Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Interpreting the Lower Canadian rebellions

The historiography of Lower Canada has been dominated by two contrasting visions for the future of French-speaking Quebec. [1] The first, which dominated historical writing for over a century after the rebellions was based on a conservative, Catholic nationalism strongly opposed to democratic ideals that aimed at creating a separate French Canadian state in North America. It rejected the pan-Canadian nationalism of Sir Wilfred Laurier, Mackenzie King and Henri Bourassa. A second vision emerged during the Second World War in which, instead of writing history in terms of persecution, focused on the weaknesses of French Canadians as a national group. This view maintained that the partisan teaching of national history had helped to keep anti-British feeling alive. It sought moderation and collaboration between French Canadians and English-speakers, praised British liberties in contrast to the despotism of New France and pointed to the success of collaboration in the aftermath of union in 1840 in limiting the impact of assimilation. Finally, it suggested that the country’s geography tended to unite not divide Canadians showing the influence of the Laurentian school of historians led by Donald Creighton and Harold Innis.

The emergence of the Lower Canadian historiography began soon after the rebellions ended with the publication of accounts by participants, a process that persisted through to the turn of the century. Of especial importance was Papineau’s Histoire de l’insurrection, written in exile in Paris in response to Durham’s Report, [2] the various writings of those Patriotes transported to Australia and the depositions contained in the Reports of the State Trials. Lafontaine[3], Cartier[4], Thomas Storrow Brown[5] and McNab[6], for example, wrote their accounts of events later. Between 1839 and 1855, there was an intense debate between participants that saw considerable agreement between both moderates and ex-radicals in deploring the ‘regrettable insurrection’. In particular, two issues were extensively debated: first, what was Papineau’s personal responsibility; and secondly, what role did colonial government play in pushing the Patriotes into rebellion and to what extent was it a government conspiracy? At the same time that participants in the rebellions were debating the responsibilities of some and the merits of others, the first historical writings appeared. The third volume of Francois-Xavier Garneau’s Histoire du Canada that used contemporary accounts, the Journaux de l’Assemblée législative and the correspondence of successive governors was published in 1849.[7] Garneau’s history was the first positive interpretation of the rebellion that he placed in the context of the principles of political resistance inherited from English parliamentarianism and legitimated by its defence of the nation under threat. It was the union of the Canadas and its threat to the survival of the French Canadian nation that prompted his determination to write a history of Canada. He focussed on the struggle between the Patriote leaders and the British oligarchy surrounding the governors. Britain’s policy, after raising false hopes, proved hostile to the Canadian Patriotes. The disturbances of 1837 and 1838 broke out and were harshly put down. The union of the two Canadas proved to be a catastrophe for French Canada, according to Garneau and in his general conclusion, he urged French Canadians to remain true to themselves by refraining from political and social ventures. Above all, Garneau was concerned about his nationality and his broadly conservative, though in its earlier editions anticlerical, work was marked by constant preoccupation with defending the French Canadian right to survival.[8]

The glorification of the Patriotes led to a conservative response especially in the writing of Charles-Auguste-Maximilien Globensky whose La Rébellion de 1837 à Saint-Eustache was published in 1883 and in an extended version six years later. Partly a defence of his father who had played a major role in the attack on St-Eustache in December 1837, it reflected the loyalist rather than republican position and denounced the fanaticism of the Patriotes. Laurent-Olivier David’s work took a more liberal, rehabilitative stance towards the rebellions and he portrayed leading Patriotes in heroic, nationalist terms.[9] The rebellion was a ‘glorious war’ led by ‘most honourable men’. Such musings suggested that he encouraged the rejection of authority and in 1892, curé Louis-Eugène Duguay complained that Les Patriotes de 1837-1838, a seditious book, was being given as a prize in the schools in his diocese. The traditional view reflected the sense that many French Canadians had after union that they were threatened by absorption into an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ state and, like the orthodox position in Upper Canada dominated thinking for a century.

The early twentieth century saw the publication of three multi-volume studies of Canada, the biographical Makers of Canada, the chronological Chronicles of Canada and Canada and its Provinces with their nuanced shift in attitudes to the rebellions towards seeing them in the context of the constitutional evolution of Canada. Decelles regarded Papineau as ‘our hero’ and maintained that ‘If we admit that the troubles of 1837 hastened the dawn of liberty, then Papineau must be given a great deal of credit for its appearance.’[10] He printed a letter written by O’Callaghan to Garneau in 1852 which stated that the rebellion was not ‘premeditated’ and ‘was a movement of the government against peaceable citizens in order to hurry the latter into an indignant resistance of personal violence.’[11] The fault, it appeared lay with the British and colonial governments in resisting the legitimate constitutional demands of French Canadians. A decade later, Decelles returned to the theme in his The Patriotes of ‘37 in which he takes a more critical view of the Patriotes but reiterated the same conclusions: ‘no true Canadian can fail to be proud of the spirit of loyalty which in 1837 actuated not only people of British birth, but many sons and daughters of the French-Canadian Church. Nor can one fail to admire the spirit of liberty, to the ‘rights of the people’ which characterised rebels...’[12] Duncan McArthur took a more critical stance in his cursory critique of events.

