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Governing Canada
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Establishing peace
At the end of the Seven Years War, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Britain found itself with a colony of French Catholics.
Jean-Olivier Briand, Bishop of Quebec, is portrayed by Aubert Pallascio in Canada: A People's History.
Jean-Olivier Briand, Bishop of Quebec, is portrayed by Aubert Pallascio in Canada: A People's History.
The British weren't sure what to do, but Benjamin Franklin, intent on realizing his dream of a unified English society in the colonies, reassured London the Canadians would not be a problem for long.

"... many will chuse to remove if they can be allowed to sell their lands, improvements and effects: the rest, in that thin-settled country, will in less than half a century...be blended and incorporated with our people in both language and manners," Franklin predicted.

General James Murray, a survivor of Louisbourg, the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Ste. Foy, was appointed governor over the territory. Murray, who had spent two years of his life invading, bombarding and occupying Quebec, would now have to forge a society out of the disparate citizens and years of blood.
The leader of Quebec's Catholics, Jean-Olivier Briand, ordered his priests to accept the King of England as their sovereign after the French defeat. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
The leader of Quebec's Catholics, Jean-Olivier Briand, ordered his priests to accept the King of England as their sovereign after the French defeat. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
The British had won, but the peace would be harder than the war.

In governing the peace, Murray would find an improbable ally: a Catholic priest, Jean-Olivier Briand. Briand was a quiet, private man who had inherited the leadership of Canada's Catholics. In charge of ensuring the Church's survival, he ordered his parishes to accept the new King.

"The God of armies...who extends or restricts at his pleasure the boundaries of empires, having by his eternal decrees put us under the domination of his Britannic Majesty, it is our duty, based on natural law, to be interested in all that concerns him. We order you to submit to the king and to all those who share his authority."

The priest who tended the French wounded on the battlefields of Quebec, and the general who commanded the British forces there, formed a tactical alliance that would grow into a lifetime friendship.

"Monsieur Briand...
has constantly acted with a candour, moderation, and disinterestedness which bespeak him a Worthy Honest Man, and that I know none of his Gown in the Province so justly deserving of the royal Favour," Murray wrote a friend.

Murray oversaw 65,000 French-speaking Catholics, whom he liked, and a handful of recently arrived English-speaking Protestant merchants, whom he detested. "All have their fortunes to make and I hear few of them are solicitous about the means where the end can be obtained," he wrote to a friend, "in general, the most immoral collection of men I ever knew." In addition to the merchants and French Canadians there was a small garrison of British soldiers and a few hundred disbanded French soldiers who had elected to stay.
They made for an uncomfortable society.


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