Since 2002, Quebec has celebrated this holiday instead of [Queen] Victoria Day (Victoria’s reign was 1837-1901, but she could have done little personally to precipitate Canadian unrest at this early point of her reign).
La Journée Nationale des Patriotes commemorates the poorly-armed farmers, tradesmen and urban professionals who rose up against British colonial authorities, professional British land forces, and militia in Lower Canada (Quebec) in 1837-38.
Although not subject to the same colonial government efforts to cultural, religious and linguistic assimilation as Lower Canada … residents of Upper Canada (Ontario) - many of them American-born immigrants and/or “United Empire Loyalists” - conducted a similar rebellion for responsible government during the same years. (“Upper Canada Spring”! “Muddy York Spring”!)
Lower Canada’s (Quebec) colonial government’s operation was particularly discriminatory to francophone natives of Lower Canada (deemed “an inferior race”) and the Patriotes declared responsible democratic government as a key objective.
This interesting and often-neglected (outside of Quebec) historical subject cannot be covered properly in a series of Tumblr posts, but consider the events in the context of history:
New France established 1534; Quebec City 1608; Montreal 1642 (Ville Marie).
Treaty of Paris: 1763 - Quebec/”Canada” forsaken by France
American Revolution: 1776-1783
French Revolution: 1789-1799
War of 1812: 1812-1814 (in Canada)
Rebellions, Upper and Lower Canada: 1837-1838
In the “judicial outcomes” below … notice that none of the Upper Canadian rebels was hanged. Virtually all of them were American-born. An American invasion of British North America had been attempted about 25 years earlier and such rough justice might have tempted ‘outside forces’ from the US to invade again to help fight for ‘freedom from Britain’ and ‘democracy denied’.
On the other hand, Quebec/”Canada” had been forsaken 75 years earlier by France in the Treaty of Paris in 1763, so it was perhaps assumed that executions of local rebels would provide a clear deterrent to further unrest … with no risk of foreign military intervention as a result. (They still write plays about this short-term political expediency and injustice to this very day in Quebec.)
Upper Canada Judicial Outcomes
Executed 0; Exiled 83
Foreign-born (outside Upper/Lower Canada): US 70; Ireland 3; Scotland 2; Nova Scotia 1.
Lower Canada Judicial Outcomes
Executed 19; Exiled 58
Foreign-born (outside Upper/Lower Canada): US1.
The scan of text above is from: Les Patriotes exilés en Australie en 1839; Henri Bergevin; 1987; La Société de Généalogie de Lanaudière.
The Parramatta area is just ‘up the river’ from Sydney, Australia and the bays named are clearly labelled on Google Maps.
My own interest in this bit of history to follow later today.