Chronology: During the Resistance, 1869

[Note: developments in governance that affected Red River Settlement—or rather might have inspired the political stance of the people in the settlement who undertook the Resistance during 1869 – 1870—are highlighted in blue.]


In Assiniboia:

6 October 1869: a letter by ‘Deux Métis’ with content attributed to John Bruce and Louis Riel (by historian W.L. Morton, though he also presumes it to have been penned by Louis-Raymond Giroux) is sent to Quebec (and printed 28 October in the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, a newspaper). The letter declares settler loyalty to the Queen and the HBC and asserts that surveyors had “disregarded the law of nations” by working in Red River under the name of “an alien authority.”

[See Alexander Begg, document 5, Alexander Begg’s Red River journal: and other papers relative to the Red River resistance of 1869-1870, ed. W.L. Morton (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1956), 411-413.]

9 October: Joseph Howe, Canadian Secretary for the Provinces, arrives on an “unofficial fact-finding expedition” and stays at a hotel in the Town of Winnipeg.

[See Nor’-Wester (26 October), 1; also J.M. Bumsted, Thomas Scott’s Body: And Other Essays on Early Manitoba History (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2000), 170. See also “Mr. Howe at Red River,” Toronto Globe (23 February 1870), 2, which alleges, “the incipient rebellion at Red River was encouraged and indirectly endorsed” by Howe “a Cabinet Minister of the Dominion Government. … sent to the Red River by the Dominion Government to gather information about the Territory. … On arriving at Winnipeg he found the people in an unsettled and dangerous frame of mind. They were uneasy at the prospect of that Government which the authorities at Ottawa had ordained for them.” He “expressed a desire that the flag bearing the word ‘Canada,’ [at John Christian Schultz‘s drugstore] … should be hauled down, denouncing those who had raised it; and he drove from house to house talking of the better terms obtained by Nova Scotia, and intimating that the Red River Settlement might follow the example of his own Province, and obtain advantages as the price of joining the Dominion. … The malcontents of Red River had fair ground for supposing that they might count upon Mr. Howe as an abettor.”]

Note: Joseph Howe’s wife was Catherine Ann Susan McNab, born 1808 to Captain John McNab, Nova Scotia Fencibles. Captain John McNab and his brother, Peter McNab, were possibly related to Dr. John McNab, great-grandfather of Sarah ‘Sally’ McDermot, the wife of HBC Governor William Mactavish at Upper Fort Garry.

11 October: The Canadian survey crew of Capt. Adam Clark Webb/ Webbe, who were about to trespass the outer limits of André Naults farmland (his two mile hay privilege; Nault’s family was not Métis and did not speak English), are brought to a halt. Along with Nault, the men who confront the surveyors include his brothers Benjamin Nault (b. 1832), Romain Nault (b. 1838), and Jean-Baptiste Nault (b. 1827), his nephew Prosper Nault (b. 1850), and his cousin, Louis Riel (Métis, who spoke English, and reputedly ‘stood on the chain’).

[See “The Beginning of the Section Land Survey as Shown on J.S. Dennis’ Plan for the Survey of the Red River Plain. (1869),” Manitoba Historical Maps Photostream, Flickr page; and Derrick Nault, “Andre Nault and the Outbreak of the Red River Resistance,” and “Location of First Act of Resistance at Red River,” (no longer available online).]

In Toronto:

15 October: The Globe reports on the Nor’-Wester of 21 September, noting A.C. Webb of Brighton, ON, had arrived at the settlement along with W.A. Farmer of Cobourg ON, Ferguson of Kingston ON, William Alridge of Huron County ON, Ellwood of London ON, and Steel of Liverpool, England.

[See “Red River,” Toronto Globe (15 October 1869), 2.]

In Assiniboia:

16/ 18 October: Joseph Howe, Canadian Secretary for the Provinces, leaves.

[See Nor’-Wester (26 October), 1.]

Meetings are organized by, and for, settlers at St. Norbert and St. Vital parishes.

