Saturday, 30 October 2010

Richelieu

The region of Richelieu is divided into two distinct parts that corresponded to their position in relation to the Richelieu River. The Bas-Richelieu is located between where the Richelieu joins the St Lawrence as far as the comté de Rouville and Beloeil and forms the comté de Richelieu. [1] It is bordered in the west by the Richelieu River, the principal communication route, to the north by the St Lawrence and to the east by the Yamaska River and the comté de Saint-Hyacinthe. In contained six parishes in 1837: Sorel, Saint-Ours, Saint-Denis, Saint-Charles, Saint-Jude and Saint-Barnabé.[2] The parishes along the Richelieu and St Lawrence were the most developed: Sorel, Saint-Ours, Saint-Denis and Saint-Charles. Saint-Jude and Saint-Barnabé were then regarded as missions. The population of the comté in 1835 was 16,149 and was overwhelmingly French Canadian.[3] The only exception was Sorel, the village of William Henry where forty% of its 1,063 habitants were anglophones.[4]

The comté was discovered by Samuel de Champlain and named after Cardinal de Richelieu who had ordered the colonisation of New France. Its temperate climate, fertile soil and access to the resources of the forests accelerated the granting of seigneuries in the seventeenth century. It was the Richelieu River that proved the major contributor to the development of the region. Its communication links placed the comté in a particularly advantageous position with other areas of Lower Canada. In 1829, the colonial government developed plans, which took twenty years to implement, to improve communication on the Richelieu by building a lock at Saint-Ours to increase regional trade upstream from the village.[5] The comté was one of the most important centres for agriculture and animal rearing in Lower Canada but there was also cultivation of flax and hemp.[6] Habitants also grew peas and beans, oats and corn for domestic use. Like other parts of Lower Canada, the Richelieu was affected by the downturn in the economy in the early 1830s and potatoes replaced wheat as the major crop.

The economy of the Richelieu diversified during the first half of the nineteenth century with the development of small-scale rural industries. This process was helped by the appearance of steamboats on the Richelieu stimulating the development of industries that now had easy and cheaper access to markets. In 1831, the pottery industry in Saint-Denis employed 31 people and there was also an important manufacturer of coaches in the same parish.[7] Saint-Charles, Saint-Denis and especially Saint-Ours became distribution centres for manufactured goods. Road and water links gave easy access to the markets of Montreal and Quebec. The area had mills for pressing linseed oil, a brewery, distillery and brickyard. [8] During the 1830s, Saint-Charles had industries that were less common: a foundry, a tannery and also, from 1833 to 1836, its own newspaper, L’Écho du pays. Although not well situated for farming, Sorel’s strategic position at the mouth of the Richelieu proved important. The development of commercial maritime trade from 1809 resulted in shipbuilding and particularly ship maintenance industries being developed and from 1837 to 1866 the village had an important military garrison.

The comté de Richelieu generally elected deputies from the Parti Patriote.[9] François-Roch de Saint-Ours[10] and Pierre-Dominique Debartzch[11], both seigneurs, were regarded as Patriotes until the mid-1830s when they found their moderate reformist position increasing sidelined by more radical Patriotes. Clément-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury broke with Papineau and was dismissed as deputy for Richelieu in 1836. [12] Because Sabrevois de Bleury was considered too moderate, the Patriotes met at Saint-Ours and demanded his resignation replacing him with Wolfred Nelson[13], a committed radical. On Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1836, Nelson had defied the instructions of Mrg Lartigue and erected a monument to the memory of Louis Marcoux, killed on 8 November in a brawl with loyalists during the 1834 elections. Deputy Jacques Dorion[14] and Simeon Marchesseau[15] joined him in inflammatory speeches on the ‘immortal Ninety-Two Resolution’.[16]

On 7 March 1837, the popular assembly at Saint-Ours, chaired by Côme-Séraphin Cherrier[17], was attended by 1,200 people and denounced Russell’s Ten Resolutions. [18] During the autumn of 1837, the Patriotes in the comté de Richelieu adopted a more aggressive approach, taking part in charivari and in September in Saint-Denis burning Lord Gosford, Sabrevois de Bleury, Debartzch and Saint-Ours in effigy.[19] On 23 and 24 October, the assembly of the Six-Comtés was held at Saint-Charles attended by between 1,000 and 4,000 people from the comtés of Saint-Hyacinthe, Rouville, Chambly, Verchères and Richelieu. It protested against political injustice but also established a regional federation ‘to celebrate the unity and determination of the people’.[20] It also marked the point when political rhetoric began to turn into military action.[21]

During November 1837, comté de Richelieu saw several bloody encounters between Patriote rebels and British forces.[22] the On 18 November, Thomas Storrow Brown[23], general of the Fils de la Liberté occupied the manor of seigneur Debartzch at Saint-Charles and established an armed Patriote camp. [24] Wolfred Nelson established a camp at Saint-Denis at the same time. [25] On 23 November, there was an unsuccessful attack by British regulars under Lieutenant-Colonel Gore on Saint-Denis that left twelve dead on both sides.[26] Two days later, troops led by Wetherall successfully attacked the Patriotes at Saint-Charles leaving three soldiers dead and between 32 and 152 Patriotes. [27] On 2 December 1837 Gore returned to Saint-Denis and burned several buildings but the following day soldiers discovered the body of Lieutenant George Weir and destroyed the distillery of Wolfred Nelson.[28]

Towards the end of 1838, Malhiot[29] took command of the Frères Chasseurs of Saint-Charles, Saint-Denis and Saint-Ours, a force of nearly 2,000 men.[30] In the grandiose plans developed by Robert Nelson for the second rebellion, Malhiot’s role was to attack the garrison at Sorel to obtain its arms and munitions. During the night of 9-10 November, Malhiot and three hundred men left Saint-Ours in the direction of Sorel but turned back when they learned of the defeat of Nelson’s troops further south at Odelltown. Calm in the region was restored when regular troops moved south of the St Lawrence.[31] The 2,000 rebels at St-Charles, St-Denis and St-Ours dispersed. A patrol sent into the hills round Boucherville found that the Patriotes under Malhiot had disbanded without a fight and the camp which, between 6 and 10 November contained 1,000 men, empty. The area, particularly Saint-Charles and Saint-Denis, was ravaged by the rebellions and its economy took a long time to recover.


[1] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, pp. 200-230

[2] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, pp. 206-230

[3] Girod, Amury, Notes sur le Bas-Canada, (Village Debartzch, imprimerie de J.P. Boucher-Belleville), 1835, p. 94

[4] Ibid, Courville, Serge, Entre ville et campagne: L’essor du village dans les seigneuries du Bas-Canada, p. 284

[5] Filion, Mario, Chambly, (Éditions passé présent), 1988, p. 32

[6] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 225

[7] Courville, Serge, Entre ville et campagne: L’essor du village dans les seigneuries du Bas-Canada, p. 154

[8] Greer, Allan, Habitants, marchands et seigneurs: La société rurale du Bas Richelieu, 1740-1840, (Septentrion), 1999, p. 259

[9] Ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 175-194.

[10] DPQ, p. 679.

[11] DPQ, pp. 207-208; ‘Pierre-Dominique Debartzch’, DCB, Vol. 7, 1836-1850, pp. 235-237.

[12] Rumilly, Robert, Papineau et son temps, 2 Vols. (Fides), 1977, Vol. I, p. 403; DPQ, pp. 673-674.

[13] DPQ, p. 554; ‘Wolfred Nelson’, DCB, Vol. 9, 1861-1870, pp. 593-597.

[14] DPQ, pp. 231-231.

[15] Messier, pp. 320-321.

[16] Ibid, Rumilly, Robert, Papineau et son temps, Vol. I, p. 408.

[17] ‘Côme-Séraphin Cherrier’, DCB, Vol. 9, pp. 187-189; Messier, pp. 109-110.

[18] Lacoursière, Jacques, (ed.), Histoire populaire du Québec 1841-1846, Vol. 3, (Septentrion), 1996, p. 314; ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 23-28.

[19] Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, (VLB), 1997, p. 51.

[20] Ibid, Greer, Allan, The patriots and the people, p. 205

[21] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 259-285.

[22] See, Fortin, Réal, La guerre des Patriotes: le long du Richelieu, (Editions Mille Roches), 1988 and Lambert, Pierre, Les Patriotes de Beloeil: le mouvement patriote, les insurrections de 1837-1838 et les paroissiens de Beloeil, (Septentrion), 1994.

[23] ‘Thomas Storrow Brown’, DCB, Vol. 11, pp. 116-117 is a convenient summary; see also, Messier, p. 86.

[24] Meunie, Pierre, L’insurrection à Saint-Charles et le Seigneur Debartzch, (Fides), 1986 is the most detailed account. Bellemare, Georges, Saint-Charles 1837 et la survie d’un peuple menacé, (Guérin), 2005, is a good account of the battle and is especially interesting on the number of Patriote dead.

[25] Séguin, Robert-Lionel, La victoire de Saint-Denis, (Parti pris), 1964, Boissonault, C.-M., ‘Les patriotes a Saint-Denis’, Revue de l’Université Laval, Vol. 5, (1951), pp. 777-790, and Richard, J. B., Les événements de 1837 à Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, (Societe d’histoire regionale de Saint-Hyacinthe), 1938, are useful, studies of the battle.

[26] Ibid, Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, p. 126.

[27] Ibid, Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, p. 141.

[28] Ibid, Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, p. 153.

[29] ‘Edouard-Elisée Malhiot’, DCB, Vol. 10, pp. 491-492.

[30] Ibid, Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, p. 266.

