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Useful fortune: contingency and the limits of identity in the Canadas 1790-1850 Robert, Louise 1996

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U S E F U L FORTUNE: CONTINGENCY AND THE LIMITS OF IDENTITY IN THE C A N A D A S 1790-1850 by LOUISE ROBERT B.A., College Marguerite Bourgeoys, 1967 Licence es Lettres, Universite de Montreal, 1970 M.A., University of British Columbia, 1988 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR O F PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of History THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1996 © Louise Robert, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In this study I analyze how Lower and Upper Canadians in the period 1790-1850 articulated ideas of the self in relation to concepts provided by the Enlightenment and more particularly by the notion of self-love. Canadians discussed the importance of individual self-interest in defining the self and in formulating the ties that would unite a multitude of strangers who were expected to live in peace with one another regardless of their religious, cultural and social affiliations. Scholarly discussion about the making of identities in the Canadas has, for the most part, focussed on community-defined identities even though it has always largely been accepted that the Canadas were 'liberal' and individualistic societies. The writings of known and educated Canadians show that the making of identities went well beyond community-defined attributes. To widen the understanding of the process of identity-making in Canada, I have utilized a well-known medieval metaphor that opposes order to contingency or, as in the civic tradition, contrasts virtue and fortune-corruption. It becomes evident that those who insisted on a community-defined identity that subsumed the self in the whole had a far different understanding of contingent motifs than those who insisted on the primacy of the self in the definition of humanity. But both ways of dealing with contingency continued to influence how Canadians came to understand who they were. No consensus emerged and by 1850 the discussions of the Canadian self were rich and complex. The dissertation pays special attention to the methodological implications of utilizing binary oppositions such as the trope order vs contingency in fashioning the images of peoples and nations in ways that engage 'post-modern' notions regarding the construction of the identity of the 'Other'. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Table of Contents Acknowledgement INTRODUCTION Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four ii iii v 1 Worthiness and Self-interest 13 1) Merit 17 2) Work and Education 21 3) Alteration 34 4) Controlling Circumstances 39 5) Modern Morality 46 Modern Sociability 53 1) Display and Appearances 56 2) The Search for Harmony 66 3) The Private Self 80 4) The Nostalgic Self 85 Wealth 93 1) Agricultural Wealth 95 2) Capital 105 3) Otherworldly Wealth in Modernity 118 Citizenship and Modern Sociability 127 1) Democracy Corrupts 128 2) The Modern Representative 138 3) Modern Political Virtue 156 iii Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Bibliography National Identities 164 1) The Universal Identity 165 2) British Virtue, French Corruption 173 3) French Canadian Virtue, English Corruption 186 4) Ethnicity and Religion 195 The Science of History 200 1) The Science of Writing History 201 2) The Cyclical 214 3) The Linear 221 4) The Patternless 232 The Metaphors of Modernity 239 1) Prose and Poetry 240 2) Animality and Sensuality 247 3) Movement 257 4) The Feminine 265 Conclusion 276 287 iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I wish to acknowledge all those who have made this thesis possible. The endless patience and flexibility of my supervisor, Allan Smith, have allowed me to pursue a line of enquiry that took me back to the medieval period, while his editing pen saved me from countless embarrassments. Edward Hundert's sharp mind has deciphered things no one else could see. Alan Tully's academic standards have been matched only by his warmth. Others have played a great role in this enterprise. Allen Sinel's friendship has helped me through good and bad times. Peter Ward has let me talk endlessly about my various academic projects. Robert McDonald has remained the constant in my academic life: to him I owe more than even I can imagine. Tina Loo, Eileen Mak, Bonita Bray, Ben Redekop and Clint Evans have been fellow travellers, helping me along my journey. Marilyn Iwama has been the friend she is. Most important of all, thank you to my husband Robert Penny, because without him none of this would have been possible. , v INTRODUCTION The Age of Reason regarded chance as the superstition of the vulgar but, contrary to general belief, ideas associated with chance and contingency did not disappear in the 'modern' age. Indeed, they endured and even entered in the service of rationality. Nowhere is the persistence of those ideas more clearly in evidence than in the small and new societies of British North America as the inhabitants of those societies found themselves at once emerging into an era of modernity and striving to build ordered and stable communities. In the first half of the nineteenth century, those inhabitants were particularly mindful that making sense of their circumstances and their identities in the midst of the intellectual, social and political upheaval which they, in common with other western beings, were experiencing involved invoking both old and new ideas. Ian Hacking tells us in The Taming of Chance that eighteenth century thinkers had not grasped how chance had been put to work in the service of rationality and order. Claiming that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, chance, luck and randomness had been harnessed by those who devised probability mathematics and laws of chance, Hacking argues that the statistical science which emerged from this strengthened order and control in the nineteenth century. Indeed, these sciences enabled the categorization, inventorying and classification of 'normal' human behaviours which contributed to make the world a more predictable and more stable place to live. By the same token, the thrust to enumerate and to categorize defined new classes of people had "consequences for the ways in which we conceive of others and think of our own possibilities and potentialities."1 Hacking's analysis dealt with the scientific and 1 - Ian Hacking, The Taming of Chance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, P.6. See also his earlier work that traces the passage of chance from a notion of dispersion to one that provided scientists like Leibniz and others with the basis for probability mathematics, a science that enabled the calculation of the probable outcome of things. The Emergence of Probability, a Philosophical Study of Early Ideas About Probability. Induction and Statistical Inference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975. Barbara Shapiro provides a more detailed account for English society in Probability and Certainty in Seventeenth-Century England. A study of the relationships between natural science, religion, history, law and literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983. Suzanne Zeller studied how categorization and inventory sciences lead to a new form of Canadian identity in Inventing Canada: Early Victorian Science and the Idea of a Transcontinental Nation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987. 1 mathematical aspects of contingency and provides a picture of the constructive role played by randomness. Chance and randomness were concepts that had a greater ambit than mathematical and statistical expressions. Ever since the Ancients, contingency had provided themes and ideas that were discussed by humans who longed for control over their earthly destiny. It provided them with the tapestry against which ordering and making sense of the human experience were constantly being tested. Early nineteenth century Canadians, therefore, inherited a rich baggage of notions and ideas about randomness and made use of it when they negotiated societies of self-interest. As Christians, they drew from a discourse of contingency that had roots in medieval Christianity which, in part, had settled on the notion of Fortune. Invoking it allowed contingency to be named, given a shape, a gender, a face and a multitude of attributes, allegories, symbols and associations over a millennium or more. Inherited from the Romans who revered Fortuna as a goddess that answered to no God, not even to Jupiter, Christianity both embraced her and rejected her. Studies reveal the important association between Fortune and Christianity and allow us to distinguish the themes that remained important to those who wished to make sense of their earthly passage. 2 Many of these themes were still providing Canadians with a challenge to be met if their societies were to be morally and intellectually meaningful and stable. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance presented Fortune - undoubtedly a feminine force - as the Goddess of the winds and the seas because primal forces - like her - could not be controlled nor could they 2 - The following works analyze Fortune in the medieval and the Renaissance periods along with her association with Christianity. Howard Rollin Patch, The Goddess Fortuna in Medieval Literature. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1927; The Tradition of Boethius. A Study of His Importance in Medieval Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1935; "The Tradition of the Goddess Fortuna in Medieval Philosophy and Literature", Smith College Studies in Modern Languages. Vol.Ill, No.3(July 1922), P.131-235 and "Fortuna in Old French Literature", Smith College Studies in Modern Languages. Vol.IV, No.4(July 1923), P.1-45. Pierre Courcelle, La Consolation de Philosophie dans la tradition litteraire. Paris: Etudes Augustiennes, 1967. Daniel Martin, Montaigne et la Fortune. Paris: Librairie Honore Champion, 1977. Hanna Pitkin, Fortuna is a Woman. Gender and Politics in the Thought of Niccolo Machiavelli. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Thomas Flanagan, "the Concept of Fortuna in Machiavelli", in Anthony Parel, ed., The Political Calculus: Essays on Machiavelli's Philosophy. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1972. Jerold Frakes, The Fate of Fortune in the Early Middle-Ages. The Boethian Tradition. Koln: E.J . Brill, 1988. There exists no literature on Fortune in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, something that puts the researcher of the nineteenth century somewhat at a disadvantage. 2 be owned. From the outset, Fortune was a metaphor for movement and transition. She ruled all human circumstances. She bestowed gifts - riches, power, rank and reputation - that were hers alone to give: fickle and capricious, she distributed them at random seemingly rewarding the unmeritorious and spurning the worthy. She never recognized merit, she was blind. As arbitrarily as she gave them, she took back her gifts altering the circumstances of humans - collectively or individually. Being endowed with her gifts resulted in recipients falsely believing they were worthy of the possessions she bestowed. Therefore those who defined themselves in reference to worldliness acted like her: they acted arbitrarily, were blind to their 'real' worth and wore 'masks' that made them appear what they were not. The ties they formed, the bonds they developed and the conventions and the laws they made to keep them were relative and subject to change. Fortune was Janus-faced. Her appearance was relative to one's perspective; one understood her in relation to the circumstances she herself created. One person's good fortune was someone else's misfortune. When she destroyed the destinies of some, she created opportunities for others and ruled over the period of transition. She ruled the present and the future of the humans embroiled in her artifices: bound to her wheel, they lost control over their destiny. She recognized no human made laws, habits or customs; no laws ruled her. She was known to be the muse of poets and to rule the human imagination. She had no core, no essence, she was unseizable, wandered endlessly, constantly moving about altering the destinies of humans. She was arbitrariness, patternlessness, dispersion and relativism personified. Christians understood Fortune in two specific ways. One tradition, derived primarly from Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy, written in 524 A D , 3 viewed Fortune as an agent of Providence that offered Christians the opportunity to reflect on the contingent nature of earthly matters and question the 'truth' behind their worldly positions and beliefs. This enabled them to exercise free will and dedicate themselves 3 - The work was continuously translated throughout the middle-ages and the Renaissance. Monarchs read it for inspiration and Elizabeth I made a translation of it. Luminaries such as Nietzsche commented on it. It is still used today in religious studies, in philosophy and in intellectual history. All references to The Consolation in this study are to Richard Green's translation, New York: Bobbs-Merill Company Inc, 1962. 3 to God . 4 Those operating in that tradition saw their encounter with Fortune as an exhilarating and disturbing experience that was useful and necessary in the uncovering of Providential will. In the other tradition, more orthodox and otherworldly, Fortune was simply banished and contingency rejected as a component of God's will.5 This better known Christian tradition constructed an opposition between virtu and Fortuna and, later, between virtue and Fortune-corruption. This discourse was given its fullest interpretation by J .G.A. Pocock in his seminal work on the civic tradition.6 Pocock traced the recasting of an Augustinian discourse of denial from early Christianity through the Renaissance and its anglicization in the seventeenth century as it embodied and organized the ideals of the political entity known as the republic. He also provided a re-interpretation of the intellectual baggage that informed the creation of the American state. 7 The discourse of the civic tradition hinged on the very important notion that virtue offset the deleterious effects of fortune. Republican men could establish and maintain a stable Republic provided they demonstrated at all times, and in common, the selflessness necessary to its existence. That selflessness consisted in denying their natural impulses to satisfy human passions and to acquire earthly rewards: they had to remain 'transparent', untainted by the artificiality and the deceit that defined those who indulged 4 - See Jerold Frakes, The Fate of Fortune in the Early Middle-Ages. The Boethian Tradition. Howard Patch The Goddess Fortuna and Daniel Martin, Montaigne et la Fortune. 5 - For the different Christian stances see entries on Fortune in The Dictionary of the Middle Ages. P.145-147; entries on Fortuna and chance in The Encyclopedia of Religion. P.192-196 and 394, entries on Fortune in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. P.1035-1036 and entries on Fortune, Fate and Chance and on free will and determinism in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas. P.225-236 and P.236-248. As a rule Augustinians shun the notion altogether while Aquinians incorporate the notion but dismiss the goddess and references to Fortuna preferring the less pagan notion of causeless events: res contingentium. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles. The Third Book, Literally translated by the English Dominican Fathers from the latest Leonine Edition, London: Burns and Washboume Ltd., 1928 and particularly the section entitled "The World Order" in Summa Theologiae. Latin text and English translation, Introductions, Notes and Glossaries, London and New York: Blackfriars in conjunction with Eyre & Spottiswoode and McGraw-Hil l, 1970. 6 - J .G.A Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment. Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975. 7 - In this he connected with the works of Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood, two historians whose works provided a revisionist view of American politics and society. See Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1967 and Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1784. New York: W.W. Norton Co. 1979. 4 themselves. Morally-minded men of virtue were forever battling their human impulses and when they were victorious they gained access to a stability and a moral worthiness that was contrasted to the arbitrariness, the corruption and the inevitable decline of those who let Fortune gain the upper hand. The opposition between the virtuous and the fortune-driven was replicated in the relationship between republics and corrupt regimes. 8 When eighteenth century thinkers like Mandeville, Helvetius and others proposed that self-love and the pursuit of pleasure were the natural and universal motivators for human action, they put the discussions on a whole new footing. Inspired by a knowledge of the natural laws that governed the physical world, they found that, far from destroying the individual and his/her sociability, the pursuit of self-interest and pleasure led to the acquisition of riches, power, reputation and rank in ways that contributed simultaneously to the self's perfectibility and complexity and to the public good. 9 This, in turn, enhanced the individual's aptitude to enter into a sociability that facilitated relationships and interdependence with strangers. The 'masks' and the 'deception' that marked a sociability of this sort were discussed openly. The deception involved in formulating codes of morality and behaviours and laying out how these contributed to peace and fellowship 8 - The tradition incorporates the more modern notions of court and country and has influenced many Canadian historians in re-assessing the political discourses of Canadians from 1790 to Confederation. See Gordon Stewart, The Origins of Canadian Politics. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986. Jane Errington, The Lion, the Eagle, and Upper Canada. A Developing Colonial Ideology. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987. Janet Ajzenstat, The Political Thought of Lord Durham. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988. Louis-George Harvey, "Le mouvement patriote comme projet de rupture (1805-1837)", in Yvan Lamonde and Gerard Bouchard, editeurs, Quebecois et Americains. La culture quebecoise aux XIX s et X X 9 siecles. Montreal: Fides, 1995. Peter J . Smith, "The Ideological Origins of Canadian Confederation", Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique. XX:1 (March/mars 1989), P.1-29 and Allan Greer, The Patriots and the People, the Rebellion of 1837 in rural Lower Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993. Only Allan Greer asked for an analysis of Canadian republicanism that would cross over Upper and Lower Canadian linguistic boundaries. See Allan Greer, "1837-38: Rebellion Reconsidered", Canadian Historical Review. Vol. LXXVI, No.1(March 1995), P.1-18. 9 - Jacob Viner analyzed the religious environment that made this kind of approach possible in The Role of Providence in the Social Order, an Essay in Intellectual History. Philadelphia: Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, 1972. Albert O. Hirschman explored the constructive relationship between the passions and the interests in The Passions and the Interests. Political Arguments for Capitalism before its Triumph. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984 and William Letwin studied the natural law framework necessary for such an arrangement in The Origin of Scientific Economics. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1963. 5 was also taken into consideration. 1 0 This new group of thinkers thus addressed change and movement in ways that sustained the perfectibility of humans and contributed to growth and civilization. They did so, moreover, in ways that differed significantly from the more orthodox view presented in the discourse of the civic tradition. In company with Quentin Skinner, J .G.A. Pocock stressed in a particularly important way the idea that thought was always embedded in, and expressive of, a kind of discourse. 1 1 Beyond mere words lay intellectual traditions and constructs that endured over time and helped explain why contexts and events were interpreted in the manner they were by the men who lived them. Behind words, images and interpretations lay intellectual tapestries that were not always evident to the eye, the ear and the intelligence of the actors but that nonetheless affected, oriented, and sometimes dictated the manner in which things were understood. These tapestries had, at times, such authority that actors became quite distanced from 'reality': we must, in consequence, be wary of supposing that speakers were motivated by the things they said they were. Speech-actors sometimes became captive of the rhetorical devices they used. Undeniably, the core of the civic tradition, as Pocock reconstructed it, was the incessant battle of manly virtue against a feminine Fortune. This had been recast by seventeenth century Puritans into the struggle between virtue and corruption and a certain reading of Pocock's works shows that the contours of corruption had, in many ways, been borrowed from the attributes of Fortune. Those who sought their self-interest, pleasure and possessions behaved in a Fortune-like manner: they acted arbitrarily, destabilized the republic and corrupted its citizens. Pocock's attention turned to virtue since the enduring strand of intellectual thought he sought to recover lay in understanding it in the various historical contexts of the time; in his works, fortune-corruption was present but did not get explored in its own right. It is my contention it 1 0 - This particular aspect of modernity was explored by Edward G. Hundert in The Enlightenment's Fable. Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 1 1 - Quentin Skinner,"Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas", History and Theory.-Studies in the Philosophy of History. Vol.Ill, 1969, P.3-53, J .G.A. Pocock, Politics. Languages and Time. Essays on Political Thought and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989 and "The concept of a language and the metier d'historien: some considerations on practice", in Anthony Pagden, ed., The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 6 should. A certain reading of contingency centres on the duality between virtu and Fortuna-corruption. Use of this trope clarifies for those who speak it and for those who hear it the opposition between the virtuous and the sinner-corrupted. It dramatically fashions their identities. However, virtuous identities can no more stand on their own than can corrupt ones because they areinherently tied to one another as a result of the trope being utilized. Identity-building never takes place in a vacuum; rather, the images of one group are always weighed against the images of other groups. Canadians made copious use of this identity-building mechanism. Understood in the republican manner, virtue was the glue that held a community, together since it represented the denial of individual impulses to ensure that a community of self-sacrificing beings could endure. Personal identity in this paradigm was subsumed to the whole; it was what individuals shared in common and would fight to preserve that gave them the identity of citizen. Fortune, however, enticed humans into individual pursuits aimed at satisfying private pleasures in ways that broke citizenship ties and risked sending all citizens into a state of unrelatedness (corruption), where, atomized and dispersed, they had no meaning nor identity. From the vantage point of Fortune, however, the story unfolded differently. Indeed, Fortune enticed individuals to acquire her gifts (power, reputation, rank and riches) and then took them back arbitrarily, leaving the individual isolated, cut off from all human ties and forced to reflect on the nature of human worthiness. The deceit that went into the formation of all human ties, even virtuous ones would thereby be revealed. The individual would then be free to start anew. He could re-embark on the wheel and develop new ways of rationalizing the human experience or dedicate himself to God. The paradigm of republican virtue dealt in the elements that entered into the formation of a community-defined identity; one centering on Fortune emphasized the components that went into the making of individual worth and lent itself more readily to understanding how isolated human beings went about creating sociability. The question of identity is central to Canadian history and it has dominated our historiographical scene in various guises. Canadians have always been concerned with the national identity of Canada in 7 contrast to that of the United States. In the wake of the Revolution Tranquille, they discussed identity in regards to the duality of the Canadian self. In turn, the attention stimulated an interest in multiculturalism and various new cultural identities came under scrutiny. In the interim, emphases on class, local, regional, aboriginal and gender identities have surfaced. The Meech Lake Agreement, the Charlottetown Accord and the 1995 referendum revealed that all these, in one way or another, are part of the collective view we hold about ourselves. The making of identities in Canada has been studied through the prism of social categories of analysis. Class, gender and ethnicity have enhanced our understanding of what goes into their formation. Recent works, particularly Joy Parr's The Gender of Breadwinners, have underlined the importance of not getting caught up in single-category analyses because they hinder our ability to recover the complexity and the multiplicity of elements that enter into the formation of identity.12 For the most part, however, Canadian historians have studied identity from the vantage point of the particular groups that colour and shape the identity of the individuals who belonged to them. Such an approach subsumes the identity of the self in the identity of the group as if individuals did not reflect about themselves as entities existing independently of the qualities they hold in common with others and over which they have no choice. Paradoxically, the group-category approach favoured by Canadian historians overlooks the making of the private identity in societies that are otherwise acknowledged to be individualistic and 'liberal'. This thesis attempts to show that the process of identity-making in the early nineteenth century involved reflections about the nature of the self conducted in a post-Enlightenment environment that focussed on what were believed to be the universal characteristics of humans. That environment influenced discussions about the identity of the self. It also provided Canadians with the notions necessary to build their collective identities. Following the use early nineteenth Canadians made of the language of contingency, the thesis attempts to draw out the implications of utilizing this particular tapestry to construct these individual, cultural, gender and social identities. In the end, as the thesis will show, doing this permits 1 2 - Joy Parr, The Gender of Breadwinners: Women. Men and Change in Two Industrial Towns. 1880-1950. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990, P.3-11. 