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Full text of "Reform, race, and revenge [microform] : the rise and progress of the Riel movement in Quebec and Ontario"

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FACTS FOR ELECTORS 



REFORM, RACE and REVENGE 



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THE RISE AND PR00RE8S OF THE RIEL 

MOVEMENT IN QUEBEO AND 

ONTARIO 

During the progress of the Riel Rebellion and for months after, 
the Reform press clamored for the punishment of the chief rebel. 
He was not mad, so it was said ; his crime was entirely without 
Justification; nothing but death would expiate his crimes. In 
evidence, let us take the opinion of some Reform organs before the 
execution : 

" This morning at a late hour," says the Globe of May 16, 1886, 
" the glorious news was Hashed over the wires that Riel had been 

" captured A soldier's death would have been far too good 

" for the traitor-agitator." In June the same paper said, " We want 
" Riel and the other ringleaders brought to immediate justice ;" and 
in July the same organ opined that " the public believe Riel and his 
" associates guilty of the highest crime known to the law. And public 
" indignation would be excited did any of them escape punishment." 
In August the same journal said : " The crime of which Riel has been 
" convicte<l is one of the most dreadful that can be imagined. It was 
" of the essence of Riel's crime that he knew what the Indians are 
" capable of, and what atrocities they would probably commit when 
" their savage nature was thoroughly excited." StiU morf; : " As to 
" the prisoner's guilt there has been no shadow of doubt since his 
" letter to Poundmaker was produced. Nor as to his sanity has there 
" been any doubt since the jury, having heard the experts' evidence, 
" decided that Riel was responsible." The London Adv^irtiser was 
equally clear : " Why should the Province of Quebec come to the 
" rescue of Riel ? Why should it overlook the murders of men and 
" women, clergymen and laymen, and the consequences of Riel's appeal 
" to the Indians ?" The same authority goes on to say at another 
time: "The law makes treason a crime. The law has pronounced 
" Riel guilty of that crime. The duties of the Executive are clear 
" and simple." In May the Olohe went on to say : " It will occur to 



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" everybody that this is the right moment for the Government to 
" step in and offer a heavy reward for the rendition of the persons 
" or bodies of Riel and the other ringleaders of the rebellion. ' The 
Ottawa Free Press, a stalwart Blakeite, was of opinion that " when 
" Riel conspired with the Indians he opened the gates of rapine and 
" murder, and for that offence deserved the severest penalty possible." 
The Guelph Mercury was clear that " Riel deserved the murderer's 
" fate ;" and the Huron Expositor thought that " he certainly deserved 
" to be hanged, if ever a man did." " The life of Riel is a small matter 
" in the presence of the law," thought the St. Catharines News. The 
St. Thoma8 Journal was at that time equally outspoken. " Riel had 
" been sentenced to be hanged," said that authority ; " now we wait 
" that hanging. Riel's trial was short, his condemnation swift May 
" his fate be sure." The Brantford Expositor thought that " if Riel 
" escapes the hanging, it will be a miscarriage of justice." 

A NOTABLE CHANGE OF FRONT 

took place along the whole line of the Reform press after the execu- 
tion of Riel, showing that it was not for love of justice, but for 
party purposes that the Olobe, its satellites and the Grit party had 
hounded down Riel and his dupes. Then it was suddenly discovered 
that Riel's course was justifiable — at any rate that he was insane, and 
had been unfairly tried. It was ascertained that he had fallen a 
victim to the Orange thirst for blood, and that his execution was a 
" judicial murder." On the 20th of March the Globe was clear that 
" the Government is now on trial for having executed the leader oi 
" the insurrection ; " that " the execution was a cruel, a barbarous, au 
" impolitic, an unstatesmanlike, and a totally unnecessary act." Mr. 
Blake declared in the House of Commons, on March 15th, that he 
was " unable honestly to differ from the view that it is to be deeply 
" regretted that this execution should have been allowed to take place." 
Commenting on this, the Port Hope Times said: " We extend our hearty 
" sympathies to our Quebec brethren, and we assure them in the name 
" of the Liberal party that they have hosts of friends in Ontario." 