[31] Ibid, Senior, Elinor Kyte, Les habits rouges et les Patriotes, p. 266.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lachenaie

Originally the comté de Leinster, the comté de Lachenaie was established in the electoral reform of 1829. It was situated to the north-east of Montreal, about 35 kilometres from the town centre, at the junction of the rivière des Milles-Iles and the rivière des Prairies. The comté was partly located in the Basses-Terres of the St Lawrence, a region with very fertile soil and on the more rocky soil of the Canadian Shield. The area has good water supplies to irrigate fields. Though there were problems with navigation on the rivers because of their low flow of water, the rivers Assomption, Achigan and petite-Mascouche were used to transport timber and according to Bouchette in 1815 several flour and saw mills were located on them. The main timber produced in the area was maple, birch, beech and conifers such as pine. [1] The comté de Lachenaie was almost entirely divided into seigneuries though it contained several cantons such as Rawdon, Kilkenny and Kildare.[2] In 1815, Bouchette identified the main seigneuries as Saint-Sulpice, Lachenaie, Repentigny and Assomption.[3]

Since the first elections in 1792, the comté de Leinster had only elected one deputy with an English name: George McBeath.[4] All the others were French-speaking and belonged to the Parti Canadien. For example, Joseph and Denis-Benjamin Viger[5] were elected for the comté de Leinster and Ludger Duvernay for the comté de Lachenaie. When the comté de Lachenaie disappeared in 1841 following Union in favour of the comté de Leinster, Jacob DeWitt[6] and Louis-Michel Viger[7] were elected deputies.[8] The main concentration of Patriote activity was in the north of the seigneurie de l’Assomption, between the seigneuries de Lachenaie and Saint-Sulpice, in the village of Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan where several poorly documented assemblies took place between 1834 and 1837.[9]

Although the habitants of Lachenaie were open to the reformist ideas of the Patriotes, few seem inclined to join the armed movement. In fact, only four individuals were implicated in the rebellions of 1837-1838[10] including Charles Courteau, a deputy.[11] However, 84 individuals appear to have taken part in four Patriote activities. It appears that the intervention of the seigneur de Lachenaie, John Pangman and of the militia captain Étienne Mathieu was sufficient to prevent further problems. [12] Equally, there was no loyalist activity in the comté. After the union of the two provinces in 1841 and until Confederation in 1867, electors in the comté de Lachenaie tended to vote for reformers.


[1] Martel, Claude, Lachenaie 300 ans d’histoire à découvrir 1683-1983, (La Corporation du Tricentenaire de Lachenaie), 1983, pp. 22-24.

[2] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, pp. 244-246.

[3] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, pp. 226-231.

[4] DPQ, p. 483.

[5] DPQ, p. 770 on Joseph and pp. 768-769 on Denis-Benjamin

[6] DPQ, p. 227.

[7] DPQ, p. 770.

[8] Ibid, Martel, Claude, Lachenaie 300 ans d’histoire à découvrir 1683-1983, pp. 328-329.

[9] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 161-166 for the Patriote assembly on 29 July 1837 at l’Assomption.

[10] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Rebellions de 1837-1838: Les Patriotes dans La Memoire Collective et Chez Les Historiens, pp. 309-310.

[11] Ibid, Martel, Claude, Lachenaie 300 ans d’histoire à découvrir 1683-1983, p. 329

[12] Ibid, Martel, Claude, Lachenaie 300 ans d’histoire à découvrir 1683-1983, pp. 27-28.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Eastern Townships

The Eastern Townships covers an area of historical English settlement encompassing the old Quebec comtés of Arthabaska, Brome, Compton, Drummond, Frontenac, Mégantic, Missisquoi, Richmond, Shefford, Sherbrooke, Stanstead and Wolfe.[1] During the French regime, the Eastern Townships remained unsurveyed, as French settlers preferred to be as close to the St. Lawrence River as possible. Except for part of Missisquoi County, the area remained outside the seigneurial system. After the American Revolution, the British government preferred to maintain the region as a buffer zone between the new American Republic and Quebec. In 1792, the British decided to open the unsurveyed parts of Lower Canada to settlement. The system of freehold land tenure in Britain and the United States was employed in these areas distinguishing the Eastern Townships from the rest of Lower Canada where seigneurial tenure applied.

Instead of dividing the land into seigneuries, the British divided it into townships (10 miles by 10 miles) granted to ‘leaders’. The leader would agree to have his township surveyed into lots of 200 acres that he would then grant to settlers known as ‘associates’. The system was intended to make good land available at no cost to the government and at little cost to settlers. In theory, a leader would be granted a township only after he had demonstrated that he had enlisted a good number of associates. In practice, those in government and their friends awarded themselves many townships without having any associates to settle the land. Former Lieutenant-Governor Robert Shore Milnes was one of the largest landowners. In 1810, he was rewarded for his services with grants of 21,406 acres in Stanstead Township, 13,546 in Barnston, and 13,110 in Compton. By 1838, as few as 105 landowners held 1,500,000 acres in the Eastern Townships, only six of whom actually resided there. Corruption and speculation hindered the early development of the region and also encouraged squatting.[2]

From 1790 to 1830, the first settlers in the Eastern Townships were Americans initially British Loyalists from New England fleeing the American Revolution. American settlement was initially encouraged by the British, as it did not seem as though any other group wished to settle the region and because they desperately wanted an English presence in Lower Canada. In 1797, its population was only about 2,000 but by 1830, it had risen to approximately 20,000 people. During the period of American settlement, the Eastern Townships were closely linked to the United States and all its economic, social and religious ties were directed towards the new republic. This was evident in its transportation routes, agricultural practices and architectural styles. Settling in places that resembled the homes they fled, the Americans established farms on upland surfaces where the soil was the most fertile, light, and well drained, in areas like Stanstead, Brome, south of Shefford and along the St. Francis River Valley. Based on sheep, cattle, wheat, and potatoes, the Americans in the Eastern Townships maintained an isolated, self-sufficient group of settlers. The movement of Americans into the region started to slow down in 1825, when the Erie Canal was opened and they were able to settle in Western Canada that offered much more fertile land. Five years later, the continuous settling of Americans in the area had come to a halt.

There were three major problems with the early settlement of the Eastern Townships.[3] First, the river system of the Eastern Townships was one of the major points positively addressed in settlement literature: the implication was that they were navigable and convenient. However, the St. Francis River and its tributaries were almost impossible to travel on due to the presence of rapids, narrows, shallow areas, rocks, drops and turbulence. The complex river network of the region ensured that early populations were kept small and to the more accessible areas of the area. Secondly, the early roads in the region were so poorly built. Many early settlers sent petitions to the British Crown for financial support to construct and maintain of a decent road system, but these were ignored for the first thirty years of the nineteenth century. The colonial government believed that better roads would make the region more attractive to American settlers when it was British subjects they wanted in the area. It was not until the British population was greater than that of the Americans in the region that funding was finally granted to improve the Eastern Townships’ roads. Improved roads, funded from land taxes, removed settlers from isolation and they were able to export agricultural goods as a means of supporting themselves. This initially resulted in a rise in population in the area but the increase of taxes on land that benefited from the new roads eventually acted as a constraint on settlement. It was not until the waterways were made navigable and reliable road systems established that fuller settlement in the Eastern Townships was possible.

Finally, absentee landlords who had been granted land but had never settled it proved a major hindrance to the social and economic development of the region especially after the improvements in communications. Their significant amount of land made less of the area accessible for purchase and pushed up prices for the available land. Land sold to settlers by absentees was extremely expensive and included burdensome conditions for the purchaser. These included that the land would be taken away if the owner or his heirs no longer lived on the property or that once the new owner passed away, the land would not be passed down to his heirs. These made it very unattractive to settlers and since they owned so much of the land in the Eastern Townships prevented a growth in population.

From 1820 to 1850, British settlers came to the Eastern Townships in significant number. The British American Land Company (BALC) played a significant role in attracting British citizens to the region. In the early 1830s, the BALC purchased 250,000 acres of crown reserves from the government in the townships of Shefford, Sherbrooke and Stanstead, as well as 600,000 acres of unsurveyed St. Francis territory in order to promote British settlement in the area. They did this because they wanted to ensure that the area would be English and loyal to Britain, instead of French Canadian or American. To accomplish this, the BALC published information in 1835 that was almost entirely bogus leading potential settlers to believe that the climate of the region and the condition of the soil were favourable. It also falsely stated that the area was easily accessible from Quebec City, Trois Rivières and Montreal especially as the roads leading to these major cities from the townships were extremely difficult to travel.

One of the most significant efforts made to lure British settlers into the region was the construction of Craig Road in 1809 connecting the Eastern Townships at Richmond to Quebec City, the main port for British immigrants. The settlers chose vacant lands in Shefford, Richmond, Brome, and Stanstead that did not offer the best soil since Americans had already taken the most fertile land. Another point of attraction to the area was that many Irish and Scottish settlers received 100 acres of land as well as food implements for free during their first year in the Eastern Townships. Due to the efforts of the British Crown and BALC, the Irish were the largest group of British immigrants that came to the area during this time, beginning with a population of 3,000. They were also the first Catholic group to settle the region, but this was balanced by the settlement of the Presbyterian Scots to maintain the Protestant majority in the Eastern Townships. Towards the end of the British settlement phase, the majority of the population and those who held economic and political power was British. However, British efforts to remain the dominant power in the region eventually failed because they did not want work as unskilled labourers and the younger generations were leaving in search of better employment opportunities. The French Canadian invasion of the area beginning in the late 1840s signalled the demise of British dominance in the Eastern Townships.

