In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

IN UNKNOWN QUEBEC A. R. M. LOWER E VERYONE who has come up the St. Lawrence has been impressed by the beauty of that magnificent river. After the first landfall has been made, as the shores begin to close in from either side, the mountains throw their masses of blue into the sky, mile after mile of them beckoning the traveller on, into the heart of a great continent. Surely no other country has a more splendid ocean gateway than Canada. Over long distances the glistening shapes of houses reveal themselves, arid sometimes the ship is close enough in to enable details to be seen. At such points dormer-windows or curved roofs or huge stone chimneys proclaim bits of the old world in the new. No wonder tourist literature has damned the province lying on either bank with the adjective "quaint." To most of the tourists returning from Europe that part of their country lying below Montreal is probably nothing more, and never b" ecomes anything more, than a brief space of beauty (and quaintness) seen from the deck of their ship. To most other English-speaking Canadians it never becomes even that: it is simply a vague terra incognita "where the French live." Yet here dwell a people with whose fate that of Canada as a whole is bound up, whose actions can make or mar the future of the common country. Just at present something is stirring among these people. The political life of the province of Quebec has never been remarkable for the even tenor of its way, but while the speeches and the demonstrations may be no more noisy than they have often been in the past, there now seems to be some spirit behind them, that has not been there before. What is it? 89 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY Here is a community of two million and a half Frenchspeaking Roman Catholics who have ยท sprung from an original stock of some ten thousand immigrants, mostly from the north of France. Two centuries of inbreeding have made them singularly homogeneous, bound them together in to a community whose singleness of purpose, of ambition, and of will surpasses that of their Englishspeaking fellow-citizens, who have COly\e from all quarters of the British Isles and . Europe, and, under the influence of a materialistic individualism, have never had a chance to develop communal solidarity. But while the English Canadian, either indirectly before emigration or directly since, has received and welcomed the effects of every great human upheaval of the last four hundred years, the French Canadian has never felt the full weight of any of them. It was at the height of the French counter-reformation of the seventeenth century, when Catholic pietism had reached its zenith, that he left his native Normandy or Brittany, provinces untouched by the Protestant Reformation, and little touched by that other and even greater revolutionary movement, the Renaissance. Before the .intellectual fermen t of eighteenth-century France had had time to cross the OCean, he found himself under an alien flag. That flag cut him off from the French Revolution. The French Revolution itself, by recreating France, cut him off from France. He never had any experience comparable with the vast upheaval in seventeenth-century England, in which the battle for parliamentary su'premacy was won, and which, passed on by the English people to their colonists, explains so much of our institutional heritage. But he has had the bad fortune to be "sideswiped," as it were, by one of the by-products of that Puritan Revolution , namely, English industrialism. To him, the In90 IN UNKNOWN QUEBEC dustrial Revolution, the machine age, has come in the unwelcome form of the English-speaking capitalist, who has flourished in Quebec since 1760, and who has always known how to profit from the simplicity, the faith, and the industry of the habitant. As a paradise for the manufacturer seeking cheap labour and freedom from strikes, Quebec was not discovered yesterday. Living with a people superior to him in initiative and energy, and one quite willing complacently to believe itself the superior race, the French Canadian fora cen tury and three-quarters has...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 89-102
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.