8 us to speak of them all. The thesis also attempts to uncover a contingency-oriented narrative in the Canadas and to shed light on the manner in which these pre-Victorian North American societies made sense of their modernity at a time when they had not developed the moral-legal consensus that supposedly characterized the later years of the century. The vocabularies they used were not religiously or linguistically exclusive and do not respect the boundaries which would eventually be set by Canadian historians of the period. The discussion, then, moves between the words of figures from Upper and Lower Canada and between French and English-speaking Lower Canadians because discourses and ideas do not always recognize geographical boundaries or linguistic barriers. Althought there is a much greater emphasis on Lower than on Upper Canada, the thesis is very much about the two. Canadians inherited discussions on contingency at a time when the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada were in turmoil. Indeed, living in the aftermath of the Conquest and of the French and the American revolutions and experiencing a war of their own as well as rebellions and the union of the two colonies, early nineteenth century Canadians found contingent motifs particularly useful in the fashioning of their identities. Establishing societies of self-interest proved to be a more difficult proposition than it may have appeared to be at the beginning since there existed no consensus as to who or what constituted the contingent elements among them. Because my intent was to recover the various discussions in play rather than tell the story of particular actors, many citations retain the anonymity that characterized the articles, the newspaper pieces and the pamphlets of the time. In other cases, I have deliberately chosen the words of known figures in Canadian history - Strachan, Thorpe, the Bedards, Blanchet, Papineau, Parent, Christie, Collins, Mackenzie, Garneau, Ryerson - not with any biographical intent in mind but to demonstrate the manner in which even leading figures drew the terms of their thinking from the many vocabularies in use in eighteenth century Europe and earlier. Motifs and themes of contingency manifested themselves in virtually all departments and activities of Canadian life. Chapter 1 explores how modern Canadians addressed the issue of individual worth in 9 societies of self-interest where the majority of the inhabitants had not been favoured by Fortune as they charted out the ways in which only meritorious individuals were to be recompensed. They stressed the importance of perfecting natural talents, of working and getting educated so that rewards were earned as a resultof individual effort and rational conduct. They further undertook to build institutions that would respect the principles of meritorious behaviours in awarding offices and monetary benefits. As a result, they gained an enhanced sense of self worth and reworked the understanding of the ties that bound strangers together. In their estimation, these new principles distinguished Canadians and their societies from the old world where earthly benefits were bestowed on the wealthy and the well-born, men who were born rich and powerful without necessarily meriting the rewards they enjoyed. Contingency also came into play when Canadians discussed the terms by which their public reputation - a gift of Fortune - could be made secure in view of the masks, the appearances and the artificiality that were necessary in societies of self-interest in order to foster a peaceful coexistence between unrelated, self-oriented individuals. Indeed, Canadians understood well that a sociability composed of self-interested strangers brought with it public identities that involved artificiality and deceit and that, as a result, their hard-earned reputation was fragile and subject to misrepresentation. Chapter 2 analyzes how Canadians sought to satisfy the need they had to feel that they merited the esteem that was extended to them and to feel secure that the esteem they extended to others was merited. They counteracted the instances where a discrepancy existed between private intent and public display by seeking to harmonize their private and public images and by publicly denouncing when they were not. The efforts they undertook in this regard led them to look inward in order to recover a personal core that remained stable through it all. On the other hand, a modern sociability proved unacceptable to others who saw in it a lie and a deception and proposed a kind of otherworldly sociability free from the trappings of modernity that could still be found in those who had yet to suffer its corruptive effects. Discussions of growth, comfort and plenty focussed the attention more specifically on one gift of Fortune - wealth - and brought into play the constructive changes to individual and social ties produced by wealth in commercial societies. Here again Canadians were careful to outline the ways in which wealth 10 c o u l d w o r k in a m e r i t o r i o u s m a n n e r a n d t h e w a y s in w h i c h it c o u l d n o t . C h a p t e r 3 s t u d i e s t h e a r t i c u l a t i o n o f t h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n w e a l t h t h a t r a n c o u n t e r to n o t i o n s o f h u m a n w o r t h a n d w e a l t h t h a t f o s t e r e d it. T h e c h a p t e r a l s o s h o w s w h y l a n d a p p e a r e d to m a n y a s a c o n t i n g e n t - f r e e c o m m o d i t y t h a t d e f i n e d t h e c l a s s i d e n t i t y o f t h o s e i n v o l v e d in p r o d u c i n g f o o d f o r t h e m a n y . C h a p t e r 4 e x a m i n e s h o w C a n a d i a n s r e a c t e d to t h e i r ' d e m o c r a t i c ' i n s t i t u t i o n s in w a y s t h a t s h a p e d t h e i r i d e n t i t y a s c i t i z e n s . S o m e C a n a d i a n s i n t e g r a t e d a s p a c i o u s a n d a m b i v a l e n t s o c i a b i l i t y i n t o a n e l e c t o r a l s y s t e m t h a t t o o k in s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d i n d i v i d u a l s r e g a r d l e s s o f c l a s s , g e n d e r o r e t h n i c i t y . O t h e r s s a w in t h i s c a p a c i o u s e d i f i c e t h e c o r r u p t i o n o f t h e i r p r i v i l e g e d p o l i t i c a l i d e n t i t i e s . F o r o t h e r s st i l l , it p u t v i r t u e in q u e s t i o n . T h e c h a p t e r a l s o e x a m i n e s t h e a t t r i b u t e s o f t h e ' s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d ' a n d t h e ' s e l f l e s s ' p o l i t i c i a n in w a y s t h a t m a k e s c l e a r t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n a ' t r a n s p a r e n t ' a n d a ' n e g o t i a t e d ' r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . C h a p t e r 5 e x p l o r e s h o w t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t ' s t h e o r y o f s t a d i a l d e v e l o p m e n t p r o v i d e d t h e f r a m e w o r k s t r u c t u r i n g i m a g e s a n d i d e n t i t i e s o f n a t i o n s . It b e c a m e c l e a r t h a t s o m e b e l i e v e d t h a t s o c i e t i e s o f s e l f - i n t e r e s t w h i c h r e s p e c t e d t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t a n d a c c o r d e d e s t e e m a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f i n d i v i d u a l m e r i t o r i o u s b e h a v i o u r w o u l d s u b o r d i n a t e c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t i e s . H o w e v e r , e t h n i c i t y a n d r e l i g i o n p r o v e d to b e t e n a c i o u s l y r e s i s t a n t to E n l i g h t e n m e n t u n i v e r s a l i t y s i n c e t h e y w e r e v i e w e d b y o t h e r s a s c o n t i n g e n t -f r e e a n d c o m m o n l y - h e l d a t t r i b u t e s t h a t a n c h o r e d i d e n t i t y in a f a r m o r e s t a b l e a n d m o r a l l y a c c e p t a b l e m a n n e r . F o r m u l a t i n g i d e n t i t i e s in t e r m s o f e t h n o - r e l i g i o u s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n v o l v e d u t i l i z i n g t h e t r o p e o r d e r v s c o n t i n g e n c y in w a y s t h a t b o t h e n h a n c e d a n d f r a g m e n t e d n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t i e s . C h a p t e r 6 u s e s a n i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f h i s t o r i c a l w r i t i n g to s h o w h o w t h e s e a r c h f o r w r i t t e n a n d i m m u t a b l e t r u t h s in t h e f a c e o f art i f i c ia l a n d e p h e m e r a l h u m a n p r o d u c t i o n s m a n i f e s t e d a I p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t p h a s e o f w h a t w a s t a k i n g p l a c e . It a l s o e x p l o r e s t h e m a n n e r in w h i c h c o n t i n g e n t - r e l a t e d p a t t e r n s r e g a r d i n g t h e p a s s a g e o f t i m e s h a p e d t h e C a n a d i a n h i s t o r i c a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s . T h e l i n e a r , t h e c y c l i c a l a n d t h e p a t t e r n l e s s w e r e m a r s h a l l e d b y t h e s e w r i t e r s to i d e n t i f y a n d p l a c e i n d i v i d u a l s a n d n a t i o n s in t h e g r a n d s c h e m e o f t h i n g s . C h a p t e r 7 s u r v e y s s o m e r e f l e c t i o n s o n p r o s e a n d p o e t r y to r e v e a l a n o n - g o i n g c o n c e r n a b o u t t h e p r o d u c t i o n s o f t h e i m a g i n a t i o n . It c o n t i n u e s in t h i s v e i n b y e x a m i n i n g h o w t h e m e t a p h o r s , f i g u r e s o f s p e e c h , 11 images and symbols associated with contingency coloured the 'aesthetic' judgements Canadians passed on one another and how they reinforced various identities. The chapter pays particular attention to the gendered nature of the trope that opposes order and contingency. The written sources include printed pamphlets and magazine articles as well as newspaper pieces, histories, printed speeches and manuscript documents. Poems, plays and novels were also consulted since they were part of the literary legacies of the era and authors frequently wrote poems in addition to their works in prose in ways that fleshed out some of their ideas. The punctuation, the capitalization, the spelling of French and English words as well as the manner of accenting French words varied widely from text to text; these variations were left intact in the quotations unless they impaired the understanding of the text. On many occasions, citations are repeated in different chapters because they add layers of meaning to various aspects studied. Lastly, I have not italicized or underlined citations in French because their numbers alone would have distracted the attention of the reader. 12 CHAPTER ONE WORTHINESS AND SELF-INTEREST Nature provided the reference point when eighteenth century thinkers advanced the argument that humans were naturally motivated by self-love to pursue the praise of their peers while indulging their passions for worldly matters, all the while unintentionally contributing to the public good. Furthermore, they added, the process was neither chaotic nor disorderly but necessary to the order and the growth of civilized society. This manner of understanding human behaviour and its consequences contrasted with the moral and otherworldly sense of matters that, for centuries, had equated social order and stability with the denial of individual self-interest and the curtailment of human passions. 1 Orthodox Christianity took a dim view of worldly man, seeing him as corrupted by his passions for sensual pleasures and material possessions. To be saved, men had to channel their passions into denying the part of their nature that sought immediate gratification and remain steadfast in their self-sacrificing resolve. Should they fail, and the odds were that they would, men would be embroiled in the web of deception that defined the self in reference to worldly matters instead of in relation to God's certain and stable truth. The worldly self, then, was unworthy and corrupted (taking this term in its original Latin sense of 'unrelated'). It stood alone, selfishly seeking sensual satisfaction in temporary worldly things and falsely believing that the framework of human ties that possessions created, and that defined the self, constituted a true and stable edifice. 2 1 - For the process by which self-love and self-interest become regarded as a way of allowing the passions to work for public as well as personal purposes, see Albert Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests. Political Arguments for Capitalism before its Triumph. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977. See also Nannerl Keohane, Philosophy and the State in France. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980, Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff, eds., Wealth and Virtue, the Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983 and Edward Hundert, The Enlightenment's Fable. Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 2 - According to Christians, sceptics and epicurians indulged their pleasures and their passions in consequence of their beliefs in the arbitrariness and the unpredictability of the order in which they lived. 13 At the time of the Renaissance, the otherworldly understanding of the self was recast into a political discourse known as the civic tradition, civic humanism or republicanism. 3 Rejecting medieval contemplation and escape from worldly affairs, the civic tradition proposed active participation in political life while rejecting self-interested action. Men could gain a measure of political stability and forge a collective political identity in the republic if they functioned as One by refusing to indulge their individual passions. Unity would endure as long as all citizens, dependent on one another, remained steadfast in self-sacrificing commitment. Within the confines of republican citizenship, worthy citizens transcended their 'worldly selves' and made themselves complete by becoming self-governing. They enjoyed stability and cohesion unhampered by the individualism that accompanied indulged desires and sent autocratic regimes on a path ruled by Fortune. Following the Reformation, Puritan republicans associated community and stability with a 'second nature' closely linked to God's grace and recast the notion of Fortune into corruption.4 Republican men embraced frugality and the ideals of simplicity and self-sacrifice in contrast to corrupt papal and monarchical regimes which indulged in material possessions and arbitrary rule. By the eighteenth century, European thinkers conversant with new and strange societies pointed to the relativism of customs, habits and codes of morality and looked at universal human features that fostered interdependencies among a diversity of cultures and individuals. Trade could build on these features since trading nations and trading individuals needed peaceful relationships that were mutually beneficial. 5 Trade, however, meant the exchange of worldly goods and entailed a configuration of the self that took into account human passions, material 3 - The most comprehensive study of this process is J .G.A. Pocock's The Machiavellian Moment. Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975. For an analysis of a court-country discourse in American society see Bernard Bailyn The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Massachussets: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1967. For developments in Britain, consult J .G.A. Pocock, Virtue Commerce and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. For application of the court-country model to the politics of Canadian society see Gordon Stewart, The Origins of Canadian Politics. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986. 4 - Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment. P.370. 5 - Here also Hirschman's The Passions and the Interests is important along with William Letwin The Origin of Scientific Economics. London: Methuen & Co. , 1963 and Jacob Viner's The Role of Providence in the Social Order. An Essay in Intellectual History. Philadelphia: Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, 1972. 14 goods and the masks and deception associated with them. They proceeded from a seventeenth century concept drawn from natural law. They relied on a 'state of nature', an imperfect and universal condition from which individuals and societies historically emerged. 6 Shaping, and in turn shaped by, the development of the arts and sciences, individuals and societies developed according to natural laws. Universally motivated by self-love to seek happiness in worldly matters, men found their most dangerous passions naturally curbed by self-interest, since delaying immediate gratification ensured greater personal fulfilment later on. In the process of pursuing self-interest, thus understood, individuals accumulated knowledge and material possessions which attested to their degree of civilization and to their advance towards perfectibility which in turn contributed unintendedly to the growth and civilization of their societies. Humans no longer feared that their passions and their selfish tendencies lead them to their corruption: simply following the designs of nature, they could engage them without fearing the consequences. Early nineteenth century Canadians lived at a time when societies of self-interest were still in the process of being intellectually negotiated. Many of the concerns they expressed about what was happening can be analyzed against a tapestry of notions about contingency since most of the discussions that went on sought to clarify the principles of human worth. Canadians insisted that earthly benefits be acquired by those who merited them in order to distinguish their society from those where rank, esteem, riches and power had been distributed to individuals in an arbitrary fashion. 7 The modern age, they thought, should stand apart from other ages and places by rewarding the worthy instead of relying on unnatural arrangements that favoured those born to riches and power who were deceived into thinking that they merited their elevated stations. Canadians, then, believed that individuals of the New World would acquire earthly benefits without the intervention of contingency. Furthermore, they remained particularly focussed 6 - There was no particular consensus over time as to what the "state of nature" looked like. For Hobbes it resembled a state of war, for Locke, a state of peace and for Rousseau, a state of natural isolation and timidity. For the Encyclopedists and Adam Smith it was characterized by the activity of hunting and gathering. 7 - Religious authorities had not been able to explain why temporal benefits were not distributed according to virtue or merit. It was largely for this reason that "theologians claimed that a heaven and a hell had been established, so that justice would ultimately be rendered." Viner, The Role of Providence. P.106. The conundrum was central to the story of Fortune. 15 on demonstrating how individuals could strive for plenty and comfort and become 'civilized' without becoming deceived and, by extension, corrupted by their possessions. 16 1) MERIT Self-love motivated all human actions, according to a contributor to Le Canadien. It motivated the brave to face danger in battle; it inspired ministers and priests to meditate or preach; it stimulated those who sought public office; it prompted individuals to seek knowledge and acquire material possessions and it even induced humans to act virtuously. Self-love, then, was "le principe du bien comme du mal, de la vertu comme du vice." The motivator, the author added, was good or bad only according to the objects pursued; the pursuit itself, however, was universal, god-given and not subject to moral judgement. A well directed self-interest contributed to the happiness of the individual and to the public good provided the individual knew what constituted his or her best interest. Knowledge of the self and of its abilities was essential for self-love to work in ways that benefited the individual and society. Otherwise humans would only pursue frivolous pleasures to fulfil immediate and inconsequential wants instead of "des plaisirs solides" that lasted. Most early nineteenth century Canadians accepted self-love as the universal motivator for actions but sought to gain a measure of influence over the manner in which individuals conducted the pursuit of self-interest and the subsequent acquisition of earthly rewards. Such a natural impulse, they reasoned, ought to be utilized to perfect human talent. The passions could then be channelled into avenues that perfected attributes and contributed to the growth of the individual in a naturally appealing way. 9 Human passions long considered sinful - pride for instance - could if used to stimulate natural talents improve the self. It was to Jacques Viger's pride that his cousin Denis- Benjamin Viger appealed when he congratulated him on the written introduction to a political pamphlet. He urged his cousin to develop this natural gift. "Je 8 - Le Canadien. 3 Octobre 1807. The author was commenting on a passage from Helvetius' Reflexions sur le pouvoir de la Raison et des Passions. 9 - "Discours Preliminaire", Journal de Medecine de Quebec/The Quebec Medical Journal. Vol.1, No.1, 1826, P.X. 17 te prierais done de t'appliquer a Ie perfectionner et tot ou tard tu en tireras avantage." 1 0 Your talent for analytical writing, he added, could bring you consideration from others and even perhaps the way to earn an honourable living in the future. Jacques' pursuit of self-interest, his kin pointed out, lay in developing a natural talent for which he could be socially recognized and monetarily rewarded. By introducing the perfection of talent, Denis-Benjamin Viger was incorporating a crucial distancing step between the pursuit of self-interest and the mere acquisition of earthly rewards, a step that entailed the conscious decision to improve the natural self. While the young Viger may have had little choice in following his self-interest -this, after all, was a natural impulse - he retained the ability to decide how to accomplish this. Doing it by improving a natural talent would earn him the consideration of strangers, the ability to make a living and a measure of private control over his actions. Enacted in this manner, the pursuit of self-interest gave a measure of moral satisfaction since the individual would demonstrate a rational and disciplined understanding of what it took to advance his or her condition. Furthermore, the rewards obtained as a result would in no way be acquired by chance since that individual could trace the esteem of his peers, his enhanced social status and the monetary benefits he received to the knowledge he had of his natural abilities and to the effort he displayed in perfecting them. Jacques Viger assured his wife that awarding offices on the strength of merit instead of contacts would mean nothing short of a revolution in manners that would be highly profitable to both the state and to justice. 1 1 The revolution envisaged by Viger was indeed far-ranging since it involved a new 1 0 - National Archives of Canada hereafter called NAC. Manuscript Group, hereafter called M G 24 L8 M8, Ma Saberdache Bleue. D.B. Viger a Jacques Viger 19 Mars 1809. Jacques Viger was the editor of Le Canadien for a few years and later became Montreal's first mayor. Equipped with a fine sense of history he neatly recopied in several volumes his lifelong papers and correspondence. Denis Benjamin Viger was a prominent statesman who had a lengthy and fruitful involvement in public affairs. At the time of this exchange, he had just published a pamphlet outlining his analysis of current events in Lower Canada entitled Considerations sur les effets qu'ont produit en Canada, la conservation des etablissemens du pays. les moeurs. ['education etc. de ses habitans et les consequences qu'entraTneront leur decadence, par rapport aux interets de la Grande Bretagne. Montreal: James Brown, 1809. 1 1 - MG24 L8 M-8, Ma Saberdache Bleue. Jacques Viger a sa femme, 17 Mars 1809. " conviendrait, je crois, de songer a etablir une autre regie celle par exemple de donner les places aux hommes. Je crois que ce renversement de I'ordre etabli serait une revolution profitable a I'Etat et a la justice." Underlined in the text. 18 understanding about the principles of human worth. Lower and Upper Canadian reformers made the argument for recognition of talents and merit a central element in their battles against the reigning powers. Upper Canadian Francis Collins, the editor of The Canadian Freeman, used that argument to denounce the men who had used the Alien Bill to oust the reformer Barnabas Bidwell. Bidwell, a lawyer "...of deep research, consumate knowledge and superior talents...", had been expelled at the behest of the Attorney-General J . B. Robinson and his friends, "...who were basking in the sun-beams of family patronage." 1 2 John Rolph used it in his battle for the recognition of Methodists and their aspirations to office and a share of Clergy Reserves. 1 3 Francois Blanchet used it to attack the Lower Canadian Legislative Council 's notion of creating a nobility in Canada. This would mean disregarding talented and worthy men, something that constituted "...une anomalie politique.." and went against the very nature of Canada . 1 4 Common to all these arguments was the idea that, in the new world, earthly benefits would be awarded on the basis of talent and merit rather then on the strength of a fortuitous birth that extended unfair advantages to the unmeritorious who remained unaccountable for their actions. Furthermore, as resolution 13 of the 92 Resolutions pointed out, birth, rank and riches conferred artificial advantages based on chance. On the other hand, talents "...que la fortune ne peut acheter..." conferred merited rewards to those who perfected them. 1 5 Talent was the least manipulate element of the human personality. It fell completely outside the control of any human agency. But though humans could not create it, they could develop it and organize the structures of society in ways that would acknowledge its worth. Those who had perfected their talents would be worthy of earthly rewards, rewards that included the exercise of power and the accumulation of 1 2 - Francis Collins, An Abridged View of the Alien Question Unmasked by the Editor of the Canadian Freeman. York: Printed at the Freeman's Office, 1826. P.3. 1 3 - Speeches of Dr. John Rolph. and Christoph'r A. Hagerman. Esq. His Majesty's Solicitor General, on the Bill for Appropriating the Proceeds of the Clergy Reserves to the Purposes of General Education. Toronto: Printed by M. Reynolds, Cor.& Adv. Office, 1837. 1 4 - Francois Blanchet, Appel au Parlement Imperial et aux Habitans des colonies anglaises dans I'Amerique du Nord sur les pretensions exorbitantes du Conseil Legislatif de la Province du Bas Canada. Quebec: Imprime par Flavien Vallerand, 1824. P.11-12. 1 5 - The 92 Resolutions reproduced in N.-E. Dionne, Pierre Bedard et ses fils. Quebec: Typ. Laflamme et Proulx, 1909. P.334-362 19 riches hitherto largely unavailable to anyone born outside the nobility. Talents alone, however, were not a sufficient base for human worthiness. Since individuals had no control over their allocation 1 6 humans sought a more reassuring and controllable connection over the consequences of perfecting human talents. They focussed their sights on effort and education as the true measures of worthiness. 1 6 - Talents were gifts of nature or Providence. Arguably they were allocated on a random base, something that favoured arbitrarily some individuals over others. 20 2) WORK AND EDUCATION Effort became central to the notions of merit and worthiness in the Canadian discussions regarding societies of self-interest. This aspect of modernity had deep roots in Christianity which long regarded idleness as "la maftresse qui enseigne tous les vices". 1 7 A necessary if not enjoyable activity, work calmed the passions, even among the totally unskilled, because it channelled time and energy into life-sustaining activities that provided food and shelter. 1 8 Even when directed at subsisting rather than providing earthly comforts, work distinguished between meritorious and unmeritorious men. The true character of merit, an observer noted, did not so much reside "in the performance but in the effort."19 Those who could work, and did, proved their worth by not being a burden to society and enjoying a measure of independence. Those who could not work as a result of illness or age were considered worthy of benevolence; but those who could work and chose not to were considered unworthy, idle and dangerous. Early nineteenth century discussions of what constituted human worthiness in relation to charity distinguished early on between the worthy sick and the unworthy poor. 2 0 The unworthy poor, or those who received assistance without meriting it, were invariably identified as able-bodied men who refused to work; who, indeed, chose idleness as a way of life. And when men chose to beg they were described by the moral-minded as behaving like animals. "Semblables en quelque sorte a ces animaux sauvages..." these men, bereft of home and hearth, scrounged or begged for food. Idle and wandering, beggars swarmed 1 7 - Nothing good could come from idleness. It was the cause of all disorder according to Bishop Humbert. Pierre Hubert Humbert, Instructions chretiennes pour les jeunes gens: utiles a toutes sortes de personnes. Quebec: no publisher cited, 1802, P.267. 1 8 - "Une ressource indispensable contre I'ennui. La nature nous en fait un besoin; la societe un devoir: I'habitude peut en faire un plaisir." Magazin du Bas-Canada. Tome I, No.5, Juin 1832, P.223. 1 9 - "Introduction", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.l, No.l, July 1823, P.4. 2 0 - The discussions preoccupied many European countries since they dealt with identifying the authority responsible for charity and the manner in which it was to be financed. Leading the thinking of the day, Holland proposed to finance the maintenance of the aged and sick poor through municipal levies and to force able-bodied men to work. Le Canadien and The Quebec Mercury conducted a dialogue of sorts on the Dutch proposals during the spring of 1807. 21 about 2 1 ready to drink, gamble and become a danger to society. 2 2 An idle man, warned The Quebec Mercury, "positively tempts the devil." 2 3 The idle could go to great extent to indulge their inactivity; according to one commentator, some even bought lots in the remotest places to escape public scrutiny and moral condemnation. 2 4 In other words, idle men were likely to act in fortune-like manner; they would be swept away by their passions and escape the moral and legal injunctions of their fellow humans. In contrast, men who worked would meet their basic needs and those of their families and contribute to social tranquility and order. Working played a socializing function because it coerced man into curtailing his most self-destructive and anti-social impulses in order to provide for his survival and that of his immediate family -something that he was duty-bound to do but could not be morally legislated into doing. As inheritors of the Enlightenment's civilizing development of the arts and the sciences, Canadians saw work as something more complex than a mere stabilizer of the passions. Work, for them, became the activity by which man improved his natural self, smoothed the roughness of his nature and built his experience into ever more sophisticated and complex identities and behaviours. Working became a many-sided expression of self-interest because it enabled humans to perfect themselves, accumulate earthly rewards and produce useful outputs for which they could be esteemed. Moreover, the activity focussed the attention away from the motives for self-interested pursuits in commercial societies where having good intentions was not sufficient for perfectibility and growth. The appeal to the passions mediated by self-interest to induce farmers to work permeated the 2 1 - The Quebec Mercury. 