Initially producing potash, potato whiskey, maple sugar, wheat, rye, barley, and various fruits and vegetables, allowed settlers were able to provide for themselves and their communities. They also were able to raise cattle, pigs and sheep while participating in bartering, hunting and trapping. Once settlers were able to make use of waterpower, the construction of grist and sawmills began. [4] The first major economic activity in the Eastern Townships was the production of potash from the ashes of cleared trees. The ashes would be leached with water in order to produce strong potassium lye, which would then be boiled down in a large cast iron pot to produce a dark residue, referred to as lye salt. The salt was then refined to burn away any organic impurities, making potash, which would be transported to Montreal for export to Britain for use in the textile, soap and glass industries. As the first main crop in the Eastern Townships, most of the potash was produced in Stanstead, where many of the first settlers were established. The difficult process involved in producing potash and selling it reflects the nature of the early economy of the Eastern Townships. The land was not as good for farming as other Quebec land, and it was only when transportation routes were significantly improved and water power harnessed that industry in the region began to take off.[5] By 1844, the typical Eastern Townships village has grist and saw mills, an iron foundry, a tannery, a potash works and a whiskey distillery, as the area became increasingly diverse with the help of the railway.

Before the 1840s, there was practically no French presence in the Eastern Townships.[6] The same obstacles to British immigration also hindered French Canadians from settling in the Townships. Yet, by then, the lands along the St Lawrence River were overpopulated and the younger generation was in need of employment. As American factories in New England offered good jobs, thousands of French Canadians emigrated to the United States.[7] In the eyes of the Roman Catholic clergy, however, this emigration was equated with losing the faith, and strong efforts were made to keep French Canadians in Canada. The open lands of the Eastern Townships became the target of much political manoeuvring. Nonetheless, more and more French Canadians settled in the area, adding more cultural diversity to the region. Due to overcrowded seigneurial lands in the rest of Quebec, many French Canadians migrated south to the northern Eastern Townships of Drummond, Arthabaska, and Mégantic first as summer farm labourers and later as colonists. The French chose these specific areas because American and British settlers had already taken most of the uplands and also because the heavy clay soils of the valleys were similar to those they were accustomed to in the St. Lawrence lowlands. Once settled in the townships, the French would colonise the land, work as labourers or purchase a farm from an British family that was moving out of the region.

The difficult economic situation in 1848 had led to large-scale emigration into the United States and both political and religious leaders were looking for solutions. The settlement of the French in the Eastern Townships was made possible by the establishment of the Association des Townships, by Father Bernard O’Reilley in 1848.[8] O’Reilly, Catholic missionary at Sherbrooke, exposed the sad condition of the Eastern Townships colonists in newspaper articles and speeches and called for some sort of association to organise the settlement of the Townships as an alternative to emigration. His plea was taken up by the Institut Canadien de Montréal, an avant-garde group of young men, and the Association des Établissements Canadiens des Townships was launched in April 1848 at a huge meeting of 8,000 sympathisers.[9] The influence of both the Catholic Church and the Association helped raise the population of French Canadians in the Eastern Townships to a majority by 1860, due to high levels of immigration as well as the high natural increase rate of the French. The arrival of the railway in 1853 also encouraged French Canadians to migrate to the Eastern Townships because the entire area became more accessible. The lure of factory work also brought many French Canadians into the area, as they were more than willing to work as unskilled labourers at low wages, which differentiated them from the British. The French Canadian outlook on life was centred around the Catholic Church, which formed their disposition, ambition, and views on education. The British saw education as a tool for economic success while French Canadians believed that hard work was just as successful. This helps explain why so many British left the area and so many French Canadians stayed, making them the cultural majority in the Eastern Townships.[10]

By 1861, more English-speaking people lived in the Eastern Townships than in any other region of Quebec including Montreal. By then, this population of 89,748 had succeeded in building a network of industries, schools, churches, hospitals, banks and a university. At 59% of the total provincial population, their numbers were sufficient to ensure that, after Confederation, federal and provincial cabinet posts and a senatorship were held by representatives from this region. But the linguistic and cultural character of the region was changing. During the 1860s, the population of English-speaking settlers dropped to 46% of the total population. For the first time the English-speaking community had become the linguistic minority.

Missisquoi

Situated to the south-east of Montreal, the comté de Missisquoi is delimited to the south by the American border, to the east by the comté de Stanstead, to the north by Shefford and to the west by the comté de Rouville; and also in the south-west by Missisquoi Bay.[11] The name of the comté is also written as Missiskoui, a word of Amerindan origins meaning ‘the place where there are water birds’.[12] The comté is made up of the seigneurie de Saint-Armand[13] and the cantons of Stanbridge, Dunham and Sutton.[14] In 1831, the population of Missisquoi was 10,736 habitants almost entirely of British origin. [15] French Canadians made up only a tenth of the population of the Cantons de l’Est in 1840. [16] The area was favourable to agriculture, in particular corn, oats, rye and buckwheat, but livestock breeding was also very widespread in the region.[17] Mills for flour, carding, sawing and fulling were numerous, 83 were listed in 1844, and the area also had various industries such as potash factories, distilleries and saw-mills. [18] In the Cantons de l’Est generally, the road network was poor and led to many petitions from habitants calling for improvements.[19] However, the comté de Missisquoi was better placed with access to roads in the Upper Richelieu, Missisquoi Bay and with Lake Champlain leading to the focus of its economic activity being more directed to the east.[20]

The settlement of the comté was relatively recent. The seigneurie de Saint-Armand had been granted to Nicolas Levasseur in 1748 but it was not until 1787 that it was opened to settlement when it was acquired by Thomas Dunn.[21] Dunham was the first canton to be established in Lower Canada in 1796 and Stanbridge and Sutton followed in 1801 and 1802 respectively. [22] Certain sites were occupied before the official granting of land and some pioneers were evicted by new owners. [23] Colonisation was initially by loyalists (1775-1815) and the British settlers (1815-1840). [24]

The comté de Missisquoi elected its first two deputies in by-elections in 1829, previously it had formed part of the comté de Bedford that only had the right to one deputy. In 1829, Richard Freligh[25] and Ralph Taylor[26], both loyalists, were elected; Freligh was replaced by Stevens Baker[27] in the elections the following year and Taylor was re-elected. Between 1834 and 1838, Missisquoi elected a reformer, Ephraïm Knight[28] and William Baker[29], a loyalist.[30] The comté saw an important mobilisation of opinion, loyalist rather than Patriote, during the 1830s. Between 1834 and 1837, 18% of loyalist assemblies and 7% of Patriote meetings held in the district of Montreal were held in Missisquoi and it was the most active loyalist comté.[31] The cantons of Dunham and Stanbridge were sympathetic to the reformers while Sutton and Saint-Armand and especially the villages of Philipsburgh and Frelighsburgh were loyalist bastions.[32] During this period, the 83 active militant Patriotes organised 26-35 events while the 192 active loyalists organised 36 events. However, there was a crumbling of support for the reform movement at the end of 1836 and beginning of 1837.[33]

The major reasons for loyalist and Patriote behaviour lay in a series of events that crystallised opinion: the Ninety-Two Resolutions of early 1834, the general elections in the autumn of the same year, the establishment of comités de correspondance and constitutional associations from the autumn of 1834 to the following spring, the Gosford Commission and Russell’s Ten Resolutions in early 1837. The rejection of the Ninety-Two Resolutions led to one of the largest gatherings of the comté. Organised on 4 July at Stanbridge, American Independence Day, it attracted many Americans. Nearly 1,000 Patriote sympathisers voted for a series of resolutions calling for closer links with the United States and for boycotting British goods.[34] Among the issues that dominated debate in Missisquoi were: Crown Lands, seigneurial tenure and immigration; the election of the Legislative Council; patronage, sinecures and the salary of agents from Lower Canada in London; and especially the question of subsidies. Most important, however, were the emotional ethnic tensions between British settlers and French Canadians that were fanned by the extremism of James Moir Ferres[35], editor of the conservative Missiskoui Standard and in his inflammatory pamphlets.[36] There were two other newspapers in Missisquoi, both reformist in outlook: the Missiskoui Post and Canada Record and the Township Reformer.[37]

The most celebrated event in the comté de Missisquoi during the rebellions was the battle of Moore’s Corner, near Saint-Armand on 6 December 1837. On the evening of 6 December, a group of around 80 rebels crossed the border from the United States and moved north into loyalist territory and at Moore’s Corner they were defeated by 300 volunteers. The skirmish lasted fifteen minutes and led to the Patriote retreat across the border leaving behind their wounded who were taken prisoner. This event showed the ability of the Missisquoi Volunteers to deal with the Patriote threat without assistance from British regulars. Calm was restored to the comté by the end of 1837. The revival of Patriote fortunes in 1838 resulted in the mobilisation of the Volunteers on several occasions especially in February 1838 and in November with the tentative rising of the Frères Chasseurs. The events in 1837 and 1838 in the comté resulted in the collapse of the Patriote cause. The political life of the comté was placed in the hands of conservative deputies favourable to Union. At the same time, a new period of colonisation opened in the Cantons de l’Est that saw the influx of French Canadians, a process helped by the arrival of the railway in the region.

Shefford

The comté de Shefford is situated to the north-east of Missisquoi and to the north-west of Stanstead.[38] Bordered in the west by the comté de Saint-Hyacinthe and comté de Rouville, it is surrounded to the north and east by the comtés de Drummond and Sherbrooke. There are eight townships in the comté: Milton, Roxton and Ely to the north, Granby, Shefford and Stukely in the centre, Farnham and Brome to the south.[39]

Loyalist and Patriote activities between 1834 and 1837 demonstrated the escalation of tension in the area. From 1834, loyalist assemblies were held in Shefford. On 3 May 1834, a loyalist assembly at Waterloo denounced the Ninety-Two Resolutions. [40] Between 3 and 14 November 1834, three Tory candidates stood for election to the Assembly during the general election: Alphonso Wells[41] and Samuel Wood[42] were elected. The choice of candidate reflected the type of people who lived in the comté where the majority were British. In March 1835, a new loyalist assembly was held that was far from successful. Delegates from the Quebec Constitutional Association visit the comté de Shefford to obtain signatures on the loyalist petition of Quebec. [43] However, tensions between reformers and loyalists led to the idea of a public assembly being abandoned. On 12 March 1836, an assembly was held at Granby and habitants from the cantons of Milton, Farnham and Granby and from the region of Abbotsford attended. The 300 people present voted to establish a branch of the Montreal Constitutional Association and elected two people from each township as members of an executive committee.[44] Other loyalist assemblies were held in Shefford. This was notably the case on 6 August 1837 when they were joined by loyalists from Yamaska.[45] A further assembly at Granby was held on 23 November 1837.[46]

During the winter of 1836-1837, the Patriotes lost ground in Shefford and they only managed to elect two deputies in the three comtés of Shefford, Missisquoi and Stanstead. It was the loyalists in Shefford who controlled the political agenda and who were better able to mobilise their forces.[47] During the rebellions, a militia was stationed in Shefford and after the Patriote defeat at Saint-Charles, loyalist militias were organised. The Shefford militia gathered at Granby, armed with weapons previously sent by Colborne to counter the Patriote threat. Loyalists organised the comté de Shefford very effectively and they were determined to obtain what they wanted: peace and the right to remain loyal to the British Crown.