The insurrection in Lower Canada scarcely deserved to be considered as a rebellion...The rebellion movement, originating in protest against the ruling administration, developed into an inarticulate expression with things as they were.[13]

In many respects, the idea of French Canadians as outcasts or opportunists later identified by Stephane Kelly already existed.[14] The rebellions were either an expression of heroic separatist nationalism or a reflection of legitimate constitutional demands initially thwarted but then achieved. The decade before the centenary of the rebellions saw a growing focus on contemporary sources, a process aided by the founding of archives in Ottawa in 1885 and Quebec in 1920.[15] Of particular importance was the Histoire des patriotes of Gérald Filteau whose rehabilitation of the Patriotes consciously extended the work of L-O-David. Written in eight sections beginning with the parliamentary crisis of 1827, it remains the only detailed narrative of events in the 1830s and early 1840s. [16]

After 1945, historiography was distinguished from the earlier period by the development of professional historians. Historians no longer earned their living as journalists, curators, archivists or lawyers or indulged their interests in retirement. This was part of assigning the humanities and science sciences a more prominent role in French-speaking universities especially in Montreal and Quebec. Mid-twentieth century historians moved away from a teleological view of history towards one influenced by a materialist view of the past in keeping with contemporary attempts at the ‘quiet’ modernisation of Quebec. The 1950s and 1960s saw a growing rift between those historians at the Université de Montréal and those at the Université Laval in Quebec.[17] The Montreal School blamed British Canada for the economic, cultural and political ‘backwardness’ of Quebec’s francophone nationality while the revisionist Laval School argued that French Canadians had no one to blame but themselves. The revisionist school made a conscious decision to minimise the cultural, religious and linguistic cleavages of Quebec and based its interpretation on the development of a pluralistic, urbanised and industrialised society within the territory of Quebec.[18]

A Marxist approach to Canadian history had developed in the 1930s suggesting that towns were more capitalist in character and supported by a military presence and were in conflict with a rural, anti-seigneurial proletariat directed by a small group of Patriote revolutionaries. Stanley Ryerson applied this thesis to both provinces.[19] Gerard Bernier and Daniel Salée recognised the socio-political cleavages arising from class divisions in the colony but rejected interpretations that emphasised the influence of capitalistic relations and ethnic divisions.[20] They argued that from the 1760s, Quebec was in a process of transition to capitalism, but that the end result was not inevitable. Rather, they recognised that Lower Canada was a typically agrarian society, and they analysed the political arguments over social relations in the countryside. The attempts of some seigneurs to squeeze their tenants more and more harshly after 1815, as Noel’s evidence on the Christie seigneuries suggests, contributed to heightened tensions.[21] Ultimately, the rebellions developed out of the complexities of this transitional economic phase. The Patriotes, including both French-Canadians and Anglophones, produced a critical discourse in favour of capitalistic development. The Patriotes represented petite bourgeois interests, but the attempted bourgeois revolution could not succeed without the presence of a true bourgeoisie. In their analysis of the political turmoil, Bernier and Salée based much of their argument on the Patriote press. The place of the peasantry in the rebellions is consequently largely overlooked, since, in their view, the conflict was located in literate discourse and apparently inexorable social forces. This model did not seek to explain why so many habitant farmers took up arms against the British colonial rulers in 1837.

