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The roots of western discontent : an interpretation of the white settlers’ role in the rebellion of 1885 Fairey, Elaine Louise 1985

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THE ROOTS OF WESTERN DISCONTENT: AN INTERPRETATION OF THE WHITE SETTLERS' ROLE IN THE REBELLION OF 1885 By  ,  ELAINE LOUISE FAIREY B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1979 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES The Department of History  We accept this thesis as conforming to-ihe required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1985 ©Elaine Louise Fairey, 1985  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the  requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference  and study.  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by t h e head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  It i s  understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain  s h a l l n o t be allowed without my w r i t t e n  permission.  Department o f  /^sta/fal*?  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date  DE-6  C3/81)  /fafs  ABSTRACT  The 1870 Resistance at Red River and the Saskatchewan Rebellion of 1885  form an important chapter i n the history of the Canadian West and  are considered pivotal episodes in the development of the region.  Despite the presence and participation of the white settlers in certain aspects of these protest movements, especially i n the l a t t e r , studies have tended to characterize these events primarily as the result of the actions of Louis R i e l and the Metis, relegating the role of the whites to a subordinate  position i n their analyses.  This trend has had important  consequences for the interpretion of Western Canadian history.  As the  idea of Western discontent and d i s t i n c t i v e regionalism i s fundamental in understanding the history of the region, the focus on the Metis role in protests against the Canadian Government has led to the conclusion that Western discontent grew out of the Metis experience  and that i t was  Western, that i s , environmental, in o r i g i n . However, as Western society and culture were shaped to an astonishing degree by the Ontario immigrants of the 1870's and 1880's, any analysis of the roots of Western discontent must also take into account the white s e t t l e r s ' role in the protest movements of the time. true for the Rebellion of 1885  This i s e s p e c i a l l y  as large numbers of Ontario s e t t l e r s were  both present i n the West and active i n agitation against the government prior to the Rebellion. By placing the general c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Western white s e t t l e r s ' protest and agitation during the 1870's and 1880's in the context of  - iii -  protests and r e b e l l i o n s  elsewhere i n North America,, i t becomes clear that  the s e t t l e r s * discontent was not the product of the Western i d e n t i t y they shared with the Metis, but rather grew out of the c u l t u r a l heritage they had brought from Ontario.  Although the f r o n t i e r environment of the West  provided reasons f o r t h e i r discontent, i t was as " B r i t i s h subjects," not as Westerners, that the s e t t l e r s protested against the Ottawa government and the "East." In fact, i n the same way that the s e t t l e r s ' Ontario c u l t u r e became that of the.West, t h e i r protest t r a d i t i o n , derived from t h e i r B r i t i s h heritage, determined the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s discontent.  and persistence of Western  Far from imposing t h e i r protest t r a d i t i o n on the white  s e t t l e r s , the Metis revealed, by t h e i r use of p e t i t i o n s and t h e i r appeals to the " r i g h t s of B r i t i s h subjects," that i t was they who adapted to the form of protest brought to the West by the Ontario immigrants.  - iv -  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page ABSTRACT  i i  LIST OF TABLES  v  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  .-  vi  INTRODUCTION CHAPTER ONE:  CHAPTER TWO:  1 THE BRITISH PROTEST TRADITION IN NORTH AMERICA: ROOTS AND CHARACTERISTICS ONTARIO SETTLED THE WEST:  THE PARADOX OF WESTERN  DISCONTENT CHAPTER THREE: CHAPTER FOUR:  37  PROTEST IN THE WEST: RESTRAINED PROTEST:  ROOTS AND CHARACTERISTICS  A TRADITIONAL RESPONSE  SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES  16  61 94 112  ;  119  - v -  LIST OF TABLES  Page  TABLE I:  Birthplace of the Manitoba Population, 1881  39  TABLE II:  Birthplace of the North-west Population Other than Native Born, 1881 and 1885.  41  - vi-  Acknowledgements  I would l i k e to thank my supervisor, Dr. David Breen, for his invaluable assistance i n developing the ideas of t h i s thesis and for h i s constant encouragement throughout the many stages of the project.  I am  grateful too, for the help I have received from other members of the Department of History and from the l i b r a r i a n s and s t a f f of the Main Library.  F i n a l l y , I am indebted to my family, to my husband Bruce  Jelstad and to Kim Adams.  Without their moral and p r a c t i c a l support,  this thesis would not have been completed.  - 1  -  INTRODUCTION  The historiography of the North-West Rebellion of 1885, Stanley's c l a s s i c study, The Birth of Western Canada,  1  to more recent  works such as P r a i r i e F i r e by Bob Beal and R.C. Macleod, understandably  2  has  focused i t s analysis on the a c t i ons of the Metis, and  especially on the charismatic person of Louis R i e l . and f i n a l l y tragic resistance against their way  from George  3  The Metis' dramatic  the.white Canadian challenge to  of l i f e and their survival as a people forms an important  chapter i n Western Canadian history.  However, despite the compelling  nature of the Metis' story, theirs was not the only culture to shape the character of the West, nor in the long run, was i t the most i n f l u e n t i a l . Between the Red River Resistance of 1870 and the uprising of circumstances changed profoundly in the West.  1885,  Thousands of white  s e t t l e r s , mostly from Ontario, arrived in the region, bringing with them the i n s t i t u t i o n s and values which formed the basis of modern P r a i r i e society.  In order to f u l l y understand the significance of the  1885  Rebellion in Western Canadian history, i t must be studied from the perspective of the white s e t t l e r s , as well as from that of the Metis and Indians. The presence of the white s e t t l e r s and their involvement in the Rebellion has been at least partly dealt with i n a r t i c l e s discussing s p e c i f i c events, such as the t r i a l s of the white "rebels", Thomas Scott and W.M.  Jackson,^ and certain individuals, Jackson, for example,^ while  larger works on the Rebellion generally devote a chapter or two to the whites' grievances and agitation prior to the uprising.^  None of the  these studies, however, considers the Rebellion as an event i n the  - 2  whites' own  -  history nor attempts to provide a conceptual framework by  which to understand i t from that perspective.  Indeed, as George Stanley  reveals, historians have been very firm i n refusing to consider a focus different from that of their Metis-centred studies.  Although w i l l i n g to  characterize the Manitoba farmers' protests of the 1870's and 1880's as "the f i r s t manifestation of that struggle between the West and the East which has marred the growth of Canadian u n i t y " and to i d e n t i f y 7  "an  interesting p a r a l l e l " between the p o l i t i c a l agitation of the whites in the North-West and the struggle of "Old Canada" to gain representative government and p o l i t i c a l autonomy for Great B r i t a i n , Stanley refuses to explore the possible implications of his observations and warns that "this p a r a l l e l cannot be pushed too far from the r e b e l l i o n of 1885,  like  that of 1869-70, was a struggle for racial survival and not, like that of 1837,  a fight for responsible government.  Without necessarily questioning the v a l i d i t y of Stanley's conclusion insofar as the Metis were concerned, this thesis intends to challenge his assumption that the Rebellion can only be s a t i s f a c t o r i l y interpreted from the perspective of the Metis. Stanley's observations, i r o n i c a l l y , provide clues as to a possible and s i g n i f i c a n t interpretation of the whites' a c t i v i t i e s during the Rebellion period.  If the Westerners' discontent both harkens back to  e a r l i e r protest movements, such as the Rebellion of 1837,  and foreshadows  the character of future Western protest, i t can be i d e n t i f i e d as belonging to an h i s t o r i c a l pattern of protest behaviour,  one which has  affected the character of the West and the history of the country as a whole. S.D.  Clark suggests a similar interpretation of the 1885 Rebellion in  - 3  -  Movements of P o l i t i c a l Protest in Canada, 1640-1840.  9  In the course of  studying the h i s t o r i c a l antecedents of Alberta's Social Credit movement during the 1930's, Clark became convinced  that v i r t u a l l y a l l North  American protest movements, Canadian as well as American, shared a common historical tradition. Rebellion of 1885.10  This included, of course, the Saskatchewan Through his examination of protest movements in  North American up u n t i l 1840,  Clark argues that, Canada's self-image to  the contrary, p o l i t i c a l protest, even to the point of r e b e l l i o n , l i e s as close to the core of Canadian culture as i t does to the American.  This  propensity to discontent and protest, he contends, i s a product of the f r o n t i e r experience  shared by both Canada and the United States.  The  United States embraced the ideal of "backwoods r e b e l l i o n s " , and Canada rejected i t , he claims, because of the two countries' different circumstances  after the American Revolution.  According to his theory,  f r o n t i e r protest movements played a positive role i n the development of the United States by "freeing the expansive energies of the f r o n t i e r " H and thereby achieving the nation's goals, especially that of claiming the continent.  In Canada, however, where the demands of geography had  led  to the development of centralized p o l i t i c a l and economic i n s t i t u t i o n s , backcountry protest threatened the s t a b i l i t y of those i n s t i t u t i o n s ,  and,  therefore, Canada's survival as a separate North. American state, by rendering the country vulnerable to the American expansionist threat.-'-  2  Clark's study provides a valuable starting point for  understanding  the h i s t o r i a l context of the Saskatchewan r e b e l l i o n , both in the general framework he proposes and i n his s p e c i f i c observations about Canadian attitudes towards f r o n t i e r protest and r e b e l l i o n .  However, despite the  obvious value of his thesis, Clark's analysis has s i g n i f i c a n t problems,  - 4 -  the solutions to which challenge some important aspects of his conclusions. By focusing on the f r o n t i e r as the essential ingredient i n the development of North American protest t r a d i t i o n , Clark does not take into account the important role played by values and attitudes inherited from Britain.  An examination of the causes of the discontent among people of  B r i t i s h heritage i n North America, and of the methods they used to express that discontent, reveals that the fundamental elements of their protest t r a d i t i o n were c u l t u r a l , that i s , B r i t i s h , i n their origin and inspiration.  The protest t r a d i t i o n of the major North American group,  therefore, cannot be f u l l y understood as a manifestation  of the e f f e c t s  of the f r o n t i e r , i t must also be viewed as the particular response of B r i t i s h s e t t l e r s to a f r o n t i e r environment and, therefore, as a product of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n . considered  Thus, i f the Rebellion of 1885 i s  as a Metis protest, as Clark implies by h i s use of the term  "Riel r e b e l l i o n " i t  cannot be an i n t e g r a l part of the same protest  t r a d i t i o n as the American revolution or the uprisings of 1837 i n the Canadas.  The white s e t t l e r s , not the Metis, were the c u l t u r a l i n h e r i t o r s  of that t r a d i t i o n . The second major flaw i n Clark's analysis l i e s i n h i s interpretation of the American response to r e b e l l i o n . While i t does seem true that the United States sought less control over i t s f r o n t i e r s e t t l e r s than did Canada, i t cannot be claimed as Clark does that "the constituted authorities of the American p o l i t i c a l society were never prepared to completely suppress" f r o n t i e r protest movements.-^  The American  authorities did tolerate the independence of frontier groups as long as their energies were directed towards national goals as removing the  - 5 -  Indians from the land, but when f r o n t i e r discontent focused on issues, and began to take measures, which threatened  the authority or s t a b i l i t y  of the government, the Americans acted as quickly as the Canadians to suppress the protest movement and punish those involved.  Such was the  case for Shays' Rebellion of 1786-7 i n Massachusetts^ and the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion of 1792.1'° any suggestion  In neither instance was there  that the Washington government either tolerated or  approved of the rebels' actions.  Moreover, as Pauline Maier has pointed  out, the Americans were even less philosophically disposed extra-legal protest after the American Revolution authorities had been during the c o l o n i a l days.  to approve of  than the B r i t i s h  Maier argues that a  t r a d i t i o n a l B r i t i s h concept held that r i o t s and popular protests played a natural and necessary role i n a free society as u n o f f i c i a l but i n f l u e n t i a l means of regulating and correcting abuses i n the government.  18  Understandably, t h i s view was shared by American  revolutionary thinkers such as Samuel Adams,! and Thomas Jefferson, who 9  stated h i s preference  for "a l i t t l e r e b e l l i o n now and then" which would  act " l i k e a storm i n the atmosphere". ^ 2  After the Revolution, the  American a u t h o r i t i e s ' attitudes towards r e b e l l i o n no longer demonstrated the former t o l e r a t i o n , at least i n theory, of protest and r e b e l l i o n . Maier i d e n t i f i e s a number of reasons for t h i s change i n perception, among them the increasing violence of the nineteenth  century mob and the  r e a l i z a t i o n that popular uprisings, often directed against minorities, threatened  i n d i v i d u a l freedom, as much as any despotic r u l e r , ! but the  most important was the change which had occurred  2  i n concept of the  relationship between the American people and their government. American Independence, popular protests began to be seen less as  After the  - 6  -  acceptable c r i t i c i s m s of governmental shortcomings and more as d i s c r e d i t i n g i n s u l t s to the republican experiment.  While there could be  some j u s t i f i c a t i o n for protest against the power of hereditary r u l e r s , according to American thinking, uprisings against the authority of chosen representatives were unnecessary and immoral.^2 Federal Constitution, considered popular  With the adoption  of the  the peak of p o l i t i c a l achievement,  protest, r e b e l l i o n , even revolution, came to be seen as outmoded  and unacceptable means of expressing p o l i t i c a l discontent.23  Thus, i t  can be argued that for the Americans, no less than the Canadians, f r o n t i e r protest i s both demanded by their c u l t u r a l heritage and environment and yet denied by the physical and philosophical needs of each nation's central government.  This i s an important point because,  according to Clark's argument, the l i m i t s which were placed on Canadian protest movements were purely Canadian checks on a protest t r a d i t i o n which flourished  freely in the United States.  In fact, the protest  traditions of both countries, based as they were on the response of B r i t i s h s e t t l e r s to a f r o n t i e r environment, were similar in their motives, their methods, and their  limitations.  Not only can the Western s e t t l e r s ' involvement i n the Rebellion of 1885  be best understood as a manifestation of the B r i t i s h protest  t r a d i t i o n , but placing their attitudes and actions within that context provides insight into the forces which have determined the character of the P r a i r i e West and ensured the continued discontent within the Canadian  existence of Western  Confederation.-  In order to situate the s e t t l e r s ' discontent and agitation within the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n , i t i s f i r s t necessary to study the general c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of that t r a d i t i o n , i t s B r i t i s h roots and especially i t s  - 7  North American manifestations  -  from the 17th to the 19th centuries.  Then, turning to the P r a i r i e West during the 1870's and 1880's, the discussion w i l l consider the o r i g i n s of the s e t t l e r s who  arrived in the  West during those years, the influence they exercised on the development of Western i n s t i t u t i o n s and values, and, most importantly, how protest t r a d i t i o n which was  the  part of their c u l t u r a l heritage contributed  to the paradox at the base of Western discontent, the h o s t i l i t y of Ontarians against  Ontario.  F i n a l l y , through an examination of the s e t t l e r s ' discontent and  the  steps they took to express that discontent during the years prior to the Rebellion, that i s , the motives, methods and l i m i t a t i o n s of their a g i t a t i o n , i t w i l l be clear both that the s e t t l e r s were acting i n accord with the protest t r a d i t i o n shown among B r i t i s h groups, and that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of that t r a d i t i o n explain much about the nature and persistence of Western discontent. Interestingly enough, despite the white's subordinate Metis-centred  role i n the  historiography of the Rebellion period, the white s e t t l e r s '  agitation and grievances have been f a i r l y extensively covered i n studies of the Rebellion, although from the perspective of their effect on the Metis.  It i s not d i f f i c u l t to reconstruct their a c t i v i t i e s during the  Rebellion period from the secondary sources dealing with the Rebellion. What i s lacking from these studies, and therefore from our understanding of the whites' a g i t a t i o n , i s an in-depth consideration of the sources and nature of their discontent.  A l l students of the period recognize that  the Dominion government's land policy and the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway's monopoly, for example, were major grievances to the Western settlers. What i s less understood i s the a t t i t u d i n a l background from which those,  o  - 8  and other grievances, emerged.  -  It i s important  to recognize not only the  well-known targets of western discontent but also the values and  opinions  which constituted their "mentalite", for those underlying assumptions form the basis of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n . As the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n was  revealed as much by the  s e t t l e r s ' attitudes as by their actions, i t was  important  to find primary  source material which would both report and r e f l e c t their opinions. Personal correspondence and d i a r i e s suggested themselves as possible sources, but the lack of large numbers on which to base conclusions regarding Western attitudes and the understandably  personal focus of  those available precluded them from in-depth consideration.  Though  l i t e r a t e , the western s e t t l e r s were not l i t e r a r y i n the public sense of the pamphleteers of the American Revolution. expressed  Their public opinions were  formally through memorials and p e t i t i o n s and, of course,  through the columns of the Western press.  These two sources, especially  the l a t t e r , w i l l provide the major chronicle of the s e t t l e r s ' discontent during the period i n question, the 1870's and early 1880's. The newspapers proved to be a very valuable source of information both on the concrete questions of what happened and where, and on the more abstract issues of why,  and what did people think about events.  Because newspapers were published i n many communities throughout Manitoba and the T e r r i t o r i e s , they provide news and opinions from a wide geographical base and form a composite picture of l i f e and thought i n the West.  As P.B.  Waite comments, newspapers recount the popular side of  h i s t o r i c a l events, r e f l e c t i n g popular i n t e r e s t s and, a l b e i t imperfectly, popular opinion.24 period he was  Moreover, the newspapers of the  pre-Confederation  studying, l i k e those of the West, did not l i m i t themselves  - 9  -  to merely inform, they also sought "to point issues, to shape p o l i c i e s , to forward c a u s e s " . A s the s e t t l e r s ' discontent and agitation was  very  much a public issue, the newspapers are therefore a natural source of information. Waite does argue that the papers must be used with care as an h i s t o r i c a l source as their opinions were not only meant to persuade, but could be bought and changed as well.  He recommends, therefore, that  private sources be used as well to counterbalance  the problem.26  However, private sources, l e t t e r s and diaries for example, are as prone to r e f l e c t the biases of their writers and readers as are public sources such as newspapers.  As Desmond Morton argues, "to write history from  o f f i c i a l reports and private l e t t e r s i s to give participants a chance to c o l l e c t themselves, to r e f l e c t and to rationalize".27 j  n  other words,  there are particular motives, both overt and less obvious, behind  the  writing of a l l h i s t o r i c a l sources, not just newspapers, which must be recognized and understood.  The e d i t o r i a l bias inherent in each  newspaper does not render i t s information less useful to an h i s t o r i a n . In fact, the bias i t s e l f reveals insight into the concerns and i n t e r e s t s of the editor and the community.  Moreover, the Western press, l i k e other  19th century Canadian newspapers, was  remarkably frank about i t s  a f f i l i a t i o n s and basic perspectives.  In their introductory issues, i t  was common for the editors to announce c l e a r l y their p o l i t i c a l b e l i e f s , whether L i b e r a l or Conservative, and the goals of their newspapers.28 Interestingly, whether Liberal or Conservative, for or against the Dominion government, a l l of the Western papers stated that their overriding concern was to further the i n t e r e s t s of their communities and of the West as a whole and, i f necessary, to go against their party  -  a f f i l i a t i o n i n order to do s o .  10 -  2 9  Waite's warning that a newspaper could be bought and i t s opinions changed to r e f l e c t those of i t s buyer rather than i t s community i s , of course, very apt.  However, the only firm indication of t h i s possibly  occurring to any of the Western papers during the period i s far from conclusive.  Although Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney wrote to S i r John A.  Macdonald on July 23, 1884 to say: "I forget whether I told you that I have arranged to secure the Prince Albert paper, so i f any l i t t l e partronage can be sent them from below i t w i l l be appreciated,"30 the Prince Albert Times continued to voice i t s protest over government p o l i c i e s , even to the point of claiming, i n an e d i t o r i a l on January 2, 1885, six months l a t e r , that "We do not believe or indulge i n bombast, but  calmly and deliberately assert that as a people we are, should the  worst come to the worst, ready to s a c r i f i c e a l l we possess, even to our l i v e s , as our forefathers did, i n defence of our c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r i g h t s and l i b e r t i e s . D e w d n e y ' s money w a s p e r h a p s n o t a s w e l l s p e n t a s he m i g h t h a v e h o p e d .  The Western papers c e r t a i n l y did not r e f l e c t the opinions of everyone in their communities.  William Henry Jackson's attempt to establish The  Voice of the People i n opposition to the Conservative Prince Albert Times indicates the f r u s t r a t i o n s of those seeking to publish views opposed to those of the e d i t o r s . the  3 2  At the very l e a s t , however, the papers expressed  opinion of one or two leading men i n each community throughout the  West; that i s , the editors themselves, and as such, would be valuable i n determining important Western attitudes.  The p r o b a b i l i t y , however, i s  that the papers r e f l e c t e d the views of a wider group, i f not of a l l residents.  As the newspapers were dependent on community support i n the  - 11 -  way  of advertisements  and subscriptions, i t i s doubtful that they could  consistently express opinions contrary to the basic attitudes of their community and s t i l l survive economically.  Jackson's reformist Voice, for  example, did not succeed i n establishing a base for i t s e l f disappeared  and  after several issues.^3  The Western press, therefore, despite i t s biases and i t s possibly limited constituency, s t i l l represents an invaluable source of information about the s e t t l e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s , opinions and, above a l l , does so i n the context of eyery-day l i f e in the West.  That i s , the newspapers  provide a background against which to understand the s e t t l e r s ' l i v e s . F i n a l l y , before beginning an examination of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n and the Western settlers' place within i t , i t must be noted that contrary to the usual approach, this study w i l l focus on the Rebellion of 1885 alone, rather than considering i t s events in tandem with those of the 1870 Resistance at Red River. Given the Metis focus of Rebellion history and historiography which was  indicated e a r l i e r , the Rebellion of 1885 and the e a r l i e r  are naturally l i n k e d .  They are important  Resistance  events i n the history of Metis  protest, and they are especially s i g n i f i c a n t dates i n the l i f e of Louis Riel.  For the Metis, the Rebellion i n the North-West was a continuation  of the e a r l i e r troubles at Red River; the l a t e r uprising can only be understood i n r e l a t i o n to the 1870  Resistance.  This was not the case for the white s e t t l e r s , o f the West.  Although  i t was not unknown for the protesters of the 1880's to claim, as did James Taylor, president of the Manitoba Old S e t t l e r s ' Association, that " i f we would have f a i r play i n t h i s country we must begin with our appeals from the year 1870",^ the fact that the vast majority of the  - 12 -  s e t t l e r s arrived  i n the West during the years after 1870 indicates that  their protest t r a d i t i o n was developed not from the experiences of Red River, but rather from the heritage they brought with them from Ontario. Because of the larger numbers of people and more developed  institutions,  newspapers for example, which were present i n the West after 1870, t h i s study focuses on the protest and discontent of Western s e t t l e r s i n the decade before the 1885 Rebellion. However, the comments of the "old s e t t l e r s " , and their actions during the Resistance of 1870, suggest that i f not direct precursors to the later agitation,  they were perhaps  s i m i l a r l y the product of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n i n North America and as such, certainly merit a place i n any further study of t h i s  topic.  -  13  -  NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION  G.F.C. Stanley, The Birth of Western Canada: a History of the Riel Rebellions, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961). 1  Bob Beal and Rod MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e : The 1885 North-West Rebellion (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1984). 2  I n fact, almost a l l major h i s t o r i e s of the Rebellion focus primarily on R i e l . Some examples include the books by G.F.C. Stanley and Beal and MacLeod cited above, as well as Thomas Flanagan's Louis "David" R i e l : 'Prophet of the New World' (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), and others too numerous to mention. For a complete l i s t i n g , see the extensive bibliography of Beal and MacLeod, especially pages 370-72. Interestingly, one of the few major works not centred on R i e l i s focused on another Metis, Gabriel Dumont; see George Woodcock, Gabriel Dumont (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1975). 3  Sandra Bingaman, "The T r i a l s of the 'White rebels,' 1885," Saskatchewan History 25 (Spring 1972): 41-54. See also Wilf Cude, "The Jackson T r i a l : A R e v i s i o n i s t View," University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1978. (Mimeographed.) 