Sherbrooke

The comté de Sherbrooke was established as a result of the electoral reform of 1829.[48] It is situated to the south of the comtés de Drummond and Mégantic, to the east of Shefford and north-east Stanstead. The population consisted largely of British and American immigrants. Sherbrooke contained 30 townships: Hereford, Compton, Clifton, Auckland, Emberton Croydon, Orford, Ascot, Eaton, Newport, Ditton, Chesham, Stanhope, Clinton, Brompton, Stoke, Westbury, Bury, Hampden, Marston, Melbourne, Windsor, Dudswell, Lingwick, Adstock, Whitton, Shipton, Weedon, Stratford and Garthby. The economic centre in Sherbrooke was at the confluence of the Magog et Saint-François rivers were land and settlement was developed by the British American Land Company.

The political landscape was dominated by Tories though some of those elected to the Assembly initially showed some sympathy for the Patriote position before returning to the loyalist side. The deputies from 1829 to 1838 were Samuel Brooks (1829-1831)[49], Benjamin Tremain (1829-1830)[50], Charles Frederick Goodhue (1830-1834)[51], Bartholomew Gugy (1831-1838)[52] and John Moore (1834-1838)[53]. Goodhue and Gugy voted against the Ninety-Two Resolutions in 1834. The British American Land Company profited them and their supporters. Three armed companies were organised in Sherbrooke and led by Colonel Herriot of Drummondville: Sherbrooke Dragoons, the Sherbrooke Rifles and the Queen’s Mounted Rangers.[54] They were largely financed by merchants in Sherbrooke, but had little military impact since no fighting took place in the region though their presence may have acted as a deterrent to possible rebels. There was a loyalist assembly at Sherbrooke on 20 November 1837.[55] Nineteen people were arrested and imprisoned in the prison at Sherbrooke in the autumn of 1838.

Stanstead

The comté de Stanstead, in the Cantons de l’Est (Eastern Townships) was bordered in the west by the comté de Potton, to the east by that of Barnston and to the north by the comté de Hatley.[56] South of the comté de Stanstead was the American frontier and the state of Vermont.[57] The comté was established in 1827 though the region had been colonised since 1800 when the Crown granted land to individuals such as Judge Isaac Ogden and R.S. Milnes, the governor.[58] Bouchette commented on the excellence of its lands and also the quality of its forests. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the comté produced wheat of a superior quality that was sent throughout the province. The comté is well irrigated by water: the lakes Memphrémagog and Massawippi and the Coaticook and Magog rivers. As for its roads, Bouchette stated that they formed the main connection between Quebec and the United States and that for this reason there was a continual impulse of settlers from the United States into the area. In 1831, the population of the comté was 10,306 persons: 84 in Barford, 2,221 in Barnston, 1,170 in Bolton, 1,600 in Hatley, 1,005 in Potton and 4,226 in Stanstead.[59]

The comté de Stanstead elected its first deputies in 1829: Marcus Child and Ebenezer Peck.[60] Unusually for the Cantons-de-l’Est, both were reformers favourably disposed to Papineau. It appears that the comté was a centre for American democratic traditions largely because of the predominantly American settlement of the area and this explains the different political attitudes of settlers compared to other areas in the Eastern Townships. [61] In 1834, during the intense debate over the Ninety-Two Resolutions, the reformers in Stanstead polled 449 votes compared to 166 for the Tories. Between 1834 and 1837, there were numerous Patriote and loyalist assemblies. In April 1834 the British Colonist and the Saint-Francis Gazette announced that a Patriote assembly would be held at Stanstead Plain that Tories sought, unsuccessfully, to prevent. [62] The assembly stated its loyalty to the British Crown but applauded the independent role of the Patriotes in the Legislative Assembly.[63] A month later, another assembly at Holland’s Mills reaffirmed its support for Papineau and his reformers. During the meeting, a Tory ex-deputy tried to convince the habitants that Papineau’s party sought nothing less than revolution. [64] The loyalists, for their part, established links with both the Montreal and Quebec Constitutional Associations.

As the struggle between Patriotes and loyalists entered its final stage, reformist enthusiasm declined while loyalists became more and more determined to create paramilitary groups to assist the regular army.[65] However, in 1838 when the government sent commissioners to administer an oath of allegiance to the Queen, they were surprised that several citizens in the comté de Stanstead refused even when threatened with arrest.


[1] Day, Mrs. C.M., Pioneers of the Eastern Townships, (J. Lovell), 1863 and History of the Eastern Townships, Province of Quebec, Dominion of Canada, Civil and Descriptive, (J. Lovell), 1869; Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’Est, (Les Presses de l’Université Laval), 1998. See also Little, J.I., Ethno-Cultural Transition and Regional Identity in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Ottawa 1989 and Epps, Bernard, The Eastern Townships Adventure, (Pigwidgeon Press), 1992.

[2] The most important studies on the Eastern Townships in English are by J.I. Little: Nationalism, Capitalism, and Colonization in Nineteenth-Century Quebec: the Upper St Francis District, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1989, Crofters and Habitants: Settler Society, Economy, and Culture in a Quebec Township, 1848-1881, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1991, State and Society in Transition: the Politics of Institutional Reform in the Eastern Townships, 1838-1852, (McGill-Queen’s University Press), 1997, Borderland Religion: The Emergence of an English-Canadian Identity, 1792-1852, (Toronto University Press), 2004, The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society, (Toronto University Press), 2006 and Loyalties in Conflict: A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion, 1812-1840, (Toronto University Press), 2008.

[3] See also, Premier et second rapports du comité spécial, nommé pour s’enquérir des causes qui retardent la colonisation des townships de l’Est du Bas-Canada, (Louis Perrault), 1851

[4] Booth, J. Derek,Timber Utilization on the Agricultural Frontier in Southern Quebec’, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies / Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est, n° 4, (1994), pp. 14-30.

[5] See, Manore, Jeanne L., ‘The Technology of Rivers and Community Transformation: An Alternative History of the St. Francis’, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies / Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est, n° 23, (2003), pp. 27-40.

[6] Rajotte Labrèque, Marie-Paule, ‘Les canadiens et les Cantons de l’Est, 1820-30’, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies / Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est, n° 2, (1993), pp. 3-14.

[7] The French-Canadian exodus that began in the 1840s was largely directed to the mid-West and and the rural communities of New England. Only when Irish immigration declined did the French Canadians move in large numbers to the factory towns of southern New England, but there were still only 266 French Canadians in Lowell in 1860.

[8] LaBrèque, Marie-Paule Rajotte, ‘Un 150e anniversaire; L’Association des Établissements Canadiens des Townships (1848)’, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies / Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est, n °7, (1998), pp. 75-81. See also, Little, John I., ‘The Catholic Church and the French-Canadian Colonization of the Eastern Townships, 1821-1851’, Revue de l’université d’Ottawa, Vol. 52, (1982), pp. 142-165.

[9] Bishop Bourget of Montreal and Louis-Joseph Papineau were chosen as president and vice-president, respectively. Partisan politics and public disaffection soon led to the movement’s disintegration, but Bishop Bourget had time to start a colony at Roxton Falls in Shefford County. Other similar associations undertook various projects and colonisation missionaries remained active for almost a century.

[10] Magnan, Marie-Odile, ‘Pourquoi les Anglo-Québécois quittent-ils la province? Revue des travaux’, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies / Revue d’études des Cantons de l’Est, n° 26, (2005), pp. 9-30.

[11] Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, Mémoire de M.A (histoire), Université du Québec à Montréal, 1990, pp. xi, 19.

[12] ‘L’étymologie du mot Missisquoi’, Bulletin des recherches historiques, Vol. XI, (1905), pp. 270-277; Vol. XII, (1906), pp. 33-37; Drouin, François, Alphonse Barbeau and Prémont Jacques, Rapport de la Commission permanente de la réforme des districts électoraux, (Québec, Assemblée, nationale), 1972, p. 174.

[13] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 189.

[14] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 27; ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 344-355.

[15] Belden, H., Illustrated Atlas of the Eastern Townships and South Western Quebec, (Cumming Publishers), 1972, p. 6.

[16] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, Les p. 108.

[17] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 137, 140-142.

[18] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 148-151; ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 166-167.

[19] Caron, I., La Colonisation de la Province de Québec: Les Cantons de l’Est, 1791-1815, (Q. L’Action Sociale), 1927, pp. 185, 224.

[20] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 104, 161-162.

[21] Ibid, Belden, H., Illustrated Atlas of the Eastern Townships and South Western Quebec, p. 11.

[22] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 89, 94.

[23] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 98-99.

[24] Fournier, Rodolphe, Lieux et monuments historiques des Cantons de l’Est et des Bois-Francs, (Éditions Paulines), 1978, pp. 8-9.

[25] DPQ, p. 295.

