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The farmer must study the situation and plundered, without getting any help from make every move with care. The fight those sworn to do their will. But the case for a free life and a true home must be is not yet so bad as this. The American fought out where he is. Monopolies and people are patient, but they know what is corporations must be controlled by the going on, and they are themselves at fault farmer and laboring-man, or in a few years for the prevalence of hasty greed, and careit may be called treason for a man to ex- lessness in public affairs; and, after all, press such a conviction. If the govern- there is much more integrity and faithfulment is in the hands of a moneyed aristoc- ness among our statesmen and public men racy and the newspapers are in the same than they are credited with in many quarinterest, the people will be deceived and ters.
LITERATURE IN FRENCH CANADA.
By George Stewart, LL. D., D.C.L.
N his suggestive work well known, wrote his remarkable volume,
American litera- now a rare treasure in the storehouse of ture, Mr. Charles F. the bibliophile, — for I believe less than Richardson empha- half a dozen copies exist, — Premier étasizes the point, that in blissement de la foy dans la Nouvelle a measure, American France, as a protest in behalf of the literature is an offshoot Recollet Fathers (so warmly favored by
of English literature; Count Frontenac) and to offset the enand the idea is further advanced that croachments of the Jesuits, at that time very no language and literature except the powerful in the new country. Charlevoix, English have ever put forth an offshoot on the other hand, espouses the cause of in another country: that is, a new liter- the Society of Jesus, and presents the exary development, having the form and cellent Recollets in a light which robs them characteristics of the parent stem, yet of much color. Ferland wrote his history growing under essentially different con- from the severely ecclesiastical side, and ditions. This interesting statement seems, from Garneau we have the national view, to my mind, somewhat open to modifica- though the reader is to be warned against tion. In a corner of the North American the wretched translation of the work by continent, in the province of Quebec, we Bell, which takes extraordinary liberties have precisely the same condition of things, with the text, and constantly misrepresents only the language is French and not Eng- the author. Of course, as has been said, lish. Up to half a century ago, French these works have their value, but they Canada had no literature at all. With the must be read with caution, and only after rebellion of 1837, the literary spirit began due allowance is made for the conditions its career. A vigorous newspaper press under which they were composed and the was patriotically maintained long before purpose which they were intended to that date. Printed books in plenty were to be had, of course ; but though they The literary spirit in Quebec has been treated of Lower Canada, and dwelt on her derived from France, and Hugo, Lamartine, splendid historical past, her sacrifices for and Beranger have exercised a marvellous Church and State, her missionary progress influence on the pens of the French-Canaand mental development, these studies dian authors. Statecraft, however, the were not the work of native authors. French Canadian has worked out from the Most if not all of the books were written English model, that form of government by priests and travellers from old France; offering him the greater number of advanand though these works are copious enough, tages, and being eminently suited to his very few of them are trustworthy. The requirements. The strongest name in his contests of the periods which they describe list of patriots is that of Sir George Etienne developed antagonisms, and prejudice and Cartier, - a father of the present conpartisanship tinge deeply the various nar- federation, and whose speeches to-day ratives. Still, the early printed books are afford inspiration to the budding orator. not devoid of value, though as true chron- It was for many years that statesman's icles they hardly claim our respect. Of boast that he was an Englishman who unity and sympathy there is little, but as spoke French, and yet at heart, in sentiexpressions of current partisan feeling on ment and in practice, Cartier was thorthe different movements of the time, the oughly French, and the prime upholder of books often throw light, which the investi- the French Canadian's chief articles of gator will not fail to prize. With the aid faith, “our laws, our language, and our of official documents, now easy of access, institutions." he will find little difficulty in satisfying his There is not much originality in the mind as regards facts. Le Clercq, as is French-Canadian pen. It betrays constantly its true origin, and echoes the ma- and infidelity ; but for all that, British ternal voice always. A French academi- valor and the British throne find little, if cian, however, once fancied that in the any, expression in the heroic verse of the poetry of Frechette he detected signs of province. And yet no one would think something with which he was unfamiliar. of questioning the fealty of the French He described it as something French, and Canadians. Their loyalty is particularly yet not wholly French. The poet partially effusive, and at all banquets and public relieved him of his doubt by suggesting dinners the health of the queen is drank that the unknown quantity in his work with enthusiasm, and the national anthem might be Canadian. But there are very invariably closes the entertainment at all few French-Canadian writers who are so places of amusement, the people standing distinctively French-Canadian as Frechette. with uncovered heads. But, notwithstandWe must not forget, however, that French ing all this, the only heroes who are imCanada has practically only begun her lit- mortalized in French-Canadian poems are erary career. The influence of the model men of the blood who fought Englishmen, is still strong, and originality may come in and the only battlefields which find place time.
in their songs are those on which the comMr. Richardson's task was to discover mon enemy appeared. One exception wherein American literature really differs there is, the generous-hearted De Salafrom English literature, and wherein it is berry, who fought under the British flag but a branch bearing the same fruit in a against the Americans at Chateauguay. different corner of the enclosure. We may Pæans in his honor are sung, but they are not follow him in his investigation. Eng- dedicated to his personal renown alone, lish literature may be said to have two and not to the general cause. branches on this continent, the contribu- A few years ago Frechette's drama of tion from the United States, and the con- Papineau was produced on the stage, in tribution from Canada; the latter, it must Quebec, before an audience of a thousand be confessed, is not yet extensive nor very persons.
