual Museum of New France, Slavery. Bessière’s document is short and authoritative. Morever, it is bilingual. I have used it to create this post. There were slaves in New France, but most were the Indigenous people of North America who themselves owned slaves.
Slave-owning people of what became Canada were, for example, the Yurok, a fishing society, who lived along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California or the Northwest Coast.
Slavery among Amerindians may not have been as ingrained a cultural element in the native population of North America Northeastern coast, but Amerindians living on the shores of the St Lawrence had slaves. It was not uncommon for an Amerindian friend to give a slave to a French colonist. These Amerindians were members of the First Nations.
Let us see the numbers.
Before the Conquest of New France by the British in 1659,New France had 4,000 slaves, but 1,123 were Blacks and the remainder, 2,472, Aboriginals. After the Conquest, French- speaking Canadians owned 1,509 of which 181 were English. These are Marcel Trudel’s numbers, quoted in Slavery in Canada (Wikipedia). Marcel Trudel also notes 31 marriages between French colonists and Aboriginal slaves (see Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia).
After the Conquest of Canada by Britain (1759), formalized by the Treaty of Paris (1763), French Canadians owned 181 Black slaves and 1,509 Amerindian slaves. So, as Bessière writes, no slave ship sailed down the St. Lawrence River.
Despite colonial officials’ oft-reiterated yearning to have African slaves imported to the colony, no slave ship ever reached the St. Lawrence valley.
Bessière also writes that
[t]hose black slaves who arrived in the region came from the neighbouring British colonies, from which they were smuggled or where they were taken as war captives. A number of Canadian merchants also brought black slaves back from their business trips to the south, in Louisiana or in the French Caribbean.
Lower Canada: the First Black Citizen & the First Black Slave
Mathieu da Costa
Olivier le Jeune
We know that Mathieu da Costa was the first Black to come to New France. He was not a slave, but a free man of African-Portuguese descent and Canada’s first linguist. As for the first Black slave in New France, he was a six-year old child. The young slave belonged to Sir David Kirke, one of the Brothers Kirke, who blockaded the St. Lawrence during the Anglo-French War of 1627 – 1629. Quebec fell (1628), but Samuel de Champlain argued that the English seizure of his land was unlawful, as the war had already ended when David Kirke took Québec. The territory was therefore returned to France, in 1632.
Oliver le Jeune may have had other owners, but he was last bought by Father Paul le Jeune and then given to one of Nouvelle-France first colonists, perhaps the first, Guillaume Couillard (see Bessière and Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia).
Guillaume Couillard, figure au monument Louis-Hébert, parc Montmorency, Québec (Wikipedia)
New France did not have large plantations requiring an enormous work force. It was a semi-feudal society consisting of Seigneuries, long and narrow tracts of land located on both sides of the St Lawrence river. It was owned by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, the Company of a Hundred Associates, who had a monopoly over the fur-trade. Finally, Black slaves were too expensive for ordinary colonists.
“The company was closely controlled by Richelieu, and was given sweeping authority over trade and colonization in all of New France, a territory that encompassed all of Acadia, Canada, Newfoundland, and French Louisiana. Management was entrusted to twelve directors.” (See Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia)
Consequently, the Black slaves of New France were domestic servants. Moreover, most of the colonists of New France were poor. In Philippe-Aubert de Gaspé‘s 1863 Les Anciens Canadiens (The Canadians of Old), a male Ethiopian is mentioned. Jules d’Haberville’s father was a Seigneur. But to return to Olivier le Jeune, it is believed the child was manumitted (freed) by the Couillard family. He died in 1654.
According to Afua Cooper, author of The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, “enslaved First Nations people outnumbered enslaved individuals of African descent, under French rule. She attributed this to the relative ease with which New France could acquire First Nations slaves. She noted that the mortality of slaves was high, with the average age of First Nations slaves only 17, and the average age of slaves of African descent, 25.”
The Seigneurial System
Farmers, later called cultivateurs, were given thirty acres of land. They paid their rente to their Seigneur and their dîme, to their curés, the parish priest. Their was a Chemin du Roy, but the river was the highway. It linked Quebec-city, Trois-Rivières and the island of Montréal. Under the Seigneurial System, farmers did the work.
The Code Noir, which regulated enslavement in the French colonial empire, was promulgated by Louis XIV, in 1685. The first Code Noir was written by Colbert, but it was amended. It stressed that slaves had to be Catholics or convert to Catholicism. In 1689, New France was granted permission to enslave Blacks. But New France’s slaves were mostly Amerindians, all of whom were called Panis, whether or not they belonged to the Pawnee people. New France had very few slaves in the 17th century, but their numbers grew in the 18th century.
