Cartier’s Speech – Quebec Conference, 1865

To many, Confederation is not a choice, but a force that we have been driven towards out of urgency. As we gather here today, we must think; will we be content as mere colonies existing side by side, or is it more in order to come together as one great nation? One of financial and cultural success, one of representation for all!

Many fear that this development will jeopardize the dignity and identity of these separate colonies, and feel it is best for those in need of support to flourish on and support themselves. However, the purpose of banding together and reconvening into one great nation is not to tear apart these separate identities, but to tie them together and share them with one another. Imagine a place where we are able to mutually understand one another, and respect one another, a time in which we may come together to support one another’s needs, and build off one another’s strengths.

We shall not follow that of our American brothers; we may not turn against one another in fight for the ultimate decision of power. We shall, instead distribute power, and bring our people together. We cannot be content with violence as a form of decision making. We must think toward what it right for all, what is best for the greater good.

What’s happening in BC?

Throughout this unit of pre-confederation history I don’t think it was brought up once how BC was affected by this monumental decision. My question on the matter is what was happening in BC? Secondly, using all the facts we have now to make a judgement in hindsight, was confederation a good decision for BC to have made? I chose this topic simply because of curiosity, we never learned about it, so as a resident of this fair province I’d like to know how we began. I think it’s important for me to take this on because, as an autonomous learner I have the opportunity to take control of my learning and decide what’s best for me in a unique situation. In this case, my unique situation is my lack of knowledge on the subject and the ability to share my findings with peers who share my baseline level of understanding.

My first post this year for socials was about taking perspective and empathy. In this document of learning I’ll be tackling both these ideas as I investigate multiple groups of people during this time and their interactions leading up to confederation and beyond.

The topic I’d like to start with is the one that all this started with: the first nations people living here before the colonists came. There’s evidence that people lived in the BC area for over 10,000 years, and in that time they made great progress in technology and trade. We know, however that this didn’t last forever. I won’t go into the details of colonization because everyone reading this already knows what happened. After years of sharing the land with the aboriginal people (sharing is a generous word), BC decided to go ahead and join confederation. They made this decision without contacting the aboriginal people who still lived in affected areas. They gave aboriginal people no choice in their future, so this is one of the first steps to the road of cultural genocide that Canada travelled down.

Now the reason BC joined confederation so late, or even joined at all, was a mystery to me. It turns out I had all the information, I just needed to connect the dots. Because of the gold rushes in the mid-late 1800s, thousands of miners were coming up from America and flooding the small settlements there. Throughout this James Douglas, the governor of Vancouver Island, was negotiating treaties with aboriginal people of BC. But when the gold rush hit, he had to account for this huge influx in citizenship fast. This of course wasn’t simple, as Douglas himself said: “To create a great social organization, with all it’s civil, judicial, and military establishments, in a wilderness of forests and mountains, is a herculean task.”

There was already a legislative council in Victoria, but to have more direct action, he strived for a separate executive council to serve the mainland. On this subject: Jean Barman, author of  “The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia” said the following.

“In spite of these budding institutions, Douglas relied primarily on his own judgement and authority. His three priorities were to protect the two colonies’ boundaries, uphold law and order, and provide access to the gold-fields.”

As British Columbia grew and grew the government became more stressed as they now need to account for thousands more. They were racking up debt and were, in essence, desperate. But luckily, a shining light from the east arrived, and it was called Confederation. By this time the eastern colonies have all joined together by confederation, but it had just reached the West coast. In 1871 British Columbia, fairly unanimously, decided to join confederation official, and it was signed off on July 20th of that year. One of the conditions was a route from BC to the rest of Canada, but in it’s stead Canada offered to build a railway. It was completed years later, but it was an important step in the development of BC as it brought wealth from the east.

In conclusion the road to confederation in BC was a long and windy one, but I believe it was worth it in the end. It brought funds over to kickstart the rapid development of BC that we are still seeing evidence of today. It also prevent the probable American annexation of Canada, which, let’s face it: would’ve sucked. It is important to remember though that none of this came without a price. The aboriginal peoples of Canada were not involved in the slightest, yet suffered the most from the decisions made.