19 October: At a public meeting in St. Norbert, settlers elect members to the Comité National des Métis, under president John Bruce, with Louis Riel as secretary, and including Paul Proulx (cousin-in-law of Riel), Amable Gaudry (who moved to ON, 1875?), and Prosper Nault.

At another public meeting in St. Andrews, at the Rapids schoolhouse, there is some dissent over Donald Gunn‘s proposal that McDougall should be welcomed to the settlement—the objectors apparently led by Capt. William Kennedy, seconded by ‘Mr. Hays‘ (possibly Edward Henry George Gunter ‘E.H.G.G.’ Hay).

[See “Public Meeting in St. Andrews,” Nor’-Wester (26 October 1861).]

20 October: William McDougall, Canada’s Lieutenant-governor designate for the temporary governance of Rupert’s Land (which Canada does not own), is reported as arriving at St. Cloud, south of Red River, with boxes of repeating rifles.

21 October:  The Comité National des Métis creates a “Committee of Safety,” and tasks André Nault and about 40 other men with constructing a barricade (la barrière), at St Norbert, just north of the point where the road to Pembina crosses the Rivière Sale, to prevent William McDougall entering the settlement or sending in rifles. Nault’s men style themselves the ‘Patriotes.’ The Comité National des Métis sends a dispatch to McDougall warning him not to enter the territory without their permission.

[The memorial & petition of the people of Rupert’s Land and North-West Territory, British America, to His Excellency, U.S. Grant, President of the United States. (Red River, NWT?: s.n, 1870?), 3, states the Committee of Safety members followed the maxim the “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God,” resolved to use “force if necessary, ” and were imbued “with full power and authority, to raise and equip an army to defend our country against that lawless invasion” threatened by McDougall’s progress.

Neil Edgar Allen Ronaghan, “The Archibald Administration in Manitoba — 1870 – 1872,” Ph.D. diss. (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1986), 102, puts the date at 17 October.]

22 October: Hyman, a Canadian working as a tanner at St. Norbert, who admitted to being a spy, complains at Upper Fort Garry about the barricade and armed guards.

[Ronaghan, 102. Memorial & petition of the people of Rupert’s Land and North-West Territory, British America, to His Excellency, U.S. Grant, states that “a call to drive back the coming Governor and his followers, was responded to, by more than 600 men, within twenty-four hours.”]

24 October: Louis Riel addresses the congregation at St. Boniface Cathedral, explaining the reasons for disallowing William McDougall’s entrance to the territory.

[The address has the status of ‘local lore’, and may or may not have taken place. Lewis H. Thomas. “Riel, Louis,” DCB, puts the speech earlier, in August 1869, but does not supply a source.]

25 October: the HBC Governor and Council of Assiniboia meet with John Bruce and Louis Riel about the barricade; the Council can do little but hope for the best, as the two will not back down but agree to keep the councillors informed.

26 October: The Nor’Wester and Pioneer reports:

William McDougall arrived in St. Paul on 12 October “with his family and his personal staff”;

• Canada has appointed A.N. [Albert Norton] Richards as Attorney General for Assiniboia;

• “Insurrection of the French Half-breeds. The Road in Possession of the Rebels“;

• “Aggravated Assault,” John A. Snow has been assaulted by members of the road work crew who have been arrested;

• “Lieut.-Governor McDougall. Opinions in the Press“;

• “Validity of Indian Marriages,” has been established by court in Quebec [the Connolly case];

• a prairie fire rages at High Bluff, and Canadian settlers are arriving at Portage la Prairie;

• several death notices are printed;

• “Public Meeting in St. Andrews.”

William Dease is said to have some 80 men in his company, ready to oppose the Comité National des Métis. They attempt to “procure … peaceable dispersion” at the barricade, but do not succeed and instead at least twenty of Dease’s men defect to the ‘Patriotes.’ A number of the men do not appear to have been well armed, as Dease sought to obtain guns and ammunition from Upper Fort Garry. HBC Governor William Mactavish, however, declines to supply weapons.