[26] DPQ, p. 727. Until 1832, Taylor generally sided with the Parti Patriote but changed his allegiance to the loyalists especially after he was briefly imprisoned for publishing a defamatory letter against Papineau in the Quebec Mercury; voted against the Ninety-Two Resolutions and defeated in the 1834 election.

[27] DPQ, p. 27. Voted for both Patriote and loyalist issues in the first two sessions of the 1830 parliament but in 1833 and 1834 supported the executive; did not stand in 1834.

[28] DPQ, p. 400; took part in the Patriote assembly at Stanbridge in July 1837; arrested in December 1837 on charge of high treason and imprisoned in Montreal until 11 January 1838.

[29] DPQ, p. 27; Steven Baker’s brother.

[30] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 52-53, 58.

[31] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 2; see also his ‘Orientations politiques des mouvements d’alliance et d’opposition aux Patriotes dans les comtés de Missisquoi et de Stanstead, 1834-1837’, Bulletin d’histoire politique, Vol. 7, (1998), pp. 12-18 

[32] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 21, 24, 41, 58, 81, 166, 190-191

[33] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, p. 213; ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 107, 176.

[34] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 100-102. Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 126-132.

[35] ‘James Moir Ferres’, DCB, Vol. 9, pp. 257-258.

[36] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 157-163. See also Millman, T.R., ‘The Missiskoui Standard: Frelighsburg’s first and only newspaper’, Missisquoi County Historical Society, no 8, (1965), pp. 17-21

[37] Ibid, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Southam, Peter and Saint-Pierre, Diane, (eds.), Histoire des Cantons de l’est, pp. 210-211.

[38] Thomas, Cyrus, The History of Shefford, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and StatisticHindenlangal, (Lovell Printing and Publishing Co), 1877 and Noyes, John P., Sketches of Some Early Shefford Pioneers, (Montreal Gazette), 1905 provide some background; see also, ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 361-363.

[39] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 26.

[40] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 48.

[41] DPQ, p. 778; DCB, Vol. 9, p. 276.

[42] DPQ, p. 780

[43] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 71.

[44] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, pp. 90-91.

[45] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, p. 174.

[46] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 299-300.

[47] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 107.

[48] See, Kesteman, Jean-Pierre, Histoire de Sherbrooke Tome I: De l’âge de l’eau à l’ère de la vapeur (1802-1866), (Productions, GGC), 2000; Demers, Louis-Philippe, Sherbrooke Découvertes, Légendes, Documents, (Gauvin et Frères), 1969; ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 363-370.

[49] DPQ, p. 111.

[50] DPQ, p. 744.

[51] DPQ, p. 333; initially supported the Parti Patriote but by 1832 was voting for the executive; voted against Ninety-Two Resolutions.

[52] DPQ, p. 347; voted against the Ninety-Two Resolutions and supported the executive after 1834.

[53] DPQ, p. 539.

[54] Montreal Gazette, 15 February 1838, 15-17 November 1838.

[55] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 294-298.

[56] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 263

[57] Hubbard, Benjamin F., Forests and Clearings: The History of Stanstead County, Province of Quebec, with Sketches of More Than Five Hundred Families, (John Lawrence), 1874, republished, (Heritage Books), 1988, especially pp. 1-40, 62-103. See also, ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 355-361.

[58] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 25.

[59] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 28.

[60] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 52; see also DPQ, pp. 163-164 on Child and pp. 586-587 on Peck

[61] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 57.

[62] Stanstead Plain was founded in 1796 by Johnson Taplin, who came from New England in search of good farming land. The town blossomed in the nineteenth century, due to the influx of United Empire Loyalists and the development of the granite industry. In 1855, the village was incorporated by the Quebec legislature. The town was the main centre of commerce in the region until losing pre-eminence to Sherbrooke.

[63] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 46.

[64] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 49.

[65] Ibid, Beaugrand-Champagne, Denyse, Les mouvements patriote et loyal dans les comtés de Missisquoi, Shefford et Stanstead, 1834-1837, p. 107.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Publications

Those   publications   with   an   asterisk (*) were   co-written  with C.W. Daniels. This   list   does   not include editorials for Teaching History, book reviews or unpublished papers. Neither does it include the two series of books for which I have been joint-editor: Cambridge Topics in History and Cambridge Perspectives in History. Including these books would increase the length of this appendix by 52 books.

Computer-based data and social and economic history (for the Local History Classroom Project), (1974)

Social and Economic History and the Computer (for LHCP), (1975)

‘Local and National History -- an interrelated response’, in Suffolk History Forum, 1977

‘Our Future Local Historians’, in The Local Historian, volume xiii, 1978 *

‘Sixth Form History’, in Teaching History, May 1976 *

‘Sixth Form History’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 3rd June 1977 *

‘The new history -- an essential reappraisal’, in ibid, 2nd December 1977 *

‘Interrelated Issues’, in ibid, 1st December 1978 *

‘The Myth Exposed’, in ibid, 30th November 1979 * also reprinted in John Fines (ed.) see below

Nineteenth Century Britain, (Macmillan, 1980) *

‘The Local History Classroom Project’, in Developments in History Teaching, (University of Exeter, 1980) *

‘A Chronic Hysteresis’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 5th December 1980 *

Twentieth Century Europe, (Macmillan, 1981) *

‘Is there still room for History in the secondary curriculum?’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 5th December 1981 *

‘Content considered’, in ibid, 9th April 1982 *

Twentieth Century Britain, (Macmillan, 1982) *

‘A Level History’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 8th April 1983 *

‘History in danger revisited’, in ibid, 9th December 1983 *

‘History and study skills’, in John Fines (ed.), Teaching History, (Holmes McDougall, 1983)

‘History and study skills’, reprinted in School and College, iv (4), 1983

Four scripts for Sussex Tapes, 1983

People, Land and Trade 1830-1914

Pre-eminence and Competition 1830-1914

The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution

Lloyd George to Beveridge 1906-1950

Four computer programs for Sussex Tapes, 1984

The Industrial Revolution

Population, Medicine and Agriculture

Transport: road, canal and railway

Social Impact of Change

‘It’s time History Teachers were offensive’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 28th November 1984 *

The Chartists, (Macmillan, 1984) *

‘Using documents with sixth formers’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 29th November 1985 *

Learning History: A Guide to Advanced Study, (Macmillan, 1986) *

GCSE History, (The Historical Association, 1986, revised edition, 1987) as editor and contributor

‘Training or Survival?’ with M. Booth and G. Shawyer in The Times Educational Supplement, 10th April 1987

Change and Continuity in British Society 1800-1850, (Cambridge Topics in History, Cambridge University Press, 1987)

‘There are always alternatives: Britain during the Depression’ for BBC Radio, 14th September 1987

‘Cultural imperialism’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 4th December, 1987

‘The Training of History Teachers Project’, in Teaching History, 50, January 1988

‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC, 1988)

‘The Development of Children’s Historical Thinking’ with G. Shawyer and M. Booth, Cambridge Journal of Education, volume 18(2), 1988.

‘The New Demonology’, Teaching History, 53, October 1988

The Future of the Past: History in the Curriculum   5-16: A Personal Overview, (The Historical Association, 1988)

‘History Study Skills: Working with Sources’, History Sixth, 3, October 1988 *

‘A Critique of GCSE History: the results of The Historical Association Survey’, Teaching History, March 1989.

‘History Textbook Round-up’, Teachers’ Weekly, September 1990.

‘Partnership and the Training of Student History Teachers’, with M. Booth and G. Shawyer, in M. Booth, J. Furlong and M. Wilkin (eds.), Partnership in Initial Teacher Training, Cassell, 1990

Economy and Society in Modern Britain 1700-1850 (Routledge, 1991)

Church and State in Modern Britain 1700-1850 (Routledge, 1991)

‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC, 1991)

‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’, Teaching History, 63, April 1991

‘BTEC and History’, in John Fines (ed.), History 16-19, (The Historical Association, 1991)

‘What about the author?’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 2(1), September 1991

‘Appeasement: A matter of opinion?’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 2(2), January 1992

Economic Revolutions 1750-1850 (Cambridge Topics in History, CUP, 1992)

‘Suez: a question of causation’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 4(1), September 1993

‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC, 1993)

History and post-16 vocational courses’, in H. Bourdillon (ed.), Teaching History, Routledge, 1993

‘Learning effectively at Advanced Level’, pamphlet for PGCE ITT course, Open University, 1994

Preparing for Inspection, The Historical Association, 1994

Managing the Learning of History, (David Fulton, 1995)

Chartism: People, Events and Ideas (Perspectives in History, Cambridge University Press, 1998)

BBC History File: consultant on five Key Stage 3 programmes on Britain 1750-1900

Revolution, Radicalism and Reform: England 1780-1846, (Perspectives in History, Cambridge University Press, 2001)

‘The state in the 1840s’, Modern History Review, September 2003

‘Chartism and the state’, Modern History Review, November 2003

‘Chadwick and Simon: the problem of public health reform’, Modern History Review, April 2005

Three Rebellions: Canada 1837-1838, South Wales 1839, Eureka 1854, Clio Publishing, 2010

Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1840-1882, Clio Publishing, 2011 (forthcoming)

Rebellion in the British Empire: Slaves, convicts, native peoples and settlers and liberty, Clio Publishing, 2012 (forthcoming)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Deux-Montagnes

The comté of Deux-Montagnes was created in 1830 with the division of the comté d’York into three parts: Ottawa, Vaudreuil and Deux-Montagnes. Deux-Montagnes is bordered in the east by the comté de Terrebonne, to the south by the Rivière des Outaouais and the Lac des Deux-Montagnes, to the west by the parishes of Saint-Benoît, Sainte-Scholastique and Saint-Colomban and finally to the north by the boundaries of the township of Gore. It included the parishes of Saint-Benoît, Sainte-Scholastique, Saint-Colomban, Saint-Augustin, Saint-Eustache, the mission of the Lac des Deux-Montagnes, part of the parish of Saint-Jérôme and also part of the Township de Morin.[1] The comté was made up of three main seigneuries: seigneurie du Lac des Deux-Montagnes[2], seigneurie de la Rivière-du-Chêne[3], seigneurie de Blainville et d’Argenteuil[4] and also the cantons de Gore, Chatham and Glengarry.[5]

In the seigneuries, settlement initially took place slowly. After 1755, settlement accelerated and was concentrated especially on the mouths of the various rivers. By 1830, the seigneuries of Blainville and Rivière-du-Chêne had reached their full capacity. New arrivals were therefore directed towards the seigneurie of the Lac des Deux-Montagnes. The Sulpiciens, who had begun the process of colonisation in the Deux-Montagnes, had land at Oka for an Amerindian mission. [6] Between 1779 and 1790, population began to settle on both side of the rivière au Prince and the rivière du Chêne and from Saint-Jean to Saint-Benoît because of the fertility of the soil. There was also a concentration of population from Saint-Étienne and Saint-Vincent to Saint-Placide and Saint-Joseph to Saint-Joseph-du-Lac.

