The Place d'Armes By-Election
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The Place d'Armes By-Election

In April and May 1832, a by-election in Montreal set the Patriote party against the English party.
In the spring of1832, violence broke out between supporters of the Parti Patriote and the English Party during a hotly contested by-election. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
In the spring of1832, violence broke out between supporters of the Parti Patriote and the English Party during a hotly contested by-election. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
The outcome of this election was three deaths are a farther deterioration of the political climate.

The militants in the Patriote party were mostly French-Canadians and Irish immigrants, who shared a distrust of British power. Louis-Joseph Papineau was the leader of the Patriote Party.

The English Party (also known as Tories) was mostly made up of conservative businessmen of Scottish, English or American origin. Its members supported the colonial government.

During the by-election, the poll would remain open as long as voters continued to come forward. For the poll to close, one whole hour would have to pass without a single vote being. An election could go on for weeks. The Place d'Armes election lasted for 22 days.

"April 26...
Three French-Canadians were killed by gunfire from British troops in 1832 after fighting broke out between political rivals in Montreal.
Three French-Canadians were killed by gunfire from British troops in 1832 after fighting broke out between political rivals in Montreal.
It being ten o'clock in the morning, the poll has not yet been able to open due to the tumult going on outside (...)"

On May 21, the Patriote candidate took a narrow lead. Emotions were running high. A fight broke out and soldiers from the 15th regiment were called in and then opened fire in order to disperse the crowd.

Three French Canadians were mortally wounded: Casimir Chauvin, Pierre Billet and François Languedoc. The day after the shooting, the Patriote candidate was declared victorious. He won by a margin of four votes.

Louis-Joseph Papineau, greatly upset by at the death of his compatriots, wrote to the Governor, Lord Aylmer:

"My heart is filled with sadness and my letter will find you in the same state, as you will already have heard about yesterdays disastrous events that caused bloodshed in our streets.
The troops sent to protect His Majesty's subjects fired upon them. Canada has never before been afflicted with such miseries."

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