The questions I have from here are more hypothetical and action-oriented. What could we as a country have done to minimize our negative impact on Aboriginal peoples? (Hint hint ask them how they feel about things that affect them.) And what can we do about it now?

Could Quebecois Sovereignty Be A Result of Confederation?

(this is irrelevant so skip to the actual post if you want to – I was listening to this song while writing this post and it made for just the right amount of cynicism about the whole Confederation thing for me to write this post)

In a situation where decisions are made for the “greater good,” it can be difficult to identify the “right” and “wrong” of multiple sides. Through learning about confederation, we have explored the various perspectives which took place in shaping Confederation into the enormous movement that lifted Canada onto it’s feet as a country. However, with every change, there are consequences. The most notable negative consequence coming out of Confederation was the implementation of Residential Schools, permanently damaging the cultures of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and affecting those communities to this day.

Since the first talks of Confederation, protecting minority rights has always been a priority to the founding fathers, which at the time, included many of French descent. To many looking from the outside, the idea that today, there is an act of sovereignty in the province of Quebec would seem based on some kind of cultural ego. But when looking deeper into the French people’s experience with Confederation as a whole, tales of threat, having no alternative, and the erasure of culture are all topics of interest.

So what were the elements of confederation that threatened the independence of the French people in Quebec? What are the guiding elements of confederation that are the most prominent in Canada today? Do any of these ideas lead to the act of sovereignty in Quebec we have seen since the 1960s?

 

 Still, assimilation is the concern of the French people.

The old Union of 1840-1841 had been transformed from an instrument of assimilation and oppression of French Canadians into a partnership where Quebec and Ontario shared equally power on the principle of duality. Since, by Confederation, Quebec only had about 40% of the population of the United Province of Canada, to share equally in the government put it in an advantageous position. This was so much so that it was Upper Canada that now complained about the Union and its most important political leader of the time, George Brown, claimed that the province had become ‘French dominated’. While Brown’s comment disclose an intolerant attitude,  to most Upper Canadians it contained a good deal of truth and they wished something to be done about it. Their great solution to this problem was to propose Representation according to Population. Had this proposal been implemented, it would have made it possible to form a government with only political support from Upper Canada and, consequently, put George Brown in power. Such a prospect could not be accepted in Quebec as it would endanger all the cultural gains its people had made in the union since 1848. Simply put, to have accepted Rep. by Pop. would have put the cultural survival of Quebec on the line and, ever since the 1840’s, cultural survival was the central question, the existential question, in Quebec.

  – Claude Bélanger,
Department of History,
Marianopolis College

Quebec and the Confederation Project (1864-1867)

Though being able to feel culturally secure outside the government, the constant overrunning of any kind of French power was a common theme in early stages of asserting Confederation-esque ideas. The source above continues to discuss the reasons Quebec even decided to join Confederation in the first place:

  • Political realism (breaking the political deadlock)
  • Their elite representative power (people like George Cartier who advocated for Confederation)
  • Lack of alternatives
  • Federalism (in the grand scheme, Confederation was a good idea, though maybe not catering to the French specifically)

The last point they mention is the fact that the Fathers of Confederation were committed to keeping the culture of the French intact, even though representation was skew wherever it could be.

When we look at the cultural makeup of Canada today, we see the overwhelming Anglo-population, as well as other branches of people who are culturally diverse in non-French ways – various ethnicities, religions, languages, etc. Perhaps this development of the country into a largely non-French country is a fire for French people in Canada to feel threatened, especially after countless promises of maintaining French culture prominently in Canada were a part of Confederation. There have even been acts taken by the Quebec provincial government that have been seen as controversial, as acts of rebellion to this French erasure concept, such as the example below.

Public employees would not be allowed to wear overt religious symbols at work under the proposed charter of Quebec values, released by the Parti Québécois today. The minister in charge of the charter, Bernard Drainville, announced at the national assembly that if the charter were adopted by the legislature, the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and “large” crosses would be banned for civil servants while they are on the job.

CBC News

Charter of Quebec values would ban religious symbols for public workers

It is rare to find much French culture outside the Quebec area, which is seen as the assimilation of the French culture to many of the French people living in Canada today. The fact that Canada has developed into a country that boasts about it’s prized bilingualism but has such little emphasis on the French culture within it is reasonable to be seen as disgraceful and in order for a rebellion of some sorts. Enter Quebecois Sovereignty; the idea that Quebec should be able to gain independence from Canada and become it’s own country has been floating around for nearly 60 years now.