A third approach was associated with Fernand Ouellet that is quantitative in methodology and passionate and polemical in style.[22] As part of the Laval school in Quebec, Ouellet rejected the traditional, nationalist view of French Canadian history and restated the importance of economic and social factors in the genesis and defeat of the rebellions of 1837-1838. He questioned the existence of a true capitalist bourgeoisie in New France arguing that Ancien régime values, coupled with considerable state intervention, prevented the development of a self-perpetuating middle-class imbued with capitalist-bourgeois mentality and behavioural patterns. He contended that this mentalité and the rise of French Canadian nationalism were fed by a new conservative and professional middle-class responsible for the economic inferiority of French Canadians. Nationalism, the continuance of Ancien régime attitudes and the rise of clericalism, not the Conquest in 1760, prevented the restructuring of French Canada’s social, economic and political institutions in accordance with the imperatives of nineteenth-century capitalism. Ouellet was motivated, at least in part, by contemporary concerns over developments in French Canada believing that nationalism and clericalism were conservative and regressive forces preventing Quebecois society move in a modern, secular and democratic direction.[23] He argued that a feudal or anti-modern mentalité helped push Lower Canadian agriculture toward a crisis of declining production brought on by soil depletion and inadequate techniques of cultivation. As agricultural production faltered and rural society began to encounter a variety of related difficulties, its economic links with the outside world grew weaker. As a result, society naturally assumed an outlook in which the economic, cultural and political ‘space’ occupied by the French Canadian nation coincided more and more closely with the arbitrary boundaries of 1791. This state of mind was reinforced by the growing discrepancy between the economic power of the French Canadians and that of the more recent English-speaking immigrants. Though a few French Canadians penetrated the ranks of the mercantile élite, by the end of the 1820s the vast majority of the French-speaking middle-class was divided between the liberal professions and small merchants located primarily in the rural districts. In either case, they had little incentive to expand their outlook beyond the borders of Lower Canada and, for perfectly good reasons, were inclined to identify with its rural society. The result was growing conflict between this cultural orientation and the more ‘modern’ and expansionist outlook of the larger merchants and between the Assembly and the executive. The archaic nature of habitant agriculture, exploited by their seigneurs, meant that it was unable to adapt to the growing market economy in farming. This led to growing tensions between seigneurs and habitants but this was insufficient to develop into open conflict and the anti-feudal tensions were either neutralised or diverted into harmless channels through the efforts of bourgeois Patriotes. As a result, Ouellet argued the habitants were fooled into a reactionary revolt in 1837 by opportunistic Patriote leadership that was dedicated, despite its liberationist philosophy, to greater subjugation of the peasantry. Had Lower Canada achieved its independence, he maintained, it would have condemned the provinces to decades of underdevelopment and this would have strengthened the power of the seigneurs and the clergy.[24] In fact, the habitants would have been better supporting the British commercial interests in Lower Canada because it was they, not Papineau who were their political allies since it was merchants in Montreal who called for the abolition of the seigneurial system. As a historian, Ouellet paved the way from an ethnic to a social reading of the past.[25]

Stanley Ryerson was also interested in social class but, in contrast to Ouellet, he saw it from a Marxist perspective as the motor for social change. During the early nineteenth century, new forces emerged in Lower Canada that challenged seigneurial privilege and land speculation and restricted the development of the economy and domestic industry. For Ryerson, the political claims of the Patriotes were an expression of the need for commercial freedom for the emerging class of petit-industrial French Canadians. This movement, which he situated within contemporary developments in western societies, was accentuated in Lower Canada by a national struggle to protect their language, religion and customs. Unlike European societies, in Lower Canada there was little tension between the haute bourgeoisie and the aristocracy since landowners and merchants were both beneficiaries of surviving feudal privileges and the colonial state. Investing capital in international trade resulted in the development of colonial monopolies that exploited resources for Britain’s profit. The rebellions, led by the petite bourgeoisie and supported by peasants, challenged the coalition of merchants and aristocracy that was implacably opposed to changes in the political and social order. Economic under-development and the absence of either a fully developed bourgeoisie or proletariat explained, for Ryerson, the defeat of the rebellions and Lower Canada’s slow transition from seigneurialism to modern capitalism.

G. Bernier and D. Salée also rejected the nationalist interpretation of the rebellions as an anachronism and as methodologically flawed. They denied the notion of a nationalist conflict as a valid concept or the idea of a French Canadian nation having any real meaning to most people in Lower Canada. They accepted the existence of nationalist sentiments among the urban élites who had most contact with the British and experienced the ethnic discrimination of the colonial state but argued that for habitants, who made up the bulk of the population and had little contact with the British, their economic and social grievances were central to their thinking. For them the ending of aristocratic privileges was their key demand and this had little to do with the nationalist agenda. Although the economic and social basis of this conflict was related to colonialism, Bernier and Salée contend that it cannot be explained solely through the influence of the imperial state on the colony but by the particular circumstances within the colony. The failure of the rebellions can be explained, according to them, by the unwillingness of reformers to address the problems inherited from the Ancien regime.