THE CRY WAS AT ONCE RAISED 

in the Province of Quebec that Riel had been executed because he 
was a French-Canadian, a Catholic, and vengeance upon the Dominion 
Government was resolved upon. On the afternoon of November 
16th, 1885, the Montreal City Council met, and strongly protested 
against the execution. After the adjournment the city hall flag was 
raised to half mast, and a mass meeting was held outside the building. 
Among the speakers was Mr. Mercier, Aid. Prefontaine, now President 
of the Dominion Young Liberals' Association, followed with a violent 
speech, in which he asserted that " the hanging of Riel was virtually 
" the sacrific^e of the French race to fanatical prejudice, and that it 
" was the duty of all faithful Canadians to see that Sir John was 
" given a terrible lesson." In the evening an immense crowd gathered 
on the Champ de Mars, where effigies of Sir John Macdonald, Sir 



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Hector Langevin, Sir Adolphe Caron and Hon. M. Chapleau, were 
publicly burned. An English new.spaper office was visited, stones 
were sent into the windows of the editorial rooms, and the proprietor 
narrowly escaped a serious wound. In Quebec the same evening, 
15,000 people met in a gathering which was " exceedingly violent in 
" its expressions and resolves of antipathy to the Orangemen of 
" Ontario." The windows of the Chronicle, the only Quebec paper 
which appro^'ed of the execution, were smashed. 

RACE AND REVENGE. 

On the following day the organizers of the so-called National 
Party met in Montreal for the purpose of laying out their plans. An 
f^xecutive committee was appointed. Among the members of that 
committee were Mr. Mercier and Mr. Prefontaine, now President of the 
Young Men's Dominion Liberal Association. On the same day a mass 
meeting was held in the Champ de Mars, and the following sentiments 
were embodied in the resolutions then passed : 

" That the execution of Louis Riel is an outrage to justice and 
" humanity ; that the French-Canadian Ministers, and those who endea- 
" vor to justify their conduct, be looked upon as traitors ; that Louis 
" Riel be placed among the political martyrs of the French-Canadian 
" nationality." 

This was the first general announcement of the National Party of 
the policy of " Race and Revenge." On the following day the alliance 
between the National Party and Ontario Liberals was arranged, and 
to-day Mr. Blake stands at the head of the former, with Mr. Mercier 
on one side and Mr. Mowat on the other. Then 

MR. EDGAR GAME IN. 

On November 20th, 1885, the confidential agent and general 
factotum of Mr. Blake arrived in Montreal for the purpose of arranging 
an alliance between the leaders of the Liberal Party in Ontario and 
the promoters of the " Race and Revenge " movement in Quebec. At 
the previous night's meeting Mr. David had declared that " at the head 
" of the new National Party should stand the Hon. Edward Blake." The 
arrangement then made has so far been faithfully carried out by Mr 
Blake and his Lieutenant, Mr. Mowat. 

On November 21st the Globe announced, on behalf of Messrs 
Blake and Mowat, that those gentlemen had determined to ally the 
English-speaking Reformers with the Nationalist Party, joined for 
the purpose of avenging the death of Riel. In the course of the article 
announcing this, the Grit org.in said : " We ask all fair-minded English- 
" speaking citizens to put tl emselves in the place of the men of Riel's 

" race, before charging them with offensive sympathy A hearty 

"union of both Provinces to punish the malefactors in office is the 
" only course by which Canada can be saved." About the same time 
",Mr. Anglin declared in his own paper that the execution of Riel was 
" a foul political murder." 

On Sunday, November 22, a great meeting en the Champ dc^ 
Mars, Montreal, was held. Riel was then held up as a patriot, a 




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martyr, a h(>ro, and a saint. The " hangmen of Ontario " were held 
reHponsiblc for tlie " crime." Mr, Laurier declared that the execution 
was a "judicial murder." He said that "if he had been living on the 
" banks of the Saskatchewan when the revolt broke out, ho would 
"himself have taken up arms against the Government." He said 
further : " Henceforth there is to be but a united nationality, which 
" will receive the support of their Liberal allies of the Province of 
" Ontario and of the great statesman, Edward Blake." 

THE "NATIONALIST" PRESS 



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came out hot and strong upon this question, as might have been 
pected, after the lead given to it by firebrand and interested politicians, 
lirench and Englisli. 