A group of prominent Quebec sovereigntists has penned a manifesto that slams the Parti Quebecois as a spent force in the fight for independence. The group is calling itself the New Movement for Quebec and is composed of former members of both the PQ and the Bloc Quebecois. In a manifesto published online today, the group says the independence movement is undergoing a serious crisis and needs to be transformed.

“The crisis that the sovereigntist movement is going through is not banal,” the manifesto reads. “It crystallizes the end of an era and the start of a new one.”

– Jonathan Montpetit and Sylvain Larocque, The Canadian Press

New Movement For Quebec: Prominent Sovereigntists Publish Manifesto, Slam PQ As Spent Force

Marching forward.

Thinking about one of our own provinces wanting to separate from our country can be a shocking idea to many people. But with a bit of background, it is clear that Quebecois Sovereignty is a movement built upon pent up oppression and neglecting of the French people, while still having the government’s favourite parts being thrown around as decorations on our reputation. It will be interesting to see how this long haul of a movement progresses with time, whether there will be a success or the most anti-climactic end for the movement entirely. It is valuable to understand how this grand decision is received by various groups, whether they be French, Anglo, or Aboriginal. It would be interesting to see the ability for French-Canadians to empathize more with Aboriginal peoples, who have literally gone through the most atrocious event in our history, and have suffered through cultural genocide. Maybe bonds could grow strong between French-Canadians and Aboriginal peoples, or maybe the French sovereigntists will continue on their path to freedom, never daring to look back for a second.

Could Quebecois Sovereignty Be A Result of Confederation?

(this is irrelevant so skip to the actual post if you want to – I was listening to this song while writing this post and it made for just the right amount of cynicism about the whole Confederation thing for me to write this post)

In a situation where decisions are made for the “greater good,” it can be difficult to identify the “right” and “wrong” of multiple sides. Through learning about confederation, we have explored the various perspectives which took place in shaping Confederation into the enormous movement that lifted Canada onto it’s feet as a country. However, with every change, there are consequences. The most notable negative consequence coming out of Confederation was the implementation of Residential Schools, permanently damaging the cultures of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and affecting those communities to this day.

Since the first talks of Confederation, protecting minority rights has always been a priority to the founding fathers, which at the time, included many of French descent. To many looking from the outside, the idea that today, there is an act of sovereignty in the province of Quebec would seem based on some kind of cultural ego. But when looking deeper into the French people’s experience with Confederation as a whole, tales of threat, having no alternative, and the erasure of culture are all topics of interest.

So what were the elements of confederation that threatened the independence of the French people in Quebec? What are the guiding elements of confederation that are the most prominent in Canada today? Do any of these ideas lead to the act of sovereignty in Quebec we have seen since the 1960s?

 

 Still, assimilation is the concern of the French people.

The old Union of 1840-1841 had been transformed from an instrument of assimilation and oppression of French Canadians into a partnership where Quebec and Ontario shared equally power on the principle of duality. Since, by Confederation, Quebec only had about 40% of the population of the United Province of Canada, to share equally in the government put it in an advantageous position. This was so much so that it was Upper Canada that now complained about the Union and its most important political leader of the time, George Brown, claimed that the province had become ‘French dominated’. While Brown’s comment disclose an intolerant attitude,  to most Upper Canadians it contained a good deal of truth and they wished something to be done about it. Their great solution to this problem was to propose Representation according to Population. Had this proposal been implemented, it would have made it possible to form a government with only political support from Upper Canada and, consequently, put George Brown in power. Such a prospect could not be accepted in Quebec as it would endanger all the cultural gains its people had made in the union since 1848. Simply put, to have accepted Rep. by Pop. would have put the cultural survival of Quebec on the line and, ever since the 1840’s, cultural survival was the central question, the existential question, in Quebec.