4  ^Recently, there has been considerable interest in the l i f e and career of W i l l i e Jackson, both because of his anomalous position as Riel's white secretary and because of the e c c e n t r i c i t i e s of his character. Among the a r t i c l e s a v a i l a b l e on Jackson are Louis Duff, "the Amazing Story of the Winghamlte Secretary of Louis R i e l , " Western Ontario History Nuggets 22 (1955): 1-37; Donald B. Smith, "William Henry Jackson: Riel s English D i s c i p l e , " P e l l e t i e r - L a t h i n Memorial Lecture Series, ed. A.S. Lussier (Brandon: University of Brandon, Department of Native Studies, 1980) 47-81; W.J. Cherwinski, "Honors-Joseph Jaxon, Agitator, Disturber, Producer of Plans to Make Men Think, and Chronic Objector," Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Review 46 (June 1965): 122-33. See, for example, chapters 2, 5 and 6 i n Beal and MacLeod, and chapters 12 and 14 i n Stanley's Birth of Western Canada. 6  7  Stanley, B i r t h , p.  8  I b i d . , p.  263.  190.  S.D. Clark, Movements of P o l i t i c a l Protest i n Canada, 1640-1840 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1959). 9  1 0  n  I b i d . , p.  503.  I b i d . , p. 9.  C l a r k ' s basic arguments are l a i d out i n the Introduction to Movements, pp. 4-10. 1 2  - 14 -  1 3  I b i d . , p.  503.  1 4  I b i d . , p. 6.  l^D. Szatmary, Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection (Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980). See also George Minot, The History of the Insurrection i n Massachusetts in the Year Seventeen Hundred and Eight-Six and the Rebellion Consequent Thereon, 2nd ed. (New York: Books for L i b r a r i e s Press, 1970). l^Dorothy Fennell, "From Rebelliousness to Insurrection: A Social History of the Whiskey Rebellion, 1765-1802" (Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , University of Pittsburgh, 1981). See also H.M. Brackenridge, History of the Western insurrection i n Western Pennsylvania, commonly called the Whiskey insurrection, 1792 (Pittsburgh: W.S. Haven, 1859). -^Pauline Maier, "Popular Uprisings and C i v i l Authority i n Eighteenth-Century America," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser. 27 (January 1970): 3-35. See also Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina Press, 1969) pp. 409-13. ^Maier,  "Popular Uprisings," pp.  1 9  I b i d , p. 25.  2 0  Ibid.  2 1  I b i d , p. 33.  2 2  I b i d , p. 34.  2 3  Ibid.  26-7.  P.B. Waite, The L i f e and Times of Confederation, 1864-1867: P o l i t i c s , Newspapers and the Union of B r i t i s h North America (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), p. 324. 2A  2 5  Ibid.  2 6  I b i d , p. 4.  Desmond Morton, ed., Telegrams of the North-West Campaign (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1972), p. x i . 27  1885  ^ " I t i s needless to say that the Mail i n i t s p o l i t i c a l views w i l l be L i b e r a l Conservative . . . " (Brandon Daily Mail, Dec. 19, 1882, p. 2). "The Prince Albert Times i s Conservative i n p o l i t i c s . . . " (Prince Albert Times, Nov. 1, 1882, p. 3). 2  9 h e papers quoted i n the footnote above, l i k e a l l others i n the West, i n s i s t that they w i l l put l o c a l interests before Party. The Mail's introduction continues: " . . . but i t w i l l not be s e r v i l e i n i t s support to any party, as questions especially i n t h i s Province w i l l be 2  T  - 15 -  continually a r i s i n g that w i l l c a l l for somewhat independent dealing." ' (Brandon Daily Mail, Dec. 19, 1882, p. 2). S i m i l a r l y , the Times continues: " . . . i f l o c a l interests are supposed to be interfered with, however, either here or elsewhere i n the North West, I am i n c l i n e d to think the feelings of the governing powers of whatever p o l i t i c s w i l l not be much considered, the universal and main plank i n the North-West platform being interest before party." (Prince Albert Times, No. 1, 1882, p. 3). For a very humorous s a t i r e of the Western Press attempts to cover a l l angles i n their platforms, see Qu'Appelle Vidette, Oct. 30, 1884, p. 3, for the column written by the correspondent from Leach settlement. Among h i s claims: 1  "We favour independence and annexation and at the same time say nothing that w i l l i n the least cast a doubt upon our unflinching loyalty to the Dominion and to the empire to which we belong." "We are ready to a s s i s t the Farmers' Union i n another anti-emigration resolution, or a rehearsal of their grievances, though we believe that-the Government of Ottawa has done a l l in i t s power for the a l l e v i a t i o n of the miseries of the r u r a l contingent, or S i r John would have explained the cause for not doing so."  30  S t a n l e y , B i r t h , p. 442.  3 1  P r i n c e Albert Times, Jan. 2, 1985, p. 2.  s e e Earl G. Drake, "Pioneer Journalism i n Saskatchewan, 1878-1887: Part One: The Founding of the T e r r i t o r i a l Press," Saskatchewan History 5 (Winter 1952): 22. 3 2  3 3  Ibid.  •^quoted i n Brian McCutcheon, "The Economic and Social Structure of P o l i t i c a l Agrarianism i n Manitoba" (Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1974), p. 141. See also statements by W.T. Lonsdale, Ibid.  - 16 -  CHAPTER ONE The B r i t i s h Protest Tradition i n North America: Roots and C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  In order to place the white s e t t l e r s ' involvement i n the Rebellion of 1885  i n the context of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n , i t i s helpful to  examine other North American manifestations  of that t r a d i t i o n .  Even a  casual student of North American history cannot f a i l to be struck by the many p a r a l l e l s which exist between events as separated by time and location as the North Carolina Regulation of 1771,  the American  Revolution, Shays' Rebellion i n Massachusetts i n 1786-7, Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion of 1792,  and the "Troubles" of 1837-8 i n the Canadas, to  name but some of the instances of protest and r e b e l l i o n i n North American history.  For the more than casual observer, the s i m i l a r i t y between these  events i n terms of ideology and actions forms a d i s c e r n i b l e pattern of behaviour which Clark has i d e n t i f i e d as a North American revolutionary tradition.1  However, as Pauline Maier has commented about the c o l o n i a l  uprisings i n p a r t i c u l a r , "there was American" about them.  2  l i t t l e that was  distinctively  In f a c t , the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s shared among these  various protests and r e b e l l i o n s were derived i n large part from the common B r i t i s h heritage of those who  took part i n them.  In order to  understand the protest t r a d i t i o n which developed i n North America among i t s B r i t i s h populations, i t i s f i r s t necessary  to discuss the c u l t u r a l  inheritance which shaped the character of North American protests, and then to study more s p e c i f i c a l l y the patterns of s i m i l a r i t y between the d i f f e r e n t instances of discontent, protest and r e b e l l i o n . The most important  elements which contributed to the development of a  - 17 -  protest t r a d i t i o n in North America were the inter-related factors of the B r i t i s h heritage of i t s e a r l i e s t , and the most i n f l u e n t i a l s e t t l e r s , and the f r o n t i e r conditions of i t s environment.  There has been a  longstanding debate, especially in American historiography, over the r e l a t i v e importance of these two influences i n shaping the character of the United States in p a r t i c u l a r , and North America in general.  Clark, in  his study of North American protest movements, subscribes to the t r a d i t i o n a l American view that focused on the impact of the f r o n t i e r , while tending to de-emphasize  the possible influence of the immigrants'  B r i t i s h culture and t r a d i t i o n s .  3  Recent historians, however, have  advanced arguments to the effect that the s e t t l e r s ' heritage of B r i t i s h laws, customs and i n s t i t u t i o n s has been as least as i n f l u e n t i a l as the frontier i n determining the character of North American culture.^  As D.  L... Smith argues i n his thesis on legal and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l aspects of American history, "...the ships that brought s e t t l e r s to America brought something more which was not aboard the ships bringing s e t t l e r s to South or Central America, French Canada, or even New Amsterdam."5 The "something more" which the B r i t i s h colonists brought with them to North America included both the p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l expectations which profoundly affected their reaction to the conditions of their  new  f r o n t i e r environment and the methods by which they expressed that reaction. . The c o l o n i s t s ' most important assumption was that English common law, with i t s guarantees of the r i g h t s and l i b e r t i e s of B r i t i s h subjects, had been transplanted with them to North America.  Certainly the wording of  the c o l o n i a l charters allowed for that interpretation by including clauses requiring legal conformity between the laws of the colony and  - 18 -  those of England.  One such example i s found i n the V i r g i n i a Company's  Charter, granted i n 1612.  The company was empowered to pass laws for the  colony with the proviso, "so always, as the same be not contrary to the Laws and Statutes of t h i s our Realm of E n g l a n d . S i m i l a r clauses were included i n v i r t u a l l y a l l the colonial charters^ and for the colonists of the 17th and 18th centuries, the implication was c l e a r l y that the laws of England were i n e f f e c t i n the North American colonies. The extent of that b e l i e f was reflected i n the l e g i s l a t i o n they passed to govern c o l o n i a l a f f a i r s .  Thus, a 1637-8 Act of the Maryland  General Assembly guaranteed the " l i b e r t i e s , franchises, and immunities" of freeborn English subjects,^ while the Massachusetts Body of L i b e r t i e s , composed i n 1641, upheld the Common Law principles which formed the basis for the concept of "due process of law".  9  The early colonists l e g i s l a t e d  their a f f a i r s according to English models and i n the conviction that, although i n North America, they were s t i l l under the j u r i s d i c t i o n and protection of English law as guaranteed by the c o l o n i a l charters. Believing themselves to be under B r i t i s h law, the North American s e t t l e r s , from the c o l o n i a l period to, i n Canada, the nineteenth century, expected to enjoy the r i g h t s provided for i n the Common Law. These included the rights of Habeas Corpus, t r i a l by jury, equal j u s t i c e , p e t i t i o n and assembly and, perhaps the most important right of a l l , the c o r o l l a r y of the b e l i e f that the people could not be taxed without their consent, the right to be represented on those bodies; whether assemblies, councils, or Parliament i t s e l f , which decided the imposed t a x a t i o n . ^ Further evidence of the importance of the s e t t l e r s ' B r i t i s h background i n shaping their protest t r a d i t i o n i s provided by the manner in which, whenever their expected rights to j u s t i c e , personal l i b e r t y or  - 19 -  representation i n government were threatened the grounds of their B r i t i s h heritage.  or denied, they protested on  During the c o l o n i a l period i n the  United States, the North Carolina Assembly denounced the practice of transporting Americans to England for t r i a l as "highly derogatory to the rights of B r i t i s h subjects... " H and, half a century Canada, Robert Gourlay  l a t e r i n Upper  protested the denial of B r i t i s h r i g h t s , claiming  that "a B r i t i s h subject i n Upper Candaa no longer treads beneath the protective p r i v i l e g e of habeas corpus, nor dare the people choose a commission to carry home a p e t i t i o n to the throne. One of the most i n t e r e s t i n g claims to B r i t i s h p r i v i l e g e s came from the Lower Canadians.  Despite their heritage of French language and culture,  at a meeting at St -Denis i n 1827 they decried the actions of the c o l o n i a l government, resolving "that the Canadians, today English born subjects, regard as precious as l i f e and property, the r i g h t s , prerogatives, p r i v i l e g e s and l i b e r t i e s which are assured to them by t h i s constitution of government."-'-  3  These appeals to the "rights of B r i t i s h  subjects", the "English b i r t h - r i g h t " , and "the r i g h t s of free-born Englishmen", among other s i m i l a r phrases, occurred frequently i n American c o l o n i a l protests up to and including the early stages of the American Revolution, and of course, continued the 19th century.  to be used i n Canada u n t i l late i n  The idea of a p a r t i c u l a r English " b i r t h - r i g h t " of  popular l i b e r t i e s had been a feature of protests i n B r i t a i n dating from the 16th and 17th centuries-^ and the use of the concept by North American protesters reveals that they legitimized their protests on the same grounds as had their B r i t i s h  predecessors.  While the basis of North American protest movements was provided by the c u l t u r a l expectations  of the B r i t i s h immigrants and the methods they  - 20 -  used to express their discontent were inherited, as we s h a l l see, from the B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n , the f r o n t i e r did have a role to play i n the occurrence of protests i n North America. One  of the most basic d e f i n i t i o n s of the term " f r o n t i e r " i s the  "borders of c i v i l i z a t i o n " , the frontiersman  thereby becoming the "one  l i v i n g on or beyond the borders of civilization."-'--' encapsulates  the f r o n t i e r experience  Such a d e f i n i t i o n  for North American s e t t l e r s ; the  fact of separation and i s o l a t i o n from the centre of power and " c i v i l i z a t i o n " , whether i t be London, the c o l o n i a l c a p i t a l s , or l a t e r , Washington, D.C. or Ottawa. designated  Thus although the f r o n t i e r could be  i n physical terms, usually as the more western areas of  settlement,  i t also s i g n i f i e d the psychological relationship between a  metropolis and i t s hinterland.  For the North American s e t t l e r s , being on  the f r o n t i e r meant being isolated, and therefore excluded, from the processes  of government which were centred i n the metropolis.  This  exclusion was the result of many factors: distance, lack of representation, lack of wealth and influence, and, for the French Canadians, differences of race and language, but the result was common to a l l North American f r o n t i e r regions.  Those on the frontier were unable  to exercise influence over the decisions made i n the metropolis and, therefore, had no control over the polices which governed a f f a i r s not only i n the metropolis, but also on the f r o n t i e r .  For people whose  c u l t u r a l background led them to expect a voice i n the government, at least at the l o c a l l e v e l , the exclusion created by the conditions of the f r o n t i e r constituted the major source of the resentment which fueled the development of a North American protest t r a d i t i o n . In the same way that B r i t i s h popular protests often grew from the  - 21  -  needs and interests of a particular community or constituency,1° North American  protests and r e b e l l i o n were often based on the desire to gain  power over l o c a l a f f a i r s rather than be controlled by the often-distant metropolis whose interests were not necessarily those of the f r o n t i e r . In rejecting the idea of " v i r t u a l representation" (the B r i t i s h claim that the American c o l o n i s t s , though not actually represented i n Parliament, were " v i r t u a l l y " represented there by Common's members chosen i n England), James Otis spoke i n 1765 with the language and vehemence of every North American frontiersman, protesting, does he know us? his conduct?  Or we him?  No.  No.  Have we any  Is he bound i n duty and interest to preserve  our l i b e r t y and property?  No.  Is he acquainted with our  circumstances, s i t u a t i o n , wants, etc.? expect from him?  r e s t r i c t i o n over  No.  What then are we to  Nothing but taxes without end.-'-  7  The drive to protect and further the interests of the f r o n t i e r community through claiming l o c a l control and l o c a l autonomy i s recognized as a fundamental motivation for the c o l o n i a l protest which became the American Revolution,, but a similar struggle i s also apparent i n other North American protest movements.  The Regulation i n North Carolina, for  example, was the attempt by those i n the more newly settled western part of the province to gain a voice i n the p r o v i n c i a l government controlled by the eastern planter aristocracy.  Overrepresented i n the assembly,  having one member for every 1700 people i n contrast to the west's one member for every 7300 people, the east exercised a disproportionate share of power i n the colony. 18  The westerners of North Carolina organized to  protest and challenge that domination, or, as they expressed i t , they intended to "regulate" their own affairs.-*-  9  With the same intention to  - 22 -  control t h e i r own March 22, 1834,  a f f a i r s , Upper Canadians, at a meeting at Whitby on  composed resolutions demanding control of public  expenditures, an e l e c t i v e l e g i s l a t i v e council, and the r i g h t of the assembly to impeach persons in o f f i c e ; ^ while the Montreal delegates to 2  a July 1, 1834  meeting of the Central and Permanent Committee in Lower  Canada denounced external interference i n c o l o n i a l a f f a i r s , declaring "that t h i s meeting sees with just alarm the repeated instances of the L e g i s l a t i v e interference of the B r i t i s h Parliament in the i n t e r n a l a f f a i r s of t h i s province, and declares such interference to be  contrary  to and a v i o l a t i o n of, the rights of the P r o v i n c i a l Legislature.^1 S i m i l a r l y , the grievances which led f i n a l l y to the armed insurrection known as Shays' Rebellion included demands for tax reform and tender laws to benefit the economically hard-pressed farmers of Massachusetts, most b a s i c a l l y , a more equitable balance of power was  sought between the  f r o n t i e r "yeomen" and the eastern coastal merchants who government and economy of Massachusetts.  22  and,  controlled the  In the same way,  the  Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion, ostensibly a protest against a federally imposed excise tax, also brought up issues regarding  the granting of  l o c a l o f f i c e s , the s a l a r i e s of public o f f i c i a l s , and the government's p o l i c i e s regarding  land, Indians, settlement, and trade r e s t r i c t i o n s on  the M i s s i s s i p p i R i v e r .  2 3  The Whiskey Rebellion, l i k e the other North  American f r o n t i e r protests, was  b a s i c a l l y a protest against the p o l i c i e s  of a distant government, in t h i s case, Washington, D.C,  a government  which took "undue advantage" of i t s c i t i z e n s . ^ 2  Frontier communities i n North America experienced d i f f i c u l t i e s which were not a t t r i b u t a b l e to government actions, harsh climates and crop f a i l u r e s , for example, but the government was  responsible for many  - 23 -  p o l i c i e s which did affect the security and prosperity of those on the f r o n t i e r ; control of the Indians, the d i s t r i b u t i o n of lands and o f f i c e s , the encouragement of settlement, the imposition of taxes and the control of trade, to give but a few examples of the usually distant government's jurisdiction.  Thus, when the f r o n t i e r settlements experienced hard  times, i t was natural and often correct for the frontiersman to i d e n t i f y government policy as the source of the problem.  His resentment  was  exacerbated by his i n a b i l i t y , as one l i v i n g on the "borders of c i v i l i z a t i o n " , to e f f e c t any change i n government policy which could improve his situation and redress his grievances.  For the North American  s e t t l e r s , B r i t i s h by heritage or by acquired custom, such a s i t u a t i o n  was  i n t o l e r a b l e , and protest against i t , even to the point of arms, inevitable. Not only did North American protest movements share a common o r i g i n as the response of B r i t i s h s e t t l e r s to the problems of the f r o n t i e r environment,  as might be expected, they also employed similar methods of  protest i n their attempts to force the government to respond to t h e i r grievances. Like t h e i r B r i t i s h predecessors, North American protest movements were marked by an escalation of the measures the people were w i l l i n g to take i n order to achieve their goals.^5  i  n  their early stages, the  protesters expressed t h e i r grievances through peaceful means such as mass meetings, printed material and p e t i t i o n s .  Then, i f their protests  continued to be ignored or worse, threatened with repression, they began to resort to more v i o l e n t , but s t i l l t r a d i t i o n a l , measures. Mass meetings were an important method both of disseminating ideas and deciding on a course of action, and of signaling the government as to  -24 -  the people's discontent.  As early as 1818, S i r Peregrine Maitland,  Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canda, perceived the l a t t e r message, reporting to his superiors that he "beheld i n the character and address of the town meetings, and convention the seeds of r e b e l l i o n , hastening to maturity."  20  S i r Maitland may have expressed himself i n somewhat  alarmist terms, but he was not e n t i r e l y mistaken as to the use of meetings and organizations. As the e d i t o r i a l i s t of the Correspondent and Advocate made clear by his jubilant tone on Jan. 1, 1835, such gatherings were an important tool i n agitation against the government.  According to  the e d i t o r i a l , everywhere Branch Alliance Societies are being formed—the eyes of the people are being opened—public  opinion i s being,  concentrated—the cause of reform i s steadily progressing, strong in the union of i t s advocates, and o f f i c i a l delinquency, turpitude and cupidity w i l l i n vain seek for a pretext for further spoliation i n imputing to a whole people a disposition to treason ... Let these s o c i e t i e s be extended a l l through the Province (as we have no doubt they w i l l ) and there must be an end to delusion and o p p r e s s i o n .  27  The e d i t o r i a l also reveals that meetings were helpful not only to further the "cause of reform", but also as a "safety i n numbers" form of protection against the government's e f f o r t s to d i s c r e d i t the cause and those involved i n i t , i n this case by "imputing ... a disposition to treason" to the advocates of reform.  Mass meetings, with ends similar to  those of the Branch Alliance Societies, were a common feature i n a l l North American protest movements, as one of the f i r s t steps i n a r t i c u l a t i n g and expressing discontent with the governing authorities and  - 25 -  their p o l i c i e s . ^ " Perhaps even more e f f e c t i v e than the mass meetings as a method of legal and non-violent protest was  the use of printed material such as  pamphlets, broadsheets and newspapers, to both express discontent and to advocate measures of redress.  John Adams i l l u s t r a t e d the central role of  printed material as an instrument  of change i n a l e t t e r to Jefferson some  years after the American Revolution.  He stated that "the records of  thirteen l e g i s l a t u r e s , the pamphlets, newspapers i n a l l the colonies, ought to be consulted during that period to ascertain the steps by which the public opinion was enlightened and informed of Parliament over the c o l o n i e s . "  2 9  concerning the authority  This view regarding the power of  writers and of the press was not held by protesters alone; the government shared their view to the extent of holding newspaper editors and pamphlet writers responsible for the people's discontent.  Dalhousie, reporting to  the Secretary of State on the situation i n Lower Canada in 1827 .claimed that, "two mischievious newspapers i n Quebec and Montreal, well known to be under the d i r e c t i o n of Nelson ( s i c ) at the f i r s t mentioned, and Papineau and Viger at the latter place, have endeavoured to stir up discontent and excitement by falsehoods too absurd to mention."30 During the period of non-violent protest, a s i g n i f i c a n t feature of North American protest movements was  the widespread use of p e t i t i o n s , i n  which grievances were enumerated and redress requested. important  This practice i s  i n defining the protest t r a d i t i o n of the North American  s e t t l e r s because i t reveals the e s s e n t i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of that t r a d i t i o n : the role played by the s e t t l e r s ' B r i t i s h heritage and  the  powerless position i n which the f r o n t i e r groups found themselves. The right of B r i t i s h subjects to p e t i t i o n the Crown and  Parliament  - 26 -  for the redress of grievances dated from the time of the Magna Carta and i t s antecedents and, as the basis from which l e g i s l a t i o n was enacted, at least p a r t i a l l y responsible for a l l of the other legal rights to Britons by Parliamentary legislation. -'-  Petitioning,  3  unwritten custom, was  formalized as a right i n 1699,  was  granted  long an  i n the aftermath of  the Glorious Revolution, when England's House of Commons resolved, "that i t i s the inherent right of every commoner in England to prepare and present petitions to the House of Commons in the case of grievance and the House of Commons to receive the same."  32  The right to p e t i t i o n , and  i t s necessary c o r o l l a r y , the right to assemble i n order to draw up petitions, were among the rights and l i b e r t i e s the North American s e t t l e r s assumed had been transplanted with them to the new continent and they made extensive use of i t i n order to make their grievances known to the governing a u t h o r i t i e s . throughout  3 3  So seriously  did the f r o n t i e r people  North America take their right to p e t i t i o n , that the manner i n  which the government treated their petitions became a grievance i n itself.  The protest which became Shays' Rebellion was  fueled by what the  Massachusetts yeomen called the "supreme contempt" with which the General Court had treated their p e t i t i o n s , ^ while the discontent i n Upper Canada 3  became more pronounced after Mackenzie's f r u i t l e s s attempt to bring the colony's grievance petitions to the attention of the Imperial government during 1832-3. ^ 3  Congress i n New  The American colonists who  had resolved at the Stamp Act  York, "that i t i s the right of the B r i t i s h subjects i n  these colonies to p e t i t i o n the king or either house of p a r l i a m e n t " l i s t e d disregard for the c o l o n i a l petitions as one of their  primary  grievances against B r i t a i n when drawing up the Declaration of Independence.  37  30  - 27 -  Not only did the claim to p e t i t i o n as a legal r i g h t , and an angry reaction when their contents were ignored, i l l u s t r a t e the B r i t i s h heritage of the North American s e t t l e r s , but i t also t e s t i f i e d to their p o l i t i c a l position within their colonies and countries.  As writers of  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history agree, "the o r i g i n a l purpose of the public p e t i t i o n [was] to voice the grievances of those classes which were denied parliamentary representation..." 8 3  N t h American s e t t l e r s were denied o r  access to power, either completely, as i n the case of American colonists and the B r i t i s h Parliament, or e f f e c t i v e l y , as was the case everywhere i n North America during c o l o n i a l times where the frontiersman, even i f adequately represented on elected bodies, saw his l e g i s l a t i o n overturned and his assemblies prorogued  by the action.of the royal governor.  Even  after the establishment of republican government in the United States and creation of representative i n s t i t u t i o n s in Canada, f r o n t i e r populations were s t i l l t y p i c a l l y underrepresented exercise of p o l i t i c a l power.  or otherwise excluded from the  The p e t i t i o n was and remained the natural  weapon of protest for North Americans to turn to i n order to express their grievances.  In fact, the concept of the right to p e t i t i o n was  so  basic to the B r i t i s h colonists and s e t t l e r s ' culture that petitions composed i n the numerous North Amercian protests were remarkably  similar  in their use of the specialized p e t i t i o n form, despite the different times and places i n which the petitions were w r i t t e n .  3 9  Should their petitions and other peaceful forms of protest be ignored by the government or other a u t h o r i t i e s , the people of the North American backcountry would begin to employ more violent measures i n order to win redress of their grievances. '-' 4  These measures could include threats and  attacks against persons and property, often government o f f i c i a l s and  - 28 -  government property, disruption of administrative procedures, and even outright r e b e l l i o n against an unpopular authority.  