5 July 1805. 2 2 - Le Canadien. 14 Fevrier 1807 and The Quebec Mercury. 25 May 1807. The 1834 discussions on the Poor Laws in England were framed in much the same terms when it came to worthiness and unworthiness but differed on the method of financing preferring a centralized organization working in conjunction with Parish Vestries. James Struthers' book No Fault of Their Own, shows how much these categories of analysis were still being used in the first half of the Twentieth century. James Struthers, No Fault of Their Own. Unemployment and the Canadian Welfare State 1914-141. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1983. 2 3 - The Quebec Mercury. 10 October 1808. Christian morality, be it Protestant or Catholic, did not accommodate idleness in any way. The medieval contemplative life never centred on idleness but rather on the active contemplation of God. 2 4 - Le Canadien. 26 Septembre 1807. 22 writings of nineteenth century literate Canadians. For those concerned with such development, it was essential to look beyond the sort of subsistence economy that left men undifferentiated and without scope. Farmers who cultivated for simple necessity lacked the foresight that came from a developed self-interest and, insofar as one commentator was concerned, worked only to meet immediate needs and showed no concern whatsoever for their future: "...le present seul occupe chaque individu." 2 5 Others, however, demonstrated an enlightened self-interest when they cultivated with a view to improvement and adopted specialized crops in order to meet market demands. In his bilingual pamphlet on the cultivation of hemp, Charles Taylor emphasized increased yield per acre, easy tending and assured profits, all of which would appeal to a farmer's self-interest.2 6 While both kinds of farmer worked, the latter made a more efficient 'use' of his passions by choosing to channel them into endeavours, that, over the long term, yielded greater pleasures. Furthermore, these farsighted farmers contributed, even without intending to, to the growth of Canada and England while subsistence farmers did not. Here was a clear instance in which pursuit of self-interest enhanced the public good. A Terrebonne notary, Francois-Hyacinthe Seguin, might also reflect that the best way to induce farmers to compete among themselves and ameliorate their agricultural practices was to publicly reward the winners with distinctive honours during the annual fair. 2 7 The farmers' pursuit of this recognition would produce a twofold result: they would strive to excel in their craft to gain esteem and society would benefit from increased yields. Seguin was not alone in appealing to the passions of ordinary men. William F. Buchan in his Remarks on Emigration published in 1836 sought to entice potential migrants to the Eastern Townships by appealing to their mediated sense of pride and possession: " his own industry [the emigrant] stands lord of his grounds and possessing the realities and not the 2 5 - Le Canadien. 20 Aoust 1807. 2 6 - Charles Taylor, Remarks on the Culture and the Preparation of Hemp in Canada. Quebec: John Neilson, 1806. P.18. 2 7 - MG24 1109, Notes prises a Terrebonne par Francois-Hyacinthe Seguin. hereafter referred as Notes. 12 Septembre 1831. Seguin thought it better to offer public honours rather than money as rewards. He estimated that the status gained would last while the money would be quickly squandered on drink. 23 mere name of a home. Taylor, Buchan and Seguin called on the passions of farmers to energize them into altering their habits in ways that added to their wealth and perfectibility without their having to form any intent to profit the general good. They could be enticed into proper behaviours on the promise that in both the short and long term, their social status and their wealth would be increased as a result of their own private exertions which guaranteed that they merited what they acquired. Work was necessary in order to lay a claim that things acquired were merited: it distinguished one's conduct from that of those who possessed things without personal effort. It was also something which, in a carefully planned commercial environment, made the individual productive year round; this gave a measure of control over leisure time when human minds and hands drifted towards a dangerous idleness. One commentator urged women to continue to manufacture hats because the activity kept them occupied all winter. 2 9 Another suggested that "Employment could be given between feed time and harvest until other object might offer by introducing summer fallow and hoe crops....It is only by a full employment of time that poverty can be kept out of doors. Indolence has ever proved the mother of distress." 3 0 The time was ripe to wean farmers from their habits of working according to the seasons and the crops, a way of life that left them without ambition and at the mercy of forces over which they had no control. 3 1 Without 2 8 - William F.Buchan, Remarks on Emigration: more particularly applicable to the Eastern Townships Lower Canada. Devonport: Baldwin & Cradock, 1836. P.14. 2 9 - Le Canadien. 16 Mai 1807. 3 0 - The Quebec Mercury. 2 March 1807. 3 1 - That the peasantry lived at the mercy of circumstances out of their control was a view that had been around for some time. In 1708 a visitor by the name of Diereville described the long colonial winters that imparted to the inhabitants habits of idleness. A commentary that he followed by a poem. L'oisivete leur plait, ils aiment le repos De mille soins facheux le Pays les delivre N'etant chargez d'aucun impots Ils ne travaillent que pour vivre. Ils prennent le temps comme il vient S'il est bon ils se rejouissent Et s'il est mauvais ils patissent Chacun comme il peut se maintient Sans ambition, sans envie lis attendent le fruit de leurs petits travaux Et I'aveugle fortune en les rendant egaux 24 regular, disciplined work, Etienne Parent told his audience, man's intelligence would go unused and his ability to develop the arts and the sciences and improve himself and his condition would go to waste. 3 2 Productive work, on the other hand, provided humankind with the means to escape the fatalism of less developed societies who believed that uncontrollable forces ruled the course of things. Productive individuals and productive societies, however, could set their own course and gain control over their destiny. 3 3 The modern age was first and foremost an active age; an age where private action, whatever its intent, was necessary to ensure the growth of society and the worthiness of those who engaged in it. Indeed, work became an index of civilized behaviour since it contributed to personal and social growth; it also became an index of moral behaviour since it ensured the worthiness of the participants. The moral boundaries of Canadian modernity were made clear by Etienne Parent in his 1847 address when he clearly distinguished between the industrious and the idle. Modern societies would be composed only of "des hommes progressifs ou retrogrades, des egoistes ou des.liberaux." 3 4 By contrasting a worthy behaviour to an unworthy one in ways that left no doubt as to the nature of right and wrong, of good and evil, Parent set a standard of personal identity and worth that opened avenues to all individuals but, by the same token, also set the limits of free will. Individuals were not free to remain idle but Parent and others believed that they would choose to work once they had been made aware of the personal benefits they could reap if they perfected their talents. Work was an essential component of commercial society. Without it, individuals could not develop their talents and channel their energies into productive activities. This left them at the mercy of their own Les exempte de jalousie. Cited in Leopold LeBlanc, editeur, Ecrits de la Nouvelle France. Vol.1, Montreal: Les Editeurs de la Presse Ltee, 1978, P.208. 3 2 - "Sans le travail, Intelligence des hommes ne s'expliquerait pas." Etienne Parent, "Du travail chez I'homme" Conference prononcee a I'lnstitut Canadien, 3 Septembre 1847 reproduced in Jean-Charles Falardeau ed., Etienne Parent. 1802-1874. Montreal: Les Editions La Presse, 1975, P. 150. 3 3 - Ibjd., P.155. 3 4 - "Du travail", P.166. 25 unmediated passions, something that made their lives precarious in the present and left them with a future over which they had no control. With work, however, individuals could call on their passions with a measure of certainty that the result would not lead to their decline; working at perfecting their talents, gave individuals a measure of personal control over their lives and ensured that the present and particularly the future could hold something secure entirely due to their own abilities and exertions. As a consequence, humans gained a measure of moral comfort about the social esteem and the material possessions they accumulated since they were the extension of willed behaviours instead of arbitrary circumstances. This type of arrangement liberated humans from thinking that only the 'lucky' - those born to riches and power -and therefore the unmeritorious had a place in society. The working of commercial societies brought with it a reflection on human worthiness grounded in natural talents and personal effort and undermined social ties dictated by time and arbitrary circumstances. Grounding social esteem in talents and work held much promise for those who wished to change the premises on which public recognition had been extended in the past. While still possessing the potential to foster hierarchy - albeit on different grounds than noble birth - such grounding opened up avenues of worth to wide segments of the population. Anyone who could direct his or her impulses into constructive self-interested actions could become the subject of public recognition in ways that enhanced the individual's stature in the community. Esteem and respect once automatically extended to seigneurs and appointed authorities could be now directed at and obtained by 'ordinary' individuals. The new Canadian age, in theory at least, extended to all those who worked and got educated the tools to access human worth. When two aboriginals tribes petitioned Lord Elgin for their lands, they made it clear that to be able to fully participate in "I'etat civilise", they should be given the chance to acquire an education and work the land, first as farm hands then as owners. 3 5 According to the moderns, aboriginals, like anyone else, could access earthly rewards in a meritorious manner if they deployed the wherewithal to claim their place in civilization. 3 5 - MG24 B1 Vol.26, Petition des tribus Algonquines et Nepissingues a James Elgin Gouverneur General. 9 Fevrier 1831. The petition was probably written by John Neilson on their behalf. 26 Women, as well as men, could be endowed with talents that were far ranging and diverse. Indeed, nothing prevented them from making a contribution to the development of the arts and the sciences and the growth and progress of civilization and, in the process, winning individual social status and monetary reward. As human beings, women were no less motivated than men by self-interest to delay the gratification of their passions so as to acquire greater satisfaction in the future. Enlightenment understanding of personality and the individual held the promise of equality between the sexes. Women, like men, could calm their passions through work in ways that enabled them to perfect their talents and acquire reputation and monetary comfort in a deserving way. They were under the same kind of Christian injunction to work and needed an environment conducive to the perfection of their natural talents. 3 6 That environment, however, was not physical labour in the fields but activity in the home. Indeed, a correspondent of Le Canadien was alarmed when he witnessed women working in the fields, a type of activity that was, he thought, the natural domain of men. The practice was contrary to civilized habits and usually found "...chez les peuples abatardis par le despotisme", societies that had yet to adopt civilizing behaviours. 3 7 Work in the home was the only activity that could develop "..ce coup d'oeil facile, cette dexterite, cet esprit de detail necessaire pour la conduite de I'interieur d'une maison..." 3 8 In calling for women to work in the home, commentators were proposing a work environment that calmed the passions and gave women the opportunity to perfect their natural talents. 3 9 Contrary to the civic tradition where women were not only absent from the republic but where the virtue of men - steadfastness, denial, transparency and frugality - was opposed to notions associated with women - profligacy, capriciousness, deceit and instability - Enlightenment-minded Canadians were 3 6 - William Buchan contrasted a worthy woman "skilled in domestic affairs" to an unworthy and useless one "who never washed anything but her hands". Buchan, Remarks on Emigration. P.48. 3 7 - Le Canadien. 16 Janvier 1808. 3 8 - Ibid. A few years later, another observer questioned the appropriateness of a 1781 ordinance that called women to corvees in times of war. Le Spectateur. 4 Octobre 1814. 3 9 - The school reform activist Joseph Lancaster identified a woman's dexterity as "the tendency to industry and civilization." MG24 B1 Vol.15, Joseph Lancaster to Louis-Joseph Papineau, Undated. 27 concerned with integrating all working individuals in the scheme of things. They extended to women the same categories of analysis they utilized for men. However, the treatment differed in one important aspect. As long as they worked, men could be perfectible in as many areas of endeavours as human nature offered; but women's talents were named: beauty, dexterity and nurturing. By naming the talents of women, men placed them in the scheme of things in a way that limited their sphere of activity and arbitrarily determined for them the path they could follow and the avenues that could earn them merit. 4 0 Work enhanced the sense of the self but true self-interest could only be uncovered by education. Here too the drive for knowledge had its source in a natural impulse common to all individuals. Curiosity, according to a correspondent to The Quebec Mercury, was a universal passion that knew no bounds: Since then curiosity is a passion inherent in the human mind, in every situation from the gilded palace to the mud-walled cottage and operates with incessant activity upon every degree of human understanding, it is an object of great utility and importance in the right ordering of the mind, to direct the operation of so operative a quality to such object of enquiry as may be conducive to real improvement and lead us to the knowledge of mankind; 4 1 Thus understood, curiosity could be harnessed by education to direct the energy of the passions into perfecting the self in ways that accumulated experiences and knowledge and reduced contingent instances. There was something special about an educated person, something that both adorned the self and gained the esteem of others without recourse to artificiality. Indeed, as Lucius pointed out in Le Canadien. education could very well make up for the shortcomings of a lowly birth and obviate the lack of social 4 0 - In her book Taking the Veil. Marta Danylewycz demonstrated that unmarried women - in this case Catholic nuns - found ways of developing their natural talents in supposedly non self-interested avenues other than marriage. Within the institution of the convent, women became doctors, professional nurses, painters and educators while enjoying something like the rights of citizenship when they ran for office or elected their superiors. Marta Danylewycz, Taking the Veil. An Alternative to Marriage. Motherhood and Spinsterhood in Quebec. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987. By 1852, Etienne Parent was distressed by the lack of openings available to women who wasted their intelligence, their talents and energies in "les occupations sedentaires et monotones de la domesticite." Furthermore, he could see no rapid improvement in a society that barely accommodated the skills of their brothers. Etienne Parent, "De I'intelligence dans ses rapports avec la Societe", reproduced in Falardeau's Etienne Parent. P.304. 4 1 - The Quebec Mercury. 18 April 1808. 28 recognition that came with it. But more than anything else, education enabled the individual to recognize his true self-interest and plan his future in a moderate and rational manner. In 1830, William Lyon Mackenzie published his Catechism on Education, a short pamphlet in which, in the best scholarly fashion, he analyzed the benefits of widespread education. 4 3 Among other benefits, education would strengthen the more constructive natural qualities of man such as temperance, which Mackenzie defined as: "A perfect command over a man's appetites and desires; the power of restraining them whenever they lead in a hurtful direction; that possession of himself which ensures his judgment against the illusions of the passions, and enables him to pursue constantly what he deliberately approves." 4 4 Education reinforced the natural qualities that calmed the passions because it encouraged delay of the immediate gratification of pleasures, while charting a way to enjoy them according to true principles of self-interest. Longer life, greater wealth, increased respectability, and other earthly rewards came to those who could channel and control their appetites. Learning helped man uncover his self-interest by giving him greater insights into his personal character. It illuminated the best way to perfect those talents and qualities that were his exclusively: knowledge, argued a correspondent of The Canadian Magazine, gave "...a man resources within himself; which discovers to him the certain though remote, consequences of vile conduct; and which enables him 4 2 - Le Canadien. 7 Fevrier 1807. See also Quebecensis: " give a child an education is to give him that which will supply the place of a fortune." The Quebec Mercury. 29 January 1810. Years later, a correspondent of Lord Gosford wrote that whoever got an education forever acquired "...un bien etre imperissable et celui qui le possede, possede le tresor le plus precieux."MG24 Bl Vol.30 Un Sincere ami de I'Education a Lord Gosford, 15 Octobre 1835. 4 3 - William Lyon Mackenzie, Catechism on Education. York: Colonial Advocate Press, 1830. The pamphlet helps situate Mackenzie intellectually since most of the text is composed of footnotes quoting his sources. They tell of a widely read man, well versed in the philosophical underpinnings of the issues of the day and owning much of his thought to what is currently known as the Scottish Enlightenment. 4 4 - Mackenzie, Catechism. P.5. Here Mackenzie shows himself the inheritor of Adam Smith in referring to a natural morality; temperance, as distinct from reason necessitating an act of will, worked naturally to calm the passions. See Hundert's analysis of Adam Smith's natural morality in chapter five of The Enlightenment's Fable. 29 to employ his talents, to the greatest advantage for himself, his family and his country. Education gave individuals an insight into their own personal make-up and that knowledge permitted the full exploitation of their talents and capacities as well as the assurance that their destiny, if well managed, could unfold predictably. In short, according to noted reformer Pierre Bedard, education enabled man to anticipate the future. 4 6 When educated in the workings of self-interest, humans could clearly see the deception at play in purely selfish behaviours and make rational choices about the company they kept. Michel Bibaud's poem on ignorance warned of the uneducated man's tendency to view as sorcerers and magicians people who mesmerized him. Deceived, he too readily extended to them unfounded power: "II attribue a I'homme un pouvoir surhumain." 4 7 The uneducated could not distinguish between la poudre aux yeux and truth, between fiction and veiled intents. Particularly vulnerable to deceivers, they tended to put their faith in charlatans and demagogues who were the most adept at deceiving them. The same held true of women who, without education, would be prey to deceivers unless they learned to recognize their best interest in the relationships they developed. As one commentator put it: "When it comes to women, it is undeniable, that ignorance, and the thoughtlessness arising from ignorance are the sources of the greatest number of deviations from virtue and respectability. Ignorance leaves women a prey to the arts of the seducer." 4 8 Ruled by selfish passions, the seducer sought his own satisfaction, incapable as he was of experiencing " generous feeling in behalf of another." 4 9 Devoid of natural sympathy for his fellow beings, the seducer sought the sort of immediate gratification of his passion. "Studying his own safety alone, he is prepared for the perpetration of every crime, whenever power shall secure his impunity. If fortune permits, 4 5 - "On the Expediency of Educating the people of Lower Canada", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.11, No.VII, 1824. P.17. Written in 1810, the article was published in 1824. 4 6 - MG24 BI Vol.32, Pierre Bedard a John Nielson, 2 Janvier 1814. 4 7 - Michel Bibaud, Epitres. Satires. Chansons. Epigrammes et Autres Pieces de Vers. Montreal: Ludger Duvernay, 1830, P.52. 4 8 - "On the Expediency of Educating the People", P.123. 4 9 - The Quebec Mercury. 30 January 1809. 30 he will be murderer, a parricide, or a regicide, as his present interest may direct. Seducers, like all deceivers, were characterized by an unchecked desire for satisfaction and a propensity to corrupt others through deceit and manipulation and were at risk of becoming ruled by forces like fortune over which they had no control. By coming to understand the passions, by refining the mind, the uneducated acquired the insights into human behaviours that enabled them to differentiate between those who sought immediate gratification through deceit and those who merited what they acquired. Contingency was prevented from affecting the lives of individuals in other areas as well. Education provided humans with an understanding of the causes of things and therefore undermined the practice of allowing chance to rule the important questions of life. For instance, an ignorant people was unlikely to be able to tell the difference between a good and a bad government and would not have any rational reason for liking the one or disliking the other. Their attachment would be, according to an author, "always accidental." 5 1 "If by chance" they were pleased with the government they would support it, otherwise they would criticize it for all the wrong reasons and might even engage in activities to change it. But education gave the people a clearer understanding of what constituted good or bad conduct in an administration along with a clearer knowledge of the imperatives that governed rulers. In more ways than one, then, mass education ensured that the process of rule unfolded free from contingencies. Importantly, work and education levelled the inequality of conditions created by arbitrary circumstances. 5 2 In the past, only those born rich and powerful had access to earthly rewards. Now anyone could aspire to the greatest achievements in life. Indeed, pointed out William Lyon Mackenzie, many men born of poor parents had risen to untold heights and took their potential as far as it would go. Now 5 0 - Ibid. 5 1 - "On the Expediency of Educating", P. 19. 5 2 - Etienne Parent viewed work and education as essential to "corrige[r] le hasard de la naissance." Parent, "De I'intelligence", P.303. 31 renowned, famous and even rich, they enjoyed the merited accolades of the public. Etienne Parent was no less adamant in claiming that all humans had an equal right to earthly benefits. In his words, all humans were born equal and "Chacun a un droit egal aux avantages de la societe et doit par consequent etre mis en position de pouvoir jouir de ces avantages." 5 4 The societies and the men and women of the new world would accede to the cornucopia of goods that had previously been arbitrarily reserved for the few including those distinctions of rank that Europe so enjoyed. 5 5 Le Canadien agreed. In contrast to European societies, North American democratic habits, a correspondent wrote, "n'admettent plus d'autres superiorites que celles des intelligences cultivees." 5 6 New World societies would extend esteem only to those who were worthy of it. Canadians became adamant about linking the esteem they extended in ways that were free of the irrationality and arbitrariness of European systems. Contrasting their sense of worthiness with the habits of Europe contributed to giving Canadians an identity that was distinct and 'American'. In a system that accepted that humans were motivated by their passions and their self-interest, delayed gratification replaced denial as the expression of virtue. Indeed, modern Canadians differentiated between those who sought the selfish and immediate satisfaction of their pleasures and those who acted according to an enlightened self-interest. They marshalled the language of contingency that had characterized all those who sought their self-interest and reserved it for those who had not learned the moderation necessary to function as civilized beings. In doing so, they opened up the avenues of worth and growth to individuals who had been previously excluded from participating in a sociability reserved for 5 3 - Mackenzie cited the names of Haydn, Castalio, I'Abbe Hautefeuille, John Prideaux, Sir Edmund Saunders, Linnaeus, Ben Johnson, Moliere and countless other renown figures whose parents were of low birth. Catechism on Education. P.13. According to The Quebec Mercury, without education a man could not rise higher than a manual labourer "while a man of education may, if he is ambitious aspire to govern empires." 29 January 1810. 5 4 - Parent, "Du travail", P.161. 5 5 - One author insisted of North America that: "That high aristocratic feeling which unfortunately prevails in circles in Britain will not be found here. Dependent as we are upon each other for the real enjoyment of intellectual and social life, such distinctions in respectable society would be as misplaced as injurious." "The Arrival", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.I, No.ll, 1823, P.114. 5 6 - Le Canadien. 18 Decembre 1833. 32 the few and with it they established new boundaries between the orderly and the disorderly and between the meritorious and the unmeritorious. By the same token, they underscored that merit - as they understood it - was a standard of allocation of earthly benefits that minimized contingencies. 33 3) ALTERATION Work and education altered the self; moulded by work and education, man moved from a state of nature where the self was coarse, the instincts dominant and the ties uncomplicated to a state of civilization where the self was complex, the passions mediated and the ties sophisticated and ambivalent. The process of transformation from a 'natural' and instinctual self to one that was modern and refined took many years to accomplish and owed nothing to sudden and unexplainable causes. Indeed, self-love took a lifetime to learn. The whole thing started in infancy and spread over one's entire life, according to a commentator who linked the learning of self-love to one of maturing: "A trois ans, on aime sa mere; a six, son pere; a dix, les fetes; a seize I'ajustement; a vingt, son amante; a vingt-cinq, sa femme; a quarante, ses enfans; a soixante ans, on s'aime soi-meme." 5 7 By the same token, the learning of rational self-interest and rational pursuits took some doing. It required the interplay of experience and knowledge in ways that added slowly but surely to the complexity of the self. Success depended "not on sudden impetuous efforts but on slow, regular and persevering industry."5 8 In this way, the unveiling of proper self-interested pursuits prevented too hasty a change that could spell trouble. Young men were particularly dangerous in this regard. Immature and unschooled in what constituted real self-interest, they would act imprudently and without the maturity required to detect the solid from the glitter. Blinded by their impetuosity and lack of tempered self-knowledge they were "apt to catch at the brilliant and enticing bait of pleasure, to indulge in gratifications which, surrounded by the charm of novelty, promise nothing but happiness." 5 9 They would let themselves be tempted by what, on the surface, promised the most excitement. According to one commentator, this had happened when young assemblymen had acted hastily and forced Governor Craig into taking drastic measures in 1810. The country was now in "un etat de crise" because young men "qui sans autre but que leur ardeur dont ils 5 7 - Magazin du Bas-Canada. Vol.I, Tome 1, Janvier 1832, P.65. 