28 October: William Dease has perhaps as few as “twenty or thirty  men” who are native to the settlement and on whom he can call. Reportedly some of these are camped near Upper Fort Garry. The group has perhaps diminished in size because they were “entirely without provisions,” and were having to rely on the Canadian Party (through John Stoughton Dennis) for food (the infamous Canadian government salt pork / John A. Snow‘s supplies for the road building project, warehoused by ‘Dr.’ John Christian Schultz).

[See See Joseph Howe, letter, in Red River Insurrection. Hon. Wm. McDougall’s Conduct Reviewed (Montreal: John Lovell, 1870), 38-39; Canada, Sessional Papers vol. 5, 3d session, no. 12 (1870), 62, 64-68, 71, 77, 81-82, 90, 92-94, 107-109, 111-116, 118, 120-121; “Dr. Schultz,” New Nation (29 April 1870), 1; and Norman James Williamson,”The Taking of Rupert’s Land in the Pickled Pig War of John Shultz: An Important Episode in the Rise of the Petty Criminal to Patronage Pinnacle” [sic], The Tales and Adventures of an Exile and Heretic, (no longer online)]

In the U.S.:

30 October: William McDougall reaches Pembina. A letter from HBC Gov. William Mactavish advises him to stay on the American side of the border. McDougall is nevertheless determined to continue towards Red River.

In Assiniboia:

30 October: the Council of Assiniboia reconvenes led by Judge John Black, who reports that “Mr. Dease’s mission had entirely failed in producing the desired result.”

[Ronaghan, 104.]

1 November:  André Nault and guards at la barrière force William McDougall’s representatives, Captain Donald Roderick Cameron (son-in-law of Charles Tupper, ‘ex-officio’/ temporarily-not-elected member of the Canadian parliament) and Joseph-Alfred-Norbert Provencher (nephew of Joseph-Norbert Provencher, the former bishop of St Boniface), to turn back to Pembina.

2 – 3 November: A Métis patrol escorts William McDougall’s party back to the American boundary, while another contingent (of perhaps 120 men) led by André Nault seizes Fort Garry, purportedly to “protect it.”

Afterwards, (16 November, Convention of 24) Louis Riel explains to James Ross that the fort was taken “To preserve it for the inhabitants of the country and in order that McDougall with his strangers should not come and establish himself there as absolute master.” Riel implies Gov. Mactavish (husband of his aunt-in-law, Sarah ‘Sally’ McDermot) was not opposed to the occupation of the fort. 

[See W.L. Morton, ed., document 8, translation, “Louis Riel’s Notes of the Sessions of the November Convention of English and French, November 16 to December 1,”  Alexander Begg’s Red River journal: and other papers relative to the Red River resistance of 1869-1870 (Toronto : Champlain Society, 1956), 421; and Ronaghan, 106, who indicates HBC Gov. William Mactavish encouraged—by asking—the Comité National des Métis to occupy Upper Fort Garry.]

HBC Gov. William Mactavish is bedridden with consumption and complains that his small contingent of guards is incompetent.

Reportedly, by this date, “The party under Mr. William Dease” had “dwindled away, the men having mostly gone back to their homes.”

[See Great Britain, Colonial Office, and Canada, Governor General, “Correspondence Relative to the Recent Disturbances in the Red River Settlement; Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, August, 1870,” 8-9, 17, 18, 27.]

The Council of Twelve has formed, consisting of Pierre Poitras, Pierre Leveille/ Léveillé/ Le Vieller/ Levaillier/ Leveillee, Magnus Bernard Birston/ Burston (HBC Councillor of Assiniboia), François-Xavier Dauphinais Genthon/ Genton/ Jeanton, Ambroise-Dydime Lépine, Jean-Baptiste Tourond, Louis Lacerte, Pierre Parrenteau, “J.-B. Perrean” [sic: Perreau/ Perreault?], Charles Nolin, “J.-B. Millet” [sic: Jean-Baptiste Millet dit Beauchemin?], and André Beauchemin. The executive consists of John Bruce, President, and Louis Riel, Secretary.

[See “Red River Convention,” The Executive Documents of the Senate of the United States, Congressional Series vol. 1405 (Washington, 1870).]