Interestingly enough,  despite the violence of these actions, they are more properly as extra-legal rather than i l l e g a l methods.  classified  As stated e a r l i e r , popular  protests i n the B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n , as well as those of other were rooted in the needs and interests of the community.^  nations, Those  who  mounted a protest against conditions and p o l i c i e s which threatened  the  well-being of the community were seen as acting to e f f e c t "natural j u s t i c e " whether that be the f i x i n g of food prices in r u r a l England or r i o t i n g against the  seaports.  encroachments of impressment gangs  As Pauline Maier argues, "where a mob  i n New  England  took upon i t s e l f  the  defense of the community, i t benefited from a certain popular legitimacy even when the s t r i c t l e g a l i t y of i t s action was  in doubt, p a r t i c u l a r l y  among a people taught that the legitimacy of law i t s e l f depended upon i t s defense of the public Not only was right"^  3  welfare."^  2  the North American protester " l e g i t i m i z i n g notion of  available to them through their B r i t i s h heritage, so too were  the extra-legal methods they used to achieve their goals. disguises such as blackened faces and women's clothing, was B r i t i s h protests, as was  The use of a feature of  r i t u a l i z e d violence against i n d i v i d u a l s , t a r r i n g  and feathering, for example and violent attacks against persons and property.^  Thus, i n the early stages of the protest which was  to become  the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion federal excise c o l l e c t o r s were tarred and feathered  by blackened men.^5  j  n  the same manner, before  the  organization of the "Regulation" period i n North Carolina, angry farmers whipped and threatened  government surveyors at the "War  of Sugar  Creek",^ while three years l a t e r , during the height of the D  "Regulation"  - 29  in 1768, destroyed  -  government o f f i c i a l s were whipped and government property by those involved in the Hillsborough R i o t . ^ 4  was  Similar attacks,  or threats of attack, were part of a l l the protest movements i n North America, the Boston Tea Party being perhaps the most famous example.  The  actions of the protesters at t h i s stage of the movement, and the motives for their threats, are i l l u s t r a t e d i n Gosford's report to the of State on the situation i n Lower Canada i n 1837. the object of the leaders appears now  Secretary  He wrote,  to be to put down the  authority of the government by compelling  those who  hold  commissions under i t , i n the magistracy or the m i l i t i a , to throw them up; for t h i s purpose large bodies of men at night those who  i n disguise v i s i t  are l o y a l or disapprove of their proceedings,  and by threats of personal violence and destruction of  property  force them to send i n their resignations, and extort from them promises to j o i n the ranks of the p a t r i o t s , as they term themselves. ^ 4  His observations  are supported by Dorothy Fennell's argument that the  Whiskey rebels were operating i n a p o l i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n which claimed legal authority was  over-ruled when i t s representatives were forced to  resign or to otherwise do less than the o f f i c e e n t a i l e d .  4 9  From threats and attacks on i n d i v i d u a l s , f r o n t i e r protesters to more out-right defiance of the government. j u d i c i a l system was exemplified  that  turned  The disruption of the  central to t h i s stage of backwoods protest,  by prison rescues and court-stoppings.  For example, during  the a g i t a t i o n which preceded the outbreak of Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts, 1500  farmers stopped the court of Common Pleas, while a  further 300 stopped the debtor court at Worcester."^  The North Carolina  - 30 -  Regulators also impeded court proceedings during the Hillsborough Riot of 1769 and e a r l i e r , the l o c a l m i l i t i a had been called out to prevent any attempts to effect prison rescues of arrested R e g u l a t o r s . ^ I r o n i c a l l y , the next stage i n the esculation of popular protests usually occurred at the i n s t i g a t i o n of the authorities rather than at that of the protestors. Despite the violence of their methods, i t was rare for those involved i n protest movements to have begun their agitation with anything more than redress of grievances and reform of  abuses in mind. As North Carolinan George Sims claimed in his "Nutbrush Address" of June 6, 1765, i t was "not our mode, or form of Government, nor yet the body of our laws, that we are quarreling with, but with the malpractice of the Offices of our Country Courts, and the abuses which we suffer by those empowered to manage public a f f a i r s . " ^ 2 Although some of the leaders of protest movements did have a firm idea of their goals, and were prepared to resort to arms to achieve them, the leaders of the American Revolution, for example, many of those who  took  to arms had never wanted to do more than force the government to grant them their rights and redress their grievances.  At the prospect of  overturning the government and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s , Daniel Shays, after whom the Shaysite rebels of Massachusetts were named, probably spoke for the majority of f r o n t i e r rebels when he confessed to a friend that he "knew no more what government to set up than he knew of the dimensions of e t e r n i t y " and that he "was  sorry he ever engaged i n the scrape, but he  had his hand to the plough and could not now  look back."53  i t was the  government's actions which t y p i c a l l y transformed a goal-oriented, reform-minded protest movement into an open insurrection.  The a r r i v a l of  - 31  -  government forces intent on surpressing the agitation led to pitched battles such as that between the m i l i t i a and the Regulators at Great Almanac Creek i n North Carolina on May and a small group of men  had decided  16, 1771.^  Although Mackenzie  to rebel, the executive  council's  December 2 decision to arrest Mackenzie and muster two m i l i t i a regiments precipitated the outbreak of r e b e l l i o n in Upper Canda.^5  Similarly, in  the western part of Upper Canada, Charles Duncombe decided to lead his followers i n revolt as he believed that he too was  about to be a r r e s t e d . ^  From the foregoing review of various North American protest movements, i t i s clear that the s i m i l a r i t i e s between them form a d i s t i n c t i v e pattern of behaviour, a t r a d i t i o n of frontier protest. However, although these North American protests did frequently occur in the "backcountry", that i s , i n areas distant from the centres of power and influence, the f r o n t i e r was  not the most important influence i n  determining the character of the protests.  The role of the f r o n t i e r  that of a c a t a l y s t ; i t s i s o l a t i o n and hardships created  was  conditions  against which people of B r i t i s h o r i g i n were bound to protest.  As L e f l e r  and Powell explain 18th century discontent i n North Carolina, "an English heritage predominated and leaders trained i n the ideals of English government were unwilling i n this i s o l a t e d f r o n t i e r s i t u a t i o n to see principles sacrificed."^7  The issue was  power, at least over the matters  which affected the well-being of the f r o n t i e r communities, and protesters claimed  that power on the basis of their status as  the "free-born  Englishmen" and the " b i r t h r i g h t of l i b e r t y " to which they were therefore entitled. If their B r i t i s h heritage provided  them with the motivation  and  j u s t i f i c a t i o n for their protest movements, i t also contributed to the  - 32 -  form taken by the North American s e t t l e r s ' protests.  In their character  as movements acting i n the community's interest to obtain redress of grievances and some measure of l o c a l control, and i n the methods, both peaceful and v i o l e n t , they used to achieve their goals, the North American protests had much i n common with popular protests i n B r i t a i n and i n f a c t , elsewhere i n Europe. This then i s the context i n which the discontent and agitation of the white s e t t l e r s of the P r a i r i e West during the years prior to the Rebellion of 1885 must be placed.  Far from being uniquely a product of  North America's f r o n t i e r environment,  i t s protest t r a d i t i o n was very much  based on the B r i t i s h heritage of the s e t t l e r s and colonists who both Canada and the United States.  populated  After the American Revolution,  American protests of necessity took on a somewhat d i f f e r e n t character, especially i n the terms the protesters used to j u s t i f y their actions, but fundamentally, r e b e l l i o n s such as Shays' i n Massachusetts and the Whiskey Rebellion i n Pennyslvania continued to r e f l e c t the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s brought to America by B r i t i s h c o l o n i s t s .  In Canada, on the other hand,  the lack of any d e f i n i t e break with Great B r i t a i n allowed Canadian protesters to continue to claim the "rights of B r i t i s h subjects" in a manner reminiscent of the American c o l o n i s t s , u n t i l the l a t t e r half of the 19th century. Before examining the nature of the Western s e t t l e r s ' agitation and drawing p a r a l l e l s between the nature of their protests and those elsewhere i n North America, i t i s f i r s t necessary to discuss the origins of those s e t t l e r s and the culture they brought with them to the West.  - 33 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER ONE  -'-Clark, Movements, pp. 3-10. 2  Maier, "Popular Uprisings," p. 15.  3  C l a r k , Movements, p. 4.  ^Historians who recognize the role of the c o l o n i s t s ' shared B r i t i s h heritage i n the development of America include George Dargo, who remarks in Roots of the Republic: A New Perspective on Early American Constitutionalism (New York: Praeger, 1974) that although Turnerites emphasized the difference between B r i t i s h and American law, "more recent writers have tended to point to the p a r a l l e l s and s i m i l a r i t i e s between American common law or l o c a l law." (p. 53). M.J.H. Heale i n The Making of American P o l i t i c s , 1750-1850 (London: Longman, 1977) s i m i l a r l y argues both that "Americans owed their representative i n s t i t u t i o n s i n no small part to their English o r i g i n s , and selected strands of English constitutional thought continued to condition American p o l i t i c a l assumptions u n t i l well into the nineteenth century," (p. v i ) and that " I t was 'as Englishmen' that the colonists f i r s t resisted the s i n i s t e r encroachments of the B r i t i s h government, and i n a sense, the Revolution was begun i n an attempt to defend the p o l i t i c a l ideas and i n s t i t u t i o n s taken from England." (p. 29). See also William Simpson, Vision and Reality: The Evolution of American Government (London: John Murray, 1978) and George S. Wood, The Creation. ^Don L. Smith, "The Right to P e t i t i o n for Redress of Grievances: Constitutional Development and Interpretations" (Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , Texas Tech University, 1971; Ann Arbor: UMI 1973), p. 53. ^Dargo, Roots, p. 54. 7  Ibid.  8  I b i d . , p. 58.  9  I b i d . , p. 60.  1 0  I b i d . , p. 64.  See also D.L. Smith, "Right to P e t i t i o n , " p. 58.  H u g h Lefler and William Powell, Colonial North Carolina: A History (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973), p. 252. n  •^quoted i n David Earle, The Family Compact: Aristocracy or Oligarchy? (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1967), p. 47. l-^quoted i n Clark, Movements, p. 263. -^George Rude, The Crowd i n History: A Study of Popular Disturbances i n France and England, 1730-1848 (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964), p. 229.  - 34 -  - ^ d e f i n i t i o n s from the Concise Oxford Dictionary. T h e r e are many studies, both s p e c i f i c and general, on B r i t i s h protest movements. Some of the more prominent include Rude's The Crowd in History and Captain Swing (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1969), written with E.J. Hobsbawm. E.P. Thompson also deals with the subject i n The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Penguin, 1968) and i n "The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century," Past and Present 50 (1971): 76-136, as does J.C. Harrison i n The Common People: A History from the Norman Conquest to the Present (London: Croom Helm, 1984). Further references are available i n the excellent notes and select bibliography of John Stevenson's Popular Disturbances i n England, 1700-1870 (London: Longman, 1979). For the idea that t r a d i t i o n a l B r i t i s h protest movements grew from the needs of the community, see Stevenson, pages 47-50, where he describes popular disturbances and the l o c a l community, and pages 309-11 where he d e t a i l s the "defensive" nature of English popular disturbances. Also important in understanding the community nature of the protests i s E.P. Thompson's concept of the "moral economy" of the crowd. He argues that English popular disturbances were t r a d i t i o n a l l y based on a " l e g i t i m i z i n g notion," that they were "informed by the b e l i e f that they were defending t r a d i t i o n a l rights or customs; and, i n general, that they were supported by the wider consensus of the community." (Thompson, "Moral Economy," p. 78). 16  ^quoted i n Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967) 169. 1 8  L e f l e r and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, p. 217-18.  1 9  I b i d . , p. 231.  ^quoted  I b i d . , p. 281-2.  2 1  22  i n Clark, Movements, p. 359.  Szatmary, Shays' Rebellion, p. 38-43.  2 3  F e n n e l l , "From Rebelliousness," pp. 177-85.  2 4  I b i d . , p. 178.  ^Although Stevenson remarks that violence sometimes did occur i n the i n i t i a l stages of disturbances such as i n the Liverpool S a i l o r s ' s t r i k e of 1775, where the f i r s t action was to disable the ships i n the r i v e r (Popular Disturbances, p. 130), i t was also c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that those engaged i n protests would only resort to violence after having used the channels of p e t i t i o n to Parliament and appeals to l o c a l magistrates (Ibid., p. 131), as was the case i n the West County weavers' dispute i n 1738-40. S i m i l a r l y , George Rude points out that even though peaceful forms of protest such as p e t i t i o n i n g and mass demonstrations were employed by protesters, they turned to violence when "denied a l l means of peaceful agitation to secure a redress of grievance" and because "experience taught that a sudden attack was more l i k e l y to secure results than prolonged a g i t a t i o n by peaceful means" (Crowd i n History, pp. 239-40). The l a t t e r point was especially true for those outside of large cities. 2  -35  -  2°quoted in Clark, Movements , p. 343. I b i d . , p. 365.  2 7  Mass meetings occurred during the early stages of nearly every North American protest movement. For examples i n North Carolina, see Lefler and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, p. 229; for Shays' Rebellion, see Szatmary, Shays' Rebellion, pp. 38-40; for the Whiskey Rebellion see Sherman Day, H i s t o r i c a l Collections of the State of Pennsylvania containing a copious selection of the most interesting f a c t s , t r a d i t i o n s , biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc., r e l a t i n g to i t s History and Antiquities both General and Local with Topographical Descriptions of every county and a l l the larger towns i n the state (Long Island: Ira Friedman, 1969), pp. 671-6. 28  quoted i n Bailyn, Ideological Origins, p. 1.  29  30q  U O t e  d i n Clark, Movements, p. 261.  S m i t h , "Right to P e t i t i o n , " p. 2.  31  Norman Wilding and P h i l i p Laundy, An Encyclopedia of Parliament, 3rd ed. (London: C a s s e l l , 1968), p. 551. 32  33  S m i t h , "Right to P e t i t i o n , " p. 52, p. 57.  34  Szatmary,  Shays' Rebellion, p. 57.  35 lark, Movements, p. 357. C  36  S m i t h , "Right to P e t i t i o n , " p. 61.  3 7  I b i d . , p. 57.  38  W i  lding and Laundy, Encyclopedia, p. 552. 9 l n h i s study, Popular Influence Upon Public P o l i c y : Petitioning in Eighteenth-Century V i r g i n i a (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1979), Raymond Bailey describes the widespread use of petitions i n V i r g i n i a to present public opinion on a wide variety of matters but argues that "by far the most important use of petitions was to present l o c a l needs, requests and grievances to the lower house of the l e g i s l a t u r e , " (p. 23). I t was as an expression of needs and desires that protesters used petitions i n the f i r s t stages of their movements. Arising from similar goals, the petitions throughout North America were remarkably s i m i l a r . For an example of a c o l o n i a l American p e t i t i o n , the people of Orange County, North Carolina to Governor William Tyron , dated May 15, 1771, see Appendix 1. 3  ^^Maier, "Popular Uprisings," p. 15. ^see note 16. I t i s important to note that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s here described as elements of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n also belong to the protest t r a d i t i o n of other countries. However, as the argument i s that  - 36 -  North American protests are marked by culture as much as by environment, and as the c u l t u r a l heritage of the groups under study was B r i t i s h , their protest t r a d i t i o n i s also l a b e l l e d as B r i t i s h i n o r i g i n . For a discussion of the s i m i l a r i t i e s between popular protest i n England and France, see Rude, The Crowd i n History. 42  M a i e r , "Popular Uprisings," p. 25.  ^Thompson, English Working Class, p. 68. s e e Fennell, "From Rebelliousness," p. 8. Blackened faces and other forms of disguise were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the d i r e c t action phase of B r i t i s h protests. Men with blackened faces f i r e d farmers' r i c k s at night during the Swing r i o t s (Harrison, Common People, p. 251) while s i m i l a r l y disguised men pulled down gates i n the Rebecca movement i n Wales (Rude, The Crowd i n History, p. 159). The r i t u a l i z e d violence that Fennell i d e n t i f i e s i n the Whiskey Rebellion had i t s counterpart i n the "community j u s t i c e " meted out i n B r i t a i n . Individuals who provoked the community would be subjected to a "skimmington," a type of c h a r i v a r i , or other actions such as being stripped, ducked under a pump or forced to run a gauntlet (see Stevenson, Popular Disturbances, pp. A8-9). 4 4  ^ F e n n e l l , "From Rebelliousness,"  p. 44.  4 6  L e f l e r and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, p. 229.  4 7  I b i d . , pp. 233-4.  48  q u o t e d i n Clark, Movements, p. 306.  ^ F e n n e l l , "From Rebelliousness," 50  p. 12.  S  zatmary, Shays' Rebellion, p. 58. This i s reminiscent of the famous Sayer T r i a l of 1849 i n Red River. Although Guillaume Sayer and three other men were convicted of dealing i n furs and thus breaking the Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly, they were dismissed due to the presence of three hundred armed Metis, led by Louis R i e l pe"re who surrounded the courthouse (see Stanley, B i r t h , p. 47). Direct action was not a unique feature of B r i t i s h protesters. 51 e f l e r and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, pp. 233-4. L  5 2  I b i d . , p. 228-9. zatmary, Shays' Rebellion, p. 97.  S^Lefler and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, p. 237. C o l i n Read, The Rising i n Western Upper Canada, 1837-8: The Duncombe Revolt and After (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982), p. 82. 5 5  5 6  I b i d . , p. 85. f l e r and Powell, Colonial North Carolina, p. 190.  - 37 -  CHAPTER TWO Ontario Settled the West: The Paradox of Western Discontent  This history of the P r a i r i e West i s b u i l t on a basic, and at f i r s t consideration, very puzzling paradox.  On the one hand, there i s the  generally agreed upon conclusion that Ontario, through i t s emmigrants, shaped the society which developed  i n the West after 1870. Thus, W.L.  Morton argues that "old Canada was extraordinarily successful i n making the P r a i r i e West Canadian,"-'- while E.H. Oliver points out that the s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of the West: the schools, churches,  j u d i c i a l system,  municipal organization, even the licence ( s i c ) control of liquor, were " a l l imported  ready made from Ontario."  2  In a complex a r t i c l e based on  Louis Hartz's theory of c u l t u r a l "fragmentation", e f f e c t s of Ontario immigration  J.E. Rea explores the  on Manitoba and, maintaining that Manitoba  in turn settled the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , he extends his conclusion that "Manitoba...was reborn i n the image of Ontario" to apply to the P r a i r i e West as a whole.  3  On the other hand, despite the widespread agreement that Ontario settled and shaped the West, the evidence of contemporary sources t e s t i f i e s not only that a regional consciousness developed  surprisingly  quickly among the Western s e t t l e r s but also that that consciousness was largely characterized by h o s t i l i t y towards the "East" i n general, and Ontario i n p a r t i c u l a r . Through an examination  of the P r a i r i e West's connection with Ontario,  and i t s frequently expressed h o s t i l i t y towards the East, t h i s chapter w i l l attempt to expose the l o g i c beneath the paradox of Western Canadian history.  To do so i s to gain understanding  into the general question of  - 38 -  the  nature of Western culture and society, and into the more s p e c i f i c  issue of the white s e t t l e r s ' involvement i n the protest which culminated in the Rebellion of 1885. The most concrete support of the contention that Ontario settled the West l i e s i n the census figures taken by the census of 1881, which included Manitoba and parts of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s ,  4  and by the  Department of Agriculture's p a r t i a l census of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s compiled i n 1885.^ In the years following the Resistance of 1870, and the transfer of Manitoba to Canada, a time when the white population of the area was almost n e g l i g i b l e , the single largest group of white s e t t l e r s to a r r i v e i n the province were those born i n Ontario.  As i s apparent i n Table I  below, by 1881, 19,125, or 29% of Manitoba's 65,955 people were those born i n Ontario. the  These people comprised the single largest group among  population of Manitoba, being s l i g h t l y larger than that made up of  those born i n Manitoba at 18,020, or 27.3% of the t o t a l population.  The  preponderance of the Ontario born i s even more s t r i k i n g when i t i s remembered that the t o t a l of those born i n Manitoba would also include a large percentage of Indian and Metis people. From the information provided i n the census, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine the ethnic background of the Manitoba born, but i t i s important to at least attempt to determine the proportion of white and native people among the Manitoba born as i t i s the white population that figures in the current argument. One method of determining the number of native people among the Manitoba born i s to extrapolate from the information given elsewhere i n the  1881 census.  Table III of the 1881 Census, on the Origins of the  - 39 -  Table I B i r t h p l a c e of the Manitoba P o p u l a t i o n , 1881  MANITOBA  SUB-TOTAL  PERCENT OF TOTAL POP.  PERCENT OF NON NATIVE-BORN POP.  NORTHWEST TERRITORIES  QUEBEC  MARITIMES  BRITISH COLUMBIA  BRITISH ISLES  USA  8,161  1,752  6,097  850  EUROPE  OTHER  18,020  6,422  19,125  4,085  1,315  25  27.3  9.7  29.0  6.2  2.1  0.04  12.3  2.7  9.2  1.3  8.5  2.7  0.05  17  3.7  12.7  1.8  3.1  0.06  . 20  4.2  14.7  2.0  —  . 13.4  PERCENT OF NON NATIVE-BORN AND NON N.W.T.-BORN  T o t a l Population of Manitoba (1881): 65,955 Source:  ONTARIO  Census of Canada, 1881.  40  46  -  10  - 40 -  People,  0  shows that 6,767, or 10.3% of Manitoba's population gave their  o r i g i n as Indian.  (No category existed for the Metis population.)  Subtracting this same percentage, 10.3, from the t o t a l of the Manitoba born, 18,020, produces the conclusion that 1,750.of the Manitoba born were Indian and, therefore, that 16,270 people were i n fact white.  Using  the new t o t a l of 16,270, the white Manitoba-born made up 24.7% of Manitoba's population, that i s , less than that made up by the Ontario born. The problems of t h i s rough  method of a r r i v i n g at the ethnic make-up  of the Manitoba born are obvious; there i s no information regarding the Metis and mixed-blood people; people might be of Indian o r i g i n but have been born in the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s and, above a l l , the number given for those of Indian o r i g i n seems very small. problems, and others, and especially  However, given these  r e a l i z i n g that the number of Indian  and Metis people among the Manitoba born might be considerably higher than 10.3% of the t o t a l , the dominant numerical position of the Ontario born among Manitoba's white population i n 1881 i s abundantly  clear.  7  Even more importantly, among those groups born outside of the P r a i r i e West, that i s , Manitoba and the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , the Ontario born comprise a dramatic 46% of the t o t a l , as compared to the 20% comprised by the next largest group, those born in the B r i t i s h I s l e s . According to the census of 1881, the composition of the North-West's population must have been very similar to that of Manitoba ten years previously.  The totals of those born outside of the T e r r i t o r i e s were  negligible.  As Table II reveals, 2.6% of the T e r r i t o r i e s ' 56,446 people  were Manitoba born, 0.9% were born i n Ontario, and even smaller numbers were born elsewhere.  By 1885, however, the situation in the North-West  - 41 -  Table I I B i r t h p l a c e of the North-West P o p u l a t i o n Other than Native Born, 1881 and 1885  MANITOBA 1881 1885  ONTARIO 1881 1885  QUEBEC 1881 1885  MARITIMES 1881 1885  BRITISH ISLES 1885 1881  USA 1881  1885  EUROPE 1881 1885  ASSINIBOIA  1,013  6,967  717  615  5,635  481  365  SASKATCHEWAN  1,624  722  147  47  359  106  27  1,137  476  233  1,164  420  170  507 .  ALBERTA  TOTAL  PERCENTAGES OF TOTAL POP.  PERCENTAGES OF NON NATIVE-BORN POP.  28  895  296  7,158  116  1,007  2.8  0.05  1.9  0.5  14.8 .  0.2  5.8  0.6  3.9  6.4  30.9  2.5  1,450  3,144  517  8,823  101  1,340  2.6  6.5  0.9  18.3  0.2  38.1  2.7  31.1  13.6  11  T o t a l P o p u l a t i o n of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s (1881): 56,446 (1885): 48,317 Sources:  Census of the 3 p r o v i s i o n a l d i s t r i c t s 1884-5; Census o f Canada 1891.  27  562  2.1  0.04  1.7  4.4  0.6  2.4  - 42 -  had greatly changed, and the p a r t i a l census taken in 1884-5 reveals the nature of that change. Large numbers of immigrants had arrived i n the North-West since  1881  and, as i n Manitoba four years e a r l i e r , the largest group among the newcomers was that of those born i n Ontario. by 1885,  Again as shown i n Table I I ,  8,823, or 18.3% of the T e r r i t o r i e s ' population of 48,317 had  been born i n Ontario, the next largest non native-born group being that of those born i n the B r i t i s h Isles at 14.8%  of the t o t a l population.  The  dominance of the Ontario-born among the non native-born population i s clear cut when i t i s remembered that the group from the B r i t i s h Isles i n fact included four different n a t i o n a l i t i e s , the I r i s h , Scots, Welsh, and English and was  therefore not as homogeneous a group as the Ontario born.  In the censuses dealing with the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s as in the Manitoba census discussed e a r l i e r , the information given i s not s u f f i c i e n t to determine the ethnic composition various areas. the People,  8  of the populations born in  From Table III of the 1884-5 census, on the Origins of  i t i s possible to discover the ethnic origins of the whole  population of the North-West, but except by an unsatisfactory application of ethnic percentages,  i t i s not possible to determine, for example, how  many of the North-West residents born i n Manitoba were Indian, how many were Metis, and how many white. In order to support the contention that Ontario settled the West, however, i t i s necessary to point out that the white population born i n the North-West prior to 1885 was n e g l i g i b l e .  In the 1885 census of the  North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 28,313 people stated that they had been born i n the P r a i r i e West, 25,169 i n the North-West, and 3,144 Table I I ) .  i n Manitoba (see  At the same time, 20,170 of the North-West residents gave  - 43 -  their ethnic o r i g i n as Indian, and a further 4,848 i d e n t i f i e d themselves as Metis and half-breeds.  