Rebellion and Reform
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On the Eve of Rebellion
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Papineau's Speech at Saint-Charles
In 1837, the Patriote Party and its leader, Louis-Joseph Papineau spread revolutionary ideas and appealed to the people to join them.
In 1837, the Patriotes started to organize public rallies in open defiance of the government Lower Canada. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
In 1837, the Patriotes started to organize public rallies in open defiance of the government Lower Canada. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
After three years of deliberation, the British government rejected the 92 Resolutions. Many people joined in the protest and numerous public demonstrations were organized in the colony.

The protest movement reached its climax at the Six Counties Assembly in October 1837. More than five thousand people gathered at Saint-Charles in the Richelieu Valley to hear Louis-Joseph Papineau speak:

"Fellow citizens! Brothers of a common affliction! All of you, whatever origin language or religion you (may) be... To whom equitable laws and the rights of man are dear...

"We enjoin you now to adopt, thru (a) systematic organisation in your parishes and in your respective townships, an attitude which alone can win respect for yourselves and success for your demands."

Papineau urged the Patriotes to elect their own judges and militia officers to replace those who remained loyal to the British Crown.
Five thousand people gathered at Saint-Charles in the Richelieu Valley to hear Louis-Joseph Papineau speak about political reform on October 24, 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Five thousand people gathered at Saint-Charles in the Richelieu Valley to hear Louis-Joseph Papineau speak about political reform on October 24, 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
However, he harboured no illusions. He knew that, without help from the American republic and progressives in London that he and the Patriotes could not prevail:

"Assemble now!.... and elect your own justices' of the peace... as have done your reformist brothers from Two Mountains, to protect the people from the vengeance of the enemy."

For the radicals, Papineau had not gone far enough. Some English Canadians, such as Dr. Wolfred Nelson, an English Canadian who supported the Patriote cause, and called for armed insurrection.
Cyrille-Hector C�t�, a doctor from Napierville, spoke at a Saint-Charles rally in 1837, "I also believe the time for speeches has passed, it is lead [bullets] that we must now send to our enemies." (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Cyrille-Hector C�t�, a doctor from Napierville, spoke at a Saint-Charles rally in 1837, "I also believe the time for speeches has passed, it is lead [bullets] that we must now send to our enemies." (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
He was born into an English protestant family from Sorel, had married a French Canadian and raised his children in a French-speaking, Catholic environment.

Dr. Nelson called on Canadians to join the Patriotes in armed insurrection:

"Well I believe that the moment has come to melt down our tin plates and tin spoons and forge them into bullets."

Cyrille-Hector Côté, a doctor from Napierville, was of the same opinion:

"I also believe that the time for speeches has passed, it is lead that we must now send to our enemies."

While the Patriotes were meeting in Saint-Charles, a severe warning was echoing through the streets of Montreal.
Peter McGill, President of the Bank of Montreal, spoke to a crowd of four thousand people gathered on the Place d'Armes.

"We must admit their constitutional right to meet and discuss (...), and to petition and remonstrate (...), if they feel or fancy themselves aggrieved; but any and all of them who overstep the bounds prescribed by the laws in doing so, who outrage the feelings of loyal and well disposed peaceable citizens by overt acts verging on rebellion, ought to be made to understand, that such conduct can be no longer tolerated with impunity."

The Bishop of Montreal, Jean-Jacques Lartigue, believed the Patriotes capable of repeating all the excesses of the French Revolution.
In a pastoral letter of October 24, 1837, he issued a warning to the Patriotes:

"Have you ever given serious thought to the horrors of civil war? Have you ever imagined the streams of blood flooding your streets and countrysides, and the spectacle of the innocent caught up with the guilty in the same awful web of disaster? Have you considered that almost without exception, every popular revolution is a bloodthirsty act?

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On the Eve of Rebellion
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