Jane Hamilton left Ireland for Canada in 1849. Upon her arrival at Quebec City, she settled into employment as a nurse at the Quebec Marine and Emigrant Hospital where she quickly gained the respect of the doctors and patients with whom she worked. Yet in spite of her reputation as the hospital’s most competent, well-liked nurse, Hamilton became the focus of an aggressive smear campaign. Slanderous gossip suggesting that she had engaged in illicit sexual relations with doctors, and that she had facilitated death-bed conversions of patients to the Roman Catholic faith, took on a life of its own. Ultimately, due in part to the scandal associated with Hamilton, the colonial government was forced to open an official investigation into the management of the hospital. This article considers the social politics involved in this case, giving particular attention to the work of British imperialism on social relations in mid-nineteenth-century Quebec.


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pp. 109-131
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