9  As i t i s unlikely that these people had been  born elsewhere than in the West, the inference i s clear that the vast majority of the native-born i n the North-West were Indian and Metis", a very small number were white. Even given the a n a l y t i c a l problems presented by the census figures, i t i s clear that the Ontario-born comprised the single largest non native-born group i n Manitoba i n 1881 and i n the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s in 1885.  It i s to be expected,  therefore, that the Ontario influence on  the culture and society which developed  i n the West would be both strong  and pervasive. It was not only the census figures which t e s t i f i e d to a large number of Ontario people among the residents of the West; the newspaper columns of the provincial and t e r r i t o r i a l press also affirmed the presence of the Ontarians and the connection between the West and Ontario. During the late 1870's and early 1880's, the Western papers frequently reported the a r r i v a l of newcomers from Ontario. information was  Often the  presented i n a matter of fact fashion, as i n the July 8,  1884 edition of the Winnipeg Daily Free Press which reported that "quite a number of immigrants have gone to Riding Mountain for settlement.  The  advance party of a colony from Prince Edward County, Ontario, went up l a s t week."  10  correspondent  The same edition contained a short note from the Emerson stating that "a number of good farmers from Ontario have  joined the c o l o n y . S o m e t i m e s , however, the reports had a more colourful flavour, as i n the Saskatchewan Herald's account of Ontario s e t t l e r s a r r i v i n g i n the Qu'Appelle area.  "The craze that from time to  time seizes the people of Ontario and leads them to flock to a particular  - 44 -  section of country with a force equal to the i n s t i n c t that controls the migration of birds of passage, i s a wonder to a l l who witness i t . " - ' -  2  Not  only does the above quotation support the contention that Ontario immigrants were numerous and noticeable in the West, i t also c l e a r l y suggests a negative impression of the Ontarians, an attitude which w i l l be examined more closely later in this chapter.  As well as by reporting  the a r r i v a l of Ontario s e t t l e r s i n the West, the newspapers revealed the West's connection with the East i n general, and Ontario i n particular through frequent references to friends and r e l a t i v e s in the East. For-, example, i n an a r t i c l e ' o n the Ontario members of the m i l i t i a regiments of 1837,  the Prince Albert Times made particular reference to  those o f f i c e r s with r e l a t i v e s i n Prince Albert: Mr. Emmanuel Waggoner, the father of D.J. Waggoner, the Crown Timber Agent; Mr. Allan N. McLean, the uncle of Mrs. Sproat; and, notably, S i r John A. Macdonald, possibly because of Hugh John Macdonald's sojourn i n the West.  13  A similar item  appeared some ten years e a r l i e r i n the Winnipeg Daily Free Press on the occasion of the Orange Parade.  The Press reported "from Ontario, from  outlying sections of the Province they came, and meeting the old stand-bys of the c i t y , made a pretty good muster of the 1st Ontario rifles..."  1 4  The newspapers also viewed Eastern friends and r e l a t i v e s as prospective supporters of Western interests and possible a l l i e s in the Western fight against Eastern p o l i c i e s .  The Prince Albert Times urged  "friends i n the East" to lobby for weekly mail service to Prince Albert"-^ and argued that i n order to persuade Eastern public opinion i n favour of the Hudson's Bay r a i l route, the North-West residents must use their "private correspondence" with "friends and r e l a t i v e s " in the  - 45 -  East.  1 6  With a similar view to marshalling Eastern support  for Western  i n t e r e s t s , the Calgary Herald praised the work of. Rev. John Mclean, Methodist  missionary among the Blood Indians, and hoped that "this  reference may  c a l l the attention of some of the friends i n the Eastern  provinces to as worthy an object as their donations were ever donated to."17 The newspapers of the West did not contain merely oblique references to the Ontario origins and connections  of the region's most dominant  group, they also d i r e c t l y stated that i t was Ontario immigrants who were s e t t l i n g the West. The Prince Albert Times explained the West's opposition to the view that i t was  the property of the East on the grounds that  children" were s e t t l i n g the West,  18  "Ontario's  while an 1884 edition of the same  paper quoted with approval from an e d i t o r i a l in the Toronto Telegram which claimed that "the majority of them [North-West residents] are who  men  learned the lesson of p o l i t i c a l l i b e r t y and the rights of the c i t i z e n  in Ontario's s c h o o l s . . . "  19  The Edmonton B u l l e t i n drew a more s p e c i f i c  conclusion regarding the provenance of the North-West's population i n an e d i t o r i a l on the 1882  Dominion e l e c t i o n s .  the vote i n Ontario, the editor maintained  Describing the breakdown of that "the country  districts  stood about equal, for and against, but i n the western part, whence the p r i n c i p a l immigration  to the North-West comes, the vote was  against the government."  largely  20  The evidence provided by the census figures of 1881  and 1885 and the  information, both i n f e r e n t i a l and d i r e c t , given i n the newspapers of Manitoba and the North-West during the 1870's and early 1880's, c l e a r l y supports the contention that Ontario s e t t l e d the West.  - 46 -  As the Ontarians comprised the single largest group to arrive in the West during the 1870's and 1880's, i t i s not surprising that they also exercised the strongest which was  influence on the development of white society  emerging in the West during t h i s period.  s e t t l e r s brought with them from Ontario revealed  The  culture that  the  i t s e l f both in the  concrete form of the i n s t i t u t i o n s which were established in the West and also in the more abstract form of the people's values and The North-West Mounted Police, established in 1873,  attitudes.  was  quintessential symbol of Ontario's influence over the West,  perhaps the As  R.C.  Macleod remarks "the North-West Mounted Police succeeded so well i n transplanting Eastern Canadian i n s t i t u t i o n s and ideas to the West that they became a part of the f a b r i c of Western identity." -'2  The North-West  Mounted Police's role in claiming and maintaining the West as a protege of Ontario operated on two Force, and  l e v e l s ; through the express goals of the  by the less s p e c i f i c but perhaps more profound effect i t s  members had on Western society. As the purpose of the North-West Mounted Police was  to establish  Canadian ownership of the West, especially in view of possible American challenges to that ownership, by i t s very d e f i n i t i o n the Force was personification of Federal, that i s , Eastern, development of the West. and  the  control over the  The values that the Mounted Police represented  the i n s t i t u t i o n s they protected  were those of  Ontario.  Part of the Mounted Police's proven effectiveness in imparting maintaining Ontario's culture in the West was  because the Force was  and not  merely a foreign i n s t i t u t i o n imposed on the people of the West, although that opinion was  argued in the West from time to t i m e ,  i n t e g r a l part of Western society.  22  i t was  also an  North-West Mounted Police o f f i c e r s ,  - 47 -  trained at the Royal M i l i t a r y College i n Kingston and well-connected in the East, became s o c i a l leaders in Western s o c i e t y .  2 3  Perhaps more  importantly, the sons of Ontario farmers who made up the rank and f i l e of the Police, commonly l e f t the Force to remain i n the West as part of the farming community.  As Sam Steele remarked of these  men,  They seldom remained in the force for more than one term of service.  They had come from the east to make homes for  themselves and, as soon as their time expired, took their discharges and settled down to farming or business pursuits, generally in the v i c i n i t y of one of the police p o s t s .  2 4  The North-West Mounted Police, therefore, not only served as a v i s i b l e symbol of Ontario's presence i n the West, i t also acted as a conduit of immigration  from Ontario which made the goals of the Force a r e a l i t y .  Other Western i n s t i t u t i o n s , less unique than the North-West Mounted Police, but equally basic to s o c i a l development, were also indicative of the strong Ontario influence i n the West.  Schools, churches, the  j u d i c i a l system, and others were a l l patterned on and nourished by their prototypes i n Ontario. Although dual-confessional church controlled school systems were i n s t i t u t e d i n both Manitoba and the North-West, they were eroded,  first  in Manitoba and then in the T e r r i t o r i e s , under pressure from the increasingly English-speaking, Protestant population of the West. 1892  The  "Haultain School Ordinance" which gave the control of the school  system to the T e r r i t o r i a l government made o f f i c i a l the u n o f f i c i a l  drift  of policy which had been occurring i n the North-West since the mid-1880's. ^ 2  In the same way,  the resolution of the Manitoba Schools  Question reflected the changing nature of Manitoba society from one of  - 48 -  English and French equality to one dominanted by Protestant s e t t l e r s from Ontario.  20  In both regions, the Ontario school system was  be followed, as shown by a 1884  the ideal to  e d i t o r i a l i n the Prince Albert Times i n  which the school laws of both Ontario and Manitoba, patterned after Ontario's law, were praised and the T e r r i t o r i e s urged to follow these superior models.  27  Like schools, churches were an important  s o c i a l influence in the West  during the 1870's and 80's and, also l i k e the school system, the Western churches were strongly linked to their counterparts i n Ontario.  The  denominations, Methodist, Presbyterian,-Anglican, and others were those of Ontario, and the ministers, almost to a man Ontario.  i t seemed, were from  This l a s t point was well i l l u s t r a t e d by the July 9,  1874  edition of the Winnipeg Daily Free Press which reported that the "Reverend Peter Campbell, who  has been i n charge of the V i c t o r i a Wesleyan  Mission, Saskatchewan, for the past six years, i s now his family, on his way  home to O n t a r i o . "  28  i n the c i t y with  This same edition went on to  inform i t s readers that at a meeting of the Manitoba Presbytery at Knox church, c a l l s were received and sustained for ministers from O n t a r i o . Other Western i n s t i t u t i o n s , both o f f i c i a l , l i k e the judiciary and  29  the  municipal system, and u n o f f i c i a l , l i k e the Mutual Marriage Aid Association of Canada, head o f f i c e i n Hamilton, Ontario,^0 were Ontario forms transplanted v i r t u a l l y unchanged to Manitoba and the North-West. Ontario's c u l t u r a l influence pervaded a l l of the West's i n s t i t u t i o n s , shaped i t s culture, and even determined the form of i t s buildings. Describing the public buildings b u i l t i n Battleford in the late 1870's, Walter Hildebrandt comments that "the buildings at Battleford r e f l e c t desire of eastern a r c h i t e c t s i n Ottawa to see the West develop as an  the  - 49  extension of Ontarian Canada."  -  31  Considering the preponderent  numbers of the Ontario-born among the  Western population and the reproduction of Ontario i n s t i t u t i o n s in the West, i t i s a l o g i c a l assumption that Ontario values were also transplanted to Manitoba and the North-West.  In fact, i t i s an  assumption shared by both historians and by the evidence of contemporary sources.  Frank Underhill comments, i n a study of Upper Canadian r a d i c a l  opinion, that through emmigration to the P r a i r i e s , the attitudes he discerns i n Ontario during the 1850's and 1860's, especially i n Western Ontario, became the attitudes of the P r a i r i e West.  32  According to  Underhill, the values and opinions Ontarians brought to the West included support for the development of the North-West, and e s p e c i a l l y , support for farming interests and an a g r i c u l t u r a l economy.  Big business,  r a i l r o a d i n t e r e s t s , and "Eastern i n t e r e s t s " , i n this case the bankers of Montreal, were viewed negatively by the Upper Canadians during the 1850's and 1860's,  33  as they were two and three decades later by the Western  Canadians. As well as f r o n t i e r and somewhat "True G r i t " values, the West also inherited from Ontario a firm view of i t s e l f as a " B r i t i s h " country, as J.E. Rea a r g u e s .  34  The assertion i s amply supported by the words of a  contemporary writer, Charles Mair, who  assured prospective B r i t i s h  immigrants to the North-West that "...here you are under your own  flag,  and in the midst of a people more attached to the Empire, perhaps, than you are i n England." ^ 3  As the P r a i r i e West was the recipient of large numbers of Ontario immigrants who  brought their i n s t i t u t i o n s and values to the new society  in the West, i t can be truly claimed that Ontario created the West in  - 50 -  i t s own  image.  A paradox a r i s e s , however, from the r e a l i z a t i o n that the  West, far from forming an undifferentiated extension of Ontario, i n fact developed  a sense of i t s e l f as a separate i d e n t i t y , based i n large part  on h o s t i l i t y towards Ontario and the East. A negative attitude towards Ontario developed  i n the West a  surprisingly short time after the a r r i v a l of immigrants from Ontario and was expressed  by the Ontarians themselves.  By the late 1870's and early  1880's the provincial and t e r r i t o r i a l press, almost without  exception  edited by 0ntarians, ° often served as a vehicle to a i r the West's 3  h o s t i l i t y towards Ontario. The West's d i s l i k e of Ontario was  fueled both by grievances against  s p e c i f i c p o l i c i e s of the Ottawa government, which served as a major impetus of the protest movement of the 1870's and early 1880's and  will  be discussed i n the next chapter, and by a more generalized resentment of Ontario's perceived attitude towards the West. People i n the West, and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the North-West, were especially angered by the Eastern attitude that the West was somehow owned by Ontario.  An e d i t o r i a l in the Prince Albert Times argued that  those of Ontario's children who  were s e t t l i n g the West were opposed to  the view of the North-West Territory as p r o p e r t y ,  37  while the Edmonton  B u l l e t i n s i m i l a r l y claimed that "the old idea that Canada purchased the North-West and therefore may out."  do as she l i k e s with her own,  i s played  38  When Ontario was not considering the West as i t s property, Westerners f e l t , i t was begrudging the West i t s r i g h t f u l share of power i n the country and also of i t s revenues, and a c t i v e l y working against the interests of the West.  The Edmonton B u l l e t i n was optimistic that the  - 51 -  Montreal Gazette's use of a favourable a r t i c l e on the North-West sent them by the B u l l e t i n was  an "encouraging sign...that the eastern  cities  [were] beginning to r e a l i z e that upon the development of the North-West their increase of commercial prosperity [depended]." adopted," the a r t i c l e we may  "Once this idea i s  continued,  look to see the country at large and p a r t i c u l a r l y the  North-West progress at an incomparably more rapid rate than under the old plan of looking upon t h i s part of the country as separate from and i n antagonism to the r e s t , of decrying i t on every occasion, and especially of objecting to the expenditure of public money i n i t upon even the most necessary public works, as a waste of funds that belonged of r i g h t s to the  eastern  provinces. ^ Despite the optimism of t h i s A p r i l 4, 1883  e d i t o r i a l , the "old plan"  s t i l l seemed to be i n e f f e c t i n November of the same year when the Calgary Weekly Herald f e l t obliged to strongly deny the report of a Montreal paper, "invariably h o s t i l e to the North-west i n t e r e s t s " , that the North West was losses.  4 0  r i f e with f i n a n c i a l embarassments and banking  S i m i l a r l y , the October 18, 1884  edition of the B u l l e t i n  itself  commented on an a r t i c l e in the Toronto World regarding the mistake of building more r a i l l i n e s in the North-West that "as a specimen brick of the ideas of North-West necessities prevalent i n Ontario, the above i s worth preserving and studying over- but not for any other reason." -'4  As well as believing that Ontario opposed and thwarted the development of the West, the Western s e t t l e r s also resented ignorance about the West, and i t s patronizing a t t i t u d e T h e Albert Times, reporting on Senator Cavell's 1883  Ontario's Prince  v i s i t to the West,  - 52 -  commented that "as a rule our public men and the North West,"  42  below do not understand Manitoba  while the Calgary Weekly Herald highlighted "the  supreme state of ignorance which exists among the eastern Province people on North-West geography," by r e l a t i n g the anecdote of a Montreal firm which sent an invoice to Medicine Hat, Newfoundland.  43  Even when given favourable reviews in the East, Westerners were quick to notice the patronage beneath the praise. thanked the Brockville Recorder  The Edmonton B u l l e t i n  for i t s report that "a f i l e of the  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , one of the smallest and neatest printed newspapers published i n Canada, although printed i n the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , i s now before us", but wondered "what i s there remarkable about a paper being neatly printed i n the North-West T e r r i t o r y ? "  4 4  Residents of the West r e t a l i a t e d against Ontario's perceived negative view of the West by equally negative characterizations of Ontarians and Ontario. apparent  The Westerners' c r i t i c a l attitude towards Ontarians i n statements  was  l i k e that which appeared i n the Manitoba Free  Press on January 5, 1880.  The paper declared that "Tanner's Crossing, at  the L i t t l e Saskatchewan, w i l l hereafter be known as Minnedosa - the Indian for swiftly flowing water.  I t i s a wonder some lunatic from  Ontario didn't want to name the place after the place he had  left." ^ 4  S i m i l a r l y , as was mentioned e a r l i e r i n the chapter, there was a d e f i n i t e l y negative connotation to the Saskatchewan.Herald's depiction of Ontario s e t t l e r s acting i n a manner strongly suggestive of the behaviour of "birds of passage" i n migration. ^ 4  Ontario, l i k e the Ontarians, also came i n for c r i t i c i s m from Westerners, often being compared unfavourably with the West.  According  to the newspapers of the West, Ontario was crime-ridden, narrow-minded,  - 53 -  prone to f a c t i o n a l quarreling, and had a worse climate to boot. was  c l e a r l y superior to Ontario i n these and other areas.  The West  "The crime of  rape", stated the Edmonton B u l l e t i n , "seems to be very common in Ontario.  Not a mail a r r i v e s but chronicles one or more c a s e s . "  47  "Eighteen inches of snow i n Toronto", s n i f f e d the Calgary Weekly Herald, "and yet papers there attack the climate of the Northwest." Ontario was  48  portrayed as especially i n f e r i o r to the West i n terms of  the nature of society, prejudiced and constricted compared to the society i n the West.  new  The Calgary Weekly Herald opposed the formation of  p o l i t i c a l parties i n the West on the grounds that "the Northwest majority ignores t o t a l l y the party s t r i f e s that have arisen through the p o l i t i c a l parties i n the east. exist."  The causes which created these parties do not here  4 9  A similar view of the natures of Eastern and Western s o c i e t i e s  was  o  expressed  in two church-related matters.  In the f i r s t , Lawrence Clarke,  in a farewell l e t t e r to James Sieveright, the r e t i r i n g Presbyterian pastor of Prince Albert, declared that " i t matters not what uncandid c r i t i c i s m you might have been subjected to elsewhere, by the narrow minded, who  cannot r i s e out of the rut of Eastern apathy and  provincialism."50  Clarke went on to say that Sieveright had "cast off  the hide-bound prejudices of the East."-'-'-  In the second instance,  "Ixion", of the Winnipeg S i f t i n g s , thanked Bishop Algoma for his rebuke of a reportedly anti-Catholic sermon by Bishop McLean of Saskatchewan, and hoped "that your scathing remarks may eastern brethren who  may  reach the ears of those of your  wish to come to our free and tolerant society.to  a i r their•narrow-minded eloquence."52 Given the West's professed views of Ontario and Ontarians, i t was  - 54 -  with complacency,  rather than surprise, that the Winnipeg Daily Free  Press could report that John Ralston of the L i t t l e Saskatchewan Colony stated "that he couldn't l i v e i n Ontario now, province",53  a n c  after having seen t h i s  ] the Edmonton B u l l e t i n could assert that "the  disadvantage of being short of timber i s more than counter balanced by the many other advantages i t [the West] possesses over the Eastern Provinces. The resentment and h o s t i l i t y towards Ontario and Ontarians which was widespread in the West during the 1870's and 1880's seems paradoxical i n view of the fact that Ontario settled the West and shaped i t s society. In other words, the white Westerners who  f e l t and expressed d i s l i k e of  the East, were themselves recently arrived from Ontario.  The  contradiction apparent i n their attitude, however, i s explainable, and the explanation forms an important part of our understanding of the white s e t t l e r s of the West, their involvement i n the Rebellion of 1885, and the nature of their relationship with Eastern Canada. I r o n i c a l l y , the white s e t t l e r s of the P r a i r i e West developed and expressed h o s t i l i t y towards Ontario and the "East" because of, not i n spite of, their Ontario heritage.  As Ontarians, as B r i t i s h subjects, the  s e t t l e r s expected to enjoy the same rights that had been t h e i r s i n Ontario, especially the right to a voice i n the government whose decisions affected the well-being of their community.  Like the e a r l i e r  protests of the American colonists against the B r i t i s h Parliament, the Western s e t t l e r s ' discontent was based on the premise that they were part of the same culture and society and were therefore e n t i t l e d to the same r i g h t s as those closer to the centre of power, whether London or Ottawa. The very quickness with which newly arrived Ontario immigrants to the  - 55 -  West developed an antipathy towards Ontario demonstrates that the propensity to protest against the problems of the f r o n t i e r was not an a t t i t u d e which grew out of long Western experience but rather was part of the immigrants' c u l t u r a l heritage.  The Ontarians brought the t r a d i t i o n  of protest to the West; the f r o n t i e r provided the grievances which demanded that they put i t into  action.  - 56 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO  J-W.L. Morton, "The Bias of P r a i r i e P o l i t i c s , " Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 3rd ser. 49 (June 1955): 57. E.H. Oliver, "The Settlement of Saskatchewan to 1914," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 3rd ser. 29 (1926): 64. 2  J . E . Rea, "The Roots of P r a i r i e Society," P r a i r i e Perspectives 1, ed. David Gagan (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970): 46-57. 3  ^Canada, Department of Agriculture, Census of Canada, 1880-81, (Ottawa: MacLean, Roger and Co., 1882-3). ( A l l further 1881 census information taken from t h i s source.) ^Canada, Department of Agriculture, Census of the Three Provisional D i s t r i c t s of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 1884-5 (Ottawa: MacLean, Roger and Co., 1886). ( A l l further 1884-5 census information taken from t h i s source). 6  Census of Canada, 1880-81, Vol. I., Table I I I , pp. 269-297.  ^Solutions to the demographic problems presented i n ascertaining the ethnic make-up of Manitoba and the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s were discussed with Dr. James Huzel, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, Department of History, F a l l 1984. 8  9  Census of the Three Provisional D i s t r i c t s , Table I I I , 10-11. Ibid.  IQwinnipeg Daily Free Press, July 8, 1874, p. 3. n  Ibid.  •^Saskatchewan Herald, July 22, 1882, p. 2. Some further examples of reports of Ontario immigration include the Manitoba Daily Free Press, July 23, 1874, p. 3. Reporting on Prospect Place settlement near Rat Portage, the Press states that "the inhabitants are mostly from the County of Wellington and from Middlesex i n Ontario, and are truly an i n t e l l i g e n t and industrious class of people, and as a whole have come to t h i s country with considerable means, having had good farms i n Ontario, but i n considerations for their family emigrated to t h i s find ( s i c ) province." Other examples: The Winnipeg Daily Times, A p r i l 12, 1879, p. 4 and A p r i l 14, 1879, p. 2.; Saskatchewan Herald, Jan. 12, 1880, p. 2., which mentions that a t o t a l of 1,834 immigrants from the Ottawa Valley arrived i n Manitoba during the l a s t season; Prince Albert Times, Nov. 1, 1882, p. 6; Regina Leader, March 1, 1883, March 22, 1883, Aug. 21, 1884, p. 1, Feb. 24, 1885, p. 4. In f a c t , notices about Ontario immigration appeared frequently i n a l l the Western papers, especially as part of the "Local News" columns. L.H. Thomas remarks about t h i s immigration' that although Europeans began to arrive at t h i s time, the Ontarians and  - 57 -  B r i t i s h made an impact on public l i f e i n the region because, as B r i t i s h subjects, "they did not have to acquire c i t i z e n s h i p and f a m i l i a r i t y with the constitution before p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n public l i f e . " (see L.H. Thomas, The Struggle for Responsible Government in the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 1870-97, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978), p. 104. 1 3  P r i n c e Albert Times, Feb. 8, 1884,  14  Winnipeg Daily Free Press, July 14, 1874,  1 5  P r i n c e Albert Times, Nov.  1 6  I b i d . , Feb. 6, 1885,  22, 1882,  p. 2. p. 2.  p. 2.  p. 2.  C a l g a r y Weekly Herald, Dec. 9, 1883, p. 4. Like the notices of Ontario immigration to the West, other connections between Ontario and the West were often reported as small items i n "Local News" columns. It was common to report travels and v i s i t s between the West and Ontario. The Manitoba Daily Free Press item of July 24, 1874, for example, informed i t s readers that "Stewart Mulkins, well known here, i s at present i n Kingston, Ontario but has sent word that he w i l l shortly be here again" (p. 3). Commercial t r a v e l l e r s also received notices, as the West's great ambition was to a t t r a c t "the attentions of c a p i t a l i s t s i n the east" (Saskatchewan Herald, Jan. 26, 1880. p. 2). Thus, the Manitoba Daily Free Press reported that "Mr. D.D. Mason, representing R. Wilkes and Co. of Toronto, w i l l arrive per f i r s t boat, with samples" (July 16, 1874, p. 3), and the Edmonton B u l l e t i n described the v i s i t of "Mr. Jas. Turner, the well-known whole-sale grocer of Hamilton, Montreal and Winnipeg, who was here on a v i s i t to his son, and l e f t by the North-West, takes some samples of farm produce with him to demonstrate to eastern people that at least such things w i l l grow here" (Sept. 9, 1883, p. 2). 17  1 8  P r i n c e Albert Times, Dec. 6, 1882,  1 9  I b i d . , Jan. 11, 1884,  p. 2.  p. 6.  ^Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Aug. 5, 1882, p. 2. See also an a r t i c l e from the Toronto Telegram quoted i n the Manitoba Daily Free Press, Nov. 4, 1882, p. 8. -*-R.C. MacLeod, "Canadianizing the West: The North-West Mounted Police as Agents of the National Policy, 1873-1905," Essays on Western History i n Honour of L.G. Thomas, ed. L.H. Thomas (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1976), p. 102. 2  P r i n c e Albert Times, Jan. 18, 1884, p. 6. Letter from "Facts" on the telegraph o f f i c e dispute and the role of Captain Antrobus and the North-West Mounted Police: ". . .we find ourselves a free people threatened by m i l i t a r y rule; to be governed by the muzzle of a r i f l e that was sent into this country to protect, not to molest us." 2 2  23  Ma cLeod, "Canadianizing the West," p.  106.  - 58 -  24 .B. Steele, Forty years i n Canada; reminiscences of the great North-West, with some account of his service in South A f r i c a , by Colonel S.B. Steele . . . late of the N.W.M. P o l i c e , ed. by Mollie Glenn N i b l e t t , with an introduction by J.G. Colmer. (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1915; reprint ed. Toronto: Coles, 1973), pp. 96-7. S  N.G. McDonald, "David G. Goggin, Promoter of National Schools," Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West, ed. D.C. Jones et a l . (Calgary, Alberta: Detselig Enterprises, 1979), pp. 14-15. 