It would be difficult to determine how many Panis were given by Amerindian friends to the citizens of New France and how many were taken by colonists. However, no one can dispute that most slaves in New France were Amerindians rather than Blacks. Slavery and racism can be linked, but Amerindians had Amerindian slaves. Slavery has existed since time immemorial, but the Blacks of New France were owned by Whites. The transatlantic slave trade was human trafficking. It is a practice that has yet to end. La traite des Blanches, white slavery, was/is also human trafficking, and racism cannot be excluded.
I have noted that given Canada’s harsh climate, survival is a keyword in both the history New France and English-speaking. In other words, the French, fur traders in particular, depended on Amerindians: birch bark canoes, snowshoes, remedies. Jacques Cartier, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts and his nagivator, Samuel de Champlain, were provided with thuja occidentalis, when their men were dying of scurvy. As for North America’s natives, they were not immune to certain European illnesses, such as smallpox, a devastating illness.
1876 portrait of Gobineau by the Comtesse de la Tour (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Slavery vs Racism
Slavery may or may not be racist. However, enslavement is an extreme form of humiliation. So persons who have been slaves may be viewed as inferior.
However unsavoury Arthur de Gobineau’ writings, he is associated with Scientific Racism. The 19th century is the birthplace of sociology and related disciplines. Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) developed the science of evolution. His ideas were shocking to many, but more scientific than Gobineau’s who thought the Black race was an inferior race.
The Disappearance of Indigenous Women
At the moment, the disappearance of aboriginal women in Canada is alarming.
“The issue gained increased awareness and attention after Amnesty International published Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Violence and Discrimination against Indigenous Women in Canada (2004) and No More Stolen Sisters (2009). Research conducted by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) established a database of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. In 2011, the NWAC database included 582 known cases, most of which had occurred between 1990 and 2010.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
The Hanging of Angélique
Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique is Canada’s most famous slave. Marie Josèphe, was a Portuguese slave brought to New England by a Flemish owner who sold her to a Montreal Seigneur, François Poulin de Francheville. When he died, his wife Thérèse de Couagne de Francheville decided to sell Marie-Josèphe to a Quebec City owner. Fearing she would lose the man she loved, an indentured servant whose name was Claude Thibault, the two escaped but were returned to Madame de Francheville, Thérèse de Couagne.
Marie-Joseph-Angélique, (Photo credit: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography)
While she was absent, Thérèse de Couagne’s house was destroyed in a fire that spread to a large part of Old Montreal, including l’Hôtel-Dieu, a hospital. Marie-Josèphe was accused of arson. She was a runaway slave. She had run away with Claude Thibault who had been jailed and released. He disappeared. Marie-Josèphe was tried and convicted of arson. She was to be tortured, make amends (amende honorable), and be burned alive. The five-year old daughter of Alexis Monière, Amable, claimed she saw Marie-Josèphe- Angélique transporting coal. Marie-Josèphe-Angélique was tortured and hanged on 21 June 1734.
“The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal”
Marie Josèphe’s guilt was questioned by Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne in a book published in 2004. The fire may have started elsewhere. Two years later, in 2006, Dr Afua Cooper, PhD, who was born in Jamaica and is a faculty member at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, published The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal. According to Dr Cooper, Marie-Josèphe did set fire to her owner’s house, thus rebelling against her condition: slavery. (See Marie-Joseph Angélique, Wikipedia.)
In Lower Canada (Quebec), Sir James Monk, who could not abolish slavery, “rendered a series of decisions in the late 1790s that undermined the ability to compel slaves to serve their masters…” (See Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia). Later, Sir James Kempt refused a request to return a black slave to the United States. In practice, slavery had ended in Lower Canada.
There is racism in Canada, including Quebec, but I do not know whether it is “systemic.” The French in Québec, the former Lower Canada, have concentrated on preserving their language. Bill 21 (secularization) led to demonstrations.
In other words, Quebec has more than half the Canadian cases.
Last weekend, Premier François Legault solicited the help of all physicians in the Province of Quebec, including specialists. Moreover, he has also called on Canada’s government to send qualified members of the Canadian armed forces. As requested by François Legault, the Quebec Premier, Canada is sending 150 medically qualified members the Canadian Armed Forces to relieve a truly overburdened Quebec.
A large number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Quebec are in nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, which is also the case, to a lesser extent, in other provinces. It is believed that Quebecers returning from their March-break may have brought in the coronavirus. Quebec’s March-break occurred earlier than in other provinces. Moreover, many Quebecers travel to Florida to escape Quebec’s harsh winter. Several, retired persons in particular, own a home, in Florida. This could explain, Quebec’s plight.
However, as is well know, the world did not act swiftly when China reported its outbreak of coronavirus. Chinese Dr Li Wenliang, the whistleblower, was reprimanded in early January by Huwan authorities. He died on 7 February 2020. This matter will probably be investigated. Delay in reporting a contagious illness in Huwan did not do anyone any good, in or outside China, but China is not altogether to blame. Quebec locked itself down on 23 March and President Trump of the United States favours an early return to work. The economy is suffering. This could prompt a second wave of the disease.