5 8 - The Quebec Mercury. 9 March 1805. 5 9 - The Quebec Mercury. 9 March 1807. 34 ignoraient le mobile risquaient d'incendier ieur patrie, uniquement pour satisfaire une passion qui doit son origine a la legerete et a la petulance." 6 0 Immature and passionate, young men were more likely than any other human beings to take risks without thinking about the consequences for themselves and for others. The individual control of one's destiny and the destiny of society was fragile. Properly paced, change benefitted mankind; but improperly managed, change could alter individuals and circumstances in ways that became uncontrollable. This certainly was to be kept in mind when only a few among the uneducated received schooling. The result could certainly disturb the orderly development of an individual who could find himself "elevated above his former associates..." and, dreaming of higher pursuits and nobler undertakings, "...becomes discontented...and engages in schemes beyond his talents, and unsuitable to his attainment." He could even end up questioning authority, embarking on dangerous projects, being corrupted, and endangering society. 6 1 The moderns acknowledged that societies of self-interest altered the self. This did not constitute a problem provided that the rate of change neither overtook the individual's capacity to adapt to the changes nor altered his circumstances to such an extent as to create desires and wants that were inconsistent with his capacities and his sociability. The alteration, however, was real. From having been instinctual, gullible and routine-bound, the modern individual came to control his emotions, see through deceivers and take on projects that challenged his capacities in ways that distanced him from his original nature. Education was mainly responsible for the alteration according to one observer who argued that the benefit of education gave additional spring to agriculture, husbandry and commerce [and] polishe[d] the fine qualities of the human heart; it is a soother of his sorrows and his most precious jewel. - In short, the European or his descendant is indebted for his very existence to education: ignorance would not have disentangled him from the broils incident to a savage life...Ignorance being the source of every vice and cruelty, the savage knows no pleasure but in the calls of nature. 6 2 For one thing the educated individual altered his work habits. He would leave behind the unchallenging - Le Vrai Canadien. 17 Octobre 1810. - "On the Expediency of Educating the People", P.23. - The Quebec Mercury. 16 February 1805. 35 but instinctual activity of foraging for food and finding shelter and engage in activities that taxed his intelligence. 6 3 With the proper education and work habits any farmer could bid adieu to a subsistence economy and improve his properties with an "...agriculture [based] on the most advantageous and scientific plan." 6 4 Farmers would alter their agricultural practices to increase the productivity of their fields in ways that matched their own more complex behaviours. In this kind of intellectual environment, an attachment to old ways revealed that an uneducated mind and the practices of a subsistence economy were counterproductive and served no one's interests. 6 5 Other practices would change as well. With a little education, farmers were likely to accept new medical procedures for themselves and their children. This became evident during cholera epidemics that raised the necessity of having children vaccinated. Without a modicum of education, it was thought, farmers would continue to refuse the procedure. 6 6 With some schooling, however, they would agree to the procedure, thereby demonstrating their "...disposition to improvement" 6 7. What may have been perfectly 6 3 - Parent, "Du travail chez I'homme", P.145. 6 4 - The Quebec Mercury. 9 March 1805. 6 5 - "On the Agriculture of Canada", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.II, No.X, April 1824, P.330. Terrebonne notary Seguin reflected that the practice of not seeding on Fridays was widespread even if no one could explain its origin. "II n'est pas facile de determiner ce qui a pu donner lieu a cette superstition vu que ceux qui en sont imbus se contentent de I'observer sans en donner le motif." Seguin, Notes. 21 Avril 1831. 6 6 - The Quebec Mercury. 13 March 1809. In his 1819 poem Contre I'lgnorance. Michel Bibaud wrote that ignorance prevented men from seeking proper medical care. Believing that illnesses were sent by God and could not be fought off, ignorant men shied from doctors and their remedies. Michel Bibaud, Epitres et Satires. P.50. 6 7 - The Quebec Mercury. 19 February 1810. Yves Marie Berce looked at the reaction of common folks to vaccination campaigns and found similarities in all the countries - France, Italy, England and Spain -studied. As a rule, country folks believed that smallpox came and went like the seasons and accepted it as a fact of life. They were not predisposed to listen to doctors who spoke an incomprehensible medical language. This was perceived as a sort of scientific dogmatism to which they were not privy and that suggested giving the disease to a healthy child who might never catch it in the first place. Unexposed to the notion of perfectibility and progress, they regarded the doctors intent on displacing their own remedies as interlopers. Doctors, for their part, regarded their obduracy as evidence of ignorance and superstition. Doctors and their followers believed in the unquestionable supremacy of their cause. Messire de Courval attested to this when relating that the smallpox vaccine tested on criminals bound for the gallows had yielded successful results. This, he said, showed that "...tout doit ceder a I'experience surtout en medecine." L' Aurore. 28 Mars 1818. Berce, Yves Marie, Le Chaudron et la Lancette. Croyances populaires 36 rational behaviour in view of what constituted order in the past was now considered the unwelcome lingering of pre-civilized manners. Education contributed to the alteration by substituting new scientific facts for old superstitious beliefs and by making work productive and enjoyable: the end result was the emergence of a different type of individual: civilized, proficient in the intricacies of the written word, shaped by new medicines and new agricultural practices and able to shape the world around him. Modernity altered more than the farming and the medical practices of the educated and industrious; it altered the kind of sociability and ties that had been the norm in the past. Indeed, farmers were expected to let go of their associations with country healers and develop a trusting relationship with scientifically-trained doctors on the strength of knowing the scientific fact that the cure of the later outperformed the cure of the former. Educated and industrious individuals were expected to widen "le cercle de leurs connaissan-ces . " 6 8 They were expected to be able to relate to a greater number of individuals on a greater number of matters. Perfecting and working within more specialized boundaries changed the nature of the self and of the ties that bound individuals to each other. William Buchan made this clear in his instructions to emigrants. At the beginning they would be expected to "...raise their own crops & to mingle one business with another. As, however, numbers increase, the joint employment will cease and each [would confine] himself to his proper occupation." 6 9 Properly functioning societies of self-interest, Buchan implied, would inevitably generate the division of labour, for they needed the development of the multiplicity of natural talents that would come from allowing each individual to excel in his own sphere. With the emergence of the division of labour, self-interested strangers became dependent on one another by virtue of the services and products their individual skills allowed them to provide and not by virtue of ancestral bonds and localized kinship ties that characterized societies of subsistence. The modern individual would cease to share with his neighbours a likeness that had made one farmer indistinguishable from another in the past. Just the opposite, he would develop specialized skills in tune with his talents and his efforts that would et medecine preventive 1798-1830. Paris: Presses de la Renaissance, 1984. Particularly Part 2, P.99-197. 6 8 - Parent, "Du travail", P.147. 6 9 - Buchan, Remarks on Emigration. P.33. 37 break the uniformity that may have existed between one undifferentiated farmer and another. This did not mean that the individual began a life of independent solitude. To the contrary, the individual became tied to others - strangers - who needed his services and products as much as he needed theirs. Hidden interdependencies based on perfected talents and self-interested pursuits would develop among individuals who needed each others' uniqueness. Modernity altered the nature of the ties as much as it altered the self and, in some cases, the alteration produced levels of sophistication and ambivalence that had to be reckoned with. When, in 1827, a group of doctors thanked Francois Blanchet, a doctor and a Member of the Legislature, for his exertions on behalf of the medical community they noted their disagreement with his political principles but publicly praised his contributions to the profession. 7 0 Blanchet was a man of many talents and he was able to develop his aptitudes in medicine as well as his political talents creating for the public who observed him two different personalities. The doctors' assessment took into account that Blanchet's skills and exertions as a doctor contributed to the public good and were worthy of praise; they could not, however, see the public good emanating.from his political activities. Conversely, others may have thought Blanchet's medical practice shabby while agreeing with his political stance and Blanchet himself might have interpreted all this differently. Blanchet was far from being an enigma but he certainly gave pause to those who may have wished to sing his praises unconditionally. The modern self had lost its singular identity and acquired a multiplicity of defining characteristics. It had become complex and diverse; its projected images, its appearance to others and the judgments they passed were relative to their own perspective on things. The moderns had to learn to live with the degree of uncertainty that an acquaintance with enhanced talents and diversified activities produced. They had to incorporate into the way they thought about themselves and others a measure of ambivalence that made the extension of esteem and rewards open to doubt. Clearly they needed something that could distribute esteem and other rewards on an impartial basis and anchor the circumstances in which individuals could expect to receive merited accolades in the future. For that purpose they turned to institutions. 7 0 - "Medical Lectures", The Quebec Medical Journal. Vol.II, No.5, 1827, P.118. 38 4) CONTROLLING CIRCUMSTANCES Uncontrolled circumstances could alter the process of individual maturation and growth. An observer remarked on the uncertainty of the future in this regard when he noted that: "Les talents sont innes, I'education les developpe, les circonstances les mettent en jeu ou les rendent inutiles."7 1 Indeed, unless future circumstances were subject to some sort of predictability, talents, effort and education could go to waste. 7 2 The quest for certain and stable future circumstances underscored much of the thinking about medicine and medical care that scientifically-trained doctors were proposing during the first half of the century. 7 3 Getting public recognition for various and specialized talents became the object of doctors in the Canadas many of whom were known reformers. 7 4 One of the first to express this concern was Columbia-trained Francois Blanchet who believed that doctors who delivered services according to the dictates .of medical science - something they could do only if they were fully conversant with the science of health -could aspire to, indeed merit, the gratitude and the esteem of a population that "...n'oubliera pas ni vos soins ni vos bienfaits. Elle vous peindra toujours comme une puissance superieure..." 7 5 Talents developed 7 1 - Le Vrai Canadien. 1 Aoust 1810. 7 2 - Hughes Heney commented on the uncertainty regarding Jacques Viger's chances of obtaining a militia position no matter what his qualifications were by remarking that "Ftien n'est si incertain que la Bonne Fortune." MG24 L8 M-8, Ma Saberdache Bleue. Hughes Heney a Jacques Viger, 18 Juin 1811. 7 3 - Adam Smith reflected on the role of Fortune in the context of merit. Men were responsible for their intent and for generating actions but the consequences of these actions remained in the hands of fortune. As a result, they could not control the circumstances in which rewards would be extended. See The Theory of Moral Sentiments, edited by D.D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, Indianapolis: LibertyClassics. 1982, Part II, Section III, "On the Influence of Fortune", P.92-104. 7 4 - J.K. Johnson notes that Upper-Canadian doctors were also involved in politics. The statement holds true for Lower Canada as well. J.K. Johnson, Becoming Prominent. Regional Leadership in Upper Canada 1791-1841. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989. P.23. 7 5 - Blanchet's thesis advocated a multidisciplinary approach to medicine in order to produce a science that united mathematics, anatomy and chemistry. He was a specialist in chemistry whose work demonstrated the causes and consequences of chemical imbalances in the body. Francois Blanchet, Recherches sur la medecine ou ['application de la chimie a la medecine. New York: Parisot, Chatham Street, M D C C C . P.194. 39 within the boundaries of natural and scientific laws merited public esteem because they connected so obviously with the preservation and growth of the species. Scientific dispensers of health did not provide surplus goods and fashionable trinkets but extended life according to proven scientific facts that contained empirically verifiable truths. No matter how passionately they pursued their self-interest, the consequence of their actions catered to society's essential needs. 7 6 Not only did they keep citizens alive and productive but they enabled them to enjoy the fruits of their earthly labours. 7 7 Society, it followed, had an obligation to accommodate endeavours so obviously tied to the public good and it - through its agent, government - should open hospitals that functioned according to the natural laws of health. Hospitals that were run by professionals and that dispensed scientific care, according to one author, would ensure that doctors, motivated by self-interest, could excel in their crafts for the benefit of all since the structure itself would guarantee it: En effet, pour s'assurer que le Medecin s'attache d'une maniere infatiguable a I'avancement de son art, il est seulement necessaire que son credit s'y trouve interesse. Ce puissant mobile qui a conduit aux plus haut faits, et qui est le premier moteur de toutes les actions des hommes, est cause que I'homme dans quelqu'etat qu'il soit, eprouve toujours le besoin meme de redoubler d'efforts pour acquerir les connaissances qui lui manquent, et de perfectionner celles qu'ils possede. 7 8 While humans had no control over the universal motivator that was self-love, they had a measure of influence over the manner in which self-love was expressed: they could demand that institutions parallel 7 6 - One can see this when one considers that for much of the nineteenth century, the growth of a nation was thought to consist in increasing its wealth, a concept that included having a large number of citizens. A country's stature came from its ability to produce and maintain a growing population of productive citizens; conversely a shrinking population signalled a nation's decline. Efforts to convince the 'lower ranks' to get vaccinated against smallpox were inspired by the idea. For instance, on January 16, 1808 Le Canadien published a letter urging the clergy to convince their parishioners to get vaccinated because the procedure was " essentiellement liee a ses veritables interets, la conservation et I'augmentation de la population." 7 7 - Without health an individual could not enjoy life. Lord Clive, for instance, returning from Madras where he had accumulated glory and riches, found himself unable to enjoy his relationships, his family and his fortune because of his poor health. Concluding that "Je ne suis done heureux en rien" he shot himself. Magazin du Bas Canada. Tome 2, No.6, Decembre 1832. P.219. 7 8 - "Essai sur la necessite d'etablir a Quebec, Capitale du Canada, un Hopital General, consider^ comme le moyen le plus efficace d'etre utile a I'humanite et a la Science Medicale en Canada", The Quebec Medical Journal. Vol.II, No.5, 1827. P.96 40 the functioning of perfectible talents and work according to the principles of medical scientific laws. Furthermore, the emergence of the specialized self created other specialized identities, since scientifically-run hospitals would treat the sick instead of harbouring the poor. The care of the 'worthy poor' then passed into the hands of specialized benevolent associations. 7 9 These associations gave their members ways to express their benevolence and fulfil their need for praise. It did not matter that self-interest was the source of movement towards the public good: once an apparatus that ensured that the process worked independently of their intentions had been built, that process could simply continue. Individuals were thus left with the satisfaction of being able to claim that a public good resulted from their actions and gloss over their own selfish intent.8 0 Whatever else can be said about the rise of nineteenth century institutions, it clearly addressed the tricky issue raised by self-interested action and merited rewards. The rise of those institutions showed that it need no longer matter that individual undertaking was motivated by self-interest because the outcome of that undertaking was guaranteed, by virtue of the impartial institutions wilfully created, to augment, without fail, the wealth and the well-being of society as it was then understood. The institutional outcome gave private, personal action a public dimension. Nineteenth century Canadians still spoke and wrote of the corrupted self created by the unchecked passions, and the more they insisted on the development of natural talents the more they condemned those who indulged their need for money, status, rank and power in a purely private way. Doctors had a generic term to describe the corrupted and corrupting: 'charlatans'. When they talked of charlatans, they reverted to biblical language and used a terminology that for centuries had been directed at infidels, unbelievers and barbarians. The civic tradition had adopted this language to describe those who sought their self-interest 7 9 - Professional distributers of benevolence acquired a particular social status that was once reserved for kings and clergy. 8 0 - According to one author, public morality and unselfish duty towards the sick and the worthy poor were the sole motives behind the construction of the Montreal General Hospital. Women's benevolent associations, the Protestant Church, doctors, influential citizens and political figures rallied to provide British immigrants with the care they needed. "An Account of the origin, rise and progress of the Montreal General Hospital", The Canadian Magazine and Literary Repository. Vol.4, 1825, P.100-126. 41 and threatened the political life of the republic: stock jobbers, corrupt ministers in the pay of private interests, mercenary soldiers and an array of others. Not to be outdone, societies of self-interest reoriented its scope to indicate those who, in their estimation, made money and status the immediate goal of their self-interest in the multitude of avenues opened to them. The accusation of charlatanism appeared like a litany in the writings of Canadians, particularly those who were scientifically-minded. Unconcerned that many of those he denounced for practicing "unscientific" medicine were in fact born in Canada, L'Ami du Peuple described charlatans as a foreign-bred force: Vraiment mon humanite souffre en considerant cette race vagabonde; Men ne s'oppose a sa propagation, elle se perpetue dans le sang meme de ceux qu'elle immole; elle exerce sans management ses mains meurtrieres sur nos Canadiens, elle s'en rit, elle s'en moque d'elle; elle ne trouve aucun obstacle pour arreter ses progres. Tous les ans il arrive dans notre Province quelqu'uns de ces etres merveilleux qui viennent s'etablir; il en vient de toutes les nations. Ou sont leurs licences, leurs sciences, lis I'ignorent eux-memes; cependant aussitot arrives, les voila docteurs." 8 1 Wandering in from the outside like the plague or a horde of Hottentots, the 'race' of charlatans featured Fortune-like attributes. It was unstoppable and struck at random and with impunity. Like Fortune, charlatans laughed at order - where were their degrees, their permits, the proof of their scientific knowledge - and displaced those who were qualified to dispense medical care. Their remedies were panaceas that cured by chance 8 2 and gave them an ill-merited reputation which they manipulated with "...the most refined artifice in order to delude the unwary." 8 3 By deceiving the population, quacks and charlatans carved out for themselves a place in society. Using illusion and deception, they went about acquiring riches and status in exchange for fallacies and pipe dreams that were detrimental to the very people that held them 8 1 - Le Canadien. 22 Aoust 1807. 8 2 - The contingency that embroiled the charlatans' knowledge and cures was noted in a small poem: "L'ignorance en courant fait la ronde homicide/L'indifference observe et le hazard decide." Le Vrai Canadien. 26 Septembre 1810. 8 3 - 'A Friend to Good Society' in The Quebec Mercury. 12 October 1807. The author went on to say that charlatans resembled magicians: their remedies were cure-alls, they mesmerized the population by their tricks and they created impressive displays out of nothing. The same thought was expressed in Le Canadien. 12 Aoust 1807. 42 in esteem. Attempting to portray the injustice in the situation, The Quebec Mercury told the following story. A quack and a physician of learning who did not have "...the success in his practice he deserves..." discuss why the quack has a country house, a town house and a carriage while the physician is impoverished. The answer is simple enough: only one of a hundred people passed on the street has common sense. "...That one", says the quack, "comes to you and I take care to get the other ninety-nine." 8 4 Cunning and smart in the ways of the world, charlatans garnered unmerited esteem and wealth from the unwary. According to those who commented on their activities, the quest of charlatans differed markedly from the quest of scientifically-trained doctors. Their self-interested pursuit gratified the lust for earthly rewards without the cleansing mediation of work and education, without any requirement that they perfect their natural selves and without the institutional structures that led to the public good. When the medical journalist Archibald Hall built his case for the regulation of the profession, he proposed a scientific curriculum that would rid the profession of "...ignorant pretenders of all classes, sex and ages, tampering with diseases and employing remedies of various descriptions, according to their whims and fancies. 8 5 Charlatans did not work for their rewards, they simply tricked people and so 'created' themselves out of illusion and deception; motivated by a desire to create reality out of nothing, they (as Blanchet put it) ran after chimeras. 8 6 With nothing moving them but their greed and ambition, these men functioned in a patternless universe and so resembled the barbarians of yore who, in the words of Bishop Strachan, "...act[ed] by the caprice of the moment, who were governed by the passions and the cravings of their 8 4 - The Quebec Mercury. 27 July 1807. 8 5 - Archibald Hall, Letters on Medical Education (originally published in the Montreal Gazette) addressed to the members of the Provincial Legislature of Canada. Montreal: Armour & Ramsay, 1842. P. 13. The denunciation of charlatans lasted until doctors acquired the right to regulate their profession, to determine the type of education required to practice, and the ability to define the proper conduct of their members. In his 1855 Address to Victoria College, John Rolph was still condemning medical practices based on magic and superstition. In his study of the medical profession in Quebec, Jacques Bernier quotes similar condemnations in 1879. See Jacques Bernier, La Medecine au Quebec, naissance et evolution d'une profession. Quebec: Les Presses de I'Universite Laval, 1989. 8 6 - Blanchet, Recherches. P.XVI. Les charlatans "...couraient apres des chimeres que I'envie de tout creer faisaient naTtre." 43 appetites. However, unlike barbarians and unbelievers, they were not to be repulsed by force of arms or burned at the stake; in societies of self-interest, they were simply legislated out of existence. Nonetheless, they remained free, as individuals, to adopt behaviours and habits that would bring them merited rewards and make them worthy in the eyes of society. Throughout the century, Canadian physicians remained aware of the argument, so widely held up to this time, that a seeking after earthly possessions was inevitably accompanied by corruption and downfall. Consequently, they insisted that offices, emoluments and the monetary rewards that came with them be awarded on merit. They aimed their weapons in two directions simultaneously: charlatans and appointed doctors. On the surface, these two may not have had much in common but they shared an important characteristic: both were creations of arbitrary circumstances. The former acquired money and esteem by artifice and the deluding of others; the latter emerged from "the lottery of birth" to acquire unearned wealth and social standing. Neither merited the possessions he received and neither was worthy of esteem from the individuals who recognized the kind of deception that was being played out. Appointed doctors brought to their positions no other qualifications than birth and fortune, conditions rarely associated with talents. 8 8 They threatened the development of medicine in Canada since their self-interest made them likely to promote unmeritorious colleagues over scientifically-trained Canadian physicians who, in turn, would receive unmerited status and salaries. Casting aspersions on those who owed their position to arbitrary circumstances rather than merit became a common way of underscoring the emerging problem of disorder: ...on consulte moins le merite, pour remplacer ceux qui remplissent aujourd'hui ces situations avec tant d'avantage, que le desir de favoriser des individus qui n'apporteraient d'autres qualifications que la naissance et la fortune: ce qui serait aussi prejudiciable aux interets de I'humanite que j'invoque qu'a ceux de la science que je desire voir prosperer - John Strachan, A Discourse on the Character of King George the Third. Addressed to the Inhabitants of British America. Montreal: Nahum Mower, 1810. P.19. 8 8 - Essai sur la necessite. P.98."...les talens [sic] se trouvent rarement allies a la fortune et a la naissance." 44 parmi vous. Ridding the profession of caprice, whim and arbitrariness meant ridding it of those who came to it with no real worth. Replacing them with scientifically-trained men of merit would permit things to follow their natural course. As Le Canadien pointed out: "Le temps n'est pas eloigne ou les hommes et les choses prendront leur place naturelle; les charlatans seront mis de cote, les ignorants seront dans leurs bancs, et les hommes de merite seront employes et payes." 9 0 Employed and paid by virtue of their merit, not of their birth, Canadians would enjoy earthly rewards without being open to charges that they were pursuing nothing but self-interest or had got there by chance. Moreover, being employed and paid by institutions made their earthly rewards less artificially acquired. Emphasis on natural talents and merit also strengthened the argument of reformers as they sought to make public structures conform to principles of order rather than incorporating more contingent aspects. 9 1 They proposed impartial institutions and structures such as hospitals and schools that would guarantee that talents, education and work would be rewarded on a secure, predictable and consistent basis. If this was done, the future circumstances of the doctors and the health of the community would escape all arbitrary and contingent interferences. It would further ensure that the doctors could pursue their self-interest without having to fear the consequences of their actions since they could rely on free-standing institutions to channel private exertions into useful public benefits. While they could conceive of an orderly development to self-interested pursuits, the doctors continued to apply selectively the well-known motifs and expressions associated with contingency in ways that helped them both delineate the boundaries between order and chaos and facilitate a changeover from an old to a new manner of understanding and distributing medical care and earthly rewards. 