6 November: The printing press and type of the Nor’-Wester newspaper are ‘seized’ to print a “Public notice to the inhabitants of Rupert’s Land,” published by “Representatives of the French-speaking population” under joint supervision of Louis Riel and James Ross, alerting settlers that a convention will be held Nov. 16.

[See Red River Newspaper Chronology and the men who ‘made’ the news, for conjecture on the status of ownership of the Nor’-Wester at the time.]

9 November: The Notice is posted. An anonymous letter is sent to the Toronto Globe explaining the case of the “British subjects” of Red River against Canadian mismanagement (it was later printed).

[See also “Letter From Red River. The Causes of the Insurrection,” Toronto Globe (4 December 1869), 1.]

16 November: The Convention of Twenty-four” (12 ‘English’ parish representatives and 12 ‘French’), begins a series of meetings at Red River.

[See W.L. Morton, ed., document 8, translation, “Louis Riel’s Notes of the Sessions of the November Convention of English and French, November 16 to December 1,”  Alexander Begg’s Red River journal: and other papers relative to the Red River resistance of 1869-1870 (Toronto : Champlain Society, 1956), 420-428.

In Canada:

Prime Minister John A. Macdonald learns of the halt to the Canadian survey from American press reports.

In Assiniboia:

17 November: Second day of the Convention of 24.

In England:

19 November: The HBC Deed of Surrender is signed and sealed by the Company — “Rupert’s Land and the Indian (North-Western) Territories and the extinguishment of the rights of the Company therein,” can now pass to the Crown, when the deed is forwarded to the Colonial office, and accepted by Queen Victoria. (Though, as it turns out, acceptance will be delayed to June.) The surrender is “subject to certain terms and conditions, of all its [the HBC’s] ‘rights of government, and other rights, privileges, liberties, franchises, powers and authorities granted or purported to be granted to’ it by its charter” as well as “all similar rights which may have been exercised or assumed by the said Company in any parts of British North America not forming part of Rupert’s Land, or of Canada, or of British Columbia, and all the lands and territories (except and subject as in said terms and conditions mentioned) granted or purported to be granted to the said Governor and Company by the said Letters Patent.”

[Archer Martin, The Hudson’s Bay company’s land tenures and the occupation of Assiniboia (London: W. Clowes & Sons, 1898), 19.]

In Assiniboia:

19 November: The Quarterly Court tries Thomas Scott, W.J. Allan, George Fortney, and Francis Mogridge (all of Canada) for an assault on 1 October, at Point du Chene, on John Allan Snow, their road-crew boss. Scott and Fortney are found guilty and fined.

[See “The Quarterly Court,Nor’-Wester (23 November 1869).]

In Canada:

20 November: John A. Macdonald plans to send Father J.-B. Thibault and Colonel Charles de Salaberry from Quebec to Red River as good-will ambassadors.

In Assiniboia:

20 November: “Thomas Bunn, one of the delegates on the English side, avowed his intentions openly to-day which were to stand up for the rights of the people which in a few words was a full and elective representation at the council board of the country. Maurice Lowman another delegate did the same thing as well as Mr. McKenney for the Winnipeg Town” [my emphasis].

[Alexander Begg, Red River Journal, 174.]

22 November: Convention of 24 resumes in Red River for the third day.

Enos Stutsman, United States treasury agent at Pembina, arrives at Red River to “set up shop in the bar of Emmerling’s Hotel.” There, he regales patrons with tales of the frustrated would-be governor sent from Canada, William McDougall.