Quebec physicians are unionized, but broke directives given by their union. A pandemic is an extraordinary event. The sick require the intervention of doctors.
The first American case was a man who had travelled to Wuhan. He returned to Seattle on 15 January 2020 and fell ill a day after his return. On 17 January, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control) had alerted the authorities. Yet, the surgeon general of the United States, Dr Jerome Adams, has stated that this week: “more than five times as many Americans died from covid-19 last week than were killed in the World War II raid.”
In the United States, the lockdown has been eased. The President wanted to reopen the entire country, but, in the end, the matter was left to the Governor of each state to decide. Contagion has been far more severe in the state of New York. New York City is densely populated.
Yesterday, there were 31,642 confirmed and 11 presumptive cases in Canada. The latest (late yesterday) are higher:
Quebec has not announced an end of the lockdown. A partial and cautious return to work has been announced elsewhere.
When crises occur, political views seem no longer rigidly significant. As for an early and premature return to work, this may not be advisable. However, it may help the morale of persons whose income drops considerably or is terminated. But consider the cost: it could a person’s life and further contagion. Health care practices may also be revisited. One has the right to be treated and to live. Would that I could understand why Dr Li Wenliang was reprimanded. It doesn’t make any sense.
The late Kenojuak Ashevak , considered one of the pioneers of Inuit art, saw her first-ever print, Rabbit Eating Seaweed, included in the 1959 Cape Dorset collection. The early work points to the distinctive style for which the famed artist would become renown. (Historymuseum.ca) (Photo credit: CBC.ca)
I apologize for not posting for a long time. There has been a change in my life, but it is not a serious change.
Here is my story. A few weeks ago, I told my doctor that my memory was playing tricks on me. Test confirmed mild cognitive impairment. I will lose my driver’s license and my precious little red Toyota.
Do not be alarmed. I was not diagnosed until the early 1990s, but I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME since 1976. Victims get lost in mid-sentence and don’t remember words and names. I continued working and had a successful but shorter career than I would have liked. The only difference between the old and the new diagnostic is age. I am now older. But it could simply be that moving tired me out and that taking a mortgage, at my age, was stressful. Life is not always easy.
In short, I could not work on posts for several days because I was making various arrangements that would allow me to stay home for many long years, despite mild cognitive deficiency. Ironically, destiny led me to purchase a lovely apartment in the appropriate building. It has elevators, a heated interior swimming pool, and, as I have told you in an earlier post, it is located very near a small market place that includes a post office and most of the facilities I require.
My next post is on Métis leader Gabriel Dumont and the North-West Rebellion. Métis and Amerindians were losing their land, so surveyors can cut it up into little squares while a railroad was being built that woul take citizens from sea to sea: A Mari usque ad Mare, the Canadian motto.
As a leader, Gabriel Dumont was second only to Louis Riel. They resisted losses brought by Canadian expansion westward. The video inserted below is a fine account of events that took Canada from sea to sea, but a post is necessary.
Gabriel Dumont(Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
We are still in Lower Canada or Bas-Canada. *“Lower” means down the St. Lawrence river, closer to the Atlantic Ocean. Our images are by Cornelius Krieghoff (19 June 1815 – 8 April 1872) who arrived in New York in 1836, immediately after completing his studies. Although Krieghoff had a brother in Toronto, Canada, but he settled in the province of Quebec.
In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont (6 February 1802 – 30 March 1866), a magistrate and prison reformer, had travelled to North America in order to write a report on prisons in America, which they did.
However, Tocqueville’s curiosity led him to the former New France and induced him to discuss slavery in America. In fact, it is now somewhat difficult to remember that Tocqueville and Beaumont’s mission was to examine the prison system in the New World. Tocqueville and Beaumont were in Bas-Canada from August 23rd until September 2nd. It was a short visit, but Tocqueville’s portrayal of Bas-Canada and the dangers confronting it are exceptionally insightful.[i]
« Le Canada pique vivement notre curiosité. La nation française s’y est conservée intacte : on y a les mœurs et on y parle la langue du siècle de Louis XIV. » (Tocqueville)
“The French nation has been preserved there. As a result, one can observe the customs and the language spoken duringLouis XIV’sreign.” (Note 2)[ii] (Corbo’s translation)
« [I]l n’y a pas six mois, je croyais, comme tout le monde, que le Canada était devenu complètement anglais. » (Tocqueville)
In a letter to his mother, dated 7 September 1831, Tocqueville writes that: “not even six months ago, [he] believed, like everyone else, that Canada had become thoroughly English.” (Corbo’s translation)
« Nous nous sentions comme chez nous, et partout on nous recevait comme des compatriotes, enfants de la vieille France, comme ils l’appellent. À mon avis, l’épithète est mal choisie : la vieille France est au Canada ; la nouvelle est chez nous. » (Note 3)[iii] (Tocqueville)
“We felt like we were at home and everywhere people greeted us as one of their own, as descendants of ‘Old France’ as they called it. But to me, it seems more like Old France lives on in Canada and that it is our country [France] which is the new one.” Thus, Tocqueville was surprised by realities he discovered in Canada. Compared to his visits to other foreign countries, the visit to Lower Canada was a brief one. (Note 4) (Tocqueville & Corbo.)