Said LEtendard: " As to the affairs of the North-West, is it 
"not evident that the highest sense of justice would have avoided the 
" rising and the civil war ? . . . . and the arson, the thefts, the 
" robberies, the murdering of the wounded by the volunteers — was not 
" all this persecution ? " Le Nord burst forth : " Glut yourselves, 
" Orange brothers, with the spectacle of the hanged Riel. You have 
" vindicated the majesty of the law, but you have also dug beneath 
" the scatibld a pit in which may be buried all your dreams of tyranny 
" and domination over the North-West." 

MR. JOLY'S LETTER 

was a thunderbolt to the conspirators. Formerly Premier of Quebec, 
and a Rouge at that, rather than join the " Race and Revenge " crusade 
for party purposes, he declared in his letter of November 28th, " I 
" cannot approve of the agitation which is now carried on in the Pro- 

" vince of Quebec I cannot see how the formation of a 

" new party,the National Party, would better their position (the French- 
" Canadians), but I think I can see how it would endanger the future 
" welfare of the Dominion." Another letter, breathing a very different 
spirit, but equally indicative, though in another way, of one spirit 
^' -if. was permeating the Quebecians, was sent to the Mail by " a 
" Montreal French-Canadian." It was dated December 8th, 1885, 
" and opened : " Messieurs les Orangeistes. — You are nothing but vile 
" scoundrels. You have hanged Riel, the brave French -Canadian 
'■ Metis. . . . But the crime which you have committed at Regina 
•' will not remain unpunished." And so on, et cetera. 

THE ONTARIO RIELITES 

During the last session of the Ontario Legislature an amendment 
to the address was moved by Mr. Meredith, expressing appreciation of 
the conduct of the permanent military forces of Canada, and of the 
volunteers. An amendment to this was moved by Mr. White, as fol- 
lows : " And we must, now that peace has been restored, the suprem- 
" acy of the law vindicated, and just punishments inflicted upon the 
" principal participants in the rebellion, it may be consistent with the 
" public interests to extend the merciful consideration of the Crown 



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" to the cases of those who are now umlergoinjr imprisonment for 
"otf'enccs committed during or arising out of it." The amendment 
was most bitterly opposed by the Government, and was voted down. 
During the debate Mr. Fraser liiconed Riel to Sir George (.Artier, and 
said that at no distant date a monument would bo erected to tho 
rebel's memory. 

The following are the names of the gentlemen who voted againsL 
Mr. White's amendment, and who practically thereby denied that 
justice had been done, an<l cast a slur upon the volunteers. Mr. 
Eraser's speech was especially virulent. Here are the " Najs :" 

Awrey, Ballantyne, Baxter, Bishcjp, B]>'/ard, Cascadon, (Uiisholm 

Conmec, Cooke, Dill, Dowliiig, Drury, Dryden, Forgu.s on, Ft-rris^ 
Fraser Freeman, Gibson (Huron), Gillies, Gould, Hagar, Harcourt, 
Hardy, Hart, Hawloy, Laidlaw, Lyon, Mclntyre, MacKenzie, McKim, 
McLaughlin, McMahon, Master, Morin, Mowat, O'Connor, Pardee, 
Phelps, Rayside, Ross (Huron), Ro.ss (Middlesex), Sills, Snider , 
Waters, Young . 

PACAUD'S CASE 

The sympathy which the Government side of the House then 
displayed with the " Race and Revenge " movement was even more 
strongly brought out by the Pacaud episode. The people of Ontario 
are not likely to forget that Mr. Mowat not only took into his em- 
ployment, but energetically defended, a man who had made it his 
bu.siness both to insult the volunteers and to e.spouse the cause of Riel 
after the fashion of the rebel's most rabid friends in Quebec. Pacaud 
is editor of Le Progres, published in Detroit, and, favored by pap 
from the Ontario Government, undertook to introduce the " Race and 
Revenge" cry into Essex. Pacaud afterwards went to Toronto, and told 
the people to watch for his letters from the Press Gallery. This is 
how he wrote of the rebellion and of the volunteers : " The Govern - 
" ment troops were the first to fire ; the volunteers assassinated the 
" wounded Metis, insulted the women, burned and pillaged tlieir houses; 
"Riel was indirectly promised his life by General Middleton; the 
" trial at Regina was specially contrived to condemn Riel to death, 
" the jury was picked out, and Richardson either was an Orangeman 
" or was the stipendiary tool of the Government." This and much 
more of the same sort. Mr. White asked whether it was right that 
a man so misrepresenting and abusing the Opposition should be 
allowed to sit in the gallery. Mr. Mowat energetically defended hi.s 
protege, who is now a candidate in his interest in the county of Essex. 

