1st Day: 25 January

Previous page: The Convention of Forty/La Grande Convention



Column head, introducing reportage on the Convention of Forty, New Nation (Friday, 28 January 1870), 2.


Court House, Upper Fort Garry[1]
Tuesday, 25 January 1870[2]

Noon — Thirty-seven of the English [and] French Representatives, met. Three of the French representatives being absent, it was proposed and agreed to that an adjournment till half past three take place. At half past three, met again and adjourned for a similar reason.[3]


Next page: 2d Day: 26 January

[1] The courthouse used might have been the older one just outside the walls of Upper Fort Garry, to the north and west. Alternately, the convention might have assembled inside the walls. For an indication of the supposed location of the courthouse within Upper Fort Garry see “Red River Basin Investigation. Upper Fort Garry,” map, Appendix B, Red River Basin Investigation, Water Resources Division. Report on Investigations into Measures for the Reduction of the Flood Hazard in the Greater Winnipeg Area ([Ottawa]: Department of Resources and Development, Engineering and Water Resources Branch, 1953), plate 1, 196.

[2] “Convention at Fort Garry, English and French Delegates in Council. Mr. Smith’s Commission, Bill of Rights,” New Nation (28 January 1870), 2.

A notice in an adjacent column reads:

As a weekly Journal our paper will, we think, compare favorably with any; being most certainly the best printed as well as the largest periodical yet published in this Colony. It shall be our aim to make it an interesting and readable home paper, a valuable acquisition to every fireside. To those who differ from us politically, we have only to say that in taking this paper they are not supposed to support our views, and that our columns are open to the contributions of all. Any Newspaper published in this colony will have to depend on foreign subscriptions and advertisements for its support, and the refusal of any one to take it will not for one moment stop its issue.

The paper (page 3) also includes the following notice regarding a leading opponent of locally formulated provisional government:

The political prisoner, Doctor Schultz, made his escape from Fort Garry [2 days prior to the sitting of the Convention] on Sunday night last. It appears the Doctor was confined in an upper room of one of the buildings at the Fort, closely attended by a guard. On the evening in question he requested the guard to retire from the room whilst he changed his clothes. The guard being gone the Doctor cut his robe into strips, and having by some means procured a large gimblet which he inserted into the wall below the window sill, he fastened the line to it and let himself down on the ground. Two strange cutters were seen about the Fort late in the night, which leads to the supposition that his escape was effected with the knowledge of some outside parties. Be this as it may, certain it is that the redoubtable doctor is once more enjoying his daily rations, without having his potatoes probed by a bayonet, and is permitted the luxury of a clean shirt collar without the ceremony of an examination of letters in cipher.

This had not been Schultz’s first stint in jail. In 1864, his former business partner and half-brother, Henry McKenney, had “obtained a court judgement ordering Schultz to pay his share of a £600 debt incurred by … [their dissolved] company. When Schultz belligerently refused payment, McKenney, with the aid of two special constables, had him bound hand and foot and carted off to jail. Thereafter the half-brothers were bitter enemies” (George F. Reynolds, “McKenney, Henry,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography online).

[3] Alexander Begg, Alexander Begg’s Red River Journal: and Other Papers Relative to the Red River Resisance of 1869-1870 (Toronto: Champlain Society, 195), 282, recorded weather conditions that explain the absence of delegates:

Tuesday, 25th January, 1870
To-day was the most stormy one experienced this winter — drifting dreadfully.

William Armstrong, watercolour, “Winter Travel between St. Paul and Red River,” (1870). Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1933-257-1 Gift of Mrs. William MacDougall Copyright: Expired



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