He notes that the seigneurial system is, for the most part, a “formality,” and that Religion is central to the community.
“The seigneurial system, which would last until 1854, is more of a formality than anything else, even though it is a source of irritation for some. But this does not keep the lands from being properly farmed or from prospering. Religion is central to the community; the clergy holds an important place and proves to be unquestionably loyal to the British authority.” (Corbo)
The Wealth is under English Control
Even though the peasants are prosperous, the real wealth is in the hands of the country’s Englishmen. The Mondelet brothers, who [sic] Tocqueville met in Montreal on August 24th, as well as the anonymous English merchant he met on August 26th, reveal to Tocqueville that, “almost all the wealth and commerce is under English control.” On September 1st, Tocqueville confirms in his notes that “the English have control of all foreign trade and run domestic trade without any opposition.” (Note 7)[iv] (Corbo & Corbo’s translations)
Si les paysans sont prospères, la grande richesse, elle, appartient aux Anglais du pays. Tant les frères Mondelet, rencontrés à Montréal le 24 août, que le marchand anglais anonyme de Québec, le 26 août, indiquent à Tocqueville que « presque toute la richesse et le commerce est dans les mains des Anglais. » (Corbo & others)
Predominance of the English Language & Anglicisms
In both cities, “all the signs [enseignes] are in English and there are only two English theatres.” During his visit to the courthouse in Quebec City, Tocqueville observes the predominance of the English language and the mediocrity of the language of French-speaking lawyers, which is riddled with Anglicisms. (Note 8)[v] (Corbo.)
Tant à Montréal qu’à Québec, la langue anglaise domine dans la vie et sur la place publique: « La plupart des journaux, les affiches et jusqu’aux enseignes des marchands français sont en anglais. » (Corbo & Tocqueville)
So, on 26 August, having visited the courthouse, Tocqueville comes to the conclusion that the French who live in the former New France are a conquered people and that it is an “irreversible tragedy.”
Je n’ai jamais été plus convaincu qu’en sortant [de ce tribunal] que le plus grand et le plus irrémédiable malheur pour un peuple c’est d’être conquis.
“I have never been more convinced than after I left the courthouse that the greatest and most irreversible tragedy for a people is to be conquered.” (Note 10)[vi] (Corbo’s translation)
Having expressed pleasure in finding that New France had become Old France, Tocqueville then fears for the future of the French nation he has visited. He was right. The French-Canadian habitant was still prosperous, but there did come a point when the thirty acres could no longer be divided. In fiction as in history, regionalism died. In his 1938 Trente Arpents, or Thirty Acres,Ringuet, the pseudonym used by Philippe Panneton, chronicled its passing away in a poignant manner. The habitant had nowhere to go. Nearly a million French-Canadians and Acadians left for the United States.
My dear friend and former neighbour for 22 years, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen, died on 12 September 2017, the year Canada celebrated its 150th birthday and the year he turned 96. Mr MacEachen passed away at St Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He had studied at St Francis Xavier University and returned to StFX to teach Economics. He owned a house across the street from the campus, a few steps from my house. In fact, Allan J.’s backyard ran into mine. I didn’t fully own my backyard. We therefore shared the backyard and a barn.
In other words, this post isn’t about Allan J. MacEachen, a foremost Canadian politician and also a statesman. It is about the extraordinary gentleman who lived next door to me and about a very dear friend. Let us begin with the barn.
That barn was quite the building. It could have been used as a garage, but it served as storage space. That is where we kept our gardening tools, a lawn mower, ladders, scaffolding, not to mention picks and shovels and tires. Paul mowed the lawn. To be precise, Paul mowed three adjoining lawns: Mr MacEachen’s, Dr Cecil MacLean’s and mine. Dr Cecil MacLean, a graduate of the Sorbonne, was Chair of the Department of Modern Languages. Initially, he was the Carnegie Chair of French.
The barn was somewhat special. For one thing, it had a hidden room. How else could it be so long a building on the outside, but not very deep inside? I was perplexed and I decided to investigate matters. I found a small door, hidden behind an apple tree and vegetation I had to cut my way through. The door had been left unlocked, so, I climbed in and explored. After it was found, I had a lock installed on the door. It was no longer hidden. The next time he came from Ottawa, Mr MacEachen was introduced to his collection of antiques. He was very interested and had some of these antiques refurbished.