A fourth approach is associated with neo-nationalist or ‘revisionist’ historians of the Montreal School who deliberately set out to demonstrate that Quebec’s past and especially that of its Francophone majority, was every bit as ‘normal’ as that of every other society in North America. They argued that Quebec and its majority Francophone community had never been backward compared with neighbouring communities and that, despite the French language and culture and the omnipresence of the Catholic Church, there was very little that was truly distinctive about the Francophone community’s response to Quebec’s full integration into capitalist North America. Quebec simply comprised another region, albeit French-speaking, of the vast North American continent and its various communities responded normally and effectively to the deep socio-economic and technological forces associated with capitalism that moulded the continent’s evolution and expansion. Indeed, Francophone Quebecers were no longer viewed merely as victims of capitalism but instead were portrayed as active agents in the process of its expansion throughout Quebec. Jean-Pierre Wallot, for example, argues that the district of Montreal and a small fraction of the population of Lower Canada were part of a capitalist economy and that in the most dynamic regions engaged in capitalism some villages were politicised.[26] He denies the existence of an agricultural crisis and maintains that the growing political crisis of Lower Canada was caused by French Canadians adaptation to a market and entrepreneurial economy.[27] What led to the deepening crisis in Lower Canada in the 1820s and 1830s was not tension between two incompatible mentalités, one modern and commercial, the other derived from the Ancien régime, but two competing forms of ‘social entrepreneurship’. The economic strategy of transcontinental and trans-Atlantic development, pursued by the British party and the executive increasingly conflicted with the alternative strategy of the Parti Canadien that was locally oriented with a north-south outlook, based on American-style local banks and on economic and transportation links with New York.

The final approach to the rebellion focuses on the nature of Lower Canadian society. Allan Greer provides a closer evaluation of the form and significance of the rebellions.[28] He proposes that there was a rich, peasant sociability, one rooted in shared rituals of the maypole, the charivari and parish life. Greer sets his discussion within a much broader historiography of peasant revolts, emphasising the close ties within rural communities. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the countryside and the towns had developed in a rather autonomous way. The cities had thrived because of their role as administrative and commercial centres, while the countryside were characterised by a subsistence model with farmers growing their own food and making almost everything they needed. The period before the rebellions saw increasing urban influence on the countryside. The fur trade declined, while growing demand for corn on the international market encouraged capitalists to invest in land. The development of agricultural produce for export led to growing wealth among some peasants and the development of a rural market for products manufactured in the towns. At the same time as dependence on towns increased, inequalities emerged between well established landowners and those who did not have access to land. Parallel to this, the largely urban clerical hierarchy took greater control over parishes that ceased being managed locally. It was in this context that the development of villages in the countryside became a rallying point for rebellion. The Patriote movement was largely urban but once rebellion occurred, it sought refuge in the countryside not simply because of the military presence in the towns but also because of widespread loyalist support in the towns for the constitution. Ultimately, the rebellions owed much to developing rural unrest with the habitants setting its agrarian agenda while the Patriote leaders were dragged along by the conflict. The rebellions represented a confrontation between city and countryside and despite of the support of the Patriotes, the movement was organised around the traditions of the countryside and its dissatisfaction. According to Greer, the Patriotes were not really the instigators of small ‘republics’ such as St-Eustache. They developed in line with local issues and circumstances and this explains the absence of coordination between the Richelieu and the Deux-Montagnes.

Greer accounts for the more radical turn of discourse in 1838, in favour of the abolition of seigneurial tenure suggesting that the incipient class conflict within the Patriote movement became more important as peasants began to challenge the bourgeois norms of their leaders where property was concerned. The rural character of the rebellions and the absence of national coordination led to their failure. The presence of large numbers of English-speaking farmers in the Montreal region contributed to the tensions, but this was not the cause of the outburst. The rebellions were a conflict between Francophones and Anglophones only in as much as the British usually refused to join the rebels and incurred hostility as a result. Greer’s study is an important re-interpretation of the rebellions and of the politics of rural Quebec. He provides a valuable discussion of the increasingly tense relationship between seigneur and habitant and recovers the complexity of the Patriote movement. In the particular circumstances of the 1830s, the shared traditions and perspectives provided the form for a remarkably effective challenge to British imperial rule in Canada. One of the defining characteristics of Greer’s account is the emphasis on a more or less unified peasant culture seen in generally positive terms that provided unity, at times political, at others social, within rural communities. The importance of rural history lies in the explanation of the social tensions that crystallised in the rebellion period. Even when such tensions did not rise to the surface, politicians and government officials had to contend with the weight of rural opinion. Rural perspectives remained influential well past the period of rebellion.[29]

Ouellet ascribed a major role to the actions of the French Canadian petite bourgeoisie in creating the Patriote movement and responsibility for its defeat by its defection at the critical moment. This is explained by its ambivalent position, progressive in its political claims but conservative in its social vision. On this point, Bernier and Salée adopt a similar position arguing that the leaders of the rebellions had not worked out a programme for social change. Stanley Ryerson, however, argued that the French Canadian petite bourgeoisie cannot be reduced to a group of landowners and professionals seeking social advancement. In margin of the colonial economy, it had begun to provide the foundations of an indigenous industry and a diversified economic development; for this reason, if it had not been so weak it could have overthrown the Ancien regime. Louis-George Harvey also called into question Ouellet’s interpretation of the role of the elites, by showing as their ideology and their programme, far from being contradictory, offered an original alternative to the concepts of conservatism and liberalism. Unlike Ouellet, Ryerson and Harvey underlined the community of interests binding Canadian-French petite bourgeoisie to the farming community. According to Ryerson, the economic and social oppression of the habitants restricted the development of the economy and indigenous industry. Harvey argued that a programme for economic development, meeting the needs for the country was in the heart of Patriote thinking. For the latter, the depressed nature of the farming community did not arise from the seigneurial structure but from the intrusion of the foreign capital. On another hand, some historians believe that Ouellet overrated the role of the Patriote leaders in the rebellions. For Greer, they lost the urban battle from the outset and found themselves leading rural revolts with their own agendas.