25  F o r more information on the extensive issue of the Manitoba Schools Question, see Lovell Clark, ed., The Manitoba School Question: Majority Rule or Minority Rights (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1968) for a l i s t i n g of primary sources and historiographic selections of the issue. W.L. Morton also deals with the topic i n Chapter 10 of Manitoba: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957). He argues that the a b o l i t i o n of the dual system i n Manitoba reflected the e f f o r t s of Manitoba's Protestant Ontario s e t t l e r s to not only recreate Ontario's i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the West, but to improve upon them (p. 250). 2 6  27  P r i n c e Albert Times, Feb. 8, 1884, p. 2.  28  Winnipeg Daily Free Press, July 9, 1874, p. 3.  9 l b i d . For further references to the connections between the Protestant denominations i n the West and the church organizations of Ontario, see R.J. McDonald, "The Presbyterian Church i n Saskatchewan i n The Nineteenth Century," Saskatchewan History 4 ( F a l l 1951): 93-101, and Frederick Passmore, "Methodist Memories of Saskatchewan," Saskatchewan History 8 (Winter 1955): 11-16. Both a r t i c l e s discuss the Ontario o r i g i n s of the Western churches, especially i n terms of their ministers. As the newspapers indicate, there seems to have been a constant flow of clergy between Ontario, Manitoba, and the T e r r i t o r i e s . 2  30  Brandon Daily Mail, Dec. 19, 1882, p. 4.  W a l t e r Hildebrandt, "Public Buildings i n Battleford,. 1876-1878," Saskatchewan History 35 (Winter 1982): 23. On the subject of the Ontarians'imposition of physical forms on the Western environment, see also Greg Thomas and Ian Clarke, "The Garrison Mentality and the Canadian West," P r a i r i e Forum 4 (Spring 1979): 83-104. Arguing that Ontario farmers set out to create a West i n their own image, and achieved considerable success" (p. 85), Thomas and Clarke discuss the Ontarians' use of t r a d i t i o n a l closed-off farmsteads i n the West and the resulting separation from open p r a i r i e (p. 98). 31  F.H. U n d e r h i l l , "Some Aspects of Upper Canadian Radical Opinion i n the Decade Before Confederation," Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Association Report (1927): 46-61. 32  3 3  U n d e r h i l l , "Some Aspects".  34  R e a , "Roots of P r a i r i e Society," p. 48.  _  - 59 -  P r i n c e Albert Times, June 6, 1883,  3 5  p. 4.  E a r l Drake, "Pioneer Journalism i n Saskatchewan, 1878-1887: Part I I : Some Characteristics of the T e r r i t o r i a l Press," Saskatchewan History 5 (Spring 1952): 41. As many of the T e r r i t o r i a l editors came to the North-West by way of Manitoba, i t suggests that the Manitoba editors too can be classed as Ontarian i n o r i g i n . 3 6  P r i n c e Albert Times, June 6, 1883, Dec. 6, 1882, p. 2.  p. 4.  3 7  38  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Oct. 25, 1884,  See also the Times for  p. 2.  3 9  I b i d . , A p r i l 4, 1883,  p. 2.  4Q  C a l g a r y Weekly Herald, Nov. 30, 1883,  p. 3.  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Oct. 18, 1884, p. 2. Western e d i t o r i a l i s t s used strong language to express their concern that the East was retarding the development of the West. In an 1883 a r t i c l e on the new Dominion Land Act, the Prince Albert Times stated r u e f u l l y that " S i r Charles Tupper says we must suffer i f necessary in the interests of Canada as a whole, and we are beginning to r e a l i z e the meaning of his words" (June 6, 1883, p. 2). The Qu'Appelle Vidette expressed i t s distrust of Eastern intentions regarding the West i n even stronger terms. In an a r t i c l e on the propsed Hudson's Bay Railroute, the Vidette hoped that the route would be approved and developed by the Government, "that i s , provided the Opposition i n the House of Commons and the influence of interested parties in Ontario and Quebec do not strangle i t i n i t s b i r t h " (Nov. 20, 1884, p. 2). 41  4 2  P r i n c e Albert Times, Aug. 23, 1883,  p. 5.  43  C a l g a r y Weekly Herald, Dec. 1, 1883,  p. 3.  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , A p r i l 4, 1883, p. 1. The ignorance of the Eastern press and people regarding the West was a continuing annoyance to Westerners. Further examples of that annoyance appeared i n the Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Feb. 28, 1881, p. 3; Fort MacLeod Gazette, Dec. 14, 1882, p. 2; and the Saskatchewan Herald, Jan. 26, 1880, p. 2. The Brandon Daily Mail ascribed outright h o s t i l i t y to the West on the part of the Eastern press, claiming "Eastern journals, especially a few Ontario d a i l i e s are ever-ready to find f a u l t with the Northwest as though i t was a foreign country and those pioneering i t and f i l l i n g up the illimitable wilderness were " f u r r i n e r s " (Brandon Daily Mail, Dec. 26, 1882, p. 2). 44  45  Manitoba Free Press, Jan. 5, 1880,  p. 1.  ^Saskatchewan Herald, July 22, 1882, p. 2. Further examples of negative comments about Ontario and Ontarians are to be found i n the Winnipeg Daily Times, Sept. 4, 1874, p. 3; the Saskatchewan Herald, June 13, 1879, p. 2 and Feb. 28, 1881, p. 1; and the Calgary Herald, Jan. 30, 1884, p. 2 and June 25, 1884, p. 1. This l a s t a r t i c l e detailed the account of a know-it-all newcomer, one of the "wise men from the East," being put i n his place by an old-timer.  - 60 -  ""Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Oct. 18, 1884, p. 2. 48  C a l g a r y Weekly Herald, Nov. 20, 1883, p. 3.  A 9  I b i d . , Oct. 29, 1884, p. 2.  5 0  P r i n c e Albert Times, Sept. 19, 1883, p. 2.  5 1  Ibid.  5 2  I b i d . , Aug. 29, 1884, p. 1.  53  Winnipeg Daily Free Press, July 11, 1874, p. 3.  54  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , March 11, 1881, p. 2.  - 61  -  CHAPTER THREE Protest in the West: Roots and C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  Although the North-West white s e t t l e r s ' h o s t i l i t y towards Ontario and the Dominion Government during the 1870's and 1880's seems paradoxical i n that many of those s e t t l e r s were themselves l a t e l y come from Ontario and were engaged in recreating the West the image of the society they  had  l e f t , i n fact the nature of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the P r a i r i e West and central Canada was an inevitable product of the s e t t l e r s ' c u l t u r a l background.  A study of the reasons behind the s e t t l e r s ' discontent with  Ottawa and the "East", and of the methods they used to express their d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n , reveals that their behaviour can be explained as manifestations of the protest t r a d i t i o n which was  defined i n Chapter  One  as the response of people of B r i t i s h heritage to the conditions of the North American f r o n t i e r . In order to study the Western s e t t l e r s ' protest and agitation during the 1870's and early 1880's, this discussion w i l l focus on the region known as the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , that i s , the present day  provinces  of Saskatchewan and Alberta, during the decade before the outbreak of the Rebellion of 1885,  a formative period i n the history of Western Canada.  The term " P r a i r i e West" w i l l also be used to designate the area under study, including therefore, the province of Manitoba, for although that region enjoyed certain privileges such as p r o v i n c i a l status and parliamentary representation which were denied to the T e r r i t o r i e s , i t also shared i n many of the North-West's grievances against Ottawa.  In  the view of those i n the P r a i r i e West, Mantitoba and the North-West had "a natural, i f unwritten a l l i a n c e " against the "Eastern  provinces".  1  - 62 -  As the purpose of t h i s discussion i s to discern an o v e r a l l pattern i n the opinions and actions of the North-West s e t t l e r s , the P r a i r i e West therefore has been studied as a more or l e s s homogeneous whole, rather than as a c o l l e c t i o n of d i s t i n c t i v e parts.  This i s riot to deny the  differences between the various communities i n the North-West and Manitoba, but rather to focus on the common elements of thought and behaviour which occurred throughout the West during the period i n question.  Dealing with general theories of necessity demands that  d e t a i l s and v a r i a t i o n s be subordinated to the larger theme.  Thus, i n  t r a c i n g the existence and influence of a B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n of popular protest among the Western s e t t l e r s t h i s paper i s not seeking to present a complete and d e t a i l e d study of conditions i n the North-West c i r c a  1880,  but rather i s attempting to construct a general framework on which more s p e c i f i c studies could be b u i l t . The North-West s e t t l e r s ' background, a combination  of B r i t i s h  t r a d i t i o n and Ontario experience, provided them with p o l i t i c a l assumptions and c u l t u r a l expectations which made protest against the f r o n t i e r conditions of the North-West i n e v i t a b l e . l e f t England for America during the seventeenth  Like the c o l o n i s t s  who  and eighteenth c e n t u r i e s ,  the s e t t l e r s who came to the North-West from Ontario, Manitoba and Great B r i t a i n i t s e l f brought with them a heritage of "something more" than 2  that brought by other immigrants.  For the North-West s e t t l e r s , the  "something more" was a strong sense of entitlement to p o l i t i c a l and  legal  r i g h t s and guarantees, an entitlement they claimed on the basis of t h e i r own achievements and s t a t u s , and e s p e c i a l l y , on the basis of t h e i r B r i t i s h heritage. In arguing for p o l i t i c a l r i g h t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the r i g h t to be  represented in Parliament, and to therefore not be taxed without consent, the residents of the North-West emphasized Canadian nation.  their contribution to the  The members of the North-West Council expressed the  b e l i e f that "the success of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s i s of such importance to the whole Dominion that the time has arrived when representation for the T e r r i t o r i e s should be had i n Parliament." The Prince Albert Times stated the case even more bluntly.  3  "There i s now  a large and increasing population i n the T e r r i t o r i e s , " i t argued, "contributing l i b e r a l l y to the revenues of the Dominion. should be disenfranchised  i s both unjust and i m p o l i t i c . "  That they 4  That sense of i n j u s t i c e was exacerbated by the s e t t l e r s ' perception that, as Canadians, they were not receiving their due from the Dominion government.  " A l l that we require," argued the MacLeod Gazette " i s that  we receive the same privileges and be treated the same as other p r o v i n c e s . T h e s e t t l e r s ' expectations of their rights as Canadians  was  the theme of an e d i t o r i a l from the Edmonton B u l l e t i n on the issue of squatters' rights i n the North-West.  "Considering that they as Canadians  had a right to share i n the public land and t r u s t i n g that their government would see that they got j u s t i c e , " the B u l l e t i n stated, "the s e t t l e r s had settled on unsurveyed lands only to discover they had no legal rights to the l a n d . "  0  Even more fundamental to the claim of rights and redress than their contributions to the country or their Canadian c i t i z e n s h i p was the s e t t l e r s ' argument that they were e n t i t l e d to the granting of their demands on the grounds that they were B r i t i s h subjects.  After the  American War of Independence, such claims understandably disappeared from the vocabulary of American f r o n t i e r protest movements, but for Canadians,  - 64 -  s t i l l linked to B r i t a i n , the mustering of the B r i t i s h heritage remained a commonly used device. According to the Prince Albert Times, the "public mind" of the North-West was agitated i n early 1883 by the question of "how  and when we  are to be treated l i k e our fellow subjects i n every part of the great and (saving our own North-West) free Empire of Great B r i t a i n , "  7  while later  in the year the same paper argued that "In their request for representation the people of the T e r r i t o r i e s are demanding only the ordinary rights of B r i t i s h subjects, and should have the sympathy and support of a l l Canadians."  8  A similar sentiment was expressed by the  Calgary Weekly Herald which claimed that i n seeking redress for their numerous grievances, the residents of the North-West should take measures to demand the rights of B r i t i s h s u b j e c t s .  9  Meanwhile, the resolutions  framed by the Alberta S e t t l e r s ' Rights Association i n A p r i l  1885,  introduced a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t claim, that of the "rights and p r i v i l e g e s of free men"  10  but s t i l l considered those as synonymous with the "rights  of a B r i t i s h subject.  1 , 1 1  Throughout the North-West i n the years prior to the Rebellion of 1885,  the white s e t t l e r s expressed their discontent with the Dominion  government and i t s p o l i c i e s in terms of their B r i t i s h rights and privileges.  It i s important to discuss what was meant when they claimed,  as did the s e t t l e r s meeting at the Lindsay schoolhouse  on March 23,  1885,  "that we have come to this country i n good f a i t h that we would have our rights respected as B r i t i s h s u b j e c t s .  12  The " r i g h t s " to which the s e t t l e r s f e l t e n t i t l e d , and which they believed were being denied to them, ranged from demands as s p e c i f i c as parliamentary representation to issues as general as the s e t t l e r s ' desire  - 65 -  to exercise control over their l o c a l a f f a i r s .  In fact, both the s p e c i f i c  and general rights demanded by the s e t t l e r s were manifestations of the same fundamental c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of North American f r o n t i e r peoples,  the  refusal to be governed by a distant authority over whose decisions the frontiersmen could exercise l i t t l e or no c o n t r o l . Throughout the North-West during the early 1880's, e d i t o r i a l s and petitions reflected the s e t t l e r s ' desire to exercise control over their own  a f f a i r s , often demanding both representation i n Ottawa and  granting of power and revenues to l o c a l government. Calgary Herald of November 12, 1884  e n t i t l e d "Our  the views expressed i n the T e r r i t o r i a l press.  the  An e d i t o r i a l i n the  Needs" was  t y p i c a l of  Of the four needs the  Herald i d e n t i f i e d as important to the North-West, three were d i r e c t l y related to the issue of p o l i t i c a l power: power to be given the l o c a l government, the l o c a l government to have the l o c a l revenues to carry out i t s ordinances North-West.  and representation i n Parliament  to be given to the  13  The Prince Albert Times had expressed a similar emphasis on the importance of l o c a l control i n a 1883  e d i t o r i a l which promised sweeping  improvements to follow the granting of l o c a l autonomy. the s e t t l e r s i n the T e r r i t o r i e s to manage their own once accorded them," the e d i t o r i a l i s t  " I f the rights of  l o c a l a f f a i r s were  declared,  many of their present disadvantages would be swept away and  the  general d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n which pervades the public mind with respect to the crude and i l l - d i g e s t e d laws and orders-in-council which are continually being enacted at Ottawa would dwindle into insignificance when once the people found that so many of the so-called smaller grievances were being  redressed.  14  - 66  -  Although the Edmonton Bullet in agreed that the North—West needed to control i t s own a f f a i r s , i t warned that l o c a l governments alone would not remedy the problems created by the fact that "the natural resources of the country, land timber and minerals, are e n t i r e l y i n the hands of the general Government."  15  "As long as these matters are i n the hands of men  at Ottawa," the e d i t o r i a l continued, "every e f f o r t should be made to secure influence there. "-^  As a means of exercising power, the B u l l e t i n  argued, representation i n Parliament would be more e f f e c t i v e than "any number of petty capitals and mock governments" erected i n the Territories.  1 7  The majority of white s e t t l e r s who arrived i n the North-West during the 1870's and early 1880's had come from places, l i k e Ontario and Manitoba, where they were used to exercising at least the basic p o l i t i c a l right of voting for a Parliamentary  representative.  Basing  their  arguments both on their previous experience and, especially, on their B r i t i s h heritage, the North-West s e t t l e r s agitated for a greater voice i n c o n t r o l l i n g their a f f a i r s , whether by Parliamentary  representative, l o c a l  government power over resources, or preferably both. Despite their parliamentary representation, however, Manitobans were aware that they s t i l l lacked power over a f f a i r s of concern to them, as shown by the disallowance of their railway charters i n 1882. agitation centred on the issue of "Provincial Rights", rights  18  For them, they  believed were being unconstitutionally denied to them by the Ottawa government.  19  For a l l Westerners, the basic issue was the same as i t had  been i n e a r l i e r North American protest movements, power to control the a f f a i r s of their community, rather than be controlled the f a r - o f f metropolis.  by the p o l i c i e s of  - 67 -  The s e t t l e r s who came to the North-West during the 1870's and 1880's protested against the p o l i c i e s of the Dominion government and against the power of the "East" i n general on the basis of their B r i t i s h heritage. As elsewhere i n North America, however, the conditions of the frontier contributed to the s e t t l e r s ' discontent and created the need for protest. Some r e a l i t i e s of the f r o n t i e r , the often b i t t e r climate of the West, and i t s periodic crop f a i l u r e s , for example, could be viewed as natural hardships, beyond the control of government, but even though w i l l i n g to admit as much,20 the Western s e t t l e r s believed that their already d i f f i c u l t existence was rendered more so by the actions, and inaction, of the Ottawa government.  In the P r a i r i e West as elsewhere on the North  American f r o n t i e r , protest was fueled by the perception that the government was "too f a r away to properly a c t "  2 1  and that the power  structure of the country denied the f r o n t i e r people the capacity to act on their own behalf.  The s e t t l e r s ' drive to improve their conditions,  and their f r u s t r a t i o n at the government's apparent unwillingness to help )  them to do so, i f not to actually  hinder them, i s revealed by an  examination of the main problems of the North-West f r o n t i e r as seen by the s e t t l e r s : the lack of i n s t i t u t i o n s , especially  educational and  j u d i c i a l , the i s o l a t i o n of the area and the s e t t l e r s ' i n a b i l i t y to control their own a f f a i r s , especially and  regarding the disposition  of lands  offices. One of the conditions of f r o n t i e r l i f e which the North-West s e t t l e r s  sought the hardest to remedy was the lack of i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the Territories.  The establishment  of public schools was a p r i o r i t y for the  residents of the North-West, as schools were an embodiment of the desire for personal and family improvement which had caused them to leave "older  - 68 -  and more densely populated d i s t r i c t s " for the new  country.  22  However,  despite the public meetings held and the committees appointed to discuss the matter, the problem remained that the towns and settlements  of the  North-West lacked the necessary funds to construct school buildings and pay teachers' s a l a r i e s .  Some monies were raised by public subscription,  but the s e t t l e r s were not content to rely on charity to provide what they considered  to be a necessity and a r i g h t .  The s e t t l e r s ' opinion of what the government's role should be i n the matter was  made clear in an e d i t o r i a l i n the Edmonton B u l l e t i n of  1881,  in which the e d i t o r i a l i s t argued, "Of course i t i s expected that the government aid towards the payment of a teacher's  salary will.be  forthcoming,"  not provided for  23  but i n fact, government money was  Edmonton' schools at that point, nor elsewhere in the T e r r i t o r i e s without much agitation from the residents of the North-West. the s i t u a t i o n was was  Their resentment of  heightened by their view that the Dominion government  "hardly penurious," having i n fact a seven m i l l i o n d o l l a r surplus, "a  very large part of which was wrung from the s e t t l e r s of the North-West » 24 • • •  •  While the lack of schools frustrated their expectations  of a better  l i f e for their children i n the North-West, the d e f i c i e n c i e s of the region's j u d i c i a l system created problems for the s e t t l e r s ' daily  life.  As the residents of the North-West had access to a judge and court only when a stipendiary magistrate  passed through their town on his c i r c u i t ,  there was  considerable delay and inconvenience i n the administration of  justice.  Thus, the demand for additional stipendiary  magistrates,  resident judges, and the other trappings of an established j u d i c i a l system appeared often i n the newspaper e d i t o r i a l s and memorials from the  -69-T  North-West.  As the Prince Albert Times claimed, the lack of an e f f i c i e n t  j u d i c i a l system was especially intolerable for "those who have, u n t i l their a r r i v a l here, l i v e d where the legal machinery works with utmost regularity."---' In the same way that they believed that the government was responsible for providing them with the basic i n s t i t u t i o n s of Canadian culture, the North-West s e t t l e r s also f e l t that the government should take action to remedy another f r o n t i e r d i f f i c u l t y , that of i s o l a t i o n , both from other areas of the North-West and from central Canada  itself.  Nowhere was their attitude clearer than on the issue of mail delivery i n the North-West.  The importance of frequent and dependable mail service  in the T e r r i t o r i e s was strongly presented by an 1878 Saskatchewan Herald e d i t o r i a l arguing to have...Battleford made the area's mail exchange point.  Such a decision, the e d i t o r i a l claimed, " w i l l tend towards  increasing the business f a c i l i t i e s of our merchants, render the work of governing the country l i g h t e r , and help to bind closer the t i e s of friendship between the lonely pioneers of the West and their friends "at home" by p r a c t i c a l l y bringing them three weeks closer t o g e t h e r . "  20  However clear the need for "prompt and certain delivery of the mail,"  2 7  the s e t t l e r s f e l t that the government was far from responsive to  the s i t u a t i o n .  Demands for a weekly mail service appeared regularly i n  the e d i t o r i a l columns of the Prince Albert T i m e s granted i n June 1883,  29  28  u n t i l i t was f i n a l l y  while i n Calgary, the residents were angered by a  series of mail thefts for which neither the government nor the CPR, the mail c a r r i e r , was w i l l i n g to take responsibility.30 The advent of the telegraph system, while putting the North-West into closer communication with the East, created i t s own d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n s  - 70 -  among the s e t t l e r s .  Those places that were served by the telegraph  line,  such as Edmonton, found i t to be as unreliable as the mail service, and, as with the mail, blamed the government for the problems with the l i n e : i t s location, i t s disrepair and the high t a r i f f charged to use i t .  The  Edmonton B u l l e t i n hoped that when the Government took over operation of the l i n e that "this l i n e which was  b u i l t with the people's money w i l l be  run for the people's benefit," but the tone of the e d i t o r i a l lacked conviction.31 Although the d i f f i c u l t i e s the s e t t l e r s encountered in trying to establish the basic i n s t i t u t i o n s of " c i v i l i z e d communities"  32  ±  n  the  North-West and in combatting the i s o l a t i o n of the region were sources of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the Dominion Government, the major cause of discontent with the government was  the fact that the residents of the  North-West did not have the power to determine their own  local affairs.  Thus, not only were they excluded from the bodies which made national decisions, government p o l i c i e s and regulations also prevented them from making decisions which would d i r e c t l y a f f e c t their own welfare future.  and  The resentment this state of a f f a i r s engendered among the  North-West s e t t l e r s i s very apparent i n their attitude towards the c l a s s i c f r o n t i e r issue: the d i s p o s i t i o n of lands and  offices.  Much has been written i n the historiography of the P r a i r i e West regarding the land questions of the 1870's and 1880's,  33  and i t i s not  the intention of t h i s paper to discuss i n depth the various facts of the subject, but rather to focus on the s e t t l e r s ' reaction to the land problems, e s p e c i a l l y as they affected the s e t t l e r s ' view of the government. For the s e t t l e r s , the most serious land problem i n the North-West  - 71 -  during the 1870's and early 1880's was the lack of an o f f i c i a l the land.  survey of  Without such a survey, no North-West s e t t l e r could claim legal  t i t l e to the land he had settled and improved on, and as a squatter, was subject to claim-jumping by unscrupulous i n d i v i d u a l s or to e v i c t i o n by the government i t s e l f .  Moreover, even i f the s e t t l e r s succeeded i n  remaining on their land, they were unable to borrow much needed cash for seed and equipment against their lands as, i n fact, they did not have legal t i t l e to the land.  As squatters, therefore, the North-West  s e t t l e r s l i v e d i n a state of uncertainty i n which, as the Edmonton B u l l e t i n pointed out 'disputes  a  r  e  continually taking place, which there  are no means of deciding i n the absence of any t i t l e to the l a n d s . "  34  The s e t t l e r s ' i n s e c u r i t y , and therefore their sense of grievance against the government, was compounded by the Dominion Government's practice of reserving sections of land for i t s e l f ,  either for eventual  public use such as school property or for lease to private i n t e r e s t s such as colonization companies and the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway.  Often,  given  the absence of a survey, the government would choose sections of land already s e t t l e d , intending to evict the "squatters." reacted strongly to this threat.  The s e t t l e r s  "Let no one imagine," warned the  B u l l e t i n , "that those who have, amid the greatest d i f f i c u l t i e s and hardships, made homes for themselves i n t h i s country, w i l l tamely submit to the confiscation of the f r u i t s of their labour because the Government was not energetic enough to have the land surveyed i n time." ^ 3  Not only did the Dominion government's land p o l i c i e s cause the North-West s e t t l e r s to worry about their current security and well-being, i t also raised doubts about the future prospects of the country. l e t t e r to the MacLeod Gazette,  In a  "Nor'-West" spoke for many by asking, "why  - 72 -  i s t h i s fine country shut up e n t i r e l y against the s e t t l e r s , and given to a few individuals, to the detriment of the many?"  " L i t e r a l l y , " he  concluded, "the country i s coralled and the gate shut."36 While control of the land was probably the most important issue for those on the North-West f r o n t i e r , they also expressed considerable resentment about the presence and practices of Government o f f i c i a l s in the T e r r i t o r i e s as the o f f i c i a l s were a reminder to them that decisions which affected them were made i n Ottawa, and enforced by "Easterners." Sometimes the North-West s e t t l e r s expressed their feelings about the government and i t s o f f i c i a l s with the dry humour aparent i n a l o c a l news item from Edmonton which remarked that, "Nothing has been done in the way of lumbering this f a l l yet, as everyone i s waiting for the a r r i v a l of the timber inspector, not knowing what Ottawa lunacy he may be commissioned to carry out."37 More often, however, the o f f i c i a l s were described i n less amused and more h o s t i l e terms, as i n a long l e t t e r from a "Calgarian" d e t a i l i n g the incompetence  of the l o c a l Indian Agents.  claimed, were those who,  The government o f f i c i a l s , he  having f a i l e d i n business, "go to S i r John  hungry, and he sends them to the North West T e r r i t o r y , as far away from Ottawa as he can get them, hoping no doubt never to see their hungry faces again, and we pay the b i l l . " 3 8 S p e c i f i c instances of dishonesty and incompetence  on the part of  o f f i c i a l s reinforced the s e t t l e r s ' bad opinion of them, as i n the case of Captain Allen, the Indian agent at Cypress H i l l s .  