23 November: fourth meeting of the Convention of 24.

The Nor’-Wester reports, along with miscellaneous mentions of supposed Canadian policy with respect to Red River (devised, presumably, by editor Walter Robert Bown):

• “Governor Mactavish and the Situation,” which decries the resistance to Canada’s take-over of governance in the settlement and includes an “Address to Governor Mactavish,” dated 12 November, apparently from the Canadian Party, that demands HBC Gov. William Mactavish give a full account of Canada’s true intentions, and includes as well “Governor Mactavish to the People of Red River,” dated 16 November;

• “[illegible] and the Wherefore,” describes the federal party system in Canada;

• “The Quarterly Court“;

• “Railway Schemes for the North-West,” describes three proposals out of Canada;

• “Crops on the Assiniboine,” the HBC farm at White Horse Plain has brought in 6000 bushels of wheat and 5,500 of oats and barley;

• “Day of General Thanksgiving,” a pastoral letter;

• “The Counsel with the French,” includes “Public Notice to the Inhabitants of Rupert’s Land,” lists the delegates from English parishes, then gives an account of the proceedings of the Convention of 24;

• “The Latest News,” reports the ‘English’ representatives at the Convention of 24 will confer with their constituents;

• “Correspondence. The Projected Railways“;

• “European News.

Included, as the final page of the paper, is a piece that does not read as though written or edited by Bown:

• “Supplement. The Nor’-Wester and Pioneer. A Curiosity,” is an extended criticism of articles published in other locales that purport to describe the settlement. It is also critical of newly arrived young men from Canada; of letter writers to the Canadian press (one of whom ‘A.M.’] is described as “the most remarkable specimen of itinerating blatherskites which we have ever fallen in with”); of those who falsely represent the Americans at Red River as “outlaws”  and who attest to “Fenians” about the settlement; and lastly of assertions that the French are not farmers [See also the letter to the editor of the Owen Sound Times written (2 May 1869) by H.S. Goldehawke and reprinted in the Toronto Globe (28 June 1869), 3]; and “The Fate of Sir John Franklin.”

24 November: fifth meeting of the Convention of 24. (Later, in 1870 during the 13th Day of the Convention of Forty debates, William B. O’Donoghue will assert “The Provisional Government was established on the 24th of November.”)

25 November: A guard from Upper Fort Garry is placed on “the Government Pork &c. for ‘Snow‘ Superintendant [sic] of Road to the Lake of the Woods … the reason of the seizure seems to be that the provisions might disappear in the excitement of the times and the French have placed a guard over it in the interest of the Canadian Government.”

[Begg, Red River Journal, 184.]

26 November: “Wm. Hallet went down towards the Stone Fort and tried to raise a force to rescue the Pork belonging to John A. Snow that had been seized; he however was unsuccessful — the fact being that the pork was seized but for good purposes to prevent any loss arising to it.”

[Begg, Red River Journal, 184. See also discussion of William Hallet, Prisoners, this site.]

A meeting is held, by the Town of Winnipeg delegates to the Convention of 24, at the Engine House to report and “to determine on the future action of the inhabitants of the Town of Winnipeg in reference to the present troubles.” Louis Riel attends as a speaker and is applauded. John C. Schultz and the Canadian Party also attend, but make derogatory comments to the chairman — A.G.B. Bannatyne — who responds by adjourning the meeting.

27 November 1869: A.G.B. Bannatyne reconvenes the meeting at Emmerling’s Hotel. The boundaries of the Town of Winnipeg are set “to extend as far as but not inclusive of Fort Garry on the South, as far as Mr. Alexander Logan‘s on the north, as far as the Red River on the east and two miles out on the plains from the river on the west side. William B. O’Donoghue “representing the Sisters” (the Grey Nuns, who had a new school house in the town), asks for “all householders, property owners and seven months residence be allowed the right to vote.” His motion carries, giving women — the Sisters at any rate — voting rights.

[Begg, Red River Journal, 187. See also “Consideration of the political position of Women during the Resistance,” Women at Red River and the Resistance, 1869-1870, this site.]

In Canada:

26 November: The Canadian government cables England, refusing the transfer of the North West until Canada receives a guarantee of peaceful possession.

[See D.N. Spraque, Canada and the Métis, 1869-1885 (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1988), 42-43 n.38.]

27 November: John A. Macdonald writes to William McDougall advising that he must not use force, nor proclaim his authority over the territory on 1 December as previously informed he might (on the receipt of authorization to do so), but instead stay in the United States. (The letter cannot possibly reach McDougall before 1 December.)

