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The Other Quebec

The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society

J.I. Little
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The Other Quebec
    Book Description:

    The Other Quebecexplores some of the complex ways that religious institutions and beliefs affected the rural societies in which the majority of Canadians still lived in the nineteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2786-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    The longstanding ‘two solitudes’ model of Quebec society ascribed religious and community-centred values to the French-speaking majority and secular individualist ones to the English-speaking minority. The assumption that the social values of French Quebec were essentially traditionalist and anti-materialist in character, at least prior to the Second World War, has been vigorously challenged by the generation of historians that was trained during the Quiet Revolution era when the state focused on developing a French-speaking managerial and entrepreneurial class.¹ The reverse stereotype of a capitalist, market-oriented Anglo-Protestant ‘mentalité’ has been more persistent, if only because rural and small-town English-speaking Quebeckers have...


    • 1 The Mental World of Ralph Merry, Tinware Peddler and Religious Ecstatic, 1798–1863
      (pp. 17-44)

      On a September afternoon in 1809 Ralph Merry lay peering upwards through the smoke hole in the roof of a log cabin when he saw ‘the appearance of a man in the sky with blood streaming from him, and it seemed as though I saw him with my natural sight, but probably it was only a verry strong mental view presented through the medium of powerful faith.’ Despite his scepticism, the young man concluded: ‘I was shown that the blood of Christ was shed for sinners and that salvation was offered through him to all.’ What followed immediately afterwards erased...

    • 2 The Fireside Kingdom: A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Anglican Perspective on Marriage and Parenthood
      (pp. 45-68)

      In the New England of the 1820s and 1830s, according to Nancy Cott, ‘essays, sermons, novels, poems and manuals offering advice and philosophy on family life, child rearing, and women’s role began to flood the literary market.’¹ Few historians have examined the impact of this phenomenon on the Canadian side of the border,² where a resident of the Eastern Townships made his own small contribution to the ‘cult of domesticity.’ Though he was an Anglican clergyman of orthodox High Church principles, the Reverend James Reid of St Armand East was preoccupied with the family in a manner generally associated with...

    • 3 Gender and Gentility: Lucy Peel’s Journal, 1833–6
      (pp. 69-93)

      Lucy and Edmund Peel moved to a homestead near the small Lower Canadian town of Sherbrooke in the spring of 1833 and remained there with their infant children until the spring of 1837.¹ From the time their ship left England, Lucy kept a regular account of her thoughts and activities which, with rare additions by Edmund, she sent in monthly instalments to her mother, or occasionally to her sisters and in-laws. The Peel letters, a few of which overlap in time, have survived as transcriptions in three bound volumes titled ‘Letters from Canada.’ While Robert Fothergill defines a diary or...

    • 4 A ‘Christian Businessman’: The Convergence of Precept and Practice in Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Gender Construction
      (pp. 94-124)

      In their analysis of the impact of nineteenth-century market forces upon the lives of men and women, feminist historians have for some time now drawn attention to a profound restructuring of the private and public spheres. Deeply implicated in that restructuring, they have argued, was the changing role of religion. Whereas women retreated into the private world of home and piety, commonly referred to as ‘the cult of domesticity,’ middle-class men derived their identity from success in the capitalist marketplace acquired by accumulated wealth and power. Unlike its female counterpart, the male gender construct – variously referred to as ‘marketplace manhood,’...


    • [Introduction]
      (pp. 127-128)

      The following four essays are more institutional in theme than those of the previous section. Two deal with aspects of the social reform movement, though the one on school reform focuses on a single individual, Marcus Child. Child, like Merry and Colby, lived in Stanstead County, and, while he may have been only vaguely aware of the tinware peddler, he certainly knew Colby as a young man because the latter’s father, Dr Moses Colby (encountered in the first essay in this section), was a political rival. Locally prominent, like the Colbys, Child was not a major figure from the provincial...

    • 5 ‘A Moral Engine of Such Incalculable Power’: The Temperance Movement in the Eastern Townships, 1830–52
      (pp. 129-160)

      Alcohol studies are beginning to experience a renaissance in Canada, and Jan Noel’sCanada Dryhas provided a much-needed overview of the temperance movement in the pre-Confederation era.² But even while this study reveals that the movement differed significantly from one region to another, it pays only passing attention to the Eastern Townships, while Darren Ferry’s recent article on temperance societies in nineteenth-century ‘Canada’ completely ignores the region.³ As with Upper Canada, the American temperance crusade had a major impact on the townships bordering Vermont, but what was the first major social reform movement of the nineteenth century developed in...

    • 6 ‘Labouring in a Great Cause’: Marcus Child as Pioneer Schools Inspector, 1852–9
      (pp. 161-196)

      In 1838, as commissioner in charge of examining the educational system for the Durham commission, Arthur Buller insisted that school reform would be useless without ‘an active and honest inspection.’¹ Recently, Bruce Curtis has likewise argued that the knowledge collected by inspectors ‘was an inevitable precondition to state educational administration, for no state agency could govern schools about which it knew nothing.’² Apart from Curtis’s own book on the early inspectors in Upper Canada, however, this remains a rather neglected topic in Canadian education history.³ The only detailed study of inspectors in Lower Canada/Quebec is an in-house publication from 1951,...

    • 7 Railways, Revivals, and Rowdyism: The Beebe Adventist Camp Meeting, 1875–1900
      (pp. 197-221)

      While railways were the main force behind industrialization, urbanization, and national expansion in North America during the latter half of the nineteenth century, their owners were not satisfied with the profits earned from transporting raw materials and manufactured goods. Passengers were also a potentially lucrative market, and the middle class was quick to adopt train travel as a means of visiting other cities or rural tourist destinations where they could either contemplate the picturesque and sublime or restore their health at beach resorts and mineral springs. The Eastern Townships was at a disadvantage as far as tourism was concerned, insofar...

    • 8 A Crime ‘Shrouded in Mystery’: State, Church, and Community in the Kinnear’s Mills Post-Office Case, 1899–1905
      (pp. 222-262)

      In reviewing two recent collections of Richard Cobb’s articles on Paris and the French Revolution, Julian Barnes comments on how Cobb saw the historian ‘as a detective who takes his time, never rushes to conclusions, learns the geography of the crime, walks the streets, takes a pastis, sniffs the air, asks seemingly irrelevant questions.’¹ Kinnear’s Mills, Quebec, was certainly no Paris, but its post-office case does offer the historian an opportunity to play detective in a rather literal sense. While the crime was never solved, reports into it generated a good deal of documentary detail that provides insight into the...

  8. Afterword
    (pp. 263-266)

    By focusing largely on the hegemonic role of the state and the domination of the bourgeoisie, social historians have imposed, somewhat paradoxically, totalizing theories on the past, assuming – as the Enlightenment philosophers did – that ‘culture and society operate as overarching, objective systems that function to integrate the individual into the whole.’¹ Historical agency tends to be lost in the process, but Clendinnen’s statement at the top of this page does not imply that historians should reject theory (for we do need good questions); however, it should emerge more ‘organically.’ Otherwise, the danger – as Jürgen Habermas warns – is that theoretical reason...

  9. Credits
    (pp. 267-268)
  10. Index
    (pp. 269-278)