The historical value of Bougainville’s testimony on Canada during the Seven Years’ War is well recognized, but historians and biographers have generally not appreciated the extent to which various literary genres color its content. This study shows the importance of making the rhetoric and classical culture of Bougainville explicit in the Écrits sur le Canada, in particular with respect to the officer’s « ethnographic » observations, his representation of himself and the French army, and his critique of the colonial administration.
In Canada and Quebec, the legal holiday of labour is observed the first Monday of
September. Why did this feast hold on that date ? There is nothing happening on that day
dedicated to work and no organization or union commemorate or explain its meaning. In fact,
the original sense of this holiday has been forgotten. But that day have been marked by an
impressive parade of workers in Montreal for over fifty years (1886-1952). Organized by the
international unions, the march brought together in an almost military order, thousands of
unionized workers in the streets with banners, flags, several bands and floats dedicated to
work. In occupying a public space, the unions wanted to assert on a symbolic way the dignity
of their work, the strength of trade unionism and their identity as a social class. These
meanings were shared also by the politicians, religious leaders and columnists of
newspapers. This very well structured annual parade is the largest in the history of Quebec
in terms of participation, at least until the Second World War. After experiencing great
popularity, the involvement of unions crumbled after the Second World War, victim of a new
wave of labour unions and harmed also by the spreading of consumer society.
In December 1854, the fifth Parliament of Canada under Union enactedthe Acte pour l’abolition des droits et devoirs féodauxdans le Bas-Canada. This piece of legislation did not end the economicand social ties between seigneurs and censitaires. Preserving partiallyseigneurial property and imposing conditions to the censitaires for the« rachat » of their rents, the law was a step ina long process that lasted until the 1970s. This text intends to definethe mechanisms by which the relationship between seigneurs andcensitaires survived and disappeared in the course of twentieth-centuryQuebec. It first presents the chronology of the extinction ofseigneurial rents, then describes the context of creation of theSyndicat national du rachat des rentes seigneuriales (1935), andfinally analyzes the work of this organization as well as the sourceswhich emanate from it. The objective of the article is to situateQuebec seigneurial history in a long-term perspective and to show thatthe persistence of the seigneurial institution is not confined to hismark on the landscape and place names.
A double discovery is at the origin of that topic. On one side, it turned out that certain people who had compromised themselves in France during the 1940-1945 German occupation had taken refuge in Quebec at the end of the war. On the other side, it appears that less than their actual importance in terms of numbers (only a few people were concerned), it’s the important support they were given in Quebec that can be discussed. In fact, the mobilization around them was so important that the essayist Yves Lavertu could rightly write about the “Bernonville affair” between 1948 and 1951 to name what was a real state affair (on two levels at least, a France/Canada affair and a federal/provincial affair as well). So, the point is to present a research project which, originating in the event (the French political refugees affair in Canada just after the war) would analyze the uses of that fact of the past in ulterior times, in history, memory and writing of history matters. And so, knowing that a comparable research project also exists in France and that the necessary methodological tools are available to understand and have a better knowledge of the fact, the question is now to know what the contributions and the limits of an interconnected historiographic approach between France and Quebec could be on that topic. That’s why this work of research if it can be considered as a first historiographic step, has a strong problematic and programmatic dimension.