Ouellet raised the question of the adequacy of nationalism to the situation of Lower Canada arguing that it was a diversion from the real reasons for popular dissatisfaction and the need for social change. By contrast, for Ryerson, a strong sense of nationalism was the principal force behind reform that could not have occurred differently because of the economic underdevelopment. Even if the motivation for rebellion was class conflict, the desire to preserve the French Canadian language and institutions against assimilation reinforced it. Louis-George Harvey goes further in this direction showing not only that nationalism reinforced social conflict but merged with it. The purpose of opposition to British domination that developed after 1822 was to protect language and culture, but also specific social organisations that were properly ‘American’ and democratic. Those historians who focus on the rural character of the rebellions argue that the national question really did not arise in 1837-1838. For Bernier and Salée, but also, to a certain extent, Greer, the rebellions failed because of their local character and the inability of Patriote leaders to maintain their influence in the cities, a condition essential to effective national coordination. Their failure resulted from the popular support of most of the urban population for the existing constitutional structure and their essential role as loyalist volunteers in crushing the rebellions.

Ouellet’s economic and social interpretation has, for several decades, set the tone of the debate on the rebellions. In many respects the interpretations of Ryerson, Bernier and Salée, Harvey and Greer represent alternative responses to his ideas. The questions raised by Ouellet largely concerned the relationship between the social classes, particularly the role of the French Canadian elite and the impact of the nationalist ideology. Unfortunately, ‘Ouellet’s simplistic reduction of revisionist writing to a form of separatist propaganda provides a further example...of the tendency he has shown throughout his career to take a good idea and push it to an illogical conclusion.’[30] The legitimate elements of Ouellet’s scathing critique were undermined by his refusal to accept some of the revisionists’ valid points. In English-speaking Canada and other western countries, the new social history approaches, serving particularistic communities, dramatically undermined the very concept and the prospect of a homogeneous national history. On the other hand, in Quebec the new ‘scientific,’ value-free, social historians, who adopted uncritically the revisionist approach to the past, set the stage for the creation of a new national history, one charting the uninterrupted march of the Quebecois people towards modernity. This is a Whig history if there ever was one.

The dichotomy between liberalism and conservatism forms the theoretical context for the historiography of the rebellions. Historians have noted the contradictions between the democratic aspirations and certain conservative elements within Patriote discourse especially its defence of the seigneurial system. For Louis-Georges Harvey this view is grounded in political ideas inherited from Europe, masks the true nature of Patriote ideas and was rejected in favour of the notion of Lower Canada as part of a broader North American society that took tentative roots during the abortive debate over union of the Canadas in 1822-1824.[31] To understand the true nature of the Patriote programme, it is important to place it within its continental context. The American model, until then rejected by Canadians, began to represent for many an important point of reference. Tracing a parallel with the democratic ideas of Jefferson, Harvey shows that the Patriotes fought not only against authoritarianism but the corruption of power and that the best defence against both was the development of a society of small independent landowners, a situation helped by the presence of unsettled lands in North America. According to Jefferson, landowners represented the common good of the country and were an expression of political virtue, in opposition to merchants and financiers who followed their own interests without reference to what would be beneficial to society as a whole. This Jeffersonian view of society was threatened by capital investment and immigration from Europe, the financial resources and economic power of the banks and the development of industry. According to Harvey, there was no contradiction in juxtaposing calls for democratic reform such as making the Legislative Council elective with the defence of the seigneurial system. It is about a coherent political and economic programme that sought to preserve the democratic virtues and ensure agrarian economic development, the twin bases of an ‘American society’.