After being dismissed  from the Police Force for fraud, and from a private firm for dishonesty and robbery of the Indians, "he was then appointed Indian Agent through the influence of a r e l a t i v e i n the Government, and some weeks ago  was  - 73 -  fined by C o l McLeod twenty dollars for housebreaking, barely escaping imprisonment for a lengthy term."--  9  Even when both competent and honest, the government o f f i c i a l s were s t i l l resented as a class by the s e t t l e r s for two important reasons.  The  f i r s t was that the majority of o f f i c i a l s were perceived to be Easterners, as revealed by the above quotations, and the North West s e t t l e r s believed strongly that " a l l positions of trust i n the North West T e r r i t o r i e s should be f i l l e d by residents of the l o c a l i t y i n which such services are required." 41  1  Secondly, and most importantly, the o f f i c i a l s ' job was to  enforce the often unpopular p o l i c i e s of the Dominion Government.  The  Crown timber agents i n particular were resented as their duties consisted of c o l l e c t i n g taxes on wood cut by the s e t t l e r s on their own property. Because the s e t t l e r s had no legal claim to their land in the absence of a survey, the wood o f f i c i a l l y belonged to the Dominion government and as such could be taxed.  The s e t t l e r s ' opinion of this state of a f f a i r s was  revealed i n a l e t t e r from "No Grumbler" which argued that, 'lour Crown Timber Agent should be stopped from taking wood contracts, and depriving the poor s e t t l e r of making an honest penny i n the winter months . . ."41 Government o f f i c i a l s were an embodiment of a distant government whose p o l i c i e s nevertheless affected the s e t t l e r s ' l i v e s i n the North-West. Like other f r o n t i e r groups i n North America, the s e t t l e r s who came to the North-West during the 1870's and 1880's encountered d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the conditions of l i f e .  Not only was the country lacking i n the basic  i n s t i t u t i o n s the s e t t l e r s expected, such as schools and legal machinery, and suffering  from the i s o l a t i o n from the centre of decision making and  power which was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  of the f r o n t i e r , the s e t t l e r s also  believed that their situation was worsened by the Government's p o l i c i e s ,  - 74 -  especially concerning  land and the use of resources such as wood.  The  s e t t l e r s ' attitude towards the government was well expressed i n an e d i t o r i a l i n the B u l l e t i n regarding the timber law but speaking also of other issues, " S e t t l e r s think i t hard that when they have come so far to make their homes the government should follow them, not with surveys and public works, but with fines and imprisonment for using the natural advantages of the country, the existence of which were the cause of their coming h e r e . "  42  As people of B r i t i s h heritage and experience, were not content  the North-West s e t t l e r s  to "think i t hard," but rather actively protested  against the government, e s p e c i a l l y against the lack of representation  and  the lack of l o c a l control which made them powerless to improve their situation.  In their reaction to the conditions of the f r o n t i e r ,  especially the exclusion from p o l i t i c a l power, the Western s e t t l e r s were acting in the protest t r a d i t i o n common to North Americans of B r i t i s h heritage.  In the same way  in which their reactions placed them i n that  t r a d i t i o n , so too did the methods they used to express their discontent. As was  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of f r o n t i e r protest movements throughout North  America, the residents of the West began expressing their discontent with the Dominion government through the t r a d i t i o n a l and legal means of public meetings, p e t i t i o n s and delegations, organizations such as the S e t t l e r s ' Rights Association, and e d i t o r i a l opinion i n the columns of the Western press. Public meetings were a common feature of l i f e i n the P r a i r i e West during the period i n question, and while protest was agenda, the object of the meetings was action for the community's benefit.  not always on the  often to press the government into  Western needs, from better mail  - 75  -  service through the construction of branch l i n e s and a r a i l route to the Hudson's Bay to the a b o l i t i o n of timber taxes were presented and discussed at public meetings during the early 1880's.  The tone of these  meetings was often sharp and to the point, as evidenced by the Vidette's report that public meetings were held at Fort Qu'Appelle and Qu'Appelle Station "for the purpose of enforcing upon the Dominion Government the necessity of removing a l l obstacles from the path of those seeking to build branch l i n e s i n Manitoba and the North West T e r r i t o r i e s . "  4 3  While i t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine the exact numbers of those present at public meetings, certain comments i n the newspapers indicate that not a l l . meetings were large or s i g n i f i c a n t .  The Saskatchewan  Herald's report  that few farmers attended a meeting in the Battleford area on January 13, 1885 was perhaps coloured by the paper's e d i t o r i a l opinion which denied "that there i s any excitement i n this d i s t r i c t on account of their 'grievances' or that the hardships under which our farmers labor are greater than those that would follow a p a r t i a l f a i l u r e of c r o p s . "  44  There i s no mistaking the w i s t f u l tone of the Times, however, which remarked that "the attendance was not as large as could have been wished" at a public meeting held at Prince Albert to discuss sending delegates to Ottawa to address the government with the areas' "wants and requirements." -' 4  Despite the varying degrees of attendance, the public meetings were very important i n the development  of protest and agitation i n the West as  i t was from these meetings that other forms of protest took shape. Committees were formed to draw up p e t i t i o n s , delegates chosen to v i s i t Ottawa, and organizations such as Farmers' Unions and S e t t l e r s ' Rights Associations formed to better press for redress of grievances.  - 76 -  At the Farmers' Union convention held i n Winnipeg on December 19, 1883,  for example, Charles Stewart presented a solution to the region's  grievances i n a resolution c a l l i n g for Manitoba's secession from Canada and the formation of a new western confederation. ^ 4  Despite the  radicalism of this suggestion, a more s i g n i f i c a n t event occurred at a public meeting held at the Lindsay School House, near Prince Albert, on May  14, 1884.  There, "Canadians from Ontario" joined with French and  English half-breeds i n setting out their grievances, and i n appointing a delegation to v i s i t Louis Riel i n Montana for " c o n s u l t a t i o n . "  47  Like the public meetings which often engendered them, petitions and their close r e l a t i v e , delegations, were methods of protest t r a d i t i o n a l l y used by North American frontier groups to express their discontent.  The  residents of the P r a i r i e West agreed with the idea discussed i n Chapter One of this paper, that the p e t i t i o n was the means by which the disenfranchised could voice their grievances. the Saskatchewan Herald, " . . .  As G.H.  Harper wrote to  nothing can be gained either at Regina or  Ottawa excepting by repeated and continued asking, the e a r l i e r the people of Battleford adopt the 'and your petitioners w i l l ever pray' system the more l i k e l y they are to have their demands granted—sometime."  48  The Battleford residents, l i k e those elsewhere i n the West, did employ the 'and your petitioners w i l l ever pray  1  system i n order to voice their  grievances, and, as the example given i n Appendix 2 i l l u s t r a t e s , they were careful to phrase their p e t i t i o n according to the t r a d i t i o n a l form. This form, set i n B r i t a i n since the 17th century, included the designation of the parties to the p e t i t i o n , followed by the substance, and concluded with a " p r a y e r " .  49  However, although the Western s e t t l e r s were familiar with the form of  - 77 -  p e t i t i o n s , and used them extensively to bring their grievances  to the  government's attention, they shared Mr. Harper's cynicism regarding government's readiness to respond. colonists of the eighteenth was  As i t had been for the American  century, the perception that the government  ignoring their petitions became a grievance  residents of the West.  the  i n i t s e l f to the  The B u l l e t i n , for example, commented i n an  e d i t o r i a l on the need for a land survey, that "This i s a matter of which there can be no two opinions, and p e t i t i o n a f t e r p e t i t i o n has been sent to Ottawa on the subject, of which not the least notice has been taken."  51  The escalation of the protest movement i n the West from the  stage of public meetings and p e t i t i o n writing to that of organization for the purpose of agitation against the government can be traced to the f r u s t r a t i o n the s e t t l e r s experienced at the treatment of their petitions.  In the f a l l of 1883,  the Prince Albert Times c a l l e d for  s e t t l e r s to organize against the government, threatening that "such an organization would also imply some more s p e c i f i c purpose than the redrafting of petitions which l i k e their predecessors would in a l l probability be consigned to the wastebasket."52 Organization  to protect and promote their i n t e r e s t s was  by the Western s e t t l e r s solely against the government.  not directed  The residents of  Edmonton decided to organize themselves into a vigilance society, for protection against the serious claim-jumping problem which was in Edmonton i n 1881  and 1882.53  Qf  t n e  o n e  hundred people who  meeting on the subject, forty-seven joined the society.54  happening attended a  By  1883,  however, a large number of organizations were formed throughout the T e r r i t o r i e s and Manitoba which were based on opposition to the government.  Their names, 'Farmers' Union,' ' S e t t l e r s ' League,'  - 78 -  'Settlers' Rights Association,' to give some examples, reveal their character and purpose.  The directors.of the 'Agricultural Society' which  met at Pocha School House near Prince Albert i n May  of 1884  declared that  "farmers' i n t e r e s t s are a l l a l i k e and that union i s strength,"55  but the  drive to organize included other North-West residents as well, as newspaper e d i t o r i a l s c a l l e d on i n f l u e n t i a l people and "leading men  . . .  to give their aid and support to the movement,"56 that i s , to the formation of S e t t l e r s ' Unions and l i k e organizations. The fundamental reason for the organization of Settlers' Leagues and Farmers' Unions was  the same as that which had motivated  s e t t l e r s to write p e t i t i o n s and send delegations.  the Western  In the words of the  S e t t l e r s ' Rights Association at Qu'Appelle, they organized, "In the absence of representation of the wants and grievances of the s e t t l e r s of the North West i n the Parliament or i n the Councils of the country ."57  . . .  Unlike the p e t i t i o n s , however, the s e t t l e r s ' organizations created  the p o s s i b i l i t y of actions beyond the "every legitimate measure"  58  the  s e t t l e r s declared themselves ready to use i n the pursuit of redress. Times claimed that the object of the organizations was r e b e l l i o n but to prevent it,"59  D  U  The  "not to encourage  t i t s suggestion e a r l i e r the same month  that a S e t t l e r s ' Rights Association be formed "for mutual protection and resistance i f need be, of the invasion of our invested rights,"6° hinted at the possible uses of the s e t t l e r s ' groups. The protest movement i n the P r a i r i e West during the 1870's and 1880's did not produce a pamphlet war  similar to that which occurred in the  American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War,  but as i n other  f r o n t i e r c o n f l i c t s i n North America, the press played an important as an instrument  of protest.  The Western press both reported  role  concrete  - 79 -  information regarding the times and places of public meetings, the contents of petitions and the a c t i v i t i e s of protesters elsewhere i n Manitoba and the T e r r i t o r i e s , and, perhaps more importantly,  disseminated  the attitudes and opinions which underlay the development of a protest movement i n the West.  Although a strong e d i t o r i a l bias was apparent i n  the newspapers, especially  during election times, both Liberal  Conservative papers were surprisingly  and  united i n their opinions regarding  the Dominion Government, the West's s i t u a t i o n , and the need for redress of Western grievances. Albert Times that "We  The declaration made by the Conservative  Prince  w i l l continue to urge that justice be done us u n t i l  the Government can i n decency no longer delay granting us our wishes and desires"  0 1  was echoed i n the pages of the L i b e r a l Edmonton B u l l e t i n and  the other Western newspapers, whatever their p o l i t i c a l  persuasion.  Based on the response of people of B r i t i s h heritage to the d i f f i c u l t i e s of f r o n t i e r l i f e , the protest movement which developed on the P r a i r i e s during the late 1870's and early 1880's employed methods of protest similar to those used by other f r o n t i e r groups of B r i t i s h background.  c  The public meetings, p e t i t i o n s , s e t t l e r s ' organizations and  newspapers by which the residents of the West expressed  their discontent  with their government and discussed ways of remedying the s i t u a t i o n were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n seen elsewhere i n North America.  Equally part of that t r a d i t i o n was  the escalation of protest to  the l e v e l of violence against the government and even actual r e b e l l i o n . Aside from a complicated  c o n f l i c t i n Prince Albert regarding the  telegraph o f f i c e and l i n e , the white s e t t l e r s ' protest movement did not include actual violence against the government i n the period before the Rebellion of 1885.  Their language, however, reveals that although  they  - 80 -  did not p a r t i c i p a t e i n violent or i l l e g a l acts of protest, they considered  the p o s s i b i l i t y of doing so i n ways c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the  protest t r a d i t i o n which was  part of their B r i t i s h heritage.  Although the telegraph o f f i c e issue which agitated the residents of Prince Albert during the f a l l of 1883  began as a c o n f l i c t between  factions within the town, the government's implication i n the matter brought out the s e t t l e r s ' basic resentments against the Dominion Government and i t s o f f i c i a l s .  The controversy arose when, after a public  meeting had chosen a s i t e near the centre of town for the new  telegraph  o f f i c e , Lawrence Clarke, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, used his influence with the government to pick a different s i t e .  The town  reacted a n g r i l y , telegraph poles were thrown down, and Mr. Gisborne, the government agent, was  burned in e f f i g y and received threats from a  intending to run him out of town on a rail.°  2  Reporting  mob  that the charges  Mr. Gisborne had brought against certain residents of Prince Albert were dismissed i n November 1883  as Gisborne was not present to t e s t i f y , the  Prince Albert Times concluded with a warning that c l e a r l y reveals l o c a l sentiment concerning  the government and  information that Gisborne was  its officials.  Regarding the  to return to the area i n December, the  Times warned: If he comes he w i l l find the same men  here, equally determined  to stand up for their rights and to teach Government o f f i c i a l s that whilst they w i l l be respected and protected i n the proper discharge of their duties, yet when they exceed them and go out of their way they may  to advance private i n t e r e s t , no matter how  powerful  be, they w i l l assuredly be punished and taught the  b i t t e r lesson Mr. Gisborne has received i n Prince Albert.°3  - 81  -  The Gisborne a f f a i r was one of the most dramatic instances of c o n f l i c t between a government o f f i c i a l and the residents of the North-West, but the o f f i c i a l s as a class were unpopular, and threats, either oblique or overt, were made against them throughout the West. Lieutenant-Governor  Dewdney was a constant target of c r i t i c i s m from  North-West residents, and while no violence was offered him i n person, there was more than a hint of t r a d i t i o n a l f r o n t i e r punishment i n the quotation from the Toronto Globe which the Prince Albert Times saw f i t to reprint on May  16, 1883.  "Settlers in different parts of the North  West," the Globe claimed, "have intimated their intention to tar and feather Mr. Dewdney should he ever show his face amongst them again."°  4  As a high-ranking appointee of the Dominion government, Dewdney would naturally evoke h o s t i l i t y from the North-West s e t t l e r s .  Other government  o f f i c i a l s , those who affected the s e t t l e r s ' daily l i v e s , received threats of a more concrete nature.  In October 1883 an anonymous.notice was  posted i n Prince Albert c a l l i n g for a public meeting to devise means to r i d "the town and country of land agents, timber agents, etc. . . . "°5 In the view of the Times, t h i s notice was a "warning to certain o f f i c i a l s who  have recently come here to be more circumspect i n their a c t i o n s . "  D D  More pointed warnings were delivered to o f f i c i a l s of the Department of the Interior i n Calgary who,  on A p r i l 10, 1885, received 'quit the c i t y  notices' signed with the ' t r i p l e 7' seal t r a d i t i o n a l l y used by American vigilance committees,  07  while Timber Agent Gouin met with similar threats  on a v i s i t to S i l v e r c i t y i n late February, 1884.  Although  one  correspondent reported to the Calgary Herald of March 5, 1884°  8  that no  violence was offered or even threatened against Mr. Gouin, even though he had continued to assess timber dues after a meeting of residents had  - 82 -  asked him to desist, Mr. Gouin's version of events was somewhat different.  In the same e d i t i o n of the Herald,°9 Mr. Gouin claimed  that  as he approached the town, he saw a warning posted which read, "Warning: No timber dues to be c o l l e c t e d i n S i l v e r C i t y , by order, V i g i l a n t e s . " This message was  i l l u s t r a t e d with a s k u l l and cross-bones and  "elevated" timer agent. continued,  he was met  immediately.  an  Upon his a r r i v a l i n S i l v e r C i t y , Gouin's account  by a crowd who  ordered him to leave town  He refused, and as of the report i n the Herald, awaited  further orders from the a u t h o r i t i e s . Threats against the safety of government o f f i c i a l s i n the West were not translated into action by the white s e t t l e r s of the area, but  the  very fact that such threats were made reveals that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n were present i n the s e t t l e r s ' protest movement. The same conclusion can be drawn from the s e t t l e r s ' threats of non-compliance with government p o l i c i e s i n the West, especially regarding timber dues and evictions from s e t t l e d land. The timber dues that the Western s e t t l e r s had to pay i n order to cut the wood on their own  land may  not have been as important an issue as the  Government land regulations, but the wood tax appears to have been a constant i r r i t a t i o n to the s e t t l e r s as an example of the unfairness of government policy i n the region.  As early as 1880,  the Saskatchewan  Herald reported that people i n Prince Albert were ignoring the timber regulations, adding that, "We  wish to remain a law-abiding  people, but  would l i k e to have the laws and regulations of the land such as we l i v e under."  we  could  70  That r e l a t i v e l y mild comment had become more d e f i n i t e resistance by  - 83 -  the time a group of s e t t l e r s met i n Edmonton i n January of 1882 to discuss the same issue.  Although the meeting ended with a committee  being appointed to draft and send a p e t i t i o n to Ottawa asking that the timber dues be remitted u n t i l a survey of the land were made, the o r i g i n a l intention of the meeting had been to propose stronger measures of protest.  "Supposing a l l hands refused to pay [the timber dues],"  those present asked, "what could the agent do about i t ? " - 7  inherent i n the question was recognized  The r e b e l l i o n  by the Edmonton B u l l e t i n which  suggested that the "red coats" at Fort Saskatchewan would provide an 72 answer. The Dominion Government's intention to evict s e t t l e r s from land which they occupied  and had often improved i n order to grant the land to other  i n t e r e s t s , e s p e c i a l l y to the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway, e l i c i t e d an even angrier response from those i n the P r a i r i e West.  Reporting  on the  proposed land sale i n Manitoba i n the summer of 1883, the Prince Albert Times warned that "many expect that blood shed w i l l be the r e s u l t of any attempt to drive the s e t t l e r s from their homes." 3 7  By the f a l l of the same year, the Times was urging s e t t l e r s i n the D i s t r i c t of Lome to organize to f i g h t against ejectment from their land and stated that "organization i n the present state of a f f a i r s means something more decisive than the word i s usually meant to i m p l y . " Throughout the years preceding  74  the outbreak of actual r e b e l l i o n ,  threats of stronger protest measures than meetings or p e t i t i o n s appeared in the columns of the Western press.  On March 7, 1881 the B u l l e t i n  attacked the CPR 'Swindlecate,' claiming that: the time w i l l come when not a l l the wealth nor a l l the influence nor a l l the meanness that these three powers [the CPR, p o l i t i c a l  - 84 -  party, h i r e l i n g s ] can bring to bear w i l l keep t h i s bargain [the Syndicate]—procured by corruption and founded on i n j u s t i c e — from being broken, by f a i r means or f o u l , by ballot or b u l l e t ,  7 5  while i n December 1882 the Prince Albert Times reported a furor i n Manitoba papers over the disallowance of Railway Charter l e g i s l a t i o n i n which language of "secession and r e b e l l i o n , independence or annexation" was used i n the "heat of the d i s c u s s i o n . "  70  The spread of such language,  i f not the acceptance of the actions described, was revealed by Charles Mair's 1883 farewell speech to James Sieveright, Prince Albert's r e t i r i n g Presbyterian minister in which he referred to "the deep f e e l i n g of discontent, amounting to indignation, at the position of a f f a i r s i n t h i s country, and the words insurrection and r e b e l l i o n were bandied about from mouth to mouth."  77  Not only did the Western s e t t l e r s threaten to carry their protest to the extent that other f r o n t i e r groups before them had done, that i s , to the point of r e b e l l i o n against the government, they also j u s t i f i e d such a recourse by appealing to the example of those groups.  In stating the  grievances of the North West, the Prince Albert Times argued that: Such was the use made [as a "slaughter market for the benefit of useless appendages and worn out hacks of a p o l i t i c a l party"] of some of the other parts of our Dominion i n e a r l i e r years and such was the course which f i n a l l y forced the early s e t t l e r s i n Quebec and Ontario and afterwards those i n Manitoba into rebellion . . . " In February of 1884,  7 8  the same paper, despite i t s otherwise  Conservative  bias, approvingly reprinted an e d i t o r i a l from the L i b e r a l Edmonton B u l l e t i n which drew the same p a r a l l e l s between the situation i n the North  - 85 -  West and that of Ontario and Quebec i n 1837 and Manitoba i n 1870 as the quotation above, and which concluded, moreover, that r e b e l l i o n was probably also necessary i n order for the North-West to win i t s r i g h t s . 9 7  The inclusion of the 1870 Resistance among rebellions which were part of the Revolutionary t r a d i t i o n invoked by the North-West s e t t l e r s i s especially interesting as that uprising was generally regarded as the work of R i e l and the Metis alone. As well as seeing p a r a l l e l s between t h e i r own situation and that of e a r l i e r Canadian protest movements, the s e t t l e r s also j u s t i f i e d their threat of r e b e l l i o n by placing themselves i n the t r a d i t i o n of the American Revolution.  In an a r t i c l e i n the Bystander, reprinted in the  Prince Albert Times, Goldwin Smith accused the Finance Minister of rating the insurgents at the same time much i n the language i n which Granville and Townsend rated the colonists when they protested against the Stamp Tax: Ungrateful Manitobans, planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence to strength and opulence, w i l l you grudge to contribute your mite to r e l i e v e us from the burden under which we l i e ? "The Manitobans," Smith continued, "of both p o l i t i c a l parties reply, as the Colonists r e p l i e d , and with equal j u s t i c e . "  8 0  The Times, c a l l i n g  Smith "a powerful thinker and writer," concurred with his assessment, ^ 8  and i n one of i t s own e d i t o r i a l s , continued the comparison between the American Revolution and the p o s s i b i l i t y of r e b e l l i o n i n the North-West. Replying to the Ottawa Citizen's accusation of "imaginary grievances" i n the North-West, the Times warns of the North-West's d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n " with Government policy  "deep-seated  - 86 -  which i s growing stronger as the months go by and which i s rapidly developing into something more potent than mere remonstrance.  The throwing overboard of a few boxes of tea i n  the harbour of Boston over a century ago was an i n s i g n i f i c a n t event i n i t s e l f , but was a precursor of a revolution which l o s t the American colonies to the mother c o u n t r y . The  implication  82  of the h i s t o r i c a l reference, and the content of the  e d i t o r i a l as a whole, made clear the lengths to which the s e t t l e r s professed themselves ready to go i n order to achieve redress of their grievances. By their B r i t i s h heritage, their reaction to the conditions of f r o n t i e r l i f e , and their methods of expressing discontent with the Dominion government and agitating  for redress of grievances, the  North-West s e t t l e r s i d e n t i f i e d themselves as p a r t i c i p a t i n g  i n the  t r a d i t i o n of f r o n t i e r protest which was developed i n B r i t a i n and brought to North America by B r i t i s h immigrants.  However, unlike other instances  of f r o n t i e r protest, both i n Canada and i n the United States, the s e t t l e r s of the P r a i r i e West did not carry their protest to the point of r e b e l l i o n during the 1880's.  Despite their agitation  and threats of  stronger measures, the white s e t t l e r s , with few exceptions, did not throw in their l o t with the Rebellion led by Riel and fought by the Indians and Metis i n the spring of 1885. In fact, with the outbreak of the Rebellion, many of the s e t t l e r s joined the government forces and actively fought against R i e l and his followers.  This marked turn-around i n their  attitudes raises questions which must be addressed and whose answers provide insight both into the nature of the s e t t l e r s ' protest t r a d i t i o n and  i t s significance  for the history of the P r a i r i e West.  NOTES TO CHAPTER THREE  JPrince Albert Times, A p r i l 11, 1884,  p.. 2.  2  s e e Chapter 1, page 5.  3  Canada, parliament, Sessional Papers, 13, no. 116 (1885), pp. 59-61.  4  P r i n c e Albert Times.  Nov.  3, 1883,  p. 6.  from the MacLeod Gazette, reprinted i n the Qu'Appelle Vidette, Nov. 6, 1884, p. 2. "Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Sept. 2, 1882, p. 2. For further examples of Western claims of contribution to the Dominion, see also the Regina Leader, March 22, 1883, p. 2 and Feb. 7, 1884, p. 2; and the Qu'Appelle Vidette, Dec. 18, 1884, p. 3. The l a t t e r reported a speech given by T.W. Jackson to a "large and i n f l u e n t i a l meeting of s e t t l e r s , " December 8, 1884 at Moosomin on the subject of the region's grievances. Jackson "alluded to the growing importance of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s to Canada, and also to the importance of Canadians being united i n f e e l i n g , in order to promote the greatness and prosperity of Canada as a whole." 5  7  P r i n c e Albert Times, Feb. 28, 1883,  8  I b i d . , Nov.  9  Calgary Weekly Herald, Nov.  p. 6.  I b i d . , A p r i l 9, 1885,  1 0  n  3, 1883,  p. 1.  30, 1883,  p. 2.  p. 4.  Ibid.  12  Canada, Parliament, Sessional Papers, 12, no. 43 (1886), p. 501.  C a l g a r y Herald, Nov. 12, 1884, p. 2. The fourth need i d e n t i f i e d by the Herald was the appointment of competent judges, and the creation of a better j u d i c i a l system. 