Louis Riel’s “Lost” Letter to Judge C.-J. Coursol: Uncovering a Cover-up - Champlain Society February 2021 Findings/Trouvailles

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The Champlain Society is pleased to present a preview of its February 2021 Findings/Trouvailles.
Read the full post at http://bit.ly/CSFindF21



Louis Riel’s “Lost” Letter to Judge C.-J. Coursol: Uncovering a Cover-up
By M. Max Hamon


In November 2018, the recovery of a letter written by Louis Riel to the president of the Societé Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB) led to a flurry of excitement. Written in 1874, this letter provides new details about the history of the SSJB and Riel’s activities in the United States. While discussed in Francophone media, the recovery of the original letter, found in the SSJB archives, has not elicited a similar response from English-speaking Canada. That is part of the inspiration for this Finding, but I also offer an explanation as to why the letter was lost in the first place by reading “along the archival grain” of the archives of the Université de Montréal, which contains a copy of this letter.[1]


In fact, the letter was never “lost;” it was hidden.


In 1874, Canada was in the grip of a global recession, and a federal election brought Alexander Mackenzie’s Liberal government to power in the wake of the Pacific Scandal. French Canadians felt threatened. The Guibord Affair and the creation of common schools in New Brunswick exemplified growing religious tensions in Canadian public life. Furthermore, Francophone elites worried about the migration of French Canadians to the United States, and amnesty for those involved in the 1869 Red River Resistance remained uncertain. In this context, the SSJB planned a massive celebration in honour of its fortieth anniversary on 24 June 1874 to demonstrate the strength and unity of Francophones across the continent. According to newspaper reports, there were 18,000 attendees.[2]  … Read the full post at:  http://bit.ly/CSFindF21



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