Abstract

This article traces the process by which eight Lower Canadian Patriotes became Bermudian convicts to uncover what their transition from freedom to unfreedom can teach us about the intersection of gender, race, independence, politics, and empire during Lord Durham’s tenure as Governor General and High Commissioner of British North America. The Patriotes’ struggle to abolish irresponsible government, which led to their banishment to Bermuda in July 1838, reminds us that Lower Canada was part and parcel of social, cultural, and political changes that were taking the British empire by storm in the 1830s. Moreover, the actions of Lord Durham’s administration and the demands of these eight Patriotes raise important questions about colonial independence and Patriote efforts to ensure that Canadiens, as white non-British British subjects, received those political rights that white, bourgeois, and British men in England and its empire were increasingly demanding: specifically, the right to govern themselves.

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