Stephane Kelly, however, argues that it was patronage that transformed many of the rebel leaders of 1837 into loyal subjects of Crown.[32] His study reveals how gradually the idea of republic, which had inspired the Patriotes and culminated in the rebellions, declined in the 1840s and 1850s and died in the aftermath of Confederation in 1867. Il n'est cependant pas question de voir dans la distribution de postes à des hommes politiques canadiens-français une contradiction relativement au projet d'assimilation de Durham. He recognises that the establishment of a ‘small colonial lottery’ gave a small group access to the benefits of the patronage available to the Crown as an extension of Durham’s assimilation solution.[33] Cette petite loterie transformera fondamentalement l'imaginaire politique canadien-français: une vision républicaine fondée sur la résistance fait alors place à une vision monarchiste basée sur la collaboration. This mechanism, originally proposed by Adam Smith as a way of containing the revolutionary impulses of American colonists, adapted itself effortlessly to Canadian political reality. This small group fundamentally transformed French Canadian political imagination from a vision based on republican resistance to a one based on monarchist collaboration. S'attaquant à «l'interprétation anticléricale de l'histoire du Canada français», l'auteur explique qu'on a trop souvent blâmé le clergé catholique pour expliquer cette transformation. In attacking the ‘anti-interpretation of the history of French Canada’, Kelly explains that the Catholic clergy were too often blamed for this transformation and maintains that Il veut donc «attribuer la naissance de la Confédération à ses véritables pères fondateurs (p. 18)».the ‘true founding fathers’ of Confederation were not necessarily the delegates who negotiated the agreement in Charlottetown, Quebec City and London but those who, during the thirty years between the rebellions of the Confederation, abandoned resistance in favour of collaboration: Etienne Parent, Lafontaine and George-Etienne Cartier.[34]

Dans les deux premières parties de l'essai, Kelly affirme que la vie politique canadienne du XIX e siècle, comme celle de l'Angleterre du XVIII e , est marquée par la division Court Party/Country Party .Kelly suggests parallels between Canadian political life of the nineteenth century and England in the eighteenth, since both were characterised by a division between a Court Party and a Country Party. D'une part, l'auteur explique que l'imaginaire politique du Canada anglais correspond à la vision du Court Party . British Canada adopted a vision of the Court Party Il s'agit d'une vision monarchiste qui fait reposer le système politique sur le pouvoir exécutif et la citoyenneté sur la primauté de l'origine britannique dans un contexte impérial et multinational.that was loyalist and monarchical in form and based on the executive authority within the context of Britain’s empire. D'autre part, Kelly affirme que l'imaginaire politique canadien-français correspond au Country Party , c'est-à-dire qu'il s'inspire d'un républicanisme agraire qui insiste sur les thèmes de la liberté publique et de la nation. By contrast, French Canada adopted the vision of the Country Party based on agrarian republicanism that emphasised the themes of freedom and a public nation. Le patriote, le héros de la vision politique Country , doit surtout se montrer vigilant contre la corruption, c'est-à-dire la perversion des motifs des représentants du peuple par le patronage distribué par l'exécutif. The Patriot, hero of the Country ideology, reiterated the notion of the ‘Old Corruption’, the perversion of the position of elected representatives through the patronage distributed by the executive. Comme les Juifs européens décrits par Arendt, Kelly voit la nation canadienne-française comme un peuple paria au sein duquel l'individu qui veut améliorer son sort fait face à un choix difficile, voire déchirant.Kelly recognises that the French Canadian people faced a difficult choice using the contrasting idea of outcast and opportunist developed by Hannah Arendt: eitherSoit qu'il devienne un rebelle, travaillant à l'émancipation collective de son peuple, soit qu'il devienne un parvenu, collaborant avec le groupe majoritaire. work collectively for the emancipation of the people through rebellion or seek to achieve its objectives by working with the majority group.Ainsi, la troisième partie de l'essai décrit une prise de conscience chez les Canadiens français de leur statut de peuple paria dans les années qui ont mené à 1837.[35] Once the rebellions failed, the opportunists, Parent, Lafontaine and Cartier, abandoned their republican principles and collaborated with the British Reformers during the thirty years leading to Confederation. Parent, LaFontaine et Cartier, chacun à leur tour, abandonneront les principes républicains des patriotes. Kelly souligne que ce sont avant tout ces hommes politiques canadiens-français, et non pas les clercs, qui opteront pour la collaboration avec la Couronne.Kelly stresses that it is primarily French Canadian politicians, not the Church who opted for collaboration with the Crown.

Certes, les approches théoriques développées par Kelly permettent de souligner l'importance d'une pensée monarchiste au Canada anglais et d'une pensée républicaine au Canada français, ainsi que l'importance de ne pas exagérer le pouvoir de l'Église dans la société québécoise de la première moitié du XIX e siècle.The theoretical approaches developed by Kelly emphasises the significance of monarchical thinking in British Canada and republican thinking in French Canada, as well as the importance of not exaggerating the power of the Catholic Church in Lower Canadian society in the first half of the nineteenth century. However, he tends to minimise the importance of anything that does not contribute to the two political traditions he identified. Pas question de traiter du républicanisme canadien-anglais, sauf pour dire qu'il s'agit d'un courant politique minoritaire. British Canadian republicanism is relegated to a minority position. He recognises the continuance of the French Canadian republican tradition suggesting that it was not until after Confederation that it was finally extinguished. By stressing the role of Parent in the debate over assimilation, of Lafontaine in the establishment of the Union and a system of patronage and Cartier in the passage of the Confederation, Bref, Kelly nous offre une nouvelle lecture des événements politiques qui ont eu lieu entre 1837 et 1867, mais il s'agit d'une lecture assez sommaire et peu consciente de la tradition historiographique qu'elle veut supplanter.Kelly gives new reading of the political events that took place between 1837 and 1867.[36]