8 9 - Ibid. The same sentiments were echoed in The Resolutions of the Quebec Medical Society published the same year. The Quebec Medical Journal. Vol.II, No.5, 1827. P.106. 9 0 - Le Canadien. 21 Octobre 1846. 9 1 - Archibald Hall proposed to a standardize the curriculum and the examination procedures because the existing ones, in his words, left too much to chance. Hall, Letters on Medical Education. Letter III, P.13 and 16. 45 5) MODERN MORALITY Societies of self-interest considered that engaging the passions and material possessions were a necessary prerequisite to order and stability. A rational engagement was possible if those involved conducted their pursuit in a self-interested manner, something that altered significantly the notions of morality that came into play. The discussions on drink and prostitution showed just how these could conflict. From an otherworldly point of view indulging the passions without restraint made humans resemble uncontrollable forces. Very much like a volcano that devastated all, the passions, once engaged, were uncontainable. According to a Quebec Mercury correspondent: "Thus as, in the natural world, the strife of elements, so, in the moral world, the conflicts of the passions produce the most destructive results." 9 2 Unchecked, human passions, aping nature, sent man into a fiery death. This, more or less, was how morally-minded people couched their references to unbridled human behaviours. Attesting to the enduring presence of the conservative Christian discourse regarding the passions throughout the nineteenth century, writers, both lay and clerical, warned of the effects of alcohol in apocalyptical language. Drinking was an activity, which, once embarked upon, became practically impossible to stop, a fact resulting in inevitable devastation. First indulged in with caution, drinking enticed the young man on a sublime and devastating adventure where: "...every relapse carries him further down the current (the violence of which increases) and brings him still nearer to the fatal rock in the midst of the whirlpool; till, at length, stupefied and subdued, he yields without a struggle and makes shipwreck of conscience, of interest, of reputation, and of everything that is dear and valuable in the human character." 9 3 Not to be outdone, the Quebec Grand Jury called drunkenness the "...nourrice de I'impudicite, du desordre, et de tous les crimes les plus odieux..." 9 4 Some forty-five years later, the Upper Canadian reformer John Rolph was no less relentless 9 2 - The Quebec Mercury. 11 September 1809. 9 3 - The Quebec Mercury. 28 September 1807. 9 4 - Le Vrai Canadien. Des Grands Jures au Quartier de Session de Paix, 18 Juillet 1810. 46 in his criticism: excessive drinking, he stated "...involves the whole body in self-conflagration." Drinking led to the destruction of the self but, importantly in societies of self-interest, it also led to social disorder. Under its influence, men lost all sense of place, shed their civilized demeanour and returned to a state of natural barbarism, where, in perfect equality, they indulged their passions in an unrestrained fashion instead of pursuing their interest. Broken families, forsaken promises, robbed employers and general social chaos resulted from the passions unchecked and humans could hardly survive the experience. Moral guardians, therefore, sought to control these behaviours by banning them altogether, since they could not count on uneducated individuals to moderate such dangerous impulses. Doctor Blanchet, however, thought that drinking in moderation could do no harm 9 6 and others believed that moderate use was permissible for those who understood the principles behind the rational indulgence of pleasures. 9 7 When he suggested reducing the number of drinking establishments, Charles Mondelet argued his case on the basis that it would reduce crime rather than on the moral grounds of denying the passions. 9 8 Indeed, the passions could be indulged provided the individual kept in mind his long term interest in the matter. 9 9 An exchange of letters on prostitution in The Quebec Mercury revealed with particular clarity the differing moral notions that were playing themselves out in the Canadian 9 5 - Rolph, Address of the Honourable John Rolph delivered before the Faculty and the Students of Medicine of the University of Victoria College. Toronto: T.H. Bentley, 1855. P.10. 9 6 - Blanchet, Recherches. P.7. 9 7 - Le Canadien. 2 Mai 1807, 2 Janvier 1808 and Le Glaneur. "Conseils sur la sante", Vol.1, No.1, Septembre 1807, P. 148-149. 9 8 - Jan Noel analyzes both strands of alcohol-related morality in "Dry Patriotism: The Chiniquy Crusade", The Canadian Historical Review. Vol.LXXI, No.2(June 1990), P.189-207. 9 9 - Later on the century, some societies of self-interest adopted the conservative Christian language of the passions unchecked when it described the relationship between the uneducated and idle 'lower classes', immigrants and alcohol. The Temperance Movement succeeded in outlawing alcohol in Ontario but not Quebec in the later part of the century. See Richard Allen, The Social Passion. Religion and Social Reform in Canada 1914-1928. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1971 and Mariana Valverde, The Age of Light. Soap and Water: moral reform in English Canada. 1885-1925. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1991. 47 colonies. 1 0 0 On the one hand, L' Ami de la Patrie considered prostitution an immoral pursuit that led to the corruption of the whole; on the other hand, 'Cosmopolitus' believed that the same pursuit belonged to the realm of private morality and could, if conducted rationally, ensure the health of those concerned without endangering the community at large. In his letter of December 1808, L' Ami de la Patrie wrote that such a pleasure as prostitution brought with it a myriad of ills including "...fraud, rapine and every act of injustice; loss of health, disease and distress in families." To those who took the long view and argued that prostitution contributed to social stability and fuelled the economy, L'Ami answered that, because of the expense involved, clerks defrauded their employers, children plundered and ruined their parents, servants robbed their masters and husbands ruined their families. In short, prostitution lead to the dissolution of all existing t ies. 1 0 1 L'Ami, therefore, proposed to regulate the moral conduct of humans by calling on the legislators to enact "...wise and salutary laws for which they have divine authority." Incapable of controlling their passions, citizens had to be coerced by law to deny their passions and conduct themselves morally in order to protect the public good. Cosmopolitus' view was quite different. For him, individuals were motivated by self-interest to conduct themselves in the most responsible manner possible and there was no need to resort to state legislation for something that clearly belonged to the domain of private morality. He stressed the moral relativism of views regarding prostitution by stating that it was a fact of life in cities, many of which - Berlin for example - ascribed no moral consequences to the action. Indeed, he added, L'Ami's reaction showed its thinking to be "...circumscribed within some 0 0 - Conducted in an exchange of letters to The Quebec Mercury, the debate eventually degenerated into a series of personal insults. See issues of 26 December 1808, 2 and 9 January 1809. 1 0 1 - The Quebec Mercury. 26 December 1808. The language of contingency sometimes included pitting the virtue of the country and its folks against the corruption of the city and its folks. Still on the subject of prostitution and obviously in favor of its curtailment, a writer described how poor and virtuous country boys were seduced by the glitter of the city and its brothels and soon started to steal from: "...leurs peres, leurs maltres, et tout ce qui leur tombe sous la main pour le porter a I'infame objet de leur amour effrene." He too suggested legislating morality in order to stop "les progres du vice" that broke kinship and paternal ties. Le Vrai Canadien. 29 Aout 1810. 48 island town of Scot land." 1 0 2 Prostitution raised no other problem than the risk of diseases, and, aware of their self-interest in the matter, client and prostitute as equal and rational individuals would both take the necessary precautions; they thus ensured their continuing good health and their ability to go about their daily lives. The motives they had for behaving the way they did were their business, did not harm, and therefore ought not be legislated. 1 0 3 Modern morality did not demand that humans curtail their vices. Indeed, some Canadians understood that a life of comfort and plenty exposed them to 'sinful' situations that did not exist in societies of poverty. Their morality did not involve denying their impulses but managing them in ways that did not hurt themselves or others. Civilization did not make them moral; it did, however, render them fit to live in beneficial harmony with strangers. Furthermore, modern morality held individuals responsible for their actions. With insight into the workings of self-interest and an understanding of the rational manner of handling their impulses in ways that did not endanger their health or the public good, humans gained control over their conduct and their destiny. Given this type of intellectual environment the moderns were freed from blaming their ills on obscure and uncontrollable forces. As John Neilson remarked to Andrew Stuart: "We are somehow the authors of our own misfortune but it is a consolation which is allowed to the unfortunate to lay their bothers on the shoulders of Dame Fortune." 1 0 4 It was soothing to the conscience and to the soul to be able to blame everything on Fortune, but Neilson was awarethat the knowledgeable individual remained at all times the master of his destiny. Blaming her was just a way of refusing to own up to one's responsibilities. Etienne Parent shared these thoughts but added that the age of personal responsibility and knowledge was still in the process of unfolding and only slowly were humans accepting to be held accountable for their actions. Over time, however, individuals would mature and recognize that inconsistencies were no longer the doing of external forces but the consequence "...du travail et de la 1 0 2 - The Quebec Mercury. 9 January 1809. 1 0 3 - It is important to remember that this type of early nineteenth century discourse on morality hoped to demonstrate the ability of all humans to conduct their lives independently and in a rational manner against authorities that sought to legislate all - moral, political, economic - human behaviours. 1 0 4 - MG24 B1 Vol.12, John Neilson to Andrew Stuart, 14 January 1818. 49 conduite de chacun." 1 0 5 Men of merit stopped blaming Fortune for altering their destinies; they did not, however, stop blaming humans who acted in a fortune-like way. They held the well-born, rich and powerful, the deceivers, the idle and the ignorant responsible for preventing them from realizing their potential and obtaining their merited rewards. The modern virtue of the moderns differed with a more otherworldly sense of morality in the view they held of earthly possessions. For the more conservative-minded true worth resided in denying the impulses to acquire them and finding solace in having little. But for those intent on engaging life in the fullest it meant demonstrating rational conduct in relation to their possessions. They .refused to see poverty as a sign of moral valour. Poverty, according to the next author, hardly called for restraint. Aboriginals, for instance, may "possess many virtues; yet these are to be attributed more to their poverty, than to their ignorance. When plentifully supplied with the necessities and pleasures of life, they have generally given themselves up to odious vices and brutal sensuality." 1 0 6 Being modern meant to engage the goods of the earth with reason, not to shun them altogether. Poverty might force people to be virtuous but that type of virtue had nothing to do with will or choice. Real virtue consisted in being challenged by the encounter with earthly benefits and rationally engaging the cornucopia of modern life in ways that demonstrated measured restraint and careful indulgence. That kind of behaviour built the self-esteem of the individual and earned the respect of peers. In modern thinking, active engagement with the goods of the earth added complexity to the understanding of moral behaviour and human worth in ways that poverty and abstinence did not. Fresh from a trip to England, Egerton Ryerson addressed his fellow Methodists, declaring that after having examined the doctrine of "political economists" he found them to be immoral. "Man as a moral being", he wrote, "is entirely overlooked". 1 0 7 Early in the century, religious and secular individuals objected to an arrangement based on self-interested pursuits. They refused to regard any improvements to the self 1 0 5 - "Du travail", P.161. 1 0 6 - "On the Expediency of educating the People of Lower Canada", P.21. 1 0 7 - Egerton Ryerson, Wesleyan Methodism in Upper Canada: A Sermon preached before the Conference of Ministers of the Wesleyan-Methodist Church in Canada. Toronto: J .H. Lawrence, 1837, P.1. 50 as extensions of the 'natural' self. Far from perfecting natural attributes, societies of self-interest had counterfeited nature and offered nothing but a distorted and artificial version of it.1 0 8 Professionals such as doctors, lawyers and merchants altered their selves to such an extent that they had become deceivers themselves, ready to lead the unsuspecting into uncharted waters by promising them greater liberty. That certainly was the opinion of Colonel Vassal de Monviel. Borrowing a biblical metaphor, he accused certain doctors of acting like snakes to tempt the peasants with lies and deceits so that the peasants "se laissent seduire par ces langues envenimees" and succumbed. 1 0 9 "Ce germe corrupteur", wrote de Monviel of these doctors, had to be destroyed if the countryside was to remain at peace. In many ways he agreed with a local seigneur who argued that doctors and other educated individuals had insinuated themselves between lord and peasant and enticed the inhabitants to break their traditional ties; accordingly, the doctors were "peut-etre les etres les plus dangeureux pour la religion et le gouvernement." 1 1 0 Some commentators never lifted their suspicion of the professionals. After the rebellions, I'abbe Ducharme of Sainte-Therese parish blamed the doctors, notaries and lawyers for heading the rebellion and seducing the people into violent behaviours and ungodly expectations. 1 1 1 Self-interested individuals posed a threat. Many agreed with him. The literature of the time was saturated by poems, riddles and accusations against doctors who neglected their patients for money 1 1 2 , against lawyers who stole from their clients, against merchants who venally betrayed their countries, against politicians who mistook their self-interest for the public good and against men and women who married for sex and material gain. A s the century wore on, the middle ranks of society were under constant attack by those who, 1 0 8 - Le Vrai Canadien. 5 Septembre 1810. 1 0 9 - MG24 B1 Vol.24, Traite sur la Milice. chapter three, unpaginated. 1 1 0 - Le Vrai Canadien. 4 Juillet 1810. 1 1 1 - Quoted in Mason Wade, The French Canadians 1760-1945. Vol.1, London: Macmillan, 1967, P.192. 1 1 2 - The accusation was constantly levelled at doctors during cholera epidemics according to Geoffrey Bilson. See chapter 2 of A Darkened House. Cholera in Nineteenth Century Canada. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1980. 51 refusing to define themselves according to the principles of self-interest, held on to the otherworldly notion that those principles were directed exclusively at the pursuit of individual benefit to the detriment of the community. They certainly disagreed with'the premise that all actions were motivated by self-interest including aspiring to be praised for denouncing corrupted practices. In their eyes, only those who publicly professed that self-interest could lead to a better and moral life were embroiled in the deceit, the artificiality and the shallowness that came from defining worth in a 'worldly' way. When they negotiated societies of self-interest, modern Canadians remained aware that engaging earthly rewards necessitated discussing the principles of human worthiness. They therefore sought to become civilized without becoming corrupted by defining 'worth' in ways that ensured that esteem went to meritorious individuals and they searched for a more familiar moral understanding concerning the public benefits of selfish pursuits. Only men and women who perfected natural talents, worked, got educated and produced useful results that benefitted all of society would be considered worthy beings. Canadians further sought to bring the future under control by creating institutions that would act as impartial evaluators of behaviours and distribute rewards according to established standards of merit. In defining the boundaries of meritorious behaviours, modern Canadians acquired an identity that differentiated them from Europeans who were in the habit of extending esteem, power and riches to the 'lucky' and from those who acted in fortune-like manners. In rejecting the old code of denial and replacing it with one that allowed for a moderate engagement, they redefined the ties of society. In a modern community, strangers would become united because they would hold in common a belief in universal features that led them to develop mutually beneficial exchanges. To be sure, the 'old' was not abandoned completely: borrowing from a Christian injunction against idleness and unchecked passions, Canadians used a 'traditional' device to mark out the newly excluded and define the terms of their exclusion. Though this spoke volumes to a Christian population and facilitated the transition from the old to the new order, it did not eliminate the orthodox condemnation of self-interest. 52 CHAPTER TWO MODERN SOCIABILITY Orthodox Christianity took a dim view of life in the material world. That life, Christians thought, embroiled humans in a web of deception created by their propensity to define themselves in worldly ways: through power, riches, rank and reputation. And, having thus defined themselves, they lived in the fiction of 'worldly life' created by Fortune's gifts where everything was shadows and appearances, where unworthy men were revered, good ones ignored and everyone wore the masks associated with what arbitrarily came into their possession. Humans, then, enacted laws and moulded institutions that entrenched deceit. When men actively pursued the objects of their passions, they moved towards their separation from God - their corruption. They deceived themselves, their ties were false and their future was precarious. As a result, humans lost the transparency and purity that defined the 'naked' self and enabled them to aspire to God's truth.1 Those of a republican cast of mind sought to gain a measure of control over the ownership of power without the concomitant loss of purity and transparency by collectively denying their worldly impulses and actively dedicating themselves to forming a polity based on selflessness. Republicans thought that ties among 'citizens' were of an otherworldly and transparent nature because they were forged out of a capacity to transcend the things of this world. Their identity as pure and selfless citizens was enhanced by contrasting themselves with the deception and illusion that characterized the ties of the self-interested. The civic tradition isolated one of the 'worldly goods' - power - and through vigilant, incessant and selfless tending, turned it into a virtuous behaviour that replicated for later puritan republicans God's transparency. 2 1 - An early Christian expression of the contingency involved in this state of affairs appears in Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy. It describes Fortune as the arbitrary force that alters the destiny of men and blinds them to their own worth and as the providential agent that offers them the opportunity to discover the deception in worldliness and exercise free will. 2 - Here again J.G.A. Pocock's The Machiavellian Moment is crucial to understanding the 'pure second nature' that the Republic conferred. Charles Trinkhaus' Adversity's Noblemen. The Italian Humanists on Happiness. New York: Octagon Books Inc., 1965 traces the passage from a contemplative to an active life. 53 Eighteenth century thinkers debated at length 'the masks' of society and concluded that artificiality was an extension of the natural and necessary to social order and stability. Indeed, they added, the 'old' virtue was nothing more than the appearance of virtue brought by the self-interested need for praise. They accepted masks, deceit and artificiality as the inevitable condition of civilized life, a condition that one had to be aware of but which one could neither escape nor want to escape if civilization was to progress. 3 An analysis of society revealed that 'civilized' humans were bound by a web of hidden interdependencies that resulted from the pursuit of self-interest. Furthermore the division of labour reinforced these ties as individuals became dependent upon each other to satisfy their needs for the services and products that contributed to their comfort and happiness. In turn, the reputation, esteem, power and wealth they gained by excelling in their respective activities reinforced the standing they had in the eyes of the community. And because individuals were naturally drawn to emulate and respect those who had much in the way of earthly power and possessions, society as a whole benefitted from the increased productivity of its citizens. Early nineteenth century Canadians sensed that kinship, neighbourly and paternalistic ties could no longer embrace an increasing number of individuals - strangers by virtue of rank, religion and language -who had nothing in common except the fact that they were all motivated by self-interest. Such individuals, they reasoned, would have to relate to one another in vastly different terms than in the past. Reflecting on this, Canadians found themselves putting notions of contingency into play. Chief among these was the importance of trusting that individuals were what they appeared to be. An individual's identity had to be accepted as being expressed in the images he projected of himself as well as how he appeared to others. Since no' one could know the intent and the motives at play in the actions of self-interested individuals, the images of the self could be perceived differently by actors and assessors and become a maze of For the gendered nature of republicanism, see Carol Blum, Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue, the Language of Politics in the French Revolution. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1986. 3 - For the most lucid treatment of the masks of commercial sociability see Edward Hundert's The Enlightenment Fable. Also important for understanding the philosophical and psychological implications of the notion is Jean Starobinski's La Transparence et I'Obstacle. Paris: Gallimard, 1971. For the religious antecedents of the unmasking of moral virtue see Dale Van Kley, "Pierre Nicole, and the Morality of Enlightened Self-Interest", Alan C. Kors and Paul J . Korshin eds., Anticipations of the Enlightenment in England. Germany and France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. 54 contradictions and deceptions. This made the public self - its public identity - a fragile construction and Canadians, aware of that, sought to reduce the instances in which deception and misrepresentation played a role. They sought to minimize the deception and artificiality in play by harmonizing their public self and the 'essential' self in order to feel morally and legally comforted that rewards went to the truly meritorious. 55 1) DISPLAY AND APPEARANCES In the past, solitary life had been offered as an antidote to the complexities and-immorality that seemed to plague all aspects of worldliness: it allowed contemplation and tranquility in the face of everyday artifice. It was still presented in this manner in the early days of the nineteenth century as one can see in examining the romantic comedy The Wheel of Fortune, written by British playwright Richard Cumberland and staged in Quebec City by Bostonian actors in the fall of 1808. 4 In this play, the lead character, Pendurrock, a country gentleman of small means and few desires, sees his life arbitrarily changed by a sudden and unexpected windfall in the form of an extremely well appointed estate, the result of the gambling debts of Harry Woodville, a man who, long ago, betrayed their friendship by marrying the woman they both loved. Pendurrock leaves the silence of his country cottage and travels to the crowded city streets where "...all without is noise and all within me is anarchy and tumult...". Bemoaning his paradoxical fate - "How rich was I in my contented poverty! how poor has Fortune made me by those soul-tormenting riches!" - Pendurrock enters his new house and is both fascinated and appalled by its splendor, its glitter, its decor and the number of servants who are now at his beck and call; he is at once attracted and repulsed by the ball being readied to welcome him and by the esteem automatically extended to him by the well-born. After battling with his conscience, Pendurrock decides to turn over his new acquisitions to Woodville's son and to return to his solitary country life. He gladly accepts the praise of a friend for his decision: "I'll not decline your praise; for doing this I've struggled hard against an evil spirit that had seized dominion of my heart and triump'd over my benevolence." Tested by the opportunity offered by Fortune, Pendurrock examined his behaviour and freely opted to return to his contemplative and solitary life where he could once again "...look Nature in the face..." and be at one with it. The play offered food for thought to the audience. Some might have interpreted Pendurrock's 4 - Richard Cumberland wrote The Wheel of Fortune in 1795. It was still being staged in London in the fall of 1834, according to The Morning Chronicle. 26 Novembre 1834. 56 return to the simple and picturesque country life as demonstrating otherworldly virtue. Denying any passion for revenge and for unmerited earthly rewards, Pendurrock's spurning of the 'civilized' in favour of the pure and transparent made him turn his back on the artificiality and glitter of corrupting cosmopolitan life. Others, versed in the workings of self-interest and the meaning of the metaphor of Fortune, could have seen his return to the country as motivated by a desire to appear virtuous and gain esteem in the eyes of his friend. On this view, Pendurrock would only be professing virtue in order to receive praise and so was engaged in 'artful', 'deceiving' behaviour. Whether, the audience could conclude, he stayed in the city or went back to the country, he was wearing a mask. Clearly societies of self-interest could interpret individual behaviour in a variety of ways. The Wheel of Fortune may have been morally uplifting, but the sociability it presented was ill-suited to a way of thinking that included perfectibility among the features of the human personality as well as the company of others to assess its public usefulness and extend merited accolades. Without others to see them, to judge them and to evaluate their behaviours and actions, modern men stood outside the civilizing process. The modern sociability rejected isolation and embraced social interraction. Indeed, the kind of stoicism solitude seemed to recommend was, in the view of the reformer Pierre Bedard, no longer required: "Je ne crois pas qu'il soit vrai qu'on puisse se suffire a soi-meme et se passer de tout le monde; c'est une ancienne philosophie:" 5 Terrebonne notary Francois-Hyacinthe Seguin went even further when he provided an unflattering picture of solitude in his comments on two men after their deaths. Concerning the first, Antoine Filion, Seguin remarked that he disdained the company of women and remained a bachelor all his life. Indifferent to the fashions of the day, Filion wore the same clothes his entire life. "Ce vieillard", Seguin concluded, "a toujours ete separe en quelque sorte du commerce des hommes par son attachement pour le lieu qui I'a vu naitre et son eloignement de toute sociabilite."6 Seemingly Filion wore no mask: he lived frugally and was impervious to the fashionable as well as to the 'art' of courtship. The problem with this, Seguin made clear, was not that Filion was an eccentric but that he was not useful in the context of modern 5 - MG24 B1 Vol.4, Pierre Bedard a John Neilson, 30 Septembre 1824. 6 - MG24 1109, Notes. 17 Juin 1832. P.61. 