Essay: a rebellious and conquered people

Essay: A Rebellious and Conquered People


What do we know about the participation of French Canadians in “the first war of liberation led by the Americans abroad”, in 1775-1776? The so-called “continental” army, raised by the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain, tried to take Quebec (and very nearly did), but had to turn back after six months of siege with the arrival British reinforcements by sea. It has been repeated endlessly that the French Canadians refused to participate in this American conquest, thus saving the British colonial government. However, nothing could be more false, tells us the historian Gaston Deschênes, the Canadians of the Côte-du-Sud, below and opposite the city of Quebec, rather showed a “participatory neutrality”, in favor insurgents.

And this “participatory neutrality” manifests itself in various ways, including the refusal to obey the mobilization orders issued by Governor Carleton and strongly supported by the Catholic clergy. If in Montreal and Quebec, the administration managed to mobilize a few hundred volunteers, in Beauce, Île d'Orléans and all along the South Shore, they resisted and even attacked government emissaries. Armed militias were also organized around certain parishes to block the way to forces loyal to the king. Because we fear acts of punishment and plunder as a result of civil disobedience. Everywhere we light small fires, symbols of the rebellion, around which we mount guard.

Duty of submission

In any case, they are common people, whereas the majority of the lords have sided with the camp of submission, just like the lower clergy – with two or three exceptions – who never miss an opportunity to remind to his flock their duty of submission to the British crown. But it was a waste of time, despite the threats to close the churches or to prohibit the rebels from administering the sacraments. One of these priests even goes so far as to affirm, in a letter to his superior, that “women are of the same feeling as men for the rebellion”. We must not look elsewhere, in our history, for the origin of this anticlerical feeling which has long inhabited us.

During this time, American soldiers, known as the Bostonians, have crossed the border and seized the town of Saint-Jean, after a long siege. Then it was Montreal's turn to capitulate on November 14, 1775. Two weeks later, the Bostonians seized Trois-Rivières. “The Continental Army therefore finds itself master of the province, with the exception of the fortified city of Quebec.” However, the game is far from won and Quebec resists. The insurgents maintain the siege of Quebec and they can count on the active solidarity of the Sudcôtois for their supplies. This solidarity can go so far as to seize by arms food intended for the besieged Quebec to hand them over to the rebels.

Settlement of accounts

But the reinforcements sent by England in May 1776 forced the rebels to retreat. It's time for settling scores and the pro-rebels are paying the price. The clergy actively participate in the quarry where several insurgents will be excommunicated. 

Some South Shore rebels stood out and continued their fight in the United States in George Washington's army, according to what historian Gaston Deschênes was able to discover. This is the case of Clément Gosselin. It is believed that he joined the insurgents of the Thirteen Colonies in the fall of 1775 and took part in the attack on Quebec. He will be most active in recruiting volunteers, “preaching rebellion everywhere, inciting the few of the King's zealous servants to plunder and have them arrested”. He will be imprisoned and then manage to escape. He will be charged by Washington with spy missions in preparation for a new military operation in Canada, supported by France. Lafayette will also send him on a spy mission.

Several other Canadians have distinguished themselves, such as Pierre Ayotte, Michel Arbour, the brothers Julien and Noël Bélanger, Joseph Labbé, etc., whose feats Deschênes briefly tells us about.

« What would be become our people, in the event of an alliance of the Canadians with the Americans, in a common struggle for freedom, we don't know anything about it, we will never know anything about it”, underlined Jean-Charles Harvey in his novel < em>The semi-civilized, in 1934.


The recipe for love

Since it's about the heart, let's also talk about love with author and comedian Léa Stréliski. And of THE recipe it offers, since the title is in the singular. Because, at twenty years old, what do we know about love, if not this little anxiety in us when approaching the loved one and which makes us so vulnerable? Léa remembers her first childhood love, the young boy with whom she had danced in the third year of primary school. And in her early twenties, she will go to meet him, without knowing too much, but without a shell. Transparent. Because “the people with whom we have the greatest potential for love are not those who look like us or with whom we have a lot in common, but rather those with whom we have the most possibility of growing up”. And there is no time to waste. You have to read this story of a great love, you will have a new heart, you will want to make peace with your past and envisage the future with love slung over your shoulder.

I'm hard therefore I am/Introspection of a male conditioned by the patriarchy

Clearly, the author of this provocatively titled book, which aims to be an introduction to male sexuality, wanted to remain anonymous. But he does say what goes on in the head of a young man in the prime of life, “when desire comes rushing in […] and constantly masturbating”, not aspiring only one thing: kiss. Because “the human being is daily invaded by sexual thoughts”. And men more than women, according to recent studies, on average 19 times a day. It is unfortunately through porn that our author did his sexual education. “Porn dictated our sex lives and interfered with our relationships. It took me a long time to understand that it was not like this with a woman,” he laments. Fortunately, men are changing and so are their sexual practices. Must read.