13  P r i n c e Albert Times, June 27, 1883,  1 4  15  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Feb. 13, 1882,  1 6  p. 2.  p. 2.  Ibid.  l ^ I b i d . For further information on the related issues of l o c a l control, parliamentary representation and regional autonomy, see L.H. Thomas, The Struggle for Responsible Government i n the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 1870-97, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978), especially Part 2, Chapter 5, which deals with the years 1883-8. See also C.B. Koester, "The Agitation for Parliamentary Representation of the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 1870-1887," Saskatchewan History, 26 (Winter  - 88 -  1973): 11-22. Koester also suggests that the Rebellion can be seen as one episode i n the a g i t a t i o n for representation, or, i n other words, as an episode of the white s e t t l e r s ' h i s t o r y . In Manitoba, which already had parlimentary representation, the drive for l o c a l control was often expressed i n terms of " p r o v i n c i a l r i g h t s , " as in the controversy over the disallowance of Manitoban railway charters i n 1882 and 1883. Thus, the Mantitoba Free Press equated disallowance with a threat to p r o v i n c i a l autonomy i n an e d i t o r i a l on November 6, 1882. It argued: They might as well o b l i t e r a t e the Manitoba Legislature completely, and save the country the expense of maintaining i t . I f one act, passed by that body within i t s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n , can be disallowed, so can any and a l l ; and as for any p r o v i n c i a l independence i t secures under the present order of things, i t might as well cease to exist (p. A). 18 or more information on the Disallowance Controversy i n Manitoba, see W.L Morton, Manitoba: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957) pp. 213-1A. Also, see footnote 17 above. F  T h e agitation for " p r o v i n c i a l r i g h t s " was a controversial issue i n Manitoba, as the d i f f e r e n t e d i t o r i a l opinions reveal. As indicated in footnote 17, and i n a series of e d i t o r i a l s i n the Spring of 1883, the Winnipeg Free Press was a strong supporter of the claim for r i g h t s (Jan. 1, 1883, p. A; Jan. 11, 1883, p. A; Mar. 13, 1883, p. A; e t c . ) , while the Brandon Daily Mail supported the idea of p r o v i n c i a l r i g h t s (Dec. 19, 1882, p. 2) but was generally c r i t i c a l of i t s proponents (Dec. 20, 1882, p. 2). The Winnipeg Daily Times, another Conservative paper, denied any claim to " p r o v i n c i a l r i g h t s " for Manitoba and characterized those supporting the idea as "Repudiators and Secessionists." (Dec. 16, 1882, p. A.). 19  P r i n c e Albert Times, Oct. 10, 188A, p. 2. E d i t o r i a l argues that l o c a l troubles are due to hard times and not to the Government. 2 Q  --Ibid., July 25, 188A, p. A. R i e l ' s speech to a meeting of Prince Albert residents at Treston H a l l , representative of the points on which R i e l and the whites did agree. Further references regarding the opinion that the government was too f a r away include a p e t i t i o n from Edmonton residents which claimed that "on account of the distance of Edmonton from the centre of government, the lands have not been surveyed by Government officials . . . " (Edmonton B u l l e t i n , A p r i l 1, 1882, p. A). S i m i l a r l y , the Saskatchewan Herald of March 15, 1880, p. 2 reported that, at a public meeting i n Prince Albert c a l l e d to protest the rumoured a b o l i t i o n of the T e r r i t o r i a l Government, two men spoke against taking protest action through p e t i t i o n , arguing that John A. Macdonald should be trusted to know what was best. "But t h i s extreme view of party f i d e l i t y , " the report went on, "did not find an echo i n the mind of the meeting, people r e f e r r i n g to t r u s t their own judgement to that of a gentleman who had never seen the country, and who could therefore know nothing personally of i t s requirements." See also the Calgary Herald, March 19, 188A, p. A for an e d i t o r i a l on the same subject. 2  <  - 89 -  I b i d . , Feb. 8, 1884, p. 2. A s i m i l a r sentiment was the MacLeod Gazette, Sept. 14, 1882, p. 2. 2 2  23  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Oct. 29, 1881,  p. 2.  P r i n c e Albert Times, Oct. 31, 1883,  2 4  expressed in  p. 2.  I b i d . , Nov. 14, 1884, p. 4. Further i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the d i f f i c u l t i e s caused by the lack of magistrates are found i n a report i n the Saskatchewan Herald on Nov. 10, 1883, p. 1, to the e f f e c t that although court had been advertised for Battleford on November 8, "as no magistrate or judge put i n an appearance, court was not held." The same situation was reported at Calgary by the Calgary Herald, June 25, 1884, p. 4 with an account of the negative e f f e c t s of such an adjournment: people from outlying d i s t r i c t s had had to stay i n town at considerable expense, witnesses would be released from bond and the necessity of t e s t i f y i n g , and prisoners would therefore escape j u s t i c e . The Herald ends by c a l l i n g for the appointment of three additional stipendiary magistrates, for a t o t a l of s i x , one of whom should be resident i n Calgary. 2 5  ^Saskatchewan Herald, Sept. 9, 1878, 27  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Aug.  19, 1882,  p. 2.  P r i n c e Albert Times, Dec. 13, 1882, 14, 1883, p. 6; Feb. 28, 1883, p. 2. 28  2 9  3  I b i d . , June 13, 1883,  °Calgary Herald, Nov.  p. 2; Jan. 17, 1883,  p. 1;  Feb.  p. 6. 9, 1883,  p. 4; Nov.  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , March 28, 1881, 18, 1884, p. 2. 31  3 2  p. 2.  P r i n c e Albert Times, Nov.  14, 1884,  p. 1.  23, 1883,  p. 4.  Qu'Appelle Vidette,  Dec.  p. 4.  F o r further information on the land questions i n the West during the 1870's and 1880's, see a r t i c l e s by L. Rodwell, "Land Claims i n the Prince Albert Settlement," Saskatchewan History 19 (Autumn 1966): 1-23 and "Prince Albert River Lots," Ibid., pp. 100-110. See also Thomas Flanagan, R i e l and the Rebellion: 1885 Reconsidered (Saskatoon: Western Producer P r a i r i e Books, 1983), e s p e c i a l l y Chapter 2 and Stanley, The B i r t h , Chapter 12, e s p e c i a l l y pages 248-258. 3 3  34  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Nov.  5, 1881,  p. 2.  35lbid. Further examples of the s e t t l e r s ' views regarding the land issues include an e d i t o r i a l from the Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Nov. 12, 1881, p. 1, concerning land claim disputes i n Edmonton. The paper argued, "Had the Government with a reasonable watchful eye to the welfare of the s e t t l e r s caused the surveys to be proceeded with as soon as the base l i n e s were run, two years ago, a l l t h i s trouble would have been avoided  - 90  and settlement would have advanced with double the r a p i d i t y i t has done." The B u l l e t i n continued to discuss the issue in a series of e d i t o r i a l s i n the Spring of 1882. The land issues were a major concern to the men who met at John Glenn's cabin at Fish Creek on A p r i l 5, 1885. Mr Livingston, the chairman of the meeting stated that "between government reserves, leases, school lands, Hudson Bay lands, a man was unable to find a spot to s e t t l e . If a man did s e t t l e , he was sure to be chased by someone, either by the p o l i c e , land agents, or government o f f i c i a l s of some kind, ..." (Galgary Herald, A p r i l 9, 1884, p. 4). For further discussion of the meeting at Glenn's cabin see D. Breen, "Plain Talk from P l a i n Western Men." Alberta H i s t o r i a l Review 18 (Summer 1970); 8-13. See also the Qu'Appelle Vidette, Dec. 18, 1884, p. 2 for a report of the resolutions regarding land adopted at the Moosomin residents' meeting of December 8, 1884. 36  MacLeod Gazette, Sept. 4, 1882,  37  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Nov.  38  Calgary  Herald, May  p. 1.  5, 1881,  28, 1881,  p. 1.  p. 3.  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Oct. 29, 1881, to the Toronto Globe.) 39  p. 4.  P r i n c e Albert Times, Feb. 29, 1884, at Colleston School House). 4 0  I b i d . , Feb. 22, 1884,  4 1  42  p. 1.  (quotation from a l e t t e r (Resolution #9, meeting  p. 2.  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Dec.  24, 1881,  p. 2.  Qu'Appelle Vidette, Oct. 9, 1884, p. 2-3. Further references to public meetings can be found frequently i n a l l the Western papers of the period. A good example of the varied purposes and r e s u l t s of these meetings i s provided by the Minutes of a meeting of "actual and intending" s e t t l e r s held at Fort Edmonton on January 15, 1880, and reported on February 23, 1880 by the Saskatchewan Herald. Gathering to "treat on d i f f e r e n t matters concerning the good of the country" (p. 3) the s e t t l e r s discussed the Timber Regulations , resolved that the Act should be modified so that s e t t l e r s could cut the wood on their own land for their own use free of charge (p. 1) and drew up a p e t i t i o n to t h i s e f f e c t ; they then enrolled a Mounted Volunteer R i f l e Company of 27 i n i t i a l members, resolved to apply for o f f i c i a l approval and boasted that "Edmonton w i l l have as fine a corps of mixed English and French riflemen as there stands on Canadian s o i l , and just as l o y a l . " The meeting then composed a l e t t e r commending mission work among the l o c a l Indians and asked for government support of the work; they prepared a p e t i t i o n asking for a Post O f f i c e at Edmonton; they voted 30 dollars to the Treasurer to procure a hews telegraphic dispatch from Winnipeg; they decided to hold a further meeting to decide what to do with the A g r i c u l t u r a l Society's surplus money; and f i n a l l y , the s e t t l e r s agreed to prepare a p e t i t i o n praying that the Government would allow Colonel J a r v i s to remain i n charge of Fort Saskatchewan instead of being sent to "the front, as had been rumoured" (p. 3). 43  - 91 -  44  Saskatchewan Herald, January 16, 1885,  P r i n c e Albert Times, Feb. 28, 1883,  4 5  Manitoba Daily Free Press, Dec. Albert Times, Jan. 11, 1884, p. 2. 4o  P r i n c e Albert Times, May  4 7  p.  p. 4.  20, 1883,  30, 1884,  1-2.  p. 4.  See also Prince  p. 4.  ^Saskatchewan Herald, Feb. 6, 185, p. 1. 49  W i  lding and Laundy, An Encyclopedia, 550-3. 50  Canada, Parliament,  51  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Feb. 21, 1881,  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Feb. 11, 1882,  5 4  Ibid.  5 5  P r i n c e Albert Times, May  5 6  I b i d . , Oct. 24, 1883,  p. 1.  5 7  I b i d . , June 13, 1883,  p. 1.  5 8  Ibid.  5 9  I b i d . , Oct. 24, 1883,  p. 2.  6 0  Ibid.  p. 2.  t  Oct. 10, 1883,  51-2.  p. 2.  P r i n c e Albert Times, Oct. 3, 1883,  5 2  53  Sessional Papers, 13, no. 116 (1885);  p. 2. p. 3.  23, 1884,  p. 1.  I b i d . , Feb. 28, 1883, p. 2. G a r y Abrams, Prince Albert: The F i r s t Century, 1866-1966 (Saskatoon: Modern Press, 1966). 6 1  62  6 3  P r i n c e Albert Times, Nov.  6 4  I b i d . , May  16, 1883,  p. 1.  6 5  I b i d . , May  16, 1883,  p. 2.  6 6  Ibid.  16, 1883,  p. 1.  q u o t e d i n D.H. Breen, The Canadian P r a i r i e West and the Ranching Frontier, 1874-1924 (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1983) p. 50. (Telegram from C.B. E l l i o t to S i r David Macpherson, 10 A p r i l , 1885.) Further examples of threatened violence include the meeting at John Glenn's cabin on A p r i l 5, 1885 and reported i n the Calgary Herald of A p r i l 9, 1884, p. 4. Voicing their f r u s t r a t i o n at conditions i n the 67  - 92 -  country, especially land issues such as reserves, lack of patents and the encroachments of the Cochrane ranch, Livingston, the chairman stated, "unless the land be a l l opened up for homestead entry a l l must either f i g h t f o r our rights or leave the country and i f I am compelled to leave the country I w i l l leave marks on the t r a i l behind me". There i s some ambiguity regarding the exact meaning of Livingston's threat. He may have been implying violence against persons, as he had e a r l i e r stated that "for the present I defend my claim as my neighbours do, behind my Winchester", or he may have been threatening violence against property, an extension of his vow to burn up a l l h i s improvements i f forced to leave the country. John Glenn, on the other hand, was very clear as to his intentions, arguing, " I t i s useless for us to remain i n the country unless we get our rights i n every respect. I f we do not get them, I w i l l be compelled to burn my place and i f I do I w i l l not leave many ranches behind me." These threats are particulary i n t e r e s t i n g i n view of Rude's assertion that arson as a means of protest was recognized i n the rest of Europe as a "peculiarly B r i t i s h device." (The Crowd i n History, p. 241). C a l g a r y Herald, March 5, 1884, p. 1.  68  6 9  Ibid.  ^Saskatchewan Herald, March 15, 1880, p. 4. 71  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , Jan. 7, 1882, p. 4.  7 2  Ibid.  7 3  P r i n c e Albert Times, June 20, 1883, p. 2.  7 4  I b i d . , Oct. 3, 1883, p. 2.  75  Edmonton B u l l e t i n , May 7, 1881, p. 2.  7 6  P r i n c e Albert Times, Dec. 13, 1883, p. 2.  7 7  I b i d . , Sept. 26, 1883, p. 1.  7 8  I b i d . , July 11, 1883, p. 2.  I b i d . , Feb. 22, 1884, p. 2. Threats of r e b e l l i o n , veiled or overt, were frequent i n the Western press prior to 1885, whether as a report of the sentiments of a public meeting or as the opinion of the paper i t s e l f . For example, the Saskatchwan Herald of October 13, 1883, p. 2 argued that the Government couldn't continue to ignore memorials and petitions "or they may find the old issues of 'no taxation without representation' and 'representation by population' revived with a force and d i s t i n c t n e s s that w i l l compell attention." S i m i l a r l y , i n an indignant e d i t o r i a l concerning the news of the disallowance of Manitoba's railway charters, the Manitoba Daily Free Press threatened that "Less arbitrary acts have provoked an indignant people to the use of other than c o n s t i t u t i o n a l means to secure the untramelled enjoyment of their l i b e r t i e s " (Nov. 6, 1882, p. 4). 7 9  8 0  P r i n c e Albert Times, July 25, 1883,  8 1  Ibid.  8 2  I b i d . , Sept. 19, 1883,  p.  2.  p.  2.  - 94 -  CHAPTER FOUR Restrained Protest: A T r a d i t i o n a l Response  There i s a basic assumption among h i s t o r i a n s of the Rebellion period in the West that the white s e t t l e r s ' discontent was less profound and therefore less s i g n i f i c a n t than that of the Metis.  Beal and Macleod  argue that "fundamentally, as R i e l r e a l i z e d , the grievances of the Prince Albert s e t t l e r s , although strongly held, were much more s u p e r f i c i a l and administrative than the demands of the Metis"-'- while Flanagan makes a similar point i n suggesting  that the resolution of land claims i n Prince  Albert "no doubt contributed to the reluctance of the white s e t t l e r s and English half-breeds to join the Metis of St. Laurent when the l a t t e r took up arms." survival  2  Compared with the Metis' dramatic struggle for r a c i a l  and with the enigmatic  person of Louis R i e l , the s e t t l e r s '  anti-government a g i t a t i o n assumes the r o l e of a pale shadow. Certainly the s e t t l e r s ' methods of protest during t h i s period do not e a s i l y lend themselves to d e f i n i t i o n as even an organized movement, l e t alone as a revolt or r e b e l l i o n .  Grievances rankled, tempers f l a r e d from  time to time, meetings were held and resolutions passed, sometimes threats of r e b e l l i o n were made; but no cohesive plan of action emerged to bind the many discontents of the region into a u n i f i e d force.  No  visionary leader stood out among the whites; such leaders as there were, often newspaper editors or a r t i c u l a t e farmers, were concerned primarily by l o c a l issues and the s p e c i f i c grievances of their town or l o c a l i t y . closest the white community came to producing  a visionary was  Jackson, but, despite h i s best e f f o r t s , he was not accepted i n h i s community, but rather regarded as a madman.  3  The  W.H.  as a leader  Not only did the  - 95 -  white s e t t l e r s f a i l to punctuate their protest by taking up arms against the Canadian government, they a c t i v e l y assisted that government i n suppressing the Metis and Indians who did.  The temptation to relegate  the white s e t t l e r s ' history during the early 1880's to a subordinate role compared to that of Louis R i e l and the Metis i s thus e n t i r e l y understandable and, depending on the questions being asked, perfectly acceptable. It i s not acceptable, however, to pass over the h i s t o r i c a l role of the whites during this period when considering important questions regarding the nature and development of P r a i r i e culture. There i s a t r a d i t i o n a l and romantic claim among Western historians that the discontented regionalism which has marked the history of the P r a i r i e West has i t s origins i n the Metis' fight for survival against the expansion of the Canadian nation.  Arguing that "the resistance of the  Metis was i n many ways pathetic and even comic, but i t was s u f f i c i e n t to set  a t r a d i t i o n at work, the t r a d i t i o n of western grievance,"  4  W.L.  Morton places the beginning of western discontent with Riel's p a r t i a l and soon undermined victory of 1870. Because Ontarians quickly began to outnumber the Metis i n Manitoba and as Manitoba had not been granted control of i t s lands, Morton claims that "the West was l e f t with a sharpened  sense of inequality and a t r a d i t i o n of grievance and of special  claims, to be embodied by B i l l s of rights from Riel's series of four to that of Mr. Hazen Argue M.P. of May 1955."  5  S.D. Clark agrees with  Morton's premise and traces the roots of Western discontent even further back than 1870, stating that the history of p o l i t i c a l unrest i n western Canada reaches back to the Red River insurrection of 1870 and the Northwest  - 96 -  r e b e l l i o n of 1885; indeed, i t might be thought to have i t s beginnings i n the opposition to the settlement of the Red River Valley which culminated  i n the Seven Oaks massacre of 1816.°  However, despite the fact that there are s i m i l a r i t i e s between grievances of the Metis and those of the white s e t t l e r s , domination by an outside power, for example, modern Western society did not grow out of the experiences of the Metis and the Indians, but rather from the culture of the Ontario immigrants of the 1870's, 1880's and beyond who West i n the image of the Ontario society they had l e f t . discontent was,  shaped the  Metis and Indian  and continues to be, very r e a l i n the West, but i t i s not  the same discontent which fueled the CCF, the Social Credit, and which continues to influence the relationship between Ottawa, Ontario, and the Western provinces.  The root causes of Western protest l i e i n the  c u l t u r a l heritage of those Ontario immigrants who  settled the West i n the  l a s t half of the 19th century. In order to support t h i s argument, i t i s necessary to re-examine the r e b e l l i o n period i n the North-West, focusing on the experiences of the white s e t t l e r s .  Through a study of the s e t t l e r s ' actions and attitudes  in the time before and during the r e b e l l i o n of 1885, and especially by an analysis of t h e i r apparent inconsistencies and contradictions, i t i s possible to discern those forces which shaped the s e t t l e r s ' behavior and which influenced the developing character of P r a i r i e West culture even into the twentieth century. The actions of the white s e t t l e r s during the period of Metis agitation which culminated i n the Rebellion of 1885  appeared  contradictory, even h y p o c r i t i c a l , to contemporary observers, and  caused  l a t e r historians of the events to conclude that the s e t t l e r s had not been  - 97  deeply serious about their own anti-government  protests.  After a l l , the  same people who had written p e t i t i o n s , organized and participated i n protest meetings, one of which had been instrumental i n bringing R i e l to the North-West, and indulged i n bombastic  threats regarding the lengths  to which they were prepared to go to achieve their goals, not only did not support the Metis and Indians when they took up arms against the government, but many of them fought a c t i v e l y with the government forces to suppress the Rebellion. As discussed at the beginning of the chapter t h i s l e d some historians to regard their grievances as s u p e r f i c i a l and easily resolved, while others attributed the whites' actions to lack of resolve and even cowardice.  Howard argues that "...those whites who had  helped to promote the struggle did not s t i c k to see i t through"  7  while  Lamb claims that the English half-breeds and "small white tradesmen and s e t t l e r s i n the Prince Albert area...  were not without sympathy f o r the  plight of the French Metis, but they baulked from anything that meant danger f o r themselves."  8  In the eyes of the contemporary observers no less than i n the opinions of h i s t o r i a n s , the contrast between the s e t t l e r s ' p o l i t i c a l agitation and r e b e l l i o u s talk and the undoubted l o y a l t y of their actions during the Rebellion was surprising enough to evoke considerable and often c r i t i c a l comment. For the Metis, who had counted on the s e t t l e r s to remain neutral i n the event of an uprising, i f not to actually j o i n them, the whites' decision to f i g h t against them was seen as an inexplicable betrayal. Meeting with R i e l at Duck Lake two days after the battle there, T.E. Jackson reported that R i e l was angry that the white s e t t l e r s would fight against him and f e l t that they should at least remain n e u t r a l .  9  Other  - 98 -  Metis, and the p r i e s t s who  served them, f e l t that the whites had betrayed  the Metis not only by opposing their r e b e l l i o n , but also by having encouraged them to that point by their own support and sympathy.  This was  deposition of August 1885  agitation and by assurances of  the view stated by Father Fourmond i n his  at the t r i a l of Albert Monkman and others i n  Regina; "...the poor ignorant half-breeds were encouraged on from step to step in the late uprising t i l l their f a l s e white pretended friends and their English fellow half-breeds l e f t them on the verge of r e b e l l i o n and bloodshed...."10  Michel Dumas, a Metis leader, expressed the same  opinion i n more dramatic terms in the f a l l of 1885. no intention of going to war",  he claimed  "The  half-breeds  had  i n an interview with the  Pioneer Press Gazette of St. Paul, Montana, "but were provoked and  forced  into i t by English agents."H Based on the same premise, that the Metis had r i s e n i n large part  due  to the encouragement of the white s e t t l e r s , numerous a r t i c l e s i n the Eastern press, e s p e c i a l l y i n the Toronto M a i l ,  1 2  did not recognize  any  difference between the s e t t l e r s ' a g i t a t i o n for redress of grievances  and  the taking up of arms against the Government, and l a b e l l e d the North-West s e t t l e r s as "rebels."  Although the Government had been concerned enough  about the possibly r e b e l l i o u s nature of the s e t t l e r s i n the Prince Albert area to remove a l l arms from the m i l i t i a , i n late 1885,  13  the fact that  the Crown l a t e r charged only two whites with treasonous a c t i v i t i e s , !  4  and  both were acquitted, reveals that from a l e g a l point of view, the Government was  forced to concede that p o l i t i c a l a g i t a t i o n had not equated  rebellion. The white population of the North-West was part some of i t s members may  i t s e l f uneasy about the  have played i n encouraging the Metis  - 99 -  rebellion.  By and large, t h i s sense of possible c u l p a b i l i t y was resolved  by upholding the l o y a l i t y of the majority of the s e t t l e r s , and s i n g l i n g out a r e l a t i v e few as i n s t i g a t o r s of the r e b e l l i o n . An e d i t o r i a l i n the Regina Leader of March 31, 1885, r e f l e c t e d this view, stating that "-without wishing to cast the f i r s t stone i t i s the fact - and with shame and abhorrence be i t said - that a few white s e t t l e r s who are well known, have been abetting the t r a i t o r Riel ever since he returned to t h i s country."---'  In the same vein the Prince Albert Times blamed the  a c t i v i t i e s of white agitators for "the encouragement given to the Metis to believe that our own people believed i n the j u s t i c e of their cause and might be r e l i e d upon i n the event of a resort to arms, i f not to actually help the rebels, at any rate to maintain s t r i c t neutrality during the c o n f l i c t with the Government."--  0  The Times also argued that the always  l o y a l majority of s e t t l e r s were a f r a i d to speak out against R i e l i n the time before the r e b e l l i o n because the Government was doing nothing to check him.--  7  As the above quotations  t e s t i f y , the Western press agreed with the  opinion of other contemporary observers that white s e t t l e r s , even i f only a few, had been morally, i f not l e g a l l y , responsible f o r the Rebellion. This view that the whites had played an important though hidden role i n the Rebellion was not generally held by historians of the region.  Even  when their presence and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n p o l i t i c a l a g i t a t i o n i s recognized,  they are nonetheless relegated to a supporting role i n a  drama which stars the actions and p e r s o n a l i t i e s of the Metis. I r o n i c a l l y , the white s e t t l e r s , loudly c r i t i c i z e d i n their own time f o r t h e i r supposed part i n the Rebellion, have been almost ignored by historians of the Rebellion for a supposed lack of p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the  -  events of  100-  1885.  Both the contemporary and the h i s t o r i c a l interpretations of the whites' role i n the Rebellion are based on a Metis-focused events.  analysis of  By centering on the actions of Louis R i e l and the Metis,  especially on the taking up of arms, the white s e t t l e r s become important only i n terms of their help or hindrance value of such a focus for understanding  to the Metis cause.  Despite the  the history of the Metis i n the  l a t t e r half of the 19th century, the consuming interest i n the Metis  has  tended to obscure the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the whites' actions i n the context of their own history and, as the whites were the shapers of the  new  P r a i r i e culture, for the history of the emerging P r a i r i e V/est. In order to understand the l o g i c underlying the whites' involvement in the Rebellion, i t i s necessary l i g h t of their own  identity and  to reappraise their actions in the culture.  As was discussed i n Chapter 2, the majority of immigrants a r r i v i n g i n the West during the 1870's and 1880's were from the province of Ontario. As Ontarians, as Canadians of a strongly f e l t B r i t i s h heritage, these s e t t l e r s brought their culture to the West, including a p a r t i c u l a r t r a d i t i o n of f r o n t i e r protest.  However, despite their c u l t u r a l tendency  to seek redress of grievances through protest and p o l i t i c a l a g i t a t i o n , the s e t t l e r s did not transfer their discontent from the form of meetings, p e t i t i o n s , and threats to that of armed defiance of the government. did they not?  Why  The answer to that question provides insight into the  character of the culture which has shaped the P r a i r i e West. One possible explanation of the s e t t l e r s ' hesitancy to cross the boundary from protest to r e b e l l i o n l i e s i n S.D. the Canadian attitude towards r e b e l l i o n .  Clark's thesis regarding  Clark argues that although  -  101-  Canadians share the same heritage as the c o l o n i s t s who  fought  the  American Revolution, the h i s t o r i c a l and geographical differences between the countries have resulted i n the development of a p a r t i c u l a r l y Canadian view of rebellion.-'-  8  Due to the demands of geography, Canada had  developed centralized p o l i t i c a l and economic i n s t i t u t i o n s to which "backcountry" r e b e l l i o n s were perceived to pose a threat.  With the  proximity of an expansionist American state to the south, Canadians worried that protest, i f pushed too f a r , would weaken the i n s t i t u t i o n s and expose i t to American advances.  country's  As a r e s u l t , Canadians  are caught between their c u l t u r a l history of f r o n t i e r protest and national security needs of l o y a l t y .  the  This argument has many convincing  points and explains much about the Western s e t t l e r s ' willingness to strongly protest against the Dominion Government's o f f i c i a l s  and  p o l i c i e s , even while refusing to join the Metis i n an outright r e b e l l i o n . The fear of threatening Canada's central i n s t i t u t i o n s and  thereby  endangering the national e d i f i c e which Clark has i d e n t i f i e d as a strong factor i n Canadians' r e j e c t i o n of f r o n t i e r r e b e l l i o n was expressed  clearly  i n a Brandon Daily Mail e d i t o r i a l i n late 1882.  "Some of the  champions of 'Provincial Rights', The Mail argued, "are dealing in the veriest spread eagleism."  The e d i t o r i a l  continued,  These Jefferson Bricks imagine that the provinces have a kind of State Right j u r i s d i c t i o n , and that a province may  secede from  the Confederation, whenever i t s l o c a l l e g i s l a t u r e w i l l s i t . This i s sheer ignorance, and i f i t were not ignorance, i t would be prejudicial to the Dominion, Anti-Canadian, un-British d i s l o y a l ( s i c ) , for anything that threatens the i n t e g r i t y of the Confederation  threatens our promising Commonwealth.-'-  9  -  102-  The general threat that the Mail's e d i t o r i a l i s t perceived was  identified  much more s p e c i f i c a l l y by Mr. J . J . Campbell, Justice of the Peace for Prince Albert and the D i s t r i c t of Lome. Prince Albert on October 16, 1883  At a mass meeting held i n  to discuss the formation  of a S e t t l e r s '  Union, Mr. Campbell expressed his fears of the possible consequences of their a g i t a t i o n , declaring that: He did not approve of the free use of the term r e b e l l i o n .  It  might not do any harm i n Prince Albert, but i n some parts of the T e r r i t o r i e s there were men  only too anxious to receive any  encouragement i n that d i r e c t i o n , and therefore we should cautious.  be  Rebellion i n t h i s country meant annexation to the  United States, and he for one was not prepared for that, nor did he think the majority of the people of these T e r r i t o r i e s were. ^ 2  Whether or not J . J . Campbell reflected the majority opinion i n the T e r r i t o r i e s , his remarks were well received at the meeting and his resolution urging cautious pressure on the government was passed.  unanimously  As both of these quotations reveal, the s e t t l e r s of the P r a i r i e  West were aware of the possible threat that f r o n t i e r agitation posed to the nation and wanted to l i m i t i t s extent. No doubt the factors i d e n t i f i e d by Clark's thesis could and  probably  did play an important role i n preventing the p o l i t i c a l discontent of the white s e t t l e r s from becoming r e b e l l i o n i n 1885.  However, to accept  Clark's argument as the complete explanation of the whites' behavior would be to ignore the s e t t l e r s ' place i n a context larger than their Canadian i d e n t i t y .  Not only were the s e t t l e r s ' actions characteristic  of  their b e l i e f s and concerns as Canadians, they were also products of the s e t t l e r s ' B r i t i s h c u l t u r a l heritage of f r o n t i e r protest.  In f a c t , their  -  103-  Canadian concerns did not create their conservative, l o y a l i s t response to the Rebellion, but served to reinforce the attitudes that the s e t t l e r s had inherited from their B r i t i s h background. Not only did the Western s e t t l e r s ' discontent and p o l i t i c a l a g i t a t i o n during the 1870's and 1880's r e f l e c t the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n through the motives and methods discussed i n Chapter 3, their behavior's connection  with that t r a d i t i o n i s also revealed i n the character  most importantly,  i n the l i m i t a t i o n s of  and,  their protest.  U n t i l r e l a t i v e l y recently, common conception  held that popular  protests i n B r i t a i n , as i n the rest of Europe, were uncontrolled  and  uncontrollable, wanton i n their destruction of l i f e and property.  Recent  studies, however, have suggested that the opposite appears to be true about the behaviour of those involved i n popular protests. one of the leading proponents of a new  George Rude,  characterization of popular  protests and crowd action, i d e n t i f i e s i n the behaviour of their participants a "discriminating purposefulness."  21  This meant that those  involved i n protests as d i s s i m i l a r as the Gordon R i o t s of "Rebecca"  23  were a l i k e i n their determination  towards s p e c i f i c goals. suggestion  2 2 a  the actions  to focus their actions  The Gordon Rioters, for example, protesting the  that anti-Catholic measures should be lightened, expressed  their displeasure by destroying houses and other property Catholics, while c a r e f u l l y sparing that of P r o t e s t a n t s . way,  nd  those who  24  belonging  to  In the same  rode with "Rebecca" i n Wales were interested i n p u l l i n g  down only those t o l l - g a t e s which they considered other, more acceptable  gates, s t a n d i n g .  25  u n j u s t i f i e d , and  left  Many other B r i t i s h protests,  from the "Church and King" ° r i o t e r s i n Manchester to the followers of 2  Captain L u d d  27  exhibited the same purposefulness i n their actions.  - 104-  Pauline Maier has i d e n t i f e d a similar "focused American u p r i s i n g s .  2 8  character" i n c o l o n i a l  Although American historians have tended to view  c o l o n i a l protests against B r i t i s h p o l i c i e s and o f f i c i a l s , such as impressment and customs o f f i c e r s , as being precursors of the American Revolution, Maier points out that these protests were i n fact motivated by the same community concerns as the Norfolk innoculation r i o t s of in V i r g i n i a , where a group of townspeople acted together  1768  to drive newly  innoculated women and children out of the town for fear that they would i n f e c t others with smallpox.  29  In these protests, as i n others i n  c o l o n i a l America, Maier argues that "the e f f o r t remained one of safeguarding  not the interests of i s o l a t e d groups alone, but  community's safety and welfare."30  the  In order to achieve these goals,  American protestors, l i k e their B r i t i s h predecessors and counter parts, confined their actions to targets which had a connection grievances.  with their  Customs r i o t e r s directed their attacks against customs  o f f i c e r s and informers, while the Boston mob  exercised such c o n t r o l that  i t refused to r i o t on the holy days of Saturday and Sunday.31 Because of the discriminating nature of t h e i r purposes and  targets,  popular protests i n both B r i t a i n and America had a much lower l e v e l of violence than i s commonly supposed.  As Stevenson remarks about the  labour disputes of the West Country weavers i n 1738-40 and the North East c o l l i e r s i n 1765,  " I t would be unwise to place too much emphasis on  violence i n the course of eighteenth-century  labour r e l a t i o n s :  disturbances were often only the t i p of an iceberg of peaceful negotiation and orderly adjustments.'^  2  Brown makes a s i m i l a r point about American protest movements. eighteen  insurgencies of varying degrees from Bacon's 1676  Of the  Rebellion in  - 105-  V i r g i n i a to Hambright's march on the Pennsylvania government i n 1 7 5 5  33  which he i d e n t i f e s , Brown argues that only six could be counted as violent and of these six only one, Bacon's, saw major violence occur. concludes that bloodshed was colonial uprisings.  He  not a predominant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the  3 4  The restrained nature of the protesters' violence i s revealed by the very small number of casualties for which they could be blamed. England, there were no c a s u a l i t i e s i n disturbances "No  Popery" ° and "Swing" r i o t s , 3  3 7  each resulted i n one c a s u a l t y .  38  such as the W i l k i t e ,  nor i n the food r i o t s of 1766,  the Luddite and Rebecca r i o t s and the 1736  In 3 5  while  Porteous r i o t s at Edinburgh  The more impressive  casualties, Rude  argues, were those i n f l i c t e d on the protesters by the authorites, both the m i l i t a r y and the courts.  For example, twenty-five  of the Gordon  r i o t e r s were hanged (1780) while 285 of them had been k i l l e d during r i o t s by the m i l i t a r y .  3 9  The American experience was  the  similar i n the rare  occasion of f a t a l i t i e s i n f l i c t e d by protesters and, when f a t a l i t i e s did occur, as when f i v e people were k i l l e d i n a 1762  r i o t near Norfolk,  V i r g i n i a , Maier argues that their deaths could be attributed to he presence of " v o l a t i l e foreign seamen.  40  An important difference between  American and B r i t i s h protests l i e s i n the r e l a t i v e l y lower l e v e l of f a t a l i t i e s i n America.  Maier attributes t h i s to the lack i n America of  both a large c i t y l i k e London and of an easily deployed regular army.  41  Gordon Wood agrees e s p e c i a l l y with the l a t t e r point i n arguing that the lack of e f f e c t i v e authoritarian force probably contributed more to the r e l a t i v e non-violence of the American Revolution than did any conservatism of those involved i n i t . The s e t t l e r s ' agitation was  inherent  4 2  similar to other protest movements not  -  106-  only i n the violence which did occur or was  threatened,  but also i n the  ultimate r e s t r a i n t placed upon the extent to which they were w i l l i n g to use violence.  The threats against government o f f i c i a l s , for example, Mr.  Waggoner, the Crown Timber Agent, and Mr. Gisborne of the telegraph office,  4 3  and the violence against property, as i n the tearing down of  the telegraph poles, was was  t y p i c a l of B r i t i s h protest movements.  So too  the fact that the threats were never r e a l i z e d , nor did the  pole-downers attack other targets, "sacking the stores", perhaps, as Campbell feared they m i g h t .  Mr.  44  The most important point i s that the s e t t l e r s of the P r a i r i e West did not default on their status as protesters by their lack of revolutionary goals or their r e f u s a l to engage i n the widespread violence of a rebellion.  Their attitudes and actions, reinforced by their Canadian  concerns, were t y p i c a l of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n .  Acting out of  concern for the welfare of t h e i r community, the s e t t l e r s rejected extreme actions which might jeopardize i t s safety.  American annexation posed a  threat should the region be made vulnerable by a r e b e l l i o n ; so too did Louis R i e l .  Metis, French-speaking, h e r e t i c a l Catholic, R i e l was  epitome of an outsider to the white, English-speaking  the  Protestant  community of the s e t t l e r s , and when he became linked with the even more foreign and threatening Indians, the whites automatically closed ranks against him.  Their decision to join the Eastern m i l i t i a and  against the Metis i s hardly surprising; community.  i t was  fight  fueled by their sense of  When i t came to a choice between supporting the Metis or the  Ontario m i l i t i a , there was  no question of the s e t t l e r s ' " l o y a l t y . "  Eastwood Jackson attempted to explain to R i e l , "we against Canadians."  45  As  could not take up arms  Not only that, they could not expose their  - 107-  community to the dangers of the Indian war which might follow upon R i e l ' s actions. Thus, by the same B r i t i s h heritage which compelled them to protest against the conditions of their f r o n t i e r environment, the white s e t t l e r s were restrained i n the extent to which they would press their agitation against the government.  Far from being merely adjuncts to the more  dramatic events being played out by the Metis, the white s e t t l e r s were engaged i n their own period.  equally important process during the Rebellion  By their actions and attitudes during t h i s time, they revealed  the manner i n which the protest t r a d i t i o n of their B r i t i s h heritage influenced their reaction to their environment. The s e t t l e r s ' protest t r a d i t i o n was the metropolis and the hinterland.  based on a shared culture between  In the same way  that the American  colonists began their protests against England i n order to claim the "rights of Englishmen", the Western s e t t l e r s ' a g i t a t i o n against Ottawa and Ontario was  based on the assumption that as Canadians and  "fellow  B r i t i s h subjects" they were e n t i t l e d to the same treatment as those i n the East.  This i s i n sharp contrast to the protest t r a d i t i o n of the  Metis which was  founded on  the struggle against a foreign power,.  d i f f e r e n t i n race, r e l i g i o n , language and customs.  Rather than modern  Western discontent growing from the Metis t r a d i t i o n of protest, i f anything  the Metis adopted the forms of the white s e t t l e r s ' protest, the  use of p e t i t i o n s and the claim of r i g h t s as B r i t i s h s u b j e c t s , example.  In many ways, the armed protest of 1885  40  for  i n the North-West  reveals an i n t e r s e c t i o n of the two t r a d i t i o n s , and the l a s t of the Metis' unrestrained struggle against a foreign power.  manifestation The white  s e t t l e r s , by the complexity of their behaviour, their drive to protest,  -"108-  and their need for l o y a l t y , portrayed root of Western discontent. hinterland has continued  the influences which are the real  The West's continuing status as Ontario's  to e l i c i t h o s t i l i t y towards the east and to f u e l  movements of protest, from the Social Credit to the Western Canada Concept, which have as their goal autonomy and l o c a l control for the West.  At the same time, however, Western protest continues  r e s t r a i n t of the B r i t i s h protest t r a d i t i o n .  to show the  Despite periodic threats of  d r a s t i c measures, such as the secessionist platform of the WCC, protest does not take violent or revolutionary forms.  Western  I t remains an  attitude of mind, the tension between c o n f l i c t i n g needs of loyalty and protest.  - 109-  NOTES TO CHAPTER FOUR  iBeal and MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e , p. 111. Thomas Flanagan, R i e l and the Rebellion, p. 37.  2  B e a l and MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e , p. 306.  3  W.L. Morton, "Bias of P r a i r i e P o l i t i c s , " p. 58.  4  5  Ibid.,  p. 60.  °S.D. Clark, Foreword, The Progressive Party i n Canada, by W.L. Morton (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1950), p. v i i . J.K. Howard, Strange Empire, a narrative of the Northwest. (New York: Morrow, 1952), p. 375. 7  R.E. Lamb, Thunder i n the North: C o n f l i c t over the R i e l Risings, 1870 . . . 1885 TNew York: Pageant Press, 1957), p. 140. 8  9  B e a l and MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e , p. 166.  -^Deposition of Father Fourmand, "Queen vs Monkman et a l , " Canada Sessional Papers 19 No. 12 (1886), paper 45c, p. 22. ----quoted i n Lamb, Thunder, p. 41. 1 2  B e a l and MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e , p. 316.  1 3  P r i n c e Albert Times, Jan. 23, 1885, p. 2.  14  Thomas Scott and W.H. Jackson. gina Leader, March 31, 1885, p. 2.  l o  P r i n c e Albert Times, June 5, 1885, p. 4.  1 7  Ibid.,  C l a r k , Movements, pp.  1 8  19  June 12, 1885, p. 2. 9-10.  Brandon Daily Mail, Dec. 22, 1882, p. 2.  2 0  P r i n c e Albert Times, Oct. 17, 1883, p. 6.  --George Rude, The Crowd i n History, p. 81. Other important writers on the same theme include E.J. Hobsbawm, Primitive Rebels: Studies i n Archaic Forms of Social Movement i n the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (New York: W.w. Norton, 1959); and E.P. Thompson, i n the works cited i n Note 16 of Chapter One. 2  -  110-  r i o t s protesting the l i f t i n g of certain anti-Catholic r e s t r i c t i o n s , named after Lord George Gordon, leader of London's Protestant Association, i n London during June 1780. / z  t h e name adopted by groups of men who, i n disguise, tore down unpopular t o l l gates i n Wales i n the 1840's. 2 3  24  J o h n Stevenson, Popular Disturbances, p. 84.  25  Rude, Crowd i n History, p. 158.  L o y a l i s t r i o t s i n the Midlands during the early 1790's; l i b e r a l Non-Conformits the target of attacks. 2 o  L u d d ism: name given to protests i n the Midlands during the early nineteenth century. In order to force wage and other concessions from masters, hosiery workers resorted to breaking their machines. 27  i e r , "Popular Uprisings," p. 6-7. Other American historians writing on the same theme included Lloyd Rudolph, "The Eighteenth Century Mob in America and Europe," American Quarterly 11 (Winter, 1959): 447-69 and Gordon S. Wood, "A Note on Mobs i n the American Revoluti on," William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 23 (October 1966): 635-42. For useful bibliographical information on American c o l o n i a l uprisings, see Richard M. Brown, Strain of Violence: H i s t o r i c a l Studies of American Violence and Vigilantism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975). 29  Maier,"Popular  Uprisings", p. 7.  3 0  I b i d . , p. 12.  3 1  I b i d . , p. 17.  32  Stevenson, Popular Disturbances, p. 131.  R i c h a r d Brown, "Violence i n the American Revolution," Essays on the American Revolution (Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina Press, 33  1973), p. 85. 3 4  I b i d . , p. 86.  London r i o t s of the 1760's and 1770's; centred on the person of John Wilkes, seen as the champion of the common man. 35  3o  a n t i - C a t h o l i c outbursts, such as the Gordon Riots.  r u r a l disturbances i n Southern England, 1830-32, marked by arson and machine breaking. 3 7  Rude, Crowd i n History, p. 255. Captain Porteous, having f i r e d on a crowd at a smugglers' execution, was sentenced to death, reprieved, and then hanged by the people i n the Grass Market, Edinburgh. (Rude, p. 35). 38  3  9lbid.  See also Stevenson, Popular Disturbances, p. 313.  - 111-  40  M a i e r , "Popular Uprisings," p. 38.  4 1  I b i d . , p. 18.  42  Wood, "A Note on Mobs," p. 641.  4 3  s e e Chapter 3.  4 4  P r i n c e Albert Times, Nov. 16, 1883, p. 1.  4 5  B e a l and MacLeod, P r a i r i e F i r e , p. 166.  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Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West. Ed. D.C. Jones et a l . Calgary, Alberta: Detselig Enterprises, 1979. McDonald, R.J. "The Presbyterian Church i n Saskatchewan i n the Nineteenth Century." Saskatchewan History 4 ( F a l l 1951): 93-101. Maier, Pauline. "Popular Uprisings and C i v i l Authority i n EighteenthCentury America." William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 27 (January 1970): 3-35. Middlekauf, Robert, ed.  Bacon's Rebellion.  Chicago: Rand McNally,  1964.  Minot, George.. The History of the Insurrections i n Massachusetts i n the Year Seventeen Hundred and Eighty Six and the Rebellion Consequent Thereon. 2nd ed. New York: Books for L i b r a r i e s Press, 1970. Morton, Richard L. Colonial V i r g i n i a . of North Carolina Press, 1960.  2 Vols.  Morton, W.L. The Progressive Party in Canada. Toronto Press, 1950.  Chapel H i l l : University Toronto: University of  "The Bias of P r a i r i e P o l i t i c s . " Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 3rd ser. 49 (June 1955): 57-66. ——.  ed. Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative to the Red River Resistance of 1869-1870. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1956.  .  Manitoba: A History.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957.  Oliver, Edmund, H. "The Beginnings of White Settlement i n Northern Saskatchewan.: Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 3rd ser. 19 (1925): 83-129. . "The Settlement of Saskatchewan to 1914." Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada 3rd ser. 20 (1926): 63-87. Owram, Doug. Promise of Eden: The Canadian Expansionist Movement and the Idea of the West, 1856-1900. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980. "The Myth of Louis R i e l . " 1982): 315-36.  Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Review 43 (September  Passmore, Frederick. "Methodist Memories of Saskatchewan." History 8 (Winter 1955): 11-16.  Saskatchewan  Purvis, Thomas L. "Origins and Patterns of Agrarian Unrest i n New Jersey, 1735-1754." William and Mary Quarterly 39 (October 1983): 600-27. Raes, Ronald. Prairie."  "'In a Strange Land': Homesick Pioneers on the Canadian Landscape 26 (1982): 1-9.  - 117 -  Rea, J.E. "The Roots of P r a i r i e Society." P r a i r i e Perspectives 1. David Gagan. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.  Ed.  Read, C o l i n . The Rising i n Western Upper Canada, 1837-8: The Duncombe Revolt and After. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. Read, Donald. Peterloo: The 'Massacre' and i t s Background. Manchester University Press, 1958.  Manchester:  Rodwell, L, "Land Claims i n the Prince Albert Settlement." Saskatchewan History 19 (Autumn 1966): 1-23. . "Prince Albert River Lots." 100-110.  Saskatchewan History 19 (Autumn 1966):  Rude, George. The Crowd i n History: A Study of Popular Disturbances i n France and England, 1730-1848. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964. Rudolph, Lloyd. "The Eighteenth Century Mob i n America and Europe." American Quarterly 11 (Winter 1959): 447-69. Shrive, Norman. Charles Mair, L i t e r a r y N a t i o n a l i s t . of Toronto Press, 1965.  Toronto: University  Simpson, William. Vision and R e a l i t y : The Evolution of American Government. London: John Murray, 1978. Smith, A l l i s o n . "J.D. Maveety and the Prince Albert Times." History 8 (Winter 1955): 64-67.  Saskatchewan  Smith, Don L. "The Right to P e t i t i o n for Redress of Grievances: C o n s t i t u t i n a l Development and Interpretations." Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , T e x a s T e c h U n i v e r s i t y , 1 9 7 1 ; Ann Arbor: UMI, 1973. Smith, Donald B. "William Henry Jackson: Riel's D i s c i p l e . " P e l l e t i e r L a t h l i n Memorial Lecture Series. Ed. A.S. Lussier. Brandon: University of Brandon, Department of Native Studies, 1980. 47-71. "Honore Joseph Jaxon: A Man Who Lived for Others." History 35 (Autumn 1981): 81-101. Stanley, G.F.C.  Louis R i e l .  Saskatchewan  Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1963.  "The Western Canadian Mystique." P r a i r i e Perspectives 1. Ed. David Gagan. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970. 6-26. . The B i r t h of Western Canada: A History of the R i e l Rebellions, 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961. Stevenson, John. Popular Disturbances i n England, 1700-1870. Longman, 1979.  London:  Szatmary, David. Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980.  - 118 -  Thomas, Greg, and Ian Clarke. "The Garrison Mentality and the Canadian West." P r a i r i e Forum A (Spring 1979): 83-104. Thomas, Lewis G. et a l . , eds. University Press, 1975.  The P r a i r i e West to 1905.  Thomas, L.H. "Louis Riel's P e t i t i o n of Rights, 1884." History 23 (Winter 1970): 16-26.  Toronto: Oxford Saskatchewan  . The Struggle for Responsible Government i n the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , 1870-97. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978. Thompson, E.P. The Making of the English Working Class. Penguin, 1968.  New  York:  . "The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century." Past and Present 50 (1971): 76-136. Underhill, F.H. "Some Aspects of Upper Canadian Radical Opinion i n the Decade Before Confederation." Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Association Report (1927): A6-61. . " P o l i t i c a l Ideas of the Upper Canada Reformers, 1867-78." H i s t o r i c a l Association Report (19A2): 10A-15.  Canadian  W a i t e , P.B. The L i f e and Times of Confederation, 1864-1867. P o l i t i c s , Newspapers and the Union of B r i t i s h North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962. Wheeler, John H i l l . H i s t o r i c a l sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851, compiled from o r i g i n a l records, o f f i c i a l documents, and t r a d i t i o n a l statements, with biographical sketches of her distinguished statesmen, j u r i s t s , lawyers, s o l d i e r s , divines, etc. Baltimore, Regional Publishing Co., 1964. Wilding, Norman, and P h i l i p Laundy, 3rd ed. London: C a s s e l l , 1968.  An Encyclopedia of Parliament. 550-553.  Wood, Gordon. "A Note on Mobs i n the American Revolution." William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 23 (October 1966): 635-A2. . The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. University of North Carolina Press, 1969. Woodcock, George.  Gabriel Dumont.  Edmonton: Hurtig,  Chapel H i l l :  1975.  - 119 -  APPENDIX 1 P e t i t i o n of the Inhabitants of Orange County, to Governor Tryon.* "15th May,  1771.  "To His Excellency, Williams Tryon, Esq., His Majesty's governor, i n Chief i n and over the Province of North Carolina. "The p e t i t i o n of us, the inhabitants of Orange County, humbly showeth:— " F i r s t — T h a t we have often been informed of l a t e , that your excellency i s determined not to lend a kind ear to the just complaints of the people in regard to having roguish o f f i c e r s discarded, and others more honest propagated i n their stead, and s h e r i f f s and other o f f i c e r s i n power, who have abused the trust reposed i n them, to be brought to a c l e a r , candid, and impartial account of their past conduct, and other grievances of the l i k e nature, we have long labored under without any apparent hope of redress, "Secondly—That your Excellency i s determined on taking the l i v e s of many of the inhabitants of this county, and others adjacent to i t , which persons, being nominated i n the advertisement, we know them to be men of the most remarkable honest characters of any i n our country. These aspersions, though daily confirmed to us, yet scarcely gains credit with the more p o l i t e amongst us; s t i l l , being so often confirmed, we cannot help having some small jealousies abounding among us. In order, therefore, to remove them, we would h e a r t i l y implore your Excellency, that of your clemency, you would so far indulge us, as to l e t us know by a kind answer to t h i s p e t i t i o n , whether your Excellency w i l l lend an impartial ear to our p e t i t i o n , or no, which i f we can be assured of, we w i l l with joy embrace so favorable an opportunity of laying before your Excellency a f u l l d e t a i l of a l l our grievances, and remain i n f u l l hopes and confidence of being redressed by your Excellency, i n each and every one of them, as far as l i e s i n your power; which happy change would y i e l d such a l a c r i t y , and promulgate such harmony in poor pensive North Carolina, that the presaged tragedy of the warlike troops, marching with ardor to meet each other, may by the happy conduct of our leaders on each side be prevented. The interest of a whole province, and the l i v e s of his Majesty's subjects are not toys or matters to.be t r i f l e d with. Many of our common people are mightily infatuated with the horrid alarms we have heard; but we s t i l l hope they have been wrong represented. "The chief purport of the small p e t i t i o n being to know whether your excellency w i l l hear our p e t i t i o n or no. We hope for a speedy and candid answer. In the meantime your humble petitioners s h a l l remain i n f u l l hopes and confidence of having a kind answer. "And as i n duty bound, s h a l l ever pray. "Signed, i n behalf of the county, by John Williams, Joseph Scott, Samuel Low, Samuel Clark." James Wilson, "Delivered to his Excellency at Alamance Camp, the 15th day of May, 1771, at s i x o'clock i n the evening." reproduced i n : J.M. Wheeler, H i s t o r i a l Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851, compiled from o r i g i n a l records, o f f i c i a l documents, and t r a d i t i o n a l statements, with biographical sketches of her distinguished statesmen, j u r i s t s , lawyers, soldiers, divines, etc. (Baltimore: Regional Pub. Co., 1964).  - 120 -  APPENDIX 2 P e t i t i o n of the Residents of Battleford to the Minister of the I n t e r i o r , March 1881 To the Hon. the Minister of the I n t e r i o r , Ottawa: The p e t i t i o n of the undersigned residents of Battleford, i n the North-West T e r r i t o r i e s , — HUMBLY SHOWETH: That the town s i t e of Battleford was reserved i n the year 1876 by the government. That i t i s the present seat of Government, the headquarters of the North-West Mounted Police on the Saskatchewan, and of Indian A f f a i r s in this d i s t r i c t . That Battleford i s situated on the Battle and Saskatchewan Rivers, and i s the centre, not only of a large and f e r t i l e a g r i c u l t u r a l country, but of the North-West, p o l i t i c a l l y , geographically and commercially. That a bridge over Battle River i s now i n process of construction, which w i l l s t i l l further attract travel and business to t h i s point. That the town s i t e has not been surveyed. That i n consequence of t h i s Battleford has made no real progress, as intending s e t t l e r s could not build on land reserved by the Government, and not surveyed and placed i n the market for sale. That a number of us are now, and have been, ready and w i l l i n g to erect substantial residences and places of business, and only wait for the town s i t e to be surveyed. Your petitioners would therefore ask that a survey of the town s i t e , and of a few adjoining townships, be ordered and proceeded with at once. And as i n duty bound, w i l l ever pray. Mahoney & Macdonald, J . Wymirskirch, P..G. Laurie, John Clisby, R.C. McLean, W.C. G i l l i s , Donald McLean, W. Fennimore, et a l .  reproduced i n : Canada. Parliament, Sessional Papers, 13, no. 116 (1885): pp. 51-2.  

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