RACE AND REVENGE AT OTTAWA 

Di^ring the last session of the Commons, Mr. Landry moved a 
resolution expressing strong regret that Riel had been executed. In 
the following debate Mr. Blake advanced every possible argument in 
justification of Riel and of the rebellion. The rebel was likened by 



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Mr. L'Angelier, M.P. for Quebec, to our Saviour. The motion was 
ilctortted, the voting iinalysiH showing that Ontario went 18 for it and 
1)5 a<.(ainst, Qu('l)ec supporting it by 28 vot«\s and 36 being cast against 
it. Only one Englisli-speaking representative from Quebec voted for 
Mr. Landry's motion. The Refonners voting with the Government 
ruinbered 24. The Ontario Reformers who supported Mr. Lamhy 
were Messrs. Allen, Armstrong, Blake, Cameron (Huron), Cameron 
(Middlesex), Campbidl, Casey, Cooke, Edgar, Glen, Hawley, Lauderkin, 
Lister, Mills, Somerville, Trow and Wells. 

THE CHAMBLY ELECTION * 

came on about the end of July, the sole issue being the Riel question, 
Mr. Prefontaine being the Rielite candidate. He was successful, one 
of the first to congratulate him being Mr. D. E. Cameron, a prominent 
Young Liberal, who telegraphed : " Accept our sincorest congratula- 
' tions on your magnificent victory, which I regard as preceding a still 
"greater triumph." Another telegram began: " The Liberals of Toronto 
" congratulate you on your splendid victory." It ended as follows : 



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WELCOME TO OUR (RIELITE) COLLEAGUE." 

EDGAR 



J. D. 



Referryig to this extraordinary document, the Huntingdon 
Gleaner, the leading Liberal paper of the Eastern Townships, and the 
organ of the English-speaking Reformers in Quebec, said : " Mr. Edgar 
" is a member of the House of Commons, and reputed to be Mr. Blake's 
" adviser in party movements. Whether he has authorit)'- to speak on 
'• behalf of the Toronto Liberals, we cannot say. If he has, are we to 
' un<lerstand that they endorse the late rebellion ; that they con- 
^'sider their gallant fellow-citi/ens, Col. Otter and his brave 
" re<;iment, fought on the wrong side, ought to be punished, and 
" Big Bear, Dumont and his brothers in arms, rewarded ? Is it their 
'• private opinion t! at, instead of having honorable sepulture, the 
" bodies of Lieut. Fitch, Private Moor, Bugler Foulkes and others, 
•'should have been hung in chains, and that a monument should be 
" erected to Riel in Queen's Park ? * * * If it really be the 
" case that the Liberals of Toronto regard the triumph vof treason at 
" Charnbly as a ' splendid victory,' we are dumfounded, and we warn 
" them that they and the Liberals of this Province part company. If 
" the Liberals of Ontario cannot defeat Sir John at the polls on the 
" broad issue of his general policy, we are not going to share in their 



disgrace in 



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UNITING WITH BIGOTS AND REBELS 



"' to drive him from office for an act we unanimously approve — his 
" permitting Riel to receive the punishment the law adjudged." 

As at Chambly, so at Quebec, the sole question at the recent 
elections was the Riel business, and the avowed aim of the Nation- 
alists was revenge for the murder of their hero. At a meeting in 
Montreal, in connection with the 



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QUEBEC ELECTIONS 

Senator Thibaudeau said : "The choice of the neeting should be a 
" NationaliHt. It does not matter so much as to his prot'ession." At 
the .same meeting the following preamble to a resolution was passed : 
" Considering that the Liberal and Conservative National electors of 
" Montreal at Inst hold it to be necessary to oppose the re-election of 
" the Hon. Mr. Taillon, in order to avenge the national caiLse," etc. As 
is now known Mr. Taillon was defeated, and 

MR. MOWAT, FULL OF JOY AT THE RIELITE SUCCESS, 

telegraphed as follows to Mr. Mercier, " Have just received here the 
"joyful news oi your great triumph. 1 congratulate you and all your 
" friends on your important victory." That is, he triumphed in the 
fact that the men who are seeking to avenge Riel by destroying both 
the Quebec and Dominion Governments had succeeded. Ho and Mr. 
Blake have now called upon their,friend and ally, Mr, Mercier, to send 
lliolite speakers in+o Ontario to help fight their battle here. 