57 society; his clothes symbolized his refusal accept the tastes of civilized society while his bacherlorhood showed him unwilling to contract an alliance that would add to the country's growth. Seguin was more explicit about the consequences of isolation in what he said about the second man who died of cholera. Cet homme n'etait pour ainsi dire qu'a demi civilise et au teint pres, il ressemblait beaucoup aux naturels du pays. Surtout lorsque les dimanches ou les Jours de Fetes il etait afflube d'une espece de capot brun dont le gout et I'existence remontaient fort haut. Mais pourquoi cet homme etait-il ainsi en arriere des autres. Je ne vois d'autre cause que I'eloignement de son habitation du chemin du Roi, car par la il contracta un genre de vie qui le rendit tellement etranger aux communications sociales que lorsque que quelqu'un arrivait chez lui il prenait aussitot la fuite et se cachait. Cette remarque peut egalement s'appliquer a presque tous ceux de son voisinage qui, dans cette partie de la cote se sont retires du chemin pour etre plus pres de la riviere. Quoiqu'en general les cultivateurs Canadiens ne s'embarquent guere dans les affaires publiques I'on peut etre certain que ceux-la y sont parfaitement indifferents et que rien ne presage en eux des dispositions prochaines pour un gouvernement republicain.7 One of the consequences of choosing isolation in the era of modern sociability was to leave man in a state of nature. This, however, was not the idyllic and romantic nature of The Wheel of Fortune, but the nature of man's early ancestors who lacked the 'arts' of modernity. This was the state from which modern man emerged to define himself in contact with others, to perfect the arts and the sciences and to add to the many layers of his personality thereby refining his behaviour and his aesthetic judgements. The masks he was required to wear in consequence of this were inherent in his civilized state: they improved him and facilitated contacts with people he was not familiar with. In choosing to isolate himself, Seguin made clear, the farmer did not achieve greater purity and transparency; rather he stayed outside the frame of social development. He was now 'en arriere' - backwards - in comparison to his community-conscious fellows and out of step with personal perfectibility and growth. His inattention to aesthetic concerns made him unsuited for any kind of relationship other than one with kin. And, since men in such a state of nature were unlikely to take part in another benchmark activity of modern sociability, that of political involvement, he would lose out there as well. Civilization, in Seguin's view, was a process that demanded that man accept and perfect the masks and appearances made necessary by coexisting with others; refusal to do so arrested 7 - ibid., 11 Septembre 1832. 58 development and left one trailing behind. Nineteenth century writings reflected the importance of appearances in everyday life. Fashion, clothes, physical stature and deportment became at once objects of curiosity and important features of the new sociability. How individuals appeared publicly indicated their distance from a 'state of nature' where appearances counted for little. Canadians, therefore, examined each other in relation to how they looked. Seguin noted the refusal of his two recluses to dress appropriately. The Quebec Mercury remarked of the election of a sizable man to the Legislative Assembly that the electors must have estimated "capacity for law making by the stone or the weight of jowl," and referred to a piece of legislation it objected to as " of the richest jewels in the wigs of the prothonotaries."8 A little later on, the same newspaper defended Ezechiel Hart and his family by saying that they "...were an ornament to their town." 9 Beggars were noticed because they did not hesitate to expose publicly "leurs haillons et leurs miseres." 1 0 When the reformer Charles-Ovide Perreault described Lord Gosford, he provided details about the Governor's height, hair color and cut, color of eyes, beard trimming, size of mouth and forehead. 1 1 Modern men were focussing their sights on the representations of humankind, or, as Le Fantasque put it, on what the people "...qui travaille, qui mange, qui boit, qui paie les impots..." looked like. 1 2 All shared equally in the limelight and external appearances were becoming important markers of identity for those who considered themselves civilized enough to display themselves and to provide aesthetic evaluations of the displays of others. Physical appearances, however, were not the only images that needed to be assessed; the overall sense of oneself one managed to project was also critical in determining worth. This was particularly important in a community of strangers where one was constantly reminded 8 - The Quebec Mercury. 1 August 1808 and 23 February 1807. 9 - The Quebec Mercury. 20 April 1807. 1 0 - Le Canadien. 14 Fevrier 1808. 1 1 - MG24 B37 Vol.1 Perreault a Fabre, 12 Novembre 1835. The Canadian Magazine asked its readers questions about their appearances that included "the ordinary weight and height of the inhabitants" along with the color of their skin and hair. Vol.II, No.VII, January 1824, P.10. 1 2 - Le Fantasque. 10 Mai 1841. 59 that appearances could be deceiving. That thought certainly loomed large in Robert Prescott's mind when he wondered about the motives of a newly-arrived Irish doctor who had not presented himself properly. He questioned whether the physician had come "to seek his fortune among strangers ...actuated by motives different from any that he may be expected to avow." 1 3 In this case, letters of introduction could have helped establish reliability and given a foundation for the establishment of trust among strangers. Joseph Willcocks was well aware of the importance of this. When he emigrated to Upper Canada, he requested such a letter from his older brother because, as he wrote, there were many persons "...who came to this country clothed with the appearance of probity that after some time proved themselves to be imposters and spy's.[sic]" 1 4 In many cases, appearances were all that existed to evaluate an individual in a community of strangers. Those images, however, as well as their evaluations could be subject to misinterpretations and deception. Since there was much room for error and misjudgment individuals were compelled to explain their intent and their behaviours in order to secure their reputation and the esteem of others. The historian Frangois-Xavier Garneau hoped to set the record straight when he explained why he had abandoned Pierre Bedard's son, Joseph-Isidore, whom he had met in France in 1832, befriended, and, then left behind to gamble his life away; "C'etait un esprit gai, qui, sous une surface mathematique et raisonneuse, cachait beaucoup d'imagination et des passions ardentes." 1 5 Joseph-Isidore was not what he seemed on the surface, explained Garneau; in the end, his passionate nature won over the exhortations of his friend and left Garneau with no other choice than to leave him to his fate. The surgeon and former rebel Wolfred Nelson made a similar point when in a scholarly article on his successful operation on a strangulated hernia, he was careful to explain that (appearances to the contrary) he was publishing not "to boast of its success," but to inform the profession of a potential medical breakthrough that advanced 1 3 - The Russell Papers. Robert Prescott to the Duke of Portland, 12 December 1798. 1 4 - The Willcocks Letterbook. Joseph to Richard, 23 April 1800. After a period of political tribulations that opposed him to the authorities, Joseph Willcocks joined the american forces and died in the war of 1812. 1 5 - Cited in N.E. Dionne, Pierre Bedard et ses fils. P.229. 60 scientific knowledge. 1 6 Willcocks, Garneau and Nelson were all, in one way or another, making their way in the labyrinth of masks and appearances that was part of the complex and unstable sociability of the modern age. In each case, it was in their interest to explain their 'true' intent so the nature of their actions would not be mistaken. In the end, however, what was taking place never lost its ambivalence because evaluators and witnessess could still interpret actions and appearances in whatever manner they wished. Then as now, the 'intent' of actors could never be truly known except to themselves. 1 7 While the moderns hoped to see public offices awarded on the basis of merit, appointments were sometimes clouded by other considerations. It occurred to Governor Charles Bagot that numerous individuals from Kingston requested public offices because "in the absence of other titles the title of office becomes, as in the United States, a distinction to be obtained if possible. 1 8 Individuals were sometimes motivated by vanity to seek an enhanced sense of public identity rather than finding in offices an outlet for their perfected talents. Bagot further told Lord Grenville that awarding these offices was subject to misinterpretation. Some French Canadians, for instance, were likely to mistake "justice and kindness only as instalments of their own reasonable pretensions wrung from our sense of their consequence." 1 9 In this case, French appointees thought that they were being rewarded in consequence of their merit while, in fact, Bagot appointed them to redress a wrong. Even merit was a matter of perception. Nonetheless, being able to deal with masks and appearances marked an individual's degree .of sophistication and facilitated peaceful intercourse in polite society. Interaction in it might entail a certain amount of wilful blindness and deceit but the result was preferable to unmediated contact since, when people spoke and acted according to their 'real' mind, they risked hurting the feelings of others thereby 1 6 - Wolfred Nelson, "Cases of Hernia, with observations on wounds of the Intestine", Canada Medical Journal. Vol.1, No.2, 1852 P.65-70. 1 7 - Later on in the century, the new science of psychiatry demonstrated that the intent was sometimes masked to the actor himself. 1 8 - MG24 A32, Charles Bagot to Lord Grenville, 27 March 1842. That Americans liked to give themselves titles like "squires, colonels and captains" in lieu of the 'real' things had been noted in The Quebec Mercury. 12 January 1805. 1 9 - Ibid. 61 behaving in a socially counterproductive manner. Hiding one's feelings towards individual shortcomings or simply muting personal preferences enabled all to function together and maintain their sense of self-worth. This prevented the deterioration of passions into asocial and even dangerous behaviours. 2 1 The social masks that modern men and women in polite company wore might not have reflected their true feelings but they contributed to goodwill and esteem among a wider range of individuals who otherwise may not have associated with one another. They made possible a more civilized approach to social intercourse. Indeed, one could say that they contributed to the public good. The civilizing effect of those practices were particularly evident in the private domain of politeness and manners and in the behaviour of the women who were prominent there. The central importance of 'appearing' in the configuration of the modern self brought women to the fore. Here was, insofar as observers were concerned, a group that had mastered the art. Women naturally handled the representations of the 'real' in order to transform, disguise and enhance their physical and emotional appearances on public occasions. They therefore epitomized this central element in modern social life and were essential to the unfolding of modernity. 2 2 This certainly was the message conveyed in an article commenting on the social modernization Peter the Great had brought to Russia when he decreed that women would be invited to public ceremonies and recreational activities. The article stressed 2 0 - The newspapers of the day gave countless examples of situations where a lack of politeness contributed to hurting people and to making social gatherings unpleasant. See Le Canadien. 26 Decembre 1807, "O Mores", 4 Juin 1808, The Quebec Mercury. 4 June 1806. 2 1 - The Quebec Mercury. 4 August 1806, Le Canadien. 14 March 1807 and 4 Juin 1808. Those who acted 'unfashionably' but still within the bounds of civilized behaviours were appreciated. For instance, people liked eccentrics. It was with evident relish that the lawyer John Prince witnessed the reading of the will of William Dunlop whose testament remained "...a relict of his perfect indifference (an indifference to be admired in my opinion) to what is called "Fashion" even in testamentary matters." MG24 B32 Testament of William Dunlop, 5 July 1847. Others praised men of high birth who could behave in an approachable and friendly manner. According to a diner guest, Lord Gosford was willing to forego some of the most tedious forms of etiquette. MG24 B37 Vol.1, Perreault a Fabre, 12 Novembre 1835. 2 2 - Edward Hundert's fourth chapter, "A World of Goods", retraces the importance of the feminine love of luxury in societies of self-interest. In The Fable of the Bees Bernard Mandeville placed women's ability to emulate and deceive at the centre of an universe that needed their skills for peaceful and progressive behaviours. All the while, he ironically attacked the male morality that described them in this manner. See The Enlightenment Fable. P.205-209. 62 that the Tsar had added that women in attendance would be required to dress in the French manner. 2 3 Displaying women and their adornments in public was a sign of refinement and sophisticated behaviour that signalled the passage from backwardness to civilization. Lady Aylmer, therefore, was paying a great compliment to her host society when she wrote that Canadian ladies "...dress much better than I.had been led to expect and may send to London or Paris for parts of their Toilette..." all of which demonstrated a "rapid improvement" in manners on their part.2 4 When it came to forming social relationships in the marketplace, skills associated with women took on a far greater importance than the mere propensity to spend money in order to follow fashion would suggest. In the thinking of the day, the art of appearing sustained modern commercial exchanges and became an important aspect of a social intercourse that involved much in the way of beneficial contact among strangers. The skills of handling appearances and displays could certainly be seen at work in one report of an encounter between a man travelling with a friend and a female innkeeper they met along the way. As they entered her establishment, "the genteel, neat looking woman" greeted them at the door. "In her look and action I could perceive she considered him [the friend] a man of consequence - perhaps she thought him rich - at all events her demeanor indicated that her house was honored by his condescension in visiting it. Her face was indeed handsome and appeared to the best advantage in the smiles of welcome. Nor were her endeavours in vain - during her assiduity in showing us into a neat clean little parlour I could distinctly perceive a smile passing across the acid visage of my companion; the first I had seen in that place. Such is the all powerful influence of woman." 2 5 Without a word exchanged, a friendly relationship was established between the innkeeper and the travellers, one conducive to mutual benefit. A rather surly man was enticed into good feelings and the innkeeper - whose self-interest is impossible to decipher -gained two lodgers. Interpersonal skills set the tone of the social transactions between commercially 2 3 - "Extraits", La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome I, No.4, Septembre 1824, P.124. 2 4 - MG24 A43, Lady Aylmer's Diary, P.69. 2 5 - "The Itinerant", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.II, No.lX, March 1824, P.302. 63 interested strangers; these interdependences necessitated appealing to a variety of sentiments that enhanced the self-esteem of the actors so that trust could be established and commerce take place. An exchange of 'good offices' was a corollary to the more tangible exchange of goods and services. Whether the 'art' of commerce involved deceit was not as important as the mutual gain in esteem and benefit that buyer and seller experienced. Furthermore, it was not even clear that there was deception, since one could willingly participate in what was taking place out of rational self-interest. For some, the tendency to follow fashion, to be vain, to engage into relationships based on "Double-Entendre" [sic] and to be profligate spoke of the weakening of a Christian spirit and of the preponderance of feminine behaviours: "As the general spirit of religion, honour, and public love are weakened and vanished" wrote a commentator, "we may in truth conclude, that the ruling character of the present times is a vain, luxurious and selfish effeminacy." 2 6 The civic tradition had reinforced the contrast between a masculine virtue and a feminine indulgence using the gendered metaphor that opposed virtu to Fortuna and then virtue to corruption in the public sphere. Certainly Louis-Joseph Papineau thought that women were unable to part with artifices and were therefore unsuited to political virtue. As the crisis of 1837 was approaching, he urged men to boycott foreign-made wine and brandy and switch to locally produced whiskey, but he thought that women could not so easily make an equivalent gesture for they needed their trinkets and baubles: " leur faut quelques colifichets pour parure." 2 7 Inheriting the republican and otherworldly manner of seeing things, Papineau thought of men as creatures of sacrifice and of women as creatures of indulgence. But the eighteenth century thinkers who conceived of the marketplace as the site of free exchanges between all self-interested individuals exploded the duality of feminine artificiality and manly morality. The marketplace was a thriving, pulsating cosmopolitan locus of activity where people came to trade, barter and exchange ideas as well as products and goods; it was open to all who were concerned with building ties among strangers and profiting from the interaction in a peaceful 2 6 - "Characteristics of the Age", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.IV, No.XIX, January 1825, P.62. Edward Hundert relates the fear some commentators had of appearing 'effeminate' when interacting in this kind of environment. The Enlightenment's Fable. P.212-218. 2 7 - Le Populaire. 17 Mai 1837. 64 manner. The behaviours required for this new kind of sociability involved human skills that were, at once, beneficial to the individuals concerned and necessary to the growth of society as a whole. The eighteenth century understanding of the marketplace placed universal self-interest at the centre of the new commercial age and de-gendered the skills involved. 2 8 Far exceeding the private domain of politeness and manners, the development of those skills was essential to life in society at large. 8 - It is important to note that, as a concept, the marketplace was a public place that had nothing to do with the public sphere which was the domain of politics. A category of analysis based on the separation between the public (politics) and private (family) spheres - with their attendant masculine and feminine attributes - cannot come to grips with the kind of sociability that was proposed. Studying the marketplace from the vantage point of the separate spheres 'genders' it in ways never intended by those who wrote about it and perpetuates the view that the only women in the marketplace were prostitutes who bartered sex for money. The study of commercial sociability requires a language in keeping with the type of social organization that viewed the interplay between the passions and the interests as constructive and positive. The morality it proposed differed significantly from the 'otherworldly' duality contrasting masculine with feminine notions that shaped "the common sense of the nineteenth-century social world" recovered by Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall in their study of English Protestant England. See Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes. Men and Women of the English middle class. 1780-1850. London: Hutchison, 1987, P.451. 65 2) THE SEARCH FOR HARMONY The centrality of appearances and masks in modern sociability raised the possibility that truth did not exist, that all identities were mere appearances and that the self was a creation of the imaginations of all those involved. These thoughts induced one commentator to reflect on the nature of truth and deceit. Affirming the existence of truth, he explored man's natural impulses to use his creative imagination to hide it. Only in deceit did humans find an outlet for their creativity. Deceit - or I'erreur. as he called it -"propose aux facultes de I'homme un vaste theatre sur lequel elles peuvent se produire avec eclat." 2 9 Bored with the simplicity of truth which offered no possibility for embellishment and therefore provided no outlet for his 'arts', man much preferred to celebrate and.challenge his own genius by fabricating versions of it. The commentator made the particularly important point that beneath the layers of deceit and artificial constructs there lay a truth to be found. There was a core that was stable and certain once all the masks had been peeled away. The commentator premised the existence of a truth in a general kind of way; another commentator was much more specific on how that truth could be recovered. He contrasted literature that yielded "to the caprice of opinion or the novelty of fashionable sentiment" with scientific knowledge "that advances with slow but undeviating pace in the footsteps of truth." Cultural and belief systems might change overtime, he conceded, but beyond these phenomena remained a hidden but stable and enduring core that science could unveil. 3 0 Incorporating contingency within the framework of modernity called for assessing its impact. Commentators felt compelled to reflect on the boundaries in which contingent matters were allowed to enhance life and explore if they composed the entirety of the human experience. If they did, then humans and their beliefs would be nothing more than the creation of their own imaginations which pointed to an edifice that was entirely artificial and that had no 'higher' purpose or end. These two commentators, 2 9 - "La Verite", La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome 1, No.6, Octobre 1825, P.191. 3 0 - "General Literature: and the Causes that Influence the Revolutions of Opinion", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.Ill, 1824, P.513-518. 66 however, found it necessary to re-affirm the presence of a core, an essence, a truth, however hidden, in order to give meaning to life's experiences. In this, they moved away from some of their eighteenth century predecessors, like Diderot, who believed the self to be nothing else than the sum total of its appearances. Aware of the ways in which sociability could deceive made the moderns reflect on the nature of the self. They spoke about the instances where deception was obviously at work and discussed the manner in which it could be unmasked. They did not reject artful display but sought to harmonize the appearances of the public self with the invisible and essential self. This did not obliterate the masks but softened the disjunctions that could surface between the 'reality' and its appearance and ensured that earthly rewards went to the meritorious. The search for harmony characterized the manner in which Canadians addressed their various artificial creations. The way Canadians discussed the naming of physical sites reflected the search for a literary representation that was in harmony with their 'essence'. It was thought that names should respect the topography, the geography and the history of the sites in ways that did not create a disturbance to the mind and the ear. The poet and amateur historian Michel Bibaud expressed his dismay when the names of Niagara and Toronto were changed. Newark and York, he wrote, hardly conveyed the evocative beauty and the 'essence' of the aboriginal names first given. The new ones were positively discordant when compared to the original ones: "D'un cote I'harmonie et la majeste; de I'autre les sons les plus heurtes et les plus durs." 3 1 The same concern underscored John Fleming's dislike of the new names given by the Lower Canadian Assembly to certain counties. Dating from 1792, the names of Cornwallis, Devon and Effingham reflected the English nature of the colony; replacing them with French names altered their identity.3 2 As far, however, as L'Observateur was concerned, the changes were not arbitrary but in harmony with the French nature of the colony and its inhabitants: the new names did not deceive one concerning 3 1 - Michel Bibaud, Histoire du Canada et des Canadiens sous la domination anglaise. Montreal: Lovell et Gibson, 1844, P.171. 3 2 - John Fleming, Political Annals of Lower Canada being a Review of the Political and Legislative History of the Province. Montreal: Montreal Herald and New Montreal Gazette, 1828, P.XIV. 67 the nature of the sites. While the magazine and Fleming may have disagreed about what constituted the essence of the colony, they shared the concern that naming be in harmony with the 'reality' the names purported to depict. The same kind of concerns surfaced regarding the public display of individuals. An article in La Bibliotheque Canadienne made it clear that the colours worn communicated a message and that individuals ought to be aware that their external appearances spoke of them and of their identities. The art of making colours talk - 'Tart de faire parler les couleurs" - had been developed to the point that it was possible to dress in "un habit moral de I'homme [et] de la femme". 3 4 By wearing certain colours (purple for prudence, grey for knowledge and black for courage, simplicity and virtue) individuals could convey the 'reality' of their essence as they understood it. The disjunction between being and appearing was evident in those who lacked the kind of education that made a gentleman's company enjoyable. A certain Mr.G, for example, certainly could not expect to be esteemed and respected when he tried to impress with his "erudition d'emprunt" and portrayed himself as an expert on everything. The kind of image he wished to convey only made clearer the emptiness of his words and his shallow knowledge. Such individuals, the author added, were a plague on society and ought to be shunned. 3 5 By publicizing Mr. G's behaviour, the author was pointing out that he was deceiving only himself and that others were on to him. They could unmask the discordance between who he really was and who he pretended to be and refuse to extend the public recognition he so deceivingly sought. The same point was made by another observer. Concerned that esteem was extended to the wealthy "on whom fortune has lavished her favors", he could not comprehend why people "crouch[ed] or cringe[d] to the arrogant self-sufficiency of wealth, standing on no other merit."3 6 The respect shown in this 3 3 - L'Observateur. Tome II, No.1, Janvier 1831, P.8. 3 4 - "Le Language des couleurs", La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome II, No.2, Janvier 1826, P.64-65. 3 5 - "Vous le Connaissez", La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome I, No.5, Octobre 1825, P.44. Le Canadien had raised a similar concern about being and appearing on March 14, 1807. 3 6 - "Rich Folk", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.I, No.V, November 1823, P.441. 68 kind of situation was really directed at the things the individual possessed and not at the individual himself. The individual could be brought in line with his unmerited public image if he altered himself sufficiently to fit the role. One commentator accordingly suggested a type of education that would bring him up to the social standards required to resolve the tension. Schooled in the arts necessary to trade, the young man would learn maritime and other law, history, geography, finance and insurance; all the arts and sciences that went along with the scientific manner of doing business. Such an education would give him the knowledge necessary to plan future commercial endeavours instead of relying on speculation and risk; it would also inculcate the habits of 'economy and industry' that characterized civilized men. 3 7 A coarse man would then be turned into a gentlemen and earn esteem in the way humans ought to: through knowledge, perfected talents and industry; through restraint and calculation. This would also channel his energies into commercial avenues that would benefit the public. The profits thus earned would have moral content and the esteem garnered by the discreet display of the things money could buy would be justified. If, from the outset, an individual only lucked into a sociability of gentlemen, he would eventually fit the mould and through force of habit become one. When an individual succeeded in harmonizing his public appearance with his perfected talents he became truly meritorious. Ross Cuthbert's description of the 'real' legislator made the point perfectly. Guided by reason and cool rationalizations, his physical presence did not distract the attention but focussed it: "Le port ferme; la physionomie tranquille, la parole douce, mesuree et lente; des idees exactes et lumineuses, rendues avec une precision mathematique sont les qualites les plus naturelles a I'eloquence deliberative." 3 8 Learned and meritorious legislators not only spoke well but they also looked strong and manly when they were doing it. The masks they wore suited them and were, therefore, not seen as masks 3 7 - "On Commercial Education", The Canadian Magazine. P.9-10. 