Council of Twenty-four

Printer’s proof, “Public Notice to the Inhabitants of Rupert’s Land,” 6 November 1869. See Bruce Peel, Early printing in the Red River Settlement 1859-1870 (Winnipeg: Peguis Publishers, 1974), 6; Archives of Manitoba, MG3 A1/1, printed notice and photocopy, Red River Disturbance Collection, 1869-1908; and Glenbow Archives, M 6058, “Red River Rebellion scrapbook” (1869-1870), page 12, Archives Society of Alberta online,

The above notice was composed by Louis Riel, as secretary to John Bruce, who was president of the French Council. Purportedly, the typesetting and printing was done by James Ross. Presumably a corrected copy was put to galley and printed, though apparently none have survived. The text of the notice was afterwards printed in “The Counsel with the French,” Nor’-Wester (23 November 1869), reading as follows:

Public Notice to the Inhabitants of Rupert’s Land.

The President and Representatives of the French-speaking population of Rupert’s Land (the invaders of our rights being now expelled), already aware of your sympathy, do extend the hand of friendship to you our friendly fellow-inhabitants, and in doing so invite you to send twelve representatives from the following places, viz.: St. John’s 1, St. Margaret’s 1, Headingly 1, St. James’ 1, St. Mary’s 1, Kildonan 1, St. Paul’s 1, St. Andrew’s 1, St. Clement’s 1, St. Peter’s 1, Town of Winnipeg 2, in order to form one body with the above Council, consisting of twelve members, to consider the present political state of this country, and to adopt such measures as may be deemed best for the future welfare of the same.

A meeting of the above Council will be held in the Court House at Fort Garry on Tuesday, the 16th day of November, at which the invited Representatives will attend. By order of the President.

Louis Riel, Secretary.

Winnipeg, Nov. 5, 1868. [sic]

For a map indicating the location of the parishes mentioned in the notice, see Parishes of Assiniboia, 1870 this site.

Delegates Elected to the Convention:

The Twelve French Parish Representatives:

St. François Xavier, Baie St. Paul, and Prairie du Cheval Blanc: François Dauphinais, Pierre Poitras, Patrice Breland, Pierre Léveillé[1]

St. Boniface: William O’DonoghueLouis Riel

St. Vital: André Beauchemin, Pierre Parenteau Sr.

St. Norbert: Louis Lacerte, Baptiste Tourond

Ste. Anne: Charles Nolin, Jean-Baptiste Perrault

The Twelve English Parish Representatives:

St. John’s: Maurice J.G. Lowman[2]

St. Margaret’s/ High Bluff and St. Ann’s/ Poplar Point: George Gunn

Headingly: William Auld Tait

St. James: Robert Tait

St. Mary’s la Prairie [Portage la Prairie]: John Garrioch

Kildonan: James Ross

St. Paul’s/ Middlechurch: Dr. Curtis James Bird

St. Andrew’s: Donald Gunn

St. Clement’s: Thomas Bunn

St. Peter’s: Pa-bat-or-kok-or-sis/ Mis-koo-kenew/ “Red Eagle”/ Henry Prince

Town of Winnipeg: Henry McKenney [3], Hugh Francis ‘Bob’ Olone

Reconstituted Debates:

The text of the debates linked to below are based on the English translation of Louis Riel’s notes, published in W.L. Morton, ed., Alexander Begg’s Red River Journal And other Papers Relative to the Red River Resistance of 1869-70 (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1956), 420-428 [rendered on their respective pages in gray type].

In the notes, Riel, who acted as secretary at the convention, cautions, “I cannot very well write and take note of the discussion, seeing that I am obliged to speak all the time. The retorts are longer. The replies are not always so concise. But what I have written is always the sense and almost always the terms of what was said in French.”

I have incorporated supplementary details from other sources, including from Alexander Begg’s journal entries for the relevant dates [Begg’s Red River Journal And other Papers pages 169-, rendered in very dark gray type]; “The Counsel with the French,” Nor’-Wester (23 November 1869), 2 [black type]; and the list of rights reviewed during the session of 1 December [dark blue type].

My copy editing intrusions are not extreme, although the layout of text and punctuation has been adjusted to accord with the debates of the The Convention of Forty/La Grande Convention and the The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia (this site). I have also corrected/ standardized the spelling of names. Check the original sources if absolute adherence to a previous version is desired.

Links to Debates:

Tuesday, 16 November 1869

Wednesday, 17 November 1869

Monday, 22 November 1869

Tuesday, 23 November 1869

Wednesday, 24 November 1869

Wednesday, 1 December 1869


[1] See “Letter from Pierre Leveille,” to the editor, translation, dated White Horse Plains, 25 May 1870, New Nation News 27 May 1870, this site.

[2] According to Alexander Begg, John Inkster, was first elected, but Lowman attended as a substitute. According to the Nor’-Wester, Lowman was elected. See mention of Lowman and family of origin, Horses of Red River, this site.

[3] See also wedding announcement, Nor’-Wester (2 November 1864), 3, for McKenney’s daughter (who is not mentioned in the DCB biography).

McKenney's daughter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: