The Patriots exiled and deported of 1838 and 1839
In the Spring of 1838, the political prisoners of the first rebellion of 1837 had still not been tried, and Durham, a special envoy of the Metropolis on an investigative mission, did not know how to proceed. If they had a proper trial, he knew that an English jury would sentence them to death, that a Canadian jury would acquit them, and that a joint jury would never get along.
So, he made an admission of guilt by the most active patriots; by this paper eight men were unconditionally recovering in the hands of the new governor, accepting the collective blame. Following this admission a few days later, the governor sentenced the eight signatories to exile: Dr. Wolfred Nelson, Robert Shore Milnes Bouchette, Simeon Marchessault, Toussaint Hubert Goddu, Dr. Henri Alphonse Gauvin, Bonaventure Viger, Rodolphe Desrivières and Dr. Luc Hyacinthe Masson.
Lord Durham's amnesty order of June 28, 1838, sentenced sixteen patriots who had taken refuge in the United States to remain on foreign soil, forbidding them to return to their country without special permission from the governor; they were punishable by death if they reappeared in the province without such permission. The sixteen thus hit by exile:
Louis Joseph Papineau, Robert Nelson, Ph.D., Georges Étienne Cartier, Ludger Duvernay, Thomas Storrow Brown, EB O'Callaghan, EE Rodier, Cyrille Côté, Louis Perreault, Julien Gagnon, Etienne Chartier Priest, John Ryan Sr., John Ryan Jr., Pierre Paul Desmarais, Joseph François Davignon, doctor and Louis Gauthier.
Fifty-eight Patriots were deported to Australia on September 27, 1839; all their properties were seized immediately and put on sale. Their return to Canada will take place between 1844 and 1848 (Mémoire du Québec).
Exiles in Australia
Australia, at the time of the troubles in Lower Canada, is a British colony. At that time, Europeans are concentrated in the southern part, New South Wales. Aborigines already populate the immense island and the English seek to establish whites there. To do this, Australia becomes a prison colony. "This one, populated in 1788 by 1500 men including 800 convicts (taken of justice, Irish opponents), was followed by several others until 1840." (Robert 2, 1999, 150). As everything has still to be built, the economic activity is centered on the development of the territory by immense building sites. There is a lot of logging, quarrying and road building where detainees worked under the responsibility of English traders. Port activities also play an important role in Sydney. Catholic and Anglican religions are present on the island.
From November 28, 1838 to May 1, 1839, 14 trials were held in Lower Canada in connection with the Rebellions. The governor at the time, Colborne, brought 108 defendants to court. Of these, 9 were acquitted and 99 sentenced to death. Subsequently, 12 were hanged, 2 banished from the country, 27 released on bail and 58 were deported. The latter are imprisoned and on September 25, 1839, they receive the news that they will have to go into exile in Australia.
Farewell to family and friends is very brief since they leave the country on the 28th of the same month. Of the trip, there are also 83 political prisoners from Upper Canada. The trip, which lasts more than five months non-stop, is done in terrible conditions. "We had to keep the absolute silence during the night. It was forbidden to communicate, at any time, with each other, from one side to another of the dwellings, and no one could go to the places of ease, ..., without the permission of the sentinel." (Prior, 1838, 150). Of the number, only one from Upper Canada died during the trip. On February 16, 1840, the prisoners of Upper Canada landed in Hobart and on February 25, the rest of the occupants arrived in front of Sydney. They meet with Monsignor Polding who allows them to settle in Longbottom. They settled in the camp under the direction of Baddely. They initially have the task of building the road from Sydney to Parramatta. Subsequently, they know more freedom and the exiles can work for the inhabitants who house them, feed them and pay them a small remuneration. From February 1842, prisoners are free and can obtain citizenship of the country. The majority respects the imposed laws and some even own small businesses.
"In April 1844, five Canadians received their complete pardon. On June 24 of the same year all the other exiles had received the documents declaring them free men. (Bergevin, 1991, 27). To return to Canada, they must pay for their trip to London. So on July 8, 1844, 38 patriots can leave Australia. The other unfortunate ones will do it later. From London, they go to New York where they land on January 13, 1845. The expenses of this part of the trip were paid by the Montreal Rescue Association.
Of the 58 exiles who left, one settled permanently (Marceau) and two died (Gabriel Ignace Chèvrefils and Louis Dumouchel) "they did not recover from their diseases; both died on foreign land." (Prior, 1884, 159). The deported patriots have left their mark in Australia since we find in the region of Longbottom and Sydney, Marceau road. In addition, the region's bays bear names such as France Bay, Exile Bay and Canada Bay and a monument is erected in their honor. The latter was erected in 1970 by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Finally, Canadian deportees inspired various Australian works.
Sources — Les Patriotes de 1837@1838 (Gilles Laporte) :
- Renald Dion : 3 juillet 1838 - Huit chefs Patriotes sont exilés aux Bermudes... (1 août 2000).
- Stéphanie Beaupied : La vie des exilés en Australie (19 mai 2001).
- Stéphanie Beaupied : Le voyage des exilés à bord du Buffalo (19 mai 2001).
Jules Verne's novel entitled "Family Without a Name" (Famille-sans-nom)
The famous writer Jules Verne wrote a novel about the Patriots' rebellion titled "Family Without a Name": French-speaking Canada has been under the United Kingdom since the Treaty of Paris of 1763. A man prepares various successive uprisings against British injustices. This man does not reveal to anyone his surname, even to his closest supporters; he calls himself Jean-Sans-Nom. He has a terrible secret ...
Written in 1887 the book illustrates the life of a family in Lower Canada during the Patriots' rebellion. The novel is published in large format illustrated at HETZEL in 1889, in two parts. This book does not end on a happy note. Speaking of the period 1837-1838, Jules Verne wanted to remind his compatriots of the problems that the French community had in Quebec at the time of the publication of his book, in 1888. The tone of the book is felt: we do not find his sense of suspense and very little of his usual humor.
The novel, written in 1887-1888, first appears serialized in the Education and Recreation Store from January 1 to December 1, 1888, and then in a large-format edition illustrated by Hetzel in 1889, in two parts.
The preface and the afterword of one of the French editions are by Francis Lacassin. The preface is entitled "Jules Verne or Clandestine Socialism". He tries to explain the complexity of the different aspects of Jules Verne: in some ways he could be classified as a conservative, by others he could be classified as an anarchist. In the afterword, Lacassin recalls the history of Quebec. He speaks in particular of the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, what has been called the "Grand Dérangement". According to Lacassin's figures, a third of the deportees died.
The first reprint of the novel is Quebecker. It dates from 1970, contains all the old images of the Hetzel edition. It is prefaced by Jean Chesneaux who perceives the interest of Jules Verne for the colonial peoples, present in many novels of the writer. In another Quebec edition published in 1978 in the Quebec 10 of 10 collection under the direction of Jeanine Féral, the preface is entitled "Jules Verne's Voyage to Canada" and is not signed. Presumably it was Jeanine Féral who wrote it since this edition was carried out under his direction. The cover is marked "1837 ... patriots ... Quebec", above the title. In the 1978 edition published by the General Union of Editions, it is inscribed on the cover "Pour le Québec libre". This is an anachronistic reference (probably for advertising purposes) to the famous phrase of General de Gaulle pronounced in 1967.
The novel was adapted several times for the stage. In 1897, a first attempt by Georges Bastard (1851-1914) failed. In 1902, Théo Bergerat mounted the play at the Château d'Eau Theater. In 1903 Germain Beaulieu produced an adaptation of the novel in a six-act drama and a prologue at the Théâtre national du Québec. Finally, in 1913, A. Jacques Parès published Trahison or Simon Morgaz, historical drama in one act.