  – Claude Bélanger,
Department of History,
Marianopolis College

Quebec and the Confederation Project (1864-1867)

Though being able to feel culturally secure outside the government, the constant overrunning of any kind of French power was a common theme in early stages of asserting Confederation-esque ideas. The source above continues to discuss the reasons Quebec even decided to join Confederation in the first place:

  • Political realism (breaking the political deadlock)
  • Their elite representative power (people like George Cartier who advocated for Confederation)
  • Lack of alternatives
  • Federalism (in the grand scheme, Confederation was a good idea, though maybe not catering to the French specifically)

The last point they mention is the fact that the Fathers of Confederation were committed to keeping the culture of the French intact, even though representation was skew wherever it could be.

When we look at the cultural makeup of Canada today, we see the overwhelming Anglo-population, as well as other branches of people who are culturally diverse in non-French ways – various ethnicities, religions, languages, etc. Perhaps this development of the country into a largely non-French country is a fire for French people in Canada to feel threatened, especially after countless promises of maintaining French culture prominently in Canada were a part of Confederation. There have even been acts taken by the Quebec provincial government that have been seen as controversial, as acts of rebellion to this French erasure concept, such as the example below.

Public employees would not be allowed to wear overt religious symbols at work under the proposed charter of Quebec values, released by the Parti Québécois today. The minister in charge of the charter, Bernard Drainville, announced at the national assembly that if the charter were adopted by the legislature, the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and “large” crosses would be banned for civil servants while they are on the job.

CBC News

Charter of Quebec values would ban religious symbols for public workers

It is rare to find much French culture outside the Quebec area, which is seen as the assimilation of the French culture to many of the French people living in Canada today. The fact that Canada has developed into a country that boasts about it’s prized bilingualism but has such little emphasis on the French culture within it is reasonable to be seen as disgraceful and in order for a rebellion of some sorts. Enter Quebecois Sovereignty; the idea that Quebec should be able to gain independence from Canada and become it’s own country has been floating around for nearly 60 years now.

A group of prominent Quebec sovereigntists has penned a manifesto that slams the Parti Quebecois as a spent force in the fight for independence. The group is calling itself the New Movement for Quebec and is composed of former members of both the PQ and the Bloc Quebecois. In a manifesto published online today, the group says the independence movement is undergoing a serious crisis and needs to be transformed.

“The crisis that the sovereigntist movement is going through is not banal,” the manifesto reads. “It crystallizes the end of an era and the start of a new one.”

– Jonathan Montpetit and Sylvain Larocque, The Canadian Press

New Movement For Quebec: Prominent Sovereigntists Publish Manifesto, Slam PQ As Spent Force

Marching forward.

Thinking about one of our own provinces wanting to separate from our country can be a shocking idea to many people. But with a bit of background, it is clear that Quebecois Sovereignty is a movement built upon pent up oppression and neglecting of the French people, while still having the government’s favourite parts being thrown around as decorations on our reputation. It will be interesting to see how this long haul of a movement progresses with time, whether there will be a success or the most anti-climactic end for the movement entirely. It is valuable to understand how this grand decision is received by various groups, whether they be French, Anglo, or Aboriginal. It would be interesting to see the ability for French-Canadians to empathize more with Aboriginal peoples, who have literally gone through the most atrocious event in our history, and have suffered through cultural genocide. Maybe bonds could grow strong between French-Canadians and Aboriginal peoples, or maybe the French sovereigntists will continue on their path to freedom, never daring to look back for a second.

Defining Canada and the Influence of Confederation on the Arts

Spark of Interest

     For this inquiry blog post I decided I wanted to learn about how confederation influenced art at the time.  I’ve always been interested in art history in general, and took this opportunity to learn a little more about art and a little more about my country’s history.  I wanted to learn specifically about any new techniques created at the time, popular artists, and popular styles.

   Here is the link to my previous inquiry blog post where I researched residential schools and the healing process that leads to reconciliation.  I think these two topics connect in the way that they both explore the real identity of Canada and what it means to live here, how massive modifications (positive and negative) change a population, and how that in turn changes the definition of the word “Canadian”.

A Bit of Digging Around

With Confederation in 1867, the urge to express a new sense of Canada as a unified country was felt in the arts.