[John A. Macdonald, an alcoholic, was apparently on, or coming out of, a drinking binge at the time. See Spraque, Canada and the Métis, 43. See also Brian Bethune, “John A. Macdonald’s Tragic Life,” review of Patricia Phenix, Private Demons: The Tragic Personal Life of John A. Macdonald (McClelland & Stewart, 2007).

In Assiniboia:

29 November: Allegedly, Objectors to a Provisional Government, including William Dease, send a declaration to “French Representatives” at the Convention of Twenty-four, voicing objection to instituting any provisional government — whether Canadian or locally led — and a preference to continue under the proprietary government of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

[Although the existence of a declaration of objection is plausible, the only known evidence is problematic, being an unsigned, undated, typewritten paper purporting to be a copy of an original that was penned in 1869.]

In England:

30 November: Lord Granville writes a despatch:

“The Canadian Government, in anticipation of the transfer, undertook certain operations in respect of Lands. … The Canadian Government having by this measure given an occasion to an outburst of violence … appears to claim the right of imposing on Her Majesty’s Government the responsibility of putting down the resistance which has then arisen.”

[A.-A. Taché, Separate Schools, Part of the Negotiations at Ottawa in 1870 (St. Boniface: n.d. [c. 1900?]), 7.]

In Assiniboia:

1 December: unaware that the date previously set for formal transfer has been moved back, and despite his original instructions to wait for official authorization, William McDougall prematurely announces his new gubernatorial power to the wind while standing out on the prairie.

mcdougall's proclamation

McDougall sends “The North-West Territories. Proclamation” to supporters in the settlement, and, in a separate document, commissions John Stoughton Dennis to raise an armed force to “attack, arrest, disarm or disperse the said armed men so unlawfully assembled,” with the help of ‘Major’ Charles Arkoll Boulton.

[See “[B.9] The North-West Territories,” Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurences in the Northwest…, 104 – 105.]

The Convention of Twenty-Four reassembles for its 6th and last day; reviews William McDougall‘s proclamation, disapproves of John Stoughton Dennis, approves the second draft of the Bill of Rights/ List of Rights, and agrees on “No takeover without consent.”

In Canada:

5 December: John A. Macdonald sends Donald A. Smith to Red River, as “a sort of commissioner.”

[Sprague, Canada and the Métis, 46.]

6 December: John A. Macdonald sponsors Governor-General Sir John Young‘s proclamation of  amnesty for all in Red River if they lay down their arms.

[See “No. 133 Proclamation. Canada,” Report of the Select committee on the causes of the difficulties (1874), 191 – 192.]

Father J.-B. Thibault and Colonel Charles de Salaberry are officially on the way to Red River.

In England:

6 December: Lord Granville telegraphs the Governor General in Canada “advising the issue of a proclamation in the name of Her Majesty, in order to quiet the minds of the disturbed”:

Her Majesty commands me to stte to you that she will always be ready through me, as her representative, to redress all well-founded grievances and any complaints that may be made or desire that may be expressed to me as Governor-General.

By Her Majesty’s authority I do therefore assure you that, on union with Canada, all your civil and religious rights will be respected.”

[A.-A. Taché, Separate Schools, Part of the Negotiations at Ottawa in 1870 (St. Boniface: n.d. [c. 1900?]), 7-8.]

In Assiniboia:

6 December: John Stoughton Dennis publishes his commission from William McDougall in the Settlement, with a notice attached calling upon all loyal men of the North-western Territory to help him. Preparations are underway for an attack on Upper Fort Garry (Dennis is at Lower Fort Garry with his men; [Boulton and Webb are at Portage la Prairie with their contingent?]). Lindsay Russell, chief engineer for Canada’s road project, issues a proclamation at Winnipeg “calling on all loyal citizens to protect the government property (the pork and beans in Schultz’s store).” About 45 Canadians respond, assembling in the store.

[Peter McArthur, “The Red River Rebellion,” Manitoba Pageant 17, no. 2 (Winter 1972).]

7 December: A.G.B. Bannatyne relays a message to John Christian Schultz, the Canadian Volunteers, and anyone else in the store, that they have fifteen minutes to surrender or face the consequences. They opt to surrender, are arrested, and jailed.