The heroic and patriotic pasvaluable, though it is creditable. But Eng- sages, with which the play abounds, were land's French Canadians are also adding applauded to the echo. The English milto a parent stem; the stem, however, is itary officers, however, and the sentiments French. The French Canadians are ex- which they uttered, were roundly hissed by ceedingly loyal to Britain. A distinguished three hundred young fellows in their teens, son of the soil once said that the last shot who inherited the feeling, doubtless, in for the maintenance of British connection their cradles. And yet those half-grown in Canada would be fired by a French men would fight willingly to maintain BritCanadian. His queen rewarded his patri- ish connection to-morrow, were it in danotism and his services by creating him a ger of being severed, even though they knight and conferring upon him the cov- oppose, with all their might, the policy of eted title of aide-de-camp on her personal imperial federation. staff. But though the devotion of the French Canada, notwithstanding its limFrench Canadians to Britain is strong, and ited opportunities, and the ever-watchful a plebiscite would establish it beyond per- eye of the extreme wing of the church, adventure to-morrow, yet for all that, the which exercises censorship over the pens poets love to sing the praises of the patriots of the faithful, has done very well in letof 1837, and Papineau is still their idol, ters. Poetry, history, and the Chronique though fifty years and more have rolled the latter borrowed from France away since he raised the flag of revolt, and prosecuted with industry, and not a little the old wrongs have long ago been re- ability. Two or three respectable magadressed. This, perhaps, is only natural; zines are maintained, and their circulation but with all their admiration of British in- is on a paying basis. Fifty years ago, the stitutions it is surprising how little in the mental activity of the people of Lower way of praise the Quebec poets and essay- Canada found expression principally in the ists find to say about them. Many writers stormy arena of politics. The great probare ready to admit at once that on no ac- lem of responsible or constitutional govcount would they change their allegiance ernment occupied the attention of her pubto that of France, with her conscription lic men, the Papineaus, Lafontaines, and
Nelsons never dreaming of the ample lib- drawing and incident taking hardly any erties which their descendants enjoy to-day rank at all. Jacques et Marie, by NapoThe newspaper and the pamphlet, and oc- leon Boueassa, artist and litterateur, is a casionally the ballad, formed the literature story of a much broader and higher type. of the period. There was no great variety It deals with war, sacrifice, patriotism, and in the subject matter of this letter-press, banishment, and in part is fairly well done, which reached the reader, in one form and though the author lacks style. As it treats another, almost every day. It continually of the expulsion of the Acadians, from told of the struggle for political life which the Abbé Raynal point of view, the reader was going on among the politicians and the must be prepared to accept a good deal people, and romance, poetry, history, and on trust. Joseph Marmette's early novels philosophy stood aside for statesmanship lack spontaneity and knowledge of the and party warfare. Since those times, social life with which the author attempted French-Canadian authorship has made to deal. He took up historical subjects, rapid progress, and the friendly aid of a such as the Intendant Bigot's career in paternal government has always protected Quebec, and the fortunes of Count Fronthe printer from material loss. Hardly a tenac. It is not always easy to invest an branch of literature has remained un- historical novel with the sort of interest touched. In poetry, perhaps, the highest which commends fiction to the lover of merit has been attained, though there are high-spiced romance. Mr. Marmette had no successors to Cremazie, Frechette, and many difficulties to overcome. He was a LeMay. The latter is better known by his student, and he learned of men and women translation of Longfellow's Evangeline, in society through books and memoirs. which has passed into two or three edi. He had travelled little. The outer world tions, and which won the high approval of was to him a sealed book, and the salon of the author himself, when first published. high-born dames, and the intrigues of a
Cremazie is the strongest poet French peculiarly vicious court, though not lacking Canada has produced, and his name and in attractiveness as studies, proved beyond memory are much revered. Of minor his strength or skill to depict. His stories singers of various grades there is a long of fifteen years or so ago are deficient in train. The French-Canadian ear is keen grace and form, and though dramatic for melody, and all poets of the race are enough in a way, for the incidents march, musicians in the truest sense of the word. they fail entirely to interest and entertain. The best among them, however, has failed François de Biènville, which furnishes a to produce a really great poem, such as romantic picture of Frontenac's time, is, Heavysege's Saul, faulty as that production perhaps, Marmette's most successful novel, is ; but in the way of light and fanciful and is freer from objectionable mannerisms love songs, sonnets to womanly virtue, and than the others from his pen. LeMay's addresses to patriotic sentiment, the French stories are even less vigorous than Marcertainly hold ground on which few of the mette's, and are much overdrawn. His English-Canadian poets may enter; none, range, too, has been more limited. perhaps, save Roberts, Carman, Lampman, In historical writing, French Canada is Campbell, and John Reade. Of purely not badly off. The Abbé Faillon cannot classical poetry the French have given us be claimed as a French Canadian. He but few examples; while of poems which was a Sulpician priest of very great ability, breathe the teachings of Christianity to a and his really remarkable work, the Hissuperlative degree, the verses of Judge toire de la Colonie Française en Canada, Routhier and Chauveau are the most nota- though a monument to the labors and ble examples.