-Canadian Encyclopedia   

     My first source is the Canadian encyclopedia page on the history of art in Canada (Here’s the link).  Much to my surprise, I discovered that confederation had the biggest influence on the architecture of the time.  This was brought along by the construction of the parliament buildings built in 1866, which were strongly influenced by the style of High Victorian Gothic Revival. The parliament buildings featured many pointed arches, tall and narrow pointed windows (a.k.a. Lancet windows), and focused on giving a very tall, grand, and distinct silhouette.  This style was extremely popular at the time because of it’s functionality, but it also provided a beautiful and elegant look with it’s highly ornate and intricate details.  Another reason the parliament buildings were so well received is because of the use of local Canadian materials but a very British looking design, this reflected the county’s state at the time since it had recently separated from Britain and was still discovering it’s own identity and strengths.

     Another very popular piece from the time was a painting called The Fathers of Confederation by Robert Harris in 1883.  This piece would have been extremely important at the time because Harris had to really sell the fact that these guys in charge were just as fancy and important as they seemed on paper.  This piece is especially unique as it was painted nearly 20 years after the actual event took place, Harris reached out to the 33 fathers of confederation and asked for a photograph of them to be used as a reference for the painting.  Pieces like this were extremely important at the time because it allowed the public to see these ordinary men painted like heroes, which would have been quite reassuring since Canada was still very very new at the time.  These politicians had many groups of people to convince of their ability to lead Canada through confederation and this would have been a great way to portray themselves as a little grander than they might be in person.

She experimented with every new photographic technique, and developed a vision that was surreal and unique. She was obsessed with her children, and haunted by the deaths in the family.

-Royal B.C. Museum

My second source is the Royal B.C. Museum page on Hannah Maynard (Here’s the link).  Hannah Maynard was a photographer from Ontario who lived through confederation in Canada.  I found her to stand out from other artists of the time because of her use of new and interesting techniques and her ability to experiment and try new things with photography, which was an art that was still developing at the time (haha).  In 1862, Hannah and her family moved to Vancouver Island and opened one of British Columbia’s first photography studios where she took professional portraits.  In addition to taking portraits she also took very interesting photos of her family and herself, she used techniques such as multiple exposure, photo sculpture, composite images, and collage.  She would use techniques like this to create very eerie photos, many of which where self portraits.  Some of the most captivating are photos of scenes containing multiple copies of herself, which was achieved by using multiple exposure, photos of herself looking in the mirror, and one of the very first photos that captured motion.

 Image result for hannah maynard

Image result for hannah maynard

Image result for hannah maynard

Image result for hannah maynard

Image result for hannah maynard bicycle     Those are some of my favorites.  

     Hannah Maynard’s work really represented the country’s place at the time because her work was so experimental.  She really didn’t care about social norms and did whatever she wanted.  I think that she must have been influenced by confederation at the time since it was such a big change in society, there was a sense of freedom and opportunity that radically changed all aspects of Canadian society, especially the arts.

What Does This all Mean?

     During my investigation of art during confederation I discovered that artists were most inspired by the new sense of freedom and unity at the time.  This didn’t really change much in terms of subjects as much as it encouraged artists to explore brand new areas and experiment with new techniques.  There was also a strong sense of national pride in most parts of the country that can be felt through many important pieces at the time, from beautiful landscapes all around Canada to using local materials to construct new buildings, many people were inspired my confederation to explore what it means to be Canadian and how that should be represented.  This period in Canadian art history is so important since this is the time where artists are really exploring the new nation and new techniques all at once.  This is also the first time artists captured Canada as it’s own country on no longer as and extension of Britain, this period really defined what Canada is made of and this very first impression traveled all over the world and for generations after these very first “Canadian” artists, has showcased the beauty and meaning of living in Canada.

I’m still very curious about how confederation influenced First Nations art and after a lot of digging around wasn’t able to find anything conclusive (if anyone knows where I can find out more about this I would be super grateful).  I would also like to find out more about the equipment and materials used at the time, cameras, pigments etc, and how that may have changed the styles at the time.

Sources and Interesting Reads

Leading up to Confederation

Below is my second confederation blog post, if you have not read my other blog post, then go here to read it. My character is Henrietta Muir Edwards who was a women’s rights activist and reformer. My twitter account for the confederation role play is @Henrietta_Muir. 

This blog post was to take place between 1860-1866 leading up to confederation. It is meant to show the aim, obstacle and action of Henrietta at this time. It is also meant to show Henrietta’s predictions and hopes about confederation as well as any “requests” about how confederation should be.