In view of this compact between the Mowat Government and 
what is known as Nationalism in Quebec, it is important to com- 
prehend the full meaning of that term. L' Union dea Cantons de VEnt, 
a Nationalist paper published at Arthabaskaville, on Nov. l.Sth thus 
discoursed upon Nationalism : " The Conservative Nationalists, break- 
" ing with Sir John and the sect, join their natural allies in Hon. Mr. 
" Blake and the party which marches behind him. Mr. Blake and 
" his followers in Ontario are the men to whom we must tender our 
" hands. They are fighting our enemies ; our enemies are the Orange-' 
" iates and all who favor them." 

It is impossible to misunderstand this, or to avoid the conclusion 
that it thoroughly explains the close relations confessedly now main- 
tained between Mr. Mowat and the Rielites. No wonder that the 
people of Ontario, both Liberal and Conservative, have taken alarm 
at the unholy alliance between the Provincial Government and the 
rebellious Quebecians for the sake of retaining power. No wonder 
that the 

GHOSTLY POLICY 

of taking the stump on Kiel's grave in order to embarrass Sir John 
Macdonald's Government and pifrchase Mr. Blake's support for the 
Local Government, has given offence. Was it for this that our gal- 
lant volunteers leapt to arras a^d underwent untold privations in 
order to suppress the rebellion and avenge the cold-blooded murder of 
defenceless men, innocent womeip and children ? Was it that Riel 
might be elevated from his real 
turer, to that of a canonized 
blood ? Was it for this that tj 
laid down their lives ? The bloc 
for his country cries aloud froli 
What say the friends of the 



>sition as a cruel, mercenary adven- 
ro that Canada gave of her heart's 

gallant men whose names follow 
of every soldier who gave his life 

the grave at such a suggestion. 



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KILLED AT DUCK LAKE 

Constable T. J. Oihson, N.W.M.P. 
•• O. P. Arnold, •• 

KILLED AT F18H CREEK 

Privato A. W. Fkuquson, OOtli Battalion. 

" Jas. Hutchins, •• 

•• Geo. Wheeler, •• 

" W. Envts, •• 

Gunner G. H. Demanolly, A Battery. 

" W. Cook, •• 

KILLED AT CUT KNIFE 

Private John Rooebs, Gov..Gen. Guarda 

II Osgood, d m 

II Arthur Dobbs, Battleford Rifles. 

Bugler H. Foulkes, "C" Comp. I.S. Corpa, 

Corporal W. H. Lowry, N. W. M. P. 

It R B. Sleioh, II 

Constable P. BuRKE, h 

Teamster Chas. Winder. 

KILLED AT BATOCHE 

Captain E. J. Brown, Bou ton's Infantry. 

M John French, Sctmts. 
Lieutenant W. Fitch, 10th Grenadiers. 

,1 A. W. KiPPEN, Injel. Corps. 

Private T. Moor, 10th Grenadiers. 

n R R. Hardisty, J Ofch Batt. 

II Jas. Fraser, * II 

Gunner W. Phillips, "A"|Sattery. 

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All this is to say nothing of the suf!<^'ings of the wounded, and of the 
death and suffering brought upon ^civilians by the arch-traitor in 
whose behalf Ontario Rielites or .Mowatitos — for the terms are 
interchangeable — have raised their wL^es and are now exerting their 
infiuenee. 

^he foregoing are facts, and r quire no comment. It is only 

necessary that the electors of Ontaij o should see them in their true 

light to get an expression of opini^ tn during the pending elections 

A wbicl;^.Mr411 for ev^er set at rest the is,, 3a that it is a justifiablo political 

cG^^s^|o'^^ witji*. treason. 






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