The Lac des Deux-Montagnes, the Grande and petite rivière-du-Chêne, the rivière du Nord, the rivière au Prince, the Belle rivière and the rivière Saint-Jean provided water for irrigation and flooding replenished the fertile soil that allowed the cultivation of different kinds of grain and other agricultural products. [7] The most important economic activity was the growing of wheat that made up about eighty% of all production. The comté was particularly affected by the agricultural crisis of 1830. Obsolete farming techniques, scarcity of land and the rapid increase in population all helped increase the difficulties of the farmers. [8] Gradually, wheat production was replaced by oats and potatoes. Exploiting the resources in the forests was second in importance in the comté. According the Bouchette, the main trees present in the comté were ash, maple, beech, oak and birch. Logging sites were found on the edges of the rivière du Nord providing work in the winter months. This explains the presence of five saw-mills in the seigneurie de la rivière-du-Chêne and six in Blainville that served regional demand. [9]

The comté de Deux-Montagnes was the most effected area on the north bank of the St Lawrence in 1837. The comté contained anglophobes and francophobes in more equal numbers than in Acadie and there were 435 loyalists who were active in combating 213 Patriotes. In Saint-Eustache and Saint-Scholastique, there were families who had contempt for those of French origin and members of the Protestant Orange Order lived in Saint-Hermas and Saint-Scholastique. There were also American loyalists in Saint-André, Carillon and in the cantons of Gore, Chatham and Glengarry.[10] This distribution of loyalists was the result of the division of comtés carried out by the colonial government in the late 1820s and early 1830s to strengthen the anglophone position. The seigneurie du Lac des Deux-Montagnes, seigneurie de la Rivière-du-Chêne and the seigneurie d’Argenteuil as well as the cantons of Gore and Chatham were settled by immigrants of British origin. It is not surprising political tensions emerged between loyalists and Patriotes in the Deux-Montagnes in the late 1820s.

The division of British and French Canadians in the Deux-Montagnes was slow to develop and, as in the Richelieu was never complete. In June 1827, the residents of the comté de Deux-Montagnes held an assembly at Saint-Eustache. The purpose of this assembly was to express their attachment to the British Crown but in a text of seventeen resolutions, the residents including William H. Scott[11], Jacques Labrie[12] who, until his death in 1831 was the leading French Canadian reformer in the region, Jean-Joseph Girouard [13] and Jean-Baptiste Dumouchel[14] denounced the attacks on the French Canadian deputies. It was this assembly that established the first comité de correspondance. The committee was not radical in its attitudes but Nicolas-Eustache Dumont, a co-seigneur of Mille-Îles denounced its members to Lord Dalhousie. In July, several militia officers including Scott and Dumouchel were dismissed for having taken part in Parti Patriote meetings during the election campaign that year and as a protest Girouard resigned his commission as a militia captain in January 1828. On 10 July, the loyalists (Globensky, Dumont, de Bellefeuille and Dorion) held an assembly to protest about the Patriote assembly and respond to its resolutions. This marked the creation of two groups who confronted each other in the Deux-Montagnes in the succeeding decade.

In 1832, an assembly was held to protest against the abuse and favouritism in the granting of land establishing a committee of 34 members to protect French Canadian interests. In the 1834 general election, Girouard and Scott stood as candidates for the Parti Patriote against Brown and Globensky. The main areas of debate in the election were the question of subsidies and custom duties. The election was fought with some violence but despite attempts to intimidate French Canadian voters by Scots and Irish Orangemen from the neighbouring townships,[15] Scott and Girouard held the Deux-Montagnes for the Patriotes. [16] However, the election reinforced the ‘hatred that had already developed in the comté against the British officials.’[17] In the aftermath of Gosford’s proclamation banning assemblies in 1837, the Patriotes in the Deux-Montagnes decided to attack the properties of officials and the British loyalists in the area: ‘À bas les résolutions Russell, à bas la proclamation!’ [18]

Opposition to colonial government grew especially over favouritism in granting administrative posts and land and the arbitrary decisions of the Executive Council. The Patriote assembly at Saint-Benoît in 1836 decided to boycott the purchase of British manufactures as a way of putting economic and financial pressure on the government. Reaction to Russell’s Ten Resolution was especially strong in the Deux-Montagnes strengthening support for the Patriote movement. Saint-Eustache (Jean-Olivier Chénier and William Henry Scott) and Saint-Benoît (Jean-Joseph Girouard) were now the major centres of Patriote resistance. Papineau visited Saint-Eustache and Saint-Benôit before moving on to the meeting at Saint-Scholastique on 1 June[19] arranged by Scott and Girouard. Girouard was a thinker rather than a man of action and although Scott had used violent rhetoric against the authorities, he was also firmly against the use of force. There were growing political divisions between inhabitants punctuated by charivaris against loyal French Canadians and British settlers. The Comité permanent des Deux-Montagnes, which had become particularly effective after the meetings in June, began organising volunteer companies of militia under the command of elected officers. In early October, Patriotes in the Deux-Montagnes began to elect magistrates [20] to replace those appointed by the government, an initiative praised at the St-Charles meeting. [21] Yet, their major weakness was the proximity of troops stationed at Carillon and St Andrews and the Highland Scot settlements in Glengarry, very different to the Richelieu valley where Patriotes were stronger and less threatened by Loyalist volunteers or regular troops.

Patriote military mobilisation began in early October 1837 but made little progress largely because Scott and Girouard were hesitant to take command. Both men now found themselves caught up in the growing militancy of Patriote leaders, Jean-Olivier Chénier [22] and Luc-Hyacinthe Masson.[23] Scott attempted, with the support of Jacques Paquin, Saint-Eustache’s parish priest, to moderate the actions of the more militant and on 12 November hurried to Montreal to urge Papineau to restrain the protest but without success. Perhaps it was a justifiable fear that Scott and Girouard might waver that led Montreal Patriote leaders to go to help with military preparations in the Deux-Montagnes. Francois-Marie-Thomas, Chevalier De Lorimier, [24] joint corresponding secretary of the Comité central et permanent de Montréal arrived at Saint-Eustache on 15 November and Amury Girod, who said he had fought in South America the following day and immediately took the lead in military preparation. Girod had been at the assembly at Saint-Charles and following a meeting with Papineau, O’Callaghan and Nelson offered to go to the north to help organise armed resistance. [25] Chénier called a meeting on 18 November to decide what to do if warrants were brought to Saint-Eustache for the arrest of the Patriote leaders. Scott believed that they should protect themselves and was immediately elected lieutenant-colonel of the Patriote forces; Chénier was named a major with seven captains including De Lorimier. This was followed by a council of war that decided, after lengthy debate, not to destroy the bridge at Saint-Rose to delay the approach of regular troops as Girod argued. Girod was further angered by Scott’s ambivalence to armed action: the Patriotes did not have the arms or ammunition and delaying tactics should be used. Girod failed to persuade Scott of the need for immediate action and Scott persuaded Chénier to support him. The result, Girod wrote, was ‘deadly inactivity’. [26]

By late November, Girod had moved his headquarters from Saint-Eustache, which he saw a largely loyalist community, to the more conducive Saint-Benôit. Here he not only found Girouard but Etienne Chartier, [27] the local priest and a militant Patriote who was ready to gird his sword and preach direct action if not take part in it. Chartier raged against the colonial regime in his sermons unlike other priests in the Deux-Montagnes who condemned the rebellion and eagerly defended obedience to the civil authority. [28] At meeting at Saint-Benôit on 23 November, Girod was elected as General of the Army of the North and Chénier lieutenant-colonel to replace Scott who had temporarily left Saint-Eustache for Saint-Thérèse. Girouard remained in Saint-Benôit with a reward of £500 on his head and was regarded by the authorities as the Patriote leader in the Deux-Montagnes. The attack against Saint-Benôit was expected to come from the loyalist Carillon-St Andrews area and Patriotes barricaded the roads leading to the north-west of the village.

News of the Patriote victory at Saint-Denis arrived on Friday 24 November with an urgent message from Robert Nelson for the Army of the North to attack Montreal while its garrison was occupied in the Richelieu. Girod urged the local chiefs to storm the city the next day but was rebuffed by Girouard, Chénier and Chartier who decided to remain on the defensive. Instead of storming Montreal, the Army of the North moved from Saint-Benôit on 29 November and established its main armed camp at Saint-Eustache hoping to anticipate Colborne’s next move. Just how important this decision was to the eventual outcome of the rebellion is difficult to estimate. Girod was right that the opportunity of attacking Montreal while its garrison was absent was lost. Had Montreal fallen, it would have brought the Patriotes further support and given Papineau leverage in any future negotiations with Gosford and Colborne. However, movement of Patriotes south towards Montreal would have left the Deux-Montagnes exposed to attacks by loyalists, and in that context, the decision was understandable.