 

27/10/1864

Cher journal,

Aujourd’hui est très excitant! Today the Quebec conference has ended, with quite a few interesting results. I was happy that the conference was so close to Montreal, it took place in Quebec City, just up the river. I thought that I might get to see some of the politicians from different parties fighting, but I saw very few politicians here in Montreal, and everyone was really very civil. I found a card the other day with Etienne Cartier’s face and information on it! At first I could not imagine what this card would be used for, but later mother explained that each politician had a deck of cards (“calling cards” she called them) with pictures and information of other politicians so that they could memorize them when talking to each other! To me that sounds pretty funny, but of course those old guys would need a little help with their memories.

I am happy that confederation is in the process of becoming a reality, I think that it will lead to a lot of economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. Father, who is an avid reader of the news paper, says that the Americans had a whole civil war because their central government was weak. I don’t necessarily think it was weak, but they did give a lot of power to individual states. I hope that confederation does really happen, and that it happens with no blood shed.

However, I don’t think that confederation is enough to make for economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. French Canadians, First Nations, Inuit, Metis, women, and all minorities of Canada need to be recognized and be given a seat at the table. We need to be given equal rights, and to be treated as equals in society as well as in the eyes of the law. We need to be given the right to speak up, and make a difference in the way confederation plays out. We are just as much Canadians as anyone else, and we all deserve to have the chance to contribute to the confederation of a place we all call home. The legislature that they are creating will affect us as much as it will the law-makers themselves, so I think that it is really important to not over look the rights of minorities while creating the legislature of confederation.

Though I have great hopes for confederation, I do not think that equal rights for all in Canada will be a reality for quite some time. Though this confederation is more civilized than others (the American’s for example) it does not mean that it will include more forward laws. Though there is inclusion of French Canadians in negotiations, not everyone has been given a voice, and this means that the population of Canada will not be equally represented in government. This is a hard reality. There is still a lot of misogyny and racism in our society in this day and age, and there is not a lot I can do as a 15-year-old girl here in Montreal.

I have written several times to the local newspaper in response to some articles, but none of my letters to the editor have been published. I have written in about misconceptions, stereotypes, and falsehoods written in the newspaper about women. My sister sometimes says that it is hopeless to write in to the newspaper about those matters, but I insist on continuing to writing, to continue to try my best to break down the stigma around minorities so that we can have a real voice in confederation and real power to create change.

The Quebec conference is coming to an end today, and though I feel very happy that confederation is becoming a reality, I feel hopeless that there is not a lot I can do so that minorities are represented in the future government in Canada.

I hope to make a difference in the future, I have said for a long time now that when I grow up, I would like to go into politics, but right now, it is a rather un-realistic dream.

Maggie and I Miss You

19 June, 1864

Dear George,

Thank you for your letter, it’s great to hear your words again. Maggie misses you a lot as well and hopes you’ll be able to return soon. So do I.

As much as I have missed you, though, I must commend you on what you have done so far; I cannot tell you how proud I am of you. You have done your duty in the only way you know how, which is to say that you have done it not based on your own goals but with the health of a future united Canada in mind. I firmly believe that the federalized system of government is the right decision and I am so delighted to see that you are taking the steps necessary to achieve it, starting with reporting your stance as you have done.

I have also attached three local newspaper clippings to this letter about your recent speeches. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did as you have been doing some amazing work.

Although I am proud of what you have done, I wish you could come home soon. The thought of settling down here is dreadful to me. This is no way for us to live and it is most definitely no way to raise Maggie. She deserves to have a family that is both loving and present. While I know that you love her – both of us – unconditionally but she needs the stability of having both her parents here.

I’m not trying to berate you or anything; in fact, I am proud of your ardent desire to serve. However, as much as I love you for following your dream to be a politician, this is the not the life I wish to live and I know that one of the only reasons you stay on the Cabinet is so that our nation does not fall apart. However, your political friends must learn how to get along with each other without you. You have done what you can in your position as a politician to better our country and perhaps it is now time to resign and live your life as a full-time journalist. With that being said, please do not run again.

Lots of love,

Anne Brown

Luce Cuvillier – Journal Entry #2

August 7th 1866,

     Today marks the fifth anniversary of the first of my charity dinners for elderly, and disabled women.  I am proud of my work, and find that their popularity increases along with the progression of our brand new nation.  I am grateful to be in a position where I able to aid those less fortunate than I.  