[1] Bernard, Jean-Paul, Rebellions de 1837-1838: Les Patriotes dans La Memoire Collective et Chez Les Historiens, (Boreal), 1991, pp. 17-90, 137-264 considers historiographical developments to 1982 and Taylor, M. Brook, Promoters, Patriots and Partisans: Historiography in Nineteenth-Century English-Canada, (Toronto University Press), 1989, pp. 84-115 includes a valuable critique of Robert Christie.

[2] Bleury, Clément Sabrevois de, Réfutation de l’ecrit de Louis Joseph Papineau, ex-orateur de la Chambre d’assemblée du Bas-Canada, intitulé Histoire de l’insurrection du Canada..., Montreal, 1839 attacked Papineau’s view of events.

[3] Lafontaine was the author of Notes sur l’inamovibilité des curés dans le Bas-Canada, Montréal, 1837; Analyse de l’ordonnance du Conseil spécial sur les bureaux d’hypothèques . . . , Montréal, 1842?; and with Jacques Viger, De l’esclavage en Canada, Montréal, 1859

[4] See, Laflamme, J.-L.-K., Le centenaire Cartier, 1814–1914; compte rendu des assemblées, manifestations, articles de journaux, conférences, etc., qui ont marqué la célébration du centenaire de la naissance de sir George-Étienne Cartier et l’érection de monuments à la mémoire de ce grand homme d’état canadien, Montreal, 1927.

[5] Brief sketch of the life and times of the late Hon. Louis-Joseph Papineau, Montreal, 1872 and 1837; my connection with it, Quebec, 1898).

[6] See, Opinions of the Canadian press of the Hon. Sir Allan Napier MacNab, bart., late speaker of the House of Commons in Canada, London, 1859.

[7] F-X Garneau’s principal work is Histoire du Canada depuis sa découverte jusqu’à nos jours, 3 Vols. Québec, 1845-1848, and supplement, 1852. Two other editions, 1852 and 1859, were published during his lifetime and from 1859 until his death in 1866, Garneau was preparing, with the help of his son Alfred, a fourth edition, published in Montreal in 1882 and 1883. Three new editions were published in Paris, each of two volumes, under the direction of Hector Garneau, the historian’s grandson between 1913-1920, 1920 and 1928. Finally, an eighth edition, in nine volumes, was prepared by Hector Garneau for the centenary of the Histoire’s first publication and was published in Montreal from 1944 to 1946. In 1860, Andrew Bell published a less than generous translation of Garneau’s work entitled History of Canada, from the time of its discovery till the union year (1840-1) that was republished in 1862, 1866 and 1876.

[8] Lanctot, Gustave, François-Xavier Garneau, (Ryerson Press), 1923, reprinted with minor changes as Garneau, historien national, Montreal, 1946. See also ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Rebellions de 1837-1838: Les Patriotes dans La Memoire Collective et Chez Les Historiens, pp. 69-71, Savard, P. and Wycsynski, P., ‘François-Xavier Garneau’, DCB, Vol. 9, 1861-1870, pp. 297-306 and Lebel, Jean-Marie ‘Francois-Xavier Garneau, Historian and ‘Publisher’’, in Fleming, Patricia, and Lamonde, Yvan, (eds.), The History of the Book in Canada, Vol. 2: 1840-1914, (Toronto University Press), 2005, pp. 171-174.

[9] David, L.O., Les Patriotes de 1837-1838, (Eusèbe Senécal & fils), 1884, republished (Beauchemin), 1936. See also, Landry, Jean, ‘Laurent-Olivier David’, DCB, Vol. 15, 1921-1930, pp. 254-256.

[10] Decelles, A.D., Papineau, 1786-1871, (Beauchemin), 1906, p. 8.

[11] Ibid, Decelles, A.D., Papineau, pp. 145-149.

[12] Ibid, Decelles, A.D., The Patriotes of ‘37, pp. 128-129.

[13] McArthur, Duncan, ‘The Canadian Rebellions of 1837’, in Shortt, Adam and Doughty, Arthur, G., (eds.), Canada and its Provinces: Volume III, British Dominions, Part I, (Brook & Company), 1914, pp. 363-364.