[See “Who was arrested on 7 December?” Prisoners this site.]

John Stoughton Dennis flees the settlement for Pembina.

8 December: Red River’s pending establishment of a Provisional Government (mostly ‘French’ Métis) under the presidency of John Bruce is announced with the “Declaration of the People of Rupert’s Land and the North West.”

declaration 24 November 1869

10 December: the Provisional Government is formally proclaimed in ceremony at Upper Fort Garry.

In the U.S.:

Wyoming grants women the vote: “the territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and area men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote.”


In Quebec:

A letter published in L’Evenement [dated 10 December?] describes the raising of a Provisional Government flag at Red River.

[See “The Leaders at Red River,” Toronto Globe (14 January 1870), 2.]

In Canada:

Dec. 12 or 13? – Donald A. Smith leaves for Red River Settlement.

In Assiniboia:

14 December: Louis Riel writes letter to Eustache Prudhomme, Montreal.

[e-facsimile: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta, Peel 7436.]

c. 15 December [or earlier]: Charles Mair is arrested and jailed.

[On the uncertainty surrounding the date of Mair’s arrest, see “When exactly was Charles Mair arrested?,” Prisoners, this site.]

18 December: informed that Canadian annexation of Rupert’s Land has been postponed, William McDougall and John Stoughton Dennis leave Pembina for Ontario. McDougall takes with him the List of Rights formulated by the Convention of Twenty-four.

[See transcript “1 December 1869,” Convention of Twenty-four, this site. See also LAC, “First page of Manifesto of Wm. McDougall, 29 Sept…,” Red River rebellion, William McDougall fonds, MIKAN no. 123044,]

In Quebec:

A letter published in newspaper from a correspondent in the North-West, “denounces the principles on which Canada would seek to become sovereign in that country as ‘false, outrageous, and tyrannical.’ … [John] Bruce, the President, is described as one of the most distinguished advocates of the country, who has practised for may years his profession in such a way as to secure the respect of all. He is a Magistrate, speaks English and French as well as various Indian languages, and is altogether … a noticeable man.”

[See “The Leaders at Red River,” Toronto Globe (14 January 1870), 2.]

25 December: John Bruce resigns,  Louis Riel becomes president.

Father J.-B. Thibault arrives in Red River, is escorted to the bishop’s palace at Saint-Boniface, and ‘kept under surveillance.’

27 December: A meeting of “the Representatives of the People” is held at Upper Fort Garry, at which the resolutions below are adopted:

“1st.– Mr. John Bruce having, on account of ill health, resigned his position as president, Mr. Louis Riel was chosen to replace him. …

2nd.– Mr. Francois Xavier Dauphinais has been chosen Vice-President.

3rd.– Mr. Louis Schmidt has been appointed Secretary of the council.

4th.– Mr. W.B. O’Donoghue has been appointed Secretary-Treasurer.

5th.– Mr. Ambroise Lepinr has been appointed Adjutant-General.

6th.– … that Mr. A.G.B. Bannatyne should be continued in his position as Postmaster.

7th.– All the officers or employees of the old government who might pretend to exercise that old authority shall be punished for high treason.

8th.– Justice shall be administered by the Adjutant-General, whose council shall be composed of Mr. A.G.B. Bannatyne, F.X. Dauphinais and Pierre Poitras. This council will sit on the first and third Monday of each month.

9th.– All licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquors must be given by the Adjutant’s council, and all those who took this kind of license on the 1st December last, must have them renewed by the said council.

In publishing these orders the President and Representatives of the People, anxious to draw upon the exercise of their authority the blessing of Heaven and the approbation of all, announce to the people of Rupert’s Land that they have pardoned twelve political prisoners, showing thereby that clemency and forgiveness are as familiar to them as severity.”

[Source: Begg, History of the North West, vol. 1. 440.]

Dec. 27? — Donald A. Smith arrives in Red River Settlement with Richard Charles Hardisty.

30 December: The New York Times carries a comment on the “Red River Revolt.”

New York Times (30 December 1869).


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