     Ever since father died 17 years ago, I have been in charge of his businesses and trades.  I spent many months getting used to the speed and stress of running businesses but I have long since become accustomed to the agility and flexibility required of me.  In fact I have done so well that my brother sometimes asks for my help running his businesses!  

     When I was a little girl I would have never imagined myself running fathers businesses, but in these modern times it is not as uncommon to see a woman in a position of power (although not completely common just yet).

     I was even fortunate enough to accompany George Cartier to the London Conference earlier this year.  

Being able to see the people who created our country in front of my very own eyes was incredible.  They have always seemed so god-like to me, but being able to see them in person gives me a new perspective on what it takes to lead a nation.  Perhaps one day a woman will be in charge of this country.  

     I am very excited for the uniting of this brand new nation,  the new stronger economy and rail-way will certainly be very beneficial for business.  

     I feel very optimistic about these new changes and am looking forward to the future Canada in which I will raise my children.

Looking further into the future I can say that I am glad to be alive in such a quickly-progressing time, and look forward to watching our new nation develop in front of my eyes.

 

 

 

 

Life’s pretty good, Tommy

July 17, 1859

Dear Tommy,

How is your life going? Life in Edinburgh is going fairly well, though it is mainly the same stuff. However, I can definitely feel the growing contempt on the street towards me from the working class though I can’t say why; I mean our father worked very hard to get the money we have now. Why can’t they just do the same? Not much else is happening on my end but I’m sure you have some great stories from your recent stay in Glasgow.

Mostly, I have been reading and hearing a lot on some fascinating topics. In particular, the events that are happening in America, the Province of Canada, and the Maritimes have been piquing my interest. It sounds to be quite a scene. I won’t go into much detail here since I know you must’ve heard all about it already with all your contacts and schoolmates all around the world. I mean one of your old friends Mr. Brown is even a Premier over there! It must be quite riveting to hear his accounts of what is currently happening in the Province of Canada and the Maritimes.

However, what I will say is that reading about the story behind it is very compelling and I have been spending a lot of my time looking into it. From the rebellions leading to the Report on the Affairs of British North America leading into the Act of Union as well as all the different colonies popping up all across that land, it’s all just enthralling to learn about!

Anyway, while we’re on the topic I do think I’d like to live over the ocean one day, but not if this political scuffle continues. The area sounds quite nice. I’ve already lived and studied in the beautiful rolling hills of Germany, the quaint cities of France, and, of course, the beautiful Edinburgh streets. It’d be nice to live by the river in Canada West but I would never wish to settle down and die in the area if it is as it currently is.

Maybe one day I can have that life. One can only dream.

Lots of love,

Your little sister, Anne

Luce Cuvillier – Journal Entry

June 12, 1835,

     Today is my 18th birthday, and although I should be happy, I can’t help but feel helpless about my life here in Quebec.  I feel as though my actions and thoughts are not recognized as realistic or rational.  No matter how educated or successful I become I will always be dismissed because I am a woman.  Why these barriers were ever put into place, is a question I will never be able to answer.

     But with this feeling of helplessness and despondency comes a subtle wave of hope.  The social rules and standards that I live by today are nebulous and ever-changing.  Much like the gentle but steady uniting of the nation I call home, one day men and women will live as equals, and I feel that it is my duty to ensure that this day will arrive so that my descendants will not have to live in silence as I do.

     One day, I will make my name known.  One day I will be remembered as a fighter.  Although I may never be able to live as free as my father or brother do, I hope that one day, all young women will be heard and respected.

     Although in this modern day I am not granted the luxury of voicing my opinion, father has been very understanding of my strife, and has allowed me to wear pants (although I am only permitted to wear them on our property) and has also allowed me to aid him with his businesses and trades (which he tells me I am quite skilled at).  Father sometimes jokes that one day I can be as much of a success as he is.  

     I am grateful for all the opportunities my father has provided me with, and understand that not all women are given as much as I am.  I will use my good fortune get a higher education, aid those in need, and lend a hand in building the foundation of this nation.

     I can’t waist my chance.  I have to make a difference.