3 8 - Ross Cuthbert, L'Aeropage. Quebec, Neilson, 1803. P.7. Cuthbert's long-ish poem compared the deliberation of the members of the Assembly to the hot-headedness of Legislative Councillors. That speech could work with mathematical precision was part of an eighteenth century notion that recovered mathematical patterns in a variety of human expressions. Pierre Bedard had playfully applied probability mathematics to grammar, music and words. Pierre Bedard, Notes de philosophie. mathematiques. chimie. politique et journal. 1798-1810. Archives du Seminaire de Quebec, Manuscrit M-241. 69 at all. An observer in Le Canadien made a similar point when he described two men discussing the chief topic of the day, the election of judges to the Assembly. The man who supported the disliked measure "was fat, dressed in a richly ostentatious coat and posed for the gallery; one hand on his wallet and his other arm nonchalantly draped over a chair"; by contrast, the man who opposed the proposition was thin, soberly dressed and composed. 3 9 The external signs spoke volumes. They indicated that the former's words were not to be trusted but that the latter's could: he was transparent, what he appeared to be, unemcumbered by a mask. By the same token, the writer was also revealing his position in regards to the hated measure. Canadians examined the conduct and behaviours of each other to detect any discrepancy between essence and appearance. The times demanded that kind of harmony since men of learning and taste could always tell the difference and that individuals were morally bound to listen to the dictates of their conscience. A s Adam Thorn wrote to Lord Gosford "moral honesty and literary taste equally demand a perfect harmony between an invisible idea and its visible symbol." 4 0 While Thorn seemed quite certain that deceit could be uncovered, others had to rely on the way things looked: they had to be able to suppose that what they saw indicated what was there. When they discussed the 'art' of rhetoric, Canadians showed themselves aware that the spoken word was a representation of a 'reality'. They also saw a potential for deception that was overwhelming. Traditionally associated with the legislator, rhetoric was the ability to convince and persuade. Nineteenth century Canadians extended the 'art' of eloquence to a wide range of individuals as part of the process of facilitating social interaction and enhancing exchanges between individuals in everyday life. 4 1 In an 1835 book intended for students of the Montreal seminary, Joseph Vincent Quiblier, the Superior of the Montreal Sulpiciens, stressed that rhetoric contributed to all the facets of a man's interaction 3 9 - Le Canadien. 26 Mars 1808. 4 0 - Adam Thorn, [Camillus], Anti-Gallic Letters: Addressed to his Excellency The Earl of Gosford. Governor-in Chief of the Canadas. Montreal: Printed at the Herald Office, 1836, P.206. 4 1 - "On Eloquence", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.Ill, No.XV, September 1824, P.183, Le Canadien. 31 Janvier 1807. 70 with others: "...elle influe encore dans tout le commerce de la vie. Indeed, rhetoric was an important social skill; it facilitated the exchange between fellow beings and contributed to advancing one's interest and enhancing the esteem one held in their eyes. Rhetoric perfected the natural talent of eloquence and the combination of the two was unbeatable since it added to an orator's ability to captivate and convince. 4 3 Most revealing of Quiblier's modernity was his description of rhetoric as a tool to ape reality without being the 'real' thing. Rhetoric, he said, encompassed des moeurs oratoires. and was something that differed from moeurs reelles - the domain of the moral man. A man who spoke according to moeurs oratoires. then, was not virtuous but 'appeared to be virtuous.' 4 4 The art of rhetoric did not provide a transparent reflection of the natural self but gave the orator a tool to project a well crafted imitation of it: "Le soin que I'orateur prend de gagner I'estime et la confiance de ses auditeurs, en donnant une opinion avantageuse de son merite personnel. Par ou Ton voit que la Rhetorique n'enseigne pas la pratique, mais seulement I'imitation ou I'expression des moeurs." 4 5 Quiblier made it clear that an art was an art and produced something that was artificial, something, for instance, that imitated, or represented virtue, but was not virtue. 4 6 To reassure his audience, however, he added that rhetoric could not make an unvirtuous man appear virtuous. Indeed, its laws and rules were predicated on the assumption that the passions called on, the outrage felt, the sentiments reproduced were genuine; an orator could not pull it off if the sentiments he evoked were false. His lack of sincerity would eventually give him away: " se trahiroit 4 2 - Joseph Vincent Quiblier, Cours abreae de rhetorique a I'usage du College de Montreal. Montreal: Leclerc et Jones, 1835, P.7-8. 4 3 - ibid,, P.10. 4 4 - "Mais qu'un homme paraisse vertueux, quand il parle; il aura ce qu'on appelle moeurs oratoires." Ibid. P.71. 4 5 - ibid. 4 6 - Quiblier reflected a Jansenist approach to a virtue developed in contact with worldly matters. In this context, virtue only aped or looked like virtue but was not virtue. Found among other places in the works of Pierre Nicole, the concept was vital to the formulation of Enlightenment secularism. See Dale Van Kley, "Pierre Nicole, Jansenism and the Morality of Enlightened Self-Interest", in Alan C, Kors and J . Korshin eds., Anticipations of the Enlightenment in England. Germany and France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. 71 toujours par quelqu'endroit. In this case, Quiblier was providing his readers with a way to make the representation harmonize with the reality. He estimated that rhetoric reproduced and amplified for an audience something that was natural to an individual; what an orator wanted to say had to incorporate a part of his nature; the art could hide only for a short time the discordance between what one was and what one professed to be. Rhetoric was an art that one learned, developed and mastered in order to provide others with a full picture of the truth of one's mind and though the picture was nothing but a representation of the intent, it was nevertheless a faithful one. Egerton Ryerson, on the other hand, believed that when a Methodist minister preached the word of God he spoke in an 'otherworldly' manner. Inspired by Providence, a,minister was not motivated by self-interest and worldliness but by grace and his words were not an 'art' that could deceive but divine inspiration. 4 8 Nonetheless, when addressing men and women in secular contexts, he was likely to deal in modern notions about the 'art' of rhetoric. In his inaugural speech at Victoria College, Ryerson referred to "...the art of speaking well." Speech, he said, was "...a great instrument of intercourse between man and man; and who can speak well, both in public and in private, on all subjects in which he may be concerned, possesses a power more enviable and formidable than that of the sword; he possesses empire over the mind, the more admirable as it is entirely voluntary."4 9 Not only did rhetoric serve to enhance one's position in the eyes of others; it also gave one a real measure of power over others that was more subtle than coercion. Ryerson was aware that this could pose a problem: rhetoric, he added, was not the art of "dressing up falsehood in the guise of truth, or fiction in the form of reality"; it was the instrument one used 4 7 - Quiblier, Cours de rhetorique. P.71. 4 8 - Egerton Ryerson, Wesleyan Methodism in Upper Canada: A Sermon. Preached Before the Conference of Ministers of the Wesleyan-Methodist Church in Canada. Toronto: Printed at the Conference Office, 1837, P.6-7 and 13. William Westfall explores the differences and the similarities between Upper Canadian Methodism and Anglicanism in "Order and Experience: Patterns of Religious Metaphor in Early Nineteenth Century Upper Canada", Journal of Canadian Studies. Vol.20, No.1 (Printemps 1985 Spring) P.5-24. 4 9 - Egerton Ryerson, Inaugural Address on the nature and advantages of an English and Liberal Education, delivered at the opening of Victoria College, Toronto: Guardian Office, 1842. P. 18. 72 to express nature and truth. Both Quiblier and Ryerson were concerned with man's motives and honesty. They hoped that users of rhetoric would capture with their words the purity of their inner selves. But they could not-escape the fact that rhetoric was an oral representation of things and that it could be used to dissimulate and to deceive. There always existed the possibility that someone would be adept enough to fool people and make them believe erroneously that he spoke the truth. After all, some men could use words just the way others used any artful display: to appear to be what they were not. Acknowledging that masks existed and reflecting on their meaning enabled an individual to be critical of an orator's words and perforce of his own; seeing that others wore masks, he would see that he did too. Discussing rhetoric in the context of appearances gave people insights into the workings of social relationships. According to commentators of the day there was one way to guard against deceivers and that was to be conversant with the laws of rhetoric. These were neither arbitrarily devised nor created on a whim. They were drawn from nature, reason and experience and had matured over the centuries. There was nothing in the laws of rhetoric that did not meet vigorous scientific requirements - something essential when the passions were being marshalled into action. 5 1 Knowledge of these requirements would give the listener the ability to distinguish between someone who met them and someone who did not. Only this type of knowledge ensured that one could seize upon disjunctions between words that embellished truth and ones which conveyed it: able listeners could distinguish "..between eloquence and the mere tricks of sophistry" 5 2, between deceiving intents and truthful ones. In the end, however, no absolute certainty could ever exist about the spoken word: the fact was 5 0 - Rhetoric was "rightly understood and applied, the language of nature and truth - and is designed to exhibit both in their native power and splendour." Ibid., P. 18. 5 1 - Close adherence to the rules of rhetoric calmed the passions by ensuring that they were in line with the type of opinions expressed and to the kind of response sought. 5 2 - "On Eloquence", P.196. 7 3 that a cunning and knowledgeable orator could always deceive. He could entice his audience into extending to him esteem and commitments that were unmerited. A sociability and an order that relied on the spoken word would forever be tinged by contingency and the moderns preferred to rely on the stable and verifiable written word for communicating the truth. It too, however, came under public scrutiny in discussions on public opinion and an impartial press and it, too, proved to be open to question. Certainly public opinion was unstable: 'the airy monarch', as The Quebec Mercury called it, was subject to change for no obvious reasons and nothing could predict its course. 5 4 "II est dommage", said Pierre Bedard, "qu'il n'y ait pas un moyen de la gouverner." 5 5 Public opinion was vague and formless; according to one author it was made up of "...secret whispers and insinuations, quietly, but assiduously circulated among the unthinking multitude." Once in existence, these whispers grew bolder, appealed to prejudices and ended up in 'inflammatory discourses' which bewitched crowds "...who swallow every extravagance...repeat with confidence and communicate with one another without reflexion, without discrimination or any regard to truth."5 6 The power of public opinion was clear in the fact that there was no better way to destroy a reputation than with seemingly innocuous gossip. 5 7 Bishop Strachan warned his pupils that nothing endangered Christian morality and the ties between a teacher and his pupils more than calumny. 5 8 Another observer remarked that in a public press no one's reputation was secure. 5 9 The difficulty encountered in finding a stable public opinion was made particularly clear in discussions of .an 5 3 - Due to the unreliability of the testimonies of witnesses, empirical and material evidence became necessary to prove the culpability of criminals in courts of law. 5 4 - The Quebec Mercury. 26 January 1805. 5 5 - MG42 B1 Vol.4, Pierre Bedard a John Neilson, 20 Mars 1824. 5 6 - "On the Expediency of Educating the People", P.20. 5 7 - Talebearing a Great Sin. A Sermon by Clark Bentom. protestant missionary. Quebec: John Neilson, 1801. P.7-8. Le Canadien. 9 Juillet 1808. 5 8 - Strachan, The Christian Religion Recommended in a Letter to his Pupils. Montreal: Nahum Mower, 1807, P.8. 5 9 - Le Canadien. 24 Fevrier 1810. 74 impartial press. Impartial newspaper writing, according to Thomas Cary, editor of The Quebec Mercury, consisted in going beyond "tenacious and obstinate self-love" to the "rigid observance of impartiality."60 Impartiality meant setting aside self-interest in writers and audience alike; it meant reporting without bias and proposing facts and evidence that proved a point rather than making unfounded propositions which inflamed the imagination: "Tout ce qui parait dans un papier de la nature de celui-ci doit se soutenir de soi-meme par la notoriete des faits et I'evidence des raisons et ce serait introduire un yrai charlatanisme que de vouloir y ajouter foi par d'autres moyens." 6 1 Presenting facts without interpretation would keep the record straight and permit individuals to see the naked truth and judge it for themselves. It was with this intention in mind that William Lyon Mackenzie published The Legislative Black List of Upper Canada. It cited verbatim speeches made in the Assembly, published the voting record for each member and gave a list of offices and incumbents. 6 2 Omitting the name of the contributors, as was the practice at the time, served the purpose of having each piece assessed on its merits and not according to the esteem or hatred a reader might have for its author. Indeed, printing the names of authors could turn the freest of presses into "un vehicule de flatterie."6 3 A free press had to be strong, occupying the ground between the influential and corrupted "grands" and the virtuous "petits".6 4 It further had to inform uniformly, aligning itself with neither side; otherwise, as Pierre Bedard wrote, it would create factions: "...[elle] ne servirait qu'a creer des 6 0 - The Quebec Mercury. 19 January 1805. That impartiality counteracted self-love was a point made often. Le Canadien. 26 Decembre 1806, 3 Janvier 1807, Le Fantasque. 11 Juin 1838. 6 1 - Le Canadien. 3 Janvier 1807. 6 2 - William Lyon Mackenzie, The Legislative Black List of Upper Canada: or official corruption and Hypocrisy unmasked. York: Office of the Colonial Advocate, 1828. While Mackenzie gave the facts, he chose them carefully and commented on the meaning of various legislations and appointments. 6 3 - Printing names "...convertirait sur le champ la presse la plus libre en un vehicule de flatterie." Le Canadien. 3 Janvier 1807 and Camillus [John Henry], An Enquiry into the Evils of General Suffrage and Frequent Elections in Lower Canada. Montreal: Nahum Mower, 1810. P.M. 6 4 - Le Canadien. 25 Juillet 1807. 75 divisions odieuses" and lose its freedom in the process. In other words, newspapers and those who wrote for them had to adhere to standards that allowed them to see beyond the masks of society. In this there was an obvious problem. Self-interested writers addressed an audience made up of a multitude of self-interested individuals and groups steeped in customs and habits and prejudices that required to be informed, wooed, educated and set straight. When a newspaper failed to harmonize its content to the wants of its audience, it risked its own demise even when the audience's taste was ruled by whim and fancy. 6 6 Reflecting on the financial collapse of a local newspaper called Le Courier, a commentator from Le Canadien blamed its editors for failing to stay in touch with the needs of its readership. The paper had not carried articles about subjects familiar to its readers in a language they understood. Furthermore, it had paid too little attention to ordinary people; it should have taken its cue from the wily politician - le ruse candidat - who knew that ten votes from 'artisans' were worth more than two from gentlemen. In the end, a paper reliant on public support had to be understood by the people who paid good money for it.67 Thomas Cary, facing a similar predicament, wrote that " order to be all man to all things, wisdom, sometimes, finds it requisite to put on the garb of folly."6 8 Newspapers had to be as elusive and as capricious as the public opinion they professed to serve. The key was to know just how far to go. 6 9 However, unable to translate impartiality into a 'truth' that satisfied them both, Le Canadien and The Quebec Mercury were at odds from the beginning. The quarrel was rather theatrical, according to one commentator, who referred to: "...ces scenes deshonorantes pour les acteurs et pour le parterre qui y applaudit; ou Ton met en action les prejuges et 6 5 - Le Canadien. 22 Novembre 1806. 6 6 - Le Canadien. 12 Aoust 1807. 6 7 - Ibid. 6 8 - The Quebec Mercury. 30 December 1805. 6 9 - "II faut promettre un tant soit peu plus de beurre que de pain afin de tenir le lecteur toujours en haleine; mais il ne faut pas outrepasser les bornes de la possibility." MG24 L8 M-8, Ma Saberdache Bleue. Debartzch a Jacques Viger, 9 Janvier 1809. 76 les passions, ou la raison et I'amour du bien perdent tous leurs droits." 7 0 Indeed trie modern domain of public opinion was a theatrical display, carried out in public by the public and for the public; it tied actors together in uncharted ways since "nothing was more captivating yet more capricious than public applause". 7 1 The problem with public opinion was that it had no stable core, no certainty, no standard. This made it easy for deceivers - demagogues and charlatans - to offer to the crowds what the crowds wanted to hear rather than any impartial 'truth.' Public opinion, then, functioned in fortune-like ways. It acted on whim and fashion, it lacked a core, it deceived and escaped whatever.laws or injunctions humans could concoct. That an individual's position could be dependent on such an arbitrary and uncontrollable force reinforced the fragility and the inconstancy of a modern sociability. That fragility, however, was a strength as well as a weakness. The social system's lack of rules and boundaries facilitated entry of a large number of individuals who, in turn, brought a wide array of sensibilities that checked the most preposterous claims to esteem, riches and power that others could put forward. Individuals who put their self-interest ahead of the public good could be discovered and unmasked. In many ways, a varied and prothean public opinion was self-policing; it offered many opportunities for the recognition of merit and, by the same token, it increased the likelihood that those who acted in a fortune-like manner would be unmasked. Deceivers, demagogues and charlatans were denounced in the press, in pamphlets and in speeches at every turn. A pamphlet denouncing the conduct of Assembly member Louis Bourdages appeared in 1811. It accused him of every trick a conjurer could muster. 7 2 His politics resembled "I'habit de I'Arlequin".73 All he 7 0 - Le Canadien. 25 Juillet 1807. 7 1 - "Ma Philosophie" par Sir James Scarlett, L'Observateur. Tome II, No.12, Mars 1831, P.180. 7 2 - Its uncertain authorship is attributed to Pierre Dominique Debartzch or Jacques Viger, both colleagues of Bourdages. The pamphlet was satirical in that it consisted in a letter supposedly written by Bourdages to his brother in which he acknowledged his many deceptions. The author(s) of the pamphlet thus made him speak the 'truth' about the apparent truths he was publicly expounding thereby exposing what they thought was his real intent. Vie Politique de ex-membre de la Chambre d'Assemblee du Bas Canada. &&&. No Publisher given 1814. 7 3 - Depictions of Fortune often represented her with one side of her face white and the other black in a domino-like way. 77 accomplished "sous le masque du bien public" was in fact done to foster his own interest. He lied to the uneducated farmers and vacillated on important questions while exploiting his position on unimportant ones. The Speaker of the House had uncovered his hypocrisy and said of him that he acted only "pour tromper les electeurs; que je [Bourdages] n'etais qu'un charlatan." Manipulating every aspect of the truth to give every one what he or she wanted was a favourite tool of charlatans and demagogues who deceived those who longed for panaceas. Bourdages was a demagogue and, if we believe Bishop Strachan, demagogues were shallow men who revelled in things that were contingent and unstable. "With shallow men, the fashion is everything, whether in their mode of dress or of thinking. On this principle we account for those furious enthusiasts of the present day for undefined liberty and unrestrained licentiousness." 7 4 Ruled by their own passions, demagogues were likely to deceive and appeal to the equally unmediated passions of those who asked for nothing more than be offered artifices. Denis-Benjamin Viger made the point elegantly when he spoke of demagogues as men who received facile applause from their equally passionate and mercenary friends: "Quelques ignorants applaudissent a un beau nom et ne voient pas, comme le renard d'Esope, qu'un buste quelque beau qu'il soit, est sans cervelle." 7 5 Far from being true to themselves, those who bent to the political winds cloaked themselves in the appearances of respectability without fooling those who understood that Thabit ne fait pas le moine'. Indeed, when Dominique Mondelet changed his political colours and agreed to be nominated to the Executive Council, Louis Hyppolyte Lafontaine was quick to 'unmask his hypocrisy'. Had the silk robe he had put on - la Toge Patricienne - not falsely given him the impression that he could now prophecy? 7 6 Those who wished to denounce, to unmask the 7 4 - John Strachan, The Christian Religion. P.6. 7 5 - Denis-Benjamin Viger, Considerations. P.4. 7 6 - Louis Hyppolyte Lafontaine, Les deux girouettes ou I'hypocrisie demasquee. Montreal: Ludger Duvernay, 1834. P.8. In answer, Hyacinthe Leblanc de Marconnay uncovered Lafontaine's pretensions to grandeur in altering the spelling of his name. "Louis Menard dit Lafontaine, autrement Louis Lafontaine Menard, ou enfin L.H. Lafontaine comme if se fait appeler actuellement..." La Petite Clique Devoilee ou quelques explications sur les manoeuvres dirigees contre la minorite Patriotique. Rome, New York: 1835, P.5. The pamphlet was in fact printed somewhere in Lower Canada. Not to be undone, the reformer Charles-Ovide Perreault accused Leblanc de Marconnay of making these accusations in order to attract attention to himself. MG24 B37 Vol.1, Charles-Ovide Perreault a Edouard-Raymond Fabre, 27 Octobre 1835. 78 deceivers referred to them in the language of appearances to underscore the fact that their public utterances were not in harmony with their real intentions which made their public posturing an artificial creation of their own doing. They were appearances for appearance sake. The accusation, however, was rather easy to make since the intent of men was only known to themselves; therefore an unmasker could impute any motivation he wished. In the end, in modern sociability, anyone could be accused of deception. 7 7 A substantial amount of 'unmasking' in the early nineteenth century consisted in accusing people of functioning according to selfish self-interest and accusing them of hypocrisy. These accusations were unsurprising since the intent of individuals was impossible to know; Canadians realized, too, that civilization offered the 'arts' to ape virtue without being virtuous. All had the ability to deceive. "II est un metier que tout le monde exerce, dit Seneque; c'est celui de charlatans" as the Etrennes Mignones put it in welcoming the year 1800. 7 8 7 7 - "Quel est I'homme si vertueux qu'on ne puisse le representor sous les plus noires couleurs si Ton se permet de tout avancer sans fondement." Le Canadien. 13 Decembre 1810. A similar thought appeared in Le Canadien. 24 Fevrier 1810. 7 8 - Etrennes Mignones pour I'annee 1800. P.24. 79 3) THE PRIVATE SELF While the inconstancy of modern public opinion contributed to checking the most blatant manifestations of self-love, it nevertheless left private individuals vulnerable. Faced with a sociability that was both porous and fragile, individuals reflected on the lack of stability and certainty of their public identity, something that forced them to search inward for a solid, private core. Since all shared in the limelight, the individuals of the 'modern' age were the most consciously watched beings in history. This led to uncertainty: there was something unstable and complex about an identity built on how one looked to others and on their assessments. What, one was bound to ask, would be left when the masks behind which one lived one's life were removed. To explore this one had to conduct the search out of the gaze of others and turn inward to solitude and quietness where "the self found that it feels everything it wants within itself and receives no addition from [the] multitude of witnesses and spectators." 7 9 If solitary reflection had once been reserved to those seeking the path to God, it now might lead to the discovery of the fullness of being. The search, however, was conducted in much the same fashion; individuals peeled away the contingent layers of their worldly lives to arrive at the truth within. 8 0 Individuals searched for the truth in the same manner Boethius had; they reflected on the act of living once the inconstant gifts of Fortune had been taken away. One poet certainly found the experience positive: in his 1820 piece, a man lost his herd and the tools of his trade; fire destroyed his home and ravaged his fields and to top it all his friends abandoned him and his beloved left him. He concluded: Mais dans mon malheur extreme II me reste un tresor II vaut mieux qu'un diademe II est preferable a I'or Si je me reste a moi-meme 7 9 - The Quebec Mercury. 31 October 1808. 8 0 - One author wrote that solitary confinement was conducive to great discoveries of the mind and ended by pointing out that it was when he was alone in jail that Boethius had composed his Consolation. Magazin du Bas Canada. Tome 1, No.3, Mars 1832, P.96. 80 Je possede encore. Forced to face life naked and alone, the individual still had his self - his core and that made him rich and secure still. In this case, the examination led to a solidification and enhancement of the inner self. In others, as the experience of Pierre Bedard showed, not much was left once the masks were removed. Appointed judge in Trois-Rivieres, Bedard left Quebec city as something of a hero, having been jailed in 1810 on the orders of Governor Craig as a result of his editorship of Le Canadien and because of his activities in bringing the work of the Assembly to a standstill. 8 2 In Trois-Rivieres, Bedard felt isolated from his supporters - out of their gaze - and felt powerless to influence public affairs. His attitude went from bad to worse when his marriage faltered. His correspondence with John Neilson during this time shows a Pierre Bedard peeling away one by one the masks he had relied upon as an actor in society. 8 3 He blamed his life's failures on "un defaut d'apparence"; his small stature and natural timidity made it impossible to naturally command respect. 8 4 In the past, he had made up for his lack of physical presence by meritorious actions and public exertions for which he acquired much esteem and respect. But his wife was now undermining his position in the eyes of all those who surrounded him by spreading innuendoes, rumors, gossip and lies about him. 8 5 He was now unable to control the household servants: "Je suis dans la maison sans autorite quelconque", 8 1 - "Le Berger Malheureux" by Auguste Norbert Morin, Repertoire National. Vol. I., P.133. 8 2 - His appointment as judge was a clever move on the part of the authorities. During the two years leading to his arrest, Bedard had championed a campaign against the practice of allowing judges to run for election to the Assembly. By naming Bedard judge, the authorities silenced him quite effectively, particularly since, by 1814, Trois Rivieres was no longer the centre of political activity that it once had been. 8 3 - The Bedard-Neilson correspondence on this subject lasted from November 1814 to the autumn of 1816 and can be found in the Neilson Collection. MG24 Bl Vol.32. During this period, the Bedards separated once, made up and separated again. Of course, the correspondence only tells his side of the break-up. And even if Pierre Bedard thought and wrote as if his life was over, he remained in political life advising from the sidelines' until his death in 1829. History confirmed his status as a 'hero' of the first constitutional struggles. 8 4 - Bedard a Neilson, 4 Fevrier 1815, 5 Mars 1815 and 11 Avril 1815. 8 5 - Bedard a Neilson, 11 Novembre 1814, 5 Mars 1815 81 as he told Neilson. In addition, she turned their friends against him and he felt ostracized by polite society. 