I enjoyed looking after our backyard. In the summer, I filled a white urn with red flowers and put a tall green plant in the middle. I sat the urn close to his back door, which is where he parked the car. Finding the right place for this urn was not easy. I walked back and forth until I found what I believe was the best location. I also loved delineating the driveways, his and mine. I had gardeners put little white stones, crushed marble I believe, on one side of the two adjoining driveways. On the other side, we had a very long hedge which I trimmed so it wouldn’t scratch Mr MacEachen’s car.
The Drive from the Airport: poor Mr MacEachen
Before flying down from Ottawa to Antigonish, Mr MacEachen would phone me, or Pearl did. Pearl Hunter was Mr MacEachen’s secretary and, to a large extent, a colleague.
She died on 22 July 2017, which must have saddened Mr MacEachen enormously. We had a marvellous lunch together a few summers ago. There were four of us: Allan J., Pearl, Craig Smith, who was Mr MacEachen’s devoted and constant companion after Mr MacEachen suffered a stroke in 2004, and there was little me. How thoughtful of Mr MacEachen to invite Pearl!
Sometimes, when I knew he was coming to Antigonish, I called in our cleaning ladies: Adèle and her sister. Both lived in Pomquet, a nearby Acadian community. As well, on one occasion, I drove Mr MacEachen’s car to the airport to pick him up. I arrived at the airport safely and on time. However, on our way back to Antigonish, we stopped to eat a doughnut at a Tim Horton‘s and, as we left, Mr MacEachen said that he would drive the rest of the way. Based on this one event, one can tell Mr MacEachen was a born diplomat. He was much too polite to tell me I was a poor driver and I didn’t ask why he wanted to drive.
The Frozen Pipes
One day, when Mr MacEachen arrived home, his heating system had failed and the radiators had burst. I was in Sherbrooke, Quebec, visiting with my family. As for Mr MacEachen’s tenant, Joe, he was also absent. Poor Allan J. could not sleep in his house. He went to see Cecil who considered sending him to my house. But what about the stuffed rabbit lying on my bed: a Steiff rabbit. Mr MacEachen went elsewhere. When his tenant left, I started visiting the house every day. Yet, there was another incident, which is my main story. It is about the intrusion of a raccoon.
That event is an event to recall. The fellow–I called him Stokely in memory of another raccoon, found his way down the chimney to the bottom of the fireplace. The fireplace was in a beautiful room which the raccoon damaged extensively. The door to that room was closed, so I did not open it during my daily visit. As a result, Allan J. was the first to see the damage. In fact, the raccoon was still in the chimney. We blocked it from the room, but Stokely lived there. I said to Mr MacEachen that I would look after everything with the help of good friends.
Claude said that we would have to smoke Stokely out. Smoke him out? Wouldn’t that hurt him? No, he said. We used Cuban cigars, perhaps a gift from Fidel Castro himself. I protested. Imagine, history going up in flames so a raccoon would leave his comfortable nest in a chimney! But Claude insisted. We only needed a few cigars. Claude had made a grid that would block the chimney. I believe Richard was with us, waiting to see the raccoon emerge and leave. When Stokely came out, he looked in every direction and ran to safety. Richard told Claude to drop the grid.
I had to throw several cushions away and called in professional cleaners. I also had to replace one of the curtains. It had to be custom-made and Mr MacEachen always ran the risk of paying what I called the senatorial fee–by then Mr MacEachen was a senator. The curtain was sown shabbily and I have always regretted not making it myself.
There were other backyard adventures. For instance, the alarm system Mr MacEachen had installed was sensitive and would go off if a curtain moved. The Company would then phone me and I’d run to the house and inspect, sometimes fighting my way through heavy snow. But all was always well.
A Kind Gentleman
Mr MacEachen was very considerate. After Dr Cecil MacLean died–Cecil and I were always together, he told me he would protect me. I did not learn until much later that I needed protection. He knew that I lived alone and went to bed early so that fatigue would not prevent me from teaching the next day. At Christmas, he asked if I had a place to go and brought me a gift. He also made sure I was not left alone on my birthday.
One July, the week of our birthdays, I drove to Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton, where Mr MacEachen had a house. He had invited members of the Robichaud family and a relative of his, a priest. It turned out the Robichaud family knew one of my father’s best friends. As for the priest, he had been in Rome when my mother’s cousin taught theology at what was then called the Angelicum.
Mr MacEachen also toured my house. I had told him that my bedroom was the smallest room in the house. Why was I depriving myself of larger quarters? I led him from room to room. As he looked, he seemed reassured. The house was small but it was a jewel, the smallest room in particular. I had a beautiful blue house, covered with cedar shingles. Many of you know that this is the house I sold during the Summer of 2002. I had fallen ill because my workload had become too heavy.