The major problem facing Girod was the lack of arms, ammunition and ordnance. Some was obtained from Scott and commandeered from loyalist stores. Girod had been told by Scott that there were four cannons, 150 stands of arms and 60 barrels of powder in the Iroquois village of Kanesatake (Oka). [29] He left Saint-Benôit with 240 men at night on 30 November, arrived at the village the following day and was joined by Chénier with 100 men from Saint-Eustache. On their arrival, they pillaged a Hudson’s Bay Company storehouse and took eight muskets, three barrels of musket balls and one cannon and also plundered stores belonging to the priest securing a barrel of pork and ammunition. In Kanesatake, Girod obtained permission to speak with an Iroquois chief. The unnamed chief expressed his wish to remain neutral and refused to lend or sell his guns and cannons to the Patriotes concluding by stating:

Brother, I will not interfere in this dispute between you and Your Father, defend your rights, and when I hear the thunder of your arms, I will consider in my breast whether I am not obliged to assist you.[30]

François Bertrand, a habitant from Côte Saint-Joseph who acted as Girod’s interpreter provided a different version of events. [31] According to Bertrand, the chief reminded Girod that he was satisfied with his British father although the recent quantity of presents had been disappointing. In addition, Girod made a relatively empty promise that he would give more territory to the Indians if they actively joined the rebels. The Kanesateke chiefs may have rebuffed Girod but the following day gave their cannon to the St. Andrew’s Loyalist Volunteers.

The raid on Oka and the armed camp at Saint-Eustache, especially the military use made of the convent confirmed Scott’s opposition to the rebellion. Scott was caught between the actions of militant Patriotes that he found increasingly unacceptable and the government. Gosford put a price on his head on 1 December but the Patriotes also threatened him with proceedings for treason. [32] Despite this, Scott refused to assume the military leadership of the village. On 3 December, he sought to disperse the armed men in Saint-Eustache and spoke with such authority that by the evening the camp was deserted. Yet, this was a short-lived victory and Chénier soon regained the initiative sending messengers to neighbouring Patriote centres urging them to reinforce Saint-Eustache although when Girod reached the village from Saint-Benôit on the evening of 5 December there were only 28 men in the camp. The following day, Patriote volunteers arrived from the north: 114 from Saint-Joachim soon followed by 150-200 from neighbouring villages. However, in early December, the number in the camp fluctuated between 700 and 1,500 men.

The problems at Saint-Eustache were only part of the difficulties facing Girod. There were growing tensions at St-Benôit between Girouard and Chartier. Girouard was having reservations about armed resistance and Chartier accused him of cowardice, and there were also rumours that other leaders were prepared to negotiate with the government to secure their property and lives. The Patriote leaders at Saint-Anne-des-Plaines admitted that proclamations of Montreal magistrates and an increase in troops in Saint-Martin saw support for rebellion dwindle. Three days earlier, they had offered Girod a thousand men, now they said their men could not be relied on. Girod also faced a problem of disorder within Patriote ranks that he could not control. There had been problems at Oka and in Saint-Eustache loyalist homes were now looted. He did finally succeed in having the Porteous Bridge near Saint-Rose demolished to stop the approach of regular troops but at a price. It led to confrontation between forty armed men from Saint-Rose and a small force Girod had sent to the village to recruit for the camp and Girod’s men had little choice but to retire. Girod was planning to attack the regular troops at Saint-Martin completely unaware of Colborne’s preparations in Montreal suggesting a major gap in the Patriote intelligence system.

In early December, Colborne had been concerned by Patriote activities on the United States border and had these raids continued his attack on the north might have been delayed. Notwithstanding, the actions of the Missisquoi Volunteers at Moore’s Corner ended any immediate prospect of further raids. By 7 December, the Richelieu valley had subdued and partially disarmed and had been reinforced with troops from Quebec. Colborne had already garrisoned Saint-Martin on 4 December to prevent rebels destroying the Lachapelle Bridge over the Rivière des Prairies and four days later a detachment of the Royal Montreal Cavalry was also sent to reconnoitre the Deux-Montagnes to ascertain Patriote and Loyalist strength and disposition before advancing with his main force. Colborne was also concerned that bad weather would delay troops in the south and that this would prevent them joining the expedition to the north but the weather was unusually mild until mid-December.

On 13 December, Colborne left Montreal with his main army of 1,280 regulars and 220 volunteers for Saint-Eustache and Saint-Benôit leaving four companies of the 24th Regiment and large numbers of Montreal Volunteers to protect the city. Unlike in the Richelieu, there were important centres of loyalist support close to the Deux-Montagnes and north of Lacute Orangemen and to the south the Highland Scots of Glengarry were keen to march. Moreover, at Carillon, the meeting place of the Ottawa and the Lac des Deux-Montagnes, there was a detachment of regular troops under Major Townshend originally part of the force brought down from Upper Canada. The operations against Saint-Eustache were to be undertaken by two brigades commanded by Colonel John Maitland and George Wetherall, supported by the Royal Montreal Cavalry, the Montreal Rifles and the largely French Canadian Saint-Eustache Loyal Volunteers commanded by Captain Maximilien Globensky. His brigades followed separate routes for the twelve miles to Saint-Martin avoiding the direct road to Saint-Eustache that the rebels expected them to take. On 14 December, the army crossed the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles about six miles east of the village while Globensky took a more direct route arriving opposite Saint-Eustache at 11.15 am. [33]

Girod concluded that Globensky was leading a small advance force and sent Chénier with 300 men across the ice to intercept them. While they were crossing the ice, Colborne arrived on the north bank of the river to within a mile of the village and immediately ordered his artillery to sweep the Patriotes with grapeshot. This threw Chénier’s detachment into confusion and they quickly retreated towards the church. There were around 900 men in the village that morning, around half with muskets but as Colborne’s force came closer, Chénier and Girod were dismayed to see 500 of their force withdraw, many of them carrying arms. The two leaders tried to restore order but only persuaded 200 to 250 men to take up defensive positions in the convent, church, manor house as well as positioning small squads in Scott’s house on the main street near the church and in other nearby houses. It was soon clear to that Colborne intended to encircle the village: Maitland’s brigade was already marching to the rear of the village while Wetherall’s troops were beginning to cover the north-eastern area. The Patriote leaders concluded that resistance was futile and one by one galloped away to Saint-Benôit. Girod tried to halt the rout at the rear of the village but then decided to ride to Saint-Benôit for reinforcements. His reception from Girouard and the other leaders in Saint-Benôit was not surprising; they accused him of deserting his men and of being a coward. It was too much for Girod who grabbed a carriage and made off on the northern road towards Saint-Thérèse, something he could have done earlier had his intention been simply to flee. The end came on 17 December when, under imminent threat of arrest, Girod blew his brains out at Rivière des Prairies.

By noon, troop manoeuvres had been completed and the rebels were surrounded. Only Chénier and a hard core of determined fighters remained; their position desperate but they refused to parley. Colborne ordered his artillery to fire on the Patriote stronghold but with little effect. He then moved infantry forward to clear Scott’s house and the other fortified houses on the main street. This allowed the Royal Artillery to move one of its howitzers into the main street to face the church in an attempt to batter down its doors. At the same time, a second battery opened up from the fields about three hundred yards north-east of the church but after an hour of little had been achieved. Yet, a small detachment of the Royals sent to reconnoitre the church managed to set fire to the presbytery and the ensuing smokescreen gave the opportunity for frontal attack. Chénier and his men were stationed in the gallery of the church and tried to get clear of the burning church through the windows. There was little sympathy for the Patriotes: it was only six days since many of the troops had attended Lieutenant George Weir’s military funeral in Montreal. The fifty-eight who had followed Chénier were killed almost to a man. Father Paquin witnessed the last moments of the battle

Realising that all hope was lost, Dr. Chénier saw that he could no longer defend himself from inside the church, for it had completely succumbed to the flames. He gathered up several of his men and jumped out of the windows with them, on the convent side. He was trying to escape, but he could not get out of the cemetery, and was soon struck by a bullet and collapsed. He died almost immediately.[34]

He stated that:

Dr Chénier’s body was found around 6 o’clock...the doctors opened it up to determine the cause of death, but it is untrue that his heart was torn out and made an object of curiosity. [35]

Many of the rebels in the presbytery, convent and manor house had escaped before they were surrounded and the buildings fired but they fled across the ice straight into the muskets of Globensky’s Volunteers and the Royal Montreal Rifles. The assault on the church ended the four-hour battle.

By 4.30 pm, the armed camp at Saint-Eustache was in flames, 70 Patriotes lay dead, 15 wounded and 118 captured. The British and volunteer losses were negligible: one killed and eight wounded, of whom two later died. The wounded, both regulars and Patriotes, were taken to the Black Bull Tavern that had been converted into a temporary hospital. Army surgeons cared for all the wounded with equal care, reciprocating the treatment given by Patriote doctors at Saint-Denis. That night the lootings and burnings of Saint-Denis and Saint-Charles were repeated, but on a larger scale. The troops, especially from the 32nd were bent on avenging the death of Weir, and the volunteers had scores to settle with the Patriotes. Chénier’s and Scott’s homes were burnt by command but later that night some 60 other houses and barns were destroyed. Although later accounts of the battle attribute the burning and looting to volunteers, whose own houses had been looted in previous weeks, the military authorities were not averse to an exemplary display of severity to warn other Patriotes in the area that rebellion came at a price.

