Jason Ho Canadian History Page 1
JWH100Y1 October 16, 12
Origins: Canadian History to Confederation
Chapter Nine: Quebec Society in the Late Eighteenth Century
The American Invasion
From the early 1770s, American radical propaganda denouncing the
British rule circulated in Quebec.
The Continental Congress in Philadelphia decided early in the
revolutionary war to invade Canada in order to prevent the British
from concentrating their forces and in September 1775, General
George Washington’s army advanced into Quebec.
After abandoning Montreal to the Americans in late November
1775, Carleton fled to Quebec and feared for the worst. The
Americans failed to take Quebec City
A fleet of British ships sailed up the St. Lawrence on May 1776
and forced the Americans to retreat.
Carleton was then blamed for the failed campaigns in 1776
through no fault of his own.
In 1777, the British conceived a plan to strike down from Quebec
to New York City, cutting the rebellious colonies in two. However
due to the large American armies, the British suffered defeats at
Saratoga effectively halting any more assaults.
The alliance of France and the Americans in February 1778
changed the face of the war. However a stipulation was that France
would not invade Canada or Acadia, vying for a British Canada to
pose a continual threat to the Americans.
The French Canadians’ Response to the American Revolution
Some habitants were enticed by the Americans’ notions of liberty and
equality though many viewed the Americans the same as the British.
Like the Amerindians, the habitants had little interest in the struggle
and preferred to keep their neutrality. Jason Ho Canadian History Page 2
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When the American soldiers purchased goods from them, they
sympathized, however as the siege dragged on and they began to take
instead, the American popularity fell.
The habitants’ behaviour embittered Carleton and after the American
withdrawal, he inquired into the disloyalty of the habitants and
lectured the population on their duty to Britain.
Corvées were used again for military support in transport and
construction works, only the artisans were paid. Deserters were met
with fines and prison sentences.
Rebel sympathizers in the church were released from prison and had
to publicly repent to God and king for their behaviour.
The habitants that were left in peace by both sides were able to
cultivate their farms and benefit from an inflation of grain prices.
The countryside prospered while the towns suffered from increased
prices, grain exports also dropped drastically.
The American Revolution and the Amerindians
At the beginning of the revolution, the Six Nations Confederacy
declared its neutrality.
The Native peoples could not avoid being drawn into the fighting and
their cost of involvement was substantial; Iroquois League collapsed
and migrated to western Quebec (Upper Canada), Mohawks lost their
Through the efforts of Iroquois war chief Joseph Brant, the Mohawks
and Senecas supported the British while others either declared
neutrality or supported American cause.
It was not until 1779 when American General John Sullivan
invaded Six Nations territory and burned their crops and villages
that full support for the British was had.
The Iroquois retaliated by burning and pillaging American farms
around the Ohio and Mohawk rivers and by 1782, with the British
on the verge of final defeat did they fell back to defend.
The Amerindians and the Return of Peace
Peace came at the end of 1782 and ratified in 1783 with the
Treaty of Paris though there was no mention of the First Nations in
the treaty. Jason Ho Canadian History Page 3
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The British ceded claim to the territory south of the Great Lakes,
from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River,
effectively giving away all of Iroquois land.
Outraged they were prepared to defend their lands however they
were too few against the American settlers that already encroached
on the land.
As reparations Governor Haldimand granted new lands to the
Iroquois north of Lakes Ontario and Erie. However due to poverty
Brant sold off large portions of land.
During and after the revolution, thousands of Loyalists bitterly
denounced as un-American fled north across the border.
Haldimand fearing that Loyalists will settle on seigneurial lands
which will lead to conflicts with French Canadians, directed them to
settle in either Nova Scotia or western Quebec (Upper Canada)
For the first time since the Conquest, English-speaking immigrants
increased to 10 percent of the total population to 160 000 in1790.
The Life of the Habitants
The departure of the Americans and return of peace did not
guarantee prosperity for the habitants. Agriculture depended largely
on the weather.
After the mid-1770s cane several years lean years, drought in 1779,
and poor harvests in early 1780s as well. In 1788, pollution resulted
in drop in harvest yield; with a large surplus from the previous year
already shipped away, it led to severe famine. Harvests returned to
normal by 1791.
Due to industrializatio