[14] Kelly, Stephane, La petite loterie: Comment la couronne a obtenu la collaboration du Canada français apres 1837, (Boréal), 1999.

[15] Locke, George H., The Rebellion of 1837-38. A Bibliography of the Sources of Information in the Public Reference Library of the City of Toronto, (Toronto Public Libraries), 1924, Caron, Ivanoé, ‘Inventaire des documents relatifs aux événements de 1837-1838 conservés aux archives de la province de Québec’, Rapport de l’Archiviste, Vol. 6, (1925-1926), pp. 145-329 and Lanctot, Gérard, ‘Bibliographie des matériaux déposés aux Archives Publiques du Canada concernant l`insurrection de 1837-1838’, Rapport sur les Archives publiques du Canada, 1939, pp. 63-138.

[16] Filteau, Gerard, Histoire des patriotes, 3 Vols. (Edns. de 1’Action canadienne-francaise), 1939-1941, single volume edition, (Septentrion), 2003, introduction and annotations by Gilles Laporte, pp. xix-xxvi, xxix-xxxii provides a detailed critique of the work.

[17] Rudin, Ronald, Making History in Twentieth-Century Quebec, (Toronto University Press), 1997, pp. 93-170 considers both schools.

[18] Coates, Colin, ‘The Rebellions of 1837-8, and other bourgeois revolutions in Quebec historiography’, International Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 20, (1999), pp. 19-34, reprinted in Francis. R. Douglas and Smith, Donald B., (eds.), Readings in Canadian History: Pre-Confederation, 6th ed., (Nelson Thomson), 2002, pp. 280-291.

[19] Ryerson, S.B., 1837: The Birth of Canadian Democracy, Toronto, 1937 and Le capitalisme et la Confédération, (Boréal), 1974.

[20] Bernier, Gérald, and Salée, Daniel, Entre l’ordre et la liberté: Colonialisme, pouvoir et transition vers le capitalisme dans le Quebec du XIXe siecle, (Boréal), 1995 and ‘Les Patriotes, la question nationale et les Rébellions de 1837-1838 au Bas-Canada’, in Sarra-Bournet, Michel, (ed.), Les nationalismes au Québec du XIXe au XXI siècle, (Presses de l’université Laval), 2001, pp. 25-36.

[21] Noel, Françoise, The Christie Seigneuries: Estate Management and Settlement in the Upper Richelieu Valley, 1760-1854, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1992, pp. 53-76.

[22] For his methodology see, Ouellet, Fernand, ‘La philosophie de l’histoire at la practique historienne d’hier et d’aujourd’hui’, in Carr, David, (ed.), Philosophy of History and Contemporary Historiography, (Ottawa University Press), 1982, pp. 215-234. A critique of Ouellet’s methods is contained in Gagnon, Serge, Quebec and its Historians: The Twentieth Century, (Ottawa University Press), 1985, pp. 81-163.

[23] Behiels, Michael, D., Prelude to Quebec’s Quiet Revolution: Liberalism versus Neo-nationalism 1945-1960, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1985.

[24] Ouellet, Fernand, Lower Canada, 1791-1840: social change and nationalism, (McClelland and Stewart), 1980, p. 324.

[25] Ouellet, Fernand, Histoire économique et sociale du Quebec, 1760-1850, (Presses de l’université Laval), 1966, pp. 420-447.

[26] Wallot, Jean-Pierre, Un Québec qui bougeait: trame socio-politique au tournant du XIXe siecle, (Presses de l’université Montréal), 1972.

[27] Paquet, Gilles, and Wallot, Jean-Pierre, Lower Canada at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century: Restructuring and Modernization, (The Canadian Historical Association), 1988.

[28] Greer, Allan, Habitants et Patriotes, (Boréal), 1997.

[29] See for instance, Miller, J.R., Equal Rights: the Jesuits’ Estates Act Controversy, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1979.

[30] Rudin, Ronald, Making History in Twentieth-Century Quebec, (Toronto University Press), 1997, p. 117.

[31] Harvey, Louis-Georges, Le Printemps de l’Amérique français: Américanité, anticolonialisme et républicanisme dans le discours politique québecois, 1805-1837, (Boréal), 2005.

[32] Ibid, Kelly, Stephane, La petite loterie: Comment la couronne a obtenu la collaboration du Canada français apres 1837.

[33] Ibid, Kelly, Stephane, La petite loterie, p. 23.

[34] Ibid, Kelly, Stephane, La petite loterie, p. 18.

[35] Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), 1951.

[36] This is taken further in Caccia, Fulvio, Republic Denied: The Loss of Canada, (Guernica Press), 2002, originally published as La République Metis, (Les édition Balzac), 1997.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How do I get in touch with you? I'm looking to interview an expert on the Lower Canada Rebellion as well as Papineau... kandiss2013@outlook.com