Mr MacEachen tried to prevent me from selling the house, but I thought it was too late to cancel. Two years later, my disability benefits were terminated. So, once again, Mr MacEachen tried to help me resume my career, but the Vice-President did not listen to him. I wanted to return to my office and it was available. However, I was being sent elsewhere. No, I had never been remiss in my duties despite chronic fatigue syndrome.
They didn’t know me, but Mr MacEachen did.
I knew a more private Mr MacEachen, but I agree with Justin Trudeau. Mr MacEachen (6 July 1921 – 12 September 2017), “made this country.”
The man who said to me: “I will protect you,” protected all of us Canadians. He knew about the social contract and lived it. Citizens pay their taxes and their government makes sure they are safe. Mr MacEachen made sure Canadians were safe.
The Government of Nova Scotia celebrated Mr MacEachen’s life on Sunday 17 September 2017, at the Keating Centre, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish. His funeral took place at Stella Maris Catholic Church in Inverness, Cape Breton and he was buried in the parish cemetery.
May you rest in peace, Mr MacEachen. You have built a country and will always be remembered.
I have moved to my new apartment, but it was a difficult and lengthy move, longer than I anticipated. My challenge was downsizing. The apartment I have bought is spacious, ±1056 sq ft (±98.1 sq meters), but it has fewer rooms than my former apartment. I had to give furniture, books and clothes, but I still have everything I need.
Given my age, this building is a safer environment than the building I left. It has elevators and it is situated within walking distance of a small market place and a café.
The time has come to return to my weblog. I have missed you. I still have boxes containing books to unpack. Some of these books will be given, but I am having bookcases built to house the ones I am keeping.
Following the publication of my last post, I received information from Paul Nicklen, a scientist and a photographer for Sea Legacy and National Geographic magazine. The document Mr Nicklen sent me was on official White House stationary and, I suspect, many individuals were sent a copy. It was signed in the following manner.
Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada.
The document seemed private, which may no longer be the case.
The link below took me to Mr Nicklen’s fascinating but alarming account of the Arctic and the word “yesterday” was the day before yesterday, probably 20 December 2016. The following is a link to the document, but the document inserted itself at the bottom of my post automatically:
I am not a scientist. Therefore I cannot speak personally and accurately about the effects of global warming in the Arctic. I have to rely on the testimonial of experts. All I know is that the Arctic is very rich, but I have now read that:
“The danger of an oil spill would deliver a fatal blow to this pristine and critically important ecosystem.”
Mr Nicklen wrote:
“As a scientist, what I know about the Arctic is terrifying. Currently, it’s warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. As a photographer, I can observe and document these effects first-hand: receding glaciers, struggling wildlife populations, and cities impacted by rising sea levels.
And as the landscape changes, driven by climate change, I am watching the Arctic region become increasingly vulnerable. In particular, we should see the rapid disappearance of sea ice here for what it is: a sign of imminent and catastrophic change. The danger of an oil spill would deliver a fatal blow to this pristine and critically important ecosystem.”
But — with the leadership of President Obama — we’ve taken a step forward.”
I gather that, given the above, Mr Putin cannot come in and drill. The Arctic may be very rich, but it is “off limits” for excellent reasons. We cannot kill the Arctic because we would lose what it has to give. There would be no remedy. In other words, it’s a “Poule aux œufs d’or” (Hen with the Golden Eggs) narrative. (See RELATED ARTICLES.)
good and bad
education, an example
The Trump presidency will affect Americans in many ways, but, first and foremost, we must expect privatization. In this regard, citizens of the United States must act. In certain areas, privatization will not be harmful to citizens, but in others, it could wreak havoc.
For instance, limits must be put on the privatization of education. An education cannot be the privilege of the rich. A good education is an extraordinary tool in that it gives everyone more freedom. For instance, it allows informed voting, which was needed on 8 November 2016. The 2016 American Election was so flawed we can call it a disgrace!
However, everything has to be put into perspective and we must then go from plan A to plan B.
Healthcare, for instance, is a “right.” Taxes buy protection and safety. They also buy a good education or job-training, adequate housing and, as we advance, they may also guarantee a universal minimum income.
The well-to-do can also buy safe and effective contraceptives, a vasectomy, tubal ligation, a hysterectomy and an abortion when it constitutes a medical imperative, which is why the Ohio “Heartbeat” Bill is a slap in the face for women belonging the middle-class and poor women. It is the beginning of serious cuts in health-care legislation and must not be voted into law. A five-year old is too young to carry a child. (See Lina Medina, Wikipedia.)
However, if Insurance Companies have a monopoly on healthcare, the United States will be stepping back to an era where cancer was considered a pre-existing condition and the sick were left to die in pain. An insurance company’s first goal is a profit. They are in business. The same is true of pharmaceutical companies.