trials of his order in Montreal, is a book In fiction, Lower Canada, like English of powerful interest and value. On three Canada, is notoriously weak. She has pro- separate occasions the Abbé visited Canduced no novelist or short-story writer of ada, living in the country several years, any mark. The best novel is Dr. Chau- and consulting materials wherever he found veau's Charles Guerin, a tale of habitant them. The archives of the Propaganda at life and character, good in its descriptions Rome and the various departments in of the manners and customs of French Paris readily yielded their treasures to him Canada, but in the way of character- also. But though Faillon cannot be claimed by the French Canadians, they can point and Europe. Judge Routhier has spent with pride to three of their sons, the Abbé various long vacations in foreign travel, and Ferland, who furnishes the best ecclesi- his keen observation has found expression astical history of the country, Francois in half a dozen volumes. M. Joseph Tassé Xavier Garneau, the distinctively national has supplied a reinarkable account of the historian of Quebec, and the Abbé Cas- Northwest, in two parts; and some small grain, the chief questioner in Canada of books, relating experiences in different the brilliant writings of Francis Parkman. sections of the country, owe their paterMichael Bibaud, Louis P. Turcotte, and nity to Lower Canadian authors. To this Benjamin Sulte have also contributed lib- collection may be added contributions by erally to the historical literature of Lower Abbé Casgrain, DeGaspe, and Sulte, each Canada. Garneau and Ferland and Bi- more or less full. baud are, from their training, thoroughly The drama has found exponents in partisan, but the English reader, expecting Frechette, Marchand, and LeMay. Their this, will spare his strictures. Sulte and plays have been represented on the stage, Casgrain are more liberal in feeling and in and attracted large audiences, Mr. Freexecution. The Abbé Bois sent historical chette's Papineau and Les Exiles, and studies to the press several years ago, and Mr. LeMay's Rouge et Bleue, being espeonly ceased to write when paralysis and cially well received, and creating much disease interposed. After his death a enthusiasm. trunkful of his manuscripts was found. His To science, Charles Baillairgè, the Abbés heirs promise to make use of the more Hamel, Cuoq, and Laflamme, E. Deville, valuable of these papers. The Abbé and St. Cyr have made extensive contriȚanguay's principal work is a genealogical butions; while in philology we have the dictionary, in six enormous volumes, of studies of Arthur Buies, Paul de Cazes, French-Canadian families who trace their Oscar Dunn, Napoleon Legendre and origin to old France. The work occupied DeBoucherville. the annalist a quarter of a century of time. In this brief survey of the mental outfit There are some who say that it must be and output of French Canada, mention, rewritten. The.Abbé Laverdiere, one of of course, should not be omitted of the dethe ripest scholars in the Canadian priest- partment of thought in which her sons have hood, and a real ornament to the letters of made, perhaps, their most conspicuous his age, completed Ferland's history, when moc. Oratory has systematically been culthat able divine laid down his pen in tivated in the lower Canadian province, and death, and also edited, with valuable notes, rare indeed :: it to find a young French the admirable edition of Champlain, which Canadian who cannot express himself althe University of Laval published for a ways in graceful or powerful phrase. He limited circle of readers and students. is naturally quick at repartee, witty alThe English reader is invited, in this con- ways, and strong in invective. He is full nection, to examine the excellent trans- of gesture, and manages well the form lation of this work, by Dr. Otis, in the and substance of his speech. Chapleau, Prince Society's Collection.
Laurier, and Mercier stand to-day as the Altogether, the showing is notable and best exponents of the oratory of the country. strong, and in this department of literature, English comes to them as naturally as their certainly, French Canada occupies no mother tongue, but it is in the French contemptible position. There are many language that they appear to the greater writers who have written essays and papers advantage, and their eloquence would do on various periods of local and provincial credit to any nation. history, and the story of the rebellion of Literature in Canada owes much to the 1837 has been treated in single volumes various literary and historical societies, by Carrier, David, and Globensky.
which exist in nearly all the chief towns Few books of travel have been written of the Dominion. The parent of them all by French Canadians, but those which we is the Literary and Historical Society of have are clever enough. M. Faucher de St. Quebec, which was founded in 1824 by the Maurice, soldier and member of parlia- Earl of Dalhousie, then Governor-General. ment, has dealt with the Gulf of St. Law- This institution owns many rare manurence, Mexico, St. Pierre, Miquelon, Africa, scripts and printed books, mostly in French,