In the days that followed, soldiers and volunteers terrorised the area. Colborne did not know how many rebels were in the Deux-Montagnes or how well they were prepared for resistance. Loyalists in Saint-Eustache were convinced that Saint-Benôit was well fortified and that the camp contained several thousand men. That was not the case. Girouard and Girod had made no effort to establish a fortified armed camp other than some barricades on the roads leading out of the village. Girouard’s main concern was not an attack from Saint-Martin but from the loyalist communities at Carillon and St-Andrews and when he heard of the debacle at Saint-Eustache he advised habitants to hide their arms and stay quietly at home. He then escaped to Coteau-du-Lac where he surrendered to his friend Lieutenant-Colonel John Simpson a few days later. The other Patriotes leaders in Saint- Benôit also fled but they too were soon apprehended. The Montreal leaders who had fled to Saint-Benôit, including De Lorimier and curé Etienne Chartier successfully made their way to the United States.

Colborne did not know this when he left at the head of his two brigades on the morning of 15 December. He had not gone very far when he was met by fourteen men carrying a white flag who offered to surrender to him on behalf of the habitants of Saint-Benôit, Saint-Hermas and Saint-Scholastique. Colborne agreed on condition that the habitants should give up their arms. Colborne’s troops advanced on the village arriving at roughly the same time as Major Townshend with his troops and volunteers from the Carillon-St Andrews area. The following day, Colborne ordered that the houses of the three main leaders in the village should be burned but 89 other building including the church were torched largely by volunteers. Colborne’s use of volunteer troops was a deliberate calculation since they struck fear into the rebels and being local remained in the area after the regular troops had gone.

Colborne left Saint-Benôit to return to Montreal in the morning of 16 December arriving later that afternoon. Before he left, he ordered Colonel Maitland and his troops to tour the neighbouring villages to disarm habitants. Maitland arrived in Saint-Scholastique around one o’clock having burned two leaders’ houses in Saint-Joachim. Some 300 inhabitants surrendered 50 stands of arms and Maitland left the village around eight o’clock on 17 December after burning three or four houses belonging to Patriote leaders reaching Saint-Thérèse early in the afternoon. The troops remained in the north until 19 December disarming habitants and assisting the Montreal magistrates who had been sent to receive the oath of allegiance from the inhabitants of the district. The Deux-Montagnes was severely punished during the Rebellion. During the battle of Saint-Eustache on 14 December 1837, the church was burned and the following day Saint-Benoît was ransacked and many houses destroyed despite having surrendered. After the Rebellion, the comté saw a decline in its population as many young settlers moved to the United States or Montreal while those who remained practised subsistence farming. [36]


[1] Ibid, Courville, Serge, dir., Paroisse et municipalité de la région de Montréal au XIXe siècle (1825-1861), Répertoire documentaire et cartographique, p. 55. See also, ibid, Laporte, Gilles, Patriotes et Loyaux, pp. 257-290.

[2] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, pp. 102-104.

[3] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 487.

[4] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 107.

[5] The use of the term ‘canton’ in Canada is the French Canadian equivalent of the English word ‘township’.

[6] Ibid, Laurin, Serge, Les régions du Québec: Les Laurentides, p. 31.

[7] Ibid, Bouchette, Joseph, Description topographique du Canada 1815, p. 108.

[8] Ibid, Giroux, André and Chapdelaine, Claude, Histoire du territoire de la municipalité régionale de comté de Deux-Montagnes, p. 19.

[9] Ibid, Laurin, Serge, Les régions du Québec: Les Laurentides, p. 34.

[10] Ibid, Dubois, Abbé Émile, Le feu de la Rivière-du-Chêne, Étude historique sur le mouvement insurrectionnel de 1837 au nord de Montréal, p. 50

[11] Ibid, Globensky, Maximilien, La Rébellion de 1837 à Saint-Eustache, 1883, pp. 224-225, provided a brief, slanted biography. ‘William Henry Scott’, DCB, Vol. 8, 1851-1860, pp. 791-792, is more balanced.

[12] ‘Jacques Labrie’, DCB, Vol. 6, pp. 381-382. See, Lemire, Jonathan, (ed.), Jacques Labrie: Écrits et correspondances, (Septentrion), 2009.

[13] ‘Jean-Joseph Girouard’, DCB, Vol. 8, 1851-1860, 1985, pp. 330-334, provides a good biographical study; see also, Messier, pp. 213-214.

[14] ‘Jean-Baptiste Dumouchel’, DCB, Vol. 7, pp. 258-259.

[15] Lemire, Maurice, ‘Les Irlandais et la rébellion de 1837-1838’, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 10, (1995), pp. 1-9.

[16] [J.-J. Girouard] Relation historique des événements de l’élection du comté du lac des Deux Montagnes en 1834; épisode propre à faire connaître l’esprit public dans le Bas-Canada, Montreal, 1835; reprinted, Quebec, 1968, give a decidedly Patriote view of this event.

[17] Ibid, Dubois, Abbé Émile, Le feu de la Rivière-du-Chêne, Étude historique sur le mouvement insurrectionnel de 1837 au nord de Montréal, p. 66.

[18] Ibid, Dubois, Abbé Émile, Le feu de la Rivière-du-Chêne, Étude historique sur le mouvement insurrectionnel de 1837 au nord de Montréal, p. 79.

[19] Ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 47-56.

[20] Ibid, Dubois, Émile, Le feu de la Rivière-du-Chêne, pp. 101-106, considers the issue. La Minerve, 20 October 1837, lists a total of 22 magistrates elected for St-Eustache, St-Herman, St-Benôit and Ste-Scholastique. See also Boileau, Gilles, (ed.), 1837 et les patriotes de Deux-Montagnes: les voix de la mémoire, (Éditions du Méridien), 1999. See also, ibid, Bernard, Jean-Paul, Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, pp. 207-213.

[21] Laurin, Clément, ‘Administration parallèle du comté de Deux-Montagnes par les Patriotes, en 1837’, Cahiers d’histoire de Deux-Montagnes, Vol. 5, (2), (1982), pp. 25-28.

[22] Prévost, Robert, Chénier, l’opiniâtre, Montreal, 1940 is a short biography but see also Globensky, Maximilien, La Rébellion de 1837 à Saint-Eustache, pp. 220-224, passim. ‘Jean-Olivier Chénier’, DCB, Vol. 7, 1836-1850, pp. 171-174, is more recent. See also Laurin, Clément, ‘Bibliographie de Jean-Olivier Chénier’, Cahiers d’histoire de Deux-Montagnes, Vol. 5, (2), (1982), pp. 58-66.

[23] Séguin, R. L., ‘Biographie d`un patriote de 1837: Dr. Luc Hyacinthe Masson (1811-1880)’, Revue d`histoire de l`Amérique française, Vol. 3, (1949), pp. 349-366, Désilets, Andreé, ‘Luc Hyacinthe Masson’, DCB, Vol. 10, 1871-1880, pp. 499-500 and Messier, p. 328.

[24] ‘Francois-Marie-Thomas, Chevalier de Lorimier’, DCB, Vol. 7, 1836-1850, pp. 512-516; Messier, pp. 308-309.

[25] Ibid, Bernard, Philippe, Amury Girod, pp. 157-164, considers the decision at Varennes.

[26] Ibid, pp.179-213, explores Girod’s role in the Deux-Montagnes.

[27] Audet, F. J., ‘L’abbé Étienne Chartier’, Les Cahiers des Dix, Vol. 6, (1941), pp. 211-223, is a useful biography; see also Messier, pp. 105-106.

[28] On this issue, see Chabot, Richard, ‘Le Rôle du bas clergé face au mouvement insurrectionnel de 1837’, Cahiers de Sainte-Marie, Vol. 5, (1967), pp. 89-98. Ibid, Amury Girod, p. 181, details the attitude of clergy in the Deux-Montagnes.

[29] Sossoyan, Mathieu, The Iroquois and the Lower-Canadian Rebellions, 1837-1838, McGill University Press, 1999, considers this issue in detail.

[30] His diary for the period 15 November-8 December 1837 has been published as ‘Journal kept by the late Amury Girod, translated from the German and the Italian’, Report of the Public Archives, Ottawa, 1923, pp. 370-80, see pp. 377-378 for the Oka raid.

[31] Voluntary examination of François Bertrand, Archives Nationales du Quebec ‘Documents relatifs aux événements de 1837-1838’, No. 736, cit, Aubin, Georges and Martin-Verenka, Nicole, Insurrection: Examens voluntaire, (Lux), 2004, pp. 24-25

[32] Scott had little choice but to flee but on 19 December, he was captured and imprisoned in Montreal, charged with treason and released only on 10 July 1838.

[33] Journal historique des événements arrivés à Saint-Eustache, pendant la rébellion du comté du lac des Deux-Montagnes depuis les soulèvements…, Montréal, John Jones, 1838, cit, Globensky, Maximilien, La Rébellion de 1837 à Saint-Eustache, pp. 41-80. Walter, Johnson, Pastor Ivictus: or, Rebellion in St. Eustache, (Quality Press Ltd.), 1931, is a later idiosyncratic history. Paiement, Raymond, La bataille de St-Eustache, (Editions Saint-Martin), 1975, is the most recent detailed account. Laurin, Clément, ‘Bibliographie de la bataille de Saint-Eustache’, Cahiers d’histoire de Deux-Montagnes, Vol. 5, (2), (1982), pp. 10-14.

[34] Ibid, Journal historique des événements arrivés à Saint-Eustache, pendant la rébellion du comté du lac des Deux-Montagnes depuis les soulèvements…, p. 64.

[35] There is some question whether the victorious British army treated Chénier’s body with respect: Dufebvre, Bernard, ‘Le coeur de Chénier’, La Revue de l'Université Laval, Vol. 6, (10), (1952), pp. 839-843, and Seguin,Robert-Lionel, ‘À propos du coeur de Chénier’, Revue de l’Université Laval, Vol. 7, (8), (1953), pp. 724-729. ‘Daniel Arnoldi’, DCB, Vol. 7, pp. 25-27, considers his role in the autopsy.

[36] Ibid, Giroux, André and Chapdelaine, Claude, Histoire du territoire de la municipalité régionale de comté de Deux-Montagnes, p. 21.