Mr Trump has stated that he does not “believe in” global warming. Well, global warming is not a matter of faith (I believe in); it is a matter of fact. If the United States does not protect the environment, the world will not survive. This would be the ultimate genocide.
Canada and the United States: an Agreement
On 10 March 2016, Canada signed an agreement with the United States concerning the Arctic and the environment:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama hold a joint press conference in Washington, D. C.
As I surfed the Internet yesterday, I saw a comment that caught my attention. Mr Trump likes Russian President Vladimir Putin because he is a good “leader.” What does Mr Trump mean? Mr Trump would have liked to silence the press, a freedom the press will not abandon. Mr Trump may also intimidate a few leaders, but all he does will be screened by the press. Freedom of speech will never have been so free and focused. Moreover, it will still be the government of the people by the people.
Mr Trudeau fils should perhaps remember his father Pierre Trudeau‘s words:
“Living next to you [the US] is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”
« Être votre voisin, c’est comme dormir avec un éléphant; quelque douce et placide que soit la bête, on subit chacun de ses mouvements et de ses grognements. »
Addressing the Press Club in Washington, D.C. (25 March 1969)
Portrait of Sha-kó-ka, a Mandan girl, by George Catlin, 1832 (Caption and photo credit: Wikipedia)
A varied Settlement of the Americas
My post on the Ten Lost Tribes: Native Americans generated more interest than I expected. This theory dates back to James Adair‘s (c. 1709 – 1783) History of the Indians, in 1775, and it is supported by Israeli scholars. (See Ten Lost Tribes, Wikipedia.) However, their entering through the Bering Strait during the last glacialperiod is not the only account of the migration of Amerindians to the Americas. Another account, besides the Ten Lost Tribes, is Welsh prince Madog or Madoc‘s story.
Madoc’s Story: White Native Americans
According to folklore, Madoc ab Owain Gwyneed, a Welsh prince and therefore a white man, sailed to America in 1170. These Amerindians were first mentioned in a cywydd, an epic poem, by the Welsh poet Maredudd ap Rhys (fl. 1450 – 83) of Powys.” The existence of these white Amerindians is, of course, a disputed issue, but there may have been Welsh-speaking “Indians.”
There is a tradition of a “white Indian” settlement at Louisville, Ky., and several 17th- and 18th-century reports were published concerning encounters of frontiersmen with Welsh-speaking Indians. Most anthropologists reject the idea of pre-Columbian European contacts with American Indians, but the evidence is not conclusive. The story is the basis of the epic poem Madoc (1805) by the English poet Robert Southey.
Painting of a Mandan village by George Catlin, ca. 1833 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Mandan Tribe
Their descendants would be the Mandan tribe of South Dakota. Artist George Catlin (26 July 1796 – 23 December 1872), who specialized in painting Amerindians, “thought the Mandan bull boat to be similar to the Welsh coracle.” It should also be noted that the Mandan tribe, established “permanent villages featuring large, round,earth lodges, some 40 feet (12 m) in diameter, surrounding a central plaza.” These earth lodges are displayed in the images above and below. (See Mandan, Wikipedia.)
Mandan Village by George Catlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In his 1584 Historie of Cambria, David Powelreported that, dissatisfied with the quarrels that divided his family, Welsh Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd, one of the numerous sons of King Owain Gwynedd, and his brother Rhirid, tried to create a settlement in North America. On board their ships were 100 settlers: men, women, and children, who disembarked.
The brothers sailed back to Wales to recruit more settlers, but the second group of Welsh colonists ported in Mexico. As for Madoc and Rhirid, they never returned to Wales, nor did they visit their North American colony.
We do not know where Madoc’s North American colonists ported, but they intermarried and it is claimed that they are the ancestors of the Mandan tribe, Plains Amerindians who lived on the banks of the Missouri River and its tributaries and spoke a Siouan language, and if their encounters with Welsh-speaking colonists are not imaginary, some may also have spoken Welsh.
The theory according to which the Mandans are descendants of the Welsh has been mostly discredited. But there are reports of encounters. According to Wikipedia, Francis Lewis, a Welshman, was captured by Louis-Joseph de Montcalm during the French and IndianWar (1754 – 1763). During his captivity, Francis Lewis is said “to have had a conversation with an Indian chief who spoke Welsh, which apparently saved his life.” There were other such encounters. (See Madoc, Wikipedia.)
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de LaVérendrye (17 November 1685 – 5 December 1749), known as La Vérendrye, named the Mandans. He had heard Mantannes. The cart pulled by dogs or horses used by Plains Amerindians, is called a travois, from the French travail FR. La Vérendrye and his four sons opened the territory west of Lake Superior. Two of his sons reached the Rocky Mountains.