8 8 With Neilson's help, he examined the responsibility he bore for the situation: he found that he made enemies of everyone he came in contact with because of his natural "irritabilite" which only compounded his problems. While he may have merited the esteem of others in the past, he now found that this was no longer the case. His immediate solution was to disappear from view 8 9 , to isolate himself completely and to seek in solitude the solace he could no longer find with others. 9 0 When he heard rumors to the effect that his political friends were going to ask him to be their delegate to London, Bedard wrote that if his lack of physical presence was compensated for by some kind of evident merit he could probably pull it off. That, however, was not the situation: "...ce defaut n'est compense par n'y a pas plus de realite que d'apparence..."; in his case, there was no reality behind the appearance. 9 1 Unable to see merit in himself and unable to fool others into thinking him meritorious, Bedard asked his friend Neilson to discourage the notion that he be sent to England to defend the interests of the colony. Pierre Bedard felt he was being pilloried in the court of public opinion. No matter what he said to explain his conduct, he could never be assured of being believed. The requirements of social intercourse in the new age were not easy to meet. No matter how consistent with one's natural self the masks worn were, the edifice created was a fragile one. Experiencing the 'loss' of the masks upon which he depended, Pierre Bedard found little to comfort him. But precisely because he understood what was happening, he could become aware and examine his conduct and his 'real' self. He could reflect, in solitude, on who he 8 6 - Bedard a Neilson, 11 Novembre 1814. 8 7 - Bedard a Neilson, 11 Novembre 1814, 5 Mars 1815. 8 8 - Bedard a Neilson, 8 Mars 1815, 19 Mars 1815, 11 April 1815. 8 9 - Bedard a Neilson, 5 Mars 1815. "II n'y a point d'autre remede que de se cachez [sic] a la vue de tout le monde." 9 0 - Bedard a Neilson, 8 Mars 1815. 9 1 - Bedard a Neilson, 4 Fevrier 1815. 82 really was, something that led to a renewed meaning in the act of living. Had Bedard not been able to confront the fact that he had been engaged in worldly pursuits he might not have taken personal responsibility for his condition; he might have put the blame for his difficulties entirely on others, and, alleging that appearance and reality were the same, present himself as a victim. Examining the unmasked self could also lead to scrutinizing the relationship between collective wisdom and the individual and noting the possible discordance between who one was and the customs, traditions and habits that society imposed on all. Reflecting on the moral, civil, political and economic coverings thrust upon an individual after his birth certainly led at least one observer to interesting conclusions about the implications this had for the self. What happened, he asked, when what an individual was being taught did not match his natural self - son etat. In such a case a man might find himself being directed to act in certain ways "mais son etat s'y oppose"; if he persisted and did so act the result would be nothing less than slavery. He would be behaving according to the prejudices, the customs, and habits he learned even if his reason told him to act differently.92 And no matter how prevalent those prejudices, customs and habits were, they remained relative and temporary. They differed in time and in space and should be judged accordingly. 9 3 The problem of socialization was thus twofold: it created pressures that might distort the natural self - whatever that might be - and severely restrict free will; indeed, the individual could find himself at odds with the cultural values of his birth community, something that would intensify his private identity; it further created the possibility that individuals would mistake a set of contingent values for a timeless, universal truth. 'Un Homme sans Prejuge' therefore stressed the double-edged nature of education: "Oh education! fontaine de delices! faut-il que de la meme source il sorte des effets si opposes! Oh education! qui devrait detruire les prejuges; faut-il que tu les augmentes et les engendres meme!" 9 4 9 2 - Le Canadien. 23 Decembre 1809. 'Un Homme sans Prejuges'. "C'est un esclavage...qui force I'homme au prejuge meme quand sa raison voudrait Ten eloigner." 9 3 - Ibid.. The commentator gave the example of the harsh judgment passed on the cannibalism of a Chilean. Firstly the man should not be judged harshly since he acted well within the norms of his community and secondly the judgement was based in the values of another culture, values that were equally relative in time and space. 83 For him, education was being used to engrain prejudices rather than universal principles. The values specific to communities were not, in his mind, conducive to universal fellow-feeling and tolerance because they strengthened particularist sensibilities. Community values, in effect, were masks that blinded the individuals in ways that were far more profound and pernicious than the manner in which those worn by private individuals blinded them. 84 4) THE NOSTALGIC SELF The premise that all individuals were motivated by self-love did not sit well with those who yearned for a self-sacrificing virtue, for an unaltered, transparent self and for the simple ties of kinship; they did not always accept the duplicity involved in the new ways and doubted that it led to the public good. Some turned to the past, or to what they thought the past was: they looked to a period when things were simpler, more moral and more straightforward, an era when people, having little, and living simple lives, wore no masks. In looking for a kind of 'otherworldly' community, modern men found a state of nature that was not 'backwards' but where manners were pristine, pure, and uncorrupted and then opposed this in typical otherworldly fashion to the corruption and falseness of modernity. In doing this, however, they did not always heed the warning published in the Etrennes Mignones for 1800: "Rien n'empeche tant d'etre naturel que I'envie de le paraitre." 9 5 They failed to see that the 'modern' desire to appear 'natural' was itself a kind of deception. 'Naturalness' itself turned out to be a mask. That nature was a kind of mask was made clear in the nineteenth century romantic poems that celebrated its gentleness. Nothing spoke of its douceur and purity as much as new-fallen snow. "Fall in your wonderful purity, Fair as a bride's unsullied dress" the poet Isidore Ascher wrote, "Fall like the light of an infant's smile, That sweetly beams for a mother alone" 9 6 . The same gentleness and purity characterized the description of summer scenes. 9 7 It also appeared in contrasts with far away lands. 9 8 9 5 - Etrennes Mignones pour I'annee 1800. P.25. 9 6 - "The Falling Snow" by Isidore G. Ascher, cited in Dewart's Selections from Canadian Poets. P.290-291. 9 7 - "Je me promenais...sur une colline charmante; sa crete etait couronnee de frais et touffus bocages dont I'ombre se glissait jusqu'a ses pieds qu'arrosait un lac pur et limpide." Le Fantasque. 21 Juillet 1838. The author likened himself to Jean-Jacques Rousseau "...entonnant une hymne d'actions de graces en I'honneur de la nature." 9 8 - The poem "I've wandered in the Sunny South" by John F. M'Donnell compared glorious southern sunsets and the breathtaking beauties of Italy, Greece and Europe's lands to the poet's northern home where "...her islands and her lakes; And her forests old, where not a sound - The tomb-like silence breaks. - More lovely in her snowy dress, Or in her vesture green, - Than all the pride of Europe's lands - Or Asia's glittering sheen." Cited in Dewart's Selections from Canadian Poets. P.164-165. Similar traveller's 85 Unspoiled nature - simple, pure and clean - was presented as the alternative to city life rife with noise, dirt, glitter and corruption just as it had been in the Wheel of Fortune. The crime-free country stood in contrast to the troubled city: it was "...loin du spectacle des villes, de leurs vanites de leurs vices et de leurs soucis." 9 9 Those who inhabited the countryside were as pure as the environment that moulded them. For Denis-Benjamin Viger, the peasantry, untouched by modernity, retained its original characteristics. One could look fondly on: " politesse simple et naive de la majorite de la basse classe des citoyens qui n'a pas encore eprouve I'influence corruptrice d'un changement de moeurs..." 1 0 0 According to another observer, farmers being less vain than city people, were harder to corrupt or deceive and had an instinctual grasp of the truth of things: "...les politesses et les complimens ne les derangent pas; ils regardent au solide et on ne les dupent pas aussi aisement; mais les villes sont remplies d'un tas de gueux et de demi-gueux, qui tous essayent [sic] de se hausser et sont tous avides des honneurs et friands des politesses des personnes d'un rang eleve". 1 0 1 Born to simplicity and frugality, country dwellers were less likely to break familial ties and be enticed by the glamor of the cit ies. 1 0 2 Their kinship bonds were straightforward and non duplicitous; they were free of the displays and artificialities that characterized the individualism of modern sociability. Some early nineteenth century men made it very clear how much they valued poverty and simplicity over worldliness. When The Quebec Mercury compared the lives of the rich and the poor, it contrasted the sentiments are expressed in "Le Luth de la Montagne": "J'ai vu devant moi, sans envie, - S'ouvrir de superbes palais: - C'est toi ma cabane cherie, - Qui peut remplir tous mes souhaits. " La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome II, No.2, January 1826. P.48-52. 9 9 - Le Fantasque. 21 Juillet 1838. Le Vrai Canadien. 29 Aout 1810. There certainly exists an analogy between what is presented here and the republican-country political paradigm that valued the transparency of the warrior-farmer. 1 0 0 - Viger, Considerations. P.49. 1 0 1 - Le Canadien. 5 Septembre 1807. 1 0 2 - What they had to be on guard against was made clear by Le Vrai Canadien: "Des jeunes gens jusque la sages et vertueux n'ont pas ete plutot entraines une fois dans ces lieux horribles ou I'impurete reside, qu'ils volent leurs peres, leurs maitres et tout ce qui leur tombe sous la main pour le porter a I'infame objet de leur amour effrene." Le Vrai Canadien. 29 aout 1810. 86 benefits of having little with the disadvantages of having plenty. Possessing nothing but subsistence, the poor slept soundly, had better health, and, having nothing to lose, did not fear losing it: they "...laugh and dance and sing and love..." 1 0 3 On the other hand, rich men worried about losing their riches, overate and grew fat from overindulgence; under close scrutiny, the life of the rich was a dismal affair. Scarcity, meanwhile, enabled an individual to have "that contempt which attends poverty" and pushed him to explore new avenues, something the rich, dulled by money, would not do . 1 0 4 Moreover, to attain some kind of social recognition without being born to riches was an indication of real worth and merit. When Louis-Joseph Papineau gave reformer-doctor Jacques Labrie's eulogy, he emphasized Labrie's poor beginnings and subsequent self-sacrifice and praised the doctor for leaving nothing but the memory of his good name: "II ne laisse pour toute fortune a sa famille qu'un nom sans tache et le souvenir d'une vie pleine de merites." 1 0 5 Living in honest poverty became a badge of honour and a proof of virtue and worthiness. When a witness described the students of one of the poorest parishes, he referred to their torn clothes as "...des drapeaux victorieux..," garments attesting to their triumph over adversity. 1 0 6 If nothing else poverty kept people virtuous for lack of things to enjoy and kept them free from the plenty that was sure to bring their corruption. 1 0 7 Poverty took on many of the values associated with otherworldly virtue when it was seen through the eyes of the educated and civilized men and women who experienced difficulty in coming to grips with modernity. Their assessment, however/was somewhat ambivalent: the peasants might have a kind of virtue but this came from the fact that they were unmodern and uncivilized and would need to remain that way to stay uncorrupted. Some commentators recommended a limited education for the inhabitants. They proposed to The Quebec Mercury. 16 June 1808. The Quebec Mercury. 20 February 1809. Le Canadien. 3 Decembre 1831. L'Observateur. Tome II, No.20, Mai 1831, P.319. Poverty was sometimes portrayed as the only condition capable of conquering Fortune. See Patch, The Goddess Fortuna. P.72-74. "On the Expediency of Educating", P.21. 87 provide them what was necessary to increase their capacity to farm the land but nothing beyond as this would foster dissatisfaction with their condition and make them proud and difficult.1 0 8 They also rejected modern individualism on the grounds that it was based on the irrational and immediate indulgence of pleasures and was a condition which blinded individuals to real worth and rendered their ties mercenary and deceitful. That kind of cosmopolitan sociability offered nothing solid or moral. Look around you, one disillusioned observer wrote, and everywhere you will find a warped sense of community where individuals, seeking facile undertakings, rewarded the deceitful: Le monde est ainsi fait: on ne prend que docteur qui vous garantit d'avance une guerison, que I'avocat promettant une cause gagnee, que femme jurant fidelite, qu'ami professant devouement, que religion assurant le salut, que gouvernement exhibant de la liberie...que marchandises augurant eternite, que le journal esclave de votre opinion. 1 0 9 Joseph Quesnel's 1802 play L'Anglomanie ou le Diner a I'Analaise 1 1 0 unmasked the deception contained in the manners of comfortable society and gave the 'right' set of manners to be adopted by the Canadian population. A rich man of lowly birth, Mr. Prime, and his noble son-in-law, Mr. Beauchamp, await the arrival of the Governor for diner. Mr. Beauchamp had made sure that Prime's family were not on the premises since, being of low birth, they would only embarrass the Governor. Mr. Prime himself, on the other hand, could behave with propriety because, under Beauchamp's guidance, he had acquired proper habits and manners, redecorated his house and bought the clothes required by his position. All, however, was not well because Mr. Prime's mother was balking at all the fuss and objected to the new manners. Mr. Prime refused her request to invite her sister and her cousin saying that the reception was not a casual affair. This dinner required politeness, etiquette and decorum - the masks of society - that the lower ranks had yet to acquire. He chided her for living in the past: " Vous tenez trop ma mere a vos anciens usages." In the end, the Governor sent his regrets; his wife had accepted the invitation because she hoped to meet the entire family; upon learning that they would not be present, she saw no point in coming. A repentant 1 0 8 - L'Aurore. 'Un Villageois a M. Bibaud', 1 Novembre 1817. 1 0 9 - Le Fantasque. 11 Juin 1838. 1 1 0 - MG24 L8 M-7, Ma Saberdache Rouge. Joseph Quesnel, L'Anglomanie ou le Diner a I'Anglaise. P.74. The play received great reviews in Quebec city. 88 Mr. Prime discussed the situation with his mother and decided to host a family banquet where 'good taste and pleasure will be united in simplicity'. This remarkable entertainment revealed how false were the pretensions associated with modernity: in presenting a rich man deluded into thinking he was above his station and rejecting the simplicity and transparence of his kinship ties, it made clear the deficiencies of the 'modern' all the while offering a picture of the manners of the peasantry as simple and direct and so stressed social habits aimed to the heart without the 'arts' that characterized the sociability of the bourgeoisie. In searching for a communal sociability, another writer examined childhood as a time of immaturity when individuals were guileless. Childhood, "when nature wears no mask" " 1 was a transparent age because it predated the time when "the passions urge their fierce control." 1 1 2 It also represented the period before socialization and the imprinting of social habits that marked an individual forever. 1 1 3 Children lived simply, happily and safely ensconced in the bosom of their famil ies. 1 1 4 That simple universe got lost in the process of maturation and civilization. Projected onto the 'immature' peasantry, these notions contributed greatly to the image of the 'folk' as child-like, simple and transparent individuals who were free from the shackles of the passions and the deceits and artifices of self-interest and put a premium on family values 1 1 1 - The Wheel of Fortune. P.13. 1 1 2 - "Hours of Childhood", poem by A. Bowman, Hours of Childhood, and other Poems. Montreal, Published privately, 1820, P.14. Notary Seguin expressed similar views in his Notes entry of 29 Juin 1831. " si heureuses dispositions ne soient obscursies par le faux eclat des passions...". The Canadian poet J . J . Procter detailed the purity of the child in his poem "Childhood" reproduced in Edward Hartley Dewart, Selections from Canadian Poets. P.254-255. 1 1 3 - According to an author on the subject, habits first felt like a barrier to the child, something different in nature to the self; but over time, the obstacle disappeared and the child began to think of them as 'natural' - a sort of acquired second skin - that moulded the self imperceptibly according to acceptable social norms. "On Good and Bad Habits", The Canadian Magazine. Vol.IV, No.XXIII, May 1825, P.426. 1 1 4 - Citing a work by the famous romantic writer Chateaubriand, a commentator explored the nature of these strong family ties by recalling 'the smile of a father, mother, sister.' Le Spectateur. 10 Octobre 1814."Anecdote Canadienne" noted that family ties that characterized "les moeurs des hommes pendant la periode de I'age d'or" were still found in the countryside. He witnessed two young farmers married to two sisters each bringing up a family "...a laquelle Ms apprenaient a cherir la vertu...Les parents s'aiment. Les enfants imitateurs fideles de leurs parens, vivaient dans la plus parfaite concorde et donnaient I'exemple de cette harmonie si commune autrefois en ce pays entre tous les membres et les allies d'une meme famille." La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome I, No.4, Septembre 1825, P.128. 89 and selfless motherhood. 1 1 5 In conformity with these ideas, young women were urged to marry for love and not status or money. The first was genuine, the second was glitter; the former was pure and pastoral, the latter corrupting and urban. As a poet put it in 1848: L' une est la voix du luxe et des beaux equipages Qui passent a grand bruit sur le pave roulans L'autre sort des hameaux caches dans les feuillages Voix du patre qui chante, et des agneaux belans. 1 1 6 Women were celebrated for their selfless love. As the century progressed portraits stressed their gentility and their douceur. Men celebrated women as family nurturers - whether wives, daughters, or mothers. One such was the reformer Dr. Charles Duncombe who wrote an emotional poem to his daughter Eliza Jane, the last lines of which encapsulated the sentiment perfectly: Thou ar't a mother with that tender name Comes floods of feeling and a world of care Three friends have each and almost equal claim To all they love and each must have his share A triple zeal must now thy soul enflame; For triple calls thou must hence forth prepare So that between, Husband, Child and Father 1 1 5 - Allan Greer's works on the peasantry hardly sustain this image of the 'folk'. Indeed, Greer shows that the peasantry was particularly adept at making the reformers do their bidding and that many 'bourgeois' reforms originated from the peasant ways of doing things. He also shows them to be astute economic actors within the boundaries of their subsistence economy. See Allan Greer, The Patriots and the People. The Rebellion of 1837 in Rural Lower Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993, chapters 3 and 8 and Peasant. Lord and Merchant: Rural Society in Three Quebec Parishes 1740-1840. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985. In addition, there exists a great resemblance between Quesnel's view of the peasantry and the view of the 'folk' found in Ian McKay's book The Quest of the Folk. Mckay analyses the refashioning of the cultural identity of Nova Scotia that characterized the folk according to virtues of "honesty, simplicity, straightforwardness and thrift" (P.279) for touristic purposes in the nineteenth twenties. One hundred and twenty years apart, a province, a culture and a language apart, two bourgeoisies seem to hold similar nostalgic views about the 'past'. See Ian McKay, The Quest of the Folk. Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia. Montreal and Kingston: McGil l-Queen's University Press, 1994, chapters 1 and 4. 1 1 6 - Cited in Yolande Grise, Les Textes poetiques du Canada Francais. Volume 4, P.857. A young woman's choice of love over money was also the central theme of Joseph Quesnel's play "Colas et Colinette ou le Bailli Dupe" played in Montreal in 1790. Repertoire National. Volume I, P.18-71. Another author prefered young Canadian women who renounced luxury to the beautiful women of past mythology. L'Observateur. Tome II, No.1, Janvier 1831. 90 Not many idle moments can'st thou gather. 1 1 7 The Lower Canadian poet Michel Bibaud was no less eloquent in his 1826 poem entitled "Le merite des femmes" Soit f il le, epouse ou mere; en toute conjoncture Elle est comme un rayon de la Divinite Quels sentiments exquis! quelle ame tendre et pure! Quel courage sublime, et quelle amenite Elle aime a s'immoler; c'est la sa jouissance Et n'a que sa douceur, ses pleurs, sa patience Pour desarmer un sexe oppressif et jaloux; 1 1 8 Some nineteenth century men refused to view women as individuals motivated by self-interest and increasingly celebrated the virtue of married women, seeing their capacity for selfless love as central to it. They adopted a more otherworldly view of women and their passions that, in the end, favoured denial of the self to ensure the unity of the whole. A particularly apt expression of this idea appeared in the pages of Le Spectateur when it quoted Rousseau's assessment of a good woman. The eighteenth century figure rejected beauty, intelligence and talents as the attributes that counted and favoured douceur in all cases . 1 1 9 Purity of sentiments and selfless dedication to others made mothers particularly adept at distributing benevolence to the needy and the poor and at passing on cultural traditions to children. Indeed their responsibility for this became a distinguishing characteristic by the end of the century. 1 2 0 As the century wore on it became difficult to reconcile what women ought to be with what they were. Most telling was the comment made by an observer in the Magazin du Bas Canada. He chastised those who vilified women as well as those who put them on a pedestal. A more temperate view was 1 1 7 - MG24 B38, Charles Duncombe to his daughter Eliza Jane, 1835. 1 1 8 - La Bibliotheque Canadienne. Tome II, No.2, Janvier 1826, P.110. 1 1 9 - Le Spectateur. 4 Octobre 1814. The same issue praised the virtues of the recently deceased Marie Louise Peyrimaulx who spent her substantial fortune caring for the unfortunate. 1 2 0 - Mariana Valverde shows how much women had indeed adopted these notions about feminity in their dealings with the passions of uneducated female domestic servants and idle able-bodied men. There was much in this manner of framing things that enabled middle class women to satisfy their interest for esteem and stature in their societies. Mariana Valverde, The Age of Light. Soap and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada. 1885-1925. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1991. 91 necessary: " si I'on connaissait parfaitement le caractere des femmes, on trouverait qu'elles ont trop de bonnes qualites pour etre haTes et qu'elles n'en ont pas assez pour etre idolatrees." 1 2 1 The observer was celebrating the need to see women as they 'really' were, to get behind masks, distinguishing features, myth and discourse. In a round about way, he was attesting to the importance of masks in the definition of the modern self - 'virtuous' ones as well as 'corrupted' ones. Early nineteenth century Canadians discussed the public self in relation to the images they projected and took into consideration what others thought of them or at least what they thought others thought of them. They were quite aware that their public identity involved human agency and that it was constructed in interraction with others in ways that they could not control. For that reason, they knew that individual identities were fragile and subject to misinterpretation and deceit. It became obvious that the images that they projected, be they literary or physical, as well their actions and their words involved contingency of some sort, a conundrum they tried to resolve by harmonizing their essence with their appearance in order to ensure that esteem and consideration be distributed only to the worthy. The intimate knowledge they had of their situation spurred a search for a core within the self and for an essence in their beliefs beyond the contingencies of worldly life. Some found the truth within and others found in science the truth they needed to establish consistent standards and references. Others, on the other hand, found the modern environment ambivalent if not corruptive of the simpler things in human existence and sought to recover, in the peasantry, an universe where values were held in common, where worldly pleasures were spurned in favour of a simple life and neighbourly ties, an universe, in other words, that had yet to undergo the alterations to the human soul and to society. 1 2 1 - "Maximes et Bons-mots du jour", Magazin du Bas Canada. Tome I, No.2, Fevrier 1832, P.65. 92 CHAPTER THREE WEALTH Eighteenth century writers proposed a theory of society that showed humans developing increasingly complex economic behaviours. Hunters and gatherers relied on their own skills to reap earth's offerings, migrating with the beasts and the seasons. Shepherding followed creating more patterned journeying and increasing the variety of skills necessary to make full use of the animals tended. Then came agriculture that stabilized human beings in one place. Freed from wandering, they could labour in relative security and stability, able to predict to a point the outcome of their actions. Humans could build lasting settlements of their own choosing and, barring unforeseen circumstances, such as war, drought and other acts of God, become rooted in one particular geographical spot. Equally spatially bound, patterns of power, economic strategies and sociability gained a measure of unprecedented stability. Also freed from daily pressures to fight for life, food and shelter, humans began to develop the arts, the sciences and the products that would make the peaceful exchanges of the commercial age possible and engagement in worldly life a possibility for all. As societies progressed, individuals engaged in ever more sophisticated pursuits that reworked the ties that bound them together. The pursuit of wealth, plenty and comfort focussed the attention on one gift of Fortune more specifi-cally: riches. 1 Its possession, it was thought, liberated the individual from former entanglements such as familial, paternalistic and religious ties and promised freedom in unprecedented degree. In return, however, those associated with wealth carried on their shoulders the largest share of ushering in modernity. In a large measure, they and their possessions were regarded as agents of change within specific boundaries. Others, however, reaffirmed the Christian injunctions against the corruption that worldly goods brought and 1 - More likely than not, the emphasis on wealth altered the meaning of the word from one that represented a mysterious force that ruled human destiny through the allocation of her four gifts to a more narrow focus on one particular good. The meaning of the word Fortune changed often over the centuries quite possibly reflecting the prevailing attitudes regarding what and who constituted contingency at any given time. 93 recasted the contrast between the contingency of the worldly and the stability of the otherworldly in the particular context of the times. 94 1) AGRICULTURAL WEALTH Most Canadians viewed the ownership of wealth and the ownership of money in different ways. For some, there existed a kind of land-related wealth that banked on human self-interest to modernize the self and the community in natural and imperceptible ways all the while contributing to the growth of society and strengthening the ties between the inhabitants. Instructions given to farmers in 1807 to entice them into growing hemp stressed that personal and long-term interest, personal gain, personal growth and personal wealth were related to the serving of the public good. The newspapers followed suit and presented growing hemp as a practice that spoke of rational self-interest and foresight. With its guaranteed markets, hemp would give the farmer a profit and comforts that he had not been able to acquire until then. 2 The initial inconvenience and insecurity incurred by the farmer would soon be