The Mandans were farmers and therefore sedentary, but the “buffalo,” or bison, was central to their survival, as it was to all Plains Amerindians. Its destruction by the white led to famine. In fact, it was genocidal. The bison provided meat, clothing, teepees (tents) and other essentials of life.
American General Phil Sheridan said, “Let them kill, skin and sell until the buffalo are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle and the festive cowboy.”
Four million buffaloes were killed in Canada and Amerindians participated in the mass slaughter of their very livelihood. I suspect they acted out of fear. (See The BuffaloSlaughter in a People’s History,Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).
Fort Clark on the Missouri, February 1834 by Karl Bodmer
A pair of Mandan men in a print by Karl Bodmer, 19th century
“Mató-Tope, a Mandan chief”: aquatint by Karl Bodmer
The art above is by Swiss-French artist Karl Bodmer (11 February 1809 – 30 October 1893)
Yet, their skin colour was lighter than that of other American aboriginals, which is not obvious in the art of Catlin and Bodmer. Their features, however, could be European. It has therefore been speculated that they were of European origin, just as Cherokees would be the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. Interest in matters exotic and disappearing aboriginals is one of the characteristics of 19th-century scholarship, literature, and the fine arts. It may have led Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied to study the manners, customs, and language of the Mandan tribe. For instance, prince Maximilian looked for possible similarities between Welsh and the Siouan language of the Mandans.
In 1832,Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied and 23-year-old artist Karl Bodmer, also known as Jean-Charles Bodmer, went up the Missouri River and visited the Mandans and other Native Americans. In 1840, Prince Maximilian published his Travels in the Interior of North America during the years 1832-1834 (Reise in das Innere Nord-Amerikas, 1840). Prince Maximilian’s account of his travels, illustrated by Karl Bodmer, and George Catlin’s paintings may well constitute the only remains of the Mandan tribe, some of whom may have been of Welsh descent. According to the Census of 2010, there are very few Mandans left, a mere 365 full-bloods and 806 of partial Mandan ancestry.
Encampment of the travellers on the Missouri. Maximilian is likely the man on the right in blue smoking a pipe. Aquatint illustration by Karl Bodmer(Caption and Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It would be unrealistic to assume that all Native Americans entered the Americas from the Beringia Land Bridge. Diversity among Amerindians precludes a single point of origin. In all likelihood people crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the moment there was an Atlantic Ocean to cross. This is what human beings have always done. Europeans were fishing off the coast of Newfoundland in the 1200s.
Therefore, although Madoc’s story seems a little fanciful, it has entered the pages of the Encyclopædia Britannica and it is told in a wealth of details in Wikipedia. Although we cannot ascertain there ever lived a Madog or Madoc, it occurred to the British that they should claim discovery of the Americas because Madoc was in the Americas 300 years before Christopher Columbus. (See Madoc, Wikipedia.)
Grey Day, Laurentians by A. Y. Jackson, 1928 (Photo credit:wikiart.org)
It is still summer in Sherbrooke. In fact, summer did not begin until late July, if not later. Yet, we will soon be fascinated by autumn’s palette of colours: shades of red, yellow, purple, burgundy: a study in vibrant colours. This type of scenery was depicted by members of the Group of Seven(see Group of Seven, Canadian Encyclopedia). And so was winter. Above is A. Y. Jackson’s Red Maple (1914), an early painting, but most of the paintings I am showing are winter landscapes depicting Quebec. Jackson was born in Montreal, and it would appear we all belong to the land of our youth.
The Red Maple by A. Y. Jackson, 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Therefore, A. Y. Jackson was an unlikely member of the Group of Seven, of which he was a founding member all of whom portrayed Canada’s wilderness. Matters changed, when Jackson exhibited his Edge of the Maple Wood(1910), shown below. The painting drew the attention of the Group ofSeven’s only wealthy member, Lawren Harris, who purchased it. Jackson could not earn a living in Montreal.
Saint-Tite-des-Caps by A. Y. Jackson (Photo credit: Google Images
Barns by A. Y. Jackson (Photo credit: wikiart.org)
A Quebec Village (Photo credit: Heffel Gallery)
The Group of Seven
Recognition worked its magic and induced A. Y. Jackson to move to Toronto where he first shared a studio with Tom Tompson (Canadian Encyclopedia), the artist featured in my last post.
“Jackson taught Thomson aspects of technique, especially colour, while Thomson taught Jackson about the Canadian wilderness (see A. Y. Jackson, Canadian Encyclopedia).”
Jackson visited Algonguin Park, where Thomson built his cabin, loved its scenery and chose to be a landscape artist. He also went west, to the Rocky Mountains, but by and large, he worked in Ontario areas associated with the Group of Seven such as Algonguin Park, the Algoma district, Georgian Bay and the North Shore (Lake Superior), etc. But Jackson also painted Quebec.